Category Archives: Uncategorized

A Serenity Prayer for the Grocery Store

serenityprayer

As I walk through the automatic door, I will be calm and choose a grocery cart that will sufficiently carry my goods—not the small one that some other people jam to the brim on both levels because choosing a larger cart seemed too cumbersome.

I will gently wipe the handle with the provided disinfecting wipe, place it in the trash can and not on the floor with the others and proceed to the produce section.

Hmm…the wheel is wonky and OH MY GOD I JUST VEERED INTO A DISPLAY OF TRISCUITS AND EVERYONE IS LOOKING!

Deep breath.

Accept that they’re Triscuits and most likely already dry, smashed wheat in the box and remember it could have been worse, like glass jars or pop. I will courageously continue my journey, taking more time to pick out a head of broccoli and asparagus than I took to pick out my shirt, and then proceed to the rest of the store.

Great. This idiot is barreling down the middle of the aisle like a linebacker and refuses to obey the conventional commandments of a civilized grocery society. But some people never learn, and while I’m not above throwing a shoulder or putting my best foot forward to trip him, instead I will move to the side.

Karma doesn’t have an expiration date, my friend.

However, this container of hummus in my cart does and every second that I’m stuck behind this woman examining cans of soup like they’re a treasure map is a second that I’m nearing the date on my hummus. I’ll just swerve around and…of course. The other side is blocked by an employee with a cart full of boxes that he needs to stock.

Breathe in. Breathe out. Everything in good time, and by “everything,” of course I mean hummus.

My cart sufficiently filled with items that I can remember from the list I left at home on the counter-minus the three things they didn’t have in stock even though they’re on sale-I will make my way to one of the two open checkout lanes and hope I can break my streak of picking the one with the latest cashier-in-training.

Look at that! I’m second in line…behind a woman with 42 cans of cat food that need to be individually rung up and a variety of Lean Cuisine meals, all defrosting and blocking the UPC code to be scanned.  

That’s okay. No big deal.

I’ll distract myself with the magazines conveniently placed in the lane so I can flip through and not actually buy them. Let’s see: How to lose weight and gain friends, how to make recipes that will help you lose weight and gain friends, what celebrities have lost weight and gained friends. Oh yes, and Reader’s Digest.

Just breathe and don’t allow the incessant beeping of the 42 cans of cat food being scanned sear my brain and instead look to the other side of the lane—batteries, dog treats, lip balm and aspirin.

I think I might need that last one, because seriously? This woman is now debating two expired coupons and I’m about to just give her the 50 cents she would have saved in order to move this along. And is that…a checkbook? Now she’s going to write up a check?

Deep breath.

See? Now your groceries are being rung up and bagged and the light is at the end of the tunnel. Swipe the card, thank the cashier, grab the receipt and all 300 extra pieces of paper that get pumped out of the printer with it and head for the doors. Just steer your cart toward the car and…where the hell did I park?  

SERENITY NOW!

Well. at least there’s hummus.

For that, I’ll give an “amen.”

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P.S. Facebook has changed it’s reach AGAIN and only 5-10 percent of people are seeing my updates. To ensure you’re not missing a thing, add my Facebook page to your “Interests” lists, subscribe to my blog or follow me on Twitter.

Darcy of “So Then Stories” Has Issues

I will assume you’ve all caught up on your movie watching and are ready to spend the rest of your time reading the blog of the second to last blogger to be a part of my Blogger Issues series–Darcy of So Then Stories.

You can read the specifics here, but basically she’s lived all over the world, was taught French with a Southern accent, has worked everywhere from Fortune 500 companies to small entrepreneurial firms and doesn’t use real names when she blogs. 

That’s a sign that she has some good stories. 

Darcy Perdu

Name:          Darcy Perdu

Blog:              So Then Stories 

Where and why do you write?

On my yacht, in the nude, of course.

OK, the real answers:

The Where:  I write in my home office, in between juggling outrageous demands from my clients, coworkers and kids.  (Does “home office” mean that I participate in conference calls while still in my pajamas, eating ice cream, checking Facebook, and occasionally chiming in with a well-placed “very synergistic!” and “that’ll really resonate with our key demo!”  Why, yes.  Yes, it does.)

The Why:  One of my favorite things to do is pull up a bar stool and swap hilarious stories with my friends about embarrassing kids, exasperating coworkers, vexing relationships and the ever-perplexing public.  Each story reminds someone of a SIMILAR funny tale, so the stories and laughs just keep rolling. I wanted to create a site where I could share my bodacious blunders and funny stories – then encourage readers to post their RELATED stories so we can all entertain each other.  So I started SoThenStories.com – and I LOVE reading the comments on the blog – those people crack me up DAILY.

 First thing you think of when you wake up in the morning.

 Ryan Gosling, stop hogging the sheets! 

 Then I really wake up.  And have a moment of sadness ‘cuz I really miss that damn sheet-hogger.

What’s the one “issue” or frustration annoying you the most right now?

It’s frustrating that my blogger buddies and I create such cool comedic/compelling content, virtually for free – for readers who enthusiastically follow our Facebook blog pages because they want to READ those posts – but Facebook only SHOWS our postings to a TINY percentage of our followers.  What the hell, Facebook?  So to all the awesome readers out there who enjoy blogs, please subscribe by email to the blogs – or mark “Get Notifications” on the Facebook pages of your favorite bloggers  so you can enjoy all the fabulous nonsense we post!   

Editor’s note: You know my feelings on this. Amen.

Three websites you visit every day.

German Dungeon Porn.  Swedish Dungeon Porn.  Cats Who Solve Mysteries. But when I’m on porn/cat overload, I visit Facebook, NetFlix, and lots of blog sites of funny bloggers, including Abby Has Issues.

Another note: I didn’t even pay her to say that (the porn part, not a mention of this blog.)

What’s an unusual talent and/or accomplishment you could never put on a resume?

Admittedly lacking in culinary prowess, I nonetheless once asked my daughter what her favorite dish is that I make.  She hemmed and hawed, stalled and stammered, then finally said, “Well, you open a mean can of corn.”

So I guess that’s a talent I probably wouldn’t mention on a resume:  Expert Corn Can Opener.

Me again: Unless that was the job you were applying for. There might be a market—you never know.

If you could rule the land for one day, what laws would you create and enforce?

No bullies.  No wars, poverty, or illness.  No calories.  Ice cream for everybody!

 You can only eat three foods for a week. What are they?

1) Ben & Jerry’s New York Super Fudge Chunk paired with Baskin-Robbins Pralines & Cream

2) PF Chang’s Mongolian Beef & Chang’s Spicy Chicken & Garlic Snap Peas

3) Maggiano’s Lobster Carbonara featuring angel hair pasta, lobster, smoked bacon, snap peas & garlic cream sauce

*Please note snap peas figure prominently in two of the three meals.  HEALTH FOOD FOR THE WIN!

 The last thing you Googled?  

“Comparative penis sizes of populations indigenous to New Guinea vs. Trinidad.” But that might be a little TMI, so let’s go with “decorative bath mats at BedBathandBeyond.com.”

 What question do you wish I had asked you and what would be your reply? 

Can I please send you $10,000 in small bills and craft a macramé potholder in your likeness? 

Why yes, yes you may, Abby.  How perfectly delightful of you.   My kitchen colors are white and green so please plan accordingly. 

So there you have So Then Stories! (See what I did there?) Anyway, go check out her blog and her Facebook page after answering the question below because no one ever answers the question even though sharing is caring:

Who is the celebrity you would never kick out of bed for spilling crumbs or hogging the sheets?

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P.S. Facebook has changed it’s reach AGAIN and only 5-10 percent of people are seeing my updates. To ensure you’re not missing a thing, add my Facebook page to your “Interests” lists, subscribe to my blog or follow me on Twitter.

Choose Your Own Adventure

Today I am going to boggle your mind with not one, not two, not three but FOUR different posts you should read, none of which are actually on this blog. 

Go figure. 

First, I’ve been over on Your Tango the past couple of weeks talking about:

Why I Don’t Wear Makeup (GASP!)

11 Problems Only Girls With Short Hair Understand

21 Problems Only Skinny Girls Understand (Yes, we have issues.)

And finally, the hilarious Kate Hall interviewed me for her fabulous “Hall of Tweets” blog that profiles huge, big, influential hilarious tweeters, which is why it’s a mystery that she asked to profile me. But regardless of my confusion, she DID interview me and you can hop on over and read about how I talk to myself in 140 characters or less on a daily basis. 

Abbyhasissues-button

Beyond the Bio: Interview with @AbbyHasIssues

So there you go. Choose your own adventure–hopefully all four of them–and I’ll see you back here on Friday. 

Like the blog? Buy the books and cool things!

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P.S. Facebook has changed it’s reach AGAIN and only 5-10 percent of people are seeing my updates. To ensure you’re not missing a thing, add my Facebook page to your “Interests” lists, subscribe to my blog or follow me on Twitter.

Must-See Movies for Winter…Kind Of

Back in September I introduced you to eight “new” movies that I felt you should be watching that fall. (I hear “It’s the Great Pumpkin Spice Latte, Charlie Brown,” was a big hit among the 18-34 crowd.)

Well, now that we’re well into a bitter cold winter, it’s time once again to remember that among the new releases with attractive people doing unrealistic things in situations that are resolved in two hours topping the charts, there are some other films being shown this winter that if given a chance, I’m sure would be a great hit.

Unbroken 2

No, this isn’t the epic tale of the Olympic track star who survived a plane crash in World War II, only to fight for his life against nature and eventually as a prisoner of war. 

This film instead follows a woman who unknowingly keeps several impressive streaks unbroken as she goes through her everyday life, such as picking out the grocery cart with the wonky wheel that will inevitably veer into a display of Triscuits, having the keys in the opposite pocket of the hand she has free and spilling something on the white shirt she attempted to wear.

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Will she eventually pick out a functional cart? Hit all the green lights while driving home with a full bladder? Join her for her epic adventures and see how she deals with adversity.

Why Waldo?

In this philosophical film, “Waldo” battles his social anxiety disorder and tries to find a reason for his existence.

In search of this answer, he makes public appearances, but only discreetly surfaces in large crowds of people and insists on wearing the same clothes each day—thick, black-framed glasses, red and white striped shirt, red and white cap. Eventually he becomes paranoid that people are constantly looking for him and wonders, “Why am I here? Why are they here? Why does low-fat peanut butter exist?”

The Belle Jar

In this dark Plath-meets-Disney film, Belle, a girl who is dissatisfied with life in a small provincial French town, becomes mentally unstable and develops delusional tendencies and troubling urges towards bestiality after her father is imprisoned.

Some of her best friends are household appliances that spend a majority of their time singing and dancing, and she is faced with the internal struggle of if she should marry and live a conventional domestic life or attempt to satisfy her ambition with a man under a spell because he couldn’t love.

Will she regain a tenuous grasp on sanity or will the “Belle” jar of her madness descend again at any time?

The Hundred Food Journey

While “The Hundred Foot Journey,” showcased the family of a talented cook who has a life filled with both culinary delights and profound loss, this tale is about a mediocre cook who has a life filled with hundreds of foods to help cope with her own journey of loss.

In order to procure said culinary delights, she must brave the grocery store multiple times a week, perfect her “serious” face when trying to sneak an expired coupon past the cashier and avoid the checkout line with the customer who insists on using every single square inch of personal space past the plastic divider, creeping up closer to her with their cart and sighing so heavily at the apparent lack of cashier expediency that it blows her coupons off the checkout stand.

After checking out, will she make the journey home without bruising her bananas? It’s a culinary “Choose Your Own Adventure” for the whole family.

Mild

In the sequel to “Wild,” in which Cheryl Strayed hiked the 1,100-mile Pacific Crest Trail by herself in an effort to recover from a recent life crisis, a 33-year-old unemployed writer trying to recover from her own life crisis faces a series of her own challenges.

While Strayed dealt with creating fire for meals and wild animals popping out unexpectedly, our protagonist risks life and limb to reignite the pilot light on her stove, the expected yet jolting release of the toast from the toaster, accidentally hitting the switch for the garbage disposal instead of the light and getting stuck in the neck of her sweatshirt.

 This inspiring tale proves we all have our own battles to fight.

Gone Girl

This is just me walking away really quickly any time someone calls my name out in public. It’s going straight to DVD.

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P.S. Facebook has changed it’s reach AGAIN and only 5-10 percent of people are seeing my updates. To ensure you’re not missing a thing, add my Facebook page to your “Interests” lists, subscribe to my blog or follow me on Twitter.

Sisterhood of the Sensible Moms Has Issues

You know how I love a good deal, so today you get two for the price of one in terms of bloggers spilling their issues! You also get the third to final interview in this series because I’m going to wrap this up at the end of the month and you’ll be stuck with just me again. 

But today—and the next two Fridays—you still get to indulge in a behind-the-scenes look at a blogger to keep on your radar. Well, two bloggers, but one blog. And a podcast, Sensible Moms Soundbites, described as “sensible parenting advice delivered with a light touch. We are your girlfriends on call, 24/7, for honest, funny chats about all of the things that matter to you.”

So without further ado, here they are!

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Name: Ellen Williams and Erin Dymowski

Blog: Sisterhood of the Sensible Moms

How did you two start blogging together? 

Ellen: Well, we met in prison. Or was it in the waiting room of our kids’ gymnastic class? It’s hard to remember because they both smell like feet. 

Erin: Anyway, one day, three years ago, we were talking on the phone and I said, “We should start a blog.” 

Ellen: And I replied, “What’s a blog?”

Erin: Fast forward three years and I said, “We should start a podcast.” 

Ellen: And I replied, “What’s a podcast?”

Erin: Apparently I’m the big ideas gal . .. 

Ellen: And I’m the one who only goes on the Internet when forced.

First thing you think of when you wake up in the morning. 

Ellen: I am a January resolutions cliche. My first thought is “I have to put my Fitbit Zip on so my steps to the bathroom are recorded.”

Erin: Apparently we are a cliche that shares the same brain. I think of my Fitbit too!

What’s the one “issue” or frustration annoying you the most right now?

Erin: I forget to put on my Fitbit until half of my morning is gone! While my Fitbit is my first thought, it is immediately trampled by worries of college scholarship deadlines, lesson plans, and angst over wondering if my mismatched sock bag will ever be sorted.

Ellen: I have to listen to the caterwauling about the “missed” steps. And the sock bag of shame.

Three websites you visit every day.

Recited in unison because remember, we share the same brain: 
Blubrry Podcasting Plugin Help Site because *sigh*.
Fitbit and My Fitness Pal because if you’re going to be a cliche, go all the way.

What’s an unusual talent and/or accomplishment you could never put on a resume? 

Erin: Breaking websites.

Ellen: Not killing people who break websites.

If you could rule the land for one day, what laws would you create and enforce?

Erin: Why stop at ruling the land? I want to bend the laws of energy! No Calorie Double Fudge Mocha Whip Cheesecake for all!

Ellen: Did you just basically say “let them eat cake”? Anyway, I would decree that all tech help is free, instantaneous, and spoken in English, not tech-ese. Although it might be easier to decree that websites are not allowed to be broken. Actually, that law would only be for Erin.

You can only eat three foods for a week. What are they? 

Erin: A couple of weeks ago it would have been Sour Patch Kids, Diet Coke, and bread. Now it’s sadness, despair, and guilt.

Ellen: Mine are avocados, vegetable soup, and almond milk. Do I get extra credit on My Fitness Pal just for uttering that?

The last thing you Googled? 

Erin: “How to make organic, low calorie Sour Patch Kids from scratch using only the tears of doves.”

Ellen: “How to fix an RSS feed.” Because podcasting is all about the RSS feed. Or at least that’s what Erin’s sad doves told me.

What question do you wish I had asked you and what would be your reply?

Erin: “Can you get rich from podcasting?”

Ellen: “Why yes, yes you can!”

Erin: We felt like a fantasy question deserved a fantasy answer.

So there you have it! I’ve only listened to probably three podcasts in my whole life, but now I have the guilt of this post to go check theirs out and assume you all will go do the same—and check out their blog and Facebook page, of course. Oh! And humor me by answering this question: 

Your turn. If you could make any food completely calorie-free, what food would it be?

See you back here Sunday!

Like the blog? Buy the books and cool things!

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P.S. Facebook has changed it’s reach AGAIN and only 5-10 percent of people are seeing my updates. To ensure you’re not missing a thing, add my Facebook page to your “Interests” lists, subscribe to my blog or follow me on Twitter.

Realistic Social Media Notifications

If you’re on any form of social media, you know that you can opt in or opt out of getting notifications any time someone “likes,” retweets, pins or comments on your updates or on the status of your friends.

I generally opt out of getting the emails because too many emails make me twitchy and I really don’t need extra noise. When I go to the site, I’ll see it. The end.

But I might change my mind if I was sent more realistic social media notifications—something more than “Anne commented on your status update” or “Bill retweeted one of your tweets.”  I have a few suggestions in case anyone wants to contract out my services.

FOLLOW

Facebook

That relative that you were forced to “friend” is replying “LOL” to all your updates from the past month.

Fifteen people posted Someecards or memes expressing their addiction to coffee/wine, their love of Friday/hate of Monday or being a parent.

Your friend Ann changed her profile picture seven times in 10 minutes in an attempt to look sexier.

No one “liked” Anne’s new profile picture after three minutes, so she changed it again.

Your cousin just rolled his eyes at the link to your latest blog post.

A friend just invited you to an event tomorrow night that’s being held on the other side of the country.

“That” couple is having a private conversation through one of their status updates. He loves her.  She loves him back. They are “so blessed.”

The “bad boy” from high school just posted a picture of him braiding the hair of his toddler twin girls.

Don’t bother checking your Facebook fan page. Only 3 percent of your fans are seeing your posts.

Pinterest

Gina started a wedding board to send hint after to hint to her boyfriend in a passive aggressive, Pinterest-y way.

Sally shared the same pin of her last blog post to 12 different boards in five minutes.

Beware! Three friends a going through a phase and pinning nothing but inspirational posters.

Someone liked one of 235 recipes you pinned that you’ll probably never make.

Becky created a board of Creative Projects to Make with Cat Hair.

Twitter

Someone almost retweeted you but instead just added it as a “favorite” because they were ticked they didn’t think of it first.

Lisa says, “GOOD MORNING!!!”

Several people you follow are engaged in a Twitter Party. Avoid until party is done.

Bob is tweeting at famous people in an attempt to get them to follow him.

You are now only 15 people away from 2,000 followers and only three friends away from having three friends.

Someone is retweeting every compliment they’ve ever received.  (Suggested action: block or unfollow)

Jenny made toast, took a picture, posted it with a recipe and added multiple hashtags #bread #toaster #lunch #food #eat #noonecaresitstoast

Three people unfollowed you because you didn’t follow them back after they had been following you for five minutes.

Your super funny tweet got no stars.

Justin Beiber tweeted, “I like tacos.” It was retweeted 465,000 times. Maybe you should give up.

LinkedIn

Someone you have never worked with just asked you to endorse them for biomedical engineering with a focus on potato blight in Idaho, or something similar you have no knowledge of.

A complete stranger is waiting for your response to an invitation to connect with no customized message attached.

Mary is celebrating a 5-year work anniversary at a job you didn’t even know that she had.

A connection just endorsed you for “grocery shopping” and “snacks.”

Well, yay! Finally an endorsement that makes sense.

Your turn. What notifications would you suggest? 

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P.S. Facebook has changed it’s reach AGAIN and only 5-10 percent of people are seeing my updates. To ensure you’re not missing a thing, add my Facebook page to your “Interests” lists, subscribe to my blog or follow me on Twitter.

A New Definition

About 10 years ago I was in a group therapy session with about eight other women when the doctor had us go around the room and do a seemingly simple exercise: tell the group about ourselves.

Now keep in mind the setting—it was a hospital and not a wine bar—but one by one we went around the room. In the span of 10 minutes I learned among other things that one woman had severe depression, one was bipolar, one was struggling with bulimia and self-harm while another was checked in for a suicide attempt after a brutal sexual assault.

The doctor sat back with this look on her face and was quiet for a minute before she looked around the group and said, “You know what I find interesting? I see something entirely different.

“I know that you are a retired opera singer,” she continued as she shifted her gaze over the group. “That you graduated from dental school with honors, that you are a nationally published writer and that you have three children under the age of five. I don’t see your circumstances. I don’t let them define you.”

That stuck with me, and it seems even more poignant these past few weeks.

It’s been a little bit more than a month now since I lost my job, and I while I’m trying to stay positive and working my butt off to make something happen, I have to admit it’s still a real struggle. I knew I wouldn’t find a new job right away, but I admit I’m not exactly the most patient person in the world and now all I hear is the clock ticking down until my unemployment runs out.

But another thing—along with that panic—is that when I lost my job I also lost a little bit of my identity.

That job was a part of my life for more than seven years. I had a title, I had a routine, I had something that I could attach to myself and use as proof of my professionalism, my hard work, and in some sense even my worth.

While it was far from ideal, at least it was easy to fit in that box.

Now I feel that if f I’m not working in a traditional sense, that makes me lazy. Being as obsessive as I am about things, I feel guilty if I’m not spending all my waking hours scouring the same job boards I’ve been scouring for days or sending out more emails. I dread running into people I know in case they ask what I’ve been up to.

Instead of throwing out the usual, “Just work. Same old, same old,” I have to think about what I can say, fearing they’ll assume my days are filled with hours of lazing around and watching TV. I’m not exactly ashamed, but I am extremely self-conscious.

Because the thing is, I’ve always had a pretty good idea of what would come next. There was a false sense of security that if I did everything I was supposed to be doing that things would continue to go as I planned. Even if it wasn’t that satisfying, at least it was safe and secure.

That would be the universe laughing right now.

unemployment

The lesson has been learned.

It’s natural to identify ourselves using our circumstances, our struggles or how others perceive us. But the problem with latching onto these identities is that in addition to limiting our growth, we start to let them define us.

So on those days when I do wallow, drown my sorrows in hummus and watch four episodes of “Brooklyn Nine-Nine” because nothing seems to being going in the right direction—yes, there are those days—I have to remind myself that millions of people are in the same boat. That doesn’t mean the boat is sinking—or that I have to want to be in that damn boat—but I don’t have to let this particular struggle define me.

No matter what happens, I’m still a writer.

It might not be wrapped up in a neat little bow and printed on a high-gloss business card right now, but I write. Maybe someone will hire me to do that in the near future, but maybe something else will come along that completely deviates from any picture I had in my head. I’ve learned I can’t always know what comes next. 

Because more than being a writer, I’m human–a funny, slightly freaked out/panicking but trying to cope human–and as I’m reminded again, a constant work in progress.

Now bring on the hummus, my friends. 

Like the blog? Buy the books and cool things!

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P.S. Facebook has changed it’s reach AGAIN and only 5-10 percent of people are seeing my updates. To ensure you’re not missing a thing, add my Facebook page to your “Interests” lists, subscribe to my blog or follow me on Twitter.