Some News and Some Links

I’ve been waiting almost four months to write this post and now I’m not quite sure what I should say so I’ll just blurt out that I finally have a new job!

While it’s a contractor position and nothing is permanent (and I’m creating scenarios in my head that don’t exist because I have so much to learn,) I’ve been brought on as a full-time Writer and Viral Content Creator at 22 Words—a site I’ve been freelancing for for the past couple of weeks. 

What is 22 Words, you ask?  

This Esquire story is a couple of years old, it interviews the creator and explains it better than I probably can. Basically it’s ranked among one of the top viral aggregations sites online with millions of page views a day and shares everything funny, heartfelt and relevant to every type of reader.

The difference between 22 Words and other sites is that it’s run by a relatively small staff, meaning there’s always that human angle and it’s not nearly so corporate or bland. Yay!

Anyway, I’m going to be writing there full-time, and to say I’m thrilled would be an understatement. Of course I will have much more to say on this whole journey, but right now I need some time to gather up my thoughts and settle into a new routine and reflect a bit. Plus, now I’m freaking busy. 

Deal? Deal.

vocab

This picture has nothing to do with anything, but the page needed some color. 

What does that mean for this blog? Not much. I promise not to completely skimp out on you and am sure I’ll have ridiculous insights and lame attempts at humor just as much as I have in the past here and on Facebook and Twitter.

And even though I would love for all of you to follow 22 Words on Facebook or check the site on a daily basis, I also know that’s not possible for everyone.

So I think once a week—maybe Sundays—I’ll do a quick recap post of what I wrote over there during the week so that you can click on the links and read my stuff and I can keep my job.

But humor aside, I’m still completely humbled, not just by the support everyone has shown me here but by the whole experience. It’s far from over and I still have a lot of uncertainty in the future, but at least I’m waking up every morning now excited to work, excited to see what else I can do and being rewarded for my efforts with respect.

I think that’s the big thing right there. So far I have been nothing but impressed with the people there and am excited to work with them going forward–and you know I don’t just say things to say things. 

Anyway, I’ll try and get my thoughts together in the next couple of weeks, but for today…yay!

And here’s what I’ve got for you to read. Like I said, I have two or three posts go up there every day–including some on dog restaurants, infomercial products and inappropriate children’s books in the next week, among others– so I would advise you to stalk the site when possible and share my stuff.

Deal? Deal.

The Fun Stories Behind 40 Famous Company Names

25 Dollar Store Hacks to Make Every Parent’s Life Easier

The Foodnited States of America

15 Brilliantly Creative Ways to Use Leftover Wine

16 Versions of Normal Animals That Prove Mother Nature is Drunk

Vince Vaughn is Promoting His New Movie By Posing in Hilarious Stock Photos

15 Unexpected Ways Your House is Trying to Make You Sick

15 Sneaky Ways Grocery Stores Try and Control Your Mind and Your Money

Meet the Funniest Russian Brother-In-Law on the Internet

The First Covers of 30 Famous Magazines

And of course, thank you again. 

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Senior Citizen Bingo: They Play for Keeps

Have you ever spent the day playing Bingo with 25 people over the age of 75 on the medical side of an assisted living facility? If not, I’ll let you in on just what you’re missing.

Me, my mom and my grandma and are pretty close—three generations of Polish snark not lacking authenticity or attitude—for better or for worse. Gram’s at a home half a mile from my house, my mom goes to see her every day and I generally go once a week.

She’s been getting a lot worse the past couple of years—dementia—and now at 92 the “fun” times are few and far between. But there was a time when if we could plan it correctly, we would be there for the daily activity held in the activity room.

I’ll set the scene:

It’s four people to a table, two cards to a person, one bowl of Bingo chips for each player. Wheelchairs are locked and they’re ready to roll.

This seems innocent enough, but let’s get one thing straight. These people have been through wars, marriages, children, deaths, Depressions and depressions. Now they no longer worry about recessions as much as they do if Gertrude next door stole the extra Nutter Butter from their snack tray last Thursday.

They’ve got nothing to lose and they play for keeps. Or rather, they play for candy, which along with popcorn, is the geriatric equivalent of crack.

The activity director—a small, demure blonde girl with a huge heart—will call out the numbers like an NFL quarterback calling a play.

“B 14,” the caller will say. “B one four.”

Someone will ask “before what?” while at least two others will mistake “B14” for something either in the “N” column or as a directive to complain about the fact that it was supposed to be beer and popcorn night.

More numbers will be called and silence—save for a few rogue coughs or bodily functions—will blanket the room. This is either due to the fact that concentration is required for placing each chip, or that half of them have forgotten what they’re doing.

“O 63,” the caller will say. “O six three.”

Madge, sitting right next to the caller, will ask her what was said. This will be repeated after every number called, annoying Gram who will passive-aggressively express this annoyance with a Morse Code of exasperated sighs and Polish cursing.

I will have to remind her that Mary is 100 years old, to which Gram will reply that after 100 years, she should know her way around a goddamn Bingo card.

Leona will win twice in a row, pretty much guaranteeing evil glares and a public shunning by the women until she repents in some way—throwing a game or throwing a hip—to get herself back in good graces.

This might sound harsh, but remember, candy is at stake.

After each triumphant “Bingo!” is called, my mom will distribute that candy by prancing around the room with a tray like an old-fashioned cigarette girl in a bar. (With the exception of June, who will be given a pudding cup if she’s fortunate enough to win, as she is unfortunately on a puree diet.)

The winner will go one of two ways—either directly for the junk food jugular by grabbing their favorite chocolate-covered treats, or the less manic route, pondering this decision as if a Twix is the last thing they will ever eat in their life.

Which, to be fair, just might be true.

After everyone’s told that their cards must be cleared, the next round of play will begin.

“G 55,” the caller will say. “G five five.”

Mary will ask what was said, Gram will sigh heavily enough to move Julia’s card across the table and Leona will hide the fact that both of her cards contain G55. Out of nowhere Richard will ask where the beer and popcorn are and where the waitress went.

I will remark that a beer sounds good, at which point Gram will remind me that if I wasn’t so picky, I could be out drinking beer with a nice man like Richard or the maintenance man who hung the shelf in her room last week.

I will have to remind her that Richard  is 94 years old and the maintenance man was actually a very butch woman, to which Gram will reply that after 30 years, I should lower my standards.

O66,” the caller will say. “O six six.”

But then I would miss all the fun. 

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Engagements, Oversharing and Butt Facials

This picture has nothing at all to do with this post, but seeing as today is Friday I thought I would throw it in here anyway. Actually, considering the random nature of this post, I guess it actually fits right in. 

Friday

(Also available here.)

Anyway, I’ll have a new post for you next time, but it’s the end of the month so I thought I would let you know that I have FOUR different posts for you to click on and read today instead. 

First over on YourTango we’re talking love, toxic friends and oversharing: 

10 Beautifully Unexpected Ways Husbands Proposed to Their Wives

10 “Toxic” Friends You Need to Remove From Your Life

Dear Internet Oversharers: Get Off Facebook, Get See a Therapist

I’m also resharing this piece I wrote last year because given everything going on right now–and just the fact that winter doesn’t help with depression–it still seems really applicable. Maybe someone else can relate, so there’s that. 

And finally, if you fear someone is going to get close enough to your ass and your crotch to notice some redness or bumps and you have an extra $200 or so laying around, then there’s still time to schedule your “Vajacial” and “Shiny Hiney” services before bathing suit season.

That’s right! Facials for your front and your back doors! I know you’re all intrigued at this point, so head on over to In The Powder Room and read all about it….no, really. I’m not kidding. Butt facials. Go check it out and I’ll see you back here next week. 

Spa Treatments For Your What Now? 

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An Application for Flavortown

Given the amount of time I spend looking at employment ads, I think I now qualify as an expert in terms of reading job descriptions. Sometimes I see one and think, “This sounds like it was written especially for me!” which I assume is what happened to the people listed below:

Job: Food Network Personality

Are you someone who could best be described as the personification of Comic Sans font in all caps lock? Do you bleach your hair on a monthly basis and like eat at dives? If so, we’re looking for YOU to host 75 percent of the shows on our network and be “the face of Food Network.”

guy

Uniform includes loud bowling shirts, massive amounts of bling and sunglasses turned backwards on your head. Must be committed to mentioning fictional Flavortown and phrases like, “Out of bounds” “Bananas!” and “Winner Winner Chicken Dinner” at least six times every episode.

Candidate: Guy Fieri

Job: Fabric Softener Mascot

Fresh-smelling, forward-thinking detergent company seeking cuddly mascot to represent our brand and soften hearts as well as the laundry.

While we could go with the traditional teddy bear, we’re looking to think outside the fabric softener sheet box for a bear with small, beady eyes and a sinister grin that says, “I can make your laundry smell fresh right after I get back from my most recent mauling” or “Your pillowcase might smell nice but be sure to sleep with one eye open.”

Candidate: The Snuggle Bear

Job: Explorer

Young Latino girl needed to fill role of bilingual “explorer” willing to forego traditional education in favor of spending her days in the woods with an anthropomorphic monkey, map and talking backpack trying to solve puzzles and riddles and find objects that are right behind her.

Must be comfortable encountering thieving foxes and grumpy old trolls while maintaining a positive attitude and traveling the world without parents. Uniform includes a T-shirt that will fit over even the most oversized football-shaped head, shorts and pristine white shoes.

Candidate: Dora

Job: TV Doctor/Talk Show Host

Do you wake up every morning and look forward to asking people about their bowel movements and telling them everything everyone is doing is wrong? Do you embrace endorsing every fad diet, supplement and dubious health claim? Then we’re looking for you to host our afternoon talk show.

A science background preferred for legal reasons, but a pseudoscience background will also be considered.  Must buy into our cult, I mean culture of belief that gluten is the cause of all world problems, everything has toxins making the world obese and green tea extract and Reiki can give cats an additional nine lives.

Candidate: Dr. Oz

Job: Doll/Reluctant Role Model

Successful applicant will be tall, blonde and in shape so that a variety of wardrobe options can be fitted accordingly and appeal to millions of girls and women worldwide.

Only applicants with more than 150 careers spanning everything from registered nurse, rock star and veterinarian to aerobics instructor, pilot and police officer will be considered. Must be prepared to be held up to unrealistic standards of being a role model based solely on looks and not education or professional history. Will be working closely with a male equivalent with a mystery profession and various sports cars who never takes off his underwear.

Candidate: Barbie

Job: Journeyman/Book Character

Seeking male to fill role as traveling book icon physically capable of carrying items like a walking stick, kettle, mallet, cup, backpack, sleeping bag, binoculars, camera, snorkel, belt, bag and shovel while hiking around the world.

Must be comfortable in large crowds and around dogs. Uniform includes red and white striped shirt, blue jeans, brown boots, black-framed glasses and a red and white bobbled hat—no exceptions or deviations allowed.

Anyone with a history of paranoia need not apply.

Candidate: Waldo

I think my work here is done. 

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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 Letter to My New Vacuum

Hey there, bagless buddy!

Welcome to the family! Before you get too comfortable in the front hallway closet, I think I should let you know what you’re getting into and just who you’re dealing with here so we start out on the same page.

For a little background, I should let you know that I’m actually pretty excited about having you here. I’m a little OCD and I have to admit that there’s an odd, slightly-sick sense of satisfaction when you’re running the vacuum and hear it actually sucking up crap from the floor.While this means there was crap on the floor, this also means that the vacuum is doing its job and the floor will be clean again.

vacuumletter

 (You know this, as you are a vacuum yourself and familiar with job satisfaction.)

Anyway, then there comes a day when you’re going about vacuuming and note that there is no sound of things being sucked up—presumably because you live in an immaculate abode and never accidentally knock a measuring cup of uncooked rice on the floor, hypothetically speaking—and blissfully continue on your cleaning journey.

But then you remember that you’re me, and that last night you knocked a measuring cup of uncooked rice on the floor. And despite your best efforts with the dustbuster, you know you were bound to miss a few grains of spilled rice because there were about a million grains of spilled rice and your rage was slightly blinding.

So you snap out of your delusional state of flawless floors and start to pay a bit of attention.

One pass over the couple stray grains and no satisfying sounds…hmmm. Maybe it’s because they’re so tiny. After the second pass without any sounds, you realize that this vacuum sucks—and not in the way it’s supposed to—and that it’s starting to smell like burned rubber.

In the blink of an eye, it’s like the vacuum is suddenly offended that you asked it to do what it was bought to do and starts sending off odorous smoke signals that roughly translate to, “Oh, you wanted ME to pick that up? Well, I never….”

If you’re me, you’ll keep trying for a couple more minutes, yelling instructions and possibly profanity at the vacuum as it passive-aggressively pushes the rice over the floor before realizing you are now the proud owner of a large noisy thing with a light on the front that in its own special way, has requested an early retirement.

That brings us back to today.

When I sufficiently recovered from the vacuum betrayal above, I set out on a mission to fill that hole in my appliance arsenal, headed to Target and returned home with you—as you know—and half a dozen other things I more than likely didn’t need.

After a quick assembly and a trial run, I’m happy to report that so far, so good. You seem more than up to the task, and I have no doubt that together we can embark on a mutually beneficial relationship of sucking crap off of the floor, from in between the couch cushions and possibly the front of my shirt.

 Don’t judge. You don’t know my life.

And while I’m happy to have you aboard, I would also like to remind you that if at any time you decide to get a bit lazy yourself, I always keep the receipt.

Abby

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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.

Letting Go

I hesitate to even write about my unemployment situation again because above everything else, I like to keep things light here. It’s a blog, not a diary.

But it’s also impossible to ignore the stress, the panic attacks and the uncertainty that I deal with every day and that some of you might relate to. Plus, people have asked, so funny next time but an update today.

lettinggo

Imagine being stuck at the bottom of a deep, dark hole with no idea how you’re going to make your way out. There are times you can see the sun up above and feel the rays on your face, but yet you are still down in that hole, surrounded by nothing but darkness on every side.

Friends and family walk by and offer heartfelt advice and encouragement, sometimes throwing a rope down to try and pull you back up. Grateful, you eagerly grab a hold of both the literal and figurative lifeline, only to find that it’s not strong enough and eventually you crash back down.

You try and remember that the next rope that gets thrown your way could be the one that saves you, but not knowing when that might be—or if it will ever show up, for that matter—makes looking up pretty hard.

It’s exhausting.

It’s disheartening.

It’s unemployment.

The thing is, I’m someone who functions best when I’m productive and creative. When I get on a roll—whether it’s just tweets, a blog post or something professionally—I feel great. I feel useful. I feel productive.

One of the biggest frustrations with unemployment—aside from not making money, of course—is that I don’t have anywhere to really focus all of that creative energy. Granted, hours of my day are often spent sending out emails, researching job boards and trying to find something new, but I’m a big fan of instant gratification. Work hard—see results.

Well, it’s been two months and yeah…not so much.

Every time I open my email or see a new posting, my heart lifts before dropping down. There have been several occasions when I was certain that I would be a perfect fit for the job, only to be greeted with a rejection, or even worse, nothing at all. 

This uncertainty is new for me.

I don’t like it.

Even though I know things could be so much worse, I’ll be honest and say there have been some pretty dark days. And as much as I appreciate the support, I find myself uncharacteristically envious of people with jobs or spouses to financially help them out, and I hate that. I find myself wondering if I’m doing something—or everything—wrong, and why just one thing can’t go my way, and I feel selfish.

I feel like I’m fighting a battle on every side. Much like a Saturday afternoon in Walmart, it’s not very attractive. It’s also not very much fun, and a pretty big creativity buzzkill.

And so this is where I add in the “hopeful” part and say there are two ways that all this can go—I can cling to how I want things to be or I can adjust to how things are now. When we cling to things—whatever those things are— we struggle. When we grasp at what we want or think we want, we suffocate it. When we identify with a list of “should,” we always fall short in the end.

So, I’m trying to let go—to some of the doubt, expectations, guilt, attachment to results and the idea that my next path needs to be a straight line.

Some days it’s really hard, but I know the next rope that gets thrown my way could be the one that saves me. Or it could conk me in the head because I was distracted by something shiny down in that hole. But for the most part, I’m more than ready to grab on.

And it starts with letting go.

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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.

Valentines I’ll Never Send

To the cliché box of assorted chocolates:

I’m have mixed feelings about you, to be honest. I’m not big on sweets to begin with, and unless there’s a map of your assortment on the lid, it’s always a gamble with you. There are really only three or four really good flavors which means that my anticipation of biting into a caramel or a chocolate cream could be met with the disappointment of sinking my teeth into the one filled with what I assume is neon pink Play-Doh.

If you so choose to continue to hide your best work, I will so choose to continue sticking a toothpick in the bottom of each piece to try and determine the flavor. All’s fair in love and chocolate.

To people who don’t say thank you when I hold the door open for them:

I will yell “You’re welcome!” as loud as I can because it’s important to lead by example. At least give a courtesy head nod. It’s really not that hard. I only bring this up because it could be an indication or a repeated behavior—not thanking people for letting you merge, walking by when people bless you after you sneeze, or as we’re talking about today, relationships.

 valentines

In other words, I’m a helper. YOU’RE WELCOME.

To the person who invented lasagna, pizza and basically any Italian food:

I hope at some point a very important person sat you down and told you, “You are a great human being.” True, I’ve been scorned by a lover a time or two by eating it too soon and burning the roof of my mouth, but love hurts. However, I can’t hold both a grudge and my fork, so today–I salute you.

To employment:

Okay. I know we’ve been taking a break, but I’m totally ready to hook back up again. I don’t want it to be boring, unhealthy and mundane like it was before, but I also don’t need fireworks every night. Something steady, something dependable, something that challenges me and uses my skills in a creative and constructive way. You have my number, so please, feel free to use it.

To the guy at the Dollar Store buying a felt rose, condoms and potted meat:

I’m not sure if I should be disgusted at this unique combination of purchases or admire you for your effort and optimism. The fake rose is admirable, but if you are in fact planning for a romantic evening with someone other than yourself—as your purchase of condoms instead of lotion and Kleenex would suggest—the addition of potted meat is quite troubling.

Putting aside the fact I only eat plants and would rather eat the metal pot than the “meat” your potted meat contains, the Dollar Store does offer a variety of other edible creations that might help to set a more “romantic” mood—canned oysters (aphrodisiac!) crackers or even a cupcake mix (chocolate!) might be a better solution.

And condoms from the Dollar Store? Remember that you get what you pay for, and take note of the woman behind me the other day who filled her cart with at-home pregnancy tests, ovulation kits and Cheetos. Sometimes you should spring for the upgraded model, my friend.

 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.