Tag Archives: video

How are you?

I’m pretty sure that I could win the lottery, discover the cure for human stupidity, star in a Broadway show and get married—all equally unlikely—and when asked this question, I would reply with, “I’m okay. How are you?”

It’s a reflexive action, kind of like the way I want to slip a right jab to the noggin of people who say “could care less” instead of “couldn’t care less.”

The truth is that yes, sometimes I am fine. Then again, sometimes I’m not. And when you ask me how I am, I have a hard time believing you really want to know. But since this is my blog and I am queen of the land, I will tell you.

I am secure enough to admit I am sometimes insecure.

This isn’t something I normally broadcast to the fives of tens of people who flock to this blog or that I run into on a daily basis, but whenever someone says, “You know who you are,” I always wonder if it’s me and I don’t realize it.

Insecurity is annoying.

But I don’t take compliments well and often have a hard time accepting that people might genuinely be interested in what I have to say or do and not just because they expect something in return. I realize this suspicion is often unwarranted, but past experience has shown me that I shouldn’t rule it out.

So I’m guarded, and many of the decisions I make are often second-guessed. In fact, I will see that second-guessing and raise you a third and fourth guessing, and then a couple days of obsessing over something seemingly minute.

Taking interest in others without expectation? No problem.

Accepting others can take an interest in me without expectation? Problem.

But I have a theory.

The more blogs I read or conversations I have with people, the more I see something in the people I am attracted to that keeps me coming back—a  rawness, perhaps?

My theory is that they’ve gone through “something,” whatever that is, and have a self-awareness that produces something genuine, something that pushes things past a superficial level—online or off.

I don’t share 99 percent of the things I think or write (you’re welcome) and I have to imagine that’s the case with others (so thank you.) But when we make ourselves vulnerable and share it? It produces some good shit, and most often, a genuine connection.

Because I can see that in them, I’m slowly allowing myself to believe that the people around me can see that in me, that they like me for me and not because they feel obligated or expect something in return.

Considering you interact with me under your own power—unless one of the henchmen I sent to your house to sit on you and force you to talk to me or read my posts is actually doing his job (good help is SO hard to find)—I’ll try and drop that insecurity.

After all, no matter what you say or do, someone will find a fault or a reason to be offended. And while I try and keep things light, that doesn’t mean I shouldn’t express myself and hide behind that veil of doubt that creeps in from time to time.

So how am I?

I’m secure enough to say that I am sometimes insecure—especially when I post things like this—and I’m a constant work in progress.

I’m okay with that.

Thanks for asking.

This post is in response to this week’s Studio30 Plus prompt:

The Big Question

P.S.  I updated the “Book” tab on the blog to include a clip of me on a morning talk show in case you want to check that out. Or, you know, you want to buy the book.

The Wizard of Words

“Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain.”

oz

I love “The Wizard of Oz,” and that’s a classic scene when Toto opens a curtain, revealing the Wizard to be an ordinary man operating a bunch of wheels and levers while speaking into a microphone.

The Wizard wanted to seem more powerful than he was. When exposed, he took to explaining to Dorothy and the crew that they already possessed what they had been seeking all along.

Earlier a bunch of midgets came out singing, a “good” witch wearing a dress that would get her roasted on “Fashion Police” appeared in a floating bubble and there were armies of flying monkeys.

Now that I think about it, what the hell is going on in this movie?

Anyway, that particular phrase—“pay no attention to the man behind the curtain”—is one that I sometimes draw a parallel to with blogging. Why? There are a lot of bloggers I respect and see as “powerful,” but I have no clue what they look like. They don’t post pictures, and unless I’m friends with them on Facebook, I only know them through their words.

I also listen to a lot of sports talk radio, and it can be weird to see what the hosts look life in real life. And when I do—regardless of what they look like—it pulls back the curtain on the image I have somehow created of them already stuck in my head.

This isn’t necessarily a bad thing—it’s great to put a face with a name and the talent—but I have to admit that I think it does initially change my perception of them and the things that say or they write.

I personally don’t post pictures because I really don’t have any—by choice.

You won’t find me snapping shots of myself in the bathroom mirror or in the driver’s seat of my car. There are a few pictures on Facebook, but they’re usually a couple of years old. I’m much more confident in my words than my looks.

As a blogger, part of me doesn’t want to ruin any image you might have of me in your head, even if that image’s skewed. Yes, that’s me in the blog header and I’ll occasionally put up a picture now and then, but I suppose I prefer you to “pay no attention to the woman behind the blog,” so to speak.

Because as odd as it is, I guess I do kind of skew my perception of certain people when I see what they look like.

This isn’t a bad thing, and as soon as the initial, “Hey! That’s XX!” passes, I’m right back to where I was in the beginning. I like being able to see people outside of the radio or the blog or whatever context their voice has attracted me to, but I don’t have to in order to enjoy them.

I also think it’s a great testament to what attracts us to certain people and mediums —blogs, radio, etc.—in that we’re hooked by the attractive words and not necessary just an attractive image.  

When the curtain’s pulled back—when the veil of transparency is lifted up—it doesn’t change what I’ve already come to admire and enjoy.

But just in case you do want to create some image of me based loosely on the pictures I’ve shared in the past, please feel free to give this image of me ample boobs and a smaller nose.

The Wizard really dropped the ball on that one.

Actually, I was on TV Saturday morning. Although I hesitate to share what I look and sound like for all the reason above, here’s the link.

I talk with my hands. Don’t judge.

Does knowing what someone looks like change your perception of them?

Uncle June Dreams the Dream

For purposes of this post, I’m going to request that you pronounce the word “theatre” as “THE-a-tah” so that we can sound fancy and class.

Let’s sip our tea with our pinkies in the air and begin.

Christmas morning will be lame in the gift department this year, as I’ve pretty much given my mom her gifts already. Along with the book, I bought us tickets to see Les Miserables last week—our absolute favorite show of all time.

lesmiz1

(If you’ll remember, I’ve had the songs memorized since I was a mini-Lovely Lady.)

So last week we geared up to go see the show, and I’ll tell you right now that it was phenomenal. There really are no words. We’ve both seen it a couple times before, but this production was amazing. That’s the end of my review, as this post is not about the show itself. 

Plus, you know, there are no words.

While I was excited to go, I was also slightly dreading it for a couple of reasons. One being the fact it was a weeknight and interrupting my normal routine in which I do nothing of significant importance except maybe work out, possibly write some drivel, run errands and bond with my couch before going to bed at 10 so I can get up at 5. 

In other words, OCD.

But the main reason was that it’s a THREE HOUR show. 

Three hours, people! I can sit for about 1 1/2 in one spot without having to get up and move, so three hours in the cramped quarters of the theatre (pronunciation!) was a task comparable to breaking through the barricades myself.

However, ‘tis the season for sacrifice and culture—and using the word “tis”—so I anxiously went, sat and thoroughly enjoyed my experience, an experience that almost didn’t happen due to my mom’s insistence on the addition of one thing—Uncle June.

june

It’s an old picture, but you get the idea. 

It started with a text message from my mom about how she had nothing to wear. I had no sympathy, seeing as she still has a gift card to Kohl’s — we know how that went. The text came while I was eating, something she knows is strike one (do not interrupt my meals), but I know she was excited so this behavior was excused.

I texted her back about how no one cares what we wear to the theatre (pronunciation!), that I was eating and that I would see her in 30 minutes. Approximately 2.3 seconds later I heard the “ting” of my phone once again and this text exchange began:

Mom: Uncle June wants to go to the show! Bring Uncle June so he can “Hear the People Sing!”

Me: Ha! (Thinking she was kidding and trying to be polite, seeing as I was eating. See rule above.)

Mom: No, I’m serious. Bring Uncle June. I want to take his picture at the show.

Me, realizing she was entering crazy mode: Mom, I’m not bringing a pocket gnome to the theatre. Or my camera, since they’re not allowed. I’ll see you in a bit.

Mom: If he doesn’t go, I’m not going. I’m not kidding either. Bring Uncle June.

Me, realizing she was progressing into stubborn bitch mode, and leaning that way myself: No gnome. Zip it. I’ll see you in a bit.

Then my phone rang, the sound of which filled every cell of my being with the urge to fling the damn phone out into my backyard, a yard several small woodland creatures are currently “occupying” with small picket signs in a show of solidarity again my bird seed of choice.

The details of said phone conversation are not important, as she hung up on me. So I called again, and to avoid another tantrum I relented and told her Uncle June could go if she would a) shut up about it b) take responsibility for him and c) promise to be on her best behavior.

Summary: I am a 30 year old woman who had to bribe her mom with a gnome.

So we  left, her bouncing in the passenger’s seat with excitement, gnome securely placed in her purse. All was going well until I went to use the bathroom before they started seating, leaving my mom in the crowded lobby.

Upon my return I found her propping Uncle June up on a lobby chair, artfully arranging him with the program and ticket stub for his impromptu photo shoot. She had no camera, but she had her phone, a phone that doesn’t have Internet to transfer the photo for others to see.

But she also had a group of elderly patrons gathered around watching this woman take a picture of a gnome with the camera on her phone.

junelesmis

This was taken at home, not at the theatre.

Like I said, there are no words.

This post was partly based of the Studio 30 Plus prompt this week:

The Gift

It was also partly based on the fact that I took my mom to Les Miserables as part of her Christmas gift and she refused to go unless I brought a gnome—mostly that.

Speaking of gifts: Buy the Book. Save a Kitten.

Merry Muting

I understand that commercials are a necessary part of TV programming, but I have to think my grandma had it right when I was younger, as she would mute the TV every time a commercial came on.

She would often get distracted and forget to unmute which meant I never found out the first Jeopardy answer after commercial break, but creating those three or so minutes of silence makes much more sense now that I’m older.

Don’t get me wrong in that there are a lot of good commercials out there—I have been and always will be in love with the Slowskys—but the majority of ads that run are horribly annoying.

Now I don’t know if I’m just getting old and Scroogey, but this year it seems the holiday commercials are the worst.

Exhibit A—the Target Woman.

crazy-ladyjpg-98ce6b1a31832762

I tweeted a couple weeks ago how I wouldn’t be sad if this Amy Sedaris lookalike who screeches and pulls a variety of rubber faces as she gets in shape for Target’s doorbuster sales was hit by a bus. Although the sentiment might have seemed harsh at the time, I feel it’s fitting after having been exposed to her for the past two weeks.

I’m sure she’s a nice person, but her character is insane and she makes me slightly stabby, as did the Kohls Rebecca Black-ish version of their Black Friday jingle.  While I’m sure creating conversation was the point—well played Tar-jay—visions of violence dance through my head when exposed to her antics.

Exhibit B—Jewelry ads

Cue cheesy background music and a setting that involves a fireplace and gently falling snow, with two people casually huddled around the tree with hot cocoa as he pulls out a small box to surprise her with a rock of some sort.

kay21

They kiss, hopefully enticing the viewer into going out and making an expensive purchase to complete their own holiday scene. 

Blech.

What they don’t show you is that later he poses under the mistletoe wearing nothing but a well-placed Santa hat, thinking that small little box with the bow has earned him  at least a few nights of appreciation. She will be too busy putting a picture of the ring on Facebook to show off to her friends to notice him—or care when she does—meaning the ornaments on the tree won’t be the only blue balls in the room.

Exhibit C—Car Commercials

Now let me ask you this. How many people do you know that received a Lexus giftwrapped with a giant bow out in their driveway on Christmas morning? If you answered more than zero, I will feel like I hardly know you anymore.

LEXUS-LS-460bow

Between the the Lexus December to Remember campaign and Honda’s “Holiday oh-ah Holiday” ads, it makes me want to run people over with my Blazer (complete with new fuel pump, Merry Christmas to me.)

 

And while I have no solid evidence, I swear that commercials for dating sites ramp it up for the holidays. It’s like they want to either a) remind you that you’re alone and no one will ever leave you a Lexus outside or b) prepare you emotionally for the relatives who will soon remind you that you’re alone and no one will ever leave you a Lexus outside. 

‘Tis the season for Merry Muting.

I don’t want to seem like a total commercial Grinch, so I’ll leave you with the Best of the Slowskys. It’s not holiday commercial related, but darn it, it’s a commercial and I love them.

 

Is there a particular holiday commercial you love or you hate?

Need a gift that gives back? Buy the Book. Save a Kitten.

Vive la France!

There’s just a certain, je ne sais quoi about the melodic sing-song nature of the  French language.

french

Let me rephrase that.

There’s just a certain, je ne sais quoi about the melodic sing-song nature of the  French language when spoken by someone who can actually speak the French language.

When you’re in high school and studying French as a graduation requirement, the cadence of dialogue resembles a choppy staccato more than a flowing  ballad. The words don’t exactly ebb and flow in intensity with each inflection, rolling off the tongue like butter from the croissant that students are struggling to remember the gender of as they reenact an awkward café scene in front of their overly enthusiastic French teacher.

For my high school teacher, to teach our class was to teach us about a life she was meant to be living 3,000 miles away.

Madame was convinced she was born in France and not in Michigan, and to prove that she immersed herself in the culture of a country she had visited just twice.  This love extended to not just her professional life, but also to a mullet, unshaved legs and children who could speak better French than half of Paris. 

As high schoolers, our first goal was to learn the curse words, how to ask for the bathroom and how to proposition complete strangers to sleep with us. Our second goal was to convince Madame to throw French “rendezvous” with snacks and “French” movies.

babar2

Considering her children had the complete collections of both Babar and Madeline and that she took our desire for food as a desire to experience the culture hands-on, we had an alarming number of that more resembled a two-year-old’s birthday party.

The conversation was only marginally more advanced.

We were forced to endure workbook after workbook of conjugation and verbs, describe our mood and the weather with alarming frequency and take an unnatural interest in the lives of manically happy strangers talking on videos and tapes about how where they were going in their blue car on various days of the week.

While I got to the point in my studies where I could read and understand a great deal of French, my spoken attempts remained choppy at best.

Madame, who eventually refused to speak English after two years, would speak to us as if in song. The ebb and flow in intensity with each inflection lulled me into a false sense of security that the same thing would happen when I opened my mouth and attempted to reply.

Yet when I set out to join her in a duet of dialogue, the words seemed to stick in my throat. More cacophonic than melodic, I struggled in vain to tell her that I was going to the bibliotheque on my bike on Tuesday and that I was happy about the weather.

“Viola! Can I can write it down instead?

How about another Babar party?

I’ll bring the crepes.”

At any rate, I recently ran into Madame at the store. Twelve years later she was still rocking the mullet and still refused to speak English, but we did have a brief and friendly conversation.

I believe I either told her I was fine or that I was a car.

She appeared pleased and either told me it was great to see me again or that I was still —how do you say it in English?—a pathetic monolingual loser with no rhetorical rhythm. 

Either way, je m’appelle Abby.

Ou sont les toilettes?

Click the link to watch it on YouTube.

 

This post was in response to this week’s RemembeRED prompt:

Write about a time that rhythm, or a lack thereof, played a role in your life. And don’t use the word “rhythm.”

A Good Nine Lives

Wendell, my Fuzzy Little Soul Sister, reached the end of all nine of her lives this week.

She was 16,  but I’m still sad.

However, this isn’t a sad post—I promise. When it comes to death, I think a little bit differently than most people. I can usually frame it in a “circle of life” type of way. It’s inevitable, and instead of fight it or fear it, I tend to accept it.

But I’m still sad.

Anyway, Wendell the One-Toothed Wonder Cat’s situation just called to mind memories of pets gone by and some interesting circumstances surrounding their departure.

Keep in mind the fact that my mom is Dr. Doolittle and it’s normal for us to spend two hours coaxing a chipmunk out of a drainage pipe in 90 degree heat (he made it out safe, if not a bit dazed and confused), chasing a loose goat through briar patches (I made it out safe, if not a bit dazed and confused) or picking up stray dogs on the way to job interviews (I got nothing for this one—so much for symmetry).

We’ve had tons of animals throughout the years, but these are just a few examples.

I will keep the stories short and sweet, unlike that disclaimer.

  • First there was Mitten, aka “Bun,” my rabbit when I was in preschool. The creativity for his name was inspired by the fact that he was a bunny with a white mittened foot. “Bun” met an untimely death at the hands of a homicidal cage cleaner—aka “dad”— that “accidently” used harmful chemicals to clean. I was at a friend’s house and by the time I got home, the body was already stiff. Determined to bury him in our backyard pet cemetery, holes were cut in a shoebox so his legs could stick out. I think we get points for creativity there.
  • In kindergarten, I received the best dog in the world and named him Cromwell (obviously more sophisticated than Mitten.) I don’t have a picture of him because I have no scanner, but he was a peak-a-poo and the cutest, most loving thing ever. There was an incident and he had a little crooked nose, but he was awesome. He lived to be about 3,000 in dog years, and when he passed away we had him cremated. He came back in something the size of a business card. I’ve seen more ashes on a sidewalk outside Starbucks.
  • Gonzo, a beautiful cockatiel, joined the family a couple of years later and lived to be about 3,000 in bird years. As I’ve mentioned, the little feathered bastard choose to pass away while I was on my first business trip ever (New York) a few years ago. My mom had to keep him in the freezer until I could come home and we could have a proper burial. It was very traumatic for all three of us (especially Gonzo.)
  • Speaking of the freezer, I also had to freeze a dead fish for some people I was housesitting for. That was awkward.

There are many more stories I could share—a cat getting it’s head caught in the rails of our dining room chair and me having to butter it to get it out (not unlike my mom buttering my own head when I was little and got my head caught in the rails of the stairway) or an accidental archeological find while planting flowers in the pet garden, for example—but I’ll leave you with just one more.

  • I would often dog sit for some people down the street. (Don’t worry—there is no freezer involved in this story.) They have a big dog and a little mutt that is about 3,000 years old in dog years—Burrie. When I was first introduced to the dogs, I was told that Burrie squatted when he peed instead of lifting his leg. That’s not that weird in and of itself, but the reason he squats is because he doesn’t have a penis. Apparently he was hit by a car when he was little and it was ripped off, never to be seen again. He was taken to the shelter and was going to be put down, but this family paid for his surgery and adopted him. I was told by the husband that if his penis ever gets ripped off, he just wants to be put down.

At any rate, Wendell will be missed.

She was buried in the garden cemetery among the many animal companions we’ve loved and lost throughout the years.  We’re all sad, but I can’t wait for the flowers in that garden to bloom—especially the catnip.

Plus, it helps to remember that things could always be worse…

(But I’m still sad.)

Assuming their heads aren’t falling off, do you have a pet story to share? Mishaps? Cool tricks? Great name?

Potty Mouth

Alternate title: To pee or not to pee, that is the question…

I was in a clothing store the other day when a mother and her offspring came into the dressing room. Her little angel was shoved into the stall with the instruction to “be a big girl and come out with that dress on.” A minute later the “big girl” replied with, “Do they have toilet paper in here?”

I’m not kidding, and I’m also still not remotely interested in shopping or other people’s children.

Anyway, the mom freaked out and averted crisis, leaving me with her “Didn’t I ask you if you had to go before we left?” and the idea for this blog post. You can thank the incontinent angel.

Thanks to early (undiagnosed) onset of OCD, my mom never had to worry about asking me if I had to go to the bathroom before we went anywhere. It was—and still is—one of my compulsions.

pee

Now let me explain.

Although I do have a bladder the size of a Fruit Loop and drink tons of water, it’s much more mental. If I’m going to be going somewhere or doing anything, I have to go to the bathroom first. Physically I might not have the urge, but I’m worried that I’ll have to go when I won’t be able to. Thus, I take preventative measures.

Going to bed? Go to the bathroom.

Going for a walk? Go to the bathroom.

Headed to a meeting? Go to the bathroom.

Ready to eat? Go to the bathroom.

While it’s normal to attend to basic human functions, I realized early on that I had a slightly dysfunctional take on the peeing situation.

When I was little, my mom would tuck me in, I would say the same exact prayer in the same exact way and place (another OCD thing, as I still say that prayer even though half the people and pets in it are dead now and I’m not religious) and it would be assumed that I was fast asleep.

However, I was paranoid and would compulsively get up and pee after going to bed. It got to the point where I would be sneaking out of my room and going 10-15 times, quietly trying to shut my door so that my parents didn’t hear me get up. Sometimes it worked, but other times the damn click of the doorknob alerted them to my covert urinary operations.

We discussed this issue and to be honest, I don’t remember how we scaled it down from 20 times a night to one or two. Maybe I got lazy or bed restraints were involved. Either way, it eventually diminished and morphed into some other dysfunction over time.

But I still have a bathroom thing.

Plane trips and movies freak me out, as I’m never sure if I’ll have immediate access if needed. I still plan long walks and activities on whether or not a bathroom will be nearby. It’s not that I don’t trust my strong and youthful bladder, but it’s just one of those things I need for reassurance, one of my neurotic quirks (I prefer that term to compulsions, thank you very much.)

I do remember the first time I tried to “hover” though.

My mom was quick to school me in anti-public restroom behavior, and we were shopping somewhere I can’t recall (but I can assure it it wasn’t in a dressing room.) I remember I was wearing this denim shirt and dress combo; the skirt had three ruffle things, all a different color. Don’t ask why I remember this, but I do.

Anyway, I pissed all over my skirt.

Hover fail.

Thankfully I’ve perfected the maneuver since then, but there are occasional incidents when I realize I peed on my hand when wiping without any idea how.

Now I’m just oversharing and embarrassing myself.

Let’s blame it on shopping and children.

If you’ve made it through this post, you deserve something special, so I present to you a baby raccoon taking a bath. It’s completely unrelated, but I just wrote about peeing and it’s cute. Hopefully that balances out.

Enjoy.