What's Your Brave?

 

Let's talk about Being Brave.

Not with a sword, but with our voices. Maybe we use a pen. Maybe we click, clack away on a keyboard, looking up only every now and then at the words born onto the white screen before us. Maybe we are Brave with our voices or a maybe it's with a paintbrush.

We are Brave when we share our truth with others. We are Braver Still when we know we are not alone.

Jenn Marshall calls it Finding Our Brave. I call it Writing Without a Filter. Whatever you call it, the premise is the same, whether we write about our personal struggles with bipolar or eating disorders or sexuality, we are brave when we share that which others can connect with and know they are not alone.

What's my Brave?

I'll be honest. I'm only halfway home when it comes to fully embracing it. But that's the beauty of Being Brave. For each of us, Bravery means different things and we are each defining the term for ourselves every time we sit down to share a new Something Personal about ourselves.

Me? I'm a life-long recovering bulimic with compulsive eating tendencies. I'm ADHD and sometimes will do circus tricks if you give me coffee when my brain is moving faster than my medication can work. I have anxiety issues that tend to spike when my ADHD is in high gear and suffer from dermitillomania. That last one is a fancy word for the OCD scab-picking condition I didn't know wasn't just a stupid habit I couldn't break until last year. I've suffered from depression, attempted suicide, and founded a website to help myself while helping others learn that nurturing our self-worth and self-image is the key to recovery for many of the demons we deal with daily.

Am I fixed? Hell no. Am I on my way? Today I am. I'll let you know about tomorrow when it gets here.

How do I manage to Be Brave and share these words with the world? Because I have to. Because I want to. Because I need to.

Because I had to find my Own Brave on my journey and wish I could have known people like Jennifer Marshall when I was looking for someone else to Be Brave with me. I just wanted someone to relate to.

Maybe that's why the This is My Brave kickstarter project has hit home with me. I've backed the project and I'm here to support it and yes, I'm asking you to support it, too. Jenn and her team have already surpassed their original goal of $6,500 for the live This is My Brave show and have gone for a stretch goal of $10,000. Every little bit helps. Every little bit matters.

We need each other to make This is My Brave a reality. Together, we can be Braver, and isn't that the point?

 

Housekeeping! (A List in Accented English)

* Yes, I did in fact say that in my head with an exaggerated Spanish-accented English voice. * Because I can.

* If you don't laugh, you're actually hurting my feelings.

* Things are insane.

* Hence, the list.

* Turns out you guys are all Made of Awesome.

* Why, you ask?

* Because 418 of you signed my Change.org petition to get Disney to drop the sex kitten crap with Merida.

* It's too late.

* Maybe.

* She's been crowned & the new image is available on a variety of Crap We'll Buy Our Kids Because We're Giant Suckers.

* And because even if she's been sexed up, the movie is still amazing.

* Oh right.

* Because if we tell our children it's the message that matters and not the size of her waistline, we done good.

* We have no choice, really, since Disney contradicted the very message behind Brave with this whole debacle.

* You know, the one about family, independence, and finding the strength to find out own fates within us?

* Yeah, that one.

* The happy asides?

* A Mighty Girl has a petition with over 18,000 signatures.

* Brave's director is a bit pissed off about the animated plastic surgery job, too.

* So high five on that, y'all.

* New subject.

* Keep up with me, will you?

* I've got an updated version of my Mind Over Medicine review on Girl Body Pride.

* You'll want to stop by.

* Gigi Ross from Kludgey Mom needs some love.

* And Lissa Rankin has written a book I promise you'll want to read.

* Trust me on this one.

* Also? I've got a winner for the Aspiring Mama giveaway of Mind Over Medicine.

* Tanessa Knoll? Buttercup just said Comment Number Two is my winner.

* So ... you're welcome.

* Email me your address, will ya?

* Twitter works, too.

* New subject.

* Yes.

* AGAIN.

* Buttercup is about to follow in Mama's footsteps.

* Little girl has been granted permission by The Mama (me) & The Daddy (The Husband) for a pretty cool gig.

* Girlfriend is going to be a regular contributor to Holly Fulger's Speaking of Beauty blogging team.

* Which also happens to include me.

* I know, right?

* The girl can read at a fourth grade level but has the typing skills of a 5-year-old.

* Probably because she is five.

* So I can't knock her for that.

* Instead, I'll be transcribing my baby's words and views on what beauty means to her.

* I promise not to edit what she says.

* I hope like hell I've done right by her and taught her that beauty is everywhere.

* That the only size that matters when it comes to beauty is the size of our hearts.

* And that society is full of assholes who will try & knock her down a peg or two but that they don't matter.

* I'll know I've succeeded in about 10 years.

* If the child is self-assured enough to wear this when she's 15 because it makes her happy without giving a damn what you think?

 

* I win at motherhood.

* Whiplash warning.

* New subject.

* I really need to take my Xanax.

* That wasn't the subject change.

* Just proof that I need the fucking Xanax.

* This is the subject change...

* Dammit.

* I forgot.

* No, wait.

* GOT IT!

* Girl Body Pride has new team members!

* Congrats to Heidi Zalamar and Margaret Elysia Garcia.

* You guys kick major ass.

* I promise to add your bios to the writer page sometime before 2014 hits.

* Was that all?

* No, seriously.

* I was asking you if I needed to cover anything else before I chase that Xanax with an instant espresso.

* Shut up.

* It works for me.

* Last subject.

* I'm still sitting in a secret.

* And it's a Big One.

* Oh...

* And The Husband just warned me to be on the lookout for the family of moose in the area when I let the dogs out.

* Drops Mic & Saunters Offstage.

 

Catching in the Rye; The Spanglish Edition

If The Catcher in the Rye had a sequel based on a Spanglish-speaking Mexican-American homeschooling, allergic to everything, eating-disordered writer mama of one, I'd be a happy girl. Because then, at least, I could just hand people a copy of the book when they ask how I'm doing.

'Fine?" That's usually a lie.

"My cat just got ran over, thanks for asking," could possibly be the truth, but when people ask other people how they are doing, no one really expects an honest answer if honesty means replying with anything other than "fine." Except  I don't have a cat. I do have three dogs, though. And a kid. And two websites and an agent and a manuscript sitting in a file because I don't have a platform big enough to stand on and wonder if I ever will.

This isn't a Poor Me post. Don't get your violins out, folks. This is a Truth post; one in which I step out behind the bullshit and tell you that fine is a lie and that I miss my nonexistent cat because I am, in short, a fraud. Not the Push Up Bra and Spanx Coming Off On the Third Date kind of fraud, mind you, but the Holden Caulfield kind in which I find myself standing in the middle of the high school cafeteria, holding my lunch tray, not sure where to sit because I have no idea where I really belong.

I preach Body and Pride on Girl Body Pride. I say thing like Love Yourself As You Are NOW and Our Daughters are Counting on Us to Get (and Keep) Our Shit Together. And I mean them...for you. I want to mean them for me, too, and I figured that if I shouted it long enough and often enough from my soapbox that I'd start to buy my own bullshit, but that hasn't happened yet.

That, my friends, pisses me off.

I want to connect and inspire and feel validated for what I say and what I do and what I am hoping to become and I see so many others doing exactly that while I sit back and cheer them on, not sure what I'm doing wrong to keep missing the boat or if the boat's going to bother coming back to the dock again to give me another chance. I want to speak to women on the same journey and let them know it's okay to be where we are right now as long as we keep trying because that's what matters. I want to organize inspiring workshops and a regular conference for women to focus on fixing the mess inside of our own heads because our kids aren't going to believe in their own self worth if they constantly see us tear ourselves down.

It's the old airplane analogy: No point in passing out from oxygen deprivation while trying to get our kid's mask on first if the cabin depressurizes. The only way we can truly be effective role models is if we fight every maternal instinct and put ourselves first for fucking once. Once our heads are clearing from the oxygen-deprived fog can we be there to ensure our children are breathing, safe, and secure in the knowledge that Mommy has her shit together.

Maybe, I think, the boat is on to me. The boat knows I'm a fraud and frauds are not allowed on board. Only passengers who are truly at ease in their own skin who don't look for and rely on approval and validation outside of themselves are allowed on this boat. I'm not there yet. I used to be. I will be again. But right here, right now, I'm a self-destructive mess who's best bet it is to just let it all hang out because it's the truth and it needs to be said.

I don't have The Answers. I'm not standing at the Finish Line waving the Official Flag of Self-Acceptance because I haven't run my own race yet. What I do have is a burning desire to share the crazy idea that it's okay to be a fucking mess. It's okay to have bad days and worse days and throw a party on the good days because they are so very worthy of celebrating. It's okay to not love yourself (but you want to) yet and it's okay to talk about the bad in public because if we don't then no one else will and everyone will just continue to assume that "Fine" is the only acceptable answer to be given when they ask how we're doing and that's really just a giant disservice for those of us who need to know it's okay to celebrate The Journey because The Destination is just a little too far away right now.

I'm not fine. In fact, I'm a royal fucking mess. My ADHD and anxiety are triggering my five-year-old's anxiety into fodder for her therapy appointments which happens to fall under the Mexicans Don't Talk About That Sort of Thing category because it's uncomfortable and much easier to sweep under the rug with the rest of our emotional baggage along with the whispers about how pregnant the bride really was at the last wedding we went to while we collectively pretended to believe she wasn't because it matters even though it really shouldn't. It's why I told The Husband I wanted yellow gold when he asked what kind of ring I would like when he was fishing for engagement ring hints because that's what my family wore. It took me ten years to admit I hated yellow gold and really wanted platinum because that shit doesn't work for me anymore.

Away with the rug. Let the dirt fly. And when the dust settles, I'll still be standing here holding my lunch tray because I'm not sure where to sit because no matter where I choose, I feel like everyone else will judge me for my choice even though none of that should matter. But it does.

And I hate that.

I most decidedly do NOT have my shit together. You need to know that. It's okay to be a royal fucking mess. You need to know that, too.  I miss my imaginary cat and I have very real cellulite and I have a sweet tooth and a closet eating habit. I make sad things funny and funny things funnier because that's how I deal. I'm avoiding my therapist and not sleeping much.

All of this is today's truth.

Now tell me...

How are you doing?

Moving to Maine in November and other Cosmic Jokes

Funny story: I wrote the post you are about to read over a week ago with the intention of hitting publish once the BFF tweaked out of the typos. Then we got crazy news while unpacking from our move and then I got so sick I ended up taking nap on the bathroom floor while the shower ran because the floor seemed safer at the time. Eventually, I made it to bed. And I stayed there with a 102 temp and a double ear and sinus infection.

When I awoke from my Nyquild-induced haze two days later, I first saw this...

 

and then had to deal with a cabin-fevered child who drove me crazy enough to ask the world why I was allowed to live in the first place. Now I'm behind work by three months because those three days I was out of commission were that important. So basically, the next time The Husband sneezes and cries that he needs a nap, I'm going to go all Rapunzel on his ass and smack him upside the head with a frying pan. And that, my friends, concludes the prologue to today's post.

 

So obviously, we've got some changes going on up in here. I'm busy, so here's the list version:

* There's that whole moving to Maine in November thing, which is going to be a funny story later, maybe.

* I'm relieved that my daughter and I will be as far away from Mesquite as possible.

* Because we're allergic to the southern border.

* I'm also job hunting for the BFF so I can pack her up and bring her with me because I'm 34 and have been here for four years and she is the first real and true best friend I have ever had in my whole entire life.

* (Edited and less sappy version) I'm job hunting for the BFF so I can take her with me because she's one of the very few individuals on this planet who doesn't piss me off in person.

* Baby clothes are being sold and I'm hoping enough cash comes in to get the Yukon from Tucson to that border with the snow Buttercup can't stop talking about.

* Which means I'm either making The Husband get something snipped just to make sure karma doesn't bite me in the ovaries later, or I'll end up knocked up and pissed off that my body decided to work after I sold off the baby goods.

* My mother-in-law is pricing tickets and will be flying in from Detroit sometime soon. Maybe tomorrow. Considering we could be on the road in less than three weeks, I will remind my anti-social self that her help will be greatly appreciated while I try and pack and write and prep posts for schedule publication dates so Girl Body Pride stays on schedule while we're on the road.

* As soon as I figure out the hell that is Smashwords, I'll be scheduling a blog tour for Strong Like Butterfly: a Girl Body Pride Anthology and reveling in the fact that women writers I admire like Elan Morgan, Carol Cain, Leslie Marinelli, Lissa Rankin, and Therese Walsh have allowed me the chance to share their words with you.

* I'm getting all business-like with the LLC and dropping the Aspiring Mama (but keeping this blog because it's my private-public writing place and I need it to keep me sane).

* Partnerships will be announced with Berkey Designs benefiting NEDA and if things go the way I am planning, another will be announced to benefit another cause I believe in.

* I've given up waiting to be discovered and after re-reading Ariel Gore's How To Become a Famous Writer Before You're Dead for the third time, have finally decided to take matters into my own hands. My Girl Body Pride Posse and I will be getting creative in our efforts to bring our message to our audience because the Viral Fairy keeps passing us up. That's cool. She's bringing attention to some pretty snazzy people sharing the same message, so keep on keeping on, sister.

* After the business papers have been filed and the business bank account opened, I'll be offering social media coaching services and e-courses for writers and for newbies to the social media world, as well as writing a e-book and offering coaching for writers on time management. Yes. It's funny because I'm the one not medicated enough for the level of ADHD I actually am, but it seems other writers think I know what I'm doing. I have been asked to do something like this more than once by writers I respect, so I'll give it a shot.

Wanna get a peek at the first draft? Here goes: Don't take your ADHD meds and sleep is for the weak.

Oh, and don't forget the Breaking Down the Walls e-course I've been asked by a few to get started. Seeing as how every one of us trying to make a name for ourselves has to first figure out how much of ourselves we are willing to put out there and People I Admire are of the opinion I can shed some light on this subject, I'll give that a go, too.  Because until you are okay with Other People reading your shit, it's not a manuscript, it's a journal.

* I withdrew my name from consideration for the Listen To Your Mother Show for 2013, considering that come Mother's Day, I'll be watching snow melt and flowers grow from the front porch in our new house in a state that will look good in a writer's bio.

* 2014 belongs to me, bitches.

An Ode to My ADHD

I'm tweaking out, people. My head feels like it's in a vice and if I was still smoking, I'd tell you that I really needed a cigarette break right now. But since I've replaced the need for nicotine with a prescription for pharmaceutical grade speed, I'll be honest and tell you that I only took one of my two pills today and I am pretty sure the fact that I'm counting the minutes until 8 a.m. tomorrow when I take my next dose means I'm probably about two steps removed from a twelve step program and a sponsor. I didn't forget it. I didn't take it on purpose. The doctor tells me that skipping doses when I don't have to do anything important will keep my body guessing, thereby making the dose I am on work longer before it has to be adjusted and I start responding to Mama, I'm hungry with Not now, sweetie. Mommy hasn't taken her speed yet.

All of that was a really long-winded way of saying that the rest of this post will be a series of randomly connected thoughts because my brain is having a party right now and the music is too loud for me to concentrate. Also? Who wants coffee? Or can I down this whole pot I just made?

Random thought #1 - 

I'm writing this at 5:50 p.m. on Sunday evening. The Husband has been at work for three hours now and I didn't put a bra until I showered after he drove off for the first shift of a three month stint on swings. I don't know about you, but the bittersweet thrill of my almost kindergartner being out of my hair from 7:40 a.m. - 2:40 p.m. is kind of lost when you take into consideration that The Husband will be out of bed around 10 a.m. and leave for work just thirty minutes before I have to pick up Buttercup from school. That leaves me with a grand total of maybe 20 actual minutes to myself every day where I don't have to pretend I'm not slowly going insane.

Total buzz kill.

 

 

Random thought #2 -

Deciding to do an impromptu deep cleaning of the refrigerator is a really good way to remember that the last deep cleaning much longer ago than is socially acceptable.

Exhibit A:

 

Random Thought #3-

This coffee is fantastic. No, I'm not sharing.

 

 

Random thought #4-

Grounding an only child from television for the rest of the day because she decided to chew on a single piece of steak for 20 minutes -- because I HAVE NO IDEA --  instead of finishing her dinner so I could give her a Popsicle and turn on Nick Jr. so I could ignore her until bed time while doing some cleaning and writing something without feeling like a horrible mother is a really bad idea.

Note: The bad idea thing refers to the no T.V. thing. Keep up with me, class.

 

 

Random thought #5-

The same child who is driving me bat shit crazy today is the same child I love more than life itself. When she isn't driving me bat shit crazy. I'm also pretty certain she's a genius and no I am not bragging because it's not fun to be out-logicalled (shut up. It's called poetic license when a writer makes up a word) by a five-year-old in front of other people.

Exhibit B (a conversation):

Mom, calcium is good for us, right?

Yep.

Good for our bones and growing and being strong?

Uhuh.

I'd like some cookies to dip in a cup of calcium, Mom. Because that will be so yummy and healthy for me! Right, Mom?

Shit.

Clarification: That last part was in my head.

Probably.

 

Insert Witty Title Here

It's not often that life kicks my ass so hard I can't make five minutes to at least repost old material with a brand new headline, but it does happen.

In the last few weeks alone, I've dealt with a lot. Some big, like being diagnosed with adult ADHD (and suddenly high school makes sense) and some not-so-big but totally drama worthy for an ADHD/OCD woman barely holding on to the keeping it all together. Not that I'm naming names but this woman mayu or may not have three dogs, one husband who just announced he is switching to swing shift right about the time a certain girl child starts kindergarten, effectively erasing all chances  to pee in peace for at least three months. She also learned how hard it is to apply red lipstick from an adult-sized tube onto the tiny red lips that would smile big enough on stage for me to see from where I sat. So she asked another mom to do it, which is probably why my child looked like a demure ballerina princess in the enchanted rose garden and not a toddler in a tiara.

Every missed opportunity to save a moment with my words for posterity is still stored in my head. But between the two weeks of digestive hell I've been dealing with and today's craziness, I think it would be extremely responsible of me to be proactive for once in my adult life and sign up for a sponsor and the nearest AA group before getting all I Love You Guys drunk and sloppy.

Buttercup and I left the house at 10 a.m. this morning for the hike across town to see the first of three doctors, all scheduled for the same day because they all happen to be five minutes from each other whereas I live 45 minutes on the other side of the world. My super-powered nurse practitioner figures my fingers look like I ran them over with a lawn mower because I was in desperate need of an ADHD medication change, the ENT guy agrees with my crazy bloodshot eyes being caused by the mesquite currently burning in New Mexico that I should probably not only Stay Indoors At All Times but that if I leave my house it should only be to get the hell away from the Southern border, because of the Being Severely Allergic thing, and my naturopath walked me through my food allergy panel test results (hint: air and water are on the safe list. Except for the air currently filled with the pollen from the burning mesquite carrying over from New Mexico. That air is totally the opposite of being on the safe list. Also? The last time I looked like this, I was sitting in a college dorm room wondering why feet suddenly turned into ice and why she had a towel tucked under the door and that was accidentally way more fun.

I'm exhausted and want a new hobby that doesn't involve insurance co-pays and waiting rooms. And a pony. I'd totally love one of those. But I'd settle for trashy daytime TV and time to pretend I'm a famous blogger. My head is spinning with thoughts like what I'm wearing to my cousin's wedding in a few weeks, dealing with a cross-country flight and family members and Routines that Are Not My Own. I'm crazy with worry over finding the perfect shoes for BFF Heather's wedding next March, how the hell I'm going to get any work done with The Husband home all morning and Buttercup all afternoon, and how behind I'll be tomorrow with my to-do list if I don't have time to finish it all tonight.

And that's when I remind myself that blogging is on my list of things to do because it matters and keeps me sane(ish) and sane(ish) is a good place to be. So I force myself to sit back down, turn the Mac back on, and log back in.

This Breath

I just had sex with my husband on doctor's orders because my ovaries finally decided to kick out a few follicles that might turn into eggs that might turn into a baby or quite possibly a litter and I've got to tell ya, I'm not sure if I'm rooting for Team Infertility or Team Modern Medicine to come out the victor. The first I already know and can handle. The second is shiny, new, and... I can't wrap my mind around what I don't know.

Disclaimer: Wait, what? Me? Sex? With my husband? If you know me in real life from before social media existed, please stab yourself in the eyeballs with the nearest semi-sharp object and let yourself continue to believe that we brought Buttercup home with us after holding hands while skipping through a cabbage patch field.

Of course, the deed *ahem* has been done and I can't undo whatever fate may have in store for us anymore than that hairdresser at Great Clips can emotionally unscar the teenage boy who broke into tears after she complimented him on his new Justin Bieber-esque look before he left with his mother who kept reassuring him that he and every other boy in America or at least Tucson younger than 20 do not, in fact, look like Belieber groupies in denial.

Even though he totally did.

I can't undo. And it's not the um, doctors-orders-homework that has me all a titter. Life is good in the land of The Married. He drives me crazy. I drive him crazy. And when things get boring we pretend to argue just to spice it up a bit. The issue that has me wondering WHAT THE HELL DID I JUST DO? is the fact that I may have voluntarily and irrevocably changed the simple reality I know and love for allowing me to not go any crazier than I already am.

She can walk. She can talk. And she's fairly self-sufficient on the potty front. She goes to school a few hours for a few days a week and makes herself laugh silly with really bad knock-knock jokes. She's four going on fourteen going on forty and she's the miracle we waited almost two years for that I didn't know would become the reality I wanted until I held her in my arms for the first time because I'm the kind of person who is so afraid of change that I've trained my brain not to want the unknown and instead accept the new today once the wind has already changed direction.

It's true. I don't want to go to Paris or Italy or dream of cruises or tropical islands because I have never experienced them. I have no desire to try something crazy just so I can say I did it because that would require planning and foresight and a willingness to not be so rigid but if I happen to be out on the town with a friend and she decided on a whim to stop in a piercing shop I can't promise I won't come home without a dainty little nose piercing. I didn't plan my wedding as a girl growing up or sign my name with the Crush of the Week's in doodle hearts while dating because I that would have required me dreaming about What If instead of focusing on What Was. And when I finally came to the moment where The Boyfriend became The Fiance who became The Husband as I walked down the aisle to become The Wife, I was In Love and In Awe and In Flux between states of complete calm because Life was Happening and Utter Terror because Life was Happening.

It wasn't until the day after graduating high school, arriving on my college campus, graduating with honors, starting my first job, moving in with The Boyfriend who became The Fiance who became The Husband, pushing the baby out, moving cross-country Anything Important that Has Happened in My Life that I've had pretty much the same thought process work itself out in my mind: That wasn't as bad as you thought it was going to be, you jackass. Well, except for maybe the pushing the baby thing out. She was totally worth it but Dude! That pretty much sucked. This is what was meant to be and where I was meant to end up. This moment is magic and I really need to lighten up and allow more magic to just spontaneously happen because that's how life works.

I know this. And yet, I sit here...wondering what I want the doctor to tell me when it's time for results and how I will react. Wondering if I can love another baby as much as I love the miracle that already is. Wondering if I am enough to mother more than once child and nurture them both completely in the way that is singularly unique to their own beings and needs without falling short and thinking I should have quit while I was ahead.

I wonder because I don't know. And I won't know until tomorrow comes. Until then, I concentrate on this breath...

And then the next...

Mamavation Monday: In which we celebrate

What do you ask for when The Husband offers a gift to celebrate losing the baby weight and winning yourself back in the process? It didn't take long to figure that out. I already own this...

...so it didn't take long to flutter my eyelashes and click submit on the order for these...

And when that little blue box arrived in the mail, I could only smile.

I have more to lose to make my goals for a healthier me, but dammit, people? I made it this far. And that's worth celebrating.

Fried, scambled, or a la Mexifro?

IMG_1573.JPG The Prologue: I had a baby. My body mutinied with not only an embarrassing amount of cellulite, but also with a new allergy to an obscure ingredient in everything from nasal sprays to hair dye. Which sucked, because when Buttercup was six weeks old, I got my hair highlighted.

And promptly lost most of my hair.

That's when I learned to read labels.

The Actual Story: I thought I was going bald (again) last week. My bad. I got lazy and didn't read the label on the full bottle of conditioner my sister left here when she moved out and promptly got all itchy on my head and that's when The Husband pointed out The Obvious. Which was the Bad Thing listed in the ingredient list on the back of the bottle I hadn't bothered to read.

I promptly rinsed it all off before hopping on twitter and having a mini breakdown. Then I woke up with hair and realized I had thankfully over-reacted this time. That's when I decided I had been lucky. So I got in touch with my hippy self.

Gone are the masses of hair products I used to rely on. It's all been replaced with...wait for it...food. Namely, eggs, olive oil, mayonnaise, and anything else recommended by Janice Cox in her book, Natural Beauty at Home.

Today was spent making my own shampoo, conditioner, and a conditioning hair pack. My ingredients included raw eggs, rum, olive oil, bananas, and mayo.

I smelled like a frat party.

While I sat with condiments and mashed up fruit deep conditioning my 'fro after rinsing the raw egg regular conditioner out with warm water without stopping to look in the mirror, I glanced through the rest of the recipes. Chocolate lip gloss? I am so on that train. What I forgot to do was re-read the part in the directions which clearly states that the coolest water you can stand must be used to rinse out anything made with eggs from your hair. Turns out, warm water will cook the eggs. In your hair.

My hair looks and feels amazing. It's shiny. It's soft. And I didn't pay a bazillion dollars at a salon to make it feel that way. I'd call it a success, except for the scrambled eggs a la mexi-fro bit.

A Tale of Two (Patterns)

My world has to match. It has to make sense.

Which is probably why Fashion Week, Vogue, and What Not to Wear all give me the hives just thinking about all the patterns arguing with each other.

My own wardrobe is bland by comparison. My favorite color is brown. Well, not literally, but you'd think it if you took a look in my closet. It matches everything (else in there) and I defend my lack of Pop by referring to my color choices as "earthy" instead of "drab." And it's fiscally responsible. If I bought red ballet flats, I would only be able to wear them with like, 3 outfits. How much sense does that make? And yet, it's those little rainbow kisses that The Husband celebrates. He never tires of telling me how good that color looks on me or how nice it is to see me in something other than that damned brown.

It's probably no surprise I wanted to be Punky Brewster when I was growing up. She was who she was and celebrated it every day when she got dressed. And screw you if you didn't like what (the wardrobe people) had decided to dress the character in for that day's episode. She was who I wanted to be.

Reality was who I was.

It's who I am.

Which is why I sometimes find myself struggling as Buttercup grows up into a free-thinking little person with definite opinions on what she will and will not wear. The child has been dressing herself since she was 18 months old, but it was a lot easier when she couldn't see beyond the two pre-planned outfits I was letting her choose between.

Now?

Some days, she picks stuff like this...

...and I find myself biting my tongue. Who gives a shit if the pink socks should be white? Or if I would never have paired those leggings with those shoes?

She's happy.

Her world doesn't have to match.

And it still makes perfect sense to her.

Tweeting between the Crazy

@aspiringmama: Comedy of Errors. I can't even send a tweet...

*My head jerks up from the phone I am trying to tweet on when Buttercup lets out a shriek of pain

*Princess o Mine has not grasped the concept of looking where she is going

*Ever

*So she smacked her forehead on the back of the dining table chair

*Just as Nana and one of The Aunt's had connected with The Husband on Facetime for an iPod chat

*Which was supposed to happen while I tried to unpack from a little trip, write a blog post, make dinner, and unload and reload the dishwasher

*Instead I was cuddling my screaming child and icing her forehead because she has the observation skills of a blind monkey and listening to the pathetic wails of the puppy who is trying his damnedest to tell his human sister that he's all about solidarity.

"No, no, it's ok," I hear The Husband say into the iPod as he walks away from the sad symphony of crazy, "Little One just smacked her face when she wasn't paying attention. She gets that from Pauline."

Liar! I have a killer attention spa...

*The dish washer buzzes, interrupting my thoughts, instantly making me forget why I was just pissed off at The Husband. I blink, soothe the child, and deposit her on the couch with one of the new Tokens of Spoyalty purchased for her on our little trip, and quickly address the dishes

Mama!

Dammit! Ok...

*Kiss, kiss, hug, hug

*Get dinner going

*Stress out while stressing out thinking of the rest of the to-do list

*Like the taxes

*My mom's taxes

*Buttercup and her month of barely any school thanks to conferences and half-days

*and

*My slowly loosening grip on reality

Baby, come upstairs with Mama so I can get the clothes put away.

*And I grab the now empty bags from the trip to deposit in the closet, hand Buttercup off to The Husband, who is still talking to his mom and sister, and run back downstairs to check on dinner.

*Shit

*The dish washer needs to be unloaded again

*And it's been 30 minutes since the last time Buttercup tried to go potty

Sweeter! Get her on the toilet!

*I don't wait for a response to my shrieked demand up the stairs

*Instead I walk back into the kitchen, feed the dogs, and plate the food, pour the milk, and scream up the stairs again to let Buttercup and The Husband know it's time to eat.

*As they make their way downstairs, I glance at the liquor cabinet and sigh wistfully.

Mama! It's time to eat! Yay!

*Which means more dishes. Yay! And I still need to send that tweet.

I reach for my phone to finish my thought. From 49 minutes ago.

...without losing my mind.

Mama's Go (Crazy) Bag of Readiness

It was just me and Buttercup. No school, so I called a friend and asked if her kids and my kid could play unsupervised in her fenced backyard so I could lounge on her couch with a glass of wine and have my own little play date. She said yes.

So I packed.

That's right. I said P-A-C-K-E-D.

IMG_1284.JPG

First I needed to get rid of the Lean Pockets my mom left in our deep freezer from her 8 week stay. That went into one cooler. And because Buttercup and I are on a gluten-free diet and Friend Jill was making pancakes for dinner that night, I also packed:

*corn tortillas with slices of cheese for quesadillas for Buttercup

*a fruit cup

*leftover bison steak and veggies for me

*a Lara bar in case I couldn't gag down the reheated bison steak (which is what ended up happening.)

*three juice boxes for the kids to feel like they were getting something special when Friend Jill and I cracked open another bottle of wine.

*two oranges for me because I have been craving some major vitamin C.

And then I moved on to the diaper bag. Which really doesn't carry diapers anymore because Buttercup is kinda sorta potty trained. In it? I packed:

*four training pull-ups

*a spare set of clothes in case Buttercup got a pull-up wedgie going down the slide while simultaneously peeing and needed a change of clothing. (Yes, it's happened before.)

*a pair of pajamas for insurance because every time I go to Friend Jill's house, which is only 25 minutes away, I end up staying until the kid's need to go to bed.

*a water bottle for Buttercup.

*a water bottle for me.

*a snack cup with gluten-free pretzels to tide her over till dinner

*Buttercup's sunglasses

*My iPod Touch and my Droid X (because I am nothing if not addicted)

*Buttercup's Snow White and Cinderella dolls because they are The Dolly Flavor of the Week.

*Buttercup's purse (of course) in which, I think, she packed rocks and her play cell phone. Who am I to judge?

*My (her) Nintendo DSi which allows me to drive with my nerves intact and my guilt assuaged while I focus on the road and Cookie Monster teaches her to count.

And because that wasn't enough? I also took:

*My purse

*Which we won't get into because there isn't enough space on the internet for me to share.

When I left my house, The Husband didn't even raise an eyebrow because he knows better. I am nothing if not Over-Prepared and Un-Medicated. When I showed at up Friend Jill's house, she asked if I was moving in.

Smart ass.

I'm prepared for anything. Always. Why? Because that guy on the street corner with the dirty trench coat and the ARMAGEDDON sign might be on to something. And? Me and What If don't get along very well. So? I pack a diaper bag like a crazy lady.

You should see what I take with us to Barnes & Noble.

But don't worry, peeples. Even if (if I said IF so don't even ask) I end up with another kid between now and the next episode of Jesse Ventura's Conspiracy Theory, I have plenty of room in my Go Bag for the essentials. Like Humanitarian Suspenders.

And lip gloss.

Resolutions and Other Things on my To Do List

I have two blog posts left in 2010 to cement my place in history. As what? I'm not sure. Which means I probably should just accept that this and the next post will probably be cute and mediocre, and the world will be a much happier place. Since it's appropriate to sit here and look back over the past year and cry into my cheerios about everything I didn't accomplish while making a list of big dreams to turn into my own realities Santa apparently doesn't read my blog, it only seems fitting to write up my List of Promises to Myself I Will Probably Break of Resolutions.

In the realm of health and fitness:

*Continue to dream about that Husband-sanctioned affair I plan to have with a plastic surgeon so I can score a Mom Job (read: boob lift, tummy tuck, and lipo) while focusing on the reality that I don't know any plastic surgeons to have an affair with.

*Eat right, work out more, and bitch less. Wait...no. If I do that, I have no blog. Ok...Eat right, work out more, and just bitch. Kind of like Nike...only funnier, right? There, that's better.

*Cancel my gym membership. *Screeching halt* What? Yeah, you read that right. While the rest of the free world joins Jenny, starts counting points, or waits for their dehydrated Nutrisystem scrambled eggs to show up in the mail while simultaneously doing 15 sets of squats on the way to their shiny new gym, Me and My cellulite will be walking into my old gym sometime soon to sign the break up papers. Before you get all What The Hell and What About The Search for a Smaller Ass, Pauline?, remember that I don't have time to waste wishing I had gone and then saying Screw it, Where's My Dairy Queen when I could instead be focusing on what I have readily available to me. (Read: My legs, my shoes, two dogs, a jogging walking stroller, and a kick-ass hilly subdivision. Also? Enough dust on the unused exercise DVDs to start my own bunny farm and a pretty new PS3 and Zumba game to get my Latin-Mama groove on. Bottom line? 2011 is the year of no excuses (ok...I'll make excuses. But I at the very least Resolve to make them amusing.)

In the the realm of Motherhood:

*Try to say "In a minute" less often.

*Forgive myself for when I say "In a minute" too often.

*Lather, rinse, and repeat.

In the realm of Wifedom:

*Try to say "In a Minute" less often.

*Forgive myself when I say "In a Minute" too often.

*Lather, rinse, and repeat.

*P.S. Add "sex" to my To-Do list more often. The Husband is happy when this happens. He gets attention, I get to cross something off of my To-Do list without ruining the moment by thinking about what I could be doing to cross something else off of my never ending list, and it's generally a win-win for everyone involved. (Also see "Try to say "In a minute less often.")

In the realm of writing:

*Because I decided last night that I already met my goal of finding an agent in 2010 (Because I did, dammit. I found 25 of them. *Holds hand up* Stop! My blog post. My semantics war.) I figure I can make 2011 the year an agent finds me. In the bottom of the slush pile. In a hopefully typo-free query.

*Make peace with my Chronic Typosis Disorder and just deal. There's a reason I went into REPORTING and not COPY EDITING. Namely, I didn't get the copy editing job. And? I typo like it's going out of style and I just can't let go. We have a neighbor like that. She never met a can of aqua net and a bang wave she didn't like. If she can look in the mirror and think that looks good, I can hit publish on a blog post or write muff top in a query and still think I am a good person, dammit!

*Keep trying. Keep querying. Keep writing. And? Buy more rejection panties. I'm  a big girl with big dreams and (shut up) I can only bitch if the rejections stop coming in. Because that means I've stopped trying. Which isn't going to happen because I just said it wouldn't so...moving on...

*Start that Super Secret Project with Juliette that doesn't involve zombies or crossbows.

*Buy less shoes so I can bank the unspent cash for a writing conference or two. Ok, fine. Less shoes and less purses. And clothes. Definitely less clothes.

In the realm of All Things Pauline:

*Keep dreaming. In the I can do EEET! kinda way and not that Keep dreaming, asshole kinda way. Because I think I can. Even if they say I can't.

Which reminds me:

*Figure out who THEY actually is. Because dude, it's driving me crazy. And...wait...that's an entirely new blog post...

Mappy Birthmas (to me)

I was born on December 26, 1977. I should also point out that my mother went into labor with me after Christmas Eve dinner on December 24.

And?

I am surprised she is still talking to me.

Seriously. I was in labor for 12 hours and I promise you that I'll be throwing that in Buttercup's face when she gets all teenager-y and hormonal and demands to stay out past curfew because her friend's all have much cooler mothers than she does.

Anyway, I'll be blowing out the candles on my 33rd birthday cake sugar-free, dairy-free, gluten-free pumpkin mousse this year. Which goes to show how much has changed in the last year.

Other things to celebrate?

*My ass-tau has been reclassified as a J-Lo.

*I finished a book. As in, I wrote a fucking book. Which also means I didn't have time to read one.

*I've made peace with my ego. Bring on the rejections.

*I've been rejected. Many times. Which means I moved way beyond the realm of dreaming and ventured into that of actually doing.

*Years and, okay fine, decades of angst regarding me and my kinky curlies Mama gave me are done and over with. Can you say MEXI-FRO?

*I met The Bloggess,sat next to Kendra on a plane,  hung out at Rudolpho Anaya's house, had lunch with Rick Najera and his lovely wife, and was told that my manuscript didn't suck by the amazing Demetria Martinez.

*And? Twitter brought me TBFF Juliette and @HC_Palmquist and @NL_Gervasio. I know. You guys are welcome for meeting me, too.

*I gave up sugar and gluten and found my waistline. Newscaster says? Parade at 11.

*Did I mention I wrote a book?

*Or that the number of candles I will be blowing out this year doesn't bother me in the least? It'd probably because I adopted a new mantra. Can you say, "I don't give a shit?"

Next year is almost here. A little part of me is always going to be looking back and focusing on what I could have done and where I think I should be by now, but I'm okay with that. Because that little voice is just going to push me to try harder in my new year and the New Year to follow.

Mappy Birthmas to me.

No Exceptions

Part of this whole writing business is making it up as you go. There is so much to learn, and like parenting, everyone can tell you what to expect and how to prepare and what reference books to read, but you still have to make your own mistakes and learn what works for you. That's where I am sitting now; On the realization that whereas I once believed I had it figured out, I am now aware of the fact that I, in fact, had no fucking clue.

Every writer, I believe, has to have an ego and boatloads of confidence to survive the road from dream to reality. Every writer needs to believe in themselves because there are going to be oh so many times that it seems no one else does. But every writer including this one needs to also realize that the confidence, ego, and belief in their ability has to be balanced with equal amounts of humility, because (and here's the kicker) if that mindset isn't already in place, you're in for one hell of a wake up call when the rejections start pouring in.

I freely admit that I was cocky. That I thought I was going to be The Exception to the rule. That my first draft was so spectacular and my query so eloquent that there was no way in hell I was going to be spending months looking for an agent. Somehow, that insecure self I was in high school had magically morphed into a self-congratulatory jackass that had convinced the rational me of easy roads ahead.

Don't get me wrong...I still believe in my writing. But, and I think this is a process all of us go through at some point (even if only in our heads) in order for us to really grow as writers. Think of it as maturing from a cocky teenager who thinks he knows it all to the parent who is trying to explain to their own cocky teenager that they really and truly don't. It's at that point that you how far you have come as a person.

I'm still cocky. Or cocky enough to be able to brush off the sting of each rejection. But I'm wiser, too and aware that the reality of the publishing process applies to everyone, including me. Agents aren't going to come flocking to me just because I am me. Book deals are not going to fall down from the heavens and land in my lap just because I am willing them to do so. Platforms do matter. And rewrites are the name of the game.

I am a good writer. I believe that. And I have to keep believing that or I may as well shred my manuscript right now and not even bother to start working on the next project.  One day, I will have my reality. But it won't be because I was an exception. It won't be because my horoscope was a lucky one that day. Fortune cookies will not be involved.

It will be because I worked for it. And because I finally figured out that I still have plenty to learn.

Mamavation Monday: A Picture and 823 words

I wrote a book about the size of my ass. Well, to be more specific, I wrote a book about how motherhood has changed my body and how my mind is still trying to play catch-up while doing my best (most of the time) to get back into my pre-pregnancy Happy Place. And in that book, I mention a lot of intimate details: * What my body is like * What I eat * What I shouldn't be eating * The juggling involved with trying to fit in working out and taking care of Mama while Mama takes care of the world * And, of course...the number on the scale. So it's not like I'm a stranger to sharing. Baby F(Ph)at may only have been read by a few people so far, but still...I put it out there...in black and white. So why did I get butterflies in the pit of my belly when I was reading over the application instructions for the next Mamavation campaign and saw that participants are required to post a photo of their scale number every week? I mean, really? Haven't I kind of been doing that all along? Painting a picture with my words?

The truth is, as a writer, I'm used to hiding behind the picture I am painting. While my brain to mouth neurons have a pretty decent filter when it comes to what I share with the world, the ones connecting my brain to my fingers must have not been in my share of the family gene pool. Because while I might hesitate to verbalize something, my fingers have no shame when it comes to sharing details with the world. Looks like I need to work on a new kind of brave.

Example #1: I weight 224.5 pounds right now. That is actually a relief to me considering I was 236 pounds when I started writing Baby F(Ph)at last year (I finished the book at about 218). It's an even bigger relief to me because I haven't made a real effort to work out since the week before leaving for BlogHer10. And? The Husband recently shared that he also gained about 5 pounds during our three week family vacation in Michigan, so yay for team spirit. Oh, and it's important to note that that Doctor Office Scale had me at 233 last week, and here are my reasons for thinking that scale had it in for my ego: It was mid-day. I had just eaten lunch. I was wearing jeans AND sneakers. And I wasn't naked, starving, and still yawning, which is my usual state of being when I weigh myself at home. (It's not just me, is it? Those doctor office scales are like the mean girl in high school who lived to amplify my flaws. So I just stopped listening to them.)

Example #2: I am happy to report that I have decided to focus on the positives this week. So instead of telling you that I had a Snicker's bar when my hormones took control of my brain, I will tell you instead that I love Ezekiel bread and am going to make a truck-load of homemade and sugar free applesauce and apple juice this week. Oh. And I drink enough water on a regular basis to float a house because pop (or soda, depending on where you are from) tastes like syrup to me and that is just nasty.

Example #3: How was my week? Aside from the Snickers Incident of 2010, I ate like a champ. There were plenty of complex carbs, fruits, lean proteins, and veggies. And I'm thrilled that Buttercup is now a fan of my ground bison and black bean chili recipe. I'm making good choices when we go out to eat, planning meals as often as I can to make the cooking thing easier as well as not break the bank at the grocery stores we frequent, and perfectly aware that while I am doing pretty well, I can do better.

Example #4: I'm going to spend the next 5 days or so thinking of what I need to say and how to say it without sounding like an idiot in that Mamavation video I plan on submitting. That's right. I am officially going to throw my hat in the ring. And I'll tell you another secret...my fearless fingers are actually a little trembly right now as I type this. Example#5: What are my plans for this week? More good eating, dusting off the jogging stroller and taking Buttercup for a few long walks, trying out my new Just Dance game for the Nintendo Wii, and taking a good look at other activities that I might want to try (like the gym membership that The Husband just reminded me we are paying for and not using. Which makes me think he has a point. So add that one to the list of Things to Do for Pauline.) Yes?

Pardon me, people. I have some things to attend do. And I'm starting with making time for me.

No Room for Good Intentions

You may recall that I may have mentioned something about possibly squeezing in a workout during the Craziness For Which I Was Not Prepared at BlogHer.

And, like, i totally meant to! I really did. I even packed gym shoes and workout clothes in that practically empty suitcase the day before heading out to New York. I really totally meant to when I saw Mamavation Queen Leah in person for the first time at The People's Party and realized how absolutely adorable she is in person. I may have even told her that I was going to make good on last week's blog post and sweat my booty off BlogHer style. She said something about thinking I was adorable, too, and I walked away hoping to got she was drinking enough to forget about my promise to be good and motivated.

I may have been able to make it to the gym during expo hall hours, but that would have meant that I missed out on chasing down Elmo like a mother posessed for a chance at a photo and solidifying my place as the Best Mother in the World upon my triumphant return home with this photographic tropy. And really, I'm thinking you would have done the same in my position.

Normally, I'm just getting revved up when the rest of the world is starting to relax for the evening. I get my best work done at night and as soon as Buttercup is asleep for the night, I'm ready to write, blog, clean house, and find a way to get a good work out in between 9 p.m. and midnight. Of course, my suitcase didn't have any room let over for good intentions, what with all that swag, and all, so I spent my evenings in New York fan-girling with the best of them while acosting innocent little Bloggesses like Jenny just because she was sweet enough to punch out poetry for her minions while The Voices of the Year Gala raged on a few rooms over. Luckily, I convinced Her Blogessness to drop the stalker charges with promises of self-mockery and photos of my pretty up-do un-done in its Mexi-fro glory for the world to see. (You know, because it wasn't embarassing enough the first time around Stay tuned on round 2. It's coming.)

I did have a few hours in the afternoon when I could have stolen away and gotten myself good and sweaty, but I spent that little segment of time in a shuttle and at a luncheon at BLT Fish where I had my Yo Gabba Gabba moment when I was presented with a plate of fish. It was either eat the salmon and tuna I'd been avoiding since I was pregnant and my taste buds mutinied on me (Try it! You'll like it!) or starve while I learned about the importance of seafood intake during pregnancy (ironic, I know). So I dined on this...

 

and I actually liked it. DJ Lance would be so proud.

And I'm plenty sure I could have made time to work out to my heart's content while traipsing around the big city in an attempt to keep up with my TBFF, writing partner, and roomate, Juliette, on her multiple mad dashes to see Time's Square and shop at Macy's and take a bike taxi and get whiplash in a taxi. But well, by that time I had whiplash and how smart would it have been to work out?

So I had pizza instead before getting my minimum 2 hours of sleep before hopping on a plane away from the crazy and back to the slightly less (but not much less) crazy that I'm like, totally used to.

Baby F(Ph)at excerpt: The Sun Wins the Race

I'm working on a book. It's supposed to be about my year's journey to lose the baby weight. Three years after having the kid.

And here I sit, a mere 9 days from Buttercup's third birthday and about 8 weeks from my self-imposed deadline, wondering when Karma is going to forgive me for Thinking Bad Thoughts about Moms who had Let Themselves Go before I became a mother myself and took a good, hard look in the mirror.

I haven't gotten on a scale in three weeks. Or seen the inside of the gym, for that matter. But as of last count, I was somewhere in the 10 pound loss area.

That's 10 pounds in 10 months.

Somehow, that thought just manages to depress the living hell out of me.

My goal is 30 pounds total to get me to my pre-pregnancy weight and so much is riding on crossing that finish line that I wonder how much different The End is going to be in Baby F(Ph)at than I expected. I'm supposed to get pregnant again when I have crossed Go and collected my $200. I'm supposed to start the next phase of my life.

The Husband is patiently waiting for me to put up or shut up or just say fuck it and forget it and let's get to making a baby and I'll just worry about it all after I pop the next kid out. And while I can normally talk myself up when suffering through a Fat Day such as today, it's getting harder and harder. Because every day gone is another opportunity missed.

My intentions are stellar. I want to be skinnier healthier for me, for my family. This takes work. I know that. So I wake up each morning with the intention of working out and eating right. And yet, somehow, each and every day seems to get away from me. There are bills to pay, laundry to do, dust bunnies to hunt down and kill because the Mother-in-Law is coming for a five day visit and in the world I have created in my head and the real one I occupy the house must be Spotless to ensure a pleasant visit for all parties involved. There's the grocery shopping, the Quality Time  with the toddler, the Family Drama spanning 2,500 miles that somehow manipulates entire days that eventually end only to find I'm still bra-less, in my PJs, and rockin' my Mexi-fro.

There's changing my schedule around to adjust to The Husband's new day shift, which means that I have until 4:30 p.m. to get Everyone Else's shit taken care of so I can continue to take care of Everyone Else with that magical meal that will please everyone from the gluten-free to the acid-reflux to the just plain picky.

Then there's the dishes. The kitchen clean-up. The taking Buttercup upstairs to bathe, brush teeth, floss, and read four stories to because she knows how to count to eleven-teen and I can't convince her that two stories are more than they really are.

There's lunch to be made for The Husband because that's how I was raised and that's how he was raised and I'm home all day so I can't really complain and tell him I don't have time to make his lunch so I don't and I make it anyway even though I really don't have the time. I'm supposed to finish the nightly routine fast enough to get into bed with him at least every few nights so he can smile and fall asleep with my arms around him because there's only so many hours in a day and I'm obviously not handling things right if my work keeps me awake until 2 a.m. every night and Motherhood requires an 8 a.m. wake up call so I try to move faster, but the sun always wins the race.

There's that TV show I think I deserve to sit down and watch, just this one, because once Mom leaves for her six-month visit to Michigan to see the rest of the family, the TV will only be on when Nick Jr. comes to babysit so I can be like Other Moms and deal with the demands of family on my own. You know, like a big girl.

There's the fact that even when I was telling myself the dishes could wait and the laundry could wait longer so I could pack Buttercup up in the mini-van and head to the gym with the daycare and feel good for an hour which would make me feel good for longer, I still felt like I wasn't trying hard enough. There's also the Unspoken Argument that ignited when The Husband switched to days and decided to sign up at the gym with me so we could Spend Time Together, which left me dreading his arrival somewhere around 5:30 because dinner had to be cooked, the diaper bag packed, and bedtime pushed back for Buttercup until after we got home, ate, and I read eleven-teen story books which affected her mornings and somehow we stopped going together so I stopped going at all.

But at least my fingers look good. From all the writing I've been doing and all.

There's time spent on everyone else. And when it's all said and done, there's no time left for me. So I wonder what I'm doing wrong even though I try to do everything right for everyone else because really, that's what I'm supposed to do---what feels right because I'm a Wife and Mother---and I'll take care of myself when I have the time and...

It's 12:36 a.m. I'm sitting here working on my book, and have just unhooked the straps on the sports bra I've had on since I got dressed because I had good intentions. I didn't work out today. Hell, I didn't even eat right today.

I ran out of time. Then I ran out of reasons to bother trying.

Ten things that make me happy

Never getting blog- tagged again would be the first.

But let me properly introduce this post so the entire class can follow along.

I hate forwards. Of any kind. In my email, in my text messages, and on the blog...they all make me twitch in a She Needs Her Meds kind of way. And while blog tags are sweet and always an honor, they also require work on the part of the receiver. Which is why most blog tags usually come with an "I'm sorry" or "Feel free to ignore this" disclaimer from the sender.

That being said, I've actually forgotten about most of the ones I have gotten. I know, this makes me sound like a colossal bitch, but it wasn't done on purpose. It just so happened that by the time I remembered I had to play nice in the sandbox, I'd surpassed Fashionably Late and crossed over into Why Even Bother.

So I didn't.

Then I got an instant message from TFF Juliette. She was snickering. Because she tagged me.

And she sort of apologized.

Then she made me promise to participate. I agreed because we'll be sharing a room in New York and I didn't want toothpaste on my face, but consider this a one time deal and we'll all be happier.

So here goes:

Ten Things That Make Me Happy

10: Writing

It goes without saying, I think. But it can't just be anything. I had a job as a reporter for a long time and it gave me my writing jollies for a while, but I eventually got tired of writing Other People's Stories. So I quit. Now I am writing a book. And have plans for more. And I blog. This makes me very happy, indeed.

9: Twitter

Tweeting. My tweeple. When I tell you guys you are close to my heart, I mean it. I have ubertwitter on the blackberry, which I always keep in my bra. And you're welcome for sharing.

8: Not getting tagged again

7: Good hair days

See Mexi-fro for reference. You will soon understand why a fro-free day makes me want to skip through the aisles at the grocery store. Because those are the days I look for a reason to leave the house.

6: Ass-mouflage

It's kind of like camouflage, but not. Zip up hoodies are great for this. Just unzip, tie the arms around your waist, and position just so, and then you can let yourself believe that no one is staring at your ass wondering what you let happen to it after you had the baby.

5: Not getting tagged again.

Ever.

4: Buttercup kisses.

And Hugs. And snuggles. This little girl is my world. And there's nothing funny about that.

3: Buttercup's bed time.

Because no matter how much I love spending every waking moment with her, Mama needs her down time too. And a bottle of wine to psych myself up for the day to come. Because sometimes I wonder if having another baby is like getting another puppy: they chase each other around the yard and stop begging me for a daily walk, which leaves me more time to breathe, right?

2: Not getting tagged again.

Like, you know, ever.

1: Instant gratification.

That's why hitting send on the tweet or publish on the blog are enough to talk me down from a chocolate chip cookie binge sometimes but not always.  I might be busting my ass to lose an incredibly small amount of weight over an incredibly long period of time; I might be nearing the Hurry Up and Wait phase of Getting Published with agent research and mailing queries and holding my breath; and I may never actually see the bottom of my laundry hamper. But I've come to terms with all of this. And these little bites of NOW are enough to keep me mostly on the sane side of life.

Mostly.

Which brings me to the Blame Juliette for the Following portion of this blog post. It's now my turn to tag Other People. My only rule is that if you feel you must get me back, take it out on Juliette instead and send her the tag. Cuz I'll just smile and ignore it.

My victims are:

Christopher Belton

Jeanne V. Bowerman

Karen Quah

HC Palmquist

Shuggilipo

Everyday Childhood

Our Crazy Boys

Mommy Wants Vodka

Mama Mary Show

Ooph

And please, by all means...feel free to completely ignore this post. Trust me.

I won't take it personally.