Operation Blog Undercover (ABORT!)

The sun wakes me up. Even with the damned light-blocking curtains in our room, the bits of light peeking through the sides are enough to break into my happy little dreams. I curse myself for forgetting to put on my sleep mask the night before and decide to throw the quilt over my head for a little more time to rest. I'm allowed. My mom is visiting and I know that the minute she leaves, my chances for anything that resembles sleeping in will be out the closest window.

But first I think I'll check my email. You know, in case an agent has decided overnight that my book is Super Crazy Awesome and has sent a message asking me to call them as soon as I wake up because they are considerate enough to realize Arizona is three hours behind New York? So I reach for the phone on my nightstand and with a precision only a social media addict can attempt, have my email loading before I even open my eyes to focus on what I am looking at.

Blah, blah, new twitter followers, blah, blah, blah, I am now rich because of a dead relative I have never heard of in Zimbabwe and can I please forward all of the necessary banking information to the kind lawyer handling the matter, blah, blah, my mother-in-law wants to be friends on Facebook, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, and WHAT IN THE HELL?

The fuzziness from sleep is instantly replaced by an overwhelming sense of HOLY FUCK WHAT AM I SUPPOSED TO DO NOW and I resist the urge to reach over to the other side of the bed and backhand the still sleeping Husband because my cover being blown is like, totally his fault. Or maybe it's mine for actually saying yes when he asked if he could like my blog Facebook page. BFF Mel totally warned me that was a bad idea.

"They're gonna find you," she had said.

Who pays attention to that crap?

My mother-in-law, apparently.

Before anyone new here gets too confused, I have a strict Public Blog Policy. In short it goes like this: You are allowed to read if you don't already know me. That might seem ass-backwards to normal people but when you stop to think about it or stop taking your medication it makes total sense. For starters? My in-laws say things like, "Dangnabbit" and "Dadgum" instead of, you know, real swear words. I usually behave when in their presence or on the phone with either one of them, but here?

Have y'all read my shit?

And once the in-laws get on my little social media bandwagon, all hell (sorry, I mean heck...oh shit, it's happening already) will break loose because then my side of the very Mexican and You Can't Say Things Like Fuck family will find out and I'll start censoring what I write and then things will get all boring for me and for you and I'll replace posts like this with posts not like this. Obviously, this is a major problem.

Besides, if I approve the request, there'll be questions about my book and people will assume I like to Share My Feelings with them on a regular basis and I'll most likely piss everyone off, alienate myself from The Family, and The Husband will just sit there looking confused when I try to explain to him Just One More Time the logistics behind not letting anyone know about my writing until I get an agent, a book deal, and make the best seller lists (maybe even all in the same week, right?) because then I will be established and I would totally be okay with that.

But until then this was all supposed to be my secret word garden. Password: Strangers Only.

Before I start to unnecessarily hyper-ventilate, I blink a few times and focus on the phone screen again. Her name is still there. Shitshitshitshitshit!

"What are you doing?" The Husband is now awake and staring at his crazy wife checking her email on her phone before she has even gotten out of bed to brush her teeth and pee. "You realize that if technology as we know it were to disappear tomorrow, you would probably go clinically insane from the withdrawals within a matter of moments, right?"

I don't answer. I don't trust myself to speak. Instead, I hand him the phone and climb out of bed to take care of the morning bathroom routine. As I reach for my toothbrush, I hear him start to laugh. It's probably a good thing he is still in bed because I am pretty sure he wouldn't be able to stand at this point.

I am proven wrong just a moment later.

"Quick, turn around and give me your best Deer Caught in Headlights" look." The Husband is standing behind me with the phone, ready to snap a picture.

I turn around, my expression unchanged from the moment I first saw the email.


Win a Date with Brooke Warner

Time and money. Not exactly things I thought about when I woke up with an idea to write a book. But after jetting off to three conferences last year (two of which weren't even writing specific) with my proposal in my briefcase and dreams of coming home with a book deal, I now realize I have wasted a lot of both.

I'm not saying that it doesn't happen because it does. But the fairy tale stories of bloggers being approached by agents with contracts ready to sign and the conference match-ups between writers and agents that lead to the stuff dreams are made of are not exactly what a new writer needs to be banking on. Especially when said writer (read: me) only thought I was the greatest thing since sliced bread. ( I know...it was hard for me to wrap my head around, too.)

I had worked with a few novice editors to get the proposal together, tighten up my manuscript, and then basically sat back waiting for glory to find me. Yeah, I know. And after a year of queries, rejections, and a few lukewarm nibbles of interest, I finally took a step back, looked in the mirror, and admitted to myself that something needed to change.

Namely? No more wasting time. No more wasting money. Also? Time to tame to ego.

My new outlook led me to Brooke Warner, a writing coach and Seal Press Editor. But before I found Brooke, I had to find my way to She Writes, a wonderful community of writers in every stage of the game. Oh. And did I mention that membership is free? Score one on the not wasting money thing.

Shortly after receiving my email of acceptance into She Writes, I saw a notice for a webinar with Brooke for members interested in learning more about the publishing industry and how to better prepare their work for success. There was a little bit of money involved...but seeing as the price did not involve a plane ticket, hotel room, conference fee, or a new wardrobe (because of course I couldn't wear the same clothes to every conference...who does that?) I figured I did pretty well. While listening to Brooke share her wisdom during the webinar, I knew I had done pretty well.

And when I finally scored an hour long consultation with Brooke (after waiting on a list oh-so-patiently for a few months)? I found myself wondering why I hadn't pulled my head out of my ass a long time ago, joined She Writes, got all participatory with other writers, and found Brooke before I spent a lot of money on glorified opportunities to hang out with my social media friends. (Disclaimer: If I met you at one of these conferences, I am totally talking about everyone else being the waste of money. Not you. Oh no. Cuz you made it all worth it. Yes you did. *Pinches Cheeks*)

An hour. That's exactly what my paypal account paid for and what I got with Brooke. Doesn't sound like much, perhaps. But trust me when I say every second was worth it. In those 60 minutes, Brooke gave new insights on my proposal and a few sample chapters, highlighting exactly what wasn't working and even pointing out a few red flags that most likely accounted for the majority of my rejections on the manuscript to date. Brooke also shared what was working and which strengths  to capitalize upon. I hung up the phone wondering where she had been all my life and ready to edit the hell again out of my proposal and manuscript.

The best part was the follow up email in which Brooke called me bitchy. Not in the "OMG, Becky," kind of way but instead in the "I like your snarky voice" kind of way. Seriously, people? Best. Feedback. EVER.

I can't promise she will call you names, but I'm betting an hour on the phone with Brooke Warner may be an investment worth considering for those thinking about a writing coach.

You're welcome.


Consider this the epilogue. If you are still reading, you are being rewarded for dealing with my long-winded-ness with a chance to score an hour long phone consultation of Your Very Own with writing coach extraordinaire, Brooke Warner. No, I am not making that up and yes, I did check with Brooke first before making this little announcement. Normally, these sessions run are not free, so consider this a big BIG opportunity to save some moolah and get some kickin' feedback on your little ole' work in progress.

To enter, leave a comment explaining why you think you would benefit from a phone consult with The Divine Ms. Warner. Make it good, people. I have a semi-secret-but-not-really panel of four judges who will be helping me decide who gets to make The Call for a Consult!

Entries will be accepted through midnight, EST, on Wednesday, May 25.

The Typo Queen Strikes Ag...Oh Never Mind

I got tired of sitting here with my thumb up my ass waiting for responses to a few queries still floating around in Publishing Land, what with not having a clue what I had even sent out to whom and all, so I took the initiative (read: HC Palmquist made me do it) and trolled through my gmail account to set up a proper excel sheet. You know, so I'd have half a clue. I cringed at some of the quick form rejections, smiled at the You Don't Suck, The Market Does responses, and even did a little jig when I saw an invitation to query an agent with future projects.

Then? I saw this:

Dear (Mystical Gatekeeper Agent Person), When you see my query you also will see a very obvious typo...in the title of my book. While I am known to typo more often than should be legal, I am well aware of how to spell "Sane." Unfortunately, I am coming down with a cold and shivered while attempting to make the correction. That is when my fingers hit send for me before my head fixed the word. I understand if this takes me out of the running for consideration. But I did want to take a moment to explain myself. Please have a wonderful weekend.


Pauline M. Campos

So, who's surprised that I never heard back from this agent?

Anyone? No?

Yeah...I figured as much.

Mamavation Monday: 1,350 Days

On Oct. 17, 2006, I found out I was pregnant. We had been trying for 18 months. I was just 20 pounds from my goal weight when I got the news that motherhood was about to turn my life upside down, but who cared? I was baking a baby bun in my oven. Screw you, PCOS, Insulin Resistance, and hypo-active thyroid. We won.

And? I was going to look super cute doing the first time mama thing. For the first five months, I did okay even though the pregnancy sucked. I was diagnosed with hyperemis and hospitalized three times for dehydration, but I was still in the "You're Pregnant?" category for much longer than I had ever imagined. Of course, that all changed when my body decided pregnancy sucked even more, and I gained 20 pounds in the last four weeks, and despite already being on bed rest, my blood pressure spiked to dangerous levels. Buttercup was born 37 weeks early on June 12, 2007 after an emergency induction. And after squeezing 6.7 pounds of baby out my hooha, I walked out of the hospital 45 pounds heavier than I had been before this whole business began.

But still, I had high hopes (read: expectations) that I was going to lose it all as fast as I gained it. All I needed to do was work out and eat right. And that brand new jogging stroller was gonna earn it's keep. Of course, nothing ever goes as planned. And I sure as hell wasn't planning on being hospitalized three times in the first six weeks of Buttercup's life for what my midwife referred to as the worst cases of mastitis she had seen in her entire career. I hadn't figured on the breast reduction I had in 2002 being a factor in my breastfeeding, but there it was, and I had to wean myself and put her on the bottle to keep myself out of the hospital.

I did lose about 15 pounds without really trying after getting back home and settling in to the new routine. But walking, working out, and eating low fat anything did nothing for the muffin top that had claimed my waistline. I had plans to join a gym and get serious but instead found myself burying my father, taking in my youngest sister and my mother, and forgetting about the scale when Buttercup was just five months old.

Working out? Giving a damn about the size of my ass? That all went out the window. I was too busy taking care of my mom and sister to focus on me. Especially when The Husband came home 5 months after that to tell me he had gotten a job in Arizona. Cross country moves and retaining sanity are not ever to be placed on the same list. Not when said Husband has to leave six months before you and your child can join him and you are left to pack up the house back in Michigan. Buttercup and I arrived in Arizona on March 18, 2009, with my mom and youngest sister, of course. I started this blog and the twitter account not too long after that. And Project Baby (F(Ph)at was born. If I couldn't lose it on my own, maybe making myself accountable to all of the Internet would fix me.

Did I take consider my health issues? No. Of course not. I just figured if I wanted to do it, I was going to do it. That's how the rest of the world operates, right? Of course it does. But the rest of the world wasn't living in this body.

I finished Baby F(Ph)at on July 27, 2010. In the year it took me to write the book, I had tried a shit-load of eating plans, worked out until I was blue in the face, and lost a grand total of 16 pounds. But I still considered the journey a success. I had discovered clean eating. I had a lifestyle. Diets could and forever more kiss my ass.

A lot more trial and error and a few more tweaks to my eating habits (namely going gluten, sugar, and dairy free) and suddenly I was all LOOK AT HOW HAWT I AM NOW! And The Husband was all RAWR whenever I entered his line of vision. Which was always. Which was nice.

Then today happened. I got as naked as she was the first time I saw the daughter my body had nurtured into existence, walked up to the scale, held my breath and closed my eyes as I stepped on. It's a ritual. If I deviate from one step, the Scale Gods automatically slap fat back onto my ass and then force me to look at the number and deal with it, probably not unlike the Aztec sun gods would punish them for a poor live sacrifice by granting them a crappy harvest or something. So I count the appropriate number of held breaths before looking down...

And breath a sigh of utter relief. I had finally found the me that was there all along, hiding beneath the 45 pound muffin top motherhood had super-glued to my body just to prove a point.

And it only took 1,350 days to get here.

Milestones and Mexifros

I started blogging here with the mindset that no one was reading. That no one would read. Why would you? I wasn't famous. I wasn't giving anything away. I was just sharing my words. But I guess that was somehow enough. And 100,000 page views later, I am sitting here in awe. I am not the same person I was when I started here. And I am definitely not the same person who tried blog after blog of what I thought people would want to read before realizing I had to be true to myself for anything I said to not sound like a PR pitch.

I'll admit I was a scared shitless to drop my first F Bomb. What if I offended people? Turns out I was just being that much truer to myself and my voice. Which, yes, is peppered with profanity. You have no idea how fucking liberating that was.

Every blog post, every story I shared, was just one more piece of me opening up to the world. And each step brought me that much closer to the self-acceptance and confidence I sorely lacked while growing up.

That's me, in the fourth grade, I think. I was awkward. I was geeky. And I felt every bit the ugly duckling with my mini #mexifro in all its glory.

Before I started writing here, I never would have shared this photo. Before I started writing here, I probably would have burned this when I found it in my mom's stash of memories.

But I'm not that girl anymore. Instead, I'm this girl.

I'm sassy.

I'm confident.

I'm snarky.

And I'm loving the little bits of me that make me who I am.

Including the hair.

And the crooked smile.

And my F(Ph)at ass.

You might not think that's a big deal. But you have no idea how hard I tried to be what I wasn't. There were chemical perms to straighten the kinks. There were copious amounts of aqua net used in a misguided effort to make the bangs I cut look like the white girls I went to school with. There was that yellow sweatshirt and those glasses.

Maybe it took becoming a mother. Every day I wake up hoping to provide my daughter with a positive example of self love. I can't very well expect her to love what she sees in her own reflection if she sees me hiding from my own.

Maybe it took hiding behind my words before I became confident enough to start sharing myself in photos and videos.

Maybe it took you.

In either case, I am here now to thank you all for reading.

And? For the free lesson in the cheap therapy that is the magic of social media.

Power to The Mexifro, people. Power to the Mexifro.

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.


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.

Mamavation Monday: Classified Information

Shhhhh. *Glances about furtively*

I have to be careful with what I say here.

It has recently come to my attention that you are not the only person reading my words. There has been, it seems, a very large leak in security.

For those that are unaware, Pauline's Public Blog Privacy Policy reads something like this:

Strangers, come on in: My innermost thoughts about writing and motherhood are your playground. Point. Laugh. Call me a jackass. Relate to my cellulite and cry with me as we both step on the scale. For you, my life is an open book.

People I Knew Before I Started Blogging: Unless given express permission to even acknowledge the blog exists, stay the hell out of my head. And if you do happen to stop by? You are to pretend you didn't just learn how fat my ass actually is.

Fine Print: Friends made through social media and BFF Mel are included in the Strangers clause of this policy. The Husband, however, is totally not allowed to get all psychic just because he can log onto my blog like the rest of the world. Which might make him believe it's slightly unfair that the people in front and behind him in line at the grocery store might know about my current search for that wagon I am not supposed to have fallen off of--or what I actually weigh--but I'm totally good with this.

Turns out, it's entirely possible that when I post things like this and this that inquiring minds have taken advantage of this free speech and open internet by logging on without my express permission. And? The Husband is currently in major touble.

We were out and about yesterday, as we we are prone to do on his days off before he decides he needs to go to bed at 4 p.m. because he works midnights, and I took a minute to check my blog stats from my Droid X. I am querying right now and the only thing I can do to keep my friends from killing me with the constant verbal obsessing is the self-stalking kind that involves me, my blog, and no one else telling me to shut the hell up. But something was glitchy when I tried logging in and I got an error message.

"What the hell? My blog is down?" Instant panic grabbed at my soul. I have a zillion queries out right now and the last thing I need right now is an agent logging on to see NADA.

"Lemme look on mine," The Husband said as he grabbed his phone out of his pocket. "You might have just entered it wrong."

Sure enough, a quick goggle search brought Aspiring Mama right up onto his screen.

"Operation Google Stalk, huh?" he said, a smile in his voice.

I sped read the post in my head and nodded my approval. "Yeah, you can read that one."

"I can read that one? Whatever..." He reads off the blog post titles on the first page."

Mamavation Monday: Ams and Am Nots

The Stars Say

The Typo queen Strikes Again

On Looking into the Light

I didn't recall one of them mentioning anything I didn't want to hear about at home, except for maybe for last week's Mamavation post with the Dorito mention and all.

"Okay, you can read it all except for last Monday's."

The Husband laughed. "I can, huh? I'll have you know I log on from time to time."

"Without my permission?" My eyes are wide. My voice is shrill. I am imagining his eyes scanning over classified information like this and this. "Are you insane? People who know me aren't supposed to read this! That's like peeking into my diary without permission! I write that shit for strangers!"

The Husband laughed. Loud and hard. And the rational part of me didn't blame him.

"You're joking, right?"

I thought about every pre-natal visit he tagged along on only to turn his back, plug his ears, and whistle a happy tune when it came time for me to step on the scale because he knew that I didn't want my 200 pound , 6-foot hottie to know his formerly curvy wife had ballooned to 245. Or how he knows what I've lost...but not what I weigh.

My life is a need to know basis, people. And I? Like to pretend that people I know...don't actually know about anything going on inside of my head.

But you?

And you?

And you, too....

Come on in. Pull up a chair. Let's talk motherhood. Let's talk evil scales. Let's talk muffin tops and cellulite and assmoflauge and falling off the wagon and temptation and whether or not treadmills should just be re-branded as overpriced closets. Let's get into whether sleep is more important than working out or how exactly you manage to get it all done and make time for yourself versus me looking at the end of the day wondering how exactly I ran out of time for yoga but found the time to coordinate my cute workout gear before attacking the pile of laundry.

But if you said I DO? To ME?

If you know the color scheme at my wedding? Or the song I walked down the aisle to?

We need to talk about you pretending you have no clue what is going on over on this little blog o' mine.

As long as I don't know that you know? It's all good.

Move along, people. There's nothing to see here...

The Stars Say...

My horoscope for Tuesday:

Capricorn Nov 30 2010 Whether you're in search of the perfect job, the ideal friendship, or a wonderful marriage, you cannot attract it if you aren't honest with yourself and with those who are critical to your pursuit. You may be playing a role now, Capricorn. You want to be the person that a potential job, or friend, or marriage partner would need you to be. But you can really only be who you are. If you were to attract someone while you were playing a role, then it would not last. And, even if it did, it would not be fulfilling. Be yourself now, and you will find your heart's desire.

My translation?

So if I want an agent and a book deal, I need to stop pretending I can spell?


Official Announcement:

Dear Publishing World and Future Agent,

I can write. But let's face facts, here. I suck at this spelling business. (Note the spelling of Apocalypse in my comment on Juliette's  #zombiesurvivalcrew post here. What I actually wrote kind of resembles Alpaca Piss. Hey, at least it's entertaining for you.) Once we both admit I only think I have caught my typos (Say it with me now: Post Mama Muff Top!) and you have to deal with everything that made it through, the world will be a happier place.

There...now that we have that out of the way, I'm off to email and blog stalk myself. Which reminds me. I also have no shame.

So! Where do I sign?

Mamavation Monday: Ams and Am Nots

@aspiringmama: Sometimes? Doritos really are the answer.

Let me tell you who I am not.

I am not:


*Able to spell anything corretcly

*Interested in geting over my Tofu Phobia

*Friends with my scale

*In posession of a heaf of hair that actually moves when the wind does.

*An expert in Pubic Relations (Click on the link above for this one to make sense)

*Working out right now. (I know...I know...But my Christmas cards are almot done and the tree is up and it's preeeeeety! And, And, And? I finished and hit send on a zillion queries, mostly typo-free, so I'm busy writing a blog post as I wait for the rejections to start pouring in so I can stare longingly at The Husband's unopened bag of Doritos while I read them because I will physically need some at that point.)

Now for what I am:


*The Typo-queen (Exhibit A? My tweet stream)

*An expert in making the Post Mama Muffin Tops and Cellulite look gooood. And? I know how how to turn a hoodie into Assmoflauge by trying it around your waist and making it look like you did it to coordinate your outfit and not hide the circumference of your badonkatonk.)

*Trying my damndest to not get discouraged by my body's utter lack of interest in anything I AM doing right to try and shed some flab off my ass. (Damned Doritos.)

*Proud owner and curator of the world's first social media approved Mexi-fro.

*Still looking for my point in this post.

Oh right. I wrote a book about trying to lose the weight after the baby blew out the candles on her second birthday cake. But do I have the answers? No. Do I have a rockin' bod to show for my efforts? (Note the lack of photos in this post and assume the worst.) Hell no. Do I plan on going to the gym tomorrow? Nu-uh.

 But do I want to?

Yeah. I do.

Even when life kicks me in the softly padded ass, even when emotions sneak up and make bad things sound good (like that Doritos tweet above), I am still trying. I am still wanting to better myself and provide my daughter with a healthy example. SO i almost always eat right. I don't bitch about my thighs or my muffin top out loud. I tell her she is healthy. I tell her she is strong.

The truth of the matter is that I have health issues that aren't making anything easier. But that isn't saying I want it any less. And while I am in limbo, I am figuring the best thing I can do is look in the mirror and love what I see. Mexi-fro, muffin top, fat ass, and all.

If I can show my baby girl I am happy where I am now while I work on getting where I want to be, then it's all good. And if I never get there? I need to be able to smile and laugh and hug her close when she asks if eating her dinner will make her grow up to be healthy and strong.

Because it's all about her, people. I'm just along for the ride.

The Typo Queen (strikes again)

@aspiringmama: this might be a really funny story later. maybe. when i am dead.

Remember my pubic relations SNAFU?

I just topped it.

I know. I'm just as shocked as you are. I mean, really...sending off a cover letter for a pubLic relations job and unknowingly admitting that I'm an expert on pubes? How in the hell do you top that?

I'll tell you.

I'm in the middle of sorta kinda proving myself wrong. In the past three days I have queried four agents for Baby F(Ph)at. And before that? I sent off a query to another who's name I had already pink puffy hearted on my notebook. I'm not sure how you do it, but my little query method is to go into my Word documents, pull up the last query letter written, copy and paste into a new document, and then personalize accordingly. It's not a genius system, but it is working just fine for me and helps me keep track of where I am at in the process.


It's proven that typos are much easier to spot after hitting send.

Lemme expound on that.

I have one line in my query which uses the term "post mama muffin top." It's a quick and easy visual for the reader and a phrase I use so often on my blog and in real life I am considering having it tattooed on the actual muffin top which inspired the phrase. Right away the reader knows I am talking about having had a child, gaining weight, and then wondering why cellulite hasn't been reclassified as a substance stronger than crazy glue (read: the shit sticks like nothing else.)

When spelled correctly, "post mama muffin top" works.

When it isn't? When, say, the in on the muffin is somehow dropped in a moment of complete idiocy?

For those of you not keeping up with the program, let me (correctly) spell out my (incorrect) spelling for you.

My query to secret agent person had the phrase: "post mama muff top" in it.

As in "muff." As in my mind automatically went to a really dirty place when I read it 1,000 times after having copied and pasted the last query into a new document.Which led to a momentary breakdown and thoughts of suicide by chocolate and this tweet:

@aspiringmama: damn it. just. damn it. #neverrereadaqueryalreadysent


@aspiringmama: I should write a new book. #thetypoqueen. Just think of the money a publishing house would save on editing!

All I want for Christmas

Dear Santa, I hope this blog post finds you well.

I am sure you have already received Buttercup's Christmas list. And yes, I am perfectly aware that your sled is only equipped to carry so much,with the gifts for children all around the world thing and all, so I am already trying to explain to her that you probably won't be bringing everything on her list.

Don't worry. The Husband and I have got your back. We went out and bought a few things on your behalf and will sit back happily while she praises the man in the red suit who somehow managed to make breaking into homes not only socially acceptable, but a much anticipated event. Props to you, Santa.

Anyway, you can let the Elves know that the Sing-a-Ma-Jigs, Unicorn Pillow Pet, and Disney Princess Movies are already taken care of. We might even spring for the Dora the Explorer Power Wheel Jeep. But the rest is all you. And we'd appreciate it if you could possibly return the favor by sticking "Love, Mama and Daddy" on a few of the things you happen to drop off. Because really? It's only fair. And? We're now broke.

I've already had a few friends and family ask me what I want for Christmas. I've already got my two front teeth, so that's out. And The Husband and I are already on the lookout for another puppy, so don't worry about poking holes in a box for something cute to breathe out of. But really? My list isn't really that long. I'd like a few books, maybe Stephen King's On Writing. Perhaps the complete Harry Potter series because I have never had a chance to read it. (I know. I know. Shut up.)

I'd also like something sparkly. But don't worry. I'll ask The Husband for that. So you're off the hook again. (See how considerate I am being?)

So what do I want you to leave for me under the Christmas tree? My laptop, opened and logged in to my email account (You got into my house, big guy, so let's not be modest here. We know you've got the skills), with a brandy new and very pretty new message from my dream agent. One that, very clearly, states they love me and my manuscript. A contract would be nice, too. But you can save that for my birthday. It's the day after. I can wait.

Just think! I'm saving you space in your sled again to allow for more Christmas cheer. I'm thinking that should count for some points, yes?

I've been a good girl, Santa. Pinky promise. And? I'm leaving you some cookies on the table. But forget the milk. Since Rudolph's the one doing the actual driving, feel free to help yourself to the liquor cabinet.


Pauline (a.k.a. Aspiringmama)

URAW seeks IA (See Ad for Translations)

Pretend this is a personals ad. Hell, I got The Husband that way. I think my headline was "Mexican Princess Looking for her Prince." I was bubbly. Cute. Snarky. And ended the ad with "Now give me a reason to call you back." And? He did.

Obviously, I can't be as free with my words when querying an agent because I want to be published and have people laugh when they read my book and not unpublished with a laughable query letter. Granted, I don't have an agent yet, so the query very well may suck. But that isn't the point of today's post.

Today's question of the day, dear readers, is: If finding an agent was like finding an online date (or the old-fashioned newspaper personal), what would your personal ad say?

Let's start with the acronyms.

Thanks to the roommate freak-fest of a movie that was Single White Female all know what SWF means (and I opted to get married right out of college rather than put myself into that kind of craziness. With a man I met online. I know. Let's not talk semantics.)

Ok, so a person seeking person ad would read something like:

SWF duh, with K kids, AL animal lover,  ISO in search of AL animal loving SWM take a wild guess, K ok kids okay, who is DTE down to earth, funny, HWP height weight proportional. I love cheesy movies, nice dinners, and long walks on the beach.

Got all that? Good. Now let's move on to the agent.

First we would have to have the description

I think it would go like this:

Name: Pauline M. Campos

Age: 32

Height: 5'6''

Weight: Shut up

Eyes: Brown

Hair: See Mexi-fro

Now for the actual acronym-filled personal

URAW unrepresented aspiring writer of SMMM snarky mama-minded memoir with plans to create a national movement to make said SMMM a mandatory baby shower gift is ISO in search of IA interested agent who is TF typo-forgiving and KWTI knows what twitter is. SOH sense of humor important. You appreciate the importance of a well-placed FB F-bomb for emphasis. I am waiting for the RA right agent to OMAC offer me a contract. SM sign me and I promise you the LOP lack of platform because I DHARTSIJOABI don't have a reality TV show in Jersey or a Bump-it will become a non-issue as we begin our new journey together.

There. Now to sit back and wait for the flood of responses to come pouring in. Maybe I should go wash my hair and decide what to wear on our first date. Or buy a bump-it.

Mamavation Monday: Just Keep Swimming

It's time for a trip down Bloggy Memory Lane. All day, I've been trying to think of a topic for my Mamavation Monday post. I can't talk about the scale because we are not currently on speaking terms. I don't want to get into specifics on my gluten-free diet until I have a few more weeks under my belt. And I really haven't been working out as much as I know I should be which is obviously more than not at all.

So what to write about?  I was totally clueless. So I cleaned my kitchen. Then I was clueless some more. So I posted my weekly contribution to Bookieboo. That's where I decided to go through my archives for some motivation. And I found it.

I found a post I wrote almost a year ago. I haven't made a ton of progress on the scale since then, but I have scaled mountains in my head. So I decided to repost "An Introduction...of Sorts," mainly because no matter what the scale says, or how much my PCOS slows me down, I'm haven't given up.


If I'm going to be posting here on a regular basis, I need to set the tone for what you are going to be reading. For simplicity, let's just go with with the Pauline Top 10: 1) I swear. A lot. On my blog. In real life. In my head. And this is all even truer when referring to those rare moments when I step on the scale. It's just who I am and since I write the way I speak, let's just make it clear that I do, in fact, have a serious potty mouth. I got it from my mother. 2) I learned, after Buttercup dropped a certain word that rhymes with "Truck" to watch what and when I say what I do. But until she learns to read, the Internet is mine. 3) My body is my worst enemy and is conspiring to make me go insane. My weight loss efforts, which are obviously the main reason for joining Bookieboo, are not the kind to be associated with just having to put in the effort to see results. I am insulin resistant, have PCOS, am hypothyroid, and have a little benign tumor on my pituitary gland that makes being fat easy and getting skinny a major pain in the ass. Just one of these factors is hard enough, but all of them combined? Buckle up, ladies...it's gonna be a bumpy ride. 4) I have one child. I want to have another. But until my rear end is the same size it used to be before motherhood jacked me up, I'm not going anywhere in that direction. It might make sense to just get pregnant now and lose the weight later, but I'm more interested in a safer and healthier pregnancy than I am in just getting things (like pregnancy and labor) out of the way. 5) Results motivate me. If God sent me back as a hamster in my next life, I'd be one pissed off little rodent because jumping on the wheel and getting nowhere is *not* my idea of a good time. Because of this, I sometimes willingly jump off of my weight loss bandwagon when I hit a wall and nurse my ego with something *bad* like, say, Oreo cookies. And this happens more often than I care to admit. See #3. 6) My doctor has me going to see an endocrinologist to check me out and hopefully figure out why a 5 day a week work out schedule and proper diet is doing nothing to lower the number on the scale. Until then, I'm trying to not be annoyed with my hamster status. See #5. 7) I prefer chocolate shakes but the ice cream in my bowl had better be vanilla. Random, I know, but it's how I roll. 8) I'm also a smartass. But you probably already figured that out. 9) I used to think that all moms who didn't get skinny after birth were just lazy and had let themselves go. Then I had a kid. Karma is a bitch. 10) Fat free cheese and sour cream are not on my list of things I'd willingly eat. According to The Husband, fat free cheese is like, one particle away from being plastic, and since he says he's always right, I'm just going to go with him on this one. So give me real cheese, please. Because really, it's not that one slice on my sandwich that landed me with 40 pounds of extra fat. Can I blame the cheese cake? Yeah, probably. So there you have it. Me, in a blog post. Honest, snarky, and ready to tell it like it is.


That's when Shelley (Mamavation Mom extraordinaire) hit me with this on twitter and it  all somehow melded into a beginning, a middle, and an end.

And guess what?

I'm still swimming.

My (Pre)Acceptance Speech: Part Uno

I've thanked The Academy before. And because it's almost after midnight and I just finished cleaning the kitchen and have only a few precious moments to clear the voices from my head which are all named Muse I am going to do so again. But this time, it's for an entirely different reason. I know I am still agent-less and dreaming big, but the latter can be attributed, in huge heaping portions, to the friends who have helped me make it this far. (Cue the sappy music, please.) And because my brain has no concept of what is known throughout the rest of the world as memory retention The Husband paid for Lasik because I kept losing my glasses. On My Face. and because I am convinced my agent search will actually have a happy ending with lots of fanfare, I have taken it upon myself to start my list of thank you's now. You know, before my brain gets flooded with bright lights, book deals, dollar signs, and the tweeting birdies flying in circles round my head from the probable head injury allowing me to believe any of this will come true.

Before I attached the term Writer to my name, book acknowledgments were never read. But since then, I have read every one and really? I have no idea who any writer is able to remember everyone they are supposed to thank with all of the publishing craziness that has to be going on. In my I am Published daydream version of the giving a speech naked nightmare, I picture myself naming everyone I can think of, only to realize after the book is on the shelves that I forgot, you know, everyone else who helped me get from Chapter One to The End.

So I have a list in my Droid X. And every few days I'll add Someone Important to it. Here's what I have come up with so far:

*The Husband: Obviously. Without your support, none of this would be happening. I'm not sure if it was the "When are you going to write the damned book and make me rich" harping or the "You can do it, honey's," but one of these tactics obviously got me through this. Oh, and shut up. It took 10 years from when we met, but I did it. You're welcome.

*Buttercup: You are my everything, little one. And I know I will be paying dearly when you can read. Until then, consider yourself my Muse in Residence.

*Mom: Because of you I could indulge in 3 am writing sessions and wake up at noon to a happy, fed, and dressed toddler. Thank you for making it possible to make my childhood dream a reality.

*Pati: I love you and your Bump-it. Thanks for allowing me to make you a character in my book. Did you move out so I couldn't mark you for the next one? (Well played, my dear. Well played.)

*BFF Mel: The Husband claims you are the only person I have ever met that I actually really and truly like. Being the anti-socialite that I am, and considering I get tired of people who want to converse in person on a regular basis, this is not a point I waste time arguing. I love you. And am sure I do only because you understand the craziness in my head.

@Jterzieff: You are my writing partner, my friend, and my better half with your own amazing story to tell. Thank you. For everything.

@HC_Palmquist and @nlgervasio My first "real" friendships that sparked from a tweet. Break a pencil, my dears. Then take the world by storm.

@Jeannevb: You are The #TwitterPimp, and I count myself lucky to have been brought into your social circle. Thank you for reading, for laughing, and catching those typos.I owe you some #tequilatime. And a bedazzled pony.

@Mercedesmy: You took what I had and made it better. Then you asked for more. My ego says thank you.

@beltonwriter: For making the time to tweet, laugh, and read. You know, in between your crazy writing schedule and drinking fermented grape juice. Let me know when you publish another book in English.

Don't get your panties in a bunch if you think you deserve some ink on my list. At least not yet. I still have to write Part Dos. You know, after I punch out from Motherhood late one night and decide to forgo my beauty sleep so I can make sure I stay one up ahead of my dream.

The 300

Because I enjoy talking to myself, I've decided to commemorate my 300th blog post by having one ego interview the other. It's been months since I have done something like this, and frankly, I've kinda missed me and my witty banter. Let's not focus on the fact that I started the blog in August of 2009 which means I a) have no life b) think sleep is over-rated or c) have no life and instead focus on the fact that I obviously have no life. If this is your first time, let me explain the rules. I am a writer. Which gives me Creative License. Which also allows me to do things like talk to and argue with myself for the sake of my Art and by no means indicates any need for therapy or medication. This Creative License thing also allows me to totally make shit up, but that would be too easy, which is why I write non-fiction. (Side note: my reality is too crazy to make up, anyway.)

Today's scenario: I am a hopeful writer with a completed manuscript in search of an agent and dreaming of book deals, book tours, and being able to afford more shoes after the first royalty check comes in. Wait a minute...

The cast:

*Aspiring Mama: The snarky, cheeky mama writer who happens to eerily match the description of today's scenario.

*Pauline: The cheeky, snarky mama writer who also happens to eerily match the description in today's scenario.


Aspiring Mama: So, um, what's the point of this again?

Pauline: You are supposed to ask me deep, thought-provoking questions that allow me to showcase my brilliance.

Aspiring Mama: So I'm supposed to answer them for you, too?

Pauline: Let's not confuse the issue here. Or the readers. I think they are already a bit scared.

Aspiring Mama: I know I am. I'm talking to myself. (taking a deep breath) So let's go with something easy. You are celebrating your 300th blog post today. Anything exciting planned?

Pauline: Are you serious? It's a Sunday, The Husband sleeps during the day because he works at night, and I don't have a sitter. So by exciting, if you are referring to this blog post being counted as my only adult interaction during my waking hours and watching Yo, Gabba, Gabba with Buttercup before getting her into bed, waking him up and making his lunch before he leaves for work, then hell yeah. It's a party.

Aspiring Mama: (Clearing throat) Sounds like a great time. (Mutters under breath) Remind me not to ask you how you're doing.So, a lot of blogger peeples like to point out a few favorite blog posts during these occasions. Got any you'd like to highlight for your imaginary fans?

Pauline: Of course! Read up and marvel at my brilliance. (Or snicker quietly and pat me on the head.)

Momma's got a brand new blog

Diva Wants

The Straight. The Proud. The Observant.

What I know

Once Upon a Time

There are more, obviously, but I'm running on empty so let's just move on to the next question, shall we?

Aspiring Mama: Good deal. What else do you have going on? Aside from narrowing down the number of shoes you will purchase when you do make it big and get that book deal.

Pauline: Aside from this enthralling self-conversation, you mean?

Aspiring Mama: Hey, I'm amused.

Pauline: Good, you can comment when no one else does. So what do I have going on? A book I finished. An agent I am searching for. A waist I am busting my ass to find beneath my muffin top. Basically, lots of hurry up and wait with some big dreams and a shit load of effort thrown in for good measure.Oh, and Oprah's couch is out. So I'm hoping Ellen and The View ladies think I am hilarious.

Aspiring Mama: That would be where the Aspiring part of the Mama comes in, I'm guessing.

Pauline: You know me so well. And it only took 300 blog posts.

Aspiring Mama Seeks Anthology Submissions

It's time to change things up a bit. It's time to take the focus off of the baby f(ph)at essay contest and on to the actual anthology. I'll be honest, I'm not cut out to be a contest blogging mama. It's why I gave up my old blog and hopped on my own little wordy bandwagon over here at Aspiring Mama. But I am all about connecting with other women, other mothers, and working on an anthology that I think will speak to anyone who picks it up.

So what's the deal? I wrote Baby F(Ph)at: Adventures in Motherhood, Weight Loss, and Trying to Stay Sane...and that is my journey. I want to read about yours. How motherhood changed your perspectives about body image, weight loss, and getting into or staying in shape. I want honesty. I want to laugh. I want to relate. And I want it to read like a conversation between best friends over a few bottles of wine (after the kids are asleep, of course, which means you are totally allowed to swear.)

So far, I have a few awesome pieces from previous contest winners which will be considered for the final project, and am in search of more.

I know I’m not the only mother out there who is wondering what the hell happened to her waistline after the baby came. Or the only one who’s wishing Karma didn’t take names when I was on the other side of motherhood and passing judgment on women I knew for “letting themselves go.” Forget Hollywood moms and the fairy-tale disappearing baby pooch…I want real moms to come clean with their own stories. Make me laugh. Make me cry. Make me want to call you up and meet for coffee (sugar free and skim-milked, of course!). Make me connect with you as a mother and as a person. Just make it real.

Here are the guidelines:

* Stories must be between 500 and 1,500 words and be told in first person. This is your story…not your neighbors. Make sure to include a short bio with contact information.

*Essays should focus on the topic of weight. Suggestions include:

—Your expectations prior to becoming pregnant versus the reality

—How pregnancy changed your body

—How you lost the weight

—Acceptance of your new shape

—Balancing the needs of your children with your own

* No anonymous or author unknown submissions.

* Please submit only stories or poems that have not been previously published.

* Submissions should be sent to aspiringmama@gmail.com with “Anthology” in the subject line.

* By submitting a story, you give www.aspiringmama.com the right to re-publish and distribute your work on this website, and in any other formats (including, but not limited to, the site’s Twitter feed, RSS feed, and possible publication in a book).

And that's the deal, peeples. So who wants to share?

**Deadline is April 22,2011. Feel free to email with any questions. I look forward to reading your stories.

Mama Needs A New Pair of (Earrings)

I almost did it. Really, I did.

I almost bought a pair of Big Girl Panties. But all I could think was that I would feel like I was doing a half-assed blogging job if I left the visual out and am I really going to take photos of my panties? Even just set out prettily on the bed, that would really only serve as a reminder that I am not Kate Gosselin and do not have the means to buy the nip-tucked rockin' mom bod she's flashing for the world (and her ex) to see now. What? Me? Jealous? Bitter? What? pfft! I mean, I only had ONE kid and got royally jacked up. But who's keeping score?

The bottom line is that I'm still deciding on what to actually do to commemorate the actual rejections. But for now, Mama got herself a new pair of Pandora earrings for finishing the book. How's that for a consolation prize?

Oh, and in case you're wondering, The Husband already knows...so no need to pretend you have no idea what I am talking about.

Mamavation, explained

I have always sucked at anything that involved campaigning. My student council shut out every year of high school is a great way to illustrate that point because it was always the popular kids who got voted in but dropped out as soon as they realized they had to be at school at 7:15 for the meetings. So, like the scholastic vulture I was, I attended every meeting, sat quietly, waited for the first casualty, and then raised my hand to nominate myself when the student council adviser asked for recommendations for a replacement. It wasn't exactly good for the ego, but I got what I wanted, and the popular kids who liked waking up early voted me on because they knew I was going to work my ass off. And minus the waiting for the homecoming queen to get cramps and go home crying so I could take her seat as the official Alternate because I was that kind of cool, I fully commit to working my ass off here, too.

I announced a few days ago that I was officially throwing my hat in the ring for the Mamavation campaign. And because I know many of you are now scratching your heads and going "Wha????", give me a moment to explain.

The Mamavation campaign is a social media experiment started and managed by Leah Segedie (@bookieboo), a walking little bit of inspiration who has successfully lost over 170 pounds over two pregnancies. She runs the Bookieboo site (where I have been an editor for almost a year), which is all about making families healthy, one mom at a time. It's free to join, an awesome source of support, and the stepping point for those who may consider joining the Sistahood, which is the virtual healthy living sorority committed to learning healthy living.

I pledged and am a proud Sista now, thank you very much. Which leads me to the Mamavation campaign. I'll let Leah explain it here.

"Mamavation™ is a social experiment and weight loss campaign in social media with the goals of teaching moms healthy living lifestyle choices so they can share with their family. Mamavation™ is a two part campaign: (1) a virtual healthy living boot camp for two moms and (2) the home of the first virtual healthy living sorority in social media, the Sistahood™"

Those moms selected enter into a 7 week healthy living virtual bootcamp, tweet, vlog, and otherwise share every detail of their experience, with the goal of becoming healthier and motivating others to do the same. Click here for the scoop on the rest of the details.

So, I am going to apply. I'm putting myself out there in a way I never would have imagined when I began writing Baby F(Ph)at. But I need your support, whether or not I am selected, to make it to my goal. So read up...

from Mamavation.com

Applications are being accepted September 27th to October 5th for campaign #6. Five moms will be chosen by @bookiebooo and then those 5 moms will go up for a public vote from October 11th to 18th. The Mamavation Moms will be announced during the Mamavation twitter party launch on Oct. 18th.  Each of the five moms will have to ignite their own campaigns to get votes.  Please use hashtag #mamavation when talking about the campaign.

And in order to be considered for the campaign and possibly make the final five, I need all of you reading this blog (writers, BFFs, sisters, Sistas, friends) to tweet the following to Leah to show her that we all mean business about finding my waistline:

“Hey @bookieboo! I want @aspiringmama to be the next #Mamavation Mom. She has my support! http://bit.ly/zqUxa”

Oh, and um, tweet this message A LOT.

Just make sure you wait until the nominations are officially open, m'kay?

Come on, people. I wrote the book.

Now help me write the epilogue.

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.