Platform-The Secret Agent Monkey

I've been trying to decide for a while now how I will celebrate the day my (currently non-existent) agent calls me with the incredibly fantastical awesome news that I have a book deal. It's much like the fantasy normal people have about how they will spend their fortunes the day they hit it big with the lottery, except the ticket is a publishing house contract with my name on it. I could buy an(other) expensive purse. As in, not in the clearance section at Target. (Not gonna happen.)

I could go celebrate in Vegas...if I brought my mom along with me so we can take turns leaving the hotel room sans pre-schooler. (Boring.)

Or I could just treat myself and my little family to a nice dinner out? (Typical.)

If this ever happens, I want to mark the event with something memorable. So last night I told The Husband I was going to buy a Finger Monkey when The Day arrives.

The conversation went something like this:

The Husband: "Are you insane?"

Me: "That wasn't the topic of the conversation. The Finger Monkey is."

The Husband: "You are insane. Why do you want a Finger Monkey?"

Me: Blink, blink. "Really? Just look at that little face!"

The Husband: (Sighing) How much do those things run?

Me: That's is also not up for discussion at this point. But if I get my dream agent and they get me my dream book deal, then I'm pretty sure the Finger Monkey won't really be an issue."

The Husband: "You're dreaming."

Me: "You're forgetful. We had this conversation when we got engaged. Getting my own monkey is all part of the Master Plan."

The Husband: "What Master Plan?"

Me: "The one where I first get you to say I can get a Finger Monkey after I get a book deal and then I turn it around and convince you that you told me I could get one now and name it Platform."

The Husband: "Platform?"

Me: "Exactly. That way when another agent writes to say the book sounds interesting but thinks I need to build a bigger platform, I kindly email back with a photo of Platform: The Secret Agent Monkey, wrapped around my pointer and explain that I already have a very cute and manageable platform already. Then I ask them where I sign."

Mamavation Monaday: My Un-Famous Reality

But I am relatable. (Shut up, spell check. It's a word, dammit.) I'm overworked. Stretched in more ways than I ever dreamed imaginable.

I? Come last on my to-do list because Motherhood comes first. And that, my friends, includes the dishes and the laundry and the dusting and the mopping and the schlepping around of the Mother of All Diaper Bags because I must at all costs be prepared for The Unknown. Even if we are just going to Walgreens for vitamins and OJ.

It means cooking dinner while packing The Husband's cooler for work while chasing the damned puppy out of the kitchen while saying "uhuh" and "okay, baby" in response to questions and stories you aren't really paying attention to while promising to make it up to her later with some one on one time. Her turf. Her rules. This means I go by Mama Prince and have to wake my sleeping Princess with True Love's First Kiss. Then we giggle and color and I love that she doesn't give a flying shit about staying in the lines.

It means I showered today at 4 p.m. and put a brand new pair of pajamas on (read: yoga pants and an old T-shirt) and never bothered with a bra because who really gives a damn when I knew I wasn't leaving the house?

Nick Jr. is king in my house. If she is awake and in the room, nothing with commercials, sex, violence, swearing (shut up, I save it for the blog) is allowed. Which means that The Husband and I can recite entire episodes of The Backyardigans and know when The Fresh Beat Band has come out with a new song before we know that that something exciting has happened in the Wonderful World of Adults.

What doesn't it mean for me?

Motherood (and my reality) doesn't include nannies or television interviews because of what I do or who I am married to. It doesn't mean record deals or millions of fans across the globe who give a shit about who I am or what Target brand I wore while teaching Buttercup to ride her new new wheeler on training wheels. There are no tabloid covers, no paparazzi hiding out in my garbage cans. No plastic surgeons, no drivers, no live in help of any kind.

Which brings me back to the (slowly shrinking) muffin top I'm still sporting because My Un-Famous Reality  doesn't always allow me the time to attend to, well, me. Not all the time, anyway.

I know. I know...Other Moms do it. I get that. But I'm still trying to figure it all out. My daughter will be four in June and I'm still trying to figure myself out, for crying out loud.

And?

That's my story. That's who I am.

Look in a mirror. If you see a variation of my reflection, you are my target audience. You are who I want to connect with.You are the reason I wrote my book.

I've been querying, trying to get an agent. Not long enough to start crying, but definitely long enough to have received feedback that's making me wonder why I didn't just lie about my reality and call it fiction, because apparently that's where it's at (and yes, I am over-simplifying here) if you aren't already famous. It's called a platform, and they are required for getting a non-fiction book on the book shelves.

That's the part that brings me back to the Me Not Being Famous Thing but still having written a book that seems to require me to be famous for you to ever see it. Agents are telling me they like the project but momoirs are tough to sell. That Moms just won't buy a book buy a Nobody from Nowhere when they can buy a book by Celebrity Mom from Hollywood.

I get it. Publishing is a business. It's about the bottom line. But I don't get how an experience as universal and unifying as motherhood is limited to the Rich and Famous. I want to relate when I read.

I want to see myself and my struggle in those pages.

What about you?

Mamavation Monday: Ams and Am Nots

@aspiringmama: Sometimes? Doritos really are the answer.

Let me tell you who I am not.

I am not:

*Perfect

*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:

*Honest.

*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.

Also?

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

Also?

@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.

Sincerely,

Pauline (a.k.a. Aspiringmama)

On Me and the Speed of Molasses

Good gawd, I'm picky. I was when I was dating and I am probably worse with querying agents for Baby F(Ph)at. Case in point: I got my first boyfriend when I was 16, had three serious boyfriends before The Husband decided he was the Prince this Mexican Princess was looking for and answered my ad, and walked down the aisle at the ripe old age of Are you fucking crazy? You have your whole life ahead of you!!! 24.  Maybe I missed out on some singles fun by declining that Spring Break trip to Mardi Gras with the sorority sisters I wouldn't have paid to be friends with because I was too busy staring at the shiny new engagement ring on my finger prior to becoming Mrs. The Husband, but hell, I was happy where I was ( i had always said I would marry a guy who was half Mexican, taller than me, and spoke more English than Spanish. Guess what I got? Yep...exactly what I ordered). No need to go looking for what I wasn't.

Querying is very much the same for me. I have compared the process of searching for an agent to finding love a few times on the blog, and the comparison is still true for me. And? It explains why I have only queried 10 agents since July.

Namely? I am not a query slut.

(Don't get your panties in a bunch. I am not calling you a query slut. I am merely saying that I am not one. Big difference. Huge difference. Huge!)

Sure, I could have had my letter in the hands of 40 or 50 or more agents by now. Some may argue that I should have. But I respectfully disagree (in my case, anyway). Because when it comes to searching for an agent, I am being just as picky as I was when I was looking for my prince. If I don't get all super excited and start dreaming about how my first name would match his last how insanely awesome it would be to have THIS agent take me on as a client, then I'm not going to bust my ass to perfect the personalization on the query and send the damned thing out. It's hard enough when I want it to work out. I am not going to go that kind of crazy when I only have a name, an email address, and no idea who this person is or if anyone else has ever heard of them. (And yes, I did turn down one agent who refused to give details on her track record. Call me crazy.)

Which takes me to the search itself. I've gone through the requisite books at Barnes & Noble. I've highlighted names in my agent listing books. And? I have twitter-stalked enough agents long enough to know if I am going to continue following and query or unfollow because I'm not getting all googly-eyed at the thought of them calling me if I make myself pretty and send them a note with a box to check yes if they like me. Like my Husband requirements, my agent list is pretty specific. I'm betting she will be a mom, appreciate a properly placed F-bomb, and have an active twitter account or at least know what a tweet actually is when not referring to the sound the birds make in Snow White. Did I mention I was picky?

So maybe my search is moving slow. Okay, slow is an understatement. But that's okay with me.I'm still looking. And I'm not sweating the small stuff. The Husband answered my yahoo ad the day I was clearing out the inbox because I had decided I was going to take a break from the dating scene. The rest is obviously history.

Now...let's see how this agent match search of mine plays out. 'Cuz I could query her...or her...or maybe? Maybe I'll just wait for the next agent that has me doodling their name in hearts on the cover of my notebooks.

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.

The Typo Queen

Confession: I once submitted a cover letter for a public relations job. I didn't get the job. My qualifications were great. I would have rocked the job, too. But I am pretty sure that the individual who happened to open the email containing my letter is probably still laughing even though this story took place about 9 years ago. After all, they were looking for someone with experience in public relations. I, however, had stated in the cover letter that I had experience in pubic relations.

Yuck it up, people. Yuck. It. Up.

I remembered this little incident when my dear friend Jeanne was helping my fix a few typos in my current manuscript and realized I wasn't sure which was more embarrassing. I had "they's" where "the's" should have been, dropped hyphens, missing "I's", and a crap-load of other insanely obvious mistakes that got by not only myself, but multiple reads by various trusted writer friends. Every time Jeanne pointed a new one out, I responded with a, "Seriously?" And then I would say something witty like, "This is why I was a reporter and not a copy editor." Because really? I probably would have been a better pubic relations specialist.

I am a self-admitted Typo Queen. My brain works faster than my fingers can type and because I know what I meant to write, I usually miss what actually made it to the page. I can catch Other People's typos easily. But my own? Say it with me, people: Pubic Relations.

The point to this little trip down my typo-ridden memory lane is this: Don't trust your own eyes. Beg, borrow, and bribe multiple people to read your work. (I promised Jeanne a bedazzled pony. She obviously liked the idea.) Then ask more people. Pay for a professional copy edit, if you feel the need and have the funds to spare. But by all means, remember that fresh eyes are a must.

This is something I seem to have forgotten from my days as a city editor at a little paper where we fancy-titled individuals wrote our stories, took our own photos, and laid out the paper every week. The rule was that we couldn't edit our own work and two different pairs of eyes had to sign off on each page before it was cleared to go. The other rule was that all pages had to be edited off screen because it's easier to miss mistakes when they aren't on the printed page.

Tonight's word-fixing session reminded me of all that. Which was nice, because I'd hate for a typo to get in the way of me and my dreams which involve finding an agent and getting a book deal and are in no way related to any career choices that involve anything pubic.

It's show and tell time. What's your favorite typo story?

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.

Action!

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.

Mamavation Monday: In Which I Put it All On the Line

It's official. I have tossed my hat in the ring for what promises to be an eye-opening experience with the Mamavation campaign.

Mamavation

I posted the details a few days ago, but here is a little snippet of what the program is about and why I feel it's so important to at least give it a try and see how far I can go.

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.

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.

As I stated earlier, I wrote the book. Now I need your help to write the epilogue.

Oh, and thank you.

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 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.

The Rejection Celebration

"Embrace rejection! Wink at it, laugh, maybe bake a rejection pie. You'll get there. Why not have fun along the way?" --Agent Michelle Humphrey of the Martha Kaplan Agency as quoted in the October edition of Writer's Digest.

I couldn't have read this little piece of genius on a more perfect day. There I was, minding my own business on twitter, checking email, and working on edits when two (that's right, T-W-O) rejections came in, not five minutes apart.

To tell you the truth, the second one didn't even faze me. My eyes were still adjusting to the fact that I had struck out again from the first email.

I blinked, sighed, cursed my writer's ego for having the audacity to think that a perfect stranger would love my words, and then sighed again, straightened my back, puffed out my chest, and said, "Screw it. On to the next."

Because really, there's no where else to go but up if I plan on getting anywhere. But that's easy to say now, of course. When the next response comes floating in, I'll be a bundle of nerves as a gather up the courage to actually open the email, and then holding my breath while I wait for the next batch of courage to be gathered up before I can actually open my eyes. And then...

Well...

It's either a happy dance or a rejection pie. Or maybe rejection shoes? Or perhaps a pair of rejection earrings?

I asked The Husband today what he thought I could treat myself with every rejection I face and overcome; something that would make me smile, laugh, and a little bit giddy. He automatically suggested going out for a drink with a friend and getting whatever girly drink comes in those big ol' take-me-home glasses so I could start my own collection. Then he stopped, looked at me, and said maybe that wasn't such a good idea. After all, I really don't have time to join AA.

"But I can't bake a rejection pie!" I wailed. "I wrote a book about my ass being too big. Baking a pie is really kind of counter-productive, considering I'm only on number 8 of what could be an incredibly long line of doors slammed in my face. Think of the calories!"

"A glass of wine then? One for every rejection?"

I just looked at him. "Really? I'm trying to find something I don't usually do on a regular basis."

"I thought we had ruled out AA meetings," he countered.

"Right...what about shoes? I could buy a pair for every..."

"No." He didn't even let me finish the sentence. And honestly, that hurt.

"I could get a new book for the nook, maybe?"

He laughed. "Like you'll have time to read that many."

I raised an eyebrow. "Seriously?"

"Um, I didn't mean..."

This time I cut him off.  " Whatever. How about a new silver charm for my pandora bracelet? I kinda like that idea."

"That could be a lot of charms..."

"Did you forget to turn your filter on this morning?"

His eyes twinkled and the corners of his lips twitched for just a moment before he regained control and he was able to speak. "I just meant, maybe you can think of something a bit more affordable? You're the one who said this wasn't going to be easy."

And he's right. I am the one that said that. Which means me thinking I can buy a $25 charm for every rejection means I need a job to support that Rejection Celebration habit I'm trying to start.

So I need ideas, peeples. Something fun that won't break the bank. And I'm fully expecting my comments to explode on this post because I know I am not the only person in the world looking for a pick-me-up when I get another no from another agent. Ideas, peeples...Do you celebrate your rejections? What's your guilty pleasure?

*Update: The Husband said ponies are out of the question.

Baby F(Ph)at Winner #4: Being a Mom Means Never Having to Say You're Tubby

"You're lucky," my sister-in-law said to me as we stood in the baby-to-be's room, "you won't have to get fat." I made some kind of low murmuring noise and then changed the subject. She was right. We were adopting. I wouldn't have to deal with any of the unsightly weight gain, the bloating, the stretch marks. My daughter would be home within a month and, when she was only four-days old, I would hold her in my slim arms and walk briskly around the house without waddling or feeling the ache of stitches.

Wasn't that one of the benefits of adoption? Of course, I would have love to have carried my daughter around for nine months, but wasn't I glad that I would be able to retain my naturally skinny shape? It seemed like a gift. Yet, the idea of not being able to be pregnant, to not have the ability to get fat for my child, stung so much.

It wasn't just my sister-in-law who noticed my lack of motherly figure. A month after my daughter came home, she and I went to the zoo. We met another mom and baby near the hippopotamuses and stopped to talk.

"How old is she?" the woman asked, cooing over my child's adorably chubby cheeks.

"One month."

"You gave birth a month ago?!"

"No, my daughter was adopted."

"Oh," she breathed in relief. "I really felt bad there for a second."

While I was at home for three months with my daughter, the stress of taking care of a new baby, coupled with my anxiety during the months of waiting for her to come home, kept me thin. I ate almost as little as my child, who now topped out at four ounces of formula every few hours and who was rapidly gaining weight.

When I went back to work, I got lots of compliments on my appearance.

"You look great!"

"You're so thin!"

But they all seemed so undeserved. I was just the same. I hadn't done anything. Motherhood had not changed me at all.

It was a while before I started to notice a difference. I had always loved going to vintage shops. I would usually breeze through the store, buying clothes right off the rack without ever trying them on.

"That's weird," I said to my husband as I yanked up the zipper on a hot pink pencil skirt. "This doesn't fit."

He made a low murmuring noise.

"What did you say?"

"Nothing," he replied quickly, eyeing the fabric as it strained across my hips.

I began to notice the legs of models in magazines. They're so thin, I would think, as downed the last bits of my daughter's uneaten hot dog in addition to my own dinner. One night, I tried on some sandals in front of the full-length mirror in our bedroom.

"Do I have cankles?" I asked my husband.

"Yes. No, wait. What are cankles?"

"It's a calf-ankle," I explained. "It's basically fat ankles."

"No," he replied robotically, "you do not have cankles."

Just last week, I took my daughter and my mother out to lunch at McDonald's. My daughter sat and happily munched French fries while I took hungry bites out of my Big Mac.

"God, these jeans are so tight," I moaned, feeling the waist band cut into my stomach.

"Time for a new pair," my mother replied simply.

"They must be shrinking,” I assured myself, as I usually did nowadays.

She made that low murmuring noise.

"It's that or I'm gaining weight."

"Well," she replied, looking from my daughter to me, “these things happen. You are a mother now."

I just smiled and took another bite from my sandwich.

Lisa Galek is a writer and editor for a greeting card company who also happens to be searching for a publisher for her YA novel. She's also a very lucky wife and a proud mom to a two-year-old girl through open domestic adoption. You can find out more at LisaGalek.blogspot.com.

Mamavation Monday: Let the Hazing Begin

I posted this last Monday on Bookieboo, the mom-centric, healthy living site I write for... I've been blogging for Bookieboo for quite a while now and yet...I haven't exactly been participating fully. Granted, I was writing a book and recently came up for air with a completed manuscript and realized my house had gone to hell in the year I had my head buried in Baby F(Ph)at, but that's besides the point.

I wouldn't be here if I didn't believe in the message...or want to become a healthier mom...or think Leah was the cutest thing ever. Because I do.

(And she is.)

Frankly, I can't fathom the idea of losing 170 pounds. The thought is utterly beyond me. And that's probabably because my body is stubbornly holding on to much much less and my mind is stubbornly ignoring the little bits of Ben & Jerry's that get beyond the gate here and there and how much that little bit probably isn't helping...but still. I'm here. I wrote a flippin' book about it. And I'm still trying.

I don't plan to stop trying, either.

So here's the deal---I am officially planning to pledge to become a Mamavation sista. Sure, it might seem a bit backwards, what with already being a Bookieboo editor, and all. But I'm late for everything. The point is that I'm here.

And I'm not going anywhere.

Those of you who have been reading Aspiring Mama and my posts at Bookieboo know that I tell it like it is. If I have a good day, I tell you.

If I have a bad day, I tell you that, too.

Motherhood is not for the weak. my blog isn't for those who want the sugar-coated side of motherhood and fitness. Like right now? I could tell you that potty training is going great, my house is spotless,and I'm about to kick back and pop some fat-free bon bons or that I'm eating great and working out and sis boom bah but I won't because I'm not. (Well, I am eating great...but let's just say that if I had a treadmill in my living room, it would probably be doubling as a coat rack right now.) For me, it's all about relating. And that means clinking the sippy cup I'm holding for my kid with the moms I pass in the trenches.

It's another day. I'm ready.

Are you?

And wouldn't you know it? I got in. I'm a Sista. It's only been a week, but I can already tell you that this is going to be boatloads more fun than the nightmare of a sorority experience I had in college. So yes, I'm excited. And I can't wait to see what happens.

Bat(ter) Up!

The book is done. Queries are out. My house is almost, kinda, sorta clean.So this makes for a perfect time for Buttercup to decide to get sick after a preschool tour and me end up on the couch for three hours last night wondering if I wanted to curl up into a ball and cry because of my own tummy ache, too. Thankfully (or not) I had Billy the Exterminator to keep me company for those three hours...mainly because I didn't feel like getting up to find the remote. This left me with plenty of time to ponder the deeper meaning behind hairspray and mullets, fashion versus practicality in the areas regarding the removal of bees while wearing enough black to guarantee getting stung way more times than anyone would consider a good time, and if Billy has his shit together when it comes to making me question my mascara.

I might be a bit behind the 8-ball here (and I usually am so don't look surprised) to learn that the Mullet Master of Louisiana is running around in his Vexcon truck telling his camera man that bat guano has many beneficial uses in today's society...like the streaking upon of eyelashes by modern women like myself. And I know I'm behind because when I decided I was concerned enough with the absolute maybeness of this statement to get up, turn on my netbook, and do a Google search to find out if I should kick myself or thank myself for even considering anything to be fact when uttered by someone sporting a mullet, I found out that plenty of other eyelash-owning, mascara-wearing Billy the Exterminator viewers of the female persuasion had been concerned enough to do their own investigating. Which put me in some pretty interesting company. (Go ahead...look it up on youtube. I dare you.) Turns out, Billy is full of shit. Kind of. In case you give a damn, guanine is a synthetic derivative of guano (bat doo-doo) made from fish scales, which apparently is the FDA-approved way to go. So if you are a vegan or vegetarian, I'm guessing you don't use the stuff. I, however, thoroughly enjoy the fact that I don't have to hunt my meat to eat it, or scale my fish to make me eyes pretty. I will, however, make sure to have the remote handy the next time I feel sick enough to watch three hours of television in a row.Then again, I got my mind of the queries.

Disclaimer: I got my research info here and here. No actual experts or mullets were contacted in the name of verification.

Reverse Nesting

Something strange happened when I finished writing Baby F(Ph)at. In short, I looked up and realized I suck as a housewife when I'm knee-deep in a manuscript. After a year of getting by with frantic "just throw the extra shit in the closet!" sessions reserved for guests and making sure we had enough clean laundry so no one was wearing anything nasty, I finally saw the house through the eyes of my alter-ego, (Mexican) June Cleaver. And aye...Ward has reasons to question if he's man enough to stick around when I get to writing that next book.

While it's true that I finished the book before I left for BlogHer, it's also true that I was away from home until last week. And after a few days of doing the blissful nothing I demand after 20 days of non-stop family, I blinked...and then it all came into focus.

The dust covered blinds (I wrote my name one one...kinda cool, actually.)

The junk drawer so full of random crap that it wasn't even closing anymore.

The closet. Which we couldn't fit the vacuum into. And that's a problem.

The dust bunnies under the couch (which are now getting their own mail forwarded to my address.)

The linen closets (not just for linen anymore! Holy shit! That's where that other thing I don't need went to...)

Needless to say...I have my work cut out for me.  That's why I started a to-do list with one or two projects to be tackled daily. Like the dusting and the evicting of the dust bunnies. Or the junk drawer and the closet. Or telling The Husband to bite me and to shove it when he tells me I suck as a housewife when I'm writing a book. Or maybe just telling him to fuck off and then laughing because I can't keep a straight face because he is so totally right.

It's been about a week since I started my reverse nesting. That's what I like to call this phase. Moms-to-be nest when a baby is on the way. Been there, done that, got the T-shirt. Moms who are writers nest after they (I) finish a book and figure out they (I) better haul ass on Operation Clean House before the next project is officially started. (While they (I) are (am) querying.)  Because that's such a relaxing combination.

And when I type Chapter 1? Again?

It's house, hell, and hand basket...all over again.

Bring it.

Until then, I'm gonna whistle while I work and rock this happy homemaker thing.

What I Could've Done

I wrote a book. The magnitude of this statement is still not something my mind has wrapped itself around. Maybe it's because it's still too foreign of a concept.

I start a lot of things.

I rarely follow through. (Except for the pushing the baby out thing, because by that point, I really kinda didn't have a choice.) So when I say I wrote a book, I am also saying I could have not, just was easily.

I could have let my Muse run the show, claiming diva-hood and migraines. I could have decided that why yes, I much rather would have watched Castle, Fringe, Bones, Burn Notice, Ghost Hunters, and every other show that I have ignored for the past year while writing during the only time I actually have to myself. I could have slept because really, who needs more than four hours a night? For a year. With a toddler for an alarm clock. a lot more than I have been. I could have not been as pressed for time during the day to get my housework done because it wouldn't matter if I needed to play catch up on the laundry after Buttercup got into her little toddler bed. I could  have read more for pleasure or enjoyed a movie night or two with the zillions of never seen DVD's I have sitting on my entertainment center. I could have concentrated too hard on the publishing stats and my chanced and just given up. I could have...I could have...I could have...

But I didn't.

I wrote a book.

And now?

I'm going to work my ass off to get it published.