BabyFat 2.0 (I'm Here)

Once upon a time, I used to log in on this little ol' blog of mine just to share something funny or blow off some steam or remind you (me) why you're (I'm) beautiful. And then Facebook happened and I started sharing my little bits there which eventually led to a lotta bits not being shared over here and then, eventually, I stopped showing up. Here. In my own space. I need to work on changing that. 

That's why I'm here right now. To share something I almost shared on Facebook. I totally get a cookie after I hit publish because I'm here right now. I'm here to tell you some of the biggest news of my literary career to date. I'm here to tell you that my publisher is closing. My book, along with every other book by every other author, will be pulled from circulation on May 31. 

But it's okay. The news broke a few weeks ago. I don't have time to speculate what went wrong or how things could have been different. Things just are, and that's that. I spent the better part of May freaking the hell out and pretty much convinced that the world was over. Dealing with this during one of my worst depressive phases really didn't help matters at all. And then I got my head out of my ass (sort of) and teamed up with a few incredible people to make sure the book I poured six years of myself into doesn't just quietly disappear. 

Sneak peek of the back cover! 

Sneak peek of the back cover! 

 

I'm here to tell you that BabyFat will be back. I'm here to tell you that BabyFat is being self-published and I am so fucking thrilled at all the possibilities and opportunities now available to me because I'm the one driving this boat. The Bloggess and her incredible blurb are still on that incredible front cover by Michelle Fairbanks of Fresh Design BC. I'm here to tell you that I'm calling the shots now and I'm getting BabyFat into bookstores and busting my ass for bookclubs and working on press releases for the media. I'm here to tell you that I'll be approaching hospitals and OB offices and honoring my efforts put into this book with equal efforts in promoting it and that the cover is new and improved and that it turns out Scary Mommy blurbed BabyFat twice and that the blurb in my email from 2010 is the one being used on the new cover because it's fucking perfect and I love it oh so very much and I hope that you do, too. 

I'm here.

 

#ScrewHumble

I've been told - and quite often, actually - that I suck at marketing myself. I don't deny or argue this fact. I'm a creative who is usually too busy focusing on the next thing to be done (blog post/book synopsis/art piece/essay/advice column) to focus on the business side of things. Which, if we are being totally honest, sucks big, giant balls.

Ginourmous ones, actually. 

I wrote this book once . #ScrewHumble

Here's the deal: You can be the best at whatever it is you do. You might even be fucking incredible at what you do. You gave it your all and are making those dreams you've harbored since your days of eating paste during show and tell in kindergarten. YOU SHOULD BE FUCKING PROUD OF YOU. Unless you're still eating paste. I'd wager it's fair to say that if you are still doing that, we've got a problem.

For those of you who kicked the habit in the first grade, it's time to talk turkey. Even if you and your tiny little slice of the internet are proud of you and your awesomeness, you aren't going to be climbing any higher than where you currently stand if only you and your tiny little slice of the internet are aware of your very existence. On the flipside, maybe you're slightly obnoxious and entirely lovable in 140 and twitter/facebook/instagram/pinterest/your blog/tumblr/snapchat/vine/youtube/periscope/blab is totally your bitch, we need to verify that twitter/facebook/instagram/youtube/pinterest/your blog/tumblr/snapchat/vine/periscope/blab is actually aware that your particular platform of choice is in fact, your bitch.

THIS LADY thinks that book I wrote is awesome.  You should buy hers . Right now. 

THIS LADY thinks that book I wrote is awesome. You should buy hers. Right now. 

What do I mean by that? Sharing yourself and your talents with your fans and audiences is a good thing. You build a following that way and this is a good thing. But, if like me, your goals include things like All the Book Deals and Podcasts That Not Only My Mother Listens To and Best-Selling Books and Legions of Fans Everywhere, you need to reassess how it is that you present yourself online. I'm not talking about covering your tattoos here for the dayjob. What I am referring to is everything that I happen to suck at; namely, showcasing your street cred when there is most defintely street cred to be showcased.

Read that last sentence again because yes, I'm talking about me, too, here, and yes, that probably sounded a little pompous. Wherein lies one of the biggest reasons so many of us are busting our asses for little recognition when those already following our journeys are left to wonder when the universe is going to wise up and give us that big break we totally deserve -- we don't want to sound like assholes who are stuck on ourselves but we don't know how to find the right balance of pride and humbleness that is going to feel right and get the job done. That's where I lose interrest in the whole thing and say screw it, throw my hands up in the air (because I truthfully do not care most days), and distract myself from sucking at self-promo with a sharpie, a new ceramic tile, and a sassy #Chingonafest quote that probably would fall apart if I took the F-bomb out. 

See what I mean? 

See what I mean? 

I've had this conversation with a number of respected colleagues recently and every single time it happens it's because of a new project or promo requiring a long bio and stats for vetting purposes. If I've reached this point in a convo with another party, it's usually because they already know something about me and it was enough to get them to ask for more details. This, my friends, is when the conversation comes to a screeching hault because the street cred currently impressing the other party is - and this is important, people - SHIT THEY SHOULD HAVE ALREADY KNOWN. Turns out, I'm totally awesome but I'm awesome INSIDE MY HEAD and pretty much only inside my head. I'm not shy by any stretch of the imagination, but I've had Don't Show Off beat into my head since I was old enough to realize being the oldest meant new shoes and hand-me-downs made my little sisters hate me.

I'm not going to pretend to have suddenly become an expert at self-promo because I am not now and probably never will be. What I do know is this:

Being humble is killing the potential, people.

We need to stop standing in our own way.

After the Evolve or Die panel at Be Blogalicious with fellow speaker, Karen Walrond. Yes, I fan-girled. No, I am not ashamed. 

After the Evolve or Die panel at Be Blogalicious with fellow speaker, Karen Walrond. Yes, I fan-girled. No, I am not ashamed. 

So, I challenge you to celebrate you and all that makes you fabulous: in your online bios and media kits and blog posts and facebook statuses. Tell your husband that your ass looks fabulous in those jeans you just bought because asking him if they make your butt look big is doing nothing for your self-esteem and everything to make sure you continue to leave the acknowledgement of your worth up to someone else. See where I'm going with this? No? Lemme show you:

Things I should have tattooed to my forehead (Read: #ScrewHumble)

And just wait until I get my shit together and itemize this list into individual tweets and social shares. I'm just getting started. I've got a lot to learn, and I may never have this marketing thing entirely right, but I'm doing okay, I think. Now? It's your turn.

What's on your #ScrewHumble list?

BabyFat: Vote for the Cover Design!

For the new kids in class, let  me simply say I am the most indecisive woman in the world. New restaurants and menus are potential marriage wreckers, second guessing always means I made the wrong choice the second time, and asking the waitess to take back the meal I hated and bring me the one I said I wanted to try first instead mean that desiging the BabyFat: Adventures in Motherhood, Muffin Tops, & Trying to Stay Sane cover is like watching a tennis match between two crazed squirels.

I love my designer, Michelle from Fresh Design, and I think we need to be friends In Real Life. But before I ask for her address to exchange Christmas cards, I figure I'd better get her a final answer on the bool cover.

That's where YOU come in, Internet. Let's not pretend here. I suck at making decisions and you know it. The easisest way to resolve this situation is for you to help me make the final decision because narrowing down to the baby tush concept was hard enough and I can't make any more decisions this month or my brain may implode.

So you get to choose, Internet. 

Which cover do you think says New York Times Best Seller? 

Here's the deal, Internet: I will choose the cover that YOU choose. Each one shown here has its own appeal, ands while I do have a favorite or two, I'm not at all set on one over the rest. Considering my publisher's desire to get BabyFat actually published and in your hands -- a desire I fully support, by the way -- I figured I needed to own up to my lack of ability to make Actual Decisions to keep this train on track.

So vote! And if your're interested in joining my #BabyFat Street Team to help get the word out about my book, send me an email to aspiringmama@gmail.com (subject line: #BabyFat Street Team), friend me on Facebook, or tweet me with the hashtag so we can make All the Noise together! (Speaking of All Things BabyFat, did you submit your tweet to appear in the book yet???) 

I can't wait to see which you choose, y'all. Also? I'd been wondering when one stands on their probverbial mountain top to share with the world how she nearly fell down dead when Jenny Lawson agreed to blurb my book, but I guess that cat's outta the bag now. File this one under: It Never Hurts to Ask and Anybody Who Says Social Media Friends Aren't Real is An Asshole with No Friends on Social Media. 

A Thing or Two About Me Not Being An Expert

I'm not a social media expert. I am a social media addict who has over 70 thousand twitter updates on just one of my accounts, this blog, another website, a print and online column, two Facebook fan pages, and an instagram stream that serves as my lazy substitute for scrap-booking. So maybe I'm not an expert, but I feel pretty fucking confident about a thing or two.

Since my Latina column became A Thing, I've been working to build community, find my tribe, and follow the buzzword trail to that social media utopia where the world waits with baited breath for that rare moment when I have time to post an update and proceeds to like, retweet, and plus the hell out of the silly shit I share. My goal, for reference, is something between a Scary Mommy social media mafia and Jenny Lawson's very existence. Which probably sounds weird, but only if you've never read the blog post that started the Metal Chicken Revolution. Go ahead, read it. I'll wait. Because at least then I'll know you understand where I'm coming from.

I've been online five-and-a-half years. In that time, I've amassed a decent flow of blog hits per month, some 6-thousand plus followers on my two main twitter accounts, and a smattering of likes and followers on the rest of my regular social media channels. That might sound like a lot. Or it may not.

Because sometimes feel like I am sending out updates that seem to fade into the Great Nether without having any real impact, I started asking friends for tips. How do I foster engagement? Spark conversations? Hit the retweet lottery? Get me some of that Google + community action? Build community??

The responses I got had me adding more to my already insane To Do list. Tweeting and instagramming and pinning and sometimes remembering to post to my fan pages on facebook might take a few moments, but it doesn't seem like work because they are as automatic to me as breathing. Adding more to that equation to build my platform basically made my brain explode.

I found myself on Google +, which is a great social media channel, but one I often treat as an afterthought. I spend an evening joining communities and creating a few of my own because -- who knew? -- a successful community there is the new black, and for about a week, I was all into it. After I hit my regulars, I was on G+ sharing my inspirational quotes and trying to build more buzz for my column with a community dedicated to All Things Spanglish and another for Girl Body Pride. The response was great, but one day, probably yesterday, I just stopped driving myself up the Wall of Craziness.

Sure, I could pay a monthly fee to Hootsuite to allow for the pro options of updating every social media outlet known to man at the same time, but Maybe Later and I need to focus on what I can realistically handle on my own right now. Because that's where I am.

So I found myself falling back to my good old friend, Twitter, as my mainstay because it's what I know. I write here when I have time, (or make time depending on the topic). And I stopped giving a shit (again) about where I'm not.

Here's the thing, Internet; maybe Scary Mommy and Jenny Lawson have built successful blog communities that have led to bigger and greater reach. Maybe Google + communities are the place to be and I'm missing the boat. And maybe Will Ferrell can say Shaggy didn't do it and sit back and watch the retweets fly. But they didn't succeed because Twitter/Facebook/Google made it happen. They succeeded because, no matter where they were or which social media format they chose, they connected with their readers and fans.

See?

It's not the medium. It's the message.

That's the epiphany that I tripped over as I ran from Twitter to Google to Facebook to Google to the nearest bottle of wine. It's not the medium. It's the message.

If you like the simple things like breathing and sleeping, stop making more work and less time for yourself buy trying to spread yourself too thin in the name of Building Your Platform. That's kind of like tossing a handful of balls in the air and hoping a few are reflexively caught by those walking by. You want to build your tribe? Find one person who gets what you have to say. Make eye contact. And throw a pitch directly at them. Maybe it's not as splashy as the first option, but it's the more effective option.

My new plan is to not make a plan. I'm sticking to what I know and what I do.

And I'm going to do them fabulously.

What about you?

 

Only Cool Parents Bring Small Children to a Book Signing with The Bloggess

I passed my Internet to IRL Stalker test yesterday. And with flying colors, to boot, having driven two hours to wait three for five minutes with The Bloggess.

I also did not know that bringing a five-year-old to a book signing on a Saturday night would grant me the opportunity to skip ahead in line and save about an hour of just standing there, but I do now and plan to keep a random five-year-old on standby for book signings and Stalker Re-certification training because mine will eventually age out.

Jenny is amazing, and you already know that, so it's not like I made The Husband drive me just so I could let it slip to anyone that would listen that I, like, totally already know Jennybecausethatishernameyouknow and follow up with this little story about how she once pet my mexifro in a Hilton bathroom. Now that I think about it, that sounds kind of raunchy, and it's probably why The Husband got excited when I first told him that story two years ago until he found out that Jenny isn't a redhead. And it totally explains why he got all huffy and told me to stop embellishing my stories when he read my blog and realized she just hugged me in the bathroom and asked me to show her my mexifro and then I took a picture of it and posted in online for the world to see. I, personally, don't really see why he got all worked up.

I would write more, but I'm functioning on about two hours of sleep after being kept awake all night by some horrible and mysterious food allergy reaction, thereby proving my level of suckness has been upped to code She's Probably Just a Giant Fucking Hypchondriac So Let's Serve her the Peanuts and See What Happens on the national registry of dinner guests. And then, because destroying my own dignity wasn't enough last night, one of the dogs had her ass explode multiple times from only God knows what and I somehow managed to not throw up on my MacBook every time I sat back down after cleaning the mess up to work on Girl Body Pride. I think my point was that I'm tired and then I wrote a bunch of shit saying how I wasn't going to do exactly that so let's all blame the Adderall for only lasting four hours before I start pissing you off again.

So here are the highlights: a small child that was not my own raised her hand to ask The Bloggess why she is so freaking awesome and her mother automatically won for Coolest Mother of the Year because, obviously. And then a small child that is my own tried getting a reaction out of me today by dramatically calling out LIKE, WHAT THE FOOT, MOM???? before falling down into a pile of giggles and cluelessness because there was this microphone and this book reading and there's probably going to be a few very offended teachers tomorrow when other people's kids get that last part right...in public...because that's always a bonus.

The other best parts of the night includes Jenny graciously accepting a Buttercup original artwork and making one little girl's day when Mommy's Writing Friend promised to hang it in her office because that makes her a real artist. The Husband giving up his day off to drive two hours so we could wait for three hours for five minutes with a woman I am proud to say actually remembered me when I stood before her was also a bonus. And when I walked away with my smiling kid and my signed copes of her book and he started talking about what it will be like when it's my turn after I get published while we drove back home, I just smiled and let him dream out loud.

 

The Me That I Am

I'm having a pretty shitty Writerly Ego day. Actually, it's kind of been a shitty Writerly Ego month, to be perfectly honest. And when I've shared this little emotional nugget with the BFF and The Husband, I've received a raised eyebrow and a "YOU HAVE A FUCKING AGENT" in response to my pity party. I get where it's coming from. I am in a position a lot of writers would kill for. I have a wonderful agent who thinks me and my writing are worth something and deserve a place on the shelves at Barnes & Noble next to writers I admire like Jenny Lawson Jill SmoklerRobin O'BryantAnna Lefler and Heather Armstrong. It seems, however, that the platform I am currently standing on may not big enough to get there. Or maybe it just feels like that because I'm a writer and us artistic types are moody and overly emotional and maybe I just need a vodka-flavored cookie. Because really? I'm pretty proud of my little platform. I bust my ass for free because writing is who I am and what I do and the writing part is actually more important than getting paid part...for my sanity, at least. The bills sitting on my desk waiting to be paid, however, would rather I stop trying to stay Not Crazy and just get a fucking job that probably wouldn't leave me the time to write for the awesome sites I contribute to.

I love sharing the funny on An Army of Ermas and Funny Not Slutty. Getting a spot on best-selling author Lissa Rankin's Owning Pink site is something I will forever be proud of. I've been published on Hippocampus Magazine and almost fell over when StoryBleed accepted the same piece for publication on their site. And then what I've got going on over here on this little ol' blog o' mine. I'm working on getting my name out there and my writing on more outlets, but these things take time. And Platforms don't build themselves overnight.

I'm by no means in the same stratosphere as the likes of Dooce or The Bloggess or Scary Mommy and that's okay with me. I'm not trying to be them. Just me. And hopefully the Me that I Am will one day be enough.

Maybe this sounds like a Poor Me post, but I don't mean it to. Instead, I wanted to let other aspiring writers out there know that the days of doubting yourself don't end the moment you sign that contract with your dream agent. And, I'm sure my published writer friends will tell me that they sure as hell don't end when a book deal is offered or the day their books were released or even the day they got their first glowing review. Because once someone Other Than You believes in your work, it's not just your ego riding on how many readers connect with that essay you got placed in that literary magazine that you love or how many hits per month your blog is getting or how much better you feel just for having taken the jumbled words out of your head and making some sense of them in a new piece you just started.

Every level of success reached is both a validation of our talents and a new reason to Freak the Fuck out, but it's a lesson in the writing life that I seem to keep having to be reminded of. Three months ago I was still waiting for the Moment All of My Dreams Would Come True and then the world turned upside down when they did because I signed with my agent. That singular moment took two years to make a reality. And you would be right of you guessed that the Freaking Out commenced after the shiny newness of my situation sunk in. It's not just me and my ego on the table anymore. It's me and my ego and my agent's time and effort and enthusiasm and Belief in What I Am and Have Yet to Become.

But if I think back, I probably went through the same little Self-Doubt Fest when I was accepted onto my college newspaper's staff and when I saw my first byline and when I was assigned to cover my first murder case at the city newspaper that hired me right out of college. And then again when I left the newspapers to freelance and when I started this blog and when I woke up this morning and my little girl told me that I'm the best mother in the world.

So maybe shitty Writerly Ego days are just part of the process and part of what makes us who -- and what -- we are. It's our literary equivalent of the trap women set for men when we ask if This Dress Makes Us Look Fat because we really only need to be reminded that in their eyes we are beautiful no matter what how that dress fits us. My platform is what it is. My ass? Probably looks horrible in that dress. But it's okay.

Because tomorrow I'm still going to write something. And someone is going to read it.

Silver Ribbons

A lot of us hide behind our words. It's easier that way. Usually, anyway.

But then the voices inside our heads that can only be expressed with our fingers on our blogs or in our journals or in our essays remind us that we can't always keep the secrets at bay.

If we had cancer or leukemia or a physical disability that other people could actually see. . . it might be easier. . . maybe. But instead we have our prescriptions and our therapists and our internal struggles and our own issues with shame because we know there is something. . . different. . .

And sometimes that makes us feel like less than we actually are.

Just a few days ago, Jenny Lawson (everybody's favorite Bloggess) bravely and beautifully told the world about her struggles with depression and self-harming behavior that she is hoping to get under control before her young daughter is old enough to really see what is going on. Jenny spoke about the cycle of depression and how it affects us and our families and how no one really understands the guilt that comes along with each breath as we realize how much everyone else had to pick up the slack because we were just working on being.

And survival. And pride. For us and those who love us. Jenny talked about those things to.

We listened, empathized, related, and shared. Because that's what not hiding behind our words can do for those we are connected with. Using our words to open even the tiniest pieces of our souls to the world has power. And with that power comes acceptance and love and understanding and validation. .  and even more pride.

Because we survived.

I wear a silver ribbon because:

  • there are things I'm not brave enough to share yet but. . .
  • my sister is manic depressive
  • I am clinically depressed
  • eating disorders never really go away
  • happiness comes wrapped in a tiny little capsule
  • Obsessive-compulsive scab picking is how I self harm
  • when I tell you that there's no shame in mental illness, I mean it but. . .
  • I'm not quite sure that rule applies to me
  • and I want it to

Thank you, Jenny. Thank you for using your words to bring us all to a better place that includes support and love and self-acceptance.

Why do you wear a silver ribbon?

***

This post originally appeared on Owning Pink.

And Other Lies Moms Tell Themselves

You know that really embarrassing family story about the time the kids did that one thing in public at that one place and you were all like OMG that's only okay to tell after five too many wine coolers with the girlfriends while the little angels terrorize Daddy because it's your night off? Or that time you dressed up like an Italian sausage at Target while your kids picked out string bikinis for you to try on?

Yeah? Well, my friend just one-upped America with a book she wrote full of little gems like these that she wrote... while she was sober.

I know.

Okay, so the actual title is Ketchup is a Vegetable: And Other Lies Moms Tell Themselves and the mom behind the book is named Robin O'Bryant. I'll let the following excerpt speak for itself...but make sure to some back Wednesday and Friday for my review and an author interview (including a giveaway for a signed copy of Robin's book!)

***

After giving birth to Sadie, my third daughter in four years, I was perfectly happy to be fat for a few months while I finished breastfeeding, until I got a card in the mail from my little brother's fiancee. I called my sister Blair immediately and said, “Did you get a card in the mail from Anna?”

She could tell by the tone of my voice I was panicking so she said, “OH NO! They didn’t break up did they?”

“Oh no, it’s so much worse than that...” “Aw crap, did she ask us to be in the wedding?” “Yep.” I was flattered she asked me but I was horrified. I could wear a sarong at the pool all summer, but would probably look suspicious walking down the aisle that way. I reluctantly started going back to the gym and Blair started doing Weight Watchers. My feelings about exercising when breastfeeding are about the same as they are when pregnant: It's pointless.

When I'm pregnant I'm going to gain weight no matter what. When nursing, my body fights to hold on to fat like I'm going to be hibernating. For example... my sister lost nine pounds in two weeks on Weight Watchers; I on the other hand gained a pound and a half going to the gym for a week. (Please save the muscle-weighs-more-than-fat tirade for someone else. When I exercise while breastfeeding I am ravenous and will eat anything in sight. I end up consuming more calories than I burn.)

As summer quickly approached I finally had to break down and buy a bathing suit. No amount of tugging and/or lubricant could coax my post-baby body into one of the million suits I already owned. There was no way my baby’s meal tickets were going to be squeezed into anything I already had.

I went to Target (also known to Mommies across the country as their “happy place”), and bought a “Big Girra Bathing Suit.”

“Mommy, how ‘bout this one? It is SO cute!” Aubrey said as she picked up a hot pink string bikini.

I looked critically at the bathing suit she was holding, and quickly deduced that the triangle top probably wouldn’t even cover my zipple.

“No baby. I don’t want the other mommies at the pool to have nightmares.”

We continued back to the “Women’s Sizes” and I flattered myself with the first size I chose and forced it on to my body, Lycra snapped and crackled as I pulled, stretched and sucked it in. After seeing my reflection closely resembled an Italian sausage I'd eaten once, I was forced to get a larger size.

This should have meant that I took off the suit and put my clothes back on to go get another one. But If you're shopping for clothes somewhere you can also buy an ICEE or a foot- long hot dog, you need to realize that no one is going to come knock softly on your door to see if you need another size. I'm lazy though, so I put on the swimsuit cover-up I was trying on and walked to get another size, dressed for the pool. I'm not going to tell you what size I ended up in, though I will say it had a "W" behind the numberS. (Plural. As in there was more than one.) I called my sister while I was checking out and she texted back, “I'm in WW’s (Weight Watcher’s) can't talk, ttyl :)”

I texted her back, “How many pts are a Butterfinger & a Coke cuz that's what I'm eating rite now?” Maybe I can convince Anna that all of the bridesmaids should be in sarongs.

 

The Bloggess Approved This Message

Okay, so the title of this post was originally The Julian Project Part 4, but I figured the one I went with was way less likely to be ignored. Let's cut to the chase. I met Jenny at BlogHer10 in the bathroom where she was holding court during the party she was hosting without actually being there. Leah grabbed my hand, walked me right in there in front of Her Royal Majesty of all Blogdom and proceeded to gush about my mexifro. That's when I may have done something stupid and promised to post a photo of my troll-doll awesomeness just for Jenny and Leah when I got back to my hotel room that night. In retrospect, I'm thinking I totally peer pressured myself into looking like a bigger schmo in a puppy dog effort to impress the seniors in high school, but whatever. Leah eventually asked me to be an editor on Bookieboo and Jenny remembered my name. So it's a win all around.

Fast forward to today: I contacted Jenny about my pathetic to date efforts to raise some funds for The Julian Project. The thought of losing my child is not something I can even fathom, and I wanted to do my part, which brought be to asking all of you to help.

Five dollars. That's all. In honor of Julian's age when he died.

But so far, my efforts have...well...sucked.

Attempt #1

Attempt #2

Attempt #3

Attempt #4

So I scratched my head and thought, "What totally awesome Thing could I bug someone for that would attract flocks of people to my site just for a good cause?"

Naturally, my mind went straight to the metal chicken.

That's when I reminded Jenny that she might possibly remember my name and she very kindly agreed to donate one of her Beyonce Photo Statue Desk Sculptures for the cause. I'll be honest in saying that I don't care if you got here just because you saw The Bloggess in the title and donated because you wanted the desk chicken and decide never to come back although you will certainly be missed but that's not what this is about.

What this is about is trying to do our parts to lessen the financial burden incurred during a long fight with leukemia and making life just a tiny bit easier for little Julian's parents. So donate $5 here and leave me a comment on this blog post letting me know you did so I can keep track. One commenter will be randomly selected to receive the prize after the deadline (midnight, EST, on Oct. 12), and we will all live happily ever after.

The End

Mama's Go (Crazy) Bag of Readiness

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

So I packed.

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

IMG_1284.JPG

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

*corn tortillas with slices of cheese for quesadillas for Buttercup

*a fruit cup

*leftover bison steak and veggies for me

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

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

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

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

*four training pull-ups

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

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

*a water bottle for Buttercup.

*a water bottle for me.

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

*Buttercup's sunglasses

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

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

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

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

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

*My purse

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

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

Smart ass.

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

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

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

And lip gloss.

The BlogHer10 Finale (Aspiringmama Style)

I know I'm a bit behind the 8-ball here, but I just got home this past Friday and figured now was as good a time as any to get my BlogHer groove on.Call it my (Semi) Wordless (Day After) Wednesday photo tribute, because I sure as hell am going to.Juliette and I actually ran head on into TheNextMartha while trying to exit the elevator to find her. Yay for having a clue!

There was that stop in the  Smores suite where I pretty much embarrassed myself. Until that moment when the first bits of gooey melted chocolate and marshmallow smushed between crunchy graham cracker burst into my mouth, I'd pretty much denied myself all things not clean. Which means the Smore was dirty. But damn, dirty can be so good. And Theresa and Mary looked so much cuter than me and my  Smored-out face, so we're gonna post this one and call it pretty.

The revolving doors at the main entrance to The Hilton. Pretty snazzy, eh?

We missed breakfast every morning. Rooming off-site and staying up half the night will do that to you. So we got our MilkMustache and then got some breakfast (hello sausage pancake on a stick!)

If Mrs. Potato Head The Pillsbury Dough Boy...Elmo...and Dora were on my Must Meet and Be Seen With at BlogHer10 list...I rocked that goal. Hard.

There was more than a bit of sightseeing...

And then there was The Bloggess. Don't worry. She's only offensive to assholes. Which is funny because I fancy myself an asshole and yet...I wasn't offended. Go figure.

There was also plenty of glow-in-the-dark party fever at the Sparklecorn shin-dig

And then there was this. My poem. By The Bloggess.I'd call that pretty much done, wouldn't you?

A Brain Cloud in Progress

I've got these great ideas for blog posts. I think them up all the time. When I'm brushing my teeth or giving Buttercup a bath.

When I'm driving.

When I'm knee-deep in a three week hell-cation and am aware that aside from, like, 2 friends, no one I actually know reads my blog (yet).

These moments happen all the time. You know the kind. Where you look up from whatever you are doing like Twist on The Fresh Beat Band and suddenly have a bright idea animate itself right next to your quirky little smile? Those moments are awesome...sometimes a blog post even writes itself. And when I'm in the habit of writing everyday, I can hold on to these mind pictures long enough to get through an entire day (including a story and bed time) before finding myself with enough free time to sit down and peck at the keyboard.

But I'm not in practice right now. Instead, I'm grasping at straws with no idea what I was thinking about five minutes ago because I am:

*simultaneously reading Eat, Pray, Love and Julie and Julia on my nook and calling it Baby F(Ph)at research while I continue to plod my way through the #agentsearch.

*bitching cuz I never found the time to get my sport length acrylics redone (read: filled and filed way the hell down) after BlogHer and am now hating life as I type because I still have a few BlogHer posts to write and at this point I'd really rather just not.

*ignoring and being mutually ignored by BFF Mel as our marathon-online-window shopping Skype session has surpassed the point of conversation, the interest of The Husband and Mr. @Bobherz, and has morphed into a nonversation. I'm writing a blog post and she's trying to find the perfect accessories for her new nook and every 10 minutes or so one of us will ask the other how it's going, the other will give a noncommittal "s' alright" before resuming our BFF-y shared silence. Well shit...I think she just hung up on me. It's cool. Not like we weren't talking for three hours.

*recovering from 20 days away from home, even if home isn't the home I still own 2,500 miles away because The Husband took a job 2,500 miles thissa way, and realizing that after this time on our own---with no real family or friends out here---I much rather prefer my own brand of crazy than the kind forced on me by competing personalities and agendas...even if it means scorpions and tarantulas because it's legal to drown them in bug spray.

*thankful that the, like, 2 friends I have who read this blog won't be mentioning this blog or the contents of this post to any of the little faces I may be imagining on said scorpions or tarantulas in the weeks to come.

*hoping that the little faces think I'm talking about other little faces should they ever come across this blog post when I'm at the top of the New York Times Best Seller List on a day that they got bored and decided to troll for a reason to start an argument because the laundry is done and the kids are in school and really, what else do we do right now?

*munching on Buttercup's Gerber Graduates Mild Cheddar Lil Crunchies because I knowingly and willingly jumped so far off the wagon while away that I'm now resorting to pilfering my daughter's cheesy snacks because it's almost midnight and I'm not even looking at a spinach leaf until Monday morning after I wake up, not before I go to0 bed and oh hell yes is this an important distinction.

*wondering if I should break up with my Blackberry gently or just tell it like it is...

*also wondering if I'd get more blog comments if I gave the two friends who are reading it a cute group nickname, like pranksters but not, cuz that one's already taken.

*wondering also if I'd already be a famous writer with book deals and "Now a Major Motion Picture" stickers on my book covers if I had started out not actually wanting to grow up to be a famous writer.

*thinking that the idea of Catherine the Great peeing on me whenever it rains is one of the sweetest ways to bring a smile to my face when I might be having a particularly shitty day.

*am surprised you are still reading thi...never mind.

The BlogHer Mexi-Fro

Remember this? I sure as hell do. After years of therapy to fix my kinked up ego after one too many childhood Halloween parties where my fellow Brownies confused my fro'd out, rainbow-striped hair for a real clown wig and tried to yank it off, I put it all on the line for Juliette. And if you saw my pretty little up-do at BlogHer and ooh'd and ahhh'd over my slinky like frizzies and the masterpiece I constructed with about 50 bobby pins (for which the sole intention was humidity control, mind you), then it's time for a reality check.

Yes, I know I looked cute. And Leah and Jenny told me so. Multiple times. Of course it went to me head.  Before Leah decided to throw me under the bus and tell Jenny that I would be more than happy to pay homage to the Chia Pet once again. (And yes, Bookieboo and The Bloggess asked me to so you can bet your sweet ass I agreed. Just call me "fan-girl".)

So here it is, world.

This is before...

And this is back in my off-site BlogHer hotel and free of the 50 or so bobby pins I had to send a search party in to retrieve while TBFF Juliette laughed her ass off after...

Just imagine the chances I passed up for making homecoming court in high school. If I'd been this brave back then, I may not have had to beg my way into Student Congress.

No Room for Good Intentions

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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