There are people in this world who thrive off of negativity.
Their sole purpose in life is, solely, to cast darkness where there is light.
These people walk among us everyday.
They are brothers, sisters, aunts, and uncles. They are people who, appear normal, until they open their mouth.
They stand, hover, and watch as we shovel yet another pile of snow.
They wait and watch, hoping to be the first person to announce, 'hey, guess what? there's another snowstorm coming.'
These people, who I assume moonlight as deliverers of death somewhere on nights and weekends, you know, volunteering to tell dying patients just how little time they have left on earth because, clearly, their only joy comes from the anguish of their victims' faces.
These people can be found, in public, holding what appears to be casual conversation about how warm it is or how the sun actually made an appearance today, until they suddenly offer 'well, it's not going to last, we will be getting more snow.' Then you realize, you are in the presence of true evil.
They walk among us.
They stand behind us in the grocery store, talking loudly hoping someone will join in their rant. 'Ugh this weather', they sigh.
Do not be tempted.
Do not engage.
Do not make eye contact.
Do not let them shed their awful news of impending doom (or snow).
Because, before long, they will be standing behind you on the hottest day of the year with a sweatier complaint.
They walk among us.
You haven't blogged in, like, forever.
I know, right?
Well, where have you been?
Same place I've always been. At my desk staring at a laptop, iPad, and a steaming cup of coffee.
Forgetting to write blogs?
No, not forgetting at all. But, you see, there's this other writing I do. It's called paid writing. I write SEO, keyword rich content, press releases, articles, and blog posts.
Oh really? People pay you for that?
Absolutely. Every week.
Wow. I had no idea. I thought you just wrote about weird people in line at WalMart and stuff.
Oh, also, I write some funny stuff over on Twitter.
Oh, yeah? What's your name? I want to Follow you.
I'm a Black Bear.
Yea, last spring when a black bear was spotted in my town I thought it would be cool to start a Twitter account as the black bear. So I did. I even created this whole story line, where he lives with his friend Carl, and his parents are always leaving him funny, annoying voice mail messages.
Yes. I am a writer. Stories, voices, and strange people live in my head. I have to get them out whenever I can.
(Check out @BlackBearSpoted on Twitter and see for yourself)
When I witness my children doing things like, wiping down counters, unloading the dishwasher, making their beds, and organizing their dresser drawers, I breathe a sigh of relief.
Clearly, my work here is done.
All I ever wanted, when I was wasting my days away tidying, organizing, cleaning, lining up 'Little People' in houses, was to influence them to, one day, do the same.
On their own.
In a less neurotic way.
The day my youngest began unloading his drawers and filling bags for 'goodwill' was quite a proud Mom moment for me. Albeit, he did it to avoid shoveling the driveway with his sisters, but still. When I heard him throw all of his cousins out of his room at a recent family football gathering, so he could re-make his bed, I cried a little inside. Happy, proud tears, of course.
As my kids grow older and more capable, they surprise me everyday. Like folding the wash or vacuuming while I'm out food shopping or running errands. Yes, this happens.
It's true what they say, your kids learn by watching what you do.
And mine? have learned plenty.
And for that, I am grateful.
A few weeks ago, the CEO of LuLuLemon was all " if large women wear our pants, they will stretch and eventually become see through." Not a direct quote, but he was definitely sending a message to larger women, that they shouldn't be wearing said pants.
Proof that he, and the rest of the world, just might be on to us not-so-fit, yoga- pant wearing girls, who don't actually do yoga. Why would we? Once we slip into those spandex, stretchy, better than a girdle, pieces of heaven, we convince ourselves that we look pretty good and probably don't even need to work out today.
It's so Abercrombie & Fitch, that trendy clothing company, who, in the worst PR move ever, forbid all ugly people from wearing their clothing. Again, not a direct quote. In that case, the masses revolted with chants of 'so what if we're ugly, we're not going to take it anymore. Also, we're not going to buy your clothing !' (well, they chanted it once and then realized it didn't really work as a chant so instead they made signs)
Historically, many businesses have made similiar demands, and failed.
Some unsuccessful campaigns include:
-If you don't look like a Hipster and own at least one Apple product, you can't sit in Starbucks.
-If you don't wear at least one sleepwear garment, you will not be allowed to enter WalMart.
-If you're not carrying a Vera Bradley bag or have at least one kid wearing Crocs, Target doesn't want you here.
These rules are silly and never really took off, and for good reason.
Being funny has its issues, too. I'm sure there has been many a comedian tempted to begin each show with 'if you need me to explain my jokes, then they're not for you.' Or humor bloggers, tempted to insert their own disclaimer, forbidding all those lacking an appreciation for sarcasm and wit, to NOT read their blog. But, they can't.
They can't even get mad when those who don't share the same sense of humor, get offended. It's not their fault.
All you can do is pray for them.
The demise of the English language is no laughing matter, in fact it's becoming a 'maj epi.' ( major epidemic).This deliberate destruction of words is an all-out crime.
If you don't share your home with tweens or teens, you may not even be aware of what is happening.
Exhibit A: The word 'ratchet'. Do you realize that kids these days have taken what was once an innocent enough tool and turned it into an adjective? And not in a good way. Scroll through any pre-teen's Instagram account and you're sure to find at least one, self-described, 'ratchet' looking selfie.
Tots adorbs, cra, and maj, are a few more examples of words of newly invented phrases that leave in their wake a string of massacred words. (totally adorable, crazy, and major)
As is the way with teenagers, m cries have gone unheard. I've pleaded with them and their friends to no avail. So, instead I have found another solution.
I joined them.
Offering my own 40-something interpretation to this English language massacre makes them cringe. As they and their friends pile into my mini-van I blurt out things like, 'how was the movie? 'was it cra? ' 'did you girls eat mad popcorn, doe?' 'Holla, selfies for days.'
If you can't beat 'em, join 'em (or at least embarass them)
5- Who invited the BOYS?
Our reunion is co-ed because, apparently, someone decided to invite the graduates from the all-boys school. The school I attended was an all-girls school. I spent four years in polyester, knee socks, saddle shoes, and hairspray. There were no boys. I would have remembered boys.
4- I'm fresh out of Aqua Net.
The time spent teasing and spraying my hair in those four years have taken their toll. I'm fresh out.
3- I forgot to lose weight.
I meant to do this when I graduated, instead I went to college, got married, had a bunch of kids, and before you know it, found myself opening an invitation to my 25th high school reunion. I opened the envelope and took a look at myself "shit! I'm still fat. I can't go there looking like this", threw the invite in the trash, and headed out to WalMart (where appearances do not matter)
2- I'm brutally honest when drunk.
Chances are, if you and I are sharing 1,2, or 10 glasses of wine, I am probably going to tell you things I shouldn't. With someone I haven't seen in 25 years? The possibilities are endless.
You all go ahead and make merry at the reunion. I'll sit at home with my glass(es) of wine, silently judging your pictures from the event. Trust me, it's better for all of us this way.
(Disclaimer: This is a complete spoof of a recent blog on Babble.com. I wrote this because I like to write funny things. Do not encourage me)
Today's blog post was inspired by THIS. (click here)
It was inspired by women who take time for themselves to be a little self-giving.
You inspire me.
I don't have it in me.
But, if I did, it would look like this:
I was in Target for 40 minutes on a marathon grab-it- and- go shopping excursion. My husband and children were home in Pennsylvania. (the same location of said Target) They were at home not because they didn't want to be in Target.
No, they were home because I did not invite them. I didn't tell them I was leaving. Not even when they chased my mini van down the driveway demanding answers. I simply sped off, mouthing the words "I'll be right back" through the thick glass.
For so many reasons, I wanted to go to Target alone: to focus on 2-ply or 3 in the toilet paper aisle rather than the needs of my kids, to compare the ingredients of every name brand and see if they really stack up against that Up stuff, to sip my very own whipped cream- topped latte from the Starbucks window (ps: holiday red cups are back), to skip the toy aisle, to buy only the cheapest cereal for which I have an accompanying coupon with nary a complaint, or just to stand a little longer in the laundry detergent aisle to overhear a really good cell phone conversation. Even feign interest in laundry detergent when cell phone girl spies me, by thinking out loud, 'Hm. Really? 82 loads? hm."
Time away from family is healthy. A woman's soul is sparked by seclusion. Doing things that fuel your soul is good. That's not a direct quote, but I'm pretty sure someone on Oprah said that once. Taking loads of time away from one's family to find your inner voice is good. (Again, probably from Oprah) Except for husbands. Husbands do not need to do this, because well, they'd try to convince us that their inner voice can only be heard beneath the booming bass of a strip club.
These mini sabbaticals are for women only. A fact that was proven by the dozens of Starbucks- sipping ladies I passed in Target.
I felt no regeret that day, as I sped down our driveway. I thought the image of crying kids in my rear view mirror would prompt me to stop, but it really didnt. 'I'll miss them', I told myself, then rummaged through my purse for my shopping list.
'I bet you miss your family', whispered a young mom in the frozen food aisle. She was strategically placing ice cream and waffles between the legs of two feuding toddlers, while rocking a swaddled newborn.
'No, I'm good, thanks', I smiled...digging for a bag of peas.
'What does your husband think of you shopping without him?" asked a very nosy, young couple. They glared down their noses at me, arm in arm in the Christmas aisle. This one was easy. "We're both extremely independent people." I answered. They simultaneously unlocked arms and quickly walked away. "Plus, he knows that shopping makes me happy. When I'm happy, his life is so much easier." I shouted at them. A random mom behind the garland attempted a slow clap for me, which soon became awkward when no one else joined her.
That much I knew was true. My husband supported my need for alone time because I did the same for him ( as long as it didn't invlove strippers) I enjoy shopping. He shates shopping. He enjoys staying home with the kids to let me do that. He goes hunting and fishing without inviting me. I never ask. We remain happily married.
Two minutes before the end of my shopping excursion, I caved. I replied to the seven missed calls and called home. The cries and the wails were all I could hear. "We miss you . Come home. We love you." My husband took the phone. "Go back to shopping. They're just mad because I'm beating them all at poker and won't let them smoke more cigars."
See? I told myself "he's just as capable of raising our children as I am."
It was liberating.
10 minutes later, I pulled up in our driveway; greeted by all three kids and my husband, ready to carry in my bags.
When they asked me what I bought them, I didn't lie. I hadn't bought them anything. The truth was, I wished I had stayed another hour longer.
And I can't wait for my next trip (without them).
"I am NOT ready for that" said the young woman, holding held her hand against her face to block the view of the colored lights, knit stockings, and adorable chubby snowmen.
Had it only been a week ago, in that same aisle, that I was gathering last minute pieces for homemade Halloween costumes? Only returning, today, to rummage through last-minute leftovers for less. Aperfect plan promptly foiled by efficient shelf stock-ers, merrily making Christmas on a rainy November day.
'I'm not ready for it either', I thought andforced myself to focus on shopping for the best Thanksgiving gravy boat I could find. 'It's just too early for Christmas', I whispered to myself. Then this happened...
An innocent request for my favorite Fall beverage presented something I was not anticipating. The Holiday red cup. As the Barista confirmed my order, in his sing-songy straight out of a movie voice, Salted Caramel Mocha! It was suddenly Christmas. Right there, in the Target Starbucks, it was time for snowstorms, chilly air, sappy old Christmas movies and everything that brings that hustle and bustle Holiday feel.
Just like that, in only a few sips, I was ready!
Many years ago, 27 to be exact, my 16-year old self convinced my parents to let me travel to Philadelphia to be a part of my absolute favorite dance show. The only dance show at the time, and it was filmed only 30 minutes from my home, I HAD to go. My best friend, of course, would accompany me. We'd been practicing for weeks. Doing our best side step -snap- head tilt move to every top 40 song. Teasing our hair, cropping our tops, and choosing just the right mini skirt.
The year was 1986, the show was 'Dancin' on Air'- an American Bandstand for us 80's kids.
This popular show was the reason we ran home after school, everyday. We never missed an episode of big hair, high waisted, eighties goodness. The show was filled with regulars who were like local celebrities, dating drama, and lots and lots of dancing. It was kind of like a 'Jersey Shore' minus all the alcohol.
One regular dancer, in particular, actually made it big. We all should have known, Kelly Ripa, with her perfect, curled, long, blonde hair and toothy grin was going places. On that day, my bestie and I only hoped to rub elbows with her, or any regulars, if given the chance.
Our parents conceded and we were off! Ready to 'dance on air'
On the set, we danced our matching mini skirt butts off, all the while trying to catch a glimpse of someone familiar. We tried to find Kelly in the sea of Aqua Net, but to no avail. We showed off our best side step - snap, without ever once tripping over a camera wire. We were flat-out getting it. That is until we spied a producer heading our way. Convinced he was about to invite us up on center stage, we hastily smoothed our mini's and quick-teased our hair.
He spoke not a word, but simply pointed to the off-stage area. The music seemed to stop as we read his lips, in slow motion, 'L-E-A-V-E!'
We looked behind us, confused. He said it again. This time it felt like everyone could hear, "LEAVE!" he was now shuttling us to a place behind the cameras, where no one could see us. Apparently, that was the idea.
"You'll have to sit this segment out, you're not smiling enough." That was all he offered before walking away. My best friend and I could not even make eye contact. It was not the shock of being reprimanded, we had both been there before. The two of us had been getting into trouble together since our first encounter back in 2nd grade. Attending a parochial school in the 1970's, with full Sister of Mercy representation, proved to be a very easy place to find one's self in trouble. This was not our first rodeo.
But here, in a TV studio in Philadelphia where no one knew our history? How did we find ourselves in this predicament? We were the total package, we had the big hair, the trendy Madonna-esque get-up, and the latest dance moves. I'm pretty sure we busted about a Cabbage Patch or two, before getting the boot. We were so busy looking for regulars, looking for cameras, ready to wave to our moms that somewhere along the ways we forgot to smile.
You know who didn't forget to smile? Kelly Ripa. She smiled her way from Dancin' on Air to Dance Party USA to All My Children and eventually to Live with Regis. That girl knew, at 16, the importance of a smile. Clearly, it's the reason she is famous today and I. Am. Not.
(PS: My bestie and I were never again asked back to Dancin' on Air, but we did rock the local high school dance circuit like nobody's business. Holla!)