Tag Archives: Facebook

Why I’m Not Writing

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Why I’m Not Writing

In case anyone out there is wondering, I’m writing my first post in months about why I haven’t written a post in months.

It turns out that when you’re an unpaid writer creating content for millions of worldwide websters who surf the information superhighway in the middle of the night when they should probably be arguing with their spouse, there’s a lot that can get in the way of your craft. Like laundry. And in-laws. And naps.

My youngest enjoys doing laundry almost as much as me.

My youngest enjoys doing laundry almost as much as me.

But either Freud or my mom or maybe Donald Trump said good habits can be made in a matter of weeks, so I’m penning a post in an attempt to jumpstart my creative process or at least get a shot at a spot on the next Celebrity Apprentice. I sort of consider myself famous because have a lot of blog followers from India. It’s true so don’t be jealous. Or a hater. Hating on my international success overexposes your smile lines, which, according to Priscilla Presley, makes you look old. Priscilla prefers to look like a melty wax impression of herself, which is kind of cool if you’re into creepy Barbies.

I can’t move my face. Image via img.ibtimes.com

Reason Number One: I’m training for a half marathon

I said a half. Not a full. Running 26.2 miles is for crazy cyborgs with bionic heel strikes, like the ones who cut you off at Costco with a flatbed full of frozen kale, quinoa, and hemp seed right before they mow you down in the parking lot in their brand new Teslas en route to the neighborhood oxygen bar.

That’s my neighbor announcing her marathon finish time at last year’s community garage sale. Image via indiancarbikes.in

I’m not one of those people.

First of all, I like to eat real food, like bacon and Tang. Plus I drive the equivalent of a mobile meth lab, and by the time I pack up the trunk and ease into traffic, the marathoners have already supercharged their batteries, popped a heroine-like energy supplement, and are halfway up Pikes Peak. I’m not saying bionic people are addicts, but every marathoner likes to win, even if the side effects include an alkaline aftertaste and unsightly tooth decay.

This is where I like to cook.

This is where I like to cook.

I, on the other hand, am not in it to win it, but to log a respectable pace and skip the kids’ swim meet. Plus I could use a new t-shirt. Running takes time though, and like every girl of a certain age who drank formula as a baby instead of vitamin-enriched breast milk, I have to train. A lot.

Reason Number Two: I’m cleaning the house.

Anyone from India or maybe Sri Lanka who’s taken the time to read my posts knows I’ve never been a dog person. Until I got a dog, that is, and now I’m not so much a dog person as a my dog person. I’m a my dog person because my dog is awesome, and I really like fantastic things. Like tequila. Everyone who’s anyone in the canine industry knows my dog is bionic, and everyone who knows me will tell you I secretly wish I was bionic even though I’ll never admit it on account of all of those doped-up long distance runners.

I can’t move my face. Image via takethemagicstep.com

Anyway, my dog and I are pretty much a perfect match with one exception. He has a lot of hair. I don’t particularly like hair in inappropriate places which includes but isn’t limited to take out, hotel pillows, my chin, and Donald Trump. The presence of hair on any of the aforementioned surfaces should be illegal. Like redneck reality shows and Bruce Jenner.

I can’t move my face. Image via aceshowbiz.com

But because I respect the Bill of Rights and love my dog, I spend a lot of time cleaning. This attention to detail is better known as analosity, which I didn’t think was a word until I found it on urbandictionary.com. I’m pretty sure the definitions on urbandictionary are written by high-functioning OxyContin addicts who post unbelievable marathon finish times on Facebook for all those high school girls who beat them out for homecoming court to see, but I could be wrong.

Status Update: “Ran Chicago in 3:40 and smoked Dr. Oz. at the finish. Take that losers!” Image via jenx67.com

I thought I’d deal with a couple of shedding seasons and get right back to training for my race and loading up on glucosamine supplements at Costco. It turns out, however, that a shedding season, in dog years, is really all day for the rest of your life. Every dog person knows this, but since I’m a my dog person at heart and I ignore everyone who talks about canine bowel movement suppository brands at dinner parties when I just want to have a cocktail and chill, I’m pretty much screwed.

That's my leg.

That’s my leg.

Reason Number Three: The kids are out of school.

Anyone with children who might read this understands that after all the training, vacuuming, and sprinting from those crazy-eyed runners with fake teeth like Gary Busey (who doesn’t necessarily exercise but is probably connected to Bruce Jenner on Facebook), I have to feed my kids. Hence the trip to Costco that started this whole thing. This no-writing thing, that is.

I can’t move my face. Image via siO.twimg.com

So I may be back next week and I may not. It all depends on how I finish the race and whether or not my kids eat those roasted seaweed snacks I keep putting under their pillows at night. Time is cheap but college isn’t, and if I’m to ever have the bionic offspring I deserve? I’ve gotta start now.

 

Is A Boyfriend Who Could Be Your Son the Latest Status Symbol?

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If so, count me out. Ever since Madonna started taking NyQuilesque shots from the fountain of youth about a decade ago, I’ve been kind of obsessed interested in what it means to age gracefully. Not that I’m particularly graceful. Or aging. Because I’m not.

Just because I like to gear-up in mylar, completely spread- eagle, for hours a day to increase blood flow and stimulate new skin growth doesn’t mean I’m worried about getting old. It means I’m desperate. Image via greatwaywellness.com

I’m all for girl power, free drinks, equal pay, and getting your groove on to whatever poorly written porn you choose, but when it comes to throwing out the thongs and embracing Spanx, there’s one place I draw a line.

Image via muffintopmommy.com

It’s this:

“What? Of course I’m completely comfortable dating a boy who could be my son. Just because he likes to aggressively manipulate my shoulders in public, appears to be carrying rabies, and loves it when I slip a Rufie in his wine glass is none of your business. He’s still in high school. Back off.” Image via zimbio.com.

As I woman who’s logged a certain number of untold X marks on my back the calendar (there’s a reason I hide my birth year on Facebook), I’ve earned the right to express my thoughts on foreplay aging, and in my opinion, everything in this picture is wrong (except the Medieval-looking wine glass. Drinking anything out of a goblet while screaming “Show me the money!” is forever cool).

So in an effort to stem the tide of inappropriate behavior increasingly desperate female stars of a certain age who use every last shellacked nail to hang onto those swag bags filled with $1,000 disposable syringes of baby giraffe hormones, I’m offering some advice. Consider it a gift, words to live by, and my good deed for the day. Especially if you’re Demi Moore.

“What am I hiding behind my glasses? My wrinkles, silly! Ashton doesn’t realize he wasn’t even born when “About Last Night” hit the screen. Duh!” Image via freeimagesarchive.com

Reasons Not To Date A Guy You Could Have Given Birth To:

1. You’ll no longer be able to listen to your favorite 90s boy bands. Anything by NSYNC is an open invitation to a loud, petty, spit-filled midnight fight over ab definition.

OK, maybe NSYNC was the wrong visual. Image via people.com.

2. Mary Kay Letourneau. Not only did she go to jail because she was a teacher dating a thirteen year-old student (nothing wrong there), but now that she’s forty-eight? She has to deal with her own raging hormones and getting her husband through puberty at the same time.

“I just love it when your voice cracks and you slam the bedroom door repeatedly for no apparent reason!” Image via bumpshack.com

3. The inverse relationship between gravity and aging. As he’s struggling to get his up, everything you’ve got going on is sliding, well….down.

There are so many things wrong with this picture that I don’t know where to start. Plus I just threw up in my mouth. Image via saveyourselffromyourself.com

4. Jennifer Lopez

“Hola Mami! Does J Lo mean jello because I’m hungry and it’s time for my afternoon snack!” Image via thesuperficial.com

5. Dealing with errant facial hair. His and yours.

Image via apowl.com

5. While he’s texting naked pictures of you to his dorm mates, you’ll never figure out how to Pinterest his tweeter. Or pin his twitter-thingy. Or something like that.

6. Madonna

“Oh baby, is it bad lighting or is your face cracking off?” Image via cradlerobber.com

So that’s it. If these images aren’t enough to scare you out of dating someone who could have popped out of your womb, I can’t help you. Anyway, I’ve got my own issues to deal with, like getting to the plastic surgeon before the kids get home from school for BOGO breast implants. Can’t leave my ladies waiting!

If you like this post, you may like:

Seven Ways To Get Me On My Back: seven-ways-to-get-me-on-my-back

An Open Letter To Steve Wynn: Why the Forty Year Oldish Woman is Your Ideal Guest: an-open-letter-to-steve-wynn-why-the-forty-year-oldish-woman-is-your-ideal-guest

Did My Words Help Ann Romney Connect With Women At The Republican National Convention?

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In her speech last night, Ann Romney passionately claimed an ability to hear the voices of women around the nation. Is it possible, as she worked through the chatter of children, careers, and the background noise of everyday life, that she somehow picked up mine?

On August 13, 2012, I wrote a piece asking Paul Ryan to pay particular attention to the distinct and powerful voices of women around the country as he took a huge leap onto a national stage. Something about my post struck a chord, and it became the most popular essay I’ve ever written. Over 10,000 people read it, and hundreds more took the time to share their thoughts on my blog, via Facebook, and through texts and emails. As a fairly new writer trying to find my way through the daily ebb and flow of millions of words, I was happy to have written something that seemed to matter, even if only on a small scale.

Surrounded this morning by the same chatter of children, careers, and background noise of everyday life that Mrs. Romney successfully navigated to reach her target audience, I heard a brief clip of her speech on T.V. Something about it made me stop in the middle of a moment and pay closer attention, and unfortunately, it wasn’t the message that caught my ear. If there’s such a thing as peripheral hearing, mine kicked into gear, and I honed in on phrases that seemed eerily similar to those I recently wrote.

Mrs. Romney’s Speech:

“And the working moms who love their jobs, but would like to work just a little less to spend more time with the kids…”

My Letter to Paul Ryan:

“As mothers and wives, we’re often the emotional backbone as well as a financial anchor for our families. What we earn in a paycheck we give back in time spent away from our children.”

Mrs. Romney’s Speech:

“It’s the moms of this nation, single, married, widowed, who really hold the country together.”

My Letter to Paul Ryan:

“We’re married, divorced, widowed, and single…We’re smart, dedicated, and we care about the future of our country.”

Mrs. Romney’s Speech:

“We’re the mothers. We’re the wives. We’re the grandmothers. We’re the big sisters. We’re the little sisters and we are the daughters.”

My Letter to Paul Ryan:

“I’m a daughter, a sister, a mother, and a friend.”

There’s a lot of heated dialogue floating around at the moment, from the corridors of our nation’s political leaders to the kitchen tables of family and friends. Within those conversations, important words like integrity, honesty, responsibility, and trust are repeated and consumed. When I write, and more importantly, when I read others’ work, those exact words are at the forefront of my mind.

I know Ann Romney didn’t write the speech she gave last night. When she delivered it, she looked like this:

082812_ConventionSpeech_011

Image via flickr.com.

When I write, I look like this:

Image via Stacie Chadwick.

But someone, more likely a team of people, wrote it, and if my words were recycled? I wasn’t at the table. If my work did in fact end up on some speechwriter’s desk and was repackaged into a pivotal piece of Mrs. Romney’s dialogue last night, I suppose I should feel flattered. I don’t. All that a writer has to offer the world is his or her voice, with the sole hope that someone will hear it and connect to a larger part of the lives we’re all trying our best to lead. If that gift is compromised, and a voice sanitized, it impacts everyone it touches, but no one more than the person who originally spoke.

I can’t substantiate my instinct any more than a woman can prove legitimate rape, but something about the cadence, tone, and word choice of the opening to Mrs. Romney’s speech feels too familiar. Last night, Mrs. Romney stated, “We’re too smart and know that there are no easy answers, but we’re not dumb enough to accept that there are not better answers.” I couldn’t agree more.

You can read the transcript of Ann Romney’s speech at: http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2012/08/28/transcript-ann-romney-speech-at-republican-national-convention/#ixzz24x7M6cIK

You can read the letter I wrote to Paul Ryan at: i-said-id-never-write-about-politics-but-i-know-paul-ryan-and-ive-got-some-advice

If It’s True You Can’t Go Home Again, Does It Matter If You Get Close Enough To Knock On The Door?

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Everyone on earth yearns to connect with someone, to find meaning in the moment and value beyond the day-to-day. Unless you’re that dude wearing yellow crocs and a vacant stare trolling up and down the street. If that’s the case and all you want is a Butterfinger and a ride on your pet unicorn so you can time travel through a space portal and enter the third dimension? I’m not talking to you, so feel free to jump the cracks in the sidewalk all the way to crazy and ignore this post.

Charlie Sheen. Just a hop, skip, and a jump away from a nicely padded, white cell. Image via celebrityhealthcare24.com

Assuming you’re sane, curious, and reasonably interested in what life’s all about, the question becomes a little more relevant.

Twenty-four years ago, I fluttered off to college wearing a Laura Ashley jumpsuit and gravity-defying bangs. Physical evidence proves that I came of age in an era of hideous fashion. So what if I longed for a pair of blue polka-dotted J. Crew shorts four times the size of my waist, a button-down shirt straight from my dad’s closet, shoulder pads, and a fake tan? Don’t judge me. It was a sign of the times.

Dear Stacie, Laura Ingalls Wilder wants her housecoat back.

A more important marker of that period though, was the ease with which I maneuvered life. The only things I worried about then were grades and my checking account, because bottoming out in either meant an unwanted call from Mom. As long as I maintained a healthy balance, I was free to test my fake I.D. at every bar in town, sleep through an 8:00 a.m. Victorian Poetry class the next day, head to Bagel Deli for a late lunch, and start the cycle anew. I didn’t appreciate the value of doing absolutely anything I wanted every single day without encumbrances or constraints, because it was the only language I knew how to speak.

Why go to class when you can pass out fully clothed with your besties instead?

Fast forward two decades plus, and things look a lot different. My world is now colored in deeper hues, painted from a time worn palette, and buffered by the tiny yet significant details relevant to growing up. Things don’t look as simple as they did back then, but to compare a black and white charcoal drawing to an oil-on-canvas piece created in the dark with a palette knife doesn’t make any sense. They aren’t even close to the same thing.

Deep thoughts at our twenty-year reunion as we debate the long-term effects of botox, chemical peels, and whether or not hormone injections from baby giraffes is an ethical way to battle sagging skin.

What I failed to understand in my haze of studying, partying, and not enough sleep, was that college was never meant to be a destination, just a rest stop off the side of the road to fuel up with the necessary caffeine and carbs to make it to whatever comes next. If I lived in a bubble back then, today I exist in the shadow of the sun, often rising and sometimes fading, but always growing under the heat of filtered light tinged in infinitely more interesting shades.

Can true enlightenment really be found at the bottom of a champagne bottle? My twenty-one year-old self says “Hell yes!”

This past weekend, I took a step back in time to my twenty-year college reunion, just to check out the view. What I found once I’d settled in and looked around, was that while the campus landscape has changed a little over the years, the structure is the same. Like a stalactite. Or the ocean. Like me. Or you.

So the question remains, if you can’t really go home again, can you at least get close enough to knock on the door? And if life’s about the journey, what do you want to find when you get to the other side?

What would you do if you found this on the other side of the door?

Twenty Year College Reunion Observation and Etiquette Guide

1. We may be older and wiser, but we still make stupid mistakes.

2. Although modern medicine has advanced dramatically since 1988, hair plugs have not. So don’t go there. Ever. It will never be an attractive alternative to a shiny dome.

3. If you’ve come back to college looking for the One Who Got Away, reconsider. The person you were then and the one you’ve become today share an important trait. You’re both the product of free will. Back then, you each made conscious decisions that put you on different paths, so keep that ring on your finger and your mouth shut.

4. Party pics trump viral pics.

5. Skip the room temperature, keg-flavored Keystone Light in favor of a Maker’s over ice. Corporate domination, siphoning unnoticed cash from the family checking account, or both have earned you the golden ticket to a sweet buzz.

6. Memories are as clear or fuzzy as the glasses you see them through.

7. You aren’t a better dancer at 2:00 a.m. and you never were.

8. If you refuse to listen to #3, then please consider wearing Spanx. There’s no better deterrent to what will become a regrettable decision than the modern-day equivalent of scuba-inspired latex lingerie.

9. Frat house stalking is a lot more rewarding than Facebook stalking. Not that I’d know.

10. Hand sanitizer is now more important than the buddy system when it comes to going to the bathroom at any local bar.

11. Don’t be afraid to replace what you’ve lost in elasticity with filler. A little goes a long way.

12. Grab-a-dates trump Match.com.

13. Today’s college kids don’t look younger than we did; their apparent toehold on the fountain of youth is just the blurry aftermath of your Lasik eye surgery wearing off.

14. If you’ve ignored items 3 and 7, and you’re still trolling Facebook for the One Who Got Away, don’t go to your college reunion and fire up to Journey’s Lovin’ Touchin’ Squeezin’ unless you’ve got a raging case of halitosis. And adult back acne. And a lazy eye.

15. Mystery trumps technology.

16. Don’t do shots with a kid who was born the year you graduated from college, in fact, don’t do anything with a kid who was born the year you graduated from college.

17. Female hormones rage with as much intensity at 42 as they did at 22…they’re just a lot more unpredictable.

18. Remember that Sangria you drank from the Delt’s bathtub at your first frat party freshman year? No amount of recreational Prozac can overcome the recurring visual of what was really floating at the top of that cup.

19. And if you refuse to listen to items 3, 7, and 14? Understand that the grass isn’t any greener on the other side of the space-time continuum-inspired fence. It just looks that way because there’s no mortgage, demanding boss, and needy kids to kill the color. Weeds tend to suddenly appear where you least expect them though, so do yourself a favor and tend your own garden instead of trying to plant a new one.

20. Your college friends are your besties for life, and they’ll always have your back, even when you’re sweating through your shirt.

Photo Gallery, ‘Cause Sorority Chics Love Looking at Pictures of Themselves

Litehouse 1992

Litehouse today.

Activewear 1990 (notice the "dad" shorts and XXL t-shirts)

Activewear 1992 (notice the “dad” shorts, XXL t-shirts on the girls and half-shirts on the token dudes).

Activewear today (this picture was taken sans make-up after a four-hour Tough Mudder/Crossfit/P90X stroll through campus).

1992

2012

1992

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1992

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The Truth About Lying

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As a writer, I have a love-hate relationship with the act of lying.

Author’s note: that’s not really true. I actually love to lie when I write, but feel the need to say “love-hate” so you won’t think I’m pathological or anything.

In all honesty, when it comes to my interpretation of lying, I tend to embrace the positive. Life is short, and words have a way of magically working themselves into quotes that you post on Facebook in the form of a haiku when you’re buzzed causing super-embarrassing apology status updates the next day about your drunk attempts at poetry.

Author’s note: when someone says “in all honesty,” or “to be completely honest,” or “I’ve just got to be honest with you,” they’re probably lying. Also, I made that thing up about life being short and Facebook and stuff.

Tara Reid should not post on Facebook or try to write a real book. Image via cracked.com.

Tara Reid should not post on Facebook or try to write a real book. Image via cracked.com.

Yet in just about every modern-day scenario, the word “lie” is associated with villainy. Consider my version of Urban Dictionary’s definition, which is someone else’s interpretation of reality and general take on the word.

Author’s note: did you get that? If you said “yes” you’re a liar because it doesn’t make ay sense.

Lying, adjective: not telling the truth

1. What your wife thinks you’re constantly doing.

Kristen: “How do you like my bathing suit?”

Steve: “It’s one of my favorites.”

Kristen: “You’ve never seen it before. You’re lying!”

2. Getting drunk and kissing your girlfriend’s best friend, then covering it up when your girlfriend asks if you got drunk and kissed her best friend.

Jessica: “Are you sure you didn’t kiss my best friend last night?”

Ryan: “Nope, I didn’t. Honestly. We were just exercising our lips.”

Jessica: “Strong lips are hot! I love you.”

3. The ability to use the least amount of information, distort it, and add something completely absurd while you rip a small tear in the space-time continuum and slowly change the topic.

Me: “Did you clean your room?”

My son: “I did. And it looks beautiful. But not as beautiful as you. There is nothing in the world that can match your beauty. Or your timeless sense of style. Plus you look so young. Can you make me some dinner?”

4. Constantly fabricating things to make someone else look bad.

Ten year-old boy in my son’s class: “Taylor can’t fart on command. He’s lying!”

5. Someone who represents what they are not, especially when being chased down an alley by an undercover cop.

Cop: “Freeze!”

Liar: “No! I’m just a writer researching a crack dealing, money laundering, law breaking, schizoid character for my first novel!”

Author’s note: most people who contribute material to Urbandictionary.com are on some type of hallucinogen. This statement may or may not be somewhat inaccurate.

None of the interpretations above are positive, yet anyone who attempts to tell a meaningful story has to be a liar. Period. And where’s the harm in that?

Author’s note: those quotes above aren’t real. I made them up. Or maybe I didn’t. You decide.

If you want to make what you write memorable, you’ve got to embrace lying as a form of art, and not in a “Hey, it’s Memorial Day and I love face-planting into the pool in front of the whole neighborhood, plus I always win the lubed watermelon race across the deep end when I’m trashed, so I think I’ll just fall off the wagon for the weekend then back on when Tuesday rolls around.” You’ve got to commit.

Author’s note: You aren’t a better swimmer when you’re drunk. You’re not better looking either, and contrary to popular belief, you can’t do the moonwalk on concrete. And don’t even think about trying to write. (These statements are true as far as you know.)

So what am I trying to say? I’m not really sure except lying isn’t all bad. Especially when you’re writing. But not when you’re under oath. Or one of my children trying to get away with something you hope I’ll never find out about.  Or Batman. In those instances, it’s pretty important to stick to the truth, and that’s my honest opinion.

Batman: an iconic superhero whose powers are r...

Batman: an iconic superhero whose powers are not that great. Batman uses his wits and techno gadgets to apprehend his foes in an urban dystopia. Plus he never lies. (Photo via Wikipedia)

Season Premiere of Mad Men and The Don Draper Award

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As much as I appreciate the blog awards I’ve been given, I’ve been remiss in responding in part because they each have a specific set of instructions, that when combined, are completely overwhelming.

I don’t think anyone really cares to read random facts about me (O.K., my fourth toe is actually shorter than my fifth on each foot, casting a weird, webbish shadow whenever I wear flip-flops), or wants to know about the best moment of my life (definitely now, writing this blog…which would lead you to believe that I’m a sad person, and in all honesty, is kind of a fake hook so you’ll keep going).

I have ugly feet and am in dire need of a pedicure.

I have ugly feet and am in dire need of a pedicure.

More important though, like everyone who blogs, I feel that the world needs to read my original content on a regular basis. Like, needs needs, in the same way I could use a daily I.V. that infuses caffeine directly into my soul.

But I don’t want to talk about myself. I wanna talk about Don Draper. With season five of Mad Men premiering this Sunday night, I thought it might be nice to save you the boredom of skimming fifty-two things you never wanted to know about me and instead create a brand new blogging award that has nothing to do with blogging, is ready and available to add to your site right now, or if you’re not a blogger, your Facebook page, or if you live in Uzbekistan and aren’t on Facebook? Well, maybe you could just carry it around or something.

Anyway, pretty much everyone qualifies for the award (see below). It doesn’t matter if you’re a blogger or a writer. I don’t even care if you know how to spell. The beauty of this award (besides Don Draper’s face), is that you don’t have to do anything except prepare yourself to field the millions of questions from Mad Men fanatics all over the world who covet what you’ve sort of not earned and link them back to me.  If you have to make a choice between the two? Just link back. Early and often. And mostly often.

How to Qualify for The Don Draper Award

You’re attracted to Don Draper.

You’re attracted to Don Draper and now find yourself out of a job.

You’re a secretary who’s attracted to Don Draper and now find yourself…a secretary.

You’re married to a psychotic person.

You’re divorced from a psycho but miss the tender, violent moments you used to share.

You grew up on a farm.

You grew up on a farm but somehow avoided 4:00 a.m. chores and are now a Hand Model.

You’re a fictional character.

You’re a real person who hates your life and pretends to be someone else.

You have a corner office at work.

You sleep in your corner office because you don’t want to go home to an empty apartment every night.

You sleep in your boss’s corner office because you have some weird fetish and like to smell the strangely intoxicating scent of his cigarettes, aftershave, and booze long after he’s gone home to his empty apartment.

You are Batman.

You aren’t Batman but you’re a mysterious person.

You aren’t mysterious but you wear your Batman costume to bed every night in your empty apartment.

You’re a successful partner in an advertising agency.

You’ve never succeeded in anything but you love watching commercials.

Your mother was a prostitute who died giving birth to you.

Your mother is a really nice person who embarrassed you as a kid because her ta-tas were always hanging out.

You like to fix men who are broken.

You like to fix men who are broken only to find that they’ve wiped out your entire savings account and you too are now….broke.

At the age of ten, your father was killed in some crazy electrical storm when a scared horse kicked him in the face.

Your father is still alive, but spends way too much time at the track.

Nobody, not even your wife, knows who you really are because you stole another soldier’s identity during the Korean War and now live under an alias.

You are a normal person, but loved Alias before it got cancelled and think Jennifer Garner is really, really hot when she’s not pregnant.

You love women.

Women love you.

You don’t really know what love is because you’re at the apex of a long-simmering identity crisis that stems back to your childhood, have no self-esteem, use and objectify women, find that success and money can’t fill the gaping hole left by your dead mother and abusive stepfather, and marry your secretary so you don’t have to sleep alone in your corner office every night or go home to an empty apartment.

And if the last reason is the one that qualifies you for The Don Draper Award? You might wanna go with the Hand Model thing and keep it to yourself because that’s some really heavy stuff.

In closing, I’d like to take a minute to thank all of the awesome bloggers who have thrown accolades my way that I don’t deserve. If you have time, please stop by and honor them with a Don Draper Award, linked directly back to me. Early and often. But mostly often.

(Blogs appear in the order that their owners bestowed awards on me. First-mover advantage is real.)

Paltry Meanderings of a Taller Than Average Woman

Sweet Mother

The Write Transition

Jumping in Mud Puddles

Retention

Morning Erection

Random Acts

You Gotta Pay to Play

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I just got blown off the court.

English: An explosion Deutsch: Eine Explosion

My implosion Image via Wikipedia

Again.

And I’m not happy about it.

Taking every day of my four decades on this earth into consideration, (O.K., four decades and some very spare change), my win-loss stats are backlit in a much more flattering hue than the numbers I’ve posted as of late.  Think megapixel versus rabbit ears.

But now, instead of living out a Technicolor tennis dream, I’m that quasi-rodent looking sheepishly over its shoulder as I limp off the screen, er, court.

For a large portion of what I consider to be a fairly short life (wishful thinking is an important component of aging gracefully), I was a good tennis player.  O.K., a really good tennis player.  I competed in USTA-sanctioned tournaments from the day I could lug a Hello Kitty backpack to school, held a respectable state ranking year-after-year, and then, at the apex of my junior career, quit.

While my high school teammates went on to play for their respective colleges, I took another path, joined a sorority, and played Russian roulette with a fake I.D.

Not only did I walk away from a sport that I excelled in, I did so with absolutely no appreciation for the skills I possessed or the work that went into getting there (not to mention the money that could have gone toward buying my father the cardinal-red sports car of his dreams that was instead dumped into lessons, clinics, and camps.  Sorry Dad).

Prince first visit to ireland

Prince Image via Wikipedia

I was so ambivalent toward tennis that I completely upchucked the third set of the state semi-finals my junior year just to get to a Prince concert on time.  I’m surprised my partner, Susan, who was playing her heart out in a match that we were supposed to lose but could have won if I hadn’t been so intent on partying like it was 1999, didn’t kill me on the spot.

George Bernard Shaw told us that youth is wasted on the young.  But he never said why.

Fast forward to last year, and I found myself itching to get back on the court.  This sudden desire might have been tied to the fact that I was turning 40, the kids were finally in school all day, and I had way too much time on my hands.  I also could have been suffering from some type of nostalgic identity crisis fueled by my decision to join Facebook.  Either way, I was ready to announce my comeback tour, complete with pyrotechnics and huge bangs.

Jeff Hardy and Triple H posing for the crowd a...

Image via Wikipedia

So after a twenty-two year hiatus, I dusted off my Red Head racquet, strapped on my favorite lucky visor, and hit the courts.

Game On.

Expect for one problem.

Mine wasn’t.

Everything I took for granted as a result of clocking countless hours of court time as a child was gone, and no matter how strong my desire, my strokes simply weren’t there.

Soutar and Williams, tennis (LOC)

Image by The Library of Congress via Flickr

Over the two-plus decades I carelessly chose to sit out, tennis moved on without me.  Shots I assumed to be ingrained in my muscle memory were nowhere to be found, and I wanted them back.  Immediately.  (Patience is the most overrated virtue on the planet, because while you wait, inert and immobile, for one thing to happen, something completely unanticipated occurs.  Like back pain.)

My yearning to regain what I had so thoughtlessly abandoned years before was real, and life responded in the only appropriate way.  She said no.  I was looking back in an effort to move forward, a path that can be circuitous at best, misleading, and full of dead ends.

As I sat courtside icing my hip, lamenting my fate, and wondering what the artist formerly known as a symbol was up to, I remembered a theory first introduced by Anders Ericsson and later made popular by Malcolm Gladwell in Outliers.  The concept, at its most basic level, states that it takes 10,000 hours of practice to master a skill.  Do you want to sell a painting?  Put in your 10,000 hours.  Write a book?  Ditto.  Start winning tournaments instead of losing them?  Same answer.

Even though I had invested my 10,000 hours two times over and more, that era was gone.  I needed to forget the past, start over, and renew the process of logging my time on the court.  Again.

So I went to work.

English: The tennis player Li Na at the 2007 M...

That's not me Image via Wikipedia

I spent the first couple of months learning how to change a sea level stroke that was at one time hard, fast, and predictable to a high altitude game that was sort of passable on a good day, not quite as quick, and semi-erratic.  I allocated the spring toward focusing on the net because my formerly solid groundstrokes were as unstable as avalanche territory on a sunny day.  I re-engineered my serve.

I bought a new racquet, shoes, and clothes, threw my racquet at the fence in frustration, picked it up and threw it at my car, switched racquets, changed my shoes, loosened my grip, bought more clothes, restrung the second racquet, gave the first one away, and bought even more clothes.  I was determined to at least look like a competitor even if I wasn’t playing like one.

And I kept clocking my hours, one horrendous forehand at a time.

Today, although I’m not where I want to be (and still, at times, get wiped completely off the court), I’m making progress, and I’m not looking in the rearview mirror to get ahead.  The fundamentals of the game I used to know are still there, and I’m building on them to construct something new.  What’s gone is gone, but the future’s ahead: bright, shiny, and staring me in the face.  And I’m willing to work.  Hard.  I’m playing at a respectable level, and even though I lose more than I’d like, I win matches too.  More importantly, I appreciate those wins, much more than the confident yet naïve little girl who walked off the court so many years ago without a second thought.

I wish I could have talked to her back then.  If I had, I would have told her to pick a different night to go to a concert.

Why You Should Take A Day Off From New Year, New You

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Most of the headlines you’ll read today and over the next month will fall into two nap-inspiring categories.

Category One: Old News You Could Care Less About

Articles in this area might include:

“The Year in Review: Top C-List Celebrity Divorce Attorneys” (or)

“The Best and Worst of Men’s Fall Fashion, Evolution of the Trouser Sock” (or)

Socks!

Image by oschene via Flickr

“2011 in Retrospect, Why the Whole Year Sucked”

To all of that and many more I say, so what?

2011 is over.  G-O-N-E, and we should all move on with our lives.  We need to forget the past and look intently toward a bright future, which, if you’re lucky, includes a video camera in your bathroom because you’re a super star.

Rajinikanth

Indian film actor and Super Star Rajinkanth: Image via Wikipedia

We must also take a serious look at who we are as individuals, and where we want to go.  Like, to the store to get some milk because the only non-congealed item in the fridge at the moment is leftover miso soup.

Finally, we should make a serious effort to let go of bad habits, like endlessly surfing Facebook for pictures of our high school ex-boyfriend, and embrace good ones.  Namely?  Stalking him in person.  Which brings me to the second category of yawn-inducing headlines.

Category Two: “Inspirational” Articles That Make You Feel Bad About Yourself

Some of these riveting captions could be:

“Man Up!  Daily Advice From Someone Much Cooler Than You” (or)

“Powerful Living: 10 Tips to Help You Get Over Your Lack of Cash” (or)

“30 Day Challenge: Live a Better Life by Pretending to be Someone Else”

The sheer volume of random musings, strangers, family members, and that teenager who bags your groceries telling you who to be and how to get there on the first day of a new year can be overwhelming.  Paralyzing even.

Teenager of the Year

Image via Wikipedia

So I’m going take a different approach and advise you to just stop.  Breathe.  Send the kids to your creepy basement to count boxes, and reflect on the value of being idle.   Make a PowerPoint to-do list of how many hours over the next day you can spend accomplishing nothing.  Adhere yourself to the sofa, turn on the T.V., and watch endless reruns of Jersey Shore while you Google cast bios and thank your parents for giving you bad hair.

Nicole "Snooki" Polizzi attending a ...

Snooki: Image via Wikipedia

Let’s face it, a new year can be long, and there are 366 days in 2012 (Gotcha!  It’s a leap year.  Bet you didn’t know that.), so you can afford to waste one.  Like an understudy in a play, the girl’s JV field hockey team at school, and anything labeled fat-free, today doesn’t even exist.  You’re no further behind your seven-habits-of-highly-annoying-people next door neighbor than you were yesterday by sitting this one out.  Technically, you might even find yourself a step ahead.