you shouldn’t poke bears with a stick, but that never stopped me

I mentioned this a while back, but it’s kind of an odd position to find yourself in, when you know someone who actively dislikes you reads everything that you write on your blog. I mean, I guess it happens to popular bloggers a lot, but that’s not me, and this is not a random Internet troll, this is someone who is connected to my real life. Well, distantly connected. We’ve never met, but this person is related to people I know and love.

(If you know me in real life, you probably know who I’m talking about. See also: this is why I keep my Twitter account locked.)

zip_lip

I find that I censor myself a lot more now. Which is fine. Even at my most overshare-y, my blog probably only represented maybe 5% of my life. The only difference is that now I’m just more selective about which 5% I share.

Other times, I find that I’ll write something deliberately, in a way that reads as harmless to everyone else, but I know will provoke this person. I figure it serves him/her right for reading my blog in the first place.

There’s a weird kind of entertainment value in that, writing something and then waiting to see how long before this person sends an outraged text message referencing something I wrote here.

arrested-development-lucille-sure

Those outraged texts never take long. I think chronically angry people are always looking for something to justify their venom.

So, you know? Since this person is going to read my blog anyway, I figure I might as well use this little platform of mine to clear up a few things.

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My breast implants are saline, not silicone. If you’re going to make disparaging remarks about my body, you should at least get the terminology right.

If you’re saying it because you think I’m supposed to be ashamed of myself for admitting that I had a part of my body surgically enhanced because I wanted to feel more comfortable in my own skin?

haha_no

Nope. Not even a little. My new boobs are freaking awesome.

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Quick fact check:

* Chris and his ex separated in September 2011.

* He and I met in March 2012, a full 6 months later.

I don’t think the term “home-wrecker” can be applied to me, since that home was pretty thoroughly wrecked long before I ever showed up on the scene.

homewrecker
Pictured above: not me. (Bummer, I know.)

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If you are the type of divorced parent who thinks it’s acceptable to say negative things about your ex-spouse in front of your kids? I think you are a horrible person who should have your parental rights revoked.

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That shit is unforgivable.

Look, divorce is hard on all of us, especially when kids are involved. Vent to your friends, or to a therapist. Common decency should tell you to leave the kids out of it.

Because no matter that you say you don’t involve the kids? When the kids themselves repeat something you said, it’s proof that you’re both a liar and a bad parent to boot.

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If you want to mock the name PooBou, which is a nickname from over 20 years ago?

Whatever, dude. Be my guest.

sound_of_music_no_fucks

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I’ve said it before, but since some people seem to think I have an agenda, I’ll say it again:

I do not care if I ever get married again. At all. It’s not on my to-do list.

And it’s funny, because a couple of my friends have gotten engaged recently, and I am so excited and happy for them, truly. But at the same time, there’s not one iota of me that’s jealous.

My commitment to Chris – and his commitment to me – is the same as if we were married, but I have no need for that piece of paper to certify it. It just doesn’t matter to me.

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One of the best things about my relationship with Chris is that we don’t interfere in our other relationships. He doesn’t tell me how to raise my kids or how I should interact with Dave, and I do likewise for him. Sure, we talk about things, and we might ask for the other person’s opinion, but neither of us dictates to the other how we should act with our families and friends.

I do my own thing, he does his own thing. We love each other and don’t try to change the other person.

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Maybe not a verbatim transcript of our conversations, but the gist is there.

I think that’s called mutual respect. It’s pretty great.

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Finally, there’s this.

dont_ruin_happiness

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I guess that about sums it up. Now I’ll kick back and wait to see how long it takes before those outraged text messages start popping up….

Happy Holidays 2013

Because Meghan started a good thing with this a few years back, here’s our holiday card, for those of you who didn’t receive one in the mail. (Which isn’t because we don’t love you, but I don’t have everybody’s addresses.)

xmas2013

Hope you all have a wonderful holiday season, and sending wishes that 2014 could be even better still.

XOXO

blogging about why I blog

I always find it weird when someone from my real life reads my blog. I mean, I know I have some relatives and friends who read here, but it never fails to surprise me when someone says, “Oh hey, I read about such-and-such on your blog.” I know I publicly put it all out there, but it still throws me a little.

I suppose I feel like I’m just throwing words out into the ethos and nobody is reading it.

Sort of like my job, really. I write user guides. Who actually reads those?

(Answer: nobody. At least not until they’ve already tried to do something with the software and broken it, at which point they might look for the answer in the manual.)

And considering I’ve been blogging for over 10 years now (holy cow), I have to say that for the most part, it’s been a really positive experience for me. I’ve made some great friends and connections through this weird little social media thing. I feel very fortunate.

There have only been a handful of times that I knew someone was reading my blog who I actively did not want to read it. One of those just happened this week.

horrifiedDramatic reenactment of my reaction.

And I admit, it freaked me out. I felt sort of exposed, and I started second-guessing everything I’ve written here. For a minute, I considered changing my URL, changing my Twitter handle, making everything anonymous so it isn’t tied to my “real” life at all.

But the thing is, what I put here on my blog is such a tiny fraction of who I am. I’d guess it’s less than 5% of my life. I share what I choose to share. You don’t hear every mundane detail of what I ate for lunch (you’re welcome), and there are also some intensely private topics that I keep to myself (sorry). I cherry-pick the subjects around here. And even still, I’m well aware that some of the posts I’ve written might not make me look so great. But that’s life, I’m human, nobody is perfect, yadda yadda.

SorryNotSorry

I understand that for non-bloggers, the concept of blogging might seem strange. Just throwing all of these personal stories out on the Internet for any stranger to read. Heck, if you go read GOMI (which I do, daily, because I love that site), you’ll find plenty of people who take issue not just with certain bloggers, but with the concept of blogging as a whole. I get it.

I guess it’s just… I’m a writer. Maybe I’m not all that great at it (I’m certainly not anywhere near as good at storytelling as some other bloggers), but it’s what I do. I’ve had diaries and journals as long as I’ve been able to write in sentences. Transitioning it to online writing felt natural to me.

And to be honest, I love the feedback that happens with blogs. I can write about something – a problem I’m dealing with, some issue with one of my kids, whatever – and I get comments that sympathize, or offer suggestions I haven’t considered. I so value that interaction. And I’m not as good a commenter as I should be, but I love it when I come across someone else’s blog and I can leave a comment that says, “OMG me too!” or a few words that will hopefully be supportive or helpful.

This week I got scared for a minute. But now I feel defiant. I’m not sure if that’s me being true to my middle-child nature, or maybe because this person used my blog to go after someone I love, which tends to bring out my inner pit bull.

so-mad-i-could

I guess the point is, if someone wants to use my blog as fodder to criticize me, they’re welcome to do so. Maybe I do sometimes overshare on this site, but at least everything I say is honest, which is a hell of a lot more than I can say for some people, both online and off.

And really, with all of this technology comes some really nifty features, like comment blacklists and email filters, so I don’t have to see the criticism if I don’t want to see it.

So, you know. Whatever. Bring it on. I ain’t going anywhere.

Haters Gonna Hate

New Year’s Meme for 2012

Ok, hopefully this one will be less depressing than last year’s. Here goes!

1. What did you do in 2012 that you’d never done before?
Got divorced. It was a bit anti-climactic.

2. Did you keep your new year’s resolutions, and will you make more for next year?
I didn’t make any last year, and I doubt I will this year. I mean, sure, lose 20 pounds and win the lottery, right? Same as everyone else in the world. Ho hum.

3. Did anyone close to you give birth?
A whole mess of bloggy friends had babies this year.

4. Did anyone close to you die?
The dad of the family that lived next door to me when I was little. That one tore me up.

One of my dad’s cousins passed away as well, but he and I weren’t close at all.

5. What countries did you visit?
I can think of exactly 3 trips I took this year. None of them involved leaving the US. Two didn’t even leave the state of North Carolina.

6. What would you like to have in 2013 that you lacked in 2012?
This was my answer last year…

Stability. Calmness. Serenity. Less drama. Two kids who sleep through the night in their own damn beds. Little things.

Yeah. That. I would still like that, please and thank you.

7. What dates from 2012 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?
* March 18th – My first “real” date with The Guy.
* October 12th – My divorce was finalized.

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?
I ran 2 miles without stopping. I can’t think of anything else I could file as an “achievement” per se.

9. What was your biggest failure?
I feel like I spent too much of my life zoned out in my own head, rather than interacting with my girls. I need to make a more conscious effort to close the laptop, put down my phone, get down on the floor, and play.

10. Did you suffer illness or injury?
Two trips to the ER, but both for things that were relatively minor. (Thankfully.)

And one stupid injury: back when we went to the beach in August, a wave knocked me down while I was holding Lucy, and something about the way I twisted when I fell (trying to keep her out of the water), I ended up pinching a nerve in my shoulder. It’s one of those things that will get better and then start hurting again for no reason, and it is VERY. ANNOYING. (I’ve already tried acupuncture and it didn’t help. I suppose I should also see a chiropractor.)

11. What was the best thing you bought?
Technically, I didn’t buy it, but I did convince my parents to trade in their 9 year-old desktop for a new PC, and the lack of tech support I have to provide on a daily basis now is FANTASTIC.

12. Whose behavior merited celebration?
Both of my girls have proven to be so resilient and adaptable to new situations, and they just astound me every day with whatever new thing they’ve just learned. Lucy is suddenly speaking in short phrases/sentences (“Get book,” “Want eat,” etc.), and Catie will rattle off some random science fact that I have to google to verify that, in fact, she’s right and I’m basically an idiot.

13. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed?
I can think of a few Facebook friends who would fall in this category. Like those who joked about hiring an assassin after Obama won the election. Thankfully, nobody close to me fits in that category.

14. Where did most of your money go?
Daycare. Rent. Nothing fun. Sadface.

15. What did you get really, really, really excited about?
Catie started kindergarten.
Lucy started walking.
I fulfilled a dream from 30 years ago and finally saw Duran Duran in concert.
A few other things I got all spazzy and excited about, but which escape my memory right now.

16. What song will always remind you of 2012?
Oddly enough, probably “Eye of the Tiger,” because Catie became obsessed with it and played it over and over again until I thought I was going to lose my mind.

Also, I know it’s overplayed, but “Home” by Phillip Phillips. I will never forget the first time I heard both of my girls singing the “oooh-oooh-oooh” part from the backseat at the same time. It just made my heart happy.

17. Compared to this time last year, are you:

a) happier or sadder? Happier. THANK GOD.
b) thinner or fatter? Same.
c) richer or poorer? Same.

18. What do you wish you’d done more of?
Same answer as last year: Traveling. Reading books. Doing fun stuff with my girls.

19. What do you wish you’d done less of?
Same answer as last year: Moping. Yelling. Crying.

20. How did you spend Christmas?
In the ER. Boo. I want a refund.

21. Did you fall in love in 2012?
Yeah. I did. Hard.

22. What was your favorite TV program?
Other than The Daily Show and random stuff like that, I have zero TV shows that I’m into right now. By the time the kids go to sleep, I just want SILENCE, not TV. It’s like my ears are exhausted and I can’t process anymore.

23. Do you hate anyone now that you didn’t hate this time last year?
No.

24. What was the best book you read?
Most of the books I read fall under the category of “romance/smut,” and I am far too embarrassed to link to any of it. (In my defense, I need to read things that aren’t too plot-heavy, since I have almost zero attention span due to extreme sleep deprivation. So basically, let’s all blame my children for the fact that my reading tastes have deteriorated to crap.)

So instead I’ll say Let’s Pretend This Never Happened by Jenny Lawson, aka The Bloggess.

25. What was your greatest musical discovery?
I’ve picked up on a whole bunch of new music by listening to other people’s Spotify playlists. I think my favorites so far are either the Civil Wars or Fleet Foxes.

26. What did you want and get by year’s end?
… I have absolutely no idea…

27. What did you want and not get by year’s end?
… And again, no idea…

28. What was your favorite film of this year?
I think the only movie I saw in the theater was The Hunger Games, which was good. I really loved Beginners. I finally saw The King’s Speech and loved it.

29. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?
I turned 36. Greis was here. We went out for dinner, and then I got a sinus infection. Because of course.

30. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?
If my friends lived closer and I got to see them more often.

31. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2012?
I’m trying SO hard to fight The Frump and to feel cute and stylish. I bought jeans that look good on my butt. I got cuter shoes. I wouldn’t exactly call myself fashionable, but I’m working on it.

32. What kept you sane?
Oh, my friends who let me text them to vent about whatever random stuff that’s driving me crazy. There’s only a couple of y’all. And you rock.

33. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?
I can’t really think of anyone. I mean, Channing Tatum’s abs are pretty amazing, but I can’t think of anyone else who was particularly drool-worthy.

34. What political issue stirred you the most?
The election was pretty major. Currently, I’d say the whole gun control thing is driving me insane. I’ve had to “hide” a few people on Facebook because I just can’t even deal.

35. Who did you miss?
The last month or so, I’ve missed The Guy. A lot.

36. Who was the best new person you met?
The Guy. No matter how things may have ended up. No doubt, it was him.

37. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2012.
Self-discovery hurts but is generally worth it.

38. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year.
“Now I gotta get a move on
Fit for the sun,
I hear my baby calling my name
and I know she’s the only one.
And if I die in Raleigh,
at least I will die free.”
— “Wagon Wheel,” Old Crow Medicine Show

Happy new year, y’all.

Why I’m glad I didn’t go to BlogHer this year

Last week, when I was in the throes of a “woe is me” moment, I started crying when I was talking to my dad.

I said, “And I don’t even get to go to BlogHer this year. All of my friends will be there, and I can’t go. And I know that’s selfish because I should be putting my kids ahead of me, but there it is. I’m selfish. I want to go and I can’t and it’s not fair.”

I went to the bathroom to get myself cleaned up, and when I came out, my mom had come in the room and said, “Wait, when is BlogHer? You need to go!”

They’ve said several times that they can’t handle both girls overnight, so it didn’t occur to me to even ask if they could take the girls so I could go. I just assumed that they would say no.

Of course, by this point, the conference was long since sold out, and I couldn’t get a plane ticket on less than a week’s notice, so it wasn’t going to happen. But: next year? So there.

This year, though, it turns out that it was really lucky that I didn’t go, for two different reasons:

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1. Last Tuesday, I got really, really sick. Like, fever spiked to almost 104, I was hallucinating, the whole thing. My mom had to call 911 to have the paramedics take me to the ER so my parents could stay with the kids. They pumped me up with fluids and IV antibiotics and pain meds and I finally got discharged from the hospital around 3 a.m. on Wednesday. Oof.

I’m still on antibiotics, but I’m mostly ok now (it’s a long story and I don’t really want to get into my diagnosis since it partially involves my lady bits, and… well. No.), but I’m so glad that I wasn’t in a hotel room in NYC when all of this happened. It’s much nicer to be sick and miserable in your own bed, and I would have missed so much of the conference being sick. So it was kind of lucky that I wasn’t there.

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2. Lucy started walking on Thursday. Like, for real walking.

That video is actually not the best example, she can usually get from one side of the room to the other without falling over, which is kind of amazing. And if I had been at BlogHer, I would have missed it.

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So, you know, I’m ok with the fact that I missed the conference this year. I was a little sad reading tweets from people I love talking about meeting up with other people I love, and thinking, “I want to be there with youuuuu!!”

But overall, it’s ok. This weekend had some really nice moments, even without all of the awesome people and parties and big city and all of that.

It's milk time, y'all.
This is how we have a drinking party at my house.