Category Archives: Blogging

Writing About Writing

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It’s been a LONG time since I’ve written here. I just posted on my personal blog and linked this one. As I came over to determine if I wanted to change the look and such,  I saw that I had about 8 views in the last 15 minutes. That told me I had to write something 🙂

There’s so much that has gone on since April of this year with my family, my daughter and myself and I’m not going to even try to rehash all those things, but let’s just say they will come in time.

For now, the small updates these days are my daughter just turned 27 months and is a true toddler. I love this age and love her to death. She’s funny, smart and independant. I’ve been waiting for this age since WAY before I had kids.. even before I even thought about marriage. I just love that toddlers are more like “little people” and you can finally communicate with them in a way you both understand. I know I will miss this age a lot as time goes on, but for now, I’m doing all I can to enjoy her. We go to three classes a week, the park quite often and I’m teaching her a bit of Spanish. She still signs when she really wants something and I find that extremely cool.

She loves her routine (just like mom) and our weeks are quite fun. I’m finally getting to the place of saying that this is better than work. That in itself is a great thing 🙂

 

However, as I wrote in my other blog, I do recall why I stopped writing. I had gotten a HUGE energy spike earlier this year from finding other local bloggers and mom bloggers. I went to a few events, as I wanted to see if I could actually have a “job” writing blogs. Although the events were OK, I wasn’t blown away. I met some really great people, but unfortunately, none of those people were really using their blogs for monetary use. Most had just started (a lot like me) and didn’t have the monetary part as an end goal.

As with many things I’ve done in my life, I got very frustrated after putting a lot of energy into something and when it didn’t work as quickly as I’d like, I give up or pull away. I could probably go back into my calendar and look at when the last meeting was and when I stopped writing to find the correlation.

It’s no one’s fault other than mine and I guess that needed to happen. I have other things I like to put energy into and places where things (or people) take my time. This is a choice, but I always think I can take on a lot for a small amount of time. Usually that is not the case.

So for now, I’ll be back just writing about my life and what’s going on, my opinions and thoughts on things. I do love to write, but when I lose the context of why I love it, the frustration happens and I “quit.”

But, for the 10th time, maybe I will take on a game to write daily, either here or on my personal blog, to see what shows up. It’s worth a shot 🙂

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Procrastinating

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I’m not a procrastinator.. I usually have reasons I don’t do stuff. Blogging is no exception.

I just saw my last post was at the end of January — FAIL. I attended a Boston Parent Bloggers event around that time and thought I should post something as I met a few folks and passed along my blog link. Apparently going to an event and meeting people that could possibly be solid followers didn’t get me to write. Don’t get me wrong, I was totally inspired by every single person there, but I was in the place of obligation *shudder*. I so hate that word.

When I start to feel obligated, I get resentful and when I get resentful, I turn into a 16 year old. “You can’t make me” is generally the phrase of the day running inside my head. The thing is that no one is “making me” do anything other than myself. I realized the other day, however, that I was putting off writing (read: procrastinating 🙂 because it wasn’t fun any more. Well, not that it wasn’t fun, but I wasn’t writing random stuff for myself. Everytime I brought out the laptop to write, I was thinking about possible new people that would read my blog–could I say something witty, annoying, or anything to make people comment? Due to all that, I just said “eff it” and wrote the blog in  my head. Damn I had some good ones. But with in a few hours, it was all gone and guilt and confusion set in. I wondered if I would just give it up all together.

I’ve thought a lot about what a couple people said at the BPB event back in February and I’ve also seen a few people write this in their introductions online. “I’m just going to continue to write for myself and see what happens.” That’s the key. Writing for myself? That context left a while ago.. no wonder I’m not inspired to write anymore.

I decided to blog today just to get it out of the way, no matter how rambling this was or how crazy it sounded. I have a lot to say, things happen daily and I’d really like to write them down. I also feel that people/parents may get a lot out of what I’m saying and I’m always up for comments and advice.

I’ll end here saying that I really do want to blog every day. I found how hard that was to do back in November, but I think I can make it happen. It may just be a phrase, posting a video or something else, but I really do want to keep this up and gather some readers. I”m not sure I have a specific focus, but maybe one will arise.

Thanks for your patience. Now back to your regularly scheduled programming….

20 Questions That Could Change Your Life

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I rarely repost magazine articles, but I found this fairly poignant now that it’s the first month of the year and also things I think of quite often.

20 Questions That Could Change Your Life

Finding the answers starts with posing the right questions—and Martha Beck has 20 to get you started.

By Martha Beck

O, The Oprah Magazine |  January 18, 2011

1. What questions should I be asking myself?

At first I thought asking yourself what you should be asking yourself was redundant. It isn’t. Without this question, you wouldn’t ask any others, so it gets top billing. It creates an alert, thoughtful mind state, ideal for ferreting out the information you most need in every situation. Ask it frequently.

2. Is this what I want to be doing?

This very moment is, always, the only moment in which you can make changes. Knowing which changes are best for you comes, always, from assessing what you feel. Ask yourself many times every day if you like what you’re doing. If the answer is no, start noticing what you’d prefer. Thus begins the revolution.

3. Why worry?

These two words, considered sincerely, can radically reconfigure the landscape of your mind. Worry rarely leads to positive action; it’s just painful, useless fear about hypothetical events, which scuttles happiness rather than ensuring it. Some psychologists say that by focusing on gratitude, we can shut down the part of the brain that worries. It actually works!

4. Why do I like {cupcakes} more than I like {people}?

Feel free to switch out the words in brackets: You may like TV more than exercise, or bad boys more than nice guys, or burglary more than reading. Whatever the particulars, every woman has something she likes more than the somethings she’s supposed to like. But forcing “virtues”—trying to like people more than cupcakes—drives us to vices that offer false freedom from oppression. Stop trying to like the things you don’t like, and many vices will disappear on their own.

5. How do I want the world to be different because I lived in it?

Your existence is already a factor in world history—now, what sort of factor do you want it to be? Maybe you know you’re here to create worldwide prosperity, a beautiful family, or one really excellent bagel. If your impressions are more vague, keep asking this question. Eventually you’ll glimpse clearer outlines of your destiny. Live by design, not by accident.

6. How do I want to be different because I lived in this world?

In small ways or large, your life will change the world—and in small ways or large, the world will change you. What experiences do you want to have during your brief sojourn here? Make a list. Make a vision board. Make a promise. This won’t control your future, but it will shape it.

7. Are {vegans} better people?

Again, it doesn’t have to be vegans; the brackets are for you to fill in. Substitute the virtue squad that makes you feel worst about yourself, the one you’ll never have the discipline to join, whether it’s ultra-marathoners or mothers who never raise their voices. Whatever group you’re asking about, the answer to this question is no.

8. What is my body telling me?

As I often say, my mind is a two-bit whore—by which I mean that my self-justifying brain, like any self-justifying brain, will happily absorb beliefs based on biases, ego gratification, magical thinking, or just plain error. The body knows better. It’s a wise, capable creature. It recoils from what’s bad for us, and leans into what’s good. Let it.

9. How much junk could a chic chick chuck if a chic chick could chuck junk?

I believe this question was originally posed by Lao Tzu, who also wrote, “To become learned, each day add something. To become enlightened, each day drop something.” Face it: You’d be better off without some of your relationships, many of your possessions, and most of your thoughts. Chuck your chic-chick junk, chic chick. Enlightenment awaits.

10. What’s so funny?

Adults tend to put this question to children in a homicidal-sounding snarl, which is probably why as you grew up, your laughter rate dropped from 400 times a day (for toddlers) to the grown-up daily average of 15. Regain your youth by laughing at every possible situation. Then, please, tell us what’s funny—about everyday life, about human nature, even about pain and fear. We’ll pay you anything.

11. Where am I wrong?

This might well be the most powerful question on our list—as Socrates believed, we gain our first measure of intelligence when we first admit our own ignorance. Your ego wants you to avoid noticing where you may have bad information or unworkable ideas. But you’ll gain far more capability and respect by asking where you’re wrong than by insisting you’re right.

12. What potential memories am I bartering, and is the profit worth the price?

I once read a story about a world where people sold memories the way we can sell plasma. The protagonist was an addict who’d pawned many memories for drugs but had sworn never to sell his memory of falling in love. His addiction won. Afterward he was unaware of his loss, lacking the memory he’d sold. But for the reader, the trade-off was ghastly to contemplate. Every time you choose social acceptance over your heart’s desires, or financial gain over ethics, or your comfort zone over the adventure you were born to experience, you’re making a similar deal. Don’t.

13. Am I the only one struggling not to {fart} during {yoga}?

I felt profoundly liberated when this issue was raised on Saturday Night Live’s “Weekend Update.” Not everyone does yoga, but SNL reminded me that everyone dreads committing some sort of gaffe. Substitute your greatest shame-fear: crying at work, belching in church, throwing up on the prime minister of Japan. Then know you aren’t alone. Everyone worries about such faux pas, and many have committed them (well, maybe not the throwing up on PMs). Accepting this is a bold step toward mental health and a just society.

14. What do I love to practice?

Some psychologists believe that no one is born with any particular talent and that all skill is gained through practice. Studies have shown that masters are simply people who’ve practiced a skill intensely for 10,000 hours or more. That requires loving—not liking, loving—what you do. If you really want to excel, go where you’re passionate enough to practice.

15. Where could I work less and achieve more?

To maximize time spent practicing your passions, minimize everything else. These days you can find machines or human helpers to assist with almost anything. Author Timothy Ferriss “batches” job tasks into his famous “four-hour workweek.” My client Cindy has an e-mail ghostwriter. Another client, Angela, hired an assistant in the Philippines who flawlessly tracks her schedule and her investments. Get creative with available resources to find more time in your life and life in your time.

16. How can I keep myself absolutely safe?

Ask this question just to remind yourself of the answer: You can’t. Life is inherently uncertain. The way to cope with that reality is not to control and avoid your way into a rigid little demi-life, but to develop courage. Doing what you long to do, despite fear, will accomplish this.

17. Where should I break the rules?

If everyone kept all the rules, we’d still be practicing cherished traditions like child marriage, slavery, and public hangings. The way humans become humane is by assessing from the heart, rather than the rule book, where the justice of a situation lies. Sometimes you have to break the rules around you to keep the rules within you.

18. So say I lived in that fabulous house in Tuscany, with untold wealth, a gorgeous, adoring mate, and a full staff of servants…then what?

We can get so obsessed with acquiring fabulous lives that we forget to live. When my clients ask themselves this question, they almost always discover that their “perfect life” pastimes are already available. Sharing joy with loved ones, spending time in nature, finding inner peace, writing your novel, plotting revenge—you can do all these things right now. Begin!

19. Are my thoughts hurting or healing?

Your situation may endanger your life and limbs, but only your thoughts can endanger your happiness. Telling yourself a miserable mental story about your circumstances creates suffering. Telling yourself a more positive and grateful story, studies show, increases happiness. Wherever you are, whatever you’re doing, choose thoughts that knit your heart together, rather than tear it apart.

20. Really truly: Is this what I want to be doing?

It’s been several seconds since you asked this. Ask it again. Not to make yourself petulant or frustrated—just to see if it’s possible to choose anything, and I mean any little thing, that would make your present experience more delightful. Thus continues the revolution.

Is it me?

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First, HAPPY NEW YEAR!

I wanted to write something longer for my first post, but I’m going to just start posting random things on here instead of trying to formulate this “wonderful post” that will wow people. Usually when I contemplate formulating said post another month goes by without anything being written and then I forgot whatI was going to say 🙂

With all that being said…

Second, here’s my post, or link. I found this article horrifying and sad. I even took time to comment on the article it bothered me so much. As one of my FB friends stated: “too broad a stroke.” Would love to know what you think–even if you just say “too annoyed to come up with a response” 🙂

http://www.oprah.com/omagazine/Lisa-Kogan-How-to-Reinvent-New-Years-Eve/1

Final conclusions

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Well, here it is. The last day of the month and the official (or unofficial?) NaBloPoMo conclusion day. I do have to say I learned a lot about my writing, creativity, dedication and interest in writing. Although I didn’t write every day like we were “supposed to,” the writing or non-writing of this blog had me thinking about why I wrote or didn’t write in the first place. I will say that I’ll continue to do my best to write daily, but I learned that writing daily really didn’t get me more hits or reads of this blog as I had intended.

As a plus, this month I did get myself involved in a couple of blogging groups, which I don’t think I would have done otherwise. I created a Facebook page for my Mama Bird Blog and also a separate Twitter account. I was pleasantly surprised to see so many followers on my new Twitter account in such a short time. Finding others thru those folks also widened my audience and increased ways for me to get out there to learn more about mom bloggers and blogging in general.

I still haven’t figured out how I want to focus this blog. I guess I already have a focus: myself and my daughter. But I have to be honest with myself–my life is not that spectacular that people would keep returning to read about my day. I have read so many blogs over the past month and tried to find myself in them, or even writing them. I just can’t find a particular ongoing passion (as I’m passionate about many things) and tend to write when the passion hits on any particular subject.

What I do know is that I tend to be quite different in my thinking than a lot of moms, or people, I should say. When 99% of the population agrees on something, there’s me on the other end creeping in a corner so I don’t get screamed at or looked at like I’m the anti-Christ. With that being said, I know there needs to be a voice for people like me/us, but in all honesty I have a thin skin. I wish I had  thicker skin, but I do care about what people think of me. I don’t want to be labeled as a particular person because of one particular view. So, I could make a mark, but at what cost?

I haven’t found any blogs like I would like to write, probably because I haven’t found a ton of people that think like me. I’m not trying to be egotistical or elitist in any way, but as I thinking about my life since I was a teenager, I see now why I was left so confused at times. I’ve held my tongue most of my l ife because I want to fit in, but part of me just wants to yell from the rooftops “WHAT ARE YOU THINKING??”

I will give a quick example of a topic I heard on The Talk this afternoon (the new all women talk show started by Sharon Osbourne). The topic was “co-sleeping.” I first found it quite odd that many in the audience had not even heard of this term. I guess if I wasn’t a mom maybe I wouldn’t know, but in my opinion, you’d have to be living under a rock not to have heard about this. Basically, the panel was  on one side of the other. As Julie Chen said: “Who in the audience thinks co-sleeping is WRONG and who thinks it’s RIGHT?” Caps are there for a reason. Right and wrong? I have so many issues here. Although I appreciate Attachment Parenting and co-sleeping, our family doesn’t subscribe to it entirely. But do I think it’s WRONG? NO! Everyone has a right to do what they feel is right in their own home and for their family. For me, it’s just like religion: feel free to do what you want in your free time, but don’t push it on me. That doesn’t mean you can’t talk about it, but I’d rather have an adult conversation about something rather than someone pointing at me saying that I’m corrupting my child because I don’t let her sleep in the bed with us!

I like the fact that they talked about it on the show and even gave some stats, but right and wrong?

My daughter just turned 16 months yesterday and what I’ve learned as a parent over this time is that we ALL do things differently. Why? BECAUSE EACH CHILD IS DIFFERENT! I have two friends that subscribe to total Attachment Parenting and it worked for them, then there’s me and others that don’t and it works fabulous for us. I don’t believe anyone is “right or wrong” in this situation, it’s really what is right for that family. So, if a kid takes longer to sleep by themselves because the co-slept for 2+ years, then that is on the family. Let them deal with it. And, it’s highly possible it won’t be an issue anyway.

And, one last point as this is my blog and this annoyed me.. for someone as intelligent as Julie Chen is, it surprised and embarrassed me to think that one of her reasons for not co-sleeping with her child is that she would roll over onto her baby and smother them. Really? There are so many devices like this one that give you more freedom and peace of mind, that shouldn’t even be an issue. I found her reasoning a cop-out and I felt embarrassed for her. This is TV in the end, and maybe she was saying what she thought other parents would think, but come on. She lost points for me there.

As you can see, I am passionate about a few things and there are things I feel comfortable talking about, but some of the major issues that have come up in the media lately (parent or non-parent related) are just tough to talk about, especially with my views. I guess the next time something critical comes up in the media I’ll try to find a story or blog that has my views to see if I could write such a thing. I guess that is my next task.

So there’s my blogging month training program in a nutshell. I learned a lot, thought a lot, got creative, got in action, joined a few groups and feel on my way. I still have a long way to go and I think next year I’ll be looking for a blog/writing mentor, but at least I have some outlets now to find such a person. I feel good about it and it seems like a lot of fun 🙂 Maybe one day you’ll see me on one of these talk shows.. AND saying what I really want to say to the world without being ashamed or embarrassed.

Here’s to blogging in 2011!!!

What do you all think about what I wrote? Would love to hear everyone’s thoughts!

Social Media Club

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I didn’t need the brownie-cake thing I ate last night.

Sitting down to talk to people would have given me more confidence and has zero calories. I think I learned my lesson.

I went to a meeting thru the Social Media Club Boston last night to learn more about professional blogging. It was really for people who were in businesses who wanted to tap into the Mom Blogosphere, as it were. I was a bit out of my element, but at least I was ready for it.

Other than getting the info, it was also a networking sort of event. I remembered those. I loved them at the time when I worked in College Admissions and other sales type jobs, but I really just wanted to sit there and listen to a bunch of people speak. So much for my 10 on the Extrovert scale. Although I only said a few words to one person (probably wasn’t the best thing to do), I did glean a lot of useful information. I listened as if I were a business.. that my blog was a business and tried to get my head around what I could do differently to get some readership up on here.

I have some ideas, but I have to be careful as to not lose my integrity. I don’t want to sell myself off or not say things because I think it’s not PC. I do have to say I have held my typing tongue many days as I honestly do feel alone in the mom world on many hot topics. I will refrain from listing them here, but just look at the headlines over the past week or so. Generally I have an opinion and it’s NOT what most people would say.

Anyway, I took some time last night and today to create a Facebook account for my blog and also a new Twitter account. I feel like I’m starting over in the social media world, but at least I know what I need to do and can do it quickly. I’m also lucky to have a good friend who started a social media business in TX. I’ve already reached out to him so I can really get a handle on “The Twitter” and get the most bang for my buck.

As I told my husband last night, I have one lofty goal regarding this blog, but I’m willing to take baby steps to see what I need to do tomorrow instead of looking ahead a year or whatever. I got last night that I need to go to more of these talks and seek out other moms in my position (mom bloggers or writers that need to increase their readership). I really just want people to be interested in what I’m doing, but really, who cares what I’m doing if I don’t have a story!?

When I was pregnant I definitely had said story. And even as a new mom, my breastfeeding issues and all that could have people reading, but now? I have a toddler that basically doesn’t give me any trouble. I don’t work, I’m not feeling isolated and I’m not depressed. I have friends, enjoy my life and my husband is good to me. Who wants to read that?

Time to research more of these mom blog talks and conferences to see what I can do. Sure, it would be great to be able to make money off my blogs or be such a great writer/speaker that I’m asked to talk all over the place, but I need A STORY.

Patience.. patience..

One thing I do know is.. I’m skipping the brownie cake stuff next time 🙂 More talk, less calories.

NaBloPoMo?

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Did I mention how hard it is to write every day?

This weekend was crazy. Started out awesome.. great Friday, beautiful weather, etc., etc. Things were going my way. The universe seemed to like me. I was looking ahead to a scheduled, but not so busy weekend. I should have recognized the trap.

I scheduled our Holiday picture photo shoot early this year, like this weekend. I was very proud of myself, calling to get the appointment at the time close to what I wanted at one of the studios close to where we live (versus the 25 minute drive to the mall in the ‘burbs). It was all set. I knew what we were all wearing, told the husband, everything was a go.

Saturday morning comes. We are all tired, but in good spirits. Got dressed as if we’re going to a Christmas ball and head over to the studio. “We have a breakdown,” my husband tells me as I step out of the elevator (we took separate cars due to more of my brilliant planning to get Jackie home for her nap on time). I was perplexed. A breakdown? What could have happened?

“We have you down for tomorrow morning,” the manager says. TOMORROW? WHAT? The Universe had turned its back on me.

Come to find out either someone told me the wrong day or my mind played a trick on me once again and I THOUGHT she said Saturday, but it was indeed Sunday. There was no place to fit us in, no cancellations. Oh, one while we were standing there, but at noon. No can do.

Both mornings of my weekend were basically screwed now. I would miss running one of those days due to this craziness not to mention attempting to sleep in. Plus, we were risking Jackie being in a bad mood the next day. I wish I hadn’t thought it.

We get thru Saturday, have a good date night (but not such a good movie) and do it all over again Sunday morning–same outfits and all.

I was ready for a good shoot; tried to put things in perspective that we were doing this WAY early so we’d have December to relax, or at least not rush.. or at least not have something else to do.

Ended up the photographer that I was promised wasn’t that great. This “manager-type person” supposedly got promoted from the other studio because she was so great. Really? I know it’s early on a Sunday and I know your other manager gave me a $50 credit for the problems yesterday, but can you have some personality for my daughter? How about not making me do all the work to get her to smile. I thought we were paying YOU to do that job. Oh, and how about having props that weren’t damaged so the pictures would look somewhat professional?

Thankfully we got a few good shots so we could make our Holiday cards elsewhere, but they basically lost over $100 from us due to all these issues. Look, I take responsibility that I may have, probably, made the mistake about the day, but there’s no excuse for a child photographer to not have a personality and to make our session not-so-fun.

Luckily that was our last session of our membership so we really made out well on the package, along with the credit I received, but this is why I did NOT want to go to this studio. I should have gone with my gut.

The good news? Our holiday cards are ordered and should be here in a week. I wonder if I’ll beat my record of getting our cards out before December 1?

Either way, is that a good excuse on why I didn’t write over the past couple days? It should be 🙂