Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Sharing my crazy

Why is it that I think of tons of things to write about when I'm not actually writing?  Like, I'll be sitting with Husband and think, "ooohhh that would be a great blog!"  And then when I sit down, "ZAP!" there's nothing.  There is a big hole in my head where all those great ideas were.

"Write them down," you say...or you would say if you were in my head.

So I do, and then I come back to them and think, "Nah...that's not it for today."  I have tons of ideas that have vacated my brain that would have been perfect and tons of ideas that were perfect another day.  Ugh!

So today, I've decided to share some of my crazy.  And I don't know if this is normal, or if really I'm a little nuts.  If I'm a little nuts, will you just humor me and pretend that you know exactly what I'm talking about?  You know, nod and say, "Oh My God!  I know exactly what you mean!"

Here goes.

I have a constant inner monolouge going on.

We're not talking Geppetto, we're talking a live translator.

 I rarely just say something.  I'm usually thinking it before I'm saying it.  And if I do say it, then I'm thinking about the countless ways I could have said it differently. What word do I emphasize?  Did I say it in the right tone?  Did they not understand me? Because if they didn't understand me, it's my JOB to make sure that they do.

Let's say that I'm talking with a friend. I'm relaxed but then they don't respond how I anticipate.  This is when the variables start dancing in my head.  Did I say it in the wrong tone?  How should I phrase the next bit?  Is she a close enough friend that I can make some raunchy reference or do I have to tone it down?  Do I have to be nice/PC or can I just spit out what I want to say?  Or if I do take a chance and just say it, will she think I'm awful?  Will she sever ties for the one comment I make flippantly in jest?

I have to admit, it's tiring.  I do it with my parents, my siblings, my children, my friends and of course with all the acquaintances.

I think the only person I don't do it with is Husband.  Honestly.

With Husband, I just can't manage it.  He's seen me too many times messing up words when I'm sick. He claims that the week before my period is exceptionally amusing. I am his source of entertainment. He's heard me without the script and yet, he still loves me.

You would think that at this moment, Ariel would come crashing through the waves in my brain singing her revolutionary "Ah-ah-ahhhhh, ah-ah-ah-ah-ahhhhh, ah-ah-ahhhhhhhhhhhh."  But no, the clear-headed thinking stops here.  Maybe I'll be like Maya Angelou and wear purple when I'm old, but I'm not old yet.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Geekette Post: Kindle Voyage

I have an unhealthy love for anything electronic.  I think it all started with my Show n Tell record player...the one that you could put the filmstrip in and it advanced the story in time to the book being read.  Of course, then I got Sister Slegde's "We Are Family," and the whole purpose of the book record player was reappropriated.

Ah...the memories.

Before I get lost down memory lane, I wanted to share my latest electronic love with you: the Kindle Voyage.

Up to now, I have been reading on my tablets (or just normal books from the library.)  I do an insane amount of reading. We're not talking Proust here, we're talking pure mind candy. The Milky Way equivalent of books: lots of fluff with gooey caramel goodness to hold it together and coated in decadent chocolate.

Unfortunately, I think that my reading has also been contributing to my recent upsurge in Migraines. This is how I justified my purchase, by the way.  This is a paperwhite version that is supposed to be easier on the eyes.

So two days ago, a lovely little package arrived in the mail.  Actually, it did not look so lovely at first. It was rather uninpressive and came in a padded envelope.  And it was small. Much smaller than I thought it would be.  So I waited until I had a quiet moment. ( Yes, I really do that.  I got into a huge arguement with Husband one time when he tried to open one of my toys before I could.)  And when the world was still, I sat down to meet my new Kindle.

I have to back up a minute and say, I had a Kindle. It just didn't grab my attention.  I'm a bells and whistles kind of girl and the first Kindles were not snazzy enough for me.  This one is a whole different story.

First of all, the design is beautiful!  It is so light and fits right in my hand.  Did I mention that it's light?  And that it fits in my hand?  It fits right in my hand and my wrist doesn't get tired after reading. Did I also mention that it's backlit?  OMG, BACKLIT!  So much better than trying to manage a book light over my other Kindle.  And then trying to get it in a position where it didn't cause a glare on the page.  And then trying to get it into a position where it didn't glare on Husband's face.  Now, I can adjust the screen to super-dim and still read into the wee hours while he sleeps soundly beside me.

The display is gorgeous, all clean and bright without causing little pinpricks in my head. You can turn the page on the electronic page with a gesture. Or even easier is to press down on the black frame surrounding the display. There is a long line on either side and by simply putting a little pressure down with your thumb you can advance the page.. There is a little haptic feedback that lets you know that the page turned. Above that is a little dot if you need to go back a page.

You can sync the device with Twitter, Goodreads and FB.  I like that it is easier to exchange books with my Kindle Unlimited Account here than on the app for Android.  I also like how small I can make the font and how dim I can make the screen.  Finally, it is supposed to have a phenomenal battery life....I'll have to let you know.

The three things I don't like, and really they are very minor are as follows:

The screen doesn't rotate.  This is feature that I got used to having on the tablet.
There is no haptic feedback on the actual display, so sometimes I advance a page without realizing it.
Those little LED screen lights aren't keeping me awake so I fall asleep faster...less reading time.

See, very minor issues!

So I would recommend this!  Great gift for a geek or geekette who reads alot.  It's like Meghan Trainor!  It has all the right junk in all the right places!

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Your stars are okay

Late last night, I got an email from a friend who runs an organization called Entreslam. It's storytelling for entrepreneurs.  She is working on a new project and asked me to contribute.  She sent me the following questions:

Colombian Corazon
Serial Entrepreneur

  • The Moment that put you on the path you're on now as an entrepreneur
As crazy as it sounds, I think babysitting put me on this path.  I enjoyed working and taking care of others. Looking back, I can see that I also enjoyed the autonomy.  I never liked being a mother's helper, but being a babysitter was cool.  
  • The Challenge you've faced (or are still facing)
Fast foward *ahem* years and I see that babysitting is still haunting me.  I often find myself putting other's needs before mine.  I have a hard time saying no and defining boundaries. I treat my business as a baby and the people who are around it like children.  In other words, I am doing a lot of reactive parenting instead of proactive parenting. By letting that happen, I am also inadvertently doing alot of self-sabotage.  I'm not a successful as I could be and the company I'm working with suffers as well.
  • The Promise you've declared for your venture and why you will (eventually) prevail
My goal is to plan my day. The better I function and the more I get done.  When I don't, my day invariably ends up planning me.  It sounds counter intuitive to all those free spirits, (myself included,) but the more structure I create, the more freedom I actually have.  Eventually, I'll plan my week!  I know that sounds crazy!  But I think I'm up to the challenge.  And when I'm done with my week, I'll move onto a whole month.  Baby steps, my friend, baby steps.
  • Your Message of hope for others
What I want people to take away from this is my new mantra.  "Your stars are okay."  What I mean is that you should definitely reach for the stars, but make sure they are your stars.  Make sure that you are reaching for your definition of success and not someone else's.  Make sure that you define your goals and your steps to get there so that when you do reach your stars, you enjoy the sweet success that can only be defined by you.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Lessons Online


***I decided that I'm treated my #NaBlopoMo challenge like Ramadan.  For those of you who don't celebrate, here's what that means.  Ramadan is the month that Muslims fast from sunup to sundown. Sometimes due to illness or travel they can't fast.  When that happens, those missing days are completed  at a later date.  So the days that I miss blogging, I now promise cyberspace that I will fulfill those in the future.***

Last night I attended the #Mombizmondays Twitter chat with Lara Galloway and Shelagh Cummins. If you are in business for yourself, this is one you don't want to miss.  For more information, head to the Facebook page.

Being in business for yourself is pretty lonely.  You have to actively go out and look for humans to talk to at some point or risk ending up a babbling idiot.  I have plenty of kids in my life, but sometimes I need to bounce ideas or hear other peoples stories or simply make a connection.  This group lets me accomplish that in my pajamas on my couch!  What could be better?

When I first heard about the Twitter chat, I was a little skeptical. How could I really learn something from 140 characters or less per person?  I attended my first one several months ago and I was pleasantly surprised.  There was a great mix of women from all over who all have two things in common; they were mothers and they were in business.  

Last night was one of the best chats yet and it was all about sharing your story.  The question that I thought provided the most insightful responses was Question 4 of the evening, "WHAT LESSON HAVE YOU LEARNED THAT WOULD BE MOST INSPIRING TO OTHERS?."  

Some of the responses were as follows:

@easeliving said, "It doesn't need to be perfect, just get it out there."  How many times have you struggled with a product to get it just right to the point of self-sabotage?

 @WatkinSBS "You can't be everything to everyone all the time: u need to be something 4 urself first."  As women, we put everyone else ahead of our needs, but if you're running on empty, how can you give to someone else?

@travelbeCAUSE1 "Failure is ok. FailureS are ok. Keep trying if it's what you love! travel beCAUSE idea came from total bomb."  No one likes failing, but sometimes that's where you learn the best lessons!

And yours truly added to the cause that you need to give yourself time to BE so that you have room to GROW. Everything happens so fast nowadays. If don't stop to assess where you are, how can you figure out what you need to do to move forward?

Not only am I making connections with people that I would otherwise never meet, but I also am getting some reinforcement that I'm not alone.  I'm on the right path and while it may be hard, I have a bunch of great women in my corner rooting for me just as I am rooting for them.

Friday, November 7, 2014


I finally feel like me again. The person I know and know how to work with.  I have spent the last week feeling guilty that I haven't been able to work.  I had grand plans to buckle down today.  I got up this morning and did just that. I worked, I went to the gym, got the oil changed and then decided to rein it in and went home for lunch.

I had planned to watch one episode of "Orange is the New Black" while I ate, but one turned in to two. There is something totally differernt, (decadently enjoyable,) about playing hookey when you could actually be doing something else.  And I could have, I could have been working.  Again, here was the guilt creeping in.  (Never mind, that I had hit my quota for the day and I would have been pushing the limits.)

At five, my daughter got home.  She poked her head in and said hello.  Then she spotted my latest project.  I was knitting a new scarf .

I bought "Beanstalk" a new coat last night. The prospect of creating some matching accessories was pretty attractive.  We found some yarn, came up with a color scheme and pattern, and off she went.

It was so nice to spend the evening with her.  We knitted our scarves, talked about school, about the upcoming holidays, and basically joked around while we watched cheesy movies and hung out in my bed.

I don't really consider myself crafty, but I think my friends would.  As I looked around, I saw evidence that it's in my genes. And it looked like Beanstalk had caught the bug as well.  My daughter was using the quilt that my great grandmother made, on my wall is a picture that my aunt painted, behind me was a pillow that another aunt stiched. There is a handmade card, jewelry, knitted coasters, handmade placemats and a world of evidence that I was born to do this.

There is something soothing about creating something with your hands.  Something theraputic about the repetition.  And if you're doing it with others, barriers crumble away and let you really enjoy your time with them.  There is no judgement, just community, a need to help and the shame in asking for help dies as well.

I think I'm hard on Beanstalk, but on nights like tonight, I really get to enjoy just being with her. It seems like with my hands busy, I'm free to relax and truly appreciate what a beautiful person she's turning out to be.

And that is nothing to feel guilty about.

Thursday, November 6, 2014

What a difference....

#NaBloPoMo! I already failed in the first five days. :(

I couldn't get a passport out of Migraineland to write my blog yesterday.  So at some point, I'm going to post an extra blog to make up for missing one.  But not today.

Today is recovery day.  It's kind of like a hangover.  Everything moves slow, but it is moving.

Today, I wake up and there are still the residual aches and pains.  My head and neck still feel "crunchy." (What I mean by that is every time I move/turn my neck and head I can hear creaks and and it feels like things are crunching, much like potato chips.)

Today, I can put on whatever I feel like.  I don't have to check fabrics to make sure that they are not too rough against my skin.  At my last visit to the clinic I was told that this was called Allodyina and pretty common in Migraine patients.

Today, I can also do whatever I like with my hair. I can wear it down because it doesn't hurt when it brushes against my skin.  I can also wear it up in as high a ponytail as I like because it doesn't hurt my head.

Today, I can do some work on the computer.  I can surf for clothes.  Old Navy and Nordie's are having sales!  I can return emails and catch up on what I've missed.

Today, I can have intelligent conversations!  I don't search for words and I don't forget where I'm going or what I'm going to do when I get there.

Today, I am almost normal.  Almost.

Dinah Washington made this song popular in English in 1959. It was originally written in Spanish in 1934.  I know it's a romantic ballad, but I always think of the first stanza when I'm coming back to life.

"What a difference a day made
Twenty four little hours
Brought the sun and the flowers
Where there used to be rain."

-Stanley Adams

Yesterday, "today" was a bad word and now, "today" is not so bad.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Today Should Be Over

Today is one of those days when I want to have a pity party for a guest of one. No one else is invited. Just me.  Why?  Because it's my party and I said so.

Today has been rough. I don't really like who I am today.  In fact, if I met me for the first time, I wouldn't be very impressed or feel like I wanted to get to know that person at all.  Today is rough because I am in day three of migraine hell. 

I woke up knowing that it would probably not be a great day.  I'm in a drug study and the meds tend to wear off the week leading up to the new injection. (My next injection is tomorrow.) It's slated to rain and the barometric pressure started dropping last night. The perfect storm.

I planned an easy morning.  I slept in, got up and had coffee with breakfast. I tried to read a little bit, but the book is on my tablet.  It felt like the light was poking little pinpoint holes into my head.

Then I got ready to pick up the kids from a friend's house so that we could go to a movie with a group of friends.  I was short with the kids and snapped at them. Sometimes there was a reason, but mostly there wasn't.

The movie was good, but it seemed like every time I opened my mouth I had only negative things to say to my friend. I eventually decided that it was just better to shut up than to keep sounding so________ (add in your own negative adjective, it'll fit.)

I declined heading over to my friend's home afterwards.  I still had to vote and I knew I wouldn't be good company.

I stopped at the bank. I met the assistant manager.  I hate meeting new people when I'm sick.  I don't have any sparkle.  It’s like someone applied the "ugly" filter to me.

Then I went to vote.  I couldn't even make sense of the names on the ballot.  The florescent lights were drilling huge holes into my head directly behind my eyes.  Normally,  I love kids.  Today there were two children while I was voting that I wanted to gag and tie down.  I was almost crying by this time. I regretted no choosing a booth with a seat because I was beginning to feel nauseous and like I was going to pass out. I'm embarrassed to say that I ended up having to text someone to help me vote.

Then I got home and sat in the dark.  I made some food since I know that often times I forget to eat when I'm in pain and it makes it worse.  My husband came home and had to ask me to repeat everything that I was saying. I guess I speak softly when I'm in Migraineland.

And now, I've been sent to my room.

Not that I would honestly rather be anywhere else but on migraine days, my room equals defeat.  Being in my room is me admitting that I can't do it; I can't function.  Truthfully, I wasn't functioning very well to begin with.  I was rude, negative, un-sparkly, and totally unproductive all because I was in pain.

 On days like today I feel like a useless member of the human race.  I know tomorrow will be better, but right now I'm in my pity party room for one wishing feverently that today would be over.

Monday, November 3, 2014

Aspirations of a Southern Belle Part 2

Saturday night, I spent a good hour composing what I would have said when this guy I know confronted me on Friday morning.  More than a day had gone by and I was still obsessing about this. I don’t know what that tells you about me, but there it is.

When the actual event occurred I was pissed.  And tongue-tied.  I could not come up with even one brilliantly scathing thing to say!

It took me about 30 minutes to calm down.  (You can read yesterday’s post for the whole story.) When I was able to stop seeing red, I realized that the jerks in the world did not deserve that much attention and energy from me.  I thought I was over it.  I thought I had put it away.  But then, a few moments of quiet on Saturday night gave way to the fantasy of what I would have said if my wits were about me.

Want to hear?

If I could rewind that moment I would have said, “I’m sorry.  But impatient is not a negative quality.   I simply stated a fact.  You are impatient, just as I am almost always late.   It is just a trait.  It may be one that you want to improve upon, but it is what it is.  Negative would be if I told your son that you were a rude, insensitive, ill-manned boor.  But I didn’t, did I?  I stated a fact.  A fact that I have gathered after you picked up your child numerous times from my house and I listened to you honk the horn while you waited in the comfort of your vehicle for him to appear.  I would never disparage you in front of your son.  I would never tell him that you are a bully who is mean and unfair and a cheater.  So the next time that you want to confront me in a public place in that supercilious manner you are currently using, make damn sure that you have a good reason.”

Just putting that on paper made me feel better. 

Maybe the next time, I’ll finally don my Southern Belle persona and smile saccharinely before I speak.

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Aspirations of a Southern Belle Part 1

I have always wanted to be Southern.  That’s because in all the movies I see, Southern women are adept, I mean truly masterful, at the backhanded insult.  You know the one where you don’t realize that someone has insulted you until it’s too late to respond?  That insult. I find that I always miss the moment.  I get so tongue tied when I am confronted that I clam up and forget all the words that I have been dying to say.  This happens especially when I’m confronted by a man.

I spent years going from one abusive relationship to another.  I learned quickly that standing up for myself was not a desirable trait.  Of course, now, I realize that it’s ridiculous.  But I find that when a man confronts me, especially in anger, I have a hard time coming up with any words, much less ones in my defense.  That’s years of conditioning, people; Pavlov at his best.

It especially kicks in when I’m around men that give off that abusive vibe.  If you’ve even been in an abusive relationship, you’ll know what I mean.  I’m sure that someone somewhere has cataloged that behavior and could tell me exactly what it is.  All I know is that it makes me nervous and my first instinct is to run in the opposite direction.

So here’s what brought all this on.

This guy picks his son up from my house sometimes.  His son is in elementary school and since there are always kids at my house, he’s there too.  When this dad arrives, he never gets down from his car.  He never comes to the door to pick up his child.  He simply sits in his huge SUV and honks his horn.  If his kid doesn’t come out right away, he keeps honking until he does.  I confess, wholeheartedly, that I remember telling the child that he should hurry because his dad was impatient.

On Friday morning, probably about a year after I said this, the big lunkhead approaches me at the local post office to tell me he didn’t appreciate me making negative comments to his son.  I looked at him incredulously.  If you know me, you know I wouldn’t do that.  Then he said that he would appreciate it if this conversation didn’t get back to his ex.  At that point, I almost laughed since I don’t owe him anything and the ex is one of my best friends.  (Seriously!  Who was he kidding?  Of course it’s going to get back to his ex.) So he goes on for about five minutes and I told him a couple of times that I couldn’t imagine what he was talking about.  I said that I would never say anything negative to a child about their parent. (Believe me when I say that that is one mess I don’t want to be in.)   So I stood there while he loomed over me, being the bully that he is, while I tried to figure out what I could have said. I was getting angrier and angrier at being unjustly accused.  He kept using the example of “impatient” and I kept wracking my brain trying to figure out what the hell I could have possibly said.  And then it dawned on me.  “Impatient” WAS the negative thing.

Okay people, impatient is a trait.  It may not be a desirable or flattering one, but it is what it is.  I run late all the time, (give me a break, it’s in my genes, I’m fighting a losing battle between the camel and the spic bloodlines,) but I wouldn’t jump down someone’s throat if they called me that. 

I was so angry by the time I got home.  How dare he!?! And then, the oddest thing happened.  My phone rang and it was my friend, (the ex,) and he had called her and told her all about the confrontation in the post office. Suddenly, in a matter of seconds, all of my anger was gone.  I could let the incident go and move on.

At least, that‘s what I thought.

Saturday, November 1, 2014

NaBloPoMo Day 1

I am a visitor to the blogging hemisphere; but as of today, I am moving in.  A friend and I have made a committment to participate in Blogher's NaBloPoMo this month.  What this means is that I am committing to share my life with you every day for a month.

You might imagine that this could get boring, but since I haven't written in such a long time, I've been storing up!  I've got scintillating topics to share with you, (the whole two people who read this blog,) over the course of the next month.

I'm guessing that there are plenty of new blogger's that are writing a similar post.  Today is the day that I start my blogging career!

However, not everyone has led the strange life I have led.  Let's titillate you with some examples:

Can you say that:

  • Your husband was married to someone else at the same time he was married to you?
  • You know how to pay a taxi driver with a kiss?
  • You have friends on every continent except Antartica?
  • You can speak a bunch of languages?
  • You sing opera?
  • You have 2-9 kids at your house on any given day and none of them biologically belong to you?

See, I've got loads of stuff to share.  And while some of it makes me unique, most of it is relatable on some level or another.  I think I've got a story to tell and this is the beginning of my jouney to being a consistent voice in the digital world, not only here, but on other blogs as well, (and also on social media.)

This is the beginning ( I think I wrote that before, but this time it really is!)


Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Today, I’m going to write one blog for two different sites. I have feeling that this breaks some sort of SEO commandment. However, since I’m not going to ask for permission I’ll keep on writing. And if I am committing some major blunder; MAYBE, I’ll beg for forgiveness later.

Yesterday, I spent another long day at the dentist in between meetings for my newest brainchild. (Notice that it was not the other way around.) That is why I am a day late getting this info out, but it is important enough that it is worth the late share.

It is also part of my latest epiphany: community Jason Mendolson, a Michigan native, spoke at Xconomy Detroit yesterday. He is part of the billion dollar venture firm The Foundry Group located in Boulder, Colorado. He urged us to come together as a startup community not only in Detroit but also with Ann Arbor to create a symbiotic force to be reckoned with. While in front of the group, he said that he had identified four main points to starting and maintaining a strong startup culture.

  1. Entrepreneurs must run the community: A startup economy will not continue to grow if it is run by traditional big business.
  2.  2o Year Horizon: He also noted that no one should expect immediate results. He said there should be a twenty year horizon for any new startup community. 
  3.  Anyone who wants to participate should be able to participate: We all got in this because we couldn’t work for someone else so why should we tell someone else that they have to be able to “work” with us. We were all outliers at some point.
  4.  Regular engagements: Regular meetings like Startup Grind (shameless plug!) help to build a strong community. We are not just getting together to give/receive awards. We are getting together to really connect and get to know each other and become a sort of family. 

We all have good ideas, we all need each other. We shouldn’t exclude just because an app doesn’t save lives like the biotech venture can or a retail outlet isn’t inventing the newest sexy technology. We are all interdependent. Let’s do this! Let’s build a new community and I’m happy to let each and every one of you shine in your own way…just as long as you drink my coffee :)  Actually, just come be a part of Startup Grind. Show up, you never know who you might meet.

Sunday, March 16, 2014



I haven't written a blog in a Looooonnnng time. At least not a personal one. A lot has changed...I'll give you the short story: 

1. DF became DH (see above)

2. No more smoking 

3. I am still "well-nourished." (I'd say fat, but that has negative connotations and I gave up negative self-talk for Lent.) 

4. I have anywhere from 2-7 kids during the school year and 2-9 in the summer and none of them are biologically mine. 

5. Overall, I'm really, really happy 

I'm back. The truth of why I'm back is because I need a place to sort it all out. And even though I'm not going to be famous and have tons of followers, maybe one or two things I write here will help someone. So why not? I'm a relatively smart, yet quirky girl... 

Today's inspiration is that I'm finally "getting it." See, for several years now, I've been hearing about how "You" have to build a community...and in relation to what I am doing (coffee) my eyebrows would knit together and I would give "You," (think of "You" as a generic term right now, like the ubiquitous "They") a very confused look. "You mean customers, right?" You would respond, "Well sort of...more like a community of customers." 

I have always been a direction-reader and after the directions, I jumped in with both feet to figure it out. Except this one took me awhile. Only today, while I was writing an introduction for a new group did I realize that I was using this term community and really understanding it for the first time. I also think that I finally have defined it for myself in a way that is meaningful and relevant to what I am doing. I also realized that I am interested in creating three communities that may overlap, but are all equally as strong. 

Now I feel like I know where I'm heading but I still have things I want to discuss and meander over in my head. That is what has prompted me to come back here. I feel like this next step is really important and that I need to share it. Maybe it's only just me and cyberspace, but at least I am sharing.... 

So stay tuned. I promise I'll be playing this show for awhile.