Confessions of a FB Quiz Addict

20171003_222155000_iOSYes, it’s true. I find it hard to scroll past one of those dumb quizzes that inevitable appear in my FaceBook feed without clicking on them. Because really, who wouldn’t want to know what the most popular words they use in their posts are or who has a secret crush on them?

I for one want to know what the color test tells me about my most dominant character trait is (kindness in case you are wondering) and I found out I’m an introvert by ordering a pizza (not that I didn’t know that already!)  Probably most compelling though are those quizzes that deem me a genius – you know the ones that proport to say that 90% of people don’t know the meaning of these 22 words or the like.  A smile of satisfaction crosses my lips when I find myself in the 10% that know them all. My fingers itch to press “Share” so my FB friends know how smart I really am (or not if you factor in the amount of time I waste taking these quizzes instead of sleeping) and they too can partake in the fun of quiz-taking. 90% of the time, my friends are also in that illustrious 10% of smarties. So, either I am surrounded by extra-intelligent friends or someother nefarious forces are in play. I tend to side with all my friends being on the genius level.

I am so lucky to live in such modern times that I get instant results for these pop-culture quizzes.  Back in the dark ages of my teenage years, I actually had to wait for my monthly issue of Seventeen to appear in my mailbox before I could indulge in such fun. I had to flip through those glossy pages to find the quiz that told me if that special guy was into me or not.  I had to carefully write down my answers on paper none-the-less and then assign a 1, 2, 3 or 4 to my corresponding A,  B, C or D answers. Finally, I had to exercise those math skills to get my total and find the answer to my burning questions.  Am I an optimist? a realist? a pessimist? Oh those insights gave me even more fodder to overthink the little things.

After completing the quiz of the month, I inevitably flipped to the last page to check out my horoscope for the month.  What did the stars have to say about my future?  Is an Aquarius woman compatiable with a Scorpio man? LOL. I confess though, I still click on those articles that appear in my feed. What do the psychics say about my career today? When will I meet my soul-mate? I admit I sometimes wish I had a crystal ball and could see which path I should take or avoid. I’ve even had a personal psychic reading just for the fun of it. Alas, even though she seemed to know things about my that I don’t know how she could her predictions have not come to fruition.

Last but not least, I had to skim over the “Top Ten” lists. Those are the best. You know the top 10 things a man is looking for in a woman or the top 10 things you should stop doing on a date or the top 10 things an older woman should never wear. I love how advice can be summed up in ten easy points.  Its no surprise that I also find myself clicking on these gems when insomnia grips me and I click on my Huffington Post app. You would not believe how many self-improvements can be made in 5 to 10 steps!

I’d like to say I’ll never waste my time again taking a quiz, reading my horoscope or checking out the latest top-10 advice column, but I know I will. I mean what else have a got to do at 2:00 AM when the dog is running around the yard and won’t come back in and I’m engulfed with a hot flash. I’m certainly not going to be able to fall back asleep. I apologize in advance if my sharing these distractions suck you in as well.

Anyone else give into the guilty pleasures of these time-wasters?

 

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The Story Teller

20170919_230223573_iOSSometimes as I read back over my words, I amazed that they came from the depths of my mind.  Did I really write that I muse.  I try to think back to my former self that had those particular thoughts on that particular day and remember. What was I feeling? What else happened? What circumstances led me to write those exact words? If I’d written them at another time on a another day would they have been different?  As I look at an old blog post, or journal entry or some odd story I wrote, I am reminded of how human I am and how far I’ve come.  My journey has taken many twists and turns yet my words still remain true to me.  The same themes thread their way through my life connecting them together and giving me a voice that the shy little girl within me would have a hard time speaking aloud. I have changed and grown but I am still the same. I am me uncompromised.

I watch my daughters as they are becoming young women. I am filled with pride and hope and love. They are finding their own voices each in their unique ways. A smile comes to my lips when I find the little stories and essays they have written. The letters and notes I find. They too have a love of expressing themselves in words and creating a story from their imaginations. Of all the quirks and neuroses I have passes on to these two this is the one that I am grateful to have inspired in them.

20170919_225524589_iOSA few months ago my fifth-grade daughter and I were down in the dredges of our basement, trying to organize our “craft” room. She came upon a tote in the back corner labeled “writing and stuff” and pried off the lid. (Yes, we were supposed to be putting stuff away.)  Here eyes got wide and she became so excited as she found a pile of old and I mean OLD stories that I had penned back in the day. She took them upstairs and made me read them all to her.  I laughed as she did she as we landed upon her favorite, “Pedro the Great.”  Ahhh good old Pedro the Great was inspired by my childhood dog  chihuahua named, of course, Pedro. In my little tale, Pedro is a diso dancing super hero. I illustrated it myself (as you can see in the picture above.)  I explained to her that I was the exact same age that she is now when I wrote that story – fifth grade. I told her we didn’t have computers (way back then in the old days) and had to use a typewriter (what’s that?”) and used markers to draw the pics. She was even more impressed when I told her that my teacher read it to our class. I have no recollection of how that came to happen – I think I must have asked her to read it and she humored me. I was proud of my story though and she encouraged me to write.

20170919_222745525_iOSI hadn’t given much thought to Pedro since that evening until I came home from work a couple of days ago tired and ready to veg. Usually when I come home the girls are watching TV or doing homework or playing outside, but on this particular day, she ran into the garage to meet me.  In her hands was her very own story, “Maggie the Magnificent.”  MTM is also a super hero dog named after our Jack Russell mix, who I’m not sure I would describe as magnficent (based on the growing pile of chewed up bras, undies, pens, shoes and Barbies in her wake or the number of times a week she wakes me up a 3 AM to pee), none-the-less, my daugher’s version of MTM is larger than life. My daugher was so proud of her story and I could see my ten-year old self in her. I loved her story.  She wants to get it published now and I encourage her to follow her dream. Her fifth grade ambitions are much higher than mine.  She’s working on the sequel now as she doesn’t want our other dog, Ollie, to feel left out. I agreed, he should get his story too. And, I can’t wait to read it.

 

 

 

 

 

Does Happily Ever After Even Exist?

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Just call me the “Crazy Dog Lady” in training


Ahhh the fairytale romance……

And they lived happily ever after.
The End.

These magic words have always made me feel warm inside. True love conquers all.  The happy ending. Oh, how I loved the happy ending. As a consumer of chick flicks and trashy romance novels galore (and author of the same), I’ve always been drawn to the fantasy of that perfect love and the happily ever after. I subscribe to the notion of why pay to watch a sad ending or invest my time in reading a novel that ends in despair. There is enough of that in real life. I want to escape into a feel-good world. The idea that somewhere in the universe that perfect love exists gives me hope. However, the realist in me knows real life is much harder than that. Relationships take work. People change. Humans are imperfect. Life is NOT a romance novel.  Fiction is not fact. I get that. I really do. So, that’s why I’m embarrassed to write that deep down I secretly hoped it could be real. Now that I find myself a single woman, I dreamt  the love story could be mine. It’s exciting to think somewhere out there my soulmate is looking for me and swoon, we’d fall in love and it wouldn’t be hard.  If only….
Navigating the dating world, let alone actually finding someone compatible, and nurturing that relationship beyond the initial butterflies is not easy. As a single mother with a full-time job in a middle-aged body, I know this beyond a doubt – more than ever before. I’ve tried online dating, but that is a part-time job in and of itself. Crafting the perfect profile that’s intriguing, but still true to me, finding the photos that make me look young and fun, writing  flirty messages and going on disappointing first dates. I can see that he viewed my profile, but he never responded to my message. What’s wrong with me? He’s online, but takes 10 minutes to give me a two-word response. Swipe left or right?  Should I initiate a text or wait for him to text me? Should I offer to pay or let him? It goes on and on ad nauseum.

Dating should be fun right? Instead I find I makes me feel worse than being on my own.  Online dating especially makes me feel “less than” when I know I am “more than” enough. I’m naturally a glass-half full person that finds the silver lining in a situation. I’m trusting and try to see the best in people. But online dating has left me feeling jaded and disenchanted. Do I really need to know my profile is “not popular?” or that the guy I messaged didn’t find me attractive enough to respond to me? Did I say the wrong thing? Was I too aggressive or too passive? On the flip side, it doesn’t make me feel good to ignore messages or swipe left or tell a perfectly nice man that I like him but don’t want to date him?  I feel cheap messaging multiple men at the same time, not to mention going on dates with more than one person. I break into a cold sweat just thinking about it. And that’s just a cup of coffee… Then there’s sex.  On the first date? After three dates? When I’m in love? Isn’t there some in between? My intellect says it’s okay for two consenting adults  to connect physically, but my overthinking mind and fragile heart holds me back.  I want to be that laid back woman, but in the end I’m that uptight girl.

I vacillate between wanting to find that special someone, a companion to share my life with and giving up on that fantasy all together. I don’t want to rush into a relationship for the sake of being in a relationship. My friends tell me God will put the right man in my path when the time is right, when I least expect it.  Could he wear a sign around his neck so I know? I don’t want to be like the man on top of his roof as the flood waters rise. He turns away the boat and the helicopter that God sends to rescue him and dies in the flood wondering why God didn’t save him.  If God sends a boat my way, I want to jump in.  On the other hand, maybe I’m destined to be a crazy dog lady (I hate cats so I can’t be a crazy cat lady).  In the end, I am confident that I am happier in my “aloneness” than I ever was or could be in the wrong relationship. But still that “what if….” whispers in my ear. Take a risk. Be vulnerable. Life’s a journey…

780 words later I’m no closer to an answer.

Can anyone else relate?

 

More Than ‘Just Words’

blahWhen I first started writing this blog, I named it “Just Words.” In my mind, the ramblings that flowed through my fingers onto my keyboard and appeared as words on a screen, were just a bunch of words.  The blah, blah, blah musings of a middle-aged woman that no one would really care to read (unless maybe they were related to me). Maybe that’s true and maybe it isn’t. I like to think I was wrong on that.

I am a writer. I love words. Words do matter, whether written or spoken. What you and I say or write does mean something. Words can lift me up or bring me down. Once spoken (or in these days texted or emailed or blogged), you can’t take them back. They are out there – good or bad. With our world becoming more and more electronic, where we are hidden behind our “smart” devices, words become even more important. I’m not complaining.  A true introvert, this is where I am most comfortable –  hiding behind my device, sitting in my PJs in the comfort of my home, carefully crafting and recrafting my words, hoping to send forth the meaning I intend. Yet, I know these cyberspace words are void of human context, of human interaction. You can’t see my face or expression to truly know if I am being sarcastic or sincere. You can’t see the sly smile cross my lips to know if I am joking or being hurtful. Nor do you know if my silence or lack of words is because I am busy or forgetful or having a bad day or I am purposefully blowing you off.

As you cannot get inside my head to understand what I truly meant when I typed those words and hit Enter or pressed Send, I cannot get in yours.  This is hard to remember when I read some comment on Facebook that rubs me the wrong way. Many times as I read heated conversations between “friends” and strangers, I notice people are quick to take offense and strike back in hurtful ways. When I find myself tempted to jump into the mix,  I remind myself that life is better when I assume that most people have good intentions. I am happier assuming people did not intend to make me angry or hurt my feelings or question my integrity but that they simply misunderstood my words or I theirs. And even if that is not the case, everyone is entitled to their own opinion. A person’s opinion is not a personal attack on me as an inividual. I don’t have to react to their words or share mine.

My blogging voice has been quiet for a few years. I haven’t felt like sharing my words. Maybe it was because I deemed them as “Just Words,” so who really cares anyway? This epiphany that my thoughts are more than ‘Just Words,” led me to  rename my blog to “Serendipity.” Isn’t that a great word! It just rolls off the tongue. Serendipity means a “fortunate happenstance” (happenstance – another great word) or a “pleasant surprise.”  Serendipity represents the essense my blog – to share the pleasant surprises my life brings with others and hopefully leave my followers a pleasant surprise as they read my words and relate.

Yes, words are important, but they don’t mean shit if you don’t follow through… But that is a topic for another day.

Tell me what you think in the comments below (I promise not to take offense:)).

Make Over Cure All?

maincureIn a futile attempt to get my pajama-clad body off the couch and take them somewhere, anywhere (because they are soooooo bored), my daughters gave me a make over this past Sunday. My youngest gave me a manicure and a pedicure, while the eldest braided my hair and did my makeup.

Upon completion of operation “let’s go,” my eldest daughter told me, “You look so beautiful Mom! Don’t you want to go out and show off how great you look?” While the little one chimed in, “You look so pretty. Now all you need is clothes!”

I pulled they blanket up around my neck and coughed. “Thanks girls! You did make me feel a little better. But, there’s no way I’m looking remotely attractive right now. Sorry girls. It’s not happening today.”

You see my throat started to feel scratchy Friday night. I downed some OJ, but by Saturday morning swallowing was painful. Sunday morning brought the sniffles, sneezes and watery eyes. So while I may have looked marginally good on the outside on the inside I still felt like total crap. My littlest brought me tissues, cough drops and a glass of water (bless her heart!) and my oldest told me she “hoped I felt better soon.” And I drifted off to a fitful sleep.

The next two days, I “Dayquilled” and chicken-souped my way through work.  Today, while I still have a bit of a stuffy nose and a cough, I feel 100 times better than I did Sunday. I glance down as my rainbow-colored nails tap on the keyboard and smile to myself. (I’ll take it off tomorrow.) Somehow, I think, getting a make over and a little love can make you feel just a bit better no matter how bad you feel inside. So maybe tonight, we’ll go out for a special treat…unless the scratchy throat has moved on to one of them, in which case, I’ll do their nails:)

Mommy Gone Berserk (over a Cheezit)!

cheezitInstead of spending my typical, lazy Sunday afternoon taking a much deserved siesta, I let my 12-year old talk me into a cleaning frenzy (she wants to have a friend over next weekend – read ulterior motive). Me, being, me figured, OK at least I’d get some help with the drudgery and agreed to her plan. She’d start in the kitchen, I’d focus on the living room/dining room, and the little one got stuck with the bathrooms. She plugged in the iPod and the tunes blared through the house as we got down to work.

After about ten minutes, the youngest decided to “help” me instead of working on her designated room (can’t say I blame her there). One corner of our living room is called the “peace” corner. Originally the idea behind said “peace” corner was to give the girls a place to “chill” when they got overwhelmed and needed a “time out.”  Unfortunately, it quickly became the dumping place for all the stray toys that never made it back upstairs to their bedroom. We targeted that area first, sorting stuff into various piles: the Barbie pile, the American Girl Doll pile, the Polly Pockets/Littlest Pet Shops pile, the book pile, the hair stuff pile, the pens/pencils/markers pile, the stuffed animal pile and laundry/shoe pile. As you can tell a lot of stuff fit/crammed into that little corner.

I made painstaking progress as my helper found her “long, lost” something or other and switched to playing instead of helping. I let it go as I could clean a lot faster (and put a bunch of junk in the “trash” pile) without her watchful eyes. My 12-year old was still on a mission to somehow turn our house into one out of Better Homes & Gardens (I applaud her lofty goals). Three hours later, the kitchen gleamed and the living room looked descent (at least we wouldn’t be showcased on Hoarders Buried Alive this week). I’d just finished wiping the sweat off my brow, priding myself on a job well done, when the incident happened. (I shutter even now thinking about it:))

The little one is making her American Girl Doll kick an American Girl Doll-sized soccer ball across the freshly vacuumed carpet. My oldest saunters into the room and informs her little sister that she doesn’t get to have a friend over because she didn’t help clean up. (I know that’s a lot of she’s, but you get the idea.)

“Yes, I did too help!” the youngest screams in her loud, screechy, seven-year-old voice (you know the kind that makes you wish you had ear plugs). She then reaches into the box of Cheezits that sat on the end table (she hadn’t gotten around to putting it away yet) and throws one at her sister. I watch as it sails across the room and lands in the middle the carpet. It was in this moment (the last straw so to speak) that I lost it and am ashamed to say dropped the “F” bomb. My oldest recoiled in horror. The little one just shrugged her shoulders and smiled at me. Can you believe her audacity!?! I let a few more expletives fly and looked directly at my oldest daughter and said, “Yeah, I said a bad word and I’m going to say some more if you two don’t stop fighting and some one doesn’t pick up that blankety-blank Cheezit right now.”

Thank God above, they didn’t argue over who was going to pick it up and the little one bent down and actually picked it up. I don’t really know what she did with it next (I doubt she ate it, though, as she is my germ-a-phobe) as I headed upstairs to lace up my running shoes. Five minutes later I hit the pavement. Forty minutes and four miles later, I felt much better. I apologized to the girls for yelling and swearing. They apologized for fighting and being a tad messy and we forgave each other. Hugs all around and our house is mostly clean.

Next Sunday afternoon, though, I’m definitely taking a nap!

The Equinox

20101010_5245As I moused over the Google animation this morning to see what the “special occasion” of the day was, an ominous pop-up indicated that it’s the “first day of autumn.”

“Huh,” I mumbled to myself and glanced at my old-school wall calendar, thumb-tacked to my cubicle wall. My eyes scanned to find “September 23,” and there it confirmed the day as the “Fall Equinox.” The official changing of the season. A day where the amount of light and dark are perfectly equal. Balanced. The way I like my life. The way I want my life. The way my life so is not.

I focus on one area, only to neglect another. I finish a half marathon, but my writing halts. I try to be the best mom, while my house falls in a shambles. I hone in on my career as my children clamor to get my attention. Ugh. It seems the more I try to make my pizza crust perfectly round, the more lopsided and out of whack it gets. I wonder if I quit pinching and stretching and just let it “be” that it would just naturally take its proper shape. What? Probably not, but being a pizza it would still taste good. (Another one of my balancing problems!) Don’t worry, I don’t know what I’m talking about either.

Circling back to the fact that today is the first day of autumn, I reflect. How is it possible that it can be autumn already? The summer blew by me. My last post was dated April 29. An entire season went by in virtual silence. Not that anyone probably really cared or even noticed, but still my voice went quiet over the past four months. Why is that? I’d like to say it was because I spent those carefree, summer days running, picnicking, vacationing, relaxing and just plain old having fun. I’m thankful to say it wasn’t because of a failing health problem or some dire family problem or because I didn’t have anything to say (because we all know I always do) . Mostly, it goes back to that whole balance thing. It goes back to my difficulty setting priorities and finding the time to fit them all into my day.

Thus, today, one of two perfectly balanced days of the year, I’m reminded to re-adjust, to reassess and get a bit more balanced. So, that on my evening run when those words form and flow through my mind, afterwards I sit in front of my computer and tap away, capturing them instead of letting them float away. I continue on through the interruptions – my youngest daughter’s shower-singing and my eldest’s request to examine her bug bite – until my thoughts are complete and I click “Publish.”

Here’s to a fall full of “Just Words” from me. (I know you are excited!)

What keeps you on track?