Tips for the Job Hunting Woman

Being a small town girl interviewing in the big city is intimidating, no if ands or buts, it sucks. Every job I’ve ever gotten has been a result of word of mouth. In a small town your family, friends and mechanic are your resume. Even my last job of sixteen years in Toronto was the result of my reputation from that same town.

**Cue John Cougar Melloncamp**

Over the past several months while looking for work my eyes have been opened to the stress of doing just that. It can get old real quick and before you know it you’re knee deep in a vat of self pity inhaling chocolate chip cookie dough.

Rejection is hard; actually getting an interview is harder. My search is finally over. Proof it does happen. It takes time, don’t let it get to you and remember:

  1. Don’t get discouraged –So much easier said than done, but take my word for it, buy some chocolate and relax. Try not to anticipate a timeline because as soon as you pass the magic date your self confidence takes a hit and you risk losing focus. Avoid compromising on positions of lesser quality. Don’t lose sight of your goals. Unless, you’re desperate then I’m afraid you’re going to have to buck up and take what’s available keeping in mind it’s only a stepping stone to what you really want.
  2. You will learn humility – When I left my last job I wasn’t thinking further ahead than a year. I wanted a break. I had the money for a break. I took a break and I don’t regret it. Besides I had a plan. I was going to be a blogger and earn just enough money to keep me in my PJ’s. Needless to say, it’s been a long road of self discovery with a side of humble pie. Sometimes we have to step back, refocus and live in the real world.
  3. You will have to send out A LOT of resumes. You will hear from almost none of them.
  4. Get help with your resume, even if you don’t think you need to. Don’t be so stubborn, you don’t know everything. There are tricks of the trade I never knew existed.  I have four resumes and up to ten different cover letters.
  5. Tweak your resume and cover letter with every application. It’s a pain in the ass, but necessary. Pick words out of the job description, pull out your thesaurus and switch some words around or Google similar job descriptions and find something that matches your talents. Use it. No one is going to enforce copyright laws over a resume.
  6. For God sake make sure you know what you put in your resume. If you look like a deer in headlights in an interview when they ask you about something you wrote, you might as well walk out.
  7. Practice your interview techniques with someone. I know it sounds cheesy and it is…but do it anyway. Look up typical interview questions on the internet and practice them until they are comfortable.
  8. If you’re a woman looking for work in a business dominated by men, consider getting a penis. Trust me. With my resume and a penis, the sky’s the limit in the world of industrial products. Of course I’m kidding; you obviously can’t afford the operation if you’re out of work, so you’re going to have to go in full vagina. Full badass vagina. My point is self confidence, even if it’s not real. There is a lot to be said for, “fake it until you make it.” If you’re feeling down about the process it’ll show in your body language. Give yourself a pep talk, throw your shoulders back and be proud. If they don’t want to hire your vagina then they’re the ones missing out.
  9. Personality goes a long way. So does honesty. Be yourself, if you don’t get the job there’s a reason, believe it. They did you a favour. You don’t want to work for someone who doesn’t get you. Remember you need to be comfortable there to…which leads me too…
  10.  Don’t discredit the importance of interviewing your potential employer as well. Have questions for them, they like that. Look interested in your future and they will be to.

It’s sometimes a long, frustrating process. There is truth to the saying, “Looking for work is a full time job.” I look at it the same as finding a husband; put yourself out there, try some on for size and in the end pick the one that feels right and appears to have some sustainability.

In the words of Jon Bon Jovi circa 1992, “Keep the Faith.”

Snow Pants Showdown

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I had an absolute adolescent fit last night. I’m going skiing tomorrow for the first time in two years, so it’s been that long since I’ve had my snow pants on. As I remember, they felt a little snug, but then I always think things feel snug, even yoga pants. It’s all in my head people, and my stomach…

Anyway, I was dreading trying them on because I’ve felt all hefty lately. I had put it off long enough and had to take the plunge because if they didn’t fit I was going to have to buy another pair…another awesome pair I saw on sale. The only reason I didn’t already buy them is I’m not exactly rolling in dough right now and the responsible thing to do would be to go home and try on my old ones. Boo.

Frankly, I was torn. I wanted the new pair because of the style, but I didn’t want to not fit into my old ones because that would mean I’ve gained weight. This all could’ve been solved if I hadn’t stopped weighing myself. I used to weigh myself every day but that doesn’t work when you hit your 40’s, things happen in our bodies on a daily basis whether you’ve been eating healthy or not. A spat with the spouse could gain me two pounds of stress overnight. It was unreliable, plus it made me cranky for the rest of the day so I stopped doing it.

So I took my bloated self down to the basement and hauled out the bright white monstrosity that is my snow pants. They’re big, puffy and not slink and sexy (as sexy as snow pants get) like the ones in the store. I slipped them on with mixed emotions. Did I want them to be too small, giving me the excuse to run out and embrace the new pair or did I want them to fit, confirming I’m still the same size?

It became crystal clear what I wanted when I could barely get them over my hips. Panicked, I grabbed at the waistband and tugged. It reminded me of Friends when Ross put on those leather pants and hit himself in the head because he was all slippery, remember? I miss Friends.

I finally got them up and took a breath before trying to snap the waistband in place. Now, logically I know if I had trouble getting them over my hips there would be trouble at the waist. I don’t know what I was thinking, like I’m suddenly turning into Beyonce and my hips have just popped out but my waist hasn’t taken the hit?

The snaps wouldn’t snap…but I did. I lost it like a teenage girl who had her iPhone taken away. I had a complete girly, immature melt down right there in the basement. I cursed those pants, I cursed Christmas, I cursed every last potato chip on this earth. Then I cursed myself for being weak and undisciplined. I must not be working hard enough. I’m just going to have to work out harder, like 7 days a week, 3 hours at a time!  Right there I pledged to work out so hard that I will look like Jillian freakin’ Michaels by spring.

I ripped the pants off. No longer did I want the sleek new pants. I didn’t want any pants. I didn’t deserve any pants. I didn’t even deserve to go skiing. I should make myself stay home and eat lettuce as punishment.

I grabbed the pants like I was going to set fire to them. Then I had a rational thought, I should maybe keep the pants, after all it wasn’t their fault and maybe they would fit my daughter soon…

Then it hit me. She wore my pants last year. SHE WORE MY PANTS LAST YEAR! She had forgotten her snow pants at school one weekend and had borrowed mine..I looked at them and saw they were not only adjusted but looped around and cinched at the waist.

Quickly I undid the knots and slipped the pants back on.

They fit.

Not only did they fit, they were no longer as snug as they were two years ago.

Awesome.

Lesson learned.

**Hangs head in embarrassment.**

Need Help With Your Job Search? Don’t Ask Me!

Since September I’ve been looking for employment. I really didn’t think it was going to take this long. I don’t mean to ring my own bell but I’m a good employee; skilled, focused, smart and have an insane amount of common sense but somehow I’m failing at getting that across in interviews.  I feel really awkward having to sell myself with all the mumbo jumbo you have to spew.

Apparently this interview thing is necessary. Too bad I suck at it. It doesn’t help this is the first time in my life I’ve ever had to interview for a position. Word of mouth has been my best friend since I was fifteen. Clearly there’s a science to it I don’t understand. I’ve had three interviews where I thought we connected. I left all confident I would get a call but each one has ended in a sorry about your luck email.

Granted for one I was slightly late (a couple minutes), but just as I was leaving home I sneezed and peed my pants. At that point it was smell like urine or take the time to change. And in another we were getting along famously…laughing and carrying on, it was very comfortable. I was already deciding what I would pack for lunch on my first day, until I was stumped with this question, “If we asked your former co-workers to give us one word to describe you what would it be?”

At that moment all the adjectives I’ve ever known were sucked out of my brain…all but one.

“Anal?”

Unfortunately, the good times stopped for the human resources manager…the CEO however found it quiet amusing. Sadly, amusing doesn’t get you the job. I thought about making a case on how anal in the workplace could be a good thing, but something told me to just shut up.

So clearly my strategy to just be myself and avoid talking out of my ass isn’t working. So when I realized five minutes into another interview yesterday that I really wanted this particular position, I was ready to regurgitate any nonsense necessary. This enthusiasm sparked a self sabotage hormone to release leaving me incapable of finishing a thought let alone impress anyone. I was over thinking every question, trying to guess what she wanted to hear. I stumbled over answers while quietly trying to stop the train wreck of warped thoughts happening in my head.

Why can’t they ask real questions that truly matter? Questions like:

Are you capable of cleaning up after yourself in the office kitchen, or do you still live with your Mother?

Do you have experience at changing a roll of toilet paper?

If you’re sick do you have any issues staying the eff home instead of spreading your mucus around?

Can you give me an example of a time when your ass kissing skills came in handy?

How do you respond to sexual harassment?

Team Edward or Team Jacob?

I’m not good at blowing smoke out my ass so don’t make me think too hard unless you’re going to pay me. I cringe just thinking of saying things like, “My time management skills are excellent and I’m organized, efficient, and take pride in excelling at my work.” It’s so unnatural sounding.

Needless to say I came home feeling a little crushed, but I’m trying not to get discouraged. So far when I’ve felt great about an interview, I don’t get it…So maybe since I feel like I totally missed the mark on this one, I might just get it? You know, if all the stars are aligned and I cross my big toe over my freakishly long one at midnight under a full moon.

Help a girl out, what’s your advice to make it through the interviewing process?

Newtown: When Pain is Left Untreated

© iQoncept – Fotolia.com

Newtown is what happens when the right to bear arms and emotional pain left untreated collide. I read it all over Twitter and heard it all over CNN last night. To those who believe it’s a right to own a fire arm I ask you about the rights of the people around you, the toddler that might innocently come across the weapon, the one who might get caught in the cross fire or the ones sitting innocently in a classroom doing Christmas crafts? What about their rights?  I’m not saying this to sit proud on my Canadian high horse, we have violence, but you can significantly change the amount and severity of what can happen if you make guns harder to get. Then maybe in the case of Newtown there wouldn’t have been a shooter with access to THREE guns.

But my rant isn’t about gun control because I don’t know all the facts around it; I don’t live in that world. I’m simply enraged along with everyone else, with mixed emotions and just horrifying sadness for those children left behind who will have to deal with this event for the rest of their lives. What I do know is there was a twenty year old boy whose mental health was clearly untreated or mistreated for reasons unknown. What I do know is the current stigma of mental illness keeps and prevents people from seeking treatment. The shame of having to tell someone about their sadness, thoughts or deep dark secrets has turned deadly. Our society has come to point where a mental health check- up should be just as important as your heart, liver etc. I personally think it should be mandatory. The brain is an organ and probably the most important one, but when it gets sick and reaches the end stages of the illness, it can be deadly. Whether you blame it on circumstances at birth, tragic events in childhood or the stress of being an adult in today’s world, it is one and the same if left to chance.

We need better resources, less stigma and judgement and more motivation to seek out answers. Our doctors, nurses, police, and teachers (etc), need to be educated on recognizing the signs and knowing what to do about it. People have the right to be given basic information, phone numbers, direction, not just a prescription. Granted medication may be necessary but without knowing any background on the person in need it is a potential recipe for disaster…mix those drugs with illegal drugs and untreated pain…it’s a crap shoot. I’m not saying that’s what happened in this case, but clearly something wasn’t right and maybe it’s time we address it.

Please America, take away their guns and replace it with an education in mental health, your time and understanding of their pain, resources to help them get well and most importantly a safe place to go when things get bad.

I know it’s not a perfect world and there will sadly be people, who go off the deep end and harm themselves or others, education and understanding may not solve all the tragedies, but it could decrease them. Let’s focus on what comes next, some good can come from this, lives still can be saved.

The Cell Phone Dilemma – How Young is too Young?

© Lev Dolgatsjov - Fotolia.comIt all started last June on the last day of school. The Girl came home with five of her budding Tween friends behind her, giggling and carrying on about the boys they were gearing up to pelt with water balloons. Before they left full of confusing hormones and water filled flirt bombs four of them placed their BlackBerry’s on the counter for safe keeping. From then on I knew my days were numbered. I made it through the summer but this September when Grade seven began The Girl made her move.

“Can I have a BlackBerry?”

“No.”

“Why?”

“You’re twelve.”

That was it. She doesn’t get all buggy like The Boy. His move is to annoy the hell out of us until we give in and I’m ashamed to admit, sometimes it works. Don’t judge. He’s good, real good.

Skip ahead to last night. She must have been preparing for a while.

“You know how you asked me what I wanted for Christmas? Well, I thought of something that would be a present for both of us.” Insert dramatic pause…“What about a Blackberry!”  Insert jazz hands, followed by a deep breath in preparation for her clincher. “You’re going back to work and I’ll have to get The Boy to and from school. Won’t you want me to let you know we made it?  What if there’s something after school I want to do and won’t be home on time?”

“I’m not sure I want you to have a phone.”

“Plus,” she continued undetered, “at the mall you could go to your stores and me and my friends could go to mine…”

**Cue: big doe eyes**

Clearly I underestimated her.

I do a lot of embellishing talking with my kids about what it was like for me growing up, how I had to work for everything I got, “all the leaves I raked and snow I shovelled, I didn’t have everything my friends had.”

Total lie. The truth is if cell phones, iPods’ and PlayStations existed when I was young, I would’ve had them. Don’t get me wrong, I was taught responsibility; I bought my own beat up car when I was eighteen, saved for a year for a stereo system with speakers higher than the couch, but compared to a lot of kids around the world I was definitely privileged. I never wanted for anything and I certainly wasn’t walking to school uphill both ways. I did take a bus full of unruly children. In the coldest of winters I’d wait across the street with snot stuck to my cheek with the neighbours Saint Bernard (who was taller than me) chewing the pom-pom off the top of my hat. Once, I actually got a tooth in my head, so, ya know, I’ve known some tough times.

My point is this is a different time, an electronic age full of gadgets and if we as parents can use them for the powers of good, to ease our minds, why not? I mean, provided you have a child with a maturity level to handle it. She does have me thinking about how I’ll feel being in another city wondering if they’ve left in time, did they get there? And what if something does come up? Oh, she knows how to push my mother buttons and with only an ounce of effort.

I know a twelve year old with a BlackBerry sounds absurd, I think so myself. If you would’ve asked me even a year ago if I’d be considering this I would’ve said you were out of your mind. I worry about giving them too much access and opening them up to cyber bullying and online predators, but she already has access. She has an iTouch and a Facebook page, all of which I have the passwords to and check on a regular basis.

So will I get her one? Probably. I need the reassurance that comes with a cell phone. I’m the needy one. I admit it. Yes, I’m bowing to her peer pressure, but I trust her. So far she’s a rule follower. I’m well aware she could change in the blink of an eye and I’m prepared at the first sign of defiance to remove it from her possession and she knows that’s no joke.

I don’t know if there’s a right or wrong answer. It’s just another thing to worry about as a parent in the digital world. It’s all going to happen sooner or later and I would prefer to have her young and impressionable when my words of advice still have enough value to set a responsible precedent. It could be a helpful learning tool. I guess I’ll find out. I think I’ll start her out with something a little less flashy then a BlackBerry…something pay-as-you-go style. That way, I can always take it away if she doesn’t meet her chore quota to qualify for a top up.

What do you think? What is the right age for your first cell phone?

 

**pic courtest of © Lev Dolgatsjov – Fotolia.com

Saved by a Cupcake Recipe

This is huge. I baked with my daughter. I’m still waiting for my mom award. Baking is so not my thing. Big mixers intimidate me, so I don’t own one. I can’t even get Pillsbury cookie dough to come out looking even cookie-ish. Some are too small and crispy, others are uncooked, it’s really unpredictable. Imagine my delight when they invented the pre-cut ones, very convenient if you like the dough way better than the actual baked cookie. Why waste time preheating an oven?

Needless to say my kids have never known the smells of fresh-baked goods coming from our kitchen. It’s not like I don’t understand the importance of the bonding, it’s just I never felt my kids were deprived. They had a phenomenal day care provider who showed them all around flour and a rolling-pin. She is/was amazing and even though my kids don’t go anymore there are times when I still give thanks for all she did and one of those times was this weekend.

The Girl wanted to bake, “From scratch. No boxed stuff.”

I got totally defensive, “I can bake without a box.” Total lie.

She rolled her eyes and choose a red velvet cupcake recipe because she’s twelve and spiteful.

I tried to embrace the idea. The first thing I did was go out and buy a cheap hand mixer because I’d be damned if I was going to whisk until my weak nana arms reminded me of all the body sculpt classes I’ve missed. In the end I’m only hurting my own self esteem, right?

We looked up a cupcake recipe online. This one here, by Paula Dean. It looked simple enough, but that’s the thing with baking, it appears harmless until it kicks your ass and makes you feel like a loser. Baking is bullying. Self bullying. Sort of like cutting, but only with emotional scars.

We tried to commiserate the occasion with photos.

Just forget it…

Can you believe The Girl gave me permission to post these pictures? She’s one secure tween. I did manage one with her eyes open. They’re rare so I thought I would acknowledge it even though she doesn’t approve.

“OMG, Mom, my hair is wet!”

“But, you’re letting me post the ones with your eyes closed?”

Those are funny.”

Don’t ask me why we have a rolling-pin on the counter for a cupcake recipe.

So, we mixed all the dry ingredients as per the recipe. Don’t be jealous of my professional sifter.

Then we mixed the wet ingredients together and stared at the pink batter.

“Why is it pink?”

“Because it’s not baked yet,” I said, crossing my fingers.

We got out the new mixer and tried not to spray the cupboards, then put the cupcakes in the oven. That’s when The Girl went up to her room and left me to clean up. So I did, very passive aggressively until the timer went off. I said a prayer and pulled out the cupcakes with this thought in mind.

Except…

They looked about as appetizing as a sponge left out in the sun. Not a red velvet sponge, but a pink sponge. If SpongeBob and Patrick had sextuplets this is what they would look like. It’s hard to see in this picture just how pink they were, but The Girl wanted to call them Candy Floss Cupcakes.

Someone told me it might have something to do with the vinegar? The truth is I don’t really care. I’m not sad about it. I can accept some of my downfalls. I suck at baking and these cupcakes prove it.

“Total fail, Mom.”

“You were apart of this, you know.”

“You can’t bake. You better stick to a box.”

Obviously she’s taking no responsiblity, but on the bright side she’s given me permission to nix the baking which banishes any guilt I might have and leaves us to do our bonding at the mall.

Plus, she ate them anyway so it worked out for everyone.

By the way, I may not be a baker, but I can cook the hell out of a chicken breast, it’s just my kids don’t appreciate it nearly as much.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Superstition: Myths or Malarkey?

Growing up my grandmother told me birds carry souls and deliver messages to the living. It’s said a bird is generally a good omen unless one enters your house or runs into your window. Either one is bad. Like death bad.  These are the stories she focused on, never discussing the good luck superstitions just went on repeatedly about bad luck omens. As a result I’m a bit bird obsessed. If a bird does anything out of the ordinary I’m convinced of impending doom. Case in point, three months before my Dad died a bird flew into his house and hid under the only couch he ever sat on. From that moment on I was on guard.

Thanks dear sweet Grandma Gertie.

Last night a bird flew into my kitchen window. Smack. Scared the shit out of me; even left a smudge. My mind went straight to crazy. My first reaction wasn’t, “Oh, I hope its okay,” which is awful I know, but if I`m honest it was, “OH MY GOD, SOMEONE IS GOING TO DIE.”

I ran to the window to make sure it wasn’t dead because a dead bird omen in my mind is way worse than a slightly injured bird with a concussion. I couldn’t find it, but there was a swarm of robins flying around like it was Armageddon. Then I saw the dove on my fence. Which sounds lovely, because doves are the bird of love, peace and loyalty and I truly believe my Dad`s soul comes to me in this way. I love doves, except when a bird just hit the window and there’s one just sitting there staring at me all like, “Heed this warning…”

I know this all sounds spectacularly superstitious and you`re all shaking your heads at me like my husband does, but he wasn’t laughing so hard when the dove that lives at our house sat beside my son on the porch for a good five minutes. A Grandson my Dad never met.

Now my mind is racing, who is it going to be? We’ve already been to the funeral home three times in a matter of four months. Another little tidbit Gertie gave me, death comes in threes. She really was a joyous woman. So I just recovered from the hell of counting them down. That’s one, that’s two…and three and done…whew.

I Googled the bird/window myth and found a site that said the result can happen anytime within the year. Every one of my relatives reading this just shuddered. It could be anyone of us. Although I think I’m the only one who takes it quite this seriously. I`ll tell you how deep this goes. Have you ever been driving and have a bird come so close to hitting your car that it scares you? When this happens, I think it’s someone I know (a dead someone I know) telling me to pay attention, danger ahead. When I slow down and pay more attention, I`ll be damned if eight times out of ten something happens and I was happy I was on my toes.

I would like to say I don’t believe in superstitions but I have to admit when they happen, I stop and acknowledge them. I never walk under a ladder, avoid opening umbrellas inside and find it really hard to walk passed a penny on the ground. I knock on wood and to add my only little twist of weird, I used to tap the dash of my car three times if I had a bad thought while driving…Superstition with a little OCD thrown in. When I was young I would always avoid stepping on a crack because I never wanted the guilt of breaking my Mother’s back. Even if in my childish mind I felt she might deserve it.

So, yeah, I’m a little cray-cray, but I can’t be all alone in this, can I?

Do you have any superstitions?

6 Tips for the Networking Newbie

I’m a train wreck in social situations. People say I hide it well, but I think they’re filthy liars because inside I’m a jumbled mess. This weekend I catapulted myself out of my comfort zone and attended Blissdom (a blogging conference) in Toronto, a place where networking is a necessity. For the most part things went well, I’m super glad I went and came back inspired and ready to take on the world…and I will, after I clean the house.

Most people were quite approachable and willing to share a table or include you in conversation however I didn’t get out of it completely unscathed. I believe we can learn from those who went before us, so now that I’m no longer a conference virgin, I’m willing to share my embarrassing moments to further your networking capabilities, because I’m selfless like that. Here’s what not to do.

1. Throw your umbrella in the toilet at The Marilyn Denis Show.  I couldn’t believe it either. I briefly considered leaving it there, but someone came in just as I was about to bail so I had to make a quick decision; be forever known in the blogging world as the one that tried to drown her umbrella or the one who saved it? I saved it.

2. Tell someone about it. As mortified as I was, it was funny as hell and I had no friend with which to share my humiliation, so I blurted it out to the first person I saw in line. I don’t think she found it as amusing as me. Later in the slickest move possible, I inadvertently held the umbrella out to her and she took it. It was when our eyes met in mid hand off when we remembered where it had once been. I don’t think she’s going to follow me on Twitter as planned, but if she does I might point out that fresh toilet water has fewer germs than a kitchen sponge. Fact.

3. Blatantly disregard instructions. Apparantly awkwardly addressing yourself in the monitor during a live television broadcast is frowned upon. We were told cameras would be on us and to not under any circumstances look at ourselves. What they don’t tell you is how hard it’s going to be. When a camera is in your face, wanting to know how you look is a natural instinct, isn’t it? It takes great restraint, something I clearly don’t have based on the recorded version on my DVR.

4. Spill coffee down your side from waist to knee. Especially on the train into the city so there is no possibility of changing. The irony was I thought I was really being careful. But when I’m nervous I’m klutzy, like an I Love Lucy rerun and before I knew it I dumped it (all of it) on myself. The upside is if it happens, tired people will be attracted to you and you can pretend to be part of their group.

5. Wear a green sweater and get your picture taken with Chef Michael Smith in front of a green screen holding a jar of lentils. Results? My mid section is completely invisible. Michael is transposed into a field of lentils with my head floating beside him, which is just one more reason for me to hate lentils. I did manage to engage in some thought provoking conversation when I remarked, “Boy, you’re really tall,” and then quickly followed up with, “I bet that’s the first time you’ve heard that.”  See how I saved myself? Again, looking on the bright side, who on earth do you know who has a ghostly pick of themselves in a lentil field with a freakishly tall man?

6. Be introduced by Erica Ehm to a Random House professional and rather than engaging them in witty conversation…RUN AWAY. What is wrong with me? These are two very friendly, inspiring women who could potentially change the course of my career and all I could do was shift my weight awkwardly like I’d been holding my pee for a decade. In my defense, having just embarrassed myself in the lentil field my confidence level wasn’t exactly intact, so I bailed like a scardey (actual word) loser forgetting all about the two completed manuscripts saved on the USB in my purse.

Oh, there’s more but my heart can’t take it. Would I do it again? Absolutely, I made a few great connections and heard some really amazing women speak. It was inspiring to say the least. Besides, what could go wrong?

 

**Image: http://www.flickr.com/photos/tallentshow/433963255/in/pool-freeuse/

Baby Steps to Blissdom

This year I promised I would get out of my comfort zone and do what frightens me. I started this blog even though it was a big scary task I knew nothing about. October marks one full year for Good Girls Wear Thongs and so far I haven’t been criticized (to my face), yelled at or told to shut up. I have however, been looked at funny, backed away from and whispered about, “Don`t talk to her she might blog about you.” But that’s just my family…

Since I haven’t made a total mess of it, I thought I would take another step and investigate this blogging life a little further. It seems to be a lovely way to (insert sarcasm font here) earn a living, especially if you don’t particularly like getting out of your pajama’s every day and if you don’t need money to survive. I’ve been told it’s rather difficult to cash in, even for spare change and like anything it requires dedication, perseverance and a hell of a lot more blogs then I’ve been writing.

I read as much as I can. I bought Blogging for Dummies, but every time I open it I end up horizontal with drool down my face. Not exactly thrilling stuff. I’m better one on one. I need a blogging coach or therapist (if you will)…someone who knows what they’re doing; who can draw me a pie graph of my time divided into focal points (social media, writing time, etc.,) then slap me across the head with it for wasting time looking at a graph when all it does is make me hungry for pie.

I’m hoping to find some answers next weekend (Oct 20 & 21) at Blissdom, a bloggers conference in Toronto I signed on for months ago when I was feeling enthusiastic.  I’m looking forward to the advice and inspiration of the guest speakers and the answers to the important questions like, what do I do now?

As the date nears I’m getting nervous. Emails, Tweets and Facebook conversations are coming fast and furious telling me to get ready for round table discussions, costume parties and fun excursions, which all sound wonderful if you’re not a hopeless recluse like me.

Blogging is a community, a community I’m not yet a part of, which means a lot of these women already know each other and just know a lot more about everything in general. My blog is small potatoes with green skin and big hairy eyes. Of course, I know the whole point of going is to get acquainted, mingle and network but that’s exactly what scares me. I feel like my parents moved me to a new city in the middle of freshmen year and I don’t know whether to wear boots or heels to my first day of school. I’m an amateur; a (gulp) newbie. I hate not knowing things, not being in control. I don’t know if it’s because Halloween is just around the corner, but I keep hearing the scary voice from Carrie echoing in my head, “They’re all going to laugh at you.”

Not to mention there will be sponsors looking for a good match for their products, someone who will fit into their marketing plans. I’ve heard the word “brand” a lot over the last year. What’s your brand? How do you market yourself? What is your theme?

What am I supposed to say, “Well, I write about ass dimples and getting bit in the vagina by black flies?”  Who is going to sponsor me, Raid?

I don’t have a good answer, but I better have one by Friday. If I want to move forward I have to talk to people and make them like me, believe in me, invest in me.  Oh good Lord! How on earth do I fool them into doing such a thing?

I don’t know. I really don’t know anything about Blogging, I just shoot my mouth off when I feel like it and you read it for some reason. But, I know I like it and even though I’ve been distracted lately and feel like topics are eluding me, I know when I write and purge whatever is on my mind, I feel a little better; a little lighter. I don’t know what it all means right now, but I want to find out, so I’m walking through the fear and grabbing my cafeteria tray and going to find a place to sit.

Wish me luck!

The Perks of Being a Wallflower

Where have I been?

Simon and Schuster sent me a copy of The Perks of Being a Wallflower because the movie adaptation premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival this month to some really good reviews, which isn’t surprising after I did a little research and found this book has a huge cult-like following. I’m a sucker for cult followings, innocent cults, not purple kool-aid cults…unless there’s vodka.

Written by Stephen Chbosky, it was published in 1999; thirteen years ago. Where was I? Well, I was pregnant eating chips with my head stuck in, What to Expect When You’re Expecting.

The book is comprised entirely of letters written to an anonymous source, which makes for a fast, yet thought provoking read. The letters are written by Charlie, a high school freshman who lost his best (and seemingly only) friend to suicide.  Charlie’s a straight A student and an avid reader with extremely poignant observations about the world around him.  He’s honest, poetic, sad, innocent, romantic, quirky and cool. He comprehends classic literature and instills it into the modern day, yet, he doesn’t know how to stop a run on sentence…we could be twins. The writing is so easy you zip right along page after page until you realize, you have feelings for Charlie. You understand Charlie and in some way and at some point, you were Charlie.

At a chance meeting at a football game Charlie becomes friends with seniors Patrick & Sam (half-siblings) and they develop a bond. Through his first year of high school he fights his anxiety and depressive tendencies by standing back and taking in the actions of this older crowd.  Along the way he’s introduced to homosexuality, drugs, alcohol, love, infatuation, abortion, among other things, only to immerge at the end of the school year with a better understanding of why he is who he is.

And isn’t that what we were all searching for in high school?

There’s a moment when the three friends drive out of a tunnel in a pickup truck, music blaring and burst into the city’s skyline. The now famous line reads, “And in that moment, I swear we were infinite.” I remember those moments, feeling so good and invincible. At the time I knew it was something special but I couldn’t put it into words, I just remember I liked it.

I wish Wallflower would have been written in my time. There’s so many quotes my younger self would have fallen in love with,

So, this is my life. And I want you to know that I am both happy and sad and I’m still trying to figure out how that could be. – The next time my kids ask me what high school was like, this is what I’m telling them it felt like for me. So simple. So true.

Things change. And friends leave. And life doesn’t stop for anybody. – Forget high school, I’m still trying to come to terms with this.

The fact that one of these ladies was my mom made me particularly sad because my mom is beautiful. And she’s always on a diet. Sometimes, my dad calls her beautiful, but she cannot hear him. – Charlie gets it.

So obviously I highly recommend getting this book if you’re one of the few (like me) who hadn’t heard of it until now. If you have a teenager you can probably save your money because chances are they already have a copy hidden somewhere. Give it a try before seeing the movie and let me know what you think.