Monthly Archives: December 2010

Recipe For The No-Fail Blog Post

Preheat home to a comfortable 68 degrees.

Ingredients

1 caramel macchiato from Starbucks

1 small notebook

favorite Mickey Mouse pen

10 nimble fingers

1 keyboard and computer (preferably connected together as a unit)

1 comfy chair in a room void of distraction

Directions

1. Sit down in comfy chair and sip the foam off your caramel macchiato while the computer boots up. Once your home page is ready, scan the headlines for ideas. Jot down the plethora of ideas that begin filling your head. Flip through the pages of your notebook for all of the cryptic messages you’ve left yourself. Wonder what in the world you were thinking.

2. In your overloaded brain, combine headlines, pictures and cryptic notebook messages. Mix well. Sit back and sip coffee until a clear idea rises to the top.

3. Once a clear idea has taken shape, take nimble fingers and type clear idea until a blog post begins to form. If needed, shake head in disbelief that you finally have something to say.

4. After your draft is finished, cover and let simmer for the time it takes for a quick potty break. Uncover and review post.

5. Score post with revisions. Add humor, if necessary.

6. Use spellcheck and wish you could remember how to reinstate grammar check. Kick self for getting angry with grammar check and disabling it.

7. Debate whether to comb the internet for pictures to illustrate your No-Fail Post. Realize you have no idea what the perfect picture would be and give up.

8. Press publish.

And voila! You have the perfect recipe for the No-Fail Blog Post!

Enjoy!

13 Comments

Filed under Blogging, Completely Random

The Moment I Knew I Was A Feminist

It was a cold, rainy day.

In kindergarten.

I was playing with my best friend, David. Playing indoors, because of the weather. And we were on our knees, vrooming our construction trucks around on the floor. Our classroom had a really neat mural on the floor, complete with roads and stop signs and houses and trees. It was early in the school year and we had been waiting for a day just like today so we could play inside during recess.

Now, I adored Mrs. Harvey. My first few weeks at school were better than I could have imagined. Mrs. Harvey was kind. And sweet. And she knew so much. Everything was a game with Mrs. Harvey. She smelled like cookies. Mrs. Harvey was the reason I wanted to be a teacher someday. Mrs. Harvey would be the first, of many, women role models in my life.

But Mrs. Harvey did not like me playing on the floor with the boys.

With the trucks.

Making vroom-vroom noises.

Mrs. Harvey told me that I wasn’t being very “ladylike” and I needed a little time to myself to reflect. It wasn’t time-out, exactly. She sat me at a table and taught me how to make “scribble pictures” with crayon. She told me this is what little girls were supposed to do during inside recess. This or play in the housekeeping area with the dolls and tea sets and little play stoves.

I didn’t like the housekeeping area. Besides, my friend – my best friend – liked to play trucks and build things with blocks. There weren’t any blocks or trucks in the housekeeping area.

That evening, I told my mother what had happened. She told me that some people thought that girls could only play with certain toys and in certain ways. When I was at home, playing in our neighborhood, I was free to play any way I wanted. But at school, I had to listen to Mrs. Harvey’s rules.

In our neighborhood, I was the girl who climbed trees, spit cherry pits the farthest, built sand castles and forts, played with trucks and raced on my bike. I wore garter snakes around my wrists and had an ant farm in my room. I was one of the first chosen for a game of kickball or baseball. My best friends were boys because they knew how to play. The only time I touched a doll was to switch the heads of my sister’s Barbies and larger baby dolls so we could laugh at the absurdity.

In high school, I was lamenting to one of my guy friends about my lack of dates. He said, “You’re not the kind of girl guys date. You’re the kind guys marry.” It was supposed to be a compliment. At the time, it was little consolation.

I’m glad I had a mother that told me it was ok to be who I was. And while Mrs. Harvey squelched me a little on that cold, October day – her sweet, nurturing nature was something I craved and wanted to emulate. She was much older than my mother and a victim of her era. All is forgiven.

But that day, the day I was told little girls don’t play with trucks and make loud noises, was a defining moment for me.

It is a day I look back on fondly. At the time, I was upset. But I had a mother who believed I could play with trucks if I wanted to. I had a father who took me fishing and to baseball games. I was in elementary school during the ’70s, watching the women’s movement take off. There were so many more amazing female role models to come.

I smile when I take a look at what my life is now. I am a mother of three. Who gave up her career to stay home with her children. To raise them full-time. A job I wouldn’t trade for any other. I love to bake and have an orderly home. I’d rather cook something from scratch than pop dinner in the microwave. We even have a picket fence around our yard.

It sounds all so very 1950s.

But it’s who I am.

It’s what I love.

And it’s the feminist movement that allows me to be proud of  this very delicious, amazing, gratifying and yes, enviable place in my life.

17 Comments

Filed under children, Growing Up, Lessons Learned, Observations

No Gift For My Birthday? Don’t Worry. I’ve Got The Perfect Idea!

Guess what?

It’s my birthday!

No. Really. It is. Today. My birthday.

Awww, don’t feel bad that you didn’t get me anything. I just sprung it on you – I gave you no time to shop. But you can make it up to me. I have an idea for a really awesome gift for yours truly. Hang on until the end of this post and I’ll let you know what it is.

You have to suffer through this little story first…

I was at the grocery store. Again. My cupboard is bare. (Little old Mother Hubbard that I am.) I have participated in 3 (count ’em, 1-2-3) canned good drives already and it’s only the first of December. So, I was at the grocery store buying “spare” canned goods for the drive this weekend. And I pulled up to a stoplight.

A man is standing there with a cardboard sign, “Stranded. Need Help!”

A woman a few cars up, rolls down her window and hands him a small wad of cash. He takes it. Nods his thanks. I’m sitting in my car with bags of canned goods. I can’t hand him a can. (I’m guessing he doesn’t have a can-opener on him) And I can’t hand him cash.

Well, I could. But I’m a Give-A-Man-A-Fish-He-Eats-For-A-Day-But-Teach-A-Man-To-Fish-He Eats-For-A-Lifetime kind of girl.

And I’m on my way to Starbucks, right across the street. (Spoiled little suburbanite – that’s me!) So, I’ll get him a coffee. It’s cold, wet and rainy. A cup of coffee will warm him up a bit.

I’m waiting in line. And it’s a scene straight out of “Animal House.”

Angel Jane: A cup of coffee? Don’t be such a cheap skate. Get him some food!

Devil Jane: Food? What he really wants is cash to support his meth habit. Put your money away.

Angel Jane: But what if he really needs help?

Devil Jane: There are two churches right down the street. Goodwill around the corner. And a whole host of other charitable organizations just itching to help someone this time of year. AND – you’ve already donated to a bunch of them already. If he needs help, it’s easy to find.

Angel Jane: A little food. What’s the harm in that? Now…how about the protein plate? Apples, cheese, hardboiled egg and grapes. It’s only $4.75!

Devil Jane: A protein plate? Are you kidding? He wants another beer I’m tellin’ ya. Now put your money away!

(I put my $10 back in my wallet and pull out a $20)

Angel Jane: She’s right. A protein plate is silly. And the Turkey/Swiss sandwich is only $5.95. Get that. It’s more filling.

Devil Jane:  He wants cash. For drugs. Put that money back in your wallet!

This goes on for quite a while. The drive-thru line is long. And I’m honestly pulling out a $10, putting it back in my wallet and then pulling out a $20, putting that back and pulling out the $10 again. On and on it goes.

Finally, it’s my turn. I hand the cashier my $20. (Angel Jane won!)

“The woman ahead of you paid for your drink,” the barista says to me, “She wanted me to wish you a Merry Christmas!”

Someone pulled a Random Act of Kindness on Jane! Me! Lil’ ol’ me! Three days before my birthday! Woo-hoo!

“Then I’m really supposed to do this,” I say to the cashier. “Can I please have a turkey sandwich, as well?”

I pay for the sandwich. (Still so stunned that someone bought me a coffee that I don’t think to pay for the car behind me until I’m driving away. Doh!)

And as I’m waiting at the light to cross the intersection I see the police car picking him up. Apparently, stranded beggars are not allowed on this street corner.

So, I tried. And after that whole exchange between Angel me and Devil me I’ve decided Angel me should win. With a sandwich, at least. I will still not hand out cash but what’s the harm in handing someone a sandwich?

And did I tell you it’s my birthday?

Can you guess what I want for my birthday?

(Ah. You know me so well!)

Yes. I’d like all of you to spread a random acts over the weekend. Yes you, Angel Joe, Angel Wendy, Angel Shannon, Angel Elastamom and Angel Steven! No hiding Angel subwow, Angel Lisa, Angel Mel, Angel Jeanne, Angel Rudrip and Angel Gale. C’mon Angels Kenzie and Katybeth and Kristen and Carol. Calling Angel Thoughtsappear, Angel Aiden, Angel Teachergirl, Angel Lynn, Angel Beary, Angel Lies. And even two of my favorite, lovable (and self-proclaimed) curmudgeons Angel Shout and Angel Kitch. No ducking out on this one! (Boy. Aren’t you all sorry you welcomed me back? 😉 )

ALL of you Angel Jane readers out there – c’mon. It’ll be fun! A little joy for a stranger. It doesn’t have to be a cup of (overpriced) coffee. It could be a sandwich. Or loading their groceries while they buckle their kids in the car. Or purchasing a little poinsettia plant and leaving it anonymously on your elderly neighbor’s doorstep. You could make cookies for your local firefighters. Pay the toll for the person behind you or put quarters in the parking meter. Bring some books you’ve already read to a nursing home. Or one of your brilliant ideas. Any charitable act will do!

That’s all I want for my birthday. Because you all know how much I love a little Random Act of Kindess. Nothin’ big. Nothin’ fancy. But something that is sure to put you into the holiday spirit, too!

35 Comments

Filed under Be-Causes, Completely Random, Holiday, How We Roll, Observations

Jane’s Back. Back In The Saddle Again.

I almost didn’t come back.

To Blog World, that is.

I had a wonderful break from you all.

(No offense.)

No deadlines. No pressure. No skimming when I’d rather savor. No frantic ramblings or desperate Google searches for post ideas. No struggles for what to say in a comment. No second guessing cryptic spam messages. No hurt feelings. No insecurities wondering if my writing is “good enough.” No more incomplete sentences.

But……..and it’s a big BUT…..

No one to share my off-the-wall ideas with. No inspiration from reading your posts. No cracking myself up over the absurdities of spam or Yahoo headlines. No commiserating or sharing or giggling with you all. No new ideas. No one to shake the cobwebs off the little dusty corners of my brain. No. No-thing. Nope.

I honestly toyed with the idea of not coming back. I don’t really know why. I just enjoyed the laziness of not logging onto a computer every single day, multiple times a day.

But then, something happened to me at a stop light and I thought, ‘Oooooo! Great post idea! First I’ll tell them this. And then I’ll share with them that. And then…..wait, Smarty Pants. I thought you were giving up the blog?’

Give up the blog? Who am I kidding? I have too much to share. Too much to say. And I’ve made too many darn blogging friends that I’d hate to lose touch with. Oh sure, I could just read and comment. But we inspire each other with our posts. And frankly, I’d hijack too many of your blogs with long-winded comments if I didn’t have a blog of my own for an outlet. It wouldn’t be pretty.

And, I refuse to become a statistic. (Average lifespan of a blog being approximately 2 years) Since I’ve been blogging only 16 months I’d bring down the average. I just can’t take on that responsibility.

So.

I’m back.

On a further abbreviated schedule. (For you fellow OCD visual learners out there my pretty little calendar will be highlighted on M, W and F — in case you were wondering.)

But, I’m back. I couldn’t stay away. From writing. From you all.

I’m back.

And it feels good to be home.

37 Comments

Filed under Blogging, Deep Thoughts, Lessons Learned