Category Archives: How We Roll

I Think My Neighbors Are Stalking Me. And This Time, They Have Just Cause.

Or at least they’ve found me out.

You know my obsession with clean trash cans? (No? Read about it here. It’s ok. We’ll wait.)

And you’re well aware of my fascination with Google search terms. (Here and here. Again, take your time. We’re a patient bunch.)

Well, apparently, people are still finding my blog when they search for: random acts of kindness (A number of posts on this topic as it is near and dear to my heart), burka (Just one post on this topic, I promise), traffic signals, josef albers, joy suckers (Hey! That’s just mean!), wrinkled boobs (Even meaner!), hornyteens (Written just like that, all one word — and I’ll say it again. Ewwwwww!) and now……..

Wait for it……

wait for it…..

OCD About Trash Cans.

Wait! I can explain.

It’s just that we recently had another incident. And this time, it was my husband’s fault.

You see, I’ve turned #1son into an OCDer. Fingers crossed that he’s come by it honestly. He’s my son through adoption so I’m hoping it’s nature, not nurture. Because I know how debilitating OCD can be. And I shudder to think that I’m the cause. And I don’t want to see him on Dr. Phil in 20 years, shouting to the world that it’s all my fault. But I digress….

We, meaning my #1son and I, had just cleaned the trash cans last week. He was helping me pull them to the house and he said, ever so sweetly, “Mom? These cans are stinky. Maybe we should clean them out?”

Ahhhh. He warms the cockles of my heart.

So, we got to it. Spraying. Lysoling. Spraying some more. Air drying. It was heaven.

Sparkling clean trash and recycling cans tucked safely away in the garage.

Check.

This week, I went to the curb and grabbed the trash can handle.

Ouch!

Something bit me.

I look down and the handle, the ridge of the can and inside the can is covered with red ants. Upon further discovery, the bottom of the can is swimming with sweet, sticky liquid. Could it be……beer?

I don’t drink beer. My kids don’t drink beer. My husband. He drinks beer. And he broke rule # 173: Do not put loose trash in the trash can and rule #92: Put recyclables in the recycling bin. (Duh!)

So, two weeks in a row, I’m outside, cleaning the trash bin. And my neighbors saw me.

And the very next morning, in my WordPress Site Stats, I find that someone has found my blog by searching: OCD about trash cans.

Oh. I am so busted.

11 Comments

Filed under All In A Day's Work, funny, How We Roll

I’m Not An Extreme Couponer. Just A Wannabee.

A desperate wannabee.

That’s me.

It all started last fall when we participated in 3 canned food drives. Ok. Wait. That’s a lie. It started back in my college days when I was too proud to ask my parents for money to eat (because there’d be strings attached). I was working two jobs and trying to live on my own because I couldn’t handle the craziness that was home. I’d hunt the paper for coupons and stock up on soups and the prepared food stuff that I wrinkle my nose at now. Or coupons for fast food places. Wendy’s was my best friend back in college. I remember days when I’d clip a coupon for the all-you-can-eat salad bar and then bring my backpack filled with text books. I’d camp out and eat a late lunch at about 2pm, study while I ate and then eat an early dinner at 4pm. I can’t believe no one ever kicked me out. Not a proud time for me, for sure.

But I digress.

I’ve couponed on and off in my life but I got bitten by the bug again last fall. As I mentioned, we participated in 3 canned food drives, all within weeks of each other. By the second one, my pantry was bare. I don’t purchase many canned goods. I’m a buy-fresh-and-local (when I can) kind of cook. I prefer not to cook from a can if I can help it. Oh sure, I cheat with canned tomatoes or cream of mushroom soup or canned beans from time to time. But again, I’m digressing. (Stick to the story, Jane. Too much caffeine this morning? Jeez.)

I clipped some coupons from the paper and purchased a boatload of canned goods for the 2nd drive. Wow. It wasn’t as expensive as I thought it would be.

The next drive? I was prepared. I clipped coupons AND checked out the three major grocery chains near me for sales. I had to go to two stores to make it happen but since they were both on my way home from the boy’s school it wasn’t hard to navigate. I easily saved about 50% on my grocery bill. I was intrigued.

Since then, I’ve watched Extreme Couponers a handful of times. Many of the women are like me – got into couponing out of necessity. This recession (that’s over but isn’t) has hit many of us so hard. And while we’re doing OK, there are some things I just don’t want to give up. Like baseball and swim team for the kids or my favorite shampoo. We’ve trimmed our budget in every way we can think of. Watching the extreme couponers has shown me we could trim a little bit more.

But I still can’t seem to get the results they seem to achieve.

There are three things stopping me.

1. Time. I don’t spend 35+ hours a week clipping coupons, studying sale circulars and taking that 7 hour trip to one store.

2. I’m not going to purchase the 50 newspapers a week I’d need to collect a substantial amount of coupons and I refuse to dumpster dive like one featured woman does. (And she brings her kids with her when she does it!)

3. I don’t use many of the products that coupons advertise. I’m happy with my favorite dishwashing detergent or glass cleaner. I allow a little wiggle room but quite honestly, I’m a little set in my ways.

Taking advantage of Publix Buy-One-Get-One specials has helped quite a bit. I have about $80 worth of extra virgin olive oil that I paid about $30 for (with the help of coupons, of course.) My stock pile is building. Everything you see in the picture below was at least 50% off or free. Most of it, free. My daughter claims I’m preparing for the apocalypse. I don’t mind. Call me crazy, if you dare, but I’m saving us quite a bit at the grocery store. I’ve been able to purchase new baseball cleats, a new team swim suit and a fancy graduation dress with the savings.

But I want one of those big payouts. You know the ones. Where the bill is $1029 and they end up paying $6.82 for it. Or, even better, the bill comes to $534 and the grocery store pays you $1.13 to take it off their hands.

So far….

1. I have my baseball card notebook with coupons filed in categories according to the layout of my favorite grocery store.

2. I buy two, maybe three, Sunday papers a week and spend about 2-3 hours clipping, filing, scanning and planning a shopping trip or two.

3. Employing these methods, I save, on average, around 40%.

And that’s enough for now.

Baby steps.

I just have to keep reminding myself.

Baby steps.

11 Comments

Filed under How We Roll, Uncategorized

Oops! My OCD Is Showing!

I come by it honestly. My OCD.

When I was just 16 and coming home from a date, my mother was outside scrubbing the front curb. Embarrassed, I mumbled a quick “thank you” and “bye!” Poor guy. Probably thought I had a terrible time at the baseball game. But then I remembered that he, too, had noticed my mother out there, scrubbing away.

After he pulled out of the driveway and was safely around the corner, I went back outside.

“Mom!” I said, “What are you doing?”

“I’m scrubbing the curb,” she said matter-of-factly.

“I can see that. But why?” I insisted.

“Because it was dirty,” she said, now looking at me like I’m the one from outer space.

“But that’s what the street cleaners are for,” I explained.

“Well, they don’t do a good enough job!” she replied and went back to her scrubbing.

Our home always looked like a Better Homes and Gardens picture spread. Everything always in its place. Impeccably decorated.

And now, I’m carrying on the tradition. With our trash cans.

We have a convenient concrete pad next to our mailbox. It is where we always put our garbage cans to rest until the garbage men come to empty them. Four years they have occupied that spot.

And then? Our new neighbors moved in. They decided to share our space, next to our mailbox.

I’m a bit finicky about my garbage cans. When they get smelly, I rinse them out with Pine-sol. This can be tricky during drought restriction summers. I’ve been known to sneak out, at night, to clean them in the cover of darkness. (Oh, please don’t rat me out!) But last summer, it seemed they were smellier than usual.

Every week I was having to clean out our cans. Much more than usual. Stinky. Smelly. Attracting flies. I’d remind my daughter to tie the bags tightly. I’d accuse my husband of tossing loose trash (mostly half empty fast food wrappers and cups) into the can without being securely hidden in a tightly tied plastic bag. But every week, when I’d collect our can from the curb, there would be ooey, gooey, sticky, smelly drippings and droppings on the bottom or coating the sides. It was gross.

But not as gross as the maggots.

I still shudder when I remember the maggots. Imagine my surprise when I brought the can up from the street and open my can and saw maggots. Not one. Not two. Hundreds. Coating the bottom of the can. The bottom. I’m all of 5’6″. My arms didn’t reach to the bottom. A broom (I tried) couldn’t get them all. I had to put the can on its side and crawl into the can armed only with a scrub brush and a spray bottle of Lysol disinfectant. (Had to, you ask? Yes. Had to. I’m OCD, remember?)

And then I remembered. We had been on vacation the previous week. There was hardly any trash in the can to begin with. In fact, there were no perishables in the can. How in the world did we have maggots?

It was then that I realized that we (and by we, I mean I) had been cleaning out our neighbor’s trash can all summer long.

So I did what any other self-respecting OCDer would do. I drew our initial, in Sharpie, by the handle of the can so we’d know whose is whose.

And they, in retaliation I suppose, drew their house numbers even bigger by the handle of their can. (They’d show us!)

But even that didn’t work. So when I went to pick up our sparkling clean recycling bin – because we (and by we, I mean I) rinse out everything that goes into our bin – only to find their recycling bin coated with layers of dried, sticky and stinky soda, milk and beer dribblings? I left it at the curb. I had proof that bin wasn’t ours. Not only were their house numbers written on the side, my husband was on his latest “I’m giving up coffee/soda/beer – take your pick” binge. No way was that bin ours. We hadn’t tossed a soda or beer can in weeks.

So there.

Yes. I pulled the can over to their side and left it at the curb. When they finally noticed, they pulled our sparkling clean can out of their garage and left it in front of our garage door. The following week they decided not to share the concrete pad next to our mailbox. They put their cans on the other side of their driveway, sitting on the grass in defiance.

They showed us.

And I don’t care.

At least I have my sweet-smelling garbage cans back.

And that’s all that matters to little Miss OCD.

13 Comments

Filed under Completely Random, How We Roll

Hey, Feel My Forehead. My Kid Is Sick.

Yep. This is me.

And I’m not even the one who is sick. I have one sick little boy from last week. Not this weekend. Not today. From last week! His stinkin’ fever won’t stay away and I’m spent.

I know, I know. It’s all about me, right? Well, it is. I suck at being a nurse. Truly. You don’t want to get sick with me around.

I’m squeamish. (I’ll take my temperature as soon as I take yours.)

I’m paranoid. (I Clorox and Lysol everything in sight. Three times a day. Really. My house is never cleaner than when someone is ill.)

And I’m impatient. (For you to get well, that is.)

But I have been keeping up with you all. Reading you on my phone – in the carpool line (Because kids don’t get sick at the same time in this house – oh, no. They spread it out over weeks and weeks.) – while cuddling (at a distance – and trust me, this is possible) on the couch watching SpongeBob and Phineas and Ferb – while cooking dinner or hiding in my closet. (Yes. I hide from my kids sometimes. Sue me.)

I’m a bit technologically challenged. So I can’t comment. Just know I’m reading you. And missing being here. And popping herbs like there’s no tomorrow so I don’t catch this crud.

Pray for me. I mean, my son.

 

17 Comments

Filed under children, How We Roll, Moms, Motherhood, Uncategorized

Stay Forever Young – Between The Ears, Anyway

I’m always learning. My grandmother taught me that it would keep my mind young.

She was right.

My daughter and I were sitting on the couch last night, watching the final (or not so final) episode of Downton Abbey on Masterpiece Classic. (Oh, how we love Maggie Smith! She has the best lines, the best delivery. So much fun to watch.) We were talking about the age of women of that time period for marriage and childbirth.

My daughter turned to me and said, “I can’t believe you’re going to be 50 in a few years. You certainly don’t look that old!” (I suppose that was a compliment.)

“I know,” I said, “I don’t feel almost 50. I feel almost 30. In my mind, I feel very young.”

She looked at me oddly.

“You know what I mean?” I asked.

“No, mom,” she said with a grin, “I’m only 18. I have no idea what you’re talking about.”

I suppose it’s a bit of a You-Had-To-Be-There-Moment but we were sent into a fit of giggles. Of course she has no idea about her mind feeling young. She’s still young.

My grandmother loved politics, crossword puzzles and bridge. I love current events, jigsaw puzzles and playing Euchre and Rummy. She and I were/are both voracious readers. She loved fashion and studying pop culture. I love new music and discovering new artists.

Anything to keep your mind young; but like the Nike ad said –  just do it. Exercise that muscle between your ears. Pick up a new language. Take a cooking class. Yank out your old Algebra books (I just did that the other day and had a blast challenging myself to complete some problems.)

Our bodies, our eyes, our once nimble fingers. They will show their age no matter how much exercise or botox we try.

But our mind?

That has the true potential of staying forever young.

20 Comments

Filed under Coffee Talk, Growing Up, How We Roll, Lessons Learned

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

To All The Karma Chameleons In Our Lives: May You Stay Far, Far Away

“Is there loving in your eyes all the way.
If I listened to your lies would you say” –  You know the type. They say one thing. Do another. I’ve had people in my life – friends, family, acquaintances – who seem so sincere. And I believe them. And then my heart is stomped.

“Didn’t hear your wicked words every day
and you used to be so sweet” – The lesson that is so, so difficult to learn is how to recognize these karma chameleons, these psychic vampires, and stay far, far away. I am horrible at this. I don’t recognize them. I give them every benefit of the doubt. Everyone else seems to see through them but me.

“You string along, you string along” – There’s that saying “Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me.” I get fooled twice, thrice and….well, four times quite a bit. And then some. It’s frustrating. It’s maddening. But it’s all on me. It’s a part of me I love – seeing the good and not the bad. Giving the second and third chances. Starting anew with someone that’s just a little misunderstood. But it’s a part of me I hate. Getting my heart trounced on. Being made the fool over and over again.

“Every day is like survival” – That was my childhood. Finding ways to survive. Finding ways to cope and thrive in a dysfunctional relationship with my mother. What thrills me is that I escaped, relatively unscathed. What frustrates me is that there are people in my life that remind me I haven’t quite learned the lesson.

“Karma karma karma karma karma chameleon,
you come and go, you come and go.” – I’m not a vengeful person but I do hope that karma bites these chameleons in the butt some time. Hoping they learn the lesson they’re supposed to learn.

“Karma karma karma karma karma chameleon,
you come and go, you come and go.
Loving would be easy if your colors were like my dreams,
red gold and green, red gold and green.” – I will still give people the benefit of the doubt. I will still be fooled. I’m working on noticing it sooner. And I’m trying to find the balance between recognizing the chameleons but maintaining my sunny, optimistic view.  I don’t want to be hardened. I don’t want to be cynical. I am teetering between the two sides, desperately not wanting to fall.

17 Comments

Filed under How We Roll, Music, People

What Does Your Facebook Page Say About You?

I have been both fascinated and repulsed by Facebook.

Strong words? Maybe. But let me explain.

I first began a Facebook account because my daughter wanted a MySpace account and I said, NO! I explored Facebook and tried to become adept at it, to stay one step ahead of my teen. Ha! She’s now had her account a year less than I have and she is light-years ahead of me in skill. We call her Tech-Support.

Sure, I connected with many people from my past that have been so nice to touch base with. Yes, it’s been so easy to check in with friends and family who live far away. I kind of like the little sound bites (every now and then) of what my friend is up to: how she’s buried in laundry or he just witnessed his daughter’s first step or letting me know of a great film I should see.

And then, an amazing thing happened to me with Facebook.

A dear, dear friend from high school and swim team popped up. We friended each other. We started catching up. And discovered that we live only 45 minutes away from each other, even though we grew up together 1000 miles away.

Freaky coincidence.

Our friendship is renewed. We crack each other up, just like old times. And marvel over the amazing thing that is Facebook.

I honestly don’t know how we would have found each other without it (or something like it.) Both sets of our parents have since moved away from our hometown. Friends are scattered far and wide. We may have been able to find each other another way, but it wouldn’t have been easy.

Not as easy as the click-type-click that it is on Facebook.

That’s the fascinating part.

What is repulsive is the self-absorbed culture it is turning us into. I don’t care about the minute by minute updates. You think you’re funny? But you are funny only about 10% of the time. In our neighborhood, Facebook has become a popularity contest. It reminds me of high school – the public bragging about vacations and which party you just attended and the great time you had with Biff, Skip and Buffy. 

I now hide certain people (because I don’t have the guts to unfriend them) so I’m not tempted to fall into their trap.  Wondering why I wasn’t invited to the girl’s night out. Or pool party. Wondering why we can’t afford the cruise or trip to Europe or new car. Reading their brag posts, I find myself slipping into a keeping-up-with-the-Joneses mentality that I abhor.

So I hide. I ignore their posts as if they didn’t exist. I stick my head in the sand and create my own little bubble.

And then there’s the trick of people finding you on Facebook when you don’t want to be found. A dark period of my past came up and almost bit me. I ignored the friend request and panicked. How much had he found out about me and my adult life? Did I have all the right privacy settings in place? Why oh why was it so easy for this stalker to find me again?

Tech-Support (dear daughter) assured me that he only saw my name. And then she taught be how to disappear from him and any of the close friends I could remember that he had by blocking him and the rest of his posse.

Close call.

Rogue Pictures

NPR had an interesting review of two up-coming films about Facebook. Catfish (about a Facebook friendship) and The Social Network (about how Facebook got started) They both sound very interesting and I look forward to checking them out. But what interested me more was the way in which Bob Mondello (the NPR reviewer) chose to describe his “like” of the films. It is a clever review that is worth the listen.

And like Bob, I don’t want to say much more than that. But it got me thinking about how our lives have changed forever with social networks and how we now operate. How soundbites and friending and unfriending have become normal, every day behavior that influences how we operate and what we expect. The sense of immediacy it creates. It cultivates impatience and unnecessary worry. Yet it connects us in ways we never imagined it would.

Facebook is here to stay. Fascinating or repulsive, we’re left to use or abuse its abilities. I only hope we become bored with the mundane updates and more sensitive about what we post on our profiles. After all, our Facebook pages are an extension of who we are and how we want to be perceived.

What does your Facebook page say about you?

36 Comments

Filed under How We Roll, Observations

What I Want To Know Is….?

My first year Blogaversary is coming up. And I’m very excited.

I’ve been blogging for a full year now and I’ve learned so much: how to post a pic, how to post a video, how to comment with tact (most of the time), that I really have it in me to produce 3-6 blog posts a week.

Yet I still have so many questions: Where do I want to see my blog in 5 years? What did I expect to achieve in a year? How do I handle all the comments, criticism, etc.? What’s an RSS feed? Who has time for all the wonderful blogs out there?

And then I had a brilliant idea!

Help me celebrate this wonderful blogging community we’ve created together. Let’s share the wealth. Share the knowledge. Or just share a few laughs.

On Friday, August 13th, yours truly will have been blogging for exactly one year. On that day I challenge you to post on one of the following topics: greatest gift from blogging, greatest surprise from blogging, best blog tip you ever learned, your evolution as a blogger, how do you handle all the comments on your blog?, what is your version of successful blogging?, what blog posts to you hate to see?, your favorite post topics to read, any other topic that pertains to blogging that you can think of. (Hey, I’m that easy!)

We’ll all meet back here on Friday, August 13th and link and share tips, tricks or just titters. Your choice.

Help me celebrate my year of meeting all of you! Start crafting those fabulous posts you are all so capable of writing and let’s share! The more the merrier! (Yes, this means you, little Miss Lurker. C’mon. It’ll be fun!)

(And maybe by then I’ll learn how to link more efficiently. Ck? Sarah?)

29 Comments

Filed under Blogging, How We Roll

The Evolution Of A Blogger Or What Jane Will Write To Get Dessert

I have evolved.

Into what, I don’t know. But I know I’m different. I know that I possess more information than I ever thought I would about blogging. I also know that I know very little about the world of blogging.

My one year anniversary is coming up in August and I still feel like a newbie. But then, one of you visits my blog and you really are a newbie. Showing all the same, desperate signs I used to.

You know the signs. Commenting anywhere and everywhere. Plugging your blog, not knowing that your name is already linked. Singing the praises of a blogger you barely know. (Oh wait, that was just me.)

And then your traffic picks up a little. And you have a lot more comments. So, while you’re commenting everywhere and anywhere, just trying to keep up, the laundry falls behind and you start feeding your family more take-out. And you stop and say,

“THIS IS MADNESS!”

So you stop. You breathe. And you adjust.

You start writing 5 posts a week and not 6. And then wheedle it down to 4. You use the “extra” days of the week to catch up on comments or writing brilliant posts.

But it never seems enough.

And you start wondering…who am I? Why am I here? Do people really care about what I have to say? Why doesn’t SallyJo look at my blog anymore? What if I run out of ideas? What if I’ve plateaued? What does it mean to have more readers? Do I really need that validation? Can I have an ice cream sandwich? (Oh. Sorry. Just me again.)

Who am I? I am Jane. I speak my  mind. Sometimes it’s intelligent or insightful or indescribable (because I babble) but never insidious.

Why am I here? Because I saw a silly movie about a blogger and thought, Hey! I can do that! (And then started singing “I Can Do That” from A Chorus Line.)

Do people really care about what I have to say? Apparently. And you’re still here reading. I have to say, I’m a tad amazed that people still check in. That I haven’t gotten too stale, tired or boring. Thanks. I appreciate your stamina.

Why doesn’t SallyJo look at my blog anymore? I have to admit. This has me stumped. I don’t know why, but I miss SallyJo. (Names were changed to protect the neglectful.) I also have to admit, I don’t check in on her blog much anymore, either. It’s not a tit-for-tat kind of thing. I just wasn’t finding anything of interest. And my comments started to feel empty. But now, MillieSue? I miss her, too. And her blog is fantastic. She used to comment here all the time. I always have something to comment on her posts. But she’s stopped coming here, too. No matter how often I visit her. I just don’t get it.

What if I run out of ideas? Me? Run out of things to say? I’m actually laughing out loud here. Nope. Not Jane. Sure, I need a little nudge now and then and that’s where Google searches come in so handy. But let’s get real here. I might suffer a little slump but I’ll crawl right out of it.

What if I’ve plateaued? Now this, I do worry about. I may not run out of ideas but what if my writing never improves? Or, while I might have something to say, I never find a more creative way to say it? What if my 12 faithful readers are all I’ll ever have? Which leads me to…

 What does it mean to have more readers?  Do I need more people to feel guilty about not having the time to read their blog, too? Am I really like the Facebook fanatic that simply MUST have 10,000 friends? Isn’t it just more important to connect with someone, anyone…as in any one person out there? Yes. It is. But my emotional-10th grade-self still would love more readers.

Do I really need that validation? I suppose I do. That is where I have evolved. I enjoy writing. I enjoy engaging other readers. I enjoy being inspired and entertained by other bloggers. But I also enjoy the validation that comes with comments and emails, knowing that others hear what I have to say and are moved enough to say so. But quite honestly, I don’t like it that I have that need, no matter how small. So that is where I am evolving to. To a place where validation isn’t necessary. Wish me luck.

Can I have an ice cream sandwich? Yes, Jane. You have completed yet another post. You can have an ice cream sandwich.

Mmmmmmmm!

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Filed under How We Roll, Lessons Learned, Observations, Ponderings