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What I Learned This Week – 2/1/15

Realists

Realists

This week I learned that if you always expect the worst, then you really do not lose anything by making a request. The worst that could happen is that they tell you “no”. If you get a “yes”, then you will be really, really pleasantly surprised.

All the negative thinking does is make it that much harder to get up the nerve to ask!

Pessimist

Pessimist

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Freezing Rain on the Block

There seems to be a big debate out in the world right now concerning whether school gets delayed or canceled for weather more now than it did previously.

This debate seems to come up every year about this time. It takes me back to a simpler time. A time in Michigan between the Blizzard of ’78, caused by regular old winter and the large snowfalls of 2014, caused by climate change. It takes me back to a certain winter, 1989-90, when I was in 8th grade. There was not snow that winter, but endless freezing rain. Freezing rain caused by global warming that no one was talking about yet.

Freezing rain, in case you live somewhere without it.

Freezing rain, in case you live somewhere without it.

My life was very complicated at that time. I struggled every morning with what clothes and jewelry to wear so that I wouldn’t get teased once I arrived at the bus stop/bus/school. I desperately wanted to wear things that would be “in fashion”*. Instead, I tried for “blend in”. Usually, I achieved something just north of “you’re ugly and your mother dresses you funny”. (Although, I assure you, my mom was not dressing me at that time.) Luckily schoolwork came rather easy to me, because I spent most of my time stressing about all the different cliques at my school. And if any boys would ever like me. (Seems kinda obvious now that no boys liked me in 8th grade because I had zero boobs and looked like I was about 10.) Little did I know that my future husband was still in elementary school at this time. My school looked like a prison, with tall gray walls and few windows. Gum chewing was banned. I was lucky enough to be able to say I had 6 friends that year. That is probably the only time in my life I have been able to say that.

My bedroom walls circa 1989, partway through NKOTB-ification.

My bedroom walls circa 1989, partway through NKOTB-ification.

Now that I have painted the picture for you of my day-to-day existence, I must let you know that it was the year of New Kids on The Block. Their presence in every part of pop culture had sling-shotted me into puberty. My asbestos friend and I made a daily pilgrimage to the nearby pharmacy to loiter and read the teen magazines to gain all the knowledge we could about Danny, Donnie, Joe, Jon, and Jordan. (I would marry Jordan, and she would marry Jon, and we would be sisters-in-law.**) When we had some money, we would buy the magazines for research purposes, such as the name of Jon’s dog and their bodyguards. We also hung up the pin-ups all over our rooms. What better way to memorize every line on their faces?

EVERY girl at school had a NKOTB T-shirt. So, of course, I had to get one. As all the fashion was still 1980’s-based, and I was fond of all things fluorescent. The New Kids shirt I bought had a black and white picture of each of them, accented with fluorescent yellow. On the back were hand prints in hot pink (presumably theirs), with a print of their autographs on it. I think only one or two other girls in my school had that particular shirt.

My NKOTB scrapbook

My NKOTB scrapbook

You might wonder what all this has to do with freezing rain. I’m getting to that.

I learned a trick. If you wore a risky article of clothing on a Monday, the other hellions at school teased you about it ALL WEEK LONG. So, I took to wearing risky clothing on Fridays. Then, it would be forgotten about over the weekend. By everyone else, anyway.

So, the winter of 8th grade, I always wore my New Kids on The Block shirt on Friday.

“But, they were popular?” you ask.

Yes, they were. And other girls in the school liked them too.

But just because the popular kids like the same things you did, that still didn’t mean you weren’t safe from getting teased for it. Especially if you had a reputation for being an easy target. (Please, kids. NEVER let yourself get that reputation. It will scar you for life and force you to use your blog as therapy for it.) Although I did once impress a group of girls a rung or two higher on the popularity ladder than I by showing up at school with the first known magazine of Jordan with his shirt off. Of course, they still didn’t let me be in their dissection group in biology class.

Jordan Knight showing off his chest.

Jordan Knight showing off his chest.

And I never knew if I would walk into school one day, and that would be the day everyone else decided that NKOTB were uncool. (It turned out that happened during the summer after 8th grade.)

So, I put on my NKOTB shirt every Friday, ready to head off to the hell that was middle school. And every Friday, for what seemed like all winter, school was either delayed, cancelled, or delayed until it was cancelled, due to freezing rain. I guess something about the roads being slippery and not thinking it was safe for the school buses to drive on them or something. I was a kid. All I knew was that my NKOTB shirt was my “lucky charm” to get school cancelled. If I wore it, I got to stay home! Or, in most cases, hang out with my asbestos friend all day.

Just because the roads were too icy to drive on, didn’t mean they were too icy to walk on, right? My asbestos friend and I would go up to the pharmacy to look at teeny bopper magazines, all the while clinging on each other as we slid along on the ice-covered sidewalks. One time the ice was so bad that she got out her ice skates and skated down the road of our subdivision (i.e. trailer court). I followed along, sliding in my boots. It was great fun, until the sun came out and melted the ice and she had to hobble home in her ice skates on concrete.

One day, I even fell down–which was AWESOME!!

You see, my mother wouldn’t let me cut holes in my jeans, as was the style at the time. But when I fell on the ice, I tore a tiny little hole in the knee of my jeans. I picked and picked and picked at that hole until it went from side to side, seam to seam. (She is still mad at me about that to this day.)

So, you see, that is how winter weather, New Kids on the Block, and fashion are all stored together in my mind.

Oh, I never got to see the New Kids in concert. Still kinda hoping my asbestos friend and I might go someday. But, I did meet one in person!***

* In retrospect, it is all so fucking stupid. We were a bunch of farm kids in Michigan. Why were we trying so hard to dress like the people we saw on TV and in magazines anyway? It’s not like we were going to grow up and be famous models or Miss Teen Michigan or anything.

** As an adult, Jordan seems very self-centered and egotistical. No longer appealing to me. And Jon turned out to be gay. I was always sure that with that high voice, Jordan would be the gay one.

*** I met Joe McIntyre! There is a picture of him hugging me to prove it, but I was unfortunately never able to actually get my hands on said picture. *sigh* Now I think Joe may be my favorite.

My first book, The Wind Could Blow a Bug is NOW AVAILABLE!

PURCHASE as a Paperback or eBook on Amazon.com TODAY.

What I Learned This Week – 1/25/15

This week I have a new favorite song: “Headphones” by Matt Nathanson.

I kept hearing it on the radio and not even realizing it was the same song that I kept hearing. Then I started singing along to it, not even realizing I had learned the words.

(That is also how “Straight Tequila Night” by John Anderson ended up becoming one of my favorite songs years ago. I just found myself singing all the words one day.)

My new favorite TV series is “12 Monkeys”, starring Aaron Stanford.

I fell in love with Aaron Stanford when I was addicted to Nikita. I never watched the original 12 Monkeys movie, but I like the series a lot. It is a mix of Terminator, Fringe, Nikita, and with the sleeping with “yo mama” joke this week, a little Futurama as well. Too bad I don’t actually have SyFy. Once they stop posting free eps on the Internet, I’m out of luck. I will miss those soulful otter eyes…

My first book, The Wind Could Blow a Bug is NOW AVAILABLE!

PURCHASE as a Paperback or eBook on Amazon.com TODAY.

Book Review: The DUFF (Designated Ugly Fat Friend)

The DUFF by Kody Keplinger

The DUFF by Kody Keplinger

This was one of the best books I have read in a long time. I couldn’t put it down. I have that problem with all books, but this one I couldn’t take a break to go to the bathroom or make lunch or take a shower. I believe I heard about this book a long time ago, but just picked it up last week, because I saw it was being made into a movie. So, the whole time I was reading the book, I was picturing actor Robbie Amell, who I loved in The Tomorrow People, as the male lead character Wesley. Which, is really hot. But we find out right away:

Wesley Rush doesn’t chase girls. They chase him.

This book was realistic in ways other books are not. Like how Bianca has had two (dysfunctional) relationships, yet has never been out on a real date and had no idea how to get ready for one. TV shows always portray that the nice, innocent dates come first. Real life doesn’t happen like that. Real life if messier.

What got me most was that I loved Bianca’s voice. I really related to it. Well, not her cynicism of love in high school. But even she comes around to changing her opinion on that.

I also liked that nothing in the book was cut and dried. The bad boy wasn’t all bad. The perfect guy wasn’t perfect. The mom who deserted her family wasn’t evil. The perfect Dad could fall off the wagon. The moral of the book is similar to the ending of the movie The Breakfast Club; each one of us is a brain, an athlete, a basket case… By the end of this book, you find out that each one of us is a duff, a slut, a whore, a bitch, a prude, a tease, a ditz. It is an important lesson to remember. This book would make a WONDERFUL movie as it is written. I love Robbie Amell and Mae Whitman. Too bad that from the trailer, it looks like they totally turned it into She’s All That 2.

My first book, The Wind Could Blow a Bug is NOW AVAILABLE!

PURCHASE as a Paperback or eBook on Amazon.com TODAY.

What I Learned This Week. . .1/17/15

WEEK-ellipsis

This week I learned that three periods together in text, symbolizing a pause or an emission. . . is called “an ellipsis with periods”.

And if you want to Microsoft Word to recognize this as one word, so that it does not move one or more of the periods to a separate line when you justify your text, you can use ALT + CTRL + .

How cool is that?

I have a copy of The Chicago Manual of Style. It makes me feel like a bad ass.

My first book, The Wind Could Blow a Bug is NOW AVAILABLE!

PURCHASE as a Paperback or eBook on Amazon.com TODAY.

The One with Sanrio Puroland

I am not a brave person by nature. I have to REALLY want something to leave my comfort zone.

I hate driving in cities. I only drove to downtown Ann Arbor by myself when I was at the height of my Kid Rock obsession and their was a DVD that I just had to buy. (By the way, that particular DVD was not licensed by him and SOOO not worth it.) I only drove in Downtown Detroit by myself when I wanted to go to Wordcamp 2012. (Interesting, but not really applicable to me:-( )

I only volunteered in a presidential campaign, calling people and going door to door, when I was obsessed the candidate. Once my obsession waned, it was almost impossible for me to function in such an environment.

I only published my book because it refused to remain unpublished any longer.

I do like to travel. But to drive anywhere in the car takes forever. Most of your vacation days are eaten up on the road, only seeing asphalt and experiencing rest stop restrooms. To get across the country fast, one can fly. But the only two times I have flown for travel in my life, (both times to Arizona), I found myself homesick shortly after arrival.

I would REALLY love to travel to Las Vegas and Hawaii someday. I would love to see all of the 50 states, actually. Maybe a lil’ Canada. But I would want to stick to places that speak English. That allows for London. And I took a lot of French in school. So I might be able to go to Paris on the same trip, if I left myself to the mercy of a tour group.  After four and a half years of taking French in school, I don’t remember any of it. Except the swear words.

My husband would like to travel all over the world. But that probably is not for me. Although I recently discovered an attraction that could have me changing my mind.

Some people love to go to Walt Disney World or Disneyland and be surrounded by Mickey, Minnie, Donald, the princesses, etc. I don’t have an affection for many Disney characters, except for Stitch and Boo. I think I would just find it overwhelming.

But there is a place that would overwhelm my senses with over-licensed characters that I do have a deep affection for:

Sanrio Puroland, located in Tama New Town, Tokyo, Japan

By Nesnad, via Wikimedia Commons

Photo: Nesnad, via Wikimedia Commons

It is an indoor theme-parked, dedicated to all things Sanrio, who’s most famous universe-wide character is Hello Kitty.

By Matryokeshi (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Photo: Matryokeshi, via Wikimedia Commons

It would be awesome to see characters such as Hello Kitty, Badtz Maru, Landry, and Kerroppi walking around among the visitors. But can you even begin to imagine the gift shop?!

Photo: puroland.jp/liveshow/arigato_everyone_2

Photo: puroland.jp/liveshow/arigato_everyone_2

Hmmm…Maybe the best way to resolve this whole travel oversees issue is for Sanrio to build a Puroland here in the United States! Afterall, they have a Disneyland in Tokyo. Stranger things have happened.

What I Learned This Week – 1/11/15

This week my husband and I decided the best part of the ABC show The Goldbergs is the end, when they show the creator’s home movies.

The Goldbergs

The Goldbergs

At first, I wasn’t very fond of The Goldbergs. The series premiere featured lots of yelling. I didn’t grow up in a house like that, and it turned me off. But it aired in such a convenient slot, right after The Middle (Which I enjoy, because, afterall, I was Sue Heck in school. Except I had glasses instead of braces.), and right before I would turn off Modern Family. Every week their seemed to be a nice little lesson, mixed in with a healthy dose of 80’s notalgia. Who can resist that? I mean, really…

It turns out that The Goldbergs was created by a guy named Adam F. Goldberg, and it is loosely based on his own family. Goldberg grew up in the 1980’s, and videotaped everything. The actor who portrays Adam in the series does the same. But the best part of the show is at the end, when they show you the actual family VHS home videos that the real Adam filmed, which usually closely mirrors what appeared in that week’s episode.

Last week’s episode was all about New Kids on the Block, who of course I adored. In the show, brothers Adam and Barry created their own video version of the New Kids’ “Hangin’ Tough”. Then, as the end of the show, you see the actual footage of real life Adam and Barry’s original “Hangin’ Tough” video. They were even placed side by side! So you had the 1980’s VHS version of real Adam and Barry copying the New Kids, then you had actor Adam and Barry copying real life Adam and Barry. It is enough to make my head spin.

If you don’t believe how awesome it could be, watch it on YouTube here:

My first book, The Wind Could Blow a Bug is NOW AVAILABLE!

PURCHASE as a Paperback or eBook on Amazon.com TODAY.

And The Clouds Could Move Away From The Sun

My asbestos friend made me a very thoughtful, handmade birthday gift, and I just had to share it.

It is a cross-stitch of the title of my book. And if you are wondering, “Why a cross-stitch?”, then you need to read the book. ‘Nuf sed.

The Wind Could Blow a Bug

The Wind Could Blow a Bug

This is not the first cross-stitch gift I have received from friends. I guess I must surround myself with creative people.

A close family friend has made me two large cross-stitch pictures over the years that now hang in my son’s room. When I got married, my green-haired friend undertook the ambitious task of creating a picture of the lighthouse bed and breakfast my husband and I honeymooned at on the shore of Lake Superior in cross-stitch.

Hmmm. This is inspiring me to go upstairs and dig through my own unfinished cross-stitch projects…

My first book, The Wind Could Blow a Bug is NOW AVAILABLE!

PURCHASE as a Paperback or eBook on Amazon.com TODAY.

Cracking Nuts

I asked for two things for Christmas this year. And I was so happy to get them both.

Works of Ahhh... Nutcracker Prince kit

Works of Ahhh… Nutcracker Prince kit

One item was a Decorate-Your-Own-Nutcracker kit. A number of years ago, for some strange reason, I became very fond of nutcrackers as Christmas decorations. At one point, I even had a six foot tall nutcracker, but I had to kick him out of the house. He was always breaking everything.

You are such a pig!  Leaving nut shells all over the floor...

You are such a pig! Leaving nut shells all over the floor…

I debated how to personalize my little hunk of wood. I am sharing the results with you here, honestly, because it seemed like a really easy blog post.

I present to you, Nutcracker Kid Rock.

I'm a pimp, you can check my stats.

I’m a pimp, you can check my stats.

Also, I wanted to give props to “Works of Ahhh…”, the makers of the kit. The nutcracker is a nice size for decorating, the paints cover in one coat, and the paint brushes are a nice enough quality to save for use on future artistic creations. The stickers included were useful, with details such as eyes and a mustache. The worst part of the project was the patience required to wait for paint or glue to dry before proceeding on to the next step.

It stinks that now that I have him all done and he looks so cool, I have to pack him away for next year. I will forget where I packed him among my dozen plastic storage boxes of Christmas decorations. I probably won’t lay eyes on him again for three years.

Now I am thinking it might have been fun to make a Hello Kitty nutcracker. Amazingly, that may be the one item that I have not seen her feline face plastered on.  Sanrio, get on that.

What was the other thing I wanted for Christmas, you ask? Here it is…

My first book, The Wind Could Blow a Bug is NOW AVAILABLE!

PURCHASE as a Paperback or eBook on Amazon.com TODAY.

What I Learned This Week – 1/4/15

This week I learned that it feels good to reach a goal, and then to receive your reward for reaching said goal.

Per my blog post from August 18, 2013, I made a promise to myself that when I published my first book, I could get a cool “Writer” tatoo. And in the last few weeks, I did publish my first book “The Wind Could Blow a Bug” by Jennifer Friess (available everywhere on Amazon that good books are sold). I actually reached this goal a year later than I intended. But I promise you, the next one will not take that long.

So, here is the result.

New tattoos make me feel so bad ass...

New tattoos make me feel so bad ass…

To answer my asbestos friend, “Yes, I love it”.

And even if I were to stop tomorrow and never write another word again, I am a published author.

I have sold a few copies too. Woohoo!

 

My first book, The Wind Could Blow a Bug is NOW AVAILABLE!

Purchase as a Paperback or eBook on Amazon.com TODAY.

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