Thursday 1

The Revenge of the Vacuum Cleaner

House and Home Blog Nosh Magazine
{Originally posted on Barking Mad.}

I had a linguistics professor who said that it’s man’s ability to use language that makes him the dominant species on the planet. That may be. But I think there’s one other thing that separates us from animals. We aren’t afraid of vacuum cleaners.” –Jeff Stilson

I knew it was too good to last. It’s been more than a year since I’ve had something go wrong with a domestic appliance, be it a personal hair remover or something not intended for use on the human body. Oh and this one doesn’t count because seriously, it could have happened to anyone! It could!

Yesterday wasn’t any different from most of my days spent around Casa Barking Mad, except that the Little Imp was at Montessori for the day and the groomer had come to pick up Casey after the discovery that the spawn of our neighbour, Creepy Whistling Dude, have been throwing shitloads of chewed gum into our backyard. Alas, a big-ass post about that is forthcoming. So whilst I was sitting here wondering if my dog was going to be returned with any hair or not, I decided to obsessively clean, like I normally do.

I’ll have you know, I have never suffered any sort of injury from a domestic appliance until now. I swear!

The culprit, a Dyson Animal…



Stories You Can Tell

Business Blog Nosh Magazine{Originally published on Chris Brogan}

Marketing a product is hard. Think about it. If you’re the chief storyteller of Skype right now, what are you going to say about the product that will encourage more usage, more uptake, more awareness? The product is fairly solid, has a known set of features, and is one of a few “name brand” products in the Voice over IP space. So what can you say about it?

Companies face this trouble all the time. What will you say about Pepsi? How will you talk about the Ford Flex tomorrow? What should Titleist tell you about their Pro V1 balls?

The Stories You Can Tell

  • Talk about the people. Who drives a Flex?
  • Talk about success. Who used Pro V1 balls to change their game?
  • Talk about change. Did Pepsi help a community with an important project?

One often-used point of view for storytelling is of the newcomer. For instance, in the upcoming movie Coraline, the story features a young girl who discovers a mirror world where things are much darker and more strange. We see this world as she discovers it, from over her shoulder, so that we’re both discovering it, Coraline and you, at the same time.

Companies are looking at Blogger Relations programs like this. Find storytellers who can explore something and discover it with you over her shoulder. It’s a way to shut out the omniscient voice of marketing from above and to introduce the perspective of someone from the outside looking in.

If you’re Skype, maybe the story becomes how a small village in a corner of Romania learns how Skype connects them to the rest of the world. The story becomes about the people who bring the service to the village, and how things change with it in place. No part of the story talks about emoticons, video in mood, or any other features. It talks about humans and how they experience the product.

Tell Small Stories Well – Idea Handles

When I discover new things, I share what I learn. You probably do, too. When we learn new things, one way we retain them is by teaching others as soon as we have opportunity to do so. Can you tell small stories that come complete with “idea handles?”



Choices

Family Blog Nosh Magazine {Originally published by ConverseMomma on Ordinary Art.}

When I was having the first of three miscarriages, sitting on the couch stuffing ice cream in my mouth, and sobbing at all the EPT commercials on television, a bloody maxi pad tucked between my legs, I got a phone call from someone close to me. She was pregnant, young, scared, and about to have an abortion. She wanted me to console her. She wanted me to wrap my arms around her and rock away the regret. I remember wanting to slap her. Instead, I spoke calmly through clenched teeth. I told her it was going to be okay, assured her that I loved her, even as I felt the soft spots of my heart, that once she had claimed, hardening against the impact. It was not fair of her, of me, of circumstance. But, this is how it was.

Two miscarriages, an oncologist office, and a handful of “experts” later, they told me I would never be a mother, not in the traditional sense that I had always imagined when I was young and reckless with the way I used my body. Instead, I pinned my hopes to adoption, on an 18 year-old girl. She wore a tiny bikini the weekend that we met, and swam beside me in the hotel pool. She just knew she could never have an abortion, not with all those couples eager and waiting. She wanted, instead, to give a gift. I thought about her capacity for bravery, and all I could do was hug her, go back to my hotel room, and cry.

When my son was born, and the nurses called me Mommy, the woman who carried him for nine months and pushed him out into this world, lay weary in her bed beside us. The beginnings of her loss were already creeping across the hospital room. I just could not see it. I did not think her choice was anything but noble, me being on the receiving end of it. We celebrated with popsicles sticks that left our fingers sticky and blue, and I tried not to see the way her mother had to hold her up, her unsure legs too shaky for the long walk to the parking lot, unassisted. In the months that went by, her grief only grew. It became something large and imposing, threatening the fragile bonds that we had established all those months that she had been convinced the choice would be an easy one, but turned out never to be. My son is a gift she gave me, but at what cost to herself? That is the question left unanswered between us.

I did not want to acknowledge the loss. I just wanted the simple celebration that I thought should be my right as a new mother. For a long time, I was so thankful for my son’s birthmother’s decision that every time I heard the word abortion I considered it a slight against the blonde-haired child that I held in my arms, and sang lullabies to against the backdrop of silence, in the nursery with the walls I had painted in blue. I felt abortion was a kick straight to the empty damaged uterus that I carried inside my body. How could a woman be selfish enough to have an abortion when adoption was an alternative, when couples waited years to fill their homes with the pitter patter of little feet, when my son was alive and growing strong because of his birthmother’s choice?



Blogging Sarcasm

{Originally published on Writing Roads}

I’m not sure if there is such a thing, but I’ve decided that today is make up a new word day. Honestly, as a writer, every day is make up a new word day. I feel totally fine with bending, twisting and manipulating the English language (and some others as well). My newest word is ’sarcasticate’ and it means: to make something sarcastic. It’s a verb. I like it so much, I’m writing a whole post about it, and here it is.

Sometimes, I wish I could write code or do computer programming. First of all, it would make me smarter and more able. Secondly, it would help me with an issue that I keep running into.

You see, I can make things bold. I can italicize. I can underline. I can even strikethrough. But, I can’t sarcasticate.

Even using those smiley face emotive icons, there isn’t one that means sarcastic. They have sad, mad, kissey, sick – all of those are easily visible states of being. But sarcastic? Not so much.

It seems that sarcastication, while writing on the internet must actually be conveyed through words. There is no help. And, while I do think it’s safe to say that I have the sarcasticating gene, I also think that the reader has to have that gene too…and some brain power. Not to mention the fact that you must have actual reality downpat before you can get the sarcasm. So, conceivably, my sarcastications could be missed by some readers because of their own ineptitude or because I might be having an off day.

Without the sound of my voice, I rely on my written words…because I’m a writer…that’s the point, I get it. And, I’m thrilled that while code and program can’t currently help me sarcasticate, I can mold my meaning with my words (those that are real and those that I’ve composed).



The Shape of Grief

Personal Blog Nosh Magazine {Originally posted on Schmutzie.com}

Over one year later, I am still discovering the shape of my grief over the loss of my uterus.

I miss a thing I could never see. I have no documentation of its existence. It does not show up in family photo albums. My clothing fits as it did before the surgery. I never touched it with my hands. I cannot trace its outlines in pictures or where it is no longer on my body.

The only evidence that it was ever here is a pregnancy test that I keep pushing to the back of the bathroom cupboard behind the cleaning supplies.

I do not like that it was cut up into tiny pieces and vacuumed out of me. I do not like that it became medical waste. No part of any body should be made into medical waste. Our bodies hold far too much power, far too much meaning, to be so degraded.

I am angry that I could not take it with me, that I could not find my own place to put to it to rest. I hate not knowing where its pieces are. I imagine it having its own sapling beneath which it could rest and feed its growth. I need to imagine it being less alone.

The shape of this grief is little more than a chronological line between two points, from there to here. It has yet find its flesh.



Dirty Sexy Comments

{Originally published on Bird on a Wire}

This is not a plea for comments for THIS blog. I talk about my chronic commentitis here. I use my blog only as a reference point. Instead, this is a reminder that comments are like chocolate, really good if they’re rich and have some substance to them. And that if you can’t comment, you can still help out the bloggers that you like. A big shout out to Mommie Pie and Bloghernot 2008. I’ll be participating in a big way!

At the time of this blog posting, over 543 people receive this blog in their RSS reader (or via email).
Another 2,000 – 4,000 come to the site directly, depending on the day and the post. Add those up, and let’s say that around 5,000 people come here daily to read my stuff. (Hey, don’t laugh, I’m pretty jazzed about those numbers.)

If 1% of you commented, that’d be 50. (I’m bad at math. Did I do that right?) The average post on here gets a respectable 10 or so comments, but that’s about 1/3 of 1% then, of the folks who get a copy of each post. Ok, enough of the math class stuff.

This got me thinking about the other great blogs that I love.

I read several hundred blog posts a day. I comment on maybe five or six, if there is something I feel compelled to say. So I’m in there with you. I’m not commenting much, either. Does that make us bad ? Not really. If I’m able to leave a decent and thoughtful comment, I know that the other blogger will appreciate it. Sometimes, I even get a nice little email from them saying so. Comment Relish is a great little Word Press plug in that sends an e-mail message to users who comment on your website who have never commented before.



Sustainable Kitchen Project

House and Home Blog Nosh Magazine

{Originally posted on Kelby Carr}

When I decided to work at home most days, a major MAJOR factor was having more time to make good for my family. I wanted to use more fresh ingredients, and make more things from scratch. Oh, in my mind, I would be the uber foodie mom, baking and creating and freezing and canning and doing various fun things. I should totally have a sustainable kitchen.

In my kitchen, I have gadgets for making yogurt, juice, pasta, even sausage. I have a bread maker missing just one piece. Besides that, I have the knowledge (or the ability to Google and find out) to make any number of things from scratch. I have plenty of land to grow my own stuff, and I live in Asheville, NC where it is super easy to find cool locally grown produce.

Yet, my gadgets and cookbooks are gathering dust. I still hit the Super-Walmart so I can super consume. I spend $200-plus at least once a week on groceries. And I do still, sometimes (although definitely less and less often as I am at home more), give my children processed, packaged crap. OK, I said it. I may be a foodie mom, but I am a real mom. I am buying things in extra packaging for extra money and being totally non-green when I could just make and store things at home. Criticize away, if you must.

I blame life and having lots of work and having three kids and all of that. But when my twins were babies, I was working full-time and making homemade baby and pumping milk for them to have at daycare. It wasn’t easy, and I was pretty much psychotically exhausted. But it should be even easier now, much easier. So I clearly CAN do it.

So I’ve decided I will create this public as a way to motivate myself, to keep myself honest, to connect with other moms who want a more self-sustaining kitchen, and to track my progress. I’ve already started in a few ways, and I’ll post about these very soon. For example, we are starting an organic vegetable garden. Here is a lettuce seedling I’ve started:



Practice Is an Art

Practice Is an Art

Fiction and Poetry Blog Nosh MagazineOriginally posted in Goodword Editing.

(Scroll down to find the audio link to hear the poem read by Marcus Goodyear.)

for David Tulley

The pianist plays alone every time
learning not to let the world decide
when he creates and when he rests.
Studios, concert halls, practice rooms
hallowed, not hollow, never empty.
The walls, the chairs, the carpet tremble
with potential decisions. Synthetic
fibers of carpet twist together,
their friendships forming expectant
berber curls, their voices hushed
waiting for the performer’s approach.



And Now For The Following CNN Entertainment Headline

And Now For The Following CNN Entertainment Headline

Entertainment Blog Nosh Magazine

{Originally published on I am Bossy}

Cnner2

After fourteen seasons and twenty-two Emmys, the popular medical drama E.R. is planning its final episodes which will air next February, prompting Bossy to say, “Wait—E.R. is still on?”

It’s been many years since Bossy watched this show—but in case you’ve never seen it, here is everything you need to know:

Georgeclooney



What do you owe the public?

Overcoming Adversity Blog Nosh Magazine {Originally Posted at Mom to the Screaming Masses}

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Last week we had our big fishing trip. We took a meal with us, thinking that there might be an eating space nearby. And there was, and so while we set everything up, the kids sat under the gazebo and ate. When the lines were set up and the bait had been (euw!) prepped, we called them out to us and they came running. All except Riley. Often, Riley doesn’t join in, preferring to keep to herself. That’s fine with me. I don’t force her to join in – often, that’s counterproductive to our family enjoyment.

So we were fishing, or, rather the family was fishing and I was watching, because, euw! She strolled from the fishing area to the gazebo, bit her hamburger and walked back. Lather, rinse, repeat. She sang songs to herself and played finger games, stopped to admire some flowers, climbed on the bench and called to me often. When she wasn’t next to me, I kept my eye on her most of the time, flipping from “watch me fish, Mom!” to watching her play. She was satisfied to be alone. In short, it was a time that worked for her. She was content, and that’s a state I strive for. I relaxed, admiring the boats docked in the marina and waving to a woman who walked by with her medium sized dog on a leash.

Until I heard her scream, and scream, and scream – long, ear piercing, heart rending screams that seemed follow each other – as soon as one ended, she began again, without taking a breath.