I blame this headache on Amanda Palmer, and THANK YOU

I recently read Amanda Palmer’s The Art of Asking: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Let People Help. I’d seen her Ted Talk video a few years ago and downloaded the book onto my Kindle and didn’t bother to read it until recently, mainly because the beginning of the book is so much like the video that I didn’t think it had much more to offer.  And truthfully, the video gets the point across pretty well.  After reading the book however, I laid in bed and couldn’t think of anything I wanted.  The things I could think of weren’t things anyone could give me.  More time with my kids? Less need for sleep? Neverending peace and tranquility? Better dental insurance? The ability to eat a croissant without getting sick? A universal parking pass for all Seattle city street parking spaces?  Do any of these things even exist?
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So I published a real official book last week

You can read the complicated version of the story here on my Write for Income website: Right on Schedule…

Or you can just buy it (free for a limited time with Kindle Unlimited) and once the print place replaces my manuscript with the one that has no links in it (because duh… people with books in their hand can’t really click on things, can they – also why didn’t I think of that before?)

After that happens it will also be available to hold in your hand. if that’s a thing for you.

It seems like it should be a big deal but it’s not.  It’s just one. Plenty of people my age have written and published many many more. Plus the entire thing took less than a day from start to finish. Anyway it’s done and it keeps me on schedule for the many many many more books I plan to publish this year.  Also, incidentally, I launched a new website to go with the book (because launching websites is what I do when I’m not doing actual writing) You’ll find that at http://GlutenFreePregnancy.com
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I’m so lucky to be your mama

There are so many ways to say “I love you” and sometimes with little kids, they’re hard to hear.  Like when a child crawls into your lap sobbing, they’re often saying “I love you; you make me feel better and right now I need to feel better.” Whether I have sick kids, tired kids, angry kids or sad kids… they all find nontraditional ways to reach out and remind me that they love me. The thing is, they’re not saying it because they think I need to hear it, they’re saying it because they feel it.

When I was married, we went to a pre-marriage counseling session where we were told that no matter what happens, it’s important that we remind ourselves that we really do love one another. For a while, I started saying “I love you” when I really felt other things, mostly to remind myself that in spite of the fact that I was feeling angry at the moment, underneath it all was love.  I still do that with my girls sometimes. If one of them are being a big jerk, I tell them that I love them, sort of to remind myself that even though this moment is difficult, I love them and I know the moment will pass.
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Home.

I’ve lived in several places but there are very few that ever “felt like home.”  I always had some kind of inner angst to to travel and roam, never feeling particularly attached to any specific place or structure.  I still have the wanderlust, but it’s lessened and maybe I’m getting older or something but there’s really no place like home.

When I was married, I often HATED our home.  I think the only one I liked was the one we bought and remodeled ourselves.  I loved it in spite of the fact that I got a finishing nail stuck in my eyeball when I was removing the wood paneling.  I loved it until the very walls themselves began to remind me of how unhappy of a place it was.  There were the basement bedrooms where my ex locked my (then 4 yr old) daughter in her room for a few days while I was away.  There was the staircase my (then 9) yr old daughter ran down while my ex shouted after her that she was “a cunt” for not wanting to change the baby’s diaper. There was the storage area in the garage where he & his friends smoked pot for hours and hours and hours at a time. There was the bathtub where I did our laundry (including cloth diapers) for several months until we could afford to replace the washer. There was the dishwasher that my (then 1 yr old) liked to climb into.  There was the canal that ran past the house where my kids crashed his helicopter (insert nasty fight there too).  I was sad when that house was foreclosed but eager to get away from the building made of horrible memories.  So we moved again and built new horrible memories.  Every place we have ever lived as a couple had its share of  pain and suffering.
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Life is still good

Every year since 2011 my kids and I have attended the Life is Good conference in Vancouver, Washington.  As a stay-home mom conference was a refreshing time when my ex and I could theoretically “share” parenting responsibilities, which meant I’d have time to socialize with the women.  This year, however, since I’ve been working full time, I’m mostly looking forward to just hanging out with my kids.  Sure, I’ll get some mom-time with the ladies, but most of our itinerary involves funshops and games and a field trip to OMSI, exploring Portland and Vancouver and other fun times.  My mom is out of town this week for a family reunion so I cut down my work schedule a bit and I’ve been spending more time at home. Preparing for conference (without spending a fortune) means cooking.  We’ve laid out an entire week’s worth of meals and snacks and I’ve been kitchening like crazy, packaging up everything we’re going to need in order to keep from starving to death or eating out in desperation.  Eating out is NOT IN THE BUDGET. It’s just not.
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Seattle Staycation For Spring Break

With 2 “grown” kids and 4 younger ones still in the house, life is busy. I brought my mom out to live with us a few months ago and she’s been an enormous help, giving me the time I need to be a good employee (Still can’t believe I’m working for someone else these days). In fact, after less than 3 months with the company, I was promoted to store manager. I could NOT have done that without knowing my mom was here to help with the girls.

But Mom needed a break and went on a trip over Spring Break, so I brought my oldest out to visit for a few days and changed my work schedule a little bit so that we could have somewhat of a Spring Break. We had a blast. Here’s a sampling of our adventures over our Spring Break Staycation:
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Such a fine line…

I’ve been working at an adorable little independent boutique grocer in Seattle. It has the high quality grocery items you’d expect to find in an upscale store, with the vibe of an old country general store.  I’m surrounded by fun people who are working hard to create something awesome for the neighborhood. I’m inspired by the owner and her story as well as by the determination, skills and personalities of my coworkers. It’s been great.conesteiner

My main goal when seeking employment was to be able to move to Seattle, to meet new people, to interact with other adults in real life on a regular basis, and to be part of something cool and fun.  I’ve met all of those objectives. Life is good. So many people idealize the experience of being self-employed and working from home.  Yes, it was fun and awesome and I definitely could make my own hours and work in my pajamas but that really got old after a few years and I needed more social interaction.

 

We’re in Pioneer Square, a neighborhood that’s undergoing a major identity explosion lately, a new residential building has nearly doubled the amount of people who call this place home and several new restaurants and shops have turned it into more of a destination. Two years ago, hardly any of these places were in business, the building construction had just begun.  They’re building another in an adjacent lot now, right in front of the stadium.

 

seattle homelessBeing surrounded by the area’s homeless is often an adventure. I know each one of them has their own story about how they came to live on the streets and I don’t envy a single one of them.  Still, when a young man (under 25 I’d say) popped into the store ten minutes before closing, ranting about the laws of the Universe and banging his head on the counter, I was a little freaked out. His tone was more positive than negative, which was comforting, but still, the content was awkward because the nature of it was woowoo spirituality and the sentences never really ended: “I know times are tough right now but I have faith, I mean, I know things come around and…” Usually an ellipse stands for missing words that trail off but these sentences just ended and another one started right up. “You wouldn’t believe some of the hard times I’ve had, it’s just… And I don’t even know sometimes how things work out they just…  All you gotta do is smile and know that this moment will pass because no matter… Are those peanuts?”

While my coworker was chatting with the guy, I slipped into the back to dial up the building security guard.  I didn’t feel like I was in danger, but I wouldn’t have been surprised if the situation turned quickly.

Plus, I had recently had a serious talk with myself about personal safety.  After getting off my morning bus one day last week, I accidentally intervened in a police situation with an angry homeless man threatening to slice a cop’s throat with razorblades and I PROMISED my friend I’d never try to be a badass again.  (Intervening consisted of offering the guy a cigarette and verbally sympathizing with him, encouraging him to walk away.  Not superhero stuff but still, kind of dumb)

When the security officer arrived, he began to talk about the cycles of the moon and how “for some reason because of the way the planets are aligned,  the craziness of people hasn’t died down.”  Apparently it goes in cycles and “everything will be peaceful until all hell breaks loose and then they calm down again for a while until next time.”  Normally. But this particular current planetary alignment is affecting that process, so “God only knows when this will end.”

As I offered him a drink and thanked him for coming so quickly, I had to weigh whether or not it was fair to have the uniformed person in a similar mental state as the homeless guy. Also, I wondered which of these two people I’d rather be alone in a room with.  Who was dangerous? Who was safe?  It was weird. I think I’m more curious about the homeless man’s life story than I am about the security guard’s philosophy of human nature.  I need to read up on ways to casually engage in conversations with people on the edge without endangering myself.  Has anyone written a book called “How to talk to homeless people?”

 

 

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7 Tips for How to Drive With The Progressive Snapshot Device

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I recently switched my family’s car insurance from Geico to Progressive. First of all, I really like the snarky Flo a lot more than the gecko. Second, the rate they offered me was more than $50 cheaper.  The hitch was that I had to install their spy device into my car’s data port so they could measure my driving skills.  I’m nearly 40, I don’t have any accidents in the past 20 years and I think I have 2 speeding tickets, but nothing reckless or crazy. So I’m thinking my driving skills are damned good.

The gadget measures “hard braking” and when it arrived and I read the documentation I wasn’t really concerned.  I couldn’t recall a time when I’ve slammed on the brakes and I don’t make a habit of following too closely because I totally don’t ever want to rear end anyone and so far it’s been working so I’m thinking this will be a cinch.  I’ve got this. Apparently their gadget disagrees.  Here are the new driving skills I have learned from progressive:
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In Defense of Magical Mothering

I simply MUST respond to a recent article on Huffington Post by Bunmi Laditan, author of the book The Honest Toddler; A Child’s Guide to Parenting  titled “I’m done making my kids’ childhood magical

I think the main point of this article is that we shouldn’t stress ourselves out to create memories with our kids because we don’t know WHAT they’re likely to remember and because kids enjoy life anyway. As she says, “Seeing the world through innocent eyes is magical.” And “magical” here isn’t a reference to any woowoo spirituality. It’s just referring to the way kids see things. “It is not our responsibility to manufacture contrived memories on a daily basis.”
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Being all of the things

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I got my cosmetology license when I was 16, through a vocational program offered at my high school. Then I decided I wanted to go to school to teach.  Motherhood, lack of financial aid knowledge (seriously, I wish someone had just told me how easy it was to fill out the forms. I didn’t even know there were forms) and actually working in a salon and as a substitute teacher put an end to my college days back then, but not to my career.

Or, should I say, careers. I was a Tupperware lady, an Avon lady and an Usborne Books representative (more than once). I had my own business publishing newspaper-style birth announcements, I self-published a local newspaper for parents (Yakima Family Times) and my ex husband and I ran a small chain of restaurants.  At another time, we also ran a business renting out a camera crane to the motion picture industry in Southern California. I have worked as a waitress, a used car salesperson and a pre-school teacher in 2000 and again in 2012. I helped a friend start her business training people in social media marketing and I worked as a web designer and in social networking. I once painted thrift-shop furniture and made a crazy profit at resale.
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