Technology Fail

Apparently WordPress is being fussy, posting a terribly boring beginning of a poem I’d written (ages ago) without my consent.

If you received the erroneous email, please disregard.

I’m now off to delete every other ancient draft (out of pure fear that it could happen again), while wallowing in the embarrassment that anyone believed I thought the content in the piece entitled, “Lemonade,” was good enough to publish.

The horror!

M.

Has this ever happened to you? Could it have published from my phone? I haven’t even visited the WordPress App today!

Since we’re discussing lemonade, how about this yummy-looking concoction? Pink Lemonade Maragritas from Barefott Contessa.
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A Birthday on Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is coming, but instead of being enthusiastic about the holiday itself, I’m excited about celebrating my daughters’ birthday; born five years ago on Thanksgiving day, 2007.

It was a wild ride – pregnancy with twins; months of bed rest, nervous ultrasounds, undetermined blood tests. Especially after several losses.

The fact that my turkeys arrived on Thanksgiving day was like a gift from the stars.

It came with a message that said …

“Here you go. Here is what you wished for. Here is the meaning of your life. These two 4-pounders are your daughters and they’ve been born on Thanksgiving day so that you never forget how grateful you must be for the gift of their lives on this Earth.”

And I was grateful. More grateful than for anything I’d ever received.

And while I was swimming in gratefulness, recovering from a nasty c-section, pulling my IV drip back and forth to the nursery despite pleas from nurses to rest, I was also arguing with my husband and begging nurses to make him leave. We had fought throughout the pregnancy. I never felt loved and I always felt alone when he came around.

We couldn’t get along, even at this most blessed time. Our paths were divergent despite the impending arrival of two growing babies with our DNA.

My divorce has been a long time coming. It is painful and ugly, and strips me of my will to smile whenever I’m in his presence.

But tomorrow I’m determined to (just) be thankful for my girls. They gave me what I always wanted. I wanted to be a mom.

My errands today will revolve around preparations for the celebration. A cake with mermaids will be picked up and their LeapFrog Tablet will be wrapped.

It’s a pretty neat present for a couple of five year olds; easy to get, picked out from Target.

I only wish I was able to give them the best gift of all; the gift of a happy family. Children with happy, intact families are the luckiest of all.

For this, I am ungrateful. Ungrateful, without thanks, and hoping that they never suffer from the knowledge of their unluckiness; the failure of their parents stripping them of what should have been their right.

M.

When your child/children were born, did you feel like it brought you and your spouse closer or did it put more stress on an already strained relationship? What will you be giving thanks for tomorrow around your dinner table?

People often ask how I managed to care for two babies at once. Look at those faces; pure joy, all the time. Their first year was the best time of my life.

A Blogging Thingy Called UMV

For the third time in as many days I’ve been led to opportunities that require me to disclose my blog statistics, including my unique monthly visitors; the number of times one person clicks on your site, as opposed to overall clicks (if the same person came back 10 times, your UMV would be 1, not 10).

WordPress.com (my publishing platform) is great in so many ways. Primarily it’s easy, and I do have access to my statistics, only not to the UMV. In addition (and much to my dismay), WordPress.com doesn’t allow the use of Google Analytics, which is what everyone off of WordPress.com uses (it seems) to gather such information and more.

Folks in the business and marketing worlds want information like UMV (as well as other numbers like Twitter followers, Pinterest followers, etc.) to help them decide if it’s worth their time to invest in you. The good news is that readership in this little blog is growing as I continue to snuggle into my niche (writing as a practice over a single focus like mom blogging or fitness blogging).

But moving to another platform (like WordPress.org, which would give me more creative freedom and financial opportunities) is daunting and can be expensive. Self hosting can be a security risk, which (let’s face it) would send me straight over the edge should I get hacked.

So many decision must be made everyday. This one’s got me in a muddle.

M.

My purpose was to use the blog as a writing outlet, but if I’m missing out on opportunities, wouldn’t it be wise to make the change? What would you do? If you are a WordPress(dot)com blogger, have you made the switch, or are you happy where you are?

Social Media Icons
While searching for an image to go with this post I came across Angie Makes on Etsy. Her artwork is amazing. I especially love her flower clip art, which looks a lot like my Twitter background (but prettier). It’s yet another example of how I could have more freedom with self-hosting … To be able to have more creative freedom in imaging across the site.

RunningSkirts(dot)Com Sub-Zero Review

After months of waiting to wear my RunningSkirts(dot)com Sub-Zero skirt, the weather finally turned cold enough to pull it from its packaging.

I have raved about Running Skirts compression socks (here) since testing them out a year ago, but unsure about proper sizing in the company’s skirts made me hesitant about ordering one (see sizing below). After receiving an email alert from Schwaggle with a link to the RS website giving an additional percentage off of a special list of merchandise, I took the plunge ordering the heartstooth patterned skirt attached to the full length brushed and wicking pant.

Sizing:

As I usually do before making online purchases, I read the reviews and pondered the size chart. Pant sizing is funny for me (skinny legs and not so skinny hips). According to the measurements listed, I would wear a size 3 (10-12), but since I am so rarely a 12, I wasn’t sure this was the best choice.

It turned out that the size 3 is perfect. I would recommend, actually, that if you are a larger size 12, going up to a size 4 might be better. Size eights would definitely want to buy the size 2.

Confused? I was, though it’s not their fault rather the nature of online shopping.

Fit:

With a flat waistband and continuous drawcord (like Lululemon’s), there was no rubbing at the belly. Also interesting, and possibly a fit characteristic for my body type (apple-ish), the front waist fit a tad higher than the back. I loved this; always prefer a pant this sits a bit higher at the waist (it’s a different story for me when it comes to shorts).

Temp:

The Sub-Zero is sold as a cold weather running skirt and performs as such. My legs didn’t feel a moment of wind or freeze after five miles in 37 degree temperatures. During my second run in much warmer weather (about 50 degrees), they still felt great; no overheating. When I run long, even in the coldest temperatures, I always (always) burn hot at my wrists and ankles. During my second run, I folded up the bottom portion of the leg and continued on, grateful that they weren’t super tight at the hem; they folded up easily.

More shopping?

Unhappy with the current quality on the newest LLL running tights (I swear the luxtreme is thinner) and more and more feeling the need to cover my rear (I am a 41-year-old grown woman after all), I am interested in trying some of the other skirts in the line.

Next on my list is the Capri Skirt. If it performs even close to the Sub-Zero, it could (quite possibly) be the perfect running bottom made.

M.

Do you run in skirts? How about RunningSkirts.com skirts? Do you shop there?

The skirts come in different patterns. I like the black and white ones as they can go with more colored tops.
The continuous drawcord. When pulled tighter the skirt stayed put. If you’ve ever gotten chafe from a tie at the wast then you know; ow.
The wide, flat waistband.
The logo on the side of the skirt. Barely noticeable.

The Taylor Swift Defense

Songstress Taylor Swift has made an enviable career by writing and singing her truths. While some of her songs (like Hey Stephen from the Fearless album) speak of sweet love, Taylor’s lyrics often touch on the other side of boy/girl relationships; the stuff that some might find embarrassing.

She’s gotten a lot of flack for speaking the truth. Grown men have said they love her, but wouldn’t date her, because of the risk they run in having a song created about them that might document a failed relationship. “Chickens,” I say.

Though my format is different, like Taylor, I write about my feelings and experiences. Nothing is off-limits. Is anything safe?

It shouldn’t come as a surprise, then, that I am currently writing about my divorce and all of the traumatic, embarrassing, and disappointing parts of the transition.

The other day I was advised not to tell the world that I have my kids in play therapy (to help them adjust to the upcoming changes). But what is wrong with telling this truth? My kids are benefitting, and as a parent I am doing what is responsible for their well-being. Should I not disclose the things that led my husband and me to separate? Should I not share experiences that might help someone else (going through a similar life-trial)?

The argument that it’s private doesn’t hold weight. What is private? Isn’t sharing, caring? Don’t others benefit from shared experiences? It’s not slander unless it’s said with malicious intent. Is secrecy, then, an attempt to hide a bruised ego?

I’m willing to disclose my own bruised ego.

Here’s this gem:

Yesterday I failed another CloudCrowd test, after three mind-numbing hours of writing, editing and proof reading. I even had back-up this time to ensure that I’d pass; mom was a room away to double-check my work.

It looked good, I thought, but I failed.

When I had settled down enough (after receiving my rejection email; F-word F-word F-word), I went back to look at the critique.

1. I made one subject/verb agreement after the thing had been written and during my last minutes before posting. I knew I shouldn’t have changed act to acts (the subject). I didn’t even think about the verb. Bad, bad writer girl!

2. I was accused of not comparing and contrasting the subject matter, which was the main objective to the second written piece. The fact that the subject was “Religion in the United States,” and that I compared the freedom from religion in our country to countries who do not allow such freedoms, seemed to go unnoticed.

3. My mom and I had major discussions about whether our freedom was “from” or “of” religion. Ultimately, I chose to say “from” since our government doesn’t require us to practice a national religion, nor are we ruled under a government that preaches a particular choice. We are free from being told what we should believe.

4. The last time I tested, I wrote far more than the 200 words that were required. I felt that this set me up to be judged on more errors (resulting in fail number one). Yesterday, I decided to keep it closer to the word limit, but with a topic like U.S. Religion, this was hard. Still, I thought I did a good job, though apparently I was wrong.

My frustration with CloudCrowd has me questioning whether or not I should hang up the editing piece of this budding writing career.

At the same time, I wonder if I should try again with a different company whose reviewers are a little more open-minded to written interpretation, especially on the written exams?

The truth is not always pretty, but there is power in its function. I believe in this wholeheartedly.

M.

Are you a secret keeper who believes that things should be private or do you speak the truth despite the consequence of embarrassment?

Men!

I was recently accused of being a man-hater. The ill-informed accuser had confused my independence and comfort in being alone with a more sinister point of view.

The truth, however, is so far from the allegation that in my defense I thought a written piece regarding the absurdity was warranted.

I love men. I’m not saying I understand them completely. They are as complicated as complicated gets.

But women are complicated, too, and so putting aside (for a moment) the complicated things that often leave us feeling as far apart as Venus and Mars, let’s focus on the reasons that men are wonderful.

As a little girl I fell in love with a beautiful neighborhood boy. What did I know of love? Not much. But the way he tossed his bike to the ground after effortlessly jumping away from its spinning wheels, hop-skipping himself toward me with a testosterone laced smile? What else did I need to know? The fact that he liked me was icing on the proverbial cupcake. It tasted as sweet.

Swoon worthy looks are nice, but without substance, a pretty face can only take a girl so far!

I have met many a man, who though lacking the chiseled chest of, say, “A David Beckham,” or the rugged handsomeness of, say, “A Jake Gyllenhall,” did have that je ne sais quoi that made this girl swoon as if a Beckham-Gyllenhall combination had just entered the room.

What is that?

That thing?

That spark of magic, which creates butterflies in the belly.

How could you not love that?

I used to joke that I would only date a man who was smarter than me. A pre-requisite, so to speak.

Men with brains, or with knowledge on subjects I haven’t a clue, are fascinating. Before you try to hang me for what sounds like a pre-feminist viewpoint, let me just say, “No one loves a brilliant woman more than I.” But introduce me to a cardiac doctor or an international human rights lawyer or an up and coming film maker (any of whom are) of the male persuasion, and listening and learning about things I don’t quite understand creates a different dynamic of intrigue. Intrigue in unfamiliar packaging.

Mens’ brains are great, but brawn is not bad, either. Science has proven that men have lots of qualities that separate them from women; one of the most obvious being their muscular build which provides them considerably more upper body strength. I do appreciate a strong upper body (as my own is the least strong part of me). Having a man appear to assist, as I try to lift that heavy thing from that high place up there … I love that!

At pre-school pick-up today I was reminded of two more reasons to love men; fathers and grandfathers. I watched as a grey-haired man held the hand of his granddaughter, and sweetly challenged her to see if she could recognize his car. I watched a much younger man trailing behind his little boy who was busily pushing a truck along the sidewalk. I listened as patient dad and curious son has a conversation about the truck, and I kept on, feeling grateful for the additional blog-worthy material.

There are men in the world who love women, and as an extension, love their kids and the idea of the family. I know a man personally who actually said to me, “Not have my wife and kids? What would be the meaning of my life?”

Men who really love women do not just sexualize them. Real appreciation for women as mothers and sisters allow some men into the inner circle. These men, with such respect for the richness that women being to a life, are rewarded by the women they love.

Man-hater? Not me. Not even close.

M.

Are you one of those girls that has found the man who makes you swoon, whose brain you love, who has that thing?