Aloha Also Means Goodbye is FREE this weekend!

standard April 18, 2014 Leave a response
Aloha Free 196x300 Aloha Also Means Goodbye is FREE this weekend!

It’s free! Just this weekend!

Happy Easter! Happy Passover! Happy Spring! Happy Free Kindle Book Weekend! 

It’s hard to believe that Aloha Also Means Goodbye has been available on Kindle for almost 6 months already! It’s been such a rush reading all of the reviews written by friends and strangers alike! I never expected I’d enjoy this part so much! I love, love, love that people are enjoying Aloha Also Means Goodbye!

My favorites are the emails or comments I get from people grumbling because they stayed up way too late reading and were tired in the morning. Best compliment a writer can ever get!

We are super excited to announce that for three days this weekend (Friday, Saturday, Sunday) Aloha Also Means Goodbye is a Free Kindle Book! That’s right, free to own, not just borrow (though it’ll always be free to borrow for Kindle owners)!

I need your help again! Could you pretty please tell a couple friends about this amazing deal? How about… 5 of them? You can share on Facebook, Twitter, Google +, in the line at Starbucks, at school drop-off or pick-up, anywhere someone looking for a fun read might be hanging out! Or, hey, even easier, just forward this post to a few friends!

Remind them that they don’t have to have a Kindle to read a free Kindle book. They can download it to the Kindle app on their smart phone, iPad, iPod, any Android tablet, or even your computer. That’s it! Then you can get on with prepping Easter baskets or figuring out how to doctor some matzah.

And, as always, thank you! I have high hopes that one day Aloha Also Means Goodbye will be the most recommended beach read around and I know I won’t get there without your help!

PS. Still holding out for the paper version? Hang in there! It’ll be out June 1st!

Holding on to the momentum

standard April 15, 2014 2 responses
DSC 02011 300x199 Holding on to the momentum

Just one of many, many pages of notes.

You should see the pages of notes I take at conferences. They’re a mix of transcriptions of speaker soundbites, things I want to remember to look up later, and ideas that have popped into my head during conversations and sessions.

Ideas. So many ideas.

It’s incredible what I can come up with when I hand off all of my regular responsibilities and preoccupations and make more space for my own thoughts.

I’ve yet to come home without a single “I should really do this!” kind of idea. They’re usually big, ambitious ideas too. I come home ready to throw myself into new projects with wild abandon. I feel energized and motivated and pumped to shake things up a lot.

And then there’s laundry. And the dishes. And that school project that needs to be finished. And that volunteer thing. And dinner. And lunches. And email. And the dog needs to be walked. The house needs to be tidied. Oh, and all of my other projects and deadlines need attention. And of course the fact that new projects are rarely lucrative at first, and can I really afford to work for “free” even more than I already do?

And everything slowly creeps back into my brain until I start to feel almost more overwhelmed than I did before I left.

The problem with working for yourself at home is that there’s no one to help you prioritize your tasks. There’s no one to bounce off ideas to see if they are worthwhile or just plain silly. It’s a challenge, and the dog is really no help at all.

I’m not tabling my new ideas quite yet. I’m still in love with them, still hopeful that I’ll find a way to make them work. But, more urgently, I need to find a way to maintain that level of motivation and passion after I get home and re-immerse myself into my life, after I open up my brain to contain all of the children’s lives and issues, all of the puppy’s needs and wants, all of the house’s demands.

I worry that if I don’t, those ideas will perish the same way so many other great ideas have died, only living on the pages of an old abandoned conference notebook, gathering dust on the back of a shelf filled with countless others. And that would be a crying shame.

Processing the Post Conference Chaos

standard April 14, 2014 5 responses

Erma glass 199x300 Processing the Post Conference ChaosI’ve been going to blogging conferences more or less regularly since 2008 and, other than for the very first one I attended, I’ve had to fly to get there. I always feel a hint of envy for the people who live within driving distance of the conference; packing for them is a breeze and doesn’t need to resemble a game of Tetris, but then I remember just how much I relish my flights home and I go back to trying to find creative ways to fit a million pairs of shoes and countless little 3oz bottles of shower products into my carry-on bag.

You see, conferences tend to be like this:
You arrive, a bit anxious, a bit shy. You meet a few people in the lobby of the hotel. You go up to them with trepidation, introduce yourself and BAM, you’re off. For the next two or three days the hectic mornings of a mom with 7 kids will have nothing on your frantic pace. First there are lots of sessions. It’s like cramming a semester’s worth of studies into a two day period. Then there’s networking in the halls between sessions. Lastly there are a bunch of evening events, dinners, after dinner chats, after chat drinks, and then decompressing and processing with your roommates until the late hours of the night.

Add to that the fact that most conferences take place on the East coast leaving me with a 3 hour time delay which works great in the evening and not so great in the morning, and you’ll find me, on the morning I’m due to go home, vibrating slightly from a mixture of too much coffee, too little sleep, and way too much information to process.

Know what’s an amazing cure for that?

Being strapped into a plane seat for a couple of hours.

Until this weekend every post conference flight has given me the opportunity to sit down, pen in hand, and just free write my way out of the buzzing chaos in my head.

I never fail to be amazed at the coherence that I can pull from the noise.

This weekend, three days hanging out with other writers at the Erma Bombeck Writer’s Workshop, should have ended the same way. I have pages and pages of notes taken in incredible session after incredible session to read through. I have a ton of business cards to sort through and ideas about emails I want to write to think through. It was an amazing conference. One I know I have so much to say about.

But a large group of punk kids had a party in the lobby and parking lot of our hotel the last night we were there. They partied, loudly, starting around 11pm. When I left to go to the airport at 4:30am they were still going strong. I was very, very tired and very, very cranky.

So instead of freewriting and processing my way home, I slept. Hard.

And then there were my kids to hug, puppy kisses to fight off, stories about their weekend to hear, messes to clean up, life to get back on track, and all that brilliance has been pushed into some shadowy recess of my brain, awaiting a quiet moment to emerge.

Of course it’ll have to wait. This morning I’m having a preventative breast MRI, then the puppy needs to go to the groomer, I need to take the kids to apply for passports, three days of emails to answer, oh, and I have to figure out how to get my Passover cake out of the mold it seems to be really attached to. Thinking that singing Let it Go! at the top of my lungs isn’t going to cut it.

If there is one thing I am taking away from this weekend, one thing I don’t need quiet to process, it’s that I need to re-prioritize my days. I need to make space for the words. Because at the end of the day, without the words I have nothing, nothing I’m proud to call my own, and that pride was the highlight of my weekend, one I’m not ever going to be ready to give up.

If they told us the truth about motherhood, none of us would ever do it

standard April 10, 2014 3 responses

This weekend, in one afternoon, almost in one solid sitting (at the beach, ocean lapping at my feet, not a bad place to be at all) I read all of Kelly Corrigan’s new book Glitter and Glue. I cracked it open despite being mid series in something completely unrelated partly because the wifi was down at the beach and I couldn’t download the next installment of the series (oh technology, how you so love to fail me…) and partly because I was about 90% sure my book club was meeting Monday evening and I knew that I wasn’t going to be doing much reading while at the Erma Bombeck Writer’s Workshop over the weekend.

Glitter and Glue 198x300 If they told us the truth about motherhood, none of us would ever do it

Anyway, that’s why I cracked the book open. It’s most definitely not why I kept reading. Kelly Corrigan has a way with words that just sucks you right in and she just happens to write about topics that are incredibly close to my heart.

To whit: most of Glitter and Glue focuses on a period of time when Kelly was in Australia nannying for a family who had recently lost the mother to cancer.

Now, let us be clear. I do not have cancer nor do I have any plans any time soon to leave my family. BUT on the morning of the Monday I thought our book club was meeting (We’re actually meeting in two Mondays. Silly me.) I’m having my first breast MRI. It’s purely preventative, ordered by a very conservative doctor who has placed me squarely in the “very high risk, needs some kind of exam every 6 months” category because of my family’s history with breast cancer.

That said, even when you know that an exam is going to be routine and preventative, it’s still scary. Reading about children who have just lost their mom to cancer somehow makes it that much more real.

Anyway, that is neither here nor there. I’m sure I’ll find another time to wax poetic about that aspect of the book, like say, when I’m waiting for the results of said exam, but right now I want to focus on a tiny piece Corrigan writes at the end, an observation about her own mother.

She says:

“Family life wore her down. The daily mash-up of tiny, stupid tasks, like roasting chickens and finding the other sneaker, crossed with monitoring rivalries and developing emotional circuitry and soothing when possible, all the while allowing some pockets of time to feel your own feelings and pursue your own pursuits — it’s a lot to maneuver. But what compressed her into an old woman, what made her bones heavy and her joints stiff, what used her up, wasn’t the labor. It was the bottomless worrying and wanting and hoping.”

Right? Heavy. I know. But SO TRUE.

My doctor is always asking me how I’m doing and my stock answer is “I’m good, tired, but what else is new, I’m a mom.” to which she rolls her eyes and moves on to the next question.

But it’s true!

Parenting is exhausting. Mothering is exhausting.

You constantly have to

- remember everyone’s schedules, everyone’s needs, everyone’s wants, everyone’s hopes.

- watch everyone’s reactions to everything. Not always so you can protect them, but so you’re ready to react when they come to you for advice, or comfort, or even a push.

- know where everything is. Even when you’re on the other side of the country.

- sleep with one ear open, just in case, so you can hear the coughing, hear the tumbling out of bed, hear the tossing or the turning.

- be willing to be interrupted, even if it means that one simple task is going to take a bazillion times longer than it should have, because even if you’re not willing to be interrupted, you still will be, so you might as well be OK with it.

- keep a running shopping list in your head. You always have to know what’s in the pantry and in the fridge just in case you happen to be near the grocery store with 10 minutes to “spare” and can dash in to grab some essentials.

- be ready to be a coach, mentor, mediator, scheduler, therapist, nurse, doctor, homework tutor, family communicator, stylist, cook, chauffeur, house keeper, personal shopper, and whatever other little task someone thinks they need you to fulfill right then and there.

It is undeniably exhausting.

And yet, I’ve always thought that it was so worth it because it’s one of those “for now” things, one of those things that would end, would eventually leave way for me to go back to being self centered and focused on me. But if Corrigan is right, it doesn’t end when they suddenly learn to remember where they put their shoes away (they do eventually learn that, right?) all the worrying, and the hoping, and the watching, it never ends. And if we’re honest, that’s the stuff that takes the most out of us, right?

I’ve heard so many people liken becoming a mother to suddenly having your heart jump out of your chest and start walking around outside of you. I don’t agree. Becoming a mother means having to make space for an entire other person (or two, or three, or four… or however many you end up having) in your head and in your heart. People with their needs and their fears and their hopes and wants and worries take up an insane amount of space.

No wonder it’s so hard for us to remember who we are, what we feel, what we want sometimes.

A little later in the chapter Corrigan says

“Raising people is not some lark. It’s serious work with serious repercussions. It’s air-traffic control. You can’t step out for a minute; you can barely pause to scratch your ankle.”

That relentless thing , while doing a job that’s so incredibly time and energy consuming, that’s what wears us moms down. Ironic seeing as being a mom also means you have to be the toughest, most resilient person around.

I never had a career in mind when I was little. I just wanted to be a mom. It was my thing. I started babysitting and sniffing newborn baby heads when I was barely 12. I love everything about being a mom. All the tough stuff, all the good stuff, all of it.

But if I have to be brutally honest, I never expected it would be this hard or this exhausting. I doubt anyone ever could.