Themusingwell's Blog

November 24, 2009

Talking To Myself In Public

Filed under: Uncategorized — WeeBanshee @ 8:18 pm

Ok, so its evident that I have a blog that no one reads. 

 That’s ok.  No, it isn’t.  It’s bad.  Very bad. 

Having a blog that languishes, unread, is like being caught talking to yourself in public.  Sad.  Embarassing.  And, I know whereof I speak.  Usually, I have Boomer with me (if anyone out there read this you’d know that Boomer is my aged Lab/Chow mix) so when I have these conversations, I can at least pretend I’m talking to him.  Still sad but not as sad.

I’ve put the word out there that I have a blog – I’ve told friends and family.  Well, ok, not all of them.  And, yes I know everyone is very busy.  I haven’t told Napoleon himself (again, if you were keeping up, you’d know who that is) as he would not approve. 

Napoleon wants me to get a real job; a paying job.  Perhaps he’d like me to have a writing job but frankly, he could care less what I do as long as it brings in some dough.  Yes, I know there are people who earn money blogging but the question I have is: who are these people, how did they get started, who do they work for and is there any work for me? 

That was more than one question, I realize.

I can write.  I can write in any style, any format, in any voice.  I can be stern and strident.  I can be cold and clinical.  I can be easy and breezy.  I can be just me.  I know what I’m doing but I just haven’t found anyone to believe in me.  I haven’t found anyone to read me.

What oh what shall I do?

I have prowled Helium, Suite 101; I check out Deb Ng’s site almost daily.  The problem?  I have no material, no clips, no substantiated proof (published proof) that I know what I’m doing.  Maybe I don’t know what I’m doing.  Maybe being able to string a sentence together isn’t enough.

This feels very familiar to my household:  I talk, no one listens.  I can follow behind the children and Napoleon and be completely ignored.  I’m sure all they hear is “Wah, wah, wah…” like the teacher in the Peanuts comic strips…

Can anyone out there hear me??????

Oh hi, Boomer.  There’s a good boy…

Sigh.

I’d like to know the following:

1. what am I doing wrong?

2. how can I fix it?

3. how do I get my writing out there so people can see it?

4. what does it take to get read?  And, is getting read enough?

5. how can I get paid to blog without being an “expert” at something? 

Why am I writing this list if no one is going to read it?

Arrgggghhhh.

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November 16, 2009

On Aging

Filed under: Uncategorized — WeeBanshee @ 9:29 pm

I remember watching my mother, at the time probably in her mid-50’s, slathering Countess Marcella Borghese Crema di Notte (sp?) on her face.  The huge jar of sweetly scented cream always sat on my mother’s nightstand (right next to the pack of Virginia Slims).  I always remember my mother having wrinkles on her face.  She had a baby when she was 45 years old – enough to cause wrinkles in anyone.  Her beautiful hair stayed flaxen blonde up until the day she died. My father, on the other hand, had a head of snow white hair by the time he was 40. 

Guess whose hair I inherited?

At age 48, my hair is almost completely silver. I know it sounds weird but I just noticed this the other day.  I lay on my bed Saturday afternoon holding a mirror, mesmerized by the shimmering strands of silver.  I have to say it here, they were beautiful.  I scrunched my hair up on top of my head and played with my bangs making sure the silvery bits hit my face.  Wow.  Still beautiful…the silver against the few remaining strands of dark blonde really brought out the blue in my eyes.  When did this happen?  I knew I had bits of gray and my temples were almost completely white but the rest of it?  Shit happens when you don’t pay attention…

Waiting for me on the bathroom sink was a box of Miss Clairol #106 (some shade of ash blonde).  I knew what would happen if I let my hair “go.”  I would fall in stature from barely cool wife and mother in her 40’s to a haggard and wizened crone of indeterminate age, clearly falling apart.  I would henceforth be known as “woman who has let herself go.”

I see pictures of women in magazines, my age and older, who look ten years younger than I do.  Oh, I know they’re in a magazine so they are probably air-brushed to the hilt but still…they look beyond fabulous.  I look beyond haggard most days.  Maybe I should wear makeup but it’s a bother.  I have what the wrinkle cream ads term “deep wrinkles.”  I have freckles and spots.  And that’s just my face.  Don’t get me started on the rest of my worn and decrepit body.

But, just so you get the full picture, my body is not in great shape either.  I am not a disciple of exercise like I’m told I should be.  My husband laughs every time I lecture the kids on being fit.  “Do as I say not as I do,” he chuckles.  I’m sorry – looked in the mirror lately, Napoleon?  I see no six pack, sweetie.  So, I’m all jiggly on the bottom, wrinkly on the top, and capped with white like a human Kilimanjaro.  I think I’m beyond what air-brushing could do.

I stare at the box of hair dye.  Why don’t I have the courage to “age gracefully”? Or, is there still any such thing?  In today’s youth obsessed world, aging has become unacceptable.  We should all look like we did when we were 30 even though we’re pushing 60.  I’m only 48 but 50 is the new 30 so I’m what, 28? Ha!  Now, that’s funny.

According to the Mad Men of the 21st century, I should have no wrinkles, no grey hair, a perpetual twinkle in my eye and bounce in my step, my breasts should be round and perky (even after breast-feeding two children), my legs should be always hairless, let’s see…what else…oh and I should always, always be in the mood for sex and I should have an ass you could bounce a quarter off of.  I’m sure I missed a requirement in there somewhere…as I said before, if we choose to ignore the advertisements and let nature take its course (while still maintaining our overall health and fitness),we’ve obviously given up and let ourselves go.

Really? 

In today’s world, to age gracefully is to aggressively deny the march of time with a battalion of age-defying products containing ingredients that no one but a chemist could pronounce.  Just as a sampling, I found the following products (some listing their miracle ingredients) in a home decorating magazine that I picked up:  Lancome Absolue Precious Cells claims to be an “advanced regenerating and reconstructing cream.”  Allegedly through the use of stem cells (?), this cream can recover the visible signs of younger skin in 7 days (for those of us in a hurry).  Elizabeth Arden, a few pages later, gets right to the point:  “Prepare yourself for the beauty battlefield.”  Wow.  We’ve gone to war.  In the November 2009 issue of Health magazine, I found Andie MacDowell declaring for L’Oreal, “Fighting deep eye wrinkles is a 24-hour job.”  On page 92, I found an article entitled, “The Ultimate Stay-Young Secrets.”  And, on p.142, I found four products that are supposed to give me great skin while I sleep.  One is called Lumene ExCELLent Future Deep Repairing Cream. Say what?  The names don’t make sense, the ingredients are chemical soup and their effectiveness and benefit debatable.  Why?

Is it wise to throw all of this money and all of these chemicals at Mother Nature?

The war, should you choose to wage it, is e-x-p-e-n-s-i-v-e.  Even old standby Olay products are at least $25-$35 for a tiny bottle of magical potion. 

Don’t get me wrong, I am susceptible.  I bought some “night cream” the other day in a moment of premenstrual (or was it perimenopausal?) weakness.  I wanted to buy something natural so I went for Burt’s Bees “Naturally Ageless with Pomegranate & White Birch Bark Skin Firming Night Cream.”  For the privilege of smearing pomegranate extract and birch bark juice all over my face at night (to its credit, it makes my skin feel lovely if a little greasy), I paid $32Cdn for a 2 oz jar.  Ouch.

Women today, especially those in their 40’s and 50’s are being told day in and day out that they should be capable of looking 20 years younger than they are and if they don’t, they’re doing something horribly wrong.   Wouldn’t a healthy diet and good fitness be enough?  No, huge companies like Lancome and L’Oreal and Clarins are making BILLIONS of dollars on the insecurities of otherwise rational and intelligent women. 

So here I sit, freshly Ash Blonde.  Do I feel better?  No, I feel horrible and hypocritical but I have to admit that Napoleon’s opinion matters.  He literally shuddered when I told him I wanted to let my hair go natural.  If he is shallow then I am weak-willed.  I’m just not ready to be the crone.  Maybe in 6-8 weeks when the colour wears off…

Words on Working

Filed under: Uncategorized — WeeBanshee @ 6:50 pm

A wise man (his own perception not necessarily shared by me) believes that if you do not slog to an office every day, you are not working.  He tells me, “You need to get a real job.”   Ok, I agree that a job that pays would be a definite improvement but who is he to say that if I’m sitting at my computer, writing furiously albeit in my PJs, I’m not working?

Again, writing for no pay is not necessarily working although I’ll bet every author out there who is working on a book or a collection of short stories would argue with me.  Let’s face it, I say to the wise man, the modern day perception of what is working and what is not has changed.  Until very recently, I had no idea that one could blog for money.  Who knew?  Ok, seemingly a lot of people but that’s beside the point.  My buddy the wise dude probably has a very murky idea of what a blog even is and I’ve been too indignant to enlighten him.

But, I digress…as usual.  Telecommuting has been happening for a rather long time.  I know a guy in Calgary who has been telecommuting for as long as I’ve known him.  There are many days when dropping my kid off for a play date, I would be greeted at the door by this intrepid telecommuter decked out in some really sad PJs.  He’s an IT professional and not some “flaky” writer. 

Ok, so you’ve probably clued in by now that the wise man I refer to tongue in cheek is none other than my husband, Napoleon Bonaparte.  He is a traditionalist through and through although he LOVES wearing jeans to work everyday.  Even business casual is too fussy for him nowadays.  So, I ask him, gritting my teeth, what is so wrong with writing all day in whatever mis-matched pajamas and fuzzy slippers I can find?  It is not the task that is the problem per se but the perceived lack of value in the doing it.  Man, that sentence sucked but oh well…

We, Napoleon and I, had a discussion about “acceptable” work just this past weekend.  My conclusion is that if I’m stressed out to the max and utterly miserable yet bringing in a substantial amount of cash monthly then I am working at an “acceptable” job. 

 Take my brief tenure as a Realtor for example:  I was sleepless with worry, obsessing over every transaction, irritable, and having chest pains throughout this time.  When deals didn’t go through, I was inconsolable.  That job was completely at odds with my personality; I am not a salesperson!  Napoleon turned to me and said, “Yeah, but you made $30,000 in three months!”

Yay!  I would’ve had a beautiful funeral too as I’d have only lasted another three months before the old ticker gave out.    Napoleon, it would seem, is a member of the “no pain, no gain” club. 

Even a “good job” at my beloved United Way turned out to be at odds with my inner voice.  My inner voice says:  Save the World, give to charity!  Do the right thing!  Help those around you in need!  It’s a no-brainer to give back; just don’t ask me to ass-kiss snooty rich people.  Which is exactly what I was called upon to do in my last position there.  Neither a salesperson nor an ass-kisser am I. 

Napoleon shakes his head.  I’ve given up telling him I want to be a writer.  It would never be considered an “acceptable job” unless it paid.  And, paid well.  We all know how rarely that happens.  But, I’m a Sagittarius.  I never give up and I never stop believing.  So I got dressed today (jeans, sweatshirt, fuzzy socks).  No pajamas.  I’ll save that outfit for when I start making some money! 

Please, Writing Gods, deliver me unto a paying writing gig!

November 11, 2009

New In Town: What We Left Behind…

Filed under: Uncategorized — WeeBanshee @ 2:05 pm

 

 

When?

While our excitement at being in a “real” city like Toronto hasn’t waned, our happiness is tempered with worry.  The whole decision to leave Calgary for Toronto came rather quickly and once the decision was made, we had to move fast.  My husband’s job started September 1 and the kids had to be here for school September 8. 

In a lukewarm housing market, we put our townhouse up for sale and hoped for the best.

We’ve given up on the best and are reduced to hoping for…something.

As a former Realtor, I know that regardless of how much you paid, how much sweat equity you invested, and how much you want to net, your house is only worth what someone else is willing to pay for it.  Seems right now, no one is willing to pay much for ours. 

We had our first offer (after the house has been on the market five months) yesterday and everything about it smelled bad.  Still, it was our only one and we decided to try to work with it but it really was insulting.  We countered; they countered back with an equally smelly offer.  Very quickly we told our Realtor to forget it.  They were wasting everybody’s time as they clearly did not want the house.

Ironically, houses in our neighbourhood here in Toronto are going for over asking price.  It’s a rare home that sits on the market longer than one weekend.  We were one of ten offers on the house we ended up with.  I even saw one on Kingston Road (a tiny, shabby little bungalow with an equally shabby front yard and zero curb appeal) that went over asking price.  Amazing. 

Three years ago, the market in Calgary was insane.  Realtors circled listings like vultures and houses went for tens of thousands over asking.  The real estate market is a game that you have to have nerves of steel to play.  My nerves are made of butter.

So, I sit in my cozy nest here in Toronto and watch winter approach knowing that whatever happens in Calgary, so many miles away, is completely out of my control. 

Oh, but I did promise my husband that when the house sells, I will go out in the street and do a little SOLD dance…I hope I get to do it before the first snow flies…

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