Tech Tuesday: Eat Your Own Dogfood

Back in the day, I used to play Buzzword Bingo with my marketing colleagues. Every time someone mentioned a “straw man” or “nailing jello to the wall,” we would silently giggle at our bingo cards. It didn’t matter if we actually won. It was simply confirmation that buzzwords are definitely overused. Believe it or not, a lot of the same marketing buzzwords from 10 years ago are still around today. And we can add to that list. You’ll hear things like “getting plugged in,” “Web 2.0,” “social networking,” Yes, they are legitimate terms but we start to hear them so much that we tune them out and they lose their meaning.

As I was sitting down to write my initial Tech Tuesday post, I was reminded of one of the many buzzwords used by my former employer. “We have to eat our own dog food.” Normally, that phrase would have resulted in some eye rolling and the standard “haven’t we heard this before” routine. Recently, I embarked on business venture created to help small to medium businesses establish and improve their web presence. What better test case than myself?
It’s a new company. It’s an unknown company. With no previous clients. I’d like to let the world know about it. So I will be eating my own dog food. I will be establishing and continuously improving my own web presence. When I talk about helping people with web solutions, you will know that I have at least one success under our belt — my own. You might even smell dog food on my breath.
Stay tuned…
For those of you that don’t know, I have spent the last 10 years in the technology and marketing sector. I’ve stepped out of the corporate world and I’m finally learning to have fun with all of this stuff. Maybe I can even make some money doing it.
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The blogger’s life for me

I don’t really consider myself a blogger. Sure, I have a blog. Sure, I post to it. But I’m not sure if I really get the whole blogging thing.

Here’s my deal. I like to think about things. And then overthink them. Then reflect on them. Then provide commentary on them. Sometimes I skip the thinking part and just go right to the commentary. Those usually aren’t my best moments. Regardless of all of that, what I enjoy the most about this process is writing about it. I can’t believe after 16 years of schooling (I went to college. I didn’t fail 4 times if that’s what you were thinking) that I actually enjoy writing. I even like reading what I have written.

So as some of you know, I started this blog as a bit of a creative release. And maybe even a little portfolio building (it’s nice to be able to refer to your own blog when someone asks you for writing samples). But I’m getting ready to cross the line and enter the REAL blogging world. And I have to tell you, I’m a little unsure of what to expect.

At the suggestion of my darling friend, Sue of Motherhood and Me, who I seem to promote every week, I signed up to attend Bloggy Boot Camp in Baltimore on Saturday, 3/6. It’s a blogging and social media workshop for women. I’m kind of excited to learn more. But at the same time, I’m not sure what to do with that knowledge.

It seems like most women going are full-on, go-get-em bloggers who have a purpose. Raising twins! Crafts! Cooking! Mommies! I just like to write. And I’m not even consistent with that. I anticipate some of the things I probably don’t do “right”:

  • I don’t post frequently and certainly not consistently
  • I don’t have a theme throughout my blog
  • I still use my blogspot URL (at least I have a forward set up on http://www.allthingsfadra.com!)
  • I don’t have a customized template
  • I don’t have advertisement
  • I don’t highly promote my blog (usually just a quick Twitter and Facebook share)

Just so I wouldn’t have to hang my head in shame in comparison to all the other bloggers, I thought I would write a new post. This is it. I also slightly customized my blog template (got rid of some annoying text tags) and I added bling! This is more or less a badge telling everyone I am going to Bloggy Boot Camp. And I signed up for Google Adsense so that you can click on things that interested you and I will make .0003 cents or something like that. I’m a little impressed with myself.

I don’t really know what to expect on Saturday. Right now, I envision a lot of enthusiastic women, a lot of pink, and a lot of hugging. None of those are really me. What I hope is that I will come back pleasantly surprised, a lot more knowledgeable, and maybe even with a few more friends.

So at the suggestion of Evolving Mommy (oops, I called you Mama in the video), I put together an intro video about myself for my fellow bloggers and for my loyal followers (all 3 of you?) to learn some fun facts about Fadra.

So I got this award…

One of my good friends and fellow bloggers, Sue from Motherhood and Me, has awarded me an award. I’m not sure how I feel about it. It’s an opportunity to share 10 honest things about yourself and then bestow the honor on other bloggers.

It’s not that I mind sharing 10 things about myself. I’m kind of an open book so I have to rack my brains to come up with something interesting that I can share that not many people know. But my dear friend Sue gave me accolades when she gave me this award:

Fadra from all.things.fadra, because she aggravates me, puts me in my place and is always up for a debate. Everyone needs a friend like that.

Ummm, thank you??? I guess knowing that’s how I make a good friend feel makes it easy to start this list.

1. I’m a pretty insecure person. I was a late bloomer in life. Didn’t go to my senior prom. Didn’t have a boyfriend until college. Never made long lasting friends until years after college (not counting one close friend). So I still feel insecure around people. Especially if they are strong personalities (ahem, Sue). Even at my age, I still wonder if people really like me or think I’m pretty or if they are just saying those things so they won’t hurt my feelings. Luckily, my husband understands most of my insecurities and helps me stay sane.

2. I absolutely love pop culture. I couldn’t tell you one thing I learned in Organic Chemistry but I can tell you the long line of romances that Brad Pitt has had. I can tell you which celebrities have had plastic surgery. I can tell you what Kirk Cameron is doing now. I watch The Soup. I read People, The Enquirer, Us Weekly – whichever has the most sensational headlines. You could call it a guilty pleasure but I honestly don’t feel guilty one bit.

3. I wanted to be Meryl Streep in Out of Africa. This was one of the first serious movies I saw without my parents. I still remember that it was 2 hours and 45 minutes long (back when movies were strictly 2 hours). The only seat left was in the front row and the springs on the seat were broken so I had to prop my seat bottom on top of my foot. But I loved every minute of that movie. As Baroness Karen Blixen, she made Kenya seem like the most romantic place on Earth. And don’t even get me started on the soundtrack.

4. I love Rosie Radio on Sirius XM. Not much of a confession but I’m as conservative and Republican as they come. You may or may not know that Rosie O’Donnell doesn’t exactly share the same views. I started listening to her radio show by accident and I absolutely love her. She is funny, honest, and normal. She is someone I could shop at Target with and have over for dinner. She is so unassuming. But more importantly, she has a terrific heart. She’s been on a great journey and really has a great perspective on her life as a celebrity and on life in general.

5. I’m sensitive and I’d like to stay that way. That’s a line from one of Jewel’s early songs but it always resonated with me. I’m sensitive in a good way. I can have thick skin when I need to but I have empathy beyond belief. I can cry over other people’s pain. It’s a blessing and a curse sometimes to take on the weight of the world but I’ll take feeling any day over not feeling.

6. I have never been to a funeral. All of my grandparents have passed away. Growing up, we lost neighborhood children. I lost my best friend from high school. My neighbor’s wife passed away. But for some reason, I have never attended any of their funerals. When I was younger, my parents kept me away. As I got older, there were circumstances that kept me from attending – either time and distance or my relationships. Now I dread the thought of one. Everyone – stay healthy.

7. I have a huge heart. I think some people just don’t see that. And I can’t understand why most people aren’t the same way. Part of that is the whole empathy thing. But really, it’s not that difficult to simply BE NICE. Say please and thank you. Hold the door open for the person behind you. It’s not just manners. It’s kindness. And the world would be a much better place if more people cared about others more than they cared about themselves.

8. I love the changing of the leaves in the fall. Yes, it’s pretty. Yes, it’s colorful. But I love it. I plan special trips to the mountains to see it. Some days, the colors bring tears to my eyes. Other days, I think they are so beautiful that I want to capture that moment in time. And then you blink and they are gone. And some people never even noticed them at all.

9. I’m a night owl. I hate to get up in the morning even though I love the sense of accomplishment it gives me. I don’t really get my groove until mid-morning and then I crash again right after lunch. I usually get tired around 9pm but if I push past that, I’ve reached my prime. I usually do my best work at night when it’s dark outside and the distractions are few. That seems to be when the creative juices flow. I just wish I could sleep late. Not an option with a 3 year old.

10. I believe in fate. When I say fate, I don’t mean that our lives are out of our hands and whatever will be will be. But I do believe that EVERYTHING happens for a reason. It’s not my Pollyanna outlook on life. It’s that I believe we are here to learn. And everyone has something different to learn. I go to psychics and meditate and pray. And I am learning too. In fact, just yesterday, as I was completely my list of 10 things, I accidentally deleted the whole thing. An hour of work down the drain. But I knew it was for a reason. And today my list of 10 is completely different. It must be fate.

I’m not a big blogging follower because I mainly write for me. But I’d love to bestow this award on some new blogs I’m following. Maybe they will be inclined to share. It’s a fun exercise.

This Mama Works It! is about moms finding themselves as women again. It is about moms being secure in themselves and who they have become, who they are going to be, and the decisions that got them there.

Housewife Bliss is a daily release from the clutches of reality. Coryanne posts her ‘bitchy post-it notes’, offer tips on homemaking, and more frequently than originally anticipated, offer insights into the insanity and quirky nature of her secret thoughts on life, love and everything that makes her who she is.

Mommy Can’t Sing started her blog to record all of the smart and funny things her 3-year-old son and (when she can talk) 1-year-old daughter say.

Pretty Swell follows Suzanne who seem to finally be getting the hang of motherhood.

How Fadra got her groove back

My name is Fadra. It’s been 91 days since my last post.

Whoa! Can you actually consider yourself a blogger if you don’t write? I promise if you could tap into my brain you would find blog posts and tweets galore. So why haven’t I written in 3 months? To put it as my 3 year old would: “Idonknow” (translation: I don’t know).

I guess most people don’t write because they don’t know what to write about. That’s never my problem. I get inspired probably 3 times a day. Or they have writer’s block. They know what they want to write but can’t seem to get the words to say what they want to say. Not usually my problem. Most people that know me will say I’m never at a loss for words (written or otherwise).

Or the biggest excuse: I just don’t have the time. Here is the reality. Nobody ever feels like they have time. You have to MAKE time. It’s been 3 months. And here is where my time went.

Thanksgiving

I hosted a dinner for 15 people and had a grand time. I had planned to blog about how “crafty” I was. Seriously, I did get creative and had a lot of fun. I made my own napkin rings, and centerpiece, and even hand wrote place cards for each person that told them why I was thankful to have them in my life. And I had a little humor to throw in there about the crafty ladies at Michael’s that sneered at me for asking about artificial fall leaves the week before Thanksgiving. I guess the crafty types plan their crafts months in advance.

Holden

Then as Christmas approached, I was torn between the excitement of the holidays and the sadness at watching my Lhasa Apso, Holden, continue to decline. We canceled our holiday travel plans because we knew he couldn’t travel. On December 21st, we had to make the decision that every pet owner dreads and we said goodbye to the best dog a girl could ever want. I wanted to blog about that but thought it just might be too depressing for anyone to read. I ended up sharing a lengthy photo album about Holden on Facebook and really received some warm support and comments. Now I’m inclined to simply share my favorite picture of him. It truly captures the spirit of Holden – running happily on the beach with all four paws off the ground. I miss you, sweet Holden!

Christmas

The joy and stress of the holidays. ‘Nuff said.

Work

I’m still unemployed and trying to get my business, Media Orbis, off the ground. It has been a lot of trials and tribulations but we are moving in the right direction. Definitely something worth blogging about. Just didn’t seem to make the time.

Birthdays

I enjoy the company of some fabulous moms. We all became first time moms right around the same time. About 3 years ago. So this time of year gets busy with all of our friends having birthday parties. It’s exhausting but so much fun to see these little babies blossom into little people running around playing and talking with each other. And it’s fun to see those scared and clueless mommies blossom into experience, take-no-crap kind of moms.

Vacation

And finally…how I got my groove back. I love to travel. I love vacations. But with being pregnant and having a baby, and caring for 2 ailing dogs, it’s been literally years since I took a vacation. Yes, I have taken car trips to visit family. And if you have too, you know that is NOT a vacation. My family and I took a last minute trip to Disney World. I could be cynical about all things Disney and the commercialism. But the reality is Disney envelops you in a happy place. And without even trying, all of the tension left my body and I came back feeling good. Actually feeling great.

So I’m back and I’m blogging. Hope you stay with me.

Kids say the darnedest things

I am not, repeat, NOT a mommy blogger. But I do like to blog and I am a mommy. So here we are. My little guy is such a HUGE part of my world that it’s amazing I haven’t posted about him before. Well, I guess if you read between the lines with that last post about opening a macaroni and cheese box, you might have guessed there was a child involved.

Now I know that every mother is just so proud and “my little Jimmy is just so smart.” So I won’t bore you with my bragging, because my guy IS so smart (see his nerd shot wearing my glasses). But one thing that is an absolute fact is that he is a very verbal child. From the moment he learned to form words with his mouth, he hasn’t shut it. He talks, he sings, he babbles, he yells. He is a storyteller, an exaggerator, an actor and funnyman. He is dramatic, moody, and, dare I say, manipulative.

His words can melt your heart especially when he insists on holding my hand so I won’t be afraid of spiders. Or rubbing my head after I’ve stubbed my toe again saying “it’s okay, Mommy, it’s okay.” And his words can drive you absolutely batty. But one thing that can’t be denied is watching your little one master the art of language, including all the idioms and expressions is just downright hilarious.

I’ve tried to capture and remember just some of the best that I’ve heard lately.

As I was getting him dressed after bathtime, he said “Mommy, be careful of my drumstick.” I’m thinking, hmmmm, is that new terminology that my husband uses for his….you know? I ask him where his drumstick is and he points to his ears. Oh! I have to be careful with the Q-tip so I don’t hurt his eardrum. I still like calling it a drumstick.

He’s reached the brilliant age of reading numbers. Now the speed limit sign takes on a whole new meaning. Because he learned 45 MPH first, he thinks that all speed limits are 45 (yes, he says forty-five). I try to explain that we can drive faster on the highway because the speed limit is 65 MPH.  As we were driving through a residential area, he spotted yet another speed limit sign and announced “Mommy, the speed limit is two-ty five (25).” Afterwards, I thought, yeah it should be called two-ty. Who ever came up with twenty? See, he’s smarter than those English language inventorors. Thank goodness he doesn’t know how to read my speedometer.

He is also very interested in his body and how things work inside. He was a great comfort when I got my flu shot. Held my hand, kissed my boo-boo. But I guess the concept of thinking about, let alone understanding, all of the stuff going on in our bodies can be overwhelming. Take the example of a simple itch. What causes it? We can’t see it.  So the logical question for my son, and it’s a good one, is “there’s an itch and I can’t get it off. Can this not come off?” No, son. But maybe you can grow up and invent a way to remove an itch. That would be awesome.

And what list of the cutest little sayings would be complete without at least one embarrassing statement. As we walk through stores and malls now, he is much more interested in the people around him. In fact, he comments on every biker that rides past our house about whether or not they are wearing their helmet. I may have future law enforcement on my hands here. But what came out of the blue a few weeks ago at Macy’s was a comment he made when a patron of the store walked by. It was an older African-American woman. Now thank goodness he has never really picked up on skin color differences but he did notice her hair was different. She was mostly gray with a very natural looking afro. I knew this because I looked right at her after he said “Mommy, look at that lady with the crazy hat.” If she heard, and I don’t think she did, she just kept on walking. Good choice.

Believe it or not, I look forward to many more confusing phrases and expressions and even embarrassing comments. It really gives me perspective as to how a preschooler views the world. Now excuse me, while I go take care of his request for a “valentine halloween thanksgiving thing for Daddy.”

The bane of my existence

Okay. Pardon the interruption but I’m going to spend some time going a little “Seinfeld”. If you are reading this, then I know that you, too, watched one of the most popular sitcoms of all time. And as you may recall, said sitcom was founded on the premise of nothing. Yes, the nothingness that makes up our daily lives. Nothingness in all its glory.

And while there are big, heavy, deep topics ever brewing in my head, it’s nice to take a little detour to nothingness once in a while and talk about the little things. I don’t mean the little things that make you smile and pause and appreciate life. I mean the little things that abso-frickin-lutely annoy the crap out of you. Well, the things that annoy the crap out of ME, anyway.
So here is the bane of my existence summarized in 4 words “To Open Push Here”. You know exactly what I’m talking about. Pretty much every cardboard box of processed food at the grocery store has the same idea. I mean, really, it’s 2009. Can’t we find a more high-tech way to open boxes?

I’ll tell you why I have this request. To put it very simply, ummm, have you ever tried to open a box of macaroni and cheese by delicately pushing in the pseudo-perforated semi-circle on the side? I will crush the entire side of the box in before I make any progress in “pushing” the box open. Perhaps the issue is mine. I’ve always assumed that when I read those instructions, they were referring to my finger actually doing the pushing. I’m quite sure a hammer and chisel would work. Or a Slim Jim. Or an ice pick. Or ANYTHING OTHER THAN MY FINGER.

Anyone have a cat? Ever see those simple instructions on the side of the cat litter box? If the folks at the food plant think they are toying with us with their packaging, the people at the cat litter factory are just downright cruel. “Push in and pull back” the box gently commands. Oh, just tap, tap, tap here and your box will magically open. Well, if it takes an ice pick to open a macaroni and cheese box, think pick ax for a cat litter box.

In all seriousness, it is the most ridiculous form of packaging in existence (correct me if I’m wrong). I actually don’t even attempt it anymore. I either take a sharp knife and stab the end open a couple of times or take my chances with my fingernails and slowly pry the glued flaps open. Either way, the result is the same.
In summary, here is a general plea to all package producers out there and I think I speak for all/most of America. I ask that you rethink your packaging. The box is fine. I actually recycle my boxes now too. Just save your money: leave off the semi-circle, lighten up on the glue, and let me open it the old-fashioned way. This has been your moment of nothingness. Thank you.

Have I sold out already?

I’ll just start off by saying – “how do you sell out on a blog?” If you’ve kept up with the news and have a vague interest in blogging, you may have heard the FTC latest ruling. In a nutshell, if you are getting paid to review a product and then blog about it, you MUST disclose that to your readers. Well, I only review stuff that I feel like reviewing. And if I get paid to do it, I’d be more than happy to share that with you. How cool is that? Free stuff, free opinions, and money on the side! Enter the complicated world of blogging.

So today, I’ve just discovered something new. If you are a blogger, get ready to roll your eyes and say “come ON.” I’ve discovered blogging contests. I saw one that could win me a free Samsung fridge. What fascinates me, from a social media and marketing perspective, is the absolutely free promotion Samsung will get from this contest. The only blog requirements are that you share 3 tips for shortening the dinner preparation cycle. (They actually worded it to be more friendly to the mommy blogging world). So there is no mention of Samsung. Although you can tell from my writing, I’ve just naturally mentioned Samsung 3 times, um, make that 4.

As a follow-up, you have to tweet about it. And again, you don’t have to endorse anything. You simply include the hashtag #SamsungAppliances. What’s that? What’s a hashtag? Just that little number symbol and the topic of interest. Think of it as a consistent filing system on Twitter so you can always find the information you need. Well, that you are interested in. Do we really need anything from Twitter? Anyway, Samsung will be all over the place because a bunch of bloggers want a free fridge.

Now here is my twist on it. I’m going to make my contest into your contest. I just bought a brand new refrigerator after Thanksgiving last year. And it’s a nice one. It’s a Kenmore Elite Stainless Steel 25.0 cu. ft. TRIO┬« Ice & Water Dispensing Bottom-Freezer Refrigerator ENERGY STAR┬«. Now that’s a mouthful. I really like it. But I don’t love it. The opening for the water filler on the door and relatively small and I can’t fit all of my glasses in the opening. It’s just annoying. Not annoying like – I’ve had it and I’m getting a new refrigerator. More like – I’ve had it and if I win a free refrigerator, I’ll gladly GIVE MINE AWAY for someone else to enjoy and potentially get annoyed with.

So leave me a comment and if I win, so do you. Now on to the technicalities.

With Our Busy Schedules, What Are Your 3 Valid Tips for Getting Dinner Ready in a Flash?

1. Order out. I prefer delivery so I’m limited to Chinese, Thai, or lousy chain pizza. For pick-up, I go for pizza or calzones. And since I’m selling out, I’ll put a plug in for my favorite pizza, Bella Italia.

2. Slow cooker. Seems logical, yet somehow I can’t get this one to work for me. I have tons of slow cooker cookbooks but it seems like it so much work upfront to enjoy the satisfaction of a well-cooked meal. Plus I’m not really into big cuts of meat, which is what slow-cookers are for.

3. Plan ahead. This is a real tip. When I really feel like we never have anything to eat, I go through some cookbooks and find some recipes that look easy, will taste good, and don’t take long to fix. Then I make a list of all of the ingredients I don’t have in the house and buy them. THEN – and here’s the trick – I make a list on the dry erase board in the kitchen with all of the recipe names I’ve picked out. Then, when I’m not ordering out, I know what I can possibly cook and not freak out when I have everything but ONE ingredient.

And that’s it. I know. That was easy for me to enter and entertaining for you to read all at the same time. If you want to enter, I’ll give you the link but I highly discourage it since it will reduce my chances of winning. And aren’t you looking forward to my almost new discarded refrigerator?

These are a few of my favorite things

How do you feel about those bad movies where some action hero picks up a can of soda only to have it strategically turned towards the camera so that every moviegoer can read “Pepsi?” Now I’m not picking on Pepsi, but let’s face it, they are media whores. So while the next few paragraphs might seem like nicely written product placement, that’s not what I’m here for. I just find a few things in life that I really enjoy and/or make me happy for a variety of different reasons. I’m here to tell you about them, paint a little picture of myself, and maybe you can share yours as well.

Let me just start with food and get that out of the way. I love food. A little too much. Somehow I manage to still keep a girlish figure (okay – a decent post-baby figure) but I do like to indulge. Where my food preferences are brand-specific, I’ll let you know. Because that can make all the difference in the world.

I like to drink: Freixenet Sparkling Cava (pseudo-champagne that comes in the black bottle), oakey Chardonnay, a Caipirinha, a cup of homemade black tea (preferably English Breakfast) with a little milk and sweetener.

I LOVE to eat: Stouffer’s Macaroni & Cheese (I believe this has been made by God, himself), brie, pasta (especially cool shapes), Sabra Classic Hummus (just as good as homemade), Taco Bell Mexican Pizza, McDonald’s french fries (hey – I didn’t say this was a healthy list), parmesan-crusted Tilapia from Costco that my husband cooks (just Google this one and you’ll see how popular it is), fresh strawberries with homemade whipped cream, cakes, pies, cookies…Okay, I better stop now.

Notice something missing? If you are a woman, you did. Nothing even remotely chocolate-related made my list. I’m just not a fan. I’ll eat it with something or on something but I’ve always had a strange relationship with chocolate. I love brownies and chocolate cake. I don’t like chocolate ice cream, chocolate syrup, or a plain chocolate bar. Pack it full of stuff and I might eat it. Did you know Payday candy bar is made with chocolate? That’s as close as I’d like to come.

But there is more to life than food. Yes, I’ve said it. There are other non-caloric things to indulge in. Here is the rest of my random list in no particular order: DKNY perfume (why did they stop making this?), my iPhone (only mine), Scramble (a highly addictive game on my phone), shopping at Marshall’s, Origins Modern Friction, Amazon.com (a valuable resource for ANYTHING you might want), comfortable shoes (latest choices include Indigo by Clarks and MBTs), Tous handbags (too bad I can’t afford any), my Nikon D80, Southwest Airlines, Body + Soul Magazine, and a really good book.

I’ve saved the best for last. I bet you thought I was nothing but a shallow drinking, eating, product-using writer. Not so, my friend, not so. There are also the intangibles in life that top my list of favorite things. My true favorite things? Hearing my son laugh. Having my husband call me on the way home to tell me to look outside at the beautiful sunset. Watching the trees that we planted 6 years ago flourish. My family – both immediate and extended.  Seeing my son show compassion towards animals. Taking a long hot bath. The smell when I open my linen closet. Knowing you have friends that truly care about you. And finally, swallowing that last sip of oakey Chardonnay and seeing my pup laying on the cold tile floor waiting for me to go to bed.

I know my list is a bit different than the one Julie Andrews sung about in The Sound of Music. But then again, I bet she never got to try Stouffer’s Mac & Cheese. It’s a fair trade-off.

How I’m saving money in a down economy

I was speaking at a WITI conference this weekend on professional development. One of my fellow panelists make remark about how NPR had said that estimates for unemployed people in this country was around 1.4 million and then cracked “that’s a lot of new blogs.” I nervously laughed. Ummm. I DID get laid off in July. And I DID just start this blog. I know I’m a little behind the times but am I really that predictable? Well, I’m not trying to do anything innovative. I’m just enjoying a creative outlet.
Speaking of creative outlets, I’ve found a new way to reduce my spending and embrace my inner stylist. That’s right. I do my own hair. Men – don’t stop reading now. You just might appreciate your wife a little more after this.
After 3 1/2 years with my stylist, affectionately known as the Hair Nazi, I’ve decided to make a break for it. You see, we call him the Hair Nazi because he likes to have his way with your hair. You wouldn’t tell a doctor how to care for you, would you? Why would you tell a hair professional what to do with your hair? That’s HIS job. He picks the color. He picks the length. He picks the cut. You have a little say-so but he still holds veto power. So what would make me subject myself to this sort of abuse? He’s good. Very good. My favorite story of his is how a woman came in after the holidays and desperately needed help fixing her daughter’s pink hair. It was supposed to be temporary but 4 salons later she found out otherwise. So the Hair Nazi spent hours and ultimately restored her lush blond locks. His response to the mother’s shock and awe? “Only two people can do this. Me and Jesus.”
He’s got all the confidence in the world. The color makes my hair so soft and the haircuts are always flattering. But I don’t really want short, blondish type hair anymore. (See “before” photo at left). And I was paying $180 a visit. (Men, if your wife/girlfriend spends less than that, you cannot ever give them grief again). Granted, that included cut and color and a large tip. But when unemployment comes knocking on your door, you just might need to make some changes.
So 2 weeks after I was laid off, I went to the store and bought my first box of hair color in a long, long time. I even had to call the L’Oreal help line for assistance (they were great). I soon turned my hair into a rich chocolate brown. What a feeling of freedom! Not only could I start saving money but the hair oppression was gone! (See “the new me” at right).
In fact, I got so confident that I thought I could cut my own hair too! (See my inspiration below. Hmmm, come to think of it, maybe now I understand the problem.)

Ladies, if you aren’t married, don’t try this at home. You still have to hang onto your good looks. As for me? It’s not horrible and probably unnoticeable to the untrained eye. But  the lesson learned is that hair grows back and some things are worth paying for, even when you’re unemployed.

Why I can’t live without my iPhone

Stop. This is not a shameless promotion for the iPhone. I’m not one of those “OMG, I hate PCs and Bill Gates must die” kind of people. In fact, we’re a bit of a house divided. I have a PC and an iPhone. My husband has a Macbook and an iPhone. And we have a house computer that has an Apple on it. I couldn’t really tell you what model it is. (I’m sure my Mac friends will roll their eyes here).

But I AM a big fan of the Apple iPhone and not for the reasons you would suspect. Yes, it’s fun. In fact I call it my portable entertainment device. You’ll never be bored again. Got time to kill? Whip out your phone and play a game, or count your calories, or find a restaurant, or check your email.

Aha! That’s it. I have 3 email accounts set up on my phone. First, I check my personal email account. That’s where all the good stuff comes in. Then I check my work email account. Sometimes good stuff but much more sporadic. Then I will even check our “house” account for something…anything. I don’t even really know what that account is for. But if there is a message waiting, I’ll check it.

When I’ve exhausted all of my email options, I can pull up the Facebook app. I will have already known if I have anything interesting on my wall because I would have gotten an email. But I might check anyway. Maybe someone gave me a thumbs up because they liked something I said or did. Or they liked a picture I posted. I get email notifications of comments but the “like” option is always a surprise. If there is nothing new in my world, I can go and snoop around on 179 of my closest friends. Or people I went to elementary school with a long, long time ago.

So now I’m done. Nothing new is going on. Nobody is calling. Nobody is emailing. Oh wait, let me check Twitter! There is always some random chit-chat going on. And if I’m lucky, I might just have a mention somewhere.

Okay. You are convinced that I’m some insanely insecure person. Call it codependent if you want – I need to be needed. But that’s not really it. I think back to the good old days when we used to make important long distance calls and write letters. School kids connected with others through pen pals. For me, I had the daily excitement of going to the mailbox and hoping just MAYBE there would be a letter for me mixed in with all of my parents’ bills. My iPhone brings back just a little bit of that excitement for me. The only difference now is I am much better at writing back.

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