I’m proud to be a blogger…where at least I know I’m…a…blogger?

I’ve been wanting to write an official review for No One Cares What You Had for Lunch: 100 Ideas for Your Blog for quite some time now. But everytime I sit down to do it, it ends up something like “Oh! This book is sooooo rockin’! I love it! WOO HOO!” and then I remember Hmm. I suck at writing.

Then – today I read Evany’s write-up about the book. See, Evany had developed a “grumpiness” about blogging in the 11 years (WOW) she’s been doing it:

Have you ever been in a room where everyone unapologetically introduces themselves as an URL? Then maybe you know this grumpiness. It’s just that…okay, no, here’s what I mean: there are people out there whose identities are far too invested in their blogs, people who look at everything — auto accidents, friendships, love, chocolate — through a calculating “but how would this play in my blog?” filter.

But reading Maggie’s book made her love it again…

But this book, it reminds me of the things that attracted me to the internet back in the beginning. People can share their small ideas and odd hobbies and unexpected discoveries with the entire world? And it hardly costs a thing? Hurray for the tripple-dub! Three cheers for the wackity-wack-wack! Just like in Ice Castles, or The Cutting Edge, where the competitive ice skater (goes blind)/(falls for a hockey player) and learns to love the ice once more, Maggie has has found a way to get me back on the blog.

And it occurred to me…I was having the opposite problem as Evany. I had been feeling like the world around me was mocking me for my blog and my love of the blogosphere. Sometimes I wondered if, when I said something about my blog, were people giving each other that look? You know, the one that means, She’s doing it again…talking about her damn blawwwwg…. And I started feeling silly that it was/is such an important thing in my life. Essentially? I was cowering to people who may have had the same grumpiness Evany spoke of.

So, coming from the opposite end of the spectrum as Evany did, the book still had the same effect. It made excited about blogging again. Excited without reservation. How wonderful is it that we can almost preserve so much of our current selves to share with the world? Especially using the fantastic ideas in this book? Instead of getting me “back on the blog” as Evany says, Maggie made me proud to have never left it.

I’m a blog-a-holic, I know that. I post several times a day (what’s this “writer’s block” I hear of?). I upload photos and edit my sidebar. My blog is about as dynamic as blogs can be. I should be proud of this, not ashamed. It’s not an STD for chrissakes, it’s an online diary. I should not have to mention my blog in the same hushed tones that I would mention my vibrator.

So, thanks Maggie.

I am so glad it is Friday

I was leaving NikkiZ’s day care and I was going to go to my car via the flower beds at the front of the building. There are little paths in the beds by either door, and I use them often. When I went to the path, I noticed there was a little sign there. I jumped over the sign and kept going. Then, I stopped and thought, “Hmm…I wonder what that sign I just jumped over says?”

Something along the lines of “Quit walking through our flower beds you idiot. These bushes are sharp and these paths were not intentional.” Except it was much nicer.

I’m hoping they didn’t see me do that. They would either think (a) she’s a dumbass and didn’t even read the sign she jumped over or (b) she’s totally being antagonistic and using the path even though we’re trying to keep her off of it. Neither one of those are impressions I want to leave with the people caring for my daughter.

Although, I have a feeling after my past issues at the place, they’ll be much quicker to assume “moron” than “nonconformist.”

We built this city on doughnuts and chicken biscuits

Hmmm….I don’t know what to think about some of your responses. Especially those of you who chose Target over Wal-Mart because you don’t “have one where I live” – are you all okay? Life without Target? Isn’t that cruel and unusual punishment? Here are my answers –

1. Chick-Fil-A – I KNOW! But y’all don’t understand. My willpower is non-existant when it comes to Krispy Kremes. This is why I’m glad the only one in Huntsville is on the other side of town from where I live. My health would be a lot better if there wasn’t one at all in town. I love chicken biscuits, but it is a controlled love.

2.Target (preferrably – SUPER Target) – It would be hard not having paint accessible for when I want to redecorate my home, and I don’t know where I’d buy air-filters – but otherwise? I must have a Target. I can live without clean air, I can’t live without cute and cheap housewares.

3. McDonald’s – It’s all about their fountain sodas. A world without access to McDonald’s fountain Diet Cokes is my definition of HELL.

4. Old Navy – Waaay more affordable.

5. Barnes and Noble – I have a card! I must stick with them!

6. The Body Shop – We dont have a Body Shop in Huntsville, but I fell in love with the one in that Atlanta airport this summer. Tea Tree Oil face wash – the best stuff on EARTH.

7. Quiznos – I’ve finally succumbed to the power of the toasted sub – and Quiznos does it RIGHT. (Actually – Firehouse subs are my favorite – but they’re not as common)

8. A Movie Theater – I’m all about the Movie Theater experience with over-priced and artery-clogging buttered popcorn and soda by the gallon.

9. High Speed Internet Access – this is me hoping that all shows start being available for download soon.

10. A Gym – I know! But I really don’t go to the mall often (those crazy teens scare me) and the gym is someplace that helps me be healthy!

(And it also keeps my husband from becoming Grouchy McBitchyPants)

You know what else we must have? (Thanks to Ben) – BEN AND JERRY’S, of course. Oh – life without Half Baked or Cherry Garcia (low fat!) would be so sad. Oh, so, sad.

We’re building our own city here, people!

So, Chris mentioned that she lives in Alaska where there is no Krispy Kreme or Chick-Fil-A – and it got me wondering, which would I prefer? So – let’s play a little game, shall we?

You live somewhere remote – and you are deciding what businesses to populate your town with – which would you choose?

(a) Krispy Kreme
(b) Chick-Fil-A

(a) Target
(b) Wal-Mart

(a) McDonald’s
(b) Burger King

(a) The Gap
(b) Old Navy

(a) Barnes and Noble
(b) Borders

(a) The Body Shop
(b) Bath and Bodyworks

(a) Subway
(b) Quiznos

(a) A Movie Theater
(b) An Arena for Concerts

(a) High Speed Internet Access
(b) Cable Television

(a) A Gym
(b) A Mall

Simply the best!

Other than doughnut wedding cakes and buying school supplies, there are really no areas in my life where I excel as compared with any other average Jane. I don’t know why this bothers me so much, but it does. I really, really, really, really want to find something I am really good at. Something that other people who know me can use to describe me. “Oh, Kim. You know her – she’s the one who is really good at concrete stamping.”

I often look back on my childhood and teen years and recall the many times that I was simply okay at things. I was always struggling to be great and truly wanted to be called the best, but I mostly hovered around eh, so-so. For any child under the age of 14 – that sucks. Being bad would have probably given me more attention, but I was too scared to try that one out. I had a good suspicion that in my house, being bad might go hand-in-hand with being grounded, and I didn’t want that kind of attention.

In elementary school, we took these standardized tests twice a year. When the grades came back, the top scorers were given prizes and most were invited to join the honors program. The prizes were things like groovy sticker books and fun shoestrings. (Groovy stickers and fun shoestrings are still a great motivator for me, if you must know. Even at 31.) I remember never quite getting high enough grades for the prizes or the program, but not low enough grades to be considered for any sort of special tutoring. I was merely average with a periodic visit to the world of above average.

I spent years watching the smart kids do fun things like perform plays and go on exciting field trips. I watched them take home their Smart Kid Loot and often wondered if I’d ever join their ranks as owners of sheets of stickers declaring “AWESOME!” for all to see. They went to the zoo! They rode the train! I wanted to be one of them more than I wanted to make-out with Kirk Cameron – and that was a lot. Of course, there was only like four kids in the program – since my school only had about 15 kids per grade. So – I would have only been part of a small elite group – but an elite group nonetheless.

I believe it was the 5th grade when I finally scored high enough on the tests to be asked to join the honors program. Of course, that year the most exciting field trip was to a cattle auction. I remember being bitter that being smart somehow meant that I needed to smell like cow shit. As luck would have it, joining the honors program for that one year still barely put me above average. That year, half of my class made it into the same program, but with higher scores.

My subject grades were never the best either – just pretty good. I’m sure I could have worked harder to get top marks, but I preferred writing notes signed “LYLAS” to my BFFs. And sports? Let’s see – I played soccer, basketball, I cheered (shut up – it was practically mandatory) and took gymnastics – all before high school. During those endeavors I was “The girl who scored a basket for the wrong team,” “The one student who still can’t do a back handspring after two years,” and “The girl on the bench.” I think in the world of athletics, I was more often below average or possibly the outlier ruining the average for the rest of the team.

Mediocrity tortured me.

In high school, I came a little closer to becoming The Smartest or The One with The Highest Scores, but I never actually achieved that goal. I was proud to be close, but I was never close enough to garner any attention for my academics. I graduated with honors and a 4.0 (on a 4.0 scale) – but that still had me ranked out of the top 20 in a 56 person class. Damn my class and its high concentration of smart kids.

And sports? I played volleyball and ran track. I actually became pretty good at Volleyball, but never great. (We’re not discussing track.) Of course, I wouldn’t have even had the chance to become good at a public school. Lucky for the athletically challenged, my school was so small that the coaches of the sports teams didn’t even have try-outs. If you wanted to play – you simply showed up. The coaches rarely even knew the rules of the sport they were coaching, so the potential for progress in the positive direction was intense. All in all, my athleticism improved in high school, but that just brought me closer to average and further from talent less dweeb with two left feet.

Socially – I was never the top either. I was the president of one club that meant a lot to me – but that no one else gave two flying shits about. I mean – who wants to find their place as “The Best” in an all-girls service club? That wasn’t necessarily where I wanted to discover my unharnessed potential. Doing Meals-on-Wheels.

Towards the end of high school, I started realizing that the best way to get that attention I craved was to quit trying to be the best and focus more on being the weirdest. This was very easy at a small high school where the students wore uniforms. I learned that I could get just as much attention wearing black nail-polish as I could by getting the top grade on a test. And the black nails were much easier to accomplish. After relishing the stares and whispers after one day of wearing black nail-polish, I braved silver snake rings and black combat boots. OOHH! The attention! I even started dating an older guy!

For a short while, I guess, I became the best at something. I was The Girl with the Lyrics to Stairway To Heaven Written on her Jeans, formerly known as The Girl Who Is the Eucharistic Minister on Wednesdays in The Chapel. I was getting attention for becoming somebody different, somebody weird, and I loved every second of it. For the short while it lasted.

Unfortunately – I was only unique in my small world of a catholic high school. When I entered college, I learned the world was full of freaks bigger and better than I could ever hope to be. My hard earned title of weirdest didn’t even last past orientation in college. They guy with the purple mohawk and tattoos on his neck took it from me.

I find that my inability to find the one thing I can do AWESOMELY to be quite disheartening. I’ve been thinking about Life Lists lately, and I can’t get past #1 on my Life List: Become REALLY Good At Something Other Than Watching Television.
So – I think I want to tinker with some skills to try to find my calling. I’ve already been working on web-design, but I think I lack natural creative vision to excel at that. There’s blogging, of course, but I lack natural grammatical skill to succeed at that. I’ve tinkered with scrapbooking, but my attention span (32 seconds) keeps me for getting into that. Creating my own greeting cards is okay, but I’ve not shown any natural ability for that skill either. Especially since my handwriting is so ugly.

What are you hobbies? What are you really good at? Can you teach me? Do you also have an unquenchable desire to be the Valedictorian of something (to quote Dooce)? If so, let’s do this together. Unless you turn out to be better than me, then I’m ditching you for a less capable partner.