What I Want to Be When I Grow Up

What I look like when I write. What, you don't?

What I look like when I write. What, you don’t?


This post is for Finish the Sentence Friday…

I blog because… I am done taking “no” for an answer.

I am at the point in my life when I am done hearing, “You can’t, you’ll fail, it’s too late, you’re too old to start something new”.

I’ll back up. As long as I can remember, I’ve wanted to write humor. Let’s not look too deeply into the need for this kind of validation. Nothing to see here, folks. Move along. (No, wait, don’t! I wasn’t finished.) And then I discovered Erma Bombeck, and read every book she ever published. Her writing was a revelation to me. I realized for the first time that you could be a funny AND a mom, and somehow I knew I wanted to be a part of that tribe.

I faithfully read Dave Barry and every other humor columnist that came along in our local paper. And I started to write. I figured yearbook and the school newspaper were a great jumping off point to a fantastic career in journalism, which would of course lead to my own syndicated humor column! It’s just that simple, folks, right? (Um, no. But my former naiveté makes me giggle.)

So I chose a college based on its great journalism school. And then came the college “advisor” who “advised” me not to pursue entrance into the journalism program. “Don’t even try. You won’t make it,” were his exact words. Way to spit on someone’s dreams, Professor.  (And by the way your vest and goatee were stupid and made you look like that Burl Ives-voiced snowman in Rudolph. Except in my memory you have devil horns.)  Yes, I walked away from writing. Because of one guy’s opinion, I went belly-up faster than a church festival goldfish.

Fast forward through all of the post-college corporate years. I was now at home with my kids, and because I wanted to contribute financially, I took a part time job as a freelance writer. And suddenly remembered how much I loved to write humor. I sucked at “housekeeping”, was flying by the seat of my Target yoga pants as a parent, and was a failure in the PTO. What better way to document my complete ineptitude?

I started to consider my options. It turns out there was a whole community of funny people, being funny online!  But I met another freelance writer at a party and when told her I was thinking of starting a blog, she looked horrified and said, “Oh no! Don’t do THAT!”As if I had casually mentioned that I was thinking smuggling a vial of live Ebola virus back from Africa in my carry-on. While drunk and on roller skates.

Seriously? Another “no”?

Negative Nelly aside, I started to figure out a way to blog that I was comfortable with, that wouldn’t be hurtful or embarrassing to my kids and husband, and would also protect their privacy. And the day my son went off to kindergarten I published my first post.

So I blog because… I finally know what I want to be when I grow up.

I blog because… I love to write.

I blog because… even awkward situations make for good stories. And I’m the Queen of Awkward. Ask me about the time I got trapped in the balcony at a funeral. Yeah. It happened.

I blog because… I love to make people laugh. (With me, not at me. Thought I’d clarify  that).

I blog because… I love reaching other people with my writing. The best, the absolute best, is when I get a comment that someone thinks my writing is funny.

I blog because…along the way I have found a community of people who are funny, supportive, and incredibly talented. Most are parents as well, so they can identify with what I’m going through. And it’s okay that none of us are perfect.

The negative people are still out there. But I’m not listening any more. I’m having way too much fun.

Thanks for the Comment, But…

"I'd like to phone a friend if I could, Bob. One in Bangladesh. They're very helpful."

“I’d like to phone a friend, Bob. One in Bangladesh. They’re very helpful.”

Like most bloggers, I get a lot of spam comments. Fortunately I have the discretion of deciding what comments get through, so they don’t make it onto the blog. But given that many of them are quite funny in their earnestness,  I have a special place for them.  Whenever I get a good one, trust me when I say I am dying to respond.  But apparently doing so would cause Great Misfortune to befall this blog and perhaps swallow up the entire internet, you guys, the online equivalent of playing Pin-the-Tail-on-the-Donkey in close proximity to a particle accelerator.

But I since these are so good, I really couldn’t just sit back and do nothing. So here are some of my favorite spam comments, amended intermittently with my responses.

Apropos of nothing, as often happens, the following comment came in response to a humorous post about Halloween costumes:

So, by providing printable vouchers you can run your business more successive way

Lisa’s note: I’m sorry, this has what to do with my blog post about Halloween costumes? But you had me at “successive”. I want to be successive! Please oh please tell me how!

One of the things to look out for because of its landmark nature in France is the Eiffel tower; Having a lesbian honeymoon in France gives you a chance to view this marvelous architectural piece in person.

Lisa’s note: Whoa! There’s a sharp left turn. You’ve gone from printable vouchers to lesbian honeymoons. I didn’t know the only way to view the Eiffel Tower was on your lesbian honeymoon. What, do they give out special viewing goggles at lesbian weddings? 

Most sites have one, and you can be ensured that they won’t sell your e-mail address or any information.

Lisa’s note: Most sites have one what? An Eiffel Tower, or a lesbian? Whatever. Good to know the lesbian or Eiffel Tower won’t be selling my information. That’s a relief.

This comment came in response to my post about my son making a gigantic mess with oil paints:

Are you in the beginning stages, You should definitely get delicates and all material that possess channel extra fat as is also best to deal with.

Lisa’s note: I do find that a delicate material is best for channeling extra fat. Preferably something sheer and lacey. I’m also  partial to pom-pom fringe. But you’re right, only in the beginning stages. You wouldn’t ever want to do it in the later stages, that would be crazy.

Reward yourself with a meter associated visible pads,

Lisa’s note: My pads are visible? How embarrassing! 

Half a meter to impublished small cloth, A meter as well as half backing, The right 13-” freezer with a result

Lisa’s note: A 13” freezer? Is it for gnomes?

, A bouquet of breeze drawing a line under (Ideally your magnet class), Rrncluding a spool using reciprocal twine,

Lisa’s note: A bouquet of breeze… so poetic… Wait, don’t go! You left me hanging at reciprocal twine!

And this puzzler also came as a response to my post about Halloween costumes:

It you are combine producing a really wonderful essence. Just now be aware to create initial essential petrolum motor cooking fish oils like sandalwood, Provide you with lengths and widths then a lot of colors for your fragrances that you make. Here perfume can turn out to come to wind up being kept in bit of remover bottles or the latest atomizers available at reduced rates that since received in mass,

Lisa’s note: A perfume combining petroleum, motor oil, fish oil, cooking oil, and sandalwood? Who’s your celebrity endorser, Tara Reid?

Then there was this gem:

It accurate when they say get paid from the greatest? As with all my suggestions,
get what works for you and depart the relaxation.

Lisa’s note: It accurate, alright. I heard they get paid from the greatest every other Wednesday, except it’s in pudding cups. Per your suggestion, I will depart the relaxation posthaste.

And of course, the evergreen:

Really good post!

Lisa’s note: Thanks! Unfortunately, though, your e-mail address referenced knock-off Louis Vuittons. What am I, some kind of a low-rent Kanye? Sorry, I have to send you to the spam folder.

This one almost snuck through, as it actually referenced the content of my post. But then I got to the last line, and, no:

ptahts really nice, I love to play tennis too and not to mention its outfit. But why to stop skipping classes?

Lisa’s note: Perhaps by rereading your above comment you can answer your own question. Just sayin.

And under the heading, “Um, what?” is the following comment:

ttye juhhyggti oourt knookiytu lhhoffrtgcds mryuutvt  halvar munnemty gelat nunbeerxif moofgsup  aersolig halfurqxnntt deyoeppi ekkoruuii thalset oppukkorinoan.

Lisa’s note: You know, I was just thinking that exact same thing! It’s like we’re twins!

And now, a comment that references a post that does not, in fact, exist:

I guess you don’t have place to leave comments on each post? Anyway I loved the one with the 80′s wig. I coeepltmly agree with the phone AND the TV thing! It made me laugh only because usually there is NOBODY who agrees with me on either of those subjects! Cute stuff..fantastic for you to share your tutorials! And keep up the good work!

Lisa’s note: And yet you were somehow able to leave a comment. Um, I’m not sure which post you were reading, but a post with an 80’s wig, a phone, and a TV? I’m in! Let the hilarity ensue. And I, for one, “coeepltmly” agree with you about the subject. It’s like we’re twins!

And sometimes there’s unsolicited advice:

It’s perfect time to make some plans for the longer term and it’s time to be happy. I have read this submit and if I may just I desire to suggest you some fascinating issues or tips. Maybe you could write subsequent articles relating to this article. I desire to read even more issues approximately it!

Lisa’s note: You. You’re so smug with your “long term planning”. You were always Mom and Dad’s favorite! Don’t tell me what to do! Waaaahhhhh! (Dissolves into hysterical sobbing)

This one appears to be vaguely referring to children at first, but then descends into chaos:

Enjoy the little they’ve been for that reason extremely cute and therefore wonderful, I actually have our thing  with EVERYTHING. SOOOOOO various comments I’m aware So i am our issues phone serious,LOOOL!

Lisa’s note: Your “O” key appears to be sticking.

And sometimes it gets personal:

Hi my family member! I want to say that this post is awesome, nice written and come with almost all significant infos. Iˇd like to peer more posts like this.

Lisa’s note: Dear family member, so nice to hear from you! I was unaware I had family in Bangladesh. Great to know, because Great Aunt Evelyn was just asked to leave the nursing home after being caught with a shiv. She needs a place to go so we’ll put her on the next plane all of her meds will be in her suitcase k thanks bye love you mean it. P.S. word of advice. You might want to ease up on the use of the thesaurus.


Why This Blog, and Why Now?

There are reasons I waited until all of my kids were in school to start a blog.

1. Let’s start with the term “Mommy Blog”, from this point forward banned on this site. I waited because I didn’t want to be called that. My distaste for the term stems from the fact that it is loaded with condescension. Any time society attaches “Mommy” to anything, the result is to minimize the importance of the second word. “Mommy Wars”, anyone? Just a silly little tiff among the hens. Ahem. “Mommy Business”? Oh, look how cute she is, playing like she’s a real grown up. Pat pat.

It bothers me because being a parent is the hardest job in the world, with dire consequences if you screw it up. And if you attach something else to that job as well? You are a hero.

If you have a blog, you are a writer. Or a business owner. Or a brand.  Or you’re really, really good at something like photography. You are a person with talent, drive, and passion. You might also happen to be a parent. And I’ll bet you are a damn good one.  Own it, and let’s move on.

2. I had no desire to write about the years of infancy and toddlerhood. With a few exceptions, it’s the same for all of us. Poop, diapers, naps, drool, spit up. Lather, rinse, repeat.  Though rife with funny stories, those years were pretty easy for me because my kids were all good sleepers. They weren’t horrible, and I never felt the need to knock back a couple of margaritas at a 10 a.m. playgroup. (I know, I know, go ahead and hate me.  But never underestimate the power of a good night’s sleep.)  Anyhow, there are others out there who write in that genre, and they are really funny and talented! So they’ve got that area covered.

3. I have always been a writer, but I back-burnered it  even before kids because it wasn’t my career path. And also there was that one college advisor who “advised” me to not even try to get into my college’s journalism program. I believe his exact words were, “You’ll never make it, so don’t even try.”  Excuse me while I jump in my DeLorean to go back and slap him.

Okay, I’m back now. God, I’ve wanted to do that for years. Anyhow, growing up, I wanted to be Erma Bombeck. (Well, not be her, exactly. I’m not talking about “single white female” or anything. That would just be creepy.) Then I wanted to be Dave Barry. (Also not literally.) But you get the idea. Working on my high school yearbook and newspaper convinced me I would be a journalist. In college, I was great at cranking out papers while standing up with one foot out the door, typing madly 10 minutes before class started. A’s abounded, though whether because of my mad writing skills or because I was a master of BS I’m not sure. Let’s go with the first one, okay?

Where was I going with this? Oh, yes. I am a writer. Always have been. If I wasn’t writing, I was thinking about writing.

Fast forward through my post-college corporate years, to my life as a parent.   I discovered that freelance copywriting allowed me do not only write from home, on my terms, but get also paid for it. Snoopy dance! And the subject matter was different for every assignment, perfect for someone with a tiny attention span. (I’m not kidding about this. At this point, my attention span could fit into the little box in my junk drawer that I keep paperclips in. With room left over for the paperclips.) So I was back! Back to what I was meant to do.

4. Fear. Fear of putting myself out there. Fear of violating my family’s privacy. Fear of the mean people out in “anonymous” land who attack via the comments section. (Pleeeaase don’t do this, mean comments people! Play nice.)

Finally the time was right, so this blog was born.  The name “Notes from the Shallow End” comes from my summers, eleven and counting, on the “shallow end” side of the pool. There are people on the other side, but I’ve never met them. They have older kids, so while we at the shallow end sling juice boxes and help our kids hoist up wet bathing suits after potty breaks, they lounge on the other side, probably getting pedicures and swilling Veuve Clicquot. Kind of like Goldie Hawn at the beginning of Overboard.

So join me in this new endeavor. Raise a glass with me to the coming years, won’t you? They’re going to be great.