Friday, September 28, 2012

Some things you should know about me

As I look forward to connecting with some new bloggers in a weekly topic format, I guess it's a good time to re-introduce myself. In fact, when I started this blog, I was so passionate about the topic that got me writing that I don't know that I ever did introduce myself and since my links back to old posts are infrequent and my about section is weak, this is my chance to explain things.

I think the number one thing that guides my blog is confidentiality.
 Weird for a blog that is public, right? I work in the therapeutic/social worky field. Specifically, I focus on trauma survivors and domestic violence. While I have oodles of things I want you to know about that, I don't want my blog to be about work. Yet, because of the nature of the work and the way I have to use myself in my work, I feel it's important to limit certain information I share about myself such as lots of pictures, names, locations, specifics. I am wary of that kind of information getting into the wrong hands. However, I also find it an obstacle in connecting with readers who don't already know some of those things about me because of a personal relationship. Sorry about that. I do my best to work around that.

I am not a parent.
For a lot of blogs, that's not a big deal. For my age and a lot of my peers, it sometimes feels like it is. Culturally, having been raised Mormon and still practicing that in my own unique way, it feels like a very big deal. That cultural identity and my feelings of varying from it while wanting to stay connected to it was one of the driving forces behind my creating a blog. While I might not fit the norm for a lot of categories, I usually think that's a great thing and that I bring a lot of interesting thought frameworks to coalesce in one place, creating a unique voice. Often, I have thought that I would be an ideal candidate for the Amazing Race because of all of those combining forces: Mormon with a nose ring, victim advocate, interracial marriage, triathlete, rods in my spine...wouldn't you want to watch me race all over the globe? 
For a while I wanted my blog to focus more on traveling because I truly adore travel and I prioritize it but I just don't want to limit myself to one topic when there are so many things I want to say! And I don't specialize in it or live it every day like many travel bloggers. The meaning behind the title of my blog, Aspiring to the Middle, is that I have a lot of areas of interest but I may not be #1 in any of them. I was really good at going to school and getting great grades but that becomes less and less impressive as you get older (at least less brag worthy as SAT scores as a pickup line at 32-and married-no longer swing it). Since then, I have been lucky enough to be able to indulge in a variety of hobbies and passions and I usually fall somewhere in the middle of the pack for all of them. And that's ok-I'm just glad to be along for the ride and have so many awesome experiences! 
And to bring this rant full circle, I think it's noteworthy to not be a parent at the moment since a lot of my readers as well as the other folks I will be blogging with about these topics ARE parents. It's just another "other" category I fit into at this stage in life and I own that with pride.

Just because I love trashy reality tv it does not mean I am vapid.
Some people watch Law and Order SVU and learn things. I watch that and am reminded of things I have heard real people come to me for help about. Not that I avoid all of those kinds of shows but by the time I get home at the end of the day, it's like I want to perform reverse osmosis on my brain until it feels like it resembles cotton candy. Reality tv is great for that! And I can't help if some of my enthusiasm for the entertainment value of the shows I watch bubbles over here. Just like I can't help but tell you about the crushes I form on the love interests in the young adult novels I read. You can listen to your NPR and feel elitist but I will be having more fun than you.

So let's just do a little summary in the form of a list. 
Cats, reality tv, sleeping, hiking, triathlons, therapy-speak and the DSM IV-R, books, journaling, home decorating, travel, road trips, the beach, the pool, summer, fall, my SodaStream machine, the colors green and yellow, Hollister jeans, lipgloss, demolition derbies, ice cream, hammocks, strong vocabulary skills, my back doctor, quotes, Halloween, Counting Crows, Micheal Franti and Spearhead, caprese salads and sandwiches, Target
People who post about who to vote for all the time, seafood, every other driver on the road, most sports, when you can see or smell that someone doesn't floss, early mornings, overly air conditioned spaces, when a line forms behind me at a store checkout because I am buying so much, vets who lack empathy, whipped cream, country music, the concept of blu-ray discs, mice, moose crossing signs, the 50 Shades of Grey phenomenon, the dad from Harry and the Hendersons
Ok, if you know me and I missed some defining quality, please chime in but be gentle. If you don't know me, hopefully now you know a little more about the person behind the keyboard and what might inform the posts I hope you will read.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Babies or Cats?


If you didn't immediately click on my link, let me tell you what would have happened if you were to have done so. You would have been swept away to a site called The concept is that you can download something that will turn all the pictures of babies in your Facebook feed and elsewhere into pictures of things you prefer such as cats!! I'm not opposed to baby pics but I do REALLY love cats so they kind of drew me in there. (To be very explicit, though, I did not download this. I don't mind seeing pics of everyone's kids. But I am a tiny bit tempted to see what it would be like to have pictures of Persians pop up every time there was a kid pic. Just to see!)
Here is an article that expounds upon this idea and some reactions to it even further. What do YOU think? Is this wildly offensive? Mildly rude? Necessary or unneeded? How would you feel if someone downloaded something to avoid pics of your kids so they could instead choose to see something like bacon or a car or a certain breed of dog? If you downloaded this, would you let anyone know?

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

I Might be a Psychic

Here are my thoughts for today...

1. I like using numbers in my posts. I kind of think in bullet points.

2. I also like playing with capitalization in post titles. Why I find that amusing, I don't know. When I type emails to my friends, I don't capitalize at all so maybe the the thrill is in seeing bigger letters than I am visually used to?

3. Here's the exciting part: I might be a psychic. But only related to fertility issues.

I had this gut feeling to get in touch with a dear friend who I don't communicate with frequently. Somehow, I had this tickle of a thought that I should ask if she was pregnant. It was almost a joke but not quite. In my return email from her she confirmed that yes, indeed, she is pregnant and just past the time cut off where they are announcing it! Weird? Yes. Want to know what's weirder? This is the second time out of three of her pregnancies that this happened! And, like I said, she isn't someone I talk to or even email with even every few months even though she is dear to my heart and she lives on the other side of the country from me so it's just super bizarre that I have premonitions about her lack of menses.

It gets better. I'm not only psychic about this one friend's womb, even though she is the greatest example of my gift. For a while a few years ago, during a period when it was age appropriate for all of my friends to be getting pregnant (to be fair to the chance that it was coincidental, even though it was NOT!), I had a remarkable track record of actually getting people pregnant. Um, what? Yup, you read that right. Not in the male-female/birds and the bees way, clearly, but if a friend was "trying" and then had a meal with me, shortly thereafter her efforts would be rewarded. (I don't actually think it's fair to word it that way because it's not about efforts or rewards as people who have "tried" without such ease often talk about). It would usually be at our next meal together that they would spill the good news. I have learned about pregnancies in my local diner, the Cheesecake Factory, Papa Gino's and I'm sure there are other food establishments I can't recall at the moment. And, for the record, it's way better to learn about a baby over food than it is over Facebook. But I guess Facebook announcements are for a lower tier of friends?

In the past, I thought about trying to market this skill because it honestly happened so many times that it was just uncanny. I felt like there had to be something working within me that I was not even aware of or really believed in because these kinds of scenarios just happened far to frequently to me. As time has passed and friends took some time off between babies, I have forgotten how good I am at this! But getting that email today awakened my baby-dar. How should I put this to good use?
Image via which you can find here

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Topic Tuesdays Coming Soon

First off, I am typing with a wrist brace on my right hand so if there are huge errors, I blame the brace. I had some minor tendonitis issues come up over the last few months but it hasn't been wildly bothersome until I decided I needed to show the new Monday night Bodypump instructor that I was a force to be reckoned with. After the biceps track, I knew I had done some damage trying to show off. So now I'm wincing when the lady hands me my sandwich for lunch at the deli. Awesome.

The point of my post is not my wrist, though. It's to announce something that I am going to be taking part in that I am excited about: Topic Tuesdays! The name/day might change between this week and next but the concept is that a handful of bloggers have united to all write about the same topic once a week. While it's a little intimidating knowing how much better some of them will cover certain topics, I think it will be fun to hear the different "voices" and perspectives. Also, I may be the only non-Mom and the only one who works full time+ out of the home and doesn't plan my blog posts in advance. Or at all. I just kind of sit down and write and I'm sure it shows but that's how this works for me. So I'm looking forward to offering a outsiders take on some of the child related topics. It's an opportunity to write about things I normally wouldn't consider writing about, too.

So stay tuned for Topic Tuesday next week and all of the great bloggers I will be linking to so maybe you will find some fun new reading distractions!

Monday, September 17, 2012

Fall in New England

That's right, kids. It's that time of year again. The time when I talk less about travel, more about projects around the house, and that I realize that I actually talk about the weather A LOT.

Really, I can't help myself. It's just amazing outside. We aren't even at the most beautiful point, when the leaves are all sorts of reds and oranges but there are glimpses here and there of colors other than green in the trees. A big tree right outside of my office window always turns early and I can see some yellows and oranges blooming. But it's also that in between time when it gets warm enough during the day to wear shorts and a t-shirt but it's crisp at night. You can smell fresh mowed grass by day and fires in the chimneys by night. It's also apple picking time, although I'm waiting for October apples, the way Lucy from Charlie Brown waits for January snow:) And fall in New England is also time for some of the biggest fairs and I lllooooove me some fair food so I can't wait to get a day to do that.

In the meantime, though, I am training to hike the Grand Canyon rim to rim next month so I have been begging my friends to get out in the woods with me. A couple of them indulged me this past weekend and it was glorious so I wanted to include a couple of pictures.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Blog Censorship

In my last post I mentioned feeling censored on my blog and I felt compelled to elaborate. Of course Blogger is not red flagging any of what I could or do put out there and the internet is a cesspool of raunchy ideas. So I guess it would be more appropriate for me to correct myself by clarifying that I censor MYSELF. Why?

1. I like having friends.
If I wrote candidly about my thoughts/reactions/judgments in a given day they obviously would have to come from people with whom I interact. That may be you. And if I publicly maligned your most recent Facebook status, you might not like it. Now what I say "you", know that I probably don't actually mean YOU. But I could. Get my drift? Every YOU out there in Youville would assume I was insulting them when, really, I have a select group of people I like to make fun of. But even that kind of makes me a bad person.
Recently, my BFF came up with the genius idea of video blogging her response to people's Facebook posts while she read through them. We were on vacation together and she had internet access while I didn't so to amuse me one night she started reading what people wrote, some of whom I knew and others I didn't but all were lame. We made a sport of mocking them and, honestly, it was FUN. Again, I know that kind of makes me a bad person but we all have personal interests. Of course we didn't actually record these sessions, which became a nightly routine. If we did, all the fun material would be yanked away because those people would revoke our "friend" access. Talk about shooting yourself in the foot.

2. I have a job.
I actually don't just have A job. I have a nice person's job. I am nice to people that other people are mean to and I like it. But I use up all my niceness at work. And if I started letting it all out, I would not only lose the faith of the people I am nice to, I might lose the faith of the people who assume I am nice enough that I deserve to have my paycheck issued a couple times a month.
Also, who doesn't complain about work? (Other than my mother who, it seems, can't make it through a conversation/grocery store/fast food drive through without telling someone how much she loves her job. I actually think it's great that she is so happy even if I sometimes think she doesn't have to share that detail.) Because I do work that is sensitive in nature and confidential, it would be frowned upon -using the lightest phrase possible here- to complain about work. I have to admit, I have some amazing stories from my work experiences and, sad for you, I am usually legally bound to keep them to myself. This also the reason I sometimes feel like I can't get more personal here-you never know what bad guy is lurking around. Isn't that a horrible thought? But it's a reality in my line of work.

3. I go to church.
Well, at least 50% of the time it's offered I try to go. Judging, swearing, and overall offending is not strongly encouraged. I don't think it would be smiled upon for me to be candid all the time knowing that I have an amazing talent for offending people without even knowing it.

I really love anonymous blogs that poke fun at certain groups or topics. But how do you get people to read your blog if you don't tell them it's your blog?? So here I am, keeping my work stories to myself, not video blogging about the wildly inappropriate pictures you posted on Facebook and with invitations to visit with friends. And here is where I hope to stay.

Friday, September 7, 2012

My Pet Blog

This is not the first time I have had to come back to my blog, head figuratively hung low with shame. (I can't really hang it low or it would be hard to see if I were making typing errors, of course). Blogging is tougher than it's made out to be, if only for the fact that it's like a pet. A puppy looks super cute when his tail is wagging and he's eager to let you pet him but you get him home and he pees on the ottoman. Oh wait, that's what my cats did to me this week in real life.

A blog is like a pet because it's really exciting in the beginning; it starts to become part of your identity. As time passes, though, it requires upkeep. This is where my shortcomings show themselves. Just like I can kill a cactus, I am hot and cold with blogging, either watering to the point of flooding or abandoning ship for many weeks at a time.

What's my excuse this time? I actually think the excuses are fun. Usually they include some kind of travel and travel is always fun. Except when your flight is delayed and gets you home really late and you have to work a 12 hour day the following day. (That was my Wednesday this week). So yes, one of my excuses is travel. Since my last post (at the end of July-GASP) I have spent time on the coast of Maine as well as a retreat in Jamaica. I also numerically aged a year, attended the fanciest wedding of my life, completed a triathlon, did the Color Run, let at least one Groupon expire and took my cats to the vet. Oh, and I developed a near debilitating love for burritos. Seriously, I schedule things around access to Boloco and Chipotle. SO GOOD! Why did I not know for 32 years?

A really solid excuse, though, is that one of my friends has a blog that is so entertaining that I kind of figured "why bother" for a while. Not in a competition way. Just in a sit back and watch it all happen way. She blogs about various things but all with a sassy humor, the likes of which I sometimes feel too censored by my blog to fully express myself. So I have been enjoying the blogging world by living vicariously through her witty posts. She is already having a successful blogging week and won a site makeover but you should still go visit her...and soon so you have something to compare the site to when it's all revamped.

So that's what I've got for today. I'm exhausted post-vacation, bitter at my return to work, peeling at my scalp so it looks like I have hair flakes, and ready to blog again!