Giving Thanks for Thanksgiving

I have decided to invent a new holiday.

One that I'm positive can't offend all the First Americans Indians.

But first? A little back story.

Yesterday I received a letter from a blog reader who has become a friend. Reading through this letter, I had tears streaming down my face and joy in my soul. I won't share the private contents of the letter here, but I will tell you this: This girl is an absolute rock star. She, who is all kinds of awesome herself, was thanking me.

It got me thinking about the new type of friendship that the Internet has given birth to: The Internet friend.

And I'm definitely not talking about the kind of Internet friend who wants to meet you at your house and then is surprised when Dateline: To Catch a Predator is there.

No one should have any of those kinds of Internet friends.

I'm talking about the friend who is in the motherhood trenches, the same as you. The friend whose blog you might read on your lunch hour, clear across the country, or even across the world. The ones you have met in real life; and the ones you have yet to meet. The people who tune in every day to blogs, hoping there are snippets from what you are sure is no ordinary life.

These are the people who get you. And the people whose words touch your heart, make you laugh, or tell you that you are not alone. The people who make our day a little bit better with their stories, photos, and wit.

So what I am proposing is this: Let's start a Thanksgiving revolution today. Think of someone you know (or don't know) whose blog you read. Send them a simple note, letting them know what their words have meant to you. Or simply thank them for continuing to entertain you. It doesn't need to take long - just a few minutes to type a note.

Imagine what that thoughtfulness will mean to someone. Their day is going to no doubt be hectic today; maybe they are traveling. Maybe they are cooking for inlaws. Maybe they are all alone. But to inboxes across the world, let's spread a little love.

We'll call it Giving Thanks for Thanksgiving.

I know what my letter meant to me. Imagine if every single one of you gave that feeling to someone else.

Just think of all the love flying around the Internet today.

It'll be amazing.

And just like the old adage that it's better to give than receive, imagine how great all of US will feel in return.

Go, internets. Fly out to the world with your good deeds. Then return and bring us word.

I am a but insensitive


There, I said it. Too late to take it back.

Though I should clarify that statement by also saying that I have yet to even visit the site.


The reason for my rage-filled hate for the Pinterest is this post.

And, yes, I realize that it's my very own post, written with my own hand, almost three years ago.

That post is apparently making the rounds on Pinterest. I cannot tell you the volume of emails and comments I am STILL receiving on it. Most of them wonderfully complimentary.

But quite a few of them not so nice.

Take the most recent one, left by our old, cowardly friend, Anonymous:

Well, they're cute but Wampanoag Indians didn't live in tee-pees. They would be great for a lesson on the Plains Indians but not for Thanksgiving. Lumping all tribes and ways of life together is a but culturally insensitive.

I am assuming they meant it was a BIT culturally insensitive. I don't know what a but culturally insensitive is.

Though I am pretty sure my butt is quite offensive in several cultures. Maybe that was what they were saying?

And that is not the worst of them. I received a two-page email a few weeks ago from someone telling me I was promoting racial insensitivity, and that I was basically a racist pig.

In August, I got an email from a woman begging me to stop misinforming the world regarding the housing of the First Americans (as apparently, some don't like to be called Indians now). There were several informative links and if I gave a crap, I'd put them up here and educate the rest of you, too.

(Sorry. I don't give a crap. At least about educating the world on what the Indians First Americans lived in.)

Another kind reader informed me that I had no morals and was foul for using a swear word in that post.

(The dammit word.)

With the Resistance police hounding me night and day in my own home, I hardly need her to tell me I am going to you-know-where.

When I wrote that post THREE FREAKING YEARS ago, I had no idea that I would be offending Indians and prudes alike. I honestly just wanted a cute, edible decoration to put on my table at Thanksgiving.

I have said it before, and I will say it again, I WRITE WHATEVER THE EFF I WANT. If you don't like it, don't read it. And, if you have something crappy to say, have the courage to at least attach your name to it.

So, tell me, decent people of blog land, is there any reason at all that I should go visit Pinterest? Is it chock full of haters and anonymous trolls? Also? Is my butt offensive in your culture? Do you have obscure First American websites you could link for me? Would you like to send me condemnations for my bad language? Am I sarcastic and obnoxious?

Don't answer that.

"What kills a skunk is the publicity it gives itself." Abraham Lincoln

Recently, I was contacted by a company who wanted to know if they could sponsor this website.

It is not the first time I have been offered cash for my soul.

Ouch. I know.

And it will not be the last time that I decline it.

When I first started blogging three and a half years ago, I did it for me. I saw it as a fun outlet for writing. It became a way to keep in touch with long distance friends and family. It is, at times, my own personal soapbox, a place to laugh at myself, cry with myself, showcase my family, and keep a record of the everyday stuff that I'm afraid I'll forget. I had no idea there existed perfect strangers in the world willing to read what I write here.

And it is not now, nor will it ever be, for sale.

Cluttering up these pretty pages with ads for diapers, jewelry, tampons, and books seems a bit like selling out to me. I wouldn't send my kids off to school with bumper stickers on their cheeks or backpacks, so why do it here? Isn't there enough branding and consumerism in the world without me contributing to it?

I am left now to wonder about those of you who do choose to accept advertising dollars for space on your websites and blogs.

Specifically, I am wondering this:
  1. How much do you make?
  2. Do you feel it leaves your site cluttered and busy?
  3. Does it make you obsess more over your stats, knowing that revenue is dependent on that?
  4. Do you think less of those like me who opt out?
I cast no judgmental rocks from my glass house, but I am curious. I mean, if some of you tell me you are getting a couple thousand a month, I might jump on that train so fast that there'll be no time to stop and get my luggage.

But I can't imagine they pay well enough to support the lifestyle I would like to become accustomed to.

Am I wrong?


Putting the trash out (a.k.a: Keeping it real)

Travelin' Oma wrote a very thought-provoking post yesterday. She talked about assessing whether the posts we write are real reflections of our true selves or if they are merely the best of us put on display. (She really says it much more eloquently than that. Click over and read her post. You won't be sorry).

But it got me thinking about my own blog and the part of my life that I choose to reveal here.

Do I often intentionally put my best foot forward, ignoring my many faults and failings?

You bet I do.

I don't want to look back years from now at this silly record of our everyday lives and wonder if all I did was complain about how annoying my kids are.

But I also don't want to look back and know that the sugary sweetness I posted about was not how I really felt every second of every day.

It's a tricky balance - sorting between the reality of our lives and the way we'd like them to be.

In hopes of striking a more symmetrical record, I am going to treat you to a little bit of my trash today. It is with much trepidation that I give you a taste of the real Stie, in all her grainy, un-photoshoppped, un-made up, bags-under-the-eyes glory:


This is the sight the Husband gets has to see first thing every morning. Poor guy.

And for your judging pleasure, here are a few real things about me that you may or may not have known:

I am a clean freak, but that does not mean there are not scary closets and drawers in my house. I have a storage room in my basement, as we speak, that would cause anyone great physical injury if they tried to walk through it, so mountainous are the massive piles of stuff.

I am very vain. I spend a lot of time worrying about what I look like. I will not go to the store without my hair done and my face fully made up. I absolutely think sweats should never be seen in public. And, yes, I judge those who do.

I am also highly self-critical. You would think with all that time spent primping that I would be more happy with what I see in the mirror. I'm not. I constantly second guess every single thing I do and say. Sometimes I wonder if I will ever be good enough for myself.

I am not good with confrontation. If I have an issue to work out with someone, I am of the, "let's bury it deep and never speak of it again" variety. Passive aggressive, much? I wrote the book on it.

Lastly, I sometimes dread the hours between three and five p.m. every day. While I am excited to see my kids come home, I really dislike helping them with homework. They're all tired, cranky, talking a mile a minute, and seem to need something from me at the exact same minute. I've also usually procrastinated and am trying to get dinner ready during that time, as well. I feel pulled in so many different directions that some days I think my head will explode. It's my least favorite time of the day.

So there you have it. A little bit of reality - for better or for worse.

What I'd really like to see now is YOUR reality. Post a picture of yourself sans make-up, and put a little bit of the trash out for the rest of us to see. That way, years from now when we think we were nothing but perfect, we'll know the real truth.

And we'll like each other all the more for it.

Coaxing you all out of the closet

I realized recently that I have been doing this little blogging thing for almost two-and-a-half years now. And you know what? I still love it. It's still fun. It's therapeutic for me, and it's given me a permanent record of my everyday life.

Which, we all know, is extremely exciting, right?

I know Angelina must weep with envy at the fabulousness that is me. Me and my thighs made entirely out of cookie dough.

But I feel like you know me here. You get me. You come back to see what dumb things I've done lately. You laugh at my bad haircuts and roll your eyes when I strut my stuff for the handicapped men at the grocery store. I figure, if you're reading me with any regularity, you must find something here that you like.

And so I have decided that today it is time for me to meet all of you. Because I like you. And I think it's time we became friends.

So here's the deal: Leave me a comment saying hi. Maybe tell me how you found me or when you first started reading. I'm even willing to entertain your hate mail. I guess I'm stupid curious like that. But, please, just say SOMETHING.

Even if you've never said something before. Come of your lurking closet. Just this once. Then you can go back in and I will let you read this blog in peace.

I will then take all the lovely love notes from you, throw them into a proverbial hat, and pick a random winner. The winning comment will receive something from me at some point in the near future. Not sure what, but it will be fabulous.

So, come on. Say hi.

Because sometimes? A girl just needs a little validation from her internet peeps.

Selling my blogging soul for a bottle of free lotion: SkinMD Shielding Lotion and Sunscreen

A few months ago, I was contacted by the nice folks at SkinMD to review a bottle of their shielding lotion with sunscreen.

I was thoroughly excited to have been chosen and could not wait to get my hands on the product. I have typically said no to product reviews before, but they got to me on a good day, I suppose, and I said yes.

I have been using it for over a week now, and I have to say that -- gulp --I don't like it. [Insert SkinMD permanently adding my name to a product review black list here.]

I wanted to like it. I felt compelled to like it.

But I just can't tell a lie, especially to you good people.

It is moisturizing, to be sure, and really made my skin feel great, but I cannot get past the smell. It is not an awful smell per se, but it's got a faintly medical odor to it. It brings to mind old ladies in white hats giving shots, which is not exactly how I want to spend my days smelling, no matter what my skin feels like. Having soft, luscious skin that is doubly protected from the sun is one of my life's goals, but I can't do it at the price of my nostrils.

Plus, the Husband won't come near me when I wear the stuff. [Of course, that could be a major market they're missing - target the wives wanting to keep the husbands away! No? Okay. Can't blame a girl for trying, right?]

So, please, in spite of my less than stellar review, try the product yourself. I would love to be proven wrong on this one, especially as I am quite sure it will be the last review I am ever asked to make.

Unless, of course, someone wants me to review, say, cookie dough, chocolate, or Mr. Darcy movies. All of which would undoubtedly get an earnest thumbs-up.