My precious revelation

If you've been following my Instagram story, you know that I, at the ripe old age of 27, threw my back out on Monday night and have been hobbling around ever since, not unlike the evil witch from Snow White. Not when she's all "Mirror mirror, tell me how pretty I am," but when she's all old and haggard and obsessed with apples. 

All I did was pick up a book, which hardly seems fair, as books have always been my dearest friends. Although now that I'm thinking of it, I've always been pretty sure that those who I counted as close friends were also people who were most likely to be responsible for my death, so I suppose the books were just fulfilling their true purpose and keeping my life interesting, but still... not cool, books. Not cool.

So I went to go see a chiropractor. A lot happened there that I think I have to save for another blog post or perhaps for my memoir because I'm still processing some of the ridiculousness. That being said, the chiropractor was awesome and my back is feeling somewhat human again, but he basically told me that my spina bifida occulta (which I love because it totally makes it sound like I'm part of a group that worships spines, doesn't it? The Spinosaurus would be our god. JOIN US...) or even just my body in general is a genetic minefield of weirdness. Yay! So I left and I was all "THANKS, MOM, FOR TEACHING ALL THOSE JAZZERCISE CLASSES WHILE YOU WERE PREGGO WITH ME" (true story) but then the angel on my shoulder was like "Hey, she was just trying to stay healthy. Besides, her birthday is coming up. Be nice." 

So I texted her to update her on the situation and to humbly tell her how nice I had decided to be:

 

Maybe it's not me, after all... maybe it's just my face!

The Mr and I spent Thanksgiving weekend at my brother's place and for some reason, we got to talking about our family's faces. Like we all do. Me: Sister 1 has that perfect mom glare, though... it's terrifying.

Brother: Yeah, but Sister 2 has the definition of a Resting Bitch Face.

Me: That is so true.

Brother: You, on the other hand, have Resting I'm-a-Freaking-Psycho Face. 

And while I'd never heard it put that way before, I knew right away that, well... he's not wrong. In fact, he's spot on. As always.

I've been told that I look frightening when I'm crocheting, which is the thing I find most relaxing. When I write: same thing. The Mr has stopped asking if I'm okay, but the children at church regard me with intrigued caution.

Wait... is this why I'm not allowed to use the sharp knives in the kitchen? Is this why everyone thinks I'm crazy? Is it just my face that has been leading to some strange self-fulfilling prophecy?! COULD I HAVE BEEN NORMAL IF MY FACE WAS DIFFERENT THIS WHOLE TIME?

And to think that people say looks don't matter...

P.S. I realize that this theory makes it sound like I think that Sister 2 is a bitch. She is not. She's actually the kindest person on earth. It's infuriating. This, of course, totally blows my theory to smithereens... but what do I care? I'M CRAZY.


Time for some business:

 

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An essay I wrote was published on The Feminine Collective this week, and I'm stupidly proud of it. You can go read it here and then share it with all of your friends because not only do you maybe like what I do, but more people need to know about this amazing online magazine.

If you've already read it, thank you so much! I've been getting so many wonderful messages and you all just make my hearts sing.


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Seven things I'm thankful for (and NONE OF THEM ARE BRENDA)

I live in America and this Thursday we're celebrating Thanksgiving. While I'm definitely not a huge fan of the history of this holiday, I am a fan of food and the general idea that we should set aside some time to acknowledge the things we are grateful for. So, I decided to make a list. Because I'M RELEVANT.

    1. Books. Where would I be without books?! seriously. I read them. I make a living talking about them. I write them. If books were to suddenly stop existing, my life as I know it would literally be over. I love books so much that my house might as well be built out of them. I came home today and The Mr was all "Is that more books in your hands?" when he saw the armful I was carrying. I just smiled and didn't mention the fact that I had twice that in my backpack. (Shhh... he'll never know!) And what's not to love? They're nice to hold, they teach me things, they're basically time machines to other dimensions (TAKE THAT, SCIENCE) and they make great kindling when necessary! JUST KIDDING DON'T WORRY I WOULD NEVER BURN A BOOK, GOSH. (Okay, maybe we shouldn't be so extreme to go so far as to say never. I mean, if a man was holding my family hostage and told me that they were all going to die unless I set a book on fire, I'd probably do it. Unless he was just threatening my sister, Brenda*. She's the worst.)
    2. Comedy. Thank God for it, am I right? I feel like we could always use a laugh, but these days it feels way more than necessary. The world seems to be on fire everywhere we turn, but comedians are making me laugh in spite of and sometimes about it all.
    3. Macaroni and Cheese. Do I really need to explain myself here?
    4. Tacos. See #3.
    5. Dogs. Specifically mine. They are the best, even when they're vomiting in the middle of the night and shedding everywhere. I love them. They make me feel less like a weirdo because when I talk to them they look at me and say "Cool. HEY LOOK AT THIS BONE I FOUND IN MY TOY BASKET." Their support is unwavering.
    6. Grammarly. I write a lot and I often make mistakes - even when I know the proper use of "there," "their," and they're. For example, when writing #5, I definitely typed "they're support is unwavering" BECAUSE I AM A FLAWED HUMAN, but Grammarly was all "Hey girl, you did a dumb thing, but don't worry. I got you."
    7. You. Awwww. I know. So cute. But really, you are amazing. And I love you. The fact that you are just sitting around reading the weird stuff that comes out of my brain makes me love you. Many virtual hugs from me to you, dear reader, because every time I get a like or a comment from you I remember that I am not alone and that someone out there enjoys my thoughts and that is a really nice, warm, and fuzzy feeling. Like a peach. You are peachy. And thank you for being you :)

So what about you? What are you thankful for right now? Tell me in the comments below.

*Fun fact! I don't actually have a sister named Brenda. BECAUSE SHE IS DEAD TO ME.


Side note: Thank you all for your crazy awesome tips about how to shop more ethically and be a better person in the world on my last post! I AM FALLING SO FAR DOWN THIS RABBIT HOLE YOU HAVE NO IDEA.


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It's official: I'm becoming my father.

My parents are lively and active people. The word 'retirement' is akin to the most offensive of curse words in their eyes, I think. Over drinks when my dad was in town, he said: "I hate that word." And I swear he was this close to spitting on the ground to show his disdain. All I know is that my parents never stop working, never stop moving, and never stop partying. My dad is in his seventies and he still travels for work all the time - not because he has to, but because he wants to.

And my mom is basically Wonder Woman. She's a very successful real estate agent, she teaches six jazzercise classes a week (the majority of them at 5:45 in the GD morning!), she has two horses that she trains and takes care of almost every day, and she cooks dinner every freaking night.

 

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And yet, I manage to be surprised if they don't answer the phone when I call.

Me: I think my parents find me dull.

The Mr: Why?

Me: Neither one of them is answering their phone! Do I call too often? Are they sick of me? You know, most parents would love it if their kid just called to say hi as often as I do, but they're totally ghosting me! Do they think I'm boring?

The Mr: Maybe they do.

Me: ...thanks, babe.

And then later that night, my dad called me. HE CALLED ME.

Me, too excitedly: Hi, Dad!

Dad: Hey, how are you?

Me: Great! How are you?

Dad: Well, I'm okay. Your mom is in Chicago visiting your sister and the new baby, so I'm just sitting in the parking lot of <LOCAL RESTAURANT>, trying to decide whether or not to go in and get dinner... there are a lot of cars here, so I don't know... or maybe I should call Nick and see if he wants to meet.... I don't know, we've been hanging out a lot this week since both of our wives are out of town... maybe he's sick of me.

The Mr: Did you see that apple just fall from that tree?

But maybe this is a good thing... because maybe it means that I'm also going to be a superhero who travels the world!

Or maybe this means my future just involves a closet full of leotards.

 

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Just doin' my job, sir.

Today a child totally called me out when I lied to him, but in my defense, he was hitting his father to an obnoxious degree (aren't all degrees obnoxious?) and using truth and reasoning wasn't helping. Me: Alright kid, this has gone on long enough. We have a very strict no-hitting policy here and if you don't stop it, I'm going to have to put you to work.

Kid: ....

Me: Cleaning our toilets.

Kid's Dad: Ooooo... that sounds rough, dude.

Kid: No. You're lying.

Me: What? I am not.

Kid: Yes you are.

And then we just stared at each other for a few moments until I turned my attention back to his dad.

Me: So anyway, you should totally read Ready, Player, One because it's amazing.

Dad: Awesome, thank you!

I would like it to be noted, though, that the kid did stop hitting his dad, so.... I'm kind of a hero - even if I didn't stay within the lines of morality to do it. I'm basically Batman.

 

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Really just an announcement, but it involves knives and fire, so...

So I had this brilliant idea the other day about a new perk for Patreon.

Right?!?! I pitched the idea to my brother who usually hates all of my ideas, but this one involves me making a fool of myself, so he really responded positively. He was all "I mean, watching you try and cook is terrifyingly entertaining anyway, but watching you try to cook while trying to tell a story about your week would be ridiculous."

Me: I know. I could die. It'll be great.

Brother: I'd pay to watch that.

And my brother has very high standards when it comes to entertainment, so I think this is just about the best endorsement I could have.

So the first episode is going up next weekend (July 30th) and that first episode will go up right here on the blog for everyone to watch, but after that, the episodes will be available exclusively for Awkward Ambassadors on Patreon.

Oh! And keep watching the blog this week, because there are things I can't tell you about yet, but fun stuff is happening and I get to share it with you soon!!

Have a wonderful week, everyone.


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Grocery Store Anxiety

My mom and I were on our way to get our nails done before my wedding and as we were driving along, we were listening to the radio. We weren't talking much, but I didn't particularly find it to be an uncomfortable silence. My mother, however, did not feel the same way. Mom: For the love of God, say something.

Me: Um... sorry?

Mom: Why are you so quiet?

Me: I don't know! We're listening to music! I didn't have anything to say!

Mom: You always have something to say.

Me: Not always.

Mom: Well, the silence is weird.

Me: Alright... what are you going to do after we get our nails done?

Mom: I need to go to the grocery store.

Me: Oh... do you want me to go with you?

Mom: No, I like going by myself.

Me: Oh, thank God. I hate grocery stores.

Mom: ...what?

Me: I hate grocery stores. They give me anxiety.

Mom: How can a grocery store give you anxiety? It's just a grocery store.

Me: I don't know. I get overwhelmed. There are so many options.

Mom: Yeah, but just buy what you want. You don't need to get everything.

Me: Well, yeah, but I don't know what I want. Take bread for example, have you seen how many different types of bread there are? There's whole grain, all grain, 7-grain, whole wheat - what is the difference between whole grain and whole wheat, by the way, and which seven grains are in the bread, are those the seven grains that I want? - and then there's white bread, which I know isn't the one I should get, and then there's organic and all natural and so many different brands, you know? Oh man, and then I go to the produce aisle and I get so afraid of how to tell what's ripe and what stage do you buy certain things, and why is always SO COLD? I hate going through those freezer aisles. It's the worst --

Mom: --OH  MY GOD, STOP TALKING.

Me: YOU ASKED FOR THIS!

Mom: WELL I FORGOT WHO I WAS IN THE CAR WITH, OKAY?

Me: ....

Mom: ...your brain is really terrifying, you know that?

Me: Thanks, Mom.

And then it started to rain, but because we were in my brother's car, I couldn't figure out how to turn on the windshield wipers, so I started talking to the steering wheel and then I realized that the windshield wipers were activated by a lever that operated much like a Bop-It, so I started imitating the Bop-It, but I don't think my mom knows what a Bop-It is, so I can't really say that I helped ease her mind about me.

Needless to say, I did not end up having to go to the grocery store, so I still say the day was a massive success.


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Love and Friends and Family and Mawwiage - A Guest Blog Post from Cole Campbell

Hello, friends! Over the next few weeks, I am away for my wedding and honeymoon, so I've invited some of my favorite writers to keep you entertained in my absence! Enjoy!! 


Hello everyone!

My name is Cole and I’m here to do a guest post for Emelie while she’s getting married and gallivanting off to Scotland for her honeymoon with Fiancé/Husband. (I’m not 100% sure where in the line up my post will fall so I’m being purposefully vague with times whether or not you’re reading this before or after she’s actually married. But hey, it kinda makes me feel like I’m in an episode of Doctor Who a wee bit. Yeah, I know that does not actually makes a whole lot of sense but let me have it, okay? Okay.)

ANYWAY!

When Emelie first asked me if I wanted to do a guest post for her I was like, “Sure! Of course! That’s Awesome! I’ll totally do that!” Then we hung up FaceTime, I thought for a short moment and was like, “CRAAAAAAAAAP WHY DID I SAY YES TO THAT?! I WRITE FICTION. I DON’T WRITE ABOUT MYSELF HOW WHAT WHY DO I DO THIIIIIIS?!”

I took some time to calm down.

Later, when I asked Emelie if she had any topic or idea she wanted me to cover, I was much more subtle about my trepidation (I hope). She responded with, essentially, “Lighthearted and fun is good but be yourself and do you!” I was like, “Thanks, that helps!” (Translation: That was not helpful AT ALL). I’m very much ad-libbing this from memory right now but you get the idea. So I started pondering. And I realized that recent events in my life combined with Emelie’s impending/already-happened nuptials mean a very specific topic is rattling pretty consistently around in my brain. And that, dear readers of a blog that is not mine, is Love and Friends, or the Family You Choose.

I mean, it’s not a shocking revelation or idea at all really but friends are just pretty freakin’ awesome, aren’t they? You meet someone and go: You, good person, are just amazing and I want you in my life forever, okay? Sometimes it’s a longer, slow process. Sometimes it’s snap-of-the-fingers quick. Emelie, for instance? She and I were friends for about a month(ish) before she moved out to Connecticut. And yet, despite time and distance we have become even closer. It just clicked. Insta! Done! Boom! Friends for life and there was little choice.

Except, technically, we did have a choice. We could not have skyped regularly, texted and kept in contact. We could have drifted apart and I wouldn’t have gotten excited updates about this guy she met, who became Boyfriend, wouldn’t have gotten an excited FaceTime reveal-of-the-ring when he became Fiancé and wouldn’t be going to/have been at (seriously this not knowing where in time my article is existing is CONFUSING) their wedding to see him become HUSBAND.

We made a choice to be friends. To be Family By Choice. AND THAT IS A TRULY AWESOME THING.

But seriously, though.

You meet certain people and they just stick to you like glue, or tree sap or those little foam packing peanuts, and they help you navigate life day by day whether they are in the same house, same town, or states or oceans away. Maybe they are family by blood, or maybe not. Maybe it was a romantic relationship that became a friendship, because you look at that person and go: The friendship at the heart of all this is too ridiculously valuable to set to the side and this is gonna hurt like nothing else but it’s worth it. Maybe you’ve known each other for more than a decade. Or maybe you just met. Connections between people are really, super-duper weird and random and varied I’ve found.

AND THAT’S WHAT MAKES THEM SO GOOD. LIKE DOGS AND CATS. (Don’t know if that makes any sense at all. It does in my brain).

I guess, basically, what I’m trying to say, (however badly, drawn-outly and incoherently) is to love the people in your life, that Family of Friends. Celebrate them in the every day because that is where they are rooted, in their weirdness, in their flaws, in their strengths and all the reasons you love them unconditionally.

And if they are someone who does the same back, keep them around, okay? So that one day, when you’re old, you can sit on a porch, with a nice breeze wafting by, rocking in your rocking chairs, and crack dirty jokes and trade bad puns because you’re still as awkward, nerdy, awesome and in love with each other as you were in your twenties (or whenever it was you met).

Because I don’t know about you, but that sounds like a pretty amazing future to me.


Cole is a writer and bookseller with a background in theatre based out of northeast Ohio. He (controversially) does not drink coffee but loves tea, hiking, and animals of all kinds. You can read/see what he's up to @colehcampbell (Twitter) and @colehollander (instagram).

 

 


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Diary of a Wimpy Mommy - A Guest Post from Merima Trako

Hello, friends! Over the next few weeks, I am away for my wedding and honeymoon, so I've invited some of my favorite writers to keep you entertained in my absence! Enjoy!! 


I am a mother of two boys. They are healthy and happy, cute and smart, which is probably the most dangerous combination you can have. Many would say that I am lucky, which I am, but what they don’t know is the shenanigans that can come out of the two little monsters I brought into this world.

Case in point, last year when my older was six and younger four, my husband texted me a picture of the older with a massive cut on his lower lip. I was at work, and as every mother would, I panicked. I packed up quickly and rushed home. By the time I got home, the bleeding had stopped, and I managed to pull the wound together with two small band-aids to help it heal without too much scarring. I gave my son a hug, and I asked him what had happened. He told me how he and his brother had found a bungee cord in the garage and they were pulling at its ends on a hill behind our house. At one moment my four-year-old let his end go, and it rebounded to hit the six-year-old on the lip. After a lecture that they should not be playing with adult things, I asked my son what he’d learned from the experience. He said with a solemn look on his face: “ I learned that I should let go of the bungee cord, FIRST.” Not what I had in mind little buddy, not-at-all.

There were other incidents like this, mainly two of them trying somehow to hurt each other, unintentionally and mostly due to some not-so-smart decisions they both made. I am sometimes surprised how they both managed to stay in one piece.  

Another important thing to remember is that little kids will not hesitate to embarrass you in public.  Recently I went to the store with my now five-year-old. I bought a cake for my birthday and two candles (numbers 2 and 5). It was supposed to be a joke ( I am not 25 years old, but a decade older). The cashier scanned the cake and asked if it was my birthday. I said with a grin, “But of course, I am twenty-five, can’t you tell?” I was happy with my little quip. My little one turned and pronounced aloud so that the entire store (and maybe even people in the parking lot) could hear that I am certainly not twenty-five, but thirty (something) years old. We all laughed, some shoppers looked at me suspiciously, though, judging this deceit of cake candles.

So having two kids taught me to always be on a lookout for an object that could potentially become a dangerous toy. I don’t understand this notion that kids nowadays have no imagination. Mine have too much of it, they will think of all sorts of ways to use the most innocent inanimate objects as torture devices on each other.

I’ve also learned that my kids are not my friends. I cannot tell them any secrets, even the simplest ones, like my age. They will tell everyone. They’re the worst friends ever. If I were in high school, I would not invite them to my birthday party.

You also cannot say to your kids that you love them, they will use it against you. “But mommy, you cannot punish me, you love me.” They have no shame, these little monsters.

They are little divas. They want specific haircuts; shirts tucked in a certain way and pants of only one certain length. Girls are divas you say, well, you have not met my boys.

In a few years if you meet me on the street and I am muttering to myself about dirty socks, and muddy shoes and the smell of dirty feet and soccer uniforms, do look kindly on my disheveled mom-look and remember: I am raising two boy-monsters.


 

World According to Blam is a collection of opinions, poetry and short prose, written by Merima Trako. She lives in Connecticut, USA with her husband and two children. An Engineer, a mom, an ex-refugee, Bosnian, she views the world in a unique way, exposed to various settings and experiences in her life.

 

 

 


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We got a new oven! ...and I'm already banned from using it.

So, Fiance and I got a new oven installed in our apartment this morning, and if you follow me on Twitter, this is not news to you, but if you don't, let me catch you up:

This was super exciting because our oven was pretty old and temperamental (in a bad way) and while I loved that it had character, that character was a bit frustrating, so getting a new (used) oven was hopefully going to drastically improve things so that I could bake even more things, and pretend to be a cheeky British person in a tent on the grounds of some castle somewhere hoping to win a cake plate. A girl can dream...

So this morning, my mood was this:

 

Everything was going according to plan. Until I got hungry and decided to make a pot of macaroni and cheese (the lunch of adults) while simultaneously attempting to bake a lemon poppyseed bread loaf. I think it was the multitasking that was really the problem. That and the fridge magnets... Allow me to explain...

You see, we have these magnets on the fridge that double as chip clips, and they are very handy at holding cute pictures of nieces, but my cookbook wasn't staying open to the right page and I desperately needing something clippy to fix that. So there it was, the clip I needed, dutifully sitting on the fridge, holding an adorable photo of Fiance's niece. I needed the clip.

So I unclipped the picture and attempted to set it on top of the fridge temporarily, but then a breeze came in through the window or maybe I didn't actually set the picture far enough away from the edge of the fridge or something, but either way, the picture fell. We don't need to start pointing fingers as to who is responsible here.

It should be noted that the fridge is right next to our new oven that I was so excited to use, and the pot of water for the mac and cheese was boiling on the burner that is closest to the fridge.

So Fiance's little niece fell from atop the fridge and down to.... well...

Luckily, she did not land in the pot of boiling water. Unluckily, she did land in a way that her arm was maybe too close to the burner.

Okay, fine, her arm was touching the burner.

Me: AH!!!

Fiancé: (from the next room) What happened?

Me: Nothing... everything is fine!

Fiancé: ...I don't believe you.

Me: Don't come in here!

Fiancé: ...why?

Me: Because I may or may not have set your niece on fire!

Fiancé: What?! HOW?!?

Me: WHY DO YOU ALWAYS ASK SO MANY QUESTIONS?!

Needless to say... I don't think I'll be asked to babysit at his sister's house for a while...