Oh what a week it has been...

So if you are fiercely dedicated to this blog (and why wouldn't you be? It's basically the best thing on the Internet. ...right?) then you noticed that I didn't post a single thing last week. 

And none of you panicked.

Which I assume means that you all were following my Instagram story very closely and you knew how insanely busy I was at a work conference. 

But you have no idea...

Let me take you through my week of absolute insanity: 

Monday: Woke up at 2am to drive to the airport for my 5:40am flight. Luckily the whole WHO AM I debacle got solved in the nick of time, so I ended up making it through security no problem. 

At 11am, I checked in at my hotel in Memphis and promptly NAPPED MY BUTT OFF. It was glorious.

Monday Night-Thursday Night was spent LEARNING ALL THE THINGS AND MEETING ALL THE OTHER BOOKSELLERS AND AUTHORS IN THE LAND AND IT WAS GLORIOUS AND THE MR REALIZED MY EXTREME AWESOMENESS: 

The Mr reacted appropriately when he found out I met @hankgreen. #wi13

A post shared by Emelie Samuelson (@awkwardlyaliveblog) on

It was amazing. And exhausting. But mostly amazing.

Friday: Flew home. Read three books. Very happy.

Saturday: Back to work at the bookshop all day and then immediately after work I went up the street to the church where The Mr and I run the youth group. Saturday night was, of course, our annual overnight lock-in. We "slept" for maybe 5 hours. Maybe. Once again, things were amazing and exhausting.

Sunday: Up at 7am to make breakfast for 15 teenagers before church - skipped out of church early to head to the bookshop where I was hosting a dinosaur themed birthday party for a dozen toddlers. This is when things REALLY get crazy.

The birthday party was scheduled for 12-2pm. So imagine my surprise when all of the guests show up at 11am. 

Me: Hi!

Birthday boy's grandmother: Hi!

Me:  So... I had noon?

Her:  Oh no. I sent out invitations that said 11-1...

Me: Great!

So... cut to a dozen phone calls to reschedule the pizza delivery and also to get the birthday boy here on time, which was harder than one would think, since his mother wrote down that the party started at 1. 

YEAH. 

Did I mention how little I had slept at that point? VERY LITTLE. 

But somehow, it happened. It happened in a blur, but it happened. The pizza showed up at noon instead of 1pm, the birthday boy got there by 11:20, and I went to bed at 3pm and I think I might still be sleeping now as I type this. 

All I know is that it's good to be done with it all and back to blogging with you wonderful people. 

Good night. 

Surround yourself with brilliance.

The other night my writing group held a reading at a local restaurant to honor the memory of a long-time member who recently passed away and to honor the work and life of one of the founding members who is moving away shortly. It was all very sad and very humbling, but also incredibly uplifting and joyous. This writing group, The No Name Writing Group, has been meeting for over thirty years and is more talented than most of its members care to admit or realize. I half-joke a lot about how I'm waiting for them to realize how much of a fraud I am and kick me out. It's not because I don't think I'm a good writer, I think I can put words together just fine, but when I hear their work every month it's hard not to think that I don't belong.

But then I realized something: I'm becoming a better writer every day and it's because of this group. I actually don't think of myself as a complete hack anymore and it's because of this group - and it's not because they are constantly telling me I'm brilliant (although they do try and remind me of it when I need it most), but it's because they are brilliant and I think that it's finally rubbing off on me to some extent.

So this is what I'm here to really say:

  1. Don't surround yourself with people you think you're just as good as, or better than. If you really want to get better at what you do, surround yourself with people who blow your freaking mind.
  2. When you find those people who manage to make you say "Crap, I've got some work to do," make sure that they're people who will love and support you as you work on your projects. There's nothing worse than a brilliant jerk, and they should be avoided as much as possible.

And finally, I want to share the work of some of these brilliant people with you. Please go and read their stuff and bookmark it and tell them how much you love them.

Davyne Verstandig: http://www.davyneverstandig.com/

Karen LaFleur: http://www.lafleurartworks.com/

Merima Trako: http://www.worldaccordingtoblam.com/

This amazing short story by Tom Lagasse: https://www.femininecollective.com/beyond-the-finish-line/

And Tom's website, too!: www.tomlagasse.com

(They don't all have websites, but if I'm missing any, I'll update this list as I go!)

Holy Crap This Thing Is Awesome #3: Stress and Joy with Sabrina

Earlier today, after wrapping up my NaNoWriMo word count for the day, I rewarded myself with some time to catch up on some of my favorite YouTubers. If you watch the vlogbrothers channel, you know that Hank just had a baby and is on paternity leave (yay fatherhood!), so on Fridays, his usual videos are being taken over by the lovely Sabrina from Nerdy and Quirky, and her debut video in this slot was AMAZING.

I'll let you take a moment and watch it right now. In fact, I'll join you.

 

I love everything about this.

Yes, stress can be a bad thing, but... what I love about Sabrina's point is that stress, like fat, comes in good and bad forms.

I am the type of person who performs well when time is of the essence. For example, I've set a goal for myself to write a blog post every Friday, and I'm holding myself to that goal while also trying to attempt NaNoWriMo, while still working a full time job, and working with teens twice a month for a few hours at a time and planning a wedding and saving up to buy a house (or maybe build one) and taking care of a really smart and active dog and reading more and trying to also spread joy and happiness and good vibes in one of the undoubtedly negative periods of our country's recent history. And then there are all the shows on Netflix to catch up on. It's exhausting.

But Sabrina made me realize that if I was doing none of these things, if I was just sitting around and drinking coffee and working on nothing, I would feel no reward. I would get none of the joy that blogging and noveling and bookselling and the wedding planning and everything else brings me.

Good things take work to create, but it's good work. It's fulfilling work -- and when you've worked really hard to get something good, that thing feels so much better.

I'm so glad that I watched this video today and was reminded that some forms of stress are worth having. They are the fires under our asses to get us moving towards the joy in our lives.

So the next time that you're sitting at your desk, wanting to tear your hair out because STUFF ISN'T HOW YOU WANT IT RIGHT NOW, just take a moment and remind yourself why you sat down there in the first place and try to smile even though your blood pressure is rising. Think about what it is you're working towards and why this will all be so worth it.

And remember, you can do it. I believe in you.

Speaking of which, what are you working on that's a source of good stress in your life? Tell me about your happy projects in the comments and let's support each other through it all!

Spread joy, everyone.

*This is an installment of the Holy Crap This Thing Is Awesome series in which I pick one thing that I am loving right now and I tell you all about it because I want more people to be aware of the existence of that person or thing. I do not get paid for these and I pick them purely based on my own interest in them. 

Growing up does not have to be boring.

I am an adult, for all intents and purposes. Legally, I'm considered an adult by age alone. I can fight for our country if I want to. I can drink. I make responsible financial decisions and I'm responsible for the life of another being. People depend on me for things. But I'm also still really into having fun. Fiancé and I play videogames and board games. I read children's books and young adult books and sci-fi and all sorts of stuff like that. I buy nerdy t-shirts and think cartoons are great.

Basically, I still indulge in what some would call "childish" things. In fact, I don't just indulge in these things, but I'm openly enthusiastic about them. These are not closet hobbies. These are part of my character.

And whenever these things come up around certain people, I get these... looks. Sometimes they are looks that say, "You're such an adorable human being for your childish ways," and sometimes they say, "Okay, but seriously. When is this going to stop? When are you going to grow up already?"

And the answer to that second one is this: I already have and I constantly am.

My childlike (there is a difference, by the way, between "childish" and "childlike" and I prefer the latter) ways are things that I don't want to lose. They are the qualities that I like best about myself.

And even if you think I am just a kid in an adult's body, what is so wrong with taking a page out of their book? Kids are happy (for the most part) and they're honest. Kids are open to new ideas and they are imaginative. Kids have fun. Who ever decided that we ought to stop doing that just because a few years have passed?

So yeah, I'm growing up, but I'm still making life a fun game for myself. Cleaning the house? It's a game. I earn points. Paying taxes? My friends and I get together for a tax party and get through it as a group with fun music and alcohol (which is not for children). Voting? If we are able, We make it a group event and we celebrate afterwards.

Because life should be fun, no matter how old you are. Fun shouldn't be a special occasion, it should be a constant priority, and advancing in age shouldn't mean decreasing the amount of fun you have. In fact, it should be quite the opposite. Your job should be fun. Your friends should be fun. Your relationships should be fun.

And you know what? You're an adult. You get to decide whatever  you want to do with your life, right? So why wouldn't you choose fun?

Creepy Things My Teenage Co-Worker Said to Me

Working full-time in a bookshop provides me with almost endless entertainment. Bookish people are kind of the best people on earth, but they're also the weirdest. Okay, maybe not the weirdest, but they've at least got a category on the Wheel of Weird, which I so wish was an actual thing. This might need to be a summer project. One of my co-workers is fresh out of high school this summer and working with him is always...memorable. Don't get me wrong, there are definite upsides to having a teenage employee. He does all the lame tasks that none of us want to do, like breaking down boxes or helping customers, and while most teenage employees have a tendency to play games at work or sleep or text, my teenage co-worker has discovered a new way to pass the time at his job: Mess with Emelie's mind. This is great because I'm not already a little off my rocker, so I needed a good push in that direction.

Me: Hey, dude, there's a bunch of boxes to break down out back, could you take care of that when you get a chance?

TC: Sure.

Me: Thanks.

TC: ...

Me: ...everything okay?

TC: ...If I came back with blood on my hands and shirt would that disturb you?

Me: ...what.

Ten minutes later

TC: That box screamed as I cut its throat. How does that make you feel?

Me: Dude. There are children in this store right now! What is wrong with you?

TC: So... disturbed, then?

 

This week from my teenage co-worker-

After minutes of working in silence...

TC: Hey... 

Me: (typing away at the computer and not looking up) What do you need?

TC: Would it freak you out if you showed up at work tomorrow only to find out that I never existed?

Me: (stopping everything and making very direct eye contact) Why would you ever say that to someone? That is terrifying.

TC: (walking away and shrugging) Can you trust your own mind?

Me: We both know that I can't! I will get you back for this...

 

The Guy Was Probably Just Impressed with/Jealous of My Old Lady Impression.

Good morning, Duckies!! So yesterday at work, I had a very strange series of conversations...

Phone rings

Me: Thank you for calling The Book Shop! This is Emelie.

Older Woman: Yes, Hi! Is Michael there?

Me: Oh, I'm sorry. He doesn't work here anymore.

OW: I'm sorry?

Me: He no longer works here. He quit about a year ago.

OW: But... he just called me this morning to tell me that my book is in...

Me: He did?

OW: Yes! And I thought it was odd because I picked that book up weeks ago...

Me: Was it a voicemail?

OW: No.

Me: You actually spoke to him?

OW: Yes! We spoke this morning!

Me: Hm... well this is a mystery.

So, I took down her information and confirmed that she did, in fact, pick up the book in question a few weeks ago. I told her that I'd call her back if I found anything out, but otherwise, to just pretend like this whole thing never happened, which she was more than happy to do.

Me: Was Michael here this morning?

My Boss: No...

Me: You're sure?

Boss: Yes...

Me: He didn't come in to pick up a book and then... just started working? He does that, you know.

Boss: Yeah, he does do that... but I never saw him this morning.

Me: This is so weird! It's like that ghost story where the guy meets a girl and they go out on a lovely date, and then after he drives her home, he realizes that she left her sweater in his car. Being the gentleman that he is he drives back to go return the sweater, right?

My boss was staring at me with... perplexity at this moment.

Me: But then, when he gets to her house, he knocks on the door and this old lady answers. The guy is all "Hi! Is Betsy here?" and the old lady goes - and this is when I did my best old lady voice - "Betsy's been dead for ten years!" ...DUN DUN DUNNNN!!!!

At this point, my boss was cracking up and staring... past me... so then I turned around and realized that there was an elderly man standing right behind me. He had been looking through our bestsellers, but he was very clearly having a hard time keeping it together after listening to the crazy bookseller imitate old ladies in ghost stories...

So... I politely asked if I could help him find anything, which he politely refused. So I ran away to another part of the store.

Fortunately, I made my boss's day with all of that, so points for me, right? Yay!

 

In other news... 

I've auditioned for Blogger Idol! I know. This is so exciting! Hopefully I'll make it into the final 12 and then you'll all totally vote for me, right?

...right?

RIGHT??

Okay, good. :)

Anyway, this morning is not only awesome because of the audition, but it's also awesome because I woke up to a tweet informing me that I'm on "Where Bloggers Blog!"  You should totally go check out this blog if you haven't already. I often go to it when I'm daydreaming about having a real desk in a real writing studio instead of this:

photo

It's probably one of the coolest tumblrs I've seen in a really long time.

Anyway, have a wonderful weekend, Duckies!! See you on Monday!

And Then I Vlogged About My Phone Voice

That's right, Duckies - today I'm doing a Vlog. So... enjoy the awkwardness that is me on camera, because there's so much of it that it hurts sometimes... I'm not calling myself fat or anything... it was the mass amount of awkward that I was referring to... I'm sure you knew that, though.

Anyway.... Here I am in all my morning glory!

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c_E4f0xXEY4&w=560&h=315]

See you all on Monday with Episode 3 of Awkwardly Wonderful Dating Advice!!

John Hamm and I Have Weird Conversations at Work

This is legitimately a conversation that John Hamm, a few of the servers, and I had at the restaurant where we work: Co-worker: Did you know that ounce for ounce, cocaine is more expensive than gold?

Me: So is saffron.

Co-worker: Really?

Me: Yup. We Swedes use it in a lot of our Christmas baking, which is weird because it's a Spanish spice, isn't it?

John Hamm: Well, yeah, but the Vikings basically just raped and pillaged their way through the world, so that's most likely how that happened.

Me: Oh yeah... that is how we did things...

John Hamm: Yup. That's why there are so many of those red-headed Irish folk.

Me: You're welcome.

John Hamm: Aww, your ancestors raped my ancestors!

Me: Aww!

And then we hand-hugged. If you don't know what a hand-hug is, it's basically when you put your palm up to someone else's and then the two of you curl your thumb around each other's hands, as if they're hugging. Apollo taught us this one.

It's a thing. Google it.

Side-note: I would just like to note that John Hamm and I do not find rape adorable in any way, shape, or form.

Side-note to the side-note: I don't know what the different shapes of rape are, but I just want to be extra clear that I don't support any of them.

I Require Quirk in the Workplace

So, working in a bookshop means that I get to work with some of the most kindest and strangest people on earth - and I mean that in the most flattering way. My boss recently admitted that we could do with a little more quirk in the store, just to generate some personality and humor between us and the customer.

My face lit up at this suggestion. I have been pushing for quirk for years. This was the new beginning.

So some of us started spit-balling, if you will. Kelloggs decided that he'd like to put a sign underneath this book:

And then he started coming up with some more:

But then I discovered the ultimate. It's best if I just show you the emails between my boss and I...

From: Me
To: Bosslady
Subject: Re: It's a little weird, but go with me here...
Okay, so this new book just came out and it was featured on The Daily Show. It's called "Vagina: A New Biography"
Now, before you make the mistake of thinking it's a crude or comical book, it's actually super scientific and revolutionary for women and how we're built.
AND I was thinking that since it is women's month we could do a really QUIRKY display with it next to the book "Breasts"
Like this:
           
It would be awful quirky...
No? Too much? Just think about it :)
From: Bosslady
To: Me
Subject: Re: It's a little weird, but go with me here...
Too much for my first outing with quirkiness. Maybe next time.

I was so sad, but I guess I may have been aiming a little high with that one for the first go...

Feel free to send me your suggestions for quirk that we can post around the shop, as well!