Lately, I’ve learned a great deal about social media. As a writer and social person I thought I had it all covered. Apparently not!
Rule number one: Never have a website name with the same as your book, that is, if you plan to write more than one book. Gotcha! Kinda makes sense now I think about it. But Charlotteroth.com is taking and so far I’ve “only” written one book, so let’s keep it for now untill I come up with something better.
Rule number two: Keep your rather personal posts (about penis heads in the frozen aisle) and information about your book(s) aside.
Rule number three: Be out there! Your voice/face should constantly be seen/heard. You have an audience who (hopefully) anticipates your input. Don’t disappoint them.
Thus, I have mixed it up all a little, and as of to day I’ll be dedicating http://www.missapplepants.com to my book entirely – and as many interested, involved (and polite) people have asked; how is your book?
Great, I say – even though I from time to time get stuck in hours of rewriting (sometimes I wonder how three little (stupid) words can cause so much brain spasms….) But writing is rewriting – constantly improving, refining and adjusting the tinniest little paragraphs.
I’m on my fifth edition! Still hanging in there, but I have also started a little script project “on the side”. It’s a romance with the working title; “The image of Helen”. But if I need to follow the rules of social media as listed above, there will be a separate forum dedicated to this project as it evolves.
My official writer’s blog is now my Facebook blog: http://www.facebook.com/#!/CharlotteRothsBlog. See you there.
You spend years, money, time and effort to give your kids the best and most nutritious and organic food that’s out there. You pretty much stay clear off products that are too colorful or have an alarmingly long ingredients list (and words like Dextrin or Lecithin: WTF is that?). You drive past the drive-through’s of numerous fast food restaurants, so you can go home with all your wholly foods and spend the next two to three hours in the kitchen, making everything from scratch – head in the oven, hands in the doe, heart on your sleeve.
And then one day you – and all your good intentions- find yourself almost chocking your little one to death with a few sprays of Lysol.
Yes, Miss Self-righteous here got slobby, got lazy and grabbed one of those easy- to -clean -products and tossed it in the cart. When I looked at the nice looking label, it didn’t look that dangerous. The big soap-shaped letters said; “kills 99% of all germs.” Apparently, it was selling itself short: It could do a lot more than that.
I was in the bathroom with my two three-year-old twin girls; girls were in the shower, having fun, splashing me and the entire room with, by all means, organic bubbles. I was on the floor, spraying and cleaning their potties with my new acquired killing-germs-can.
After a few sprays, suddenly my little Olivia started coughing and wheezing. Real bad. Olivia has a history of infant asthma and has spent four times at the hospital from the age of 24 months to 30 months, breathing through an oxygen mask. Of course, I already envisioned myself and her back in those cold and clean (Lysol) smelling rooms. I instantly looked at the can. Still, it looked pretty harmless. It only said to watch out for getting it into one’s eyes.
I looked at my poor soaking wet and wheezing girl and called for my husband to grab her while I called the pediatricians office right away. They told me to call 911 immediately.
I don’t know if you have ever had anyone tell you to call 911 immediately but I can assure you; the moment she said those words I started balling. It almost feels like a death sentence. So I called 911 and five minutes later, the cul-de-sac was crowded with ambulances, a fire truck and at least a dozen men in black.
Thank God, everything turned out okay; after half an hour the worst part was over. As one of the paramedics said; (well, I wasn’t really paying attention to him, so pardon my poor replication) when something ‘bad’ enters your system, your body instantly forms mucus, so you’ll start coughing and fight whatever is trying to interfere with your airway. Pretty smart, but also pretty freaking scary when you see your little precious girl lying on the couch, lethargic, coughing and having a hard time breathing.
A few hours later she was up and running, she had dinner and then slept like a baby all night (I, on the other hand, had a hard time sleeping, thinking that I was the one who did this to her). When she woke up and looked at me with her big blue eyes this morning, I almost balled again. Kids are so fragile and life as we know it could change just like that. I grabbed her little tiny hand, and together we went to the kitchen and made organic oatmeal and applesauce, her favorite, for breakfast.
As for the killer-can. Needless to say; I threw out the damn thing right away. And as of today I’m back, sticking to my old mantra: Do panic if it isn’t organic!
Just recently I learned a new word, i.e. my new all time favorite word: benign.
It’s not particularly beautiful to look at. It’s not very fancy to say out loud but, oh, the joy of hearing it for the first time. Oh, the power of one single word. Let’s just say I cried when I heard it.
About two months ago, I found a lump in my breast, and as a woman, we all know what that feels like. It’s not nice. It’s scary in a ‘not happening to me’ kind of way. But somehow, I was surprisingly rational about it and scheduled the first available appointment with my doctor. She pulled a few strings, and the next day I had an appointment at the mammogram center where I (and my poor breast tissue – needless to say; very stretched out tissue) went through quite a few rounds of mammograms and ultrasounds. The doctor – not quite sure what she was looking at (definitively not a lymph node, was all she could say) – wanted me to have a biopsy straight away, but since I was leaving on a jet plane the very next day, I had to wait a few weeks. Oh, the joy of waiting.
Before I got there, they had told me that it was ‘nothing’; just a little bit of poking and a little needle incision. Piece of cake, a walk in the park, hardly any discomfort or pain. Hell NO. Let’s just put it this way; it hurts like hell. I believe myself to be somewhat of a tough cookie; I don’t faint, I don’t whine, cry or get a racing heart by the sight of blood, needles etc. But, oh boy. Imagine this; you are on your side, one person in scrubs is putting a constant pressure on your breast for about thirty minutes, while the other person in scrubs is injecting, first a feet long needle into your breast, then some kind of medieval instrument, extracting tissue and making the most excruciating shooting sounds(not unlike the ones you hear when having your ears pierced.)
It was on a Friday. The sun was out. It was hot and it was horrifying. Period.
Then came Monday (believe me; it was a LONG weekend) and that’s when I heard the word, benign, for the very first time. Don’t ask me now if it was a rainy, sunny or cloudy day. For me it was a beautiful day. Beautiful and benign. And I cried for the first time since I had found the lump.
After a few weeks of bruising and thinking, I have decided to get rid of it all together. It’s harmless but it might grow, it might not, it might obscure future mammograms, it might not, but it’s there and I feel very conscious about it. It’s not likely to show (besides a small incision scar) but if it does, I might take up on my husband’s offer and get myself a new pair of voluptuous boobs. What’s the saying? When one breast closes another one opens?
Girls, girlfriends and all breast-carrying creatures; go examine yourself – yesterday!
October is breast awareness month and as the slogans suggests: Early detection is our only protection.
Take good care of your breasts.
So I spent half of my Sunday trying to come up with some fun sounding name for PMS (just to ease things of at home with my husband): ‘Please More Sun’, ‘Prove Me Sane’, ‘Precaution; Mom’s Sick’…
But nothing really seemed to work. Maybe it was because I spend the other half of the day being just that; PMS. You know, when you are in a place where the sun never shines – and I’m not talking about Seattle here nor referring to a very private part of the body – but that place where the kids are just too loud, too obnoxious, too many and where the kind words; “do you want me to massage your feet, dear?” sounds a lot like “Do you want me to hold your breasts? They sure look tired.”
“Hey, my name is Charlotte; I’m a PMSs’imist.”
I never ever would have thought that I, the always cheerful, careless, glass is always half full kind of girl, would end up being one of them; the nagging, moody, where’s the off switch-kind of woman blaming it all on a somewhat bad case of the PMS. In fact, I never really believed there was such a thing, I mean I knew it was out there, but I never really believed it to be true. I just figured that some very smart woman had made it all up just to give herself permission to be a real bitch once a month. But that was before the twins, before my body apparently had some kind of a hormonal make over.
At first, I just thought it was my body reacting to a stressful year of double breastfeeding, the hard work with two newborns (and three kids in total), double breast infection times two, four visits to the ER etc. But when I told my doctor about my symptoms, she just smiled, placed a gentle hand on my shoulder and whispered the word: ‘PMS’, then suggesting that I start tracking my mood swings (as she nicely put it; I had referred to them as times where I felt like strangling my husband). And after a few months of sporadic tracking; there it was – on paper: I was an official PMSsy woman with an urge to kill once a month. Doctor’s advice was simple; B-vitamins, exercise and staying prepared for the moody days ahead. Making it go away or controlling it not so simple.
They say that about eighty percent of all women experience some kind of PMS at some time during their menstrual cycles. That would be like eight out of my ten friends (if I even have that many?) That would in theory mean that at least two of us (still, if I have ten friends) are being PMSsy right now, at this very moment. That would also mean that right now at least one husband, one child, one co-worker, one poor cashier, teacher, mom, mother-in-law, sister, neighbor or friend is being harassed, given the eye, yelled at, fired, talked back to, snapped at or even killed (in the mind).
I actually remember this woman in England who allegedly killed her husband under the influence of PMS and somehow got off the hook because of it. I remember thinking how far out! But with a few years of a mild case of the PMS behind me, it now all makes perfectly sense to me. I’m not saying I’m going to kill my husband, on the contrary; he might be the one killing me one day because of it and I would forgive him too, you know. It can be that bad some days and I do feel so guilty, embarrassed and deeply ashamed every time I can have a fit over absolutely nothing. Nada. Zip.
But on my good PMS days I’m happy to say that I can actually laugh immediately after I have just snapped at my husband for bringing me the world’s best latte in bed and a ‘good morning, sleeping beauty’ – killing me softly with his words.
I promise him every time that I will eventually learn how to control my crazy and rude raging female hormones, and I hope I will. Because let’s face it; It’s here and it happens every three weeks for the rest of our lives, that is; one third of our lives! Hey, I think I just found the name for it – and in an upscale F-word version too: Phucking Mood Swings. No more, no less.
There is still a lot of confusion as to whether the official week starts on Sunday or Monday. For many years it was Sunday; historically, Saturday is the Sabbath and therefore the 7th day, the day of rest and thus, according to the Bible, the last day of the week. Consequently, Sunday would be the first day of the week. But with the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) making Monday the official first day of the week, I guess, it’s now Monday.
But I say you can choose any day you like; Mondays for workaholics, Fridays for alcoholics, Sundays for footballholics. Your choice.
However, my week starts and ends with Thursday as in trash day. It’s just the perfect day to pick – so symbolic and visibly different from any other day with hoards of dirty crows (flying rats, as my friend Rachel calls them), squirrels and other trash eating animals hovering around the yard like a group of paparazzi’s trying to get a snap at some famous cellulite thigh gone on vacation somewhere. But it’s not just the presence of a thousand Hitchcock paparazzi birds; it’s also the familiar sound of people pushing and pulling trash cans the night before, the scattering of empty milk bottles, beer cans and empty boxes that didn’t make it all the way to the truck and the thousands and thousands of green, blue and grey trash cans along the streets. It all adds up and it’s all such a clear sign of something literally ending. And when the trash guy turns that corner; bingo my week starts all over.
It’s a kind of a hate and love thing; some days it is actually quite comforting to know that this is what happens every single week, that the trash is actually being picked up. And sometimes (when I’m in one of my moods as in life is fucking bizarre and we do the same never ending things like taking out the same fucking trash every single fucking Thursday-kind of moods), I find it utterly boring; week after week after week, I carry the same trash can out, almost with the exact same trash in it and every Thursday the same trash truck comes around and leaves me with an empty can just so we can fill it with the same stuff etc.
Sometimes I try to spice it all up a bit and NOT bring out the trash cans until the very last minute I hear the truck turning the corner. It gives me about a minute and thirty five seconds (I have timed it, of course). It’s a race against time, against trash, against stupid predictability. I know, it’s silly but it gives me something else besides endless routines and everyday life in Suburbia.
But maybe, instead of racing a trash truck down the streets like some crazy bitch – wearing three loaded trash cans and slippers – I should just learn to accept that being a mother of three and living the Suburban life is not all about rock and roll and living every day like it was your last one. With kids you need a minimum amount of structure, schedules, routines, everyday life, and yes, even trash, and I guess that is not that bad? But why am I so afraid to succumb to this? Why am I so afraid of everyday life? It’s not like I’m going to lose my soul to the Everyday devil if I learn to live with it over even like it. Will I? Maybe I just need to put on a totally different perspective on things – maybe I should start seeing it in a ‘trash can halfway full’ instead of a ‘trash can halfway empty’ way? Cause what if the trash guy didn’t come every week on the exact same day? Then we wouldn’t know when to get out the trash out and then where would we be? We would still be in suburbia with our perfectly average lives but we would be surrounded by tons of stinking trash and stinking rats (not the flying kinds). Hem…
Maybe I just need to pick a new day as the first day of the week, maybe Tuesday. Why? Because it’s in between Monday and Wednesday. Doesn’t that just sound both thrilling and adventurous at the same time?
Gotta run – gotta take out the trash. I’ve got a minute and thirty five seconds
Not being born and raised in the US probably explains at least one aspect of me not fully understanding the whole nicknaming thing in the US.
Though, in primary school in history class, running through all of the forty something US presidents, I did come across the weird naming phenomena, when I realized that John had to be Jack, Bobbie was Robert, Jimmy was James, Bill/Will is William, and Teddy was both a nickname for a fluffy animal and Theodor Roosevelt.
Don’t get me wrong, I think it’s cool with all the different and somewhat creative nicknames, but it’s also rather confusing for an outsider; apart from a few letters being the same in both names, the two names have absolutely nothing in common. And if you add the whole Junior-senior nickname thing too then things can get really crazy at the Thanksgiving table: “Will Junior, will you please pass the sauce to Bill senior, sitting next to William Junior and his wife and son, Bill junior.” Say what?
And then there is Richard; Richard as in Dick. Honestly, Dick?
I wish someone could have caught me on film the first time I encountered a ‘DICK’ (but of cause back then there were no Iphones, no Facebook, no Youtube. Thank God).
I was on my ever first trip to the USA, working as a Camp counselor all summer of 1990, in Hartford Connecticut. The first week of staff camp, we had all been invited to the private house of our camp manager, whose name I can’t remember (I sure would have remembered had it been a female equivalent for Dick). But we come to her house and are greeted by her husband; a very nice looking guy in his fifties with a big black beard and very friendly looking eyes. As a polite girl I introduce myself and give him my hand. He gives me a warm smile and says the word. One word. One embarrassing word (for a nineteen year old student, who apparently has never heard the nickname for Nixon).
“Dick,” he says like it’s the most natural thing in the world.
Not knowing what to say back I just smile and look around at all the other staff members to see if I was the only one who just heard this nice grown up man say DICK?
Well, I guess I was since no one really seemed to react to the ‘Dick’ thing, so I figured that either I had got it all wrong or that was actually the man’s name. But why would anyone refer to themselves as Dick? I didn’t get it – even though some guy later that night explained how the nickname is derived from the Normans in Medieval times or something (his dad was a Dick too). Still I didn’t get it.
And I still don’t. Why would you call yourself DICK?
Wouldn’t people look weird at me if I all a sudden decided to get myself a new nickname and went around saying “Hi, my name is Charlotte but do please call me Vagina Junior. Everyone else does.”
‘Why Junior?” People with a good sense of humor would probably ask. And I would tell them; “Vagina Junior after my dad; Dick Senior.”
So this very bald guy comes up to me by the frozen aisle at Whole foods, points at Emma and Olivia sitting next to each other in the cart and says. “Are they twins?”
For those of you who have never seen my twin girls; let me give you a visual: They couldn’t be more identical; they have the exact same long hair, same blue eyes, same square face, same height, same same same. In other words; you are not far from seeing double when you look at them.
Da! I say (not out loud (I hope)) and give him a somewhat weird smile. “Ehhh, yes.”
What I should have said was; “What do you think? Let me give you a hint: They look like Thing one and Thing two, they were born really really close to each other, like two minutes apart, at the same hospital in the same OR. What do you think?”
Then after we get that sorted out, it gets even worse – or should I say rude – with his next comment: “You know what’s so scary?”
“No,” I say – almost adding ‘that you are still here asking silly questions?’
“My wife is pregnant,” baldy continues, “and we just had an ultrasound the other day and, holy shit, for a moment there we thought we were having twins. But thank God, we are not. That sure would have been the end to our marriage, no offense,” he says looking at my identical off springs.
Again I give him the weird smile not knowing what to say, but what I really want to say this time is that I think he looks way too old for having a child in the first place, but I don’t cause my girls are watching me and I want my kids to grow up and be nice to OLD PEOPLE.
I’m not saying it isn’t fun to make bad jokes and make fun of people behind their backs, hell it is. But it’s not the same as passing a woman on the street with a really bad haircut and say, ‘hey I almost went for a cut like yours, but boy, I’m happy my hairdresser talked me out of it. It sure sucks.’
Or whispering to the guy standing in front of you at the store – with his wife next to him; “I really feel for you, man. I mean; having to wake up looking at that ugly face every single morning. Bummer.”
So, next time Mr. Penis Head comes around saying rude things about me and my family, I’ll tell him what I was told growing up: If you don’t have anything nice to say to people then don’t – or even better; lie and smile. That’s what I always try to do every time I bump into some weirdo in the frozen aisle.
Whereas a writer’s block is defined by the inability to write, a writer’s blog is quite the opposite; Here all rules are off and you can write pretty much what you want without having to think about strong character buildings, plot consistency, structure, time frames etc.
So while I’m waiting for my editor* to hit me in the head with 242 pages of bad spelling and weird copy paste errors, I will keep myself busy “just writing”.
Welcome to yet another blog of bloggers.
* I know it’s sounds rather fancy, but she is an editor and she is editing my book, and I guess that would make her my editor.