Ever notice that lately, most of my posts on here are “Here’s why I don’t post lately.”
Yeah, me too.
I worry I’ve run out of steam with this blog. I still have so much I want to say, but … this just doesn’t feel like the right place to say it. I’ve always been a big fan of “If you are on the internet, there’s no point in being anonymous.” And I stand by it — but sometimes this blog feels more like a liability than a sounding board.
There’s just so much … baggage. Am I an advice column? A lifestyle blog? A personal blog? How does this reflect on my career as a social media marketer? Do I have to make sure I have everything totally up to snuff, otherwise my career is DOOMED? Does it matter?
But then I get re-inspired. Someone (usually a friend of a friend) will read my old posts, and I’ll get all sorts of emails telling me how brilliant and funny I am. I should write a book! Star in a sitcom!
They’re right! I totally should. But … with a looming $200 hosting fee, I think I need to give up the ghost. I’ll still write for YouShouldOnlyKnow.com, but I made the switch away from self-hosting. This means totally nothing to you, the reader. But to me, it’s kind of admitting that this blog isn’t my primary hobby any more.
Maybe it will be be once again, when things with my family calm down (but really — I mean, you’ve read the blog. That’s not likely to happen!), or maybe when I don’t have a million other competitions on my time, or when I think there’s something worth saying whose story doesn’t rely on me telling someone else’s story.
Either way, I’m still here. And I hope that by reducing the pressure on myself, you’ll see more of me! But I also hope that some of you will follow me to a personal finance blog that I’ve been writing in my head (and hasn’t been named yet — suggestions welcome!), and maybe on my journey to actually be published other places that aren’t here.
Who knows! But thanks for believing in me. I’ll be funny again one day. Maybe.
Proving once again that I even more awkward in real life than I am on the internet.
There I was, finishing up some consulting work with a new client. I had some one-on-one time with the young and talented community manager that I’ll be working with, and we were informally chatting and wrapping up. She expressed some concern that her primary market — mommy bloggers — would be upset or react negatively upon finding out that she was young, queer, and childless. I reassured her that as long as she was open and transparent, this wouldn’t be the case, and I used myself as an example.
I explained that the entire marketing department at our mom-focused company was currently without children. Then, in the oppressive heat of the NYC evening, I casually placed my hand closer to my body, to pick my too-tight dress away from my sweaty body, I remarked that, that was changing soon, and we were expecting our first child shortly.
She looked confused, and congratulated me. I thanked her.
I of course, was referring to our first department baby. A colleague is pregnant and due within a few weeks. But that’s totally not what I just said. I just told someone I was expecting a child, the implication clear that it was my own. And I didn’t really know how to fix it. I pulled my hand away from my stomach, and made some sort of mumbling comment about being really excited for her. And I tried to change the subject. Maybe I didn’t really say what I think I said?
But I totally did. I inadvertently claimed someone else’s child. And after some debate, and fear that I would eventually be once again called out as pregnant when I wasn’t, I wrote the most awkward email ever, telling a professional contact that I wasn’t, in fact, pregnant.
… this is why I work online.
Today has been pretty much non-stop. In no particular order of importance — the high (and low) lights of my day. I cried at about a good half of these bullets. Some of them happy tears.
- For the first time ever, the dog woke me up at 5am and needed to go out NOW. She was super sick. I have been up since 5am, and have taken her on a billion walks since then, called the vet, etc. She’s fine now — probably just ate something gross. I cooked her chicken and rice. I now fear she will fake tummy aches.
- I learned that you can’t just “eyeball” rice. Measurements exist for a reason.
- The SCOTUS overturned parts of DOMA! Marriage equality takes some GIANT leaps forward. Big happy tears here.
- Visited a medical nutritionist. For a few reasons, but the general gist of the whole thing — I’m going to go Gluten Free. And try to break my sugar addiction, but I think that’s probably tied in to gluten free. I’m optimistic about this, but … I feel like I just became a statistic of some sort. This also probably means I need to really hone those cooking skills and … learn to measure.
- Learned that the world has one less adorable, beloved dog in it. A good friend of mine had to say goodbye to his best friend, and it’s just heartbreaking. More big tears here, and none of them happy.
- I got a totally out of the blue email from a beloved former professor of mine, asking questions about an archaeology exhibit I helped put together almost 9 years ago. Just did a double take at the sender and subject line.
- Got some wonderful advice from another friend of mine — kind of a kick in the butt I need to really double down on my career, and get my name and face out there.
- Received two pairs of Crocs I purchased. I somehow feel the need to come clean about this.
- I blogged. Yay!
Just a very long, strange day. Such extreme highs and sad lows.
Please leave a comment with: your favorite easy-to-make healthy meal that doesn’t involve gluten, some support for my love of Crocs, your own high point of the day, proof that you’ve hugged a furry friend and/or offering me the opportunity to write or speak about social media, integrated marketing, digital strategy or community management.
I know this will come as a shock, but I’ve always been a bit of a nerd. I’m also a little insecure (I know, I should have warned you to sit down before all of these revelations…), so one of my favorite things as a kid was … report card time!
A few times a year, I got feedback. I got to read, in black and white, what someone of authority thought of me. I got to see if my strengths and weaknesses were recognized, and best of all? There was always a comment section. Someone had to think and write, usually positive things, what they thought about me. Even just thinking about it now makes me giddy.
Some of the joy came from being a quiet, shy, book-smart nerd and knowing that most of it was going to be positive and that teachers loved me. My grades were generally good – so nothing on the report card was ever a shock, and even when I did poorly – my low grade was expected (I’m looking at you, 11th grade pre-cal).
But once you graduate school (and really – elementary school ….) that kind of feedback falls off. Sure, you still get grades, but those handwritten notes about how lovely it was to have me in the class, and the common refrain of wishing I’d work to my full potential — became a thing of the past.
So, what’s a nerdy, insecure adult to do? What clear-as-day metric can do look forward to?
Performance Evaluations! YAY!!!
I’ve been lucky that,,with one major exception, to always have had good or great managers. I have frequent check ins, and just like that 4th grader – I generally know where I stand. But damn if I’m not still addicted to the report card.
I just had my first performance evaluation at the new job, and it was heaven. I expected it to be positive, and it was, but what I really enjoyed was the perfect mix of a great boss, actual “letter” grades and a copious amount of “Erica masterfully does X, Y, Z” and “Erica is a creative thinker who has already contributed A, B, C” — it was just what I needed.
Even the parts that weren’t so positive were expected (because I have a great boss), and I have a clear path to improvement. Just the way it should be.
So, in between official performance evaluations, and subtle begging for positive, written feedback, I’ll have to content myself with hoping that people are inspired to write me an endorsement on LinkedIn (does anyone else love those as much as I do? God, I’m such a narcissist…), and reading my dog’s daily report card from the dog-sitter.*
Do you love performance evals and report cards as much as I do?
*Yes, I seriously check it every single day. I’m such a proud and pathetic dog mom.
For the past few months, I’ve wanted to write. I have ideas for posts, I semi-draft them on my phone and I promise myself they’ll make an appearance. Last week I actually even took the time to start “drafts” for each of the ideas, hoping that they would eventually magically prompt me into writing them.
It hasn’t happened. Why? I’m not sure. Part of it is feeling overwhelmed, and so far behind and that my next post has to be something big. And the other part of it is that well — this was a “lunchtime” blog and … I’m really, really busy at work. Lunchtime just doesn’t happen. And by the time I get home? The last thing I want to do is sit in front of a computer again. But, Frank just got me an awesome iPad, so maybe that will help?
In any case, instead of these half-formed thoughts sitting in drafts waiting for their Big Moment, here’s a brain dump about what I’m thinking about this week – in no particular order, some of them to be fleshed out later, some to be totally forgotten about..
- Mom’s awesome recovery from a total left-side hip replacement.
- A lot about personal finance. My own, and an interesting upcoming project in which I will likely have another blogging project to neglect/obsess/feel guilt over.
- Designing the above-mentioned blog, and redesigning this one – hopefully with the help of the talented Carolann from Wonderpug.
- Pinterest – my aspirational soul laid bare.
- My forays into the world of slow cooking.
- What I’m going to make for a vegetarian, Valentine’s Day-themed potluck lunch for 6 co-workers for lunch. Suggestions welcome!
- How I became a somewhat confused and begrudging pro-gun ally and supporter. And why I am so, so, so tired of the whole debate. Both sides. Any sides. Please everyone, please stop.
- The hypocrisy of outrage resulting from a transgender teacher who was fired from a Catholic school. (The church is against gay marriage and .. being gay in general – but y’all thought they’d be totally cool with someone who is transgender? Pfft.)
- Is LASIK right for me, or am I giant wuss?
- I want to make an “Escape from NY/Before I evetually/likely leave/What I take for granted” bucket list.
- Professor Erica? I’m thinking about finding some sort of conference or even continuing ed program where I can teach social media marketing to beginners/older people/small business owners.
- The wedding. I want to organize pictures, make an album for myself, an album for mom and an online album. And put something up on the blog!
Okay. Open thread! What’s on your mind?
I don’t know how normal people figure out what to eat each day, but I know that no matter what I had planned, no matter how virtuous or delicious — all I have to do is read about something — and it all changes. A description of an apple, or someone describing a delicious grilled cheese sandwich, or even a character eating some McDonald’s … it triggers a craving that could last for days. Sadly, I read a lot more about cookies, pies and fast food than I do about grilled salmon and steamed veggies. I should probably read more fitness magazines, but knowing me, my food craving would be triggered more by the “before” food instead of the “healthy makeover version.”
Anyway, I’ve just finished a pretty good book called The Last Chinese Chef. I don’t know if I loved the book, but I did love the detailed descriptions of authentic Chinese banquets. And one thing they keep stressing is that American Chinese food is nothing like it. Which of course, I knew. But man, it’s killing me. Especially knowing I live in NYC – subway stops away from Chinatown, which has to at least have a close approximation, and yet — I fear that without a Chinese friend guiding me, I’ll never have the experience I crave. The closest I can think of to the kinds of food they describe in the book is a Vegetarian Dim Sum place that I love. So, I’ll go there but … I really need to expand my social circle.
Any suggestions? If you were a white chick trying to order semi-authentic food at a Chinese restaurant and knew you were going to get a watered-down American version anyway — what would you order? Any NYC foodies with a recommendation for a restaurant or want to go for dinner?
Frank and I are married. There’s no waiting and wondering when he’ll propose, or thinking about planning a wedding. No anxious saving for a party, or lists of crafty projects that need to be made. I’m not worried about finding “the dress” or stressing about fitting into it. It’s done – it’s fabulous. The last thank you cards have been mailed, and now I just get to enjoy the pictures when they come in.
I have a new job. One I hope to stay at for a very long time. I’m not wondering where I’ll be working, or how long I’ll have to stay at a job I don’t like. I know what I do for a living, and I know how to do it well. I’m not revising resumes or writing cover letters.
School? An advanced degree? Not really even a thought at the moment. I’m not studying for any tests, or worrying about additional deadlines.
I’m not stressed about money. I mean – I am. I always am. But at the end of the day, there’s money in our accounts. Our financial goals are longer term; retirement, paying off student loans. A new car, a down payment. I don’t have to freelance, or think about a side-hustle. And if I do –it’s extra –a way to get to a goal quicker, not to fill in a gap.
My family is stable. Obviously, there are issues. Stories about Flo stopped being funny a long time ago. Relations with my littlest sisters are tenuous. My sister is having a rough patch, and I’m worried about my mom’s upcoming surgery and if I can get my other grandmother into assisted living. But – we’re stable. I’m learning to deal with the constant ache that is missing my dad.
The horizon looks bright. We have so much to look forward to – eventual babies, a theoretical house, a potential move, Frank’s graduation and becoming a real dual-income family. I still have goals and plans for growth – professionally, health-wise and other, but I know where I’m headed and have a good idea about how to get there.
Obviously, anything can change in an instant. People get sick, have accidents, lose jobs, divorce – I know all of that. But for now? It’s quiet. This quiet, golden time is almost like a gift. And I couldn’t be happier.
We’re doing great. It’s been a long storm – both waiting for it, the anticipation, the preparing and the getting through it. We packed, we battened down the hatches, and we prepped to get through it together. And in the end, there were some rough winds, and a little damage — but we still have light, and electricity and we’re totally, totally fine.
Only part of that was a metaphor.
Eva, Frank and I are safe. I’m working from home, Eva is excited to have us both in the house and we’re going to make a food run soon.We’re totally out of cookies. We are watching the destruction on TV and online and it’s surreal — just a few miles away, here we are – warm and safe, and there are those that lost so much. Heartbreaking.
As I was falling asleep last night in my warm, comfy bed (a new king-size foam mattress — which Eva still manages to take over…), I also thought about how lucky I was to have such a great new job that is a seemingly perfect fit. Not only do I love what I do, and the people I get to work with — I was thinking about some of the potential alternatives I had throughout the year. I could have still been working for a hospital, and I had opportunities both with the MTA and with a popular and awesome airline. And during this storm, any of those would have been … awful.
I’m right where I should be. And I couldn’t be happier.