Wednesday, January 27, 2016

The Hype About Creativity

As I was waiting for my boss to give me information to complete I project I was working on for a meeting today, I took random test on Facebook.  You know that kind of test...the one that will force spam into your inbox that you'll never get rid of.

It said: "This test will show you who you really are".  The title was "this fascinating test will reveal your true personality."  I figured, what the hell...I'm game.  

The test consisted of a dozen or so questions with images that you needed to match to a question.  The first question: which photo makes you feel hopeful?  Some pretty good images like a child on a swing, a sunset, a butterfly...    I actually picked the sunset...just because the sunset means the end of the day and that means I'm done with work.

The second question: Which photo makes you think of you family.   A field, a pile of clean laundry, a lab, a front door, a dinner table, and a chocolate cake.  First of all, my mind immediately went to cake, probably because my friend Sandie was talking about chocolate cake porn this morning.  Then to the dinner table, because frankly that's were we are actually a family (unless we are out at a restaurant, then we are all usually glued to our phones until the waitress decides to grace us with her presence.  Before I chose the dinner table, I saw the basket of clean laundry and realized this test was shit because no way is there any family associated with clean laundry. Forget it.  Our family is associated with a basket full of dirty clothes in our hallway, one in our bedroom and some random socks under beds....let us not forget about the pile of clothes that are on our basement floor because every time I think about doing them I'm out of laundry detergent.  Real life people.

The third question: which image makes you feel anxious?  A wedding ring, a scale, a crying baby...nope all good there.  Get to the image of the 'payment due' image, and my palms start to sweat.  Only's not quite that bad.  I've realized, though, that my parents were liars when they said there was a money tree in the backyard.  The only thing in our back yard is dog crap.

Skipping four and moving to five, which photo scares you the most?  Hands down, the porcelain doll.  Who in the fuck ever thought porcelain dolls were cute?  Some psychopathic nut job, that's who.

Keep skipping and the ninth picture is of a busy intersection with about a thousand people walking around.  The question; how does this picture make you feel?  From the looks of it, it's somewhere in Tokyo...I'm just ball-parking location based on some of the billboards and the word on a building that says Tokyu.  I could be totally off base.  The words associated with the picture? Confident, Overwhelmed, Lonely, Shy.  I chose lonely only because being the introvert I am (yes, I swear I am), I feel like I could be in that situation and not be comfortable knowing anyone there.   On the flip side, I'd probably feel a little scared too thinking that someone was going to swipe my bag and passport, and I'd be stuck in Tokyo eating food I couldn't name for the rest of my life.  But since there was no 'scared' option, lonely it is.

After finishing up, the results said I am a Creator.  (You are a Creator!)
"As the name suggests, you are a very creative, imaginative and passionate person.  You love to experiment with various forms of creations, and challenge yourself at every opportunity.  One of the most important things in your life is your alone time.  During that time, you let your mind flourish and your creativity go wild.  Without that creating outlet you could go practically insane.  Your creative nature helps you to always look at the positive side of life, always find the mental strength to move forward, and never look back."

With all this being said, I most of the time I don't feel very creative.  Yes, I take pictures.  Yes, I design.  Yes, I write.  But I can't say with confidence I am a photographer, or designer or writer.  People have bought my pictures, and I've designed plenty of marketing pieces, and now for all intents and purposes I have written a book.  Maybe I just need to get out of my own head and truly believe that I am that creative person, and no matter how many times someone criticizes my creative side and say...I'd like to see you do better.

Things the quiz got right:  Yes, I love my alone time, but not to let my mind flourish, mainly to take a nap.  Always looking at the positive things in life?  Most of the time, but sometimes life just stinks.

I've always thought my husband and our oldest were more creative than me, only because they can draw and paint, sometimes mimicking a human copy machine.  Anything I draw or paint makes it look like I've done so with my feet, upside down, while a moose is trying to hump my my leg.

But, I digress.  I'll take the 'creator' result, even if I take it again and it changes, because you know as well as I do, these tests are horseshit.

Here's the quiz if you want to take it for yourself: Your True Personality.

Monday, January 25, 2016

Why can't I just get it out?

I started three blogs today and I deleted each one because I felt like I was going to offend someone.  Why is it that I care that I might offend someone?  It shouldn't matter, right? I'm 45 years old, and am married with children. It's not like my husband or my kids will give up on me and say 'you can't say that!'   They don't really read what I post anyway.

I know that although I have a good number of Facebook friends, I can probably count on both hands the number of people that actually read my posts.  O.k., so it might be slightly more than that.

So in lieu of writing those three blogs, I'm just going to write up my pet peeve list and you can do with it what you will. These of course aren't limited to social media...this is real life people.

1) Girls that find it necessary to stick out their tongues in every fucking selfie they take.  Once, it's cute.  Two, ok, I get it.  Every picture later? I'm sick of looking at your tongue.

2) Selfies in the bathroom.  Seriously?  Do you think that a picture with a toilet is your best option?

3) Forwards about missing animals in locations where you don't even have friends or families in.  No one is seeing your post.

4) Don't tell me your going to give me details on Friday for a project due on Wednesday and make sure I don't even have it in hand by Tuesday morning.

5) No, I cannot give you every single picture I took of your family. There is a reason why I filter through the images, because some of them are bad, and it's my reputation that will get hit if those photo's get out.  I hindsight, I'm not claiming to be a professional photographer. I've taken crappy shots and posted them (sorry!).  I want you and your family to look their best, so don't ask for something that I'm not prepared to give you for free.  I told you that when we started.

6) When you are creeping in on 50, don't dress like you are a roadie for White Snake. Even surgically enhanced Tawny Kitain looks better than you today.

7) If you are underage, stop posting about how drunk you got over the weekend.  Use some common sense.  What you post will never go away, and as soon get your head out of your ass, get married and have kids, your kids will find that shit on Facebook and do the same thing you are doing. And lets not even get started on college and job recruiters. That follows you everywhere.

8) Why is it that every time I think I'm going to beat traffic, I get stuck behind the fucker that won't change lanes?

9) I won't apologize for my use of the word fuck.  Yes, I know I sound like a truck driver, but sometimes its just the best option out there.

10) I'm sorry you are struggling with your child graduating high school and can't cope with them leaving the nest.  I am too, but I am also looking forward to it.  When I cry in June it will be tears of joy, not because I'm afraid my son is leaving me and never coming back.

11) Please stop forwarding me emails, when I'm on the original string. I've already seen in, and I don't need to see it again because you are too lazy to see who the email went to.

12) Don't act like you like me, when in reality you've said shit behind my back and shared it with mutual 'friends'.  If you have something to say, say it to my face.  For Christ sake, we aren't 15 years old anymore.

13) Why have you collected ~3,000 Facebook friends?  Do you really believe that 3,000 people give a shit about what you post?  You aren't Ellen or Oprah.  Having 300 is pushing the limits on what I can handle.  Maybe your just a better person than me.

14) Don't really believe my pet peeve is about you.  You aren't that interesting.  Sorry.

15) I'm pretty good at remembering things you've told me; don't lie and tell me something else five minutes later.  

Note: related to 1 and 2, I've deleted 90% of the offenders.  So unless you are a 40-something slave to the selfie, you are probably safe.

Sunday, January 24, 2016

On Writing, Marriage and Family

So today I officially launched my first book, Raising Doug, on Amazon (Raising Doug). It's a little glimpse into what makes our marriage tick.  Doug gave me his blessing on writing it.  Actually, it was his idea.  Over four years of dating and 23 years of marriage, you become accustomed to your spouse.  The beauty of what makes our marriage work is that we are in it together.  We laugh often, even when life seems to serve up a shit sandwich.

The last few years haven't be great for us as a family.  Too many hospital visits, lost jobs, struggling to start a new business and just dealing with day to day life sometimes takes a toll on a family.   We lost Doug's dad this past year, which was devastating to our family and life after became the new normal.

The best part of the last few years, is that we did everything as a family.  Things have been changing over the last few years as our boys have grown.  Having one son getting ready to graduate college, and another graduating high school and soon going to college, our lives have changed tremendously.  There are fewer family vacations where we are all together.  It's been hard to adjust to that, but I know that it's the ultimate goal when you raise a want them to grow up and have their own lives.

I often wonder what life will be like in just a few short months when Doug and I will be the only ones left in the house.  Sure, I know that our kids will come back; and they will always be welcome.  But life as we know it will be different.  I won't have to buy seven gallons of milk a week, or worry that there are socks left in the hamper after a two-a-day football practice.   

There will be no jockeying schedules to make sure that we can accommodate everyone in the house.  There will be dinners that cost $25 and not $75, and grocery bills that are cut in half.

I will miss, though, the hugs and kisses before bed, or when we leave in the morning.  I'll miss the conversations at dinner that make us laugh until we cry.  I'll even miss being the homework Nazi.

Writing has been an outlet for me for the last few years.  There is so much I want to say but don't because I am always afraid I'm going to offend someone.  Part of the problem is that there are things people say on social media that just really piss me off.  I'm naturally inquisitive, so when I see something I don't believe, I might research it to find out the truth.  And then when I confirm my suspicions that the person that wrote it is full of shit, I get pissed.  But I always bite my tongue because I'm worried about how it will effect our kids.  Now that the boys are older, I'm starting not to care about what I say, because I'm just too old to deal with bullshit.

Some people know that I don't appreciate when people steal my work.  Even as I write this, I wonder if the person that is stealing my work, will know its them I'm talking about.  It doesn't help that that same person is a pathological liar.  It's a dreadful combination that I have to deal with daily.

Being married to someone for 23 years, you learn to be each others sounding board, and sometimes unfortunately become each others whipping post.  All too often we bark at each other after a bad day because they are the first person you see when you get home.  It's never meant to hurt, but sometimes it does.  So, sweetie, with that being said...I'm sorry.

Family is the most important thing in the world, and no matter what you are going through, you can count on them to make you smile.  Our boys are the best at making me laugh when I'm in a bad mood, sometimes even hard enough to make me pee.  Yes, sorry for that too.

I don't know what the next year will bring in my writing, let alone this little blog.  I know I'm ready to be more open and get things out there that I've bottled up.

Last week I was at the doctor as a follow up to an accident Doug and I were in four months ago.  I found out my blood pressure is high, and has been for the last three months.  I have to stop letting things get to me, because, frankly, at 45 years old, I don't want to have a heart attack.  Stress just sucks, so I will be writing more to get things off my chest.  I just can't deal with keeping it inside anymore.

So, with that being said, I'm not going to apologize if you get hit in the crossfire.  I'm entitled to my opinion, even if you think it sucks.  If you don't like what you read, by all means, stop following me.  On the flip side, if you like what I write, please share it.  I think some of my stuff is too good to not share.

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Where Are My Friends?

Is it just me, or as you scroll through your Facebook feed you are seeing less of your friends updates and more advertising, pop culture and business postings?

I joined Facebook many moons ago to keep an eye on my kids.  Don't deny it, you've done it too.  Today, I use it daily both personally and for work.  My friends know that I am a photography junkie and use it as an outlet to post pictures, as well as send updates for the boys sports teams, or post random blogs of things going on in my head (hence, this post).

As I popped on this morning after needing a break from and ad campaign I was writing, my feed was filled with everything expect friends posts.

The top 20 posts this morning came from:

Pop Sugar Moms
Club Mid
Scary Mommy
The Chive
Club Mid
The Chive
Matthew Crowley Photography
Writers Write
The Chive
Slice of Life
Adobe Stock
Illustrated Monthly
Illustrated Monthly
The Rachael Ray Show
Love this Life
A Room with a View
Club Mid
Log Homes

Not a single friend post.  Nothing from family.  Maybe I logged in too early.  Maybe every one on my friends list is actually working and not taking a five minute break from work.   Maybe, I'm just a junkie that likes to know what people are thinking about and posting about.

I know, I know.  I followed these pages.  I wanted their info.  Sometimes its just overwhelming.  Don't get me wrong...much of it is relevant.  There was a good story on Writers Write, and I like to look through Matthew Crowley's pictures.  It was intriguing to see Channing Tatum in a gown and Elsa wig singing "Let it Go", enough so I want to watch "Lip Sync Battle" to see what else he does.

The click of one button changed my feed.  If you are finding yourself losing out on what your friends are doing, in the news feed section, click most recent instead of scrolling through top stories.  You'll be glad you did.