Tag Archives: humor

Who’s Your Dream Author Panel?

James Rollins

Lunch with James Rollins at the Dallas / Fort Worth Writers Conference in 2012.

I’ve had the pleasure of attending several writers conferences around the country and met many great authors who I consider role models. I’m so honored to chat with folks such as James Rollins and Larry Brooks, to interview writing idols like Danielle Trussoni and Karen Abbott. I dressed alike with Jenny Lawson (AKA The Bloggess) and spoke Greek with Arianna Huffington. And I am beyond thrilled to welcome Nickolas Butler and Blair Braverman to La Crosse later this year!

Eventbrite, a company that hosts and assists with lots of great conferences and events – I’m attending several coming up including a travel writing course and a gallery reading with a medium! – asked the question “Who’s on your dream author panel?” 

I suppose it’s not practical to say ALL OF THEM!

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There’s little that fills me with as much energy as chatting with other authors. When you’re in a room surrounded by “your people,” it’s pretty awesome. And I’m grateful for every opportunity.

So honestly, many authors are on my dream panel. Those I’ve had the pleasure of meeting before and new faces as well. But if I had to narrow it down, then I’d pick from my favorite genre, memoir, and specifically those authors with the ability to infuse humor into the hardships they face.

So Universe, if you can somehow swing these folks to gather AND put me in the same room with them, I’ll keep my fangirl under control (or try to). 

David Sedaris – Me Talk Pretty One Day, Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim, Naked
Mindy Kaling – Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me?
Mishna Wolff – I’m Down
Elaine Lui – Listen to the Squawking Chicken
Caitlyn Moran – Moranifesto
Haven Kimmel – A Girl Named Zippy
Kristin Newman – What I Was Doing While You Were Breeding
Kevin Kling – The Dog Says How
Roz Chast – Can’t We Talk About Something More Pleasant?
Laurie Notaro – The Idiot Girl’s Action-Adventure Club

Ten is kind of a lot on a panel isn’t it? I don’t care. I like to dream big.

I’d love to hear the perspectives from this mix of essayists, memoirists, and graphic novelist. This panel would hold stories of coming out, cultural identity, race relations, immigration, surviving abusive relationships, feminism, dysfunctional family, living with a disability, caring for aging parents, and living paycheck to paycheck. Topics to make us feel less alone, walk in someone else’s shoes, and find the laughter in the end. Definitely my favorite genre to dive into.

Dream big! Who would be on YOUR author panel if you could choose? 

My Friend Made Me Watch Twin Peaks and Now All I Have are Questions 

My friend Heather is a smart, lovable lady who doesn’t watch a lot of movies. Ask her if she’s seen something and the answer is probably no.

A month ago, however, she messages me and tells me I need to watch the show Twin Peaks, a cult drama I had never seen. She described it as a small town murder mystery. Ok, sure, I wanna know what happened to Laura Palmer, the dead girl. I’ll watch.

So I reserve what ends up being a season one and two box set from the library, and I message Heather when it comes in so we can have a social media shared viewing party.

Only I never hear back from her.

I message her via text, I try Facebook messenger, and I tweet at her. But if Heather is bad at having seen movies everyone else on the planet has seen, she is terrible at checking social media. Like working for the CDC is so hard, Heather? Check your messages! I have questions about this melodramatic tv show you made me watch! 

So I watched all of season one and over half of season two without her. In a state of growing irritation.

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I hate this show. Now all I have are questions.

I finally heard back from Heather. Her phone died and it took days to get a new one. This loss would unhinge a social media person like myself, but Heather just went on living her life, working by day, eating pizza rolls like a boss at night, probably sketching something amazing because she is a talented artist too.

So by the time I heard back from her, I had my own melodramatic show to air. I wanted to know why she made me watch this ridiculous show.

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Here are the screenshots of our text conversation in which I tell Heather she is a terrible human being for making me watch Twin Peaks.

*Warning: if you haven’t seen the show, there are spoilers ahead.



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This song is three minutes of teenage torture. Get your shit together, Donna! This is not a healthy relationship! 


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I have questions, people! And clearly a lot of disdain and anger.

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And now I find out the show is being revived and airing on Showtime! People are eating pie and dream dancing all about it on Twitter.

Also Heather has stopped replying to my texts once again. I think the owls got her.

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Your turn. What do YOU think of Twin Peaks? 

My Husband and I Cannot Be Trusted to Pick Out “Our Song”

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Me and the Hubs

My husband and I are celebrating two years of marriage this month. And we’ve been a couple for a decade.

We should probably have a song picked out by now.

I mean, we kinda do. We have the song we first danced to. The song we sang at our wedding. We’ve recorded two CDs for family covering songs we love. Given my husband is a professional musician, there is no shortage of music in our home.

Yet, on a recent car trip, a specific song came on the radio and Joe’s eyes lit up in excitement as he said, “Do you know what this is?”

I didn’t.

“Think Tia Carrere.”

It was Dreamweaver by Gary Wright.

“This should be our song,” said Joe.

“Um, I’m not sure I agree with that. Even if it is the soundtrack for a great scene in Wayne’s World.”

I politely suggested another song.

Bird on a Wire by Aaron Neville.

And that, is when my husband gave me a look that said “we will not be figuring out what our song is today.”

Also, he was less than enthused when I started playing this song after he exited the bathroom later that day. *shrug* I still say it’s got a good groove.

What’s your song? How did you choose it?
What song recommendation do you have for Joe and I?
Because clearly, 
we can’t be trusted.

What I Was Up To While I Was Away

office selfieHi Friends,

I’ve missed you. How the heck are each of you?!

I’ve been busy working on projects. Lots of projects!

So, here’s what I was up to while I was away…

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Co-Hosting a Film Screening

That’s right! My talented and inspiring new friend, Stephanie Sharp, invited me to co-host a private screening of the indie arts collaboration film, Indie Kindred.

Are you ready to get inspired? Watch this!

The film and movement behind Indie Kindred comes from storyteller and filmmaker, Jen Lee. You might recall that name when I talked about The 10 Letters Project, which another local writer and I are emulating in a local magazine.

Indie Kindred is the story of makers paving their own paths, finding other creatives they can work with, and collaborating to make something good. Indie + Kindred + Collaboration.

So, 2 weeks ago, about a dozen of us makers (artists, designers,chefs, writers, and repurposers) met in Stephanie’s home for some good food, show and tell, a film screening and makers chat. Most of us did not know each other. Now, we’ve created our own private group of local makers online and have plans for a second gathering and retreat! Because as Jen Lee so eloquently puts it “Doing it yourself, doesn’t mean do it alone.”

Interested in hosting your own screening or meeting other makers? There’s a public facebook community for Indie Kindred!

Driftless Area Makers cover photo
A sampling of the work shown at our makers meetup.

Held Auditions and Cast a Show

Three days. Eleven hours. Almost 40 auditioners. And now…we have a cast!!!

La Crosse joins 40 other cities giving motherhood a microphone in our debut, live, on-stage storytelling event, Listen to Your Mother! I’m so pleased to be working with each of the cast members we selected to share their stories and to raise funds for our local YWCA who has worked to end racism and empower women and girls.

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Behind the scenes at auditions. 

Here’s an accurate account of my life right now…

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And here’s what I came across on the internet and thought you might enjoy…

Me whenever anyone offers me caffeine lately. 

This Tumblr account that imagines Kylo Ren living at home with Han and Leia. 

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This comedian talking about what we do when the doorbell rings.

(found via the hilarious Darla of She’s a Maineiac)

This book we bought for our nephew. Ok, actually for his parents. 

You can’t beat this hilarious bedtime story for adults.

***

That’s what I was up to while I was away.
What have YOU been up to, friends?

Overwhelmed? Try Out These Self Care Tips

It’s entirely possible I’ve taken too much on.

Well, I’m not admitting anything, I’m just saying it’s possible. 

I’ve been having a tough go of things at the day job, and in my attempt to focus my energy on the things that I love, I’ve said yes to a multitude of projects and commitments.

I now find myself busier than ever with a full-time job, part-time freelance assignments, rehearsals and show dates with an improv group, a once-a-week adult storytelling class, a twice-a-month writers critique group, and oh yah – I’m directing and producing a Listen to Your Mother show this spring and auditions are in less than a week!

You can understand why my main hobby right now is drinking coffee.

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Hobbying like a boss. 

My days off were out of the ordinary this weekend, so I tried to plot out some time to relax.

You know, in between 2 radio interviews, 2 improv shows, a six hour shift tabling for the health clinic I work at on VDay – One Billion Rising, and one of my writers group critique sessions. 

I did manage to spend Valentine’s Day Eve with my main squeeze, also known as He Who Says Weird Things While Sleeping. We stayed true to our tradition of watching a very un-romantic movie together. For example, past Valentine’s films have included Tremors and Silence of the Lambs. This year we watched The X Files (1998 movie). 

Anyway, enough about my crazy week, because I’m sure you’re all just as swamped with projects, commitments, running little people places, and whatnot as well.

Here’s a few of the things I managed to sneak in so I achieved some self care time. 

holding up a dozen books1. Audiobooks

Most of you know I’m a huge fan of audiobooks and it’s the only way I get so much reading done. I listen while I get ready for the morning, while driving in the car (even though I only have a 15 minute drive), and while I get ready for bed at night.

It is not unusual for my husband to find me sitting on our bathroom floor just listening to a good story. It’s my zen moment at the end of the day.

2. Take a bath. 

I know baths aren’t for everyone, but I sure love them. They are so relaxing to me, and I did manage to sneak one in. They are also a great time to listen to an audiobook!

3. Indulge in a guilty pleasure. 

For me that involved watching a few episodes of Felicity on DVD. I watched while I ate my lunch or folded laundry and enjoyed an old favorite show.

BTW, Felicity and Ben are broken up right now…again, and Noel is trying his very Noel best to move on, but it’s not going so well. Javier, on the other hand, is still my favorite. 

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That may not seem like a lot, but in their own way, each gave me a little escape and some relaxing down time.

And I did just run across this gem of a blog post, and wanted to share it with you, my fellow busy bees.  23 Way to Treat Yo Self Without Buying or Eating Anything

How are you practicing self care this week, friends? 

 

 

The Internet Gave Us These Amazing Gifts

18494555212_018fa1e261_z (1)The wide world of the interwebs has been on a role lately. It gave us these amazing gifts and scattered them across our Facebook feeds, blog readers, twitter timelines, and one of my particularly favorite time wasters, YouTube, and its endless rabbit hole of clips to watch.

With the new year already flying by, friends and family alike are feeling overwhelmed. Adding in the loss of David Bowie and Alan Rickman only heightened all “the feels” and I think we could all use a little entertainment that makes us smile, or better yet, bust a gut laugh.

I Give You These Gifts the Internet Gave Us

Go Ahead and Laugh

Because everyone loves a good pun, Comedy Central sent out the hashtag request to #InternetABook, and Buzzfeed collected 29 Hilarious Literary Internet Puns. Don’t judge me, but my favorite one was “Moby Dick Pic.” I died laughing.

Reaching ERMAGHERD status – James Corden and Tom Hanks acted out Hanks’s film career in a matter of minutes and it’s spectacular.

Stop everything you’re doing right now and take this quiz. Wes Anderson has to be one of my all time favorite film directors. I will watch anything that man creates, even if it was an ad revival to bring back yellow pages on the home shopping network. (But why would anyone want that?) Anyway…

Who Would You End Up With in a Wes Anderson movie? 

I got: Jane from The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou

“You and Jane share a tenacity and a love of words. Whether you’re also a journalist or not, you’re always searching for the truth and greater meaning in life, just like Jane. You’d make an effing great duo.”
Touchstone

Brace yourselves, children, because Anne of Green Gables is back! 

Breaking Bad Writer is Bringing Anne of Green Gables back to Television

Or check out celebrity nano-impressions by Ross Marquand! See celebrity impressions in common day snafus. My fave: Brad Pitt forgets what he was going to say.

 

In honor of Alan Rickman, let’s talk about that time he pranked Harry Potter with a fart machine. Don’t you wish you were a fly on that set?

And Now For Some Self-Care Super-Stories

August McLaughlin is my sister from another mother, and she penned this awesome post about 5 Empowering Questions to Ask Yourself Daily for a Groovier, More Impactful Life. I am all about the side hustle right now.

Kirsten Weiss of the Para Your Normal blog shared 5 Mantras to Boost Your Magick. Let’s just say, the universe has been telling me this for awhile, and I’m ready to listen.

My friend Liz from Be. Love. Live. is offering free life coaching now – and I jumped at the chance. Liz has 20 years of experience as a mentor and coach and her blog is one of my favorite motivational/inspirational blogs. It’s real, she’s on a journey too, and it’s full of her beautiful photography not stupid posters with kittens hanging from tree branches. (Note* I have nothing against kittens on tree branches.) Check out Living Intentionally: How to Take Control of Your Life One Moment at a Time.

“Raise your hand if you’ve felt completely overwhelmed sometime in the last six months.” That’s the comaraderie you’ll find with Heather at Hiya Tootsie who gifts us with How to Handle the Overwhelm: a 6 part strategy.

If inspirational just isn’t your thing, then I leave you with Mark Manson’s The Subtle Art of Not Giving a Fuck. He’s got this thing figured out, and it’s funny.

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What’s been making you laugh this week?
How are you following your dreams? 

 

Sh*t My Husband Says While Sleeping: Star Wars Edition

This is my husband, Joe.

To clarify, he’s the non-reptile one.

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Joe likes road trips, playing 2 recorders at once,
and making his wife sing songs with him. 

Joe also talks in his sleep. Sometimes he laughs about things like crackers and email, and other times he stresses over where to store hot water.

Whatever he says, it’s typically entertaining, so I like to share it with all of you!

 Recently, we went to see the new Star Wars movie, The Force Awakens. We both really liked it! And I guess he had the movie on his mind one night when I overheard this…

Joe: Aiding and abetting…

Me: What?

Joe: Chewbacca lovers. 

Me: What about them?

Joe: I don’t know… They’re up to something.

Me: …

Han Solo

Then, a few nights later, he made this random statement.

Joe: I wish I had some coconut oil. 

Me: …

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He claims that dream came from a Facebook ad in his feed about coconut oil being a fix-all solution for any problem. Sure, Joe. Whatever you say.

What do YOU think the Chewbacca lovers are up to? 

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And in case you missed it, celebrity themed movie marathons are back! Every wednesday night this January, we’re watching an Emilio Estevez film and celebrating #EmilioFestevez!!!

Watch along and live tweet the film using the #EmilioFestevez hashtag.

And now, there’s a Facebook group for that!! 

Movie marathons are bi-monthly, and if Twitter’s not your thing, you can hangout on Facebook too. Find out the movie lineups, share your ideas for future marathons, and meet other film-loving fools like you! Hope to see you there!

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Easy, Breezy, Beautiful? My Awkward Moment Told in Gifs

Image-1 (1)“There’s a hole in my pants,” I realized, about 20 minutes before I was going to speak to a group of twentysome middle school students. 

About STDs. 

“There’s a goddamn HOLE! In my pants.” 

Naturally, I did the only thing I could do at that point.

I texted a friend ala Margaret Cho-style, as in “YOU ARE NOT GONNA BELIEVE WHAT I JUST DID!”

Let me backup.

I am transitioning to a new role in my job. I’m leaving my basement-located office work for the wide, open world of sex education where you get to say things like “Have you seen my uterus?” and that’s not considered a personal question. Also, the air smells like puberty about 80% of the time.

My colleagues and I are now learning the material for the multiple talks our clinic provides, and we were each given a focus talk to prioritize.

Guess who got STDs??!!

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I mean I PRESENT on sexually transmitted diseases.

Anyway, I arrived at the middle school, checked in at the office and since I was there early, excused myself to use the restroom before heading to class.

It was there, in the bathroom, when I noticed I COULD SEE THE FLOOR THROUGH MY PANTS!

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I was wearing a brand new pair of dress pants I’d purchased the week before and not worn yet. The seam below the zipper had unraveled and created a diamond shaped hole, through which the orange tile floor was all too crisp and clear.

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Oooooooooh, fffuuuuuuuuuuudge.

Only I didn’t say fudge.

Like anyone in a serious situation, I immediately took inventory of anything I could possibly use to fix this major wardrobe malfunction.

Hand soap. Paper towel.

“This bathroom is useless to me! I have nothing!” 

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I debated my options. My limited options.

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“That’s it,” I thought. Only thing I could do was teach the class. I was going to have to make the best of the situation.

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I had worn a top that was a little longer that day, and had a tank top beneath it.

I stretched and pulled and yanked that tank top as low as I could get it to go.

Then I walked in front of that class like…

awkward gifHeeeeeeeey!

And for the duration of the 40 minute class, I kept my legs well crossed and stood in the shadiest corner of the classroom I could find while still being able to point to the front screen as needed.

When it was over and I packed up, I got in the car like…

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Nailed it!

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Soooo, how was YOUR week?

 

Before I Met Keanu Reeves, I Also Ran Into Bigfoot

Many of you now know about my serendipitous run-in with Keanu Reeves. I still don’t understand quite how that happened, but I’m glad it did as it was awesome. What you don’t know is that I also ran into Bigfoot.

Jess Witkins Meets Keanu Reeves

I was planning to write a very different story for my blog that weekend. A story about a hiking trip that Joe and I went on.

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I know, I know, we all know how THAT goes. One of us ends up missing

And to that I say, at least we’re consistent, which is a prime foundation to have in a marriage, especially when one party may have pooped their pants while hiking thereby ruining all shreds of romance forever. 

So before Joe and I ended up at the bar where I glanced out the window and commented “That guy looks like Keanu,” we were hiking.

IMG_6058Sure, sure, this is exactly how it’s supposed to look. I always crawl through death branches to get from point A to point B. 

True to form, Joe rarely lets me pick what direction we go since I’m supposedly the one that got us lost the first time. But then, he went and picked a trail that looks like this!

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Me: “Well this looks like a dark and treacherous path.” 

Joe: “I’ve made my peace with it.” 

It doesn’t even phase him anymore!

When we crept upon the creepiest cavern looking structure, we debated.

Me: “Oh look at that. I bet that’s the witch’s cabin.” 

Joe: “That’s just a rock formation.” 

Me: “That’s what she wants you to think.” 

Amazingly, we were not witch-napped and forced to eat sweets until our bellies burst and no one made pies out of our intestines and such. But it was a close call, lemme tell you.

On a sunnier trail, we fell into one of our usual conversations comparing our relationship to various film or book references. You know, a “you’re Wild Bill Hickock and I’m Calamity Jane from Deadwood” or “you’re Lonestar from Spaceballs, but I’m Dot not Princess Vespa.”

And then Joe tried to sum us up with this…

Joe: “The difference between us is that I’m more crass, but you have the dirtier mind.” 

Me: *leans in really close to his ear and whispers* “You’re welcome.” 

And then this is the part where I’m guessing Joe got sun poisoning. Or temporarily possessed by aliens because I shot this photo….

IMG_6083Pretty funky lighting, amirite?

And then he did this…

Who knew, Bigfoot’s in Wisconsin?!

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How was your week everyone? 

Why I’ll Never Be a Teen Model

I am not a photogenic person. I never have been. I simply don’t have one of those faces that effortlessly looks amazing all the time.

I have one of those faces that requires work. It is great for making really awkward faces. I have a big nose, that scrunches up when I show any kind of emotion, and I have gigantic teeth. No, literally my teeth are so big, I’ve had NINE removed, and I still have a full set of teeth.

You may be thinking, “That’s…a fun fact. Thanks for sharing?” 

You’re welcome.

Those selfies you see on my instagram account probably required like 20 or more shots. My photo collections from trips I take or events I’m involved in are all staged. You will not find candids, because when people try to take candids of me, they look like this…
That is a real, undoctored photo my husband took of me while storytelling.

And I was telling a funny story! Why do I look so…so…annoyed? 

Have you ever watched America’s Next Top Model, that show hosted by Tyra Banks? She’s always telling the girls to smile with their eyes, she calls it SMIZE. Well, if the photos from above are any indication, the only contest I’m going to win is for the smier – I can sneer with my eyes, you guys. Or maybe it’s smudge? Cause I’m judging you with my eyes. All I know is, look at that epic scowl, folks?

Master-level-ninja-force-facial-attitude.

And that’s why I’ll never be a teen model.

Also I’m pretty sure there’s an age clause in the contract that requires the model to in fact, BE a teenager. But I haven’t looked into it, who knows? 

How do you feel about photos of yourself?
Do you know how to smize or better yet, smier? 

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