Tag Archives: life stories

Getting to Know Your Spouse’s Alter Ego, or Adventures of the Grumpy Pumpkin

A guy I met once on a wine tour/bus trip shared this fact about marriage with me:

Marriage. It’s not all pixie sticks and butterflies. ~ Mitch

I thought that was rather prolific and true. Sure it came from one newlywed to another, so neither of us really had that much experience in this whole married life thing, but I agreed with him.

Not more than one hour later, Mitch also asked about my husband’s and my plans for having children, a natural step after marriage, but I felt it was a little soon to be discussing plans for my uterus given we’d: 1) just met, 2) had been drinking copious amounts of wine, and 3) it’s my uterus and none of his business. Thank you very much. (My mama raised me with manners.)

Still, this Mitch guy had a point. Marriage is not all pixie sticks and butterflies. Sometimes the person we love, the very individual we picked out of all other individuals – like ones who know how to clean up their beard hair trimmings or put the toilet seat down *swoon*– sometimes they morph into something else. Their alter ego.

Getting to Know You

Getting to Know Your Spouse’s Alter Ego

My husband has an alter ego. He denies it because I can’t remember the name we gave him, and if I can’t remember his name, then he doesn’t exist. But we wives all know that’s bogus. It’s BOGUS I tell you, Joseph Judgey McBelchins!

My alter ego has long been named. She goes by Grumpy Pumpkin. Which sounds adorable and cute and quirky, but that’s what makes it so annoying. It’s all very Anne-of-Green-Gables-“He-called-me-CARROTS!!”-esque.


Grumpy Pumpkin rears her horned head when:

  • she hasn’t eaten in awhile
  • she’s woken from her beauty sleep because friends of Acoustic Van Man-Coozie are strumming the guitar and bellowing song lyrics at 3 in the morning
  • she asks a question and gets answered by Deadpan McBlank Stare
  • she hasn’t eaten in awhile
  • and/or she doesn’t like what she’s eating

I maintain I am not the only party in my household with an alias. But until He Who Shall Not Be Nicknamed gets an identity, I can’t call him out on it.

This is where you come in.

Help me name my spouse’s alter ego.

Here are some helpful examples of things that lure his bad boy out:

  • Timeliness – my hubby is exceptionally prompt, but I say it’s called an itinerary not the Iditarod
  • Timeliness – the man has scheduled poops – WTF?
  • Cleanliness – supposedly, the house is not clean until I remove my piles of gloves, magazines, car keys, DVDs, postage stamps, notebook paper, AA batteries, my external hard drive, a bag of Dove chocolate, and a pair of earrings from the kitchen table
  • Repeating Himself – I may, or may not, have the worst short term mem- OHMYGOSH! WHAT BRINGS YOU ALL OVER HERE? … You’re reading my blog? … I have a blog?
  • Inconsistent Shaker Skills – At our local wedding ceremony, we performed a musical number in which I desired to play the tambourine and was downgraded to an egg shaker and forced to practice under Nazi-regime (which isn’t an exaggeration because food was withheld from me) because apparently I have “inconsistent shaker skills.”

So, I’ve created a poll with some potential names for my honey’s alter ego.
Vote for your favorite! Or better yet, write in your own!
Does your partner have a cranky alias? Do tell!


The Jan Brady of Generations

I don’t fit.

According to the “scientists” at Buzzfeed, I don’t fit anywhere. Specifically, Buzzfeed experts told me I’m “the Jan Brady of generations.”

See that Buzzfeed? That’s my Jan Brady side eye telling you to watch your step from now on.

But I get it. I really don’t fit in. I’m neither Generation X nor Y. I am somewhere in between.

I can’t really blame Buzzfeed. I mean, here’s just a smattering of the data they had to work with…

Things That Make Me Somewhat Generation X

  • I played with Popples and Pogs as a kid
  • I listened to En Vogue and Smashing Pumpkins
  • I wore a lot of side ponies, stirrup legging pants, and curled my bangs (picture it, I’m HOT)
  • I was spanked and hit with a wooden spoon (and no one could’ve cared less)
  • I typed my school papers on a word processor (that I believe was possessed by the Devil – but that’s for another blog post…)
  • I downloaded songs on Napster
  • I had a MySpace page
  • I watched movies like Reality Bites and Singles and The Truth About Cats and Dogs over and over again…on VHS
  • I had an email that ended in @magicfishfood.com (WTF? really?? Yes, really.)

Things That Make Me Somewhat Generation Y

  • I want all the things and I want them now
  • I like Taylor Swift songs and Katy Perry songs
  • I had a Tamagatchi pet
  • All my school supplies were decorated in Lisa Frank artwork
  • I want all the things and I want them now
  • I grew up with computers in my school
  • I had a plethora of beanie babies
  • I now share my entire life on social media and I like taking selfies
  • I got my best fashion advice from Sabrina, the Teenage Witch (let’s talk butterfly clips, shall we?)
  • I owned about 100 Dr Pepper Lip Smacker chapsticks over the course of my early teen years
  • I want all the things and I want them now – (Seriously, where are all my things? Shouldn’t I have them by now? Ugh…waiting sucks.)

So, what am I?

Fuck, I am the Jan Brady of Generations.

I was born smack in the middle of the 80’s, as an oops baby no less, which means I was raised by my Gen X siblings while my Baby Boomer parents worked all day and only had enough energy to instill two rules. 1) Say please and thank you around all grown ups. 2) Drink coca cola. (But I’m partially Gen Y, so I rebelled and prefer Pepsi when given the choice.)

Now that I’m an adult, I look around at who my friends are, and apart from the handful of High School chums I still see around major holidays, my two best friends are exactly the same ages as my older sister and brother. How weird is that? That I picked the exact number of years in age gap as what I grew up with? This sets my besties firmly in Gen X. That means I can count on them to throw a super rad 80’s party, to never being afraid of playing with eyeshadow, and to tell me when it’s appropriate to cuff or not cuff one’s pants. (Of course, I’m part Gen Y so they’ve gotten use to me documenting all of this.)

2013-01-17_19-35-45_936Oh gosh, how did that get there?

I can’t claim total belonging to just one group, but I can claim just enough of the good stuff to make me believe that I’ll always have someone talk to. And that I won’t have to eat my lunch from the inside of a bathroom stall. And I think that’s winning.

How about you? What generation do you fit in?
Let the experts at Buzzfeed be your guide.


Monday Morning Comedy Hour

I recently started reading Sarah Silverman’s memoir, The Bedwetter.

It’s pretty amazing.

I had never read any books written by stand up comics before. I’ve read a ton of humor authors, including finally Nora Ephron’s I Feel Bad About My Neckso people can stop shaming me about never having read any Nora Ephron. Challenge accepted.

I love listening to Sarah’s story. She’s brutally honest about the things she dealt with as a kid and how they shaped her sense of humor. True to the title, Sarah was, in fact, a bedwetter long into elementary school. She saw numerous doctors and spent years with a hypnotist, but still had to wait it out until she, and mostly her bladder, grew.

As a young comic, Sarah took risks. She’s known for telling vulgar jokes that often involve bowel movements or racism. But she’s also a hard working comedian. She spent hours at open mic nights whether she was slated to go on or not, just on the off chance someone else didn’t show and she could step in. She worked in comedy clubs, where she met some of her heroes and was able to network and be inspired.

And when she did make it big, she didn’t lose her childish enthusiasm for the work she gets to do. She reminds her peers and staff that they get to be a part of something creative.

Sarah inspired me to enjoy some stand up comedy this weekend. Here are some of my favorite bits to help kick off your monday!

Early Sarah Silverman Stand-up:

Maria Bamford on Coworker Feuds

The Fabulous Tig Notaro (who I get to see speak at BlogHer!!!) – No Moleste!

Sneak Peek from Jim Gaffigan’s new show, Obsessed – Seafood

Eddie Gossling – I Am Not a Rocket Scientist

and finally…my college friend, Joann Schinderle, who is doing in stand-up in Portland, OR!

What made you laugh this weekend?





Throwback Thursday: Pajama Party

Meet my parents.

Here’s another glimpse into my writing project this week. I’ve spent more time editing the chapters about my family’s restaurant than any other chapters. So much to fit in.

This throwback thursday features another themed New Year’s Eve Party – pajama jammer. My pops wore long underwear, and if I know him, the butt flap was probably open. (But he would have had undies underneath!) At least, I hope so.

I’m pretty sure I had a Christmas dress at one point that matched my mother’s nightgown.

And you can see I’m modeling a very similar plaid ensemble. (pronounced un-some-bleh)

I’m calling this shot…Escanaba in da Moonlight meets The Berenstein Bears.

Pajama Party

What’s a funny memory you have of your parents?
Can’t think of one…what about the way they dressed you? Huh, huh?

Why I Decided NOT to Go Back to College

I’m fresh off of WANAcon this weekend which was AMAZING! Seriously, if you get a chance to go (and it’s all online, so there’s no reason not to) you should go!

Rumor has it there’ll be another one in February…

WANAcon is an online writers conference hosted by social media guru and writer shepherd, Kristen Lamb. WANA stands for We Are Not Alone, which is the title of her first book. Big thanks to Kristen and her partners in crime – Jay at Tech Surgeons and Jami Gold – for helping host WANAcon this month.

The conference had a mixture of craft and business classes for writers with a slew of awesome presenters. One class alone made me sign up.


Several months ago I made the drastic decision to quit my job in sales management with the intent of getting my Master’s Degree in writing.

Like a good little student, I researched schools and programs, made lists of extracurricular writing opportunities, and talked to people who had completed the programs.

Then May rolled around and I jetted off to the Dallas/Fort Worth Writers Conference. Over lunch one day, with several of the WANA tribe, we were talking about our current writing plans. In my best puffed-up, “I’m not having a quarter life crisis AT ALL!” voice I shared my brilliant plan of going back to school and getting the education I needed to move forward. *hands on hips, matter of fact-style*

And then my friend, Rachel Funk Heller, asked me a question…

Why do you want to pay all that money for a glorified critique group?

I was stunned.

You mean, you don’t think my plan is brilliant??!

Well…it wasn’t.

Note:  This post is not a bashing of academia. I would never tell someone not to pursue their graduate degree if that was important to them. This post is my story about MY decision to pursue a different path on my road to publication. If you’re considering going back to school, then research it! Get all the information you can before making your decision because it matters.

Rachel’s point to me was that everything I had stated I needed help with was available…in our WANA community…for a lot less than that $40,000/year tuition I was looking at. She pointed out what’s available to learn at conferences and who to get in touch with online.

She was right.

All I want to do is write a book. I don’t need a Master’s Degree to do that.

If my goals had been to teach writing in a college environment or to open my own publishing house someday, then YES, a Master’s Degree would be necessary. To write a book? It’s just one path of many.

Making an Action Plan

What butt in chair writing looks like.

What butt in chair writing looks like.

Back from DFWcon, unemployed, and desperately wanting everyone to believe I’d made the right choice, I put together my action plan.

I wrote.

That was step number one. And in a little over 3 months, I completed the first draft of my book.


I found support all around me. I got a writing partner, one that I knew and shared a work ethic with *Hi Gene!*, I used social media to boost my word counts, and I joined a local writers group to get feedback on my work.


I admit I do not have all the answers. If I did, I’d be published by now! I also would’ve quit my life-suck of a past job a LONG TIME AGO!

Now, I read books on craft. I devour books in my genre to get a sense of pacing and voice. I read through Writer’s Digest and blogs about writing.

A bonus to not paying tuition money – I have money to attend conferences! It’s my plan to attend more writing conferences this next year.

Balance…As Much As Possible

This has always been my struggling point. I’m a yes-person. I think that I can do it all and then don’t ask for the lifesaver when I’m drowning.

It took me awhile to find a job that makes me happy and healthy. A job that challenges me, utilizes my talents, appreciates my input, and is flexible. That’s an incredibly rare find. And it took time.

In my past job I worked 50-60 hour work weeks where I was on my feet presenting “happy manager” face all day long. When I got home, I was exhausted! I wanted to write, but I never had energy to get far.

My unemployment, though incredibly difficult on my budget and my relationship, was a gift. It was time. Time to finish my book. And not having a paycheck was a damn big motivator to plant my butt in the chair and get that page count up, let me tell ya! Little things like Crystal Light packets became a huge treat when I got my writing done.


Before I was offered “Awesome Job,” I accepted “Get’s Me a Paycheck Job.” It was a drastic pay cut, where I was overqualified, and still putting in more hours than I asked for.

The Regional Manager literally spent half a day’s training discussing “The Importance of Using a Planner.”


It was another push. Take the job that is less stressful, and puts food on your table, and GET THAT WRITING DONE!

In order for that to happen, I had to let go of my pride and stop worrying what people would think of me.

So WANAcon had a class that really sparked my interest.

Gabriela Pereira’s DIY MFA

Is that not the coolest sounding program ever?!

Gabriela Pereira is the instigator behind Do It Yourself – Master’s Program for Writers! She has an MFA herself because she wanted to be a creditable individual that can teach Master’s level education to others having experienced the programs first hand.

After sitting through her presentation on the core areas of MFA programs, I was psyched to realize that I was already doing 75% of them! Adding in a few other elements and getting tips from Gabriela’s program will be a great resource to build my skills in the rest!

Check out her website DIY MFA: Tools and Techniques for the Serious Writer

She even offers a FREE DIY starter kit with over 30 pages of techniques and tips, so I encourage you to get more info if this interests you!


I’m grateful that Rachel took the time to ask me my true goals in life. I would much rather spend my hard earned money traveling across the country to network at writers conferences than rack up more debt in student loans that may or may not get me any closer to publication than I am now.

I realize that I was only able to make that decision after years of dealing with the things I knew I didn’t want.

I hope my blog post helps at least ONE person out there make a drastic change in their lives for the better. If I knew then what I know now, I would’ve made these changes a lot sooner.

I’ve read the books written by happiness experts and life coaches and the problem with those books is they gloss over the gritty parts. They quit their jobs like it’s no big deal while at the same time start a collection and go shopping for trends! Most of us cannot do that. I couldn’t do that!

It was a learning process the whole way. But ultimately, a good one.


If anyone wants more details or you’re looking for a listener who’s been there, please reach out to me! I’m more than happy to chat with you all in the comments, message me on Facebook, or send me an email (jessi(dot)witkins(at)gmail(dot)com)! You can vent to me in 140 characters or less on Twitter!

Knowing you have choices is an incredible empowerment, and you deserve that!

What were the tough decisions that you struggled with? What helped you survive?

Sooo, You’re Saying I’m Deformed?


That is exactly what my doctor told me.


Last Thursday Evening:

I sat down at my laptop to get some work done, but I had a tension headache interfere with my productivity. So I took it upon myself to stretch my neck out.


Those of you who’ve been hanging out here for awhile…would you call me an impatient woman?

I’ve fully admitted I’m more of a “boot camp” over “baby steps” kind of girl. So, I stretched my neck with both hands on my head until…ZING!!

I managed to pull a muscle in my neck. Conveniently on the opposite side of my tension headache.


Chiropractor doing adjustment on female patient.  White background.

Friday Afternoon at my Emergency Chiropractor’s Visit:

He REFUSED to do an adjustment because my muscles were too inflamed. AND, he made me take X-Rays.




So I spent my Labor Day weekend on the couch with an ice pack behind my head.


Fast Forward to Tuesday Afternoon’s Chiropractor’s Visit:

Entering the exam room with the excitement of what I can only describe as medicinal glee – not unlike children who skip on playgrounds – my doctor slapped my X-rays up on the chart.

Doc:  “Take a look!”

Me:  *stares at the underwire from my bra that shows up* Awkward!

Doc:  “See that.” (points to my hips) “Your left hip is sitting lower than your other one. I’m betting your headaches stem from a bigger issue. When did you stop growing?”

Me:  *stares at floor, mumbles* “Middle School”

Doc:  (laughing) “Well, we’re gonna measure your legs today and see if my hypothesis is true. But you see how your spine kind of curves from your hips and then over-corrects itself again at the base of your skull?”

Me:  “Sooo, you’re saying I’m deformed?”

Doc:  “Yes, exactly.”

Me:  “And I probably have a gimp?”

Doc:  “Most likely.”


So according to my X-ray, my profile picture should look like Nosferatu.

I figure in a few years, I’ll only post pictures of my good side. (which will be what? My left earlobe? God, I hope something stays in place.)

For now, I’ll just take my gimp leg with me and go back to icing.

How was your week?

Left For Dead in Hixon…Again

It happened again.

Joe and I went hiking in Hixon Forest and barely made it out ALIVE!

Hixon Disaster

See that? That’s the end of me crab walking down an 80° incline.


Later That Day…

Jessica J. Witkins, 27, and Joseph L. Gantzer (31) were discovered dead off the trails in Hixon Forest. Their bodies had been half masticated by rabid deer. The corpses were identified from a shredded Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles backpack known to belong to Gantzer. Witkins, though allergic to the sun, suffered no marks and looked gorgeous, even without make-up on. Her grace and beauty is a loss to us all.

The couple leaves behind an imaginary dog named Ron Burgundy, some unfinished laundry, and one slice of pizza in the fridge.

Services will be held on the lookout point at the top of Bicentennial Trail for anyone who can make it there without a compass.


Ok, that’s not what happened!

But we TOTALLY got lost and had to scale the side of a bluff with loose soil for, like, EVER! And that was after walking through a teeny tiny “trail” uphill where the bugs surrounded me, and a snake slithered away, and there was long grass, and VELOCIRAPTORS!!!

Ok, I lied again, it wasn’t long grass, it was prairie grass.

Hixon Forest is described by the Myrick Hixon EcoPark as:

an 800-acre nature preserve within the city limits of La Crosse with more than 13 miles of hiking and ski trails that meander through diverse habitats, including forests, prairies, and blufflands. Connecting trails through the 1100-acre Mississippi River Marsh add more wildlife viewing possibilities. The trail system allows hikers to travel from the Mississippi River to the top of the bluffs without ever crossing a city street.


Hixon Forest is big. So big in fact, that if you are lost, no shred of society will find you, but rattlesnakes will! Good luck, hikers!

I’ve taken it upon myself to draw out our hiking journey. Please see the map below.


See where the skull and crossbones are? Funny thing that… There was a trail. A very clear, wide trail. It wasn’t on the map, but it was a big trail. We decided to take it. But that wide trail became an itty bitty trail, and one that started scratching up my legs and looking like we were going to just dirt surf our way down the bluff.

I was NOT ok with this.

For the record, I didn’t pick this trail! This time it wasn’t my faulty directions that got us there. Therefore, I’d like to have my 1% voting rights back.

The last time Joe and I got lost in Hixon, it was my fault. He took away 1% voting rights leaving me with 49%, and him at 51%. I’d like that percent back now.

You decide!


An outside party wishes me to note that they “had a blast. The adventure was great!” Said other party shall remain nameless.

Oops. How did that get there?

Hixon Forest View

That was my weekend! How was yours? Do any hiking I should know about?

Love and Rattlesnakes,


Miss the first time we got lost in Hixon? Read all about it!

What’s to Come This Year on The Happiness Project?

Hey guys!  2012 has been an amazing travel year and I completed 36 books as well!  What were my favorite moments of the year?

Kicking off my travels, I visited a friend in Seoul, South Korea last April, and also hiked in the mountains for the first time in Seoraksan National Park!


The month of May brought around a trip to Dallas, Texas for the DFW Writers Conference where I met so many of my favorite bloggers and friends as well as NYTBS author, James Rollins!

DFW CONIn July, as part of our “take more small trips” around the area, Joe and I toured Niagara Cave in Harmony, Minnesota!

100_2249And in August, Joe and I took an amazing road trip out west with Yellowstone National Park as our destination!

DSCF0930Stay tuned for Friday’s post, where I’ll share my favorite books of 2012!

So what’s to come for this year on The Happiness Project?

Guilty Pleasures Fridays remains a constant here for this gluttonous girl!  Expect more shameless indulgences every week and guest posts as well!  First up on the guest list, we’ll have Renee Schuls-Jacobson, Julie Glover, and Dawn Hobbie Sticklen!

The Redhots will be roaring ahead!  Last Friday of every month, Marcia Richards and I will share what we think is SO HOT and also what’s SO NOT!  This month’s edition will share with you the 2012 round-up of news and trends we thought rocked and also the ones that rolled right on by!

Mondays starting in February will bring about something new!  Guinea Pig Mondays will launch on The Happiness Project.  Every month I’ll tackle something new:  whether its trying a new diet and exercise regime, a sleep study, watching all of the Godfather films, anything!  Some of the posts could be research on the topics, and some will share my experiences along the way.  Got ideas for me to try?  Been doing your own version of Guinea Pig Diaries and want to guest blog?  Let me know!  

Wednesdays will be a free for all, and not consistent.  I’m warning you now!  In the hopes of spending more time writing the novel’s first draft and finishing it, I’m leaving the middle of the week open for blogging if I have time.

That’s what’s happenin’ on The Happiness Project this year!  

I LOOOOVE YOUR COMMENTS!  What do you want to see more of this year?

The Things We Do For Beauty

For this Guilty Pleasures Friday, I was inspired by the most unusual of things.  Beauty phenomenons.  Um, have you all heard of the “Bagel Head” beauty craze of Japan?

Beware:  this video might gross you out.

Is that not the craziest thing you’ve ever seen tagged as a beauty craze???

I’m beyond words to describe how that makes me feel.  I find it waaaaaaay stranger than the flesh-eating fish trend that swept so many countries just a few years ago.  Yah, remember that?

We have a lot of different ways of expressing ourselves.  Tattoos, piercings, scars, dyed hair, shaved hair, make up galore!

What beauty extremes are you willing to go to?  Tell me your craziest spa stories, the most expensive beauty product you’ve agreed to buy, your fantasy luxury that’s all about looks?

I’ll share you with you one of my most unique experiences in return!

The Jimjilbang:  AKA Korean Bathhouse

Though I did get a smidge lost on my way there, I eventually found the Dragon Hill Spa, located just off the train station depot in Seoul, South Korea.  It’s the largest bath house in Seoul, entertaining and relaxing up to 4,000 people a day on the weekends!  Check it out, it’s insanely large and gorgeous and strange all at once!

So the jimjilbang is a combination spa, sauna, salon, arcade, cafeteria, and lounge!  No joke, it has it all.  You enter, pick up your spa shorts and t-shirt and are released into this magical playland of relaxation and fun.  The jimjilbang, which translates roughly as “steam bath house”, has one large hang out room where several saunas are located, TVs, lounge chairs, a manicure station, and this is just off the cafeteria where you can recharge after sweating out your toxins.

Dragon Hill Spa
(image courtesy cptravelblog – Creative Commons)

The upstairs is the actual bathhouse, and by riding the appropriately gender labeled elevator, you’ll reach the locker room.  From there on all ages are in their birthday suits!  The bath house section has a ton of different pools, different temperatures, minerals, etc.

I was informed by a friend that if I was going to experience the jimjilbang, I had to get a scrub down by the ajummas.  An ajumma is an older korean woman.  So I found a sign in english, or mostly readable konglish, and selected what I thought was an exfoliating massage sans placenta, which was an option…

Ok, so I’m naked, hanging out with this ajumma who strips herself of her housecoat and is walking around in her bra and panties.  She puts on these rubber mitts, and uses them to exfoliate everywhere, and I mean everywhere, on my body.  It’s actually kind of gross how much dead skin these mitts get off you!  After I was de-skinned, I showered again, and came back for a massage that involved the ajumma climbing on top of me and beating and slapping my back and limbs!  After she pounded all my muscles, she’d work her magic fingers on all my knots.  With warm towels all over my body, she put some kind of green mask on my face and then shampooed my hair.

I left feeling so good!  It was a totally different experience than anything I’d ever tried, but it was great.  In fact, it was so relaxing (despite the few stares at being the only white person there – *shrug*), it’s one of the things I miss most about Korea.

And then THIS happened…

The youtube video that has swept our nation, Gangnam Style, found its way to my laptop thanks a very dear friend, and in my giddy excitement I demanded that my Korean friend, Lin, tell me what it means!

Turns out, it’s all about being super trendy!

Take it away, Lin!

Gangnam, the name of a specific district in Seoul, is considered the most trendy, chic and rich area here in Korea. So, if someone says he/she is (in) Gangnam style, that means he/she thinks that himself/herself is a sort of trendy, fashionable, or cool person. (Kinda ridiculous actually..)

In the music video, he first describes the typical behaviors of Gangnam style women, then, with some hilarious lyrics, behavior and dances that don’t look that stylish, he sarcastically declares that he is also in Gangnam style.

‘Oppa’ is originally the appellation a woman calls her elder brother, but, it’s generally used for women to call their older male friends as well. Like, Naomi sometimes called me ‘Lin Oppa’. Especially when she was drunk. 🙂

Guys also use the word to call themselves when they talk to their younger female friends, especially kinda greasily.

“Oppa (is in) Gangnam style” ==> yup, the singer is calling himself ‘oppa’ to ‘sexy Gangnam style ladies’ and telling them he is cool or sexy as well.


And Lin is completely awesome, so he also sent me the link to this video which translates the whole song.  He said it may not be a perfect translation, but it’s pretty close.  Thanks, Lin!  #YouRock

Have you had the pleasure of viewing this guilty pleasure dance video yet?  What do you think about Gangnam style?  Think it speaks to the lengths we’ll go for beauty and trends?

My ROW80 Role Models

Over the last few weeks as people have been decompressing their Round 3 achievements or opportunities, and preparing for Round 4, it seemed I was not the only one who felt they fell short of what they wanted to accomplish.  I believe the phrase Gene used was “Chaos happens.”

Even our fearless founding leader, Kait, struggled with balancing the day job and the writing – though the outcome for her word count was tremendous and she deserves a medal!

So while I thought I was a big slacker niblet noob (yah, I’m owning that phrase), turns out, I wasn’t alone!  Many of you, through Facebook and my blog, shared your own “chaos theories” and barriers that made round 3 not as momentous as we all would have liked.  But in keeping with last week’s theme, it’s all about the learning lessons.  

So I’m challenging myself to do things differently for Round 4.

The definition of stupidity is trying the same thing over and over, expecting different results.

I’ve never claimed the title Stupid.  Disgustingly and annoyingly persistent perhaps, but I’ve synonymed it:  Perseverance!  And I’m also really good at taking  liberty with parts of speech, like say turning a noun into a verb!  See my talent abound!

Ok, back to ROW80!  I am a people person.  I am inspired by people – things they say, questions they ask, stories they share.  Many of us are in ROW80 because we have a support system here where people will empathize with us through the hard times and scream and cheer with us through the good ones!  Since this round is going to be a much smaller set of goals for me, I want to use my time to highlight MORE OF YOU! 

Every week, I’m going to call out a Role Model of ROW80!  And this week’s winners of Fame and (no) Fortune are Kait Nolan and Gene Lempp.  You can read their specific ROW posts by clicking the links at the top of this post, but these will take you to their blogs as well!  Kait and Gene are both honest and incredibly helpful individuals who dedicate as much time to their writing as is humanely possible.  But both know that life does get in the way.  I’m really psyched for the two of them and their new strategies to accomplish their Round 4 goals.

For me, they gave two big takeaways that will help me set my goals:

  1. Writing everyday is not realistic for us all.
  2. When you know “Life” is going to drop you into an Indiana Jones movie set and watch you run, set small, achievable goals. 

*applause, applause*

Thank you Kait and Gene for those stellar bits of advice!  I was racking my brain trying to discern how I would tackle writing every day or setting big goals for ROW when I’m working 12+ hour days, and will be throughout the holidays.  The writing plan that works best for me now is maximizing my precious days off to work on writing and crank out the: blog posts, plotting, journaling, WIP – whatever needs to get out.

As an example, Kait set a goal for herself to write 2/3rds of the days of the month (or 20 out of 30 days) which allots her days of guilt free reality check happiness, yet also demonstrates she’s a lean, mean (not really) writing machine!

What I expect Kait does 10 out of 30 days of the month.
(image courtesy Mrs. Inman – Creative Commons)

And Gene shared that he combats life interruptions by breaking his goals down into weekly goals, and then into tiny bite size daily goals.  He’s able to keep ongoing track of his accomplishments and opportunities and adjust as needed.

That fact alone is why you all need to be friends with Gene.  He is excellent at calming the jittery, wide-eyed faces of a writer in meltdown.  I shall now refer to him in all future posts as Gene Lempp, The Writer Whisperer.

Yah, he’s like that cool.
(image courtesy Mrs. Inman – Creative Commons)

So, taking what I learned from this week’s Role Models of ROW, I shall create a weekly plan of what I want to accomplish but give myself the wiggle room to know it may not happen every day.  Which reminds me of something else Gene taught me, and has since become the mantra for my life – See what I mean…The Writer Whisperer!  Gene reminds me from time to time that I may not be moving as fast as I’d like to, but I am still moving forward.  One day at a time, right?!

This week:  

  • Read one chapter of Stephen King’s On Writing
  • Finish reading Shine Shine Shine by Lydia Netzer – prepare to discuss with Great New Books
  • Journal something – I have a lot to get off my mind and this process helps.
  • Blog ahead 3 posts. 


Your turn!  What are the big takeaways you’re implementing this ROW80 round?  Who’s been a role model for you?  Please share a link for that person, I’d love to meet them!  What are the focuses this week on your goal list?

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