Throwback Thursday, Installment Numero Dos!

Hi there readers! In case you were abducted by aliens last week (which is the only excuse I will accept for not reading my blog), I recently started a new feature called Throwback Thursday.

What’s Throwback Thursday, you ask? (Okay, you’re probably not asking. In fact, you’ve probably stopped reading and are now off eating a sandwich. But for those of you who are with me, about two years behind the curve in social media jargon…) I’d be happy to tell you! It’s an opportunity to reminisce, once a week, via your social media platform-of-choice.

Or, to be slightly more specific – in my case, it’s an opportunity to give the world a nostalgic glimpse into my youth, thanks to my recent discovery of all of my childhood journals.

I thought it would be appropriate, as my first official Throwback Thursday, to start at the very beginning (a very good place to start). So this week’s installment comes from my VERY FIRST DIARY when I was just a wee babe of only eight years old:

photo 1

(I like diaries that have the word “diary” on it, because there’s a chance I might be rummaging around in a drawer one day, come across a book like this, and say “Oh, perfect! A book about a cat!” But then I would open it and be immediately disappointed, because I just wasted eight seconds of my life and it is not, in fact, a book about a cat. I’m a busy lady, I don’t have eight seconds to spare for confusion like this, you know? This very deliberate labeling eliminates that kind of thing. You can’t put a price tag on that.)

ANYWAY. I bring up the context of the physical diary, because I just want you all to know the lengths I had to go to in order to make this post happen. I’m not sure if you were quite as obsessed with journaling when you were younger as I was – but if so, then you should be familiar with these little babies:

photo 2

That’s right y’all, my diary had a COMBINATION LOCK on it. To hold all my TOP-SECRET SECRETIVE SECRET-Y SECRETS.

I imagine that when the children’s journal company conceived this, it was meant to keep out pesky little brothers or untrustworthy gradeschool friends… But they should be supremely proud of themselves, because apparently the technology is also effective at keeping out 24-year-old grown-up adults.

I want you all to know, I really did try to do the honorable thing. …And by that I mean, I tried to guess the combination.

But when the only available letter options are D-I-A-R-Y, there are only so many word combinations, and only so much disposable patience.

…So instead, I used my SUPERIOR WOMANLY STRENGTH to claw it open like the Hulk. And now it’s open forever, pesky siblings or untrustworthy friends be damned.

This diary was a gift from my Great Aunt Ann. She inscribed the following message inside, which I thought was appropriate considering my current endeavor:

photo 3

(“Dear Susie,
I hope you will write in this diary. Not every day, but on days that something happened to make you happy or even something sad. Writing your happy or sad feelings to your “special friend” (your diary) as you are growing up helps you relive those days when you are older.
When all the pages are full, put your diary in a safe place, then when you are older you can read it and relive your “growing up years.” 
I love you, Susie, and I wish you the best life has to offer. You are “special” to me.
-Aunt Ann”)

Little did she know that the “safe place” would be my parents’ garage for 16 years, and “reliving my growing up years” would be in the form of a blog post on the Interwebz. But AWWWW, right?

So without further ado, here is the very first time I ever put pen-to-paper to document my life, on December 27th, 1997:

Hello,
My name is Mary Susanne Wittbrodt but my nickname is Susie.

Not totally sure who I thought I was writing to here, but apparently it was someone I hadn’t met yet.

I got this diary for Christmas from my Aunt Ann, as you probably already know from reading the first page.

I like the acknowledgement that this was probably unnecessary information. Which means that even as a child, Susie was already prone to wordiness, and already apologizing for it.

I will be writing to you hopefully every day if I am able to.

Sorry diary, no commitments here. I’ll write if I get to it, okay? Get off my back.

 I will be telling you secrets (hence the lock) and good or bad parts of my life. After all, that’s what a diary’s for. So, turn the page!

Things we can surmise about what I thought of my reader:

  1. They have never met me and needed to be informed of my name.
  2. They care if I write every day.
  3. They need to be told what a diary is for.
  4. When they reach the end of a page, if I don’t tell them to turn it they will probably think the diary is over so I better give them instructions.

And that’s all she wrote! That wraps up al my eight-year-old brain wanted to put out into the world on December 27th, 1997. The next post was written the very next day, and starts out “Hello, This is Susie.” (Just in case my reader forgot who I was overnight. You just never know.)

Thanks for stopping by for this installment of Throwback Thursday!

(This was Susie, by the way. I forgot to mention that.)

Your fears are illogical but mine are not.

RELATED: Also, no one is allowed to have double-standards except for me.

As promised in my recent post about not knowing what to post about, I would like to discuss – momentarily – my fear of sharks, and how it is totally 100% rational. And, while I’m at it, why everybody else’s fears are totally 100% not.

There isn’t much gray area on this for me. Some fears are legitimate, and others are based on absolutely no semblance of logic. For instance: My old boss (as well as my cousin, and my best friend in middle school…) are all absolutely terrified of birds.

Did you hear me? I said birds.

If the jury will kindly draw their attention to Exhibit A:

bird

So okay, just so we’re all on the same page here… that’s a bird. COVER YOUR EYES AND HIDE THE CHILDRE- Oh wait, false alarm guys! It’s just a charming colorful feathered animal of flight. Am I missing something here? People are afraid of this?

But they are! Those people are out there! Probably even outside of my old boss and cousin and middle school best friend. There’s even a whole Alfred Hitchcock movie about people being afraid of this, so they apparently exist.

I just don’t follow. Not one bit.

Especially when there are other things in the world that you should be devoting all your energy to being scared of.

shark

Like I dunno, sharks.

If you’re anything like the other nay-sayers in my life, here’s what you’re thinking right now:

But Susie, you live on land! Obviously if we were in the ocean and there was a shark, we would be afraid. But to walk around in your day-to-day life being afraid of them is silly.

Let me stop you right there, nay-sayer. Maybe if a bird was plucking my eyes out, I would be afraid of birds too. But birds do not go around plucking peoples’ eyes out. Sharks, however, do go around chomping people off their surfboards and just generally being the most terrifying predator in the world.

If a bird does something scary, your plan of attack should just be to run at it with your arms spread wide. They’ll scatter because they’re birds.

If a shark does something scary is just generally anywhere near you, YOU DON’T HAVE A PLAN OF ATTACK BECAUSE YOU’RE PROBABLY ALREADY DEAD.

Do you get what I’m saying here?

Anyway, in conclusion, my fears are totally logical and rational and grounded and yours are absolutely not, and in other news I’m probably going to have to sleep with the light on tonight so a shark doesn’t eat me in my bed.

 

How to Write a Blog Post (in 26 easy steps!)

1. Talk about writing your blog post. Talk about it all day long. Tell yourself, your boyfriend, the pictures on the wall. You are going to write a blog post today, damnit. Make sure everybody knows.

2. Set aside time. Schedule a date with your blog, pencil it into your day calendar, and stick to it. At some point in your life, actually turn down another activity because “I’m sorry, I can’t. Today is a blog post day.”

3. Prepare your blogging area – whatever that means. Tidy, organize, plug in your laptop, make some chips and guacamole, play some Beatles, whatever. Make your space blogging-ready.

4. Also, prepare your blogging self. Make sure you are well-fed and comfortable. Get in your jammies, or wrap yourself in a blanket, or pull the cat up onto your lap. (truthfully not my pet-of-choice, but I’ve noticed an interesting trend in bloggers and cats. Someone should do a study on that.)

5. Rid yourself of any distractions. That means taking care of any unfinished business, if applicable. Call your mom back. Do the dishes. Pay the electric bill.

6. Sit down to start your blog post, totally pumped and ready to write.

7. …Stare at the blinking cursor.

8. Allow yourself a few minutes of browsing to get the creative juices flowing. Review the weekly writing challenge, or get desperate enough to do something hopelessly pathetic like a google search.

 Picture 2

9. Spend some time on other blogs. Spend a lot of time, actually. Be really impressed with other bloggers’ work. Hate yourself for not being as good as they are. Kick yourself for not thinking of [INSERT POST IDEA] first. Wallow in self pity for a few minutes.

10. Go back to your post. Stare at the blinking cursor for awhile longer.

11. Decide to start typing before you even really know what you’re going to say. Let a few disjointed words flow from your fingers. Something like “blahdee blahdee blah, I have no idea what to write about.”

12. Delete delete delete.

13. Actually come up with a semi-plausible idea, start typing. Three sentences in, realize you’ve already communicated the entire idea and three sentences does not a blog post make.

14. Delete delete delete.

15. Start physically looking around you in hopes that someone might have written a prompt on the wall or in the dusty corners of a shelf somewhere. Zero in on each object around you like you’re waiting for it to sprout legs, walk over to your keyboard and start typing for you.

16. Reminisce about the fact that today at work, post ideas were practically spilling out of your ears. And in fact, whenever you are NOT actively trying to blog, there seems to be so much to write about. But the moment you sit down to communicate them, the ideas all scurry like cockroaches when you flip on a light switch. Be annoyed about this, for a minute.

17. Suddenly, allow everything to become inspiration. As you look around, be murmuring ideas to yourself about every piece of your surroundings. It’s cloudy out, you could write about seasonal depression. You are surrounded by all of your favorite books, you could write a response to one of them or write a post in the style of a specific author. A bird just flew by, you could write about how your old boss was terrified of birds. You always thought that was illogical, but then she also thought it was illogical that you were afraid of sharks. You could write a post justifying your fear of sharks.

18. Start writing one of those posts. Quickly realize they weren’t very good ideas to begin with.

19. Delete delete delete.

20. Decide that maybe today isn’t a blogging day, after all. Give yourself a break. Everybody gets writer’s block. JK Rowling made people wait three years for the fifth Harry Potter book, you can certainly hold off on posting for one more day. Walk away from your blogging area and do something else.

21. Feel guilty. Feel like you betrayed yourself somehow. Feel like you made a commitment and flaked on it. Start shaming yourself with these thoughts. Convince yourself that if you can’t follow-through on this then you’re probably never ever going to be a writer, and you might as well just give up now.

22. Sit back down. Stare at the blinking cursor some more.

23. Start to formulate an idea for a post.

24. Realize you have more to say than you originally thought.

25. Write the post. Feel pretty good about it.

26. Hover over the word “Publish,” but before you click – issue a brief apology to your readers that the most authentic blog post you could conjure up today was about your writer’s block. (Sorry guys.) Promise that next time you’ll write about something better.

…Like maybe your fear of sharks.

New Feature: Throwback Thursday!

 

Okay so I know. Throwback Thursday is not, in fact, new. It has been in existence in the world of social media just long enough to become passe… so, naturally, I am just now hearing about it.

In any case, because it’s new to ME, I am going to be starting it as a new feature on my blog.

I may have mentioned that my mom is the-most-amazing-slash-also-the-weirdest person in the whole world. And this time, she might have outdone herself.

During her last visit, I mentioned that I was sad about the fact that my books didn’t follow me during my move from my hometown. I had about one box’s worth of my favorites, but beyond that they all sat gathering dust in my parents’ garage. So my mom, being the superhero that she is, took it upon herself to mail me the rest of my library – to the tune of twelve different boxes traveling cross-country and hundreds of dollars in shipping.

photo 1   photo 2

Needless to say, my mother is the very best person to ever walk Planet Earth.

It took hours to rifle through the dozens of books, and proved to be a reflective and wholly nostalgic venture. But one thing I didn’t expect to find, was the enormous stack of journals my mother had kept throughout my childhood.

photo 3

The very first entry I could find was written in 1997, which means I was at the wee age of eight years old. And from what I can surmise, I haven’t really put the pen down since.

So in light of this (for me) Earth-shattering discovery, (along with the slightly less Earth-shattering discovery of “Throwback Thursday”), I will be featuring a glimpse into my youth every week.

This week, I’ll keep it brief. On October 18th, 2006, having just celebrated my 17th birthday, I contributed to my journal this enlightening limerick:

I once had a very nice shoe.
Its brother was very nice, too.
But the left and the right
Were both lost in the night.
Oh heavens, now what shall I do?

It sometimes concerns me that I will never regain the intellectual prowess I once held.

Why I will never, absolutely ever be an adult

I’m starting to wonder if I’m ever actually going to grow up.

spongebob-4843-203x300

I always thought it would be an automatic thing – something definite and biological, like puberty. That at some point an internal alarm clock would go off and my brain would just magically know to make the switch to adulthood. And one morning I would just wake up, swing my feet off the bed, and walk out into the world as a bona fide grown-up. I would develop a newfound interest in jazz and steel-cut oatmeal, and the phrase “fixed-rate mortgage” would suddenly make sense to me.

…But it hasn’t happened yet. And I’m 24.

…And, worse, in five months I’ll be 25. I’m no mathematician, but if we’re playing the rounding game, 25 rounds up to 30.

So based on really real, actual mathematic calculations… I’m basically 30.

I didn’t make this up, okay? It’s math. Look it up.

I think we can all agree here that 30 is an age when maturity is pretty generally expected of you. The rule actually says: If your age is in the double-digits, and the first digit is 3-and-up, you are an adult. Period. And that means you should also look, talk, and act the part – in other words, you should not be buying your groceries from 7-11, you should not be watching Spongebob at 3am, and you should not consider cold pizza part of a balanced breakfast. It says that. It’s in the rulebook.

And here I am, five months away from being basically-30, and I’m still tapping my toe waiting for adulthood to reveal itself to me. I look around at the other adults in the world – with their newspapers and their indoor plants and their clean cars – and I’m wondering if it might be time to face the music that maybe it just isn’t going to happen. My news will come from Twitter 90% of the time, I will never have the attention span to keep a plant alive, and – try as I might to deny it – my car floor will always be covered in cheez-its. It’s just a fact.

I mean, don’t get me wrong – I’ve come a long way in the past few years. I drink home-brewed coffee, I pay my taxes… I even own matching towel sets. But most of the time I feel like I’m just pretending to be an adult, and I highly doubt I’m fooling anyone.

There are just so many things that I do that a real adult wouldn’t do.

For example: There are times in my life (like when I build furniture or fly on an airplane by myself) when I find myself thinking, “Wow, this is really grown up right now. Look at me! I am so grown up.”

…But however “grown-up” the activity in question is, it is probably immediately negated by that thought designating it so. I just can’t imagine that many actual adults walk around thinking “I’m such an adult right now. This is so adult.”

That’s not all – The ‘maintenance required’ light has been on in my car since August. An adult wouldn’t do that. I have asthma (NERD ALERT!), but we better pray I don’t need my medicine anytime soon because my non-adult self can’t be bothered to schedule a doctor’s appointment to refill my prescription. As I type this, I am running a load of laundry (my first this month, notable in itself) and a few minutes ago the washing machine started making banging noises. When I heard the noise from my office, my VERY FIRST THOUGHT was that someone had broken into the house and I was going to die. Because my non-adult attention span couldn’t reach back in time 15 minutes to remind me that it was, in fact, my own actions that caused the noises.

Do you see what I mean?

I can only hope that maybe it’s just delayed, and my internal adulthood alarm clock could still be coming. But until then, you can find me watching Spongebob.

…And maybe googling “fixed-rate mortgage.”

Let me in.

Let me in.

The lane is ending, the window of opportunity is closing, and my car is literally moments away from hurdling off a bridge. My life is in your hands, lady. Do the right thing.

Please let me in.

Okay, I can admit some fault here. I’m big enough to admit that. Journey was on the radio, and I turned it up too high, and I devoted all my attention to belting “Hiiiding, soooomewhere in the NIIIIIIGHT!!!!!” rather than noticing the construction signs telling me to get over. I can accept some of the blame for this one, sure.

But let’s put the past behind us, shall we? Nobody likes a grudge-holder. We’ll start a new chapter, right here and now, and you and I can have a clean slate. Hi there, it’s nice to meet you. My name is Susie, and I desperately need to get over.

Please please please let me in.

Ma’am, I think it’s important that you understand here that I didn’t CHOOSE this. Me needing to navigate my car into your lane is not an elective choice of mine. If I ruled the universe, there would be no traffic and no road construction. Journey would not have come on the radio at that moment, I would have been born with a better attention span, and you and I could be great friends.

But the fact of the matter is, the universe is not under my control. And we have to make do with the reality at hand.

…And that reality is that if you don’t let me over, my car will topple off the side of this bridge in t-minus four seconds.

You’re a good person, I know you are. You don’t want me to die. Please let me in.

Three seconds.

I know you see me, girlfriend. Your sunglasses can’t hide your murderous shame. You see me, you know I’m here, and you know I’m at the mercy of your kindness right now. Please. Please let me in.

Two seconds.

For the love of God, woman, I’m sorry! I should have paid better attention. I should’ve listened to the radio more responsibly. I should’ve been a more cautious driver. I should have flossed more, I should have eaten my vegetables, I shouldn’t have wasted so much of my life on reality TV. I should have volunteered at charities, I should have spent more time with my little sister… I should have given that homeless man my sandwich the other day.

It’s just that I was selfish and hungry and I had spent a lot of time developing the perfect turkey-mustard ratio. I’m sorry! Please forgive me! Please let me in!

I’ll give him the sandwich next time. I’ll give him eleven sandwiches. I’ll open a sandwich store for him. I’ll build a sandwich mountain and put a shrine to him on top.

Oh, thank god. Thank you. Oh thank you so much. You are a saint. You are an angel. You are Mother Teresa. They should erect statues in your honor, they should name a holiday after you. Thank you so so much.

Now, to turn that radio back up…

Why Weddings are Basically the Best Thing Ever and We Should All Totally Just Get Married Every Day

Last weekend, I got a collective eight hours of sleep over a 72-hour period.

There was a time in my life when I probably would have said that ain’t no thang (presumably the same time of my life when I was listening to a lot of Outkast), but nowadays – in my perpetual march toward middle-agedness – such a weekend has me gasping for air. As a result, the last week has been been somewhat of a recovery period for me – leaving me in a foggy stupor and with only a hazy cognizance of what has been going on around me. (On a related note, I should probably take this opportunity to apologize to my coworkers for being such a zombie this week)

But I wouldn’t trade my Dawn of the Dead demeanor for anything, because it was a small price to pay to be able to share in the most important day in the life of one of my closest friends. And when I awoke from my sleep-deprived trance, my first intelligible thought was:

OH MY GOD, WEDDINGS ARE THE ABSOLUTE BEST.

Duh, Susie. Everybody knows that. What color is the rock you’ve been living under for the last 24 years?

Maybe it’s because 100% of my wedding attendance until this point has been family-related, or because I’ve spent most of my life with the firm belief that I wouldn’t be getting married myself… or maybe it’s just because this wedding had an open bar served delicious tortellini. But whatever the case, the wool has been lifted, and I get it now. Weddings rock.

So without further ado, here are The Five Reasons Weddings Are Basically The Best Thing Ever And We Should All Totally Just Get Married Every Day:

1.) Everybody’s there! It is nothing short of a travesty that weddings are the only event that brings together ALL of our friends and family in one place. Why can’t other life celebrations warrant that kind of gathering? Like I dunno, moving. Or getting a new job. Or finishing a book, or running three miles. Hey everybody! the other day I did laundry and found a $10 bill in a jeans pocket! Hop on a plane, Grandma! We’re having a party!

2.) You get to beee yourself! 

Image

My favorite part about weddings is that it is a couple’s opportunity to showcase exactly who they are. Wear flip-flops instead of heels under your dress! Have a Mighty Ducks wedding cake! Put all your groomsmen in superhero costumes! Have a choreographed first dance to Baby Got Back! It’s totally and absolutely their day to make whatever memories they want. And that’s awesome!

3.) Putting the Bride and Groom First.also think it’s incredible how selfless people are at weddings. It’s truly a lesson in life – Your #$%! just flat-out doesn’t matter. Which means you drop everything to be there. And you do everything in your physical power to shield the bride from any drama on the day-of. (And whatever it is boys do for the groom.) And if you’re a bridesmaid, you suck it up and wear that totally hideous bridesmaid’s dress without complaint. (not technically applicable for this particular wedding, they were B-E-A-youtiful, but you get the gist.) This is good for us, as humans. We need an excuse to completely abandon our own self-absorbedness. This is their day. 

4.) Love. Because after all, love is all you need. And you can’t buy me love. And in the end, the love you take is equal to the love you make. [INSERT ABSOLUTELY ANY OTHER APPLICABLE LYRIC BECAUSE THE BEATLES ARE THE GREATEST BAND OF ALL TIME] Sorry, I’m back. Basically, I love love. And weddings are just a shmorgishborg of all different kinds of love – romantic love, friend love, family love, friends-of-the-family love… they all come together like the world’s greatest Love Mix CD. And – if my perpetually puffy eyes throughout the entire ceremony and reception are any indicator – I think it’s just wonderful.

5.) Dancing. This is actually a very serious public service announcement: WHAT THE HELL, GUYS. Why aren’t we dancing more?  I feel like dancing is this completely underutilized resource – it has the power to cure any ailment or heal any friendship or yank any wallflower out of shyness. And I only get to do it once or twice a year? This is a problem. A very legitimate, but-really though, I’m-not-messing-around kind of problem. Let’s fix our broken dancing culture like PRONTO.

 

So there you have it. I’m in, I’m hooked, I’m off the wagon. I am wholly and absolutely, head-over-heels addicted to weddings. I’m so obsessed that I’m tempted to start hooking people up just so they can get married and invite me. Then again, maybe I’m not completely over my sleep depravation after all…