Pat on the Back

Today’s post comes courtesy of The Daily Post‘s “Pat on the Back” prompt, in which they asks us to Tell someone you’re proud of just how proud you are.


My little girl.

Oh my goodness, how can I express just how proud I am of you?

My little girl: you’re one of the most amazing kids I’ve ever known. You may be clumsy as hell like mama and stubborn as a mule like daddy, but you’re also bright and brilliant and remarkably well-behaved for your age. You’re the youngest in your class (by quite a wide margin, actually), but you’re always on top of things, your classmates seem to adore you, and your teachers praise you. I could hardly be more proud.

You’ve got a memory unlike anything I’ve ever seen. How many 5-year-olds can remember the names of hundreds of comic book, TV, and movie characters, as well as about a hundred frikkin’ Shopkins, while also pretty much memorizing the entire script of dozens of episodes of shows and movies? Not to mention that you’re learning to read far quicker than I ever imagined you would, and you’re already doing basic math in your head, without use of fingers or toes at all.

You’re so well-balanced as well…sure, a lot of your favorite things are traditionally “girly” things, but the things you enjoy cross such a wide range of wonderful things. You love My Little Pony, but you love Ninja Turtles too. You adore wearing pretty dresses and fancy things, but you’re also a huge fan of gym, and running and climbing around outside. You enjoy reading, board games, Play Doh, Lego, dolls, action figures, coloring, and all other manner of fun stuff. You could play with pretty much any kid you ever meet because you’re wide open, willing to try pretty much anything.

We barely ever hear a peep out of you during long road trips, you’re happy as a lark to be dropped off with a babysitter if mama and daddy want to go out, and you’ll talk the ear off of pretty much anyone once you’ve had a moment to get used to them. You almost never give me trouble when it’s bedtime, you’re almost always well-behaved and pleasant at restaurants, and you always understand, “No, we can’t buy that today.”

You’re a joy and a gem.

Now, don’t go and get cocky because I’ve praised you so much. There will always be other kids who are awesome too…other kids who are smart, and adorable, and get along with everyone, and love a wide variety of things. You’re hardly the only one out there.

But you’re the only one who matters to me. 🙂


Can’t Stand Me

Today’s post comes courtesy of The Daily Post‘s daily prompt, which asks us: “What do you find more unbearable: watching a video of yourself, or listening to a recording of your voice? Why?”

This prompt piqued my interest because as I read and re-read the question I realized that my answer would have been completely different just a year and a half ago. What happened within that year and a half to change my mind? My YouTube channel happened!

Back before I started my YouTube channel I would have absolutely said that watching myself on video was the more unbearable prospect. I’ve always found myself to look so awkward and pathetic on camera, so much so in fact that when I first got the idea to start a YouTube channel I almost threw that idea right into the trash. I thought it would be fun to do unboxing videos, but I also loathed the idea of actually sitting down and talking to a camera, only to then have to review the footage and deal with the reality of how ridiculous I would look. I’m a naturally awkward person when it comes to things like public speaking or being the center of attention, and somehow video felt just as bad, if not worse. Those first few videos I shot were actually a strange form of self-torture. I would sweat and stutter through the entire recording, and then cringe and twitch as I tried to edit the footage into something that didn’t make me feel like burning my camera.

But it’s been a year and a half since I first started recording those videos, and I’ve really become rather used to it. I still have moments when my brain completely shuts down on me – you’d be amazed to see how many flubs and bloopers I actually edit out of every video – but I feel much more comfortable in front of the camera these days, which means that the recordings themselves turn out significantly less torturous to my own personal senses. I’ve even been known to get a chuckle in at myself. I no longer mind at all watching myself being played back.

My voice, however…that’s another story. Technically you could say that the recording of my voice is part of the videos, but somehow when video and audio are linked it doesn’t seem all that bad. It matches. It works. But when it’s just a recording of my own voice, when I can’t actually see my own mouth moving and the words coming out… I shudder just thinking about it. And I think many people feel the same way because, as we know, our voices sound different inside our own heads due to the vibrations within the bones in our ears. Every one of us sounds different to ourselves than we do to everyone else around us, and usually when presented with the voice that everyone else hears we recoil in horror. “Do I really sound like that?” It’s an extremely common notion.

Mind you, most people don’t have to listen to themselves on audio recording all that often. Personally I avoid it at all costs, which is the main reason I run to another part of the house whenever my husband starts watching one of my videos; I can’t stand to listen to myself blaring over his laptop speakers while I’m trying to do other things. It’s unnerving. Uncomfortable. Unacceptable, even.

Or maybe I’m just crazy. What do you guys think? Which is the more unbearable thing to have to experience?

Internal Interpretations

The other day I was clicking through some daily prompts on The Daily Post and I came across this one. It piqued my interest, so I thought I’d take part.


Do you remember a recent dream you had? Or an older one that stayed vivid in your mind? Today, you’re your own Freud: Tell us the dream, then interpret it for us! Feel free to be as serious or humorous as you see fit, or to invent a dream if you can’t remember a real one.

This prompt caught my eye because I dream a lot. I don’t know if it’s because of a sleep disorder, or if I just have a super-overactive mind, or what the reason could be, but I seem to spend an inordinate amount of the nighttime hours in REM sleep, just dreaming away. If I’m woken up in a shocking way – such as an annoying, blaring alarm clock – I tend to forget those dreams pretty much immediately, but if given the chance to wake up naturally I’ve found that I can remember so much detail that it makes me wonder if I got any deep sleep at all. I’ve grabbed notebooks and scribbled down my dreams only to find my hand starts to cramp up before I can finish.

And most of those dreams, while extremely detailed and vivid, are so odd and random that I couldn’t even begin to interpret them. For example, there’s this one recurring dream that I had multiple times throughout my last two college years. In it my husband (who was, of course, my boyfriend at the time) and I are moving through this huge building. Each floor of the building was something completely different; one floor was an enormous mall, another floor was a sprawling park. And there were no stairs; in order to move between floors we had to find a ladder or something else to climb in order to reach a trap door in the ceiling. We would steadily move upward, until eventually we would come to this one floor that was like an entire town – houses, trees, roads, the whole works – and in this town a war was going on. Everyone my age that I had ever known – schoolmates, college friends, etc – were there, but no kids and no older folks, and everyone had huge, sci-fi-style guns. My ex-boyfriend was always the one to meet us at the trap door and shove guns into our hands, begging us to help out. Everyone would be camped out behind bushes, cars, houses, and everyone would be shooting off into the distance but I could never see what it was they were all fighting. The remainder of the dream would be hubby and I trying to make our way through all the gunfire, trying to stay alive while searching through the next trap door. I had that dream more than a dozen times, and each time it was super-vivid – like, I could remember the clothes people were wearing, and which stores we ran past on the mall level – but I couldn’t even begin to tell you what it was all about. I mean, you tell me: what the hell could any of that mean?

But I have had dreams that I could pretty much interpret instantaneously. For instance, there’s another recurring dream that I’ve had for years. It’s not always exactly the same, but it’s always very, very similar, and it crops up in my mind every so often. Without going into huge amounds of detail, the dream always begins in an important place from my childhood, like my parents’ or grandparents’ houses. It’ll be early in the morning and I’ll be trying to get ready to go to school. I won’t be a kid or anything in this dream – I’ll be my fully grown adult self – but I’ll be getting ready for school none-the-less. And it will be an utter disaster. It will seem like everything in the world is trying to keep me from getting to school. Every piece of clothing I own will be dirty, the car will break down, one of my family members will show up and start demanding something of me; just in general I’ll be a nervous wreck just trying to get out of the damn house. Then, eventually, I’ll make it to school, but the school will be this enormous, winding labyrinth of hallways and staircases and I’ll have no idea where my classes are. Around this point my best friend usually shows up, talking like everything is super normal, and I’ll start following her, hoping that she’ll lead me to wherever the hell I’m supposed to go. We’ll push through hoards of teenagers on their way to class, and somehow I’ll finally wind up in a math class. But that’s not where my torture ends. Sitting in that class, I’ll suddenly realize that, somehow I’ve managed to go almost the entire school year without sitting through a single class or doing any homework. Without knowing how I even managed to pull that off, I’ll just intuitively know that I’m pretty much completely screwed and have, like, a week to teach myself the entire course in time for the final exam.

Can you interpret that one? I think it’s pretty easy myself: it’s all about stress. In the dream I’m feeling battered, lost, confused. I can’t figure out what I’m doing or where I’m going, and everything in the world seems set out to stop me. And then, just when I think I’ve finally reached my objective, I realize that I’ve completely dropped the ball and put myself into a super bad situation. The fact that the dream involves places from my childhood, school, and my best friend, is probably my brain longing for simpler times amidst all the chaos that I can’t seem to escape. My theory is furthered by the fact that I always seem to have this dream when I’m having a rough time in real life; I’ve had a really awful day at work, I’ve gotten into a huge fight with someone, the little missy had whiny, sooky day that made me want to pull my hair out…you get the idea. It makes sense, right? What better way for a person to deal with stress than to be forced to deal with even more of it in their dreams? 😛

What do you think? Am I probably right, or do you have another interpretation? What kinds of dreams do you usually have? Can you usually tell what they mean or are they totally off the wall? Please share!

Moved to Tears

Describe the last time you were moved to tears by something.

I was clicking through random prompts on The Daily Post one day when I came across this one. It made me stop and think for a moment because my response is not the kind that you might expect. The last time I was “moved to tears” was a couple of days ago when I was curled in up bed at my work camp. Was I upset about something that had happened at work? Nope. Was I lonely because my family was 3000 miles away? Well, always, but that wasn’t the issue in question. No, this particular night I was moved to tears because Detective Ryan escaped a near-death experience just in time to meet his newborn baby girl and hold her for the first time.

Yeah… I was totally watching ‘Castle’.

The thing is, when it comes to real life, I don’t cry very often – pretty much only when there’s been a death in the family. But get me invested in a fictional character and woo-ee…the dams break right open.

I don’t know what that says about me, exactly, but I have a theory. See, I tend to internalize a lot because I’m not great at expressing my feelings to others, even the people I’m closest to. Some of those internalized emotions come out in my writing, but definitely not all of them. The rest is reserved for fiction characters created by others. It’s almost as though I’m emoting vicariously through people who are safe targets because they’re not real. Does that make any sense at all? I feel like maybe that only makes sense to me.

Now don’t get me wrong: I’m not bawling my eyes out every time one of the “good guys” dies in ‘Game of Thrones’ (can you imagine? I’d have chronic dehydration), but I do get choked up quite often when a character I love is going through something horrible, or having a super-emotional moment. I thought I was going to have a complete breakdown during the opening scenes of ‘UP’, and there have been episodes of ‘Supernatural’ during which I had to turn my head so my husband wouldn’t see the glimmer in the corners of my eyes. And then there’s ‘Full Metal Alchemist’… Guys, I can’t not speak enough about how amazing this show was – even if you’re not normally an anime fan – and there were a few scenes that made me weep, no joke.

Anyone who has seen the show is bawling like a little baby right now, I guarantee it.
Anyone who has seen the show is bawling like a little baby right now, I guarantee it.

And sometimes, honestly, that can feel nice. Crying, even if it’s over something fictional, can be very cathartic and a huge stress-reliever (see aforementioned problem with internalization). Honestly, all you guys who play by the rule of “Boys Don’t Cry” are really missing out.

What do you guys think? Am I crazy for sniveling over fictional characters, or do you totally get what I’m saying? When was the last time you were brought to tears (by something fictional or otherwise)? Please share!

Also, a reminder that I am running a contest throughout the month of March. For each comment you post on my blog throughout the month, you will receive one entry toward a draw for a hard-copy of my zombie apocalypse novel, “Nowhere to Hide”! Please note that in order to accept the prize, I will need you to give me a mailing address where I can have the book sent. If the winner drawn did not intend to enter the contest and/or does not want the book, I will draw another name. Please also note that obvious spam/duplicate comments/etc. will not be counted toward an entry…play fair! And good luck!

Sweet Little Lies

From The Daily Post:

As kids, we’re told, time and again, that lying is wrong. Do you believe that’s always true? In your book, are there any exceptions?

There are absolutely exceptions. When we’re dealing with kids we tend to make a blanket statement (“Lying is wrong!”) because kids haven’t gained the knowledge, experience, and empathy required to tell the difference between a bad like and the kind of lie that is required to keep a civil society running.

Now, obviously there are plenty of times when lying is the absolute worst thing you can do. Lying to your doctor about your symptoms could delay life-saving treatment. Lying to your lawyer about the details of an incident could land you in jail. Lying about those bruises on your face to the people who are only trying to help you could get you abused again – or even killed. And even when the cases aren’t quite so extreme, we have to drill it into our kids’ heads that lying is bad because there are so many instances when failing to tell the truth results in some highly unsatisfactory consequences.

But there are lots and lots of benign instances in which it’s much better for all involved to tell a little white lie. For instance, we’ve all had to deal with those horrible interviews – the ones in which the interviewer asks questions like, “Why do you want to work for this company?” and “What do you think your greatest weaknesses are?” If you were always perfectly honest with that first question you’d never get hired, because let’s face it, most of the jobs we interview for in our lives are ones we would rather set ourselves on fire than have to do, but admitting that you’re only in it to pay the rent isn’t going to endear the company to your application. As for that second question, well, answering that honestly would at best get you kicked out of the interview, and at worst wind up in a call to the police to remove you from the premises.

Then, of course, there are the times when the truth serves no good purpose and a lie would be more kind. If someone with a very poor self-image asks, “Do I look fat in this?”, you’re sure as hell not going to say yes, even if it’s true,  unless you want to be dealing with the emotional fallout for weeks to come.

Basically, as long as we’re not going to cause huge problems and bad consequences as a result, some lies are necessary to keep everyone civil and happy. The problem is trying to figure out how to teach the difference to our kids, because while you want them to tell the truth about who ate the entire box of cookies, you don’t really want them telling their mean teacher that they think she’s a horrible person who, by the way, is also super-ugly and no one likes her anyway.

What do you think? Is lying wrong, case closed, or are some lies a necessary part of life? Please share!

Also, a reminder that I am running a contest throughout the month of March. For each comment you post on my blog throughout the month, you will receive one entry toward a draw for a hard-copy of my zombie apocalypse novel, “Nowhere to Hide”! Please note that in order to accept the prize, I will need you to give me a mailing address where I can have the book sent. If the winner drawn did not intend to enter the contest and/or does not want the book, I will draw another name. Please also note that obvious spam/duplicate comments/etc. will not be counted toward an entry…play fair! And good luck!

All to Ashes

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Burnt.” Responding to another prompt, I told you about the five things that I’d save if there was a fire and I knew that my loved ones were already safe. But today The Daily Post offers an addendum to that prompt: what items do you wish you […]

5 Items to Save

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Burning Down the House.” Today the prompters over at The Daily Post challenge us to choose our most precious possessions. They tell us that our house is on fire; assuming that all people and pets are already safe, what five items would you grab to save if you […]