November 1st.

I started a fitness challenge at my gym last month.

Think of the fitness challenge as a Bingo card. I had to black out the card during the month of October. Squares contained certain classes, certain instructors, certain locations, even certain workout times – hello, 5:30 a.m. wake up call. That’s not right, you guys.

I finished the workout challenge on October 30th. I received a free tank top.

I’m starting a writing challenge this month. There isn’t a tank top at the end unless you want to give me one.

This is my second year doing Rarasaur’s Nano Poblano.

I’m going to write a blog post for 30 days straight. To me, a blog post must be a story. If there isn’t a point to the post, it becomes words and I’ll lose you.

Believe me when I tell you completing a fitness challenge is easier than a writing challenge. And I consider myself a writer. The hardest part with a fitness challenge is showing up. I mean, yeah, working out sucks and you feel like you’re dying.

Dying is easy.

Storytelling is living. It’s hard.

I can show up at my computer every day but that won’t be good enough. My fingers, and maybe my mouth, are the only pieces of me that physically move. My head will be running a marathon. You won’t see that part. My head will be searching for the story every day. I won’t look different when I’m done. I probably won’t even feel different other than maybe mentally relieved. Lord knows I will not be waking up at 5:30 a.m. to write but I might for a free tank top.

You know that voice that’s in your head?

No, not your moral voice. Or the devil-on-one shoulder and angel-on-the-other voice. I mean the real voice. The voice you hear when you read a book to yourself. It’s the voice that thinks in the shower or in the car. That voice.

My voice talks a lot. She’s funny, most days. She’s way too shy to actually say the words out loud. The only way to let you hear her voice is to write down her voice. And that’s what you’re reading every time I sit down to write. I am not smart. I’m slow to learn and maybe a little immature. I believe people read my words because of my voice; it’s not because I’m intelligent and put mind-blowing thoughts into your head. The voice surprises me with her quick wit. Sometimes words just pop in my head. I laugh at her a lot.

And I hate it when the voice disappears. 

I’ve been working on a blog post about Emma going off to middle school but the voice in my head disappears every time I try to write. I can’t figure out why my voice stops talking at the keyboard. My own middle school experience? Or maybe I’m treading into Emma’s world. I need to let her live her life without my voice getting in the way.

It’s fine. I’ll find something else to write about for the next 30 days.

So the answer to your question is I don’t know.

I don’t know what I’m going to write about.

To answer your other question – Yes, I probably am psychotic and I just wrote a blog post on a voice that speaks to me. I write about her in the 3rd person and oh God, here we go.

She’s out.

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____________

Wait, don’t go! Find me on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram

And don’t forget to buy my book, “But Did You Die?”

 

Shiplap lover.

What makes something funny?

I don’t have an answer for you and I consider myself a humor writer. I can tell you humor is an art. There are different styles of humor – parody, satire, slapstick, irony, sarcasm, puns, spoofs, dark humor, the unexpected. Any stand-up comedian will tell you timing plays a role in humor. My parents will tell you humor is genetic.

But recognizing when you’re a dumbass and telling the world takes a certain skill. I once told Scott that people only think I’m funny because I’m good at making fun of myself.

It’s called the dumbass humor.

I was in the bathtub when I realized – holy shit, I might be the dumbest person I know. And I know a lot of dumbasses.

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What is this empty tub you see?

That’s the after.

Before I get to my story, let’s talk about my house. If Scott got his way, our house would look similar to a mountain lodge. Towering windows, ceilings that can easily fit a 15-foot Christmas tree, wood beams, a statement shed chandelier. Animal fur rugs under your feet and big game animals staring at you as you drink your hot cocoa with a splash of whiskey.

I mean, I don’t have anything against mountain lodges. They’re beautiful. They have a charm about them that makes you go straight for the red wine, the stout beer, the whiskey, and the medium rare steak. It’s hearty, warm, and full bodied. It’s man versus the wild – even if the eyes of the wild are made from glass.

We live at an elevation of 1,040 feet above sea level. We live in Kansas. We do not have majestic views of mountains but one time Scott saw our next door neighbor topless, popping a zit on her face in the mirror. Stop. It wasn’t at this house. Scott closed our blinds at our old house one night and there she was, really digging in with her nails. And Scott isn’t a peeping tom if he called me to watch too. That’s as far as we get for views of majestic – fine – full but a little saggy mountains.

In order to make our house a normal looking Kansas home, I need to balance the man vs. wild on our walls. I try to soften our home with flowers and white knit blankets. I weave my love of script and words with Scott’s fur and glass eyes staring at us. I think I do a good job. I am always looking for ways to mix our own version of the outdoors into our home.

The first weekend of the month, thousands of people head to the historic West Bottoms of Kansas City. You will find stores filled with antiques, one-of-a-kind vintage finds, thrifty picks, other people’s junk, whatever. It’s an interior designer’s dream. I went down to the West Bottoms this past weekend with two girlfriends. We wandered into store after store, each talking about our homes and our personal styles.

I found a perfect piece.

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Shiplap lover.

Me: Oh! This is cute. I have a whole fishing theme going on in our bathroom. Shiplap lover. Sounds sexy.

Cody: Oh, you should get it then.

Me: Yeah, I think I will. I’ll get it to decorate the shelf by our tub. It’s perfect.

Kathy: What’d you get?

Me: Isn’t this cute? I have a fishing theme in our master bath.

Kathy: Oh. Yeah. Get it.

It was perfect. There’s something about the master bathroom, especially the bathtub, that can be intimate without mushy. Shiplap lover is sexy. If there’s one thing Scott and I love with a passion, it’s fishing. You will see that love in our personal spaces.

Scott: What did you buy with Cody and Kathy?

Me: This. This. Isn’t this cute? Oh, and this too! For the tub.

Scott: What’s a shiplap?

Me: Oh, you know. Like lovers on a ship. It’s like us and fishing!

Scott: I’ve never heard of that.

Me: You’re not romantic. It’s a thing. It’s cute.

Scott: Oh.

Sunday night. I put my new decor pieces out. I filled the tub with epsom salts and oils. I applied a facial mask to my face. I poured a glass of wine, grabbed a book, and my phone. I sank into the tub and looked over at the words shiplap lover.

What is a shiplap anyway? I better make sure it’s not like the bottom deck with the rats or something gross.

Google search: shiplap

Um, what the hell is HGTV’s Fixer Upper? Who is Joanna Gaines and what the hell did I tell everyone I was buying?

Shiplap refers to a style of building material made of wood boards that overlap each other. No, not in the form of making a ship but in the form of wood pieces being nailed up on a wall like a barn. Go ahead – Pinterest search: shiplap. It’s bringing the look of a barn indoors. Some woman named Joanna Gaines from a show called Fixer Upper made it popular.

Shiplap has nothing to do with ships or fishing or getting drunk on the high seas with a lover. Nope. Any reference to fishing and shiplap makes zero sense to anyone that is not a dumbass. I don’t have one wall in my house that is shiplap. How can I be a shiplap lover if I don’t have shiplap? I love fishing and Scott not Joanna Gaines and Fixer Upper what the hell? Is that what I’m declaring now? My love for a television show that made shiplap popular?

Not only did my girlfriends probably think to themselves, what the hell was Julie talking about? But Scott called me out on it too. The employee at the store in the West Bottoms probably thought, this dumbass is buying a turquoise starfish with a shiplap sign. Every person I have ever fished with is sitting on their phone and laughing at my anchor, a turquoise starfish and shiplap lover. HGTV viewers, Joanna Gaines and interior designers everywhere are thinking, but those are rocks on her wall. Where’s the shiplap?

What makes something funny?

My dumbass.

___________

Wait, don’t go! Find me on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram

The letter X.

There are few words in the English language that start with the letter x.

The letter x is more of a symbol than an actual letter.

X means kisses.

X means “sign here.”

X means multiply.

X means “marks the spot.”

X means 10 in Roman numeral form.

X means “you are here.”

The letter X.

X – You are here.

You are here in my writing room, on my laptop screen.

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When we built our house, Scott suggested I have my own room to focus on my writing. He calls it my writing room. It’s behind the kitchen. It’s really just a smaller living room with its own fireplace. But the room echoes what I love.

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That’s my white marlin I caught off the coast of the Dominican Republic. He looks much bigger in Kansas. He’s made out of fiberglass. My writing room does not smell like dead fish.

I just mentioned you’re in Kansas. Overland Park, Kansas. It’s not as bad as you think. Look at any of those “best cities” lists and Overland Park is always on there. Kansas is lovely.

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That’s a real sunset in my backyard without filters. No one really talks about the times heaven opens up over Kansas. Everyone stops and stares. It’s a secret every Kansan knows but never brags about. But I’ll brag. I don’t care.

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This is not my backyard but I had to include a field of Kansas sunflowers. Did you know the sunflower turns its face towards the sun? That’s why they’re always looking the same way. Sunflowers know about the sunsets too.

I don’t know what you look like. I guess it depends on what I’m writing. But most of the time you’re female. You are probably married with kids. But that’s just a guess. I’m not sure how you found yourself here in my writing room but I’m glad you did. There’s always someone to talk to in my writing room.

It used to be strange, writing to people I’ve never met. It’s hard to judge your thoughts when I can’t see you or hear you conversing back. Maybe that’s one reason I feel like this room can be too much “me” when I also want to hear about you. I worry about that – I don’t want to seem egotistical. As much as I write, I am a good listener.

I am assuming you will stop by when your schedule allows and tell me a little about yourself.

But now I must go. I have a friend picking me up for a yoga class in about 30 minutes. The class is called Namaste and Chardonnay.  I’m going for the chardonnay.

___________

Wait, don’t go! Find me on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram

X 2

 

Hello, November 30.

Well, I didn’t write a novel.

That’s ok. It wasn’t my intention. I wrote for 30 straight days. It’s something I’ve never done before.

I don’t know why I agreed to the challenge. 30 consecutive days of writing, or anything really, takes a lot of discipline. This discipline happens to fall in November. November is not a care-free month like sexy July over there. Thank you, Pilgrims.

I finished Nano Poblano. I finished the damn thing.

Whether it made me a better writer, I don’t know. I didn’t go into 30 days with a plan. I didn’t use pre-written posts in the draft folder. I wrote every post on that day, at that moment. I learned it’s possible to find a story every day. I can write when I don’t feel like writing.

I also learned there are people that will read anything I write. You guys showed up for 30 consecutive days to read, spy on my family, laugh, cry, drool at Brett, glare at me in fury, or just escape your life for a minute or two. You shared my blog. You commented. You let me know you were listening. I gained readers.

After 30 days, I realized this is why I write. You.

There’s nothing special about me other than I write about my family. I’m not paid to do this. It’s not easy writing to an audience that includes my parents, ex-boyfriends, old elementary school friends, my kids’ teachers, Avatars, haters, my friend that shaves her face with me, and people I don’t know.

The people I don’t know are the easiest to write to.

Writing to every one of you in the same voice is, well, brave. It’s brave. I rarely speak to my parents about my sex life but I definitely speak to the friend that shaves her face with me about my sex life. My family and close friends see me when I’m sad or angry. Opening my door for everyone to see that puts me in a vulnerable spot. A joke is only a good joke if it’s told right. Maybe that’s why I’m good at making fun of myself.

Writing to a room full of people is a balance. You’re all watching.

I’ve been blogging for almost eight years. In those eight years, I never posted three days in a row. 30 days in a row pushed my writing limits. This is the real me. This is what goes on inside my head.

Thank you for letting me share my family and parts of my life with you.

You are so very loved.

___________

Wait, don’t go! Find me on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram.

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P.S. You are loved.

We’re on day 11 of Nano Poblano if you’re keeping track.

Nano Poblano – 30 straight days of blog post writing.

There’s a Nano Poblano group on Facebook. It’s a place where we cheer each other on. We comment and give feedback on each other’s blogs. Every day there’s a thread for us to post our blog of the day. And every day one of the group’s administrators, Ra, Brad, or Bill, will say something that makes me smile. They are phenomenal writers but what they say is always simple.

Day 6. How’s everyone doing? You’re amazing.

Day 8. Post here! P.S. You are loved.

Day 9. I’m so very glad you use your voice.

We are bloggers. We’re writers. Some of us write profound pieces that make you think. Some write poetry. Some draw. Some are photographers. And some are just humor writers that use little words (raising my hand).

The group provides prompts if we get stuck. I got stuck.

I didn’t get stuck because I didn’t know what to say but because I’m just stuck. There was a comment left on one of my previous blog posts. Surprise! Their name is Anonymous.

I’m not sure if anonymous read my post the wrong way or if anonymous was on edge because the timing of the post was post-election. It was probably my fault for posting something political. I avoid the big 3: money, politics and religion. I should have known better. In my own way, I just wanted to tell people to stop for one minute and be nice. I tell my kids this almost every day.

I got stuck.

I sparked something in someone to leave a comment full of hate. I made someone mad. I haven’t had a hate comment in a long time. I wanted to delete it. I didn’t. I responded the best I could. I get occasional comments I roll my eyes at but this comment was hateful. If anything will get me to question my writing it’s hate. Scott told me to brush it off because not everyone will like me. Men are good at that, brushing something off. I’m not.

I browsed the prompts today. I found one – 10 things that make you awesome. Any other day, I would look at this and think, “no one cares, too egotistical.” Any other day, I would just not write anything until I felt confident. For 30 days, I’m reminded by people I’ve never met that I’m amazing, I’m loved, and they’re so very glad I use my voice.

And sometimes you need to give yourself an egotistical shot in the arm. Look at me, using big words now.

10 things that make me amazing:

  1.  I fish. I don’t care if it’s saltwater fishing or freshwater. I could be in a boat or standing in a river. It can be 100 degrees or 50 degrees, I don’t care. Sea sick? Nah, I only feel sick when I’m back on solid land.
  2. I’m a good driver. Wait, I said that wrong. I’m a terrible driver. I should probably be arrested for all the laws I break while driving. When I say “good,” I mean good in the I-always-wave-thank-you-for-letting-me-over. Or slamming-on-my-brakes-in the-middle-of-the-road-to-let-you-over good. Just take my driver’s license away when I turn 65. I’m awesome for giving you permission to take away my keys. My insurance guy is reading this probably.
  3. I love sports. I’ve never asked Scott this, but I’m pretty sure that’s a big reason he loves me. I will shrivel up and die if I don’t have a TV with sports channels. The only time you will see me watching TV is during a game. What amazes me is watching our two daughters grow into serious sports fans. If you turn on any game at all, they will always ask, “Who are we rooting for?’ And they’ll root for them.
  4. My answer is always K-State, KC Chiefs, KC Royals, or Sporting KC. I do not waiver. I could move to Australia and I will not cave to their Olympic team. No. And no halfsies either. I am forever a fan of Kansas City and Kansas State, no matter where I live. I will be a loyal fan until I die.
  5. My body still thinks it’s a teenager. Sleeping until noon. I’m talking about sleeping until noon. You know how some people are up at, like, 6 am and then they’ll wake up at 6 am even on the weekends because their body is so used to it? My body is still used to waking up at noon, assuming the kids don’t drag me out of bed. I still got it.
  6. Halloween is my favorite holiday. I like dressing up as different characters and trick-or-treating myself to my kids’ candy while they’re at school. It’s better than Christmas morning.
  7. I’m not embarrassed with bodily functions. When I was little, my grandma once told me that she would never fart, poop, or burp in front of my grandpa. Like, ever. I still think about this every time I try to have a conversation with Scott while the bathroom door is open or when I challenge Kate to a burping-sentence contest. I guess most people wouldn’t think this is awesome but could you imagine only pooping while your spouse was out of the house? You’re a lucky man, Scott.
  8. I hate shopping. I dread it. It’s not that I’m a huge saver or frugal. I just don’t like making decisions. I don’t even know who I am when I shop. Is this couch too brown? Do I look good in fuchsia? Do I shop in the women’s department or the junior’s? I’m so confused. I’m a big fan of someone telling me what to buy or wear.
  9. I’m funny. For every negative comment I receive on my blog, I will get 50 positives. They all say I’m funny. I think I’m dry-funny but in a “I’m just being honest” sort of way. I’m good at telling a story with a keyboard. Most of the phrases I write are things my dad says. I think he’s hilarious.
  10. I care. The fact that I’m bothered by one anonymous comment because I made them angry must mean I care about people. Even if I wrote something morally wrong, I would still be awake at night, regretting every word I wrote because of one comment. I feel terrible for anyone I hurt because I care.

 

P.S. You are loved.

___________

Wait, don’t go! Find me on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram

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Something unfinished.

I do not know her personally.

Or maybe I do know her personally but in the same way many others know her personally. After reading a writer’s thoughts for a long period of time, it can feel personal. It’s more accurate to say we have never met face-to-face.

Her name is Ra.

She is an incredibly gifted writer, one of the greats I can’t compare myself to. No, really. If you spend a few minutes on her blog or read her book, she’ll easily pull you in. Her life story is a fascinating one but I’m only giving you a tiny part of it.

A few years ago, her husband tried to get her interested in Instagram by giving her a 30-day list of “somethings” to post. Something fragile, something shocking, something terrifying, something lucky, something obvious, something far, something near…

Tragedy struck.

Ra’s husband died. Ra is a young widow. She found her late husband’s 30-day list and is taking his challenge. She welcomed others to join too. I will post it all to my Instagram. If I can, I will write about each one too because I love a good writing challenge.

Writing is my Olympics.

Read the 30-day list here.

Day 1: Something unfinished.

I could make this one easy and tangible. I never finished the Game of Thrones books because the TV show is better. A year after moving, Scott’s home office is still unpacked with boxes scattered on the floor. And I still need to install a toilet paper roll in Emma and Kate’s bathroom. Once the butt-wiping days disappeared, I didn’t even give them a decent toilet roll set-up.

I’m not going to write about those things.

Continuing education is my “something unfinished.” This may sound odd to some because  I have a Bachelor of Arts degree from Kansas State. Class of 2004.

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I was 22 years old. A baby. A mere one year into walking out of a liquor store with a bottle of cheap whiskey. I mean, legally speaking.

Did I know what I wanted to do with my bachelor’s degree and cheap bottle of whiskey? No. I was 3 years deep in a state of panic over deciding a major. I wasn’t good at anything. I was a 3.2 average student with no desire but to just pass class. 

I couldn’t decide.

Education degree? No. Kids can sense apprehensiveness and they would destroy me immediately.

Medical degree? I’m squirming and trying to hold down chunks at the thought of it.

Chemistry degree? Kansas State University can thank me for not choosing a chemistry degree because I’d probably blow up one of their buildings and my lifeless body would be wheeled out live on CNN.

Business? My negotiation skills at a garage sale can be summed up by my “it’s all free” sign in my driveway.

Math degree? Yeah, I don’t speak Chinese.

Art degree? Wait, did you say I need a portfolio from high school? No one told me that.

Journalism? Fine, I’ll do it. I read the newspaper.

A journalism degree. A Bachelor of Arts degree: Mass communications with an emphasis in advertising. Technically.

Marriage, kids, various sales jobs filled the years since 2004. I was terrible at sales. I’m an ok mom and an even ok-er wife.

In 2013, 9 years after college, it clicked. I found my major. I found my drive, my obsession, my purpose as a human in this world – writing. People that are good at what they do have confidence. Writing doesn’t scare me. “I could have wrote that” is a common thought of mine. I’m jealous when my kids bring home book reports or anything that involves a lot of writing. I told you a writing challenge is my Olympics. I’m good and I strive for great.

My something unfinished is an English degree. My words are small. My vocabulary is weak. I’m still the 3.2 average student and I can only work with what I know. I know how to start and keep a dialogue in front of thousands of people, people I don’t know personally. Writing is a way to release my creativity, wit, and maybe a little humor.

People assume I’m silently correcting their grammar when they find out I write. That’s not true. The editors are. When my words are put on the stage, there’s always a person behind my name. It’s the editor. Editors make writers look good. They are masters of the language. I want that. I want to be a master.

I own English textbooks even when I don’t have a class to attend. I read books on writing by famous writers. I’m searching for better ways to string my words together. It sounds simple – stringing words together, letter by letter, but it’s difficult. It’s unfinished.

English is my something unfinished.

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Wait, don’t go! Find me on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram. I have 29 days to go. What’s your something unfinished? 

Screw you, anonymous.

I couldn’t sleep last night.

There were monsters under my bed. Ok, that’s not true. They were in my phone. Fine. More like monsters in my head only they weren’t monsters. They were people yelling at me. People named anonymous.

These people read the New York Times article, Why I Decided to Stop Writing About My Children.

I don’t know why I read the comments.

Internet rule number one: never read the comments. It takes thick skin to read what anonymous has to say.

I couldn’t sleep last night because my thin skin got a paper cut.

I read the comments because I am this article. The author admits she screwed up. She’s not writing about her kids on her blog anymore. This author’s blog is not different than the thousands of other blogs written by parents – she wrote about her children growing up for the past seven years. Parenting is and will always be a hot topic because becoming a parent is life-changing. It’s metamorphic. It’s relatable. Your life, your body, maybe even your personality can be separated into before kids and after kids.

She wrote about her son starting puberty.

“It seems an obvious line-crossing that I wrote about such an intimate detail, but I did. At the time I didn’t pause for a split second; I was more than willing to go there. I had been writing and reading extensively about parenting tweens. I knew people might be mildly shocked, but mostly interested.”

Her dad called her and said she should stop to think about respecting his grandson’s privacy. She made the decision to stop writing about her kids. Now she writes about nature and trees.

I am not the author of this New York Times article. I don’t know anything about trees. I managed to kill three of them in our backyard.

This author might as well be called a witch and burned at the stake. I’m next. The commenters, anonymous, were talking to me too –

“You’re a narcissist. This blog is all about you.”

“Your kids will hate you when they’re adults. Have fun with that.”

“You just wrote about your kids by saying you’re not going to write about them.”

“Get over yourself.”

“How would you feel if your mom wrote about your first period?”

“You have no respect for your children. You are a terrible mother for giving them no privacy.”

“These bloggers think they can call themselves writers for using their children as stories.”

“That grandpa is a hero. Hopefully, this writer listens to his advice. Shame on her.”

“I hope your kid’s friends don’t read your blog. You just caused your son to be bullied.”

Then I woke up.

I can only speak for myself.

Screw you, anonymous.

I write about my children. I tell their stories. I write down what they say for others to read. I share pictures. I use their real names. I started this blog when Kate was 6 weeks old. My first post documented Kate’s first smile – which is funny because she hates smiling for pictures now. I have been writing about Emma and Kate for 7 years. It’s the only thing they know – “my mom is a writer.” They are proud of that. They are proud of me.

My kids know I write stories about them for others to read. I think they would like their stories as adults. I would want to know what I said as a child. Everyone loves to hear stories of an early childhood they don’t remember.

My kids have never read my blog in its entirety. I’m not sure they would want to read about my bikini wax or my advice to men on how to get laid. Maybe one day, they’ll appreciate my writing as a woman. Or not. I am not the first mother to publicly write about adult topics. I do not write about Emma and Kate’s changing bodies or their drama at school. I don’t write about their insecurities. I do not write about them as much as I used to but that is just because of their ages. That is life. They are becoming independent. My life – my blog – is opening up to more than just my kids.

This little blog – yeah, it’s about me. I’m the main character. It’s my perspective on life as a mother, wife, sister, daughter, and friend. I know my kids because I raised them. They are two of the funniest people I know. And they know it. I want the world to laugh with them.

If you think I’m taking away their privacy then don’t read it.

Oh, and make sure you tell Mark Zuckerberg that because, to me, a blog post about my kids is just a long caption to a photo. I wouldn’t post a picture of them naked much like I wouldn’t write about which future boyfriend makes them cry.

I can sleep tonight because I know I am doing the best I can. As for my future adult children – I hope they write. For damn sure, I hope they read and write. I hope they write stories about their crazy mother in the nursing home.

I hope they write better than I.

________

Wait, don’t go! Find me on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram.

From, a nobody.

Someone took something from me without my permission. I worked hard on it. I owned it.

I feel violated. I feel small. I feel like running outside and screaming at the cruel and unfair world.

The evils of the internet took my words and passed them off as their own. It’s called plagiarism.

You see, I’m a nobody. I’m the face you see for one second in the stands at a baseball game on TV. I’m the person with the blinker on across the street at a light. I’m the back of the head in front of you at your kid’s school music show.

That’s me. Nobody. I live in the middle of the United States. I was raised here, actually. My job is to write magazine articles for a local Kansas City magazine. I love my job because I am proud of my hometown. I have a husband and two daughters. Sometimes I write about my family and my life on this blog.

I’m not the next big American author but I did land a small part in a book anthology coming out in May. I work hard to see my byline in print. I’m submit pieces to large publications to be seen by a larger audience. This is difficult for me because it takes a tremendous amount of confidence. Rejections are a requirement in this field. Everyone has their own opinion. Creativity cannot be proven.

I don’t have ads on this blog because the little money I would make is not worth your value to me as a reader. I like writing. I love it, really. I like figuring out which words to use when describing my nobody life.

I take what happens in my life and I write it so it’s simple and funny. It’s what I do. It’s also not easy.

For instance, Kate will not leave for school until I fix the seam in her sock. It needs to be placed on top of her foot before she puts a shoe on. Every day, she asks me to fix the bump. One morning I thought to myself, “I wonder how many people drop off their kids late to school because the kid refuses to leave with a bump in their sock. I should ask a teacher that.”

Boom. Make a meme. Post to Facebook.

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It was my first meme. It got shared 32,000 times on Facebook. Beginners luck. There are a lot of kids with bumps in their socks.

When Emma comes home from school, she usually has math homework. We need to sit down with Emma every night to help her. She excels in writing but math infuriates her. I was the same way in school. I argued with my parents and teachers that I would never work with numbers in my adult life and if I did, I would use a calculator. Now I find myself pulling my hair out at the dinner table, trying to remember how to do long division.

Boom. Make a meme. Post to Facebook.

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It got shared 17,500 times and reached over 2.5 million people.

I still can’t figure out how to say I’m walking out the pediatrician’s office with my kid dying of “just a virus.” The remedy is lots of fluids, rest, a bill and no antibiotic. It’s like losing the lottery.

I’ll let you know when I figure out how to word that in a funny, simple way. Try it. It’s hard.

I’m not trying to prove to you that everything I write is hilarious and shared with others. Rejection is always there and I’m a nobody, remember?

When a nobody finds success in writing and people want to share that writing with others, it’s uplifting. That is how a writer finds their way through the Internet clutter. I am not paid to write memes. Memes allow a nobody to become a somebody. Me, Julie Burton – the woman you stopped for in the Target parking lot, standing on the cart and riding back to her car – can make you laugh.

Then the private messages come in. Screenshots show up on my phone. Friends text me – didn’t you write this? 

The evils of the Internet show my exact words on another template with a popular blogger’s name under it. Or my words but my name is cut off at the bottom. It only takes one person to alter it. It’s found without credit, a larger publication sees it, and shares it.

And then I become a nobody again.

Most large publications and bloggers are quick to credit my name once I notify them I am the author. Most people know how to share with the correct source. The “share” button on Facebook or the “retweet” button on Twitter make it easy. And I love that. Share away. Friend me. Follow me. Play with my hair. Build my confidence.

If someone makes you laugh, makes you cry, or makes you think, the highest compliment you can give them is sharing their work. It’s an art. No one knows what we’re doing other than trying to make you feel something.

But when someone distorts the image or re-writes an image with their own name – that is plagiarizing. It’s stealing. It’s illegal.

I just have to find a way to break away to be a somebody without getting robbed.

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Wait, don’t go! Find me on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram. Be nice. Don’t steal.

A writer.

I remember a conversation I had with my mom when I was a little girl.

I asked her what she thought I would be when I grew up. Her response was a librarian. And then she guessed my sister would marry Prince William and become a real princess.

I don’t recall what she guessed my brother and other sister would be. I just remembered I was a mere peasant.

Her guess was close – I am not a librarian but I do write for a living.

Whether or not I’m good at writing, I don’t know. I think I am. I think I’ve gotten better. Not, like, J.K. Rowling better but Julie Burton better.

Writing is a mind game.

It’s torture finding the right way to say something. I don’t use big words and I rarely write long posts. I’m not that smart. I want you to listen to what I have to say but getting you inside my head is hard.

Writing is the only place I can be confident.

I fall flat on my face skiing. I’m a horrific driver. My face trembles when I speak in front of a group. I fall silent when someone challenges me. I’m lanky and uncoordinated.

But writing –

I know I need to grab your attention in the beginning. I know I need to keep you reading or you’ll never come back. Your time cannot be wasted. I need to have a point to everything I write or I’ll lose you. You might believe what I write is wrong. That’s ok. At least you listened. You might believe what I write is funny. Or not. But that’s just me being me. I make jokes at funerals. It’s how I soothe myself.

I would much rather you read these words from the comfort of your home in your pajamas than you showing up at my front door with no warning. I’m most likely dancing in my kitchen with a towel on my head, only stopping to write several thoughts down. You’re not allowed to see that.

Once in awhile, I don’t believe it – a writer. I write on this blog. Doesn’t count, anyone can start a blog. I write in a journal. That really doesn’t count, anyone can write in a journal. I write for a Kansas City magazine. It’s not hard, anyone can do this.

This is not an “I’m quitting” post. No way am I quitting. I love the torture. My job is to let people hang out with my thoughts every day.

It’s just sometimes my mind wanders into what my life would be like as a peasant librarian, bowing to her Royal highness.

___________

Wait, don’t go! Find me on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

Chasing birds.

Walking in the door is the hardest part.

She used to be there.

Bailey, our black lab, passed away this morning.

Her seizures started Saturday night and never ended. The vet said it was probably a brain tumor. She wouldn’t have gotten better.

We were able to say goodbye to her as a family. Emma wrote her a book and we each signed the back.

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Scott was by Bailey’s side when she passed away. The book stayed under Bailey’s paw. I held my two daughter’s in the waiting room. Emma was in hysterics, begging someone to save her dog. I was helpless. I could only tell her that Bailey wouldn’t hurt anymore but in my head, I was in hysterics too.

Emma, age 2, and Bailey
Emma, age 2, and Bailey

Scott will pick up Bailey’s ashes along with the ashes from Emma’s book later this week. He will let her go into the wind of a field in a small town, named Norton, Kansas. It was Bailey’s happy place.

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That’s all I can tell you right now. We lost a family member today. I can’t write when I’m upset.

We’ll look for you in the sky, Bailey. You can fly now. Go chase those birds. You’re still the best one.