Thursday, May 26, 2016

A No-Brainer

Blog Project 3.0 has been going on for about two years, even though one of the group members changed after a few months. I love blogging with this group and I hope we can continue to inspire each other.

Last week (I wasn't around to write then), Darwin Shrugged chose the topic: Write about a trait you find attractive in others. In can be a physical trait or a personality trait.

First, read what everyone else had to share on this topic. I will be only posting links to posts on this same topic from my group. So check back if you were hoping to read their blogs and don't see a link yet.

Darwin Shrugged
Moma Rock

As soon as I saw this topic, I knew what I was going to write about. I didn't even have to think about it! Weirdly enough, Moma Rock chose the same trait. Great minds.... (Side note: I didn't read her post while I was writing this, so this is all original material.)

I think it's crucial to have a good sense of humor if you want me to find you attractive. Notice I said "good" before "sense of humor." Anyone can be funny in their own way, but if I don't find them funny, it's hard for me to feel that connection. Also, having a common bond over what you find funny is important. Let's put this in terms of celebrities. There's a comedic actress whose last name rhymes with "humor." I find it ironic because I don't think she is funny at all. I know it's not just me, as my husband agrees, and some other people have replied to a previous post about her stating the same. However, I think Mindy Kaling is hilarious and she'd totally crack me up if we hung out. (If I could even be in the same room with her without passing out from star-struck excitement.) 

When I was dating, whether it was casual or with a marriage-minded focus, sense of humor was one of the top traits I looked for in a boyfriend or potential husband. If you can make me laugh, that's major brownie points. I'm always telling my husband he should be a comedian, but he tells me that I'd have to clone myself to fill the audience. My friends think he is funny, and he makes our kids laugh all the time. So it's not just me there either. We have sooooo many inside jokes. I write them down to keep track of them. Some have been long-running over many years, perhaps since we started dating. Others have just sprouted up recently. Sometimes the two of us laugh together so hard that we can't see straight. So it's not always just him making me laugh, but us also sharing in things we find funny together. We love going to comedy shows and we usually agree on which comedians are the best and which ones tanked. I could go on and on about how much I love my husband's sense of humor and our shared beliefs in what is truly funny. Most recently, when we were on vacation, our kids were playing this bean bag toss game. He was taking videos of them and our older son said "I got one hundred points!" in a really funny way. He kept playing the video over and over and we were laughing so much. 

There are some friends I share a sense of humor with and I'd like to give a shout-out to a few. It doesn't mean I don't think you're funny if I don't give you a shout-out. I like having a lot of friends with whom I can laugh over various things. Some are naturally funny and make me laugh. Others are just fun to bond with over humorous things. If we haven't laughed together, either you or I might have to start worrying....

*Moma Rock: We have yet to meet in person and have only Skyped once, but we have this humor connection going strong through our e-mails and Facebook messages. We can freely talk about poop without grossing each other out. Whenever I get spam comments on my blog, I share them with her and we make sarcastic comments about them. We also like a lot of the same comedy shows, like Arrested Development and Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt

*Jen Tucker (a.k.a. the Chick Lit Cheerleader over at my book blog): When I first read her book, The Day I Wore My Panties Inside Out, I knew we were destined to be friends. I was crying from laughing so hard at this one part in her book. She's always finding ways to crack me up and she has such a fun and positive spirit all the time. We share in our repulsion of creepy floaty things in our tea.

*M.A.: A friend in my community who shares my initials (our maiden name initial is the same too, oddly enough). We're always sending each other funny memes and articles about motherhood. Our youngest kids are the same age, so we definitely relate on that level. She's just very easygoing and we have fun laughing together. One time, we got lost going to the movie theater (and even getting home), but it was fun to laugh about it with her. 

*T.L.: A friend who one day wrote "I ate a sandwich" on her Facebook status because she knew it would crack me up. We find other fun things to laugh about too. I try to make her laugh whenever possible, and I usually succeed.

*M.S.: An online friend who isn't afraid to send me offensive jokes because she knows I'll find them funny and won't get mad. I think we try to out-offend one another! I've been busy and need to get back on track with sending her funny stuff.

Here are some other friends with whom I have inside jokes. (Of course, I mentioned my husband there too.)

What do you find most attractive about another person?

Thursday, May 12, 2016

In her very stylish and (probably) comfortable shoes

Blog Project 3.0 has been going on for about two years, even though one of the group members changed after a few months. I love blogging with this group and I hope we can continue to inspire each other.

This week, Froggie chose the topic:  "The grass is always greener on the other side."

First, read what everyone else had to share on this topic. I will be only posting links to posts on this same topic from my group. So check back if you were hoping to read their blogs and don't see a link yet.

Darwin Shrugged
Moma Rock

When Froggie gave us this topic, the first thing that came to mind was my sister, so I'm going to talk about her for purposes of explaining this quote.

While my sister and I are alike in some ways, such as sharing common interests in movies, books, Broadway shows, etc., we're also the opposite in other ways. Sometimes I think we'd make a great chick lit novel about sisters with completely different lives. Kind of like Your Perfect Life or In Her Shoes. I am not implying that I don't want what I already have, but I do want to point out that my sister has it really good. Here are some reasons:

*She looks good in all her clothes and she's always getting the latest fashions. She's not afraid to shop retail. It's like the traveling pants phenomenon...whatever she looks at somehow fits her perfectly.

These are not her actual shoes.
I'm just illustrating a point.
*The same goes for shoes. She has smaller feet than I do and can fit in nice looking shoes and probably not get blisters. She can even wear heels.

*She gets to work from home. This means she could wear her pajamas all day long and no one would know unless she had a video conference.

*While on the topic of work, she has a well-established career and her job even comes with some travel perks. I think she even won a vacation from her company a while back.

*And speaking of travel, she can pick up and go wherever she wants, whenever she wants. At least it seems that way. Since she can take her work with her, she gets to visit her friends who live far away and also finds the time to go on cruises and European adventures.

*She has a lot of friends. I have a lot of friends too, but I feel like the kinds of friendships we have are different. I'm close with very few people from my youth. She has friends she's been close with since elementary school. She's also been the bridesmaid or maid of honor for a lot of her friend's weddings. I've only stood up in one wedding as a bridesmaid.

*She's honorary aunt to a lot of her friends' kids and they all (the kids) seem to adore her.

*She's neat and organized. Her condo never looks like she can't get her act together.

*She's closer with more people in our family (such as most of our cousins).

*She gets new cars whenever she feels like it (or so it seems).

*She's always photogenic and doesn't seem to take a bad picture. Almost like Barney on How I Met Your Mother.

*She's able to make friends wherever she goes. One of her best friends is someone we met on a cruise in the beginning of 2000. I barely am in contact with any of the friends I met on cruises. (I see some on Facebook, but that's about it.)

All I know is that if I did a Freaky Friday switch with my sister, I would totally go on an amazing vacation with "Will" (since she's also close friends with him) and live it up as only she knows how. (Hawaii, here I come!) I would just hope that she could get my house in better shape and negotiate on getting a somewhat newer car.

I don't really know what she's thinking or feeling in terms of finding her soulmate, getting married, and having kids. I know she'd be a great wife to the guy who's lucky enough to deserve her commitment and loyalty, and an amazing mother, since she's already so good with kids. I do hope she finds the kind of relationship like I have with my husband, but I don't feel the need to pressure her into marriage and motherhood. I'm glad she's not settling for anything less than an amazing relationship. Until then, it seems like she has a great life and I'm really happy for her. I was looking at some of her Facebook photos and she's smiling in all of them and looking like she's having the time of her life.

Together at Disney World in 2013

Thursday, May 5, 2016

As long as you flush....

Blog Project 3.0 has been going on for about two years, even though one of the group members changed after a few months. I love blogging with this group and I hope we can continue to inspire each other.

This week, I chose the topic: Share your thoughts on the transgender bathroom issue.

First, read what everyone else had to share on this topic. I will be only posting links to posts on this same topic from my group. So check back if you were hoping to read their blogs and don't see a link yet.

Darwin Shrugged
Moma Rock

I chose this topic because it’s something that I’ve been talking about with everyone in our group. I’ve shared articles and memes about it with them, and they’ve shared some with me as well. It’s a pressing and controversial topic in this day and age. I have so many thoughts about it that just keep swimming around in my head. I thought that getting them out on screen would be the best way to think them through more clearly.

First of all, I am all for people using the bathroom of the gender they identify with. If you want to unfriend me because of this, be my guest. This is just the base root of the entire issue. Maybe since I am a woman and we have stalls in our bathroom, I’m not worried about what I might or might not see when someone uses the toilet. I am not immature enough to go peeping under stalls, looking through the cracks between the doors, or even standing on the toilet to look over a stall. I’m hoping any other woman (regardless of if they were born one or transitioned to one) would also possess enough maturity to leave people pee in peace.

Now that this is out of the way, here are some other observations I’ve made just from what has been online and what I’m thinking in general.

*Gender transitioning has been around for a long time, but only more recently has become newsworthy. Whether it was Caitlyn Jenner or some characters from Glee or Orange is the New Black (where the role is also played by a man who became a woman), more people are becoming open about their gender identity and transition. Even kids are doing it. (Jazz Jennings, for example.) There are books about people who are opening up about their transitions, as well. I heard about one involving twins where one of the guys became a girl (Becoming Nicole...the girl looks like Tatiana Maslany). There's also a fictional YA novel called George, that I've been wanting to read. Back in the 80s and 90s, I’m sure people were transitioning but staying in the dark. Surprisingly, it seems to be more of an accepted way of life, so why is it such an issue when it comes to using the bathroom?

*I’ve seen the bathroom issue turned on its toes, showing women in the men’s bathroom, saying how that they are forced to be in there because they were born male. Same goes with men being in the women’s room because they were born female. How much more awkward is this than someone who is in the bathroom of the gender they currently identify as?!? If you changed genders and went through the whole process, I should not be able to identify you as the gender you were born as. I’d feel more uncomfortable to see Chaz Bono in the women’s bathroom than I would to see Laverne Cox in there.

Should he be in the ladies' room
since he was born female?

*In regards to the Target issue, are one million people boycotting going to make a real difference in the grand scheme of things? Less time for me to wait in line, perhaps? I think my local Target was anticipating less customers because barely any registers were open on a Sunday afternoon and the lines were crazy as a result. In any case, Target should have more security coverage if they’re worried that allowing people to use the bathrooms of the gender they identify with is going to open things up to men pretending to be women to go in and molest or rape girls. If parents are that worried about their daughters, they should go in the bathrooms with them. They are public bathrooms, so it’s not like a lot can go on if people are around watching. I’m really not worried about predators at Target vs. a less public location where someone’s screams wouldn’t be heard.

*Having said the above, I’m more cautious when I go to the Mikvah than when I go to a public bathroom. That is due to a situation that happened nearby involving a Rabbi hiding video recording equipment in his shul’s Mikvah bathrooms, where women were taking off their clothes and bathing and showering without knowing about this extra presence in the room, until his scheme was exposed (pardon the pun) a year and a half ago. I’m more worried about higher religious powers seeing me in the Mikvah bathroom than I am about men dressed as women going into public bathrooms. And for the record, I saw Spotlight recently and that was a true story about male priests molesting BOYS. So girls/women are not the only victims in these types of situations.

*As it may have been noted already, people have been using the bathroom of the gender they identify with for ages before this became an issue. If you didn’t know that someone had transitioned, it wouldn’t have bothered you to know they were in the stall next to you. It’s like the glass shattered all of a sudden (think of the “Spoilers” episode of How I Met Your Mother) and suddenly people are freaked out about something that isn’t even an issue. And how often has a man pretending to be a woman gone into a bathroom to rape or molest someone? I’m sure it could happen, but it seems like bringing the issue of gender identity and proper bathroom assignments to light has opened up this issue too. I am wondering if some men are thinking “Gee, I hadn’t thought before to dress like a woman to go into the ladie’s room so I can rape and molest someone, but now that people who were born as a man and transitioned into a realistic looking woman can go into the ladies' room, I have free reign!” Also, some men don't even LIKE being in the ladies' room.

*As for another thing, straight people have been sharing bathrooms with people who are LBTQ for a long time and no one has thought about it twice. Why is it any different for a woman who is a lesbian to use the woman’s room than it is for a man who now identifies as a woman? Same with a gay man vs. someone born a woman who now identifies as a man? Should lesbians use the men’s room and gay men use the women’s room, even if they are the gender they were born as? Because that’s the direction I see this issue spiraling towards in the future if people don’t get over their nonsensical logic. In the meantime, I'm hoping North Carolina gets their act together!

*How about mixed gender bathrooms for all to even out the playing field? They did it on Ally McBeal and no one thought it was strange or awkward. Or just single bathrooms at all locations to make things less awkward? Sure, the lines would be longer for the latter, but everyone could pee without worrying they were being spied upon or about to be molested. They could do an outhouse approach to have a lineup of several single bathrooms in one area so there wasn’t TOO long of a wait. (Especially for women.) Or how about changing the stalls so that they’re impossible to look through at any angle. They’d all be their own little rooms so that people had as much privacy as possible. In men’s rooms, they could eliminate urinals altogether and just have stalls, again with maximum privacy. Who needs urinals anyway? No one has urinals in their homes and men still go to the bathroom by just using the toilet. This would also eliminate the urinal rule awkwardness (about how much space there should be between the men standing there).

Overall, this issue has more gray area than a Jodi Picoult novel. On one side, I am all for people using the bathroom of the gender they identify with. On the other side, I can understand why people would be worried that it allows people who are not legitimately transitioning to use the bathroom of the opposite gender for perverted reasons. However, I feel that the benefits of the former outweigh the possible latter situation happening. I think it’s important for places to be prepared if they are going to be open to letting people use the bathroom of their current gender. I don’t think people need to be singled out, but I think some security measures should be in place. “See something, say something,” for starters. Having security guards near the bathrooms to show they mean business. And while I wouldn’t have video cameras directed at the stalls, having them by the washing area and entrance of the bathroom to identify anyone violating the new bathroom policies would be helpful, as well.

Honestly, as long as everyone respects each other's privacy and flushes when they're done, I don't care who is in the same public bathroom as I am. Not flushing is a pet peeve of mine. I hate walking into a stall and seeing anything other than water in the toilet. I don't care if someone was once a man and now identifies as a woman....they just better flush!

This is how the toilet should look when you're done!

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Frustrated, incorporated...

Blog Project 3.0 has been going on for about two years, even though one of the group members changed after a few months. I love blogging with this group and I hope we can continue to inspire each other.

This week,Moma Rock chose the topic: Life's frustrations. Let's talk about it.

First, read what everyone else had to share on this topic. I will be only posting links to posts on this same topic from my group. So check back if you were hoping to read their blogs and don't see a link yet.

Darwin Shrugged
Moma Rock

Anyone remember this 90s song? It inspired my title for this post...

A while back, I wrote about some #firstworldproblems I was having. Ironically, this was also around Pesach time. Maybe Pesach just makes me vent more or something. Since most of my frustrations fall in that category, I'm going to list a bunch here.

*How places like Disney Parks charge so much for food even after you've paid all that money to enter the park. Same with airlines charging for stuff like snacks, wi-fi, watching in-flight TV, etc. There are no perks anymore to traveling.

*All the little things people obsess about for Pesach...cosmetics, cell phone covers, dish soap, aluminum foil, etc. And the fact that raw meat does not have to be Kosher for Pesach, but stores market it that way to make a few more dollars of people who didn't do their research.

*How much of a rip-off some Pesach products are. A box of Kosher for Pesach graham crackers had one small plastic package inside and most of the crackers were broken. And don't get me started on the cereal...

*That Israel gets one day for holidays while we have two. It doesn't make sense!

*That some of the stores I frequent do not sell their chometz before Pesach and are thus forbidden for six weeks (in terms of buying more chometz).

*Not being able to get a new car, even though mine is costing more money to maintain. Also the fact that I got recall notices on my car but the parts never seem to be available.

*When people try to parent my children in front of me. I get the safety thing and I won't hesitate to say something if I feel a child is in danger, so I am fine with people saying something to my kids too when that is the case. However, if they're just being rude or whiny or whatever else, let ME handle it.

*Along with that, my older son bossing his siblings around and also trying to be the parent.

*My younger son saving his homework until the last minute, even though that's totally something I do.

*People who think they know my kids' allergies better than I do.

*That not everyone likes Hamilton as much as me. However, if you do, please join me here. However, I'm also annoyed by certain celebrities who try to act like they are more obsessed than I am. (And if you know me well enough, you know exactly to whom I am referring.)

*Being told how I should do something when I already know what I'm doing.

*The ground bees that keep coming back no matter how many times our pest control guy comes by to spray. Thankfully, he offered another solution and I am going to see if that works.

*Shopping for clothes. I may be spoiled by thrift store prices, but I REFUSE to pay $80 for a bathing suit. Or even $20 for one for my kids.

*That I can never seem to get rid of clutter or clear out my e-mail.

*That spring hours at some cool places in the area didn't start on the day the kids were home.

*That people are still voting for Drumpf. (Not that the other choice is any better...)

So even though I've never watched Little House on the Prairie, this is amusing to read.

What are your latest frustrations. Vent away!

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Book Giveaway: Katherine Stone novels

When I was in college, I mainly read horror novels and V.C. Andrews books. I didn’t really break away from that genre until someone from my V.C. Andrews fan club recommended I read Katherine Stone’s romance novels. Romance?!? That was furthest from my mind as I was getting through a break-up with my first boyfriend. However, I checked out Roommates and was impressed. I then went on to read Happy Endings and couldn’t get enough. After that, I devoured each and every Katherine Stone novel I could get my hands on. I got my sister and a friend hooked on them, as well.

Katherine's books were definitely a source of comfort and solace during an emotional time in my life. They gave me hope that the right man for me was out there. When I finally met him, I still read Katherine’s novels anyway, as I was hooked by then. I even rushed to finish The Cinderella Hour before I went into labor with my first child. I think Katherine wrote a couple more after that time, but then she just stopped.

Since that time, I’ve read novels by other authors that give off a Katherine Stone feel, such as Juliet Madison’s “Tarrin’s Bay” series (of which I just reviewed the fourth book recently) or some novels I read recently by Susan Mallery and Debbie Macomber. Even some of Kristin Hannah’s books gave off a Katherine Stone feel, but that could also have been the Seattle setting talking.

Some of my favorites are Happy Endings, Rainbows, Pearl Moon, Promises, and Illusions. I'm sure that nowadays, I'd be casting them all for Hollywood!

Last year, I found Katherine on Facebook and told her how much I love her books. She responded with a sweet message. It was amazing to be able to connect with her to let her know how special her books are.

And guess what...I have some books of hers to share with TWO lucky readers in the US and/or Canada! Just enter via Rafflecopter.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

US/Canada only. Giveaway ends April 26th at midnight EST.

Thursday, April 14, 2016

The questions I haven't asked

Blog Project 3.0 has been going on for about two years, even though one of the group members changed after a few months. I love blogging with this group and I hope we can continue to inspire each other.

This week, Darwin Shrugged chose the topic: Write an open letter to someone or something.

First, read what everyone else had to share on this topic. I will be only posting links to posts on this same topic from my group. So check back if you were hoping to read their blogs and don't see a link yet.

Darwin Shrugged
Moma Rock

Dear Authors:

In my past six years of book blogging, I've had the chance to interview many of you. I usually ask light and fun questions, as well as some about your books. However, there are some I haven't asked but have been on my mind and I wanted to put them out here now. If you'd like to answer any (or all) of them in the comments section, I'd love to hear your answers. (You're even welcome to write a blog post to answer any or all of them.) They may even inspire another thought provoking blog post at my book blog.

Here goes:
*What was an idea for a book that was in your head but you could never get on paper, so you dismissed it altogether?
*Which book do you wish you wrote (not because of it being popular or a bestseller, but because you loved it)?
*What role do book bloggers play in your book promoting process?
*What is your preferred social media outlet?
*If you had written your book before the Internet came about, how well do you think it would do in generating sales?
*If you could re-write any of your books (or your one book, if you don't have others), what would you do differently?
*What would you like to ask a book blogger?
*When you receive a legitimately bad review (not a troll), how do you feel?
*Have you ever lost a friend over them giving you a bad review? (Or you doing so to them?)
*Have you ever taken constructive feedback from reviews to use for future novels?
*Have you ever contacted someone who reviewed your book that you didn't already know regarding either a good or bad review (i.e. not a book blogger or someone you're in contact with via social media, just a random reviewer)?
*Has another author ever copied one of your ideas?
*What do you think of Book Expos or other writing conventions?
*How do you decide where to have book tours?
*What is a book tour experience like for you?
*Do you read other books while in the process of writing your book? Why or why not?
*What is the publishing process really like?
*Is it crucial to have an agent in order to be published?
*Do you prefer to work with your publisher on marketing your book, or do you work with a publicist instead?
*Have you ever read a book that you wanted to give only one star to? (If you want to tell me what it was, great. If not, I understand.) If so, why?
*What do you think of the term "chick lit"?
*How do you determine if your book is a success?
*How do you get book blurbs from other authors?

Thanks for taking these questions into consideration. I'm just curious about these things.
An avid book blogger

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Hey, It's Okay Tuesday

One of my favorite blogs, Airing My Laundry, does a post every week that was inspired by a section of Glamour magazine. She invites her followers to do their own posts like this. I enjoy doing this a every so often, so I thought it's time for another list. Since I don't do this weekly, my list will be long.

It's okay...

*To not be ready for Passover at all yet. I can't even fathom buying the food at this point in time.

*To be excited about The Mindy Project, Orphan Black, and Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt coming back this week.

*To have really enjoyed Zootopia. And to have "Try Everything" in my head whenever Hamilton songs are not.

*To not want to read a book for book club because it sounds really boring, even if it got good ratings on Amazon, and I have way too many books that I actually WANT to read waiting for me.

*To not keep good track of who I loan my books to.

*To have dressed like Becky Bloomwood for Purim and to have been noticed by Sophie Kinsella. #fangirlmoment

*To have my kids do chores around the house. I want them to learn responsibility early on!

*To be writing "Baby-Sitters Club" fan fiction. My latest installment can be found here.

*To have done good deeds along with the rest of the Jewish community in my area this past weekend.

Showing off the picture I made for terror victims in Israel
*To have already scheduled my 40th birthday as a vacation day. I don't know how I'm spending it yet, but I deserve a day off for this reason!

*To be attending Kindergarten orientation for the last time this month.

*To be excited that my younger son can now ride a two-wheeler by himself at eight years old. (It took me WAY longer to learn how to do that!)

*To be one of the hosts at Hello...Chick Lit's blogiversary party. I really like her blog and am glad to help her celebrate this milestone! Join me tomorrow at 9 pm EST!

Airing My Dirty Laundry