That Scent

scentDo you ever catch a scent that brings you to someplace other than where you are?

I stepped outside this evening and caught that scent. The grass isn’t freshly mown. It was mowed a couple of days ago. That turned out to be perfect because I caught the faint smell of the wild flowers and of the warm air itself uninhibited by the newly cut grass smell.

Suddenly, I was 12 years old again. I was instantly transported back to my grandmother’s sun porch where my generation congregated during bath time. Then the memory added the faint smell of Dove soap (which I actually could smell because I’d just washed my hands), and Breck shampoo.

All of us cousins got to hang out on the sun porch while we waited for our turns for a bath. The adults probably would have preferred us to just be inside and stay inside after we were washed, but that would hardly be fair when the cousins we saw so rarely were still on the porch laughing and talking and getting to know each other all over again.

I remembered being told to be careful in my bare feet in the yard.  The adults would have preferred me (and all of us) to be shod, but I’d never really liked shoes. The whole point of summer was (and still is) to run around barefoot!

And then someone would get a nasty bee sting on the foot and we would have to endure the “told-ya-so” before we went out barefoot again. Or was that me and my childhood neighbors? Either way, it was the best of times.

It’s rare that I miss my past, but every time I catch that scent, I’m taken to a place in the past that I love and hold dear in my heart.

Attention Brides and Grooms To Be!

I submitted our wedding to Offbeat Bride and they accepted it!  See our post on Offbeat Bride. And don’t miss the links for some great artists at the end of the post.

Look at the sun on our shoulders!

Look at the sun on our shoulders!

We are a blessed couple!  We had such a great time planning and dreaming, but we have a better time as husband and wife. (I promise that this will be the last time I gush about my husband on my blog…but I’ve promised that before).

Visit Offbeat Bride for tips on making the wedding you choose freakin’ fabulous!  I did, and I’ll NEVER regret it.

BTW…I love you, Joseph Alexander Merza!

Is There Such a Thing as Social Media Anxiety Disorder?

We all know that social anxiety disorder is a very real thing. It’s crippling to those who suffer from it, and it’s hard to watch a loved one go through it. And while I hate to bring up social media within the context of a serious disorder, I’m starting to wonder if there is such a thing as social media anxiety disorder. It seemed a ridiculous thought at first, because seriously, just turn the computer off–right? But the more I entertained the thought, the more valid it started seem.

Again, I start with my usual disclaimer. I am not slamming social media. Social media is not the devil. It’s a very useful tool, from marketing to keeping in touch with friends with whom you otherwise might have lost contact, to sharing information.  And let’s not forget the girl who used Facebook to find her birth mother.

I use social media to share my blog posts, and will absolutely use it to market my book. As far as day jobs are concerned, I wouldn’t scoff at getting back into digital and social media marketing. I get it. I understand it. I truly enjoy it.  And as someone who doesn’t particularly enjoy the telephone, I’d rather communicate via the computer (which is a whole other, relatively played out, post entirely).

That said, who gets stomach butterflies (and not in the good way) upon seeing a Facebook notification? Who signs in to Twitter and immediately signs back out again because the Twitter drama is just a little much that day? Who hears that “ping!” on the mobile device (or whatever sound you have your various social media alerts set to) and immediately wonders, “What now?”

I don’t think I need to point out that people are often much more vicious online than they would ever be in person, which leads me to wonder if people are being more honest, or if they’re just being jerks, trolls, or bullies. This, of course, leads me to wonder (and often judge myself) about why in the heck I even have relationships with these people to begin with.  Is that where the anxiety comes from?  Or, is it that in an effort to not exhibit these traits myself, I second guess every last thing I post?  Unless there’s been wine, which again, is a whole other post entirely.

I’m even agonizing a little over this blog.  Is it a smart career move to speak negatively about social media experiences when I’ve just admitted to possibly wanting to get back into digital and social media marketing down the line?

I think at this point, a lot of us have a love/hate relationship with social media. I have often fantasized about deleting my accounts altogether, which is always a rather short fantasy because, in this world, not having a social media presence means there’s something wrong with you. From employers thinking you have something to hide or aren’t tech savvy enough to figure it out, to commentaries about how James Holmes didn’t have a social media presence.

As it turns out, we have to have a social media presence and it has to be pristine. It can’t show us as we are, but as we want the world to believe we are or else *insert list of crappy things people are going to say/believe about you here*. It seems that social media has become another mask we have to wear. And maybe that’s where the anxiety comes from.

Is anyone else having this feeling, or is it just me?

Update: Apparently it’s not just me.  Check out this great article from Julie Spira: Do You Suffer From Social Media Anxiety Disorder?

Freddy Krueger vs. The Children of the Corn (or Stuff I Think About Instead of the Task At Hand)

It started with an innocent status update on Facebook. “Ya know what horror movie I’d like to see get made? Freddy vs. The Children of the Corn.”

It was really meant to be no more than a humorous status update at the end of a Friday. No more, no less. But my head is a chaotic place at best and there is always something to contemplate besides the task at hand.

For those unaware of who Freddy Krueger is or who The Children of the Corn are (although I don’t know how one could be unaware), a little background first.  Freddy Krueger, of the A Nightmare on Elm Street franchise, is a murdered burn victim turned dream demon who feeds on fear and kills the teenagers of Elm Street in their dreams (there’s a lot more to the story, but truly, I’m assuming people know who freakin’ Freddy Krueger is, and if not, Google it). The Children of the Corn from the Children of the Corn franchise are a bunch of bat-sh*t crazy kids from the fictitious rural town of Gatlin, Nebraska who kill all the adults for the pleasure of a demon referred to as “He Who Walks Behind the Rows”.  Of course they off each other when they become adults too.  The movie franchise started with Children of the Corn, which is based on a short story by Stephen King. And honestly, anything else you need to know can be Googled.

Of course, there was also the movie Freddy vs. Jason, which sparked this “Freddy vs…” nonsense in my head to begin with.

So anyway, there I was, basking in the “likes” of an innocent status update, when my chaotic head took over, outlining the plot no matter how hard I tried to concentrate on other things, because really, this sh*t writes itself.

So, we’ve established that the adults in Gatlin are gone. The children are now wards of the state of Nebraska.  Of course, everyone in Nebraska knows about what happened in Gatlin by now, so no one in his or her right mind fosters or adopts these kids. Enter the grief-stricken parents of Elm Street, desperate to hear the pitter patter of little feet, or even the hormone driven tantrums of teenagers, in their homes again after Freddy killed their own children.

Zoom in on an idealistic young couple who really just wanted to adopt the adorable six-year-old girl with bouncing curls, but upon finding out she had siblings, had to take them all in.  They’re taking their three adopted children (because there are always three—unless we’re talking about horror movie sequels, in which case there are many more), into their big, wonderful home on Elm Street.

However, the teenage middle child (because it’s always the middle child), hasn’t quite forgotten about his devotion to He Who Walks Behind the Rows, and so he becomes the leader of a whole new corn cult on Elm Street.

The killings start out looking like accidents.  The town drunk falls into an electric fence mysteriously turned up too high.  A bookshelf falls on the librarian.  The man with the notorious road rage runs his car off the bridge.  But soon it becomes obvious that the children of Elm Street are killing the adults.

And, you know, there’s that corn field that grew out of nowhere in a suburban neighborhood.

So, there’s Freddy, hangin’ out, havin’ a beer, watchin’ the game—you know, whatever it is Freddy does in his non-killing hours—when he senses the fear on Elm Street (kind of like a disturbance in the force).  Elated, he throws on his glove and goes to work.

Much to his surprise, it’s not the children of Elm Street emanating all the fear.  It’s the adults!  What a quandary for Freddy! If he does what’s in his nature, he’s a hero, not a villain. But then, well, there are some kids to be killed. I imagine this as some poignant moment with Freddy, head in knife-gloved hand, contemplating his path, accompanied by maudlin violins and dim lighting. But then, as the music reaches a crescendo, his head snaps up in his ah-ha moment.  He is Freddy!  He is a killer of teens! (Because we can’t have him killing small children—audiences couldn’t take that and it would destroy the possibility of the almighty sequel. These kids must become teens.)  He is what he is and there is blood to be spilled!  And if that makes him a hero, so bloody what!

And then there’s lots of blood, and gore, and a final battle between Freddy and He Who Walks Behind the Rows. Toe to Toe. Demon to Demon! Freddy inevitably saves Elm Street, if only to secure some future killing for himself. Job security is important in this economy.

It will be wonderful! You’ll have a tub of popcorn.  You’ll share a giant soda with your date.  You’ll hover over the cinema toilet to take a runny poo before you laugh about the movie in the car the whole way home.

But you won’t freakin’ blog about it because I already did!

Waking Up

It’s been a while.  I have no excuse, but still have the desire to let blog followers know how life in my corner of the Universe has been.

I started a new day job as a technical writer.  I really didn’t like it at first as I wasn’t actually writing a word and, at the time, it didn’t look as though I would be.  Considering that I had been on quite the productive, creative writing roll before starting a new report-here-for-40-hours-a-week-for-money job, I admit that I got more than a little depressed about it.  And for some reason, not getting to write during the day pretty much took the wind out of my sails as far as any writing or blogging I would have decided to do in the evening.  So after my nightly job search was done (because I believed I’d made a horrible mistake in accepting my current job), I put aside the computer and stared dejectedly at the TV; remote in one hand, adult beverage in the other.

Of course, I wasn’t sleeping very well either.  It was the lack of sleep that finally drove me to confront my employers about how in the world they were going to hire a technical writer and not let her write.  I wish I had done this much sooner!  They assured me that I would be writing and possibly even editing soon, and explained why I was not doing so at the time.  Feeling better about everything, I slept like a baby that night (although that probably also had something to do with not sleeping the night before).  A couple of days later, my employers kept their word and I was assigned a real technical writing task.

But even with the problem at hand solved, the pattern of doing nothing with my evenings remained.  If someone had asked me if I was depressed, I’d have said no.  I wasn’t feeling particularly low anymore. In fact, I was feeling something that came close to contentment.  But there was very little difference between depressed me, and what I claimed to be a fully functioning, productive me.

Coming out of the slump felt more like waking up than cheering up. It usually feels this way, whether I “wake up” on my own, or whether I have some metaphorical alarm clock screeching at me.

This time I had the aid of the screeching alarm clock in the form of a submission deadline for a short story contest.  Honestly, part of me expected to go back to sleep after the “final” edits and the submission process were complete.  But I find myself faced with the other stuff I said I was going to accomplish.  I have other submissions to take care of,  a ton of reading to catch up on, a home to clean (because it is–in my opinion–a wreck), not to mention this blog.

Now, if someone could bring me some coffee…