Do you write words? I need you!

First of all, thank you for all of your well-wishes over the past week! I’m happy to say that I survived the plague and everything except for my voice is back to normal. I did an amazing Fran Drescher impression the other day and I regret not capturing it on film now.

 

via GIPHY

This weekend is a holiday weekend, but it’s doubly special for us, because it’s also Fiancé’s thirty-first birthday, which we are celebrating by pretending that we live in the woods like wild people… wild people who happen to have access to grocery stores and air mattresses. We’re not exactly glamping, because we’re still doing the tent thing and we do have to hike to our campsite, so I’m giving us a pass with the decadent sleeping arrangements.

Anyway, all of this is to say that this isn’t really a real blog post as much as it is just an update, but also… a request:

I am getting married in less than a month and I’m also going to be going on a honeymoon for two weeks! Yay!

BUT I don’t want to abandon you all, soo….. I need you! Specifically, I need guest bloggers. This gig does not pay in dollars, but it pays in gratitude, and hopefully some new fans for you, so if you’re interested, please email me: samuelson dot emelie at gmail dot com.

That’s all for now! Tata!

 

via GIPHY


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My brain is mush… or a delirious rant about being sick.

I’ve been sick all week, which has been only sort of fun, and by that I mean absolutely no fun at all. I mean, I had coffee for the first time all week yesterday. Yesterday was Thursday.

I WENT FOUR DAYS WITHOUT COFFEE AND HOW AM I STILL ALIVE?

I may never know the answer to that question.

At one point, I was sick on the couch with a sore throat, and coughing and whatnot, Fiancé was also coughing, but not as badly as me, and then Gio just started puking. How? Why? What even?

But now we’re all on the mend and everything is just fine and I’m drinking coffee again and we can all STOP PANICKING.

Okay, it’s possible that I’m still hopped up on cold medicine. I don’t know.

Also, it’s summer now. Should colds even still be happening? Isn’t it called a cold because you get it when it’s really cold outside? It was 95 degrees outside yesterday and all of a sudden I have the cold of all colds. This is unreasonable.

Anyway, here is a list of things that I did/watched while sick and my thoughts on those things:

  • Outlander – Ooo lala, the Scottish steaminess is nice. Fiancé and I started watching this because we’re going to Scotland on our honeymoon and we were like “this will get us excited!” and now we’re obsessed. Plus, there’s nothing like being at your least attractive level of attractiveness and watching something incredibly romantic. Yeeeeaaaaah buddy.
  • Family Tree – I adore Chris O’Dowd. Everything he does is just oddly delightful. I highly recommend. Plus, there’s a grown woman who talks through a monkey puppet and Fiancé pointed out that I do the exact same thing with our dog, so… self-esteem points have definitely been gained.
  •  Must Love Dogs – oh my gosh, this movie has almost nothing to do with loving dogs. NEITHER ONE OF THESE PEOPLE EVEN OWNS A DOG, THEY JUST BORROW SOMEONE ELSE’S DOG. THAT’S IT. It should just be called Must Love Someone Else’s Dog.
  • Critical Role – Because obviously. Fiancé and I have been watching a lot of Twitch Streams lately and I think I’m finally starting to understand why sports fans watch sports things. Oh! Fiancé and I have also been toying with starting a Twitch channel where we play games together. Interested? Tell me in the comments below!

And that’s all I can remember right now…. what do you like to watch when you’re sick? Why do you think colds strike in the heat? How long has it been since you’ve had coffee?

Have a great day, friends!


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Be different.

About a week ago a young girl who frequents the bookshop and likes to chat with me came into the store and told me that Grandparents/Special Friend Day was coming up at her school.

Me: Oh fun!

Her: Well, yes, except, my grandpa can’t make it.

Me: Oh no… that’s a bummer.

Her: Well… I was wondering… since he can’t make it, I’m allowed to invite a special friend…. Would you be my special friend?

What’s that? Oh, that mess on the floor? It’s just my heart in liquid form. Once I regain my composure, I’ll get a mop and clean it right up, I promise.

So, yeah, today I got to go to the local Montessori school for two hours and be this girl’s Special Friend for the day, which basically consisted of getting to wear a pin with her face on it and going to classes with her to get a peek into her life at school, followed by a choir concert before we were all dismissed and released back into the wild. It was delightful and I have never felt cooler.

At one point in the day, we were sitting in her homeroom (which is not called homeroom, but I can’t remember the cute Montessori term they used, so I’m just applying public school terms to this situation) and as I was looking around, I noticed that on the wall above their 3-D printer (whaaaaaaat) were 8×10 photos of each student and a sentence about who they want to be or what they want to do with their lives. It was cute. While my special friend made her homework to-do list for the week, I started reading each kid’s sentence. Most of them were standard: “I want to be a teacher,” or “I want to change the world,” or one kid’s read “I want to make the world laugh” (rock on, little buddy), and then I found my young friend’s photo.

I want to be different.”

Things in the news have been bleak lately and I’ve been trying really hard to keep my optimism going and to only perpetuate happy thoughts. If you’ve noticed, a good amount of my twitter posts consists of cute puppies and other baby animals. I just want to make people smile and to let them know that there are still things to be happy about.

When I saw this girl’s sentence, I felt that feeling that I try and make everyone else feel, and all day long I’ve been trying to figure out why that made me smile. I think it’s because people who intend to be different are the people who tend to think about why they do what they do or don’t do. This girl, a sixth-grader, is already adamantly refusing to give in to peer pressure and blending in. She has already decided that standing out was better than all that.

It also helps that I know her, so I know that her version of different isn’t achieved by being cruel or tough, but instead by memorizing strange facts and befriending booksellers. It’s by writing silly poems and drawing goofy pictures of people, and by volunteering to help build book displays while her dad goes grocery shopping instead of staying home and taking selfies (not that I think selfies are bad, mind you, I just think that a lot of kids would rather take selfies than hang out in bookshops). She’s a do-gooder and an all around cool kid. She’s certainly different, but I’m certain that she’s not alone.

So for all of you who think that the future is lost and that every new generation is worse than the one before you, I want you to know that somewhere out there, there are kids like this one: kids who want to be different. And I want you to remember that being different is what makes a difference.

And I think we’re going to be just fine.


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This makes me uncomfortable, but I’m trying a thing.

The best career advice to give to the young is, ‘Find out what you like doing best and get someone to pay you for doing it.’ -Katharine Whitehorn

I have a really hard time asking for money, especially when it comes to things that I enjoy doing. For some reason, my gut instinct is to say “Sure, I’m working hard, but it’s work I enjoy doing, so the work is its own reward! Why would I want to be paid for it?”

This is a stupid approach. It’s really stupid considering how much I believe that you should find a job that you enjoy doing.

So… I’m accepting the fact that even though I enjoy writing funny stories and it’s a lot of fun for me, it is work and it’s a thing I work hard at doing, so maybe I should be able to make money doing it?

God, I’m so uncomfortable right now…

Here’s the thing: This blog will always be free, and I’ve never been comfortable with the idea of ads or paid posts. Whenever I see advertisements anywhere, I’m annoyed. I don’t want them before my videos, I don’t want them in the middle of my tv shows, I don’t want to see them when I’m driving on the freeway. None of it. So why would I want them on my blog?

I’ve thought about asking people to advertise their blogs here on my blog, but then I think to myself “Eh, I just want to list those for free because I love them, not because they paid me.”

But I also think that writers should be paid. I think creative people should be paid. I am a writer and a creative person. And I work hard at what I do, but I also think that the only way I want to be rewarded for that is because people also like what I do. So… I found Patreon.

Patreon is basically a way for you to support the creative people whose work you enjoy. It’s like Kickstarter, but continuous, and if you choose to support me as a writer, you’ll get special perks outside of this blog – like a book recommendation from me, a cute picture of my dog thanking you personally, a live q&a session with me, or even a crocheted critter.

And if I reach my goal, I can create even more funny content for you guys. I can tell you even more funny stories, and the more funny stories I tell, the better I’ll get at telling them, and together we will make this blog even better – all because of you and your support. I have big dreams to take this blog and this community further, but I can’t accomplish them alone.

Now, you don’t have to do this. You don’t have to pay me a dime. Even if I never make any money, I’ll keep writing this blog and I’ll keep writing stories because it’s something that I love to do, but if you think that creative types deserve to be paid for what they do, I urge you to at least consider it.

 

Are you a creative person on Patreon? Share your work and your Patreon link in the comments below because I’m not just looking to be supported, but I’m looking for more people to support!

Now go forth and do the thing!

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Surround yourself with brilliance.

The other night my writing group held a reading at a local restaurant to honor the memory of a long-time member who recently passed away and to honor the work and life of one of the founding members who is moving away shortly. It was all very sad and very humbling, but also incredibly uplifting and joyous.

This writing group, The No Name Writing Group, has been meeting for over thirty years and is more talented than most of its members care to admit or realize. I half-joke a lot about how I’m waiting for them to realize how much of a fraud I am and kick me out. It’s not because I don’t think I’m a good writer, I think I can put words together just fine, but when I hear their work every month it’s hard not to think that I don’t belong.

But then I realized something: I’m becoming a better writer every day and it’s because of this group. I actually don’t think of myself as a complete hack anymore and it’s because of this group – and it’s not because they are constantly telling me I’m brilliant (although they do try and remind me of it when I need it most), but it’s because they are brilliant and I think that it’s finally rubbing off on me to some extent.

So this is what I’m here to really say:

  1. Don’t surround yourself with people you think you’re just as good as, or better than. If you really want to get better at what you do, surround yourself with people who blow your freaking mind.
  2. When you find those people who manage to make you say “Crap, I’ve got some work to do,” make sure that they’re people who will love and support you as you work on your projects. There’s nothing worse than a brilliant jerk, and they should be avoided as much as possible.

And finally, I want to share the work of some of these brilliant people with you. Please go and read their stuff and bookmark it and tell them how much you love them.

Davyne Verstandig: http://www.davyneverstandig.com/

Karen LaFleur: http://www.lafleurartworks.com/

Merima Trako: http://www.worldaccordingtoblam.com/

This amazing short story by Tom Lagasse: https://www.femininecollective.com/beyond-the-finish-line/

And Tom’s website, too!: www.tomlagasse.com

(They don’t all have websites, but if I’m missing any, I’ll update this list as I go!)

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Does this post make me a beauty blogger now?

Because I’m growing up and starting to think about boring things like my health and overall well-being and whatnot, I’ve been trying to take better care of my skin. And apparently, skincare is not a simple thing. I used to think it was all about lotion and sunscreen and general good hygiene, but oh no. No, now there are 10-step Korean skin care routines that involve serums and scrubs and oils and cleansers that are and are not oil-based and OH MY GOD WHEN DO KOREANS HAVE TIME TO DO ANYTHING OTHER THAN CARE FOR THEIR SKIN???

Time aside, my biggest problem is a little more frustrating. I have a dog.

Some of you might be thinking “What the hell does your dog have to do with your skin care routine?” Stay with me.

Gio is a Husky. And you know what huskies have? A crap-ton of fur. Seriously, we’ve filled grocery bags by just brushing his one leg.

So my apartment is furry. Constantly. We try our best to manage it, but it’s basically just a perpetual cycle of vacuuming to make room for more fur.

And you know what happens when you put lotion on? YOUR BODY GETS SO STICKY.  And when you have a sticky body it attracts mass amounts of dog fur and then you end up looking like some weird, poorly constructed werewolf mid-transition. It’s unfortunate.

So now I have a choice to make: Moisturize and have better, healthier skin or don’t become a werewolf.

Although, now that I’m thinking about it, I could use this to my advantage. I could moisturize my body, wait for all the fur that is everywhere to find me, and then go roam the streets at night, terrifying this quiet sleepy town…. of course now that I’ve posted this, our town will actually get attacked by a real werewolf and everyone will think it’s me and now just by trying to have healthier skin, I’ve doomed myself to a lifetime of pitchforks and angry villagers!

So what do I do? Do any of you have this issue? If so, what do you do? Because I can’t spend my life fighting off angry mobs, you guys, but also, my forehead lines are out of control.

Is this me or is it the dog? YOU’LL NEVER KNOW.

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We got a new oven! …and I’m already banned from using it.

So, Fiance and I got a new oven installed in our apartment this morning, and if you follow me on Twitter, this is not news to you, but if you don’t, let me catch you up:

This was super exciting because our oven was pretty old and temperamental (in a bad way) and while I loved that it had character, that character was a bit frustrating, so getting a new (used) oven was hopefully going to drastically improve things so that I could bake even more things, and pretend to be a cheeky British person in a tent on the grounds of some castle somewhere hoping to win a cake plate. A girl can dream…

So this morning, my mood was this:

 

Everything was going according to plan. Until I got hungry and decided to make a pot of macaroni and cheese (the lunch of adults) while simultaneously attempting to bake a lemon poppyseed bread loaf. I think it was the multitasking that was really the problem. That and the fridge magnets… Allow me to explain…

You see, we have these magnets on the fridge that double as chip clips, and they are very handy at holding cute pictures of nieces, but my cookbook wasn’t staying open to the right page and I desperately needing something clippy to fix that. So there it was, the clip I needed, dutifully sitting on the fridge, holding an adorable photo of Fiance’s niece. I needed the clip.

So I unclipped the picture and attempted to set it on top of the fridge temporarily, but then a breeze came in through the window or maybe I didn’t actually set the picture far enough away from the edge of the fridge or something, but either way, the picture fell. We don’t need to start pointing fingers as to who is responsible here.

It should be noted that the fridge is right next to our new oven that I was so excited to use, and the pot of water for the mac and cheese was boiling on the burner that is closest to the fridge.

So Fiance’s little niece fell from atop the fridge and down to…. well…

Luckily, she did not land in the pot of boiling water. Unluckily, she did land in a way that her arm was maybe too close to the burner.

Okay, fine, her arm was touching the burner.

Me: AH!!!

Fiancé: (from the next room) What happened?

Me: Nothing… everything is fine!

Fiancé: …I don’t believe you.

Me: Don’t come in here!

Fiancé: …why?

Me: Because I may or may not have set your niece on fire!

Fiancé: What?! HOW?!?

Me: WHY DO YOU ALWAYS ASK SO MANY QUESTIONS?!

Needless to say… I don’t think I’ll be asked to babysit at his sister’s house for a while…

See? She’s fine! The fire really barely even got close to the part of the picture of with her in it. And people say that injuries can build strong character, so really, I’m being incredibly helpful shaping our youth here.

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Dreaming of Failure

Following dreams can be complicated. Especially when we’re not sure what the exact end goal is. Sometimes we have to just sit down and start.

I wake up every morning to write and there is never a moment when I sit down at my desk and say “I know exactly what I want to say.” It never happens that way. Sure, sometimes I have a vague idea, but it rarely ends up turning out exactly the way I think it will. But isn’t that life in a nutshell? Do we ever wake up and say “I know what is about it happen today. Every detail. Any detail?” No. But we wake up every morning and we start the day.

So why are we so reluctant to do that with our dreams? Fear? Fear of what? Failure? We should be embracing failure, shouldn’t we? At least if we fail, we can say that we tried, and hopefully that we learned so that we can try again and eventually succeed – even if that success isn’t what we pictured it to be at the start of the venture.

So I wake up every morning and I sit down at my computer and I write. I write without knowing what words are going to come out of me and sometimes they’re good words and often they’re not, but words happen and that’s all I can ask for.

Except I’m going to ask one more thing, and I’m going to ask it of you: Will you fail with me? Will you wake up and do the thing you wish you could do and probably not do it well for a while so that you can eventually get to a point where you feel like you kick ass at that thing? Because I don’t want to be alone here. We’re all failures, right? So why don’t we fail together?

 

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We all need anxious puppies in our lives.

I’m in NYC today, where it is gross, rainy, and cold, but that makes for the perfect writing weather.

I’m deep in the editing phase with the novel I’ve been working on and things are feeling good. I got some really great feedback on it and now I’m running in this new, fresh direction and making progress in a way that feels like I can actually tell people that I’m working on it. Before I used to say I was working on it and what I meant was that I was staring at it a lot. Now I actually am working on it. Yay for honesty!

In other news… Fiancé sent me this video today and it made everything instantly better than it already was. I hope it does the same for you, even if you don’t have an anxious puppy.

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There is a Disney movie playing inside of my brain at all times.

The other day, Fiancé was driving me to work with our dog, Gio, in the back seat. We take Gio with us because he loves the car rides and he can’t be trusted when there is butter somewhere in the house, which there almost always is. Anyway, it was one of those rare times when all three of us were just kind of sitting quietly, which for some people is fine, but for me, never lasts too long because I inevitably make myself start laughing, which is what happened right before this conversation:

Fiancé: What are you giggling at?

Me: Well, we’re just sitting here not talking, and I was thinking about scenes like that in movies where everyone is just kind of sitting quietly and then the camera pans from person to person and you hear what’s going on inside their head, you know?

Fiancé: Yeah…

Me: So I was thinking about what it would sound like if someone did that to us right now.

Fiancé: And?

Me: Well, it would go to Gio and he’d be all “OH MY GOD, THERE’S SNOW EVERYWHERE, LOOK AT THE SNOW! OH! WHAT’S THAT? DID YOU GUYS SEE THAT THING? HEY, YOUR FACE SMELLS GOOD. WAIT, TURN LEFT HERE, WE NEVER TURN LEFT HERE, I BET THERE’S SOMETHING FUN THAT WAY!” And then it would go to your head and it would be all “Numbers and math and what’s on my to-do list, blah, blah blah or whatever it is that you think about.”

Fiancé: Oh god… that’s what I sound like?

Me: Shush, we’re getting to the best one.

Fiancé: Right. What happens when we get to your head? Wait, let me guess…. Is it just the same as Gio’s?

Me: No. It would get to my head and it would just be “NOOOOOOOOOOOOO OOOOOONNNNNNNEEEEEEEEEEE FIGHTS LIKE GASTON, NO ONE’S RIGHT LIKE GASTON, NO ONE’S NECK IS INCREDIBLY THICK LIKE GASTON’S! I USE ANTLERS IN ALL OF MY DEEEECOOORRRAAAATTTTING–”

Fiancé:  Oh wow.

Me: And that’s when I started laughing. Except when you really think about it what would have happened when it got to my brain is that you would have heard me thinking about what was going on in everyone’s brain and then it would have been an endless loop of what we were all thinking, which is crazy.

Fiancé: Like a thought bubble inside of a thought bubble.

Me: Exactly!

And then we returned to silence for the rest of the ride because I’m pretty sure it was too early for him to risk encouraging me. Plus, he would be spurring me on only to unleash me upon my co-workers and our customers, so really he was just doing his part to help keep the town safe. He’s a good person.

In other news, I just saw Beauty and the Beast last night and I loved it so much!! Go see it and then tweet me. We’ll talk.

via GIPHY

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