Taking a bow

Don’t think of this as good-bye.

Well, okay, maybe a little.

Friends, after months of periodically mulling things over, noodling, waffling, and otherwise staring into space for extended periods of time I’ve decided it’s time to end my run here at One-Woman Show. For over two years I’ve shared my tales of juggling life, laundry and love, and blogging has been a part of this juggling. But in the last six months or so I’ve realized how important it is for me to simplify my life a bit more, or at least to focus my time and energy a little differently. And with that comes choices.

For now, I’m choosing to focus on new — and renewed — pursuits instead of blogging:

Like writing a new humor column at The Imperfect Parent!

I’ve spent the last year dishing about single parenting and divorce in my Dinner for One column, but it’s time to change focus, particularly because my single days are winding down. (Woohoo!) So, I pitched an idea to the editor for a new yet-to-be-titled humor column and he liked it. I’ll be starting in late June so check back here or at the Imperfect Parent website for more details!

Like writing and submitting articles, essays…and, eventually, another novel.

I didn’t discover a love of writing until my late 30’s; I didn’t discover blogging until 2007. I’ve often wished I’d made these discoveries earlier in life, but now I understand (or at least begrudgingly admit) they came into my life at exactly the right time.

This blog has helped me find my voice and hone my writing style. It’s also opened up writing opportunities for me — other potential blogging gigs, my first column — plus helped me connect with potential agents, authors, writers, and, yes, readers like you whose feedback and friendship I value so much.

What I haven’t spent as much time doing as I’d like to is writing outside of OWS. I’m excited to change gears now and do more pitching and submissions. Build my portfolio. Collect those clips. Get more paying gigs! Start work on Novel #2.

I don’t know how or where this will all go, but I have confidence it will go somewhere.

I want to (or maybe I have to?) give it a go.

Like volunteering — through blogging!

Yes, you read that right. I’m combining my interest in non-profits and writing by helping to start a blog for HEARTH, a great organization I’ve been involved with for about 5 years. HEARTH helps up to 15 single moms and their children find their footing again – through safe housing, mentoring, parenting and life skills classes — plus a lot of hard work on the women’s part. I hope I can keep up with them as an occasional guest contributor.

Like spending time away from the computer.

Despite all I’ve written about, well, writing, I’m looking forward to spending more time outdoors, more time exercising (because I’m actually exercising again!) and just enjoying more of life with the wonderful people in my life.

That’s what I really want to do when the curtains close.

Oh, there is one other thing.

 

 

Heh. I’ve always wanted to say that (and it’s true). 😉

From the bottom of my heart, thank you for reading and sharing your comments here.

I’ve loved blogging at OWS and wouldn’t be surprised if I find myself blogging again someday. In the meantime, I’m linking to some of my favorite posts below. Please enjoy them… and see you real soon around town or the internet!

Susan

Best in Show / Vintage Susan/ One Woman’s Favorites to Write:

I Will Beat Myself Silly with a Limp Lizard (One of my all-time favs!)

Scenes Not from an Italian Restaurant

Italian Genes Do Not Equal la Dolce Vita

Query Me This A really fun one to write. Seriously, I cracked myself up.

Party Moms Gone Mad

Complicated Like This

This is My Life

Take A Flying Leap (or Watch Me Take One) Probably the last time you’ll see me jump out of a plane on purpose!

You Tarzan Me Be Jane

Embarrassing Dating Tales I: Mothballs and Me

And MORE Embarrassing Dating Tales: Dwight Was Right (oh, and these are just the “best” tales – oy!)

Wake Me Up Before You BloNoGoGo – A pseudo tribute to NanoWriMo…and if you don’t know what that is, well, never mind

My Life in Poetry (or Not)

Dating and the Patience is a Virtue Experiment

Better yet, when my patience finally paid off:

A Blog, A Law and a Little Luck – Part I

…and Part II (yeah, it’s good 🙂 )

4×4

The Exception tagged me to respond to a "4×4" meme. Perfect for a Sunday night — how could I say no?

(Funny coincidence that I did a rather sarcastic "5×5" right about this time last year, too. Maybe they lop off a number each time you get closer to being old?!)

Here goes…

Four places I go over and over again:

The kids’ daycare center

The grocery store (with a gas station and a dry cleaner as a bonus!)

Target

Work

Four people who mail me regularly:

By snail mail: that would be my darling FlyBoy, who has sent me quite a few sweet and/or very funny notes and cards since we started dating. I also receive once a month these very unsentimental notes from some guy named Chase —  or was it Morgan? Oh, right. It’s J.P. Morgan Chase! He seems to think I owe him money for my house or something…

By email, it would be FlyBoy and my sister.

Four of my favorite places to eat, (apart from home):

God knows I like to eat, but "favorites" are hard for me — I like so many different kinds of cuisines and dining experiences — and appreciate those differences from place to place. That said, these were the first to come to mind…

My parents’ house — my mom is a great cook!

Cliffords — in a small town in a small house in the middle of nowhere. Seriously, it only has 8-10 tables. Wonderful food and service!

On the lawn in front of the Eiffel Tower. This is one of my memories from when I backpacked in Europe for 6 weeks right after graduating from college. My friends and I had brie and baguettes, probably some cheap wine and chocolate, too, right by the Eiffel Tower that summer. I just remember it being the perfect kind of picnic.

The Cranberry Creamery — best. darn. ice cream. EVER.

Four places I’d rather be now:

In bed.

Back in San Diego or on a Carribean beach.

Partying somewhere (inside) with crazy Steeler fans after their first (but hopefully not last) playoff win.

No, really, I’d rather be upstairs in bed. And it would be a Friday, not a Sunday, night!

Four favorite TV shows:

Despite what I wrote in my last post, I don’t watch much TV except for:

Lost

The Office

Just about anything on HGTV — I still dream I can do this stuff. Fool, fool, fool….

What Not To Wear — It’s great to root for the underdog (but not her underwear) while picking up a few tips for yourself — and yet you can still feel surprisingly good about the sweatshirt and jeans or flannel PJs you’re wearing while watching the show.

(Little known fact: I’m also rather entertained by The Girls Next Door. And, to follow along with The Exception’s flashback to the 80’s, I was rather enchanted back in the day with Moonlighting!)

Four movies I would watch over and over again:

The Shawshank Redemption — again, not big on "favorites" but if I had any, this would be at the top of the list!

A Christmas Story

The Princess Bride

Raiders of The Lost Ark…maybe? (possible alternate: Star Wars — did I mention I used to have a thing for Harry?)

Four people I would like to tag:

You know who you are.

Got Resolutions? Phooey!

Well, folks, 2009 is only hours away, but I wanted to take a few minutes to reflect on the past 12 months and to look ahead to a bright new year. Before I started writing this post I could only remember the many resolutions I made last December – and then broke. In fact, none of my resolutions panned out the way I envisioned. But sitting yesterday at work, done with cleaning out my files and unable to blog due to new LAN settings (grrrr – I guess I can’t even do this on my lunch hour anymore), I began to view my results a little differently:

I still swore some…but I swore less. Fucking great, right?! (Ha, you knew I had to add that in!)

I didn’t move my body as much as I should have, and, frankly, gained 10 pounds as a result – not so great considering I had already gained many pounds on top of that in the past five years. I have, however, accepted my decisions, good and bad, and acknowledge enough is enough. And so we try again.

One new-old activity I did try: I bought a bike and rode for the first time in years – how I’d forgotten how fun and freeing riding can be! And for what little activity my body got in the last 12 months, my mind and heart were more active than I ever thought possible. Not so bad…

Resolutions and reflections wouldn’t be complete without some mention of my novel or writing. I became a regular contributor online. I met some really cool people and made new writing connections, some I haven’t even written about here. Plus, I polished my novel and got a few literary agents interested enough to request and read my partial and/or full manuscript — albeit, all rejecting it in the end. There’s really no down side to that, though; it leaves me with hope because not everyone gets that far. I have my next round of agents to contact in January, but am 100% at peace if I can’t get it published because I have more writing (and I suspect even better writing) in me. My energy is telling me to move on, which brings me to…

…I didn’t start the novel I briefly sketched out last fall, but it’s still bouncing around in my head. Plus, I recently came up with an idea for a nonfiction book that I think might work…and a few articles I’d like to pitch…hmmm. So many possibilities!

One or two people have suggested that maybe the book (and even this blog) was to help me sort through a trying time in my life. Maybe, although I think any writer would tell you that paying for therapy is a lot easier! The one thing I know is that I’d like to do this in some form over the long-haul, whatever that means.

I’m not sure how random my kindness was in 2008, but I continued volunteering for an organization helping single mothers that I believe in and attempted to do a better job at showing – and telling – my friends and family how much they mean to me. It really is true that you get what you give, and I’ve received a lot of love and fulfillment in return.

As far as my piano-playing, well, let’s just say it remained an expensive piece of quiet furniture. Looks nice, though.

I had loads of fun this year, even without signing up for the NanoWrimo (not the NoBloMoMo) Big Fun Scary Challenge. Do you think I could go in and retroactively check off the fact I jumped out of a plane? Or went to Chicago to hang with my cousin and pals? Or sent my novel out into the world of publishing (with a few supportive words from a couple of wise guys)? Or went to my first professional football and hockey games (go Steelers and Pens!)? Or took a chance on love again?

(Or continually amuse myself when I sometimes write melodramatic things like “took a chance on love again” as if doing a voiceover for a Lifetime movie?)

Yeah, I’d say 2008 was a good year.

Here’s to ’09 – with no planning ahead!

PS. What’s not in your plans for the New Year??
 

30 by 40

Overheard across the blogosphere:

Reader 1:  What’s Susan up to now with this “30 by 40” bit?

Reader 2:  I think it’s another one of Susan’s blogging gimmicks. You know how she is.

Reader 3:  Yeah, I think you’re right, Reader 2. For chrissake the woman ate goat and jumped out of a plane just to increase her page views.

Reader 2:  That’s a little harsh, Reader 3. Honestly, I think she just did those things because she’s a little [does the cookoo sign], whacked in the head.

Reader 1:  I think it might have something to do with her turning 40 this month.

Reader 3:  Maybe.  Like I said…[does the cookoo sign]

Before now I have never, ever, EVER made a big deal about my birthday — you may not believe that, but it’s true. Thirty came and went with barely a peep from me, but turning 40 at the end of this month seems different — in a good way — and I want to take advantage of it.

So, in honor of the whole “40 is the new 30” thing, and because there are 30 more days to go before I turn 40 30 (in spirit!) again, I am asking for your advice on how to make the next 40 years even better than the first.

I wasn’t planning to add my own advice, especially since I often ignore it, but I received something in the mail yesterday out of the blue that made me think of one:

I received a package from one of my Chicago travelmates and friends. It included the DVD of Waitress, which she had been telling us about (only she had seen it), and a note.

“…I know it is not easy to make time to travel and be away from home…but, oh so good to touch base with intelligent, soulful and multidimensional women!…I am grateful for our intimate conversations over ‘Lonely Chicago Pie’ and hope you each know that who you are and what you have to say and what happens in your lives MATTERS to someone…”

Tip #1: Always make time for friends — and never forget how important they are in your life…or you are in their’s.

That’s a tip I know I’ll continue to follow. My goal (always a Virgo, always a goal) is to get at least 30, preferably 40, of yours to live by — humorous, serious, whatever. You don’t need to be 40 or over 40 to give them, or even 30, or… Before I confuse myself with numbers even more

What are your words of wisdom?

Balance, Enlightenment and Other Unholy Grails

A few weeks ago I noticed there was some serious bad juju going on around me. One example: a former co-worker suffered a near-fatal heart attack. Forty years-old, a mother of two or three; someone who eats right, works out faithfully and was just commenting to another co-worker how happy and stress-free her life had been since she was able to quit work and stay at home. I didn’t know her well, but have worked with her sister for about 5 years. It turns out lifestyle was not the cause of her heart attack, but let me tell you it got this chick thinking about her life and what she might do a little differently.

If you haven’t guessed by now, I often throw myself from one project – or exercise regimen or activity or issue or person or issue of a person – to another, moving in fits and starts. I get an idea in my head and it’s hard for me to get it out until I’ve done whatever it is I set out to do. I stay up late cranking through a task only to find I’m dragging by the end of the week because I didn’t get enough sleep. I might do something like read The Power of Now, but end up flipping through the chapters to get to the end…because I’m impatient. (Purely hypothetical, of course.) Or I’ll find myself plowing ahead with an irritating but sometimes blog-worthy stubbornness of not knowing when to quit like the Black Knight in Monty Python and The Holy Grail.

Having drive and determination isn’t bad; in fact, it comes in quite handy. But Little Miss Zenshine over here is starting to think moderation, focus and maybe some downtime among all this multitasking madness would help.

I’m a smart girl. I’ve read countless magazines/books and listened to all the positive stories, horror stories, advice and insights from friends, family, and even Oprah. (Yes, I’ve poked fun of her here and here, but she has the right idea.) I just don’t always do what I should. Maybe I’m wondering about this again because I’m turning 40 soon. Maybe it’s because of what happened to my former coworker or Tim Russert. I’d say it was because of indigestion — except that I haven’t eaten dinner yet because I’m not balanced. Who knows?

I have some fun and/or relaxing things planned in the coming weeks, which I’m psyched about; I’ll blog about those soon. I’m also open to spontaneous activities, even if I can’t always partake in them. In the meantime, maybe writing this post about juggling on a blog about juggling is enough of a start.

All right, because I can’t resist — and it’s always good to balance all this soul-searching crap with some humor — I offer you this:

All right, we’ll call it a draw!

Defining Mom

In case you haven’t seen or heard the zillions of jewelry, flower, and card commercials, tomorrow is Mother’s Day. I love being a mom… but to be honest, Mother’s Day has traditionally been a bit bittersweet for me. In fact, my first Mother’s Day after my divorce was the hardest holiday to get through in my entire life — by far. (The second year wasn’t much better.) As SingleMomSeeking describes, I knew the day was about being a mom and being with my children, not about having a husband or partner. But logic and emotion don’t always play well together, you know? My kids were so young and the day was just like any other for them. My marriage was kaput. My family lived out of state. My friends were doing their own thing. I felt very much alone in my failings.

Since then I’ve gained more confidence in myself and my parenting abilities, although any parent will tell you that, just as you delude yourself into thinking you’ve mastered one stage, your child is on to the next! My kids are also old enough now to express their feelings to me. But maybe most importantly I’ve learned (and am still learning) to rely less on expectations, whether created by Hallmark or in my own mind, and to define being a mom in ways that make sense to me.

Mother is Community.

While I would love to get married again one day, I believe families come in all shapes and sizes. I know moms who are married and single, with biological children and with adopted children. One of my coworkers, a woman who I’m guessing is in her 30’s, has even opened her heart to become a foster mother — wow! Our key to survival — and being able to thrive — is to ask for and accept help, something I haven’t always been so good at.

You may hear that it takes a village to raise a child, but I’m here to tell you that it definitely takes a village (or two) to raise a mother.

Mother is Motion.

I used to think of “mother” as a noun, a name, but it really involves action. The dictionary defines Mother, the verb, as “to give birth to” and “to care for or protect.” I don’t think that does it justice; to me, it’s more like:

mother vb To care for, protect, laugh, cry, shout, yell, praise, swaddle, clean, scrub, smile, ignore, regret, feel guilt, worry, hear, smooch, roll eyes, launder [clothes-sheets-towels-toys-clothes-sheets-towels-toys…rinse-repeat-rinse, does it ever end?!], chuckle, discipline, grit teeth, give time outs, take time outs, cut [food-construction paper-fingernails-hair-clothing tags], cheer, gaze, feed, bathe, read [baby books-bedtime stories-homework-report cards-doctor’s notes-‘how to’ this and ‘how to’ that-poems of love and loss, written for you and perhaps for others], wipe, wipe again, wipe some more, dress, enjoy, admire, snap at, take pride in, teach, raise, drive around, drive batty, observe, support, counsel, hug, kiss, shop for, pay for, defend, listen, save, nourish, love.

Mother is Gratitude.

I have it good as a mom, better than many. Being a parent has taught me about keeping things in perspective and being thankful. I have a wonderful family, including MY amazing mom, boss, coworkers, neighbors, an ex who is a loving and involved father, and a strong network of friends, both online and off.

Thank you. You all have made a difference in my life.

And, Drama Girl and T-Rex, you may exhaust me, and you may still not quite understand, but you are an endless source of inspiration. Now that we’ve met, I can’t imagine my life without you.

Have a great Mother’s Day, Mamas! Define the day as you like and, for God’s sake, get ye to the spa and take a break from all of that motion. 😉

The Case of the Missing Blogger

Hello, dear readers!

Do you remember a witty, charming and intelligent blogger named Susan, who largely disappeared for the month of February, outside of book reviews and confessing to celebrity crushes gone bad?

No? Well, how about just a blogger named Susan?

(If you’ve answered “No” for a second time, please skip to the end. Otherwise, read on.)

Let me start by saying that you may have noticed in reading my blog that occasionally my magical thinking skills kick in, making me write things like, “I promise I’ll be back on track tomorrow” when in reality I live my life like I handle home improvement projects. That is, things take twice as long as I think they will take. I don’t mean for it to be that way, but as you know, I drop a few balls now and then. And now. And then.

So, where have I, your mystery blogger, been? Let’s find out below. I’m also going to do some multitasking here and throw in random trivia for you, as my pal Mini at Minivan Bohemian tagged me for a random facts meme. Continue reading