Singapore is stealing my friend

I just found out today that one of my best friends is up and moving to Singapore! 

And it has rendered me speechless.

She is an almost empty nest-er like me, and while I've spent a lot of time pondering life without children around the house 24 x 7, the thought never occurred, "Hey, I think I'll MOVE TO A FOREIGN COUNTRY!!"

First off, I still want to help put the wee ones through college then shove them out into the cold cruel world.  Then, since I'm lucky, (if you are going through a nasty divorce) or un-lucky (if you are happily married to a millionaire), to be on my own financially- I need to keep working to put chocolate on the table.

But my mind is just blown by the possibilities.

Side note: remember last month when I said I was baaaack to blogging?  I meant once a month when January and February aren't busy kicking my butt on a daily basis.

Forgive me Father

Forgive me Father for I have sinned.  It has been many days since my last blog post.  Instead of blogging I've been starting a company, shopping for Christmas, having Christmas, enduring New Years and trying to keep from going insane. 

When I shudder at how long it has been since I posted, these are the words that ring in my head.  I'm not Catholic, but I've watched enough Law and Order to know what happens next.  The priest did it.  To protect a parishioner, or because his brother beat him as a child. 

It has been that many days since I've blogged and many more days since I stopped my shopping fast.  Things are falling apart.  Really.  But this blog is Upbeat! Encouraging! Inspirational!  So we'll leave the sad stuff to someone else. 

The good news is that I'm baaaaaaaaack, and will spend some time trying to figure out what direction to take this blog.  In the mean while, we'll all just slog along together. 

The radio says I’m supposed to shop

Below is a post I wrote back in September.  I'm going through my drafts and publishing some of them until I can figure out a direction with the blog.  I miss writing here and surprisingly I miss NOT shopping!  Although it has been fun dipping my toe back into the shopping world, I haven't really gone at it with the previous gusto.  Perhaps because I learned so much about myself, or because I am sad I only made it a little over 8 months.  It was an amazing experience. 

Written September 25th, 2009:

I was driving to work today and listening to the radio.  Normally I'd listen to my Ipod, but I'm driving an old Dodge Durango that is on loan.  My it-shall-not-be-named other car is a leased vehicle with already a zillion billion miles on it and I'm trying to figure out what to do.  So in the meanwhile I'm driving this car that forces me to listen to local talk radio.  Which is fine, I enjoy hearing all the local shennagins going on in my town.

This morning I heard several commercials for Economic Recovery.  I'm fairly certain these are PSAs- Public Service Announcements that the station does for free.  I'd love to know who is behind writing and producing them so I can wring their neck.  Like I don't have enough issues trying to avoid shopping without the radio blasting at me on my commute to BUY, BUY, BUY, BUY!!! 

According the the announcer, I personally can make a huge difference in the economic recovery by beginning to spend locally.  I do believe that if everyone started spending money again, we'd be in a little better shape with the economy, but what about my personal economic recovery? Are they going to make a commercial for that too?  Maybe the government can get other people to buy me things with their cute little jingles. 

What I do when I’m not shopping

I wrote a draft of this post over 6 weeks ago!  I've been a very bad girl, and not in the "nasty kinky fantasy" kind of way, but in a "too busy to post" kind of way.  So read on and I'll catch you up in the next post. 

Blogging has so many different applications.  Companies use them to bring attention to their products, people use them to keep in touch with families.  Some people use them as a bully pulpit to espouse their own brand of brainwashing.  Mine is pretty simple.  I thought that if I wrote about my experience of not shopping, and even if Nick, Valerie, Kim and Jeff are the only ones reading it, that's OK because maybe the 4 of them can provide enough YIPPEE, DON'T GIVE UP, KEEP GOING to actually keep going. 

But the blogging world can be treacherous as well, because you get lulled into thinking no one is actually reading any of what you write, so maybe you write something offensive, or maybe you write something that you don't think affects one aspect of your life, but might.  How can you possibly cover all the contingencies? 

Up until now mine has been easy.  But in the last few weeks I've met some amazing people, and we've decided to start a company together, and that company will have a Face and a Name and a Brand and a Logo and a Mission.  And it all has to do with social media, of which blogging is one of the main pillars.  So I will be blogging for work, teaching about blogging, living, and breathing blogging.  Does that mean this blog has to die?  

Life is already confusing.  Questions just keep popping up.  Since this blog has absolutely nothing to do with social media or the brand we are building as a company, do I have to abandon my beloved 9 months and counting blog about downsizing my life?  Do I keep one part here and one part there, never the two to meet, like meat and potatoes on the plate of a picky eater?  I wish I had the answers because it is confusing, but for now I'll soldier on and try to figure it all out. 

The Art of Negotiating

Emily's car had a terrible crack in the windshield.  And since she abandoned me over the Memorial Day Weekend to go to Idaho with her boyfriend's family, (can you hear the bitterness seeping out of the screen?) I decided to take her car in to get it replaced.  When I went to pick it up, I got in the car and noticed what looked like a scratch on the passenger side, very narrow, about 3 inches long.  Hoping it was a smudge, I got out, but of course it was a scratch because these kinds of things happen to me.  Just like the other day when 6 of us ordered 6 drinks from Starbucks and 5 drinks came up at the counter, not mine of course, and then they moved onto the next order.  Yes, it happens regularly and I don't know how to stop it.

Back to the windshield- My expectation when I pay good money is that the item will be fixed correctly the first time.  Yes I know I sound like a total rag with outrageous expectations, but we all have standards right?

So I go back in and say-

"There is a scratch on my windshield"

The gal behind the desk rolls her eyes and looks at me like "look crazy lady, we just installed the damn thing and there isn't a scratch".  So she calls her manager to go out and take a look, he runs his finger across it and proclaims, "Yup, it's a scratch".  I guess he didn't see the saliva mark I left trying to rub it out of the windshield.  Like I hadn't already checked? 

So we go back in and they tell me it has to cure for two days before they can replace the replacement.  I'm kind of busy right now and don't have time to schlepp around back and forth to the windshield place and it really is a small, not very noticeable scratch, so I ask for a discount if I leave it.  More eyeball rolling ensues, and the manager gets on the phone with his manager.  He offers to knock off 50 bucks, I say how about 75 and then the funniest thing happens- he says to his manager-

"Now she's going all Let's Make a Deal on Me".

Honestly I still laugh out loud every time I think of this grumpy, grimy, toothy grinned glass worker shooting out the most clever thing I'd heard all day.  

Totally worth the negotiation.  I got my 75 bucks and drove away. 

How was Sushi?

This is the longest I've gone without posting on my blog and I feel like a mother who beats her children.  I'm working 16 hour days 6.5 days a week.  I'm exhausted, grumpy, constantly hungry and still trying to train for a 1/2 marathon in 27 days.  Yes, my mind is wandering around lost and I almost can't think straight, and it is only 10:38 at night.  Usually this is my prime time, face the world, knock out a couple hours of house cleaning, tv watching or bill paying.  Instead I'm actually drooling while I type. 

The  new company we are launching helps companies integrate social media into their marketing.  Huh?  Some of you know exactly what I'm talking about and others are scratching their heads wondering how I went from the topic of not shopping to the topic of "digital engagement marketing".  Well, I'm too tired to explain so instead I'll tell a story. 

Facebook is weird sometimes.  I wonder if I'm stalking or doing the stalking.  When I first got on FB I had a fright that just illustrated the dangerous nature of the medium.  I was playing around with the "status" and typed in "Heading to lunch meeting- sushi".  Then I went off to my meeting and had some wonderful sushi with a side order of a little work.  I had a 2pm conference call, so got back in the office, did a little e-mail and dialed into the number.  There were probably 5 or 6 other people calling in, I think it was a discussion about our new web site design.  After "announcing" myself on the call and listening to a few pleasantry comments, one of the attendees piped up and said, "how was your sushi lunch?"  I almost fell off my chair thinking "he's all the way across town, how did he know I had sushi for lunch".  And it honestly took me a few minutes to figure out he had read it on FACEBOOK!!! 

Isn't that weird?  So now, a long time later, I'm immersed in social media and the even deeper meanings of how it can help companies with their marketing.  And I'll never forget one of my first fright with it, just like I'll never forget my first Coach handbag…

Did I just have a baby?

I've gone off the deep end and agreed to launch a marketing consulting company with some partners.  Starting a new company is like having a newborn baby.  No sleep, hair washed ever week instead of daily, bad food choices, no exercise and the commitment of an insane amount of money. 

The good news is that there isn't time for crazy SHOPPING CRAVINGS and late night shopping porn, like the recent Nordstrom catalog that sits looking very lonely on the counter.  Although, I did flip it open to this coat which I believe would have instantly restorative powers if I could somehow talk my new business partners into how it is a necessary start-up expense.

Coat3

Yes, it’s true… I’m a Shop-a-holic

Today is the Six Month anniversary of my last shopping spree.  Maybe I should buy myself something nice to celebrate.  No!  It ws my last clothes, shoes, handbag shopping at all, except for a few items here and there from Birthday money, which I decided wasn't cheating.  It isn't cheating because-

1) I said so.

2) I could have just directed everyone to buy me what I wanted, and it was just easier this way.

It is a major feat in my life that it has been 6 months.  The same 6 months have been spent blogging, which is a life changing experience as well.  No one reads this except my good friend Valerie, and perhaps every once in a while Nick, although he's a new dad so out of it right now, but what started as an experiment has forever changed the way I view something I love.  It has taught me patience, tolerance, and thrift that I've never had.  It has made me spend an extra 5 minutes in my closet each morning and think about what to wear instead of plotting to buy more since, after all, THERE IS NOTHING TO WEAR!

Six months might not seem like much, but to me it has been an eternity.  Previous to this, I'd speculate that it had never been a few DAYS between shopping gigs.  Target has always been a weakness, although if you've read some of my early posts, Nordstrom wins the cake.  Especially the new store in our area with a amazing cafe and one of the best Margarita Pizza's I've ever eaten. 

So yes, I'm proud, and yes, I'm going to keep on trucking through six months and day one of the next six months.  Hurray for me and Happy Anniversary!

Sushi and Finance

We are trying really hard to save money right now, but the best money I've spent in the last few months was $40 for 1/2 price sushi night this evening with my son.  One of the advantages of one-on-one eating out with teens is that they are your hostage for as long as the meal takes to order, deliver and consume.  They can't take their food and disappear into the basement, as sometimes happens when I turn my back.  They can't wolf down and entire meal in 5 minutes, throw their dishes in the sink and disappear.  That is one reason I love eating out. 

Afterward we sat in the kitchen and talked about financial fitness for an hour or so.  Yes, the kid is very different.  He is amazingly thoughtful when it comes to his future, and sees farther ahead in life than I ever did at his age.  It was a discussion all about money; saving, the pitfalls of trying to keep with the neighbors, college, and staying out of debt.  He probably has a skewed view of my financial fitness because he said everyone he talks to about me tells him I'm good with money.  Probably the bigger factor is that I've always had a good job, always worked hard and always tried (sometimes unsuccessfully) to live well below my means.

It was a lovely dinner, then a wonderful and rousing conversation with a 17 year old boy/man.  And I'm the luckiest mom on earth to have shared that with him tonight, when his frontal lob was fully functioning.