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How I Got Published

Posted by on 9:08 am in Inspirational | 4 comments

I’ve just realized a Dream Come True. A true bucket-list item for me has been checked off and circled with hearts and rainbows (and of course a few skulls!) drawn all around it; I’m thrilled and honored beyond words to now be able to call myself a published author with ‘The Badass Planner’, which I recently found on the shelf in the real brick-and-mortar Barnes & Noble—talk about an outer-body experience! People often ask me how I did it. Sure, there was a whole lotta planning, (see what I did there?) writing and research involved. But this post isn’t ‘Susie’s Guide to Getting Your Book Published’—sorry to disappoint you if that’s what you were hoping for. When it comes right down to it, I give most of the credit to my willingness and ability to What the Fuck?! Yes, I’m treating that deliciously crass phrase as an actual verb because we writers feel like we have the liberty to do so and honestly, it’s the truth. Often “What the Fuck!” is an exclamation of exasperation, but in this case the What the Fucking that I’m suggesting is to shrug your shoulders and jump right in there with both feet because what do you have to lose? Fear of failing has so much to do with not having something come through the way you originally envisioned it. But when you have a WTF attitude, you do it anyway. You know the challenge is something that could quite possibly take on its own life, twisting and turning down different paths that you ever imagined it would go, but you’re willing to travel right along side it. That actually trying and doing is what’s most important, and even if it never comes to fruition at all it was worth the time and effort and lessons learned. I don’t know about you, but ‘failure’ doesn’t taste quite as bitter to me as regret. My first plan with my planner was to publish it myself. Then the ‘but what if…??’ question started buzzing around in my head and I thought, What the Fuck?! I told myself I would go for gold and try to get it picked up by an honest-to-goodness publisher for one year—if nothing happened within that time period, I would just go back to Plan A and do it myself. Don’t get me wrong. You can’t WTF something and then hope it magically appears before you. It’s gonna take some work. Probably a whole helluva lotta work. And I had a lot of help from some lovely successful people I know that have done this kind of thing before. Don’t forget to ask for help! WTF-ing is not only opening yourself up to going for it, but also being willing to get out there and take guidance and inspiration from outside sources. What the Fuck?! is a battle cry for the Badass Warrior. What do you have to lose? Everything if you don’t even try to begin with. What are you going to What the...

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The Secret of My Success

Posted by on 7:20 am in Inspirational | 2 comments

Ok that sounds kind of braggy, but let me make sure it’s clear…I’m talking about MY success, peeps! This is what works for me! Your success will look completely different than mine. However, I do have some tips that may help you along the way to yours. I will start a new job this week. I left a job that most people on this earth would think was the be-all-end-all and in some ways, it certainly was. I could work from home and make my own schedule, which as many of you know allowed me to even take my work to the U.S. Virgin Islands for three weeks. Oh, am I bragging again? I guess that is a bit of a boast, but it really drives the point home that even with the possibility of sunny beaches, working from home isn’t everyone’s cup of tea. It certainly wasn’t mine, even though I could drink a cup of beloved coffee any time I damn well pleased, work in my pjs and take a long shopping-lunch. You see, I am a people person. (and now you’re saying, duh.) I love being around people, I get energy from being around people, and nothing makes me happier than connecting with someone—even if it’s just for a shining moment. That’s what life is to me. And working on my butt all day in my house all alone, while convenient, didn’t make me happy. I literally took a nap almost every day because I was so drained, also because the work itself didn’t challenge me or use many of my strengths and talents. This new job kind of fell into my lap, or so it seemed. But did it? What started out as a shopping for a new bag experience—don’t even get my husband started—eventually turned into a new opportunity. No one offered me a job at that time, but I listened to my heart and followed my instincts and took a chance, and voila! A new adventure will soon begin. Here’s what happened: I was innocently (ok, not so innocently) shopping for a new bag. A fabulous dude who I actually informed was my spirit animal swooped me up and we had the most amazing experience together. Yes, he was selling me a purse—of course he was. But he made it personal, he was knowledgable, not pushy at all, and we had so much damn fun. We laughed and played. And in that moment I realized that I was definitely in my Happy Place. Mind you, this was BEFORE I bought my bag. It wasn’t the Thing, it was the Experience. I realized then and there that THIS was what was missing from my life. Yes, it can be crappy hours and crabby customers, working on your feet all day in a frickin’ mall, of all places. But creating these experiences is what I’m good at, and it’s what I love. It’s my Strength. And it’s what fuels me. I knew then and there that somehow, I needed more of that in my life. And who am I kidding? I’ve always loved the mall. Before I knew what was coming out of my mouth, I told this guy that I wanted to work for him. Unfortunately he wasn’t in a position to hire me, but...

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Your Upside Down

Posted by on 7:34 am in Life Lessons in the Movies, Media | 0 comments

Like so many others, I have been completely captivated by the Netflix series ‘Stranger Things’. As a child of the 70’s and 80’s, what’s not to love?? Everything from the clothing to the hair styles to the fabulously ominous synthesized 80’s horror movie music is right up my alley—and the fact that they meticulously pay homage to just about every cult classic movie from that time period in some way, shape or form. Here is where I warn you; if you haven’t seen it and plan on watching, be prepared for some spoilers. As I watched, It really struck me how the ‘Upside Down’ isn’t just a place that these characters deal with in the show…in our own messy lives, we too often face going into the Upside Down. It’s a damn scary place to be—and we don’t even get the benefit of an 80’s keyboard soundtrack while we’re in there. Seriously, have you ever felt like your whole world has been turned upside down? It’s a perfect way to describe it, as that place has you feeling disoriented. It looks a lot like your own world, but it’s a foreign place–a place you don’t really know how to navigate because that’s not how your world normally is. Often when you’re there, the people around you don’t even know it. Even if there isn’t a monster in there, it’s traveling into unknown territory. And the unknown is unpredictable, which can be quite scary. More than likely though, your Upside Down does indeed have a monster. Maybe more than one. Maybe it’s an abusive person, from the present or the past, who physically or emotionally hurts you. Maybe it’s an illness. Maybe it’s a childhood fear that keeps you in the Upside Down nightmare instead of living your dreams. It could even be a manifestation of you, your own inner demon tearing yourself up and keeping yourself down. If you’ve been lucky enough to avoid this creepy place so far, I hate to break it to ya—but I think it’s safe to say that we all will find ourselves in the Upside Down at some point in our lives. Sometimes the portal into it rears up out of the blue and we fall right in. Sometimes we start down a narrow path that we know will lead us right there, and try as we might to leave that path, it just won’t let us veer off of it. More often than not, on some level we know the Upside Down is always present, right below the surface…and we do everything in our power to avoid going there. I hate to break this to you, too—but sometimes you have to go in. Because going there is the only way to get back to the Right-Side Up. You can try to ignore that the place exists, but sooner or later it will find you. More and more you’ll find yourself turning right into it, more and more it will make its way into your daily reality. The Upside Down, and all of the scary, icky feelings it brings, will always be right around the corner no matter where you go. So what do you do? You take a clue from the Stranger Things gang—you manifest some Badassery, put on your game face and your...

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How to Cast a Magic Spell

Posted by on 1:22 pm in Inspirational, Media | 4 comments

So I’m sitting on a lovely beach in St. Thomas, Virgin Islands; all by myself, getting my ocean zen on, and minding my own business. I notice this guy walking down the beach. Huh, I think. He looks kind of like Sawyer from LOST. Nice. He passes by in front of me, and says ‘hi’. I say hi back. As he passes I sigh, looking at my flabby middle aged tummy in my bikini and wishing it didn’t look so much like a flabby middle aged tummy. Ah well, it is what it is, back to the surf, sand and sun. Not long after, Sawyer comes back up the beach and this time he stops and starts chatting with me. Am I from here, where am I from, what have I seen since I’ve been here…we have a conversation like people do when they are chit-chatting about life. I tell him my daughter is coming down to join me next week, and that I was disappointed that my husband couldn’t get enough vacation time to come along with me. Not long after this, he asks me if I might like to have dinner with him sometime. Like the ‘real’ Sawyer, what a cad! I turn him down gently and off he goes back down the beach…my day MADE! I am happily married and have no desire to have a sordid tryst of any kind, but damn if that wasn’t good for the old ego. The last time a guy hit on me was probably about 10 years ago and he was—no joke here—around 80 years old. I find it so funny that I was literally just feeling yucky and unattractive and a moment later some hot guy stops to (apparently!) flirt with me. And when I think about it, I don’t think it was a coincidence. Quite frankly, I have been owning this island. I came here all by myself, never having been here before—and it’s not like the U.S. I know, I’ll tell you that. Since I’ve gotten here I’ve driven on these crazy winding, twisty and turny, in-the-left-lane roads and found my way around. I’ve been exploring new places, where even getting groceries is an adventure, and finding as many beaches as I can. I’ve been feeling lucky and blessed, happy, peaceful, full of joy, brave, adventurous, appreciative, and totally living in the moment. When you feel that way, I believe it just literally oozes out of your pores. It’s contagious. It’s like you drink some kind of magical love potion and in turn it casts some kind of crazy magic spell on people around you. All of these things I’ve been feeling make a person very attractive, despite what kind of tummy they have. Unfortunately we all can’t get away to a sunny island whenever we want to get a dose of this potion of love. The trick is to try to brew up a little bit on your own, in your everyday life. To find things that make you feel lucky, full of joy, brave and adventurous. Try something new! Cross off a bucket-list item! Challenge yourself! Take time to slow down and really be present with the people you love! Try to live in the moment, focusing on the good things that make you feel all...

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Hey Guess What? I’ve Gained Weight in the Now.

Posted by on 10:30 am in Inspirational | 8 comments

So let’s out the elephant in the virtual room—I’ve gained some weight. I know damn well if I’m looking at recent photos of myself and cringing, you are all thinking to yourselves, “Huh, looks like she’s gained some weight there…” And I realize that’s the kinder response. I could say it’s the angle, I could say I look better in other photos–but a fact is a fact. I’m not going to lie, it sucks. I would love nothing more than to practice what I preach to everyone—be happy with who I am, beauty is skin deep, love myself and my body, blah blah blah. So feeling like a sham compounds the icky feeling I have about my shape. Isn’t that fun? I write this not to get pity, not to have someone say, “Oh, you look great.” I don’t really know why I’m writing this except for the fact that I felt like it needed to be written. I can make lots of excuses about it. I’m going to name them now because it makes me feel better to tell you so you can nod your head and forgive me for assaulting your eyes, that is if you even give a shit. I left a much more active retail job on my feet for a desk/telecommuting job where I am always on my ass. As a writer, I am on my ass even more. A year-long foot injury compounded with a hysterectomy didn’t exactly make it very possible to move my ass for quite a while. We may as well add on the fun fact that I’m not getting any younger which of course makes all of this that much harder and my ass only bigger. I know what to do. I can exercise more, eat less and better, and stop having cocktails. In other words, I can live in my version of medieval torture. Some people really do love that feeling of pushing themselves to the limit with their willpower and their exercise regimes. (personally I think they are aliens.) I’ve never had a skinny athletic bone in my body. There were definitely times where I looked pretty good, but I chalk that up to youth or overwhelming anxiety; the first ain’t coming back and the second I really don’t want to. I do run 3-4 times a week, but my un-athletic bones definitely protest. I’ve never gotten that ‘runner’s high’ or felt really fabulous after a long and grueling workout at the gym. I just feel tired and hungry. The ironic thing is, I think my problem is that I live too much in the now. This is irony because ask any new agey and/or life coachy person and they will tell you that ‘living in the now’ is the ultimate existence and where we should all strive to be. So when Eckhart Tolle tells me I should live in the now does he mean if I see a donut I should eat it? If I sit on my deck before dinner on a glorious day I should definitely have a happy hour cocktail in hand? If I’m getting in a good run but I get this great idea I should finish early and get back to my ass-sitting to write it down? That I should definitely...

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Don’t Just Appreciate, Celebrate

Posted by on 9:44 am in Inspirational, Relationships | 4 comments

Like everyone else in the world, the death of Prince shocked and saddened me. Living in Minneapolis, the blow is especially hard. My sister texts me, “You knew him, right?” It dawned on me then that people outside of the cities must think that all of us Minneapolites were his friends, which I think is partly what made Prince so special. His love of this city and where he came from made people around this vast world think that all of his fellow neighbors were his friends. I did not know Prince. In fact, the only place I saw him perform was when I was in Miami at the ‘Purple Bowl’, where I managed to get nose bleed seats and watched his mouth move on a giant screen about a second before I actually heard his words. I even worked at the infamous First Avenue nightclub and I never saw him grace its presence, although I knew he did frequent the place during my time there. Seeing the world come together in mourning is an amazing thing. It makes you wonder why we feel so close and connected to someone most of us never even knew? I think it’s because these artists–especially musicians, because music is so powerful–create the soundtrack of our lives. We went to them in solace and celebration. Their music and words moved us to think about ourselves and come to terms with our emotions. Their powerful chords and beats resonated in us and made us feel; we literally had to move our bodies whether in dance, sways, or head bangs to fully experience it and ourselves. They were often there when no one else was, and simultaneously with everyone around us creating a sense of solidarity. And when someone touches SO many people from all walks of life–much like David Bowie–well, you can see why the world feels sad. For me, my Prince emotions have surfaced these past two days around a memory from the summer after my senior year. Louis had been my friend in junior high and my boyfriend my first year of high school. He was the first relationship in my life that felt really real, beyond the “will you go with me” stolen kisses of a fling that lasted a week before a friend came to tell me he was breaking up with me. Louis gave me flowers, wrote me poems, slipped love notes in my locker. We spent New Year’s Eve with his parents at his house. We went to parties together, slow danced together, talked on the phone for hours every night. For 9 months. As what usually happens at that tender age, we then broke up. But because Louis was Louis we managed to remain friends throughout high school. We didn’t hang out together much, only with groups of people, but we were friendly and cared about each other. On one particular night not long before both of us were getting ready to leave for college and start the rest of our lives, he came to pick me up to take me to a movie. It was about this guy named Prince who he had just discovered and was completely enamored with. He wanted me to see the movie and experience the music. My Prince Memory is an open sunroof,...

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Confessions of a Metal Mommy

Posted by on 10:52 am in Family, Inspirational, Kids, Parenting | 0 comments

Confessions of a Metal Mommy

I recently wrote an essay that I was to read as an audition to speak for an event that celebrates Motherhood. I decided not to participate, but I thought I’d share what I wrote. Just in case any of you other Unconventional Moms out there needed to know that you are not alone…. (yes, I’m in that photo…upper middle…don’t anyone light a match!!) You know when you hear the story about the innocent girl from the midwest who steps off the bus onto Hollywood Blvd with all of her belongings in one bag and a guitar slung over her shoulder, determined to become a star? Well, that girl was me about 25 years ago, except that I arrived in a ’69 VW Bug with a pooping cat and a few more bags. After attending college for one whole year, I blew that popsicle stand because ‘you don’t need a degree to be a rock star.’ I spent about 3 years living the life in Hollywood, singing in a heavy metal band—rubbing elbows with celebrities, my bottle of Boones Farm and I hitting all-night drunken parties, dating dudes with names like Scat, Bumper and Roach, passing out band flyers on the Sunset Strip and singing my heart out to anyone who would listen from many a smoke-filled stage. I played the part of the ‘tough girl who didn’t need nothin’ or nobody’ pretty damn well. But, just like the many actors who live in Hollywood, I was only playing the part. I loved rock and roll but I didn’t love the life. It really was the ‘you can take the girl out of Iowa but you can’t take the Iowa out of the girl’ thing. I wanted real, I wanted authentic, I wanted a family with someone who had a normal name and didn’t wear more make up than I did. Eventually I found that life. I came back to Minneapolis and worked at a hair salon. I met a very sweet and solid man who actually had a job, a car, a name that didn’t really mean ‘shit’ and who merely kissed me on my cheek after our first date. I was ready to hang up the velvet short-shorts and fishnet stockings and delve into the role of ‘married with children.’ So I did. I started buying my thongs at Khols instead of Fredericks of Hollywood. I swapped out my thigh high patent leather Pretty Woman boots for comfy clogs. I tried really, really hard not to say fuck and shit. I was pretty successful for the most part, except of course that time I said damn in my new member class at church. I went to ECFE, volunteered at school and joined a book club. I kept the kids on a good eating and napping schedule and made them school bus cakes on their first day of Kindergarten. But then came the identity crisis— as much as I couldn’t couldn’t get the Iowa out of the girl, I realized the metal wasn’t goin’ anywhere any time soon either. I may not need to strut myself in leather and lace from the rock and roll stage anymore, but I was still drawn to that raw, heavy power and everything unconventional that metal music represented. What do you think about...

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It’s Not You Babe, It’s Me.

Posted by on 11:22 am in Inspirational, Relationships | 0 comments

It’s Not You Babe, It’s Me.

Yesterday I had an epiphany whilst ichatting with my daughter. The poor dear has a presentation coming up and is extremely nervous about getting in front of the class. Now unfortunately I can’t give her any coping skills from experience…for some weird reason I was born with no fear about getting my silly self up in front of people. Maybe because on some level deep down I knew this epiphany before I put it into words. Of course I shared with Vivian that it never really matters what others think of you…it only matters what you think of yourself. If you go into something fully prepared and you know you are doing your best, there is nothing to feel worried or bad about. You will do what you do and it will be a success. You may stutter, you may forget something, you may have to start over, you may fart. All of these things cause us fear and can paralyze us but it is then time to ask yourself: What will happen if I stutter? If I forget something? If I fart?? Will I die? Will someone else die? I think I can safely answer No to both of those questions. (I did just read that we breathe in an entire liter of other people’s anal gasses in one day. If that doesn’t kill us, what will?!) In the Grand Scheme of Things, nothing so awful will happen in a presentation that it will effect our lives in a majorly negative way. Even if people talk poorly about it after the fact, like everything else that happens in this ever-changing world, soon enough whatever you did or didn’t do will be nothing but a distant memory. But here’s the grand discovery that unearthed itself from the bowels of my brain: It doesn’t matter what others think of you not only because it ultimately doesn’t effect anything unless you let it, but whatever other people are thinking and feeling has ABSOLUTELY NOTHING to do with you at all. Kind of makes you think about that cringe-worthy line you got fed from a dude in your past when he was breaking up with you…”It’s not you, babe, it’s me.” Neither he nor you realized just how right he was. Think about it. People are judging you and thinking about you in terms that only they know. People will think what they want, no matter what we do. Even if we are practically perfect in every way, they may still think of something less-than-flattering because they are seeing with the eyes that only they have. They are computing their thoughts with the preconceived notions about you that they’ve gathered through their own lives and experiences. Just like no two of us probably see the color pink in the same way, we perceive things only in a way that we know and have learned. Think of all of the successful celebrities that talk about the parts they auditioned for and didn’t get…is this because they were bad at acting? More than likely it’s because whatever they did or didn’t do to portray the character in the audition wasn’t what the casting director envisioned for the part. So if you get up there to do a speech and you don’t say what a particular person would have said or...

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Why I Love Getting Old

Posted by on 10:33 am in Inspirational | 2 comments

Why I Love Getting Old

(To me, aging is not only posting this ridiculous photo of me for the world to see, but making it my cover photo on Facebook. Blue Crocs and all.) Yup, you read it right. I love getting older. Of course I don’t love how I can no longer eat the way I want to without the ill effects of a muffin top. (and I still eat the way I want to.) I don’t necessarily love the weird lines and sags that are showing up in my reflection. I don’t really relish the fact that this middle-aged bod is starting to feel the aches and pains and stiffness that comes with doing all it’s done in my 40+ years. But aside from these inconveniences, my life couldn’t be better. I’ll tell you why. First off, every day is a privilege. Not to be all morbid or anything, but of course each day we live is a day closer to our death. And the longer we are alive and kicking, the more chances we have of contracting some fatal disease, getting hit by a car, falling down and hitting our heads, etc. It’s not a pretty thought, but I figure every day I beat the odds is a good day. So far, I haven’t opted to color my hair–I’m proud of those greys. They announce to the world, Hey! I’ve been through some doozies and I’m still here! I may change my mind with that some day, as of course it’s a woman’s prerogative…but for now, they stay. I notice more beauty in things around me. It’s so weird. Even as my actual eyesight gets worse, as I get older I feel like I see things much more clearly. It’s like the veil is being lifted and I’m noticing more and more just how beautiful the sky is, the way that tree is twisted, the colors in that fabric, the smile on that person. All kinds of people get more attractive to me, people that in my younger days I would have never appreciated. I’m kind of loving that about myself, it’s fun. Along with recognizing beauty in more things, I have more patience for them. That crabby-ass person who makes me want to tear my hair out? Sure, I will still roll my eyes but at the same time I can take a step back and not let it effect me as much. I can take it on as my mission to turn that person around, and often I do. Sometimes I succeed, often I don’t. But it’s fun to try. I don’t take things as personally as I get older. I notice that hey, it really isn’t all about me. And that’s a good thing. I’m taking more control of the things that I can, and surrendering the things that I can’t.  As I mentioned above, life is getting shorter and I choose to spend my time in situations and around people that make me feel good. Period. In the younger days I may have been more worried about what would happen if I sacrificed a bit of myself for the sake of keeping a frayed friendship together or not saying ‘no’ to something I really didn’t want to do. Not anymore. And I’m quicker to throw my hands up and...

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It’s Time to Write Your Own Story

Posted by on 8:45 am in Family, Inspirational | 0 comments

It’s Time to Write Your Own Story

So much of what we think, feel and choose to experience is something we learned from someone else from our past. When we are very young, we must rely on the people immediately around us for all of our answers. We watch and mimic, taking it all in as the script of our lives. But what if our parents and siblings weren’t very good teachers? What if they learned some pretty nasty harmful stuff from their immediate surroundings? It’s kind of a bleak thought, but I believe it’s an essential one if we are going to move ahead in our lives and manifest some serious badassery. Obviously, if you had less-than-ideal juju around you as a child, there isn’t a thing you can do about that now. The past is the past–but it is our past. No matter what happened to us back then, we can use what we’ve learned to move forward. The first step is to make sure your thoughts and opinions are your own, and not someone else’s from way back when. But how do we know? Unless we are sociopaths, most of us have our own internal compass that tells us if something feels right or not. Our brains will lie to us constantly, as it tends to think the worst and is trying to keep us from harm–but our bodies just feel, it doesn’t have anything to ‘tell’ it otherwise. I believe that if you are on your right path, you will have a good and satisfied feeling inside you. Your body will tell you in some form or another–from an unspecific feeling of general unease, to a physical discomfort or ailment–if it’s not super happy with what you are about to do or the path you are on. Chances are, since our bodies know what’s right for us, that feeling of unease or discomfort probably stems from a thought that was never truly your own. Think about it: Where did you get that idea in the first place? What made you do what you are doing that’s making you feel not-so-good about it? A simple example of this is someone who goes into medicine because it’s what their father did, but each and every day they go to school and/or work they have this feeling of dread, dissatisfaction, unease. They don’t enjoy their work, they daydream about spending their days anywhere else. This person was told the story, somehow and some way, that they should and were expected to be a doctor. It’s what they grew up learning, no one cared to ask what they wanted or worse, no one cared what they wanted. They may do good work, but it’s not their soul’s work. It’s not what makes them want to get up in the morning. I don’t want to live that way–do you? The author of your past could have written the chapter of your career, your love life, the way you parent, even what you wear. Sure, as storytellers we all rely on research and experiences of others, but when it comes right down to it, you need to take a good look to make sure the only author of  your story is YOU. This is how you truly create your own fairytale. Bring on the happily ever after! Are you ready to roll,...

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