Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Sales Mental Trickery



I've been selling my clothes on Tradesy for around two or three years now. Stuff sells slowly but sells. Some of what sells is some of my uglier impulse purchases or stuff I haven't worn since my early 2000's Jersey Shore days, but I don't care as long as it sells.

As a side note though- do I feel good, weird, or sad that my nineties clothes are back in style. Overalls, flannels, platform shoes, and other random items get a lot of play.

I started with Tradesy because they only took like nine percent of the sale and sent you a prepaid shipping label, Tradesy shipping bag, hang tag, and even tissue paper to send. For free. Then they stopped making it free- they charged you extra from your commission for it. Then they started taking 14.9% of the sale. Now they're up to 19.8%

I hadn't used Poshmark for selling because they take twenty percent. But now that Tradesy upped their commission take, I decided to list my stuff on Poshmark too. I'm going to give you the pros and cons of each.

Tradesy- 
Pros: They clean up the cover photo for you of anything you're selling. The cover photo then looks professional. You don't have to have a "make me an offer" button on your listings. I've opted out of offers on my stuff because people REALLY lowball. I have a NWT designer dress up and someone will offer like half of what I've listed it for- already at a deep discount. It's ridiculous. 

You can also decide to use your own materials and choose your own shipping cost, which they include in the price on the site and each piece for sale says "shipping included". That's where the mental trickery comes in, which I appreciate. 

It's SO hard to know I'm paying for shipping. Even if I know realistically that shipping is built into the price- if someone puts something on Tradesy for twelve dollars, half of it may really be shipping, but with "shipping included" on there, I don't FEEL like I'm paying for shipping. 

They help you with pricing. When you input the brand, condition, and retail cost, they come up with a range of prices from fastest selling to slowest to help you price your item. I hate having to look up online others of a similar thing to see what the retail was or what other people are selling it for. It just takes time to look up that stuff that I don't really have. 

Tradesy just seems more professional. There's no commenting, asking for trades, people being weird and desperate about wanting items. There is no public feedback which I prefer. I don't need batshitcrazy people leaving odd commentary on my items.

Cons: They don't have a big network. More on this further down- I don't really get how Poshmark works yet, but they're very big on using social media. Each listing seems to be connected to Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest. I think every time I list something, I have the choice to list on those sites too. Tradesy doesn't do this. A lot of people don't know about Tradesy like they do about Poshmark. Less eyes see your stuff on Tradesy. 

Poshmark- 
Pros: Like I said above, there are a lot of eyes on your listings. They're easy to share and promote, and other people are always sharing your listings. I have only been selling for a few days on there so I haven't gotten the hang of that yet, but I'm trying. 

They have a kids section. I've been WAITING for this. I have so many nice things, designer, with tags, etc of E's stuff that I don't want to just donate. I could use the money so why not sell it if I can? It's just as easy to list kids stuff as it is adult pieces. There is also a mens section which is great if I want to add B's stuff. I have a few mens items on Tradesy but I have them listed under womens and then just wrote that they're mens in the description.

Cons: 
Their photo tool system sucks. I had to take all new pics instead of using the ones from Tradesy. You can't turn pics from sideways, most of my pics didn't fit in their square and stuff got cut off, they limit the amount of pics to eight, and their filters are atrocious.

People don't want to pay much for kids stuff because they outgrow it so fast. And half the price is shipping. Poshmark charges a flat rate for shipping, priority mail- it's $6.49. I'd rather do my own shipping. Not everything is worth shipping at that rate. There are definitely things I could ship for closer to four dollars. That two dollars in shipping could make the difference in someone buying or not buying. I feel like I have to keep my prices, thus my commission, lower, because the shipping is so high. A six dollar kids item becomes over twelve because of the the flat rate shipping. It's all mental too- Someone would rather pay ten dollars with "shipping included" (having me choose $4 to cover my shipping costs), than $4 plus $6.49 shipping. It feels crazy to pay $6+ on a $4 item. I don't like feeling like I can only charge four dollars because it will be too high otherwise with the shipping cost.

Poshmark doesn't help with pricing. You have to figure out what to sell items for on your own. Sometimes I have a brand I don't really know and have no idea what the value would be. I also don't like that you can't get rid of the offer button. If I price something at a certain cost, then I don't want an offer. Why wouldn't someone make an offer if they can? By having to keep that button that just encourages haggling. I don't want to haggle. I want to put up a price and if someone is willing to pay for it, then they pay for it. The end. People put in crazy lowball offers.

Lastly, People leave weird feedback on people's items and I feel like sellers feel obligated to answer. Like people asking for trades, just complimenting items, saying how they WOULD buy the item but they just don't have the money. I find that all very bizarre and wasting sellers time. If you can't buy it, just say nothing. 

I've made twenty-seven sales on Tradesy since I've been on there to the tune of $1866.51. I've already made my first sale on Poshmark this morning and I've only been on there for a few days. My takeaway was only $7.50 or something because it was a pair of E's old shoes, but it's fine- it's a sale. I've purchased from Poshmark before but not sold. Poshmark randomly lowered the shipping cost to $3.99 for a short time to help me make a first sale. That's a plus, but I don't know how often they do that, if they just do it for a first sale or what.

I don't get their culture yet. It's going to take a little while. They consider themselves a "community" and it's very reciprocal. It seems like people share and like your stuff and you're supposed to do it back. I feel a little anxiety because I'm trying to list everything I have as fast as I can and haven't had time to reciprocate all the likes and shares.

If you want to use my referral on either Poshmark or Tradesy, here are my links:
Poshmark  - my username is tsdk74 - you use my username for the referral.
Tradesy

I think you get a coupon for using referrals. I know you do on Tradesy. Not sure what the deal is with Poshmark.

No She DIDN'T: Hot Topics



Actually, yes, she did. I'm talking about Wendy Williams again. Damn, she had me riled up yesterday. I feel like I'm becoming like one of the Howard Stern haters from Private Parts- where they said the people who hate him listen more just to hear what he's going to say next. I'm starting to be that way about Wendy.

I don't know if she would say it's a generational thing or what, but she's really the worst with victim shaming. She usually gets called out, then cue the next day crying and backtracking, pulling out the "fat Wendy as a kid" stories, lather, rinse, repeat. It's embedded in her though. She can backtrack all she wants, but she believes that how you dress, where you go, etc is what gets you into trouble as a woman. Then she says ridiculous, inappropriate, slanderous things about people because of it.

Yesterday she was talking about Jennifer Lawrence. I googled Wendy and Jennifer together later in the day because I couldn't imagine no one publicly called her out, but I didn't see anything. I did, however, see that Wendy had called Jennifer out in the past having to do with the naked pictures that were hacked a few years ago. So maybe Wendy just has an issue with Jennifer- I don't know.

Wendy was talking about the Harvey Weinstein scandal and how Jennifer finally spoke out. She played a clip of Jennifer talking about being sixteen, lined up by a FEMALE casting director or producer or someone high up, in just pasties, next to other women who were much thinner. Then told Jennifer that she should use the photo of her naked next to these women as inspiration for her diet.

After she played the clip, it was one hit after another- "where were here parents"- insinuating that her parents could've prevented that scenario from happening. As a mom who has been in the business, for like six years now, having a child who wants to act, goes on auditions, etc, I can tell you, it's not easy. You do the best you can to protect your child, but when everything is new, it's like being in a whirlwind.

Jennifer Lawrence's family is from Kentucky. Her father was in construction and her mom managed a summer camp. This isn't a showbiz family in the know. She was discovered on the street in NYC on a family vacation as a young teen. I'm sure her parents did the best they could. When you go on auditions or even work on a set- whether you're eight or sixteen, they treat the kids like small adults. They treat the parents like you've already gotten a Ph.d in child acting and should know everything going on. It's head spinning. I'm sure Wendy didn't even know anything about Jennifer's parents. So don't question where her parents were. They didn't send their daughter into a wolf's den knowingly.

Then Wendy went on to say that if she was sixteen and this happened to her, she'd have ran for the hills. Because "nevermind the money- when you're sixteen, you're not thinking about the money- you're thinking about the fame and whatnot". What the everloving heck are you talking about Wendy? When you're sixteen, you sure are thinking about the money. Money AND fame. My son is eight and thinks he's going to be a rockstar because that will make him millions of dollars to buy us a beach house. Nevermind that he just started playing guitar but he just knows a rockstar "makes a lot of money". Wendy doesn't *KNOW* Jennifer Lawrence or her family. Who knows what she was thinking about the money. Maybe she thought she'd be helping her family with any money she was going to make.

Regardless, even if the money wasn't Jennifer's be-all, end-all, or what she was thinking about, she didn't anticipate that scenario of the naked line-up! In the moment, when you're being told to do this, you don't have the where-with-all to "run for the hills". If you're raised with manners, as a kid, especially as a GIRL, you can get easily confused. A powerful adult is telling you to do something, so you feel like you're supposed to listen. You think this is just how it works. This is what you're just supposed to do. That's what abuse of power IS- using your experience, age and/or position to get people in "lesser" positions to do things they're uncomfortable with.

It's like telling someone mid-assault or just before it happens to "just get out of there". If only....

Wendy said something like - if or when she was a teen, she would've thought if someone was interested in her then, they'd be even more interested in her when she was older and more mature. I don't know what kind of horseshit that is, but it stinks. IF she really thought that way, she was an extremely mature kid, but I highly doubt that's the truth. If she's talking hindsight- fine. She's a fifty-something year old woman who should have mature hindsight by now. But she was talking about a sixteen year old actor, plucked from obscurity in middle America, expected to have the maturity and confidence to tell a powerful person in the entertainment industry to shove off and then just leave? Please.

Lastly, she then made the most infuriating inference of all. She said that Jennifer staying and doing that line-up gives you pause to think about how Jennifer Lawrence got where she has...basically saying she did it on her back. She didn't use those words, she just let it linger. The audience was audibly not in line with that thinking or let Wendy know that was a burn by the "oohs". Wendy said, that's not what she thinks, but.... Wendy then brushed it off and went on with her next story.

I can't connect the dots there. How does Jennifer having that experience at sixteen translate into her getting where she has up to now on her back? There is no correlation. To make it like there is a connection is totally wrong, inappropriate and just dumb.

Wendy did say in the midst of the rest of it that there should be someone from the courts or a social worker in the room for every audition. I guess that would be lovely but it's just impossible. I've been with E on like six auditions in the last two weeks. They see like hundreds of kids in a day. Having a court person or a social worker in every audition would be next to impossible. Social workers don't get paid that much. And where would they even come from? Naked line-ups also don't happen everywhere and for every audition. It's more important to change the culture of the business. To make it taboo to do things like that. Or have more stringent penalties for those who abuse power. To make it less attractive to cover it up if you're privy to it. I don't know how you do all these things. But you can't just say how it should be, with clearly no knowledge of the business you're also in, blaming the victims and their parents.

When the Hot Topics clip is up on Wendy's YouTube channel I'll add it or go watch the 10/17/17 show on demand somewhere. I find it really interesting too that there is video up from today, yet no Hot Topics video from yesterday where she says this. I have it on my DVR, and if I have to handheld video it for you myself, I will.

How do we stop this rampant, ugly victim shaming? How is okay to blame a sixteen year old girl and her parents for being abused by a high level executive in the industry? Wendy just needs to STFU regarding this topic. It wasn't the first and won't be the last time, I'm sure. The most recent before this was talking about the girl who accused Nelly of rape recently. Wendy said something like- you have to be careful where you go. Then, when she was called out, she cried about how men are disgusting and we just all need to be aware of our surroundings. Good advice to be aware of our surroundings, but that's not what she meant and I can't be convinced otherwise.

In light of all the women coming out now that say they were in some way sexually propositioned, traumatized, raped, and more, by Harvey Weinstein, Wendy should listen more, and talk less. Many of these women are famous women, famous actors, who have a story to tell. Who, at some point, felt they had no choice but to take his disgusting behavior. Either they were afraid physically, or afraid they would lose their career. Or not be able to have a career to begin with. It's no one's business to judge why it took them so long to come out with their story. They're victims and Wendy and a lot of other people need to learn what that word means.

I hope Jennifer Lawrence blast the living shit out of Wendy, and anyone else who blames her and her parents for what happened to her, and for insinuating that she got to the top by utilizing the casting couch.


Friday, October 13, 2017

Diamond-style Meatloaf & Tacos


I don't usually post about food unless it's sweets. Cupcakes, doughnuts, candy- those are my things. But after another "Taco Tuesday" at my house, I thought I'd write about two of my dinner staples that my picky eight year old really loves. I see the "what's for dinner" question on every message board and Facebook group I'm in, at least once a week. I never read those posts because I hate cooking and none of us are eating any of those suggestions. Since other people seem to like recommendations though, here I am.

So, I don't really cook. I've said this before. I normally eat Jenny Craig meals, B eats more exotic ones from Trader Joes, and E eats stuff I made and freeze individually, like my meatloaf. Truth be told, I don't think I ever even had meatloaf until I worked in a group home in the 90's where it was a weekly meal. I really liked it but I was in my twenties and not making any meatloaves. I never asked or cared how one makes it.

I really love mozzarella cheese. I like anything Italian-style, despite not being any drops Italian (thank you Ancestry and 23andMe). Anything with marinara, vodka sauce, and mozzarella cheese, I'm in.

I think it was when E was in kindergarten that we got really busy with after school activities and I needed quick dinner for him. And still, I need something quick I can just pull out for him. Or even me, in a pinch. I grab a box of Parmesan cous cous, cut up some raw veggies, and dinner is served. I started making turkey meatloaf from seeing it on The Biggest Loser (Jenny O!). Somehow my turkey meatloaf evolved into "Italian-style".

My recipe:
3 loaf pans (sometimes I just buy the 3pk of foil ones in the supermarket)
3 packages of ground turkey

Three of each thing- (one per loaf)
1 egg
1/4 cup sour cream
1/2 to 3/4 cup marinara or some red sauce like garlic and oil, etc.
1/4 cup shredded mozzarella cheese or fresh mozzarella
1 & 1/2 cups of Italian style bread crumb

Bake at 350 for like fifty-five min and then in the last five minutes (to make an hour) throw some shredded mozzarella on top. E doesn't want it without seeing the cheese on top. Whether you made one or three, cut into slices however thick you want, then wrap them all individually in Saran Wrap or in those plastic fold-over baggies. Put them in in a freezer bag and voila, separate dinner for anywhere from seven to twenty-one nights. Or more.

I know the sour cream and egg sounds weird in meatloaf but hear me out. For whatever reason, the egg supposedly holds it all together, and the sour cream keeps it moist enough so that when you defrost or heat up in the microwave, it doesn't dry out. It tastes just as good heated up as it does when it's first made. I believe that sour cream is magic in most anything. When I was a kid, my friend Adrienne's mom made pancakes the next morning after a sleepover. They were the best pancakes I've ever had to date. Adrienne moved to Texas in early middle school and I'm 43 now. What does that tell you? There also used to be my beloved Frozen Monkey in Hoboken that had sour cream apple pie. Best apple pie ever... So there you have it.

Now let's talk tacos. To anyone who really knows and loves Mexican food, this is going to sound blasphemous. I'm going to go on anyway. I do not like like typical tacos because I don't like taco sauce. It's not for me. It's too spicy. I like bland food. Anyone who knows me has joked that I will love the food in a nursing home. I don't know what made me try any tacos, but maybe my mom made them in her Rita-esque way which was probably something like mine. I've never had Taco Bell or anything. Maybe I had them in Texas at Uncle Julio's? I don't know. If I did, I probably asked for them to be plain.

One of the first time I made tacos, I think I was pregnant. I couldn't even LOOK at raw chicken breasts, but in my mind I was craving chicken tacos, which I'd never even had. I bought ground chicken and my recipe was born.

No taco sauce for me. But I couldn't leave the meat dry though. That would be gross. What could I make it wet with? You guessed it! Marinara. I threw some marinara on that ground chicken. Voila! Wet chicken! Not a lot of marinara, but enough to make it red and moist. Then I thought, I'm not going to use Mexican blend cheese with marinara, so I got back with old standby, shredded mozzarella.

I think I ate "chicken marinara tacos" every other day for many of the months I was pregnant. It's been nine years and I still can't look at raw chicken breasts without wanting to hurl. Now, I make it once in awhile, and my kid, who hardly eats anything, has been eating six to eight tacos per time. He's eating until he's stuffed. He's using Mexican cheese blend and B is adding sour cream (see, magic!) to his, but they LOVE Taco Tuesday in our house. Now, would B be just as happy with regular tacos with regular taco sauce? Probably. But for three people we're using two pounds of ground meat and it's all gone by the end of dinner.

Just as an FYI- E likes the crunchy taco "boat" shells- I think they're called "Fiesta Flats". I forget which brand but I like the Stand N Stuff which is the other brand.

Individual meatloaf slices



Monday, October 2, 2017

Donate Blood



Yesterday was Sunday, our little family day. It was a beautiful day, sun was shining, and we did our usual autumn thing. E had swim practice, but after that, we went to an "Art in the Park" festival in one town, then hopped over to a different town for a street fair. We ate street meat, B got his new favorite vice- Fried Oreos, and I got cupcakes from my favorite cupcake truck- House of Cupcakes. We made it home, got ready for the week, and B and I looked forward to watching the new season of Curb Your Own Enthusiasm, back after six years on hiatus. It was a relaxing, yet ordinary day.

It was also the eve of my mom's deathiversary, so we happened to see and feel a lot of Rita around. She loved street fairs and flea markets. She always bought socks & dollar store items at them. There was a DJ at the street fair that was playing music my mom liked from the 80's. I actually felt pretty good- it was a nice day. I wasn't thinking about anything much beyond having to replenish my freezer peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, which also remind me of Rita.

We watched Curb and it didn't disappoint. I went to bed with a smile on my face after being in a Facebook group I'm in, where we talk about people who need to take it down a notch over minutiae that just doesn't matter in the grand scheme of life.

I wish I could go back to that hour. That hour I didn't know of the horror that was going on across the country from me.

I woke up and didn't even know immediately. I didn't check my phone first, probably for the first time I can remember, because I was in a hurry. When I got down to my treadmill and turned on the TV, I saw the news.

So many thoughts are swirling around today. First and foremost, my heart is broken for the people who died, their families, and the friends that saw it all unfold in front of them. I can't even imagine having a front row seat to that horror. I hope that there are no more casualties, and anyone who made it out, injured, makes a full recovery.

I don't know what the answer is- but I know it's not more guns. Gun control is a huge concern to me, but not something I work on changing consistently. Supposedly, the guy who shot up Mandalay Bay, at this point so far, had no motive they can find. This may change, even soon, after I post this, but for now, that's what I know. He has no criminal record, no mental health record, and no affiliations that would lead anyone to believe he could do something like this, according to his cooperating brother. No, a background check wouldn't have helped.

However- why the FCUK do we need to have these automatic weapons sold to the average Joe? That, for me, is the issue. Civilians don't need to have access to stuff like this. How come we've never heard a story of people using these assault rifles for good? Because there is no good to come from them. They're weapons for rapid destruction and death.

I've talked about this before. When Newtown happened. When Pulse happened. Who knows when else. Whenever one of these shootings happened. Yet, nothing ever happens. How is our own government so bought and corrupt that we've made a permanent bed with the NRA? How is it that our government is so chock full of people who have misinterpreted the 2nd Amendment to where they just turn the other cheek to what seems like serious, unnecessary, firearms being distributed like candy?

Last smaller shooting that happened, someone I grew up with in one of the most densely populated counties in NJ shared the video or story of the shooting on Facebook and said something like- "This is why we need to be able to conceal carry here. I don't understand why we can't! Disgusted!". Ok, the story he shared didn't happen in NJ. North Jersey (I don't know how to describe South Jersey), isn't a place with a gun culture. Kids don't grow up shooting guns. Maybe in rural North Jersey they hunt so they've been around guns, but but guns are not a THING where I grew up. It would've never occurred to any of our parents to think about or ask if a classmate's parents had guns. The first time the gun conversation even really came up, I was a senior in High School and they showed Scott accidentally get shot on 90210.

We didn't sit around shooting cans on summer days. I couldn't even tell you what a BB gun looks like. The only thing I know of BB guns is from that movie, A Christmas Story. "It's all fun and games until someone loses an eye...". 

B and I have been to concerts in big arenas and small intimate venues. We've taken E to live music in big parks and down the shore. We never thought about shooters. Even after we happened to get trapped in our local mall a few years ago because of a suspected shooter. It wasn't a shooter, so we just went on with our lives not really thinking about it.

I've been to Mandalay Bay. I've been where those people were shot. It's surreal to imagine this happening there. A shooter was the last thing I was thinking of in my times in Vegas. 

I just don't know where the pro-gun people get off ignoring the facts. They just want to say that criminals have guns no matter what, so we should be armed to protect ourselves. Like the guy I grew up with. I highly doubt he's handled many guns. I knew his parents. They weren't gun people. He's not that old. I'd bet anything, if he was in the presence of a shooter, if he had a gun, he'd be too scared to do anything, and if he did, he'd probably hit an innocent bystander. Because that's what happens when you live in a densely populated area and just start shooting. Even if you do have some experience.

Not for nothing, but seeing the stupidity and stubbornness of those same people on social media, I'm not sure they should be allowed eating utensils, nevermind a firearm. Learn the difference between they're/their/there first and then we'll see if you should be able to shoot anything.

I don't have an answer. Besides, "hey, lawmakers, DO SOMETHING!". Stop with the lip service. Stop letting money take precedence over a conscience. Stop with your prayers and tears and DO SOMETHING. Stop worrying about who is marrying whom, who's taking a knee to the flag, and what women are doing with our own bodies. Do something productive, making headway with stopping the sale of unnecessary firearms out of people's hands who don't need them. You can't get marijuana easily around the country, but you can buy an assault rifle where you buy milk and a vacuum.

Stop digging your heels in, spouting off about our 2nd amendment rights. People are dying, it isn't stopping, and it's getting worse. This isn't The Bachelor where "the most dramatic" moment is a good thing. Having to hear more than once, "This is the worst mass shooting in American History" should be the biggest motivator and realization that whatever you *are* doing isn't working. It's not good enough. I don't want to hear about praying and faith, I want to hear about getting stuff done.

I'll never be able to wrap my head around it. I shouldn't have to. I have the news on today, in the background and I'm hearing politicians saying it's not political, but it is. I has to be. In the way that I don't care whether you have an R or a D after your name. All I care about is that you're the one to do something. Something different than what's been done in the past in the wake of mass shootings. Because this one is over. The shooter is dead. His weapons confiscated. Great. That doesn't help for when it happens again. And it will. Another day, another white male mass shooter.

If you want to do something for those hurt in this shooting- anyone in the Las Vegas area, Donate blood. That's what they're asking for on the news right now. Kudos to those who bravely and selflessly helped others during this scary and tragic event- first responders- law enforcement, doctors, nurses, and regular civilians alike. Thank you for coming together, so quickly, to help those in need.

Friday, September 29, 2017

Eight Years



The years, eight. I had to count them actually. I'm terrible at remembering dates these days. I feel like part of it is life flying by. Maybe this is a thing, that as you get older, the time goes faster? I thought it was as your kids get older and more self-sufficient, the time flies, because you get more time to yourself. When E was a baby, I remember every hour feeling like a day and wanting to hand my husband a baby at six o'clock in the evening and run. I tried filling as many hours a day with activities as I could to make the time pass faster. Now that he's like, a real person, downtime doesn't mean that I have to entertain him. He can entertain himself. Not that we even really have downtime. Anyway, eight years seems like a long time. It doesn't feel that long. I don't know what it feels like. I don't like the years going by because it's that much further away from when she was here.

Because my life is a blur, I realized today, as I got dressed and caught a glimpse of myself in the mirror, at forty three, and as I was walking into work, that it's almost the deathiversary of my mother. I don't feel like looking back to see if I wrote something last year. I may not have. It's just not my thing to lament over death, her death, publicly. I'm public about most everything, but what is there to say really? She's dead. It's been eight years. I wonder what life would be like if she wasn't dead. The way life has gone for us since she died, I think it was look totally different, like the difference in a Choose Your Own Adventure series book. Holidays would look different, maybe even friendships, since we do so much with friends because we don't have family. Not that I really did holidays with my mother, but I may have because of E. I just don't know what it would be like.

I thought of her today because I don't always look in the mirror anymore before I leave the house. And I KNOW she didn't. While I will always have more fashion sense, which isn't difficult considering she was carrying around an acid-washed denim fanny pack, wearing scrunchies in her hair, men's athletic socks on her feet, and blue mascara until she died, I sometimes glimpse my mother looking back at me when I look in the mirror. Yesterday I left the house in the afternoon in a ribbed tank top (one of her staples) and cargo pants. Hair in a bun, wisps of grey now showing and sticking out, and no make-up aside from mascara (black). She didn't wear any make-up besides the mascara, and some powder bronzer. She didn't have to since she was tan all year round. I don't always see her in the mirror, but there are definitely some days more than others.

I think about what we would talk about. How I could tell her I finally get why she didn't want to be besties with the moms of the girls I liked in my grade. Not that she wasn't friendly or that I'm not. Just more that I get having "your people". And that trying to make mom friends out of people just because your kid likes their kid isn't easy. That it's like dating. And once you find your people, you're good. There just isn't enough time or energy to be best friends with everyone. Social climbing wasn't for her and it's not for me. Not that I needed to learn that or that I ever did it, but I just get it more now than ever in my life.

I have questions I get annoyed I can't ask. I found out that all the information that was around about my ancestry and heritage were thrown out. I'd done ancestry.com and 23andme.com tests and people are coming out of the woodwork as second cousins. I've had people send photos to me with my grandparents and their siblings in them and I have questions I would've liked to ask her. Not that I would've gotten anywhere since Rita was known to make things up, but I still would've liked the chance.

I would've asked her to show me how to make HER turkey. Not just any turkey. HERS. I have the recipe and my friend Alex said she'd help me try it out, but I would've liked to watch her make hers at least once. The thought of trying to put something UNDER turkey skin makes me want to puke, but I still want to try it out. I mastered my grandmother's brisket, so I'm sure I could do a turkey, but it has to be her way. I've never had any other turkey that could compare. I can still see it in my head- turkey slices, in it's own juice- never "gravy", with a plastic cup of cut, raw veggies. Every time I take a baggie of raw green beans to eat, plain, and Alex goofs on me, I think of my mother. The way E will think of me when he gives that to his kids as a "normal side dish" at dinner.

I don't think about her all the time. I don't. I don't miss her all the time. Sometimes missing her comes on like a surprise. I don't know what to say to people who have lost their moms, even years ago, and still feel as sad and full of loss as they did whenever it happened. Everyone grieves differently and feels differently about their loss. Time has definitely lessened the pain of loss, it's dulled the sense of missing her, and memories aren't as flooding or as often. I'd been sick on and off over the last month, and that's when I think about her more- when I'm sick. When I get sick, the first thing to happen usually is swollen glands and a sore throat. I'd make her rub the outside of my neck from the front with her thumb and forefinger- like you were going to choke someone. It didn't really help but it helped, if that makes sense.

I think everyone turns into a big baby when they're sick and I'm no different. She'd have me lay in her lap and she'd rub the outside of my swollen glands. I picture this at my grandmother's condo in Fort Lee, because I tend to get sick at the change of seasons, and we'd be at my grandmother's this time of year for Rosh Hashanah. My paternal grandparents lived fifteen minutes away but we only saw them on holidays. So that's just what I think of in the fall when I'm sick.

I think about her when I go through Entertainment magazine, the issue with the Fall TV line-up. I think about what she'd be watching. I see a movie like Edge of Seventeen and know she would've loved it. E and I watch America's Got Talent and I know who she'd be rooting for to stay, and who she'd be happy to see go. I think about how she would've kvelled over a multi-room DVR, how it would've just made her life. Knowing it would be at 98% at any given time. 

I don't remember the date of her deathiversary. I think it's Oct 2nd. I know Sept 30th is the day she had surgery, so it must be the 2nd. I know it's soon, as is her birthday. I'm sure someone will remind me when it is though, as usual- seeing as someone will probably write on her Facebook page and it will come up in my feed. Or one of my three thousand contacts, that no longer have names attached in my phone, will inevitably send me a text that they're thinking of me. Then I'll say back, "thank you, I really appreciate it, but I have no idea who this is...." like I've had to do in the past. When I got my iPhone before this one, the names were magically removed from my contacts. It's great that I never have any idea who's texting me so it's like a game. Sometimes the name comes back, sometimes comes up as a nickname I didn't put in there, mostly just a number. Always a crapshoot.

I don't really have much else to say. But these anniversaries of death in the fall come up, and I feel like I'm forced to think about them. I hate fall. I hate fall because it means the end of summer. I don't hate fall because of death. Fall, by definition is death, so really, what better time for it? Flowers die, leaves fall, it gets cold and bitter. Let's get everything death related out in one season. I just don't really like to think about it. I'm not particularly sad or angry. I don't think about this all day. I don't need a hug. I'm the same as I am any other time. Just maybe thinking about her more. Other people might pour one out for their loved one. Have a drink to them. That wouldn't do it for her. Maybe I'll just make a peanut butter and jelly sandwich for someone else and lick the knife while making it, do a little dance to Michael Jackson, while wearing a scrunchie and give someone random incorrect facts to celebrate her properly.


Tuesday, September 19, 2017

How You Doin Again

I can't believe I never got to writing about this, but my friend Alex and I went to be in the audience of Wendy Williams over the summer. It was the last show before she went on hiatus for the rest of the summer. Wendy's show is back now from summer hiatus, so it reminded me that I didn't talk about my experience.

I'd gone to be in the audience once before. I was supposed to go with my other friend but something happened. I think she was supposed to have morning coverage for her kids and then at the last minute it didn't work out. I wasn't going to forfeit the tickets so I went alone. It was December so it was cold and possibly rainy or snowy and I remember I was wearing the WRONG shoes. Other than that, the guest was Dita Von Teese, who I'm not interested in, and I don't remember anything much else about it. Oh, except that I raised my hand to participate in the warm up before the show, and ended up having to twerk in front of the entire crowd. PS- I did not "twerk"- I twirled, because I was wearing my renaissance looking sweater coat, and that's this uncoordinated forty-something mom can handle. All I got for my embarrassment was some kind of eye mask.

This time, it was July and it was HOT. There was probably only like five over ninety degree days this whole summer and this was one of them. I made the ticket reservation for the afternoon taping. On Wednesdays, at least this July, they would do two shows- one live, then one taped. I figured that it would be easier to come for the afternoon one so we wouldn't have to get up at the crack of dawn AND battle rush hour traffic into NYC. We had to be there by 12:30p "officially". That means you have to line up like an hour before that just to make sure you get in. I think all of the talk shows overbook to make sure they have a full house, so even with tickets, you're not guaranteed entry, which is understandable. We got there at 11:16a and there was already a decent sized line. I let Alex out to get on line and I parked the car in the lot right next to the studio.

It was SO hot and humid. It had to be over ninety-five. We were under an overhang, but that didn't cut the humidity. We were melting. However, it was worse for the older woman ahead of us because she fainted. FAINTED.

This is where I have a problem. I get that all these shows make you wait on line. The security guys stand there to make sure you stay in line and I don't know why else, but when it's over ninety degrees, they should have a cart with water on it out there. Wendy calls the audience her "co-hosts". Well, would you make a real co-host stand outside in the heat until they faint, without having some system in place where water is offered? At some point, the security guys asked, "Does anyone need water?". When people said they did need water, they said, "Ok, you can get out of line, go down the street and buy some at Duane Reed". What, now? What the faint-ation is THAT??

This is Wendy's ninth season, not the first. Not even the second. I understand that there isn't Oprah level money going on and no one is getting a car, but water? You can't give out, or even SELL water? Have a cart and make money off it then! Something!

The woman who fainted was there with her adult daughter. After a few minutes with the lady who fainted being helped by nice line standing strangers, sitting outside on some steps that were luckily there, security took her inside. They LEFT HER DAUGHTER OUTSIDE. They wouldn't even bring her in with her mom! So, she's on the line, all worried about her mom. It seemed crazy. She didn't know what to do.

The one silver lining was seeing Kaldrick King (Andra Fuller) on his way out. He was on Wendy's live show earlier that day. I don't know what else he's in- apparently it's something out now that he was promoting. I got up my nerve, as I do, and I said, "Excuse me, were you on L.A. Complex??" He smiled and said, "Yes!" and we high-fived. L.A. Complex was this weird Canadian version of Melrose Place that I found on Netflix a few years ago to watch on the treadmill. It was awesome. Andra played Kaldrick King, this famous rapper who was secretly gay. Little trivia note: So many of the cast from that series have turned up on Blindspot on NBC. Joe Dinicol, Jonathan Patrick Moore, Jewel Staite, Aaron Abrams, Georgina Reilly, Jordan Johnson-Hinds & Ennis Esmer have all been spotted for an episode or more long-term.

Finally, we were all ushered in like cattle. My little group was picked to be surrounding the stage for Naughty By Nature's performance. They just said anyone from numbers x to x were "doing something fun and special". Yeah, that's not what I would've picked to do, but okay. We're there, so we do. We had to do a little blocking first to see where we'd stand and whatnot though. Up the cattle elevator, down the cattle elevator. Alex was claustrophobic with people too close to her, and I swear, she was ready to bolt and wash her hands of the whole scene. I didn't know she'd never been to any talk show before so I didn't think to give her the general run through. Not that it would've mattered- this was different than my experience at/on The Jane Show, Iyanla VanZant, Tyra Banks, The View, Rachael Ray, etc. Yes, I've been on and to a lot of shows. That's a topic for another time...

One thing that's very different than in other studio audiences I've been in, is the constant DJ'ing going on. It's SO LOUD. You can barely talk to the person next to you, it's so loud. I'm not just being all "Git off my lawn, whippersnappers!". It's LOUD. And the warm up is weird. I've been there twice now, and the comedian guy alludes to the audience winning something, and then it's nothing. It's really bizarre, like they're messing with you. I listened to the verbiage better this time, and it sounds like you're winning something the way he says it, then you leave empty handed. You don't go there because you're going to "get" some kind of parting gift, but I find it strange to do that to your audience. People really thought they were getting something and confused. And this was the second time I'd heard that schtick, so apparently it's the same old routine. Maybe I'm just misinterpreting what he's saying.

Then Miss Wendy came out. The Wendy you see on the show and the Wendy in person are two very different people. On the show, she makes it like she's "one of us". One of the people. A co-host. She makes it like she's on the same level as the audience, even throwing out a personal compliment here and there about what someone's wearing. She does DO that, but let me see if I can articulate this properly...

She has managed to perfect the art of her eyes being open, being physically there, but not actually seeing or interacting. Like I do at sporting events. I think the show is constantly loud, even through the commercial breaks, so that she doesn't have to talk to the audience. She'll even come into the audience to shimmy around, but she doesn't make eye contact. She also has like three bodyguards around her. She either has security because she's probably wearing around 100k worth of diamonds and other jewelry or because she's afraid of falling. She's mentioned she's not steady on her feet, which is why she wears flats when she's not sitting in the purple chair. Or simply so no one tries to talk to her. She's standing RIGHTNEXTTOYOU but it's so loud you can't talk to her and she's not looking you in the eye. She's there, but she's not THERE. She knows EXACTLY how to keep the audience at arm's length. At other shows, during commercial breaks some of the hosts would roam around the aisles and make idle chit chat. Not Wendy!

I started feeling like she was getting a bit of a superiority thing when she was on Dancing With The Stars. I don't recall exactly why, but it was just her whole spoiled tone in the way she discussed it. The other day I caught a rerun from some time over the past year and she was talking about tipping and over-tipping. The whole conversation rubbed me the wrong way. She said she never tips more than 18% and it annoys her when her husband over-tips. She said something like, her tip is her smiling face- that she's not a diva, and doesn't send food back. Awesome, Wendy, I'm sure your smiling face pays the bills of that server that literally depends on tips. No, you don't have to tip a ridiculous amount on a small bill like an Amy Schumer (Wendy referenced her as a big tipper), but if you can afford it, treating servers well says a lot and goes a long way for people who don't even make minimum wage.

At the end of the show, she won't take individual photos with co-hosts, but she WILL walk behind the rows and let you take a backwards selfie with her. :::insert eye-roll::: I look like a wall-eyed bass in mine because I couldn't take a backwards selfie that fast catching both her and I in it at the same time very well. 

I'm also not loving how I felt Suzanne Bass, her producer, has been treated more recently. She talks to her like she's a moron. And then she shamed her once last season that was so mortifying. It was one of those, no-she-didn't moments I wasn't even sure was real at first. It sure as hell was though when it was referenced the next day though and Suzanne had tears in her eyes.

In the "holding area", they have one small bathroom, some mirrors on the walls outside the bathroom if you want to touch up your make-up, and just a bunch of chairs. Not even a vending machine. I'm lucky I remembered to bring a Zone bar. Alex had nothing. We were STARVING by the time we left.

Because this was a taped episode, the whole taping was longer than you'd be there for live show. For that reason alone, you'd think there would be some water and/or some snacks. Nope. Nothing. I know at either The View and/or Rachael Ray, there were definitely snacks. At Who Wants To Be A Millionaire, they didn't give snacks, but they told you prior to bring snacks and drink with you. Including the time Alex and I spent on line waiting to go in at Wendy, until it was over and we were let out, was a good four and a half to five hours. We got out around four o'clock. Then we ran, RAN, to some sandwich and salad place up the street. We didn't even speak. We just shoveled food into our faces in a hurry so we wouldn't be stuck in rush hour traffic going home.

I'm still watching, but I can't see going there again. I'll enjoy it from my chair at work. The ticket application form they have asks you why you're coming to the show. We were going for my birthday, which is August 2, but they're on hiatus in August. I wrote that we were coming for my birthday, but two weeks early because of their hiatus. Then, when we were in the holding area, they asked if anyone was there for their birthday, because they give out tiaras. I raised my hand, but they wouldn't even give me a freaking tiara because it has to be my birthday THAT DAY, otherwise they "give out too many tiaras". Come on Wendy. Seriously? Again, we didn't go there to get anything, but the whole experience from soup to nuts certainly doesn't make you feel like a co-host. Unless you're co-hosting being held captive with no food or water for the better part of a day.






Thursday, September 14, 2017

Sweet Tooth : Duck Donuts



So many things I haven't gotten to write about. I see all the pictures in my Google photos account that I've taken over the summer, but I've just lost my mojo to get them on the blog. I know, I know. I've been saying stuff like that for the better part of a year. :::pssst::: Look at what's gone on over the past year. Hard to write about nonsense. I'm trying.

My cousin lives down the shore. We see them almost every week of the summer. I try to get to Cupcake Magician in Red Bank, but funny enough, that happens more easily in the winter. Their hours don't work with mine in the summer- they close too early on Saturday for me to catch them when we get down after work, and too early Sunday for me to get there after the beach.

We started using Waze to go home from down the shore on Sunday nights because the traffic had been atrocious. I actually don't think we went home the same way twice this summer. One of the times we went up Rt 35, I saw Duck Donuts. It wasn't open but I saw where it is in Middletown, NJ. I don't know that area, but I made a mental note. Then on one of my message boards, someone told me I should go there. Once I knew where it was, I made it a mission.

The crappy weather Saturday of Labor Day weekend, we got down early enough to make it there.

I have to say, it's a very cool idea as far as doughnuts go. I thought it would be like the doughnut places by me- where you have to get there early or popular flavors sell out for the day. Even with cupcakes that happens. This is different. It's a made to order kind of thing. Like a make your own sandwich or salad.

You start with a base- I believe it's a plain doughnut or vanilla. Then you pick toppings. Like a frosting- vanilla, strawberry, peanut butter, chocolate, etc. Then you can pick glazes, sugar, hot fudge, sprinkles, etc. I was little overwhelmed since it was my first time there, so I just picked "favorites" off their menu.

Once I saw they were "made to order", I thought it would take a long time. But the girls who work there are actually pretty quick! We were really in and out of there in a short time. 

I got one dozen for us, then I got four for my cousin and her husband. Lesson learned. These are something you want to eat the day you get them or after. They were FANTASTIC the first day. I just thought they'd keep more like cupcakes. Good cupcakes stay fresh at least one more day, without any kind of refrigeration or freezing. These kind of sweat by the second day and by the third day, they're hard. That's fine- I just didn't realize. I couldn't (well, I COULD, but wouldn't) eat so many in one sitting or day. I just would've bought less at one time just to feed the three of us for one day.

One dozen was around $15. To me, that's a good price- because it's the same price no matter what you get on them. It makes it easy and economical. I would much rather bring these - let's say two or three dozen even, to a party or event, vs spending probably twice that on cupcakes. It's also much easier to cut and share a doughnut than a cupcake, which enables people to sample different flavors. Two thumbs up from me! I'll be back!

https://www.duckdonuts.com/






Sunday, August 27, 2017

Wanna Be a Tiger Shark?


If you're looking for a low-key, fun, small swim team for your kid(s) ages 5-18, come to the Tiger Sharks. I had E on a bigger, more "competitive", more prestigious team, for a year. Guess what? It sucked. I had to drive to other pools, far away from home from practice. It sucked up all our time just driving to practice. I'm not going to even talk about what went on with the meets but suffice to say, we lasted one, very LONG swim season.

Then E joined the Tiger Sharks last September and it was a completely different experience. The coaches care about the kids. They know the kids. The team is smaller and newer, so of course there were some growing pains, but they overcame. At least I can say, with this team, I know who exactly who his coaches were/are and they know E. At best, he made friends, learned a lot, improved his swim times, and it was just an all around better experience. We didn't spend more time in the car than in the pool!

All the practices are at the pools in the Ridgewood YM/YWCA. The meets are dual meets with other Y/JCC teams. They have convenient monthly payment plans- just call and ask. 

Try-outs are this week and next. All you have to do is register online and then go. It's THAT easy. Go for it. It's a great team.

http://www.ywcabergencounty.org/tiger-shark-swim-team/



video

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Sorting it Out


I woke up, super angry, after an extremely frustrating dream, having to do with pants (my favorite Abercrombie & Fitch white capri cargo pants from the early 2000's). In my nightmare, a person cut in line ahead of me at the store. And she didn't give a crap that she was cutting. So I got hostile. Picture Frances McDormand in Friends With Money. It wasn't about pants though- the frustration, anger and anxiety I was feeling though. It was about waking up every day feeling unsettled and nervous.

Frances McDormand, Friends With Money

I go back and forth whether to put anything out there on my blog, on my Facebook page, or anywhere. Silence is dangerous and deadly. On the other hand, I just don't want to talk about what's going on in the world. I don't want to talk about racism, antisemitism, Charlottesville. I've just been quietly soldiering on, trying to keep my head down, eye on the prize of turning over elections to get people into office who are against all the hate.

I feel like I've done all my talking. I have been feeling like a lot of my talking fell on deaf ears. You know I'm at a loss when I don't even really jump into a debate about this on B's page. It felt pointless with the people's statements they felt bizarrely comfortable putting out there. I KNOW there's no WAY they would've felt okay putting those thoughts out publicly without the general feeling Trump has put out there as acceptable behavior. Now pussy grabbing, ridiculing everyone including the disabled, mocking people's looks, etc are all acceptable or easily explained away.

The guy on B's page said- "I voted for him. I don't see how he is any different than any other president when it comes to support.. you say what you have to in order to get their votes. But to blame him for one wacko's actions is a bit far reaching bro. 

 We needed a change here in the US. Trump was it. I would vote for him again for that reason alone. The sludge that we call Washington needs to go. The "Free" press is a one sided reporting agency. Never in my life have I seen such an outright war against one person as this president. If he farts wrong, they are on it. Also, I don't care about pussy talk - Sorry to tell you ladies, I am sure that every man has at some point thrown out a little locker room talk..."   

This- THIS, is the perfect illustration of what we're dealing with. When you believe that the "sludge" is everyone else but the devil with the orange face & that there's "one wacko" to contend with, that's where you have lost your humanity, credibility, and my respect. You know what- I'll give you- maybe locker room talk does seem to pale in comparison to: kill the blacks (using the N word), Jews, gays, Muslims, brown people of any kind, illegals, Mexicans, etc. Did I miss anyone? But if you have daughters or women in your life you care about in any way, maybe you should prioritize how men think and speak about women a little higher than pushing it off as "locker room talk".

I feel disappointed in a lot of people I thought were better humans than what they're putting out into the world. I have felt hurt & betrayed deeply by people who pretended to be something they're not. Made it out like they're on the side of love, understanding, openness, empathy & compassion, only to be on the train of hate, giving every excuse in the book as to why the vote and/or the hate should be overlooked. To my face seemed one way, behind my back, out of earshot, quite the opposite. I don't know that I've ever felt so duped & sad in my entire life. And for the first time ever, scared.

It *IS* comforting to see the quotes and memes about love, resisting, peace, so I can feel like I'm not living in a world just filled with selfies, navel gazing, and what the Kardashians are doing. I want to feel like people care, so it's nice to see all the people who aren't FOR the KKK, Nazis, white supremacy, and whatever other hate groups and feelings are being put out there. Posting quotes and memes though isn't enough. It's not actually DOING anything. The people that need to read, see, and comprehend, aren't interested or reading. They're like putting their fingers in their ears, saying "lalalalalalalala" and hiding behind faux religion, scripture interpretation, rogue sermons, and skewed history.

I know they aren't interested or reading because I specifically went to Facebook pages of some people I know I saw vocally supporting Trump before, during and after the election. I wanted to see if they changed their tune. Radio silence would've been better than what I saw on some pages. I saw what basically amounted to - "Don't throw the baby out with the bathwater". That none of...THIS...is his fault. Or just #fakenews! Regurgitated Fox News rhetoric. Some were radio silence and that was a tiny silver lining, but certainly doesn't inspire hope, peace, or love.

There was a very nice article written about our peaceful vigil and this blind hatred was the ONE comment. This just illustrates the complete lack of any kind of reality or common sense. #ThanksObama

Credit: http://www.northjersey.com/story/news/bergen/glen-rock/2017/08/15/glen-rock-vigil-charlottesville-we-wont-stand-hate/571436001/

I had actually forgotten about the vigil last night. I'd seen the event on Facebook and I knew I wanted to go, but it slipped my mind. At 7:23pm I saw a friend post she was there, so B, E and I quickly put shoes on and ran out of the house to walk downtown. It started at 7:30 and we made it by 7:35. I was encouraged by the approximately two hundred person crowd. After some emotional speeches, B pointed out someone, with her small children, that we thought was on the other side. I went over to her and found out she's a huge progressive and even though her children were tired, she made them attend anyway- because it was important for them to be part of a vigil against hate.

I immediately teared up. I couldn't help myself. It was just really nice to find an ally where you didn't know you had one. We're both white women but we come from different backgrounds, different religious backgrounds. To describe her on paper- white, practicing Irish Catholic, middle to upper middle class, she has the same characteristics of others I know who are Trumpettes. Finding out she isn't just made me verklempt. Relieved. I've had to lose, get rid of or been dumped by so many along the way, after having to find out via social media or conversation, that they agree with racism, alternative facts, antisemitism, xenophobia, homophobia. Or voted because of their own monetary agenda, not caring about what else they were taking with it. Or just through deafening silence to atrocities committed in the name of this new republican party.

My friend Arati Kreibich, who I want to see as one of the the next leaders on our town council, made a beautiful, moving speech. It needs to be heard.


The only thing I can come up with, for this passive acceptance of hate, is that people are so far removed from WWII that they don't really know what the Nazis did? That it's all just words in history books? I'm not sure- but lest anyone forgot, here are some photos- some from Charlottesville this past weekend, and some from the Holocaust. All those photos could be from the same time period.



I got emotional again, watching Jimmy Kimmel do his monologue about Trump's....speech. That speech, yesterday, when Trump said- "There were fine people on both sides". Jimmy said it best when he said something like- "if you find yourself in a group with nazis and white supremacists, there is no one there is that a very fine person". That he has to say that, and that I actually know people, real people, not just randoms in article comments or on Twitter, who will disagree with him, is soul crushing.



Someone I've known for 20+ years posted that "this" (what happened in Charlottesville) all happened because people want to rewrite history by taking down a statue. Please. Just be quiet. I don't have the energy to argue. I don't care how many articles you cite from so-called conservative, and/or openly alt-right websites, you're extremely privileged. You don't have any idea "how this all happened" if you think it's about feeling oppressed by statues. Until you really understand what empathy is, stop talking about who should or shouldn't feel oppressed by what.

I feel like I'm on a constant emotional rollercoaster. I've been on the edge of tears, filled with anxiety, and then consumed with anger at the flip of a switch. I felt a glimmer of hope and support when I got a message from someone that I grew up with. Someone I know who feels the same kind of fear I do- she's not Jewish, but has biracial children. It was helpful to feel the solidarity. But within minutes I was just reminded of all the people we both had to cut out that have turned out to be PROUD deplorables, burying their head in the sand, hiding behind alternative facts, and what they insist is fake news.

Seeing all the swastikas, hearing the chants, reading the signs, seeing all this hate alive, well, and proudly attributed to our current president and administration is surreal. Not fully denouncing AND blaming a new made up "alt-left" certainly doesn't make me feel confident that another Holocaust couldn't happen. Germany didn't think it could happen there either. We know how that went down.

As I've written before, I'm an atheist. Yet, I'm still a Jew. How does that work? Well, according to ancestry.com and 23andMe, I don't even get a specific country. I'm just "European Jewish". It's in my DNA. Even if I choose to be Saved tomorrow, I'm still a Jew. *How insane is it that I had to think after I posted this that maybe I shouldn't put that I'm a Jew out on the internet? That if it stuff goes down here, I just branded myself and my family...

I still get antisemitic remarks made in my own store. I had to explain to my son in age appropriate language when he was in Jewish preschool, what antisemitism is and means when Molotov Cocktails were being thrown into synagogues in my county. I had to engage in arguments with people in my own town who feel that "the obnoxious people", i.e., the Jews, had to ruin Christmas here because "things were fine the way they were when people were allowed to say Merry Christmas (last I checked they still are allowed), and we just had Santa and a Christmas tree". My husband was called "that Jew in the lamp store" when spoken about to other shop owners for not supporting a program monetarily detrimental to the small business owners. Both B and I get told we don't "look Jewish" all the time- like it's a compliment. I've consistently heard judgment commentary about how crazy it is to have to PAY to go to temple. I remember being asked if I was Jewish if and if that made me a "JAP" (Jewish American Princess). Those are just off the top of my head.

I don't need to practice religion to still feel discrimination just for being born of Jewish heritage. I don't have to practice Judaism to feel unwelcome or unsafe because by blood I'm a Jew. That's why religion and ethnicity are complicated when it comes to being Jewish. I'm not going to magically believe in God, but my blood is my blood. I can appreciate my heritage and quite frankly, since I've always been very "Damn the Man", I'm happy to be a minority. I like that little bit of difference I get to own. If anything, all this hate has made me feel closer to my heritage (not faith) because I like being the underdog. Nothing better than when the underdog comes out on top. I also think that we have to find a way to pluck something good out of such horrifying adversity. We're tough. We've managed to thrive no matter how many people or group want to extinguish us as a whole.
http://www.kveller.com/pinks-jewish-awakening-gives-me-hope-after-charlottesville/

What I won't accept is people feeling like they are owed "the country". That they should get to walk the streets of a country that is supposed to represent equality for all, saying "Jews will not replace us", whatever that means, with tiki torches and swastikas. Considering we're still a minority, there aren't enough of us to replace anyone, and I don't know how we're trying to replace anyone, that's a bizarre chant. And turning citronella into a hate vessel is just lunacy. We won't "replace" you? No, we won't. We will coexist whether you like it or not.

I never cared much what people think about anything. Call it the Leo in me. Positive or negative- as far back as middle school- I was never a social climber, did my own thing, and never asked for opinions. I'm still the same today. It would've never occurred to me to hide being Jewish. It doesn't occur to me to hide anything. But a Facebook friend posted an article last night that reminded me of people like my husband, who was made to feel different, like an outsider, by his own friends, in high school just by being Jewish. How, when I met him, he didn't even tell people he's Jewish. For anyone to feel they have to do that is heartbreaking.
https://www.nytimes.com/2017/08/15/opinion/jewish-charlottesville-anti-semitism.html

A police officer friend said to me last night- well, even if we were all the same color, or the same religion, hate would still go on- it would be the blue eyes against the brown eyes or the blondes vs the redheads. My answer was- "Well, we still have to try to be the change for the positive. We can't just do nothing". 

By the way- I'm often asked why I feel the need to go to rallies, vigils, and protests. Someone I knew as a kid saw pictures from a transgender support rally B, E and I went to in the winter. He assumed my kid is transgender- because why else would I be there? Well, that's exactly it. I believe we need to stand up for everyone, whether we are part of that marginalized group or not. It's called empathy. If only everyone would try it.

I'm just so sickened today so I don't know what else to do but write. It's not even really what I wanted to write, but it's the most cohesive thing I could put together at the moment. It's how I've felt for what feels like far too long. I don't want to fight alone. I guess I'm trying to appeal to those who have always felt like they just don't want to get involved in politics. It's time. Activism isn't a dirty word. We have children who have to grow up in this world. They need to know that we're taking a stand for a better future. We certainly have to do better than "There are very fine people in that group" in regard to Nazis and White Nationalists/White Supremacists.

These are not my words but this sums up how I feel:
Credit: https://www.motherwiselife.org/to-my-friends-who-are-sick-of-politics/

Here's what you can do:
http://www.upworthy.com/feeling-hopeless-after-charlottesville-16-ways-you-can-make-a-big-difference?c=ufb1

Something else to watch:
https://news.vice.com/story/vice-news-tonight-full-episode-charlottesville-race-and-terror

Just for your reading pleasure:
For the umpteenth time, having a black friend doesn't mean you aren't racist

One last, really important analogy:
http://whatever.scalzi.com/2016/11/10/the-cinemax-theory-of-racism/

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Not Complimented


After my fourth very random email in the past week asking me to consider joining an MLM (multi-level marketing) business, and being told in two of those email that I should take it as a compliment to be asked, I really wanted to think about why I felt extremely annoyed instead of complimented.

It's not brain surgery, of course, to figure out. But I hadn't heard or paid attention before if I was told I should feel complimented. I really wanted to be able to give a well thought out answer as to why I don't feel that way.

I also want to say- I'm not writing this to offend people. If you're offended, I can't help that. I'm not writing this out of the blue, just to put down people's careers or companies they work for. I'm writing this, trying to explain, again, my sincere point of view, as I'm bombarded with requests to become part of a "team". No teams for me. I've never even played any sporting.

I don't know how to just ignore the requests because I feel like I'm forcefully having the ball put in my court, so to speak, of having to awkwardly say no and sometimes give reasons why. I don't like the feeling of being put in this position, as often as I am. I need to voice my thoughts on it so that maybe it will happen less. 

I realize that my issue, at least as I'm thinking about it today, is at the root of it, I feel like I'm being treated like I'm stupid. Like I'm stupid for either not joining or as if I must live under a rock and never heard of these businesses. Some I haven't, like the one my friend asked me about the other day (and I still love you NM). I'd legit never heard of it. I've never heard of it probably because after checking it out, I'm not interested in one product they sell so it wasn't on my radar. That's the nature of these businesses though. They start, get people in, market starts to get saturated, they get out, and jump to another new one. So if I never heard of one, chances are it's because it hasn't hit here yet or it's come and gone.

Then there's the piggyback of the really nasty/aggressive pitch of "I'm sitting on the beach while you're punching a clock. Wouldn't you rather be spending time with your family? You don't get a second chance to soak up your kids" that really chaps my behind. As if to flat out say- you're not a good mom if you work outside your home and aren't with your kids 24/7. Or there must be something wrong with you if don't see direct sales as the ticket to being home with your kids, i.e. what should be your happiness and contentment. One- that's just a play on mommy guilt. Good thing I was born without guilt and never warmed up to it. Two- not everyone wants or is cut out to work from home. When I worked from home for a tanning lotion company (not in direct sales, just by fact that the company was in Arizona and I live in NJ), I just got fat and stayed up way too late. Showering felt like a chore.

Work is also still work. Home or out of the house, when you're really "working" from home, you can't also be paying attention to your kids. If you say you can do both simultaneously, you're lying. Or you're the total exception and are a superhero. Your power is extreme multitasking. Good for you.

At any rate- I'm one of those who just doesn't believe it's so much better- at least for ME. You don't have a commute, but you have to be responsible for your work. You need time, energy and quiet for it. In my estimation, it's probably harder to work from home with kids because you're there. Your kids expect you to be able to give them all your attention. If you're at the office, your kids aren't there to make you feel guilty for doing your work or just there yelling "Mommy! Mommy!".  FYI- I work outside the house but I don't have a commute. So the commute thing isn't even a thought for me.

Back to why I find myself so pissed when asked to be part of this at-home work phenomenon. Even if I haven't heard of a particular one, do you really think I don't know what these businesses are or that they're out there? Or that I couldn't walk outside my store and spit, hitting someone selling one of them? I feel like when I get that email asking me to join, I feel like screaming- Do you think you're the first person or even the twentieth who has asked me?? And for all the major ones, at least in this area- Rodan & Fields, Lularoe, Isagenix, Beach Body, Thrive, Beauty Counter, Younique- even the old school Mary Kay & Avon- the market is pretty saturated. If I haven't started selling one of these by now, what would make you think I would start NOW?

Lastly- the emails about changing my life, the aggressive marketing about working poolside & spending more time with my kid(s), imply that my current life isn't fulfilling or that it's impossible for me to already love what I do. I have to say I'm insulted. It's totally discounting that I do actually love my career and am happy to go to work every day. Selling face cream, leggings or make up isn't going to push me over the edge to some kind of life's bliss explosion.

I don't care if you don't like the term "pyramid scheme" but the fact is- when you look at the structure of most of these companies, that's what the structure looks like. A pyramid. The word scheme just usually goes along with it. Some MLMs are, some aren't. Don't know which is which- but not the point. What pyramid means in relation to what I'm talking about is that the top is where the real earning potential is at. When I went down the rabbit hole years ago reading about what went down with MonaVie juice, I read all about how the structure works, how the people at the top are millionaires, etc. They ARE real millionaires. I get that. It makes sense. There would be no pyramids if it didn't work for someone. I certainly know though that it wouldn't behoove me to get in on the bottom, which is exactly where I'd be getting into any of the above companies.

Here's the thing, which is sort of the catch-22 or I don't know what to call it. I have real-life friends & acquaintances I see all the time, who sell MLM products. I don't have a problem with them. They know me- they know I'm not interested and they've never once even brought it up in conversation. (Thank you NH, KM, ML, LM, ST, TM, EC, JL, and anyone else I've forgotten because you've never brought it up). They know how I feel because they pay attention. They check in every now and again just about regular life, or they read my blog.

The people who DO send me the canned email and ask me to be on their team are people I know, consider acquaintances am friended to on social media because we have some common denominator- kids, an old job, same town, college, high school, or something. Maybe I met them at Newcomers when I moved here, drinking at the Progressive Dinner. I don't need to be BFFs to accept/request you on Facebook. However- These are people who never interact with me and I assume don't check my Facebook page or read my blog. Totally cool with that. I don't have an issue continuing to be be friended to people I don't have much interaction with in the past or currently because who knows how things will go. Paths often cross again.

Except that because we don't ever have interaction, it feels even more disingenuous to get that (clearly) mass email, which seems like it's supposed to have a tone of sharing and closeness- that they just think I'd be PERFECT for this opportunity, when they really have no idea. You don't REALLY know me if you think I'm going to be all in, happy and excited to be asked to make you money. And that's what it is- you're throwing something out there to someone for the purpose of them making you money.

I know someone who sells R&F, who truthfully, rarely posts on social media about it. She doesn't really solicit people to join, that I know about. She didn't do it to me. She got in closer to the top, years ago. She makes a decent dollar from it without really doing anything because I guess she has a good number of good team members under her. She explained the whole structure to me and that the money is in having a strong selling team below you. She's not comfortable making videos, posting incessantly about it, and she doesn't really try to recruit people. She's the exception.

I never felt like she had an agenda to sell me in talking to me or hanging out. I actually didn't even know she sold R&F until it came up organically in a conversation after knowing her a decent amount of time. Selling without drinking & sharing the Kool-Aid works for her and it didn't impact our time together. How it should be. 

I feel like it's common sense to know that if every time I posted on social media, or spoke to someone, I was really trying to sell them lighting, people would be hiding me or hiding from me. Yet, with these businesses, it seems like they're told that it should be your entire existence. And they basically tell you to be sneaky- to get together with old friends to discuss the business. Is it not hurtful to contact someone under the guise of catching up only to really have the agenda to either sell to them or get them as a team member. Honestly, I've been hurt by it. I think you want to break (or steal) bread with me because you miss me and all you really wanted was a pitch meeting. No. Just no.

Someone tagged me in a recent piece by Alden Wicker- https://qz.com/1039331/mlms-like-avon-and-lularoe-are-sending-people-into-debt-and-psychological-crisis/ so I posted it on my Facebook page with no commentary. Most people who did comment, some former MLM sellers, so not just biased folk who never did it, agreed with the article. Of course, there was a seller who did exactly what the article said- blamed lack of success on the consultants, not the company. Just totally refused to hear anything bad about the company. She also said something like- it's a slippery slope when women start judging other women for how they make their money. 

Now, yes, people did openly judge and comment sarcastically. I did not- I only gave an opinion when pushed by what I felt was victim-shaming (those who ended up in debt from selling Lularoe). I will say for the umpteenth time, I don't CARE how someone decides to make their money. I do judge the marketing strategies of many of the companies, the lack of real training, the act of implying that the sales should be easy and that it's not like really working. In the end though- not my problem. Until I'm asked over and over and over not only to be part of it, which is egregious enough since if they ever checked in with me, they should know at this point that I'm not interested.

They also ask "if I know anyone else who would be interested". I'm also supposed to do the work for them. I'm supposed to just be a vessel to endless contacts or something. How do I not feel used with that question? You don't even hit like on a photo of my kid in nine years, join in my interesting debates or conversations, or whatever, but you're going to ask me if I want to sell products under you making you money or send you my friends to do it. No one sees anything odd or problematic about this practice?

Don't get me wrong- if someone asked me for a favor, or if I thought I could match two people up with a great situation, especially a job, I'd be all about it. Again though- if I haven't sent you anyone thus far to sell MLM products, and you ask me now, am I all of a sudden going to hit my head, and be like, "you know, I DO know someone looking to sell xyz". How would I even pick which consultant I should be sending people? Make it like the Hunger Games? The first? The hundredth? Whoever has the longest lashes but least red eyes from using Lash Boost?

So no, I can't take being asked to join an MLM as a compliment. The way it's been done to me has put me in awkward situations. People I have to see every day. People whose kids go to school with mine. I can't even go to what's touted as a "mom's night out" for moms from school because it's become a giant sales pitch vs just hanging out, blowing off steam, and bonding. You don't call that a "mom's night out"- you call it what it is- a vendor event. Moms Night Out used to be meeting at the local Mexican restaurant, drinking margaritas and possibly having to coordinate getting moms home in the Margarita Mobile or Tequila Taxi? (I forget what their drunk shuttle is actually called). No one was trying to sell each other anything and it was just a good time had by all. Now, I don't even open emails about Moms Night Out because I feel like there's going to be some kind of sales agenda.

I can't take it as a compliment because I feel like I'm being used. Why am I being asked so much? Most of the people asking don't know me that well. They have no idea whether I'd be good at sales or not. I don't even use half the things these companies sell. The only logical conclusion to come to is that I'm being used for my contacts. People know that I know a lot of people. Lest I remind you all, AGAIN, that I had to hide my friends list on Facebook because an R&F consultant was going through my friend list, then started friending all my friends in order to pitch them.

For the record: I don't wear make-up often. No lotions or potions. I used lash stuff for a short spell that made me look like I'd been on a week's coke bender. I don't care what my cleaning products are made from as long as they work. I don't believe leggings are pants, don't want pics of Doritos on my camel toe- The few pair of leggings I've purchased were Jockey brand, and 12.99 at TJ Maxx or Marshalls. I'm happy with them. They don't rip like wet toilet paper. I don't take supplements and the only work out I do or ever plan on doing is going on my treadmill. Going on my treadmill only as fast as I can still hear the TV. I don't fast- I eat jellybeans daily. I'm not buying third-party green energy. I don't cook so no kitchen utensils for me. I don't wear mass produced jewelry- I don't even wear my wedding rings because I "feel" them on me.

I'M NOT SAYING THE PRODUCTS AREN'T GOOD OR DON'T WORK. I have no idea if they work. I'm saying- I am not interested in them. I don't want them. I don't use them. There is nothing about them that makes me want to know more about them. The same way most of you are not interested in the kind of lighting we make. Where no amount of posting pictures of before & afters makes you more interested.

I know where to find you if I want to sell something besides lighting. And hell, if you want to sell something without a pyramid structure, come to me and you can sell chandeliers for a commission if/when you ever sell any. That's what I can offer you. Not my contact list.