Monday, December 29, 2008

You're Never Fully Dressed Without a Sneer

Pin It The other day a friend called to apologize for offending me. It was really nice of her to worry. I was kind of touched that she cared. The only problem was that I had NO IDEA what she was talking about. None.

She was sure I was just being polite, and reminded me about a minor comment she'd made the night before - a comment I'd thought was mildly amusing, and not offensive in the least.

Unfortunately, I guess the look on my face after she said it was something akin to: "You have offended me, and now we are mortal enemies, and if I find a knife, I will plunge it into your heart at the earliest possible opportunity."

I explained as best I could that I honestly wasn't offended - it was just my face, getting me in trouble again. My stupid freaking face.

See, I was cursed with a natural frown. (Actually my dentist calls it an Elvis pout, because my mouth actually turns down a little more in one corner than the other, so I really don't just have a natural frown, I have a natural sneer. (BONUS.))

When I'm relaxed, or when I'm listening to someone talk, or even just watching TV, my face settles into a frown. For as long as I can remember, people have been coming up to me and telling me to smile, or asking me what was wrong, or encouraging me to lighten up - even though I was just sitting there thinking about dandelion fuzz, feeling mellow and dreamy.

Unfortunately, when you go around lost in your thoughts a lot of the time, and your natural expression is a frown, it MIGHT sort of look like you are constantly glowering at people. You MIGHT start to get a rep for being a critical, negative person. EVEN IF YOU AREN'T. It doesn't matter if you are or aren't. You LOOK like you are, and therefore, you ARE.

I can be at a party, and I'll say, "This is a great party," and I'll mean it. But if I've forgotten about my stupid sneer when I say it, people think I'm being sarcastic and wenchy.

Some of you are probably thinking, "Then, um, why don't you just SMILE more, you moron?!" But I try! Whenever I think about it, I smile. But I can't go around thinking about my face all the time. Because who does that? ("Am I smiling now? Now? Now? How about now?" Then I'd be even more nuts.)

The other day after my friend called me, I went into the bathroom to see how bad it had gotten. I stood in front of the mirror, trying on facial expressions.
  • I made my mellow, totally relaxed daydreaming face. I looked grim.
  • I made my "that's pretty funny, not funny enough to laugh, but you know I think that's pretty hilarious anyway" face. I looked like I was smirking.
  • I made my "I'm listening in a sincere way and trying to relate to what you are saying" face. I looked condescending and rude. The girls at book club must hate me, because that is my face. THAT IS MY FACE. CRAP.
But I CANNOT HELP IT. Just as my father before me could not help it. It's genetic. My friends and family know this about me. They know I'm not as serious as I look (I hope), and they (hopefully) look past it and like me anyway. But I wonder about all of the people who don't know it's a facial anomaly - who make assumptions about who I am based on what they see.

When I was about twenty, I went out on the lake with a bunch of my friends. I was happy and relaxed, but not particularly talkative. (There were new cute boys on board, and I was feeling bashful.) At the end of the day, two of my friends completely exploded on me, saying I'd been negative and hostile all day. Because I'd been quiet and frowny. The fundamental unfairness of the comment still eats at me sometimes. Because I was happy that day. I was so happy to be there - almost overflowing with quietly affectionate feelings for my friends. But they thought I looked stuck-up and rude, and they sat there all day resenting me for my imaginary attitude.

A while back I heard that if you get enough Botox, it'll freeze your face into an unnatural smile. An unnatural smile! What more could I ask for? I'm saving my pennies, and I figure by late 2011, I'll be able to afford the first round of shots. In the interim, I'm thinking I'll just staple a post-it to my head, one that says, "This is my mellow face. I realize it looks like I'm sneering, but I'm really not. It's just my STUPID. FACE."

And if you run into me on the street, or at the store, or in the library? Just remember - I might LOOK angry, but I'm not, I swear. I like you. I like almost everyone. I just LOOK like I want to kill you.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

The List

Pin It The bloggers who made it into the blogger book to benefit NieNie are shown below. Congratulations guys! I really want to thank everyone for submitting. There were hundreds of entries, and it was impossible to respond individually, but I loved reading the posts. Please don't feel badly if your entry wasn't picked. There were a lot of really great, funny posts that we couldn't include for space or theme reasons. (The higher the page count, the higher the publishing cost.)

The title I chose was Something Cleverish. It just felt right. Probably because I'm the one who said it. (HA! HAHAHAHA! Kidding. Sort of.) It was Green Jello's idea to use it, so - Green Jello? Here's your first link of the week. Everyone go visit her!

Here are the bloggers who are in the book:

Abby, Delusions of Grandeur
Adhis B., A Little Bit Adhis, A Little Bit A-That

Alice Bradley, Finslippy
Amy Lawson, The Lawsons Do Dallas
Annie, Regarding Annie
B., I Gotta B
Barb Cooper, So The Thing Is
Bev, Firelight Academy
Dalene, Compulsive Writer
Carina, The Jet Set
Crash Test Dummy, Crash Test Dummy Diaries
Emily Foley, Something
Eric D. Snider, Eric D. Snider
Erica England, Paper Buttons
Heidi, Hadleyesque
Heidi Ashworth, Dunhaven Place
J., Formerly Phread
Jami, Superfluous Miscellany
Jennie W., Beehive And Birds’ Nest
Jill, Thou Shalt Not Whine
Kate Hood, The Big Piece Of Cake
Kathryn, Daring Young Mom
Kristy Steele, Rabbit in the Headlights
LisaJane, She Talks
Marci Heugly, Heugly News
Mary, Becoming Mary Poppins
ME, Navel Gazing At Its Finest
Melanie, Big Mama
Nemesis, Voice Of Reason
Pam McEwen, McEwens
Randi, Is It Just Me?
Shannon, Rocks In My Dryer
Shellie Kendrick, Seriously Shellie
Sheriece Morris, More Morris Madness
Stacey, Tree, Root and Twig
Stephanie Walker, Laughing At Life’s Little Wedgies
Stephanie, Diapers And Divinity
TAMN, Seriously So Blessed
Tamra, It All Started With A Kiss
Topher Clark, The Jolly Porter
Tracey Gaughran-Perez, Sweetney
Wendy, Nothing Clever Comes To Mind
Whitney Ingram, Rookie-Cookie

If you were selected, PLEASE don't tell your readers which post you submitted, if at all possible. We want them to have to BUY THE BOOK in order to find out - so that we can make as much money for the family as possible.

I want to thank my blogger friends for helping me to push through the last batch of posts, and for helping me make selections. I want to thank the non-contest folks too - the bloggers I emailed begging for a post, because I knew they were funny and their star power would help us to sell more books and raise more money for the family.

And thanks to my husband, who I've been neglecting for the last two weeks solid, typing up a storm every night after the kids were in bed, barely acknowledging his presence. Love ya hon. Thanks for putting up with all of this stuff - the blogger book, the MSHR manuscript, and all of my related stressing. You're a rock.

I'm waiting on book proofs, and need to coordinate with the family on a few things, and then this thing'll finally be a go. Stay tuned - and warm up your debit cards.

Friday, December 05, 2008


Pin It My house is a wreck. As of this morning, I have 162 emails to answer. (If yours is one of them, I'm really sorry.) I worked 14 hours yesterday, trying to get caught up with work that piled up during our vacation. The NieNie project languishes on my laptop, making me feel like a huge jerk (although a few awesome blog friends are going to help me get it finished). I have a birthday party to plan, a skit to write for the church Christmas party, and oh, right, Christmas shopping. Not to mention that whole chick lit manuscript thingie. (Let's not mention it, shall we?)

It's all worth it though, because our vacation was really wonderful.

We spent Thanksgiving in Las Vegas visiting our families. We had Thanksgiving with his family on Thursday, and with my family on Friday - two days of pretty much non-stop eating and laughing. (Actually it was more like six days of non-stop eating. I think I gained ten pounds on the trip, no lie.)

On Saturday we packed up and headed to Los Angeles, and on Sunday we went to the beach and the Santa Monica pier. Even at the end of November it was warm enough to play in the waves.

On Monday, Marste (who works for Disney) met us at Disneyland. She spent an hour-and-a-half (at least) driving through a horrible CA traffic jam in order to meet us at the gate and let us in for free. I still can't believe she was willing to do that for us. I didn't know what to say, how to tell her how much I appreciated it and how touched I was, so I just kept compulsively hugging her, which I hope she didn't think was odd, since we were basically strangers. (But not anymore.)

We had the best time at Disneyland. The minute we got through the gates we hopped on the train and headed over to the Princess pavilion to let the kids dance with the Princesses (that's Sarah right there in front, practicing her curtsy for Cinderella).

We rode every ride imaginable. I highly recommend going on the Monday right after Thanksgiving. We've done it twice now, and both times there were almost no lines. We walked on to almost every ride.

In the early afternoon, we were all sitting near a candy shop on Main Street getting a sugar fix when Alice in Wonderland appeared, ready for a game of musical chairs.

A crowd gathered, and all of the kids who were playing were suddenly the stars of their very own show. Each time someone lost their chair, Alice made them get up on stage and tell a joke to the crowd. Luckily, Sarah and Abby have scores of knock knock jokes memorized, so they nailed it, the little hams.

I have to say - this gal wasn't just playing Alice, she WAS Alice. I think we are all a little bit convinced now that Alice does exist, and she lives at Disneyland. Which is just as it should be.

That night we watched the Christmas parade. I'm not big on parades - but parades you watch with your kids, that feature Santa, Mickey and the Princesses? Pretty awesome. We got to the parade route late, my fault - I kept insisting that we had time to go on one more ride, and my husband kept insisting we needed to find a spot or we'd end up watching the back of everyone's head instead of the parade. He was right. We ended up standing behind a bunch of extraordinarily tall senior citizens.

Luckily, one of the women noticed my daughters (my son was on his dad's shoulders), and asked if they wanted to stand in front of her, right on the curb. Thank goodness for grandparents. (Although honestly, I think she enjoyed watching my girls enjoy the parade as much as she enjoyed the actual parade. They were so excited.)

The whole day was magic, from the minute we stepped through the gate until the fireworks at the end. It's good to be home, but it was very good to go. I'm so glad we did.