Saturday, September 27, 2014

Tattoo, you?

I do not have a tattoo, but I am fascinated by them. Tattooing is an ancient art, dating back to pre-historic civilizations. When I was growing up, you only saw tattoos on Hells Angels or at a carnival sideshow. Today, tattoos have become mainstream. Even your grandma might have one. 

Tattoos have been popularized by a bevy of rock stars, actors, and athletes. They’ve been the stars of film (Memento, The Salton Sea, The Fountain) and television (Miami Ink, America’s Worst Tattoos, Inked).
Every tattoo has a story. I’ve found that a lot of people get tattoos as a memorial or as a symbol of their love, super-fandom, or favorite hobby. And of course, there are those who get a tattoo while drunk on Spring Break…
My neighbor Sean has two full sleeves of tattoos. One arm depicts a mural of Catholic saints; his other arm has a scene with Norse Gods. He got both of them for protection when he served in the armed forces.  My co-worker Dave has a tattoo of the New England Patriots football team logo and the year of each Super Bowl win on his arm. My hairdresser Lori has 13 tattoos; although most of them are hidden from view. At least six of them are memorial tattoos in honor of her Dad, who passed away a few years ago. She has a star on her wrist, “just because she likes it.” Several of my 60-ish year old quilting friends have tattoos: Grandmother of three, Paula sports a Red Sox logo and a Tasmanian devil and has plans for a new one for her 65th birthday; Terri has a fairy on her ankle; and my friend Joanne has an outline of a shamrock. Joanne’s tattoo never got filled in because she fainted while it was in process, so the tattoo artist was forced to stop.
I must admit that I am tempted. And if I wasn’t afraid of needles, I’d probably sport a few tattoos myself. Perhaps one that read “PugMom” with the name of my three pugs underneath, or a design with a small sewing machine that says, “Born to Sew.”
What about you? Do you have a tattoo? What does your tattoo represent? If you’ve had your tattoo for more than 10 years, do you still like it? 

Author's Note: This blog post was just published (September 2014) on my Company's intranet. I was surprised and pleased that it received 18 comments, which is well above average for a blog post there.

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Extrovert by Day, Introvert by the Guacamole

Author's Note: This is my contest entry to become a blogger at my office.

Most people who know me would say that I’m definitely not shy. I’m friendly and outgoing; I even talk to strangers in elevators. When I take my pugs for a walk, I sometimes don’t return home for an hour or two, not because we’re power trekking, but because we stop and talk to every neighbor in a four block radius. As part of my job, I give presentations to clients; it wouldn’t even bother me if I had to get up in front of a large audience and tell jokes. Once during a management training class, we took a personality test, and my extrovert rating was off the chart.

But tests don’t show everything and mine was no exception. I have a secret fear: I’m afraid of cocktail parties. Cocktail parties make me uncomfortable, especially if I don’t know my fellow party-goers. I’m not good at small talk or chit chat, and I’ve never mastered the elusive skill of moving from one group of people to another. Just how do you break away from Group 1 gracefully and move on to talk to Group 2? I’ve never figured it out. Maybe I could take a class. Maybe they could offer one through our corporate Learning Center…

I have two coping mechanisms to deal with parties. The first is to act as a helper. The helper doesn’t have to talk, just smile and say “hi” and often can hide in the kitchen. In the past, at corporate parties, I’ve handed out tickets for drinks and raffle prizes. In a pinch, I can even pour drinks. The second strategy is to hide by the food table and pretend that I’m invisible. I examine the guacamole in great detail and occasionally rearrange the silverware. When other people approach the table, I smile and pretend to be very busy deciding between the red cookie shaped like a heart and the green cookie shaped like a star. Oddly enough, my boyfriend (now husband), who is quite shy, really likes cocktail parties and morphs into a friendly, happy party-goer. Go figure.

So what is your take on cocktail parties? Love them or dread them? Is a family party easier than a work party? Do you consider yourself shy or social? Or are you shy on some occasions and social on others? And can someone please tell me, how do you gracefully move on from Group 1 to Group 2…?

Originally published January 2011

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Real Women Love Housework

I have a confession to make. I love doing laundry. Probably because I’ve been doing it for a very long time. My Mom re-entered the workforce when I was a freshman in high school, and doing the laundry for our family of five became my part-time after school job. I probably did three loads a day. Today there are only two of us, so the work’s become much easier, especially since I recently purchased a spiffy new washing machine with a control panel that rivals a rocket ship. 

But my love of housework ends there. I do not enjoy cleaning the bathroom, dusting, or vacuuming. I often joke that I’m descended from a long line of bad housekeepers. In all fairness to my Grandma, she was a working woman way before it was popular, and at the end of a 60+ hour work week of running her own business, I’m sure that housecleaning was one of the last things on her mind. When I was growing up, we always had a pile of magazines, library books, and mail on the kitchen table that we moved around when it was mealtime. My brothers and I had very messy rooms, which was ok with our Mom as long as we kept the doors closed. Today, while my house wouldn’t qualify to be on “Hoarders” or “Clean House”, I probably wouldn’t receive the Good Housekeeping Seal of Approval either. Given the choice of cleaning the bathroom or reading a good book, reading a good book almost always wins.

So the other day when my Mom called me to tell me that she had read a survey in the Palm Beach Post, that claimed that women loved to do housework, I couldn’t stop laughing. My Mom swore that she wasn’t making it up, that the article claimed that the women who were surveyed tended to clean when they were stressed and found they were upset or disconcerted when their home was not properly picked up. I kid you not. Personally, when I’m stressed out I reach for a candy bar, not a mop.

Ironically, both of my brothers went on to marry women who are neat freaks. Maybe our next generation will break the mold.

Is your house neat or messy? Do you think that cleanliness is genetic? Do you have a favorite chore? Do you split the chores 50/50 in your home? Do your children help with the housework?

This blog post was originally published in March 2011.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

This is not my first rodeo

“Writing is a socially acceptable form of schizophrenia.”
E.L. Doctorow

“You must stay drunk on writing so reality cannot destroy you.”
Ray Bradbury, Zen in the Art of Writing 

“Outside of a dog, a book is man's best friend. Inside of a dog it's too dark to read.”
Groucho Marx, The Essential Groucho: Writings For By And About Groucho Marx 

I have always loved creative writing. I've never yearned to write a book, but I love writing short articles. My love was reignited in January of 2011, when I entered a contest to be a blogger at the large insurance/investment company where I work. I won the contest and became a regular blogger. For the most part I get to write about whatever I want, although occasionally I am forced encouraged to write about some corporate initiative. And although I have thousands of readers across the company, you can't find my blog because it is on our corporate Intranet.

I usually publish a work blog one or two times a month. The corporate blog is published weekly and I share the space with two other writers. Sometimes we are replaced by a guest post from some executive up on high. At work, I never get to write a blog post as often as I want, and once in a while my suggested topic is not approved. So in March of 2012 I started a quilting blog, PugMom Quilts!  There you can read all about my quilting adventures and my three adorable pug boys. I also share photos of my garden. I love my quilting blog  because it combines all of my passions: writing, photography, and quilting into one!

So, why another blog? Because I love to write (and I love your feedback and enthusiasm) and I don't want to lose all my wonderful columns that you haven't gotten to read. Plus, I will be adding more (this is where all the non-quilting, non-pug columns that I write will reside).

If you'd like to read more about my quilting and writing process, read this post.

Thanks for joining me on another wild ride!

Pugs and kisses,