Category Archives: Blogging

Happy Anniversary!

Our EasierSaidBlog is one year old! Last November, when we started discussing the idea for a joint blog, I don’t think either of us knew how it would go and whether we’d be able to keep it up, but in January we launched it and have been muddling through ever since.

At this reflective time of year, we thought it might be interesting to interview each other and share our perspective on the last year of writing together.

KitKat, what did you set out to do by starting a blog and do you feel like you’ve accomplished that?

I think there were a couple things wrapped into doing the blog for me. First, I had a constant “to-do” item on my list to start journaling. When you mentioned doing a blog together, it seemed like a good way to be held accountable to get that checked off. The other, bigger piece was it was always the talks with you and other friends that got me through times my mind was spinning. Whether it was talking over inane things, kid concerns, wishes and wants, or feeling overwhelmed, simply talking it through always ended up lifting my spirits and let me know I wasn’t alone. The blog seemed like another release to let out some of those thoughts and to share with others that none of us have it perfectly under control, are above making mistakes or have it all figured out.

As far as accomplishing what I set out to do, I did stick with it so my “to-do” was accomplished. As for the less tangible goal … when I wrote about Learning to live in the maybe, I had friends—some I haven’t had a chance to talk to for a long time—reach out and let me know they were there for me without judgment and no matter what happened. They didn’t need details, just wanted to support me. So I’m not sure the blog has helped anyone else feel “not alone,” but it has certainly reminded me!
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Stormy, do you have favorite parts of, or experiences about, the blogging process?

Well, it sort of changes how I look at the world. I think you’ve mentioned this as well—how you look at odd situations or funny experiences and think of them as “blog material”… The interesting thing is, sometimes episodes that seem ripe for documenting just don’t translate into the written word very well. And other things that seem simple can take on new dimensions when you start writing about them.

The other thing that I find fun is looking at our blog stats—reach of readership, who follows, likes and comments. We’ve been read in 44 countries! Who is reading us from the Maldives? Introduce yourself and say “Hello”! And let’s not forget the copious offers to help us with SEO. (Hint to same: We’re both marketing directors, if we were concerned with site optimization we’d hire someone we know to do it, not an Internet spammer.)
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KitKat, what has been the biggest challenge of doing a blog?

TimeTime! Though once I do sit down and write it always calms me to be doing something reflective and just for me, finding the time to do something that isn’t a “have to” is tough. A kid who won’t go to sleep on time, an unplanned work project taken home, or an extra hockey game scheduled can all derail a planned time slot to sit down and write.  

For this blog post, the biggest challenge is my kids are on Winter Break so I am writing this with a ton of chatter in the background and a house strewn with holiday gifts. It is hard to think, much less write, in such chaos.
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Stormy, have there been any posts where you hesitated before pushing “publish” or decided not to make public?

Yes! Basically any of the posts about my mother. For a grown woman, I’m ridiculously self-conscious about my mother’s opinion of everything I do. I know she would be appalled at some of my posts, but the process of getting these frustrations down on paper is strangely cathartic for me.

There are other posts where I might hint at something from my real life, but keep the details veiled. Like Stormy’s identity, I don’t like to reveal everything about myself to the masses. I need to maintain the illusion that I (mostly) have my act together. (LOL)
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KitKat, where do you find inspiration for your topics?

It seems my life is full of inspiration for topics, the good and the bad. Kids for sure. Girlfriends. Family. The biggest, though, seems to be wherever my mind is wandering at the moment I write. There have been lots of times, for example up at the cabin with a girlfriend, that I will jump up in the middle of a funny conversation and jot down an idea. Friends and family have grown accustomed to that. The funny thing is now I have this long list where, at the time each was jotted down, my brain was already creating the post around the idea. But when I actually have time to sit and write, the inspiration has passed and I end up writing about something that is currently on my mind—even when I struggle with knowing that my list has the potential for more interesting posts than where my brain landed on the day I write. 
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Stormy, have there been times when you have had writer’s block or struggled with a topic?

Oh yeah. I definitely need to be in the right mood to write a post. Some topics I mull over in my mind for months before they slowly, painfully make it onto the page. Others come spewing out in 20 minutes of frenetic writing. There’s no logic to it either. Sometimes, the more I have to say about a topic, the harder it is to get those thoughts on paper. 
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KitKat, we’ve known each other a long time and used to work together. Have you learned anything that surprised you about me?

Admit it: He's creepy!

Admit it: He’s creepy!

Big Bird, belly buttons and wool were all oddities I knew you hated. I actually remember tormenting you on your 40th birthday at work when we all hung photos around your office of your least favorite things. I also knew you had my control freak nature and not a lot of tolerance for things you found stupid. So I had no illusions that you didn’t have some “idiosyncrasies.”

I have learned the boss and mentor who “had it all together” is a lot more like me. Actually, I learned just how much we are alike. I also learned that you are great at giving sound advice and not so good at taking it yourself, whether from me or from your own wisdom. I also was surprised about your “whimsical side.” Very out of character and an interesting dynamic. For some reason, I think you will keep surprising me.
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Stormy, back at youanything that surprised you about me? 

The cushion confession absolutely slayed me. And the “wet bread” thing will forever color my menu choices when I invite you and the hubby to dinner. Other than that, no big surprises—by this point, I think we understand each other pretty well. Actually, I take that back. I’m surprised by the fact that you’ve been able to stick with this so long, given all the other demands on your time.
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KitKat, which do you consider to be your favorite post?

That is a hard one! Do The Bloggers and About count as posts? I think those and the initial stories you and I posted were my favorites simply because it was the beginning to our blog. We admitted who we were and started down the blogging path.

I do still get a kick out of writing and reading our joint blogs like the True Confessions and Phobias. I would like to do more of those this year.
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Stormy, do you have some posts or overall blogging plans already on the agenda to tackle in 2014?

We’ve talked about doing a “cabin post,” but I have trouble trimming that down to a manageable length. And I’ve thought I should do one on adoption—but that’s another topic that I could go on about for days. When I can come up with “that one key idea,” I’ll be ready to tackle those topics. Otherwise, I’m just curious to see what unfolds in 2014. I’m sure there will be no shortage of material. 🙂

The lazy, hazy, unproductive daze of summer

When KitKat and I conceived this idea for a blog, a key question lurking in the back of my mind was, “Will we have enough energy/dedication/content to keep this thing going?” After all, I’ve been known to start many projects with great enthusiasm only to lose steam once life intervened (as it invariably does). Nonetheless, we launched in January with high hopes:  This project would sharpen our creative writing skills, serve as a crash course in blogging (something two marketers should understand) and, if we were lucky, would also allow us to exercise some middle-aged demons.

Our goal was for each of us to do one post, every two weeks, for a total of four postings a month. Off to a promising start, in January we posted 11 times. We each had a backlog of topics floating around our heads, and it seemed there was no end to the curveballs—or perhaps “snowballs” is more accurate—life was tossing our way. Every day seemed laden with a fresh blanket of material… February brought a slight decline in our writing output, but the shortest month of the year still saw us generate 7 posts. After that, we stabilized at a pace of about 5 posts per month. That’s one more than our “guidelines” dictated, so we were still doing great.

Then it finally got nice out.

feet by poolIf you’ve been reading this blog from the start, you no doubt detected a theme in our early posts that can best be summarized as, “two-mentally-unstable-women-living-in-a-perpetually-frozen-locale-churn-out-ironic-observations-about-life-to-keep-from-slipping-over-the-edge-of-sanity-and-bludgeoning-those-around-them-with-an-icicle.”

And for the most part it worked. We finally made it to summer with our marriages, jobs and good humor mostly intact. But if we consider blogging to be a form of online therapy (and we do), then there have been a couple of mental breakthroughs along the way. And one thing we’ve both learned is this: You’ve got to strike when the iron is hot–whether you’re talking about writing or living. Carpe diem. That may be trite and hackneyed, yes, but it’s also undeniably true.

Enjoying the beauty around you.

Enjoy the beauty in your own backyard.

Today’s swimming hole is tomorrow’s skating rink, so you need to make your splash before the first thin layer of ice takes hold of your heart. I know that a lot of people swear by meditative silence, but I find that if I spend too much time alone with my thoughts, I find myself fretting over thorns when I should be smelling the roses. I’m much happier when I’m doing stuff—whether it’s making strides toward solving a problem (e.g., at work), improving my surroundings (e.g., weeding my garden), focusing on others for a change (e.g., visiting my parents) or just enjoying the best that Minnesota has to offer (e.g., concerts in the park with my kids).

Concerts by the lake, a favorite summer past-time.

Concerts by the lake, a favorite summer past-time.

At the same time, KitKat and I have also found that writing a post when we’re uninspired—or when long summer nights are beckoning us outdoors—is useless. It just ain’t gonna happen. Yet, we believe there will still be a few summer moments when inspiration strikes, and we can crank out our thoughts in record speed. But until then, we’ll just sip our margaritas while waiting patiently for that muse to arrive.

The bottom line here is KitKat and I are slacking off a bit with our posts during these months. But we hope you won’t really notice because you, too, have dragged yourself away from the computer and are enjoying these fleeting days of summer. That’s what we want for our readers…  Just remember to come back in the fall. We promise that once October rolls around and the kids are settled into their school routines, our postings will wax as surely as our daylight hours wane, and we’ll be full of new stories to share. In the meantime, slack off a little yourself and go enjoy a margarita on the deck. We won’t tell.

Rest is not idleness, and to lie sometimes on the grass under trees on a summer’s day, listening to the murmur of the water, or watching the clouds float across the sky, is by no means a waste of time.
– John Lubbock
 

Worst End of School Year Mom Ever

Following in Stormy’s footsteps, I would like to share my most recent, favorite blog post: Worst End of School Year Mom Ever.

Besides for providing a good laugh, it also reminded me I wasn’t alone. If you remember things came tumbling down for me back in March.

And as my kids start their summer vacation, I am packing my bag for a girls get away in New York. Four days and ten pairs of shoes packed!

Never say never…

A favorite blogger posted on a topic that really resonates with me: A reminder to never say never!

Her philosophy reminds me a lot of my own policy against policies. If you want to check out some clever, thought-provoking writing, check out Anna Lea’s blog.

The longest winter ever

I have finally seen the light! If you read Stormy’s post on winter in Minnesota, you will have an idea of how long we wait each year to see the sun break up months of grey. This year has been an especially brutally long winter as it trailed into April and just kept nailing us with more snow. This extra month has had a negative impact on everyone. It was as if we all almost gave up hope. My daughter, the optimist, seemed to be the only one holding out as she would walk out of the house each day, look surpised and sigh, “oh no, there is still snow.”

Five days ago

Five days ago

I thought I was getting through it admirably. Biting my tongue and telling the kids how fun it is to be able to make snowmen in April … trying to be a Pollyanna, which is not my forte. But, I knew I needed to fight the anger and resentment brewing inside me. Everything was bugging me more than normal. Plus, the long dry winter was having ill effects on my looks and this was not a mood helper.  My husband finally asked, “are you okay … are we?” I snapped at him that I wouldn’t know anything till I could actually see the sun. And that if it didn’t come soon, I may just head for the airport instead of home one night and send him a postcard from my tropical get-away.

Well this weekend the temperatures jumped. In fact they doubled and hit the ’70s and ’80s overnight. At first it was almost like waking up on vacation. You barely recognized the place. Everyone had on smiles. All the neighbors came out. Restaurants opened their patios for dining. People multiplied on the streets and around the lakes. No one complained about the crowds because we were all so happy to be out of hibernation.  All concerns took a backseat to enjoying the moment. I even started to look better instantly. It was a sunny miracle!

You could even see the positive effect the sun had on kids. I might go as far as to say they were a delight. They spent hours outside playing ball, bike riding, jumping on the trampoline, heading off to the park and for ice cream. Simply enjoying the freedom summer seems to bring to everyone. I didn’t do a thing that needed to get done. Cleaning, errands, grocery shopping, and bills all got pushed aside for just soaking it all in.

Instead, I spent my days doing nothing. In fact, on Sunday I spent the whole day with a girlfriend sitting on the deck, sharing too much wine, flipping through magazines, and getting fake tattoos from my daughter.  It was heavenly.

Yesterday

Yesterday

I am hearing horrible rumors that we aren’t completely over with winter and temps are going to fall just as quickly as they rose, so I am making the most of it in the meantime. Today, I left the office right a 5:00 p.m. (unheard of), took a walk with Stormy, brought the kids out to play when they should have been heading to bed, and now we are going to go sit out on the deck and enjoy a nightcap.

This blog post was also on my to-do list that was pushed aside this weekend, so I did take a break from the great outdoors to get it written since I couldn’t ask Stormy to cover another turn for me for purely self-indulgent reasons.  I’ll be back in a few days with a real post as I am forced back into hibernation.

I hope rest of you are doing some fabulous things to enjoy this very deserved weather.