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Oct
31
2012
Published!

Yesterday I made my publishing debut! Well, outside of my high school’s literacy magazine and the (up until now!) anonymous writing I’ve done here.

Earlier this year, I submitted a memoir piece to the lovely people at Write on Edge for the first edition of their literary anthology. As I mentioned here, I spent quite some time mining my memory reserves in service of the writing. I’m thrilled that my piece was accepted and to announce that the anthology, Precipice, is now available for your reading pleasure. I’m honored and, quite frankly, surprised to be in the company of such talented writers.

You can click on the link above or on the picture below (Amazon) to obtain your own copy of Precipice. For a low fee, you can read my teenage angst in print or on your e-reader.

 

I’d like to thank Dave for his patience while I did little but type for several weeks and for being willing to read so many drafts of different stories about my relationship with an ex. That can’t have been fun. I’d also like to thank my friend Erin for the support and encouragement, and for steering me in a more authentic direction.

My piece is titled “Good Enough,” and recounts the circumstances leading to my first kiss. This is fertile writing ground I’ve covered before in a different context. It seems the early college phase of my life is my low hanging writing fruit — suitably dramatic, but not lingeringly painful. The diary I kept religiously during this time preserved the memories while they were still fresh. Unfortunately for everyone involved with me during this time, I have pretty accurate dialogue. 

People have asked me what happened after that first kiss. I’ve written a little about that before, but two things got in the way of expanding this story for Precipice:

1.) the word limit,

2.) an overwhelming urge not to look dumb.

And, oh, how dumb I was. But I learned useful lessons…lessons in the critical art of understanding the inner thoughts of men. In honor of the release of Precipice, I will share these lessons in a future post, so stay tuned. It’s a must read for any of you who have ever been confused by the words of that special dude in your life. A companion piece, perhaps, to He’s Just Not That Into You. Because, believe me, he is into you. Sort of. If only men weren’t so complicated

Jul
12
2012
I’m Backed Up

No, no. Not that kind of backed up. I have a few limits on what I’ll publish.

My constipation is of the blog post variety. I had hoped to focus more on writing after I completed the site redesign, but it’s been the opposite. Granted, I’ve been busy for the past two weeks (or should I say fortnight?), watching people wearing white whack the stuffing out of a little yellow ball over and over. But still. As I ruefully said to Dave, “I wonder if anyone else ever redesigned their blog and then never updated it again.”

Are you familiar with Meat Beat Manifesto? This song usually makes me feel very drugged, but now reminds me of Logy Express’ silence.

The jackass who put this on YouTube cut off the end, and I considered making my own video that plays the whole thing, but that is exactly the kind of unnecessary perfectionism that stops me from completing posts. So just imagine 25 seconds of very real and silent silence at the end of this song. 25 seconds is longer than you think.

But, as I started off by saying, I’m backed up and that’s part of the problem. My post ideas were so scattered that I took a few hours to consolidate them recently. I triangulated the ideas entered into my electronic to do list, several draft Word files, and shitloads of paper notes:

Whole pieces of paper

29

Scraps of paper

18

Post-it Notes

12

Back of receipts

4

Back of envelopes

3

TOTAL

66

Now I have one master list of 74 blog post ideas (but still no idea what to write next). It’s a smorgasbord of crap (not unlike my closet–stuffed with clothes I won’t wear). Typing of crap, here’s a critical FYI: if you’re looking for some totally craptastic (in a good way) blog reading, check out Speaker7’s ongoing summary of 50 Shades of Grey. It starts here and is the funniest set of blog posts I’ve ever read.

Here are some post ideas I’ve mentioned in the somewhat recent past as being in the pipeline: review the brownie fantasy bars I made for National Family PJ Night, develop my own signature cupcake recipe, write about organizing my basement, write about digitizing 150 years worth of family photos, write more about my study abroad experience, train Pandora to find new music, and follow-up on my 2012 goals (including my plan to run faster).

Does any of the above bite you on the ass? Or should I just write the post about Brazilians I’ve had rolling around in my head for weeks (strike that bit earlier about having limits)?

In other news, a memoir piece I wrote (an expansion my cringe-worthy first kiss post) got accepted by a literary review. This was extremely gratifying given how much time I spent working on my submission, including a fiction piece I ended up scrapping. It got too unwieldy for the 1,500 word limit and didn’t make much sense when I tried to cut it down. But writing the fiction sort of lit a fire under my ass (in a fun way) and I have half a mind to finish it and post it in stages here.

Lastly, I have a very important announcement! I finally drew a winner in the re-subscriber giveaway. I had joked about how long it took Dave to re-subscribe and also that he was ineligible for the giveaway. But of course, I forgot to remove him from the list before drawing a winner, and he frigging won. I’m not giving my husband a prize for subscribing to my blog.

When I drew another random number, the beautiful and talented Angie of Childhood Relived won the prize. As much as I’d like to reward her with ice cream, I don’t think shipping ice cream in a heat wave that melted the airport tarmac is such a good idea. So an Amazon gift card it is! Now the question is: will Angie want to tell me her address just to get an Amazon gift card? I can almost hear Angie weighing her options now (…gift card…having a potential crazy person know where I live…gift card…).

I’m grateful that so many of you stuck around through the move to self-hosting (a land where any day I’m likely to press a button and accidentally blow this thing to smithereens). If you’re ever in the D.C. area (or live here), let me know and I’ll hook you up with some homemade ice cream. And if you’re really lucky, the airport will let you leave.

Jun
6
2012
First Symptom of Rabbititis

Today is a banner day.

For one, I’m the featured writer at Studio30 Plus, a great online community of writers. You have to be a member to access their Community Blog (and my post), so tomorrow I will repost my Featured Blog here. But do consider joining, it’s a great way to connect with other bloggers/writers.

For another, as you may have gathered from the spots you are now seeing, this here blog has finally been redesigned. I hope you like the nod to the days of dot matrix printers (my penchant for nostalgia made me want to honor the first incarnation of Logy Express–a humor newspaper my friend and I created in high school…on my Apple IIe). This new design also serves as an important new Rabbititis diagnostic tool.

I am sure there are some kinks to be worked out, and I’m already aware of some. If you come across anything that’s not working (broken links, video embeds, etc…), please let me know via comments or email (logyexpress AT gmail.com).

I’m very pleased with the way the redesign turned out. It’s bright and colorful and whimsical and meets my need to honor the past while pushing forward into the future. Stephen at the Company of H rocked like no one has ever rocked before in doing the web development for me. He helped me select an appropriate theme and then customized it. His calm demeanor kept me from losing my mind too, which is always helpful. I still can’t believe how quickly he got all this done once we started working together.

The Logy Express logo was designed by Ryan Salinetti. I will post more soon on working with her on the graphic design, but if you need logo/graphic design assistance, run (don’t walk) to her website.

Jun
4
2012
Attention Kmart Shoppers (I Mean Email Subscribers)

Several times now, I have threatened to redesign this blog. This involves moving from my nice, cozy, not-at-all scary home here at WordPress.com to the confusing, mysterious, possibly haunted home that is self-hosting at WordPress.org. As the day to flip the switch has drawn closer, I’ve begun to worry this new arrangement will be “way more blog” than I need. I hope to grow into it, hoarding new posts and wonderful subscribers like I hoard memories and clothes that don’t fit me anymore in my real-life house. Wait, that didn’t sound right.

The good news is that the domain won’t change, so you’ll have no trouble finding me (Logy Express!). The bad news is that many of your subscriptions will go kaput (technical term). And I love my subscribers. You make me feel like I’m in a relationship in which flowers are still brought (don’t make me start singing “You Don’t Bring Me Flowers.”).

If you subscribed via email or you “followed” the blog via WordPress.com, you will no longer get updates about new posts after the switch (quelle horreur!). If you subscribed via RSS, your subscription should be fine (unless you were an early subscriber and subscribed before I set up Feedburner, so you should check your subscription too).

When is the switch? Thanks for asking. It will be sometime this week, hopefully Wednesday. This happens to be the anniversary of D-Day, so I’m hoping that’s a good omen.

So now is the time on Sprockets when I ask you, my lovely subscribers, to visit Logy Express later this week and please re-subscribe.

While I’m sure reading my posts would be its own reward, I’m not above bribery. So any current subscribers who have re-subscribed via email (if you subscribe by RSS, let me know and I’ll take your word for it) by the end of June will have their names placed into a hat Research Randomizer and the winner will receive…something. My original idea was to ship the winner homemade ice cream in the flavor or three of their choice. But then I investigated dry ice shipping and laughed ruefully (I want to reward you guys, but I also want to retire early). So if the winner lives within driving distance, and wants ice cream, they can win ice cream.

Otherwise, I’m thinking baked good or a mix CD containing the songs I plan to use to train my Pandora station. OK…and a $20 Amazon gift card. You guys drive a hard bargain.

In the immortal words of Chris Harrison, host of the Bachelor, I hope you all will continue on this “journey” with me.

Peace out,

Tracy

Jan
23
2012
Now I Am as Happy as a Little Girl…

Now is the time on Sprockets when we acknowledge being acknowledged. I have had bestowed onto me the coveted Love My Monkey award (or Liebe mein affe-mienke in the original German…OK, Liebster Award, whatever).

I am much too lazy to copy and paste the award rules here. Suffice it to say I’m to give props where props are due: to the blogger who nominated me and five other bloggers of my choice.

These award memes activate my acute fear of forgetting, ingrained early by the worst teacher in Bachelor elementary school history, as well as rejection. I forgot to include some people last time I did one of these things, even though it was one of the longest posts EVER. I’m sure after hitting publish on this, I will immediately think of a dozen others. I follow a lot of blogs. They are all special snowflakes. Dieter says my blathering has become tiresome, onto the links.

Thanks to Recovering Supermom for giving me this award. I first read her blog around the time I made homemade advent calendars and her post about homemade gifts spoke the truth and greatly amused me. She is a recovering perfectionist kindred spirit.

Here are some bloggers I want to highlight for their awesomeness. No need to perpetuate the chain if memes aren’t your thing, just bask in the glow of the liebster love:

Apathy is Green: Apathy is a self-described “minor cog in the bureaucracy.” I feel his pain. I’m also sometimes amused by his pain…like his office “talkopotamus.”

The Book Stop: I’d meant to include this blog in my Versatile Blogger post because: a.) she’s a friend in that thing called real life, 2.) I love her blog, and c.) she’s a versatile blogger. She writes thoughtful book reviews, and about book and literacy-related topics. She sometimes throws in a more personal post, which I appreciate as a friend and all-around nosy person.

Kid-Free Living: Another blog I meant to highlight before and didn’t. Amy’s an honest-to-goodness writer and as such needs no linky props from my little blog, but I want to give her a shout out anyway because her shit is funny. Just go check her out, it’s all good. If you need a place to start, here is a post that spoke to me.

Ramblings and Rumblings: Having a post Freshly Pressed was great, but it took months to check out the bloggers who had visited what with that “job” thing cramping my style. “Speaker7″ left a Wegmans-related comment and that alone should have made me reciprocate the visit, but the name “speaker7″ sounded vaguely spam-ish on first glance. When I eventually visited speaker7’s blog, I laughed my ass off and realized I’d been missing out. Here is a tribute to fleece. Here is the written and graphic equivalent of a haul video, only intentionally funny.

Zoe Says: Zoe is a fellow Belgian waffle lover and career fulfillment searcher (so excited about her photography career move). She writes charming posts. This one, about the icky-ness of mint, made me realize we are long-lost twins. I totally could have written that post myself and kind of wish I had.

Jen Has A Pen: I’m a rule breaker. I’m linking to six blogs instead of five. I found Jen through Write on Edge. She’s a great writer and is currently entertaining me with posts about her move to New York. I’m also jealous of her adventure as well as her super-cute blog design.

That is all the time we have. Until next time, auf Wiedersehen!

Oct
5
2011
Guest Post: On Not Getting Too Comfortable

Hi, my name is Margaret. I write the blog Figuring Out Fulfillment – a blog about finding a career, finding fulfillment, and finding yourself. I met Tracy through the blogosphere; we connected over a recent post she wrote. I invited her to write a guest post on my blog and she invited me to write a post for hers. Here is my story about breaking an engagement, moving across the country, and why life’s uncertainties and setbacks were the best thing that ever happened to me.

When I was twenty-three, I was engaged to a medical student. He was handsome, smart, kind, humble, and he had a great sense of humor. We were going to get married the summer after I finished my MBA and before I started a law degree. We’d have three perfect children, the perfect house with lots of beautiful antiques, and we’d have a Siberian Husky – that’s the type of dog he grew up with. Did I mention he had the perfect family, too? Why not try to recreate it?

My parents loved him. My friends loved him. The wedding was planned. The dress was ordered. The invitations were ready to be mailed. My mother had sent our engagement picture to the newspaper. And then I called off the wedding. Why? I didn’t know what type of dog I wanted. Maybe it would be fun to have a cat.

I felt like my entire life was planned out before I had a chance to live it – get married, follow my fiancé wherever he got a residency, work for a few years, buy a house, have children, be the perfect family, and then retire. There was no room for adventure, no room for anything unplanned. Not to be misunderstood – I wasn’t looking to build a life that was a series of responses to unplanned events, but I wanted a little room to explore, to have the space to figure out who I was, who I wanted to be. For all the other ways the marriage would have been perfect, in this way it wouldn’t have been.

My mother was devastated. The neighbors told me she told them I had bipolar disorder. I confronted her about it and she said it seemed I was having trouble making decisions. My grandmother had been diagnosed – I think likely misdiagnosed – with bipolar disorder.  I am quite confident this was the only mental illness my mother knew by name, and to break an engagement to my fiancé, in her mind, definitely signaled mental illness. My father was upset I was upsetting my mother.

I had a friend who lived in San Francisco who said I would love it there, and she and her roommates happened to have an extra room. I packed up a few boxes of clothes, a box of books, and my bike, and I moved across the country by way of UPS ground.

A few weeks after my move, I found a job through craigslist. Actually, if I remember correctly, they found me. It was 2000 and the dot-com bust hadn’t fully imploded. Post your resume, enjoy your latté from the neighborhood café, and wait for the recruiters to call. I had money saved up, but I don’t know what I would have done if I hadn’t found a job sooner rather than later. I was so set on getting away, getting out, and recreating my life, and I was so convinced that moving to San Francisco was what I was supposed to do, I guess I just assumed it would work out.

Armed with my naiveté and a bit of luck, things did work out, at least for a few months until I got laid off. I was reselling software for a web development company when the share price of the company that manufactured the software dropped beyond recovery. My company wanted out. My position had been eliminated.

I remember standing outside the building right after it happened, trying to decide if I should let myself get upset, or take my usual approach and tell myself to get on with it. I settled on a combination of both. One minute of emotion and then I called a friend from my recent employer, who met me outside. We went out like nothing out of the ordinary had happened. I remember her commenting I was handling this well. I told myself this layoff was just a blip; I wasn’t going to let it define me.

I posted my resume on craigslist and got another job three weeks later at a web development company. All of their business had come through referrals, and referrals were starting to trickle. I was there for six months before they folded. I knew it was coming. One of the founders had been kind enough to take me out for coffee and lay it out. “We’re going under in two weeks and everyone is going to get two weeks’ severance, or we’re going under in three weeks and no one is getting anything. Either way, you’re getting laid off.” The CEO opted for three weeks – no one got anything.

I posted my resume on craigslist again. This time, no one called. The economy had turned. No one was getting jobs. Everyone I knew had been on unemployment at least once. The neighborhood cafés were full during the day. Rent prices started to drop.

Almost a year later, I found a consulting job through a referral and then a more permanent job through another referral. Things were back on track, until that company started priming themselves for a buyout and laid off a sizable portion of their staff to reduce operating expenses.

I fell into temp work through a friend and used it as a networking opportunity. I researched every new company where I temped. I introduced myself to people. I took people to lunches. I wrote thank you notes and bought small thank you gifts. Eventually, one lunch led to another, which led to another.  Finally, I got a call for a job interview – it went well. I was relieved to once again be employed.

This would be the first job I left on my own accord. I moved to New York City to pursue my second masters at Columbia University focusing on workforce development issues. I wanted to translate my experience into something larger than myself. I wanted to do something I felt had a purpose.

I Googled my former fiancé recently. It appears he’s a successful physician who happens to live in the same Southern state my parents do. If we had married, I’m sure his career would have trumped mine. The trajectory of my career wouldn’t have influenced where he went. I would be living a few hours away from my parents. My mother would come for the weekend and we would shop at upholstery stores for fabric to cover a wing chair and for drapes.

I would have never gotten laid off, never had to worry about paying my rent, and I would have never been forced to think about what I really wanted to do, who I really was. I would have been comfortable, but unchallenged and unchanged from the way I started out. I would lack resiliency and the aspects of my character I now value most.

Jul
7
2011
She Was The One

The Saturday morning beach traffic they’d so carefully avoided by driving down on Friday trapped Emily as she drove back from the grocery store. She had promised the kids frozen waffles  but then forgot them at the store. Going back for the waffles took considerably longer than she wanted it to, but she sighed and tried to stay in vacation mode.

The beach house was still quiet when she got back. If the kids wanted to sleep in, she wasn’t going to stop them. It would give her a chance to be alone with Todd.

But she couldn’t find him anywhere inside. Emily walked out to the patio overlooking the beach and saw Todd sitting on top of the picnic table. He sat with his elbows resting on his knees and his face in his hands just watching the ocean. Her mood lifted at the sight of him. The swish of the waves coming in masked the noise of her return and unnoticed, she felt compelled to watch him.

Emily’s eyes followed Todd’s gaze as he watched a woman running on the beach. She smiled and rolled her eyes. It wasn’t unusual for Todd’s head to get turned by a beautiful woman.  Emily wasn’t the jealous type. Todd had opportunities to be with other women, they’d even had a brief period while dating when their relationship was open. But he chose her.

Still, after fifteen years of marriage and two children, Emily kept a mental list of desired self improvements. Maybe someday she’d even have time to work on some of them. The kids kept Emily plenty busy. While Emily was fulfilled by caring for the family they’d created, she understood why Todd might sometimes enjoy a little eye candy. Emily was “Mom” now. Hell, most of the time Todd referred to her as “Mom” too.

She was about to make her presence known to Todd, when she noticed him sit up as the runner on the beach got closer. Emily studied her and couldn’t see anything particularly striking about her, nothing that would grab Todd’s attention. She wasn’t in any physical distress. In fact, Emily thought, they looked sort of similar. They had the same hair color, some of the same features. The runner was obviously more fit, maybe a touch younger. She just looked fresher somehow. Emily doubted this woman’s significant other called her “Mom.” The thought made Emily’s hand involuntarily try to smooth the flyaway hair she forgot to comb before shopping.

Emily’s next breath caught in her throat when she heard Todd call out,

“Kelly?”

The sound of Todd’s voice startled both Emily and she who might be Kelly.

It took Kelly, for certainly this was Kelly, a second to register Todd before the slightest smile of recognition passed across her face and she said, “Jesus Christ, you scared the shit out of me.”

“No, it’s Todd,” he said in his signature smart ass way, which would have made Emily laugh, but simply made Kelly tease, “I know who you are, dumbass.”

The bantering continued and Emily really wanted to hear what they were saying. She strained to hear them, but nothing could drown out the thought overwhelming her.

That’s her. She was the one.

——————————-

Red Writing Hood is a writing meme from the Red Dress Club. This week’s writing prompt was: “The most frequent advice I come across for amateur writers is, “Write what you know.” “What you know” doesn’t necessarily always mean “your comfort zone.” For this week, take what you know out of your comfort zone. Try a new genre, a new time period, a geography you’ve only dreamed of, fantasy or historical instead of contemporary fiction, try the male POV if you usually write women. Or vice versa. Switch it up. See where it takes you.” Word count limit= 600.

This post is a work of fiction and it was the most difficult post I’ve written to this point. I’m always so impressed at TDRC writers’ fiction posts, but I have steadfastly avoided fiction and clung to memoir. So when I saw this week’s prompt to do something different, I took it as a personal challenge. Out of my comfort zone, indeed!

Constructive criticism is welcome, but I implore you to break it to me gently as I am a delicate flower and fiction virgin.

May
3
2011
Go Back Up, I’ll Wait…

This unplanned break in regularly scheduled blog posts is brought to you by my iMac and its fried hard drive. The WordPress interface on my iPad won’t allow me to post anything more substantial until I get my computer back from Apple with a new (heartbreakingly empty) hard drive.

Stay tuned for a backlog of posts that will be as timely as last week’s headlines.

Mar
25
2011
Weekly Update Haiku Style

Must bump current post.

So I will write some haiku.

Like Abby just did.

——————————–

Lack of sleep hinders

executive functioning.

Lenten promise FAIL.

——————————–

I got back on track.

I’m eating primal-type food.

Sugar all I miss.

——————————–

I wrote memoir post.

It’s hard to tell but I swear

Life is happy too.

——————————–

March madness is here.

Choose my teams based on the coach.

Crush on Brad Stevens.

——————————–

It’s been a long week.

Forgive any miscounting.

I’m not a poet.

Feb
22
2011
Now We’re Cleansing With Oil

Using oil to clean my oily skin is one of the most counter intuitive things I’ve read about in a long time. But if people on the internet jump off a bridge…

Actually, some of the arguments made sense (oil dissolves oil, using products that strip away all your natural oils makes your skin produce more oil, etc…) and when I mentioned it to Dave, rather than looking at me like I was crazy, he started going on about the Romans and how they used oil in their baths, and used a special tool to scrape it off and blah, blah, blah…  That he didn’t immediately think it was a stupid idea was enough for me, I didn’t need any further details about ancient cultures and why does he know all of this useless information about ancient cultures when he can’t remember that I want cream cheese to spread on my bagels?

I started doing research about the appropriate oil mix for my skin type, but laziness and fear of making a royal mess and commitment threatened to end this oil cleansing experiment before it began (didn’t feel like shopping for different oils and mixing a proper concoction myself seemed like a recipe for oil spilling disaster and would leave me with a lot of oil). Then Cave Girl came to the rescue and suggested a premade product. She warned that it would be more cost-effective to mix my own oils, but since I’m skeptical about this thing and I’m lazy, I opted for ordering a small amount of Touchy Oil Cleanser for oily skin. Hopefully, the amount I ordered will last me long enough to decide whether or not it’s working for me. Some of what I read online about this is repulsive, yet strangely fascinating. Apparently after a few minutes of massaging the oil into your skin, you will start to feel sebum plugs that have been released. Repulsive, no? Oh, but how I had hoped this would actually happen. Die blackheads die!

I had a feeling that this would either be one of the stupidest things I’d ever done or one of the greatest things ever, but so far (about a week in) it just seems like it takes a lot longer to wash my face than it used to and that I need to buy more washcloths (neither Dave nor I use washcloths, so we only have a few for guests and I’ve already gone through them all this week). I’ve done the oil cleanse three or four times since I started (I’m doing it every other evening as much of what I read online suggested). I had sort of convinced myself that my skin might look a minuscule amount nicer after the first few days, but by the end of last week I realized it looked the same. No blackhead improvement and actually a few small break outs. I am also disappointed that I don’t seem to be getting that sebum plug removal that many online reviewers mentioned. It’s not that I’m not being thorough, the first night I massaged the oil into my skin for 15 damn minutes. I thought I’d give myself carpal tunnel. My arms started to feel the weight of holding them up so long. I’ve since been doing it for about 10 minutes each time. Then I steam with the hot washcloth 3-4 times and wipe my face. My face feels clean after, so think I’m getting all the oil off.

I had been hoping I’d produce less oil, but so far no dice. In the mornings, my face is as oily as ever, perhaps a little more. I think I might look a little less shiny though.

I’m also confused about this process in terms of skin care overall. In the mornings, I’m OK with just rinsing with warm water, but in the evenings I really need to wash my makeup off. So if I’m not supposed to oil cleanse every night and I’m not supposed to use soap, then what? One night I did a very abbreviated oil cleanse but that’s still a pain because of the time (and washcloth!) it takes to remove the oil. A couple of other nights I just used my usual Dove. I also assume that I can still use my regular sunscreen, but I couldn’t find guidance on this (what I’ve found online is to use a tiny bit of the oil as a moisturizer if your skin feels tight, but I haven’t found guidance about sunscreens that are compatible with this method).

I hate when I get all excited about a new personal care product (Biore strips anyone?) and then it doesn’t deliver, but I plan on giving the oil cleansing method a couple more weeks, at least every other night, no soap, no Oil of Olay, just my sunscreen in the morning. It needs to show much better results than it has to this point if I’m going to stick with it though, because it’s pretty time consuming.