Worst blogger ever

After one too many creeptastic search terms that generated views to my blog, I took a hiatus. I continued to post the daily exploits of Stumps and Beans, but on the much less threatening facebook, where I know all 500ish people who have access to read about my children in real life.  I will backward blog the highlights into the archives to fill in the past three months soon. In the meantime, nothing motivates me to de-lurk out of blog sabbatical more enthusiastically than a ridiculously age-inappropriate Biblical-themed picture colored by one of my tiny daughters at their church preschool.

Don’t worry sweetie. Very few of our nightmares actually come true. And in truth, I hear that being violently impaled by a spear is actually a surprisingly peaceful way to die.

stumpsgiant

 

Stumpsandbeans is stalkable!

We here at Stumps and Beans are both excited and ever-so-slightly embarrassed to announce that we now have our own facebook page (creatively named stumpsandbeans.com) …and though I am entirely too longwinded to figure out how to properly tweet, so it is actually a bit of a trainwreck, I am on there too. @stumpsandbeans

Join the slightly struggling social media efforts of the House of Stumps and Beans :)

Let the sunshine in…

So what if “Winning a blog award” is essentially a euphemism for being tagged by the internet version of the long-extinct snail mail chain letter. So what if one of the blogs that I love to read refers to blog awards as “f***ing blog herpes”. A dubious award. Whatever. I’ll take it!

Tric of Thoughts on a Page really brightened my day when she selected Stumps and Beans as one of her ten blogs for the so-called Sunshine Award (which from this point forward, I will refer to as the Sunshine Project since no self-respecting award should ever require this much work). When I realized that she hails from Ireland and writes in verse, I was pretty excited. Visiting Ireland is high up there on my bucket list, so one day Tric I might drop by and thank you for my Sunshine Award in person. Ha! Anyway please visit her blog. It is well-written and full of charming Irish colloquialisms that are both lovely and exotic (Seriously, I really don’t get out much) to read aloud for a homebody like me. I mean – “Fairplay to her” and “She doesn’t half love herself”. I would have too entirely much fun attempting to awkwardly work those into everyday American conversation. Just in time for St. Patrick’s Day, perhaps I could get away with it for a couple of weeks? All kidding aside, thank you Tric. I’m flattered.

sunshine award

I am tasked with answering 10 questions and then passing the spammy blog herp “award” along to ten others. Seeing as how when I completed the Liebster project a few weeks ago, a) I could only ever come up with ten people to award it to b) several had already completed a recent Liebster post and c) the rest have thus far opted to not participate (which I completely understand since that particular challenge took HOURS), part two of this project where I have to pass it along to ten more bloggers should be interesting for me to sort out.

1. What inspired you to start blogging? Friends and family encouraging me to blog. My utter failure at producing baby books for my two children or any sort of record of their milestones and lives. My secret (well, I guess it is not secret anymore) desire to in 20-30 years semi-retire to becoming an author.

2. How did you come up with a name for your blog? Stumps and Beans are my girls’ actual nicknames. I am more than a little ashamed that my one year old apparently thinks “Beanie” is on her birth certificate as that is how she answers when you ask her name.

3. What is your favorite blog to read? Bloggess, Momastery, The Spohrs Are Multiplying, Honest Toddler, 2027, NittyGritty, and very recently I discovered Jaded Apothecary and Reedster Speaks

4. Tell me about your dream job. Being a writer. Probably the most expected, cliche,  and unimaginative answer for someone who blogs as a hobby. In the meantime though until the book deals start pouring in (ha!), I work as a generalist in human resources management and really love it.

5. Is your glass half-full or half-empty? I am somewhat pessimistic. I think it is a defense mechanism for self-preservation. Expect the worst and you will rarely be disappointed or crushed, and instead will usually be more-or-less pleased.

6. If you could go anywhere for a week’s vacation, where would you go? Ireland. Even moreso after reading Tric’s blog! :)

7. What food can you absolutely not eat? My least favorite foods are pungent cheese (Think: bleu, gorgonzola.), and chocolate chips (yes.) I am pretty adveturous about trying new cuisine but the one thing I have never been able to bring myself to taste is a crawfish – Nasty. I think that probably makes me a true failure as a southerner.

8. Dark chocolate or milk chocolate? Milk chocolate. Just please not in chip form. Something about the texture of a chocolate chip… Blech!

9. How much time do you spend blogging? Hmm. Including my lunchbreak and that hour or two of paradise between when my children go to bed and when I do, probably on average 90 minutes or so per day.

10. Do you watch TV? If so, what are your favorite shows? Every morning I watch the news. The only other shows I watch are always DVRed – SNL, How I Met Your Mother, and So You Think You Can Dance. Until they went off the air, my favorite shows were Wonder Years (waaay back in the 80s) and Scrubs (waaay back in the 2000s). That’s about it.

So this list will be a work in progress, but I challenge the following 10 8 bloggers to accept the Sunshine Award by answering the ten questions above and then passing it along to ten more bloggers of your choice (and making sure they know that you selected them):

1. http://twoohtwoseven.blogspot.com

2.http://www.reedsterspeaks.com/

3. http://andsoithappened.com/

4. http://kandjstaats.blogspot.com/

5. http://jamesfamilytakeseurope.wordpress.com/

6. http://slimegreen.me/

7. http://www.oneclassymotha.com/

8. http://onloanfromheaven.blogspot.com/

9. Who wants to up their blog exposure?

10.  …any takers?

An interview follow-up letter in the Hall of Shame

Received via email from a candidate whom I recently interviewed (and wanted to hire!) and copied & pasted essentially verbatim:

“good morning kimberly,

thank you very much for your time yesterday.  it was a sincere pleasure meeting with you.

i appreciate your insight into my possible career with your organization.  i want you to know that i am extremely interested in this position.  the more time that we spent conversing, the more i became interested in the open position… {you get the point} …

best regards,

clueless applicant”

Folks he didn’t even take the time to capitalize his own name. Or mine. Or the pronoun “I”. Yes I am criticizing a candidate’s grammar with a series of choppy sentence fragments. The irony is not lost on me. This is a blog but that was a professional thank you letter. From someone whom I sincerely believe really wanted to be hired. Now the content of the letter was fine. Generic (if I were a betting woman I would put last quarter’s bonus on him changing just the recipient and organization name and sending the same letter after every interview) but acceptable. I appreciated the prompt follow-up and this is a candidate who made a very good impression during our meeting.

Why on earth would he sabotage a great interview with a follow-up note entirely crafted with lowercase letters?? I am left second-guessing my faith in his ability to accurately focus on the details necessary to be competent at the job.

Candidates for employment  – why do you put the hiring managers of the world in this position? I don’t care if you are using an iPad, a cell phone, a typewriter, a Ouija board, or Morse code to apply for (and communicate with a recruiter about) a job.

USE PROPER SPELLING AND GRAMMAR.

I can’t stress this enough. Really. I will blog about this again. It will become redundant.

Incidentally, Clueless Applicant has a masters degree masters’ degree master’s degree (oh hell, now I’m self-conscious) MBA.

you will critique my appallingly subpar blog grammar and feel that i am a hypocrite. i can take it. really. just please stop being careless in your cover letters, resumes, and thank you notes.

This intimate, personal, and vulnerable side of blogging sh** is going to take some getting used to

Yesterday I was flattered and delighted to see that I was given a “Liebster Award” badge from the Sunday Dinner Farm girl. I love homesteading blogs – in part because I am the anti-homesteader. I despise cooking, have a black thumb, live on 1/6000th of a generic suburban acre, my only pet is a fair-fish that refuses to die, and while I love my children more than life itself, I love working outside the home. Because of this, I thoroughly enjoy seeing how “the other half” lives. SDF – I look forward to learning more about you! Your blogs about homecooked weekend meals make my mouth water while I sit here consuming highly-processed convenience foods chock full of seven-syllable ingredients whose names I can’t pronounce. And the fact that you moved across the country with only the belongings you could carry on a motorcycleSo! Awesome! Please blog about this :) Thanks so much for the invite to participate!

I don’t know a lot about blog awards, but my understanding is that they are a way to

a) meet more bloggers (which is a community I love being part of)

b) give other newish blog authors some more visibility (more than happy to!)

c) tell anyone who happens to be reading some getting-to-know-you trivia about me (along the lines of that “25 random things” facebook post that made the rounds a few years ago). Everyone knows how enthusiastically I embrace the opportunity to overshare. Challenge accepted.

Per the rules of the esteemed and obscure Liebster award, first I am supposed to list 11 random things about me. Heregoes:

1. Stumps and Beans are their nicknames in real life. In fact, my one-year-old refers to herself as “Beanie” and will say unbearably, heartachingly sweet things like “Beanie cold”, “Beanie tooted”, and “Give Beanie kisses”. I am not 100% certain she has any clue that this isn’t her actual name.

2. Husband and I met nine years ago when he sauntered into my work cubicle, put his cell phone and other personal effects into one of my desk drawers, and then walked away arrogantly without saying a word.

3. I do not have a single first cousin and have always felt completely gypped.

4. I have dislocated my kneecap twice. Once when I was eight and again when I was thirteen. It hurt like a motherf***er and is the only pain I have ever experienced that was even more excruciating than when an OB nurse asshole turned off my epidural during the “pushing” part of childbirth.

5. I attended my first gay wedding a few months ago and Husband and I had a blast!

6. I was diagnosed with clinical depression when I was 15, obsessive-compulsive disorder when I was 20, and chronic sciatica when I was 28. There is actually a medication that exists which happens to treat all of these things at once, which is both a dream come true for me, and also immensely disturbing. Anyone who has ever been a guest in my home knows my OCD unfortunately has zero to do with hardcore intense housecleaning. However, I twitch my right side, blink my right eye, and tap my right foot five times to psychologically compensate for every one time any of those things occurs on my left. Otherwise I feel completely out of balance and off-kilter, become extremely restless and anxious, and can not think straight. Sorry to deflate your ego, but I wasn’t winking at you. I was just ensuring that my featherweight right eyelid is in balance with my left, which for some reason feels like it weighs a thousand pounds. Makes perfect sense right? :)

7. I am very much pro-choice, but think that placing a baby for adoption is one of the bravest, most selfless, saintliest (totally just made-up a word right there) and most-admirable things a person can do. I feel the same way about adoptive parents. “Firstmoms” and parents who adopt – I kind of love all of you.

8. My little Bean had some minor anatomical mouth-abnormalities at birth and I was never able to breastfeed her. Since I successfully breastfed Stumps for 14 months, the heartache and grief over this damn near killed me after Beans was born. In addition to exacerbating my at-the-time dormant depression, my OCD kicked into high-gear over this and I became some sort of frighteningly prolific breastpumping powerhouse. I would pump seven times a day, wake myself in the middle of the night to pump, and catalogue every new record # of ounces pumped in one session to top my prior personal best. I was training for the liquid-gold-expressing-human-dairy Olympics. At my most obsessive, I peaked at a record 24 ounces of breastmilk per pumping. As a result, though my Jellybean was never nursed “on tap”, she never had a drop of formula until she was well over six months old. In the end, as it turned out, Beans was actually exclusively fed breastmilk six weeks longer than Stumps. Without even a hint of sarcasm, and though this may sound utterly ridiculous, my 6 1/2 months of exclusively-pumping so that my second-born would not get the raw end of the milk deal is without question my single-most proudest achievement thus far in my 32 years of life.

9. When I was 11 and camping with my family, my little brother Sasquatch walked into a hornets nest. ‘Squatch did not get stung (bastard), but they attacked me and flew into my shorts, shirt, and the braids in my hair. I was stung probably close to twenty times and MotherCatlady could not get the hornets out of my braids so I was repeatedly stung in the head and inside my f***ing ear. I have been terrified of wasps, hornets, and yellow jackets ever since and am quite certain that this is a phobia I will never overcome.

10. I am very aware that if I were a stay-at-home-mom, my otherwise extremely-well-managed depression would very quickly and agonizingly consume me. I had a very scary taste of this during one of my maternity leaves (I won’t say which one, lest that child read this one day and be horribly offended) and Husband and I unanimously agreed that if it ever became necessary for one of us to save $400 a week and stay home, it would absolutely without-a-doubt be him.

11. You couldn’t pay me enough to go back in time and redo high school. College though, with a few minor and one major adjustment, I would revisit in a heartbeat.

That was Part I of participating in the Liebster project. Since I was inexplicably born lacking that line of code within human DNA that enables people to be brief, concise and short-winded, I feel like I just competed some grueling freak-marathon of the soul.

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Part II was to answer the 11 questions that http://sundaydinnerfarm.wordpress.com posed to her 11 Liebster bloggers. Let’s see here…

1. What color socks are you wearing? worn out blue terrycloth bedroom slippers. So cozy

2. What is your favorite book. Why? Hmm.. I don’t know that I could pinpoint a specific favorite, but  my life is most impacted by memoirs like “The Glass Castle” where the author has resiliently endured such hardship that it makes me feel downright foolish and petty for ever feeling sorry for myself. It’s all like “Self you are extremely fortunate to have the life that you do. Now grow a pair and shut the hell up.” Something like that :)

3. Can you drive stick shift? I could as recently as ten years ago. I have not attempted to since 2003 however, so it would probably be pretty ugly.

4. Name your most embarrassing high school memory. I am sure there are a gazillion, most of which I have mercifully blocked out, so I will just give the first one that comes to mind. I was extremely self-conscious (who wasn’t?) and introverted when I was in ninth grade. Most days, I would sit at a picnic table towards the end of lunch and would get completely lost in thought and stare off into space for long periods of time. When I was 15, a girl in my grade that I did not know or recognize walked up to me in our highschool’s breezeway during lunch with a group of people that I did (sort of) know and asked me in front of all of these people why I was always staring at her. I didn’t know what she was talking about, was completely caught off guard, and I think I just said “huh”. She and her entourage walked away and I avoided eye contact with people for months. I did eventually become acquainted with her in a class several years later and found her to be extremely nice and welcoming. I was also very careful to be on heightened self-aware alert to not be too excessively stare-y. In reflection, all I can say is poor shy, awkward, weird, and clueless little Kimmie. Bless her lonely little adolescent heart.

5. Have you ever had a “free” fish? Was it still alive a week later? The only pet I have is a fish that Stumps won last year at the fair. If spending $5 on a ripoff fair attraction so that my child could win a fish counts as free, then yes I suppose it was free. Fairfishie is in fact still alive and has tripled in size since October. The guy at the petstore told me excitedly “You have had your fair fish for a few months?! This is great news! That means it’s health has stabilized. If you are really conscientious about his care, your goldfish could grow to be 14 inches long and live for up to twenty years!”  Um. Whoa there buddy. Back it on up. Who said anything about a twenty year commitment to something that was supposed to be a disposable novelty pet? When you tell me Fairfishie might live at home longer than my children do, it starts to get a bit smothering. What’s all this talk of lifelong commitment? We are still just getting to know eachother. All joking aside, I have grown fond of Fairfishie in spite of myself. He She It is a) extremely spoiled and b) probably the last fish standing from the 2012 state fairs.

6.If you could choose to vacation by yourself for a week, with unlimited funds, where and what would you choose? Ireland

7. What bizarre food choice/habit do you have? When I was a child, I always put honey on steamed broccoli. As an adult, I always put honey on fried chicken. I put sugar (Never salt. And cheese? Let’s just not even go there. The very idea makes me pukey) on my grits. According to my college roommate, this was pure desecration of a sacred food here in the deep South. I was born in southern California so wth do I know?

8. What is the most important advice you would give to your 18 year old self? Aristocrat Vodka. Please, for the love of God experimental-young-adult Kimmie, JUST SAY NO.

9. Have you ever sung karaoke? Yes. When I was 22 I won $50 in a karaoke contest by belting out an enthusiastically drunken rendition of Patty Loveless’ “Blame It On Your Heart” to an even drunker panel of karaoke judges.

10. What is your bowling average? Dismal. When we have our annual work bowling party, I play the (very legitimate) pinched sciatic nerve card to get out of playing

11. Who killed JR.? I don’t understand the question.

OKAY. Whew! I nominate the following 11 bloggers to participate in the Liebster Award challenge. In order to accept the challenge, you are tasked with posting 11 random things about yourself, answering 11 questions of my choosing (see below), and then passing it along to 11 more bloggers of your choice who have fewer than 200 followers (In a lot of cases I couldn’t figure out the # of followers so I just picked some bloggers that I like and whose responses I think would be interesting)

1. http://newlifeonahomestead.com

2. http://9peoplesfavoriteblog.blogspot.com

3. http://reluctantemptynester.com

4. http://jadedapothecary.wordpress.com

5. http://parentingandstuff.wordpress.com

6. http://yourlittledoodlebug.com

7. http://jodyferlaak.blogspot.com

8. http://merespalette.blogspot.com/

9. http://thesnortfiles.wordpress.com/

10. http://sophieandsus.wordpress.com/

11. just one more…

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Your mission should you choose to accept – answer the following 11 questions, post your 11 random things, tag 11 other bloggers, and notify them in their comments about this whole thing :)

1. What three words best describe your blog?

2. Which songs pierce you right into your soul?

3. What is one deep regret that you have that you don’t mind sharing?

4. What are you most proud of?

5. What blog do you find so clever/funny/compelling/insightful/inspiring that it gives you a bit of an inferiority complex?

6. What is your happiest childhood memory?

7. Where were you when you found out about the 2001 terrorist attacks?

8. If you could bring any retired/deceased/dissolved band or musical artist back for one more show that you could attend, who would that be?

9. What was the first concert you ever attended?

10. What is one thing you would change about yourself?

11. What movies could you watch over and over again without losing interest?

Please remember to let me know if you participate so I can read your entries!