Sunday, June 24, 2012

Blogversation: What do you want from your hometown?

Throughout this year, several bloggers will engage in a conversation at Newvine Growing and on their blogs—asking questions of each other and responding. Others are absolutely welcome to join the conversation, as well. Learn more about the ladies of Blogversation 2012.

So I the short answer for this week's question, What do you want from your homeown?, is simple: Sunshine.

I live in Seattle, see? For the past couple of years, rain has been a reality, not just a myth. For the most part, I don't notice it. I work at home a lot of the time and don't have to deal with messy commutes and frizzy hair. But it can wear on a person. I have some friends who relocated here and have had a hard time with it. They are built for serious summer heat and can't wrap their minds around the fact that summer doesn't kick into gear until well after the Fourth of July.

They also can't stand the passive-aggressiveness. I get that. But I choose to ignore it. I come from the Midwest and see friendly wherever I go. I moved to Seattle seven years ago and have built an enormous social circle here. So like the rain, I just pay the wussy and the lame no heed. 

Well, most of the time. I was soaking in a tub at a naked Korean bathhouse with a friend when a woman paddled over to us and asked, "Do you know how to whisper?"

I was quickly filled with rage. "Are you ASKING us to whisper?" Seriously, just ask us to pipe down. 

So I don't ask much of my city, because it already gives so much to me in sheer beauty and pine-scented air. But, for the love of God, people, please just give it to me straight. I can handle it.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Blogversation 2012: How do you prefer to communicate?

Throughout this year, several bloggers will engage in a conversation at Newvine Growing and on their blogs — asking questions of each other and responding. Others are absolutely welcome to join the conversation, as well. Learn more about the ladies of Blogversation 2012.

This week, the question, posed by Colleen Newvine Tebeau herself, concerns modern communication. I just thought yesterday that I needed to blog about a podcast I was on, two words that weren't part of my vernacular ten years ago. And then I started thinking about e-mail, texts, and mobile phones and how many young people today will never know the joy of finally getting access to the home phone and then getting your best friend or a crush on the other end. There was commitment involved with communication. 

Today we get "Call me maybe." 

So how do I use technology? In every way, shape, and form. As I write this, I just wrapped a hands-free cell phone call with mom as I drove home (which I dialed via Siri), I have a man Skyping me, a friend IM-ing me on Facebook, and random texts showing up on my smart phone.

You'd think I'd want to claw my face off.

However, the truth is, like a frog introduced to a pot of water, I've warmed up to technology as it's infiltrated my personal and professional life. I have many friends in different time zones and it's such a pleasure to instant message with a friend volunteering at an African baboon shelter (and a relief to know she's okay!) or bond on Facebook over Downton Abbey with a brother who I've been previously out of touch with. 

Sure, I used to think it weird that some friends only liked to communicate via text or e-mail. I'd leave a voicemail and without fail, they'd get in touch two days later…via e-mail. Now, I'm sometimes one of those cuckaloos. It may be inconvenient to talk or frankly, I know it will just take up more time than I have to spare. So I welcome technology because it allows me to communicate in new ways and it allows me to pair the technology to the occasion. Quick work question? E-mail with high importance tag. Interview with someone across the country? Skype video call with a headset. Chat with a friend? Facebook IM while I'm watching aforementioned Downton Abbey.


5 Decisions Away with Matt Paxton Podcast

Let's be honest: I stalked Matt Paxton.

It wasn't hard, actually. I quickly zeroed in on him during the first season of Hoarders. His humor, empathy and take-no-shit-while-actually-shoveling-shit attitude quickly won me and a lot of other viewers over.

I wanted to write a book with him, so I e-mailed him. We were on the phone two days later. He already was working with a coauthor on what would become The Secret Lives of Hoarders, but we kept in touch. Not only is he frank and funny, he's been generous in advising me in various business opportunities and ventures and in commiserating with me over what it means to live the dream.

So when he came to Seattle last week to film an episode of Hoarders for Season 5, I jumped at the chance to meet him and be a guest on his killer podcast, 5 Decisions Away.

It did not disappoint.

We sat in his suite at the Residence Inn, bellies full of beer and fish and chips (when in Seattle, go to the Lockspot for salmon and chips—trust me on this one). And we talked…and talked…you get the idea. 

I don't think two hours went by that fast since I saw Deathly Hallows 2. And it was just as exhilarating as seeing Voldemort finally take that pesky Elder Wand up the arse (metaphorically speaking, natch). I don't know about you but great conversation jazzes me. In the podcast, Matt and I cover everything from being present to getting published to yes, all the various things I want to punch in the face. Matt is not one of them.

5 Decisions Away is available on iTunes. I'm in episode #35: Word. I encourage you to check out his other episodes as well. He really is a hilarious dude, with great anecdotes and a big heart. His mantra of never give up, coupled with his personal trials and tribulations and triumphs, will win you over in short order. He uses hoarding as a launching pad into a much bigger discussion about life, love, and the pursuit of a good raunchy belly laugh.

A sampling of my books