The Exorcism of Jessica Kane

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With the exception of my family who are either bound by blood or the legal system to love me and remind me how cool I am, my bestie Jessica Kane is hands down my biggest fan. It was Jessica who harassed encouraged me until I finally started my first blog, and then commented and ooh and awed and cheered every word I wrote until the doubt demons shut the hell up and left me alone!

Well, most of the time anyway. What can I say, it’s not always easy to practice what you preach, and maybe that’s why she is always so supportive, because no one knows how hard it is to walk the walk better than my partner in crime Jessica.

A marketing, social media and design genius, she has built a million websites and brands for a million different people (including this one, she created this website!). She is also a confidence crusader, encouraging women to love themselves and believe that they CAN be the most confident girl in the room, on her personal blog Life & Style of Jessica Kane.

Yet, even though she strives everyday to follow her own amazing advice, she often needs a serious smack gentle reminder from Pep Talk Polly to help her focus and get back on the road to world domination.

Recently Mrs. Jessica Kane was honored by the Portland Business Journal with a 2012 Women of Influence Award. A huge honor for someone so young, who has already accomplished and achieved so much. My honor was that I got to be her plus one, and thank goodness for that. As the day of the big event dawned every doubt demon inside Jessica’s head came out to play, and I got a phone call from my panicked best friend where she fretted and focused on every tiny little thing she could except…

The amazing part about her being honored with an award!

Faced with a raving lunatic person in need Pep Talk Polly came to the rescue and reminded Jessica again and again to stop stressing out and remember everything was going to be awesome because , SHE WAS GETTING AN AWARD!!!!

Here she is with her award.  So you’d think that would be it right? With honor in hand, Jessica would finally realize her own genius and the doubt demons would be banished for good. That’s how it happens in the movies right?

Except, doubt demons are sneaky! They surfaced again while we were having coffee after the banquet. Sitting across from her discussing our upcoming new business venture, he doubts began to resurface. She questioned her abilities, her expertise, her own marketability with clients.

She didn’t have a degree, or a book… or obviously A CLUE!

Trying desperately to talk some sense into her I found myself picking up her award and sort of waving it at her, trying to get her to focus on it. Trying to get her to recognize what she had just accomplished.

My theory for what happened next was that the positivity of the award and my words began to burn the doubt demons, because in the middle of my diatribe Jessica yelped,

“Jeez, Mandy! Stop waving that thing in my face. I feel like it’s a crucifix or something!”

Seizing the opportunity I thrust the plaque further into her face and shouted,

“Out Self Doubt Demon! Out! I will exorcise you from this amazingly accomplished woman so that she might recognize her greatness! Out in the name of Pep Talk Polly!”

Overkill, I know, but the resultant burst of laughter was perfection, and got her to stop stressing about the "what ifs" and instead enjoy her amazing day!

Sometimes we get so hung up on the little things, and the what ifs, and the things we haven’t done yet, that we forget to acknowledge the amazing things we HAVE done!

I'm as guilty of this as anyone!

It's imporatant to have someone who can give you a smack when you need it and remind you to enjoy your successes instead of always focussing on the things not yet accomplished.

Afterall, what are best friends for?

Can you relate? Are you familiar with the Doubt Demons? Need an exorcism?

I think Jessica's next treatment will involve a chain to hang her plaque around her neck.

Hey, if Flava Flav can rock it, so can Jessica!!

The Tale of the Magic Hair Dryer

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It’s Friday. A perfect day for a perfectly random, and slightly pointless story.

When I was a kid my Dad had a T.V. in his living room that I think might have originally been owned by The Flinstones.  It had a dial for the channels, and an on/off button that clicked in and out, and doubled as the volume control.  It was white with a 19 inch screen and had an honest to goodness rabbit ears antenna attached to the top.  Generally the only thing modern about it was that the picture was in color.

My sister Myriam, who was 6, didn’t care how old the tiny T.V. was.  All she cared about was that she could watch her cartoons in peace, while the rest of us sat in the other room and enjoyed our questionably more mature programming on the big modern T.V.

On the surface it seemed like the perfect arrangement, but there was one problem.  Some vital piece inside the tiny white dinosaur was broken, and no one was brave enough to open it up and find out what the problem was.   All we knew was that the T.V. would randomly shut off, and could only be coaxed back on by clicking the on/off switch in just the right way.
Usually with your tongue stuck between your teeth and your eyes squinched just right.

One day when the T.V. randomly clicked off while I was watching it, I got up to go through the motions, and I found an area on the back where the plastic appeared to be melted.  Could it be the T.V. was overheating, and that’s why it was turning off?

Well, remember, this is “The Tale of the Magic Hair Dryer”…

The thing is, and don’t ask me how, but someone in our family figured out that if you took our old Hair Dryer and aimed it into the vent on the back of the T.V. it would somehow fix whatever the problem was, and just like that you could flip the T.V. back on.
No joke, the Magic Hair Dryer looked just like this!
Incredibly, the Hair Dryer also worked on my Dad’s falling apart, P.O.S., blue car.  If the car wouldn’t start, Dad would run an extension cord outside, plug in the Hair Dryer and aim it at the engine.  After a few minutes, he’d get behind the wheel and viola, the car would start.

Now that I’m an adult I’m sure it probably had something to do with drying out the old car’s sparkplugs, but as a child there seemed only one reasonable explanation.

The Hair Dryer was magic!

Again and again, whenever the car wouldn’t start or the tiny T.V. shut off we’d run to grab the Magic Hair Dryer.  Then my parents got a really nice tax return, and replaced the car and the tiny T.V., but I always wondered what had caused the melting on the back of the T.V.

Recently while visiting my sister, the topic of the Magic Hair Dryer came up, and this is what I found out.

One day Myriam was watching her favorite cartoon when “click” the T.V. turned off.  With a cry of rage, she stomped off to retrieve the Magic Hair Dryer, and for 5, 10, 15 minutes she aimed the hot air into the back of the T.V..  Nothing happened.  The T.V. would not turn on!  Completely frustrated, and yet still sure of the Hair Dryer’s magic, Myriam perched the enchanted appliance on the back of the T.V. and went to find a snack.

Mystery solved.

How about you guys?  Any family mysteries? Any weirdly magic appliances?

Please don’t confirm that my childhood was as weird as I think!

The Bringer of Nightmares

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Being a creative type person I am both blessed and cursed with an overactive imagination.  For instance I am 31 years old, and I am terrified of Zombies.

Yes, I realize Zombies don’t really exist.

Yes, I know that likelihood of a Zombie hiding in my shower, lurking at my bedroom window, or bursting through my front door is pretty much nil.

Yes, I am aware that the really scary, superfast, rip your face off in the blink of an eye type Zombies you see in the movies are 100% fictional.

For goodness sake, I’m a grown adult!  Of course I know these things, but it doesn’t change the fact that any time I am witness to any type of Zombiecentric entertainment what-so-ever, I will spend the remainder of the night jumping and twitching at every shadow and noise in my bedroom.

Like I said, overactive imagination.

So imagine my horror as I was trolling through Etsy, my not-so-secret obsession, and I found this.

Jesus, Mary and Joseph!!!!  Call an exorcist, because I’m about 99.99999% sure that this “toy” is possessed!

Really, who would give this to their child to play with?!?!?

Oh, and in case you simply must own this horror movie waiting to happen, you’ll be happy to know it is currently on sale,  That’s right, now for the low, low price of $8.00.  According the listing that is a savings of THIRTY DOLLARS !

Just think, with the $30 you save, you’ll be able to invest in a metal lock box.  Believe me you will need one to make sure this tiny ambassador of pure evil doesn’t sneak up on you when you are sleeping and…


What about you guys?  Ever found something like this?  A toy so creepy it needed to be locked in a box and buried at the bottom of a deep dark hole, for the sake of all humanity?

Sweet Dreams my Lovelies!

My Mom Hates Whistlers

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Yes, you read that right. I said Whistlers. 

As in "Those-Who-Purse-Their-Lips-and-Expel-Air-Causing-a-High-Pitched-Birdlike-Noise"

Being a grown woman who has not lived with her mother for many years, this bizarre little factoid had completely slipped my mind, and for very good reason.

My Mom is one of the most positive people I know, and what could be a more positive activity than whistling?

I mean Whistle While you Work, Whistling Dixie, Whistle Your Cares Away...  

So recently when I was reminded of her irritated response to this seemingly benign and joyous expression, I had to seize the opportunity to get to the bottom of the mystery.

First, proof that I am not completely deluded when I say, my Mom is 100% upbeat and positive…

Mom, would you say “glass half full”, or “glass half empty”?

Definitely half full. There’s still liquid in the glass for goodness sake. Drink and enjoy!!

Okay, good. Just what I expected you to say. Next, what is the single most important philosophy you live by?

Enjoy each day as it happens. Don’t worry about the past, there’s nothing you can do about it except learn from your mistakes. Don’t worry about the future as it hasn’t happened yet and you’re wasting the day that you have in front of you.

Yup, I gotcha. Right in line with the woman who raised me. So, in the spirit of Pep Talk Polly, what is the best thing someone can do, in the moment, when they find themselves in a “pile of crap”?  

Laugh!!! It clears your mind and helps you to deal with whatever crap life hands you.

Perfect! Now, let’s get to the nitty gritty. You like music, right?

You bet. I love to sing along with a good melody.

Good so my memories of you singing to Miss M when she was little weren’t just the delusions of a sleep deprived mama! Thank goodness for that! So, if you love music and singing, what gives, what do you have against Whistling?!?!?

There are very few people who do it well and it hurts my ears. It’s like nails on a chalk board.

I see. So you’re sort of a whistling snob.  Only the best for your ears.  Do YOU know how to whistle?

A little, but I’m terrible at it.

Interesting!  Could it be your dislike is a little bit of jealousy?  How about when the Dwarves sing “Whistle While You Work”, in Disney’s Snow White? Feel any urges to duct tape their mouths closed?

Not really. The Dwarves do it well and it’s fun to listen to. It fits the theme of the story and makes you tap your feet to the music.

Ah, I see! So, it’s not that you hate all whistling, just the people who suck at it.   Whenever I whistle I inevitably hear the disapproving, “Amanda, really?!?”, so I guess that's you saying MY whistling sucks.

Ouch, gotta say that stings just a little! Hmmmmmm, how do you feel about humming? Is that okay?

I don’t mind humming unless the person is lousy at it and/or hums the same thing over and over and over again. If that’s the case, they should be shot along with any whistlers!!

Yikes, message received! No more whistling in front of you! I’ve got a child to raise!

Or maybe I’ll get some lessons. Anyone know a Master of Whistling?

In the meantime, in honor of Mother’s Day, what weird pet peeve does your Mom have?

Here’s to you Mom, I promise I will refrain from whistling in your honor today.  LOVE YOU!!!