Tag Archives: blog

New year, new blog title

Say hello to Chick Writes Stuff.*

Don’t worry. Nothing else will change. The web address is still aprillbrandon.com. The writing will be the same. And believe you me, my art skills have NOT improved (if anything, they’ve regressed).

I’ve just never really liked the original title (which I thought of four years ago after taking a Tylenol PM and drinking a vodka and cranberry).

*Thanks go out to my good friend Nick for the suggestion.

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I’d like to apologize to my mom for the following…

So, it was Mother’s Day this past weekend. Which means that all of us (minus the majority of reality TV stars, whom I’m praying were the result of some government cloning experiment gone terribly wrong and thus don’t have mothers) spent the day sucking up to our moms and giving her useless gifts like cards covered in three tons of glitter and stuffed bears that sing annoying songs.

But considering everything my mom had to put up with (and all the toxic fumes from the constant hairspray cloud hanging around my teenage head she had to breath in), I’d like to take this holiday a step farther and give my own mother something she really wants:

Validation that she was pretty much always right and overdue apologies for a wide variety of infractions.

And so, Mom, first and foremost I’d like to apologize for my birth. Because I am a mom now. And I now know you weren’t exaggerating when you compared the pain to pulling your lower lip over your entire head.

Then there was the Great Tomato Standoff of 1986. That’s three hours of waiting for me to eat a vegetable you’ll never get back.

Oh, remember when you signed me up for that second year of ballet and it was only after you had paid for the entire year and bought me three new tutus that I announced I no longer wanted to do ballet? That was fun, huh? Oof. Again. So sorry.

Let us also not forget The Great Brownie Lie of 1990, when I blamed the missing brownie piece (of the pan of brownies you SPECIFICALLY told me NOT to eat) on the dog. Oh, and that time when I was 14 and called you a very bad word under my breath (which didn’t stop you from hearing it) on the phone because you wouldn’t let me pierce my eyeball and tattoo my tongue.

Actually, now that I think about it, I apologize in general for 1996.

For every time I made you listen to the New Kids on the Block “Hangin’ Tough” album over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over again, I am deeply, deeply sorry. For every track meet you had to sit through in the volatile Ohio spring weather, but specifically that time it hailed and you toughed it out only to watch me get seventh place in the 300 hurdles, I apologize even more.

All those times I told my brother he was actually an alien baby from Uranus (heh) that was dropped off on our doorstep and they would be coming back for him any day now, I…well, I’m not exactly sorry for that because I still find it HILARIOUS, but I do own my part for his current crippling phobia of UFO’s.

That time I got busted for drinking a Zima when I was 17? So dumb. And again, so sorry. And yes, you were right. If I was going to get busted for underage drinking, it should have been for a less embarrassing drink.

And lastly, for all those birthdays I got you a “coupon book” (Good for one free hug!) because I was too cheap to buy you an actual gift. Which is why you are getting a semi-fancy retirement home that is only occasionally accused of elderly abuse.

There’s so many more I could add (but let’s leave the majority of my juvenile record out of this now that most of it has been expunged).

I love you, Mom. Thanks for letting me be me (even when being me included talking on the phone with my BFF for, like, three full hours about how amazing Brad Pitt’s hair was “Legends of the Fall”).

 

 

What do you want to be when you grow up?

 When you’re a kid, your interaction with adults is usually confined to the following conversations:

“How was school?” which was always followed by “Fine.”

“So, got a boyfriend/girlfriend yet?” which was always followed by “No…gross.”

And the ever popular “So, what do you want to be when you grow up?”

If I was 5 and you had asked me that last question, my answer probably would have been “dog.” Perhaps I was just an inherently lazy child, but to me, dogs were living the ultimate life. Sleep all day, eat whenever you want, get petted, roll around in some gross stuff, fart whenever you want and sleep some more. Now THAT is the true American dream.

If I was 11, however, and you had asked me this question, I would have said model/actress/archeologist/doctor (while doing research as a marine biologist on the weekends, naturally).

By 15, most likely my response would have been along the lines of “Whatever…hey, how noticeable is this zit?”

But by 17, I would emphatically declare that I, Aprill Brandon, was going to be a writer.

By 18, a great writer!

By 19, a world-famous writer! Who would eventually go on to star in the movie-versions of her novels alongside Orlando Bloom as the lead male.

By 20, a teacher!…which lasted up until my first 15 minutes of student teaching, when it instantly switched back to writer!

By 21…well, that whole year is pretty fuzzy so my answer would most likely have been “Letzzz do ‘nother shot, bitchessss!”

The point is, for a very long time all I wanted to be was a writer. And so I became one, working as a journalist and columnist for the past six years.

But if you were to ask me now, at the age of 29, what I want to be when I grow up, the answer is simply “I don’t know” (although sometimes, if I just got done watching “Blade Trinity” for the 114th time, I’ll respond with “Ryan Reynold’s post-divorce rebound”).

Perhaps it’s because I left my old job to move to Boston with my husband and now have the time and opportunity to explore other career avenues. Or maybe I’m just burnt out after so many years in a high stress, demanding job. Possibly it’s because the big dirty 30 is creeping up on me. Or it could even be I’m beginning to feel a little out of my league considering Boston attracts a whole lot of wicked smaaaht people.

Whatever the reason, I’m at a loss what my next step should be. Hell, I’m at a loss what my next sentence should be.

I mean, even with this blog, I’m not sure what I’m doing. Technically, the whole theme is…well, there’s not even really a theme other than “hey, I’m almost 30, just moved to Boston and have no idea what I’m doing.” And apparently in this day and age, first-person writing needs to document a year of your life as you cook, or eat, pray and get laid, or read the entire encyclopedia or whatever the next blog-turned-book-turned-movie that is coming out is about.

And looking through job listings just makes me tired. From what I can tell, my options outside of media are pretty much confined to barista or project manager for some company that I can’t pronounce.

So, should I take this time to explore other options (how hard can it be to make a non-fat, soy latte with an extra shot of espresso anyway?), or pursue my lifelong dream? Or is it even my dream anymore?

I guess the real question here is: Is writing what I do, or is it who I am?

Hmm…maybe I had it right when I was 5.

Waiting for the other shoe to drop

My husband generally gets home from work every day at around 7 p.m. (note the “generally” and “around”). However, by 7:03 p.m. every day, I am convinced he was mugged. Or had an aneurysm. Or got hit by a car and is lying in a ditch somewhere. Or was a victim of a sadistic serial killer named Meat Claw.

Or actually finally did meet Keira Knightley, who agreed to run off with him to Aruba (which, per our informal pre-nup, is permissible… by the same token, Ryan Reynolds, if you happen to be reading this, my husband is completely OK with us running off to Puerto Rico together… just throwing that out there, buddy).

I haven’t always been this way (the crazed, worried wife, not the crazed, Ryan Reynolds stalker… the latter has been going on for years).

In fact, this constant worrying has only been going on for about a month, which not-so-coincidentally, is how long we’ve been in Boston.

But it’s not for the reason you think.

I love it here. Every day is, in the words of the common vernacular, a wicked awesome adventure. I find myself constantly getting inspired in terms of my writing and photography, and I’ve finally achieved my dream of becoming a syndicated columnist (granted, writing for one newspaper is a pretty broad definition of the term “syndicated,” but I’ll take what I can get). I also now have my own website, something else I’ve always wanted to do.

My husband loves it here possibly even more and his new job working at the Boston Globe. He’s working fewer hours, too, which means we have more time as a couple to explore the city (and stalk Boston-bred celebrities like Mark Wahlberg).

And we are now finally financially secure enough that we don’t have to live paycheck to paycheck anymore, a lifestyle we’ve been accustom to since our days as pimply-faced teenagers working the fryer.

We just found a perfect apartment, located in a great neighborhood, right by a park with a river running through it (complete with three bedrooms, huge kitchen, two porches and a driveway, all of which is usually downright impossible to find in our price range in a big city).

And to top it all off, I’ve been losing weight without even trying, mostly thanks to the fact I walk everywhere since I’m terrified of attempting to drive here.

We’ve never been happier. Even our freaking dog seems happier.

Hate me yet? I know! I totally would, too!

It’s just all too much. All too good to be true.

Which is why I am constantly worried something bad is going to happen. I mean, the other shoe has to drop soon, right? No one gets everything they’ve ever wanted, do they? Maybe even a better question is, do we truly deserve all this good fortune that has befallen us?

Oh sure, we’re good people. We adopt rescued animals, are above-average tippers and recycle if given the chance (and by “if given the chance” I mean if a recycling bin is in my direct walking path at the very moment I finish my soda).

But we’re by no means saints. When asked at the gas station if I’d like to donate a dollar to help one-legged orphans with lupus in Kurdistan, I usually decline. I judge people who wear fanny packs. And the two times I actually remembered to bring our cloth grocery bags doesn’t mean much when you think of the 7,843 times I forgot and just went with plastic.

And so, I sit here waiting for some disaster to happen, like getting burglarized by a shoe thief.

But hopefully, after awhile, when my husband never does get mauled by a rabid pit bull, or I never end up spontaneously going blind, I’ll learn to just enjoy our new life and realize it’s a waste of time worrying about things I can’t control.

Until then, however, I’m going to try to be a better person (like, for instance, one that doesn’t take a penny with no intention of ever leaving a penny). You know, just to try and balance the karmic scales.