Ten Items or Less

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First off, thanks to all for your advice to "take the week off" blogging. Clearly, I took it. And perhaps even more clearly (to me, at the very least) I needed to. This last week was one of the most clarifying weeks of my life and for the first time in a long time spent the week without thinking about what I have to "post about" tomorrow. It's addicting, this blog. Twitter. Checking Facebook. Sharing information. I realized just how addicting it was when I had to physically pull myself away daily... When every time something funny or clever or interesting entered my head I automatically went to tweet it- and then... smacked myself in the face. Because, why? Do any of you really care what I overheard at Trader Joe's? I'm going to predict, no. Especially with thousands of others simultaneously tweeting about what they heard at Trader Joe's. I mean, fuck, you guys! We all go to Trader Joe's, do we not? You know what I mean. So what's with all the noise? Sometimes I feel like I can't fucking shut up and I hate myself for it.

I used to have these really lovely quiet moments inside myself and now it's like, I feel this need to open up at all times in order to be... I don't know... validated? Normal? Interesting?

I don't want to be that girl. I roll my eyes at those girls. And yet... I AM that girl. Except the thing is? I'm not a girl. I'm an adult. A woman. I'm a woman who tweets about dogs wearing sunglasses? I don't know, man. I don't get it. I don't get me. Kids these days. Adults these days.

In summary, before I go waaaaaay off the deep end and you guys think I'm even crazier than last week's post let on, I'll say this: When your life becomes your living, it's impossible to know where to draw the lines. "Don't shit where you eat" doesn't apply to those of us who have spent the last eight years (five here at GGC. Three at my former blog, now defunct) blogging publicly about our personal lives. Fuck! Including my ...Teenage Soul days, I've been doing this for fifteen years. That's more than half my life. I don't even remember what it feels like to journal privately. I have no skill set when it comes to privacy. And sometimes being as exposed as I have been all these years is overwhelming and I have no idea what the fuck I'm thinking and I feel this overpowering need to hide... out... for a week slash forever.

...Gargling with reality after waking up one morning and being like, "oh, this food I'm eating? There's shit in it. Someone pooped in my breakfast. What? What's that you say. Oh, yeah. It was ME who pooped in my breakfast. Gross, self. Gross."
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It felt really good to step away. To unplug from the sensory overload machine and massage the fist-sized conundrums in my neck. Not that those knots don't still exist. They're just...

I'm just...

Rusty with the metaphors apparently. Gosh, that was bad.

Anyway, I'm back. I'm here. I'm fully caught up on Mad Men. (Poor Sally. Sad face.) I did some writing, some reading, spent quality time with my kids sans cameras and phones and computers. Spent quality time with myself, reevaluating my goals as a writer and parent, wife and friend, sister, daughter, cousin, client, dog owner, neighbor, butcher, baker and candlestick maker...Did me some light shopping at "Trader Joes"... Felt for the first time in several months not overwhelmed.

I'll tell you what, kid. There's no therapy like being able to stand in the "ten items or less line" after spending the last however-many-months apologizing to the guy behind you re: your overflowing cart and "you might want to get in a different line, this might take a while."

It feels really good to be unapologetic - to walk out of the market with one bag in hand rather than pushing a broken cart full of overflowing satchels.

That's vacation, am I right?

... But it also feels good to be back.

For better or for worse, this blog is so much more than what I do, it's who I am.

Thank you for sticking around.



zjc | 7:11 AM

i looooove ur blog :) even when u go a little crazy.kidding. but i love the honesty. and i just got ur book yesterday for my bday. sooooooooooo excited to read it.

rachel | 7:12 AM

Good for you! And, I'm glad you're back because guess what? I do want to know what you overhead in Trader Joe's. Most likely it will be a small bright spot in my day. And oh yeah, I love your mom's recipes too.

Elle Vee | 7:25 AM

It is a strange time. There's always been a desire for humans to connect, but the internet has made things almost scarily easy in that regard. I struggle with this oversharing, the persistent publicity of the personal, especially because I enjoy it. And because I enjoy it I feel there must be vice within it. Is it narcissistic? Maybe.

I think my fear of the first-person exposition as exercise in narcissism is what makes my especially revealing posts feel kind of dirty. I don't think I'm used to it yet. Maybe if I were a tween, coming of age in this time, it would seem natural. But I'm still too close to my parents' generation, I know what it is to not say everything you're thinking. Sometimes I think it's healthier, more normal, to leave things (sometimes really important things) unsaid.

Sometimes I think that the words we say and type cheapen the emotion, no matter how articulate the sentiment. It's like that quote by Thoreau, "My life has been the poem I would have writ, / But I could not both live and utter it."

Stepping away from the pen and living the poem. Sounds like good advice from the professional recluse himself. I miss being quiet.

L | 7:26 AM

Welcome back, I missed you :)

Alexis | 7:31 AM

Sometimes we need a break from ourselves, our public selves, anyway. That way you can refresh & come back & do it even better. Yeah...

Glad you're back. :)

Alexia | 7:36 AM

your writing: love love love.

JSweet | 7:53 AM

I don't think you are a horrible over-sharer, just an over-sharer. And let's be honest, a large percentage of traffic to personal blogs has to do with voyeurism, even schadenfreude, rather than with honest interest. I think we have to be honest with that. People want pictures, details, messy stuff. If you can deliver that and still feel okay about it, then you're probably a sociopath. If you can't that's just a sign you're normal.
Also, ask your doctor for b12 shots and take a folate/B vitamin. It helped my unexplained hair thinning a bit.

Marcella | 8:24 AM

We love ya, Rebecca. Glad you're back. Just remember: if you ever need to take any more breaks we'd totally understand. We'll still be here every time you get back! :)

Leslie | 8:57 AM

Welcome back! I do love your blog but respect your need to take a step back from all the craziness. My blog doesn't get nearly the amount of traffic that yours does, but I found myself wanting to quit the whole business. Truth be told, I love blogging, but the way I was doing it didn't work for me anymore, so I decided to change my approach to it.

Your blog really is one of my favorites, so I'm glad that you're back and better than ever. :)

Angie | 8:59 AM

It's funny, I've been checking your blog for the past week - and was equally happy when I saw that nothing new was written as I was just now to see that there was.

Er, probably doesn't make sense, but you know. I hope you had a splendid vacation!

Anonymous | 9:03 AM

I'm glad you are back. I can't tell you how many times you have made me feel better and less alone - like when I am worrying myself sick about something dumb like my daughter being too old for a pacifier. I have plenty of great, real-life friends, but I also get a lot of comfort from reading about your experiences. If a stranger in a different state has the same issues and worries and joys, then it makes me feel more normal. I appreciate your well written and thoughtful oversharing.

Anonymous | 9:20 AM

Good for you, Rebecca! I missed you but I'm glad you had a much needed break. Welcome back!

Lisa | 9:36 AM

Ironically, it is writers like you, who help us take our own mini vacations. Thank you for sharing it all with us.

Kerry | 9:39 AM

You may not want to post this and I'll understand...

I love your blog and I read it everyday, and I was wondering where you went! You truly are a gifted writer.

But I was also wondering why you swear so much in your blogs?

elena from greece | 9:49 AM

If that makes you feel any better, you have been company for me on many lonely days with the baby and my second pregnancy at home. a voice when needed..
I live in a different continent, so yes, what you do is meaningful.

Jenn | 9:49 AM

"I have no skill set when it comes to privacy."

Oh, guuuuurrrl, do I ever know what you mean.

Rebecca | 9:49 AM

You know? Everyone needs a vacation every once in a while. Glad to hear it was restorative for you. And so glad you're back. I love reading your posts.

Polly | 10:09 AM

omgosh! that second picture is so perfect!!! it belongs in the rebecca woolf gallery of fine and modern art for sure!

Sarah | 10:32 AM

Amen! The twitter/facebook/blogging/sharing thing has gotten waaaaay out of control. Friends will still be your friend with you in real life - and find you interesting, even if you don't have an online social life.

I wrote a letter on paper and mailed it at the post office to a friend last week and it felt sooooo good!

Glenda | 10:33 AM

Glad your back. love your blog! you were missed!

Fifi | 10:48 AM

So you took a week off! Ahh, good for you, sometimes we just need to 'check out' for a while. I am so glad you're back, though - one of my daily pleasures is seeing your photos of Archer and Fable!

Laura | 10:51 AM

welcome back....clearly we missed you. I feel like every woman I know who blogs hits a wall at some point and just needs to step away. I've done it a few times (especially with FB...that place makes me crazy) and after a week I always feel renewed and recentered.

OMG...poor Sally. Oh, that Betty. The worst part is I think they've done such a great job with her character that I every time I see a photo of January in the tabloids I get this icky feeling, like she's probably a rotten bitch too.

Anonymous | 10:55 AM

Welcome back, you were missed.

tiffne | 11:04 AM

check out the 3rd picture down on this blog.. i thought u'd like it! so glad ur back. xoxo


Anonymous | 11:06 AM

So happy to have you back. I love your blog.

Thilie | 11:12 AM

I left twitter and facebook for good, it was taking too much time and I also felt it was weird to tell everybody whats up all the time.. I felt weird at first but relieved.. Now I have more time, privacy and if someone wants to know about me I guess they just call or email :)
I still have my blog and etsy shop, email and mobile but I guess I cant live without those, at least for now :D
Take care and have fun in the real world!
xo, Thili

Mar | 11:18 AM

i feel like that too...when I have a thought, an inspired one, the following thought is how to properly word it for facebook?! I have to catch myself and say, seriously?!? I too am an info sharing addict.

Love your blog, its really great writing!

marlene | 12:08 PM

glad you got to rest. welcome back!!!

Unknown | 12:45 PM

I felt the same way as Angie -- equally glad to see that you took a break and that you're back today!

Oh man, that Betty Draper. I feel like mother of the year next to that ice queen.

SpillingOutBeautiful | 12:56 PM

Welcome back. I'm glad your mini vacation did what it was intended to do. I did so miss reading your blog everyday after school....

Speaking of school. I'm not sure when Archer starts kindergarten but wish him much luck for a successful year from all your readers who have watched him grow up.

I guess I'm also really good at run on sentences....

Stephanie | 1:40 PM

Glad you're back, but please never be afraid to take a "vacation." And for what it's worth, I care what you overheard at Trader Joe's...

Zaftig Chick | 1:59 PM

For the record, I LOL'ed at work at that pic of the dog with sunglasses. But I totally know what you're saying... I've felt the same way recently where I can't do something without Facebooking about it or else it's not as fun. A break from "technology poisoning" (as I call it) is essential for some perspective.

Lindsay | 2:17 PM

Good for you. I held off on Twitter and iPhones until the last month & sadly I too am feeling pulled by the dopamine boost that you get when you check your email, tweet, post, etc.
On the flip side what a wonderful time to be a mom, connecting with all of these other moms.
But I hear you.

Anonymous | 2:49 PM

I like hearing whatever you have to say, even if you think it is dumb. When I saw the dog in sunglasses I wished I had been there to see it too. I appreciate your blog so much, and I'm always looking forward to your stories. I don't care if you give TMI or cuss on here, because that's you! If oversharing is comfortable to you, don't let anybody make you feel bad for it...there are plenty of us who love it anyway!

Kendra Cullum | 2:57 PM

Bec, you are amazing at what you do. You are able to write and share the things all of us only wish we knew how to say. You rock and Im glad that you took some quality time away, it is important for us to be revived as wifes, mothers, friends, daughters, etc. i love you girl!!!

Lola | 3:26 PM

i love your blog-i so get what you are saying (as a fellow writer) and I LOVE Traders....We don't have them here in the great white north but every time i go to California i make my friends take me there several times!

Amy | 7:05 PM

Poor Sally, indeed!

Glad you took some time off, and please take care of yourself! I've been reading a *ahem* "self help book" about one of my personality quirks, and the biggest lesson I've taken away is that most people don't acknowledge their weaknesses. They try to power through them instead of stopping and saying "Hey, I'm not OK, maybe I should take care of myself!"

bohomamasoul | 7:39 PM

You are so incredibly talented, and when you know you've got actual FANS, I would assume that could create an overwhelming sense of pressure...and dread sometimes. It's fantastic to take time to get out of the social media craziness. I'm so happy you're back though.

And for the record: I totally DO care what you overheard at Trader Joe's, because your commentary on said overheard convo always makes me laugh. You're good, lady.

Anonymous | 8:42 PM

The thing is, unlike people with "regular" jobs who have other coworkers to vent with about how difficult or draining their job is, your main outlet is your readers.

It is okay. You are only human.

And we like your blog for who you are.

LL | 1:31 AM

I think the reason I always read your site is that I am the exact opposite. I am uber private. I can't even type on my computer if someone is in the same room and I think they can see what I am writing. This makes being a writer difficult ;) Taking a creative writing course really got me over that. I let my boyfriend read something I wrote for the first time in 5 years!

Now I write a blog. Now I open up. But guess what? I still won't let anyone I know read it. They don't even know I have it.

So I applaud you for being able to do that. And for having the guts to step away. Even if it was for only a week. Because it is addicting. Letting it all out. It's freeing, and at the same time incarcerating.

Jaimie | 1:11 PM

I love your blog and the way you write, but I'm glad you realize that you need a break. And I'm glad that you write about it the way you do.

Anonymous | 2:17 PM

Man, I totally related to that post Bec. In so many ways. I'm glad you are back but so utterly and completely understand the need to step away from it all. Love ya lots.
Pascale W.

Jessica | 5:43 PM

I love your blog, and I understand the need for time away from your job. I'm a teacher, and I couldn't do it if there was no time away. Doesn't every need a good vacation now and then, even if it's only a week? I hope you are feeling refreshed and energized now!

Margie | 7:35 PM

Breathing a sigh of relief that what works for you for now is to keep bringing us along on the ride. You've made me laugh and cry, given me great parenting perspective on things like pacifiers, inspired me to dust off my sewing machine, and can I tell you about the delicious meals around here lately? Thank you for all of it. Glad you took a break; glad to have you back.

Meg | 9:12 PM

I hear you by the way, about 10 fold. And I don't exactly blog about my life every day. I blog about my life, maybe, once a week, and I spend the rest of the time blogging about other peoples lives. But still. Yes.

Ok. What do I say that might actually be useful? Hum.

1. I wrote down in a margin a few weeks ago (before I went on a real live vacation without being online out of the country) "Self contained instead of self scattered." Which was about Twitter, and me. Sometimes it's easier for me to keep protective boundaries in place when I blog, and on twitter it's like spamming small bits of myself to the universe, all the effing time. And it makes me feel scattered and sad and vulnerable sometimes. So I've backed off that a little.
2. Re: boundaries. I don't know if you do this, but lately whenever I share a picture or a story I weigh "How much do I want to share this with everyone because it's not only something I want to write, but something I think might help someone somewhere" vs. the fact that when I put a picture or a story on line I feel a little like I gave part of it away. It's not really mine anymore, exactly. So I try to weigh that every time. Turns out I need a lot more stuff that's still mine than you'd think. So I've been sharing... selectively.
3. Private creating. So, um, thisissoobviousright? Not to me, apparently. So, it turns out I can only create publicly when I'm re-fueling myself and creating privately too. So. Yes. I made a little private tumbler blog where I blog in two sentences and pictures that I found inspiring, and f*ck everyone else if it's lazy and only makes sense to me. That helped. The journal helps too.

Which. Ok. That was a novel. But mostly I'm just saying GIRLFRIEND, me too. And passing you a drink. And commiserating about what stress will do to your body. And nodding my head about how we both should slow down and take care of ourselves. And then sighing since that's only sort of going to happen, and passing you another drink.

So. Cheers. And sigh. And me too.

Meg | 9:13 PM
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Stef | 12:27 AM

I hate it sometimes too. The noise, the chatter. It's just that it never stops. In fact, it seems only to grow. Been toying with unplugging, myself. Unplugging a little?

But I do like your writing a lot. And that dog was really funny.

MargieK | 9:09 AM

I get your point, but still want to pout that the nearest Trader Joe's is in Santa Fe, which is an 8-ish hour drive. If it were an hour or less, you can BET I'd be there more often!

And I hope I'm not embarassing myself by saying that I check your blog once a week (I have more time on the weekends), so your week off wasn't too distressing. Glad it helped.

Maybe instead of blog-surfing I should be working on all the cool pictures I took, so that *I* could put something in my long-neglected blog. :p

Eva | 10:47 AM

No matter what you do and who you are, you need to take vacation! Give yourself the abysmally low American standard of 2 weeks per year at the very least. We'll all be here :)


What is up with all the noise? That is an excellent question. What IS up with all the noise? We just cut the cable round here to diminish some of the unnecessary background noise. I don't even blog in a fraction of the capacity you do and I also feel overwhelmed sometimes.
I think that the psychology of social networking and blogging and it's impact on individual/family social development would be the stuff of a fascinating thesis!

Althea | 4:34 AM

Glad you took a break. You inspired me to ditch Facebook for a week, and it was very refreshing. I don't plan to go on it as often. I really SHOULD be cultivating relationships in the real world as opposed to that on the intertubes.
However. Were it not for the internet, I would so not even know you. Yeah, I might have found your book at the library, but I never would have gotten the chance to see you grow and change along with me (and a billion others, I"m sure).
Thank you for reminding me that there is life outside the suburbs. That it is OKAY to hold on to the youthful parts of yourself. Thank you for the motivation to paint my nails and eat quinoa and wear something cute today.

Adrianne | 6:47 AM

So I don't normally think of P!nk as being very deep. The exclamation point alone is enough to drive that idea home. BUT, throughout this post, I kept think of some of her lyrics:

"I don't want to be the girl who laughs the loudest. Or the girl who never wants to be alone....
I don't want to be the girl who has to fill the silence. The quiet scares me cause it screams the truth."

I've always loved that. Thought you might too. Glad you got a break. Glad you're back. Your blog is what gave me the courage to finally start my own.

A Serious Girl | 1:29 PM

I've said it before and I'll say it again. I think you're brave for writing what you write here - the good, the bad, the hairless. What you do is beautiful and inspiring and helps people all over the place feel like they're connecting to someone who understands what they're going through. Myself included. Brava! Bravissima!

Ray | 6:07 PM

And I'll continue reading for however long you write. <3 Glad you got the vacation you needed.

I think we can blame the obsession with blogging and tweeting (though I don't tweet, I'm just generally speaking): with just the Internet, itself. Everyone's on it. It's easily accessible. Almost everyone has it in their homes. And it's how must of us communicate on a REGULAR/CONSTANT basis. It's become the way of the world. It's like we're pressured to communicate this way. To be heard. Because face-to-face contact and things such as letters, are becoming less and less.

Though sometimes we need to take a break from the internet to live real life. Like you said: "To unplug from the sensory overload machine..." and to spend,"quality time with my kids sans cameras and phones and computers."

That's very important to do. To get away from technology. To be free from it. To not let it always own you. No matter what year we're in. Whether it be the present 2010 or 2030: we can always choose to free ourselves of something when it becomes to much. Even technology.

Circus Daily | 10:14 PM

I love your blog and find it very inspiring. I also can relate with the whole walking the fine line between public and private. Just started a blog and I am struggling with this in my posts. How far do I want to go with this? Is it too much? blah blah

I'm also quickly learning just how addicting this is. Seems like the "blog" is always on a back burner in my brain. If I see something funny or interesting or if my boys are doing something entertaining I immediately think...STOP everything grab camera this is blog worthy. I love it, but it's a new relationship, me and the blog.

I totally understand why you needed a vacation, but am very happy your back.


daniloth | 9:10 AM

Welcome back, Rebecca. I also struggle with balancing recording/observing/sharing your life vs. the just living of it. In my case, I've strayed to the side of not sharing so much, but just so that you know, your sharing (i.e. blog, book) has been one of those things that kept my sanity during my post-partum crazies, so thanks! Also, I'm expecting my second at the end of Jan., so I would appreciate if you kept sharing (totally selfish, I know), as I expect I'll find it at least as good at making me laugh & cry at exactly the right time the second time around.