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Monica Bielanko
That's What She Said
Just A Junk Drawer Dream
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Monday
May252015

Sassy Lady Singing The Blues

It's evening. Not quite dusk but the sun is slowly sinking behind my neighbor's tall trees, dappling my yard in lemon tones. A breeze plays the leaves on the trees like a concert pianist, the oceanic result competes with Billie Holiday; sassy lady crooning her heartbreaking blues from my record player. I'm here. Two kids sound asleep, one roasting marshmallows in a neighbor's backyard. An ice cold beer sweats next to me as I tap keys and wonder what I'll type next.

This website is still my home here on the Internet. Sometimes I log in here with purpose, with something to say, seeking a response or interaction, maybe. But tonight I have nothing specific to share with you but still wanted to share something. I don't know. I'm as interested as anyone to see what my fingers type...

Life is so full of twists and turns... About the only thing I know for certain is that nothing is certain. Nothing. Check that. The only thing that is certain is that I am a mother to three beautiful babies. Gorgeous souls whose shining eyes cause lumps in my throat and tears in my eyes on a daily basis. I have given up all plan-making, all future desires. This life I'm carving out over here, smack dab in the center of Pennsylvania, is a day-to-day endeavor. I work my ass off. I am a good mom. I love people and people love me. I am at peace with everyone in my world. Almost. And that is enough. At least for now. All the rest of it is noise.

I am also scared. I feel like a broken person, unsure of many things, especially about myself. But goddammit, I'm trying. I am living carefully and deliberately and trying to be a good, honest person. And that is what matters, I guess. Anyway, as I approach the ten year anniversary of this website I wanted to thank you, whoever you are, for being here. For bearing witness to my fucked-upness, for giving a shit. I like it. I'm glad you're here and I'm glad I'm still here ten years, three children and a divorce later.
Wednesday
May202015

I Swear in Front of My Kids and I Don't Give a Damn

I was raised, as most of us are, with the notion that there are “good words” and “bad words.” I was encouraged to use the good words and discouraged, under threat of spanking from my Mormon mother and grandmother, from using the bad ones. This contraband list included, but wasn’t limited to, the usual suspects I believe the comedian George Carlin once nicknamed the “7 Dirty Words.”

As it turns out, in my adult life, these are the words I enjoy the most.

Continue reading on Babble.com.

Read more from Monica on Babble.com.
Saturday
May022015

#motherhood

Tuesday
Apr282015

Memorandum: That Kind Of Person

I worry I'm becoming the kind of workaholic who can't go a few hours without checking her emails. I manage a team of people, including storm chasers who are out and about in severe weather, and am also responsible for a large portion of the company website so the emails are plentiful and mostly important. Except, of course, those lurking among us who get 'reply all' happy and hold the rest of us hostage with the subsequent 'reply all' email orgy. Thanks for the 43 extra emails, guys.

Thing is, I'm not interested in being the kind of person who scurries from home to work and meeting to conference call all while religiously checking my iPhone for new emails. And yet I find myself being that kind of person. Probably because I really like my job. But still, I see people who are that kind of person and have determined that some people get off on being that kind of person. These are people who happily employ jargon-y office phrases like "deliverables" and "drill-down" and "action items" and then there are other people who slowly die inside until they are mere shells of their former selves; pale, slumping against anything and everything, flasks hidden in desk drawers, haunted eyes... I am of the latter persuasion.

It's a catch-22, isn't it? Job at a place with people I really love but at what cost? It's this fine line I now find myself walking; attempting to do a job I dig while trying to remain a fun, carefree person who isn't beaten down by the officey officeness that infiltrates your soul. I suppose I'll know it's time to quit if you ever catch me bandying about phrases like "low hanging fruit" and "run it up the flagpole" and "synergy" or "circle back" or "best practices" or "value add" or... Sweet mother of god, can someone just put me in a dark basement corner and let me do my thing? We're putting cover sheets on all TPS reports before they go out now and I've got to jump on a conference call to schedule a meeting about that so we can effectively cascade the relevant information.

Also, have you seen my stapler?
Friday
Apr242015

The Freak Out and Other Tales

You thought I had bailed on the blog? Perhaps you hoped I had bailed on the blog? Maybe you hate-read here as much as I hate-watch The (Un)Real Housewives of wherever and my continued absence allowed you to turn your attentions to more intellectual internet pursuits? The Instagram wormhole that is #kyliejennerlipchallenge, for instance? Too bad, suckas. I'm still here. And I ain't ever gonna stop! Or I'll stop. Only thing I know for sure anymore is that I don't know. You know?

Personal blogging in this form seems to be all but dead. I already lost you after the first paragraph because it was longer than 140 characters, right? This post is like that really long Facebook status update that arm wrestles you into reading it only because you can't fathom anyone has five paragraphs of shit to say on Facebook and holy God this isn't even on Facebook it's, like, an entire click away and that's soo faaarrr and it takes tooooo long and are we there yet? This is taking forevverrrr. I have to pee again.

Which is why it makes perfect sense for me to keep writing here. It feels like pushing a reset button on personal blogging. Any blogger who could string two words together has ascended to book deal-dom or sponsored posts and trips and giveaways and there ain't but a handful of folk left just sharing stuff because they like to write. In some ways it feels like the beginning of blogging again. No ads, no sponsored posts and for godsakes no conferences and networking... Nothing but me and you. Which is how it all started. Full circle.

I like it.

I had to take a blogging breather there for a bit because shit got really heavy for me. Clearly it was heavy for most of 2014 - baby born/separation/beloved dog dies/divorce and a few other life-altering occurrences not fit for public consumption (if it happened and I don't blog about it did it really even happen?!) but somewhere around the time my divorce was finalized in January I kinda freaked out. I know, I know! MONICA, the shovel-wielding, ex-girlfriend stalking, emotional hurricane having a freak out? No way. Impossible! But yes, my internet friends, yes. Full-on nervous-breakdown-panic-attack-in-my-car-at-work mode. I couldn't breathe. Thought I was dying. The usual panic attack stuff. An ambulance may have been involved.

I thought I had it under control but control is just an illusion I was presenting to myself in a desperate attempt to keep from freaking out. Turns out, you can only keep The Freak Out at bay for so long but much like that one relative you're trying to avoid at your cousin's wedding, The Freak Out will find you. Especially if you keep giving it the finger and soldiering forward. The Freak Out loves a trooper. Makes the inevitable freak out even better. One has options during The Freak Out. One can continue to blog while in the thick of it and sometimes it's helpful but if I've learned anything over the course of ten roller coaster years of this blog and reading the blogs of others it's that, in most cases, blogging while in the thick of it often leads to regret. And sheeeeeiiit; a full-time job, freelance writing, three kids... Who has the time to share all their feels on their blog?

But life has reached a new albeit chaotic groove. Serge and I are dating. Which is... interesting. I was offered a new position at AccuWeather and am now Video Content Manager which basically means I get to keep a lookout for great video all day with the coolest crew imaginable. I also get to coordinate a bunch of storm chasing dudes and AccuWeather recently launched a network on cable so I'm involved with writing and editing stories for the channel which gets my old news junkie adrenaline pumping in all the right ways. I'm still writing for Babble.com and have no plans of leaving any time soon although I've scaled back my commitment quite a bit. Mom.me recently asked if Serge and I would resurrect our old He Said/She Said video series and we agreed. So I've got the internet's judgmental comments about my relationship, my appearance and my kinda-lisp to look forward to! And I just had a pap smear come back normal so there's that too! Look at that. Things are shaping up nicely.

So yeah, all in all, things are better. Which ain't saying a whole helluva lot considering where I've just been. Shit had nowhere to go but up, it's scientifical. Anyway, y'all interested in a role call? Who's still out there checking up on me? Reveal yourselves! Got any questions or comments? Lay it on me, string bean. Let's catch up and restart this thing properly.

In closing, this:

A beautiful evening wanes. #louisarmstrong

A video posted by Monica Bielanko (@monicabielanko) on