Someone Stole My Name!

Someone stole my name!  I know I am probably not the only Cheryl Huffer in the world, but someone had the audacity to steal my name!

I once had this blog at cherylhuffer.com.  And then it was stolen!  No, do not open a new tab and look at the miscreant’s page!  Do not give them the satisfaction.  Keep reading and all will come to light.

About forty days into the 366 days of my 42nd year of life, I decided I wanted to buy a domain.  For a measly $22.00 a year, I could provide direct access to my blog instead of asking my followers (I think I had a whomping  50ish followers by then) to go through the generic WordPress page.

As a firm believer in Hollywood movies that show people being “discovered,” I knew this one change was going to lead me into the paid writer world.  My pIan was to write something  genius, have it go viral, and because I owned my own domain, some publisher or editor would easily find my brilliance and insist on flying me to New York and offer me a writing contract on the spot!

So, Life as I Understand It officially became available on cherylhuffer.com in February 2012.  My foot traffic did increase, but that might have just been through my own marketing and WordPress access to users.  Thus, it worked, sort of.  It was easy to tell people how to find me.  However, besides for an amazing day in November when I was Freshly Pressed, I didn’t get much more than a hundred views a day.  Sure, my following increased, but my phone never rang, and like the bride left at the altar holding a bouquet too garish for any sophisticated wedding, I never did catch a big break.

Needlesstosay, I continued to write, and the next February, I renewed my domain.

My writing became sporadic, but still the next February, I renewed again.

And the next February…I let it lapse.  At that point, I hadn’t blogged in almost  a year, and people could surely reach me by means of WordPress once again.

A few months in, a faithful friend called me.  He said that he was trying to reference my blog to show it to someone.  Yet, he couldn’t find it.  It all but disappeared.

Frantic, I logged into WordPress and all my posts were still there, but the access points had changed to default, and it was more difficult to find.  I grappled with the necessity of having a domain; I decided it wasn’t necessary.

However, last year, I realized that my blog was funky.  I sentimentally went on to read “My Frank McCourt Moment,” one of my favorite pieces I have ever written, and I realized I couldn’t find it.  The website was haywire because my simple domain did not match well with the generic WordPress domain.  Fearing that I would lose some of my favorite stories to cyber space, I decided I needed my baby back.  I took out my handy-dandy green Citizens Bank Visa. I opened up the purchase page, I typed in my domain… and it was no longer available!  cherylhuffer.com had been bought!

Of course, I immediately opened a new window and found that some hacker stole everything: “Life as I Understand It.”  “Where Insight and Humor collide.”

My name!

My title!

My tagline!

The most egregious component of my stolen identity was that one of my blogs was still attached to the page– a little ditty I titled, “Say It Ain’t So, Joe;” and the only entry the rapscallion had written was about gaming.

I was besides myself.  I am not a gamer and I did not want my domain associated with a topic that had no understanding, no humor, and no insight.

So what is a girl to do when she has been wronged?  Rectify the wrong.  I bought a new name.  A better name.  cherylhuffer.org.  The “org” makes it more swanky, don’t you think?

So here I am today–blogging once more.  I still have my tagline, my title, and my watchful eye.  So, feel free to keep reading and tell your friends. It’s an easy Google search away.

Oh, and if you cheated and looked, you already know– the other blogger who tried to steal my identity no longer exists.  The gamer lost the game!

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Birthday Blog

Hi!  I started this blog on my 42nd birthday and committed to writing for one full year.  I wrote more than a year, and then I stopped.  I cannot lie, when I was writing every day, I couldn’t imagine life without it, but when I quit, it seemed impossible to return.

Recently, two former students who secretly found my blog while in my class, tweeted that they missed it, the blog.  I realized that I missed it, too.

Thus, on my 47th birthday (yes, I am not shy–  I am closer to fifty than forty), I have decided to give it a go, once again.

For my first blog in a while, I would like to share my conversation with Carson.

Hannah and Olivia want me to blog.

So blog.

I do miss it.

So blog.

I know, but my back hurts.

So blog from the iPad.

I don’t have anything to say.

Sure you do.

You’re right.  I could talk about my fear of yoga.

Fear of yoga?

Yeah.

What is your fear of yoga?

Farting.

What?

I’m afraid I will get into some pose that’s supposed to open me up, and it will literally, “Open me up.”

Mom!  

The fear is real!  I must admit though,  two of the most euphoric days of my life involve the blog.

Wait.  Two euphoric days?

Yeah.

Involve the blog.

Yeah.

Not Dad or me or Lizzie or Maggie.

Um, well, yeah, those days were euphoric, but they weren’t about me.

Mom, you birthed me.  That definitely was about you.

Yeah.  And you and dad.  And definitely dad. It started with him, hubba hubba!

MOM!

Well, you started it.

I didn’t mean to start that?

Oh you didn’t.  Tequila may have.

MOM!

Sorry.  Anyway, I just meant the blog gave me an accomplishment that was all mine.

What days then?

The day I was Freshly Pressed and my April Fools blog.  I never felt so giddy in my entire life.  Each time, I felt like I had accomplished something.  Really accomplished something.

So write.

Maybe.  I think I will shower first.

Oh good God, you are a procrastinator.

No. I am not.  I am not procrastinating.  I am blogging.  To anyone who reads, thank you!  I will try to make you laugh more than I make you cry.  God Bless!

 

A Zen Little Unplanned Existential Experiment

This morning, I did not expect NOT to go to work.  I mean, it was a figuratively balmy 8 degrees at 6:00 when I awoke, and the temperature was only going to climb as the day progressed.  In no way would calling school be justified again.  The Polar Vortex was done ravaging us with wind chills in the -40s; it was time to get back to normality.

However, at 6:13, a friend texted me, “No school again ?!?”

I thought he was joking.  I had not received the call, and this friend of mine, he can be somewhat of a jokester.  However, I walked out of the bathroom, and wouldn’t you know it, the phone rang one-minute later.  Today, school was cancelled because the majority of the busses wouldn’t start, and they could not, of course, allow the little dumplings stand in the frigid air while the few busses that did work tried to manage all of the routes.

Day Three.

The first thing that went through my mind was a song I used to love in the 90’s.   My mind could hear the riff of the guitar as the words played in my mind:

For three strange days
I had no obligations
My mind was a blur
I did not know what to do.
And then I lost myself

I, for the life of me could not remember anymore of the song.  I could not even remember who sang it.  Thank God for Google and the world-wide web.  I vaguely remembered the band School of Fish and when I looked up the lyrics, I found that they were actually really depressing.

For me, these have been three strange days, but unlike the lead singer, I have not lost my motivation.  On the contrary, I have relished in the gift of freedom that snow days bestow.

A gift, you scoff!  What about all the other days off?

Don’t you think, dear reader, I know you are dubious of the complexities of my job.  You see it as a cake walk: three days at Thanksgiving, two weeks at Christmas, Spring Break, and then nine weeks in the summer!  But, what you do not understand is the paradox of teaching: we work our asses off for 187 days a year because we need for the students to excel and be better at whatever subjects we teach, and in order to do that, we need days off to regroup, reevaluate lessons, and recharge our batteries.

Everyone feels burnout, you say.  Well, I do not disagree, but please, try to be a teacher for even a year, and you might think a little less critically of our chosen calling.

Now, I do not mean to put you on the defensive or make you angry.  I love my job and I am grateful for the time off that school districts give students and teachers to restore their enthusiasm and yearning to learn.  Likewise, I was grateful for our winter break.  I crossed many items off of my list.  I shopped, cooked, entertained, visited, cleaned, worked out, graded some papers (not as many as I should have, I will admit), and relaxed with my family.  It was the perfect break.

Oh, but then the Polar Vortex hit, and three magical free days were conjured in the universe.  Free Days.  I did not plan on these days.  I did not have a schedule of chores that needed to be accomplished.  I did not have any set list of items that needed attention because these days were not planned, and thus, they were a gift.

For three strange days I had no obligations….

With no obligation comes the ability to just exist.  I kind of zenned out in my own little existential experiment.  I realized that nothing had to be done, so I decided what should be done was anything that I wanted to get done.  Do you understand the enormity of this gift for a 44 year-old, full-time working mother of three?

So what did I do?

  • I read The Fault in Our Stars cover-to-cover.  I would recommend it because it is incredibly well written, but blubbering for forty or more pages makes it a hard book to recommend.  Okay, screw it.   I cried but I also laughed. You should read it!  It’s that good!
  • I worked out twice!  I never find time to workout during the week, or is it that I find a million other things to do besides working out during the week?  Well, whichever way, the endorphins made me feel strong.
  • I played countless games of Life with the girls.  I won more than once.  I always pick the college track, and I think they are starting to realize that long-term earnings increase exponentially with a college education.
  • I slept.  One can NEVER sleep enough, in my opinion.
  • I cooked delicious meals.
  • I blogged.

It was a glorious, unencumbered three days, and it was almost better than any planned vacation.

If only I could give the gift to each of you readers so you can understand how having three strange days can seem like the perfect motivation to get done some of the things you never seem to find time to do.