Wednesday, October 10


Oops…I promised a recipe for Saturday’s post and totally flaked!  Well, partially flaked. I thought about it on Friday afternoon…but  then forgot again.

I’ve spent the last couple of weeks doing book signings for Ghost Hunting Michigan (which reminds me that I need to update that blog, too…) and have been mostly having a super awesome time.
But a couple of weeks ago, I had a very not-awesome time. And I want to share that experience with folks, because it really seemed to bring out the worst in other people and that made me very sad on a couple of levels.

To truncate a long story, at this point in time, I don’t have a whole lot of people in my life—at least not who live nearby. I’ve got some super awesome friends out of state, but it’s really hard to go out to coffee with someone who lives in New York or catch a movie with my friend in Chicago. It’s harder still to have a drink or make a big pot of broccoli soup for a friend who lives in Finland. So I was cruising on Craigslist, actually just doing some research (wanting to see what personal ads look like these days…man that’s another story altogether.) But I noticed ads for platonic relationships.
Now, quite a few of these are not platonic in nature (“man seeks young hottie for afternoon delight”), but there seemed to be a few earnest people out there who just wanted to meet new people. So I decided to post my own ad, just to see if maybe there were some other folks like me: a little quiet, kind of creative, age, ethnicity, relationship status not important, I’m a happily married woman, not looking to cheat, just meet a few new people.

And within two hours, it was flagged for being “inappropriate” and removed.


I double checked; I was in the right category. Since I had to identify the gender of people I was looking to meet, I decided to go for f looking for m, mostly because I really hoped to meet a guy who might want to go to Menjo’s with me (that’s the local gay bar I’m using as one of the settings for my WIP).
Deciding to figure out what rule I’d broken, I did as Craigslist suggested and went over to the forums—where I was promptly ripped to shreds for “writing a bad ad”. 

Huh? (again).

I didn’t lie about who I was or what I was looking for… and in fact, THAT was the problem.
One woman (I swear she sounded like a dude) wrote (on a public “help” forum) to inquire if by “creative” I meant that I (and I quote) that I “crochet my pubic hairs into doilies?” Yikes. When I called her on being a total jerk she told me that she meant it as a joke. I’m still not laughing.
But the response that killed me the hardest, on a much more personal level, was the guy who informed me that by saying “I’m an introvert”, I was somehow not putting my best foot forward. Didn’t I understand what an introvert was? He decided to tell me, just in case I didn’t: someone who “retreats mentally”.



Well, okay, maybe sort of, kind of, maybe.

Except that that isn’t the whole picture—and it’s an example of the B.S. that I’ve been putting up with all my life. See, many, many, many people (including some jerk on Craigslist) think that being an introvert is bad. It’s something to be overcome, and if we just try hard enough, we can become happy extroverts with the rest of the world.

But that couldn’t be further from the truth. How do I know? For about fifteen years, I tried. (Consciously). Growing up, I got the same treatment: Introvert is bad, extrovert is good. Only extroverts succeed. I had to get out there, grab what I wanted, be more outgoing, talk to people, go to parties….and I did it.

I was miserable.

Only I didn’t know why I was miserable until I took a class where the teacher had us take a Meyers-Briggs test. I started out answering what I *would* do in the various situations given…then went back and answered the questions according to what I would*want* to do. What I wanted to do was nearly the opposite of what I’d conditioned myself to do.

Guess what I discovered: I’m an introvert. And that’s OKAY. Yes, that’s right. It’s okay to be an introvert. The teacher talked to us about the differences between introverts and extroverts (the class was a management course, so there was a focus on managerial styles, but it really applied to life).  She made it clear that the only way for introverts to be truly happy was for us to find some time to ourselves, because that’s how we recharge our batteries.

Extroverts recharge their batteries by interacting with other people. They need human contact—introverts need human contact, too, but in smaller quantities and we usually prefer the company of people we know and love rather than crowds of strangers.

Introverts tend to process internally—we usually think more than we talk. Extroverts usually process externally—they talk it out. Both methods work for solving problems, each person just needs to embrace their strengths and weaknesses and (to quote Tim Gunn) “Make it work”.
So I have a message to the introverts out there: be yourself. Don’t let anyone tell you that you’re selling yourself short, or “not putting your best foot forward” because you’re quiet. (And by the way, I’m an introvert, but I am NOT shy… which is another topic, because extroverts can be shy and introverts can be outgoing. Outgoing introverts may be in the minority, but we do exist).

It is very unfortunate that in this country introverts are so undervalued. We’re pretty cool people. 

And as for Craigslist, I chalked it up as a learning experience because, no, I hadn't broken a single rule... except for the "most important rule". I wrote an ad someone didn't like, and that's all it took.

For today's recipe...

Vegetarian Stuffed Peppers

4 red peppers (or really any color will do, but I love red the best)
2 cups of of couscous (a Middle Eastern grain) cooked according to the directions on the box
1/2 a medium (yellow or white) onion diced
1 can of artichoke hearts (cut the hearts in half)
1 tablespoon rosemary
3 cloves fresh garlic minced (or you can use a garlic press)
about a dozen pitted black olives, sliced up (or just buy a can of sliced olives)
about a dozen cherry or grape tomatoes, sliced in half
about 2 tablespoons of olive oil
1 lemon

Heat of olive oil in a skillet and sautee onions, garlic, until onions are translucent, add in the rosemary, artichoke hearts, olives and tomatoes, and cook until warm. Mix in the cooked couscous, squeeze in lemon juice.

Halve the peppers; stuff each half a pepper with a couple of tablespoons of veggie/couscous mixture.

Lay them out onto a baking pan and bake at 350 degrees for about 45 minutes.


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