The Little Known Ambivert

If you’ve been with me for a few years, you know I’m in good company on Thursdays. Check out this fantastic group of ladies,  giving insight on various topics.  Click on:

Froggie (Tracey): One frog’s distinct voice on the world around her.

Merry Land Girl (Melissa): Tales of a suburban mom who likes to talk about pop culture, books, Judaism, family, friendship and anything else that comes to mind.

Darwin Shrugged (Denise): Civilized Observations in an Uncivilized World

For this week, Denise wanted to know if I’m an extrovert or an introvert. 

In order to accurately (or, somewhat accurately) determine my personality type, I took a short little quiz, on Quiet Revolution. Here was my result:

“AMBIVERT

Based on your responses, you’re an ambivert. That means you fall smack in the middle of the introvert-extrovert spectrum. In many ways, ambiverts have the best of both worlds, able to tap into the strengths of both introverts and extroverts as needed.”

I’ve never heard of an ambivert. For most of my life, you either fit into one category (extrovert) or the other (introvert). So, I decided to read up on what an ambivert truly is. According to Epoch Inspired,  an ambivert can draw from either personality type, given the situation. It’s considered a flexible personality, fluid. Some benefits of this personality type:

Feeling comfortable around new people, or having alone time

Knowing when to be outgoing, or when to be reserved

Doing things alone, cool. Doing things with others, that’s cool, too

I’d have to agree with the results, although I didn’t start out as an ambivert.

When I was young, I was a total extrovert. Very outgoing, preferred the company of others. While I still had a few introverted characteristics,  like spending hours in solitude, reading, or writing, I still would have jumped at the chance to go hang with friends or put myself into a social setting.

This really paid off for many years, when I worked in property management. I was never afraid to talk with strangers, often sizing up their personalities, determining the best way to converse with them, whether they needed someone more boisterous, or someone who was more quiet and professional.

Since staying home with the kiddos, and having a lot less interaction with other adults, I’ve slipped more into the introverted category. It’s harder for me to start up a conversation, and often I’ll find myself quiet in a group of people, especially when it’s people I don’t know very well.

I’ve decided to embrace it. While I may have been more impulsive in the past, now I’m taking my time with my approach to things, slowing down a little, accepting that my personality is changing the older I get, and that it’s probably for the best. I’m sure in the next few years, I’ll have different life experiences that may make me bring out my more extroverted side, and so I may shift a bit, again.

Which totally explains my being an ambivert. I can pull from either side of the spectrum, depending on the situation and what I need.

After Denise picked the topic, she thought it would be interesting if we’d try to determine where our fellow blog grouper’s personalities fall. I’ve only met Tracey in person, once, and given how outgoing she was, I’m going to say she’s an ambivert, bordering more on the extroverted side. Since she’s a fellow reader/writer, I can see her being comfortable spending time alone, but I can also see her comfortable in a large group of people.

For Melissa, I think she’s an ambivert, bordering extroverted tendencies. She’s also a reader/writer. I think she enjoys that time to herself,  but I know she also enjoys spending time with others. I think she does a really good job interacting with people, whether she knows them, or not.

For Denise, I think she’s an ambivert, with introverted qualities. I get the sense that she really enjoys the comforts of people she knows well, vs. hanging out with lots of people in large groups. Yet, given her professional background, I’m sure she’s had to interact with strangers, people she doesn’t know well, and I bet she’s great at it. She’s also a reader/writer, which means she enjoys that solitude.

What about you? Are you an introvert, an extrovert, or do you fall somewhere in the middle?

 

Breaking Wild, by Diane Les Becquets

Reviewed for Chick Lit Central

When you’ve reached your breaking point, and feel as though you can’t go on, what motivates you? What inspires you to never give up, even when you’re faced with the toughest challenges of your life? That’s what I asked myself countless times, while reading Breaking Wild.

It is the last weekend of the season for Amy Raye Latour to get away. Driven to spend days alone in the wilderness, Amy Raye, mother of two, is compelled by the quiet and the rush of nature. But this time, her venture into a remote area presents a different set of dangers than Amy Raye has planned for and she finds herself on the verge of the precarious edge that she’s flirted with her entire life.

When Amy Raye doesn’t return to camp, ranger Pru Hathaway and her dog respond to the missing person’s call. After an unexpected snowfall and few leads, the operation turns into a search and recovery. Pru, though, is not resigned to that. The more she learns about the woman for whom she is searching, and about Amy Raye’s past, the more she suspects that Amy Raye might yet be alive. Pru’s own search becomes an obsession for a woman whose life is just as mysterious as the clues she has left behind.

As the novel follows Amy Raye and Pru in alternating threads, Breaking Wild assumes the white-knuckled pace of a thriller laying bare Amy Raye’s ultimate reckoning with the secrets of her life, and Pru’s dogged pursuit of the woman who, against all odds, she believes she can find. (Synopsis courtesy of Amazon.)

Amy Raye finds herself lost and alone in the wilderness, with only her wits and survival skills to guide her to safety. Only, there is no safety when you’re stuck in severe blizzard conditions, trying hard to find a way to protect yourself from the elements. I couldn’t get over the utter despair and pain she feels, trying desperately to hold onto the glimmer of hope she has in thinking someone may find her, will rescue her.

At the same time, Pru is doing everything she can to find the missing hunter, even when mostly everyone else has given up. With such rough terrain and terrible weather conditions, it’s not a safe environment for anyone, yet that doesn’t stop Pru from trying. At her side is her trusty companion, Kona, a rescue dog who is trained in search and rescue missions, yet even Kona is having a very difficult time in finding Amy Raye. There is so much snow, all tracks and traces have been covered, scents erased.

What I found most intriguing, was how both characters are dealing with survival. While Amy Raye is going through it on more of a literal plane, Pru is having to survive metaphorically, trying hard to move on from her past and embrace what may be in store for her, in the future. For Amy Raye, she also has a lot of personal baggage to sift through, leading her to the physical struggle she finds herself in.

Through all of it, there is the constant thread of hope that holds everyone together, even when it feels like there’s nothing left to hope for. It’s a true testament to the human spirit, how strong we can be, even in times of strife, and how we never give up, especially when we know what’s out there, when we know what we’re up against. I found both Amy Raye and Pru to be quite admirable, showcasing real grit and courage, both well-versed in the wilderness and how to survive in the great outdoors. It was nice to see such strong female characters. For me, this was a definite page turner, hands down!

A Better Man, by Leah McLaren

Reviewed for Chick Lit Central

Have you ever read a novel you get so wrapped up in, you have a hard time letting go? You tell yourself, “I’ll only read one more chapter…” yet it’s impossible. There has to be some sort of finality. You need to know how it ends! That’s the predicament I found myself in, while reading A Better Man.

The story centers around Nick and Maya Wakefield, an old married couple who are far from old. Their lives are on repeat. Day in and day out, Nick heads to work, while Maya tends to the three year-old twins, trying her hardest to be the best stay-at-home mom she can be. There was a time not so long ago where Maya was part of the corporate ladder, a successful attorney who thrived on late nights and tough cases. She traded it in for bedtime routines and play dates. She will never regret the choices she’s made for her children, but can’t help feeling like those choices have caused an imbalance within her life and in her marriage.

Nick can’t see Maya for who she was, because let’s face it: she’s not the same girl he fell in love with. The way he copes is by distancing himself with long hours at the office and shamelessly flirting with whoever might give him the time of day. He’s at the point of major contention with his lackluster marriage, so much so that he seeks guidance from an old friend, a family attorney who informs Nick that leaving his marriage would mean a catastrophic hit to his pocketbook. This revelation enables the two to conjure up a plan: If Nick can appear as though he’s a changed man, a doting husband who genuinely wants to spend time with his wife and children, it could potentially loosen things up with Maya, meaning she’ll be a lot more cooperative and won’t want to take him to the cleaners when the divorce has been finalized.

What Nick never bargained for, however, is how much he finds himself changing, for the better, and not on purpose. What starts out as a tactic turns into something much more real, and right when he realizes what he truly wants in life, all hell breaks loose, causing what could be irreparable damage. Will Maya ever be able to forgive him? Is this marriage salvageable? I’m sure many of us can relate with this scenario. In so many ways, you can’t help but identify with what both characters are feeling, regardless of the ramifications or whether it’s the wrong or right way to feel. It’s human nature, described beautifully, flaws and all.

Can someone really fake his way to becoming A Better Man? I can’t say for sure, but I do know that this novel was written with absolute perfection. Leah McLaren really takes you out of your comfort zone and pushes all the limits. It couldn’t get any better than this!

Going For Two, by Laura Chapman- Enter To Win Signed Copies of the Queen of the League Series!

Reviewed for Chick Lit Central

Be sure to check out Chick Lit Central’s interview with Laura, and enter to win two signed copies of First & Goal, and Going For Two, the Queen of the League series! 

It’s not often I enjoy a sequel just as much, if not more, than it’s predecessor. That has been my M.O. with not only books, but movies, too. I can honestly say I enjoyed Going For Two even more than First and Goal- and let me tell you, that’s saying a lot, because I thoroughly enjoyed First and Goal!

I really get a kick out of Harper Duquaine. Although she’s what many men would categorize as a “guy’s gal”, on the flip side of that, she’s got a soft feminine side to her that is easily relatable to many women, too. She’s down-to-earth yet has quite a few flaws that make her real. Brook is just as fallible. While so many of us would yearn for a man who loves us just as fiercely and loyally as he does Harper, nothing is perfect. She wants to be supportive of Brook’s budding career, but at what cost to her and their relationship? Is there something more waiting for Harper, or is this where she needs to be, and where she’ll find the most contentment out of life?

I think I enjoyed this sequel in the Queen of the League series a little bit more, because I’m very much invested in the characters, not only the primary ones, but the supportive characters, as well. It’s really neat to see the transition that happens for Harper’s friends, the people who aide her in finding her true identity, her place in the world. I could see real growth in everyone this go around, which makes me more than eager to read the third book in this series, Three and Out, when it’s available, and what prompted this reader to give Going For Two five stars!

Should Your Life After Hours Impact Your Life’s Working Hours?

If you’ve been with me for a few years, you know I’m in good company on Thursdays. Check out this fantastic group of ladies,  giving insight on various topics.  Click on:

Froggie (Tracey): One frog’s distinct voice on the world around her.

Merry Land Girl (Melissa): Tales of a suburban mom who likes to talk about pop culture, books, Judaism, family, friendship and anything else that comes to mind.

Darwin Shrugged (Denise): Civilized Observations in an Uncivilized World

This week, Tracey’s topic involves this video/article. It’s a young woman, a doctor, who attacked an Uber driver during her off hours. Her actions were recorded, and posted on social media for all to see. Tracey says: This individual is now on administrative leave until her employer can determine if there are grounds to terminate her. This brings up the question as to whether or not an individual’s job should be in jeopardy because they had a meltdown (or indiscretion) in public, outside of work hours, that was recorded and posted online. Share your thoughts on this matter.

A good friend of mine recently went through a similar experience, although not nearly as extreme. There was no abuse, no physical altercation. She totally kept her hands to herself, but what she didn’t do, was keep her hands off the company’s merchandise.

It was Halloween. She thought it would be fun to borrow an outfit, to use as a costume. She’d asked the person in charge of wardrobe, and he gave her the go-ahead. Even lent her his keys, so she could open the door and help herself. After choosing something with the right fit, she’d locked up, as instructed, returned the keys, and went on her merry way.

Later that night, there were plenty of photos. Lots of social media involved. That tends to happen when most of the population has a Smart phone, and can instantly post anything they’re doing to a number of websites. That’s what happened to my friend. Facebook, Instagram, you name it, she was there, smiling and enjoying her night off with coworkers and friends.

Roughly a week later, she’d been called into Human Resources. Someone had seen the photos, and they weren’t happy about it. One of the many policies created strictly forbid any employee from taking company items off campus. It didn’t matter that she’d returned it, or that she’d completely forgotten ever signing something related to those policies. The photos were out there, living proof that she’d done something against the rules.

She was never written up. HR gave her a tiny slap on the wrist, considering she’d been an employee for years, a good employee, at that. So, it was forgotten, until nearly a month later, when she found out her job was terminated, and again, HR cited the whole costume hoopla, among a few other things that had never been mentioned before. There’s a lot more to this story, too much to go into, but instead of merely borrowing something and returning it unharmed, her former employers listed her as “stealing” something from the company, which is grounds for termination.

Maybe I’m letting my personal feelings get in the way, here, but I don’t feel my friend should have been fired. It’s obvious there was a huge mix-up. What happened to the guy who’d allowed her access to the outfits? What’s his story, and why wasn’t he on the chopping block? The thing is, there’s no way of knowing the what’s and why’s to the situation, only that my friend found herself without a job.

This is a very mild example of the damage social media can cause when dropped into the wrong hands. Every single thing we do online will never go away, no matter how hard you try. You can delete, block, hide, and try to untangle yourself, but there will still be traces of you. It sucks, it’s unfair, but it’s the world we live in.

The only thing you can do is try to eliminate the negative. There’s a reason we’ve seen so many articles related to keeping it together outside the work hours. Potential employers will often look you up online, first, even before considering you as a potential employee. That’s because they feel who you are at all times reflects greatly on who they are looking for, not just the image you present from 9-5.

Should this doctor be on the chopping block? I can’t help but feel that she should. Not only from a civilian standpoint (who would want her as their physician?) but also from a company standpoint. Beating and berating someone reflects poorly on the company she works for. She’s become a serious liability.

Is it fair? Not entirely. She had a bad day, flipped a wig, went nuts that one time. She could be a completely pleasant person most of the time, and a great doctor. The problem is, how do any of us know that, since all we see is the rage inflicted on an Uber driver?

My friend has decided her termination was for the best, in the long run. I know she’s learned an important lesson through all of this, and will be a lot more careful in the future, not only with following policies and procedures, but also in finding a nicer (better) employer to work for. She’s also working on presenting a more business-minded approach to her social media, keeping her personal life separate from her work life. I know she’s going to have even better prospects in the future, and I hope the doctor will also be given a second chance, and can walk away from this scandal a stronger person, and move on with her life.

A side note: I want to add my feelings re: the public’s reaction where this woman and her family are concerned. I don’t think she, her family, or anyone else should be cyber bullied or targeted, or receive death threats. Two wrongs never make a right, and while the woman’s behavior wasn’t ideal, bullying her is just as ugly and reprehensible.

What are your thoughts on this? Should she be fired, or should she be given another chance through her present employer?

 

 

The Reinvention of Mimi Finnegan, by Whitney Dineen

Reviewed for Chick Lit Central

Thirty-four year old, Mimi Finnegan is the third of four daughters and in her eyes, by far, the most unremarkable. She has no singular accomplishment that can stand up to any of her sisters. And if that isn’t enough, she is the only single sibling in her family.

Mimi’s sisters decide that it’s time she gets serious about husband hunting, so they begin a campaign to find Mr. Right for her. Considering her most recent dating encounters include a night club owner who stuffs bratwurst in his pants and a WASPy trust fund baby, living happily under his mother’s thumb, Mimi is more than ready to meet THE ONE. Enter celebrated British novelist Elliot Fielding.

Sexual tension and anger heat up between the duo and it isn’t until Mimi discovers that Elliot is almost engaged to another that she realizes she is head-over-heels in love with him.

The journey will make you laugh, cry and want to pull your hair out from frustration! Mimi eventually learns that she is quite remarkable in her own right and never needed to worry that she lived in her sister’s shadows.

The Reinvention of Mimi Finnegan is the perfect laugh-out-loud, feel good book for any woman who has ever felt that she wasn’t good enough. (Synopsis courtesy of Goodreads.)

Sara Steven:

I think there are moments in life where most of us feel like Mimi Finnegan, moments where we don’t quite measure up within our circle of friends, relatives, co-workers. Acknowledged as the one with the “prettiest feet” (a moniker she holds onto for dear life, even after she discovers she’s got a bunion) within her circle of gorgeous sisters, it seems as though Mimi will never measure up. While they are happily married to men who rival any hottie found on the cover of a romance novel, Mimi is single, and all alone.

When her sisters take it upon themselves to find a man for her, they set her up with a famous British novelist, a man Mimi has always looked up to and found to be quite fascinating, until they meet in person. He’s got major attitude, can be a bit of a jerk, and did he forget to mention that he’s already taken? That doesn’t stop her from falling head over heels for the guy, once she’s able to see past his quirks and behaviors. But there are stumbling blocks thrown at her from every direction, which makes her question what she really wants out of life. Is the British man the one she’s meant to spend forever with, or is she awesome all on her own, just the way she is, man or no man?

“Mimi” was such a fun read, from start to finish! Whitney Dineen doesn’t pull punches, writing a book that gives us insight into the mind of a thirty-something woman, no sugar coating, the real deal. I enjoyed Mimi’s journey, her transformation. There were moments that had me wincing in solidarity, or laughing out loud at the spectacle she often makes of herself, without even trying. Even with all her faults, you can’t help but love her. Mimi is Mimi, and if you don’t like it? Talk to the bunion.

Melissa Amster:

I enjoyed The Reinvention of Mimi Finnegan every step of the way. It was so funny and charming straight out of the gate. I could tell that Whitney had so much fun writing this story and getting into Mimi’s head. I definitely felt a Sex and the City meets The Mindy Project vibe and fans of either (or both) show(s) will really enjoy this book, as well.

The Reinvention of Mimi Finnegan seemed more farcical in nature, but it was still a lot of fun. I enjoyed the interactions Mimi had with the secondary characters and romantic interests. Even her bunion was a character in itself. It reminded me of the 2003 Renée Zellweger romantic comedy Down with Love. There were plenty of laugh-out-loud moments and I enjoyed seeing New York City through Mimi’s eyes. I really loved her transformation and newly found self-confidence. Wouldn’t it be fun to reinvent yourself sometimes?

The only things that didn’t work as well were that Mimi had it almost too easy (even though she was the first to admit it) and that the ending wrapped up a bit neatly (although most romantic comedies do anyway). Aside from that, the editor could have been more careful with catching spelling errors before it went to print. All small concerns in the grand scheme of what an entertaining book this was!

Overall, it was humorous, delightful, and sweet. Definitely worth adding to your book collection for a nice pick-me-up.

My rom-com cast:
Whitney has already cast Christina Hendricks as Mimi and I can’t imagine anyone else in the role!
Elliot: Simon Baker
Beatrice: Michelle Dockery
Kevin: Josh Gad
Richard: Robert Downey Jr.
Renee (One of Mimi’s sisters; the beauty): Rachel McAdams
Ginger (One of Mimi’s sisters; the brain): Reese Witherspoon
Muffy (One of Mimi’s sisters; the jock): Ali Larter
Voice of the bunion a.k.a. Edith Bunker: Estelle Harris (since we sadly can’t get Jean Stapleton anymore)

Are You A Person, Or A Prop?

I haven’t participated in a writing class in a really long time. A decade, actually. The first go around was strictly online, and the big guy was an infant. He’ll be eleven this year.

Fast forward to 2016. I’d seen some advertising from the local library, offering free writing classes- the most recent one focused on character development and motivation. It was an hour in length, and after dinner, so I figured, why not?

Most of us were packing laptops. A few had pen and paper in hand, taking notes. The instructor had been kind and funny, taking us through a slide show page by page, allowing us ample time to let the information sink in.  Some of what she’d discussed with us, I’d recalled from the deep, dark recesses of my mind. Stuff like reaction and dilemma. Decision. Wants, obstacles, and results, with a smattering of internal and external conflict.

One of the slides merely asked: “Is your character a person or a prop?” And with the question, two photos. On the left, Indiana Jones. On the right, a teddy bear. Our instructor wanted us to be clear on defining our characters, so that they’re real people, with real aspirations/wants/desires, vs. props that are easily thrown away and aren’t worth much to the story.

 

For this week’s topic, Melissa came up with something really creative. She asked: In the movie INSIDE OUT, Riley had islands that represented parts of her personality (i.e. goofball island, hockey island). What would be FIVE of your islands and what would be featured on those islands? (If you want to include more islands, that’s fine too.) Which totally reminded me of Indiana Jones and the teddy bear.

What parts of my personality, make me… me? What characteristics are completely my own, and mine alone?

I think my own islands would look a little something like this:

Family Island:  I love my family. So much of my life and who I am is comprised of my loved ones. I couldn’t imagine a world without my boys, or my husband, my parents, and the close friends who I consider as family.

fair

Health and Fitness Island: This island would feature beautiful trails, free weights, and a 24-hour yoga session, with the occasional unusual and unique work out routine that I just have to try out, to see if it’s something I’ll stick with or not. Lots of fruit trees and gardens with all sorts of vegetables would complete this island.

Reading and Writing Island:  On one half of the island, books as far as the eye can see, in all genres. You never know when you’re going to feel like a mystery one day, chick lit the next, and of course, everything by Stephen King. On the other half, a nice, quiet place to write and reflect.

Humor Island: This is where I’ll go when I need a good laugh. All of my favorite old-school skits and jokes can be found, movies, tv shows. The inside jokes I’ve had with friends and family, anything I want to always remember and hold onto, can be found on this island.

It’s the pink elephant in the room! Someone out there (and you know who you are) gets this reference.

 

Adventure Island: This island would feature the places I’d like to visit in my lifetime, or the impending trips planned for myself or my family. I love going on adventures, even if the journey is long, or at times tedious. It’s fun to explore and I’d make sure to have this island connected to Family Island, because I do love traveling with my family.

What islands would you create? What makes you a person, vs. a prop?

 

 

A Mom On The Run

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