The Sweetie Chronicles

Fill your paper with the breathings of your heart. ~William Wordsworth

Joy of the Holidays


STRESS. That's what I see people feeling this Christmas. Has it always been that way? Or am I just starting to see it now that I'm older? There's the stress of visiting family and trying to make them happy. And of course the stress of money and whether or not the people in your life will appreciate your gifts and whether you did enough for them. The crowds around the malls and restaurants add stress too. Cooking, cleaning, everything. But you didn't need me to tell you that. Chances are you are feeling it for yourself.

I just wanted to say, let it go. As best you can, just let it go. Christmas should be about love and just enjoying the time off from work and relaxing. It should be a celebration of the birth of Jesus and a time to remember that God loves us no matter what. When you get stressed out, just think about how lucky you are to have the really good things in your life. Think about all of the love around you and how thankful you are for that. No matter how bad things might seem right now, it definitely could be worse, so just concentrate on the good things and let go of the bad ones for now. There will be plenty of time to worry about that after the holidays are over.

And when someone gives you a gift this season, be it something you love or something you never would have asked for, smile and be thankful that they cared enough to think of you this Christmas. Do your best to smile and make other people around you feel good. To me, that is more important than any monetary gift you can give.

I am wishing for you all a very merry Christmas this year. Try to let the stress of it all and stop worrying about expectations and money and work... everytime you feel the stress, think of something wonderful in your life that you wouldn't trade for anything. Like your beautiful new baby who has his whole life ahead of him and can make it anything he wants. Or your upcoming marriage to a person you can't imagine living without. Or the family around you that loves you despite your mistakes. Those are the things that matter. Remember that.

Editing and My New Novel

I feel motivated to start writing my new novel today! I have been tossing around ideas for weeks now, not sure which one I really wanted to focus in on. Brainstorming and figuring out what to work on next is definitely fun and exciting because there are endless possibilities. However, at the same time, there is this fear of settling down with the wrong idea or passing over the perfect one without recognizing it for its potential. What I am starting to learn is that while there is no way to know which idea is the best, every idea has potential and promise. What's the worst that can happen? I could choose the worst idea and write a novel that never gets published. Okay. So what? The next idea and the next opportunity to write something new will be waiting for me on the other side.

So after going through a ton of new ideas, I finally decided on the one that feels good for right now, and I am going to go for it. I'll start writing it today, and whether it turns out to be my best novel, my true breakout novel or not, I know I'll learn valuable lessons about myself and my writing along the way.

I am also going to need to crank it up a notch when it comes to editing my NaNo WriMo novel, so I'll be setting page goals and working hard on that today as well. Hard to believe that Christmas is just a few days away! And just beyond that... a brand new year to look forward to.

Vertigo Is No Picnic


If you've never had vertigo, believe me when I say that you are lucky. It's not painful or anything like that, but it's terribly disorienting and equally annoying. Just when I start to forget I even have it, I turn a corner or tilt my head and there it is again. It's a difficult sensation to describe. I feel dizzy and disoriented. There is a slight jolt that goes through my body and feels tingly all the way down to my toes. Sometimes, it makes me feel like I am on a rollercoaster that is upsetting my tummy with its sudden drops and loops.

Yesterday, I didn't get a chance to write a blog, because we went to the doctor in the morning, then finished our christmas shopping in the afternoon. The doctor gave me some Antivert, which I guess is basically a strong antihistamine. It makes me a little bit sleepy, but not so bad as benadryl, thank goodness. All I can say is that I hope this vertigo is over by tomorrow. So far, I feel better today, but there have already been little episodes that let me know it isn't over yet. I'm ready to get off this rollercoaster!

Inner Ear Infection?

I feel dizzy. Disoriented. When I turn my head or look out of the corners of my eyes, I feel a sort of jolt and my body gets tingly. The room gets a bit spin-y. I was just at the doctor yesterday, but this had just started and I didn't mention it because I thought it would go away. No such luck. Talking to my mother, she thinks it's an inner ear infection, which she says will not go away on its own. So... another doctor's appointment? /sigh.

10 Days Til Christmas

Can you believe Christmas is so close? Have you finished your gift buying? Sent all of your cards? I am not really very good at sending Christmas cards. I have the best of intentions, honestly, but I never really seem to get them in the mail. Oh well, email is easier, haha!

I thought I was mostly done with my shopping too, but then my Mom stole my idea for my brother's present and left me high and dry last night with a "hope you have some other ideas" email. Okay maybe that's not completely fair. I was going to get him the gift, but it was pretty expensive. She offered to buy it instead and I could buy an accessory for it. Then, last night she announced that there was a deal where she got the accessory free with purchase. Now, I have to figure out what in the world to get for him. We still have G's Dad to buy for, as well as his niece. I think that's the bulk of it though.

This year, for the first time in my adult life, I will actually be home for CHristmas. And by home, I don't mean my parents home. I mean my home. Well, we are going to G's Mom and Dad's houses at some point in the day and on Christmas eve, but that is only an hour drive away. It will be really nice to just spend some quality time with G instead of running around to various parties and people's houses (namely Aunt Barbara, who I have no desire to see for a very long time)... It is going to be really nice!

2009 is almost here, and I have such high hopes for my writing. My Christmas present to myself is going to be editing the novel I wrote for NaNo WriMo, and starting a new fun novel that I just thought of yesterday. It's going to be a great Christmas, I can just feel it.

Survivor Gabon Finale

Last night was the finale of Survivor Gabon, and I am sad that it is over. My sister and I share a love of Survivor and Amazing Race, so this year we decided to each pick a team/player at the very beginning of the competitions and place friendly $5/each bets on our winners. If neither of our picks won the million, the money rolls over to the next season, etc. Well, believe it or not, I actually picked the winning Amazing Race team, Nick and Starr, right from the outset before the show began. $10 in my pocket. I wasn't quite as lucky with Survivor, but I figure I did pretty well considering the odds.

My sister's pick was Crystal, the Olympic gold medalist in the 2004 400m relay. Crystal made the top 6, but was blindsided by her own alliance. My pick was Matty, the personal trainer with a heart of gold. He made it to the top 4, but went home after failing to make fire in a tie breaker challenge against Bob. What broke my heart is that he was one spot away from going to the final three, and when asked, the group almost unanimously agreed that if it had been Matty instead of Bob, they all would have voted for Matty to win the million dollars. A narrow miss. I wonder how it really must feel to be that close to one million dollars and still come up short.

Personally, I think out of the final three, Sugar deserved to win the most. It's strange that she did not receive a single vote. No one ever voted her out, and no one voted for her to win either. I thought she was great! The only time I got mad at her was when she forced a tie and Matty went home, but at least you know she was following her heart as best as she knew how. So, I didn't win the $10 for Survivor and that money rolls over. I'm just impressed I picked a winner in one game and a top 4 in the other. Not bad.

Our pictures!!



Yesterday I got digital copies of the pictures we took at JC Penney!! Since none of our parents read this blog, I feel that I am safe to brag about them here and post a few, haha! We are giving framed 5x7's of the one at the top to our parents for Christmas as part of their gifts, and I really hope they like it! I actually love that top picture. Out of all of them, it is by far my favorite. It is the type of picture that our grandchildren might look at some day and think of how young and happy we look together.



We got up early this morning because G has to take his final exam, and I am anxious to get back into bed for another hour (hehe), so I am just going to post a few of these and go back to dreamland until 8:30. Happy Friday all.

Jennifer Aniston is hotter at 39


I have always thought that Jennifer Aniston was beautiful. I loved watching her on Friends because she just has that great style and great hair and she's really a good actress on top of it all. Well, I was looking at People this morning online, like I do just about every morning, and they have this picture of Jenifer up there from her upcoming cover of GQ magazine. Can you believe this woman is 39 years old?

In an era not that far off from now, people used to call any woman over the age of 25 an "old maid". Women over 30 just weren't considered marriageable at all. At 39 you were a spinster and had no hopes of ever attracting a man's attentions. Well, if those woman looked anything like Aniston at almost 40, they would have had no trouble finding a man! She looks better now than I ever have, even at 20.

I guess I should be totally jealous, but instead it makes me hopeful. Of course, I realize that she has money and personal trainers and all that, but by her age, maybe I'll have all that too :). The point is that no matter how old I feel like I'm getting, 31 is still pretty damn young in today's society. There is still plenty of time for me to look amazing and have a great career and do all those things I just haven't done yet.

All I can say is this... John Mayer is one lucky son of a bitch.

Portraits

G and I went to the mall last night and had our portraits done at the JC Penney portrait studio. I wasn't sure what to expect, but it actually turned out to be kind of fun and relaxed for the most part. We had a fun photographer who shot lots of different poses, and we even got to see the pictures about ten minutes after she was done.

The main reason we went is so that we can have an "engagement" photo to frame for our parents for Christmas. The whole time I was just hoping, please let there be one really great picture. One of the first ones we got to see was perfect! Honestly, it's the very best picture I could have hoped for of the two of us. We both have sincere smiles and everything is just right. There were several other good pictures, but that first one was the very best. We ordered their "smiles by wire" which means that we'll get to view the pictures online. I'm hoping that email comes today so that I can get another really good look at the pictures. I know that we at least have one picture of the two of us together that we will cherish for a long time to come.

Sleeping Pills Can Have Dangerous Side Effects

Okay, so if I thought vivid dreams could be a disrupting side effect, imagine what some people taking Ambien CR feel... I was watching TV yesterday while I was folding clothes and I saw this commercial for Ambien come on. It was your basic pharmaceutical commercial where some voice over is telling you about the amazing benefits of the drug while the background plays pictures showing how much happier your life will suddenly be if you take it. This particular drug is for people who have trouble sleeping or who wake up in the middle of the night and can't get back to sleep.

Ambien CR supposedly helps you get to sleep and stay asleep for the full night. What alarmed me, though, was the diclaimer at the end. It said something along the lines of, "Driving while not yet sufficiently awake and getting in an accident, followed by amnesia of the event has been reported." WHAT THE HELL?? So you're telling me some people who have taken this drug have gotten up, gone out to their car, drove around half asleep, caused an accident, and then later had absolutely no recollection of doing so?? Can you imagine how terrifying it would be to go to sleep in your bed and then suddenly wake up on the side of the road in your pajamas with a policeman's lights going off behind you? And this is a legal drug that is being advertised as a wonderful way to get better sleep? Nice.

I guess what gets me is that they will legalize and actually even advertise drugs that have all of these terrible side effects, and yet pot is completely illegal. Go figure. Among the other terrible side effects reported with sleeping pills like lunesta and ambien? Sleepwalking, nocturnal binge eating (yes, people actually wake up with discarded candy wrappers and empty bags of potato chips in their beds), having sex with no recollection afterword, and having violent outbursts.

Yet Another Blog About Dreams

Yes, I know I have written about dreams several times before, but I just have to talk about it again. I feel like I have been a heavy dreamer for the past year or more. G and I were thinking that maybe we cause each other to dream sometimes... not sure if that is possible, but it does seem like we have vivid dreams on the same nights. Anyway, I am taking a new kind of medicine in my quest for the perfect anti-depressant. Pristiq. It is basically a newer and better version of something else that I can't remember the name of.

I started taking Pristiq about three weeks ago and one of the most common side effects is vivid dreams. Oh boy. I am definitely having some vivid dreams. Honestly, my nightly dreams are so vivid, I wake up in the morning still feeling them. One night, for example, I had a dream that I had a young baby. My friends asked me to go out for the day, and since I was staying with my parents, I guess I just assumed they would watch her for me. I went with my friends for the entire day (and I might have even spent the night with them somewhere), but when I came home and said hello to my mother, she asked me where the baby was. Freaking out, I asked her why she didn't know.. since she had been keeping her.

Turns out that I had forgotten to tell anyone I was leaving the baby there, so she had spend at least 24 hours alone in her crib with no food or changing or anything. When I went up to check on her, Ipicked her up and I swear to you I could literally feel this child in my arms. She had a terrible fever, burning hot. I could feel it on my arms and on my skin. She got so sick she never woke up again, and it was all my fault.

One night I also dreamed that G was upset with me and demanded the engagement ring back. He didn't want to be with me anymore, and although I can't remember all the details of the dream, I woke up still feeling upset about us breaking up. It stayed with me all day long.

There have been others too, but those two stick out in my head as the most vivid. Especially the baby. I'm not really complaining about it as a side-effect. I still seem to be sleeping okay in general. And who knows? Maybe my first best-selling novel will come from a dream...

December 5th already

Can you believe that the first week of December has already come and gone? Only twenty days left until Christmas! G and I have almost all of our holiday shopping done, but there are still a few major things we need to pick out. Of course, I need to decorate and we need to pick out a nice tree! Maybe we'll do that this weekend!

This Christmas will be a little bit different for me, because I am not going home to be with my family. In a way, it makes me sad to miss out on some of the traditions, but then again, what I get in return is going to make for a very unique and wonderful new kind of Christmas. I get to spend time alone with G.

Okay, so you might be thinking, "Don't you guys spend time alone together ALL the time?" Sure. But this time will be free of him having to go to work or class, and that makes all the difference. I can't wait to have him all to myself!! We will, of course, spend time with his parents and friends that are home, but we will also get some cherished time alone together, and I am definitely looking forward to it.

After Christmas, my parents are driving here and will finally get to meet his parents, which should be fun as well. Overall, I am really looking forward to Christmas this year. It might be a bit more quiet than normal, but it will be full of love, and that's what counts.

2009

It's always this time of year when I start looking back over the past 11 or 12 months and thinking about what I should have done differently. I know there is no way to change the past (at least until someone discovers how to time travel) so what's the point of looking back? Well, for me, it's about reflecting on what has been holding me back and figuring out what I most wish I would have done so that I can avoid feeling the same way this time next year.

So you might wonder how that method has been working out for me. You want the truth? It's shit. For the past how many years, I have sat here thinking "I should have lost more weight" or "I should not have let myself sleep so much." And yet the following year, I always feel the same way. I got to thinking about it this week, and I decided that the flaw in my thinking is that I'm always concentrating on what I did wrong and how crappy I was all year. How can I possibly expect to come out of a complete self-confidence lashing and suddenly emerge a new improved person?

This year, I think I will try actually aknowledging that there are some things that I have accomplished over the year. I mean, I did lose almost 20 pounds at least. Okay, so maybe it took me a year and a half, but 20 pounds is still a good start and I didn't gain it back, which is key. I finally finished a book (two, really!) and have found a writing system and style that works for me. I even got my first rejection letter which signifies my first time allowing the process to go full circle. I got engaged this year to the most amazing man I have ever met, and no matter what else happened this year, that step towards a permanent commitment trumps all.

I went through laser hair removal and am more beautiful today than I was a year ago. I have been taking steps to get healthier, and even though my diet is not as healthy as it can be, it is certainly better and more in control than it was a year ago. Although the house is not entirely decorated and clean, I did a good job keeping the downstairs clean and I also painted and decorated and got rid of a bunch of junk that was cluttering up the house. Those are all steps in the right direction, and it feels good to finally allow myself to be happy about that and look forward to what I can accomplish next year. It certainly feels much better than yelling at myself on the inside about what I didn't do. It's also easier to feel confident that I can achieve my goals for next year when I look at all that I accomplished this past year. Now, let's just hope I can hold onto these warm fuzzies for a while instead of reverting to my old ways of self-bashing. As G says, life right now is supposed to be sunshine and puffy clouds. And, truthfully, it really is...

Wedding Date !






On our way back from Georgia after Thanksgiving, G and I talked about our wedding and we finally set a date! We have been engaged for almost six months now, and it has been wonderful to feel no pressure or tension about planning and getting everything ready. However, I wanted to make sure that we set a goal date so that I could push myself to lose the weight I want to lose and to make the extra money we will need to afford a truly amazing Caribbean Wedding-Honeymoon. After going through the calendar month by month, we finally settled on October 7, 2009!!

We have ten beautiful months to work hard to reach our goals before we get married. There aren't really that many goals, but the ones we do have a pretty big ones! First, I want to lose 35 pounds by then so that I can be the hottest bride on the beach :P. Second, we need to save up about $10,000 to pay for the vacation and airfare and shopping! Those are the two main goals I am looking to achieve before then. I know that we can do it, so it's exciting to really start working towards that so that we can have a wedding to remember, just the two of us in paradise.

So, I figured to help me with my weight loss goals, I should pick out a few dresses that I like and post them here so that I can look at them and think, "I am going to look great in that! Stop eating chocolate and pancakes!" Of course, I'll consult with G later about which dress he likes best since he's the only one who will really see me in it, but here at the top of this post are pictures of my top 5 chosen from halter top dresses on theknot.com. Any opinions on these so far? Feel free to share!

If you have a free moment, go to this great wedding site that has information on gowns, music, and all kinds of great wedding planning.

My Aunt

So I have this Aunt. She's the type of person who is highly respected in her community and who would bend over backwards to help everyone in need... as long as you aren't related to her. A lot of people see her in one way (she taught school for 20 something years and pretty much everyone around knows who she is), but I get to see her in a totally different way.

Trying not to bore you with crazy details, I'll just come out with it. She's a bitch. She has her select "favorites" in the family (mostly the boys), and then she has her punching bags. I didn't get too much of it as a young person, but I watched my sister get reemed with it. ("Why don't we just turn you over and use your head for a mop.") My Aunt has this way of saying things that makes your insides hurt and every little insecure molecule in your body to rise to the surface. Her tone is acid-laced. And pretty much no one ever says anything about it. Well, not to her face anyway.

I realized this Thanksgiving that I started worrying about what hurtful things this particular Aunt might say to me this year. I worried about my outfit and my makeup, trying to choose things that would not call attention. I worried about my writing career and how to spin it if she made a disparaging comment. I kept telling myself it would be a fun family day, but deep down, I was dreading what she might pull out of her hat to say to me. Once we got to her house, I didn't have to wait very long to find out.

I don't want to detail everything that happened that day, but I'll just say that there were only four times that I spoke to her or really even came near her all day... and all four times she had something ugly to say. And I wasn't the only one who was chosen for the tongue lashings and snide comments. There are others who dread being around her the same way I do.

So, for the first time in 30 years, I questioned why?? Why the hell do we allow this person who makes us all ill-at-ease and worried and insecure to be in charge of our holiday happiness? Why do we choose to gather at HER house? Being at her house is almost a double-edged sword because if you complain about her, you feel rude for not being grateful for the "hospitality". The truth is, I have always just felt that it was an obligation. Mom says we're going, therefor we go. My Aunt is family, therefor we all put up with her rudeness and inappropriate comments.

Well, I say bullshit. And I'm not doing it anymore. Where did this belief come from that if someone is "family" they can act however the hell they want and we have to love and be with them anyway? My Aunt will never change, and in fact, she'll just continue to get worse. Why? Because we allow her to treat us that way and then we still kiss her cheek and go on and on about what a lovely celebration it was and thank you for the food and a good time. We allow her to hold this control over us. Personally, I'm done. I say that if someone is treating you less than you deserve to be treated, cut them out of your life as best you can without being totally mean about it. I don't care if they are family, flesh and blood. Of all people in your life, family should be the last people to treat you like that.

Life is simply too short to live in fear and worry for how someone will treat you when all you have to do is walk away.

A Win and A Loss

The past week has been full of emotions. First of all, Thanksgiving was good and bad at the same time. I had a good time seeing my Mom, Dad, sister, brother and his wife. I also was very excited to see my Aunt K. However, actually going over to my other Aunt's house was pretty much a nightmare. I won't go into it, but let's just say I'll have some extra blog material tomorrow about it.

We ended up coming home early to tend to Cookie, G's dog that I have come to love as my own as well. She was not feeling well, so we rushed back to take care of her. I think she is slowly getting better, but it was really scary to see her in such a rough state so soon after we left for Georgia.

And as important as those two bits of new are... neither of those is what I was planning to write about today. Today I am writing about my career. In terms of writing, this weekend was both a win and a loss. I got my very first official rejection letter this weekend. Saturday actually. Just one month after I sent my story to Brava, I received a very nice and surprisingly personal rejection letter from the editor saying that although my writing is engaging, the premise is too similar to some of the books they are already publishing. In terms of rejections, it was one of the best you could hope for. Basically, the editor took the time to compliment me when she could have just sent a form rejection letter. Hopefully what that means is that she would be open to seeing other things from me in the future with a more fresh perspective or original premise. A rejection with hope for the future, perhaps.

The funny thing about getting turned down for publishing is that instead of making me feel totally down and crumpled, it actually made me feel inspired to write and work harder. It's like, now I know I can do it. I can complete the cycle of write, submit, hear back... then submit again if necessary, and so on. In fact, I submitted my story to the second publisher on my list right away. Hopefully I will hear something back before Christmas. We'll see.

So the rejection was my loss, in a way... but I also had a win! I finished my very first full-length novel! I came in at just over 50,000 words, and even though I know I sort of rushed the ending, I think I have a solid manuscript to work with when I start the editing process. I can't believe I actually wrote all of that in one short month!! I learned a lot through NaNo WriMo. I learned that I can push myself harder and get a lot more done in a short period of time than I ever thought possible. I also learned that I don't have to organize and plot out every tiny little detail before I start writing. I can trust the story itself and let the words flow. Then, I can take the basics of what I created and edit it until it's a great novel... hopefully!

So, two milestones were crossed this weekend. My first full novel is done in rough draft form, and my first rejection letter is sitting on my desk. Surely, the good news of my first published book isn't too far off.

Home for Thanksgiving

This Thanksgiving will be G's first turkey day with my family. Now, I know that almost everyone has good food on Thanksgiving day, but I think that the spread my family produces has to be one of the best in the world. First of all, my aunt's dressing is amazing. It's not some horrible Stove Top Stuffing (which I can't stand). It's a completely homemade stuffing that is absolutely amazing.

My Mom bakes her signature bread, which is honestly the best bread ever. Also, my aunt's sweet potato souffle is to die for. I couldn't ask for a better Thanksgiving meal than the one we've been having at her house since I was a small child.

Then there's the people. This year, it seems there will be a ton of people. My aunt and uncle's six grown children with their spouses and children of their own will all be there. My brother and sister with their significant others and my sister's daughter will be there, along with of course, me and G. My aunt from Indiana is coming and possibly my cousin. Then Lord knows who else will be there, but there's always various people from the community. I'm hoping that the more people that come means the less I have to bullshit with people I barely know or barely like. I can get lost in the crowd, enjoy my food, and cuddle in the corner with my fiance. Haha! Not to say I don't like most of the people, because I do.. just that there are a few choice people I don't particularly want to get stuck talking to for very long. Aren't all families like that when you are being honest about it?

Anyway, I am most excited to just be going home to spend time with my closest family. My brother is having a cookout in our honor tomorrow night, and as long as traffic isn't so bad it takes us twelve hours to get there, that will be lots of fun :). My sister in law is now 7 months pregnant and I can't wait to see her and talk to her about the baby! I know it will be a wonderful time! I wish everyone a wonderful, happy Thanksgiving.

Oh, by the way, if you're wondering what the picture of my dog Snickerdoodle has to do with this post... she is coming home with us and she went to the groomer yesterday to get a gussied up for it. Doesn't she look super cute? G thinks she hates me for putting her in that outfit, but I think she likes it! Safe travels to all who are traveling, happy times to all who are not. Sweetie Chronicles will be back up with new posts on Monday next week. Until then... peace out.

WriMo's Final Week

There is so much to get done this week! I'm going to have to write up a major to-do list today so that I get every little thing done before we have to leave for Georgia on Wednesday morning!! Stuff like *take the dog to the groomer *clean out the car *do the laundry, etc.

Then, on top of everything else, this is NaNo WriMo's final week! As I look back, I am truly amazed that I have been able to write 37,500 words in just three short weeks. I was even sick several of the days last week and didn't write hardly at all. But I wrote like crazy at the end of the week to make it up, so here I sit... less than 13,000 words from my goal. It's a very exciting feeling!!! Before this, the only other project I had completed was a short story of less than 20,000 words. And believe me when I say it took a lot longer than a month to finish the damn thing! Now, in just one little week, I will have a full 50,000+ word novel!!

Sure, the editing is going to take some time, but that's the fun part. The creating of the thing is fun too, don't get me wrong, but it's also excrutiatingly painful at the same time. An infinity of choices can leave you feeling restless and doubtful at every turn of the story. But the editing process is at least somewhat contained because the story already has a life of its own by then.

My challenge now is that Wednesday through Saturday is family time and travel time, with very little writing time in between. That means 13,000 words need to come between right now and Wednesday morning. If I don't finish it before we leave, that will make for an anxious me stealing laptop time in the hotel or a very caffeine-driven gallop to the finish on Sunday the 30th before midnight :) Either way, I know that I will finish, and that makes me so very proud of myself.

The Cookie Monster

I just wanted to make mention that even after .. how many seasons? 15? more? ... Survivor is still one of the best shows on Television. Last night, the season was down to the final 8, and although the challenges and the survivor auction were pretty normal for Survivor... it's the players that really make the game.

It was hilarious to watch an almost 60 year old man throw a fit over a damn chocolate chip cookie. If you didn't see it, you missed out, let me tell you. Then, the sheer joy of watching that bigot of a hateful little man get played by Sugar and Bob and the rest of the original Fang alliance, was pure happiness. I have never laughed so hard in my life at a tv show! It was awesome!

If you didn't watch it, just take my word for it. I wrote up a short recap on my Survivor blog... which btw, I have not kept up with this season, but could not resist posting on last night. I was not expecting amazing things from this season because honestly, I didn't think you could top Fans vs. Favorites last season. But the more time that goes by, the more I love Survivor Gabon! I definitely can't wait to see what happens next!

OH, and by the way, Happy Friday :)

Holiday Shopping

It's that time of year again, where everyone stresses out about the "perfect gift" and picking out cute wrapping paper and beautiful christmas decorations. I have always loved Christmas, but there are flaws in the whole gift giving system, don't you think? When I start to think about the perfect present for someone, I have to consider what they really would use or want. BUT, I also have to think about how much they are probably going to spend on me, or how much they spent on me last year, reducing their present into a mere exchange of money in the form of a pretentious gift that fit into the right monetary category. And what do you do when someone is obviously going to spend more on you than you can possibly afford to spend on them? Your only options are to buy something you can't afford or to buy something you can and be embarassed by it instead of happy. In some ways, I think Christmas would mean more if we all agreed to give thoughtful sincere gifts that we either made or whatever instead of having to worry about how much everything costs.

This year, for example, some people can barely afford to pay their mortgages, but I bet they will still find some way to spend hundreds of dollars on presents. It's just simply expected in our society today, and parents and family feel obligated to spend money on presents. Of course, there are different groups around town that will happily donate to families in need, but in order to get help, you have to admit you ARE a family in need.. which is humbling and can be embarassing.

Christmas, at its roots, is supposed to be about joy and happiness. Christmas is supposed to be about families coming together and being grateful for what you have. When I walk through the mall and staqrt to think about presents and how much I should spend on who, I start to feel as though we're all missing the point.

Prestiq: My New Medication

So, when I went to the doctor last week, I told her about some problems I'd been having with prozac and wellbutrin. I was wondering if maybe I should try something else, and she agreed. That landed me with a two week sample pack and a prescription of Pristiq, a relatively new anti-depressant. One of the side-effects that it lists in the very long list of possible side-effects is "vivid dreams". Let me tell you, this is a side-effect that I am definitely having.

Okay, so I often have vivid dreams, I know. But the past few nights have been super vivid, like live in HD kind of vivid. Last night, for example, I was leading a group of people on a trip of some sort when I realized I had to go pick up my brother from the house. When I went to pick him up, however, Morgan Freeman and Brad Pitt were blocking the way to the house on my dirt road, threatening to kill me if I tried to pass. Now, to make things worse for me, they had giant trucks while I was driving a four wheeler. The rest of my dream was focused on rescuing my brother from the house and trying to sneak around the Freeman-Pitt death trap. By the time I woke up this morning, I think I had almost won, but who can say for sure? All I can tell you is that it was so vivid, I believed it was happening.

As far as side effects go, that's not such a bad one, I guess, for a writer to have. Maybe one of these nights I'll dream of something that will end up in the pages of my first best-selling novel. You never know.

The Common Cold

Even with medicine's amazing triumph over diseases like polio and certain types of cancer, no one has yet to figure out a cure for the common cold. Continuing this very sad cycle of late posts, I am just not up and moving around at 11:00 in the morning. Why? Because I have a cold. Yesterday was the worst of it, I think. Very sore throat. Ear ache. Tiredness. Nausea. Yucky. I got a ton of rest, but when I was asleep, I dreamed I was in a talent show but could not sing because my throat was sore. Ha! I guess you know it's bad when it invades your dreams, right?

Today is much better though. I slept in and am starting to feel more like myself again. My nose is still stuffy and my ears still ache, but my throat is much better and there's no nausea, thank god. I just wish there was some type of vaccine against colds, you know? Just go into a doctor's office when you're like five years old, and get a single shot that will keep you from getting colds for the rest of your life. Ahhh, that sounds good. I think I'll try to dream about that next time.

Not On Strike

No, I haven't been on blog strike. I've just been a bad girl. Well, good in some ways. I didn't write a blog yesterday morning because I was sound asleep. Now, normally, you could scold me for that, but I had a really really good reason this time. I stayed up the night before all through the night to write, and I actually ended up with almost 7000 words in one day! I finally made it to sleep around 7'ish, which is when G was getting up. It was definitely productive, but I was Tired.

This morning, I don't have a good excuse. I had a doctor's appointment at 9:30, which should have given me plenty of time to update, but when I woke up and looked at the clock is was already 8:45. I knew I had to take a shower, dry my hair, and get dressed in less than 30 minutes... there was no time to write! But here I am, making it up somewhat. Get off my back! jk :)

Tune in Monday for my regular morning sweetie chronicles. Meanwhile, back to your regularly scheduled programming.

Peace out homies.

New Expansion for EQ2: The Shadow Odyssey

Once a year, Everquest II devotees like myself look forward to the release of a new expansion. This year, it happens next Tuesday... or maybe Wednesday. G and I went in to Game Stop to pre-order two copies and they told us to pick it up on the 19th. Officially, however, the game was supposed to come out on the 18th. So... it comes out on one or the other.

Anyway, the expansion is the fourth for EQ2 and is called "The Shadow Odyssey". For the first time, there is no character level increase included with the expansion and I am anxious to see how that plays out. I just hope there will be enough content to keep us all busy without the goal of getting new levels. Maybe they partially did that to give any newcomers to the game more of a chance to catch up. I heard that originally, the developers planned to take the character level cap all the way up to 200 eventually. Right now, the highest level you can get is 80, so we're a long way from that yet.

Everquest 2 also officially just celebrated its 4th year, and both G and I have been playing pretty much the whole time, with small breaks here and there. Of course, four years ago, we didn't know the other one existed. I remember very clearly that when this game came out, I was living in a Days Inn with my ex-husband because of a house fire. We didn't have enough money at the time to get two computers, and of course he insisted that he had to have one. How much work he ever did on that computer, I'll never know, but I have a feeling it was less work than it's taken me to write this entry. He certainly played a lot of EQ2 though. When we moved back into our house in December, I got a new computer and also started playing. If someone had told me back then that I would someday meet the true love of my life while playing that game, and that being with him would make me truly happy, I would have never believed them. Yet, four years later, here we are. It's amazing how life can change so much in such a short period of time.

Happy Veteren's Day

Veteren's Day definitely means more when you know there are thousands of Americans overseas right now serving our country and protecting our freedom. When we first went into Iraq in 2003, I never dreamed we would still be there in 2008. And it doesn't appear that we'll be leaving anytime soon really. Unlike a lot of people, I don't really blame President Bush for this. It's not like he's a freaking oracle who can see into the future. Sure, oil probably had a lot to do with it, but I also think that Sadam Hussein was an evil man and needed to be brought down.

People say that Bush "lied" to us by saying Iraq had Weapons of Mass Destruction. I don't know. I realize that we didn't find anything specific, but their country is a damn desert with tons of underground bunkers and hidden shit everywhere. I don't think you can totally rule it out just because we didn't find anything. I personally think some things were either hidden extremely well or else were moved before we got to it. But that's just a gut feeling and not based on any facts, so it could be total bullshit.

Besides who could have anticipated the amount of suicide bombers and terrorists that would be so unwilling to accept freedom and a new lifestyle in their country. Do these people honestly enjoy living in fear and murdering hundreds of people? I'm not saying America's living the perfect lifestyle either, but at least we aren't in mud huts with no clean water and no satellite TV strapping bombs to our bodies in the name of our God.

Wow, I guess I am in a slightly judgmental mood today. All I really wanted to say was that I support the troops in Iraq, and even though I wish they weren't still there, I still believe that they are sacrificing their lives for my freedoms, and that's pretty humbling. Anyone who has ever been willing to lay down their life for America's freedom deserves more than just a day. We should celebrate them and pray for them every day.

I totally overslept today. Not only did I turn off the alarm this morning instead of snoozing, causing my fiance to get up late, but I also went back to sleep when he left and didn't get up until 9:45. That means I missed Jazzercise. I've got so much to do today, so on top of that now I feel guilty that I slept in when G had to go to work. Everything would be so much simpler if I could just sell a novel and then get a movie deal and make millions of dollars. That way, I could sleep in and never feel guilty. Haha!

Week One Results

NaNo WriMo is officially one week in, and I have really enjoyed it. Right now, I am sitting at around 9,000 words, which means that I am a little bit behind. In truth, I had more written, but then I deleted half a chapter. I know that is against the rules because we aren't supposed to be editing ourselves just yet, but honestly... that half a chapter was complete crap. And once I cut it out, the writing came much easier.

By midnight tonight I need to have 11,669 words. If I do, then I get a little reward I set aside for myself. I know that I can do it! This time around, I have been taking Stephen King's writing advice, and instead of plotting everything out, I have been letting the story sort of tell itself. At first, I was really scared, thinking what if I end up staring at a blank screen all day? But I have deadlines, so I pushed along. The past couple of days have just gotten easier and easier. And... more fun to tell the truth.

I am writing with no limitations. I don't correct grammar mistakes. I don't worry about the ending and everything in between. I am just telling a story. When November is over, I may have a slight mess to clean up as far as spelling errors and grammar issues, but at least those 50,000 words will be there to fix. It is a wonderful feeling to look over at the end of each day and see a small stack of pages that didn't exist that morning. Just to know I created that is one of the most satisfying things of my life. It's been a really good week one.

Can We Ban Christmas?

Well, as of Halloween, it is apparently now Christmas Holiday Shopping time. All of the commercials are starting to have that little holiday theme or the little message thrown in that "This is a great gift for the Holidays!!". Just thinking about spending all that money makes me nauseated.

Don't get me wrong, I love Christmas. I love the music and the beautiful decorations. I love Christmas trees and putting up lights and ornaments. I love seeing my family and eating great food.

It's just that this year, somehow, it seems cumbersome. There's so much expectation involved, and now that I am 30+, I feel like I should be shelling out for the "good" gifts. The way that TV and malls and every store you walk into these days seems to be shoving Christmas down your throat, desperately trying to get tight consumers to spend money despite the recession, is just a bit much this year. In some ways, I wish that we could ban Christmas this year. Well, ok, not BAN it. Maybe just ban expensive gifts and crazy expectations. I would be totally happy with just the decorations, food, and family time.

I don't see that happening though. So, I guess I need to sit down soon and figure out who all I need to buy for and what we can afford to really spend. Hopefully I can come up with some great, very personal ideas that will be meaningful and useful, yet inexpensive and easy to find. Yeah, right.

Obama Wins

For a while, it seemed as though it was shaping up to be a close race. People were discussing tie scenarios and such on TV in anticipation of Nov. 4th. But when it came down to voting day, Americans as a whole made it clear who the next President of the United States was going to be. Barack Obama will be sworn in on January 20, 2009 as the first African-American President. I can say that I am definitely happy that "first" has been achieved and that this year a black man and a woman were both on the ballot. That in itself opens a lot of doors for our country and the people who will lead in the future.

I hope that he is a great President. I hope that he can help to turn things in the right direction. I hope he gets rid of this "No Child Left Behind" bullshit. I hope...

Only time will tell what is to come. I keep thinking of Atlas Shrugged, wondering if this new trend towards sharing the wealth and every man being responsible for his neighbor is leading us down that path that will ultimately be the end of our Freedom. I am wondering where we might go if things start to go that direction in our lifetime. Maybe last night's choice will slow that outcome, or perhaps it will expedite it. Time will tell, but I would be lying if I said I wasn't scared.

Election Day

The first thing that popped into my mind this morning was this: Today our nation will elect a new leader. McCain or Obama? Either way, history will be made.

McCain - Palin


At age 72, John McCain would be the oldest president ever elected to a first term. I personally think his age and "old white man" look has hurt him more than anything in this election race. People are ready for change, and the race for President has become more about show business than fact. Some people see this old stiff white guy and just assume that he's a relic of the past, unable of bringing significant change.

What if the Republican candidate had been a 50 year old John McCain? That might have been a completely different story. Of course, we won't know for sure until tonight, but I personally voted for McCain. His service in the Navy and survival of the torture he endured as a POW in Vietnam mean a lot to me. He has a reputable political history, having been a Senator in Arizona since 1987. No matter how often Obama tries to say McCain is just like Bush, McCain's history proves that he is not afraid to disagree with the Republican party.

The other part of the McCain team is also a historical first. Governor Sarah Palin is the first woman to run for VP on a major party ticket, and if elected, will be the first woman Vice President. She has taken a lot of shit in the media lately, and everytime I read forums and CNN comments, people are really railing on her, calling her evil and saying nasty, untrue things about her. I don't understand it! I think Palin is the best candidate in this entire election.

At just 44 years old, she is young and energetic. Family is obviously a huge priority to her. But what I also love is that she's not afraid to get her hands dirty. She's tough physically and mentally. I also appreciate the fact that she is the daughter of a school secretary and a science teacher. She's middle class, just like most of the rest of us. People in the media are going berserk about her accepting a $150,000 wardrobe from the Republican Nation Party?? Give me a break! Basically, they are railing on her for not having enough money of her own to dress in the designer labels that today's show-biz TV world demands of its politicians. If she hadn't accepted the wardrobe, we probably would have seen articles bashing her appearance.

Ethics are a huge concern to her and I truly believe that she would be great in the Whitehouse. She understands what a lot of families are going through. Not because she's researched it and looked at numbers to figure out what she thinks people care about. But because she's actually experiencing it herself. And that means more than any amount of research.

Obama - Biden

At only 47 years old, Obama is one of the youngest men to run for president on a major party ticket. If elected, he will also be the first African American president. I guess his African American heritage is the one he chooses to identify with, even though his mother was white and his black father actually left him and his mother when Obama was only 2. In some ways, I wonder if the black community would see this as an empty victory. Obama wasn't raised in a black community by anyone who is, in fact, African American. He just happens to have that skin color (sort of) and half of his genetic makeup came from that race. Why that makes him more black than white, I don't know that I will ever understand.

But I digress... Obama's experience is, well, not much compared to McCain. He served in the Illinois Senate from 1996 to 2004. In 2005, he was sworn in as a United States Senator, and basically began gunning for the Presidency right away. As I'm sure you can tell, this is in no way a non-biased blog post. I don't like Barack Obama, and I'm not afraid to say it. He talks about change and reform. He talks about reeling in the spending and getting America back on track. Yet, he thought it was acceptable to spend over 5 million dollars just to get a 30 minute spot on major television networks. This guy strikes me as all show-biz. He is the type of politician who has made a very careful study of the American people and has figured out what to say that will please the most people. He strikes me as a manipulator. His knowledge comes from strategy, not experience.

However, that doesn't mean I think that he will lose today. In fact, I think he will probably be the next President of the United States. Only time will tell if that is the right thing for our country or not.

Obama's VP runningmate is Joe Biden. In a reverse of the ages on McCain's ticket, Biden is the older one on the Democratic ticket. He is 65 years old (almost 66), and has quite a bit of experience in the US government. He was elected to the US Senate when he was only 30 years and has been reelected five times. I don't know much else about him, but he seems like an okay kind of guy.

One of his earlier statements when he was running for President himself, was that "The Presidency is not something that lends itself to on-the-job training." And yet here he is running with the least experienced candidate in our history. Hmmm. Biden has run for President several times, and I think he's just glad to be included in Obama's campaign. He said, "I mean, you got the first mainstream African-American who is articulate and bright and clean and a nice-looking guy, I mean, that's storybook, man." Sounds to me like Biden saw Obama's selling points (good looking, well-spoken minority, a symbol of change regardless of what he says... it's about how he looks and how well he speaks) and jumped on the gravy train.

I will definitely be watching the election coverage tonight to watch history being made. I would love to see McCain win, but we'll just have to wait and see. Either way, the next President/ Vice President of the United States will be making history, and it is at least exciting to see new doorways opening for minorities and women in our country.

Reunion

This weekend we went to G's ten year High School Reunion. We didn't have to drive too far, only about an hour from home, and we had a really nice hotel room for the night. The event itself was fun, even if the food was a little bit disappointing, but the best part was just being with G.

We had quite a bit to drink, but not so much that we were sick (not that night anyway), and we got dressed up. After staying in most nights or only dressing in casual clothes for a long stretch of time, it was really nice to dress up and go out like that. I think we make a really attractive couple!

We ended up leaving the party (a term I use loosely since no one was dancing and everyone was just standing around mostly) to go back to our room around 10. We stayed up talking, snuggling, watching TV and just hanging out, and I loved every minute of it. There has never been a man in my life that I had such pure joy being around, even when we aren't doing anything in particular, until now. With every passing day and each thing we experience together, we only find ourselves closer than ever. I honestly never knew love and companionship like this was possible. Now, I know that settling for less in a relationship is selling yourself short.

Why Halloween Was Better When I Was A Kid


I have always thought that Halloween was a fun holiday. I mean, what's not to love? You get to dress up as whatever you want, people give you tons of candy, and everyone goes out of their way to scare the shit out of you. There are times when I wonder if it's half as much fun for kids now as it was back then. First of all, we never really worried about our safety too much. Sure, my parents made me throw out any unwrapped candy just in case it was poisoned or something, but that was about it. No one ever talked to me about scary child molesters lurking in the dark waiting to snatch me up. And if they had, I would have probably thought it was a trick to scare me.

Also, we used our imagination when we came up with our costumes. We spent the week leading up to Halloween going through Mom's closet and talking to friends about what we could borrow so that we could create the perfect costume. These days, parents just go to Walmart and buy one for $20, and that's that. It can't be that much fun for a kid to just put on a costume. They are totally missing out on the fun of figuring it out for yourself using things in your very own closet.

The biggest reason of all, though, has more to do with the "scary" parts of Halloween. Our teachers used to read scary ghost stories and turn out the lights, and I fucking loved that. These days? Forget it! Kids can't dress up in their costumes for school. Teachers can't do anything scarier than have their kids color pictures of pumpkins. And everyone is scared of what might happen if a child under the age of 13 is actually afraid of something. I have a strong suspicion that the end result of this mamby-pamby treatment of America's children is going to be a nation of total pussies.

The saddest part is that parents refuse to let their kids get scared or knock on a stranger's door or dress up for school... BUT they will let their morbidly obese 2nd grader bring home a giant fucking bag of candy and keep it in his room so he can get up in the middle of the night and add more pounds onto his already over-stressed little body.

As much as it sucks, the Halloween of my childhood is gone. All I can do now is try to have my own adult version of fun (which includes dressing up of course, and drinking) and wait until I have children of my own someday. For all of you out there who remember the good times when Halloween was scary and fun and innocent, Happy Halloween!

Crazy Jazzercise Lady


Yesterday morning at my regular Jazzercise class, there was a woman that I don't remember ever seeing before. Granted, I have only been going for about five months, and even then I've missed a lot of classes. But I think I would have remembered this one.

First of all, let me start by saying that Jazzercise is a very judgment free zone for me. I never feel like anyone is really looking at me and saying "She can't dance" or anything like that. There are lots of women, and even one man, at my classes, and we are all just there to exercise and have fun. There's none of that looking over your shoulder to see if anyone is noticing how stupid you might look, which is the way I usually feel at gyms.

With that said, I am usually very non-judgmental as well, just enjoying the people that are there and not caring if they are fat or skinny, old or young. Yesterday, however, there was this woman...

She had super short brown curly hair and looked to be maybe late 30's or early 40's, and she had a pretty muscular body. Not a weight lifting crazy muscle body, but just toned up. She seemed totoally normal and sweet. Then, the music started and the instructor got us warmed up. Everything started to change. Suddenly, this woman was all over the freakin' place. Somehow, she managed to carve out a large chunk of free floor space (probably because the people around her were scared she would run into them) and she was pretty much just jumping around like a lunatic. Where the rest of the class was taking a small hop like the instructor said, this lady was jumping halfway across the room.

As if that wasn't enough, she would randomly break out with a "WOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO" really loud, as if her name had just been chosen as Jazzerciser of the month. In some ways, I guess I admired her freedom. She obviously didn't give a shit what any of us thought of her. She was in her own little world. Even the instructor said, at one point, "Not yet!" when the lady moved on to the next part of the routine early, and making it super size. The woman paid no attention and kept on going, so the instructor laughed and said, "It's your workout, do what you want."

The only thing is... it's MY workout too. And this woman's gyrating and loud screams were not only distracting, they were downright in my way. And not just mine. She was all over the place! Granted, the room where we Jazzercise is pretty big, but there were probably around 30 people there yesterday. This woman just demanded half of our side of the room, pushing others of us closer together, which honestly, was pretty rude and selfish.

Is it possible to admire someone and still be annoyed by them at the same time? If you have ever wondered that exact thing, yesterday I found proof that yes, it is possible.

NaNo WriMo 2008

I read about NaNo WriMo last year, but it was already over at that point. Well, this year, I am signed up early and ready to go.

In case you are wondering, NaNo WriMo stands for "National Novel Writing Month". For 10 years now, people all over the states have been getting together online and in person every November to work on the goal of writing one 50,000 word novel in just 30 days. That means writing an average of 1667 words every single day. Including weekends. Including Thanksgiving Holidays.

On the sidebar here, I have put a participant badge that will update throughout the month with my current wordcount. I also put my local Raleigh-Durham area word meter up just to keep track of how the area is doing on their words. It's kind of neat to go onto the NaNo WriMo website and cruise the forums. I was surprised to see how many people from this area are involved. There are even planned "write-ins" where you go to meet up with other NaNo's to work hard, discuss ideas, and encourage each other. I am really looking forward to it.

I am pretty sure I know what my novel is going to be about. Instead of plotting every tiny detail, though, I am going to try the Stephen King method of letting the plot come naturally out of the situation that I have created. We'll see how it works for me.

If any readers want to join me in my pursuit of writing an entire novel in just 30 days, just go to the NaNo WriMo website and sign up. It can't hurt to try!

To Plot or Not to Plot?

I have been giving plotting and outlines a lot of thought over the past few days. Is it better, I wonder, to spend time at the beginning of a project plotting out the storyline, writing down everything you can about your characters and getting to know them inside and out? Or is it best to take a more organic approach and let an idea sweep you away, counting on your imagination and the characters themselves to guide you?

I have read a lot of books about writing over the past year or so, and most of them say that it's up to you as a writer to figure out what works best. In the end though, they pretty much all say that outlining and getting to know your characters is the best way to write a successful novel. Of course, the only book I've ever read by those people are the books on writing.

Last night, I started reading part 2 of Stephen King's book "On Writing". The first part was mostly a memoir, a telling of the journey he took from boy to man, and how it affected his writing. The second part is more about the writing itself. He very clearly advocates that the best stories are written organically. He says he begins with a situation. (e.g. A popular writer wakes to find himself injured and being cared for by a crazed fan.) The characters begin as flat ideas, and as he writes, they tell their own story, fleshing out into real people. He often has an idea where he thinks the story is headed, but most often, it goes in a completely different direction altogether.

I can see both ways being good, but outlining and plotting the story before you write seems to be the safest, yet least creative way. Once a story is all outlined and settled, it is difficult to expand and let your imagination guide you as you write. If I wrote a complete outline and character sketch, almost anyone could write my novel for me. However, trusting a situation and a small idea to simply begin to develop into an entire 80,000 word book seems extremely scary. What if the characters don't magically begin to speak to me? What if my words sit flat on the screen with nothing important to say? What if the story rambles and no plot ever really develops? It really scares me. Sure, it works for Stephen King, but come on! He's like a God among writers. Sure, he's not the most literary of writers, but he can pull you in and scare you more than any writer I've ever read. And he's written over 35 books, most of which, if not all, were bestsellers.
(Not to mention the movies!)

I am no Stephen King. How do I know whether I possess the ability to write in that organic, let it come to you kind of way? Truly, there is only one real way to find out. I have already just written a short novella that was very detailed and plotted before I began. I strayed from it and changed the plot a little bit, but for the most part, I followed my original outline. Now, as I start my next project, it seems only right that I give Mr. King's method a try.

My First Submission!

Well, I did it. On Saturday I mailed off my very first manuscript to a publisher in New York! I think I must have read through each page a hundred times just to make sure there were no mistakes. Of course, I ended up printing a lot of pages because everytime I read through the whole package, I'd find some tiny thing wrong here and there and have to reprint that page after I made some corrections. I feel good about what I sent off, though. I know the spelling and format is good. I know the story is at least moderately good. The only thing I don't know is whether it's good enough to get published in the romance market.

The only thing to do now is keep writing. I sent off my precious first story to Kensington Publishing Corp., and their website claims three to six months before you should inquire about your submission. With that kind of time frame, I am going to have to find a way to let it go and just keep writing so that when the news does come, good or bad, I am ready with a new novel or story on the other side. If I'm lucky, I'll hear something before Christmas. If not, I imagine it will be late January or February since I'm sure everyone takes vacation and holiday time. The truth is, publishing is a waiting game and I am going to have to start getting used to it.

All I know for sure is that I am really proud of myself for finally sticking with one idea and finishing a manuscript. It ended up being just over 18,500 words, which is a solid length for a novella, and, I think, a good place to start. I already have an idea of where I'm heading next. I want to write a full-length novel this time, so this week is all about outlining before the main writing gets underway. The good thing is that I have momentum now, and I know that I can do this. Just wish me luck as my first submission makes its way to NYC!

I Hate Hollister

Hate is a strong word, I realize that. Maybe I don't exactly HATE Hollister so much as I LOATH it. Ever mall in America, including the one I go to at least once a week, has been invaded in the five or so years by this very annoying clothing store.

I think that they are mostly trying to be like Abercrombie in their clothing style, mostly targeting teens I would guess. But what the fuck is up with this stupid, "Let's build a fake hut out into the middle of every mall so that we can look extra gay".

With that said, there's one other reason I will never step into a Hollister store. You can smell the store from 100 feet away. That's right, smell! I don't know exactly how they do it, but Hollister has its own sporty male cologne smell that is sprayed into the hallway in front of their store. I mean, I could live with the fake hut thing because at least that doesn't invade my body. A scent that potent however, does, and it pisses me off every time I pass by that stupid fucking store. What gives them the right to invade my nose with their unpleasant smell? I'm sure they think it's pleasant and clever, and there are probably swarms of teenagers that just love it, but I personally think it stinks.

On that note, happy Friday, and may all your weekend shopping be Hollister free.

Home again





After an amazing trip to Florida, I am back home again. It was so great to see T, J, and the new baby! He is such a sweet and cute baby, you wouldn't believe it! I was expecting loud crying and nonstop drama, but he was so good. He only cries when he really needs something, and other than that, he is mostly asleep.

Getting back into my routine is never easy after a trip like that. I had a runny nose on Tuesday night when I got home, so G gave me two benadryl to help me sleep and take care of the stuffy nose. I didn't wake up until noon the next day. Today I was up at a much more reasonable 8:30 am, but I am just now getting around to updating the blog, which usually is one of the first things I do.

I wonder how other people just go on trips, then get home and step right back into routine. I suppose if I had a regular 8-5 type job, I would have no choice but to follow routine. Anyway, I am going to do my best to get back on track today and get this short story out to a publisher in hopes of finding a home soon.

T, if you read this, I just wanted to say thank you for everything. I miss you already!

St. Pete, here I come!

In 20 minutes I will head to the airport and be on my way to see T! I can't wait!

My only concern right now is how heavy my bag is. Did you know that airlines are now charging a baggage fee per bag each way?? For me to check one bag that is less than 50 pounds, it will cost me $15 each way. A second bag would cost an additional $25 each way. A third bag, were I going somewhere on a really long vacation or had a big family, would cost $100 additional each way. Does that suck or what? I just didn't realize I had to add on a $30 fee to my ticket cost when I booked the flight.

Of course, if gas prices are so high and travel so low, they probably have no choice but to find a way to recover some extra money. At least they found a way to do it so that those who don't want to pay the fee simply need to pack lighter. If you can get everything in a carry on bag, you are fee free :). Then, the plane is also lighter with less bags and probably consumes less fuel, I imagine.

I, however, cannot possibly pack for an entire week in a carry on bag. In fact, I have a packed laptop bag, an adidas carry on duffel bag, AND a bag to check. I am even concerned a little bit about how much the checked bag weighs. If it weighs more than 50 pounds, I have to pay $65 to check the bag. I figure if they tell me it's over 50 pounds, I'll just start throwing shit away. I could probably replace some of that stuff cheaper than paying the $65 fee. How funny would that be if I was throwing out an item and then telling the lady at the desk.. "Okay now how much does it weigh??" LOL. I wonder if they would kick me out of the line or get really pissed off? I don't know, but that would be funny as hell.

Okay, so I am off. Hopefully I will get a chance to update. Lord knows it's hard for me to live without internet! If I can't get online, then I'll update next week!! St. Pete, here I come!! Woohoo!

Sweet Baby Jody!

I finally got to talk to my friend T yesterday! She is doing well and so is little Jody. I had seen some pictures on her sister's blog, but I didn't know that she had a bunch up on myspace until yesterday. These pics are so sweet!!



Congratulations to the both of you, he is such a beautiful baby boy. I will be flying down there tomorrow to spend a week with her to help out in any way that I can. I have a feeling all I will want to do is hold this precious baby!!

Anyway, if my blog is late or non-existent some this week, I'm busy holding a baby or changing a diaper :p.

New Attitude

Sometimes I feel as though I am constantly at war with my own attitude. I know what my attitude should be. I know what my attitude needs to be in order to find success and to be happy. But just because I know doesn't necessarily mean that I can always have the right attitude.

I was a mess when I first moved to NC. I was in love, and that made me very happy... but as for how I felt about myself... dismal. Over the past year and a half, I have worked really hard to get my act together and to change my attitude. It seemed for a while there that I was really doing well. I finished a story, I was exercising regularly, everything was grand. But for some reason, ever since I got home from my trip to Georgia, I have been the poopy, down in the dumps version of me that I dislike so much.

I don't even know how it's possible for someone to be on two different anti-depressants and still be feeling low. More drugs is certainly not the solution here. A new attitude is the only real solution. A new outlook or self view.

I get down on myself because I didn't follow the plan of what I think I need to do to be a good person. Does that make any sense at all? I finished a story, but I still haven't finished the editing and submitted it anywhere. I could have a freaking house full of finished stories and it wouldn't make a damn difference if I never tried to get them published! The thing is, why is it so hard to just restart today and pick myself up from right here, right now, and start over? I should be able to say to myself "Okay, so you screwed up and wasted time. Today is a new day. Let's get to work and reach some goals, because it's better late than never."

Instead, what I've been saying to myself sounds more like, "You are completely useless. Why do you even bother to try when you obviously suck so bad? You totally should have finished that story already. It should have already been submitted. it's too late now." WTF??? Why would I tell myself something that awful and discouraging? It makes me want to reach inside my own head and strangle myself!

Maybe what I need is a weekly kick in my own ass to say, "Here's where you are. You can't change the past. But you can start right now to make your future everything you always hoped for." I like that attitude much better.

I won!

Do you ever find yourself wondering if anyone actually wins those prizes from McDonald's Monopoly and contests like that? Well, I always love to play the Monopoly game. I don't know if it's because I like the little game pieces, or if I just think it's fun to collect stuff, but I always wondered if anyone really ever won anything.

I wish that I could say I was a $1,000,000 winner, but if I was, I would probably be shopping right now instead of writing a blog. No, not the millions this time, but I did win a $50 Shell Gift Card last night on the online version of the game! It will take some time to get here and I have to fill out some forms and send them in with the game piece, but the fun thing is that I won! Wooohoo!! These days $50 in gas might not go a long way, but every little bit helps, and I am very happy to have won something. Oh, and I also won a free fruit and yogurt parfait :).

The Millions

I know that money can't buy happiness. I know that there are more important things in life than material wealth. But here's the thing. I already have found my happiness with G, and he will be there, money or no money. I don't have to have material things to be happy, but is it so wrong to wish for some of those things that might make life more enjoyable or just a little bit easier?

We saw a commercial the other day on TV for the Biltmore House. If you have never been there or never heard of it... it's basically a castle right here in North Carolina. The Biltmore House was built by the Vanderbilt family (namely 25 year old George W. Vanderbilt) in the 1890's. Originally, they owned 125,000 acres, but now the Biltmore Estate spans over 8,000 acres with its gardens, winery and trails. It is the largest private residence in America... of course it's really more of a museum these days.

Can you imagine what it would be like to live in a 250 room house that had a bowling alley and pool inside?? I don't ever want to own that much house, but that doesn't mean I don't dream of having millions of dollars and being able to build our own house that has everything we could want or need inside. For the most part, I think we grow up feeling that it is selfish and "evil" to wish for money and material wealth. We are taught to seek wealth in other, more spiritual ways. While I agree that spirituality and love are more important than money, I definitely disagree that monetary wealth is evil.

I guess the bottom line for me is this: I am happy without the millions, and I know that I can continue to be happy without millions of dollars. However, I often dream of what it would be like to have a lot of money and be free of the worries that come along with lack of a lot of money. I hope for a day when G will not have to go away to work and we can stay together all day working on our own business or projects. I don't need a castle, but a nice, beautiful house with a nice yard and a lot of space would be great. I am going to keep my eye on that dream and keep working every day to attain it. Is that so wrong?

200th Post

Believe it or not, I have actually stuck with a blog long enough to have made it to my 200th post!! I realize this blog isn't about anything in particular, but I have loved writing it every morning. It's always good to have some kind of outlet where you don't have to be afraid of what others will think, and you feel free to express yourself and your thoughts. For me, it has always been journals, but after I hit my mid-twenties, I found it harder to actually finish a journal that I had started. When I was younger, I used to fill up two or three journals a year, from start to finish without leaving a single page untouched. Over the past few years however, I have started plenty of journals and finished none. Instead, this has become my journal, and I am happy to say that it will never run out of blank pages on which to write. Thank you to those of you who faithfully read my ramblings.

Clean Carpets!

I have been talking about steam cleaning the carpets in our house for months now. We have two dogs, which in itself, makes carpets dirty. In addition, the carpets haven't really been cleaned that thoroughly for many years. Sure, we vacuum and we spot clean, but we wanted to try steam cleaning.

We went to the Harris Teeter around the corner and rented a Rug Doctor. They cost about $25 for 24 hours. Then, there were all these bottles of cleaner. Wanting our carpets to be super clean, we bought just about everything there was to buy, loaded up the steam cleaner, and headed home. First, we vacuumed the entire house. Then, G did the stairs and I worked on all those little cracks between the carpet and the baseboards where dog hair tends do collect. Both of our dogs are white, so you can imagine just how much white hair we picked up yesterday, even though it's only been a few weeks since we last cleaned out the corners and such. After that came the pre-treatment sprays and spot lifters and things like that.

We finally got down to business and steam cleaned our carpets. G filled the bucket (okay, pitcher since we didn't actually have a bucket) with warm water and cleaning solution while I moved the Rug Doctor along the carpets, cleaning. We worked really well together, and got so much done. We did the downstairs on Saturday afternoon, and then we finished with the upstairs yesterday morning. I am almost shocked at how amazing the carpets look. Overall, it did take up about 3 or 4 hours, but it was definitely worth it.

Our carpets are all dry now, and almost completely spot free. It smells so nice and the carpet feels more cushy under our feet. I am really glad we decided to that this weekend. It also makes me very happy that the two of us are able to work together for hours on end towards a common goal without arguing a single time. This was just another wonderful example of how perfect we are together.

Interruptions

Why is it so hard to get back into your routine after an interruption? I was really getting into a groove before I went home to Georgia. Jazzercise every Monday, Wednesday, Friday. Reaching my writing goals. Keeping the house clean and organized. Then I went home and my routine that was so hard to get into was practically destroyed overnight.

Since I got home, I haven't been to Jazzercise once. I have felt super tired and have been lacking the energy I had before I went. What the hell happened to me? Why is it so hard to just pick up where I left off and start following routine again? This, I have decided, is part of the difficulty of setting your own schedule and being a work-from-home person. There's no 8:00 AM job waiting for you with a boss that is expecting you. Sure, my fiance is here and he knows if I don't get up right away in the mornings, but that is a completely different kind of motivation.

The scary thing is that I have only one more week of normal before my schedule is disrupted again with my parents visiting next weekend. Then, on the 14th, I am flying to Tampa to be with my best friend T to meet the new baby and spend some time with the new mom. I'll be there for a week, but I know she'll kick my butt and make me write every day. When I get home from T's, I will have just over a month of normal before the crazy holidays begin. The bottom line is that I have to discover ways to get right back into my routines the second I walk back in the door after being away. This whole, it takes me four days to get back into the swing of things is just not going to cut it.

Right now, it's not only my personal career goals are on the line, but also my wedding dreams. I have to really work hard to get some stories published and my novel finished so that I can start bringing in some real cash, like a normal working girl. And by working girl, I reference Melanie Griffith in "Working Girl"... not hookers. Just to be clear.

Thunderstorms

Ahhhh!! Last night was so scary for me! G and I went to bed around 1:30 and it was raining with a thunderstorm alert, but I usually can sleep right through that sort of thing. At 3:30 AM I was still awake, holding onto G for dear life. It sounded like the storm was right outside our window, crashing into our back yard. I had the blinds closed, but the sudden flashes of lightning were still visible through the cracks. It was a rough night.

This morning, G doesn't seem to remember me snuggling up to him at all. I am glad he was able to get a pretty good sleep though. Speaking of sleep, I hope T was able to rest and get some good sleep last night. Her fiance called me yesterday afternoon to say that baby Jody was born and was 7 lbs. 6 oz. Mother and baby were both resting when he called and he was anxious to hold his son. I can't wait to talk to her and see how she is feeling. Despite the storms, any day that you are surrounded by the people you love is a beautiful day.

Baby Day!

When I woke up this morning and actually became coherent (which takes a while for me in the mornings), the first thing I thought about was my friend T!! Her C-section is scheduled for today, and I can't wait to hear the news that her new baby boy is born and safe!!! I can't get down there to see her until mid-October, but my heart is with her. Hopefully her boyfriend will give me a call when everything settles down. It is just so neat to think that a brand new life is coming into the world today. I know it happens every second and all day long every day, but it is still a miracle every single time. Happy Birthday Jody!

Sarra Cannon

Young Adult Indie Author

I always secretly wanted to be a cheerleader. And a witch. Now, I write about both. The first five novels in my Peachville High Demons Young Adult Paranormal series are available now in ebook!

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Beautiful DemonsThe Time Traveler's WifeLoveroot: PoemsFear of FlyingWe the LivingAnthem

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