Sorry for the late post today, but I have had a fever and been sick for the past 24 hours. Not sure what's up, but hopefully I'm near the end of it.
I thought I would just quickly post that I have put up a word meter on the right sidebar for the novel that I have recently started. This is my first serious attempt at a novel, and I want to keep up with my progress and know that others are looking over my shoulder making sure that pink bar moves. For now, I'm calling the book "Selfish" simply because the main character is going to do some selfish things, but that will probably not be the end title, just a temporary one. As you can see, I put my word goal at 80,000 words. It may be more or less when I get finished, but I figured that was a pretty safe place to aim. Yesterday I wrote just over 1,000 words, so it was a good start. Now, I am going to get to work today and see if I can write some good pages despite the yucky feeling in my tummy.
Sorry for the late post today, but I have had a fever and been sick for the past 24 hours. Not sure what's up, but hopefully I'm near the end of it.
For some strange reason, I lay down to sleep at night and suddenly all of these ideas about what I'm writing will come to me. Almost every night I get some new idea about something I'm working on or want to work on. I know that simply because of this, I should keep a notepad and pen on my nightstand. Most of the time I can remember my ideas in the morning, but who knows if I'm losing something great? I never actually remember falling asleep, so I suppose it's possible that I lose the minute or so before that as well. What if my best ideas have gotten lost in the transition from waking to sleeping?
Last night, I couldn't sleep at all. I laid in bed for over an hour with ideas coming at me like a freight train. This isn't something I'm complaining about. Usually I fight it and toss and turn until sleep finally sweeps me away, but last night I decided to get up and write. Ideas were flowing easily and my pen was moving so fast across the paper. It was exhilarating. Finally around 3 AM, after several pages had been scratched out in my feverish handwriting, I gave in to the approaching exhaustion and went to bed.
In the morning light, I am more of a critic again. Not at all like last night's muse-touched self. I am wondering if these ideas I wrote down are any good at all. There is a part of me that wants to believe that women out there will be able to closely relate to an almost 40 year old woman who wants to radically change her life. A woman who realizes that all her life, she's done what other people expected of her, including getting married young and having a child. She's been the typical woman in that she always gives so much of herself to others and rarely saves any time or energy for herself. Then, one day, she just snaps. She leaves it all behind and starts over, trying to find her life again and live it for herself this time instead of always acting the way she thinks she is expected to act. Then again, there is a part of me that thinks people will crucify her for leaving her kid behind. I am not sure I am a skilled enough writer to make them love her anyway and cheer her on.
I like the muse better than the critic. Maybe I should only write at night. Danielle Steel claims to write in 20 hour shifts once she gets started on her novels. She said she writes in her pajamas with her hair sticking up, only getting 4 hours of sleep, if that, until her first draft is done. I don't know if I could write for that long without going insane, but maybe there's something to be said about not stopping the flow once it has begun.
I will go in this morning for my 4th treatment at Sona Medspa for laser hair removal. I always get excited about the great results, but very nervous about the actual procedure. Mainly because it fucking hurts. I have a feeling G thinks I am a bit of a wimp about it, but honestly, you have no idea until you've been there. Since the first 3 treatments have gotten rid of some of the hair, it makes sense that this treatment won't hurt quite as bad. After all, the laser only zaps the hairs, so less hairs means less zapping. There are still some areas though where there are clusters of hairs and I know those parts are going to hurt like hell.
It's almost too bad I can't smoke a joint or something before hand. Of course, then I'd probably look at the technician when she started the laser on me and say something like "Fuuuuck lady. That kinda hurts. Just put that away and I'm gonna lay here and take a nap." I think they would know I was high.
I almost forgot to post today! I have been wrapped up in the book "Eclipse" by Stephanie Meyer, and it's been difficult to put it down. In case you've never heard of it, this is part of her "Twilight" series of books about a teenage girl who falls in love with a vampire. The books are technically for young adults and teens, but so was Harry Potter, and most people old enough to read those books. I read "Twilight" and "New Moon" very quickly earlier this summer when I was drawn in by the black on red covers and the prominent placement of their display at Barnes and Noble. The books are all-consuming. They are long and bulky, but different and addictive. I bought the third book soon after finishing those first two, but I think I was simply too burned out from reading the others so fast, so I put this one aside and left it there for a while.
Now, however, the release of the fourth and final book, "Breaking Dawn", is almost here and I want to make sure I am ready for it. (August 1st release date, and I have a copy reserved, of course) This weekend, I picked up the book again where I had left off, and it was like seeing old friends again. Stephanie Meyer is a very talented author because she really makes you care about the characters that she's created. I care so much, in fact, that I have a very hard time stopping. It's like I just HAVE to know what happens next. So, I was up until almost 3 am this morning reading, and the resumed my place shortly after I was free to read this morning, almost forgetting to post my blog. Right now, I am on page 512 of the book's 629 pages, and I am having to restrain myself to keep from reading the ending. I have to keep reading until I know what happens in the end....
Last night at dinner, G brought up the possibility of self-publishing. I mentioned to him that the current story I am working on was originally intended for submission to Harlequin's ebook program called Spice Briefs. However, I read online that the huge romance publisher only pays out 6 or 7 percent of the sales in royalties to its authors. Considering that the briefs sell for around 3 or 4 bucks, it would take a lot of sales to make any good money. I decided to check out Ellora's Cave because some authors mentioned that their royalties are paid out at 37.5%. On one hand, I doubt they get as many daily hits as Harlequin, but then again, it wouldn't take as much to make the same amount of money.
This is when G said, why don't I just put up my own website and sell my own books, thereby getting 100% of the profits? It's definitely not a bad idea, but I have to wonder... if it's such a great idea, why isn't everyone doing it? The daunting task of building up enough traffic on your website to bring in sales is enough to put most people off, I imagine. Then, figuring out how to get your story into Adobe format and have it encrypted to only allow downloads after someone has paid for it. Not to mention things like... having to do your own cover art and editing and such. I imagine it could mean a ton of work. On the other hand, if you are willing to work hard, the payout could be incredible.
This is definitely an issue I will be putting some thought into over the next few weeks. I'll probably hop around on the internet a bit this weekend and see what kind of information I can find on people who have tried this and how they are doing or what they are doing right/wrong. Overall, it's a pretty exciting idea to have complete control over your own work.
I realize some people will probably hate me for saying this, but the past year has been relatively money-worry free for the first time since... well, since I was too young to need money. I was extremely blessed with a favorable divorce agreement and a wonderful man in my life that was wanted me to live with him, which definitely saved on rent :).
After getting engaged, however, the panic is starting to set in. Day to day life has been so pleasant and even though I have known I would have to start making money again soon, I have been basically confident that eventually the money would come. Suddenly, there's a need for money that I don't have, and it's like deja vu with the worries again. (especially taking into account our falling economy where middle class citizens are dropping like flies into the poverty bin)
The average American wedding costs something like $29,000, and even though we are forgoing the traditional church wedding, we have opted for a similarly expensive wedding/honeymoon combination in the Caribbean followed by a family celebration in South Carolina which is sure to cost us just as much as a traditional reception. Now, I realize that the world will not come to an end if we don't get the best suite in the Caribbean or if we end up just getting married at the courthouse and having to save the tropical adventure for another time. However, we are going to spend the rest of our lives together, and it would be nice to celebrate the occasion with pina coladas from our swim-up suite on the island of St. Lucia.
The bottom line is that if I want to experience this fairy tale destination wedding and casual but fun and alcohol-filled reception/celebration, I am going to have to start bringing in some serious cash. I have learned from the past that worrying about money completely sucks. It can consume you and destroy your happiness. It can definitely come between you and your loved ones. Those are all things that neither of us need right now, or ever. (Not that anyone ever NEEDS it, mind you, but you get what I mean.) So, instead of going into panic mode, which will surely spiral out of control and lead to depression and crazy behavior, I have decided to just work my ass off and do what needs to be done. I am, after all, an intelligent woman who is fully capable of making a good living. Hopefully. within the year I'll be booking that fantasy room in the Caribbean and worrying about nothing more than which sandals match my bikini the best.
So far in my writing career, I have had trouble with finishing a story. Something tells me that in order to ever make any money at this, I am going to have to actually finish a story or novel or other project first. (haha) I have an entire folder of stories that I have started and gotten at least halfway through. I have not really finished anything. This is not my favorite thing to admit to.
Right now, I am very close to finishing an erotic romance story that I am wanting to submit to Harlequin. It really should have been done already, and I had planned on working on it all day Monday. When I woke up Monday, though, I had the worst stomach ache. Being creative when you have to run to the bathroom every ten minutes is not the easiest thing in the world. So... my story remains unfinished. Yesterday I worked on it a little bit but today really has to be a great day so that I can finish this story and get it out there. Wish me luck.
Nothing inspires the desire to lose weight and look amazing more than an impending wedding. Maybe a high school reunion or a meeting with an ex-boyfriend that broke your heart are both up there, but getting married takes the cake (pun intended). We haven't set a date yet, but we are hovering somewhere around the year to a year and a half area. That means that in order to have time to pick out my dress and look amazing in it, I have about nine to twelve months to re-create myself as the perfect me I always wanted to be.
Now, just to be clear, losing weight for my wedding is more about me than it is about the groom. He has proven that he loves me for me, and while I know he would take issue with me gaining a ton of weight (mainly due to health reasons), he certainly has never told me I needed to lose weight. On the other hand, I did promise him that if I got to be as thin as a size 7, anything goes in the naughty outfit category. That would definitely provide some fun and entertaining sexual escapades during the honeymoon, so that is a good motivator as well.
In the interest of wanting to be my most amazing self sooner rather than later, I know that some things have got to change. #1. My diet. Big time. I guess it's only convenient that the Metformin I'm taking is practically forcing me onto a diabetic's diet due to stomach complications if I eat too much sugar or fat. We went grocery shopping yesterday after a painful day of nausea and stomach pain and bought diabetes friendly foods. Say goodbye to cakes, doughnuts, and such, because except for the occasional indiscretion or treat, it's healthy foods from here on out. I never want to have another day like yesterday again! #2. My exercise routine. Sitting on your ass writing all day is not an exercise routine. I went back to Jazzercise last week after a few weeks of laziness, but I missed yesterday (for obvious reasons) and I'm not quite sure I'm up for it today yet either. So... my plan is to start back tomorrow for morning Jazzercise, then take a walk in the afternoons. Next week, I want to start Jazzercising twice a day, one hour in the morning and one in the afternoons. My hope is to sort of kick start my metabolism and start losing weight faster. Combined with the healthy eating, I should be well on my way to a stunning beach bod!!
After all of the news surrounding the new Batman installment, I wanted to see for myself whether it was a great movie and whether Heath Ledger truly delivered a performance worthy of a posthumous oscar nod. I'm not sure what it is about human nature that makes us want to flock to the scene of an accident or be a part of the events surrounding a person's death. I guess deep down we are all a bunch of voyeuristic pigs, who want to witness tragedy so that we might understand it better. I think part of it is that we all want to be a part of something bigger than ourselves.
The death of Heath Ledger was a shock to all of Hollywood and those in the world that admired him as an actor. I was skeptical at first about the press surrounding this last performance and the news that he deserves an oscar. Is that just the words of people who want to honor him or leach some part of his fame? I went to the opening night of "The Dark Knight" to find out. I was not disappointed.
The movie was spectacular. A full cast of talented actors came together to make something extremely entertaining and memorable, but Heath Ledger stole the show. It was almost as if he was born to play that part. For me, he made the Joker real and dark and twisted. I believed him. His deliver was flawlessly creepy and funny at the same time. In my opinion, he's the Joker all true Batman fans have been waiting for.
As I was walking out of the theater, I heard a lady in front of me ask her friend, "Do you think he would have been up for an award if he hadn't died?" Her friend said, "Nah, that's just the type of thing they do in Hollywood." I have to honestly say that I disagree. I think that even if he was still alive and here to watch the success of his performance, fans would still be raving about his performance. I think he would have been catapulted into a stardom far beyond what he ever knew.
Of course, there are people that will love him simply because he's gone. And there will be others that will swear he wasn't that good and that he only got recognition because he died. You go and judge for yourself, but this girl loved it. Oh, and for the record, Maggie Gyllenhall as Rachel Dawes owned Katie Holmes.
I am so happy that it's Friday! I can't believe that we have almost been engaged for a week!!! This has been such a happy, wonderful week!
And guess what else today is?? Snickerdoodle's third birthday!! I remember when I first got her she was just a tiny puffball of white hair. In some ways it feels like I have had her for longer than three years. I wonder what we should do for her big day. Of course, she's a dog and she has no idea what I mean when I shout Happy Birthday! to her. On the other hand, she hears the excitement in my voice and that makes her excited too. Hmm... maybe I will just go get her a special bone to chew on for the day. It's too bad I don't have one of those cone birthday hats for her to wear. That would be so cute!!
I am just glad we have made it to the weekend. Weekends are always more fun than weekdays, even if you have chores to do and errands to run. G and I can spend all day together Saturday and Sunday each week and those are the best days simply for that reason. I can't wait until we make tons of money and can always spend our days together! Ah, dreams. :)
I can't write much, because I have to head off to a 9 am doctor's appointment. Yuck. On the bright side, I can show off my ring to my doctor. :)
An island in the Caribbean seems like the perfect place to get married. The beautiful blue waters, the white sandy beaches, temperate weather all year round, and an exotic location far away from anyone who knows you. Not that being near people that love you is bad... but we are going to get married in a ceremony that comes down to just the two of us.
I adore the thought of getting married on the beach and then having the rest of the day and the rest of the week to just enjoy the resort, the island, the bed... No crazy reception right afterwards with hundreds of people all trying to hug you and get your attention. No traditions that put you in front of a crowd of people when what you want most is to be alone together. It sounds perfect.
So the question is: Which Island? We pretty much have decided that an all-inclusive is the way to go. Food, room, drinks and such are all included in the price, so no having to carry around a lot of cash and worry too much about budget. Sandals is probably the most well-known of those type accommodations, and they are used to doing weddings everyday, so that is currently at the top of our list. There is also a company called Couples that seems to have the same sort of resorts. I have been reading various reviews online and some people rave about how amazing they are, while others have written scathing reviews of their terrible experience.
Looking at the price tag that goes along with a seven night stay at one of these resorts (plus airfare), it seems a bit scary to think that you could pay that, plan your wedding from miles away, and then go only to have a terrible experience. Surely that just won't happen right? I keep thinking that maybe the people who have written the bad reviews are just people who are not happy. I imagine that even if we had some kind of minor trouble, like the room not being what we expected or having to share a pool that was supposed to be private... we would still have an amazing time simply because we got married and we were together.
It's so much fun to look through these websites and dream about our amazing wedding and honeymoon, far away from work and any other stress, just the two of us committing our lives to each other. Paradise.
It's amazing how quickly I've gone into full bridal mode! I can't stop thinking about things like wedding location, budget, vows, pictures, everything. Hopefully my brain will calm down a bit soon and I can get back to normal life, but for now I am just too excited! Of course, it's not the wedding that excites me so much as the marriage.
In a lot of ways, nothing really changes. We already live together and share our finances. There's no virgin anticipation of the wedding night. Sure, legally things will change. This house will be partially mine after we are married. He will have rights to my car and my savings account. But to tell the truth, it's already that way now between us. However, something will change between us, even if it's hard to define with words. Marriage means a deeper level of outward commitment that mirrors our deep love for each other. It also means taking his name and becoming a family. It means that a child will follow in a few years.
We have not set a date yet, but I am thinking it will be 2009, and probably in the fall. That gives us a little over a year to save money and plan the wedding. I know I can't spend every day between now and then pouring over wedding websites and Caribbean resorts, but hey, it's my first week of being engaged and I'm going to bask in it for the moment. Wedding websites and resort pictures here I come!
G and I are engaged!!!!!
This past weekend was one of the happiest of my entire life! On Friday, we celebrated his birthday in a casual way. I made a cake, we went to see a movie, and we hung out with his friend F who had come into town for the weekend. Despite how busy he's been lately with this summer class he's taking, G casually mentioned that we should go to the zoo this weekend. Now, going to a zoo is one of my favorite things in the world. I have never been to the North Carolina Zoo, and we had been talking about heading over there for weeks.
We got up pretty early on Saturday (for me anyway, haha) and headed out. We were dressed casually like it was just any normal day. It took us about an hour to get to Asheboro, NC, and the car ride was, as always with us, fun simply because we were together. I was so excited just to be at the zoo!! The North Carolina Zoo has two major sections, an Africa section and then on the other side, a North America section. We parked in Africa and started off our zoo adventure looking at giraffes, zebras, and elephants. Even though it was hot, we had such an amazing day. Just to give an example of how sweet G is to me, I was sweating from the heat and often, he would lightly blow on my skin to cool me off. It's the little things like that that matter so much to me. He never fails to show me that he's thinking about my comfort and my happiness.
The Africa side was 2 miles of pathways, and it took us about two hours to see everything on that side. We ate lunch in the park and then took the tram to the other side of the zoo. I was taking pictures all day and we were holding hands, laughing together and having a fabulous time. Then, for a moment on the North America side of the zoo, by the Bobcat, we were completely alone under the trees. We had stopped and put our waters down so that we could hug and kiss, and we both said that we would love each other forever. G left our embrace and suddenly he was down on one knee. I didn't realize what was happening at first, but then it became clear when I saw the ring in his hands and he looked up at me and asked, "Will you marry me?" Of course, I said yes, tears flowing down my face as he placed the most beautiful diamond ring on my finger.
We stood there in our little private corner for about 30 minutes, laughing and hugging and loving each other completely. I was so surprised!! I knew this was the man I wanted to marry, but I had no idea he had already bought a ring and was going to propose! It makes me so happy to know that we got engaged on the afternoon of such a perfect and happy day spent together at the zoo. By the time we headed home, we were both exhausted from a more than 5 mile hike through all the areas of the park, but nothing could dampen our excitement and our happiness. That night we went to Mimi's to toast our future over a glass of champagne, and you can use your imagination to figure out what happened after we got home. It was the best day of my life. And it's only the beginning.
Today is G's birthday! It's amazing to think that I've already been living here for a year and that we've known each other for almost 2 years now. I had no idea the day we met how important he would later become in my life, but I thank God every day for him. He isn't big on celebrations and things, so we will probably be low-key tonight, but that will be fun too as long as we are together.
So, happy birthday my love, I hope you have a wonderful day!!
I can't help but wonder how many 30-something, even 40-something women are out there who feel that they have lived half-lives. I don't mean that they are only half over with their life, but that where they are at this point in their lives is only half of what they meant to be. We have mostly been taught as women in this country that you can have and be anything you want. That is a wonderful advancement that has come through much radical thought and women taking risks and breaking molds.
But the mold is still there isn't it? Maybe it's changed a little bit, but it's still there. Aren't we still taught to go to college, find a husband, get married, start a career or decide to stay at home, have kids? Then what?? For most of us, there is nothing after that really. Be a good mom, try to have a decent career and figure out the best way to balance the two without feeling guilty all the time.
It has become expected that if anyone leaves the kids and family behind to start a new marriage or career, it's the man. Oftentimes, the man leaves his family without a whole lot of money and resources, which means the woman couldn't start a new career if she wanted to. Of course, I know it isn't always this way, but I know it's the more dominant situation in our times.
When you first go to college, they pretty much demand that you declare a major by sophomore year. That means that millions of people choose their entire life's path when they are 19 or 20 years old. But what do you do when you've been trudging through this career path for 10 or 20 years and you hate it? What does a woman who is 38 years old do when she realizes she is unhappy?? No one really ever talks about that. Society just assumes that if you have a child or two, a job, and a husband you ARE happy. Case closed. I think there are millions of women suffering in their current lives who feel that they have no way to break free and try something new. Money, or lack of it, holds us where we are in our jobs. Family duty and self-sacrifice practiced for years and years holds us to our obligations in the household.
Now, I am not advocating for mothers to start leaving their kids behind. I've just been thinking about this a lot lately and wondering what the choices are for someone who is unhappy even after they achieved all that was expected of them. Without a new goal or directive, are they just supposed to be happy and content until death sitting exactly where they already are in life? Any thoughts?
Sometimes it feels as though no matter how hard I try to move forward, I keep slipping back into old routines and bad habits. It's especially tough when something I thought was long gone sneaks back into my mind or my life. Like what? Well, yesterday we were out walking the dogs when I had an all too familiar thought. There were two cars sitting in the parking lot next to each other, their drivers talking, with one SUV facing towards me as I crossed the driveway. For a split second, I thought, "I wish that SUV would be not paying attention and pull out and hit me right now." I know, sick and twisted thought. I quickly pushed it from my mind, but it was there.
I am so scared that I will never be the person that I want to be. Maybe I'm too damaged to ever fully heal. I know that after a year of reflection and time to write and get it together, I should be so much better right now than I am. I am scared that I see disappointment on G's face. I am certain that the answer to a better me can only be found inside myself, but self-fixing is so much harder than I thought it would be.
Making news just weeks before the Beijing Olympics is swimmer Dara Torres, a 41 year old woman who is heading to her fifth Olympics. I read about her on CNN this morning and wanted to cheer for her from here. Of course, there are a lot of people who seem bitter about her victory at such an age. Surprised? I'm not. I mean, she's beating out people half her age for a spot they think they deserve.
One of her fellow competitors on the U.S. swimteam this year was born in 1992, shortly after Torres competed in her third Olympics in Barcelona. I guess some young people just feel that she had her chance and its time for her to move on.
Move on is exactly what everyone thought she did when she took two years off to have a baby. She also had some surgeries on her knee and shoulder which held her back for a while. No one was expecting her to come back in 2008 and qualify for a spot on the team. The fact that she did it is making some people angry and, I imagine, quite jealous. Despite a clean record when it comes to drug tests and scrutiny about her strength at such an "advanced age" (41, ha!), Torres is getting slammed with accusations of illegal steroid use. Dara has offered to take a lie detector test to prove that she is not on steroids, but even that has failed to appease those who want to take her down. They claim that drug tests are not "foolproof" when it comes to certain drugs and they are convinced that she's cheating somehow.
Is it really that hard to believe that someone at 41 can swim that fast and that strong? She's been training as a swimmer her entire life. She works hard and she wants it bad. Joel Stager, an exercise physiologist at IU commented "It shows us what we can do. It's just that most of us don't." I love that comment. The human body (and mind for that matter) is capable of so much more than we realize. It's just that most of us don't reach high enough to achieve something great. Dara Torres is a champion for us all. She let her determination and her heart guide her and did not let what anyone else had to say about her keep her down. I'll be cheering for a gold for her in the 50-meter freestyle this year in Beijing.
It's definitely summer time, and I have noticed that when we go for a walk, my Pomeranian is panting a lot. I'm sure it must be tough with so much hair! She was in desperate need of a groomer's attention anyway, so I decided to take her in and have her shaved. For some pom owners, this is a very controversial issue. They believe that Pomeranians are supposed to have long flowing hair and that if you shave it even once, you are ruining it.
My personal feelings? She looks cute as hell. She is very happy with her new haircut. So who cares what any other pom owner thinks? I am going to post some before and after pics of her and you can let me know what you think :).
My brother is (hopefully) on his way already from Georgia, and we are all going to see Dave Matthews tonight. Originally, he was supposed to come with his wife and best friend, and they were going to stay for four or five days. Unfortunately, last week, it turned into just my brother and his friend and only staying for one night. Last night, D called and said his friend can't come, but he's bringing a different friend. After all of these changes, I can't help if I am feeling just a bit nervous about the fact that he hasn't called yet to say he's on his way.
Either way, I am definitely going to see Dave tonight, and I know that it will be an awesome concert. I went to see him in Nashville maybe six years ago... seven? I'm not sure. It was one of the best concerts I've ever been to, so I'm definitely looking forward to tonight. Hopefully my brother will get here on time and there will be no more drama as far as that's concerned. I just wish he could stay a bit longer. Oh well... I'll take what I can get.
G and I have been saving up for a few new things for our living room. It's taken us a few months to get the money together, but most of it came from EQ2 and selling off our characters and such. The first of our purchases arrives today and I can't wait! A brand new couch from Rooms to Go. Here is a picture of what it is supposed to look like:
The cushions are Microfiber plush, which is usually super soft. I hope it's as nice as it looks to be in the pictures. We'll see. They are supposed to deliver it between 2 and 6 today. In the meantime, I am going to be cleaning most of the day in preparation for my brother's arrival tomorrow. He and his friend T are heading this way for the Dave Matthews Band concert tomorrow night. They can only stay for one night, but it should be a good one.