The Sweetie Chronicles

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

Baby Boom

What is it lately with all the babies?? Don't get me wrong, I'm not complaining! I love having friends with beautiful babies. Last week, I saw little Sami come into the world, and then I got to go visit Jodi in Florida. The last time I saw Jodi, he was a tiny baby, and it was so exciting to see him growing up.

I finally got to see pics of my friend K's new baby that is just a couple of weeks old. And... my other friend K from Nashville is due practically any day now. Talk about a baby boom!!

And those are just the people I know personally. It seems to me like it started with the celebrity babies like Nicole RIchie's baby Harlowe, or Jennifer Lopez' twins, Halle Berry's baby, etc. If you look at a magazine these days, you're sure to read something about a new baby or a new mother's sexy after-baby bod. Oh, and to that let me just say... Was it not enough that the media and celebrities had to make almost all regular women feel bad about their weight even if they are a normal size 8? No! Now they have to make new mother's feel bad when they can't take the baby weight off and have a flat tummy in six weeks. Jesus!

Anyway, have you ever seen the show Jon & Kate Plus 8? Sure, those aren't babies, but I caught this show on TLC the other day and just couldn't believe it. I can't even imagine life with twins and then sextuplets. Basically, there would be almost no life beyond the kids. Cute? Sure, on TV. Real life? No fucking thank you.

Then, I read that an unidentified woman in California recently gave birth to 8 babies at once. They were all born within just a few minutes, and according to today's article on people.com, they only thought there were 7 babies. The 8th was a surprise. I guess once so many are crammed in there, even the most skilled of ultrasound tech's can't tell exactly what's in there. The babies all weigh under 3 pounds, which is crazy small. The mother hasn't even been able to hold them yet because they are still so tiny and fragile. Crazy.

Everywhere I look these days, there are babies. There's no doubt in my mind that we are in the middle of another serious baby boom. I don't know if it compares to the baby boom of our parents' age, but it certainly seems to be significant. Isn't it strange how a baby boom coincides with an economic crisis? How are all of these people able to afford new babies? I guess they weren't thinking of that when they got down and dirty in the bedroom. As for G and myself... we use two forms of birth control these days, and thank God for it. For now, I will happily settle for babies near me and around me rather than one of my own. I'm sure that day will come, just not yet.

But for those of you that do have babies, I am sending my love and my best wishes!

Obama's Stimulus Plan

In news yesterday, the House passed an $819 Billion stimulus bill. Although no Republicans voted for the bill, there were plenty enough Democrats in the House to pass it, just the same. Next week it will go to the Senate, where, I imagine something similar will happen. Usually, Presidents aren't quite so powerful because the party lines in the House and Senate are not quite so "stacked". However, after this latest election, it's safe to say that the Democrats rule, and just about whatever Obama wants, he will get.

Here's the thing, everyone always thinks that Democrats want tax cuts but Republicans want to raise taxes. That isn't always true, however. In fact, Republicans in the House were pushing for less spending in the stimulus bill and more tax cuts. Democrats shot that down, however, opting to give big business more money instead of everyday people.

The other amazing thing for me is, where the hell is this money coming from? I'll tell you where it's coming from... it's being printed on demand. The government needs 100 billion dollars? No problem! Just warm up the printing press and voila! Money money money! If we continue down this road, we might as well be playing with Monopoly money. The American Dollar won't be worth shit anymore. Of course, if it goes down low enough in a global economy, maybe we will have to stop outsourcing everything because it will get too expensive. Haha! I'll tell you one thing, if we still had half of the business and manufacturing that we used to have here in the States before Clinton made it so profitable to move overseas, our economy would be just fine. But don't expect anything to change on that front... especially with Dems in power in Washington and Clinton herself as Secretary of State. All we can logically expect at this point is for the dollar value to go down and down and down from here.

I wish that I had a money printing press sometimes. Right now, I would most certainly print up a couple of million dollars and then make all of my dreams come true. But money doesn't work like that. You are supposed to earn it, not randomly print it whenever you need it. Apparently this very simple rule only applies to those of us not running the country.

Sami


My beautiful niece, Sami, is already a week old! Sorry for the absent posts for the past couple of weeks, but I had to go to GA and see her sweet face. Along the way, I also went to visit T, whose baby is also very very cute and is growing up so big so fast! I turned 32, which I suppose was inevitable. Today is my sister's birthday, and it's too bad I couldn't stay in GA to celebrate with her. Then again, however, I am very happy to be home again with my love. Whenever I go out of town, especially for a week or so, I miss G so bad. I used to think that I would eventually stop missing him quite so much, you know, after we were more comfortable and settled into our relationship. Not happening though. I still miss him like crazy whenever we're apart.

Anyway, here is a picture of my sweet niece. Then, it's back to work for me. It's always hard to get back into the swing of things and the routine of life and work, after a vacation or time away. Wish me luck :P

Damn Pills

So, I decided to try out this SlimQuick stuff that I keep seeing on TV. You know the ad where the cartoon drinks water and shrinks her tummy? Well, I bought their 7 day "Cleanse" program and started it earlier this week. The problem with it so far is that you have to take four pills twice a day. Yes, 8 fucking pills a day! Now, on the back, here is what the warning says:

Choking: Taking this product without adequate fluid may cause it to swell and block your throat or esophagus and may cause choking.

Seriously? Nice. Of course, I didn't actually read that warning until last night after I took my dose of four pills. I took plenty of water with it, but still, it feels like there is a pill stuck in my throat. I was paranoid all freaking night about it, and I didn't get to sleep until well after 4 am, worrying about going to sleep and having this stupid pill swell and me not be able to breathe.

I have looked up what other people say online about this feeling of having a pill stuck in your throat. Well, most say to eat a piece of bread, but I already tried that and it didn't work. I thought sleep would make it go away, but I'm up this morning and it's still there. One post I read said that when they went to the emergency room, the doctor told them that the pill was most likely not there anymore, but that it probably scratched their esophagus on the way down and left it irritated. I really don't want to go to the doctor about it, because it just seems silly. On the other hand, wtf is going on?

I have literally consumed about 10 bottles of water. I even tried hot chocolate thinking that the hot liquid might melt the pill better or help it to dissolve. Is there really a pill in my throat? Or am I just letting it get to me? I think that if we are scared of something, we can make ourselves believe anything. I remember one time in college thinking I might be pregnant, and I got so incredibly scared about it that I kept feeling like there was a baby in there. Stupid, yes I know. But painfully true. Of course, there was no baby, it was all in my head.

If I was having difficulty talking or breathing, I would probably go to the doctor, but as it is, this is just super annoying at worst. I'll just have to live with it and pray that there's not some pill lodged in my throat that is eating its way through my esophagus. I can be such a baby sometimes.

A New Niece!

Okay, so don't get too excited... she's not here just yet. But she's coming soon! Mom called yesterday to say that my sister-in-law is going to have to have a c-section, so the doctor went ahead and scheduled it for next Tuesday!! I can't wait!

I can't say this is my first niece, because my sister has a daughter. However, when she was born, none of us knew about her. We all found out after the fact, so we couldn't really be there for her and experience the day she was born like we will be able to this time. I'm so happy that I am going to be there for when she is born. A beautiful new family member. Very exciting!

I am going to head home on Monday and stay for a while until my sister-in-law is out of the hospital and doing well. It's sad I won't get to spend a whole lot of time with the new baby just yet, but this means I'm going to have to try to make it home to Georgia a little more often! Don't worry G, you can come with me. :)

What to write??

In a meeting with my new critique group, we had a discussion about genres. One author, who I'll just call KA, is already substantially published. She has at least three books already slated to come out this year! I feel privileged just to be working with her and learning from her. Anyway, she writes category romance, mass market paperback. She wants to break into a single title suspense market, but once you are well established in one market, it is difficult to make the big switch to another. So, that got me thinking... where do I want to start?

I have such widespread interests when it comes to reading that it's difficult to say what I most want to write. Everyone says, 'Write what you most love to read.' Well, I love to read a lot of different things! I love horror novels, chick lit, romance, fantasy, young adult novels, everything!! I even enjoy reading non-fiction. Then, of course, there's books like The Muse Asylum by David Czuchlewski. General fiction. Literary fiction. Even poetry. I love all of those things. But what do I most love?

I think that in situations like this, where my heart is being pulled in several different directions, the key is really to trust my heart... my deep down gut feeling. I have to stop thinking about what anyone else might expect or want me to do. I need to stop worrying about which genre is most likely to make money faster. And I have to just listen to that little voice inside that says, "Do this. This is where you belong."

I have no doubt written about it before, because it is one of my favorite quotes, but I will go ahead and write about it again because it has roots in this topic. Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, a famous German writer in the 18th century, once wrote:

Until one is committed, there is hesitancy,
the chance to draw back,
always ineffectiveness.
Concerning all acts
of initiative (and creation),
there is one elementary truth,
the ignorance of which
kills countless ideas and splendid plans:
that moment in which one definitely
commits oneself, then Providence moves, too.

All sorts of things occur to help one
that would never otherwise have occurred.
A whole stream of events
issues from the decision,
raising in one's favor
all manner of unforeseen incidents
and meetings and material assistance,
which no man could have dreamed would come his way.

Whatever you can do, or dream you can,
begin it.

Boldness has genius, power
and magic in it.

Begin it now.


What I think Goethe is talking about is the idea that we attract to us what it is that we desire. If you've heard about The Secret, you know exactly what I'm talking about it. In some ways, it sounds like magic of sorts. Can our thoughts really influence the world around us? I think the answer there is yes!

I mention all of this because there are two things lately that have pointed me toward the Young Adult genre. One, I met and became friends with an author who just happened to mention that she felt part of her success at a certain publisher was because she got in on the ground floor of a new line they had coming out, and they needed new authors. Then, less than one week later, I read that the same publisher is coming out with another new line. Young Adult. The second thing happened this week. I got an email from my writer's loop saying that a competition going on is looking for more Young Adult entries. The great thing about that contest is that an editor from another amazing Young Adult publisher will be reading the entries and judging them.

Two amazing opportunities pointing me in the same direction. I tell myself, "Be bold! Begin it now!" There isn't a moment to waste. When you feel life tugging you in many directions, chances are the answer is right there in front of you if you just open your eyes.

American Idol Returns


I know I'm insane, but I can't help it. I love American Idol. A new season starts tonight, and I am anxious to see how the new judge, Kara DioGuardi, works out. Having another woman on the panel is going to change the dynamic somewhat, which is something show desperately needs. I wouldn't have minded if Randy Jackson was gone anyway. Last year, I think his only comments were, "It was aight dawg. It wasn't my favorite, but it was aight." and "Man, that was off the CHAIN!" I wanted to see at least a little bit more from him than that, but he never really said anything interesting or helpful. My hope is that this new judge is fun and honest.

So tonight we won't start seeing the real competition. Tonight we start to see clips from the auditions. Now, for some people, this is the best part of the show. Sure, it's funny and definitely crazy to see the way people act and dress for the auditions. On the other hand, it's also annoying and often cruel the way they treat people. Out of thousands and thousands of people who audition, only a very small handful get inside the room with Paula, Randy, Simon (and now Kara). That basically means certain screeners are out there in the preliminary auditions encouraging people and letting them through, telling them they passed their audition and have a once in a lifetime chance to sing on television, raising their hopes to Mount Everest proportions. And we've all seen those "passing" auditions. Some are amazing. Others are just comical. And still others are very sad.

I enjoy the human interest stories and hearing about people from all over the country that are following their dreams and wanting to raise themselves up to new experiences and a new career. However, what I can't handle sometimes is the way the show exploits people who obviously really truly believe they are good (but aren't at all) and then get their dreams smashed by Simon saying, "I'm speechless" in his snooty British accent. And when the contestant looks to him with hope and says, "Is that good?" or "Thank you!" he responds, "I didn't mean it as a compliment. You are quite possibly the worst singer in the history of this show." And then the fat girl or whoever leaves the room in tears. Those auditions sometimes go way too far for my taste. I much prefer the show after these preliminary auditions are over and the real singing begins.

Of course, they'll probably have a full month of auditions first before we ever see the semi'finals. Ah, well... I just hope we see some talent on there this season that's as good as it was last season.

Time


Time is a funny thing. Sometimes you can feel like you have tons of time, so you procrastinate and do the things that seem important today. However, next thing you know, time has fooled you and suddenly that thing you thought was far off is here, and you're unprepared. Does this ever happen to you? It happens to me all the time.

I put things off for later in the week thinking that I have plenty of time to get it done. Then, the weekend rolls around and I wonder where in the hell the time went. So why am I thinking about that this morning? Because I was dreaming about our wedding.

Our wedding date is October 7th. While that may seem like it's still a ways off, 9 months really isn't that long when there's so much to do in between. The goal is to make enough extra money to pay for a wedding in St. Lucia. Well, that's going to run us about $7,000. When I start to think of time in terms of that money, I get nervous. If we are going to make an extra $7,000 in the next 8 or 9 months, we don't have much time to really start. That's almost $1000 a month!

My fear is that I'll put it off and not work hard enough because it seems like we have plenty of time. I really don't want to wake up in August and think, "Damn, there's no way we'll get to St. Lucia. Wish I would have done more work in January." Now I know what they mean when they say, "The time is now!" Now is all the time we have, so we need to take advantage of it and work hard to pave the way for our dreams to come true.

Who's to Blame?

Everytime something bad or disappointing happens in your life, do you take time to think about what went wrong? Or do you automatically blame it on someone or something else? Do you ever actually take personally responsibility? Or do you shield yourself by believing that nothing is your fault?

Sometimes, we aren't the ones to blame. If someone else caused a car accident and you got hurt, you have every right to blame them. However, the fact that you have to deal with your injuries and move forward is now your responsibility. Of course, it still feels good to look back and blame that asshole who pulled out in front of you.

Most of the time, it's our own stupid fault when things go wrong. I hear people say things all the time like, "I knew I should have changed the tires, but the people at the Jiffy Lube should have TOLD me I needed to get new tires!! It's their fault I was hydroplaning!" Uh... really?

I suppose it's human nature to look around for somewhere else to place the blame. We don't really want to believe that we are the ones responsible for our own destiny. It's okay, you can admit it. I do it too. To this day, I still hold onto the belief that if the stupid administration at my high school had counted music as an academic subject like they did for art and weight lifting (ha!), I would have been Valedictorian of my graduation class. But NO, they had to count C's weight lifting class, where she got 100 every semester, thus putting her half a point higher than me on her GPA. I really wanted to be #1, and when I didn't get it, I looked outward for reasons why. The ultimate truth, though, is that those rules were already in place long before I challenged them. Sure, Music should count if sports and art do, but that was a battle I should have started fighting Freshman year if I wanted things to change. My grades were my responsibility.

I would like to think that as I mature, I begin to take more responsibility. The truth is, the only way that we can grow and change is to first realize where we need work. Sometimes, however, it seems that the older people get, the more they tend to blame everyone else for their problems. There are a lot of people out there who have no interest in "growing" or becoming a better person.

For example, there's this man in his mid-60's that G and I recently encountered playing Everquest 2. He was the type of guy where you just couldn't tell him anything he didn't already know, and he never did anything wrong... it was always someone or something else that caused it. I said, "Okay I'm here, can I get an invite." and he said, "I know, I was watching you, I already invited you, your computer must be lagging." Someone said, "You have to turn that mob around please," and he said, "I was trying to turn it around, but he had me stunned for a bit there and I was just trying to make sure someone else didn't pull aggro." Those are just two small examples. When we grouped with him one night for several hours, there was not a single time when he didn't have an excuse or someone else to blame. I wanted to reach through my computer screen, pick up his little Shadowknight ass and hurl him out the window! Take some damn responsibility! Or better yet, just do what you were asked to do or do whatever it takes to make the situation better and stop fucking whining about it!

Honestly, if you want to go really deep with this, the people that drive me the most crazy are the people who mooch off of the government and then continue to feel that everbody owes them something. It's never their fault that they had six kids when they couldn't afford it. It's never their fault that they can't find a job. Their health problems are a good excuse! They would never admit that their health problems are due to their giant ass from sitting on it and eating potato chips and pizza all day long. I fully understand that things happen that are out of your control sometimes, but most of the time, no one is to blame for where we are except for ourselves. The minute we start taking responsibility for our circumstances is the moment we begin to change and make things better.

Of course, I'm partly talking to myself here too, so don't feel that I'm putting judgment on anyone. (Okay, so maybe a little judgment on the woman with six kids who refuses to work hard and thinks it's the government's responsibility to take care of her.) I just believe that if we all start to realize that where we are now is the sum of all the little decisions that we make throughout our day, we can start to recognize the little things that need to change. Instead of saying, "I can't write today because I have a terrible tummy ache," I need to realize that it was my decision to have too much sugar the day before when I know that sugar is going to upset my stomach.

Anyway, I'm sorry I didn't get this blog posted sooner, but I had to take my dog outside and then feed her, and then she started to get into our other dog's food and I had to punish her and put her back in her room... It wasn't my fault. (Ha!)

Homemade Smoothies... Yum!!

This morning I made breakfast in the blender. I took a recipe I got out of the week 1 Weight Watchers book and sort of modified it to taste better. Okay, so that basically means I added some calories, but if I'm going to drink it, it has to at least taste good.

Here's how I made them (and believe me, if you try these, you'll be very glad you did!):

4 Strawberries
1 banana
A cup of Fiber One Strawberry Yogurt (which has I think 5 g of Fiber)
1/4 cup skim milk
Ice
1 Tablespoon Sugar

I took the stems off the strawberry and, of course, the banana out of the peel, dumped in the yogurt and the milk, then put a couple handfuls of ice and the sugar on top. All of that went into the blender, and voila! Strawberry Banana Smoothie!!! I put a little spoonful of Cool Whip Free on top and that makes it a bit creamier if you mix it in with a spoon. Not only is it good for you, it also tastes good! The above recipe is just a guideline though. You could throw any kind of fruit in there or yogurt, depending on what you like. Also, the amount listed makes enough for two tall glasses, so if you want enough for only one, you have to cut that in half! Yum :)

"Uglies" by Scott Westerfield

Last night, I finished reading the book "Uglies" by Scott Westerfield. If you haven't heard of it, the book is technically teen fiction. It's about a future world where everyone gets an operation on their sixteenth birthday that makes them beautiful. Super-model beautiful. Sounds great, right? Well, it's not that simple.

I don't want to give away the book, but let's just say that there are some kids that don't want to change into a beautiful copy. Some people think that it's our differences that make us beautiful.

From baby to age 12, you are called a "Littlie". When you turn twelve you have to attend a sort of boarding school, and you are called an "Ugly" until you turn sixteen and change into a "Pretty". Simplistic names help keep the novel from getting too confusing, since we all already have associations with words like ugly and pretty. I thought the simplicity of it within this very complex world was clever.

Overall, I loved the book. It was a fast read, and I really grew to love the heroine, Tally. She is an almost sixteen year old who is looking forward to becoming "pretty" just like her best friend (whose birthday was three months before hers). Then she meets Shay, another girl her age who tells her about a secret town called The Smoke, where people have chosen to live rather than go to New Pretty Town to get the operation. At first, Tally doesn't even believe such a place could exist, and she thinks Shay is crazy to want to run away. I mean, who doesn't want to be beautiful? But when Shay leaves, a group of government officials tell Tally that she has to go find The Smoke and alert the government to its location. If she doesn't, they will never turn her pretty.

What Tally decides to do from that point on is what really makes the book great. Some of it is predictable, because you can sort of see where the story is going to go. However, the ending is unique for sure, and it left me wanting to read the second book. Besides, the book can be a little bit predictable simply because the premise of it is so original. It had a very "Fahrenheit 451" feel to it. In some ways, it also reminded me of Ayn Rand's "Anthem" where individualism is considered an evil. The next book in the series is called, as you can imagine, "Pretties."

Back Into the Swing of Things

Monday.

Holidays over.

New Year.

Back to work.

It's so tough to get back into the swing of things after the holidays. That break is just so nice! It's also so busy that by the time you finally get to sit down and say "Ahhh", it's over and back to work. Of course, this time, we are aimed with New Year's Resolutions and the determination to do something better with our lives this year. I know I have set some goals of my own, even though I don't think I would call them New Year's Resolutions. Why not? Simply because everyone knows that resolutions are usually forgotten by mid-january while everyone slips back into their same old routine. "Not this year," we say. But it happens every year. For most of us, anyway.

For me, this year is all about making up for lost time and getting back on track. I definitely remember the year 2000 as being the worst of my life. I rung in the new milennium with tears in my eyes from hurtful things that happened during a vacation to California with my then-boyfriend, which should have been an omen. After what happened throughout the year 2000, it's almost as if my life got put on hold or slow motion maybe. I'm not saying the past 9 years have been a completely loss, but there was so much more I could have done.

Now that this first decade is coming to a close, I want to make this last year the best year. I want it to be a segue to the future I've always dreamed of. The truth is, I am the only one holding me back at this point. 2009 is the year I will marry the most amazing man I've ever known. There's no telling what other amazing things could happen between now and 2010.

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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