"There's no point in spending your life in the pursuit of something that's easy." - Alice Kuipers

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Mystery Solved

Well, the dog and I are doing much better today and the mystery of how Maddie got sick in the first place was solved last night when my husband discovered her eating from the garbage (a banana peel to be specific).
Our Maddie is a sneaky creature, so we don't even keep our garbage in the kitchen anymore. We keep it in the office where we can close the door and completely deny her access to it. Unfortunately, my husband is absentminded and has been forgetting to close the door, which resulted in a mischievous dog sneaking bites of garbage. Ugh. So, now I've been careful to close doors after my distracted husband and keeping a close eye on my mischievous dog. A mom's work is never done.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Like Puppy, Like Mommy

Yesterday, my husband and I both had the day off. This is a startlingly rare occurrence so we decided it should be 'date day'. Unfortunately, I woke up congested with a sore throat. I thought I could shake it off, but after lunch, my cold also developed a headache, and then stomach and joint pain were added to the mix. Today I have a full fledged flu (there's an interesting word combo) and I'm stuck on the couch in my jammies, watching tv while trying to coax down some liquids. But I'm not worried about me. I'm worried about my dog.
Maddie's life thus far has been riddled with bumps in the road in regards to her health. My baby has a delicate stomach, prone to long and trying bouts with diarrhea and when she was only eight months old she was subjected to major surgery after ingesting some kind of rag or towel. I still haven't the faintest clue as to how she managed to eat it without my noticing. I am, after all, a truly overbearing mommy. I worry constantly and I always have my eye on her. Well, last night as I alternated between shaking like a leaf and sweating buckets on the couch, Maddie lay on the rug at my feet. She seemed perfectly fine until out of nowhere she threw up. I'd hoped she'd just eaten something that upset her tummy, but this morning she has the runs, and she hasn't had the runs for months now. To make matters worse, I think I saw a little blood in it. Now I'm terrified. Maddie is like my child, her health is my number one priority. I'm still hoping that it's minor and she simply ate something disagreeable. But let's just say my own symptoms aren't my number one priority at the moment.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Halloween is Coming!

What do you do when you hate your job, but there's still a bunch of stuff you want to buy there? Do you stay and wait until you've purchased everything you like (however long that takes), do you quit, suck it up and buy things at full price. or do you buy everything you want in one big swoop and then quit? I don't know what to do.
I promised myself I wouldn't still be at the furniture store at Christmas, but last night we had a staff meeting. Not only did they have out all the Halloween stuff, but during the course of the meeting they showed us a sneak peek of the upcoming Christmas merchandise. I'm fairly certain it was all a convoluted plot to keep me from quitting. (Don't worry, I'm being sarcastic. I'm not that delusional. If retail stores really didn't want their staff to quit, they'd pay better. As it is, they don't and we're all replaceable. I accept that.)
Every year the same thing happens. As summer nears its end (and I cry myself to sleep every night at the prospect of another long, bitterly cold winter), retail stores begin bringing out their Halloween merchandise. And a funny thing happens. Like a child who's lost their balloon, but forgets it immediately at the prospect of an ice cream cone, I too completely forget that summer is leaving and focus on Halloween. It's not until Halloween is over that I remember once again that summer has left me, but luckily the Christmas season is there to distract me. Of course, in January there's no longer anything fun to focus on and the bitterness of winter slowly beats the joy out of me as I wait for spring.
Anyway, getting back to Halloween, last night at the staff meeting I barely heard a thing. All I could do was stare at the Halloween decorations, plots for Halloween dinner parties and haunted houses filling my head. I love Halloween. The costumes, the decor, the candy. I love taking the dismal emptiness of fall and turning it into a spooky wonderland. Honestly, it makes me wish I had more friends. I'd love to throw an epic, gigantic Halloween bash, but I"m a small circle of friends kind of person. So instead I focus on intimate, spooky dinner parties. And this year (if I can convince my husband) I'd love to buy nearly everything from the furniture store's Halloween decor and throw a fabulously haunted dinner party. Yes, that would keep thoughts of a long winter firmly banished from my brain.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

A Bad Day with a Sweet Aftertaste

I had kind of a crappy day today. First, when I left for work I forgot my lunch, only remembering when I was too far away to turn around. Then, completely distracted by the fact that I would have to eat lousy food court food, I parked my car in a pay parking lot and marched into work without remembering to buy a ticket. By the time I remembered, it was three hours later and I'd already been awarded a thirty five dollar fine for my absent mindedness. Taking that into consideration with my less than stellar sales for the day and subsequent boredom and it added up to a really lousy day. That is, until afterward.
When work was finally done for the day I raced out to my car, exhilaration giving me new energy. I was going for coffee with a dear friend of mine. Sitting in that coffee shop, laughing and chatting with her, all the stress and irritation of the day melted away. Honestly? It was hard to say goodbye and go home afterward.
Sometimes there's only one way to get rid of the bitter taste of a bad day. And that's to chase it with something sweet. And so, I sit at home now, about to go to bed and I feel good. I feel peaceful and ready to face another day tomorrow. Although I'll definitely be parking somewhere else.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

To Fix or Not to Fix?

Last week, on my epic Tuesday 'Writing Day', I made a startling and unpleasant discovery. As some of you may know, I finished the (very) rough draft of my novel at the end of May. My plan was to spend the summer editing it myself before getting it professionally edited. Unfortunately, that hasn't gone exactly according to plan. Truth be told, I've done a pitifully small amount of work on it thus far. Well, I decided to turn it all around and use my epic writing day to give it a thorough read through, making notes as I went along. About midway through the book I set it down, a frown of dismay plastered on my face.
To fully relate my discovery, I will now delve into deep metaphor (prepare yourselves). If you've ever bought a house, or went looking for one, you've probably toured a fixer upper. You did your walk through, horrified at the abysmal decor, realizing that it needs a ton of renovations. Despite the unfathomable design choices of the previous owners, you begin to see the charms underneath and decide that with a lot of hard work, elbow grease, and a little love it could really be something. It could be amazing.
You put in a bid and get a building inspection and wait for the verdict. When the building inspector comes through and finishes his inspection, he hands you his assessment. There's structural damage. Not only does it need a complete face lift but the bones underneath aren't good.
Now it's decision time. Do you want to take on such a massive, time-intensive and possibly unresolvable project? Or, do you walk away and find something that doesn't need so much work?
This is exactly how I feel about my book. I was prepared for it to be bad, horrible actually. I was prepared to take on massive edits (and it needs it), but as it turns out I have major issues with the plot. And now I have to decide if I want to stick with it, tear it down to the roots and rebuild, or walk away and start a whole new project. What's a gal to do?

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Unwanted Advice

Have you ever received unwanted advice from someone? Don't you just hate their smug, self-satisfied words, their torrent of better-than-you knowledge flowing unwelcomingly into your ears despite having made no request for their advice? Well, today I made the most unpleasant discovery. I am that awful person. Oh horror of horrors! I am that delusional idiot spouting off completely unasked for advice to tortured individuals unable to escape my egotistical rants.
Today's victim? One of my very best friends. Poor thing never even saw my e-mail full of relationship advice coming. What can I say? As my sister tells me, I was born without a filter, which means I say/write things that get me in major trouble without thinking. The problem this time? I really thought that I'd well, thought it through. What I didn't consider was the fact that I had absolutely no right to give her advice in the first place. Oops. Now, I'm left trying to fix my terrible mistake. Unfortunately, she's incredibly offended (and has every right to be) and I have no idea how I can put it to rights.
I just can't believe I'm that person. I always thought I did such a good job of not being that irritating advice giver, but now that I look back on it, the evidence is clear. My husband would make a star witness if this were my trial. He'd be able to bring load after load of incriminating evidence, showcasing my bossy, know it all tendencies. (Although I usually give myself a pass when it comes to him. He's my husband, he has to take it!) My sister is another casualty of my abundant advice giving. The poor thing's spent far too many an hour putting up with my lectures on all things I have no right to give advice on. But this time a good friend has taken the hit of my irritating habit, and I know I've gone too far. I hope she can forgive me, because in truth I couldn't possibly be more contrite. I feel like an idiot (probably because I've been one) and I don't know what to do.
The first course of action is clearly an apology, oh ever so many more apologies. For the second I'm considering getting my husband to sign off on everything I say and write. He's a much better judge of what's appropriate than I am. And thirdly, I think whenever I feel the need to give advice, I should write it down, read it over and then burn it. Burn it into a pile of smokey ashes and walk away. Because advice unasked for is just harassment.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Writing Day

In keeping with my 'brand new week' writing philosophy, I've decided that tomorrow - my only day off this week - will officially be writing day. To prepare for tomorrow's endeavors, I've made an evening run to Walmart to get supplies. My plan is to have no feasible reason to leave the house aside from walking the dog, and therefore avoid distractions.
A small word of wisdom - don't go for groceries when you're already jonesing for chocolate. I came home with chocolate chunk cookie dough, two king size Reese Big Cups, and a party size bag of M&Ms. Somehow I don't think that's going to be 'thinking food'. Even still, I'm feeling pretty good.
I'm hoping that my brain will still be functioning at maximum capacity. It seems rare these days to be awake, sharp and ambitious. Most of the time I either have a headache or I'm barely conscious. But with a good night's sleep I think I should be all right. The hard part is knowing that the day is dedicated to writing. Often times, the pressure gets to me and I end up spending the entire day working my way through seasons of Top Gear, Drop Dead Diva and the like. Which is why I have a plan to get myself going. I'm going to start the day with my morning pages.
I read about this technique in The Right to Write, which is a decent book on writing although tends toward being a little too hippie and new-agey for my tastes. But basically the long and short of it is you're supposed to start each day by writing three pages. They can be on anything you like, although for me they usually end up being a kind of journal entry. I like it because it gets my wheels turning, it puts me in the frame of mind for writing. It's a great way to get past the obstacle of actually getting started. Writing those three pages gets ideas (and words) flowing and I'm able to approach other projects with a lot more zest and creativity.
But now it's time to get to bed and get a good night's sleep. Keep your fingers crossed for me that I'll have a successful day, although with king size helpings of Reese Big Cups I don't see how I can lose!

Sunday, August 7, 2011

A New Week and A Good Sleep

It's amazing how the days can just flee from you when you have a pile of work to do. For the past five days I've been knocking my head against the wall trying to find time to write. Both my schedule and circumstances have not been kind to my writing goals but it's the start of a brand new week and I have high hopes that I'm going to get some solid work accomplished and make some serious headway in my writing.
But first, I need to get some sleep. The past two nights I've averaged about six hours of sleep per night and that is not enough. I'm a night owl that requires a great deal of sleep to function. Ideally, every night I'd get at least eight hours, preferably nine to ten. I've heard it's detrimental to sleep more than nine hours but I don't care. My body decides how much it needs and is very good at waking me up when its had enough. I prefer this system to the irritating blare of alarms.
Unfortunately, my night owl habits have had to be put to rest lately (literally), thanks to my dog. Maddie is very insistent that she should get her breakfast impossibly early each morning. She wakes me up at the crack of 7:00 every day (trust me, for me this is very early) and won't leave me alone until she's been let out and fed. After that she's perfectly content to climb back into bed and sleep for another hour or two, but sadly I'm the type who once they're up stays up. So, in order to get my recommended amount of sleep I've had to go to bed earlier and earlier. I'm getting used to it, but I'm not happy about it. I do my best work at night. This is when all the cogs and wheels of my brain are firing at full capacity. Just ask my husband. Every night as we attempt to fall asleep I can't help but babble on endlessly about all my ideas, worries, fears, everything that still needs to be done, travel and vacation ideas, zombie apocalypse action plans and so forth. I am the Maddie to his falling asleep.
Still, it could be worse. At least neither of us snores.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

I Miss My Wizard

Never underestimate just how much you're going to need the moral support of others to make a go of it as a writer. And I'm not just talking about friends and family, because let's face it - sometimes it's hard to believe praise or criticism when it comes from loved ones. When they say your work is really good, it's hard not to believe they're only saying it because they love you. And when they tell you something needs work, it's hard to take their editorial advice seriously.
It's been about three months now since I last met with the Writer in Residence (my wizard of oz), as her residency has now ended, and I won't lie - I feel a little lost. Every time I went to talk with her it felt as though she'd lit a fire under me. Suddenly I was filled with inspiration and the only thing standing between me and my dreams was myself. Not to mention it felt good to have a professional see potential in my work. (Even if that work needed some serious tweaking.)
I'm on my own now, and a sense of woe and lethargy has descended like a fog. Where's the fire? It seems to have sputtered out and been replaced with a confusion of what I should do next. Suddenly everything seems to be in the way and sitting down to edit my book feels like a trip to the dentist.
I'd like to take a class or attend a conference to give me another kick in the pants, but with three jobs that seems almost impossible to fit in.
I need to find a way to motivate myself, but I"m not sure how.