Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Trees popped

Well, that magical Spring day has finally arrived...


The leaves have turned to green again. Hooray!!

Wanna see my view?

Here ya go...

Sunday, April 26, 2009


Our pollen count is WAY up, and my energy level is WAY down, so this is going to be quick and random.

The Craigslist Killer is WAY disturbing news. Have you heard about it? Why so scary for me? Well, I've actually posted there for renters for the other house. Actually, all of the renters for that house have come from CL. Of course, I am a fanatic when I meet prospective renters. If The Man can't be there with me, I take The Boy. He's as big as The Man, and rather intimidating. I also stand at the window, on the phone with The Man, and tell him the license plate number of the car that arrives in my driveway. That way, if I DO get killed, at least The Man can hunt the jerk down!

Eighteen is WAY too young to be in a serious relationship. There is a young lady at my store who is 18. She is involved with a guy that is over 30, with 5 kids. They are currently living with his not-yet-ex-wife. I want to take this baby girl in my arms and tell her that her life could be so much MORE. Of course, she'd think I was crazy, because, as you may recall, at 18 you know EVERYTHING.

The Man is WAY more patient than I deserve. After just returning from a LONG weekend away to New England, I was asked to go to the beach in a few weeks. He was there when I was asked. And while he wasn't jumping for joy at the thought of me escaping again, he didn't say NO either. Really, I think he's trying to reach sainthood. I just pray that nobody tells him he's already destined for that before I get to stick my toes in the ocean. :)

I have gained WAY too much weight recently. With a vicious combination of winter, depression, and working too much, I have managed to not only avoid my slightly overpriced gym, but find my way to a certain coffee house where the baristas are all too happy to serve me a Venti Iced Double shot with 8 pumps of classic, made with soy. I have a feeling that those aren't as low-cal as I was originally led to believe. I need to get back to the gym. Soon.

It is WAY too hot. But after freezing my butt off all winter, I can't even complain.

I am WAY overdue for a cool shower, a tylenol PM, and my pillow.


Saturday, April 25, 2009

The Thing about writing is...

I recently returned from one of those magical weekends that some of you will be able to relate to: "The Writer's Weekend". My husband is one of those wonderful men that actually not only support me in my writing (This career of yours will enable me to buy this really cool toy some day!), but also fervently believes in my ability to create entire worlds with just the words that flow, seemingly effortlessly depending on the coffee to wine ratio, from my fingers. So he convinced me that this weekend was just what I needed, encouraged me to go, and even made an Herculean effort to get me to Union Station with enough time to catch the train to New Haven. And I write on the train. The thing about writing is that you need the time to do it, and 5 uninterrupted hours on the train seemed to help.

My very dear friend invited me up for a writing weekend in Cape Cod. So I got to knock out two firsts at once. See, not only had I never been to Cape Cod (home of bee-ah and chow-dah), but I'd also never done a writer's weekend before. Now, that's not to say that i've never gone away with writer's - I have. And it's not to say that i've never gone away to write - as again - I have. But this sort of weekend? Not so much. The thing about writing is that you really need to have a venue, a place, that is conducive to the flowing of those creative juices.

I was invited by an award winning, multiple published author. She also invited another multiple published author, and someone else that just got a contract on her first book. Needless to say, I actually asked "K- what the HELL am I doing being invited to this thing? HOW am I going to contribute? Ohhh Myyyy GAWD!" To which she naturally replied something along the lines of "Stop your bitching and get on the damn train, woman!" And hey, how do you argue with that? The thing about writing is that you occasionally need someone to tell you that you can.

So I went.

And Ohhh Myyy GAWD. To say that I learned a few things would be the ultimate in understatement! The other Multiple Published Author (lets call her MPA for brevity's sake) brought an easel, a flip chart, many markers, assorted sticky note pads, and her game face. She got us on track and ready to do characterization and plot studies in no time. I have my characters fleshed out and my plot actually in place. It makes sense this way, though I've never done it this way before. It may revolutionize those long, hard months that occur between the "I have this idea..." phase and the "I HATE THIS DAMN BOOK" phase. The thing about writing is that you have to have a plan.

After many starts and stops on the train home, I got some things reorganized in my head. I also got a few words on the screen. And it makes sense to me, even when I look at all those color coded sticky notes. But still, it's not the same as being there around those three other AMAZING ladies, with those ideas just pouring out of our mouths. I don't know how I'm going to be able to bring some of those color coded sticky notes to life on my screen without them. But here's the deal:

The Thing about writing is...

you just have to DO it!

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

I might be MacGyver...

I have this problem that some of you may be familiar with, and I know some of you actually share. You see - I'm a PLEASER. I mean, I live to make people happy.

Well, maybe that isn't putting it exactly right. What I really do, or want to do, is whatever it takes to get a person out of an impossible situation.

It's my specialty, my goal in life. I think I watched too much tv in the 80's and actually grew up believing that "Difficult takes a day. Impossible takes a week." Well that, and that I could really fix anything, especially if I just had enough duct tape. (Not physical anythings, you understand. I mean the figurative "anything"s, like starving children in Africa and World Peace.)

And frankly, it's exhausting.

Just lost your job? I'll get you an interview. Car broke down? I'll loan you mine. Spent all your money on schtuff and now can't pay your bills? I have some extra. Car get towed because of your outstanding fines and driving on a suspended? I'll come pick you up. Sleeping in your car because you've spent all your money on drugs, and your loser ex won't pay for diapers (or food) for your kid and you can't hold a job and neither can your current beau? Move into my basement and I'll take care of everything for 8 months.

Have you done any of those things? If so, you can join the new club I'm starting... it's called the "If you have a sob story that could get Oprah to cry, Dr. Phil to yell, or Jerry Springer to laugh, I am the sucker that will bend over backwards to help you out until you literally suck the last bit of breath from my shriveled body" club. Oh, the name is too long? Ok, how about the "I'm a SUCKER" club.

Because honestly, every single one of those things? Yeah, I was the sucker. And all for the same person.

My problem is that I want to save everyone. Seriously. I sometimes think that I could probably fix every problem in the entire world, if I just had a little more cash, 9 more hours in every day, and a pack of gum, a Swiss army knife and a safety pin (hey, have you ever seen MacGyver? That man could do anything with gum and a safety pin!).

The bigger problem? I try really hard to fix things, but always, and I mean ALWAYS, forget that people are people, and will usually end up disappointing me yet again. Except the blood or legal relatives in my house. And most of you that read this.

I just need to learn when to say ENOUGH.

I've been practicing. I have. I stand in front of the mirror some mornings before heading off to work and say things like "I will not buy anyone food today, except my daughter", or "No matter how many times that person texts me, I am not going to stop off and get them ANYTHING and drop it by their house on my way home".

I actually did it the other day. I was working. When I got off work, I had a text message that said "Could you please buy me cigs and drop them off on your way home tonight? Thanks."
And I actually replied "Sorry. Not today."

I was very proud of myself. And then I had guilt for days.

So how do you say "No" to people? Any suggestions? If so, leave them in the Comments.

Otherwise, leave me your sob story. I'm pretty sure, with just a SA knife and a roll of duct tape, I can fix it.

Monday, April 06, 2009

Yes, I'm still alive.

But barely.

I haven't posted here in months, as you well know. I haven't posted a damn thing over on the book blog either. Not since Nationals last year. Not since I left San Francisco.


Well, life just sucks you up sometimes. Then when it gets done - it spits you out. That's how I've felt for a bit... well, months, actually.

But hiding out from friends, the people that actually give a damn about how I am doing? Not really the answer. So I'm back.

Quick recap on life over the past 8 or so months...

RWA Nationals was FABULOUS! I haven't had so much fun in ages. I shared a room with Kristan Higgins, and it was truly one of the best weeks I've ever had. I had a great agent appointment, I went to the HQN party, I almost got killed in a cab. It left me refreshed and oh so excited about writing again. Then I came home.

My Grams was diagnosed with lung cancer. She didn't tell me. Actually, I didn't find out until Gret's b-day, when I called to let Gret talk to her. Her phone was disconnected, but I'd just spoken with her a week earlier. I called my cousin and he told me that she'd been diagnosed and her oldest daughter had taken her from Oklahoma to Louisiana for treatments and - get this - surgery to remove half her lung on my birthday. I called the hospital and was told that she didn't want to speak to me. I tried for days, and finally the other aunt called me and screamed obscenities at me over the phone, telling me I was horrible, etc. It was a rough time, and it didn't end well. I spoke with Grams only briefly, once over the summer, then didn't hear from her for months.

I left my job in NoVa and came back to the store where I started. Such drama in that move, and I don't want to go into it all. It was rough to leave, and harder to come back here, but it's all worked out for the best. My new boss is AMAZING. I totally love this man - he's got a training background, treats me like a peer, respects my opinion, and doesn't go ballistic when I turn into a Mama Bear regarding one of my new hires.

I finished my book, ALMOST SOUTHERN. Oh yes I did. I finished the damn thing and then tossed it under the bed. I would have buried it in the backyard if I didn't think the dogs would dig it up and leave it as a gift for me on the front porch. Please don't ask me to send it to you, because really? I HATE THAT DAMN BOOK WITH A PASSION, and every time someone asks about it - I want to vomit. I know I'll feel better about it some day. I know I will. But right now? yeah, please don't mention it.

My kids grew. A lot.

Christmas came. And went.

My Grams passed away. Ohmygawd, I can't believe I'm actually saying it. But she did. And it hurts. Really bad. Backtracking a little, evil aunt did call and tell me to bring the wee ones to Louisiana immediatly. So I literally left work, drove straight home, packed a bag, loaded them up, and drove 26 hours straight to get there. We were there over New Year's and it was nice. I thought it was a great visit. Grams was doing good, considering. But it was hard to see her. She just didn't look like herself, she was disoriented, she didn't know me. Rough times. But it seemed to be good with Evil Aunt. Then Grams passed away 10 days after we left, and all hell broke loose again. We were explicitly told by the Truly Awful Aunt that if we showed up for the funeral, she would call the cops and try to have me arrested. It was High Southern Drama, of course. This stems from my mother being the baby of the family, and the older two daughters being very jealous. So when my momma passed away, they just transferred all of their vicious hate and blackheartedness to me. Now keep in mind that I've been here in Virginia for over a decade. They live in Louisiana and Texas, while Grams was in Oklahoma. I drove out to visit Grams at least 2-3 times every year, taking the wee ones on that trek very often. Neither of them visited her since my momma passed away in 2001. I'd gone out there 14 times. I took care of everything from calling the plumber to renewing her car tags to calling the DirecTv people for her, and ordering her meds online, etc. That was my momma's job, and I just took it over when she passed away. I loved my Grams, y'all know that. She was all I had left of my family, at least the women, and it meant so much to me to have her in my life.

So did I do a slow spiral into that long dark tea time... ummm... why yes, I did. And it's been a struggle and a climb to get back from there. I just have SO MUCH ANGER in me, and I don't know what to do about it. I basically quit everything - quit checking my blogs, quit writing, quit reading, if you can believe that (well, except for Kristan's newest book - which was FABulous!! btw). Gained a ton of weight. Grew bitter. Ack. Sounds like a soap eh? Or maybe one of those cheesy Lifetime movies.

This is part of my therapy. I'm trying to ease back into life again. I will make myself blog. It might not be pretty. I doubt I can pull off those happy ray of sunshine up the ass posts I used to be able to manage. It might get dark and dismal. And I am definitely going to change my colors from pink to something else. But I will be blogging. At least here. I don't know if I'll go back to the book blog again. After all of the crap with that last year, I just don't have the heart for it anymore. Maybe I'll go back to doing those posts over here. We'll see.

But the point is - I'll be here. As often as possible. Except next week. I'm heading out of town to Cape Cod, for a writer's weekend. I'll be thinking of every last one of you while I'm there.

Oh yeah - one other thing...

I've already started my new book. And it is SO MUCH BETTER than that other one. I may post a scene here soon.

Thanks for hanging in here with me!