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Monday, March 19, 2012

It's not you, it's me.

Dear blog, 
You may see this as a selfish act but someday I hope you will understand. This isn't working for me anymore. I think you must have sensed my lack of commitment, my less than enthusiastic posts. Sure, I tried to fake it. I really wanted this to work out but now is not the time for us. 

To my followers, today may not be the very last post I do but this blog is going to be stopping dependent on my ability to un-sign up for a couple of blogfests. I appreciate all the support, comments (especially loved those comments) and virtual hugs I have gotten along the way. I will also still be randomly checking in and still commenting on your blogs. In keeping with my writing goals, this is the best decision for me to make at this time. 

However, since I am so very anal about such things, I need to be able to take my name off IWSG and the A-Z blogfest. I cringe at the idea of someone blog hopping to my site and finding nothing on topic. So, if I can't get off those lists (anyone know how?  I hate to just comment on the hosts regular blog since that will seem so negative to new people signing up) then I guess I am here until the end of April. But I hope I can because a big part of the hops is to find new blogs and I don't want to offer mine up since I am planning on ending it. As part of my sign off though I want to give a special shout out to a few blogging peeps. I am guessing if you follow my blog,  you are following theirs but just in case. There are lots of people who check out and comment on my blog after I have commented on theirs (don't get me wrong, that is something I think time just forces on a lot of us). However, there are a few who have taken the time to read and comment independent of my actions. They also all post regularly. So, if you are not following these blogs, I strongly urge you to. Sorry for the strange yellow background on the first three, first it sent this to drafts and then it won't let me repaste it, or more likely I just don't know how. 

First, of course, is Rusty Webb at The Blutonian Death Egg He is first because he makes me laugh and because it was his blog that got me going on the blog thing in the first place. He does it right. You won't be disappointed. His published works are always growing. A Dead God's Wrath seems to have gotten the most play so far but there will be many more I am sure.

Then we have Alex Cavanaugh at the blog of similar name. I think he must have clone robots to do all the commenting he does because he is everywhere AND writes books-Check out CassaStar and his latest CassaFire.

Sarah Pearson at Empty, White Pages although she now has the empty crossed out, I am not sure how to do that. She feels like a friend even though we have never met face to face. 

Also,  Andrew Leon at StrangePegs always gives comments and often writes blogs that get me thinking. Has a book out too, The House on the Corner.

Emily King is very good on her regular check-ins. She is a very supportive blogger friend to have.

Lydia Kang at The World is my oyster has lots of great information. She has tons of followers for good reason. You will see why when you visit.

David Powers King is a pretty new follower but not new at blogging or writing. He has a book, Woven, a YA for which he is seeking representation. Plus, I love the picture on his blog. You arrive and know you are in sci-fi/fantasy land.

Let me also throw in Chuck at Apocalypse Now because he gets in there and mixes it up at times as well.

So that is my current state of the union. Hope you all have a wonderful day.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

I swear I wasn't running with them

It began, as so many accidents do, with a great idea.

Here's a little context before we get to the part where blood is pooling on the ground around my feet. I'm teaching a drama class at my children's school and, as is the case in many small schools, that means in addition to directing the show, I am also in charge of costumes, props, lighting and sets.  This can get pricey so I look for ways to cut costs. So, instead of buying chicken wire to make the frame for a paper mache tree, I decided to recycle the light-up reindeers that stopped working this Christmas. You've seen them. They are made of white wire and have Christmas lights clipped on them. We had three and I figured if I got the Christmas lights off I could reshape the wire. Nice idea, yes. And many of the lights easily snapped right off but then there were a few. Those few were attached by plastic ties, the kind that they strap toys in with. I needed scissors to cut through them but it was hard to get the blade of the scissors underneath the tightly wrapped plastic so I shoved really hard and wham, scissor blades into my index finger. Very warm blood began welling out of the cut at an astonishing rate.

I cupped my one hand over the other to try to catch it but then found myself in a quandary. Since I stood in the garage, I had to get back into the house to do any wound care. Blood was beginning to spill over my palms into large nickel size droplets on the floor. I couldn't grab a dirty rag because well, it was dirty and an open wound. I also didn't want to get blood all over my welcome mat. I'm not saying that was the most rational decision, just giving you my train of thought. In my defense though, I really like that welcome mat and it is textured so there is no way I could have ever known it was truly clean.

So I walk over to the door, blood still occasionally splatting as it goes over my hand. I lean over and kick the door, hoping to draw the attention of my children. The dog comes running, barking, but no one opens the door, so I kick it again. This leaning over and kicking motion causes much more blood to spill on the garage floor, but not on the door mat so I'm still feeling okay. I kick again and again, this is where the blood began pooling around my feet. I start feeling woozy, not because of actual blood loss, just because it looks like a lot of blood loss and it is my blood. My blood is not supposed to be on the floor. Finally, when I'm thinking I am going to have to leave horror film worthy hand prints on that door, my daughter opens up, becomes incredibly solicitous upon seeing the blood and helps me get in without staining the welcome mat.

My husband comes home soon after this and insists I go to the emergency room for stitches. The blood flow has mostly stopped by this time and I have examined the wound. It is a pretty small cut, despite the original blood output so I argue until he says, "if you don't need a stitch, I will run naked through the hospital."

So now it is a win-win for me. Either I really did need a stitch or he has to follow through with that. So, fast forward three hours. I am sitting in the waiting room at the ER, a paper towel wrapped around my swelling finger, with all sorts of scary maladies around me. I tried to make the children promise not to breathe while in the waiting room before making my husband take them home for fear of their contamination. I said I would call him when finished. The blood has mostly stopped at this point and I am feeling like an idiot for being in the ER.

They finally call me backand the doctor asks, "Why is your finger swelling?"

I shrug, not feeling especially medically qualified to answer this. All I know is that it isn't really bleeding, it just feels like I can't bend it and is turning blue. It seems I do not need a stitch after all. I have nicked a blood vessel so she tells the nurse to give me a tetanus shot, clean the wound, bandage it, and splint it for a few days so it won't break open again. She says, "I'm not going to stitch it because your primary risk here is infection and if that happens they will need to get in there." I try not to think that through and make a self-promise to faithfully take my antibiotic.

Then the treatment begins. Since humor is my primary defense mechanism, I am one of those people who cracks jokes (probably very bad ones) when I'm uncomfortable. So this poor nurse had to yuck it up along with me as I joke first about the shot (You any good at giving those? ha, ha) to the cleaning (wow, that really hurts, said with a big smile on my face) and finally the putting on of the splint which is painful enough to silence me. Hey, maybe that was why he squeezed it so hard.

So, with splinted finger, I escape to the outside, away from the germs, and call my husband to pick me up.  He cruises into the lot and I climb in. As he drives away, I remember I didn't get a stitch and his part of the bargain but he refuses to turn around. Oh well, I probably would have had to bail him out of jail and since my writing finger was in a splint it would be hard to sign the bail bond papers. Maybe it all worked out for the best. Monday and Wednesday posts had already been written thank goodness because I can just type again today.  

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Pride goeth before-well you know

Could you tell I was feeling pretty good about myself on that last blog? The not eating out thing was really working out, right? In a hypocritical twist of fate, on the same day I wrote that, we went out to dinner that night. I can justify it. I can always justify it. We went to see a play with the kids and my sister's family. I'd lost track of time before leaving so hadn't fed the children, a rather important part of parenting. So they noshed their way through The Music Man on popcorn but still needed dinner. Since that show ran over three hours when my sister said they were going to Ihop to eat and didn't we want to go, I said yes. After all, it would be quicker than going all the way home and fixing something, right? 

There were naggings and misgivings as I said it, but I wanted it. Like that next glass of wine when you've already got the happy feeling going. You know it isn't really a good idea but after a feeble protest you allow the host to refill the glass and you drink it. In the same way, I polled the rest of the family, tempting them into it as well. Great celebrations ensued that we were going to be eating out, not sure what that says about my cooking but that isn't the point. 

It wasn't that I didn't enjoy my Ihop meal. Oh, I did. The cheesy omelet with a side of crisp hashbrowns, lightly salted made my tastebuds smile. BUT, since it was already late, my 7 year old son burst into tears when he thought there was not a kids menu to color. There was, but the tears had already happened by the time the server brought it. I knew he was tired, we all knew. After all the first bout of tears had come in the theatre lobby when I threw away his empty water bottle. He cried because I wouldn't let him fish the water bottle back out of the trash. He said he was pretending it was his bad guy whacker. While I can understand needing a weapon if a bad guy shows up, not sure that a small plastic water bottle is going to be the key to my survival. I digress. 

So, at the restaurant, first we had the tears, then it took about 20-30 min before we actually got our food. So in the end, I think we would have been better off just heading on home and eating a pop tart or something. And I am not even going to get on the scale today.  

Monday, March 12, 2012

A little unexpected benefit

The first bit of good news is that no one has gone into DT's. Some of you may recall that my family has committed to not eating out in March (and half of last month) to save money for our airfare to D.C. for spring break. I always knew we spent a lot on eating out but it has amazed me how much money we have saved so far. Which is fortunate since the ticket purchases are already on the credit card waiting to be paid off. Lest you think I'm too much of a gambler, we do have some savings but I like to keep those there as savings as opposed to spendings.

Part of me feared I would find my children rocking in the fetal position while whimpering for happy meals. I truly thought this task would be akin to a short tour through hell. And the first couple of weeks felt like it, for me. I had gotten pretty used to swinging by the big arches or a similar venue on the way home from the kids sport practices or drama classes. So my work load has increased in terms of grocery list planning, cooking, and dishes.

The kids haven't been too bad. They have mentioned it a few times but when reminded about the plane trip they move on. But in some ways I have actually saved time. I hadn't realized how long those short detours to the drive through and waiting in line took. Instead, I drive right home and throw some chicken nuggets in the oven and can do stuff while I'm waiting for them to get ready, like comment on a blog. Hey, I didn't say I was serving them all healthy food. Although, I have done a lot more grilling in this process too.

So I stepped on the scale this morning (a bit of self-flagellation that I engage in on a semi-regular basis) and discovered I have lost five pounds.  So what I am trying to figure out is how to keep this going without revolt after we get back from our national capital visit.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Not sure if I'm relaxed or lazy

It's not quite 12 on a Sunday morning and I am feeling quite hedonistic. That might have meant something truly worth an eyebrow raise when I was in my 20's. Today, it means I skipped church and slept until 9 (10 if you count the time change but I hadn't adjusted my clock yet). My husband, in an act worthy of some sort of medal, got up and fulfilled out greeters duty at church while I lolled about with soft sheets pulled up to my shin. When I did rise, I lingered at the breakfast table reading a Whole Living magazine which made me feel healthy without having to actually commit to doing anything. The cats and dog both lay curled in sunspots near me while outside the breakfast window, birds nibbled from the bird feeder. But the greatest thing about the morning is it allowed me time to think and plan.

So many of my days are about getting the next thing done. They start with getting up, showering, eating, doing dishes, taking the kids to school, and then you can fill in a variety of tasks and obligations after that in any variety of mix and match patterns. The only plan is survival which means grocery shopping comes above say blogging or writing because one must feed their children or protective services with take a dim view. Not to mention those little ones are persistent about their hunger and thirst. Which is, no doubt, why they have survived longer than most of the plants I've owned.

Two weeks ago I decided I would try to post a blog twice a week, Monday and Wed and I have done that. It worked out well that IWSG fell on a Wed this time. I do think it is important to have some kind of consistency but this blog was just cause I was feeling good. Hope you all have a great lazy day too. Who knows what the rest of the day is going to look like but right now it feels pretty good.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012


Insecure Writers Support Group conceived and birthed by Alex J Cavanaugh- More about it or sign up here.

Insecurity is all about holes. Sometimes life sends shotgun blasts through our very person. Those blasts could come from an abusive or addicted parent. They could come from being bullied, extreme poverty, or the loss of a parent (think Disney brothers). Or it could just be the script that you learned, for whatever reason, early on that you keep going back to because it is a memorized part and familiarity is much safer than new, uncharted waters. Most ultra successful writers have some big pasts to overcome.

Cognitive behavioral therapy research has shown us that our emotions always follow thoughts so when we are feeling insecure or sad, it can be effective to follow back the line of thoughts to figure out how we got there. This is true for happy too but most of us don't give a flip where that is coming from as long as the smiles keep coming. When I was treating people for depression and using this technique I would have them journal about what they were thinking when they felt a particular way. Most of the time if this was done consistently we would find those scripts in there, their go to positions in life. Once you are aware of them then it is possible to put some replacement thoughts there instead. There is a whole list of common thinking errors, my favorite has always been all or nothing thinking, also called Black and White. The key words for this are Always, Never, No one, Everyone. Rarely is any sentence that contains those words completely correct when applied to the imperfect study of people.

For instance, I know I have said, "No one will ever want to read this crap," as I crumple or delete depending on my medium but that isn't true. I am fortunate enough to have plenty of people who want to read my stuff. That being said, a more truthful statement would be "I don't like this enough to want someone else to read it." By changing that statement I am taking control of my universe as opposed to putting the locus of control outside of myself. It may sound simplistic but sometimes just correcting how you talk to yourself can make a huge difference in how you feel. So next time you are feeling like you just can't complete one more sentence remember to trace back those thoughts and take control. Now, if I can just follow my own well researched advice I'd be doing good.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Defying Gravity

Yesterday, my family traveled to see the musical production of Wicked in Birmingham, Alabama. I'd seen the show on Broadway in December and had been impressed. Then, I discovered the touring company was performing a couple of hours away from where I live so I got tickets for the family and we went. We'd been listening to the soundtrack since December so we all knew the songs but this was no Oklahoma or Sound of Music (although I do love both those shows).  The second time around this show blew me away, Again. I don't know if it was that much better than the first or if there are so many layers you can't grasp them all the first time. This was a third viewing for  my sister and she said it was the best yet for her.

There is a moment in the song Defying Gravity where the "wicked" witch is above you singing and I felt sobs building in my chest. Not because I was so sad or so happy, just because the moment felt so powerful. this is the trailer for the show set to that song. I encourage you to get to see it if you get a chance, maybe hock your gradmother or something.

The other thing of huge note about this show is it is the ruler of fractured fairy tales. The author of this production was genius. I say of the production because I HATED the book. In fact, I didn't even finish it. I wouldn't have seen the show except my sister assured me it was different. I'm sure many of the ideas must have come from the book but it was very dark. The stage show still had some elements of the darkness but I didn't come away from the show feeling like I needed to wash like I did the book. But to give the author, Gregory MaGuire, his props, the ability to create any strong feeling in a reader is a gift. Although we all hope that feeling doesn't make our readers put down the book. 

Finally, just a thought, I think anyone out there who reaches for and obtains even part of their dream whether that be writing, acting, singing, or lawyering is defying gravity. I hope each of us gets that moment when our feet are no longer touching the floor because we have risen about what the practicalities of this world tell us we can do. Now, I'm going to go teach a drama class to see if I can give anyone else a leg up.