Category Archives: Music

Lonely without it

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I wasn’t feeling well this past weekend, and spent two days stuck at home. Now, it could have been the illness (I had a fever and everything, yuck), but I realized I was feeling kind of depressed. My depression has been in ‘remission’ for the most part, thank God. So I was like, “what the hell is THIS?” What did I have to be depressed about?

I journaled about it, free associating all over the place, to work it out. Two things came to the forefront.

1) I’m sick of being single. FINALLY. Many times, I’ve wondered when this day would come! Because, of course, I love the way my life is right now without the drama of dealing with a relationship. But lately, I’ve been thinking about it again as a possibility. It comes up when I am at a party surrounded by couples, or when people post sickly-sweet things about their spouses on FB, or I am once more the only single person in a group of friends or people at work. I feel the creep of time closing in, and know I am (gulp) only 2.5 years away from FORTY… and think, damn it. Am I honestly going to wind up the weird cat-lady spinster I don’t want to be? Will I wake up one day and be like, oh shit! It happened! I’m Forever Alone(TM)!

Well, here’s the bitch of it: Dating as an activity just doesn’t appeal to me. I can’t get interested in trying the Match.com route again, at all. I’d rather it be the way I’ve done it in the past: I find someone I like. I find out a time and place we might be in the same place. I approach the guy. I tell him, bluntly, that I am interested. He asks me out, and before long we’re BF and GF.

OK. This approach has only worked twice, but those were fun relationships. I do have my eye on someone right now, but… I AM AN IDIOT.

I can’t seem to make eye contact with the dude when I’m around him! I feel all stupid and awkward. I’m not sure what my problem is. He’s now one of my FB friends, and I feel like I’m back in high school when he likes a comment or a post of mine. I’ve thought about messaging him, but don’t want to come on too strong. And THAT is my eternal problem with guys: My tendency is to just jump in with my blunt “I like you” approach, but normally my doubts trickle in and I chicken out. I’ve ‘passed up’ a few very good guys in the past because of this. (And ended up with lame-ass guys instead, blechh.)

So, who the hell knows? Either way, this little crush thing is more fun than it is depressing… so I know the “lonely because I’m single” thing isn’t actually a cause for full-on depression. No way. In fact, I was thinking about it this morning and realized that having this silly crush puts me in a GOOD mood. Maybe I’m a masochist. No. Maybe. I don’t know. Leave me alone!

OK, so the other thing that came out of my journaling was this sentence: “I miss writing Zachary.”

It probably sounds strange to non-writers, but I miss having Zachary in my head. He’s been in there for a good 16 years! And now he’s sort of left the building. I can’t explain it, but now that the first book is complete, he’s not in the forefront anymore. I go do something new, and I don’t immediately start imagining, “what would Zachary think of this? What would he do?” Now I just do something, and that’s it. It’s so weird…! I’m not explaining it well. All I know is there has yet to be another character that’s demanding my full attention. I know it’s only been about a month and a half since I finished, but I guess I thought I’d be deep into the next story by now. I have those two other novels started, both with very fun protagonists, but I suppose I’m not ready yet to get too involved with either of them…?

I did start messing around with the sequel to Zachary, but even that’s not taking off like I’d expected.

So, I appear to be in some sort of transitionary period, where my brain’s recalibrating and (hopefully) preparing for the next character that can’t be ignored.

It feels so, so weird. I’m anxious for it to go away.

I plan to FORCE it to go away, by writing. Writing anything, freely, who-cares-what-it-is. Just get my fingers flying over the keyboard again, see what happens. It may be an entirely new character is waiting to be created. I did get a brand-new idea (a romance!) on the plane ride home from our NJ trip that’s kind of fun to think about… I just need to figure out which of the two characters in that story is the protagonist.

In general, these are the rough physical prototypes for the new story:

And the whole thing came to me from listening to this EP: We Can Make the World Stop.

Yeah, this one is fun.

 

 

The summer of 1994

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Last night, I got a lot accomplished on my book again. Thank god. Because the other two nights in a row, I did nothing. (One night was hang-out-with-my-family night, which I loved… and the second was the results show for So You Think You Can Dance and there was no way I’d miss it; yes, I am lame, and yes, I actually cheered when Chehon and Eliana won.) Anyway, one of the advantages of getting a lot done on the book is that I end up having a better night’s sleep afterwards. Even if it is usually a shorter night. I regularly work on that thing until midnight (sometimes, starting around 8pm) once I get going. It must be the resulting sense of “ahhhh” that lets me sleep through the night.

Speaking of sleeping, I did a little experiment to see if I could manage to sleep naked. NOPE. I can’t do it. I woke up a bunch of times, hot, then cold, then hot again, etc… And I hated what my boobs were doing. And, I kept thinking what I would do if my house caught fire and I had to run outside really quick, as implausible as that is. I can’t be the only one who hates sleeping nekkid! Right? Who’s with me on this?

I wrote about it on The FB yesterday, but I woke up wanting to listen to old CDs I haven’t played in years. In some cases, entire decades have passed without me putting the CD into the player even once. For instance, I have about 8 different Tori Amos albums; several of them are bootlegs of her doing covers and they’re actually very good. I didn’t play any of them yet, but I marvelled over them as I tried to pick the first album I would play.

I finally chose “Throwing Copper” by Live. Which I’m pretty sure I have listened to in the past 10 years, but that’s because this was once my favorite album.

I associate it with the summer between freshman and sophomore year in college. My best friend Kristen went to an all-girls’ college in Pennsylvania, and I used to drive out to visit her once in awhile for the weekend. We started listening to it at the end of that school year, and then when she was home for the summer we had it on repeat as we drove around in either her white Eagle Talon or my amazing ’86 Chevette. That was a fun summer, except for the point where my boyfriend at the time got to go to Woodstock and my parents would not let me go. I was so sad about that. In retrospect, I honestly don’t think I missed anything.

I probably would have been miserable there with all the mud, the crowds and the stinky, violence-prone people. Anyway…

That was the summer I was writing a story that ultimately fizzled out and I never finished. It was called “Jason and Donovan” and it was basically a M/M, twisted romance. One of the guys was a rich chemist, and wooed the younger, beautiful guy with designer drugs he created himself–and then wondered why the kid couldn’t really love him. It was a depressing, horrible story, but the song “I Alone” inspired it. What a shame, because I do like that song. But I hated that story.

But the rest of the songs don’t hold any specific meaning to me… they’re just great. I listened to the album a total of 3 times between yesterday morning and then while I was writing last night. It did remind me of when I was younger, more energetic, openly passionate about things I loved, and HAPPY as HELL because that summer, I finally got my sciatica under control after months of physical therapy. I could walk for long distances again; I could walk without being hunched over; I could sit through an entire class or a movie without a ridiculous amount of fidgeting and shifting around. It was amazing, and I didn’t take any of it for granted, because I had come from 8 months of constant pain, to a point where I wasn’t in constant pain. Anyone who’s dealt with that sort of thing probably knows what I’m talking about all too well. The absence of pain is beautiful. And, to have it come without painkillers or drugs? So much better. And long-lasting. I was a lucky person that summer (Woodstock notwithstanding, ha!).

It’s so hard to believe that was 18 years ago already. Holy crap.

I wonder sometimes if I’ll ever work my own life experiences into a character’s life. I experimented with doing that a few weeks ago, when I wrote a short story about a ghost in a woman’s house. It was fun, and it made for easy writing overall, but I think I just prefer going way outside myself when I write. There is nothing I enjoy more that coming up with some fantastic, new world, person or idea. I think of characters all the time. The majority of them never make it into a story or anything. But I do that thing where I see someone, sitting at a bus stop, and I make a quick character sketch of who they could be. That average-looking woman with a toddler crying next to her? She’s an ex-assassin. There’s a gun in her diaper bag. The old man working in Wendy’s? A widower who’s actually scoping out a new wife and actually thinks he has a shot with one of the young, stupid teenage girls who work there. There’s a woman in my neighborhood who’s mentally-challenged, and I usually see her carrying groceries home from the store. She wears her hair in a long braid down her back, has glasses and usually wears frumpy jeans and t-shirts that are too big. I once imagined that, when she gets to her house and closes the door, all these magical creatures come out and talk only to her. She actually can create them, by drawing their sketch on a piece of paper and then leaving it in a patch of sunlight as the sun goes down. The house is getting too crowded for all the creatures, but she can’t just kick them out. So that’s why she is always walking to the store to get groceries… she has a lot of tiny, magical mouths to feed.

As I write this, I think I figured out just one of the many reasons I feel stressed out in crowds. There are too many people to observe; too many possible characters. 😉 Well, maybe that’s true to some extent, but I know the real reason is because people can be so freaking annoying. A whole lot of them in one place is just the worst.

I don’t really have a point to all of this. I’m just rambling again.

My mind just bobs along wherever it wants to most of the time. No wonder I’m fine living on my own and remaining solitary 90% of my free time. I have enough flitting around upstairs to keep me occupied. For better or for worse. (Mostly for the better, thankfully!)

 

 

 

The rule of 3 episodes and other weekend things

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On Friday, I worked on my book after I got home, and then had some chocolate ice cream. This made me stay wide awake for a loooooong time. So I watched more of Pretty Little Liars.

OK. What’s the deal with Netflix and TV series? I mean, you can’t just watch ONE episode of something in a sitting. You are compelled, literally compelled, I swear!, to watch at least THREE. The show’s not amazing or anything, and I’m kind of embarassed to say I watched it, but honestly it’s just fun. The story keeps going and going and twisting around and ending on little mini cliffhangers, so it does make you go, “Oh, NOW what? Let me just watch one more episode, then…” and it’s nice to look at. Pretty town, pretty actors and actresses, pretty clothes and pretty houses. I am seriously coveting Hanna’s kitchen.

The cabinets, the lighting, the gorgeous tile backsplash… dear lord. WANT.

My idea for a drinking game: Every time they all look at each other with that look when they get a text from A… take a drink.

Every time Spencer wears a really weird hat…take a drink.

Every time blind Jenna walks in a room and says, “[insert name], is that you?”…take a drink.

She needs to be kicked just for the scene where she’s playing the goddamn flute on her porch.

Every time you want to punch Jenna or shove her down some stairs… take a drink.

Every time you want to punch that brat, Melissa, in her supposedly-pregnant belly… take a drink.

Every time you think to yourself, “Man, that Toby is NOT a good looking guy at all and he needs a haircut or something”…take a drink. Wait. That one will give you too high a blood alcohol level.

See? This could be fun. But it could also land a person in the ER and in need of a liver transplant. Still. Good times.

On Saturday, I got a lot accomplished around the house and went out with my Mom for lunch and to the farm market. I got so much food for juicing and salads for only $18. That place is the best.

Later that night, I found some long-lost scenes from the previous version of my book. They were squirreled away on my old PC’s hard drive. I did some transferring but mostly just ended up reading everything I’d written in the past. It’s so strange how much the book changed since then… but there is still some good stuff there. And I have a feeling some of it might come in handy in books 2 and 3.

Yesterday I woke up feeling like crap. My sinuses were so tender, and it made my head pound. I decided to just veg out all day, and that’s what I did. I read an entire book. I made a green juice. I watched some Doctor Who (three episodes, again the magic number) and had a salad. I downloaded the Dead Man’s Bones album (thanks to my sister, who turned me on to this band because it’s Ryan freakin’ Gosling’s band, and they are super fun and weird), which I love.

The book I read is another embarassing one. So, of course, I write about it here. I share all my embarassing media consumption stories here. Anyway, it’s called Bound for the Forest, and it’s a M/M fantasy romance. M/M means, of course, male/male. Gay guys, falling in love and getting it on. I don’t honestly understand why those stories are so much more interesting to me, but they are. Every now and then, maybe about once a year or so, I read a few books in this genre. I love men in books. This book yesterday was kind of silly and definitely weird at several points, but it held my interest and I read the whole thing from start to finish all day yesterday. So it couldn’t have been bad. I just don’t know that there is anyone I know who I could recommend this book to. Unless some of you are also kind-of into M/M stories. (It doesn’t work when it’s F/F. Not at all. Because I am more interested in reading descriptions of hot guys’ bodies than a woman’s body, plain and simple. It’s always cool when there is one hot guy in a book, but when there are TWO… yeah. Way better.)

I looked it up and these kind of books seem to have many more female readers than male readers. Women tend to think, “awww, that’s so cute!” when it comes to two guys falling in love. And usually, women write them, too. It’s pretty interesting.

So, in other news, there are a couple of events coming up. Nothing huge, per se, but should be fun anyway:

This Thursday— a fundraiser for 2nd Chance Rescue. That’s the group I support the most, the one that brought me Moose. All day, anyone who eats at this one Mexican restaurant, helps raise money for the rescue. I plan to go sometime after getting home from work. And I might bring one of my dogs, too, b/c you can eat on the patio there.

Next Friday: Volunteering to help set-up for Keen Halloween, a new event put together by cool people in AZ who love Halloween. It’s a day of workshops, entertainment, a “monster market” and other fun stuff to get people psyched up for Halloween. Saturday: The actual event. Yay!

October 19: The day the Writer’s Conference starts. Just in case I forgot. 😉

 

What I love and what gets on my nerves

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It’s been a long time since I did some fun lists. This is the perfect time, since if I don’t do a little throwaway post like this, I’ll end up writing about the #1 thing that has been on my mind (it’s a family thing) and there’s no need to get into all of THAT here on the blog. Not right now.

THINGS I LOVE RIGHT NOW:

* Cashews. (No surprise there! They’re still soooo good.)

* The album “Some Nights” by .fun

* The Island of Doctor Moreau. It was one of the free downloads on Amazon and I started reading it yesterday fully expecting to get bored and give up on it, like I do with most classic novels, but I ended up staying up late reading it last night. Cool! Anything with animals and freaky-ass science experiments always pulls me in. I’m surprised I haven’t read this book yet. I saw the terrible movie with Marlon Brando years ago, but fortunately I forgot almost everything about it. (I only remember Marlon Brando having a tiny Mini-Me person, mostly because South Park mocked it… and that at one point, MB put a bucket on his head.)

* When Gremlin is rolling around happily on my bed, being all goofy and affectionate, and he inevitably rolls right off the bed. I think he is doing it on purpose now, because seriously dude: How many times do you have to roll off the goddamned bed before you realize you shouldn’t be rolling right around at the edge like that? Oh, well. At least he’s cute.

* For the first time in years, I made my sister some birthday presents. It’s all possible because I cleaned out my office and organized all of my craft stuff. Now it’s a pleasure to go in there and find something. I “made” her a necklace (I put that in quotes b/c I only bought the chain, jumprings, pendant and closure and used pliers to put ’em all together… I don’t think it qualifies as true “making”– more like “assembling”) and put some adorable iron-ons on a T-shirt. It was nice to finally use some of the things I’ve purchased over the years and shoved away in the big, cluttered bins I had where all the craft/art stuff went to be forgotten. Sadly, the necklace I gave her? I had bought all of that stuff for last year’s birthday. But hey, at least it finally got done and now she has it. It feels good to “make” things.

* Fresh lemons. I love how they look, how they smell when I peel them, and how they taste in fresh juices. It’s so funny that very few juice recipes call for an entire lemon (or two)– I guess it’s too tart for most people?– but I’m always throwing a whole lemon in there just for one tall glass of juice. I really appreciate lemons now b/c the other day, I was making my green juice and realized I was out of lemons so I used a couple of oranges. UGH. Not so good. All citrus fruits are not created equal. That’s for damn sure.

* My Kindle. I’ve been using it much, much more than I even expected I might. I added one game on there, too (Falling Blocks) so I have something to do for times I might not want to devote my full attention to reading. It’s really a neat device. I still feel weirdly guilty, though, for not reading my paper books right now.

* When my friend K puts her son on the phone and he talks to me… I melt. He’s 3 now, and he told me the other day about drinking from a silly straw and he was just ridiculously adorable. “The juice goes round and around and around and mmmm, it’s GOOD!” I have such limited contact and experience with little kids, so these little tidbits are pretty awesome. I love the things that occur to him to talk about, and the stories K tells me. It’s neat to hear about his emerging personality. I love that stuff — the stuff you can’t predict regarding what a kid will be into as they get older.  

* The pomobasil sauce at Alessia’s Italian restaurant. We were there the other night for T’s birthday and even though we’ve been there before, we definitely don’t go there enough. Very few red sauces can compare to this stuff. It’s so fresh and light. Ooooh, I want some right now…!

THINGS THAT GET ON MY NERVES:

* Photos of myself. UGH, I think I look awful anymore! I would be cool with someone submitting me to What Not to Wear because damn. I need a makeover or something. I look so schlumpy, chubby and plain. Something’s not right with my hair.

* My sprinklerheads in the grass out back. They’re only spraying a limited distance lately and I have a feeling I need to do some heavy labor to unclog all the sprinkler openings to remove hard water buildup. Nope, that won’t be fun.

* As the Prius shifts between electric and gas motors, it’s been lurching lately. Sometimes, it feels like I have the thing in neutral because I’ll floor the gas and the car remains sluggish and draggy. I probably need to take it in to make sure everything is OK, because I don’t think it was doing this when I bought it. At least I have the warranty. Whew.

* The word “kitty” or “kitties”… I don’t have kitties. I have CATS. I don’t know why I am bugged by “kitty” so much, but I am. Also, my guys are too cool for a girly-sounding word like kitties. They’re dudes. They’re cats. End of story.

* This one, I feel bad about because some of you use it, but I have to be honest: Furbabies. I just can’t do it. To me, it sounds silly… and also, I immediately picture human babies covered in thick, nasty-ass fur. Like wolfmen babies. Yeah, I can’t do it. Sorry. 😦

(…now that’s a furbaby.)

* The way my boss says the word “wolf.” He says “wuff.” Oh man, I totally want to tease him or shame him into saying it correctly! But that would be mean, so instead I’ll just blog about it.

* Sunshades for my car. I can’t find a friggin’ shade for my windshield that fits. I have bought two now, and both have been terrible disappointments. The first was too tiny. So I bought a “jumbo” sized one (another word I hate: JUMBO) and it fits, mostly, but it’s super floppy and is a pain in the ass to set up and fold up again. Who knew a Prius would be so difficult to find a shade for? The HHR also was impossible, because the windshield in that car was so incredibly small… but it wasn’t as bad with the HHR since the sun wasn’t coming in such a big surface area as it is on the Prius.

* I’m sad that I am not loving my car right now. I want to love it, and I do love a LOT about it, but something’s off. I can’t put my finger on it. I hope I didn’t make a mistake.

* Hand sanitizer. Normally, I am a fan of it. But the other day I had something in my eye and without thinking, I reached up to pull out the hair or eyelash and the sanitizer hadn’t dried all the way. Yeeeouch! Hey, it’s just a little annoyance, and one that occurred due to my own stupidity, but still. It bugged me.

Now, if I could only stop drinking the damn stuff to get buzzed…

Go it alone

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I finally got a haircut on Saturday. It was at least 6 months since I had the last one. The ends were brittle and peeling, and everything seemed uneven and shaggy. So, I finally sucked it up and went.

It’s a good haircut. I got shorter bangs again, instead of the sideswept long ones I’ve had for awhile. I always liked how I looked with bangs, since I think it makes my eyes look nicer somehow. Not to mention it covers my forehead bump. (In all honesty, that bump has grown less noticeable as I age, but every once in awhile I either catch someone looking right at it, or they will ask me if I ‘hit my head on something.’ No. I just have an idiotically-shaped skull.)

After my haircut, I met up with my friend Heather for lunch. She lives in Tucson and was up in Phoenix for the afternoon to drive her fiance to the airport. I had never met her fiance, so it was cool to finally do that. My sister and BIL also came along to lunch, with their houseguests D & J, who were in town from California to go to the Radiohead concert this past week. It was a nice time. I love laughing with Heather. The girl’s been cracking me up since we were little kids in Sunday School.

After that, I went home and took a nap since a headache was starting up, and I didn’t want to deal with that during the VNV Nation concert that night…!

I have wanted to see VNVN for years and years, but they don’t come to Arizona very much. They mostly tour in Europe, since that’s where they’re based. The one time they did come to AZ I know it happened to be a time when I was out of the state for work. Man, that sucks. To be stuck doing work-related travel right when one of your favorite bands is FINALLY playing in your state. Well, either way, it finally came to pass that they played in AZ, and not just anywhere– in my very town. At the smaller venue in the awesome downtown district. It was perfect.

I waited until a few days before the show to buy my tickets, in case someone came along that would be good to take to this particular show. But I realized–probably a long time ago– that I didn’t want to invite anyone, really. This was a show I wanted to fully experience without distraction, if that makes sense. I did ask my sister and I would have asked BIL, but they already had plans. It all worked out for the best.

The night of the show it was windy and a storm was blowing in. It was also St. Patrick’s Day, so the downtown area was relatively quiet since there are no bars down there. I was able to park across the street from the venue and walk over in a minute. I was psyched to get in there. I was also pleased to see several pleasant-looking men there. How nice: I get to see one of my favorite bands ever, and there are several guys to gawk at, as well. Bonus!

The only time I felt self-conscious was between the opening band’s set and VNVN. It seemed to take a long time, and I just wandered around, trying not to stay in the same place too long so it would be obvious I was alone. I’m not sure, but I do think I spotted a few other people who appeared to be there by themselves, so that made me feel a lot better.

The show itself was fantastic. I decided to just go full-throttle and let loose if I felt the urge to do so. And I did. Once they played songs that are on my top 10 list, I couldn’t stand still. I danced, I jumped up and down and clapped over my head (they are industrial-tech, so the crowd was into these kind of moves– if fact, the band spurred everyone on, too) and sweated like a monster. My lovely new haircut was spoiled with sweat, but I didn’t let it stop me. I was aware of a handful of nice-looking guys nearby, and a couple that were even checking me out a little, but I remained focused on the show itself and in taking it all in as best as possible. It was FUN.

One of the highlights was when they played “Illusion,” probably my favorite VNVN song. This is the song that I associate with my book. I have been imagining this song on the ‘soundtrack’ of my book for years now. The cool thing was that so many other people at the show appeared to be into this song, too. They stopped jumping around, and sang along. At one point, the singer dropped out and let the crowd since a verse a capella… it almost gave me goosebumps. I felt super-charged and happy, and wanted to run home and finish my book.

I tired myself out as the show went on. My headache from the afternoon returned with a vengeance. I knew I was fading fast, but I did stay through the encore. Everyone was cheering for another encore when I decided I’d gotten my fill and was satisfied leaving at that point. I happily wandered outside into the cooler air and sighed, walking to my car contented and elated. It was pretty close to a perfect concert experience, overall.

And then, as I drove home, who should surface in my life but X.

He sent me a text. “I’m not trying to be weird, but did I just see you leaving the VNVN show?”

So apparently, he was there. I didn’t see him. I’m so relieved I didn’t see him! It would have put a real damper on the experience I had. I wonder if he saw me during the show, when I was going insane with the dancing, jumping, singing and sweating. I hope not. The reason it was so fun doing that stuff was because I didn’t see anyone I knew… I was surrounded by strangers I’d probably never see again. Thinking of him watching me be that free and happy somehow makes me uncomfortable. Well, any time I think of him watching me at all, I feel uncomfortable, so… no surprise, there.

I texted back that yes, it probably was me since I was there. He texted back that he was there too with “a couple of friends” and that he “forgot” I liked that band. NO WAY. Not when I had every one of their albums and played them in the car when we were driving around, back when we were together. Not when I put a song on a mix CD for him when we were first going out. I cannot imagine that he “forgot” that VNVN was one of my favorite bands in the world. I know this could sound egotistical, but I kind of think he went to this show because he thought he might see me there. It’s the kind of thing he would do, after all.

It reminds me of the time he showed up at my favorite restaurant on my birthday, when I was there with my family for my birthday dinner. Of all the restaurants in the area he could have taken a date to, he picked that one, on THAT day? You’ve got to be kidding me. Fortunately, I didn’t see him that time, either. It was only when me and my family were in the parking lot that they all exclaimed their surprise at seeing HIM in there.

Stupid X, creeping around, existing in my space.

I swear, if and when I leave AZ, one of the greatest benefits will be less of a chance of running into him on a regular basis. Seeing him, talking or texting with him, all of that makes me feel a little nauseous.

Well, overall though, he did NOT ruin the experience of seeing VNV Nation. No way. I would do it again! I’m really so glad I decided to go, and go alone. It was a unique experience. Kind of like going to a movie alone. Which reminds me: I hope to go see The Hunger Games by myself, too. I don’t want any distractions. This might seem weird, since wouldn’t it make sense to see it with someone so you can talk about it afterward and everything? Yeah, that’s fine for most movies. But when it comes to movies I am truly excited to see, I get a little selfish. I want to give it my full attention the first time I see it. I’m not sure I will get my way with this movie, since a lot of people have talked about seeing this movie with me and I don’t want to make anyone feel bad… but yes, if I had my choice, I’d be goin’ it alone.

Like so many other things in my life. Alone. BY CHOICE.

Oh, one final thing to mention before I hit publish: I have lost a total of 15 pounds since I began juicing and eating healthier! It could have been a lot more if I hadn’t had lots of moments of weakness, where I gave in to having chocolate or a second helping of pasta or pizza. But at least I didn’t gain anything back. Now I have to buckle back down and keep things moving along… mostly, I have to start exercising for real. Walking the dogs isn’t enough. Yard work once a week isn’t enough. No, I have to do real workouts with resistance and cardio. I wish my living room was a little larger– I could do a DVD or buy a Wii game. The fact is that I need to get my damn bike fixed already. I love riding my bike, and it’s the one thing I really WANT to do. The only thing preventing me from fixing it is walking the bike up to the bike shop. I can’t ride it, since one tire is completely trashed. And then, I will have to walk home alone. It’s NOT FAR, so I don’t know why the hell this is a roadblock for me, to be quite honest! I just feel lazy when I think about doing it. God, I can suck sometimes. Of all the loser, lame things to be lazy about.

Anyway, everything is pretty damn good right now and I’m kind of excited to see what I do next. Know what I mean? I really think I can achieve things I want. I didn’t always think this way. In fact, thinking this way is really very new for me. But keeping 15 pounds off for almost three months is a good start and it makes me feel good when my clothes are all too big on me. (I got such a thrill out of buying smaller pants a few weeks ago!) I know I lost some pages of my book, but the new stuff is better than ever. I can finish this, and I will. I can be healthy and be a fiction writer. I believe it now.

So, here goes nothing. 🙂

 

Current loves and hates

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Things I love right now:

* The Muppets (such a fun movie!!!!)

* Beautiful Creatures (rich, Southern, gothic)

* Once Upon a Time (I love it more and more each episode!)

* The Thanksgiving episode of The New Girl (I’ve rewatched it twice now)

* The Walking Dead (I still have to watch last night’s episode, but damn, is that a fantastic show or WHAT?!)

* Rediscovering Monsters of Folk and loving the new Florence + the Machine album

* The fact that I have completed about 25% of my Christmas shopping, despite Black Friday (and I did most of that spending in independent local shops)

* Spamalot! (this was the musical we saw on Wednesday night and it was excellent. Nee!)

Things I HATE right now:

*My sciatica

*My sciatica

*MY SCIATICA

Thank you. That is all.

 

Outlanders, bicycles, ladies and lipstick, etc…

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Bulleted list time again!

* It looks like it will rain today! I’m really psyched about that. It’s been much too long since we’ve had any precipitation and maybe now things will begin to cool off for the year. I sure hope so. We logged something like 32 consecutive days of 110+ degree heat this past month, which is a LOT of very hot days. I’m surprised more of us didn’t just drop dead, honestly. It was like the Depression here. No one was happy, everyone was poor because they spent all their money on their electric bills, and it truly began to feel like The End. But, maybe now that is all behind us and we can get back to being human beings again. I sure hope so.

* I’m reading “Outlander” by Diana Gabaldon right now. Finally. It comes highly recommended by many of you!

It’s pretty good so far, too. I can’t believe I have owned this book for a really long time and never picked it up until now. Also, the author is local and I vaguely recall that she might have been a guest at one of our meetings when I was part of the Women Writer’s Association a few years ago. I have the potential to cross paths with some pretty amazing people, really… I should maybe think about doing more with that.

* I’m working on my book again. It’s not flying out of me, but it’s there, and it’s a steady, sustainable pace. I’m happy about it. And I figured out something important to the plot last night as I was driving home from hanging out with my sister. Once more, music brought it out. I absolutely adore my iPod and my eclectic music collection!

* Speaking of good music, check out The Civil Wars. So mellow… so perfect. Trust me, they are exceptionally good. (May I suggest: Poison and Wine)

* Tomorrow is another team practice at South Mountain. It’ll be a 50 minute run. I’m psyched, because the last time I went to a mountain practice it was intensely hot outside and maybe tomorrow morning will be cooler; and this time, I can work in my jogging intervals. I’ve been working hard on doing these, and doing them CORRECTLY. I made my own pace that works for me… 2 minutes of 80-85% MHR-level intensity followed by 3 minutes of a slower pace; I think the anaerobic/aerobic mix is good for right now. Sometimes, I change the intervals a bit and do 3 minutes of high intensity jogging and 4 or 5 minutes of the slower pace… and sometimes I mess with inclines on the treadmill during the slower-paced parts of the workout. Either way, I feel a decent range of muscles being exercised, so I think I’m doing a good job. I love my treadmill!! None of this would be possible without it. I haven’t run outside by myself in months. (The team practices are quite enough right now, thank you.) But soon now, the weather will be so much better and things can change.

* I’m looking forward to hiking now that I’m a little more in-shape (at least cardiovascularly-speaking!) to see how it feels and find out what I can now do. I used to like jogging on a few parts of some of the trails, but I never did it with the correct form or with any sense of structure. Now, I can try it out and see how it feels. I bet it will improve my endurance in ways treadmill or canal-running never could! It’ll be cool to work it in from time to time.

* I definitely like breaking up my workouts. I am still riding my bike for at least one workout per week, and I love those times. The only problem is that my bike really needs some maintenance. The brakes are going on the rear tire and both tires are super-old and clearly have slow leaks. By the end of my ride, I’m moving slower and it’s way harder because the tires have gone a little soft. It sucks. And it’s only a matter of time before I wind up stranded out there. So, yes, it’s time to get that poor old bike into the shop. Or consider a new one…? I suddenly have my eye on the road bikes again, instead of the pretty beach cruisers. I want something that is smooth out there, can reach high speeds, and will really let me lean into the wind. Something more like this:

I don’t know who I am becoming… I mean, I have always been kind of annoyed at the distance riders out on the roads; the people with the tight poly-blend bike clothes and fancy bike helmets, riding too close to the cars and acting like they should get special treatment because they are clearly Athletes with a capital A (I guess I have also known some very snobby riders, too).

And now I see the value in those tight clothes… those helmets… and those bikes.

I’ll never be a rider who tries to hog the road, though. Nope. I won’t be a jerk out there, if I get into this. I’ll be a jerk in my usual, non-exercise-related ways.

* I’m excited for the new TV season. Of course, I’m all amped up for season 4 of Fringe. But I’m looking forward to seeing The New Girl and a couple other new shows, too. We’ll see.

* This woman won’t stop coughing in my office. She’s been doing it all week. I know she can’t help it, but something about the tone and sound of her cough is supremely annoying.

* I realized I hate seeing women putting on lipstick. Another woman at my job re-applies her lipstick several times a day at her desk, and she is right in my line of vision so I see it all the time. She uses a little compact mirror. I don’t know why it bugs me to see her doing this, but it really does.

* I really need to begin thinking of a Halloween costume. I had a lot of fun with last year’s fucked-up doll costume… it was awesome being something creepy, and something that totally obscured my identity. But what for this year…? I have a couple of ideas, but I should spend a little dedicated time giving it some real thought.

* This made me laugh recently:

* Oh, one more thing: I got a beautiful area rug last night at Target! I wasn’t planning on getting a carpet. But my sister and I were in there, wandering around for the hell of it, and we saw that several of the area rugs were on clearance. One of them was a plush cream-colored 5×7 rug with a gray and tan cherry blossom pattern. It was originally priced $129.99. Last night, it was on sale for $31.49! After a few minutes of deliberation, I decided to buy it. It’s gorgeous, and I really could use a nicer rug in my living room. The one I have now is a 3×5 shag rug from Walmart that I got for about $19 a couple years ago. It’s crappy, and pretty small. This new rug will fit so much nicer under the coffee table and the front legs of my couch. I’m happy I got it, and can’t wait to set it up this weekend and see how it looks!

It’s the little things. Like area rugs, good music and thoughts of rain and Halloween that make it easier to work past the usual daily struggles of ennui and too-much-thinking-stress. So, I’m happy.

The end.

I’ll leave you with a picture of Hurley and his special, tiny custom-made hamburger from Labor Day:

I hate my phone’s camera. I can’t avoid those glowing eyes!

Happy things!

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Because I am so jazzed regarding the switch to the PF Chang Rock & Roll Half Marathon in January, I am feeling that surge of gratitude again. I love feeling that all things even out in the universe, if you give it the right attention. What I mean by that is, if you send out hope, faith and positive energy, you’re way more likely to receive it back. Even though things with the marathon felt bleak, I was still really hopeful for good news, no matter what. And I got it! So, that rocks. Me happy. Me smile lots.

I’m taking control of my financial budget, too. After running everything down to the bare minimum following this NJ trip, I am seeking active ways to fix my debt issues. It sucks that my credit card limits are so low, really, considering 1) I have never missed a payment, nor have I paid late and 2) I always pay more than the minimum due, even if it’s only $10 more. I am a good customer. But the economic downturn meant that credit line reductions became common for almost everyone, I guess. Either way, I have all but maxed out my two credit cards, and I feel so ashamed of that. I’ve never even been close to doing that until now. (How did they get maxed out? Well, one card was opened just so I could do the landscaping in the backyard, and that one only had a $4K limit to begin with, with landscaping costs topping out around $2800; also, it’s the only Visa card I have, and since it’s accepted in more places–like doctor’s offices– I need to use that one to pay for excessive numbers of copays, and running expenses, like good sneakers, insoles, socks, clothing, heart monitors, etc.) The other card is American Express and has been steadily climbing because I use it for travel expenses and gifts, as well as other home-related purchases. I admit I’ve used it for clothes at Old Navy and Gap Outlet, too, but it’s not like I buy tons of clothes. $40 here, $25 there… but it does add up, over time. It sucks. But it’s reality.

ANYWAY. The feeling of taking control of things and making real changes to the way I do this is a lovely feeling, really. I like the brainstorming I find myself doing right now– I have ideas to make money on the side, or even take on a small second job if need be, just to get things paid off and settled– because it’s making me creative in a new way. It’ll work out. I’m not going to be beat by stupid debt and bills! Hey, I came out of all debt once before, in 2006, when I paid off everything, so I can do it again. (Granted, in 2006, I made a nice profit on the sale of my condo, but still. Things come up to pave the way for financial recovery, so you never know.)

I’m going to submit my short stories to a few magazines. Some pay anywhere from $50 to $500 per story! I always say I am gonna do this one, and I never do for some reason. Well, this weekend will be a great time to begin sending stuff out. I have nothing to lose.

I’m happy for Kristen’s husband, who is currently wrapping up his first week of a European tour for his metal band, A Pale Horse Named Death. They are doing so well! He is probably going to have a paid contract at the end of this tour because it’s been very successful. They played to over 30,ooo fans the other day in Zurich! It’s amazing he really may be a bona fide rock star very soon. But you know what? He is intelligent, a very hard worker, and very talented– he deserves this. And you know what else is great? He is 41 years old.

So anyone who thinks only the young can achieve their dreams is crazy. He’s so inspiring me to…you guessed it… FINISH WRITING MY DAMN BOOK! If he can reach a goal like that, in such a fickle industry, well then…so can I! I’m surrounded by some successful people right now. It’s really neat. And helpful. 🙂

I’m happy that I might go see Rise of the Planet of the Apes this weekend sometime, if I can. I have a free movie pass to use soon, and I really, really, really want to see that movie! It’s the one movie I’ve been most excited about this summer. And not just because of Franco. No, I just love the Planet of the Apes story. Very much. It gets me all charged up to write, everytime I watch it. (The original movie! Not the Mark Wahlberg one, for God’s sake!)

Hey, I just realized I seem to have a thing for ape-men: I am reading “The Return of Tarzan” right now. And I like it so far. I was sitting in McDonald’s today reading it, happy as a bug in a rug. (Are bugs somehow more content when they are inside a carpet? Really? How do we know?) It would be cool if I read a Tarzan book every summer. I read the first one–which I highly recommend, by the way!– last year.

OK, time to go home for the weekend. No one else is really here in the office. I am writing this since I am finished with my work and have nothing else to do. So yes, I should stop being a weirdo and get out of here like everyone else!

If I were a monarch, it wouldn’t be a Kingdom. It would be a Random.

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I’m hopeful today, because my Mom is heading to a job fair this morning! I found an article online yesterday about a local company that wants to hire 300 people, and the way they described who they are looking for fit her very well. “Seniors with flexible schedules are welcome.” Yup, that would be my Mom. Anyway, last night we drove down to the location so she’d know how to get there today and she was in a great mood. Very positive. I feel good about this and I really hope she hears something encouraging this week!

It’s the kind of day where I can’t stop hearing songs in my head. It’s not just one song on days like this. Nope, it’s usually three or four, on rotation. Today, they are as follows:

* God is Tryin’ to Tell You Something from The Color Purple

* Hippo in the City from The Whitest Kids U Know (all of their songs are excellent!!)

* The Old Gold Tooth (and the rest of the songs, in fact) from the “Rap! The Musical” sketch on Mr. Show

* Some Like it Hot from Power Station (I make myself laugh by imagining all those beats and “thwap-thwap-thwap, thwap!” noises are really sounds of people being slapped.)

Other random things:

* I made myself a turkey sammich today.

* I’m psyched that it is a little easier to walk around today. I still have pain, but dare I say it’s actually beginning to get better?! Yay, I hope so!

* I didn’t wash my hair, but unlike most days like that, I am wearing my hair DOWN. Usually, every other day, my hair is pulled up. It doesn’t look great right now, but I sorta don’t care today. It’s fine.

* I’m glad I bought that “Kiss Me I’m Scandinavian” mug at Goodwill a few weeks ago. It’s on my desk, holding all my highlighters and felt-tippies and making me smile every day. Great purchase.

* Andy Samberg was on the cover of Wired in May. The issue’s circulating around the office and I had to snag it. The cover story? “How the Internet Saved Comedy.” Oh, yeah!

* My sister’s crap-ass assistant walked off the job yesterday and quit BY TEXT. How incredibly lame is that? What a coward. And I hate when this stuff happens to my sister… I’m in the mood to kick some cowardly ass, anytime. I wish I could! Some people are too stupid to live unmaimed for their terrible actions.

* There’s a spider living in my bathroom. It hangs out on the wall above my shower. I’ve decided it’s OK to let him live for now. I’m not sure why, except I like to think he’ll eat all the other smaller bugs and stuff (ha ha, like my house is teeming with small bugs or something), so he is earning his keep. However, he wasn’t there this morning. I wonder where he got off to…

* Sometimes I hear my phone on vibrate, but it’s not vibrating. It’s just sitting there. Why does that happen?

* I hate time zones.

* I am susceptible to cute and/or pretty packaging of cosmetics, and so I cannot go into Ulta or Sephora with money in my pocket because I could leave with shit I don’t need.

* Everywhere you go, anywhere in the world, I can guarantee that you will hear a baby crying or a toddler screaming before you leave.

* I feel like talking like a cartoony Italian pizza maker guy today for no reason. “Eyy! I’m gonna make-a the pizza pie!”

* This is enough blogging for now, because I want to go get that sammich and cram it in my mouth. Bye!

The brave little jackabee loves Moby and Lykke Li

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What’s a jackabee?

Apparently, that’s the name for the designer dog breed that my protagonist owns. Of course, his dog is just considered a mutt, from a shelter. But thanks to the internet, I found out that there’s a name for a Jack Russell Terrier/ Beagle mix. Jackabee.

It’s a cute name, I’ll give it that much.

I wanted to see if I could find a picture that matches the dog I’ve been seeing in my head now for a few years, and I was all giddy when I saw this photo– this is Dingo!

I chose these two breeds because I needed a dog that was highly trainable, had a great sense of smell and could also be a little fiesty with people he doesn’t particularly like. 🙂

Oh, man. It’s been a fabulous week. On the outside, it doesn’t seem like much. I didn’t win the lottery or anything. Instead, it was a peaceful, quiet week at work and I got everything done with time to spare. Lots of it. I wrote and wrote. I’m still guilty of tweaking earlier chapters as I go, but what can ya do? I’m a trained editor. I’m used to editing as I write my work articles.

Marathon:

I am ticked off about one thing with this marathon: the trainer has yet to send me the URL to “my personal fundraising website.” I was supposed to get the URL when I registered (last Saturday). I didn’t. Then, I sent emails to the trainer on Wednesday, Thursday and today asking for it and I am getting no response. Come on, man! I’m psyched and ready to get going on this already… don’t you dare hold me up. At least this weekend there’s a meeting and the trainer is supposed to be there, so I plan to get answers and a URL before I leave.

I’ve been stretching and walking. Nothing crazy or really tough. Just trying to be careful but still begin the training process. I think the first actual training session is next Saturday. But I can’t wait. I still need to get some sneakers. The ones I have are a joke. I’ve had them for about a year, so they are well broken in, all right… and old. Not a good idea to train in those. They’re only good for doing yardwork at this point.

Music:

Right now, I’ve been relistening to a Moby album from 2005, Hotel. I don’t know how it got shuffled off into a box and passed over for a couple of years. The last time I know I listened to it was when I lived with the Ex. Anyway, I was listening to samples of Moby’s brand new album Destroyed tonight and the next thing you know, I’m digging through my CD collection to find this particular album. I remember loving it and always meant for it to be a good writing album (something to play while I write). I can’t believe it never made it onto my computer’s Music file! Well, it’s there now.

I posted this on FB tonight, but wanted to share it here, too. This is my favorite song from Hotel. I didn’t know there was a video… and that the video featured a cute little kitten from a spaceship! I’m loving this so much right now:

There’s another cool Moby album from 2009 that I play a lot. Wait for Me. The title song is my favorite. The cool thing about this song is it always seems to come on my iPod shuffle when it’s raining outside. So this is my rainy day song. And also, it’s another fantastic writing song. It’s melancholy, but pretty… you’ll like it:

(That’s not much of a video, true. The song’s the point.)

Since I’m on the subject of music, I need to urge you again to listen to Wounded Rhymes by Lykke Li. I think it’s my personal favorite album of the year. I’m not sick of listening to it on heavy rotation, either. I can’t pick a favorite song, but this is one that I particularly enjoy:

…and this is a nice live version, too!

And this is her single, I think. Also another of my favorite songs on the album. I Follow Rivers:

PS: How do you like the new layout? I felt like I needed something new.