The tricky landmine of logic and lust

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Well, I have an opportunity to date someone.

It’s this guy I know through a friend. He saw some comment on FB I posted on the mutual friend’s wall and he got in touch with me. He turned out to be really cool. Intelligent, witty and sarcastic, and he likes a lot of the same things I do. He gave me his HBOgo password so I could watch Game of Thrones. We emailed back and forth for a couple of months, but never talked on the phone or met in person until late August when he invited me to go see a stand-up comedian downtown.

I was nervous and almost bailed. I’m confused. On one hand, how fun it could be to have a boyfriend again, right? Especially one who is a lot like me and is easy to get along with? But on the other hand, I am planning to move to NJ. If I start something serious here, now of all times, it could really suck when the time comes to leave. (PS: I haven’t told him about NJ yet.) And finally, I’m still not sold on the idea of a relationship. As nice as romance and sex could be, it does bring certain expectations regarding time and responsibilities to remember important dates and to contact your partner on a regular basis (probably every day, right?). I’m feeling a time-crunch every day as it is. So many things I want to accomplish and spend time doing. Not sure I want to give up any of that time right now.

So, we met in person at last. All signs pointed to, “YAY!” He was really fun to hang out with. We laughed and talked easily like we were old friends. He’s like me with going off on tangents and taking weird humor a little too far; we had a great time together.

I think it will be great to hang out with him some more. We did it again on Friday night when we went to see Tom Green (who was hilarious, by the way). I remember laughing really hard in the parking lot as we walked up to the club because we were trying to do different accents and both of us suck so much at it. “Everything winds up going back to East Indian,” was the conclusion we made about our terrible abilities. During the show, we sat next to one another and shared a plate of pretzels and he brushed against my arm many times.

After we hang out, he sends me nice messages that say “I had a wonderful time with you” and “your eyes are so beautiful. I tried not to stare since I know you’re weird about eye contact and all of that, and I didn’t want to creep you out. But I really like looking at you… ok, now I do¬†sound creepy. I can’t win.” ūüôā ¬†It makes me feel nice, and it’s flattering that he enjoys spending time with me and clearly has something of a crush on me, too. I can tell he feels that way when we are together, because of the way he looks at me, the little gestures that are kind of “we are on a date” in that he won’t allow me to pay for anything, and he’s a total gentleman.

HERE’S THE PROBLEM.

I am not physically attracted to him. ūüė¶

And I feel awful for not being attracted to him. I feel so superficial and stupid, because I know it shouldn’t be all about looks and all of that. I do know that.

My secret thought is that, if I do decide to have a boyfriend again, I want to have the whole package. Someone who is fun and caring, but also gets my heart racing in that way.

In the vast majority of my past relationships, I have ‘settled’ for good enough, or what appears to be good enough at the onset. I know I am bad at picking good boyfriends and (gasp) husbands. I also know that I usually always concede the ‘sexual attraction’ thing.

Awful confession: In my last two serious relationships (including my marriage), I tolerated sex. Or, I would start off wanting it and then it would fade away fast. In the first case, Writer Ex didn’t enjoy sex with me after about 6 months or so, anyway. He even told me something inside me hurt him. Later, I found out I have severe endometriosis and my organs were all meshed together by scar tissue, pulling things in the wrong direction, so that could have been what was bothering him (and me! Ouch!) but the psychological effect of someone saying they didn’t want to be full-out intimate, yet they still wanted to cuddle and stuff, messed with me in a big way. I felt repulsive and sadly, not very feminine or confident. Plus, the longer I was with him I was turned off by HIM. He wasn’t a good-looking guy at all (some say he was my all-time homeliest boyfriend)¬†but back when I met him, I was all attracted to his personality and sense of humor and the fact that we both loved writing so much. He became attractive– for awhile, anyway. It all faded. We mutually agreed to end our engagement in an almost-painless conversation that was laced with relief. Weird.

And then X came along. I know now that he was mostly a rebound from Writer Ex. He was not attractive at all to me. In fact, I was flat-out turned off by his shaved head and blue eyes. He reminded me of a skinhead or something. But he was very nice and caring back then. He was so attentive, and so different in his affections and level of attention than Writer Ex ever was. He did amazing things to impress me back then; these romantic gestures and surprises that had me in awe because no one had ever been that nice to me. We had a few shared interests and we did laugh and stuff. He had a decent job, a house, and was very responsible and adult.

I thought I had found The One… and the fact that I didn’t find him sexually attractive was something I decided to overlook. Make the best of it and DON’T BE A SUPERFICIAL JERK. Some things outweigh looks.

And we all know how that mess turned out in the long run. How his super-attentive and responsible side took over and crushed everything in my life. How he was insanely possessive and bossed me around like I was a little kid who didn’t know anything about the world. How he put dozens of restrictions on me, including who I could spend time with and how much time I could “reasonably” spend with those people. It was the ugliest, most nasty relationship I have ever had. It got so close to destroying me. He found my vulnerable psychological spots and he pummeled the shit out of them. Even when I made my case, pleaded and downright begged, in tears, for him to ease up on me, he wouldn’t do it. Leaving him was the most wonderful decision I have ever made.

After those two consecutive debacles, it’s easy to see why I enjoyed living on my own, not dating or even caring one shit about men, for the next 5 years.

Sure, I wonder¬†sometimes what’s wrong with me, why I don’t feel the urge to get out there and try harder to attract male attention. Part of me wants to be in a relationship, of course. I’m only human and I do have some hormones at work. YET, I routinely find myself saying “I can’t be bothered” with “all of that” and I always mean it. I try reaching out and giving the dating/attraction thing a go of it every now and then, but in the end I appreciate the moment of, “Oh, the hell with this, I’m gonna go write” too much to keep trying.

And so, that brings me to my current dilemma.

I feel like I should feel ashamed on my gut reaction, which is to wait for the whole package this time.

At this point in my life, I feel strongly that I deserve the very best match for me that’s possible. I’ve had it with guys who treat me like shit. Yes. But it’s interesting, because at the same time I am also done with guys I am not actually attracted to. Guys who I say are “good enough” and, in the process of trying to Be Adult About All of This and realize that Looks Don’t Matter in the End, I decide to give them a shot.

I’m tired of not feeling magic when I kiss someone. OK, I am a LOT out of practice, at the moment, but I still know all too well that¬†feeling of “well, this is OK” when I kissed past boyfriends/husbands. And I also remember how it felt to kiss the good ones and go, “Holy shit, this is HOT!” Right now I want a spark, damn it. A real, honest to God, two-way attraction. I was lucky enough to get it once or twice in my younger life, and now I want it again.

At the moment, the way I feel about Funny Guy is… I feel like he is excellent guy-friend material.

Ugh.

I’ve had guy friends like this before, and I love them. But the thing with these particular guys is they just don’t seem like potential boyfriends. They seem like buddies. Someone to be crude and stupid with in my joking around. The sex-spark is never once ignited. At least not for me. In fact, it’s almost impossible to see them in “that way.”

So, now I am caught in a tough place. Today,¬†Funny Guy¬†pretty much asked me on a date. He said we should go to the movies together sometime, and in the last email he said, “Let’s make it a date! Yes, I said the d-word.”

And I am like, “OHHHH NOOOO.” Cue sad-face.

I have to reply to him somehow, but all day I have been agonizing over what to say or not say. Three main options here: 1) I thought about just acting like he never said “the d-word” and keep going with¬†my natural reaction, which is to not let it go there. 2) I could try to find a way to word it so he knows where I stand, and do it without hurting his feelings. 3) Or, I could go with it, go on the damn date, and see how it feels. Give him a chance.

Damned if I don’t even want to try the third option. I know. I suck.

Here’s a perfectly good guy on all initial accounts. He and I have a great rapport. He doesn’t date around (he’s also been single for a really long time). He has a decent job, and takes care of his elderly mother. He is humble and kind. All of this is important shit.

And here I am all cringing at the idea of possibly kissing him.

He’s not repulsive. People who see his picture have said, “Oh, he’s cute” or “Oh, he’s not bad.” OK. That’s something.

But as I think of it, it’s almost a subconscious thing that’s guiding me, here. Something deep inside that says “nope” and tells me to keep this one on a friend level. It could be a basic chemical reaction, like you read about with pheromones and compatibility on a genetic level– a sixth sense, in a way. Or it could just be me being afraid of having a boyfriend again, period. Or I just don’t like him in that way, and that’s the end of it. Either way, I feel something telling me it’s OK if I don’t want to kiss this guy, or spend too much time with him.

I’m not sure what to think. Trust my gut, or let my brain step in and be logical about this and give the guy a chance for all the right reasons.

I hate this crap!

 

 

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Stop thinking

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I need a true vacation.

I know, I know. Everyone says that. Everyone wants to be¬†somewhere else, everyone wants to be relaxing and having a good time. I know. The thing is that I haven’t had a true vacation in a really long time.

I go back to NJ when I have time and money, but the entire time I am there I’m visiting people, doing things, running around… I’m not taking lazy walks in the woods. In 2011 I had the best trip back there b/c I arranged group get-togethers¬†to see people to be¬†more efficient and it worked out well. I had time to go kayaking at the Manasquan reservoir with K and her sister; we went to Belmar to lounge around on the beach another day. For once, I didn’t try to fit too much in. It was awesome.

But since then, my travels have all been for a purpose. Drove out to LA for teh¬†Writer’s Conference in October; that was nice, but it was a tight schedule the whole time I ws¬†there and I had to deal with the anxiety of pitching to agents. Went back to NJ right after Hurricane Sandy– yeah, that definitely made the trip stressful. The next vacation days I took were when my Dad came here to visit for 10 days, and we all know that was a stressful time. We spent a lot of money, energy and time trying to entertain him and keep him busy. And trips for work definitely do NOT count as vacation. No friggin’ way.

There’s a reason I need some time to run away for awhile. My mind is busting at the seams from all of the thinking I’ve been doing. I just changed my depression/anxiety drug cocktail last month and that was a tough ride only b/c my body was reacting to the chemical shift. At one point, when I was technically on 3 drugs at once for a couple of weeks, I was dizzy and forgetful as hell, and even worse, I was seeing things just out of my line of vision. One day when I hung out with R and T cruising estate sales, I completely saw Hurley out of the corner of my eye twice that day. I knew he obviously wasn’t there, but the fact that my brain was making those images appear so clearly definitely freaked me the hell out.

Now I’m evened-out, for the most part. But brain chemistry aside, outside forces are making my synapses fire overtime and I’m worn out.

Here are the main things I can’t seem to stop thinking about:

1) NO LONGER QUERYING MY BOOK. My longtime friend S read my book “In My Blood” and returned to be¬†a scathing, no-holds-barred review. He sent me a full 20 pages of specific notes! I was overwhelmed, but ultimately relieved and excited to have someone just break it down and tell me what doesn’t work, WHY those things don’t work and some general writing-wisdom notes here and there to help me improve my writing structure, tone, characterizations and descriptions. I can’t tell you how much I think I needed exactly this. I have had a strong feeling that something was off about my book but damned if I could pinpoint the problems myself. I couldn’t tell if I was being overcritical of myself like usual, or if I just couldn’t see anything clearly anymore because I’ve been so close to the story for so many years now. Either way, having someone who had never read any of the previous versions read through this with a critical eye changed everything.

It would take me so long to get into details of what S explained to me, but suffice to say I agree with the majority of his critiques/suggestions. I’ve decided to stop sending my manuscript out to agents, entering it in contests or submitting it to independent publishers. It’s currently off the table.

Meanwhile, I am revising it from the floor up. In short, I’ve created an improved, tighter plot that is easier to explain. I’m taking out the diabetes cure thing. Zachary’s no longer imprisoned on an island, as a lab animal. Now, he is 20 and just ended his 2nd year of college. He wants to be¬†a vet and will be interning at a SeaWorld-like¬†park over the summer. He has a secret skill –he can understand the thoughts of animals. He can’t¬†get them to understand him back. Yet. But one day he figures it out and it changes so much for him. And, in his experiences at the SW hellhole, he sees the whales and dolphins don’t belong there. He meets up with a Paul-like character¬†and begins to become an undercover activist. Things get more¬†dangerous all the time, and he risks exposing¬†not only his secret talent but the secrets of the Coalition, a think-tank his parents are a part of and¬†is responsible for making him what he¬†is.¬†On top of that, he’s fallen in love with a fellow activist and his actions are putting her in¬†danger, too. He’s branded an eco-terrorist by the end of the book. THIS is the story I have been trying to find. THIS is the story I am passionate about and the way I can get my message across now.

I’m excited about it and have¬†written about two dozen pages so far. It’s¬†flowing so easy and so far, it’s a blast putting my Zachary into an entirely new life. He’s really been living a normal life, with a mother and father. Friends. Schools. Texting on a cell phone. Driving a car. Working to rehab injured or sick cetaceans at the facility his parents run. ¬†I am so happy for him. He’s far from a normal guy, but he is living a good life.

2) MY TARZAN¬†BOOK. At the same time I’m revising my first book, I am writing the first draft of this Tarzan steampunk¬†book. It’s taking a lot more research than I first expected, but without the benefit of total immersion in a mountain/ tropical forest terrain in Western Africa, I have to try to learn as much as I can about the fauna, flora, weather and topography of the area as I can, so I can pull from it as the story flows out. Fortunately, it won’t be¬†long until my MCs¬†leave Africa to fly by airship back to the Jersey Shore around the year 1900. Then, things take on a carnival, amusement park atmosphere and a love story blossoms. It’s also a LOT of fun. These two books are being written¬†simultaneously. That’s not something most writing pros encourage, since you need to focus to write your best work. But for now, flipping between the two almost daily is working for me now. I am hoping to get some kind of advice as to which one to dive into as my primary project. Which one’s stronger and more compelling? We’ll have to see. If you’re interested in reading the first few pages of each book and letting me know which one you are most interested in reading what’s next– please let me know. No pressure, though. Seriously.

3) NEW JERSEY. I can’t get into this in depth¬†with details, but a future move to NJ is now officially in the works. The real estate values in AZ are rising quickly and I can now make a decent profit if I sell my house, and it seems like this trend will continue for awhile. I have to time things right– sell before the selling price per sq/ft begin to drop off– so I can pay off my debts and hopefully have a nice chunk of money for a down payment on something in NJ. Yes, I will probably buy again even though owning a house has been a huge struggle out here for me. That’s b/c it’s cheaper to buy AND I have 4 pets. Who’s going to rent to someone with 4 pets? I’m just not sure I can find something reasonable. Also, my family will be moving in with me at first. They’ll help me with the mortgage payments, and yes, the work around the house. Living together while we all get settled and established makes the most sense. Again, timelines are TBD and I don’t want this news getting around just yet. It could be way too early,¬†and it could backfire if work finds out.

The main thing is that I’m obsessed with thinking about all the steps I’ll need to take to sell, move cross country, buy a new home, find a new job…all of it. It’s a lot to take on, but I want to be home so very much. It’s just harder every year that goes by that I am away from my home. My best friends. You only get one chance to live your life, so I want to live the rest of mine on the East coast again.

4) BURN OUT. My job, man. I feel so completely done with it. I can’t get a promotion, nor would I want to, seeing how people are treated¬†here from the top down. I write the same kind of articles all the time, month after month. I’m so sick of the processes and working with the contributing authors. I feel bored and uninspired and mostly distracted as I think of the other 3 things on this list all the damn day, every day. I know there is more to my writing career than this. This go-nowhere, no recognition position can’t be¬†the end of the line. I can do a lot more than this. I know a lot more. I could turn things around, get new web-based initiatives moving… but the truth is, I don’t want to do those things here. I don’t care enough. I am done. Just now–literally just now– I got a review back on an article I worked on and it’s saying my article is terrible and has no relevence to our readers. I swear to god, I am just DONE. I want to walk out so bad right now. I am not kidding. I’m tired. I don’t want to do this shit anymore. I hope I find something a lot more exciting, rewarding and less spinning-my-wheels than this crap job when I move away. So many more writing/editing jobs in the NY/NJ area, anyway.

Wow, not FIVE MINUTES LATER, I got my second review back and it also says my article sucks. That’s two thumbs-down reviews in 5 minutes.

I’m out.

 

 

 

Ms. Passive Aggressive

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No one likes passive aggressive people. They’re assholes. I mean, just say what’s bothering you and be direct about it. Don’t play these silly games that dance around the issue and *hope* your point is noticed by the offending parties.

Well… I’m an asshole. And I’m going to be passive aggressive right now.

First: I’m so disappointed because my boss has decided to buy a purebred Great Dane.

He’d approached me a few weeks back because he and his wife were thinking, yet again, of adopting getting a dog and he wanted my advice. Well, great! I have so many connections to all kinds of local dog rescues and could even help him narrow it down to the right dog with the right personality for his family’s needs. I gave him links to specific dogs and contact information for my favorite rescues.

I should have known something was up, because I didn’t hear a thing about it. Until today. When he says: “I was afraid to tell you about this, but… we’re getting a Great Dane puppy.”

He was afraid to tell me because he knows how incredibly important it is to me that I successfully spread the ADOPT, DON’T BUY message. And he knew I would be pissed at his ultimate decision. He was right.

I’m pissed for several reasons, besides the obvious one of “there’s one shelter dog’s life NOT being saved”… such as:

1) He bought a puppy about¬†2 years ago¬†from a shady breeder in southern AZ somewhere. His wife decided they had to have an English golden retriever. So they went and got this dog and had no clue what to do to train it. The dog had insane energy and all kinds of health problems. (It had eaten a magnet at the breeder’s house before they even had her, and ended up spending massive amounts of money to have the magnet surgically removed.) At the time, his twin daughters were only 2, and the dog was “too much for them” and then, apparently, one of the twins developed an allergy to the dog. I don’t know what the fuck he was thinking, getting a high-energy, large breed puppy with two little toddlers in the house. It was an ongoing disaster for months, until that¬†convenient dog allergy showed up and they had no choice but to return the dog to the breeder. They gave up on a dog for no good reason at all. A dog they never, ever should have adopted in the first place.

2) Next, they got a Saint Bernard. A Saint Bernard!!! That one lasted for an even shorter time period before it was returned. Again, it was a very young dog and had tons of energy and needed time, attention and TRAINING to get it to be the dog they wanted.

3) Today he told me that he spent a lot of time “exhausting the rescue option” and in the end they just knew they wouldn’t find a dog that was what they wanted, in a rescue. In the Great Dane rescue, the dogs were mostly “4 or 5 years old already, and with the short life spans of Great Danes, we knew we’d only get a couple of good years out of one of those dogs and we’re not ready for that.” Apparently he is of the naive belief that only old dogs die. Look. You get a dog, you’d better be ready for whatever comes your way regarding illnesses and accidents. If you’re “not ready for that”…don’t get a dog.

4) They have two pet rabbits and they also said at rescues they wouldn’t be able to find a dog that would be both good with little kids AND rabbits. Notice I said “wouldn’t be able to” in that sentence up there. This shows that he never really investigated that part of it seriously. He’s lying to me about “exhausting the rescue option.” I hate being lied to. Anyway, who wants to place bets that there will be an incident with the Great Dane puppy and the rabbits within the first 6 months? How about the first 6 weeks?

5) He says he wants a dog he can take on walks, but back when he had the other two dogs, he “hated walking them” because of the work and effort of trying to control them. OH CHRIST, GET ME A DRINK AT THIS POINT!

I look forward to the inevitable failure of this, his latest Worst Decision Ever.

Second: I don’t understand the people who tell me to send them my book because they want to read it, and then they never read it.

I can think of EIGHT friends right now who fall under this category. Eight. All of them friends, not just people I kinda know/strangers. They all said to me, “please let me read your book” and I told them yes.

I also told them to be¬†honest and fuckin’ tell me if you are bored with the story and stop reading.

This is important.

I need to know if my story doesn’t engage people. It’s not a matter of “I’d like to know”… NO. I NEED TO KNOW. So I can fix it.

Some of the people tell me, “Oh, well… I don’t really read that genre, but I’ll give it a try.” This is not the right thing to say to an aspiring author. It’s not that I am upset you don’t read my genre. It’s that you are clearly not the target audience, but you’ll give this a look anyway, probably out of some unspoken obligation. Don’t do that. Just don’t offer to read my book, because it sucks getting excited waiting for feedback that NEVER comes. And I don’t want you doing a pity-read, either. Lame.

Third: Writers who don’t know a thing about¬†my genre, and yet feel they have the right to tell me all the things wrong with my book. Or what they would do differently, to make it sell.

Writer Ex did this to me a couple months¬†ago, and I’m still annoyed by what he said. I wanted him to be brutally honest about my story, and he wasn’t.

He was brutally honest about what he would do with my story idea, if he’d had it.

The first lines of his critique: “Great title. The rest? Not so much.”

Then he went on to explain he never reads YA sci-fi or paranormal so he has no idea what the market is for those books. But if I want people to buy my book, I need to make Zachary some kind of mutant freak with big, flashy superpowers he can’t control. I should write it in the style of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. And so on, until I felt like puking.

Again, maybe you shouldn’t offer to critique my query and first few pages if you are unfamiliar with my genre.

At least I know better now. I won’t ask anyone who doesn’t READ this kind of stuff (or write it) take a look at my work.

OK. My passive aggressive rant here is done.

I’m going home now to write my kick-ass new book, play with my dogs and enjoy my fuckin’ weekend!

Changing it up

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I saw my psychiatrist this morning. Told him all about the apathy and lethargy, and the concerns I have with my energy levels being so low and all of that. It was a good talk– a half hour, opposed to the usual 15 minute med check. He decided that we should try something different for about a month or so to see if I feel any better.

I’m going to wean off the Zoloft and start Nefazodone, while keeping the Wellbutrin the same. If it doesn’t help or if I feel any worse, we’ll figure something else out. But for now, he thought it might be time to try a¬†new medication mixture.

Nefazodone is a tough call, though. On one hand, there are a couple of good things about it: it’s slightly sedative, so taking it before bed can help me sleep through the night. It also doesn’t have the weight-issue of Zoloft; with Zoloft, it doesn’t cause weight gain, usually, but it makes it a lot harder to lose weight. Interesting.

The downside to¬†Nefazodone¬†is it’s got a checkered history. It was recalled¬†here when it was sold¬†under the name Serzone, because it’s linked to severe liver damage and the death of several people. My doctor has a dark sense of humor, and said, “There’s a 3 or 4 in a million chance of you dying from this pill.” He didn’t seem too worried, though, the longer we talked about it. Since he’s been my doctor since 2005, I do trust him with this stuff. So I guess we’ll just see what happens. I go back to see him on July 2 to determine if it’s a prescription I should continue.

He also recommended I talk to my ob/gyn¬†about going off the continuous birth control, after I mentioned it was something I’d be considering. I’ve been on it non-stop since April 2003 to treat the endometriosis/ keep it from coming back. I haven’t had any real problems with the endometriosis stuff for years and years, and in the meantime, I have been dosing myself with hormones that trick my body into thinking I’m pregnant. I’ve gained weight on a pretty steady basis every year since I went on it, despite exercising and eating OK in the earlier years of taking it.¬† (I worked out a lot more often back then, so I can say for sure that weight was coming on¬†even though I was doing everything else right to lose weight; and I started the Zoloft in 2005, so if you think about it, my continual slide to obesity might have been helped along a bit by my medications. HOWEVER, I am not ready to blame the pills for all of it. I think it’s still largely my own doing, and my own genetics, that are to blame for me gaining weight as I age. I could do a lot better with the food and exercise things these days, and I know it.)

The kind of birth control pills I take can also lead to thromboembolism, which are blood clots in your veins. The risks for that get worse after age 35 (yay) and since my Mom had this very condition the year after we moved to Arizona, I’m worried I could inherit it. It can also raise your blood pressure, and I know for a fact that my BP has been getting higher these days. Also, some women on the pill are at greater risk for depression. So, who knows… I might end up being healthier, overall, if I stop taking that pill. It’s worth looking into, anyway.

Am I worried I could get another endometriosis¬†flare-up? Yeah, a little bit. However, I’ll know exactly what it is if and when the symptoms start up, and I’ll know what to do about it. (Probably, go back on the pills and/or get those shots I had after surgery; worst case scenario, I have ablation surgery again.) Also, once I hit menopause I won’t have endometriosis problems anymore, anyway. Not that I am close to menopause, even though my physical health already makes me feel that I am going through it…

So, this will be an interesting 4-6 weeks. Especially if I stop the birth control pill, too. Who knows? I really might be on my way to feeling a LOT better. Mentally, yes, and physically.

Finally, he didn’t think I needed to bother with counseling right now. If medication doesn’t help, then yes, I can consider it, but he firmly believes, based on my history, that my depression is biological in nature. It’s responded well to medication, for the most part. We’ll just have to see how things go with these changes.

Bonus moment: He made me walk in to his other office to see his two beta fish. “C’mon, you have to see these little guys,” he said, almost pushing me forward. “You’ll see they’re not that bad.” And they weren’t. I’m better than I used to be¬†about fish– but I’m also better at hiding my inner screaming. ūüôā Anyway, he’s just as amused by the icthyophobia as most people are, and he’s a professional. That cracks me up.

The honest truth

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I’ve reached a point where I need to get something off my chest.
I’ve been hiding the real me for a long time now. Months, at least. I have grown smarter and more experienced in life itself, and I know all the correct things to do, say and even think.

And yet, I’m having lots of trouble with my health and level of energy/motivation to do anything.

I’m in pain every day. My sciatica hurts all the time. Lucky for me, it’s manageable the majority of the time. (Pain level around 3 or 4.) I’ve gotten used to it, and I hate that I had to get used to that kind of pain. At any given moment, there’s pain in my left leg. Recently, the pain along the nerve spread further into my left foot and has given me cramping, throbbing pain in the bottom of my foot. I have been trying the thing with rolling a tennis ball under my bare foot and it has helped a little. I think some of my shoes actually exacerbate the problem so I am slowly weeding those pairs of shoes out of my closet. The thing that sucks is that the pain is now in a place where it once wasn’t. I feel so annoyed by that fact.

I’ve been short of breath a few times over the past few months, and that’s scared me. I have never been the most athletic person, even as a little kid. I used to get called to sit down and rest because I’d overheat easily (my face goes totally red and blotchy, making everyone ask me if I’m OK, which is annoying). I don’t know it it’s because of my heart murmur or what, but I’m not happy that breathing itself is sometimes a chore for me.

Right now, I’ve got ear pain that’s stabby¬†and sharp in my left ear. It’s always my left ear. I get this pain several times throughout the year, at random. I think it’s related to my sinuses, which are constantly giving me trouble. I’m so tired of the pressure, the pain, the dryness. Neti pots and nasal moisturizers (saline) keep me functional, but functional is not the same as “feeling good.”

I am the heaviest I have ever been in my life. I eat awful stuff. I think I’m addicted to sugar, even though I feel like shit after I eat it. I have no energy to get off my ass and exercise. I’ll even change into my workout clothes, but never make it to the gym. It’s pathetic and I feel disgusting. I hate how I feel. I hate it so much. I don’t understand what’s going on, because I KNOW exactly what I have to do. I have read the tricks and mental tips to motivate me into working out, and when I try them in real life, I haven’t had much luck. I know how I will feel better if I eat better– I have done it in the past and my body does remember how it worked so much easier when it was getting a steady diet of veggies and fruits (and juices). So what’s the friggin’ deal, now? What the hell is the big roadblock keeping me from being the BEST ME I can possibly be?

I don’t know anymore. I have tried journaling about it but all I wind up doing is berating myself for not acting and doing what I KNOW I SHOULD BE DOING.

I think it’s time to bring my psychiatrist in on this. My past few visits have gone so well and I have only told him the good stuff. We haven’t changed my meds in years, now. But maybe we have to.

And maybe I have to begin counseling. Just try to work this stuff out, force myself into living a healthier life.

I may never get rid of all the pain, but maybe I can learn to cope with it better. If the pain is what’s creeping slowly in through the back of the theater to ruin the whole show, that’s stupid. I have to get better control of the psychological side effects, damn it.

This morning, a publisher asked me for the first three chapters of my book and normally that news would make me ecstatic. It’s a PUBLISHER, not an agent. I’d be skipping the agent step,¬† but that would be just fine. Today, though, I stayed home from work because I felt like shit, and I am still sitting here unable to pull those three chapters and send the damn email to the publisher. My writing looks terrible, the story all clunky and messy, and I’m doubting everything all over again.

So, yes. This is all bullshit.

And it has to stop.

A lack of interest… in me.

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I’m feeling a bit dejected today. I haven’t heard back from a handful of agents I queried weeks ago. I am out there on Twitter, commenting on blogs, reading everything I can about the current market for science fiction and YA, and all of that has led to me thinking my book’s not good enough.

I think my plot might sound boring next to some of these high-concept, high-drama books. I don’t know. Maybe my style of writing just isn’t marketable. I was thinking today about what kind of books inspired me most back when I first began writing novel-length stuff, and that’s easy: The Catcher in the Rye, and The Outsiders.

Both have male protagonists, both have more of an internal-struggle plot–not a big ‘defining moment when everything changes’ plot– and both are more interested in the MC’s point of view as they go through certain situations.

My first novel was maybe my best in terms of writing a believable male protagonist who goes through a defined, clear plot. Also, he was nothing like me. He was a jock, a smoker, a guy who was dealing with a family going through divorce and issues with his older sister… I created everything from nowhere. Part of me is wondering if I should just go back and rewrite THAT book, and submit that one around to agents. At least it’s more of an adventure. Things happen, stakes are high, the MC can be killed at any time (and nearly does die at the end). These are the elements today’s hot books NEED TO HAVE.

Does my book have those elements? No, since it’s more like CITR and Outsiders. But are people interested in reading¬†those kind of novels right now? Umm…¬†I just don’t know anymore.

I’m circling a lonely little drain of self-doubt right now. (That’s why I came here. To whine about it.)

I¬†participated in¬†a stupid little Twitter event today, where you have to pitch your book in 140 characters or less. Super difficult to do! Anyway, agents read over all the tweets with the corresponding hashtag, and they favorite or reply to pitches they’d like to see as a full query. It’s been a few hours and no one’s favorited my tweet. ūüė¶ Hey, I know, it’s just a silly Twitter event and it doesn’t mean anything in the grand scheme of things. There are a LOT of tweets out there with the hashtag to sift through, and maybe the right agents for me just aren’t on Twitter today. Maybe. Still, seeing other tweets getting favorited and commented on left and right is making me more than a little jealous and insecure. I should just shut it all down for the day and not look anymore.

The other thing bothering me today is not knowing where things stand with this guy I’ve been texting with for a week now. Long story short, but last week after drinking some booze and laughing my ass off watching Parks & Recreation, I went online and scoped out dudes on that site OKCupid. I saw one that made me go, “Oh. Wait a second, what is THIS?” and I made a quick profile and messaged him one short sentence: “Nice Dalek.” (He’s a huge Doctor Who fan, and one of his pics was him with a Dalek.) I didn’t expect a response and was only doing it half-seriously. The next morning, I even had that regret moment of oh, boy. Did I just throw my ring into the online dating fray last night??

But he responded. We wrote emails on the site all day on Friday, and he sent me his phone # so we could text. And text we DID. Holy shit. I have lost count of how many texts I have sent in the past week. It’s been a lot of fun, and he sounds like a pretty smart, intuitive and nice guy. It’s a little weird he hasn’t tried to just call me by now. I can handle it, though. He said outright he hates talking on the phone. But the other day, he said he thought we should meet in person soon to see if we had actual chemistry in real life, since everything was going so well in our texts. I agreed, we started talking about where and when, and then he asked about my sexual expectations and the texting went all serious in tone for a day. But he didn’t say anything that was a dealbreaker for me. However, did I? I was 100% honest with him. He brings out the honesty. He’s a behavioral health counselor (which I am completely fascinated by) and very blunt with me, too. Anyway, I wonder if I scared him off or said something wrong.

Because yesterday and today, our texting dropped off significantly. He hasn’t said a thing about seeing me this week. I kinda feel like something has changed his mind. I don’t know what. It’s probably something on his end and not something I did or said. I know that. But it still sucks, because I was getting my hopes up about meeting him and now I don’t know if it will really happen or not.

(I think he is either way too nervous and afraid to meet me, or he is talking to some other girl and might like her more. He said he had his heart broken about 6 months ago, so he’s probably scared of dating again.)

I’m thinking of texting him and flat out asking if he wants to meet up soon. See what he says. It’s just weird he was all gung-ho about it and then it just disappeared, like we’d never discussed it.

FUCK. See, this crap, this drama, these games, whatever… this is precisely the crap I do not want to deal with. This is why I am not actively trying to date. I don’t like the guessing game shit. It’s probably for the best if he weirds out on me, because my life just goes back to the way it’s been and I don’t have to deal with a guy, a relationship, with all that bullcrap.

Well, there it all is. I’m frustrated about the lack of agent responses, my writing itself, and now this guy. It does feel better to just vomit it all out here on my trusty ol’ diary blog, though.

Newtown

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It’s been a very difficult weekend. On the surface, it’s been fun, because I kept myself busy and I was social, and did a lot more things than the usual weekend. But inside I’m like every person in the country right now, crying out for the victims of Friday’s massacre.

Honestly. The words “children” and “massacre” should never¬†be in the same sentence. Yet that’s all we are seeing in the news. It was surreal and unimaginable to read that news about what happened. I¬†have been¬†horrified¬†by a lot of stories in the news. I have cried at news stories before this, but not like I cried over this one. The level of horror is beyond anything else I can think of, outside of 9-11. I know each person reading this right now feels just like I do; and I know we all desperately need something to CHANGE, so this can’t keep happening. This event, this loss of 20 innocent children’s lives, needs to be¬†the final straw for all of us. We can’t just ignore the problem, or let politics get in the way of what needs to be done. And in my opinion, I’ve narrowed it down to three basic things:

1) Reinstate funding (federal, state) for psychiatric facilities and treatment.¬†Too many of those places closed starting in the 1980s, and that’s right around the time people began these kind of massacres. It’s so sad to read about parents who are ‘terrified’ of their own mentally-ill children, and have almost no support or help. I don’t believe the parents of these disturbed killers are always to blame. I think sometimes they really do try to do everything they can to help their kids, but if the professional support isn’t available, what are they able to do?

2) Ban the sale of military-grade assault weapons.¬†It doesn’t matter which gun models these killers used… they used weapons that can fire at fast succession so they could kill as many people as possible in the shortest amount of time. Someone needs to explain to me WHY these are manufactured¬†and available for sale in this country. For hunting? Why? Are deers really that hard to take down? They are items made specifically to end life, animal or human. Stop selling them, and when people are caught¬†with them, give them massive fines, take the weapons away and possibly given them jail time if they have a criminal record. The pro-gun people are like, “people kill people, guns don’t kill people” but that’s bullshit, obviously, because all of these killers who have carried out the most deadly attacks have used GUNS. Yes, the person behind the gun was the problem, but it still took a multi-round weapon to carry out the killings.¬†Gun control isn’t the entire answer, but it does need to be a big part of the national discussion if we’re talking about stemming violence. If the weapons are no longer as easy to acquire, it could save some lives. And some lives is worth the restrictions on the pro-gun people’s “rights.”

3) Encourage positive actions and getting to know other people as much as possible. The social disconnect in our society is nuts, if you think about it. So many people don’t know their neighbors’ names (myself included), or want to even have phone conversations anymore in favor of the less-personal text or email. If you don’t have regular interaction with other people, especially people outside of your own cultural circle, religion, etc, you won’t know how to empathize properly. Other people become just that– Others. Who cares about everyone else, right? As long as you and your little circle of family and friends are safe, screw the rest of the world. It’s become too easy to isolate yourself and become desensitized to the violence we see on TV, in movies and video games, and other places. Hell, even death on the news isn’t a big deal to most people. We’re used to it now. But I’m thinking, we start a conversation in this country to encourage everyone to step back and take a look at their own actions and attitudes. It’s hard to do, because not many people are comfortable admitting their own faults or flaws, but DAMN, I think it’s necessary at this point. Let’s put a premium on BEING NICE and INCLUSIVE¬†instead of snarky, indifferent or even hostile. You know that whole “pay it forward” movement? It works. People who are the recipients of a kind act tend to reciprocate at some point, because they recognize the wonderful feeling they got when they realized someone reached out and cared to do something nice for a stranger– and how great it feels to do the same. I don’t know about you, but I’m tired of some of my own indifference to others and I don’t want to write gratuitous violence into any of my books. Because, WHY? Why do I have to do that? Why add ugliness to the world when it’s easier and more satisfying to find something better to put out there?

So, that’s my reaction to this tragedy. I really do hope that this time, it’s enough to spur action and actual change. The answer isn’t stepped-up security at schools, or people keeping their kids home for fear the kids will get shot up at school. The kind of violence that happened Friday could have happened anywhere. (The mall, the movie theater, a ‘meet your Senator’ event at a supermarket…) So let’s get to the heart of the discussion and figure out where the violence comes from, and why it’s happening, and begin to sort out what we can ALL do. It’s on ALL OF US, I believe. I’m not sitting around waiting for politicians to get the work done. I’m doing my part to be a better member of society. I hope you’re thinking about this, too.

I’m not crying for those children and adults as much anymore. Because I am angry and totally¬†fed-up with the world as it has been.¬†Now I am just resolved to do my personal best to make this a country that properly honors their memory by working to ensure something like this never happens again. I mean it. Accepting this as a sad ‘sign of our times’ or something like that is a lazy cop-out. So stop whining, and do something to make your tiny contribution to this planet MATTER.

It might not be as tiny as you think.

 

The financial idiot

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Remember the good old blogging days? When we all posted frequently, and could easily comment on one another’s posts? Those were some good times. But now, with all the elaborate word verification captchas, incompatabilities¬†between WordPress and Blogger¬†and everyone getting busy with life (what? Real life? What’s that?!), the blogging activity is falling by the wayside.

I still like it, though. I still check blogs that have not been updated in a year, just in case. I blog on my other blog. I blog here. Sure, it’s not as big a part of my life as it once was, but that’s fine. Things shift around and change. It’s OK.

So, I came here today to share my weird shame regarding my bank accounts. It’s just maddening to me that a grown woman with lots of responsibilities and a decent sized paycheck still manages to struggle each month to make ends meet. Especially months with holidays or trips. Dear GOD. I am without an effective budget right now, because I can’t seem to get ahead to the point where things are able to BE budgeted.

Right now, I am down to $44 in my checking account. And $21 in my savings.

That’s IT. That’s what I have to work with until I get paid on Friday.

The only reason I have $44 in checking is because I transferred a whopping $15 over this morning so I could buy some gas for the car this week. I want to get $10 worth.

This is so stupid and shameful. I don’t know how things got so out of control, but ALL of my money goes to paying bills and buying food/gas. The three basics. Every time I spend money on something fun, I wind up short. October it was Halloween and the trip to LA that did me in. November, it was the trip to NJ and then some money I threw in for Thanksgiving dinner stuff. Now this month, it’s friggin’ Christmas. Great. Well, this year they are all getting ‘creative’ gifts (AKA cheap/handmade) and a big pull-back from the years past where I went overboard on my family since I love buying for them. All those holidays added up, it turned out, and gave me a decent chunk of credit card debt. Who’da thunk it?

Well, something has to change soon. I’m considering a couple of options. One– refinancing my mortgage to a 30yr. fixed if I can qualify for it. That could potentially lower my payment. Or, turn the car in for a more affordable car. I thought I could handle jumping from a $128 car payment to a $286 one, but it turns out it’s really not working. I make the payment, yes, but because I am never one to skip a payment or pay less than the amount due. That means all my money that I’d use for other stuff just isn’t there. Maybe I should just do what so many people I know do: just pay what you can and leave it at that. I don’t know, though… I am proud of my credit score and don’t want to take any hits on it. I don’t know why it matters so much to me, but it does.

I’m starting to consider debt consolidation, too. Get all the stupid credit card bills together and make it into one payment. Maybe a lower payment overall. We’ll have to see on that one. I don’t want to close all of my cards out, or have trouble with my credit score down the road.

I hate being an adult sometimes. I really do.

I really have been feeling that hamster wheel thing these days… I keep running to keep up, and yet I never get anywhere.

hamsterwheel

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.

 

 

My blogging situation

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I am beginning to move away from this blog, in favor of blogging on my website. If you know my name, it’s http://myname.com. No spaces —¬†just my first and last name dot com.

I’ll still use this one as I’ve always¬†intended it: more or less as a diary. Meaning, I will still write here occassionally about personal things or anything I wouldn’t want the professional writing community to read for whatever reason.

So, if you’re so inclined, go check out my website and if you want to give me any suggestions or ideas to improve it, please feel free. I like the site so far, but I still have more to add to it. I want it to be a good representation of my writing range.

My journey to landing an agent just began in earnest last week. I sent my samples out to the two interested agents… but one of them has a “full mailbox” and so my email bounced back three times. I’ll wait a couple more days, and try re-sending it. Hopefully by then she’ll have checked her email! I have to say I don’t see this as an encouraging sign, because I would want my agent to be professional in all regards, and that includes keeping her email account active. We’ll have to see.

And no news is good news with the other agent, I’m thinking. I don’t expect the first agent to be the one that “bites”… I’m all set to query the next batch of agents I’ve pinpointed through my research. I will be doing that next batch– it will be 4 or 5 at a time– this week. Not sure which day, but it’ll happen. I remain psyched. ūüôā

In other news, I’ve got a really painful bout of sciatica going on these days. Holy crap. It’s doing something I’m calling “seizing up” whenever I first stand up after sitting for awhile. The pain just shoots down my nerve and the muscles around it almost freeze so I can’t put my foot flat on the ground. It only lasts a few seconds, but it’s ridiculously painful for those seconds. I’m trying not to be a wimp, and definitely trying not to complain about it, but there are times when I can’t hide it– like those “seizing up” moments. I tend to gasp a little, or make an involuntary little noise. Because of this, I chose not to go to a social event on Friday night where I could have possibly spoken to the guy I kind-of like. First, I was in no shape to do a lot of walking around or sitting on bar stools, etc… and second, if I ended up looking like a total gimp or something, that would be counterproductive. Mehh. It sucks a whole lot. It really does. I hate my spine.

I’m giving it another week or so to see if it eases up on its own. It usually does. This happened around this time last year, too. I do know what to do to take care of the problem: lie flat with my knees bent with an ice pack on the discs for 15-25 minutes at a time; do my stretches after a hot shower or using the heating pad; sit up straight and only wear shoes with a lot of support and no heels. I broke out the hydrocodone on friday. I had to. I rationed it all year so I would have it on-hand when I truly needed it. I’ve only taken it twice so far since Friday, but I will take it again if I absolutely have to.

When these sciatica episodes happen, I wind up feeling depressed at the same time. No coincidence there, really. I feel trapped in this body, with the constant pain,¬†and I am self-conscious about how I move and walk around. I try to pass it off like I am just fine when I’m in public because I hate when someone asks me if I’m OK. If it gets to the point that someone has to ask, that means I failed at hiding it. I kind of pride myself on my high tolerance for pain… I know that’s kind of weird. But I do. I have some kind of sciatic nerve pain every single day of my life. But you know how it is with things that are chronic: You get used to it. You find ways to cope and keep things under control. It becomes no big deal. It really does. Because if I were to give in and take meds for each little twinge and pain, I’d be on all kinds of drugs all the time, probably. And I’d be whining a lot, too. Both in writing and in person. Nah. I do not want to be that way. And I don’t need to be that way, thankfully. Like I said, I have the “gift” of a high pain tolerance.

Anyway, I have already blabbed enough about this. As I was saying, I’ll give this another week or so and if it doesn’t get better by then, I’ll call the last spine specialist I saw last year and see if I can get¬†started on¬†a pain management treatment plan. My friend L at work got two cortisone injections when her sciatica was acting up, and it worked great for her. I will look into that. (The only thing holding me back is the fact that insurance only covers a portion of the expense b/c it’s not a “medical necessity.” The things that are excluded from insurance coverage are ridiculous sometimes. I’d say pain relief from not one but THREE ruptured discs should be a necessity, wouldn’t you? But last year when I looked into it, one injection would cost me around $450 AFTER insurance. Yeeesh! However, thanks to changes from the federal government, my insurance company is one of the ones that has had to answer for their sins against patient care– maybe if I look into it now, it would be different! I know I no longer pay for my birth control pills, or my annual well woman visit… seriously, NO co-pays. I love it. Maybe now the insurance will cover more of the expense of the injection.)

OK, my bitching about my sciatic nerve is done.

Now I really do need to get down to work. I’ve got a lot of assignments this week and very little time to get them finished. Also? I got my latest jury duty notice recently. I am supposed to report on Wednesday for jury duty. As most of you know, this is a common occurrence for me. But I’ve lost count. This is either the 13th or 14th time in 14 years I have been called to jury duty in AZ. I am NOT JOKING. They can serve you with any number of court notices: it could be superior court, or the local municipal court. I get called to both. I’ve had to show up in person only twice and I have yet to serve on an actual jury! Usually, I call the day before I find out my group doesn’t need to appear. I wonder if that’s why my name keeps getting thrown back into the system so much.

Either way, it totally doesn’t seem fair at all. I know people who have lived here as long as I have, and have NEVER been called once! I’ve looked into this and asked questions to try to find out why I am always called, and the answer is that names are chosen “by computer, at random” from a database made from the motor vehicles department and voter registration records. I’ve wondered if I had traffic tickets or any kind of misdemeanors on my record, if maybe they wouldn’t call me as often? Would doing something bad help push me to the bottom of the juror list? Probably not. Still, I do wonder…

I am so sick and tired of getting these notices in the mail every 6 months or so. I wonder if I move away, if another state will harass me this frequently, too. Probably not.