Again. Hurricane Irene, which wreaked havoc over almost everywhere she went, did relatively little here in my neck of the woods. It was mainly a wind and rain event and in the last couple of weeks, we've had heavier rain and winds with some thunder and lightning thrown in so really, it was a mild day comparatively.
We stayed in, lounged around, ate cake and cookies...AFTER eating real food...I didn't make the family survive on baked goods alone. Even though there are a LOT of them in the house! Our power was fine, our phones were fine, the cable was hit and miss on certain channels but for the most part, it was very uneventful. Praise the LORD!
My family up North, however, are gearing up for the worst. My mom said that in her lifetime she has never seen anything like this - all of the evacuations and preparations. Hospitals were evacuated, towns are deserted. It seems very strange. I am hoping as the storm makes its way up the coast that it will lose power but from what I understand it's not the category that is the problem, it is something about the water surges and all that. Either way, I am glad to not be living up there anymore. I hope for any and all of you who were in Irene's path, that you stayed safe and are all okay. I am blessed that it was easy on us....
Like most people on the East Coast, I am preparing for Hurricane Irene. Unfortunately, when we are living on one paycheck, and payday isn't until tomorrow, I have not been able to do much. I'm a little panicky to say the least.
I have water, I have bread, I have canned goods. I have paper goods and we know to charge up all of our electronics. I will make sure that all of the laundry is done and that the house is on a higher level of cleanliness just in case we are stuck inside for days without water. Why start out with a smelly house if it's only going to get worse, right?
If there is a natural disaster heading our way, for some reason, I bake. I don't know when this started but for as long as we've at least been here in NC, when there is a storm, I bake. I figure, if we have no electric and can't cook much, at least I will have cake. Cake is a comfort food. Cookies are comfort food. If I am stuck inside, with no form of entertainment, I am most certainly going to eat cake!! Anyone have any odd habits they do while preparing for a natural disaster?
Way back when in the 80's there was a great movie - The Big Chill. Remember it? Great movie, great cast. My mom went through a whole "Big Chill" phase and whenever she heard the Rolling Stones "You Can't Always Get What You Want", we would remember the movie. And BTW, GREAT Scene!
Anyway, there is a scene in the movie where Glenn Close and Jo Beth Williams are working together making up beds in the guest room (the group of friends are together for a weekend for another friend's funeral). The two women are talking; they are both married women with children. Jo Beth Williams character is saying how she feels like she is never alone in her own house - either the kids are there or her husband is there and then she's saying how "You know those lab mice went crazy when deprived of their privacy?" and Glenn Close says "They're living with you, too?"
That is so how I feeling lately. I am NEVER alone! Then I'm working full time and constantly surrounded by people - people who are talking on the phone, to each other, watching the TV...I mean it is never ending noise around me and I am slowly losing my mind.
Tonight I was trying so hard to read some important information so that I can work on getting my formatting for my book under control. Have I mentioned how the headers and footers are making me want to kill myself? But I could not focus on anything I was trying to read because the TV was on loudly, Frank and Michael were talking...loudly and I wanted to cry. I just wanted to tell everyone to shut up and go away.
I am getting increasingly frustrated. I just want quiet. Even right now...I'm sitting in my bed, it is 10:15 at night and you know what's going on? I came in here, shut the door, was enjoying the peace and quiet and then Frank walked in to tell me that Nick is here and now the two of them are standing here in the bedroom - while I type - talking.
So I told you all how I'm taking that giant leap in to self-publishing. It's painful; honestly and truly painful. There is so much to do and so much to look at and at this point, every time I open up the file on my book I want to cry! Where is the book fairy who can take care of all of the editing nonsense for me??
Then there's the other things: websites, marketing, getting my name out there. I have some very loyal readers and friends here who have all said that they'd buy a copy of my book and for that I say a HUGE thank you. I look forward to selling those ten books and it's all very exciting but after that? Who knows! So while I'm spinning around the house having a breakdown, we have something new going on around here - Ping Pong. Yes, Ping Pong. What tiny house with a mother losing her mind couldn't use some loud and obnoxious Ping Pong action?
Michael joined the Ping Pong club at school. I was VERY excited about this because he is not a joiner of anything so the fact that he wanted to join something was way cool. The problem? He'd only ever played it (and I use the term "played" loosely) twice. So we went out and bought a table-tennis type set that sets up on our dining room table and he and Frank have been having a blast. Me? Not so much.
Last night we had a heinous storm here. The thunder and lightning were just out of control. We unplugged the computers and the TV's so there wasn't much else to do (well, I read) but play Ping Pong. After hearing them play Ping Pong while I made dinner. Nick actually has a REAL Ping Pong table and he was nice enough to have Michael over after church to play a little and have some brother-bonding time, which was very nice of him. Those little plastic balls may have to start disappearing...
So I have decided to take the leap in to self-publishing. I'm unsure of what degree I'm going with but I am in the process of editing my first book - I had gotten the proof copy from CreateSpace and then realized that I must have had one eye open for most of the first edit - and I have a student of mine helping me to design a better book cover. It's all pretty exciting.
I have decided to go with a pen name because no one can pronounce my real last name easily and so I took the leap and chose one. I'm not ready to share it yet with the world but I did keep my initials. I showed it to Frank and he approved and was not the least bit offended that I did it. He's actually considering a "stage name" to use with the band. Really? Yesterday at work I had an "issue" with a co-worker. She doesn't work in our office and like I've mentioned in the past, she is very high maintenance. Well, yesterday I did something that CLEARLY displeased her and next thing I know she's on the phone with the gal at the next cube and I hear part of the conversation! I can hear her whispering "Well, she's still new...she's training..." and I just about lost my mind.
Now, one of the reasons that I have a blog is so that I can vent because I do not do confrontations well. Yesterday? All bets were off. First there was an email I was going to send...but after getting two different opinions we decided that wasn't the way to go. One of the girls suggested that I go in to the conference room and CALL this woman. So I did.
Well, I got her voicemail several times and so I realized that was as close as I was going to get to talking to her so I left a lengthy message stating (nicely) that I do not appreciate her going to a coworker to bitch about me. If she has a problem with me, then bring it to me, not someone else. She emailed me a little later explaining that she wasn't doing it to bitch but so that (because she's in another location) this co-worker could physically and visually show me what I need to do. So I'm like "But she never shows me anything!" OOPS...can open, worms everywhere...
The plan is that when this woman comes in to town next month, she and I are going to have a meeting one-on-one to train me in the things that she sees I'm still weak with. I'm hoping it's not going to be a LONG meeting! But in the end, I felt so much better for having opened the dialogue!! Comfort zone? Not always a good place...
So about two weeks ago, in my ongoing role of Susan Mallery cheerleader, I joined Twitter. I figured, other cheerleaders were tweeting about her and her books, maybe I should, too.
I still don't understand the whole thing. I mean, I blog, I facebook, I speak to people face to face. Why do we need Twitter? It seems to me like it is just another way to draw attention to yourself when you are doing essentially nothing. Most people's "tweets" are just a bunch of blathering nonsense that leave me thinking "Why did anyone need to know that?"
I truly am getting old. I suppose some people find it cool when they can say how many people are following them on Twitter but as for me, it's just one more thing for my already crazy-filled brain to have to keep up with. And as for tweeting about my cheerleading duties? It only helps when you actually HAVE people following you...otherwise you're just tweeting to dead space.
I guess those first few tweets of mine were just practice...
It's a proven fact. Frank just finished up a job for a man who is a multi-millionaire. He wanted his home and his brother's home done. In addition, his wife is an interior designer and he told Frank that he'd hook him up with her and that he would be working for a very LONG time. We were thrilled.
To show his gratitude, Frank gave the guy a deal on his house. He charged him essentially $1500-$2000 less than what the job was worth. He took the man's verbal abuse, his disdain and bad behavior. The man missed every appointment that Frank made with him. The job got finished. And we have no work.
There is no second house. There is no connection to the wife. Essentially, a gentleman's agreement was made and this man, with homes all over the world, took advantage of a common, everyday blue-collar worker and thanks to his lie, got a great deal on having his home completely pressure washed and painted. Just another case of the rich getting richer and the poor staying poor.
He's eleven... He's turning in to a wholly terror!
I have come to discover that I had mentally blocked out the pre-teen years that we experienced with Nick but suddenly they are coming back with great clarity thanks largely to the HUGE attitude of my current pre-teen. Oh... My... Gosh...
He's got an opinion on everything and it's usually about how Frank and I are wrong about basically everything that comes out of our mouths. He's lazy...he doesn't have enough time to do "The things that he wants to" so how can we expect him to actually do chores?
He's rude...last night he told Frank that he wasn't going to speak to him anymore because all Frank does is turn stuff in to an argument! And you know what? He didn't speak to for the rest of the night! Are you kidding me???
Mornings are a nightmare because he doesn't want to get up. When he comes home from school and I ask him to call me at work to let me know that he's home, he claims that he's too tired to talk to anyone and doesn't want to call. And I thought he was going to be the easy child....
I think that for a long time I thought that parenting meant having babies, raising them through the toddler years and school years, the teenage years and then once they graduated high school, things would change. But you know what? They don't! You never stop being a parent. Now, I realize that Nick is only 19 and we still have a long life ahead of us but recently he's got me thinking about my role, my JOB as a parent and while being a new parent to a baby was terrifying and hard, being the parent to an "adult" child is even worse.
I moved out when I was 19. Actually, my mom and I had been living with my grandmother and my mom had moved out some time before and moved in with her then-fiance. My dad was remarried and lived about 20 miles away with his new family. I moved out and rented a room in a friend's house so that I could have some freedom. My parents never really knew my friends. They didn't meet most of the guys I dated and they certainly had no idea what I was doing in the wee-hours of the morning. Thank GOD!
Nick and I are very close; we always have been. Because we homeschooled, I was very involved in his life, with his friends...I knew just about everyone that he knew and my friends all know him. He works right here in town - essentially, there are no secrets. He's moved out but he is two miles up the road. And I still know WAY more than I want to know. He is a much better, much more morals-minded person than I was at 19. I don't worry about him being wild in "that" way. There are other aspects of his life, his behavior that I do worry about. There are issues that have come about recently that I am struggling with and no matter how many times I have expressed my concern and my discouragement with him, it has fallen on deaf ears.
I often think that my parents had it easier being too involved in their own lives to take much notice of mine. It's hard to remember that we need to love our children unconditionally when they are being somewhat unlovable. It's hard to be supportive of the choices that they make when they are blatantly wrong. I would give anything to go back to those baby years and walk the floors with a colicky baby than have to deal with this stuff now...
Life is confusing. Or maybe I should say that the media confuses my life.
Forty is fabulous! Life begins at 40! Forty is the new 30! I mean on and on and on it goes until you slam in to a brick wall of all of the reasons it is NOT fabulous to be forty. I had to a do a little video thing yesterday that I am submitting as part of my cheerleading duties and in the spirit of cheerleading, I did a split. Now, mind you, I had been stretching out for DAYS and honestly, I can still do one.
Yesterday? Not so much. So I did it, got it on video, it was funny but really, the effects of it linger today still. I'm walking a little slower, my friends.
Then, last week, I had some eye issues. I put in a fresh pair of contacts and my right eye went crazy. I fought the whole not wearing the contacts for another day and then left them out for four days. Put them back in yesterday and BAM! Massive amounts of pain. So I go to the eye doctor and, get this, there is a patch on my eye where the epithelial layer of my cornea is GONE. WHAT IS THAT???? I mean, the doctor wasn't overly concerned and in normal people, it grows back in 1-3 days.
So now I'm on prescription eye drops ($100 eye drops that Medicaid won't pay for!) and some other drops and have to go back to see if my old, spazzy eye is attempting to heal!
Okay, so I competed in National Novel Writing Month for the first time two years ago and although there were no real prizes for completing it, it felt good to me to know that I could accomplish something so huge as writing 50,000 words in a month. What the site did give out, however, was a coupon code to get a free copy of my book - as an actual book!
Pretty exciting, right?
I am not a techy person at all. I know just enough to get by. In order to get said book, you had to convert files to PDF and then format them and on and on and on it went until I just about pulled my hair out of my head and said forget it. Plus, the coupon expired. The next time I did it, I forgot to validate my work so although I actually DID write the 50,000 words, it didn't count because I forgot to hit that last little button in time. Stupid, stupid, stupid.
In my in-box about a month ago came another code for a free book, this time through Amazon from when I competed in the Breakthrough Novel Award contest. So I sat myself down and MADE myself figure out the whole formatting thing and you know what? I did it! It was a ginormous pain in the butt but I did it. I edited, I designed a cover and I formatted and I submitted. And I got my book in the mail!
And it is FULL of mistakes! This is why writers don't like to self-publish, I'm thinking. I have spent close to a week reading and re-reading and marking up my proof copy of my book and now I have to sit down with the book AND my computer to fix all of the mistakes. And they are stupid mistakes - spacing problems mostly - but they still need to be fixed. It will be VERY time consuming but at least now I know I can do it.
I'm still not sure how I feel about the whole thing. I mean, I love having a book in my hands with MY name on it but it is really expensive if I actually want to get copies made for selling. Has anyone out there done this that would be willing to give advice? How about publishing on Kindle? How does that work?
So it's been a while since I've mentioned them but Frank's band is actually starting to DO things! It's kind of exciting. They played at some big outdoor festival last week and later on this month they are playing at some club in Raleigh.
They have a fan page on Facebook and have a profile on ReverbNation. When you go on to the Reverbnation site, you can actually listen to clips of their music. How cool is that? They are also listed as the number 103 band in Raleigh. We're still not sure how all that works since they JUST started doing things but I think they started at number 175 and now they're number 103. Not too shabby!
So here's the official band photo:
So go and listen to them on Reverbnation...Like them on Facebook and become a fan - they are just four guys trying to live the dream!
Okay, so you may remember a couple of weeks back when I posted the cartoon cheerleader picture of me because I am one of New York Times Best Selling Author Susan Mallery's cheerleaders for her new book series coming out... If you have NOT read "Only Mine" yet, please, please, please do! It's a great book that's part of a great series.
So as part of Susan's cheerleading squad, I have been cartooned yet again...
Oh, to still be that flexible! I remember the time well... Okay, back to reality... and then after my solo pic, I became part of the official squad photo...
How fun are we??
For more information on Susan Mallery and her Fool's Gold Series, go to her website at SusanMallery.com or go to the Fool's Gold website.
Lately, I sooooo feel like a hamster on the wheel - constantly on the run but not getting anywhere. Do you ever feel that way? I have been working and writing and leaving my comfort zone in so many ways and a lot of it has just let to various forms of rejection. It's been so long since I've written here, it seems, that I can't remember what I've shared.
So, I got a rejection from Harlequin. I had a feeling it was coming but the rejection letter itself annoyed be because the editor was like "blah, blah, blah, and this didn't make sense". Well it WOULD have if you READ THE ENTIRE BOOK! I mean, how many people know EXACTLY how something is going to end by only reading the first three chapters? As an avid reader, I can honestly say that many books leave be uninterested in the beginning or confused but come together the longer I read and finish them. Sounds simple, right?
Then I decided to go for another dream - being a Disney travel agent. Anyone who knows me KNOWS that I know my Disney. So I did this extensive on-line application where I essentially had to answer 20 questions - and all answers were paragraphs! And you know what I was told? I don't have ENOUGH Disney knowledge? Really? They aren't even affiliated directly with Disney - they were an independent company who does this. It seems since my main area of expertise was only on Disney WORLD, I wasn't a good fit for them. Rejection number two.
My online class that I was taking for me on Synopsis writing has found me hitting a brick wall yet again. Honestly, I don't know what it is about me and the synopsis process but I can write all flippin day long and love every word I write but tell me to write that stupid synopsis and suddenly there is not a word in my head. So I emailed the teacher to tell her of my struggles - because the class is coming to an end and I can't seem to finish because I am paralyzed with fear over the writing process - and she essentially told me to get over myself. Thank you.
So I'm frustrated...annoyed...and all that. There is still SOOOO much stuff going on here and I am craving the days of a boring routine. Be careful what you wish for, right?
Your gentle face and patient smile with sadness we recall, you had a kindly word for each and died beloved by all. The voice is mute and stilled the heart that loved us well and true, ah, bitter was the trail to depart from one so good as you.
You are not forgotten loved one nor will you ever be as long as life and memory last we will remember thee. We miss you now. Our hearts are sore. As time goes by we miss you more, your loving smile, your gentle face. no one can fill your vacant place.
Grandma & Nick
"A hundred years from now it will not matter what my bank account was, the sort of house I lived in, or the kind of car I drove.... but the world may be different because I was important in the life of a child."
I am a 40 year old mother of two who is still trying to figure out what I want to be when I grow up! I am a wanna-be author, a homeschool mom, wife, and all around mom-on-the-go who does her best to avoid her crazy, extended family!