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Thursday, December 29, 2011

New Year's Dilemma...

Okay, okay, I know, opposites attract.  I get it.  For years Frank and I have marveled at the fact that we are so opposite and yet things just work.  

Until now.

So I made the mistake of asking what we were going to do for New Year's.  Keep in mind that for the most part, we are home-bodies on New Year's.  We never got the babysitter and went out; if we went anywhere, the kids came with us.  It's always worked and when we weren't out somewhere (which, in itself was rare) we were home and made a nice little party just for us with all of our favorite snacks.

Anyway, one of the first options was to see what the band was doing.  I think we were both hoping for just a small get-together with JUST the band and our families.  That is not going to work out.  In fact, one of the guys already has a big shindig planned and extended the invite to all of us but to be honest...that is so NOT going to happen.  

I have issues.  HUGE issues.  I have good reasons for these issues and because of them, in the past, it was decided that we NOT go to one of these shindigs ever again for the sake of our marriage.  It was bad.  This led to a discussion of what we could do, what we should do, blah, blah, blah.  I am not one of those people that feels that we need to be joined at the hip all night on New Year's.  If he wants to go and hang out with his friends for a little while and I go and hang out with my friends for a little while and then we are home together at midnight, I am A-OK with that.  

He is not.

It's hard to make compromises in situations like this.  We have each bitten the bullet and gone to a social function where we were uncomfortable and I think we are finally at the point where we can comfortably say to one another "You know what?  I'm not going to do that anymore."  It sounds cold, I know, but there it is.  I don't want him to be uncomfortable and while I know he doesn't (STILL) understand my discomfort, he begrudgingly accepts my discomfort and doesn't want any issues that will cause harm to our marriage arise again.

So where does it leave us for New Year's?  I still don't know.  I hate to see him miss out on something where all of his friends are, but not enough that I am willing to subject myself to things that I find repulsive and behavior that I am against.  Not anymore.

If I could, I would gladly just stand firm and sing "Should old acquaintance be forgot..."

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

I Want to Finish 2011 Strong!!!

Okay, I'm not going to lie to you, I really had some very unrealistic dreams of what my book sales would be.  To say that I fell short of them would be a severe understatement.  So what I want to do is to just remind all of you, my faithful readers - who just might have gotten an e-Reader for Christmas - that my book "Jordan's Return" is available on Kindle and Nook along with other formats on Smashwords and then, of course, in paperback on Amazon.  Here are all of the links:
 
Kindle

Nook

Smashwords

Amazon.com

I would LOVE LOVE LOVE to see some sale action this week like I did in that first week of release so if you got a new eReader or know someone who did who is looking for something to read, "Jordan's Return" is a good place to start and it's still only $1.99!!

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Christmas Round Up

It goes by way too fast!  For all of the plotting, planning and preparations, Christmas, itself, comes and goes too fast.  All of the shopping and wrapping and whatnot all comes to a head in a frenzy of flying wrapping paper and within 30 minutes, three months of work is done.

Crazy.

We had a wonderfully relaxing Christmas Eve with a quiet dinner for just the four of us.  Then we opened our doors for our annual Christmas Eve dessert open house.  In years past we've had over 30 people come by and say hello and this year we had 20.  I realize it's an open house but it would have been nice if those that weren't planning on coming could have at least replied to my email reminder to let me know that they weren't.  Bad manners, people.  I now have enough dessert to feed all 20 people again two more times!  Luckily we have some friends coming from out of town tomorrow that I can share some of the sweets with.

Christmas Day found me and Frank up before the boys.  That's two years in a row that that's happened!  Actually, funny story here, when I went to bed the night before, Frank was sitting on the couch watching some TV; it was after midnight and the bike my mom had got for Michael still had to be put together.  I reminded him of that fact and he was like "I'm just going to watch a little TV and then I'm going to do that".  I woke up somewhere around 2:30 and found him sound asleep on the couch and no bike in sight!  So I woke him up and out he went to put it together.  THAT is dedication!

Presents were opened, pictures were taken and honestly, I spent the rest of the day in my jammies and loved every moment of it.  The boys fought at one point, then Frank and Michael fought and then I got annoyed and yelled at everyone...ah, Christmas...

I hope that all of you had wonderful Christmas' and spent time with people that you love because really, that's what it's all about.  It's not the presents and the shopping and the money, it's about the birth of a Savior who loved us and passing that love along to those around us.

Even the ones who DON'T RSVP when they should...

Monday, December 12, 2011

A Tale of Two Soldiers...Part Three

They are two young men who never met and yet they keep coming together in my life without knowing it.  Back in July I had written two posts on them; one was killed in action and the other had just won the right to join the Marines.  

This weekend, I was on Facebook on Saturday and saw this picture:

And it was Saturday night when I got to talk on the phone to my nephew as he was preparing to leave for boot camp.  I've been encouraging my sister for months that this is a GOOD thing, that this is an amazing accomplishment for her son.  He overcame cancer, he beat the odds and instead of hitting the easy button, he chose to join the Marines!  She should be proud!  She should be happy!  I have to admit that now that the time is here, I'm having a hard time being upbeat.  

I'm just the aunt/godmother and I don't see him hardly ever but I miss him already.  Boot camp is not an easy thing and even though he has battled cancer and it was horrible, this battle is something completely different.  I could not love him anymore if he were my own and I hate to think about all that he is going to endure over the next three months.

The bottom line, though, my own personal misery aside, is that there are two mothers that won't have their sons with them for Christmas.  For one, there will be phone calls and Skype and eventually, they will have their Christmas's together again, for the other, she will never have that.  My heart breaks for both of them.  

It isn't just the individual who is in the military, it is their family as well.  I have so many friends who have children serving in branches of the military all over the world and I never understood even part of what they go through until recently.  I pray for my boy's safety.  I pray that he perseveres and finishes well and that it is all that he wants it to be.

I pray for all of the mom's out there with children serving...you are the bravest of them all.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

A Boy and His Frog...

We went to see The Muppets this weekend - just me and my boys.  Nick has always had a "thing" for Kermit the Frog and so when this photo of Kermit was in the background of one of the scenes, we both laughed because of the similar one we have of Nick.  

 



Saturday, December 10, 2011

Backpain, blogging and books...

It's been a rough week for me around here.  That's why I haven't posted in a few days.  Last week I did something to my neck and shoulder and I have been in chronic pain ever since.  Finally on Thursday a dear friend who is also a physical therapist took pity on me and came over to help me out.

I'm sorer than I was before.

Honestly, it felt GREAT when she was doing all of the massaging and stretching but the next morning I felt like I had been hit by a mack truck.  I'm not sleeping well and I'm really starting to get rather crabby about the whole thing.  Although I have to admit, the soreness is different than it was before; like this soreness I can live with whereas before I would just cry from the pain.

I want to thank those of you who have sent suggestions on how to get started with a blog tour.  I am looking at a couple of different options and I think that by January, I should be good to go.  I honestly need a week-long writer's retreat to get it all done but that is CLEARLY not going to happen.  Although, this coming week we were supposed to be in Florida visiting my in-laws and we had to cancel due to finances.  I already had gotten approved for the time off at work so technically I could have had the week off but again, due to finances, I really need to be at work.

Bummer.

Book sales have slowed a bit and that kind of makes me sad.  I know, though, that I am largely responsible since I haven't been doing a whole lot of promo stuff for it due to back pain and misery and a busy schedule.  We went and had dessert with some dear friends last night and we were discussing the whole book thing and I was saying how it's been interesting how the response has been to the book in general.  For example, some really good friends have not bought it.  They've not congratulated me, they've not offered to buy the book, nothing.  Then there are people that I know who I wouldn't have expected to get excited about the whole thing who have gone wild over it.  It's bizarre to say the least!

So here I sit, in pain, looking forward to a weekend where I can actually accomplish something and achieve some books sales, too.  Wish me luck!

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Anyone know how to organize a blog tour?

So in my attempt to become a "known" author, I have to get my name and book out there to the masses.  Merely having it for sale on Amazon, Kindle and Nook is not enough; I have to market it.

I have talked to several other self-published authors like myself and they recommended doing a blog tour.  Not wanting to push my luck or annoy them with my constant questioning, I did not ask how they got theirs going.  Probably not my smartest moment but there it is.  

From what I understand the premise is that my book and me are the topic of a blog post on a different blog every day of the month for a month.  That means that I have to come up with 30 blogs (that actually get decent visits/traffic) who would be willing to help me with this.  It means sending out 30 PDF copies of my book for free for review, it means really opening myself up for critique.

I had researched a couple of book review sites and they were all backlogged until in to the new year.  It's not that it's SO far away, but I'm not even sure how to approach them about doing it.  There is still a bit of a stigma about being self-published.  What I thought was a good thing, isn't embraced quite so much yet.  And speaking of that, I have been a little shocked and disheartened by people that I know and am close to, who share that sentiment.  I'm not a real author; it's not a real book.  For the sake of protecting the insensitive, I won't expand on it but suffice it to say, it hurt.  I worked for years on this book and it took a lot of courage to step out of my comfort zone and do this.  I may not be on TV or be in the newspapers but I'm still somebody who is following my dream.

But enough self-pity; anyone out there know how to get a blog tour started that would be willing to help me get started?

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Great Birthday Weekend!

You know, I never would have guessed it but turning 43 has been pretty darn good.  I have had a great weekend and even as it is winding down, I'm still feeling really good about it.

So I went to breakfast with a friend Friday morning and sat and talked and laughed until it was time to head to work.  And other than the very YOUNG cashier guessing an age that was a little too close for comfort, I had a great time.  Thank you, Cathleen!

Once I got to work, my desk was covered in all of my favorite vices - chocolate and Coca Cola!  There was Dove Dark Chocolate, two six packs of bottled Coke, Mint Milano cookies (bless you, Fran!) and an adorable Mickey Mouse Christmas sign and the biggest treat was a gift certificate to go and get a pedicure!  Thank you, my sunshine!  You know who you are!  There was a double chocolate cake and everyone sang and it was just a wonderful time that it was all okay to be at work!  LOVE my office!

Got home and Frank and the boys got me Chinese food (which I ate in my jammies!) and another chocolate cake and we just hung out and watched TV and laughed.  It was wonderful.

Saturday night was the company Christmas party which was just fabulous.  I don't think that I've ever gone to an official company Christmas party like it before and I was pleasantly surprised.  We had a lovely room at the local country club and the food was fabulous and we all laughed and had a great time.  I got to dress up and even though Frank fussed, he got dressed up, too, so we had a really nice date night.


Sunday isn't so great...Michael isn't feeling well and I had to go and do the cleaning gig but it's still all good.  I had some dear friends buy my book and so that makes me happy and appreciative of the support. You guys ROCK (and again, you know who you are!).


So I might now have been in Disney World, but it was a pretty magical weekend just the same!  Thank you for all of the birthday wishes!

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Websites, worries and wonders...

So I was blessed this last weekend.  Actually, I am blessed on an everyday basis but this was an extra blessing.  We had some friends come over Saturday night with their family and the husband designs websites.  He graciously agreed to design websites for both me (my alter-ego) and for Frank's business.

For six hours (yes, six hours!) they were here and he worked on my site from getting my domain name and then actually designing the site.  Let me tell you, I thought I did okay with my little blogs, but clearly, I am but a wee-novice!  I have always used Blogger and am very comfortable with it, but as a tech-guy, he set up my new site in WordPress.  So far, I am NOT a fan.  Once all of the design aspect is done, he will hand the reigns over to me and I will maintain the site but for right now, I am just playing around in it because it doesn't feel natural to me.

I've heard the debates before - Blogger vs. WordPress - and I guess it's all a matter of what you are comfortable with.  I have relatively few complaints with Blogger.  Over the years there have been issues but they were minimal.  In the few hours I was on WordPress yesterday, at times I wanted to kill myself.  Okay, maybe that was a bit dramatic but it felt like that.

In the end, I have a sparkly new website for the book and it's wonderful and just a little bit "spicy" (thank you, Danette, for introducing me to that word - I love it!).  The goal continues to be to sell books and I'm hoping having a professional looking website will help in that matter.

If you are interested, you can see all of the magic for yourself over at www.samanthachaseauthor.com.  Let me know what you think!

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

This is Exhausting!

The life of a poor, unagented author is rather exhausting.  Besides working my three other jobs, I can now add author to the mix and marketing the book takes up a decent amount of time and it would probably take up a lot more if I actually HAD the time to give to doing it.

I was fortunate that I had the opportunity to work with New York Times Bestselling Author Susan Mallery this year on marketing and promoting her books so I was mentally prepared for the kind of stuff that I would need to do but the only difference here is that everyone knew her and wanted to promote her; the places and websites that I am hitting have no idea who I am and a lot of them don't want to deal with self-published authors.  Kind of discriminatory but whatever.

I have posted the book on close to a dozen different sites and now it's a matter of getting those sites to have members read it and review it.  I believe it is KEY to get reviews and ratings up to generate interest.  

I sold 24 books my first week and I think that's pretty good.  My goal was to sell 50 by this Friday because that's my birthday but I'm not so sure that's going to happen.  I'm keeping logs of my sales and where it's selling the best (Kindle) and I've had a lot of positive feedback from people who have read it.  That's a good thing, too.  I think I am most interested in getting feedback from people that I don't know. I'm scared of it, don't get me wrong, but I think I can learn a lot from those people on where I need to work on my work.

I need another 4 hours in the day; I need work for my husband so that I don't have to work 6 days a week.  I need a personal assistant to do all of this promotional stuff for me and just present me with great results at the end of each week.

That's not too much to ask, is it?

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Okay, BIG favor to ask...

Okay, it is now officially, official.  That makes sense, right?  Anyway, my book (which I worked YEARS on) is now out in paperback!!  YEAH!!!  That's right, "Jordan's Return" is now available in paperback on Amazon.com.

So what is the favor that I need to ask??  Well, for starters, you can buy it!  That's a biggie, I know, but believe me, it's a good book for those of you who enjoy a good contemporary romance and since it is the holidays, think of those on your list who also enjoy a good contemporary romance. 

But really, what I want right now almost as much as the sales is to generate action on the Amazon page.  So if you go to the book's page HERE, and click on like or even write a generic review (you do need to have an Amazon account), that would be awesome!!!  My goal is to sell 43 books by December 2nd.  Why?  Because that is my 43rd birthday.  I've already sold 20 eBooks in less than a week is awesome so I'm hopping that selling two dozen paperbacks will be a bit easier and, I think, more excting.

So help a first-time author out!  Please!!!  I have great friends and followers here.  Let me know if you order!  Thanks!!!

Friday, November 25, 2011

How Walmart Ruined Black Friday

I have to admit, I am one of those crazy people who go out shopping on Black Friday.  As the kids have gotten older, there has been less on their list that were hard to find or big on the "must have" list, but I enjoy going out and hunting down a bargain.

Part of the fun was going out in the wee hours of the morning, meeting up with friends and hitting Walmart first, at 5 a.m., then Target at around 7 a.m. and then the mall.  Well this year, Walmart decided that they were going to be open all day and night on Thanksgiving so that there would be no waiting outside in a line (or mob) and sales would start at 10 pm on Thanksgiving night.  Okay, fine, I'm on board.  I have to work today so going out shopping at night seemed like a good idea.

It so was NOT.

I arrived at the Walmart at around 9:20 pm.  I was parked at the very back of the lot.  Not a good sign.  When I got to the door, there were no carts.  I searched around inside near customer service and finally found one.  My main goal was a bike.  So, back I go to the bike department.  It took me 20 minutes to get from the front of the store to the back.  Once there, I looked for the bike that was on sale, and it was not there.  Okay, fine, I was mentally prepared for that.  It was 9:50 and so I decided to go and position myself for some of the other minor items I wanted and let me tell you, I have never in my life seen a mob scene like I witnessed at that time.  For whatever reason, people started tearing down the black plastic that was wrapped around the "sale" items - it wasn't supposed to happen until 10.  Employees just stood back and watched because the mentality of the crowd was insane.

It took my 45 minutes to reach the front of the store!  

I did eventually find the bike - in the PRODUCE department!  I was fortunate to find two gentleman (shoppers, not employees!) who helped me get the large box in to my cart.  I went directly to check out because there was no way I would be able to continue shopping like that.  I paid and walked out, walking passed about a dozen Walmart MALE employees who saw me walking out alone with this giant box, and not one of them offered to help me!  At my car I was struggling to get the darn thing in when a fellow lone female shopper came and helped me.  Thank GOD!  

Then stupidly I went BACK inside to attempt to get a few other items.  I spent another hour there, got four things, and then headed over to Target.  And let me just say that other stores (ie - Walmart) should learn from Target.  They did not open their doors until midnight.  There was a line that wrapped around the building.  They only opened doors on one side of the store and the entire story front was barricaded.  You had to be on the line to get in, and they let people in in 30 people increments to keep it from being a mob scene.  There were security and police on hand to keep everyone in control.  The store was set up NORMALLY with a few random "special item" displays set up in other departments.  I bought a LOT there.

I was home by 1:30 a.m. and in bed by two.  

I think that opening the stores at midnight (or before) is a horrible idea.  It was insanity.  It's not fair to the employees.  And mostly, it just makes people mean.  This will be my last Black Friday endeavor.  It's just too much of a hassle.  I think that had Walmart not said that they were opening early, most of the other stores would have kept to their 5 a.m. schedule.  

Greed is not a good thing, Walmart, and for all of my own stupidity, the experience was totally not worth it.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

And yet more places to find it...

Okay, so I promise to calm down in a few more days but really, I'm new to all of this and each and every thing that happens is exciting!

So I am in full-blown promo mode, getting my "brand" out.  Brace yourselves. You can now find author Samantha Chase and "Jordan's Return" in the following places:

Twitter (and I'd love some followers!) - HERE
Kindle (go and click "like") - HERE
Nook (would love some ratings!) - HERE
Smashwords (this one's new to me) - HERE
Goodreads (thank you, Dot!)  - HERE
Facebook (follow or like me!) - HERE
Amazon Authors - HERE
And finally, the Blog (Samantha Chase author) - HERE

So as  you can see, I've been busy.  How I'm going to keep up with all of this, is beyond me.  If I make enough sales, I can hire someone to keep up with it all for me!

CRAZY and LOVING IT!!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

And now we are LIVE on NOOK!!

Okay, I have to admit, I am having WAY too much fun with this!  I want to stay home from work and just search the internet all day long and get the word out that I have published a book!  

So for those of you who are Nook people and not Kindle people, "Jordan's Return" is now available through Barnes & Noble's Nook.  You can click HERE to go to the page and purchase it.  Please do.  Please, please, do.  It's only $1.99 and you would be helping me fulfill my dream!  

Plus, while you are there, please click "Like" to help me generate some action on the page.  THANK YOU!!

Monday, November 21, 2011

And we are LIVE on KINDLE!!!

Oh, my goodness!  This is so exciting that I can barely stand it!  My book went LIVE on KINDLE this morning!  I mean, there it is, clear as day, on Amazon's site!  I feel a little bit sick, but in a good way!  I am hoping that the paperback will be out there on Amazon by Friday.

But for those of you who are interested, here is the link to Jordan's Return on Kindle.  It's only $1.99!  I'll have it up on Barnes and Noble by tomorrow for those of you with a Nook!

Have a great day!  I know I am going to!!

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Here's What it's Gonna Look Like...

Okay, here is your "Sneak Peak" at my book!  EEK!!!  This is such a bizarre feeling!!!  I have submitted everything to CreateSpace and as soon as everything is approved, we will be live on Amazon, Kindle, Nook and hopefully, eventually on iTunes bookstore!

Saturday, November 19, 2011

This is Why I Look Ten Years Older...

In case I haven't mentioned it, my young son has slight OCD.  It comes out in weird ways and we've managed to work through the worst of it but sometimes his thought process is a little bit out there.

This is the first year that we've had him take the bus TO school.  We felt that he was older and could handle the whole thing and to be honest, I was just tired of the whole carpool thing each morning.  So, we got in to the routine of taking the bus.  It was touch and go for a little while mainly because the bus was not consistent in its pick up times.  For a little boy with OCD, this was HUGE.  We managed to convince him to STOP going out 20 minutes early and I studied its arrival time for a month straight and narrowed it down to a two-minute time span.  

Not too shabby.

So the other morning, he leaves for the bus.  It was still 9 minutes early but I call that progress.  He leaves, he shuts the door.  I then walk over to the door and open it up so that I can see when the bus goes by.  Now this is a huge step for me because for that first month of school, I would almost stalk him in the bushes while making sure that he made it to the bus stop okay (it's two blocks away and cannot be seen from the house) and got on the bus.  

Three minutes after he left, I see him running like an axe murderer is chasing him - in the OPPOSITE direction of the bus stop.  Now keep in mind, I'm in my nightgown and robe - no shoes or socks - and now I am on the front porch yelling "Where are you going???"  to which he replies "I can't talk now, mom!  The bus!"  I know for a FACT that the bus has NOT come and I'm screaming now for him to come back.  He doesn't.  In fact, he crosses the main road next to our house and is running down the other side of the block.

I am freaking out at this point.  

I run in the house, get Frank, who then gets dressed, gets in the car and goes in search of the boy.  I text a friend whose kids ride the bus with Michael and ask if Michael is at her bus stop.  Then I call the transportation department and ask them to please get the driver on the phone and see if Michael is on the bus.  

The driver won't answer.

Frank comes home like all is well.  He's sitting in the car, finishing his cigarette, rolling up the window, turning down the radio and I am on the porch ready to peel my own skin off because I want to know where my son is.  Turns out, Frank never found him.  So I'm like "GET BACK IN THE CAR AND DON'T COME BACK UNTIL YOU KNOW WHERE HE IS!!"  

He leaves.

My friend texts and then calls because she didn't go to the bus stop with her kids.  Now I hang up and call the school.  I am in tears right now because I have no idea if someone picked him up, is he on a school bus or did some freak take him.  My mind was running wild.  I tell the lady at the school to have him call home as soon as he gets to homeroom.  Now I have no choice but to sit and wait.  

I was sick to my stomach. 

Finally, the transportation department called and Michael was, indeed, on the bus.  PRAISE GOD!  I was able to relax and breathe a little easier but I felt like I had gone ten rounds in a boxing ring!  I went to take a shower and Frank was home and the phone rings.  It's Michael.  Frank lost it.  He held it together for me all that time (the whole thing lasted 20 minutes but it felt like an eternity) and when he heard Michael's voice he was like "What were you thinking!  You don't run after the bus, the bus comes to you!"

Honestly, we were both torn between wringing his neck and hugging him.  It's not a feeling I ever want to feel again!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

When does it get nervy?

Facebook is an amazing thing.  I love catching up or keeping up with friends and family, I enjoy playing games and I really like keeping up with favorite authors or musicians in a more personal environment.  

What I don't like is people that seemingly have an "agenda" that they use Facebook for.  I had one friend who was EXTREMELY political and most of his posts were just nonsense rants.  I'm still his friend, I just block his posts.  when I'm curious about what's going on in his life, I can drop by his page and find out.  

Tonight, however, I noticed something that really kind of enraged me.  An acquaintance is posting how many friends she has and currently she is trying to adopt internationally.  Her original post was her asking for $20 from each of her friends so that she can book her flight and bring her babies home.  Then she lowered it (quite a bit to $2 per FB friend).

Don't get me wrong, I do not begrudge someone that is looking to adopt children; if that's what they want to do, more power to them.  But while we were nearing eviction and were putting out prayer requests, not ONCE did we blatantly ASK for money.  That just seems a little crude.  I mean, maybe I'm the one who's looking at this the wrong way but what would it sound like if my status read "I have 684 friends on Facebook, if each of you hired Frank to paint a room in your house, I wouldn't have to work three jobs...or then Frank and I could get out of the hole that 6 months of him not working has created".

That would sound heinous and nervy, wouldn't it???

 

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Remember when Customer Service actually MEANT something??

I have not made it a secret how much I despise Time Warner and their services.  Unfortunately, the price is right for our bundle but here is a time where the ol' adage is true - you get what you pay for.  

I have their "bundle" of service - home phone, cable and internet for one low price.  The internet is the slowest speed they have and still be called "digital or high speed", the cable package is essentially the same 100 channels that I had before except now they are repeated three times and one of them is in hi-def and the rest of the channels just mock me with their "Upgrade now to see this" screen.

My biggest problem that I am having with them is their email.  This is quite possibly the WORST email system ever created and believe me, I've dealt with bad email service before.  I switched to TWC because they had a good reputation, big name, blah, blah, blah.  So the email issue, just keeps getting worse.  First, there is the issue that at 8:00 EVERY night, I cannot get in to my email account.  By 9 pm I'm usually okay, but what in the world is that?  I am paying for service 24 hours a day and essentially, I am not getting it.


Then there's the "sending an email" issue.  I type up and email, I hit send, all seems well and then, some time later, that email shows up in my draft file.  I don't know about you but I don't sit in front of my computer with it open to email 24 hours a day.  Most of the time I send something out - sometimes a very important something out with the expectation that it will get there.  Last week, I ended up missing something important (like a teacher conference) because I could not get to my email and because my response didn't send.  What am I supposed to do about that?


I have done the "Live Chat" thing about a dozen times with a TWC rep in the last three months and each time, my issue has not been resolved, I have not gotten a copy of our transcript and this last time I was so out and out aggravated with the guy that I cut the session short.  I had explained all of my issues and he asked what browser I used, I said Firefox, he said "Go in to IE and do it."  Now, I don't know about most of you but I do not have multiple browsers set up and I use Firefox for a reason.  Seeing this email in IE wasn't going to help me because I was not going to use it.  Tell me why it isn't working with Firefox!  Is there a known issue?  Have other customers had similar complaints?

Then he asks what security I have on the computer.  I tell him and he says "Shut it down so I can test".  Um, I'm sorry, but no.  Again, this is the security system that I use.  Does TWC have a known issue with it?  I am not going to change my security system so why do I need to shut it off for you to do a test?  



I'm telling you, I was livid.  I cannot get a customer service person to actually GIVE any customer service and I am to the point that I want to cancel my home phone (even though I love it, believe it or not), cancel the cable (TV nowadays is like the black hole of time) and just find some sort of bargain basement internet provider because basically, I'm getting crap service now, how much worse can they be?


All I want, is an answer as to why this is happening?  If you cannot answer that, then don't work in customer service.  That's all I'm sayin...

Sunday, November 13, 2011

And then my hands stayed like that...

Okay, here's a writing update...

Last weekend on my writing retreat, I wrote non-stop.  I went in to the weekend at 11,000 words and by the time I got home Sunday afternoon, I was at 38,000 words.  By Monday night, I hit my 50,000 word goal.  Actually NaNoWriMo is thirty days to 50,000 words but I was in such a groove that I wanted to hit that goal early on in the month.

Then I had the last three chapters of my book to finish editing thanks to my critique partner and then had to re-format the file and submit it again to Create Space and order my proof copy.

I had to then edit three chapters for my critique partner's book and get that back to her and correct 8 assignments from the online dialogue class that I am teaching PLUS critique/correct a research paper that one of my former students sent to me and asked for help on.  My fingers feel like they are both super-glued to a keyboard and permanently bent to the "home row" position.  

This week I need to come up with four Disney-related blog posts to submit to a site that I've been working with, while writing and editing and teaching, and cleaning and working my job.

Can we all say hand cramp?

 

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Riddle Me This...

So Michael brought home his progress reports last week.  One from each class.  Now I know that I am not very good with math (I admit it, Cathleen!) but this makes NO sense to me whatsoever!

These are his scores in one of his classes:
100
93
98
0
88


He has a 95.5 on his project 
but a 47 on his classwork


His average in class?  A 62.9%.  Which, using the STUPID 7 point scale, means that he is failing this class!  


So to answer the question plaguing us all, no, I am NOT smarter than a fifth grader (or in this case, a sixth grader).

Friday, November 11, 2011

I hear bicycles are making a comeback...

So Nick's car died; it's in the shop being worked on but he has been without it for two weeks.  With my work schedule, my car basically just sits in the parking lot not doing a whole lot of anything and so it really made sense to let the boy borrow the car while I was at work so that he could get things done.

What kind of things, you ask?  Well, let me give you a little backstory.  He has had a job at a local supermarket for about three years.  They suck.  They jerk him around, they don't give him a steady schedule and basically, he cannot support himself on that job.  So a friend of mine heard of a temp position at her company (a nursing home) that was a three-month thing.  It was a 40 hour work week at $10 an hour.  Score!  He went, he applied, he got the job and took a leave of absense from the supermarket thing.

Well, after a couple of weeks at the nursing home, they were telling him how much they loved him, how great of a job he was doing and that when the three month gig was over, he had a job if he wanted it.  He was totally psyched.  He was making more money than he ever had, he bought himself a laptop, he was living large.


(insert doom-inspired music here)


So two weeks ago, they offer him a legit job.  They let the person go who he was covering for and offered him the job.  He was thrilled.  No more supermarket, no more struggling, he was going to make some serious money and not have to rely on anyone for anything.  Well, two days later they call him in to the office and were like "Um...we need someone with more experience.  We're going to hire someone else BUT if you want to work in the dining room, you can talk to that department.  It's half the hours and $2 an hour less but hey...you'll still be working for us."


There is a certain corner of hell reserved for people like this.


So his car dies, he's looking at almost $2000 in car repairs (yes, it's mostly the whole engine) and he goes in to work on that Monday and at 3:30 they tell him they hired someone and his services are no longer needed.  Bye-bye.  Freaking out, he goes to the dining people and they're like "Oh, we didn't know you were going to be available so quick; we offered the job to someone else."


So to recap, he's got no car and now he has no job.


Then there's me and my car.  Now remember, I taught the boy how to drive.  I'm a fairly good driver.  He is a very cautious driver (now) but there is still something to be said about giving the child who drove through red lights and stop signs because, hey, nothing happened when he did, that makes me want to cringe just a little bit.


If his car isn't fixed soon, I'm buying him a bike and a warm coat and wishing him well...

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Male Pride = Female Rant

So I have a new part-time job.  Lucky, lucky me.  I am now cleaning my office once a week.  Seriously, I'm not complaining because the extra money has most definitely been a blessing and I know that I am lucky to have any job right now.

Part of the reason I took the job was because Frank had been out of work for so long.  When the opportunity presented itself, I grabbed it.  I told Frank, however, that he needed to help.  

Sigh...

He was really not as, shall we say, appreciative of the opportunity and has come along and helped me...kicking and screaming and grumbling and griping the whole way.  

For the most part I can deal with his nonsense and just let it go.  But Friday night when I was trying to get the cleaning done (we normally do it on a Saturday) because I was going on my retreat and did not want to have to come in on the weekend, and so he met me there at five with a MAJOR attitude going on.  Let's just call it "Bitch Factor".  He brought Michael with him and if everyone just did what they were supposed to, it would have been done in 90 minutes. 

Well, Friday's are a completely different beast because there were still people in the office and this equaled (in his brain) a MAJOR problem.  I guess pride-wise, he did not want anyone to witness his doing the office cleaning and although every single person there was super friendly and polite to him, he was just in a mood.

After about an hour I was like "What is your deal?" and yes, I was snippy.  He went in to the whole schpeel about how he doesn't want to do this, he hates the whole cleaning gig, blah, blah, blah, and tops it with "And I worked all day".  So I reminded him that so had I.

BBIIIIIGGGGGG Mistake.

He looked around the office and was like "Yeh, that chair looks like it's real uncomfortable to sit in while in this nice air conditioned office".  Suddenly he's acting like he climbs mountains in the arctic or in the jungle somewhere.  That was it.  The gloves came off and I "reminded" him that I would not have had to TAKE the damn job if HE had gotten off his butt ONCE during the last six months and put in a REAL effort in to finding a job.  I "mentioned" that this cleaning gig will help us to have Christmas this year.  

And yes, those quotation marks do signify sarcasm.

I was so annoyed with him that I almost beat him to death with my Swifter!! 

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

What a difference a second pair of eyes makes...


So I have had a GREAT time with my critique partner.  Her looking over my book has been such a blessing.  She had some great ideas on how to tighten up some things and found some errors that I had missed. 
One of the greatest things that she gave me was confidence.  You know, I had two friends read my book in various stages of completion and because they were my friends, they gave me the “good friend” response when I asked what they thought of it “It was really good!”  But having a stranger read  your work and tell you that they love it??  PRICELESS!!!

She has boosted my confidence like you cannot believe.  The best thing that she said to me was that the book wasn’t long enough because she didn’t want it to end.  She loved my characters and wanted to keep on being a part of their lives.  LOVED that!  

So as of now, with all of the edits complete, I have to re-submit the file to Create Space and read the proof and then we are a GO for publication!!!  YIPPEEE!!!  It should be out on Kindle by Thanksgiving.  How exciting is that???  When that happens, I will put a link to it up here on the blog so that you can go right to it and buy tons of copies so that we can make up for Frank being out of work for months!!!

Remember, it's almost time for Christmas!!!

Monday, November 7, 2011

Running Screaming from the Building!


Sometimes it just seems like by the end of the day, no matter where I am, I feel battered and worn the heck out!  Work has been crazy lately; there just seems to be crisis on top of crisis on top of crisis to the point that when 5:00 hits, I am running from the building!

Then there is the literal need to run from the building because there are a hundred things to get done once I leave the office.  With Nick having no car, he is using mine while I’m at work – and THAT is SOOOO going to be a blog topic in the future, believe me.  But he’s here, pacing, talking, yammering and I feel the need to get him out of the building as quickly as possible.  Then there’s the speech therapist that comes to the house once a week that I have to rush home to, and small group/bible study, and picking up Michael from ping pong club…I mean, I am in a perpetual state of rushing around and it is exhausting.

But I think the most precise moment of running screaming from the building came Friday night when I was trying to get going to my writing retreat.  I had worked 12-5 and then cleaned the office from 5-7 and by that point I was like “Stick a fork in me, I’m done”.  Time seemed to crawl.  As I mopped my way out the door, I was practically coming out of my own skin in my rush to get going.

I long for the days when 5:00 didn’t mean escape.  I long for the days that whenever I get home, I get home.  Slower days, that’s the dream.

Friday, November 4, 2011

The Friday Countdown Is On!!!

It's Friday!  It's Friday!!  It's Friday!!!

Yes, I know, most people feel the same way mainly because it means that the work week is over and the weekend is here but for me, not only is that part true but it also means that I am heading off for my writing retreat this weekend!  I am leaving after dinner tonight and heading back to the little cottage that belongs to some friends and spending the weekend mostly in my jammies and writing until my hands cramp and my eyes explode!

Sounds fun, right?

The timing is great because this has been a particularly harsh week - Nick's car died (blown head) and he lost his job.  I don't know which one of us was on the more severe suicide watch - me or him.  Actually, he is handling the whole situation better than I am and I am so proud of him but it's just added a lot more stress to my life.


I hate that we can't help him out more.  I hate that he is going to have to struggle to get out of this situation but I also know that this will make him stronger.  Me?  It's making me want to go to the cottage and eat chocolate chip muffins and wash them down with Yoo-Hoo's all weekend long!

I'll try and not do that, but I make no promises...

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Channelling Peter Brady...

So I have an eleven year old.  He's adorable.  He's growing like a weed and makes me giggle a lot.  He has the greatest laugh.

His voice is changing.

I am SO...NOT...READY...FOR...THIS.

I didn't notice it so much at first.  There was a squeak here, a gruffness there.  But lately, I'm noticing it more and more and I have to admit that it's freaking me out.  I don't remember how old Nick was when his voice started to change but this whole voice thing added to the ginormous growth spurt he's had and his interest in girls, well...I don't like it.

I want my baby back!!!

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

TODAY'S THE DAY!!!

So today is finally here!  It's November 1st!!  I actually sat down this morning after NOT doing an outline and started the great American NaNoWriMo 2011 Challenge and I already am at almost 1,900 words!!!  Yeah, me!!!  The goal is to write something like 1600 words per day in order to get it all done by November 30th and I plan on writing more tonight so I am totally getting in to the groove.

Come on, fellow writers!  JOIN ME!!!

Monday, October 31, 2011

Happy Halloween, Everyone!

Personally, I am not a fan of Halloween AT ALL but apparently my kids are.  So I struggle to get through it - even all of the candy doesn't thrill me.  I'd gladly buy them giant bags of candy if they'd stay home!  But if this is a holiday that you enjoy, then have fun and enjoy it!
 

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Gearing up for NaNoWriMo!!

It is that time of year again...thirty day, 50,000 words...it is just way too exciting!  That's right, November is National Novel Writing Month or NaNoWriMo and I am totally psyched to get started!!!

I'm not as prepared as I was last year but more prepared than I was the year before.  Does that make sense??  So my plan is to bang out a brief outline of what I want to write about and sort of ease in to it this coming week and then next weekend, when I am at my writing retreat, to just right like a fiend.  Again, so EXCITING!!

The website is up and running, although it is still flipping out with the amount of traffic it is seeing.  I am hoping they get all the bugs out by Tuesday because it's quite annoying when you can't get on the site to do what you want to do.  

My work is untitled, my characters are sketchy at best but I am just so looking forward to just having a goal like this that I just can't even describe it!  You know, it's kind of stupid that I wait for November to do this because really, I can do it on my own at any time - you know, give myself the same goal and then do it but there is something about going to that darn website and getting caught up in all of the frenzy that motivates me.  Crazy, right?

Either way, if you don't see me around here much in November, it's is because I am using all of my words and typing skills to get to the 50,000 word finish line.  Woo-hoo!!

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Watching the end of a life..

So Nick got a job working in a nursing home.  You know, it all seemed like a good idea at the time - more money, more hours, close to home, all of the things that are important when looking for a job.

His first full day on the job was a bit of a shock to him.  First of all, we've not spent a lot of time in nursing homes.  He's only been to one maybe four times and that was down in Florida when we visited my step-mother.  I mean, maybe three hours MAX.  He came for dinner and was like "Did you know...?" and the list of topics was endless.  He had no idea that patients could not, shall we say, "care" for themselves to that degree.  He was not prepared for the fact that many patients wear adult diapers and go in the bed.

The smell was a big obstacle for him to overcome.  He is basically a janitor in charge of the floors and so he is all over the place cleaning.  There is one patient in the Alzheimer's ward who has taken an interest in him.  She's a large, 80 year old woman and she has cornered him in a closet more than once.  He's been called a "dirty Mexican" even though he does not look Hispanic and he has witnessed very sad scenes of loneliness - patients holding dolls and calling them their babies.

He works the third shift and for the first month there, if anyone passed, it happened when he was not there.  Well, the other night he was there and one of the patients asked him if he could please get a nurse and he asked if she was okay and she said "No...I'm dying".  She was very calm, he said, and so he ran and got the nurse and when they got back to the room, the woman was taking her last breaths.  He was profoundly moved by this.

This was not something that I thought about when we talked about him taking this job.  There was another patient who he had called his adopted grandma and she passed away one day when he wasn't there.  That's a lot of death to deal with in such a short time.  


I've dealt with a lot of death in my life - grandparents, aunts, uncles and a cousin, but there was time between these events.  My boor boy is having this happen in a very short amount of time and I just hope that it doesn't toughen him to the point that death or losing someone doesn't mean anything to him.  


Touch life lessons...

Friday, October 28, 2011

It all started with a forgotten key...

So I'm at work the other day and Michael calls me.  I was shocked because I always WANT him to call when he gets home from school, but he never does.  So I answer the phone, happy to hear his voice and he tells me that he forgot his key and so he is locked out of the house.  It is 3:50 in the afternoon.  

Okay, fine, I can do this.  I go to my boss, explain the situation and I'm like "It's gonna be about 25-30 minutes round trip to get there and back" and she's like "You can just go home for the day".  Part of me was like YIPPEE! while the other part of me was agonizing over losing the hour of work.  But I left.

I get home, there's my boy sitting on the porch and as I walk to the door, I happen to look back at my car and notice that my front tire is really low.  I mean REALLY low as in almost flat.  I panicked because I noticed it was low the other day and Frank had put air in but now it looks like it's more than a slow leak.  

So we go inside, Michael has a snack and I realize that we have yet to get a pumpkin.  When he was done eating, we left, put air in the tire and went in search of a pumpkin.  It was actually a very short search because we found a good one right away at the local supermarket.  This leads me to go in to grab a few things.  Okay, so we're back in the car with our loot and I think about the tire again and remember that there is this stuff called Fix-a-Flat.  

Now we're on the way to Target.  Okay, fine, groceries in the car, it will have to be a quick trip to Target.  Frank calls and I'm telling him all that is going on and he's like "Hey, you know that new road that was being built...?"  Let me interject here.  When he is working, he tends to work in Raleigh.  I almost NEVER go to Raleigh, particularly the part of Raleigh that he is speaking of.  I think the last time I was on the road he was asking about was six months ago.  So he wants to know where this new road leads to.  Really?  And I'm the first person you think of to ask?  Why not just DRIVE on the new road?  I mean, you're right there!  

Apparently, he did not appreciate my observation and hangs up in a snit.  

We get the Fix-a-Flat (and some more things because we're in Target) and head home to start dinner.  Michael had a nightmare of a homework assignment and after HOURS of arguing about it, we finally just decide that he'll have to talk to the teacher and I will send a note (which I will later forget to do).

Next morning, I get up early to go to a once-a-month cleaning gig that I do with a friend to find, surprise, surprise, a flat tire!  Frank had yelled the night before because I put air in the tire BEFORE the Fix-a-Flat but really, my first priority had been to put air in the damn tire!  So now, he can use the Fix-a-Flat because that tire is FLAT!

So, Fix-a-Flat in and now I have to drive it for a couple of miles and top off the air.  Okay, I can do that and STILL get to the cleaning gig with minimal delays.  I drive, I go to a gas station, wait on the line for AIR (go figure) and I turn off the car.  When I go to start it again, it's dead.

I kid you not.

Now, I'm stuck at the gas station.  Perfect.  I call Frank and I'm like "I'm dead at the gas station" he's like "What do you mean?"  

SIGH...

I repeat myself and he's like "I'm not following you..."  I'm like "THE CAR HAS DIED AND WON'T START!"  There may have been a nasty name added to that statement, but for the sake of the story, we'll leave that out.  So he's like, "What am I supposed to do?"  Um...how about come and help me??  Michael had just left for the bus and he wanted to make sure he got on it before coming to the gas station.  Okay, fine, I'll wait and in the meantime, I'll call our dear mechanic friend and see if he can help.

After listening to me make car noises (it wasn't fun) we decided it's quite possibly the battery.  Frank jumps the car, I drive it to the mechanic (who I LOVE!) and he takes care of it and tells me there is a nail in my tire.  That is clearly going to have to wait because the battery is the more important repair at the moment and the Fix-a-Flat seems to be doing an okay job.  In the meantime, I have to go to the cleaning gig, clean like a fiend and then go home and shower, change, eat lunch and then go to my real job.  By this point, I am beyond ready to call it a day.  

I work until five, go home, grab Michael and then meet Frank in Raleigh for dinner because I had a coupon for one free dinner at Outback that was about to expire.  We eat, we hang out, then he leaves to go to the band and Michael and I hit the mall.  I had a Bath & Body Works coupon on the verge of expiration, too, and needed some Sea Island Cotton scrub!  It's a weakness, so sue me! 

I did not walk in the door to my house until 8:00.  I had left it at 7:00 in the morning.  I do not want another day like this EVER!!!  And to top it off, "Modern Family" was a repeat and I forgot to watch "Psych"!  Clearly, I just needed to go to bed...

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Who knew happiness was a crime??

I know you haven't been able to tell it too much around here lately, but basically I am a happy person.  I love to laugh, I love to have fun, I love making other people laugh with me.  

This, apparently, is a very bad thing to some people.

When I first started my job, I was pretty psyched to be there and trying to make friends and everyone was like "Are you this happy all the time?" and I was like "Yes" and they were like "Crap".  As time has gone on, I still try to not let what is going on at home spill over in to the office - so I go in with a smile on my face, I laugh and joke on the phone with our customers and STILL people are annoyed with me about it.

I don't get it...I get annoyed when people are in pissy moods and nasty, I never thought of getting annoyed with people for being pleasant and happy and laughing.  What is up with that???  

So now I'm in an awkward position - I have no idea how to behave.  I cannot help who I am; I like to laugh and I laugh easily with people.  Several customers have told me that they love when I answer the phone because I make them happy.  Do I stop laughing so that my co-workers aren't annoyed?  I just don't know and really, what a stupid problem to have!  

Just what I need, more stupidity in my life!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Playing in the Hurrican Booth...

Have you seen these things?  it's a booth that you go in to and pay $2.00 to experience hurricane force winds for like two minutes.  

So tonight we're at the mall and Michael sees the booth and he's like "OH MY GOD!!!  I HAVE $2!!"  So we put him in the booth, put in our two buck and all of a sudden, the wind kicked up and there was my curly headed boy, giggling up a storm with...wait for it...straight hair!!!  It was great!  I wish I had my camera with me because it's not often these days that my eleven year old just gets silly.

Best use of $2 EVER!

Monday, October 24, 2011

Looking like a rock star...

At the show last weekend, there was a photographer there taking pictures of the band and this was one that he got of Frank.  Pretty cool, right?  His name is Scott Chmelar and he is a pretty amazing photographer here in Raleigh.  Thanks for the great photos, Scott!

Photo by Scott Chmelar

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Game intervention...

You know, it's gotten to the point where I really don't read anyone's status or catch up with anyone on Facebook anymore, it's all about the games.  

I have like 11 current games of Scrabble going, two Words with Friends and then there are the games that I just play solo - who knew there were so many different and addictive versions of Solitaire out there??  

Either way, my day starts out with games and normally ends with them too.  It keeps my brain from working too hard and also helps me to keep my thoughts off of how sucky things have been around here.  So that can't be wrong, can it?

I won't do anything crazy again like that restaurant/cooking game that I did for a while on Facebook where you had to keep making the virtual food all the damn time.  That was too much.  But some mindless games just for funsy sake is a good thing.

That's my story and I'm sticking to it!

Friday, October 21, 2011

How do you stay happy and engaged while working?

This question was recently raised by BlogHer and I have to admit, it intrigued me.  Why?  Because, for the most part, I don't usually put "work" and "happy" in the same sentence.  It's not that I don't like my job, I do, it's just that most days, it's a struggle to do the whole working mom/wife/juggling thing.

So what do I do?  After some thought I realized that there are some things that I do to maintain that whole happy/engaged thing.  For starters, I make it a point to stay in touch with people that mean something to me.  I may not do it in conventional ways (thank you for the 47 games of Scrabble that we keep up, Cathleen!) but even a quick phone call to say hello to a friend helps keep my spirits up.

I take about 15 minutes after work to just have "me" time.  Whether I lock myself in the bathroom with a book or put on my iPod, I take that time to just let the day roll off of me so that I can put all of my focus back on my husband and kids and have a peaceful night with them.

I do things that make me happy (or try to) in my spare time.  You all know I love to write and so I try to work on that as much as possible in my spare time or pick up a good book (Susan Mallery, anyone?).  I think that if you get to do the things you like in the hours you are not working, you'll have a better attitude for those hours when you are working.

What about you?  Where do you find your balance?  How do you stay happy and engaged while working?  BlogHer has a great article on the subject written by Dr. Aymee called "4 Steps Toward Serenity While Working".  Interesting.  It's definitely worth checking out.  Also, you can enter the Life Well Lived Sweepstakes on BlogHer for a chance to win a $250 Visa giftcard - and wouldn't that help in making you happy???

Share with us here what you do to make you happy and then head over to BlogHer and share it with even more people and remember...happiness is a good thing!

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Can you take the critique?

Okay, so there have been some stumbling blocks on the way to self publication and I decided to not look at them as negative things.  It's not easy.  One of the things that I did was find a critique partner.  

One of the writer's websites that I belong to offers that service.  You sign up that you are looking for a critique partner, list what you write, what kind of stories you like and don't like and then they put out the list like once a month and you can see if there is anyone who matches what you are looking for.  Actually, someone contacted me.  

I was a little hesitant at first because this is where the rubber hits the road.  What if this person reads my work and tells me it stinks?  What if they have all these suggestions and there is no way for me to incorporate them without changing my entire story?  Well, the upside to that is that, really, I don't have to listen.  They are suggestions and as such, I can say "thanks" and just not use them.  But I have to tell you, so far so good.

In return of reading my work, I read theirs.  We are doing this three chapters at a time and I have to tell you, it's challenging.  First because my time is already so limited and secondly because the writing teacher in me came out in full-force when I read their first three chapters that after I sent them back with my suggestions, I felt bad.  I told Frank how I felt and he was like "Well, kiss that gig goodbye.  I doubt you'll hear form them again."

But I did.  We're on to our second set of three chapters and I am looking forward to getting some feedback since I'm trying to bulk up the story by 100 pages - which is no easy task.  This could be the best use of what I thought was negative time.  Who knew?

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Nope, nothing there...

I used to consider myself to be a fairly creative person.  I could write for hours on end, have multiple stories going on, scrapbook, cook, blog...I mean, it just came easy.  Now?  Not so much.

I am gearing up for NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) and I cannot focus on any kind of a story.  Oh, and FYI, I even booked my little writing retreat cottage so that I COULD write endlessly without interruption but now I have a feeling I will be curled up in the fetal position eating Chinese food and BBQ potato chips while I cry for an entire weekend.

Where did my creative spark go?  True, I have been just a wee-bit distracted with the horrors that are my life right now but you think that would create some sort of fun world in my head for me to escape to, right?  

Clearly, no.

Even coming up with what to make for dinner makes my brain hurt!  Although, I did concoct some KILLER seafood quesadillas the other night. Seriously, they were so good I almost made myself sick.  I both love and hate when that happens.  That was the most inspired I've been in quite some time and for someone who is a foodie who likes to cook, that's sad.

I long for the days where my brain functioned normally.  And really hope that this, too, isn't one of those pesky signs of aging...that would really suck. 

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Seriously, it's NOT a competition!

Hello, my name is Stace and I am poor.

This is not an invitation for you to compete with me on your level of poorness, too.  This is not an opening for you to tell me why you are poorer than me or why your lack of money is worse than mine.  

Remember the days when we all wanted to do BETTER than one another?  What happened to those days??  Why am I ranting about this?  Because recently I had a conversation with someone that I am close to and just sort of shared very briefly what's been going on with us.  I didn't go in to great detail, it was just like "Things are really tough right now and I'm stressed, blah, blah, blah..."

Their response was to tell me about how they returned from a vacation to have two of their utilities shut off and how much they are struggling to keep up with their bills.  Okay, fine.  I sort of felt that it was relatable and we were done.  BUT...I come to find out that it was all a big, fat LIE.  No utilities were shut off, no struggling.  I mean, really?  I get it if you were trying to make me feel better if you were genuinely struggling but this level of competition or "I'm poorer than you" just seems juvenile.  

I don't want anyone to compete with me on this.  It's ridiculous.  I know that there are people in worse condition than we are or who have struggled with the same things, I get it.  Don't create drama and lie so that you can seem relatable!  That's just insane!  

Oy...I just want to have a normal life again...

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

"Happy Endings"


You all know that I am not a "sit in front of the TV all night" kind of gal.  I have my select few shows that I like and then I move on.  Well, a little over a week ago I had finished watching "Modern Family" and I was sitting no the couch doing me entrecard drops and was too lazy to change the channel and so I left it where it was and on came "Happy Endings".  

Have you seen this show??  I was cracking up!  It's a familiar premise with the group of friends casting but it just made me laugh like crazy!  Here's the synopsis from the ABC website:


Forget who gets to keep the ring -- when a couple splits, the real question is, who gets to keep the friends? In this modern comedy, a couple's break-up will complicate all of their friends' lives and make everyone question their choices. When life throws you for a curve, hold on tight to the people you love. Every circle of friends has someone who's the gravitational center. For years, perfect couple Dave and Alex drew their friends in and held them together. Now that they've split, does this group have the stuff to stay together? Or do Max, Brad, Jane and Penny have to choose sides? Suddenly every event is a negotiation... like, who gets to go on the annual ski trip? There are a lot of big questions to be answered, but this group has been together so long, somehow, little by little, they'll figure out how to hold on, even though their center is split up. It helps that Dave and Alex have agreed to stay friends. But there will definitely be other complications down the road. This show isn't afraid to ask the embarrassing personal questions that inevitably arise in every long-term, close-knit group of friends.


Happy Endings stars Eliza Coupe (Scrubs) as Jane, Elisha Cuthbert (24) as Alex, Zachary Knighton (FlashForward) as Dave, Adam Pally as Max, Damon Wayans, Jr. (The Underground) as Brad and Casey Wilson (Saturday Night Live) as Penny. 

This is actually the second season that has just started and I am anxious to watch the first one and totally get in to the groove of what's going on.  Although, to be honest, I felt completely okay with the whole thing tuning in for the season premier. 

If you are looking for a great comedy and you're already watching "Modern Family", stick around for the following 30 minutes (and then turn to USA to watch "Psych").  Wednesdays are a great night to laugh!