Friday, August 27, 2010

Where Did My Lunch Go?

Alright- now that the kids are back at school, and I think we have worked out all the kinks, I gotta say, I am dog-draggin' tired! Most parents are good with, back to school, trust me I can relate. The only issue I have, is when the kids go back to school, so do I.

This week it has been crazy trying to get the computer lab up and running. It takes a physical toll, when you have to flip tables back over, carry computer components and run the network and power cables, but hey, I'm not complaining. I have a job and it's a pretty cool one. 

Matter of fact, that isn't even what my post is about today. What I wanted to talk about is the fact that I didn't remember finishing my entire lunch. One minute I was preoccupied with what I had to do, and the next thing I knew, my chip bag was empty. Heck, the only thing I had left was my bottle of water. My sandwich? Well it was gone!

Without looking, I went to reach into the Ziploc bag that housed my allotment of 4 little cookies and they disappeared! Someone had to have come into my room, and taken them, when I was shoving my Veggie Turkey sandwich in my mouth and reading my "To Do" list. It is impossible that I ate 4 whole cookies without remembering what they tasted like. One minute they are there, the next only crumbs. That type of thing just doesn't happen!

That might explain what happened to my chips and strawberries too. Unconscious eating gets me every time. And the hardest part about it is when you realize—hey, I wanted to savor that! I wanted to taste each chip I put in my mouth, and before the message went from my brain to my mouth, the bag was empty. Man I hate when that happens. 

How many times have we all done that? Maybe if I took the time to savor my food, instead of inhaling it, I would remember what everything tasted like and how much I was actually eating. So today I came up with a solution… I'm gonna get me a bigger bag of chips!

Have a great weekend and try not to fall victim to the, I don't remember eating that, syndrome.

Here's a video to make you laugh out loud! 

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

How Did I Get So Lucky?

I wanted to take a moment and share with you the secret of getting lucky (hey now, get your mind out of the gutter! That’s a topic for someone else's blog.)

Okay--eyes back up here…

I’m not talking about winning the Lotto or having your number pulled at an auction or raffle. I’m not even talking about the near death misses that grab you by the throat and cause you to look up to heaven and thank the powers that be. I’m talking about the type of luck that occurs when you lift your head out of the water to take a breath, and realize you are surrounded by some of the best people in the world. THAT’S ME! I am one of the most fortunate people alive.

Alright let me explain.

See, I was raised to believe people come into your life for a reason. They either stay, and contribute to the experience we call our existence, or they simply fall away. (Disclosure: I am not the type to cut people out of my life. I just don’t roll that way.)

I may not call you for awhile, not because of a grudge or I’m mad, but because I am not into confrontations and the least amount of drama the better, but most likely, I just got busy. That is what’s so great about the people around me-- they understand that. Some of my dearest friends are people I haven’t talked to in months, and when I picked up the phone, we can start up a conversation like we just talked yesterday.

That’s why I am so lucky. I am surrounded by some of the most supportive, positive, loving, thoughtful, and dedicated people in the world. They are the ones that pick me up off the floor when they find me face down on my un-mopped linoleum, or dry me off when I tromp through huge puddles of self doubt. They celebrate my accomplishments and commiserate when I fail. They see me for who I am and that is monumental.

They are the ones who watched me birth my novels and stood up by my head cheering, as I pushed. They’ve taken my family and given me time to write. They’ve read chapters in the middle of the night, and popped me upside the head when I doubted my writing skills. They’ve even gone as far as showing up to a book club meeting, before my work has even been published. They are the rocket boosters that keep burning and prodding me to stay on course.

I don’t think I could ever tell you why I have attracted such great people in my life. Or why it amazes every day, they are willing to stand with me through the tornado of my creative process. A drop of a hat, a flip of a coin, or the effects of a butterfly flapping its wings, maybe I’m not supposed to know. Either way I am grateful.

It is at this moment, the calm before the storm, that I must take the time and tell them thank you.

Thank you for being those rocks just below the surface of the water that supported me on my journey. Without you, my attempts wouldn’t be as successful.
I guess the secret to getting lucky is (fill in your blank)

P.S. OK My Betas- Only 2 "ly" words this time!

Friday, August 20, 2010

Video of The Week

My post is simple today. No I am not going to tell you how to change a light bulb or answer the ever growing controversial question, which came first the chicken or the egg. Today, I am going to post a video that we all should watch. Not just to remind us to take our own cloth bags to the grocery store when we shop, but to see if you did the same thing I did.

OMG, I totally found myself worried about the plastic bag getting ripped, ran over and lost. I cheered for the man made, un-decomposable, plastic bag when it made it to Plastic Island in the Pacific. Don’t get me wrong, I am all for nixing the plastic bag. I am all about using fabric bags, when I don’t forget them, however; I am also someone who loves a happily ever after story. And “the little plastic bag that could”, made the journey to the promise land.

So now I have to get rid of that sick feeling in the pit of my stomach, run down to my local grocery store and recycle the huge family of plastic bags that are co-habitating between my wall and dryer.

Have a great weekend!

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Lessons Come in All Forms

I took my family to hear a person speak about expectations, self perceptions and goal setting.  We sat in the back two rows trying to be as un-interruptive as possible.  Considering, besides my boys, the youngest person in the room was in their twenties, I wanted to make sure we could make a quick break for it if they were too loud.  Fortunately, they were really well behaved.
It was wonderful because I got to hear all the things I needed to be reminded of.  Ideas and beliefs that I held real tight to when I was younger but have slowly loosened my grip on as my life has gotten busier.   Beliefs that were so ingrained in my being that it was automatic in my thinking.  As sure as when I planted tomato seeds, tomato plants would grow—that absolute.  It was refreshing to be reminded that my words and thoughts carry power. 
I kept thinking about a little saying I learned when I was in my teens.  “Act as if.”  As the speaker talked about, thinking into action what you want in your life, the words that pounded against my thoughts, over and over again were—Act as if.
Who’d thought that three small words would resonate with such validity that it could change our life experiences?  I’m not saying we could sit around all day, claim to “act as if” we are something, without putting in the work.  We can’t sit around all day doing nothing and repeat it until we’re blue in the face, and expect something to happen.  It doesn’t work that way.  It’s when we say those three little powerful words and then get off our butts. 
It’s the little things we do that give us reminders of what we want.  Want a better job, start a family, have a baby, own a house, get married, finish school, lose weight?   Look around and ask yourself—am I acting as if?   Are my words and actions showing people who I am and what I want?  If not, choose to change it and start right now.  Don’t let other people define who you are or what you want.  It isn’t their job to do that, it is yours.  And guess what?  You are the best at it.  Believe it and know it, because you deserve it.
I want to be a published author.  I act as if—I read and write every day, I follow agent’s and writer’s blogs, I edit my work and clean up my manuscripts, and yes,  I keep working on the perfect query letter.  Because I know that “acting as if” is the catalyst(ic) moment in which my belief switches from an unpublished to a published author.  It’s when I truly believe with every ounce of my being, and without a shadow of a doubt, that I am a represented and published author.  That is when the real ah-ha moment happens. 
So challenge yourself today, see if the words that you say and think are harmonious with what you want in your life.  If not, choose to change them.  You have the power! And don’t forget to— “act as if”.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

The Book Club for Wilson Mooney

Last Thursday, a group of nine women met to talk about my young adult novel, Wilson Mooney. For the lack of a better term, let’s just call it a book club meeting. (He he he)

WOW~ talk about needed a couple of days to decompress. It was a real dynamic and informative group of people. It was amazing how each person had their own interpretation of Wilson and Max. The personal investment each reader wove into their analysis of Wilson was incredible.

I had women there who have read it so many times, they knew the story like the back of their hand, and I had people there that only had the opportunity to read it once through. My readers ran the gamut too. Some were ferocious readers of young adult, a couple that never cracked a YA novel ever, and some that never read fiction or young adult. But what was amazing was that they all liked the story, I could almost say they loved it. They agreed it was a page turner and they also agreed that the book held their attention up through the end. They also had some good constructive advice that would help make the novel a better read.

I asked specific questions and they answered them. I wanted to know what they really felt, and they told me. I asked them to be brutally honest, and I could say, I really think they were. It was important to me, and they knew how important it was, to give me the criticism that would drive me to polish my book and get it ready for submission.

I sat at the table listening to them talk about these fictional characters like they were their own teenagers, or their friends kids, even as family members. Protective, frustrated, happy and worried, I saw that they all were invested in the story. I can’t tell you how miraculous that experience was. It comes close to the euphoria you feel when seeing your new born baby for the first time and you realize, wow, I created that.

Thank you my beta book club readers. Thanks for the hours we sat and talked about my novel. Thanks for the kick in the pants to keep going and thanks for agreeing to meet with me again for the next book! 

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Is Life Like a Box of Chocolates?

Okay, so I haven’t seen Forest Gump in a real long time, but I keep finding myself thinking about that movie.  Maybe it’s a sign from the universe trying to tell me to pop in the DVD and pick up on the metaphysical messages that reach out and grab me by the collar.  Or it could be that I just need a feel-good-entertaining movie.  Either way, I was thinking about the line Forest’s mom tells him on her death bed.  Remember it?
“Life is like a box of chocolates, you never know what you’re gonna get.”
Yeah, it is a profound line, maybe one of the best lines in the movie.  I can tell you, it is one of the most memorable ones.  Anyway, I got to thinkin’, there are a couple of ways I can interpret that line.  (Which BTW, makes it such a great line!) 
So if I wanted to look at that quote straight on and literally, I would have to say, no life isn’t like a box of chocolates.  Because nowadays, most boxes come with the little insert with all the chocolates labeled and they even go far enough to tell you what ingredients/calories it has too.  Even See’s has a little label on the Christmas wrapping paper giving you an idea what kind of chocolates are in the box.  I could even bet there’s a website with all the information we want. 
But it makes me think, is my life labeled, predictable and contained?  Do I really take small tastes of some parts, I didn’t like before, seeing if I might have changed my opinion of its flavor since the last time I tasted it?  Do I gorge on my life?   Do I give my kids the part of my life, I don’t really like, to see if they are willing to take that instead of my favorites?  I don’t think so-- or maybe….
What if I looked at that line a different way? 
“Life is like a box of chocolates.  You never know what you’re gonna get.”  Hum, is my life unpredictable? Do I wake up every day, open my front door and wonder what is life going to give me?  Do I cherish the good parts and discard the rest?  Do I try and accept there are parts I’m not going to like, but maybe, those are parts others will love?  In this case, yeah my life is exactly like a box of chocolates.    I don’t know what’s going to be given to me from day to day, but I gotta trust I’ll like some part of it. 
I can’t say I’m as organized as the sweet, milk and dark chocolates that rest in their perfectly ribbed, paper sorter, thing-a-ma-jiggies.  But come on, most of us know what’s underneath the red and gold wrapping of that rectangular box.    
It’s when I get surprised by a two pound box that I stand grateful that repetition can be so flavorful.   And lucky for everyone else, there happens to be enough good ones to share. 

Monday, August 9, 2010

Oh Flippin' Fairies- Come On!

What is it about fairies that make you either love them or completely hate them? I might be the only person in the entire blogosphere (yeah it’s an exaggeration) that could give a rat’s ass about them either way.

Well, before you get up in arms, most of you who know me, know that’s how I roll. I’m not usually into fairies, or even read books about fairies. Actually, I don’t have anything to do with fairies. Let’s call a spade a spade; I’ve been surrounded by males including my dog, my entire life. Let’s just say, fairies weren’t on the top of my list.

So, I was more than a little surprised when a story came to me about a young girl who has to grapple with the decision of accepting her fairyism or not. Now I have a chapter done and part of a second, dealing with fairies. Grant it, I have to disclose it isn’t your typical fairy story, but still fairies? And what’s really trippy ←(a word from the 70’s) is that I am completely excited about it.

I find myself plotting what’s going to happen next, and I’m not a plotter. I’ve never outlined what’s going to happen to my protagonist. I usually write as it comes to me, then edit as I go back through it. I’ve found myself plotting. OMG- What does this mean?

Maybe it simply means the creative gods have smiled on me and I have been fortunate enough to have another story birthed from a place, I don’t question, but graciously accept when it flows from the depths of my mind. It also means my besties will be tortured with, chapter by chapter of another story, yet again. (only if they’ll let me)

Have I crossed into the world of fairies? Are people going to run into me with books of fairytales under each arm? Probably not, I’m really sorry to let you down. I will also tell you, I highly doubt I’ll be running out to my local tattoo shop anytime soon, asking for a tat on my ass of Tinkerbell.

But it does make me think… Nah, I don’t think I’ll get a tattoo. 

Friday, August 6, 2010

One Week and Counting

In one week I will be sitting a Jack's Restaurant with ten women discussing the book, Wilson Mooney.  Yeah, that's right, my book.  It's a unique situation.  Most of the time when people have a book club meeting, the book they choose is usually published and the author isn't in attendance.  How lucky am I to have these ladies want to talk about my unpublished book and with me in the room?
A couple of weeks ago, one of my beta readers came to me and told me she thought we should have the first book club meeting for Wilson Mooney.  I won't lie to you.  I was totally excited and completely freaked out at the same time (I still am).  The thought of sitting at a table discussing what they think of my beloved Wilson and Max is a bit intimidating.   
When I wrote WM, it never really crossed my mind that I would have so many people who would want to read it in its infant stage.  And now, the fact that they want to sit down with me and talk about it blows me away.
I think I understand now that Wilson and Max might hold a special spot in their hearts too.  That my beta's feel just as protective of, Wilson, Max, Cindy, Nick and Wayne as I do.  Sometimes I wonder if the characters feel as real to them as they do to me?   
Maybe the book takes them back to that buried memory of what it felt like to fall in love for the first time.  The young love and the purity it seemed to have.  Or maybe it just gives them a place they can escape to for a short moment of their lives.  For whatever reason they keep reading and I am delighted.
The gratitude I feel for each and every one of these very special people, who honored me by taking time from their busy schedules, families, sleep, and evenings to read WM is immeasurable.  The fact that they not only read it once, but multiple times is incredible. 
So today I dedicate this post to you, my beta readers!  Here is my SHOUT-OUT to you who've got my back!   
I thank you my beta peeps! 
I wonder if Jack's sells a Skip and Go Naked?  
I guess we'll see next week!

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Entitled With No Place To Put It

At what point does our minds, trick and engrain the belief that one person is more important than any other?

I was in Diablo (Danville area) yesterday morning heading to take my son to sports camp when I came to an intersection. It’s the same intersection I’ve had to turn at for the last week. The car ahead of me stopped, and then went, so logically the car on the other side went. Good- every other car right? The actual act of, you get a turn, and then I get a turn (a learned behavior we hopefully mastered in preschool).

Well this woman in a black Lexus, license plate number- (no just kidding), decided she didn’t want to wait for her turn so she took my turn and ran the stop sign. Then had the BALLS, yes I said, BALLS to give me a dirty look because I started to turn anyway. I gotta tell you, it took every ounce of will power, flower power, or whatever you want to call it, not to flip her- the bird. I wanted to so bad. But I didn’t, I just cursed under my breath and let her go. 

I carried on with my routine and smiled as I dropped off my son and got back into my truck to take off back home. I get to the exit of the school and this other woman in a Porsche SUV that cuts me off, (see the trend) when she clearly had the stop sign. At this point, I’m steaming. I started daydreaming of a world where filthy rich bitches that act like they own the world, had to clean the guys bathrooms at the HP Pavilion after an Ozzy Osborne concert. (I didn’t really daydream that. But it would have been nice vengeance.)

The actions of these two people lead me to think about what causes people to believe they have the right to sh*t on common courtesy? Was it their upbringing? Maybe they married into it? Did it creep up on them? Or maybe they were just in a hurry.

I don’t believe we are born entitled. I believe it is a learned behavior. (Follow my thought process, no matter how crazy it might seem.) We turn on the TV, and we are bombarded by a multi-billion dollar industry called Reality TV. The shows are all about pimpin’ cribs, cars, faces or bodies. We see people rippin’ on each other, marrying for money instead of love, and even backstabbing their best friends on national TV. We have become a society that actually relishes in the idea that someone is worse off than us or we become jealous of the wealthy and criticize them for what they have.

Look at Facebook and MySpace, these Social Networking sites have trained us to be the perfect narcissistic society. What other place can you journal about your life and make it available for the whole world to see? And then, to drive the point home, we whole heartedly believe that everyone wants to know what we ate, where we went or how we felt doing it. We can plug our ears with our iPod and listen to all the narcissistic driven songs with sentences starting with me, myself and I. Gone are the days singers would sing songs about falling in love with other people, now they sing about how much we should love them (okay a little generalization here, but you get my point.)

To be fair, this blog is same thing. (Don’t try and defend it) Really, it is. I sit her thinking that you want to hear what I have to say. That somewhere in this heap of a blog, maybe I might say something that will help you in your life. But would you really? Or is it another opportunity for me to hone my self-centered need for you to like me? Maybe if I say something witty, you’ll keep coming back.

I’m no saint, yeah, I said it! I can even go far enough to say I even possess narcissistic tendencies. Maybe narcissism should be a synonym for survival. Hey now, I am ENTITLED to my opinion. Maybe we are evolving to a point where we will be a bunch of little i’s that make up the Wii. (Another pun)

So I leave you with this… If we ever meet up and you feel like I’ve been a total B-I-T-C-H, look me straight in the eyes, raise your fist in the air and flip me the proverbial bird, because I would have deserved it and I really do know how you feel. 

Enjoy the link...
Flight of the Conchords, Flippin the Bird