Monday, May 31, 2010

Memorial Day... Paradeless

It's been a pretty relaxing couple of days. Steve let me stay in bed all day yesterday and he brought me coffee and doughnuts in the morning and made me a turkey sandwich and chicken noodle soup for lunch. I needed the rest -- I have been feeling like poo lately. (Not Winnie-The. Just regular poo.) I've been coughing non-stop for over a week, and it's gotten worse the last few days. Today, the weather was lousy and the day turned out to be lousy as well. The boys' parades were both canceled, and our lunch guests canceled, too. But maybe I'll get some nice, hot bubble bath and reading time out of it in the end. I did get some lovely grilled brats and chicken compliments of my husband (who will grill at home, but not cook). I made corn on the cob, bought watermelon, had chips and dip, and made baked redskin potatoes with cheddar cheese, and got some ice cream sandwiches for dessert. I wish this weather would stop its stinkiness, though.

My cousin Charlene left for boot camp for the Army today. I am proud of her on one hand, but very anxious for her on the other hand. She is so young, and there is so much she is not yet aware of in the world. I'm hoping this will be a good experience for her and will help her in the long run. Please keep her in your prayers.

I got the part I auditioned for in RENT, "Maureen", which blows my mind. I could not fathom actually getting this role. I knew how much I wanted it, tried my hardest to get it, but didn't really picture a scenario in which it would happen. This will be the most difficult role I've ever had, but the most important one at the same time. For me, the lessons behind the story of RENT are everything I believe in: standing up for yourself and your beliefs regardless of how unpopular the truth might be, never standing in judgment of anyone else, and, above all, standing on unconditional love as the unbreakable foundation of life. How are you going to spend your next 525,600 minutes? I'm thankful to be spending them with my husband and my children, my family and friends, and with whoever else God wants in the mix.

I finally finished "Let The Right One In" and now I can't wait to see the movie!

A big, strong THANK YOU to all of the men and women out there who have fought for, died for, or are in the midst of fighting for our country. We couldn't do any of what we do everyday without them.

SJS

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Well, It's About Time!

I know it's no excuse, but I have truly been ridiculously busy lately. It's my own fault, of course -- it almost always is -- but I'm happy right now, so at least I've got that going for me. I just got a callback for RENT which I auditioned for last night. I'm dying to play the part of Maureen (in fact, on the back of my audition slip I wrote "*Will cut off left leg to play Maureen*". I hope he doesn't call me on that one.) My rollerderby wound is healing nicely, after about two weeks. And I've written and submitted two stories now to Guideposts Magazine. It says that it takes at least two months to hear back from them. I figure if I write once a week then after two months I'll start getting feedback once a week and hopefully, somewhere along the line, it will pay off.

Yeah, I'm reading. No, not a lot. I still haven't finished "Let The Right One In", but I've started "RANT" by Chuck Palanhiuk. Palanihuk. Palhaniuk. The guy who wrote "Fight Club". I think he's awesome. I absolutely love his writing style and his warped, warped mind. Plus, while I'm auditioning for RENT and reading RANT, I thought it might be fun to adopt a RUNT puppy. But I'll probably just eat some Runts, that'll be a lot easier overall.

Other than working, auditioning, skating, sweating, driving, writing, cleaning, eating, and sleeping, I have no life right now.

Both my daughter and my sister started their own blogs, of which I have become a follower. Check out Savannah's Blog or Aria's Blog!

Have a lovely day,
SJS

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Submission

The title sounds like something completely different from what I'll actually be writing about.

I finally submitted an article. I got up early (well, that's a relative term I guess) and brewed some coffee, sat down at the computer, and found the submission guidelines for Guideposts Magazine which are surprisingly simple and online, which is fantastic for me. My journal in hand, I took an entry that I had thrown together last week at some point, and used it as the basis for an article, adding quite a bit to it, of course. The result: a finished piece of work SUBMITTED! Ya see that? I set a goal, I woke up, I accomplished it.

Now I can go back to sleep, right?

Nah, I'm not even really tired. I do need to finish my coffee and brush my teeth, though. I cannot stand having unbrushed teeth. I'm one of those people who should probably just carry a toothbrush everywhere with me and brush ten times a day. I have some housecleaning to do as well, and I suppose now that I have an accomplishment under my belt for the day, I should get out of this robe.

I finished reading the Bob Newhart memoir last night. It was just all right, nothing spectacular. What's funny is, after reading the whole thing, there's a blurb written by the editor or someone else at the very end that sort of gives a synopsis of Bob Newhart's life. I thought that was somewhat ridiculous -- I just read an entire book about his life, so whatever you're telling me, I already knew. At least you could've told me at the beginning of the novel, or on the back or something!

It's a dreary day outside. Damp and dark. Usually I like to do nothing but sleep on days like this, but not today. I should be tired, by all rights - I didn't go to bed last night until almost 1:00am for some reason. But I'm wide awake. I'd better get off of here and use this alertness to my advantage!

Derby tonight, yay!

SJS

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Doce De Mayo

The day of the week that most things get done: tomorrow.

I am going to spend my tomorrow actually getting things done. (Although when it is tomorrow, I will be getting things done today. Not today, tomorrow. Got it?)

I've been putting off this 'real' writing long enough. I've done some research into different magazines that accept unsolicited work, some for free/copies of the publication, but most are actually for pay. I keep having these fantasies of writing something and making a lot of money. Just like the fantasies of being discovered at a karaoke bar and being offered a record contract. Doesn't happen, dude. Just doesn't. So I've resigned myself to the fact that I have to work at it to make it work. If I write magazine articles, whether or not I get paid, it's important that I get published. That gives me some sort of a resume. (Insert funky accent marks on the word resume so it sounds like reh-zoo-may and not ree-zoom.) If and when I have said resume, I have cred. If and when I have cred, someone is more likely to pay me. Or pay me more. Or pay me a lot. See, there I go getting ahead of myself again. I have my retirement mansion all picked out and everything, and all I'm really trying to say is, I'm getting up tomorrow and forcing myself to write and submit an article. I don't know what, or to whom, but it's going to happen. Tomorrow. (Which, if you're reading this tomorrow, is today.)

My cousin has cancer, for those of you who haven't been keeping up on the blog. His name is Johnny, goes by Toad, better known lately as The Fighting Toad. Please click on The Fighting Toad so that you can go to the website and donate to his team that's walking in the relay on July 10th. If you can be a part of the team, that would rock, too. But if not, donations are more than appreciated. Just find The Fighting Toad on the list and donate to his team.

I have more rollerderby conditioning tomorrow. They began doing it on Tuesday nights also, which doesn't work for me quite yet, but will in the future. I can only commit to one night during the week right now, and Thursday seems to be the best. I have my skates, but I need to get pads and a helmet sooner rather than later. I'm really surprised at how small the actual track is. I got used to skating around the entire roller rink for practice, and when they set up the track size, I felt like I was inside a 2-D hamster wheel. I guess that would make it a hamster circle. Either way, it was bizarre. It will take some getting used to. They're still looking for refs and coaches, male or female, so if anyone's interested, Google South Bend Roller Derby and get yourself on the list and start showing up. I recommend you get used to doing squats. It's exhausting if you only do them once a week!

In addition to reading "Let The Right One In", I also started something lighthearted. Bob Newhart's memoir, "I Shouldn't Even Be Doing This!". It's not as good as Steve Martin's was, but it's interesting. More interesting than entertaining. As much as I like Bob Newhart, I'm not a gigantic fan like I am of Steve Martin. I like it more for the history, and hearing about other celebrities that he was in contact with at the time. Now and then something strikes me as really funny, though. I loved the show "Newhart" which was the one where he and Mary Frann played the Loudens and owned a Bed and Breakfast in Vermont. I watched that religiously when it was on. Now that we have Netflix, I wouldn't mind re-watching those, but also watching "The Bob Newhart Show". I never saw a single episode of that, but I think I would really like it at this point in my life. I probably wouldn't have liked it back when I was enjoying "Newhart". I was a little too young to get the finer points of psychology.

Our oldest son has his first girlfriend. Siiiiiigggggh. And they're going to prom. Double sighhhhhhh. He's ecstatic. And I'm so happy for him. He's just... I don't know. So grown up. One second he's this little nine-year-old with thick glasses struggling to lift an 8-lb. bowling ball, and the next he's 6'0" with contacts staring down at me asking if he can borrow $100 for a tux and pay me back out of his paycheck. We're looking at colleges, planning for SATs, saving up money -- I can't help but rejoice that he's here with us, and we're sharing in all of this with him, and that he's turning out to be the kind of person he is. And on the inside, I'm going, "Prom!?!? YOU'RE NINE!!! Go play outside!!!"

It's funny how, wherever I am in the house, my dog has to be two feet away. Very silent, and two feet away. I think that she thinks she's a ninja. That I don't see her on the floor two feet away. That her husky pattern blends perfectly with the carpet pattern. Or, when I move to the bedroom in a little while, with the solid hunter green carpet. The little dog doesn't even make any pretense. If he could be surgically implanted in one of our body parts, he would opt to do so. He can't be as FAR as two feet away. I was typing on my husband's computer earlier, and his dog jumped up on my lap and laid his head across my right arm. WHILE I was typing. And closed his eyes. The ceaseless bouncing on my forearm did not dissuade him in the least. Absolutely no sense of personal space. It is a completely foreign concept to him.

Well, I'm going to read for awhile longer and then retire to get some rest so that I can WRITE tomorrow. Wish me luck. Maybe I'll be rich by next month?

Stop it.

SJS

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Cinco De Mayo

I've got to have a margarita at some point today, even after my three day detox, because it's Cinco De Mayo and I can't imagine not celebrating somehow. (Not that I have any major ties to anyone who really cares about Cinco De Mayo, but it's like going to Mardi Gras and receiving beads -- you just have to do it, at least once.)

Shh! Can you hear that? What, you hear nothing? THAT'S RIGHT! No one is home but me (well, the dogs, but they don't count. One's sleeping and one's wandering around.) Perfect time to write for a few minutes.

Please continue to pray for my cousin Johnny. Rough times right now, and he can use all the prayers he can get. His wife and kids, too. This is hard on everyone.

On another note, here is a question I was asked today and expected to answer with a straight face:

LADY: "What's in that butternut squash & apple soup? Is it apple and butternut squash?"

ME: (uncertain that I understood the question) "...Yes."

LADY: "OH! Okay. I'll have a bowl of that, then."

True story.

The sky is threatening to drop little rain bombs on me. The weather outside right now is perfect. Breezy and warm. I'm hoping for a thunderstorm but not in the middle of the night, because of the little dog who will sit directly next to my face or on my chest and shiver all night long. He must've seen me writing about him -- now he's attempting to get my attention by throwing himself at the floor and rolling over and over, back and forth, in rapid succession. Or else he's just trying to scratch his back. Nope, he's looking at me while he does it. Big dog is still in a dead sleep three inches away from him. She sleeps through pretty much anything except if you touch her tail. Thunderstorms, fine. Kids opening and closing the bathroom door next to our bedroom, zzz. Herd of zebras, no problem. Touch the end of her tail and it's like you lit her on fire. She jumps up, growls, and pulls away, circles twice and lays down elsewhere, her eyes glaring at you with vengeance.

I'm about halfway through "Let The Right One In", still. I took a mini-break to read those other ones on the weekend because they're faster and I only had time to read in short spurts. This one is still good. I haven't been back to the library for another audio book lately. I should do that this weekend. I've been enjoying my satellite radio. I figure if I'm paying for it each month, I should be listening to it, too. Otherwise it's like having a gym membership and never going to the gym. (Guilty of that one, too, from time to time.) This is the first time I'm not reading three books at the same time. I guess reading three in a row counts for something, but I'm still not caught up to where I'd like to be. I have this fear that it'll be the end of November and I'll only have read 60 books, and then I'll have to take December off of work so I can read the last 40. I WILL FINISH MY GOAL! It's hard for me to remain diligent in most of the goals I set for myself, so even though this one isn't one that particularly matters in the grand scheme of things, it's one I'm forcing myself to do no matter what so that at least I can say I accomplished it. If for not other reason, than for my own satisfaction. Maybe next year I'll watch a movie a night with my husband all year long... 365 movies? Hmm. That's kind of cool. It'll make him happy because he loves to watch movies, and it'll make me happy because I love him and it'll make you happy because most people are more likely to be interested in movie blogs as opposed to book blogs. I'm sure there's research to back that up. Somewhere.

Ooh, and I can take up crocheting again when I'm watching movies! Blankets for Christmas, everyone! And for everyone else out there who is able to procreate, baby blankets!

Feliz Cinco De Mayo!
SJS

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Detoxification

I spent the last three days fasting and praying, detoxifying my body and my mind. I've tried to talk as little as possible and to listen as much as possible. I don't like many of my actions and reactions, and I thought that perhaps I could gain some clarity. It worked. Nothing profound, just a little step up from where I was before.

I've been reading more -- three books in the last week, which I added to the list. I started and finished "Simplify Your Life" which was 100 small chapters on ways to make life easier. Some of them were helpful, but most of them weren't. It was written from the perspective of a yuppie from the 80s, written in the early 90s, and was probably very useful to extremely rich people who had maids to get rid of, chauffers to get rid of, day planners that had power lunches on them, etc. There was even a chapter on car phones. CAR phones, for goodness' sake. The next, "Bridges of Madison County" was one I just flew through, not because it was fantastic but because it was an easy read and it was a nice day out. It was pretty predictable, even though I've never seen the movie. It didn't really do anything for me. It could have been less than a paragraph long: Once upon a time, a stranger came into town in an old pickup truck, took a lot of photographs of some old bridges, had a four-day affair with a bored housewife, and she decided to stay with her family and never saw him again, but they loved each other forever. The End. See? Once sentence and an ending page. Hope I didn't give anything away. The last book was "Monster" by Christopher Pike, who I thought was the world's greatest author when I was in high school. Not so much. At least, this wasn't one of his better works and/or I'm a bit more mature than I was in high school. (Those of you who knew me from high school and still know me now are probably doubtful about that last sentence.)

That's about it -- probably getting a new air conditioner in the next couple of weeks because it's going to be hot, and ours is shot. (No, this is not a lame attempt at poetry, just a coincidence.)

Off to take the boys to Glee Club. Then to read a bit... yay!

SJS

Monday, May 3, 2010

PRAY FOR JOHNNY

I'm asking everyone to pass this on and pray with all of your might. My cousin Johnny, "The Toad", has been fighting cancer for quite awhile now. This is the worst news yet, and we need some serious prayers. Here is her blog from today:


A post from the Toad's Wife:


Monday, May 3, 2010
Devastation
Sorry, I won't be able to post much right now.

News from the CT is bad. Liver is worsening, despite both regimens of chemo. Cancer has traveled outside the liver to the mediastinal lymph nodes (lower chest) and in the upper abdomen.

Dr. Ansari is giving Johnny his regular chemo regimen today, and adding Avastin. He will evaluate our options and give us an updated plan in two weeks. We may be looking at experimental options next. Radiation isn't an option. Additional surgery isn't an option.

Heaven help us. Please.

--------------------------------------------------


I can't ask for more than that. Pray. Pray, and then pray. PLEASE.

SJS