Thursday, October 28, 2010

Everyday Miracles

This has been a not-so-bad day. Not a thrilling mental health day full of accomplishments, but a nice day. I got up early and had an appointment at the salon in Niles for an uncomfortable facial procedure that makes me have beautiful brows and look like less of a billy goat. I talked a bit with my little sister, then helped my mom clean my old church, got some Taco Bell (where I ran into an old boyfriend, if you can call them boyfriends when you're 13), and went to an antique mall. I then talked with my little sister a bit more, left to get gas for my car, and drove home. This evening was the preview performance for our son's marching band state finals. My mom and sister came with my sister's friend, Steve's parents and sister came, and our other two kids were there with us so we basically took up the entire top row, and I took a video of the whole thing. Then we had the yearly soup dinner and slide show of the marching band year in review.

This evening, upon bedtime (which is when most crises occur at our home, I find), said marching band son asked if I had seen his envelope. When I inquired to which envelope he was referring, he answered nervously that it was the manila envelope that held all of his fundraiser money for choir. $200+ of fundraiser money. I had not seen it. The last time I saw it, I'd put his fundraiser box on the stairs leading to his room, and it was in the box. We looked all over the house, to no avail. I let the dogs out and finished watching an episode of "Rules of Engagement" on DVD with Steve, who instantaneously fell asleep the moment it was over. Seriously. Click, zzzz. Anyway, I digress. I sent up a "hey, can you help us find my son's money" prayer, and went back out to let the dogs in and lock up. I turned on the living room light and did a scan of the room for the envelope. Nada. As I reached up to turn off the light, in the split second before I switched it off, I caught a glimpse of about one inch of manila across the room, on the floor, behind the computer desk, behind the video camera. I walked across the room and that's exactly what it was. I took it down to Zach and he exclaimed, "Oh, thank GOD!" and I said, "Yes. Exactly what we should do!" and told him the story. He couldn't believe it. None of us remember it being anywhere near the computer.

Everyday miracles.

I think we take things like this for granted entirely too often. I'm not saying that God picked up the envelope and put it there for safekeeping or anything, but what are the odds of finding it somewhere like that? One inch of manila sticking out, after having given up finding it, and right after a shout out to the Big Guy? It's things like this that make me happy, because I know He's listening. Call it fate or luck or whatever you want. Believing is a choice, and it's a choice that I've made.

I have to say that I adore my friend Andie. She was writing about how much we can do for someone in another country with just a little amount of our own money. How one thing like an Xbox, for us, could mean a year's worth of food for a couple of children somewhere across the planet. Andie struggles with her family's finances at least as much as I do with ours, yet she still has that instinct inside of her to give, to help, to do whatever she can for someone else, because she knows (like I do) that no matter how bad we have it here, no matter how often we live paycheck-to-paycheck, or how much debt we have, or how many times our car breaks down, or our hours are cut at work... so many people have it worse than we do. Her compassion and her heart make me proud of her, proud that I know her and proud that she calls me a friend. We need more people in the world like Andie.

I'm 94 pages into my short story/poetry collection. I want to add another couple of stories, but I can't find anything in my 'archives' that I like enough, so I'm going to have to write some more. Not that this is a problem, I've just been busier again the past week. Plus, I have a small lack of inspiration when I get to this point in putting a project together. It's like the 2/3 wall. 2/3 of the way through the day at work, I usually hit a wall where I start to get agitated that I'm still at work, my stomach's grumbling for food, and I'm cranky. I get that way 2/3 of the way through writing, or putting something together, too. That's where I'm at right now. I want another 50 pages at least, and I'm cranky and I'm tired and I want it to be over. I want to finally get something out there, hope people like it, and make some money from it.

I'm random tonight, I know. This is nice, typing in the evening, because then I can get all my feelings and thoughts out and try to sleep afterwards. Or play solitaire. I heart this computer, did I mention that?

I got a wee bit misty-eyed watching the slide show tonight. Four years of marching band, and Zachary is so grown up now. He's six feet tall, very handsome. He's saving so much money towards a car and college, working every day before his classes and in the evenings sometimes, much more organized than he ever was before. I worry that he's not ready for college, but I don't think any kid is ever fully ready for college when they first go. I wasn't. I had never been away from my parents for more than two days in a row when I left for college! I had a three year old sister at home, a dying grandmother, and I moved three and a half hours away and took full time classes and worked part time and cleaned houses to pay for my books and put money towards all the other expenses. I was definitely not ready. I didn't listen to my academic adviser, so I took physics and calculus at the same time (neither of which I should have taken at all), and ended up on academic probation after my first semester. Luckily, by the end of the four years, I was more than ready and graduated .1 away from an honors GPA. I know he might not be ready when he goes, but he's got two parents that love him and care for him and will be there for him in a heartbeat whenever he needs us.

I've noticed that so many of the stories I write have insomnia laced throughout. Hmm. Wonder why?

Let's see if I can get some sleep, no?

SJS

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Hold Me Back

Seriously, I am so angry right now I could drive two hours and beat someone with a shovel, then get a Dunkin' Donuts coffee and drive back.

Our kids' stepdad thought it would be totally appropriate to respond to our son's post about Rocky Horror Picture Show by using the word "f*gg*t" which I will not even put the vowels into, because, to me, that's a worse word than the other 'f' word. (This was in reference to a character in Rocky Horror, not to our son. Had it been in reference to our son, I'm not sure I could be held responsible for my actions.) I could have written a book and posted it after his post, but I did tell him that it was inappropriate, that his vocal hatred of people whom God loved just as much as him disgusted me, that if he had a problem with that he could take it up with me or my husband, and that our son would be removing his post from Facebook the moment he came home from school. What I wanted to say was this:

What makes you, a man who has been fired from six jobs since I've known you, a man who has been kicked out of three churches, a Bible college for being a racist, and removed from a Youth Pastorship... what makes you think that you are better than anyone else on the entire planet? You have physically and emotionally abused our children and your own, you spout nothing but hatred all the time, and yet you dare to call yourself a Christian?! You are the quintessential poster boy for why people hate Christians! I will be the first to stand up on a platform and tell the entire world that I am a sinner, I fail every single day, so I'm not saying I'm better than even you... but how can you claim to be sinless, claim to be a follower of Christ, brag about how you don't watch television, tell everyone you encounter how they aren't Christians but you are, and then act like this? What makes you think that you have favor with God? What makes you think that Heaven is going to be filled with people like you? You're judgmental, condemning, and arrogant. You have no special powers, and you are not loved by God any more than any other man or woman, gay or straight, on this Earth!

I didn't say this. Not because I'm a coward. Believe me, if he calls or writes me personally I will tell him all of this. I didn't say it because I know what's appropriate and inappropriate to post on a kid's Facebook page! I am disgusted that this sort of hatred even exists, but moreso that it's close enough to our kids to have to be begrudgingly called a part of their family.

*Deep Breath*

I mean, seriously!? I just finished writing an entire book on hypocrisy. I should mail him a copy.

*Deep Breath*

HAS HE EVEN READ THE BIBLE!? Because that whole WHAT WOULD JESUS DO thing? Yeah, Jesus wouldn't hate gay people! Or ANY people! GAHHHHHHHHH!

*D E E P B R E A T H*

Okay. I'm fine. I'm going to go give my dog a bath.

Sigh.

I hate hate.

SJS

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Just a Little Bit...

to the left. No, to the right. Up. UP! Over a little. No, I am not able to get a good wireless signal from the neighbor's house, but if I jiggle this laptop back and forth verrrrry slowly... I can post this.

So, it wasn't a very productive weekend, but we did do the Indy trip, and our son did place in the top ten so he's moving on to State Finals next weekend for marching band. Concord also placed, so my friend Andie's son is on his way, too. Hoping both bands do well next week! It's always fun to see the state finals. Lucas Oil Stadium is where the Colts play, so if I were a Colts fan, it would be even cooler! Sadly, I couldn't possibly care less that the Colts play there. Sorry, Indiana peeps. I will never, ever, ever consider myself a Hoosier. Whenever my husband crosses back over the Indiana state line when we've been traveling, he sings, "Back home again in Indiana...." I just sit there and think how Indiana will never be my home, even if I do have to live here for the rest of my life.

I was supposed to spend the day removing the fleas from the house, but I decided I need to wait until it frosts to kill the ones outside, otherwise it's a pointless endeavor. I hate fleas, with a passion. I remember Ellen Degeneres' comedy skit about calling God and asking him why there is a reason for everything in the world, except for fleas. God's answer was that the flea removal industry created so many jobs. This was like, her first comedy routine on HBO back when I was pretty young. I've always loved Ellen, even back when she faked being straight. I like her a lot better now, though.

I've been going over a book I finished writing earlier in the year to get it prepared for eBook sales on Barnes and Noble and Amazon's Kindle page. Every time I go through it, I find more things I want to add or change or remove altogether. I suppose it's a good thing I'm not an editor. I'd never be finished with my job. On the flip side, though, I really enjoy editing. When I proofread, I always find errors and fix them. I find errors in books that are actually already published. I'm reading The Ragamuffin Gospel right now, just started, and I already found three errors. It's a great book, though, I can tell. (I do not proofread these blogs, by the way, so if you find mistakes on here it's because I'm just writing and posting, and doing it on purpose that way, for my own growth. I'm saying that so I don't look like an idiot when you find all the typos on here...)

I wish I could sleep better at night. So many of my stories have insomnia woven through them. And one of my favorite Stephen King books is, in fact, Insomnia. Tonight it's my own fault. I slept in late, and I had a Mountain Dew with dinner, so I have no one to blame but myself. Last night I listened to "The Cure" for awhile on my handy-dandy I-am-so-in-love-with-you laptop. I'm pretty excited about everything that this laptop has to offer me. I'll bet if Danny knew that, he would've charged me more for it... :P Although, I wouldn't have been able to afford it, so that's a moot point.

I love thunder. I love lightning. I love thunderstorms, with the rain and thunder and lightning all mixed together. But I sure hate rain. Just plain rain, with nothing exciting accompanying it. It's dreary and messy and I just don't like it. Tonight was going to be pretty cool, but then the lightning and thunder went away and it's just plain rain. Which means in the morning I'm not going to want to get up, because it's going to be dreary and messy. Grumble. But, I guess rain is important or something. Whatever.

I've been going through a bunch of my old writing -- poetry, fiction, papers for college, etc. I've found some interesting things out about myself. First, I write more about relationships than anything else. Emotional issues, mostly. Second, I have written some real crap in the past that I can't quite allow myself to throw away. Third, I have fundamental problems with creative writing teachers trying to quash my creativity by giving me such useless advice as "don't end verbs in 'ing', they become weak'. I wrote a poem using only 'ing' verbs to prove them wrong. It wasn't half bad. Some of the verbs were kind of weak, though. Fourth, there is nothing I have ever wanted to do for a living as badly as I've wanted to write.

In the past I have wanted to be: a scarecrow, a Solid Gold Dancer, a writer, a lawyer, a teacher, and an actress. I very quickly realized that a scarecrow is an inanimate object and not, in fact, a career path. Just as quickly, I realized I have no balance, coordination, or agility and therefore could not be a Solid Gold Dancer, especially after Solid Gold was canceled. I tried teaching both at the high school and collegiate levels, and did not enjoy either of these things. Law school was definitely not an option, though it still interests me, due to financial constraints. I act in my spare time, but do not have the drive or passion necessary to make it as a paid actress. Writing, though, will not leave my brain. For that matter, it won't leave my heart.

I wrote my first story when I was in second grade. We were given a book full of wallpaper samples and some yarn. We cut the wallpaper into book covers, filled it with scratch paper, and 'sewed' the binding on one edge with the yarn. My book was illustrated and called "Tanya the Brat", a true story about my younger second cousin whom I had just met and took an immediate dislike to in Wisconsin, mostly because she was both younger and cuter than myself. In fourth grade, I wrote such masterpieces as "The Library Mystery" in which an elementary school student realizes that the new librarian at school is a vampire, and in which I plagiarized several of the funnier lines from my new favorite movie, "Teen Wolf", because I had not yet mastered the art of dialogue. In sixth grade, I began writing poetry, mostly of the rhyming variety, and a short essay on "My Dream House" became seven pages of description of both the house and my married life to Donnie Wahlberg from New Kids on the Block, and our five children, Donnie Jr., David, Alex, Cynthia, and Christy. (Alex was a girl.) In ninth grade, I wrote my first two mini-novels, for which I received 6% extra credit in my advanced English class. Writing more poetry, of the non-rhyming variety this time, helped me cope with all of the self-esteem issues I had, plus the anger, plus the depression, plus the hormones, dare I keep listing things that teenagers go through?

The point is, even today, my brain is constantly spinning with things I want to put on paper, things I want to share with other people. Ideas I have for characters, names, places, events to unfold. I can't shake it. Sometimes they're good stories, and sometimes they suck. Sometimes I finish them, and most of the time I don't. Sometimes they're just for me, and I can't get rid of them no matter how badly I want to, because I remember the torment that drove me to write them. Sometimes they're for the rest of the world, and I want feedback from everyone. And sometimes... rarely, I'll admit, but sometimes... I want to burn it all and start over anew. I can't, and I won't do that. Mostly because no matter how bad the writing is, it led me to become a better writer, just like the writing I do right now I'll look back on and chuckle someday. But also because there is so darned much of it that if I burned it, the fire department would give me a citation for all the black smoke in my back yard.

Hopefully, though, you'll see some of it for sale very soon... I'll keep you posted!

For now, I'll try to sleep. We'll see how that goes.

SJS

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Chewy McChewerton

My dogs continue to chew at their skin. Fleas and a staph infection. Slurp, chew, lick lick, scratchscratchscratch. My heart goes out to them. But I seriously want to buy them each the 'cone of shame' to put around their heads so I don't have to keep listening to the sounds they make. Again, I am not without empathy. But... C'MON!!!!! I've given them 847 baths -- flea baths and antifungal baths -- and I don't have the money to take them both to the vet, and the vet won't just prescribe an antibiotic over the phone, and I can't just go and pick up the flea medication. At least, that's my assumption because that's how the last vet we had was. I went outside to get the dogs back in and there's Nikita, rolling around on the ground with all four legs up in the air. *THAT'S WHY YOU HAVE FLEAS AND A STAPH INFECTION!* I yelled at her. She glanced at me, but continued her rolling until I forcibly removed her to the house. It's like dirt is crack to a dog. Digging, rolling, sniffing... it's the XBOX of the canine universe.

So, my car. It has almost 180,000 miles on it and has been pulling to the right lately. When I say pulling, I mean that if I let go of the wheel for a nanosecond, I will be off the road. I took it in to get an alignment and the guy said, after I waited 40 minutes, I needed to get the tie-rod fixed before I had the alignment. He quoted me $125.00 plus tax. I didn't have that amount of money falling out of the oh-so-unreliable never-ending money river in my back yard, so I said I'd have to reschedule. In the meantime, I called TIRE STAR in Middlebury who had just done a very inexpensive oil change for me. Sure, they could replace it. I was there a half hour and it was $61 and some change. Less than half. You will now go to TIRE STAR and get whatever you need done, because they are saints.

This weekend is our son's Semi-State performance for the Northridge marching band. His last year, and definitely the best show they've done all four years he's been there. They came in 5th out of 14 at regionals this past week (and props to Concord and a shout-out to my friend Malachi because they came in 1st, and were pretty fantastic -- just don't tell my son I said that!) We're going to Indy to watch the performances. My least favorite place to drive is Indianapolis, and I don't much like the city, either. If he makes State the following week, that's at the stadium in Indy, so another fun drive... but well worth it. The state performances are something else! And they've made it every year before, so I don't see why they wouldn't this year. Good luck Northridge!

I am continuing to work on my writing lately. Reading has sort of fallen along the wayside and I'm trying not to let that distract me, because the writing was the real purpose in all of this. I want to publish my first eBook very soon. The cover art is going to be spectacular. My sister Savannah, who has an avid interest (and a lot of talent!) in the area of photography, is doing the cover art for me. I gave her the general idea of what I wanted, and she just rolled with it. I cannot wait to see the finished product! I'm close to being done editing this round, which means I'll probably edit another 40-50 times before I'm happy... but it's coming along.

I'm working on my next short story, too. Not sure where it's going, but I'm liking it so far. I love to let the story take me somewhere. It's more fun that way.

Time for food-making. Just Cheeseburger Macaroni and french fries tonight. Nothing fancy. But I've got some KILLER buffalo cheese dip I stole from my mom's house. She made it Sunday. I ran out of chips or it would all be in my belly right now, so I bought more chips at Harding's and I'm ready to roll!

Ahh... silence. No chewy dogs. Now I'm wondering what they're up to...

SJS

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Allow Me To Explain

So, the past couple of days have been pretty difficult for me, for personal reasons that I do not wish to discuss on a public forum (absolutely nothing to do with my marriage, however, so don't freak out.) Yesterday I was unable to word it, so I posted how I felt. It was a good post. Very therapeutic.

However, last night it got much better. For any of you who haven't been following my blog, I'll fill you in on something that annoys me. My kids are not my kids. I didn't give birth to them, anyway. They have a mom, and she just moved about four hours closer than she was. Now she's only 2.5 hours away. So last night, the parents of seniors in the marching band were to be acknowledge along with their kids. We walked down the track by the field, they announced the senior's name, then the parents' names. When we got to the center of the field, they were handing out a flower for the senior's mother. I assumed I would not get a flower, which wasn't a bad thing, I know my place even if I'm not fond of it. But our son stopped walking and said, "Can I have another flower, please? I have two moms." He didn't say he wanted one for his stepmom, he didn't just ask for another flower. He said he had two moms. And my heart melted, and I kept my tears in as best I could. But it made everything in the last two days 150% better, and I told him that when we were back home and all was said and done.

Plus, we won the final home game for our seniors in quadruple overtime, by one point. Go Raiders!

Today we have Zachary's Regional Marching Band Competition in Chesterton, Indiana. He performs this evening, so we'll watch a little football first and then be on our way. Wishing him the best of luck. It's their best show yet! Next year our daughter starts high school and marching band, too. I feel like I'm at a re-election campaign... Ffour more years! four more years!" keeps running through my head!

Our doggie still has her staph infection. I've been trying to get rid of it with the anti-fungal shampoo, but I fear I'll probably have to take her to the vet this week to get some antibiotics, too. The last two times, it went away with just the shampoo after a week. I feel bad for her. She's very uncomfortable. This is the first time since we've moved here that they've gotten fleas at this house.

I think my husband is watching a homeless man perform "Under Pressure" with two Kermit the Frog puppets online.

Hey, I can make beer brats on the grill today! Yay! I will go shower and do that. Or do that and then shower.

SJS

Friday, October 15, 2010

How I Feel Today

The following is an excerpt directly, in unison, from my heart and mind. I feel it quite accurately and eloquently describes everything I am feeling today. Please enjoy:



"GAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH! GRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR!!!! GAHHHH!
MEEEHHHHHHH! GRRRRR! ARGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGG!
MEEEEEEEEEEHHHHHHHHH!!! GAHHHH! MEEEHHHHHHH! GRRRRR! GAHHHH!
MEEEHHHHHHH! GRRRRR! GAHHHH!
MEEEHHHHHHH! GRRRRR! GAHHHH!
MEEEHHHHHHH! GRRRRR! GAHHHH! MEEEHHHHHHH! GRRRRR! GAHHHH!
MEEEHHHHHHH! GRRRRR! GAHHHH! MEEEHHHHHHH! GRRRRR!
GAHHHH! MEEEHHHHHHH! GRRRRR! GAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!! GAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH! GRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR!!!! GAHHHH!
MEEEHHHHHHH! GRRRRR! GAHHHH! MEEEHHHHHHH! GRRRRR!
ARGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGG!
GAHHHH! MEEEHHHHHHH! GRRRRR! MEEEEEEEEEEHHHHHHHHH!!! GAHHHH! MEEEHHHHHHH!
GRRRRR! GAHHHH! MEEEHHHHHHH! GRRRRR! GAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!
GAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!
GRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR!!!! GAHHHH! MEEEHHHHHHH! GRRRRR!
ARGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGG! MEEEEEEEEEEHHHHHHHHH!!!
GAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!
GAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!
GRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR!!!! GAHHHH! MEEEHHHHHHH! GRRRRR!
ARGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGG!GGGGG
MEEEEEEEEEEHHHHHHHHH!!! GAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!
GAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!
GRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR!!!! GAHHHH! MEEEHHHHHHH! GRRRRR!
ARGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGG!
MEEEEEEEEEEHHHHHHHHH!!! GAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!
GAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!
GRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR!!!! GAHHHH! MEEEHHHHHHH! GRRRRR!
RGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGG!
MEEEEEEEEEEHHHHHHHHH!!! GAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!
GAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!
GRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR!!!! GAHHHH! MEEEHHHHHHH! GRRRRR! ARGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGG!
MEEEEEEEEEEHHHHHHHHH!!! GAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!
GAHHHH! MEEEHHHHHHH! GRRRRR!
GAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!
GRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR!!!! GAHHHH! MEEEHHHHHHH! GRRRRR!
ARGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGG!
MEEEEEEEEEEHHHHHHHHH!!! GAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!
GAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!
GRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR!!!! GAHHHH! MEEEHHHHHHH! GRRRRR! ARGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGG!
MEEEEEEEEEEHHHHHHHHH!!! GAHHHH! MEEEHHHHHHH! GRRRRR!
GAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!
GAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!
GRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR!!!! GAHHHH! MEEEHHHHHHH! GRRRRR!
ARGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGG!
MEEEEEEEEEEHHHHHHHHH!!! GAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!
GAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!
GRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR!!!! GAHHHH! MEEEHHHHHHH! GRRRRR!
ARGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGG! MEEEEEEEEEEHHHHHHHHH!!!
GAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!"

Hope your day is better than mine.

SJS

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Mental Health Day: Revisited

This concept isn't really working out so much. I don't get much mental health out of it. I do end up having a small sense of accomplishment when I get some things done that I can't during the rest of the week. Like today, I have an alignment scheduled for my car. I had an oil change scheduled along with it until I found out that it was $42, so I canceled that and went elsewhere for my oil change (immediately across the street, in fact) and got it for $26. I don't much care what's better about the $42 oil change than the $26 oil change. If they remove the oil from my car and put new oil in, that's basically what I'm looking for. And if I can save $16 driving it across the street, so be it.

Ugh, and laundry. There is a never-ending mountain of laundry at my house. I think sometimes that my kids are under the impression that if they look at clothing, the clothing becomes dirty and must be washed, even if the clothing has not landed upon their body in any way. If they wear a pair of pajama pants for five minutes while walking from the bathroom down to their bedroom, they need to have those pajama pants washed. I don't understand this concept. I guess they learn the "sniff test" when they go to college, when they have to do laundry all on their own. "Is this dirty? *sniff* Nope. This? *sniff* YES!" And then there are the 5-8 towels we use per day, the extra towels right now because I have to give our fluffy dog a bath in anti-fungal anti-staph shampoo every day, gym clothes, blankets, pillowcases, blah blah blah. If ever I'm rich, I'm going to have a staff to do my laundry. Of course, by that time, it'll probably just be Steve and myself in the house, so it won't be that big of a deal. Speaking of which, I must take pause and go fold...

The point of this blog was for me to write. The point of reading 100 books this year was to force me to be more creative in my thinking, and put pen to paper (or fingers to keys) and vocalize my thoughts. The point of "reinvention" was to stop living so negatively and focus more on the positives, the blessings I've been given. I'm not going to beat myself up if I don't reach 100 books. I'm still trying, but the writing has taken over the reading and if one was going to take over the other, that's exactly the order in which I wanted it to happen. I've found an outlet for my thoughts (at least most of them) and a few people who are interested in listening, which is nice. Thanks to all of you. I appreciate it.

My husband shared with me a link that he received in his email. It's through Barnes & Noble, and the news is (to me, at least) pretty exciting. They are publishing eBooks compatible with their Nook software (either the free online software or the eReader they sell) by any author, allowing us to set our own list price, and we receive 40-65% commission. There is no other way to make as much money off of something that came out of my brain than to do it this way. Even the book I already have published only receives 8% royalties, and 12% if it reaches 10,000 copies which I just can't expect anytime before the year 3010. My brain is full of short stories, so I'm compiling a book of these. I've finished a book already that I've been shopping around for a publisher for, and this is an even better deal so I'm revamping it and editing it once again before submission. I'll be posting on here once I finally do publish any of my works. For now, though... if you're not inclined to purchase a Nook eReader, at least download the software for FREE onto your computer? Pretty please? For me? Awww, thanks! (Pretend I inserted an adorable emoticon right here just for you.)

It's just about time to pack up my laptop and head for Monteith Tire to get my alignment. I'll do some more writing and editing while there. Then it's back home to vacuum the 85 pounds of dog hair once again and finish the Mount Salisbury of laundry that's piled next to my washer.

I wonder if I sell enough books if I can buy some mental health?

SJS

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Weary

I am experiencing some bone-weariness right now. Normally, when I take a nap, I'm invigorated afterward, to the point where I cannot sleep that evening. I just woke up from having slept about two hours, catching up on some sleep I missed the last couple of days (which was totally worth it...) And I feel like I could go right back to sleep for the rest of the night, even though it's only 7pm.

Our service at church today was pretty amazing. I love Dr. Bob Laurent. In fact, I'd like to be able to take one of his classes at Bethel sometime. However, church is free and Bethel classes are pretty expensive. He's just such a genuine person (which, in itself, sounds funny -- as if the alternative is that he were an antelope pretending to be a person). To me, he represents the embodiment of a lack of hypocrisy. I want that in my life, whenever I can get it. Today he spoke on love, and how we sometimes make an idol of love in our lives because we are searching for something else, the one true love that only Jesus can give. But he did it in a totally non-trite, realistic, enrapturing way that I can't even describe. (No pun intended in that last line, there.)

The weather today was beautiful. Warm, sunny, blue skies, all against the backdrop of the autumn-painted trees which I so adore. If I had my own world, the trees would be different colors all year round, and it would be just warm enough during the day so you didn't need a jacket, but just cool enough at night that you wanted to have a bonfire and then snuggle. I just totally sounded like a girl, but that's okay because I am.

I've written a couple of short stories lately. I have a better time writing those than anything else. I have all of these ideas, and they come to fruition way too early in my head. It's not that I can't fully develop them into novels, it's that they're not meant to be novels. They're meant to be short stories. I like the short story genre. Maybe it's in my blood. I used to ask my family members to tell me stories when I was little. Sometimes they'd tell the same one, and I wouldn't correct them, I'd just listen again, noticing the differences and (though I didn't know how to define it at the time) noticing the editing process. Sometimes the same story would be shorter or longer, depending on the words used, the sentence structure, the energy level of the storyteller, or how often I'd heard that particular story. I think it's part of why I like to hone what I write so many times. It's also the exact opposite of this blog, because I just write and post on here and don't go over it a hundred times.

My reading has been slowing down (was that even possible?) I'm beginning to doubt myself and my 100-book goal. Did I overshoot? Should I have made it 50 books? Or did I procrastinate too much? Did I not have the right amount of drive? Or has the goal and blog accomplished what I needed it to accomplish without the 100 books? I'm not giving up, mind you, just wondering aloud. Well, on paper. Well, on the information highway.

I made beef stroganoff for lunch and ate quite a bit of that and creamed corn, but I'm hungry again. My power-nap has drained me of my powers. I want meat. Ribs, in particular, or wings from Buffalo Wild Wings. Or both. Steve is still power-napping, and we're broke, otherwise I might be tempted to get in the car and just make that happen.

Every time I think I'm broke, however, I know there are literally billions of people in the world that are worse off than I am, and I am thankful for all of the things I do have.

It's time to rustle up some food. Haha. I said 'rustle'. Who even talks like that anymore?

SJS

Monday, October 4, 2010

Back to the Grind (Literally)

Haha. It's funny because I work at the Daily Grind. Haha. Okay, not that funny. I remained in high spirits throughout the day! *Hooray!* Perhaps one day on and two weeks off would be good...

Normally I help Steve with the rest of his shopping after I clock out, but I had a TON of stuff to get accomplished today and I'm fairly certain I did it all. At least, all that was possible. I went to two banks, did banking for three people, went to the Dollar Store to buy mailers for some stuff I had to send out, went to the post office, wrote out the mortgage check for our other property and mailed all my stuff to my peeps, checked in at the BioLife Plasma donation place to get set up with an appointment, which they gave me information for and let me do online. I vacuumed the whole house which was once again filled with dog hair, went to Kroger because I had four coupons for totally free stuff with no strings attached (Oreos, potato chips, and two boxes of cereal! $13.00 worth of free stuff!) and I've started making dinner. Simple tonight, just grilled hot dogs and seasoned french fries, maybe some corn. The boys both have show choir this evening, and Steve's off doing his reading, so it's just going to be Aria and myself for who-knows-how-long.

My next project is to seriously start working on the basement. I want to paint it with waterproof paint and then a nice shade all over, and work on getting some carpet throughout. After that, we can worry about the walls I want put up. At least that will bring some life into the place. A nice bright, or light, color. I'm sick of it being basement-y and I'm sure the boys, who have their bedrooms down there, are pretty sick of it, too!

I got up early (for me) this morning and did my devotions and reading before work, showered, and dropped Zachary off at his job, then went in to work. Everyone was pleasant and asked about our trip. I should pass out the website address so people can just read about it! It's hard to tell 9 days worth of stories in between customers, that's for sure!

Everyone's having birthdays this week. My friend Kelly was the 3rd, Christy is the 6th, my sister Jen is the 7th, Scott is the 8th, and my sister Savannah is the 9th! I might go broke just buying cards! That's why Facebook is good (yeah, I said it)... I can wish people happy birthday there and save $3.99!!! Sorry, Hallmark!

Well, I should go check on the grill. I love, love, LOVE grilled food! Hoping for a nice, relaxing night!

SJS

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Starting Over, Starting Now

My church school teacher was pretty funny sometimes. Right before school let out for the day, he'd make us have one full minute of silence. Depending on his mood, sometimes it would be a fun game and sometimes we were totally silent because he'd had a bad day. My favorite times were when we made him laugh in spite of himself. After a few seconds of silence, someone would cough or make a noise with their desk, and he'd say, "Starting over, starting now" and then the one-minute would begin again. After a few times, we'd really get in the game and try to make it a full minute, then inevitably there'd be one joker who, two seconds before the minute was up, would burp. Our teacher, who had been trying to have the teacher-poker-face, would crack up and say, laughing, "Starting over, starting now". Eventually we'd get to go home, but it was usually a fun way to end the day. I miss him a lot. Especially when I realize I'm an adult and there are no more fun little middle school games to be had. Not that that has ever made me want to teach middle school. Kudos to him, because I couldn't have done his job. I'd have murdered a rotten hormonal little Tween at some point.

But it makes me think. I've had two weeks off. I'm going back to work, but I can have a fresh start. Maybe I won't be so sick of working with the public. Maybe I'll have a new-found energy I didn't know I had, or maybe I can make some daily goals that'll help me pull through with a smile on my face. Starting over, starting now. Let's see what happens.

I just finished a pretty good meal, if I do say so myself. I grilled boneless ribs outside, made french fries and peas, and shared it at the table with 4/5 of our family. Our oldest is at work right now, but judging by the dishes he left in the living room, he's already eaten.

I'm still reading "Gracie: A Love Story", which also makes me think of my middle school teacher. He was in love with Gracie Allen, I'm pretty sure. I was always a little jealous of a girl named Angie in our school because when we did some acting/comedy routines, he thought her Gracie was perfect. Mine wasn't. And I loved acting, so that kind of stunk. But Angie had a quality that I lack. Some sort of innocence to her, something that was not jaded at all. Even at a young age, I was cynical. And I'm not certain why that is. I didn't have a bad childhood. I mean, crummy stuff happens to everyone, and it either makes you or breaks you or doesn't change you at all, those are the only choices. But it wasn't particularly bad in any way. So why can't I have a positive, fresh, sweet/gentle outlook? Is it just not in me? Is it inherent in some people and absent in others? And if so, why is that?

I have a lot to accomplish this week, and on a very, very small budget since we're missing two weeks of my pay and one week of his because of our vacation. October should definitely be an interesting month...

On the plus side, I'm writing again.

SJS

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Monday is Too Close

Well, it's Saturday morning. At least, for now. In 48 hours I will be at work again. I'm not sure I'm ready yet. Nine days in Italy, then a week back home to recover. Not that I'm wishing to be one of the popular unemployed of Elkhart County, but I could get used to just hanging around the house, walking outside when I feel like it, sleeping in and such. But I remember the short amount of time when I was unemployed about a decade ago, and I really didn't like it all that much. Plus, the cute little phrase "I owe, I owe, so back to work I go" keeps making its way into my brain, proving once again that my mind is powered by dwarves.

This week, besides relaxing and cleaning the house, we took our oldest son down to Ball State for a college visit, where he promptly fell in love with the campus and talked more than I've heard him talk in a year. It's a very nice campus, I was impressed. It's just... college? Should I even be able to say "oldest son" and "college" in the same sentence without falling into sobbing fits of rage at the passage of time?

I have been reading. I posted the books up on my list, but I haven't discussed them yet. A couple of days ago I woke up and didn't get out of bed until I'd read an entire book. I don't feel particularly like delineating all of the good, the bad, and the ugly of these books, but I liked each of them. Right now I'm reading "Gracie: A Love Story" by George Burns. I liked the other George Burns book I read earlier in the year, so I thought I'd give this one a shot.

This was short, I know, but my heart's not in it at the moment. Too much to do, floating around inside my brain: shower, breakfast, brush teeth, go to District Marching Band competition, maybe the Apple Festival if we have time, church, take the movie back we watched last night, and try to savor the fleeting moments of freedom I have left before going back to work.

The worst part of vacation is always when reality comes crashing back down on your head the following Monday morning.

SJS