Thursday, February 28, 2013

She's Ba-ack...

Scary, I know.

Well, after a 14 hour day yesterday, I finally made it home.  Left my sister's house around 7:30am Eastern and arrived here around 7:30pm Mountain.  Started the day in the midst of a nasty snowstorm that made for an interesting drive from Battle Creek to Kalamazoo, an interesting delay in what looked like the airport of the damned in K-zoo, and an interesting flight to Chicago where my scheduled three hour delay got shortened by an hour.

Creepy, empty airport
Where my plane was scheduled to park.
The Kalamazoo airport only has 4 gates, and eventually people did arrive, but it was creepy for a while there.  Another thing about the K-zoo airport is that when you arrive a nice woman's voice (Reminded me of AIRPLANE!) tells you there's smoking in designated areas. What she doesn't tell you is that the only designated smoking area is the great outdoors.  Add to that the fact that the only place to get coffee is the other side of security and you've got me walking through security a few times.  Not bad if you're in a tiny airport.  Not great if you're at O'Hare. 

Which leads me to leg two of the journey.  When we finally left the 'airport of the damned' - scary takeoff from a snowy runway in a tiny airplane, btw - we headed across the southern tip of Lake Michigan.  (In case of a water landing your seat cushion can be used as a floatation device - which does nothing to prevent the hypothermia a February crash into the Great Lakes can give you.) I made it to O'Hare safely with a two hour delay.  I ate a mediocre lunch and had 90 minutes to spare.  Bored bored bored.  But hey!  If I play it right, I can sneak out for a smoke! 

10 minutes smoking followed by 30-40 minutes getting back in through security.  Totally worth it, btw.

I spent the remainder of the time talking to a nice woman who was traveling with her family to visit her daughter in Colorado.  And listening to the overhead voice tell me how overbooked the plane was.  When they called my name, I just about freaked - fearing they were going to tell me I got bumped.  I begged the lady at the desk to let me go home before she even opened her mouth.  Turns out they just wanted to ask me to change seats to allow a pair to sit together.  :whew: 

After some seat jumping and a little wrangling, I got my aisle seat (easier to bolt from the plane, my dears) and settled in with my Kindle to read.  Enter screaming child.  And me mumbling under my breath 'give it a pacifer... give it a pacifer... please god, give it something to suck on so its ears will pop'.  :shrug:  They never listen to me. 

By the time I got to Denver, all I wanted was to be left alone and to get home.  But I still had a 2.5 hour drive.  Lucky for me, the weather here was awesome.  The sun was shining, the roads were clear and the car started right up like a champion.  And I had enough gas to get home without having to stop.  I did stop at a little gas station in Lochbuie - for Dew, a potty break and a few calls to let everyone know I was on the ground safely.  The rest of the trip was uneventful.  Yay!

And now I'm home.  I'm still toast.  I ache all over from carrying baggage, trudging through airports and sitting most of the day.  But this too shall pass. 

Tomorrow, I'll talk about the week in Battle Creek and maybe a little about leaving my baby behind.  (But not too much about the latter because as long as I keep my mind off it, I don't get weepy.)

How have all of you been while I was away?

Monday, February 18, 2013

Over There

Today I'm over at Killer Chicks talking about letting go.

Wednesday I'll be heading over to Michigan for a week, so posts here will probably be sporadic at best until the 28th.  I already loaded a couple posts at The Unpublished Writers' Guide to Survival and Tabula Rasa for while I'm gone.  And I did the same for my scheduled Killer Chicks posts. 

That way you won't miss me too much.  ;o)

Have an awesome time while I'm gone, folks.

Thursday, February 14, 2013


I hope today brings you all the romance and happiness you can handle.  Personally, I'm not a huge fan of the day.  Head on over to The Killer Chicks to find out why.

What I'm looking forward to is tomorrow - when all the unbought candy goes on sale 1/2 price.  Sad, I know.  I should probably follow Janet's example and break off my love affair with food.  But not yet.  As bad as it all is for me, I do love it so.

How about you?  Happy to see Valentine's Day arrive?  What are your plans for today?  Spending it with your special someone, or curling up with a box of chocolates by yourself?  Or is this just another day for you?

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Negative Self-Talk and Other Fun Things

"You're so stupid."

"Hey, Gracy.  Wanna try walking past that without tripping over it this time?"



"If you had half a brain, you'd be dangerous."



"Smooth move, asshole."

Yeah, some of that is pretty harsh (and some of it ought to get you slapped in public).  Sure, you're probably not the kind of person who says stuff like that.  At least not in public.  But those are things that I've actually caught myself saying to... well.... to myself.

Maybe you're not quite that mean.  Maybe you only use the 'stupid' or the 'fat' references on occasion.  Hey, maybe you're one of the people who doesn't say mean things to themselves at all.  If you're one of the last, you're pretty damn healthy in the head and you can go now.

For the rest of us?  We're trapped in the world of negative self-talk.  Things we wouldn't dream of saying out loud to other people float around our heads like so much Charmin at the sewage lagoons.  Things we would slap someone else for saying to us are somehow acceptable for us to say to ourselves. 

Shouldn't be at least as nice to ourselves as we are to perfect strangers?  Shouldn't we expect at least as much civility from ourselves as we expect from others?

So, what I propose as the other - actually fun - fun thing in this post is that we all start creating a better habit for ourselves.  Instead of mentally berating ourselves, I propose that we give ourselves a few mental pats on the back. 

Just tripped over the ottoman for the millionth time since you moved it there two years ago?  Congratulate yourself on not breaking a toe or smashing your face into the floor or careening into the china cabinet. 

Just did something totally gauche - like misspelling a word in a query letter, or sending the query off without changing the 'Dear Mr. Doe' to 'Dear Ms. Jones' in the salutation?  Pat yourself on the back for having the courage to send that query letter out in the first place. 

Just dropped an entire pot of coffee in the middle of the kitchen floor?  Thank yourself for being wise enough to have all the supplies you need to clean it up, or maybe being smart enough to wear shoes in the house... Find something. Anything.  But make it positive!

Leave the negative talk for when you do something really horrible - like driving over the little old lady and her three Pomeranians... or wearing white after Labor Day.  ;o)

How about you?  What kinds of negative things do you say to yourself and how are you going to make it stop? 

And since it's the day before Valentine's Day, do something nice for the person you should love more than just about anyone else but the one you always forget about - Yourself.


Monday, February 11, 2013

Sticky Notes

I'm surrounded.  Sticky notes to the right of me.  Sticky notes to the left of me.  All of them staring at me, waiting for me to do something.  Make a call.  Write a check.  Research this.  Delete that. 


And mixed amongst them are non-sticky notes*.  A half-finished to-do list.  A note to call some guy about some things.  Notes on some other calls I made.  A list of blog topics.  A whole square of paper about a particular topic I need to write about. 

I'm drowning in little squares of paper over here.

(We won't talk about the pile of big papers sitting in front of the file cabinet.  That's a whole other kettle of fish.)

Is your desk covered in notes or are you more organized than I am?  What are your notes telling you to do today?

*I'm using the back of torn off Dilbert calendar pages as scrap notes.  Works pretty well and keeps me from having to buy notepads.

Oh, and if you haven't wandered over there, Silver James is guest posting again at The Unpublished Writers' Guide to Survival.  She's talking about Getting Physical.  Stop on by and join in the conversation.

Or stop by The Killer Chicks and learn about My First Crush.

Saturday, February 9, 2013

If I Were King of the World

If I were King of the World, I would demand all the real estate websites were rational and intuitive.  Plus, I would make them all interact with each other.  If you went to one, you would find the same ease of use there that you find everywhere else.  I would ensure the map locations were actually the map locations and that every property had a street view.  As King of the World, I would issue a decree that 'full disclosure' actually meant full disclosure, so when it says 'move in ready' it's ready for someone to live there - safely and without fear of electrocution or drowning.

There would be no half-ass remodels.  There would be insulation in every wall.  All plumbing fixtures would be in proper working order.  All light switches in every house would turn something on and off - every time.  There would be contractors who didn't cut corners and did their work on time and under budget. 

If I were King of the World, cute would mean it looks nice - not that it's dinky.  Cozy would mean you felt at home in it - not cramped.  And TLC meant it might need some paint - not a complete gut and rebuild.

Anyone who didn't comply?  Off with their heads!  Or at the very least a long stay in a dungeon that was NOT built to code.  See how you like that damp and drafty hole, you buttwarts.

(Don't ask.  It's been a long and irritating week.)

What would you do if you were King of the World?

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Taking the Bull by the Horns

Oh, did you think I meant something else?  ;o)

(And yeah, that's me.  The Kid has the other end.)

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Taxes... :shudder:

Well, folks, it's that time of year again.  Tax time!  Weee.  Yippee yay hurray. 

Umm, riiight.

I spent a chunk of time yesterday sorting my receipts and getting them plugged into Excel.  The good news is I only spent about a third of what I spent in 2011 on books.  Yeah, that's the bad news, too.  I saved a lot of money, but my heart is weeping. 

And now that everything's arrived in the mail - all the W2s and 1099s and 1098Ts - and everything's been sorted, entered and paperclipped into neat little bundles, I can begin. 


I'll be starting that this morning.  Don't worry, though, I'll still be here throughout the day.  I'm going to need something to keep my brain from frying.

What about you?  Do you do your taxes as soon as you can, or do you wait until April and hope for the best?  Are you more inclined to get them done if you're pretty sure you're getting a refund?  And last question... do you do your own taxes or pay someone else?

Monday, February 4, 2013

Want to Win?

If you want the chance to win a book, stop by Tabula Rasa.  I posted a snippet from a book I love and I'm offering you the chance to snag a copy.  All you have to do is comment.

Also, since the winner of my 1000th post contest never got back to me, I'm going to use that fundage to pay for a contest over at The Killer Chicks tomorrow. 

Yes, I am everywhere.

Saturday, February 2, 2013

I Just Don't Get It

The film adaptation of Stephanie Meyers book The Host will be hitting theatres soon (I don't know exactly when, but I assume soon because people are talking about it on the social media sites).  And seeing a Twitter page about it this morning made me realize something.

I just don't get the attraction.

I tried to read The Host.  I really did.  My daughter loves the book and I hadn't read anything by Stephanie Meyers yet, so I sat down and made a concerted effort to read it.  And I managed to slog through about a third of that paperweight before I finally gave up.  The Kid said I was almost to where it starts to get good.  A third of the way through and it starts to get good? 


I thought we writers were supposed to make sure it 'got good' in the first few pages.  Hook the reader and then keep them hooked all the way through the book.  Right?  Am I missing something?

Now, I have nothing against Ms. Meyers.  She's wildly popular and that's awesome.  Someday I hope to glean a bit of the popularity for myself.  And I have nothing against the book itself.  It wasn't for me.  And the reading of it was long enough ago that I don't remember exactly what turned me off... unsympathetic characters perhaps?  :shrug:  I just didn't get into it.

And that's the way this writing biz goes sometimes.  Some people love you and some people don't. Hell, that's the way life goes.  And that's okay.

I'm still trying to figure out why anyone in their right minds would willingly read James Joyce.  :shudder:  Or why the public school system feels the need to force feed Catcher in the Rye to impressionable minds.  (As an aside, I loved the fact that in Conspiracy Theory, the government uses Catcher in the Rye to brainwash their assassins and then uses it to track them - because they've all got a compulsion to buy the book wherever they are.)

But I digress. 

Maybe the popularity of The Host was based on the public's love of the Twilight books.  (Still haven't tried reading one of those.  I saw parts of a couple of the movies and... meh.)  :shrug:  The reading public wants what it wants.  And I'm guessing I'm not in the majority.

And for the record, I never got the people's love for Gone With the Wind either (the movie, not the book - which I haven't read yet either).

Don't mind me.  I'm just rambling this morning.  What about you, though?  If you've read The Host, what am I missing?  Is there some other book or movie that's popular but you just don't get why?  On the other hand, is there some book or movie you just love never became wildly popular, and you don't understand why?

(Play nice, folks.  Saying you didn't like something is fine as long as you don't get nasty about it.  And no arguments in the comments, folks.  We'll just agree to disagree and keep those disagreements to ourselves, eh?)