Monday, March 30, 2015

Golden Hearts

Last week I found out I'm a finalist for the RWA (R) Golden Heart (R) Contest for unpublished writers.  (I don't know how to make the little symbol with the R in the middle. Sorry.)

For me this was a huge honor.  For the cats it was rather traumatic. Poor Buckles was sitting right behind me when I let out a victory screech. It took them a while to confirm I'd regained my sanity before they'd come back over.

Anyway, this will look great on my writing resume and I was so excited for that. Little did I know...

Almost immediately my inbox experienced an inundation of email unlike anything since the great flood, if the flood had been electronic instead of wet.  It turns out the finalists are a super fun group of women who want to be my friends!

Writing is a solitary activity, unless you count the people in your head, which my therapist says I can't. So, it means so much to have friends and peers who get the process, who understand the reward of typing The End, who share dreams of being on a book shelf, who get rabid insecurity, and who want to jabber sometimes to people who will answer back. And now, I have a whole bunch more friends to add to my circle! We've known each other via email for less than a week, but already bonds are forming and we're planning to keep in touch long term, to encourage and help each other find success, and to celebrate when we do.

Now, I can't talk about writing friends without mentioning CritGroup13, including Jodie, Christina, and Donna. We've been sharing life and writing for what...six years now? And they probably know me better than almost anyone in the world. Even though we've only gotten to hang out all together once. Once! (If I were going to indulge my corny side, I would say they truly have the Golden Hearts (R). But I won't. And they do.)

So, today I'm grateful for email, that makes long distance friendships so much easier. For friends who stay friends no matter how long its been, and who immediately go into fun-goofy mode the minute you get together again. For fellow writers who share my passion for story, for those moments, however rare, when we can all be together and get a little crazy. For this finalist opportunity, and for all the friends I didn't know came along with it!

Monday, March 23, 2015

The Little Airplane vs. The Big Nor'Easter

This is the BEFORE picture. Note the happy, unsuspecting
smiles of two friends/ who don't anticipate a potential
death match over a vomit bag.
Perspective is crazy. Not just in the I-can-pinch-your-head-when-you-stand-far-away way, but how your definition of what is good, or what will make you happy can change based on experience.

Last fall I got on a flight to North Carolina for a writer-girls weekend (shout out to Jodie, Christina and Skype-Donna!)

During the layover in Washington-Dulles where I met up with Christina (yay!) we were told our flight was 20 minutes late. Boo. But then that moved and then it moved again. So after a while we were going to get in late, but I was just hoping to get in soon. Then, we go up in the air in a cigarette with wings and fly through a Nor'easter.

Do not get in a plane and fly through a Nor'easter. It was like driving on a rumble strip through the mountains with portions of the road blown out. My new definition of happy very quickly became to land without having puked. I had my little sick bag ready and I was eyeballing Christina's, ready to kype it as needed.

About an hour after the "we're landing soon so put up your tray tables" announcement, we started flying up instead of down.  Not good. The pilot said cross winds were high, but we'd try again.

So. We go lower and lower, and I breathe harder and harder thinking non-puky thoughts, and we're so low I could literally reach out my window and pick a weed off the Tarmac...and then we sore up into the windy heights again. Me and my stomach were yelling "Nooooooo!"

Pilot man lost his nerve, which in retrospect, I'm okay with. I'd rather have a pilot be cautious than end up sliding down an inflatable slide while firemen spray foam at the plane. But at the time, I didn't feel that way. Again, perspective.

So, now I'm praying harder than I've prayed since the last time I got pulled over, and deep breathing, and also trying to figure out what we'll do if the pilot makes good on his threat/promise to take us to Dulles instead, if our third attempt isn't successful. I'll be happy if we can just land here. At all.

We fly lower, and lower, and I pray harder, and harder, and continue to think non-puky thoughts, and then....BAM. We hit the runway. Hard.
This is what waited at the other end. This
and lots of chocolate and laughs. Yes, it was totally
worth it.

And you know what? We applauded. I applauded. Because at that point, the only thing I wanted in the world was to be on the ground, and I was! And as a bonus all my dinner was still inside me!

All this is to say, I want to be grateful for the little things, without a Nor'easter in the mix. So today, I'm grateful for pretty weather, and windows that open, and cats that didn't wake me up early. For sweatshirts and yoga pants, for breakfast. I'm grateful for my laptop and that the battery lasts a long time, for auto back-up so I don't have to live in partial panic that I'll lose EVERYTHING some day by accident. I'm grateful for toilet paper, and indoor plumbing, for warm water, and clean clothes. For eyeliner! For clean water, for coffee, and for fun mugs. For beaches, and friends, and even experiences that make me remember how much I have to be thankful for.

Monday, March 16, 2015

You Are My Sunshine

One might wonder why, for a post about sunny days, I would choose a picture of red peppers.

If one has ever been badly sunburned, one knows exactly why. Because just like those peppers, you're red, and burning, and pointy....okay, not pointy. That was just to see if y'all are paying attention.

But for real, yesterday the fine state of Colorado reached the mid-70's for the first time this year. And, to celebrate, I cleared my schedule and spent the day outside reading and editing.

The whole day.

The funny thing is, I only spent a few hours of that time in direct sunlight because my favorite reading spot in the backyard is nice and shady in the afternoons. But, those few hours were long enough to get a sunburn. Oh, it's not a red, burning, pointy sunburn, just a pinkish warm-to-the-touch one that will fade rather quickly.

But you know what? I'm cool with it. (Lame pun unintentional) For the next few days I won't be able to forget the lovely time I spent outside.

I'm as anti skin cancer as the next person, but this mild rosiness wouldn't be possible without that beautiful weather.  And if the price for being able to loll in my papasan chair with a glass of wine and a favorite book is a baby sunburn, well then welcome baby sunburn.

I'm thankful for sunny days and spring, and sunscreen--which incidentally, I did put on my face--and the smart people who figured out how to make it not feel greasy. For favorite books, wine, time to put my feet up and enjoy the sunshine, and yeah, even a little sunburn now and then.

Thursday, March 12, 2015


My library is nice, but not quite this nice.
picture by imelenchon
This is me resurrecting my poor blog. It didn't die, its just been cryogenically preserved for...a while.

But for a number of reasons it's now been reawakened and I will have to think of things I'm grateful for at least three times a week. In part, because I am adopting, and in this time of waiting for a placement, I want to keep myself focused on things I do have.

I've never been a budgeter. As long as the income is exceeding the expenses, I didn't worry about it. I admit it. And if I had been, the book allowance would likely remain unregulated because I love them and I feel like they're a good investment. Hey, I reread some of them!

But, alas, since adoption isn't free, I'm now saving extra-hard, so my book budget went from astronomical to just above nil. It was a painful choice. I window shop on amazon and lust after new releases the way Carrie Bradshaw looked at shoes.

When I took my little pity-party public on Facebook, so many people were quick to remind me about the library. I've used it before, I use it often for audio books when I'm traveling for work. But for whatever reason I've never gotten into using it for actual books. I think it goes back to the limitless budget for buying my own copies.

So, after some amazon-lusting I went to the online library system to see if they had the new releases I wanted. One, they didn't. Boo. But one they did! Yay!  So now I'm happily ensconced in a new novel. It turns out the library copies are just as enjoyable as personal copies, as long as you don't dog-ear the corners. So, I'm grateful for libraries, fresh stories, a society that still recognizes the importance of written art, and artists who labor to make them. I'm also grateful for all those books I managed to accumulate before my self-imposed embargo. My pretties!