Category Archives: My Life

Unfriending Unfoeing

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Lately I’ve been going through some stuff. My personal life is in an upheaval of mammoth proportions. The ground is shaky beneath my feet, the sands shifting under toe while I try and maintain a balance that I’m not sure I ever really felt. The modern world is a fast paced and intruding place. Information flies at the stroke of a key, it is impersonal at best and obscure at worst, feeding our lives with false perceptions of the outside world. For those of us that are isolated, either by geography or circumstance or our own design or a globulous combination of them all, it can be a wonderful opportunity to step out of our lives and taste attachments, friendships, family. It can also be very damaging place to interact with others.

The truth is that we don’t see what is on the other side of the screen. We do not really know what that person who is commenting on our photos or replying to our blog posts really feels or thinks about us. All we have is their words without even the luxury of reading facial cues or picking up on tones. All those little things that tell us if the other person is being sincere, genuinely interested, sarcastic, angry or mocking.

Facebook is a huge deterrent for me. I am isolated and very literally go for weeks without speaking to another adult other than my husband. The only adult interaction I get otherwise is through Facebook. I have close to two hundred friends, many of them I don’t know in “real life”, I have never heard their voice, don’t know their cat’s name or even know if the name they display is really their own. I have connections to people that do not know those things about me.

For the most part my interaction has been pleasant. I post things that are important to me, funny things the kids say, photos of our vacation and a handful of acquaintances reply with positive things.  But what about the others? What about the ones that seem to want to deter me? That have very little positive to contribute? That feel the need to nit pick information I find useful and repost? That comment under the guise of being “supporting” but their words stab at you underhandedly?

We all probably have those, I think. The people we restrict because they are SO damn adamant about a particular topic and you realize that you just can’t hear another word about it because you will never change. The ones that say they’ll pray for you when you ask for help moving. The ones that remind you how bad they have it every time you make the smallest gripe. Or the ones that just ignore you when you have an accomplishment you’re proud of.

And you know they’re online because the little green dot hangs next to their name but they don’t respond. Or they tell you they can’t figure out how to send you a message while PM’ing your spouse. Or tell you they can’t visit you in real life because of whatever Very Important Reason and then you see then tagged in someone elses photos at the beach.

Is it better to be ignorant? Before Facebook I didn’t know any of these things. I was blissfully ignorant I suppose, of these facts. That my place in their world because I wasn’t constantly in it. Contact was established the old fashioned way, by a telephone call or a happenstance meet up at Target. I saw only what I was physically present for and meanings were never misconstrued because I could read body language and voice cues.

Or is it better to know? To understand where you truly stand in a relationship? To hear the lip service and be able to recognize it as bullshit?

And when we know these things, that our place of importance in someone’s life, where we thought we stood on solid ground, is really us straddling a tectonic plate and we start to feel the vibrations of unsteadiness do we remain in these “friendships”? Why do we not unfriend the people that drag us down? Are we afraid of retribution? I am fairly certain each of my Friends is Friends with at least one other person on my list. If I unfriended them would I lose more friends because of it? What does that friend list really mean? Would those people help me if I fell, would they encourage me if I was sad? Or share in my joy when I had an accomplishment?

Many would not. They wouldn’t spare the characters on the screen to tell me “good job” or “keep your head up” or whatever social comfort I was looking for by posting my status updates. We all have these hangers-on in our lives why do we keep them? Those that show no interest, that never comment or post are easy to forget about. What does remaining “friends” with them accomplish? Are we secretly holding out the hope that that one best friendship we had in middle school will blossom again twenty years later? Are we doing it out of misplaced loyalty?

The journey through life is meant to be traveled through there are relationships and attachments that we make in life that serve their purpose and we are meant to leave them behind. They serve us no purpose; to remain clinging to something that has passed. That is the nature of life, for people to flow in and out of it taking things with them and leaving things behind, washing away and filling up again, smoothing out the rough places, wearing down the excess. I believe that people are placed in our lives for however long they are needed and then the Universe ebbs them back. They leave their mark and take with them things we need to leave behind, but one lingering question, in this digital, connected world in which we live is this

How will our lives change if we are never allowed to let go?

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Happy Everything

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May your Christmas be merry.

May your Hanukkah (Chanukah) be bright.

May your Solstice be sacred.

May your Kwanzza be friendly.

May your Chalica be creative.

May your Ramadan be holy.

May your Festivus be unfrustrating.

May your Saturnalia be sunny.

May your Pancha Ganapati be lovely.

May your Humanlight be shining.

May your Wintermas be cozy.

May your Chrismahanukwanzadan be welcoming.

May your Flying Spaghetti Monster Holiday be unique.

May your Hogswatch be unfrightening.

 

And to all those I’ve missed, have a great time. See you next year.

 

May your Malkh be sunny.

Back from the dead

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Outlandish!

I’m going to give myself airs and say “You’ve probably been wondering where I’ve been.” It’s been seventeen days since I last checked in with ROW80, since I stopped writing my NaNo novel, since I basically was last seen on the face of the planet.

I think I’m not quite ready to come out of my cozy cabin but I’m going to force myself anyway.

I’m still spending a lot of time reading about Autism, watching movies on Autism, taking baby to his appointments, researching things about Autism, modifying out diet to be even stricter with gluten/legume/casein free-ness since that can help Autism. You get the picture. But I have settled down a lot since then. I started reading actual fiction and not feeling guilty that I wasn’t spending my available time reading about something that will not do a thing to help my son. I stopped doing quite so much research.

But let me tell you that it’s hard. I want to do as much as I can for him right now and that takes up a lot of time and nearly all my brain power. Because during that time I also have to home school four other kids, get stuff ready for the holidays, cook, clean, etc. etc. I haven’t been writing. Unless you count all copious forms I fill out for various things. Which I don’t.

I’m looking for new flash fiction challenges to spur me back into writing. I haven’t forgotten about Faylinn but need to go back and read what I’ve written and actually make notes on what’s happening since I’ve basically been pantsing my way though it. And I really do like where my story is going for NaNo so I want to get back into that.

Also, if anyone that wins NaNo this month and gets the 50% off Scrivener coupon but doesn’t want it I’d be more than happy to take it off your hands since my trial is up and every one of my novels is on Scrivener. (doh!)

I hope you all had happy holidays and I’ll be checking in with some of you later today!

Any flash fiction links? Anyone not using the Scrivener coupon that wins NaNo? Any ideas for getting back into the writing groove?

Sun Day

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Oh, woe is me! Just getting a little bellyaching out of the way.

I usually like to keep my ROW80 updates kinda upbeat, look at things positively and all that both for me and for you guys reading this. But man, I just had a pretty terrible week. There were some awesome highlights – Like meeting Elizabeth Mitchell in person!and being the one to change her virgin sushi status even if it wasn’t sashimi. It was my first time meeting another writer in person and chatting about stuff and the craft now I want to do it all the time.but overall wow.

And really it all is just my personal inner demons running amok. I thought I was good with losing that 2k last week. I jumped right back on the horse that next day and replaced all those words and made the daily goal but writing that much in two days really wore me out. But last Sunday came around wow, I was really struggling, biting, clawing my way to reach goal, got detoured by creating a money system, got back on track and then boom, Monday hit and I really lost momentum.

I think part of it was the dishwasher breaking, then the fridge, then hubby’s car. Monday’s are always hard because we have Max’s Speech Therapy, Friday’s too because of the same, though she comes here for it, I still have to get the house reasonable and it’s later in the day. I also had to redownload Scrivener, was 80% through a test for my college when FireFox crashed and lost my progress. They only allow 1 sign in for it so I had to spend about an hour trying to get them to reopen the test for me. I’ve also been spending a ton of time on the phone with insurance companies and doctors. I finally got Max an Autism evaluation (a full entire day Tuesday) which I’m stressing over. On one hand he needs to be diagnosed so he can qualify for services, on the other I don’t want him labeled, and on the third what happens if he’s not diagnosed and we can’t get the services he does need? I’m a mess.

So I got behind on NaNoWriMo by about 15oo words, nearly a full day. Yesterday I woke up at a ridiculous time and went to Starbucks for 3 HOURS and wrote 3k before my eyes started to refuse to focus, I was still 1k behind. Each day has been spent making up the ones from the day before and then hacking away a little of the daily goal. But still not making goal which mean those numbers just keep piling up.

It starts to feel like a weight on your shoulders. Each word a pound you carry around with you as you do what’s required of your day. Then you get snippy because damn, that’s a heavy load and all you want to do is sit and get it done because you know that this NaNo story is actually not crap. It might not be Water for Elephants but you know, not crap crap.

And so -if you’re like me- you neglect stuff like showering which makes you feel even crappier. You forsake the sun for writing. You grab hand fulls of something that you can eat without a fork that won’t get crumbs on the keyboard but never really eat a meal. You rarely venture out of yoga and/or sleepwear (and then think, well it doesn’t look like pj’s…  p.s. yes, it does.)

I want to say that I’m not just a writer but a good writer. But when you’re in this hole of darkness feeling the weight of your task pressing down on you, seeing your friends bars fill up with blue while you’re pulling against the tide for each and every word you manage on the paper. Holy Wow.

I’ve written Nineteen Thousand Words since November first. Twelve days of writing and guess what? I’m done.

I’m not done writing or even participating in NaNo, because seriously I love that little bar graph. Honestly, if they need to raise money what they need to do is create a program like an app that is basically the STATS page and make it customizable. I would buy it in a heartbeat. (If the ever do this in the future I’m taking full credit for the idea right now.) But I am done driving myself crazy. I know that’s kinda the nature of NaNo but I didn’t really get into this to win, I got into it because this particular story won’t leave me alone (you writer’s know what I’m talking about when I say a character is literally in my head demanding my time and focus) which is hampering my ability to do any other writing (You Faylinn fans out there I haven’t forgotten about her, just tell yourself she’s learning from the Professor right now, she’ll be back when she stumbles on something vital).

I’m going to start showering again (you’re welcome hubby), and working out, and making meals rather than foraging in the kitchen and if I don’t make my word count for the day I’m not going to sweat it. I’m past the initial point in my writing where I usually flounder (around 12k) and I have a good solid plan for the future of the book something I haven’t had before. I’m excited over this book and do plan to finish it if not by the end of November than soon.

For those of you interested and that suck with my pity party and rambling here’s another excerpt a little longer than the others from Midnight in the Hollows. I tried to really capture the different emotions between the two men in this I hope you like it! (and constructive criticism is always welcomed)

Enjoy and all you NaNo’ers go take a shower!

~

“Hush now. Do not show your disrespect, not now.” A quiet fell over them as he opened the box. A tiny gilded figure rested at the bottom on a bed of dried flowers and herbs. The scent of the well oiled hinge, the dried bits, the scrub pine of the box wafted up to them. Wes identified the figure immediately. It was the Goddess Mithra, the fabled mother of the world. She stood naked, her long locks covering her ample breasts, her stomach was bulged, fat with a child, thin arms were spread, welcoming those to her embrace. She was beautiful, as she should be. Ryche shut the box and placed the figure on top, around the box turned pedestal he placed little white candle stubs lighting them with a piece of tinder from the hearth’s fire. He moved slowly, reverently as he performed his tasks. The light flickered along the golden features giving the illusion the tiny figure’s features were moving.

Wes understood this ritual. While the mainlanders had either completely denounced the Old Gods or morphed them into some perverse worship service that aided only the kings, those on Ibius still held onto the old ways. He knew these gods, these ancient ones, had sent them prayers and felt their presence in the world around him when he was a boy. He had participated in their rites, bowing to the sea goddess Euri when she gifted them with full hulls of fish, sacrificing the gott lamb to the goddess Ibiurum -of which their island was named for- to keep them safe in the bosom of her caves during harsh winters, sending their dead to voyage with Rakyk to the afterlife in Chegobetum’s embrace. Cheering Lassobu with overflowing cups of mead, asking Luthumalevus for his blessing over the animals and trees and Mithra, the high empress of all the gods, blessing their babies and their marriages and their deaths. Burning her effigy made of rowan and vined with herbs and flowers as they greeted each new spring.

His eyes watered and he wiped the tears away with a smile. For they were not tears of sadness but of joy. His heart squeezed tight in his chest as the memories flooded him and the simple beauty of the Gods filled him up. Here, in this rotting hut, with this damaged man there was a presence that could not be denied. Whatever awaited him on the battlefield he would endure. He felt the hand of the Gods on his shoulder for he was a true believer, he carried them with him wherever he would go and they would see him through his trials. He knew they would not abandon him, they would not let him break his promise.

As he listened to Ryche mutter the sacred prayers, he felt calm and understanding envelope him, as the memories crashed around him he understood the simple meaning wrapped in the words. And there was one part to each memory that he held in his mind and his heart. One that he was certain the God’s had made sure was placed there, beside him, holding his hand in both sorrow and joy, in love. For all the memories he held there was another that held them with him, that stood beside him, that had cried and laughed those same times, and at that moment he understood that since the beginning she had been made for him and he would not break his promise to her.

Ryche prayed for the boy, for his immortal essence, for the girl that waited for him and for his son who’s essence he prayed had found it’s way to find peace in the afterlife. He prayed hard for those that never came home from battle and those that did that were less than whole and for the ones left behind never knowing how their father, brother, son had spent their last moments alone scared and dying for a king that didn’t care. He prayed -not aloud- that the boy might change his mind pleading to the goddess to save this one boy -no, not a boy but man. Save this man from a painful and lonely fate.

He was not Wes’ father and could not order him to stay, he could not say that he was being foolish and stupid, that glory on the battlefield and the riches that were promised with it were fleeting and not worth the price they extract from your essence. That the things you saw and smelled and did would never leave you. That for years and years you would wake up crying, sweating, reaching for a weapon that had long lost it’s purpose. That your insides would change, that the ones you loved before could no longer love you because of it.

~

 

Happy Halloween!

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This weekend my mom came up to spend Halloween with us. I LOVE Halloween, fall, harvest all that stuff. Though it’s hard to get into it down here in Florida what with the three colors we have; green, dead and cement. I do really miss the northern Autumns I grew up with. For some reason it just doesn’t “feel” like fall to me when there are highs in the 80’s. But I still love the season and grab hold of whatever I can.

Since being a parent and learning how to read packaging labels I’ve discovered there is one aspect of Halloween I just. can’t. stand. The Candy. Oh my word, the kids are like saccharine vampires constantly begging to sink their teeth into another sugary treat. Or maybe it’s more like a werewolf with a mouth full of razor sharp sweet teeth. The fights that ensue over me trying to pour the cold drought of reason over their burning sweet desire are EPIC. (like the fact that they’re just at this moment in the midst of a series of dental appointments to get fillings done for cavities, the pinch of that needle barely enough to keep them restrained) So the Switch Witch visited us last night.

It also means that I’m pretty busy.

Do not anger the bee.

I’ve just finished up a week long Tarot reading for story writing class which was amazing. I can’t even tell you how many ideas and progress of my story line I’ve gotten in the class. I’ll be posting specifically about that soon. So, I’ve made some progress on NaNo outlining, I’ve worked out a couple times, I haven’t really blogged much and I haven’t worked on Faylinn’s Chronicles at all. UGH!

Today hubby and I are going out to brekkie while mama watches the kids! Then heading to the toy store while we can to check out this thing I want to get the baby. Tomorrow, Max has speech therapy which means my day is usually shot, plus we’re down to 1 vehicle so I have to make the 35 mile one way trip four times in one day. Great way to gear up for NaNoWriMo huh?

5 year planning

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I’m a pantser. It’s a pretty well known fact.  Because of this pantsing I rarely plan out anything. I don’t outline my stories, I don’t meal plan, I don’t even really budget. I’m working on this as its a hindrance rather than a help. I can see areas in my life that pantsing just isn’t acceptable for. Which is really most all of it.

I was inspired by Kait Nolan’s post regarding changing her 5 year plan and what it now entails. She’s right on the money when she says kids are a hindrance but the sacrifice is worth it. For me at least. She talks about creating a S.M.A.R.T. plan.

My first goal is to finish my AA in Early Childhood Education and start and complete my BA in Early Childhood Education after. This is a huge goal for me personally as I’ve been working on this two year degree since August 2008. I want to step it up. I’m also doing this debt free so having the money to pay for classes is also rolled into this goal.

My long term goal is to either go to seminary school and become a Unitarian Universalist minister to become a youth minister or teacher in a UU school or go to a Waldorf school for training to become a Waldorf teacher. Either of those will probably be after the kids are finished homeschooling but I need to be prepared, I just don’t know which I want to do yet. I also want to use the BA degree in the interim to get my teacher’s license in whatever state we’re in and perform home school evaluations, counseling and tutoring.

My second goal is to finish and publish one of the many books I have currently in progress. I want to have it completely written out by December 2012 with my personal editing done and ready for professional editing, cover art, beta readers etc. I know 5 years for 1 book, right? But I just don’t have the time I would like to put into it. My kids have to come first, homeschooling comes first, my school comes first. When you put it in those parameters, 5 years isn’t all that bad.

I have about a dozen novels in various states of repair. I’d like for one of them to find life as a finished novel. I’m breaking this down into smaller S.M.A.R.T. steps also but for your sanity I won’t post that lengthy bit here. (I also have to figure out which one to stick with…)

My third goal is to increase my current strength by 200% or more. Nope, my goal isn’t to be a size six (wouldn’t that be nice!) or to be XX pounds or whatever. I want to be healthy. I want to be strong. I want to be a lifting badass. I need to go to a gym and get a lifting baseline which won’t happen for at least another 4-5 months. Which means if I can lift 50lbs I want to lift 150lbs, 75lbs= 225lbs and so on. I’m going to do what I can at home in the meantime but I’m also spending this time reading about lifting, strength training and more about the Paleo diet, incorporating more of it into my life each day. The weight will come off but it’s the strength that I’m really looking toward.

There are other goals that I wish I could plan into my 5 year plan, like where we’re going to live, and what we’re going to be doing but honestly, me and life are so unsure about that I don’t even want to attempt it. Three years, five goals, seems do-able.

I’ll be breaking these down further in accordance with S.M.A.R.T. and writing them out long hand in a notebook I’m keeping just for these goals.

Do you have a five year plan? 3 year? 1 year? Do you think long term planning is important or just an activity in fruitlessness?

The whole house fell in love.

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I am an avid reader (as my nearly 600 reviews on goodreads can attest). I also have a couple kids that have started reading at an early age. Yet, even though they had an easy time learning how to read instilling that love of reading has been difficult. It’s easy to make reading a chore, especially where school is involved.

If you didn’t know, we homeschool. So while we don’t have the pressure of a reading list or standards, it’s been a struggle to get my capable children to actually read. Which is also ridiculously frustrating to someone that would gladly spend the rest of my life snuggled in a bed, the rain dancing on the roof, reading until I pass out just to wake up and do it again.

But lately, it seems the entire house has fell in love.

With Harry Potter.

that's not a big book, she's a small kid

First the 9 year old started with book 1, after he finished it the six year old picked it up. She’s on chapter 12 and the past few mornings I’ve woken up to her snuggled in the chair reading by the morning’s light. It’s hard for her, being only six some of the nuances go over her head, but she’s diligently plugging away at it.

The nine year old is on book three and I’m wondering if I need to buy another book 1 so the eight year old can start it. She’s patiently waiting for her little sister to finish.

We’ve been watching the movie after someone finishes a book. It’s funny to hear them disparage the movie as not being accurate to what they read. I’m really hoping this is the jumpstart they need to devour other books and series. I suppose we’ll see. As for now, even hubby and I are anxious to fall in love with Harry Potter again.