Friday, April 30, 2010

The Best of Times and Worst of Times

We'll start with yesterday . . .

My family lives an hour away from us, which really sucks. I am the oldest of 5 kids, and I have the best parents and siblings in the world. My mom is the coolest mom ever, and she loves all of us kids with a fierceness that is unequaled. My dad is one of the smartest people I know and through all of the ups and downs of our lives he has always been there. I have never gone a single day in my life without hearing, usually mulitiple times, that they love me. Every night, and every time I would leave the house, that was the last thing I would hear. I have never, never once doubted that my parents love me. On that score, I am truly blessed.

My siblings are amazing. I have two brothers and two sisters. My first brother has been the protector of his mom and sisters since he was old enough to walk and talk. Once in junior high I got mad at this one guy who was being a putz, and I told my brother to go kick him for me. My little brother, a scrawny, thin as a pole, seventh grader brother walked up to this burly ninth grade wrestler, and kicked him. My dear brother practically forfeited his life to get even with some guy who had broken my little ninth grader heart.

My sister is next. She and I are spitting images of my mom, and everywhere we go there is no doubt that we are sisters. Even people I have never met have asked if I was her sister. She is the most spiritually sensitive person I know. We went on a family vacation a couple years ago and on the way home we stopped in Nevada to get lunch. The only places around were casinos, and we had to walk through an entire casino to get to the restaurant. The smoke was thick, and for us, a religious family all our lives, you could just feel the bad spirit in the air. My precious sister was in tears because of our surroundings and how horrible it made her feel.

My younger brother is very gifted. At the age of 7 he was drawing those pictures where you tip this thing over and it knocks the ball onto the ramp, which bumps this thing, which falls over and launches this thing. Seven years old. He's 10 now, and he reads books that are high school level. He's very perceptive. He asks questions about things he sees that I didn't even think about, much less ask clarification for, until I was a teenager. We watched Phantom of the Opera and he was running over with the most intelligent questions. He's a hugger. He's also a really big kid, at least a head taller than all the other kids his age and muscle to back it up, but he's a teddy bear. He has to hug everyone in the house good night before he goes to bed.

My younger sister is a spitfire. She acts like a teenage drama queen, and she's a little brat when she wants to be. But she is also a sharp observer and never hesitant to ask to help with whatever you're doing. It could be making dinner, cutting out paper dolls, doing nails, anything, she wants to help. She was born when I was 14, and just a year and a few months after my younger brother, and I was a bit more attuned to maternal instincts at that point which just made it more special. She is also the favorite playmate of my daughter, despite the 6 year difference between them, and my daughter adores her.

We're with my family this week, just hanging out like we try to do every week. My mom and sister and I talked forever last night about everything, looking at funny pictures on the internet, talking about the book my mom is reading now, laughing hysterically at how we get increasingly loopy and crazy the later it gets. Today my mom and I took my daughter and we went to a fabulous Chinese buffet Brigham City. We watched my daughter slurp lo mein and throw rice and flirt with the old man in the booth behind us until the waitresses were giving us funny looks at trying to smother our laughter. Then, on our way out, my mom gave my daughter a penny to throw in the fountain at the front. She did this, quite fascinated that I let her, then proceeded to pick up one of the decorative rocks beside the fountain and had her arm cocked back to throw that sucker before I managed to get it out of her grip. I also tried to walk out of the restaurant still carrying my glass before my mom reminded me (amid giggles) that I couldn't take it home with me.

Awhile later while I was talking with my mom and sister again, listening to my daughter and younger sister run through the house giggling and jabbering, my husband came up the stairs with the news that his cousin had just committed suicide. He's a few years younger than me, his adult life just barely starting.

We weren't very close to this cousin, but we knew him. His family and my husband's family are pretty close, especially because his mom and my husbands mom are very close sisters. It came as a huge shock. We all knew he had been having troubles the past few years, but no one expected this. My mouth just hung open for several minutes as I processed this information. It's still not quite real to me. I've had a few family members die, two grandparents, one great grandma, and two cousins that also died unexpectedly, although not suicides. The one I was closest with was my grandma, and her health and mental capacity had been deteriorating for years before she finally died. The amazing woman that she used to be died long before her body followed her.

This death is a new experience for me. I have never known somebody who committed suicide before. His death has left everybody reeling. He was a great kid. He was funny. He could have been a professional chef if he wanted, he had an amazing talent. He committed suicide today when his parents were both at work. He got into the truck in the garage, turned it on, and left it idling. We don't know how long it was before his dad found him. His dad did CPR while he called 911, but he was already long gone. We have no idea what to do. My sister-in-law has a birthday this weekend that she will probably remember as one of the saddest in her life. My other sister-in-law is in Europe right now on a college British Literary Tour, she just left on Monday and is supposed to stay there for another 3 weeks. How will she remember this experience that she has been saving for and planning for over a year?

This has been a day filled with emotions of such polar opposites of the spectrum. I love coming to my family's house. There is so much comfort for me here, such a sense of acceptance and unconditional love in unmeasurable amounts. My mom hates it when we have to leave, and so do I. I've gone to lunch with my mom, looked at funny stuff on the internet with my sisters, played with my daughter, snuggled with my husband, hugged my dad, marvelled at my younger brother, and missed my other brother and his new wife of almost 5 months who wasn't able to get off work and come up here with his wife this weekend. I love them all so much it hurts.

And I've been in complete shock and felt such heartbreak for my husband's aunt, uncle, and cousins who are probably sitting at home right now still struggling with the thought that they will never talk to their son and brother again. They will never hear his voice, never see his smile, never have to wonder where he is after curfew, never be able to wonder what kind of man he will grow into. He is gone from their lives and they will never see him again in this world. I had a horrible nightmare a few months ago that my daughter fell into a stream and she was stuck and I couldn't reach her and couldn't get her out, and I was so scared and traumatized that I was afraid to go back to sleep and had to check on her to make sure she was ok. I rarely cry, but I did that night.

His parents are living that right now, and they aren't going to wake up from it, and it's not going to go away, and he's never coming back, and there is nothing anyone can do.

What does anyone do when this happens?

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Weekend at Mom's!

This'll be a pretty short blog since I'm going to bed with my hubby as soon as he finishes his handful of Cheetos, which won't take long. We're hanging out at my parent's house for the next couple of days while I'm off work. It's always a riot when we come, my mom is a complete hoot, it's like she's my age a lot of the time. Tomorrow's going to be a blast. We've already stayed up way late just yammering about everything, it's been so fun! We talked about the new Richard Paul Evans book, messy houses, the names of grocery stores, just all sorts of random stuff. I love coming here! Ok, I'm leaving now, hubby just finished his Cheetos and is looking impatient. See ya!

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

The Trouble With Gardening

Today has actually been pretty good so far, so I think it's safe to say that I've given a decent effort at being happier than a seagull with a french fry. And how weird is this, I'm posting something before midnight or the wee hours of the morning! This is a very strange situation for me.

So I have a confession to make. You know how most people say they are really crappy gardeners and they can't grow anything, but they really can and they're just saying that? Well, it's actually true in my case. I have not only killed pansies, primroses, johnny jump ups, daffodils, and a myriad of other flowers, but I have also killed . . . petunias. Yes, you read that right. Petunias. Did you know that petunias are the most ironclad plant in the world? You can't kill the suckers!

But I did.

I don't have a green thumb. I have a black death thumb. I planted 35 pansies last year and 12 lasted through the summer, and that is only because I practically steeped the things in Miracle-Gro. Two months ago I bought four primrose plants. One was dead inside a week. The other one succumbed a month later. I now have one that is still alive with very large leaves but, naturally, no flowers, and one that is clinging to life by a thread. I figured I'd better stop trying to baby the things to life so I planted them outside where a few of my more successful pansies used to be. If they die now, at least they die free!

But I have great news! Last week I planted a packet of shasta daisies and another of California poppies. They are in those trough-looking planter boxes in completely store bought dirt, and I have refrained from watering them because I am more likely to drown them than kill them another way. And I went outside yesterday and in one of the boxes there were all of these tiny gray-green shoots with two to four thin grass-like leaves! I was completely ecstatic!!!! I can't remember if those are the daisies or the poppies, but I don't care, I grew something! I'll let you know in a few weeks if they stay that way . . .

It's really windy here right now! It's been windy all day and I could hear it just shrieking by the front door at work like it does in the twister section of Wizard of Oz. The trees out the window are thrashing around like crazy and the wind chimes on the back patio are clanging around in a frenzy. Maybe we'll actually see the rain that the sky's been threatening all day. That would be nice, I love the rain. I love the smell of it and the sound of it. I always feel like just curling up in a blanket and sleeping or watching a good movie or reading a book. And rain is good snuggle weather, bonus for me!

Wow, this is bad. I just got really tired and it's not even 7 o'clock yet. Technically, my bedtime isn't for another 6 hours! I'm going to have to force myself to do something productive. Mabye I'll try to finish sewing my dress together. I found a really cheap pattern for dresses like Arwen's in Lord of the Rings and I couldn't help myself. Add very cheap fabric onto that and it was a match made in heaven! I sewed some of it together a few weeks ago at my moms, then I needed a certain pattern piece and I couldn't find it anywhere! I looked all over the place and it was nowhere to be found. So when I was cleaning up my desk area this weekend, I decided to look through the pattern pieces one more time, and lo and behold, there was the piece I needed, not even cut out of the tissue paper yet. I couldn't decide whether to laugh or stamp my foot so I settle for a *facepalm* moment instead. Then I cut the stupid thing out and muttered about my stupidity the whole time.

Yeah, I think I'll go sew. I have one of those rare moments when my daughter is awake and there isn't anybody using the office right now. Wish me luck!

Monday, April 26, 2010

Tantrums and Trenchcoats

You know that wonderfully euphoric feeling you get when everything in your life is going right and perfect and there's nothing that can take it away? Yeah, me neither.

I witnessed the funniest and most pathetic thing today. A fully grown, mature (sometimes), thirty year old woman throwing a tantrum. A thirty year old woman!!! Have you ever seen a seven year old throw a tantrum? They throw something, they stomp around the house making as much noise as possible without saying a word, and they look at you as if you are the stupidest and most inconvenient person they have ever seen in the universe. Yeah. Thirty year old woman. It took every fiber of my self-control not to laugh when she threw the remote then went stomping away with a "bite me" scowl on her face, looking for all the world like an infuriated seven year old trapped in a grown up body. I never knew such a short person could make so much noise stomping around like that.

Another funny thing today? Ok, so you remember that vanity publishing company that I sent my manuscript to? I got a package from them in the mail today. (Go figure, I was expecting an e-mail.) They said they would be pleased to publish my Work (with a capital letter) and they included a very nice summary of my book. I blushed a little. Want to know what the going rate is to get your book published with a vanity publishing company? $11,500. Yeah, my jaw dropped too. And that's for a soft cover and the smallest type font available! I don't make that much money in like 3 years (not kidding), an I'm currently the breadwinner while my husband is looking for a better job! I am trying to think of a very nice, eloquent, polite way to say, "Are you fricking kidding me?!?!?!" I'm not getting very far. So far I have "Dear Publisher,". Any suggestions?

Sooooo . . . I'm giving serious consideration to just finding a printing and binding company and doing it that way. Like how people do their family histories and sometimes kids in school do a school project and they print it up and they each get a real book of it? Yeah, that. I don't really care if I get it for real published, I really don't. The money would be fabulous, but I've never wanted to be famous. That would be so stressful and awkward. I just want my book. I want to hold my book, have it in my hands, printed and bound and real and looking like I just bought it from a bookstore. There you go, deep wild fantasy moment. And then I want to do the same with all the rest of my books! I want a whole shelf of my own books that I can read when I want to without having to do it on a computer. Because oftentimes I completely forget what I have written, and I can actually be quite funny and witty sometimes! I always get a little tingly and warm inside when I can read my own words and laugh at them. Ok, a lot tingly and warm.

Ooh, this is random, but guess what? I have a trenchcoat! You know like in the movies, the butt-kicking sexy chick has a sexy black trenchcoat that goes to her knees and just looks sexy? I have one! I got it on sale at Walmart! It's actually a little too small for me, so I can't button it all the way up and I can't fold my arms because the shoulders are too tight when I do that, but since I like it better unbuttoned anyway, I don't care! I feel dangerous when I wear it. I think sometime soon I'll have to put on one of my pairs of black boots and my trenchcoat and sunglasses and just feel all dangerous and cool and sexy for a minute. I'm weird, I know. I'll just sit here in my weirdness and be weird.

Ok, I think I'm done prattling on for now. Actually, I can think of lots more things to prattle on about, but I'm not sure my poor audience wants to listen. And I'm trying to go to bed at a decent hour (yes, before 2 in the morning is considered a decent hour for me). Last night we had to stay up late and finish washing our laundry. We were trying to get it all done so my sister-in-law could use the machine in the morning. At about 5:30 a.m. I decided that perhaps I should try to get some sleep before the sun rose and our daughter came bouncing into our room as cheery as a chipmunk on drugs. I did fall asleep, because the next thing I knew I was being rudely awoken with and elbow in my ribs, a knee on my bladder, and a very loud chorus of "Mote! Mote!" ringing in my ears. So while our bouncy daughter scrambled around on the bed and on my kidneys looking for the remote and insisted that we watch Mickey (or just about any kind of cartoon featuring a character that was friends with Mickey Mouse) I unfortunately woke up a little more and seriously considered murdering the dog. There could not have possibly been something outside that would inspire such loud, persistent, OBNOXIOUS barking! It wasn't even his frenzied barking at the mailman! It was this booming bark every other second like he was trying to perfect doggie Morse code! GAH! I very nearly got out of bed to order him to be silent using very strong language and possibly a threat to his treat supply. But at that point it was somewhere around 7 or 8 in the morning. I did not have the oomph. And I had a two year old kneeling on my ovaries. The dog should be very grateful.

Anyway, I'm really leaving now. It's 12:52 and I have to get up at 8:30 tomorrow to get ready for work. Have a lovely day! Or night. Or afternoon. Or whatever. Tomorrow I will aspire to be happier than a seagull with a french fry! Byez!

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Synonyms and Publishers

Oh, my holy corn chips!!!

Ok, first of all I had almost this entire post typed up and I went looking for synonyms of the word afraid (you'll see why later) and my computer decided to throw a hissy fit and restart the internet. *Throwing vicious tantrum*

I hate computers sometimes. Right now is one of those times.

Alright, so back to what I was writing about before my computer spasmed *Growling*. As I may have mentioned before, I am an aspiring writer. I have actually completed 3 whole manuscripts and have plots and characters for at least 30 others. But only one of them is really done and proofread and all that, and I just finished it last month. At which point, my husband said I should try to get it published. I admit, I have flirted with the idea before, but I am realistic bordering on pessimistic when it comes to things I feel strongly about. The least I expect, the less of a chance I have at being disappointed. So do I think that I could actually, realistically get published? Not really. Is it one of my fantasies that I cling to anyway? Yes.

So I was fooling around on the internet one night and started looking for publishing companies, just to see what was available on google. I found one publishing company that would accept manuscripts for review at no cost. After a lot of gut-twisting inner debating with my subconscious, I finally submitted my manuscript (that I had to finish typing up). I did that three weeks ago and I'm still waiting for a response. They said 4-6 weeks, and I'm trying very hard to be patient. Incidentally, I'm failing.

In the meantime, I was doing more research and found out that they're a vanity publishing company. Basically, you pay them to publish your book. This is not a profitable kind of thing, and a lot of people do this basically for posterity, to leave their mark, no matter how small, on the world. However, there is no way on this good green earth that I can pony up thousands of dollars to have 14 copies sold. (Pessimist, I told ya.) I can't even pony up the money to go to the dentist, which I haven't done for about 4 years.

So tonight was doing some more research about the book publishing business, more specifically on the "how to" part. And I learned that to publish a book, you need a literary agent. Very very few people get published with a normal publishing company by just submitting their manuscript. You need somebody who knows the ropes, can pull the strings, and who knows people. A literary agent. So, after following a very helpful link on (I love that website) I found the AAR, the Association of Authors' Representatives, Inc. And I selected myself an agent to send my "query" to. A query is a short synopsis of the book, the word count, relevant publishing information, and the first 5 pages of the manuscript. I just sent the e-mail off (well, before my computer threw a fit) and if I were a nail biter I would be chewing on bloody stubs right now. It was bad enough sending it in to a company that I would have to pay for them to publish it, but sending it in to a person that could potentially make me into a real money-making, succesful author is a whole different realm of anxiety for me.

Follow me, if you will, to one of my deepest, dearest fantasies. We'll pass the one where I have my high school body back. (A size 12 is probably not what some of you may think of as ideal, but looking at my body now, with my pink zebra stretch marks and love handles you could lift a whale with, I would do something very devious to have my 10th grade body back. My sister's body is exactly like I used to be, minus the boobs, mine were bigger, and I am so jealous and wistful. I love my adorable daughter to death, but she destroyed my body. Someday she is going to come to me, 5 months pregnant and complaining about her stretch marks, and I am going to sit there with a wry smile on my face and say, "PAYBACK.")

Yes, past that fantasy. To the fantasy where I am published and become a real author. Not like J.K. Rowling or Clive Cussler or Danielle Steel. I just want a spot on the shelf at the library. I want a spot on the shelves of Barnes and Noble. When my name is googled, I want the result to say "Author". And money would be nice too, but honestly, just having that spot on the shelf and having the occasional person say, "Hey, aren't you that author?" would be enough.

I don't think it is too unreasonalble to be feeling absolutely terrified, horrified, anxious (see the whole synonym thing now?), nervous, and altogheter FREAKED OUT right now. If anyone in my pretend audience has never written before, you may not understand my feelings. When you write something, be it a novel, a poem, a series of essays, a part of your soul goes into it. Some essence of yourself that is vulnerable and beautiful and completely defenseless. Now imagine sending that bit of your soul to a stranger and saying, "What do you think?". I am petrified beyond belief that I'm going to get it back with a big red F circled on top. Absolutely terrified. And I will be on tenterhooks until I hear back from the stranger with the big red pen with my soul in her inbox.

I feel as if there is a very large and angry swarm of butterflies in my stomach. The brownie next to me is not helping at all. I abhor saying this, but chocolate can't fix everything.

So, pretend audience, I think that is it for tonight unless you have any objections. No? Anybody? All right, then. I am either going to write down the muse I thought up at work yesterday (I'll have to explain my muses later) or watch a movie. Decisions, decisions. Anyway, love to you all!!! Wish me luck, cross your fingers, and pray that I survive until I hear back!

Chocolate Covered Strawberries and Disney Princesses

Ah, it's been such an interesting day. I think we'll start right now and go backwards, seeing as how this day has been more interesting than entire weeks are sometimes.

I just finished looking through lots of different kinds of pictures and fan art of the Disney princesses with my husband, and it was hilarious! Just google Disney princess and do images, there's all sorts of fun stuff. The princesses arguing, wearing each other's clothes, stealing each other's clothes, with their kids, all sorts of hilarious and cool stuff. Like the comic strip above.

Earlier this evening my best friend and I made chocolate covered strawberries. And I have a new contender for my Top Three Foods That Are Almost Better Than Sex. Garlic bread is one of them. Chocolate cake/brownies is another. Seafood. And Italian food. I know, that's like forty thousand options, but I can be a particular sort of person when I want to.

Back to the strawberries, they were absolutely delightful. A life-changing experience. I don't like that chocolate they keep in the baking aisle that you're supposed to use for candy and stuff like that, so I got two humongous Sympony bars instead. I'm a sucker for Hershey's, I admit it. Anyway, so this was our first time making any kind of chocolate dipped anything, and it took a bit of tweaking to make them all pretty, but we really didn't care. They were perfection! If I could have melted into the floor with tastebud pleasure, I would have.

Before that she did her nails and mine while we watched a movie. I did my daughter's nails. She's two and thinks that it's almost the coolest thing in the world. Besides the new shoes she got today. She's got the most interesting feet. They're adorable, but they're wider than most shoes that fit the length of her foot. So her toes are always way away from the end of the shoe while she's out-growing them width-wise.

Aside from re-outfitting my daughter's feet, I went to work today and was very tired. I was up late last night finising the book I was reading and had to get up early. Stupid, yes. Ill-planned, yes. Did I enjoy it anyway? Yes.

It is now 2:48 in the morning, and I need to consider going to bed. Although I can sleep in as late as I want tomorrow, in theory, if darling child allows it. So until next time, and whatever I next find the need to write about, see ya!

Friday, April 23, 2010


Here's something fun. I have never actually read a blog before. Nor have I written anything similar to a blog before. This shall indeed be a most interesting experience . . .

This is me saying "Hiya" to my pretend audience. Here's a little about me: I'm an American girl in my twenties married to a fantastic man, I have a daughter, I'm an aspiring writer (long and involved story there), I'm religious, and I love movies and reading and good music. What else can I tell you? Um, I play clarinet, guitar, and piano (the last two not very well), and I sing. I think common sense and tact are two things that are greatly underappreciated and under-used. I have the most adorable black lab in the entire world, but he is not particularly partial to strangers and is quite vocal about it. Currently my favorite color is purple. I live with my in-laws. And my two sisters-in-law. And my sister-in-laws dog. It's a crowded house. I love chocolate. I hate canned asparagus. If you send me flowers I will love you forever. I just had fun adding that blue rose picture. This whole blog thing is kinda exciting for me!

Anywho, this blog will just be about whatever happens to fly into my head at any particular moment. Experiences from jobs I've had. People that inspire me in one way or another, be it idiocy or brilliance or just about anything else. My very wide and varied opinions on everything that seem to change on a daily basis. And so on.

So, my dear pretend audience, I hope you enjoy it, and if you don't, why are you reading in the first place? Go have fun! Fly a kite! Have a rootbeer float! Hug a puppy! Hug a person! Buy yourself some flowers! Be happy!