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Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Boob Wishes Strike Again!

Congratulations to my CP Amber on her recent new contract! That makes two contracts in the past couple of months. She sent the email with the title "boob wishes" but I also think it's been a lot of hard work and the fact that her talent grows and grows.

Keep those boob wishes tucked in people! :)

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Holy Crap!

What has Jennifer Lopez done to her face?

Normally, I don't talk about celebrities. Don't think about them much, don't really care. However, I saw this photo from her new video on Yahoo a little while ago and was horrified.

The reason why this one bothers me so much is because every time my half-Latina daughter says to me she wants to take her college fund money and get a nose job, I've always pointed out Jennifer Lopez's nose, how it's similar to hers, and how J.L.'s considered one of the most beautiful women in the world.


Now I guess I'll just have to say how sad that even with all her fame and fortune, she still didn't think she was good enough.

Before:


After:

Sunday, January 28, 2007

Magical Mondays: Intuition
(Once again posted on Sunday...may have to change the name) :)

There have been many times when my intuition prodded me to do--or not do--something and if I listened, things went well. If I didn’t, every single time I was sorry.

For example, last year my brother was out late. I knew he had gone to his favorite “watering hole” but felt he should have been home by a certain time and he wasn’t. Yet whenever that happened in the past, I would call to check on him and he always just fine--usually waiting for someone to get off work, or had gone home with one of the women who worked there. I could tell he got annoyed with me for calling to check on him (I usually called to see if he needed a ride home so he wouldn’t drink & drive) so I stopped calling, trusting him to be a big boy and take care of himself.

Well, that particular night, I was very agitated. I couldn’t stop worrying about him. I paced the floor, asking my daughter every few minutes if she was sure he hadn’t called. (She’s not so good at passing along messages.) I even picked up the phone several times to make sure it was working, yet hesitated to call him. ‘He probably just went home with a waitress,’ I thought. Since he didn’t really like me calling to check on him, I was torn. At one point, I even got dressed because I had a strong feeling that I should drive around to look for him, then told myself I was being silly. He was a grown man, and he would call me if anything were wrong.

For three hours, it went on like that, my intuition screaming, “Something’s wrong!” my brain saying, “leave it alone.” Finally, the doorbell rang, followed by loud pounding. It was my brother, out of breath and in pain. He’d lost his keys and tried to walk home from the bar (stubbornly refusing to get a ride from anyone, thinking it was only about 3 miles, he could handle it.)

Now, for most, that wouldn’t have been such a bad thing, but this man has only one leg and a bad heart--AND--the dingbat had stopped at the store then tried to carry home a 50lb bag of salt as he went. His foot bled from blisters, and the end of his one thigh swelled painfully around the prosthetic leg. He was also upset because he’d tried to call several times once he felt he couldn’t go on. I didn’t see how that could be, since I’d hung near the phone most of the night checking to see if it worked. I’d even looked once to see if the ringer was turned off, but couldn’t find a switch that indicated it. He hobbled over to the phone and found the sound switch. Sure enough, it was off--my daughter had forgotten she’d turned it off. (teenagers--grrrr)

I told him why I had hesitated to call, and he understood, but said he would have begged me to come get him. He finally abandoned the salt about a mile into the trek, and sat on it nearly crying from pain, calling over and over. I asked what time that was, and it was about the same time I’d gotten dressed with the idea to drive around looking for him. My intuition was right, and I didn’t listen to it.

Of course, he could have called someone else, or even a taxi, but he’s stubborn, thought he could do it, and didn’t want anyone to witness his embarrassment. (Sorry--cat’s out of the bag now.) :)

The point is, though, this wasn’t the only time something like that has happened. My intuition will prod me and if I listen, it’s good; if I allow “reason” to take over, I’m always sorry later. Yet, it is still almost impossible for me to follow my intuition when logic has arguments against it. Do you ever have that experience? Are there times when you listened to that little nagging voice in your head and it was exactly the right thing to do, or times you didn’t listen and you were sorry? How do you override your so-called “good sense” and go with your gut?

Friday, January 26, 2007

Style and Taste

If you asked my daughter, she'd assure you most vehemently that I possess neither. But I'm not concerned about fashion sense (she's right--I have none), I'm concerned about writing.

I've mentioned before that I don't think I'm a very good judge of my own work, and lately that seems to keep hitting me between the eyes. I think I vacillate between two very different styles: one whimsical and sparse, the other serious and verbose. I have the most fun with the whimsy, feel it's "truer" to my voice, yet I've noticed people tend to respond more positively to the serious stuff--the stuff that I think is bad, over the top and the purplest of prose even as I write it.

Could it be that my attempts at humor are like my attempts to wear blue jeans--shouldn't be done, especially with elastic waists? Are those bits I dismissed as painfully purple really the sweater I'm embarrassed to wear, yet always receive compliments on it when I do?

I honestly don't know. How do you know if your stuff is good or not? Do you think you're a good judge of your own writing?

Thursday, January 25, 2007

I need a wife, and other things...

There was a fire drill early this morning at my office. It was about 16 degrees outside and we all had to huddle out in the cold for what felt like hours, but in reality was only about ten minutes. There were construction workers nearby digging ditches, laying marble over concrete stairs and other things. Most of the poor guys were on the ground, in holes, or sitting on concrete--they had to be freezing. I felt so bad for them and hoped they were being paid well and had good wives they could to home to for warmth and comfort. That's when it hit me. I need a wife. :)

I want to come home from a long day at the office and have dinner waiting for me, the laundry done, the house clean, and my daughter well taken care of. I want someone who will make sure my bills are all paid on time and that the bathroom is already warm when I go in to take a shower.


I used to be that kind of wife; now I need one. I could use some help around here. And for that privilege, I'd pay for all her expenses, buy her pretty clothes, and she wouldn't even have to sleep with me. :)

Now, speaking of people helping people (well, actually in this case, it's going to be about people helping animals),
Sidney Williams posted a link on his blog about an organization that is currently looking for short stories to sell for two months (they don't buy the rights--just use the story for those two months), the proceeds of which go to help rescue animals. You can check it out here.

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Magical Mondays: A Grandfather's Gifts

(Posting on Sunday due to time constraints)

I had originally planned to blog about a different topic for this Monday, but something happened Friday that changed my mind.

This may ramble a bit, but please bear with me as I try to keep to the timeline of important events here. :) Some of you may recognize this because I talked about it in someone else's blog, but now there's more.

Some background: My parents divorced when I was six and I only saw my father a handful of times after that up until age 11, then he disappeared from our lives. My paternal grandfather, too, disappeared after the divorce until I was about 15. He just showed up on our doorstep one day--he'd hired someone to find us--and said he didn't care what his son or my mother said, he wasn't going to go on cutting his grandkids out of his life. Apparently, our dad told him our mom didn't want him coming around, and told our mom his father didn't want to see us, thus the breach.

Over the years, he kept in touch and my brother even lived with him for a years. About six years ago I visited him and found out that he'd written 21 books over the years; something I didn't know and was pleased to discover. He had self-published, and he autographed a copy of one his books for me--it's one of my treasures--and said I could edit his next book.


Go forward to around May of the following year: I had a feeling I was forgetting something important that was due to happen on July 18th. My daughter's birthday is the 14th, so I knew that wasn't it. I thought maybe I'd forgotten a friend's birthday, so I called her to verify the date; she said no, not until October 18. Perturbed, I searched the house for clues as to what I was forgetting and found nothing. Nevertheless, I circled the date on all my calendars at work and home. It wasn't until I bolted out of bed on the morning of the 19th that I realized what day it was: my grandfather had died the day before, and I'd circled the date two months before it happened.

A couple of weeks later, I was sitting in the living room thinking about two men that I had been semi-dating at the time and wondering if I ought to continue, pick one, or drop both when I heard my grandfather's voice in the room loud and clear, saying, "Ain't neither one of 'ems worth a shit!" It shook me pretty badly because it sounded as if he were in the room right next to me. Not long afterward, I found out he was exactly right--they weren't. :)

Fast-forward to this past week and bear in mind that the first and last time I've seen my father in the past 30+ years was at my granddad's funeral five years ago.

Thursday night, I was remembering some pictures taken at my grandparent's house 14 years ago, but that had gotten lost over the years. I had seen one when I went to get my things in Arizona and thought I had brought it home with me, but searched and couldn't find it. It was the last one I had. I wished there were some way I could get copies of all of them, especially digital ones, but knew there was no way. No one else had any, and they weren't taken with a digital camera, so I was out of luck. It made me really sad.

The next day, I got an email from my dad. It said, "We were going through some old pictures today and came across these from your Grandpa." Attached were all the photos I thought were gone forever.

He's still looking out for me.

Friday, January 19, 2007

Milestones

Yesterday, I made plans to mail my contract and the hard copy of my story to the publisher this weekend. I looked up at the calendar and realized I would be mailing it on my birthday. That seemed fitting. I received the acceptance letter for this story around the one-year anniversary of joining the RWA--which was the anniversary of when I decided to seriously pursue publication--so why not mail the contract on the anniversary of my birth?

Happy Birthday to me. :)

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Early to bed, early to rise...

Will make me tired anyway. I spoke to my boss today about cutting back on my hours to spend more time with my daughter, and the good news is that I was able to rearrange my schedule to allow more down time and for me to be here when she gets home from school--even better, I'm not having to take a cut in pay to do it. Sometimes the powers that be are good to us. :)

However, it will also mean adhering to a stricter schedule than I'm used to, as well as going to bed earlier and getting up earlier. I've also laid out a new plan with my daughter about changes that need to be made around here, and while it might be difficult at first, in the long run it will be far better for both of us. What this will also mean is that in the short run I'll have less time for blogging, but in the long run, more time for writing in general. So, while I had good intentions of running daily themes, I can see that won't happen. I'll still try to do "Magical Mondays" just because I find the reminder of small miracles to be inspirational, and hope others may find some comfort in them as well. :)

Monday, January 15, 2007

One step closer...

To the final round. I received an email tonight from one of the editors at Aphrodite's Apples with the edits of my short story attached. Well, I was surprised, dismayed and embarrassed because I hadn't sent in the final version to be edited yet--she was going off the original I had sent in for consideration. (I'd found a few small errors that I fixed and was waiting for a contract clarification before sending it in, something I'd asked about earlier and was told to send in my final with the contract.) Anyway, I guess with the holidays and everyone so busy something slipped through a crack.

However, the good news is that I wrote back to explain and she was lovely about it. (Thank goodness--I hated coming off as the newbie I am! lol) Even better, I looked over her edits and they were mainly the ones that I had already caught, plus a few I didn't see. (Great to have another pair of eyes--she also tweaked the very last sentence of the story and made it a lot better.)

So, now it's back in her hands to see if she likes/hates/is indifferent to the other minor tweaks I made. It's getting closer now! I'm really looking forward to seeing what they come up with for the cover art. I liked the last two Masquerade covers--it will be fun to see what volume three looks like.

Sunday, January 14, 2007

Magical Mondays: Someone to Watch Over Me

Some time ago, there was discussion on Magical Musings about the book "Write it Down, Make it Happen" by Henriette Anne Klauser, which led to "Boob Wishes." (My "Boob Wishes" are a post for another Monday :)

Anyway, since I've been experiencing some uncertainty lately about the direction my life has been taking, I remembered something that happened several years ago--long before I'd heard of boob wishes or Ms. Klauser. :)

A bit of a prologue:

One night, several years ago, I dreamt that I was walking down a hallway, and suddenly a very dear friend named Kathy, who had died many years before, appeared in the hall. I was so amazed and happy to see her and truly felt her presence--it didn't feel like a dream. I was just so overjoyed and astounded that I asked, is it really you? She nodded and smiled, gave me a hug, then opened a door behind her. She took my hand to show me inside, but I held back and looked through the brown metal blinds of a large window by the door. Inside the room were several corporate types sitting around a table with computers--there was one red-haired woman I found particularly intimidating. Kathy tried to get me to go in and talk to them, but I was afraid. I felt like I wouldn't belong there, but she told me I had nothing to fear, that I could go in. Still I resisted, just knowing I didn't belong in a such a group (I could see they were far better educated and experienced than I was) so I just watched for a few minutes then I woke up, still feeling like she had really been with me.

Flash forward a couple of years...

One weekend, I was depressed wondering if things were ever going to look up for my daughter and me, and if I was working to the best of my abilities (do you sense a theme here--I do this periodically.) I had quit a full-time job to work part-time, but I wasn't making enough money to cover all the bills.

That Saturday, I thought about all the things I had done up to that point as far as work (I had only been working for about five years then--had been a homemaker for the ten years prior.) I wrote down all the things I had enjoyed doing, and what my "ideal" job at that time might look like. I also wrote down a salary that as a no-longer-young, single mom with limited education didn't really seem feasible, but I wrote it down anyway. I put the list in my purse and went about my business.

The next day, Sunday, I took my daughter to a nearby town to watch a movie. While we were there, I remembered a computer instructor from a class I took soon after my divorce, David Z. He and his family lived in that town and were very kind to me, but I hadn't seen them in several years. The notion crossed my mind to stop by and say "hello" but I dismissed it, thinking it would be too odd after so much time had passed, so I just went home.

The next afternoon (Monday) I got a call from the new secretary at my former job. She asked if I knew a David Z. and said he had called for me that morning, but she didn't want to give him any information about me if I didn't know him. (Dave had also recommended me for the former job.) She said he left his number because he wanted to talk to me about a job I might like. I called, amazed since I was just thinking of him the day before, but was even more surprised when he described the job: it was everything on my list, including the salary.

Of course, I felt it was out of my league and there was no way I would get it, but I applied anyway. To my great surprise, I got it. But the most astounding of all, was a few weeks later when they showed me around the building. There it was: the large glass window by the door, the brown metal blinds and people sitting around a table with computers. And that scary red-haired woman? Her name is Shauna, and she's not nearly as intimidating as I thought she would be.

Saturday, January 13, 2007


I'm so confused!

I've spent a lot of time and money trying to learn as much as I can about writing and publishing--I've read all the recommended books, I've bookmarked the appropriate agent/editor/publisher sites, I've scoured the blogs and libraries--I've done my homework.

Now, I'm the type of person who looks out at the world in search of patterns; it comforts me to note the connections and consistencies between cultures, ideas and just about everything in general. I figured I would be able to do my homework, take note of what the experts were saying, and then go out and find great examples in books past and present to support their points.

What I've learned is that in spite of what all the editors and agents say, the books they actually publish break every "rule" they claim to enforce. The prose is more purple than Barney the dinosaur's butt. Magical, wandering body parts appear on every page: eyes roam, pierce, drill and steam. Hearts lurch, jump, and slide out of place so often the cardiologists must be in heaven. The characters still hiss, slam, fling and toss out their dialogue--and they not only hiss it, they hiss is silkily, angrily, whatever-ly.

What gives?

As if that weren't betrayal enough, I've also learned that my work is no good if I don't have a theme, character arcs, follow mythological journeys with characters that represent archetypes from our collective unconscious. I'm supposed to clearly define ahead of time what I want each scene to accomplish and not confuse it with a serial.
And here I thought I was just trying to tell a fun story with fun characters.

Avery DeBow has a great blog about this type of intimidation on his MySpace blog. I wish he'd post it to his regular blog where anyone could see it. I did write to him this morning and asked if he'd let me quote it, or if he'd publish it where I could link to it so you could all enjoy his take on the subject. However, I'm impatient and started writing without him. :) I would imagine he's somewhere actually having a life right now instead of hanging out in front of the computer on a Saturday afternoon. At least, I hope he is.


So, I've just added one more resolution to this year's list. Screw the experts. I'm just going to write the stories as best I can and leave it at that. Sure, I'll still do some research into what the editors/agents are looking for, but only for such things as do they not publish sf/f, romance etc., so that I don't submit to the wrong one. After that, well, I'll just make mistakes and be glorious. :)

Friday, January 12, 2007

Free Fallin' Friday

I'm probably about to offend lots of people here, but never let it be said I left the thing half-done. :)

I recently discovered there is actually a new fiction genre out there--Christian Erotica. Yep. It's true. And, if like it did to me, this comes as news to you, I hope you weren't drinking something when you read it. The first time I saw it, I thought it was a joke. They're kidding, right? I mean, isn't that an oxymoron? What's it about? What defines it? Is it because they scream "Oh my God, Oh my God, Oh my God" in the throes of passion? Is it Jim Bakker's life story?

Apparently not. From what I can gather, it's hotter right now than a simonist in the eighth circle of hell. I still can't wrap my head around it. Maybe that's because I spent so many years in a fundamentalist Christian cult (sad but true, and probably TMI) so I can't imagine what this could be like or who would read it. Just boggles the mind. Are they giving them away as prizes during Bingo? Does the marquee outside the church read: Our fundraiser needs your support--come Sunday for pancakes and porn!

OK, I'm sorry. In fact, I know of a very talented writer who is writing one now, and I'm sure she can pull it off, though even she admitted to struggling with the concept. So with that in mind, I'm offering my sincere (and I do mean that) apologies to the writers and buyers of CE. I may not be able to understand it, but that could be because I'm a mannerless cretin who giggles during church. Ask anybody.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Thrifty Thursdays

The UPS man just left behind a box of seven books that I had ordered using the book store gift card my brother gave me for Christmas. I wish now that I'd had my epiphany from earlier this week before I ordered the books--I might have made some changes. For example, I would have bought another copy of "Your Money or Your Life" by Joe Dominguez--a book I had before, but accidentally gave away. (don't ask)

However, I'm still excited by what I did get. I went crazy in the bargain bin - seven books under $25 - I think that's thrifty. :)

Among them were "Ciao Italia - Bringing Italy Home: Regional Recipes, Flavors and Traditions as Seen on the Public Television Series Ciao Italia" by Mary Ann Esposito (I always loved that show); "Edit Yourself: A Manual for Everyone Who Works with Words" by Bruce Ross-Larson (I need that - I can edit others, but not myself); "The Element Encyclopedia of Magical Creatures" by John & Caitlin Matthews (I've heard this is great for people who write books with magical elements) and Stephen R. Covey's "First Things First."

Looking at the Covey book, I was a little sceptical about somebody known for working with corporate leaders being able to put "first things first", but I came across this in the first few pages. After explaining some of the sections, he says: "Finally, we'll take a look at "first things"--and our basic human needs and capacities to live, to love, to learn, and to leave a legacy--and how to put them first by using our inner compass to align our lives with the "true north" realities that govern quality of life."

Aligning our lives with our "true north." I like that idea. I'll let you know more about the book once I finish reading it. In the meantime, as you can tell by the existential angst I've been pouring over this blog the past few days, I'm desperately trying to align my outer life with my inner life. I'm truly a simple person at heart; I could easily live in a one-room cabin in the woods (as long as I had an Internet connection *g*) and be quite content. I've read lots over the years about women who turned their backs on the corporate world, or head out to the country because it was a long-standing dream, or who raised families on their own with very little money--sometimes because they had no choice, sometimes because they chose to spend more time with their families. I find them inspirational.

Since I'm fairly tired right now, and since my computer keeps freezing, I'm just going to leave you with a link and a small tip. The link, The Garden of Simplicity by Duane Elgin has a nice article about the meaning of simplicity. As for the tip, if you've ever read a woman's magazine in your life you may have read this before; if not, here's one of my favorite "frugal living" tips. :)

Save the wrappers from sticks of butter or margarine. There's still enough butter on the wrapper that you can use it to grease baking pans. (You can keep them in a baggie in the refrigerator - if you have more than one, put a piece of wax paper between.) It really does make a nice, quick way to grease cake pans without wasting anything.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Congratulations Amber and Get Well Karen!

Taking a break from my self-indulgent whining to support my fabulous CPs, Amber and Karen, who have each been been experiencing some of life's ups and downs lately. Karen had surgery this week but is doing well, thank goodness, and Amber just got her first contract offer today - woohoo! :)
Writing Wednesdays

OK, yeah. I designated Wednesdays for writing topics, but things have been happening lately that are demanding my attention, causing me to question what I’ve been doing with my time, my skills, and my life and I can't seem to focus on much else. I suppose it’s timely--starting a new year defining ones values is not a bad thing, and I feel like I’ve not been making the best use of my time on earth lately.

Two more things happened today (that’s two in a long list of things) that pressed home the point yet again. One was a long, dreary staff meeting where I had to listen to other people being given sole credit for projects that I not only initiated, but also planned, developed and implemented through many hours of hard work. The other was a phone call from one of my daughter’s teachers about how she’s been cutting class and is close to failing. That’s been going on for a while now, and Emily is a very bright girl so there’s no academic excuse for her bad grades.

Obviously, something is wrong and I’m asking myself, I’ve been working long hours to provide a certain level of income for what? I know this is a common occurrence; if it weren’t, there wouldn’t be such sayings as “No one ever said on their deathbed, ‘I wish I’d spent more time at the office.’” And while from time to time I have made breaks away from it, attempting to put first things first, it seems like I repeatedly allowed myself to be sucked back into the money-work-stress cycle.

I remember thinking some years ago that if I just had more money, everything would be okay. Well, now I’m making forty thousand more per year than I was then. (Not that I’m well off by any means; the fact that I’m up 40K simply speaks to how poor I was.) However, I’m no happier now than I was then. I’m just as stressed worrying about my kid, just as unhappy that I don’t have the time or energy to pursue the things I enjoy. So I asked myself, since money didn’t make a difference, what would? What am I missing? The answer was clear: time and purpose. I’ve been lacking both--then and now.

Actually, I’ve changed jobs on a couple of occasions to give myself more time, but I realize now that I still lacked purpose; or else, didn’t commit fully to whatever purpose I’d used as an excuse for quitting. I think those times I switched jobs was simply because I was burnt out, but told myself I was doing it for better reasons; yet once the fear of poverty set in, I went back to the grind.

I just took some time off from writing this blog to have a long talk with my daughter. After our discussion about her grades, I also told her that I’m going to ask my boss if I can go to part-time. Her first words were (in a panicky voice), “But won’t that mean you’ll be paid less?” I said yes, but the money wasn’t worth giving up my life. She said it would be for her. That led to a long discussion about values, reminders of how we lived before vs. how we live now and if we truly were any happier, and how short and unpredictable life really is: my younger brother died suddenly a couple of years ago from heart failure; he was only 31. I don’t expect her to change her way of thinking overnight, but I believe the seed was planted that one thing we can’t buy is the most valuable thing we can have: time for our loved ones, time for ourselves.

Now, I’ll try to bring this back around to writing. :) Going part-time will only just cover the bills. But the freedom to spend time with her, to give her the attention she needs, to do the things that make me happy such as writing and painting--that’s priceless. I believe I can only become a better writer, painter and most importantly, mother, because of it.

Monday, January 08, 2007

Sad start...

Well, I had designated Tuesdays for "tool tips" but I've spent several hours recovering from a blogger disaster (sigh...you'll notice the new temporary layout), then nearly forgot that I was supposed to be part of a publisher's chat for Aphrodite's Apples (My first author chat! I would have invited you but I forgot about it until it was already underway!)

Anyway, the point is, I got nuthin. I've been too busy actually taking care of technical difficulties to have time to write about them. I still need to update the links, background, etc. of the blog, but little by little. I also started a new blog, A Walk on the Weird Side, just for my non-romance works. I've had two stories bumping against my brain for some time now--one's been around for over a year, the other for the past few months--and they aren't exactly happily-ever-afters. In fact, one of them has no romantic elements at all, and the other... well, maybe it could be called "speculative romance." Not sure about that yet.

Oh, well. So how's your Tuesday shaping up? My ex once told me there's a saying in Mexico, "Los Martes son malos" - Tuesdays are bad. Let's hope that's not true. :)

Magical Mondays: The Power of Prayer

Since coming up with the idea for "Magical Mondays", I've had to work hard at figuring out where to start. There are so many things that I can think of to write about here, and one idea leads to another, many wonderful events are connected in a beautiful chain, so that I've been reeling trying to decide where to begin. Since this is the first one out of the gate, I decided to go with something simple.

From the time I was very young (around 3), I had a spiritual inclination that none of my family shared. I'm not even sure where or how it started, but it was there. Somehow, I learned about prayer and began doing it on my own very early on and now, some 40 years later, I can honestly say that I've never had a prayer go unanswered--no matter how large or small--even when the prayer wasn't formal, or even when I didn't know to what or whom I was praying.

As I'm typing, I'm flooded with images, big and small, of all the prayers that have been answered and am wondering which ones would be the best to write about. I've had major prayer answered, but I think my favorite, though, was a just a small one. It always touches me to remember it.

Several years ago, I lived next door to an elementary school. One day, I looked out the window and saw a little boy who looked to be about six or seven years old, standing far away from all the other children on the playground. He walked around by himself looking so sad, just watching while the other children played together. He was not well dressed, very overweight for his age, and not an attractive child; knowing how kids can be, it was easy to see he would have a hard time in school. My heart just broke for him. I watched for several minutes and no one spoke to him. Eventually, he walked away from the groups until he was at the side of the building, where he picked up a stick and started hitting it against the wall.

I kept hoping someone would notice him but they didn't, so I said a fervent prayer that someone would come and play with that him--give him just a few moments of happiness because he looked so sad. I heard the laundry buzzer go off and had to leave my spot at the window for a few minutes. When I came back, looked out again to check on him. He was now joined by another little boy and they were playing and laughing, and the look on his face was one of joy, as if he'd been given a wonderful gift.

It could be that it was his prayer that was answered that day; it could simply be that the second little boy was a good hearted soul (and I believe both those are true), but my prayer was also answered, and I'm still grateful that I saw a minor miracle take place. After all, any kindness is always a gift.

Saturday, January 06, 2007

Organizing

If you have trouble posting/seeing posts, etc., know that I just switched to the new version of blogger, which is supposedly more reliable, but seeing as how I just got bumped off 5 times and received error messages 3 times when I tried to sign in, my faith is less than rock solid.

Anyway, I know that this blog tends to be just sputters & spurts from my brain, and after reading so many others with such useful information (ie, Magical Musings, Spyscribbler, Romancing the Blog and more) I'm thinking about making some changes - to offer you more substance and involvement.

As I was trying to think of things that I could offer, it came to me that I've had a LOT of incidents in my life that could be considered (depending on your point of view) as magical, miraculous, "meant to be", or just simply amazing coincidents. Whenever I'm feeling less than hopeful, it always helps to think of those incidents -- they give me confidence and faith. So, I thought about making Mondays "Magical Mondays" where I post examples of those times and ask for your magical moments. What do you think?

I also have a lot of experience with Microsoft Office products and HTML, so if anyone would like a "Tool Tips" Tuesday, let me know. :) As a single mom (and formerly displaced homemaker as well as former accountant) I also have a lot of experience with budgets - would a "Thrifty Thursday" appeal to anyone? Since most of us aren't raking in J.K. Rowling's earnings (yet! *g*), we could share living well on a shoestring tips. If not, no biggie. I can come up with something else. :)

"Writerly Wednesdays" could be where we post our current news, excerpts, links to helpful information, publishers/editors/writer's websites and news, as well as book reviews - what do you think about that?

That leaves me with "Free for All Fridays" - anything goes. (You know, the usual brain spurts. :)

I'm going to try to make Saturdays & Sundays the time where I get some actual work done on my WIPs and painting, and try to stay off the Internet. Yeah, we'll see how that goes. :)

On the other hand, if these ideas don't appeal to anyone, I can just keep up the usual prattle. :)

Friday, January 05, 2007

Small Pleasures
(Image copyright Robin Woods)

I recently went to Arizona to pack and mail the rest of the things I left behind when I moved last year. Some of the items have arrived and to my great pleasure, there were eight boxes of books and movies that made their way home. I was especially happy to see the books - all my beloved writing books, favorite novels and one that I had even forgotten that I bought just before I moved, "The Writer's Complete Fantasy Reference: An Indispensable Compendium of Myth and Magic from the Editors of Writer's Digests Books."

Woohoo! Happy days are here again! :o)

I was also pleased to see my Robin Woods tarot deck tucked in among them (I've missed it - bought another deck which was quite pretty, but not as satisfying as this one.) The first card I saw when I opened the box was the Queen of Pentacles (or coins) and she's one of my favorite cards. I love the pastoral setting of this card, all the greens and golds, the fruits and flowers, as she sits calm and contented, the soft little rabbits sheltered by her side. I always see her as a strong, independent and warm woman who has intelligently tended her gardens and crafts, and now enjoys the fruits of her labor with plenty to share. She's in control of her life and offers assistance to those who may need it, while being at peace with her own nature and surroundings. That's who I want to be when I grow up. :)



Thursday, January 04, 2007

What's your passion?

This morning was yet another where I had to force myself to get out of bed and go into work; not because I was sick, but because I was BORED. Before I left the house, though, I took a minute to read email (of course *g*) and look at a bit of online news. I read this article and sat just staring at the computer screen for several minutes after. It was this line that really got to me:

"If you are this good at something you don't love, how good can you be at something you love?"

I have had a number of jobs over the last several years, some of which I absolutely hated, but all of which I did really well. Some of the jobs at which I excelled were ones where I didn't even know how to do it when I started; I had on-the-job-training or I self-taught. And the kicker is that I didn't like doing them. (Accounting, for example - I was really good at it but Hated it.)

So why, then, am I afraid I'll fail if I do what I love to do? It was all I could do at that point to keep from calling in my resignation. However, a bit of reality seeped in and I realized I need to plan first - I'll need to keep this job for a little longer, but that doesn't mean I can't start paving the way for following my dreams using my current salary as the base for getting there.

God willing and the creek don't rise, I'll do just that.

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Book Reviews (well, sort of)

I just finished reading Tess Gerritson's blog on the reading preferences of men & women, and it reminded me of the past week I spent with my brother. He recommended S.M. Stirling's "Dies the Fire" trilogy to me, and I read those while I was there. (With a name like Stirling, he had to be good, right?)

I also found A. Lee Martinez' book, "In the Company of Ogres" lying about and read it too. After reading that one, I immediately went searching for more by the same author, and found "Gil's All Fright Diner" at Barnes & Noble which I finished on the plane ride home.

Now, here's where the tie-in with Gerritson's blog comes in. I enjoyed all of those books, (Ogres most of all) but my brother and I enjoyed them for entirely different reasons. When we discussed them, his emphasis was more on the technical/logical aspects of things, whereas my focus was on the relationships and the humor.

While reading the "Dies the Fire" trilogy, I tended to skim over the war strategies and the technical details - the very things my brother wanted to discuss - but I was riveted by the relationships, the things which made him roll his eyes and skip to the next page. However, each of us would recommend the books to others.

Something similar happened with the Martinez books. When we talked about how much we enjoyed them, and the parts we found most amusing, I mentioned some of the funny things the females in the book did and he didn't recall those right away; he mentioned the name of one of the minor male characters, and it took me a second to remember which one he was. I suppose the good news for both of those authors is that they wrote books that appeal to male & female readers. I'd like to do that someday.