Tuesday, January 30, 2007


Today was a loooooooooong day! Work was tough... there was so much to do and no time to do it all. I came home, made dinner, wrote a few pages on Under the Magnolia Tree (see, Devon, I'm still working!) and settled in my bed to watch a little TV and knit for awhile. It was nice. I'm attempting to branch out and do a ribbed stitch so that I can make the hat for my soldier. I was going to use the circular needles, but I think I found a pattern that would make the hat even nicer. Everytime I try to do ribbed stitch, I screw something up, so I'm doing the "practice makes perfect" thing. I'm nothing if not determined! So that's pretty much it for me tonight. I'm exhausted, so I think I'll turn in early.

Monday, January 29, 2007

Gay or European? VOTE NOW!!!

One of the greatest games ever to be posted on the internet is Gay or European.Basically, you look at a picture of someone and guess if they are Gay or European. Sounds simple, right? Well, we’re gonna play a ninja version of that game on my blog today. This started with a dispute between Velvet and I over whether a particular, now infamous, sweater is gay or European.Now before we start, I


My sister called me today and asked me to come to her house for dinner tonight. It was a surprise, to say the least. I am always sort of shocked when she reaches out to me. But I'm always happy when she does. I would like nothing more than to be close to her. We are in such different places in our lives... it's odd, really. I'm not sure which of us has the better end of the deal.

The kids were adorable and fun, as usual. They are quite a handful! If I do manage to have any children, I'm fairly certain I won't have three. They are just to much all at once! I set up Noah's computer for him and he immediately started playing card games on it. I think he will enjoy it now that it's set up. It used to be my computer, before I got the one I have now. He always gets the old computers when one of us gets a new one, but he has never had one set up in his room before. Now he does, and he's very excited about it. It's funny, the first computer I had was purchased when I was 18 years old. He's 10 and has one that is about a million times better than the first one I had. (it was cheaper than that first computer too, lol) Technology is fun...

I didn't write to any soldiers today, because I didn't have any names. I did send off about 20 letters and cards, though. I wrote them yesterday. It is really becoming a part of my weekend now to write these letters for LWT and TLC, as well as the one to my official and the one I've unofficially adopted. It's nice, however, my hand was hurting last night from all the writing! But I figure it's the least I can do, right? :)

Today was a better day at work, which was good. I got a ton of things done and it gave me great pleasure to cross them off my list! Of course, the list will get longer tomorrow, but for now, there are fewer things on it and that makes me happy. I actually finished a grant report, a grant proposal (different grant) and revised and sent out a press release. My intern counted newsletters, and they are ready to go out tomorrow. That's always nice. I breathe a sigh of relief every time my newsletter goes out on time. If it goes out tomorrow, it will be a couple of days early. That's always good!

I'm going to Hobby Lobby tomorrow to buy some acrylic knitting needles so that I can take them on the plane this weekend without any trouble. I'm going to start a scarf for my mother, now that I've finished the one for Hannah. I picked out the prettiest yarn for my mom's scarf and I can't wait to get started on it! I might also work on a bag for myself, so I'll need to bring my black yarn too. I should attempt to work on the hat I want to knit for my soldier, but I'm still not comfortable with the circular needles yet. I need to practice a little more, I think. I guess that's all for today...

Sunday, January 28, 2007

been so busy lately

The last few days have been busy and stressful, so I've been coming home and crashing, which is why I haven't posted in a few days. I find my response to stress is different than it used to be. Stress used to kick me into high gear, but now it just makes me tired. I'm not sure what that means, but I don't really like it. I need more energy, not less!

My mother is doing fine now, by the way. Around mid week, she developed cabin fever and decided she was going to go back to work. I was not happy about that at all!!! But she managed to go to work without incident on Thursday and Friday, so I'd say she's recovering nicely. We are totally opposite in that way... I would love a week of doing nothing but relaxing, but it pretty much drove her insane. I guess she just gets bored more easily than I. She doesn't have as many hobbies and passions. Given a week off work, I could write, write, write! I would also knit, watch one of my many movies or TV shows on DVD, play computer games, or read. She doesn't really do any of those things, so I guess it's easier for her to get bored. Anyway, it's back to work as usual for her tomorrow.

Oh! The exciting news is that I heard from one of the soldiers I wrote to! I'm going to keep writing to him. It's so great to know that my letters are making someone smile.

Well... Desperate Housewives is almost on and I have nothing else to say, so that's it for today!

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

busy, busy, busy...

Okay, so work is always busy, but it's more so these days. I'm not complaining, trust me! I'd rather be busy than bored. Today I spent several hours looking up statistics on the Internet about the state of the Mississippi coast before Hurricane Katrina, just after the storm, and now. The results of the research were very interesting indeed. Basically, the coast is doing better, but they're not there yet. These people really are amazing.. they're putting their lives back together one piece at a time. It's inspiring. After work, I went to the grocery store because I wanted to cook Chicken Parmesan for my mom. She still can't do anything very active, and that includes cooking. It turned out great, by the way, and I'm beginning to think I might actually be a good cook! Rhea called while I was cooking and she gasped in surprise when I told her what I was doing. I should be offended, but she was right to gasp. I don't cook very often.

After that, I wrote an article for the SA newsletter and uploaded the file so that the other editors can take a look at it. I wrote one last night too. I hope they like them! It's interesting working with people you don't know, you never really know how they are going to react to your work. But I worked hard on the articles and I think they are good, so hopefully they will work for the newsletter.

Also, I did some editing tonight on Under the Magnolia Tree, my 2006 NaNoWriMo attempt. It's not as bad as I thought it was, but not really good either. It's going to take some work. Of course, it's not really finished either, so I plan to keep writing once I get a little more editing finished. I really liked the direction the story was going, so I'm looking forward to seeing what is going to happen next.

I'm writing lots of letters these days. This morning I mailed 5, yesterday I mailed 5 as well. My total since joining Soldiers' Angels is 17, and I have 7 more names. I'll probably write those tonight. They're not all letters, of course. Some of them are cards with shorter notes in them, a couple of paragraphs, but I feel like I'm doing something. There was one yesterday that really got to me. It was a TLC request for a female soldier who said she was very stressed and that she needed some support and encouragement, and most of all, some prayers. I hope the brightly colored card does some good. The front has a pink flower with a matching butterfly on it. I thought it was pretty. I love the note cards I bought at Michael's. They were in packs of 10 for only $1, and they are all like that, with a flower and a butterfly that matches. I know they aren't the most manly designs, but I'm sure the men I send them to won't mind much. At least, I hope they don't mind! I really love writing letters. I almost feel like a Jane Austen character or something, corresponding the elegant way. It's so much more personal than email. I bought a roll of 100 stamps today, so I'm good for awhile. I've never actually purchased a roll of stamps. I don't even send bills through the mail, so all these outgoing letters must be very confusing to my mail carrier (who is a very nice lady, by the way!)

So now it's 9 p.m. and I think I'm going to spend a little time knitting before I write a few letters and go to bed. The first square is still going well... although I messed up a little on the teal section, so I think I might discard the square when I'm finished. If I do decide to do that, I'll just chalk it up to practice!

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Kamikaze Vehicle Attacks Increase

Many of you probably think that I’m paranoid about SUVs crashing into the Ninja Fortress. Well, if you think I’m overstating the risk of vehicle attacks, you’re wrong. Just this past week, there have been 3 attacks on buildings in the DC area. One was by an SUV, which destroyed a building and left 7 families homeless:In a surprise move, this SUV struck the gas meter in order to amplify the power

a short one

Tonight's post will be short, I promise! I'm tired and have been writing since I got home so it's time to stop and go to sleep. If anyone is curious, my mom is still doing well. She's recovering and is getting used to lying around instead of running around the house doing whatever chore she thinks she needs to do. I'm always telling her to relax and now that she has to, I think she's enjoying it.

Okay, that's it for now. Maybe there will be more tomorrow...

Monday, January 22, 2007

what God sees

"The Lord does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart." 1 Samuel 16:7

I'm reading a book called "Knight in Shining Armor." It's about finding and developing a Christian relationship. I think it has some very valuable advice, such as the section that goes along with the above verse. I've never been hung up on outward appearance, mainly because I've always considered myself average looking. I also tend to be attracted to average looking guys who have exceptional character, or who seem to have exceptional character... lol. I guess I'm a bad judge of character. But anyway, it was good advice. Maybe more guys should read it and stop looking at the "hot" bimbos that will only use them for their money and then drop them like hot cakes. Do I sound bitter? I'm really not. I just think it's sad that a person who has so much to offer can't give it to someone special because she's not the ideal. It gets me down sometimes, that's all.

But I'm not giving up. I'm not desperate for a relationship, as I said in a previous post, but I would like to find the right person one day. For now, I'll just keep praying and living my life the way I know I should live. If it happens, it happens... right?

mom is fine

The surgery went well and she's resting. Actually, I think she might be watching episodes of "Everybody Loves Raymond," because she believes laughter is the best medicine. I, on the other hand, am watching episodes of "Bones" and am.. guess what.. knitting! I'm working on my square again. I bought some new colors for the blanket, so it'll be more colorful than I originally intended, but that's okay. The more colorful the better, I say! Can I just say I love Carron Simply Soft yarn? For an inexpensive yarn, it's really quite wonderful! Much better than the Red Heart that I bought for my first project!

Anyway, it's back to work tomorrow. I almost wish I could stay home with mom another day, just to make sure she behaves herself. She's not supposed to do anything major, no heavy lifting or bending over, and I can just see her doing all that when she's at home alone. I hope she doesn't.

Nothing else exciting is going on really. I got another name today from the Soldier's Angels TLC team. I'll be writing that letter tonight so it can go out in tomorrow's mail.

I might be back later with another progress photo of the square. It's looking better and better!

Sunday, January 21, 2007

obsession, obsession, obsession!

Now I know what the writer of January One meant when she said visions of squares were dancing in her head (or something like that!) I keep thinking of my blanket squares and how they are going to look. I've been taking pictures of every stage, just to have a record of what it looks like with each color added. It's a sickness, lol. Here is what it looks like right now. The pink is going to be 20 rows, so I have a few more rows to go. After that, I turn the work again and start with the teal, which requires 17 rows. After that, I will use black to make it an even square. I'm thinking of adding another color. I'm using Carron Simply Soft Brites yarn, and they have a very nice orange that I think will go with the other colors nicely. I usually avoid orange, but I think it could be a nice addition to my random blanket of many (bright) colors! I'm going to check on it tomorrow. I tried to find it today, but the only store I know of that carries that particular type of yarn is closed on Sundays.

But you don't want to hear about knitting all the time, do you? That's the thing about my obsessions. They consume my life and it's all I want to talk about. I'll try to do better. I did manage to write some today. I worked on After the Storm; finished four pages, in fact, and the story is moving right along. It's really better to write this story when it's not hurricane season. The YA story is still in my head and I'm still making notes on it and working on background. I've never done any world building before, and it's an interesting experience.

Rhea and I saw Children of Men last night. I'm not sure how it did in the box office and I haven't read any reviews, but I really thought it was a good movie. Notice I didn't say I enjoyed watching it. There's a reason for that. It's an extremely painful movie. There were many moments when I just wanted to scream "ouch" for the characters. Clive Owen really committed to the role. He's an amazing actor. I wish he had been the next James Bond. He's hot, too... lol. But back to the movie.. it was very thought provoking. It shows what a world without children, a world without a real future would be like. It's staggering to think about.

A friend told me that she wants me to join her in trying eHarmony. I'm not sure about all that. First of all, the last online dating experience I had didn't end all that well, and second of all, it's just so expensive! I'm not sure I'm ready to pay $20-50 per month to get a date. I'm just not in "that place" right now. I know plenty of people who are in "that place" and they have had very good relationships as a result of online dating, but I'm just not there yet. Should I be in that place at the age of 30? I'm just not sure. I kind of defy the norms of age, since I was married and divorced before the age of 23. And why do we even have age norms? Why should we be married by 25 and have children by 30? Or is it only in the South that there are age norms like that. I think in larger cities people get married much older than they do in small southern towns. I wish I could be there instead of here.

My mom is having surgery tomorrow. It's nothing serious, but I'm taking her to the doctor's office and bringing her back home. She's not supposed to do anything for a whole week, which is going to be really hard for her. I've already decided to do everything I can to make sure she follows the doctor's orders and stays off her feet for the entire week. I don't want anything bad to happen post op, so I'm going to take care of her. I'm off tomorrow to do just that, and for the rest of the week, when I do have to work, I've put together some things for her to do while lying on the couch. Let's just hope she actually does lie on the couch. She can be stubborn that way.

I wrote letters today for my soldiers. I'm currently writing at least 5 letters a week, between my official adopted soldier, my three letter writing team soldiers, and any TLC requests that come across during the week. I'm sending out five tomorrow, in fact. I can't describe how happy it makes me to send off these cards and letters. It really makes me feel like I'm doing something to help. I know I'd feel awful if I was over there fighting and nobody from home was writing me letters or sending me packages. That's why I'm doing this.

Anyway, that's what's going on around here. I'm going to bed very soon, because I have to get up early.. (5 a.m.!) to get my mom to the doctor's in time for the procedure. More later.

Saturday, January 20, 2007

yet another project

Okay, I think I might be out of control! But I've been planning to start this for awhile, so I don't feel too bad about it. This is the beginning of my log cabin blanket. Remember the pattern I posted some time ago? Well, I decided to chuck it and change the plan. I found a neat idea here: January One Chance Log Cabin, and decided to put my own spin on the concept. I don't want to knit one big blanket. I want to do squares and then sew them to each other to make a bigger blanket, so here's what I'm going to do. I numbered each color that I'm using. Before starting each square, I use a random sequence generator to determine the order of the colors used for that square. Then, I go to the random number generator to determine the number of rows to use for each color, except the last one. The last color will be used to make up the difference. If there is no difference to make up, the last color will not be used. If the square reaches its desired shape and size before I finish with the colors, I will stop there. This is all experimental, of course, and I've never done anything like it, but I think it will be very interesting indeed. There will be updates as I go along...

Thursday, January 18, 2007

The Mouse Commandos vs. The Home Improvement Ninja

I killed all the mouse commandos that invaded the ninja fortress. It’s been a couple of months since I’ve seen the last of them, so now I can write calmly about the story. I mentioned previously about my mouse problem at the ninja fortress, but never got around to finishing the story. To understand why I hate the mouse intruder (Sho Kosugi) and his band of mouse commandos so much, you’ll need

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

On Topic Post: Look Before you Leap.

There's a relevant post HERE in the Washington Post about past home improvement ideas that were once very popular, but ended up causing lots of problems (like Asbestos materials and aluminum wiring). Part of the reason that I'm reluctant to accept new innovations is that I fear being an experiment. Asbestos sounds great, but years later they find out it causes incurable cancer...no thanks. So

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

crazy day

I spent most of my time today preparing for a meeting for our fundraiser. It actually went really well, so I'm glad I prepared so well. It just proves that my mother was right about being prepared. It really does make life easier!

I went to Rhea's house after the meeting so I could exchange season 2 of Star Trek with season 3. It's cool, like I have my own video library! (but you're much more than that, Rhea, you're also a music library, lol) She loaded my iPod with shiny new tunes and some TV shows too! Just what I need, right? More entertainment?! It will be very useful on my flight to LA, though. It's a long flight and I get bored easily.

We went for coffee and while we were there, she suggested I try to knit a Jayne Cobb hat (from the short-lived TV show Firefly, so when I got home, I looked it up. I can't believe how many people out there have patterns for this particular hat! It's great! I found this one that I think I'll use. It's a simply awful hat, in my least favorite colors to wear, but it'll be great to have one for DragonCon this year. (only to be worn inside, as Atlanta is truly "Hotlanta" in September!) So of course I'm going to try it after I knit the hat for my soldier. In fact, I might just make one for all the people who are joining me for DragonCon this year. Chris, would you wear a Jayne hat if I made it for you??? I attempted to use my circular needles last night and got completely confused. After that, I found a video online that helped me understand a little, but am still a little afraid of them. Of course, I felt the same way about the purl stitch, so I'm sure I'll get it eventually. I love a challenge... Speaking of DragonCon, I should check the guest list to see if anyone good has been added. *goes off to check list*

I'm In Love

I'm in love with DayQuil. THere, I said it. The past week I've been sicker than Dick Cheney's mind, and DayQuil is the only friend that hasn't abandoned me. I've been leaking bodily fluids from every orifice, coughing, sneezing, fever, you name it. But I still had to go to work, and go to my salsa class and breathe on people, so DayQuil was my wingman. I tired other things too this week.

Monday, January 15, 2007

The Boy Who Cried 'Cracka'

Happy MLK Day! Or is it Merry MLK Day? In the spirit of racial healing, I should apologize for calling the people in my last post "cracka' ass crackers". I assumed they were rich white folks who got the city to tear down their neighbor's house because, in addition to being assholes, they were also predjudiced. Well, it turns out that they weren't rich white folks, they were rich black folks.

Sunday, January 14, 2007

Lazy Sunday

It's been a lazy day, mainly because when I woke up my back was hurting and I didn't really feel like doing anything too active. I hate feeling this way, because I like being active! I went to church this morning and it was great, as always. Then, I worked a little on the YA novel that I've been talking about. I'm still doing some pre-writing on it because of how complex the story is going to be. I'll have pages and pages of notes before I'm ready to actually start writing! I really should have done that with Deadly Council. It would have saved a lot of time. Oh well... live and learn.

I also worked on Hannah's scarf today, and since she came over to my house I let her have a first look at it. She held it in her hand and kept stroking it as if it were a cat or something. It was cute. I really needed to check the length, so I had to drape it around her neck to check length. I really don't want to make it so long that it drags the ground when she walks. But anyway, she loved it. I can't wait to give it to her when it's complete. Which means I really need to keep working on it! I plan to do just that tomorrow, along with some other relaxing activities (such as reading one of the three books I have waiting to be read) I love the days when our office is closed. It's great to have a day off!

Next week is going to be interesting. We're starting a new program in Florida, so we will be doing some work with that, and I have two grants due and all kinds of stuff to do before we go to LA at the beginning of February.

On a more personal note, I've been reading a lot of the posts on the Soldiers Angels forum, and have really enjoyed "meeting" the great people there! They are full of helpful advice and wonderful tips, and they are all so encouraging to each other. It's wonderful! I feel great to be doing something positive for our troops. I've also decided I'm going to knit a hat for my soldier. I'll have to guess at his head size, but that's okay. I talked to some of the ladies on the SA forum and they said a hat would be a great gift and that he would be the envy of his unit. I might just knit more and send them for him to give out! I've never done a hat before, so it'll be a challenge.

I always avoid getting too political here, and there is a reason for that. But I have to say that even though I don't like war (in general, not specific wars) it is so important for us to support the troops and to show our pride in being Americans. When we were in the middle of Operation Desert Storm, I was in middle school. We had studied Vietnam and all the accounts we read talked about how the soldiers were treated badly when they came home. I hated hearing that, and wondered why people would treat the troops that way. So when radio stations across the nation played "From A Distance" by Bette Middler on the radio all at the same time one day in support of the troops, I arranged to play it over our school's intercom system so that all the kids could listen and think about what the troops were doing and how important they were to us. Later, we all tied yellow ribbons on trees for a safe return. It was cool. That experience really taught me something about being patriotic, and I think there's nothing wrong with loving our country. There are some things about our government that I really, really don't like, and things our president does that really don't appreciate at all, but I still love our country. Okay, off the soapbox. :)

Also, we got some sad news yesterday. A little girl who attended first grade at my mom's school died yesterday after two weeks of being in the hospital. She had complications from a routine surgery and suffered a lot of damage. It's so sad when someone that young dies. Her life really didn't even begin before it ended. I am so sad for her family and my thoughts and prayers go out to her family.

I want to leave this on a brighter note, so as not to depress any readers who might happen to wander by. I've been watching Scrubs as I typed this message, and the Christmas episode from season 1 just ended. In this episode, there is a song called "Sinnerman" by Nina Simone. Such a great song! I absolutely love it! I have the original version of the song (which was very hard to find, by the way) and the techno mix that was played in the Miami Vice movie. (yes, I saw that movie) I really prefer the original, though. There's just something about that song that really gets to me. There are a few songs like that... "The Promise" by When In Rome is another one. All this talk about music makes me want to get to work on the second CD in my mix CD project. B is for Broadway, so I'm going to make a CD with my favorite show tunes. I need to do it soon, because I plan to send it to Chris with the Circle Journal (yes, Chris, I am aware that I still have it) So that's it for today. Tonight will be very mellow. I plan to keep watching Scrubs, knit some more, work a little on my jigsaw puzzle, and then watch Desperate Housewives at the appropriate time, and then Brothers and Sisters, which is addictive!

Friday, January 12, 2007

Photo Hunters Theme: Technology

For the theme Technology, I chose to photograph my favorite technological devices. My computer (with the Photo Hunters site on the screen, lol) the remotes for my TV, VCR and DVD player, my iPod (which I can't live without) my cell phone, my pocket computer, and my digital camera. You can also see some of my computer games (including The Sims 2) if you look closely. Don't look too closely, though, because you can see a little dust on top of the computer game holder.. lol..


Headache. Sinus problems. I really hate this time of the year. Going to work all stuffy and with my whole body hurting is not fun. I really hope it's just sinuses. I can't get sick right now. Too many grant applications to finish. Too much going on.

I did something that I think is going to be very cool. I signed up to "adopt a soldier" from this site: Soldier's Angels. My thoughts on the war do not affect how I feel about those who are fighting it. Our soldiers deserve to be supported and loved, and that's what I plan to do. If you go to the site, you will get the details, but basically if you adopt a soldier you are commiting to send him or her a card or letter every week and a care package every month. I think that's not an unreasonable amount, and it's just the kind of project I know I will enjoy! I'm sending my first letter tomorrow. It's an introduction letter, so I'm sure it will sound silly and cheesy, but that's okay. Now I just have to decide if I want to write it by hand or type it. I know typed letters are somewhat impersonal, but my handwriting is really bad. I mean, it's really really bad. Just ask Chris, who struggles to read our Circle Journal everytime I send it back to him. (which reminds me, I have to send that thing back really soon...) Anyway, I'm looking forward to doing this project and I hope it brightens my soldier's day.

I have several books I need to read. My sister has been passing books on to me when she's finished, which she's never done before. I think she wants us to have a closer relationship, and I'm all for that. It's what I've been hoping would happen as long as I can remember.

My parents and I sat down the other day and started planning our summer road trip. I have no idea how we are going to do everything they want to do in just 9 days! We'll need at least 2 days in New York City to do everything they want to do there, and then there's DC, Niagara Falls, and my dad's photography excursions in the mountains. He's particularly interested in taking this road I found that goes through the Smoky Mountains. My parents have never been anywhere outside Alabama, Florida, Mississippi or Louisiana, so I think this trip will be good for them. I'm looking forward to it, and to celebrating their 40th anniversary with them. I can't imagine being married to someone for 40 years, but they are so right for each other that I can't imagine them not being married. Does that make sense? Probably not. Oh well... I'm going to take some medicine and go to bed. That's my exciting Friday night!

DC Housing Rant

People are always amazed at the stupidity and wastefulness of DC’s bureaucrats, unless you live here, then you get used to it. I saw this article in the Washington Post about how the city will have to pay $1.5 million to buy a house in a wealthy part of the city and demolish it. Yes, demolish it. It seems DC didn’t follow proper procedures when it approved the plans, so they ended up having to

Wednesday, January 10, 2007


Trust the Lord with all your heart, and don't depend on your own understanding. Remember the Lord in all you do, and he will give you success. Proverbs 3:5-6

This was my verse tonight, and it came at the right time. There are many things in this world that I do not understand, many things I wish I understood. Sometimes I question why things happen. I think it's okay to question, but ultimately I have to trust Him. After all, He knows better than I what to do about the state of the world.

finally finished

We started printing our newsletter today. It's great to be finished with that particular project. I love doing it, but I do have to smile when it's finished for another quarter. I think there might be some very interesting projects in the very near future for me at work, so I'm very excited about that.

I might have had a brain wave about Deadly Council. I have to think on it a little longer, but I think I have a killer now! We'll see what happens. I also worked on Under the Magnolia Tree today, completing four pages this evening.

I started Hannah's scarf the other day and worked a bit on it last night. I wanted a little change of pace. It was exactly what I needed. The softer yarn I'm working with is much nicer, it feels better on my fingers. The acrylic was beginning to rub my fingers the wrong way. I believe I'll look for softer yarn in the future, especially for the blanket I want to do. Speaking of my blanket, I worked on a pattern for it. This is only one possible design, but I do like it. The colors here are a little more extreme than the actual colors, but it works well as a representation. I do love the black border, though. It'll take me months to complete, but I think it will be totally worth it when I'm finished.

Christmas Part 2: Santa Becomes My Enemy

My hatred of Santa started when I was 6. I have always thought of him as mean and vengeful. I first met Santa when I was 4. He came to our house dressed in a red suit and handed out some gifts and quickly made his way out the door. I was too nervous to speak to him, but I appreciated the gift. Although he smelled like the same brand of whiskey that my uncle drank (Santa was a Chivas Regal

Tuesday, January 9, 2007

Damn You, Steve Jobs

I hate you , Steve Jobs. Right after I purchase a new cell phone and sign a 2 year contract, you come out with the world's greatest phone. I have to wait 2 years, which is longer than all my previous romantic relationships, to get my hands on that Apple iPhone? For the next two years I have to stay with that horrible Motorola Razr and it's clumsy menus, when I could've had a phone, iPod, and

Monday, January 8, 2007


Have you ever had the realization that you are too old to follow one of your dreams? I kind of feel that way right now. Too old and too tired to do what I've always wanted to do. Don't get me wrong, I'm happy with my life and with what I do, and I'm following other dreams, goals, and ambitions. But the one thing I've always wanted to do, I think I'm beyond being able to do it. That thought makes me sad. I feel I've lost an opportunity, and with it, I lost a little of myself. Maybe that's one reason I've thrown myself into my writing so much in the past two years. It is one dream I can still follow, an ambition that has been with me as long as the other one has, but that isn't limited by age.

I'm kind of at a point in my life where I'm looking back over the choices I've made and wondering what would be different if I had made different choices. I recently heard from an old friend. When we were in high school, we planned to move to New York when we graduated. I was going to study voice at Julliard (yeah, big ambition!) and he was going to take art at NYU. We were going to get a tiny loft apartment and live like the artists we were. I was going to have a wonderful career on Broadway and he was eventually going to open his own art gallery. Of course, those dreams are very difficult to achieve, even if you have the talent and drive to achieve them. But I still regret not trying. I regret not having that moment in my life. I can see us so clearly, living from day to day, not having much money, but happy because we were doing exactly what we wanted to do. But that never happened, because I decided to play it safe. I decided to follow a guy instead of my dream, and we all know how that ended. Married at 19, divorced at 22; I was completely crushed, a shell of the person I had been. At 23 I had to start all over again, a college freshman with no idea what to do with myself.

The last 7 years have been incredible for me. I found myself again, discovered the pieces of me that had been taken away by my ex, and put them back together to become a stronger person than I had been. But, because I immediately went back to school, and was in school for 5 years, I still feel as if I haven't lived much. I still feel unsettled, I still feel like a child in many ways.

I have a wonderful job that I absolutely love, but I still find myself wanting more. I will never forget how incredible it felt to be on stage, to hear the applause, to play a role totally unlike myself. I feel more at home in that environment than anywhere else. (I know, I'm such a diva!) But seriously, it's one thing I've always been able to do and it's the thing I enjoy more than anything. (although writing is a very close second, but I think the instant gratification of being on stage and hearing the applause is what makes it more enjoyable to me than the writing, if that makes sense)

The other day, someone told me I should try out for American Idol. I got a little jolt when I realized that, even with the higher age limit, I'm still too old. Taylor Hicks is a month older than me, but he was smart and got in before he hit the age limit. I should have done that, but at the time, I felt that I wouldn't get very far because of my physical apperance. I thought they only wanted thin, beautiful girls, so I let my insecurity get the better of me and didn't do it. Now I wish I had, because I know I could have been a contender. (pardon the reference)

Anyway, that's where I am right now, feeling as if a large chunk of my life has passed me by and I have very little to show for it. I'm not sure where to go from here, except to continue my personal quest to live more fully, to experience everything I can experience before I truly am too old to experience anything new.

Saturday, January 6, 2007


I just got home from seeing Dreamgirls, and let me just tell you... I'm buying the soundtrack as soon as possible! This movie was amazing! Being a singer, I always appreciate beautiful voices, and I just have to say that the voices in this film are more than beautiful. They are incredible! The story, based on a Broadway play, follows three young women in their rise (or not) to stardom. The performances were wonderful, by the entire cast. At first, I was afraid I couldn't take Eddie Murphy seriously, because he always plays such funny characters, but although his character was funny and quirky in his own way, it was the serious moments that got to me the most. And I don't know about anyone else, but I think that Jennifer Hudson deserves an Oscar for this movie. She was amazing in the role of Effie White. You could actually feel her pain when she would sing about it, and I've never heard a voice quite like hers. It is truly magnificent.

So if you like music, or if you just want to go see a great movie with lots of twists, ups and downs, and some touching moments, go see Dreamgirls.

Friday, January 5, 2007

Photo Hunters Theme: Memory

For the theme "Memory," I took a picture of a page in the scrapbook I'm making. These pictures are my parents through the years. It is just one of the pages in the book, but for me it is one of the most significant pages.

DC Corruption: Building Inspectors

Read this article by the Washington Examiner and find out why people hate DC. I’ll summarize: Building inspector slaps a stop-work order on a project (who’s owner is an FBI agent) and seeks a $20,000 bribe to lift it. The FBI agent records the calls and they begin an investigation on the inspector (complete with sworn affidavits and secret wire taps), but his corrupt colleagues still won’t


Sick yesterday, sick today (and yet I still go to work) Nothing big to report other than the fact that I hate this time of year. Sinus problems are always the issue this time of year and I'm getting tired of it! It's just bad enough that I feel miserable, but not so bad that I have to stay home. So yeah, that's all that is going on in my life.

Wednesday, January 3, 2007

productive day

After work, I had to do a favor for someone that lasted a couple of hours, but once that was over, I had a very productive evening. I did the first session in the Couch to 5k running program. It was really tough, since I'm very out of shape, but I managed to keep up with the intervals and didn't fall off the treadmill until it was over. (then, of course, I crawled off, lol)

When that was finished, I did about 10 minutes of strength training with the 5 pound weights that have been sitting in my exercise room, staring at me, for several months. I've started SparkPeople again, so tracking nutrition and exercise is easy! Seriously, if you've never tried SparkPeople and you want to lose weight, you should check it out. According to their nutrition tracker, I've consumed a little over 1200 calories today, and my range for each day is 1200-1500. I had a little more yesterday, but still in my range, so that's good.

After I finished exercising, I felt a surge of creativity, so I started mapping out the YA fantasy story that I've been itching to start. It's still just a beginning, just an idea, but it's starting to take shape. I have several pages of notes about characters and settings, and an inkling of a plot. It should turn out to be a series, so I'm working now on what will be the overall arc of the story and thinking of what types of subplots would work best with it. It's more ambitious than anything I've ever attempted, and I'm a little nervous about it. Of course, the best way to do these kinds of things is to dive in, whether it's just writing or doing some research. I am diving in with both feet!

Now that I'm finished with that, I'm going to knit a little before going to bed. I find it's the perfect thing to do as I'm winding down in the evenings. Eventually, I'll finish this first scarf and can start on some new projects. I'm so excited about this new hobby, and I'm really committed to learning everything I can about it. I met someone else around my age who knits, and we're talking about starting a Stitch n Bitch group. I hope we can get that going, because it'll be great to meet other knitters. Since I've started knitting, I've discovered something interesting. Several of my online writer friends are also knitters, and several of the knitters I've found online also write. I wonder why? I guess it has to do with creating things from what looks like nothing. Writers weave words to make the fabric of a story, and knitters do the same with yarn or other fibers. Either that makes a lot of sense, or I'm just delirious from the exercise...

Christmas Part 1: The Legend of the Santa Ninja

At the risk of almost-certain death, I think I should tell you about the Santa Ninja, and why I hate him, then I’ll tell you about my Christmas. Many people don’t realize that Santa was actually a ninja. He was. He was half-chinese and half-japanese and his name was San-te Takahashi. San-te (which means 3 harmonies in Chinese) was a powerful ninja during the 12th century. Before he learned

Tuesday, January 2, 2007

Writing goals for 2007

1. Where do you want to be with your writing in the long-term?

I would like to write full time.

2. Where are you with your writing now?

I'm writing more than I did at this time last year. I have more ideas than I did then as well. I'm just bursting with ideas that I want to implement! I'm so excited about several projects.

3. What project did you leave unfinished last year that you need to finish for your own peace of mind?

Under the Magnolia Tree needs to be finished, and Deadly Council. I'm so excited to see what will happen with those two stories. I also think I'm ready to start working on After the Storm again. The emotions it brought up were too difficult while we were still doing disaster relief, but since the hands-on portion is over, I think I can handle the story again.

4. What creative goals do you want to achieve over the next year?

I'd like to write a short story each month. I have some interesting ideas for these. I want to participate in Script Frenzy in June. It will be my first attempt at a screenplay. I have absolutely no idea what I'll write for that, but I have some time to figure it out. I want to finish Deadly Council and Under the Magnolia Tree, and continue pitching Summer's Blossom until I find someone who will take it!

5. What financial goals do you want to achieve over the next year? Yearly? Monthly? Weekly? (Note: There is no need to post this information, but you should have a figure that you feel comfortable with in your own notes).

There is a number in my head. Hopefully I can reach it by the end of 2007.

6. What steps do you see necessary in your life to achieve these goals?

Continue doing my best at work.

7. What will make you refer to yourself, first and foremost, as "writer"?

I guess just writing every day would allow me to refer to myself as a writer, but I think ultimately it hinges on being published. I know that's the worst way to determine if you are a writer or not, but it seems to be everyone else's standard.

8. What steps do you need to take on the technical front to achieve your goals (such as improving spelling, grammar, and a general widening of skills)?

Writing, writing, writing! I'm also going to look into some online writing classes and a writing conference or two.

9. What steps do you need to take on the creative front to achieve your goals?

Write every day (I keep going back to that, don't I?) Journal and keep an idea notebook for future projects, spend time watching people and writing down observations about them.

10. What changes do you need to make in your daily life (interaction with friends, family, job) to make this work?

I need to schedule creative time each day. This includes time for writing, journaling, prayer and meditation, and making an effort to really observe the world around me.

11. How much time each day do you vow to devote to your writing?

I'd like to spend two hours writing and one hour editing/brainstorming if at all possible.

12. With what new type of writing will you experiment in the coming year?

I would like to write some poetry, a sci-fi story, a fantasy story, and some other genres I haven't explored.

13. What new non-writing interest do you wish to add to your life this year?

I'd like to become more skilled at knitting. I also want to make a short film, improve my photography skills, learn to sew, learn more about wine, and learn to draw (or paint.)

Monday, January 1, 2007

2006 Evaluation and 2007 Goals

1. Take some time and look back at 2006. Write a few summary paragraphs (NOT A LIST) to evaluate the year.

I could call 2006 a season of growth for me. It was also a season of conflict and confusion in many ways. Of course, the conflict and confusion created the growth, so I'm not going to complain about that! For six years after my divorce, I avoided relationships. I told myself I didn't want to take the risk, that I didn't want to open up to someone just to get hurt again. But at the beginning of 2006, I actually managed to let someone in. The relationship didn't work out, he was not the right person for me due to our differences in opinion about several very important matters, and due to our priorities being totally different, but here's the thing. I don't regret the relationship at all, because it taught me something. I can love again, and I will love again. Just because he wasn't the right one, doesn't mean there isn't one out there who is.. right. 2006 saw the beginning of that relationship and then the subsequent breakup. I had never broken up with someone before. As painful as it was, and as horrible as I felt about it, I knew it was the right thing to do. And it was a huge step for me personally, because I made a decision to be in charge of my life and I realized it was better to be alone than with the wrong person. 2006 brought my 30th birthday, which was an important moment for me. My twenties were filled with conflict, difficulties, and some pretty awful situations, so I was fairly happy to leave them behind. I went forward with the lessons I learned from these situations. I think those lessons will serve me well for the rest of my life. I have gained confidence in myself and in my abilities, and I'm finally ready to stop putting myself down about my physical apperance. I also feel that I grew professionally. I've become a lot more confident at work, and my skills at my job have grown tremendously. I'm especially pleased with my grant writing skills and how they have grown over the past year. I have a long way to go, but I feel good about the way things are going so far. Overall, 2006 was a very good year.

2. What achievement left you proudest last year?

My grant record. In 2006, I wrote 22 grants and we were funded for 20 of them. I'd say that's something to be proud of.

3. What were your disappointments?

I had some personal disappointments. I thought I would be in a different place this year, that I would have a family or would be ready to start one. I feel years and years away from that happening, if ever, and that is a disappointment in a way.

4. What do you wish you had done differently?

When I knew something wasn't going to work out, I let it go too long. I know now that I should have stopped it much sooner.

5. How did your goals for the year evolve and change over the course of it, and what were the unexpected experiences?

As always, my goals evolved. One thing that I get really frustrated about is that I have a hard time keeping with my long term goals, especially the ones that deal with personal issues, like losing weight. I did write a lot more this year than I ever have, so that was one great result of making these goals. One other way my goals evolved was that I decided to do some new things, to shake things up a little. This has proven to be a good decision, as I've picked up a couple of new hobbies and have met some very interesting people as a result.

6. What was the best unexpected thing to happen in your year?

Knitting! Who knew I would enjoy it so much? I know that's a strange thing to name the best unexpected thing, but it's great to find a new hobby that I can really enjoy and that helps me relax.

7. Looking ahead, what are your goals for 2007?

- finish Deadly Council
- finish Under the Magnolia Tree
- continue pitching Summer's Blossom
- finish After the Storm
- start the YA fantasy that's been in my head
- read the Bible all the way through
- read more classics
- take some art classes

8. What steps do you plan to get you there?

I just need to have some discipline to do these things. They are not difficult, I just have to work hard and do them!

9. What are your dreams for 2006?

Get published!

10. What steps will you take to bring you closer to them?

Keep writing, keep pitching, keep going until it happens.

11. What are your resolutions for 2006?

I resolve that I will do everything I can to meet my goals. I also resolve that I will take the time to relax and enjoy life more, so that I don't look back on it and wish I had experienced more and worked less.

12. How do you plan to get there?

By taking a look at my life every day, by continuing to work toward my 101 in 1001 list, and by enjoying my hobbies and developing new ones.

13. What changes has the last year brought to your long-term plan?

The last year helped me realize that I need to stay where I am a little longer. I need to learn more before I can attempt to get a director's position somewhere. It has also taught me that I need to look at my motivations for wanting to go to grad school. Is it because I want to accomplish something that my friends have accomplished? Do I feel a need to prove myself? Or do I want to go because I think it would be best for my career? I have to decide that before I can make any real decisions about what I want to study.

14. Where would you like to be one year from now?

One year from now I would like to have better control of my finances. I would like to have sold something I've written (short story, novel, novella, article, etc)