Sunday, September 30, 2007

Sidewalk was wonderful!

I will try to post a comprehensive description of my weekend at the Sidewalk Moving Picture Festival before the end of the day tomorrow. For now, I just have to say I had a wonderful time, as always! We cried, we cringed, we laughed harder than we ever have. Seriously! So stay tuned for the good summary. For now, I'm going to sleep. So tired...

On the Road Again Part 3: I threaten a Dog

Because I don't believe in straight lines, I am almost done re-capping my trip to St. Louis. You can read the rest of the story in Part 1 and Part 2. When I first met the world’s most annoying chihuahua, Crash, I sat down on the couch and a blurry running rat-like creature scurried up my leg, scaled my torso, and gave me a headbutt in the chin, then started licking my face. The dog was strangely

Friday, September 28, 2007

Odds and Ends: Dave Barry and Verbal Judo

1. Verbal JudoI met (and accidentally insulted) Dave Barry on my lunch break last week. He was doing a book signing near my office and since he's an author that people have actually heard of, I figured it would be nice to get a (signed) copy of his book. Recently I listened to a copy of one of his books on tape, that was narrated by this unfunny jackass. I intended to tell Dave (we're on a first

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Offline for a few days

As the post title suggests, I will be offline for a few days. I'll probably post on Sunday night if I get home at a decent time, but if not, I'll post on Monday, probably a story about my weekend at the film festival! I plan to overdose on entertainment this weekend. It's going to be great!

Oh, I went to the doctor today. It turns out that my problem is a case of sinusitis. I've got antibiotics and some really strong cough medicine and instructions to go back if the pain and pressure doesn't go away when I finish the medicine. Hopefully it will. He said jaw pain can be a symptom of sinusitis, which is not something I had ever heard or experienced, but hey... he's the doctor! We'll see what happens. Whatever happens, I'm not going to let any amount of pain or pressure or discomfort ruin my weekend. I've been looking forward to this since the end of last year's festival.

Blogging Against Abuse

Today, bloggers across the globe are blogging about abuse in a Bloggers Unite community effort. They were asked to choose a type of abuse to blog about in order to raise awareness of the different abuses that exist in our world. My question is, how can I choose just one? There are so many types of abuse in the world and I want to raise awareness for every single one. However, if I did that this blog post would be way too long, so I'm going to pick a few that have personal significance to me.

Child Abuse
I knew someone when I was a teenager who had been abused as a child. She was extremely quiet and guarded about her childhood, but sometimes she would accidentally let something slip that sounded wrong. Sometimes she would say something about how she was punished at home, and it seemed she thought some of the activities were perfectly normal, but they were not. I was spanked as a child, but there were never bruises. She had bruises. If you leave bruises, you are no longer disciplining your child, you are abusing her. As a result of the events in her childhood, and probably a few other contributing factors, she was never able to truly become an adult. I'm not sure how she's doing now, but I know she's not completely healthy, and a lot of her problems come from the abuse she suffered at the hands of someone who was supposed to treat her with love and compassion. When a parent abuses a child, it doesn't just hurt physically, there are emotional scars that the child carries through adulthood. Those scars never heal.

Verbal Abuse
I was verbally abused for two years. The relationship started out as a nice, equal, healthy relationship. We had a mutual respect for each other and our friendship grew to love. After awhile, however, he grew to hate himself and the person he had forced himself to become. Rather than confronting that self loathing and figuring out how he could fix it, he took it out on me. Two years of hearing "you're fat, you're ugly, and you're stupid" eventually made me believe that I was all those things. I wasn't any of them, not by a long shot. It took me about five years to get over the damage that was done when a man I thought the world of insulted me nonstop for two years. Don't ask me why I stayed that long. But I'm a million times happier now that I'm out of it. The only problem is, sometimes it still comes back to haunt me. The insecurities that were enhanced by the things he said still pop up sometimes, and I have to fight to keep my confidence when this happens. Every day, it gets a little easier.

Physical Abuse
Recently I heard about a couple I know and the fights they have. The story was that when they fight, he has a tendency to shove her against the wall or push her down. It happens more often when he has been drinking. It happens in front of their children. When I heard this story, I instantly wished something very bad could happen to this man so that he could never hurt his wife again. I know this makes me no better than he is, but I wanted to see him hurting as much as he hurts her. Why do people hurt each other? Why is it that people who are supposed to love each other end up hurting each other more than they can hurt anyone else?

Animal Abuse
While the above posts are about people abusing people, I also think the issue of people abusing animals is a big one. Animals are helpless and they have no voice. When people abuse animals, they are showing that they are cruel and heartless, and the scars left on the animal are permanent, just like they are on people. I had a dog once, a beautiful red dachshund that was found wandering in the neighborhood I was living in at the time. I took this wonderful dog in because I wanted to give him a good home. I have no confirmation that he was abused before I got him, but I am certain he was. I'm also certain it was a woman with a fairly shrill voice, because this little dog freaked out anytime I got upset and my voice got a little shrill. He would run away sometimes and other times he would get defensive. He even bit me once when I was talking to someone on the phone and they said something that caused me to get a little upset. I was sitting on the couch and he was sitting beside me, and when my voice got shrill (it doesn't happen often, but sometimes when I get upset it does) the usually sweet dog bit my hand. I call that lasting damage, don't you?

There are so many other types of abuse that deserve awareness and action. These are just a few that I have seen personally, a few that have touched my life and the lives of people I know. To read other posts about abuse, go to Bloggers Unite.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Website work

I spent some time tonight working on updating my website. I've been meaning to add new photos to the gallery, but had to convert them first so that they wouldn't be too large. Just one photo would use so much of my available space that I couldn't add all the photos I wanted to add. Finally, I got most of them converted and uploaded, so they are now a part of the gallery. I have over 600 photos in the gallery now, and plan to add more as I take them. I decided to include photos from Fuddy Meers, so I had to clearly state that I didn't take those, but most of the others on the site are mine. Except the ones I'm in, of course!

I had a thought today about NaNo. It's not as complex as Draha, so it might be a better choice for the writing marathon! I'll do some plot work on it to see if it will go anywhere. I usually spend October doing prep work for NaNo anyway, so I'm right on schedule!

I'm going to have to go to the doctor soon, I think. I've been having some odd jaw pain, not associated with my teeth, but closer to my ears. I think it might be TMJ. I'd rather it be that than some of the other things I read about that can cause jaw pain. If it doesn't go away by Monday, I'll probably make an appointment.

Monday, September 24, 2007


I don't know why, but I'm feeling very disconnected lately. Everything seems so odd. Relationships with people feel off. I'm so unfocused in certain areas of my life and extremely obsessed with other areas. The editing is still going well. I have discovered that when I write something very quickly, it requires lots and lots of editing! It's okay, though. It's actually fun.

I think I'm burned out or something. I think I need some time away. This weekend is coming at a perfect time. I can't wait to go to the film festival. It'll be nice to spend some time in a different city with a great friend. Hopefully it'll help bring back my focus. If it doesn't, I'm not sure what I'll do.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

lots of stuff

The event the other night was very nice. Everything looked beautiful, the food was incredible.. but some of the people who confirmed they would attend didn't show up. This kind of behavior makes me completely crazy. It's a sad commentary on our society when people take the time to RSVP and then don't come. We had this beautiful dinner and some of the people we were honoring didn't even bother to show up. How disappointing. Oh well, the ones who did show up had a great time, and our staff members who stayed to help had fun too, so it was fine.

I worked on editing Magnolia Tree some more last night, and did some brainstorming about what I wanted to write for NaNo this year. I'm still fairly active on one particular thread on the NaNo forums (The Singles Lounge) and everyone is talking about what they are doing this year. I don't really have a clue yet. I was thinking about After the Storm, but I might scrap that story for good. It's just not going anywhere and I don't expect it to anytime soon. I wonder if I should try the first Draha book? That would give me a good jump start on it anyway. I have pages and pages of notes. I know what I have so far will get me through 50,000 words. Hmm.. it's a thought.

Only 8 days until the Sidewalk Moving Picture Festival! I can't wait! I'm leaving Thursday after work to meet Chris at his place and Friday we're driving into Birmingham to attend the entire festival for the first time ever! We always miss the opening night film because we don't take Friday off, but this time we both did. We usually don't stay for all of the films on Sunday either, but this time we are going to stay. This will be our third year going to the festival and it is more fun every year! I'm looking forward to it, obviously! It's just a weekend, but it'll be nice to get out of here for a few days. And, we're staying at the historic Redmont Hotel, which is supposed to be very nice.

It's nice to have something fun to look forward to, isn't it?

Monday, September 17, 2007

Kohl's Blanket

The first picture is of the first two stripes and the second includes the third. The third picture includes a couple of rows from the fourth stripe, so you can't see the color as well as you will be able to when I get a few more rows in. It will all be done in shades of blue. I'm having so much fun with this pattern. It's called the Arctic Throw and the pattern can be found here. It's challenging enough for a newer knitter but not so challenging that it becomes discouraging. I've always been one of those people who wants to be able to play Mozart the first time I touch the keys of a piano, so learning to knit is really a great exercise in pacing myself and not getting frustrated. Anyway, I just wanted to share. More coming soon!

event eve

I have an event at work tomorrow. I'm not worried about it by any means, but there is always that sort of panic-filled moment when I know I haven't done everything I needed to do. It's just paranoia, though, because my event plan is very comprehensive and everything has been checked off my "to do" list for this event. Still, it's disconcerting...

The event is a small dinner party for 45-50 people. The only thing left to do (besides the setup that has to be done tomorrow) is create a good playlist on my iPod for the background music. I'm going with some nice jazz - a mix of classic and modern artists. I think that will create a nice atmosphere. I actually love doing events. There's something about planning and executing an event that really appeals to my super-organized side.

I think it's going to turn out great, and I'll be glad when it's over!

In other news:

The theatre I've been involved with since this February has asked me to join the board of directors! Of course, I accepted. I'm taking over the Publicity Chair position, which is perfect for me, and I couldn't be happier about it! I can't wait to get started. Also, I've accepted the lead in a Christmas musical that my church and another church are doing. It's actually a fairly challenging part and a good play, so I'm looking forward to it. I'll be directing too. I don't know how I get myself into these things...

The other fairly big thing I'm working on now is a knitting project. I'm making blankets for each of my sister's three kids, and one for my mother if I have the time. It's a lot of fun and very relaxing. I find I get less stressed when I'm working on a knitting project. I'll post some progress photos soon. It's a great project, and my first attempt at knitting lace patterns.

I've been editing Magnolia Tree. It's slow going, but I'm working through it. I did a little work on Deadly Council. Plotting work, not actual writing. I need to get back to the actual writing. It's been a few days since I've done any writing and I miss it. A lot!

Post Secret is back

Yay! Later in the day yesterday, I checked back and Post Secret was up again. The reports I read said that Blogger had marked it as a spam blog and disabled it. I can't believe they would be that stupid. It's obviously not a spam blog! Instead of randomly targeting blogs to disable just because they seem to have a lot of traffic and a lot of incoming links, they should be looking at the blogs they think might be spam to verify that they are.

It actually worries me a little, making me wonder if my blog is safe. I hate to move it, though. We are talking about 500 posts here. That's a lot of history to just move. It's something to think about, though...

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Post Secret

My usual Sunday morning ritual is as follows:

Wake up around 9 a.m. (sleeping in is awesome!)
Make breakfast
Eat while checking email
Go to Post Secret web site and read the new Sunday secrets
Shower, do all the normal personal care stuff, get dressed
Go to church at 11 a.m.

Today, my ritual was interrupted because I went to Post Secret and it wasn't there! Does anyone know what's going on? I can't imagine Frank letting go of a site that has (let's be honest here) made him quite a lot of money from book sales. Not to mention the number of visitors he gets every day and the number of lives he's affected. I know I'm not the only person who checks Post Secret every Sunday. Hopefully it's just a glitch and will be fixed soon.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

500th post!

I don't normally comment on my number of posts, but I thought this was a milestone to celebrate. I have now reached my 500th post! I think that's pretty amazing, considering that this blog is just a place for me to talk about my life and my writing.

I'll talk about last week and the weekend tomorrow, but for now I just want to step back and look at this blog and remember where I was when I started it and where I am now. It's been an interesting journey. Here's hoping the next 500 posts reflect an even more interesting time in my life.

On the Road Again: Part 2

Ahhhh, Bloomington! The Dallas/Fort Worth of Central Illinois, how could I not love thee? Apologies for the last drunken post. Very uncharacteristic of me--not the drunken part, but the posting while drunk part.Moving on, I took the Amtrak up from St. Louis to here last night. Amtrak will never replace flying, but for short trips (Like DC to NYC) you can't beat it. Amtrak is like the

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Moments of silence

I observed two moments of silence today for the people who were directly and indirectly affected six years ago today. One was private, a moment I took while getting ready to go to work. I felt it would be impossible to start my day without remembering and thinking of those who are still in mourning for their lost loved ones. The other was public, at a United Way kickoff rally that I attended as my organization's representative. There was something special about observing that moment of silence with a room full of people. It was good to know people still remember. It's important to remember.

To all those who are still mourning, to all those who weep, my thoughts and prayers are with you today, and everyday.

Monday, September 10, 2007

I'm back

Ugh... I've been sick. But I'm starting to feel like one of the living again, so that's good. I had an interesting interview on Friday. I'm crossing my fingers for this one. It really seems great. Other than those two pieces of news, not much is happening.

I was offered a chorus part in Guys and Dolls. I didn't accept, not because I'm a diva or anything, but because the theatre is really far away and it doesn't make sense to drive that far for a chorus part. I spend way too much money on gas anyway. And also, performances would be in November, cutting into my NaNoWriMo time. I really don't want to do that!

Thanks for the comments about the bangs. I've worn them like that a few times and have gotten lots of positive responses. I clipped them back today, though, because they didn't want to behave. Sometimes you just have to accept that it's going to be a bad hair day!

Friday, September 7, 2007

Free Plug Fridays

For those of you who like Art (i.e. those of you who are part of civilization and eat with forks and knives instead of tearing strips of meat from the fire with your fingers), there is an Art Show Thingy ("The Art Romp 20") at the Warehouse in DC. It's from 6pm 'till whenever tonight. One of my friends is showing some Art there so you should definitely go. And I'm not saying that you should

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Finished with Magnolia Tree!

The first draft of Under the Magnolia Tree is finished! I worked hard on it yesterday while I was off work and actually got to the point where I could write "the end!" It's not truly finished yet, of course. There is plenty of fleshing out to do, but the story is done. I'm so happy to have finished it, and am excited that I get to take it off my "writing projects" section. I'll be working on the "fleshing out" part of the process while working on other projects.

In other news... I got bangs! I don't know what got into me, but I decided it would be cool to have bangs. For those of you who know me, you will be shocked because I haven't had bangs since a very frightening experience in middle school when I cut my own bangs. Very bad school pictures that year! But this time I had them cut by someone who knew what they were doing. Anyway, I'm not sure how I feel about the bangs... so if any of you out there have an opinion, please feel free to share it. And please note that I'm not wearing any makeup in this picture, which is why I look so awful! It's sort of an Emo picture, but when I smiled it looked stupid. There are ways I can avoid showing the bangs to the world, so if they look stupid, someone please speak up! It's been so long since I've had them, I'm not sure what they are supposed to look like!

Sunday, September 2, 2007

Odds and Ends

Having Monday off for Labor Day should allow me to loaf for 24 extra hours this weekend. DC is like a ghost town this weekend because all the sheep have left town in order to go to the beach and hang out with the same people that were trying to get away from. This is one of the times when it's fun to be a contrarian. Driving around this city, there are parking spots everywhere. You would