Category: Oh the Randomness

Goodbye to The Year of the Bitch

Like many others, I am glad to see the back end of 2016 – In short, it was not my finest year. I’ve taken to referring to it as The Year of the Bitch. Honestly, I spent virtually the entire year pissed off or aggravated about something. My chronic health problems kicked into high gear, and I constantly felt like crap, which exacerbated everything. I didn’t feel like being sociable – as many of my friends can attest – or friendly – as members of my family can attest – or witty or creative – as my lack of writing can attest – and I was damn sick of working on Yours Truly. Throw in the presidential election and the seemingly overabundance of deaths, celebrity or otherwise, and it was just an ugly year.

But some great things happened last year, too. My nieces and nephews all progressed by amazing leaps and bounds. My bestie and her partner had a beautiful baby. Work was abundant. My friends and family loved me despite the chronic bitchiness that went hand-in-hand with my chronic illness. And I made it through the edits of Yours Truly despite never wanting to look at the damn thing again. Don’t get me wrong – I love the characters and their story and can’t wait to once again share it with the world (currently waiting on a release date) but…

There’s something about a blank page.

A blank page can signal either abject terror or sheer excitement. It all depends on perspective. And since my perspective in 2016 plowed straight over optimism, this year I’m gunning for pessimism. I’ve had enough. And so, some changes are in order:

1 – Finding a new doctor is high on the list so I can at least have some semblance of order in what I throw at the wall to see what sticks in terms of treatment (one of the hazards of having a chronic illness with no set treatment is wasting time and money throwing random things at the wall because you don’t know what’s going to work).

2 – Figure how to write and be creative even with being sick – that was a huge struggle for me last year. I wasted way too much time berating myself for not writing most of 2016 due to not feeling well because everyone knows you have to write no matter how you feel. /sarc/ No more letting others dictate my rules. This is probably going to be the hardest bit – I have zero idea how to be this sick person.

3 – No more spending so much time on social media (obviously, this has been the case for a while). File previous silence under a disinterest in being social, but after a bit of thought and consideration, I realize the more time I spend on social media, the less I actually have to say.  I’m not yet sure how much or little time this will entail, but my general goal is more blogging and less other social media (though my blogs auto post to other outlets). I also don’t want to continually read drama-laden and mean-spirited posts – I have a hard-enough time maintaining my optimism and since I tend to pick up the emotional states of those around me – even online – I’m being pickier about who gets to spend time in my world. File this under self-preservation.

Hopefully these small changes will create a much bigger effect and my default will be joy and adventuresome – as it was until I got sick – rather than feeling overwhelmed, stomped all over, and generally hateful. I’m always open to suggestions, so feel free to share any you might have.

In the meantime, I wish you a wonderful 2017.

I’m cautiously optimistic.

Do Crushes, Grammar (and Bald Heads) Make Me a Writer?

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Courtesy of someecards.com

True Story. Way back in the day, when I was attending college just outside of Atlanta (shout out to Agnes Scott College and the Black Ring Mafia), 99x was the station to listen to. Every summer for a number of years they had the “On the Bricks” summer concert series. The only one I went to was in mid-June 2001 to see Vertical Horizon.

I’ve long had a “thing” for bald men. Don’t know when it started – or why – but smooth as glass or the tiniest bit stubbly, there’s just something about shaved heads that makes me crazy. I love rubbin’ on them. I love shaving them. I love looking at them.

*Sigh*

A bald head is also the reason behind meeting Rockstar (see my essay “Ten Steps for Befriending a Rockstar or The Gentle Art of Stalking” in Fractured: essays on love, friendships, and the nightmares in between for that story – he also has impeccable grammar. For the record.) a couple of years earlier. On a sultry summer evening in Atlanta, Matt Scannell was just the ticket.

I’d convinced a few college friends to go with me, and we all hung out until Vertical Horizon came on, and then we scurried up to the front of the crowd. They played a couple of songs, and we grooved along until Matt S. started chatting up the crowd. “How are you?” he asked. “Are you doing well?”

I swung my head to look at one of my friends, my eyes wide as could be, and said, “Oh, my God! He has the *best* grammar!”

She gave me a weird look (the same look I get all the time from just about everyone I know, and even some I don’t) and said, “You are the only person I know who’d get off on proper grammar.”

I grinned and went back to lusting over Matt. That didn’t last too long, but only because they shut the show down early on account of lightning and an impending thunderstorm. The evening ended with my friends (including Rodney H. who was covering the show for whatever newspaper he was writing for at the time) and I, soaked to the bone, sitting in Denny’s, where I shook like a junkie in need of a fix because they had the AC turned down to about -20.

One of these days I’ll get around to seeing Vertical Horizon live again. Until then, I’ll continue crushing on Matt, his impeccable grammar, and his deliciously bald head.

I’m not convinced, though, any of it is because I’m a writer.

 

 

#MilitaryBrat Problems

facepalm guy

Photo Courtesy of Liz Henry

I was born and raised an Army Brat, and I thought I’d recognized all the quirks that go along with that. Some of these highlights include:

  1. The ever-present dilemma of how to answer the question of where I’m from. The only thing I’m adamant about at this point is that I’m NOT from Florida. If my entire immediate family wasn’t here, I wouldn’t be either. I despise the heat/humidity combo.
  2. I was born in Germany. Along with the look of surprise, Americans have told me that I speak English with no discernable accent more times than I can count.
  3. When I lived in Frankfurt, I had to convince Germans I was actually an American. (Sadly, I’ve lost my German fluency…)
  4. My accent. No one can place it. I’ve been told I sound Midwestern, southern, from Orange County, California. It changes depending on who I’m talking to. I’ve picked up British accents and German accents and North Carolina twangs. I can’t do it if I try, but I’ve often had to explain that it just happens and I’m not poking fun or being an ass. This happened just the other night…
  5. My educational level was questioned as a kid when I moved from Fort Polk, Louisiana, to Fort Devins, Massachusetts, where I attended a public grade school for 6 months. It was automatically assumed that kids from the South were far behind their Northern counterparts. Boy, were they surprised.
  6. Constantly having “itchy feet” syndrome, which means the longest I’ve been able to live anywhere as an adult before wanting to move on is right about 2 years. That’s about the average time I spent anywhere as a kid.
  7. I get bored way easier than I should. I figure this is because of traveling so much as a kid and experiencing new places and cultures on a regular basis.

This brings me to my latest discovery…

An inability to remember what slang is used where. In Yours Truly (an announcement about that coming soon), Izzie is from Atlanta. Where I went to college and where I moved back to for another couple of years after living in California. It’s not like I don’t have any experience with Southernisms anyway, because my mom’s from North Carolina. I’ve been picking away at the sequel to Yours Truly, and I had to text my lovely friend Ellen, who is Southern born and bred, to ask if Southerners say, “Whoa there, Nelly.”

That’s Midwestern, apparently. For the record.

I still haven’t come up with the Southern equivalent, which is driving me nuts. Any Southerners want to weigh in?

***Not sure why the caption for the image won’t show up, but it’s used courtesy of Liz Henry. The image is clickable.

Brief Thoughts on Hamlet with Benedict Cumberbatch

Benedict Cumberbatch at Barbican Theatre’s Stage Door

I meant to post my thoughts about Hamlet with Benedict Cumberbatch over the weekend, but got sidetracked by sleep deprivation and a mad dash to get the house cleaned before my parents arrived.

It’s no surprise (or it shouldn’t be) to anyone that I love Benedict Cumberbatch. He’s an amazing actor, capable of making me forget it’s him I’m watching, regardless of the project – that isn’t always the case for me with big-name actors. Unfortunately, it also wasn’t the case with Hamlet. Not sure why, but there you go.

The acting, though, was amazing as was the set design. The costuming was a hot mess, in my opinion. I don’t care that it wasn’t period dress, but there wasn’t a single thread of commonality that I could find. The range went from 20s suits to slacks and a David Bowie t-shirt to lacy dresses. I found it all very distracting.

I also realized I don’t enjoy Shakespeare with Benedict Cumberbatch any more than I do without him. I want to like Shakespeare, really, I do—I’m an English major, for Pete’s sake—but whenever I watch movies or other productions based on the Bard’s plays, I always feel like I’m watching a foreign film with no subtitles. Which makes me feel incredibly stupid. During a conversation about it with a friend of mine, he suggested I forget about the dialogue and just focus on the story—That the language would settle in and I’d see the beauty of it by doing so. He’s probably right and so I will approach any and all Shakespeare from that viewpoint just to see how that works out.

Hamlet wasn’t a waste of money by any stretch, and I’m glad I went (even though I actually missed the live performance which ran at 2 instead of the 7pm showing I went to—that was disappointing…), especially with great company. But I won’t be watching it again like I did with Frankenstein with Benedict Cumberbatch. I went to see that one 3 times! 🙂

Tonight’s the Night!!!

Tonight’s the long-awaited Hamlet night, streaming live from London. As much as I bitch about technology being the bane of my existence, it’s pretty damn cool it can let me watch a live performance thousands of miles away in the comfort of a local theater.

And dream about kinda sorta being in the same place at the same time as this man:

12 Years a Slave 52

He’s excited about date night too! 😉

Benedict’s lasted a while as my celebrity crush, though the light did dim a bit when he got married and he and his wife had a baby. In real life, I can’t – and won’t – poo-poo love between anyone. It sure puts a damper on the old, inner fantasy life, though. There’s something mildly disconcerting about going all dreamy over a married man. Probably because in real life that’s where my line is firmly drawn. In my world (and in certain circumstances) flirting and the like is okay if someone’s dating, but ring on finger? Nope. Nada. Not a chance in hell.

Anyway, I had an exchange with my awesome and much loved sister-in-law last night that went something like this:

 

Me: So… tomorrow night’s Hamlet. I’m excited! It’ll almost be like being in the same place at the same time with Benedict.

SIL: (cue mildly disdainful look) You keep telling yourself that… if it makes you happy.

 

I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry – I can’t imagine a life without the random “What ifs” that give me butterflies, even if I know they’ll never happen. My SIL is scientifically brained. She’s literal and would probably describe herself as a realist. I’m happy to trip down whatever path my creative brain shoves me and think reality is boring and overrated, regardless of the necessity of dealing with it.

I’m pretty sure she thinks I live in a state of arrested development.

I’m totally okay with that.

Tonight’s date night with Benedict.

I Stand with Vin or The Struggle Continues…

Vin Diesel

photo:

This morning my Facebook Trending feed showed me a headline that set the butterflies to goofing off:

Vin Diesel: Actor Appears in Shirtless Photo during Vacation in Florida

I’m sad to say I didn’t hesitate to click on it—I mean, who wouldn’t want to see a picture of Vin Diesel shirtless? Plus, he’s in Florida; I’m in Florida… I typically don’t go for the super buff in terms of what I’m attracted to, but he’s bald, and that is right up my alley.

Only his being shirtless wasn’t the point of the “article”—the author (whoever that may be, I didn’t stay long enough to get the name) chose to focus on his out of shape appearance.

Of course with celebrity a certain amount of public attention goes with the territory, but I don’t think I’ll ever understand the lengths the rag mags on or offline will go to in order to tear someone down. And I don’t need to read the comments to know there are plenty in the public who’ll take the opportunity to jump on the bandwagon too.

When I started writing Yours Truly, Cardwell B. (aka From Poe to Know) it was because of my supercrush on Benedict Cumberbatch. But as the story went on, I started thinking about what life must be like for those whose celebrity status means constant interaction with the paparazzi and what it would mean for anyone in the periphery. Love celebrities or hate them, I think we all sometimes forget they’re real people with real lives and real loved ones who are impacted by this kind of crap.

I don’t know Vin, don’t really know anything about him besides his movies (some of which I’ve enjoyed) and he sure as hell doesn’t need me to defend him, but surely his hard work and smarts (he wouldn’t be at his level of celebrity—regardless of what one thinks about the profession—without either one) what he’s done is worth more than this.

I Started at the End of the World and Ended at Always

Even with a concerted effort to stay away from the news, I can’t avoid reading some of the headlines thanks to Facebook’s Trending feature. I wish I could turn the stupid thing off, but they apparently haven’t made it so yet.

Anyway, at the top of this Trending feature is a headline that reads:

EBible Fellowship: Pennsylvania-based Christian Group says World Will End on Oct. 7.

There’s no year attached to the headline—and I refuse to click over no matter how much not knowing is driving me crazy—but I assume they mean 2015. As in October 7, 2015.

As in today.

Oddly enough, given my interest in Gothic literature, serial killers, and other things of the dark-themed, there are few things that seriously creep me out:

  • Deliverance (a great movie, but still…creepy!)
  • Natural Disaster movies
  • Being stuck in an elevator, or anywhere else I can’t readily get out of (I’ve been claustrophobic since I was 4 and got stuck in a McDonald’s bathroom – no joke)

Number one on my list, though, is…

  • The end of the world / an apocalypse of any kind.

This includes zombie apocalypses, which explains why I’m addicted to The Walking Dead (T-minus 5 days and counting…) I think I can watch the show with not getting too freaked out because it’s character driven and far more about how they navigate the new world they’re thrust into, but even if the chances of an actual zombie apocalypse are slim I still feel the urge to start hording supplies. I constantly ask myself how I would react, if put into the same set of circumstances.

But give me a Christian-based apocalypse, and I’m ready to crawl under my bed and hide until it’s over. I’m a Believer, faulty thought I may be and a seriously lapsed churchgoer, and I’m not even sure I believe in an actual Rapture, but still… There’s something unsettling about the world being in a worse spot than it already is.

In my own tangential way of thinking that led to the thought that I’ve forgotten how to be kind to other people. I’ve been so intent on protecting myself emotionally that I automatically assume the worst of other people. It used to be the other way around—I’d always think the best of everyone until they gave me a reason not to. When that changed, I don’t know, but I don’t suppose it’s wholly unusual to reach my age and not be beaten down by life a bit.

Part of this experiment of mine is to consider when and how I was the happiest in my life, when the world was a grand adventure and great things were bound to happen. That was, at least in part, when I could firmly see all the good things in the world and the people around me.

Bottom line: It’s hard to be hopeful and look forward to the good things in life if you can’t see them.

So…

I started the day with this:

But after drafting this post, I’m choosing this:

It doesn’t mean I won’t have to deal with the usual amount of crap life throws at me, but I can choose how I react. I don’t know that I’ll always succeed—as it is, I’m sitting here thinking “how Pollyanna of me” and cringing just the tiniest bit—but living by the idea that happiness makes the world a better place, even if it’s just my own little corner of the world, can’t be all bad.

They Say Not to Blog When You’re in a Bad Mood, but I’m calling Shenanigans

I’ve been trying to blog for months now. Every time I sit down to do so, my mind immediately goes to something to complain about.

In the spirit of complaining, I’m calling shenanigans on the entire month of September and requesting a do-over. At the very end of August I found out my publisher, Secret Cravings Publishing, was going under. That was sad to say the least but not insurmountable. I had one book published – other authors had multiple books to decide what to do with, some of them in the double digits. I can’t even imagine. The status of From Poe to Know aka Yours Truly, Cardwell B. is currently pending. I’d originally decided to re-work it and self-publish it again. Then I decided to shop it around, which I am. I haven’t decided what I’m going to ultimately do, but it’s given me a bit of breathing space.

Then the following week my car died—10 days before my final payment. What I thought was a simple fix (read: need a new battery) turned out to be a blown fuse the dealership said was due to the jumper leads being connected improperly (I call shenanigans on that, too. It wasn’t me who jumped it, but everything’s color coded and I was standing right there…) Personally, I think it got hit by lightning (we’d had a couple of really nasty storms right around the time it died) but I don’t have any way to prove it. That was an inexpensive fix, but add a bunch of maintenance to it and nearly $500 later…

Then I got sick the following week with whatever crap has been going around and that knocked me out for the count for about 2 weeks. If snot were worth money, I’d pretty well be rich right about now. It was disgusting. Not only did I feel awful, but I also couldn’t go over and see my awesome nieces and nephews. This put a crimp in everyone’s schedule since I was due to go over to be support person so my brother could take care of some things.

Between the car dying and my getting sick, it was nearly a month before I could make it over. Getting the little ones sick is not an option.

And let’s not talk about the lunar blood moon eclipse—it was fantastic to see at least part of it before it got cloudy, but I swear it threw the universe off. All last week was absolute insanity. Electronics not working properly, internet going out for no apparent reason (I can’t work my day job when the internet goes out), just stupid, stupid things happening (including a Repo guy with the wrong address prowling in the backyard at 3:30 in the morning!)

And the constant barrage of bad has exacerbated my dismal mood. I don’t just mean things like the recent shooting in Oregon. I’m also referring to the constant hatefulness of news story commenters—that’s a sheer amount of ugliness that never seems to stop. And it doesn’t have to be a polarizing article; it could be a feel-good story and people will find something hateful to say. I keep telling myself that I’m going on a news moratorium and will stop reading article comments, but I always find myself getting sucked into both. It’s like watching the proverbial train wreck. I don’t want to watch the carnage, but I simply can’t help myself.

All of this has made me consider why my own attitude has sucked—not just for the past month, if I’m being honest—and what I’m going to do about it.

Stay tuned… I’m formulating a plan. One that won’t be fueled by complaints.

The Note that Started it All

IMG_1443The craziness around here continues as the tale end of the adoption saga for my brother and sister-in-law finally comes. Only a couple more weeks and everyone will be home. Then the real fun starts with getting my niece and nephew firmly established into the family with a younger sibling, my nephew, Monkey, and a niece, Le Woah, on the way. It’s going to be kid craziness with some extra special loving going on to account for the orphanage time. I can’t wait!

Amid all that is the need to get the house I live in ready for my parents to move in. They own it and there’s a ton of stuff to be done. First thing to go will be the nasty-ass carpets. Those will be pulled up by my dad and me this coming Monday and Tuesday. Which means I have to pack up everything in my room so it can be moved, etc.

As I was going through the pile of papers I invariably have, I came across the index card you see above. And laughed.

That’s how the idea for From Poe to Know started.

At the time, I’d been sort of keeping an eye on the media coverage of Benedict Cumberbatch and he was all golden boy, all the time. I knew it would only be a matter of time before the gossips got bored and the news coverage went south (That actually started happening just a few months later. Nothing major, but you know it’s a slow news period when the rags start going on about his attire and how tired he looked after he just got off a lengthy flight).

I jotted that note down right before I passed out for a nap. In my tired brain mode, I started thinking about celebrities and stalkers and absently wondered what would happen if the stalker became the stalkee. Usually it’s the Average Joe who does the stalking and the celebrity who has to put up with the shenanigans, but what would happen if it were reversed? If the celebrity was the stalker and the Average Joe the recipient? I scribbled the note you see so I wouldn’t forget my train of thought while I was sleeping.

A couple of days later I started fleshing out the idea. It didn’t turn out anything like I initially thought it would. I had planned for the “stalking” bit to play more of a prominent role and for the romance to be the sole focus. Turns out I had much more to say on the matter and discovered my original thought was only a small part of the story.

And so it goes. Book 2 is in progress, for those following along. My starting point for that is the idea of what it would be like to actively date a celebrity. That’s making me laugh just thinking about it. It’s taking far longer than expected to write due to the adoption and the prep and work and life, but stay tuned. Izzie’s story has only just started.

Ceit

 

Lovin’ the Crash and Burn…

So, today’s the day when the craziness of flip-flopping between two houses and three cats starts. And it started off with a crash and burn.

The bed I’m sleeping in over at my brother and sil’s house is actually intended for one of the kids. It’s not even big enough to be a twin, so it’s a little small. And it’s on the floor not on a frame. As a result, getting out of bed in the mornings has been quite the interesting endeavor. If there was ever a time I was aware of actually being (technically) middle age, it’s been the past two weeks.

This morning I wake up and roll out of bed only to crash to the floor when I put weight on my legs. Turns out sciatica crept in during the night and it was apparently determined to try to make my day a living hell. I laughed about it at first. It’s been a while since I last experienced sciatica, but even though it was down the outside of my leg rather than shooting pains down the middle of my butt it didn’t much concern me. But I ended up getting that “electrical” shock when a nerve is tweaked that I felt all the way to my sternum. That threatened to set off a cascade of anxiety attacks, which I didn’t have time to allow to get out of control. Thankfully, getting those quieted down is pretty much second nature since I’ve had them for about 24 years, but sheesh!

When I got home and saw my Dorian Gray for the first time in 2 weeks, he wouldn’t shut up for a good 30 minutes. He had to tell me all about his trip down to my parents’ house and yell at me for being absent. Then it thundered and he went off to hide while I took a nap.

It’s going to be a busy night of laundry and work and getting to bed early since I have to be up at the crack of dawn, but with all the goodness coming (not) soon (enough), it’s worth it.

I’m off to hobble to the laundry room.

Send out a search party if I’m not back in ten…

<3