What happens when you life slaps you upside the head and says, "Wake UP!"

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Location: Westminster, Maryland, United States

I'm the mom and career woman who has always had a passion for writing

Friday, July 24, 2009

Elizabethtown & Chicago

If you haven't seen the movie ELIZABETHTOWN, you really should. I can't recommend that flick enough. Not only is the movie excellent, but the soundtrack rocks! Orlando Bloom, Kirsten Dunst, and Susan Sarandon are phenominal in the film. But as much as I love the storyline, the music by Nancy Wilson and the songs by so many great artists really do the movie! Let me just say that after watching ELIZABETHTOWN I always feel like taking a long road trip.

Speaking of road trips, I just got back from Chicago. Unfortunately, neither Josh nor Jamie could go with me due to football and work commitments. I didn't mind the time alone at times - it was well spent listening to GONE TOMORROW by Lee Child and THE GIRL WITH THE DRAGON TATTOO by Stieg Larsson. Read them - they're great.

It was weird driving around my old hometown of Des Plaines. Most of the roads are torn up due to the American Restoration and Reinvestment Act. I know that because they've put up signs all over the city to let everyone know that dealing with the traffic jams, single lanes, and bumpy drives have "America" written all over them.

I went back home for my mom's 70th birthday party. It would have been great to see more relatives there, but due to other commitments and issues, not everyone could attend. That's understandable. One of the highlights was getting to see my newly born great niece, Mia. What a doll she is! I loved cradling her in my arms.

Got to say I almost felt like a savior at one point (not being overly arrogant here, am I?) - my parents, sister, and brother-in-law are really into country music. Me? Not so much. And there were six or so 20-something adults there (my nephews, niece-in-law, and their friends) who are not into country at all. Luckily, I had my iPod with me and my FM adapter so I played my playlist over my dad's radio. We got the full range of music - from classic rock to alternative to TWILIGHT & ELIZABETHTOWN soundtracks and metal. I got some "thank you's" from the younger crowd, and it made me feel good to provide music they liked too. Then, when the battery died, we went back to the country music. It was a win-win for everyone there!

I hope everyone is enjoying their summer. Seems like the summers get shorter every year. Oh, I'm not getting older, am I? :-)

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Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Current reads

I've been doing a lot of reading lately. Just finished reading something by an author whose books I always enjoy. This book was a little different though. It seemed reminiscent of an earlier book, and I was able to guess "who did it" about halfway through it. There was a lot of back story involved. I don't know - it seemed to drag after a while. Don't get me wrong - it's still a good story. It's just not as fresh as I would have liked it to be. Okay, maybe I expect too much from that author.

It makes me wonder what an author goes through after a number of successful novels under his/her belt. Does it get progressively harder to come up with ideas? Do they have ideas but rely too heavily on their past successes as far as character development and plot?

I imagine it can be difficult sometimes to generate an entirely new story line after writing for years. Unless you're one of those exceptional people who have a bottomless pit of ideas. How wonderful it would be to be one of THOSE people.

So now I'm reading BREATHERS - A ZOMBIE'S LAMENT. I'm about halfway through, and I have to say it's holding my attention. I didn't think I'd care for it, but one of the guys at work recommended it, and he is correct - it's entertaining. The story puts a different spin on what zombies are all about. Pick it up if you would like something light to read.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Our First College Open House

I took my son up to Castleton State College in Vermont last weekend. It was the college's open house, and it was impressive to me to see how many potential students and parents showed up - some from as far away as Florida and (I think it was) Oklahoma. The professors we met were great. To tell the truth, just being on the campus was a great feeling.

Unfortunately, I never was part of the college experience. I did my studies here and there, grabbing courses and finishing my BS online - Oakton Community College, Roosevelt University, and California Coast University. I even got a semester and a half under my belt towards my MBA at Colorado State (go Rams!). I call it "lifus interuptus" - having to work right out of high school, getting married just before I turned 30, and having a baby at 34. I guess I'm hoping to experience campus life vicariously through my son. And I can live with that. In fact, I think it's great. I'm terribly excited for him.

My ex-husband is concerned about our son being interested in Castleton. Seems he doesn't appreciate the demographics because our son is biracial. Personally, I think he's being a little paranoid. I have total faith in my son and his approach to things. Yes, he can be a little headstrong sometimes, but with each passing day he is maturing and it's awesome to see. I believe he will survive and thrive no matter where he chooses to go to college.

Now funding is another story. Will we be able to afford Castleton? I'm not sure at this point. I wish my son would choose a Maryland college so we wouldn't have to pay out of state tuition. But regardless, I'll do whatever I can to help him. Don't most parents?

It's going to be a gorgeous day in Maryland today. I'm going to see the high school play tonight (my son is one of the lighting techs) and I know I'll have a great time. The drama teacher there is very talented and puts on a good show because she's got a great group of students involved in the play.

I hope everyone has a great day today!

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Saturday, April 04, 2009

I love a challenge!

I'm having a lot of fun with Writers Digest's Poem a Day celebrating National Poetry Month in April. You're given a writing prompt as the theme of the poem, and then you create your masterpiece. Three down, twenty-seven to go!

My son is having a party today for his friend who joined the Air Force and leaves for training on Tuesday. He's a great kid, and I'll be sorry to see him leave. He is one of my son's nicest friends, always smiling, always joking around. I hope for all the best for him.

I'm getting so excited about Spring. We had to cut the grass last weekend, flowers are starting to bloom, and the trees have buds. I love this time of year almost as much as I love Autumn. Allergies, of course, are a problem during Spring - but we all survive and move easily into doing all of the outside things we like to do.

Things are going well between Jamie and me. We seem to finally be settling into all of the "knowns" of each other - all of the weird little things (or maybe not so weird) that make us different. We're more accepting of our little quirks and habits - the things it really takes time to get to know. Ain't love grand?

One last thing - I love Twitter. It's like instant news from all the people you are following there. I was happy to see my favorite author, Chris Bohjalian, on Twitter. If it hadn't been posted there, I wouldn't have known he was doing an hour-long show on NCPR, which I was able to listen to via iTunes. It's always interesting to me to hear how an author came up with his/her idea for a story, how they created their characters, and how they feel about those characters. Chris had visited our facility a couple of years ago and spoke about his book, The Double Bind. What a wonderful novel! His newest one, Skeletons at the Feast, is an awesome read. I highly recommend his books to everyone!

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Saturday, February 28, 2009

How I Spent My Friday Evening

When my boyfriend moved in, I had to make room not only for his stuff but for his 7 year-old daughter’s stuff too. I took the room that was my office and turned it into a bedroom for her. I moved my office into the spare room that contained all of my scrapbookking things and my meditation corner. Only one word describes that room now: crammed.

I’ve been trying to get my new office/scrapbookking/meditation room in order for months. It's funny how quickly things can go when you're motivated (although you don't always want things to go quickly when you're motivated about some things, right?). For now, I have my mediation cushion in the bedroom. Sidebar: I got the cushion in deep purple (ha - that's a double entendre!) so it purposely wouldn't blend into the other colors in my room. I want it to stand out so I see it, so I don't lose sight of it, so I remember to use it. Yeah … right …

You see, sometimes I get tunnel vision. I focus so intently on the things right in front of me that when I turn around I see something else and say, "Oh yeah – I forgot about that." Does that ever happen to you? It seems that the more we have to stimulate our brains and senses, the more we scurry to try everything, to do everything, to see everything. Exampli gratia …

Making dinner? That's great. Set the timer and forget about it until the buzzer reminds you to check on it. So while you're waiting, you're going through the pile of mail sitting on the corner of the table. You separate the bills from the junk mail. You toss the junk into the garbage can, but wait! That's a cute outfit on the cover of that catalog! You pick up the catalog and flip through it, turning the corners of the pages with things you might consider buying after you see how much you have left at the end of the month after your bills are paid. Oh, the bills! You take the bills over to the desk and set them where you'll remember to pay them. You see a note you wrote to remind you to send a check to school for the yearbook. Darn, better do that now before you forget. So you sit down and write the check. Hmmm … let's go pack the lunches for tomorrow (you can put the check next to the lunch bag so the kid won't forget to take it). You get the lunch bags and stuff them with everything but the sandwich that you will make after dinner. Dinner? Crap … how long has that buzzer been going off? Your mind starts racing, your heart pounding – is it burned? You run over and see that everything is okay. Thank goodness!

That's how I am – constantly. Doing ten things at once, running from one thing to another. I'm trying to slow it down a bit, trying to cut out the unnecessary things or things that can wait for another time. Focus! Along with that I'm trying to bring more calmness into my life. I've gotten much better at that. I don't get all hyper if something is out of whack – I address it and deal with it. It makes the day so much better.

Friday was a good day. I got a few things in order in one room and made a mess in another. But it's all good. Life is good.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Twilight, The Gift of Fear, and more ...

My son's girlfriend got me interested in the Twilight series by Stephanie Meyer. I don't have a lot of time to sit and read, so I chose the audio versions of the books. I have to admit I got sucked into the stories, although I was getting a little irritated by Ms. Meyer's constant use of some words (e.g., glowered, incredulous, and Jacob's "sure, sure"). The books kept me hooked through Twilight, New Moon, and Eclipse ... but Breaking Dawn is, well, odd.

I could see a teenager getting totally absorbed by the first three books, but what happens in book four is a little much for a younger girl, in my opinion. I was surprised by the turn of events. Sure, I'm continuing listening (I'm on CD number 12 today). I want to know how Breaking Dawn will end. And I'm very curious how much longer Ms. Meyer can continue with the saga until it gets absolutely ridiculous. I've seen that happen before where good things are rolling along but the author gets to a point where there needs to be some form of closure and then - BANG! The reader is left with an incredulous (LOL) ending. I hope Bella and Edward don't find themselves in something less than what they both deserve. You see, I like those characters and hope the story ends before they become unlikable.

When I do have a few minutes to actually sit down and read, I'm tackling The Gift of Fear by Gavin De Becker. This book was recommended by someone who came in to my company last month to speak about work place violence. I think the book will be as valuable to read as The Sociopath Next Door. I wish I had read that book years ago - might have prevented some unfortunate circumstances I went through a few years ago. Live and learn, right?

I actually downloaded my first book to my iPod a couple of weeks ago -- Beyond the Goal - Theory of Constraints. That's a cool concept, to be able to switch from music to books. I know there's so much more I can do with my iPod, but one step at a time.

I'd love to see a Kindle in action. Any first-hand comments on how that device is? I'd love to hear about it.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Scooter Thoughts

I want to ride a motorcycle so badly I can taste it! I had a motorcycle when I was in my early 20's, so I'm not sure why those tight u-turns on the driving test make me cringe to the point I can't pass the test. I passed the written test without a wrong answer ~ but that didn't help me with the driving test. That sucks.

So I bought a 50cc scooter to tool around Westminster. I've ridden it to work a couple of times. I take it down the street from my house and practice those tight turns in a parking lot. But there's one thing I've noticed ... drivers in cars treat people on scooters like crap. Okay, not all of them, but many that I've encountered.

Drivers get too close to the scooters especially at stop signs and red lights. They get irritated and pass you even on 25 and 30 mph roads where the scooter keeps up with the speed limit. Do some of these drivers automatically assume that the scooter can't keep up with the flow of traffic?

Scooters are supposed to stay to the right of the road or drive on the shoulder. Let me say one thing about that - that makes it even worse and in my opinion puts the scooter driver in harm's way.

Even when I watch how drivers treat motorcyclist, I notice something. It's great when motorcyclist or scooter drivers take the classes to learn the rules of riding these machines ... but it would be nice if the drivers of the cars took the same training so they know what we know. We try to be defensive drivers, but drivers of cars seem to want to play chicken with the people on two-wheels. It quite frankly pisses me off.

I'd love to ride my scooter around town more, but sometimes it unnerves me. Cars are not watching out for us no matter how visible we try to be. They can't hear the "roar" of our engines because they're on the cell phone or have the music blasting inside the car.

There I times when I'm kinda glad I didn't pass the motorcycle test. I need to get my comfort level up when I'm out there exposed and vulnerable in the midst of the cars and SUV's.

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