Archive for the ‘Life’ Category

It’s Still Good…

Posted: December 16, 2016 in Life, writing
Tags: ,

I’m notorious among my family and friends for not eating my holiday candy. It doesn’t matter if that stocking is filled with all my favorites, including a Reese’s Tree (best Reese’s ever), I’ll still let it sit. I’m not certain when this habit developed, but it’s possible that I’ve never really had much of a sweet tooth. Growing up the most interesting item in my stocking was usually the Smuckers’ chapstick candy cane. You know, the one where instead of M&Ms piled within a plastic candy cane prison there is instead three tubes of chapstick. I’d bust that sucker open and smell each one in turn, making a game plan for which would be used first and which one would be saved for later.

Perhaps that’s the root of it all: saving things for later.

It’s like inside my head there should be a perfect time and place to eat the candy, that moment when all I want is peanut buttery chocolate goodness. So rather than indulge now, I keep it. Reese’s Trees have been known to exist way past the holiday season in my house. It stays in the stocking until the stockings go away, then, “Oh! I totally forgot I had candy! Let’s just put this on my desk to enjoy later.”

Weeks go by and then months. Before I know it it’s the middle of summer and I still have that Reese’s Tree lying around, accompanied by its little Hershey Kiss friends in their red and green wrappers. What complicates the problem is by this time there may be Easter candy hanging around as well. Who knows? It could be a regular past-their-prime candy party.

Finally, I eat them. I eat them far past their season and they are still delightful, but I can’t help but wonder would they be better if I’d eaten them when they were “fresh”? Does delaying the gratification of eating the sweets really do justice to them? I don’t know. It’s that time of year again and I have St. Nick’s candy in a stocking that I haven’t touched.

My writing, in recent years, isn’t all that different. I’ve been working on a book for the past three years. That’s not a finished draft that I’ve been tweaking until I feel it’s perfect. It’s literally bits and pieces, sweet little exerts that have come along at one time or another, typed up but never completed. I’ve been waiting. Waiting for the perfect time to work on it. Waiting for inspiration to strike. Waiting for my “sweet tooth” to tell me it yearns for the written word.

After three years the story is still good, still captures my imagination, but it’s stale. Like the holiday candy I hoard away, it’s missing something. Missing that thrill of the unknown. There are other shiny new stories beckoning. Fresh ideas. Yet it feels wasteful to set aside what I’ve been working on for so long. So I keep it, waiting for the right time.

I’ve decided it’s time to stop waiting. Stop hoarding. I’m starting my New Year’s Resolution early. I’m going to finish this book in 2017. July 1, 2017 I am handing over a finished manuscript to my friend the Book Gnome, because it’s time I eat my candy.

Advertisements

Rice Saves the Day

Posted: October 2, 2016 in Life
Tags: , , , ,

Mistake #1: Having a glass of water anywhere near my laptop.

Mistake #2: Forgetting there was a cat in the apartment.

Mistake #3: Letting the cat get anywhere near that glass of water.

The cat stretched up to grab the water glass, I saved it from toppling to the ground, and in retaliation a small dribble ended up on my keyboard. A little bit of paper towel and it’s all cleaned up, right? Right? It’s not the first time my keyboard has had a close encounter with H20 so I wasn’t even on high alert.

And then the screen started freaking out. It’s on, it’s off, there’s my open Scrivener document, there’s the log-in screen, there’s my document, the screen is off… it’s off?… it’s off!

I lift it in the air and it comes back to life with my document. Weird. Everything’s fine, right? Right?

My brain is on high alert now and very aware of the fact that I haven’t backed up anything I’ve written in the past month. Worse still, I had recently gone through all my paper snippets and transferred them into digital form. There was no backup. There was no back up!

I fly to grab a flash drive, put it in, and in the middle of backing up the computer has another seizure, turns off and does not come back.

Crap!

There’s water under the keyboard and frying something! I don’t know what and I don’t have the tools to get in there at my apartment. I make a quick call to my computer guru friend. “Hey, so a little water got on the keyboard. I thought it was fine but it’s not fine. The screen freaked out and now it’s turned itself off. How screwed am I?”

Good News: Not as screwed as I thought I would be. He told me to take the battery out, put the computer in rice, and try it out in the morning. It had worked for his iphone. Worst case scenario we’d trouble shoot it on the weekend. Worst Worst case scenario he assured me the hard-drive where all my stories were stored was very hard to kill, and not to freak out.

I did as I was told, emptying the dregs of my large box of rice, cursing that I didn’t have more, and my roommate offered up her small box. There was enough. I waited.

The next morning I hesitated to turn the laptop on. Scared to my core it was a goner. But at a text from my guru asking if it had worked I found within myself the courage to confirm my worst fears.

The power button lit up, the hard drive whirred to life, and upon the screen was the beautiful purple of the sign-in prompt. Half my keys didn’t work, but at least it wasn’t dead. The touch pad still reacted appropriately, and that gave me hope.

More hope was given later that evening as I inspected the laptop and realized my keyboard wasn’t fried. It was dirty. The dregs of the rice came complete with tiny little rice shards that had finagled their way under the keyboard. A little shaking and wiggling of the keys and every one of them began to work.

My laptop had come back from the brink of death.

It’s been several weeks since the incident and everything seems to still be in working order. All hail the Rice Lord, King of Hopeless Electronics!

Advancing Years

Posted: January 11, 2016 in Life
Tags: , , ,

Today the world says I’m 30.

To me this is a rather surreal experience because for at least the past five years I’ve decided that I don’t actually feel any older. People say, “age is just a number”, but I swear to God I’ve been mentally living that little nugget for awhile now. In fact, I broke down crying a month ago when I felt older than my years. My lower back was aching (as it tends to do as I stand all day at work), the pain had leaked into my hips so nothing was comfortable, and one of my fingers was experiencing what I could only imagine was arthritis (stiff joints while interpreting sign language is no bueno). I arrived home and cried out that I was too young to feel so old!

When I turned 21 I was excited that the last barrier (excepting car rental) had been breached. The next year I rejoiced as all of my friends were finally old enough to go to the bar as well. After that…the numbers didn’t mean so much. In fact, they meant so little I caught myself on several occasions lying about my age, not because I felt embarrassed but because I actually forgot.

My most memorable moment of forgotten age was talking with a classmate at a conference. She was worried because she would be turning 25, and didn’t know how she felt about that. I boldly told her, “I love being 25! It’s been the best age yet. You’re going to love it, too.” She smiled, felt better, and a moment later I wanted to scream at myself because at that moment in time I was 23. Soon to be 24…but in reality I had not yet reached the very age I had just professed I had experienced. I didn’t tell her that, though. In my defense, 25 ended up being a pretty kick ass year, and I do not regret telling her that 25 is awesome… my mind was clearly a time traveler.

A few years ago I had to actually count birthdays and do math because I somehow believed myself to be a year younger than I was. I think it was my 28th… but as I was confused, what’s the point in trying to remember?

In any case, I just don’t feel like 30-such a large number- belongs to me. I may look a bit older around the eyes, I’m sure my hair has started plotting a sneak attack against its given color, and I now roll my eyes at the antics of “college kids”, but I feel like 30 is a number bestowed to a person older than myself.

My sister, four years my younger, is the opposite. She feels her age. When she wakes up on her birthday she nods and agrees that the new number suits her.

Maybe young at heart really is a thing. For the good of the human race I’m going to continue believing it to be so, see if it makes a difference as the years advance, and will report back my findings in the name of science.

It may be awhile before the results come in. You don’t mind, do you?

A Girl’s Best Friend

Posted: September 20, 2015 in Life
Tags: , ,


Henry is 12.

I forget that sometimes.

He came into my life the summer before my senior year, and quickly became a member of the family. Perhaps I forget how old he is because time has flown by so quickly I hardly remember how old I am now. After all, I wasn’t even old enough to vote when I got him, and now I’m pushing 30.

Perhaps the bigger reason is because much of what I love about him has remained the same. When the weather gets nice we get to go on walks. Henry tells me when its time to go, anxiously anticipating the fun time he’s going to have sniffing everything in sight. It starts with the stare down, and as soon as I say, “Let me get my shoes on,” he goes crazy, barking and rushing around with excitement. He doesn’t stop until the leash is on and we are outside. Then all bets about the pace are off, because he needs to stop and sniff EVERYTHING.

Typically I’m on a time crunch, and we go two blocks at most. To be honest, that can take a half an hour if he’s really involved in what he’s sniffing. The only good thing about his one track mind is he often ignores birds and other wildlife, so no fear of him tearing off and ripping the leash out of my hand. He used to perk up when he encountered a dog, but his sight is going and his hearing must be as well. Dogs can pass Henry by and half the time he doesn’t even care.

Sometimes I have a day with nothing planned, and then we can go on an adventure. We cross any street Henry deigns is necessary in his quest to sniff out new life and new civilizations. Today was a popular day for walks, as the summer weather has softened to the mellow warmth of fall, and we encountered people out and about. A few of them left some nuggets of wisdom with me, and it compelled me to write this.

Halfway through our walk today we met a woman with her little Shih Tzu. The cute little guy was so excited to meet Henry. Henry was more interested in the grass, but gave the dog a sniff on the nose and was done. The woman walking with her complemented Henry’s “cute little face”. As always when words of “how precious” or “how cute” are doled out upon him I reply in a way I feel captures his very nature. “He likes to think so.” (Yes, my dog is adorable and he knows it. It’s how he gets away with everything.)

The woman then said something that struck a cord. “Isn’t it amazing how they just take over your life?”

Yes. Yes it is. Henry has become so ingrained in my everyday life that I sometimes find myself altering plans to suit him. Around 10:00 at night he gives me the look telling me it’s time to go to bed, and I go. Sometimes it is simply the destination that he requires, and I can stay up late reading as he sleeps. Other times when he tells me to go to bed he means it, and will be very harsh with me until the light is off. In the morning he tells me it’s time to get up and eat.

“Can I sit in bed a little longer?”
“No,” he tells me. “I’m hungry and I need to use the facilities outside. You have to get up now.”

Sometimes his desire to sit with me plays at my heartstrings and I set aside the work I’m trying to get done in favor of spending time with him. Of course, this is often a result of his demands bordering on terrorist efforts as he will stare, bark, and whine until he gets his way. No one can get anything done under those conditions.

I feel guilty when I’m the last person home and I have to leave him. “Dad will be home in a couple hours,” I tell him. “You won’t be alone for long.” I shouldn’t feel guilty, but I do. I feel as though I’m abandoning him.

This guilt becomes more prevalent as I take up residence in another city. He’s my family’s dog. We’ve had him for 12 years. He sneaks into my bed at night and greets me when I get home. Yet the time comes when a person needs to move out, and I hate leaving him. I can see the betrayal on his face after I’ve been away for a week and come home to visit. The first week he was happy to see me. The next he feigned indifference. “Oh, it’s you. The person who leaves me when they are supposed to love me. Did you know that I went looking for you in your room last night? You weren’t there. Mom told me you weren’t, but I thought she was lying. She wasn’t. You’re going to leave me again, aren’t you…”

The sting of my betrayal mends as I stick around the house, take him for a walk, and do the things I normally did when I lived with him. But I know that this evening I have to go back to my new home town, and I will once again have to say, “goodbye”. I’ll pet his head, and tell him how much I’ll miss him. Henry will just look back at me with the same dark brown eyes he always has.

A man on our walk today said, “Is that a Westie? I once had a really good friend who was a Westie.”

“Yes,” I answered. “He is really good.”