Archive | December, 2014

November’s Epic Failure is December’s Woo-Hoo Moment of the Year

30 Dec

I high-fived myself in the dark and then had a Will-Smith-Pursuit-of-Happiness moment … the one in the end … where he claps for himself in the middle of a crowd, and it’s that hard clap, the I-got-emotion-behind-this-clap clap and he does this because he finally did it. He reached his goal.

Yeah.

I had me one of those in the dark last night at about one-something in the morning. The quiet of the night felt good. I was awake. Awake with happiness, or that could have been the last hour of my 5-hour energy drink kicking in.

Either way I was feeling pretty good about the whole thing, because I had failed so miserably before.

50,000 words.

Woo-Hoo!

Woo-Hoo!

 

I had made it.

I finished my book.

Last month was the epic National Novel Writing Month adventure where writers from all over the States and the world sit down and write their guts out in an effort to reach 50,000 words in 30 days. I, like every other writer, contemplated this and then thought maybe … maybe.

Come November 7th I saw a tweet from a buddy of mine, Susie Lindau, who had posted her word count and then something funny about the whole situation. When I logged in and left her an encouraging comment she responded with a simple, “Are you doing it too?” And I thought, well holy crap, am I?

I had thought of just participating in my own way, not really signing up, but just making an effort to write everyday, as I had fallen off the wagon. But with Susie’s question, I thought yeah … yeah I am why not. I had set a goal earlier this year to finish my book and was no where near finished, and this NanoWrimo thing would definitely push me through.

No. It didn’t push me.

It didn’t.

It drove me into a crash and burn of failure.

And not just any failure … a writer’s failure.

With two kids under the age of seven and all of the duties and adventures that come from that I just didn’t make it. I didn’t have enough time, or energy. But then I thought there are people out there with full time jobs and three kids and they probably did it so it wasn’t about excuses it was just failure.

But I wasn’t going to let that stop me. After a week of stuffing myself with chocolate and swimming in the sad writer’s state of mind, I picked myself up, bought a Costco-sized case of 5-Hour energy drinks and decided I was gonna write my ass off until it was done. I got this! I told myself.

So while it took Nano Champions 30 days or less to cross the finish line … it took me about 60. And I was all right with that.

November’s epic failure turned into December’s Woo-Hoo moment of the year.

I felt like Rocky Balboa after he made it to the top and climbed his last step … but I know getting it published is a whole other journey, but I am just glad that I finally conquered this step.

Ecstatic.

It was surreal. Exciting. Gratifying. But still surreal.

It felt good to cross the finish line right before the New Year. I felt that all those sleepless nights fueled by 5-Hour Energy and those disastrous, painful mornings that nearly killed me because it required me to not only wake up, but actually function were worth it.

They were worth it.

50,000 words worth it.

Success feels good, and I celebrated … with chocolate of course.

 

 

 

Hope You Find Another Way … A Festivus Miracle Way

22 Dec

 

Happy Festivus!

Happy Festivus!

 

 

Advice From The Pick-Up Artist

19 Dec

Now there you are … exhausted from sitting. Don’t know how that can happen but it does.

I think it has something to do with the circulated air. Or perhaps it’s the fact that you were sitting next to a stranger who took up most of the arm rest and you were involved in a silent and secret battle for arm rest territory, but you’re losing and you think it has to do with the fact that you’re not very good at the game Risk, and now in retrospect you feel you should have paid attention when your brother was trying to play with you on game night.

Maybe that’s why you’re burned out.

I don’t know, whatever the reason is you’re exhausted and if you have kids this whole scenario is multiplied by ten thousand, because when dealing with kids they intensify any experience … the good, the bad, and the ugly.

Yup I’m talking about airplane travel, but not so much the traveling part. I’m not an expert in that and I know people all over the web are shelling out advice on how adventures on an airplane can go more smoothly for you this holiday season.

No. I’m not talking about that.

I’m talking up the Pick-Up.

I’d like to say that I’m an expert traveler and I get on planes often checking destinations off my Travel Bucket List, but that’s not really the case. I’m more of the picker-upper. I’m the master pick-up artist. That’s where I can be of service to you.

Now throughout the years I’ve picked up my share of friends and family from the airport, and I’ve been picked up a few times and I’ve noticed the difference in people’s attitude when getting picked up. I mean people can be on the same plane and have the same disastrous experience but the pickup situation is completely different, because some people are just born with what my blogging buddy Susie calls “sunny-side up” disposition, while others are just an earthquake wrapped up in a hurricane. So let me fill you in on some guidelines for being picked up so that things can go smoothly post-airplane ride.

1. Remember … they are doing you a favor by picking you up. You could have actually taken a shuttle and paid a complete stranger to take you home.

2. The first thing to come out of your mouth shouldn’t be ‘where the hell have you been?’ if they are five minutes late … the words “Thank you,” work wonders. However if they are an hour late hostility is understandable.

3. It is not their fault that the airline lost your luggage so don’t get crazy on them.

4. Your picker-upper is probably happy to see you. They’re picking you up so try to limit your eye rolls and smile.

5. If you’re not happy to see your picker-upper, or you think you won’t be, then it’s best to just get on the shuttle, spending money on the ride home and in the company of a stranger will be worth it.

6. If traveling with kids don’t expect people without kids to understand your plight. They have no clue so you’ll have to fill them in on your post flight needs.

7. Unless they’re a mom, most people don’t carry snacks so if you’re hypoglycemic pick up a snack on the way to the baggage claim and save everybody from your crankiness. Snickers are an awesome post flight snack. Have you seen the commercials, can totally change your personality.

8. Sometimes they are actually on time and you are the one that’s late, take into consideration that the police has asked them to move their vehicle and sometimes making the loop around the airport may take up to 10 minutes.

9. I know you probably just want to get home and relax from all that sitting, but don’t get upset if they have to stop for gas or pass by the drive-thru after they pick you up, they probably thought it was more important to get there on time than to fill their tank or buy fries.

10. Traffic exists.

Hope this picker-upper advice helps diffuse any aggression you might have during your traveling adventures.

No Need To Get Burned Out … I Can Still Learn Something

15 Dec

Someone invaded my Bucket List. They enjoyed what I wanted to enjoy and checked off what I wanted to check off.

Usually stuff like that makes me bitter, but after reading what they wrote it made me better. I come across this a lot. People fulfilling items on their list that happen to be on mine. I’m sure there are a lot of people like this and it eventually happens to all of us. But I learned to be less burned out about my delayed Bucket List opportunities, because I realized I can learn something from their journey.

Coming across different articles and blog posts continues to open me up to different perspectives that inspire me and light a fire under my ass. Recently I read 50 Things I Learned From Visiting The 50 States by Ben Arredondo and Tara Bracco.

Check out every state, it’s something that’s been on my Bucket List that I have yet to make a dent in … I know, I know.

And reading about someone else doing it, well you can see how that would just suck for me, but theirs was not a Facebook bragging post, it was an honest insightful collage of tidbits and advice from a top Bucket List Adventure. There were a lot of phrases that caught my daydreaming heart, but two in particular stood out, two that could apply to more than just Bucket List Adventures, two that extend to my current existence, and two that could help me keep chugging along, so I thought I’d share.

 

...

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“Plan, don’t schedule”

It’s always good to have something to run toward, something to chase, something with purpose, something that wakes you up out of of bed with excitement and passion, the kind of excitement you had when you were seven years old and you jolted out of bed because you had the wonderment of a kid and you were just excited because the sun had come up and the adventure of Saturday morning cartoons or Saturday morning in general was about to begin.

Yeah, you had a plan, but as we all know you need to be flexible because things change. You’re gonna get to where you want to be, but sometimes you’ll have to take different roads to reach your destination.

Word.

 

Woman sleeping on desk

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“You can’t do it all, and that’s O.K.”

This was definitely helpful for the parent and overachieving mindset in me. I always want to do everything on my list and feel like a failure if it doesn’t happen, but I’ve got to remember that I’m not Jack Bauer so I’ll need more than 24 hours to do what I’ve got to do. Sometimes it will take months or years, but eventually I get there.

l

 

When People Can’t See Your Awesome … You Have To Give Them Perspective

12 Dec

 

:)

🙂

 

 

At The End Of The Final Ride It Was Fan vs. Writer

10 Dec

Have you ever killed somebody and then regretted it later?

I mean you planned it for days, weeks … dude even months carrying out all the details, envisioning out all the scenarios, and trying to answer all the what-ifs in your mind. Trying to make the perfect plan.

And then you do it … it’s done.

At first you feel great about it … it had to be done, there’s no other way. But then something tugs at your heart, and it sits heavy on your chest. You begin second guessing yourself wondering, did that have to happen?

Yeah writers got problems.

As a writer I know where the story has to go and what the characters have to do in order to stay true to the life of the story, I know it. But sometimes the emotion of the fan inside me gets in the way and I struggle. But this tends to happen more while reading or watching someone else’s story, and not so much when it’s my own.

This is what happened last night during the two-hour series finale of the most dramatically intense Emmy-and-Golden-Globe-worthy show I’ve ever seen. But they have yet to receive one. It’s like that one great player that never got the championship ring.

Sons of Anarchy ended last night and I can’t even begin to tell you about how the finale made the fan and writer inside me feel. It was a a battle. Had that same feeling of mourning I did with the The Wire, Breaking Bad, LOST, 24, and Friday Night Lights.

Dude … if you haven’t caught up with all the Anarchy then you best stop reading …

“I’m sorry, JT. It was too late for me. I was already inside it. And Gemma … she had plans. But it’s not too late for my boys. I promise, they will never know this life. I understand who you are now. What you did. I love you, dad.” — Jax Teller

 

 

Did our hero have to die?

Yeah, I guess he did.

 

Kurt Sutter

Kurt Sutter

In true form, writing genius and creator Kurt Sutter had to keep the story honest, so yeah I guess Jax did have to end it. Jax arrived at the same crossroads his father, John Teller had come to years earlier. Only this time Jax was going to get it right.

“I realized a good father and a good outlaw can’t settle inside the same man.” — Jax Teller

 

The fan inside me was hoping there would be another way to keep him riding all the way until the end, just like I had wished for his best friend Opie and his wife Tara.

 

 

I was rooting for it. You know me, I love the underdog story. But the writer inside me knew the tougher choice needed to be made and the series had to end with his death. It was for the sake of the story. There was no other ending that seemed right and with that heartbreak came and engulfed me.

So with this crisis and epic sadness over the end of my favorite show and the death of Jax Teller, I began to wonder if other writers had the same issue. Do you ever struggle with that or is it just when watching other stories unfold?

Undergoing the loss of a character is a tough thing for both the fan and the writer in me, because he wasn’t just black and white. He was layered with complexities just like us … he was a good man within the criminal world. He was the good, the bad, and at times the ugly. But in the end he went out like a hero and made the ultimate sacrifice for his boys and for his club.

And even though I knew it was going to happen the fan in me hoped that it wouldn’t. But the writer understood and sadly I’m still all tore up over it. It was one hell of a final ride.

Don’t think I have enough chocolate for this one.

 

Brace Yourselves … The End of Teller Tuesdays is Near

8 Dec

Dear Jax,

I can’t even …I mean I can’t.

This is definitely a Holy Crap moment.

I can’t believe it’s here. I just can’t. I mean part of me is in denial about the whole thing. I know it’s real I know it’s gonna happen and I know I’m gonna have a difficult time letting go.

But I’ve got to … there’s just no other way

You have been in my life for seven years. It’s been seven years … seven … and now things are coming to an end and I don’t know how to deal with it. I’m excited about what’s to come, but feeling the anxiety of knowing it’s the end.

I’m riding an emotional roller coaster on a Harley.

I’m in midst of mourning the loss of this relationship and coming to the realization that you will no longer be in my life on a weekly basis.

I feel like all the good men in my life have left me.

I didn’t know what to do without Tony. I knew I’d miss Tommy. I mean I was at a loss with Jack. Devastated with losing Jesse and Walter. And now it’s you … I have to say good-bye to you. I knew you’d be a heart breaker the moment I saw you.

You were the dangerous, charming and gentle-hearted type of outlaw.

I knew you were walking the line, but I still fell for you. Your heart was in a good place, you were suffering from the hero’s complex, always trying to do right, but being pulled in all kinds of directions so the wrong eventually surfaced. I’m gonna miss being in your life, hearing your thoughts, and riding this final journey with you.

Some of the best parts of being on this final ride with you were listening to the deepest thoughts from the most complicated part of your soul, reading your father’s letters and manuscript, watching your relationship with Tara, seeing your brotherhood with Opie and Chibs get stronger, realizing that we both liked and hated your crazy mother, and rooting for you to succeed as a family man … but most of all it was the drama. The intense blow-my-mind-I-need-a-defibrillator-because-my-heart-couldn’t-take-it-anymore kind of drama pulled me in every week. You pulled me in …

Your story Jax.

It was your story that drew me in and for that I suppose I have to thank the genius behind you Kurt Sutter.

But now it ends.

Tomorrow is the BIG day. Tomorrow at 10 o’clock on FX Network I will be anxiously and nervously awaiting the end of your story … the end of my beloved Sons of Anarchy A.K.A. SAMCRO. I am happy to see how it will end, but saddened to realize that it has an end.

Tomorrow there will no longer be Teller Tuesdays … just Tuesdays. Brace yourselves, I know I’ll have to because I can guarantee you that it will feel empty and it will suck, that’s the feeling of knowing you won’t be there. That’s how it’s gonna feel.

Am I being a little dramatic?

No, not really. Not if you’re a fan like me.

I was glad to have known you. You’ve kept me company every Tuesday night for the past seven years.

Teller Tuesdays … they’ve been an awesome ride.

Hoping for Hope …

5 Dec

Waking up and looking forward to see what happens next.

That’s what happened this morning.

I know for some people that sort of thing comes natural, like breathing, but for some us we need to put a little extra umph in the situation … especially if you’re more of a night-time person.

Feel Good Friday started with an amazing story I read … something I haven’t finished yet so I’ll keep the details to myself until it’s done. As you all know I’m a slow reader so it may take a while, but I assure you the story is worth it. So when I get to the amazing finish I’ll be sure to clue you in. But for now …

Don’t want to spoil it.

But I will say it’s an underdog story and I’m enjoying the beginning.

In any case I woke up with that feeling. Sometimes I get it from my kids, sometimes I get it from a new Bucket List Adventure, or a race, other times it’s from a show, a movie, a book, a song or my hour-of power-clear-eyes-full-hearts morning routine, because usually anything can happen after that.

So I was grateful for the story, thankful that I had found another something to give me that feeling.

And it’s those somethings that help you through the days when you run into pint-size people or stressful situations. It’s difficult when you’re in the thick of it to think of anything positive, to think of what’s gonna happen next when you’re barely surviving what’s happening now. But I’ve learned that in those situations you hope for what’s gonna happen next just so that you can surpass the moment. And I think it’s that hope that brings the good back in Feel Good Friday. That’s what the story did for me and I think that’s what writing does too.

That’s what I get out of it. The possibility of what’s gonna happen next. Sometimes that creates a frustrating state of writer’s block, but other times things come together so well that hope finally lands on your shoulders.

So for this weekend writers, dreamers, and part-time adventurers I hope for hope.

Have a good one.

 

Ugh … This Can Be A Problem

3 Dec
Via despair.com

Via despair.com

 

 

Looking For Gallons …

1 Dec

During this four-day marathon weekend of dysfunctional family accompanied by turkey, mashed potatoes, and green bean casserole,  I’ve come to the conclusion that I’m a gallon type person.

A friend of mine sent me a quote about the two kinds of people out there, and whether you were thinking about relationships, family ties, acquaintances, or the chick from work that drives you up the wall, you know the one, there are always two kinds of people.

Gallon type people and pint-size.

The gallon type of person has a huge capacity to give, to love, to laugh, to rejoice, and to receive. They have a huge heart and what they put out there in the world they naively think that they’re gonna get back regardless of who is in their circle. If they love they think they’re gonna get love. If they rejoice in your triumphs, they think you’re gonna support theirs. If they show compassion and grace, they think others closest to them will do the same.

But no, not so.

Not gonna happen if you’re the only adult gallon-size person within a 10-block radius. My Dad was a gallon person, I’m a gallon person. 10-gallon size capacity.

And then there are the pint-size people who give to you, but it’s never enough. Their capacity for love, laughter, consideration, kindness, and friendship is less. It’s pint-size. It can be someone you marry and didn’t realize it until later because love made you stupid, it can be your family where you’ve always known something was off, or it can be that chick from work that just sucks the air out of your balloon just by walking into the room.

Doesn’t matter who, the feeling is still pint-size.

And the thing is you’re not asking for something extraordinary of them, you’re just asking for the basics and sometimes not even asking just expecting and it just never comes. You’re like that chic alone at the bus stop waiting for the number 44, but not aware that you’re at the wrong stop.

Sometimes it’s not their fault. Sometimes you’re asking and expecting some kindness, some heart, some hilarity and they’re giving it to you, giving you what they got but it’s pint-size and doesn’t even reach the line. They’re not lying to you, that’s just all they can do. Sometimes it’s because they’re hardened by experience, other times it’s because that’s how they’ve been their whole life. Some people were just already broken when they got here.

I recently learned I am one of the last of the Mohicans. I’m a gallon type of person currently surrounded by pint size people.

 

“We are ten gallon people, but we may have been born into families of people who have pint capacities.” TD Jakes

 

And when this happens I apparently need to lower my expectations of what others are capable of and try to meet them at their level.

That is some Dalai Lama-Nelson Mandela type of magic that I’m still working on. I’m an angry Guatemalan I need some time to get there because I’ve just recently had this revelation.

But while on this journey I can surround myself with my kids, my friends, my comadres, my peers, my WordPress buddies who are of gallon-type capacity that can fill what is missing, so that I can hold on to the best version of myself.

The kind with clear eyes and full hearts … and bar of chocolate.