Transitions

My gift from my husband for my new job.
My gift from my husband for my new job.

Transitions are hard and change is hard. I’ve been in a funk all day just worrying myself into a bit of a tizzy. I laid on the couch and listened to a meditation, played with kids, talked with a friend but still I wasn’t able to calm the growing worry about all my changes.

Then tonight my husband gave me some gifts to take with me to my new job and something about them just made all the yuck sort of leave. I think it was the Wonder Woman business card holder that really struck me most.  But I also really love the framed quote seen here (please also notice the pretty fingernails.  It was my very first manicure!).

My husband reminded me the new work I will be doing will be important work.  Work that matters and work I’m excited about in a place where I will be appreciated.  That feels really good and now I feel really good.  I have a great great husband.  Geez, how did I get so lucky?  I just got him some Batman cologne (who wouldn’t want to smell like Batman?).

Then my anxiety melted into a drippy pool of yellowish green goo and flowed out onto the floor.  I’ll leave it for the cats.

To combat my anxiety about continuing to write I decided I just need to remind myself that I must always make time to write no matter what.  250 words.  There is no reason I can’t at least write 250 words.

I will continue to take Friday afternoons to be my writing and editing days since I only work a half day on Fridays, and of course I will still have the weekends.  And I will transition fine.  I have so many supportive people in my life, they have been texting me and leaving me messages about how great my move is and how, in the long run, it will be a lot better for my family.   And they are right.  I have lots of smart people in my life.

 

New Endings and New Beginnings

I wanted to take a minute to say goodbye again to all my photographer friends at my previous job. Today was my last day, and while I’m not sure what the future holds, I was able to find another job that I start on Tuesday.  I hope that my new job will continue to allow me to keep writing and my photography on the side, but I’m not sure what things will look like yet.  Regardless, I will miss you all.  And I will let you know one way or another when I finally do release a book.

I had asked that my site not be shared with the general public because it was a work in progress and I’m not ready to release any of my books.  I wanted to get my site set up and build up my plan and then start driving traffic.  It looks like the cat was let out of the bag early so I do hope you’ll come visit me again when I’m ready for the release.

Again, I will miss you all 🙂

If you want to  be notified of when the book is released you can subscribe to my blog by clicking on the Follow the Crazy area below.

 

Taking Things Off My Plate-Thoughts on Quitting

Sisters after the half marathon last year
Sisters after the half marathon last year

It’s 9:00 p.m. and I just sat down to eat dinner.  It’s been a long day.  Looooong.  I’ve got so much going on, a new job starting next week, an old job ending tomorrow.  Saying goodbye to people I have grown to love and trying to get psyched to meet some new people I don’t know.  Editing Second Chance Key, rewrites for Lodestone, two side projects in various stages of work and I’m supposed to be training for a half marathon.  HALF MARATHON.  IN SIX WEEKS!!

I ran the half marathon last year, training was hard and I learned that I enjoy running miles eight through ten, but everything before and after I can do without.  Weird, huh?

This year I haven’t trained at all.  Right now I can only run two miles. Sloooowly.  I’m freaking because I haven’t got a run in the last two days and I’ll be out of commission this weekend and OH MY GOD!!  Breath.  Breathing… okay.  Okay.  I’m not going to freak.

I called my sister to find out her feelings on the subject and was thrilled to find out that she was feeling the exact same way.  She wants out, I want out.  Perfect!  This has been a really hard year for our family.  Our other sister had a severe stroke, job and family situations we’re dealing with and then there is the stress eating of cookies (or granola in her case).  We are both just out of sorts with our bodies and under pressure to perform when we aren’t ready.  We both like to run, but the stress that comes with a short deadline is just too much for us and makes it more of a burden than anything else.  It’s like we’re trying to get revved up for a big fat failure.

Honestly, it’s not our fault.  Michigan has been a bitch this winter, training outside slightly impossible to dangerous much of the winter.  Gym time difficult to come by, no one to watch my kids and she has a really long commute.  So we decided we don’t have to do it, though we “technically” decided not to decide.  But I think I’ve decided by the clear amount of relief I feel at knowing I won’t be running for several hour a few times a week (yes, it takes me that long).

We are signed up to run a very popular highly sought after race so it should be easy to get rid of the bibs.  And we are talking about signing up for an eight mile run on Mackinaw Island, we both have been wanting to do that for years, so it doesn’t feel like quitting.  Sometimes it’s okay to quit.  Sometimes it’s can be irresponsible not to quit. So I’m not a quitter, I’m just gonna grab another rope 😉

Focus on Friendship

I came across this oh so lovely song a few weeks ago. It’s Old Friend by Sea Wolf and quite frankly I have no idea how I even found this song, but when I listened to it I had a tad bit of a hard time not crying.

You see, I have a history of my friends moving away. Since I was in High School my favorite people have moved away from me. It started with my very best friend the summer before our senior year of High School and it happened most recently when two of my friends moved in the last two years. The year before that my neighbor and friend who I love like a sister moved at the same time a co-worker and friend moved to California and then a few months after that my wonderful friend and co-worker was laid off and might as well have moved to Alaska for how much I get to see her with our busy working mom schedules.  Lots of people seem to move away from here.  You all know who you are (insert stink eye)

These words:
“Old friend come back home
Even though you always were alone
You had to push against the faiths

Just to make it
Make it through the day”

made me ache for two friends in particular. One who only lived here for a few years alone with her two boys. I was alone a lot as well and our boys were friends so we would just take each others kids sometimes. If I could tell by the look on her face that she was having a bad day, I’d take her kids with me and let her have an afternoon to herself. She had to be “on”  all the time, I only had to be “on” a lot.

And she was the person I went to if I needed someone to take my boys. They are a handful and I don’t often feel like I can hoist them on a lot of people. When my sister had her stroke and they thought she might die, she would have been who I called for help with the kids so I could be there. I love and miss her.

So I sent this song to her and made her cry, almost made myself cry again. I assured her it wasn’t PMS before I sent it.  She often jokes that is why i sometimes get all verklempt when I think about her.

I also sent it to my old neighbor/friend because I miss her all the time too and she used to be someone I saw every day. She moved two hours a way and I get to see her maybe once a year. Stupid, I know. Two hours isn’t very far.

Even though I’m a little used to missing people, I’ve been missing my best friend since 1994, it’s still hard for me to recover after they leave.

I think it is really hard to find and make good friends. I find that a lot of people don’t really know how to be friends. So when you find them, they’re like gold and you should never ever lose them. You keep them close and hold them tight and always always love and remember them.  Each day when I drop my kids off at school I tell them I love them and to be a good friend today.  I hope they listen. And I hope you enjoy the song.

(my good friend/co-worker/mightaswellliveinAlaska friend gave me the topic idea – I was feeling uninspired.  Thanks friend!)

Reaching the End of your Rope: Thoughts on Coping

“When you reach the end of your rope,Hang on.” There is no other choice. …on second thought, sometimes there is. I’m not a big fan of coping and this quote sort of smacks of that.

In my opinion, Coping suggests you have no power in the situation
and often you do have more power than you think. Sometimes you’re so busy coping you don’t even look for a solution. Granted there are things truly out of your control, like chronic pain, crazy family, what have you. I’m not talking about those kind of things. Talking about your situations.

I was at the end of my rope at my job. A year ago. And for a year I dangled precariously, blindly hanging on. Then it finally got to be too much. I started getting chastised by friends for staying and I started sounding like a girl is a relationship with a bad boyfriend. Minimizing and making excuses. Pathetic. True, I didn’t just let go. But I did look for a longer rope that I could jump to so I could safely make it to the ground. I stopped making excuses for my life and well-being not being good and took steps to make it better.

You might not see a rope to jump to right now, but dammit, start at least looking for one. There is probably one close by. If you start swinging on your too short rope, you just may get in reach of it. But you have to start swinging.

So in spite of what my friend Franklin says, I say find another rope stupid. Sure, hang on till you find one, but please don’t hang indefinitely and helplessly. You are not helpless. You have more power than you know, you just have to choose to believe.

So start swinging baby!

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Running on Fumes: On “Barely Doing it”

I was encouraged to participate in a blog link party sponsored by “How Do You Do it” after commenting on Twitter that I could write about barely doing it and advice on just coping and getting by in motherhood and life.  You can see the tweet below.

tweet

The reason I responded like that was because I don’t think I can even presume to say that I’m “doing it” regarding parenting or life at all.  I’m coping.  I’m a working, hobbied mom of three whose husband works out of town several days a week and every other weekend.  And I just quit my job.

Yes, I just quit my job of seven  years and will be starting a new one in about two week.  Currently  I work 40 hours a week, 5 of which are done at home with my four-year-old repeatedly trying to climb into my lap, mediating fights between my seven and nine year old sons and trying to protect the kitties that are constantly chased and lovingly tortured by all three children.  It makes for fun times.

If you read this post you might realize my current job is fairly stressful but it allowed me the flexibility to pick up the kids from school, run some errands, take them to their sporting events or even work out. So long as I got my forty hours a week in.  In addition to that I also write on the side and I do photography as well.  

However it was time to move on from that particular day job, it had been time for awhile.  I was lucky enough to find something great but it comes with a schedule that won’t have the flexibility so now my head is spinning.  My son has track practice 3 times a week, two have music once a week.  Little League and Soccer is coming up!  Who will watch them after school?  Who will take them to their events and meets?  When will I get groceries??  How will I get them home at 6pm, sometimes 6:30 and get them fed, homeworked, bathed and in bed by 8:30?   I’m panicking a little.

So how am I going to do it?  I’m asking for help.  There is no other way I could do it.  I texted the track coach whose son has been friends with mine since Pre-K and asked if he could help me get him there on one or more of the track days.   I asked my husband to take Thursdays as his day off so he could do the music and track practice that day.  I might ask my nephew to pick up the kids from school on his day off so I can save a little bit of money on aftercare.  I would ask my mother to help but she ran away down south for who knows how long.

Asking for help is a hard thing to do but it is something important to do.  It takes a village after all.  I know I am always happy and willing to help someone if I can so why shouldn’t I every now and then ask for someone to help me?  In fact I was just thinking today how happy I am to help a friend by picking her son up from school every day this week. I’m glad I can help make someone’s life a little bit easier.

Asking for help has been a bit harder lately.  The people I often relied on have moved away or had serious illnesses.  I’ve had to ask people I’m less close to for help, which is hard, but they smile and respond “of course!”.  I try to find ways to pay them back, offer to take their kids, a gift card, a thank you.. but there are just times when I can’t repay the favor or magnitude of kindness.  In those times I think the only way to pay them back is to pay it forward.  Like the time recently I gave a friend that was hard up for cash some random money for no reason.  I’m sure it surprised her, but in my note I told her how 8 years ago a friend of mine had sent me random money because she knew I was struggling.  I hope I was able to honor my friend’s kindness by passing it on to another.

So how do I do it?  Heck if I know!  I’m barely doing it.  If I figure it out, if I’m still alive next month, I’ll clue you in.  And no, you can’t have back the five minutes you spent reading this, sorry.  Time wasted on this site is non-refundable.

Find other articles on others that are “doing it” better than I am by clicking the picture below.  They may actually have some valuable advice 😉

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My Second to Last Monday

For years my husband has told me there is a club for people who hate their job.  They meet everyday.  It’s called The Bar.  I suppose he’s right, though that whole idea sounds outdated and very 70s to me.  But he has a point.  Lots of people hate their jobs.

I came across this post by Jon Acuff this morning and found it to be poignant.  But first, I must mention that I only know about him because my husband has twitter stalked him for about a year, he really likes the guy.  Jon’s message is about how you should fear no Monday.  And he’s right, there are jobs out there.  Plus you CAN make your own job.  I know people who are doing it.  Granted they have to have a side job to make ends meet, but at least they are doing something they love and can feel proud about.

I worked the same job for seven years.  It was a job that didn’t use my degree and didn’t pay a ton but was flexible which is important when you have children and a husband that works a lot.  The job I did often felt like high stakes negotiation, a constant balancing act  between often two very opposing sides.  I was Switzerland ALL.THE.TIME.  It was exhausting and I felt like I was always trying to choose the best solution of two bad ones.

For five of my seven years I worked with someone who became a dear friend, working with her made going to work worth it.  We shared similar interests, we both wrote, tried to lose weight and even got accidentally pregnant a month apart.  Then, after ten years, she was suddenly laid off.  After that, going to work lost a lot of its joy.  I would even sometimes find myself crying on the way in to work and I suddenly understood what she meant about how she would sometimes just turn around and go home instead of going to work.  After years in some industries,  you just burn out.

The last year has been a hard one for me and finally I had the epiphany that I am not married to my job.  I don’t have to stay.  We don’t have children together.  Sure, I couldn’t quit on the spot when I so badly wanted to, but I could go home that day and send out three resumes, have two interviews and get one job offer.

Yeah, a lot will change in my life.  My new schedule will be a lot less flexible, it’s a bit of a pay cut and I will have to put the kids in aftercare at the school so that will cost money, but what I am losing in my income I’m earning in self respect.  I have two more Mondays left, unless they tell me not to come back.  I can go into these last two Mondays with a smile on my face knowing it is the last two Mondays that I ever have to go back there.

And that, my friend, is the end of me fearing Mondays.

Thanks Jon!  I totally stole your picture

Go see Jon Acuff, he has smarts.

 

Killer Artist

Gabe

Meet Gabe Clark.  Gabe is an artist, graphic designer, musician and all around good guy.  He’s been incredibly helpful to me these last few years, advising me on my book cover art, helping with fonts and soon will be providing illustration for each chapter of Second Chance Key.

Some of you may or may not know, but I also dabble in photography.  You can find my site here.  Gabe recently launched his new website and asked if I could get some shots of him for it.  Of course he was thinking something professional, maybe in an office with his computer and drawing tools.  However I was thinking… “What if you are standing in the woods, you’re holding a paintbrush like a weapon and your face looks like you just killed someone.”  Not real practical, but as I mentioned, he’s an “all around good guy” so he totally humored me.  Humoring me is sort of a prerequisite for being my friend.

The photo above is my favorite of the Killer Artist series.  After this shot I said “we should probably leave because I’m pretty sure the cops will be here in about five minutes.” Thanks to a nosy old man oogling us.  He actually asked if we had graffiti-ed the water tower.  Um…no…

If you’re a writer and you’re looking for an excellent artist, graphic designer, someone to help with cover art or just to get a pair of professional eyes to tell you your font is off center, Gabe is your guy.  And just in case his Killer Artist portrait worries you that he only spends his time drawing severed heads, here’s a great shot of him as he normally looks.  With a smile.

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Music Monday: Cosmic Love

music

It’s Music Monday!! Today the song I’m telling you about is Cosmic Love by Florence + the Machine. She has an amazing, strong and rich voice and the song itself is beautiful. The words are found below.  My interpretation of the song is that it is about forbidden love- the kind that pulls you into a dark deep depression, potentially an affair of some sort. Or possibly being in love with a person that has such sadness/depression and darkness that they just drag you right down with them. Especially the part of the song where she almost sees her way out, she makes a map, but then hears him there in the dark and chooses to stay.  After the song lyrics is an amazing acoustic version of the song.

 

Cosmic Love

A falling star fell from your heart

And landed in my eyes
I screamed aloud, as it tore through them
And now it’s left me blind

The stars, the moon, they have all been blown out
You left me in the dark
No dawn, no day, I’m always in this twilight
In the shadow of your heart

And in the dark, I can hear your heartbeat
I tried to find the sound
But then it stopped and I was in the darkness
So darkness I became

The stars, the moon, they have all been blown out
You left me in the dark
No dawn, no day, I’m always in this twilight
In the shadow of your heart

I took the stars from my eyes and then I made a map
And knew that somehow I could find my way back
Then I heard your heart beats, you were in the darkness too
So I stayed in the darkness with you

The stars, the moon, they have all been blown out
You left me in the dark
No dawn, no day, I’m always in this twilight
In the shadow of your heart

The stars, the moon, they have all been blown out
You left me in the dark
No dawn, no day, I’m always in this twilight
In the shadow of your heart

Feelings Friday: Anticipation

I recently order the book The Emotion Thesaurus as a tool to escape the redundancy of human feelings when writing about characters.   It’s pretty handy, not only does it give definitions but also gives you physical signals, internal sensations and even cues for suppression of that feeling.

Every Friday I’m going to cover an emotion that I’ll pick based on the feeling I have that day.  It gives me something to write about and will encourage me to study the word and also how I’m feeling.Frank n furter

Today I am feeling anticipation.

I don’t know about you, but I cannot think of the word “Anticipation” without also thinking of Rocky Horror Picture Show.  You’ll have to click to understand why.

The definition of anticipation is: Hopeful expectation; to await eagerly.

I’m going to list a few of the physical signals that I happen to be experiencing:

Being unable to think or talk about anything else

Closing eyes and squealing

Checking and rechecking email

Phoning or texting friends to talk about what’s coming.

There are other signals like sweaty palms, pacing, leaning in, clock watching and many many more that you’ll have to buy the book to find out.  But the book is great at giving you a large list of actions your character can exhibit when you try to convey a certain emotion.  So instead of writing Jacque feels anticipation you may write Jacque clicks the send and receive button several times on her email, then paces back and forth before finally settling across the room and literally staring at the clock.  Big difference.  Especially if you are doing NaNoWriMo and trying to boost your word count 😉

Later the book breaks emotions down as root emotions and what they can then lead to.

Anticipation May Escalate to: Excitement, jealousy, disappointment.

Perhaps you don’t know where your character is going to go from where they started.  You might not be sure how they should feel after the initial emotion.  This can give you a clue as to what comes next and also points you to the page you need to flip to in order to explore the escalated emotion more.

Enough about the book Jacque, how are YOU feeling?

Thank you for asking!  It’s been a really long time since I’ve felt anticipation.  Life has been complicated as of late and I feel like it just might be possible that things are going to slow down, get calm and sail smoothly for awhile.  I just need a little while so I can catch my breath.

I’ve realized as you get older life gets a little bit harder.  People around you get older, sicker…die.  And you find yourself thinking…maybe I shouldn’t put salt on that because there is a history of high blood pressure in my family.  That is shit I NEVER thought about when I was younger.  So after a tough year that came after a crappy year, I am really ready for some smooth sailing.  And I think it’s coming!  I anticipate exciting things on the horizon and I hope to goodness I don’t find myself disappointed when I get there.  Do you see how I used those two escalating emotions?  If so, give yourself a gold star!

And there is your word of the day.  Anticipation.  What is your word for today?  What emotion might it lead to?  If you care to comment, please do so below.