Archive for the ‘Life’ Category

It’s time to get serious. I have been writing on and off quite a bit. I have four or five novels in the works, none of which I’m working on nearly enough and none of which are anywhere close to finished, but they’re all good in their own right and I have goals. I want to be a novelist. I want to write for a living. It’s important to me to get there.

And I’m fat again. It’s mostly not my fault. The weight I gained over the past few years was a direct result of my birth control, but now that I’ve had that removed, I need to take control and lose it. I started out well with that yesterday. I planned a full day of healthy eating and I walked and jogged more than four miles after work. Then I went to a friend’s house and ate this:










And this morning, I nearly got sick in the shower (if you’ve ever experienced morning sickness, it felt like that) and then a pair of pants that fit me fine last year wouldn’t even come close to buttoning. Yeah. That happened.

But no worries because even before the truffle/cheesecake incident, during my workout, I had formed a plan in my mind. I am going to remedy all my woes.

First, I will go to the gym three times a week to lift weights. On the days I go to the gym, I will do some sort of cardio exercise to round out a full hour and on the days I don’t go, I will do a full hour of cardio. I will also do at least thirty minutes of yoga every day. I will write for a minimum of one hour per day and I will read a book each week. I mean, I started the book review blog before my surgery and I feel like I wrote two great reviews and was on a roll and then … I stopped. And that isn’t OK with me. I have big plans for that blog. It has a theme and a purpose and it’s pretty. It’s time to get serious.





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Last night, Christian Grey kept me up very late. Past midnight. I’m very tired this morning.

I first stayed up to finish Jennifer Armintrout’s recaps, chapter by chapter, of 50 Shades Darker, the second book in the 50 Shades of Grey series. I finished reading her recaps of the first book on Tuesday night.

Before I get to my point, I want to make some clarifications about my experience with this book. Because of the hype about it, I downloaded the free previews — the first two chapters — of each book to see if I could even stand to read them. Set aside the fact that E.L. James couldn’t write herself out of a paper bag, I got really, really, really bored and decided it wasn’t worth the torture to even try. Then I read Katrina Lumsden’s reviews of the books on www.goodreads.com and they were so funny that I kind of wanted to read the books just to laugh at them. But the thought of spending actual money and adding to the fortunes of the publisher who stooped so low as to publish this drivel was too much for me. So, if someone wants to lend me a free copy of the series, I’d appreciate it. 🙂

So … with that said, let me take you all through a couple scenarios:

Imagine, if you will, a 19-year-old girl sitting in a mall food court with a man. They’re having a conversation and once or twice something catches her attention out of the corner of her eye and she glances in that direction, finds nothing of particular interest and looks back at the man she’s with and continues the conversation.

And then …

He accuses her of staring at a man who was in the general direction of where she’d turned her head to look. She tells him she didn’t see anyone, but he doesn’t believe her. Of course, this “staring” she did in the split second during which she turned her head means she wants to have sex with a man she didn’t see. An argument erupts and in the end, they make up and move on.

A few months later, this same teenage girl and the same man are in a restaurant having dinner. By now, she’s learned to keep her head down in public, lest someone with a Y chromosome wanders into her line of sight. They get up to leave and she notices that there are three men sitting in a booth towards which she must walk in order to get out of the restaurant. She is careful to cast her eyes to the floor and not look at them at all on her way out.

And yet …

The man screams at her for hours about how she was “staring” at the men in the booth.

Every time she’s in public with this man, she gets a sick feeling in her stomach. He calls constantly and demands to know who she’s with and what she’s doing. He attempts to separate her physically and emotionally from her family and friends she’s known her entire life.

Put billions of dollars in his bank account and make him “hot” (as in good-looking, not with a fever) and I present you with Christian Grey, the man millions of women are “in love with.” The man millions of women compare to their own boyfriends or husbands and find their real-life partners lacking.

Let me tell you right now, Christian Grey is not a catch. He is not a good person. He is not someone you want to be involved with. He is most definitely not romantic or heroic. If someone you cared about was in a relationship with him, you would be afraid for her life and begging her to leave him.

Prior to reading Armentrout’s blog, I was mostly just annoyed that a publisher picked up the books. The writing is horrible. The theme and plot barely exist. This thing with Leila? I’m not even sure why James bothered. Take out the sex scenes and these books are the ideal romantic relationship that might spring forth from the not-quite-formed psyche of a ten-year-old girl. But they came from the clearly stunted psyche of a woman who, based on photos I’ve seen, is in her thirties or forties.

To the women who look at Christian Grey and see the ideal man, I ask: WHAT THE HELL IS WRONG WITH YOU??? I know I’m going to offend some people, but seriously, you need therapy. Intense, serious, deep therapy.

This book would have made more sense and been a more honest story if it was a thriller about a young, innocent woman who fell in love with a billionaire who turned out to be a psychopath (because that is absolutely what Christian Grey is) and she has to somehow escape him. Hmmm … perhaps this should have been Sleeping with the Enemy fan fiction. It’s closer to the reality. One of them will have to end up dead in the end because that is how this kind of thing ends.

I know plenty of people are going to comment here about how it’s “just a book,” but it isn’t. I can understand that the sex scenes maybe turned you on. I can get that you maybe even enjoyed the story. But what I don’t understand, the thing that should concern any of you who think this way, is why you believe this is a romantic story? Why do you think Christian Grey is the man of all your dreams? Why in the holy hell would you want to even know someone who won’t even allow you to choose your own food or when you will eat it?

Here’s a tip: If you enjoy having every last detail of your life micro managed, commit a crime and go to jail. You’ll have more autonomy that way.

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So, the kid got her license a few months ago and she’s about to start college in a month way on the other side of town, plus hopefully she will find a job soon.  All that may make transportation with only one car between us a bit … difficult.

Actual photo accompanying a used car for sale ad on Tallahassee Craig’s List.

That means we’re in the market for a used clunker she can use to get around town. As we all do in this here the modern age, I turned to Craig’s List. Our price range is quite low, so pickings are slim. But what I’m finding more of an issue is that people are … strange.

The first car I found to look at seemed promising. I talked to the woman and she told me the best time to come was the next day between 5 and 7. We got ready to go and called and she said she’d sold it.

The next car was listed at $600 more than it was worth. The seller initially agreed to let me have a mechanic look at the car, but after we test drove it, he said he’d prefer the mechanic come to his property to look at the car. I didn’t realize mechanics made house calls. So, that one fell through the cracks.

Since then, there hasn’t been much but I’m learning that if it’s too good to be true, it probably is. On Friday, I found a Camry listed well below Blue Book value, but the seller claimed he was moving away and absolutely had to sell his car by the end of the week. So I sent him a text message. He answered a couple questions, but when I asked if we could look at the car, he waited hours to respond telling me that someone was coming that night with cash in hand, but if I would offer just $100 more, he’d hold the car for me and turn down this supposed sure sale. I told him to let me know if the sale didn’t go through. He answered back pressuring me again to offer more than he was asking (which was still a good price, but I’m no sucker).

Again, I told him I wasn’t in a rush to buy a car and to let me know if the deal fell through. Surprise, surprise, an hour later the “buyer” had bought another car already and he wanted to know if I wanted to “take a look.” If course I said yes, but he wouldn’t commit to a time or place. Finally after I said, “How about tomorrow morning?” he said we’d “shoot for 11.” And then wouldn’t tell me where.

That made me nervous. I decided if I was going to look, it would not be alone. But in the end, it didn’t matter. I never heard from him again.

Shocking, I know.

The same day, I contacted a man about a Saturn. The ad said the air conditioning wasn’t working, but it “just needs freon.” He wouldn’t tell me how he knew it just needed freon and that it wasn’t something more serious. I thought about looking at it, but it’s 95,000 degrees and 100% humidity down here and I don’t want to test drive a car with no air conditioning. He also wouldn’t tell me a good time, just said I should call when I’m ready and he’ll let me know if the car is still there.

Now there are about seven ads on Craig’s List for this same car, all listing different prices and one says the air conditioning blows cold and works great.

I don’t think we’ll be finding a car any time soon.

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Someone on a fitness website message board posted a link to an article by a woman talking about how her good looks have worked against her in social situations with other women. Click here to read.

This is the woman people see as "ugly" and "plain."

Based on the photos accompanying the article, she’s by far not the most beautiful woman I’ve ever see. But as someone who doesn’t photograph well, I’ll give her the benefit of the doubt that she might just look better in person. And even if not, she’s tall, thin and blond and she’s certainly a far cry from unattractive in any other sense. She’s a pretty woman and she possesses physical attributes that people, especially men, seem drawn to.

Objectively, she’s beautiful.

She says other women are intimidated by her and are downright nasty to her and attributes this to her looks. Some people commented that they thought she was attractive but that her attitude in the article made her less so. I can get on board with that, though I disagree that she had such an attitude. My impression is of a woman who’s saddened that she doesn’t have close female friends. The only thing that made me question her sincerity is that she dyes her hair blond. If she really, truly wanted to tone down her looks, why do that? But otherwise, she seems like a normal person with normal wants and needs when it comes to human decency and companionship.

But most of the comments, both on the message board and on the article itself, were that this woman is downright ugly. People said she was forgettable, “beige,” that she just blends in and that no one was shunning her, they just didn’t notice her.

Why all the hateful comments? Normally, I’m the last person to use the word jealousy over how certain people treat others, but it is clearly the case here. And it proves the point the writer was making in the first place.

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The other day, a friend of mine on Facebook posted a photo of a protester holding a sign that read, “Humans are the only species that pay to live on this planet. WHY?” Following the photo, as per usual, was a rant against “greedy corporations.”

First, long before the idea of a corporation or land ownership or anything else modern, people traded and bartered for goods and services. We use money in our modern society, but humans for most of our very long history, have in one way or another purchased items for life from each other. It may have been that I have a cow and you have an orange tree so I traded milk for oranges.

But beyond this, let’s think about whether we truly want to model human society based on what other species do or do not do:

  • No birth control. This is a current hot topic, but really, what other species uses it?
  • Along those lines, in order for a man to be allowed to copulate with a woman — and she’ll have to be open to said copulation every time she ovulates — he will have to physically fight other men or develop something like peacock feathers and strut around in front of said ovulating woman.
  • No more central heat, air conditioning or indoor plumbing.
  • Give up your cars, bicycles and all other forms of transportation other than swimming or walking.
  • Build your own house with no power tools.
  • Build that house without tools made with any form of power tools.
  • Quit your job to do nothing but hunt and garden and fight for resources.
  • The weakest among us will have to be shoved to the side and allowed to be eaten by other animals.
  • No more flower gardens.
  • No one will be allowed to keep pets. In fact, you can’t have that cow I mentioned above because what other species keeps cows? Or dogs? Cats? Horses? You’re on your own. PETA will be happy.
  • No music.
  • No dancing.
  • No alcohol. Or cigarettes.
  • No ovens. And for that matter, no cooking food at all. You’re going to have to learn to eat all food (including any meat you are able to catch and kill) raw.
  • No more books.
  • Chuck the computers, e-readers, cell phones or anything else technological.
  • No more school — forget college. You don’t even get preschool if we’re going to follow other species’ leads.
  • Moms, if for some reason you can’t breast feed, you better find a surrogate who can or watch your babies starve to death.
  • Coffee and chocolate? Nope.

I could go on, but I think I made my point. So, we can stop using any sort of currency or barter system and we’ll all just fend for ourselves the best we can. Hope you’re a good hunter with a green thumb.

Good luck!

Oh, one more thing: Researchers have observed chimpanzees going to war with each other. So, we can still do that! 🙂

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I came into work one morning the week before Christmas to this on my desk:

It’s been since debated on Facebook, but hey! It makes a pretty good blog post, too, for those who are not my Facebook friends.

If you’ve been reading this blog for any amount of time, you know I am not Christian. I am not really anything one could put a name to, really. I’m just … me. Atheist and agnostic aren’t proper terms. I think pagan would probably cover it, but the general sense, not anything specific like Wiccan. I believe in some sort of great spirit or energy. I believe the universe has a sort of harmony and everything is connected. I believe humans, animals, even plants to a degree, have souls and live on after death — whether that’s in some kind of afterlife heaven or hell or if we’re reborn on earth or some other planet or both or something entirely different, I don’t know. But I don’t think a soul dies with a body.

What someone else believes, so long as it doesn’t involve harming others in some way, I just couldn’t care less. If you’re Christian, Jewish, Muslim, Hindu, Buddhist or worship garbanzo beans, it’s just plain none of my business.

I’ll even discuss it with you. I’m fascinated by the history or religions, how they evolved, the similarities — many might be surprised at how closely the lives of Jesus and Hercules resemble each other — why you believe what you do and I believe what I do, you name it. I respect your beliefs. I want you to respect mine.

What I won’t tolerate is someone pushing his or her beliefs. It’s not OK if you knock on my door to try to convince me to join your religion and it’s not OK for a coworker (especially anonymously!) to leave literature on my desk. And it certainly is not going to turn me in the direction that person wants me to turn. In fact, my general inclination is to turn in the opposite direction. The more you want me to be Christian, the more I’m going to dig in my heals and insist on being anything but.

Some people on Facebook mentioned going to human resources (I do have an idea who may have left it). I wouldn’t do that. I don’t think anyone deserves to get in trouble over such an incident. I’m not unreasonable.

I did, however, visit one of the local New Age stores and bought this to hang in my cubicle in a rather conspicuous spot:

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In December 2008, I was at a very low point in my life. I went for a walk at a local park and pinned on the bulletin board was a flyer for a one-day New Year’s Day retreat for women. Included were a guided meditation and “vision-boarding.” I’d never heard of it, but decided it sounded like something that would do me some good.

That board still hangs above my desk at work, though I think it’s time to take it down. I attended the same retreat the next year, though a different person led and it wasn’t the same. I never hung that board. The following year, my friend Leslee hosted one of her own since the price had gone up and the quality of that original retreat (where I met Leslee) had gone down. I was out of town and didn’t attend either event.

This year, Leslee hosted again — as I wrote about on Wednesday. It was a renewal. I felt as energized as I did the first time, four years ago. I actually cut out so many images that I ended up with two boards and I’ve spent the last several days analyzing them.

I’ve already discussed the Ernest Hemingway phenomenon, so I won’t get into that again. But there were other interesting things about this year’s board.

The very first board I did contains, in the lower left not quite corner the question, “Where do YOU want to be?” If I remember correctly, it came from an article about travel. This year, I found exactly that question in an advertisement. I didn’t remember right away that I’d included it on my first board, but this time it went in the upper left corner, kind of a title and lead-in to everything else.

I found a lot of references to England, which is, really, exactly where I want to be. I’m very strongly drawn to that country, though I’ve never set foot in it. British accents to me just sound like the way people are supposed to talk. I adore British television shows, British books, every photograph I’ve ever seen of the British Isles causes my stomach to do flip-flops. I can’t explain it. I don’t feel that way about any other part of the world, whether I’ve been there or not. And it found its way to my board this year.

My first board has Tuscany and a lot of outer space imagery. Tuscany is beautiful (from what I can tell), but there are no stomach flip-flops.

I’ve been thinking a lot of New York City, as well. My second novel (assuming I ever write the first) is set there and I would like to live there while writing it. I found the name of that city in a magazine. It’s interesting because I like New York City, but have always said I could never live there.

I tried very hard this year to let my spirit lead me rather than just choosing images and words I liked or felt should be there. That’s difficult to do while conscious. I tried my best, though. And it seems like it worked well. I found a lot of images and words about really living life. I feel like both my boards are talking to me in a way the previous two didn’t. Still, some of the repeating themes are difficult to ignore.

Nature is a trend I see from year to year and of course books and writing and even dance appears on more than one of my vision boards. Those things are pretty obvious. Then there are the waterfalls, which are on all three of my boards and a major theme on my Pinterest page.

I find it funny, though, that I wrote a blog post last week about saying no more often in order to concentrate on achieving goals that have eluded me for too long and in one of the magazines, I found the admonishment to “just say no.”

“Whirling through the centuries” popped out at me, as the plot of my first novel (if it ever gets finished) ties strongly to that idea.

But of all the empowering and inspiring words and images I found, the most profound thing that jumped off the page and onto my board was something else, something that expressed perfectly my biggest fear, the thing that holds me back, the thought that’s always mulling around the back of my mind:

Somewhere deep inside, you think it’s a matter of time before you stumble and ‘they’ discover the truth: ‘You’re not supposed to be here.’

I write. I’m pretty good at it, I think. Sometimes I stumble across something I wrote years or months or weeks ago and it takes my breath away that it’s so good, because I know that at the time I wrote it, I didn’t think so. But deep down, I think that my first impulse was correct.

I write. But I am not a writer.

I have to fight against that.

This second collage is a little more vague and I’m not sure what I think of it, except I like how it looks. I cut out that blue couch in the lower right because the color blue seemed to be hovering around me for a few days. It wasn’t a sad blue. It was just blue.

The rest mostly symbolizes my wanderlust and love of books and cooking and general creativity. The photo in the upper left is the now famous “Hemingway Collection.”

I suppose only time will reveal if this collage is more than just a pretty picture.

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