Friday, August 29, 2014

A Wild Pitch

Things have been progressing slowwwwwly with my novel. If you want to visit my Facebook page please go here. I can definitely use the motivation.

A few weeks ago, I had the privilege of attending a workshop given by a new thought publisher for an extremely discounted price. The last hour of the workshop was a time for people in the audience to pitch their books. There were about one hundred people in attendance, about 80 raised their hands to pitch. We were given a form to fill out beforehand: title, genre, audience, plot, why you're the best person to write this book, yada yada yada. The hardest part of all in writing this novel has been deciding on its genre.

Earlier in the day, he gave us an assignment. Go to a book store and find the shelf where your book would be located. I had no idea where it would go. It's a novel including many subjects: coming of age, child abuse, near death experience, OCD, Galveston history, 1970's trivia, and spirituality. I have always been told it couldn't go under Christian fiction (Christianity has now been taken out since I am into New Thought) because of the foul language and child abuse. It couldn't go under historical fiction or young adult because of the foul language and people might feel spirituality was being crammed down their throats.

Only eight people were chosen to pitch. The first three people who pitched obviously knew who their audience was, and the publisher kept pushing, "Who do you think will get the most out of your book?"

My plan was to raise my hand, not too high and not with too much enthusiasm, waving my hand wildly like the woman on the third row. "If it's meant to be, he'll pick me. If not, I'll just go home and keep going." Wouldn't you know it? The publisher announced, "I see someone in an SWT T-Shirt (he lives 30 minutes from San Marcos). I pick you." Yep, it was me.

So I stood up and spoke into the microphone, literally shaking so much that the microphone was bouncing around and hit my lips. So I stated my title, plot of the novel, and then like an idiot I said (yes, I really did), "Who do I think will get the most out of my book - survivors of sexual abuse."

BIG GASP BY THE AUDIENCE - Major.Fail.On.My.Part. It was not what I meant to say - I had scratched out what I meant to say. Another moment of second guessing myself and not trusting my instinct.

So he responded first by saying, "I can tell that the subject of this book means a great deal to you." Many "aws" could be heard from the audience now. Then he asked, "By show of hands, how many of you think this book will be read by survivors of sexual abuse?" I don't think a single person raised their hand. I wanted to crawl under the chair, after I threw up first, of course.

So I said into the microphone with as much confidence as possible. "That's the problem I've been having. I can't figure out my audience. This character is not me." I repeated it, "This character is not me."

He said that my novel would be considered a coming of age story. At first, I was disappointed with this answer, considering it an insult. But then I googled popular coming of age stories, and I have read many of them. People of all ages have read them. Many have been best sellers and on college reading lists. I don't want to be a famous writer and make a lot of money, but I would like someone to at least read it and get something from it.

The other thing he said about my book is that he doesn't like the title Reverse Skate because the meaning is too deep. Unless I make the protagonist a professional roller skater or put a lot more references to skating in the book, the title should be changed. Several times during the workshop, he mentioned the term "drowning your darlings", taking things out of your manuscript that you don't want to let go of. My title is my darling. I can't imagine a different title, so I am still pondering what to do.

That night, I went home and uploaded his one and only novel onto my Kindle. I didn't care for a lot of it, and I felt like he was trying to cram a belief down his readers' throats, something he stressed for us not to do. I'm wondering if he suggested that AFTER his novel was published because he felt like he made a mistake or if he just doesn't take his on advice. There were also many things about his novel I would have changed, especially some of the cheesy dialogue.

So while I learned a lot from this man, I still feel like I am writing this novel for me, not for an audience. Writing is not going to be my profession, so I can take the liberty of writing the way I want and giving my writing the title I want. If I sell enough to cover the publishing and marketing costs and help someone in the process, then it has been worth it.

And if you find lots of typos in this post, I apologize profusely. It's hard to balance a laptop and a dog on your lap while being on potty watch (making sure the new puppy doesn't pee anywhere) at the same time.


Grandma's Beautiful Smile

I wanted to give you a couple more links of mine. One is the link to Grandma's Beautiful Smile on Facebook. I created that page in honor of my grandmother who died last summer. It's a place where people can post photos and memories of their grandmothers. Check it out here.

Ups and Downs

This week has definitely been a week of ups and downs, hopes and dreams have been played with, teased and then taken away. Seems like we never get a break around here.

Unity or "New Thought" has taught me that we must move forward in life. We have to take what we have and make something of it. Only we can do that.  Here's a song they sung at Unity last Sunday that really touched me. I need to be reminded to live in the moment; this song is so true.

Since January I have been trying to cultivate a life outside of these four walls. I've joined a crochet group which meets every other Saturday and a yuppie restaurant in town. When you think of a crochet group, you probably think of a bunch of old ladies sitting around a table, needles clacking, gossiping about their children and neighbors, complaining about the food and their aches and pains. It's nothing like that at all. The women are amazing. They are of all ages, ethnicities and backgrounds We have even had some children. There are about 20 in attendance each time, so many that we have requested one complete side of the restaurant in the back for next time.  The organizer of the group was hit by a truck from behind while riding a bicycle in her 20's and she incurred brain damage. Crocheting was suggested by her occupational therapist. She makes some of the most amazing creations you have ever seen.

One of the things I love about the group is that they work on a group blanket. Someone takes it home each time and crochets one skein; then brings it back. When completed, it is given to a hospital in our city. A lot of the women crochet chemo caps and catheter bags, also.  Here is a photo of my main project, the Lord's Prayer, done in filet crochet. I have been working on it since February. It will be about six-feet tall when completed.

Here are some dog sweaters that I made recently when I get bored with this large project:

I've also been going to the library twice a month on Saturday mornings to work on my novel. I'm calling it a "Write-In", even though I'm the only one who shows up. I'm hoping someone will join me one day.

I've also joined the choir at Unity and we rock, we really do.

This weekend we will be in the final stages of our spring cleaning in the summer, just in time for fall. Ha ha. The office is the only room we have left. We have now sent over ten bags to Goodwill, three boxes to Half Price Books, and one box to Movie Exchange. Now we will feel comfortable enough to start having people over again. Our first guest is set to arrive on September 20th.


Thursday, August 28, 2014

I am now on You Tube

Here's my first video on You Tube where I will be discussing OCD, so if you know anyone with OCD, please give them the link. Thanks.

Monday, August 25, 2014


We welcomed Finn, f/k/a Willie, into our home this week. His sister's name was Wonka. She was adopted first. Finn is a distemper survivor. He found his bed immediately when we walked into the apartment and went right to it.

He and Callie are getting along well. We were worried he would not submit to her, but he does. His head bobble is very pronounced when he is nervous. His hinds legs are weak, but once he gets up and stretches, he's ready to roll. He is not able to jump onto the furniture yet, but his back legs are getting stronger, as evident from him now lifting his leg to do his business. Jumping up on the couch is probably in his near future. Only one accident so far in four days, so we shall see about that. He will stay in the kitchen during the day until we are confident he knows what the puppy pads are for in case we can't get home in time.

Both dogs have enjoyed spending time on the balcony. We have never let Callie out there before because of my balcony incident. It's now cleaned off of dirt and debris. We put a potty patch out there, but so far, neither dog understands what to do with it. Would be extremely helpful until I get home to walk them or in case of thunderstorm, which is sure to happen during hurricane season.

Here's a good shot of his facial features:

Namaste to all,

Friday, August 15, 2014

Confrontation at the 99 Cent Store

If you know me at all, I do not like confrontations of any kind. I will do almost anything to avoid one. Our restrooms are being remodeled on the 9th floor, and the doctor doesn't want me to use the stairs because I have an ankle spur. Rather than get rude looks from people like I was getting when I took the elevator up or down one floor (Lady, why don't you take the stairs kind of looks), I sometimes take the elevator down to the 2nd floor. That's how much I hate confrontations.

But last week I had had a terrible day. I hardly ever go into our 99 Cent Store here because it's filthy. The one in my grandmother's town is much better. I had to have a disposable mop (you know, the one that's still in its wrapper leaning up against my bathroom wall with the door closed so Callie won't tear into it.) I was already angry because I had just been at Walmart looking for a specific kind of mop, which, of course, they didn't have. I grabbed the cheapest one I could find - $1.42 or something like that on the sign. Stood in line FOREVER, only for the damned thing to ring up at $4 and something. I was pissed. It was hot outside. And I was parked a mile away. Did I mention my foot hurts?

So I went into the 99 Cent Store (I had to drive right by it anyway) and got a cart in case they had something else I wanted, like puppy pads, which they didn't. My blood pressure went up the moment I walked in. The whole place was disgusting. Crap all over the place, food and God knows what else stuck to the floor. Old spills on the floor, counters and gondolas. I owned a clean store for 9 years - it just upset me so much. People were buying food there, not just canned food but produce, people. The whole time I'm going to the back of the store, I'm getting angrier and angrier. There's just no excuse for that. People shouldn't have to shop or work in such an environment.

So I throw the damned mop into my cart, with the handle down in the bottom of the cart and the head of the mop sticking slightly out the front. I had folded the child seat up. Stood in line for a long time, which gave me more time to see the dirt, dust and grime on the counters at the checkout. The conveyor belt at the checkout was so grimy, that I just held the mop while I checked out.

Now, there's a man standing directly inside the front door of the store. I said, "Excuse me." He didn't move. So rather than yell at him to move, I went around him to the left as he turned towards my cart. I didn't hit him with the mop; never even came close. Okay, the CART did come kind of close to him, but the mop did not. I walked around him, and heard him say in a rude manner, "Well, you could have at LEAST said 'excuse me"!" I replied, "I DID say 'excuse me'." I was seething inside because all I wanted to do was get in my car and go home.

He said, "Well, you need to speak up!" I started walking out the door, and for some reason - I don't know why. Maybe it was his attitude, the heat, the disgustingly filthy surroundings - I said, "Well, maybe you shouldn't STAND in front of the entrance, then!"

We took it outside, and he kept going on and on about how he was just standing there, waiting for his wife when I come barreling through with a mop sticking out (which it was not) and telling me, "You should speak up like you're doing now!" Telling me how to talk and push a mop in a cart.

I finally let him have the last word. Well, I did have the last word; he just couldn't hear it. So I got in my car and my OCD kicked in. I never did see his wife; I was so focused on him. But all the way down the street - which is one of the busiest and dangerous 6-lane streets in the city of Houston - I kept thinking, "He's following me home." I checked my rear view mirror until I had to turn left, about 5 stoplights down. When I turned, there was only one car behind me, and it had a Dominoes Pizza sign on top of it. It finally turned and there was nothing in my rear view mirror, so I calmed down a bit. Then I went home, called my friend V and cried.

I don't handle confrontations well, which explains why I haven't had the nerve to confront my boss about that raise he mentioned a few months back. I don't like his attitude when I bring it up and I am not interested in defending myself when he's the one who brought it up in the first place.

Everyone have a great weekend. I'm going to work on my novel tomorrow for a few hours and then go visit my grandmother.


Thursday, August 14, 2014

My Links

As my novel gets closer to completion, I wanted to remind you of my link. Here is the Facebook page for the book:

Reverse Skate

And here is the link to my OCD Blog - Around and Around

Hope your day is going great!



I wanted to share a few photos with you from the past year. Here's a photo of my soon-to-be 98-yr-old grandmother with my niece A2. The umbrella was a gift to my grandma from Thailand from my brother, who is A2's daddy. We had just moved my grandma into her new, larger apartment. She is almost blind but is still not in assisted living. We had so many problems with the place that we almost moved her back to her old place. She turned us down, however, because moving is very stressful to her. Not to mention that she would be living in her friend's old apartment who had just passed away, since grandma's old apartment had already been rented.

Here's a recent photo of me and J at the Vicki Lawrence show.

Here's a recent photo of K21. She is trying to change from red back to blonde. She now has a steady boyfriend and starts working at Starbucks on Monday while taking a math class. She will miss working at the theatre so much, but they were working her too hard with little pay.

Here's a photo of my attempt at painting at Pinot's Palette. Am wondering if you have places like this where you are where you paint and drink wine. Took K24 there for her birthday and she loved it. This is me without make-up. ACK! Below is a photo of K24 getting started with her painting.

Below is the outside of the beach house I rented in June for a writing sabbatical. Just me and Callie and the beach for three days. No problems with the neighbors until the last morning. The man across the street got quite upset when I was walking Callie in the empty lot. I showed him the poop bag in my pocket and assured him I would pick up after her. It wasn't his lot; the city owns it.

I got quite a bit of writing done on my novel and lots of inspiration. The ocean is a very soothing place to me, but I respect it since I almost drowned near there when I was 7.  There was a hot tub on the back deck. The bed was EXTREMELY comfortable. Would love to go back, but if we get another dog it would be a lot harder. Took me five trips up the stairs to get everything I needed into the house. The photo below it shows my writing area. The stained glass window is from a church. The house was built in 1913. The photo below that is Callie laying in the sun saying, "I want to move to the beach!"

Here's a photo of what I look like at work with my reading glasses on.

Here I am at Wicked in San Antonio and showing off my key chain and necklace. I accidentally ran over my necklace last week with my drink cart at work. :( It's not fixable. We also walked away with a poster signed by the cast. Proceeds went to the A.I.D.S. Foundation and a $20 program. Unfortunately, Jennifer DiNoia wasn't performing that night because she was getting ready for her wedding. Alyssa Fox was "okay" but not my favorite.

Well, that's all for now.


Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Vicki Lawrence

We had tickets to see Vicki Lawrence/Mama's show in Galveston Saturday night. We were on the third row and she was hilarious. Here's a video of the Mama Rap that she performed. It looks sideways, but it went turn when you click. Enjoy!


Have you ever taken a good hard look at your life and decided it's time to simplify things? Well, we did.

A couple of weeks ago, we decided it was time to get our apartment in order. Stress seems to snowball when you are constantly looking for things and moving one pile of things to another place. All you do is create more piles of things you never use 1) because you don't need them or 2) you didn't know they were there.

We started by creating a list of everything we wished we could change in our apartment from repairs being done by the maintenance man to expensive purchases. We *ed items we knew needed to be or could be done, i.e. afforded first. I'm happy to say we have crossed out about one -third of our original list.

The first week we were gung ho; the maintenance man was not. We purchased new pillows for our couch to match the blue in J's new recliner.

There are two more on the other end and one on her recliner. We got these at Garden Ridge for half price.

We also purchased new placemats, napkins and napkin rings with the goal of keeping things OFF our kitchen table and eating there more often together as a couple.

To help keep from dumping keys and mail on the table, we purchased a mail/key holder for $9.99.

InterDesign® Wall Mount Mail & Key Rack in Bronze
Not too pretty, but functional. We also purchased an over-the-door holder for my shoes to keep my shoes away from Callie (she has learned how to open our closet door.) $19.99

Real Simple® 24-Pocket Over Door Shoe Organizer

We also purchased a shower curtain. liner and rug to update J's bathroom. Here is a similar shower curtain:
Tranquil Stripe Seaglass and White Shower Curtain
And here is the bath mat:
Avanti Antigua Bath Rug
Her theme has always been ocean/shells, so these match her accessories nicely. I want a Wizard of Oz bathroom (I know, how childish of me), but am having trouble finding accessories I want. I don't need a shower curtain, and that's really about all they have other than some ugly bath mats.

We also had J's shell lamp re-wired (again, destroyed by Callie). I'll try to get a photo of that sometime. We need a new kitchen table as we can't stand ours. It's tall, and the chairs are more like bar stools. Two of them have broken and besides, they put your legs to sleep before you've even finished playing a round of Rummicube.

We have also been cleaning out closets and have made several trips to the Goodwill Donation Center down the street. We sorted CDs and DVDs. Some went to a resale shop; some are being downloaded on J's Ipod and then will be sold.

We have high hopes to frame and hang some photos and autographs soon. I like having projects to work on with J. It's exciting. I think she's excited about it, too.

Meanwhile, in all my spare time, I'm still working on my novel and crocheting a 6-foot tall Lord's Prayer

So as you can see, we've been extremely busy. Hopefully, I can add blogging to my list of things I'm doing. Two or three days this week already. Yippee! Until next time.


Tuesday, August 12, 2014

This could have been me seven years ago. I'm so glad it's not. R.I.P. Robin Williams

Friday, August 8, 2014

I'm Back...

Wow! It's been almost one year since my last post. Blogger looks different and maybe I do, too. I have missed writing; I have so much to catch you up on. So let's get started.

My maternal grandmother died August 2, 2013. Seems she was the last person I wrote about. I was told I was giving the eulogy. It was hard but I did it. My ex was there with both of the girls. J didn't come to the funeral; I was sad about that. I have a 97-yr-old paternal grandmother still living. When she passes, we are just going to have to bite the bullet and she will attend with me. I miss my grandmother every day. She left me her double pearled ring, a ring I have loved since I was a child. She always told me it would be mine when she died.

When my mom got it out of the jewelry box and put it in my hand, suddenly I knew what I had to do. I don't really wear too much jewelry; I like to wear the necklace J gave to me on our first anniversary back together. So I had the two pearls made into two pearl necklaces for my daughters for Christmas. I let the jeweler keep the actual ring to sell the silver to help pay for the necklaces; I regret that now. As we were walking to the parking lot, J asked me if I changed my mind, we could go back in, but I said "no" and we got in the car. I was crying. But I know I did the right thing. The girls were so touched by the necklaces and I notice them wearing the necklaces every time I see them and it's been eight months since they received them.

Another big change in my life is that I have started going to Unity. To me, it's not really a church as much as it is a spiritual center. I don't believe everything they teach there, but I am starting to make friends and I always feel welcomed and accepted. I joined the choir. Here we are doing a patriotic gospel song.

America the Beautiful

It's not the greatest recording, as it was taken on a cell phone, but as you can see, we rock!

We still have Callie, or as J calls her "Callie Belly." Here's one of my favorite photos of her riding in the car.

She was a therapy dog for a couple of months, but then we realized she had major separation anxiety. We started putting her in doggie day camp three days a week. They let the dogs bark all day at the passerbys in the window, so when I started taking her to nursing homes, she would bark at everyone. Not good for a therapy dog. So we stopped. She is now just a rambunctious, two-year old dog who loves belly rubs and hugs and kisses; has her favorite spots in the house (all spots in the house are hers). Her favorite person at night is me; her favorite person in the morning is J. She loves her piece of turkey bacon every morning, and expects it. She loves going to the dog park and jumping around in the mud pit by the lake. She loves her car seat because she can see out on drives.

Callie is supposed to get a big brother. He is a rescue from a high-kill facility. He had kennel cough and low-positive heartworms. We were supposed to get him last weekend, but now they found out he has distemper. :( I hope the little guy makes it. His current name is Rufus. He's the black one on the left.

Until next time...