Sunday, June 29, 2008

The writing bug or opening my soul?

I actually sat down and did some serious writing this weekend. The bug is back and I'm enjoying myself. I thought I'd try and spur myself into more writing by sharing what I have done, and look for a little feedback.
So here's a little passage from this weekend's efforts. The character is a confused and conflicted 30-something single woman talking to her long term boyfriend who has been gone on a long business trip. What do you think?

It's not that I hate you. It's not that you have done anything wrong. It's that while you are gone my insecurities creep in and I begin to doubt. I wonder where you are and who you are with. And suddenly, my insecurities turn into resentment and jealousy. I'm resenting you because you aren't with me. Jealous that you have a life beyond us. And before long my resentment becomes hate. And I think I hate you and you haven't done anything to deserve it, and don't even know what I am going through or what I am feeling. And I don't even know if you care that I am thinking all of this? And then I realize that it isn't fair to either of us. Because the truth is that I love you. I love you so much. But I hate you sometimes. And I don't know what to do about that. All I know is I love you and I need you. I need you in my life to talk me down from these ledges I put myself on. And how confusing is that? You are the person I love and trust more than anything in this world. But I hate you because I can't trust you. Or me.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Weekend Writing

Tonight it just HIT me. I miss writing for fun. I write all day, every day. It's all I do actually. I write. But tonight I just suddenly felt that bug again. I miss writing for me.

So I again offer this question out to the blogosphere. It's about the novel I've been working on forever now. I can't end it because I just can't decide if the book gets a commercial happy ever after PG ending? Or does it get the PG-13/R, painfully true and realistic ending?

Family, I know you're reading this. What happens when a good Mormon girl writes a biting and painful ending that won't ever be printed by Deseret Book? Does it bother her friends and family? Or do you accept that this was a painfully realistic book?

(the book has fun and light hearted moments, but it is more than anything a coming of age story.)

Also, what if there are 2 LDS characters? One is going to be a good Mormon girl. But the other one isn't perfect. Does that bother you to read about a less than Molly perfect Mormon girl?

My feeling is that it is well written with a painfully real look at life. It has the highs and lows of what it is like to be LDS and single. I don't want to write it if it isn't true and accurate, and that means showing the flaws. But how many people will be bothered if one of the Mormon girls sleeps with her boyfriend?

Thursday, June 26, 2008

I Have 7 Highly Effective Habits

I just spent the last 2 days in very intense Covey leadership training. My brain is aching now. It's normally a 5 day class, but we did it in 2.
I went in with some very preconceived notions about what I was going to learn. And I was wrong about every last one of them.
So I am just curious- has anyone out there taken a Covey training class? What did you think? What I really want to know is if anyone has ever had a bad experience? As in they learned it all (read the book in full, or took a class), and didn't like it?

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Happy Thoughts

Today was one long and crazy day. But a great one all the same. Rather than really recap, I thought I'd just share some of the better quotes and thoughts of the day.

1. Quadrant 4- this one requires a quick background story. I have a distinct memory from about 10 years ago involving a co-worker much more senior than I was at the time inviting me into his office to help him clean up. We swept the floor, tidied his desk, organized files, etc. He asked me if I had heard of the 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. I said yes. He asked if I had heard of the 4 quadrants. I think I nodded in reply. He then said, "This is what I call a quadrant 4 day."
Ever since then I have taken it to mean that a Quadrant 4 day is a tidy up, prepare, and organize kind of day. And more than once in my professional career I have looked a boss in the eye and said, "I'm having a Quadrant 4 day, so I won't be doing the usual things." And to the best of my knowledge they have all smiled and nodded at me in reply.
Today I took the 7 Habits course and discovered what "Quadrant 4" is really all about. It is the time waster and excess quadrant. The one you want to cut out of your life altogether. Which really does beg the question, how many times did I say that to a boss just for him to think in return that I was absolutely crazy??

2. Today I also found the answer to world peace. It comes in the tiny little bums of 4 and 5 years olds tumbling across a gym mat. I went to the dance recital for my little fairy god-daughter Andi, and enjoyed myself immensely. There really is nothing cuter in this world than little girls trying to all dance in a line.

3. My favorite quote of the day comes from my sister Natalie who said, "On the bright side, this trip to the E.R. is free for Tell because we've already reached his $1,000 deductible for the year." Tell was showing off his ninja moves while holding a brand new 7 inch kitchen knife tonight. I'll leave the rest up to your imagination.

4. My last happy thought for the day- I'm wearing a brand new pink dress today, in size medium petite. And it has been a long stinking time since the last time I could fit into a medium petite!

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Public Service Announcement

I got hit on today at church. That doesn't happen very often. But as with most things in my life these days, it was funny.

I was at the singles ward with my old DC roommate. We just sung the intermediate hymn. It was a good ten minutes after the song that suddenly the guy next to me passes me a note.
"You have a nice beautiful boice. Do you like to be in a choir?"
(spelling is his, not mine.)
I politely thanked him and waited till after church to speak to him. He shook my hand several times and said he would like to see me again.
He just forgot one little thing- to ask me for my name.

So this is my public service announcement for the day. Men, if you are interested in a girl, compliments will get you far. No question about it. But if you really want to see something happen, always ask for her name. Trust me on this one, cause if you don't ask her for it, she will remember that more than anything else at the end of the conversation.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Intentionally Left Vague, Just to Confuse You More

If there is one thing I learned back in Dec-Feb while I was so sick and going through hell this year, it was that just as you think there is no way things could get any worse, it was about to get a lot worse.
As a quick refresher for all your short attention span blog readers, just a few short months ago I came down with a mystery kidney stone condition, had to start job hunting, endure Christmas and traveling while ill, move while ill with only 3 weeks of notice, got the flu, was in a car accident, lived on Juli's couch, and started a new job. (Did I forget anything? Cause it's entirely possible that I did.)
It wasn't exactly the best of times, you know?
But there is one thing I learned to do- laugh. I've always been the type to start laughing when I'm nervous or scared. And I'm usually the first to see the humor or irony in a situation. (okay, except maybe when i had kidney stones, and the flu was making me puke my brains out. i've still yet to find the humor in that. actually no, i take that back. i do have one funny memory, of running into the bathroom to toss more cookies, and when i got there, andi (age 5) was sitting on the can sick as a dog herself. instead of being smart enough to redirect the contents of my stomach somewhere else, i picked andi up off the seat, and held her to the side while i unloaded what was left in my stomach. and then placed her back down on it. i now look back and realize that probably looked funny.)
So my point is, I laugh. When things just go from bad to horrifically worse, I laugh.
And today I laughed a lot.
The nutshell version.*
First, I was stupid enough to let a guy mess with my head last week. And that just got me off my game. And then, we had a big shake up at work that resulted in a lot more pressure being put on me. I went from having 1 direct report, and 4 clients, to suddenly having 5 direct reports, and 9 clients. And then another dumb guy thing happened that isn't all that significant, but it just caught me off guard that a guy "who is just a friend" to start with, would give me a freaking "friends talk." Um... did I want more than that?? NO. So sleep deprived and already stressed I entered this day. Just to find Mr Let's Be Friends suddenly acting all crazy and odd, and certainly not like he wants to be just friends. All week long I have been exhausted and sleep deprived. And when I get busy stressed, I forget to eat. So starving, exhausted, and stressed today at work, I suddenly found myself in the perfect storm of elements to set off a kidney stone spasm attack. It was absolutely the worst one I've had since December. It was not pleasant. But I handled it without major drugs, and for the most part without anyone else witnessing it. Just the way I like it! I got back to my desk to find the most unwelcome email I have ever seen- from probably the only guy in this world that I just can't seem to really get over. I haven't heard from him in nearly a year. And he picks today of all days to tell me I'm great and he misses me. And all about his new wife and how great she is too. GEE THANKS. So that is 3 different guy things messing with me at once. Which is pretty much more guy drama then I see in a whole year, all in one short week.
I really thought the day couldn't get more painful. But I was wrong. We still had one major drama to go. A co-worker resigned. And guess who gets to take the brunt of that? Oh yeah- ME! That would now be 7 direct reports, and 14 clients.
That is when I just started laughing, because I'm pretty sure God is laughing at me. It's really the only explanation left at this point.
So what do you do when you can't stop laughing? You go support your favorite "Little Sister" (my kid from the Big Brothers Big Sisters program) at her dance recital. And I am so excited to report that my Little was one of the absolute cutest up there, and made no mistakes. When she saw me arrive at the park, she ran all the way around the park to give me a hug. As did her younger sisters, who were also excited to see me. So there in the middle of my very All-American Single Career Woman Day, I got to be a part of the New All American Family for a few minutes- the Little herself, her siblings, her step siblings, her dad, step mom, Mom, grandparents, and me- tell me that kid isn't loved! (Somewhere in the back of my head a voice was saying, "Little has 4 mommies.") It was a nice break from Single Career Woman Day.
And then from all the hugs at the recital I went to Chez Palooza where my fairy god-daughters stocked me up on hugs and kisses for a few weeks. And Mrs. Palooza herself played the role of armchair therapist very diligently for me for several hours. Mr. Palooza also entertained us by attempting to shock us. It didn't work. But we were amused nonetheless.
I left Chez Palooza thinking all was right with the world (cause how could it not be after all those hugs and kisses?), I got on the freeway to make the simple, middle of the night, 25 minute drive home. But this is my crazy day, and you didn't really expect it to end that easy did you? Oh no. "They" had shut down the freeway, and sent me on a detour that only took 1.5 hours to get home.
Somewhere God is looking down on me, and having a really good laugh right now. And lucky for me, I'm laughing with him.

*Believe it or not, this really was the nutshell version.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Give it 5 minutes, it will change

Back in the good old days when I lived in Florida, people used to joke that if you didn't like the weather you should just "give it 5 minutes, and it will change."
Lately, that could also be the best way to describe my life.
Last night Juli and I got into the rare deep conversation, full of analogies and metaphors that we are so good at. The big question came down to this screwy analogy.
I feel like I'm getting pretty good at walking through this tunnel. In fact, I'm pretty dang good at it. I like it, and I'm perfectly happy in here. Suddenly, just as my eyes are getting used to the dark, and I'm well adjusted, there are these flashes of light. Little flashes of unexpectedness that change life in the tunnel. You realize that things don't have to be the way they are. But then the flash of light is gone, and your eyes have to adjust to the light of the tunnel again. You never know when these flashes are going to happen. They just do. And it can be exciting and fun. But then... it's just annoying. You can't plan on it. They never happen when you need them. And worse yet, it's harder and harder to adjust your eyes back to the tunnel after the flash.
I say I'd rather life forever never knowing the flash of light. I'm happy without it, and why ruin a perfectly good thing. Juli argues the opposite. She says you should live for the thrill of the flash of light, and keep moving hoping to always find another light.
What say you?

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Happy Father's Day-- Thanks Dad!

Dear Dad,

For Father's Day we got together and decided to show you all of the ways we are glad you are our father. This is far from a complete list of everything you have done for us. But we hope you enjoy the pictures and the memories with us!

Erin, Natalie, and Steph

Thanks for never being embarrassed to have fun with us.
Thanks for teaching us the chicken song. It comes in handy at dinner parties.

Thank you for always calling me your little princess.

Thank you for letting me think the cats were buried by I-66. Even though I don't know why that is a comforting thought.

Thank you for always reading with us. Even when you were tired.

Thanks for making our house the coolest in the neighborhood by being the first one with a "tramp."

(Sorry about the leg.)

Thanks for not noticing my hippie phase.

Thanks for providing me with music lessons.

Thank you for supporting us in Voices and all of our other choirs.

Thank you for putting me in sports.

Thank you so much for all of the great Christmases.

Thank you for paying for all the pretty dresses!

Thank you for paying for the car insurance. It's probably getting expensive!

Thank you for taking us to Disney World- twice! And for all the great family vacations. We had some great ones!

Thank you for all the trips to Kings Dominion. And for getting Mom to try one ride each year.

Thanks for the cute baby brother and sister. And thanks for keeping them once the novelty wore off.

Thank you for always loving our mom. And for giving her a big noisy kiss every day when you came home.

Thank you for all the nights you played the guitar and sang to us. And for teaching us every word to every oldies song ever.

Thanks for always posing for the funny pictures.

Thank you for supporting me in all my trips to Europe, even when they were bad ideas.

Thanks for trying to be interested in all of our crazy activities and new ideas.

Thanks you for letting us experience being treated like royalty in San Antonio.

Thanks for all the times you drove us to be with our cousins. And thanks for teaching us to love them and be friends with them.

Thank you for giving me a wedding and a honeymoon to Hawaii. And for sacrificing all your frequent flyer miles for us.

Thank you for letting me wear the blue cast to the wedding. - Steph

Thanks for taking us to fun dinners for our birthdays and other occasions.

Thank you for taking us to cool movie premieres.

I don't know anyone else who can say they have seen all 6 Star Wars films in the same theater. But I have! And I have seen them all with my dad! - Erin

Thanks for standing in line for HOURS so we could see this one on opening day at the coolest theater (hey- same place we saw all of the Star Wars too!)

Thanks for the horseback riding lessons.

Thanks for the horse.- Steph

Thanks for getting us through to graduation! Even when for some (ahem) of us it seemed impossible.

Thanks for supporting me through all of my schooling, major changes, career changes, and more.

Thank you for helping us do things we have always wanted!

Thank you for always sending us to EFY.

Thank you for being a good Papa.

Thank you for teaching us to be friends with each other.

Thank you for our special nicknames (and whistles). Thank you for everything, Dad. We love you! There just isn't enough room or pictures to show all of the things we are grateful for.

Happy Father's Day!

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