Sunday, August 30, 2009

There's some nights where I think about how different love, dating, and just being single is after 30.

Why can't humans stock up on sleep and water like camels do?

Funny thing about taking the HCG- it gives you a ton of energy. And I mean a ton. I loved how good I felt on it, and how much I could get done on it! And now... sadness. I committed to a million projects while I was on the HCG because I had so much energy. I forgot that lovely energy would go away. So here I am, living in a sugar and starch and caffeine free world, without an energy boost, and having to actually fulfill a million commitments. Ha.
But that hasn't stopped me from trying to act like I'm still on HCG this week. Sunday night I had "Little" spend the night (she didn't have school on Monday). And on Monday I worked and then we played. And more importantly we went to the hospital to see Sarantastic and her 18 hr old baby who's internet name is Pebbles. Nothing in this world is sweeter than a brand new baby fresh from heaven. I loved every second of holding her, while "Little" was too intimidated to hold her.
Did I mention that while Sarantastic is out on maternity leave I'm covering her job for her? (another side effect of HCG)
If we're friends on Facebook you may already know that on Tuesday night I very impusively went to a Def Leppard and Poison concert. And took lots of awesome pictures of bad hair on ugly people. Thanks, Jenn C for just as spontaneously joining me!
Wednesday night I decided to join a musical and attended a rehearsal.
On Thursday I found out I would be going to NYC on a business trip and decided I couldn't handle missing that many rehearsals and dropped out of the musical. I think I shopped on Thursday.
Friday night the ladies on my street had an impromptu girls night out. It was great.
Saturday I forgot I'm not made of HCG and went to the farmers market, got a blissful 10 minute massage, some second hand shops, dog park, cleaned the house, did some extra work, and went to a neighborhood bbq.
Tomorrow brings a couple of meetings, plus a choir performance, plus a rehearsal. I have a feeling I will not be getting my beloved Sunday nap.
The next few weeks are going to be crazy busy, but exciting. Little and I will be on the news, plus there's Labor Day (not that I have plans, but still, there's a paid day off of work coming my way! woohoo!), my brother gets back (he's been gone almost 3 weeks), I go to New York, my choir performs twice, plus amidst all this I work my job, Sarantastic's job, and a few freelance projects, and help organize a fundraiser party for Big Brothers Big Sisters. And go to Vegas to help my sister with her new business for a few days. Oh and plan my vacation to Virginia for the end of the month. And some other stuff.
Why am I awake? I could be asleep right now!

Sunday, August 23, 2009

The new living room before and after pictures

I guess today is all about before and after pictures. I don't actually have a good "before" picture of my living room. That would be because I never liked it enough to take any pictures of it. I thought it was ugly! I had all free or third or fourth hand furniture, no drapes, nothing good. So now I finally have a color scheme, nice furniture, and a little style! Yeah for a "big girl" house!

So here is the closest thing I have to a "before" picture-



And the midway point-


And what it looks like all pulled together with drapes and accessories, without my dog trying to steal the show-



Much improved, no??

There's still a dozen more things I want to do like get a decent area rug, a nicer entertainment center, and a big screen TV. All in good time...

My experiences with the HCG diet

For the last 3 weeks I have been on the HCG diet. For those who are unfamiliar with the HCG diet, feel free to click the link and read about it there. I chose to take drops, rather than the injections. I was introduced to the diet by Heidi, and like most people was completely skeptical when I heard about it. But when I saw Heidi's before and after pictures after just 2 weeks on the diet, I was sold. Heidi chose to do the injections, I chose to do the drops.

I will be honest that as strict and as crazy as this diet sounds, I really never expected to be able to stick to it hard-core. But my goal was to lose 20 lbs, and I should make it! I still technically have 3 days left on the diet, and as of right now I've only lost 18 lbs. But with three days left to go, I think I can lose the last two.

So in all their humiliating honesty, here are my before and after pictures.

Before--





And as of today- 18 lbs down-

 
  
That would be 6 inches lost off my waist, and 18 lbs in just 3 weeks!!
And the rest of the details-
Waist- 6 inches down
Arm- 2 inches down
Thighs- 2.5 inches off each
Neck- 1 inch off
Bust- 4 inches off under bust, 1 inch down on bust
All pretty good right? But my butt?? Barely 2 inches down. I as so hoping to lose more off my butt. There is now a 10 inch difference between my butt and waist.
Dress size? Down 3 sizes! 
Now for more about the diet, my person experience-
Load days- 
The first 2 days of taking the HCG you "load up" on as much food and calories as possible. I thought this was going to be my crowning moment. Me? Get to eat everything I want? I can totally do that, right? This was supposed to be my Lorelai Gilmore moment! I was looking forward to it. I spoke to a few people (including Heidi) who had been on the diet, and they all told me how impossible their load days were. They had whined and said how they couldn't eat anything. I just knew I could do better. 
But no.
By the end of the first day on the HCG I could barely eat anything. I had planned out my meals for my load days to include trips to all my favorite places. And I couldn't do it! I was seriously having to force myself to eat. It was depressing!
The second day? Even worse. It felt like that post-Thanksgiving Dinner full stomach when someone has just put your favorite piece of pie in front of you. You can't possibly eat another bite, and yet, there it is, chocolate silk cream pie, and its the last piece, and if you don't eat it, someone will steal it from you. That is how every single bite of food felt on my second day of HCG. I was attempting to force myself to eat more than usual and realized at the end of the day that I had eaten considerably less than usual. Ugh! So I had to add a third load day to make sure I had enough food in me to start off the diet. 
For the life of me, I still don't know why or how that all works. But it did. I haven't been hungry from this diet once in three weeks. 
So then the real diet begins. The 500 calorie diet. Which yes, does sound impossible. But the HCG is there to keep you from getting hungry, and encourages your body to burn up fat stores. Knowing that I was going to have to give up diet sodas for the diet, I weaned myself off of them the week before I started the HCG. Much to my surprise, I don't want them anymore! (But three weeks of just water and boring teas is getting very old.)
I primarily ate strawberries and oranges for my fruits. I'm just not a big apple eater, although I did eat a few on the diet. The vegetables were all choices I normally hate, so that was rough for me. I despise celery, especially without either ranch dressing or peanut butter to hide the taste. So I only ate that once. For the most part I ate a lot of asparagus and cucumbers. 
The meals do get dull, but you do start to get inventive. My favorite thing was crab meat with spinach and strawberries. Its actually not a bad meal at all. 
Cheating and this diet-
Ha. There is an overwhelming fear of cheating on this diet. But the desire to cheat wasn't very strong. The diet is actually pretty fun! I lost 10 lbs in the first 7 days! You don't want to cheat when the weight is just falling off of you! It was fun to go to the scare and weigh myself every day to see how much I had gone down again. So when the temptation to cheat was there, it wasn't ever because I wanted to eat something, but because I really wanted to taste something more interesting. When I did cheat (just a few small handful of times) it was incredibly small and insignificant. I "cheated" with 1 potato chip. Not the bag, just 1 chip. I know, I'm going to hell. I took one little finger swipe and lick of cake frosting. I ate 1 tiny bite of pizza (which made me horribly sick!). And that was all of my cheating over the last 3 weeks. Each time I cheated, I made sure to walk the dog an extra mile that day. 
And in the interest of full honesty and disclosure, yesterday I couldn't take it anymore, and put the tiniest amount of sharp cheddar cheese on my little tiny patty of meat. (It was divine!)
Low blood sugar-
The first 2 weeks of the diet I had no problems with hunger or low blood sugar. I really was surprised. I will admit though that this past week I have had a few spells where I realized my blood sugar was getting low, and I had little head rush moments when I stand up. This is usually cured quickly by just eating a few slices of an orange, or a strawberry or two. In 2 instances, I tried those tricks and still had a massive headache after. I tried a few glasses of water, to not relief. So I went to Maverick and indulged in a caffeine free Diet Coke, which cured it instantly. Go figure.
Health benefits-
Now, you already know from below about my horrid stomach ache. I am convinced that was completely unrelated to the diet. So ignoring that, and focusing on the other 20 days of this diet- I have never felt better. I swear its like being on happy pills and energy pills at the same time. I have more energy than I know what to do with. I'm sleeping fabulously! And I just feel great. As someone frequently plagued with gastrointestinal issues, I will just say this. Not one problem. Perfect GI system. Its a freaking dream come true. I barely know what to do with myself. No indigestion. Nothing. I feel fantastic. I don't want the diet to ever end! 


Other details-
Like I said, I haven't been hungry once. I have, however, found myself not eating enough, and wondering 6 hours later why I was so hungry. It was always cured by eating whatever I hadn't bothered to eat during mealtime. It was my fault, and never the diet.

I'll be honest. The diet isn't easy. But the results are so fast and visible that it isn't hard to stay motivated.

Now that I've finished the HCG doses, I have to do a few weeks of a modified South Beach diet. This is to help your body reset to its new weight and metabolism. I'm really looking forward to starting it. I MISS CHEESE AND EGGS! It may be the strangest cravings I have ever had. But I can't wait to add eggs and cheese back into my diet.

So why did I do the HCG diet over some other diet? Because I have tried everything. I've tried 5 small meals a day. I've tried adding weights. I've tried adding more cardio. I've done Atkins. I've done everything. I can always drop 8-10 lbs quickly, but then it comes right back, and I can never keep it all off. That was something I noticed was a common thread among many HCG users. They were all chronic dieters like me. And this worked for them.

There you have it. My experiences with the HCG diet.  If you have questions, let me know.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Involvement, Engagement, Social Media Engagement and Marketing, and Search Engine Optimization

I know this won't apply to what few friends left that read this blog. But I'm frustrated and could use some guidance on the topic.
Social Media Engagement and Marketing versus Search Engine Optimization.
Where the hell is the line? How much should they overlap? Is one more important than the other? Does marketing play any role in SEO? (don't get me started on the crap field that is affiliate marketing.) Should SEO be a small part of SMEM? Or should SMEM be a tool to assist in SEO?
(yes, I know 99% of you have no idea what language i am speaking right now)
I'm frustrated beyond belief right now regarding this subject. My company (that I love and willingly work very hard for) is just not all that concerned with a marketing plan. But we are huge in SEO. SEO dominates every little move we make. Which as the SMEM person drives me crazy. I frequently feel like we completely overlook the true spectrum and potential within SMEM.
Please note, I choose to use SMEM, not SMM as the description for what I do. That right there should tell you something. I believe SMM is a tool to ENGAGE the customer. Not just create links.
Now, I have a strong interest in making all tools more interactive. However, I am limited by my own knowledge. I will admit to being jaded and the most impossible customer to reach. But as soon as I see a truly interactive and engaging marketing campaign, I am sucked right in. I haven't clicked on a Google Ad or Facebook ad in... years?? And that even includes the google ads at the top of my google search results pages. In other words, I hate ads. But if you involve and engage me, I will buy it every time. I believe that any company that is willing to take advertising that far into social engagement will continue to take my interests into consideration if and when I must ever access their customer service side of things.
So talk to me from both sides here. I admit that from the get-go I hate all things SEO. The more I see it in search results, the more I tend to avoid those websites. And don't get me started on how I refuse to every cooperate with anything that even remotely smells like an affiliate site. As a true SMEM professional, I can't help but believe that if people truly did SMEM right, we wouldn't have affiliates and SEO.
Don't get me wrong. I know SEO has its place. We need it for somethings. But should SEO drives a marketing or SMEM campaign? If not, what should?
Anyone have a great example of a viral video campaign, btw? Or an interactive campaign they have enjoyed?
Seriously, I'm at my wit's end here. I'm ready to give up this stinking career in SMEM and go back to events planning soon. I need to be creative and plan. And you just can't do that when SEO dominates marketing.
HELP! Someone throw me a lifeline!

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Erin's Stupid Stomach

To the best of my knowledge, I have never mentioned my stomach aches on this blog. Today that will change. In my family we refer to these stomach aches as "one of THOSE stomach aches." My parents know what this means. I've been getting them since I was 8 years old. I can still remember my very first one was on Thanksgiving, a few hours before dinner, but a few hours after the snacking had begun. I suddenly felt awful. There was a cramping feeling in my gut, and I turned green. I was in so much pain! I remember being sent to the bathroom, and then being told minutes later to lie down on the floor. And how I thought it was awful and humiliating that my mom put a bag of frozen peas on my head. But it didn't matter for long, because minutes later I passed out from the pain. I never know how long I am unconscious- was it minutes or seconds? But then, suddenly I came to, and the pain disappeared. My mom took me to some doctors, who never found a reason or explanation for this, and life went on.
I didn't get another stomach ache for a long time. I don't remember how long. But then one day it happened again. I remember thinking I was going to die from the pain. Since then I've had one of THOSE stomach aches about once or twice a year, for my whole life.
With the exception of that very first one on Thanksgiving, they have all happened in the middle of the night. Always while I am deep asleep. It always starts with me dreaming that I'm being tortured, or that I'm horribly ill, and then waking up to realize the pain is very real. Within minutes I will be on the floor, writhing in pain. Not long after that I will start begging and pleading with God (silently in my head) to either save me from the pain, or to just let me die sooner rather than later. The pain is that severe. And then, almost always, I will pass out from the pain. The passing out is something of a sweet release for me. I hate the sensation, but at least I'm not in pain anymore. And almost always, as soon as I can pass out, and come back to, the pain will go away almost as quickly as it came on, and just disappear.
I HATE THESE STOMACH ACHES.
Last night was unfortunately one of THOSE nights. I went to bed about 1 am, and woke up at 3:30 in excruciating pain. I went through the usual motions of going to the bathroom, drinking some water, trying to get back in bed, repeating the cycle, all while the pain got worse. Ever since leaving my parents' home, and living on my own, I've always made sure a phone was nearby, just in case I needed to call myself an ambulance. So far I've managed to hide these events from all of my roommates.
Last night as I found myself getting to the point where I knew I was going to black out, begging with God to just either black me out or let me die, I crawled to the floor (with 1 cat and a dog anxiously circling me), and blissfully passed out. Unfortunately, for the first time ever, that didn't solve the problem. I came to and blacked back out several more times, until finally around 7:30 am, I came to and realized I wasn't in anymore pain. I moved back into my bed and fell asleep.
Sleep didn't last long, as I had a conference call at 9, that someone had to call and tell me I was late for. I've felt awful all day long, as is usually the case after an episode. My stomach is a bit out of whack, and my energy levels are all sorts of screwed up (a side effect of both not getting much sleep, and from passing out over and over). But I'm alive and I'm not in excrutiating pain anymore.
I hate these episodes. When they are over with I'm always cheered by the thought that I won't have another one for a year. But some day I want to find out what causes these horrible pains, so that I never have to endure another one again.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Thoughts at the end of the day

Remember when I said I wasn't going to talk about my pets anymore? Yeah, I lied. If it is possible to die from death by pets who have jealousy issues, I might die tonight. And I'm not joking.
Stinky won't shut the hell up. The dang cat is walking around, incessantly crying and howling. I finally had to throw him in the garage tonight because I couldn't take it anymore. And when I could still hear him through the door, I finally took Kaya outside where we sat on the porch. I could only faintly hear him then.
And because Stinky is so bound and determined to get in my face and cry non-stop, Kaya is acting up, determined to get in my face and just pant and remind me she still exists.
God bless Tiny, who just retreats to the farthest side of the room to get away from the Stinky v. Kaya antics.
I swear I'm going crazy in here.
So tonight a piece of the old Erin returned. The old Erin that takes on tasks of huge and improbable sizes, and doesn't know why. Right now my little world is filled with the usual 40 hour a week job, spending time with Little, taking care of my pets, and the usual personal stuff. Over the next few days we can start adding more stuff to that. Like how I'm going to Ireland in about 6-7 weeks for work, and how that increases my workload greatly. And how I'm going to Virginia for a week, and have a lot to get done before that. And how I wanted some freelance work for extra cash before going to Ireland, and had the motherload fall in my lap (thanks Sara!). I'm going to be busy.
And then, if that wasn't enough, I've joined a new community organization related to Big Brothers Big Sisters. I'm thrilled to be a part of it, and very happy to help. If you know me well, you know that when they said they were looking for help organizing a large event, that I didn't even think twice before responding. And so yes, I'm very deeply involved in that now- which happens in 4 weeks. More details on that to come soon, I'm sure. 
On top of everything else, my laptop is cursed. For what is about to be the third time, I have to pack it up and send it in to HP for repairs under the warranty. It will be gone 9-11 business days. This laptop is my life! Its what I do all my work on! I do have another computer (my brother's) that I can use in its' absence, but it isn't easy or convenient at all. This is just an unwelcome additional burden and curse. 
So there you have it. Busy busy busy. But happy to be so!

Sunday, August 16, 2009

It wasn't my cat!!

In the craziest turn of events ever- it wasn't my cat! My Stinky Baby is home, alive, and well. He stinks worse than usual,but I'll forgive him for that. I got home from church, and there he was sitting on his favorite perch in the garage. I thought I was seeing things at first. But there's a freshly bathed (and yet still smelly), striped tabby, sitting on my head right now, chattering away. Its definitely my cat.
The cat I found in the road and mourned must have just been his twin!
Love live Stinky Baby and his remaining 8 lives!

It wasn't my cat!!

In the craziest turn of events ever- it wasn't my cat! My Stinky Baby is home, alive, and

It wasn't my cat!!

In the crazier

Friday, August 14, 2009

Stinky Baby

Stinky Baby was missing for about 8-9 days (as I mentioned before), came home for 4 days, and then ran out again. He hasn't been home in about 10 days. I caught a glimpse of him a few days back, and I've suspected he's been coming home to eat in the garage. I haven't been worried about him. I know he loved running around outside way more than being inside.
This morning I unfortunately found his little body in the road. It wasn't the happy ending I was hoping for. I wrapped him in my sweatshirt and put him on the side of the road. I would have preferred to take him home and bury him, but it wasn't possible.
I'm going to miss my little Stinky Baby. He was my constant companion for the past year. He was one of a kind with a very quirky personality. I loved that little stinker.
 
  
 

My feelings on the day all wrapped up in one lovely quote

"Tough girls come from New York, sweet girls, they're from Georgia. But us Virginia girls, we have fire and ice in our blood. We can ride horses, be a debutante, throw left hooks, and all the while making sweet tea, darlin'. And if we have an opinion, you know you're gonna hear it."
-Ashley Judd

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Foster Care Update

Actual conversation between me and the foster care licensing people:

Young female on the phone: We received your documents, but noticed you are missing a few things. We need a copy of your life insurance policy, and your divorce decree.
Me: I'm not divorced.
Her: Oh, then a copy of your marriage certificate.
Me: I'm not married.
Her (a little confused): Oh, then your divorce decree.
Me (annoyed): I'm not married or divorced, I'm single.
Her (long pause): Oh. Okay, well, we need you to send in documentation for that.
Me (really annoyed): Um, what are you talking about?
Her (trying to sound smart): We need a certificate or something regarding your marital status.
Me (beyond annoyed): Yeah, I was BORN this way, it doesn't exactly come with certification.
Super long pause while the poor hamster in her head nearly has a heart attack.
Her: Huh? What? Well, we need something.

(my neighbor's suggestion: scan a picture of my left hand giving them the bird. it's tempting. another suggestion was create an eharmony profile and send that in.)

Its starting to feel like this foster parent application process will never end. I've had a few irritating experiences with the paperwork process up to this point, but nothing anywhere near as frustrating as what happened yesterday.
The background (so that you can feel my annoyance better): about 2 months ago I had to send in several background check forms. Having lived out of state in the past 5 years means I had to fill out a specific form for them to do an out-of-state background check. The form specifically said I had to send in a money order for that background check. So I got it all together and sent that in. About a week later I got a phone call saying that I didn't need to send in the money order because "the State" covers all fees for prospective foster parents. I was confused, but whatever. They sent back the form (saying my VA drivers license number was good enough), and the check.
Last week I had to send in about 20 pages of all sorts of stuff to "the State" that covered things from how to evacuate my house in case of a fire, to which neighbors would serve as emergency contacts if something were to happen to me. No big deal. Sent it all in- in the envelope they provided that came pre-addressed specifically for the purpose of returning these forms. Or at least you would assume that is why they provided it, right?
Ugh.
So yesterday I get this big fat envelope in the mail. It has ALL of the forms I sent in last week stuffed inside. The attached letter says that I have accidentally mailed all the forms to the wrong person. How is that even possible?!?! I mailed it in the envelope they provided!! Again, whatever. That person, I might add, has been my only contact person at the State so far. FRUSTRATING. No indication as to who I should be sending it to. But here's the kicker. That person then noticed that my file was missing my out-of-state background check form, and included it, asking me to fill it out.
FOR THE LOVE, PEOPLE!!
So I filled it back out again yesterday, and had to get it notarized. Oh, and it wants a money order to accompany it. I decided to play a little roulette with it and not send in a money order again. And I mailed it all back in yesterday (in the envelope they provided to that same exact person).
Oh and they also asked for a copy of my marriage certificate. AGAIN.
I get home from the notary (my bank) and post office and contemplate who the heck I am supposed to send the 20 forms to. As I flip through the forms looking for a clue, a name jumps out at me. My notary's name. Why? Because it is on the emergency evacuation form as an option of where to go in case I die in a fire and my future children need a place to run for help. (He's my neighbor as well as a notary.) And I can feel it coming now. You know that someone somewhere is going to realize his name is on more than one document and question it.
So today's new project? Find some white-out, take his name off the form, and learn another neighbor's name so I can send my children there in case I die in a fire. I told him the situation this morning. He laughed and thinks I should leave it just to see if anyone does catch on.
Oh and I'm still working on producing evidence I am single. Any ideas?

Monday, August 10, 2009

Taking the Inside and Putting It on the Outside

I took some much needed reflection time yesterday, and escaped to one of my favorite places, Squaw Peak. Its a little overlood spot in Provo Canyon overlooking Orem and Provo, Utah Lake, and beyond. Its beautiful up there. Truth be known, after dark, it is a very popular make-out spot. But during daylight hours, its just a beautiful lookout. I took the dog with me, forgot the sunblock, and went and hung out in the light breezes, cool temperatures, and beautiful sunny skies. It is also a popular launching spot for paragliders. It was a relaxing few hours just watching the colorful parachutes dotting the sky (while my shepherd dog frantically barked at them, unable to "herd" something in the sky).
It never hurts to take a break from life for a few hours and just reconvene with yourself. For whatever reason, I can't feel like that at home. And the only place I can ever feel that at peace, or solace, is up on a mountain, or out on a beach, alone in nature. And it never takes long for those feelings to take hold once I'm there.
In the past week I have been asked three different times about either what "my type" is when it comes to men, or something to that extent. And for whatever reason, those are the thoughts that came to me up on the mountain, rather than the thoughts I had expected to take with me.
So these next two blog posts are in respect to that. I didn't start with "what kind of guy attracts me." Instead, I started even more organically, and asked myself who do I want to be, and if I am that person, what kind of person do I want to have spend my life with me?

The Kind of Girl I'd Like to Be

I'd like to be the kind of girl that gives more than she gets...That is known for how much she does for others... And for how happy it makes her to help others.
I'd like to be known for being kind and loving, as well as fun.
The girl you invite over because it always means laughter and happiness.
I'd like to be the kind of girl who loves and accepts without exception.
If I could be that girl I believe I could love myself even more.
I want to have the confidence to show the genuine interest I have in others. All too often I hold back with my questions out of fear I'll be thought of as too nosy or impolite.
I want to be loved for my virtue, and cherished "above a ruby." (Biblical reference.)
I want to be the kind of girl that is comfortable with who she is, no matter where she is or what her station in life may be.
I want to always be striving to improve the world around me, and the lives of those that I love.
I want to be able to adequately share my thoughts and feelings with others.
I want to never stop learning.
I want to love unconditionally and be loved unconditionally.
I want to explore cultures to increase my ability to accept others and love and understand without exception.
I'd like to spend my life in service to others, not just in my own home, but in my community and around the world.

The Kind of Man I'd Like to Meet

  • One that puts others before himself always
  • Desires both to love unconditionally and to be loved unconditionally
  • One that is more interested in improving the world than he is in himself
  • One that is genuine and kind
  • Not only someone that makes me laugh, but more importantly, freely laughs and smiles
  • Is not hindered by traditional rules and expectations, but instead enjoys thinking and living "outside of the box"
  • Believes in family first and desires to give them more than what is traditionally expected
  • One who understands the difference between playing music and making music, and wants to live life "making"
  • Lives passionately
  • Loves passionately
  • Charming
  • Wants to be with me, and to build and explore with me
  • Chooses to be with me because he wants to, not because he needs to [be with someone]. Someone like me who knows they could do life alone, but chooses to spend it with someone they love.

Saturday, August 08, 2009

Blog Post #1,600

I find it incredibly fitting that my thoughts for blog post #1,600 are about how I feel like I'm losing my creativity and passion for writing. It begs the question what on earth was I writing about the previous 1,599 times?

I've been thinking a lot lately about creativity, how to garner it, how to channel it, and when to flat out ignore it. Where does creativity come from? Why is it that I'm not creative when I want to be? And yet other times, my brain is overflowing with ideas?

I can't help but think back to the time when Juli and I were writing Beyond Perfection (I'm pretty sure you all know we wrote a book by now). For the first half of the writing process I was either working as a 911 operator, or working solo in a chocolate shop. Both jobs gave me a lot of time to sit and daydream. And neither job used even half of my available brain power to accomplish. By the end of a work day, I'd be going crazy, and desperate for an outlet to my ideas and daydreams. Eating loads of chocolate didn't hurt either. Neither did my need to escape to a happy place after working 911 calls all night.

The second half of the writing process (after we had turned our book over to a publisher, and then had to add another 75 pages, and re-write the majority of the book in the "revision" process), I had a full time job that actually challenged me. It took just as long to write 75 pages, as it did for us to write the original 150+ pages.

And there used to be a time where Juli and I had a funny little column we wrote for Meridian Magazine called A Single Thought. I'm not saying it was easy to come up with new content each week. In fact, there were times it felt impossible. But it was fun, and we managed to pull it off somehow. It helped quite a bit that we drew from my personal life, and that I had a fun social life going back then.

So here I am now. My creative energies are all focused on my job and career. I have a lot of freedom at work to forge my own path. And I can honestly say I am truly enjoying that. But it does require a lot of creativity and out of the box thinking. There is no job description or manual to tell me what to do. But believe me, when you mess up, there's plenty of people around to tell you what you didn't do!

I have a half-finished novel that I love just sitting around, waiting to be written. I love the concept of the story, and the journey it takes. But yet, I just can't seem to find the time and the creativity to sit down and write it all out. Everytime I do, I get bogged down perfecting the first 20 pages over and over again. I have a good 80 pages written so far. And about another 200-300 written in my head.

Which brings me back to creative energies and finding time to write. I want to write. I want to make the time to write. But somehow creativity and free time never coincide. I've heard professional authors with 20-30 titles to their names, say that you have to just sit down and do it each day, every day, just like a regular job. But when you have a 'regular job' as it were, how do you do it?

In the past my best writing has come out of  me at times when I was so busy and life was so fun, that I couldn't wait to get home and get everything out on paper. But now my life is pretty dull. I work from home, I walk the dog, I clean the kitchen, rinse, repeat. Social life? Practically non-existant. It won't be a source of inspiration for a long time. Creative energies? Getting sapped by marketing campaigns at work. Free time to write? LOADS of it.

So what do you do? Where do you find your inspiration? Your motivation?

Thursday, August 06, 2009

500 Days of Summer

As you may have noticed, I am a movie lover. I love going to movies, talking about movies, and watching movies all over again. I've seen a lot of movies lately, including most of the big summer movies like Harry Potter, My Sister's Keeper, the Proposal, and some others. (Some apparently very forgettable others.)

This will be the only movie this year I will put up the trailer for and strongly suggest you go see it.
(500) Days of Summer. 




I loved it from beginning to end. I love that its a romantic comedy that isn't. It isn't formulaic. It has a realistic ending. It has parts that ring very true (compared to the cute and enjoyable Proposal, that has nothing identifiable in it). Sure, it still has a music montage. But no other movie ever could pull off a music montage to "You Make-a My Dreams Come True (ooh-ooh)"  by Hall and Oates, and not make you hate the montage. If anything, you may even find you relate to the music montage (click the link- it actually shows the full montage). It has scenes I've lived through. Scenes I want to live through.

And maybe this won't make sense to anyone else, but the couple felt very realistic to me. I hate movies where I just don't believe that guy would pick that girl. This movie I believed it. And for the first time, I actually believed Joseph Gordon-Levitt wasn't 12 years old anymore. (I have the same problem with Leo di Caprio. He still looks 16 to me. I can't get over it.)

Oh, and I really, really, really want Zooey Deschanel's (Summer's) wardrobe.

Just trust me on this one. This is the movie to see this summer. And you know how I never buy DVD's? And maybe only have ever bought a total of 10? I'll be buying this one.

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

Please vote for me in the Antarctica competition!!

Just a friendly reminder to PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE vote for me in the Antarctica competition!! http://www.blogyourwaytoantarctica.com/blogs/view/297

Sunday, August 02, 2009

Happy Dance


Its not quite my usual "happy dance," but this time it has some secret messages embedded. The secret? Here's your clue, Ireland.

After this you shall hear very little more about my pets

Stinky came home on Friday morning. No big reunion or discovery. I was sitting outside with the dog, and looked up, and my cat went slinking by in the neighbor's yard. I swear to you he looked mad that he got caught. But if he was, he's over it now. Now he refuses to leave my side. I mean my shoulder. He sits on my shoulder and "talks" non-stop. Its like having a really furry and annoyed parrot around.

So yeah- Stinky is back! (And he stinks more than ever. Who knew cats could be so flatulent?)

I decided it was finally time to take all three pets into the vet for their shots today. If Stinky is going to prowling the neighborhood, he needs to be vaccinated, Kaya needed a rabies shot and I was worried Tiny was pregnant. And guess what? Turns out, Tiny is a he. And he's not pregnant. Just fat.

Working Girl

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