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Sunday, September 30, 2012

Moving

In case you didn't catch this on facebook...

I have moved. You can now find my blog at www.quartermisses.com.

Please come join me there!

(PLEASE?!)

The Day in Which Everything Went Wrong

Yesterday... not so much with the good.

It started out with me having to drive 20 miles to drop E off with a friend while I went to have my right boob sonogrammed. That's right. My boob is trying to kill me. A couple months ago, a week or two before we went to my parents', it started feeling like milk was letting down... but I quit nursing almost 10 months ago. So, I did what any normal human being would, and went to the doctor. He felt around, said he didn't feel anything, but I should see someone in the women's clinic just in case. The doctor in the women's clinic did the same and said, "I don't see anything, but you should get it sonogrammed just in case." So, I haven't worried about it. Then, about halfway through the sonogram, I got the train stopping question: "is there a history of breast cancer in your family?"

Which was followed by "we can't really see a whole lot, other than your milk ducts are dilated, so we want you to get a breast MRI. Because that's the best way to see cancer,"

I calmly got dressed, walked out to my car, and then cried hysterically for about 30 minutes... I then may or may not have crashed my husband's work... thing... so I could cry all over him.

I'm really trying not to worry. The discomfort seems to only show up during "that time of month" (obviously, that has never been a problem before), and it comes and goes on both sides. Doesn't sound like cancer to anyone else, right? (right?!)

I then got home and found a rejection letter from the agent I felt was probably the best fit for me.

Thanks for rubbing the salt in that wound, agent who will remain unnamed.

Oh, but it gets better. (Albeit anti-climactic.... sorry).

I then put E down for her nap, S gets home, and I go to do something on my laptop (probably write about the above) and it goes dark.... And then, when rebooting was attempted, the blue screen of death. Lots and lots of blue screen of death.

I am not impressed.

I am also writing now from a new [cheap] laptop from Costco. As much as I like new stuff, getting a new computer is nothing but a pain in the ass. If it were up to me, they would all be awesome for 10 or more years, because having to move and reload all your shit is just... head/desk.

Ok. I am done whining.

Friday, September 28, 2012

Making Beanies, Making Stories, Listening to... Christmas Music?

I've been making a lot of hats. To sell. Remember?

I've been averaging about 2 a day. I would like to be able to do a little bit more, but I have to do other things like entertain my child and fix meals and clean. It's a travesty, I know. Fortunately, E thinks that cleaning is just about the most fun a kid can have, so at least the latter (lattest?) is entertaining. She gets a big kick out of stealing her baby wipes with which to clean various surfaces . Apparently, it takes half a pack to clean her Little Tykes car (sigh). And tonight I had a much-needed coffee group outing with the other ladies from S's battalion. I always look forward to those, and this one was especially fun because A) I didn't have to host it, B) the colonel's wife hosted and she always has the most fun foods--I swear, that woman is a pinterester's dream. She also had the entire house smelling like apple cider and it was decorated like a Martha Stewart orgasm. Loved it. C) We had some new faces--it's usually the same 6-8 of us that show up to those things, but this time we had like 13 ladies in attendance (and one 7-year-old and one 6-month old). And D) because it helps me feel like a real live human being.

So, yeah... Another reason why I am not cranking them out. Here are the two I did yesterday, though:

Ooh, looks like I missed a stitch--need to go back and fix that (oops). I really like how this one looks, but boy did it take a long time to make!

This one was commissioned by a friend for her nephew.

Please excuse the fact that I look the pictures with my cell phone and on the sink in the master bath. I was crocheting in bed and then felt the need to take pictures immediately upon finishing. Voila. Now you know what kind of crappy counters we have.

I'll post the ones I worked on today when I get around to it--I did some newsboy caps which are particularly adorable, especially on cute little toddler heads. Let me know if you would like to commission one--remember, anything I make from them is going directly into our adoption fund.

And, before going to sleep, I have gotten back into the habit of writing before sleeping. Which is weird, because my writing hour used to be first thing in the morning. Now, that seems like some sort of personal brand of torture. No more for this night owl. I'm only doing about 1000 words a night, which isn't bad, but isn't great. But, because I am working on something that takes place in the dead of... snow... there is lots of Christmas music. I know, I know, it isn't even October yet, Halloween hasn't taken place much less Thanksgiving, but I roll on the Costco timeline. Which roughly translates to: the Christmas season begins at the end of July.  Thank you, Costco, for keeping the spirit ever alive. (And I say this with not a hint of sarcasm).

Anyway, when I originally came up with this story, it was sometime in the November/December plane of existence, because the radio stations were playing Christmas music (which I am a total sucker for). I had gone with S to work for something or other, and while he ran inside (this had to be winter of 2007 for anyone who's counting), I listened to the music and came up with a story to go along with it. I kept meaning to write it down, but never really did. And now that I am ready for it, I need the music to get me in the mood. And it's working like a charm, I might add. Go Mormon Tabernacle Choir/Air Force Band. You guys rock.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Crafting and Stuff...

I'm not much of a crafter... And by that I mean, I don't feel the need to craft on a regular basis. Sometimes, I find myself wanting to make something for E or myself, but that's really pretty rare and happens in spurts (usually in the fall... don't ask me why). But, since the hope to adopt is alive and well, I've started crafting in hopes of making a little extra money to go towards that. In the last three days, when I haven't been making macaroni and cheese or running errands of the grocery shopping variety, I have been crocheting.

Now, I'm not entirely sure how to go about selling these things. It's quite obvious that the Etsy market is pretty flooded with this kind of thing. And I really have no desire to pay an overhead fee on top of a paypal fee.... So, if you have any good selling suggestions please let me know. I am by no means ready to let loose and get selling today, but I thought I would share what I have so far, anyway.

Pixie hat with snowflake

Same hat, different view

I'm not sure that I like this clip...

0-3 month hat with snowflake (is that a loose string?)

Toddler hat with snowflake (E thinks it should be hers. She keeps hiding it in the pantry)

0-3 snowflake hat

Snowflake bow
 
As you can tell.... I have a snowflake theme.

(Also, totally need to do some shaping on the hats before taking real live buy-me pictures... especially of the snowflakes!)

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Recollecting a Goiter

Me (while looking at www.weather.com): Ugh, it's going to be warm tomorrow.

S:Whosawhatsits?

Me: It's going to be warm. 73.

S: (Makes a weird what-the-hell-is-wrong-with-you face)

Me: What? I like fall. I like the sixties.

S: It is good sweatshirt weather...

Me: See? I can be a bum all of the time and no one can blame me.

Except, perhaps, for Overly Sensitive Military Wives (OSMW). They hate sweatshirts and jeans. But, you know what, they can kiss my Ga Tech sweatshirt wearing behind.

Anyway... Know what else fall means? Warm clothes for the kiddo! Except, erm... I put her in her jeans (which fit perfectly right now... well, with the elastic inside band pulled as tight as possible) and one of my favorite long-sleeved shirts... And her belly button was hanging out.

Tragedy, guys. A massive tragedy.

It's such a cute shirt, too. It's from Gap, long sleeved, with a pink sparkly poodle on the front and a little tulle tutu edge at the hem. Adorable. And now, relegated to the pack-me-away pile. After doing some quick reconnaissance of the 3T clothes--

(Me: How do you spell reconnaissance? S: r-e-c... (etc). You know, you could use reconnoiter. That's a weird one. Me: What does that mean? Is it a goiter that you recall in your mind? S:I'm going to just... watch... football...now...)

--And 3T clothes? Not so many. We have one pair of jeans, but the jeans are still a little long (her torso always grows faster than her legs) a couple dresses and about 4 shirts. No sweaters. Since S had staff duty last night (aka 24 hours of mandatory babysitting) and came home to sleep this morning, I took the munchkin out to the mall to see if we could find her some clothes for the increasingly chilly weather (the highs have been in the mid sixties... W00t). We hit the jackpot at Baby Gap, and came home with this treasure trove of goodies:

 
(Pretend you see another long-sleeved shirt like the cat one, only with a dog on it... No picture on gap.com *sad face*)
 
 
I'm not entirely sure how we ended up leaving with only black and white clothing, but at least I won't have to worry about matching... I  got a great deal, though. Everything was on clearance and was eligible for an additional 25% off, and then I get a 10% off military discount (Tacoma Mall Gap FTW! The one at my parents' mall won't give a military discount on top of a discount... suckage). The most expensive thing I bought her was the dress, and it came out to $11.47. Everything else was around $5 a piece. I couldn't have spent that on used clothes at a consignment sale, ya'll.
 
And yet, I feel guilty. I love shopping for my kiddo, and obviously she needed the clothes, but it would have been so much better for our adoption fund if she just held off on the growth spurt a little bit. Seriously, child isn't even 2 yet, and she still measures in the 97th percentile (in height) for 2-year-olds (she's in the 50th for weight).  I'm glad I was able to get a good deal, and I seriously wish I didn't feel like I had to watch my pennies...
 
I didn't buy anything for myself, though. So, I guess this means I have to wear jeans and sweatshirts all fall... Darn...
 


Saturday, September 22, 2012

Apparently, I have a long Novel...


It seems that I have a very long novel. I'm not entirely sure why it's considered long, since I have always operated under the assumption that 100,000 words was about average. So why, pray tell, is 115,000 outside the realm of publishability?

I don't get it, ya'll.

So, I have been reading back through the book and making a few slight changes. I've gotten all the way through, made a few alterations, and tried to keep my word count par with the original count given to agents/publishers. And then, just for good measure, I looked into submitting with another press or two, only to find out, their absolute maxes are 100,000 words.

I really don't think I can cut The Blood Child down by 15,000 words. And I certainly don't want to without some in-depth conversation about why it would be a smart marketing decision to do so. In reality, I am struggling to not add 15,000 words. There is so much more I could write--a few more battle scenes, for example--but I'm holding back, since that appears to be undesirable for the gods of the publishing world.

Sigh. Why must this be so difficult? I mean, Twilight got published. Why shouldn't The Blood Child?

So, I guess I'll give it a go again late this week. Seek out some new names to bother with my incessant querying. Really. This would be a lot less annoying for everyone if they would just decide they want to take it and give me a hefty advance

So, while I do that, it's forward with The Storyteller. I'm trying to jump in, but it's always those first few chapters that give me the most trouble. I can see what is happening clear as day, but that makes it so much more difficult to write--I can't just let it fall out of me, I actually have to get deep and thoughtful like a real human being... If only the pictures in my mind could write it for me, right?

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Elevenses and High Tea

Last night, shortly before launching the snowflake puzzle pieces, I went to a talk hosted by Kennesaw State University's Fitness for Living program. Dr. Dan Bernadot of Georgia State University (and a whole host of other organizations, to include several US Olympic teams) was the guest speaker and discussed daily energy balance and its role in obesity and weight management (and building lean muscle mass).

It was very informative, and I definitely encourage you to look him and his research up. He was the first person to explain that "eat six small meals a day" idea people are always throwing out with some real scientific evidence... And since I'm usually all about the science, I have been converted. Essentially, what I took away from his talk is that, throughout the day, your body should never have more than 400 calories of excess energy and should never dip below -400 calories. Too much: it's stored as fat. Too little: your body stores what you have given it as fat. Tough balance to keep... Well, good news is: there's an app for that. (No, really. There is.)

I am definitely one of those individuals who falls into that 2-3 meals a day category. I try not to snack because I don't want to end up eating too much, and I do like my biggest meal of the day to be at dinner. Dr. Bernadot argues that the body will automatically regulate itself to only eat the same calories it needs to function. Sounds like a plan.

The hard part is going to be eating smaller meals and adding in some snacks. I have decided the best way to do this is:

Elevenses and High Tea.

That's right. Who doesn't need an excuse to eat a scone and some tea in the morning? And then some cucumber sandwiches and a teacake in the afternoon?

Um... No one. That's who.

So, once I make it home it's tome for some changes. What I have been doing was working for awhile(despite the hypothyroidism/Hashimoto's), but now that it isn't, let's try something new!

(Ok... Fine. I'll probably have some fruit and some homemade bread, not a bunch of cakes and cookies... but one can dream, right?)

Also... don't forget about snowflakes and puzzle pieces!

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

When Inspiration Strikes

Until a couple days ago, I hadn't read a book in well over six months. Not because I don't like reading... because I love it. I discovered reading when I was 11, and haven't stopped. I skipped over the whole young adult (not that they called it that)/tween fiction thing and went right to literary fiction. I was big into historical women's fiction; long, family sagas that dealt with a deep, dark secret. When I exhausted the public library's stock of such awesomeness, I somehow made the transition over to mainstream, popular romance like Nora Roberts and... well, I don't remember who else. That led to more genre romance: lots of suspense, mystery, historical, contemporary... You name it. I always had a book with me at school  so there was something I could read when I had finished my work (great incentive to not procrastinate). It opened up my world. I learned so much (not because genre fiction is filled with "things to know," but I would go research the things that caught my attention while I was reading).

But my love for reading wasn't what transitioned me into writing. In fact, it was the other way around. I have been dreaming up "stories" in my mind since before I can remember. As early as second grade, one of my best friends and I would sit out on her back patio and write stories for one another. I would take mine home and finish them. I kept writing journals (though, I didn't call them that), jotted down my ideas, and lived in my own little world (anyone who knew me in those days would probably agree... miss popularity/social butterfly I was not). I took a creative writing class as part of the gifted program in high school, but it wasn't until I went to St Andrews University in Scotland that I really learned how to harness some of those ideas into real works. I think going to that program was quite possibly one of the best things I ever did for myself.

I finished my first novel when I was a junior at Georgia Tech. I had a lot of half-baked ideas and manuscripts, but that was the first time I finished one. Not going to lie... It probably isn't that great. A place with Harlequin it might have, but that may even be pushing it. Perhaps, someday, I will go back and workshop it into something marketable, but for the time being, it's just... an accomplishment of minor magnitude. It got me writing, however, and I haven't stopped since. I finished my second full manuscript the next year--it's been workshopped multiple times, but it still isn't right. I started working on it again at the beginning of the summer, but got stuck, again, and have let it go dormant once more. My first semester of graduate school, I began another one. It was supposed to be YA fiction, but it has morphed into something more adult in the last few writings, and once again, about half way through, I got stuck.

The Blood Child is the first manuscript I have finished and been happy with as a whole. It has done everything I wanted it to do, and I think it can become something great (if only I can find someone who believes in it as much as I do). I started writing it in the winter of 2008/2009, and, for all intents and purposes, it has remained fairly true to my original idea. It feels good. And with a finished product I feel good about, I thought it was time to go back to one of my favorite past times: reading.

Having been out of the reading loop for awhile, I have a lot of free Kindle books I have been stocking up on. But when it came time to read something, I picked up the one book that has been buzzing around social media since I quit reading. You guessed it: Shades of Grey.

I almost feel embarrassed at admitting that, but I really just wanted to see what all of the hype is about. My assessment: it's a bit long, it needs some editting (what doesn't?), Ms. James is a much better writer than Stephenie Meyer, and the sex is far tamer than everyone has made it out to be. I've been reading it pretty quickly, but not just because I want to see how it ends (I only have 100 pages left), but because I want to get back to writing.

When I read, I miss writing. Perhaps more than I miss reading when I stop to write (I can't do both at the same time--reading kills my imagination). I already have a wonderful story ready to go (something I have been playing around with since 2007 that I have been able to work into The Blood Child storyline). I started writing it--really writing it--a couple weeks ago, but put it on hold when I came to visit my parents, but reading has really gotten the creative juices flowing.

Wow, that sounds crass... especially when coupled with the fact that I am reading 50 Shades.

Anyway, I find it rather amusing that erotic romance has inspired me to write a sci-fi military epic/romance. It's going to be epic, ya'll.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

TV Season is Back!!

I know it's super pathetic that I am excited about the new television season, but come on... I live in Washington. My choices of evening entertainment include: watching television, surfing the interwebz while watching tv, and freezing my butt off in the rain. So, excuse me if I am looking forward to watching some picture stories.

What we'll be watching this year:
  • Go On - I've seen the pilot episode and part of the 2nd one (it's recorded), and really liked it. Huge Matthew Perry fan, and totally looking forward to more good things from him.
  • The New Normal - Watching it right now... And I think I'm into it.
  • Parenthood - one of my absolute favorites. It's a grown-up show that actually makes me feel like I am a mature member of society. Oh, and like I am not completely screwing up. Love the characters. Love it. Love.
  • Grimm - This is a new favorite. I am a huge sucker for fairy tales, and S is a huge sucker for cop shows... Win win (and the main character is something yummy to look at).
  • Once Upon a Time - pretty sure I mentioned I love a good fairy tale. This one appeals to the kid in me.
  • The Big Bang Theory - An oldie but a continued goody. If you don't watch this... What the hell is wrong with you?
  • Revolution - Not sure if this one will be good or not, but I'm willing to give it a chance.
  • The Office - I think it's not going to make it much longer, but S loves it... So...
  • 30 Rock - see The Office.
That's all I can think of right now...Got anything I'm missing? Anything I should add to the list?

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Fundraising and the Adopting Family

I don't know how people do it. I really don't. I know a lot of families make up the funds they need by simply asking for help, but that's not something with which I am particularly comfortable. I feel much better when someone is getting something for their donation--even if it's just a tax deduction. But, we're not a non-profit, so there goes that one (if we move forward, we will be able to collaborate with a non-profit to raise funds... but we have feel comfortable enough moving forward, first). I'm trying to come up with other ways to generate some funds. Here's what I have come up with:
  • Publish the novel. Unfortunately, this could take awhile. And, even if I found an agent tomorrow, that agent would have to sell it, and that could take awhile. Then we get into the murky business of advances and royalties and  the fact that generally, royalties are only paid twice a year. So, that could take awhile, too. So, in other words, for book money to come in, we're looking at awhile^3.
  • Etsy shop. I'm not much of a craft-person, but I can make baby hair bows and I can crochet. Maybe I'll branch out and make Christmas ornaments.
  • The Puzzle Fundraiser--But with a twist. This one is pretty popular with the adoption community--you buy a puzzle, and ask for a donation for each puzzle piece. Most ask for $5-10 a piece. I think we are going to do this, but I am going to get 2 identical puzzles. I'll put the name of the donor on the back of one, and then I will make the identical twin into a magnet or ornament or something to send to the donor. Maybe the magnets will say something clever like "I was a piece in making a family whole."
  • Scentsy? I have been told that is an option. I haven't looking into it much, but maybe I will.
S doesn't think we can do it. I think if so many people before us can, why can't we? But then I look at our own failed yard sale, and that's just... argh. It has to look manageable for us to commit. And right now, it isn't looking manageable.

Anyone have any good ideas?










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Friday, September 7, 2012

Head Meet Desk

One of my best friends uses "head/desk" to indicate frustrating situations when social-networking on Facebook. Usually this is preceeded by "Omg, out of wine!" or "I just realized one of my twelve children never returned home on the school bus" or "my child just sent a My Little Pony through the $2000 tv." Recently, I have adopted the "head/desk" to go along with our adoption woes...

I know. Adoption woes. Ugh (head/desk).

It's all very complicated, let me just tell you. As I have mentioned (maybe one other time) before, we have fallen in love with this little girl who needs a family, and we think we could be it. What's holding us back? Money. (head/desk)

We inquired with the agency that works in her region, and they sent us all kinds of wonderful information, including their schedule of fees (which I requested). They have very cleverly made it appear as though the expenses are about 2/3 what they really are... And it isn't that they weren't up front about the other expenses, they just dropped them down to another line because they could vary so much (for example, $600 for a plane ticket in January vs. $3000 for a plane ticket in June). It just gets you a little excited when you see a number about $10,000 less than expected, only to be told "and then add in the cost of your travel." Boo. We need a TLC bride wedding budget, seriously. (head/desk)

And that, people, is why I am so desperately trying to get my book represented and/or published. Which isn't going anywhere fast (head/desk).

Anyway, now that I have a bit of a headache, I am trying to email as many people as I can possibly think of who might have some sort of adoption grant insight. In corresponding with another AOW (Army Officer Wife) who is in the middle of an international adoption, herself, it has come to my attention that most adoption grants (as in 92%) are earmarked for Christian couples... Which we are not (head/desk). I am hoping a rabbi or two can point us into a more... helpful direction, but really, how often does that come up? The military isn't really that much help, and I have very little faith in mankind/my fundraising skillz. (Remember our yard sale? head/desk).

I don't know what we're going to do. Obviously, we can't save her if we can't pay for it, but how can we NOT SAVE HER?!

(head/desk)(head/desk)(head/desk)

And this, my friends, is why it is a good idea to not own a desk.



                                      

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Rejected

I received my first rejection letter today. It really surprised me--not because I received one, but that it came so fast.

It reads:

Thank you for considering "Agency" as a potential
agency to represent your work. We have reviewed the material you sent
and we regret that we will not be offering to review your work further
at this time. Please know that we are very selective with the
materials that we request. We encourage you to keep writing and we
wish you every success. Please forgive this impersonal note. We
receive a tremendous number of queries and are forced to focus our
attention on a limited number of projects.

Kind regards,
Agency


So, they were pretty nice about saying "your query letter put us to sleep, please go away, we like other people more, you insignificant slug." I'm just glad the first one came from an agency that was incredibly low on my list. I almost didn't query them at all, but decided "what the hell?" and sent it anyway. Well, I guess my first instinct was the correct one. I think the disappointment would have been a little harder to handle if it had been one of the agencies I was really excited about.

I just wish this had come from one of the agencies who got the comma splice. Fail.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Agents: Consider Yourselves Queried

I sent 11 agent query letters out this evening. I will be sending out one more, but the agency only accepts hard copy (snail mail) queries, and I will have to get that together. I am really quite pleased that I was able to send out so many queries through "green" means (i.e. I don't have to pay for ink, paper, envelopes, or postage!), and I will be searching for a few more victims tomorrow. Right now, I am just proud that I actually did it. How many manuscripts have I written? 4. How many times have I queried before tonight? 0.

So... Go me.

I will admit, sending that first one was pretty nerve-racking. And the second one was a little easier. By the fourth, I was feeling pretty good... Until I realized I had a comma splice at the end of my letter... One that I missed at least a billion times! Ugh... I guess I can really only count 7 of those queries (head/desk). Oh, well. At least I tried. I just hope I get a few nibbles. I know that's a lot to ask, especially since it's my first time, but it would be so nice to feel validated.

After sending out the agent queries, I did drop a publisher a query--they, too, are super nice and had electronic submission (they published two of my friend and classmate's, Ray Atkins, books. He is amazing. Like OMG, amazing. You need to read his stuff, or your life will never be complete). If only one of the queries grabs interest, I hope it's that one... Or there is a bidding war. Either way....

And, in case you were wondering what a query letter looks like, I have a little treat for you. Here is my winning (or losing) query letter:

Dear Agent:
Aelith has known only Dragon Isle, but with the deaths of the aunts who raised her, she yearns to seek out the family she has never known. When a small scouting party arrives on her island in search of Elderlend’s most sought after future-criminal, she is presented with the means to see her desire fulfilled.
Tannus, Tyne of Rhowenne and son of one of the most powerful men in Elderlend, is grasping at straws when he arrives on the small island with his companions. The High Ruler has commissioned many before him with the task of finding the Blood Child, the prophesied usurper of the High Ruler’s throne, and Tannus knows that to do so will not only cement his own claim to the position, but earn him the respect he craves from his father. His own curiosity induces him to agree to accompany Aelith to the mainland and nearby kingdom’s capitol.
As they travel through a world in which the human race is struggling to reassert itself as the dominant people, Aelith is exposed to a reality that quickly shatters her naïveté. Tannus, in turn, comes to find that the High Ruler might not be the almighty savior Elderlend thinks he is. Though the two are forced onto very different paths, they find themselves fighting to fulfill the prophecy of the Blood Child.
The Blood Child is complete at approximately 115,000 words; it shares similarities with George Lucas’s Willow and Jeff Wheeler’s The Wretched of Muirwood trilogy. It will appeal to readers of epic fantasy, romance, and women’s fiction. May I send you a partial excerpt or full manuscript?
I am a graduate of the Georgia Institute of Technology.  I am a co-author for a university textbook, Fitness for Living, published by Kendall-Hunt Publishing Company and used by Kennesaw State University in metro-Atlanta, Georgia. I am married to a U.S. Army officer and currently reside outside of Seattle, WA.
Sincerely,
Yours Truly

Oh... And now you know what it's about. (Thoughts?)

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Furious

Furiously working, that is. I feel so lucky that I am here with my parents--they are keeping E occupied so I can A TON of work done.

Hoping for some fantastic results, and soon. If you have any contacts for me, please, please let me know! So far, I have had some invaluable references, but you can never have enough. Especially in this business.

Must. Save. Her!

Monday, September 3, 2012

I'm On Twitter

I know... It's pathetic. I really don't understand Twitter--the appeal OR how to use it, but I figure it might be a good way to pick up some tips during the agent/publishing house query process. So... Follow me? I guess?

You can either click on the little button to the left, or you can do the easy thing and click this link instead:



Today's been a busy day. Last night, S helped me refresh my manual transmission car-driving skills, and while E napped, my mom let me drive her to pick up a new collar for one of her dogs (did I mention I was not in WA? Well... I'm not. And it's glorious!). I am proud of myself: I didn't stall out or squeal the tires once. Success!

After doing some shopping with the madre, I came home and got to polishing my query letter. I have a good friend who used to work for a publishing house who said she would read over it for me before I send it out (in case it wasn't obvious, I will be taking her suggestions to heart before sending it). Wish me luck and speed and all of that! I am nervous--not that I will get a ton of rejections, but that this will take a long time to get an interested agent and/or publisher. I need speed, people, speed!

I feel like it is me against the clock... And I need the clock to take a time out for a few months while I get everything taken care of. Well, that just isn't going to happen, is it? So please, send me the fairy dust. Give me suggestions. ANYTHING!!!

Desperate here.

(Thank you!)

Sunday, September 2, 2012

I need your help

We have fallen in love with a beautiful little girl in Eastern Europe. One of the blogs I read is written by the mother of one of this little girl's friends, and who advocates for her in hopes of finding her a forever family. Unfortunately, we do not have the funds to get started at this time. We have been saving, as you know, but $250 won't get us very far... or at all. I feel funny about fundraising, especially when we haven't even committed to an adoption agency (or ever. At all). So that leaves us with me.

What I am tying to say is: I need to sell my manuscript. If I could find a home for it, and get an advance--anything that can get it started --we might have a fighting chance of saving her and making our hearts feel whole. I have a finished epic fantasy manuscript of 115.000 words, and that manuscript could mean rescuing her from a terrible fate.

Tomorrow, I will get my query letters ready to be submitted; I am having lunch with a friend who used to work for a publishing company in NYC, so I am hoping I fan get some tips from her, but after that, that's when I need your help:

Please, if you know a literary agent or publisher who deals in fantasy fiction, please let me know how to submit a query to them. If you know soemeone who knows someone, please do the same. Share this blog in hopes of it reaching someone who could help me expedite this process. Anything! I'm feeling desperate!

And thank you!!!


(Also, please ignore my typos.... I am totally typing this on my kindle) .

Saturday, September 1, 2012

FOOTBALL!!!!

In honor of the college football season kicking off, we wore lots of Ga Tech gear yesterday. E painted the town (and Costco) while wearing her GT chearleader outfit (I really wish the world could have little girl team spirit wear that wasn't a chearleader outfit, but until I find something else, it will have to do), and it was wonderful. Unfortunately, Tech won't play (and lose) their football game until Monday night, so we are cheering for our other favorite teams in the meantime.

Football is very complicated for us, here. You see, we have to root for all of the family alma maters. We have Ga Tech for us quartermaster people. And then Alabama for my dad and paternal grandfather, Florida State for my mom. Purdue for my maternal grandfather, Cornell for my maternal grandmother... And then there are all the teams we hate with a passion. Georgia--the Cesspool of the South. Auburn. University of Florida. Miami.

Here... I have a highly technical visual for you:

The hierarchy of football... brought to you by Windows Paint


To celebrate football season, I did some shopping. Meet my new fall footwear:


Pair one

Pair two

I know, I know... They are only second-tier football-greatness shoes, but come on... Bear Bryant, guys. And Ga Tech (and FSU) are really just lagging behind when it comes to producing everyday fashion. I can't really wear gold shoes and expect them to make a statement unless paired with a logo indicating who I am rooting for. Oh, well. Maybe Paul Johnson will start wearing plaid, become one of the best football coaches of all time, and we can all wear the Murray colors (or the Baird colors. But none of the other ones. Duh). Until that happens, I will be sportin' the Bear houndstooth.

I just had to share. Because they make me so happy.

So... Go Jackets, Go 'Noles, and Roll Tide!


...Oh, and here's something for you non-football people (the bumper sticker on the next car over at the mall):








Friday, August 31, 2012

The Lion's Ass

When my husband's battalion got a new commander, one of the first [non-essential] things he did was create the Lion's Ass Award (a little back-tracking: their unit... mascot?... is a lion. Obviously). The award is like the Stanley cup (that is the hockey one, right?) in that it gets physically passed around every Hail and Farewell(that is how it works, right? Well... this one is the same "trophy," passed around to the new winner from the old one). Nominees are selected based on their "that guy" moments, and any of the battalion members in attendance can nominate someone and any of the officers and senior NCOs can be nominated (though, as far as I know, no NCO has ever been nominated, much less received the ass).

Anyway, the nominator has to explain why they are nominating the nominee (how many times can I write some version of the word nominate in a sentence?), but their story only has to be 10% true. This leads to some pretty amazing stories, most of which include the executive officer (XO) running around training fields naked, Captains shattering windows with broomsticks while attempting to prove their Olympic javelin skills, LTs borrowing their buddy's sweaty gym socks...

My personal favorite was when my husband was nominated last month. Apparently, he took the elevator to the bottom floor of a two story building to get a Snickers bar, and when he came back up the elevator got stuck. Of course, he was getting that candy bar because he forgot to bring the lunch I had packed and reminded him 3 times to bring that very morning. And it was the fifth time in a row he forgot his lunch. He was trapped in there for 3 hours, and ended up getting dehydrated and nearly passing out. Thankfully, they were able to bring in the Army's version of elevator Jaws of Life, and tore him out of the sardine can.

Moral of this story: if it's only 13 steps, take the stairs.


*The above was a round-a-bout way of me telling you that I am now going to employ similar tactics from here on out. Only 10% of my blogs will now be true. Or not. Just to keep you guessing.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Why Don't We Ever Go To Sizzler?

We had a great time over at some friends' house for dinner tonight. S's best friend M mentioned that he is an avid reader of my blog (not that you would know this by my comment section!). However, he finds that I am too depressing, and that all my talk of adoption is boring. Sorry, M.

So, I thought the only logical course of action would be to write a blog just for M. Well... with keeping M in mind. (I suggested his own wife write a guest blog, since she, too, is a QM wife, but she said the world isn't ready for that, yet).

Anyway, S brought up that we bat around the phrase "Why don't we ever go to Sizzler?" You have to say this in kind of a dopey, nasally voice (think Milton in Office Space), but it is exactly what S asks me every time we pass by Sizzler and exactly how he says it. We don't go to Sizzler because I am a snob. I have very specific ideas about what is good, socially acceptable food, and Sizzler is not it. Ruth's Chris? Yes. Mellow Mushroom? Yes. Waffle House? Yes. Sizzler? No.

Also... we don't actually go out to eat very often. For one thing, there aren't that many great restaurants around Fort Lewis. And those that are good/look good are expensive. I can go home to Ga and get vegetable fajitas for $8.99. In Wa, vegetable fajitas at the Mexican restaurant around the corner are $14.99. I don't understand... Also, as an officer, he is expected to go to so many unit social events, it's just nice to have time at home together.

Wow. I digress. Well, so my husband really wants to go to Sizzler. Lucky for him, we get coupons in the mail for their establishment at least once a week, and I do believe they make gift cards. I have really been struggling with what to get him for the holidays this years, and I do believe I have found the perfect solution: A trip to Sizzler.

Honestly, I am pretty nervous about going, but I do love the man, and sometimes you have to make sacrifices for those you love. I just imagine that the moment I step into Sizzler, Volcano Rainier will explode, and I will not only die, but I will die in a Sizzler. Can you imagine a burial site any more depressing?

Old Country Buffet? Well... yes. You got me there with that one.

So, wish me luck. And send me suggestions for new ways to show my husband how much I care for him once I have succumbed to the ultimate act of love.




*BTW, my husband has never asked why we never go to Sizzler in a serious manner, and he also doesn't sound like Milton. Leonard from The Big Bang Theory, maybe...

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

You're Eating Your Cake Wrong

I have visual instructions on how to go about this the right way, just for you:

(For best results, use a frozen Costco All-American Chocolate Cake)




 

Monday, August 27, 2012

Draught 1 of Manuscript: Done!

I finished last night at around 9pm. I'm not going to lie: the last couple chapters need a lot of work. In fact, the whole thing past about 40,000 words needs a lot of work (that first portion has been rewritten several times, and even bits of it have been work shopped). I've compiled the whole thing, and will be working on the editing bit while I am visiting my parents. Then, once I receive some feedback from a few people, I will begin query letter writing (also, going to talk to a friend of mine who worked in publishing about that bit... I am hoping she has some fantastic pointers, because, well, I need them!)

So, how did I celebrate this momentous occasion? you ask.

Well, I started writing the prequel. 2000 words in, baby.

I know, that's probably not Kosher, but I need to step away from the first manuscript for a few days and get my thoughts for the second one down before I forget. It's fun, it's exciting, and while it isn't new (like the first, this storyline has been mulling around my head for at least as long... perhaps longer), it's fresh.

And because I'm excited about it, I'll give you a little taste of what all of this is about:

Manuscript 1, which I have tentatively entitled The Blood Child, takes place thousands of years in the future. The world has greatly changed, the carbon cycle decimating civilization as we know it, and setting humanity back greatly.  New "peoples" have evolved from homo sapiens in this new environment, but the humans remain at the top of social hierarchy. Humanity has replaced deities with worship of a human man, known only as the High Ruler. This man, who is said to be all-knowing and all-seeing, the protector of the realm over which he presides, has become corrupt, and encourages discrimination of the Other Peoples.  A renowned prophetess  predicts the end of the High Ruler's reign at the hands of one with blood-red hair... And that's where the story begins.

Manuscript 2, the prequel, is about how civilization came to be destroyed and how humanity manages to survive it. It starts in the present-day United States.

Yey!

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Rethinking Adoption in an Unconventional Way

I don't know why I have been the biggest blog slacker in the history of the world, but I have been. I'd love to blame the fact that I am finishing the last chapter of the novel, but that's been just as slow-going. I blame S and his 3-day weekend--wonderful to have him home and around, but it really messes up my online-routine. My friend Kerry just bought her domain name, something I have been contemplating doing, and I wonder if that would give me the push to be less... douchey about my blogging.

Yesterday, we had our final yard sale; it was also our most lucrative. E and I went to a birthday party, and while we were gone, S brought in about $60. We got back, and he made another $15-ish, bringing our total yard sale earnings somewhere near the $100 mark. I'm a little disappointed--I would have thought we would have done much better, especially with the baby items we had. No one who came by even looked at the two strollers we had, much less the toddler clothes we had with the tags still on. Unused jar candles from Yankee Candle and Bath and Body works? All now at Goodwill. I would have sold them for $1 each, but no one wanted them...

Oh, well. Hopefully, Goodwill will be able to do some good with them, and when I write it off my taxes, I will just put that money in the adoption jar.



Blogger refuses to make this photo right-side-up.... which it is everywhere else. Oh, well... E goes shopping. Ironically, she is doing to with 2 Victoria's Secret bags that were free-with-purchase on Black Friday and were some of the only items we sold (they were tagged as being $75... but... yeah).

 
Having finished up the yard sale, we had some quality adult time after putting E to bed last night. It gave us a chance to talk about adoption, our plans, etc. Part of this came up after S learned some new information pertaining to his own adoption. I'm sure I have mentioned it before, but he was adopted as an "older child" through the foster care system when he was about a year-and-a-half-old. He has an older biological brother and sister who were adopted by a different family, but remained together. We found them about 7 years ago, and they have all struck up a sort of relationship. What little information he knows about his biological family has come from them and the snippets his own parents have released, which isn't much at all. Very recently, the three of them have gained some additional insight into the events that led up to their adoptions, and to say that it was the complete opposite of what everyone believed is a bit of an understatement.

Anyway, that's his story to tell, not mine. I would love for him to write a guest post or two about his own experiences as an adoptee, one with attachment issues, and what it is like to be an adult adoptee... Whatever... But I'm not sure he'll do it. We shall see, shall we not?

Back to my point. So, while talking about it all, I asked if this changed his mind about adoption at all. He said yes; that it made him more certain that he does not want to do a domestic adoption. This came as a surprise to me since only a few hours before he heard "the news," he had said he wished domestic adoption was a more attainable option for us as a military family, since it was how he found his family. I'm not sure what his reasons are for feeling this way, and I don't wish to speculate, but the whole thing has me considering the whole process in a less than glamorous light.

It's easy to get caught up in the idea of  "saving" an orphan. Articles like this one make it easy to forget all of the stuff that led a child to become an "orphan," and that all of that just doesn't "go away" when they are adopted into a new family. Even when a child is as young as a year-and-a-half, their past will come back to "haunt" them, whether it is in a good way or a bad one. Living with S has shown me that, and even then, it's easy to forget. "Saving" a child from a future that is not much of a future is only a small aspect of adding them to a family.

Because the family they had before doesn't just... disappear. If we adopt from Eastern Europe like we plan, it is very likely that child will have other siblings, whether they know it or not. It's very likely their parents will still be alive, that they were released from their biological family for similar reasons as my husband was released from his. It's likely that we will never have much information on that family to give to our child. We'll also be taking them from the only family they are likely to know--the other children and caregivers of their orphanage. And that must only add to all of the fear an anxiety of being an adopted child.

So... yeah. I don't know how to end this.

I'll go with a question... Do I order another Wittlebee Box? Or not? Because I really can't decide...




Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Money Makes the World Go 'Round

I'm pretty sure that was the title of my "textbook" for economics in college... It either made a huge impression since I remember the name of the book 9 years later, or a bad impression (I am pretty sure I nodded off in that class on more than one occasion... per class meeting) since I remember the name of the book 9 years later... You choose.

I just updated our little "adoption fund" meter over there on the left. Almost $133. On the one hand, that's a lot of money. In fact, that is, give or take some, how much I spend on my major grocery shop on pay day (this includes all dog food, cat food, S's Coke Zero addiction, and staples like pasta, cheese, and a mountain of produce). I can do a lot with $133--fill up my car at the gas pump 4.5 times, buy E an entire wardrobe for a year, do all of my Macy's Black Friday shopping (Macy's gets a lot of business from me... a LOT). But then, at the same time, $133 is not a whole lot. $133 isn't even half my car payment. It's an amount easily blown at Costco. I can't even buy a plane ticket home with $133... It's especially depressingly low when stacked up to the $25,000 goal (try: only a little over half-a-percent!).

It's funny how that works, isn't it?

Either way, we have quite a ways to go, don't we?

This leaves me feeling a little guilty. I follow a few international-adoption-focused blogs, and though I know their aim is not to necessarily make me feel guilty (maybe it is... but I am going to give them the benefit of the doubt and say it isn't), I do sometimes end up in that place, anyway. It is never the "are you X's mommy/family?" that gets me--and believe me, there is a lot of that, especially with some of the sites that are dedicated to advocating for orphans. Maybe it's something to do with my cold heart, but that one just doesn't get me. But the children do (cue really dramatic, sad music here):
  • Jack's story. This one gets me every time.  
  • Tania, Jack's mother, has also stepped up to advocate, as well. Her most recent blog also pulls at the heartstrings.
  • Kasey's story. I think it speaks for itself.
  • Lora of My Camo Kids mentions the other children in her daughter's groupa many times, and it sort of just rips at your heart. 
There are more, I am sure, but these stand out the most to me. I hate that they are so desperate for a family and that so many orphans will probably never have one.  I hate that I fall a little in love with so many of them because of this desperation, and I can't do anything for them but tell other people they exist. I can't help but feel worried that the child we are meant to adopt is already out there, languishing and wishing desperately for a family, and all we have managed to do about it is save $133, $8 of it in pennies.

So, yeah, I feel a little guilty.

And a little pissed off that money makes the world go 'round.

Monday, August 20, 2012

The Novel

I am closing in on finishing the novel. As of last night, I had 106,000+ words, and I still have some pretty major events/scenes to write. This is incredibly exciting for me; I have written two other novels, and neither of them have been this long, or this marketable (at least in my opinion). And, for the first time, I am actually thinking "this could happen. This story could make it."

So, I have been considering the next step, the difficult step... The one that is a heck of a lot harder than just writing the dumb thing and work shopping it... Getting it published.

The plan is, as of right now:

  • Finish the book this weekend (Argh!)
  • Workshop (I am hoping I can foist it on some friends for some good feedback)
  • Write a query letter (ugh)
  • Send out query letters (blah)
  • Hope for results.
If I receive no bites, I guess it's time to start attending writers' conferences (blah....). The big one in Seattle isn't until the end of next June, so I suppose I have plenty of time to get over my anxiety of A) going to that sort of event and B) having to act social.

Which means, in about a week, all of my anxiety can be focused on the query letter (I'll worry about the workshop business after I get some feedback). I hate bragging about myself, and I have no idea how to sell anything to anyone, much less a story.

Anyone have any suggestions? Know any agents who are DYING to get their hands on an epic fantasy? Publishers looking for fresh meat? If so... send them my way, and I will send you a box of kitchen sink cookies!

Sunday, August 19, 2012

I Can't Even Remember...

It's been awhile, hasn't it? Well... a few days, at least.

The oven-wave has finally passed. We went from 96 degrees Fahrenheit on Friday to a high of 67, yesterday. Unfortunately, along with the horrid heat, our Internet and cable decided to die. The phone, too, except we don't use that, so it didn't make a damn bit of difference.

The reason for my absence has been uncovered.

Anyway, the last few days we have been yard-saling it up, anyway. We really need to get rid of some of our HHG (House Hold Goods), especially the stuff that has been sitting in a corner of our garage now for over a year and a half! We figured we would give the yard sale thing a try, and anything we made off of it would go into our adoption fund. Some of our neighbors had some things they wanted to get rid of, and rather than take them to Goodwill, they brought them to us (we will take them to Goodwill if we can't sell them). So, we had a decent spread, although no furniture (I wish I could get rid of the pool table... Stupid thing takes up most of my family room... sigh).

So, got our permit (we have to get a permit to have a yard sale here... We also can have no more than 4 signs and they can't have any balloons or streams on them... In other words, Washington sucks for Yard Sales), posted our signs, gathered our stuff together, and geared up to sell some stuff!

Yeah. Yesterday? We made $3.50. $3 of that was from an item our neighbors gave us.

At 1 pm, we packed it in and headed out to our friends' vow renewal, with hope for a better turn out today.

Thankfully, we did do better this afternoon. We set up by 9 am, and sat for 3 hours with no visitors. Finally, someone came around while I was inside with E getting dinner ready (I smoked some pork for pulled pork, so it took awhile) and S was able to sell a milkshake... thingy (I have no idea where that even came from, but it was with our stuff) and some candles (we have A LOT). By the end of the day, we made $22.25.

And we have successfully made back all of the money we used to buy signage. It would have been so much easier to just not buy signs, and instead stick that money into the adoption fund (which is now, officially, at $135.94)... Best part? Only 2/3 of what we sold actually started out as ours.

So much for cutting down on HHG.

Tons of baby stuff... most of it not even origally ours!

Totally not everything... just the less crappy looking stuff.



We're going to try again next weekend. Some of our other neighbors are going to have one then, as well, and we already have a permit for those days. Hopefully we'll be able to get rid of some stuff... And increase that fund.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Mandatory Fun

Tomorrow is S's unit's mandatory fun day... I mean "Organizational Day." I think pretty much everyone jokes about "mandatory fun," and we're no exception. If you aren't familiar with the term, essentially, a unit sets aside a day for "team building" with sports and games and food. Usually, families are invited, and everyone gets to wear civilian clothes, and just "have fun." Think of it as a civilian company picnic. I'm not going to lie... we usually do have fun. But it's just so much better to whine and complain about being required to do things you might actually enjoy.

So, S gets to start having fun at 6:50. E and I will wait until 10:30 to join the good times, which is good, because I need to stick my baked beans back in the oven for at least an hour.

Did I forget to add that we're having potluck sides? The MWR (Morale, Welfare, and Recreation. Don't ask me where the food service part of that fits in) will be grilling hamburgers and hot dogs, me thinks, and this means the rest of us were asked to bring a side. As with every other potluck, my husband asked that I make my grandfather's baked beans. No big deal, they are fantastic.

However, apparently, at about 6 o'clock this evening, one of the other lieutenants requested that I make pulled pork. I am incredibly flattered that my pulled pork was good enough to be requested (if you think back, you know I made 4th of July lunch/dinner for my husband's soldiers and a few of the other officers)... He told this particular coworker that I would have needed a little more warning than that to pull off pulled pork. Technically, I could have still done it, but I wouldn't have been able to start until at least 8pm, and I would have had to stay up all night while the meat smoked.

Now, I am kind of wishing I did have everything to smoke one of those bad boys, just to make the people happy...

And now I feel like Monica on Friends.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Higher Education and the Military Spouse

Every few months, I toy with applying to a PhD program. Having those three letters behind my name has been a personal goal since as far back as I can remember, but in more recent years, it's held less... appeal. PhDs are good for researching and teaching, and I'd probably much rather teach than research, but after working for a university, I have found I have little taste for the politics that go with such a career tract. But then I think back to my time in writing programs. I will always regret not sticking to creative writing for my master's degree, and I will probably always wonder why I didn't pursue a creative writing undergraduate degree. Because I really learned so much in those programs, and they were some of the most fun I ever had.

I could do that on a daily basis and be happy, I think; workshops and writing exercises and thinking creatively. I could do that. But there are so many reasons for not going after it:

(One)
I can write without a PhD. I can write without my M.A. and I can write without my B.S. I don't need any of those degrees to be a writer, though I am sure they contribute greatly to my craft. All I have to be is a great writer (and an even better query-letter author).

(Two)

There are very few Creative Writing PhD programs.

(Three)

There are even fewer Creative Writing PhD programs even remotely close to Army installations. As in: one (on a good day).


Number three? Yeah, that's a huge issue. It's really difficult to pursue a degree when you can't physically be there to pursue it. And the U.S.? Not so much with the distance learning PhD programs, either. Or even reputable universities who offer distance learning to graduate students. Period.

My Ga Tech graduation in 2008
My M.A. graduation in 2010 (that's my boss shaking my hand)
As a military spouse, I feel I am inundated with "higher education" opportunities in all aspects of life: email, Internet, on post, everywhere. Would I like higher education opportunities? Hell yes! Are any of them geared towards the military spouse who has already been awarded a Bachelor Degree or higher? Um... Not so much. Are any of the geared towards a military spouse who is married to an officer? Hell no. I very much appreciate all of the hard work and focus that has gone to educate military spouses... I just wish someone would recognize that there are some of us that don't fit into the "bubble."

I think some reputable U.S. universities could really take advantage of an untapped demographic if they marketed a hybrid/distance-learning program to military spouses who are looking to complete a master's degree or higher. It's possible to do--I've found several in the United Kingdom that would suit my needs (and are actually more affordable than a required-residency program here in the U.S... No, I don't get how it's cheaper to be an international student, either). The University of Lancaster and the University of Birmingham (Birmingham 1.0, that is) both offer distance learning PhD programs in Creative Writing.

Am I considering one?


Maybe. We'll see how number one works out for me. And what kind of funding I can get... Cause this having 2 degrees and no college loans whatsoever? Totally working for me.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Communication is Key

When S was deployed in 2006, we had amazing communication. I wrote him at least 2 letters a day, usually more. We emailed, instant and video messaged (these were the days before Skype, so it was on horrible, yahoo or Aim chats), and talked on the phone everyday. He bought an Iraqi cell phone, and my parents added an international calling plan to their service (did I mention I was living with them and commuting to Georgia Tech at the time?); I was able to call him to wake him up in the mornings, and he could call me before he went to bed in the evening (if there were no communication blackouts, that is). We talked all. The. Time. I used to joke that it is what kept us together, but as more and more of the other couples in his unit began to break apart, that may have rung true.

We're still pretty fantabulous, but not like we were, then. Then, we survived on communicating well with one another. As we've moved to adjusting to him back in the US, adjusting living with one another, adjusting to him leaving the Army to become a student, moving into our own house, graduating, getting a big girl job, graduate school, becoming a family... that ability to communicate that way has been tested. It's sometime much harder to actually talk to someone, especially when letters and email and instant messages have defined the way two people "talk" to one another for so long.

The first time I think we struggled--really struggled-- to communicate was about six weeks after he returned from Iraq. He had flown home to Georgia for the holidays, and we were driving back to Oklahoma to end [his] terminal service (ETS). I'm not going to lie: I was in a funk. I am still not sure what was wrong with me, but I was having a very difficult time with the transition. Perhaps part of it was the fact that we left for Oklahoma the morning of December 26. Perhaps it was missing out on "key holiday time" with my family to spend fourteen hours in the car to go stay with people I didn't really know. Or perhaps it was fear, that, for the first time, we were going to be living--actually living--together. We had been married for a year and a half, and the most time we had ever spent together at once was 2 weeks. And I found I couldn't really talk to my husband, and I didn't know why.

Eventually, we were able to get through that. And a couple years later, we were enjoying the best communication of our relationship. We had recently moved into our first house (yes, we lived with my parents for quite awhile--a combination of being poor college students and the fact that S wasn't receiving half of his education fund, which led to 2 years of appeals processes), and were able to exist comfortably. I can't remember how it started, but we began just sitting outside that summer and spring, sipping on Scotch Whisky while S smoked a cigar. We talked for hours, about everything, and it was probably the healthiest our marriage has ever been. We were completely in-tune with one another, and it was pretty awesome.

Then there was a commissioning, the Basic Officer Leadership Course (BLOC), a baby, moving cross-country, hypothyroidism. The wires slowly met a disconnect, and communicating with S has become less seamless than it once had been. Don't worry, we're still pretty fantastic at talking with one another, but it seems less... natural. More forced. And I find that sometimes, I just don't know what to say--or how to say it, perhaps--like I did a few years ago.

It's not bad, it's just frustrating. I am trying to figure out how to get back to "that place"--the one we had when he was deployed, and again a few years later. I'm not really up for recreating a deployment, but I would love to recreate late-night chat time. I am hoping now that his unit's mission is over for the summer and the Olympics have officially come to a close, we will be able to have some real adult conversation time once E goes to bed. I think we have a lot to talk about, a lot that I am holding back because I just don't know how to go about saying (maybe I can draw pictures!), and it needs to come out!

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Someone's Missing

You know how a Simpson's episode always starts off with something that has absolutely nothing to do with the rest of the episode? That's how I am going to play this blog.

Last night, I hit 100,000 words. When I started writing this particular story, my goal was to write something that was 100,000 words, total. Well, I think it's pretty safe to say I am going to exceed that (especially since I currently have 100,013. Oh yeah!). For the longest time, I was convince I would never be able to make it to 100,000 words, but I have done it! I am a little proud of myself, even though I have no idea what is going to happen next (well, I do, but how it's going to happen... well, we'll just have to see what the characters do next, I suppose).

That accomplishment totally reminds me of the fact that we were able to acquire the very last under-30lb life jacket at Costco... That's quite an accomplishment, too, you know (if you didn't get it, I'm going to tell you: this is my horrible attempt at a segue). We needed that life jacket for E, because our friends (and neighbors!) asked us out on their boat this afternoon! We had a blast, and just as I knew he would, as soon as we got in the car to leave, S said "we need a boat."

Well, rest assured, no boats in our near future. I am not averse to getting a boat, especially when we are in the Chesapeake Bay area (in fact, it just might be a requisite to living there!). But we had a really great time, and I know a lot of that has to do with the fact that we were with friends!  We got the kids in the water and did some swimming (E.... not a fan). I was surprised at how un-lake-like the lake actually was (we were out on American Lake, which borders Fort Lewis). It had no lake smell and the water was very clear! We then rode around the perimeter and looked at all of the houses. E loved the wind in her hair--it had me on edge, because she kept trying to stand up to get more. I was continually yelling at her to sit on her bottom. Then they broke out the knee board. The adults all had a go... with the exception of me. After watching everyone else, I recognize that would not be  my shining moment, and they would have to rename the activity "face-boarding," so I declined. But they did talk me into tubing (we doubled up) and that was great, if also excruciating on the hands. Wow!

It really was fun, and I am so thankful we got invited to go. Thanks, M-family!

However, while the boat was skimming through the water, E cuddled up on my lap, wind in our hair, this feeling that someone was missing washed over me (get it... water? wash? Har har.... man, I am so NOT funny. Anyway....). It was like we had forgotten someone, our child--not E, but another one--and she just wasn't there. Like she was somewhere else, just not with us. It made me sad and anxious. Where is she?

She... that's weird, isn't it? I don't know why I thought of a she. It was just the image that I saw (not that there was a face...) and felt. We're missing a little girl somewhere, and after doing some reading these past few night (I know, I am bad!) I am afraid we won't find her or we'll be too late. I'm afraid we will wait too long, dragging our heels waiting for the right time. She could be out there right now, desperately wishing for her mama and papa, while we are talking about everything falling into place for us.

So, if you're someone who hopes or prays or crosses fingers, perhaps you could do that for us? Hope I can finish my book and find a publishing house for it quickly. Hope that we can do that so we can find our girl, wherever she is, and bring her home before it's too late...

Wittlebee Box

After much drama, we finally received our first Wittlebee box in the mail this afternoon.





S thinks it's great. I'm a little more on the fence. We ended up with a purple t-shirt (top left), a nightgown with butterflies on it (top right), polka-dot dress (bottom right), flowered dress (middle), and then a pants/capri outfit (left).

I ended up getting the above for $20 with some rewards (click on either of my links to get a $10 reward for yourself!). So, that came out to just a little over $3 per item. That's about what I would expect to pay per outfit at a consignment sale--so pretty good. However, I'm not entirely sure these outfits are what I would have picked out at a consignment sale. I I really like the flower dress and the pants outfit, but I'm not sure that I would have brought home any of the rest... Nightgown maybe. T-shirt probably not.

But, either way you look at it: $3 dress: good. We'll see what we think once E tries some of them on!

Friday, August 10, 2012

Don't Read This

I don't know why,but I have this huge urge to adopt sooner rather than later. I don't know why I feel there is such urgency, other than I feel like our child is out there, and we are just not doing what we are supposed to do to find him or her or them. That sounds so cheesy--believe me, I feel cheesy for writing it. I am not one who really thinks in terms of a higher power pulling the marionette strings or fate intervening or whatever you want to call it. I'm not opposed to that possibility, it's just one of those things that greatly confuses me, leads to philosophical discussions I would rather not debate, and sends me scrambling for the science books. I like science--unfortunately, I am not a huge fan of math, and typically, those two go hand-in-hand. Bummer.
Anyway, I can't explain the emotional draw I have towards adding to our family through international adoption. I can feel myself "looking" for our child[ren], desperate to find him/her/them, and it just isn't happening. And then I begin to wonder if I have in fact found them, and I was just too "blind" to see. I try to take a step back, look at the logistics of the matter--the money, the Army, the paperwork--and at how this will change the family dynamic--mostly how E will be affected, how my day-to-day responsibilities will change. For a few minutes, I get scared off, but then I come around and am right back where I started.
I don't think S understands this. I don't know that I actually understand this, but I rarely understand much of anything when it comes to the crazy/totally rational notions that enter my mind. I told myself I was going to stay away from Reece's Rainbow (and not just because the religious background--even though they are not a religious organization, if that makes any sense whatsoever--but because, well, I knew THIS would happen), but I just couldn't. Every day, I am drawn to their site like kudzu to a lamp post. I make the rounds, see if any new families have committed to one of the many children listed there, pretend not to see the newly listed children link, and then end up there, anyway. I'm not going to lie, there are several that I find myself checking up on. I feel pulled to those children, but i don't know that it's in a I'm-your-parent kind of way. It could be... but it could not be, as well.
Reading through the family profiles (I may have read through them all a time or two), I notice that the parents have an immediate connection to the child they commit to; they know that they have found their child. I haven't had that immediate response. But I also didn't instantly fall into a haze of love and rainbows and white fluffy bunnies when E was born. I loved her, but it took me a couple weeks to fall completely in love with her (if that makes sense). It makes me wonder if I am capable of that love-at-first-sight emotion so many others encounter, or if I am just one of those that has to get to know their someones first...
Either way, it's driving me crazy in a good-anxious, I-wish--knew-what-the-hell-is-happening sort of way.
And the worst part is, because S knows me so well, he won't engage in these conversations with me. Not because he isn't interested, but because he knows that if he allows me to get going, I will not shut up about it. He's smart, but in an incredibly devious kind of way (I am saying this totally tongue-in-cheek for those of you who can't read my tone). I want to talk with him about it 24-7 so badly, but he just gives me that really?-I-am-the-one-who-has-to-be-ridiculously-rational? look, and I have to slink back into my corner.
I don't know where I am going with this... I think I just needed to get it off my chest. So... Yeah.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Cats Really Are Disgusting

S's cat just puked on my freshly-cleaned floor. Twice.

I told you not to lick all the plastic bags, you small, meowing douchebag.

Oh, well, I am sure one of the dogs will lick it up.



And if that didn't send you gagging, I'm going to just explain how incredibly insane motherhood can make some people. And by some people, I mean me.

So, tonight was coffee group. I am sure I have explained what coffee group is in the past, but I have no idea where, so here's a quick recap: the officer and senior NCO spouses get together once a month or so to socialize and discuss any upcoming events, business, what have you. They are typically themed, hosted by a different spouse each month, and really accomplish nothing but some good conversation.

This month, it just so happened that coffee night fell at the same time as a company social event S had to go to. Usually, when I have coffee group, she and S have daddy-daughter time, and all I have to worry about is me dying in a horrific car accident either to or from the event. But, as E was invited to neither event, so had to leave her with our neighbors for a couple hours (we trade off babysitting). She was totally excited about this; they have 3 girls and a giant playroom full of toys. I dropped her off, and she just said "okay, bye bye," when I asked her for a kiss and told her to be good.

Meanwhile, I was a puddle of anxiety five time worse than when I leave her with her father. Some of my mom fears:
  • She'll fall down the stairs and kill herself (she is getting pretty good with the stairs, but she'll still get excited sometimes and flail around like a little weirdo, and it scares the crap out of me)
  • She'll somehow maim herself all over the place.
  • I'll get in a horrendous car accident
  • S will get in a horrendous car accident.
  • Everyone will die.
  • Those who don't die will end up with some sort of traumatic brain injury.
Obviously, since I am now writing this (and glaring at the cat puke I will have to wipe up--stupid dogs), E and I made it out just fine. S is still out at his event, so I'll continue to agonize over him until he gets home. But, even though we both managed to make it home in one piece, I'm still going to continue to worry about things that are out of my hands: dying in a plane crash when we go to Atlanta. Dying on the way to the airport. Dying in a car crash, period. Dying on the way back from Atlanta. Dying, dying, dying, maiming, maiming, maiming. Her, me, S, all of us...

I'm not going to lie. I was a little over-dramatic before having a child, but the mom-hormones kick in and it's a little OMG all the time.

If you don't have children: consider this your warning.