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Failed Home Experiments

So I walk into my house two nights ago and am greeted at the door by the Kiddos and the most horrible disgusting smell EVER. When I asked about the foul odor permeating everything in my home, Thing 2 (formerly known as the responsible one) starts this tale, "Oh, yeah. My shoe polish had cracked and crumbled, and 1st Sergeant (Thing 2's in JROTC) said if we heated it up, it would melt back together. So I put the tin in a skillet on the stove. Only it sort of overflowed and well..." Then he hands me the skillet.

sigh. So I'm now minus a skillet (it was a nice one too, darnit) and my house still reeks of melted shoe polish. And the Kiddos have strict instructions to CALL ME FIRST.

Starting a New Adventure

I'm quitting my day job.

I've wanted to write that sentence for over a year now.  That is my news, the major event I've wanted to share with everyone and couldn't tell anyone.  But today, it's official.  I handed in my resignation letter this morning and took the form up to the dean's office.  I'm quitting.  I quit.  I quit.  I QUIT!

I'm going to be a stay-at-home-mom.  I'm going to help my home-schooled son get through high school.  I'm going to write the stories that have been crowding my mind for years but I never have time to write down.  I'm going to take long walks and bicycle rides.  I'm going get my body into a shape that isn't round and flabby.  I'm going spend hours at the library and plant my herb and flower garden and repaint the downstairs bathroom.  I'm going to rediscover my love of cooking.

I'm daring to dream a different future for myself.  And I'm going to make it happen.

I'm scared out of my mind.  I can't stop smiling.  I feel nauseous and bubbly and, dear whatever-higher-power-is-listening-right-now, I need a drink.  Or chocolate.

April 1, 2013 is the start of my new life.  Aaaaaand I just realized that is also April Fools Day.  Oh, I really hope that's not an omen.  Wait!  Maybe it is.  Maybe it means my new life will be full of laughter and joy.  Yeah, let's go with that.  It doesn't make me want to vomit.

Ok, time to stop shaking and make a list of everything I need to do before March 31 because I'M QUITTING!
I did something yesterday that took a huge burden off my shoulders.  Something I've been planning for over a year.  Something I hinted at here and never followed up on because after I made the decision, it broke my heart a little (a lot) to realize it would take over a year to follow through on that decision and I couldn't bear to talk about it in case it didn't come true.

I'm sorry for teasing all of you and then vanishing for months, but it was dark and sad in my head and heart and I didn't want to spread that around.  Well, that's not entirely true.  I like to hide, you see.  I smile and nod and say things are fine when they aren't.  But I have a harder time lying in writing, especially here where I promised myself I'd be honest.  I might be vague to protect my family, friends, and self, but I am honest.  And I just couldn't dismiss the sadness here.  I can't tell you the number of posts I have written and deleted over the last months because I couldn't say what I wanted to say and what came out of my head and fingers was just depressing or whiny.

And I couldn't talk about my decision because it was a secret known only to me, Husband, and the Kiddos.  It was my light at the end of the tunnel, precious and dear.  My Babylon candle.  I held it close while over and over I questioned it and doubted it's existence all the while begging and pleading that it be real because I desperately needed the light to get through the darkness.

Yesterday morning I held up my candle and took my first steps out of the darkness.

Last night I laughed and joked around and smiled...I smiled so much I was damn near crying...and Husband pointed out that it was the first time in months (?!) I had done so.  This of course made me actually cry.  The relief, oh god how to describe it?  Relief from this stress is like the relief after giving birth.  I laughed and cried then, too.  And then I slept better than I have in...I'm not sure how long.  Months?  Insomnia really messes with your memory.*

Also, I've lost 15 lbs in the last month.  *happy dance*  (Ok, ok.  I lost 15, gained 4 back and lost 2 more since. I know that's 13 lbs.  So, I'm rounding up.  I'm happy.  Dude, don't harsh my mellow.) **

So anyway, things are getting better.  Something good is coming.  I can't tell y'all yet, but I will soon.  I promise.  I'm sorry for teasing like this, but I'm so excited I had to share just a little.  Does anyone else have good things happening?  Please share!  Spread the happiness!

* I've run the gamut of depression and all it's little demons.  Insomnia, weight gain, loss of appetite, mood swings, lethargy.  It was like being pregnant only there's no deadline due date so there is no end in sight.  Depression sucks.

** Gaining weight when you have no appetite is just nature's way of sticking it to you, you know?  It's not enough that I'm sad.  Noooo, I have to be sad and fat and I can't even enjoy my cake because I'm not hungry.  Depression really sucks.

Where Romance and Springsteen Converge

Bruce SpringsteenBreaking the long silence to post a link to this amazing essay by Molly O'Keefe and posted on Smart Bitches, Trashy Books blog today about the similarity between the music of the amazing Bruce Springsteen and Romance novels.  It is the greatest thing I've read this year as pertains to the importance of genre fiction, and romance in particular...and yes, it's only eight days into this year, but I have a feeling come December, that statement will still be true.  GO FORTH AND READ.

"Molly O'Keefe on Romance, Springsteen - and a Giveaway"

PSA re: comments

A quick break in my long silence to say that I'm changing my comment policy to exclude anonymous comments for the next few weeks in an effort to control all the spam comments I've been getting lately.  (Seriously, the 60 or so spam comments a day is getting a bit tedious.)  I know I'm not the only one since I've seen other posts to this effect in the past week(s).  And once things settle down a bit, I'll probably re-enable anonymous comments.  


ETA:  I will also mark all the asshats who register just so they can post spam comments as spammers.  I won't automatically ban said asshats unless, yanno,  I'm in a bad mood, or the moon is in the sky during the day, or I'm out of coffee or some such.  OK.  I'll probably ban you as well.  Consider yourselves warned, spammers.

Mystery novels, Beekeeping, Life, and Pink

One of my favorite writers is Laurie R. King, who writes, among other things, a terrific series featuring Mary Russell and Sherlock Holmes.  My favorite remains the first, The Beekeeper's Apprentice, a beautiful story of two broken and highly intelligent people who become friends and solve crimes.  (There are also chemistry experiments, a Gypsy wagon, chess, Arab cutthroats, deceptions, a wild car ride through the English countryside, and bees.)

Now I'm a Holmesian from all the way back to elementary school when I picked up a dusty old book by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and fell in love.  Mystery novels were my first love, my gateway novels into the world of reading, and they still hold my interest as no other novel can.  Discovering the Mary Russell novels, which pick up in Sussex where Conan Doyle left the Great Detective in retirement with his bee hives, was wonderful.  They capture the cunning, clever, cold intellect of Holmes and infuse it into a young woman who is just as cunning and clever and coldly intelligent, but the relationship between the two of them, like the relationship between Holmes and Watson, add the warmth to these stories.  Unlike Watson, though, Russell is Holmes' equal in every way.

Written from Russell's perspective, The Beekeeper's Apprentice presents the version of Holmes and events that only Russell sees.  Several years later, Ms. King released a short story titled, Beekeeping for Beginners, which is the first few chapters of The Beekeeper's Apprentice from Holmes' perspective.  In it Holmes teaches Russell that watching people is very similar to watching bees, and he often refers to what he calls the rules of beekeeping.

Rule one: Remain calm.
Rule two: One must occasionally be cruel to be kind.*
Rule three: Never cease to feel wonder.
Rule four: Success often rests on the imperceptibility of one's meddling.

Like Holmes, I think these are not only good rules for beekeepers, but for living.  Particularly number three.  Never cease to feel wonder.  Like this. 

Happy Friday.  Celebrate.  Never cease to feel wonder.

(I saw this video on Smart Bitches, Trashy Books, yet another example of how awesome those bloggers are.)

*  (Hamlet, Act 3.  And as much as I would like to say I knew that, I didn't. But Russell did.)

Camp NaNoWriMo

To everyone starting Camp Nano today, good luck!   Is anyone doing Camp NaNoWriMo this year?

I've attempted NaNoWriMo twice now.  I won my first year, and didn't come close last year.  (I actually gave up around day five.  It just wasn't going to happen.)  I love the competing aspect of NaNo, because I'm a competitive little thing at heart.  I love typing in my word count each day.  The progress bar graph is my most viewed page during the month.  Being ahead fills my heart with glee (and doesn't happen very often).  The bad part?  November is the second busiest month of my year.  (December is the busiest. You were desperately curious to know that, weren't you?)  Every single aspect of my life--home, school, work--takes on this frantic last-minute quality in November and adding a frantic no-holds-barred writing binge to the mix makes for oh dear dog, so much stress and craziness.  As much as I love it, I have opted to not do NaNo in the future.  For my sanity.  And also for Husband's.

For the past couple of years, June has been my intense writing month, and it works out well since the kids are out of school and Husband's work load is greatly diminished in the summer, and so June is basically a low-stress time around my house.  I am nearly done with what has become a complete rewrite of a book and was scouting around for a summer writing challenge to help me push through the end when I discovered Camp NaNo, which is basically NaNoWriMo in June.  It's still 50K words in a month and has the word count meter and other writers and all the good competitive things I love about NaNo, but you know, in JUNE.  It's like it was made for me.  So I signed up.  

We'll see how it goes.  I'm not aiming for 50K words, just to complete the rewrite.  When I finish it, I'll pick up another story and write it.  If I hit the 50K goal, great.  If not, that's ok, too.  

Let me know if you are participating.  I'm a good cheerleader. 
I'm sharing this amazing post by Seanan McGuire because sometimes we (and by that I mean me) need to remember that all the crap we are bombarded with these days isn't truth and isn't real.  Also, I want my daughter to read this and was worried I would lose it.  Also, also, if you aren't following Seanan McGuire, why not?  She is one of the most talented writers and singer/songwriters I've come across in years.  Go now and buy her stuff.  You won't regret it.  I promise.  
(ETA: Attempting another LJ cut since it didn't take the first time.)

Originally posted by seanan_mcguire at Dear girls of the world today...
Dear girls of the world today;

There is nothing wrong with you.

Everything I see, everything I read, everything I hear, is geared toward telling you that something is wrong with you. You're too fat. You're too thin. Your skin is terrible. You look too young. You look too old. You're too smart, you're too dumb, you talk too much, you don't talk enough, you're broken, you're flawed, you're bad. And all those things are lies. They are exaggerations. They are designed to pick on the things you feel insecure about, and convince you that you will never be happy unless you force yourself into their standards of perfection.

Continued under the cut...Collapse )

Fifteen Years and Counting

Husband and I have been married fifteen years today!  I get to go through life with my perfect partner and my best friend.  I don't know how I got so lucky.  Here's to a lot more years, Husband!  I love you!
I'm standing at that in-between place, the one where you've made a decision and now you have to wait until everything takes effect and the planets align and what you decided to do actually happens.  

This is a scary place.

Waiting...I'm not good at waiting.  I'm good at doing.  I make a decision and I act on it.  Sitting still makes me edgy.  Waiting on others so I can move forward with my plans turns me into a frenetic mass of nervous, cranky energy.  Those last few weeks of pregnancy were hell, and not because I was the size of Pluto, but because I was done.  Ready. To.  Move on.  I kind of feel sorry for Husband and the Kiddos when I start querying.  I will not be a bundle of happy feel-good feelings. 

(OK, the planetary dimensions of my tummy contributed to the hellish-quality of late pregnancy, but the waiting was worse.)

I've wanted something for a while now, something big and scary and life-changing.  Doing it will introduce change and chaos at a moment when we reached a comfortable level of security in our lives.  And that is partly why I want to do it now.  With extra stability from one direction, I feel better about stepping out on a limb in another.  There are many reasons to do this and one really, really big reason not to.  Really big.  Huge.  Big enough that I couldn't make this decision on my own.  

I want this, so I talked to Husband.  I told him all the reasons why and the reason why not and my fears and worries.  I cried even though I tried so hard to not.  He drove in quiet for a few blocks.  (We drive to and from work together, so most discussions happen in the car.)  I blew my nose and waited.  And panicked, and regretted saying anything, and tried not to show how nervous I was.  And then, since he is amazing, he said things like what good is security if I'm not happy.  He also said something about how he's used to me inviting chaos into our life, but we'll ignore that comment and focus on what he said after that, which was that it's worth a little chaos to be with me.  (Yeah, I cried again.)

So I decided to do it and have taken the first steps.  I can't go into details, yet, but hear I sit, staring at something scary and exciting, and I'm going crazy.  I'm second-guessing myself and plotting out what-ifs and disaster scenarios. *headdesk*  

But I'm still doing it.  Keep your fingers crossed for me. 


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