Saturday, September 30, 2006

Comments on online article

Since my back is better today, I wanted to spend some time getting some work done on the novel revisions. I STILL have to go do my laundry, of course, but I also have to get cracking on those revisions. November is getting here waaaay too fast and I'm planning to get through NaNoWriMo this year from start to finish. So this book revision stuff MUST get done and sent off to the publisher so I can get it OUT OF THE WAY. I woke up thinking "it's book time!" but instead, I logged on to the internet first. Well, I DID have to call my mom in 23 minutes (I use for my relay calls) and so I started reading news items and blogs. (I'm afraid I'm reading TOO MANY blogs lately...that's weird.) I read this article online today called "Top 5 Sneaky Restaurant Tips," written by Kelli B. Grant, a reporter for It talks about 5 ways restaurants "sneakily" add more charges to your bill. Being money-conscious, I decided to check it out, even though I RARELY eat out (I'm a stickler for homecooked meals). I have included excerpts from the article to comment on. You can read it online here: All text is copyright 2006 by the author/appropriate copyright holder. this is NOT my original work and I am only including excerpts from the article in accordance with the "fair use act" of copyright law. I'm no lawyer but I'm fairly certain I'm in line with fair use of copyrighted material and I will contact the author directly to let her know I linked to her article.

"Sure, there are some easy ways to cut costs, like booking your reservation through certain Web sites that automatically generate a discount on your meal."
Wow, I didn't know about that. Good tip!!

Impressing a hot date is as simple as four little words: "Order anything you want." OK, so you only offer this after scanning reviews for restaurants marked with an "$" instead of a "$$$$."

I had to laugh when I read that part. I actually had something like this go down in my novel. I also have in that scene my character weasling his way out of being hit with a heavy check, since he's unemployed, anyway. I just hope the author of this article doesn't read that when the book comes out and goes, "Hey! I had that idea first!"

"But price estimates are often deceptively low. For starters, there's no telling when that estimate was last updated, says Kate Krader, a senior editor at Food & Wine magazine. "Menus and prices change all the time," she notes. More importantly, most ratings only estimate entrée prices, and don't include hard-to-resist add-ons like an appetizer and dessert.

Take Wolfgang Puck's Spago in Beverly Hills, which is adored by celebrities and foodies alike."
[I have heard of them.] "Gourmet magazine just ranked it fourth in "America's Top 50 Restaurants." The Zagat Survey estimates that you'd spend $66 per person (one entrée, one drink and a tip). That's unrealistic, even if you opt for individual courses over the chef's popular eight-course tasting menu ($120, or $180 with wine pairings)."

Ok. I almost had a heart attack when I read THAT part!! $120 JUST for dinner?? That's outrageous! The most I have ever spent on dinner (even when dining with others) is $50. I'd NEVER pay that much for dinner -- and even if I was hit with a bill that high, I'd expect my fellow diners to chip in. With a bill like that, it's time to download some coupons, folks. But, ya know, pizza is cheaper.

"Restaurants invest big bucks to create an atmosphere that encourages one to linger, says Frank Bruni, restaurant critic for The New York Times. (Think low lighting, cool music and an attentive and attractive wait staff.) Markups on alcohol easily run 200% to 300%. Consider that at Masa, a trendy Southwestern cuisine hotspot in Boston, you'd pay $7.50 for a 1.5-ounce serving of Herradura Silver tequila. Buy the bottle at your local liquor store and you'd pay $40 -- only $2.50 per serving."

I remember reading this other blog where a New York native was visiting Philadelphia and couldn't BELIEVE the cost comparisons of liquor. In the state of brotherly love, booze was cheaper, and the blogger outlined a list of comparisons where the same exact drink that cost an arm and a leg in New York was much more affordable in Philly. Then again, this is a restaurant we're talking about. I once visited this Italian eatery where a slice of pizza was $1.50. At another independent Italian eatery, it cost $7 for one slice -- but, admittedly, the slice was just a little bit larger than the cheaper one. It also tasted much better. (Wow, you can tell I like pizza, huh?? LOL) I wonder if the restaurant's prices are the same in every state?

"Anyone who has ever struggled to choose amongst mouthwatering entrées can tell you how fun it is to encounter a "tapas" menu, where diners order several small dishes to share. But because the dishes are small, diners often over-order out of fear of walking away hungry, says Bruni."

Ah, yes. My sisters and I used to dine out a lot. We have ordered such meals, too. How we walked away from that without breaking the bank? Three words: Talk is cheap. We spent more time talking than we did eating. I realize that there's this "habit" of people using food as a handy conversation complement, but because we lived apart, had stuff going on, etc., the main reason for getting together for lunch or dinner in the first place wasn't to pig out but to catch up. Also, one sister used to work for Nextel, and she was ALWAYS getting up to talk with customers she noticed when we went out to eat.

And, finally, there is this excerpt I want to comment on:

"If you're the type to build your meal around a good bottle of wine, factor that in when you select a restaurant. "The price of the wine determines how much the dinner will really cost," says Alan Richman, food critic and author of 'Fork It Over.' Traditionally, restaurants charge twice the retail price of a wine, or three times the wholesale cost. So your favorite $30 bottle at home is easily $60 at a restaurant."

My ex once took me to this very nice Italian restaurant in Palm Springs. (This was before we had a child, before we got married -- and before our pocketbooks suffered from BOTH changes!) He bought a bottle of wine at the restaurant for us to enjoy with our meal. He later told me that bottle cost $50. I never found out the retail cost of the bottle in a store, but it WAS good wine and I wouldn't have been surprised if it cost $25 to buy at a Vons or something like that. All the same, I once came across a bottle of Hungarian wine that cost only $7, and it was JUST AS GOOD as the Italian restaurant wine. Still, I can understand how people would want to have wine with their meals when dining out. And this article has just introduced me to the exhorbitant corking fees at some restaurants for opening outside bottles of wine ($40 at one New York restaurant!!).

Now, here again is where I reecho my advice: Pizza is always cheaper. ;)

Friday, September 29, 2006

Back pain again :(

My back is acting up again today. The pain is horrible and I'm literally dragging my left foot across the floor. I've almost cried a couple of times just from trying to move. I'm so grateful my daughter's dad will be here soon -- and that this is going down on a Friday! I'll be spending most of the weekend in bed, trying to get it better. It's no fun being laid up all by yourself but at least she'll be with her dad all weekend and I won't have to worry about her. Hopefully, I will be feeling better when she comes back. Meanwhile, she's being a big helper, picking things up for me and helping me to stand up/move. I'm worried I might be scaring her when I've cried out in pain. I'm taking Motrin for the pain -- it's all I've got but maybe I can try to get something better. I hate taking pills but nothing else seems to work. Not even heat/ice pack.

Meanwhile, I'm counting off the active stuff I had to do today, like go do laundry, but even at the computer, trying to meet the newspaper deadline, I can't even think straight.

I told my mom about my daughter's first poem and she started to cry. She said she's missing out on all the stuff she's doing, but soon she won't be missing out anymore.

Thursday, September 28, 2006

My daughter's first poem!!

I know writing and art run in my family, but I didn't think it would show at such a young age, though I'm sure there's probably lots of other children under 5 showing skill with writing, drawing and creating "books."

While I was on the computer today, my little girl sat next to me, going over her letters. (I am homeschooling her in preschool.) She got my attention, and when I looked at her, she pointed at the appropriate letters and recited the following:

"R" is for "Rabbit" and "R" is for "Roo"
"P" is for "Piglet" and "P" is for "Pooh"

Wow...she just created her VERY FIRST POEM! When I told her she just said a poem, she was intrigued and asked what a poem was. LOL She didn't even know she just said a poem! :)

I am so proud. I thought that was cool!!

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Forgive me

Those of you getting emails from me with typos: Please forgive me for the oversight. As many of you know, I can only type with one hand due to the injury on my left hand. (I use my left hand to hold down the "Shift" key, but that's about it.) I also have less-than-perfect eyesight, and despite my efforts to scan my emails for typos and incorrect sentences to correct before I hit "Send," they sometimes will slip past my sight.

Also, I have a new keyboard now. I am not used to it yet. It is larger than my last one, and I keep hitting the wrong keys. My nephew had a good laugh over how I got frustrated when I was chatting with him and wondering WHY I didn't get a reply from him after I supposedly hit "Enter" after only hitting "Shift." LOL

I know, I SHOULD wear my glasses at all times, even when on the computer. But I can mainly see the computer just fine, so I normally don't wear them. Because I'm nearsighted, anyway, it gives me a headache wearing my glasses at the computer. Perhaps I can find glasses more appropriate for computer use.

I know that, being a writer, I'm expected to express myself clearly and without typos/incorrections. However, given these circumstances, that cannot always be the case.

Typing with one hand is also just ONE reason why I take forever to perform certain tasks while I am online. That, and I pretty much have the occasional "blonde moment."

Monday, September 25, 2006

Either ya want something or ya don't

A friend told me this story today: "Few months ago, I was trying to sell a small white dresser. I told someone that I would take $20 for it. The person asked if I would be willing to go lower? I told him $15 firm! He said that he cannot pay that much because he didn't like the color. I sold it to someone else for $15 and then E- mailed him to tell him that it has been sold."

I guess the first potential buyer wasn't really interested. Color is such a trivial thing to make someone pass on a decent piece of furniture. I mean, you can always paint it....right?

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Late-night chatting goodness

The weekends my daughter is gone are rough. REALLY hard for me. Which is why I will use WHATEVER I can to keep my mind off of her being gone.

Both Friday and Saturday nights, it was a chat that helped do this. On Friday, I was online A LOT because I couldn't really go anywhere or do anything. I ended up chatting with 7 different people on Friday alone! I've been chatting with this person online, who is also deaf so sometimes we talk about things relating to being deaf. The thing of it is, I have NEVER met him in real life. But we chat online a lot. We'll chat for several hours!! So we were chatting into the late hours of both Friday and Saturday nights. And....I didn't miss my daughter as much as I have before. This weekend was easier for me to get through, because I DID have something keeping me distracted.

Best of all, I got enough sleep, on BOTH nights. Sure we chatted til like 1 or 2 a.m., but I slept in on both Saturday and Sunday mornings.

The days are not as hard as the nights. But, still, today DID get difficult for me. During our chat, I happened to say the movie quote "swing away" as a joke and that reminded me of my daughter. She LOVES the movie SIGNS and she always says "swing away" when I am about to put that movie on for her. So when I said "swing away" in our chat, I started to cry and mumble, "I miss mah baby." :( I just REALLY cracked right then and there.

So, okay. The chatting distraction was starting to fade. I had to do something else. Something that got me MOVING.

So I went for a walk. A LONG walk. I just walked and walked and walked. I looked around at everything, taking in the beautiful, 80-degree weather, looking at people riding their bikes or walking their dogs, checking out buildings and locations I hadn't seen before. I even took "the road less traveled" and found a big beautiful playground where couples sat on benches, boys played soccer and children played on swings. The sight of the playground was almost eutopic. Just BEAUTIFUL. I became excited because now I finally had a large close park to take my daughter to. Best of all, it had a BASKETBALL COURT!! (Oh, be steady, my heart!)

I hurried home, anxious to tell Jennifer all about it. And after that hour-long walk, when I finally got back home and came through the door, my baby hopped off the kitchen table chair and ran into my arms.

Saturday, September 23, 2006

State of Mind

NOTE ON LAST POST: I have the computer an extra day. I don't know how much longer until it gets repaired, though. So far, at least, it is...SOMEWHAT behaving itself....

First, I panicked.

My bills for next month are pretty darn high. A little TOO high. Actually, they're outside of my darn budget!

That is to be expected. I was not able to pay ALL of my bills this month. So next month, I will suffer for that. Next month happens to be my daughter's birthday month, too.


So, I tried to get a job, just so we won't STARVE next month. No luck. Tried DOR since I am deaf and can't receive phone calls, so I think I'd qualify for their help in landing a job. Problem is, I won't know for 2 months.


It is NEXT month I have to worry about. All of October. Because after I pay all the bills, I will have $137 left over to cover: My daughter's birthday gift, food and decorations for her party at home, AND whatever groceries I can get for that month with what's left over. (Good thing I have cake mix in my cupboard so I can bake her birthday cake!) I will lose my WIC benefits next month, but I DO get $10 in food stamps. Yay.

So I figured.. OK. I HAVE to get a roommate. I mean, obiously, I HAVE to... I actually thought of a friend of mine, who is also a single parent struggling to make ends meet. But before I even contacted her, I told my ex.

His reaction? "Calm. Down."

He then sat down to tally up all of my monthly financial obligations: Rent, utilities, grocery, car payment. Even threw in a tiny bit for entertainment (which comes to about $50 a month, on AVERAGE). Then he said, "You have ENOUGH to meet these needs." Yes! Right! I DO have enough with my monthly income. BUUUUT! It is OCTOBER I am worried about! That very month alone that I will be starving to death just so I can feed my child with what little I will have left after paying these BIG bills.

Which made me realize getting a roommate might be a little...drastic. I can afford bills just fine every month, IF they don't get too high. (I'm on a fixed income.) They'll be too high for just next month. After that, it's smooth sailing. And what if I get a roommate who turns out to be some homicidal maniac, or something?? I have had stuff stolen and "borrowed" by roommates before, and I don't want that to happen again. I have ALREADY lost too much of my stuff!! Plus, I have a small child. I can't endanger her like that. Too risky.

So my ex laid out a host of tips on how I can save money here, manage my finances better there. Up until now, I have ALWAYS lived with another adult who shared the financial responsibilities. Now, I don't have that anymore. I have to change my WHOLE WAY of seeing budgets and grocery shopping and saving on utilities and just...cutting corners wherever possible. I'm all by myself. Left to fend for myself, and my child. It's just the two of us, me and her. And she relies on me to keep her fed.

Which is why I've decided on my next solution to hopefully solve this temporary setback: I am going to sell some of my dolls. I chatted with my sister today and I mentioned this to her. She offered to send us some money to help out with the food bill for next month, and I told her, you know, "I'll sell you one of my dolls with that money and we'll call it even." But because it's also her birthday next month, I'm going to throw in an extra doll (not REALLY throw since it's porcelain LOL). She's trying to amass her own doll collection. I have several. I don't want to sell too many, though, because I have always planned on giving my dolls to my daughter when she is older. But, yeah, you know. Times are hard. I have to bring in some money SOME way. Since I can't get a freaking JOB!! :(

So, that's what I'm doing now. Figure to sell them for $15-25 each. I have about 7 of them I'm selling -- and that should be enough.

Friday, September 22, 2006

I can't hold her much longer, Captain!

Ah, computers and I. We just DON'T get along. We call a truce every so often. Sign a cease-fire agreement. And, yet, our troubles never dissipate.

That being the case here and now, I am forced to go computer-less this weekend, because my computer has once again become quite the aggressor for me. It's like fighting without a weapon, and I must call in reinforcements who will sweep it away to get repaired.

Attention, family! I will not be online this weekend! Please do not freak! We'll be ok. Ahem. I mean, I will be ok. Jennifer will be with Jason this weekend, as you know. He is not on Internet so you can't email him at this time.

Victoria: Please try to hang in there until I return. I am printing out EVERYTHING you have sent to me and I will read ALL of it. If I can get back to you today, I will do so.

I will TRY to send my update out today but I don't know if the computer will cooperate long enough for me to do so. But, I will try. I will also try to update the homeschooling blog, if possible. My dmcwriter site has been updated.

Til then, I bid you a temporary adieu.

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Please help save the SCCD

Writing for SIGNews, I always look for the opportunity to cover deaf education in Africa. This is a part of the world where deaf education is SERIOUSLY lacking, and it is very close to my heart, because I hear the stories and see the photos and it just makes me want to do SOMETHING to help the efforts to educate deaf children in this developing country.

Yesterday was my deadline with SIGNews to turn in just such a story. I spent over a week trying to contact my source, only to finally phone them up and learn he was in Africa right now and couldn't be reached. There was, however, someone else available to help me with the story. She was a part of the Global Deaf Connection, the organization responsible for opening up the very school in the Congo which was facing being shut down. My story is about their fundraising efforts to save the school. I also talked about the school itself, as well as the children. Just looking at the photos of the children learning in this school moved me. If I was wealthy, I'd donate the money they needed to save this school (according to one letter I received, they need to raise $10,000 to save the school). But, writers aren't rich. Well, the UNKNOWN writers, anyway. *scoffs* So all I could do, since I WAS in a position to do something, was write about it. SIGNews is not a paper with low distribution; it's international, appearing as far away as England, Turkey, Spain, Portugal, Canada and Mexico. I can only hope someone in a financial position to save this school will read this story and do something.

Posting about it on my blog is a way of doing something, too. I don't think I have many reades here. I doubt anyone reads this. But here it is. If I could just reach out to one person in the world who can help save this school from being shut down, it'll be worth more than a thousand bylines in The New York Times. Or anywhere, really.

Please see for more information.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Tell someone

One rule kids are taught when confronted with a stranger or in a bad situation: "Tell someone."

This is good advice for adults, too. Women, in particular. Tell someone.

I always remember this. If I end up in a scary situation or if something creepy is going down: "Tell someone."

And that's what I did today.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Speaking up

Today I had to constantly remind myself with two words: "Speak up!"

The reason? I was in an uncomfortable situation today. And I kept getting uneasy vibes about someone.

Instead of letting it pass... thinking "it's no big deal" or "he'll change," the voice of experience inside me shook me by the collar and said, "WAKE UP, WOMAN!! SPEAK UP!"

So I sucked in my gut and said, "I'm really not comfortable with this" and "I'm not that kind of girl." Oh, there was also the, "I don't feel good about that kind of thing."

If I'm going to be involved with someone, I REALLY think it's important to speak up in the beginning. Don't let the little things that rub you the wrong way just pass on by. Speak up about them, stay true to what you believe and who you are, and stand by it.

Yeah, I'm telling myself all that, too.

Monday, September 11, 2006

An old wound

Today's post isn't about September 11th. I've already done a 9/11 blog on my MySpace blog. Today's post is about another old wound that I have, an experience which introduced me to what it's like to feel deep love and then heartsickness all in the course of one month.

The thing that even brought this up in the first place was a comment my ex made to me today.

When my ex comes over to visit with our daughter, he will play a computer game (he figures as long as he's THERE, he's "visiting" with her. Oh, well!). I have mentioned before on my MS blog of how I have a folder devoted to pictures of Jonathan Knight (the former New Kid on the Block). I have also used a pic of his as my icon for my account on this computer. (All three of us have one; my daughter received the honor of having her own account on the computer after she turned one of my documents into a ZIP file and I couldn't open it anymore. Grr!!) He asked, "Who's that a picture of?"

I sheepishly grinned and fingerspelled, "Jonathan Knight."

He rolled his eyes then proceeded to open his account. Then, while I was making dinner, he came into the kitchen and asked, "Isn't that the guy who offered to marry you, dumped you, then came back again to see if you were still married?"

Yes. Well, kind of. Sort of.

The "guy" who did all that wasn't really Jonathan Knight.

What happened was, I saw that someone had favourited a poem I posted on deviantART. I checked out the profile and saw "wannabe novelist" under their nickname. Now, on the heels of getting a book published called 365 TIPS FOR WRITERS, that "writing mentor" in me took notice. (Note: I am not OFFICIALLY mentoring new/aspiring writers. I have taken a few mentees under my wing, but I'm not looking to take any more.) I noted his AOL screenname and, when I saw him online one day, I IMed him to thank him for the favourite. My REAL intention was to go into that whole "wannabe novelist" thing and I asked him about writing. He didn't really seem interested in continuing that topic, so we just chatted casually. The first chat went well, but in the course of our second chat, we steered towards my dream experiences with someone named Jonathan. (That experience was later published in a book by Martha Jette called "Glimpses 2: It can happen to you" and the link to it is on my Web site.) When I told him the Jonathan in my dreams looked exactly like Jonathan Knight, he immediately signed off. I was sitting there thinking "what the heck?" then pieces of the conversation came back to me and I was like, "Ohhh." We continued to chat later but as I asked him more questions about things, I started to become dubious of if I was ACTUALLY chatting with Jonathan Knight. I mean, first of all, he said his only sibling was his brother, Jordan. (At the time, I wondered 'doesn't he have a sister?' and I later learned that, yes, he DID. Actually, he has two.) And second, he said he lived in Boston when I knew Jonathan Knight lives in Essex, MA. (I would actually later find out his address in Essex.)

Well, anyway, I wasn't 100% convinced this WASN'T Jonathan Knight. I was sort of leaning on that he WAS! Anyway. we chatted frequently, practically every day. And at some point, I started to feel some kind of a "connection" to him. Now, at this point in time, I would think I was pretty darn stupid falling for someone over the Internet. But, I know I was very vulnerable at that time. And, I just needed love. At this point in time, my ex and I were not divorced yet. I had come out of an episode of emotional abuse with him and then there was that whole traumatic experience of losing precious possessions after I moved out of state. (I was also dealing with depression, homesickness and loneliness and my emotions were just a complete mess.) I ended up falling in love with him. This "fantasy" was very real for me.

Then one evening, this person said he wanted me to be his wife. I wanted that, too. But I told him in an email, "I'm not legally divorced yet."

The next day, as we chatted, he became enraged, saying I told him I was divorced and that I've probably lied about everything else. Etc., etc. He ended things, told me he never wanted to speak to me again, then signed off.

I collapsed in my chair, in tears. During that whole mess, I got confused and tried to sort through what was going on. I spent days lying in my bed, heartbroken and numb. I had really felt something for him. I barely ate, barely slept, cried all the time. It was horrible.

The whole thing culminated through other messages sent through deviantART. I TRIED to reach out to him. To resolve things. Explain things. He had me convinced I HAD told him I was divorced when, on looking back, I'd later see that I hadn't said that. I had just told him "things didn't work out." (I have EVERYTHING saved on my hard drive.) That part is interesting, because not too long before I even IMed him for the first time, I was trying to figure out what I should say to people if they asked me my relationship status. At this point, I was no longer identifying myself as my ex's wife. I didn't even use his last name anymore. There was no love between us; we were just two people now. We WERE going through a divorce, but because we weren't divorced yet, I couldn't say that. I later realized I should have said "I'm going through a divorce." But, no, I never told this guy I was divorced.

Anyways. Fast forward. I still questioned some of the things that guy had told me about himself. I din't know a WHOLE LOT about Jonathan Knight, but my sister was THE FAN so I sort of read and saw snippets here and there. (And let us NOT forget the many times she kept me apprised on things going on with those guys.) I knew Jonathan had sisters. I knew he had more than one brother. I KNEW he did. So why did this person CLAIMING to be him tell me he only had one brother? That didn't make sense.

I hit the Internet, and a lot of OTHER things didn't make sense, either. For one thing, he said the last person he was involved with was Laura. True. But the picture I got of him with "Laura" wasn't Laura at all. I know because I asked. I also found out certain details that conflicted with what he told me. To top it all off, I even contacted someone who knew him, asked her if Jonathan would REALLY do something like that to someone, and she totally, completely vouched for his credibility, assuring me he'd never do something like THAT. (And especially a little something else I'd rather not go into details about here.)

To say the least, I did my homework. I wasn't a fan before this happened (well, I'm deaf! It's not like I can sing along to their music!) but after this, I made myself one. And I made it my mission to learn EVERYTHING I could about Jonathan AND the other guys, because I wasn't going to let this happen to me again.

The end result is, I realized that I'd got taken by some poser. That hadn't been the REAL Jonathan Knight I'd been chatting with. Just some fake. The guy used "easy" conclusions to avoid ever talking to me again (first because I "lied" to him, then because I have "multiple issues"). Plus, I later learned that someone on MySpace was going around saying he was Donnie Wahlberg, sending messages to fans and everything, pretending to be him. I also learned that Jonathan Knight even had his identity stolen. (Good grief, the poor guy!!) I also learned of some other bizarre things obsessive fans have done, but I don't know if the posers can fall into that group. More like... "pathetic losers." That's EXACTLY what an online friend of mine thought of the guy who pulled this stunt with me.

But, I have moved past this WHOLE situation. I used to read our chats and cry over losing him, but now I know I never really lost him at all. That was just a fake. It wasn't the REAL guy I was talking to. It was all just part of that game the poser was playing.

I did post the essay about it online, but during the course of writing a disclaimer for it AFTER it was posted, an editor I know (who I chat with) suggested I take it down. Take it ALL down. The REAL Jonathan Knight might hit me with a lawsuit! (Obviously, it's not online anymore.)

So, why am I talking about it now? Why, after I have moved past that experience that happened over a year ago and am 100% convinced it was all just some game? I didn't feel the need to talk publicly about this. It's just ONE OTHER BS experience I have had in life. I'm not sitting in a corner going "poor me" over this, or anything. I'm not looking for sympathy and I don't want to be known as "the girl who got played by some Jonathan Knight poser." I ALSO don't want to be the girl who DOES end up getting sued by the real Jonathan Knight over even TALKING about this! WHY am I even talking about this now??

Because of something that my ex said to me after I answered his question with, "That was just some poser."

He said, "You need to be careful."

Yes. That is true. The only reason WHY I posted that essay in the first place was because I wanted to get the word out on this kind of thing going on. Some posers pulling crap like this with people. I know I need to be careful. I know this. If there's ANYTHING that whole experience taught me, it's that I can't wear my heart on my sleeve online. I WOULD like to find love again, someday. But if it happens, it has to be in real life, and not through the Internet. It was a hard, painful lesson to learn, yes. But one I am glad I learned nonetheless.

As to why I have Jonathan Knight's pictures on my computer, and as my account icon? Well, who CAN resist those dreamy eyes? And sometimes, just some of the time, I allow myself a tiny bit of fantasizing, and thinking about what might have been if it HAD really been him. :)

Update, 2/11/14: That really WAS Jonathan Knight. He may have been hating me all of these years, but I will never hate him back.

Sunday, September 10, 2006

What I WON'T do online

A recent news story I read about a councilman's wife posing nude on the Internet had me trying to understand what compelled that woman to do such a thing. I realize women are doing this type of thing, but I am not one of them.

There are just SOME things I won't do online. I won't post revealing photos of myself, even something that "bares all." I'd never do that, even if they were willing to pay me thousands or even millions of dollars for it. That's just wrong. Well, in MY opinion, it is. Plus, I'm the kind of girl to save that sort of thing for just ONE man, the one I am involved with. And not for the whole world to see. I mean, I even have hang-ups about wearing a swimsuit in public because of the fact that they reveal too much.

I also won't agree to meet someone I barely know just out of the blue. Maybe some guys out there think it's ok to suggest they "hook up" with you the very first time they start chatting with you. Not me.

I also won't use a blog or any other kind of public forum to whine endlessly about how much my life sucks or who's made my **** list. (Yes, I actually HAVE one! LOL But it's not like anybody who ends up on there stays on there forever. I'm willing to work things out with people. And, I am willing to forgive.) That sort of thing is private, not meant for the virtual world. I realize I've posted public rants before, but those were on universal subjects and, well, they were tapered down a notch. But, I mean, I won't go into details about bad things going on in life or curse people out online.

I have also come to see that I really can't rely on the Internet to bring in extra income anymore. Once upon a time I could, but that required A WHOLE LOT OF TIME ONLINE, and stress and anxiety offline. It's not worth it! Life is just too dang short to let stuff like that pull you down. Plus, I compared my "online success" to my "offline success." And I didn't like what I saw. I want more offline success, because I LIVE offline. That's where the REAL people are. The REAL WORLD. Plus, it's pretty dang lonely working from home. :( I just need to be around people. Actually BEING THERE to help people, and not through the Internet. No, that's not for me anymore.

I also won't ever again use the Internet as some way to find love. I know people HAVE found love through the Web. But, I'm not ever treading that path anymore. It's not that I've been burned too badly I'm swearing it off. I just prefer the REAL THING. A real person to talk to and know. I would rather have that, to have lost that, than something over the Internet.

The Internet HAS been good to me. I've achieved a great deal of writing success. And, I have many... "hats" which I wear. Ugh, sometimes I think TOO many. I've got three editorial positions and three writing positions. I have also met some wonderful people, though I have yet to ACTUALLY meet them in person (I have, as a matter of fact, been encouraged to meet Peter Bowerman in person -- and Peter and I have been sending emails back and forth for over two years!!). I've learned about people I wouldn't have otherwise got to know so well offline. My Internet friends REALLY helped me through a rough patch in life, and I've even taken on mentoring a couple of young writers (which has been rewarding).

But, on the other hand, there are the bad things I've had to go through because of my Internet experiences. I mean, for one thing, ALL of the writing stuff I've been doing online interfered with all of the books and scripts I want to write. For another... I had to learn some painful lessons, often due to people out there in cyberspace thinking it's ok to scam others or hurt others or play with peoples' feelings from the security of their home. But the worst part is how it just ate up my time. I did all of the things I've done while my little girl grows up too fast right in front of me. It just ate up my "mom time" and I don't want that to continue.

I am going to be homeschooling my child. I WILL need Internet resources to help me figure out how to do that. But other than that, I'm easing up on other stuff. I won't be fervently submitting work as much as I used to. But, if there are deadlines I have to meet, I WILL put in that time to meet them. And ONLY those deadlines. Nothing else.

Life is too short to let the Internet suck you in. Life is too short, period.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Going beyond a "to do" list

Being a divorced parent with an overload of writing/editing work on my shoulders, I have FINALLY found the one thing to help me keep my sanity in all this chaos: Having a “to do” list.

Before, I used to suggest writers create a “to do” list to avoid any distractions from holding up their writing work. But now I have seen just how valuable this list can be for a writing parent going it alone.

Yesterday, for example, I had a number of tasks to perform. But instead of trying to do all of them, I took the most important tasks and made them my “to do” items for the day. These tasks were:

*Proofreading for the Skyline Literary Magazine we’re launching VERY soon.

*Giving my poetry manuscript some final touching up and submitting it to the publisher. (I printed it out and caught some punctuation mistakes.)

*Putting out the latest issue of my E-zine (where I happened to include a tip about using a “to do” list).

And even though it was almost 1 a.m. by the time I got the last item checked off, I finally crawled into bed feeling a deep sense of satisfaction of getting every task on my list done.

But I was also happy about something else: I managed to get OTHER pressing tasks done, too. Namely, the important stuff: Cleaning the house, spending quality time with my daughter, AND doing the yard work in the front and back yards. I was too worn out to rake up the front yard, but I did pick up trash that had blown into my yard. I DID forget to water the front yard (ugh), but I figured I could tackle the rest of the front yard duties tomorrow. At least it looked somewhat DECENT.

Juggling all of that was pretty taxing. And when I woke up this morning, I was still exhausted. It was going to take some strong coffee to get me out of bed this morning! Haha But I did get up. And I did put together another “to do” list for the writing stuff I need to do today. Some of today’s tasks are offline work, which I’m grateful for because I can at least print stuff out and write in my notebook – while I’m busy doing all the OTHER non-writing jobs I’ve got on my hands every day.

The list is helping me stay on my writing path, though. And it’s also helping me to eliminate the worry of what exactly I can get done when.

Monday, September 04, 2006


Wow. I tend to overdramatize things. I had a bad Labor Day weekend because of my daughter being gone, but she wasn’t gone for 72 hours straight. First off, she’s coming home today. Yay!! And, on Saturday, my ex brought her over for a while. We played Scrabble. It’s little things like that which helps me get through the weekends.

Admittedly, though, I caved last night. I was chatting with Angel when I got the sudden urge to go for a drive. (Not to anywhere specifically, though there WAS the suggestion I drive all the way out to Florida! LOL But sometimes, I just like to drive around.) And, well, I drove out to where my ex lives. At first I asked myself, what am I going to DO?? I couldn’t just show up at his door; it was late and my daughter might be sleeping. We pretty much have an agreement to keep our distance when she’s visiting with him on weekends, mainly because it’s so hard for my little girl when I leave. (She cries for me, making it hard for me, too!) But as I drove by his apartment, I could see her right through the window, sitting at his desk, coloring. At first, I wondered why she was still up (it was after 10), but then I started feeling better just seeing that she was ok. She hadn’t been kidnapped. The place wasn’t on fire. She wasn’t running around outside, all by herself. She was fine.

And, that helped me. It really did.

But, normally, I turn to my writing to help me get through the weekends. Well, writing and...reading books. One time, I was at Borders for hours, just reading and writing down quotes. This weekend, though, the focus was on my poetry book, which I am sending off to a publisher today. Now when I’m working on a book to get ready for a publisher (or when I’m “in the zone”), I lose all sense of time. It’s probably why I barely ate anything this weekend. It’s also why I’m late this month in paying my rent! (Ugh.) I just got so wrapped up with this book. And, once again, I’m reminded of the author who forgot to pay her electric bill and ended up losing power while she was working on her next book. But, my poetry book is done. Yay! I’m happy about that.

Now to work on my other books! I really need to get the novel revisions done. And contact some sources for my haunted houses book. And work on the “revision bootcamp” book. And fix up another children’s picture book I recently wrote. And work on the other novel.

And I still need to finish proofreading the Skyline Emag. Get my Ezine out. Finish up a sci-fi short story. Hopefully sometime this week I’ll finally sit down to write an essay I’ve been carrying around in my head for three days....

Sunday, September 03, 2006

Weekends suck

I don't know about everybody else celebrating the Labor Day weekend, but I am NOT a happy camper. My daughter stays with her dad on the weekends. And sometimes, it's pretty hard for me when she's gone. I am literally a mess. :( One Saturday night, I called my mom to talk to her because I was so upset about it. My younger brother answered the phone and when he heard how upset I was, he got all mad and wanted my ex's email address so he could send him a little "love note."

Well. My ex has got vistations. He's got that right to the visitations. But it's just so hard for me. I miss my baby. :(

Last night, I couldn't sleep. At all. I was tossing and turning. And even though I had some of my daughter's toys in the room with me, I just missed her TOO MUCH to be able to sleep. I finally gave up and got online, at 4:24 a.m. A friend/cowriter in New York was online and she IMed me saying, "You're up early."

"I never slept," I typed back.

I told her how I was so upset being apart from my daughter and she suggested I talk to a doctor about getting some sleeping pills or something to help calm me. I don't take sleeping pills, so she suggested an herb to try instead. She said I should try SOMETHING. I couldn't let this continue. It will get me sick. She had a good point about that.

I don't normally hang out with anyone on the weekends. Would be NICE to! But all my friends are either too busy or...we just don't "hang out." And I TRY to keep my mind off of her being gone by throwing myself into writing/editing work or even reading books, but that only lasts for so long... Same goes for being online. The house just feels so empty.

I am SO attached to my baby girl. I mean, she's EVERYTHING to me. It's been two months since she started spending the weekends with her dad but I'm not used to it yet. I don't think I'll ever get used to it. I'm just so used to her being HERE, home with me. If she was in school, that'd be different. That's only 4-5 hours. Not 48 hours. Ugh. It's so hard. And now THIS weekend, it's 72 hours...

Most people look forward to the weekends. I don't. It's nice having some free time, but it's not nice when my baby isn't at home with me. :(

Saturday, September 02, 2006

The dream letter

I woke up early this morning from a dream and I couldn't go back to sleep.
In my dream, I got this CUTE new doggy. I've wanted to get a new dog for a long time. LOTS of dogs!! :) But this one, he was the same kind of breed of dog as my nephew's (Blue Nose Pit Bull). He was a puppy. [To the anti-Pit Bull crowd: My nephew's dog is a baby. Seriously, he can play rough (like, oh, pull me up the stairs in a game of tug-of-war), but he's a really lovable dog. I think he would be to the family he's a part of. My daughter LOVED being around him and, LOL, he and I would "sing" (howl) together when my sister played music.]


So, I got a new dog in the dream. And after a while, I named him Boris. He became a BIG HIT with my daughter and family members. Then I was "given" my ex's desk. I know in real life he would never part with his desk but I was HAPPY about it in my dream! Needed help moving it into my place but I was happy, too. FINALLY! A desk! Yay!! I don't have a desk now... *sulks* The computer is on my kitchen table, as it is. And...all of my writing stuff is in either my nightstand or boxes. So, I was HAPPY about getting a desk. (I'd probably cry in real life. haha) I managed to get my old neighbor, Melissa, to help me move the desk into my home. (That's interesting because my younger sister, MELISSA, is planning to move in with me soon.) Then, later on, some family members were visiting with me (wonder of wonders!) and this black guy appeared out of nowhere, holding a puppy. He said "this is for you" (another one??) and I got all excited over ANOTHER dog joining the "family" (though in the dream, I was also secretly worried about affording yet another pet fee to pay). This puppy was a husky mix and the man petted him as I held him, saying, "He's got some bad tooth decay." I said that was ok, I'll give him some TLC.

Next thing in the dream, I was at this Goodwill and I bought this BIG brown coat. I stopped to get some gas and while the attendant put gas in the tank, I was just putting my hands into the pockets and I FELT something! A big clump of something.... I pulled out a bunch of folded up papers that had some money in it (I saw a 10, a five and a bunch of ones). Then I unfolded one of the papers and it looked like a letter. I started reading:

"'I don't want to give up.'"
You already have..."

I realized, as I kept reading, that I knew who wrote this letter. I was shocked! It was a letter written to ME! By an ex-boyfriend. How in the WORLD was it possible I could find that in a jacket I got at the Goodwill???

Small world....

Well, I kept reading the letter. He was talking about how, when I'd get busy working on the books, most of the time he'd just "kick back and let it happen" but other times he worried about the kind of people I was getting involved with. Mainly the publishers I was signing with, to publish my books. He picked one company in particular and started going on and on about how one person working there used to work for a shady business and this guy has some kind of criminal record. I was actually impressed he'd gone so far as to check people out. (I'm not planning to get another book published by this company, though, and my reasons don't have anything to do with who works there.)

I woke up from the dream as I continued to read his letter.

I lied in bed, thinking about it. The first thing that struck me as odd was that this letter was talking about CURRENT events. I have not heard from this man for many years. (Wow. It's been something like....13 years since I last heard from him. I met him when I was 16.) It's strange I'd find a letter he wrote talking about something going on in my life at this point, when I haven't seen him or heard from him for so long. (I haven't SEEN him since I was 16!)

Another thing I thought about was...why did I find a letter from HIM? It's not like there's any chance I'd EVER see him again. And, I haven't even thought about any feelings for him, or anything.

But I HAVE thought about him, from time to time. I mean, we never really got to HAVE much of a relationship. I only saw him once! We pretty much kept in touch by letters and phone while I moved all over and he moved all over. It's just been a long time. I often wonder what he's done with his life. If he ever got married, ever became a father, if he's still living in Florida, etc. (LOL It's SO ironic. I know SO MANY people over in Florida but I have NEVER been there, never visited there.) I don't think I'll ever talk to him again, though. I lost his address long ago and, well, we just fell out of touch. And I figured he's moved on with his life. Well, sure, I have, too. It's not like I mourn "what could have been" or secretly hope he'll just show up on my doorstep and I'll have love in my life again. You know, I don't really think about that stuff ("stuff" being love! LOL). I pretty much figure if he WANTS to contact me, he can get on the Internet and find me quite easily. All it takes is entering my name in Google and my site pops up, my email address pops up. I'm not HARD to find on the Internet! And, really, if he WANTED to find me, that's pretty much something he could manage to do. So, I'm not worried. (Admittedly, I have used the 'Net to "find" him, but I never really followed through on any leads because I was really only curious about whether or not he's still in Florida.)

Finally, I think about what his letter says..... For the longest time, I've known I need to get my books published with a "big" publisher. I've tried to talk myself into "climbing out of the sandbox" and approach the bigger houses for a long time. But, I never really DO it. I just don't. I keep going to the smaller presses, the unknown publishers. I just keep doing that and I really don't know why.

Have I really "given up," as his letter suggests? Have I shortchanged myself? Do I have so little faith in my ability to write a book worthy of getting published by companies like St. Martin's Press, Little, Brown, and Doubleday?

I don't know.....