Monday, October 30, 2006

Reading, writing and research

I normally try to keep the writing stuff separate from the parenting stuff. Today, however, was an exception. I couldn't work on writing stuff at just one point then call it a day, because there was JUST SO MUCH information I had to wade through, that I kept getting back online again and again just to try to get a better grasp of things. I'm desperately trying to understand what EXACTLY my bad-guy character is suffering from, but after hours of research, I've pretty much decided I'm going to have to seek out an expert for some more in-depth help. I know my character suffers from some type of "delusional misidentification syndrome," but his is a case that doesn't fit a subtype. So I have to ask an expert for some help on this. I've visited several Web sites and even checked for books on this subject, but I can't get a really good "idea" on what a person suffering from this type of delusional psychosis is like. What I needed was a "profile" I could mold my antagonist into. I've already developed my antagonist, but in order to make the story's ORIGINAL premise work, I have to assign my antagonist with a mental illness which he cleverly fools a medically-trained nurse with.

My research got me to thinking about other things, too. Specifically, the whole idea of people seeing ghosts and experiencing paranormal phenomena. I never knew that such people could be considered to be "delusional." My own dream experiences were probably just that. My research was a real eye-opener for me with that particular subject, because I saw myself as I read one article after another and another. It was scary, really. I'm not in that position in my life anymore. I don't obsess over my dreams anymore, or over my "dream man" anymore. I am moving on past ALL of that. Just rebuilding my life (as slow as that is going, but I'm still doing it all the same), but I was really troubled that I was in it sooo deeply. I mean, it just really, REALLY had me in its grip. It was so real to me and, according to my research, the reality of the delusions is just one symptom of a delusional disorder. (I also learned that a serious illness could cause this type of episode to happen and I wondered if my having survived spinal meningitis was just the catharsis to send me into such a delusional state.) I ended up writing a 4-page essay about this, taking a break from my research to sit outside and write as my daughter played. It was 50 degrees today. Very cold and VERY windy. My fingers were icicles and I sat there shivering, but I tried to write as much as I could, anyway. That was until my daughter decided she wanted to come back inside. Then I sat at the desk to write the rest of it.

I feel guilty because I spent so much time on the computer today. But I am thankful that, at least, I know now I must find an expert to help me out with my character's mental illness.

I'd planned to have these novel revisions done by November 1st, but I don't see that happening. I'll probably end up working on the revisions even still while I do NaNoWriMo.

My daughter's friend came over today and they played. I took breaks from research to do other things, like try to catch up on reading this book whose author I must interview VERY SOON! I have a love/hate thing going with his book. The style of his writing isn't exactly one I favor, but the characters are endearing and I want to know what happens next. At one point, a character in this story comes across a published diary his late father kept before he died, and the character, with tears in his eyes, recognizes the gem he now has in his hands. It made me think about the novel I am writing for NaNoWriMo. It has something to do with keeping a journal -- and THAT is all I am telling the world about it! But it made me anxious to write this story. And I had to restrain myself from giving in to that temptation, telling myself, NOT YET! It also made me think of the journals I lost before I moved to Oregon. The journals boxed away in the garage I was denied access to and which were later hauled off to the dump by the landlady. I often wonder if it was destroyed along with my other irreplaceable treasures. Or is there some off, off, WAY OFF chance it is still intact? That even someone may find it in their rummaging and even sit down to read it? I remember once perusing one such journal. Reading it was like reading some novel. I kid you not. There was the time I'd written about my young sister's pregnancy igniting controversy in the family, how my house had caught on fire, how my uncle had had a heart attack and my older brother got all upset because he was the last to find out (I was the next-to-last), how my aunt had died and all the stuff I'd written about her, a funny conversation I TRIED to have with my then way-too-exhausted boyfriend, a "drama episode" my family was going through when rumors were being spread around about my youngest sister, etc., etc. Just a whole lot of crazy and alarming and unusual things. I wonder how someone reading all of that would take to it.

They might think it was actually a manuscript for a novel and not so much a REAL diary.

Well. I'll be putting together something just like that soon enough.

And that's ALL I'm going to say about it.

It's actually kinda scary I am taking on YET ANOTHER book project. I was chatting with an online friend this morning and she asked me how I juggled all of the books I'm writing. (Well, I have a system.) My plate is very, very, VERY full right now. I'm actually focusing on JUST getting all of my book projects done because I have SO MANY. I have a lot of book projects on the table right now and I can't accept anything more. Well, except for the NaNoWriMo book. But, that's about it. That's all, really. Gotta finish ALL of my book projects up before I take on anything new. (I have had to write down ALL of them just to keep tabs on where I am with which book.)

Anyway. I was acting awful silly a lot today. I think by now my daughter has been able to figure out when her mom is joking around and just being silly. Like at one point, I got the pliers to turn on the heater with in the living room. The girls were washing their hands in the bathroom. I stifled a giggle then walked in, holding up the pliers, and asking, "OK, which one of you needs your teeth pulled?" My daughter giggled but, her friend! Oh my God. You should have seen the look of horror on her face. I laughed to show I was joking but she still looked at me funny as I walked out.

Silliness aside, I came across an interesting incident today. My daughter came up to me upset because she and her friend were having a disagreement over something. She explained that her friend showing "three" on her hand was wrong. In ASL, the "3" and "W" are signed differently. My daughter knows the ASL alphabet and she knows how to count in ASL, as well. Her friend held up what is "W" in ASL and said, "This is three." My daughter said, "No, THIS is three" and held up the ASL-version of "3." (In ASL, three is the first three fingers -- thumb, pointing finger and middle finger -- and "W" is the pointing finger, middle finger, and ring finger.) I smiled to her friend and explained that in sign language, we sign "3" differently because that "3" she was showing was the sign for "W" and I showed her how we sign "3" in ASL. This is to avoid confusion. This was the very first time my daughter had a social situation where ASL clashed with something popularly accepted by society. It made me wonder what other kind of situations she might face in her knowledge of ASL compared to other popular nonverbal cues.

Maybe there's an article in there somewhere. Or an essay. Or even a book!

OK. Wait a minute. I'll stop myself now.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Facing the music

I was up late last night. Of course, this meant doing the rounds with housecleaning, but I also logged in at MySpace to fiddle around with my profile and leave comments on pages. (An online friend recently had a baby and I wanted to congratulate her. I ended up FORGETTING to do that once again, and got distracted in checking out some pages.) I have also had to email someone I know named David. I have had to email him for WEEKS and....I KEEP FORGETTING!!!! ARGH! I swear, I need to stamp it on my forehead: "Email David." Ohh, but then I wouldn't be able to see it. Hm. Oh! I could write it on my hand! There we go! Now I just have to make sure I don't slap my forehead afterwards. Haha. Then I'd have "liame divaD" on my forehead.

Hmmmm.... liame divaD? Hmm.... Liam E. Divad. Yay! A character name!! IT'S MINE!!! *gets all possessive-like* Maybe I could model it after Liam Jackson (this guy: Liam Jackson ). Heh, that'd be cool. Then I could email him and say, "Hey, LJ, for once, I modeled a character after someone I know!"

Anyway. The MySpace stuff I did LATE last night wasn't for naught. I mean, sure, it HAS actually started to become a distraction for me. Not only am I constantly getting ideas for people to look up and changes to make to my profile, but I'm also TRYING LIKE CRAZY to post a bulletin about the latest issue of my E-zine, a latest essay posted online, and send out a call for book excerpts. (My darn weak Internet connection!) One person I know complained that I was "wasting so much time on MySpace" even though it wasn't like she was standing next to me with a stopwatch to prove that. At the time, she was wrong. I was only on there once or twice a day. But now I'm always going back there. It's like 'oh, I forgot to do this' or 'I forgot to return the comment favor with this person.' Etc. Sometimes I try to STAY OFF of there and my online friends IM me saying "please comment on my new pictures!" Etc. Ugh. Anyway. It wasn't a waste. I ended up checking the pages of the guys who are part of the band Grynch. I'm writing an essay about living next door to a band. In this case, Grynch (these guys: ), and as I checked the pages, I came up with some new material to add to my essay. For example, one member, the drummer Tobby, has a page and on it I read the comments about how he was on the radio. I was all like, "Eck. He was on the radio? When did THIS happen??" I was tempted to run over there and ask him myself, but it was kinda ten minutes to 2 a.m., so maybe that wasn't a good idea. I also checked Darrell's page, chuckling over how he listed himself as "78 years old." (WTF??) (As a side note, I don't know ALL the guys in that band. I mostly talk with Darrell, Sean and Tobby. I haven't yet "officially" met Kyle and Jon, but I HAVE seen some guys smiling and waving at me as they walk in/out of that house. I just smile, wave back, and sit there thinking, 'Who's that?')

I am trying to think of just the right angle for my essay. At first, I was going to make it into one of those "what it's like living next door to a band" type of thing. It's really not all that exciting, folks! LOL Besides the fact there are ALWAYS people going in and out of that house and I'll occasionally catch sight of them loading up this BIG van to go practice somewhere, it's really not all that much to write home about. (And I would LITERALLY write home about stuff; my family's in California.) (.....*bawls*) When I had first found out that I was living next door to a band, and not next door to a bunch of guys who liked to hang out on the front porch fiddling around with guitars (which is what I first THOUGHT! LOL), I told an online friend and he typed back, "How appropriate." I joked, "At least I can't complain about the noise." Then one day, my daughter, ex-husband and I were hanging out on my front porch, and my daughter started dancing. I asked her if she was hearing music (Note: I'm deaf, her dad's deaf, but she can hear. Got it? Good.) and she nodded as she pointed at my neighbor's house. Now, I knew they don't normally practice at home. Darrell told me that would cause problems with the neighbors. So I wondered what music they were playing loud enough for a child next door to hear. Maybe one of their tracks? Or maybe one of the neighbors had just pissed them off. Well....if it WAS one of theirs, I'd have to teach my daughter the RIGHT way to dance to that kinda music: Headbanging. So maybe I could write about being deaf and living next door to a band. Hm, when I read Tobby's page last night, he was talking about how music was his life and all that. It made me remember my passion for music, too. This passion suffered a HUGE blow when I lost my hearing at the age of 13, but even still, I grew up knowing music, hearing music, dancing and singing to music. Music was ALL around me. Now it wasn't. It was just next door! A reminder of the one thing I could never accept losing my ability to hear: Music. Something that represented that burning flame within me every time I had danced and sang with family members as we had the Beatles playing. Or Elvis. Or Creedence Clearwater. Johnny Horton, Ronnie Milsap, the Bee Gees, Beach Boys, Air Supply and Hank Williams, Jr. Yes, we had a VERY eclectic mix of music playing in the home as I grew up. I remember my cousin and I singing a Pat Benatar song as we swinged on the swingset. How my sisters and I would sing a beloved Bonnie Tyler song on car trips. How every New Year's saw us on the coffee table, dancing and singing. Darn. Just THINKING about it makes me nostalgic. Kinda sad, too. Oh, boy. I better stop talking about this before the tears start forming. :(

This morning, I woke up early. I DID NOT want to get out of bed. It was too. Dang. COLD!! Brrr!! I was a little sleepy, too, but as I thought more on that extra material to add to my essay, I became more and more awake. Yes, I COULD write about the MySpace stuff in this essay. And it just MIGHT be better off with the "being deaf" angle. I made a mental note to ask the guys if I could take a picture of them to go with it, and I inwardly groaned when I remembered my digi cam is LOUSY!! Ugh. I once tried to take a picture for an article with that thing, but it was soo fuzzy. Dang. My nephew, Nathan, gave me a digi cam, but I can't figure out how to get the darn thing to WORK! *sigh* I thought more about this essay. For some time, I've thought of pitching it to Rolling Stone Magazine. Now, THIS is my "dream magazine" to get published in. Forget Good Housekeeping. Forget Reader's Digest. Forget Newsweek. I wanna get published in the Rolling Stone! I love, LOVE that magazine. Even though I keep reading about bands and musicians I can never hear, something about this magazine keeps drawing me to it. Something just "connects" me to it. I have one Jimi Hendrix commemorative issue of this magazine, but I've gone through other issues, too. The thought of trying to get my essay published there had me all excited. I wasn't sure of my chances, though, but I had to TRY!! I'd have to write and rewrite this thing until my eyes bleed just to get it "right" but I was certainly going to give it my best shot!

I had to. I had to at least try. As they say in the writing community, "The worst they can do is say no."

I started thinking about something else, too, now that I was more awake: My novel revisions. I HAVE to get the novel revisions DONE. Finished. Over with. I'm planning to participate in NaNoWriMo this year, and since the editor said the door was open until December, 2006, I have to get CRACKING!! I'm running out of time. So, I REALLY gotta get this baby done and sent off to the publishing company.

That was enough to get me out of bed this morning and face the cold. That, and the prospect of hot coffee.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

A mompreneur?

Ask me at any time why I prefer to be a stay-at-home mom and my answer is simple: "To be there for my daughter." My little girl, a child I desperately wanted for so long and who took more than two years for me to conceive, is the light of my light. Jennifer ("Jen") has become popular in my family, even though she's been out of sight from them since early January. At 5 years old, she's an overactive, creative and lovable child. Though she definitely has her bad days (don't ALL children?), I love her to pieces and actually feel no regrets in being there for her all these years, sans job. Of course, I managed to make a little extra money with my writing jobs, and this was fine for a while. Until, that is, divorce struck and I gradually learned the financial realities of trying to support a child on your own. I have a permanent income, but it's just enough for our rent, bills, car payment and fuel. (It's NOT welfare or SSI, btw. I wouldn't DO that.) I have that income plus child support. Still, my financial status is at the "just enough" level, and I know someday my daughter's going to want an allowance or I'm going to have to be able to afford getting her new shoes or new clothes for school. My writing jobs aren't bringing in the kind of money that it used to, and comparing what we don't have to what my child is later going to really need, it was with a sad heart I set out to try to find a job. My attempts led me to Vocational Rehab, which a neighbor friend pointed me to, and I've been working with them since in trying to gain employment. I sadly said goodbye to being a stay-at-home mom to my baby girl and have since been trying to get myself into a "mindset" of not being at home so much or having to work a job because my child depends on me for it. (Note: There are other reasons why I need to improve my financial status. One is that I would like to be able to travel AT LEAST once a year. I can't help it; I love travelling and visiting places. NOT the headaches behind all that, though. But, yes, I do enjoy travelling. And I can't talk publicly about the other reasons -- but they ARE things that need to be resolved, at some point.)

Then, yesterday, as I was paging through the ads from Sunday's newspaper, an idea for a home-based business struck. I liked the idea so much that I started writing it all out. Then I started to ask myself: Could I STILL be an at-home mom if I tried this?

Was I ready to join the club of mompreneurs?

I had actually thought about doing an Internet-based "business" in the past. I signed up for this course to teach a person how to run a resume-writing business from home. And even though that course offered me some interesting tips and tricks for writing resumes, and even though I put together a plan for that, I really wondered just how successful it might be. I used to work for a home-safety business, which emphasized fire protection. When I was giving one of the free demonstrations, which included the option for a customer to buy equipment such as fire extinguishers from us, I was told, "I could get that cheaper from the Home Depot." (And this was actually TRUE. It didn't take me long to learn I was "employed" by a business resembling one of those steak-knife-selling outfits. Still, what I learned from that experience, about home safety inspections, was still useful information.) I thought the same about the resume-writing thing. There are free resume writing sites on the Web. There is software available far cheaper than what many resume-writing businesses charge. (I thought a $100 flat fee for my services was fair but even now I'm questioning that amount.) Also, I figured people would find a way to get their resumes done for free. My older sister asked my then-boyfriend-later-husband-later-ex-husband to fix up her resume for her, and there was no exchange of money in that deal. So I figure people wouldn't really take to this idea very well. Also, I chatted with an online friend, telling her my doubts about this whole thing, and she pointed out that people without a job weren't liable to spend whatever money they have on a resume. Also, I can't gaurantee someone will get a job. What if a disgruntled customer started doing something scary out of respite? Uh-uh. I have a child; I'm not setting myself up for something like THAT!

But this idea I came up with yesterday just might work. It MIGHT work. The concept is unique enough, though it is similar to one used before but there is a way to set this particular business apart from the rest and I figured that part out, too. I got excited about it as I thought more on it and I wanted to tell my youngest sister ALL about it right then and there.

Then I think...what if this is just another swing-and-a-miss idea? I've had ideas for businesses before, but I never went anywhere with them. And part of me thinks that, no matter how much I want to do THIS idea, chances are, I won't.


For the same reason I never followed through on the OTHER ideas:

1. I don't know ANYTHING about starting/managing/running/owning a business.

2. I have NO educational training in owning a business.

3. I have NO experience in running a business.

4. I have NO clue on how to get the funds to start one up and keep it running.

5. I have very poor money management skills. It's true. I do! I am horrible at managing finances. I have tried several times to do this and I have tried to learn how to do this, too. But, numbers and me just don't click. I get SO confused a lot and I'm terrible at math. Often, I will think I'll have it all figured out and I end up being VERY WRONG. Ugh. And then the unexpected happens, which I don't have a safety net for. I just can't manage that stuff -- and too many horror stories of people getting bilked by someone managing their money for their business has me way too cautious about trusting anyone I don't know to handle THAT end of things. Sigh. I'm good with the idea stuff, but not with the logistics involved in keeping those ideas afloat. (As a side note, I have pretty much decided to throw in the towel on trying to manage a bank account should I ever....EVER, EVER, EVER get married again. Haha. Nooo, thank you. I'll let the man of the house take care of that stuff.)

It's still a nice thought, though. One I suppose will get tucked away with all the rest.

still not happy about no longer being a stay-at-home mom, though. I've even tried calling myself a "working mom" just to get used to it and that attitude is still hard for me to adopt.

DISCLAIMER: Please, please do not send me emails saying you have the perfect at-home job for me or some kind of job that requires an initial "investment." Please also don't try to talk me into some kind of "get rich quick" thing or pyramid scheme. I am not interested. I am not interested in getting "rich" or "wealthy" or becoming a zillionaire, or whatever. I just need a better income to SURVIVE. Thanks all the same, though.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Thanks, Borders

I realize that what happened at Borders was not a situation most job-training programs prepare you for. I also realize it was a situation that could have been prevented, on my part. But the fact remains that I still ended up going to Borders when I should have rested that day. And I ended up suffering a serious side-effect relating to my earlier donating visit in the day.

It also must be noted that the employees of the Borders Books and Music store, on Coburg Road in Eugene, Oregon, in the Oakway Shopping Center, acted with a strong degree of professionalism and kindness.

That last part is what stands out in my memory the most. Kindness. Not only did the employees and manager act as professionals during my personal medical emergency, but they were also kind and patient with me, a deaf customer. With every moment that they assisted me during this episode, not once did they show fear, frustration, impatience or distrust. They did not accuse me of making a scene or rushed to hide me away from the other customers obviously witnessing this unusual episode in their store. The fellow customers who likewise assisted me will never be forgotten.

Every single person in that bookstore who helped me on that evening of Saturday, October 7th, holds a special place in my heart and in my memory. I remember every face. And I am extremely grateful to each and every one.

Thank you, Borders bookstore employees, for assisting me in my time of helplessness and distress. Thank you for helping me and accommodating me to the best of your abilities.

Thank you, also, to the two other customers who helped me. Who wrote on the paper their questions and asked if I was okay. Believe it or not, the man who was touching my right shoulder helped, too. That very action was helpful to me, in regaining my awareness.

Thanks to all who helped me on that day. Perhaps I had not been in the wrong to go to Borders, after all. Perhaps going there wasn't such a big mistake, because there were angels in disguise ready and willing to help.

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Borders, Part 2

I was aware of my head being on the table. I was also aware that I wasn't aware. While I lay sprawled on the table at the Borders coffee area, I had this voice in my head telling me two words: "Get up." Actually, it was a very demanding voice. "Get UP. What are you doing? You can't stay here like this. What if someone steals your purse? Are people watching?"

I managed to bring myself to wake up. I HAD to wake up. I was on my own. Had no one with me. I had to wake up. So I did. I got my eyes to open and I reminded myself, "OK. I'm at Borders. I just passed out at the table. I need to get some help here. I need to lie down."

And all this time, a wave of dizziness still had me in its clutches. I was barely able to stand. In fact, I had tried to stand. I tried to get up to go to the bathroom and splash cold water on my face. But I couldn't. I mean, I got up, walked around my chair, then had to sit right back down again. The dizziness was just too strong. Finally, I got my bearings, then got up and headed for the counter. I tried to stand up, I REALLY tried, but I couldn't. I fell over the counter, saying in short bursts of air, "Excuse me...I am...really...dizzy...I need lie down."

The girl looked at me with confusion.

"Is there lie down?...I'm so dizzy."

My breathing became labored and I was talking in short bursts of air.

My head dropped and the dizziness overpowered me as I realized I was facedown on the counter. That old voice started up again. "Get up! Keep your head UP!" it said. "Get your head OFF of the counter!"

I slowly raised my head to see with blurred vision the girl talking to some guy who worked there and they stood behind the counter. The next thing I know, the dizziness overcame me and I was swooning. I just wasn't aware of ANYTHING going on around me. Then I felt someone touching my right shoulder. This somehow brought me out of my reverie. I looked up to see this man wearing a cap and asking me, "Are you okay?"

I don't know how but this snapped me back to reality. Back to what was going on. I just said, "I'm so dizzy."

I noticed two other people to my left. They were motioning for me to sit in a chair they'd put behind me. Mentally, I was screaming "I need to lie down!!" but there was nothing to lie down on. A chair would have to do. So I just lowered myself, hoping I would sit in the chair I could no longer see and REALLY hoping I didn't fall right smack on my butt. I didn't think I couldn't get myself up if I did. Somehow, I landed in the chair, and I was still having trouble breathing. The guy who'd been behind the counter earlier was now at my left side and after I sat down, I kept saying "I'm sorry, I'm sorry" because I HATED it that I'd caused a scene. He kept motioning and talking and I guess he was telling me "it's ok" or "don't worry about it." I couldn't really tell what it was he'd said. I noticed him using the sign for phone and asking if there was anybody they could call. I shook my head and said, "I have no one." (My ex doesn't have a phone anymore. He is deaf, anyway. I also wasn't thinking clearly enough to REMEMBER I had my friend's phone number in my purse.) I was also BURNING UP! I was very hot so I took off my jacket. I was surprised to see drops of sweat all over the top front of my shirt. Two people were trying to communicate with me up until then but I couldn't understand them. I mumbled "I'm deaf" in between my bursts of whatever air came through my lungs then removed my jacket. I guess they saw the green bandage tape on my arm and someone wrote "how long has it been since you gave blood?" I wanted to say "I donated plasma, not blood" but I could barely talk and all I managed to put together in my head and mouth was, "What time is it?" Wow, what a question to ask when you can barely see and think right! When she showed me her watch, I thought it read "6:35" and so I said, "About an hour, hour and a half." (Actually, it had been 2 hours and 25 minutes. I'd finished donating at 5:05 p.m.) The woman who was writing on paper to communicate with me asked if I had any food allergies. Was I allergic to eggs or cheese? I said "no." I'd also told them I'd eaten after I donated. I ate before I left and after I was done. I thought it was enough. But, apparently, it wasn't. She let me know that the girl behind the counter was going to get me something to eat. I had asked for a wet rag and I was using it to put on my bare neck and my face. That helped just a bit. By now, my attempts to breathe okay had improved.

The girl communicating to me in writing motioned that I had to move to a table. Inwardly, I didn't want to move at all. I didn't think I could. But I got myself together, got up, dazedly walked to the table then plopped into the chair. They gave me ice water and I drank that as I sat there, occasionally using the wet towel to dampen my neck and face. After a bit, the male counterperson brought me a sandwich they'd made. It was a sausage, cheese and egg sandwich. I reached into my pocket, pulling out dollar bills to pay for it, but he motioned that I didn't have to pay for it. I thanked him for that. That was SO NICE of them!! I gingerly ate the sandwich, mostly drinking the water as I tried to get myself to feel more coherent again. I was still so dizzy and sometimes I dazedly stared at nothing in particular. I turned to notice the guy in the cap walking away from the counter and he looked at me and asked, "Are you ok?" And I tried to smile as I nodded. I was still dizzy but, for the most part, I was okay. I also started feeling a bit nauseated as I ate and I tried VERY HARD to keep the food down and not throw up all over the table. Thankfully, I was able to do this. Soon I'd finished off the water and it was a few minutes before I could get anyone's attention to ask for more water. I tried drinking the cider but I just wanted the water more than that. When the guy, whose name I read was Jacob, returned with the water, he signed "sorry." I was wondering, "What's he sorry for? I'm the one who's sorry." I tried to eat the sandwich but I was moving in slow motion. So I had to eat it really slowly. I actually started to worry and hoped they wouldn't get mad at me for sitting there for so long or maybe accusing me of pretending I wasn't feeling well. But, that didn't happen, and I was grateful for this.

After I ate 3/4 of that sandwich, I started feeling full. That was a GOOD THING! I was happy to feel anything else except that darn dizziness and feeling fullness was like being more aware of myself and not so dazed. I kept sitting there, thinking and gradually able to get my thoughts together more clearly. I took a piece of paper out of my notebook and started writing a note to one of the people behind the counter. Whoever I could get the attention of. So I wrote that I had a friend named Nicole and could someone please call her? I was NOT in any position to drive myself home. I knew this just from sitting there. I was feeling better but I knew I couldn't drive myself home. I didn't know if Nicole was driving (she'd always told me how her mom was driving her around) but I wanted to see if she could pick me up and take me home. (I had to see!) I gradually got Jacob's attention and handed him the note. He nodded then went to the front of the store. I felt awful being in this position. I didn't like it that I needed someone's help just to get home. But I knew if I tried to drive myself, I'd probably end up driving right off the bridge! I was going in and out of dazedness. I finally saw Jacob returning. He handed me a Post-It that said "the manager is calling her right now." I thanked him then forced myself to eat the last piece of the sandwich. They were nice enough to make this for me, I wasn't going to let one bite go to waste! I continued to dazedly stare around, in between getting my focus again. I noticed the girl leaving with a guy. She smiled at me and waved goodbye and her companion said something but I was too out of it to focus my attention on his face to try to read his lips. I finished the sandwich then just sat there, going in and out of the daze. Then I noticed the manager come to the table with a note that said, "Nicole is on her way." I mentally said "thank God" and asked her her name. She smiled then wrote down that her name was Samantha.

Soon, I finally noticed Nicole approaching the table from my left, softly waving at me as she said "hi." We hugged then she sat across from me and asked how I was feeling. I told her I was dizzy and relayed the events from earlier. She was alarmed and I kept telling her, "I've done this before. This has never happened. I know I passed out the first time, but it was never this bad."

So after we talked about what happened, she asked about my daughter. I told her she was doing ok. Just had a birthday party and was telling EVERYONE she's 5 years old now. I told her she's been having problems adjusting to the divorce, even though it's been a few months. Mostly, she has a hard time understanding why her mommy and daddy don't live together anymore, why we're not married anymore. That's just her biggest issue. Why. And I also told her that I've talked to my daughter about things many times. Have been there for her, telling her we still love her very much and we'll always be there for her. We talked about that for a while. Then I asked Nicole how exactly we were going to do this: Get me home with my car and her home in HER car. I suggested she could drive me to my ex's in my car then he could drop me off at home then bring her back to get her car, but that idea got nixed. After some thought, it was decided she would take me home in her car then her mom would drive her back tomorrow and she would drop off my car. I was concerned about my ex freaking out over this. It's not "my" car. It's one of HIS cars. And he gets paranoid about stuff like that. His car being in a lot all night, unsupervised. But it just worked out as the better plan to follow so I agreed. I wondered about the car getting towed away or ticketed, or something, if it was left there all night, so Nicole went to talk to Jacob about our proposed plan. Then she came back and informed me that he'd talk to the manager. Soon the manager came to the table asking about the car's color, model, description and license plate number. I swear, I couldn't remember the license plate number!! I told her the front fender had some damage, though. She said "ok" then that she'd take care of it. After a bit, after Nicole asked me "can you walk?" and I said, "I'll try!" we both got up. I had to move VERY slowly. I was able to manage ok if I didn't move too fast, but I DID end up stumbling a bit as we proceeded to exit the bookstore.

When we got into the parking lot, I showed Nicole where my car was then we went to hers. On the drive home, I realized it had been a good thing I had asked for a friend to pick me up. I was still a little dazed and my vision wasn't completely focused all of the time. Just some of the time. I had to close my eyes because the dizziness was still bad. I guess Nicole noticed this because I saw her fingerspell to me, "Are you okay?"

"I'm aware of the car moving but I can't see very well. The signs are all blurry," I replied.

The look on her face wasn't a very good one after hearing that. I hoped she wasn't worrying about me too much. But I was grateful to her for being there for me. It just really, really meant a whole lot that she came through for me. I had planned to sleep when I got home but I asked her if there was anything I could do or eat or take or drink to help me feel better. Would a multivitamin help? She thought for a bit then said, "Sleep."

"Sleep?" I asked.

She nodded and said, "That's the best."

When we got to my house, we talked in the car for a bit. Nicole told me, "I'm glad you called me."

I sighed then said, "I'm so worried that all the time you're too busy or there's stuff going on."

Nicole was shaking her head. "No. No," she said. Then she looked at me and said, "Call me." I knew what she was saying. "Call me if you need me." I can't even begin to describe my relief over knowing I DID have someone there to call if I needed help. It was so good to know I wasn't so "alone" after all. I hugged her tightly, thanking God for such a good and caring friend. Just really grateful I had someone out here to lean on if I needed her.

Nicole asked if I could walk okay to my door. If I needed any help. I told her that I thought I would be okay and she said she'll watch me from her car. I thanked her again and climbed out. I was still a little wobbly but I managed to get to my doorstep okay. I looked back to see Nicole looking out her window, smiling. I waved, said "goodnight" and she called "goodnight" back to me. I unlocked my door then went inside.

Saturday, October 07, 2006

Today at Borders

Today I had plans to go to the library and do book research. However, given my current financial troubles, I knew I had to pay a visit to the local plasma center to donate plasma. They don't pay a whole lot for donors but what they DO pay would help to buy some food when we need it.

Before I went, I did some Internet stuff this morning. Checking messages, email and such. I paid a visit to the Absolute Write Water Cooler. I needed to unburden myself with a lingering sense of guilt over last week's missed deadline. I just felt terrible about it. So I posted this thread: I did some other posting on that board before I got off the computer. (I'd been eating while I was online; had to make sure I didn't show up for "the blood thing" with an empty stomach.) I figured I'd go to the library after that but I ended up being there for over four hours!

By the time I got home to let my dog out, feed him and eat something, it was getting on to 7 p.m. I chatted briefly with my sister, Millie, my nephew, Nathan, and with Allison while I ate before I headed on out again. I DID want to go to the library...but since I'd be there for a few hours and they'd probably be closing, I decided to do the "library thing" tomorrow, while it was still day out. Instead, I went to Borders. But...before I had logged off the computer, I saw that post from "barbara" on the Water Cooler and it just got me angry. My impression was that she thought I just didn't CARE about meeting my deadline and that she thought I didn't even ask for any help. She happened to put the word "husbands" and "child's father" in bold letters. I had typed up a reply, but I didn't post it yet...I asked a friend of mine, who is also a mod at that board, if he'd read it for me to make sure I wasn't being, well, "snide" or bitter. Because I knew I couldn't be that way. I HAVE to maintain that professionalism with everyone on that board. It's non-negotiable. I HAVE to be professional. Which is why I used the word "fling" when I typed "Please note in my first post I said I am a DIVORCED parent. Now, I don't know why you felt it necessary to make the word "husbands" bold. I don't have a husband. I ALSO DO NOT HAVE a significant other, partner, boyfriend or "fling" to ask for help." Originally, I wanted to say "or even someone I do the bedroom tango with!" instead of "fling" but...ah, I decided against that one. It just sounded too angry.

But...I WAS angry. Reading her post made me very upset. This woman was judging me when she didn't have ALL the information about what was going on in my life. I guess if she had even bothered to read my OTHER blog, here, I guess she would have REALIZED that I TRY to balance the writing and parenting duties. I try to be up to par for BOTH responsibilities...but if my child's needs are more than normal, I WILL put her needs first. I make NO apology for that.

All the same...I was stewing over it. I HAD planned to work on my article today, since I'm "free" anyway, but this post just really....REALLY irked me. I ended up marching into Borders grumbling, "I'll SHOW you I care about this deadline!" (Which was, alas, unmet...) I was also mentally stewing, "You want an article? I'll GIVE you an article!" I was mad but I didn't take it out on anyone. After all, I WAS planning to write up the article today, anyway. I was very courteous to the girl at the counter in the coffee area of the bookstore. I politely ordered a caramel apple cider then sat down to write up the article. I had my notes in my notebook with me and as I went over them, I hope I wouldn't get strange looks over my studying a police report. Ha. Because the new information I uncovered in my interviews had changed the whole angle of the story, I was trying to figure out just HOW I was going to organize this thing. HOW will I write it in an objective, informative and properly constructed manner? I started to mentally scan similar newspaper reports for ideas, noting how THEY were organized and the tone the writers used for them. Have to remain objective! I'm not here to point fingers or make anybody look bad. My job is to tell what had happened, and that's exactly what I started to do.

At first, it went down okay. I kept going over notes and written quotes, putting the article together.

Then something happened. Something...just came over me.

I didn't know what was going on at first. I just knew there was pain in my head. I thought it was just another headache and kept writing. I didn't think much on it. But it became harder for me to focus. My vision started to blur. I had to reread quotes and struggle just to put words down onto paper. Beads of sweat came down my face and I was breathing rapidly as I continued to struggle and keep my focus. A sharp wave of dizziness washed over me and I was literally straining my eyes just to see. I had to run my finger along lines to see where I was because my vision kept blurring.

I finally, finally managed to finish my article. I shoved the papers back into my notebook, not even caring if they got bent up or wrinkled, then I closed my notebook.

It was all I could do before everything went dark.

Friday, October 06, 2006


A friend of mine once said, "I try to avoid working on the weekends if I can get away with it."

But, when you're a writer, not only do you take your work home with you, but you just can't turn that stuff off.

I have been TRYING to get my novel revisions done. Coupled with everything else I do, that has majorly gone to my weekends. Which actually works out pretty well; I'm all alone on the weekends, my daughter's with her dad, so, I've got more time.

But it seems I've got something ELSE I have to work on this weekend. I'm supposed to interview this author and I need to read his book like a madwoman just so I can make good on that interview. Plus, I have all these other books to read for my novel research. I also have ANOTHER interview coming up, which requires reading ANOTHER book. (I need to write down that date before I forget it.) And I have to keep reminding myself there's someone out there who wants to interview ME! LOL

I've got to start writing all this stuff down.

But, really. I don't mind. Work is good. Keeps my mind off of my baby not being with me, at least....but ONE of these weekends....ONE day...I'm hoping I'll be able to forget about the writing obligations and just run away somewhere to have fun. I think I need that.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

This and that

The new neighbors moved in the other day. A single dad with two kids. LOL Just call this whole duplex building the Divorcee House. Haha. I was talking with the dad last night when they came over for my daughter's birthday. He's from California, too! Sweet! I told him, "I used to live in the desert in California, how about you?" At first he was "fingerspelling" "L-A" and it looked like he was saying more. I froze, thinking, 'No WAY is he saying La Quinta,' cause if he was, I'd start wondering if I'd happened to have run into him before. (Wouldn't THAT be weird??) But, no, he was saying, "L.A." And I laughed, going "oh, L.A." and I was thinking to myself, 'DUH!' I told him I used to live in the L.A. area, my grandmother once had an apartment building in L.A. which she managed, and blah, blah, blah, more L.A. talk.

As of today, I am doing "first reads" for Zumaya Publications. This is the publishing company my novel is with and this is the company editor I chat with frequently. I offered to help out on reading subs (she got 80 in one day!) so now I'm doing first reads.

This does NOT mean writers can get "a good word" from me with the company. All I've got going on here is reading submissions and hoping/praying I can get my novel revisions to their satisfaction so I can land a contract with them.

I'm pretty much leaning towards non-editing gigs now and getting more involved with publishing companies. And not just so they'll publish EVERY book I write. ;)

I am also TRYING to get my SIGNews story done. I'm still waiting to hear back from two police officers for information. If I don't hear from them by tomorrow morning, I will call. There's only so far I can take the email-interviewing thing. I don't feel good about making phone calls; hearing people get creeped out with relay calls. Plus, it's information they MIGHT not want to share, and using the relay service involves a third party. Operator trained to be discreet and all or not, I just don't trust them that much with too much private information. And I don't share too much info on my SIGNews assignments until the story runs. Not anything that could hurt the story, anyway.

My daughter has been acting out an awful lot lately. Mostly, she just doesn't mind me. I ask her to brush her teeth and she acts like she can't even hear me. She'll also say she DID do something and I'll find out she didn't. At first I thought "ok, this is all part of her turning 5" but this morning, she was crying for her dad so bad, I realized maybe she is not behaving because this is just her way of "dealing" with the divorce. I've been legally divorced for almost 3 months. She sees her dad EVERY DAY. She spends weekends with him, too. But, she is SO ATTACHED to him. Very attached. I'm starting to worry about my plans to move back to California. I know it will be hard for her. When we were staying at my sister's house in Lake Arrowhead for over 2 weeks, there were many times she cried for him. It was heartbreaking, especially given what he had put me through and STILL putting me through even then and sending emails while I was at my sister's. Ugh. Nowadays, though, the two of us are civil. Oh, sure, he'll try to call the shots on things with me from time to time. But it's not at the "danger level," or anything. But, still. I miss my family. I really do. Especially my mom. We haven't seen her since Christmas! And that is really hard. My ex keeps saying he'll help us get plane tickets so we can visit with her from time to time, but I don't have much faith in that happening because EVERY other occasion when we need financial help (like I do this month! IF I don't get a job...), he can't do it. Family is REALLY important to me, though.... and before moving here, I was really close to mine. I know, they have their faults. Doesn't everybody? haha But, you only get ONE family. And I really don't have a reason to stay here in Oregon... My daughter does. Sure. I'd hate to break them apart. That's part of the reason WHY I finally gave in and moved here. But I miss MY mom, my sisters, nephews and neices. There are two new neices born in June who I haven't even SEEN yet.... I can live with being far apart from my ex. But my daughter can't. So, I have to work that dillemma out. I told my sister maybe we would stay here until my daughter is older, but...I don't know. How would later make it any easier than sooner?....

My back is bothering me again today. Not as bad as before, but still painful. And I'm STILL not used to this new keyboard yet! I keep hitting the wrong keys...

I don't want to hide away from the world. That's a worry I'm having now, because I'm sort of doing that now. For example, I used to have my windowes opened during the daytime all the time. Then after some drunk came to my living room window repeatedly asking me to let him in, I freaked and now I leave them closed. (My mom got mad at me for not calling the cops when that happened. She said, "I know you try to be nice, but sometimes you need to speak up." Unfortunately, she is right. That is my fault. I am TOO nice!! Mark even said I should've dialed 911. A friend in L.A. agreed I should've reported it. OK, so THREE people all said the same thing. WHY THE HECK didn't I DO that??) Well, admittedly, I worried for my daughter's safety. She was right there at the window and the guy was trying to see if he could get the screen off. I did NOT want to leave her side....

This reminds me of the dreams I had last night. For five nights in a row, I dreamed about a certain someone. A REAL someone! LOL Not my dream guy...but someone real. The one who looks like him. So, anyways. Yes, I dreamed about him for five nights straight. I thought that was awful strange. But then last night, it was horrible. He wasn't in the dreams at all; instead, I had bad dreams, one right after the other. And they were all the same: Somebody breaking into my house. I know this happened shortly after we moved here. This DID happen, and I thank God Almighty we weren't hurt. Especially on one night, when I was all alone. Thank God I had locked my bedroom door!! But, anyway. Yes, that happened. And I dreamed it was happening again. Somebody breaking in. That's all I saw before I'd wake up, shaking and terrified like it really happened. I'd just lie in my bed, staring out the door, praying someone HAD NOT really broken in. And I was watching and getting up the nerve to grab my hunting knife or aluminum bat to go running out of there with if someone appeared.

What made matters worse is that my dog occasionally barked. Sometimes when I woke up from those dreams, I saw my dog with his head up, looking out the door, barking. I got REALLY scared, then. But I can't let fear get the better of me. I can't DO that. I refuse to let fear control my life again! If somebody DID break in, I WOULD go after them. My baby girl was right there with me and she depends on me for her safety.

Well, at one point, the dreams got to me too much and I couldn't go back to sleep. I just huddled up with my daughter under the covers, shaking and praying we'd get through this night ok. And obviously, we did. I am thankful to God we are ok.

But whoever it is putting dreams together...I want that certain someone back in my dreams! LOL Waking up from a dream like that is MUCH better than waking up shaking and all scared.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Going solo isn't easy

While everybody around me is talking about how GREAT it is to be single and on your own, I'm not exactly revelling in it. I mean, it's nice to be able to decide how everything will be in the home and not having to cook a big dinner every night. But I really don't want this kind of living to continue.

Maybe it's my being raised in a large family, but I REALLY need to be around people. Especially when it comes to my home. I just...I need people.

I've entertained the idea of seeking out a roommate. Or moving back to California to live with family. Who knows what will happen first.

But I really don't like living on my own so much. Not fun. I need another adult to talk to. Maybe even share life with.... either one is an option I am open to, really.

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Making a fuss

I'm starting to get worried. Before, I never raised so much as a voice when my ex would hit me with a put-down or when some other type of his controlling behaviour happened. Fool that I was, I thought that since I was "the wife," I just had to deal with it. My experience with the emotional abuse in my marriage was a HUGE eye-opener for me, and I get sad every time I see stories of women where I used to be, talking about how they feel trapped, like they "deserve" that kind of treatment or how "it's just stress."

Trust me. Once your partner/significant other/spouse starts controlling you, it is NOT stress. Actually, that's just one excuse that they use to validate their behaviour. It's just stress. Or money problems. Or they're upset with them in some way. Especially if it's ongoing.

For the longest time, I had a friend constantly telling me what I was going through was NOT healthy. I didn't believe her. She emailed me links to sites talking about emotional abuse, I STILL didn't believe her! I was in denial.

But that denial is not here anymore. While I'm coping with what I went through, struggling to understand the how and why, I'm also on the alert to ensure it won't happen again.

This is why I make a fuss over the slightest bit of something even resembling controlling behaviour from someone I get into a new relationship with. I'm not with anyone now, but there WAS someone I was thinking of having a relationship with. But after his repeated plans of this and that, I won't be pursuing it any further. There was the pressure to wear a hearing aid. There was his desire to just take that H.A. off of me whenever he wanted to (even though I never even got one!). There was his insistence I only be with him and not around any other guys. And of course, the last straw: Always saying "I want you all to me" and "there's going to be just the 2 of us." (He knew I had a child -- and, you know, she is a part of the deal if anyone gets involved with me.) That's "isolation" and possessiveness right there, folks! So, I'm not going to be pursuing anything further with him. Yes, I DID try to spell everything out to him before. I don't let people do that to me. I won't let people decide what I can and can't hear, who I can and can't see. I DO have guy friends -- and I'm a big hugger, so he'd have to live with it if I happen to even HUG one of them. (You know, that right there shows some serious trust issues. What kind of relationship do you have if you can't trust your partner??)

Part of me feels guilty for doing this, though. That's why I'm worried. I don't want to "run away" or break things off at the first sign of controlling behaviour from someone or making something bigger than it REALLY is. But, I just tell myself, if it's ongoing, then it's not going anywhere. I hate just "cutting things off" like that and.... well, part of me TRIES to see him in a positive light. But the other part, the one who went through that hell before, knows I'm doing the right thing in ending things right there. As one friend told me, and this is a friend who's been through the abuse, too, "It's time to look out for A#1: Yourself."

Those are words I live by now. I've been down that road of abuse before. I got out of it. That kind of experience just REALLY tore me down; it ate away at me and made me even want to just....just die. I got to the point where I didn't even care if I lived! It was that bad. That's just one thing abuse will do to a person. It will tear them down. I'm not bitter about my past, though. I don't hate my ex for what happened. Neither of us ever got counseling, but I'm definitely going to seek counseling when I get that chance. I'm not enteratining thoughts of suicide, or anything, but I TRULY believe counseling is helpful to everyone who gets out of an abusive experience. Look at me; I've had TWO! But all the same, I know that abuse tears a person down. Once that ends, it's time to build themselves back up again. And I'm grateful to be fully armed and on the alert to make sure that kind of thing won't happen to me -- AND my child -- ever again. Nobody should have to live that way. Nobody.