Friday, July 27, 2007

My "finally" week

One word definitely stands out this week: "Finally!"

Finally, I got all caught up on one of my email accounts (which had over 9600 emails).

Finally, I finished step 2 of the editing process for a manuscript (it took me 9 days!)

Finally, I sent a query off for a manuscript.

Finally, I heard back from a publisher on a manuscript submitted.

Finally, I posted something on my dA account.

Notice how most of that stuff is writing-related? Yeah, I'm picking up on that, too. Kinda frustrating. I only wish I could say "finally!" with some OTHER stuff I gotta get done. Non-writing stuff. Stuff like:

--Cleaning out the closets.

--Emailing my wedding pictures to family members.

--Getting a BIG toy box for all of Jennifer's stuffed animals overcrowding her closet.

--Giving my dog a bath. (He's needed one for 3 weeks!)

--Mailing my nephew a laaaate birthday present.

A few of those items are things I have been trying to get done for WEEKS.

Sometimes, when I think to do them, I also think, "Well, it's not a good time. Jennifer will interrupt me with something or another. My neighbor will show up at the door asking a favor. A fire might start." Etc., etc. But something tells me I should adopt the same kind of attitude I have when it comes to writing something: "JUST DO IT!!" Forget about the "what ifs" and "maybes" and just get it done the minute I am free.

Or, at least, start to get it done. Until it finally IS done.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

I have seen Hell and it is

As popular as is, a lot of people recognize that it's not perfect. I have been with the site for 2 years and I've noticed how they are constantly making changes and upgrades to the site.

Unfortunately, they never seem to fix what is REALLY wrong with the site. And, it seems, they keep adding new features, as if they figure there's nothing better to do.

Alas, there is PLENTY I have seen wrong with It's taken them a long time to fix these problems. And, actually, some of them are not even getting fixed at all! It's like they PREFER to run things in poor shape.

My main gripes with this site are:


I mean, you can't even CALL it "customer service," because there is NO ONE there to serve a customer!! Sending an email invites two things: A generic response that has NOTHING to do with the problem at hand, and a very, very, very, very, VERRRRRRRY long delay in replying. It takes them MONTHS to reply to emails from customers. Some people don't even hear from them -- AT ALL. And forget about calling them on the phone. I tried that myself twice today and all I got was an answering machine that said one thing: "Marlene." That's it! Freakin' ridiculous.


They have very bad site security on MySpace. It's like is the new playground for hackers and spammers! Peoples' accounts are getting hacked and spammed and even phished really, REALLY badly.


There are so many times I've tried to do something on MySpace -- add a friend, reply to a message or leave a comment -- but I keep getting "unexpected error" pages and lose the data I was trying to send. Or, if it's me trying to add someone, then I constantly get error messages each time I try again to add them.


I really think MySpace would be doing people a BIG favor if they made it easier to back stuff up. I realize the account codes can be copied/pasted into a text document, but for the HTML stuff, the only way to get the actual LINKS for those profiles is to open them and copy the link from the browser window. That's it. There is NO OTHER WAY to do it. Now, think about this for a minute. That could be pretty damn tedious for anyone with a sloooooow ISP (like me!) and especially tiresome if a person trying to save all their Friends links has a whole crapload of Friends.


Because is owned by Rupert Murdoch, I'm not surprised to see all Fox-related movie ads that could throw a viewer into seizures. Sometimes, they go way, waaay overboard with these advertisements and it either slows down logging in or it causes errors when I try to click on other pages or check something out. I realize that being a free site MUST make money somehow. And I respect that they must run ads. But when the ads are enough to make my eyes explode or give me a headache, then it's just much too much.

With all these grievances from, one would wonder why I even bother to stay a member of that site. Believe you me, I have been tempted SOOOO many times to delete my account and NEVER deal with MySpace again. (Seriously!) But ... and, yes, there is a "but"! But, I have family on there, and MySpace is one way we keep in touch. (Ironically, one of my sisters answers her messages on MySpace faster than her emails!) I also have friends on there, too. REAL friends. People I've known for years and people I know in real life. And, of course, it's been a great networking tool for other writers, editors and authors. I even come across calls for submissions through Friends on my list, and keeping updated on all their news and forthcoming events has been a bonus, as well.

However, I still might one day get fed up enough with to delete my account. I don't know. I WILL stick around, hoping they'll eventually WAKE UP and fix the above problems, but I don't think my patience with them will last forever.

At least AOL has BETTER customer service than I take it back: AOL is not evil. MySpace is evil!

Monday, July 23, 2007

Is it hot in here or is it just my pregnancy?

I don't like putting blame on others or other reasons that are not the REAL reasons, but lately I've noticed a few things going down that have to make me wonder if it's got something to do with the fact that I am nearly 6 months pregnant.

This morning is a perfect example of just such a suspicion. My husband made a few insensitive remarks to me (after doing a couple of insensitive things!) and, after it was over, I just burst into tears. There I sat at the desk, crying like a baby. Now ordinarily, I don't let stuff like that get to me. It has been a LOOONG time since I've cried! But this morning, the tears just came pouring out. And I'm thinking my hormones and sensitivity level being so low is the reason why I broke up over it. (Well, either that or it's because I don't cry very often and I was making up for it!)

Exhaustion is ANOTHER grievance I've been dealing with. I have been SOO TIRED so many times! It drives me crazy. I wish I could have caffeine; I'd be hooked up to the stuff 24/7 just to stay awake! I've been trying natural remedies for increased energy and to beat the sleepiness, but so far no luck.

There's also the fact that I've been SO HOT lately! Never mind that it is summer and we're having YET ANOTHER heat wave this year. I lived in the desert before moving to Eugene and got used to dealing with HIGH humidity and 115-degree heat. (In fact, during my first pregnancy in just that desert, I once had both heat exhaustion AND heat stroke.) Here, it hasn't been more than 90 degrees, but to me, it might as well be 100! Or even 115. It's no secret pregnant women are hotter than most people. To make things worse, we have NO air conditioning, NO swimming pool and I have very little "light" clothing I can wear that fit comfortably. (I am HOPING I can get some maternity shorts or short skirts to wear VERY SOON.)

Which is why I'm beginning to SERIOUSLY ponder cutting my hair. I love having long hair, I really do, but since I hate having my hair up in a bun so much (ditto ponytails), I really think getting it cut would be best. I don't care if I end up looking boyish with short hair; I just want to be comfortable!

A lot of people are telling me they can't imagine how I am getting through this summer being pregnant. At first, I didn't pay it much mind. I just shrugged it off and said, "I sit in front of the fan a lot and drink A LOT of cold water." Well, those things have helped, but only for so long. I've also been taking cool baths to cool off. But now I'm definitely considering cutting my hair, too. That will definitely help me to stay cool, as well.

I know I've been through worse heat than this. But sometimes it feels like the heat is much more worse than it actually IS. And maybe I have the fact that I am pregnant to thank for that.

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Only the lonely

My daughter, Jennifer, is an only child. After her little brother arrives in 4 months, that'll change. Until then, she's been having a love-hate relationship with being an only child. She loves it because she doesn't have to share any of her toys (that is, unless a friend is over to play). She hates it because, well, let her common complaint sum up why: "There's nobody to play with."

For a long time, I've been working on how to fix that problem. I look for neighborhood children she can play with. I often take her to Playland, where she can spend a free hour playing with other children and creating crafts. I take her to the park, where she can play with other children, and I enrolled her into preschool. Part of the reason why I enrolled her into summer school is so she can keep up that social interaction among other children. (She LOVES her school.)

There is one other thing that can meet her social needs: A sleepover. Last night, Jennifer had her very first sleepover. My neighbor's daughter, who is 6, slept over after playing with Jennifer almost all day. The two of them are inseperable and she was delighted that her friend got to spend the night with us. (The child's dad was working all night, anyway.) They played games, watched movies, dressed up, played outside and colored pictures. I made a dinner of fried chicken, mashed potatoes and peas, and afterwards we sat on the front porch, enjoying an ice cream bar as we watched the colorful sky during sunset. They both took a bubble bath together and we also watched the movie Inspector Gadget before bedtime. They shared my daughter's bed and ate cereal this moring as they watched Curious George cartoons. I didn't mind having an extra child to care for at all and my daughter LOVED how she had her very first sleepover.

But, still. All of these strategies to combat her loneliness can only happen so often. Of course, when she was younger, she was content to keep herself preoccupied -- and of course I encouraged this because I want her to be able to play independently, exercise her creativity and not always rely on someone else to create entertainment. Nowadays, though, now that she's older (going on 6), she wants more social interaction rather than independent play. I have no problem with this, but like I said, it's hard sometimes to figure out ways to meet that need. I LOVE going out, and I often have her going out with me to run errands or visit the library or just to take a walk. These activities, however, do not always gaurantee she will be in an environment suitable for interaction and play with other children. Also, I have DESPERATELY been trying to kickstart my inner child, just to play dolls with her or play games. It hasn't always been easy, though. I am, unfortunately, too "grown-up" to let my inner child free, even for 30 minutes of playtime. And I'm in no physical condition to play jumprope or a game of tag.

Because she has a sibling on the way, some people have remarked that her loneliness will soon be cured and she'll finally have another child to play with. I am not so sure that is the proper remedy. For one thing, he'll be a BABY for a while, making it pretty hard for her to have someone to play Checkers with or ride bikes with. For another, he WILL be her little brother, and not all little girls get along very well with their little brothers. (You know how they are when they're young. They fight like cats and dogs. That's how it was with me and MY little brother.) So, it will still be some time before her sibling can act as "someone to play with."

I suppose the best thing I can do is to just keep up what I've been doing. Sometimes it's not easy. I grew up in a large family, so I'm not exactly versed on ways to help an only child cope with loneliness. But it's not like I don't play with her at all; sometimes, we find a fun activity we both enjoy. And we'll also do things together like bake cookies or read books together. The main thing is to keep her life happy and fun, because that's what being a little kid should be all about!

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Courageous Blogging Award

Karen Putz over at a Deaf Mom Shares Her World passed on to me today the Courageous Blogging Award. This award was created by Christy over at Writer's Reviews:

Thank you so much, Karen! You are AWESOME and I am honored you thought of me! :)

This made me ask myself: What makes a courageous blogger? I really think a "courageous blogger" can be defined as someone willing to open up a personal side of themselves to share with the blogging community. I have received some heavy criticism from family for getting personal in my blogs and journals before. But I have also received emails and instant messages from readers who tell me they were inspired, humored, enlightened and informed by something I blogged about. And I really think this type of influence on readers is much more beneficial than bottling everything up to not share with anyone at all.

This very opinion has made me think about others I know who have done the same thing. Particularly, other bloggers. And so I am passing this award on to them:

Frank Baron:

Jenna Glatzer:

Remembering LaWana:

Monday, July 09, 2007

Fantasy vs. reality

Yeah, I had one of those days today....

The fantasy:

My child and I will climb into the car and be on our merry way to run errands.

The reality:

Child gets distracted by picking up seeds off the ground and it takes LOTS of coaxing, distracting and, finally, badgering to get her into the car.

The fantasy:

We are now in our car and can finally, FINALLY be on our merry way.

The reality:

Just before starting the car, I remember the new law about every child under 8 required to ride in a booster seat in the car so FIRST I must unlock car doors, get out of the car, get child's old booster seat out of the back of the car, remove cobwebs from said booster seat and do a spider inspection inside and out, get child out of car, put booster seat in child's seat, ONCE AGAIN coax and plead with child to get back into the car, then struggle with the darn seatbelt refusing to budge so I can buckle child in. THEN we can finally be on our merry way.

The fantasy:

We will do ALL of our errands in one full swoop.

The reality:

Forgot the checkbook so I must run back home to pick it up before we get groceries. (During which time we grab a late lunch, child undresses and declares she's feeling sick, I have to help child feel better, then try to get her dressed and back into the car again.)

The fantasy:

I will take care of something ELSE I have to do while at the bank.

The reality:

Forgot to bring something needed for that something else, so it will again have to wait.

The fantasy:

Child will calmly sit in the seating area, eating her cookie and being a good girl while she waits for Mommy to do her bank stuff.

The reality:

Child happens to have the nickname "Tornado." By the time Mommy finds her after taking care of said bank stuff, she's on the other side of the bank, raiding the snack bar -- in a room with "STAFF ONLY" on the door.

The fantasy:

I will blissfully spend an hour writing while child is at Playland.

The reality:

I end up spending said free hour being distracted by looking at baby clothes, baby books and
other baby stuff.

The fantasy:

I ask some people I know where a good place is to buy a crib and anticipate getting good

The reality:

They all tell me to get one from Goodwill.

But on the plus side, I did manage to get some writing done. :D

Thursday, July 05, 2007

When the ball drops

When you commit yourself to someone, there is supposed to be complete trust. There is supposed to be complete acceptance, complete support and complete honesty. No secrets. No skeletions in the closet. No fears.

That is, at least, what I learned from my first marriage. I only learned these lessons AFTER I divorced, because before I married, I was SO independent and SO bent on taking care of MYSELF and looking out for MYSELF that I never really REALLY committed myself to my spouse 100%. Or even 200%. Now, that's not the way it is. This time around, I am totally in that frame of mind. There is no more "you and me" but "us." It's "we" now. Everything, EVERYTHING is "we" and "ours."

But sometimes you have to wonder...just how far someone in that equation will surrender themselves to the other. Just how much trust is there? Just how much selfless support and understanding will there be...when one of the two screws up? Will the other suddenly call it quits or cut back on just how much they will give?

That is something I keep thinking about. I mean, human beings are NOT perfect. We're not. And I think...well, and this is just MY opinion, you know, but I think that even if a spouse screws up, small or large, the other spouse shouldn't turn away. I mean, part of the vows is "for better or worse." Marriage isn't all about happiness and perfection. It's about sharing life together, flaws and all.

I know I am not perfect. Sometimes, I screw up. I make mistakes. I get careless. I tend to be forgetful. And I would only hope the man I am married to is still by my side despite all of this. I mean, a wife shouldn't even have to ask for that kind of support, right? It should be there, no matter what. I mean, if I screw up big time, I'm hoping my husband will still be in my corner rather than backing off and throwing up walls. Because that's not what marriage is about.

Marriage is about being there for someone, even if all hell breaks loose and even if they make mistakes. If those mistakes are learned from and the offending party takes steps to ensure it won't happen again, if they apologize, then they deserve another chance, don't they? It's not fair to make threats or throw up walls the first time someone screws up. I mean, words can be taken back, but once those words are said, the hurt and confusion and fear don't just go away.

Who will be left standing in a marriage when the ball drops? Who is really supporting whom through better or worse? I used to think the husband would still support and help his wife even after she screws up. Same thing for the wife if her husband screws up. Now I'm not so sure.