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Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Arizona Super Bowl Traffic and Writing

The Caravan Boss is helping my brother move his stuff closer to the compound. In turn, he’s going to be bringing a few things from Chandler for Emory and me for our start-up house. It’ll be weird not having the compound mates, but Emory is ready for us to venture out on our own. I’ll miss the large table with mismatched chairs so everyone can sit and eat and then play card games after dinner. I usually take that time to sneak away to our overly crowded bedroom, crowded with all the things we own, and do some writing on my novels. I’ll miss hearing their ruckus laughter through my door as the sunlight fades and darkness presses through my open curtains. I will also miss the mornings when the kitchen is alive with coffee pot being filled and dishes clattering. Emory and I are usually the last to get up, but lately, our newest member to the house hold has been last. He usually gets up around noon when the rest of us have already started our day.

Sadly, one of our compound friends has a very sick sister. Nadine, our house nurse and house mother, went to get some medical paperwork done with Anita and Anita ended up having to go straight into the hospital for tests. It’s been a very long couple of weeks for everyone involved. Everyone’s been sharing shifts at the hospital. She’s got breast cancer and it spread to her brain and bones. She had issues for four years, but was too afraid to go see the doctor, so she never did it. The doctors gave her six months to live, so there is a lot that has to be done. Nadine was a nurse for a very long time and she’s seen everything. Everyone is always happy to have her around because when things like hospital visits comes up, she’s the first to be at the person’s side and help them through it. 

John needed us to help move some things in Anita’s house so we loaded up in his car; Nadine, Emory and me. It was a long drive out towards the mountains. I live in the city, so I don’t usually venture very far, and though this wasn’t more than maybe a thirty minute drive, I don’t trust homes by the mountains. I think those homes are more likely to see scorpions than the houses in the city. We get very few bugs and besides the itty bitty house spiders, even spiders are fairly non-existent. Anita’s house smelled antique. Nadine and I went straight to stripping the two beds and getting the mattresses positioned to go outside. Emory and John stuck the couch outside. I think we’re going back to clean the fridge and dump some things into recycle. She gave us a list of items that need to go to the community center for the seniors. The one thing I found interesting, besides the tons of items still bagged along the walls, was that she had over three hundred unopened boxes of children valentine day cards. I wonder what she wanted to do with them. I asked John, but he told me to ask my mom. I called my mom and she told me to ask Anita. So I have to ask Anita if I want to find out what all those Valentine Day cards were for. The one thing I want to note is that Anita likes Rug Rats. She has a few items around the house that I wonder if she’d like at the hospital with her.

Since the Super Bowl is in Arizona this year, my boss is letting anyone who works near that event, work from home for the next couple of weeks, mostly because of traffic and events that are happening during that time. My territory was listed as one of those “work from home” spots. I’d do it, but I hate to let Emory come in by himself and battle traffic. It’ll be boring for him and I can lighten the mood. Besides, the zoo is only 10 minutes from where we work and it’s open longer now that Zoo Lights is over, so maybe we can hit the zoo or something and wait out traffic. 

Writing Update
HBA: Book 1 cover is gorgeous
Novella: 7/?? Edited: Revision 1

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Family Business and Writing

One of our own came to town from Seattle Washington a week ago and the caravan decided it was time to have a party. I went to the zoo for the morning to work a training shift with the sting rays. Afterwards, I turned my tom-tom on to find the quickest route from one side of town to the other. When I got down there, I decided to stop at the grocery store. The grocery stores in Scottsdale are to die for! Their bakeries are amazing. I had such a hard time deciding what I wanted to bring to the party. I grabbed something and headed to the wine section, hung there for a little bit then decided to look for a plate so I could switch out the cupcakes on a plate and pretend like I made them.

I run into my aunt in the chip section of the store. She told me my uncle was over in the liquor section looking for the beer. I never saw him. Later I asked, "What does that mean about our family if we're easily found in the liquor section?" His answer was, "This family likes to drink."

The family gets to talking and they admit that they were surprised Emory and I hung around in Arizona for three years. I guess everyone thought we'd just pack up and leave again. They asked if we were "getting the fever" and this fever has to do with hitting the road. I am a fan of the road. I like wheels heading in and out of town.

Every time I think about settling down, sometimes I start to hyperventilate. I think about writing and I stop hyperventilating. It's better than prozac. It's actually better than disco, and very few things are better than disco.

Writing Update:

HBA: Cover Edits were turned in, waiting for the finished product

Novella: 5,000+ to add to the story. In the middle of edits.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Board Meetings, 99 Cent Stores and Writing

I arrived early to my first RWA board meeting, so I parked in front of the 99 Cent store and signed some last minute paperwork that I printed off a few hours earlier but didn’t have the time to look at. I glance up and notice all these people walking out of the store with some name brand stuff in their cart, which is awesome. The store is 3x bigger than the one in my area. I wanted a piece of the action, so I threw all my paperwork back into my super-duper hippy purse and got out of the car. I didn’t even walk halfway around my car before I saw how crowded it was and immediately retreated back to the quiet safety of my vehicle. The anxiety hit so hard. I’d been home all day, in my bedroom working with a fur companion and a feather companion for company. Now I was out in the open, ready to be among two legged creatures that lacked full body hair or feathers. I just couldn’t do it. I needed my emotional companion and he wasn’t present, which means that doing little things is sometimes super hard.

This isn’t always an issue. If I start my day somewhere that is vastly populated, like the zoo or the office, I tend to be a little better about being in public. If I’ve been home all day, I’ll get to the front door, look out across the porch and decide I can’t do it. I’ll stay inside and take my seat in front of the computer and that momentary stress at facing the world will go away. I start to write and I’m at peace again.

I found a job to apply for where I get to package bugs. I’m guessing they are alive, because I’ll be responsible for all sorts of odds and ends with the packaging. I sent this job post to Emory and he promptly wrote back, “Sounds like its right up your alley.” That is very true. I like bugs. There is something so fascinating about all their legs, their antennas and pincher mouths. I wonder what kind of bugs I’ll get to package. I looked through a North American bug chart so I could list a few of my favorites, BUT there were so many that I like, I gave up on listing them. One thing I noticed was that scorpions were listed as bugs. I totally forgot that is something Arizona has a lot of. I hope those aren’t the bugs I’ll be responsible for. It’d be super cool if I had a chance to work with the breeding. As odd as this job might sound, I need to keep spending some time out of the house every day.

Writing Update:

HBA 3 Outline: Finished

Urban Fantasy Novella Outline: Started

Friday, January 16, 2015

Unorganized Virgo a.k.a Headless Writer

I fear that when I start to dream about voodoo priestesses determined to cut my head off, I’ve lingered a little too long in the part of my brain that is working on my Urban Fantasy novella. Not that my voodoo priestess is cutting anyone’s head off in this current story. Believe me though, if MY voodoo priestess wanted my head, she would’ve gotten it much quicker than my dream voodoo priestess. 

I might’ve gone a little tea crazy. I found that hot tea helps with my nervous ticks, so I started to collect it. It was only after I moved something on the shelf and all the tea boxes fell, that I realized I had a lot of teas and that there was a chance some of them would go bad before I drank them. My addictions seem to switch every two years. Before tea, it was hot chocolate. Right now I’m sitting on five tin cans filled with hot chocolate packets, two canisters of loose powder hot chocolate and six boxes with individual packets of hot chocolate. I’m a little worried I might have more hot chocolate buried in my room. At the moment, I believe I have seven boxes of tea, and a recyclable grocery bag filled to the brim with tea packets. When we get our own place, I’ll organize this a little better.

My mom’s boyfriend is really interested in the auction house. He spends a lot of his weekends there. Emory and I went once to look at all the stuff. There were a lot of antiques, which is more my mom’s thing. Her boyfriend and I are into books, science fiction from the 1970’s -1990’s for me and history books for him. When he goes, he looks for bookshelves, which is something I’ll have to do when I get my place. I have so many boxes of books.

My mom’s latest find at the auction house are storage tubs. She bought fifteen and gave me a handful of them. I currently have one tub filled with little items for Halloween treat bags, stocking stuffers and future giveaways that I’d like to host on my YouTube. While cleaning my room and filling the bin, I found things I forgot I bought. There are still a few things I know I bought that I still can’t find. I would love to be re-organized before we move into our house, but the real organizing might not happen until we have the space to do it in.  

What I need to do, is find and organize what I bought as future gifts. I’m always misplacing my gift items. I have two Mickey Mouse plates for the Boot Scooter gift exchange next December. I’m glad I saw those on sale when I did. I think they are going to be smashing when people open them. I hope they get “stolen” a handful of times. The point of the game is to steal gifts, but the gift can only be stolen twice before it’s owned and can’t be stolen again. Each gift should be around $10-$15. For the last gift exchange I gave Zoo Light tickets as my gift. Those got stolen to the max. 

I’m coming very close to my busy season with writing, school, meetings, volunteering, demo practice and of course the day job. I’ll try to keep the blog updated, but if I fail, this is the warning why.

Monday, January 12, 2015

Volunteer Hours in the Winter

I started my training at the sting ray pool with the Phoenix Zoo. January is one of the colder months in Arizona, believe it or not. Despite our 110+ degree weather in the summer, we get thick frost in January. I had to sit in the car facing the sun with the air conditioner set to defrost to get my windows to clear before I could even drive out there for my shift. I live smack-dab in the middle of the city and the Phoenix Zoo is out towards the mountains. It’s a 30-45 minute drive depending on traffic. The drive is easier on the weekends.

I gave myself a few mental curses for choosing January as my training date. The ray pool has a tarp overhead, which is great in the summer, since water evaporates so quickly out here. In the winter, that tarp, plus the building to the side, seems to trap the cold air. The cooler environment was one reason why I chose the ray pool to train in. I wanted to find a spot in the summer that I could still volunteer at without dying from heat exhaustion. I should’ve realized how cold it would be in January. My toes were frozen straight through my close-toed shoes and socks. I should’ve worn two pairs of wooly winter socks instead of the thin summer socks. All this suffering now, will be worth it come June-August when the desert temperatures are on the rise.

With as crowded as the area can get, I was surprised that time flew without a panic attack. I didn’t think I’d like being confined to one small public area. I don’t mind small spaces if it includes an overstuffed office, but public makes me hyperventilate. The point in my life is not to become an agoraphobic, so I have to subject myself to this. I was born with a panic button, so it’s difficult not responding to it.

On a side note, I hate being confined, so that was two issues in one with this new position. As a writer, I’m not completely confined to a chair. I get the luxury of pacing and nitpicking at things in the room, which I like to do when I’m in the middle of writing. I need the room to move. Movement lets me think. When I’m confined, I start to notice things like the itch on the inside of my skull or the way my ears buzz with my pulse. I was surprised to find that the ray pool wasn’t too confining. It’s nice being around the rays and the people who come through. Figuratively, sometimes it’s like having no pockets so you don’t know what to do with your hands. I see people, but if they don’t want to talk about the rays, I don’t know what to do with myself besides watch the pool to make sure people are enjoying their time. I tend to be an awkward conversationalist otherwise.

Thursday, January 08, 2015

Lacking Volume Control and Writing

Our demo team booked a last minute performance dancing in the Phoenix Symphony lobby to entertain the patrons before the Texas Tenors show. Even with coats on, it was freezing walking to the building. We were dressed for the Christmas performance, so we had our cloth headband antler horns instead of our usual hats. We wore bells on our shoes so when we danced and kicked, people could hear the bells chiming. It was a nice little performance for all of us and the people watching really enjoyed it. Afterwards, we had to pull our shoes off to get the bell straps off and un-bell the rest of our bodies before we went in to watch the show. These men are utterly amazing. They are great entertainers and had us laughing. The music was wonderful and they said they started off with the church choir. I don’t think the church would take me as a charity case even if they were desperate for singers. 

When I was a child, my parents took me to this musical children’s theater audition. We had to drive clear across town for it. They said at first they thought I’d be too shy and would never sing, then I got up there and I started belting out the song. My parents were super impressed with me. I was a star in their eyes, even though I never got called back for the performance. You’d never know I never got in the show the way they still beam with that story. In junior high, there was another musical that I really wanted to audition for. I did great reading the lines. I could hear the other students there for the audition whisper, “She’s got this.” Then I opened my mouth to sing and I could see their faces turn sour… the moral of this story is, I never learned volume control.

Lacking volume control, I’m great for hosting events and giving tours. I’m terrible at private dinners and movie theaters. 

Writing Update

Lock and loaded, ready to be the secretary for the Valley of the Sun RWA Chapter. Okay, maybe not completely loaded. I need to see if my little laptop is going to work. I need to take notes and be quick with it for the meetings.

January Outlines: Kind of working from the last chapters up at the moment. Realizing how complicated this plotline is going to be, but worth it once I figure it out

Novella: 5/? Chapters finished on revision 1