On this, the Last Day of My Billing Cycle

The week before Memorial Day I housesat for my friends Kudra & Porter on the Atlantic Coast. I looked forward to it as a chance for a “writing retreat”. For the short task of feeding their cats and occasionally scooping out the cat box, I had a house all to myself where I could write whenever I wanted and work on my own schedule.

Although some progress in my latest book was made, I had to learn to go with the flow little bit more than I anticipated.

First of the weather going out there was horrible, like I can’t see two car lengths in front of me for 3 of the 4 hours trip. But I made it, only to find a three car accident two stop lights away from their house. Add on another 30 minute delay and I got to my friends’ house about an hour later than I planned, ok dinner was late for the kitties but I was there.. I went to get in and my method of entry to the house was locked. Panic set in.I texted my friends who were in a very different time zone than me for alternatives and thankfully they responded quickly and with an easy solution. I was in!

I fed the cats, played with them, and settled in while the storm that had been on my heels for most of the trip raged on outside.*

*Please note that I neglected to connect my phone to their WiFi.

And now back to the first night. After a few hours there the power went off for a minute, everything came back on immediately except for the master bedroom suite. A few moments later the fire alarm in there began to chirp the song of a low battery. I think it’s important that I explain that in my house the fire alarms are all connected, so if one goes off-they all go off. I wondered if this alarm’s song had something to do with the power outage because the alarm was going off in their bedroom every twenty minutes or so. I was scared to mess with the alarm over an incident that happened at my house where I tried to replace the batteries of my alarm only to discover the connecting wires had corroded, leaving live exposed wires on my office ceiling for my husband to fix after he got home from work. With the power being temperamental and fearing the fuse box was outside in the storm I let it chirp.

A few moments later I began my bi-monthly Kawfee Talk with Octana and Red via Skype, my beeping soundtrack and voice was all the could get from my end. After the call the storm had stopped and I located the fuse box, that thankfully was inside. The master bedroom switch was clearly labeled and clearly switched off so I tried to reset only to have it flip back to off immediately.  I called my husband and together we attempted to fix the power, via FaceTime. After the reset did not work again Honey told me to leave it alone something was wrong with the ground.

We chatted a little and said good night. With the alarm still chirping I decided to write into the early hours of the morning to make myself pass out so I would not hear the chirping. My plan worked, until 6 am when my body was used to responding to an alarm clock. The chirping had increased to every two minutes so I found a step stool and thought electricity be damned I am unplugging that thing. In my 3 and half hours of sleep brain I couldn’t figure out why it was not coming off the wall, but I did find a hidden reset button and the chirping stopped. I crawled back into bed and tried to go back to sleep, I failed.

Eventually I noticed a break in the weather and I was able to sneak down to the beach and put my toes into the water, something that being four hours inland I miss. the weather predicated said it was going to be yucky the whole time I was there, so I jumped at the chance to be near the ocean, even if it was only for a few minutes.

IMG_5641.JPG

I felt rejuvenated, the last day’s complications faded away. I even Instagramed a live shot of the ocean. I stayed there for while, enjoying my self-dictated timeframe and went home when the clouds got darker.

IMG_5640.JPG

Later that day I wrote, watched Netflix on my laptop, listened to Podcasts, and drank copious amounts of tea. Later that night I Face-Timed my husband and crawled into bed, only to be woken up by the song of the fire alarm. I pressed the button I had found the day before and went back to my bedroom where the alarm in there had sympathetically joined in the chorus. I found the button on that one and then made more tea and tried to write.

On a trip back from the kettle I walked back to a scene that caught me as something special.

IMG_5671.JPG

I was walking back to a table that Porter had been making on the first night I met him, over five years ago. He was a close friend of our neighbor who I wasn’t expecting to meet that night. Porter was taking a break from the construction of the table he was trying to complete before Christmas Dinner so he could accommodate his in-laws who were in town. He left after a beer but a few months later I met his wife Kudra and we became friends. It had been a hard year for all of us, the life paths we had set out to have did not come to fruition as planned. A little while later they would move across the country and a few months later we would end up in the same state only a few hours away from them.

I could have never anticipated five years ago would be working on my third book, on the table he was building, thousands of miles from where our meeting began, while they were in another country with their family over their daughter’s first birthday.

That is not how you think your five year plan will go, and yay for that.

So speaking of plans when I returned home I got an alert from my wireless plan explaining that I had used 70% of my data and they would change my plan (probably forever) if I went over and charge extra. The billing cycle ended three weeks later, today. So the last few weeks I have been present, not messing on my phone in dull moments out, walking without headphones, listening to birds and cicadas, and engaging with a new group of friends we just met. And yesterday while writing in a coffee shop I wrote 3300 words, about my daily output from my “writing retreat”.

I hope that I will keep some of the habits I have had to adopt the last few weeks at least in a social setting and who knows it might help me make my book deadline!

Cough Syrup Drenched Feelings

Last week a nasty head cold invaded my throat and threatened my lungs, the medicine I was taking to stop the “Cold of Doom” made time roll itself into one continuous cough ball. If any of you are getting knocked down by a cold, seriously just listen to your body and rest, it will be over so much faster. Thankfully I am doing much better now, but still suspicious of the tickling feeling on the top of my throat from allergies. Yay Spring!

Though honestly since moving to the East Coast Spring has become my favorite season to see. I enjoy the cooling and the warm colors of Fall and the stillness of Winter (still not a fan of Summer), but Spring has such a wonderful fresh feeling, like a new beginning. Also I adore Spring veggies.

While I was lying in the ditch of my couch with a stream of old “Bones” episodes playing I pondered the whole writing thing. It is completely possible this story will never see the light of day or the fluorescent bulbs of a book store, so I wondered if it’s worth it.

I decided it is.

I’ve found the stories I have been kicking around in the back of my head only get louder and more annoying if I try to ignore them. It’s like a Top 40 song from the 90s, you pushed it aside and think you’ve moved on from it but then.. Bam! you are minding your own business in the grocery store and the tune starts blaring at you for attention and now it’s stuck and you find you still know all of the words. I also enjoy the challenge of getting something that seems perfect in my head on to paper and seeing it for the moth-eaten curtain that it is, then filling in the holes.

In the downtime my cold caused I realized I need to move on from the book I have been working on for the last year, it’s time. I fixed the beginning of the book shortly before I got sick and sent it out to three of my friends to get their take on the changes. In the midst of a particularly bad afternoon of “sick” I got an email back from one of my friends telling me the new beginning worked. She also said a few more things that got my cough-syrup-drenched emotions all verklempt, and it was what I needed. I am still trying to an agent, but now I need to poking at it.

So today I am starting a new book, not the sequel to the Witchy Women story but something completely different. It will be a Women’s Fiction novel, no paranormal characters in sight. This one will be about rock-n-roll, heartbreak, devotion, art, identity, and hopefully love. It will require some interesting film and article research.

I hope everyone is enjoying a happy and healthy Spring, and like Bailey stopping to smell the flowers every once in a while.

tulipsmell.jpg

Just Novel Today

I am only half striking today..the housewife part. The “novel” part as I like to call it, can’t strike unless I am sedated, which in that case is that really striking?

What I am trying to do today is listen to women artists.

IMG_5016.JPG

through their music, in the words they write, and in what they say aloudIMG_5018.JPG

I will write today. Hopefully I can finish the new beginning to the novel and work some more on its sequel. After that I plan to jump back into reading A Conjuring of Light by V.E. Schwab and be inspired by some of the stories in In The Company of Women.

Today’s protest is a hard one to go full force into. Most women can’t protest all of the labors they do in a day. Where do you draw the line? Even if one is lucky enough to have a job where they can request a day off, if you have a family you are part of or care for there is not time off. One can go into with good intentions, but life happens. Women hold many titles in their life and give a lot of ourselves into the people and world around us, often without appreciation. Hopefully with this day that might become just a little more obvious to some people who think women want an excuse to take a day off from work. I can tell you from experience there is no such thing, the work not done today will still be waiting tomorrow on the desk, in the house, in the office, in the schools- it doesn’t go anywhere it just grows.

So with the inconveniences that might come up throughout the day with the women in your life taking their work or domestic duties off, please remember that women contribute all we can to this world that still denies us equal rights, pay, autonomy over our bodies, and representation.

Happy Birthday To Red!

I wanted to take a moment and wish Red a Happy Birthday!  You’re miles away but I feel so lucky that we have been able to keep in touch and even “see” each other on a regular basis.  You are an awesome friend that gives so much to us all and you find a way to keep us all laughing.  You’ve kept me from doubting my own sanity on more than one occasion and gone giggly crazy with me too.  You have opened up worlds of new authors, new foods, shopping, and even an appreciation for action movies; thank you for being my friend.

I hope this new year of life brings you all kinds of happiness and hopefully many nights of uninterrupted sleep!

Happy Birthday to one of my favorite Lovely Ladies!

And

sally2

Happy Birthday to an Awesome Lady!

I forgot to mention that today is Octana’s Birthday!

She is one of the most incredible women that I have ever met and deserves to be publicly celebrated.  I’ve known her for almost ten years and her energy for life has only gotten stronger each year.  She has one of the biggest hearts that I know and the depth of her love and devotion to the people around her is immeasurable. Her strength, her creativity, her determination, her sense of humor are all admirable and one can only wish to aspire to her level.

She is an amazing, beautiful woman that you can call yourself lucky to know. =)

Happy Birthday Queen J, I hope this year and all of the ones after give you the greatest joys and happiness that you so richly deserve.

Love,

Melly

Fan Girl Part I

Yesterday I had a wonderful excuse to get out of the house… Mrs. Jenny Lawson, The Bloggess was in San Diego for her book tour.  Like many people I heard about her blog after a post she put up about presenting her husband with a 6′ Metal Chicken that she bought while shopping with a friend.  She bought the chicken and brought it home because her husband said she could not buy anymore towels, well she didn’t.  She is a very entertaining writer so I kept on going back to her blog and before I knew it I was hooked.   In April her book Let’s Pretend This Never Happened (A Mostly True Memoir), it has been on the NY Times Best Sellers List for 16 weeks.  I read it in maybe 4 sittings and  I laughed so hard I stopped breathing on several occasions.  Honey had never heard me laugh like that from a book so he picked it up after me and also laughed like crazy.   Now he checks in on her blog more frequently than I do!  Which  I told Mrs. Lawson while she signed my book last night.  She said, “Keep him.”

She was signing books at a bookstore about 15 miles away from me, I had no idea what to expect as far as crowds because first of all it has been 22 years since I went to a book signing (that one was for Ann M. Martin), second it seems like most of my friends have heard of her-but how about the rest of San Diego?  The signing was at 7, so I showed up around 4:45 (to be honest I also used it as an excuse to get out of the damn heat).  I could see they had cleared a space for her (ironically in the kids section) but there wasn’t a line or chairs set up yet.  Though I noticed as I walked around the bookstore (soaking up the AC and waiting for Octana to get off work) there were a few middle aged women slowly wandering around the store not really looking at a specific section or book, just kind-of strolling around.  Since I was doing the same thing I knew what they were there for. =)

When Octana arrived we went over to Islands and had a Mai Thai and appetizers for about 40 minutes.  When we got back the chairs had been set up and were fully occupied along with a standing crowd and a sitting on the floor crowd.  I joined in with the sitting crowd and pretty much had front row seats.  As I sat on the floor with a varied crowd of other women, feeling my feet fall asleep one of the coordinators said to a few of us that he had not seen that many people there for a signing since Ozzy Osborne.  Crazy, huh?

The pictures I took did not come out well due to my angle and since I hate it when people put up pictures like that of me, I will not post them.

But here is my signed book =)

I haven’t been the type of person who tries to meet the people I’ve seen in movies, heard on the radio, or read in books.  I thought being a fan of someone and showing that fandom (in the appropriate context) to them was an annoyance to the artist.  That somehow the fans were the worst part of what they were doing.  And while some fans are absolutely that (for example: stalkers), I am coming to realize that fans can bring happiness to the artist.

I went to the book signing to show my appreciation of her work and tell her even if she has heard it a million times that I loved it.  Because I don’t think you can hear that enough.  Next I will be writing my first fan letter, not to her but to another artist who was appreciated in some circles for decades but not “well” known until recently.  In fact many people still have never heard of him which sucks because he has influenced so many artists that everyone does know.  But that story is for another post.

I’ll Have Two Gallons of Primer with a Cola Chaser, thanks!

Well, one day of posting and I am already a liar.  Sorry I didn’t post yesterday, I was working on a house project, but not for my home-it was for Birdie’s new kick-ass house!  Hooray! After a few months of non-stop house projects they sold their house and moved into a gorgeous new house (which still needs a few more house projects).  I made the hop, skip, and a jump to their new place (she only lives about ten minutes away now) to help paint.  She finally took me up on the offer from last year (wow, almost to the day).  Her house is wonderful, but it was owned by an older couple many years ago and the house has not been updated since then.  Things like wall paper on the ceiling of one of the bathrooms, fixtures that remind me of the dinner scene in ET, blue shag carpeting, and of course the beigey, pinkish color that covers most of the rooms’ walls.  What is it with older people and this color, both of my grandmother’s painted their houses this color.  I just dont’ get it.

Difference between the primer and the wall color

Yesterday Birdie and I got caffeinated up and put primer on the walls of her kitchen nook area (including the cement wall of cubes pictured above), the front entry way, and the living room.  It was actually a little bit more difficult than it looks because the walls had not been painted in a very long time and  they just seemed to drink up the primer.  Hopefully it will make painting a million times better for them.

I did offer to help them again`if they needed it (there are many more rooms to prime, paint, and clean).  They both work full time and only have so many hours in a day to get the house ready for their move in.  I hope I’m not overstepping my bounds.  I know there is an amazing feeling of accomplishment from completing house projects on your own  and I don’t want to get in the way of that.  But I know that moving in and making this house their home will make them extremely happy and if I can contribute to my friends happiness and help it happen sooner, yippee!  I’m so freaking sappy sometimes.

Yesterday while painting I also got a little news from Red, they found out what the sex of the baby is……and I was so very wrong.

It’s a girl!

Yay for Red, Mr. Red, and Lil’ Red (Pink?)!  I can’t believe I get to see them tomorrow.

Enjoy Your Saturdays, everyone!