The Positive and the Negative

It is funny how we let things affect us. I had started this blog as an exercise, a way to write even if I couldn’t think of anything story related to write. Even if I couldn’t do it every day I was trying for every week. It didn’t take too terribly long before I stopped, however.

There was a negative person in my office who honestly just really seemed to enjoy making me miserable. Passive aggressively of course, so she couldn’t be called out on it directly. Due to work I had her as a friend on my Facebook page. This blog links to my Facebook page, so when I started it, she saw. That’s when the comments started.

“Who blogs? I mean really? Who cares what you had for breakfast?” The comments were always about how stupid a blog was and always made in my presence. They also seemed to always start up again after I made a new post. I got tired of hearing it so I stopped the blog. The comments stopped.

This person has since moved on to another job, far away from here. Still, it has taken me time to get back around to doing this. But other than negative words and attitudes taking a little while to get over, there have also been some positive things happening that have kept me busy.

For one, I returned to college. I only had one semester under my belt when the doctors found that my Nana’s cancer had not only come back, but had metastasized to several critical areas. I made the decision to leave college and spend time at home with her, especially since the college I went to was a few states away. Then life happened, as it does. I am now one semester away from completing my AA, and plan to move on to a BA after.

Also, in the grand tradition of burying the lead, my book is published! Available on Amazon for paperback, and Kindle for E-book, Waking Up Dead is the first book in my “Life After” series. Book 2 is already in the editing stage and I hope to have it out this fall. Inserting shameless plug below 🙂

Waking Up Dead

I should be more active here from now on, and I welcome interaction, so feel free to drop me a comment or a line.

Til next time, friends.


Bad Times at the Movies

Last weekend was spent in a haze of stress as my husband prepared for his Radiographic Positiong 2 and Physics finals. A lot was riding on those finals and while he was confident about the latter, he was less so about the former as it was a cumulative final that encompassed last semester’s (Positioning 1) information as well. This week he passed both, so this weekend was about relaxing and celebrating. With Free Comic Book Day on Saturday and Star Wars Day today, it seemed like we were going to have a great time, and for the most part we have.

We also planned to take our kids to see The Amazing Spiderman 2. A little reward for them for dealing with us through the stress, as we were probably a little crankier and a little less available for family time the past weekend. Going to the movies is no small feat for us. The movie theater has changed their Matinee times. They have recently changed it to any movie showing BEFORE noon. Once upon a time it used to be before five. They changed it about a decade ago to before three. I personally think before noon is ridiculous and greedy, but I’m sure they really don’t care what I think. Anyway, for us to attend a movie (2D) it’s about $40. That’s tickets only folks. No popcorn or drinks or candy, because the cost of that stuff is truly insane ($12 for a medium popcorn and small drink when I glanced at the board yesterday). We also don’t really do 3D movies as it adds another $12 to the ticket cost and gives me a screaming headache.

A friend came with us and we get to the theater, got our tickets and went in. The theater is packed and this is where my social anxiety decides it’s party time. We ended up in the third row, which sucked a little because it was closer than we all wanted to be, but it was the only place left (other than the first two rows) where five people could sit together. We get settled and I give my daughter the usual rigamarole of don’t talk during the movie, save your questions for the end, etc. In hind sight I should have given that talk to the 10 teenagers in the row behind us.

The lights go down and the previews… excuse me… commercials start. After about three or four of those we get to the previews. the first one is apparently based on a YA novel, which makes three of the girls behind us erupt into squeals of delight and chatter about the book. I’m annoyed but at least have the vaguest hint that they read, so maybe they are intelligent enough to shut up during the movie. Through every preview they talk. My husband can see I’m getting more and more annoyed, and pats my leg.

“It’s just the previews, they should quiet down once the movie starts,” he says.

Oh…. if only he had been right.

They didn’t even bother whispering. They weren’t loud enough to bother the entire theater, but they were loud enough to continually annoy us. One girl wished she had green eyes like Harry Osborne, another dropped her phone, and there was a mad scramble to find it. I shushed them or said “Shut Up” or “Be Quiet” about six times. My husband did as well. Our friend flat out turned around and told them to be quiet. Even my daughter was giving them dirty looks.

I wanted to get up and go get an usher, but I would have had to climb over people, and my social anxiety doesn’t allow that unless I have absolutely no choice. My husband wanted to as well, but he didn’t want to miss the movie. Besides, we’ve seen what happens when you get an usher. They’ll come in, tell them to shut up, stay for a few minutes, then go away and the group starts talking again. They won’t kick them out of the movie, since they paid to be there. At least that is the philosophy of this theater.

This may be our last movie at this theater. While it is close to home, the changes they have been making are really disappointing. They don’t remove problem people unless those people can’t produce ticket stubs for the movie. The changing of the matinee time to something that leaves out a lot of people (before noon is only one showing of any given movie). They also changed their rewards program from something that gives you more rewards the more movies you see, to something that is the same, but you have to pay $10 a year for the privilege of being part of that program.

We will likely only see 2 more movies at the theater this year. X-Men and Guardians of the Galaxy. We reserve going to the theater for the big spectacle, better to see on the big screen and you can take your kids to it films. Everything else waits until we can view it at home. My kids didn’t understand why until this past trip. Now I think they finally get it.

Until next time my friends, May the Fourth be with you, and Excelsior!

Of Worlds and Words

I know I have mentioned before that I have been writing since I was a kid. When I hit 8th grade I remember getting so excited because the school offered Creative Writing as an elective, and I jumped at it! Mrs. George was a great teacher and I remember her class fondly. High school, however, truly began laying the foundations for my seriously considering doing anything with writing beyond amusing myself.

My school offered many electives, but of course my favorites were Creative Writing 1 & 2. Offered as full year courses, the two years I spent in this class were may absolute favorites. When asked today who my favorite teacher was when I was in school, I always answer without hesitation that it was Mr. Verner. He was a patient, encouraging, and incredibly creative man. We had to turn in five pages every week to him, and that poor man would then go home and spend the weekend sorting through messy handwriting, not to mention the good, bad, and ugly that 9th and 10th graders could come up with.

I always smile when I remember him going on about how he hated the Maryland Lottery commercials (he hated the jingle, a song about how you could be walking down the street with a dollar in your pocket, the next be driving your very own crotch rocket). He also had a whole anthology of Sluggy stories. The Sluggy stories were about a boy and his pet slug and their misadventures. Sluggy was ahead of it’s time in that it predated South Park. Just like Kenny dies in that show, Sluggy always died by the end of the stories, usually in horrific and terribly funny ways.

I tell my kids Sluggy stories, simply in honor of this teacher.

Though at times my ambition has wavered, I have never stopped writing because of this teacher.

I got a random invitation from someone at work to join LinkedIn. I figured why not and joined I noticed that my favorite teacher was there. Curiosity set in and I found him on Facebook too! I was so happy to have the chance to tell him myself how much he meant to me, how much he influenced me, and how much I still remember of his classes and how I keep the legacy of Sluggy alive.

He has retired from teaching and is now a published writer and blogger himself. I wish him all the best success in the world with his books. I unfortunately cannot go to his book signings, as he is worlds away (well, states, but for me it might as well be worlds), but I hope he has a good line of fans.

It’s funny how sometimes the world of words can be so small that you can run into those who inspire you after a long time, and find them in places you wouldn’t have thought to look!

Until next time, friends.

Still Alive, Still Writing

So that break was longer than anticipated. Sorry for that!

MegaCon was a ton of fun and I got to go see Wil Wheaton again. It was so funny, when I got up to him all I said was “Last year I came up to you and handed you a letter…” He jumped out of his seat, came around the table and hugged me! He seemed so genuinely happy that I had come back to see him again. We talked for a few minutes, he signed my copy of his Just a Geek book, and I went on my merry way. My son, whose birthday it was, had a blast. We took him to DisneyQuest the night before and spent the whole evening there playing video games. Then at the Con he and his Dad both entered an Injustice tourney. Neither won but they had a great time playing.

Then there was International TableTop Day last weekend. Saturday we played with friends; Pandemic, Stone Age, and Marvel: Legendary, while the kids played Sorry Sliders and Uno. The Sunday we played games with the kids; Resident Evil (the deck building game), DC Comics, and Beat the Parents. A great deal of fun was had by all.

But guess what? In all of this time I finally managed to break my paralysis! I’ve submitted to a few agents! I’d been so stuck on query letters and knowing how important each sentence and turn of phrase is in them. I had been too scared all this time to try to write one, for fear of screwing it up. I probably did screw up the first few I sent out, too, but I just got to a point where I realized I was letting the fear be an excuse. Besides, hadn’t I promised myself that this year I was going to do my damnedest to burst out of my comfort bubble?

So I got off my butt and just did it. I smoothed out and perfected the letters as I went along. I probably will continue doing so as I go (there are many more letters to send). But the point is I did it. I finally did it. No more excuses! And it feels wonderful to finally be able to say that.

While I’m sure I have plenty of rejection ahead of me, I do hope to someday see my books on the shelves. So keep your fingers crossed, friends. Cadence, Snow and the others may one day come to a shelf near you!

Until next week!

A Small Break

I am going to apologize in advance for this, but I’m going to take a small break on the blog here. Just a couple of weeks. This weekend we have company down and we’re going to be spending time playing games, watching movies, and just generally hanging out. Likely victims this weekend will be Elder Sign, Pandemic, Lords of Waterdeep, Marvel: Legendary, and the DC Comics game. Much fun and laughter will be had by all!

Next weekend is my son’s birthday (10!) and MegaCon. We’re planning a very special weekend for our guy, so I doubt I’ll have the chance to drop in and make an entry. I will come back afterwards though and let you know how MegaCon went, as there are plenty of people I am looking forward to seeing (Karl Uran, Wil Wheaton!) and some my son wants to meet (Jason David Frank, as he grew up on re-runs of Power Rangers).

So until then, have fun! I’ll be back soon!

The Wil Wheaton Connection

Yes, I bring up Wil Wheaton a lot. I also link to his site and such often. There is a reason and I think now, 2 weeks away from Mega Con, is a perfect time to explain it. Brace yourselves, this is likely going to be long.

I made mention before of my health issues. I’ve been in and out of wheelchairs and on and off of crutches my whole life. I’ve had to re-learn how to walk 3 times. I’ve been told by doctors I would never walk again. I’ve been sick, from the annoying (strep throat 12 times in one winter) to the dangerous (meningitis at age 9). Joint issues, lung issues, heart issues, other issues and more allergies than you can shake a stick at tends to make my doctors wealthy yet bemoaning that they have to find some way to treat me around my allergies and issues.

In 1987 Star Trek: The Next Generation premiered. My parents had raised me on reruns of the original Star Trek so I was excited for this new show. I’d had a crush on Wil since Stand By Me and I loved getting to watch him every week. It also didn’t hurt that he was playing a character that was kind of an oddball, a lone, but not by his own design. Wesley had spent so much time around adults that he tended to act and think more like one than one of the kids (kind of like me, with all my time absent from school), and when he did act like a kid the grown ups were harsher on him because they expected better (again, kind of like me, but my parents aren’t the subject here).

That year also marked another sentencing to a wheelchair for me. Arthritis had cause my left hip and knee to lock up so I couldn’t walk and I was told I likely would never walk again. I had home-bound classes with teachers coming to my house for lessons. One of my English assignments was to write two fan letters. One of the letters I sent off was to Wil. I will never know if the other fan letter ever made it to the person it was mailed to, but I know Wil got mine. About a month or so after I mailed the letter I got an envelope in the mail. In it was a signed photograph from Wil saying “Thanks, having fans like you makes it all worthwhile.”

I was ecstatic! My mom picked up the mail on our way to physical therapy, so the picture came with us and I showed it to everyone. I was so excited I couldn’t stand it. He had written something to me! He had actually read my letter and sent me something back!

My therapist saw how excited I was about the picture and had me bring it with me every time. My Mom framed it for me, so my physical therapist would sit it near me and tell me to look at the picture, at Wil, while I went through the painful therapies and exercises. He would tell me that doctors didn’t know everything and that I would walk again. That I would be able to walk up to Wil one day and meet him.

I did walk again. I suffered another set back 2 years later when both hips and a knee locked up on me, and my physical therapist used the same motivation. He had me continue to bring that picture to all of my sessions. In retrospect I feel a little bad for the nurses who had to hear me gush (as only a teen aged girl with a huge crush can do) about Wil Wheaton three times a week for an hour and a half each time. Once again though, the motivation worked and I walked again.

So since 1987 I have had one long held, teenaged crush borne dream:to meet Wil Wheaton. Last year, at MegaCon in Orlando it finally happened.

My husband and I had been bandying about the idea to take the kids to MegaCon. When I looked up the guests who would be there and saw Wil was going as part of the Star Trek:TNG 25th anniversary (along with the rest of the cast) I practically begged my husband. We had to go, I had to meet Wil. My husband,being the wonderful man he is, knew how much it meant to me, and we took the kids to their first con. I took my kids to his panel discussion, and they were good, if somewhat restless as they sat and listened to a man they didn’t know tell jokes they didn’t get. But they knew that for some reason this was very important to Mom. My family joined me in line for Wil and we waited.

I knew going into this that I would be far to emotional to say what I needed to say to him. Before we left home I had written a letter for him detailing some of what is above. How in a very real way he helped through a painful time and gave me a goal to shoot for. And here I was, finally able to accomplish that goal. He did something I never expected.

As he read my letter (which had to seem really weird to him probably) his jaw dropped and he teared up. He then got up and walked over to the side of his table away from me. He then turned and opened up his arms. He had me walk over to meet him, so I could finally accomplish the goal. He enveloped me in a huge hug and we both cried.

In looking back I realize I turned into a babbling idiot in this moment. I wanted to tell him how big a fan I was. How even when he wasn’t acting or in the public eye, I had always been a fan. How much his YouTube show Tabletop had inspired my husband and I and now we had weekly gaming nights with friends and family. But all I could say over and over was “You have no idea how much this means to me.” I feel like going back and slapping myself silly. Of course he knows what it means to you, stupid! You just told him in that letter!

He even took time, as he signed the picture I had picked out, to talk to my kids. My kids (10 and 8 at the time) had no idea who this guy was, or why Mom was crying, were a little spooked. He told that I was awesome, and that he knew they didn’t get it because I was their Mom, but I really was. He gave me my new signed picture which said to “Keep walking.” It’s on my desk.

MegaCon 2014 is in 2 weeks and I will be there, as will Mr. Wheaton. My husband had already resigned himself to knowing that I’m going to Wil’s table again. This time I have a book of his I want him to sign. Hopefully this time I will get a chance to say all the things I was too emotional to say last time. I also want to tell him how much his book Just a Geek inspired me to stop being afraid and start believing in my own talent as a writer.

Here’s to continuing to make dreams come true.

P.S. Wil wrote about meeting me in his own blog here.

The Cyrano Syndrome

Cyrano de Bergerac had a great influence on me. Not on my views of romance or unrequited love. On my views of myself and my dealings with others.

No, I don’t have a huge nose. In school growing up I was on and off crutches and in and out of wheelchairs. This was in a time when most kids with handicaps were shunted off to a “special” school. My parents fought for me to stay in my high school though, and won that fight. It was a good thing, but it left me open to a lot remarks from more callous kids. Cyrano taught me how to take the sting out of it. Cyrano taught me to beat them at their own game.

If you make fun of yourself before they can, it take the fire from them. Sure they can say something, but you can come up with a snide remark about yourself far better than they can. Throw that in their faces and making fun of you is no longer fun for them. That’s all well and good in high school, but this self defense mechanism has continued through out my adult life.

Because of my health issues and side effects of medications and such, I have a weight issue. A pretty big one if I’m honest. While the Cyrano Syndrome helps me deal with the random jack-ass at the store who makes a rude comment, my husband is less appreciative of me calling myself Jabba The Hut on a regular basis. I know I have no need of this defense mechanism around my loved ones, those who care for me and don’t really give a whit what I look like, but it’s a knee-jerk reaction. If I think there’s an opening for a remark about my size, I tend to make it first.

I’m working on it, not only for myself but also for my kids. I don’t want them thinking it’s okay to talk about themselves like that; it’s not. Bad habits are hard to break though and I still find myself making jabs at my own expense. All I can do is keep trying though. I’ve got a lot of bad habits to break, and this is just one.

This bubble-bursting moment has been brought to you by the letter H for “Honesty”.