Stiff Nod to 2011. Open Arms to 2012.

(Heeeey- check out the new banner art by Will Manus, my funny, talented friend. It’s me! I’m on a horse. The Lone Rangerette. Let me know what you think.)

2011, you maestro of mania: I will not miss you, but I will take a moment to acknowledge the lessons you taught me (an abbreviated version, inspired by Squeaky Robot), before I move on.

1. Extreme activities are something I was not built for. I know what you’re thinking, 2011, that your predecessors 2005 and ‘10 covered this one, but those were snowboarding accidents. Totally different. Yes- ok, I did face plant and have my legs sail over my back and head in a scorpion move, completely reversing the c-curve in my neck; and then there was the cracking of my tailbone and hyperextension of my arm when I used it as a ski pole (to protect said broken butt bone as I fell), but I still felt confident this year when I signed up for volleyball and when I went indoor kart-racing with a friend. Joke’s on me. Strange sensation when a tendon snapped in my leg at volleyball, I could have sworn someone behind me took a swing at my calf with a baseball bat, but nothing could have prepared me for the special pain explosion when I nailed that wall karting. Ooo-eee bub. Knocked my helmet and neck brace clean off and then slammed my never-before-broken ribs into the metal kart frame with alarming force, changing that break status. I recall the race employee recovering my helmet some 15 feet away and mouthing, “How do you feel?” I replied, “I can’t hear you and my body is numb.” Which made him nod and slap my helmet back on my noggin. Race on.
2. I don’t have the attention span for kickball. Remember last spring, I was so excited to assemble my new portable grill for pre-game tailgates, delighted someone scored matching headbands for the team, and jubilant when I came across a pom pom in our team color, yet I groaned when I had to set down my Solo cup to head out to the field on game days. I’m hanging up my sweatbands for now and focusing my energies on upping the social event planning instead of converting a sporting event into one. Wisdom.
3. To say “no” and not feel badly about it. Also in the spring, 2011, you found me canoodling with an old flame who I’d been over for quite some time. Subtly, you smacked me in my conscience with the reality that he really did absolutely nothing for me, was a bit full of himself, and that I should not be spending time and/or energy on a relationship I cared nothing about. Excellent point, and I’ve taken it to task, also purging my heart and calendar from events or dalliances that leave me unfulfilled, bored, disappointed, or all of the above. Finding myself with loads of free time…
4. If it doesn’t have a sippy lid, I have no business drinking out of it or setting it anywhere near my electronics. I feel as though there may have been a gentler way of teaching me this one, you minx, but if dumping the contents of a 16oz Coke Zero all over the keyboard of my Dell Vostro was how you wanted to go about it, then let me at least thank 2010’s rationale that had me purchase full coverage. I mean, I typically do not drink soda, unless there’s booze in it, and I certainly never leave the cap off and set it next to my livelihood, so props to you, 2011, for seeing that coming and seizing the opportunity to school me. I hate you.
5. Perseverance. This one is a tricky bugger that you really spent most of the year hammering home and it will probably never finish resonating. Not ever. I finished the B-O-O-K the first week of June, which felt amazing for exactly 23 minutes. The sense of satisfaction swelled in a lot of places and I recall feeling capable of just about anything I put my mind to. I could do it, after all. I was a finisher, which I had never thought I could be before (Exibit A: a tattoo with only the outline of what it was originally designed to be; B: countless half-written manuscripts fizzled in my docs folder; C: hair that I keep intending to grow out and then hack off when it’s at the threshold, and D: many words often left unsaid when they shouldn’t be). Finished felt great. But those triumphant and boundless minutes were interrupted by a phone call that would hurt and rent me from my new-found  solidarity. That call would have me immediately on an airplane to the bedside of my best friend as she delivered her baby boy who’s heart had stopped beating. In all the time that followed, I would learn all the more how important it is to keep hanging on and hanging on and hanging on and…teaching yourself and teaching others you love how to start breathing again. How to open your eyes at the start of each day, get crushed all over with the immediate recollection of everything that’s gone wrong, and still will yourself to not only keep moving, but also to make everything you do matter, because it has to. There has to be some tangible impression, some outward sign that goes beyond eyes wasted with grief, to justify and testify that you’ve lost big and that it changes everything, and that you promise to make it count. That he lived. That you loved him. That his brief life changed yours. And in time, I have faith 2011, that the perseverance will pay off.
6. To be grateful.  The really good friends are the ones who will drive a couple hundred miles to wish you happy birthday, leave chocolate, wine, or flowers at your door when they know you’re sad or just want to show some love. They will call/text/come over when you’ve told them to get lost, cuz they know you didn’t mean it and actually need them now more than ever. They will also cook carbs to comfort you, ply you with just the right amount of hooch, threaten to hurt people who’ve disappointed you, and will lend a laptop cuz you’ve just ruined yours. They will sometimes swap tops in a restaurant, cuz you like theirs better and asked nicely. These friends will give you a look when you’ve crossed a line, will let you know when they love something you’ve written, and will say, “Hey, babe- you’ve got a little something clinging to your left canine.”
7. Metabolisms are not forever. And I can’t continue standing on the shoulders of a triathlon I completed 3 years ago. The effects wear off, and slowly but surely, your clothes get uncomfortable. Thanks for the push (out of my jeans) at the end of the year to finally sign up for boot camp. Here’s hoping last year’s injury tally carries over, meaning I’m safe for a spell.
8. Strangers are worth listening to. Remember when we were cornered by a lady at that hotel in Sacramento? Standing in a black velour track suit that fit 20lbs ago, she talked for an hour straight about her husband, her kids, her divorcee nephew that I should date, and her business ventures. And I listened, since there was nothing much better happening at the moment. At one point, while she was gushing about her affection for her husband (even after 27 years of marriage, she had a crush), she interrupted herself to tell me that she had a strong feeling about me. Out of no apparent place, she received a sense and blurted to me that February 2012 was going to be a significant month for me. Life-changing. She couldn’t get specific about whether I should be excited or filled with dread. Despite the several ways you tried to wire me for cynicism, 2011, I choose the former…and now walk brusquely toward whatever is next. Filled with hope.
So, while I would happily punch you in your sensitives for some of the harsher moments of last year, 2011, until you can’t see color, I’ll concede that there were important moments that will likely carry me through the years to come. On the whole, thanks.
Gotta tell you though, I’m pretty psyched that I’m through. Take it personally.
(I love your comments, so fill me in on some of your lessons learned in 2011.)

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The Spider Monster and the Chicken Named Me, or Happy Halloween

Happy Halloween! Or whatever one says. This week, I’m going post a series called, “The Things that Have Made Me Anxious Lately,” (having never been one for cute, pithy titles, I ended up with this one) and in honor of this creepy holiday (seriously, how does the sky know to go grey on this day and the black birds know to swirl and twirl en masse on this day?), I am kicking the series off with something horrible.

Spiders.

(It took my one minute and seventeen seconds to write that word.)

I am irrationally and pathetically terrified of spiders (eeeee!). My wild imagination assigns powers to them that I’ve been told they don’t actually possess, but I would argue that creatures grow and evolve and adapt to their situation over time, so how the heck can we possibly know that they aren’t slowly increasing in strength and numbers because they possibly drink water that perhaps folks receiving radiation therapy have expelled? We don’t, we can’t possibly know. We can’t know that if we swing a bat to kill them, they won’t use one of their many appendages to grab it and bash our brains in, OR that they haven’t sent out a distress call in an octave our ears are too large to hear, and while we’re swinging that bat, an army is amassing behind us, ready to eat our faces AND our bat with their millions of fangs. We don’t, we cannot know.

So, a couple weeks ago, I had a situation. It had been raining all weekend long, and I had let the mail pile-up in the box to avoid frizzing my hair more than the norm. When I finally headed down there, in the rain, I opened the box to find a mini house of horrors. Apparently, an ant nest lived in the mailbox’s flower bed and the rain had saturated the bed so thoroughly, that those hard working ants, all 456,000,981,072,999,015,000 of them plus their wee larvae/eggs had relocated to the cozy, dry confines of the mailbox; many finding the pages of my SELF magazine particularly appealing, but I wouldn’t realize that until I was back in the house. They blacked out the corners of the box. They walked all over each other by the thousands. I had never seen anything like it and I don’t think you would or should unless you stick your head in the ground, in the middle of an ant’s nest, but then you’re just asking for it. I was not.

I got all skeeved and felt as though a large portion of those creepers were climbing all over me. Screeching and slapping and screeching more, I bolted for the garage door, punched in the code, hopped up and down, and then, once the door was open enough, I ducked under, out of the rain and far away from the nightmare in the mailbox. But then…then my troubles began.

Folded over from bowing under the garage door, but with much momentum, I was in an off-kilter sprint and my foot was about to make contact with the concrete floor when I saw it, just where I was about to step. The largest sss. Sppp. Spuh-eye-Der I have ever seen, live and not in captivity. I let out the cry of a terrified banshee and changed stride, mid-air, to manage a leap that belied my short legs. Impressive. And dove through the threshold, into the house.

The Monster himself.

A stream of astonished and horrified curses may have ensued.

After a few radical slaps to my legs, in case the monster had lept up my pant leg when I had hurdled over it (or maybe I rolled around on the floor violently) I peeked back around the corner into the garage. He was there, right where I’d left him, now up on all eights, ready and growling and drooling venom, I’m certain of it.

In an act that I am still shocked I managed to pull off, I grabbed the most-full can of arachnid-killing Raid and advanced, fingers to my neck to check on my vitals. I knew he either needed to die, or I needed to move. Typically, a brief shot with this poison and you hear the creature shriek, “I’m melting! Melting!” and crumple to the ground. The monster in the garage, however (who I’ve concluded lived underground, near Hell usually, but the rain had driven him from his lair and into the garage, much like the ants and the mailbox) was sprayed with half of the can for a couple of minutes, and then just seemed to shake it off and saunter haughtily toward my bicycle, leaving a foamy trail of poison in his wake. Since this villain was clearly impervious to my only defense, and I had now inhaled my fair share of the Raid, I freaked out even more. (If you’re wondering, as many have, why I didn’t just squash him, let me tell you: a) I am convinced he could have chewed through my shoe b) I did that once and the ground came alive with the trillions of babies that were being carried on the back of the one I crushed. I will never fall for that trick again).

“WHY are you so big?!” I yelled at him, “You aren’t supposed to be that big! How did you fit in the door? Why??!?”

“Please die. Please just die. Why won’t you die?” and the like.

Well, the monstrous bad-ass simply peered out at me from behind my tire (I was still just holding down the trigger on the can), saw the still-open garage door and made a run for it. Yes. Still had the energy and wherewithal to RUN.

For your amusement, and again, in-keeping with the holiday, here is a video I took that chronicles those final moments that followed his exodus from the garage. That’s me, hyperventilating in the background (it’s hard to breath when you feel like there’s a metal spike piercing your lungs and you’ve inhaled much spider poison). The star of the film should be obvious.

Have a creepy Halloween. Be safe. Carry Raid.

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Part II: My Sheep Farmer Story Dethroned

Reader- if you haven’t read Part I, then Part II will be nonsense, and if you have read Part I, Part II may still be nonsense, but it may help to scan Part I to refresh your memory. To recap only slightly, Mrs. F is telling me about her obsession with Neil Diamond, her ability to knit things and to raise sheep, as well as a contest that Neil is holding for the best Christmas sweater design. Mr. F looks like the mascot Uga but sounds like Christopher Walken (listen to Walken tell the tale of the Three Little Pigs so that you’re on the same page as me.  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2vNk4K3YaIc  “Knocks on the door-ah”), so I have taken to not looking at him and simply imagine that he IS Christopher.

Cont.d

“Don’t mind him,” Mrs. F dismisses Christopher with a glare, “Let me tell you what happened. You’re not even going to believe it all.”

“I already don’t,” I eagerly utter as I lean forward, “So your boyfriend, Neil?  You were saying that you were wearing only Christmas sweaters, I think…?”

Mrs. F chuckles and Christopher shakes his head while giving a jerky thrust of those pointy shoulders I’m imagining while not looking at him.

“Don’t I wish!” the elderly gal giggles and shoots a glance at her husband, “Neil Diamond, I was saying, my BOYfriend, was having a contest for who could make the best Christmas sweater, so,” she pauses dramatically, “I entered!” She crosses her arms tightly across her housecoat-clad bosoms, rocks back in her kitchen chair with a smug grin, leaning against a bedroom pillow because she’s recently had back surgery, which I’ve already heard all about.

Who wouldn't have a crush?

“I had two weeks. TWO weeks to design and knit a sweater. Not to mention sheering the sheep and cleaning the wool.”

“You… you needed to make your own wool for the sweater for this contest?” I ask, incredulous at Neil’s high expectations.

“Didn’t have to but, honey, I wanted to!” she says in all seriousness and then looks over at Christopher, “Did you get the picture out?”

“No-ah,” Christopher replies, “Have I move’t? Did you see me get the pictshuh out-ah?” same jerky, pointy shrug as he moves away from the table to get the “pictshuh.”

Mrs. F is unruffled by her husband’s snark and instead waits patiently for my curiosity to build.

“Did you win?” I’m guessing yes.

“Yes!” They simultaneously shout, and Mr.F/Christopher Walken whips out a picture frame from the heap of random items piled to the ceiling beside us, and I panic for a moment and flinch when the entire jumbled wall of goods wobbles. Mr. F is beaming (imagining him as Christopher Walken temporarily suspended, since I am once again looking into the face of Uga), and he sets the frame (which holds two photos) in front of me with aplomb.

I take in the shot of the F’s standing with Neil Diamond in front of the largest, gaudiest Christmas tree ever decorated. Mrs. F is clutching Neil’s arm with both hands, Neil is a strange orangey grey color with super-white teeth and glassy eyes that pierce, and Mr. F’s under bite is protruding exuberantly.

“You all look so happy,” I say.

“Oh, you have just NO idea,” Mrs. F sighs and fans herself whilst reclining against that bedroom pillow, “His house in Malibu was just, oh, there are no words. He brought in SNOW!”

“I had no-ah idea-uh what a decent man he is,” starts Mr. F, eyes wide and serious, “But, OH!” he declares, throwing hands up and his head back to emphasize his sincerity, “WHAT a gentleman. Top-notch.” He does that universal A-okay sign with his fingers, “And the FOOD! Oh, my. The Best. You have nevuh had food this good.”

“No lamb, I hope,” I say with concern and am assured that no lamb was served, and then given a complete rundown of what was.

I’m engrossed by now, so I smile and return to the picture frame. To the other picture. It is of a sheep. There’s a blue backdrop, just like my second-grade school pic, and likewise just the head and shoulders of the animal. Just above the headshot, spelled out in ABC glitter stickers is the name, “Sweet Caroline.”

“No,” I say.

“Yes!” they chorus.

“This is the sheep the sweater came from?” I ask rhetorically as they nod, “And her name is Sweet Caroline?”

Mrs. F bursts, “I told you, I love Neil Diamond! I had to use Sweet Caroline’s wool.”

Sweet Caroline herself as posted to Neil's contest facebook page. I kid you not.

“And thuh sweatuh,” inserts Christopher (imagination back on, since I’m staring at the picture of Sweet Caroline, and not his underbite), “Has a skyline-uh of New Yoke City-ah.”

“And when I won,” Mrs. F continues excitedly, “They told me Neil specifically wanted to meet me. We talked for ages with him! I was the ONLY one who made my own wool…”

“Oh, I believe that,” I affirm.

“…and the sheep’s name, and, well, the sweater design is really something.” Mrs. F manages to say this with a humble blush, “AND I added cherries, you know, because his Christmas album is called, A Cherry Cherry Christmas. And the contest was to promote the album, so…”

“Is that code for something? What in the world do have cherries to do with Christmas?”

Mrs. F looks at me as though I’m speaking an undiscovered language whilst sprouting geraniums on my forehead and Mr. F, lost in reverie, catches us both off guard when he bursts out,

“WHAT a gentleman!” and pats his chest proudly with both bands, as though he has had something to do with rearing of Neil.

Mrs. F, offended on Neil’s behalf by my scoff of what is truly a confusing Christmas album title folds her hands in her lap and doesn’t look at me when she says, “I’ll show you the sweater, but then I should probably go lie down.”

My comment, clearly a sin, has warranted my dismissal from story time with the F’s.

Mrs. F cools considerably when she returns to the room with her masterpiece shrouding her housecoat. And let me tell you, the sweater pays special homage to that expected tawdriness of themed clothing the world over. Lace, cherries, the NYC skyline, and then more lace…all woven with the passion of a Neil Diamond lover and the coat of a sheep named for one of his songs. It’s a lot to take in, but there’s something special about being included in such a significant memory for the F’s and I say exactly that.

I thank them profusely for the story and congratulate them on their win and as I go, my hobby-free self experiences a niggling desire to care that much about something or someone, but no sooner is that inkling there then it is gone…true to form.

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Part I: My Sheep Farmer Story Dethroned

Crush story winner about to be revealed. If you have a story you were planning to submit (you know who you are…) then get it in quickly to be considered! And I’m not going to acknowledge the several months lapse in posting, because in that time, my life has been rattled, broken, and rearranged…all of which are not www fodder, sooo. Pushing forward…

I've done this shearing thang.

Well. I realize that most of you out there haven’t heard the story of me being proposed to by an Irish sheep farmer when I was but 17 years old. (He was 65, if he was a day, had few teeth and had recently won the Irish lotto. Am I writing about that now? No. If you would like to know that story, pick up a copy of my book once published, or take me out for drinks.) But you should know that it’s a story I’ve been asked to tell and retell for so many years, that it’s sort of knit into the fabric of me.  Ha. “Knit.” Sometimes I catch myself spewing humor referentially. And I like it.

I bring this up now because, for the first time in over a decade, I’ve met my match when it comes to lamb tales, which is saying something, and it is my competitor’s story that I’m telling… in two parts, so let’s begin:

I’m sitting at the kitchen table with Mr. and Mrs. F, who are two elderly country folk I have just made the acquaintance of. The air is filled with the heavy scent of not-so-recent bacon grease. There’s the cabinets, the table, the chairs with our three posteriors in them, and then floor to ceiling clutter ranging from infomercial buys to grandbaby toys.

Mrs. F is in her housecoat apologizing for the smell and Mr. F is grinning at me, but it’s hard to tell because he has a pronounced under bite and features that would rival Uga, but there’s a twinkle in his eyes, and I can’t think of any reason he would be grimacing at me, so I’m calling it a grin.

It has just been said that Mrs. F knits. She has sticks and a pair of half-finished socks in her lap to validate her assertion and she promises to show me her pièce de résistance before I go (she uses those exact words). Her mention of self-cleaning the wool she uses to knit after shearing the sheep, which they own 9 of,  in their backyard is what sparks my recesses to tell the story of the Irish sheep farmer, but Mr. F interrupts.

“You should tell huh,” he sounds alarmingly like Christopher Walken, so I don’t look at him for the rest of the night so I can imagine he is.

“I was gonna tell her,” says Mrs. F. She is barely southern and sounds like no one we all know, but she has nice skin. Mrs. F looks at me, and says,

“Neil Diamond is my boyfriend,” she pauses dramatically and I scramble mentally to separate him from Dick Clark and/or Rod Steward because I have a terrible memory, “Mr. F is my husband,” she continues, “Neil Diamond is my boyfriend.”

“Okaaaay…” I insert awkwardly. Mrs. F goes on,

“And Christmas of ’09, Neil had a contest for the best Christmas sweater. The winner would get to come to his house for dinner and…” She’s cut off by Christopher,

“You nevuh set it. Up. Right. You don’t. You nevuh doah,” I picture Mr. F/ Christopher shrugging sharply in a blazer I know he isn’t wearing.

“I was saying…” Mrs. F tries.

“Every time. Each and every time.” Walken mutters whilst shaking his head and looking in another direction.

“You two sure know how to build anticipation,” I say. Eyes shining with possibility.

“Don’t mind him,” Mrs. F dismisses Christopher with a glare, “Let me tell you what happened. You’re not even going to believe it all.”

Best Christmas sweaters EVER, Mrs. Weasley. EVER!!!

“I already don’t,” I eagerly utter as I lean forward, “So your boyfriend, Neil?  You were saying that you were wearing only Christmas sweaters, I think…?”

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The B-O-O-K is Done!

Tuh duh! *curtsy *grin from ear to ear* The word count goal for the b-o-o-k has been crushed, which means everything else written is  frosting.  To celebrate, here’s a snippet for your enjoyment and to remind you of the thrill of your first crush.

It was this or MASH.

“…before I could understand what was happening and enjoy the moment, something broke loose and did a nose-dive in my chest. An organ, maybe. Air caught in a painful, but reassuring lump in my throat. Everything began racing at one time. Each thing on the inside. It felt incredible, like every part of me was moving at the cadence it was intended to, but never had. Tears gone, I stood staring at him with eyes stacked to the rim with the full presence of affection or love, or lust, idolatry, promise, hope…all there together and in equal amounts. Overwhelming and exhilarating simultaneously, as if I were being both ruined and made.  Feelings without boundaries, without method, without end, without focus. It was a delightful delirium that I had never felt.

“Looking back, I can attribute the majority of that rush to an onslaught of young hormones, but at the time, and occasionally now, that natural force reigns over rationality like a power-hungry dictator, and it feels amazing.”

I want to hear in the comment section about the crush you still think about from time to time. To make this fun, I’m going to peruse submissions (can be via email, if you’d prefer not to comment for all interwebbies to see) and select my favorite to turn into a semi-fictitious vignette post. The  selected entry will also win a prize related to the “crush” theme, so send a couple of lines for me to read. No limit to the number of submissions. Cannot wait to read about your experience!

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Breaking the Rules (now what have I done?)

The end of April has come and gone and spurned May, like a little hellion what with tornadoes and dead terrorists honchos who’s name rhyme with “Obama” (hurrah on that last one). I sat and watched a week’s worth of these reports a bit like Amelie.   In the beginning of the film, Amelie (if for some reason you haven’t seen it, and I don’t think there is a reason not to) is a child who has been given a camera for her birthday instead of a baby brother. At first, she is so excited with the gift. She runs around her neighborhood capturing pictures of everything she loves.

Then one day, she takes a picture and two cars crash in front of her. Some jackass walks up to little Amelie and says, “Now look what you’ve done.” Poor wee thing takes this immediately to heart and runs home to turn on the tv. News story after news story reports various tragedies all over the world, which makes sense to Amelie, because she’s been taking pictures for a while now. She’s sitting on the sofa, huge remote clutched in both tiny hands, eyes enormous with shock and guilt, and shoulders slumped with the weight of what she thinks she’s done.

That’s how badly I was feeling about missing my April 30th book deadline.

I began thinking over all of the OTHER things I did with April, and I began to wonder if those had caused the problem…and if, generally speaking, the reach of inconsistency is broader than we think. The Butterfly Effect, basically.

The same question popped into my mind today as I put 25lbs of organic carrots into my trunk for juicing, and then drove across the street to grab a Rita’s (Ice. Custard. Happiness.) gelati before heading home. Am I toying with some master design when I slap convention and order in the face like that?

To encourage myself, I’m writing out the top five things I DID do with April, which did not include meeting my own deadline. In no particular order, they are:

1. Worked. I mean, it does take time, and this girl has got bills to pay.
2. Wrestled with life and relationship decisions. Since this is essentially what my book is about, I guess I was bound to start thinking about the topic sometime or other. Why not now, just as my deadline is RIGHT there? This ended up involving much brooding, listening to sad cd’s I haven’t seen since high school, and the inevitable late night, wine-infused, teary chats with my pillow.

3.  Juiced. Now, detoxing is a once a year thing for me, but just as the Lord has promised not to flood the entire Earth again, family and friends (especially Stephanie, who has yet to really forgive me for biting her head off for something trivial four years ago) have made me swear never to only juice, so it’s been one meal a day for me, and a second meal of only raw fruit and veggies, which has kept me balanced and from picking fights at random.

4. Started a new business.

5. Painted my toes, which is no minor thing after keeping tootsies corralled in the cave of close-toed shoes for a season. Cramped and with no sunlight, we all know the sort of disrepair that can occur and the undoing of that requires time, tools, and  muscle. I managed, however, and am proud to say I’ve been clomping about in espadrilles for weeks now.

All of this to say, it’s been a productive and distracting month, but I did write. And there are a mere 1,500 words left to be put down, so off I go…

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April-shmapril.

Great, leaping, frozen, yellow, cannibalistic, flowering, inconspicuous, lavish, travelling, gaseous, egads! We are entering the 4th month of 2011 already! I really thought we would all have rocket packs installed in our plastic jeans so that we could fly everywhere by now. Alas, no.

Seriously. How hot was this guy?

 

Many equally interesting things, however, have been happening and I feel compelled to fill you in.

In the early days of February, I took a stab at journalism. Marrying two things I dearly love (no, not the sound of my own voice and coffee): enabling small businesses to thrive and connecting people with their community’s culture, I wrote a piece for Hampton Road’s (read: Norfolk/VA Beach’s) alternative news source, AltDaily.com.

I learned some things:

  1. You should write down things people say because you won’t remember them later, making you less like a journalist and more like a storyteller.
  2. People you least expect are passionate about something and it is really fun and enriching to ask the right questions to find what gets their bombachas in a twist. Try it.
  3. I have no business being a journalist. Fact-checking and paying attention only engage me for so long.

Anyway, I’m chalking that up to being published, which is one of my 3 goals this year. I need to write a cheer for that.

Additionally, TheBecomingYear was surprisingly reviewed by blogger C-C Lester, which was just the most flattering thing to happen since two guys in a pick-up truck crossed 8 lanes of traffic to pull up beside me whilst I was pumping gas at 7-Eleven to tell me I was pretty. (I would imagine that many people are from clear-across an intersection, but HEY! That was nice.)

That’s enough goodness for the first quarter of a new year. I don’t even need to tell you about the trips to San Diego and Atlanta that included some of the best culinary experiences of my life; the fact that Costco (mi amor), in states OTHER than Virginia who have better liquor laws, carry gargantuan gallons of Tanqueray and Tequila, of which I am now a proud owner;   that I scored zebra-print, pony hair, Antonio Melani peep-toe shoes for $28; nor that I have technically learned how to crochet. (That last one is a wild card, since I have yet to decide if it is a “good” thing to acquire a skill you dislike and have no clue what to do with.)

Seriously. How hot are these shoes?

 

Now April, if you didn’t know, is the final month for completing the B-O-O-K. As it stands, I have 13,000 words to write in 30 days. Not just any words, mind you, but the cleverest, most amusing, and marketable words ever joined. Far be it from me to keep anything simple, or to set myself up properly for success, so I’ve created and obstacle course for the month, which will include more travel and volunteering. Bring it, Q2!

What rad jazz have you been up to this year, and/or what’s in the pipeline for the spring???

 

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