Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Day 4: Ten Interesting Facts About Me

I've been mulling this over. I'm not sure there's much about me that is interesting, but I'll give it a go.

  1. I always forget how short I am until I see pictures of myself next to regular sized people. Most people know I'm short, but not how short (5' 0.5").
  2. Growing up, our Grandpa Ed called the four of us "The Indians". He'd never get away with that now, though. In that vein, I call my three children "The Heathi" or "3 Heathens".
  3. Though I've made my career working in medicine and teaching medical specialties students, medicine is not what I wanted to do when I grew up. It's something I'm good at, and I kind of fell into it. What I really wanted to be when I grew up was a firefighter. Or a sign language interpreter. I was interested in medicine, but had no desire to make it my career. I still don't know what I want to do when I grow up.
  4. The very first book I wrote was fanfic before fanfic was even a genre. My best friend and I started writing about the Jacksons (yes, those Jacksons) back in sixth or seventh grade. I still have the four or five 3-ring binders filled with 1,200 hand-written pages tucked away in a box somewhere. 
  5. I have tattoos. That's something that always stuns my students. They've never seen them, because I started in medicine when tattoos were absolutely forbidden, so they're easily hidden by scrubs. I want one of Skeeter's brand and I want to add 'Molon labe' to the one Jay designed for me.
  6. Despite my job being to stand up in front of people and talk, I'm absolutely an introvert. Our place out in the middle of the corn fields, our horses, and books are all I need to be content. It takes me days to recover from social activity - including family gatherings and the huge BBQs Jay and I host throughout the summer. It's easier to interact with people I already know and love, but put me in with strangers and - wow - it's all I can do to keep it together.
  7. Nebalee is pretty certain I fall somewhere along the spectrum, primarily because of my dislike of noise (and my need to touch things - I like textures).
  8. I have confinement anxiety. I don't like small spaces I can't get out of and I don't like being surrounded by a lot of people. I can usually talk myself through situations that require me to behave, but there are times when it ain't happening. Once, I had an claustrophobic anxiety attack just putting on a wet suit. I couldn't get it on past my calves before I started to melt down. I just could not do it. 
I give up - I'm pretty much an open book on here and I can't think of a single interesting thing that you don't all know about me. 8/10 is more than I thought I'd be able to come up with.

Oh! Oh! Here's one: Without exception, every single one of my exes has gone on to marry the very next person they dated. The very next one. And they usually started dating them within days/weeks of us breaking up. No joke. I'm not sure what that says about me, but there it is.

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Day 3: My First Love and First Kiss*

*I'm taking some creative liberties with this prompt. Primarily, picking and choosing which "firsts" I am going to write about.

One would think my first love would be my high school boyfriend, right? One might even think my first love would be my first husband. One would be wrong.

I've been mulling this prompt over since I saw it a couple of days ago. It would be easy to play those two off as my first love(s), but that wouldn't be honest. Sure, I 'loved' my high school boyfriend - we were well-suited for each other and dated for over two years, but I'm not sure I ever felt anything more than deep affection for him. I was upset when I broke up with him, but not devastated. His little sister and I were best friends in high school, so I still saw him a fair bit with hardly any of the post-break-up teenage angst.

I married my first husband, not because I was madly in love with him, but because he was the first man with whom I'd had sex. Being a good Christian girl, I managed to convince my eighteen year-old self that I'd learn to love him and that having premarital sex with him was somehow less of a sin if I married him. Five years and three children later, I had to admit that I was not in love with him and that, in fact, it was best for me and the kids to be away from him. In our time together, we certainly developed a love of sorts, because of sharing major milestones together. I was upset over the divorce, of course, because it was a huge life change for me.

My first love was Hall. There's a line in Jerry Maguire that summed up exactly how I was feeling when I met him. Dorothy and her sister were in the kitchen and Dorothy says, "I'm the oldest 23 year old in the world!" (Or words to that effect.) That's exactly how I felt. I got married at 18, had Digger at 20, Ashinator at 21, and Monster at 23, started divorce proceedings at 24. Needless to say, I was old before my time.

Hall taught me to have fun and laugh. He introduced me to my girls, for which I will be forever grateful. I was welcomed into his circle of friends. With Hall and company, I was me. Not someone's mom, not someone's ex-wife, not anyone but me. He saw me and liked me for who I was. My friends and family weren't always fans of his, because he made it very clear that he didn't want children or to be a step-dad. I get it, but I needed Hall just because of who he was. I needed something just for me. I'll admit there were times when I'd fantasize about us getting married, but knew we'd never have the Happily Ever After. That's not to say he never interacted with the kids - in fact, he helped me coach Digger's soccer team for a couple of seasons. He helped haul the kids around to day care and school. He took a very limited paternal role with them and I was okay with it.

Our relationship wasn't always easy. In fact, the last year and a half or so was downright brutal at times. We both knew the relationship had run its course, and we both knew we needed to end it, but it was so hard to do. I truly, deeply loved him and though I knew it was past time to break up, I couldn't imagine life without him. We'd break up, get back together, break up, get back together, lather, rinse, repeat. After five and a half years together, I finally found some balls and made a clean break, which was the hardest thing I'd ever done. It took me almost three years to recover from the break-up. Thank God for Robs, who also went through a hard break-up at the same time. I wouldn't have made it without her.

Surprisingly, my first kiss memory has nothing to do with any of my previous relationships and everything to do with Jay. I would think that I'd remember my first-first kiss, or at least the first kiss with my first love, but I don't. Jay knocked my socks off. I was more than half in love with Jay by the time we met face-to-face. We spent weeks emailing back and forth, getting to know each other before we ever met in real life. Our first date ran more than five hours. I swear he started to go in for the kiss when we parted, but aborted at the last minute. I was slightly disappointed, but happy with the tight goodbye hug.

I spent our next date, a week or so later, plotting ways to get him to kiss me. We had lunch, talked, walked around Old Town, but I couldn't focus. I kept thinking I was just going to shove him up against a building and kiss him, but I lost my nerve time and again. Four and a half hours later, we decided to call it a day. I was beside myself for being such a chicken. Jay walked me to my car and gave me a goodbye kiss. And another and another. My toes curled and I was absolutely breathless. I'd had my share of kisses in my 37 years, but our first kiss(es) were unlike anything I'd ever experienced. All those flowery descriptions of first kisses in romance novels? Yeah, they nailed it. We'd probably still be standing there by my car kissing if it wasn't for someone driving by who yelled, "Get a room!". It was sufficient to break the spell, but in a humorous way.

By that time, I was head-over-heels in love with Jay, even if I wasn't ready to admit it to myself.

Monday, May 2, 2016

Day 2: Earliest Memory

I don't have one specific earliest memory; instead I have multiple little snippets of memories from the first house we lived in.

Our family owned four connected lots. My Great-Grandparents' house was up on the hill, followed by my uncle's undeveloped acre lot. Next in line was my Grandma's lot - she didn't live there when I was little, instead she rented out her property. Last was our little red house.

I loved our little red house.

My dad went away to Texas A&M for the fire academy when I was three-ish and I remember sleeping in my footie pajamas on a bean bag one night until it was time to pick him up. If I recall correctly, I slept in that bean bag frequently once he got hired on as a firefighter at Kodak. Mom would pack Nebalee and me up in the car in the middle of the night to go pick him up after his shifts.

There was something very comforting about feeling Mom pick me up from the bean bag and carry me out to the running car. It took me no time to get comfy and fall back to a deep sleep once we were on the road.

There was a little farm not very far from us, where Mom would take us to buy milk and honey combs. She'd skim the cream off the milk to use with fruit, which I don't remember very well. What I do remember is her love of honey combs. She'd buy one, upend it in a jar and let the honey drain out. Then she'd munch on the comb itself.

We had a white leather couch and one of my least favorite memories is of Mom laying me down in her lap to floss my teeth. I inherited her bad teeth and they were literally rotting out of my head as soon as they came in. Mom put in her time wrestling a very wiggly, angry toddler every night to floss my teeth. The dentist even put me on a sugar-free diet for six months and at my return visit I had a whole mouthful of new cavities. I hate that those are some of my most prominent memories (but probably not as much as Mom does.).

It's funny, trying to write down these memories. I am certain of them when I think about them, but as soon as I type them, I start second-guessing. Was the couch really the white leather (pleather)? What color was the bean bag? (Black, I think). How many of my memories have been "corrupted" by time?

Sunday, May 1, 2016

Day 1: 5 Positives of Social Media*

*Original prompt was "5 Problems with Social Media"

I'll admit, there are a lot of things I could complain about with social media. However, without the broad reach, there are people I would never have met.

  1. It allows me glimpses into my children's lives. Now that the kids are grown and out of the house, we don't see each other as often. We can share snippets of each other's daily lives, which allows us to still feel connected. We're all busy making a living and don't always have time to catch up on the phone; Facebook and Instagram make it easy.
  2. It makes the world so much smaller (in a good way). My first foray into social media was MySpace (Whose wasn't? Don't answer that.). I saw that the online world wasn't such a scary place and branched into blogging. Through blogging, I've met and made friends with people from all over the country; friends who pull together when things get tough and celebrate when things are going well. Many of my blogging friendships and morphed into Facebook friendships and I've been lucky enough to meet a handful of them in real life. 
    1. I'm not sure that online dating counts as social media, but without, I never would have met Jay. As you all know, meeting Jay changed my life for the better.
  3. I have re-connected with people from my past. As things change, it's nice to have a connection with people from the past. We grow older, our lives are not the same as when we were younger, but having a connection with someone who shares the same memories is comforting. We may not be close friends as adults, but we still touched each others lives back in elementary, junior high, high school, and college.
  4. Social media, particularly Facebook, has helped me expand my professional network. It allows me to keep in touch with people of similar interests and has introduced me to people I would never have otherwise met. I know #3 sounds a lot like #1, but I'm speaking from an author's standpoint here. I have more professional contacts and a network of people I whose experience I can draw upon.
  5. Social media, when used for good, not evil, offers a platform for discussion. Yes, there is a lot of hatred on social media - it appears that there are a lot of hate-filled people making posts, but if you look past those posts and refuse to engage in them, you'll find a lot of pages that are open to civil discussion. You'll never change anyone's mind or beliefs by yelling and threatening them. Engage in a civil discussion and you'd be amazed at what you can learn about other people and what they can learn from you.

6 Months Already?

Holy cow, it really has been 6 months and a handful of days since I last posted.

Oops, sorry about that. I wish I had a great excuse like I was busy finishing my next book or finishing my horse or something. Nope, turns out I'm just lazy. In an attempt to break my lazy streak, I'm going to attempt a 30 day writing challenge. I'm typically not very good at challenges like this, but I'm trying to get my writing mojo back.

I'll be using the following writing prompts from The Writer's Circle.

There are some prompts that I feel are kind of negative, so I'll probably change those to positive prompts - there's enough negativity in the world, especially during an election year.

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Silly Things

Sometimes, it's the silliest things that can make me nostalgic. Take, for instance, this shower head. It finally gave up the ghost and I'm pretty sad about it. You see, I bought that shower head when the kids were little. With three kids as close in age as mine are, it was far easier to line them up in the bathtub and hose them off with the shower head than to draw baths for them.

I bought this wonderful Waterpik in 1996 and it has moved with me ever since. No matter how many moves the kids and I made, the first thing I did was remove the old shower head and replace it with this. When we moved out, I simply put the original back on and the landlords were none the wiser for it.

Even after the kids moved out and Jay and I moved to Small Town, Colorado, the shower head moved with me.

I replaced it Friday with a new one that I already hate and I haven't even used it yet. I went with an economical version, but in installing it I realized it wasn't going to cut it. I'll use it, but only until I can buy a real Waterpik to replace it with. I should have just dished out the money in the first place instead of being a cheap ass.

In the meantime, I'll mourn the loss of the one item I've carried with me since the kids were babies.

Saturday, October 24, 2015

30 Days of Memories: Day 30

It was very hard to get a picture of the Colosseum, as it is always swarming with people. It looks like a busy anthill with ants scurrying here and there.

We did a self-guided tour and I was awe-struck by the fact that I was standing in a stadium with so much history. Even with so many people around, I could help but feel touched by the events past. We opted not to do a guided tour, but now that they've opened the underground chambers and passages to tour groups, I will definitely be doing that next time around.

Rome was an exciting, beautiful place to visit, but my inner country girl will always feel more at peace in the wide open spaces like Tuscany or in the small villages surrounded by nature like Cinque Terre.