Thursday, August 23, 2012

current music obsession

So, these past few years I've found myself getting totally wrapped up in one specific band for a certain length of time.  Like, once I discover them I can listen to nothing else for weeks on end.  These are bands that usually have been around for a while, but I'm only just getting into them for whatever reason.  A few years ago it was Muse (who I still love, but their song for the Olympics was pffffft.  Their new album comes out next month and I'm a little nervous, not gonna lie. Give me Absolution anyday).  More recently, The Airborne Toxic Event's three albums didn't leave my CD player in my car for several months.  If you ever get a chance to see that band live, DO IT.  They are amazeballs.

This past month I've been completely obsessed with The Gaslight Anthem.  I've always liked them- whenever their songs came on XM I'd bop away to them- but after hearing nothing but good things about their new album I finally decided to pick it up.  And now I can't. stop. listening.

I love the way they sound like a punk band, but with some old school, straight up rock-n-roll influences, like Tom Petty mixed with Social Distortion.  They're also compared to Springsteen a LOT, who I never really got into (being a youngster when he was popular, I was more into Wham and Cyndi Lauper back then), probably because lead singer Brian Fallon has a gruff, scratchy voice a la Springsteen.  And they're from Jersey.  But I love the way they paint pictures in my mind with their lyrics- pictures of "simpler" times, full of Cadillacs and white t-shirts and drive-in movies. 

But their songs are also full of heartache, too- lyrics from the chorus of the song "Great Expectations" on their second album hit me right in the sweet spot:

I saw tail lights last night
And I dreamed about my old life
Everybody leaves
So why wouldn't you?

This is their new single and I can't get enough of it.  I dare you not to tap your toes to this song.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012


Today's blog post is not going to have any one central theme.  Mainly because the ol' noggin is swirling around with thoughts right now and I can't focus on any one of them long enough to come up with a coherent, continuous thought.  So here are some of the things I need to just get out of my system. 

1) I'm on a roll with my current WIP.  I officially surpassed 10,000 words last week, and I haven't even really focused on writing it consistently for any length of time so that's sort of crazy.  This one is a lot different from the other two in that I'm basically writing snippets of it as I think of them - it's not following any specific timeline at the moment.  I mean, it is and it isn't.  And I know that doesn't make sense, really, but it is what it is.  And the story is either going to work out the way it's going, or I'll have to go back and put everything in order.  I'm not worried about that right now though.  It just feels good to get words down as they come.

2) Speaking of WIPs, I've been feeling very mehhhh about my last one.  I'm not sure if that's because the new one is going so well, or because I just have been away from it for SO long now, or if I'm just having doubts about it overall.  Third time's a charm, right?  Maybe?  Regardless, I do know with each story my writing has improved.  And that's something I'm proud of.

3) I hate being an adult.  I really, really do.  Right now I'm looking into refinancing our current mortgage, and researching all these banks and rates is mind-numbingly dull to me.  It really needs to get done (see previous post about how broke I am- saving any money monthly would help my situation out greatly), but this is one of those times I wish someone else would just take over and do it all FOR me.  Just tell me what to do.  Better yet, go ahead and set it all up for me and let me know what the outcome is.  Kthx.

4) My sweet gramma has been in the hospital going on a week now, and I'm really worried about her.  It's nothing life-threatening- just some really horrible back pain she's been dealing with a few months- but seeing her usual very active self lying in a bed, all pale and in pain is horrible. I used to meet her for lunch every single Wednesday, and we haven't done that since May because she's been lying low, scared to even get in her car and drive somewhere because of the pain.  I'm making an effort to go visit with her at least once a week.  If nothing else, just to break up her day for awhile and try to make her smile, to feel some sort of normalcy again.

5) My third anniversary with Dan is coming up in about a month already.  Three freaking years.  It feels like just yesterday that I was going for my final dress fitting and tying tiny bow after endless tiny bow on favor boxes.  And then this Halloween will be our ninth year together, which is also crazy.  But I can't imagine my life without him- it's hard for me to even remember my life before him at this point. 

6) My little baby kitten, Gus, is getting so big already!  He's just about six months old now, if I believe the date the shelter said he was born (March 23).  He's the best thing that has happened to us this year, even though at times he does remind us eerily of Ollie.  He's got some of Ollie's mannerisms and the same rattely ol' purr.  But instead of sleeping on my legs at night, Gus LOVES to be right by my head.  Sometimes he even sleeps ON my head- well, on my pillow, curled up near the top of my head.  He has helped my heart heal when I was positive it would be broken for a long, long time.

7) Speaking of cats, I was also hollered at by my ENT about having them because of my severe allergies.  Doooops.  It's just ridiculous how bad my allergies have gotten over the past few years- I swear I never had them this bad in my twenties or teens.  They're so bad that I'll be starting weekly allergy shots - that's right, WEEKLY - for six months to a year to try to control them.  I suppose if I can actually feel healthy and normal again it'll be worth it.  I'm pretty sure I don't know what it's like to be able to breathe well on a regular basis at this point.

All right, I think I've babbled on long enough. 

Happy Tuesday!

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

shopaholic gets a reality check

You ever have one of those days where you just can't stop worrying about things?  One thought leads to another thought to another thought until a mild panic sets in and your chest begins to constrict and you can't breath and you need to lie down and you wonder how you're ever going to pick yourself up? 

Or is that just me?

Yesterday was one of those days when the reality of my financial situation slapped me across the face, hard.  Leaving a full handprint.

I love to shop.  Love, love, love it.  I'm not one to go out and spend $1,000 on a pair of shoes or a purse, don't get me wrong.  But I love a good deal, and I'm a huge impulse shopper.  If I go to the store to pick up one thing- say, a gift for someone- I will inevitably come home with at least five other things I had no intention of buying.

This has become a problem.  A problem I can no longer deny.  I am beginning to feel like I will never, ever get ahead. 

Now, don't get me wrong, I pay all my bills on time, and I pay more than just the minimum payments too.  My credit is still very good.  But lately it feels like everything is adding up and up and UP and by the time I'm done paying everything I have nothing left to you know, have a social life with. 

I know this is all my fault, I completely own it.  And I've come to the realization that I have to start changing my ways.  No more spending $300 at Kohl's just because I have a 30% off coupon and oh-my-god-look-how-much-stuff-I-was-able-to-get-for-just-$300!!!  I have a closet full of nice clothes, and I have friends who I'm pretty sure will not judge me if they see me wearing the same thing out twice.  There is nothing I NEED right now, besides my sanity back.

Granted, I have come to this very realization at least 3-5 times before.  And well, clearly I haven't been able to change.  As soon as that damn 30% off coupon arrives in the mail, I'm off to Kohl's to buy, well, SOMETHING.  Cuz you can't let 30% off go to waste!!  AMIRITE??

But this time, I'm really hoping to stay strong.  I'm hoping to just flat out avoid going to stores as much as possible until things get a bit more under control- or well, at least until the holidays...

Ugh.  Give me strength.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Back at it- new snippet!

So it's already August...which means summer is officially starting to come to a close.  I have to say, I'm ready for the cooler air and pretty colors that come along with September and October.  What comes after those months- not so much. 

I'm also looking forward to summer winding down because all the crazy activities that have been keeping me so busy and away from writing also begin to wind down!  I can't remember the last time I've been able to sit down on a weekday night, or even a Sunday and write for a few hours.  I know, I know, it's all about MAKING time for it...maybe I've felt a bit like I need a break or something since finishing the revisions on the last one.  I haven't even looked at or thought about that story since I sent it off to my readers.  And that's been somewhat freeing, actually.

However, I actually did start a new story about a month or so ago, which I think I've mentioned before.  I have just over 6500 words written- about 15 pages. I'm hoping perhaps a little feedback will spark my creativity and get me motivated to continue on with this one.  So, without further ado- here's a snippet from the first three pages of my current WIP.  Please remember this is a first draft, so any typos and icky sounding stuff will get cleared up later. 

Thoughts, comments, questions welcome!

* * * * *

The breeze whispers secrets to me as I emerge from the woods and into the fields of the old Patterson farm.  The wishing well looms about a hundred feet away, camouflaged in the tall, yellow grass scratching at my bare legs.  I pause, clutching the paper in my hand so hard it crinkles and almost tears beneath my well-bitten fingernails.  A sharp wind dances across the field, lifting my dark hair off my neck and momentarily cooling me from the hot summer sun.   I stand motionless, listening, and hear nothing but the sound of my own blood ringing in my ears.

No one knows how long the wishing well has been here.  Weeds grow as tall as its crumbly walls that are slick with soft, green mold.  Darkness swallows the inside halfway down, making it impossible to see what lay in its depths.  As children, we imagined countless coins, a veritable treasure, all coated with grime and algae, each one representing a well-thought out wish.  And supposedly, along with the coins, the spirit of Gabrielle King rests, forever drifting amidst the cool stone walls.

Gabby plunged to her death by falling headfirst into the well fifty years earlier, although it is said she actually died of a broken heart.  When her romance with her first love ended abruptly, Gabby was so distraught she visited the well with the intent to cast her in her coin and beg for him to return to her.  No one really knows if she fell in on purpose or not, but her body was finally dredged up out of the well about a month after her disappearance.  A rumor spread in the years following her death:  Gabby became the keeper of all wishes; it was up to her whether or not they were granted.  Gifts other than coins began getting thrown into the well; flowers, letters, jewelry- all tossed in with the hope that Gabby would be persuaded to grant the gift-givers’ desires.

People claim to see Gabby pacing in the fields near the well, sobbing quietly into her hands.  Even when you can’t see her, it’s said if you listen close enough  you can hear her desperate cries floating up from the bottomless well.  It’s a sound of pure, aching sadness, the pain of a heart shattering like a crystal vase thrown violently to the ground.
And I’d never believed any of it.

A memory overcomes me as I stare at the well, and pain slices through my heart with icy talons so quickly I almost drop to my knees.  I take a few deep breaths as it all comes flooding back to me.
It was my junior year, the autumn before last, the air cool and crisp and ripe with the smell of burning leaves.  Parties in the Patterson fields were common that year, starting up as soon as the school year did. I leaned against the well beside Connor, urging him to go talk to Amanda Kappler, the girl he claimed to have a crush on the entire summer and who didn’t know he existed.  She was several yards away with a group of girls, standing as close to the bonfire as they could without getting burned, holding their hands out to it to warm them from the chilly night.

“I can’t, Janie.  She’ll just laugh at me,” he insisted.
“Come on, don’t say that.  You’re a total catch,” I told him, smiling into his chocolate brown eyes.

He threw his head back and looked up at the sky.  “I’m not like you.  I can’t just go up to people and pledge my undying love to them.”
"When have I ever done that?”

“Well, let’s see.  There was Jack Rubinsky.  Adam Francis.  Colin Peck-”
"All right, all right.  God, you’re making me sound like a whore.”

Connor looked at me then and grinned, and I remember thinking at that moment his smile was the most beautiful thing in the world.  It light up the dark night like a meteor shower, sparkling stars falling all around me.  “You’re not a whore.  Just someone who knows what she wants and isn’t afraid to go after it.  Or him, as the case may be.”
"Ok, whatever.  You want Amanda?”

He bit his lip and nodded, but looked uncertain for some reason.
“Then this is what you do.” I scooted closer to him and nuzzled my nose into his neck, inhaling his fresh, soapy scent.  I felt him stiffen beside me.  “You go up to her like this,” I murmured, placing one hand on his cheek and turning his face to mine.  “And give her a kiss she’ll never forget.”  I touched my lips gently to his, pulling back to look him in his shock-filled eyes.  I’d only ever kissed him on the cheek, and felt a small jolt run down my spine as his lips lingered briefly on mine.  At first, I thought it was from just the chill in the air.  “You do that, and she’ll melt in your arms,” I breathed, our noses almost touching.

I hadn’t been expecting him to grab me, to twine his fingers in my hair and tug me back to him, his mouth moving over mine with a passion I didn’t know he possessed.  We sat there against the well, the stone wall cold on our backs, kissing, touching; practically consuming each other, while the party behind us raged on.
Connor and I had been friends, best friends, for over a year at that point and in that time not once had either of us made a move towards the other.  I was always dating someone and breaking up with them, and Connor was always my shoulder to cry on when it ended.  As it turned out, it was me he’d wanted all along, not Amanda, not anyone else.  All it had taken was that simple kiss to give him the courage to express how he really felt about me.  And it was as simple as breathing from that kiss on to just be with him.  I’d fallen in love with him at that precise moment, encircled by his arms, leaning against the wishing well.  But I think I’d already loved him since the day we met.

And now it looms before me, dusty and lonely in the vast field of the long-forgotten Patterson apple farm.  I can see offerings to Gabby scattered around the well’s base, sunlight glinting off the trinkets and papers.  This is where it all began for us.  It only seems appropriate that this should be where another new beginning can take place, too. 
Because right now, in a hospital bed several miles away, Connor is fighting for his life.  And it is all my fault.