Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Monday, November 23, 2009

In the thankful frame of mind


It’s that time of year when our thoughts turn to those things we are thankful for—and gorging ourselves with monstrous amounts of food. So, in the Thanksgiving spirit, I will share some of those things that make my heart swell with gratitude. BUT I want to dig a little deeper than the normal list of blessings: family, friends, house, cars, freedom, security, blah, blah, blah. Here are some more overlooked, but equally wonderful, blessings that I am thankful for.

• Central Air (with programmable thermostats) – can you even imagine life without it? I can, because I grew up without it.
• Power windows – Remember the days of the crank handle? Or, if it was like my car, the days when the handle didn’t work and you had to open the door, put a hand on each side of the window and wiggle it up or down.
• Email – Blessed, blessed email. I don’t have enough room to wax poetic about it.
• Twitter and Facebook – I can pretend to be social without ever having to actually speak to someone face to face.
• Electric Blankets – truly marvelous, especially the ones with 2 controllers so that I can crank my side up and be toasty warm while hubby has his side totally off and is usually sleeping on top of the covers.
• Indoor Plumbing – all you have to do is consider the alternative: outhouse in the middle of January or chamber pots. Yikes!
• Duct tape – the cure-all for even the most repair-challenged.
• Flash Drives – I am thankful for these with the very core of my being. Maybe you have not had your computer crash the day before a 400 page manuscript deadline, only to have all of your backup on discs, then go from friend to friend to friend to find that they don’t even make computers with a disc drive anymore. (Okay, breathe… I’m hyperventilating just remembering. And yes, this was a few years ago, so don’t think me that technologically-challenged.)
• Online backup – it was the best decision I put off for a year and then finally did 3 weeks before a complete computer crash.
• Cleaning magic erasers – you know, the white ones that get off practically anything? I would like to rain kisses on whoever invented it. Probably a woman, so maybe just shake her hand.
• Seamless running socks – they are worth every penny.
• Disposable Diapers – I don’t care how much money you want to save, dunking rags in the toilet to wash off the poop is so not worth it. Trust me, I’ve tried it.
• Microwaveable Pot Pies – I love the things, but heating up a whole oven for one weeny little pot pie and then having to wait 35 minutes for it to cook? I don’t think so! Now pop it in for 4 minutes and Voila!
• Calluses – I go without shoes as often as possible when it’s warm enough so my feet get lots of these.
• Sun – Ahhhh. Vitamin D!
• Homestarrunner – LOL
• Digital cameras – just keep clicking, just keep clicking. Clicking, clicking, clicking.
• Thesaurus/Dictionary.com – I cannot elaborate, announce, declare, affirm, convey, or verbalize how utterly, conclusively, and entirely appreciative I am for this website.
• Emergen-C – my coffee.
• My iPod – if my house were on fire and my family were safe outside, I might dive back into the burning building for my iPod. And my computer. And my pictures. Anyway… I love my iPod.
• Books – some people drink, some take drugs. I’m addicted to books.

Seriously though, above all I am thankful for all the special people I am privileged to know and love: my family, my friends and neighbors, and my brothers/sisters in the crazy, schizophrenic world of being a writer. You enrich my life. I am thankful for those who sacrifice for others and for the miracles I have witnessed. Please remember to take a moment and count your blessings this Thanksgiving.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Monday, November 16, 2009

Keep Your Eyes on the Summit

A couple months ago on a Friday night some friends invited me on a hike early Saturday morning. We're not talking just a hike, though, we're talking Hike, with a capital "H." As in leaving at 5:00 a.m. and hiking for 12.4 miles and 10 hours up to the summit of a mountain, 11,749 feet in elevation. I see this mountain every day when I set foot outside, and I've always wanted to go to the top. But I had a list of things I planned on getting to on Saturday, and it was last minute. Plus it would be cold, and dark, and I was pretty tired from a long week. So I wasn't sure if I would go or not.

I spent an hour debating in pure Libra fashion. My husband finally turned to me and told me to list the pros and cons. There were several cons, and two pros: it would be fun and I've always wanted to do it. He said, "You can do all those other things any time, but this opportunity doesn't come along very often. I think you should go."

Which meant that he would watch the kids and clean the house all by himself while I was off playing. (I love that man.)

So I told my friends I was in and quickly packed. When the alarm went off at 4:30 and I was making myself eat a bowl of oatmeal, I was still questioning my decision. It was an adventure hiking in the dark, especially when one of my water bottles leaked all over my backpack, sweatshirt, and pants.

Then the sun started to come up.

And the aspen leaves whispered in the the breeze.

And it illuminated further than just two feet in front of me. I was no longer just avoiding rocks and mud and blindly following a trail someone else had made.

I could finally see--really see. And every single reservation disappeared.


It was still all uphill, but now I could see my amazing journey!


The goal was the very top. Yep, that very top.


There were many other people on the same path. Traveling the same journey. And we waved and smiled at each other. I felt safe that if something happened to me or my friends, there were dozens of others around who could--and would--help. We were all in the journey together.

At times the going was hard and maybe a little scary.

But we kept our eyes on our ultimate goal: the summit.

And when we got there, hours after we started and with really tired legs, it was unbelievable. And worth every single step, stumble, water spill, and bathroom trip in the trees.



Whatever summit you're aiming for in life, keep your eyes trained on it. When the sun rises, look around and enjoy the incredible journey. Notice the others traveling the path with you. Smile at them, wave to them, and stop to help.

And when you finally reach the top, it will all be worth it. Because anything really worth it is worth the hike to get there.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Letter of Apology


Dear Blogosphere,

I must apologize for my neglect the last little while. You see, I'm doing this crazy fun writing project called NaNoWriMo (where you write a 50,000 word book in 30 days) and I'm so stubborn tenacious that I sometimes move along at a snail's pace just to make sure I'm still moving. So some days I don't always have time for you.

To all the blogs stacking up in Google Reader, I'm sorry. I will probably neglect you for a few more weeks, and by then I'll probably have 2000 un-read posts and might just have to clear them all and start over. But I'm sure your blogs are great.

To all my bloggy friends who are still posting awesome blogs while racking up insane wordcounts in NaNoWriMo, I'm sorry. You won't see many comments from me, but know I still love you. And you make me sick--in a purely loving, writer-crush kind of way.

To my own blog with its dashboard full of half-written, meaty, content-filled posts on Twitter, habits of successful writers, and other topics oozing profundity, I'm sorry. Please bear with me. Once I don't feel like brain cells are oozing out my ear by lunchtime I will finish you all--pinky promise. But maybe not until December, because not many writer-types would be reading them until then anyway.

To my husband who would like to play a leisurely game of whatever on the computer without his wife hovering and giving him the evil eye, I'm sorry. I know the computer isn't mine, just mostly mine. And I'll try and take my twitchiness in the other room.

To my butt that has spent a lot of time parked in the computer chair, I'm sorry. And I'm sorry for the treadmill workout this morning. But you are spending a lot of time parked in the computer chair.

To my Christmas shopping list and my yard work and my basement, I'm sorry. I'll get to you before Christmas. At least I hope I will.

To my friends and neighbors who I walk right past without acknowledging, I'm sorry. I'm not really being snooty, I'm just concentrating on stuff like plot points and character arc. Just peek at the contents in my shopping cart and if they look totally random then chances are I'm in my own book world.

To my Twitter and Facebook followers who've had to endure some really weird tweets the last week, I'm sorry. I'm blowing off steam and I *think* I make sense, even though sometimes I don't.

To my family who wonder if sometimes mom has gone off her rocker, I'm sorry. *hugs*

To my main character who just got made a complete fool of by genetically engineered kittens, I'm NOT sorry. And you better buckle up, buddy, cause it's going to be a bumpy ride!

Warmest regards,

Jaime

Monday, November 9, 2009

Like Twilight? Give Firelight A Try.

Hilarious SNL parody of Twilight starring Taylor Swift.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

I Cannot Do My Run Today

This is a fabulous poem inspired by Shel Silverstein's poem "I Cannot Go To School Today." I cannot claim any of the brilliance, this is all RunningRelays.com. If you like it please pop on over there to comment.

“I cannot do my run today,”
Said little Jack or John or Kay.
“I have shin splints and the runs,
A gash, a rash and achey buns.

My mouth is wet, my throat feels like Charmin,
My sunglasses broke and I lost my Garmin.
My hamstrings are as tight as rocks,
I’ve counted eight different chafing spots.

And there’s one more, that makes it nine,
I have the flu, maybe swine.
My heels hurt, it must be plantar fasciitis,
And on top of that
I have achilles tendonitis.

I feel queasy, running makes me choke,
My last track workout was a joke.
My hips hurt when I move my legs,
My hamstrings feel like scrambled eggs.

My back is tweaked, my ankle’s sprained,
My ITBS flares each time it rains.
I get dizzy when I stand too fast,
I have six blisters on my left calf.

My foot has a stress fracture,
My psoas is weak,
I hardly talk about when running when I speak.

My favorite shoes are losing their sole,
I think my motivation is starting to go.

My arches are flat, my gait is off,
My rock hard abs are going soft.

I have runner’s knee, there are holes in my waterproof gear,
My brand new compression socks are covered in beer.

I have a neuroma, my quad is…

What? What’s that you say?
You say…. that it’s my day to race?

Goodbye then! I’m going out to run my PR pace!”

Monday, November 2, 2009

Candy! Candy! Candy!

I don't buy candy just to have in the house. And it's not because my kids don't like candy. (Oh, they do! They really do!) It's because candy holidays are spaced pretty good to make sure we're almost always stocked up. And now that the Humongous-Candy-Fest otherwise known as Halloween has just passed, we are set until Christmas. All that will be left just in time for all the Christmas goodies are those orange and black peanut butter taffy things. Does anyone even eat those?

When the Trick-or-Treating was over and we surveyed the haul, I noticed something quite amusing.

Here's Professor's candy horde:


And Turbo's loot:


And Princess's:


Notice how they are all arranged into categories. Perhaps OCD tendencies are genetic. Dare I hope this will somehow translate into keeping her room clean? *please* (Remember this)

Let the Sugar Overdosing begin...