Reading, Writing, and Baby Butt Wiping

Being a first-time mom has been a fun, amazing adventure.  More so than any story can muster.  However, there comes a time when I just want to sit back and relax with a good book.  That doesn’t always happen with a sixteen-month old running around the house and getting into trouble. 

 The first time I tried to read to her, she was about two-months old and I was reading some sort of paranormal erotica while rocking her to sleep.  We didn’t have any “baby” books in the house and for some reason it never occurred to me to get any.  Baby Girl just wanted a story.  So, I improvised.  😀 

Anyway, my mom came into the room and asked, “Can’t you read something to my granddaughter that doesn’t have to do with the way she came into this world?”  My reply to her: “I could but this serves both our purposes.  She goes to slumber land, and I get a moment to indulge.”  The next day, my mom picked up bargain child’s books.

The reading situation in my house has completely changed since then.  I have even less time to read these days and Baby Girl doesn’t care about being read to as much as she does chewing on the edge of a book.  The funny thing is she keeps eyeballing the row of erotic romance on the top shelf of my bookcase.  I refuse to tell my mom about it because she’ll think I had damaged her in some way. 

Writing is another issue.  I have to steal what little time I can get.  If it’s for  fifteen minutes while she’s in the middle of snack time, I take it.  If the munchkin even sees me heading for the laptop, she’s hot on my heels and ready to jump my arm the second I raise my fingers to the keyboard.  As I type this blog, I’m lying on the couch with my netbook on the ottoman and typing with one hand.  Baby girl is sitting on my chest waiting for Blues Clues and trying to get my attention. 

Even though I’ve dedicated Bittersweet to my mom, the most amazing woman I know, part of me wrote it for my little one.  There are always lessons in stories, so I’m using my own words to teach her the various things I’ve learned during my time in this world.  I don’t know if I’m a good teacher or not.  I don’t even know if it’ll work.  But if I get my little one to read even one of my stories, I’m counting  it as a victory.  😉

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When I Think About That Day

The anniversary of 9/11 is here and it still haunts me to this day.  I can recall the where, the when, and the what I was doing at the time when that terrible day happened.

I was living in Boston at the time.  I had just started teaching my Intro to SQL and PL/SQL class in the 222 Berkeley Building, which sat diagonal from the tallest structure in the city, the John  Hancock Building.  One of my prized students was late to class.  I was rather surprised because she had made it a point to be on time, seeing as she worked for the same company that I had. 

Anyway, she arrived huffing and puffing just as we had decided to work on an exercise.  Her face was flushed as though she had just had the wind knocked out of her.  She had asked if I had heard the news about a plane going into the first tower of the Twin Towers. 

No, I hadn’t.  I thought it was just a freak accident until I tried pulling up the news in class.  The website I had gone to for information was flooded, making it nearly impossible to navigate anywhere.  We were on a T1 line and we might as well have been on dial-up, it was so slow.  By the time I had pulled up the article, a second plane hit the other tower. 

My stomach dropped.  Not because I knew what was going on, but because I worried about everyone I knew in NY city and my family living in upstate NY.  It didn’t help that two of the planes had come from Boston either. 

I don’t know what happened between that time and looking about twelves stories down to see people flooding the streets like ants about to get stepped on by giant feet.  Everyone was scrambling to get to where they needed to get to.  By then, I knew I had a responsiblity to my class, since most of them were from out of town.

I stopped teaching and told them what had happened.  I can’t tell you how much my eyes teared up at that moment or how my knees nearly knocked themselves into unconsciousness.  I wanted to talk to my family and my friends.  After all, they were all I had.  My mom needed to know that I was okay, because she had probably forgotten that the company had changed my training schedule three weeks prior.  You see, I was supposed to be in NY city that day.

I let my classroom have internet access, which was a no-no because we didn’t want them downloading anything that might have a virus in the system.  Screw the rules.  These people had to know, especially if, like me, they had friends and family in NY or worried about their loved ones. 

I spent a good part of the day emailing my friends and trying to get in touch with my family.  I got silence.  I can’t begin to tell you how horrible it was to not be able to reach any of my loved ones.  I emailed everyone possible, begging them to call my family to let them know I was okay.  Nobody could reach them.

All I remember about the rest of that day was we decided to go through the next lesson.  That didn’t last long because people started getting phone calls and needed to leave.  I let them go.  Those who wanted to stay, stayed.  I couldn’t leave until the last student left because that was policy.  I also had this I-wasn’t-leaving-until-I-knew-everyone-in-my-class-was-safe mentality, too.  Probably stupid on my part, if another plane decided to head to Boston next.  But that was how I saw it.  I was responsible for them, and I was damn well going to do my job.

What pissed me off most about that day was the mentality of the company I had worked for.  After hearing the news, one instructor simply waved his hand, smiled, and said, “Whatever.  I’m still teaching my class.”  WHATEVER?  Are you f***ing kidding me??  I had to walk away at that moment or something else might hit a building on his way down to the pavement.

Anyway, I had gotten home that night and finally allowed myself to really break down in tears.  I couldn’t reach any of my friends, one who worked in the World Trade Center area and another who lived four blocks–I think–from there in Battery Park.  My mother was still unable to reach me, as was my enter family.  I had later learned that communication across NY had gone on lockdown.  No outside communication was allowed in.  At least, not on a regular phone.  My mother was a wreak because she thought I was in the Big Apple after all.  My older brother dropped everything, told his boss he was leaving because our mother needed him.  He was ready to hop in the car and drive wherever to find me. 

Later that night, after torturing myself with image after image of the towers going down, my phone rang.  It was my friend Munerah.  Dear God, I can’t tell you how relieved I was to hear her voice.  In fact, I think I was hysterical on the phone.  She had contacted all of our friends except for one to make sure they were all okay.  The one she couldn’t reach was one of the white-ash people making a mass exodus across the Manhattan Bridge.  She called me later to let me know that she was okay and how exhausted she was once she had gotten home. 

A month later, I had visited the 9/11 site, peering through the wall where a makeshift memorial had been set up.  I recall that as we approached the sight, an SUV with its lights flashing, but no siren sped by.  My friend Peggy lowered her voice and said, “They only do that when they find a policeman or a firefighter’s body at the site.”  I recall the acrid odor that permeated the air.  It was like smelling every the dead bodies of everyone who had died in the attacks.  Again, I broke down in tears because I couldn’t get over the feeling of thinking I had lost five of my closest friends.  I recall finishing out the rest of my NY trip by making sure each of the knew how much I loved them and that they were like sisters to me. 

As I write this blog, I can’t help thinking about that day with tears staining my eyes.  I can’t help wonder what the passagers in Flight 93 were thinking when they decided to storm the cockpit and bring the plane down.  What they said to their families before the dreadful moment.  My heart goes out to all of those who lost someone in the attacks.  I count myself lucky because I wasn’t in NY that day and all of my friends were accounted for and safe.

I’m curious.  Where were you when 9/11 happened?

P.S.  This post has not been proofread and it won’t be.  Just believe me when I say I can’t read it again.

Bitter Ends and New Beginnings

I’ve been a little bit distant lately and some folks have noticed.  Hardly any answered emails. Few tweets or FB.  No activity anywhere, not even here. 

A week ago, my Fortune 500 company announced they were closing our office as of July 30th.  It was a huge blow to everyone, including me.  I think I might have alluded to this on an earlier post that I was looking for a job.  Have been, in fact, for the last few months.  There really wasn’t a lot out there in March…or what is February?  Either way, I forget. 

Anyway, we thought the office wouldn’t close until October because that was when our lease was up.  The corporate money mongers decided to change their minds when word got out prematurely about the closure.  The only thing that wasn’t decided upon was the day.  So, the money mongers–the way I see it–decided to choose a date by flipping a coin.

Now don’t get me wrong.  There were some options.  I could move to Colorado or California.  Neither were an option for me.  It would’ve cost more to continue working for the Fortune 500 because I would’ve had rent in the new place and a mortgage in NC.  So, I said unless the company was going to buy my house, count me out.  I’ll stay right where I am and find a job.

And that’s exactly what happened this past Friday.  😀

As of June 1st, I’ll be working in a field that brings me one step closer than I’ve ever been to my medical/clinical roots.  Not only that, but it’s IT, too.  The morning drive will be icky and not being able to work from home will be torture.  However, this is a promotion and I get paid like it.  I’m excited.  Not to mention, they seem to actually care about their workers and want them to do a good job.  Also, I’m working in a fields where what I make a difference. 

Since learning of the bad news, it’s been hard to finish up my once-over for a manuscript that I was supposed to have finished a few days ago.  At least, that was when I had promised myself I’d send it off, since my dream agent waiting on the full.  I’ve been spending all of my time before the horrible announcement and the time leading up to it looking for a new job.  Since the good news, I’ve finished more than 100 pages of revisions and had sent it off a few hours ago.   

I hate it when non-writing things disrupt my muse’s flow.  Hate it with a passion.  The only non-writing thing that will always get a reprieve is family.  That’s different.  But just when you think things are okay in other aspects of your life, some jerk (Fortune 500) comes along and jerks the rug out so hard that land on your face and knock your front teeth out.  But as with everything, I pick myself up, dust myself off, go find my teeth, put them back in, and go about my way.  As of today, I’m skipping about my way with my confidence cloak flapping in the breeze.  I don’t think I ever lost my confidence. It just got tangled up on a fence. 😉

What’s been challenging you these days?

Thank You, Authors

This topic comes just as I’m about to leave for physical therapy.  In case you haven’t followed some of my Facebook posts, I hurt my shoulder more than two weeks ago as I was about to burp Baby G.  I pulled the muscles around my scapula (upper back), which pinched the nerves all the way down to my elbow.  No drugs for me as long as I’m breastfreeding, which is about to come to an end anyway.  So, PT is it.

Anyway, I hate physical therapy.  Some of it is doing boring exercises while the last fifteen minutes has to do with sitting around while electrodes are working the muscles.  I hate sitting around and doing nothing.  So, I picked up Susan Hubbard’s The Society of S.  It’s a weird, but fascinating book.  More important, it helped me get through.

With everything I’ve been through these last 6+ months (a draining pregnancy, the aftermath of baby G’s birth, and then some like my busted shoulder), I never thought of books as being more than a sweet distraction…until now.  I guess I could say that books sort of saved me from months of boredom and kept me preoccupied enough to not complain when complaining was more than due.

So, I’d like to take this time to thank the following authors for helping me get through a particularly difficult time in my life by keeping me smiling and salivating for more: Richelle Mead, Kalayna Price, Susan Hubbard, Kelley Armstrong, Christina Lynne Ashely, Faith Hunter, Nancy Haddock, Kim Harrison, Leanne Renee Heiber, and I’m sure I’m missing some other folks. 

Oh, and I found my copy of Ring of Desire by Ryshia Kennie.  Little Miss had it all this time.  😀

So which authors have helped you through a difficult time your life?

It’s My Birthday!

I’ve finally reached the age where I have completely forgotten about today being my birthday.  My mom sent me a birthday card earlier this week, which should’ve been my first clue.   Sadly, it kept slipping my mind because I’ve been having a blast with my YA paranormal and thinking about Baby Girl.  I received a second clue in the mail from the lovely folks at Samhain, which was totally unexpected.  Still, my brain pretty much farted out a bowel.  So, it was nice to wake up this morning and see a bunch of happy-birthday wishes in my inbox. 

Anyway, I’ll be spending my day here and looking forward to it.  With a little luck, maybe I’ll find a nice–cheap–crib or highchair.   Or a travel system or a car seat.  Or just some cute clothes.  Or…  Okay, I promise I won’t get carried away.  See how easy it is for me to forget that it’s my birthday.  🙂

New Website, RWA, and Baby News!

Finally!  It’s up and running.  I’m talking about my new website.  Check it out and let me know what you think.  Better yet, give that sucker a test drive. 

Though I like the work that Stonecreek Media did on my previous website, I needed a change.  Not to mention, the eyes aren’t what they used to be, so reading white fonts on a black background added to my daily eye strain.  The thunder and lightening grew tiresome, too.  It was almost as bad as having music start automatically when you open up a web page.  But I only have myself to blame because Stonecreek did exactly what I asked them to do.  Boy, have I learned my lesson.  🙂

I had my eye expert, Kathy Calarco look at the fonts and background for me to make sure it wouldn’t hurt anyone’s eyes.  Thanks to Dreamstime stock photos for helping me with a creepy looking banner that really accentuates my style.  And last but not least, a thank you to Coffee Cup Software…although I could’ve slapped the shit out of you people earlier this week because you don’t know the difference between a break tag <br> and a paragraph tag <p> when it comes to your text boxes.  What you see is NOT what you get if you’re testing out your website in various displays.  Thanks to you, you’ve made my job of maintaining my website harder, too.  😡  Good thing I know more than I want to about HTML code.

Of course, I can’t have a website change without changing up my My-hardly ever-use-Space page, too.  That’s here.  Nevertheless, I doubt the new layout will make me use it any more than usual. 

And as for some other stuff, I’ve decided to attend RWA Nationals in the cheap seats.  You know.  The ones in the bar/lobby where hundreds of authors, editors, and agents usually flock to anyway?  There’s nothing to stop me from hanging out at the hotel with my friends, so I’m going up there to meet up, have dinner, and probably tear up the town with them.  If everything goes nicely, I might never pay for another Nationals again.  I’ll just show up at the lobby of the hotels and hangout with other writers.  There’s no reason why I can’t be a business professional without it costing $475 a pop. 

Also, I case you haven’t heard me scream from the rafters yet, I’m having a baby GIRL:mrgreen:

So that’s if for now.  Check out my new website and let me know what you think.  Happy 4th of July everyone!