Monday Musings: On Cold Sheets, Warm Bodies & “Knowing” People…

I hate cold sheets.

While I pull the bed sort of together in the mornings before work, it’s by no means “made”. My husband and I do that at night, generally when  he’s ready for bed (he normally goes to bed earlier than I do). We straighten the sheets, pull up and straighten the blankets, and then before I leave, I turn on my side of the electric blanket to preheat my side of the bed (the blanket actually has a preheat function – I adore that thing).

On the weekends though, I sometimes forget to hit that preheat button – most often on Saturday nights when I’m getting ready to do my nails for the week. When I finally get into the bedroom around 3 or 4am and realize that the light for my side of the electric blanket isn’t on, I have a serious quandary on my hands: do I hit the preheat button and go read for half an hour, or slide into those freezing cold sheets and wait miserably for the blanket to warm me up?

I’m generally so tired at that point that I end up crawling in…and regretting every second of the decision for the next half hour while I lay there shivering and waiting for the blanket to heat up. No, I’m not mean enough to wake my husband up with my cold self, though the thought has definitely crossed my mind. Every time, I swear that next time I’ll just hit the preheat button and go read for awhile. And every time, I make the same stupid decision to crawl into those cold sheets anyways. Apparently I’ve got a bit of a masochistic streak, eh?

And yes, this is one of the things I hate about traveling too. No heater blanket = cold sheets every freakin’ night. It’s like punishment for being away from home!

In any case, this past weekend I was also pondering warm bodies vs. the sort of “mind melding” we do on social media with people we are unlikely to ever meet in real life. There are two people I “know” that my mind sort of melds into one “character”, if you will. One person I know only through online conversations, and the other I know only in real life. The online friend is like most online friends in that I know how they think, how they reason, how they feel about things, because online, that’s how you connect. I feel close to them because I know what’s going on in their head, even though I may not know their mannerisms or what they look like or even what their real name is. I feel connected because of an intellectual bond that is based solely on our shared philosophies and perspectives.

In contrast, I know a lot of people in real life that I don’t “know” well at all, as far as how they feel about certain subjects, though I generally have some idea of how they think and reason in general (I wouldn’t feel as though I “know” them otherwise). But I feel like I “know” them just as well as those I know online due to the physical connection to them – I’ve been around them long enough to know their voice, their expressions, their mannerisms, their moods just based on body language. It gives me a certain perspective that makes me feel like I know how they think and feel, even though we haven’t shared that sort of “mind meld” that online friendships are built around.

When I was thinking about this, and wondering why my mind automatically melded these two people together into one in my head, I realized that with both of these people I only have half the equation to draw from. I have the “mind meld” with one that allows me to know what’s going on inside without any knowledge of the outside, and with the other, I have all the outward, physical pieces that give me clues to what’s on the inside, but I don’t have enough of a mental connection to know what’s actually going on behind the elaborate window-display, so to speak.

My brain, being the helpful (?) thing it is, for some reason has decided that there are enough apparent similarities between these two people that they might as well make one whole person in my head. It’s an odd thing, because there are just enough apparent contrasts between the two people that it strikes a bit of cognitive dissonance now when I’m interacting with either one of them, especially when one does or says something that the mashed-up character in my head is at odds with.

It’s a weird problem to have. I’ve always thought that getting to know someone online was a better way to get to know the “real person”, because you’re getting to know the inside, and that’s the most important part, right? Now I’m not so sure though – increasingly I’m thinking that you can’t really know someone as a whole unless you have that whole picture of not only what they’re thinking/feeling, but the body language and physical/visual connection that goes with it.

Am I saying that appearance matters, then? Yes, I think I am. Not so much in an attractive vs. unattractive way, but more in an eye contact, expressions, mannerisms and just “movement” sort of way. I’m starting to think that unless we know both the the inside and outside of a person, we can’t truly ever know them as a “whole self”, because it all works together to make us who we are. What we look like even changes how we act sometimes – how we do our hair, whether we wear makeup or not, how we choose to dress, etc. And I think one could make the argument that it can change who we are inside, even if just a temporary change.

Don’t get me wrong – I think the partial relationships we develop online and off are going to be the majority in life, and there’s nothing really wrong with that. We can’t possibly get to know everyone we meet on that “complete” inside/outside as a whole level. I just think we get sort of deluded into thinking we “know” people online on a level that we really can’t, because we aren’t around them physically to pick up on the body language that rounds out the experience of who they actually are as a whole. And I think sometimes we think we know people in real life that we really don’t, because we’re so familiar with their physical presence and we extrapolate deeper meaning from that filtered through our own perspective.

The moral of the “story”, then? I don’t know if there really is one, aside from being cautious not to assume we know people online or off better than we actually do. Because odds are good we don’t have the whole story either way, except for those rare individuals that we connect with and really get to “know” on both the physical and mental levels.

Deep thoughts for a holiday Monday, eh?  And they all started with me thinking about cold sheets. The mind is a fascinating place…

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Serial Story: Under His Wing, Part 34

This story is presented weekly in draft
(unedited) form. Each installment is available for one week until the
next is posted. Miss one? Email me, and I’ll hook you up. Enjoy!


Dunning Manor, Book 1

Under His Wing
Part 34

“Thomas! Help!” Relieved to see him run out of the woods, Katie tried to ignore the heat building at her ankles. But the look in her guardian’s eyes chilled her through, and fear took over again as quickly as it had gone.

“Tell him,” Thomas said, his voice laced with pain as she watched him begin the transformation to beast. “He must make his choice quickly. Tell him!”

The last words came out in a roar, and she felt Peter’s muscles tense up behind her. For a moment, she thought maybe he was afraid, but then he laughed in her ear.

“Oh that is really a great parlor trick, Katie. You have to show me how it’s done.” His cackle rang out across the cooling night. “It’s no wonder you prefer his bed to mine. Who wouldn’t want a slab of cold marble to cuddle up to at night?”

Katie saw her opening. “You can be like him, Peter. You can be a gargoyle. Or you can die. There’s no other way for this to end.”

Thomas shook his head. “There can be no trickery, Katie. You have to tell him all of it. Hurry. The flames are growing.”

Her feet were hot. Really, really hot.

“Peter, you can either live under a curse that turns you into a gargoyle in a manor where you’ll have to help people before you can break the curse, or you can die today. Those are your two options. Which do you choose?”

Thomas unfurled his wings, and Katie could almost feel the excitement rolling off of Peter.

“The curse can be broken?”

Thomas nodded, stepping closer. Katie could feel the anxiety coming off him in waves. There was something he wasn’t telling her. Something that scared him, and not much scared her guardian.

“I’ll be able to shift like that?” Peter was sold, she could hear it in his voice. But he had to say it. Preferably before her shoes and pant legs burned off completely.

Thomas nodded again. “You’ll have super-human strength, and the ability to fly. But you will have to live within the confines of the curse for eternity if you are unable to break it.”

Peter wiggled a little, and the ropes around them grew tighter. Katie winced as the tension tightened yet again.

Suddenly she was free and stumbling through the flames toward Thomas. He caught her with one arm and the reached for Peter with the other, a swirly ball of brightly colored gas forming just above his palm. Peter opened his arms and smiled, waiting.

Just as Thomas threw what Katie assumed was the curse, a figure came rushing up from behind, shoving Peter into the fire and stopping briefly in his place to watch, slack-jawed with wide eyes just as the ball of gas hit her, rather than its intended target.

Screams filled the air around them. Katie was frozen against Thomas’s side, watching Peter roll on the ground in the flames behind Sarah’s contorting figure just a few steps away. She tried to move toward the two, not knowing what she could do, but needing to do something, anything, to stop the pain.

Thomas held her tight, wrapping both arms around her and pulling her face firmly to her chest.

“It’s best if you don’t watch, little one. It will be over soon, I promise.”


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Serial Story: MacKenzie Saves the World, Part 23

This serial story is presented in draft (unedited) format. Each new installment will replace
the one before. If you get behind, email me and I’ll hook you up with the missing chapters!


MacKenzie Saves the World
Part 23

Struggling with both her keys and her phone, MacKenzie finally fitted the master key in the lock while she dialed 9-1-1. She pulled the door open, smoke flowing out steadily as the operator came online.

“9-1-1, what’s your emergency?”

“There’s a fire at Taste the World. 1539 Highgate Drive. There’s a lot of smoke…” MacKenzie choked back a cough, turning her head away for a second.

“Okay ma’am, I’ve dispatched a fire truck to your location. They’re ten minutes away. Is there anyone inside? And where are you now?”

“Two people, I think. And I’m in the doorway,” she said, squinting as she tried to see through the white cloud. A strong breeze seemed to pull a bunch of smoke out at once, and in the brief moment before the front of the store filled again, she saw a large male hand stretched out toward her on the floor near the counter.

“Josh?” she called, taking a step forward and getting a lungful of smoke for her efforts. “Josh, can you hear me?”

The emergency operator was saying something, but Kenzie had already put the phone down. She grabbed a nearby loose brick and propped open the door, putting her cell on the ground. She pulled the front of her shirt up over her mouth and nose before running inside, dimly aware of voices and sirens growing louder behind her.

When she reached him, Josh was unconscious and lying on his back, his head facing the door as if he’d been trying to get out. She grabbed both arms and pulled, but nothing happened.
“Dammit.” She choked back tears and tried again, throwing every bit of her strength into moving the man, but he wouldn’t budge.

Then someone squeezed her shoulder, and she turned to find Matt from the bike shop beside her.

“I’ll get one, you get the other. Ready?”

She nodded, grasping Josh’s arm closest to her. “Let’s go.”

It took everything she had, but they pulled him out of the store to the sidewalk just as a big firetruck pulled in. Kenzie knelt by his side, one hand on his chest and the other feeling for a pulse at his neck.

“Josh? Can you hear me? Please wake up…please be okay…”

“Move aside please, ma’am.” Someone with a strong grip grabbed her arms and pulled her away, the paramedics immediately taking her place. She shrugged out of Matt’s hold as a fireman approached.

“Are you the woman who called it in?”

She nodded, watching more firemen aim a hose at the roof. No one was going through the door though, and panic shot through her.

“Did you find Andrea? She’s probably in there…you have to find her. In the kitchen.” She started toward the door, her only thought to save Josh’s sister. When Matt grabbed her again, holding her back, she fought.

“Let me go! I have to go help her!”

The fireman stood in front of them, one hand on her shoulder and the other on the radio mic clipped to his shoulder.

“There’s a woman inside. Do we have someone in there?”

The reply was garbled, and Kenzie wasn’t listening anyway. She tore free from Matt’s hold and ducked the fireman’s arm, sprinting toward the door of the shop as fast as she could. Shouts and yells erupted all around as she flung herself back into the dark, smoke-filled shop.

Andrea had to be there somewhere, and Kenzie guessed she’d been following Josh out, so she went toward the counter, pushing display tables out of her way whenever she encountered one, and feeling completely disoriented and a little woozy as she wandered through the thick haze. What if she was going the wrong way? What if she got lost herself, and passed out? Would they find her in time?

Lightheaded and a little dizzy, she pressed on, relieved when she finally ran into the long counter at the back of the store. The sound was surprisingly loud, with fire crackling ahead of her and some sort of scuffling behind her. Something in the back of her mind told her to get down on the floor, so she did, placing one hand against the base of the counter as she found the end and crawled toward the kitchen.

Her eyes and lungs burned, her chest heavier with every breath as she moved forward. When her hand finally touched what felt like human skin, she nearly cried with relief.

She found both arms and grasped Andrea’s wrists, wishing for a deep breath to help her pull. Standing up, she took a single excruciating step backwards, and then another, and another, relieved that Josh’s sister was a far cry lighter than he was.

It seemed like an eternity before she bumped into another body, and thick, canvas-covered arms wrapped tight around her waist and pulled her back, forcing her to let go of Andrea. She struggled for a moment, until another tan-bundled man stepped in and picked Andrea up.

She tried to take another breath, but the air was gone. Everything went dark.

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Talkin’ Books: August 27, 2014

Books Finished:
White Heat (?) by Jill Shalvis

Kindle Books In Progress:
Red, White, & Blue: The Complete Firefighter Collection by Jill Shalvis
Death, The Devil and The Goldfish by Andrew Buckley
Tatterdemon by Steve Vernon

Print Books in Progress:
Innocent Blood by James Rollins & Rebecca Cantrell

Comic Books:
The Sandman Overture #3
Harley Quinn Invades Comic-Con International
Harley Quinn #8
Batman Eternal #11

Oh look! I got caught up on a few comic books this week, finally!

I have to say, as odd as The Sandman Overture series is, it’s definitely growing on me. Gaiman pretty much defies genre, but I suppose literary fantasy would probably define it best. Three books in, I’m finally feeling less disoriented and more comfortable in the world he’s created, and more like I have at least as much inkling of what’s going on as the characters do (which is to say…sort of, but not much). It’s pretty fascinating, really, and the artwork is amazing as well.

Harley Quinn is, as always, an adorably violent imp and I get entirely too much pleasure out of watching her smash people with that huge mallet of hers. Yes, I realize that says more about me than her. And yes, hers is another comic book I really enjoy for the artwork just as much as the stories. The comic-con issue was sort of…meh – I think it made her look more scatterbrained than normal, but the regular issue was fun. I have another waiting, and there’s yet another one out this week, so better keep up!

I only had time for one Batman Eternal, which is bad because I’m really behind on that weekly series, but thankfully even after so much time away I was still able to jump right back into the story. And there was still a conspicuous lack of…Batman in the issue. I mean, he was there, but he just doesn’t seem all that prominent for a comic in which he’s supposed to be the lead character, you know? I kind of want to rush through the rest just to see if it persists. I have a lot of writing to do over the long holiday weekend, but maybe I can spare a few hours to get caught up on his story…

I also finished the second book in the Shalvis collection, which I think was White Heat (and is available singularly if you want to look it up). So I’m working on the third, Blue Flame – so far, so fun, as all Jill’s books are. Her latest Lucky Harbor book came out yesterday (It’s In His Kiss), and shameless addict that I am, I grabbed a copy for my kindle right away. So that’s waiting for me to inhale as well.

I also bought a few more books this week by Lia London (who I’ve been meaning to read for awhile now), Minnie Lahongrais, and Glenn Starkey, my two housemates at Black Wolf Print. So those are all on the TBR list now as well, and they all sound really good. Plenty to keep me busy for awhile!

Obviously I need to finish Innocent Blood as well. I’m getting my late night writing habit reset, but once I get that done I should be able to head to bed a little earlier so I have more time with the print books on my nightstand. I have a huge stack of them…just as well hubby’s actually been reading books on his kindle for awhile now (I know! Shocking!)…gives me a little time to catch up with the print pile.

I may need a reading vacation one of these days though. You know. Strictly in the interest of not letting the TBR piles get *too* out of hand…


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Monday Musings: On Alter-Egos, Black Wolf Print & New Projects…


My middle name is Marie.

So sometime in 2015, when you start seeing announcements for a new book from a new indie publishing house called Black Wolf Print with the name J.M. DeBree on the cover, you’ll know that it is indeed one of my stories. Why the initials? Because it will be totally, completely, utterly different than anything I’ve ever written before, in a genre I never thought I’d ever write in.

Yes, dear readers…I’m entering the world of Kid Lit., by special request.

I’ll admit, my first reaction when asked if I’d ever considered writing a children’s book was something along the lines of, “Have you read any of my other books?” My alter-egos and I don’t exactly write much of anything that’s really suitable for…well, anyone under at least 18 (and that’s pushing it in some cases). But I thought about it, and considered possible plots, and stories I could create a series around (because writing just one book in any genre seems kind of silly), and at the end of the day, I had an idea for a full series that I was actually kind of excited about. A fun side project that could really stretch me as a writer, because it will require me to learn & use some methods and skills that will hopefully carry over into my other projects.

So I said yes to fellow author & entrepreneur Edward Medina, and joined Glenn Starkey and Minnie Lahongrais as one of the first three (four, counting Edward) authors for Black Wolf Print. A web site is coming, but you can “like” the FB page for now to keep up with things as they progress.

As for the new project – the series is called The Stone Scavengers, and the first book in the series will be The Time Stone. Sydney Pointer is our young heroine at just 10 years old, and one day she meets a strange old man in a diner who gives her a list of stone talismans to find, along with clues that will lead her to the first stone. Each book in the series will chronicle her search for another stone, and in the end, the stones will grant her access to a treasure…of sorts.

Sydney’s answer to “how I spent my summer vacation” will never be boring again.

A project like this requires quite a bit more plotting and planning than I normally do, which scares me a little as I tend to lose interest in a project if I know too much about it before I start writing. So my plan is to get all the plotting done for the first book, finish off all the drafts I’m currently working on by October 31st, and then write The Time Stone in one fell swoop during National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) in November.

It’s a great plan, aside from the fact that I have four drafts currently in motion, and to finish all of them by Oct. 31st will require some serious discipline and focus on my part. I’ll need to write at NaNo speeds every weekday for the next two months to make it, and I can’t generally handle that every day throughout the year given my day job and other responsibilities, but I’m going to make a valiant effort. We shall see.

So I have a busy fall lined up, and some fun new things in the works. I will still be working on drafts under my main names to publish under Brazen Snake Books as well next year, and I have a sci-fi project started that I really, really want to dig back into next January.

Between now and November, while I’m frantically trying to finish up a handful of drafts, I’ll be doing a lot of reading too…specifically authors who write kids in Sydney’s age range so I can get a feel for what’s out there. So if you have any suggestions for books that center around main characters aged 10 (or around there), that are written in 3rd person (I won’t get past the first chapter in 1st, so no point in wasting time), by all means, let me know!

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Talkin’ Books: August 20, 2014

Books Finished:

Kindle Books In Progress:
Red, White, & Blue: The Complete Firefighter Collection by Jill Shalvis
Death, The Devil and The Goldfish by Andrew Buckley
Tatterdemon by Steve Vernon

Print Books in Progress:
Innocent Blood by James Rollins & Rebecca Cantrell

Comic Books:

Okay, so I did finish the first book in the Red, White & Blue collection, and I’m working on the second. But I’m afraid that’s about all I have to report, aside from a few more chapters down on Innocent Blood.

Why, you ask? Well, remember that big housekeeping/organizational project I was talking about a couple weeks ago? If you read this blog regularly, you’ll know I completely gutted my office and installed an old restaurant booth as a writing “desk”. Not only that, but I got rid of a bunch of other office furniture, so that room is now open, bright, and comfortable to work in.

Which is what I’ve been doing late nights ever since I got it done. But I didn’t move my comic book rack back there, so I haven’t been reaching for a comic book before or after I write as I used to occasionally, and I’m actually working, so I’m not heading to bed early enough to do any reading before I sleep.

It’s actually kind of problematic. I think in order to be a good writer, one must also be an avid reader…and I feel like I’m not getting nearly enough reading time in on my meager lunch hours.

But it’s also important to get a good nightly work habit established, because I’m way behind on the writing schedule this year, and I need to get some things finished and move on. I just need to build some reading time into my nightly routine as well. One thing at a time…

So…little to report this week, and there are new comics waiting at the shop for me, so I really need to get caught up on my regulars before I head out there this Saturday. Hopefully next week’s report will be far more robust…


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Monday Musings: On Long Distance, Cell Phones & Changing Communication Methods…

One of the major things on my to-do list last week was to schedule a hair cut. You’d think this would be an easy enough task, but my stylist has a cell phone with a long distance number, which actually adds a level of complexity that most people wouldn’t even consider.

See, when I moved out of my parents house around 15 years ago, and got my own landline, I never bothered to have long distance service put on it. It was an extra expense, and while I did have one friend who lived out of town that I called occasionally, I never needed it otherwise, so it was cheaper to just use a pre-paid phone card. When I got married, my husband had no need for long distance either, so we left it off at the new house too. Keeps our landline bill at around $32 a month.

Yes, I’m a bad relative. I never call my out of town relatives (my parents, sister, and in-laws all live here in town), and now virtually everyone has email and/or facebook (and my grandma writes actual hand-written letters). Businesses generally have a toll-free number to call, or better yet, an email address. So I still have no real need for long distance phone service. The salon my stylist used to work at always had someone there to answer the phone and make appointments, so I could just call the salon.

Not so this new salon. You must leave a message, and if you are lucky enough to catch someone, they can’t make an appt. for another stylist. So the best way to make any appt. is to get a hold of your stylist directly…and mine has a long distance cell number. I don’t think many people even think in terms of “long distance calling” anymore, do they? Since cell service generally comes with unlimited calling everywhere?

You see my problem. I do have a Google Voice number for IP calls, but they still cost money so I…don’t. And considering the rumblings on Google trying to fold Voice into hangouts, I’m hesitant to give that number out for much, though it is handy for free texting via my cell-with-no-voice-service. My family *loves* the fact that I can text now. It is pretty darn convenient at times…

I finally did get a hold of my stylist Friday at the salon, and miraculously, she had time to fit me in on Saturday. I reminded her once again that I can’t call her cell, and then it occurred to me that I *could* text her…and asked if that would be okay. She said yes, so now next time I need a haircut, I’ll text for an appointment. Crazy how times change…

I told my husband it’s becoming increasingly difficult to get by without a mobile number – even my bank wants a mobile number to text confirmation codes and web site pins to before they’ll even let you get into your accounts (I complained before I was able to get texts, and they came up with a way for us luddites to get one through our landlines, but it’s still a pain in the butt). Thing is, it isn’t difficult at all for him, because while he may work in tech, he doesn’t do anything online but surf, shop & play games, so he doesn’t run into the issue.

Interestingly though, it’s been easier for me to sort of “keep up” with the changing way that people communicate just by getting a cell phone – even though I don’t have voice service. A tablet is too unwieldy to carry in a pocket, so it’s still not optimal for “always on” communication. But I can take my cell out of its case and put it in my pocket, and get texts from my family or FB messages from people who need to contact me in “real time” (like people who are dropping by to pick things up that I’m giving away or selling, or publishing contacts) while still being free to move about and do whatever. People can contact me through FB messenger (the app everyone loves to hate – I happen to love it) even if they aren’t friends with me on FB, and it doesn’t get shunted off into some “others” folder like it does on the web site, it just comes straight to me, which is handy.

In any case, I’m slowly being lured into the cell phone culture, but my husband’s main point against getting full cell service is well made – it’s extraordinarily rare for me to actually talk on the phone. Last week was an exception, as one of my dogs was very ill and I had lots of conversations with the vet’s office (he’s much better now, thanks – and my wallet is much lighter), but otherwise, I use the phone pretty much once a week to chat with my mom. Other than that, I really have no need of actual phone service. So it would be stupid of me to pay for a service I’ll use so rarely – especially when I refuse to give up my landline (in case of major, catastrophic emergency…the landline works even when the power is out!).

But the idea of unlimited messaging to go with my data access is rather alluring. Even though I really don’t text all that much either. Honestly, I don’t *need* anything more than what I have right now, which is 4g data access and free texing/FB messaging. But the gadgety goodness aspect of it all is getting harder to resist…much to my poor hubby’s chagrin.


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Monday Musings: On Stories, Concerts, & Speechlessness…


It’s 5 minutes to 1am, and I am about done for. Physically, mentally…it’s been a busy, trying weekend all the way around and I still have a load of laundry to take out of the dryer, and another one to dry before I sleep. So if I ramble a bit more than normal, well…you should be used to that, actually.

It all started Friday night, when I made a last minute decision that hubby and I should move the couch we were giving away out of the basement and into the garage ourselves, rather than having strangers come in to get it. The couch weighs a million pounds (you think I jest…but seriously, it’s an old couch from the 70′s, with a solid metal frame for the sleeper part), and we wrestled it all the way across the basement and up a flight of stairs. Neither of us being professional furniture movers, we knew it was going to hurt the next day, just not really how *much*, or where.

Of course this put me into “superwoman” mode, and while I’d previously decided to leave the office cleaning/reorganizing until a less-busy time, I decided to go ahead and start on Saturday. As you can see from the photo above, I managed to get everything taken out, two tables and a chair sold on our local FB rummage page, and the new writing booth put into place. Unfortunately, my living room & dining room are still covered in old office remnants that need to be gone through and either tossed or put in a new home.

In any case, I spent a lot of time waiting on people to come get stuff this weekend too – that couch and the other office furniture. Last weekend, I bought my writing booth off the rummage sale, and had it delivered. A few weeks ago, I freecycled some old aquariums I had sitting around. And you know what the one common thing I noticed with all but one of the people who stopped by for one reason or another?

They all wanted to tell me a story.

We use stories to relate to each other, so really, what they wanted to do was connect. And for the most part, I enjoyed listening, though I did wonder how many of them would be so talkative if they’d known I’m a writer. Not that I’d tell anyone else’s story without obscuring names, places, etc.

As if the office project wasn’t enough this weekend, hubby and I also managed to squeeze in two concerts at the county fair going on this week. Train on Saturday night, which was incredibly popular and thus crazy-full of people, and Adelita’s Way and Pop Evil on Sunday night, which was…decidedly less popular, but the better of the two, IMO. Part of it is the acoustics at our local entertainment arena – they’ve always sucked, and they still do, so unless you sit in the “sweet spot”, it’s nearly impossible to hear the vocals of any band.

In any case, I was once again interested in the different demographics for each concert as well as the personalities of the performers, but that will have to be a post all on its own. Suffice it to say, communication is a fascinating thing, and so is relatability.

Last but certainly not least, I was struck nearly speechless this weekend, which as you might imagine, doesn’t happen to me all that often. Words are an interesting thing, really. Sometimes you just skim them and maybe something catches your eye that makes you want to read deeper, and sometimes not. Too often not, actually.

But sometimes you read something that speaks to something in you personally in a way that you really can’t put into words. Or you could, rather, if you gave it a lot of time and effort, but to do so feels like it would cheapen that sense of deep meaning you got from it. I read something that hit me like that this weekend – a poem written by a writer friend that really struck just the right chord with me to resonate so deeply I didn’t even want to really analyze it further, I just wanted to let it…be what it was, without comment. Even now, I really don’t want to tell you anything else about it, because I don’t want to fall into analytical mode and somehow lose the way it makes me feel in lieu of actual, coherent thought.

So, since it’s a public FB post, I’ll simply link to it, and perhaps you’ll get the same feeling of depth that I did (and if not, I’m betting you’ll still enjoy it).

The Unsmashed Pumpkin by Ford Forkum

Now it’s 2am, and I have to be up at 6am. So off to bed I go.

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Talkin’ Books: August 6, 2014

Books Finished:
Kindle Books In Progress:
Print Books in Progress:

Comic Books:

No, I didn’t get any comic books read this week either, dang it. I’ve been in a focus, focus, focus mood lately, and while that means I have actually gone to bed earlier a few nights to read more on Innocent Blood (awesome, excellent, fabulous, etc), I haven’t managed to get any comic books read.

I did, however, get to the comic book store, so I have the latest Sandman Overture, two Harley Quinns and a few Batman Eternals staring longingly from the magazine rack. Soon, my pretties. Soon.

I kind of got sidetracked last week when Jill Shalvis announced a special of three of her earlier books in one – the Red, White & Blue collection you see up there (not linked, because it’s not available anymore, though the individual Firefighter collection books are). One of my favorite authors, I sort of dropped everything to start reading that, and I’m working on the first novel now. After that, I’ll get back to Death, The Devil & the Goldfish, because…well, just because. It’s funny, and woman cannot live on romance alone (though we sure like to try at times).

I’ve taken on yet another huge housekeeping/organizational project that will keep me busy for the next few weeks, and our county fair starts this weekend, and there’s an exhibit at the art museum that I want to see that’s leaving in just a few weeks, so lots going on. But never too much for reading, and once I get the new project done, I think I’ll have a better spot for my comic book reading too. It’s gonna be really fun. Pics when it’s done.

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Monday Musings: On Want, Regret, & Recovery…

As I mentioned on FB last week, I’ve had a good pout going on recently. Why? The same reason anyone pouts, really.

I want something I can’t have.

Yes, I know “can’t” is a relative term, but quibbling the semantics would take awhile and far more details than I have any intention of giving out, so just assume I’ve done all the math and angsting over real & opportunity cost and the things I control vs. what I don’t (you know me…I over-analyze everything), and know that “can’t” is reasonably accurate in this instance.

Pouting, of course, isn’t terribly conducive to actually getting things that need to be done, done. And while I think sometimes we need to just acknowledge the fact that we’re sad/annoyed/upset by something, keeping that mindset for any length of time tends to spill over to those around us – and not in a good way. We act differently. Treat people differently. Jeopardize good relationships. It’s a very destructive place to be, mentally speaking.

Naturally, there are lots of things I can’t have, so it’s not like I get everything I want all the time. Most of those things, I just let go, without issue. The things I pout about though – those are the things that I really feel like I might regret either doing or not doing, whichever suits. In my case, I tend to regret “not doing/getting” more often, simply because I’m really not much of a risk taker, so I tend to err on the side of caution more often than not. For all that caution though, I don’t really have many actual regrets. I tend to look back on my actions and know that at that exact point in my life, with the knowledge that I had, the choice I made was the right one for where I ended up. But I can never see that when I’m trying desperately to find any which way I can to make something that just won’t work…work. Reality TV has nothing on the drama that sometimes goes on in my head.

It gets a little chaotic. And stupid, to put it bluntly.

So how do I escape such destructive mental acrobatics? The first thing I do is admit that the desire for whatever it is I want isn’t going to just go away. It’s there, it’s real, and I need to learn to live with it (or duck tape it and lock it in a dusty back room, in any case). It’s sort of giving in, but it frees up that energy I’ve been spending fighting it for other things, like the next step, which is keeping mentally busy.

The more I want something I can’t have, the more I obsess over it (which is just not healthy no matter how you spin it). So the second thing I do is bury myself in projects at work, and more projects at home (organizing, writing, cleaning, crochet, etc), to the point where it crowds out everything else. It’s less about running from whatever’s bugging me and more about letting my subconscious figure out how to deal with it while I get on with my life. It’s not like the subject doesn’t still pop up in the brain all too often, it’s just more manageable when my head is full of other things, because I’m not obsessing (over that, anyways). Eventually things quiet down again (as much as they ever do, anyways), and I’m able to manage the “want” far better once I’ve throttled it’s presence in my head. Much like any problem, I guess – stop thinking so hard about it, and the answer will generally present itself.

I also find it’s important to get more physical exercise. Exercise raises endorphin levels in the brain among other things, and while the advice to exercise more is trite, it’s also true. A friend of mine is “nagging” me by request for a week with daily emails to ask if I’ve worked out yet. I have to do at least some sort of workout every single day now. And it’s definitely helping – my mind is clearer, my focus better, and my attitude is a lot more positive as well.

Last but certainly not least is to focus on what I do have, and what I’m already happy with. Maybe I can’t have everything I want, but I can have a smaller part, and there’s no reason not to focus on/enjoy that, rather than focusing on wanting more. I have a very bad habit of getting caught up in the “all or nothing” mentality, and so often in life, that’s just an unnecessary restriction. It’s actually the root cause of a lot of unease…if I can let go of that and just live in the moment, I can avoid a lot of angst.

Easier said than done, of course, but still true.

Needless to say, my head is in a much better place than it was just a few days ago, thank goodness. I’m optimistic for the week…

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