Thursday, October 31, 2013

Throwback Thursday - Halloween Edition

(I swear I will do an actual blog post soon. Promise.)

From Halloween 2007 it's Raggedy Ann. There was no Andy - I couldn't find him, and then decided I didn't need him - and that handmade red yarn wig was absolutely awesome. I had to lifeguard part of the IAC swim meet after school and wore that while sitting in the chair.

As for this year? Well, I'm rockin' out in my Iron Man arc reactor t-shirt my cousins got me as a gift when I was still in the hospital back in August.

Happy Halloween!

Monday, October 28, 2013

From the Vault

My weekend was, barring a flat tire while traveling to the Farmer's Market with my sister, rather uneventful.

This morning I had coffee with a good friend of mine from high school. She went to college for English, and we've both always been very interested in writing stories. We even looked at some of our old stuff and had a good laugh over it.

Naturally, with November being only four days away, we talked about what we were going to do for NaNo - National Novel Writing Month. My original intention had been to finish Terrathela and Two for the Aisle, but we got to talking and I got to thinking about how much I really liked an idea that had started off as a dramatic text while I was abroad. I'd started a new view on the idea of Jokul Frosti while I was in Wales, kind of spliced it with elements from The Pied Piper, and the beginning efforts of the novel are only about 12,000 words right now.

I'm going to go play in this sandbox again for the month of November. The characters are fun to work with, the plot is fairly solid, and Jack isn't a protagonist I'm familiar with working with. He's darker, and in a way, he's a little flat because he doesn't have a clue what to do with human emotion.

Wandering back into the urban fantasy neighborhood, too, is a promising prospect.

This excitement over ideas and story lines is what makes it fun to be a writer. Though, in a way, I'm also looking forward to the frustration that's going to make me want to pull all my hair out.

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Strangely Fun

(I'm trying to blog every day in the attempt at being a better blogger. Key word is attempt.)

I have a six-year-old niece and she watches a lot of Disney channel, and that's where I first heard this song. Then I think I heard it on the radio. It's strangely addictive, and has also become one of the songs I listen to on my walk.

Have a good rest of the weekend and I'll be back on Monday!

Friday, October 25, 2013

Flashback Friday

We're going to completely ignore that I missed Throwback Thursday yesterday on my Instagram, and roll with Flashback Friday instead.

All the way from March 2008 and somewhere in Belgium. I went over with other students from my high school athletics section to play soccer for a week. Played one of the best games of my life as a goalkeeper there, too, after we had gone from Belgium to Germany. That soccer uniform - including my white goalkeeping jersey - wound up in a plastic garbage bag in my soccer bag in the bottom of my suitcase. That week was a ton of fun, and I met a lot of great people. 

(Mom really loved unearthing that bag when it got home. It was beyond gnarly.)

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Things to Know VI

- I can drive again. (Considering I've had my license since I was sixteen, this shouldn't be a big deal, but it is. Trust me.)

- I'm back to doing volunteer hours at the library and loving every minute of it.

- It's friggin' cold here.

- I got accepted into my first choice graduate school - Anglia Ruskin University in Cambridge, England - and am waiting to hear from them whether they're going to defer me for a year so I can start January 2015.

- It feels really nice to have a goal to work toward again.

- I still haven't heard back from that agent that requested the rest of Two for the Rent.

- Because of the above I'm attempting to develop patience.

- So far that's not working.

- I seriously do wonder how the people who follow me on twitter find me.

- But I'm still not looking a gift horse in the mouth.

- Sneezing still hurts enough to make me swear in languages I don't even know.

- I have the attention span of a gnat.

Monday, October 21, 2013

To Those Who Wait

There is the idea that good news comes to those who wait. In a fit of brilliance last Thursday I totally forgot to check my email all day and the result was that, at roughly 9 pm that night, I had 18 new messages in my inbox.

One of them was a conditional acceptance letter to the University of Central Lancashire.

I only applied to three programs, and the one I've been conditionally accepted into is my second choice. Still, I ran through the house (as best one can with a still-healing sternum) and very excitedly told my parents because, well, I've been accepted to grad school!

It was unexpected. It's not that I have that low of an opinion of myself, it's just that my four years of undergrad were rough in places, and my GPA reflects that. I missed finishing with a 3.0 by .13, which, at the time didn't seem like a lot, but when you put it on an application along with your transcripts starts to feel like a chasm.

The other good news is that one of the other universities I applied to - University of Strathclyde, in Glasgow - wants an academic reference. I'm choosing to take this as a very good thing.

In the meantime, I will wait to hear from the other two, as well as the agent currently reading the rest of Two for the Rent. Good vibes and crossed fingers are much appreciated.

Friday, October 18, 2013

Through the Looking Glass

My first legitimate college paper for my first history class was done via my first academic all-nighter in the lounge outside my first dorm room and I ate nearly an entire package of Oreos by myself. I was also pretty damn sure I was going to fail my upcoming Chem 110 exam, and then there was also exploratory abdominal surgery to look forward to over winter break.

Good news was that I didn't fail my exam, surgery went fine, and I later went on to graduate with a BA in chemistry.

During my sophomore year I wrote a blog post titled Definition. In that moment I not only felt beautiful, but looked it. At least to me. As someone who had played over a decade of competitive sports having a positive body image was, sometimes, difficult to manifest. I later read this same post aloud in front of a room full of my peers - while wearing that same flannel shirt - during National Eating Disorder Awareness Week. I did some tabling for NEDAW, too, as one of my good friends used to have an eating disorder. All of those involved worked hard that week putting up sticky notes with positive messages on bathroom mirrors, showing how out of proportion a life-size Barbie is, having an open mic night, and much, much more.

The bottom line is that women, men, people in general come in all sizes and shapes. There are those who fight constantly to look in the mirror and find one good thing in a sea of negativity.

Which makes it frustrating beyond words when Fat Shaming Week actually becomes a thing.

I'd like to be kidding. Unfortunately, I'm not.

To the men at Return of Kings fat shaming is not only acceptable, but something that must be done. In a recent post about the success of their week, cultural blogger and RoK creator Roosh writes: "Fat shaming is less about bullying individual fat people than reaffirming the fact that obesity culture is not okay in America, and attempts to brainwash people of that fiction must be immediately be destroyed with logic, science, and schoolyard insults."

It's things like this that not only make me lose a little more faith in humanity, but also drive home the importance of To Write Love on Her Arms, NEDAW, and other social movements.

As a woman and a person, I wasn't put on this Earth to be someone's object. My body is my own and, like one of my recent Twitter updates - found here - it has been to hell and back in the past two months. If a man isn't as fond of my wide hips and love handles as I am, that's fine. Nobody wears my skin but me, which is why there's absolutely no justification for anyone to make me feel ashamed of it.

RoK wants to change the cultural mindset of America. My advice is to start with their own.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Thankful Thursday

I knew, sort of, what a non-traditional family was. I'd  used them a lot in my writing, too: Ralurick spends his childhood with a single mother and his adolescence with his grandmother; Ella's raised by her grandmother; Topher's raised by everybody on his mother's side except his mother, and Matt seems to be the only one who has the seemingly requisite mother-father-siblings dynamic.

I have that, too. I have two parents who are still married, and a sister. But my nuclear family has grown a little bit. It grew six years ago with the birth of my niece. And it changed two years ago when, on the outset, everything went to hell.

We've always been fluid. Sunday dinners during the winter are one of my favorite unofficial traditions, and I can't remember when we started them. Whether they're at our house or my sister's is up for grabs throughout the day, and sometimes whoever isn't responsible for dinner itself brings dessert.

When I first came home from the hospital post-surgery, stairs weren't really something I could handle a lot. The result was that I took a lot of my meals upstairs, sitting in one of my mother's straight-backed chairs. When I gained a little more mobility - and less fear of falling without being able to catch myself - and my mother started going to work for the latter half of the day, I ate dinner with my sister and niece.

That has been, hands-down, one of the best things about my recovery. The ability to see those two smiling faces on a daily basis, to help with homework (we're not large fans of Common Core math because sometimes it feels like two women with four-year degrees don't have a clue what's going on and the kid is only in first grade), to read with her, and to sit on the back porch and look with new eyes on an old, trusted view.

For these two I am grateful and thankful beyond words.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

The Process

So last blog post, way back when (yeah, I'm good like that, eventually I'll know what the hell I'm doing) I hinted about something that I'd share...soon.

Classify this as soon.

There really hasn't been much available on the job front for me. Which is weird, because I have a bachelors degree in chemistry with a minor in theater. I'm still waiting to hear anything useful from Chicago - or anything at all, I'm not picky - and the other jobs that I've applied for through government agencies have been fails, too.

That being said, I applied for grad schools.

Three, so far, and all of them in the UK. I try not to think too hard about what it means for the future of American education when I can get a masters degree for between $16,000 and $25,000 in a year to fifteen months abroad where doing it in my own country would cost at least double that.

Now it's just a waiting game, and most of you know how much I love waiting. Which isn't a whole hell of a lot. So keep your fingers crossed for me, if you remember. And this will probably make me feel like I've gotten into college all over again. Because, well, technically (hopefully!) I will be in college all over again.

And sometimes second chances are the best thing for a person.
"The difference between life and the movies is that a script has to make sense, and life doesn't."

-Joseph L. Mankiewicz