Life

May Day, May Day, We Need A New Goal!

You know how Facebook has the “On This Day” feature? (I guess it’s a feature, but sometimes I don’t WANT to look back!)

Today is May 1st and Facebook was kind enough to remind me a year ago today Bill and I bought our first home.

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I know it looks small, but it is actually really big and I still love it!

So then Facebook reminded me about two years ago. Two years ago I graduated with my Certificate in Professional Writing:

Look how little Talia was!! She was only a few months old and just a little “nugget!”

So fast forward to today….

I feel compelled. Compelled to accomplish something. The funny part? I didn’t really think about May 1st as being the day we bought our home, and I completely had forgotten the date of graduation. Why is it funny? Because I set today as a launch date for a new project!

Several years ago I was the Editor-In-Chief of My Petz Magazine, Charlotte, NC edition.

I also was the head writer, editor, and sold advertising……it was super grass roots!

The magazine was successful, until payday came. My pay was based on the ads I sold, nothing else (so my “friend” and I could get the magazine off the ground).

Payday came and payday went. There was a lot of avoidance from the publisher…and then the email came.

I wasn’t getting paid.

All the money (allegedly) went to publishing the magazine and everyone was getting paid except me. This means the graphic designer was paid, the printer was paid, but I wasn’t paid.

I was beyond upset. I was counting on the money to …you know…pay bills.

Thankfully I had a second job.

The publisher of the magazine decided to fold everything (including the original publication in Atlanta, GA) and be done with the whole thing.

So here I am in the Midwest. I have tons of other experience in other areas of publication, I have just never owned my OWN magazine.

St. Louis (the biggest city near me) has no pet publication…

I decided to go for it and launch a magazine. I started setting everything up with the “launch day” set for today as far as social media.

It wasn’t until I logged into my FB account, I saw today is generally a day of accomplishment.

Now none of this takes away from all the other things I’ve accomplished. It just feels good to be moving forward when so many things have been rough! I need to have a plan…even if it changes along the way.

I know I need to write, and I need to be able to work from home as much as possible for my husband and my kids. I can’t tell you how many appointments we have every week for Bill alone. He sometimes can go to three different VA/Vet Centers in two days…it’s insane!

Pets have always been something I am passionate about, along with writing. There’s an opening in the market for a great, quality magazine in the area not too far from me, so I’m going to go for it and see what I can do!

 

Writing & Publishing

Book Club: A Man Called Ove

Have you ever read a book only to spend days after you finish, feeling sad because you miss the characters? This is how I feel about the book A Man Called Ove. While most of the book will make you laugh, the end made me cry my eyes out and left me feeling sad because it was over!

An older gentleman named Ove has worked his entire life, following the rules, taking care of the house and car, as well as caring for his wife. An absolute stickler for the rules, Ove feels as though the world has gone mad for doing things such as driving in residential areas and leaving bicycles in unattended under signs stating not to leave bikes. After suffering several losses, Ove decides things would be better if he just ended his life. The majority of the book is spent on Ove trying to kill himself, though his plan is always foiled. The man is clearly the neighborhood grump, but within the first few pages, you can’t help but love Ove!

Despite trying numerous times to end his life, Ove finds himself needed by some unlikely people and one ragged cat. Once you meet Ove, it will become clear he is the only man in Sweden (the setting of the story and home to the author, Fredrik Backman) who can back up a U-Haul. This leads to the overly happy new family next door depending on Ove, only to find out he needs them just as much.

This book was not at all what I expected from the cover, but I found lovable characters I will miss! I can’t wait to see what else this author has written and anticipate more great character driven stories.

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Life

We Will Survive!

After being gone for a whole week….and taking two of those days just to get home, we made it!

Our house was left alone by hurricane Matthew, and we are truly blessed! I know there are so many people less fortunate than us! Right now, I’m home with Talia and Bill is out with the (animal) rescue, helping those who are struggling with a broken levy upstate. It’s a small thing in the scheme of things, but we are really hoping he and the rescue get those animals out and safe!

In the end, we basically ended up with a trip to see family and Talia scored pumpkins! The kid LOVES pumpkins….. We also learned the proper way to sneak dogs in and out of hotels!

The day before we heard we had to leave, I started working on some soaping products for my business, Sugar Pie Spa Company. The idea was the products would be in a local magazine. I have no idea if they were able to get it put together before the storm. Here is what I was working on:

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Then we heard we had to go…..the Birth Center where we are due to have Liam had to close, so my father being the closest parent, won getting us all at his house in PA!

Bill and I are both from up north. Give us a blizzard or nor’easter any day of the week. When someone says “hurricane,” it’s time to go! My dad didn’t hesitate when I told him we were coming with 5 dogs, 4 cats, a toddler, 2 trucks, and me at 37-38 weeks pregnant to take over his house!

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Talia loves exploring at Grandpa and Ga-Ga’s house (she calls his girlfriend Ga-Ga!). Here daddy is showing her a woolly caterpillar.

The dogs love their GIANT fenced in lot:

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Pretty sure they could do without the sounds of the cows next door, but other than that, they enjoyed being outside in such a large, previously unexplored area.

Then it was off to a local farm for pumpkins. I have no idea why, but Talia LOVES pumpkins!

We then went to my mom and step-dad’s in CT. Another trip in the car, but again, worth it!

Talia was so excited to go to Stew Leonard’s. She LOVED seeing Stewie the Duck from one of her favorite books. She also loved the giant pumpkins and getting to push ALL of the buttons at the petting zoo.

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She also loves exploring Nene’s house. Nene is my grandmother, so Talia’s GREAT grandmother. Nene has lots of cool things in her house and so do Grandma and Grandpa, so she just spent two days exploring!

Then it was back to my dad’s to see the Hershey Bears! It was Talia and Bill’s first AHL game! In the middle of all this (the 6th) I also had a birthday……so we used this as our little birthday celebration! I mean, who doesn’t want to celebrate their birthday with HOCKEY?!!!!????

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Everyone had a GREAT time, even though the Bears lost. Thankfully, it was just pre-season! The best part was getting to see several of our Stingrays who moved up from here in Charleston, to Hershey!!!

Finally, we were given the all clear and were allowed to head back to Charleston. Sadly, there were parts of North Carolina just DESTROYED by rain and hurricane Matthew. Our 9 hour trip turned into two days. We sat on I-95 for 3 hours at one point, trying to go 2 miles.

Thankfully, even in 2 vehicles, all was well. The dogs pretty much slept, and Talia was just really well behaved. There was a lot of pushing and shoving in line trying to get where people had to go, most places didn’t have fuel, lots of places were just closed, and so much was under water. It was hard at the time, but I had to keep remembering we had a home to go to and we lost nothing. Not everyone was so lucky. It was hard at 1 am, trying to find a hotel to take dogs that was not already booked solid, not to lose my $h!+, but we managed. The tire Bill had a nail in also held up until we got back into Charleston. Talk about God watching our butts! Stopping on the side of the road with no spare tire (that’s a long story, but we had the OTHER tire have an issue right before we had to leave) with so much debris, water, trees down, both vehicles, dogs, Talia, etc, would have been a nightmare!

Hopefully with our upcoming move back north, we don’t have to deal with a hurricane again….and especially not at 38 weeks pregnant (I was seriously praying the whole time NOT to go into labor!!!!) So now it’s time to get reorganized, do all this crazy laundry, and get back to writing and making soap!

How did you make out in the hurricane? Did it come near you?

Writing & Publishing

The Hydrogen Sulfate Conundrum

What happens when five dogs eat 20 pounds of cat food? You end up awake all night forced into breathing the wretchedness that is rotten broccoli and dying chicken smell, in the form of hydrogen sulfate. You do this while the main commode for the house continuously runs all night long because it decides to break at 11 pm.

You flush the toilet several times to try and fix it, but each time only changes the sound. First it sputtered. Then it hissed. Next came the foghorn sound, followed by the puttering noise. No matter how much you flush and “jiggle the handle,” the noise just changes like when you forward through a CD. The problem is, all the songs suck except the one you bought the CD for, so you keep skipping to the next track, (Hello, I’m looking at you Adele!).

So this was my night. Lucky for me, all 5 dogs slept with us last night, including Baker who usually sleeps on the couch (not sure if he’s protecting the door or just figures it’s more comfortable than the dog beds we have). Last night he was kind enough to sleep in the bed, with his head at the foot, and his rear end facing me. I have a feeling he was the instigator of getting into the cat food bin, and ate the most. He was the only one who still didn’t want dinner.

Oh, keep in mind, the toddler and the redneck (yes, my husband, whom I love more than anything, is a redneck….just look through my pictures) were also kind enough to add their own hydrogen sulfate to the mix as they slept.

I digress.

Why does this matter? Because I had a LOT to do today….and I am just dragging. Being pregnant takes a lot of energy, but when that alarm went off this morning to get Talia ready for The Little Gym, I was already wide awake.

Bill took Talia to her class, but we had a ton of errands to run and then I needed to get ready for CampNaNoWriMo!

If you have heard of National Novel Writing Month, you know about the challenge to write a novel in a month. Actually, it’s 50,000 words in a month, which is really more of a novella than novel….BUT IT’S IN A MONTH!

In July, Camp NaNoWriMo takes place. There are a lot less rules. The idea is to get you writing. If you’re a writer, you need to check this out. You pick your word count, and you can work on a project in progress…which is my plan.

I am about seven chapters into Seeking Sita, and would like to finish this month so my editor (aka “mom”) can edit. My friend Kim, also a writer, talked me into Camp NaNo and I think having challenges and other writers around via internet will help me meet this goal!

If you are an author and would like to participate, feel free to check out the website and find me!

Writing & Publishing

To Intern, or Not To Intern

Before we get into any deep philosophical debate on internships, lets look at dogs…

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This is Tremor. He was given a clean bill of health at the vet today, but does need to go back next week for a dental cleaning. He’s wearing a “Thunder Shirt” because he came from a severe abuse case and thunder scares him to the point he “tremors.” He does much better with this on though!

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Diesel is 17.5 HUMAN years old. He was going to be drowned as a puppy because he was the runt. Bill insisted on paying full price and took him home. He also got a clean bill of health today and then came home and crashed in the playroom.

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From left to right, we have Hunter (abandoned at a gas station), Baker (I got him from the animal society), and Oak. Oak was listed on Craigslist because at 6 months old, the couple who had him decided he was too big. (Insert angry face here).

Charleston, SC, as usual is getting pummeled with a thunder storm, so they are all stuck inside. At least they are all letting me get work done!

Anyway, the pressing question…..

It occurred to me there may be jobs in publishing available which would help me in my pursuit to publish. Google was helpful in bringing me to a website, www.BookJobs.com where I found an array of internships I could apply for. Though unpaid, I could probably work on one the rest of the summer and be almost finished by the time school starts.

I found a few agents/agencies I really like and can work for remotely. I’m thinking it may help me gain a better understanding of publishing and how it all works. It might help me gain contacts and information I can use later as I publish my own works.

The only downside is the obvious….they are all unpaid. This basically means I am working for free, which most people don’t do! On the other hand, there is the experience and possible connections. It would also look great on my website. This said, there really is not a down side, other than not being able to go to the grocery store with experience, however one day it may literally pay off!

Have you ever worked an internship for experience? Was it in the literary world? I would love to hear about it in the comments!

Military Spouse Life

Guess Who Came Early!?!?!

Well, it’s been a minute since I posted….why? Because I had the AMAZING task of bringing the most amazing, beautiful little girl into the world!

Our baby girl was born at 1:47 am on Tuesday, February 10, 2015!

Bill and I could not be more in love than we are with this little girl!!!

Everything went great! I started having contractions just after 6 pm on Monday. We went to the Birth Place at around 11 pm, and by 1:47 am on Tuesday, we were holding our baby girl. I still can’t believe I did it, but I managed everything without any pain medication, epidural, or intervention of any kind. There were moments I wanted to give up and go to the hospital so I could get an epidural, but I stuck it out and I’m glad I did. She came so fast, the nurse didn’t even have time to get there. I delivered in the tub (water birth) with just Bill and the midwife. It was apparently all we needed. Even though she came on the 10th, the original due date was the 11th, so she seems to be right on time (a little early…….that’s her Marine daddy in her!)

Talia Ann weighed 5 pounds, 13 ounces, was 19″ inches long, and has A LOT of dark hair! Bill has been amazing in every way. I can’t tell you how blessed I am! He’s made sure I still get some decent sleep, and has possibly changed more diapers. He’s truly amazing!

Bill has been the MOST AMAZING daddy! I wish I could express in words how amazing he has been!!! The dogs have all also been taken by her. Baker (left) and Oak (right) are so in love with her as well!
Bill has been the MOST AMAZING daddy! I wish I could express in words how amazing he has been!!! The dogs have all also been taken by her. Baker (left) and Oak (right) are so in love with her as well!
Bill was her first Valentine. He took her to the store and picked out a Sully for her from Monsters Inc....of course it will be awhile before she is big enough to play with him! This is one of my favorite pictures!
Bill was her first Valentine. He took her to the store and picked out a Sully for her from Monsters Inc….of course it will be awhile before she is big enough to play with him! This is one of my favorite pictures!
This is daddy reading to baby!!! He loves reading all her little books. Right now, Talia basically just sleeps through it all!
This is daddy reading to baby!!! He loves reading all her little books. Right now, Talia basically just sleeps through it all!
Here is one of Talia being fussy. Baker is BESIDE himself!!! He and Oak are really sensitive to her noises.....they get upset when she is upset, but in general, she's a really good baby and isn't too fussy!
Here is one of Talia being fussy. Baker is BESIDE himself!!! He and Oak are really sensitive to her noises…..they get upset when she is upset, but in general, she’s a really good baby and isn’t too fussy!
Life

Moving On Up!

I haven’t posted much, other than my rant on the whole Harper Lee situation, which is still fascinating to watch because now Lee is upset at some of the reaction she has received. People are just being jerks, but then again, I did pose the question, “Is Harper Lee literary crazy?”

Anyway, over the weekend, I’ve had to take it easy because ready or not, baby should be here soon!

Bill has been saddened by the passing of our iguana, Hulk, but this weekend, we took Hulk’s tank and gave Patches (she’s our/his Ball Python) a new home….

Here Bill is placing her in her new home!
Here Bill is placing her in her new home!
She immediately took to exploring!
She immediately took to exploring!
So many new places to explore!
So many new places to explore!
Always good to stretch completely out!
Always good to stretch completely out!
Then Isis noticed something was different. There was someone new in the BIG tank....
Then Isis noticed something was different. There was someone new in the BIG tank….
So Patches became the evening entertainment.
So Patches became the evening entertainment.
Isis must have had flashbacks to fishing in the fish tank I had a long time ago. She was not a great fisherwoman, thankfully!
Isis must have had flashbacks to fishing in the fish tank I had a long time ago. She was not a great fisher-woman, thankfully!
Then Bill asked Oak (our black lab) where Patches was....he found her!!!
Then Bill asked Oak (our black lab) where Patches was….he found her!!!
and then wouldn't leave her alone!
and then wouldn’t leave her alone!