Sickness Strikes

Sick kid home today. Allergy shots this afternoon. Linux training this evening. Working out somewhere in there. Really the best part of today is the sick kid because it means I’m off the hook for making dinner. Who wants to smell spaghetti sauce when they have a stomach bug?

Yes, that’s right. I’m taking one for the team here and offering to not cook for the rest of us so that Snarky Daughter won’t smell anything that would set her stomach off. Am I a good mom, or what? OK, really there are times when I’m the worst mom around. Those times tend to be when people are sick.

It’s not that I don’t want to be that mom. The take-your-temperature-give-you-warm-ginger-ale mom. I do. But really? Come on. Someone has to go to the day job and said someone cannot be getting sick herself, because she does not get paid time off. Not complaining, I knew that when I took the job, and it’s not like I was getting time off when I worked from home.

So when a child texts me at work to inform me they don’t feel well and do they have to go to band, my response is no, go to your room. Don’t come out until you feel better. Do. Not. Share. Your. Germs. I’ll push food under the door.

I was better about it when they were little, but they’re teenagers now (or close enough), so they know that if they need me to stay home, they have to say, please stay home. And they have to be prepared for me to say, OK, I’m going to run to the office and get my computer so I can work from home. Because there’s nothing I can do. I can – and really do – give hugs and check temperatures and offer medicine. Or at least tell them how often they can take it while I’m at work. And I don’t take the vanpool on those days so if there is a problem, I can get home. But Snarky Daughter is three years from moving out, so it’s time for her to figure some of this out on her own. And she has. She turned green at the idea of the pink stuff and begged not to have to take it. Can’t blame her there.

Her bug is great news for Scout Son because it means he can spend some uninterrupted time on their computer. After we disinfect it. After all, I do not believe for one minute that she’s spent the day in bed without the laptop and Harry Potter fanfic. I’m tired, not stupid.

Also, he has announced he will be working on improving his grilled cheese sandwich skills. Good for him! See, this is a learning experience for him. I’m being a good mom!

Update on the Car Saga: I’m sitting at the dealership waiting for the car. It was not a simple fix. We’ll see if they got it right this time. Fingers crossed.


A Day of Rest…or Not

New rule: no blogging on Sundays.

Turns out Sundays are the days that I get everything done. If Saturdays are the days I play (and clearly they are), then Sundays are the days I grocery shop, clean the house, do 52 loads of laundry, pay bills, contemplate the taxes, ask about homework…

I finally sat down with the intent of blogging at 10:00 last night, which is when I’m supposed to be going to bed. After Boy Scout paperwork, I was fried. That great idea I had while doing planks on the living room floor? Toast. The one I had while making coffee cake? Deserted me.

The thing is, I write these the day I post them. Yes, I should have a whole litany of these things saved up so I can preset them to post automatically. But if I do that, I won’t write every day and part of the deal here is that I’m supposed to be writing every day and dealing with whatever comes out of it.

Because, the one thing I have figured out is that keeping all my emotions bottled up until I have time to deal with them (two years later) is probably not the healthiest way to live. There are good days and bad days and going have mad days (thank you Jimmy Buffett), but apparently giving myself some distance was good because I’m not overwhelmed by emotions. I’m even enjoying the not so fun ones because now I’m feeling something.

Maybe it’s because the kids are older now and I don’t have to worry so much about them. Oh yeah, don’t get me wrong, I have to worry about the big things now, drinking, stupid friends and cars, boys. But I don’t have to worry so much about getting them to school on time, is everybody’s lunch made and the daily stuff that eats up your time.

You’d think not worrying would have given me time for my first Linux lesson with my father yesterday. Sorry, Dad. Let’s try for Tuesday night. This generally makes me ill, (the Linux not my dad), but if I’m going to update this site, I need to know some of the basics. Besides, with this knowledge I can pick up computer geeks. See, it’s a win-win!


I Want a Zoo

Can someone please explain to me why I cannot get up at 5:15 to work out Monday through Friday, but on Saturday, after reading late into the night (or early into the morning), I wake up at 5:20 and can’t go back to sleep? I fought the good fight until 6:45, at which point I gave up, turned on the light and read until 8:30.

I followed that up with making chocolate chip pancakes for the kids for breakfast and then trimmed my fingernails and cleaned my room. At any point, I could have started, you know, writing.

The thing is, I was really enjoying myself. The dog prints from the rain earlier in the week were banished from my bedroom and my mattress pad was in the washing machine. I danced while I vacuumed and washed the floor.

Then I headed to the kitchen for lunch, but kind of forgot why I was there when I saw the giant bag of chocolate chips sitting on the counter and started making cookies. At 2:00, I gave up all pretense of working on anything resembling a book, and we headed out to buy the least frumpy looking frumpy shoes that my orthotics would fit in (stupid high arches).

They’re kind of cute. Snarky Daughter — living up to her name — didn’t think so. Until I held up the alternative. Then she agreed they were the best we’d found in months of looking. And they’re light blue, which isn’t as cool as 4-inch red stilettos, but they’ll do. From there it was on to Game Stop and Barnes and Noble so Scout Son could blow some of his Christmas money.

Penance for that came in the form of a movie. The child must have been switched at birth, because he doesn’t like movie popcorn. I consider it dinner when you go to a movie after 4:00. So, popcorn, soda and a movie. Yes, true torture. Because no Sith were harmed in the making of this movie. Also, no Deceptacons, Transformers or Starfleet Captains.

If you haven’t seen it yet, you need to go see We Bought A Zoo. This is a great movie about starting over. With the obligatory adorable little girl, a cute, albeit miserable, 14 year-old boy, Matt Damon (I’m happy already), and animals that you’ll fall in love with. You’ll laugh, you’ll cry. And you’ll walk out wanting some wild beast.

The thing is, the movie brought home to me that I must have recently hit a turning point. Because I’m not unhappy anymore. And I should be. Things in my life aren’t perfect right now. I’m still struggling in a lot of ways, and waiting for love to come along, and, you know, living one day at a time. Nothing has really changed from last week or last month or last year.

But today, I was happy. I took a walk after breakfast and pretty much danced down the street. I’m sure the neighbors are wondering what that was about (just a really great soundtrack to walk to). Red Solo Cup came on the radio and I sang along as I drove, laughing because Snarky Daughter thinks it’s the dumbest song ever, and it is, but try getting it out of your head without singing!

I’m sure the patrons of Wal-Mart thought I was nuts as I goofed off with the kids while we were finding the right wire for the iPod to hook into the new car stereo. Maybe that’s it. For the first time in my life, I have a car that doesn’t have a tape deck!

Whatever it is, today was awesome. Even the cleaning. Even as I sit here and realize that it may be midnight before my comforter is dry enough to use. But when we walked out of the theater, all I could think was, I want a zoo.

OK, not an entire zoo. I get grumpy when it’s my day to empty the cat box. I can’t imagine cleaning up after a tiger, although if I had one, maybe UPS would finally put my packages in the garage… Anyway, after careful consideration for about 10 seconds, I announced that I wanted a pair of lemurs.

Hey, if a guy in Great Britain can have a zoo (and since it’s based on a real story, clearly he can), why can’t I have a couple of lemurs? Snarky Daughter immediately pointed out that she still wanted a ferret. Scout Son, the only sane one in the bunch, didn’t want anything– or maybe he just didn’t feel well since he had Bottle Caps candy for dinner.

Ferrets and lemurs and dogs, oh my! And the cat from hell. The other day I wanted a fish for my desk. Really, this is getting out of hand. But I’m laughing again, so maybe just one lemur?


Missed Drinks

If you’re new to my blog, you don’t know about The Car. If you’re familiar with my life, the Saga continues.

Assuming you’re new, here’s what’s been happening. I was driving a 12 year-old Taurus with 214,000 miles on it. It recently tried to commit suicide. I really can’t blame it. If I was the vanilla pudding of automobiles, I’d want to die too. So one day I started it in the Sam’s Club parking lot and there was a loud explosion and the car sounded like I’d put a screwdriver into the engine.

I faced a mix of happy and sad thoughts as I assumed the car was dead. After all, I was 18 months away from handing this totally paid for automotive joy to Snarky Daughter and getting myself a reasonable mid-life crisis (Mini Cooper, anyone?). I had a Plan. But, it was paid off, and The Plan involved paying down debt first. So, while waiting for an hour and a half for the tow truck, I thanked God for smart phones and cruised the local dealerships online.

And then my ex-husband fixed the car. Which had literally blown a spark plug out of whatever they sit in. Yeah, that’s not scary. But he fixed it, for which I thanked him profusely with meals for the day and a half that he worked on it and a homemade apple pie.

But the mileage was never the same. When I realized it had dropped to 20 mpg highway, I pulled out my high school algebra, did some calculations, called the ex again, and determined I needed a new-to-me car.

And I bought a car that night. No, it’s not as crazy as it sounds. Remember, there is a mid-life crisis in my future. All I need is a car that gets wicked-good mileage for that lovely 92-mile commute to the day job. Because in 18 months, I’m handing over the keys to Snarky Daughter, who will say Thank You, and be thankful that I chose the car that is Ferrari red and a lot more fun to drive than the Taurus. Hard to believe a Sentra can be fun, but I’ve been driving a Taurus for a long time.

And now I have a manual transmission. At least I would have it, if I didn’t keep taking it back to the dealer. Problems started 12 hours after I got the car, and the issues have been small in the scope of issues, but issues nonetheless.

I took it back to the dealer yesterday because my fuel-injected car required me pressing the gas in order to start it, and rumor has it the point of fuel-injection is that you’re not supposed to have to do that. So, while the warranty was still in place, I wanted them to check it out.

According to them, the throttle plate was sticking, so they de-gunked it (their technical term, not mine), and we were off to the races again. Or not. On the way home (after the service desk was closed), I realized all was not well. Not bad, but off. For instance, I still needed to hit the gas to start the car.

But on the way to the day job the car was idling high, reving and dropping. Odd. So, I ping the ex (there are benefits to working at the same place), and invite him for a test drive around the company compound over lunch. He came back with this to say:

You need to call them. Now. They didn’t fix anything and now the check engine light is on.

At this point I think, OK, I’m done. It’s cute, and it has a stick shift, which has been really fun, and it’s Ferarri red but Japanese so it should run, but I can’t keep taking time from work to take care of this. And the dealership doesn’t offer loaners for same day fixes, so I am taking time off to deal with it.

More importantly, I am now missing drinks with a friend after work. I have been looking forward to that beer since, no lie, Tuesday.

But I am a mature, responsible, pissed off adult so I place the call and talk to Management, and they promise me a loaner. I show up early and throw the fit of all fits with the service person I have been working with. Who is really nice, and this is not her fault. I know that, but I have hit my limit.

I talk to Management some more and say, “Look. I don’t want to see it again until you’d let your wife or your 16 year-old daughter drive it. In the middle of nowhere. Without a cell phone. If you can’t do that, tear up the sales slip and let’s walk out there and I’ll find something new. Seriously, I’m not that hard to please. I’ve been driving a Taurus* since the last century.”

Now Management tells me all the things I already know. They probably did something to a sensor yesterday. This should not be a big deal. Which I already know since I brought it in and asked them to look at the spark plugs, which they didn’t do. And he promises me that if they have bought something they shouldn’t have and sold it to me, we will find something else. I am mildly appeased, but dreading the piece of shit Chevy Cobalt (think Fisher Price car) that they’re going to give me as a loaner because that’s what they gave me for visit number one.

Make note: apparently if you hold two additional car purchases in the next four years over their heads, tell them your four car history with them is at an end now, and then point out they’ve had your new-to-you vehicle almost as much as you have over the past two weeks, they throw you a bone on visit number 3.

A Nissan Altima with leather interior, one of those funky automatic-but-you-can-shift-like-a-manual transmissions, and heated seats (right where my back hurts most). It’s like piloting the space shuttle, assuming the shuttle doesn’t need a key.

I looked at the nice service chick and said, “Um, I love the car I bought if you can make it run. This is not helping me love it though. Heated seats, really?”

And they’d already turned them on. Which almost makes up for missing out on drinks after work. Almost. I’m pretty sure I was going to get some great writing inspiration out of that!

Tune in next week when we’ll solve the mystery of What Did They Loosen/Break When Fixing It.

*Please note: The Taurus is a really good, responsible, reliable family car. I have had three (if you include the Sable, which is the same body style, etc) over the past 14 years. It holds me, two kids and two large dogs, as well as our luggage and two dog kennels. But nobody should have to drive one for 14 years.


Baby Steps

Once upon a time, right after I had Scout Son, I started working out. At first I hated it, but my knee and hips hurt and the YMCA had a weight machine that I thought would help. And it did. And after several months of working out several times a week, I loved it. I felt great, I looked great. I discovered fat feels different than muscle, and no, I never realized that. I was not a coordinated kid. But I could take you in a game of Space Invaders. Do not judge.

But at the tender age of 29, I slowly became coordinated. I could read or knit on an elliptical machine, and some of the folks I worked out with slowly talked me into racquetball. I dropped the last of the baby weight, toned everything and had a blast. I became one of those people who loved working out.

Then came ladder #1. I didn’t fall off of it, so much as it slid to the ground and I rode it there. I firmly believe that the only reason I didn’t get seriously hurt (broken bones) is because I was in good shape. But between giving birth to two kids and two ladder encounters, my body has changed.

I never used to hate my body. Even when I didn’t know that muscle felt different. I wasn’t embarrassed by it. This is me. I’m in reasonable shape, take it or leave it. But over the last few months as I’ve seriously considered putting myself back into the dating pool, I’ve paid more attention, and while I hate my back and hip, I’m just generally unhappy with the rest of it.

The problem is finding a workout that I can do. Right now I ride a bike in the living room because I can read, watch TV, edit a book, knit and talk to the kids while I ride. Remember, I have at best 3 hours a day that are mine, so I have to multitask. But it irritates my back. I love to dance, but anything like that makes it impossible to walk the next day.

I did light strength training and yoga last night and today I want to die. As an aside, downward dog is really hard to do and focus on your breathing when you have a Doberman trying to find your face so she can give you kisses. Not the dating pool I had in mind, Cassie.

That’s the problem with chronic pain. I gained the weight because I couldn’t work out. I couldn’t work out because I couldn’t get a diagnosis for the problem. For. Ten. Years. I try to work out, something gets inflamed, I keep trying to push it so I can lose some weight, get in better shape and protect my body. After all, hauling around less of me would be good for the joints that are toast. But working out only inflames things more and lands me on my ass. Hmm, seeing a cycle here?

But I keep trying to work out and feel better. I’m happy to announce that since New Year’s, I’ve lost 3 pounds It took ten years to put on 13 pounds and three weeks to lose 3 of them. I am going to work really hard at not finding them again. It would be so much easier if I could still play racquetball.

It was an awesome workout both mentally and physically. Mad? No problem. Go into a small room and beat the shit out of a ball. Need to think about the problem with your book? Same solution. Kids driving you nuts? They could have put a plaque on the door of that court; I lived in there three days a week. But even if I was delusional enough to think I could play, my chiropractor has said no way. Something about racquetball players being highly competitive and running into walls. I have no idea what he’s talking about.

So, it’s baby steps these days. There’s a goal. I’d like to be in better shape before I spend the weekend with my family in DC this March. Or before I have to take my clothes off in front of another human being. Or the next ice age.

Whichever comes first. How many calories do you burn with baby steps?


Birth of a Book

So, 20,000 words into the third book in the Heiress at the Door series, I hit a wall. Part of that is probably because I was going through a divorce, didn’t believe in happily ever after and was trying to just manage my real life, forget imaginary characters. And anyway, I hadn’t sold a book yet so there was no deadline.

But time heals all wounds, and as soon as I started feeling emotions again, my fingers itched to hit the keys. Except, the book was still wrong. For one thing, the hook to the series is, you know, an heiress at the door. But the heiress in this book is never at the door. Not my fault. We came up with the hook after I’d started writing this one.

Me: Um, do you think it’s a problem that both of these books start with an heiress at the door?

Regan: No, they’re different books. I think it’s your hook.

Me: That could be cool. I could play with that.

Regan: I think you already are.

And so it went. But, no door. Also, there’s a princess in this one and I’m still dealing with some of the harsh reality of my life. Really, a princess book? Would that even work?

So I put the old file away, threw away the old plot cards completely, and was going to start over at the beach. Until…

Snarky Daughter: Why are you going to the beach in winter?

Me: To plot a book and figure out the blog and stuff that I keep ignoring here to do really fun stuff like grocery shopping, vacuuming and laundry.

SD: How do you plot a book?

Me, looking at the ceiling: Um, with index cards and colored pencils

SD: Can I watch?

Me: Sure, but you can’t stop me from banging my head against a wall. It’s part of the process.

I went to the beach, and I thought about the characters, and I did some of the basic stuff upfront. But I didn’t pull out the index cards and pencils. Snarky Daughter and I did that for an hour and a half tonight. I think I have maybe 7 cards filled out.

The skeleton of a book.
The skeleton of a book.

Now understand, here’s how I give birth to a book. I figure out how many chapters are, and I spread out blank index cards in a grid on the table. Three scenes to a chapter, so three cards per chapter. I set the grid up so there are turning points evenly spaced throughout the book.

And I start thinking of all the subplots in the story: hero’s external goal, heroine’s external goal, love story, three turning points, happily ever after… The list goes on and on (which I think was the reason the book wasn’t working last time). Then I just start writing basic stuff on the different cards. Here are the scenes I know need to happen for this subplot. I do it for each subplot. And each subplot gets a different color, so that as I start moving the cards around, I can see if I’m getting too much of one plot in one part of the book and spread it around.

When Snarky Daughter started yawning, we called it a night. I may have killed her writing aspirations, although I stressed that this is not how every writer does it. I then outlined how Regan does hers (hint: no cards or colored pencils, but I think she uses the wall).

SD: You put a lot of work in before you start writing.

Me: Yep. I need to know I have a full story before I sit down. I need to know I have a book.

SD: Why?

Me: Because editing during the process and making changes is more painful that sitting at the table now.

SD: So how long will this take?

Me: Until it’s done. I have to have half the scenes drafted on the cards before I start.

I have 7. I’d say I’m out of practice, but in explaining the process to SD, I realized I know a lot about the book, I just didn’t want to take a lot of time writing it out while I was explaining it to her.

If only I could control my real life with colored pencils and index cards. Hey, I can see the happy ending. I just don’t know how to get there. Yet.


I Will Survive

It’s normal for writers to hear voices. Usually they’re the voices of my characters. And I’ll admit those voices are always there. But I knew I needed to go to the beach when I not only couldn’t hear my characters’ voices, I couldn’t hear my own because the voices I care about were being drowned out by others.

Let’s see, there was Little Miss You Can’t Go Out to Dinner Alone or People Will Talk. Now I can ignore her for some places like Taco Bell and the local diner, but I was having a really hard time ignoring her to go to the Sea Captain’s House Restaurant. Which was really ticking me off because what the chef there can do to a filet is amazing. It took about five hours for me to decide that I really didn’t care what people would think.

I did go early, partly so that I wouldn’t take up a table on date night, but mostly because I skipped lunch and wanted to get back to the hotel and a bottle of wine. The chick who told me to stay and have dessert? She can stay. Dessert Chick force fed the bitchy voice who keeps telling me You’re Not Attractive and You Have Fat Thighs, and she seems a lot happier now. She’s wrong on the first point and right on the second and when she has some good suggestions for working out that my body will tolerate, she can raise her hand and I’m willing to call on her.

You’re a Hack, Go Get a Real Job. When she’s not suggesting I get a real job, she’s suggesting I write real books. Um, I have a day job to take care of my family. It’s not glamorous, so if a million of you want to go out and buy my book for $.99 over the next couple of months, I’ll be happy to quit it and write full time. But until then, the day job stays, thank you. And as for books, mine have words and tell a story. The have a beginning, a middle and an end. There are character arcs, plot points and snappy dialog. I think they are real, thanks. So they stay.

You Can’t/Shouldn’t/Nice Girls Don’t…I could go on, but let’s be real. You know these voices. It took two days, but I kicked each one of them into the ocean. And slowly, as I got rid of each voice, I’d hear a little bit more of my own. You’d think as I got rid of all the opinions of others, that really don’t matter anyway, my voice would have gotten louder, but it hasn’t. She’s not screaming out for attention.

I think maybe she’s enjoying the peace. I was worried for a while I’d kicked her into the ocean too, but she’s made her presence known over the last few days. Oddly enough, she isn’t sharing her thoughts or feelings. Besides writing and spending time with some close friends and family, I can’t tell you what I like to do. That voice and I are going to have to try some new things and figure it out.

And I will. Because since I kicked all the other girls out, I’ve heard Gloria Gaynor singing…

At first I was afraid.

I was petrified.

Kept thinking I could never live without by my side.

But then I spent so many nights thinking how you did me wrong.

And I grew strong

I learned how to get along…

It’s quiet here now that all those opinionated voices aren’t living with me. Except for the singing. Hopefully the characters will start talking soon. Until then, I suppose there are worse theme songs…


A Blog a Day

This weekend I went to the beach to write. It was supposed to be a weekend filled with lots of plotting and writing and a little bit of personal introspection. (Is there any other kind of introspection?) What I got was a ton of introspection and a little bit of writing. On the upside, all the walking and introspection meant I didn’t gain any weight, and given what I was eating and drinking, that’s a miracle in itself.

In the middle of all the fun emotional stuff I put myself through, I realized the blog isn’t working. Now, for the three of you who read this regularly, that’s not news. A quick look at post dates will tell you that I’m not doing this on any regular schedule. The problem has been I didn’t have a theme for this thing.

Do I write about writing? Hmm, probably not. Writers read writing blogs, but we don’t usually support the blog authors by buying their books. There are lots of reasons for that which I’m not going to get into. So while readers do enjoy learning some of how we get the words on the page (lots of banging head against walls and drinking tequila), you don’t want to read about it every day.

And there’s a limit to how many bits of trivia I can concoct about a fictional town and the people who live there. Do you really want to know the name of the puppy Matt and Jess get six months after The Heiress and Her Fake Fiancé ends? Not really, which is good, because until I typed that sentence, I didn’t know they had one.

I liked the daily journal idea. I know I’m supposed to be writing in one, but let’s be real. Write words that pay or write in a journal. Which one would you choose? But writing some form of a journal here, that talks about the adventures of motherhood, writing, finding myself and maybe falling in love? Well, who wouldn’t want to read that?

OK, so two men popped into my head immediately, and to them I say, you probably don’t want to read my blog. Like I said, there was a lot of personal growth at the beach and the one thing I figured out is this: I don’t know who I am.

I’ve spent most of my life trying to please my mother, my ex-husband, my kids, my community… The list goes on. Nowhere on that list was me. That changes today. With this blog.

I’d like to say that I’m going to write here every day (we’ll see what happens). Lucy March did it after she got divorced on her A Year and Change blog. I discovered it recently while cruising the new blog she’s doing with Jenny Crusie and Anne Stewart, who are also taking this year to reFab themselves.

And now, so am I. So fasten your seatbelts folks, it’s going to be a bumpy ride.


Changes is Latitudes, Changes in Attitudes

So, I realized something this morning after a long walk on the beach snapping over 100 pictures of the sunrise. No, I don’t know why I had to take so many, and since I forgot the cable to download them, I’m not going to know which six are any good until I get home. Ah, the mystery!

OK, I realized two things.

#1 God meant for me to live at the beach. I thought I needed to live between the beach and the mountains so I could have a choice. Screw that. I’m meant to be here. This is where I run whenever life gets me down. Luckily, life tends to get me down in the winter when the rates are good and the cold breeze reminds me of Northern California, so it’s not a huge hit to my wallet, and I get to stay in nice places with great beds.

#2 You can’t be a writer and stop reading. You have to make time for both.

That’s hard to do. Between the day job, the writing I haven’t been focused on (hence the trip to the beach), feeding the kids, running errands, cleaning… well, you get the idea. During the week, I spend 11 hours a day either at the day job or commuting to/from it. By the time I get home, feed the kids and hear about their days, and do physical therapy (for a few seconds of stupidity on a ladder), I have, at best, 2 hours to pay bills, check email, write, work out…. And weekends are spent with at least one full day of errands that couldn’t get done during the week.

But reading has to be in there too. Turns out, that’s part of the job requirements of a writer. But lately, I haven’t been filling the creative well. I haven’t been reading blogs, books, or anything more than the headlines on Small wonder my creativity has dried up.

So part of my “home” work this weekend, you know, at the beach, is to find blogs worth reading, and catch up with some authors who always make me laugh. Jenny Crusie and Susan Elizabeth Phillips, don’t fail me now!

Who are the favorite blog and book authors you turn to when you have to escape?


New Year’s Resolutions

For about eight years now, my New Year’s resolution has been to learn to juggle. I can “jug.” It’s the “–gling” part I have trouble with. I can get all three balls in the air when I’m supposed to. On good days I can even do it twice in a row. After that, things fall down. Stupid gravity.

So this year, I’m looking for new resolutions. A few years ago, our local YMCA came up with the idea of doing several small resolutions. Things you could accomplish in 90 days. You were supposed to come up with five of them. I had everything from work out more to re-learn French. Hey, I suffered through 11 years of French in school. I should be able to speak it.

Within three weeks of making the resolution, I fell off a ladder, broke my leg and screwed up my back. It – and my ability to work out – have never been the same. And French… well, if you drop me in Paris, I can eat and find a hotel room. I can probably get a date. After that, it’s all downhill.

My pants are making the first resolution for me. Regardless of what my hip and back think, we’re getting back in shape. Period. End of story. This should be an amusing process since every time I try, I have setbacks with said hip and back and end up not able to move for weeks. But Prevention Magazine has a walking workout they swear can help you lose up to 22 pounds in 8 weeks. I may try it. Or I may keep riding my bike in the living room. I’m still working on the plan.

I gave up on French years ago to try Italian, a language I actually want to learn. Rosetta Stone and I are going to have a party… as soon as I buy a new headset with a microphone since the computer isn’t recognizing me with the built in mic (that works just fine when I’m Skyping my dad). Go figure.

Then there are the work related resolutions. Getting more active on social media. Build a following. Adding pages to the website. Writing a book or two.

You know, the usual.

I’m excited about writing the books. Characters are bopping around like crazy in my head. It’s nice to know I’m not crazy when I hear voices; it’s a job requirement! I’m knee-deep in book three of the Heiress at the Door series, with book two coming around for edits shortly. And I’m looking forward to book four, which is jut a glimmer right now, but will take place back in Blakely. No idea if there will be an heiress in that one; how many can there be in one small coastal North Carolina town?

So, lose 15 pounds, write a book, conquer Italian. Sounds like I have a busy year ahead. What will you be doing?