Dear Fellow Bloggers,

I am still alive!!! I miss you and I miss blogging! I have been horrible at blogging lately, It’s just that I have been so, so busy (and I have no internet at my house!-huge factor). Even tonight I am heading on a trip to Colorado! I am hoping to get back into the swing of things once I return from vacation!

What I’ve been up to:

Thanksgiving and Christmas Festivities

Charleston, SC research (life in the 1920s in Charleston, SC) for my books

Two potential literary agents selected and a query letter written

Thorough editing of the first 5 pages

Writing the second book

Studying typography and other graphics for work (fun! Why did I major in History?)

Job searching

Reading Books

Cooking

Playing with dogs

Life

=)

I hope everything is going well for everyone out there! And the Christmas Season is full of happiness for you and lots of happy writing and living!

Updates

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Work Dreams, gotta love ’em

Have you ever had a “work” related dream? You know the type of sleep where you feel like you are still…at work…all night long and when you wake up you are beat?

I have had these type of dreams many times. Sometimes it is just a dream where I am late to work, like 7 hours late. Other times I am surrounded by infinite piles of paper work that I have to get through before a certain time.

My favorite work dream I ever had, came of course, from the zoo I worked at. During my days at the zoo, I had always prided myself on being able to make PERFECT ice cream cones. I had it down to a science. My cones where huge and perfectly balanced. I could even get that little curl at the top of the ice cream. One day people literally were pouring into the restaurant chanting, “I scream you scream, we all scream for ice cream!” They weren’t really chanting that, but there were A LOT of people who ordered ice cream. I made HUNDREDS of cones that day. At the end of it all I was covered in sticky ice cream goo and I never ever wanted to see another waffle cone in my life. I ended up working a catering event, making my day a whopping 13 hours. When I got home, I desperately needed rest. I showered off and tucked myself into bed, thankful to be able to finally stop moving my aching legs and arms. I fell asleep within a few minutes. I would be refreshed and ready for another day of work in the morning.

However, my night was less than restful. For hours in the night I dreamed I was making ice cream cone after ice cream cone. Chocolate, Vanilla, Twist. Waffle cone. Cake cone. Cup. Would you like a cherry on top? At 3:00 AM I woke up, exhausted and my mouth parched. I walked to the kitchen to quench my thirst and returned to my bedroom (that I shared with my twin sister at the time) and got back into bed. I lay in the pillow trying to empty my mind of all things zoo and ice cream related. Suddenly a voice pierced the relatively silent night (other than the snoring coming from my parents’ room, which was on the other side of the house! My Mom always said my Dad’s snoring sounding like he was sawing down a forest).

It was just a few mumbles at first then out came words that sounded like a foreign language, perhaps from the Amazon jungles. I giggled. It was Andrea, fast asleep across the room in her bed. I always wanted and have tried to successfully have a conversation with someone while they were sleep talking, get them to reveal their secrets. So far I haven’t been successful. This particular night I was too exhausted. I had my own ice cream nightmares to worry about. The mumbling continued. Then, at last I could understand a few words.

“Ch-o-co-mmmmm. MMMMM.” “W-would you like chocolate, v-v-vanilla, or twistssss?” Andrea mumbled, her voice sounded into a groan.

I laughed. Chocolate, vanilla, or twist? Was Andrea being haunted by ice cream dreams too? She had been there at the zoo with me, had experienced the entire ice cream mob.

“Would you like a w-w-w-affle c-co-ne or c-cake coooone?” She continued after a few more moans and sighs.

I was laughing. Poor Andrea! I half expected her to sleep walk over to an imaginary ice cream machine and make an imaginary ice cream cone.

In the morning I asked her casually, “So, how’d you sleep?”

“Uugggg. I felt like I was at work…ALL NIGHT LONG!” She said, groaning.

I told her about how she slept talked and how I too dreamed of ice cream. We laughed together about how both of our nights were haunted by a monster, a Freddy Krueger, called Ice cream.

What has your last work dream been like? Do you sleep talk? What’s the weirdest thing you have said or heard a friend say? 

Have you ever laughed at someone else’s misfortune…that YOU caused??

And you tried not to laugh, you really tried, but it could not be helped. The laughter came out in suppressed waves of giggles and then finally erupted into flinging your head back into the air or hugging your stomach that hurt because you could not stop laughing. You kept trying to stop, but you were no longer in control. You felt like the terrible person you were.

This is one of those stories.

It was another summer day at the zoo. We had just experienced what we termed “A Rain-Forced Rush”. A Rain Forced Rush was the unexpected and sudden visit of thongs of people filling the restaurant do to rain. On a day that had been already so busy our food supply was nearly wiped out, we were unprepared for the sky to turn gray and thunder to rumble and drops of rain that sent a literal mob of people that were all “Hangry”.

People of all shapes and sizes squeezed into the restaurant, exceeding the max capacity by a crazy number. They filled practically every corner of the place, and it didn’t help half of the them were manning monstrous strollers that were practically the size of a smart car (you know those strollers with three wheels and enough seats for the entire family to be pushed around in). Kids were screaming, adults were screaming. It was madness.

By the time the people were done with us we had about two ice cream cones, a hotdog, and a squeezed beyond recognition bag of cotton candy left over.

Then! There is was! The sun! Breaking through the clouds the sun beamed into the restaurant signaling the rain storm was over and we were saved. The people left just as quickly as they came (so quickly I was afraid someone would be trampled!) and in their departure a disaster. Cups strewn across the tables and floors, red cherry slushy mixture and melted ice cream puddled the floor, napkins here there everywhere, tables and chairs upturned, mashed French fries and half eaten corndogs littered the area.

Our manager knew that the day was rapidly coming to an end and there were still nearly half of the staff that had not gotten a break. He sent them all on break and the rest of us unlucky ones who already had our break were on clean up crew.

I had the wonderful task of tending to the trash. There were about 10 trash cans, each of them filled and overflowing and foul. I put gloves on and moved from trash can to trash can, lugging the 30 lb. filled bags back to the backside of the restaurant where the dumpster was. trash

For my story to make sense I have to quickly explain the room where the dumpster was. It was like a mini “garage” attached to the end of the restaurant.  The dumpster was elevated about two feet above the small walkway, I’m not sure why this was done but I can tell you it made tossing trash into it quite the exercise, especially for those of us who are short. Opposite side of the dumpster were two chairs and a bucket for cigarette butts, this was our lovely “break area”. Not even a coffee corner! Haha! Most of the time I ate outside, I mean facing a trashcan while you are eating your lunch is hardly appetizing.

Once I had gathered all the trash bags in a nice pile I set to work on getting them into the dumpster. I greeted my friends Will and Mike who were on break and occupying the two chairs in the “break area” and joked about how I was going to have crazy arm muscles after all of this heavy lifting. I had an art to how I got the trash in the dumpster, I perched on the edge of the stairs that were the same height as the dumpster and tossed the trash bags in from there. It was an angled toss, but I had become an expert. Quickly I tossed in bag after bag, feeling disgusting by the revolting smell that seeped from the each bag. Mean while Will, the Zoo’s jokester was making joke after joke and laughing in his usual way.

Every now and then you will get a trash bag that I call a “juicer”. Juicer trash bags are the worst because like the name implies they are filled with “trash juice” (an unholy mixture of all liquids that are in the bag…diaper juice, oil, ketchup, soda, ice cream, slush, etc.). I picked up the bag, it was the last one! When I picked it up, I didn’t notice the bag was punctured and trash juice was spilling onto the ground. At the exact moment Will opened his mouth widely, roaring with laughter at some joke Mike cracked, I tossed the trash bag into the dumpster. All I saw was a reddish brown juice fly through the air. And splash! It made contact with it’s victim.  The juice flung across Will’s face…and into his wide open mouth.

It was like everything was in slow motion for a few seconds. Me and Mike stared at Will in shock…and then at each other. Did that just happen? Will’s eyes were huge and filled with the most awful look of horror. The red juice dripped down his face and his open mouth was frozen in position.

Mike said, “Dude…”

And I…began my apologizing. “Will! I am so sorry! Oh my gosh, I’m so so so so sorry. I can’t believe….bahahahahahahahahahahaha!” The laughter began to take hold of me. My voice began to shake and my body trembled because the laugher longed to escape. Finally I couldn’t hold it in any longer. Wild laughs exploded out of me. I felt awful but I couldn’t stop! I tried, but I just… was rolling.

trying not to laugh

Trying not to laugh

laughing

Not succeeding…

bursting into laughter

laughter has taken over

Will got up, groaning in horror and ran to the dish washing sink and using the commercial sprayer sprayed his mouth and entire face off.

Meanwhile, I watched, still laughing.

Will did forgive me

….eventually.

Photo Friday…on Saturday…

Sister road trips are the best. At the time we all worked at the zoo, (it was a family thing-4 of us worked there!) it had been a busy day for Spring and we could not get that clock to tick fast enough. Finally, the floors were scrubbed and mopped, the chairs turned over, the lights turned out, the mouse traps set (haha! Truth! Mice love cotton candy apparently) -with a final glance, we ran out the door and into 10 days of freedom, aka vacation time. Andrea and I had just graduated from college, and if you have gone to a college far from home, you probably understand that empty feeling of returning home and going from having tons of friends to 2 friends- not to mention one of them is your sister. I could not wait to get to Florida, neither could Katie and Andrea, and we decided we wouldn’t wait. The night before and that morning we packed our bags and had them waiting at the front door. The plan was to head out right when we changed out of our zoo gear and said our good byes to our parents. It was nearly 7:00pm when we finally hit the road. We planned on driving straight through, and with three people we formed a “driver rotation”. One person would sleep in the back, one person would drive, one person in the passenger seat would keep the driver awake. I have always liked starting a road trip at night especially if it is an over 20 hour drive and you don’t want to “waste” an ounce of money by staying at a hotel. When you start the trip you have adrenaline on your side, helping keep you awake and alert and then when the sun comes up you are more than half-way there! My boyfriend and I are total opposites when it comes to driving at night. He says he likes to see scenery. Well there ain’t much scenery in Northern New Mexico!

Back to my story: It was a little past midnight when I started driving on the lonely and barren highway. There were few cars, and just a whole lot of nothing, maybe a few tumbleweeds but it was so hard to see them anyway. I was drinking black Columbian coffee, gross but keeps you AWAKE and singing with the radio. This was SOOOO boring. My driving “buddy” that was supposed to keep  me awake, fell asleep! It was just me and the road and the thick blackness of an area with no houses and no cities for miles. I looked out the window and gasped. There was a dark shadow of some kind of rock formation. But what stood out to me was the backdrop-Thousands, millions of stars. I pulled over and woke up Andrea and Katie. We hopped out of the car and stood there with our heads bent upwards, staring at a sky filled with glittering stars. We didn’t say anything for a while. There was nothing to say and too much to say all at once. It was so beautiful. I had never before seen so many stars. New Mexico was meant to be driven through at night.

photo credit: google images

photo credit: google images

Where is the spot you have seen the most stars?

photo friday: Wind Blown

Today’s Photo Friday is a picture that “wowed” me. From growing up in Colorado, I was always fascinated by trees and plants that grew out of the side of rocks and even sideways sometimes off the side of a cliff. But I had never seen a tree like the one pictured, that refused to break during a horrible wind storm. The picture below is of a wind-blown juniper tree on the Island of El Hierro, the Canary Islands. Can you imagine what that wind must have been like? More importantly, can you imagine the strength of this tree’s roots? It is amazing how sometimes we don’t realize how strong/powerful nature can be.

This tree makes me think of those people who never seem to give up, no matter how hard their life’s storm is. They may be bent, but they are not broken. It also made me think of the simple truth of “nurturing things”. If you take care of something, give it nutrients- it will grow stronger and stronger and when the bad things/wind come it won’t break. Life works the same way most of the time. If we nurture our relationships by pouring in communication, time, love etc. they become stronger and stronger and you can survive fights, disagreements, rumors, tears, whatever. It is the same thing that goes for work, parenting, writing, faith, and physical health. Learn to be someone who is always trying to grow, who is always building whether it’s your relationship or a skill; the more you practice, the more you nurture, the better and stronger you become.

photo credit: google images

photo credit: google images

Photo FridayWho is someone you have met that is the strongest person you’ve ever known?

Jet Skiing Adventure

Has there been something you’ve dreamed of doing, something you knew would be so fun, so enjoyable, an absolute blast, but when you were actually able to get around and do it, boy-you were so wrong? That’s what happened to me when I recently went on a vacation to the Outer Banks with my boyfriend’s family.

When we crossed the North Carolina border we were greeted with sheets of rain, howling winds, and thunder that made the ground rumble. As the gray clouds got thicker and thicker, I whipped out my phone to check out the weather. Josh’s mom said that we had 6 straight days of sun in our vacation forecast. I was finally, going to the beach, finally days under the sunshine. I desperately needed a vacation. The last one was a trip to Colorado for my twin sister’s wedding (btw the plan for a co-owned blog by my twin sister, Andrea and myself is in the works. Stay tuned!) but a “wedding vacation” isn’t ever exactly a vacation. I looked at my phone and felt my entire body slump in disappointment. Rain. Rain. Clouds. Rain. Thunderstorms. Rain. Gray. No Sun. WHAT?? This can’t be possible. I checked another sight for Duck, North Carolina, and it was basically the same prediction, but it did promise one partially sunny day. I was depressed. There is nothing like going on a vacation to the beach and having it rain 24/7. I tried to remain positive saying to myself, “Rainy days make good writing days” but I certainly wasn’t feeling it.

About two days into the vacation, the sun broke out. I hadn’t seen it in so long I started checking the people around me for any glittering skin, The Outer Banks had transformed into Washington State so one can never be too careful (horrible Twilight joke I know).

edward

What I actually did was throw on my bikini, grab my boogie board and try to shuffle everyone straight to the beach. En-route, Josh’s step-dad, Tim, announced that before we headed to the beach we were going on a little adventure. The adventure was…JET SKIING!!

I clapped with joy! I have never ever been jet skiing in my life, and it was one of my life long dreams to go. I love boating, and what couldn’t be more fun that gliding across the gentle water on a “motorcycle of the seas”? As we drove to the Jet Skiing retail docks Josh told me story after story of his jet skiing adventures. All of the highlights of his adventures included someone flying off the back of the jet ski. My favorite description he gave was, “Yeah, Dad flew off the back of the jet ski so hard he looked like a rock skipping across the water! He was in so much pain the next day, it was hilarious!” Inwardly I grimaced and thought about how weird guys are. For so many of them “bonding” or “having fun” most always includes pain of some kind. With each story, my excitement turned into uneasiness. I would be the riding with Josh. I would be the victim. I would be flung in the air, skipping across the water.

We all signed waivers and then walked down a boarded walk to the dock where about 15 jet skis’ sat waiting to be used. The guy that worked at the dock was tall and so thin I thought he would disappear when he turned sideways. His skin was perfected toasted from what I could tell was a summer spent working in the sun. He mumbled a memorized speech of instructions and before I knew it we were pulling on life vests. It took me forever to find one that wasn’t too big or the home of a spider.

By now my hands felt clammy and my stomach felt like a twisted knot. I looked over at Josh and said firmly, “Babe, you can’t go too fast and you can’t throw me off, ok?”

He patted me on the back and insisted I would be ok. “I promise not to go too fast. But going fast is fun!”

I gulped. Our definition of “fast” was far from close. If I was Miss Daisy, he was a “break the sound barrier” wanna be.

We got on and I clung on for dear life, hoping that in the words of American Ninja Warrior, I had enough “grip strength”.

Once we got out of the no wake zone Josh hit the gas. The jet ski flew across the water. Let me just say, it didn’t feel like we were riding on water it felt like we were riding on concrete. I imagined the pain that was bound to happen flying into that rough water. The wind and water hit my face like little needles and I screamed feeling totally lame. I tried to be brave, but I felt my fingers slipping.

“Too fast!” I cried.

He slowed down a little and looked for waves to “bounce around”. “You’ll like this!” He called back to me.

We were crashing into waves and I held on like I was holding onto a bucking bronco. That’s how it felt to me anyway. He spun around in huge circles and then in little circles. We flew into the air after “bouncing” against the waves. I watched my life flash before my eyes.

 bronco

At one point the seat had gotten completely soaked and I was literally sliding off, bouncing around. He asked how I felt and I called back, “I feel like butter in a frying pan! I’m sliding all over!”

Josh suggested that I try to drive it. We came to a stop and I finally was able to breath again. When I drove it I realized I didn’t feel paralyzed with fear going 20 miles per hour or under in a perfectly straight line. I was lame. I was Miss Daisy.

photo credit: Driving Miss Daisy

photo credit: Driving Miss Daisy

I felt so bad for Josh so I begged him to drop me off at the dock, so at least he could enjoy himself more. He said he didn’t want to do that, he wanted to jet ski with me and he would just go slower. I felt awful so I told him to speed up to around 35 mph even though I was scared.

I had not imagined jet skiing this way. I imagined that I would love it. That I would save up and buy a jet ski one day. I had not imagined feeling relieved when the guy that worked there signaled for us to come back to the dock, and our time was over. When we docked I leaped off the jet ski to discover my legs and arms and fingers felt like they were frozen into position and I ended up being sore for days because I was clutching on so tightly.

I am glad I got to mark something off of my bucket list, but am sad that I didn’t enjoy jet skiing as much as I thought I would (I mean doesn’t every cool person like to jet ski?). But I do have hope for perhaps competing on The Next American Ninja Warrior…clearly I have killer grip strength. 😉

photo credit: American Ninja Warrior

photo credit: American Ninja Warrior

What is something you thought you’d love and ended up hating/not loving it after you tried it?

Acrophobia-the fear of heights

Finally, a Photo Friday, sorry for slacking life has been crazy these past few weeks!

Today’s photo Friday features Thrill-seekers, Kirill Oreskin , Andy Lewis and Brian Mosbaugh. These guys  do things I would never ever…imagine doing. One of my greatest fears is heights. Perhaps I have acrophobia “the fear of heights” (or maybe it should be called common sense??); I get shaky, can barely breathe, and I feel like I am on the verge of a heart attack when I am up high. That bungee ride at Six Flag theme park…yeah my theory is I would have a massive and deadly heart attack at the very top of the ride. Heights + Me = TERROR.

Kirill, from Russian, says he climbs, “because I like the views”. Well, he certainly has gotten views of things, most people would never come close to seeing. I have to agree with him, there are few things better than a stunning, breath stopping view-however, you won’t find me dangling hundreds of feet on the edge of a building anytime soon. To see more of Kirill’s amazing photo’s visit his website: https://500px.com/kirill_opex .

Brian and Andy are apart of a group called the “Moab Monkeys” and are friends with one common link: THRILL. Both thrill seekers, and adventurers who like to live life on the edge. The picture below was taken in Brazil! Visit their facebook page : https://www.facebook.com/Moab Monkeys.

information research credit: Huffington post, UK Daily

Are you afraid of heights? What’s the most daring thing you’ve ever done?

photo credit: Kirill Oreshkin

photo credit: Kirill Oreshkin

this picture was taken by Brian Mosbaugh. The guy in the photograph is Brian's friend Andy

this picture was taken by Brian Mosbaugh. The guy in the photograph is Brian’s friend Andy Lewis