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Wednesday, February 27, 2013

One Lovely Blog Award

I'm sick again.  Or, rather, I was well for four days, and then the same sickness reemerged.  Hard to tell, especially since I'm still not even finished with my antibiotics from the first illness.  Whatever.  All I know is that I can't hear anything and my face hurts again.

Since I feel particularly crummy, I thought I'd use my downtime to accept a blog award bestowed upon me by Annika over at Life as I Know It:

As with most blog awards, to accept this one, I've been required to talk about myself.  I'm supposed to list fifteen facts, but that sounds like a lot.  Let's see if I can do this without being redundant.

1.  I have really nice fingernails, inherited from my mom.

2.  I've never had a professional manicure.
3.  My toenails are always painted, usually red.
4.  I've never had a pedicure either.
5.  The video I made of myself showing off my hypermobile joints a year ago now has over 11,500 views.
6.  I can't walk in heels anymore without pain because of my hypermobile hips.
7.  But I wear them sometimes, anyway.
8.  I wear contacts/glasses.
9.  I'm not a very good dancer.
10.  I always root for the underdog.
11.  I have three tattoos.
12.  Chocolate chip is my favorite cookie, and homemade is best.
13.  I finally set up my website:  terilynnbrown.com
14.  When I was a kid, I had a grey kitten with an orange spot on his forehead who I named Gorby, after Mikhail Gorbachev.
15.  I just used Google to find out how to spell Mikhail Gorbachev. 

I thought I had a picture of that kitten, but I guess I don't.  Darn.  That was a cute kitten.  Also, it's kind of weird that I only have a picture of my hands and one of my feet to add to this post, but oh well. 

I'm supposed to pass this blog award on to other people, but since there are a grand total of five of you who read this blog on a regular basis, I'm going to pass.  If you would like to accept this award, go ahead--you deserve it!  You're all wonderful.  All five of you.  :)


Saturday, February 23, 2013

Which of these things is not like the other...

While I was searching for a blog post I did in the summer of 2011 about how I broke my toe (to confirm that I had broken the same toe again), my eye caught something rather odd:

That's the number of times that post has gotten a +1 on Google+.  You may notice that none of the posts before or after it have any Google+ stats, and that's because Google+ wasn't around then...or, if it was, I didn't use it.  In case you're wondering, that blog post is a particularly mundane piece of writing about watching American Idol and feeling old.

As I looked through the rest of my stats, the same phenomenon occurred two other times, on seemingly random posts, neither of which got many comments.

The most confusing part of this whole +1 phenomenon is that the number in the column to the left of the date is the number of page views.  So, while I may have 65,475 +1s on my blog post about three little boys talking about the Titanic tragedy, it appears that only 69 people actually went to the page to read the thing that they +1d.

I am baffled.




Friday, February 22, 2013

WTF, Universe?

I'd like to preface this blog post by saying that I'm really lucky.  I know I am.  I have a lot of wonderful things and people in my life which all add up to me being incredibly fortunate.  Many, many people are worse off than I am.

That said, these last few months have been some bullshit.

There, I said it.  I mean, what the fuck, universe? 

Please excuse my language, but I feel it's necessary right now.  I don't know what the hell I did to deserve all this, but I'm guessing I must have been a really horrible person in a past life or something. 

Just to give you an idea, in the past three months:

- My husband ended up in the ER, then the ICU for his tachycardia...
- Which resulted in heart surgery.
- When he recovered, we paid over $2500 to put a new transmission in our car...
- Which we totaled the next week...
- Which put me in the hospital and then physical therapy
- As soon as I was better, The Kid acquired a virus that kept him out of school for a week...
- Which I acquired from him, while I was away from home...
- Which meant I had to fly sick, which I would never EVER recommend.
- That virus lasted for nearly two weeks.
- A few days ago, my 1 1/2 year old dog's eye turned white.  I think she's gone blind in it, but I'll know more after her (presumably expensive) vet appointment tomorrow....
- If I can even GET her to the appointment because...

I JUST STUBBED AND RE-BROKE MY RIGHT PINKY TOE AGAIN.

So, yeah.  I could really use a break.  And not on a bone this time.  How about a few weeks where nothing bad happens and everyone in my house is healthy and we aren't doing something that will cost us thousands of dollars later? 

That's my wish.  Get on it, Universe.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Joshua's survey

After my last post, in which I complained about how I have nothing good to blog about, I received a couple of helpful suggestions by way of comments.  One was to try some blog challenges, but I haven't heard of any lately and I'm too lazy to Google.

The second suggestion, by my lovely friend Joshua, was to do a survey.  He asked (or spitballed, in his own words) me some questions.  Here they are, with my answers.

1.  Do you play video games? Why or why not?   I have a Wii, and I play it with The Kid nearly every day.  Right now, we play a lot of Gnomz, which is a lot of fun and only costs $10 to download from the shopping channel.  I hate violent video games, but I'm a big fan of anything with a Mario cast and my favorite character to play is usually Luigi.  I also like Tetris and Epic Mickey (1 & 2). 

2.  If money were no object, what kind of car would you buy?  I really don't care about cars at all.  Mercedes are pretty, but even if I was rich, I don't think I'd buy one...maintenance is expensive, and I don't like to be wasteful.  Mini Coopers are cute, too, but the fact that they don't get better gas mileage irks me.  I guess that if money was no object, I'd probably just the prettiest 100% electric car I could find.

3.  Favorite color and why?  Emerald Green.  Because of Oz.

4.  Best meal you've ever eaten?  Oh, man.  I've eaten a LOT of good meals.  Food's my thing.  Let's see...back in Kansas City, there's a French restaurant called Le Fou Frog and they have a dish of lobster tails in a champagne vanilla sauce over the richest risotto I've ever had.  It comes with seasonal vegetables and it's probably my favorite dish anywhere.  Ugh, now I want it.  And it's so far away.  :(

5.  First kiss?  I was 16, and it was after my first official date.  He walked me to the door and when he kissed me, he caught me by surprise, so I bit his tongue.  Our teeth hit, too.  The first one's supposed to be awkward, right? 

6.  Best kind of day?  Spring, 75 degrees.  Spending the day walking around a big city (SF, if I had to choose), then maybe a nap before a night out where I get to dress up and drink martinis.  Lots of good food, too. 

7.  Best vacation you've taken?  Jamaica.  I've been twice:  once, when Husband and I got married, and then again for our 5-year wedding anniversary.  We did an all-inclusive resort, which I love because it means that you never have to think about money while you're there.  You can just sit on the beach all day, drinking when you're thirsty, eating when you're hungry, and sleeping when you're tired. 

8.  Vacation spot you hope to visit?  Paris, London, Rome--all or part of Europe. 

9.  Ever smoked pot?  That's illegal!

10.  Stolen something?  That's even more illegal!

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Blah.

I keep starting blog posts, then leaving them halfway finished in my drafts folder. 

I'm just not feeling like myself lately, I guess.  I feel like there's a lot of negativity swirling around; I'm doing my best to ignore it, but it kind of leaves me zapped of energy.  I've literally been sitting in front of my computer for the last two and a half hours doing absolutely nothing.  I click from Facebook to the news to Twitter to Google+, and back to Facebook again.  What am I looking for? 

Husband and The Kid went to bed early, so I should be using this time to work on the book I've nearly finished about my long-distance relationship with Husband, but I'm just not up to it.  You have to be in the right mood to do that kind of thing, and this is not it.

Is it Spring yet? 

:-/

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Happy Love Day!

It's Valentine's Day!

I've mentioned before that I love Valentine's Day, and that I may celebrate it a little bit differently than everyone else, but I think it bears repeating.

To me, Valentine's Day is about love.

Love love love.

We may not all have a significant other, but we all have some sort of love in our hearts, don't we?  Be it a friend who's always there for you, a parent who gave you life, a pet who loves you unconditionally, a child, a boyfriend or girlfriend, a husband or wife--we all have at least one person or thing we love.  Today, show them.

Sparkly!  And made with love.
Yes, you should celebrate love every day of the year, but what's wrong with one day dedicated to it?  I'm tired of people complaining and refusing to participate in Valentine's Day because it's "too commercialized".  If you don't want to buy something for someone, that's fine!  I prefer homemade cards to store bought ones anyway--they show that you put in time and effort, and you can write a more heartfelt message in them.  If you don't want to make a card, make some cupcakes.  If you don't want to make some cupcakes, how about a hug and an "I love you"?  Don't live near your loved one?  How about a phone call?

What I'm saying is, there is no reason to be bitter about Valentine's Day.  If you're feeling lonely, don't.  I guarantee it that there is at least one person (or animal) out there who loves you.  And, if you're sitting around wallowing about some guy or girl who dumped you--stop it!  That person deserves no more thought than the food that you ate three days ago:  it was good while it lasted, but now it's just...well, you know what it is now.  And I will not put that word in my blog post about Valentine's Day!

If you start to feel sad today, just stop that thought in its tracks and replace it with the thoughts of those you truly love:  the ones you'd do anything for, the ones who love you in return.  Let that love wash over you and soak it in like the sun on a bright, Spring day.  There is nothing better.

Happy Love day!

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Yep, I'm sick...but I'm at the beach!

Cold medicine has muddled my brain, so if this post seems a little erratic or nonsensical, I apologize in advance.

I'm still out of town in--du-du-du-duuuuuuhhhhh!--Myrtle Beach, South Carolina!  I'm telling you all this because I'm scheduling this post to publish by the time I'm long gone, so take THAT stalkers/dangerous criminals!

This bird wanted to eat my bagel.  I told him no.

I'd never really been very aware of Myrtle Beach before, but when I was looking for a place to go on my solo vacation, I had three requirements:  1.  A beach,  2.  Affordable hotel rooms,  and 3.  Round-trip airfare that fell within the price of my travel voucher.  Myrtle Beach fit the bill nicely, so here I am.

Free souvenirs!
As you may have surmised from my opening sentence, I did fall ill--the first night I was here.  I've been feeling progressively worse, but what can I do?  I brought an arsenal of cold medicine along with me, so I'm taking that and wishing for the best.*  Fresh air helps, too, and it's hard to feel too miserable as you're walking along the beach.

Speaking of beaches, can I just say that this one is gorgeous?  I love it here.  The sand is soft, beautiful shells abound, and the horizon is unobstructed--not a boat or another coastline in sight.  Even though I've spent most of my time in the room writing, I've enjoyed my short, daily walks on the beach immensely.  I'd love to come back with my family sometime.

As far as writing goes, this trip has been a huge success, even though I didn't end up working on the project I initially planned to work on.  Instead of a book of essays (which I do have compiled, so the first step is done), I've been transcribing old love letters between my husband and myself.  Throughout the years, I have always wanted to tell the story of how we met and our first year together in a long-distance relationship.  I blogged about it once, but every time I sat down to write a more in-depth account, I've been unhappy with the results.

Finally, I decided to write it in the manner of 84 Charing Cross Road, and compile the letters between us during that time period into a book.  So, I've been spending my time here transcribing letters.  I've written a prologue and an epilogue, but the letters pretty much tell the story themselves.  I'm not quite done editing yet, but right now the manuscript clocks in at 29,400 words and 177 pages, double-spaced.  I'm not quite sure whether I'll submit it to publishers/agents when I'm done, or if I'll self-publish, but either way I'm ecstatic to finally have everything put together, even if nobody else ever sees it.

While I was transcribing last night, I came across some mind-blowing information, which is coincidentally a perfect end to the book.  For years, I had it in my head that the anniversary of the day I met my husband was July 12, 1997, but I discovered last night, as I was reading a letter from myself, that I was wrong.  We actually met on July 11, 1997.  That may seem like an insignificant mistake, but the fact that my son was born on July 11, 2007--ten years, to the day, after his parents met--turns it into a mistake that I can't believe I overlooked all these years.  My head is still spinning.  Crazy, right?
Yes, I ate all this by myself. In 10 minutes. Stop judging me!!!

The rest of my time here has consisted of making small-talk with landscapers and physicists, ordering room service, and being called "darlin'" by every man I come in contact with.  Oh, and drinking hot tea.  Lots of hot tea. 

Something else kind of exciting has happened since I've been here, but I don't want to tell anyone about it until it's set in stone, so I'll let you know if it pans out.  Could be fun, though, so stay tuned!

I can't think of any way to end this post.  I know I should use some words...but my vocabulary is suddenly strangely limited.  I'm going to bed early tonight.  Stupid cold medicine.  Let's hope that they let me on the plane tomorrow.  Maybe I should get one of those SARS masks...


UPDATE 2/10:  I wrote that whole post yesterday, and I'm MUCH sicker today.  This.  Sucks.

*I'm happy that I also thought to bring a box of tissues, because I forgot toothpaste and so I had to pay $2.50 for a tiny travel-sized one in the gift shop.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Wreck Forms and New Cars and Sick Kids and Vacations

I do not understand car wrecks.  SO MANY FORMS THAT MAKE ZERO SENSE.  Why send me a form that's supposed to be filled out by an ER doctor?  Do they expect me to go back to the hospital and give it to them?  And do they expect that the doctor will actually make it a priority to fill it out?  I hate this.

In other news, we replaced our totaled gas guzzler with a shiny new Prius that gets 50 MPG.  Suck it, big oil!  Do any of you have a Prius?  It is FANCY.  And by fancy, I mean it's confusing.  We got a good deal on a new 2012, so we ended up with a level 3, which has all these features I'll never ever use.  The thing is like a freakin' spaceship inside.  ALL I WANT TO DO IS DRIVE, and you'd think that Toyota would want you to be able to do that too, but it's not that easy.  So many buttons.

Not pictured: 15 buttons on the steering wheel (I counted).
Also, it talks to me, which I'm sure will get annoying very quickly.  It came with a DVD to watch so that you could learn how to drive it, which ought to be required viewing before you leave the dealership since Husband accidentally left it running overnight the first night.  In his defense, it doesn't have a key, so...yeah, it's confusing. 

I mean, it has a key, but you don't ever use it since this car starts with a button.  I hate this feature.  Yes, it's faster, but I've never felt inconvenienced by needing to use a key.  Maybe I'm just old-fashioned (and paranoid), but if the computer in this car suddenly develops a self-awareness and decides that it wants to kill me  doesn't want to go the speed I tell it to go, I'd like to be able to kill it first turn it off by removing the key.   The car salesman looked at me like I was crazy when I brought up this scenario, but it happens, you guys.

What else?  The rest of this week has been awful. The Kid has been sick with some kind of virus that's given him a fever, a cough, and has made him the saddest-looking 5-year old I've ever seen.  Seriously, it's awful.  I can't stand watching him sit on the couch, zoned out, eyes half open with a used tissue in each hand.  I keep asking him if he needs anything, but he shakes his head and says "no thank you" politely.  It's the worst.  

I leave tomorrow for my solo vacation.  Thus far, I feel pretty healthy.  I'm sucking down zinc lozenges like it's my job, so I'm cautiously optimistic that my time spent by the beach will be productive (in the sense that I'll get a lot of work done--not in the sense that I'll have lots of productive coughs).* I'm bringing lots of ib profin and Sudafed just in case, though, and I've checked Google maps to scout out the location of the pharmacy nearest my hotel.  Can't hurt to be prepared.

I've seen Taken, so I get a little nervous traveling alone to a place where I don't know anybody, but I'll be careful and remain vigilant so as not to get sold into sex slavery. I wish I could travel with pepper spray, but airplanes are such sticklers about chemical weapons these days.  So that none of you lurkers can stalk me offline, I won't be revealing where I'm going until after I get back.  Sorry, psychos.  You'll have to make new weekend plans.

Off to pack.  Bon Voyage!

*Ew.  I'm sure none of you were thinking that anyway, I don't know why I wrote it.  Obviously, I really need this break.  

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Blog Book Update

I hate editing.

As I resolved at the beginning of the year, I've spent the afternoon and evening putting together a book of essays, mostly consisting of old blog posts.  It is exhausting.

While this method of book writing isn't as labor intensive as starting from scratch (most of the writing has been done), the act of compiling and editing is quite burdensome. 

One of the most difficult aspects of this job is that I can't settle on how this ought to be done.  My first thought, which I started working on last year, was to transfer over the whole blog into three volumes: Years 31, 32, & 33.  After several hours of copying, pasting, and editing, I found that this would never work since the first 8-10 months were not exactly what you would call great writing or great reading.  Basically, I spent a lot of time talking about day-to-day goings on but left out all the juicy stuff.

My next thought was to compile posts into short, topical books, i.e. Things that Annoy Me and Lessons Learned.  I began putting the books together today using this method, but then I realized that some of the posts apply to both books.  So, I started thinking that maybe I ought to put them together into one volume called Things that Annoy Me & Lessons Learned, but will that feel disjointed? 

Husband suggested that I split it up into two parts, each with its own subtitle, but then I feel like I need at least one more part.  There are a few posts that I'd like to include which don't fit into either category, but they don't really all go together either. 

BLAH.

The good news is that I leave for my solo vacation on Thursday, so I'll have some uninterrupted time to myself to work on all this.  I also have a few other writing projects I'd like to take a bite out of, but since lacking focus seems to be a running theme when I'm writing, it seems like a better idea to take one idea and run with it.  I'll even give myself a deadline:  March 9th.*  I'm good with deadlines.  Yes.  This pleases me.

I'll likely put the book out as an e-book, possibly for free.  I've already written some new material for each section, but the majority will be made up of old blog posts which have been edited for book form. 

If any of you have any thoughts or suggestions on this whole blog-to-book thing, I'd love to hear them.  Should I do one volume in several parts?  Three volumes?  If each volume is only around 100 pages, would that encourage or discourage you from wanting to read it? 


*Why March 9th, you ask?  Because I wanted to do one month, but then I remembered that February is short, and March 2nd doesn't really seem like it's far enough away for me to finish this thing.  Now that I think of it, March 9th doesn't seem very far away either, but I WILL DO THIS!
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