Wednesday, July 26, 2006


I had the dream again last night. I was in school. It was high school but on the campus where I went to middle school. I'm late for class, but I have to get my books from my locker. I go the the locker, but suddenly realize I don't remember the combination. So many people are around me, my friends from all the years I was in school and people I knew. But there are people from my adult life there too. I bang on my locker, but can't get it to open. Nobody else has any trouble with their lockers. They get their books and go to class. People are bumping into me and pushing me out of their way as they hurry to their destinations. I know I need to go to class, but I can't go without my books. I know that I really need what's in that locker to get to where I need to go. After trying to open it for what feels like a long time, I decide to go to the office and get my combination from someone. When I tell them the problem, the secretary looks down at me and says, "only you can do it." I tell her I can't remember the combination and ask her again to please look it up. She says, "nobody can do it for you. only you can do it."

Then I woke up. I have been having this dream for the last few years. It started when I was in college and hasn't stopped. I have it about once or twice a month.

One day I'm going to have this dream analyzed. I'm fairly certain it has to do with a goal I want to reach and am relying on others too much to help me reach it. I think it's probably a reminder that I am the only one who can do something about my life.

So what's the reason for having it now? It's something to think about.

I did some work on After the Storm today. I also got a little brainstorm about Deadly Council, so I worked on it a little. It's easier than I thought to juggle two projects. I thought I'd get the two confused and it would mess up the tone of the different works, since they are so different, but they haven't bled into each other yet. That's a very good thing. I'm going to bed a little early tonight. It was an exhausting day and all I want to do is sleep.

So goodnight!

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

six pages total!

It looks like I'm trying to work at NaNoWriMo pace today. I got a total of 6 pages finished, and I'm actually really happy with them. I'm working without an outline right now, which usually spells trouble for me later, but it's going so well right now that I'm going to just let it happen. I love when the story reveals itself. I spent some time looking at some of my pictures from Hurricane Katrina for inspiration, since the story is about two people who meet in the aftermath of a devastating storm.

It was a good day to work on this story. There are very low, gray clouds in the sky right now and the wind is blowing pretty strongly. It looks almost tropical out there, even though there are no tropical disturbances right now. (I'm very grateful for that, by the way... I pray every night that we avoid any hurricanes this year. There are just too many people who are still trying to recover from the last two years) But it's good weather for a story that takes place after a storm. I'm trying to really access the emotions I felt after the storm to make it as real as possible. It's easy to fall back on cliche in cases like this, and I'm determined not to!

I'm very happy with today's progress, and since my laptop's battery is about to die, I'm going to stop for now. I want to go to a crafts store just across the street and wander around for a few minutes. And I might go back to the bookstore. They're having a sale on selected books ($1 each!) and I didn't get a chance to look at all of them earlier.

I'll update the wordcount a little later.


I just wrote three pages of After the Storm! I've never written anything that quickly! I also finally updated my wordcount. It looks a little better now. I've been forgetting to update it lately and have actually gotten more done than I thought. I'm going back to it now, but had to share the great news... things are really flowing now! (I love this part!)

after the storm continues

In just a few minutes I'm going to go back to After the Storm. I'm sitting in a comfy chair at our local Panera Bread (free WiFi!!!) with my laptop, waiting for 7 p.m. so I can pick Rhea up from the airport. Lucky thing. I'd do anything to be on a plane right now. Well.. almost anything...

We had a meeting today. A volunteer is coming to work with us for a year, to develop and teach nutrition and fitness to the kids in our programs. The meeting was about her and the other volunteers. I got the best assignment - I get to show them around town their first day here! We'll go the the other agencies where the volunteers will be working and then we will go to ours. Then I have a whole day to give them a tour of Mobile. I always love showing people around, because it's like seeing through their eyes. It's so much fun to be a tourist in your own town. So I'm going to make it the best tour ever! I was thinking about putting together a little "survival package" and leaving it with them. I'd include road maps, brochures to the many cultural events and locations, and of course, some Mardi Gras stuff... beads, moon pies, coins and other assorted goodies. You can't call yourself a Mobilian if you don't own at least one strand of cheap plastic beads! There will be three of them, so it won't be too difficult to come up with enough goodies for all. And we have several year-round Mardi Gras stores. Yes, we here in Mobile are obsessed with Mardi Gras. We take it very seriously! In fact, this year my boss and I were in Washington, DC for a conference on Fat Tuesday, so we brought beads to all the people we visited that day. We went to several political offices, all of representatives in Alabama, Mississippi and Florida, so we brought beads to their staff members, saying that we brought Mardi Gras up to DC with us. It was fun.

But I got off topic for a minute... I do that pretty often, so it won't be a surprise to anyone!

Oh, I do want to share this one story before I start writing... I almost died just now. I was driving down Airport Blvd, the street with the most awful traffic in all of Mobile, and an ambulance beside me burst into flames! It just started smoking and fire was shooting out from underneath it. They stopped moving and turned on their lights and siren. Everyone started going around them, and as I passed by, I saw the two guys who were riding in the front out on the street inspecting the damage. It was still on fire at this point. Not I can look across the street and see fire trucks and police. They're blocking the road so nobody can drive too close to the ambulance, but the fire seems to have gone out... which is good. So that's my scary experience of the day. I can go a good long while before having another like it. I mean, I like excitement but that's the kind that can turn into tragedy very quickly. And besides, it touched on one of my greatest fears, my vehicle bursting into flames with me in it. I'm convinced I will die that way, so everytime I think about it, I get this odd sort of chill. I don't know why I think I'm going to die that way, it's just a feeling I have. I know... it's strange. (I never said I was normal!)

Okay, so it's time to start working on After the Storm. I have a good two hours before I have to leave for the airport. Let's see how much I can get done by then...

Monday, July 24, 2006

Another day, another... whatever...

We had a meeting tonight for our annual fundraiser. It was the first meeting for the 2007 event. Happily, it went very well. Today went better than I expected all around. It was hectic, but not unbearable.

What was unbearable was the commute to work this morning. People do not know how to drive. I mean, what part of fast lane do people not understand??? Seriously. This guy decides to go 50 in the fast lane when there are 2 other lanes for him to use. The speed limit is 75, we're on the Interstate, and the guy is going 50 in the fast lane. It made me crazy! I'm very prone to road rage, which is bad since I drive an hour to work and an hour home every day. Finally the jerk got out of my lane and I was able to actually go the speed limit. But I was late for work because he thought it would be fun to go 50 in the fast lane. Argh!

My commute home was much nicer. I had great music playing, I rolled down my windows, opened the sunroof, and sang loudly. It was freeing... and a lot of fun!

Tonight I think I'll curl up on my comfy bed with my manuscript and a red pen. Actually, I don't use a red pen for editing. I actually use a pink one. It's prettier.

I had some thoughts on After the Storm too, so tomorrow, while I'm waiting to pick a friend up from the airport, I'm going to go back to that story and see where it goes. Editing is fun and all, but I think I'm finally ready to start writing again.

There are some other writing projects I want to work on soon. I've been wondering about freelance writing, like articles for magazines or something. Or maybe short fiction. So I've decided to do some research on that and see what I can come up with. I know it's not easy, and that's okay. I want to dive into something challenging and really work toward building my writing career. It's time to stop fooling around and really get serious.

Saturday, July 22, 2006

Finished, finally...

Yesterday, I finished the Web site for work. We had a little trouble switching from the old one to the new one, but we figured it out in the end. There are still some bugs to work out, and there are a lot of things I'd like to improve, but for my first Web site ever, I'd say it's not bad. And it's a thousand times better than what they had before. If you want to see what I've been working on for the past year and a half, here it is: Bay Area Food Bank. Of course, immediately after I finished this project, someone asked me why the newsletters hadn't been mailed out yet. So there goes any time for celebration. Monday is going to be so hectic. I have to mail newsletters, research locations for our annual fundraiser (because we have a meeting Monday night) choose some pictures to go on the side of our new truck, and have a meeting about our next newsletter. There are some other, smaller tasks in there too, but that's the bulk of it. And at some point I have to fix the things that are wrong with the new Web site. So this weekend I plan to do nothing. I plan to rest up for the extremely busy week ahead. I swear, sometimes it seems like my life is all about work.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

another quick update

I've been working on the Web site for work every day this week, so I haven't wanted to have anything to do with computers when I come home from work. But I thought I would do a quick update since it's been a few days. The good news is that the work Web site will go live this Friday. I've been working on this thing for a year and a half, since I started working at this organization, and now it's finally over. Once I get it online and everything is working correctly, I'm going to make a schedule of pages and info to update and how often updating needs to be done, so that it will never be out of date. I'm looking forward to seeing if we get a response from the new site. I didn't actually design it, there was a template already in place when I started, but I had to make more pages and add content. It doesn't sound like a huge job, but when you have 70 or more pages, it's a massive project. So I'm happy to take that off my "to do" list.

As for non-work stuff, there's not much to tell. I'm still editing Summer's Blossom and am still really enjoying that part of the writing process. Who knew editing could be so much fun?

My personal life is pretty slow right now, which isn't a bad thing considering the lack of free time I have these days. However, I think it's important to have a social life, so I'm looking into some options. There are several groups around that I could join (writer's groups, wine clubs, etc) so I'm looking into those. I'm also looking for a new church. The one I currently attend is the one I've been a member of since I was born. I think it might be time to branch out on that front. There are several in the area with active singles groups. Not that I'm going to go to church to meet people, but it's always nice to meet others in the same situation.

I'm feeling a strong need to change things up a little, to push my limits and see what happens. So I'm going to spend some serious time thinking about how I can do that and then go for it. And who knows... something great might happen as a result.

Thursday, July 13, 2006


I went by Fairhope Pier a couple of days ago to see how the repairs were going. It looks great! Hurricane Katrina damaged this pier and it has been closed since then, but it looks like they will be ready to open it back up in a month or two. It was awful to see it destroyed, because I have a lot of memories at this pier and the beach around it. My dad loves to fish, so when I was a kid, we would go to this pier after he got off work. We would go somewhere and get something to eat, bring the bags down with us and have a little picnic on one of the benches. My sister and I would do our homework out there too, and when we were finished with our homework, we would go for a walk with my mom while my dad threw his cast net over the side of the pier. We would stay until the sun set, one of the most beautiful sites in the world. When darkness finally fell, we would go home, take baths and go to bed. Since then, I've always returned to this beach when I need peace. There are so many other memories attached to that place. I experienced my first kiss there, on a staircase going down from the bluff to the beach. The stairs stopped in the middle, making a sort of landing with benches, and then continued to the bottom. Because the stairs went down a bluff (and because we are in the South) the stairs were surrounded by kudzu and huge trees covered with Spanish Moss. It was actually very private on that little landing, and pretty romantic too. We always remember our first kiss fondly, don't we? My friends and I would always go to the pier or the beach to hang out, because there was nothing else to do in a small town. There were a couple of piers we would frequent, all in the same general area. There's something about lying on a wooden pier staring at the stars and listening to the waves crashing onto the shore. As I said before, I always go there when I need peace.

It's so good to see that they are making so much progress repairing it. When they finally open the pier back up, I plan to take a walk to the end, just like we used to do when I was a kid.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Wanting an adventure

Okay, so it has come to my attention that I haven't had, nor have I planned, a vacation for this summer. I think I should hurry, or the summer will be over and I will not have had a vacation at all. And I'm the kind of person who really needs a vacation, at least once a year. So I guess I need to think about where I might be able to go. Looks like I'll be going it alone this year, since my friends have all either gone on their own vacations or won't be able to afford one.

But it's more than that. I really want an adventure on a larger scale. I was talking to my friend Addie the other day and she mentioned a few cities I might like. Just talking about moving to another place was exciting (and scary) and I really want to do it. (but then part of me doesn't want to do it) The restless feeling I've been experiencing since the first of the year has not gone away. I love my job and I love where I live - I'm only a few minutes away from one of the most beautiful beaches I've ever seen - but I think it's important to experience another place. There are so many places I want to experience. But the idea of moving to a city by myself, where I don't know a single person... well, it's pretty scary.

So I'm not sure what I'm going to do. I know one thing, my current job is a good one and I'm learning so much that it would take a really great opportunity to make me leave now. But several years down the road, when I have enough experience behind me, I will want to relocate. I wonder where I will end up?

Tuesday, July 11, 2006


Quick rant: I was flipping through a book at a store today. It was a book on how to find a man worth keeping or some such nonsense. I don't read books like this because I think they are silly, but this one was from a Christian perspective and I thought it might have something interesting in it. This book went so far as to say that a little plastic surgery wouldn't be a bad idea to be prettier so that men will notice you. WHAT?? I mean, I'm all for "getting pretty" to go out so that I'll look nicer in case I see someone I know or in case I meet someone interesting. But to me, "getting pretty" means putting on some makeup, maybe putting some kind of product in my hair, and wearing cute clothes. It does not involve invasive surgery just to impress men. That's the dumbest thing I've ever heard! And the book is from a Christian perspective. Whatever happened to inner beauty? It just strikes me as odd that a book from a Christian perspective would be telling women it's a good idea to get plastic surgery to improve their apperance, when we are supposed to be focusing on our inner beauty and the condition of our souls. Every Mother's Day, my pastor preaches about Proverbs 31. They don't say much about the outward attributes of this woman, but they praise her for who she is and what she does. They say she is worth more than rubies. She is trustworthy, productive, intelligent, energetic, strong, compassionate, talented, responsible, positive, respected and wise. They call her The Virtuous Woman, not The Beautiful Woman. In fact, one of my favorite verses is from this passage: "Charm is deceitful and beauty is vain, but a woman who fears God is truly charming and lovely." I guess my point is that it seems very extreme for a book from a Christian perspective to tell women to have plastic surgery to improve their looks when we are actually supposed to spend more time on what's inside rather than what's outside. It just sends the wrong message. Needless to say, I did not purchase the book. Personally, if the choice comes down to getting plastic surgery and finding a man or not getting plastic surgery and being single for the rest of my life, I'll take being single. I'm happy with myself the way I am, and if people don't like it, they can keep walking. Sure, there are things I need to work on... I need to lose weight and I want to grow my hair out, but I wouldn't have surgery to fix anything on me. Don't get me wrong, sometimes surgery is needed or wanted, and I would never judge a woman who chose to get surgery for herself, so that she can feel better about herself. But I don't need surgery to feel better about myself and I sort of resent that book saying I should consider it just to "snag a man." Actually, I don't believe in changing anything about myself just for a man. I did that once and will never do it again.

Okay, rant over. Sorry about that.

So today... worked on one of the three grants I'm trying to finish. This one is due Friday, which means it's actually due Thursday because I'm going to our Florida office (to work on the other two grants) on Friday and won't be around to submit it that day. It's been great working on this grant. I'm actually creating a program for it, a program we've been wanting to create for awhile now, and if we get the funds we will be able to do it. It's a nutrition and fitness program, to help combat the problem of obesity among poverty-stricken families. The program will be geared toward the kids, with handouts they can take home for their parents. I've been doing a lot of research on the issue and it seems that a lack of education among low-income families contributes in part to the obesity problem in those families. If we can just show them that they can eat healthy without spending more money, we've at least done something. We're also considering doing a gardening program to show the kids how to grow their own veggies, and a junior chef program to teach the older kids how to prepare simple, healthy meals for themselves. So you can see where this particular grant would be a lot of fun to write. I'm looking forward to seeing if we get the funds so we can start the program. It's going to be great!

An odd thing happened today. My boss, who is a really incredible person and a great mentor to me, got an email with job listings today and we were looking at them in her office. She found one that I actually qualified for and mentioned I would be good at the job. I laughed about it and asked her if she was ready to get rid of me. She said no way, which was funny. But thinking about it later, I find it odd that she would mention I would be good at a job that isn't the job I have now. She's very cool about those kinds of things, though. When I was hired, they told me they were aware that this job would be a stepping stone for me and that I would probably move on in a few years. Obviously with the salary they are able to give me, I will have to seek other opportunities in the future, but usually bosses don't like to talk about those kinds of things. So anyway, it was a strange moment. I hope I'm not getting fired or anything, lol!

The editing is still going well. I'm finished with chapters 1 and 2, but I think I'm going to go back to chapter 1 and adding something that might make things more interesting. Still determined to finish the first five chapters by the end of the week so I can send the package out on Monday. As for the writing, I'm gearing up to start on it again. After the Storm has been difficult lately and I'm sure it's what I said before. It's hurricane season, and not even a year since Katrina. The subject matter is still too close to me. The first passage I wrote was about the smell on the Mississippi coast, about how it was the smell of death, even a week after the storm. The smell was so strong and overpowering that it seeped into your clothes and even in your skin if you were there for any amount of time. When I read back over that passage, the memory of that smell and the feelings I was having at the time just came flooding back to me. It was almost too much to bear. I have to get over this thing, or I will never be able to write the story. And I really want to write this story.

Okay, so I've gone on and on forever tonight, so I'll leave it for now.

Monday, July 10, 2006

Editing can be fun

Seriously, it can! I've been working on editing Summer's Blossom. Since I've been having trouble with the writing, I decided to try editing, and it's just what I needed to do! I'm having a great time reading back over what I wrote and changing things, making them better, taking parts out and adding new parts. It's like the creativity just flowed right back into me suddenly. Maybe my writing problem has more to do with the project I was trying to do than the creativity not being there. I may still be too close to the situation to write After the Storm. I may need a little more distance from the hurricane and the aftermath before I can actually write it. I had a couple of new ideas I want to play around with, and I want to attempt a couple of short stories, just for fun.

Here's another interesting thing... work has been a lot of fun lately too. And life in general is great. This is going to sound odd, but I think I've been enjoying life more lately because of the death of a woman who goes to my church. (don't think I'm awful for saying that!) Let me explain. She was only a few years older than I am. She had a family, two kids and a husband. She was the kind of person who looked on the bright side of life, even with cancer. After she died, I started thinking about things. I complained about my life because work was too demanding, because I'm not dating anyone, because I don't have a lot of money, and because I'm tired and can't seem to find the time or the creativity to pursue my writing. But I'm alive. I'm healthy. I have a great job that I can go to every day without having to worry about doctor appointments and horrible treatments. There are a lot of things I can be happy about, a lot of things to be thankful for, and I'm wasting my life away complaining. So I made a decision to stop moping, to live every day like it's the last, and to choose happiness in every situation. Things have been amazing since then.

But back to my life...

The weekend was great. Friday night Addie and I went to see Chris at his dad's condo in Gulf Shores. We got to see his brother Josh and sister Katie too. Neither of us had seen either of them for such a long time that it was great to catch up on what they've been doing! We had a lovely bottle of French wine that Addie brought. We sat on the beach, talking and laughing for a long time. I love moments like that, old friends, waves crashing onto the shore, a gentle breeze... it was very nearly perfect. Living so close to the beach has its advantages.

Saturday I had plans with a friend, but he wasn't feeling well so we cancelled. It was fine, though, because Rhea called and asked if I wanted to go see "Pirates." She and I went, and I picked Noah up on the way because he wanted to see it too. It's always fun to see movies with kids, because they have a different perspective. And Noah, being 10 and extremely intelligent, always has a great perspective. But back to the movie... Several people I talked to today didn't like it very much, but I thought it was great. Very enjoyable. Very funny.

As I said before, work has been great. Today I worked on three grants and a grant report. I also made some calls about our annual fundraiser. It's time to start planning again. The event is next May and we need all that time to make sure everything is done before event night. Still working on the Web site and hoping I can finish by the deadline. I really don't like missing deadlines.

Well, I'd better get back to the editing. I've set a goal to be finished editing the first 5 chapters by the end of the week so I can create the package and start sending it out again. After sending it, I can edit the rest. Here's hoping something good comes of sending it off!

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

A productive and nonproductive day

I'm in a rut with the writing. I can't figure out what's happening, but I just can't manage to get any words out. That's why my day was nonproductive. That's why my week has been nonproductive.

But at least it was a productive day at work. I'm very close to finishing the Web site for work, which has been a year-long adventure. I can't wait to launch the new site. It's going to be so much better than our old one. Tomorrow I have to write a grant but Friday I'm getting right back to the Web site. Newsletters, press releases, photography, Web design... these are the parts of my job that I absolutely love. I like the rest of it too, but those are my favorite parts.

Saturday, July 01, 2006

A picture for the 4th of July

Since it's the 4th of July weekend, I thought I would post this picture I took a few weeks ago. This flag flies over the rose garden at the Fairhope Pier. It's seen better days, but that just makes it more beautiful.

Although we may have problems with our country, with our government, and with some of the actions of our president, let's all take some time this weekend and especially this coming Tuesday, to celebrate our country. To celebrate those who died to make it great. To celebrate our freedom. Happy 4th of July weekend, everyone!