Monthly Archives: January 2013

Ripples In Time

Sheila-Grade-10Back in high school, I had a crush on a guy. He was cute and funny and a year older than I was. He also had a girlfriend who went to a different school, which meant that as long as she was in the picture, he was off limits.

But I liked this guy and we became friends. Sure, there was some flirting. Mostly we hung around outside of classes and he let me store my books in his locker because my locker was way down at the other end of the school.

Storing my books in his locker was a great way to ensure I would constantly run into him between classes. It was a brilliant plan, one of the best catch-a-guy plans I ever devised. Unfortunately, he still had a girlfriend.

During those first two months of the school year, our friendship blossomed. In late October, with the Sadie Hawkins dance approaching – you know the one where the girl gets to ask the guy to the dance? – I wanted to ask him to be my date. But at fifteen, my experience with dating was minimal. Mostly the guys I had crushes on just wanted to be friends and the guys who had crushes on me … well, I just wanted to be their friend.

I kept hearing that he was still with this other girl, and even though I was pretty sure it was all over between them – all but the final “we’re done” – I kept finding excuses not to ask him to the dance. If you want to know the truth, I was chicken.  I was scared of rejection and scared of looking like a fool and scared of losing his friendship.

I lost it anyway.

Deep down, I knew my locker guy liked me, a lot, and was waiting for me to ask him to the dance. Perhaps if he’d broken up with his other girlfriend, I might have been braver. Perhaps if my friends weren’t pressuring me to ask their boyfriends’ buddy to the dance instead, I might have gathered up my courage and made my move.

Instead, I asked the other guy, and the budding relationship between me and my locker guy disintegrated until I finally gave up hope and moved back to my own locker. Other than the occasional nod as we passed in the hallway, he spent the rest of high school ignoring me.

dreamstimefree_2868839Fortunately, I was young and my heart was resilient. But was his?

He came to the dance alone, and I’m sure he expected me to be solo, too. Immediately after the dance, he changed. Even back then, I wondered if it was my fault. He dropped his girlfriend and began to hang around with a crowd of kids heavy into booze and drugs, and from what I could tell, spent most of his days high or drunk. Years later, I ran into him and we had a polite conversation. He’d never married, lived alone, and worked as an electrician in the oilfield industry.

Shortly afterward, I saw his obituary in the paper. He’d died, either from the drugs or alcohol, or a combination of the two. I still think of him sometimes and wonder if his life would’ve been different if I’d been brave enough to ask him to the Sadie Hawkins dance. Or if his life was predestined to end up as it did and had I dated him, would I have been caught up in the murky mess of his life?

Do you ever look back and wonder if your actions could’ve made a difference in someone’s life? Or do you think we’re predestined to live our life a certain way?

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The Difference Between Men & Women

Last weekend we had friends and family over to watch the Atlanta Falcons lose to the San Francisco 49ers. After the game, I cleaned up, got in my pj’s (one of my favorite moments of the day), and eventually wound up on the couch with a fire going and a funny movie on the television.

One of the 14 lights left on...

One of the 14 lights left on…

Let me stop right here and say that ending up on the couch watching TV is very unusual for me. When I get tired, I go to bed. But it was early, and the fire was nice, and I was kind of in the mood to veg. Needless to say, I fell asleep and woke up after midnight. My husband had turned in hours before and left me sleeping on the couch.

In our daily routine, I’m the one who goes to bed before him and leaves him on the couch where he’s usually fallen asleep. I try to wake him and tell him to come to bed, but he usually says, “I’ll be right there,” and stumbles to bed hours later. This is typical. What is also typical is for me to leave him on the couch with one tiny light on so he can find his way.

I woke up at 12:22 am with every light in the house blazing. If anyone had driven past our house, they would have thought we were having a rocking party. By the time I got in bed after turning off all 14 lights (yes, I counted), I was pretty much awake. There was no stumbling into bed with my eyes half open so as not to wake up too much. Oh, no. I was wide-awake and fuming.

How does someone slip under the covers with every light in the house burning bright when the only other occupants are sound asleep? How, I ask you?? I am grateful that he did have the foresight to turn off the gas logs. So, if he can turn off the gas logs, why didn’t it occur to him to turn off the lights? I just don’t get it!

So this, my friends, is when I realized I didn’t need to waste another second wondering how this happened. He’s a man. I’m a woman. We think differently and prioritize differently. After almost twenty years of marriage, I can’t train him to turn out the lights and he can’t train me keep a neater office. It is what it is.

Men. Can’t live with them without getting mad, but absolutely can’t live without them. I’ll take tripping over shoes and shutting off lights any day to a life spent without him. Tell me, Women Unplugged, what are your partner’s irritating habits?

Gut Check

My husband calls it my “spidey-sense”.  You know, that feeling of intuition one gets proclaiming something just isn’t as it seems; or worse, that gloom and doom are on the way.  My spidey-sense is fairly refined and pretty darn accurate.  It’s what made me an effective congressional investigator for so many years.  It’s also something my family knows not to mess with.  My kids can’t outrun it.  Believe me, they’ve tried.  My BS detector is just too well honed for them to get past.  They’ve learned to just fess up and live with the consequences.  When it comes to the doom and gloom, let’s just say my track record is pretty accurate there, too; enough so that my husband doesn’t question my predictions.  Actuality has made him–the wearer of rose-colored glasses—a firm believer in my intuition.

Does having such a strong intuitive nature make me a cynic?  I don’t think so.  I’m not Dr. Greg House from the television show, House, whose mantra is:  Everybody lies.  Everybody liesBasically, I’m just a “glass-half-full” kinda girl, who’s also a realist.  There are very few things I take at face value.  Perhaps it’s my inquisitive nature or just living through some hard knocks, but I like to know the facts.  I’ve been known to Google statements made during a church sermon.  I like to kick the tires and dig in the dirt to assure myself things are legit.

That’s why this whole Catfishing mess with Manti Te’o makes no sense to me.  How does something like this go on for sooo long?  Perhaps the better question is:  why did it happen in the first place?  What did the person perpetuating the hoax hope to gain?  Sadly, Te’o is just one of thousands of people who get swept up in these types of scenarios every day.  It’s kind of like that silly insurance commercial where the girl believes everything she reads on the Internet, including that her slovenly date is a French model.  Are people just that gullible?  I really don’t think you need an enhanced spidey-sense to fall for such nonsense, but maybe I’m wrong.

How about you?  Do you have the gift of “spidey-sense”?  Have you sniffed out a lie or a hoax?

TV Pet Peeves…

 

Did you watch Ghost Whisperer when it was running? I did…I was a big fan…and I guess a it was a bit of my writing inspiration for my first book. I love the thought of seeing and communicating with spirits.

Even wayyyyyyy back…remember The Ghost and Mrs. Muir? I LOVED this show as a kid. Kept rooting for them to get together…even though there were obvious obstacles.

But when you’re watching TV, do things bug you? Give you a twitch? Do you want it to go somewhere it won’t go, or wish it would quit doing something annoying?

I ask that because….say on Ghost Whisperer…. It drove me up a tree that on every…single…episode… when it came time for her to explain to the person what the spirit was trying to say before they went “into the light”, she’d change up the words. What?

I mean, if my dead loved one is talking to somebody, I’m going to want a play-by-play, word-for-word narrative. I want to know voice inflection and tone and everything…because well, hell, it’s kind of the last time I’m going to hear from them, right? Well, except for before they died and I thought THAT was the last time. Yanno?

If my dad says “I miss you, and your mom and I think the kids are so funny, and your husband’s new business is cool, and we always believed your writing would take off one day.”

And my medium just says, “Your dad says he’s proud of you.”

What the heck? I want the details! And that’s what she would do EVERY TIME! I wanted to jump in that TV and say, “Wait! There’s more!” Rrrrggh.

So what pet peeves do you have with TV shows?

 

Book Clubs

Last week I attended my first book club meeting with a group of women discussing my novel, Jennifer’s Garden.  First and foremost, it was a privilege to be there and second, I was thrilled to take part!

Writing is a solitary endeavor and connecting with readers is done primarily via the web, book signings and the like.  So when I had the opportunity to meet and chat with readers in person, I jumped on it.  Unabashedly.

girl reading

In light of this, one woman asked, “Do you ever get lonely?  Spending so much time by yourself at the computer?”

I laughed.  Me?  Lonely?  Never!  I have too many characters to keep me company and not enough hours to write about them!  I also have kids and a husband and a part-time dog.  Who has time to be lonely?

But I understood the point she was making.  So many writers do spend hours upon hours alone, with no feedback, no validation, no connection to those enjoying their books.  It’s tough.  Very tough.  But we write, because we have to write, don’t we?

As a reader, I love book clubs because they introduce me to stories I would never experience on my own.  There are certain departments in the bookstore I never venture, certain books I’d never pull from the shelf.  I think everyone can attest to having their favorites.  So when I hazard out of my comfort zone, I’m the better for it. I’m exposed to new and wonderful authors, interesting trains of thought…

It’s mind-opening.  Glorious!  But one of the greatest rewards I gained from attending the book club meeting as the author of said book was listening to women “get” my stories.  They understood the theme, agreed, disagreed and discussed

It was awesome.  Authors:  have you ever attended a book club meeting this way?  Readers:  ever thought about asking the author to attend?  Works especially well when seeking “local authors” in your area.  That’s how I was discovered!!

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