Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Need Advice

OK, since I'm good at putting my business out there, you all know that I'm writing a book. If you don't you can read about it first here.  I'll wait.

You're back?  Onward then...

Specifically, I am writing a Middle Grade Novel with female lead, Caley, who plays on an all boys baseball team.  Controversy ensues.  Also, Caley's BM (birth mom) arrives on the scene to complicate things.

Here's my issue (for today).  I keep reading about other author's journeys.  They are very helpful and encouraging.  But they have have some version of this statement: "My first book stunk and will never see the light of day."  How can I avoid this?  I really want to tell Caley's story.  I want other people to get to know Caley.  How can I help her avoid suckage?

Also, when should I start looking for a critique group?  I'll be honest, the thought of this scares the bejebeers out of me.  But I know that I need to do to make my work better.

Any other writing advice would be most appreciated.  So much appreciated that I'll choose a random comment next Monday,  March 1st and send that person a $10 Starbucks gift card.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Mardi Gras 5K

If you have been following the blog, my facebook or twitter feed, you know I've been training for a 5K.  I'm kinda out there with my information...Saturday was the day. 

I went to Austin last week for a technology teacher's conference.  Which meant that my last training run was out of my usual routine.  I had promised Ryan that I would run on the treadmill inside the hotel.  But I just couldn't do it.  I tried for 10 minutes but I couldn't get into a groove. So, outside I went.  I had a map from the hotel and had let my fellow teachers know I was going.  It was a great run that included a huge hill.  But, I discovered that I went right instead of left out of the hotel so I ended up running much further than I had inteneded.  But I was ok with that.

My fab-o sister in law, Laura had graciously offered to run the race with me.  She runs half marathons so she was really bringing it down to support me.  She picked up the race packets while I was in Austin and came over Friday night with a surprise.  A hot pink (one of my favorite colors) Under Armour (my favorite brand) shirt that said RUN.  How sweet!

Saturday morning came and I was excited that the race started later because Ryan and I had stayed up watching the Olympics.  I got all geared up and was ready to go.  It was 35 degreees out but I was cool with that. I had run the day after Christmas when it was 27 degrees out. 

Here's Laura and I before the race.   We only had to stand around for a little while before the race started.  I felt good. I had been concerened that I'd be too nervous but I was ok.  I had my music going, I was good to go.  I'm not yet at the point where I can talk and run so it was pretty quiet. 

The turn around was up a big hill - which I generally don't run.  There are no hills in my neighborhood.  But when I made the turn, I was feeling good.  Then the lead legs hit.  I really wanted to walk but I fought through.  I kept fighting.  Going down that hill felt GREAT!  And I even got hot (something that never happens) and had to take off my hat, gloves and jacket. 

Laura was there to encourage me the entire way.  She even warned me when the photographer was coming up.  I can't wait to see the picture.  Ryan, Brennan, and Zac were at the last corner before the finish line to cheer me in, along with my brother in law Ronnie and nephew Max.  I cried when I saw them.  Zac jumped into the fray and ran across the finish line behind us. I was so focused and a little out of it that I didn't notice.  Sam, Tripp, Alli and my mother in law Carolyn were waiting at the finish line.  Here's Brenno all bundled in his stroller.  He was not loving it. 

I did feel weird afterwards.  I was a little swimmy headed.  Sort of drunk feeling.  And I had to use the bathroom BAD.  But I had met my goal and I felt great about that.  I didn't die - which was my first goal.  And I didn't walk - which was my second goal.  And my goal during the race was to try to look like I was having fun.  It's weird to see so many people looking pained as the run.  Why do they do it if they aren't having fun?

Up next?  Dash Down Greenville on Saturday, March 13.  See you there!

Friday, February 5, 2010


This is my Pilly.  It's a comfort blanket of sorts.  I don't remember exactly when I got pilly but I do know it's the same time I started sleeping with the TV on and I learned (through the news, thankfully) what rape is.  But that's a story for a shrink.  She was originally part of a set of sheets my Momma had.  Actually, I still have one of the sheets in case we need to make an emergency Pilly. 

Pilly has been on 4 or 5 drill team trips (stealthily hidden under my Stingerette Lil Sis Pillowcase), a ski trip, lots of family vacations including Denmark.  Much to Pilly's chagrin she didn't make the trips to France or Hawaii.  Pilly has lived in my childhood home, 2 run down dorms, a sorority house, and a couple of ratty apartments.  Pilly was with me on my wedding night (what!?! I had a raging sinus infection - don't judge).  Before you ask, yes Pilly is clean.  She looks dirty because she's so worn out  well loved.   And yes, she has been repaired in the past by turquoise thread that didn't match. 

Shorty after Ryan and I married, I retired Pilly to her cryogenic chamber.  About a year later she emerged when my Daddy was diagnosed with cancer and died.  She stayed out most of 2000.  When Sambo was born I put her away again.  Last January she reemerged (but stayed under my pillow) when I thought we were moving to New York and I would have to break this news to my Momma.  After Momma found her and 'outed' me, she was quickly returned to her chamber.

For the better part of this past month, our family has been dealing with the possibility that Brennan has Cystic Fibrosis.  Brennan (and I) had to endure a sweat test.  That number came back normal but too high.  Our doctor wanted to repeat the test but Ryan and I didn't want to put him through that again so we asked if there was an alternative.  A blood test that maps Brennan's entire genetic make up was ordered.  This required quite a bit of blood but was easier than that sweat test.  Yesterday our sweet nurse, Linda, called to say that Brennan does not have CF.  I thanked her, spread the word to Ryan and concerned family and friends.  Then busted out in tears for about 10 minutes.  At my desk.  With a room full of 8th graders.  I was so relieved.  I was so thankful.  I was reminded of how blessed we are. 

I knew I had been worried about this but I didn't realize how much until it was gone.  During the last month, I found myself picturing a life of  raising funds and awareness for CF.  I thought about how we would tell the big boys that Brennan was ill.  I even starting exploring work at home jobs so I could have more flexibility when he gets sick.  I was so happy that this wouldn't be our future (although my heart still breaks for those families who will get the 'other' call).  I praised and cried on and off all day.

And, amazingly, Pilly stayed esconced in her chamber through it all.  I didn't even think of her until I was running this morning and composing this post.  Is it possible that, at age 35, I've developed more advanced coping skills?  Only time will tell.  Brennan's road is still rocky and long (thank you Jesus).  We are treating him for asthma and praying for smoother sailing.  But, I feel comfortable keeping Pilly in her chamber through it all. 

So, help me feel more normal (is that possible)...do you have a comfort object?