Monday, November 23rd, 2015 | Author:

Something really cool has been happening to me this year. I don’t know if it’s the fact that I turned thirty, or had major surgery and its accompanying abundance of recovery time, or if maybe years of eating non-organic food has finally caught up with me, but something is definitely up and I’m really enjoying it.

I took a break from writing earlier this year, mostly because I was totally burnt out and needed some space. Once I got a little distance from writing, I realized there was a lot about being a published author that was making me miserable at this stage of my life. When you’re chasing two school-age children around, doing the nonstop hustle-for-sales and self-promotion schtick gets really annoying, really fast. I enjoyed the book sales, though. That was definitely cool.

Anyway, as I started to wean myself onto a simpler life, I started noticing that Facebook was irritating me more than entertaining me lately. The endless clickbait articles, unsolicited opinions, and pictures of people I never see started feeling…pointless. I realized that, once I got some distance from the Dopamine reward system of likes and comments, there really wasn’t much I was getting from my relationship with Facebook so I disabled my account.

It’s been almost a month now, and I don’t really miss it. I’m grateful, actually, to be rid of something that commoditized my life in order to figure out how best to make money off me. Plus, with the upcoming election coming up I’m thinking I got out just in time to still think fondly of my casual acquaintances.

The nice thing is, I’m much more likely to text the people I want to stay in touch with and ask them how they’re doing now. I think before I just kind of assumed Facebook would tell me what I needed to know, but I think I’m likely a better friend now.

Who can say what other changes might be on the horizon? Hopefully more weight loss. I’m flogging that dead horse again, so to speak. My knee is feeling great, though, so that means it’s time to exercise again before another injury strikes.

I’m also writing again, though with the door firmly closed. A good friend reminded me of how much fun it was to write when it was just something I did for fun, and I’m happy to find out he was right when he said one day I’d write something again that was just for me. It’s a good thing I’m not planning to try to publish this one, though, because I doubt I’d ever find a publisher who’d be willing to let me shirk the social media thing out of simple preference.

So that’s the story. I can still be found on Twitter, and on here occasionally, but other than that I suppose the boring minutiae of my life will have to remain a mystery. I’m sure the dozens of people who read my updates will just have to make do without knowing how many loads of laundry I folded today…

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Monday, October 19th, 2015 | Author:

The story I’m about to tell you is kind of weird. Kind of like when I got pulled over for being a tired driver and a passing car full of hot-boxers made the officer question whether my husband is a drug dealer. Except, this story doesn’t involve drugs. That I know of.

The scene is a parking garage beneath the medical office where I’ve just received a shot of synthetic joint fluid. My knee is sore and all I want to do is go home. I take my parking ticket to the lobby of the building, where one of those automated machines is supposed to take my money and validate my ticket so I can leave the parking garage.

Bummer for me, the machine isn’t working. The credit card processor is offline, so I’m advised by the repair man to just pay the lady in the kiosk on my way out of the garage.

I limp my way to my car and drive up to the exit only to see that there is no lady in the kiosk. There is, however, a guy in front of me in line who is likewise waiting for the nonexistent lady to let us out. While we wait, car after car queues up behind us until there is a line of idling cars stretching down the parking lot exit ramp as far as I can see.

At this point, it’s been five minutes and still no lady. I turn off my car and start reading an article on my phone. The guy in front of me pushes the Call for Help button on the malfunctioning ticket validator and a loud alert starts booming out of a small speaker: PLEASE WAIT, YOUR CALL IS BEING ANSWERED. PLEASE WAIT, YOUR CALL IS BEING ANSWERED. PLEASE WAIT, YOUR CALL IS BEING ANSWERED.

I roll up my window and keep reading. It has now been ten minutes. Still, the voice booms: PLEASE WAIT, YOUR CALL IS BEING ANSWERED. PLEASE WAIT, YOUR CALL IS BEING ANSWERED. PLEASE WAIT, YOUR CALL IS BEING ANSWERED. Over and over again like the waves of a tension headache.

Behind us, horns are honking and people are starting to yell. The guy behind me uses his truck to hop the curb and drive around the metal arm trapping us in the garage, sideswiping his mirror against a dumpster on his way out.

Fifteen minutes have passed. Horns are more persistent, almost loud enough to drown out PLEASE WAIT, YOUR CALL IS BEING ANSWERED. PLEASE WAIT, YOUR CALL IS BEING ANSWERED. PLEASE WAIT, YOUR CALL IS BEING ANSWERED. Still no kiosk lady. My ears hurt.

Tired of sitting there with my sore knee, I start calling everyone I can think of who might be able to let us out. I call the front desk of the medical office I was just seen in, and they give me the number for building security and promise to do whatever else they can. I call building security and let them know we’re trapped. I call the main hospital security desk and bring them in as well.

Twenty minutes have passed, and I’m about to call the National Guard when a building security guys walks in and surveys the scene with shock. While he fiddles about with the validating machine (useless), the kiosk lady finally returns with a carrier full of Starbucks drinks in one hand and a rolled-up magazine in her other hand. She is likewise shocked and asks the guy in front of me why we didn’t just pay at the lobby. I’m surprised he doesn’t shoot her.

After he’s let loose, I roll up and she tries to charge me extra for the time I spent sitting in front of her extra kiosk. I let her know in no uncertain terms that I will only be paying the amount I would have paid had I not gotten trapped in this stupid garage. She huffs but capitulates, likely because she can sense she’ll find little no mercy among the dozens of motorists who have been held captive to her coffee break.

Finally free, I zoom home with my ears still ringing with the empty promise of a robotic voice screaming PLEASE WAIT, YOUR CALL IS BEING ANSWERED. PLEASE WAIT, YOUR CALL IS BEING ANSWERED. PLEASE WAIT, YOUR CALL IS BEING ANSWERED.

I hear it in my dreams, sometimes. It’s the haunting sound of futility, the embodiment of knowing you’re trapped by a thin metal arm all because you’re not willing to scratch up the front of your car in an effort to escape.

If given another twenty minutes of that racket, I might have.

Monday, October 05th, 2015 | Author:
It's worth noting that I'll never be Amy Dunne-caliber cool, because who would want to be?!

It’s worth noting that I’ll never be Amy Dunne-caliber cool, because who would want to be?!

I’m not what you’d traditionally think of as a Cool Girl. I think lame puns are funny, I don’t know how to throw a football, and I can in no way hold my liquor. I’m a goofball, but mostly harmless, so I take no issue with my inherent lack of whatever constitutes coolness these days.

That’s not to say I don’t occasionally dabble in coolness, though. Every once in a great while, I’ll know something or have done something that someone thinks is cool and then, for one brief little moment, I get to be cool.

An example of this happened awhile ago while I was at physical therapy. I was chatting with my physical therapist when he mentioned he owns a gun and had gotten his wife interested in shooting it. I asked him what kind of gun he owns when he asked, “You know guns?”

I replied that years of writing thrillers has acquainted me with a shallow familiarity with firearms, and he said he had a Sig Sauer.

Now, this is where I got to be cool for, like, a minute. I perked up and said, “A P226?”

He was so surprised that I knew what kind of gun he had, after which I mentioned how big the grip is on those to accommodate the expanded magazine but how the gun made up for that by being a real pleasure to fire.

We talked guns for a while and I left feeling happy but also kind of like a fraud, and here’s why. With the possible exception of a Colt 1911 and S&W .38 Chief’s Special, the P226 is the only gun I know much about specifically. I’ve fired a variety of weapons and have a passing familiarity with them, but I can’t converse about them as much as I can about the P226.

If he’d owned any other kind of gun, I wouldn’t have had much to say. I lucked out and got to be the cool girl who knows about guns.

I’m not gonna lie, it felt good even though the foundation of my mystique is a façade. Maybe that’s the big secret, though. Maybe coolness is a single moment rather than a consistent state of being, in which case no one is ever really cool through and through. If perhaps you think you know someone who’s cool at all times, maybe that just means you don’t know that person well enough.

What do you think?

Category: Just plain nonsense  | Tags: ,  | Comments off
Tuesday, September 15th, 2015 | Author:

I’ve been a parent for almost six years. Six long, eventful years of having a tiny entourage in my wake at almost all times. It’s been busy. And stressful. And awesome. And messy. And the best.

Now, though, for the first time, I have both kids in school at the same time, twice a week. This means that at least twice a week, I have a slight panic that I’ve driven away from school and forgotten someone. I go home to my quiet house, where I  drink coffee in peace and watch grown-up shows loudly and without interruption. No one tries to drown LEGOs in my coffee, no one needs me to watch them jump on the trampoline, and I can listen to grown-up music in the car without worrying that my kids are going to learn a bunch of fun new words.

It’s terrific, really. I like it quite a bit, but I’ll admit that it’s kind of weird at the same time. Thanks to ongoing physical therapy and doctor appointments, I don’t have a ton of spare time to relax, but the time I do is wonderful.

So take heed, parents of young children: A time is coming when all your kids will be in school all at the same time. Peace and quiet will be yours. Availability to meet friends for coffee or make a doctors appointment is coming. It’s not quite the promised land of parenting, but it’s darn close.

Category: Work  | Tags:  | Comments off
Tuesday, August 11th, 2015 | Author:
Trust me, watching the finale will make you feel like the people in this picture.

Trust me, watching the finale will make you feel like the people in this picture.

When Wes and started watching season one of True Detective, Wes was surprised to find I was hooked. “What about this show interests you so much?” he asked me. It was, after all, a slow-moving story line, precisely the kind I’ve proved allergic to in the past. Shows like The Wire and Battlestar Gallactica, shows that most people love, bore me silly. To say Wes gets frustrated by my impatient taste is neither an understatement nor an overstatement. It is, simply, the truth.

Why, then, should True Detective be any different? I wasn’t even much of a Matthew McConaughey fan, and the story wends and weaves through twenty years of secrets and mysteries. Sounds like classic Erika eye-roll territory.

I decided then and there that what I want most in a show is the following:

Interesting people doing interesting things in an interesting way.

It must have those three components or I just can’t seem to sit still or engross myself in the story the way I want to. Season one of True Detective had all these in spades. I loved what they did with that story and the acting was perfection. I tuned into season two hoping for much of the same. I actually liked all the actors in season two, so I was optimistic that I’d enjoy season two as well.

No. Such. Luck.

I suppose I need to add a new component to my  list:

A cogent story line with an ending that justifies the story’s means.

There’s just a level of trust a viewer invests in a show’s writers. Trust that the long journey will be worth it in the end. Trust that the heartbreak and sacrifices made along the way will prove worth it. Trust that, even if we don’t get it in the beginning or even in the middle, that it will all make sense in the end and we will finish the last episode grateful to have hung in there.

Whoever was responsible for the story of season two violated that trust in every single way. I agree completely with the reviews that say the second season could have benefited from a room full of writers as opposed to just the one guy at the helm. I’d like to think a collaboration of writers might have saved it from itself.

Maybe not, though. I don’t know. All I know is that my list of qualifications for enjoying shows is getting longer and that’s a tad worrisome. Maybe I’ll just stick to reruns of Scrubs, The Office, Parks and Rec, 30 Rock, House M.D., and Arrested Development...

Category: Opinionated much?, Reviews  | Tags:  | Comments off