Friday, December 31, 2010

Cheers to 2011!

Another year has come and gone, and what a year it has been. It was, without a doubt, the most difficult year of my life. However, in spite of that, the year was filled with many wonderful moments, a heightened appreciation for family and friends, and much devout soul-searching. These moments and people are part of what have shaped the "me" I am today: richer in spirit; more aware of who I am; more aware of my strengths and weaknesses.

Things I learned in 2010:
  • When you're going through hell, keep going. (Winston Churchill)
  • Friends and family are the glue of life. (My gratefulness can not be properly expressed in words.)
  • There truly is a light at the end of the tunnel.
  • I have the stick-to-it-ive-ness to complete as many drafts of my work as necessary.
  • Cabo San Lucas is a sublimely beautiful place.
  • It's not only okay, but essential to lean heavily on the people you love when you're going through tough times.
  • Mumford and Sons are fiercely talented.
  • I have the ability to unplug a stopped-up sink! (Who knew?)

What I hope to learn in 2011:
  • How to live powerfully on my own.
  • How to create an unimagined friendship with my soon-to-be-ex; one that brings joy to me, him and, most importantly, our children.
  • What it feels like to have my book on submission and sold.
  • How to love my children more and be a better mom.
  • What more of my passions are, and how to express them and my current passions in a more disciplined way.
  • How to deeply love again.
  • How to contribute through volunteering.
  • What it's like to hold my new niece or nephew in my arms. (Thanks, Michelle and Travis!)
  • What it feels like to stand on European soil.
  • How not to be bitter.
  • How to be the best possible version of me.
Those are some of my goals for the New Year. What are some of yours?

Our lives are measured, in part, by "years." So, cheers to 2011! Here's to all of us making it one of the best years of our lives.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

SUBLIMINAL BIRTHDAY MESSAGE: Or, THE CAKE WAS COVERED IN FRUIT!

Today is my birthday, and I'm officially "old." [Though, not compared to this gal.] This is a milestone birthday - one that starts with an "f" and ends in a "y." [HINT: It's more than 10 and less than a million.]

In my early twenties, I never thought I'd live to see such a ripe, old age due to my status as rock princess. Given that career path, I figured I'd burn out well before the end of my 30's. [People in their 20's are SO over-dramatic!] However, here I am, not feeling much older [or wiser] than I did back then.

Easing the pain of this transition, is the fact that my birthday is shared by some seriously mega-awesome folks. After all, other super-cool people sharing my birthday means I'm super-cool, too, right? [Um, no. Not even remotely.] Here are a few of my A-List birthday-sharers:

  • Keith Richards (rock legend)
  • Stephen Spielberg (genius movie maker)
  • Brad Pitt (yum)
  • Paul Klee (awesome painter)
  • Christina Aguilera (too talented and gorgeous to be human)
  • Katie Holmes (Tom Cruz's better half)
  • Rachel Griffiths (Sarah on "Brothers and Sisters")
  • Ron White (damn funny comedian)
  • Betty Grable (quintessential movie star)
  • Brian Orser (Olympic medalist figure skater)
That's a seriously kick-ass group to be a part of, don't you think? [You think you're part of that group? BWAHAHAHAH!!!!]

Due to this "big" birthday, I've been taking stock of my life. [Set up for disaster.] Here's what I've been delicately pondering:

"What is my life for?"
"Have I achieved [even one of] my goals?"

"Where do I want to be in 5 or 10 years?" [Besides napping.]

"Have I been a good mom? Daughter? Sister?"
"What did I do to deserve AA?" (Awesome Agent, in case you don't know.)
"Will I be published before I'm 100?"
"How many minutes has it been since I last ate chocolate?"
"Who stole my Cabernet?"

and
"How long until I lose my teeth and start wearing diapers?"

While in Denver last month, we celebrated my sister, Sharon's birthday. My mom brought out a "cake" that was so beautiful it belonged in a museum next to a Monet. However, it was an impostor cake. By that I mean, it was covered in fruit. Yes, you read that right. THE CAKE WAS COVERED IN FRUIT! [So, it was a fruitcake, like you?] {Yo, SM: That was cruel and unnecessary. I'm old now, which means I can be crotchety and get away with it. I'd watch myself if I were you!} [I'm sorry, did you say something? I was busy listening to the ringing in my ears.] {Grrr! Your dad is a robot and your mom wears fake Ugg boots!! See! I told you I could be crotchety!} [Sorry, missed you again. Am watching House Hunters International on HGTV; retired couple looking for a home in St. John. Fascinating. You should check it out. ]

I looked at the fruit-laden pretend cake and screamed, "Where the hell's the chocolate?" [Clearly, you have no self control.] {Oh, yeah? Well, at least I didn't toss the fake cake across the room and stomp up the stairs like I wanted to! How's that for self-control???} [The rumors I've heard are true. You're beyond help.]

On cue, my mom (the gorgeous woman in the pic with me) brought out a "real" cake - a chocolaty tower of gooey yumminess. What a relief! As we got to the end of the birthday song, I sang, "dear Sharon..." and everyone else sang, "dear, Debbie..." It took me a minute to realize I'd been had. In my family's thoughtful [annoying] way, they'd gotten me an early birthday cake in honor of my "big" [ancient] birthday. I briefly considered asking the cake to marry me, but knew it would be gone before I could say, "I do." So I skipped the nuptials and dug into the chocolate dream like a trapped coal miner trying to free himself. [That's the best visual you could come up with? Horrifying.] {Bite me.}At some point I came up for air and reluctantly shared what was left with my family. After all, I didn't want to be pummeled to death before I actually turned f-f-f-f-f-f, well, old. [Mummy-like]

So, ladies and gentlemen, in honor of my 50th birthday (there, I said it! I'M FIFTY!!!!), I've attached links to two of my favorite things: comedy and music. First, is one of the funniest women alive, Molly Shannon, as Sally O'Malley on SNL, and second is, "Birthday" by the Sugarcubes. How that voice explodes out of such a petite, ethereal, beautiful wisp of a woman is beyond me and proof-positive of the magnificent power of art.

So, Molly and Bjork, take it away!

(
By the way, they say 50 is the new 30, but I hope that's not true. For the most part, my 30's sucked.)

And, to all the wonderful Sagittarians out there, Happiest of Happy Birthdays!!!
[Aw, shucks, go ahead and have a drink on me. You deserve it. But if you tell anyone I said so, I'll deny it.]

{See, I knew you had a soft spot somewhere!}
[Luck pushing = bad idea. Let's just pretend we never had this conversation.]
{Okay, teddy bear - mum's the word! ;-))}

Monday, December 6, 2010

Lucky 7? One can only hope.

First of all, please forgive me for my seriously sporadic blog posting of late. I have no reasonable excuse other than I've had other things on my mind. Here's an update of what's going on in my world:

RE: WRITING
Edits are coming back tomorrow from my brilliant editor, so now is (once again!) the calm before the revision storm. In my dreams she'll say, "Oh. My. God. This is the most perfected sixth draft I've EVER read in all my days of editing! You must go, now, and share your sixth draft brilliance with all the world!"

Instead, the communication will likely go something like this: "Great job, Debbie - you're on the right path. At some point, before your kids ship you off to a nursing home, this may even be done! Prior to your Alzheimer's fully setting in, you may actually experience what it's like to be on submission! Isn't that exciting? In the meantime, here's what you need to focus on... You're welcome." Then she'll tap her fingers on the desk and say, "I'm sorry, what are you waiting for? Get back to work!"

So, starting Tuesday, I'll be diving into Draft #7 with full abandon. Lucky 7? One can only hope.

RE: PERSONAL STUFF
Thanksgiving
Thanksgiving in Denver was beyond! The mingling of family and friends, great food, and super-celebrations was one for the history books. Here are a few pics.

1) Thanksgiving tables at my sister Sharon's house. More than 40 people attended!
2) Me and my dad. ;-)
3) Me and my mom. ;-)
4) Me and my handsome son, Adam. ;-)
5) My beautiful niece, Devyn, my dad, and me.

Click here for more Thanksgiving pics.

It's been pointed out that I forgot to mention a big part of my wonderful week in Denver included my dear niece and nephew's Bar and Bat Mitzvah. Here's a picture of the fabulous twins:

Hous
e Hunting
I'm searching tirelessly for a new place; a place I can call my own that won't hold any of the ghosts - both good and bad - of my past. The search is sometimes invigorating, and sometimes sad. I hate the reason for the search, but I love the possibility of finding a perfect new home - a special place to make new memories.

Here are some of the house-hunting questions that are keeping me awake at night:
  • Do I want a newer house without any headaches, or an older place with a bit more character?
  • Do I want to live in the same town - a town I love, but that contains places that sometimes trigger sadness and anger?
  • Would it be better to move to a new area and get a totally clean start?
  • What features are most important to me? (Double sinks in the master bathroom? Small lot vs large lot? Well water vs public?)
  • Do I want everything updated, or would it be better to make updates myself to make the place more of "my own?"
  • How much room do I need/want?
  • What can I comfortably afford?
  • What's important for resale down the line?
And most importantly...
  • What will my kitties think?
The house I'm in now was our "dream house" - the home we worked our whole lives for. I never imagined that less than seven years later I'd be leaving this beautiful place, and certainly not for a home of my own.

However, life sometimes delivers unexpected twists and turns...

A wise woman once told me, "The test of a good marriage is not how you deal with the easy stuff, but how you deal with the hard stuff. Anyone can get through the easy stuff." I think this holds true for all aspects of life. I'm doing my best to keep my spirits up even with Nirvana's song, "All Alone is All We Are" creeping through my mind...

New Car
I'm getting a new car! Well, it's not exactly new, it's a 2008. But, it's a Mercedes. Yup, you read that right. Trust me, I'd rather have my marriage intact, but a Mercedes isn't a bad booby prize.

Yoga
Next week I'm taking my first yoga class in years. It's an hour and fifteen minute private lesson, so it may be the last thing I ever do. (If I never post again, you'll know why.)

Seminar
I'm taking a seminar given by Landmark Education called, "Living Powerfully: A Life that Defies the Predictable." Out of this seminar, I'm committed to creating a powerful relationship with everyone in my life. I'm also committed to being joyful, inspirational, and compassionate or, put another way, I'm committed to bringing joy, inspiration, and compassion to all areas of my life. That's a tall order, but one worth pursuing.

These are some of the ups and downs of my life. What about you? What's new in your world? Don't be shy... spill!

Monday, November 22, 2010

Thanksgiving Kitty Says...

Thanksgiving kitty says, "May your Thanksgiving be filled with family, friends, joy, love, laughter, music, good health, and moments you'll treasure forever." I happen to agree. (Smart kitty. Pretty eloquent, too!)

I'm heading to Denver to be with family for a week. From my family to yours, we hope your holiday is BEYOND!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

And the #1 Answer Is... FAMILY & FRIENDS! (Feline captors very much included.)

Thanksgiving is right around the corner, which got me thinking: What are the five most important things in your life? Here are mine:

1) Family & Friends
2) Health
3) Creativity
4) Honesty
5) Laughter

What are yours?

TOP FIVE CHALLENGE:
1) Think of something you could do involving your Top Five.
2) Do it or plan it.
3) Let me know what you've come up with.
4) Smile and pat yourself on the back. (Or, whatever it is you do to yourself when congratulations are in order.)

Also, what are your Thanksgiving plans? I'm going with my oldest son to be with family and friends in Denver. This has been a difficult year for me, but I've much to be thankful for. After all, I've still got my Top Five. ;-)

Friday, November 5, 2010

Novel Birth Announcement

BOOK UPDATE:
I'm about to ship off Draft #6 to my editor (freelance, the novel hasn't gone on submission yet). One year ago, almost to the day, Draft #1 came kicking and screaming into the world. If it had a birth announcement, it would've gone something like this:

PLEASE GIVE A WARM WELCOME TO THE NEWEST MEMBER OF MY FAMILY!

Name:
Can't tell you yet. (Agent will kill me.)


Date:
November 17, 2009

Sex: Both


Weight: 1.2 lbs

Height: 11 inches

Width:
8.5 inches


The new baby is WONDERFUL, although it has already caused many sleepless nights and serious self-doubting on Mommy's part. This next year will, no doubt, be filled with numerous bouts of mind-numbing growing pains, causing Mommy to drink wine and eat lots of chocolate chip cookies. (More than usual. Often at the same time.)


In lieu of baby presents, please send chocolate and Cabernet! Or money. Money's good.

Since baby was born, I've written five more complete drafts. That means, reading every word on every page over and over ad nauseum, changing POV, editing, revising, adding, subtracting, and all that goes into subsequent drafts. During this latest draft, I cut out over ten pages, and added thirty more. Raising this baby for the past year has been filled with "first steps" and lots of crying (me, not the baby). BUT no matter how much work it has been, it has always been a "labor" of love.

I'm about to take a breath again as I hand over my pages to my ingenious editor. I'm hoping sometime before my 100th birthday, AA will say, "This effing rocks! Let's take this BABY on submission!" (Of course, by then it'll technically be a toddler, but it would be weird to say, "Let's take this TODDLER on submission!") Alas, I regress. My point is, until AA and I feel this baby's ready to crawl into the world (and set it on fire!), I'll keep working until it's the very best it can be.

Where are you in your writing? What is the most number of drafts you've ever completed on a novel?**

**No, this is not a competition and you won't be receiving any of my prized chocolate. I'm just darn curious.

And, to those of you participating in NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month - Goal of writing 50,000 words between Nov. 1 and Nov. 30), I have only two things to say:

1) Good luck!

and...

2) Better you than me. ;-))

Friday, October 29, 2010

Got Transformation?

I started a seminar last night called, "Living Powerfully: A Life that Defies the Predictable." It's given by Landmark Education Corporation, the folks who do The Forum; a program that transformed my life nearly two decades ago.

I did The Forum in 1992, and have always said next to getting married and having kids, it's the greatest thing I ever did. Of course, that comment may need alteration, but you get my point.

Over the course of the three day program, I was transformed. But what does that really mean? For me it meant experiencing something so profound that it challenged what I knew to be "true" and provided me with freedom to experience life and the people in it in a way I never imagined possible. It completely rocked my world. That's what I mean by "transformation." Put another way, when I went back to work on the Monday after my Forum, everyone seemed kinder, friendlier, more helpful; the trees looked greener, my kids were even more beautiful (didn't think that was possible!). Did everything and everyone change while I was in The Forum? No. What changed was my perception of everything. What changed was my transformation.

Last night (in a group of 225 people) we talked about how life can be predictable, mundane, a fight, boring, stressful, uninspiring, etc. We also talked about what would be possible if life was inspiring, exciting, less stressful, free, and unpredictable. We discussed what would be possible if we weren't run by our circumstances; if we were the cause of our lives. What would life look like if we kept our word and weren't driven only by our wants and desires?

Those are the kinds of things I'm up to right now. Shaking up my world, unleashing my true power, listening powerfully, passionately pursuing my dreams, and loving the people in my life with all my heart and soul.

So, what are you up to in life? What kinds of things would be possible for you if you weren't "run" by your circumstances?

Friday, October 22, 2010

SUBLIMINAL FRIDAY: Dear Blog

Dear Blog,

I've been sent by your owner to clarify a few things. First of all, please know, she thinks of you often and wishes you nothing but the best. [What-ev]. She knows you've been confused by her sporadic postings, and apologizes profusely. [The only thing she does profusely is eat chocolate.] She hopes people click on your fascinating links and are touched by the [brilliant] words she has [thoughtfully] written. [Time, she adds, that could've been better spent eating, napping, and/or watching Oprah.]

She's sure you read the posts she [painstakingly] writes, so you probably realize her life has been a bit bumpy of late. Hence, the undependable blog postings. Yes, you should feel sorry for her [send Raisinets], but no you shouldn't move in with her and help with the laundry. [Yes, you should.]

If you need her, she's here for you. [She'll be gone 'til Monday.] Feel free to call, text, FB, or Twitter her. She promises to [have her imaginary secretary] get back to you ASAP [if and when she feels like it].

Anyway, enough about her, how's life been treating you? Good? That's great! [Snoring.]

Oh, and one more thing. Your owner told me to tell you she'll be back to regular blogging one day soon. [Is 2015 soon?] She also said she loves you very much and is proud of all you've accomplished. [She never said that.]

So, dear blog, hang in there and know your owner loves you. [It's true. She does.]

Love always times a billion trillion gazillion times infinity,

Your Owner's BFF,
Amelia Genevieve Simone Bardot

[A dead ringer for the love child of George Clooney and Angelina Jolie.] [BWAHAHAHA!!!!]

Friday, October 15, 2010

Friday Writing Advice

I realize this isn't the most modest thing to say, but my YA novel is rocking the house!

One year ago today, I was in the middle of the first draft. Now, I'm 2/3 of the way through Draft #6.

I've been on a major writing roll lately after a long dry spell. The creative process - like life - works best when you let it flow naturally, rather than trying to bend it to your will. My trip to Mexico was just what I needed to replenish my soul and feel freed up to create magic in both my life and my writing.

So here's some Friday Writing Advice: (And, you might enjoy these tips from Kiersten White's husband, Hot Stuff - pure genius, that!)

1) Listen to your muse. Trust his/her lessons.

2) Take breaks when you need them! Trust yourself to know when that is.

3) Write like a banshee when you can. Let the words flow and edit later.

4) Enjoy your life! Living life to the fullest by treasuring every moment, is the best way to get prime plot lines and character ideas that make your stories as interesting as possible.

Now, get out there and enjoy your weekend! I'll see you on flip side. ;-))

Thursday, October 7, 2010

I've Come to the Sea or What I Learned on my Autumn Vacation

I had one goal while in Mexico: to leave the past behind and get on with my life. And, I'm happy to report, I achieved my goal.

To sum it up, let me start by saying that when I was around 20 years old, I created a "safe song," meaning whenever I'd hear a song in my head that I hated, I'd replace it with a particular song I loved. It was a way to reprogram my mind. (As a musician, hearing music I don't like is like rubbing salt in an open wound times a thousand. Painful doesn't begin to describe it.) The wonderful song I chose to replace the bad one with was, "Friends" from Led Zeppelin's third album:

I'm tellin' you, now
The greatest thing you ever can do, now

Is trade a smile with someone who's blue, now
It's very easy, it's very easy


Before my vacation, I was watching Jenny McCarthy on Oprah. (Stick with me, I swear this will all come together.) When asked about how she was doing after her split from Jim Carrey, she said, "I've learned so many great lessons. One is, I'm the total hot fudge sundae. If a great guy comes along, then it's like I've got extra whipped cream and hot fudge, but it's not necessary. I'm a complete sundae all by myself." (Or words to that effect.)

That stuck with me, and when I was in Mexico, I was having a conversation with my sister, Laurie, about my "safe song" and the Jenny M. interview.

"You need a safe word!" she said, referring to how my mind kept obsessing about my recent situation. "How about hot fudge sundae?"

And, there it was. Hot Fudge Sundae. Transformation.

Now, every time I go to that dark place I think, "Hot fudge sundae!" (HFS) and snap myself out of debilitating, life-sucking thoughts and back into the present and my infinite blessings. (If you're in a "stuck" place in life, figure out what your HFS is. Trust me, it's the greatest gift you can give yourself.)

Here are a couple of clips from Cabo. The first was taken on our last day there. Laurie and I were sitting by one of the four, magnificent pools at the resort and she was interviewing me about what I got out of the trip. (Now you'll understand the HFS reference!) The second is a poem I wrote while staring out at the sea from my balcony. Again, it's my beautiful sister, Laurie, behind the camera. The lyrics are posted just below the link, and the picture is of a rock we named, "Lion Rock," which is referenced in the poem.

(This is a picture of Laurie and I. I'll be posting more pics from the trip on my FB page if you're interested.)

Here goes:

What I Learned on My Autumn Vacation

I've Come to The Sea

I’VE COME TO THE SEA
I’ve come to the sea to see about me
To feel my great power, to set myself free
I’ve come to the sea to hear the waves moan
To wrap me inside them and bring me back home
I’ve come to the sea where my spirits can dance
On white crests of heaven, on Lion Rock’s past

I’ve come to the sea to leave deep parts behind
Parts that are tainted and haunting my mind
I’ve come to the sea where my heart comes alive
To see through to truth so my soul may survive
I’ve come to the sea where the mystic waves reign
And the magic chants whisper a love I can’t name

I come to the sea where the sun and clouds meet
Rejoice in their majesty, make me complete
I come to the sea when my heart is in pain
A breath that is ancient restores me again
I come to the sea where my soul’s angels fly
And my heart, it is healing, through wondrous tides

I come to the sea to feel myself soar
Awaken my core as the waves kiss the shore
I come to the sea where I find life again
Sand castles beckoning suffering’s end
I come to the sea, on my spirits I call
They hold me up high upon nothing at all

I come to the sea where my soul beats its drum
To a rhythm of tides that cannot come undone
I come to the sea to find much that I’ve lost
To remind me to sing my own song at all costs
I come to the sea to sleep peaceful and calm
To hear the sea’s wisdom, be rocked in its arms

I come to the sea where my mind is at peace
Waves whisper, “Let go, let your soul be released”
I’ve come to the sea where my heart is on fire
Dancing a tango of love and desire
I come to the sea to find truth in a wave
And feel magical, passionate light shine my way

I come to the sea to feel cleansed and complete
To see I am all that I ever will need
I’ve come to the sea where my family dwells
In their vision and warmth I am perfectly held
I’ve come to the sea to let go of the nights
That are holding me back, choking me tight
I’ve come to the sea so at home I can start
To give my love freely to those in my heart
I’ve come to the sea where my joy comes alive
For the sea is the place I’ve adored for all time

JCK. 10.3.10

Monday, September 27, 2010

Sand Castles

Sand castles, that's what I'll be building. Sand castles with arches, moats, funky-shaped doors, dragons, a prince and princess, and those fun-to-make drippy castle spires.

And, yes, I'll be building them on the beach. What am I doing and how long will I be gone? I'm going on vacation to Mexico for a week with my family!

During that time, I'll be completely "off the grid," which I've NEVER done before. No blog*, twitter, email, or cell phone. I have to admit, I'm more than a little worried. What if I come back and no one remembers me? I'll yell, "Hello, out there!" into the dark recesses of the internet, and hear nothing more than my own annoying voice echoing back.

"See, I told you so?" the WWW will reply, "You snooze, you lose!"

I"ll exist in an infinite state of washed-up oblivion, and for what? Because I needed a change of scenery? Because I've been yearning for a People magazine in a chaise lounge with extra pillows by the pool? Because I've been dreaming of swimming up to a bar and ordering a margarita from a handsome tanned guy with big muscles? Are these things so very wrong?

Ah, seven days and seven nights of glorious memory-making - laughing and watching sunsets with my sisters and brothers-in-law, basking in the wisdom and beauty of my parents, and building sand castles on the beach with my one-year old niece. (Yes, this is actually where we're staying - our own private villa with our own private pool. UN-BE-FREAKING-LIEVABLE!!!)

As much fun as it will be, I'm looking forward to returning refreshed, repaired, raring to go, and better able to fulfill the roles and responsibilities I've chosen for myself. My goal is to continue to move forward and fully "be" here for the incredible people in my life. And I'm excited to finish revisions on Draft 6 and send them to AA.

So, what about you? Have you ever taken a "time out" from social media for more than a day or two? If so, how did it go? Did people remember you when you returned? Also - and far more importantly - who is your favorite person to build sand castles with?

*RE: My blog - I like to write about things currently on my mind, so I won't be writing posts ahead of time and posting them. That's just how I roll. ;-)

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Start of the Fall

"I went to sleep, 'twas summer
Awoke, to find it fall."
JCK, 9.23.10

In the fall of my senior year of high school, my best friend and my boyfriend hooked up. I was devastated, not because I'd lost my boyfriend (he was SO not the one!), but because my very best friend in the whole world betrayed me. (Yes, history sometimes repeats itself.) I wrote a song at the tender age of 16 called, "The Start of the Fall." It was sad and filled with proper teenage angst. I liked the fact that "fall" meant both autumn, and an emotional fall:

The leaves were falling all around
My head was tripping on the ground
I closed my eyes, but no one saw

Just how I felt at the start of the fall


The leaves were falling on the ground
My world was spinning 'round and 'round
I closed my eyes, I called and called

But n
o one heard at the start of the fall

That was then, and this is now. This fall is not sad. It is happy and beautiful, joyous and free.

I took these pics in my backyard yesterday afternoon. The first hints of bright reds and playful yellows are peaking through, hinting at a world of unimagined possibilities. Fall is like spring; a time of new beginnings - a time to contemplate, create, rejuvenate, and discover.

What's happy, beautiful, joyous, and free about this fall, besides the brilliant colors and inevitable/unfathomable phases of nature, you ask? Well, I'm nearly halfway through my edits on Draft #6 (Did I mention I've got an Awesome Agent? No? Huh. Wonder how I missed that...), I bought a new bicycle (teal blue Trek!) for the first time since I was 13 (it's true what they say about never forgetting how to ride, thank goodness - I'll post pics soon), I'm enjoying lots of inspiring newly-released music (Arcade Fire, Robert Plant, Mumford and Sons), I'm getting back into my own music as well, and - most importantly - my life is filled with the most amazing family, friends, and feline captors who are all happy and healthy. My blessings can not be counted in only one lifetime.

I'm approaching this fall differently than I have in many years - with a renewed love of my precious life and a vengeance for making my dreams come true. I'm learning that when you experience a great loss, on the other side of that deep, paralyzing sadness is a heightened appreciation for everything in life.

Like Ingrid Betancourt - a French-Columbian politician who was kidnapped and held captive for over six years in the jungles of Columbia - said on Oprah*, "It's not until you realize how fragile you are, that you understand your strengths."

In honor of the human spirit and our miraculous ability to persevere, I intend to keep gratitude, joy, and humility in the forefront every day. I will build a mental temple to worship these ideals. Sometimes I'll fail, but this will remain my daily goal.

Fall can be bleak, depressing, and draining, or it can be bright, uplifting, and filled with passionate energy. As with most things in life, it's a choice. (Pain is inevitable, suffering optional.)

What does autumn represent to you, and what are some of your goals as you head into this precious new season?

*I tried my best to remember, but these may not be her exact words. The sentiment, however, is clear.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Journaling or Dear Diary...

I've been advised by many folks over the past few months that I should start a journal.

"Writing is good for the soul," they say. "It'll help you get over your anger and frustration." Yada yada yada.

"I'm already writing," I answer. "I don't need more writing responsibilities."

The truth of the matter is, I wasn't ready. Now, I am. Journaling reminds me of the diaries I wrote when I was in grade school and middle school:

Dear Catherine,
(I always named my diaries "Catherine
"),
Today was
n't a great day. Had a math test and got in a fight with Kathleen. Had another cigarette and nearly choked my lungs out. I'll NEVER do that again!** Hopefully, tomorrow will be a better day. Oh, and I got a new pair of bitchin' jeans!

**Of course, the next day I tried another cigarette and HATED IT!!! And the next day, and the day after that. Ten years later I finally quit smoking.

I had a few journals as an adult, but this one is different. I'm doing it for a cause, a purpose - to help me get past a difficult time in my life - and I'm writing on the computer rather than by hand in a pretty book with kittens or flowers on the cover. And, trust me, my current entries aren't nearly so benign as they were in grade school. I'm using my words as swords to tear into the hearts and souls of the people who have turned my life upside down. Writing is a powerful and legal tool. Someday I hope to act more grown up, but until then... #*$#*#$&#%*^#$ RULES!!!

We'll see if this additional form of "written therapy" reaps any bananas or preferably a big-ass hot fudge sundae with extra fudge and whipped cream, or if it will be a colossal waste of time. Since writing has always been my salvation, I'm banking on the sundae. It seems like a just reward for putting down on paper the pain and anguish of ending a LTR. Plus, lyrics, songs, stories, letters, articles, cards, etc have always been the way I best express myself. So, what the heck - why not give it a go? Who knows, maybe I'll create a blockbuster non-fiction best-seller from it? (The perfect way to get even!) Then I could eat a sundae every night for dinner if I wanted to, so there!

What about you? Do you journal? Have you in the past? Has it helped? What are your overall thoughts on journal writing?

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Words = Power

Words are powerful, which is a big part of the reason we writers write. Someone posted the following line on Twitter yesterday, and I have declared it my new personal mantra:

Pain is inevitable, suffering optional.

This got me thinking about what phrases are most powerful to me - which ones do I "reach for" in order to help me through life or just to make me smile. Here are a few of my personal favorites:




  • You're a slave to money and then you die. (Verve - Bittersweet Symphony)
  • What goes around, comes around.
  • When you're going through hell, keep going. (Winston Churchill)
  • It's all a bunch of bullshit. (My friend and I made this up while working together as interior designers!)
  • Tomorrow's another day.
  • Living well is the best revenge.
  • Choose your battles wisely.
  • Everything happens for the best. (My nana used to always say this.)
  • Follow your passion, follow your heart.
These are a few of my personal favorites. I'd love to hear some of yours!

Monday, September 13, 2010

Namaste, Y'all - You Rock My World

I wrote a song once with someone called, "We Are One." It was true for many years, but sadly, not anymore.

But this is not a sad post, in fact, it's an extremely uplifting one. It's a post about the people in my life who I am beyond blessed to know.

Sometimes special people come into your life when you least expect and - if you're anything like me - you never feel worthy of such amazing blessings. (Cue Wayne and Garth to Madonna, "We're not worthy, we're not worthy!")

As you know, this is has been a rough time in my life, but what you don't know is how truly blessed I am.

My blessings have come mainly in the form of incredible people, some of whom I've known for years, and some who've recently and unexpectedly found their way into my world and into my heart.

The people I'm surrounded by in person, on the phone, via text, Facebook, blogs, Twitter, and email, have nothing but good wishes for me, and I find this truly amazing. They're rooting for my happiness, my health, my writing success, my "recovery," and all things positive in my future.

What did I do to deserve such great support? I honestly have no idea. But I do know this: I'm deeply, deeply grateful.

So, to all of you who have made a supreme difference in my life in the last five months and beyond, I thank you. Truly and honestly from the bottom of my heart, and "in honor of the place in you in which the entire universe dwells," I thank you. My greatest hope is that I may someday in some small way, return the blessings you've seen fit to bestow upon me.

Namaste, y'all. You rock my world.

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