Monday, May 30, 2011

Nothing, Nothing... Tra la la

It's a holiday. Memorial day. I'm taking the day off. I'm even writing this on Friday so that I don't have to open up Blogger on Monday. (Ha ha I cheated!)

In other news, I have 100 followers! Thank you, friends. There will be something to celebrate as soon as I figure it out.

Have a great day.

Friday, May 27, 2011

The Only Thing We Have to Fear...

...Is fear itself. The first time I heard that quote from Franklin D. Roosevelt, I was in a stage production of "Annie." I was 11. It didn't mean much to me at the time. I wasn't afraid of much. Swimming pools. (I had nearly drown during swim lessons once.) Spiders. (I slept in the basement. The window well of my room always had a few.) Nothing else really frightened me.

I grew up a little. Things started to scare me. I watched that movie "Tremors." You know. The one where there's weird creatures that live under ground and attack things on the surface? I ran across any open ground for days and avoided going outside.

I grew up a little more. I was old enough to date, but no one asked me out. I started to worry that I was ugly or stupid or something because I was such a pariah. I was afraid no one would ever like me.

I grew up again. I had some pretty awful dating experiences. I didn't have a serious relationship for 5 years. And I kept attracting weird (weird doesn't go far enough) guys. I dropped out of college after a year and a half. I was afraid that I would never make something of my life. I'd never go back. I'd never finish. I'd be lonely for the rest of my life. Funny how the more grown up I became, the more intellectual the fears were.

Now, I have a whole new set of fears. And it is the strangest set of fears yet. I'm afraid I will actually succeed. I have such big hopes and dreams for myself. What will I do if I get there? If I find an agent. If I get published. If I write books that people love. How do I move on from that? What kind of big dream can fill the spot after I'm living my current dream?

I realized that I had this fear as I sat in front of my current project. I'm better than I used to be. I have a greater grasp of what I need to do to improve. And it seems like it's finally happening. Things are finally starting to come together in my head. It could be amazing. And I'm afraid of it. And I stopped cold for a moment. Then I remembered. The only thing I should be afraid of is my fear. Letting that fear take over is going to keep me from doing the amazing things that I know I can. And I am not going to let that happen.

Fear is the little death. (Brownie points to any who know that quote.) Live with courage, friends, and give up your fear. Who's with me?

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Letters to My Future Self

Today is Kristin Creative's first blogfest. She's celebrating 300 followers with this fun idea. Click on the picture and hop over to her blog to see the rest of the entries!

Dear Future Self,

Today is starting much the same way every other day starts. You slept in. The kids are going crazy. The laundry has piled up again. You forgot to start the dishwasher before you went to bed so the kids had to eat their cereal in a cup.You've got allergies and oldest boy is still coughing from last week. It doesn't feel like there is enough time in the day to keep the house clean, maintain the yard, write in your blog, and still find time to work on your stories. And sometimes, it's really (really, really, really) hard to appreciate the life you have right now.

I'm guessing that in the future, you will have persevered through all this stuff. The kids will be in school. You'll have the house to yourself during the day. They'll be old enough to pick up their own messes, help with laundry and dishes, and take care of themselves for the most part. You'll have time to write during the day for solid chunks of time, instead of whenever you aren't holding the baby or trying to catch up on everything else. You're going to keep working on your craft and be better than you are right now. Maybe you'll have a few books published. Even if you don't, it's still something you will be working for. Because you're like that. You don't give up on things that are important to you.

When you look back on this time and remember how hard it was, I hope you also remember how fulfilling it was. Yeah, you had bad days. (Okay. There are a lot of bad days. You aren't as patient as you want to be and that postpartum depression is a really big deal sometimes.) But you also had good days. Days when you had a clean house, even for just an hour before bed. Days when you were able to sit down and pound out the words. Days when you took the kids to the park. Days when you were happy with yourself and what you were doing. Those are the important things to remember. And hopefully, those are the things that will still be important to you.

No matter what, look back on this time and remember that everything you are today is what you were before, for good or bad. You've never lived with regrets before, so make sure you aren't living with regrets now. And when things seem bad, because we both know that bad is part of life, look really hard for the good. It's always going to be there. Good luck!


So, friends, what would you tell your future selves?

Monday, May 23, 2011

More Me

I find myself in a strange position. As more people find and follow the blog, I find myself wanting to be more profound. More meaningful. More insightful. More... you know. Something. It didn't seem to matter what I said before because no one was "listening" to what I had to say. But now, there are so many of you. And a lot of you are people that I interact with in several different mediums. Like Twitter. And the pressure to be starts to feel a little more... pressing. Okay. Not that insightful or meaningful. Just something that is.

It really emphasizes to me that I have to be more me. I mean, if I actually met you, I would want you to have a pretty good idea of who I was and what I was like. You all hang out and read what I have to say because it me talking. Not someone else. And not me trying to be something I'm not.

We're at my in-laws for the day. Just a short day trip, really. We decided to drive the two hours on a whim last night. My brother-in-law and one of hubby's cousins are also writers. The brother-in-law was published by a small press two years ago. I married into a creative family. We were talking about writing and having writing blogs and all the things that go with it. And I realized again that I am my own brand of writer. My way of doing things and my take on what's going on around me is unique. And that's what I want to share with people.

Just like nobody else can write the stories I have to tell, no one else sees this writing journey in exactly the same way I do. I don't have to be any more insightful or meaningful or anything else than I already am. I just need to be more me. And really, that's good enough.

So friends, what makes you you? Do you ever feel that pressure to be more? What do you do about it?

Friday, May 20, 2011

The Circle Of Life

We've lived in our "new house" for over 6 months now. My kids have seen the seasons changing and what that means. And for the first time, they are getting it. They are seeing life change around them. This spring, the boys were walking around the yard with Daddy. Oldest boy gets really excited and starts pointing into one of the trees. "Daddy, daddy, there's a nest in the tree!" Sure enough, a couple of robins had decided to build their nest in the crook of one of our trees. They watched it for a few weeks and then, miracle!

There were eggs in that nest. The mommy bird sat on the nest and sat on the nest and then sat some more. When Grandpa came to till under all the weeds in the yard, the boys worried that the mommy bird wouldn't come back to her nest. But she did. Then, after a little while, there was this:

The eggs hatched! And made little birds! And they were ugly cute. The boys were so excited. They wanted to go out and look at the babies, but mommy bird was very protective of her little birds. She wouldn't get up to show them off.

A few mornings ago, Hubby looked out the window and said, "OH NO!" Everyone ran to the window and looked out, just in time for a hawk to jump out of the nest. Poor mommy and daddy robin flew around in obvious distress as two of their little chicks disappeared forever. Hubby went out to look at the nest and there was one sad, lonely little chick. The hawk came back later and finished what he had started.

You may wonder why I'm telling you this story. It could have been some sort of attempt to talk about the futility of things or how it feels to be critiqued or some such rot. But I actually wanted to share something positive with you.

First, not everything works out the way we plan. But. We don't give up! I really admired the parents in this situation. They were much smaller and less ferocious. Did this stop them? No. They flew around trying to distract the hawk. They did everything in their power to make things turn out well. That didn't mean they were successful, but they didn't give up. Mommy bird even came back after her other babies were gone to help that last little chick.

Second, sometimes, all you can do is not enough. And here's the really hard, but important thing. Yes, those robins lost their chicks. They will probably desert the nest and go somewhere else, but they will build another nest and lay more eggs. They will start over again. It is built into them to just keep trying until it does work out.

All of us are going to have times when it seems like we aren't good enough, we haven't done enough, and fate is conspiring against us. Be a robin. Fight as hard as you can to pull through, make a change and make it work. If, after you have done your very best, you still can't get what you want, start again. Rebuild. Don't ever give up.

*Edit--This post had pictures, but wouldn't publish properly, so I have taken them out to see if that was the problem.

Blogger Hates Me!

I had a beautiful post today that I want to share with everyone. It didn't show up on the dashboard or in google reader, so I've taken it down for the time being. If I can figure out the weird technical difficulties, I'll put it back up, but this bit of loveliness may be lost forever. I hope not. I am brilliant, after all. Okay. Return to your regularly scheduled lives. Happy Friday, all.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

The Horror

Hello new followers! Nice to meet you.

Today's post will be some things that I have recently come across that bring on that feeling of "Oh dear, what have I done!" Be prepared to shudder and groan along with me.

!. I've gotten into Twitter more. I used to think I would never leave the happy community of people I already knew at Facebook, but no. Twitter is taking all the time that I used to spend scrolling through people's status updates. It's a strange thing because I actually know all of the people who are my friends on Facebook. In Real Life. And I would rather spend time interacting with people who are writers. That I've never met. Am I crazy? Probably. But at least you all get my crazy. I'm not saying I'll give up on Facebook completely, but man. It's lost a lot of its appeal.

2. Speaking of Twitter, I can't believe how awkward I am sometimes. You can send messages to any body! I mean, any body. As long as they have that little @ in front of their names, you can talk to them. This is both cool and terrifying.  Especially when you follow people who are influential and highly placed in the field of your choice. Like agents. And published authors. And, you know. People! And, like I mentioned before, they don't actually know me. They can't hear my tone of voice when I try to be funny. (I try to be funny all the time. It just falls horribly flat in most situations where I'm writing with 140 characters.) I did this the other day with an agent. And a second agent. Then, just for fun, I added a third agent. Yup. I felt pretty dumb afterwards, but what can you do?

3. I just discovered the joy that is Google Reader. Wow. I keep following new blogs (hello again, new folk!), but there is only so much time in the day. I love to read what every one is doing and I used to spend hours clicking through from blogger to each and every post and leaving comments and interacting and all that fun stuff that we start a blog for. But it was seriously killing my writing time. (I have a blog addiction. I love to get out there and read you all.) And now, I can still read what you are doing. And, strangely, I feel like I'm cheating on you somehow. I mean, it's easy to just read your post and then move on and never comment or interact with you or anything beyond that screen in Google Reader. But if I commented on every blog, every time, I would never do anything else! How do people do it! I just don't know.

So, friends, these are the horrors I have recently encountered in my life. What do I do with them? What's a horror for you?

Monday, May 16, 2011

Laughter, The best Medicine -May 16

Welcome to the "Laughter is the Best Medicine" Blogfest, hosted by Kydia Kang at The World is my Oyster and Leigh T Moore at That's Write.

Things I never thought I would say, (until I became a mom)

1. Get down off the trash can.
2. Please stop licking the floor/couch, blanket/other inanimate object.
3. Will you just eat the candy instead of carrying it around?
4. Toilet water is not for drinking.
5. Can't my house stay clean for more than 10 minutes at a time?
6. When do I get to sleep?

Things I never thought I would hear until I became a mom:

1. Oldest boy trying to whistle. He says "Woo hoo." In the tone of a whistle.
2. Oldest boy says, "My bum had a big burp" any time he needs to pass gas.
3. 2nd son telling me very matter of factly, "You are my mommy." Yes, son. I am. Thank you for noticing.
4. 2nd son, after going to the fridge and pulling out a container of juice. "I love juice." He then gives it a hug, so the juice feels loved.
5. Oldest boy comes in crying: "Mom, I can't reach the little mirror." (There's a small mirror close to the top of the fridge.) "My arms are too little."
5. 2nd son: Mommy, I need a tissue. Mommy: Why do you need a tissue? 2nd son: I need to get the booger off my finger. *wipes finger in tissue* This is my booger. *beams with pride*
6. My boys love the game "Plants vs. Zombies." They call it the Brain Game (because the zombies say "brains") or the Brain Game Goes to Church (because the Zombies are wearing ties.)
7. Oldest boy, talking to himself: J: "Thank you for helping." J: "Your welcome." J: "Thank you for welcoming."

There's always something to laugh about. And for more to laugh about, check out the other fine blogs in the blogfest. Click here for the linky list.

What are you laughing about today, friends?

Friday, May 13, 2011

Oh well....

I had something really insightful and awesome to share with you all today, but that was yesterday before the "Big Blogger Crash of 05/11." If it comes back to me, maybe you'll be able to read it next week.

Instead, you can read all about how I finally got my rewrite underway. I've been planning and hoping and outlining and hoping, and stressing and had a few false starts, but this time, it's really going. I've written close to 5000 words so far this week and that's amazing! It means I will be able to send things off to beta-readers soon. (Speaking of beta-readers, any volunteers?)

And really, that's all I've got today. How about you, friends? What did you do with your enforced blogger free time?

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Ah, the Bling

Today, I would like to thank my fellow bloggers for their gracious and giving natures. Especially for being gracious and giving me awards. (Tee Hee Hee.)

I received the Versatile Blogger award from Anita at A Still And Quiet Madness and from Krista at Mother. Write. Repeat.
There are rules for this award.They are as follows:
1. Thank and link to the person who nominated me.
2. Share seven random facts about myself.
3. Pass the award along to 5 new-found blogging buddies.
4. Contact those buddies to congratulate them.

I will be passing this award on to
1. Ariel at My Writers Craze
2. Ashley Nixon
3. Angie Paxton at Answering the What if
4. DB Smyth at WordSmything
5. Liesl at Writer Ropes and Hopes

I also received the Stylish Blogger award from Jennifer Archer.

Here are the rules of this award:
1. Thank and link to the person who nominated you.
2. Share seven random facts about yourself on your blog.
3. Pass the award along to five buddies whose blogs epitomize said theme.
4. Contact those buddies to congratulate them.

I will now confer this award upon (can you tell that I just spent time at my brother's college graduation?):
1. Mary Frame at It's all fun and games until someone gets an agent
2. Mary Baader Kaley at Not An Editor
3. Angela at Angela Write Now
4. Annie at Hyperblogic
5. Jennilyn Tolley

And since both awards require 7 things, I'm combining them. That's right, friends. You are only going to get 7 things out of me today. Hope you enjoy.

7 Things About Kayeleen, the OCD version

1. I am a musical person. I sing a lot. I've even been in several choirs. I also play the piano, but never in front of people, if I can possibly help it. The perfectionist in me has issues with playing piano because it makes me nervous and I make mistakes.

2. I have to flip lightswitches to be the same direction. You know. If there are two switches on the same panel, they all need to be up or down. I'll walk back and forth around the house to do this.

3. I can't stand sticky floors. There is a weird fear in the back of my mind that I will stick to the floor and be unable to move. I have to mop for this reason. Not every day, but when I start to stick to the floor.

4. I am really glad to not have carpets in the majority of my house. Just like I can't handle sticky floors, I never knew what was in my carpet until we had wood floors. As soft as carpet is, I don't think I can ever go back.

5. If I have a pocket full of money, all the bills have to face the same direction. They also have to be in order from smallest bill to biggest. It bothers me to have a wad of bills in my wallet and not be able to just find the one I want.

6. My hair is short. It has been noticeably short for nearly 10 years. This is because I can't stand the way hair tickles the back of my neck as it grows.  Every once in a while, I think: "I'm going to grow my hair out." It drives me nuts before I can get it past my chin.

7. I'm extremely ticklish. Not like just touch my side and I shriek. It's worse. People can wave their fingers at me and I giggle uncontrollably. Even from across the room. My brother perfected this thing where he would look at me with a certain look and I knew he was thinking tickle. That set off my ticklish. If I'm fairly sure someone is thinking about tickling me, I'll start to laugh.

There you have it, all. Happy Wednesday and congrats to the new winners! I have recently discovered each of them and enjoy reading what they have to say. Go forth, friends. Meet new bloggers!