To Buy or Not to Buy a Baby Shower Gift

If last month it was flu season, then this month is definitely BABY season! I just got the news that two of my closest friends are both pregnant with baby number two—the irony being that five years ago, they were both pregnant at the same time with baby number one, along with my cousin…which leads me to wonder if she may be pregnant again too. A brother and sister, whose mom used to babysit me when I was little, are both expecting, and I have two co-workers whose wives have delivery dates in May and June.

Meanwhile, I can’t buy a man. Well, I guess I could, but I don’t want to. I practically bought that last one, and he had TWO jobs, despite being too broke to do anything.

But that’s a different story for another day.

Getting back to my co-workers (did I mention one of them just has a baby last January? Needless to say, this one wasn’t planned), the department is throwing a baby shower for them later this afternoon, and everyone is urged, though not required, to buy a gift, give them a piece of change, or do something nice for the dads-to-be.

If I’m being honest, I just want to slap them across the back, give my congratulations, get a free slice of cake and pizza, and go back to my cubicle, where I know it will be deathly quiet with everyone else still at the party.

Does that make me a bitch?

I haven’t even thought about buying a present since the day my boss said, “Let’s give them a baby shower,” a few months ago. While I was enlisted to assist in the initial planning, all we did was sit at a round table in her office and go over food, drinks, a half-baked potential theme idea, what conference room to book, and where the guys were registered. After that, the other admin in the department basically took over the planning, so I let her have it. She was all too excited to be included while I couldn’t care less. Since that short planning session, I’ve only gotten an email invite to the party and a link to the registries, which I’ve looked at maybe twice.

Now that it’s the day of the party, I’m probably the only one who will show up empty-handed, if I even show up at all. I didn’t have the best experience at the last joint baby shower we had (when co-worker who is currently on unplanned baby number 2 was expecting baby number 1 along with another co-worker who was pregnant with baby number 2). The admin at the time had sent out an email to the entire department, saying that she will be collecting baby shower gifts up to a certain date, and also asking if anyone wanted give money to put in a card. I didn’t bother to respond because buying expensive baby gifts for two people was not in the budget, and I didn’t really want to give them money either… which apparently meant I didn’t get to sign the card.

Fast forward to the day of the baby shower, the wife and husband of the two co-workers were both there, the table in the back of the room was piled with gifts along with the two cards that had everyone’s signature but mine, and as I stood off to a corner of the room, nibbling on cookies and mints, I realized that I didn’t have a close relationship with anyone in this department. Being a temp, I am often excluded from a lot of functions. the most recent one being just yesterday when the whole department disappeared for what I thought was a full-time employees only meeting but actually turned out to be a party for my boss who’s getting married in June. I was informed of the leftover cupcakes from the party at 5 that afternoon, after everyone had already gone home.

Which leaves me to ask the question: Why should I waste my money on people who treat me like an afterthought? My mom has pointed out to me that even my friends, whose kids I spend too money on, don’t do the same for me (probably because I don’t have any children, but I guess I see where she’s coming from). And when I think about all the things I’ve got my money tied up in—I’m saving for a cruise to Alaska this summer, I’ve yet to file my taxes because I’m afraid I might owe (as if the government hasn’t taken enough out of my checks), my car is three months overdue for an oil change—expensive baby shower gifts for people I don’t particularly like isn’t really in the budget.

One of my resolutions at the beginning of the year was to save money—because eventually I do want to move out of my mother’s house—but two things will keep me from reaching that goal: impulse spending—buying stuff I don’t need or won’t use but once—and giving when my heart’s not in it.

The Bible says that God loves a cheerful giver (2 Corinthians 9:7). It also says when you give freely, you gain even more (Proverbs 11:24). I’ve thought about, if nothing else, giving my co-workers a card. It’s not too late to make a quick trip to Dollar General on my lunch break. But then I would feel obligated to put money in it, because what’s the significance of a card other than to hold money, right? I learned that the hard way when my granddaddy copped an attitude because I only bought him a card for his birthday. Apparently a card doesn’t count as a present (even though that’s all I got for my birthday three weeks later, but I digress).

But even in buying a card, it would still be a reluctant gesture under the compulsion that everyone else is probably getting them something and that I have to, too. My heart still wouldn’t be in it. Does that make me a bad person? I hope not, because I really don’t mean to be. There are times when giving to someone comes as easily as breathing, and others when the thought just slips my mind until the day of. Like today.

So after all that rambling, have I come to a decision? I think I’ll pass on buying a gift. I don’t want to. I don’t feel lead to from a kind and sincere heart. And feeling obligated to do so because “it’s the right thing to do” and “everyone else is doing it” isn’t a good enough reason.

So what’s left? Will I skip out on the party? Will I go just to mingle for a few minutes, grab some free food, and slip out (who would notice anyway? These people never notice me)? Or will I fade uncomfortably into the background like I did at the last baby shower? The more I think about it, the more I convince myself not to even go. Again, who would notice?

There’s Something in the Air…

The flu is making its rounds through the office this month. Up and down the halls you can hear coughing and sneezing and hacking of mucus from the lungs. The latest to fall ill is our department head. My cubicle is located right outside his office, so it’s got me a little paranoid.

He came in to work on Monday all red faced and puffy cheeked, breathing out of his mouth, barely able open his eyes, in denial that it was a cold or the flu, probably just allergies. That morning he had an interview in his office with a candidate for a recent job posting. He promised the potential new employee and the rest of the interview panel, four in total crowded at the round table in his office, that he would sit off in the corner, so as not to infect anyone, forgetting that the flu is airborne and the mere fact that they’re in his infested office, they are most certainly all going done.

Later that day, he came around the corner, handed me an empty tissue box and asked me to order some more, and without realizing the significance of the passing of the baton, I took the box from him and threw it away. Then I heard him cough, and blow his nose, and I jumped from my chair so fast and ran to the bathroom to scrub my hands and arms! I even topped it off with a pump of hand sanitizer. You can never be too careful.

It seems the flu has been particularly nasty this year. North Carolina has seen around 600 new flu cases since the end of January, and new numbers reveal the death toll has risen up to 44 people.  Now, I don’t know “normal” flu statistics, but with our modern medicine, 44 still seems a little high. I heard from a coworker that a doctor said this season’s flu shot isn’t working too well. I don’t know if that was his personal opinion or a professional observation, but the way people are dropping around here, it’s definitely made me conscious about touching my eyes, nose, and mouth, eating all the fruit and Vitamin C that I can whenever I feel my throat getting scratchy, or my nose getting stuffy. I might even resort to taking a shot of apple cider vinegar—the miracle juice when it comes to any type of aliment, that is if you can keep it down; it tastes almost as bad as cough syrup.

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One thing that has always puzzled me about my fellow Americans is that we can be so sick we’re throwing up our internal organs, but we’ll still come to work. I hate this “live to work,” “work hard, work harder,” mentality. It’s that same mentality that forces moms-to-be to work until they’re about to drop their babies right on the office linoleum. That same mentality forces them return from maternity leave before they’re ready because at a lot of companies, their job isn’t guaranteed.

Yes, I know the Bible says if you don’t work, you don’t eat (2 Thessalonians 3:10), but at this rate, you don’t even have time to eat because you’re working so much, and worrying about working, and even dreaming about working! Work has become life. Somewhere in there you gotta squeeze in a day of rest, and for heaven’s sake if you’re sick, STAY HOME!

I commend my boss for coming in on Monday, setting an example for those who abuse sick days, but he could have easily worked from home, allowing himself time to heal and recover. Most offices only allow 1 to 2 sick days, which I personally don’t think is long enough (again, that “work hard, work harder” mentality), but if you need to, take an extra day. Your co-workers will thank you. A lady once told me that the groomer’s office she takes her dogs to had been completely shut down because everyone had the flu.

It’d be a shame if the entire HR department was out sick next week because of one person. No one would get paid, no one would have their employee problems resolved, managers would hire whomever they choose, including their no good, lie on their rusty dusties, can’t keep a job, grown-ass man-children—there’d be total chaos!

The world needs HR. The world needs a healthy HR.

Flu be warned. If things get any worse, I may have to bring my Lysol spray and hose some people down.

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What NOT to Do This Friday Night

Happy Friday! Thank God it’s finally the weekend. Sure, most of us are probably at work, but c’mon, who really works on a Friday anyway? Your minds are already on tonight, and on Saturday night, and on praying for forgiveness Sunday morning.

I’ve heard it’s a holiday weekend, though I’m not sure what holiday. People don’t normally take the Friday before President’s Day off. Especially since we don’t get President’s Day off. Maybe the people working in the federal government do, but us average Joe’s, working eight to ten hours a day, making next to no money, we definitely don’t get the day off. Hell, I doubt even the kids get a break from school. Unless it’s a teacher work day, which means the tired, worn, and broken teachers still have to report.

Ahh, such is life.

But I’m not here to complain about how hard working Americans don’t get nearly enough vacation days in the year, or that my temp contract requires me to work 2,000 uninterrupted hours before I can get paid holiday. (For those of you slow at math, that’s 50 freaking weeks!)

Truthfully, I am here to celebrate that it’s Friday, and that I’ll have two days off to relax, regroup, and most importantly, write.

How do you plan to fill your weekend? To my single readers, should I expect nothing but pure debauchery and regret? That was always the case for me—more regret than debauchery, though.

Which brings me to what I really want to talk about . . .

STAY HOME!

My church has a Saturday night contemporary worship service for millennials and people who ain’t trying to get up on Sunday morning . . . or miss football (man, I miss football).  Anyway, last Saturday, one of the associate pastors preached a sermon on staying under the authority of God. One thing he said that truly tickled me was this:

“When you leave here tonight, don’t go home and put on your disco clothes. Put on your pajamas and get in the bed!”

Boy, the congregation had a hoot! (See, it’s ok to laugh and have fun in church). But all joking aside, if everything within the fiber of your being is telling you to stay home tonight, listen to it. We are always asking for signs, some divine intervention to show us where to go and what to do. But when they come, and the answers to our burning questions are glaringly obvious, we choose to ignore them and get ourselves into trouble.

Trust me, when God doesn’t want you to do something, He’ll make it known.

via Final Destination Wiki
via Final Destination Wiki

A few months ago, a woman at my church told us a story about a time during her not-so-Christian days. She was seeing (insert sleeping with) a man who had no intentions of being anything serious with her. One night, she drove to his place in a horrible storm. Torrential downpours, crashes of thunder, lightning streaking across the sky. When she got to his apartment complex, the parking lot was flooded, and a lightning bolt had either struck the water or had struck a wire that was spinning around in the water. Every time she tried to get out of the car, the wind blew harder, and the electrically charged water rose closer to her feet. Finally, she decided he wasn’t worth her life and went back home. Would you believe that when she got home, there wasn’t a drop of rain falling from the sky, not a clap of thunder, nor one strike of lightening? Nothing to indicate there had been a storm anywhere in the city. Nothing but peace and tranquility. She looked up and there wasn’t even a cloud; she could see the stars. Now if that ain’t a sign . . .

Needless to say, she didn’t see “ol’ dude” again after that.

I’ve had signs like that. Not as wild, but they’ve definitely come. The last one came this past Christmas. I had recently resumed talking to a guy I used to date. We had a huge falling out back in March, and it should’ve ended there. Unfortunately, I don’t always listen to my inner conscience.

On one of those lonely nights, I finally answered his texts, and we made a date to drive around the city and look at all the Christmas decorations. Of course, I had to drive because he had no car (note to self: date a man who can at least get himself and you around). I lost interest in the lights pretty quickly, and was ready to take him back to his place. In fact, I was fully prepared to drop him off at a reasonable hour—8:30—go home, put on my pajamas and get in the bed like a good little Christian girl.

I don’t know why I didn’t kick him out of my car, but we sat there in the parking lot close to an hour, and I listen to him drone on and on with his chauvinistic pride, which was really quite laughable, because what exactly did he think he had that made him better than everyone else?

You can scratch a car off that list. You can scratch money to pay for a girl’s dinner off that list. You can scratch a clean apartment off that list. You can scratch a furnished apartment off that list. You can scratch money to buy aspirin for that damn toothache he kept bitching complaining about—a toothache that prompted him to leave me alone in his house for an hour on two separate occasions to meet a friend for the medicine, only to come back with that same toothache and still no medicine—off that list.

And while material things don’t mean a thing, he was a very materialistic person, and he fronted like he had something people would be envious of, when in reality, he had nothing.

But the ultimate sign came when I looked in my side mirror and saw a penis.

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One of his neighbors was standing next to my car, his phone in one hand, his penis in the other, peeing inches from my gas tank. Mind you, it was still about nine thirty/quarter to ten. I was parked under a street light. The road was literally right in front of us, with cars driving by! If not me, someone else was bound to see him.

It was the most repulsive and unsettling experience I’ve ever had in my life. To make it worse, when he saw that I was in the car, he and his homeboy preceded to watch me through the driver’s window and laugh, while the guy I was with did nothing. Absolutely nothing. In fact, he thought it was funny too.

I was not laughing. And I damn sure wasn’t comfortable.

But even after all that, I still went inside his house, greeted by the disgusting stench of rotten potatoes. (Do you know how long potatoes have to be sitting out for them to get that far gone? A long time! Who doesn’t know the bag of rotten potatoes sitting in the corner of their empty kitchen is the source of the foul odor filling their apartment?!) I stayed there while he left me alone (to not remedy his toothache), babysitting his stupid, jumpy puppy, watching some idiotic American Pie-type movie, starving because he didn’t have any food and his kitchen stank.

Eventually, I left. But it it was nearly midnight, and I was so frustrated with myself for allowing someone like that to completely waste my time and disrupt my inner peace that I went home and wrote a nasty Facebook status update that I later deleted.

But seriously, did I expect something different? His utter disregard for my feelings, my time, or my comfort was the exact reason we fell out last March.

Being bitten by that loneliness bug renders you temporarily an amnesiac. I should find something else productive to do. Like tell you of my horror stories as a reminder to myself.

I say all of this not to gain your sympathy (really, I’m fine. Single . . . Mingle Me Not, remember?), but to urge you that if you have a sinking feeling your Friday night will result in a similar train wreck . . .

STAY HOME!

Go see the new Lego Batman movie with the kids. Meet up with your girlfriends at the bowling alley for a night of gutter balls and chili cheese fries. Put on your pajamas and go to bed.

Do anything but call that no good man who still hasn’t made you his girlfriend, yet requires boyfriend privileges.

You’re worth so much more than that.

via Pinterest
via Pinterest

Finish What You Start

“By the seventh day God had finished the work he had been doing; so on the seventh day he rested from all his work. Then God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it he rested from all the work of creating that he had done.” (Genesis 2:2-3; NIV)

Finish what you start . . .

It was the title to a series my pastor preached several years ago. Unfortunately, the title is all I remember. That and one particular sermon about how unmarried people should finish being single before they rush into a marriage. That was probably one I should’ve paid more attention to. I might’ve been able to avoid a few disaster relationships, or more specifically, “situationships,” if I had.

Still, the title itself convicts me . . . Finish what you start. . .

I haven’t been able to finish many things lately. As a writer, I am the ultimate perfectionist. When I catch the editing bug, nothing I write is ever good enough. I can edit a story down to nothing if I’m not careful. And if it’s not the next great American novel that I want it to be, instead of writing it down anyway so I can revisit and rework it later, I don’t write it at all, too embarrassed by how dreadful it will read. (That’s why it’s called a first draft, silly.) And don’t let me fall behind in my word count. Even if it’s only a day, it’s a mountain I just don’t have the motivation to climb anymore. Hence my countless disappearing acts from the blogging world, and why I left 31 Days of Holiday Hooligans hanging at Day 10.

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But I intend to finish Holiday Hooligans this year, this April in fact, for the A to Z Challenge. No, it’s not the holidays, technically, but if I wait to December, a whole ten months from now, I’ll never finish it. And yes, I do realize the A to Z Challenge was the main reason for last year’s burnout, but if I don’t get back on the wagon somehow, sooner rather than later, I may never write a story or poem again, and for someone who’s been doing this since she was old enough to write, that is beyond terrifying.

So this is my second attempt at finishing what I started. A 2017 New Year’s Resolution do-over (because we all know January doesn’t count—we were too busy trying to drop all those holiday pounds we gained). There are a lot of things I plan to accomplish by the end of this year, and hopefully I’ll be able to organize myself so that I’m not overwhelmed in striving to reach my goal. But if God could create the entire earth and everything that dwells within in six days, just to kick back and relax on the seventh when He finished, then I have no excuse whatsoever.

Throughout the Bible, the number seven is used to signify completion and rest. Completion and rest. Ahh, that is so true. Unfortunately, instead of Day Seven, my day of rest usually comes at Day Four, or Five, or sometimes even Day One, and I never complete what I began. So many great stories left hanging off a cliff; so many protagonists left unfulfilled.

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But to actually finish something. Yes, that would be monumental.

Think about it. When you finally relieve your shoulders of that heavy burden of always having to do something, don’t you just want to lie down, kick your shoes off, read a good book, or play a good movie, maybe turn up your stereo, and do absolutely nothing because you’re at long last “done”? Yes, I know I do. Coming home from a long day at the 9 to 5. Wanting to get in my bed and disappear from the rest of the world for the next eight hours. Yes, that sounds heavenly . . .

BUT I HAVE TO FINISH THAT NOVEL!

The price of being a writer with a day job; there never seems to be enough time in the day to do both, especially when said day job is in an unrelated field and the only good thing it’s giving is a nice a paycheck. Nice, not fat, but nice. Coming home and having to switch gears and get into the writing mode is just . . . well, hard. But I have to do it. This is my life—not some measly job that doesn’t offer me affordable benefits worth a rat’s ass when I do get sick. Writing is my life. Creating stories is my life. Entertaining the masses with this craft God has blessed me with is my life.

So let’s hop to it. Start it. Finish it. Read it. Rest.

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“Sleeper, Awaken!”

As young as I am, I often dream about death. When I was a child, I prayed the Lord would take me in my sleep so I’d feel no pain. Mom said if you’re a Christian, it won’t hurt, but I wouldn’t take any chances. Let Him come while I’m lying in the grass, counting bunnies on clouds, blowing powdered sugar from picnic pastries into the wind.

We have so little control over what happens to us in our sleep, even less over what we do.

Do we snore (apparently I do); twitch or kick (I’ve been told I do that too); talk in our sleep (my dad once asked my brother to take out the trash and yelled for him to get off his motorcycle all while lying comfortably in his bed, eyes shut, drool collecting at the corner of his mouth); or do we sleep walk (maybe . . . at least once)?

I could blame it on being more tired than I realized, or being traumatized when How to Get Away with Murder revealed Wes, with half his face blown off, #UndertheSheet. (God, I was so sure it was Nate! Why, Shonda?! Wes was the main character, the first person we were introduced to in season 1, episode 1. I’m not used to this. I don’t watch Grey’s Anatomy or Scandal. I don’t know the torment your fans go through on a weekly basis!)

I guess I should’ve added a spoiler alert before that last point, but if you haven’t seen the How to Get Away with Murder winter finale by now, then too bad. It’s Tuesday, man.

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I used to date a guy who often joked about coming to my house late at night, watching me sleep through my bedroom window. He had a very dark sense of humor, and while some girls might have laughed (albeit uncomfortably), I found it extremely creepy. Especially since my ex before him used to stalk me, and going back to my very first job, I had a manager who texted me one night at 3AM wanting to “feel what it’s like to be inside you,” telling me that he was on his way over, and I needed to come outside when he flashed his headlights. I was sixteen. He was twenty-one.

This is the crop of men I seem to attract . . .

And most recently, the security guard at my job, who slowly looks me up and down before speaking to me, said, “I didn’t know you were a Dallas Cowboys fan.” I was not wearing my Cowboys jacket that day. Of course, he could’ve just remembered that I wore it the day before, but a more eerie thought crossed my mind . . .

That he was in my bedroom that night . . .

You see, Friday morning I woke up lying on the opposite end of my bed, on top of the covers, my bedroom door wide open, the overhead light shinning in my face.

That was not how I’d fallen asleep. I was under the covers. I’m pretty sure. I’d turned off my light. I remember making that extra effort of getting up out of my warm bed and walking across the room to flick the switch. It wasn’t a dream. And I always close my door at night. Always. Because I don’t like waking up and seeing shadows from the hall. Shadows of mysterious men creeping into my room . . .

I’m a writer, so my mind is working in overdrive churning off stories of what could have happened Thursday night as I slept. But I think I’ve finally figured it out.

I read a book before turning in for the night. A novel that completely spooked me. The Winter People by Jennifer McMahon. And at the end, the ghostly diary writer, Sara Harrison Shea, gave us the instructions for bringing a “sleeper” back to life.

It all makes sense to me now. I rose from my bed in a trance, gathered the ingredients I needed—a candle, a fresh heart, something that belonged to the deceased—ventured out into the night to find a portal between the natural and spiritual realms, chanted the incantation, and brought Wes back to me.

That scratching outside my door, like a small critter digging its claws into the frozen dirt, trying to escape from the chill of the air, it’s him, it’s Wes Gibbins, wanting to be let inside.

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New Year’s Preparations: Organizing My Life

I’ve been listening to Christmas music for a week now, so forgive me if I’m jumping the gun here with my thoughts on a New Year’s cleaning spree. I don’t mean to skip over Thanksgiving, but the most delicious holiday on the calendar may turn out to be a tad bland in my house this year. No one feels like cooking, nor do they want to eat “that healthy shit you be making,” as my brother so politely put it. Didn’t know eating whole foods (versus boxed or canned) and taking the time to make meals from scratch was turn-your-nose-up “healthy shit.” By the way, those pumpkin spice pancakes I made for breakfast this past Sunday were BOMB! But I digress.

Granddaddy has decided that he wants to pay someone to cater Thanksgiving dinner at our house. Good new: no one has to cook; bad news: Granddaddy’s cheaper than Ebeneezer Scrooge himself, so there’s no telling how this dinner will turn out. We may as well save the hassle and eat a free Thanksgiving dinner at church. We’ve done it before, and it was quite yummy.

Next year, I think I’ll drive down to Charleston to see my other Grandma. Thanksgiving dinner at her house is kind of like . . .

My aunt who passed away earlier this year was known as Grandma’s sous chef. She’d drive down the week before, and they’d spend the days leading up to Thanksgiving, in the kitchen cooking just about everything you could think of. Turkey, ham, chicken, stuffing, wild rice, white rice, giblet gravy, mac & cheese, yams, greens, beans . . . YOU NAME IT!

And a sweet potato pie for each grandchild to take home.

With her sous chef gone, Grandma just can’t cook all that food by herself. My other aunt tries to help, but—bless her poor little heart—she can’t cook worth a lick, and Grandma lets her know it, too!

So maybe next year I’ll be her little sous chef, eat a meal that’s worth the three hours I’ll spend at the gym that Friday, and finally learn how to make her infamous sweet potato pie!

They ain't better than Grandma's pies...
They ain’t better than Grandma’s pies…

But back to the New Year’s cleaning (as opposed to spring cleaning . . . because I so often get off topic), I’m kind of a neat freak—which is ironic to say since at this present moment, my bedroom is a filthy mess; I haven’t cleaned it in almost a month. I style my own hair, so I have little shed hair fur balls collecting on my carpet that I really need to vacuum before I mistake them for bugs. There’s a pile of crinkled up October receipts on my desk dumped from my purse that I have yet to file. I haven’t made my bed in weeks because I’ve been meaning to wash those sheets . . .

God! I’m really not this lazy, guys. I do get into my cleaning spurts sometimes. On those days, I clean the bathroom from floor to ceiling, dust the shelves and TVs, take out the trash, mop and sweep the kitchen floor, maybe even wipe down the refrigerator. This year alone, I’ve washed the dishes more than I ever did my whole life. When it comes to kitchen cleanliness, I’m becoming more and more like my mother. I can’t cook in a nasty kitchen . . . and I’ve been cooking a lot.

This doesn’t mean I’m going to wait to New Year’s before I actually clean my room, though. I’m just getting a head start on thinking about what changes I want to make going into 2017. It’s looking like organization will be it. At my church, we’re taught that the spiritual principle of organization is “God’s plan to simplify my life,” and boy am I desperate for some simplicity right now. I feel like I’ve spent this entire year catching up [to something], and I still haven’t caught whatever the hell it is I’m chasing.

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So how am I going to make life more simple in 2017? First, I need a planner. Probably not a day planner, because I’m a millennial, and I doubt I’ll ever open it, but I can start by adding reminders to my Outlook calendar so that they come to my phone. I should also make use of my dry-erase wall calendar. I thought it was the coolest thing ever when I bought it, but it’s been saying “April 2015” for the past year and a half, so I really need to be better at updating it—maybe I should add “update wall calendar” as a reminder every first of the month on my Outlook calendar too. I also need to work on blogging ahead and scheduling posts so, knock on wood, when I lose my motivation to write again, you’ll still have something to read everyday while I try to get my shit back together.

But first, I most definitely need to CLEAN MY ROOM!

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Where Have You Been All My Life?

Raise your hand if you started singing Rihanna’s “Where Have You Been” when you read that title . . .

Where have you been all my li-i-i-i-i-ife

Where have you been all my li-i-i-i-i-ife
Where have you been all my li-i-i-i-i-ife
Where have you been all my li-i-i-i-i-ife

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Where have you been . . . all my life?
Oh, just under a rock, chiseling my thoughts with broken off finger nails.

Where have you been . . . all my life?
That’s such a strange question. If asked by a man to a woman, it’s probably the second cheesiest pick-up line ever created (the first being “You look familiar—have I seen you in my dreams…”)

Where have you been . . . all my life?
A witty dialogue exchange between love interested characters that you think perfectly shows their chemistry until your editor screams, “Cut it!”

But before I get off topic, let’s address the elephant in the room—and if you follow my other blog, Lovely Curses, you know exactly what I’m talking about—the greatest disappearing act in the HISTORY of internet blogging! Er . . . actually . . . maybe the second greatest . . . more like the third . . . nah, who am I kidding—this probably doesn’t even rank in the top ten one hundred.

But again I’m rambling, and now that I’ve just passed the 150 words mark, and you still have no idea what I’m talking about, your internet-induced short attention span is begging me to get to the freaking point.

The truth is I haven’t written a blog post—or anything, for that matter—in almost five months. Back then it was summer, unbearably hot, and all I wanted was a drink of water.

I wish I had an acceptable answer for my extended absence from blogging.

Like maybe I was on a five-month long vacation. Cruising the Mediterranean. Sunning nude on a beach in Ibiza. Zero access to the internet. But let’s be serious. Very few places in the world today aren’t Wi-Fi accessible.

So maybe I’ve been in the hospital all this time. Nothing serious—I just got pulled over for speeding and somehow managed to get a bullet lodged in my spine. But then, where was the social media outcry?

#BlackLivesMatter #WeStandWithKap #HandsUpDontShoot
#AllLivesOnlyMatterWhenItsConvenientForYou

Ok, well my next excuse would be that my assignment at work changed, and since I do most of my blogging while on the clock, I have no time to do it anymore. While the first part of that statement is true, I’m no busier than I was before. The only difference is that I was moved to office location HELL! My cubicle is situated in a corner surrounded by the offices of three managers, one of them being the head of the entire department. To make matters worse, it’s an open cubicle (not the partially walled bay area that I’m used to), and it’s turned so that my back is to the hall, making it impossible for me to hide what I’m really doing from nosy co-workers and managers walking by.

Fair enough, but that only accounts for the 9 to 5 shift. What about the other eight hours of the day (because of course I have to sleep)? Well, I have been dedicating a lot of my time to my new diet. And yes, I know I talk about losing weight a lot, from New Year’s Resolutions, to poems about getting skinny in time for October bikini season (guess I missed that), to poems about hating the reflection in the mirror, to poems about a thin figure attracting a Grandpa-approved suitor.

But this time I’m serious. Damn near obsessive. I’ve already lost 30 pounds and if I hadn’t slacked off my 80% plant based/whole foods diet during the early autumn months, I probably would be down 50 by now.

So you literally spend the other eight hours of your day cooking fancy meals and following food blogs? you ask.

. . . Yeah, actually . . .

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But then there’s the real reason.

I’ve completely lost my motivation to WRITE!

I don’t know how it happened. Maybe it was a combination of things. And it’s not that I have no inspiration, because as I write this, tons of stories are swirling around in my head waiting to be written. I just can’t seem to sit my fat behind down in front of a computer and write them! Plus, I’m such the procrastinator. Once I let that spirit take a hold, it requires a miraculous shake of the cosmos to get it off my back.

I’ve mentioned before that this year’s A to Z Challenge completely wiped me out. It’s quite ironic how it happened. I can write a new flash fiction story every day with ease, until I’m force to, and heaven forbid, am obligated to fit those stories into a pattern. I was able to finish that challenge—though a day late—but I never got my writer’s mojo back.

I continued to write sporadically for the next month and a half, while trying to keep up with other side projects like editing two magazines, hosting a weekly flash fiction challenge (that I’ve completely abandoned—sorry, guys), writing a novel, reading more books than I did last year (5), and a plethora of other things, until finally, my head exploded and I disappeared off the face of the earth internet, leaving my followers to only speculate about my demise.

If I’m being honest, I think I just committed myself to way too many things, and the pressure of having to keep up with all of them day after day finally caught up with me. I’m like an overenthusiastic toddler. I get a thousand ideas in my head and I want to do them all at once until I crash in the middle of the kitchen floor with a half-eaten chicken leg sticking out of my mouth.

But good news, guys. I’m not dead! Just my muse. However, if this post is any indication, I’m slowly trying to revive her . . .  S-L-O-W-L-Y.

Which is why I created this blog. So I can have an outlet to just write, about anything. Because I obviously can’t post it all on Facebook. And let’s face it, after having to click the “More” link twice on a post, no one has any interest in reading more unless there’s a photo or video attached to it . . . or it’s about Donald Trump . . .

donald-trump-funny-dance

While I’ve dedicated most of the year to making Lovely Curses all about my fiction and poetry and anything writing/author/book related, I lost my freedom to simply talk about me, which is surprising because I never thought I was all that interesting. And who knows—maybe I’m still not. Maybe this new blog will turn into an online not-so-private diary that comes back to haunt me when I’m 50, or becomes a New York Times bestseller after I’m dead.

But I’m going to revel in the fact that I’m finally able to write again. Even if it’s just ramblings for now. I can’t tell you when I’ll dive back into the fiction and poetry. I won’t make any false promises, and I damn sure won’t over-commit myself again, but if I can keep this up (I’m already over 1,000 words. YAY!), I’m confident that they’ll be back real soon.

So stay tuned. And hey, why not follow this blog? At least you’ll have something from me to read until I can get my life together . . .

From the title, you know it’s going to be fun, right?
😉