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Thursday, May 19, 2016

Still Struggling...

Today last year was the day we went to our Momma's cremation. It was me, my sister, our brother, sister-in-law, and niece.
None of us wanted to be there, but all of us felt like we should.
We listened when they explained the procedure and soaked it in when they described how long it took. We declined when they asked if any of us wanted to say anything - we'd already said it all to each other and we know Mom heard us. None of us wanted to push any buttons to set the process in motion. We just wanted to be together and let Mom know we were there for that.
She was in a cardboard casket. We rented a casket for her funeral because it would have been a waste to do buy a casket and then watch it burn. Our funeral guy was more than helpful in letting us know the logistics of our plans. The funeral home already had Dad's ashes and they explained to us how they would mix them together - which sounds kind of creepy, but was perfect for them.
The funeral guy pushed her in, and we stood there for several long minutes. Our funeral home had sent a guy and he was amazing - kind, supportive, and understanding. He gave us the details and left us on our own with our grief, as he should - but he was in the background, should we need him.
And then we left, realizing the smoke went right over our brother's house. Maybe kind of creepy, but also kind of comforting to know that Mom was spread in the air over his house.
Our private viewing time of Mom was so bad. She was so full of fluid and so disproportionate to normal that it was not comforting. We were all in major distress mode. The funeral home did their very best for her, and apologized to us later because they'd done all they could do to make her look normal. Hell, they did a fantastic job considering how many IV's she had going and how much fluid they were pumping through her. It was rough. I kind of wish we'd done things differently, but there was no way to know...
I never blogged about this before because I couldn't. Maybe I still can't because I'm not catching the nuances of that day - of my sister and I talking nonstop on the way there and not saying a word on the way back, of going to our brother's before we went and drinking coffee and wanting to just sit on his couch and stay there forever. Of going back to Mom's knowing we had to go home that night and go back to our day jobs the next day. Just the two of us stayed that night and went to work from Mom's like we had so many times since Dad died.
And now we're looking at a year since we started clearing out the house. We're almost done. We're tired. We're sad. We're freaked out that within the next few weekends we won't be together every weekend, so we made a pact - we'll do what we need to do at our own houses (and FFS. trust me, it's a lot - I have a mini fridge in my dining room. AND a mini Christmas tree...) and then we'll each help each other with projects. We're going to be busy for a long time because the list is pretty freaking long... Ha!
But it's good, because we need to be together.
So, yeah. I know I'm a downer right now. I'm sorry for that. I don't even have a fraction of my grief out here and I don't know if it's possible for many people to understand the depth of it... It sucks. I do what I have to do and I look forward to the weekends spent at Mom's with the sibs. And that's going away soon... Weird stuff.
Behave!

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Ugh... The Stuff...

So it's my momma's birthday today. It's also they day we had her funeral services last year. I'm having a whole lot of memories today and a whole lot of sadness.
That Man is amazing though. He cancelled his plans to stay home with me tonight, knowing that I needed him. He did the grocery shopping, stopped and picked up wine, made a great dinner, and has taken care of me all night.
I stopped by Mom's on my way home - mainly to pick up a charging cable from my brother-in-law for K4 and to check the mail. I am amazed at how much work we've done, and hopeful that we're almost done there. I couldn't go to far in - never made it into the living room. We have this weekend there to get things done.
It's not a fun day.
That Man sent me the most amazing email about my momma today. I'm not going to post it here, because it was private, but one of the things he said was... "Your Mom is Christmas Eve..." Yeah, that... She is. And now the celebration is mine and I will do my best to honor her...
So I'll do what I have to do and know my momma is with me every day.
Sorry for the downer...
Behave!

Monday, May 16, 2016

Post Retreat

Sorry I missed posting before we left the retreat center!
I was trying to meet my word count and then pack, pay the bill, all that jazz.
We left right on time. It was snowing when we left. How weird is that?
We stopped at a Denny's for an awesome lunch and got home late afternoon. It was great to see the family! I took a little nap with That Man. Those kids and That Man made dinner. We all watched a movie together. It was nice. We were in bed at a ridiculously early time.
Back to the day job today.
That was rough. My inbox was insane. The day was insane!
So now I'm catching up and exhausted...
Going to write now. And then bed.

Saturday, May 14, 2016

Retreat: Day 4 - PM

Well... It's the last night of retreat... I have a sad...And I wish I had a time-turner.
I have accomplished far more than I even though possible this year.
Normally, everyone coming to retreat sets a goal that they'd like to meet. It can be anything from having fantastic nail polish, taking a nap, sleeping without interruption, to finishing a book, writing seven synopses, or just writing as much as possible.
My only goal for this year was to feel Immersed in writing.
I found that on my first day. The ability to just get into the story without letting anything take me out of it. I had my two stories to edit, and the one I wanted to start, but I wasn't thinking about that when I got here. I just wanted to do my thing and not feel like I couldn't focus on it because there were so many other things that required my attention.
Somehow, I managed to finish my edits and submit the story, finish the short and send for critique, and as of right now, write over 8K on a new story.
I feel accomplished.
I have not written anything new since my last retreat two years ago. Yes, I have published stuff since then. I have edited and I have written, but not with as much intent that I feel now. Mostly, I edited older stuff, which while productive, doesn't feel the same as starting out with a fresh idea.
And... I didn't have the current story idea until last night. I knew what kind of story I wanted to write. I knew where I think I want to send it, but nothing else was there. To be truthful, I thought I was broken.
Turns out, I'm not. I'm an author, dammit!
This retreat has rocked, despite the very loud couples therapy people who insist we need to interview them for fantastic story ideas (wtf?), our somewhat odd dinner that while okay, was still out of the normal desirable food stuff, despite the wedding, which is still kind of loud as they clean up and as we have spillage into our hall that includes little kids who cry a lot, (in my section of hallway, too) and after we witnessed two almost naked guys trying to swim in the pond and disturb our resident goose (who is still a jerk, but doesn't deserve the harassment). I won a prize, which is awesome and also very random. Simon and I pick the prizes and always think I shouldn't enter to win, but everyone tells me that's crap and that I deserve to win like anyone else. We always get prizes we would love to have ourselves, so to say I'm pleased is an understatement. (Oh and one of the items is an Avengers blanket. How cool is that?)
We had the best coordinator at the venue. The staff here took care of us before anyone else - making sure we had our dinner first and just generally being awesome. They realized the loud groups was an inconvenience and a stressor and took the time to talk to us about how things could be different next year.
I am satisfied beyond satisfied.
And I am an author. This is what I'm meant to do... Tell stories. I am more convinced of that now that I have been for a long time.
Now it's time for the last retreat sleep. I'm ready to go home and rock this thing! (and I miss those aliens I live with...)
Behave!

Retreat: Day 4 - AM

It's our last full day on Retreat!
I'm sad, but I am also missing my family a lot! I'll be ready to head home tomorrow, but not so ready to go back to the day job.
There's a chill in the air this morning - a put your socks and sweatshirt on kind of chill. I'm in the comfy chair in my room - feet propped up, cozy blanket over me. I will be napping again today. For sure.
So the loud group has not gotten any quieter or any more considerate. They tromp down our hallway talking at the top of their lungs, staring into our rooms, and generally being a pain. This morning there was one of those punching balloons being excessively played with. At 7:15 am.
Currently, someone is robbing the ice machine. I can hear them dumping the ice into a cooler or something. There will be none left for anyone else, which is also a jerk move.
And then tonight there is a wedding. We'll see what kind of chaos that brings.
We'll have our game and prize drawing this evening, which is always a blast.
Until then, I will be working on my new story. The only thing I need at this point is names for the main characters. Working on that right now.
Later.
Behave!

Friday, May 13, 2016

Retreat: Day 3 - PM - Feel Good Friday

Here we go!
1. Finishing my edits on ItF and submitting! Whoot!
2. Finishing my short and sending for critique. Whoot!
3. Brainstorming with Misty and finding my next story! Whoot! (3 whoots in a row!)
4. Feeling like my writer self again!
5. Having one more full day here!
6. The last of our posse arriving safe and sound!
7. Finding out how great my kid did at her performance last night!
8. Talking to her school and hearing good news.
9. The lovely weather here. It was raining, then sunny, then big black clouds. The big storm never came, though I wished for it. I'll take the sun, white puffy clouds, and wonderful breeze though!
10. Napping.
11. Knowing that I will make my writing group goal for the first time in months.
12. Tonight's gathering plans, which will include laughter and possible game playing.

Things that were not so awesome about today:
1. Today is the one year anniversary of my mom's death. It's weighed heavily on me all day, well since last night when her brother called. Well, for a long time. It's been a really rough year. I miss my momma so much, but I also know that she's watching over me and telling me to write the damn books and be happy like she is now that she's with Dad. Love you, Mom.
2. Waking up with a ginormous zit on my chin.
3. The extremely LOUD group that has joined us. No kidding. This woman just ran down the hall screaming "Yoo Hoo", while looking into our rooms. It was made well known to them that we're writers who are working here, and this particular lady is quick to tell the other guests that we're authors, but not so quick to shut her mouth.
4. The poor hummingbird that crashed into the dining room window.
5. The rude goose right outside my window and his incessant honking. lol

Obviously more good than bad. Number one aside, the bad can suck it. (especially #3)
I'm off to our gathering!
Behave!

Retreat: Day 3 - AM

It's raining here. There was some pretty heavy rain overnight, which is probably one of the reasons I actually slept decently. My windows are open and there was a nice cool breeze coming in. I did set an alarm so I had time to shower before breakfast.
So far today I've taken care of Household Administration duties - paid bills, brought up the checkbook, scheduled appointments. Still waiting on a return phone call, but am just about at the point to begin writing.
I made really good progress on my short yesterday, but am taking it a break from it today to see if I can get another project that's been hanging over my head submission ready. I'm not sure if I'll actually be able to submit today, but that would be nice. Hey... You never know and I have all day to work on it.
Tonight we have our annual cocktail party. We gather in our meeting space to hang out and talk. It's like Happy Hour in your PJ's - without loud music and expensive food. Very nice. We might play a game. We might not. Just depends.
So far so good with the disaster thing...
I'll be back.
Behave!

Thursday, May 12, 2016

Retreat: Day 2 - PM

Lunch stuffed us full. We eat so danged much here. The food is amazing and the portions are huge. We spend a lot of our meal times discussing our childhoods and why we are inclined to do the weird food stuff we do as adults. lol. I came back to my room and napped. It was a good nap until I had a very strange stress-like dream. I woke in a panic and it took me a few minutes to convince myself that none of it was true.
After that, I got back to work - cutting nearly 7K words on my short and adding at least 3K. Not sure if I'll finish this up today as I thought, but that's okay. I'd rather have a solid story than a mess and I'm getting there.
We had a terrific rain storm with thunder and everything. One of our members got caught in it and had to walk two miles back in the downpour. :( The sun is out again, but we're supposed to get more storms overnight. Yay! Not only do I love a good storm, the storms here are epic!
We've had dinner at this point. I had eggplant parmesan, rice, and green beans. Also, boston cream pie... like I said, we eat so much here... I'm stuffed. And sleepy.
The only plans for tonight is to get together and watch a documentary on writing we've all been dying to see. And writing.
I hope I can sleep! If it storms I will for sure!

*Disaster of the day: Part two: So when I blogged last, I was on my "writing bed" with my computer propped on my lapdesk. I smelled something cat pee foul and thinking it was my sweatshirt that might have been packed on top of my slippers, I ripped it off and went back to work. Or tried. No. The smell was still there. Moving everything, I realized it was the cushion on my lapdesk. Stupid cats... It reeked. I scrubbed it in the bathtub where the water ran yellow for a long time, but think I got everything out... It's currently drying in the bathroom with the heat cranked on high. Once it dries, I will move back to my "writing bed".

Tonight is K4's end year performance at school and I'm missing it. I'm very sad about it, but it wasn't scheduled until after I'd paid my money to be here. That Man is there and K3 - I'm not sure if any of the rest of her sibs could make it or not. That wasn't my department. I hope to get a full report later.

More tomorrow!
Behave!

Retreat: Day 2 - AM

 It's beautiful here! Look at that sky! And the pond and hiking trail!
I can hear the fountain from my room and last night there were baby frogs peeping out there.
The breeze is amazing as I currently sit on my "writing bed" with the windows wide open. We had a lovely breakfast, and a coffee station ready early this morning to tide us over with caffeine until the dining room opened.
Everyone has settled in and are working on their various projects. We have one member coming on Friday, but until then, my job as chairman is a supportive one. The work is done and it's time for me to do what I need to do. Which I have been. I found out what was missing in my short, and I will work on that until lunch.
After lunch, I plan on a nap since I had a horrible time sleeping last night. I tried this morning, but ended up thinking of a hundred things that I'd missed at the day job thanks to our computer systems going down at the end of the day yesterday. So now I'm regrouping and getting ready to get back to it. I'm not sure what my plan is after my nap. I have three options, so we'll see which one strikes me at that point.
I've kept my expectations of fantastic word counts low this year. My main goal for this retreat is to find my writer-self again. So far, I think I'm right on track. I'm excited again. This writing gig is what I want to do more than any other job in the world and it's only up to me to make it happen. And I will!

*Disaster of the day: It was a little chilly when I got up this morning (at a stupid early time, if I may add). I slid into my slippers, looking forward to their fuzzy warmth. Only that wasn't what I got... Oh, one felt lovely and nice. The other felt like I'd slid my foot into rotten honey. But it was nowhere near that...
I knew what it had to be, and I was right as I sniffed the shoe. Freaking cat pee. Gross! Needless to say, the slippers are now in the garbage. Yes. It was that bad. And now I have no slippers... :(
Hopefully that's the worse thing that happens today.
Be back with a PM post later! I'm off to work!
Behave!

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Retreat: Day 1

Yay! Retreat! Finally!

I cannot tell you how happy I am to be here! I've already made some significant progress editing my short story. All but three people are here - two due to arrive in an hour or so and one on Friday.
We've had our dinner and have retired to our rooms for a little while (I'm sure we'll end up either in our meeting room or someone's room to take a break).

I have my very own room this year, which I'm stoked about. (not that I minded my roomie at all, but for me, for this year, this is what I need)

Our day started out a little crazy.
As we were pulling through a drive through, we saw a car back into an elderly gentleman. The whole thing happened in slow motion, until two of us jumped out of the car to help. The older man was knocked to the ground, hitting his head and scraping up his arm. He also said his ribs on the one side hurt pretty bad. We made the call to get an ambulance and the police and then waited with him until they arrived. Once we'd given our statements, we were able to hit the road. It was a total accident. The guy who was driving felt horrible.

We drove through some crazy fog. Had a fantastic lunch and finally arrived. Whoot!

Oh and another super cool thing! Prelude of Lies is now available in print! Woo Hoo! (Click the link)
I'm super excited to get my copies and be able to hold this book in my hands!

So that's pretty much the extent of Day 1. More later...
Behave!