Happy New Year

Well, here we are at the end of another year.  It’s been quite an eventful year – moving to Colorado, getting a new job, rewriting Rage for the third time and getting two offers to publish it, writing Blood Dreams (with the first draft being finished the night I found out I was pregnant), getting pregnant…with TWINS…and saying goodbye for the second (and third, if you count Christmas) time to my husband while he went 2000 miles away. 

Like many, I have today off (thank you Jones & Keller!).  Got up just before 7 when the Shrimp decided it was time to be up and let him watch cartoons until breakfast, after which he asked for a movie (Cars for the umpteen millionth time).  For the past 45 minutes (or an hour, really), he’s been quietly playing with a puzzle hubby got him for Christmas.  He couldn’t manage it at all by himself the first time when he got it a week ago.  He struggled with it the second or third time…now he’s in seventh heaven, putting it together and taking it apart so he can do it himself again. 

It’s silly, but I’m ridiculously happy for him (and proud of him) for putting it together today with very little assistance the first/second time from me and absolutely none after that.  It might be memorization, but it’s still progress.  He struggles with some of these things.  I’d told him from the get go I wasn’t going to help him until later, and I kept to that (other than a couple minor things).  He figured it out on his own.  The satisfaction I feel watching him is as close to paradise as I can imagine – it could have something to do with the fact that he’s been (mostly) quiet for the entire time (which for Mr. Motormouth is a freakin’ MIRACLE).  Now if he’d just try one of the other two puzzles…

Back to the New Year thing.

2011 is going to be a…weird…year, I guess.  Sitting here on the verge of it, I can say that.  I will get a contract on one or more of my books, even if it means taking up the press that left the door open on Rage.  I’m 99% sure of that.  Come March (or heaven help me, April), the entire world is going to shift (for me) on its axis when I welcome the Shrimpettes into our lives.  Hubby and I will get back under one roof permanently (and so help me, someone’s going to die if we split again for ANY reason – I’m sick of it).  And we will move into an apartment or house that is NOT on the third floor.  I’m planning on writing at least one, if not two, books in 2011, finish my capstone and otherwise tie up some loose ends.  Biggest of all, my boy will start kindergarden.  Wow. 

Okay, that’s enough of my goals.  What about you?  Do you have any thoughts/plans/goals/resolutions (if you want to use that word) for the brand spankin’ new year of 2011?  Have a safe one and be happy!

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And He’s Gone Again

It was a lovely several days, but now hubby’s gone.  His flight left Denver on time, but as of the time I post this, his flight from Atlanta to Jacksonville is delayed by almost an hour and a half, which will get him in after 9 tonight, eastern.  Poor thing.

The shrimp loved his Christmas presents, but the winner was Grandma’s gift of a Buzz Lightyear action figure.  He likes his penguin pillow pet (which took 5 stops to find), but Buzz takes the cake, without a doubt.

I found out all over how much I love my husband, it’s true.  Four wonderful days together.  We compliment each others’ strengths so well it seems bizarre that we met by chance through an old text-based RPG computer game named Gemstone III.  But we did and other than one false start, we’ve never looked back.  Coming up on our 7th anniversary here in just over a month and it’s going to stink that we’re 2000 miles apart.  Oh well, it’s worth it.  It’s the right decision.

Hope everyone had a lovely Christmas.  What was your favorite present (yours or one you gave) this year?

Appreciation and Anticipation

Given the number of times recently that I’ve heard the shrimp say “I want that” in response to a commercial on the television, it got me started on thinking about anticipation.  The holiday season, in part thanks to my boss, has also made me think of appreciation as well.

Appreciation
Most legal-field jobs come with a bonus of some sort at the end of the year.  Yes, we know not to “count on it” but it seems pretty standard that one of the supervisors or the firm itself gives “something” (usually a check).  For the first time that I remember, my holiday bonus I think actually represented true appreciation of my boss for me.  When I thanked him, he said he knew I’d had a rough year (what with hubby unemployed for most of it and now working 2000 miles away), and hoped it helped us have a nice Christmas.  He could have just said “you’re welcome” or something along those lines, but just the few words made me feel like he’d actually put some thought into what was presented along with WHY it was presented.

The above should not be taken to mean that I don’t feel my prior employers haven’t appreciated me or that the bonus wasn’t taken as a sign of their appreciation, but somehow this year it just struck me a little harder.

Having felt so appreciated at work, this seems a good place to mention a few things I’m appreciative of myself.

  1. My husband – he’s working so hard and it’s a rough situation he’s in, 2000 miles away.  I love him so much for what he’s given up for us at this point.
  2. My crit partners over the past eight months or so (Angela, Jaycynthe, Alison specifically) for all their feedback on Rage and Dreams.
  3. My mother – I gripe about her a lot and am frustrated watching long distance as she heads down a significant decline in mental accuity (she’s in her 70’s).  But I love her and I wouldn’t be half the person I am, with a very different moral compass if not for the guidance she gave as I grew up.
  4. My little boy – Yes, I want to choke him for being as bullheaded as I am about 75% of the time, but he also makes me smile and will just say “I love you” out of the blue for no reason.
  5. The Shrimpettes – Carrying them, reading so much about the pregnancy process, has made me realize what little miracles they really are and says that God must really think I can handle a lot if He’s trusting me with two of His perfect gifts.
  6. The standard – having a job, house, and life.

So, I guess so I don’t ramble on too much…that’s it for now on Appreciation.

Anticipation

Well, number one on the list of things I’m anticipating (only because it’s SUPPOSED to be tonight) is my husband’s arrival home.  However…there was a flight delay getting him out of Jacksonville.  It’s going to be by the skin of his teeth if he makes it onto the connecting flight from Chicago to Denver.  Right now the arrival/departure schedule shows his Jacksonville plane getting to the gate at 7:44p and the Chicago flight LEAVING the gate at 8:00. 

The boy is anticipating daddy coming home and Christmas of course.  It’s been quite useful, having the threat of Santa not bringing him stuff, the past few weeks.  Unfortunately, that ends here in a few days.

Of course the #1 (excepting the impending flight) thing most anticipated in my world right now are the arrivals of the Shrimpettes.  I have no patience whatsoever, so pregnancy is probably one of the worst things anyone (God or man) can do to me.  I can’t hurry this along whatsoever.

How about you?  Anything you’re anticipating or appreciating today?

Nook and More

NookWell, thanks to a lovely bonus from my boss, I was finally able to get an e-reader.  I decided of the options out there, the best one for me is Barnes & Nobles’ Nook WiFi.  The Nook can handle the ePub format that you can get the bulk of the digital books from the library, whereas my first choice, the ever-famous Kindle could not.  The iPad wasn’t ever in the running simply due to cost.

Saturday morning, I bought my Nook.  I’m almost done with a second book on it (thanks to the library) and played quite a few games of Sudoku.  I suck at the game, but it’s fun.  I haven’t gotten the chance to set up my WiFi (and register) for the Nook, but hopefully when the husband’s home, he’ll get my router set up.  Or I can just run down to Starbucks and use their WiFi connection to get registered.  Either way, it’s not hard.  I’ve ordered a cover and can’t wait for it to come in.  The size is a little awkward, but other than that, I have few complaints.

Husband
Tomorrow’s the day, wahoo!  I can’t wait to see him.  The Shrimp’s pretty psyched too, though it may be because I’ve connected Christmas and Daddy’s return too much.  I’ll be pretty cranky and tired on Wednesday because his flight comes in at 10p and I still have to work the next day, but ya know something?  It’s one day, and I get my handsome man back.

Pregnancy
I can definitely feel the Shrimpettes squirming around now.  It’s not constant and I certainly can’t see it on the outside, but the movements are distinct to me.  Definitely not just gas.  Unfortunately, I think the oh-so-brief “honeymoon” phase of the pregnancy is just about over.  I eat…and I get heartburn.  Carpal tunnel’s flaring up out of control (even trying to sleep with a brace on).  However, everything else is still feeling good, so 36 weeks, here I come!  The girls are under orders to cook until then (that would be 3/28).

Something occurred to me, positive thoughts about making it to 36 weeks aside.  If the girls are born early, they’ll spend time in the NICU (neonatal intensive care unit for those not familiar).  On the BabyCenter boards, I frequently see people talking about spending all day at the NICU.  Am I so unnatural for thinking (if they should have to spend a month or more in there) that once I recover from giving birth, why not go back to work until they’re ready to come home?  I have so little paid maternity leave (4 weeks – thank you my workplace for the 4 weeks, make no mistake), why would I waste it when I could save part of it and use it once the girls finally come home?  Now, if this is only a week or so that they’re in there, it’s not an issue.

Readers – any thoughts on this (or experience, if you’ve had children in the NICU)?

Time Marches On

Pregnancy
Well, other than that one big one last weekend, I haven’t felt much from the twins, though I’m pretty sure I’m feeling them squirm around a lot these days.  Not consistently, or reliably, but enough most days that I’m aware of it.  Or it’s gas.  But it feels like babies kicking.

I sort of dreading my hubby coming home next week because while people ‘say’ I have a baby-bump, I really don’t know if it looks like a baby bump or just I’ve gotten bigger.  Since he hasn’t seen me in almost two months…yick.  Guess I’ll find out.  He’s kinda stuck with me, and technically, the additional bulge IS half his fault. 

Writing
I haven’t written anything yet, but now I’ve got two plots beginning to swirl. 

One involves my alternate Earth, vamps, and Senor Psycho.  Chris is refusing to play ball, but I realized there IS another female I have on my list of characters that might fit the bill for someone who could deal with him in the, er…more romantic way.  Though, I have to say, I just don’t know if he’s CAPABLE of being a romance-hero type.  He’s evil and I LIKE him that way.  But, he’s also insisting he’s a good enough (as in developed enough) person to get his own book and until/unless I come up with a better idea, I might as well go with it and see if I can turn my evil character into something tolerable.  Not redeem, not totally.  He still must die eventually.  Certain other members of my vamp cast would never forgive me if I didn’t kill him somewhere down the road.

The other idea is actually fantasy.  Hubby and I were talking the other night about writing and he thinks I need to do a fantasy romance.  He thinks it should be based off one (or more) of the Oriental cultures (because generally they haven’t been done as much), using samurai and whatnot.  I think it’s a valid argument, but..meh.  Nowhere near ready to devote the time and research I would need to accurately build a world based off a mythology that I freely admit to knowing next to nothing about. 

So, for now I’m going to do a story in my fantasy world which goes back to when one of the three races is born, and the events that lead up to it.  I’ve got the world already created, at least in my head.  Graelam (hero) is a little rough around the edges and strangely (thus far in a couple of scenes contemplated) sounds like Marcelo.  However, attitudewise he is most definitely not my sweet little beta male.  Elathene (heroine) has somewhat of a personality, I’m just trying to clarify for myself where the two are in their lives before I leap in with them.

Awesome Hubby
Yup – mine’s awesome, even 2000 miles away.  I’m getting my e-reader after a discussion with him today.  After some research online to be certain what readers could handle the library format, I’ve decided to get the Barnes & Noble Nook WiFi.  The 3G feature isn’t worth it to me, and I don’t really need the color options of the Color Nook.  Going to the store tomorrow and picking it up.  He agreed it was critical that I be able to download library books since (according to him), he could make $100k/year and I’d still make us go broke if he tried to support my reading habit by BUYING the books.  After a few minutes, I had to concede the point.  I probably could, with relatively little effort.

I sooooo cannot wait for tomorrow, even if it means facing the terror that is shopping during the holiday season.

I felt a kick!

Not on the inside, but with my hand!  It was quite surprising last night.  Apparently both placentas are anterior which muffles any sensations I might have from the twins, so I haven’t really felt much in the way of flutters from them even though I’m almost 21 weeks along.  However, I felt a distinct kick at my waist last night, so rested my hand over the spot.  A moment later, my stomach (and hand) bounced.  Quite magical in it’s own way.  This gives me hope that at some point during the hubby’s four days at home (wooooow, it’s only 10 days until he’s home!), he’ll have a chance to feel them.

I had my bi-weekly checkup on Wednesday and they did a systems check on the girls.  Unfortunately Jackie is proving herself quite the stubborn child and refused to shift positions so the doctor could see everything he needed to.  So we’ll try again (and hubby should be there for it).  Sammie (Baby B) was more obliging and I got to see the kidneys, the bladder (I think), and most definitely the heart.  The heart was the most incredible sight because one of the angles he got, you could see the four chambers opening and shutting.  He also got a look at the aorta and said, “While this doesn’t necessarily rule out OTHER problems, this one definitely doesn’t have tetralogy.”

I was born with tetralogy of Fallot (congenital heart defect) and so both pregnancies I’ve been terrified my curse would get passed on.  The shrimp is (and always has been) fine that way and so hearing Sammie’s good (in that respect) was a huge weight off my mind.  I could deal with almost any health problem except that.  Every system/thing they could check looked good, so…so far so good.  I’ve health two healthy little babies (he couldn’t see gender shots on either of them).  Jackie’s 12oz and Sammie’s 11oz.

On Writing
It’s weird – in the past week I’ve had two separate dreams about getting offered contracts by the two e-publishers I’ve sent Dreams to.  Just out of the blue both times I’ve dreamed about it.  Maybe that’s a good thing.  My hopes aren’t dead yet, at least for that one.  Now if I could just solidify a plot and feel the writing go again.  Oh well, it’s fairly quiet at the moment (even Senor Psycho).  I’ll just have to take an ice pick and start hacking.

How do you get through the dry spells when it comes to your writing?

Winter and Holidays

Winter is a nice time of year.  I’ve thus far not had to use the furnace TOO much which makes me happy when it comes to the electric bill, but of course there’s the balance of what am I comfortable at and what is the Shrimp comfortable at.  Since he’s currently sleeping with me (yet another reason I am eager for the husband to be back with his family where he belongs), it’s actually not been too bad.  The room he would normally sleep in is frigidly cold in winter if we leave the door closed.  Just glad we have a king-sized bed.  He STILL manages to hog over half of it on occasion.

I have my big anatomy scan appointment later this week, which I’m excited about.  I’ll get to find out how big the girls are, hear that once again they are still girls, and so forth.  I wish husband was home for it, but he’ll see them next time, along with me and my big ol’ baby bump.  I swear I look more pregnant now than I did when carrying my boy at 37 weeks, but per my best friend I really looked pregnant back then and it’s just me who didn’t realize it.  Perspective/familiarity and all that.

I’d like to take this opportunity to just say how much I really do not like being pregnant.  Don’t get me wrong – I don’t want to NOT be pregnant because I already love my little girls.  I just don’t like going through the process.  It’s slow, drawn-out and frustratingly stressful, worrying about whether or not I’m eating what I need to (without eating too much), drinking enough (but only of the RIGHT things) and not doing anything which could hurt these little people who depend on me for their existence.  Take out the horrific aspect of just what an Axlotle tank is (read Frank Herbert’s Dune series, specifically the last couple for more specifics), and I wish I had one of those to carry these darlings to term.

Christmas/Romance Movies
So, there is an upside, however small, to this separation thing.  I can watch a Hallmark or Lifetime movie without having to sit through teasing.  Oh, he might IM tease, but I can watch and not cringe, waiting for some comment or another.  Heh. 

I’m not big into Christmas movies in general, but have to say I’ve watched two thus far, both romances.  Mrs. Miracle and Call Me Mrs. Miracle based on books by Debbie Macomber.  Mrs. Miracle was the first, and Call Me is the second book featuring Doris Roberts as Mrs. Miracle who is (it appears) an angel or other paranormal being who helps bring these couples together.  I saw Call Me first, primarily because it had Eric Johnson (Rookie Blues, Brokeback Mountain and Smallville fame, along with Flash Gordon and some others) as the romantic lead.  I have to say it’s very hard to go back to using his image as my mental picture for Jordan after seeing him go nicey-nice for two hours.

Word of warning to anyone who watches these movies: they’re so sweet/sugary that diabetics might lapse into a coma off of them.  But I smiled all the way through both movies, I have to say.

Other holiday fare I like: the original Miracle of 34th Street, How the Grinch Stole Christmas, Charlie Brown Christmas, Ghosts of Girlfriends Past, and a handful of others.

How about you?  What are some of your favorite movies for the holiday season?

Versatile Blogger, me?

First, I would like to say an enormous THANK YOU to the lovely Cynthia over at Random Thoughts who picked me for one of her seven versatile blogger awards.  I was startled as can be when I clicked through to read her blog today and saw my lil’ blog actually got mentioned somewhere.  But it was fantastic.  Per my (admittedly) limited understanding, again based on Cynthia’s blog, I now need to reveal 7 things about myself and mention 7 other phenomenal bloggers, so here goes!

  1. My favorite color is green (preferably that beautiful dark forest green).
  2. I’m pregnant with twins (probably not so random, but it’s the first thing I think about most days).
  3. I work for a corporate & securities law firm after having done almost exclusively personal injury work previously.
  4. I argue with the voices in my head (primarily a semi-villain from one of my books who has an over-inflated impression of himself).
  5. I was born and raised in the Sacramento Valley in California.
  6. At one point I had a working/playing knowledge of 6 instruments (piano, organ, flute, oboe, basson, clarinet) and played 3 of them (at various times) in school bands.
  7. I’m a life-long Minnesota Twins & Atlanta Braves fan (with no time spent in either state), along with a forced conversion to being a Tampa Bay Rays fan.

Now for my list of worthy bloggers.

  1. Autumn Piper/Piper Denna at http://piperpatter.blogspot.com/
  2. Liz Fichera at http://lizficherablog.blogspot.com/
  3. Alison Beightol at http://adventuresofthecautionarytale.blogspot.com/
  4. Angela James at http://nicemommy-evileditor.com/blog
  5. Denise Little at http://deniselittle.wordpress.com/
  6. Monica Burns at http://monicaburns.blogspot.com/
  7. Madeline Smyth at http://madelinesmyth.blogspot.com/

Well, that certainly gave me a little kick in the tush to brighten my day.  I had a more dreary post in mind and was in fact about to write it after catching up on blog posts by others.  Please, check out the lovely ladies listed above and say hi when you go.