Protected: I Deserve It

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Silver Linings Yay!Book

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On days when I am struggling, I try to remember that once all of this is over, I can repaint any room in the house to whatever color I want! And when I can afford it again, I can pick out whatever furniture I want. 
 
And also, OMFG, never ever again will I have to spend any part of a holiday with his horrible, stupid family.

Overly Great Expectations?

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This picture is on my Pinterest page. It tugs at my heart. Is this too much to ask? To find that level of love, passion, commitment and trust the second time around?

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I really don’t want to settle for less. And I don’t plan to.

Protected: From the Department of Standards and Expectations

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Not Much to Say…

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Went to dance class again tonight. I’m so glad I’m going. I feel stupid and clumsy, yet I’m enjoying it – I’m enjoying learning something  new! I do okay after I’ve had a lot of practice, but it’s hard for me to learn something quickly in class. Actually, I can learn one step at a time, sometimes even two, but if you throw in a three-step combination, my brain goes kerflooey. 🙂  My knee also started bothering me tonight, but I gritted my teeth, gave it a talking-to, and kept on going. It was fine for most of class, but it’s hurting right now. Blergh! This needs to stop!

I also went to the dentist today, and I talked to her about the ENT’s theory that the ringing/roaring in my left ear is caused by TMJ. He had said I should get a nightguard. She said no, she didn’t think that was the answer; she wants me to see a TMJ specialist. I’m not convinced that this problem is caused by TMJ, but I guess it can’t hurt to find out? I don’t know.

I’m really disillusioned with the medical community lately. I’ve spent so much time and money on doctor visits, co-pays and prescriptions over the last 4-5 years, and I still feel and look like crap most of the time. I’m going to try some alternative therapies, like acupuncture and massage, and try to avoid going to doctors so much. I’ll go to my annual checkups, both regular doctor and OB-GYN, and for my mammogram, of course, and I’ll get my regular dental checkups, but I’m hoping to avoid anything else in 2012.

Cuttin’ it short tonight – I’m beat and have to get to bed. Lots of writing to do tomorrow, as Thursday will be a busy day with — oh, blergh! — doctor’s appointments. 🙂  But one is my annual and the other is to try to get my regular doctor moving on having my thyroid levels checked to a different standard, so they must be done.

Monday. Need I Say More?

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Okay, apparently I don’t blog on weekends. 🙂   Weekends around here tend to be busy, and my brain is usually too busy trying to complete the To Do/To Go List to have any time to think or reflect on anything.

Today is Monday, and the first thing on today’s to do list was “Blog!” with an exclamation point, because I really want to blog regularly. If I can’t get it up to work on any of my novels, at least I can do some non-work related writing here. Unfortunately, I was in a very Monday mood today. Tired, mostly, and hating my job. I have to write a blog post for my least favorite client on Mondays, and that might be why they’re my least favorite client, if that makes sense. Of course, I could write the posts any day; they’re just due on Monday. But for whatever reason, I put them off until I absolutely have to do them. Since all of my stuff needs to be written by Friday at the latest, I try to space things out so that everything is done by Thursday. Because I hate the Monday posts so much, they’re often all I do on Mondays.

Mondays are supposed to be my first day of peace and quiet after the usually busy weekends with the family. I like to try to get the Monday post out of the way so I can turn my attention to other things — not necessarily more enjoyable things! Often it’s housecleaning or errands or a home improvement project just begging to be finished. Today, I had to finish one other article, then write the Monday blog post, and it all took me too long. UGH. I had a lousy topic and therefore had a hard time doing research.

As long as I’m complaining about my work — well, understand something first. I know I’m lucky to be a freelance writer. It definitely has its perks. I like being able to work at home for the most part, the number one reason being that I can be here for my kids in the mornings before school and in the afternoons when they come home. That’s something that was always important to my husband and me, and even though I know the kids would be fine if I worked full time out of the home, this is the way we want it to be for as long as possible. So far, we’re hanging in there.

However, one of the things that I resent about working from home is how some people treat me as if I don’t have a real job. I can’t tell you how often my family and some of my friends will call “just to chat” during the workday. I find it hard to believe they would do that if I had a “real” job. In fact, I know they wouldn’t, because they didn’t when I worked out of the home full time. And then, when they call, inevitably they ask “What are you doing?” and I answer, “Working” (through gritted teeth, trying not to add the word “Duh!”) and they act surprised. And then they usually go on to explain why they’re calling, and keep talking, instead of apologizing for interrupting my work day and getting off the phone.

I know I could turn off the phone, and I probably should, but as a parent, I always worry that the school is going to call about one of my kids, and that they’re not going to think to call my cell if they don’t catch me at home. Yes, I’m a worry wart, I know. I should turn off the phone during the work day, then pray I remember to turn it back on later. Then again, often, when someone doesn’t reach me on the house phone, they’ll call my cell within 2 minutes. Again, not usually about anything important — they just want to chat.

It’s my own fault for not getting stricter with people. I need to stand up for myself and for my job, and make people understand that even though I’m home, I’m barefoot, and probably  in my pajamas, I’m still WORKING and can’t just stop to chat. Writing is still work, and it can be hard to maintain focus when the damn phone rings. I’m not a phone person as it is, I pretty much hate the damn thing, so it’s triply annoying to me when it rings and interrupts my train of thought.

There are some other drawbacks to working at home. #1, you’re at home. All the time. Instead of getting a break from it and going to a job elsewhere, I’m here all day. That’s why I try to build errands into every day, just to get myself out of the house. But it’s hard sometimes to sit and concentrate when I know there’s housework that needs to be done, the laundry is piling up, and two bathrooms need painting. If I wasn’t here, those things wouldn’t faze me a bit.

#2, because you’re at home, people assume that you can just drop everything and do things for them or with them. It’s sometimes the case, but not always. While people think that being a freelancer means making and keeping your own hours, and that’s somewhat true, I’m also on deadline sometimes, either self-imposed or client-imposed. A big part of successfully working from home/freelancing is knowing when you need to take the time to buckle down and keeping yourself to whatever schedule works for you. So I’m not always available when people want me to be, and they can get annoyed — which is annoying. I’ve been doing this for years, and I know what I need to do to function in my job.

A lot of people think that being near the refrigerator all day would be a problem. It really isn’t. First of all, I don’t keep a lot of food in the house. 🙂 And being home means I can drink as much green tea and water as I want, and consequently go to the bathroom as much as I need, which I wouldn’t be as likely to do in the office. 🙂  I can also get up and dance or run up and down the stairs or just walk a circuit around the house if I need to get my butt out of the chair and get my blood recirculating. I can go find a napping kitty and get a nuzzle or two if I’m feeling stressed or depressed.  I wish I could tell you that I often get up and walk or ride my bike or skate around the block during the day, but sadly, I’d be lying. It always seems like too much effort. If I work out during the day, it’s when my self-imposed schedule for the day has been completed. Then I can relax and go to the gym and get sweaty for an hour or so. But that going around the block thing is something to think about, for sure.

Wow, see, look at that. I wrote something today. I got some things off my chest. It’s all good. Now I’ll just sit here and worry about what I’m going to write tomorrow. Or rather, Blog! (with an exclamation point). 😀

 

 

Mixed Feelings

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I went to see Million Dollar Quartet last night. It’s taken me from last night til lunchtime today to know what I’d want to say. I had mixed feelings about the show even as I was watching it.  I guess the best way to put it is that some of the performances were terrific, but the show as a whole was pretty weak sauce.

The show is described as “the new smash-hit musical inspired by the famed recording session that brought together rock ‘n’ roll icons Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis and Carl Perkins for the first and only time.” That doesn’t give the writers much of a plot to hang the script on, but perhaps they knew the music was what people would be going to see. So they contrived (and I use that word very much on purpose) a little set-up wherein the four musicians show up one by one to Sun Studios, at the behest of Sam Phillips, and each acts out a little flashback showing how he met Sam and started at Sun. Then they all perform together, mostly doing their hits, although in reality, they sang a lot of old gospel and old-time country music. Is that a nitpick? No, because frankly, most people wouldn’t sit through that show.

Here’s a nitpick, though: Jerry Lee Lewis was from Louisiana. Johnny Cash was from Arkansas. Elvis was born and raised in Mississippi and then Tennessee, and Carl Perkins apparently grew up in Tennessee. Sam Phillips grew up in Alabama. And they should have all had different Southern accents. Hey, I know this wasn’t Masterpiece Theatre, and I realize a lot of people don’t know this, but people from different regions of the South have different accents. And if you’re going to be an actor, you should know that and not fall back on an irritating, generic “Southern” accent. Especially when there are plenty of video and audio recordings of all 5 guys in existence. I will say that the performer who played Jerry Lee at least sounded different, although I can’t vouch for the verisimilitude of his accent.

On the plus side, they were all good performers. The actor who played Jerry Lee could really whale on that piano, boy. He was terrific. It must take a ton of practice to be able to emulate the real Lewis’s playing style, and he was up to the task. The actor who played Elvis looked pretty authentic from up in the loge, although he didn’t have even a fraction of the real Elvis’ charisma. I appreciated that he didn’t overplay the moment where he had to say “thank you very much.” 🙂

There was a funny moment when the guy who played Johnny Cash (who didn’t really have the gravitas for the role and was maybe a little too purty) first stepped up to sing Walk The Line. He sounded surprisingly good, more like Johnny when he sang than when he talked, but you could sense a bit of tension as the audience waited to see if he could hit those low notes. He did it, and I swear you could feel a sense of relief, hear a slight sigh, and a smattering of applause. 🙂

I don’t want to be unfair to the actors who played Carl Perkins or Sam Phillips. I just don’t know enough about either of them to know whether the characterizations and the acting were good or not. Both parts seemed a little one-note. The Perkins actor played the guitar very well.  And there was a female character whose sole purpose was pretty much to propel the skimpy kind-of-plot along. She was pretty and sang well, but her two numbers were kind of a drag, because we weren’t there to see Elvis’ girlfriend sing.

So, why were we there? I didn’t know what the show was going to entail. I was pretty disappointed in its structure. I started to think about how I could never understand why people pay good money to see tribute bands, like those guys who travel around pretending to be The Beatles, so they can imagine that they’re seeing the real Beatles onstage. It’s never going to be the real thing. And there I was, seeing this show that was basically an excuse for a bunch of guys to get up onstage and pretend to be Presley, Cash, Perkins and Lewis. I think that’s what bothered me the most: there wasn’t really a story.

I saw Jersey Boys last year and really enjoyed it, because I loved the music and because it told a story that I didn’t know, about the rise and fall of Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons. This event didn’t really lend itself to a story. In Jersey Boys, you saw Frankie Valli struggling with his daughter’s issues throughout the show, then his reaction to her death. In MDQ, Catalyst Girl cooed to Johnny Cash, “Say, John, do you have any other musicians in your family?” and then JC’s character had to clonk out the story about how his brother died when he was 14. So Elvis had to say, “Hey, don’t know if you know this, but I had a twin brother who died!” And then Jerry Lee had to pipe up about his brother who died. I kid you not. Awful, awful dialogue. They wrapped up that little vignette with the Carl Perkins character cracking a joke to his brother (who was onstage, along with a drummer) about how things didn’t look too good for him! I kid you not. Yeah, deaths in the family are always a hoot.

I think the most telling moment of the night came at the end, when Sam Phillips had the boys gather around the piano for a picture. As he put the camera up to his eye, the lights went out. There was the sound of the shutter clicking and a few flashes, then this picture appeared, suspended above the stage. The audience as a whole sort of sighed and said “Awww…”  And I think it was that regret that brought us all to Shea’s. To know that these guys are all gone, and that they will never be replaced.

So, to summarize: great singers and musicians. Some great songs that are classics for a damn good reason. I learned a little bit about Carl Perkins. Lousy plot and crappy dialogue. A slight tang of cheesiness. I didn’t hate it, but I didn’t love it.

Also, please note: you’re reading a review by someone who thinks Wicked was kind of stupid and annoying and boring and can’t be bothered to see Rent, yet those are shows that most people seem to love. But I was also pleasantly surprised and amused and entertained by the stage version of Hairspray and will admit to always having a blast when I see Mamma Mia, even though I know Broadway purists spit on it. So take my words with a grain of salt.

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