Things I learned this week

In nine lifetimes, you’ll never know as much about your cat as your cat knows about you.”

– Michel de Montaigne.

This week I learned…

…that after taking the entire summer off, I am having a hard time acclimating to the new schedule.  Actually doing things – every single day, all freaking day long – is hard.

that Andy Roddick is retiring from the sport of tennis.

(insert a hearty “YES!” and an Arsenio Hall worthy fist pump here)

I am neither shocked nor saddened by this news.   He’s never been one of my favorite players.   In fact, I really sort of loath and despise him with every fiber of my being – strictly from a fan/professional athlete perspective, of course.  I imagine he’s a perfectly lovely person.  Really.  Surely, he doesn’t throw juvenile temper tantrums alaJohn McEnroe when he’s not on the court.  I doubt his wife would put up with such behavior any more than his tortured circuit line judges.  Then again, I could be wrong.  It’s been known to happen.  Maybe he is, indeed, a sniveling snot in every aspect of his life, not just during game play.    Hmmm….I suppose, I should be gracious and acknowledge his contributions to the sport, but, yeah…I’m not feeling it.  I bid you farewell, Mr. Roddick and if you could do me one small favor as you fade quietly into oblivion, please take Rafe Nadal with you.  Please.  Thank you.

that, speaking of tennis, Roger Federer is out in the quarter finals of the U.S. Open.

(sigh)

…that it takes roughly six months to recover from a yoga-induced hip flexor injury. Good to know.  Of course, it would’ve been nice to have this bit of insight eight months ago.  I could have avoided the whole damn mess by choosing to fulfill my physical education credit with something a tad less ambitious – like “walking for fitness.”  They even offer it on-line.   What is it they say about hindsight?  I suppose I should tuck this lesson way for my blog entry “Things I learned in my 40s.”

…that my husband sometimes says things that cause me great concern.  This week, while driving in the car, he was complaining about a series of dysfunctional ROMs he recently downloaded for his cell phone.   I am ashamed to say that I was only half listening.  I’m not big on technology.  It all seems like a bunch of voodoo magic to me, and besides, I’d heard that song and dance before:

Week one:  Download sparkly new ROM for phone; profess love for said ROM;  it’s the best ROM ever.

Week two:  This ROM is shit.  Everything is totally effed up.  My phone keeps rebooting. I’m going to have to find a new ROM.

It’s cyclical and as predictable as the rising sun.  The ROMs are revolutionary in the beginning, but inevitably they all end up being worthless pieces of buggy shit.  However, this week, my husband figured out the source of his problems. It seems that all this time, he was…

…flashing dirty.

I hate it when that happens.

…that I must continually remind myself that change is good; and the desire to step outside of my comfort zone is what drove me back into the classroom.  This semester I am taking a geology course and a discussion based history course.   While I find the earth’s processes interesting, and have been known to tune into the science channel on occasion, it’s just not my thing.  History, on the other hand, is my thing.  I love it, perhaps even more than writing (EGADS – say it isn’t so!).  However, the discussion driven format of this particular course goes against the grain of my introverted personality.   I struggled with the decision to take this class, even put it off two semesters.  In the end, my desire to learn the covered material over-ruled any anxiety.   Plus, the professor teaching the course is one of my favorite.  He is a character unto himself who rails against our over-regulated, liberal society and the established state mandated educational bureaucracy that dares to dictate his curriculum, lock him into an unworkable timeline, and require he complete a laundry list of menial administrative tasks.  All of which he finds idiotic and nonsensical.  Unfortunately, as we close out the second full week of the semester, I find myself pained at the prospect of attending this class.  The unorganized format has increasingly dissolved into a full out free-for-all complete with irrelevant  arguments, wandering points, and, on occasion, rampant hostility.  All things that set my teeth on edge and have my inner rebellious self fantasizing about jumping up onto a desk, shaking my fist in the air, and screaming STFU!

Of course, I’m sure that would adversely effect my GPA.  Bummer.

…that after a two week absence from WordPress, it is absolutely impossible to read all of the blog entries sitting in my Reader.   I shall have to do better.

…and last, but not least, this week’s awww moment is brought to you by this little guy.  I found him feverishly stowing pecans in his secret hideaway.  As I have a nifty new lens, I stalked him with my camera until he caught on to my game and promptly outsmarted me by disappearing into the high branches of an old live oak.

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An update and an award

Usually, I post these self-shaming updates on Sunday, but I was too busy watching Roger Federer reclaim the top spot in men’s tennis.

One must have clearly defined priorities, right?

In between break points, I did manage to pull myself away from the television long enough to take a good hard look at my WIP.  I haven’t really done that since JuNoWriMo ended.  I was a little scared, but it wasn’t all that bad.  There are parts that work, parts that don’t, parts that scream WTF.   It could have been worse.   It needs to be better.

After reading through 90 or so pages of material, I decide that Anna needed a brother.  So, I added him, and then I killed him.  Cold, I know, but necessary.  It will add an emotional element and focus to the story that I felt was lacking.  Of course, adding (and killing) an important new character means that the underlying dynamic of my story has changed and therefore, an outline revision is in order.

I can’t tell you how much that thrills me.  You know, because outlining is my favorite part about the writing process.

Moving on.  I want to take a minute to acknowledge and thank Julie over at Word Flows for the Lucky 7 Meme Award she tossed my way a couple of weeks ago.  These sort of things always put a smile on my face.  Thank you, Julie!

Of course, this one is a little different from most.  It requires giving up a piece of my WIP for the world to see.  That’s not something I am comfortable doing outside of my writing group.  If it had been anyone else, I would have bowed out, but for Julie, I will do it.

The Lucky 7 Meme Award Rules are as such:

1. Go to the 7th or 77th page of your work in progress.
2. Go to the 7th line of the page.
3. Copy the next 7 sentences or paragraphs. Remember, they must be as they are typed.
4. Tag 7 authors.
5. Let them know they’re it!
 

So, here are my 7 lines – unedited and raw.

That’s all I’m willing to give.

“Rome, however, remained constant. The streets and lanes were still narrow and winding, paved in worn uneven cobbles.  The stucco facade of the old buildings were still faded and covered in graffiti. Smart cars, motor bikes, and scooters still clogged every conceivable inch of space.  Life moved on.

Anna inhaled.  Even through the fog of her grief, it felt good to be home.

She didn’t live far from the piazza, just around the corner on the Vicolo Moroni, a street so confined she could touch the walls on either side.  Her flat was on the top floor of a Renaissance era structure the color of salmon.  A heavy wrought iron gate shielded an intimate courtyard with a bubbling fountain and potted orange trees from view.   The entrance to the…”

There you have it.  Doesn’t tell you much, does it?

***There seems to be a formatting difference.  In Word, this excerpt is truly 7 lines.

Things I learned this week

I learned this week…

…that two months of twice weekly physical therapy sessions for a yoga-induced hip injury will result in thinner, more defined thighs.   I still have hip pain, but my thighs look much better in a pair of shorts. 

…that while I was able to eke out 30,000 words during JuNoWriMo, I am now questioning the relevancy of about half of them.  I suppose the point of the exercise isn’t to create a work of literary genius, just to get the juices flowing.  I succeeded in that, though I think I may need a big roll of Bounty to sop up all of that flowing juice.

…that the agony of defeat is a bitter pill to swallow (whoa – cliché much).  For weeks, I have engaged in a battle of wills with the bunny who lives in my front bushes and has made my ornamental sweet potato vines a dinner staple.  I tried everything short of the BB gun the scary man down at the local home and garden store suggested to deter his incessant munching, but nothing works.  He continues to dine freely, and my garden looks like it was hit by a swarm of locust.   I have come to realize that I am waging an unwinnable war against a rodent whose addiction far outweighs my need for the coveted “yard of the month” honor.  I am going to bow out now before I end up sitting on a bar stool next to Elmer Fudd and Carl Spackler slamming whiskey shooters.

..that I have become numb to Texas summers.  This week my mother asked me if it was hot outside.  I said, “No.  It’s only 95.”

…that Katie Holmes has left Tom Cruise.   I really wish I had something witty to say about this, but in all reality, who didn’t see this coming?  Tom Cruise, that’s who.

…that Roger Federer has pulled his head out of his ass overcome injury and secured a place in the Wimbledon final.  I have threatened for years to pull my allegiance and endorse a younger, up and coming player.  Federer, after all, is long in the tooth  and his days in the sport are numbered.  So far, though, I haven’t been able to bring myself to actually do it.  Of course, if he loses to Nadal one more time, I’m outta here.  I swear it.

…that nothing sucks the fun out of doing something nice for someone than the expectation that it be repeated for everyone.   Feeling obligated to do or to give something,  especially when it involves someone I don’t particularly care for, tends to bring out some of my least attractive personality traits.  I become spiteful and petty, almost competitive in my passive/aggressive rebellion.  I’m not proud of myself, but that won’t stop me from finding a new more creative way to avoid doing what everyone expects me to do without uttering a single word of protest.

…that I didn’t learn all that much this week. 

…that this week’s awww moment is really more of an ahhh moment.  This week we went to our local lake to partake in the Fourth of July festivities and fireworks show.  I snapped this picture from the bank while kicking back, watching the half-baked drunken crowd, and crunching on a sno-cone.  It was a fabulous night.

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Things I learned this week

This week I learned…

…that Beginning Yoga for a grade is really a combination of intermediate Yoga and Pilates for a grade.  This is something that I feel is grossly misrepresented in the course description.  The instructor, a tiny woman with Madonna arms and the flexibility of a Circus du Soleil performer, is surely the spawn of the devil.    She is an unsympathetic, anti-whining, whip cracker who doesn’t understand why we all showed up to the second class limping and chugging bottles of over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medicines.   I am happy to say that I did make it through the week without disgracing myself.   I managed to perform every single pose she threw my way.  They might not have been pretty, but I did them.  Of course, I can still barely walk.  Hopefully, my body will forgive me by Monday when I have to start it all over again.

…that I don’t like change.  Yes, I know this is no revelation, but sometimes I forget how uncompromising I can be.  Lately, I’ve had an issue with getting through the books stacked on my bedside table.  After a four-month struggle to finish one novel, I finally resorted to an audiobook.  I’ve always sorta looked down my nose at audiobooks, like they were a means of cheating.  Of course, now that it benefits me, I have had a complete change of heart.  I’m fickle like that.  What can I say, I’m a Gemini.   In the last week, I’ve finished two novels.  Both Gabriel Allon spy novels by Daniel Silva, and both read by the same man, John Lee.   I have come to associate his warm, accented voice with these characters that I love so much.   This morning, I popped my little flash drive in the handy-dandy USB port in my car, and settled in as the opening chapter of Prince of Fire began to play.  What is this?  No John Lee? Where’s John Lee?  As it turns out, John Lee is not the reader for this next installment of Gabriel Allon’s adventures.  This new reader is terrible and his Ari Shamron interpretation sucks.  I may never recover.

…that sometimes I forget that my daughter is a girl.  I know that sounds strange, but if you knew her, you would know exactly what I mean.  She is a tomboy, through and through.  She doesn’t wear frills or ruffles or anything with a skirt.  No pink or purple.  No glitz or glitter.  She wears dark jeans with a flared leg, graphic tees, sneakers, and a hoodie – right now she is in love with her lime green Invader Zim hoodie that comes complete with ears.  She will only wear her thick blonde hair in a severe, slicked back ponytail.  No earrings or bracelets, though she does like necklaces – of course, those must meet a certain criteria and cannot be overtly feminine.  These are the rules.  Any deviation from such will result in a big sigh and an eye roll.  So it is not unreasonable for me to sometimes forget that she is, indeed, a girl.  Today is a big day for her.  She plays the clarinet in the sixth grade band and they are doing a performance tour of our local elementary schools.  This morning she dressed with extra care, made sure she didn’t have a hair out-of-place and then, as she studied herself critically in the mirror, announced, “I’m as pale as a vampire, Mom.  I need to use some of your powder and blush.”  Um…okay.  Excuse me while I pick my jaw up off of the bathroom floor.

…that Roger Federer allowed himself to be ousted from yet another major by Rafael Nadal.   This time the Australian Open.  I hope Novak Djokovic kicks Nadal’s ass in the final, and if he does, I am swearing off my allegiance to Federer for good.

…that after my little temper tantrum last week, I find that I am feeling better about my writing, though I still don’t want to talk about the Retribution implosion.  This week I have started work on a short story and have fallen in love with a very flawed old man with a penchant for old books and aged scotch.  His past is peppered with unimaginable pain and the horrors of a war.  I hope to find him a measure of redemption, but it’s too soon to tell if he will know absolution or fall victim to his crushing guilt.

…that my hockey player problem has resolved itself. I am happy to report that half of them have dropped and the other half have decided that the young blonde two tables over is more their speed.  I am grateful.  I can hear the professor again.  Now, if only the girl with the weird bouffant hairdo that sits in front of me would move so that I can see all of the projection screen…

…that I don’t have a pet peeve of the week!  OMG.

…that last but not least, this week’s awww moment is brought to you by this adorable little baby otter named Cayucos.

Source:  http://www.timesunion.com/news/article/Chicago-s-Shedd-Aquarium-rescues-baby-sea-otter-2727899.php