Thursday, August 25, 2011

"This Is Me" Thursday--I Dislike

I Dislike:

  • Snakes. The hair on my neck stands up while I look at that picture.
  • Peas, beans, or anything else in the legume family. Just not a fan of the consistency.
  • Cleaning the bathroom. I have two of them in my home and two of them at our shop. I know it's a necessity, but I don't have to like it, do I?
  • Men who think I'm John's secretary. I'm his partner. I sign the checks and I make out our invoice, Dude.
  • Know-it-alls. You can't possibly know everything. There's too much to know. Shut up and listen.
  • Extreme hot or extreme cold weather. I don't have a pool and I don't do winter sports. 'Nuff said.
  • Fruity things. Give me fresh fruit anyday but don't mash it up and mix it in with other things--especially meat.
  • When people pronounce the "th" sound at the end of the word, "HEIGHT." The H is before the T. There is definitely no H at the end. I know the word is frequently used with LENGTH and WIDTH but can you see? THOSE words have an H at the END. HEIGHT does not. Height rhymes with light, might, right. There is definitely a hard T sound at the end of the word. Look it up in a dictionary. Heck, listen to the pronunciation here: Ok, sorry. I'm sorry. It just gets my panties in a bunch, every time.
  • The smell of body odor. I dislike it even more on women. I can smell it a mile away. It may be natural, but it's offensive. Don't want to use deodorant? I'm sure there are natural ways to get rid of that smell. Please, find one.
There are a ton of other things I dislike but those are my top 9.  What are some of the things you dislike?

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Leaving On A Jet Plane

(Photo courtesy of Public Domain)

Unfortunately, I know when I'll be back again.

By the time you read this post, Amanda and I will be dragging a massive amount of dorm room bedding, summer clothes (she's going to Florida, after all) and every toiletry item and dorm room supply a new college student should need, through Newark Airport. Of  course, they are all packed tightly and air-free in space bags and then into 2 sea bags, 1 large suitcase, and 2 carry-ons. Extra baggage fees don't scare us. (Well, we had no choice, actually.)

Today is bittersweet.

I look forward to seeing where my daughter will spend the next four years of her life. (No, we never had time to visit the school since the application, acceptance, and mad dash for required paperwork happened in a four month time-frame.) We'll have fun setting up her small apartment. (Yes, she's lucky. Although entering as a freshman, her age qualified her for upper-classman housing in a small apartment with only one roommate, instead of three or five.) She's excited and we're very excited for her.

When I get home, I'll be busy getting the house back to normal. No more rows and rows of toiletries on the vanity, no more clothes and shoes scattered on the bedroom floor. I'll go through less coffee in a week. I can write without interruption and I can go to bed and not worry that she isn't home yet. (I can't help it, I don't sleep until she's in bed.)

So, yeah, the house will be neat and quiet...and lonely. Don't get me wrong, I loooove my hubby, John, but he's quiet and reserved and is happiest while watching the Yankees. My daughter is lively and bubbly. I love her chatter, even when I'm trying to write. She's an honest critic ("That character is annoying, Mom." "You need to dye your hair, Mom.") and she has such interesting stories. ("One time, at boot camp...")

Oh, I'll get over it. Shopping for flooring, tile, and countertops will keep my mind occupied. I can finally finish my fourth assignment and get that novel done. I'll settle back into our soon-to-be renovated empty nest and before I know it, Amanda will be back for Christmas break--scattering clothes, drinking my coffee, and chattering in my ear.

I can't wait...

Thursday, August 18, 2011

"This Is Me" Thursday--I Have

I Have:

  • A wonderful home in the country. The house and the property (6 acres!) is always a work-in-progress, but the same is true for anything we value.
  • A supportive and loving husband. John wants me to do what I love and feel happy and successful.
  • A loving, caring family and a small group of dear friends. Who could ask for more?
  • Two great kids. They're still finding their way in this crazy world (aren't we all?) but they are both hard-working, respectful, and generous. We love them.
  • A 1998 Chevy Cavalier. Sure, it's old but it has a new engine and transmission and a fresh shiny black paint job. My little car looks and runs like new. (Without the monthly car payments, which leaves more money for--office supplies.)
  • A cat. Her name is Cashmere because she is so soft. She's a bit of a bimbo but she's a good girl and really, really cute.
  • A short attention span. Which could explain my problem with writing novels and my compulsion to write short stories and poems.
  • A wonderful group of writing friends. Although I've never met them face-to-face, I feel as though we're all family.
  • A very large Rubbermaid tub filled with unused Crayola crayons. But most of you knew that, so let's move on...
  • A fairy collection. They flutter inside the curio cabinet John bought me one Christmas. Sometimes, I talk to them but they don't seem to listen. I also have a collection of fairy books. They're so beautiful!
  • A fascination with dragonflies. They fly into my office whenever I leave the door open. I tell them it's OK for them to reveal their true identities (fairies, of course!) but they act like they don't know what I'm talking about. Oh, well...

Monday, August 15, 2011

Silver Linings

Good morning!

Remember a few weeks ago when I had that horrible week?      This post

My upstairs toilet clogged and overflowed, ruining my upstairs carpet and doing extensive damage to the downstairs ceiling and floor. It hasn't been easy.

We deal with car insurance claims all the time. Customers call their insurance company and they send an appraiser out right away. The appraiser gives us a total cost of repairs and the company issues a check. New to the world of home insurance claims, I thought the process was the same. Apparently, not.

I called the 24-hour claim hotline early Monday morning on the 18th of July. The very nice man told me he was sorry for our misfortune and assured me a clean-up crew would call before coming to the house to clean up the water and assess any moisture problems. John, Amanda, and I sopped and vacuumed up most of the water and we all went to work, confident the cleaning crew would do a more thorough job. They never called. They never came.

I called the hotline again on Wednesday mid-morning. I was told a response could take anywhere from 24-48 hours. I told the nice man that it had already been 50 hours (!!!) I was transferred to our adjuster who would handle the claim. I left three different phone numbers on her voicemail.

I called the adjuster again on Thursday afternoon (4-1/2 days since the loss) and actually got a live person. She told me to get an estimate from a licensed contractor and fax it over to her. Apparently, all the contractors on her list were 2-1/2 hours away from our town.

Our contractor came out on Monday morning (a week since the loss) and made up a conservative estimate. After all, we only wanted to replace the damaged things in our home. We faxed the estimate to our adjuster on Tuesday morning.

On Friday, we called to find out the status of our claim but we were unable to reach her. We called again on Monday morning (2 weeks since the loss.) She told us she took a few days off and just returned to her office. She also said she needed to speak to the contractor because she had a few questions on pricing. We told the contractor to call her. He didn't reach her until Wednesday.

We called the adjuster again on Friday. She informed us that she didn't like the estimate (believe it, is more like it) we sent her and she was sending another contractor who works with the insurance company. (For the life of me, I don't know why she didn't do that in the first place.)

On Monday morning (3 weeks since the loss) the new contractor came out to the house. Not only did he find our estimate to be within reason, he also found more damage, which doubled the claim. Needless to say, I will be getting new cabinets, counter tops and flooring. I'm ecstatic! I've never been fond of the previous owner's (my mother-in-law's) taste in kitchen decor but didn't have the funds to even think about changing anything.

So, where am I going with all of this? I'm sure you all know the saying, "Every dark cloud has a silver lining."
Well, sometimes those clouds also spew rainbows.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

"This Is Me" Thursday--I Am

First of all, I'd like to welcome my new followers. Thank you for stopping by. I hope I can keep you entertained and perhaps share some valuable information along the way.

One of the blogs I follow is written by a young lady whom I admire. At 21, she's profound and quite sweet. Every Friday, Julie Rose Sews  posts a "Fill-in-the-blank" entry and I thought it would be fun to do a series like that here. So, for a while at least, Thursday's will be "This is Me." I'm hoping to tell you a little about myself and at the same time, become self-aware.

Please feel free to comment and share. We'd like to get to know you, too.

I am:

  • A mother, step-mother, wife, daughter, sister, cousin, and friend. Someday, I'd like to add 'aunt' and 'grandmother' to that list but I can wait.
  • A published author and poet and an aspiring novelist.
  • A partner in a small business. Our automotive repair shop has been in business for 15 years and we're still going strong!
  • A student at the Institute of Children's Literature. I received my diploma for their basic course and am now enrolled in the novel course.
  • 49 years old. Believe it or not, I'm looking forward to turning 50.
  • A Gemini. A true Gemini. ;)
  • My mother's oldest child. I have a younger sister and brother and we're all extremely close.
  • Part Blackfoot Indian, Italian, Polish, and English. Call me a mutt but I embrace it all.
  • Proud of myself and all I have accomplished so far in life. But...I'm not done, yet.
  • Denise Marie. I've had three different last names in my life but I'll always be me.

Who are you?

Monday, August 8, 2011

Celebration Time, Come On!

You can't have a celebration all alone. Well, you can but it just isn't as much fun. Come celebrate with me.

It's a beauty, isn't it? Especially near and dear to me is page 36.

While my poem, "Goodbye" is not my first acceptance, this is the first time my name and work are in a real-life, honest-to-goodness, hold-it-in-your-hands, full-color literary magazine. The title of my poem even made it to the front cover!

Thematic Literary's July issue, "Independence" is their second and their last printing. Unfortunately, due to the high cost of printing, especially for a fledgeling magazine, they've decided to go strictly digital, starting with their September issue. (By the way, my work will be in that one, also.)

So, I'm feeling extra happy my poem was accepted and printed before the change. Hopefully, Thematic's popularity will gain momentum so they can one day resume printing their beautiful full-color magazines. Until then, please visit their website: where you can download a sample, read the call for submissions on their upcoming theme, or even support them by purchasing a downloadable copy of one of their issues.

Thanks for sharing in my celebration. Let's hear about your most recent reason to celebrate...I'll bring the cupcakes.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

FundsforWriters Essay Contest

Here's a quick post about a market I came across. Thought I'd spread the news...

The 10th Annual FundsforWriters Essay Contest seeks nonfiction submissions.
First prize $400. Five additional cash prizes. Zero entry fee and $5 entry fee categories. Theme: Diligence.
Limit 750 words. Email submissions only.
Guidelines at . Direct questions to Chosen by Writer's Digest for its 101 Best Websites for Writers designation for 2001-2011.

"Contests offer a barometer. Everyday people and seasoned scholars can enter the same competitions, both trying to step up another rung on that ladder. Even honorable mention is hope. It's a nod that what you fight to pen words at night, on weekends, at dawn before the family is up, your effort is deemed worthy."

Monday, August 1, 2011

Top Ten Things I Love About My Day Job

As some of you know, my husband and I own an automotive repair shop in our hometown. You can visit us here: Quality Automotive I post weekly hints and tips and general automotive information. We'd love to have you as one of our friends.

Owning your own business is a challenge, especially in this economy but I wouldn't give it up. (Unless we win the lottery, of course.) I decided to share the "Top Ten Things I Love About My Day Job."

I hope you enjoy:

10. When we're busy, we're making money.
Besides paying the mortgage, feeding the family, and all those other pesky financial responsibilities, having money means I don't have to cringe every time I buy new ink cartridges for my home printer. It also eases writing stress--I don't have to worry so much about landing that multi-million dollar book contract.

9. My writing time has become more productive.
By working 9:00-5:30, I need to get my writing done at night and/or in the early morning. The limited free time has made me appreciate those precious hours.

8. I meet so many interesting people.
Eventually, they all become characters.

7. Being a boss feeds the "control freak" in me.
Sure, being a boss has tons of responsibilities but I can't lose my job should I get caught researching markets during work hours.

6. Free car repairs.
Which leaves more money for ink cartridges, other office supplies, and my crayon fetish.

5. The customers who walk in and out of my office all day.
Writing is solitary. Most of the time, I'm a social creature and I crave face-to-face interaction with real people and like my characters, they sometimes tell me their life story.

4. Going to work gets me out of the house.
I'm not the outdoorsy type. If I didn't have a day job, I would hardly ever leave my writing/reading cocoon. I'd be pale.

3. Facebook.
Our business has a Facebook page so yes, it's part of my job description. Updating our page with notes keeps my writing mind sharp.

2. The magazines in our waiting room.
I have a variety of idea generators and can write them off as a business expense.

And the number one thing I love about my day job--

1. Access to all those office supplies.
And that's all I'm going to say about that.