Birthday Blog-o-rama Thursday: Now What?

The end has come. July is pretty much over, and the Leos have taken over.

So now what? you ask?

Well, I’m going to continue working on all of my current WIPs, put together another blog and another book, I’m going to try to pass the time until Fall TV premieres show up…And I’m doing a scavenger hunt.

And I’m terrified.

It’s called GISHWHES, or

GREATEST INTERNATIONAL SCAVENGER HUNT THE WORLD HAS EVER SEEN

and it was started by this beautiful asshole

It might be hard to tell, but that is the face of pure evil and mayhem. He’s so charismatic he could be mistaken for a cult member.

Wait. I think he IS a cult leader.

Well, anyway, GISHWHES is apparently this week-long scavenger hunt where you do crazy things and perform crazy acts to be caught on film for a chance to win a trip to hang out with the Dark Overlord. This year the trip is to Croatia.

Firstly, I don’t have a passport, I’m afraid of heights…I’m not winning. I know that already. But I’m doing this because I WANT to, and because his highness hypnotized me with his pretty blue eyes and smile, the bastard.

Apparently there were 157 or so items on last year’s list.

………

…….

………………..Excuse me.

Anyway, I’ve wrangled a few of my buddies into doing this with me, just for fun, for Misha, and for charity.

We’ll see how charitable I feel at the end of the week. Wish me luck!

 

Registration for this year’s hunt is closed, but to check things out for next year, visit GISHWHES.

To check out the charity, visit Random Acts.

 

Thanks for coming along on the Birthday Blog-o-rama! See you soon!

Birthday Blog-o-rama Wednesday: Empathin’ Ain’t Easy

I’m pretty sure I’ve used that title before, but once again, I’m worn out and exhausted and my brain is mush.

So I used to refer to myself as a witch. Like,  a wicca, nature, magic-type witch. I mean, I still do, but it means something so very different these days. It used to mean that I was mildly psychic, could predict the next song on the radio before it came on, call up the wind upon occasion, read people and other things.

But things started to change a little for me. I used to be extremely high strung, always upset, my mind whirling, my emotions a crazy tempest.

But then I realized that not all of that stuff might not be MINE.

And luckily, I have a few ladies in my life who understand this sort of thing. And one of them, bless her face and intuition, sent me this blog post: Are You An Empath?

In that post, there are 30 traits of an empath. Many of these traits resonated with me so loudly my ears are still ringing.

 1.     Knowing: Empaths just know stuff, without being told. It’s a knowing that goes way beyond intuition or gut feelings, even though that is how many would describe the knowing.

For me, Knowing has been hard to explain to others because there are people out there who will say, “Oh, that will change someday” or “You can’t know that for sure.”

Oh yes I can.

2.     Being in public places can be overwhelming.

Abso-damn-lutely. There are so many people with so many emotions and issues flying around they get stuck on me. That’s why I go only to places that I HAVE to go, otherwise my life is hellacious.

 3.     Feeling others emotions and taking them on as your own: This is a huge one for empaths. To some they will feel emotions off those near by and with others they will feel emotions from those a vast distance away, or both. The more adept empath will know if someone is having bad thoughts about them, even from great distance.

I’m insecure just for this reason. I can kind of tell when someone doesn’t like me, even if they act like they do. I’m insecure with people I have known for years and love. It’s very difficult to balance.

 4.     Watching violence, cruelty or tragedy on the TV is unbearable: The more attuned an empath becomes the worse it is and may make it so they eventually have to stop watching TV and reading newspapers altogether.

 5.     You know when someone is not being honest.

I’m a little less apt at reading this, but there are definitely signs.

 6.     Picking up physical symptoms off another.

Dude. And don’t think this doesn’t piss me right the hell off.

 7.     Digestive disorders and lower back problems: The solar plexus chakra is based in the centre of the abdomen and it’s known as the seat of emotions. This is where empaths feel the incoming emotion of another, which can weaken the area and eventually lead to anything from stomach ulcers to IBS (too many other conditions to list here). Lower back problems can develop from being ungrounded (amongst other things) and one, who has no knowledge of them being an empath, will almost always be ungrounded.

Let’s see. I was hospitalized for intestinal issues, I’ve had IBS, I’ve had stomach troubles my whole life, I have the most weight around my middle, and I have extremely bad lower back problems.

Yahtzee!

8.     Always looking out for the underdog: Anyone whose suffering, in emotional pain or being bullied draws an empath’s attention and compassion.

I have some REAL issues watching the commercials with the Sarah McLachlan dogs or the starving children. I’m not cold-hearted when I change the channel, I care. Trust me, I do, but it always upsets as if it is happening to me or someone right next to me. I feel secondhand embarrassment for some people sometimes. I want people to do better for themselves.

 9.     Others will want to offload their problems on you, even strangers. 

I’m not a bartender, but I sell booze, and boy, do I hear some problems. I have been in a certain situation for a very long time now where I am THE sounding board for a certain situation. I have had to cut all communication with the person involved because I just canNOT deal with this situation or the stress and problems it causes me.

 10.    Constant fatigue: Empaths often get drained of energy, either from energy vampires or just taking on too much from others, which even sleep will not cure.

Right now, I am EXHAUSTED. I am worn out. I’ve been on vacation for three days. I felt great, I was relaxing, I was chilling out and reading and lying around, cleaning, writing, watching my shows. I was having a good time. Until yesterday afternoon, when my body decided to have a panic attack. And this morning I woke up feeling like I did just before I caught a cold about a month or so ago.

 11.    Addictive personality: Alcohol, drugs, sex, are to name but a few addictions that empaths turn to, to block out the emotions of others. It is a form of self protection in order to hide from someone or something.

Absolutely. I don’t drink very much. I’ve never liked it as much as others. Yes, I sell booze, and I try things, but I don’t just sit at home and have a drink for the heck of it. My drinking has a purpose.

I quit smoking a year and a half ago.

Drugs…well, better left unsaid with that, but suffice it to say I’m drug free these days. Have been for a very long time.

I sleep, I read, I marathon tv, I drink caffeine to excess. These are my vices. Oh, and I’m addicted to the internet.

12.    Drawn to healing, holistic therapies and all things metaphysical.

White light from those I know has been very helpful in my life.

 13.   Creative: From singing, dancing, acting, drawing or writing an empath will have a strong creative streak and a vivid imagination.

Hello.

 14.    Love of nature and animals: Being outdoors in nature is a must for empaths and pets are an essential part of their life.

Ok, I don’t necessarily like going outside because of where I live, and the extreme weather we have here, but I do love the moon and stars on a clear night. I love walking in grass without shoes. I love catching a breeze on a warm night.

 15.    Need for solitude.

I used to be around so many people. And it was chaotic. I loved my people. They were and are very important to me. But now I HAVE to be alone to be balanced, centered, to NOT be crazy.

 16.    Gets bored or distracted easily if not stimulated.

I am unfocused and flit from one thing to another at times.

 17.   Finds it impossible to do things they don’t enjoy: As above. Feels like they are living a lie by doing so. To force an empath to do something they dislike through guilt or labelling them as idle will only serve in making them unhappy. It’s for this reason many empaths get labelled as being lazy.

BAM.

 18.   Strives for the truth: This becomes more prevalent when an empath discovers his/her gifts and birthright. Anything untruthful feels plain wrong.

I hate being false. I think that’s why I rarely got cast in any theatre productions in college.

 19.   Always looking for the answers and knowledge: To have unanswered questions can be frustrating for an empath and they will endeavour to find an explanation. If they have a knowing about something they will look for confirmation. The downside to this is an information overload.

 20.  Likes adventure, freedom and travel: Empaths are free spirits.

I find this a little less to apply to me. I used to want to travel, but I’ve grown roots. I like staying in one place.

 21.  Abhors clutter: It makes an empath feel weighed down and blocks the flow of energy.

I spend a big chunk of time at home trying to get rid of all the clutter in my apartment, but it somehow gets worse.

 22.  Loves to daydream: An empath can stare into space for hours, in a world of their own and blissfully happy.

And believe me, I’ve got some fun daydreams.

 23.  Finds routine, rules or control, imprisoning.

It’s tough to be an empath with anxiety and a touch of OCD. Routine is good for me. When I get jostled out of my rut, it’s problematic.

 24.  Prone to carry weight without necessarily overeating: The excess weight is a form of protection to stop the negative incoming energies having as much impact.

I’ve been a heavy child since the age of 6. There has only been one time in my life that I’ve been under 200 lbs, and I was not living a very healthy lifestyle.

Yes, some of the weight has to do with eating, lack of exercise, but no matter how much I cut down or exercise, it never goes away.

 25.  Excellent listener: An empath won’t talk about themselves much unless it’s to someone they really trust. They love to learn and know about others and genuinely care.

I do like to talk a lot. But my name is Aramaic for “Listener.”

 26.  Intolerance to narcissism: Although kind and often very tolerant of others, empaths do not like to be around overly egotistical people, who put themselves first and refuse to consider another’s feelings or points of view other than their own.

Dude. DUDE.

 27.   The ability to feel the days of the week: An empath will get the ‘Friday Feeling’ if they work Fridays or not. They pick up on how the collective are feeling. The first couple of days of a long, bank holiday weekend (Easter for example) can feel, to them, like the world is smiling, calm and relaxed. Sunday evenings, Mondays and Tuesdays, of a working week, have a very heavy feeling.

I can feel the world sometimes, even without tuning in. It’s kind of obnoxious sometimes.

 28.   Will not choose to buy antiques, vintage or second-hand: Anything that’s been pre-owned carries the energy of the previous owner. An empath will even prefer to have a brand new car or house (if they are in the financial situation to do so) with no residual energy.

Yeah, not too much of a fan of bringing in things of people I don’t know.

 29.   Sense the energy of food: Many empaths don’t like to eat meat or poultry because they can feel the vibrations of the animal (especially if the animal suffered), even if they like the taste.

I love bacon, so…I dunno about this one.

 30.   Can appear moody, shy, aloof, disconnected: Depending on how an empath is feeling will depend on what face they show to the world. They can be prone to mood swings and if they’ve taken on too much negative will appear quiet and unsociable, even miserable. An empath detests having to pretend to be happy when they’re sad, this only adds to their load (makes working in the service industry, when it’s service with a smile, very challenging) and can make them feel like scuttling under a stone.

I feel like crap today, and my temper is somewhat short. I’m not finding it too difficult to put my public face on. My public face really isn’t too far from just me. I just add this weird smile I don’t know I’m doing until it’s happening. But all of the above there is true.

 

Birthday Blog-o-Rama Tuesday: The Giver, Star Wars Edition

In the year 2000 I had a roommate who loved Yoda, had a shrine to Yoda. I think I’ve mentioned her before. I’m just not remembering if this was featured in a blog post earlier this month, and I’m way too lazy to go looking for it, because I don’t tag stuff properly and I’m exhausted from my three-day staycation. (Ugh, don’t even ask. Ugh.)

Anyway, this particular year, instead of having a birthday party for her, we were going to a party elsewhere. I’m pretty sure it was a theme party, just not sure what the theme was. Possibly a “retro” party. Not sure.

I saw this talking Yoda doll and HAD to get it. HAD TO. And then I got this brilliant idea to do a scavenger hunt at the party. In my head it worked out better than it did. For one thing, my roomie’s bf showed up with some “treats” that put us off our heads. But thankfully, I was on mission. Unfortunately, everyone else I was planning to involve in this mission was way. sted. So I had to follow roomie all over the party, give clues to certain people and make sure she got them.

She was so confused about what was happening, and eventually made it upstairs to where Master Yoda was waiting. Watching her trying to get the box open was hilarious. She still had no idea what was happening. I’m not sure if she does to this day.

I had a good time, though. I think that might have been the best gift/gift -giving idea I’ve ever had.

Birthday Blog-o-rama Monday: The Writer in Me

 

  • 01:When did you first start writing?

I was six, I believe, when I wrote my first story. It was a Halloween murder mystery where I killed off all my friends while trick-or-treating.

  • 02:What was your favorite book growing up?

Daphne’s Book by Mary Downing Hahn

Two completely different girls are paired up for a class project. Jessica has a brother and a mom and a decent place to live, but Daphne has her little sister and her grandmother to take care of. I can’t even get into it. I don’t have time to cry today. I don’t care how old you are, go find this book and read it.

  • 03:Are you an avid reader?

Absolutely. Since I could read. I think I was four. My parents didn’t really take too much of an interest, so I think I taught myself to read. But I can’t be sure. But I used to get all sorts of reading awards when I was younger and read at an accelerated level. When I was younger, it  was all about Sweet Valley High and VC Andrews and then all the romance I could handle, then my high school/college reading list, and now I devour fanfiction like it’s going out of style.

  • 04:What’s the best piece of feedback you’ve ever gotten?

Not necessarily feedback, but I was advised to “honor my vomit” and just words down on paper.

  • 05:Did you take writing courses in school/college?

I took a creative writing class in high school. Unfortunately the teacher was better at improv and drama than the previous teacher, who was SUPPOSED to teach the creative writing class. She’d published her first book and was writing in the arena I wanted to be in.

RIP Cheryl Anne Porter, aka “Coach.”

I also took Creative Writing I twice and Playwriting twice in college. Didn’t do as much for me as I thought it would.

  • 06:Have you read any writing-advice books?

The War of Art by Steven Pressfield. 

Thanks to Anne, aka Princess Scribe, I finally saw that I was self-sabotaging, and have been able to understand more about the work I want to do.

 

 

  • 07:What would you say has inspired you the most?

That book, definitely. ^^^^^

Cheryl Anne Porter, absolutely.  I can still hear her in my mind saying the one thing that has stuck with me for over 20 years.

“You don’t mature emotionally until you have regrets.”

And she would always autograph my copies of her books with

“Keep romance alive.” So I’m trying.

  • 08:What’s your favorite writing quote?

My favorite writing quote actually comes from a tattoo on Lady Gaga’s left arm, funnily enough. It is a quote from the poet Rainer Maria Rilke:

In the deepest hour of the night, confess to yourself that you would die if you were forbidden to write. And look deep into your heart where it spreads its roots, the answer, and ask yourself, must I write?

  • 09:How do you feel about love triangles?

They are fantastic when done right.

  • 10:Do you prefer writing on a computer or longhand?

For the longer stuff, I prefer a pen and paper, or a pencil. For short little things, I can deal with the computer.

  • 11:Do you outline?

I do, but I don’t always end up following it.

  • 12:What advice would you give to young writers?

Just write. Write all the time, write everything, write no matter what. And don’t judge yourself. No one gets it right (or write) the first time.

  • 13:Which do you enjoy reading the most: physical, ebook, or both?

I’ve been reading on the computer or tablet for so long now I think reading an actual book might be weird. But I have a huge collection of both.

  • 14:Which do you find hardest: the beginning, the middle, or the end?

The beginning. You can know where you’re going, know how you’re going to get there, but have zero clue as to where you came from.

  • 15:Which do you find easiest: writing or editing?

Editing, for sure. The ideas are already there, you just have to make them make sense.

  • 16:Have you ever written fan-fiction?

Yep.

  • 17:Have you ever been published?

Indeed. I self-published my  “first”/second book in 2013.

  • 18:How do you feel about friends and close relatives reading your work?

Friends, mostly no prob. Relatives, please don’t.

  • 19:Do you listen to music when you write?

Music inspires many of my scenes, so I always have something playing, even if it’s just on the radio station in my head.

  • 20:What’s your oldest WIP?

Maybe This Time. I started writing it in the late 90s, and finished the first draft December 31, 1999 before I left work and went to a NYE party.

  • 21:What’s your current WIP?

Maybe This Time. I lost the first draft after deciding to put it away for a while. Then after I got some life experience under my belt and was re-inspired, I started back up. The two storylines are extremely similar, but the newer one might just be the better one.

  • 22:What do you do when characters don’t follow the outline?

I just roll with it. It’s their story, not mine.

  • 23:Do you enjoy making your characters suffer?

Nope. That’s one reason I like to read and am trying to write fanfiction. Those folks LOVE themselves some angst and trauma. So I’m learning how to do all that.

Birthday Blog-o-rama Sunday: Shakespeare in the Park

One of my favorite summer things to do was to attend Shakespeare in the Park. Being a theatre kid, I knew just about everyone on stage. And I kept coming back to the same productions over and over. And then I got a volunteer gig. And a stage managing gig. I was caught.

But when I wasn’t working, I would just go and toss down a blanket and lay on the incline of the “bowl.” Back then, when OSP was actually IN my local park, the summers weren’t COMPLETELY horrible, and there was a breeze. It was a nice thing to lie down and look up at the stars, completely relaxed, and listen to familiar voices create a story for me.

I’ve had to retire from outdoor duty, and I’ve basically retired from all theatre work as a whole, so I’ve not been to OSP lately. There have been so many changes, I think that not only would there be few familiar faces, I’m not at all sure I would be welcomed.

But since summer and outside and retired…well, I’m kind of ok with that.

But I really, really miss just soaking up the “safe” nature, with my people, mostly stress-free, learning, letting the Shakespeare settle into my bones.

Birthday Blog-o-rama Saturday: I Know What You Did Last Summer

Just kidding. Not going that far back. I don’t know what you did last summer. I don’t know what I did last summer, I can barely remember this week.

I had a good week. Aside from the heat and one moment out of this week, it’s been very good. I’m upbeat, content, pleased. Some might even say “happy” in some moments.

On Tuesday, one of my Minions brought me carrot cake.

It was good. I had three slices. There’s more in the fridge and I am TEMPTED.

My friend David (you know, the fantastic gift giver I complained about earlier in the week?) showed up at work that afternoon.

With THIS:

He is SUCH an asshole.

I got to visit with him for a little while before he had to go back to work.

I went home that night, took a shower, and got into bed about 8pm to watch a repeat of Supernatural with a glass of THIS:

Pisa Liqueur. It’s amaretto on steroids. It’s pistachios, hazelnuts, and almonds. It smells HEAVENLY and tastes just as good. Working at a wine shop you’d think I’d do a lot more drinking than I do, but as I’ve gotten older, I’ve lost the taste for binge drinking. Well, alcohol has never been my favorite mood-altering drug, and now it literally hurts to drink, but a little glass of this was ok for me. It was so so so tasty on it’s own with ice and it dressed up some Coke just fine, too. Consider this a commercial for this liqueur.

On Wednesday, my day off, I got up early and decided to go grab a fancy cupcake. Well, I drove further than I’d planned, just for fun. I got “lost” off the roads behind the Speedway and then came back to go to a grocery store.

I am so much fun.

By then, it was bone-meltingly hot. I wanted to grab a burger and some chili fries from the A&W and head home. I told the lady it was my once a year meal for my b-day and she gave me a free root beer float on the downlow and a hug. Thanks, Yolanda!

After getting more sugar, I headed home for a cool shower and an evening of dance on my tv.

Thursday was back to work, but after (and I’m writing this on Thursday whilst at work, trying to get posts ready up through Monday b/c there will be no internet connection at home) there is a three day weekend happening.

Empath and introvert that I am, this weekend is being/will be spent on my lonesome in the cool darkness of my climate controlled cave recharging my batteries and relaxing and reorganizing and writing and editing and just having my own brand of fun. Hopefully Monday will see an invigorated me!

 

Birthday Blog-o-rama Friday: Story Time #4

Heath’s 25th Birthday

“Another Jameson here, please!”

“No, Andrea, stop with the drinks. I am perfectly happy with the ones you’ve already bought me. I’m set.”

“Fine, Mr. Grumpy Pants. I’ll be over there at the Table O’Fun if you want to join us.” She flounced off with her own drink, leaving Heath to his thoughts.

He doesn’t want to be here, doesn’t want to be at this bar, but his best friend insisted on “making a night of it,” considering they’d had to work all day. Heath had protested that they were going to have to work the next day as well, and didn’t want to be hung over for it, but she refused to hear anything about it.

“We are going out to celebrate the fact that you are alive to be in my life,” she’d replied stubbornly. “Think about it like that. You’re doing it for me.”

Well, when she put it like that, he couldn’t refuse. Especially since it meant she would get off his back until his next birthday, when he’d come up with some reason not to celebrate.

He hadn’t gone out for his birthday since the disaster that was his 21st, when he’d gone out to a gay club at the urging of his college roommate. “Dude, you only turn 21 once! You gotta go out and get wasted!”

So he had. He’d gotten so wasted that he lost his group and ended up with another group, a group full of strangers, and had gone home with one, the one who Heath thought, in his ridiculously inebriated state, looked just like Mikey. Same hair, same eyes.

In actuality the nameless guy had been nothing like Mikey. When Heath had woken up in the guy’s apartment, his clothes strewn everywhere, he could see clearly that the guy was nothing like his Mikey. It was only wishful thinking.

Mikey was supposed to buy him his first legal drink. He’d promised, back when they were both 16. Well, but Mikey had made a lot of promises. That was just one of many he hadn’t kept.

Heath took a deep drink of the Jameson that had been left in front of him and tried to clear his head.

“Is this seat taken?”

He hears the voice from his right. He doesn’t even bother looking up, just shakes his head and continues drinking until the glass is empty, and then he gestures to the bartender for another one.

When the bartender brings the next one, the man next to him orders one for himself. “And put his on my tab, too, thanks.”

Heath lifts his head and quickly turns to the man. “No, thanks, you don’t have to do that. I’ve–” The words die in his throat when he sees the too-familiar eyes and crooked grin of the man next to him. His hands start shaking so hard he has to put down his glass.

“I figure I ought to keep at least one promise I made to you. I’m sorry I’m late. And I know I can’t go back and change things. But maybe we can start over?”

The man held out his hand for Heath to take and shake. “My name’s Mike. I’d like to buy you a drink for your birthday, if you’ll let me.”

Heath quietly looked at the man’s hand, the past coming back to him all at once, the good, the bad. Before he could let it overwhelm him, he reached out and shook the hand offered to him. “I’m Heath. Maybe we can start there.”