Dogs, Bikes, & the Fine Art of Procrastination

It would figure that my busiest time of the year at work happened to coincide with my move. It was…um…hellish.

So I’m sure you can understand that I’ve managed to watch three seasons of Breaking Bad on Netflix in the matter of a couple weeks. Yes, I’ve used Walter White as a distraction to veg out and keep from finishing unpacking those last few pesky boxes that are filled with God-only-knows what. Where did I get all these Mardi Gras beads, and loose change?

When I’m not busy wondering about the fate of Walter and Jesse, I’ve been trying to ride my bike. My little brother’s freshmen football games are about .7 miles from my house. So I especially like to hop on the trusty old bike and head on over there to watch. Then, a few hours later, I head home.  But these visits to his games make me want a dog.

Specifically, I want this dog:

Wilbur is at a local pound where a friend of mine works. I’ve been to visit him a couple of times and dogs don’t get much sweeter than this guy. They also don’t get much lazier. Apparently no one told Wilbur that Pit Bulls are tough, athletic dogs. (Don’t be fooled by his soccer ball, this guy is not into running.) This guy is a big baby. He loves other dogs, and he looooves the ladies. Wilbur–whose pound is right next to the high school–has made a few trips to the school softball games and he’s a hit!

For the time being, though, I’m working on  getting my scaredy-cat, Jerry, to learn to co-exist with dogs. I’ve volunteered to take my friend’s dog for a few days while she’s on her honeymoon, which will be the longest Jerry’s been around a dog. He can hide under a bed for a day or so, but over the course of a long weekend we’ll learn whether or not he can come to understand, “This dog doesn’t want to eat me.”


My home-buying experience has been insane. Yes, there’s the probably haunted house, but there has also been crooked contractors, hurricanes, and multiple closing postponements. It’s been stressful and insane. So when the sellers (family friends) said I could start moving in over the weekend, I was relieved.

My mother, aunt, and I started moving a few small things on Friday and cleaning while it was still empty. On Saturday the moving started in earnest. We got my storage unit emptied and most of my stuff into the house by early afternoon. Then I wandered in circles for awhile, not sure what else to do. My cousin took off to help her mom get her phone fixed. My mom said she was going to run home and return with food. This left my friend Melissa and I to search my boxes for utensils. So I was buried behind a bunch of boxes when I heard honking and pounding on my door.

I thought I was being home-invaded before I’d even officially bought the place.  Continue reading

Slow & Steady

My experiment in self-publishing is getting off to a slow start. This is hardly a surprise.

I’ve been hitting the review sites, begging and pleading for reviews. I’ve been bothering my Facebook friends and working on building my Twitter presence. I even tried a week of Facebook ads…you know, for good measure.

This week though, my attention is turning back to the debacle that is buying a house. I’ve been told that I’ll be closing on Friday, but I’ve heard that before. I’ll believe when those keys are in my hands. So my attentions are split — three ways if you count the day job. Despite my lack of focus, I plan on continuing with my experiment.

I figure my next step is finding some sort of chat room for guys with foot fetishes. I mean, that’s gotta be worth at least a few sales, right?


A Self-Publishing Experiment

Click on me to buy me for your Nook

I’ve been shopping a manuscript around to agents for about a year. I’ve gotten a couple of bites but haven’t been able to reel in that fish just yet. This, I know, is perfectly normal. The problem is, though, that I spend my days writing about digital publishing and often find myself arguing against the traditional route.

Here I was sitting on the modern equivalent of a manuscript in the bottom drawer of my desk, and it seemed that every week there was a new blog post shoving me toward digital self-publishing. But I’ll admit, part of me wanted the validation of an agent saying, “Yes, I want to represent your work of genius” and end up with the help and guidance of an editor. I wanted my work to be the best it could be, and to walk into a store and see it sitting on the shelf — or better yet, flying off of it.

Then I assigned this story and I read this:

The transition to self-employment was also an easier one now that Crouch is self-publishing. “The way that publishers treat writers is sort of funny, because it’s not really a system that supports self-employment,” says Crouch. “You get paid twice a year, for the most part you have no idea how your books are selling until you get a royalty statement – which is like trying to decode some lost, ancient scroll. With Amazon and all of these other platforms, I get paid every month. I have a constant, real-time update of what my sales are.”

I’m not looking to be self-employed, but who in their right mind wouldn’t want to make more money rather than less off of something they poured years of work into? (And, if you’ve been paying attention, you’ll know that I’m buying a house. I could use the extra cash.)

So yesterday I decided to undertake an experiment in self-publishing and marketing. Can I make a go of it with my silly, funny little mystery? We shall see, and I’ll be sure to let you know how it goes.

The Befores

I didn’t get any pictures of the interior of the house in its worst state. Cobwebs the size of cargo nets, plastic “brick” walls, something that only vaguely resembled a kitchen, a tub “sunken” beneath the floor, and bare studs all through the upstairs. More recently, though, I’ve been trying to track the interior progress. Soon…so very, very soon… I’ll have the “Afters.”


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By Jaxpix, Flickr Creative Commons

For the past few weeks I’ve been staying with my aunt while in transition from my old apartment to my new house. Having lived alone for so long, being around people in a domestic situation has made one thing very clear: I do things slowly.

My grandmother’s cousin, Bette, always makes fun of “us Americans” (she’s English) for our out-of-date tea kettles. She has one of those fancy electric contraptions that boils your water in what seems like seconds, while we continue to insist on using old fashioned kettles on the stove. I can’t imagine ever using one of those new-fangled contraptions for my tea.

It’s not just my tea, though. If there’s the option to heat something up on the stove, or in the oven, I always forego the microwave. I actually like doing dishes by hand (though I know it’s not as green as a dishwasher and therefore will give it up when I finally get into the new house).

Perhaps this is why I never quite understand what people are talking about when they go on and on about the northeast being too fast-paced. I am forever wondering why, if they don’t like the pace of something, they don’t just slow down.

Grammarians & Pedants

I’m usually as annoyed by bad grammar and poor spelling as the next editor, but lately I’ve started to find myself more annoyed by the pedants of the social networks who feel the need to point out their basic grasp of grammar. For instance:

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It’s no secret that I love Friday Night Lights, but one of my favorite things about the show is Slate’s TV Club coverage of it. Funnily enough, I often find myself disagreeing with the writers, wishing they’d let me into the club to voice my take on it.

For instance, they’re often talking about how bad they feel for poor Tim Riggins and his inability to get out of Dillon. I want to call them up and point out that Tim loves Dillon. Not everyone is looking to get away from the place they grew up, nor should they. Tim knows what kind of life he wants, he just doesn’t know how to get it. I want to shake them for not realizing this.

But an episode or two ago, the writers started discussing the “politics” of FNL and they decided it’s “communitarian.” This seems kind of obvious. After all, it’s a show about families, teams, and the community they all exist in. The characters that don’t think about other people often find themselves cast out. Today, though, as I was watching one of my other favorite shows on DVD, I realized that I just might be a “communitarian” — not to be confused with communist. Continue reading

Lions, and Bobcats, and Bears, Oh My!

When I’m not obsessing over my decorating plans for the new house, I’m obsessing over mountain lions because…well…we got ’em. In case you haven’t heard the exciting/depressing news out of Connecticut, here’s a little synopsis: People in Greenwich reported seeing a Mountain Lion and eventually managed to get pictures and a big kitty stool sample to prove they weren’t mistaking bobcats or the neighbor’s golden retriever for a Cougar. Then, a few days after it was confirmed that there was, in fact, a mountain lion stalking the wealthy people of Greenwich, one was hit by a car on the Wilbur Cross Parkway in Milford (really pretty far from Greenwich).

Can you imagine looking out your window and seeing this?

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Green Design = Cheap Design

I haven’t been a good blogger lately. I am completely and utterly preoccupied. This house buying thing has completely taken over my brain. More accurately, decorating the house has taken over my brain…even though I’ve got another month before I can even move in. Part of the problem is that I’ve decided to use as much secondhand stuff as possible.

I’m doing this partly for budgetary reasons. When you’re going from a tiny apartment to a grown-up house, there are a lot of things to buy. When you’ve just ponied up a giant chunk of change for a down payment and closing costs, it’s hard to justify spending thousands more on new dining furniture or a guest bedroom set. So, it makes sense to put in the man hours to track down good deals on good used furniture. But I’ve also got green motivations. Continue reading

Books that Bug Me

By jamelah, Flickr Creative Commons

Last weekend I went to the Connecticut Forum Book Club and watched John Irving, Azar Nafisi, and Jonathan Franzen  talk about everything from the role of authors in our society to their favorite words. It was a fascinating evening that made me long for my college-days, when I spent so many hours of the day talking about books.

So my friend and I decided we were going to finally commit to tackling The Corrections, Franzen’s breakthrough novel. This is something I haven’t been able to do for years. I loathe just about every character in the book and just kind of wish they’d all get wiped out by chapter five courtesy of a plague. Oddly, I feel much the same way about this book as I do Eat, Pray, Love. The comparison seems a bit of stretch, I know. It’s not about the writing, it’s about the feelings the characters stir up in me: mainly, annoyance.  Continue reading


I am obsessed.

I’ve got a bookmark folder filled with links to couches, tables, lamps, curtains, paint colors, and so much more. I’ve been scouring Craigslist and getting annoyed when I find a great table, and realize I have no where to put it. Why am I doing this to myself? Well, because before I started this decorating safari, I was on a house hunt. I think I’ve found my house — but it happens to be under renovation by some family friends and is months away from being habitable. So, I wait…and torture myself. Continue reading