Sunday, March 21, 2010

Spring Cleaning.

This weekend, though I hadn’t planned to. I did a bit of spring cleaning. (Much needed, since working full time, writing and querying leave little time for much else, including cleaning.) I spent Saturday moving my make-shift futon bed out of my room and moving in the CA King donated by my roommate since he doesn’t use it anymore.

This was a much harder task by myself, than I’d hoped for. (If you ever think you can move 2 beds by yourself. Don’t. Ask a friend, get some help. You’ll be glad you did.)

Sunday was spent washing the dogs, picking up and vacuuming the living room, moving another futon bed, cleaning out the fridge and going to the dump. Woo hoo, when I say it like that I really accomplished a lot today!

I’m sharing this because I thought you all might like to hear about my experience cleaning out the fridge. (Well, you probably don’t really but I’m going to tell you anyways!)

I almost never actually eat the left-overs that I put in the fridge. I know, terribly wasteful, but it’s who I am. Maybe it’s because I was raised in a house where there was no such thing as left-overs. If you wanted something you better eat it right then because it wasn’t going to be there when you came back an hour later. But that’s beside the point.

So, preparing for my trip to the dump, I began pulling out all the dishes with forgotten left-overs in them. I’m not sure how many of you have ever experiences this but it can be traumatic. The first one I opened wasn’t that bad. It was fairly new, so there were no pretty colors yet.

As I worked my way in, the colors and smells got to be a little overwhelming. It kind of worked like a boomerang. The beginning ones didn’t smell, the middle ones were nauseating, and toward the end the stuff had been in there long enough the smell had given up.

But it’s these final, odorless ones that prompted me to write this. Each one I grabbed I examined hoping to get an idea of what was inside before opening. Meat smells less and comes out with very little fuss, but potatoes or fruit put up a valiant fight.

As I examined each piece, I came across one that truly had me frightened. I couldn’t tell what it was and honestly was afraid that, should I open it, something truly frightening, having been brought to life and grown in the fridge was going to pop out and get me! Luckily it was only pasta and it went quietly into the trash bag.

It was a truly gross experience and I should learn my lesson. But I don’t and I won’t this time either. Honestly, it was kind of an adventure, like when I was a kid and I turned chopping wood into a game or cleaning my closet into a hunt for the elusive shadow monster that taunted me at night. And when I was finished I was able to take it all to the dump and dispose of it like the hailing conqueror that I am!

And that’s my story.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Who am I really?

It’s a funny thing when your ideas of yourself are smashed. I’ve always thought of myself as the responsible stable one, almost boring in my normalcy. I’ve never had a hard time getting or keeping a job. I’ve had full time employment since I was sixteen. I bought a house at twenty five all by myself and kept it even through tough times. So it isn’t an unreasonable thing to believe.

The other day as I was getting ready to go have lunch with my little nephews I realized something. It came to me after I finished curling my purple hair and hopped in my truck. My nephews hadn’t yet seen my new hair color. I thought about what their reaction would be and I realized my nephews will probably remember me as the crazy aunt who always showed up with pink or purple hair or did weird things like shave her head.

It made me wonder just where I actually fit in between these two ideas. Responsible yet boring or colorful but flaky? After thinking hard about both options I can say that neither extreme is desirable.

I say, why can’t I be both? Fun and responsible? Isn’t that what makes life interesting? Striking a balance between extremes? I am the type of person who usually does things to an extreme before I realize too much is not good. It’s when I can scale back and find that balance rather than going all or nothing that things tend to work the best. Though, don’t ask me how to accomplish this because I’m still trying to find the right mix myself.

Every day is a new chance to either screw it up or get it right. Hopefully I have less fail miserably days than the get it right days.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Weight Loss Experiment – Update 3-1-10


Well I’ve been failing miserably. I have a treadmill at home which I love! But when I’m in Anchorage during the week I don’t have access to it. I could go out and walk outside but my brothers don’t live in the greatest neighborhood, so I don’t. I’d rather be plump than risk getting shot.

I had been looking into those new Skechers that are designed to help you shape up just by walking in them. Aptly named, Shape Ups. They are $99 on sale at Famous Footwear. I went to the one store in Alaska that carries the only Shape Ups that aren’t completely hideous but they were sold out or the non hideous style.

After checking back another time to no avail, my mind still hemming and hawing about the purchase. I ended up at The Sports Authority this weekend with my sister in law and my nephews. We ended up in the shoe section looking for soccer cleats for my nephews when we stumbled across the clearance section.

My sister in law is a runner who does marathons and now triathlons. We talked about several pairs of shoes and I decided on a pair of little boys running shoes. (I have very small feet.) Then we went to the exercise equipment department where I had an epiphany.

Instead of spending my $100 bucks on shoes that were likely just a gimmick and were not guaranteed to help me lose weight or shape up. I decided to buy something that would, as long as I put in the effort. I bought a Bosu Ball which is portable and easily toted with me to Anchorage.

The cost was just $18 bucks more than the Shape Ups and I’m already feeling the effects. (My bum and legs are a tad bit sore after playing on it yesterday.) So, now I have no excuses. I’ll keep you all posted.

(Pictures of my new goodies below.)


Thursday, March 4, 2010

Constructive Criticism

As most of you know that read my blog (all 3 of you). I write novels. I have written three but only one that I feel is ready to show its shining face to the world, blemishes, beauty marks and all.

At some point when you write a novel you either decide for one reason or another that you don’t want anyone else to see it so you hide it away, or you decide that you want to share it. If you choose the latter, then you begin the frightening road of attempting to get it published.

This is where I am.

I sent my very first query letter out this weekend and got a very prompt rejection. All you writers out there are cringing because you fear I’m treading very dangerous waters here. I am not here to complain about this rejection. In fact I am very appreciative of it, though in hind sight it probably wasn’t the best plan to submit my first query for a “brutally honest” response.

I’m not going to lie. It stung. But after I picked my ego up out of the dust and brushed it off, I thought about what she said. I let it marinate for a day and I realized she was right. My query was plastic. There was no passion, none of the heart and soul that makes my book different from the others that have a similar premise.

I have rewritten my query and think it is much better for it. I am grateful to the agent who took the time to give it to me the way she saw it. (Bonus side effect: It makes the form rejection I received before I retooled my query feel like cake, so there’s that.)

So I guess I should make a point? If you can get past the initial sting and not dwell on the negative you will see criticism for what it is, something constructive that is there to help make you better.

(Disclaimer: Do be careful whose advice/criticism you take. Not all criticism/feedback is positive. Everyone has an opinion and some people say things just to be mean spirited. Also, you know your work and how special it is. Don’t ever let anyone, good intentions or not, make you stop believing in yourself.)

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email: analaskangirl@gmail.com

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Monica Millard's books on Goodreads
Children of the Gods Children of the Gods (Chosen, #1)
reviews: 34
ratings: 44 (avg rating 3.91)

Chosen - A Children of the Gods Short Story Chosen - A Children of the Gods Short Story
reviews: 4
ratings: 17 (avg rating 3.47)

The Fall The Fall
reviews: 7
ratings: 6 (avg rating 4.83)

Monica's bookshelf: read

Darkhouse
The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms
Rebellion
Blood and Feathers
The Rithmatist
Forbidden Blood
Last Blood
Out for Blood
Bad Blood
Flesh and Blood
Blood Rights
Girl Parts


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