Monday, April 29, 2013

Springing into Euphoria

I always say fall is my favorite season with a slight edge on spring, but I think I might have to swing that the other way slightly. Kind of like a couple of years ago I went from slightly more Dean-girl to Sam-girl and now I'm back. Dean is just...guh...right now.

But I digress.

I figure I have a low-grade seasonal affective disorder, because every spring, I hit this moment of euphoria that has no true cause. Today was that day for me.

Oh, sure, there are things that contribute to it. Saturday was the 10th season home opener for the Harrisburg City Islanders, and they won the game 5-1 (!) and it was their 100th win, and that was all very cool. Sunday I spent the entire day revising a book, and despite the deadline looming over us, it just felt so good to immerse myself in the purity of writing. May is almost here, and that means great movies, Mother's Day, and my annual writer's retreat. And Roxanne St. Claire's book comes out tomorrow. So, you know, there's plenty to be happy about!

But there's got to be more to it. Daylight has been increasing steadily for a few weeks, and that has a an obvious psychological effect, but there's got to be a tipping point that puts this euphoria on me. I slept poorly and not long enough last night, so I should have been tired and grumpy. Instead I was excited and even bouncy, if you can believe it. (Those who've met me in person would not likely believe it.) I haven't felt this good in at least six months, and it's such a relief. But telling, because I remember the day I felt like this last year, and I would bet you anything it was the same week.

Usually when I listen to my iPod, it's the Harry Potter books or podcasts about football. Today I rocked out all the way home and then did a few chores so I could keep singing. I'm pretty sure I traumatized the retired folks in our neighborhood singing "I Write the Songs" on my way to the mailbox.

Whatever it is, I'm digging it. :)

So how many of you have similar moments, and what do you think triggers them?

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Amazon Freebie for Three More Days

Soul of the Dragon coverAmazon has price-matched Soul of the Dragon so it is now free! Go here to download it now!

The promotion will only officially last through April 30, at which time I'll be setting a special price of $2.99. I don't know how long it will take Amazon to match that again, so hurry over and get it today!

You can also get it free at other preferred retailers. Click here for the links.

A thousand years ago, a jealous mage cursed a young lord into dragon form to keep him from his soulmate, a peasant girl coveted by the mage. They have three lifetimes to break the curse.

Twice they have failed.

Alexa Ranger doesn’t remember the lord’s son who was her soulmate three lifetimes ago, nor does she recall their previous attempts to break the curse—each one ending in her death. But she does remember Cyrgyn, the golden dragon who has haunted her dreams since childhood and has appeared to her now to begin their final attempt.

A highly trained spy, Alexa has been preparing for this mission her entire life. But her skills are no match for the desperate mage who has lost none of his command of magic—and none of his twisted, possessive need for her. She is determined to save the dragon she has come to love, but there is more than the curse standing in their way…

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Reflections on Humanity

On Saturday, my husband and daughter returned home from a short trip to Boston, satisfied and decision made. On Sunday, we paid the enrollment fee for her to attend Emerson University, on Boylston Street. On Monday, two bombs went off on that very same street, mere blocks from where she will be attending college.

Our connection to this horrific event is so tenuous it's almost not worth mentioning. We are lucky that no friends or family members were harmed in the blasts, and I can't claim any personal emotional trauma due to the event. But still, the coincidences tie it closer to us than any other such event has ever been.

Amidst the intense reactions in the news, on social media, and in my daily life, I hear variations on a theme, a lament about the state of humanity. But I have come away from this with the opposite.

My heart is full of respect and pride and love for all of those who responded the way they did. For the immediate outpouring of support and aid. For the bravery of those who went to help, heedless of the possibility of a secondary blast. Even for the feelings of horror and compassion and sickness in the pits of stomachs, because those put paid to the notion that we are desensitized by fictional violence and separated by a gulf created by the Internet and decreased personal interaction.

There are humans, individuals who are sick by many different definitions. Dreadful things happen every day, many of them perpetrated on innocents by cowards or sociopaths. "Evil" has always existed, and always will.

But those humans do not comprise humanity. They are, in fact, devoid of humanity. When we give coats to strangers and save the lives of the injured next to us because that's what has to be done, we are displaying the traits that make that word what it is.

We will take care of each other, and when the time comes, we will bring the full force of humanity behind the hammer of justice to ensure those humans not worthy of the name are punished.

Humanity is, in fact, in fine shape.

Sunday, April 07, 2013

Routinely Impossible

People often say things like, "I need to get in the habit of going to the gym every day" and to talk about how many times you have do something before it becomes habit. But usually they're mixing up the words "habit" and "routine."

A habit is something simple, mindless. Reaching for my glasses when I got up was a habit, such a strong one that I did it for about six months after I had LASIK and didn't need them anymore. Going East on the Turnpike every day was such a habit, I did it automatically when I had jury duty one day and should have been going West.

Sucking your teeth when you talk. Flicking your cigarette with a thumbnail. Dropping silverware into the sink instead of the basket over the sink. These are habits.

You know what's not a habit, and never will be? Getting up before 5:30 a.m. to exercise at the gym before work four times a week. At best, you can make it part of your routine, and you're much more likely to be able to do it if you're a morning person and get off on the endorphin high.

I am SO not a morning person. My ideal sleep time is 2:00 a.m. to 10:00 a.m. Strike one.

I don't get off on exercise. It has its advantages. I like the 2 lbs. I lost after one week of doing this. But forget endorphin high. I'm practically in a coma when I get done with a workout.

Strike two.

As I got in the car at 5:45 Friday morning, when it was dark and a fantastic 29 degrees, I wondered how long I'd be able to stick this out. I mean, it's not the first time I've tried to establish an exercise routine. Several years ago, I got up every morning to walk the dog for 15 or 20 minutes. Harry Potter audiobooks were a good incentive, but not for very long. It lasted a few weeks at best.

Getting up at 5 or 5:30 to work before work so I could write when I got home from work lasted only a couple of weeks, too. So we'll see how long I keep this going.

I'm stacking the deck in my favor this week. I've already got three sets of clothes laid out. When I go to bed I'll put them in the bathroom with my sneakers, so I don't have the excuse of waking up my husband trying to gather things. As soon as I finish this post, I'm wrapping things up and going to bed early. So hopefully, I'll stick it out for at least one more week.

Losing another two pounds would be good incentive for week #3, right? :)

So what have you had to work hard to make part of your routine? Do you have any tips? Sound off in the comments!

Friday, April 05, 2013

R.I.P. Frisbee

In June of 2006 I was browsing cat shelter listings online, because a coworker was looking for a new cat. This long-hair with a curled ear caught my eye. First, because we'd adopted one cat already and finding a long-hair at a shelter was impossible at the time. Second, because our dog had ear issues, and we got the first cat as a companion for her and joked that maybe she'd clean the dog's ears. She didn't, and she had ear issues of her own. Plus, she matched the other two, color-wise. So she seemed destined for us.

Mostly, though, her story pierced me. The shelter had named her Frisbee because the person who brought her in had witnessed her tossed from the window of a moving truck. Awfulness and awesomeness all at once.

We brought her home. She hated us. She'd slice our legs when we walked by, bite if we pet her the wrong way, and walk around hissing and growling just out of orneryness. We called her Demon Cat. But slowly she mellowed. She started hanging out with us. Licking my husband's face, and curling up on my lap while I read (or wrote). She sat in the window and acted as town crier, announcing when each of our neighbors got home and then, with a very different cry, when one of us did.

The shelter had listed her as 2 years old in 2006. That would make her 9 now, but a couple of years ago, when she was diagnosed hyperthyroid, we knew that couldn't be right. I guess "2 years old" is code for "we have no freaking idea." She's at least 13, possibly much older.

A little while ago, she went blind suddenly. High blood pressure (not really measurable without invasive testing, bad at her age) or a stroke were the likely causes. Her vision came and went since then, but she gained a little weight. Then she lost it. And continued losing it, and went more fully blind. About a week ago she stopped eating and developed an upper respiratory infection. In two days she went skeletal, and spent all her time creeping around in a hunched posture. She wouldn't lie down, was clearly uncomfortable being held, and had increasing trouble breathing.

We weighed all the factors, and came to the conclusion that she probably wasn't going to get any better, even if we spend a lot of money trying. So as of half an hour ago, she's no longer suffering.

Goodbye, Frisbee. We love you.