Sunday, November 17, 2013

Putting Yourself Out There....

Yes it's me....yes, I've been MIA. Mostly for good reasons - as in I haven't been writing here as I've been doing more writing elsewhere. When I look back I realize that was my whole reason for beginning this blog in the first place. So it is a good thing that I've been absent, but I still feel guilty and like I need to apologize. So I'm sorry :)

So, back to that writing thing. I took a big step (for me) and joined a critique group a few months back. I took the first couple of chapters of my story and sent them off to small handful of strangers for a round robin group edit. They in turn sent me their work and we passed them off to each other and at the end we received our work back with four sets of edits, notes, and feedback. 

To say I stressed out during that time would be an understatement....a HUGE understatement. Now don't get me wrong. I never once feared they would be cruel in their critique. I like to believe writers are a kind group, who are out to bolster other writers, not knock them to the ground. But all the same, I was taking something that was near and dear to me, something I had invested a huge amount of time and emotion into, and handing it off to perfect strangers. I was putting myself out there in the most exposed way possible. I'm pretty shy by nature, so talking to someone about what I'm writing gets me tongue tied. Actually showing someone what I've written takes that fear to a whole new level. What if they didn't get what I was trying to convey? What if they didn't get the funny parts, the sad parts, and everything in between? Even worse - what if they just had no interest in reading it at all? All of these were real possibilities. I'm not going to kid myself. I know just how difficult this writing thing can be and the likelihood of ever actually being published. (It's a wonder anyone puts themselves through this.) But I also know that in order to learn and grow as a writer I need to show my work to other people. I have to open it up to scrutiny, and yes, criticism from others. 

I'm happy to report that all the breath holding these last few months was not necessary. Their feedback was incredibly generous. They got the humor, they teared up at certain parts, and they were (I hope) genuinely interested in the story. One of the best compliments came when someone said it made them hug their husband and child a little tighter that night. Now, they also pointed out my issues with punctuation. I'm pretty sure I was absent during the lesson on comma and semi colon use. They also found the holes where a piece of information was left out. When you read something over and over and you know the story so well in your head, you tend to overlook when certain things are missing. They pointed out times where the humor was too soon, the drama needed to be ramped up, and when a piece of dialogue didn't ring true for a character. The cool thing about that is that in only a couple of chapters they already knew who my characters were. They understood their personality and they immediately picked up on something that seemed out of character for them. The other cool thing was that they disagreed with each other at times. One pointed out not loving slang in dialogue, while another said they felt it was true to they way people speak in real life. Sometimes it's just a matter of personal preference and has nothing to do with whether you can write. Overall their feedback was constructive, and reaffirming. The other cool thing? I got to read four other pieces of work and experience their creativity process too. These could be the first drafts of really amazing books and I got to be one of the first to read them. 

See, putting yourself out there can turn out to be a really good thing. 
Have you tried it lately?


Monday, September 2, 2013

What Would Your Story Sound Like?

Music and I have a very serious relationship; as in I seriously couldn't live without it. The radio goes on in the morning first thing while I'm getting ready for the day. I may not be a morning person, and carrying on a conversation doesn't work for at least the first hour, but music can be the ultimate kick starter.

The music continues on the car ride into work. Not having the radio on would never, ever occur to me. The idea of a broken car radio might just induce a mental meltdown on par with a two year old's tantrum. Thankfully it's never happened.

At work I alternate between the radio, (when the stations will cooperate and come in), Cd's, and my iPod. The iPod is my favorite option; shuffle mixes things up for me, or I can choose exactly what I want to hear. You know the days I want to go from Metallica to the Les Miserable soundtrack. Or the days I feel that one song is speaking to me; to what I'm feeling right at that very moment. Like the day last week when stress could have been my middle name. The only song that kept my last nerve from being shredded was Jimmy Buffet's Boat Drinks, in particular the line, "I've got to fly to Saint Somewhere. I'm close to bodily harm." See how helpful music can be?

I noticed a long time ago that whenever I'm watching a movie trailer, or a promo for a television show, my reaction to it is highly dependent on the music they use in the background. I literally started watching Roswell because of their use of Dido's Here With Me. Grey's Anatomy put The Fray and Snow Patrol on the map. Certain songs give you such a visceral reaction to a scene. It can literally make or break it. Would Lloyd Dobler holding the radio over his head been as memorable with any song other than In Your Eyes?

I realize that you can't have music playing in a book, but it doesn't mean that it can't influence the words, help me to create the scene that I want to set for the reader. I read an interview by the Twilight author Stephenie Meyer's in which she said she listened to the music of Muse (ironic no?), while writing her best selling novel. I listened to their music after reading Twilight and I could see the connection; literally hear the influence. I started thinking, dreaming, what songs would play when my book is turned into a movie? So, I created a play list, my own personal book soundtrack. Want a sneak peek?

The Day Before the Day - Dido

I Will Love You - Fisher

Happy Phantom - Tori Amos

Feels Like Rain - John Hiatt

Irvine - Kelly Clarkson

In This Room - Leslie Tucker

10.000 Miles - Mary Chapin Carpenter

Little Talks - Of Monsters and Men

The Difficult Kind - Sheryl Crow

Let it Be Me - Ray LaMontagne

Beloved Wife - Natalie Merchant

I Will Wait - Mumford & Sons

So, any guesses on what I'm writing about? 
How about my other writer's out there? What would make your book soundtrack?

~ Adrienne

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Sharing the love.....

As a writer and a book lunatic enthusiast, today was what one would call a really good day. Today is the final day of our church's annual lawn fete, where one of the long standing attractions is something called Attic Treasures. It's basically a giant garage sale, and in the middle of that garage sale are hundreds of books. On top of that the cost is, $.50 for a soft cover and $1.00 for hardcovers, but the best part actually happens today. For $2 you buy a paper grocery bag and whatever books you can fit into it are yours......cue the angels singing. 

I make it a point to go each day and spend at least an hour or more going through every box. I have many goals during these searches; finding that book I've always wanted to read, adding to an author collection, and in some cases just a random book I picked up that turned out to be a great surprise. Below is a picture of this year's loot. 22 books and I believe the cost was about $6. Last year's sale netted me a couple of Anne Tyler and Anna Quindlen books, and I was able to add to that this year. Under the Tuscan Sun is something I've wanted to read ever since seeing the movie. A Thousand Splendid Suns is the sequel to the Kite Runner, so I'm sure that will be another extremely emotional read. Alice Hoffman is another author I collect, Neil Gaiman is someone I've been hearing a lot about lately, and The Fountain Head is one of those extreme books that I challenge myself to read now and then. Dave Eggers wrote one of my favorite books, A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius, so I jumped at this copy of What is the What

While I was there today I ran into some family members, also in search of a good story. One wistfully commented that they would love to have more time to read. I don't think any of us have the luxury of reading as much as we want. As I put it, I'm storing them up for the future. I will get to them all....someday. Again, I'm not kidding when I say that someday I'll need a bigger house for all these books. What can I say...I LOVE BOOKS. I get giddy just discussing books with someone. All weekend I caught myself pushing books I had read, and own, at random strangers. 

"This was a good book, but a hard story," I said pointing out Jane Hamilton's A Map of the World to a woman standing near me. She smiled politely, as I walked off to point out another book to someone else. 

Even today as I walked with my family, I was literally throwing books into their bag that I felt they should read. 

"Have you read this," I asked pointing out a copy of White Oleander by Janet Fitch.
"I did see the movie," my cousin said. "Book was so much better," I replied and pushed it toward her.

"Have you ever read this?" I asked her mom, holding up a copy of Judith Guest's, Ordinary People.
"It sounds familiar," she said and I pretty much tossed that into her bag.

"Oh my gosh, this is such a great book," I gushed, grabbing a beat up copy of Pat Conroy's Beach Music. I don't even think I gave them a choice before it went into their bag too. Incidentally, I had a conversation about this same book a couple of weeks ago with a fellow book addict enthusiast, who I met randomly at my hair salon. We had both read it years ago and we were still in awe over his ability to describe the streets of Venice down  to the smallest detail, and don't get me started on his descriptions of southern life. Seriously, go get a copy. it's time for me to go rearrange some bookshelves and find a home for my new friends. This is the fun part too, as I'll come across a book I bought at last year's sale, but still haven't gotten to read yet and I'll get excited about it all over again. Or I'll come across one I read years ago and loved, but haven't (shudders at the idea) gotten rid of. 

Oh, and if you happen to see me at a future book sale, you may want to head the other way, unless you plan on buying A LOT OF BOOKS.


PS Are you like me? Do you tell random strangers about books? Which ones??

Monday, July 8, 2013

Who Are You?

I took one of those random online tests the other day that's supposed to tell you what side of your brain you use. I don't even remember what the actual sides were, just that I lean more to the creative one. It didn't surprise me since I love anything creative - writing, photography, scrap booking, gardening and cooking. It explains why English and drama classes were my best subjects and why I loved reading. It also explains why science and math remain elusive mysteries to me. It explains why I can get lost in my own neighborhood and why hubby does the checkbook balancing. What did surprise me was how far out of line it was with my daily job. How did someone who clearly thrives on the very idea of being creative, who has a recurring nightmare that it's the night before a math final she hasn't studied for, end up here? My days are full of spreadsheets, invoices, analyzing credit card statements and expense reports. My only explanation at the moment? I really like the company I work for and the people I work with.

My explanation for how I got here goes further back. It goes back to high school and college, to when you're trying your hardest to figure things out. You're trying so hard to fit in and be like everyone else that you forget to just be you. In turn you don't really know you. You have no idea what you really like or don't like, but you know exactly what you should like in order to fit in. You probably have no idea what you're good at. Even if you have a small idea of what you like, that doesn't always translate into using that to find your career path. If you are one of the few who knew at five years old that you wanted to be a doctor, or a teacher, please consider how blessed you are. Having your career calling that early on can take a lot of the pressure off. That was not me. I may have known early on that I loved reading and writing, but I didn't have the overwhelming sense of self that said, hey you should see where you can go with this writing thing. What I do have (that seems to contradict the creative side) is an overwhelming need to do the sensible thing, the responsible thing. That is how I have ended up here, knowing far more about Excel than I should.

Now, quitting and running away from it all would be as opposite of sensible as one could get. The sensible, responsible side of me will never allow that....unless of course lottery winnings are involved....

Anyway....what I can do, and am doing, is to use my free time to pursue this interest and see where it takes me. Another step I'm taking is working to learn more about myself. 

What works for me? (Good stretches of alone time. Time to work through the words, stories, and plots in my head.) 

What doesn't work for me? (Talking on the phone. Crazy right? I believe that I used up any phone talking gene that I had in my teenage years. Talking on the phone now is stressing and exhausting. I would much rather prefer a good face to face chat; email and texting being very close runner ups.  Sorry Mom and Dad. I know I monopolized the phone then, but you can so have it back now.)

What else have I learned? 
  • Politics make me crazy. Both sides/parties are out of control.
  • Some days I like animals more than I like people.
  • A good night sleep is so underrated. 
  • There are times though when I'll sacrifice it for a greater good. I went to the drive in with two of my best friends last week to see Grease. The movie didn't start until 9:45 and it was almost 1:00am before I made it to bed, but surprisingly I didn't feel tired. It had been so long since we'd hung out, just the three of us and it was so needed. 
  • There isn't much that dark chocolate can't cure.
  • Clutter stresses me out. Seriously, the show Hoarders, our junk drawer, and my basement, all give me the heebie jeebies.
  • The older I get the less tolerance I have for negativity, griping, complaining, etc...The world is tough enough without feeding into the darkness.
  • I love anything that speaks of a season; food, events, and rituals that say this is summer. Just this weekend there was jet skiing, a little sun time spent catching up with some family, a bonfire, and fireworks that we watched with good friends. We indulged in fresh picked strawberries, watermelon, burgers, and ice cream and I loved every minute of it. 
  • I zone out a lot in large groups. My fascination with observation has a mind of its own. Don't panic if I do it while talking to you....I'll find my way back.

All of this makes me think of the high school seniors who have just graduated in the last few weeks. Do they have any idea who they really are, or what they truly want to do? I hope so. I sincerely hope they're focused more on being true to who they are, rather than wasting their energy on trying to be like everyone else. 

And what about you my friend? Do you know who you are? It's not too late to find out.

             ~ Adrienne

Monday, May 20, 2013

Breathing Lessons.....

I discovered this weekend that I wasn't breathing.......

Did that get your attention? It got mine.

I suppose I should clarify things since my mom will most likely read this and I don't want to scare her. Hi mom - yes I'm fine. 

Here's the thing. Have you ever been going along in your life and discovered that you weren't truly breathing? You weren't taking the deep breaths of life. You were holding it, waiting for something to come along that would make you gasp. You probably didn't even realize how shallow your breathing had become until it stopped altogether. Yeah, that was me.

I need to rewind for a moment to two years ago when I attended my first writer's conference and took the leap into this crazy world. The Pennwriter's conference was a peek into the real world of writing, not the dabbling that I had been doing here and there. My friend and I were new at this so we went for one day and we stuck our toe into the water carefully. What we found was an ocean inhabited by some amazingly talented people. I was hooked. I was gung ho to write that next great novel and get it sent off to an agent. 

Unfortunately life is not an ongoing writer's convention. (God that would great if it was. Talking about books, characters, plots, motivation....) Okay, back to the story. The thing that you realize when you're no longer with all these amazing people is that the writer's life is very lonely and pretty foreign. Think about it. We sit inside our heads making up imaginary friends, or enemies, or vampires...well you get the picture. Meanwhile the world around us needs to keep moving on and it doesn't understand what you mean when you say you need to go get lost in your thoughts. There are groceries to be bought, laundry and cleaning to be done, and the job that actually pays us at the moment. Friends and family would like you to be present now and then as well. On top of that there is the exercise that you need to throw in due to the hours you sit day dreaming. Let's be honest, sometimes these other voices drown out the ones in your head and they win.

My point is that in the past few months those voices were winning....a lot. When they became louder, my breathing became slower, until I literally stopped. You can go a long time without this kind of breathing, but it doesn't mean that you're still alive.

Fast forward to this past Friday when my friend and I returned to the Pennwriter's conference. We were wiser this time, a little more advanced in what we knew. Honestly, in my friend's case, very advanced. She's become my information guru.This time we attended the full three days and immersed ourselves in all of it. We went to seminars, author/agent/editor panels, our area group meeting where we were lucky enough to find a new kindred spirit who is moving to our city this summer! We even ate dinner with a writer who has the most amazing mind for the business side of writing. Jonathan Maberry blew us away with his knowledge and more importantly how open he was to sharing with those of us just starting out. I went through the entire weekend with a new found energy. I couldn't remember the last time that I had that kind of excitement about writing (other than my first Pennwriter's). Telling a friend about it today she said "I haven't heard you talk like this in months!" Let's face it, even this blog has lagged recently. Again when you aren't breathing you tend to stop living.

So my point is that at the conference I took in a huge breath and I have been breathing again ever since. Now, can I guarantee that I won't have moments again? Can I state emphatically that there won't be a time where the day to day world won't win out over my imaginary one? Sadly no. I'm pretty sure it can take a while to get the breathing down properly, but I am willing to say that I won't give up trying to learn it. One of the most telling statements for me this weekend came from an editor panel I attended. When asked what they would like to tell new writers just starting out, the inspiring Heidi Ruby Miller said, "It will become your life."

I pray that she is right.....

I can't thank everyone here (I do believe the blog would crash), but I would like to mention the people who stood out; from a seminar I took, advice and knowledge imparted, and most of all enthusiasm shared.

Mark Tavani, Donald Maass, Jason Jack Miller, Nancy Martin, Suzie Townsend, Bobbi Carducci, Kathryn Craft, Chuck Sambuchino, Jon Sprunk, Becky Vinter, Whitney Ross, Jennifer Barnes, John Lawson, Uwe Stender, Eddie Schneider, Jonathan MaberryDee Romito, Claudia Recinos, Heather Desuta, RR Smythe, Mary Sutton, Wende Dikec, and most of all to Jess Williams and the Pennwriter's group for organizing an amazing conference!

Time to go practice breathing....


Sunday, March 24, 2013

Do you have the Guts?

Instinct, premonitions, feelings, going with your gut - whatever you choose to call it, I believe it's typically right. It's taken me some time, but over the years I've gotten better about trusting mine. After a pretty big decision in my life, taking a road less traveled, showed me that sometimes your instinct can be spot on.

Every once in awhile though, for no particular reason, we second guess that instinct.We balk against it, tell ourselves that we know better than it does. We tell that voice in our head, heart, gut, (wherever you hear yours), to pipe down and take a backseat. Intuition is a funny thing though. If it knows that it's right, it'll do whatever it needs to get your attention, even using someone else if it has to.

If you've read any of my posts then you know that I'm a struggling, undercover, frustrated, writer. The story I began with was a small idea, which spread over time into something bigger. It was one big, sprawling story that kept getting more characters and more story. It was overwhelming and I wasn't sure where the true beginning was. In discussing it with my writing cohort one day, she said "it sounds like you could make a series of books out of that." 

Such a simple suggestion and yet it made perfect sense. So I laid out a rough outline for each of the books and for the last couple of months I've worked on the first one. It went well enough, but I've struggled with some things along the way. For instance, the main character is a young girl, but it's not a book for kids, which means I'm not sure exactly how to figure out the target audience. In addition, the genre isn't that clear cut. It's fiction, with supernatural and spiritual elements. Think Jodi Piccoult meets Alice Hoffman (okay, at least in my dreams).

So anyway....those were both issues I'd been struggling with, but the story was at least moving along. Each time I sat down to write, the words flowed quickly, faster sometimes than I could even keep up with. Then in the middle of all the writing a story idea popped into my head one day. Now I'm not one for giving away the whole story, but the idea was something to do with death and a second chance. Oh and throw in a chain smoking, hard drinking, guardian angel with a soft spot for stilettos. So I jotted down the idea in my idea notebook and put it aside for later, like after the three other books are written later. It's not the first time I've come up with a random story idea while writing something else and I think most writers would say it happens to them too and it's perfectly normal. 

So what wasn't normal about this? The fact that almost daily snippets of this story would come to me, while at the same time I seemed to stall out on the story I was writing. I could see the ending of the story, but somewhere in the middle things had started to meander. I was having a really hard time keeping the story together and would find myself staring at a blank page, or worse. I'd write two pages, before deciding it was all wrong and deleting it. All the while, the new story idea kept coming back to me. I had the complete opening scene of the book, character names, a turning point to the story and even a tentative ending. Each time, I would sigh, stop what I was doing and jot the idea down somewhere. Sometimes when this happened the voices in my head intuition would start to nag at me..... 

"Hey, why don't you write some of the actual story since it's coming to you so clearly?"

And I'd say to the .....intuition.....

"Hey, how about you keep quiet? I don't have the time right now. I have to finish the other book first. I'm just writing the ideas down so I won't forget them."

And intuition would say......

"Well you were really excited about this idea and I just thought might like to try -"

I'd cut Intuition off with......

"Shut it will ya? Seriously there are rules to this writing thing you know? I need to finish one before I can move onto something else."

Then Intuition would shoot back in sarcastic voice....

"You ask me it seems like you haven't been doing much writing at all...."

(Can't print response to intuition.)

So I kept on struggling with my story, while choosing to ignore my gut. Then one day my writing cohort told me about a new story idea she was working on and out of no where I blurted out that I knew what my next story would be about. I rambled off the whole idea (not sure it made any sense) and I even shoved my notebook at her so she could read the hastily scribbled opening scene. I was more excited to share the story than even I knew! She liked it and even better she laughed at everything I was hoping she would laugh at. Then I explained how the story kept coming to me and I was really excited about it, but really needed to finish the other one first. She looked at me and said 

"Why don't you take a break and start on this one for awhile?" (Cue heavens parting and trumpets blaring.)

Writing cohort has written two full stories, gone through the whole query process, been offered representation, I trust her knowledge of writing "rules." What I took from her simple statement was 


So I started writing my new story that very night. I'm a couple of chapters in and still going strong. When I do write, I can barely keep up with the ideas. I'm also loving my characters and connecting with them in a way that I wasn't with the other story. Now, I'm not saying that I've given up on my first idea - not at all.I think what I need is more experience with writing, more practice, more confidence that I know what I'm doing, before taking on such a big project. I need to take a step back from the first one to see it with fresher eyes and I'm sure when the time is right the remainder of the story will come to me just when I need it.

If my instinct (voices) were telling me to write this other story, then I should listen to it. No question. So why then, when I had trusted my instinct so fully in the past, had I fought it every step of the way? Beats the heck out of me.What I can tell you is that my instinct didn't give up on trying to get through to me, even if it meant channeling itself through someone else. 

Is your instinct trying to tell you something? Is that message coming from someone Else's voice?

Stop and take a listen will ya?


Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Enjoying the ride.....

Driving in my car this weekend I heard Pearl Jam's "Alive." Immediately a memory developed, which happens a lot for me when it comes to music. I was a college freshman at a fraternity party and news of Kurt Cobain's passing had just been announced. A TV had been turned on and MTV was playing a live clip of Pearl Jam in concert. (For all you kids not familiar with this - MTV once played actual music.) They were playing "Alive" which they had dedicated to Cobain. The entire party went silent to watch the scene unfold. As I heard the song on the radio I remembered how popular that album had been and then it hit old it was. 

And if it was old, well then I was....older. 

I've had more moments like this lately than I would care to admit; moments when I think of some movie, song, event, etc. I always seem to think that it was just a year or so ago, only to find out it was really like ten..........or even more.

Sunday night it hit me big time at a Bon Jovi concert. For those of you not familiar with them (really?), they were a very popular rock band in the 80's. Long hair, spandex, and hugely popular rock anthems; I loved everything about them. Well they were back. The spandex was gone, as was the long hair, but the ability to bring an arena to their feet was still there. Their lead singer Jon Bon Jovi is 50 years old (he'll be 51 next week.) My first time seeing them was in 1989, when I was 14........ and he was 27. Let that sink in for a moment will you? Hearing their songs, and being able to sing along to some that I haven't heard in years, well it made me feel like he was still 27 and I was still.....??

Scratch that - no I don't feel 14, but I also don't feel the age that I am. I remember during that show in '89 that he mentioned his age, having just turned 27 that week. His exact words I believe were "man I am so old." My response to his statement was, "wow, you really are old."

Oh what a naive child I was.....what did I know about age, or anything for that matter? Not a whole lot. Let me just say that I hope to have half his energy and enthusiasm for life when I am 50. He still had the stamina (no opening act and they played for almost 3 hours), not to mention the polish of a seasoned performer.

There was something else that I noticed during the show though. Over the years that I have seen him perform he has always been "on." The shows were always amazing and he was a true performer. There was never a moment where he would falter in his performance, or his stage presence. Don't get me wrong - there is nothing wrong with that. If anything it was amazing to watch all four times I've seen them. But Sunday night there was something just a little bit different. Being that seasoned performer seemed to have given him a little something else; an awareness that at some point age will finally catch up to him, and what he was experiencing at that moment would all go away. 

At one point the crowd took over the lead from him, belting the lyrics out, filling the arena. He stopped singing, taking a step back and taking it all in. The look on his face at that moment wasn't the normal smugness one might expect. Instead it was awe mixed with humbleness. I know what you're thinking; that he's a performer putting on a good show. That may be true, but honestly you have to be a pretty jaded person to not be overwhelmed from an entire arena singing your songs back to you.

In the end, after a number of encores, he still seemed reluctant to leave the stage and walk away. Instead he wandered, waving to different people and displaying a somewhat goofy grin. It appeared he was just absorbing the energy of the room. It seemed that he knew this could be the beginning of the their last tour and he wanted to take in as much of it as possible.I hope that I'm wrong in that. I hope he's still performing when he's 80 and that I'm there to watch it. But in the end we can't fight the passage of time. The most we can do is to take in as much of life as possible while we're here. Sometimes you need to step back and let yourself be amazed by it all. In the end be gracious and thankful for all that you've been given and just.........enjoy the ride.


Saturday, January 5, 2013

The Reality of 2012......

Another year over......

I'd like to be positive and gushy and be able to tell you that it was full of wonderful experiences. I want to say that I achieved my goals of finishing my book, losing (and keeping lost) 20lbs, and finding a way to become independently wealthy. In addition to all of that I'd like to say I was able to perfectly balance all of my relationships (hubby, family, friends, etc.)

Get real......

The reality of things is that I can't be gushy and positive.....what I can be is real.

The truth is I did a lot of writing, but not enough and my "book" is far from being a book.

The truth is that I did lose some weight, but then life came knocking and my balance of exercise, eating right, sitting all day at my job, and sitting to write a make a big mess kind of way. So while the weight did go down, I'm still not happy with where it has ended up.

The truth is that our attempt to be independently wealthy will probably never materialize (you have to buy a Mega Millions ticket to win), but at this point being able to pay my bills and have some money in the bank is all I can ask for.

The truth is that I saw/connected with some people more than others, some people not at all, and there were days I felt like the worst friend, daughter, sister, wife, etc. in the world....

Something I did "accomplish" this year that was never, ever a goal of mine (nor should it be for anyone else) was becoming close friends with so many health care professionals. (Don't take that the wrong way - I love health care professionals and all they do for us....I just didn't want them to have to do so much The ongoing issue with my eye flared up again this month, requiring a couple of more visits to the doctor. We've moved into a "let's try this technique" and a "wait and see" situation. All of them require A LOT of drops and ointments and crossing our fingers.

The other health issue was an old back injury that reared its head in the fall and has lingered on like a house guest over staying its welcome. The chiropractor has become my new friend and sitting for long hours has become my new enemy.

Last, who could forget the coffee cup incident that resulted in a 2nd degree burn, a trip to the emergency room and a couple of weeks of follow up visits as well. Enough with the medical people already! (Really I do love all of you......)

I remember someone telling me once that after they passed 35 the number of health issues they faced seemed to pick up speed, like a ball rolling down a hill. I'm beginning to see what they the fact that some days I feel as though someone rolled me down a hill. I'm someone who has been very lucky to have had relatively good health most of my life. No broken bones, major surgeries, or illnesses (knock on wood), so I have to admit this year has thrown me for a loop. The hardest part has been the fact that both the back and eye issues have affected writing so much. When my eye is bothering me any extra strain is too much. When my back is bothering me after sitting at work all day, the last thing I can do is make myself sit down and write some more. Needless to say it's been a little depressing.

Okay, enough with the pity party though (health wise I really am so lucky) - basically what I mean to say is that I need to make some adjustments to things. I can't control what happens with the eye issue, but I can (hopefully) make the back issue better. What that will entail is even less time sitting and writing. I'm taking a trip today to reinstate (blow the dust off of) my gym membership. I've determined that I don't have the discipline to make myself walk/run/bike hard enough on my own. I need that instructor in the front of the class telling me to pedal faster and work harder. 

More than anything I need to realize that some things are out of my control.Sometimes you have to trust that there is someone who knows more than you do; someone who may have a different path for us to walk that may not be as straight as we'd like it to be. 

Here's to 2013.....may it be a better year for all.....and may the path take us to where we need to be.

~ Adrienne