Tag Archives: life

When life gives you lemons…

I keep meaning to blog, but for one reason or another, life hasn’t permitted it. I had blog posts planned in my head, but now that they’re hardly relevant, I’ve decided to just do a short recapping of where I’ve been and what I’ve been doing.

My birthday was last Monday. As I suspected last year, it was far less exciting than it’s been in the past, which as a person who loves birthdays, disappointed me. While I think this was partly because I’m not thrilled about getting older, it was also because that weekend all sorts of sad/bad things happened in my family.

My grandmother’s sister died unexpectedly, my own sister had a pregnancy scare and spent time at the hospital, and some drunken punk was dead set on giving my father a heart attack by harassing him daily (he even went as far as physical property damage).

I had taken a long weekend to “celebrate” my birthday, which really only consisted of reading a lot of books and going out to dinner because my life is so riveting (duh). While I did make it to dinner, reading books didn’t happen because my mind was too consumed with all the woe going on in my family. So, my house is extra clean now and I baked my first apple pie because these are the kinds of things I do when I’m stressed/sad. Such a lovely way to spend your birthday, right?

It wasn’t all bad, though. My friends and family lavished me with lovely cards and gifts, small tokens of love that I appreciated greatly. And dinner was chaotic as always, but in a way I love because despite the rough time my family was going through, they are always entertaining when we’re all together. Really, I can’t complain.

And yet that’s not true as I shift into my next topic: Photography. I’m pretty sure I’m finished *trying* to be a photographer as a side thing. I will still take pictures because it’s what I’ve always done and I will still try to perfect the craft because I want to grow as an artist, but I’m finished with offering my services outside of my family. I can’t tell you how many times people have come up to me or commented how good of a photographer I am and how they’d love for me to shoot their family or kids, etc… and even though it’s incredibly hard for me to have enough faith in myself to agree, I do. I even offer to do it for free as I build my portfolio, but every single one of these people (EVERY ONE OF THEM) has gone off to have professional photos done instead for a hefty price. I’m tired of extending myself like this. It’s almost as if they’re mocking me when those professional photos pop up online. It’s not that I think I could do better, in fact I bet I couldn’t, but I’m tired of people baiting me into something I’m already scared of doing just for the sake of saying something. NO ONE TOLD YOU THAT YOU HAD TO COMPLIMENT MY HOBBY, PEOPLE. If you’re not sincere, please just say nothing at all! I can’t continue to be led on this way. So, I might just remove the update altogether from my monthly reviews. If there are really great pictures I feel are worth mentioning, maybe they’ll get their own posts if you guys care to see them. In the meantime, I will shrink back into the introverted photographer I’ve always been and just be happy with my pictures because I like doing it, not because I’m trying to be something more than I am.

I should stop now, but I have more to complain about. It’s no secret I’ve been struggling with this weight loss thing lately. Since October it’s been one sugar sponsored holiday after another and I fell weak to it all with the best of them. I’m relieved the holidays are over with. I truly want a break from refined sugar, but my mind and tongue are not on the same page about this yet and so I find myself scathing the grocery store for obscure things like Berger cookies as if I actually need them. I know that if I just avoided them altogether, I’d be making this easier on myself, but instead I get this ridiculous idea that I can limit myself to one a day because that’s not all that bad, when in reality I know they won’t even last 4 days.

I hate that I know what needs to be done, I’ve done it before and it’s not all that hard, and yet my willpower is crap and I enable its inability to stand strong. In other words, I’m an idiot and I know it and yet I continue to be one. Obviously, I’m a genius.

So at this point, I’ve almost crept back up to my highest weight ever, making all my effort last year a total loss. It disappoints me in ways you can’t imagine if you’ve never struggled with weight. I cleaned and prepped a week’s worth of healthy food this weekend to get myself back on track with this healthy lifestyle I’ve been trying to achieve. I also finally treated myself to new running shoes. I currently have none that fit; it’s been at least 8 years since I’ve bought a pair (I’m more of a “coat/jacket girl” than a “shoe girl”). It’s been equally as long since I really ran, but I used to love it and I need some cardio in my life so I’m determined to get back into it whenever the shoes show up in the mail. Hopefully these are the things I needed to turn my goals around in the right direction. I do have to say that for as much as I hate the warmer weather, it does register something in my body that says, “You are too fat for this heat, Sarah, get busy!” And so I’m listening, or trying to at least.

My apologies for so much negativity, but I’ve had a lot brewing in my head and it’s been sort of therapeutic just typing it. I promise you a happier post sometime this week, but until then… anybody got anything they’d like to get off their chests, too? Rant away.

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August: In Review

Somehow August managed to seem unusually long and fast at the same time. I know, this is impossible, but it happened. At the end of every week, I was blown away by how quickly it had passed, but every time I glanced at the calendar wishing fall was closer, it was still August. So how did I fare in this long/fast month?

Writing: I wrote 1463 words for my short story and finally finished it! This is the first short story I’ve finished in over a year so I’m feeling pretty happy about it. If you missed its original posting and care to read it click HERE for “A Pill for Bravery.”

Reading: I only managed to read 2 books this month. I’m not necessarily in a reading slump, but I was more interested in writing than reading this month. Nothing in my TBR pile is currently demanding me to read it and so I took advantage of the break and wrote instead. The books I did read at the start of the month are listed below. You can click the titles to see my “review” of each.

Photography: It wasn’t that great a month when it came to shooting my camera. I tried to on several occasions, but it seems like something always got in the way of a photo opportunity (like the time my sister’s kitchen nearly caught on fire right before we were about to take pictures. Yeah, that happened). Luckily, in the last week of the month, we were able to knock out a rather adorable photoshoot, one where I got to play with some new editing apps I bought. I’m pretty pleased with the outcome. What do you think?

 “She loves me, she loves me not…” 

“Old Timey”

I have a cute fall based photoshoot idea I want to do with Gideon and my sister would like pictures done for her first year wedding anniversary to sort of recreate the moment so hopefully I’ll have lots of lovely pictures to share for September’s In Review.

Music: Oh, music was so good to me in August… So good that making this list a reasonable length was somewhat of a struggle. 

City and Colour – “Hope for Now”

I'd heard of this artist before, but finally just got around to checking him out this month and after listening to two albums worth of music, I'm sold. He has such a mellow and chill sound that creates such a moody feel. This particular song already belongs to my Crack the Sky playlist. It's making me extra eager to start writing it again!

O’ Brother – “Lo”

Credit goes to Circa Survive for me checking this band out. After they featured them on a sampler for their latest album Violent Waves, I just had to have more O’ Brother and it was such a worthy purchase. 

Grafitti6 – “Stare into the Sun”

My sister’s to blame for this one. She’s been getting a lot of music from me lately (and surprisingly liking it) and she wanted some Grafitti6. I’d never even heard of them, but since their album was on sale, I went ahead and bought it for her. I didn’t necessarily expect to like it, but how can you not want to dance to this song? And several others like it on the CD for that matter! 

Circa Survive – “The Lottery”

I was really looking forward to the release of this album this month and it did not let me down. I have three favorites, two of which will be featured on Crack the Sky and Beyond the Trees playlists, but this track I like just because

Other Life Stuff

After following several fitblrs on tumblr for the last few months, I finally decided to take my weight loss efforts seriously in the last week and half of July with a total lifestyle change to clean eating. I’ve forced myself to try new fruits and vegetables and found that I’ve been missing out on a lot of good, healthy food for a long time. I’ve adjusted my sleep schedule to get 8-9 hours a night and I’m feeling much more rejuvenated as a result, and I quit drinking. It’s not that I had a serious problem, but my weekends were being wasted with drinking on Friday’s and Saturday’s and it’s just empty calories. It also didn’t help going through my dad’s liver attack scare when I was already feeling like it was time for me to give it up myself. If my dad could quit cold turkey after drinking everyday for the last 30 years, there is no reason I couldn’t kick it too. I’m happier now that I have, I don’t miss it a bit. And in these last seven weeks, as a result of my lifestyle changes, I’ve lost 12.5lbs. It’s not huge, and I still have so much more to go, but it’s the healthy way to lose it and hopefully once it’s gone, it will easier to maintain since it will just be part of my life. I hope to begin a reasonable workout regimen in the coming month(s) as well, something that doesn’t feel like a chore and is rather fun instead. Hopefully I adjust as easily to this lifestyle change as I have the current one.

So, how was your August? Any notable achievements? What are you hoping to accomplish in September? Sound off in the comments! :)

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Life Updates and Whatnot

Life has been a lil sour for me lately and I feel the need to vent a bit about it now.

Monday night my hot water heater broke. It flooded my apartment. It was not a pleasant thing to wake up to. Our carpets were drenched and our closets were full of water and now damaged goods. A maintenance man came right away to turn off the water and run the shop-vac twice. This is what it looked like after the first attempts to clean it up.

Flood

They left around 1:30am and told us to remove everything from the kitchen for their return in the morning. And so we did, filling my living room with all of the dishes, drawers, etc.. from the kitchen. We took a 2 hour nap between the preparation for their return and their actual return and then my apartment was in full repair mode. A lady showed up with a different shop-vac, one that also shampooed the carpet. She ran it three times and it was still wet. She left a giant turbo fan aimed at it and left.

Meanwhile, the maintenance crew started gutting my kitchen. Turns out the counters and cabinets that house the hot water heater were built around the thing so in order to remove and replace it, everything had to come out. My house was a disaster. Once it was all replaced and my kitchen was back in order I had to deep clean the entire place. Despite my efforts, the hallway carpet is still partially damp and my house has that musty mildew smell. It doesn’t appear that the apartment complex intends to do anything about it so it looks like I’ll be shampooing my own carpets this weekend. I just hope mold doesn’t become

  -AND-  

My dad is very ill. And we don’t know why yet.

It started the week before last, when he got some freak eye infection after fish splattered in his eye. His eye swelled up so big it was like there was a golf ball trapped inside his eyelid and he couldn’t see at all. Apparently it’s so serious some people go blind from it. So they put him on two really strong antibiotics and sent him on his way. But in the middle of the night he was rushed to the hospital because he couldn’t breathe. Turns out he was having an adverse reaction to one of the antibiotics so they took him off of them, pumped him full of steroids and sent him home again on something new. Within a few days his eye started fading back to its normal self.

But then, this past Sunday, he was in such excruciating pain he thought he was having a heart attack and had to leave church in the middle of service. While he wasn’t having a heart attack (thank God), his liver was severely inflamed and he could hardly move. Thus began a series of tests. Blood tests, pulmonary tests, cat scans, tests-tests-tests. So far all we know is that the blood work indicates one of the four following things: heart disease, liver disease, kidney disease, or a bleeding ulcer. None of which are good things.

My dad is only 51. He seems way too young to be facing these complications already. And I have to admit I’m scared for him, because three of those four possibilities can take your life, at any time. I can’t imagine what it’d be like to lose my dad so early in life. I don’t want to.

So in conclusion, trouble came knocking at my door when my heart has already been weary. If you’re the praying type, please say some prayers for my dad. Some hopeful thoughts would work too, though. Thanks in advance.

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Me, the Slacker?

You’ve probably noticed I’ve failed to make an April: In Review post yet and it’s already the 12th of May…. Yeah, I’ll cover that in this post first (quickly).

        Nothing to report here, April was useless.        

Okay, no, I’m kidding. I mean I don’t have a ton of things to report, but I have a few things to reflect on. Like…

I managed to read two books, neither of which were the completion of those two books I started back in February. (Who knows when I’ll ever finish them?) You can see what I thought about the two books I did read though by clicking the title: Infamous (Chronicles of Nick, Book 3) by Sherrilyn Kenyon & The Walking Dead (Book 1 (Vol. 1-2) by Robert Kirkman 

With my birthday, Easter, and some beautiful Spring weather all going down in April, I put my camera to use more than usual and tested my photography skills on more than just Gideon for a change (though there are some adorable ones of him, too). Rather than post an excess of “favorite” pictures that will likely slow down your feed, I’ll post one from each of the albums and if you want to see more, feel free to venture to the albums by clicking each of the pictures below. 

‘A Mother-Son Bond through the Glass’
Rachel & Gideon, Easter 2012


Me in the Smithsonian Gardens, Washington DC
(Technically Heath took this, but I set up the shot)


Mariner Point Park


Best of Instagram
(Oh, yeah, I’m on Instagram now. Follow me @swhisted)

Music in April was glorious as usual. It’s one of the constants in my life that never lets me down.

Arctic Monkeys released a new track….

“Electricity”

I fell hook, line, and sinker for Four Year Strong and Circa Survive.

“Falling on You”

“Semi Constructive Criticism” 

Saosin and letlive. demanded my ears attention and are still screaming, “Play Me NOW!” despite my attempts to listen to the new loot Heather () sent me for my birthday.

“Sleepers”

“Homeless Jazz”

And I checked out a number of new (to me) stuff by bands like Cage the Elephant, Arcade Fire, and Sleeping with Sirens. (Clicking those names will take you to a song, FYI.)

The oddest song that found itself on repeat in April had to be this, though:

Sleigh Bells – “Comeback Kid”

As for writing (notice how I saved that one for last?), well it didn’t happen. At ALL. And while I’ll admit to it bothering me greatly (like self-doubt is at an all-time high), I realized that it’s Spring, and while I’d love to deny a truth I settled on last year, it means I probably won’t write anything of value or substance until Fall comes around again. The idea of this makes me feel a little insane. If you are a writer, you know what it’s like to have words trapped inside of you with no way of escaping. If you’re not, I probably just sound like a crazy person, but whatever. I really hope that I can somehow break this seasonal writer curse I seem to have placed on me, but my outlook is pretty grim.

Anyway, the real purpose of this post was to tell you what I’ve been up too because it’s been a while since I did a ‘general life’ post.

Last week I had an HBO marathon of the entire series of Bored to Death and The Game of Thrones. Bored to Death was a terribly hilarious series that was canceled too soon in my opinion. Ted Danson is a riot in it. And I’ve already seen most of Season 1 of The Game of Thrones, but I needed a refresher course before I finished what I’d missed. That show is crazy good. I’m glad I can finally keep up with it instead of having all of Twitter and Tumblr spoil it for me. I plan to finally catch up on True Blood next, as the new season begins in June and I’d like the net to not ruin it for me by still being behind.

I’ve also been watching a lot of hockey. I always keep up with the Washington Caps (my team, duh), but since they’d made it into the playoffs, I was paying even more attention than usual. Sadly, they played their last playoff game tonight. I can’t pretend I’m not disappointed, but I can at least conclude that 3rd string goalie, Braden Holtby, is amazing in the way that Olaf Kolzig was back when I first got into hockey and this thrills me. The caps would be foolish to let his talent remain in 3rd string standings come next season.

Today I just finished reading the funniest book I’ve ever read, and it’s a memoir which is not my typical read, so I’m delighted to have enjoyed it the way I did. I’m not lying when I say I’ve literally laughed out loud, to the point of tears, every couple of pages in this book. It is full of comedic value, even at times when you wouldn’t expect there to be anything funny. You should totally check it out. 

“Let’s Pretend this Never Happened (A Mostly True Memoir)” by Jenny Lawson
(otherwise known as The Bloggess)

Immediately after I started reading Carrie Jones’ ENDURE (the final NEED book) and am already half way through it. I’ll likely finish it tomorrow because it’s so great you just can’t put it down, but I’m sure I’ll regret speeding through the last book so quickly because it’s always sad saying goodbye to a great series.

My weight loss effort has been heavier than ever on my mind. In fact, I’ve become a bit obsessive about it, but like all other things in my life that I let my OCD take over, I can’t see this being a bad thing because it’s keeping me on track more than I’ve been in the past. I’ve been finding all of these people who are as big as me or even bigger who have made remarkable progress – the right way – and it inspires me greatly. If they can do it, there is no reason I can’t believe I can’t do the same. Still, the time it will take can be frustrating. There are days when I feel like I must have made a great progress and the scale has nothing positive to say to me. This can be discouraging, but overall I know I’m making healthier choices and it’s doing something really cool to my mentality. I hope I really keep it up this time. I’d love to post before and after picture with major evidence of my journey.

And, so, that’s pretty much it. My life is so exciting, right? (That’s sarcasm, obviously.) What have all of YOU been up to these days? Please sound off in the comments!

Peace – Sarah

P.S. I know I'm behind on LJ comments. I plan to work on that this week, so sorry in advance if your blog gets a ton of late love.

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Turning Thirty

This past Sunday was Easter for everyone, but it also happened to be my birthday and I’ve spent several days celebrating it. Despite all of my fears about turning thirty, I have to say it was one hell of a birthday.

The week started with Heath sending me on a hunt for his gift to me via post-it notes of clues when I got home from work on Monday. I didn’t really want my present so early, but after finally finding it in a Fruity Pebbles box, it was pretty hard to resist opening it.

Clicking the picture will take you to a more detailed story of how I found the gift and larger pictures of each step

By Wednesday, I’d received a box full of goodies from my BFF and critique partner, . It included framed art of my Crack the Sky characters (so adorable), a new bookmark, a book on birthdays (which mine was SPOT on!), a cute note pad (cause I have a crazy fetish with note pads), and an Amazon MP3 gift card (because I’m sure you already know how addicted to music I am). It was far more than necessary, but I loved every bit of it!

On Thursday, my last day of work before a five day vacation, my work friends spoiled me with brownies for breakfast, Chinese for lunch, and I added to the excess of yummy with cupcakes from Flavor Cupcakery. My friend who’d already made me THIS the month before as an early gift, also made me a pair of earrings to wear with my Easter dress. They can be seen HERE.

Friday and Saturday, Heath and I were in Washington, DC. The weather was windy and chilly, but the sun was shining and we captured some great pictures. We visited several Art Museums, Gardens, and Madame Tussaud’s Wax Museum. We walked so much on the first day, we could barely drag ourselves back to the hotel and we were asleep by 9pm (which is super early for us). While exhausting, it was a delightful trip.

Clicking the picture will take you to the entire photo album

When Sunday finally arrived (my actual birthday), I woke early for Church with my family and then we all gathered together at my parent’s house for a party to celebrate both Easter and my birthday. Maw Maw and Paw Paw made the breakfast I rave about having at Christmas for lunch. We ate until our bellies were full and then they showered me with gifts. All of the presents were great, but just being with my family in such an enjoyable way on my birthday made the day completely perfect.

Clicking the picture will take you to the entire photo album

I feel so blessed to have the family and friends I have in my life.

Today is my last day off before returning to work and I have to say the high from my birthday is still strong. My soul feels very much at peace, which I hadn't really expected since I was dreading officially being thirty so much. I guess I’ve just decided to not dwell on the number and it making me feel old. My mind is still young. I’ll just focus on that.

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The Big 3-0 is looming…

My birthday is less than a month away now. It falls on Easter this year. It’s fallen on or around Easter several times before, but the most memorable Easter themed birthday celebration was in 1985. My sister was born less than a month before it and even though my birthday was technically the day after Easter this particular year, I celebrated it in my Easter dress with a bunny shaped cake and egg hunting. 

The fact that I’m turning thirty this year feels a bit depressing. How have three decades of my life passed so quickly? Why do I feel like the last ten especially never even really happened? In my mind, I still feel a lot more like I’m twenty than about to turn thirty. What does it mean to be thirty? Do I have to start officially acting older? Will birthdays ever hold the excitement they always have for me again after this one?

I remember turning twenty-five and feeling like I was already having some sort of mid-life crisis. My life, as I’d planned it, was nowhere near where I thought it’d be by twenty-five. As I’m about to turn thirty, it still isn't. I have to admit this bothers me more than I wish it did.

I try to remind myself that life just happens. You can plan small bits of it, but it doesn't mean it will completely turn out that way. There are other factors that play into how your life turns out. No matter how hard you try to have absolute control of it, the truth is you don’t. These reminders feel harder to swallow with every year I age though. I feel like time is slipping away from me and if I don’t do something to somehow trap it and slow it down soon, it will be over before I know it. I don’t want to have reached the end with zero accomplishments under my belt, or none of the goals I’d hoped to achieve in life complete.

If I could go back to little kid Sarah and give her some advice, it’d be to: Stop wishing you were older so much. It’s not all that glamorous. And all those years you spent wishing for a future you’d later find was nothing like you imagined could have been better spent enjoying being a kid. Something you will miss terribly when you actually are older.

We grow up too fast, in my opinion. Turning thirty, already…. it feels like it happen overnight almost. *sigh* I hope my negative outlook doesn't ruin the day when it finally arrives.

  
  ———————    

Productivity = Happy Sarah

For the past week+ I’ve been trying really hard to get on a better schedule in everything I do. How long it takes me to get ready, staying up to date with my online communities and friends, replying to emails, multitasking, getting to bed at reasonable hours, reading and writing consistently, eating healthy, etc… 

I wasn’t flawless in my effort (no one’s flawless in anything, of course), but I did a pretty damn good job at knocking almost all of my goals out without feeling like time had slipped away from me uselessly. In fact, I feel rather accomplished right now which I’m realizing has a great effect on my attitude and any chances I have at continuing on this productive path.

I think that sometimes it’s just too easy to get wrapped up in personal failures (no matter how big or small), or lost time. The weight becomes so heavy you feel like you’ll never escape out from under it and therefore spiral further out of control on this negative path of nothingness. I think I was heading there.

Sometimes it’s not easy to try and recover from built up anxiety or self-doubt, but you just have to pull your big girl panties up and trudge forward. Eventually you’ll find yourself back on top, wondering why you let so many menial things get the best of you.

I hope I don’t falter again anytime soon because I like this happy high feeling, but if I do, I hope I remember it’s only temporary. I have the control to change it and only I can seize the day and make it happen.

Peace – Sarah

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January: In Review

It’s February already? How the heck did that happen? I guess 2012 will be no different than 2011 in the way that time slips by far too fast for my taste. Because of its quick nature, it doesn’t really feel like I did anything very notable in January, but according to my “lists” (I am forever making lists), I have a few things worth reporting.

Reading

I read six books in the first two weeks of January. Six! I don’t think I was really trying to; I just got lucky that the books I chose to read were so good it made them easy to blow through quickly. 

Starstruck by Cyn Balog, Winter Town by Stephen Emond, Dull Boy by Sarah Cross, The Hunger Games Trilogy by Suzanne Collins (The Hunger Games, Catching Fire, Mockingjay)

*The titles of the books above are links to my ratings & thoughts on each over at Goodreads.

Writing

I took a break from reading after the first two weeks of January and tried to channel my Crack the Sky cast to catch up on some much overdue writing. That, however, did not happen. What did happen was the attack of a new plot bunny (oh, joy, right?). 

While I was intrigued by the plot idea and cast (who, oddly enough, came toting names already which almost never happens for me), I was not interested in giving this book a shot at the moment because I do not write multiple books at the same time and I really want to finish Crack the Sky. New plot bunny didn’t care about what I wanted though and by the end of January I found myself listening to the first song(s) to make the playlist on repeat and writing a little over 2,000 words of what I’m currently calling, Dreamsters.

So I guess I am going to be working on two books side by side this year? Lord, help me.

Music: On Repeat

Music was on and off for me this month. Some days I couldn’t get enough of it, others I never even turned it on. The few songs that currently hold play counts wildly higher than the other songs that graced my ears this month include:

White Rabbits – “Heavy Metal”

Back in December I got a chance to see White Rabbits live and it was extra awesome because they played a bunch of new, unreleased tracks, all slated to be released this March on their next album, Milk Famous. This month they offered one of those new songs as a free download and not only was I quick to snatch it up, I loved it enough to let it live on repeat more than 100 times. Can’t wait for March!

*I find it sort of funny that my “on repeat” list for both this year and last starts with a White Rabbits track.

Closure in Moscow – “The Impeccable Beast”

Closure in Moscow is a band I just recently fell in-love with in the end of 2011. While I’m still enjoying their previous albums tons, I will be blessed with a new album this year too! In anticipation of the next album, they released a new single this month for free download and like the White Rabbits freebie, I just had to take advantage of this opportunity. And good thing, too, because I loved it so much I listened to nothing else but it for several days! So pumped for more!

Mindless Self Indulgence – “Tornado”

The only song of this bunch that’s definitely not new (to me or otherwise). This is the first song the Dreamsters cast claimed as their own and with claiming it, they became impossible to avoid. I have loved this song since I first heard it over 8 years ago now, but outside of my enjoyment it never had a purpose. Now it belongs to an intense and action packed scene that I can’t wait to write!

*In addition to this song, “Diabolical” from the same album was also played ad nauseam.

Photography

This isn’t usually something I boast about because Lord knows I’m no professional photographer, but I do have a fancy camera and I practice lots with it, especially on my nephew Gideon. Every week since his birth I’ve done little photo sessions with him and because of this regularity he is already very aware of the camera, almost as if he knows to pose for it. This month we had one of the best photo sessions in the seven months of his life. Not only is he such an adorable ham for the camera, the lighting and coloring were really good too making the pictures extra crisp. I’ve been researching shooting babies in particular and watching little tutorials. I think I’m getting better as a result! :)

*Click the image above to see more photos from this session

That’s pretty much it on the excitement factor for my month. I realize this is the first post of the 2012 here and I apologize for that. I’m still in that deciding phase, not sure where I should be blogging full time. I will say that I’ve been super active on Tumblr if you’re interested in more day-to-day updates from me until I figure out where I’ll blog like this more frequently. I’ll try to pop in here more often this month too.

What notable things do you have to report for January? 

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Babies, Obsessions, & Other Goodness

Last weekend I celebrated my birthday, but it was also my sisters surprise baby shower. Or at least it was supposed to be a surprise. Surprising Rachel is never easy. She will do everything in her power to get to the bottom of a secret. Despite the party losing its surprise factor, it was a great event. She made out like a bandit in the gift department. It took her almost three hours alone to just open gifts!


SO. MANY. GIFTS!

She was really happy with everything she received and I think it’s safe to say now based on the amount of things each individual person gave her that baby Gideon will be spoiled rotten. My sister might kill me for sharing this picture, but it was my favorite of the whole day and while she might think she looks fat, I find her absolutely adorable. Good thing she doesn’t read my blog I guess. 😉

I don’t even like kids much, but I have to admit I’m ridiculously eager to be an aunt. The further along Rachel comes, the more and more excited I get. It’s still so hard to believe my little sister will be a Mommy, but it’s still exciting nonetheless.

In other news this week:

I’ve got some new obsessions. Not obsessions in the way that I normally obsess over stuff, but the “need” to be submerged in these things daily is there. They are The Mortal Instruments Series (Books) and Sons of Anarchy (TV Show).

AND

I’m already half way through CITY OF GLASS (The Mortal Instruments, Book 3) and will likely be into Book 4 or CLOCKWORK ANGEL next week. It’s almost funny to me how long I’ve had this series in my possession and have avoided it for some reason. I could kick myself now because this series is freaking GREAT! And I’ve watched all of Season 1 of Sons of Anarchy already this week and am a few episodes into Season 2 already. I honestly can’t even explain what exactly it is about this show I love, I just know I love it.

Lastly, I received two happy pieces of news this week that may seem insignificant to some of you, but have really made me feel good.

1. Despite all of the food I consumed during my week long birthday celebration last week, I still lost 2 lbs this week during weight in at “AA for Fatties”. 2lbs. isn’t a lot, I know, but it’s something and if I can lose 2lbs. every week, I’m that much closer to my end goal. I have to plug Xbox Kinect as the deeper reason behind this weight loss this week though. While WW’s new diet plan is far easier than the old system and I’ve mostly stuck to it, working out just 3 times this week with Dance Central on that Kinect seriously burned some calories. I was sweating like nobodies business and my body was aching afterwards, but it was SO FUN! If I can add this into my regiment on a daily basis I just know alongside the diet, this fat suit I’m wearing will finally start to fade away!

2. I got a raise. It was only a dollar and while I really could use more and deserve more, it’s something. Something I haven’t received in 4 years thanks to the crash of the economy and the crippling effect it had on my job field in particular. I feel extremely grateful and glad to finally be recognized for my hard effort (because most days work kicks my butt).

Those last two pieces of happy this week remind me of something I too often forget: Patience. It’s a lesson I feel like God is constantly trying to teach me and for some reason I fight him on it all of the time.

We live in a society that wants things NOW and most of the time we can actually have those things NOW. Some things don’t happen NOW though, some things take time. And if you expect, especially without effort, you will undoubtedly be let down. But patience, it’s a strong quality in oneself, if you have it. And being patient has its benefits.

It seems like every time I finally remember this concept and stop dwelling on what I want NOW and just accept that it may take time, God rewards me with my desires. I’m feeling humbled and grateful this week for the lesson.

Peace – Sarah

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The Long Winded Sum of Things

I realize it’s been a super long time since I made a post that had to do with something other than music. I guess part of my lack of posting is due to the fact that for the most part only one person replies to my posts and I talk to her everyday anyway. Still, I was so active on here in 2010, even when there was no one reading and so it’s stupid to be so inactive in 2011 just because the blogosphere is quiet. I will try harder to be around more often in case there are any of you left wondering about my life.

I apologize in advance for how long this post will be.

Writing:

It’s been slow, I’ll be honest. Some days there is a lot going on in my mind, but others it’s completely silent. As much as the days where the chatter’s too much to decipher are difficult to deal with, the silence scares me even more.

My current WIP has had some improved scenes created, but the majority of the work completed on it in the last month was reviewing and revising. While this is partly because my characters have been off “playing with” my crit partners characters, it’s also because the next big series I will work on has been demanding my attention.

When I say demanding, I don’t just mean a few ideas either, I mean like whole books being fleshed out, characters with names and completely defined physical characteristics, their voices, the first two books prologues, actual narration that goes down in book 1 and more. It’s blowing me away how ‘alive’ they’ve become in my mind now, but it’s also exciting me.

It was an idea I had briefly a while ago, but really didn’t know what sort of direction it’d take and certainly didn’t think it’d be the next book I’d work on, but I’m pretty confident that after my Cleaphytes series is complete (2 books), I’ll be jumping into a 4 book series right away.

In fact, if my current characters don’t start “playing” in my mind again soon, I may just start this second series and attempt to write two stories at once (even though I swore that was something I was incapable of). I guess we’ll see what happens.

Reading:

Since my last “real” post I’ve read quite a bit. Not as much as I’d hoped by now exactly, but I’m 13 books into my to-be-read pile for the year so far. That’s not terribly bad.

I’m currently reading CITY OF BONES (Mortal Instruments, Book 1) by Cassandra Clare, which I will no doubt be finished with by the evenings end. I intend to read all 4 of the books in the series plus CLOCKWORK ANGEL (Infernal Devices, Book 1) this month in a challenge against a friend of mine to see who can finish first. At this rate, with the way I’m loving the story so far, I’m pretty positive I’ll win. I’d like to take a moment to give a shout out to alice_vd for turning me onto the series. Alice, I can absolutely see why you love it so much! It is quickly becoming one of my favorite reads!

Other books I’ve read since the last post include:

INVINCIBLE (Chronicles of Nick, Book 2) by Sherrilyn Kenyon – You all have to know by now how much of a Sherrilyn Kenyon fangirl I am, so obviously I swallowed this book whole the second it arrived in the mail. I absolutely adore how it connects to the Dark-Hunter world and the build up that’s being created in this YA series so that Nick can finally have his own Dark-Hunter book in that series when he’s grown. My only gripe is having to wait a whole year for more!

DEMONGLASS (Hex Hall, Book 2) by Rachel Hawkins – When I read HEX HALL last year it was just something with a pretty cover that *looked* interesting at the library and I honestly had no intentions of reading it quickly, but that’s exactly what I did. Rachel Hawkins writes from a teen’s voice spot on and the clash of characters oddly work so well together. In DEMONGLASS the bulk of the book takes place in London, but since the general story is boarding school based it really doesn’t matter where they are in the world – they issues they face are similar. It was a book I had a hard time putting down, but I expected that honestly. I can’t wait for Book 3!

FORGIVE MY FINS by Tera Lynn Childs – This was my first Tera Lynn book and also my first modern twist of Mermaid lore book. I blew through this book. It was a short read that moved at steady pace with all this wonderful water/fish like talk and a really cool take on mermaid life (which being a super fan of THE LITTLE MERMAID growing up, I thoroughly enjoyed). The characters were snarky to the max which was highly entertaining. I liked this book so much I even convinced my 50 year old mom to read it and she finished it fast too. It’s definitely a book I’d suggest picking up!

TRAPPED by Michael Northrop – I loved this book, especially with as cold as it’s been this past winter. There was nothing supernatural about it, just a handful of kids trapped in school during the worst snowfall on record. The panic the book builds as the days pass and trouble arises as a result is perfect! I just kept thinking – Are these kids gonna make it out alive?! My only gripe is how suddenly it ended. According to websites offering the book it claims it has 240 pages, while mine only had 232. I couldn’t help but feel like there could have been 8 more pages of the story I was missing. Receiving a second version of this book disproved my theory though so I guess it just ended and not in a bad way, just quicker than I expected. It was definitely a worthwhile read and if you’re someone who goes for cool effects in books, one of my favorite things was watching the height of the snow rise with the beginning of each chapter until the page was completely submerged!

After my Mortal Instruments reading challenge in April, I plan to read the Daughters of the Moon series (or at least the 2 volumes currently out (aka first 6 books)) for Heather’s (edgyauthor) birthday month. She loves this series so very much and since we pretty much like ALL of the same things, I have no doubt that I’ll enjoy it just like her!

I’ve also acquired quite a few books since the last time I actually took pictures of my beauties (which was what, Christmas?). I’ll do a separate post to glorify them all after my birthday in case I get any more. 😉

Life in General:

Remember that weight loss goal I set at the beginning of the year? Yeah, well I’ve failed, miserably. So bad that I actually gained weight and now that my sisters wedding is about 5 months away there’s no time like the present to finally take this serious. In an effort to make something happen, Mom made me actually join Weight Watchers with her. I’ve done a WW like diet before, but always on my own. Mom swears when you go to classes you take it more seriously. Maybe she’s right, I don’t really know. Right now though, all it feels like is an AA meeting for fat people. I don’t mean that in an offensive way. I know those sorts of things are the saving grace for some, but for me it just feels humiliating. *Sigh*

Work has been super stressful and draining. Do you remember The Mayo Thief AKA my nemesis at work? Well at the very end of February they finally let him go which made me happy because A: I wouldn’t have to deal with him or cover for him anymore –AND- B: Getting his workload dumped on me could mean a much needed raise. All that’s really happened though is that my workload is so tremendous now I’m barely ever getting on top of it no matter how hard I push myself. And the errors in the work he left behind are terrifying. It’s a constant struggle to set things right and so frustrating that my bosses let this nonsense go on for so long that it is at the point it is. Not to mention, a month later now and still no mention of a raise. I’m starting to wonder why I work so hard. He’s evidence of getting away with half assed work for years and he made at least 20,000 more a year than me. I make chump change and haven’t had a raise in 4 years. Work makes me angry more than anything most days now. *Sigh*

The weather here is driving me mad. I’ve lived in MD all of my life so it really shouldn’t surprise me how schizophrenic it can be, but its April, Earth. Don’t you know that means its spring? Why is it still cold enough to snow here? I mean, I love cold weather (Lord knows I hate being hot), but even I’m at my end with this dreary cold air. I want spring, I want flowers, and I want warm sunshine with a slight breeze. Is this too much to ask in April? SMH…

Speaking of April, it will be a rather busy month for me. I’ve got a hair appointment this weekend, my birthday next weekend, my sister’s baby shower next weekend, an unpleasant doctor’s appointment the following week, and that whole reading challenge (which equals reading 5-500 page books in 4 weeks). But even with all that I plan to really try and be active on here more than I’ve been so far this year. I feel bad for being so behind and while I know it will take me a while to catch up on all of your blogs, I plan to make a strong effort to do it!

One last thing before I go. I’ve always wanted an awesome piggy bank and while out shopping with my mom recently we stumbled upon one that was just calling my name. It was such an awesome pig that some old lady actually tried to take it from me. No joke. She crept up on me and threatened, “You’re lucky I didn’t see that first because it would be mine!” I was like, whoa omg! LOL! Funny/scary old lady. Anyway, without further ado I introduce to you Haywood Hall, possibly the coolest pig ever. (Just saying)

Until Next Time – Sarah

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