Thursday, February 23, 2012


So much going on right now I hardly know where to begin!  This is going to be one of those scattered and broken thought process kind of posts today so I can jam it all in there.  Aren’t you lucky?  Well of course you are!  I'm bringing Broken Thought Process Thursday back, woo hoo! For today anyway.

Ripple the Twine

Most importantly, the book is progressing nicely (especially considering the BTPTh link above includes an excerpt that isn't even in the finished MS anymore).  I will be acquiring the ISBN in the next couple weeks (budget, budget, budget!) and hopefully will finish formatting in about the same timeframe.  THAT is a lot of work let me tell you!  But it’s totally necessary and I don’t mind doing it knowing the book will look so much prettier when complete.

Judi FitzPatrick Studio was in-state recently and we had a little photo shoot for my book cover.  We’re working out specifics now and that should be wrapped up in the next couple weeks as well.  Can’t wait until that’s all situated, once I have the cover art it’s on like Ping-Pong, bitches!  I can order business cards, bookmarks, posters and other marketing material and I can get the graphic all over the place (promote, promote, promote!).

Also, I essentially had to start a publishing house in order to do this self-publish thing but it wasn’t too hard, just a lot of reading on the IRS website for EIN’s and stuff (research, research, research!).  Come to find out the EIN I had for CSD will work for Writesy Press as well.  I like the name, think it has a nice ring to it and it looks kind of sweet inside the front cover!


School is O.V.E.R.  Forever and finally. 

I know everyone says ‘never say never’ and all that but I think I should just finally admit to myself that I’m not the type who wants or needs a formal, structured, education in my life. 

My relationship with higher education began twenty years ago (almost to the month in fact…fuck, I’m feeling old!) when I first stepped through the doors at Middlesex Community College.  I started thinking about this quite a bit back in mid-January when I decided to withdraw from Ashford University.  I think all the financial messiness was the final straw but I really started to look back on all the signs and personal challenges over the years as related to college and how it was a non-essential part of my life.

I’ve gone to four different schools for four different paths over the past two decades.  I’ve accumulated massive debt and have absolutely no knowledge of how that debt will be repaid as I don’t have a steady paycheck (yet).  I’ve gone to, and subsequently dropped out of all but one program; the second attempt was just a short-term certificate course.  Basically, as I’ve said before, I’m the Sandra Bullock character in Forces of Nature with a four page long resume.

Ashford Instructors started to be less and less involved, yet I stayed.  The course content became less and less related to the course, yet I stayed.  The other students in class displayed less and less intelligence as each class went on, yet I stayed.  Then the bitches tried to fuck with my money.  It was like the proverbial baseball bat upside the head, I finally knew it was time to just admit that school is not my thing and get out so I could finally start learning.

The Attorney General in the state of Iowa was contacted and given specifics about the financial stuff.  They have decided to take the case.  If I can save just one person from being denied an education that they actually want, but can't complete because the shady financial practices cause them to leave school, then I'll feel like the battle was all worth it.  I may never even know but that's okay, I like happy endings so I'll go ahead and believe its possible.

Battling Against Cancer

One of the things I’ve learned recently in the school of the world is that there are people out there who get the shaft for absolutely no reason.  These people are so fucking great there should be statues in their honor in town squares and stuff.  They are selfless, kind, caring, giving and struggling, yet they still continue to give.  That’s hardcore rainbows and sunshine people!

You all know my dear friend Ginger, right?  No?  Well you can check out her link – Life & Bagels.  She & I met in the coolest way possible – through comments left on Jason Mraz’s (late) blog, Freshness Factor Five Thousand (RIP).  Yup, that’s right.  Represent for all the early lovers of the love!  We’ve known each other for about five-ish years already (holy shnikeys!) but have never met. 

Whatever.  Face-to-face has no bearing on friendship.  I’ve got a really good friend in Ohio who’s married and has a kid.  He’s about a year older than me and we met for the first time at his wedding almost ten years ago.  We had been pen-pals since I was sixteen years old.  Yes, remember actual letters?  Just like the blogs and comments of today’s generation.  You can know a person without knowing them.  So, anyway, back to Ginger.

Last year she was diagnosed with carcinosarcoma.  Yeah it’s a mouthful.  It’s cancer.  Those words are never going to be easy to pronounce because medical type people want you to linger over the names as long as possible.  Fuckers.  Anyway, Ginger is a working gal with a limited insurance plan and getting treatment to survive a cancer that no one walks for or really even knows about.  Its pretty rare.  It sucks that she has this, it sucks that the treatment is a bitch to pay for.

What doesn’t suck is that the people she works with all pitched in and bought her a car recently (she was a public transportation kind of gal for a while there).  What also doesn’t suck is her attitude.  The woman is a freaking cancer battling ninja!  But a few bucks would really help her to pay the bills for all of the stuff she has to do to be the ninja.  You can go right over to PayPal and send her a tax deductible donation at  Any amount is welcomed.

Goals to strive for

I have four daily goals right now.  For as long as I can muster the courage and strength to continue to strive for them I’m looking forward to completing as many per day as I can.  The ideal would be to do at least three of the four every day.  They are:

·         Write
·         Read
·         Exercise
·         Socialize (and I don’t mean strictly through online media)

And would ya look at that?  Here’s my first goal already achieved and it’s barely even 9:00 AM in Phoenix!

So to recap – Ripple the Twine is coming out in April through Writesy Press, my mom is a kick ass Photographer, I’m officially a student of the world, my mind-body-soul is being worked on as often as possible, and my friend really could use some help. 

That email again --

So that’s pretty much it for now.  Kaythanxhaveagreatday!

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Tomas Plekanec Does Stay Classy, Even Though He’s a Hab

I really, really wanted to post an update on all things friends, family and manuscript today but after reading an article this morning about an incident that happened during the Bruins game last night, that update is going to have to wait a while because this requires my immediate attention to rant about.

Most of you aren’t Bruins fans.  Hell, most of you aren’t hockey fans so I’ll give a little back story and recap.

A long, long time ago in a country far, far away (Canada) there came to be a hockey team known as the Montreal Canadiens.  Called the Habs for short, this team was one who started the business of hockey as a paid-player franchised sport.  Fast forward just fifteen years later to 1924 and you’ll see that Canada decided to extend their game love and adopted a team known as the Boston Bruins.  The B’s were the first American team to join the league and are considered an Original Six team (a very important point of contention to anyone who is a fan of the sport).

Now, fast forward the eighty-eight years since the B’s were brought into the league, add in some good old fashioned sports-rivalry angst (think Red Sox v. Yankees) and you’ve got yourself all the makings for some aggressive hockey games full of action and adventure.  Sprinkle in a little bit of jealousy, lots of fighting, fan enthusiasm and new-ish NHL rules for good measure, then transport yourself to last night’s game.

Just about every game for the past few seasons my Aunt and I watch on our respective devices (sometimes we get to go to games together, sometimes we watch together, but we’re usually separate) and chat at length on Facebook about pretty much every play of the game.  Last night I had a Writer’s meeting to attend and Matt set up the game to record.  For those who don’t understand, let me once again refer to the Sox/Spankees rivalry as a guidepost – the B’s want to take down the Habs at all cost.  As a Bruins fan I salivate at the thought and no way I was missing that game because of a work related event.

But when I say “take down” what I mean is through scoring and defense, through carefully timed and strategically planned fights, through the standings in the Conference, not in an actual sense.  The Bruins are resting happily in the number 2 spot in the East with 72 points.  Montreal is in 12th place right now with only 56 points.  Oh, and the Bruins won the Cup last year while the Habs haven’t won one since 1993.  Lots of fodder for fans to get a little chippy themselves.

However, none of that, and I mean none, ever justifies cheering when a player gets hit in the face with a probable 90 mile per hour slapshot and ends up getting stitches during the first intermission**.  Unfortunately that’s exactly what some Montreal fans did last night when the Bruins captain Zdeno Chara took one to the chin.

Yes, they actually began to cheer when he fell to his knees, struggled to get up, and proceeded to start bleeding.

Look, I loathe PK Subban as much as the next B’s fan but that’s only because he wears a Habs uniform.  I respect his talent as a player I just never want to see him win.  But that doesn’t mean I want to see him hurt.  What fun would it be if all the good players got hurt in bitter rivalry games?  And what kind of human would I be if I started clapping and cheering if he went face first onto the ice after taking a frozen piece of rubber to the head?  Not much of one, that’s for sure.

So earlier today I read the article written by Puck Daddy over on Yahoo (linked above) and my own jaw almost hit ice.  He’s basically saying that as fans we have the right, and conditioned emotional response, to be happy when a player from the opposing team is injured.

Um, what the fuck?

Happy when an opposing player is hard-checked into the boards, yes.  Happy when an opponent has an equipment malfunction that takes them off the ice for a while, yes.  Happy that the other team gets drawn into a fight and both players skate on their own volition into the box thus eliminating possible threat of scoring, yes.  But injury?  No.  Just, no.

The fans in Montreal should take a cue from their player, the one who hit the slapshot in the first place, Tomas Plekanec.  The second it connected and Big Z went down Plekanec skated over to make sure he was okay.

Let me repeat that for everyone so it really sinks in – the player from the Habs who took out Montreal’s most despised rival player (this week) with a puck to the face went to make sure the guy was alright.

Now that’s class.

** As a side note for those keeping track, not only did Big Z get sutured up, but, he was back on the ice for the rest of the game with a helmet that showed the glowing red sign of what had happened to him.  And the B’s won the game in a shootout.  That’s hardcore baby.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Happy VD!

Two weeks ago...

What we said out loud
Me: I think we should do Valentine's Day this year.
Matt: Okay.

What was really said
Me: Even after thirteen years together I like to keep you guessing.  Good luck with pulling this one off, buddy!
Matt: She can't be serious???  Well, that's great.  Guess I'm screwed...and I actually enjoyed being married for a while...

There have been a few reasons for not really celebrating holidays like Valentine's Day or our anniversary before.  And they're all my reasons.  As most of you know by now our inner personalities reflect very stereotypical dude/chick qualities.  Only I'm the dude.  Matt is definitely the more romantical one. 

He's the one who used to leave little notes saying how much he loves me for no real reason other than it was a day that ends in a 'y'.  He wants to hug me in the middle of the living room for absolutely no reason whatsoever on a Tuesday at 8:46 PM.  Whereas I rarely remember our anniversary or little things like wearing my wedding ring out in public sometimes.  He wanted "Into the Mystic" as the last song at our wedding, I wanted to be introduced to "Welcome to the Jungle".  Yeah, it’s like that.

I truly felt that if he wanted to give me a present he didn't need the freaking Hallmark Corporation telling him what day I was supposed to get it.  We're supposed to love each other enough to give fattening, expensive, high-pressure gifts all year long right?  It probably sounds like a cop out but I love him every day, he loves me every day.  We don't need to participate in the world's biggest "I don't know what to do but I have to do something so here's this heart shaped locket you've never mentioned you like" holiday to prove our love. 

So what the hell was going on with me two weeks ago?

Well, all kinds of stuff lately has just been swimming around and I caught a little bit of a romantic bug.  It kind of hit me how I used to be super gooey and squishy back in high school when I started pulling out old journals to work on my current zine series.  Jenn 's ________ is all over the place.  No, seriously, like ALL over the place.  Sometimes I even crossed out the first guy and just re-wrote a new guy's name when I fell in love the next time.

"Yes its true what you have heard about me, I fall in love every time..." - Melissa Ferrick

To be fair, I'm not some cold bitch or anything.  No way I'm about to be evil to someone so openhearted, that's not my style!  I'm the one who grabs for his hand when we’re walking down the street; I like to surprise him too.

And surprise him I did two weeks ago with one little phrase about one little holiday.

I knew I wanted to do something kind of gag-gift related for him, but I wanted super squishy cards.  Our relationship isn't all about lace and frills (seriously, even he has limits, he's still a guy for goodness sake!) so there wouldn't be any of that going on.  I went out and picked up a bunch of hilarious stuff while he was in Texas at a work thing last week.

Not hilarious to the whole world type stuff though, everything was an in-joke between him and me type of gift.  I got him an Angry Birds fluffy pig, a pack of playing cards with trivia that have an image from "Saturday Night Fever" on them, and a travel mug that actually plays "Free Bird" through a tiny speaker in the bottom (among other stuff).  I knew he’d love everything because that’s just Matt. 

He cracked up at every single one of them.

Oh, yeah, and we exchanged last night.  Because that's another thing about me, I don't ever wait to open gifts.  Who knows what could happen in 5 minutes, 5 days, 5 months...if there's a gift in front of you why on Earth wouldn't you just go for it?!?

Matt waited until yesterday to go & buy my gift.  He couldn’t exactly be subtle about it or anything, as of this moment we only have a joint bank account and one car.  What was killing me though was that he wouldn’t even give a teeny hint what it was going to be.  On the way out the door we exchanged:

“It’s something you’d never expect from me.”
“Divorce papers?”
*Eye roll, kiss goodbye* “I love you, see you in a bit.”
“Drive safely, love you too.”

So then I was left alone to consider just what in the world he was going to get me.  Left alone for close to an hour.  Torture much?  I thought, maybe it would be a Kinect because we’ve been saying for a couple weeks how we should get one. 

But that just isn’t Matt’s style. 
But he said I wouldn’t expect it from him.
But even still, he wouldn’t get me electronics on VD.

When he got back my mind was spinning but also I couldn’t wait for him to open his gift.  Like I said, he loved them, and I was so happy he did.  And to be honest I was relieved that I’d suggested it then pulled off a totally successful Valentine’s Day for the first time in probably 8 or more years.  Again, like I said, I am in touch with my inner-guy-ness.  I was nervous.

Then it was time to open mine.  He handed me an envelope with “I love you :-)” on the front and I could feel it was a couple pieces of paper.

“Wow.  It really is divorce papers.”
*eye roll* “You’ll like it I promise.”

He didn’t get me a card but hand wrote me a super cute note that will go in my Matt’s notes over the years scrapbook and I unfolded the other piece of paper; the one that matched the cloudy looking yellow envelope.  All I saw was Divinity Tattoo.

My jaw dropped to the ground.  Suddenly, him saying in his note that there’s something I’ve been talking about doing for a long time but haven’t yet, made complete sense.  It was the best damn Valentine’s Day gift this girl ever could have received!

For a while now I’ve been carrying around a drawing that encompasses some very important stuff to me personally.  It is super rough and all but absolutely exactly what I want an actual Artist to recreate into something out of this world good for my first ever piece of body art.

Wow buddy, you’re brave.  Cause really, nothing says Valentine’s Day like buying your wife some pain.” – Chick in the tattoo shop

I can’t freaking wait.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Obstatunity Comes from Strategery: Part II

Back before we moved out here to Arizona I wrote a post on Matt's working situation which I just went back and re-read as I tried to decide if 'Obstatunity Comes from Strategery' could have a sequel.  As you brilliantly surmised from the title of the post, yes, yes it can.

Only this time it’s my freaking obstatunity.  And I'm planning to run with it.  But first, seeing as though you already know me and know the way it works around these parts, I'll give you the back story.

A year ago I started classes at Ashford University as most if not all of you know.  I Googled the school, read good things, did my research and all that stuff.  But I also did the same for the couple other Universities in question.  I'd been paying back student loans for a couple years from my 2 prior failed attempts at higher ed-u-ma-cation so if I was going to go back it needed to be the right thing.

When it came time to choose I went with a couple factors:
1) School needed full accreditation
2) School needed to have the program I was looking for (BA English)
3) School needed to be fairly well respected

There were 2 out of 3 with my old University that I'd had phenomenal success with - the Art Institute.  Sadly, the one thing it didn't offer was a BA in English.  I narrowed down and chose Ashford. 

For about the first 5 or so classes I was happy with my choice!  Some of the Instructors seemed invested, the course work was recoculously challenging and I actually felt as if my dollars were going to something worthy.  Not to mention Ashford used almost all of my AI classes as transfer credits for all my needed electives so I was already a junior level when I entered.  Right where I'd hoped to be after already investing far too many years in higher learning.

I dove in and studied my fucking ass off, I blew off plans with everyone in order to study, I popped at least 3 veins in my brain while completing the course work to maintain my 4.0 GPA.  And I did.  That accomplishment alone made me proud of myself, and it made me realize I was on the correct path in pursuing a Writing career.

Then suddenly last fall I started to notice that more and more Instructors started to care less and less - as evidenced by their blatant lack of response in class and outright disappearing acts.  I also noticed the course work was snore provoking.  As nice as it was for the first class to go from studying a literal 45 hour week down to 10, by the fourth I was getting frustrated.  But I only had a year to go until that degree was in my hot little hands.  I kept pushing the brick wall.  Kept talking myself into the fact I needed this degree, that I had to have it.

Then all this utter bullshit happened and I really started to question:
1) The need for the degree in the first place
2) The dedication level I'd really have if I stayed
3) The validity of the degree in question.

I was torn not only just on paying the non-existant bill but on staying at the school even if I did.  I had no clue what to do, I was at an impasse in my brain.

Then all of a sudden I realized (with a little help from a friend) that if I keep going to school the only thing I'm going to get is more debt, more popped veins and a degree from a shady University that I won't even really want to tell anyone about.

Instead, it would be far more worth my time to study at the University called the World, read, write, network and publish my fucking book, man.  I'm so far in the hole enough already that I can hardly see how to get out.  But then I feel like I caught sight of the first rung and it feels great.

Do I feel like a failure for withdrawing at the end of this class?  I did before but now I just feel like all the time I'll get back for myself will be better spent creating my own obstatunity - the one where I actually Write for a living, sell my writing, create contacts, network, whatever the hell other Writers do.

Obstatunity - Continuing my education by reading the shit I want to read.
Strategery   - Using that education to further my own career and pay back the exorbitant loan money I already owe without taking on even more debt.

I started getting serious about writing not too long ago and now I'm just looking at all of this as my glowing neon sign to get out and get on with my life.  I'm not getting any younger and a degree from Shady University will do nothing for me in the long run.

It’s not giving up, it’s changing my mind.  Because it’s time to evolve.