Friday, June 29, 2012

Irony Upon Irony

Well folks, if I didn’t love irony so much I’d probably be pretty upset by this whole odd and twisted situation going on with marketing my book right now.  But I do love it; when I see it happen, read it, live it.  Anything.  It reminds me that life will do whatever it damn well wants to no matter how much we plan otherwise and that sometimes we’re supposed to laugh at the happenstance.  Sometimes we have to laugh at the fact that it’s so funny and unbelievable it has to be true.

As if our life were a thirty minute sitcom.

This week my sitcom would have a title like “Really?”

I told you on my other blog all about the irony of sending one of my books to a stop on my Blog Tour that just so happens to be in Montreal.  If you didn’t get a chance to read that post feel free to head on over now.  No, really go ahead.  I can wait.

~*~Musak ensues.  I dance in an elevator with a dorky smile on my face until the doors open.~*~

Okay, now that you’re back…

Is that weird or what?  I mean of all the blogs in all the cities in two different countries and my book goes off to one located smack dab in the middle of the home of the Habs?  Anyway, now that my latest challenge has presented itself I almost feel like that was nothing!

Yesterday I get an email from Samantha over at Chick Lit Plus, the gal handling my Ripple the Twine Blog Tour, indicating that one of the bloggers received an empty envelope!

I was mortified!  The glue on the envelopes I used seemed to be pretty strong.  But if one fell out, could more have taken a tumble into the Post Office abyss as well?  I kind of freaked out when I emailed her back so I barely took notice of what blogger she said got a bag full of nothing.  So I went back to Samantha’s message and scrolled down to see which blogger it was, half expecting to see it was one of the (more expensive) Canadian blogs.

I opened my spreadsheet to get the address.  My jaw almost hit the desk as it dropped.  It was just too good.  I had a literal LOL moment sitting here, looking at my monitor.

The book was supposed to be delivered to the owner of the blog Lost in Literature.

~*~Laughter ensues.  I nod my head with a sheepish grin on my face until you stop wiping away tears of hilarity.~*~

I mean, come on.  Are you kidding me?  Hello Post Office; its Lost in Literature.  A three word title.  Not Lost Literature.  IN.

The good news in all this lunacy though is that the situation gave me a little inspiration for the book outline I’m compiling for NaNo this fall (yup, doing it again!).  And I guess it is small comfort that at least nine of the ten reached their destinations safe and sound.

And the one to LiL?  Let’s just note the acronym isn’t LOL and hopefully this second shipped copy will be IN their mailbox within the next couple days.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Welcome to Our Home

I was talking to someone the other day, can’t remember who it was now, and I mentioned the fact that my home is my “thing”.  You know how people, men and women alike, always have something that defines them; their trademark if you will?  Whether it’s great hair, the perfect purse with every single outfit, that 1/16 inch stubble that never seems to grow, it’s that person’s signature thing.  Now I’m not talking from an inner-person standpoint here.  What I mean is the thing you notice about them physically.

For me it is definitely my home.

Many, many years ago I gave up on the possibility of always having great hair, the perfect purse to go with every outfit.  Somehow though, and you can confirm this with Matt if you like, no matter how often I shave my legs there always seems to be that 1/16 inch of stubble.  Or more.  Perfection is not possible no matter how much I want to strive for it.

So I said screw it to aiming to be the perfect person. But it just hit me this past week that the thing for me is my home.  Boom, like I’d never realized I love to have my house set up in a comfy and pleasing way.  My house isn’t exactly like something that just fell out of a magazine or anything but, if you visit, the thing I’ll hope you take away is that you were relaxed and happy while you were here.

I’m a collector of various things – shot glasses, sports memorabilia, movie related memorabilia.  Not an overabundance or anything though like those people you see on Hoarders.  I don’t even own a live cat, let alone one that died too long ago to remember.  Yeah, I just threw up in my own mouth a little bit too.  You’re welcome.

But anyway, each of those small collections kind of end up defining the spaces in my home and I’m cool with that.  Every Interior Designer on the planet will cringe at theme rooms.  Well I love them to be honest.  So I guess ID’s are cringing at my house?  Oh well, probably why I had no desire to see ID school through to the end.

So because I promised multiple times that I’d post pictures (as I was reminded recently) I guess there’s no better time than now to invite you over.

This is the kitchen before, when we first moved in.  Before the painting madness ensued and I covered just about every square inch of this place in low VOC latex.

Kitchen now.  The cabinets are just painted but we’re playing around with the idea of darker cabinets so at least this was a cheaper solution to see if we like it and can live with it until we save up to renovate the space.

We’ve got an en suite master set up which is pretty cool.  We had this in our last apartment too but they put the teeny stand up shower in that bath and the tub in the other bath plus the guest bedroom was larger there so we ended up giving up the second bath to our guests and office.  No biggie though…

Because now we’ve got separate rooms for the guests and office (as you know from my last post) and our bedroom is just perfect.  The bath attached is a nice perk.  We tore out the glass doors (yuk!) and Matt put a refresher epoxy on the surround.  I’ve been wanting to paint our bathroom this color of blue since I installed blue in a client’s bathroom before we left Massachusetts last summer.  I think it works well with the brown and we already had the shower curtain & accessories.

This is my desk set up and some of the built-in shelving for the office.  A side note for all my EcoEtsy peeps – the green boxes you see on the shelves are repurposed.  My most recent order of Ripple the Twine came inside those two boxes & then inside a shipping box.  I cut off the side flaps, painted them using the paint color we have in our guest bath, attached some self-adhesive Velcro to the front flap and now I’m using them to store stuff as well as cleaning up the look of clutter on those shelves.  The flap-top box in between them houses all my small acrylic craft paints.  As you can also see a bit of sporty goodness has started to find a home too!

And this is my little sales corner.  I don’t know if anyone will ever be at my house to buy a single copy of any of my work but I like having it on display if for no other reason than to feed my own desire to keep doing it.  When I look up and see all of my projects in one display I am happy that this is what I do for a living now.  Okay, happy is probably an understatement; elated, ecstatic, “broke but I’m happy”.  Can’t argue with that! 

It has started climbing into the triple digits on a regular basis now.  So unlike the winters here where you can be outdoors pretty much every day and all day, and also unlike winter v. summer back on the northeast coast, I’m spending the summer inside.  I figure I owe at least that much to the house, to appreciate its awesomeness now, after all the hard work to get her here.

(Sorry for the blurriness of some of the pictures, I took them with my phone and didn't have time to edit the images)

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Setting Up the Command Center and Getting Back Online

FINALLY!  And, yes, I’m aware that it has technically only been a few days since I disconnected the computer back on the other end (six), as well as the fact that I had plenty of internet access on my phone.  Really, though, details, schmetails!  I’m all hooked up in my office now.  It felt like forever let me tell you and setting things up in here feels great.

I’m calling the office the Den of Words and Sports and I'm lucky enough to be able to do everything from this one space now.  Matt accepted a new position which means he sadly no longer works from home.  But only sadly in the fact that it was nice having lunch together every day and that he was out of work by 3:00 (east coast hours).  It isn’t sad that he’s got a really great thing going at the new place and a far lower stress level to go along with it.  Even if it means he’s not home until 5:30, if his general career-self-ness is happier & more satisfied then he’s a lucky man.

And I’m a lucky woman too because with him out of the house I get the entire office area to dedicate to my stuff for the first time ever.  He gets a workshop in the garage, his man space and I get my Den.



First and foremost I have the desks set up for maximum writing and editing potential.  That’s pretty key considering I’m pursuing it from a career standpoint.  I kinda can’t just do it from my netbook on the sofa anymore.  The netbook with a 10” screen.  The sofa we’ve had for about seven years.  The sofa, like all of our furniture except the hand-me-downs, that came from IKEA when we were college-poor (pay no mind to the fact that we were in our late twenties/early thirties at the time, technically it isn’t a lie seeing as though I was in school).  Anyway, the sofa that needs to get the eff up on outa’ here.

But all in due time.  First and most important, did I mention I get the office all to myself?

So now that the writing station is covered that opens up the closet and the other 1/3 of the room to accommodate my hobbies too.  I have a permanent spot for my sewing machine for the first time in ages, and the closet can house stuff I’ve picked up for jewelry making that I actually kept after the Great Purge of 2009.

Oh yeah, and this is the room where all my sports memorabilia is going.  Booyah!

Mark Recchi (holding one of his three Stanley Cups, wearing a Bruins jersey), a Christmas gift from my Aunt (who rocks!), will be right across the room from me.  Obviously not the real Mark, the framed photo of his smiling face is perfect thank you very much.  My poster of Nomar (Nomah!!!) Garciaparra, the ‘We Got the Cup!’ poster we all got on Bruins parade day, the little Red Sox plastic cap that they sell you the ice cream inside of, and my New England Patriots bottle opener will all be on some kind of display.

Sorry but I can’t help that I’m a Boston sports nut.  I mean, when you grow up there you get it.  Even people who aren’t into sports at all are open to appreciating the fact that the Yankees suck.  Because they do.

But I digress…

The office will hopefully have a reading chair as well.  I love to read for enjoyment of course but aside from blogs and articles, there are paperback versions of guides and advice that I read for the business side and I want to keep business stuff in here.  Plus I’m hoping I can also do some reviews for other indie Author’s novels this year.  I have a couple friends who have written books and I’d love to get my take on them out there through Writesy.

Which reminds me…

If you’ll allow me another digression (which you likely will if you’re over here to begin with cuz this thing ain’t called Random Lunacy for nothin’!) I’d like to take a moment to just thank (profusely) all the amazing and wonderful people who have purchased a copy of my book!  In total, since first publishing this past April I’ve sold 68 copies of Ripple the Twine.  Holy crap!

That’s a whole lotta’ love and from the tips of my toes I cannot thank you enough for supporting my venture into the business of Writing and self-publishing.  I’m really proud of this book but it still humbles me that well over 50 people bought a single piece of my writing.  In all the zines, chapbooks, etc. I’ve never sold 68 copies before.  For this many people to believe in what I’m doing is actually (and not in that literally/totally/actually way but for real) about the most surreal thing I’ve ever experienced.

And now I have an office all to myself to write in, a corner office with a pretty nice view of blue skies.

Apparently I must be doing something right because the gods of (whatever oversees the career track) are certainly smiling on me!

Anyway, thank you all so, so much for your love and support!

And now back to your regularly scheduled post about moving and setting up stuff.

I’ll probably hang some photos this weekend, things that are already framed and that we plan to use, but otherwise I’m taking the entire weekend off.  Matt too.  We both deserve it I can say that for sure after being on non-stop go-time the past month since we closed on the house.

There’s been a pool pump & filter replacement (including plumbing) done, epoxy overlay in the master bath shower, hanging of curtain rods and large poster art.  And that’s just what Matt’s done.

I pretty much painted every interior surface with the exception of ceilings (which I cut in and Matt rolled), a few bathroom cabinets, and all the doors.  But including kitchen cabinets.  Which I now somewhat regret because they were tough to do and the paint wasn’t the best quality.  But they admittedly look 1000% better and will do until we replace them.

We plan to rip out the bathrooms over the next year or so.  Functionally speaking they work fine for now but I figure if we leave them hideous it will speed up the process of saving to do what we really want not just what works to get by.  That’s here already, and as we all know Matt and I had the ‘let’s-make-it-good-enough-and-flip-it(-but-ha-ha-it-never-sells-sucka)-house in the past.

If nothing else Labor of Love taught us to be patient.

Um, yeah, that’s it.  Go ahead, ask Matt how I’m doing with that concept.  Patience isn’t in my vocabulary when I am setting up my house.  My house is my thing.  Some people have shoes or bags, I’m all about my house.

Regardless though I’m frantic over spending as if we’re destitute or something.  Which we’re not.  If we were, we would have never considered buying.  We’re doing fine and all that hoo-ha but scrimping and saving for years then watching the rapid depletion of your savings go ‘POOF!’ in one fail swoop called a down payment, well, it kinda gets stuck right there in the throat.  Especially when I’m not pulling in any kind of predictable income right now.

But enough about all that.  Have I mentioned I’m writing this blog post from my brand new, office?  The one that’s all mine?

In time, maybe over the course of the next five years or so, our plans include opening up all the kitchen walls to the living room space so we have a great room open concept feel.  The reason it’ll be years down the line is it also means the entire tile floor comes up because it was installed up to the trim, not under it.  And that’s a project neither of us will do ourselves, nor do we want to spend money on it right now.  There are priorities far greater that benefit the short term and long term.

For example, the plumbing must be looked at relatively soon.  Every time we run a load of laundry bigger than a medium sized cycle at one end of the house, the showers back up all the way at the other end of the house.  Um, so not okay.

Our plumbing plans include having that inspected as well as moving the water and gas lines for the laundry into the house from the garage.  Because, really?  I don’t understand what genius thought ‘Ooh I’ve got an idea! Let’s put the place where you’re cleaning your clothes in the dirtiest place in your house. Brilliant!’

Laundry in the garage never made sense to me and since the wall abuts the kitchen wall we’re bringing it into the kitchen.  Which of course means building out a closet for it.  Which would leave the kitchen with an off-balance design.  Which of course means building out a pantry on the opposite corner.  And if we’re installing such nice doors and cabinetry/countertops over there we’re going to want to rip out the kitchen with its painted cabinets and laminate countertops over here

I think you can see where this is going.

It’s going nowhere right now, that’s for sure.  All in time.  And I stress all.

Anyway, we’re moved in and almost totally unpacked.  This week will probably be the final push.  Plus I’ll be posting stuff on craigslist and /or Freecycle and eBay over the course of the next week or so.

And I’ll be doing it all from my very own office.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Is There No Such Thing As Quality Anymore?

Sometimes it’s really, really hard to be a Writer. Mostly because I notice the spelling and grammar mistakes in every piece of printed anything now.  And no, I don’t like being a hypocrite, because I’m sure my blog is rife with grammatical liberties, but when your spelling mistake is emblazoned across something that ends up in the hands of tens of thousands of people I’m forced to ask how it got through the cracks.

I’m also forced to consider whether anyone has told you about your mistake.  If not is it because the general public feels too shy to bring up these types of things, or is it because no one noticed until now?  If it’s the latter then I feel it is my duty to pray for this country’s future.  Because it is most certainly headed to a hell where hell is spelled with an e on the end.

When I tell you what it was that I caught (on the first read, at 7:00 in the morning, before coffee mind you) you might laugh and shrug your shoulders wondering why I made such a big deal about it in the first place.  Then again, since I know most of you are like me, you’re probably already sending me an email to find out what the company is so you can alert their marketing department of their huge gaffe.

So as you know we closed with mortgage company one.  We’ll just call them American Slacker Mortgage (or ASM for short).  ASM was probably the most frustrating company on the planet to work with and our deal actually caused multiple people to place them on a black list.  Our broker considered leaving the industry as a whole.  I was counting down the days until we could refinance out of the loan and into a better company who gave a crap about their clients.

(READ: live in the fantasy world inside my head where rainbows shoot out of a unicorn’s ass and we all skip along holding hands, singing the Smurfs theme music with a big smile on our face all the live-long day.  Then everyone pats me on the forehead because of my forced naivetĂ© that everything is sunshine and roses…)

Anyway, about a week ago we received the letter almost everyone gets these days - that our loan was sold.  I was doing the happy dance because it would save me the trouble of refinancing in a couple years.  The new company sounded promising, they were closer to our side of the country so our checks would undoubtedly arrive faster and though I’d never heard of them before I was assured it would all work out A-OK.  For simplicity let’s just call them Our New Bank, or ONB.

We started getting mail at the new house in the past couple days (wahoo!) and yesterday we received the first statement from ONB.  The first of the next, proposed, 360 months of my life.  I opened my statement this morning.  On the return envelope there was one of those tear-off thingies under the flap.  Most of the time those are there to fill out for a change of address or similar.  This one was there to request setting up automatic payment deduction.

I was slightly intrigued (READ: anytime I can be lazy and not have to think about things like paying bills if it can happen automatically then I’m all for it).  So I sat in front of my monitor and read the request.  And then there it was.

When I see spelling mistakes I consider a couple things.  First, is the letter that’s out of place next to a letter that should have been used and was hit in simultaneous error?  Second, is the letter in question next to the space bar and was hit accidentally?

Where this spelling mistake is concerned, the answer in both cases my friends, is a resounding no.  So here’s what I received.

I counted and there are 123 words in the little two paragraph blurb.  One hundred and twenty-three words and a spelling mistake like that slips through?  Especially when word 37 is the same word and spelled correctly!

That’s it, I’ve had it with the utter lack of attention to detail in this world.  The sheer volume of laziness on this planet is astounding to me.  Like I said, I crave laziness as well but not when it comes to stuff like this.  If I released my book including a spelling error within every 123 words there would be approximately 512 spelling mistakes in my manuscript.  Who cares so little they allow something like that?

The sad truth is that the answer to the question is most people.  But how could I trust they’d even get my information correct when entering into their computer?  If they can make a mistake like that on the request for my information, right there in my face in bold purple ink, can I really have confidence in the abilities of the company as a whole?  And as much as it pains me to say it, even with all the lack of caring by ASM at least they spelled everything correctly.


Guess I hold companies to a much higher standard than I should.

Eache and every one of them.

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Because Alice Raised the Bar…

So after posting my Celeb top five list my friend Alice promptly stole it and reworked it to her own specs.  Well after checking out her post I started thinking of so many more categories and what makes hotness hot to me.

Of course you know that means I’m totally revising my list and revamping based on these new themes running through my head right?  Of course I am.  You’re welcome.

Stay tuned though, the painting should be done next week so I’ll have some house candy to feast your eyes on!  Until then here’s my new & improved (<-- oxymoron) list of celebrity crushes.

Guys that were super-hot in one roll but are just ‘meh’ the rest of the time

Hugh Jackman as Wolverine.  I mean who wouldn’t want a guy that’s literally indestructible with shoulders like that?  It almost makes you not notice the throwback to the Flock of Seagulls hair style.  Pretty much anything he’s done before or since didn’t have quite as much sex appeal. 

Viggo Mortensen as Aragorn.  He had a chainmail vest, mad sword wielding skills, and that long brown hair that screamed ‘hey, I haven’t showered in about a decade but I’m so the guy you don’t take home to meet your mom so let’s get it on up on Weathertop before the Ringwraiths catch up to us and I have to high tail it off to Rivendell where my elf princess awaits my return.’  Or, you know, something like that.

Judd Nelson as John Bender.  I don’t know if it’s because I always had a secret thing for the bad boy types or what but I’m sensing that kind of running theme here.  Bender was the guy that good girls pretended not to notice while fawning over Jake Ryan and his Porsche.  Of course Bender himself said it best “Sweets?  You couldn’t ignore me if you tried.”

I feel like you lost your soul to Hollywood

It pains me to no end to even include him on this particular list because if ever there was a fan of every molecule of this guy’s entire soulful being it would’ve been me (okay, perhaps after Trayce!).  I’ve written before how Waiting for My Rocket to Come saved my sanity while doing home construction.  I’ve made real friends in this world because of this guy’s music bringing us together.   I’ve seen him in concert more times than I should admit.  I know every nuance of his live stuff and pride myself on having known it LONG before “I’m Yours” hit the radio.  I’ve seen him rock a huge stage as a headliner in front of 10,000+ people, as the opening act for Dave Matthews playing in front of 50,000+, and him all alone with a guitar with maybe 200 people in the room.  He had the whole package, cuteness and the vibe.  But his entire being has changed in recent years.  And I flicked him off the pedestal.  It makes me sad; Jason Mraz was thisclose to knocking Sean out of the number one spot.  So you know that shit is serious.

Guys who probably should’ve made the list so I’m including them now

Alex O’Loughlin, which is his Americanized name for Hollywood, his real surname is O’Lachlan, a Scottish name roughly translated to Land of the Lakes.  I can’t even begin to stop laughing at the irony that my brain arrived at with this statement.  Those who are fans of the movie Idiocracy by Mike Judge will know that all of this celebrity crap is just a reason to go drink your butter & be a good little subject.  Land o’Lakes…hot actor…yeah this is kinda how my brain works. 

Let me tell ya somethin’, ya suspect.

I’m also noticing I have a thing for guys with prominent noses in addition to the light eyes & dark hair.  Hmm…

Sports guys

OK so this category could literally go on forever.  Quarterbacks like Steve Young, Doug Flutie, Tom Brady, Joe Montana (back in the day) and of course Favre & Bledsoe.  Baseball players like Nomar Garciaparra, David Wright, Jason Varitek and Adam Wainwright.  But of course with my penchant for all things Townie you know I’m going to be all about the hockey players.  And truly I think it’s safe to say that, aside from the likes of Patrick Kane (another blonde man rule exception) and Carey Price (who is also hilarious – go back & watch this year’s All Star exhibition) the Bruins have traditionally had the hottest overall team in the NHL for decades running.

Don’t believe me?  How about these guys:

I mean, hell, Andy Ference deserves his very own post with a bod like that, hello!  Or maybe I'll just increase the top five to the top twenty-five in order to squeeze him into the lineup...