Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Well. That's not too great.

I've been trying to focus on posting blog entries that have at least an iota of general interest lately, but there's really no getting around some recent events that are occupying my brain. In a nutshell, I've been constructively laid off by my law firm, and it's creating a pretty mixed bag of emotions.

Essentially, this is what's happened: I was hired among a group of almost 20 other attorneys back in November/December. We were put on a base-plus-commission compensation plan to help establish an expanding legal practice; the partners had been practicing in the South for about 25 years or so and were looking to create a nationwide law firm, utilizing online tools to help us run an efficient practice across about 20 states. The firm's revenue goals were extremely aggressive, but it was giving me a chance to:   a) work from home, b) work in estate planning (my preferred area of law), c) establish my own law practice while providing me with a small safety net of income and some experienced support.

The business plan for the firm evolved as they realized the immediate revenue potential was less than they'd hoped for. I think part of the problem is that they don't really remember what it's like to be building a practice from the ground up, which is what we're doing in Chicago (where no one has ever heard of my law firm before). The investment capital started to dry up because they were too aggressive, and ultimately became unsustainable.

I have been offered a commission-only position with the firm that I'm considering taking as a part-time endeavor, as long as it doesn't end up costing me anything, as I can't currently afford many expenses. My path isn't very clear to me right now, and I want to be careful about making a decision so I don't end up in this same position all over again in a few more months. I know I'm going to have to do something else to earn money in the meantime, I just haven't decided exactly what that is, or if I'll change fields entirely.

I'm not as devastated as I think I should be, probably because I started suspecting a few weeks ago that something like this might happen. Also, I have other things on my plate at the moment - I'm writing, I'm working on real estate projects, and I can always go back to freelancing to make a little money if necessary. While I am feeling a bit frustrated and off-balance, I also feel a bit of hopefulness too. This job hadn't been panning out exactly as I'd planned - I wasn't making as much in commission as they'd projected, I wasn't getting to do very much legal work, and I wasn't enjoying the high-pressure sales aspect of it. I think this change is helping me avoid complacency by keeping me from settling for a position I wasn't thrilled about.

It's also made me think about how much things have changed. The general consensus always seems to be that you can be successful if you have a job. But relying on jobs as a sole source of income is something my generation probably shouldn't do; these days, it's just as unstable and unreliable as any other way of making money, including investments, the stock market, starting your own business, etc. The only real way to achieve financial security is through diversification - having multiple sources of income that don't all rely on the same source (e.g. the job market, the housing market, the stock market).

Anyways, that's about it. So, for now, here's my shingle: "Will Write For Food!"

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Do You Read Your Writing Out Loud?

I had a very brief chat with another writer via Twitter the other evening who was working on that dreaded portion of any piece of writing: The Ending. I always struggle with ending anything - papers, essays, stories, novels. I find it difficult to balance between giving my piece the overly dramatic, grand finale it deserves versus being way too under-stated to the point that it ends up lackluster and disappointing. When writing blog posts in particular, I never quite know what to say at the end. "The question" is always a good wrap-up, so I've started utilizing that strategy, but before that, I'd always kind of meander off and hope no one noticed my awkward closing rambling. I often feel like I should tack on a "ta daah!" or a "that's all folks!" or some other cheesy tag line, just for a sense of finality.

Something that's always helped me, though, is to step back and read what I've written out loud. I'm always amazed at how much better it makes me feel when I read something out loud and am able to derive a logical conclusion from it. I think it's something we all subconsciously do when we read, anyways - if you are nearing the end of what you're reading, the tone you start interpreting is one of wrapping up, and it isn't nearly as odd as you think it is (being the one immersed in writing it).

For fiction or narratives, though, I think reading something out loud can make you feel even more self-conscious about the sometimes grandiose language you want to utilize to really drive your message home. That's when I take a deep breath and remember the ultimate test of melodrama: the movie announcer voice. Think about it - announcers use some of the most overly-dramatic, cliche, theatrical language we could possibly imagine. And yet, when we watch some of our favorite previews, we still get drawn in, hook, line, and sinker. We don't care that "these people are about to change the course of history" has been used countless times, because it sounds awesome - in context. 

I think this test is part of the reason my husband thinks I'm moderately insane. He'll often wander in and find me reading something enthusiastically out loud to myself. That's usually his cue to back away slowly and see if there's anything car-related on television to drown out my psychotic ranting. Possible mental illness aside, though, I do recommend this test if you are feeling self-conscious about your ending and want to see if it really sounds as ridiculous as you think it does. I've found it's often the set-up that matters more than how you ultimately phrase your ending, so lead into it a bit. Start reading from one or two pages before your problem area, and see if your dramatic ending is warranted, or if it sounds completely different from the tone building up to it. And if it still sounds utterly ridiculous when you read it in your best movie announcer voice, you may want to go back and edit a bit until it sounds right.

Do you read any of your writing out loud to yourself? Is talking to yourself crazy, or is it only crazy if you start answering back? Yes.

.....(ta daaah!)

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Dream Interpretations

When I was younger, you could always tell what was trendy at my school by what kinds of library books were missing from the shelves at a given time. I'm not sure what it was, but the reading awareness program in my school district was highly effective. We fought over who got to check out the "cool book" this week. Granted, half of my 4th grade year, I went book-less because I made the cardinal sin of losing a library book. Fortunately, I recovered from this trauma and was eventually able to wrestle for the right to claim one of the cool books again before moving on to middle school.

One of the trends I do remember is when we all discovered the books about interpreting your dreams. We always skipped the beginnings of these books; the authors would always go on some 200 page diatribe about the history of dream interpretations, how they tie in to spirituality, and whatever hocus pocus was trendy at the time the author was writing (usually sometime in the 60's). The real treasure trove was at the end, where there would be a list of things that might appear in your dreams, and what each thing means. There was a point where we discovered some clever author completely did away with the preface and just jumped straight to the list, hence creating a comprehensive dream dictionary.

A few lucky people would manage to race to the shelves and snag these books to check out for the week, and they became the official dream gurus at the lunch table. We'd all discuss the dreams we'd had that night - whether real or made-up - and they would consult their various dream interpretation dictionaries, giving us valuable insight into our inner psyches. Or just providing fodder for us to make fun of each other even more than usual.

My dream from last night had a few odd components to it, from dreaming that I was actually taking sleeping pills (isn't that a bit redundant?), to my childhood home, to wolves, and even a sloth (yes, the actual animal, not a lazy person). I decided to check it out with the first legitimate-looking dream dictionary I was able to locate via Google:

Sleeping pill: Choosing to be ignorant about a situation, or deciding to make a fresh new start

Childhood home: Desires for building a family; unfinished feelings; outdated thinking

Peephole: Looking through a peephole in a dream suggests narrow perspectives and requiring facts to make an informed decision, or a non-reciprocating situation

Nightgown: Acknowledging aspects of yourself you were previously uncomfortable about

Wolf: Survival, beauty, solitude, mystery, self-confidence, pride; being a loner; aggression or sneakiness, an uncontrollable situation

Sloth: Passivity in a situation; need to be assertive; gentleness, laziness, lack of ambition

Airport: Births and deaths; desire for freedom, ambition, and hopes

Do you think dreams have meaning? Have you ever incorporated your dreams into your writing? Are your dreams as incoherent as mine? Or, check out the dream dictionary and post some of your interesting interpretations from a recent dream in the comments!

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Dishonesty May Not Be Your Best Strategy. Just Saying.

I'm an estate planning attorney. I don't hide this fact from people, but I'm also not pushy about asking people if they need my services. I feel that this method works best for attracting business, and I'm honest about what I do and what I charge for what I do. That's why it bugs the hell out of me when people don't extend me the same courtesy.

I was at a church function last week, and one of the members I met was someone affiliated with a financial institution. I often network with such people, because we often work well together in providing holistic services to our clients. He invited me to an event that took place yesterday morning across town, explaining I'd get to meet several people in his industry and get to hand out business cards. It sounded like an expo or a networking event, so I agreed.

Saturday morning, I woke up early, drove an hour across town, and ended up sitting through a 2 hour presentation about why I should sell life insurance to people. I then explained I wasn't really interested, got a condescending facial expression that suggested I wasn't "all there" mentally, and drove an hour home.

To be fair, I did get to hand out a few business cards and possibly made a few connections, but if I had been told the real nature of this event, I probably wouldn't have gone. In fact, I feel grossly misled. If I run into this individual at church again, I intend to be civil, but not particularly friendly. I have sat through these kinds of presentations before, back when I was exploring a career as a future CFP, but was turned off due to how incredibly condescending they are. First of all, I had been effectively lied to to get me there and take up 4 hours of my precious free time. Second of all, I didn't like the implication that I was some kind of chump if I didn't take advantage of an "awesome part-time opportunity to earn lots and lots of $$$$!" Just an FYI, if you are a successful person and prefer doing what you currently do versus selling insurance, WFG/TransAmerica thinks you're dumb. And they'll take 2 hours to tell you so.

What really grates on my nerves is how someone who effectively misled me about this event can then act surprised and mildly offended that I didn't want to join his sales group. And that he and his branch manager would try to argue with me about it. I'm familiar with the importance of "overcoming objections" in sales. It's a necessary skill and it's a good one to learn. However, there's a huge difference between engaging in a discussion meant to overcome an objection versus arguing with someone who honestly isn't interested and is pretty miffed about being there in the first place.

Please note: I don't have anything against people that sell insurance. In fact, I think insurance is a very important thing to have. In my line of work, we actually emphasize to our clients that they should have comprehensive insurance coverage if they can afford it - it should be an absolute financial priority, along with retirement planning. It's like estate planning - I never want people to have to USE it, but if they have it, it can make a HUGE difference in a bad situation.

Have you ever sat through a bad sales pitch? Are you painfully polite or can you stomp out without batting an eyelash?

Friday, February 17, 2012

How do you get organized?

I have a lot going on at home -

1) I work from home as something resembling an attorney
2) I write from home as something resembling a novelist
3) I live at home as something resembling a wife
4) I occasionally sing and dance at home as something resembling a crazy person

As such, I find it a little difficult to stay organized. I accumulate a LOT of paper, much of which I digitize under password and then destroy, but it doesn't keep it from piling up. Just an FYI, it's true that lawyers tend to be after money. That's because being a lawyer is freaking expensive. Between leftover loans from law school and the bar exam, licensing fees, bar association fees, and subscriptions to all the crap we need  in order to stay informed about our particular areas of law (not to mention any other office overhead we need to maintain), I always marvel at anyone who manages to actually be profitable as an attorney. And it's no wonder that it's expensive to have all of that stuff - because everyone involved in the legal industry in this state is always sending me paper!

Then there's the writing. I thank NaNoWriMo on a daily basis for introducing me to Scrivener. I bought it the first time I participated in NaNo back in 2007 and haven't looked back. I think part of the reason I like to escape into noveling is because it's actually one area of my life that it's not too difficult to organize, and I keep it all on my computer (except the occasional map I draw out when I need to visualize something - I have no skill as a graphic artist on the computer; printer paper and a #2 pencil all the way, baby). If so inclined though, I do have the ability to scan those bits of paper and then stick them in Scrivener so I don't have to freak out if I lose track of my physical copies.

I'm also going to admit a dirty little secret: I kind of like being a little housewifey. I like cooking. I like cleaning. I don't really like doing laundry, but I'll do it, and I like the sense of accomplishment I feel afterwards. That is the one area where I don't feel completely scatterbrained and out of control - I know I can bring order and sense to my household without so much as batting an eyelash. 

The one place where my writing really suffers, though, is due to how I organize my time. I've been trying to make good use of the technology available to me - I use iCloud to synchronize my work calendar and my personal calendar. I bring my iPad everywhere so I can do small tasks while I'm stuck in waiting rooms. I maintain to-do lists, I have a whiteboard that lists all of my long- and short-term goals. But somehow, I have a hard time deciding what I'm really supposed to be doing at any given moment. 

Perhaps it's because I work from home, leading to a blending of my personal time and my work time. Even when I'm "off the clock," I feel a bit guilty for doing housework or writing at home. I've actually been contemplating going to the coffee shop nearby to write so I have some separation from my work space, except that kind of cuts into my personal time with my husband, and adds an extra step when I want to get up and start cleaning. I sometimes wonder if working from home is the best arrangement for me, when I have such a hard time distinguishing between how I spend my time. Sometimes, I literally stall out, and end up getting nothing done for a few hours while I try to decide what I should be doing. 

How do you compartmentalize your time? Do you maintain a rigorous schedule, and if so, do you manage to stick to it? 

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Spiritual Musings: The Throw-Away Pile

I've been attending my church for about 3 years now - ever since my husband and I selected it to be the place we ended up getting married. I've always been Christian, except for a brief stint from ages 12 to 15 where I decided I was into wicca, and I was feeling pretty adrift because I hadn't found a church home since I'd moved to the Chicagoland area a few years beforehand. I'm not 100% sure what drew me to this church in particular - I wasn't immediately welcomed with open arms, and it actually took a while before people would start coming up to me and saying hello. I was on my own, because my husband was bar tending at the time and would be up until 4am on Saturday nights, leaving me to venture out on my own on Sunday mornings. And I'm painfully shy, so it was hard for me to take that first step and walk up and say hello to someone. But I toughed it out for a few months, going and sitting alone, awkwardly smiling at people during the greeting of peace.

After several months, a turning point happened. Someone had heard me singing along with the music and told the band about it, and the guitarist approached me about singing with them at the contemporary services. I've been singing with them ever since, and it's my favorite part of being a member of the congregation there. However, my church is facing some trouble. Our congregation is shrinking, and attendance is down very low from where it was just a few years ago. Our congregation is also aging; my husband and I are some of the youngest people there (other than the youth group, which is also very small). We are going through some tough times, because fewer millenials are attending church, and those that are do not seem to be attracted to us.

In this time of difficulty, our pastor made a very inspiring series of sermons about Joseph that is not only applicable to my church's struggles, but to several personal ones as well, which have all led me back to writing. If you don't know the story of Joseph, I'll summarize: Joseph was one of many sons of Jacob, and he was Jacob's favorite. Even though he was the second-youngest out of 12 brothers, Jacob intended for Joseph to be his heir. Joseph was also blessed with the ability to interpret dreams, and whatever he interpreted, came true. He arrogantly told his brothers about his predictions that he would one day rise above all of them. All of this compounded to make his brothers very jealous, and they ended up secretly selling Joseph into slavery. He was later falsely accused of attempting to rape his master's wife, and ultimately ended up in prison, where he was forgotten for many years - ending up on the "throw-away pile."

Throughout all of these struggles, Joseph still retained his ability to interpret dreams. But these humbling experiences had an effect on him. When he finally emerged from prison at the behest of the pharaoh to interpret a dream (this one foretelling famine), he knew: his gift was not his ability to interpret dreams, but that God worked through him to interpret the dreams. All he was, he owed to God. But this realization never would have happened if he had not suffered first - if God had not ground the arrogance out of Joseph, inspiring humility and the realization that he needed to let God lead and not his own arrogance. As my pastor put it, Joseph needed to be in the throw-away pile for a time in order to become what God needed him to be (later, saving his people from the famine).

My church is currently in the throw-away pile. I am currently in the throw-away pile. We're feeling abused, tired, down-trodden, and a little hopeless sometimes. I'm in a job that I struggle with on a daily basis. My church is trying to find a new identity so it can remain relevant to young generations. But I don't think I can become the writer I want to be, or the person I want to be, without first learning the empathy I'm learning right now. And my church can't be the loving example of God's family that it should be without first coming to the painful realization that we're shrinking, and if we don't do something different to help young people find the answers they are looking for in life, we may disappear.

Even though this seems a little depressing, it isn't. Change and growth is always painful, but I feel lucky that I was able to be in the pews on Sunday and hear something that made me realize it has a purpose.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Sick at Work? Go Home. No, Seriously.

Admit it: If you have a regular day job, and someone calls in sick, at least 75% of the time, you judge them.

I know I do it.

I think I've become incredibly jaded, partially because I was in a supervisory position for a brief period of time and relied upon people to come in and do their share of work, and sometimes (in fact, many times), I got left up the creek without a paddle. Even when I wasn't a semi-supervisor, I saw people sneak sick days all the time. Let's be honest: often, the only sickness we are really suffering is one involving "mental health," where if we don't call in sick, we're likely to show up and open fire.

But then there are those people. Or, for some of us, there are just those times, where we feel the obligation to work, even if we have been known to take those mental health days. You know what I'm talking about: coming into work sick, with a growing pile of tissues near the desk, coughing, hacking, and sneezing through the day. You can just feel the germs emanating from that cubicle, landing on you and taking up residence in your sinuses.

Why do people go to work sick? I have a few theories:

1) When I actually got sick days, I hated to waste valuable sick time on actually being sick. At the time, I would rather go to work half-dead and struggle through it, and reserve my sick time for those days where I was merely mentally fatigued and wanted to curl up with a good book or some daytime TV. 

2) Ego. Think about it: if you are a boss, and you see one of your employees come in even though they are obviously sick, part of you does kind of think "OK, this person is showing some dedication." I know I always felt that way as an employee: look at me! I'm sick, but I'm coming to work anyways! I must be awesome! (Granted, I had usually taken a few mental health days before then, thereby negating any real status boost I might've gained... oh, to be young and naive again...) Plus, let's face it, when we go to work sick, we do feel pretty virtuous about it.

3) These days: no sick time. This is an unfortunate reality of the present day workplace. I've been a part of this group of people as well - where waking up doesn't involve that quick calculation of "how many sick hours do I have left?" Instead, it involves, "How much can I afford to spend this month if I don't go to work today?"

I'm very fortunate in that I get to work from home a lot of the time; however, my day job involves a very significant amount of business development activity, meaning I am constantly venturing forth to networking events or face-to-face meetings to find some new people that might be willing to send me some business. I've been fairly insulated from whatever general illnesses have been circulating the population, though, until I decided to attend a bar association event on Wednesday.

What the hell is it about lawyers that makes them all fall into category #2? There wasn't a person in that room that wasn't sniffling, sneezing, or coughing. And for the first time (as I felt the germs invading my body), all I could think was, "Really, people? You couldn't stay home today?" I've been blessed with fairly good health for the past 9 months, and am not eager to acquire the yearly cold/upper respiratory infection I usually manage to get somewhere between November and March. I thought I might squeak by this year, but to no avail. Unfortunately, my symptoms started to manifest while I was making my way through the annual International Motorcycle Show in Chicago. I typically really enjoy the event, being a little bit of a motorcycle enthusiast myself, but my sinuses prevented me from having a good time this year.

And, honestly, I blame the lawyers. 

Really, the whole situation has given me a new perspective. I've never really been able to pinpoint who caused me to get sick before - usually it's just some nebulous event that starts to develop over time. But actually being able to tell when I (most likely) acquired my illness has made me realize - if you go out somewhere, and you're sick... you're spreading germs! Intellectually, I've always understood this simple concept. But never have I thought... "I'm infecting people!" I've just gone about my business as usual. 

So, in the vein of "do unto others," I've resolved - I'm going to do my best not to be a germ-spreader. I'm not a hypochondriac, nor am I particularly OCD, but there's a lot we all can do to keep from spreading the misery (think about how you feel when you can't breathe through your nose - if you could keep others from feeling that way, would you?? I would!). 

I may be stating the obvious here; I'm sure this is a revelation many people come to long before their late 20's. However, it seems like not everyone reaches this epiphany, given the number of people who, if they have the choice, still come to work sick. So, should people struggle through it at the risk of infecting their co-workers? Or should they take the sick time and come back when they are no longer covered in virus-y grossness? 

Friday, February 10, 2012

Beauty of a Woman Blogfest

I am a little late to the bus on this one, but wanted to post this for anyone who's missed it. If you haven't had a chance, pop over to August McLaughlin's blog today. Women across the blogosphere are sharing what the beauty of a woman really is, with stories that are at once awe-inspiring, tearful, hilarious, and simply... truthful.

I still haven't made it all the way through the various posts, but that's what I'll be doing with my free time today. Take a look and be inspired.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

New directions

I got stuck in such a rut when I sat down to write today. Looking back, it seems like I hit a lot of those. I guess it is just part of the process. But I kept hearing the voice of my inner editor going off, telling me my novel doesn't make any sense and that I really need to find a way to explain a few things first. However, I have a deep aversion for explaining things. One of the things that has kept me from getting through many a novel is the author's need to sit down and explain a bunch of stuff, in big, chunky paragraphs, in a very abstract way. I don't want to be told these things. I want you, the author, to show them to me. If it's so important, then it shouldn't be dully recited across 5 pages of backstory. Novel-ize the backstory! Have one of your characters be a storyteller, and have them novelize the backstory! Something! Just don't backstory at me til it makes me want to put your book down and go read something else!

Harry Potter is a good example of how I like a backstory presented to me. J.K. Rowling does not go on for 8 pages explaining about how there are these wizards in the world, and then a bad wizard named Voldemort came along and started killing people, and then some people tried to stop him, and then Harry's parents got killed, and then Voldemort was vanquished while trying to kill Harry. No. We all know that's what happened, but why? Because it was revealed to us in bits and pieces - first with a little bit of prologue that gives us a tantalizing glimpse, then through Hagrid, and then through various other characters and events throughout the book. Even Snape's backstory is given to us in a "show-don't-tell" fashion.

So, needless to say, I started going around in circles about how to get this important information out there in a way that is not confusing but doesn't involve a bunch of backstory recitation. And I ended up with something of a prologue, that might grow into a prequel novella. I like the direction it's going so far, just need to see how long it ends up being before I decide how to incorporate it in my overarching story. It's also revealing some incredibly interesting things about the world I've started to develop, so I can't wait to keep going on it and see where it leads.

Today I managed to log over 1200 words by adding this prologue/prequel, so I'm considering it a success. Time for a celebratory glass of wine!

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

My Characters Won't Diet

In case you needed further reinforcing that I have a love affair with food, I made a decision today: the characters in my novels will never be on a diet.

This decision is actually a tough one to make; while I favor the fantasy genre, I have written chick lit before, and plan to write it again someday. I found it a fun, relatable genre with a lot of potential for catharsis. However, one of the central points usually tends to be the never-ending quest to lose about 5 pounds. I think the only book in that genre that I read that didn't have some kind of prevailing weight-loss theme was the first book in the Shopaholic series (granted, I haven't read huge amounts of chick lit, but it wouldn't surprise me to find it's a common thread).

I'm currently trying to re-align myself with the basic tenets of Weight Watchers, because most of my clothes no longer fit. And, honestly, it hasn't been very fun. At the moment, I'm gnawing on a breakfast sandwich that tastes a little like bark (if I knew what bark actually tasted like). I'm willing to subject my characters to heartbreak; they can be hungry from questing, exhausted, exposed to the elements, wounded from facing mythical creatures, heck - I may even kill one or two off here and there. But I will not make them eat a low-fat multigrain bagel, with cheese that is slightly reminiscent of plastic and an unnatural circle of something that is rumored to be egg white.

Most of my fantasy characters will not really have to worry about this sort of thing, of course. Usually the only fat ones are the innkeepers, and they aren't too worried about maintaining a good physique. But the idea still holds - one of the things I've always loved when reading fantasy novels is the descriptions of the food. I want to explain that the vegetables and potatoes being set for the feast are slathered in butter or bacon fat. The meat shall be roasted with the skin still on, so that it crackles while the juices run down people's fingers as they eat. And the desserts? I'd feel like I let someone down if they weren't insanely elaborate and involved an actual river of chocolate (historical accuracy be damned).

One of the other things I cannot wait to do in my novel is something I've experienced over and over again, and I love it every time. A character goes on a quest. They start out with enough supplies, but it becomes clear at some point that there isn't enough. They have to scavenge. Their resources dwindle, and eventually they end up facing an enemy - perhaps they end up wounded, but somehow still squeak by and survive. Then, they finally make it to safety, and food, and water, and healing. The dynamic there is so incredibly simple, but whenever I find myself reading that kind of sequence, it's like I'm being built back up with the character while it happens. I love it when an author lists out exactly what the character is eating in order to reclaim his or her strength, because it's like I'm eating every word and I can feel them recovering. It happens over and over again in the Wheel of Time series and in Tolkien's novels as well. It's a strange kind of rejuvenation, to the point where, if I have to stop reading while the character is still exhausted and trying to get to safety, I just don't feel right until I get to read them the rest of the way there.

Anyways, to summarize: diets=bad. Food=good. Questing=better. Adventure=best.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Oh Frabjous Day!

Well, the past few days have been immensely better! I haven't felt like myself in a few weeks, but now I've made it to the gym a few times, done some running, and managed to knock out my freelancing projects. I'll probably take this week off from freelancing so I can focus on my novel a bit more. I am a bit behind where I'd like to be, but still plugging away at it bit by bit.

We're all chilling watching the Superbowl at the moment. I'll be honest: I had no idea it was really supposed to be on this weekend but for a conference call at work on Friday. Our rep in Indianapolis was talking about the crowds from everyone flying in for the game. Granted, we did order hoagies through our church youth group (they do it as a fundraiser every year, and btw, these are awesome hoagies). The hoagies and the commercials are about all I look forward to... OK, the half-time show is usually pretty good too. Oh, and pizza and wings. And adult beverages. Yup. OK. So the Superbowl isn't too bad, except for all of the football stuff in between.