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Okay, Weird!

As an author, I know I've done my job when a reader sends me a tweet or a message letting me know that they enjoyed reading my nook. Any of my books, really. It's so heartwarming when someone tells you that for a couple of hours you made them forget how overwhelming life was.

Also as an author, I love interacting with readers. If they had taken the time to write me about my book, I usually want to respond. I want to let them know how their kind words made me feel. How sweet they are for reaching out. Sometimes, I just want to thank them for reading my book.

Well, today, something weird happened. I went to my FB Page, as I often do because that it where some readers reach me. In my inbox, I found a message with 11 separate posts it in.

The posts basically chronicle a reader's experience while reading No Holding Back. This is the second book of my Dodge Cove Trilogy and it involves a romance between Nathan and Preston. If you're looking for a falling for my best friend love story set in Europe, check it out.

Okay, shameless plugging over.

The reader basically gushed about how much he enjoyed reading the book. At least, based on the name, I think he is a he.

Anyway, after I finished reading the blow by blow account of his enjoyment, I was ready to send a reply when I realized I couldn't reply to his message. It said at the bottom that my page couldn't reply to him. So I went to click on the profile only to find out that it had been deleted.

Now, I don't know how to feel. On the one hand, I'm happy someone enjoyed reading No Holding Back so much that he wrote me 11 messages. (By the way, 11 is my life number). On the other hand, I'm sad that I can't let him know how much I appreciate his messages.

If he happens to read this blog post, please know: Your message made my day. Thank you for taking the time to write me about No Holding Back. Good luck with school. And I have chores too!

Kirk's Many Jobs

One of the most oddball characters in the Gilmore Girl universe will have to be Kirk. Did you know his first name was Jim? He was supposed to install a DSL line at Lorelei's house during the first season. Second episode, I believe.

What boggles my mind about Kirk is his many jobs. He has worked at ever job in Stars Hollow. And the thing is, you never see him in the same job twice.

When Luke was planning on buying the Twikcum House, Kirk actually put in a competing offer. This is where we find out that he has over a quarter of a million dollars in his account. Luke confronts him about it and Kirk explains that it's because of all his jobs.

Granted, he lives with his mother, so his expenses might not be that big, but he's always eating at Luke's. That could not come cheap if you're working minimum wage jobs. At the same time, are they all part time jobs? From the looks of it, yes. If, let's say, minimum wage is $10. How can Kirk amass quarter of a million dollars?

If you move from job to job, doesn't that mean you don't get a full paycheck? I mean, it doesn't look like he works full time anywhere. Just some of the things you can get away with in TV land, I guess. 

Emily's Family

Because of my injury, I have been rewatching Gilmore Girls. Well, actually, I don't need a reason to rewatch Gilmore Girls. I do it every year anyway.

This time around, I wanted to write about some of the things about the series that have been buzzing through my mind every time I rewatch these episodes.

Today, it's all about Emily's family.

If you're a fan of the show, you know that Emily is Lorelai's mother. Married to Richard Gilmore.

On many occasions, we encounter Richard's mother, the original Lorelai Gilmore. The dynamic between her and Emily is simply hilarious. I love watching them on screen together.

In all seven seasons, we never see anyone from Emily's family. In fact, we don't hear anything about them. And when family members are mentioned, I'm never sure if they are part of Emily's family. Certainly, there have been aunts and cousins mentioned, but never which side of the family they are from.

I get it, the show it about the Gilmore girls, but Emily is a Gilmore by marriage. Does she come from an affluent family? Does she have her own money? Or does she depend on Richard for everything?

There is an episode where Emily finds out that Richard's mother wrote him a letter urging him not to marry Emily. Does that mean Richard's mother never attended the wedding? Did they get married against the wishes of Richard's family? Does this mean Emily is not from an affluent family, thus inferior to the Gilmores?

So many questions. I would have liked to see Emily's origins. It would definitely explain why she was such an aloof mother towards Lorelai. Why she had so many rules on manners and etiquette. Surely her attitude had to come from somewhere. Maybe she had a mother who was strict. Maybe she grew up in a household where rules and perception of society were paramount.

It was a storyline that could have provided rich material for the show. Alas, there won't be more of the show since that disaster I call A Year In the Life. I'm totally writing a post or two about those four episodes. 

Changes and Challenges

To say that my life has been different since the accident is an understatement. So many things had happened since then that I never thought would ever happen to me. So many lessons learned.

Last Friday, during my third physical therapy session, I conquered one of my fears--the stairs. Since the accident happened because I missed the last step of the staircase leading to my room, I was in tears when I finally did a lap up and then down the stairs of the therapy room. It was a sort of release. I felt most of my fears melt away after that. I suddenly felt like I could do anything.

Eloisa taught me the technique of how to climb. Going up, it's strong foot first then injured foot. Going down is the opposite. You lead with the injured foot then the strong foot. After she taught me and the session was over, I thought to myself that it would be a while until I tackle stairs again. I need to get used to walking using a walker first. Little did I know that I would be facing stairs not 24 hours later.

Today, I noticed that Hereditary is showing at our local cinema. I asked my mom if we could watch it and she said yes. Since my brother took the car, along with my wheelchair in the trunk, I was forced to use the walker once we reached the mall. My mom dropped me off at the entrance and went to find parking.

Undaunted, I proceeded to make my way to the entrance. There in front of me were the dreaded stairs. There was a ramp right beside them for wheelchairs, but it was long and winding. In short, the stairs would be the directest route to my destination. Unfortunately, the railing on each side was too far apart. I need to be holding on to both sides to be able to ascend.

As I was pondering what to do, a man about my age standing at the top of the stairs said, "Do you need help?"

I smiled and said, "I'm thinking whether to take the ramp."

He smiled back and went down the stairs to stand beside me. "Let me help you," he said.

Making up my mind, I told him to bring up the walker first. Once he did that he returned to my side. I told him that I will be holding on to the rail with one hand and his shoulder with the other. We would ascend the stairs that way. He nodded and braced himself as I remembered what Eloisa had taught me.

With a deep breath, I slowly leaned some of my weight on my injured foot, leaning the rest on the railing and the man's shoulder, and lifted my strong foot up the first flight. Then I pulled myself up, resting my injured foot beside my strong foot. The guy climbed up with me. One step at a time we did this until we reached the top of what seemed like seven steps.

It was heaven. Another feeling of great accomplishment came over me. I wanted to hug the man for his selflessness, but I thought it inappropriate, so I thanked him instead. He said "You're welcome" with a smile. I was filled with gladness.

Step by step, I made it to the movies. We watched. And afterward, step by slow step, I made it back to the elevator and back down again to face my nemesis--stairs. They say God works in mysterious ways because as I reached the top of the stairs, security personnel were all huddled around the bottom of the steps, getting ready to close the mall down for the night.

With another smile, I asked one of them to help me down the stairs. Two actually came to my aid while the others were on standby. It was kind of cute and very endearing. I thought to myself, how can I be scared when so many people are willing to help me?

So, with my left hand on the railing and my right hand on the burly security man's shoulder, I lead with my injured foot. One step at a time, we went down together until I reached the ground. Once more I was able to win against my personal villain.

I thanked the burly man and he said it wasn't a problem. The second man who helped, stayed by my side as I made my way to the street level to wait for my mom to bring the car around. He even got a chair for me to sit on while I waited.

It's moments of selfless humanity that reminds me that most of the world might be a dumpster fire but there are still many pockets of goodness. My heart is full. That is why I'm thankful for my accident. It taught me to smile more. Be happy more. To not take for granted the little things like walking and putting on shoes. Most of all, it taught me the true meaning of being humble.

The Progress Continues

Day 2 of physical therapy went better than expected. I was put through the same routine but with a higher intensity. At first I had my doubts. I couldn't do it. But with the kindness of my physical therapist, Jamie (Eloisa was out for the day), I was able to make it through with flying colors.

The electrodes she exposed me to was of a higher voltage. This time, it wasn't ants crawling. It was ants biting. There was some discomfort at first, but I got used to it. Eventually, it felt really good.

She concentrated on the side of my foot for the ultrasound. This was where the break is healing, so there was discomfort once again, but not pain. Which was also a great comfort. Because there is one phrase that they keep repeating at physical therapy: "Respect the pain." This is any kind of pain. Even a 1 or a 2 on the scale should be met with respect. Meaning, stop what you are doing and breathe.

The great thing about physical therapists is they challenge you to go beyond what you think your limits are. But in a nice way. They are never rude or condescending. They are polite and encouraging, which is exactly what someone who is injured needs. I tell you, it's tough to stay positive when you're met with resistance when doing something that came naturally to you just a couple of months ago. I mean, a couple of months ago, I could walk without problems.

After the exercises to limber up my stiff ankle and foot, Jamie gave me some homework to do at home since my sessions are every other day. She said I need to keep up with my exercise or the therapy sessions wouldn't be as effective. The muscles we loosened would just lock up again. We wouldn't want that after so much progress has been made.

Then she adjusted my walker and I was able to walk, baby! Like actually take steps. Still small steps, but steps nonetheless!

In fact, when we got home? I didn't use the wheelchair after getting out of the car. I used the walker to make my way to the elevator and then to our condo. It was liberating. The only time I'm using the wheelchair now is when we're at the mall and there's lots of walking to do. I'm not at that level yet. Plus, I would be so slow getting from one point to the next, it would be comical to watch.

Once we were done walking, Jamie subjected me to cryo blasts of air. The machine is basically a glorified leave blower that shoots cold air onto targeted areas of your body. In my case, it was my foot. And it felt so good. After a workout like a circuit around the therapy area? Yup.

I'm praying that the progress continues. I really want to be able to wear shoes again. Clogs work in a pinch.

Doing the Work

I had my first physical therapy session yesterday and boy was it amazing. The first half felt like being in a spa. The second half was basically boot camp.

We were actually in a hurry because I was late for my first session. Even after the receptionist reminded me not to be late. Will not happen again. Tomorrow, I will actually be early.

After we arrived, I didn't know what to expect. My therapist, Eliosa, introduced herself and took my blood pressure. When everything was in the up and up, she took me into one of the therapy rooms and asked me to get on the bed. She made me remove my sock (since my foot is still swollen, I couldn't wear shoes yet). She examined my foot and asked me questions about how my injury happened. What was the nature of my injury. Then she started explaining what we were going to do.

To address the swelling, she attached electrodes to my ankle and the opposite side. The electrodes shot electricity into my leg to stimulate circulation. It felt funny at first, almost ticklish. Then when she wrapped it with a hot compress it felt really nice. I actually took a nap during the session.

Afterwards, she introduced me to the ultrasound machine. This one is a little different since it's not for diagnosis. It's goal is to introduce heat deep into the tissues of my foot. All it felt like was cold on the surface of my leg. Apparently, this was normal because the heat is deep inside. This one also felt nice.

The massage afterwards? Heavenly. I didn't feel any pain at all, which eased most of my fears. I'm starting to see that I can actually walk again.

The boot camp followed soon after the spa moment.

First, we started with exercises. The moves were so simple, but the stiffness of my foot really made it challenging. But I was able to do as she asked, for ten counts each!

Second, we moved from the bed to a chair. Eloisa taught me how to stand up without putting too much pressure on my injured foot. This was repeated ten times. Then she took out a scale and measured how much weight I can put on my foot. Currently, it's between 20 and 30 pounds. Not bad for the first time, she said.

Then my worst fear came. Eloisa, made me walk! More like shuffled. It was more steps than I had taken on both feet in two months. It felt good and scary at the same time. Achievement unlocked, baby!

I say my first session was a success. Eight more to go!

The swelling actually went down a lot after the first session, so I'm hoping that I'll be in shoes soon. Please continue to send your healing thoughts. I appreciate all of them. 

4 Days Later

The cast came off on Wednesday. Since then the swelling has gone down a bit, but the side where the break is still looks puffy. According to two doctors and Google (because I can't help myself) this is completely normal. I'm trying my best to remain calm and positive.

I mentioned in a prior post that I thought I was a good thing having to wait until Saturday to go and see the physical therapy doctor. It gave my foot time to look less angry. At the same time, Dr. Domingo really put me at ease when he looked at my x-rays. When he looked at the latest one he said it looked good.

I love nice doctors with great bedside manners. They really know how to put a patient who might be prone to freaking out at ease. That's very important to me. Dr. Domingo even commented on the fact that I was in high spirits. I liked that.

Today was quite a milestone. I was able to take 11 (count them, 11) tiny steps. Of course, I was freaking out inside the entire time, but that's progress. I might have even over done it. So I'm going to chill for a bit.

Also, I was able to cook myself some lunch. Imagine that? Noodles and some spam, but still! That's because I'm starting to feel comfortable standing on both feet. My healing foot is still awkward to stand on because of the stiffness of not having been used, but I was able to move around in our kitchen. That made me so happy.

Tomorrow marks the beginning of nine sessions of physical therapy. I'm really praying that everything goes well and that I can start walking again. School starts soon and I'd really like to teach without having to be in a wheelchair anymore.

It's go time. I'm taking my life back. Body, heal!

DFA FAIL!

In the Philippines, the Department of Foreign Affairs is one of the most broken. The fact that they insist on an appointment system before you can renew your passport then their website can't even support the load of the people trying to snag slots shows how inefficient and incompetent they are.

I have been trying to renew my brother's passport for months. Every time I check the site, all the appointment slots are full. DFA says they open slots every day, yet not once have I seen an available slot no matter how many times I check their website.

Today, DFA promised 100000 slots will open. Yes, that's five zeros. The first half was opened at noon, which I missed. So I told myself I would wait for the 9PM slots. Because surely I would be able to snag one slot. Boy was I so wrong.

At exactly 9PM, the site crashed. No matter how many times you refresh, it would not load. Then when the site did load, the tabs to get you to the next step would not work so you'd have to start over.

Determined as I am, I kept trying.

An hour later, I managed to snag a slot, but when I was filing in my brother's information, the site crashed again! Of course, when I had to start over, the slot was long gone. That is how fucked up the system is. The DFA doesn't even have decent coders that can keep the site from crashing.

I wonder who was the genius who thought about releasing so many slots that they didn't consider the deluge of attempts that would crash the site. Getting tickets to Comic Con is so much easier.

For two hours I tried and I tried and nothing. I am flipping the bird on the DFA. Seriously.

Cast Off!

Today is a great day! If not a slightly scary one too.

After Dr. Lopez reviewed my new x-rays and compared them to my old ones, he has deemed that it was time to remove the cast. The bone hasn't fully fused together, but the alignment has not changed, which according to him is a good thing. So I sat through the sawing off of the cast. The vibrations tickled. The lack of pain was a good sign.

After the cast was removed, there was some swelling observed. This is normal, according to my doctor and Google (I couldn't help myself, I had to check because I'm a hypochondriac that way). The Doc felt around and I felt no pain along the site where the fracture is. The pain came in the form of stiffness. This is also normal since I haven't used the foot in almost two months.

Dr. Lopez asked me to stand on my left leg, but of course my fear overtook me. I was able to lay the foot flat on the ground, but I was still putting most of my weight on my right leg. This is mostly psychological on my part. Plus the foot was still swollen. What could I do? Hop around?

It's on to physical therapy. The doctor we were referred to won't be in until Saturday. At first, I was nervous again because all I want it to start my PT as soon as possible. But, once my nerves have calmed down, I've come to realize that it's good I have a few days to recover a little more. Get that swelling down with ice packs.

I could already rest the foot flat on the ground when I'm seated, which I say is an improvement. I was even able to watch Ocean's 8 without fidgeting. No pain except for the stiffness I mentioned. This small achievement made me feel good. I'm staying positive and will take all the small and big successes as they come.

When we got home, the best part will have to be finally washing my left foot after having it in a cast for nearly two months. The skin was starting to peel. Being able to soap and scrub it felt so good. A few more days and I think the skin will stop looking flaky.

Oh, one thing. My mom made me ride the escalator! She forced me, actually. I was so scared. At first I thought I couldn't do it because what was I going to hold on to? But my mom came over to my injured side and gave me a shoulder to hang on to. I survived. Although, going down I insisted we use the escalator. Small victories. 

X-Ray

My check up with my doctor is tomorrow. I had it set up in my head that I would get my x-ray tomorrow before the check up. Unfortunately, since it was a holiday today, my mom wanted to take advantage of the fact that the line to get an x-ray wouldn't be long at the hospital. This did not go well for my nerves.

Anyone who's ever gotten one, x-rays don't hurt. My anxiety didn't come from anticipating pain. It came from the fact that I wasn't ready mentally. I don't like not being ready for something. I refused, but my mom was adamant that we would go today.

So with a prayer in my heart for strength, I went. I was nervous the entire time. Put on a brave face. But I did express my nervousness to the tech that was wheeling me in to get the x-ray. I told him that a lot was riding on the images he was going to take this afternoon.

As I lay on the table, the nurse arranged me in the different poses needed to get the angles my doctor specified. There were a few more than the last time around. I don't know what to make of that. Good, bad? What?

When we were done and the tech handed me the images that I would show my doctor tomorrow, my mom asked him what he thought. His answer was a diplomatic one. He said the doctor would be the one to interpret the results. I liked that.

As I was waiting for my mom to bring the car around, I said another prayer. I didn't look at the images. Not like the last time. I didn't want to know until the doctor tells me tomorrow. Because, again, I am not a doctor. It's not my place to be interpreting something people go to school for years learning.

At least I don't have to wait days before I go see my doctor. Tomorrow I will find out if my fact comes off. I'm staying positive. I'm bringing a pair of rubber shoes that I can slip into. For now, because I don't know if I will get any sleep, I will continue watching the 5th season of RuPaul's Drag Race.

Fears

On Wednesday, I will find out if my foot has healed enough for the cast to come off. Of course, I've been praying really hard that the bone has finally mended and I can start walking again--after some physical therapy. But, at the back of my mind, there are several fears swimming around. I think it comes with age because had I been ten years younger, I don't think I would have thought about this injury all that much.

Removing the cast will certainly be a welcome reprieve. It's itchy and I'd like full use of my leg again. It would indeed be a celebration after two months of having my independence stripped from me.

The first fear has to do with the break itself. Maybe the bone hasn't healed. Maybe I'd have to wear a cast a little longer. That's the worst case scenario because classes are creeping closer and closer. I need to be on my feet ASAP.

The second fear has to do with breaking the bone again. I'm a clumsy sort of person. The what ifs buzzing around me are so annoying. I need a huge can of Insecurities Begone just to vanquish the irritating gnats.

I will be more careful. Maybe even more conscious of the foot. But I also don't want to live in constant fear of going down stairs. I want to be able to tackle a flight of steps without having to sit down and hauling myself up or down. It's childish to be so scared, but I can't help myself. When did I become so fearful?

The last fear, smallest of them all, has to do with going to physical therapy. Will it hurt? Will I be able to walk again? This is the irrational side of my fear. There hasn't been pain on my foot for weeks. Stiffness on the ankle, for sure, but the doctor said that is to be expected since I haven't used the foot in two months.

How fast time flies. It was as if only yesterday that I fell. I honestly don't want to remember that day anymore. I do have some PTSD moments. I may not wear my beloved heels any time soon, but I must preserver.

I have to woman up! I have to conquer these fears and stay positive. The bone is fine. The foot is fine. The cast will come off on Wednesday and we will celebrate by watching Ocean's 8. Believe this with me!

Lazy Sundays

I could have stayed in bed all day. With the cast still on my foot, I'm pretty much in bed all day anyway, but Sundays are particularly lazy days. I don't want to do anything of merit on a day like this; especially when it's raining and cold. The most is this blog post. Really.

What I do is catch up on my favorite podcasts and chill with my cats. I have several snuggle bugs that pretty much melts your heart when they cuddle up beside you. It helps that it's cold today so we share each other's warmth.

The first podcast I caught up with is Bizarre States. If you're a fan of the paranormal, strange things, or true crime, this podcast if for you. The hosts are Jessica Chobot and Andrew Bowser. Their chemistry is so entertaining that listening to them is addictive. This week they took a deep dive with the creators of Evil Genius, available now on Netflix. If you're into true crime (which I am not) you will want to check out this documentary. Based on what they were talking about, the events and people portrayed in the documentary is fascinating.

The second podcast is called ID10T, formerly known as the Nerdist Podcast. I'm a huge fan of Chris Hardwick. I watch all the shows he hosts. I watch his comedy specials. And I'm an avid listener of his podcast. I'm actually listening to the latest episode now as I type this post. His guest is Clair Danes. She's awesome to listen to. Her stories are fascinating. I love how Chris makes each guest feel comfortable. It's actually a dream of mine to be a guest of his podcast one day.

Then, after the podcasts, I continue my binge of RuPaul's Drag Race. I'm already in Season 4. I'll tackle this show more in depth in another post. It's such a great show. How did I not watch it sooner? I love watching all the queens. Again, more on this in a future post.

Rainy Sundays are super lazy days, so I will keep this post short. Check out the podcasts I mentioned. You won't be disappointed.

Oh, by the way, did you know that Bath and Body Works is having their semi-annual sale? There are so many choices that's $3 each. So go, go, go before it's over!

Writing Advice #9


When I first committed myself to my writing, I knew less than I knew now. An example of this ignorance is the need for a critique partner. Each writer has his or her own definition of what a critic partner is. For this post, I will concentrate on what I believe a critique partner can be.

The simple way of looking at it is that a critique partner is someone who can help you with your writing. He or she reads your work from another writer’s point of view. This means that not only do you get help in terms of grammar and finding those pesky typos, you also get help when plotting. Critique partners can help you make sure that your story makes sense. Sometimes, we get so close to our work that we fail to see the other possibilities. There are many suggestions a critique partner can give, but what you have to remember is a critique partner can only go so far. You are still the writer. It’s still your story. And in the end, it’s still your call if you want to take the advice or not.

The best critique partners don’t try to change your writing style to suit their tastes. They understand what you’re trying to do and guide you toward your goal. I call this the Wait and See method. The critique partner doesn’t jump the gun in terms of where the story is going. Any critique partner that meddles too much in the way you write your story might not be the best one for you. As writers, we must have our own style. It grows and evolves as we continue to learn. But no one can change our style for us. So, you need to be weary of critique partners that overstep their bounds. Most importantly, be honest with your critique partner. If you feel that they’ve gone too far, say so. There’s nothing wrong with that. Finding someone who’s in sync with your writing is difficult, but not impossible. You just have to be patient. It’s like making friends. Some work out, while others don’t. But don’t stick with someone who just compliments you all the time. We all liked to be praised for what we’re doing, but too much isn’t good for your growth as a writer as well. You need to find that balance of tough love when it comes to critique partners. Not only will he or she look out for what’s best for your work, they will look out for what’s best for you, too.

My first critique partner came from an ad I answered posted on Literary Rambles. I’ll discuss more about this awesome site in another post. But going back to my original thought, my first critique partner put up an ad. As a fluke, not knowing what a critique partner is yet, I answered it. As writers, we tend to be secretive about our work. We keep things close to the chest, so to actually have a stranger look at your work can be nerve wracking, to say the least. When I got over the initial sense of distrust, I began corresponding with my new critique partner. She chose me among others who offered since we both had the same writing aesthetic. I’d since parted ways with her, but we remain friends. She taught me how to separate myself as a writer and as an editor. I also learned from her how to be conscious of the words I used and how to show what is happening instead of just telling the story.

As months passed, I’ve gone through quite a few critique partners. All of them helped me in their own way. Having someone critique your work is always a learning experience. At least, that’s how I want to think about it because I would end up sitting in a corner crying if I let every little criticism affect me as a writer. I think I’ll have to write about the differences between constructive criticism and destructive criticism sometime.

At the moment, I have three critique partners, all of whom I trust implicitly with my freshest stuff. They all bring out the writer in me, and challenge me to always better myself. I think that’s the most important thing about having a critique partner. They see the holes in your work that you previously might not have noticed. They encourage you to keep going. And since they are writers too, they are the best people to commiserate with when writing is getting a little too hard for comfort. I can honestly say that I am friends with all my critique partners. I think that’s what you need to do. Create a rapport with them.

When you have a critique partner, you’ll end up doing some critiquing, too. It’s a two way street, dear reader. The exchange of chapters is mutual. I believe that being a critique partner also helps bring out the editor in you because you get to read the work of others and share what you know about writing with them. It’s essentially information swapping. There’s no point in being greedy. If Barney the purple dinosaur taught us anything, it’s to share.

The best place to find critique partners are writing communities and forums. I’ve mentioned Literary Rambles as one, but another is Agent Query Connect. There are many writers there willing to help out. And the best thing about Agent Query is that you can find writers working in the same genre as you. In that way, the critiquing stays within your realm of comfort. If you have other places that you could recommend when it comes to finding critique partners, don’t hesitate to mention it in the comments section (maybe even add the link), dear readers.

I don’t know if I’d ever gotten an agent if I didn’t have critique partners. I don’t even think I would be the kind of writer I am today if my critique partners didn’t teach me a thing or two. So, I would like to extend a simple show of gratitude to those who have patiently taken the time to read and comment on my work. You help me keep sane in this insane endeavor. You show me possibilities I wouldn’t have considered. You give uplifting and sage advice. And you let me read the wonderful things you write.

So, to all the critique partners out there, keep on critiquing. Know when to kick-butt. Know when to give a virtual hug. Always add good comments and encouragements. Always mention when you find something funny, effective, or just plain awesome. And don’t be afraid to make suggestions. That’s what we’re here for, right? If we can’t help save each other from complicated plot knots, grammatical errors, and the war on typos, then why call ourselves critique partners?

In Shock

The last time I felt this way was when I found out that Robin Williams took his life. He was and continues to be one of my favorite comedians. I have never laughed so loud and so hard more than when I watch his comedy specials. But this post is not about him.

Today, I found out that one of my favorite people to watch has killed himself. His name is Anthony Bourdain. Celebrity chef. The host of Parts Unknown.

If you're familiar with his show, even its predecessor called No Reservations, you know how great of a storyteller he is. He pulls you into the country he is in as if you were there too or dream of being there. So many places on my bucket list come from watching episode after episode of his show. And let's not forget the food. Almost everything he ate I want to try. I never watched his show without eating at the same time because I would eventually grow hungry.

It's hard for me to wrap my mind around the fact that he's gone. Especially because I just finished watching the latest episode, which was shot in Hong Kong. I'm so sad. A deep kind of sad.

The most heartbreaking of all was when I read that Eric Rupert was the one who discovered him unresponsive in his hotel room. My favorite episodes of Parts Unknown always involve Eric Rupert. When he tags along it's hilarious because Tony is so mean to him, yet Eric takes it in stride like the life-loving Buddist he is. What could have been going through Eric's mind when he discovered one of his closest friends was gone.

Suicide is always a hard topic for me. I have come close many times in my young life. Turbulent teen and young adult as I was. There have been people in my life who have attempted. Some survived. Others succeeded.

It does not discriminate. It can happen to anyone. Sometimes even to the most successful of us all. Having money is no guarantee.

So, if you are at a place in your life where you think life is not worth living, take a moment and find help. There are so many places to get them from. You are not alone. You are never alone. 

Jurassic World

I love movies. In fact, I love movies so much that I go to the cinemas at least once a week. Usually on a Wednesday. It's part of my routine and if there isn't anything interesting worth watching I feel all empty inside. I need my movie fix.

This week's offering is Jurassic World. 

I'm a fan of the franchise ever since the T-Rex chased everyone in movie 1 and scared the crap out of me as a kid. And who doesn't love Jeff Goldblum. So when I saw the trailer for Jurassic World, I was all in. Rescuing dinosaurs from a volcanic eruption? Hell ya!

Boy did I regret watching this movie. Not because it was bad.

Background time.

I've been caring for cats for years now. I changed the moment Sweetie walked up to my house and asked if I could take her in. She's with me to this day (love of my life) and she has given me 5 rambunctious kittens to boot, who are all grown now. 

Ever since then, I can't handle anything that involves animal cruelty of any kind. It makes my blood boil and depressed at the same time. In fact, having Sweetie has inspired me to put up my own cat sanctuary one day so I can help all the strays out there.

Anyway, for those who have already seen Jurassic World, you will understand why I regret watching it. Many things happen to the dinosaurs in this movie that I can't stomach.

Okay, before you judge me, I completely understand that dinosaurs are extinct. That Jurassic World is just a movie. And the dinosaurs in that movie are all fake. 

BUT! In my mind, as I was watching the film, I completely accepted the fact that in the Jurassic World universe those dinosaurs are real and alive. That is why the dilemma of the characters really hit home for me. I wanted to help all of them off that island.

That scene when the characters are all on the boat as the island is engulfed by the volcano's plums and there is the lone long neck crying for help. Gosh! Just thinking about it makes me cry all over again. It was a cruel, cruel scene.

Not only that, the bad guys? Oh! I wanted each and every one of them to be eaten. Seriously.

Basically, I'm way to emotional to have watched this film. I shouldn't have. The plot went to places I didn't want it to go to. You have been warned. Watch at your own risk.

The Boyfriend Bracket is here!

I have a video for all of you today!


To Ask or Not?

It's Pride Month!

This post is inspired by a poll I posted on my twitter feed centered around asking someone about their sexuality. I asked whether it was appropriate, totally not appropriate, or depends on how you ask. So far, the third choice is winning out, but the votes are still not enough to definitively say where people stand.

I'm not one to ask probing questions, especially when I just met someone. I'm socially awkward to begin with so asking questions terrify me, let alone making a mistake when asking them about anything. I think it has something to do with the feeling of being seen as judgy when asking questions. That's why I'm curious where people stand on asking about someone's sexuality.

I heard somewhere that it's not done. You just don't ask. But what if you like the person and it's not obvious where their leanings are?

In today's world, sexuality is so fluid that dating becomes more complicated than it used to be. I don't date, so this isn't coming from experience, but I do have friends who do. Some of them get stuck in limbo especially when they aren't sure if the guy or girl they like will reciprocate those feelings or if they aren't in the realm of possibility.

Sometimes someone's sexuality is obvious. No questions needed. But, most of the time, you just don't know. So how do you cope? How do you ask without insulting the person? Or do you wait for it to come up?

I don't think I'm alone in this situation. What would you do?

Brooklyn Nine Nine

I have to be honest and write that I'm new to the Brooklyn Nine Nine fandom. As I mentioned in an earlier post, I only started watching it because I was looking for something to binge while in bed.

The show has always been in my radar over the years, but I don't know. I never had the impetus to watch it. It's a comedy, so it should have been on my queue every week. Maybe because it was about cops and usually I associate them with drama when on TV and not comedy? Really, my brain is weird.

When it was cancelled recently, my Twitter feed was flooded with save Brooklyn Nine Nine tweets. It was nonstop, unrelenting. The only way to avoid it was to stay away from social media. Then all the buzz paid off and the show was revived, but for only 13 episodes, which means it's still under threat of cancellation. Hopefully the fans rally and the show gets it's full season of 22 to 23 episode.

Last week, I finally broke down and gave the show a shot. I do not regret a thing. Why did I hold off on watching it for so long? The characters are hilarious. The situations they get into are insane. And the dialogue, even if silly sometimes, can make me laugh until I can't breathe.

Season after season I found myself immersed in the lives of Jake and Amy and Holt and Boyle and Terry and Rosa. Oh, and Gina. We must not forget her. Okay, Scully and Hitchcock too! I can't imagine the show without any one of them.

My favorite episodes would have to be the holiday ones. The Halloween heist are the best. Not only because Halloween is my favorite day of the year. Thanksgiving episodes were particularly hilarious too.

My biggest laughs come from the first few minutes of the show before the opening credits. Something weird or insane always happens. It sets off the tone of the entire episode.

I always want to give Boyle a hug. Captain Holt is by far my favorite character. Jake always gets into trouble but he manages to always save the day. When Amy and Rosa are together it's always magic. And Terry. Yogurt loving, muscle-building Terry. When he's on screen you can't keep your eyes off of him. When he and Holt are together it's comedy gold.

There are dramatic moments on the show as well. They help bring us back to the reality that they are in a precinct and they solve crimes for a living. It helps balance out the comedy.

The ending of each season keeps getting better. I love when Holt and Jake had to be put on witness protection and they lived in Florida for six months. My least favorite season finale would have to be the latest one where Captain Holt finds out if he's the new commissioner or not. Not the best of the five seasons. We'll see how the writers pick this up for season six.

If you're looking for a solid comedy to watch over the summer, make it Brooklyn Nine Nine. I dare you not to enjoy this show. If you don't, you might have to have your sense of humor checked. 

The Asshole

I promised myself when I was taking blogging back that I will keep the cussing at a minimum. I will keep that promise by using only one cuss word. The title says it all.

At the condo we live in, there is a shake up happening. There is a faction that wants the old board members out because they haven't done squat for the building and it's residents. Money went missing. Maintenance is appalling. The admin office does nothing. You get it. Bad all around.

For years elections couldn't be held to replace the board because not enough residents attended. Basically, the apathy is horrible. People just live their lives without care for the fact that the building is in dire need of repainting, among other things.

The apathetic residents only started waking up when news came that the association dues were increasing and everyone had to pay for the repainting. This is where the aforementioned cuss word in the title comes in.

He is a total piece, this guy. Rude. Inconsiderate. He won't pay for his own coffee during a meeting. He won't greet you even if he already knows it's your birthday. In fact, he will even insult you. Basically, if you met him, you will understand why he's living alone without any contact from his family. He's the guy who wants to run for board president.

My mother, saint of a woman that she is, wants to run for the board because she's concerned with the upkeep of the building. She wants to make sure it remains clean and one day will be repainted without cost to the residents.

In order to run, she must help the wannabe president who is so vain it's not even funny. Part of that help is getting the residents to sign proxy forms in case they can't attend the election. These forms are important to reach a quorum. My mom does all the leg work because Mr. Vanity can't interact with people without insulting them. He even made fun of a guy for his accent during a meeting. This guy is the worst, seriously.

The last straw that broke the endless patience of my mom involves the meeting last night. Mr. Vanity Asshole (breaking my rule because I need to), thanked and praised a woman he had been courting to be part of the board. All she did was write an email that has so many grammatical errors, a third grader would have done a better job. Any praise or thanks for all my mother's hard work? None, because that is how Mr. Vanity Asshole works. He doesn't care if you're the one doing all the work.

So my mother pulled out of helping them. The rest of the group are so horrible with people it will be a miracle if they will get the other residents to sign the proxy forms.

My blood boils when someone is marginally mean to my mother. I am so close to telling Mr. Vanity Asshole off, but she keeps stopping me. So I'm putting it all here as a way to purge myself of negative feelings.

The only good thing I hold on to? Karma. No one hurts my mother without getting blow back. Karma is a bitch, Mr. Vanity Asshole.   

Love and Compassion

An alternative title for this post is "Blessing in Disguise."

As I mentioned in my post yesterday, my foot is in a cast. Broke the bone leading to the pinky toe. It's healing now. Actually, I read this interesting article that said the bone started healing the second it had been broken. How cool is that?

I will find out on June 13, after another x-ray, if it's time to remove the cast. Please send all your healing thoughts my way. I'm itching to walk again. With the first day of classes fast approaching, I need to get my physical therapy in so I can actually teach.

I call this accident a blessing in disguise because it taught me so many things.

First, it taught me the real meaning of unconditional love. My mother stepped up in a huge way. I honestly don't know what I would have done if I had been alone at the time of the accident. The pain was so bad that I almost passed out a couple of times. And since coming home from the hospital, I have been leaning on my mom. Even for a glass of water. Which kills me because I'm the independent sort. If I can do it myself, I will. I don't usually ask for help unless I absolutely need to. My mother is my saving grace and I thank God every day for her.

My brother has been surprisingly compassionate as well. He pushes my wheelchair when we go watch a movie. He's been the perfect gentleman. My view of him has forever changed. To say that my broken foot healed our relationship is an understatement.

I've also come to notice how helpful everyone around me has become. Guys are willing to carry the wheelchair out of the car when I need it. I've been pushed from one point to another by so many strangers that I'm beginning to believe in the goodness in the world again. People are willing to wait for me to get on the elevator first. They step out of line to let me through. When I'm having a hard time adjusting a chair so I can push my wheelchair closer to the table, someone is always willing to push the chair aside for me. It's amazing, the kindness of a stranger.

A couple of things that I was able to get away with while riding around in a wheelchair will have to do with renewing my passport and driver's license. First in line always without the need for an appointment. I'm grateful for these things.

A great lesson is patience. A renewed sense of looking at the world. I have every greater respect for people with disabilities now. They are not to be pitied. They are to be revered, treated like the human beings that they are. I know it's not always easy for those who live with not being able to walk, see, hear, but they live their lives the best they can.

Human beings are amazing. Our ability to adapt. Our ability to work with what we've got. Because of my accident, I will be more mindful of what I have and what I shouldn't take for granted ever again.
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