My Wildest Attempt In 2013 Yet.


Sooo....I might be crazy.

Yesterday, I signed up for NaNoWriMo.

Never heard of it? National Novel Writing Month. NaNoWriMo. This is an insane contest that challenges aspiring writers to complete a 50,000+ word novel between November 1 and November 30.

Yep.

I heard about it several years ago and have secretly longed to participate every November since. Each October, I consider it. I imagine myself sitting with my laptop, engulfed in the smoke rising from the keyboard as I pound away, fighting to hit my word count. That image always terrified me. I backed out every time.

I'm realizing I've come out a lot this year. The Month of No Fear and its repercussions and all that. I felt a new boldness yesterday when I read an article about NaNoWriMo online and remembered my goal. I suddenly knew I was gonna do it this time.

This is something that's actually on my bucket list. It actually says:

#67- Participate in NaNoWriMo
#68- Win NaNoWriMo

Let me clarify: to "win" NaNoWriMo, you don't technically win. There's not one winner. "Winning" is simply meeting the goal of writing 50,000 words. So, expecting myself to fail from the start, I wrote two separate NaNoWriMo goals for myself years ago. #68- to complete it. #67- to just TRY.

That's where I am this year. Trying. My hopes for my novel are far from high, but for the first November ever, I have the confidence to give it my best effort.


And oh yeah, it starts in 2 days.

Soooo. Not sure what my plan for this is yet, but I do have a flimsy wisp of an idea to work with. I have a cast of characters and a setting that have been in my mind for several years now; I just don't know what their story is, exactly.

Here's hoping I figure that out ASAP.

Have any of you ever attempted this before? Would you? Any suggestions, tips, or story ideas???

Disney Day

 

Among the new-to-me rituals of public high school education is Homecoming Week. Or “Spirit Week” as the kids are saying these days. This happened two weeks ago (and yes, I'm just now getting around to this post). Each day had a different theme. ‘Merica Monday. Tacky Tuesday. Disney Day. Preps vs. Nerds. Safari Day.

Of course, being a bit of a Disney nerd, I LOVED Disney Day, where everyone was supposed to dress up as a Disney character. It was like a Disney parade that morning, all the costumes filing by in the hall, Ariels, Belles, Cruellas, Tinkerbells, everyone checking out each other’s outfits and taking pictures. I had to get it on the fun. I picked a character I doubted anyone else would (mainly because it would give me a legit excuse to speak with an English accent all day): Mary Poppins!


I put this together the night before after a quick trip to the thrift store. The entire ensemble cost $8.00. I already had the hat, but I added the flowers and berries. I got this pathetic little stem from the floral section at the thrift store; it was marked 25 cents, but it was so trashy, the cashier let me have it for free. (lol) I plucked off the little flowers and berries and attached them to the hat with tape (cheap and very redneck of me, but it worked!).

I had so much fun with this, and I got so many compliments! A few kids and teachers snapped my photo, and eventually, the yearbook staff came around to get one (SCORE! Made the yearbook!).

I had fun making “Spoonful of Sugar” references when I gave out medications. Of course, there were a couple of lame-os who didn’t get it. I received one very rude, “Who are you supposed to be?” And when I replied, in my cheeriest English voice, “Mary Poppins!”, they stared blankly and asked, “Who?”

.
.
.

Just… just don’t.



If tomorrow were Disney Day for you, who/what would you dress up as?

Adventures In Online Dating

Back in July, my crazy “Month of No Fear,” I joined eHarmony. I’m not sure why. Really. I don’t know what possessed me to shuck out the credit card for a year-long non-refundable membership to an online dating site.

Or, welllll, maybe I do.

Most of the time, I don’t really think about the fact that I’m about to be 25 and still single without any prospects. Well, okay, a lot of the time I don’t think about it. But when I do focus on this discouraging fact and begin imagining my unavoidable destiny as a hermity old spinster with eleven cats and a creepy porcelain doll collection, God finds some way to remind me that I’m single right now for a reason, and that I have a lot of growing and maturing to do before I am ready to be the wife of the amazing man of God I pray for each day. I know I have to trust God and wait for Him to bring our paths to an intersection.

BUT.

BUT.

Well-meaning people keep insisting that while waiting is good, and trusting God is good, He expects us to do our part. Sometimes we have to “help” make things happen. This means I need to get out and start meeting people, because God is not going to send some wonderful man crashing through the ceiling of my apartment, smack into the center of my living room between me and my TV screen.

Yes, that scenario is highly improbable. I really doubt I will find my future husband during a pizza and Once Upon A Time pajama party for one.

But I’m not so sure the Creator of the universe needs my “help” finding him, either.

So from the start, I felt like joining eHarmony wasn’t the best idea. But I did it anyway, because these well-meaning people were right; God could lead me to The One through this website. So, I signed up. I answered their seemingly endless personality questions, uploaded my skinniest pictures, and typed my witty little bio onto my profile. Then the matches came flooding in!

And these guys seemed so much more legit than the ones I talked to via Plenty of Fish a couple of years ago (A hostile, foul-mouthed, calls-constantly-even-at-4-AM stalker and a midget/little person Elvis impersonator) ((Not joking; this is my real life)). One of these eHarmony users was actually a church music leader. Another was a computer programmer who loved to cook, watch Doctor Who, and talk about Jesus.

I felt a giddy, girlish excitement rising within me. Maybe, just maybe, one of these guys would turn out to be Him.

But once I started talking to these people, the letdowns commenced. The worship leader likes to kick back with a Bud Light a few times a week and watch Duck Dynasty. The computer-programming Whovian likes the Eccleston period and hates The Eleventh Doctor (and more importantly, from what he said in our spiritual discussions, it became clear we weren’t talking about the same Jesus).

I ended up blocking all but one of my matches. This one guy seemed alright. We started e-mailing long essays to each other, outside of eHarmony, in which we discussed our many shared interests. Both homeschooled. Songwriters. Fans of Roman, Greek, and Egyptian mythology. Lovers of old houses and cities with cobblestone streets. And when he said he wanted to meet me, I grew strangely excited instead of nervous. He didn’t say anything creepy. He completely respected my wish to meet in the daytime in a city halfway between us. I felt that little spark of hope again; maybe he’s The One.

However, his suggestion that we eat at Olive Garden instantly felt like an ill-omen (Personal history of a bad first date at Olive Garden… It just seemed like a bad sign). But how dumb and superstitious is that, right? So I said Olive Garden would be fine. At least I knew I could get something meatless there with no problems.

Aside from that, I truly felt no hesitation or anxiety until the drive there. Once I merged onto the interstate, it hit me: What the crap am I doing? This is so unlike me, driving out of state to meet some guy I met on the internet?!? This is how girls get raped and murdered! My story is gonna end up on Dateline!

And see, I’d decided not to tell my parents about this little rendezvous, because my parents heavily influence my feelings and my decisions in life. I knew my mom would love the fact that I was going on a date, and she would immediately approve our marriage. And I didn’t want my mom’s feelings about this to influence my own. After so many disastrous, confusing first-date experiences, I needed to know how I felt about this guy. Not how my mom felt. Not how my next door neighbor/adopted grandmother felt. Not how I’m supposed to feel. How I honestly felt.

So yeah, the fact that my parents didn’t know I was doing this made it seem a heck of a lot scarier. (Don’t worry; I did tell my sister where I was going.)

When I finally got there, I found him waiting outside Olive Garden on a wooden park bench. As he saw me, stood to his feet, grinned, and said hello to me for the first time, only one thought flashed through my head: 

NATE COLE.

Okay, this was big.

Some of you really super cool people might remember Nate.


Nathan David Forrest Cole, one-fifth (the cutest one-fifth) of the popular Christian boyband Plus One. Oh, Nate. My first true love. The one I wrote a sad, sad fanfiction series about, in which I am a member of a successful Christian female singing group who tours with Plus One, falls in love with Nate, gets married, and really does live happily ever after. I called them the Daydream Stories, because that’s what they were. Daydreams put into sad, sad words.(Uhhhhhhh, did I really just admit all that?)

To this day, when I imagine my future husband, it is something very close to the fictional, imaginary version of Nate Cole I created in those embarrassing stories twelve years ago. (Since, you know, I don’t know anything about the real Nate Cole, even though I stalked met him. Twice.)

Anyway…

This guy, the one from eHarmony, standing before me on the little terrace outside Olive Garden, reminded me so much of the real Nate Cole in his pre-hipster, Plus One Obvious days. The gel-spiked hair, the bright blue eyes, the dimpled grin. His height- barely taller than me- and slim build. Everything, right down to the whiny, nasal tone of his voice and his Californian accent (Yeah, like Nate, he was from Cali, too.).

This had to be a sign. Surely, this guy was My Nate. After all these years, I’d found him. Oh my word. I’d found The One.

All this happened in the first three seconds. 

He held the door open for me as we entered the restaurant, the enticing garlicky aroma welcoming us. I followed the waiter through the maze of tables with my chin and spirits high, because I felt confident that I was on my first date with my future husband. We were seated in a booth by a window. As we settled in, I kept catching him staring at me. He caught me ogling him. Awkward giggling ensued, from both of us. We’d talked so much online, but neither really knew what to say in person. (Plus, I was feeling starstruck, eating lunch at Olive Garden with Nate flippin’ Cole.)

I ordered Minestrone Soup, the only vegetarian soup on the menu, and had some salad. He ordered chicken fettuccine alfredo (a favorite of Nate’s, I believe, as noted in the Plus One Backstage Pass book). We finally got comfortable(ish) enough to talk, and we each revealed new information about ourselves. 

Turns out he likes to spend weekends in bars and clubs. He only likes soda when it’s mixed with a little hard liquor. He is a staunch Republican and is really into politics and intense political debates.

I didn't really know what to say, but I did surprisingly stand up for myself and admit to him that I feel differently about those issues. 

Our conversation took an unpleasant turn then, but it wasn’t horrible. We peaceably decided to disagree about things, and we moved on. My mom and adopted grandmother’s words- Always give a guy a chance- rang through my head. I guess he was thinking the same thing, because despite our disagreements, he asked if I’d like to go to a movie after we finished lunch. I accepted the offer.

Maaaybe I accepted it because it was straight out of “Think of Me”, the first Daydream Story about Nate I ever wrote. Nate and Jennifer go out to eat, then see a movie (a film which is so scary, she accidentally grabs Nate’s hand! Vomit...).

We walked out to the restaurant parking lot, and he offered to drive us to the theater. I didn’t like that idea. I still didn’t know the guy, and I like to have an escape plan. So I insisted we take separate cars and meet outside the theater. He said, “Okay. Well, that’s my car over there,” and pointed at an older model Honda Civic.

A dang Honda Civic. I’ll be darned if that’s not what Nate drove in the Daydream Stories. We were a musical duet and a moonlit walk on a beach away from making those old stories reality.

Except for the alcohol and politics thing. But I forced that out of my mind.

We got to the theater, which was inside the Arbor Place Mall, which was, ironically, the very same mall in which I once saw Plus One performing in the food court. Where I met Nate and took this picture in front of Taco Bell:

(14-year-old me and the REAL Nate Cole)
We checked out the movies that were playing. Percy Jackson 2 seemed the best choice, even though he hadn’t seen the first one. But it didn’t start for 30 minutes, so we walked around for a bit. I suggested we walk through one of my favorite stores, Earthbound Trading Company, because they have a lot of cool, unique items that are generally fun to browse through.

So, that's where we went. And as we passed the peace signs and yoga mats, I felt his judgment of me mounting. I could see it on his face. What was he doing with some sort of weirdo vegetarian hippie?

Then we watched the movie. Thankfully, he initiated no hand-holding or cuddling or anything like that, which I had worried about. A dark theater with a male stranger from the internet? Seemed like something that could happen.

But it didn’t. He was totally nice and respectful and gentlemanly in everything he did.

When the movie was over, we walked to our cars and said our awkward goodbyes. I felt comfortable enough with him that I actually offered him my phone number, which I had withheld from him when he had asked for it in an email. He added me to his phone and asked me to text him when I got home safe.

I did. And I also thanked him for treating me to lunch and a movie, told him I had fun, and that I hoped he’d made it home safely too. Two days passed before his reply text came: “Glad to hear you made it home okay.”

That was it. 

I didn’t write back, nor did he. And that was over two months ago. No e-mails, nothing from him on eHarmony. Not a word.

But that was fine with me. Really, it was. Because the very first thought in my head when I woke up the morning after our date was, “I hope he doesn’t text me back.” My true feelings were made clear to me the moment I opened my eyes the following day.

Even though just the previous afternoon, all I could do was try to make him fit into the real-life Daydream Story I’ve been hoping to create all these years.

I am always so hopeful. Despite my past experiences and knowledge and cynicism, I really do go into each first date with the optimistic thought that this might be The One.

But I’ve never made it past an officially named First Date. Never.

Shockingly enough, it’s usually me that is doing the “dumping” (I heard you gasp in surprise). This was the first time that the other person didn’t want to see me again. And sadly, this was also the first time I felt like I might enjoy a second date. But I’m about 98% sure that’s only because he didn’t want me. That’s pretty typical. I only want what is unavailable. What I can’t have.

Anyway, the Guy who Reminded Me of Nate is out of the picture. I’m communicating with a few other guys on eHarmony right now, but I’m not into any of them. The ones I’m interested in haven’t responded to my eHarmony smiles (the equivalent of a Facebook poke) or the questions I’ve sent. 

Sounds about right, doesn't it?    

I'm just not too excited about the whole eHarmony thing any more. Experiences like the one I just described remind me of the kind of man I'm praying for, and I realize how much I need God actively present to make it happen. So I rarely log on to the dating site, because I just don't see the point.

And I don't see why I have to go searching for The One. Everyone thinks I should, but maybe I'm not ready. Maybe there's a reason nothing has ever worked out with me and these guys. Maybe I need to listen to God and what I feel is right rather than let the opinions of others push me into a relationship that I don't need in my life right now.

Or maybe I just tell myself these things so I'll feel better about myself being forever alone.

I don't even know any more.

Yard Sale

After weeks of preparation, we spent the weekend pulling off a huge yard sale. 

I think it was the first time my parents' closets have been cleaned in their 33 years of marriage. The first time our family's Christmas decorations have been sifted through. The contents of their house combined with random junk from the apartment equaled SO. MUCH. STUFF.






We did really well, despite the fact that our first batch of customers walked away with a backpack full of goodies without paying. I sold my recliner and my corner desk, two big items I've been wanting to get rid of. I even sold my old keyboard stand (which is held together by a wire coat hanger; I've had the thing since I was like 9 years old). We needed more tables to put things on, so I stuck a piece of plywood I found in our backyard on my keyboard stand, and some old lady wanted to buy it. I got $2 for that junk treasure!

The things people buy at yard sales really amuses me. From that lady and the keyboard stand to the unlikely man who bought my Little House on the Prairie Guidebook.

In other news: IT'S OCTOBER! Time for sweaters, scarves, and boots. Clear blue skies. Crisp, clean air. Changing leaves. Halloween. All things pumpkin. I love this time of year!

Speaking of Halloween, any costume ideas? I'm planning to do a costume race in a few weeks that ventures through a zombie-infested area. Sounds like some good motivation to run!