back-to-school essentials!

The main character in my new release, Blogger Girl, is twenty-eight, however, with her ten year high school reunion looming and a request to review her high school nemesis’ book waiting in her email inbox, she’s been thinking a lot more about her high school days than she probably should. Promoting the book so much over the past few weeks got me thinking about my days in school as well, especially in light of the Labor Day Weekend. When I was younger, the first day of school was always the Wednesday after Labor Day and so this day always makes me think of the first day of school and a new start of sorts. I used to approach the first day of school with a mixture of excitement and anxiety: I wondered who would be in my classes, if my teachers would be nice, if I would make new friends and still get along with my old ones and if I would have a boyfriend. Although I knew even back then that much of this was out of my control, I always tried to prepare as best as I could for a good year. My mom would take me to get all of my school supplies, like a new backpack, notebooks for each of my classes, pens and pencils etc. She’d also take me clothes shopping. My mom and stepdad could not afford to buy me a new wardrobe each year but I would always get a few new outfits in the latest fashion to mix with the clothes from the year before. I would study magazines like Seventeen, Mademoiselle and Sassy to see what was in style and I would spend hours contemplating what to wear on the first day. For instance, should I wear my favorite new outfit right away or should I wear something “summery” if it was still warm out? I would agonize as if my entire year would be decided based on what I wore the first day.

All of my school photos!

All of my school photos!

I don’t go to school anymore but I still think of coming back to work after the long Labor Day Weekend as a new beginning. Like a high school girl preparing for her new year of school, I also prepare for a new beginning at work and in life in general. These are some of the things I do:

  1. Hair – I got my hair cut last week – just a trim of the length and the layers. Although I am not due for highlights for another six weeks or so, my stylist also applied a layer of toner to my hair to keep the color from getting brassy from so much time in the sun.
  2. New clothes – Ok, I haven’t actually done any clothes shopping lately but I have begun to compile my coupons from Macy’s, Banana Republic, Anne Taylor etc. I am just not ready to start buying colder weather clothes when I’m still wearing shorts, tank tops and sandals on the weekends. Besides, I’m not really sure what is in fashion. I don’t pay too much attention to trends and basically wear clothes I like that flatter my figure. I assume if the dresses, skirts etc. are on the hangers at popular stores, they must be somewhat fashionable. But I’m not a label whore with the exception of bags. I will admit to fantasizing about the Christian Louboutin shoes worn by the main character in Blogger Girl and if the book does well, I might treat myself to them at some point but probably not. While purchasing a pair would not leave me homeless, I’m not sure my desire for the shoes would outweigh the guilt I would feel for spending that much money on a pair of shoes that are probably incredibly uncomfortable.
  3. Exercise – I have a very good workout ethic and always have. I run between six and ten miles four to five times a week; I take a weekly spin class and I do the stair climber. I’ve never enjoyed lifting weights. I have never wanted to be extremely sculpted and would prefer to be soft and feminine but not flabby but I know that soft can quickly turn to flab if I am not careful. Because of that and because I know it is important to keep my bones strong as I get older, I added a twice weekly strength training plan to my workout several months ago but I have been slacking. The days that I skip my workout tend to be the days I planned to lift weights. Or if it is beautiful out, I skip the weight lifting to go for an extra run. With the new beginning, I am going to try hard to stick to the weight training!
  4. Mean Girls – Back in high school, I faced more than my share of mean girls. My history with mean girls actually dates back to Elementary School and continues through Junior High. I didn’t really come into contact with any mean girls in High School although some of my friends weren’t actually all that nice. I am a much stronger person now than I was back then and definitely do not have the patience for bitches and so I do not bother with anyone I see as potentially “mean” –I do not socialize with anyone I would categorize as mean and thankfully all of my colleagues are nice people. However, there is definitely a mean-spirited person haunting me and some of my author friends on Amazon and Goodreads. There is a member of Goodreads who has left a two star rating on almost all of our book pages on Goodreads. Now, I do not expect everyone to love my books and I have come to terms with my negative ratings (for the most part). I will never please everyone. However, this person’s profile is private so we cannot see anything about her. All we know from her profile is that she has left over 19,000 ratings (not a single written review) and her average rating is 1.98 stars. She bombed Blogger Girl with a two star rating practically the first day it was published which struck me as odd since she didn’t have much time to actually read it. And she had also rated A State of Jane and Just Friends with Benefits two stars. If she hates my writing so much, why read all of my books? Because she didn’t! Seriously, the likelihood that she read and hated 19,000 books would be laughable if it wasn’t so pathetic. I have a feeling this is the same person who has marked most of my positive reviews on Amazon as “unhelpful” and my handful of negative reviews as “helpful.” Obviously, I cannot make this person stop being a complete wench so instead I will focus on the fact that nothing she does can take away from the enjoyment others will experience from reading my books and hopefully I will get enough positive reviews that no one will even notice her stupid 2 star rating or care if my negative reviews are marked helpful. She cannot control my success as a writer so I will continue to do what I am doing. And hopefully, she will get some therapy because God knows she needs it.
  5. Organization – In school, I was infamous for my messy notebooks. There were always papers falling out of my binders and nothing was ever organized. A classmate actually took one of my binders home with her one weekend because she couldn’t take how messy it was. Flash forward twenty years and I am equally disorganized in the office. My desk is a complete mess. I know where everything is but anyone else trying to locate something might get buried under the loose papers which occupy my office space. My apartment, while clean, is usually untidy as well. I live in 500 square feet and there just is not enough room to put everything away without accruing clutter. Well, I took several hours yesterday and tidied up my apartment. I am going to try to keep up with it to avoid things getting out of hand. Wish me luck!
  6. Boys (men) I am currently single and so of course I would like to meet someone I like as “more than friend” who feels the same way about me and who is intelligent, funny, nice, attractive and, of course, available. I did have a date a couple of weeks ago and it was the first date I actually looked forward to since ending my last relationship earlier this year. I had met the guy before but this was our first “date.” It went well, or so I thought. He was nice, cute, interesting and we spent several hours talking and laughing. I was pretty certain he was into me especially when he asked if he could walk me home at the end of the date but he hasn’t called me again. Although the date was good, it was not a slam dunk. We met at 7:30 and by the time I went inside my apartment, it was past midnight. Never during our time together did my date ask if I was hungry or wanted something to eat. Had I known the date would go so long, I might have mentioned something to him but I did not want to presume we would spend that much time together and figured if we just had a drink, I could eat when I got home. About half-way through the date, around 9pm, my stomach was literally growling and when he went to the bathroom, I dipped my hand in the snack bowl the bartender had brought over to avoid biting my hand. I probably should have brought up dinner at that point but I didn’t. I had been up since 6:30, went to the gym, worked all day and then met him straight from work with only a yogurt for breakfast and a salad for lunch as my fuel. As much as I enjoyed talking to him, and I did, I was exhausted from an entire day of work and no food. While I drank two glasses of wine, it was over the course of four hours so instead of getting tipsy, I felt tired and dehydrated. He nursed his one drink and it took all the self-control I could muster not to gulp mine for some sustenance. Despite the hunger pains and the cotton mouth, I knew I wanted to see this guy again. He was cute, interesting and had a very “soothing” quality to him which relaxed me, but it was getting late, I had work the next day, had to pack for a weekend getaway and, in case I haven’t mentioned it, I was starving. When we finally left the bar, my date offered to walk me home. On the one hand, I was excited because I figured that meant he liked me and wanted to spend a bit more time with me and kiss me goodnight. On the other hand, I was starving and thought to myself, “would he think I was weird if I asked him to walk me to the pizza place?” I decided I was too embarrassed to stop for pizza and I led him straight back to my apartment where we continued to talk and laugh and talk and laugh and talk. Each time one conversation ended, another started and I just wanted him to say “I definitely want to do this again” and kiss me so that I could go home, eat something, pack and go to bed. But he did neither of those things. We both said we had a great time and it was on the tip of my tongue to say “I would like to do this again” but I couldn’t do it. I am not opposed to being the aggressive one when the situation calls for it and my ex will attest to the fact that if I hadn’t said to him “are you going to kiss me already?” the night we met, we probably would not have dated for the next year and a half. However, I couldn’t bring myself to do that this time. I was too tired and too hungry and just wanted my date to take the reins, adjust his balls and be the man. So, after hemming and hawing outside of my building for close to a half hour, I finally walked inside without a kiss or the promise of another date. I toyed with reaching out to him but I decided against it. If a guy likes me enough, he will do the asking. (And mom, if you are reading, this is my final answer and, no, I don’t want to talk about it!) If the guy in question is reading this, my message to you is that if you ask, I DO want to go out with you again. Just make sure you feed me (I promise not to order mutton…) and kiss me goodnight next time! Of course, it is entirely possible that the guy only went out with me in the hopes of getting laid and expected an offer to walk me home would come with an invitation to come inside. I didn’t get that vibe but I’m not all that good at reading men these days so who knows? In any event, I don’t roll that way. I like to get to know someone in a less rushed way. There would have to be an intense physical attraction/connection for me to take a guy home on a first date. God, why are men so presumptuous these days?  Hmm, maybe because women are so easy. Thanks to my female sisters for being sluts. *sarcasm” Shrugging off the negativity NOW. With new beginnings comes new hope that I will meet another man I’d like to date soon. 🙂

So there you have it – my “back -to-school” list. What is on your list?

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Blogger Girl/Just Friends With Benefits/General Updates

I hope everyone is enjoying what remains of the summer. I’m doing my best.  I’m incredibly excited about the release of my third novel, Blogger Girl on August 28th and thrilled with the reviews I’ve received so far – yay!!  Since my cover reveal only included the front cover, I thought it would be fun to show you guys the entire cover since I’m sure most of you, with the exception of my close friends and family, will buy the book in eformat and you won’t have access to the back.

 BG_full_sm

In other exciting news, you might have noticed that my debut novel, Just Friends With Benefits is currently unavailable for purchase. This is because I have taken back rights to the novel from my original publisher and will be signing a new contract with Booktrope (the publisher of A State of Jane and Blogger Girl), effective September 1st.  I will be forever thankful to Wings ePress for offering me my first publishing contract for Just Friends With Benefits and for doing such an amazing job with the book but I feel very at home with Booktrope and think having all three of my novels with one publisher is the best thing for my career.  I also assume that Just Friends With Benefits, the oldest of my three “children” might be feeling a bit left out and jealous of the attention bestowed upon A State of Jane and Blogger Girl and so I’m sure she’ll appreciate the makeover Booktrope is giving her in the nature of a new cover and some editorial tweaking. For those of you have already read the book, nothing substantial will be changed about the story. I have just improved as an author since writing that book and felt the need to make minor and likely not too noticeable changes. But the most exciting news? The price of the ebook will be substantially reduced so those of you who have been waiting to buy it or have it on your “wish list” will be able to purchase it at a fraction of the original price – woot woot!

 

On a personal note, it’s been a tough week for me. Actually it’s been a tough summer. I am so happy that I have my books to distract me from real life sometimes, you have no idea. My wallet was stolen on Monday night and I did not see it happening. In fact, I didn’t even notice it until Tuesday morning when I went to grab my metrocard to get on the subway and saw that my wallet was missing from my pocketbook. After calling up all of the credit card companies, I learned that the “perp” made charges on two of them. My bank became suspicious pretty quickly and put a hold on the card but there were multiple charges made to my credit card. I reported all of my cards as stolen and filed a police report. I’ve been a victim of identity theft before and really do not wish that sort of hell on anyone. Although I could have ordered a new non-driver i.d. online, I read that if you filed a police report and brought a copy of the report to the DMV, the replacement fee would be waived. Well, stupid me did not read the fine print that said the replacement fee would only be waived for a driver’s license but not a non-driver i.d. Why that is the case is beyond me and seems like prejudice against non-drivers. So, my wallet being stolen is less traumatic because I’m not a driver?  What kind of ridiculousness is that? It’s not the $8 replacement fee that bothers me, it’s the principle. At least the detective I spoke with was really cute. Hey, you gotta look at the bright side sometimes…

 

I received some good news about a dear friend this week that made me giddy with happiness for about five minutes before I learned there was “but”. Why is there always a “but”? I can’t go into details because I promised my friend that I would not discuss him via social networking but here is some unsolicited advice – don’t take anything for granted in this world because the one thing in your life you have come to rely on as consistent and reliable can change in an instant and sometimes (too often) bad things happen to really amazing people.  

 

On a happier note, I spent a few days in Kentucky a couple of weeks ago with my friend Jenny. We did practically nothing all week besides catch up and watch television but, honestly, it was exactly what I needed. Thank you to Jenny for your generosity. (She wouldn’t let me spend a dime and so between flying using her frequent flyer numbers, staying in her house and not allowing me to pay for any meals aside from lunch at a burger joint, I spent $11 the entire time.) I also got to share a bed with Josie, the cutest Jack Russel Terrier ever. And I left with a crazy addiction to Naked and Afraid, Catfish and Ray Donovan.

 

Speaking of friends, I am looking forward to seeing my forever friend, Ronni, this weekend. I have literally known her “forever”…(

 

Okay, I will leave you with that. And this: ten days until the official release of Blogger Girl!

Updates

Hi everyone!  I’ve been falling a bit off of my weekly blog schedule due to time constraints but thankfully not by too much. 

The past week has been craaaazzy!!  First of all, do you remember when I told you that after my first mammogram, I was called back because the images were unclear?  I was understandably nervous, but was told that it was completely normal and that most women had to get additional images taken after their first mammogram.  Unfortunately, no one told me this until after I got the call back and by then it was too late because I was already freaked out!  Well, last Tuesday was my follow-up appointment.  My mom came into the city again to be with me and this time she made it on time!  Of course, it was not without issue.  She was taking the express commuter bus from her home in Rockland County and since she had never taken it before, she had no idea where the bus would drop her off.  She thought it was on 42nd and 5th and so I walked from my apartment in the 30s to 42nd and 5th to meet her even though the appointment was in Union Square (downtown for all of you non-New Yorkers).  Well, I get to 42nd and 5th and she calls and tells me to meet her on 40th and 5th. I walk to 40th and 5th only for her to call and tell me to meet her on 42nd and 5th.  Oy!  I was already anxious about the appointment and I was on the verge of losing my mind to boot!  Long story short, the bus dropped her off on 48th between 5th and 6th and she walked to 42nd and 5th where we proceeded to catch a cab to Union Square.  She was too tired to take the subway. I didn’t blame her one bit!  I have to say that I was really glad she was with me in the waiting room because we ended up chatting about other stuff and I barely had time to be nervous before I was called in.  The first thing the technician said to me is that I shouldn’t be nervous because it was completely normal to be called back after a first mammogram and that I was more than likely fine.  Terror was apparently written all over my face!  So she takes another mammogram of just my right breast (the original image taken of the left was fine) and tells me that they are pretty certain the spot they saw is just a lymph node but they want to be sure.  The spot they saw? I had no idea they saw a spot in the first place and was very glad I didn’t or else I would have been even more nervous.  After she finished, she dropped me off in another waiting room and said she’d come get me after she showed the new mammogram to the doctor.  This waiting room was pretty scary – a room full of women who were all there for the same reason.  Everyone smiled kindly to each other but no one said a word.  I wanted to keep my mom apprised of what was going on but she doesn’t text and I wasn’t going to disturb the other women by calling her.  While other women came and went, I continued to wait until the tech returned and told me that I needed yet another mammogram because the image was still not clear. For the love of God, I apparently have a very dense right breast and I’m surprised that no man has ever mentioned it to me.  Er, not insinuating that many men have seen my breasts.  Um, never mind!! By this time, I’m a pro and wasn’t even fazed by the procedure.  It doesn’t really hurt now that I know (full well) what to expect.  After looking at it, she says, “Yeah, this is surely a lymph node.  The good kind (?).  You’re most definitely good but I have to send you back to the waiting room because you might need a sonogram but you might not.”  Back to the waiting room I go and this time I wait. And wait. And wait.  I’m starting to think they forgot about me until a new technician comes in and tells me they’re ready for my sonogram.  Even though the original tech told me it was most certainly a “good” lymph node, I assumed they were still unsure since they wanted a sonogram too. So, I’m on the bed while the tech conducts the sonogram and my eyes are closed and I am silently praying that I am ok as I hold back tears.  I hear the tech say, “Are you tired or nervous?”  I respond, “I’m nervous” in a quiet, shaky voice and she says, “Oh, you’re fine!  It’s a lymph node!”  At that, I am mostly ecstatic and ready to kiss her but I’m also thinking a) Why didn’t you tell me that before? And b) why do I still need a sonogram?” but I decided it didn’t matter – I was fine.  A few minutes later, I was dressed and hugging my mom in the waiting room.  Best feeling ever!!  I assumed the “I’m healthy” feeling would last forever and make everything else seem inconsequential and it did for a while but a few days later, I managed to feel sorry for myself for one thing or another 🙂 

Last week was also the week I finished the blurb for my upcoming release, Blogger Girl!  I’m excited to share it with you but I have a tentative chat scheduled with my publisher regarding the launch and don’t want to share anything prematurely.  But, I would like to give props to my editor Gabrielle Roman for coming up with the first draft and then my amazing friend and fellow author Francine LaSala for tweaking it to almost perfection.  The only reason I say “almost” is that Francine hasn’t read the book yet and certain things needed to be changed for accuracy.  Let me tell you, writing a blurb is SO not fun but thankfully Francine seems to enjoy it because I will be requesting her assistance with every book I write for the rest of my life.  Consider yourself warned Francine!

Progress is also being made with respect to the book cover and I would like to give additional props to my fabulous cover artist Loretta Matson.  She designed the cover for A State of Jane which I loved and I am 100% confident that she will knock it out of the park with the Blogger Girl cover as well.  I’ve seen bits and pieces of what she’s working on but not the cover in its entirety.  I can’t wait!

I have some exciting news to share about my first book, Just Friends with Benefits, only I can’t share it yet.  Psych! 

That’s pretty much it for me.  I had a long but fun-filled weekend.  Saw Man of Steel on Friday night.  Damn Henry Cavill makes a hot Super Man.  He’d make a hot mailman and any other “man” too.  I could not believe the resemblance between Henry and Christopher Reeve.  Wow.  I watched the Yankees beat the Rays on Saturday afternoon and I came back with a killer farmer’s tan because silly me forgot to bring sunblock and our seats were out in the sun.  Did I mention it was over 90 degrees outside?  And have you ever been to a baseball game?  They’re long!  So, yeah, I look kind of stupid with my unbalanced tan but at least I had a good time and the Yankees won.  Yesterday, I went to a boozy brunch with my friends, if you consider 3pm “brunch” which apparently we do!  Brunch ended at 10pm thanks to my stupid suggestion to go get another drink afterwards.  I really didn’t need another drink.  You live and learn.  Or you don’t live and learn.  In some respects, I am definitely one who learns from her mistakes but not when it comes to overdoing it at boozy brunches. 

I need to get ready to watch The Bachelorette followed by Under The Dome and before that, I need to do my ab exercises and make dinner so I will end this now.  I hope everyone had a terrific Monday and has a wonderful week ahead.

 

overbooked

The overwhelming theme of my week is “overbooked.”  I am overbooked in almost every possible way right now and not in a good way, like “I’ve been asked out by so many gorgeous guys, I can’t find enough days in the week to accommodate them.”  And not, “I have so many book signings and appearances on talk shows like Ellen and The View and the requests keep coming faster than I can book my first class flights.”  Those kinds of overbookings, I would cherish! 

Work – My day job is so busy right now that I had to have a meeting with my boss regarding my backlog and how long it would take me to get to it.  I am confident enough to state publicly that anyone who has ever worked with me in my trademark paralegal capacity knows that I am always on top of things.  I work very efficiently and am consistently one step ahead.  Lately, however, assignments have been coming at me faster than I can get to them.  The attorneys with whom I work usually do not require things on an urgent basis and so I have been trying to deal with stuff on a priority basis but even stuff that is not “time-sensitive” cannot sit unfinished indefinitely. A little backlog is actually a good thing because on slow days, I always have something to do.  I cannot remember my last “slow day.”  Currently, I have emails that I reviewed, determined as low priority and marked as “un-read” to be dealt with at a later date crowding my email inbox and causing that annoying “Your mailbox is almost full” warning.  We also assumed responsibility for a new client a few months ago and I have twenty boxes of files to go through and this is on top of my long list of deadlines and work that is generated from clients and attorneys on a daily basis.  I’m doing the best I can, but there were a few times over the past week when I wanted to run to the bathroom and cry. I haven’t done that since I was in my early twenties and a newbie at juggling so many assignments at a time.   My workload is officially “overbooked.”

Plans – I’m a social person and I love to make plans with my friends for evenings and weekends.  At the same time, I require a certain amount of downtime and don’t like to go out every single night.  I couldn’t afford to anyway.  Most importantly, I’m a writer if I’m ever going to make a dent in my fourth novel, continue to promote A State of Jane and Just Friends with Benefits and work on launch plans for Blogger Girl, I need to make the time when I am not working as a trademark paralegal.  Because of this, I often book my plans in advance.  At this time, I can’t really afford to be spontaneous since for the next three weeks, I already have plans booked for several times a week. In that same vain, my friends and I are suckers for all of those deals offered by such vendors as Amazon Local, Blackboard Eats, Thrillest, Bloomspot etc.  I currently have three unused deals that will expire in the next couple of months, along with several more that my friends purchased.  I’m not complaining about having a fun life, don’t get me wrong.  But damn, it’s exhausting sometimes and I wish some of my friends weren’t so cool – it would be so much easier to ditch them if they were lame!  (On a somewhat related note, to those friends who I owe emails, Jenny, Elke, I mean you, I’m sorry!  I’ll get to it.  At some point.)  My social life is seriously overbooked and I just don’t have enough time for all of those gorgeous guys who are asking me out on dates.

Books – I remember when I bought one, maybe two, books at a time and was able to read them immediately.  Those days are long gone!  I have so many friends who are talented authors and I want to support them by buying, reading and reviewing their books.  I’m not friends with Sophie Kinsella, Emily Giffin, Helen Fielding or Lauren Weisberger but I can’t resist buying their books when they come out.  And then there are the sales.  As if $2.99 wasn’t cheap enough, I subscribe to both Book Bub and Ereader News Daily and barely a day goes by when I am not compelled to purchase a discounted book.  I mean, when a book that sounds good is only 99 cents or even free, how can I not buy it?  I have 49 unread books on my Kindle.  49 books!!  How does that happen?  I think I might need an intervention.  So, yeah, my TBR pile is so overbooked, it might bury me!

What about you?  Are you overbooked like me?  Feel free to share.  Unless you are overbooked with dates with gorgeous men.  That, you can keep to yourself! Show off… 

Rough week + PMS = nothing good

This past week was a doozy.  To start, I was PMSing big time, which always has an extreme effect on my emotional state.  When some women PMS, they get bitchy, make snide comments and want to eat everything in sight.  When I PMS, I become sad, needy, paranoid and hopeless.  I doubt everything from my relationships (if I’m in one), to my friendships (why hasn’t “so-and-so” called me in so long?  Does she not like me anymore?), to my writing ability (one of my reviews said A State of Jane took entirely too long to get to the point?  Is that true?  Surely all of the positive reviews were lies), to my physical appeal (Do I look fat?  I look fat, don’t I?), everything.  I try to talk myself off of the ledge, i.e. “I know I get this way when I’m PMSing, just ride through it and wait until Aunt Flo arrives.  The cramps will take the place of the exploding hormones.” It usually works, but coupled with everything else that went down this week, it’s been rough.  I know you want to know what went down this week so here it is.  Wait for it. Wait for it…

 

  1.       This time last week, I was on top of the world.  I had just signed a contract with Booktrope Publishing for my third novel, Blogger Girl.  The book is about, you guessed it, a blogger!  I will be sharing more details about Blogger Girl in the near future so stay tuned.  Naturally, I was in a great mood until I spoke to my mother who told me that Gypsy, my sister’s Golden Retriever, was very ill.  I had seen Gypsy over Mother’s Day and thought something was off with her.  She clung to my leg and just didn’t move.  Gypsy was always the cuddling type.  She loved to be hugged and kissed but this last time, she just attached herself to my leg and stayed there as if she needed my leg to hold her up.  Additionally, rather than planting herself under the kitchen table during dinner to lap all of the food that fell to the floor because we’re all a bunch of slobs (Well, most of us. Okay, mostly me), Gypsy stayed in her own corner of the kitchen.  It was not like her at all.  I was concerned but hoped it was just because she was getting older.  Unfortunately, it was more serious than that.  The vet told my sister that Gypsy had bleeding tumors and she was put to sleep on Monday morning.  I was (and still am) devastated.  I never had a pet growing up and am waiting to move into a larger apartment or have a more “stay-at-home” lifestyle before getting a puppy of my own.  Gypsy was the closest thing I had to a dog and I loved her so much.  I don’t want to spend too much time talking about her because my pain cannot even begin to compare to what my sister and her children are going through. Gypsy was a direct member of their family and her absence has left a giant hole in their home. 
  2.       If losing Gypsy wasn’t enough to endure this week, I also had my first mammogram on Wednesday.  I’ve been terrified about the mammogram for months to the point where my sister was worried that I was making myself sick over it.  We do not have a history of breast (or any) cancer in my family, aside from my paternal grandmother who got it at 70 and still lived past 90; my internist did not feel a lump when doing her routine breast exam only a month ago; and there was no reason for me to think I had cancer.  Nevertheless, I was extremely frightened to the point where I had to change the television channel each time there was an advertisement for the Revlon Walk for Breast Cancer.  My mother knew I was anxious and offered to come with me to which I responded with an enthusiastic, “Yes, please!”  Unfortunately, the appointment was at 11:30 and my mom’s bus into the city didn’t arrive until after 11.  I had already been through the test by the time she arrived so I had no one to calm my nerves ahead of time. To be honest, I don’t think my mother being in the waiting room with me would have made the experience less traumatic, but I sure did appreciate the offer.  The tight embrace we shared afterwards was comforting enough.  I love you, Mom!  Anyway, for those of you who have had mammograms, you know it is not a pleasant experience.  I received mixed comments from people about the pain.  My sister said it wasn’t that painful, just uncomfortable pressure.  A friend of mine said it hurt A LOT.  My opinion is somewhere in between.  The pain was bearable and all I really cared about was getting a clean bill of health at the end.  I was kind of in a daze throughout the process.  My legs were visibly shaking and the technician’s calming words went in one ear and out the other.  I did feel a sense of relief when it was over although I was worried about the results.  More on that later.
  3.       After the mammogram, my mom and I walked to Macy’s where I purchased a pair of shoes for Book Buzz New York City, an author event being held at Stone Creek Bar & Lounge on Thursday, May 30thI’m not going to pitch the event in this blog but if you want more information, check out the website here: http://bookbuzz2013.wordpress.com/  The shoes were the highlight of my day, along with my mom’s bear hug.  The rest of the day was pretty painful as I had to spend it visiting a member of my family in a place I hope to never see again.  I won’t go into details because I think some things are better left private but I can tell you it was awful.  So awful that when I got home, I immediately opened a bottle of wine and smoked a cigarette.  I’m not a full-time smoker but I do partake from time to time and this was one of those times when I couldn’t fight the urge.  
  4.      I woke up Thursday morning ready to put Wednesday behind me and enjoy the new day but my phone rang at 10am with a number I didn’t recognize. I answered with a shaky voice already worried about who it was and my instincts were correct.  It was my doctor.  Now, don’t freak out (although I did).  The doctor said that the results of the mammogram were not conclusive because the images were not clear (or something like that).  She said it wasn’t urgent but she wanted me to have additional images taken and would be sending a new prescription in the mail.  She told me I did not need to be concerned as this was very common for first mammograms and that they just want clear base-line images.   Despite her words, the call (assisted by my PMS) drove me directly into my boss’s office where I proceeded to cry.  He told me that his wife and sister have needed additional images many times and there was nothing to worry about.  My sister said the same thing and a few of my friends said they went through the same experience.  They made me feel better although I’m still crazy scared, I’m not going to lie.

 

So, that was my shitty week in a nutshell.  I’d like to thank the people who reached out to me and asked if I wanted to talk, go for drinks etc.  The support sometimes came from unexpected sources and I do appreciate it.  I’m happy to say that I have crossed to the other side.  I got my period this morning and while I require 3 Alleves every eight hours for my cramps, at least I am in a much better emotional state.  I’m able to appreciate all of the wonderful things in my life, the people who love me, my upcoming book release etc.  I still miss Gypsy terribly and always will and I remain anxious about the follow-up ultrasound on my breasts but I am better able to put things into prospective.  I will try to enjoy the next month until PMS comes along again to rear its ugly head! 

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RIP Gypsy Rigotty – we love you and always will. XOXO.

Warning: personal information enclosed

I began my day extremely anxious.  I had a doctor’s appointment, nothing alarming, just your standard “annual physical.” Except that my “annual” physical has not been “annual” in quite a few years.  It’s not that I neglected my health but I concentrated on the specific issues handled by specialists – dentist, eye doctor (optometrist?), gynecologist and dermatologist.  I must confess that with the exception of the dentist, I wasn’t seeing the other doctors like clock-work either, although definitely regularly enough not to be considered negligent.  Anyway, as I woke up in sweats wondering what blood disease I had, if I had thyroid issues, high (or low) blood pressure, etc., I realized it was probably my conscience telling me to start acting like a grown-up and get my butt to the doctor.  It’s just that doctors make me anxious.  Despite the fact that they exist to keep me healthy, I am afraid of them.  However, as much as I dread going to the doctor, I adore a good nights sleep and so after a few weeks of interrupted slumber, I summoned the balls and made an appointment with an Internist/General Practice physician.  My insurance had recently changed and so I chose a doctor randomly based on her proximity to my apartment and my office.  My appointment was this morning and so I began my day anxious. During my workout at the gym, I worked out hard, noting to myself that if I was dying, I probably wouldn’t be able to work out as often and with as much intensity as I do.  And when all of my favorite songs randomly came up on my ipod, I decided it was a sign that everything would be just fine.  But I was still nervous.  (I’m sure I sound like a huge baby/drama queen.  And yes, I am both of those things sometimes…)    

When I got to the doctor’s office and began filling out my insurance information, my stomach was tied up in knots and it remained that way after the nurse brought me into the room and told me to wait for the doctor.  The doctor came in and introduced herself to me before I was told to undress which I thought was a nice touch.  It might have been awkward meeting her for the first time wearing nothing but a thong and a paper robe.  I was less nervous after she left me to change.  And even less nervous after she took my blood pressure and said it was perfect, was pleased with my weight, felt my neck and said my thyroid was fine, gave me a breast exam and concluded that I seemed pretty darn healthy to her and that she would send someone in to take my blood and give me an EKG.  By the time my blood was taken, I wasn’t even nervous anymore and was just extremely happy that I had started what I decided would definitely be an annual tradition.  For real this time.  My life is way too important to me and my health plays a huge (the hugest) part of my life and should not be neglected.  Although I am still awaiting the results of my blood work, I am currently content with the knowledge that I did what I had to do.  While I was feeling brave, I even made an appointment for my first mammogram.  I’m sure I will not sleep the night before but knowing that the doctor didn’t find any lumps during her exam and that I am young and healthy will hopefully keep me from nightmares of having breast cancer. 

I gotta say, getting older comes with a lot of crap I would prefer to avoid, including the aforementioned mammogram but the alternative to getting older is not something I am ready to face.  I have too much love to give and receive and too many more books to write to take my health lightly.   

So…what else?

I’m excited to report that I am *this close* to submitting my third book to my publisher. The book has now been through many, many rounds of edits and several scenes have been re-written based on my own instincts as well as the comments from my fabulous beta readers and someone I like to call my “pre-editor” (because she was so much more than just a beta reader) and I think it’s ready. To be sure, I sent the revised version back to the pre-editor to get her final comments, but once I get the go-ahead from her and perfect the dreaded query/blurb, it will be good to go. I’m so excited. And nervous…I would tell you the working title of the novel but considering A State of Jane had two other titles before it became A State of Jane, I’m afraid to get too attached to a title. I would also tell you about the novel, but I don’t want to jinx myself in case my publisher hates it. They won’t hate it though!

What else? I’ve been a bit overwhelmed by my “to-do” list lately but I am slowly crossing things off. Unfortunately, each time I cross something off, something else pops up to take its place. I just made an appointment for a physical so that’s one thing to cross off. I’ve been kind of bad about going to “regular” doctors and have just been going to specialists so I think it’s time for a general physical – blood work and all that. I feel fine, so no worries there but I should be taking better care of myself. I’ve been waking up in the middle of the night from dreams (er, nightmares) that I have some sort of terminal illness so I think getting a physical will ease my mind. At least I hope so… Anyone else negligent about going to the “regular” doctor or is it just me?

Hmm, what else? I made an appointment for a Kerotine treatment for my hair now that “frizzy hair” season is on its way. I made an appointment for a bikini wax because, well, I’m very groomed like that! TMI?  Lots of appointments have been made.

What else? I wrote my post for Julie Valerie’s blog on combining chick lit with International Grilled Cheese Month, so that’s another item crossed off of the list. Unfortunately, I still need to do so many other things like clean my apartment; buy shoes for that “in between” weather when it is too warm for boots but not warm enough for sandals; write a blog (oh, I’m doing that right now – cool); read the book for my next book club etc. I know some of these things seem like no big deal but my day consists of getting up early and going to the gym, working from 9:30-6:30 (on average), writing, promoting, trying to fit in time with friends, catching up on television (I’m addicted to The Following, The Mindy Project, Revenge and several others), and sleeping (I require more sleep than the average person) and so when I finally have down time, I find it difficult to motivate to do such things like unclog my bathtub, go through my closets and throw out all of the clothes I never wear anymore, do my laundry, get a pedicure, pick up more toilet paper at Duane Reade… Aargh, and just like that, I added about six more things to my to-do list!

Like Paula Abdul said, “One step forward, two steps back.”

What else? Time to get back to work 🙂

Until next time!

Daydream Believer

I have the day off from work today*. I woke up at 9am, spent over an hour at the gym, showered, ran some errands, picked up lunch, started laundry while eating lunch and when I remove my laundry from the dryer, I am going to go to a coffee shop and do some writing. I also managed to do some social networking/promotion of my book between the gym and getting in the shower.   Since I normally have a full-time day job, I usually need to find the time to do all of the above with approximately 9 less hours in the day, but today I did it all without feeling the slightest bit rushed. 

Having the day off from my day job allows me to pretend to be a full-time writer.  I allow my mind to imagine how awesome it would be if I didn’t need the day job.  If I won the lottery, married rich, or sold enough books that I could write full time.  But I fear I might be dreaming too big, so let’s take a step backwards. 

Last month, I took half a day off from work on February 14th.  It had nothing to do with wanting to spend the morning in bed with my boyfriend on Valentine’s Day (especially since we had broken up a week earlier).  No, I took half a day off from work because I was engaged in a cross-promotion of A State of Jane with eight other authors and I knew that I wanted to tweet it, share it, blog it and email anyone and everyone I knew who might be interested in buying my book and those of my comrades at a fraction of the cost.  I knew if I went to work that morning, I would be too busy being a trademark paralegal to be a writer.  I can’t afford to let my day job suffer as a result of my writing but I also did not want to waste an opportunity to get my book in the hands of people who would rather test the waters of my writing for 99 cents than $2.99 by not promoting the sale to the greatest extent possible.  So, I compromised and took the morning off from work.  It was fantastic.  I woke up early and went to the gym, ran some errands, spent a few hours on various social media sites promoting the sale and got into work at 2pm.  Only working in the afternoon allowed my mind to imagine how awesome it would be if I didn’t need a full-time day job. If I won the lottery, married rich or sold enough books that I could afford to work a day job only part time.

As of now, I still need my full-time day job and I thank goodness it needs me as well.  That being said, I am selling more books than I ever did before.  The publication of my 2nd book is definitely driving the sales of my first one and I hope to publish a third one later this year (fingers crossed).  So, while I will continue to feel blessed that I have a day job that pays my rent, affords me the ability to have an active social life and take trips when I want, and comes with medical insurance and a 401k plan, I will also continue to hold onto hope that someday…someday, I will sell enough books so I can be a full-time writer and don’t have to “imagine” what it would be like. 

*This post was actually written last week.

Blogger’s Block

I read a tweet today that said, “book writing is much easier than blog post writing.”  I responded to the tweet that I agreed and I do wholeheartedly.  

I didn’t always feel this way. In fact, I was a really good blogger “back in the day.”  I used to blog about my dating experiences, my heart breaks, my frustrations with men, friends and family and just life in general. I loved every minute of it and what’s more, I never ran out of material!

Then one day, seemingly out of nowhere, I became much less comfortable putting myself so “out there” and I stopped blogging.  After I published Just Friends with Benefits, I started blogging again but I tried to keep it “professional.”  I blogged about writing and the publication process in general but I kind of hated it.  I love to write more than almost anything in the world but I don’t really care for writing about writing.

I follow another writer’s blog and she manages to write a new post almost every single day and it astounds me.  Never mind the fact that I just don’t have the time for that, I wonder how she comes up with the material!  I’m a very open person in general and so I would absolutely love to let you all in on my deepest feelings and I have a lot of deep feelings!  For instance, it would be so easy to blog about how I’m dealing with my recent breakup, my reentrance into the single world and new men that might come in (and out…) of my life.  But I just don’t think I would be comfortable putting my business out there, especially since my business involves other people too.  And I would love to vent about my insecurities about writing and the manic/depressive like symptoms I experience when I go from reading a 5 star review of A State of Jane to a 3 star one and the chronic fear I have of future 1 and 2 star reviews.  But since I am trying to be a mature, professional author (cough, cough), that’s not an option either! 

Coming up on my blog, I am hosting an Interview and Giveaway with Sophie Meyer, author of the chicklit novel “Where’s the Groom?”  I wish I could give you the heads up on what else is coming down the pike on www.meredithschorr.com but I really have no idea and will have to play that by ear.  My intention is to keep this blog a hybrid between topics related to writing/writers/books and pop culture relating thereto and topics relating to me, myself and I (to the extent I feel comfortable).  I did promise in my earlier post “Blog Vows” that I would keep it real and not only blog about writing and I will do my very best to honor that vow.

Until next time…

Blizzard warnings and other stuff…

It’s 4:15pm on Friday afternoon and although my office closed at 3, I am still here.  That’s okay.  I chose to wait because I’m meeting a friend after work for a drink.  I know there is a blizzard going on and I heard all of the warnings about staying inside, but both of us live in the city and figure as long as we don’t stay out late, we should be able to get home before it gets too treacherous.  It’s not as if it’s never snowed in New York City before and it’s not as if I’ve never been outside during a snow storm.  I’m not going to lie and say I’m not afraid it will be a repeat of Hurricane Sandy when I was stranded 18 flights up with no power because I am.  At the same time, a snow storm is not the same as a hurricane and the likelihood of snow causing a power outage is less likely than flooding water causing a transformer to explode or whatever happened during Sandy…

I have no problem hibernating in my apartment this weekend while it snows, in fact I welcome it.  I would love to snuggle on my couch reading on my Kindle, catching up on television I missed during the week and editing my novel.  As long as the power does not go out, I will be a-ok with that plan.  Fingers crossed!  (I also have to clean my apartment in preparation for a visit from my sister and niece next week – Oy.)

Before I get in hibernation mode, however, I need a drink.  I had a really rough week including breaking up with my boyfriend of almost 1.5 years.  (Not that it matters but it was a mutual decision, although he pulled the trigger first…) I will pause for a reaction since I’ve only told a few people and therefore this is somewhat like announcing a break-up over Facebook.  I just haven’t felt like talking about it. I’m not going to go into details but I will say that it wasn’t a “bad” breakup but it was a “sad one.”  There was no yelling, just tears.  Long distance is difficult people.  It takes a huge commitment and a lot of work and if neither person is willing to move, it is too difficult to sustain.  That being said, I don’t regret any of it.  He was and is an amazing person for whom I care deeply and always will and I would happily go back in time and do it again.  I cried and I’ll probably cry some more but first I need to drink 🙂

I would love to share more about my horrible week including my phone temporarily dying and wiping out all of my text messages and pictures, including my text message history with my ex-boyfriend (ouch – calling him my “ex” really hurt).  It was like a sign that I need to move on but I wasn’t happy about it.  The phone is fixed for now but I am due for an upgrade and should probably get a new phone before I collect more sentimental texts I don’t want to lose.  What else?  A hellish project at work involving a chart, magazine articles and a daily tension headache, a lost earring and somewhat dropped sales of my book after record-breaking sales last week.  On the bright side, I found the earring, sales are still pretty good, I am hopeful that my “ex” and I did the right thing for both of us and I still have some of the best friends in the world – one of whom is on her way to meet me for a drink so I’d better run.

Stay safe everyone!