This Independence Day I’ve come to understand the real meaning of being independent. Rott and I are out from beneath the yoke of being renters. This house is our house and no one can tell us what do with our house or demand entrance. The sense of freedom is amazing. As much as I struggle a bit to pay that loan payment, I derive a huge sense of satisfaction from writing that check and knowing that it pays for the walls around me to belong to me…to us. This is our sanctuary and no one controls what we can and can’t do here. It feels amazing.

Having a landlord feels and is oppressive. We’ve lifted that yoke from our shoulders. When I step out onto my porch with my morning cup of coffee and look at the canyon, I know that the land I’m looking at doesn’t belong to me. Yet, it does in the sense that it is MY view from MY porch. And looking out my windows and not seeing another building which is part of a row of identical buildings is so wonderful it brings tears to my eyes.

I grew up on a street with ranch style houses. Across the street were the pastures of a dairy farm. I lived on that street until I was 26 years old. Being thrust into the apartment and condo environment stifled me and I’ve been living the oppressed renter life way too long. The canyon I drive through now to get home reminds me of the canyons of Laguna Seca near my hometown. It’s like I’ve come full circle without having to go back to my hometown.  What it means to me is something I cannot even put into words, but it is without a doubt, independence.

Another instance of independence in my life is Nikki (aka Motley) who is now 22. She made plans for her 3 week summer break. Plans that didn’t include coming home. Instead, she went to Wisconsin to see a friend from WoW. She made the arrangements with him and his family and didn’t ask me for a dime. She flew there on her own. All I did was drive her to the airport.

Missing her these past 2 weeks has made me aware of her independence and what that means to me as a parent.  Nikki being on her own means that I am alone. Yes, Rott is here and the babies, but that’s different. Nikki is my flesh and blood. The only flesh and blood I am close to. I am not close to my siblings and their children for several reasons and I cannot rely on them to give me a sense of family. However, I do rely on Nikki for that. She is my only child and recognizing her independence means recognizing that one day she could move far away from me. That’s scary. Very, very scary.

I would never ask my child to stay close by because I am afraid to be alone. But the fear is there nonetheless. As independent as I am, I still fear being alone. There are moments I love solitude, but the sense that I am alone in this corner of the world without my only flesh and blood strikes at some deep fears within myself.

I don’t question my independence because of those fears. In some odd way, the fears strengthen my independence. Normally, I don’t think about it except once in awhile. But today is Independence Day so I thought the least I could do is acknowledge my own independence and that of my daughter. I’m so proud of her.  She’s sticking to her guns and working to finish school so she doesn’t have to struggle as I have. Her independence comes from me in many ways and I like to think I’ve not done such a bad job of parenting.

So all you parents of adult children out there, when you’re celebrating Independence Day today, also give yourself a pat on the back for creating and nurturing independence in your kids.  It’s a tough job and part of it is learning to let go and embrace your own sense of being independent.

Before I go, here’s a Marcus to brighten the day for you!

Loving those summer whites! Wishing you all a wonderful American 4th of July Independence Day!

Really Bad

I’m writing this Sunday night because I have to get up at 5 am to get ready to take Nikki to school. Sometimes I don’t have the time to deal with the blog while I’m on this schedule.

Anyway, I’m really bad. I can’t breathe. I feel like I’m suffocating. My chest burns and my inhalers are not helping.

Why? you ask.

The answer is simple. Because people are selfish. Actually, smokers are selfish.

The stupid tubes of tobacco have been proven bad for people yet there are those who still light them up.  They don’t care if it kills them. They also don’t care if it kills me.

As an asthmatic I’ve learned that every breath is precious. Yet here I sit, lightheaded from lack of oxygen, my meds working OT but doing nothing. All because there is a smoker at the front of my house and others outside my window and all the air I breathe is polluted with their selfishness.

I live in an old condo. It doesn’t have central air. It has an ancient wall unit in the dining room at the floor level. Two summers ago the painters painted over the outside of it when they painted the building and it’s never worked the same since. The condo sits over the building’s two garages. The dryers for all four condos in the building vent INSIDE the garage. And the Asian family in the condo next to mine do laundry 24/7.

In the summer, the heat in my house is impossible. I must have fans on and the windows open. My neighbors have been moving all weekend, standing beneath my bedroom window to smoke their cigs. Rott has been pissed off all weekend so he’s not gone completely outside to smoke. He’s standing (or sitting) at the open front door. And even if he did go outside on the front balcony, the way the fans and the wind around here works, it would still get sucked back to my bedroom where I work.

The result is that I’m seriously fucked when it comes to being able to breathe.  I just want to run away to someplace where there is untainted air. Where my every breath doesn’t feel strangled in my lungs. The frustration and the fear is overwhelming. Can you imagine how you would feel if you had a pillow on your face all day? That is me trying to breathe while being surrounded by smokers.

Nikki will be checking on me to ensure I don’t have any issues once I pass out, er go to sleep. Hopefully, it will get better now that the neighbors seem to be done for the night. They’re a selfish lot on a lot of levels, but you prolly remember the parking wars post. Oy.

Anyway, here’s a Marcus for today and then I have some exciting news about Tuesday!

Oh, he is so yummeh. *sigh*

Anyway, tomorrow there will be a special Sunlight Sucks post! Authors Mandy M. Roth and Michelle M. Pillow will be here talking about vampires and their books.  I hope you will stop by and show them some comment love.

Wishing you a breath of fresh air Monday!

Backed In a Corner

I think stress has totally rewired me on the inside. This last year and still now, the stress in my life has conspired to change everything for me. How I write, how I deal with my day, how I sleep at night. Pretty much everything. For the foreseeable future, things are not going to change. That means I need to live with this monkey on my back.

In the past, I’ve deal with mega-stress. I’ve suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder from the onset of sudden massive stress like my parents dying 6 months apart.  I’m beyond that now and I haven’t felt those odd disassociated pangs and horrific nightmares in many years.

The stress I deal with now is insidious and grows exponentially depending upon the moods of those around me, my workload, my deadlines, money, the demands of my kid, how much my body hurts, and how tired I am at any given time. The ebb and flow of high or higher stress is nothing like the 500 pound gorilla suddenly in my face stress I suffered in the past. But it comes with its own set of inherent issues.

Since the way I do virtually everything seems to have changed monumentally in the past year, I think I need to sit down and strategize how to do what I need to do while under the influence of this new type of stress. How I deal with deadlines is a good example. In the past, I would work away at my manuscripts every weekend without fail. Now, every weekend, I nap. A lot. I don’t turn on my IM. I don’t do anything but futz a little, delete my email, and nap. Then I realize I have a deadline and I push myself for a few days at high speed, operating on very little sleep in order to get things done. I back myself in a corner and go on an all nighter for several nights in a row until I’ve forced myself to do what needed to be done.

I could have just made myself work an hour a day on the damn writing, but oh, no I had I procrastinate and feel the stress and do nothing until I hit panic mode while sitting in that corner I backed myself into. And I don’t know why I’m doing this to myself. I astound me. In my head, I know better. A lot better. But do I listen to myself? Do I make myself do what needs to be done?

NO.  I nap.

Now that I’ve decided that stress has rewired me, I have to figure out to wire myself to hit deadlines and other things better. Some people will say it’s a lack of discipline that is causing this. In some ways, they might be right. For the most part, they are not.

For decades I’ve suffered from insomnia. Now, I seem to have the need to catch up on all those hours of sleep I lost over the years. Hence my weekends spent sleeping I think. I’m just damned tired and when I try to do the right thing, I fall asleep at my desk trying to do it. I often feel like my insomnia has morphed into narcolepsy.

Acknowledging that my life is beyond different and I can’t do things the way I used to even a year ago is a big step. I’m hoping I can come to some sort of agreement with myself that leads me out of this corner I’ve backed myself into. Baby steps I tell myself. Just ease into it. Cold turkey might be way too much…although it worked with cigarettes when I got pregnant with Nikki. At any rate, this easing myself out of the corner may mean I’ll drop a post into this blog a bit more often than just Mondays. I did it this week. We’ll see how it goes rolling forward.

Now, it’s time for a lovely Marcus. I missed him last week!

Here he is with some hot companionship for those of you who like women. 🙂

Wishing you a stress fee Monday!

So Sorry

I don’t have a post for you today. I’m kinda upset. Someone close to me hurt my feelings very, very badly and I just need a moment to pull myself back together. I can’t abandon the things I have to do like go to work and take someone to school. Putting one foot in front of the other to do what I must to ensure people are fed and bills are paid regardless of how I feel takes all my energy. I just don’t have anything left over inside me to give to you today. So I’m sorry.

I did post over at Lex Valentine yesterday about alphas and betas. There’s even a couple of nice pictures although they aren’t Marcus. I hope you all have a much better Monday than me.

Oh, Eff Me

What a weekend. Issues with a switch on the network at my office cause problems for my co-workers which translated to problems for me at home as I tried to get on the network and tried to soothe the callers. The rain screwed up my plans to go flying down the freeway for an hour so my mechanic can check the car’s computer. My grocery order arrived quickly and early and I got my shampoo, but not my conditioner. My phone (a T-Mobile Dash) has started having charging issues. Because of the rain, I didn’t go down to the beach to watch the morons who decided to Surf the Tsunami. (We love looking at those dorks but I wasn’t going to the beach in the rain.) Bah. There were other things that went wrong, but I’m getting tired of how long the list is so I’ll just quit now.

If I give you a list of what went right, I think you’ll see that for every moment I went, “Oh, eff me” I had something that countered it. Almost anyway. My friend Faith sent me flowers! You can see them in my Flickr account.  My friend Trinity sent me two bottles of Vampire wine and non-wine drinkers me and Rott actually liked it! The Swiss Sherbet I’ve been trying to order (it’s orange sherbet with dark chocolate chunks and the store is always out!) finally had some in stock! Author James Buchanan had a table at Escapade Con over the weekend and gave out some Love Me Dead bookmarks to help promo the MLR anthology I’m in. You can see them on the table HERE. And last but not least, Cobblestone offered me a contract for Insolence. 🙂  As frustrated as I was over some things, I guess other stuff balanced it out and balance does happen to be one of those things that we all look for and strive for in our lives.

Now, that I’m on an even keel, I’m hitting Word hard over the next week and planning to give Unbreak Me to my editor by this time next week. Then it’s back to Common Ground which got off track and got me in trouble. I don’t like it when I can’t deliver as promised.  These characters have been hard on me and I’m realizing that the tough stories may need more structure than what I give them from this point forward. I’ve got two more WIPs I need to power up on as soon as Common Ground goes to Mary later in March and I’m sure I’ll have edits soon for Where There’s Smoke and Insolence. This is going to be just as busy a year as last year. I’m not sure if that’s good or bad. I mean, I don’t wanna burn out, yanno.

To help keep me in balance and not burning out, I need a very hunky Marcus today. I know there’s a half naked woman in the photo but it’s a sexy shot anyway.

If you get a chance check out the new template I put up for Karenna Colcroft. I love it when I can do virtually a whole new site for someone in less than an hour. I was stoked.  Now, if I could just figure out what I want to do with I want it revamped, but I’m not yet sure what I want. I’ve got to finish too and I’ve got a tentative plan for this blog as well. And no, the skyline with the bats (aka Batty theme) is NOT going away. You’re stuck with my bats. LOL

Have yourselves a great Monday!