Sunday, May 27, 2007

Really fine day

Got up early, mowed the backyard, watched a movie, worked in the garden, had a good day at work and surprise husband is coming home a day early tonight!!!
He's been gone 10 days, so it's about danged time.

Three Days

I learned this week that it only takes dogs three days to learn a new habit.
A new fun habit anyway.
Going to the park after work is now mandatory. I was going to skip it the other night because I had a party to go to, but it quickly became clear that the dogs were not going to allow that to happen.
We've got a nice little routine going and it really only takes 20 minutes or so.

Friday, May 25, 2007

Two weeks

I've read that it takes about two weeks to start a new habit or break an old one.

So far I'm at day 18 without smoking. That's one old habit broken.
I'm at day 4 for taking the dogs to the park after work.
I'm at day 3 for getting up at 6:30-7:00 and going to the gym.
I'm eating breakfast (something I never made time for before or cared about).
I've been eating fairly healthy all month; lots of fish, vegetables, and juices.

It's a veritable lifestyle overhaul.

Once I feel these new habits are somewhat secure, I want to find a way to put art back into my life. I need to find a form of artistic expression that doesn't intimidate me.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Next stop, Oprah!

I hate spending time with vanity press authors. They are, hands down, the most tragic figures that cross the threshold of our store.
These books of theirs; these sad sad little books.

So yesterday, I met maybe the saddest vanity press author yet. She came into our store with her walker, a sample copy of her book, and a handful of returned promotional letters. She laid her book down on the counter and began her pitch, which I had to interrupt to inform her that we didn't carry consignments or new books.

Her book had a wretched title, a wretched cover, and a wretched premise. I want to share all the details, but I worry that maybe she'll stumble on this blog someday and I'll have made her cry.

At one point, while she was telling me her long sad story of trying to market and sell her book, of which there were 850 copies in her car, I looked up and realized with horror that she was wearing a promotional track suit. On one side of the zippered jacket was the cover of her book and on the other side, the title. Sigh.

I can't stop thinking about her. A carful of impossible-to-sell crap that she poured her heart and her last penny into. A long, fruitless, last-ditch-effort road trip across three states when gas prices are at $3.00/gallon. Her beret, her returned letters, her dumb track suit, and the fact that when it's all said and done, she probably still won't understand why no one wanted the book.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Sometimes the pen isn't so mighty

It's the time of the year again when I'm screening manuscripts for a literary competition.
Last year I was able to dismiss the first four I picked up after reading just a couple of pages each.
I gave the first one of this year 30 pages before conclusively rejecting it and so far I'm into the second one about 60 pages. The second one will definately be dismissed as well, but it's got me hooked. It's kind of an early nineteenth century gothic novel with a male protaganist.
I've also found that you can tell a lot about an author when they attempt to write a sex scene. The only sex scene so far in this novel was depicted with throbbing feathers and netted herring.

Monday, May 21, 2007

Tis the season

I bought my first Vidalia onions tonight and I can't stop eating raw slices of onion. To think I hated them as a kid. I have yet to warm up to radishes however.

RIP Mabel Again

After some critter dug her up and tried to eat her.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

13 Days Later

I think I've quit smoking.

Clearly I've quit for the short term, but I'm hoping it's for the long term as well.
Tomorrow will be two weeks. Cold turkey.

The first week I had to quit everything; beer, cigarettes and coffee, because the associations were too strong. After a week, I tried going out to the bar one night. I just had one beer and despite being surrounded by smokers, I didn't get overwhelmed by any cravings. Cool.
Last night was the bigger challenge. Three hours in a small Nascar bar filled with smoker friends. I came home smelling like smoke, but made it through the gauntlet.

I've quit several times before. The longest was for two months. I think my problem is that I just get cocky at some point during the recovery and decide that one cigarette is no big deal. But that one cigarette invariably leads to 2,3,4 and then back to a full-time habit.

I'm going to have to excercise some sustained will power to make this stick for sure. Most of my friends are smokers. My husband smokes. The places at which we socialize are filled with smokers. I just have to remember that I've spent far more of my life identifying as a non-smoker than a smoker. I need to get back in touch with that identity.

The pros and cons list is just ridiculous. Hmmm lessseee, I can spend a stupid amount of money to injure my health, look like shit, smell bad, stink up my house, tire easily, create a wheeze when I breathe deeply, feed my fears of developing cancer,and generally feel bad about myself.

Or not.

It really is a form of insanity.

I'm actually convinced that the big tobacco companies have carefully perfected the cigarette recipe so that a person quitting encounters unnecessary additional or enhanced withdrawal symptoms on kind of a time-release schedule.

Because to be honest, quitting isn't all that hard. It's dealing with the withdrawal that sends people back to the pack. If the tobacco industry can keep a person from making it to three or four days, then they haven't lost a customer.
And if the smoker continues to fight, the same company is making even more money off of overpriced "quit-smoking" products.

Ok, so yay me and all that. Now I have to work on my husband's habit. Then we'll have double the quitting power.

Monday, May 07, 2007

Dear Target....

I went to your store to buy only this...


...and emerged 160.00 poorer.
Your clothes this year are just too fun and versatile. Curse you. Even the garments I wasn't 100% sure about ended up in my cart.
Despite the dressing room's abyssmal lighting that showed me how much of a "before" picture I've become, I now own a shirt that makes me look like a Kate Greenaway character.
How did this happen?

Sunday, May 06, 2007

Customer disservice

Yesterday, a couple came into the store wearing really muddy hiking boots. I didn't notice at first, but when I went to straighten the children's section, I found a big brown muddy mess all the way through the section. Chunks of dirt, ground in dirt, footprints etc..

I followed the trail back through the store and saw that the entrance area was also tracked up with mud.
Then I made the mistake? of telling my boss, who promptly approached the couple and started a huge fight. Needless to say they won't be coming back.

I wonder at the couple's lack of respect or consideration. They had to have known they were making a huge mess. I spent the next hour on my hands and knees scrubbing mud out of the carpet all over the store.

I tried to think of how I would've handled it, if I were tasked with saying something to them. I guess the best thing would've been to politely ask them to remove their shoes as soon as they came in, but as it was, we caught the problem too late.
Obviously, my boss could've been more tactful, but really, what do you say?

The ugly truth

My husband is really good at saying things to his parents that they don't want to hear. For example, he frequently will launch into harsh religious or political debate with them, so much so, that for a time we were excluded from family gatherings.
I have to admit I respect his tenacity and fearlessness, even if it makes me uncomfortable at times.

Although I live a life that I imagine my parents would be in agreement with, I find myself hiding certain things from them. Smoking for instance.
Both of my parents smoked multiple packs of cigarettes per day when I was growing up. At some point they were both able to quit. So it's not like they wouldn't understand or have good advice.

I took up smoking at age 33, oddly enough, and I just can't bring myself to admit this to my folks. I'm sure my mom knows. Just not how much or for how long. We don't talk about it. Strange huh?

Anyway, I have to work all day with my mother today at the antique mall and I'm wondering what will I do when I need to take a smoke break. I'm out of nicotine patches.

My husband says to just tell her I'm taking a smoke break.

Friday, May 04, 2007

Some crumbs

Haven't been keeping up to date here lately.
My husband's on the road again. Our yard might need some water/sewer pipes dug up and replaced. The house is presently a mess. I've gotten a few things put into the antique mall for now. Need to do more work there.
I went to Greeneville, TN yesterday for a library sale.

I wish I had a picture to post of the line of people waiting to get into the sale. It was, no exaggeration, about a quarter of a mile long. Which makes me believe that these people have it all wrong: Who Reads Books Anymore?