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Why do we write a blog?

Why are blogs so appealing? Why is it so great to write about personal things when we know strangers will read? Why is it so important for us to share private, sometimes even embarrassing thoughts with people we’ve never met before? Do we do it so we won’t feel so alone in the world? Do we do it for the satisfaction of knowing someone else out there can relate to it and that can make us feel less abnormal?

A year ago I started writing in this blog and I honestly hoped I wouldn’t quit. It wasn’t my first blog and I was afraid it would end up forgotten just as the other ones did. So far so good, but it isn’t over yet. It never will be, right? To avoid wanting to quit I did take some precautions. I decided it wouldn’t be too personal, that I wouldn’t reveal too much, and that I would keep it separate from my real life.¬†But what does that all mean? To be honest, that’s up for interpretation.

If you pay attention to what a person writes (or rather to what that person decides to write or not to write) you end up knowing more about that person than you can even imagine. You, all of you, have access to more about my life than people who’ve known me in person for years! You may not realize that but you do. You can imagine how I’d react in a situation or try to imagine what I would or would not say about a certain subject. The fact that you may not know my age or my last name or what I look like does not mean a thing. Or perhaps you’re one of the few ones who do know me in person, in which case, hi! It’s great to see you here!

But I think that more than anything I wanted this space to be a place where I could say (or write) what I wanted without having to worry about who is reading it or whether or not they’d judge me for what I’m writing here. We end up meeting a lot of people we have to deal with in real life and sometimes we don’t have a choice whether or not to let them be a part of it. But in here, online, we have the privilege of not having to do that. If you come here and read my blog is because you want to, not because you have to do it. I probably won’t even know you were here anyway. Well, unless you like a post or leave a comment, of course. And by the way, comments and likes are always welcomed. ūüėČ

Anyway, I just wanted to say it’s been a great journey and I appreciate every single one of your likes and comments. You all make me feel like I belong, like I’m not the only one, and like I’m actually part of a group I truly enjoy being part of. Thank you.

Thank You

 

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A new tattoo. Because who doesn’t need more tattoos?

I had to get a new tattoo. I just had to. Okay, maybe I didn’t¬†necessarily¬†need a new tattoo, but when you have a tattoo artist as a friend it’s kind of hard not to. Especially if he’s pretty awesome at what he does. Yes, he’s my friend. No, I don’t think he’s awesome just based on that. I’ve seen lots of his works and have already 3 tattoos designed by him. Most of all, I respect him as an artist. So I came to him with an idea and he created the design for a tattoo that only I have. Well, until someone finds it on the internet and copies the idea, that is. But at least I was the first one to have it. And hopefully they will ask their tattoo artist to add their own twist to it and it will be different.

Anyway, it’s a very simple tattoo, but it amazed me to watch Mauricio doing all the fine details in it. Doing the lines, the shading, the lighting, and all the tiny things in it. Pretty awesome. It was my first time being able to watch the tattoo being made, and I loved it!

Owl Tattoo by Mauricio Huber (Old Friends Tattoo)

Owl Tattoo by Mauricio Huber (Old Friends Tattoo)

My opinion: if you get a tattoo, ask the tattoo artist to make you something original, something that is you. I usually go to him with some examples of tattoos I like and throw my ideas at him. He then shows me his drawings for the tattoo and we discuss any (if necessary) adjustments.

P.S.: If you use the picture anywhere please include the tattoo artist’s name. Thank you.

 

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New contributor!

Welcome

Welcome!

I’ve been talking to a friend (J.B.) about the possibility of having some posts written by her here. We’re always discussing books, authors, and writing (including, of course, our own writing, our own stories). Today she finally agree to be a contributor here. I know she’ll have some interesting reviews and such in the near future, so keep your eyes open.

Welcome, J.B.!

 

 

 

[Image credit: ButterflySha]

 

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Drifts, by Jennifer D. Scroggins

Photo courtesy of Jennifer D. Scroggins

Remember when I talked about that new Indie author, Jennifer D. Scroggins? I finally read the first one, Drifts, which is in fact a short story.

Drifts tells the story of two human beings, Sara and Cooper, who had been hurt so much and so deeply by others they had every reason not to trust another person again. But somehow they were able to find within themselves the force to help the other heal without expecting any kind of retribution for their actions. The story itself is so captivating I didn’t want to stop reading it; I just wanted to keep going to find out what would happen in the end.

There are a few grammatical errors that need fixing, but it’s such a nice story they didn‚Äôt even bother me, which says a lot, since errors do drive me crazy. But you know what? We all make mistakes. All of us. And when you’re writing a book, because you know the story so well in your head, it’s very hard to spot them at times. That’s why it’s so important to have someone from the outside to proofread your work for you. But the thing is: anyone can fix misspelled words or a misplaced comma, but it takes a good author to write a good story.

I recommend this book. It’s a great short story. I honestly can’t wait to read her next book.

P.S.: You should check out Jen’s new blog on WordPress as well. She even has a video of herself reading a chapter of Face In The Rear View Mirror.

 

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Meet the author

Photo courtesy of Jennifer D. Scroggins

I’ve recently found out one of my online friends is an author.

First time I met her was when I read one of the many Dear Roger letters. Those are letters she writes to her dead uncle telling him about her life. I like the idea because then you can actually picture someone when you’re writing something. So I read some of her letters but since I saw them on tumblr and it was always hard to find anything there (too many updates all the time) I kind of lost track of her.

Time passed and I found her on twitter through a common friend and we started talking. I always love when we have a chance to chat over there. Hilarious conversations. She’s an odd one, which is one of the reasons why I always love talking to her.

Photo courtesy of Jennifer D. Scroggins

And just a few days ago I found out she’s an author. I finally found her blog¬†A Modern Calamity¬†and saw the video she made about herself and her books. She published two books already: Drifts and The Face In The Rear View Mirror. First I saw they were kindle editions and since I’m not a fan of them (I like holding the book in my hands), I started searching and found paperbacks. When you search for them on Amazon you see the kindle ones first, and it’s not that easy to find the paperbacks. Shut up, it’s not! But I found them. And bought them (finally!). And now I can’t wait to read them.

Since I can’t tell you anything about the books (since I haven’t read them yet) I’ll leave you with a video of the author talking them. And about herself and where she finds inspiration for her writing. Watch the video and then go buy a copy of her books.

P.S.: If you’re still not convinced, you can go on Amazon and can click on the book to take a look inside. Or read the reviews from people who actually read them.

Update: You can check her author’s page on Facebook.

 

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Life is an adventure.

When I sat down to watch Up I was certainly not expecting to cry. Come on, it’s an animated movie. Animated movies are for children, therefore they have to be fun and pretty. Right? Now thinking back I can see how na√Įve it was to think animated movies don’t have their moments to make you cry. Bambi’s mom? Simba’s dad? The ending of Toy Story 3? Okay, more often than not they do try to make you cry.

But then the movie started and the story of Carl and Ellie was just so sweet. How can anyone not be touched by their story? It’s life with its ups and downs, and it’s beautiful. All the way to the very end.

 

Life is an adventure. We dream, we make plans, and then we change them over and over again. The best thing is not to make a list of things to do, but to recognize on the things that did happen which were the moments that add to the great adventure that is our own life. So, what are the moments that make up your adventure book?


P.S.:¬†Every time¬†I think of Bambi’s mom I remember this scene from Friends (The One Where Chandler Can’t Cry):

Joey:¬†You didn’t cry when Bambi’s mother died?
Chandler: Yes, it was very sad when the guy stopped drawing the deer!

 

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A little sunshine to brighten Rhea’s day

Reading a friend’s post¬†I got to know Rhea’s story. Rhea¬†Swearingen¬†was born with Glycogen Storage Disease type Ia¬†(GSD Ia), which means her liver can’t produce free glucose. It’s the most common of the glycogen storage diseases, but it’s still a rare condition, since it only affects one in every 80,000 children. The result of the lack of glucose is severe hypoglycemia, which can even be fatal.¬†Reduced glycogen breakdown results in increased glycogen storage in liver and kidneys, causing enlargement of both.

Rhea was only diagnosed when she was 2 years old. Now she’s 17, she’ll be 18 this summer, although her body physically resembles that of someone much younger. Because of her enlarged liver her belly appears to be a bit large, and she has very fine and thin hair that doesn’t seem to grow much. But she’s a trooper, and she’s fighting the battle the best she can.

To keep her blood sugar level throughout the day and night and avoid hypoglycemia she takes cornstarch mixed with water 5 times a day (at 3am, 7am, 11am, 4pm and right before she goes to bed at night). Her diet is also very limited since her body does not metabolize sugars the same way most bodies do, she cannot have sugar, milk or fruit, nor anything made with those things.

Her and her family went through a lot over the years. As side effects of her disease Rhea developed gout due to high levels of uric acid in her blood. She also has extremely high levels of fat in her blood, both in the form of triglycerides and cholesterol. She is also in the beginning stages of osteoporosis.

Due to Rhea’s disease going for so many years without the proper treatment, she developed lesions on her liver that had a high likelihood of turning into cancer and she had to have several tests every 3 months, including an MRI to keep an eye on any growth or change in them. She entered a transplant list, first just for her liver and later for a kidney as well, and waited a long time for a suitable match.

On May 12th, Rhea’s family got a call from the hospital. There was a donor that matched Rhea. So they headed up to the Primary Children‚Äôs Medical Center in Salt Lake City, Utah. All was well and on May 14th the surgery was completed. She received both a kidney and a liver. This is¬†exciting¬†and at the same time very scary.¬†Transplant is not a miracle cure, and it comes with its own risks and medications she will have to take for the rest of her life, but the quality of her life will be better.¬†Now Rhea will finally be able to enjoy the simple things we take for granted. She will finally be able to have the chocolate cake and ice cream she so wanted and she won’t have to wake up 3am for cornstarch.

So here is what I’m proposing: take some time to write her a card. Not a get well soon, but a cheerful card. Maybe a thinking of you card. Just a card to help brighten her day. It will take you just a few minutes and it will cost you just a card (or piece of paper) and a stamp. You can even find nice cards at the dollar store, you don’t even need to spend much. Or if you feel crafty you can make your own. And if you can, spread the word. Let’s try to get her as many cards as we possibly can. Can you picture the smile on her face opening each card? I know I can.

Rhea Swearingen (inpatient)

c/o Primary Children’s Medical Center
100 Mario Capecci Drive
Salt Lake City, UT 84113

Update: Rhea loves to sing. Here are two videos of her singing: Star Spangled Banner and You Raise Me Up.

 

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Forgetting: not just for old people anymore.

A few years ago I accompanied my grandma to one of her lunches with her friends. My grandma was 76 at the time and all the other ladies were either 85 or 86. They said my grandma was the baby of the group, since she was so young.¬†The lunch was very long, with each of them taking their time to chew their food and still manage to tell stories, but it was a great time. Mainly because of the stories, I didn’t care much about the chewing.

One of them started complaining because her son wanted to hire a maid to help her out during the day. How dare he. She was incredibly upset about that. She said she told her son that was not an option, because if she didn’t have the work around the house to do, she wouldn’t have enough things to occupy her throughout the day. Then another one started talking about how she had a maid and she’d send the girl to wipe the leaves of her plants. She’d send the girl to the porch (apparently she had a lot of foliage there) and give the girl a tiny cloth to go wipe the plants. This way the girl wouldn’t bother her and she could cook as she pleased.

That lead to the cooking topic. They all shared how much they loved to cook. Then one of them started saying she liked to knit while she waited for the food to be ready, but it was hard but she’d go sit down to knit and forget about the food. So one of them said “You should do what I do. Put a chair in front of the stove. This way you won’t forget about it.”

I just remembered all of that because I was sitting on my couch and though “Something smells good,” and after a second I thought “My food!” and ran to the kitchen to rescue my lunch.

Maybe it’s time for me to start putting a chair in front of the stove.

 

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I’ll never have enough time to read all the books I want to read.

Photo courtesy of Sarah Horrigan

When I was little I always enjoyed getting lost in a book. It was always a new adventure, and I’d jump in head first. And only when that adventure was over I’d go looking for a new one. Every book was a whole new world waiting for me. There was nothing better than getting home from school, kicking my shoes off, and grabbing a book to read. If it was sunny I’d go sit outside with my book, my best friend. It was a great time, one where my only responsibility was to get good grades and learn new things.

Funny fact: I had a small blue suitcase I used to fill with books to take to the beach with me for our summer vacation. Who needs toys when you can have books, right?

Now things are different. Work provides me with money needed for bills and food. That seems to be my top priority. Not that I wouldn’t like to get lost in a book on a sunny afternoon at the park, but it feels nice to have food on the table, you know. And books became the friends I see only occasionally late at night before falling asleep or on a weekend.

But my biggest problem is not the lack of time but the fact that I keep jumping from one book to the other. I’m always reading two or three books at a time. When do we graduate from reading one book at a time to this ADD habit of having to read more than one? It’s like my brain can’t be happy with just one. Sometimes I’m in the mood for a novel, sometimes I want a short story. Sometimes I want something that will make me think, at others I just want something that will make me laugh. It all depends on how my day went, how my mood is at the moment, and how much time I have to devote to reading today.

How about you? Do you also read more than one book at a time? Do you also carry a book with you wherever you go? Do you carry more than one, just in case?

 

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Of being stabbed and learning lessons.

When people say they felt as if they were being stabbed in the back I tend to say “I know exactly what you mean.” People say that when you consider someone a friend and that person does not consider you one it’s like being stabbed in the back. And although I’ve been betrayed before, I’ve never been stabbed in the literal sense of the word. Not once in my life I had a knife puncturing my body in such a way, so I can’t really compare. So here’s a comparison I know:

I lived in an apartment on the 12th floor. Pretty high and with a great view of the city. At night I liked to sit on the window and sing my heart out. I was convinced no one would ever know I was the crazy girl singing on a window, since it was dark and they wouldn’t see me. I’d even turn my lights off, just to be sure. And I’d sit there, with my head immerse in the darkness singing songs I’d improvise on the spot. I’d keep my legs inside, of course, so my body had to be a little twisted, but it worked out fine. And I always kept the windows just open wide enough for me to fit in, so I could hold onto the wall on one side and the glass on the other. Because I was that smart.

But one day I lost my balance. My hands immediately glued themselves to the wall and the glass. I panicked. For the few seconds that took me to get my body all back to safety I thought I was really going to die. The air left my lungs, my heart was slamming hard against my chest, my palms were sweating like crazy, blood was pumping in my ears, and the air felt suddenly so heavy I wouldn’t dare to breathe it in. I finally pulled myself inside and just¬†kneeled¬†on the floor, trying to get my head to stop spinning.

I want to say I never sat there again, that this was enough of a warning to keep me away from the dangers that a window on the 12th floor without a security net can offer, but I can’t. The truth is that we are human beings. We make mistakes, and keep making them until we’ve learned whatever lesson we have to learn. We just have to hope we’ll learn them fast, before we actually fall from a window.

 

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