so long, 2013

Everybody’s in a reflective mood today, pondering what 2013 held and what may be coming in 2014.

I’ve been thinking about this for a few weeks. I’m not much for resolutions and whatnot but there’s a lot I’m thankful for when it comes to 2013, so naturally I made a list. (Did you really expect anything else?)

  • Having a job I enjoy.
    • I started my current job at the end of 2012, but it was not the most fascinating work. It wasn’t until March of 2013, when I was moved from the recruiting side of the business to the consulting side, that I really began to enjoy it. Having worked plenty of jobs I didn’t enjoy, I’m thrilled to have one that challenges me and gives me opportunities to apply my master’s degree. Plus, it has flexible hours and a casual dress code.
  • Almost finishing my writing space.
    • Last year, there were small bits and pieces that were completed. But now I have most of the furniture I need and a massive cork board that helps me keep track of the scenes in my novels. It’s my purple-walled, vintage-y space and I adore it.
  • Finding opportunities to travel.
    • Over the course of this year, I have been to Florida, California, and Indiana. (I don’t recall if I’ve ever been to IN before but the other two were first times for me.) I also sojourned to SC and, for Christmas, through TN to GA and then through SC to NC. A nice tour of the southeast.
  • Being healthy.
    • Between balancing a full-time job and slipping in some writing time and tackling the never-ending piles of laundry and working on our still-a-renovation-zone house, I was concerned I wouldn’t have time to take are of myself. But between finagling my diet and scheduling time to work out, I’ve managed it.
  • I met Frank Peretti and pinned a boutonniere on him without stabbing him. (You can read about it here.)
    • This is an accomplishment in so many ways. One, I mean, hello, Frank Peretti. And two, I didn’t have a clumsy moment and I managed to get the boutonniere on in one try. And it stayed on all night. Quite an accomplishment since I’d only had one other experience with a boutonniere.
  • Finding my people.
    This may be the one thing I’m most grateful for this year, even though it didn’t happen until September. But Laurie, Anne, and Jaime swiftly became my people. I’m so grateful for my writer-ladies. Here’s to decades of friendship and multi-book contracts for us all!

There it is. My 2013 gratitude list. Thank you for your service, 2013.

May 2014 bring great adventures and bold ideas. Happy New Year, my friends!

signs of alien life

Confession: I’m surrounded by aliens.

That’s what happens when you live near a major metropolitan area.

Thankfully, aliens are pretty easy to spot. They cruise around in BMWs and Lexuses, march around in Louboutins and can’t stop talking about celebrity relationships and the latest sale on Gucci/Prada/etc. They’ve had an allowance since birth, got a car on their 16th birthday, and, in some cases, still live at their parents’ place which allows them to buy designer clothes instead of spending money on dull things like rent and food.

I’m not sure I even know how to communicate with this strange species of people. But I’ve gotten quite adept at recognizing aliens and people who were raised by them. Just in case you’re not as familiar, let me help you out with a few alien traits that make them stand out from the normals (i.e., those of us who can’t imagine paying $500 for a single item of clothing and grew up driving cars that made Herbie look cutting-edge).

Sign 1: Tagging.

I’m not talking graffiti here. The aliens adore monogramming – tagging their purses, clothes, towels, cat’s collars, you name it, with flowy scripted letters.

The normals are not so obsessed with monogramming. I mean, the kids of normals are lucky if they get their name marker-written on the tag of their jacket or lunch box. And even then, it’s usually not their first name, because it’s highly likely that item came down the line from an older sibling.

Sign 2: The greeting.  

The aliens can’t get enough of air kisses. I don’t know what it is about pretending to kiss someone’s cheek that they find so classy. It’s like “We’re such close friends, I’ll kiss you. But not close enough for me to actually touch you. Obviously.”

Normals offer a hug. Or a handshake. (Don’t knock handshakes. Ain’t nothin’ wrong with a good, firm handshake.) But whatever they do, they actually do it. There’s no air-handshaking happening.

Sign 3: Polo.

There are horses, there are mallets, and there are people in fancy clothes. Apparently many aliens understand this and find it entertainment. Me, if I ride a horse, I want to actually go somewhere instead of up and down a field. I’m betting the horse does, too.

Aliens also share an affinity for lacrosse, rugby, rowing… essentially sports that most humans find strange or boring.

Sign 4: The help.

Aliens can be heard talking about such things as nannies, housekeepers, etc. You can hear them sighing about how hard it is to find quality child care that supports their 6-month-old budding genius’s educational goals and how applying to the best preschools is so demanding.

Normals are just excited they have a dishwasher. Like seriously. I don’t have to wash the dishes. Do you know how awesome that is?

Sign 5: Maintenance.

I’m not talking about their cars. I’m talking hair, nails, eyebrows, skin. They talk about getting their nails done the way normals talk about changing their oil: “I really need to make an appointment, it’s been ages.” They talk about strange maintenance procedures I’ve never heard of. And I really don’t want to ask.

I’ve got nail clippers. They work.

So there you have it. The five signs for identifying alien life. They’re not a bad species, these aliens, simply well-ensconced in their designer bubble worlds. Just don’t ever agree to go shopping with one, lest you see your rent/mortgage check flash before your eyes in the form of a purse. (And don’t use the term “purse.” They call them “handbags.” Why, I couldn’t tell you.)

Confession: I wore a $60 wedding dress. But don’t tell the aliens that.