Status

A Change of Pace/Next Book

lightbulb

This blog post is in memory of my Dad.
I miss you every day.

Hello Precious Readers!

Long time, no write, I know. In fact, that statement is far more loaded than it appears.

I released my third book, Missing You (a Roxy Summers Mystery) last month. (Have you read it? I happen to know that it’s fantastic. You should check it out, and leave a review!) I am already receiving questions: When is the next book coming out?

As I’ve learned from other author friends and mentors, this is a common question asked, typically the same day as a book releases. Similar to people asking newlyweds, or sometimes immediately following a wedding ceremony, when the lovely couple is having children. These questions are often asked in moments of excitement from the requestor, not necessarily meant as a slight upon the subject being asked. However, writing is time taking out of my day to literally sit and stare at a computer monitor while typing for hours, every day. It’s time not spent with my husband, my dogs, my friends, my family. It’s time separate from my full-time and part-time jobs. It’s time spent not sleeping, doing chores around the home, and overall taking away from the sliver of time trying to have a life outside of work.

This summer was a particularly awkward and painful one for me, and admittedly and unabashedly, I confess I did absolutely zero writing. None. Zip. Nada. Nothing. Other than social media, my computer was only used for paying bills and looking at funny YouTube videos.

Why? Why after working so hard to be published for the first time, and successfully launching a 3-book series, would I spend 2.5 months writing absolutely nothing at all? As we all know, life throws curve balls, and sometimes their emotional impact lasts longer than expected.

After nearly 11 years since my Dad’s passing, and 11 years spent on our family’s attempted healing, it was decided that this was the year my Dad’s ashes were to be interned into the Tahoma National Cemetery. For those who don’t know, Tahoma National Cemetery is specifically for those who have served in the U.S. military and their spouses. I won’t go into detail, but it was a small ceremony with traditions held by the U.S. Navy. My Dad served for the Navy during the Vietnam war, living on the U.S.S. Enterprise. (No, not a Star Trek reference… this time.) He was on the aircraft carrier during its initial combat deployment. He worked the night shift, complete with a schedule starting at 2:00 am, and a bedtime of 7:00 pm. He never changed this schedule for the rest of his life, save for family vacations. That discipline stayed with him from when he was 17 years old until he was 60 years old. That is, (let me get my calculator here), 43 years of tradition.

My Dad passed in a sudden, painful way, while at home, the day after Thanksgiving. It was supposed to be a year of celebration. My parents had celebrated their 40th wedding anniversary that year. I had just come home from CWU and was starting my first job post-graduation. My parents were approaching discussions of retirement and considering moving to Nevada where it was warmer. They had even flown down twice that year to scope out property. I was planning on looking for an apartment.

It had been a normal evening. We were all home from work, had eaten dinner together. My Dad was on his way to bed. My mom and I were up watching some lighthearted show on TV. My mom and I were with him. We didn’t get a chance to say goodbye, we didn’t know it was coming, and before we knew it, he was gone. My mother and I were immediately thrust into deciding how to live the rest of our lives without him. Our last moments together as a family were spent in terror, pain, confusion, trauma, and anger. While I would never, under any circumstances wish anyone ill or a long and a painful death, I envy families who had times to not only internally say goodbye to their loved ones, but know when the end was coming. They were able to make a plan, and a semblance of peace regarding the one they lost or are losing.

The end is not always a Lifetime movie drama with everyone around a gurney in a hospital, or someone lying on their death-bed. Sometimes the end is something that takes moments away from you. We never got to say, “I love you”, or try to keep him comfortable in death.

We never got to say goodbye. His life ended in pain, fear, and confusion. Surrounded by EMTs instead of his loved ones.

He had not wanted a funeral service, as stated in his will. He wasn’t a man for pomp and circumstance. His co-workers threw a memorial at the University of Washington, where he had just accomplished his 10th year working there. My mom retired three years after his death, after working for the UW for over 28 years. For the rest of us, we moved on, but others needed an official ceremony so we had somewhere for his remains to reside. So, we held one.

I don’t believe in the word “closure” as it’s used today. I don’t believe that the loss of a loved one is something you “close a chapter on” and then live as if their memory has no effect on you every day after they’re gone. The memory is an ever evolving blob. Sometimes it shrinks, sometimes it takes over, sometimes it’s a microscopic dot on your radar. While the ceremony provided much-needed release for my Mom and some of our family, it did the opposite for me.

After eleven years, I’d gotten to the place where my dad’s memory wasn’t gone, but it had morphed into just the good memories. The ones I enjoyed. The memories didn’t stand out from any particular event or milestone in my life. It was the little things, like seeing him smoking outside, leaning on the garbage can in his sweatpants. The way he always folded his hands on his stomach while reclined in his Dad Chair watching an old western. Hearing him whistle while he was working or tinkering at his workshop surface. The clink of ice while he was drinking his Pepsi, the constant, friendly battle between him and my Mom, my Mom being a die-hard Coca Cola fan. His hugs. The horrible, evil glint in his eye while I was sitting in my parent’s new car that had programmable seats (a new thing for any driver at the time). He had pressed the button causing the seat to start moving. I freaked out, wondering if I had broken the car and the robot apocalypse was trapping me inside the vehicle for all of eternity. The never ending trips to Costco as a family outing. Those were all thrown away for the last two months, temporarily vandalized by the gut-wrenching memory of the last hour of his life.

This had a severe impact on my mental status this summer. I’ve talked about depression and anxiety before, but I will continue writing about it until the stigma is gone. That people understand that it doesn’t “go away”, you “can’t snap out of it”, it’s not a “mood”. There are good days, there are bad days. There are long stretches of good days/weeks/months, swiftly hitting you up with time where you never leave bed, the lights are off, and you just lie there for hours. Doing nothing. No TV, no phone, no radio, no talking, etc. You feel weak, tired, achy, listless. The nightmares come back. Whatever quiet I was attempting to obtain was blighted by restless sleep filled with made up scenarios my backstabbing brain came up with to terrorize me in my dreaming subconscious. The dreams mean nothing, but their lingering effects on how they made me feel stick with me for days afterward.

You just… try to exist and hope it’s enough.

You try to remember that you exist.

All of these memories came up and made it difficult to find the mental and physical capacity to write. Writers are always saying, “Write every day. Even when you don’t want to you. Find time to write every day.” They never tell you how much. For me, it was sticking with social media, updating my Facebook Fan Group on its usual schedule, keeping a presence on Twitter. That was all I could do.

That was enough for me.

By the way, the U.S. military is dismantling the U.S.S. Enterprise this year. Did you know that?

Back to the Big Question: When is the next book coming out?

Now that I’ve talked with my publisher at Trifecta Publishing House, here is my answer: After two and a half years of solid writing Roxy, frankly, I need a break. While I have a general idea of how I want the her next story to go, and ideas for several more books, I’m not in the creative head space to continue her story at this time. There are some other ideas I’ve been mulling for years that I’d like to move forward with and get out of Roxy’s world for a little while, and I need to write something else. There is an idea for a fourth Roxy Summers book. The idea is with Trifecta. It is not under contract at the moment. It will be written.

I don’t know when, but in the near future.

Never have I been looking forward to going back to work in my life. As same for the students who attend, I like the structure. The reliability that the building will most likely outlive me. The steadiness of the schedule. Routine. It helps me stay on task. I actually write better when my schedule is full. I think it’s the discipline and the mental reminder that my writing time is limited, that if I don’t complete it now, I’ll have to catch up the next day.

The work is there, I just need to type it. Enough time has passed that I’m ready to metaphorically pick up the pen and put it to paper. (I do better typing than handwriting out my thoughts. I’m far faster, and a more accurate, typist.)

Wishing you a fantastic fall, filled with easily cleaned falling leaves, lots of vibrant tree color, and pumpkin spice only if you want it.

Love and hugs,
KB

did I mention that I’m traveling to Korea? (South Korea. the good one.) / Japan is kawaii

“Making kawaii stuff, watching Studio Ghibli films,
looking through Netflix for good anime…
Hi, my name is Katie, and I’m obsessed with Japan.
Oh, and did I mention I’m traveling to Korea?”

~ Katherine Bacher

Happy Spring, Precious Readers! (And, Erin go Bragh!)

(Wow, an entire sentence with all capitalized words. I think that’s a new one for this blog.)

First up, complete transparency:
I’ve never kept it a secret that Pilot and I are not wealthy people. I didn’t have the funds to keep my domain up and running the last few months. I apologize for making it seem like this blog was dead. It wasn’t. Think of it as being in winter hibernation.

Second, quick catch up:
As I wrote in my last two blogs, I had just begun working at a high school. Now that it’s MARCH, clearly I’ve dusted off my rookie wings and am beginning to truly learn how to fly. Due to enjoying the perks of my new job, that did include paychecks. Unfortunately, the paychecks had to go directly to some bills instead of this.  Life priorities always seem to get in the way. (Why, oh why can we not just recreate the barter system?) During that time, I’ve been able to assist the students in participating with school morale boosting events. One of which was “What Makes Me Happy?”

(…aaaand there’s the second sentence with entirely capitalized words. I’m on a roll!)

Lastly, the purpose of this blog post today:
Each staff member was provided with a piece of paper saying “What makes ____ happy,” asking each of us to populate the sheet with our name and a list of things that bring joy to our life. Our particular district has suffered due to previously mentioned lock downs, along with heartrending news of several children committing suicide or killed in gang fights.

Yes, I’m serious.

In the last 1.5 years, our district has suffered a minimum of 4 child suicides. One was as young as an eighth grader. It’s horrifying, sad, and makes me wonder how it was possible for an eighth grader to feel so alone. That they felt their only choice was a permanent solution to what might have been a temporary problem.  (Not an easy problem to solve, but most likely temporary.)

I ask you, Precious Readers, to be respectful of those who have suffered loss and not provoke each other. Instead, let us always keep this blog as an area of uplifting and supporting each other. That’s the culture I try to leave behind as I wake each morning. I hope you do as well.

Back to the story:
As you can imagine, after suffering those losses, we amplified not only positive morale boosting activities among our schools, but also to make our staff reveal ourselves as human and approachable. II sat looking at this sheet. Some of my coworkers had already completed theirs, making long lists of written words such as
family, friends, bacon, etc.

Let me tell you something: Kids have short attention spans. With our world ever evolving towards instantaneous gratification, their attention span is even shorter than previous generations. What kid is going to want to spend 5 minutes reading an entire written list by an adult they hardly know? Not many. I looked at my sheet and decided to go a different direction. I found images and obvious symbolism of things I was interested. Since I embrace my inner nerd here, I embraced my inner nerd for the project. After arranging photos, a pattern emerged.

My inner ego is obsessed with Japan. I don’t watch a lot of anime, but I probably watch more than your average person. I have never dressed up and gone to Sakura Con. I have friends who have never heard of or watched anime in their life. I fall somewhere in between.

I’m obsessed with Hayao Miyazaki/Studio Ghibli films. If you haven’t heard of him, he created animated family favorites like My Neighbor Totoro, Kiki’s Delivery Service, Howl’s Moving Castle (LOVE), Princess Mononoke, recently, The Secret World of Arriety, and currently in theaters Only Yesterday. (For Washingtonians, this means in Seattle at SIFF.) In fact, I’m seeing Only Yesterday this weekend with gal pal, “Caring.” Maybe you’ll spot me.

Why the Japanese culture fandom? If you’ve read this blog before, you know I’m an only child. (This blog is a perfect testament to my “Only Child Syndrome” condition of loving to talk about myself and having an internal dialogue that often becomes an audible dialogue of my thoughts.) To help pay for school, and additionally for my socialization needs, my family hosted several exchange students. 28 to be exact. Most were from different areas of Japan, with only 5 out of the 28 being from elsewhere of the world. (Stories for another day.)

Keep in mind, we hosted students from when I was a toddler through my junior year of high school. That is a LOT of students over the course of a LONG period of time. Since most were from Japan, I learned quite a bit not only about their culture and language, but at a young age was exposed to awesome shows that few 90’s kids spent time watching. Sailor Moon and Voltron were a couple of personal favorites. More commonly known Speed Racer was a greatly admired show during the 80’s/90’s.

Did you enjoy the Speed Racer movie? I liked their adaptation, but the constant spinning and Lisa Frank rainbow/neon style of palette made me horribly nauseous during the film. And I go on rollercoasters for fun.

Caring and I recently discovered we had a mutual love of Studio Ghibli films. She and her sister are such fans, they even give the proper pronunciation of Totoro. I hope to save up the funds to purchase the Studio Ghibli collector’s box containing every film they’ve created.

I’m also a fan of kawaii things. For those who don’t know what “kawaii” means “cute” in Japanese. It’s a term encompassing all things adorable. Think cupcakes with smiley faces.

One of my bucket list locations to travel to is Japan. Ride the bullet train, hike on Mt. Fuji, and of course, enjoy the light, fresh cuisine they’re known for. It will be some time before Pilot and I get to enjoy Japan, but I hope to go someday. But in the meantime… I’ll settle for:

KATIE’S BIG SUMMER ADVENTURE!

A dream has come true, Precious Readers! This year, Pilot and I will be flying across the world to South Korea! It all started with a documentary.

Once upon a November in 2015…

Pilot and I were having a quiet Thursday night, trying to decide what to watch from our Netflix queue. (Yes, “queue.” There’s an extra “-ue” in there.) Some time ago, I’d been told to watch a documentary called “Twinsters.” I won’t provide spoilers here, but it’s a real life documentary about Korean Adoptees. (There’s WAY more to that film, but I don’t want to give anything away.)

I had actually avoided this documentary for a few months, unsure if I would appreciate the content. Several programs focused on “adoption” in popular culture stem from the idea that there is a “lost soul” who needs to “reconnect” with their so-called “missing piece.” Granted, there are some adoptees who feel that way, but between myself and fellow friends who are adopted… I’ve never met someone in person who feels that way. In my personal experience, most of those shows represent a small percentage of adoptees. The shows are catering to viewers looking for “drama.” Twinsters was far more realistic in representing, what I believe to be, the general adoptee point of view. (At least for those who were born in Korea, then adopted outside of that country.)

Pilot and I were riveted by the documentary, staying up later in the evening to finish it in one go. Twinsters revealed information about a Korean Adoptee Conference held in Seoul, South Korea, which is only held once every three years. It welcomes around 500 Korean-born adoptees from around the world to fly to Seoul and learn not only about the adoption process, but learn about their birth country.  (Major plus: it’s mostly hosted in English, thank GOD!)

After the documentary finished Pilot and I deeply discussed into the wee hours of early morning. I’m not terribly emotional when it comes to my adoption, however I did experience several waves of different emotions I wasn’t expecting. Pilot shared that he felt closer to me, that he was able to better understand my personality and how my thought processes work. I am grateful to Twinsters for this. Over the course of 13 years, you learn so much about a person, but the documentary gave a voice to a part of my point of view of the world and my childhood that I’ve never been able to verbalize well. Even if you’re not an adoptee, if you just like documentaries, I highly recommend the film.

While discussing the conference, I remembered the film saying it’s hosted only once every three years. We checked the date of the documentary. It was took place in 2013. I looked at Pilot, and he looked at me. Instantly, we were both looking up the conference, and sure enough, it’s being hosted this year.

Pilot and I are in our (early) 30’s. If we don’t attend this year, the next time it will be hosted is 2019. If Pilot and I are realistic, if we’re going to have kids, it’s going to be sometime in our 30’s. If we were going to (easily) attend, it would have to be this year, or we’ll be waiting a looong time before going again. There were 3 problems:

How was this going to affect my mother?
I don’t care how understanding your parents are, how open-minded, how freely they share their emotions, how old you/they are. Talking with an (adoptive) parent about potentially looking for biologically related family members can create a whole world of hurt, pain, and insensitivity if not handled correctly.

I’ve mentioned time and time again, my (adoptive) parents are my real parents. I don’t think of them in any other way. Just because we don’t share the same biology does not mean they’re not my “real” family. My parents are each adopted as well. We have this in common, and I’m grateful that although they were both born in the USA and adopted within the USA, and I was adopted out of country, we share 90% of our points of view regarding adoption. My mother even spent time in the early 2000’s searching for more information about her biological family, and received information back from her adoption agency. She’s even mentioned that if I was interested in looking up biologically related people, she would be supportive.

This doesn’t change the fact that I wasn’t sure how to broach this topic; and I still didn’t want to cause my mom any pain in any way shape or form. Especially about this topic. I wanted her to be sure that I view her as my mother, 100%, and that I don’t consider anyone else my mom. If my dad was still alive, I’d want to reassure him as well. The timing of watching the documentary couldn’t have been better. Pilot and I had stayed up late on a Thursday evening, and we were having dinner with my mom the next night.

I was a nervous wreck.

We first mentioned the documentary to her. My mom and I love watching movies, it’s one of our favorite activities, so it’s not uncommon for us to recommend films to each other. I wasn’t even 5 minutes into talking about the documentary plot when she jumped in and asked me if I wanted to go to Korea, in an excited manner!

Did I mention, I love my mom? We’re far too similar, which is probably the reason we butt heads sometimes.  All of the worry and concern was for nothing, and she was supportive beyond description.

Emotional problems avoided, I found myself with a new problem.

Did I mention we’re not wealthy?
Even on the cheap, there is zero way we would be able to afford this trip. At the time of the conference, it’s the highest time of tourism for the country, meaning the flights for a single person round trip would be $1,700-$1,800. This doesn’t include the fee of the conference, living quarters, or food.

Did I mention, I love my mom?  (Oh, I did? Well, I’m mentioning it again.)

While growing up, my parents both said that there was some money set aside should I ever express interest in traveling to South Korea. I had completely forgotten about it, as my 30-something year old brain is beginning to forget conversations like that from my itty bitty childhood years.

Besides, no person in their 30’s enjoys going to their parents and asking for thousands of dollars. I don’t care who you are. Asking for money can be stressful, hurt relationships, and all around not end well. I am fortunate that my parents had the foresight to predict this want to visit Korea may happen in my future. Hence, this added to my stress of approaching my mother with this topic.

Immediately after jumping in during my description of Twinsters, her second immediate statement was, “How much do you need? You have X amount of money already. Will that be enough? If you need more, let me know. Want to stay longer? You can stay longer beyond the conference if you want. Just let me know.”

I love my mom.

Funding issues avoided, and absolutely no more hurdles to prevent Pilot and I attending the conference, I was stuck with one, final problem.

Did I even want to do this?
Here’s my (current) list of insecurities, (as they fluctuate in severity each day):

  • Am I doing this because it’s convenient, or do I really want to go?
  • This is both Pilot and my first big trip anywhere. Were we prepared to do a large trip, especially to a foreign country where we don’t speak the language?
  • I hate flying. Can I stand to be on an airplane for 12 hours?
  • It’s going to be hot with 99% humidity, and they’re a conservative country requiring me to dress covered up. I grew up on the West Coast. I need new shirts. I’m going to FRY!
  • Is the conference going to be good, or will I be wasting my mom’s money on something that wasn’t “my thing”?
  • Am I prepared to go searching for birth/foster family information?
  • What happens if birth/foster family members don’t want to meet me?
  • What happens if they do?

I don’t have much to say on the subject right now. I’m still processing the fact that my husband and I have booked the trip, found a place to stay, have the flights all scheduled and will be leaving for 2 WEEKS for South Korea this year.

As far as what to do about biologically related people, or foster family people… I haven’t decided yet. We have a few months to get paperwork in, and I have a feeling I’ll probably regret not doing the paperwork, but it’s too much to decide in this moment right now. I gave myself a personal due date to make the decision and fill out the paperwork, and I’m 75% sure that I’ll do it. (I mean, if will be traveling all of that way to Korea and staying that long, why wouldn’t I at least try?)

That’s a post for another day. I promise to update as time goes on, and let you know the progress of that decision.

Wishing you and yours the luck of the Irish today. I think I’ll need some for the remainder of the year.

If you had the opportunity to travel to a country of your family’s heritage, would you go? What would you do? Who would you visit, if you could?

What was the best and worst advice you received about traveling abroad?

Would you do your best to learn the language before going?

If you’ve been to Korea, what should I know before going? (It will be late summer.)

– Food
– Culture
– Manners
– Things to see
– Things to eat
– 
Things to do

 

FREE BOOKS – Passport to Romance – Emerald City Writer’s Conference 2015

 

Greetings Precious Readers!

Today is FRIDAY and I’m loving every minute of it! This week, I made homemade marinara meat sauce (check it out on my Instagram) and have made pasta twice this week-not only because it’s cheap, but because Pilot loves pasta! He’d eat it every day if he could! I swear, Pilot has to be part Italian somewhere in all of that German DNA.

We added a new addition to the family, Lou! He’s a black chihuahua and the fourth member of the Bacher clan. Nimitz is loving being a big brother. After two weeks of having Lou in our family, Nimitz can lay next to Lou without freaking out!

Since it’s Friday, it means it’s almost my favorite day… Saturday! It’s my favorite because you can stay up late with no consequences of being late for any appointments the next day.

Speaking of Saturdays-

Do you like my segue? Huh?

-tomorrow is Passport to Romance: Free Reader Appreciation Event*, during the weekend of Emerald City Writer’s Conference 2015. Due to financial strains, I wasn’t able to attend this year, but their book fair is FREE and they’re giving away books for FREE. Did I happen to mention, FREE BOOKS?

It will be located at the The Westin in Bellevue, WA, and I’ll be there among the crowd. See if you can find me! Authors will be giving away FREE books written by their hands. It’s an amazing and warm group of people. How often do you get to meet the author in person and chat with them? I’m sure I’ll be a babbling, nervous wreck as usual.

Hope to see you there! I’ll post pics on Instagram as I go along, so those of you who are far away can be virtually there with me!

 

*Passport to Romance: Free Reader Appreciation Event is sponsored by Emerald City Writer’s Conference, Greater Seattle Romance Writers of America, Saranna DeWylde, Gerri Russell: Historical & Contemporary Romance, Lori Lyn, Elizabeth Hoyt, Jami DavenportNight Owl Reviews, Margaret Mallory, and last, but certainly not least as she’s one of my favorites, Sabrina York: Her Royal Hotness!

garbage is easily the bane of my existence

“Handle every stressful situation like a dog.
If you can’t eat it or play with it,
just pee on it and walk away.”
– Anonymous

Long ago, in the same place I live now, my hubby and I adopted a wee little puppy named Handsome. Being the kind of people who find names like that a bit odd, we renamed him Nimitz.

Since Nimitz is a far less odd name, right?

Nimitz was a shy little thing, malnourished, and bald of any form of fur. He was a kind soul, mellow. Although he was a bit timid of the world, he seemed interested in it, and of us.

Nimitz 1

Day 1. This scrawny, bald-patched pup entered our lives.

We brought him home, and began feeding the little fellow. Not used to such a tiny creature, we had, unfortunately, bought food that was too large for his miniscule mouth to grab onto and chew. And so, Pilot and I would spend an extra 20 minutes per pre-meal chopping each individual chunk of food into smaller bites until there was enough to fill his bowl. This included waking up at 5 AM to get ready for the day, and have Nimitz’s food ready by 6 AM, all the way into making sure Nimitz had enough food throughout the day. If only we hadn’t purchased a dog food bag so large that Costco would be proud.

Nimitz 3

We arrive home, with the “far too large morsels” dog food in tow!

Nimitz 2

Settling in.
(Mind the mess, will you? We’ve cleaned since then.)

Over time, he grew to love us, and allow us to pet him. His previous owner had failed to mention that poor Nimitz had consumed 2 condoms that were working through his poor little system before we brought Nimitz to live with us. It took 2 weeks for them both to pass through. Needless to say, we were horrified to learn these had been lurking around his little intestinal tract, and we were grateful he hadn’t gotten sick nor died from them. We did our (albeit reluctant) part of “helping” him remove these from his system.

Now, Pilot and I are not picky about breed. We just looked at this tiny wee pup in our lives and had fun guessing what he might turn out to be once his fur grew in. Much to our surprise, we were greeted with “Full Pom.” Nimitz’s fur began to grow back and we learned that this wonderful pup was not a Chihuahua, nor a Chihuahua/Pomeranian mix. As the fur grew longer and longer, our assurances were made more clear. It became obvious that this furry family member went “Full Pom” on us.

Oh the brushing. The constant, every other day brushing. The brushing doesn’t end. It requires clearing the bristles of his brush at least 4 times per brushing experience. I wish I was kidding. That’s during summer. It will be winter soon, and his winter coat will be arriving shortly. That requires 7 clearings of the bristles of his brush. Haircuts are a must with this little guy.

Nimitz 5

Brush time, you say? I LOVE Brush time!

As we taught little Nimitz to become housebroken and leash trained, we would walk him around and around our place, familiarizing him with the area. Teaching him the do’s/do not’s of areas that are fun and areas that are bad for him to venture into. Teaching him to be aware of cars, pay attention to his surroundings (as long as there wasn’t a squirrel around). We were proud to discover he was a pup who learned quickly and permanently.

This would become a double-edged sword to our lives.

Nimitz 4

Life is peaceful!

Nimitz 8

Life is good!

Nimitz 7Loving life!

I want to say it was around Week 5. Pilot and Nimitz were commencing their midday constitutional, when a thunderous noise was heard across the land. The ground shook beneath his paws. His ears twitched in hyperawareness. Nimitz’s body shook at a rate surely to shred the fur from his body. Pilot and Jason had turned the corner, only to discover IT. The Green Evil Thing. The Garbage Truck!

Nimitz’s eyes widened. He backed up against Pilot’s legs. He hunched his back, trying to make his already mini canine body as small as possible away from the Green Evil Thing. As the mechanisms whirred, the motor churning, and the air brakes releasing a high-pitched whine, poor little Nimitz could only freeze. A little 5 pound puppy against a machine 100 times larger than Pilot!

Then, the Green Evil Thing did something worse. It collected the garbage. It’s giant mutant mechanical arm swung around and grabbed one of Nimitz’s favorite things to sniff: The garbage can. This terrific beast grabbed the garbage can without even blinking, lifting it into the air and dumping the garbage can’s inner workings, consuming it into the Green Evil Thing’s self! What horror beheld the hazel eyes of our wee little one! He had no idea such a monstrosity existed in this world!

Nimitz, shaking like a leaf on a branch, tucked tail and bolted back to our home, dragging Pilot behind him. Pawing at our front door, Pilot opened our place, and Nimitz ducked under our bed and wouldn’t come out for anything. Not toys, not food, not soft calling, or even his beloved doggy treats. Under the dark depths of our bed, Nimitz stayed for a full twenty minutes after the Green Evil Thing was gone, off to digest another poor garbage can down the street. Its contents of wondrous odors that are preferred by the canine species gone forever.

(For a few days, at least.)

Nimitz 9

PILOT! IT’S THE GREEN EVIL THING!

Nimitz 10

PILOT! WAKE UP AND SAVE ME!

Now, to this day, every time the damn Green Evil Thing (aka Garbage Truck), or a UPS truck, or FedEx truck, Groundskeeper vehicle, any large truck, or anything with air brakes is within a 2 block radius; or, if we’re having a family car trip and one of those things goes by, our dog goes full bezerker, barking as wildly as possible before tucking tail and running under the bed, (or in the back seat on the floor). It takes less time for him to recover, only 1-2 minutes. Sometimes Pilot and I can have him “sit” and “stay” early enough in the process that Nimitz won’t duck under the bed right away. But, he eventually does. He’ll cuddle in fear with his Guard Dragon (an orange toy) under the bed for a couple of minutes before rejoining us as if nothing has happened.

So, to the Green Evil Thing – I will never forgive you, but thank you for taking our garbage once a week. We know you’re just doing your job… but try telling my dog that.

Want to see more pictures of Nimitz? Check out my Instagram @katnundum!

What is your pet afraid of?

How have you conquered that fear, if at all?

What was something you or your pet wasn’t fearful of before, but you are now?

Is there an Green Evil Thing in your life?

Leave your comments below.

just call me Supernurse, i guess?

Time heals all wounds… Apparently. I have yet to see that.

Well Precious Readers, I recognize it has been almost a month since my last blog post. You may notice this post looks odd compared to my typical formatting. This is because today’s post is brought to you via the hospital.

Here’s the sitch:

Earlier this month I was dealing with a sprained wrist, and now carpal tunnel issues from a vast increase of work in my Daily Life. I’ve increased acupuncture appointments and have had my right wrist wrapped and been icing at night up until about last week. Even now, this typing pains me, but didn’t want to leave my blogosphere peeps hanging.

Separately, as of yesterday, my mother in law, known to you as Honey, has been in the hospital due to chest pains. Although the docs aren’t quite sure what’s going on, she’s been alert, laughing and able to be up, sharing in conversations with us. She was transferred to a hospital about 15 minutes away from Pilot and I, so we’ve been able to visit her the most.

Mostly, Pilot and I are trying to make sure my father in law, Silver Fox, eats and stays hydrated. He and Honey spend so much time taking care of other people, you can imagine it’s extremely difficult to have anyone try to take care of them for a change.

However, things have been on a good note. Throughout this time, I find myself lucky to have a mother who cares so deeply about other people, always wanting good health and fun for others. She calls Honey a couple of times a day and has been very supportive during this time. I know it is tough for my mom to hear about someone in the hospital due to chest pains after losing my own father to a heart attack.

Pilot’s parents, Honey and Silver Fox, are easily one of the funniest couples I have had the honor to meet. They’ve been joking and laughing. Wishing it hadn’t happened this way, I hope that they both take this as an opportunity to think about their lives and try to live healthier. Now, I’m no spring chick. I have a spare tire, and wish I was talking about the car. However, I have normal blood pressure, cholesterol levels and can easily climb 3 staircases without getting winded. Now, that’s never here nor there, but either way, it’s tough to watch a loved one carried off to the hospital, especially for something that might have been preventable. I’ve been there more times than I would have liked due to car accidents, appendicitis, heart attacks, shattered ankles, colon cancer, etc. Is it weird that I’ve had to call 911 for almost all the people I love at one time or another?

Today, as Pilot and I were wandering the halls, hand-in-hand we moved in comfortable silence. Then, I had to jerk him around the corner, practically pulling his arm out of his socket so we wouldn’t miss the corner for the elevator. When he nearly avoided walking into the wall, he asked me how I knew where everything was. Pilot and I have only been in is hospital twice. Yesterday and today. After pondering this question for a few minutes, I answered, “I guess I just know my way around hospitals.”

My mother and I have both, separately, worked for a couple of hospitals over the years, and I’ve either spent my own time at doctor’s offices for myself, or visiting family/friends so many times in my life that hospitals have become old hat for me. Oddly enough, I’m sometimes more comfortable in hospitals than my own home. There’s a sense of routine and stability. Cafeterias are always either on the same floor as sky bridges, or they’re on the ground level. Labs and X-Rays are always near one of the main entrances. The gift shops are always going to be filled with more tchotchkes that you didn’t realize you couldn’t live without than an airport terminal.

Totally weird. I know.

One of my Sis-In-Laws, Hoops, has reached a new level of understanding with me. She was at the house as the ambulance was starting to drive off. Never wishing that feeling on anyone, I felt her pain as she shared her experience of approaching her parent’s home and having Silver Fox explain that Honey was on the way to the hospital. I don’t wish that feeling on anyone. It’s an impotent, hollow, empty and helpless feeling which can make one erratic, scared, and sometimes even hostile. I don’t even think those are the best words to describe it.

I don’t think there are words to describe it.

Pilot has told me-

Unfortunately on more than one occasion…

-that if an emergency ever happened he wants me around. Not in an, “I love you, you’re my wife,” sense or even a, “You keep me company,” ideal.

Nope, Precious Readers, it’s 100% pure, “I’m helpless in an emergency and you’ll make sure I don’t die” scenario. I don’t know what it is, but when emergencies happen, I turn into Supernurse, the Emergency Robot. I am able to recall from memory finite details about a person’s health, medications, symptoms, past history, allergies to medication and foods, and environmental/physical care treatment preferences. No matter how many years it’s been.

I spring into action from CPR/First Aid training and no longer act as the babbling, stuttering idiot I tend to be during my Daily/Real Life. Instead, I am articulate, concise and a parrot of important situational/emotional/physical details.

Why didn’t I become a nurse? Actually I have no idea. Probably because I only took one biology class in high school and got a C+ in chemistry. Also, I don’t want my everyday job to deal with life/death situations. Trust me, I see enough medical action across the board due to family and friends alone. I don’t need it everyday. I’d probably crack.

In one of my earliest posts, I dedicated it to my friends who were in various medical fields. They’re amazing people who I have the utmost respect for. They have to play assistant, concierge, friend, psychologist, temporary family member for some, and still be your healthcare professional all in one.

Or, these people are also known as parents, if you’d like to go down that route.

No real point to this story either, just glad to be writing to the masses once again. Maybe just a couple of messages for you:

3. Never be afraid to lighten the mood if necessary. That can be one of the best stress relievers that is in your control.

2. Be kind to your healthcare professionals. Don’t be afraid to speak up and take an active role in your health, but they are in that profession for a reason: they care about human life, which means they care about you. Just like some family, they may just not know how to show it.

Most importantly:

1. You need to remember to take time out for your own health. You can’t take care of others if you don’t take care of yourself.

This includes a certain writer whose wrists are feeling on fire right about now. Pilot, if you’re reading this, bring on the ice pack!

Prayers for Homey and Pilot’s family right now are appreciated. Peace, Precious Readers!

Bacher=Out!

oh brother (and sister), where art thou?

We are family! I got all my sisters (and brothers) with me!

Hidy-Ho Precious Readers!  It’s been waaay too long since my last post. Please consider this my offering of the most humble of apologies!

<removes feathered hat with a flourish and leans into a deep bow of regret and sorrow.>

Well, I’ll tell you one thing. Nothing quite prepares you for a family get-together, no matter how many years you’ve been a part of that family.  I observed quite an abundance of eye-opening behavior by way of some of my in-laws.

Allow me to introduce you to my brother- and sister-in-law:

And if either of them are reading this, I’m going in age-order. They’re super-competitive with each other and it’s the only way I could think of as a fair way to semi-introduce you to the world. Sorry. <shrugs.>

*Names have been changed for privacy

Brother In Law: Joker*

Joker is the oldest of the “Bacher Bunch.” 12 years older than Pilot, he is the self-proclaimed (and proud) black sheep of the family.

Although I have reason to believe he might be more like his parents than they care to admit, I’m keeping that comment to myself.

Party Animal: Joker lives up to his identifier by being a prankster and teases people relentlessly.

Even when we’ve asked him to stop.

Repeatedly.

In a voice often (wrongly) misconstrued by observers as “shouting.”

Charming: This is a term I hold especially for people who were super-popular, a jock and had arm candy for most of his/her high school career.

Basically the epitome of the type of person I strongly avoided during my high school career, due to my annoyance with them.

Don’t get me wrong, Joker and I get along fairly well.  Mostly due to the fact that both of us have been way past our high school days for several years (way more for him) and we’re both in adulthood.

Our détente may also have to do with the fact I can hold my own when it comes to teasing and I don’t really take any crap from anyone.  Oddly enough, now that I’m thinking about it, I think Joker respects me on some level.

That’s a creepy thought. I wonder if I should be worried about that…

It’s interesting to watch his and Pilot’s relationship change over the years.  One thing to recognize is: by the time Pilot was of an age to retain firm memories, Joker was pretty much out of the house. I think Pilot was still Joker’s little buddy and they always “had each other’s back” through brotherly love, but I just don’t think there was that much of a real connection between the two until more recent years.  Pilot was a band geek – the polar opposite of the Popularity Spectrum.

It bears repeating that Pilot is a drummer, which I feel gives him way more street cred than your standard French horn player or whatever.

Now that they’re both in adulthood, they have more common ground as husbands, men, and daily life struggles.

Lots of energy: Lots and lots of energy.

That’s the nice way of putting it. ADHD anyone?

Married: Cheery*.  A gal in his corner, but in no way overshadowed by Joker, Cheery definitely can stand on her own two feet. I basically look at Cheery as being the mother of four boys. Good luck with that!  For crying out loud, she’s the only woman I’ve ever met who can make Joker actually stop talking for a minute!

Granted it’s usually due to her palm becoming quickly plastered to Joker’s mouth. But hey, silence is silence, right?

Sister In Law: Hoops*

Now, Hoops is an interesting gal.  She is 10 years older than Pilot, and has a more motherly relationship towards him.

Which, as you can imagine for having the honor of being Pilot’s first girlfriend, added to the general stress that goes along with meeting Pilot’s parents for the first time – I also had to impress his sister.

In full disclosure, I think she actually hated me when we first met.  Nothing personal, I think she would’ve felt that way towards anyone who was deemed Pilot’s “First Girlfriend.”  Or any girlfriend for that matter.  Looking back, I’m really glad he has a close relationship with her, and I know that he will always have someone to talk to.

A very familiar tendril of jealousy over my lack of siblings is starting to form in my brain.

Super-sweet: Very naïve – much to the rest of the family’s delight and source of humor, and sometimes to my detriment.  For example, a recent conversation from earlier this year:

Hoops: Where are you from again?

Me: <murmurs reply, naming a suburb north of Seattle.>

Hoops: No, I mean where were you adopted from?

Me: South Korea.

Hoops: Oh.  <pauses.>  So are you a Communist?

<Pilot and I stop dead in our tracks, and goggle at Hoops for 2 seconds.>

Me: <deadpanned.> What?!

Pilot: <closes eyes.> Oh geez.

Me: <draws out words.> Um… No…

Hoops: But, it’s Korea. So, that makes you a Communist, right?

Me: First of all, I’m not a Communist.  I was adopted when I was six months old and raised here, so I’m no more of a Communist than you are.  Plus, Communism is part of North Korea. So if I had been born there? Trust me. I wouldn’t be here now.

Hoops: <shrugs.> Oh, okay.

Pilot: <facepalm.>

Super-smart: This woman has three master’s degrees.  Seriously.

It truly is a tribute to a woman who can get married, have a mortgage, raise three kids, still be a teacher and find the time to complete three master’s degrees.  I have yet to obtain one.

This factoid often highlights the dichotomy between her book smarts and Hoops’ naivety. Again, much to the family’s delight and source of humor.  (See above conversation above my non-Communism.)

Super-sporty: Went to college on a basketball and academic scholarship.

Sensing where the nickname came from?  Hmm?

Married: Mr. Hoops*.  Mr. Hoops is just that, he’s a computer teacher and a basketball coach. How did they meet?  Why, playing for their respective gender’s college basketball teams, of course!

Now Joker and Hoops each have 3 children with their respective spouses.  Ironically, though they’re competitive and have difficulty sharing with each other, they managed to take turns having their children.

In very rapid succession, typically within a year of the other’s relationship producing a child.

Born First   –   Joker’s Child #1: All Star*

This kid will run, cycle, wrestle, tackle, etc. laps around you. He is Joker’s “Mini Me” in looks, athletic ability and energy, but is much more reserved with what he says.

As Joker’s Mini-Me, trust me, no one will dispute this paternity, EVER.

Born Second (and the only girl)   –   Hoops’ Child #1: Red*

A sweetheart girl-next-door whose helpful and caring nature manifested itself into a pint-sized animal whisperer.

I swear, if this kid decides to be a veterinarian, the world is a better place because of it.

Born Third   –   Joker’s Child #2: Butters*

Now, this term of endearment is really strictly held between Pilot and myself. (And now you.) We call this guy Butters because he not only looks like Butters from South Park, he’s also sweet and innocent like Butters from South Park, often talked into or randomly becomes a part of the schemes his dad Joker or his brothers come up with.

Oh, and he wore a Spiderman outfit everyday for about a year.

Born Fourth & Fifth – identical twin boys:

Hoops’ Child #2: Chatty* (Twin 1)

Chatty is a talker. He loves to know about anything and everything, and enjoys sharing anything and everything.  With everyone.

Luckily for him, his Auntie Katie loves to talk too. He definitely has met his match with me.

Hoops’ Child #3: Dreamer* (Twin 2)

Dreamer is more aloof.  While equally as much of a sweetie as his twin, Dreamer tends to be more of a boy of actions rather than words.

He gives some of the biggest hugs out of all of them.  Aww…

Born Sixth   –   Joker’s Child #3: Dancing Fool

The reason we call him Dancing Fool? Not only is Cheery a dancing queen, Dancing Fool has inherited this gene.  He dances no matter if people are watching.

Actually, he dances especially if people are watching.  He stole the show at our wedding at a not-so-tender age of 2, running to the dance floor and busting a move better than Usher or Justin Timberlake.

Now, Dancing Fool is a funny story. Joker and Cheery were actually done with having children.  Joker had a vasectomy after Butters, but never went to his follow-up appointment.  As you can imagine, Cheery was very surprised to find out she was pregnant for a third time.

Which bears the Bacher Bunch: Family Motto and crest:

ALWAYS, ALWAYS, ALWAYS go to your follow-up appointment!

The reason for this family tree-in-law update?  I want it to be very clear who these offspring are, and where (and who) they come from.  Despite being raised by parents who represent personalities opposing as strongly as the mismatch of:

Oil and Water
Spots and Stripes
Sandpaper and Bare Ass

-we’re lucky all six kids get along swimmingly.  Despite their differences, Joker and Hoops’ children have a mutual foundation of faith, “family comes first” mentalities, sports…

and one last thing…

Picture it in your mind:

Thanksgiving 2012

Post-meal discussions and board games galore.  The family is really settling in for the night.  The adults are talking (or rather, listening to Joker’s inebriated voice talk about something or other).

Suddenly, a tornado of six little fresh-faced children explode into the room, swirling in a mix of smiles, giggles and hugs, desperate to share their merrymaking with the adults.

Are you ready for this?

All six of these adorable, innocent little munchkins grab Joker’s phone.

A familiar, catchy techno beat begins to play.

Singing and dancing in their own field of euphoric energy, they pause long enough to strike a pose while belting out the infamous lyric:

I’m Sexy and I Know It!

Complete with their own varied, personalized motions during the reciting of:

Wiggle, Wiggle, Wiggle, Wiggle, Wiggle, Yeah!

Yup.  You guessed it.

The silly, singing spawn are united by the Party Rock patrons of LMFAO.

My poor, poor mother in law.

I don’t think I’ve ever seen her that shocked in all 10 years, as I did in that moment.

The only reason my mother-in-law, Honey* is even familiar with that song is because of me.  Earlier in the year, I sent her the music video for I’m Sexy and I Know It as a joke via Facebook.  Her response when I asked her if she had watched it?

Honey: Yes. I watched the: Whole. Thrusting. Video.

Man, I love that woman!  She cracks me up!  <smirks.>

So what’s the lesson here?  I suppose it’s a few things, really.

1. Children are more observant that you give them credit for.  None of us had any idea the kids had heard of this song, let alone have it committed to memory verbatim.

2. Music brings the world together. Even if it’s a song about men providing public hip thrusts.

And finally?

Life is too short to lack a sense of humor.

I don’t think I’ve ever laughed so hard in my life until the moment those kids started singing.

Oh wait…

I’m remembering Honey’s expression now.

<wiggle wiggle.>

i wish that i knew what i know now, when i was younger

Happy, happy, happy… happy… happy… oh, forget it.

By the time this post is added to the airwaves, I will officially be one year older.

Today is my birthday. Lucky me. <rolls eyes.>

That’s right. Pilot and I have our birthdays four days apart. (I would like to point out that he is one year older. Sorry, Pilot.) I’ve compiled a list of things I wish someone had told me when I was younger:

5. Question everything.  In school, I would greatly annoy my teachers by constantly asking questions. I wasn’t one of the kids asking “why” six or seven times in a row. They were legitimate questions due to my ever-growing curiosity.  Somewhere along junior high through mid-college I had stopped learning to ask questions. In my current job, asking questions is actually encouraged. Not always at the time I ask it, but the question is still appreciated. I had to slowly gain the confidence that it is all right to want to understand the bigger picture. How is one supposed to improve themselves and others around them, if they have no fucking idea what’s going on?

4. It’s ok to not know what you want. Talent and skill knows no age, race or gender.  So many youngsters and teens are bombarded with the question, “So what do you want to be when you grow up?”  Honestly. How many of you actually enjoyed this question?  I know I hated it.

I spent years trying to come up with some job title to impress and even went as far to convince myself that I wanted it.  But in reality? I felt completely clueless. I think it’s because I denied wanting to be a writer/artist.  I had grown up with the phrases, “those jobs don’t make any money,” “You’re wasting your time,” “Hope you enjoy being homeless,” etc.  Well guess what?  I’m on the wrong side of my 20’s, married, and I STILL rent an apartment, have a decent job, but don’t make any money due to our crapshoot of an economy, and I STILL ended up pursuing a job focused on writing and art.

Do you know how much angst, migraines and stress I could have avoided if someone had just said, “Cool, go for it. Do what you must to keep a roof over your head while you pursue that goal, but go for it!”?  If someone had just acknowledged that pursuing those goals was “OK” but that I just might have to do some other work while I go through this journey, I might have avoided years of denying my love of the written word being seen by the world. Perhaps I would even be published by now.

Did you know the book P.S. I Love You was written by a 19-year-old?

3. You don’t have to want the American Dream.  The typical American wants marriage, a house, a yard, 2.5 kids-

You’ve got to feel sorry for that poor kid who was sliced in half. I mean, really. That has to suck major ball sack.

Do you want to know what I consider success for myself by the time I’m 70?  Being published and continually successful, (duh), living in a non-traditional home-

You can imagine Pilot’s delight when he heard this statement from me. He then proceeded to show me “Residential Hangars” on the interwebs. Yes, my name is Katherine and I choose to live in a residential hangar someday.  Other pilots: jealous, much?

-and maybe kids.  That’s right, you heard me. MAYBE.

When I first met Pilot, I didn’t want any children. Don’t misunderstand me. I love kids. I’ve babysat more than my share, worked in summer camps, and have 13 nieces and nephews ranging from infancy to 16-years-old, whom I love dearly and would give my life for without hesitating. I think children are our most precious resource, because without well-educated and supported children, this country has no future.

I just didn’t want to have my own children. (My reasons are long and tedious, much longer than this post will allow. Those points will be for another day.)

I love that 99% of my graduating high school class is married and on their second or third child by now. They seem truly happy in their choices

However, if I look at my life as it is today:

I work a soul-killing job to support Pilot and myself until writing is full-time for me and Pilot earns a multi-year contract in teaching, had a thyroid cancer scare during Christmas, and Pilot’s large, baked-potato-sized tumor (which was right next his spine) removal surgery, and barely able to cover all of our bills. Tack on an America with foreclosures, bankruptcy and dealing with one of the worst economies the U.S. has seen in decades.

The idea of bringing a child into the hot mess of life while Pilot and I are just scrimping it together after all of this crap has only just settled would probably have pushed us both completely over the edge.

I thank God everyday for birth control.

2. Be confident in your own skin, whatever shade it may be. Being an adopted Korean with German parents attending schools where I was one of five TOTAL minority children in the entire school was bound to give a girl a complex. Add in prescription glasses needed at the tender age of five, during the ‘80’s (an era I like to describe as a Fashion Decade of Hell we did not experience, but humanity survived through), and I was a walking target, complete with bulls eye and zoom-goggles for my bullies.  (Yes, I was bullied a lot as a child, that’s a different issue for another day.)

With my time either being split between people trying to guess “what” I was-

The kicker with these interesting conversations, was after someone asking me if I was Chinese or Japanese, I would answer that I was born Korean. To which, I was promptly met with the answer “No, that’s not right. That doesn’t sound right. You must be [enter more commonly-known Asian ethnicity of your choosing here].”

-or asking if I was an exchange student-

Asking such question in loud, slow voices, I might add.  America, as much as I am proud to be part of this country, and proud that I am an American citizen, we have a seriously long way to go on how we treat Asians (or any other minority) in this country. It is assumed that if one is not Caucasian, this is equivalent to the automatic inability to speak English. In addition, there is the bonus concept that if one does not speak English, one is obviously deaf as well.

What’s that? Yes, please speak slower and louder. That will magically make someone understand the English language instantaneously in comparison to the pacing and volume of your sentence two seconds prior.

-I was also dressed in turtlenecks, plaid skirts and yarn tights with buckle shoes, with the addition of pigtails.

Side note to parents: Just because a look is “cute” to you does not give you permission to purposefully add fire to the flame of having your beloved child’s ass kicked.

It took me years to learn that I was never going to be 5’10”, blonde or blue eyed, (or at least without some considerable and pricy cosmetic surgery and hair dye), and to accept my body for as it was. A (barely) 5’5”, somewhat stocky stature with black hair that grows curlier by the year. (Yes, I am an Asian with black, curly hair. That photo you see of me in the corner? That’s after a lot of work with mousse, a hair dryer and flat iron.)

I’m much happier in my skin and learned to look at the more positive things about my outer-appearance than I was as a teen, desperately waiting for the second round of braces to be complete.

My husband, Pilot tells me I’m the best of both worlds. I’m his hot Asian wife, but I’m technically German because of my family, who surprises people and helps break down stereotypes with a goofy, but approachable, intellectual attitude.

I prefer the term German-By-Association-American.

1. The one you love may not love you. Poor Pilot, I put him through complete and total hell because I was actually in love with another man when we met. (NOTE: I was not in a relationship with someone else when I met Pilot. Pilot was and always would be, my first boyfriend.)

There was a boy I was in love with growing up. We were best friends from junior high through our first year of college together. Our families were close, and they even vacationed together. Now that I’m older, I wish someone would have stopped and shook me, saying, “If Randy* hasn’t recognized that you love him after [enter any number between 2-7 years of your choosing], he never will be.”

*Name has been changed for privacy

Our first year of college changed everything. He ended up leaving college and getting into the party scene. I channeled my heartbreak into not eating, not sleeping and studying like crazy. (Although I will admit, I earned a place on the Dean’s list my first quarter at college.

A feat never to be accomplished again throughout my college career. <sigh.>

No, I don’t think the heartbreak would have been any considerable amount lessened, but I would have gotten over him eventually, and perhaps opened my heart up sooner to Pilot. Pilot had been a great friend and practically a literal boy-next-door for me during this whole ordeal, being patient as our relationship grew closer over time.  (Pilot lived about five doors down from my dorm on the same floor, while my heart was torn out by my best friend in a dorm literally above me on the upper floor.

One of the things I will be sure to teach my children is: Do not to be afraid of love, but be prepared if they might not love them back. And to think about how they will handle this realization.

As my all-time favorite film, Sabrina (the Julia Ormond, Harrison Ford and Greg Kinnear version), there is a moment where Sabrina is talking with her mentor. Her mentor, Irene advises thoughtfully:

Irene:  Is it this David you mentioned casually 30, 40 times when you first came over? He sounds perhaps very much like an illusion.

Sabrina:  He keeps me company.

Irene:  You think so? Illusions are dangerous people. They have no flaws. I came here from Provence. Alone, uneducated. For eight months… No, more than that, a year… I sat in a café, drank coffee, and wrote nonsense in a journal. And then somehow, it was not nonsense. I went for long walks, and I met myself in Paris. You seem… Embarrassed by loneliness. By being alone. It’s only a place to start.

Randy was such an illusion. Never losing my belief in true love, it gave me a wiser approach to falling in love. This experience allowed me to be realistic and not indulge an overinflated crush, but open myself to a real love and a real relationship with Pilot. Recognizing his endless list of good points, some of his flaws, and accept him exactly as he is, eyes wide open, no aftermath surprises. I am actually grateful for that heartbreak. I was young, naïve and in a one-sided relationship that clouded my judgment for several years.  Looking back, I recognize now, Randy and I would never have been a good fit. Although I believe that opposites do attract and can have successful, healthy relationships, I much prefer being with Pilot who I have endless things in common with, along with each of us being stronger in the areas the other is weaker in. We build each other up together, instead of one of us building up the other all the time.

But all in all, I think the biggest thing for me to recognize is that without these experiences, they would not have shaped me into who I am today.  A confident, honest, and moral person who happens to have a touch of a ridiculous and dry wit humor that would make any civilized patron shoot pop out their nose.  So maybe having all of those things happen when they did, learning those lessons in the amount of time they took and experiencing them with the people I did was just as important as the lesson themselves.  What do you think?

What are some of life’s lessons that you wish you had known at a younger age? Do you think it would have made a difference?

Daily Writing Challenge

Day 17: Your character has fallen in love. With who? Is it serious? Are they in a relationship with this person? How did they meet? Write a scene of your character either contemplating this significant other or directly interacting with them.

Hmm… These DWC’s are beginning to sound similar to each other.

After hanging up the phone, Josh checked his hair in the reflection of his monitor.  Crap.  His hair always seemed to be sticking up in the back, a cowlick that he was born, and cursed with.  His mom had always called it his rooster tail.

“Oh sweetheart, don’t worry about it,” she’d say with a wave of her hand.  “Besides, it makes you look taller!”

Seated at his gray desk, in his gray cubicle, in the gray room, (or the Pit, as he liked to call it), the Information Technology wing was pretty bland with ten cubicles grouped together in the center of it with harsh fluorescent lighting.  The blisteringly dull and blue-toned light fixtures always seemed to flicker at just the right frequency to give someone slightly more than a headache, but not seizure-inducing.  Mostly the people that worked on the team spent their days playing various types of MMORPG’s, blogged about how uneventful their lives had turned out hoping somewhere amongst the world wide web that someone was listening, while answering the most basic, inane questions for the bigwigs over the phone.  What amazing use of his master’s degrees in computer science and robotics from Yale had made.

But now he had a chance to break his routine; and not only that, but go upstairs and talk to Sydney.  He smoothed his hair out the best he could and stood up, only to spill coffee on to his shirt.  He held his shirt out and looked at it, shaking his head and sighed.  He attempted to clean the large brown spot that was starting to grow by swiping some of his neighbor’s clear soda onto it, but realized it was losing battle and gave up.

Being thirty-three and still single, he had tried dating other women, but it was hopeless.  Sure, they were all nice girls: friendly, polite, and into computers and understanding the connection people had with each other through technology like he did; but, they just weren’t Sydney.  He couldn’t get her out of his head.  As her computer seemed to shut down on a regular basis, he would fix it and she would take him out to coffee afterward as a thank you.  At least he got to chat with her once in awhile.  The always had a good working relationship, but he had wanted it to be more.  Over the last couple years, he’d grown fond of her and was heartsick.  Most of his dates ended up him sitting across the table from a perfectly good, and sometimes willing, woman, and all he could do was think about how different she was from Sydney.  He thought back to the first time they met.

It had been a frosty January morning and Sydney arrived at the Pit in a calm, but frantic manner.  The contrast between her very professional and pulled together outfit with the darting of her eyes back and forth, sweeping across the room looking for someone to help her was amusing.  And cute.  She had worn a sleek red pencil skirt and a black knitted turtleneck that hugged her curves in all the right places.  Her shoes had one of those toothpick-like heels to them.  Stilettos?  Is that what they were called?  Josh was never really into fashion.  The last time he’d been “shopping” was his birthday when his mom and sister had given him a bunch of shirts and some pants.  He was thankful they’d provided a belt because stuff usually fit pretty loosely.  At least it was comfortable.

He recalled her striking long black hair that grazed her shoulder blades.  In the times he’d seen her walking through the lobby and into the elevator, she’d usually kept it sleek and tied back into a tight ponytail.  But that day, she had it flowing loosely around her face; he’d thought about how much it had softened her and he wanted to reach out his fingers and feel what it would feel like between his fingers.  She was so quintessentially female, soft and curvy, and lovely against the harsh lines of the boxy, gray cubicle-land he worked in.  Thinking about her hair tangled in his fingers, made him think other ways he’d like his body to be tangled with hers.  This caused him to become hard, and was grateful she wanted to sit down an explain her problem (in some great detail he might add), which gave him time to focus on work and calm the rush of heat that had spread to his body so he could actually stand up to go to her office later.

Raising his arm to signal her, she had peered across the room, her eyes settling on his gaze.  Noticing her deep blue eyes, he thought he had caught a hidden twinkle he couldn’t really describe, and thinking about that little glimmer of trouble had left him mesmerized, and admittedly turned on, thinking about what it would be like to gaze into them in a dimly lit room… Say his bedroom… for the rest of that fateful day.  Taking a deep breath and straightening her shoulders, she walked straight towards him and he’d managed to take a glance at her long, sinuous steps that caused her hips to sway ever so slightly, a look of relief washing over her face.  She explained how she was new to the company and had just been issued a new laptop that wasn’t turning on.

Normally, he’d ask her the same series of questions, “Is your computer on?” or “Is it plugged in?” and so on.  But after a few minutes, he realized she was really sharp and not one of those flighty bigwigs that normally ran the company.  Following her to her incredibly huge office (almost the size of the Pit, and all for one person!) he sat at her desk, fixing her computer the first of what was to be many, many times in the future.  He knew she cursed the damned thing, but he was entirely, internally, grateful.  Sydney invited him out for coffee to thank him for his help, the first in a long line of coffee breaks they would share.  Apparently his help saved her from almost losing a major account on a marketing campaign she was leading.  At the time, he had been thrilled she asked him out.  It wasn’t until halfway through their conversation he heard about a new guy she had met named Michael.  They weren’t serious yet at that point, but he could tell her focus was definitely not on himself.

Josh remembered meeting Michael a week later at the company holiday party.  The corners of his mouth turned down slightly at the memory.  Michael Ross was tall with brown hair, but Michael had those weird, cheesy blonde streaks in it and he had that sleekness to him.  Michael was one of those guys that made life look easy, like each person naturally walked out of bed looking like a model everyday, worked an overly-well paying job and went home with women like Sydney as if it was the natural order of things.

One of his suits probably cost more than Josh’s car.

He pushed the up button on the wall and waited for the elevator.  He felt a slight tug on his heart at being able to spend a few minutes with Sydney, but it was soon overshadowed by longing and loneliness as he stepped into the cold, gray elevator.  He was lovesick over a woman who didn’t love him, but had ruined him for other women as well.

The gorgeous ones always seemed to be taken.