Friday, January 29, 2010

we're gonna have some fun, show ya how it's done: tgif

I'm home for lunch.

It's such a treat to get to compose a blog post during the day.

Oh, wait. I don't know what to write about. I need a topic.

There are several things I could tell you about -- my new job, the amount of money I have spent in the last two weeks due to not coming home for lunch, how cold it is in Kentucky today, and (in related news) about the snowstorm that we may or may not get tonight or tomorrow morning.

So, there's plenty to choose from.

Let's start with the new job -- I love it. I have really clicked with the staff, the customers are all friendly, and it's been an easy transition (with the expception of the 8:15 a.m. arrival.)

However, I'm still really glad it's Friday.

I'll be even happier when it's time to lock the bank doors at 6:05 tonight.

I am looking forward to the weekend, and the possibility of being snowed-in is, which is quite appealing. I will watch movies and college basketball and read books and write. I'll also think about how I need to clean my house -- which is a thought that is less appealing. Obvi.

Ohh, and I'll sleep. I will sleep as if it's going out of style. I don't think I've gotten more than six hours of shut-eye on any given night this week, and I require eight, minimum, to be useful to society. Clearly, I've been performing on adrenaline at my new job this week. I can't run on that forever. I'm not a machine.

How's the weather where you are? Do you have any awesomespice weekend plans?  Can you believe it's almost the end of January?

One more thing before I put the petal to the metal and head back to the bank: thanks to Sierra Godfrey for including me in her Friday Reader Roundup! I feel special. spice.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

TMI Thursday: in which i was born again

TMI Thursday
Now, first and foremost, let's just get one thing straight. Yes, this post is going to be rather churchy, but I'm not here to talk you into having more or less faith that you have today. This is not a sermon. There will be no altar call. There will be no cold and broken Hallelujah.

That being said, I used to be a bona fide Jesus freak.

My family started attending an Assemblies of God church when I was in middle school.

(We're talking about a tongues-speaking, slain-in-the-spirit type of place. Think: charasmatic as the Pentecostals, but with shorter hair and in pants, occasionally.)

(No snakes.) (Btw.)

So, yes. In those days, Christ (and not caffeine) was my personal savior and I was supposed to "go...into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature." Amy Grant and Michael W. Smith blasted from my boombox, and in the family car we all sang along to our local Contemporary Christian radio station, WJIE. (Where Jesus is exalted!)

I experienced a very weird intense spiritual upbringing.

When I started high school (I don't know, actually. I might have been in eight grade or something) I joined the Senior Bible Quiz team at my church. We traveled around (via church bus!) to other AG churches in Kentucky and competed against their teens academic-team style, with buzzers and the whole shee-bang.

We had study questions and practices after church on Sundays. (I had no sociallifespice.)

During a match, there were all these certain rules and regulations which were adhered to more strictly than the ten commandments.

A quizzer could call a point-of-order if there was a procedural error. There was also a "judge's ruling" that was used like a coach's challenge in football, in which a coach or quizzer could claim why their answer should be ruled correct after it had been deemed wrong. (That was my favorite part -- arguing my case like a lawyer!)

There were quotation questions (i.e. "Quotation Question, ten points. Has Jesus always been God?")

(If I buzzed in, I would have said, "John 1:1; In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God and the Word was God.")

(Which doesn't even really answer the question, in my grow up opinion, but that's neither here nor there.)

Yeah, so I was really, really into that quiz team. And, I kind of rocked at it. Memorization has always been one of my strengths.

I was, in fact, the number one quizzer in the entire state. And I won that title by a mother fuc mile.

But, because I knew -- even then -- that it was super lamespice, I never got to brag about it to my friends.

Until now.

Don't mess with me biblically -- I will school you in some Jesus trivia.

Visit Lilu's blog (she's doing Post Secret again!) for more tragic tales.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

this is my now.

I should be writing.

I mean, like, actually working on my manuscript.

I feel like such a fraud.

There are the excuses -- I just started a new job, American Idol was on last night and is on again tonight, my husband is looking over my shoulder (when he isn't hogging the laptop.)

Then, there is the reality: in 2010, nothing has changed. I still don't write every day. I can't even churn out 500 little words with daily regularity. Here we are, 1/12 of the way through a new year, and I haven't really accomplished much at all in the I-wanna-be-a-writer department.

The old Amber would call herself predictable and let the disappointment fester. Ohh, yeah. That's so me. There I went again, not following through on my promises to myself. I'll never change. I suck at life.

But, do you know what I just said to the old Amber?

I said, Shut up, old Amber. Who cares? It doesn't matter what you haven't done.

Just start doing it.


I don't often give words of encouragment on my blog. (I'm often too busy entertaining you with tales of twenty-something woes and misadventures.)

However, today I want to put a motivational little bug in your ear.

Don't hold yourself back. Don't let past failures interfere with today. What does it matter -- the thing you haven't done yet? So what? Just go do it now. We don't need a new year to make a life choice: to change. It doesn't have to start February 1st or next week or anytime but now.

So, here I go. I'm jumping in, on a random day in January -- not beating myself up for the things I haven't done, and not just expecting more of the same from myself.

I'm off.

I'm off to write.

Right now.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

video killed the radio star

I got to be live and on the air on a local radio station today!

(It was really exciting.)

Here's what happened:

When I left my house at 7:50 this morning there was maybe a quarter inch of snow on the ground. It was my first day at my new bank branch, and I needed to be there at 8:15. It's really only a ten minute drive at the most, but I allowed extra time like any responsible, ready-to-look-good new employee would and should.

Well, the roads. were. horrible. Apparently, salt that was put down didn't stick because there wasn't really much snow on the ground for it to stick to. Falling temperatures caused flash freezing and black ice.

When I pulled out of my neighborhood, vehicles were stopped in both directions -- a solid line of cars, like interstate rush hour -- on what is normally a two-lane highway with a very average amount of traffic.

I take a right turn out of my neighborhood (as you well know, from the time I almost died pulling out several weeks ago in icy conditions) and about 100 yards away there is a stoplight. (The road there is called Murphy Lane... how cool is that, son?!)

So. There's me in front of my neighborhood. There is a stoplight 100 yards away.

It took me one hour to get to that stoplight. You read that right. One hour to drive one hundred yards. (Well, hubs says it's 100 yards. All I can say is that going the opposite direction on my way home tonight, I counted from one-thousand-one to one-thousand-twenty in the time it took me to go that same distance.)

Anyway, people were calling in to the radio station, 102.3 The Max (the 90's and today!) to talk about where they were and what they were seeing on the roadways, so duhspice. I called. I was sitting still with my foot on the brake. I'd already talked to my mom four times and my husband six times. I was boredspice.

And it rang! And then they answered!

(Oh, and by the way, Lambert and Lindsey, the morning team, said that you had to describe where you were sitting as a "hot mess.")

So, when George Lambert answered... well, here's a loose transcript:

Lambert: Goooood morning!

Amber: Goooood morning!!!!

Lambert: You sound like you're either in a really good mood or like you're about to kill someone. Who's this?

Amber: This is Amber, and I guess I am in a good mood, it's just that I. am. not. moving.

Lambert: Where you at?

Amber: I am at the hot mess that is the intersection of Highway 22 and Murphy Lane. It is worse than stop and go. I have been on the road for over an hour and have only moved one hundred yards.

Lambert: Ohhh, that sucks. Can you see what is going on around you? Is there a wreck?

Amber: No, I can't tell. But cars are sliding around everywhere, and I see an ambulance up way... so maybe they are clearing up a wreck? I don't know. But it's my first day at my new job, and I am over an hour late!

Lambert: Do you want us to call your new boss for you?!

Amber: Nah, I'm good. He's not there yet either!!

Lambert: Do you want to give a shout out to where you work?

Amber: I don't think I'm allowed. I think it's against the rules.

(I totally wanted to, obviously. I was tempted! But, because I work in a bank, we are not supposed to talk to the media about it... and stuff.)

Lambert: Okay! Thanks for calling!!

So, yeah.

I was on the radio.


On the radio.

Monday, January 25, 2010

my monday

It's probably better if I don't blog today.

I mean, it's the night time now, so everyone has already posted and you've all read each other's entries and commented by now.

What's the point? Do I even have anything to say? Plus, I should be balancing my checkbook and paying bills online.

(And it's hard to concentrate because my husband keeps trying to talk to me.)

(Leave me alone.)

It's definitely been a Monday.

Today was my last day of downtown-Louisville training, and tomorrow I start working in my new bank branch. My days of strutting around between skyscrapers and eating yummy sushi or Jimmy John's for lunch every day were short lived (and expensive.Thus, avoiding the balancing of the checkbook.)

Things I won't miss:

* A fourty-five minute commute
* Paying $15.00 for parking (hopefully this will be reimbursed!)
* The wind between the downtown buildings (which seems to gust and blow and have no concern for the time it takes me to straighten my hair in the morning.)
* The snow flurries (today) and rain (all the other days) (which seem to have no concern for my hair, either.)
* Being away from home all day -- yes, I'll be giving up the yummy restaurant food, but when I come home I can blog, catch up on my reader, write, smoke cigarettes, take off my shoes, fart etc.


This blog post is going no where fast.

I really apolgize if you are still reading it. Bank training has sucked the creative and witty life right out of me.

Ohh, I do have one cool story, though.

I was in line for lunch today at Panera (on the bottom floor of the Aegon Tower) and Samardo Samuels and Edgar Sosa (Louisville basketball players) were in line in front of me.

I took a picture of them with my cell phone.

(My husband just made fun of me for that.)

The picture didn't even turn out very good, though... because I just got them in profile.

(And, really, trust me... the building is more attractive than those two boys anyway.)

(They were sweatyspice.)

Friday, January 22, 2010

because i am so lame.

Is it completely lame to take a nap at six p.m. on a Friday night?

I'll be honest, crawling into my bed right now for a little shut-eye is more appealing than:

eating dinner
watching a movie
listening to music
watching television

I'm clearly still adjusting to my new work schedule. I haven't been this tired since that time the hubster and I went to bed at eight o'clock on a Saturday night. (You should have seen us the next morning -- up and six and saying, "Um, now what do we do?" We obviously don't normally wake up so early on a Sunday morning. I think we sat on the couch in a daze until the basketball game we wanted to watch actually started at noon. And we discovered breakfast, which is actually a morning meal. Who knew?)

Oh, I did want to watch that Hope for Haiti telethon tonight. (Good thing, too, since it's going to be on like everysinglechannel there is.) I just checked and it starts at 8:00. Two hour nap first! Two hour nap first!

Maybe tomorrow or Sunday, when I can keep my eyes open, I'll post about this cool new emoticon-ish thingy I heard about which involves sarcasm font.

I hope your Friday night is more exciting than zzzzzzzzzz mine.

Amber needs her beauty rest. Go ahead, tell me I'm wrong with your adoring comments.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

TMI Thursday: in which we weigh the melons

On Tuesday, I told you about how I had such an exciting weekend that you may have thought it was all for Thursday blog fodder.

TMI Thursday(It wasn't.)

But the events of my Saturday, though spontaneous and without pretense, do contain some definite TMI material.

After drinking at a dive bar, I headed over to a gal pal's house.

After continuing to drink at my gal pal's house, it at some point became a good idea to talk about boobs. Perhaps the subject came up because the majority of the guests were guys. My gal pal's fiance was celebrating his birthday, afterall. So, boys party = boy topics. I guess.

Anyway, my gal pal and I are both pretty well endowed.

T to the I to the double D, remember?

We decided a contest was in order, to determine whose are bigger.

So, my friend and I went up to a spare bedroom with her sister and a kitchen scale.

We got topless and stood with our backs against the wall while her sister conducted the weigh-in, one teat at a time.

Due to the haze of alcohol, I don't recall the exact ounce-age of each, but I do remember this:

I won! It was only by a couple of ounces, and who knows if these findings are scientific?

(And we decided to say it was a dead heat, a tie... I don't know why I didn't just take my victory and run with it.)

So. This is what your middle school math teachers and your bankers do on the weekends.

I guess we found it amusing because it involved numbers?!

Visit Lilu's blog for more tragic tales!

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

mornings plus amber do not equal love

Good morning.

(No, I'm lying. It's not a good morning. This morning seriously sucks.)

(Don't mind me, that's the tired talking.)

I am just not used to this new schedule yet. Before yesterday, I could not tell you the last time I left my house before 9:00 in the morning. I'm sure those of you with kids or other early morning responsibilities are singing Cry Me a River in Justin Timberlake's beautiful falsetto even as you read this. Which is fair, I guess.

I mean, it's my fault you had babies.

Just kidding, friends. Pausespice to make coffee so to summon the nice amber...

And... here she is.

So, yesterday morning was a bit easier than today. I guess there was the novelty of the darkness that greeted me when I rolled out of bed at 6:30 and rushed through a blog post. Hubs, who had gotten his shower Monday night, crawled back into bed for a few minutes, so I had the peace and quiet of the house, my coffee (all I had to do was push the start button!) and more of the kind of moring I am used to. When I got in the shower at 7:30 7:35, I had fourty-five minutes to carefully straighten my hair, apply my make-up, and look smashing(ish) when I left the house at 8:15 8:20. I made it downtown with mere seconds to spare.

This morning has been a cluster fudge compared to all that. Hubs did not get a shower last night. We spent the earliest moments of this morning on the couch next to each other. He had claimed the laptop. I didn't care. I hate blogging with him next to me anyway.

So, 6:55. I went ahead and got in the shower.
7:10, hair in towel turban and pj's back on: started this post while hubs got in the shower (and didn't even grumble about how I used all the hot water, which I am pretty sure I did.)
7:20, started the coffee, aimed the blow dryer at my hair, brushed my teeth, put the ass end of some moisturizer from a bottle onto my face.
7:35, sat back down to finish post with my coffee in hand as hubs "hustled" around the house to get out the door.
7:54, currently sitting here composing this drivel.

Yeah. Two things.

First, why did I carefully straighten my hair and apply make-up yesterday? Are they going to expect more of the same today?

Secondly, I am aware that the majority of modern marriages end in divorce. I'm curious -- of those that do -- how many of those couples were forced to share one laptop and one bathroom? Seriously. Someone should do a study.

Eek. I need to leave in fifteen minutes. But, let's be honest.

I probably won't be out the door for at least another twenty.

(Update - 8:25 a.m. and officially running late, I realized I published this post without a title. Clearly, I signed back in to remedy the situation, and now I'm going to drive like a bat outta hell to make it downtown on time. Clearly.)

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

amber: unplugged

I mostly stayed offline yesterday. I think it was my first weekday without a post in months.

Pardon me, as I spent the day recovering from a hangover that hung for the better part of the weekend.

I had so much fun on Saturday, you would have thought I was looking for fodder for my next installment of TMI Thursday.

(I wasn't. But, that sounds like a good excuse.)

The friend I was with said, "You know, I don't think I've been drunk since New Years."

"Neither have I!" I realized.

She and I were feeling really proud of ourselves, and toasted to that -- she with her MGD 64 and me with my full-flavored Coors Lite. Then I pointed out that we weren't even three weeks into 2010. Not that much of an accomplishment.

Still, bottoms up.

Well. It's early, world. I'm off to my first day of a week-long bank training to prepare for my new job, which starts next Tuesday, seven little days from today. I have to get myself to downtown Louisville by 9:00 this morning, which is sometimes a twenty minute commute and sometimes a one hour commute.

It's either blog now, before my coffee, or not at all.

So, I shall pour my coffee, empty my reader, try to comment on a few of the posts I missed yesterday, and hope I get to check back in this afternoon for your comments.

Oh, and don't even ask about my WIP progress from the weekend.

Don't even ask.

Friday, January 15, 2010

because i won awards

In the past little while, I have received several blog awards. Blog awards make me feel warm and fuzzy inside and cause me to jump up and down and clap my hands together.

Sweet Shandal gave me this happy award and now
I am supposed to tell you ten things that make me happy. So, I will.
1. Peace and quiet when I get home from work, which I am so not experiencing at this moment.
2. Sleeping in until noon. Or, waking up earlier than that and not needing to rush around to go anywhere.
3. Breakfast for dinner.
4. Blog comments. (Seriously, I think it causes a spike in my seratonin.)
5. Wearing purple.
6. My niece, Carley, who is specialspice.
7. Ending things with spice because I jock busybeelauren.
8. icky love stuff.
9. karaoke.
10. water: of the ocean, the pool, and the hot tub variety.

For the record, Pink Flipflops bestowed this award on me about a month ago, and I would like to publicly thank her now, though I did so at the time on a blog comment.

I am also supposed to pass this on to ten happy blogs. I will do that. Eventually.

Poshspice for a new generation, Jayme over at Kentucky Blonde awarded me with the chic blogger award. I thought it was pronounced chick like a baby bird, but she corrected me and told me that it's actually pronounced sheek. I am not sure I am worthy of this award. I think she may have only given it to me because I am kind of her boss, (but I'm only her boss until tomorrow, after which we will no longer be working together.)

There are no rules associated with this award, but I may pass it on to someone fashionable. Eventually.

Finally, Yvonne, The Organic Writer, thinks I am worthy of the Super Scribbler Award, and I am honored. Now, I have heard of this award before, but I was pleased as punch to discover its origins.

I think this is supercoolspice. Check out The Scholastic Scribe, where it all started. These are the official rules, most of which I am breaking. For the moment.

Of course, as with every Bloggy Award, there are A Few Rules. They are, forthwith:
Each Superior Scribbler must in turn pass The Award on to 5 most-deserving Bloggy Friends.
Each Superior Scribbler must link to the author & the name of the blog from whom he/she has received The Award.
Each Superior Scribbler must display The Award on his/her blog, and link to This Post, which explains The Award.
Each Blogger who wins The Superior Scribbler Award must visit this post and add his/her name to the Mr. Linky List. That way, we'll be able to keep up-to-date on everyone who receives This Prestigious Honor!
Each Superior Scribbler must post these rules on his/her blog.

(A note from me: I couldn't find a way to add my name to the Mr. Linky List, sadly. However, it was cool to see the 1039 bloggers who are linked!)

I feel important.

I shall be passing along the awards at some point. If you are interested in one of the awards, feel free to comment and nominate yourself.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

TMI Thursday: in which I am a poet

Shannon at Ramblings of a Wannabe Scribe is hosting a poetry celebration day. (I'm a sucker for sonnets, a supporter of stanzas, and a glutton for punishment.) Misery loves company, so head over and sign up.

the rough draft

With petals and paintbrushes,
we pick and paste pain, and
soil a pure canvas
with shallow shades of shame.
Condolences ring out in firey reds,
tears rush in watercolored blues.
We attach our brushes to could-be
beautiful hues.
We trample on the
sacred grounds of artistry when
we carelessly slosh
sponged up imagery
on plastic pages
or write weary/wasted
watered-down words.
We have forgotten the frailty of language.
We bend; we break.
We the writers,
risk ruin,
and find our treasure that way.

about a boy

god's thumbnail decorates the night sky
like he's stamping his imprint onto earth,
and barefoot, I drive familiar roads home,
tuning the radio
adjusting the air
thinking of him
and wondering if he saw god's thumbprint tonight, too,
all the way across the country
now that i'm miles further from his heart.

If you would like to read more of my poetry, you can click here or here. (Isn't it sweet that I think you might want to?)

This installment of TMI Thursday bucks tradition, yes -- but head over to Lilu's blog for tragic tales most likely not written in verse.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

i thought the lotus was just a pretty flower...

What email program do you use at work?

At the bank where I work now, we use Outlook. I've always found it easy to navigate, straight-forward, and user friendly.

Next week, I start a new job with a different bank (my bank is actually merging into the new bank where I'm going to work ) and I'll be forced to make the move to Lotus Notes.

I recently took a web-based training, which overviewed the application, and my reaction was as follows...

Um, I think I might need to take a full-on college course, grad school style, in order to understand this madness. Seriously. I am not qualified to use this application.  

I just printed out a "quick reference guide" to have at my fingertips next week. There is nothing quick about it. It is a bible: twenty-one pages devoted to general user knowledge.

I don't know if it's just me (and my occasional aversion to change) but the program seems old-school, archaic. It reminds me of when my parents first got the internet in the nineties, and we had dial-up Juno.

For any of you tech-savy people of there, are you familiar with Lotus? How does it compare to Outlook?

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

winken, blinken and nodding off

Why is it that I'm the most creative right before I fall asleep?

Maybe it's because I'm free of distractions -- no basketball games in the background, no ABC Bachelor drama to captivate me, no husband yammering in my ear (unless you count, at that moment in time, his snoring.)

Yes, I lay awake and stare at the ceiling and the internal monologue/ narrative of my ms just flows through my thoughts as if it had been there all day, waiting for my undivided attention. I'll think of a phrase so beautiful, long to get out of bed to write it down, but stay where I am -- because if I get up I'll start writing and I'll never get any sleep. My husband will wake up and find me hovering over the laptop (or sitting on the floor of the bathroom with notebook paper) and gauntlet's will be thrown about what lack of sleep does for my overall sanity well being.

Yes, I stay where I am, warm and full of words. I'll keep repeating things I particularly like -- sentences, phrases, metaphors, similies, symbols, scenes.

Don't forget that.
Don't forget that.

And in the morning it's gone -- or worse, half there and as cloudy as a leftover dream.

And I can never get it back.

And it makes me sad.

Monday, January 11, 2010

sickish and bookish

I am not a morning person.

(Hell, I'm not even a morning blogger.)

This morning was particularly bad, though. My stomach is all crampyspice. I didn't feel well all weekend -- sat around the house like an agoraphobic. My couch is all butt-indented.

Luckily, I was able to take a half day off. Now I'm home sitting on my butt-indented couch, chillaxing.

Ahh, the afternoon is mine. Aside from stirring my husband's chili every thirty minutes, I can do whateveriwant for the rest of the day.

Perhaps I can start book number two of the one hundred I vowed to read in 2010. (Yeah, I'd better get a move on. I can't be taking ten days to read one book... but in my defense, THE LITTLE FRIEND was 555 pages long.)

So, in case you're interested, here's my to-be-read list. These titles, recently purchased from Half Price Books, cost me a mere $24.90.

Nick Hornby's HOW TO BE GOOD
Kelly Corrigan's THE MIDDLE PLACE
Jeffrey Eugenides' MIDDLESEX
Christopher Buckley's NO WAY TO TREAT A FIRST LADY

I can't decide where to start.

First, I'll catch up on my reader and write a little to try to distract myself from this bellyache. (Perhaps all the coffee I had this morning was not in my best interest.)

(It was worth it, though.)

(I'm really nasty tired in the morning without coffee.)

Saturday, January 9, 2010

a contest and an outline

I almost forgot to post about this writerly contest over at Shooting Stars. Follow the link to find out how to enter. There are some great prizes, including some first-five-page critiques. That's certainly the prize I'm hoping to win. There's only a small window of time left to enter, so scoot on over there.

So, I've been hard at work on my manuscript and even considered posting my prologue here for feedback, but I thought it might be a bit premature/ irresponsible (you know, paranoia about getting it ripped off.)

I wish I was ready for beta readers. I have the prologue, and the first three chapters, which are solid. Complete. Chapter four is half finished, but one character appears at the beginning of the chapter with no real introduction. He's mentioned in the prolgoue, but I need to clarify how he and Laurel meet, or at least set the stage for their friendship prior to chapter four. (Note to self: don't forget to do that.)

A later chapter is written -- longer than the others; it will probably ended up divided into two later chapters.

This week, I've been working on an even later chapter.

Prologue (bad news Laurel will receive post-chapter eight, written)
Chapter One (Laurel's early childhood, written)
Chapter Two (Laurel's childhood, written)
Chapter Three (Laurel + Adam = love, written)
Chapter Four (Incomplete, Laurel leaves for college, half-written)
SPACE (The end of Laurel's first year of college - may be resolved by end of chapter four)
Chapter Six (Laurel meets David, written)
Chapter Seven (insert second half of chapter six here; Laurel leaves for a different college, written)
SPACE (Laurel transfers schools again, exit David and enter Owen, not yet written)
Chapter Nine? (Laurel's "problem," not yet written)
SPACE (Not written. What will happen next? Hmm, I don't want to give too much away!)

Well, that felt good, but probably made no sense to my readers. Yikes.

Friday, January 8, 2010

the almost accident

Yeah, winter sucks.

I just commented on a blog and referred to snow as the white devil.

I know, I don't have it too terribly bad. Here in Louisville, Kentucky we got three-ish inches of that powdery posion yesterday, and today we've had pretty constant flurry of activity. The main roads in town are better now, but the driving through my neighborhood is still akin to a death wish.

Enter: me, yesterday, sliding through my subdivision at a respectable hour of the morning, so for to get to work on time. I was so proud of myself for a) pre-starting my car to let it get warm and toasty for me (and isn't it supposed to be good for the vehicle as well?) and for b) allowing extra time for my short commute to work.

There I sat in my shiny snow-drenched little Pontiac Vibe -- she's cherry red, and all sportyspice. This is our first winter together, so all the way up the icy hills of my little piece of suburban Louisville I gave her a little pep talk that went, "Come on Bella, do it for Edward."

(Yes, I named her Bella. I had just finished reading the fourth book when I bought my car. Sue me.)

Well, Bella was crusing along with no trouble at all -- like Kristi Yamaguchi on wheels -- until we reached the front my my neighborhood. (You have to understand that most mornings I am running at least one to five minutes late, so usually I negotiate that right turn onto the main road with the tiniest bit of reckless abandon.)

Not yesterday, though. Yesterday I planned to excute a full and complete stop (as opposed to "totally pausing.") I even contemplated flicking on my right turn signal for good measure.

Bella had other ideas. Perhaps she was under Voltari control.

She. did. not. stop. It felt like time did, though.

The neighborhood ended; the two lane highway began, and Bella and I were out there, in the middle of it, watching a van barrel down the road toward our left side. I uttered the same four-letter-word about four times, and scooched back into my seat as far as I could go, arms extended and gripping the steering wheel for dear life. (I thought scooting back might help if the minivan did hit the car, that maybe I could be "back" away from the damage. Funny, the way we think when the mind goes into survival mode.)

Well. Thankfully, Bella decided to stop skidding right in the middle of the road, and the minivan saw us in time to bypass us by easing into the other lane, where there was -- thanks to my lucky stars -- no oncoming traffic.

My heart was pumping faster than that of a teenager attending New Moon and watching Taylor Lautner remove his tee-shirt for the first time. My whole body shook with more fervor than the whole of the Pentecost.

Crisis averted.

(But winter still sucks.)

Thursday, January 7, 2010

TMI Thursday: in which my sanity took a hiatus

A decade ago, I was minding my own business as a sophomore in college. At the time, I attended the University of Kentucky in Lexington. (That was my lone semester there, and the story I'm about to share made the semester a memorable one.)

So. It was November -- in fact, it was the first Tuesday in November -- the day of the Presidential Election. My then-boyfriend then-lived in Louisville, and came over to Lex. for a visit.

The day before, I had started to experience intense back pain. The walk from my Monday math class was a literal trek across campus, and I had to stop and take a break because I was in so much pain. I didn't know if I would make it back to my dorm room.

My then-boyfriend arrived and we attended a folky concert Monday night. After, I laid in my bed with a heating pad beneath me and moaned and moaned.

The next day, I felt only slightly better. The boyfriend and I decided to do something low-key, so we went to a movie. Halfway through the film, the pain in my back became so severe that I started crying and shaking.

We left and went to the emergency room at the University Hospital.

I am not sure how long we sat in the waiting room, but I believe it was hours. At first, I sat very still, trying to block out the pain by concentrating on election coverage spewing from the small television matted in the corner of the room. I was very quiet,  and shivering though burning up with fever. I got sick in the restroom. I felt like death.

All I remember is at some point everything went hazy. It was like trying to drive in heavy fog.

A man next to me moaned ("I'm so sick" and "Ohh, it hurts") and it sounded like he was mocking me. Nurses and would-be-patients talked in hushed tones at the reception desk, looking up from time to time and scanning the room with their brows narrowed. In my world, I thought they were staring at me as though I were suspiciuos, up to something. I swore I saw my then-boyfriend get up and have a full-on argument with a nurse and then make a phone call (I somehow knew that he was calling a doctor...) from a little room near the automatic doors that led into the hospital -- a room I would later learn did not exist.

I figured out what all the hushed whispers were about: all these people in the waiting room thought my boyfriend and I were posing as a low income couple in an attempt to try to get into seen by a doctor faster. Somehow, this was all politically motivated and we were a part of some conspiracy theory type of experiment -- in the eyes of all these other people in the waiting room. It hardly even makes sense to tell the story now, but it sure seemed real at the time.

Don't misunderstand. I didn't think I was part of the conspiracy. I knew at the time there was no conspiracy, but for some reason I believed everyone else thought this was the case -- so I made a big show of actually being ill -- calling my mom, calling and letting my employer know I was in the emergency room and wouldn't be at work for awhile.

I noticed a man standing near the reception desk who shook his head and looked in my direction and laughed in disbelief. A nurse had just handed him a piece of paper.

Though I had been sitting in silence for hours -- practically unable to move because of the pain -- I jumped up, and announced in a shout, "There is something very wrong going on here!" I moved toward the entrance. "No one can leave. You are all witnesses. I'm a reporter for the Kentucky Colonel" (this part was true) "and I'm going to blow the cover off this story!"

See, I thought the nurse had given the man who laughed the results of my urine test... which would prove to him whether or not I was sick. (Oh, nevermind that I hadn't given a urine sample yet.)

I explained to the nurse her crime. She looked at me as if I was high. "Ma'am, we did not give out your test results to anyone."

A security officer arrived. Apparently, he'd been paged with the following information: we have an unruly female in the E.R. He attempted to corroborate the nurse's story of innocence.

"Of course you would say that she did nothing wrong. You work for the hospital. I want to talk to someone not affiliated with this hospital!" (I was getting a little louder at this point. Now, people actually were starting to stare.)

"Do you want us to call the Lexington police?"

"Yeah. Call them."

My then-boyfriend took me outside to try to calm me down. In highsight, it was also probably an attempt to get away from the looks of concern, confusion, and pity aimed in his direction. Standing alone under the neon lights of the emergency room entrance, he tried to understand what I thought had transpired. He tried to explain that I was straight nuts had imagined the whole thing.

The police car pulled up before I really believed this escapade was the product of my high fever (and perhaps, my overly active imagination.)

As he opened his cruiser, I put my hand on the door to sort of "help" him out.

"Step away from the car, ma'am."


So, after explaining that I was not strung out on drugs, I ended up apologizing to the nurse for my accusation. I was admitted to the hospital with an extremely high fever and e coli bacteria swimming around in my blood stream. (The diagnosis was Pyelonephritis, fancy for a bad kidney infection. A nurse friend later told me that there is a 75% mortality rate associated with this ailment. I'm not completely sure he knew what he was talking about, but I did receive IV injections of Cipro, the medicine used to treat exposure to Anthrax, so it is fair to say that I was one sick little lady. I stayed in the hospital for the better part of a week.)

Since I was at a university hospital, I got to explain my shennanigans to a team of doctors, one after another, who had already heard bits and pieces about my outburst and wanted the juicy details. Back then, I swore to never recount this story to anyone else except my immediate family, since it was, you know, kind of embarrassing.

The next morning my then-boyfriend ran into a man who had witnessed my bout of crazy.

"Is that girl your girlfriend?"

"Uh, yeah," said my then-boyfriend.

"Dude," he said. "You've got your hands full with that one."

Be sure to visit Lilu's blog for more tragic tales!

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

spammy whammy and self-loathing, writer style

I got my first spammy-anonymous comments today.

I am not happy about this. I have no interest in seeing Miley Cyrus nude.

If the commenter left a link about seeing Ryan Reynolds in the buff -- well, that might have been a different story.

Anywho, I hope this does not become a regular occurance on my blog. I post enough smut on my own, and don't need the from some nameless commenter in that arena. Nor do I need viruses to infiltrate my computer. Stay away, H1N1 of the internet!

Moving on.

Many of my followers are the writerly type, and I so enjoy your tips and advice and reading about your journeys. I wish I had the focus to blog about writing every day.

But, it's six days into the new year and I am not happy with a word I have written in 2010. (Well, except for the no kissy blogfest scene. I definitely dig that.)

I was stressing about the middle of the book -- it was sagging, it was lacking something -- so after struggling through a few scenes I decided to abandon ship and head to another section well into the second half of my story.

My husband went to bed early last night. He was feeling a little under the weather. I thought about how wonderful it was going to be to have peace and quiet. It was just going to be me and my manuscript, snuggled together on the couch with the electric blanket.

I tried to write. I wrote a paragraph and hated it. Then, I did an online crossword puzzle. I wrote another paragraph and hated it. I watched Chelsea Lately. Then I wrote another paragraph went to bed.

Patheticspice. I don't even like this blog post.

I think I shall hibernate until early March. I'm a bear to be around in the winter.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

take a look at yourself and make a change

In less than two weeks, I start a new job.

Usually, musings of amber murphy doesn't really go there. I tend to blog about my (intermittent) questionable behavior/ my writing woes/ my grandma/ procrastination.

Occasionally, I do mention the bank, usually when I am in the mood to sucker punch either customers or coworkers in the face.

(Sometimes I get a little pissy.)

So, in two weeks I will go to work for a different bank. However, in about six weeks, the bank where I currently work will convert into to that same different bank, via a buy-out merger buy-out that has been in the works since October 2008.

Change, it is a'blowin' in like wind.

I don't much care for change (says the same gal who tried on colleges like they were shoes, attending three schools in four years.) (I graduated, and on time, thankyouverymuch.)

And here's my resume -- settle in for a hell of a paragraph -- I have worked at a nineteen screen movie theatre, Old Navy, TJ Maxx, as a baby-sitter, at a Jesus summer camp, at a conglomerate-ish coffee shop, (what was the name of that place?) at a mall Waldenbooks, Dillards, restaurants including: Rafferty's, Cracker Barrel, Garretts, The Rib Crib, and The Cooker, and at Blockbuster, and as a substitute teacher for little kids and high school students (not on the same day) and as a cafe gal in the library at the University of Kentucky, and as a telemarketer. Finally, I wound up a banker.

I wonder if I forgot any.

That's a lot of change in the span of a decade (okay, twelve years... okay, seventeen years, if you consider that I started baby-sitting at the tender age of eleven.)

For someone who claims to abhor change, it would appear that I am a glutton for punishment. Or, a workaholic. Add work to the list of my addictions.

I vow here and now not to let all this change in the workplace interfere with my blogging. That would be a crying shame, as I would die a little inside each day if I suddenly had no time to write to you.

Yeah, I know.

You're welcome.

Monday, January 4, 2010

twenty ten, you're alright


I know it's only been three days, but I think twenty ten is going swimmingly well so far.

But, it was still a hell of a Monday.

In honor of my Sweet Niblet, who is MIA for personal reasons (and whose blog handle has been hijacked!) I think it's time for yet another edition of Make Me Laugh Monday, where readers "who got jokes" leave their best funny in the comments section for the sole pupose of making me giggle.

Go on: leave 'em. Sometimes there is talk of a prize being awarded to a winner.

Now pardon me while I try to track down miss Tina Lynn Sandoval.

Update: My Sweet Niblet's blog handle was not hijacked. I was just entering the address incorrectly. Sweet Niblet. Blogspot. Com is some random girl. Our lovely Niblet's is Her Name. Blogpot. Com, and is linked so you can go over and give her some love, as we try to will her back to the blogosphere using jedi mind tricks.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

cut the tension with a butter knife or an ice pick or something

Cozy up and let the sexual tension in: it's no kiss blogfest. (Note: scene written exclusively for no-kissy blogfest, but may just find its way into my WIP.)

This scene takes place when my main character, Laurel, returns home from college for her fall break. She arrives in town too late to attend the play at her former high school -- but she and her best friend Paul stop by to inquire about the plans for the cast party. Paul is still in high school and has the "in" with the artsy crowd, but didn't perform in the school play because of commitments to Community Theatre.  Laurel's ex-boyfriend directed the play, and he and Laurel haven't seen each other since she left for college a few months before.

     She and Paul walked toward the auditorium well after the lights had come up, just as the stars of the show were leaving, their stage make-up unnatural looking now under the harsh flourscent lights of the school parking lot. Their voices rang as they traipsed across the blacktop, a high pitched unison of adrenaline laced squeals celebrating the theatric triumph of closing night. Boquets clenched tightly in their arms lost petals that danced in the air like crismson snowflakes.
     The familiar smell of her high school -- an aroma that Laurel found nameless, but that intoxicated her to the core -- lingered and wafted as she and Paul stepped through the double doors.
     On the stage, a few crew members remained, procuring now useless set pieces and props. 
     A boy with a broom did one of those little jumps where his toes touched in mid-air.
     He turned and caught sight of Laurel. The broom clanked onto the stage with immediate abandon.
     The boy was Adam.
     He leaped from the apron of the stage, and had she been farther away when he spotted her, might have broken into a sprint to be at her side, to smother her in a hug that broke her heart and stitched it into a whole organ all at once. His arms wound around her as if hanging on for dear life, as though he were doubtful that she was really in front of him and not some sort of October apparition.
     "Laurelbelle," he said, holding her still, his hands clutched together behind her with an uncharacteristic lack of wanting to let go.
     "Hey, you," said Laurel, in a vain attempt at a casual greeting. Her voice trembled and gave her away.
     Adam finally pulled back and Laurel grabbed his neck with both her hands.
     "Laurel," he said, and sounded breathless.
     "Let me get a look at you," she said, holding his wrists and pulling him back into her by the distance of a centimeter.
     His flannel shirt was halfway unbuttoned and a soft grey tee-shirt peeked out from beneath it. Something turquoise hung from his neck on a leather strap. He looked perfect (of course, perfect to Laurel) and his aqua eyes shined. There was tenderness in his smile. His face, however, clear and unmucked when she left him, was now in the midst of teenaged revolution, pocked with imperfections that didn't bother Laurel in the least. She thought for one instant that she might have found the acne unappealing if she hadn't loved him so much.
     Then she admitted to herself that she wanted to shower kisses all over his lovely face.
     "God, it's so great to see you," he said. "Are you and Paul coming to the cast party?"
     "Do you think it would be okay if I did?" She dropped his wrists and immediately wanted to hold them again.
     He ran a hand along his scalp, and for a moment she considered he might not want her there, interferring with his ready made plans to be anywhere else but near her, as if their momentary reunion was one that was staged and only heartfelt for the onlookers, who were probably whispering about them behind the heavy velvet curtains.
     "I would like that," he said, his arm hitting the small of her back as he edged them toward the stage to join Paul and the others, who were presumably hiding out just behind the curtains.
     She stopped short, hoping that he might embrace her again, wanting to feel one more instant of his arms around her, just in case he was swept away at the cast party, and the night did not end with them clutching each other in the dark, the way it had just a year ago when their lips said hello for the first time.
     He turned and enveloped her, his mouth grazing the spot where an earring could have been.
     "I'll see you there," he said, and he was gone in a second, only off to the crow's nest to grab his backpack, but leaving behind a dizzy peal of expectation in Laurel's head.
     She turned to face the empty autotorium and stifled the hunch to take a bow.

Friday, January 1, 2010

in which my goals were too far reaching

I'm off to a quick start on my quest to read 100 books in twenty ten; eighty pages into Donna Tartt's THE LITTLE FRIEND, which (as I just tweeted) is as good as slow sex.

If only I could get the new year to give me a swift kick in the writing pants. I'm struggling with the middle section of my WIP, bogged down with lack of subplot/ juvenile writing/ Donna Tartt making me feel inferior.

I just wrote one sentence, went back and read the first and last lines of each chapter, and exited out of the document.

Stellar progress.

I've been catching up on my google reader this evening, and was inspired by Melane's post over at Chasing the Dream. She's decided to write everysingle day in 2010. Obviously, this is a fantastic quest. And, Melane is smart and didn't give herself some ridiculously steep word count to meet each day. 500 little words, because sometimes that's all that happens for her.

That is okay. There is nothing wrong with that.

I have this nasty little habit of setting far reaching goals and promptly giving up when they don't turn out to be attainable. Once (and I'm not Catholic) I decided to give up the following for Lent: cursing, chocolate, television, caffeine, meat, carbs, my first born. You get the panoramic picture.

I can't tell you how quickly I got frustrated and gave in to my cravings for all of the above with the exception of a first born.

Oh, and then there was Nano (National November Writing Month.) (Death by ink pen.)

So, yes -- while I agree that it is admirable and essential to reach for the stars, I just wanted to remind myself of those wise words attributed to Socrates:  nothing in excess.

Not even ludacrisly high word count goals which you and I both know I will never meet.

Cheers to low daily word expectations for 2010. And just maybe I'll exceed them.

The Happiest of  New Years to all of you. Ten years ago today, I was suffering after my first night of drunken excess. I didn't know much about Socrates back then.