Thursday, April 29, 2010

tmi thursday: the mini-murphy-muffin's first photo op

In this photo: I don't have any pants on!!

I had my first ultrasound yesterday. I thought they were going to squeeze some KY Jelly looking stuff on my belly and roll this video camera contraption around on me groin. Oh, no. Instead, my doctor inserted a dildo-ish device right up in my you-know!

FYI. That chair contorts. I was all high up in the air, legs splayed open and feet resting in oven-mit covered stirrups. Next to me, hubs says, "We need a chair like that!"

My mind immediately went to sexy time games, so I got all blushy.


Hi, I'm Amber's uterus! I have a visitor.

Well, there is -- in fact -- a baby inside me. Baby is 1.01 cm long and we got to see the strong heart beat.

Doctor mentioned there is only ONE baby in there. Hallelujah.

My due date is officially December 16, 2010.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

beta club rewrite

Here's my rewrite of my WIP excerpt, originally posted on Roni's Beta Club. Let me explain that there is a prologue which details the events of May 2005. The "present action" in chapter one takes place in February 2005.

Have a gander. Let me know if you think I'm on the right track for infusing flashblack.

Chapter 1

     One might assume that if Laurel was going to have a near-mental-breakdown that it would have happened after David's death, after his vague and -- what could only be alledged -- suicide a la slap-in-the-face.


     Instead, it was three months prior (eerily, almost three months to the day) when Laurel nearly went bat-shit crazy.

     "Tell me about your childhood, Laurel," said Dr. Mian as he settled into an oversized chair. He turned to face her. She thought he had kind eyes.

     "Ah, yes. Childhood trauma. Don't all our stories really start there, all the way back in those formative years?" Twenty-four year old Laurel crossed her arms. She knew she was reaching, trying to sound like she was on the same level as her doctor.

      He raised his eyebrows, but he didn't stop her, so she kept going.

     "The deck might already be stacked against us, but the cards are still being shuffled and have not yet been dealt. Then, like lightning, some event or non-event happens or does not happen, and we are thrust into the wheels of fate, which are turned and clank."

     "Laurel," he said. His voice sang in paternal tones The way a father's voice should sound. "Try to tell me about your own childhood, not just childhood in general. What do you remember most?"

     Okay, fine, yes: she suffered from daddy issues. But she felt it poor form to use those issues as an excuse for the way her life turned out. Who didn't keep a skeleton stuffed closet, crammed full of those secrets that go bump after midnight? When she did allow herself to look back on her childhood, she pretended she was celebrating a middle-aged birthday; an emcee might have grabbed a microphone and crooned, Laurel Lancaster, this is your life! as he rolled the tape. A curly haired, cherry cheeked child would appear on a screen while the music of a merry-go-round faded in a bit atonally.

     Though it really wasn't true, because it couldn't have been the case, Laurel told her doctor she remembered it with clarity: the day her mother left her father.

     She was barely five years old; she hadn't started kindergarten. Who can recall details from that far back? Maybe people can. Laurel was sure she had blocked most of it out. What she knew for sure was this: her sister, Laine, was a screaming toddler. Carol, Laurel's portly mother, wore a fat lip and a powder blue housedress. Carol told her husband they were just going out for ice cream.

     Out the window of the office, the sky was a dull gray. A man in black shoveled the parking lot. His partner banged snow off the sign at the entrance, uncovering a little more of Brownsboro Retreat with each smack of his work glove. Laurel blinked back tears and stuffed her hands into the pocket of her hooded sweatshirt.

     She turned back to Dr. Mian.

     "We walked out into the heat of that summer in 1986 and never looked back. My mom put us in the car and we drove the seven miles to my grandparents' house, and we moved in."

     Laurel's Mamaw, Elizabeth Hutchings, was a warm, round woman who made butter and sugar sandwiches whenever Laurel came to visit. Mamaw welcomed them in with open arms, shooing Laurel's mother when she tried to stammer out an apology. Mamaw patted Laurel's cheek and sent her to the kitchen where one of those crustless concoctions waited, cut into a triangle on a paper towel.

     Laurel's Papaw, Calvin, wasn't home that afternoon. He worked for Farm Bureau Insurance and smelled of cigarettes, not stale cigarettes, but like bonfires in October. He traveled often, yet when he returned it was with the grandest of presents -- later that night it was a piggy bank already nearly full of shiny silver coins -- his absence was forgiven and forgotten. Mamaw and Papaw were married in the early forties, before the war. He had to marry her before he left, because she made him. That was the story, at least, that went around their dinner table and always got a good laugh out of the grown-ups. They hosted many friends and dinner parties, but they were the sort who would neaten their home before the cleaning lady arrived, embarrassed to show any sign of weakness, even in the form of dust bunnies.

     That night, Laurel crept halfway down the stairs and stood behind the banister to spy on the adults. Her chubby, childish fingers gripped the smooth, white bars until her knuckles became camouflaged in the same color.

     She watched her grandparents, sitting up straight on the couch, flanking her mother. Papaw smoothed her hair while Mamaw wiped her daughter’s tears. In the dark, drapes tightly drawn, family secrets could breathe. Laurel's chest rose and fell as she watched her mother in that moment, surrounded by two loving parents, strong Midwesterners who lost their son to AIDS. Now, they would now carry a daughter through divorce.

     "What I felt that day was jealousy," she said to the doctor. "My mother had a father, and all of the sudden, I didn't have a dad anymore."

     He nodded. "Keep going."

     They lived in Bedford, Indiana, the limestone capital of the world. The house was red brick with a wide front porch overlooking the main street in town. It sat directly across from the new city pool, a chaotic, loud place, foreign to Laurel. She was afraid of the water. The next morning, Laurel sat in her playroom and stared out the second floor window, mesmerized by the twisting water slide.


     Laurel glanced at Dr. Mian. His hands were folded in his lap and his head was cocked to one side.

     He was listening.

     "I sat there and wondered if the day would ever come when I would be brave enough to climb that mountain of steps and slide down it. I didn't know it then, but the day the call came would be that day."

Okay, what do you think, dearest readers? Do you like the back and forth between present and past? My plan is to finish the chapter in Laurel's past, with a paragraph or two at the end of the chapter where she is either finishing her session with the doctor or back in her room at the "retreat."

Please keep in mind that this is my first attempt at a massive structure change in the telling of the story.

Feedbacks: go!
Do your thingspice.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

leave all your toxins at the feet of the porcelain god

Morning sickness is crap.

It's like being hungover on a daily basis, except I didn't do anything fun the night before.

I got sick for the first time yesterday morning, after composing my post.

Then, this morning right after I woke up, I had the urge to dry heave. Blech!

Yesterday, when I told hubs I'd gotten all pukified, he said, "Good."

I was all, "Padon?"

Hubs explained he learned on the internets that morning sickness means mommy-to-be is expelling toxins, so that it is a good thing for me to be praying to the porcelain god right now.

I don't know his sources -- hubs isn't really a senk-ya-the-link kinda guy. However, two evolutionary biologists from Cornell agree with him.

(I'll bet they are dudes.)

Telling pregnant people morning sickness is good... bravespice. Now, where the hell are my saltines?!

In other news, I had a strange dream last night. In said dream, I was driving around Pennsylvania with my parents looking at a college. There was something to do with a book that another student? woman? someone left behind in a cab.

Also, all the houses and buildings were very boxy looking. Modernized.

In part two of the dream, I was in a newly-opened Chinese restaurant (I knew the owners) and a group of people at the next table had a movie I wanted to borrow. In order to borrow it, I had to go over to the woman in their group and breathe hot air onto her neck. Then, it turned out we'd gone to middle school together.

Don't ask.

In the last part of the dream, I was working at the bank drive-thru, but I got to sit in bed and all the tubes just dropped right down on the pillows next to me.

Now that would be fantasticspice.

Monday, April 26, 2010

random and candid. per usual.

Hubs is on vacay this week. What a lucky dog.

Of course, hubs being in the house all day throws a wrench in my lunch-time blogging routine. So, here I sit, at seven in the morning...

I don't write as well in the morning.

I've done plenty of posts about how much I am not a morning person. I'll spare you another. Plus, I have to get used to life without much sleep by December, when my little niblet gets here -- or sooner than that, since I hear it will get harder and harder to get any shut eye once the belly really swells up to some ungodly size.

Well, this is going swimmingly. I think I need a random five: Those always help.

1. Watched The Lovely Bones this weekend. Adored the book, abhored the movie. Isn't that always the way?

2. When to bed at 10:00 on Saturday night. I couldn't hold my eyes open! I slept like a baby until 8:00 Sunday morning. When I woke, I parked myself on the couch to indulge in the Sunday sit-in. As much as hubs likes to remind me that I need my Vitamin D, I needed a day to stay home and catch up on the internets. So, I read about Brett Michael's being in the ICU, devoured some back issues of Jeff Probst's Survivor blog, watched some childbirth vids on youtube... which almost made me pass out. Don't go there anymore, Amber.  Never. Againspice.

3. Read some stories on The Bump, a website for all things prenatal. I posted a topic on the 1st trimester message board. I wrote about how I was a heavy smoker before finding out I was knocked up, and explained that though I have cut down considerably, I haven't been able to quit completely. I asked for techniques and suggestions from the moms-to-be. Anyone else in my boat? What worked what didnt'?

4. The above question, of course, took some balls to post. Well, not really. I mean, they are just words, and I just typed them and hit submit. Reading the responses was more difficult. Someone called me trashy. Still, others gave me some great suggestions, including carrying around an unopened pack for an "emergency" but trying not to open it. It's much easier to grab a smoke from an open package. But, if I try to go the whole day without tearing off the plastic wrapping, maybe I can make it through one day.

5. I go to the doctor Wednesday! I hope I have exciting news to share. I don't know if the OB will perform an ultrasound or not, but I hope she will. It may be too early to hear the heartbeat, but I want to heat it. I would also like to find out for sure how far along I am. Yes, aunt flo visited mid-March, but sources say I could have already been preggers at that point. Who knows? It's a mystery.

Happ Monday, all.


Friday, April 23, 2010

the days of cosmos and dreams

Home alone on a Friday night, I've indulged in Moe's chicken nachos (not as good as Qdoba!) and the SATC movie. Unthinkably, I hadn't seen the entire film until tonight. In October of 2008, I watched the majority of it at my gal pal's house the morning after her bachelorette party -- didn't get to see it all because hubs came to pick me up about the time Big and Carrie were supposed to get married. Hubs had to take me to retrieve my car from some dank alley in downtown Louisville, as I'd cabbed it back to said girlfriend's place at the end of that night with the drunkest of them.

In truth, my car was parked in a gated lot at my uncle-in-laws office.

I'd  began that evening at a posh party for Underwired magazine, which hub's aunt and uncle also attended. While drinking free wine and eating fancy food, I met two fabulous lady writers, the wonderfully feministic Javacia Harris and the ever effervescent Maisy Fernandez Draper. I was the teensiest bit awed to meet two real-live (then) Louisville-journalistas -- those Kentucky versions of Carrie Bradshaw (except without any Big drama) whose columns I'd read... but who, in person, were just really real. Inspiring.

After the party, my aunt-and-uncle-in-law claimed me and we ditched my car and headed to a swanky bar downtown, where Uncle paid for rounds and we sipped cocktails on low-to-the-ground white couches.

Next, they dropped me off so I could join the bachelorettes at the dive-bar where the bachelorette and her posse were indulging themselves in general debauchery and karaoke. I paid the dj so I could sing immediately (duh) and so that aunt-and-uncle-in-law could cheer me on, since they were only staying for one drink.

After karaoke, the girl group finished the night at Fourth Street Live! -- and in this situation, the exclamation point is not a sentence ender -- for club-type-dancing and what only felt to me like temple-throb-inducing techno music.

So, the next morning, when I awoke at the apartment of the bride-to-be, snuggled next to her and sharing her paisley blankets, I mostly thought of nothing but hangover remedies. But, when we forced ourselves out of bed and to the couch to start watching Sex and the City, I replayed the night in my mind.

Meeting those writers... I wanted to be those writerly ladies. Well, not exactly. I didn't have any desire to become a journalist. I just wanted to see my byline.

I submitted to Underwired. The theme that month was Time, and I wrote a perfectly shit piece about how time is ticking away... and there is never enough time. I probably used the word time about twenty times. I wrote it in fifteen minutes: submitted the very first draft after no more than a quick proofing.

(It was obviously not chosen for publication.)

I was so mortified that I never again submitted to the magazine.

Why did I give up? Why did I just do a 180, pretend that I didn't care, pretend that I didn't really want it? It was easier than facing the reality that I hadn't done my best work, that I felt entitled and sure I was a shoo-in.

It isn't that I quit writing, not at all. Still, I haven't attempted the essay route since then. I broke up with the form.

So much has changed since then -- less than two years ago -- when I had this smug swagger in my walk that screamed "born writer" with each footfall.

I've learned that natural talent is only the beginning, and that like anyone who is decent at anything -- you only become proficient with practice.

Maybe I'll submit again.

Like Carrie, staring at her monitor and tying Love... or Love.

Maybe I could stare at a blank screen and find my essay.

If not, I could always just re-watch Charlotte poop her pants.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

tmi thursday: in which you should proceed with caution and skip entirely if you're smart

Oh, Thursday. I relish it when you roll around, you with your TMI Tradition. You allow me to open up -- to be honest, and to have an excuse to overshare. You drape me in bravery, in robes of full disclosure. (That reads like an oxymoron, doesn't it? Robes of full disclosure.)

#1. I've been semi-scared to poop ever since I found out that I am with child. Mostly, this results in me holding it until I no longer have the need to grunt or squeeze. You're welcome.

#2. Hubs hasn't once tried to get busy with me in the bedroom. Instead, when I (gently) push on my bladder-area and tell him it feels different -- harder -- he's like "don't push on it too much!"

#3. In an diversion from the norm, hubs said the sweetest thing last night when he got home. He said, "I read online that the baby's spinal cord is developing right about now. I almost cried." (Wait. I'm back: Hubs is such a girl.)

#4. I've had zero spotting.

#5. I think I have a little bit of an infection near my who-ha. (Near my panty line.) It's like a bug bite or ingrownspice hair or something, and in the past couple of days it's swollen up to the size of a small gumball. It's sore as an.y.thing. I got kinda worried and showed hubs, who insanely offered to pop it. He was all up in my beezwax with a flashlight, and told me to bite down on something. I was all, "Get the bloddy hell away from me right this instant!" Upon reflection, perhaps said ugly-red-mass is the reason hubs does not seem to want to get jiggy with me.

#6. Number five was probably THE raunchiest thing I have EVER posted. It. felt. fantastic.

#7. I called my sibling, who is a nurse, and she said my baby is hogging all my antibodies, and to call my doctor and let her know about the ordeal. I called, and now I get to go to my first appointment a week early! (I go Wednesday 4/28 instead of 5/5.) They said to go to the Prompt Care place if it gets worse. Currently, I'm hot-washclothing it. It feels nice.

#8. Still craving nicotine and smoking the occasional cigarette. Go ahead and judge me. It's harder than I thought it would be to quit. I've cut waaaay down, though. I'm going to talk to my Dr. about getting the chewing gum, which isn't a fantastic alternative, but is healthier for baby and me than the toxins in cigs.

#9. Feel overwhelming guilt about #8. Please don't flog me too much.

#10. I refuse to become a mommy-blogger. I refuse to become a mommy-blogger. I refuse to become a mommy-blogger. I mean, you know, one of those who blogs solely about kid stuff. Not that there is anything wrong with that -- but that just isn't really me. Remind me of this moment in seven to nine months, okay?

Scared to click publish post.
More scared than ever before.
But, believe it or not people... I'm human. I sometimes get zits (usually not in such places) and occasionally make mistakes and have a hard time exerting will-power.
If you still love me, you rock.
Because you know you have flaws, too.
It's just that yours might not be the size of a gobstopper or located on your vajenga.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

tonight, we have a tender chicken cutlet covered in awesomesauce (and two other awards)

So, I've been hoarding blog awards like they are leftover Easter candy. (Let's be honest, who hoards candy? I usually eat it all in about 1.5 sittings.) So, I've been hoarding these awards like they are... high school memorabilia, or episodes of LOST on my DVR... or something.

Yeah, so I got the Awesomesauce Award from a few peeps.
(You know how hard it is for me to refrain from changing this to the awesomespice award, don't you?)

It was bequeathed to me by Jen, a new blogger over at Unedited, who inexplicably has amassed 400 + followers in two months. What is her secretspice? I don't know... it must be in her awesomesauce!

I also got the awesomesauce love from the lovely and talented sarahjayne at Writing in the Wilderness.

(Update: Nicole at One Significant Moment gave it to me today, too! I just went to link her blog to give her another award... see Sunshine, below... and there I was! Spewing awesomesauce. Again.) ;)

(Thanks, ladies!)

I'm passing on a heaping spoonful of my awesomesauce to the following blogs, which you should read if you don't already.

1) Ashley Stone is a beautiful person and a talented song writer... and she can sing, too! She is going to win the Myspace GLEE auditions and be on the show. I just know it.
2) Sierra Godfrey may as well be covered in awesomesauce. I'm not just saying this because she often links my blog in her Friday Reader Round-up.
3) Lilu masterminded TMI Thursdays, and was eventually brave enough to put and end to TMI Thursdays. Well, I didn't stop posting my own TMI stories, but do you blame me? No. You still love it. She writes another cool regular post called The Shiz my Boyfriend Says, which I totally plan to borrow sometime.
4) My favorite Kentucky Blonde is blogging with more consistency again because she discovered she can still post from work. This makes her a happy banker. She was also the second person on the planet to know I was preggers. (Well, third... counting me.)
5) I wish I could take Tina Sandoval out on a date. We'd eat porkchops... and awesomesauce.
Moving right along.

I revceived the "You are my Sunshine" supportive commenter award from Laurel -- the princess of prose, I swear it! -- over at Laurel's Leaves. This is probably because I always refer to her as adorable.
Thanks, Laurel!

To Nicole (One Significant Moment) for your compliments when I posted on Roni's Beta Club.
To Roni (my dearest fiction groupie) for saying that I am a naturally hilarious blogger.
To Charity Bradford, whom I don't have a close bloggy relationship with (yet)... but she still cried when she read my preggers-post, and for that, Iadoreherspice.
Travener is always leaving me little nuggets of wonderful. (Like when he wrote, "Virtual Baby Shower!" That made my day.)
Finally, to Mehlane, who also claims she welled-up in the tear-duct department while reading my letter-to-fetus. She is so warm hearted that sometimes I wonder if she's real.

Last but not least.

Tina Sandoval, my Sweet Niblet, gave me the Soulmates award, obvi. (It's not that we have girl crushes on each other; our infatuation runs deeper than that.)
Thanks, wifey.

This award must go to:
Natalie Murphy... she's a Murphy by birth, and I'm not, but it still counts.
Carissa Jaded... we share a love of karaoke and both have trouble keeping our cars clean.
JM Diaz... because if I were single and not knocked up, I would put the pedal to the metal and high-tail it to Atlanta and force him to get a divorce and beminespice.
The now anonymous man who did my birthday post. Sometimes, we facebook chat during basketball games.
Well, it's getting thrown back to Tina Lynn Sandoval Murphy. Duhspice.

So, in truth, I don't really know if these awards came with rules or stipulations -- I just passed them on as I pleased because I am preggers and I am allowed to do whatever I want. Yeah.

If you didn't get an award from me... are you mad?
Discuss in the comments.
Also, be sure to follow each blog linked or you and I can no longer be friends.
You think that's extreme? You think I'm bluffing?

(last two lines brought to you by hormones and bloatedness.)

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

i need a nap. and a map.

I haven't done jackspice since I found out I have a bun in the oven.

I mean, I haven't even opened the document where my WIP lives -- not since last Wednesday, which I now refer to as the-last-day-I-lived-in-innocent-bliss.

I'm so preoccupied -- already. Is this normal?

I can't stop: thinking about baby names, touching my belly, weighing myself, staring at my belly, contemplating the absurd amount of housework there is to do before a living infant can move in here, reading about foods to eat, reading about foods not to eat, generally bitching due to a (not complete) lack of nicotine and caffeine, telling random people I'm pregnant, worrying about money, worrying about having a miscarriage, worrying about the baby not being healthy and wondering if I will crumble and feel like it is my fault if the baby isn't healthy, freaking out about the thought of giving birth, feeling anxious every time I cough, like something inside me might become detached.


Again. Is this normal?

Why don't I feel like writing my story?

Why do I feel like clicking delete and starting over, as if I know more now than I did less than a week ago?

Monday, April 19, 2010

btw -- don't divorce me

As you well know, hubs and I were in the midst of World War XVI: Vacationgate 2010, when I found out I was preggers last Thursday.

Since we weren't really speaking to each other, I knew I had to tell him immediately -- so I was ready and waiting when he got home from work and stomped through our front door.

"Hey, hubs. Question. Are you going to divorce me if I go to Destin with my family this summer?"

"Maybe. I should!" (Hubs claims he is easy going. Sometimes I beg to differ. Obvi.)

"You shouldn't divorce me."

I pulled the pregnancy test from it's hiding spot under my shirt and kind of flung it at him. I didn't mean to drop it, but the lid came off and the whole shee-bang fell on the arm chair, in the midst of a pile of clothes which should have been in the hamper.

"What is that?" Hubs was confused.

"It's the reason you shouldn't divorce me. Duh." I found the pee-covered stick and handed it to him.

Hubs looked down at the two-lines and said, "It is mine?"

I was all, "That's so not funny."

Hubs was all, "Seriously. Is it mine?"

I got a little teary-eyed and crossed my arms and pouted. "I'm so glad we'll always remember this moment!"

He came over and kissed me and said he was sorry. "It's just that I was so worked up to be mad at you over this vacation ordeal."

"I'm still going. And I do not want to hear one more eff-ingspice word about it! And, I'm telling my Mom I'm pregnant. Don't tell me not to tell people! I'm calling her, like now."

We pretty much immediately got on the phone and called our friends and family.

My 85 year-old Grandma wanted to know what hubs said when I told him the news. I told Mamaw the truth, since she and I are cool like that.

Here's what Mamaw had to say about the hubs reaction:  "Well, you'd better tell him that even if it isn't his, it's caught in his trap, so he has to take care of it."

Friday, April 16, 2010

fetal friday?

I know that I left everyone hanging yesterday. You know, when I went to pee on that stick.

(That was mean of me. Not the peeing, but the leaving hanging.)
Well, I think the big reveal is best expressed in letter form.

Deep breath.

Here goes.

dear unborn baby daughter son or daughter,

I take it back. I take back everything I said about not wanting kids. I was just scaredspice, and the slightest bit selfish, and maybe I had a giant fear of commitment.

But, three positive test results in the last eighteen hours seem to say that you actually are in there, getting all comfy.

I guess you'll probably be here in mid-December. I never thought about having a Christmas baby. (You've really put a wrench in my whole taking-maternity-leave-during-the-NCAA-tournament plan, but that's okay. At least it's basketball season. Don't tell Daddy yet, but you are going to cheer for the Indiana Hoosiers.)

Speaking of Daddy, I take back all the mean things I've ever said about him. He's going to be a fun daddy. He has such a kind heart. But, you and I can have fun busting his chops when you get big enough.

Mommy is going to go to the doctor to get some yummy vitamins. Mommy will start eating better, stop drinking boatloads of caffeine, and Mommy promises to stop smoking.

(You'd better be one cute baby.)

(Please don't split off and become two cute babies.)

I promise to take care of you. I promise to let you grow up to be whoever you want to be. I already love you. Also, I promise to get the house reallyreally clean before you get here.

your mommy-to-be

p.s. Someday, I'm going to finish writing a book, and get it published. It's going to put you through college!

So, ladies and gentleman...

(I know it's probably too soon to tell -- shouldn't one wait until the end of the first tri-mester or something?)

Yeah, right. I'm way too impatient. I've already told about 45 people over the phone, including my Mom.

So, it's only natural that I now tell all of you.



(I can't wait to tell you the story of telling hubs. I'll save it for the weekend, or maybe Monday.)

Did I mention: squeespice?!

Thursday, April 15, 2010

tmi thursday: in which part two is making me sweat bullets

Well, this is going to be a treat. Especially part two.

Part one
You may recall that I posted the other day about Vacationgate: 2010, in which hubs and I argued about whether or not we should head to Destin with my parentals and siblingspice this summer, and that my loving mother invited me to go with them virtually for free (I'd just pay for my food) -- since the Murphys are not made of money and have made many poor financial decisions which subsequently require a more pratical use of their tax refund than a smack-in-the-middle-of-the-season trip to the beach.

We're still fighting. I discovered that the condo in question has a stay three nights, get one free offer going on. The room would only cost us $640.00, which is considerably less than I thought it would be. So, I told hubs about it over an email during the work day yesterday. He did not respond, so, last night on the couch, I asked him casually what he thought about it.

"I still think it will cost too much."

"Oh, really? Well, then I guess I'll just go and crash with my parents, then."

His (idiotic) response? "I still think you'll blow to much money even if you stay with them." Anger has clouded my memory, so I'm not sure if he uttered you can't go or not. But, that's what I heard.

"Look, dude. I'm going with or without you."

"Fine, then. I'll just go to Vegas that week!"

(Um, yeah. Cause that solves all our money problems.)

So, there was a ton of silence in the house last night, and then this morning we edged each other out of the way at the bathroom sink. Hubs was hogging the area, brushing his teeth, and I needed my cosmetics.

"Excuse me," I said... ever-so-politely!

He spit and then said, "So, where are your parents planning for us to go for vacation next summer?!"

"Nowhere." I suddenly became the ice queen. "Our vacation would imply that we were both going." I didn't stop there. "By the way, I don't need your permission. I'm going with them."

Hubs slammed the door reallyreally hard as he left for work. I muttered under my breath about it, then put on my eyeliner.

Part Two

You may also recall that I blogged recently about my monster cramps. Oddly, said cramps fizzled out and faded, and I am yet to shed the lining of my uterine wall. (Relax. It's Thursday. I'm allow to say uterine.) 

I'm latespice.

I know this because I had the monthly on Valentines Day, which was February 14th, and then I had it before March 14th, because I thought it was too early, but it wasn't if you think about the whole 28 day cycle and consider that February is a short month.

(And I run like clockwork, let me tell you.)

Holy. Frakking. Hell.

Am I?

Currently, I'm chugging a diet pepsi, trying to work up the courage to piss on a stick.

(I know you're supposed to use the morning pee-per, but I was distracted this morning. Clearly.)


Here I go.

*Stalking off to toilet thinking about how messed up it is that I just whispered to a potential fetus that, were i a stronger woman, i might have already divorced her future father, and that if she is in there, getting all comfy in my womb, she'd better consider herself damn lucky that she got made.*

(Yeah, we're not using protection, but lately there hasn't been much to protect, if youknowwhati'msayin'.)

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

i need a plotter's intervention

My middle is sagging.

For all you non-writerly types, I am not referring to my recent affinity for (nor the obvious repercussions of) Panera Bread breakfasts.

No, instead (or, in addition) it's the middle of my book that is sagging. (Sadly, it's not even quite the middle. It's chapter four.) I've written subsequent chapters already, because chapter four is a cruel and an unusual beast of a chapter. Nothing very interesting is happening to my main character, Laurel, during her freshman year while she's away at college. She's acting miserably depressed and spending the majority of her time mooning over a boy who still lives in her hometown.

I'm just so ready to get through this section -- things pick up when Laurel goes home and her first year of college is behind her.

But, I'm frustrated. If I'm picking my way through this part of the story -- bored to tears while writing it -- then how will my readers feel when they are reading it?

Somethings gotta give.
Something interesting needs to happen in this chapter.
It needs to move along the plot.
There needs to be more conflict, or some epic moment that sparks a change in Laurel, or at least causes her to want to change.

(This is a cry for helpspice.)

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

i need a vacation, but at what cost?

This summer, my family is planning to go on vacation together. My mom and dad, and my sister and her husband (along with one or both of their kids) are heading to Destin, Florida in July. Everyone is renting their own condo at a beautifulspice resort.

Of course, the whole gang wants Mr. and Mrs. Amber Murphy to join them.

See. Here's the thing. Hubs and I would never choose to go on vacation smack dab in the middle of the summer. Everything is more crowded, and everything is more expensive.

However, the trip date revolves around my sister's nursing school schedule (ends in late May) and my niece's regular school schedule (she starts kindergarden in early August.)

So, the date is non-negiotable.

Hubs doesn't really want to go. He would rather do our own thing for vacay, and choose where and when we travel. Basically, he doesn't want to spend the money. It's true that our lovely tax return could be spent more wisely. We could put some of that money toward the tiny bit of credit card debt we have, or I could finally part ways with my wisdom teeth. We need new windows. Etc.

We have basically been using the "we can't afford it" excuse for months. Secretly, I didn't care that we couldn't really afford it. I wanted to go anyway. This will be our first family trip to Florida in over ten years. I don't want to miss out on playing in the ocean with my niece, laying out by the pool swapping magazines with mom, or getting ready for dinner and deciding what to wear with my sister.

Last night, my mom called and told me that if we really didn't want to spend the money, that I could still go. There's a sleeper sofa in the condo Mom and Dad chose. I could ride down with them, stay in their room, and all I would have to pay for would be my food (and adult beverages.)

Um, can I get a hell yeah? I told my Mom that I would want to pay for some of the room -- or help with gas or something, because I felt guilty and a bit like the black sheep of my immediate family.

So, I told hubs about the invitation to crash with my rents.

Of course, I'll share his pouty this-is-the-way-a-man-brain-works response with all of you. (That's how I roll.)

Hubs said, "But if you go, then it will look like we really can't afford it."

Trust me. I'd prefer we both went, and paid for our own private one-bedroom condo. I'd rather drive down with him, listening to what I want on the radio (well, no, fighting for control of the radio) and smoking the occasional road-trip cigarette. I'd rather it appear to my family that we are a healthy, normal, well-adjusted married couple.

So, I told him. "Then, let's both go."

Then he tells me that we should refinance the house instead.

I swear to god. I


P.S. Last night hubs stayed up waaaaay later than me and I couldn't sleep. I was momentarily paranoid that he had discovered my blog and was sitting out in the living room reading previous entries. Then, I decided that if he had discovered my blog I would probably yell at him for taking so long to do so, and then tell him that I am going to Florida with or without him, and to suckithard.

But, I don't think he discovered my blog. I'm pretty sure he would have mentioned it this morning.

Monday, April 12, 2010

but i do have a really cute garden gnome

This weekend, hubs spent $300.00 on a lawnmower. Yes, you read that right. Three.hundred.smackers.

I feel it is my wifely duty to make sure he gets his money's worth out of said purchase. Just sayin'.

In related news, I, Amber Leigh Tidd Murphy, do not have green thumbs. Tasks like mulching and weeding and sowing and reaping are really not in my arsenal of talents. That's why my neighbors have cutespice flower beds and I have overgrown shrubs and some out of control greenery from a failed attempt a few years ago. (I want to call it very all very organic looking, but that would be a lie. What it is, is a hot mess.)

(Though I don't dig outdoorsy gardening, I do prune the interior. Let's not get carried away.)

Now, I could go all writerly here, and use some lame metaphor about weeding and pruning ones first draft, but since I haven't completed my MS, I am not allowed to do that. I sent my inner editor packing. She's currently out of town with my filter, tact, and discretion. They are vacationing somewhere with prettier (exterior) landscapes.

When my inner editor returns, perhaps she will help with my Beta Club rewrite.

p.s. I wonder if she's any good with a weedwacker.

Friday, April 9, 2010

mark me as read. *shakes head.* okay, I warned you!

Wanna know a secret?

(Don't worry, this post is so not going to be like yesterday's post. I swear it!)

Confession: sometimes I have no idea what to blog about.

Unless I thought you wanted to hear about my monster cramps. Then, I would have something to say about how I am kind of delighted that there is still no fetus growing inside me. But, you wouldn't want to know that. Not necessarily.

I think I am about to be super exciting: I'll go lay in bed with a heating pad, the book I'm reading, and a crossoword puzzle. I will require hubs to bring me my dinner. Of course, I'd prefer to be spoon-fed large bites of his fanfrakingtastic chicken salad, but fear that this request may only result in hubs laughing at me.

In other news: I think I am depressed because I watched Up In the Air last night, and even George Clooney's crows feet wasn't enough to leave me with a warm fuzzie. That movie is straight.up.sad.

So, I am now going to eat chocolate covered advil tablets (they should totally make those, by the way) and laze away the painful hours until my uterus decides to be nice to me again.

Thank you for readingspice.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

tmi thursday: in which we share the love

Today is a sad day. Lilu, fearless host of TMI Thursdays, has decided to throw in the vomit-covered, poopy-stained towel. She will no longer post delicious humiliations of her own.

And then there's me.

I considered a TMI-series-finale, a swan-song of an overshare.

However, I decided that  to conclude the TMI tradition on this blog would be borderline sacrilege.

So here it comes -- not the last, but just one more of a laundry list of things-most-bloggers-probably wouldn't-tell-you.

So, here goes.

I just got home from work. Hubs has a friend over. I was trying to think of a good topic for today's humiliation, but was getting stuck until I saw this friend of his sitting in our easy chair.

A few years ago, this same friend of his was sitting exactly where he is right now. I think we were all hanging out, the three of us and a few other pals, probably drinking and watching some sporting event.

Hubs was in the other room when the conversation somehow turned to threesomes.

I went ahead and shared my own near-experience:

A gal-pal and I were newly-twenty-one-ish, and after a night of drinking, were driven to some boy's house for an alleged after-party. It turned out, our chauffeur was the host as well as the sole attendee. (Color us okay with that.)

We shared a beer and all three got cozy in the boy-bed, until my friend passed out and (quite literally) rolled onto the floor.

So, the boy and I were alone to cuddle and stuff, and cuddle and stuff we did. My friend wasn't going to wake up. I practically forgot she was there! Don't judge: I was young and single and drunkspice.


Later, I wake up thinking what have I done again?

It isn't quite morning. The room is still dark. I'm in the bed alone! I hear odd noises...

that's right. My friend and hot boy are the floor getting. it. on.

Oh, holy mother of god.

We both wanted him. And we both got what we wanted!

When I (smugly) told this story in front of my friends and hub's friends, he got real pissed, and asked if I would restrain myself and not tell all of our mutual buddies about how I used to be a barslut  bit more open minded in the love department.

"It's just that you sound like, so proud of what happened." (This was his biggest complaint.)

"Dude, I am proud. My friend and I felt so pimp."

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

the spice of life

Participating in The Beta Club yesterday was so much more fantastic than I could have imagined. The critiques I received were heartfelt, constructive, and inspiring. (The compliments made me blush a little, but also caused me to wear a giddy grin for the majority of the day.)

If you did read it, thank you. Thank you! THANK YOU!
(If you didn't, what the what?! Go here and read it, like I told you to yesterday.)
I plan to post my rewrite here soon. (Get excitedspice!)

Moving on.

Since I was a little giddy yesterday, I decided to take a leap and integrate "spice" into casual conversation... in addition to my (completely addicting!) use of the word as an amplifier in my blogwriting.

So, when I came back from lunch, I gave the following weather report to my work husband coworker:

"It's very hot and humid outside. Also, it's windyspice!"

He was all, "WTF?"

So I explained spice -- how I use it writing to magnify things. "For instance, if something is really fantastic, it's awesomespice. If I just feel like saying it, it's whateverspice I want it to be!"

Then, he basically questioned my mental stability. As if!

I continued to explain that while I don't use it in speakspice, I did once drop my phone cigarettes on the ground while getting out of my car. Even though I was alone (or perhaps because I was) I muttered the word "Shitspice." I told him that the coolest thing about it was that it was so second nature when I said it out loud.

I tried to do it justice. I felt I had to make him understand.

After assuming that all hope was lost, and that he would never buy in, I went ahead and admitted that I stole borrowed spice from fellow blogger Busy Bee Lauren, who -- so far as I know -- doesn't mind at all.

My former work husband coworker said to me, "Seriously? It wasn't even your own idea?"

I got a little pouty. "No, but, dude -- we can't all be the ones who start trends."

And do you know what he said to me?

He laughed and said, "Failspice."

We are so not getting divorced after all.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

read me, seymour. read me.

Today, I'm getting the crit kicked out of me!

Roni Griffin, a la Fiction Groupie is hosting The Beta Club, in which writers post a 750-ish-word excerpt from their WIP and get amazing critique and feedback.

It's my day.

Please read my excerpt and leave your feedback here. (FYIspice, my excerpt is the first 750-ish words from my very own Chapter One.)

I said please! Now, go. What are you waiting for?

Also, if you are remotely interested in things writerly, you'd better follow Roni. She. is. incrediblespice.

Thank you for your cooperation.

Why are you still here?

You're supposed to go here.

Monday, April 5, 2010

brought to you by random.amber

oh, hell. it has been a monday.

i can't even be bothered to use capital letters.

No, that's annoying. I shall use capital letters afterall.



No, today wasn't that bad. Work is was just a stressfest. I had to cross out the "is" because I'm home now, so it's past tense. I shouldn't even be thinking about it anymore.

So, I won't.

Next topic: let's be honest. Since I'm at the end of my rapidly fraying Monday-rope, I will just tell you a few random Tidd-Murphy-bits about my day:

1. I almost rear-ended someone on my way home from work because I was thinking about my WIP. (Yay! I'm turning into a bonafide writer -- all distractedspice and dreamy acting and aloof. Abnormal.)

(Opps. Are my writer-friends offended, or do you agree that we are all that way to some extent?)

2. I got really excited tonight when I stopped off at Target and purchased Eyeliner, because I haven't really ever worn it on the regular, but plan to attempt a smoky-eyed Tuesday. I should probably practice tonight.

3. I also got something else at Target -- something specialspice, which I will be mailing out in a very much worth-the-wait package for the winner of my month-old giveway. If your name is Tina Sandoval, get excited!

4. I told Tina that she would be getting her package in the mail "this week." Unfortunately, it was last week when I said those words. (Via Skypespice. Woot!) Anyway, Teener, if you're reading. I'm sorry. Please flog me for my general lack of postal punctuality. Le package will arrive. Soon.

5. Guess who won the NCAA tournament bracket pool at my work? Just guess.

6. It wasn't me. Good guess, though. It was this gal who literally flipped a coin for each game, until I explained to her about seeding, and then she used white-out pen to make some last minute changes. She was the only person at my bank branch who picked one of the teams in tonight's championship game. (Duke.)

7. P.S. Go Butler. I loathe some BlueDevils. Y'all know I'm a Hoosier.

8. I'm kind of enjoying this numbered and orderly post.

9. Ohh, listen! Some crazy customer left a Target cart in front of the bank last week -- I think it was Wednesday. (I was so pissed. It was litterally right by our front door! We even called Target and asked them to send someone over to get it.)

9.5 Who finally pushed that cart back to Target today? Me.

10. In fairness, I only pushed it to the back of their store, by the loading dock, because it was hella too far to be strutting to their front entrance in my high heels at 8:30 this morning.

So, there you have it.
Whether you wanted it or not.
But, I'm sure you wanted it.
You know you adore me.

Friday, April 2, 2010

First Page Blogfester

Preface: TGIF. It has been a day.

So. I'm participating in the First Page Blogfest in which writers around the blogosphere post the opening 24 lines of their WIP. (In a "real" book, this is the approximate amount of work that would appear on page 1!) This blogfest is being headed up by Kelly over at Kelly's Compositions. Please check out the other entries and leave them a comment on their work.

My own WIP will be featured on Roni's Beta Club next week, and I chose an excerpt from the beginning one chapter one for critque over there, so today I'll give you the true beginning: the opening lines of my prologue.

Here goes nothing.

My working title is A SAD SONG IN A FLAT KEY
Genre: Literary Fictionspice


May 2005

     Laurel sits Indian style. She faces the head of her bed and tries to focus on Cafe Terrace at Night, pretending it is priceless artwork instead of a cheap replica. She counts the tables first, and then, the stars. A sliver of early morning sun sneaks around her bedroom curtains and Laurel contemplates whether or not she should muster a scowl. Balls of dust cling to the plastic picture frame, but illuminated, seem to glisten a bit. She cocks her head as she makes eye contact with her own reflection in the print, a makeshift mirror. Her ashy brown hair is tousled and sticking up in every direction like twigs in a windy tree.
     She starts to wiggle her big toe back and forth, a nervous habit Laurel doesn't recognize as her own. In her left hand, a silver Samsung vibrates again. Laurel sucks in a breath. She uses her thumb to flip up the face of the phone and eerie green words greet her with the obvious: another missed call from her mother. She snaps the phone shut and sighs. Ankles still crossed, she brings her knees to her chin and rests her right elbow on them, wrapping that hand around the back of her neck. She makes a fist with her free hand and allows the bridge of her nose to press against her knuckles. She squeezes her eyes closed.
     She thinks it unfair that her mom must deliver the bad news.
     The house creaks, and Laurel senses that Owen is perched in the doorway behind her, in his usual disapproval-stance: one arm on each side of the door frame, debating. She pretends, as precious seconds of solace slip away, that she does not notice that he is there. Still as a statue, she orders herself. He shifts his weight. I win, she thinks, imagining a staring contest.
     Owen starts slowly.
     "Laurel, please just get it over with. Call your mom back and let her say it. Call Paul, if you'd rather. Let him tell you what you think you already..."
     She doesn't turn to face him.
     "Just leave me alone. I will call her back when I am fucking ready!"
     She hears the bedroom door slam, hears Owen's bare feet padding down the hall, and realizes, an afterthought, that she screamed the last sentence she spoke.

Okay! I'd love your feedback. I know that it is considered cheesy for the main character to see her own reflection, so don't berate me for it. I'll probably take that out.
Thanks for reading and have a Happy Easter slash Final Four Weekend.
Go Butler.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

tmi thursday: in which my job almost went down the toilet

Four years ago this June, I interviewed for a teller position at the bank where I work now as a member of the branch management team. (Well, it isn't exactly the same bank, since we've since merged been bought out merged with another financial institutional.)

(And since we're like the step-children with a no-good biological father, [or former CEO or something] we took their name.)

But that's neither here nor there.

So. When I initially interviewed, I had to drive downtown to the main offices superspice early in the morning. After dressing in a matchy-matchy navy blue skirt-and-jacket-type-suit-thing, I poured myself a giagantic travel sized mug of coffee and headed downtown. A little uneasy about the parking situation, I allowed myself plenty of time. Too much time.

Since I had fourty-five minutes to kill, I stopped into a Heine Brothers for some coffee that would obviously taste superior to my Folgers, lukewarm and unappealing by then. I ordered the bucket-size and sat down to people watch and mentally prepare for the interview.

I arrived on the correct floor of Bank Tower, appropriately early, and hoping to visit the ladies room to run a hairbrush through my tresses and whatnot before the interview started. But when I came off the elevators I was greeted by locked glass doors to my right and to my left. (In front of me, more elevators.)

I was buzzed in and gave my name to some uninteresting security guard.

"Have a seat. Mrs. Interviewer will be with you shortly." He immediately picked up a phone and dialed an extension.

Damn. I really kind of needed to go to the bathroom.

I sat. I wondered in an off-hand manner if there would be a required drug test.

I considered asking the security guard if he could direct me to the facilities -- afterall, I was fifteen minutes early -- but I hesitated since he had presumably already alerted Mrs. Interviewer that I was ready and waiting. What if she came out of her HR Office to get me and I wasn't there? That might look bad.

So, I stayed put. And the urge to go skyrocketed. Shit. It must be from all the coffee! I. was. overcome.

Mrs. Interviewer arrived and looked eleven months pregnant. Surely, she would be understanding. Well, she'd have to be, because this couldn't wait.

After the "it's so nice to meet you's" I went ahead and just laid it out there.

"Look, I hate to ask this, but would you mind terribly if I used the ladies room before we begin? I had a fairly long commute this morning." I kept the cheer in my voice and pretended my rectum wasn't betraying me.

"Oh, of course. It's no problem. I could go, too, actually! At eights monts pregnant, I swear I may as well move my office in there!"

So, we went around a corner and then around another and I walked with my ass checks clinched together and she basically waddled. We must have been quite the sight.

Then. Inside the restroom, there were two empty stalls. Praise be to God. However, when she sat down in the one next to me, I realized that there was no way I could take a sheedoobie nextdoor to my interviewer. A) It wasn't going to be silent. B) It was not going to be without a horrific odor. Plus, aren't the senses heightened in pregnant women?!

So, I waited. I waited until she was finished washing her hands and until awkward silence filled the ladies room.

"I'll just be another minute!" I prayed she would wait in the hall, and not at the mirror oogling her own baby bump. I wanted to scream, "GET THE HELL OUT OF HERE! SAVE YOURSELF!"

"Oh, okay. I'll just wait right outside then."

Thank. God. and. all. that. is. Holy.

I let loose.

When I finally emerged from the loo feeling about ten pounds lighter, I knew I had to say something.

But what?

"I'm so sorry. I drank a ton of coffee this morning. I guess that was a bad idea!"

How did she decide to hire me? Was it out of pity? But, seriously. Who forces an interviewee into a situation where there is the remote possibility that said interviewee might have to ask the HR lady whether or not she could spare a square... or perhaps a little more?

(Thank GOD there was TP in that stall.)

And, that this is the end of my shittyspice story.

 Visit Lilu's blog for more tragic tales!