We’ve all got those things that make us crazy, right? Some of us probably have a lot, myself included. For today’s writing challenge, the prompt is: three pet peeves.
I guess I’ll limit myself to three for the sake of time.
1. Macho Men
Being gruff and rude doesn’t make you admirable. Acting like women are inferior doesn’t make me want to impress you. I cannot stand the “men make the rules” kind of guys. It seems like there are a lot of them out there, huh?
2. The sound of someone eating or drinking
Okay, I know. This might put me in the weird category.
But seriously, this makes me nuts.
You know how at the movies they have the Coke commercial where it’s the sound of soda pouring and someone drinking it?
I cannot stand hearing Henry drink his water for more than a minute. I cannot stand the way Chad chews his food.
There. I said it. Cue the label of crazy, right?
3. Empty boxes in the pantry
This is probably my smallest pet peeve, but it still is one. Chad has this habit of putting boxes in the pantry…empty.
It. Makes. Me. Crazy.
I look in and think, “Oh my goodness, delicious cookies. I’ll have one.” I commit to it, decide the calories are worth it, get my taste buds ready for it.
I reach in, waiting to feel the amazing cookie in my hand. And I feel… nothing. Empty box.
I sigh, frustrated, and decide to reach for the cheese cracker box.
Box after box. It’s all a façade. There are no snacks worth eating. All has been lost.
The only thing that makes it worse?
If when I head to the living room, Chad is chewing on that last cookie. And taking a big gulp of soda to wash it down.
Pet peeves. We all have them. Do yours make you sound like a crazy person? Help me feel better about myself. Tell me some of yours.
Last week, after cheating on our “let’s not eat out” diet and eating at Primanti Brother’s—if you’re going to cheat, at least do it right—we stopped at the typical Detwiler Saturday night date spot.
Can you sense the sarcasm?
Walmart is not my favorite place in the world, let’s be clear. I’ve had plenty of weird, stressful, frustrating, and just creepy encounters in the superstore. Somehow, though, I seem to always find myself in its aisles of products…with Chad by my side.
We were strolling into the symbol of America’s doors. We were joking and laughing. And that’s when it happened.
An elderly lady dressed quite wildly in a tiny little car came within a few inches of running over my toe. Then, she gave me a crazed look and sped off.
Instead of saying something sentimental, loving, like, "Thank God you didn't get run over," my dear husband says, "God, you almost got killed by a fortune teller." And then he calmly shrugs and pulls me into Walmart.
This, for some reason, made me start crying with laughter. It was so stupid and random.
But that's my husband for you. His humor is odd, often offensive, sometimes crude, and sometimes just dumb. But he makes me laugh every single day.
Our Bond Over Humor
Since I met him in seventh grade, my husband has been a bit of the class clown. In seventh grade, he got in trouble for making me laugh. He sat behind me in class. When the teacher tried to draw a village from the Middle Ages, Chad whispered, "What? Are the people living in candy corn now?" Again, so dumb, but I found it hilarious. Our teacher did not.
His gift for the gab coupled with his lack of self-consciousness makes him a perfect "funny one" at any event. He is often the one at gatherings making everyone laugh with his ridiculous storytelling...unless I've warned him to keep it clean and not say anything embarrassing. It happens sometimes.
Does it drive me crazy ? Yes. Absolutely. We've had plenty of "Can you please take me seriously for a second?" moments. We've had plenty of "Stop talking everyone's ears off" moments.
For the most part, though, his humor matches his free-spirited nature, and it helps me loosen up a bit. I'm the worrier in the family, the rational thinker. Sometimes I need his humorous, life is a joke perspective.
Take yesterday when I accidentally posted the wrong video to Youtube. The unedited, test run video. The video in which I, mouth open, search for the stop recording button on my computer screen.
Yep, I was mortified.
Chad, though, started mercilessly joking about it and laughing hysterically. At first I was mad. But eventually, he made me laugh about it, too. He made me realize worse things could happen--like getting run over at Wal-Mart.
Chad has helped me laugh off my most embarrassing moments, my lowest points, my failures. When I only sold two books at one of my book events and was crying about being a joke, he helped me laugh it off. He's amazing at that. When there's an awkward moment, a heavy moment, he can lighten it.
I would share some of our jokes, but honestly, I don't think anyone would appreciate them. We often laugh that if someone would hear the things we talk and laugh about, we'd both be sent away and labeled as crazy. But that's the thing. We have this bond through humor. We find the same things hysterical, from Tosh.0 to a picture of a Persian Cat saying Fancy Feast weirdly to my near death experience with a fortune teller.
Give Me Laughter Over Anything
Some women look for sexy abs, amazing eyes, good teeth in a husband.
For me, though, give me laughter. Every day.
Chad always jokes about this, too, that he might not be sexy, but he's funny and that's better. He always tells me if he dies, I should never find a sexy model because they don't have a sense of humor.
I'm not quite sure Chad's discriminatory observations are true. But I do know I'm glad I'm married to a man who can make me smile. He frustrates the hell out of me, makes me crazy. But at least he can make me laugh through it.
So please, if you're still looking for love, make sure that man makes you smile. Life is hard and full of tough experiences. Find someone who can make you see the funny in the sad, can make you smile when you feel like bawling, and you'll be all good.
Last night, I watched what was the end of an era for television, for music, and for me. I'd be lying to say I wasn't sad, that I didn't get a little bleary eyed.
I was in seventh grade when Kelly Clarkson was crowned the first American Idol. I was this nerdy bookworm who didn't know a thing about styling her hair or fashion. But I did know one thing--to see a waitress go from being an unknown to a household name was magical. Her voice, her style--the transformation happened before our eyes, and soon, we were all singing Kelly's songs.
American Idol was a staple through my junior high, high school, and college years. It was there for proms and graduations, for the loss of pets and the adoption of new ones. It was there in the years I got engaged, got married, bought a new house, got my dream job. Each year when it came back on, life was very different for me because so much had changed. For fifteen years of my life, it was just always there.
Let's not get crazy here. It's not like American Idol saved my life or made me realize my dream. I am, in no way, a singer. I have no dreams to be a singer. I'm not saved my music. Still, American Idol will always be nostalgic for me because I passed through some of the biggest changes in my life during the years of the show.
Some argue the show is rigged or stupid or not as good as it used to be. Some say it's just a singing competition. Some note the singers on the show don't even reach that great of fame other than a handful. Maybe these people are right in some ways. But in some ways, they're wrong.
The show isn't just about someone achieving fame or riches. It's so much more than that. It's a symbol of the true American Dream.
To watch people from all walks of life--waitresses, farm girls, construction workers, and everything in between--go after their dream is what America is all about. To watch people step onto the stage as unknowns and leave the stage as known by millions is a beautiful thing. To hear stories of hard work and failure and then watch someone achieve their life goal is magical. We can't help but be invested in them. We can't help but appreciate the fact that one audition, one moment, and three judges having faith in a person can change the course of their life.
We also see that sometimes, no matter how lucky you get or how hard you work, success can't always happen. We've seen big voices and personalities fail on the show. We've seen voices we vowed we'd never forget become forgettable. We've seen faces we hardly remember, people who we thought would be the next big thing become the next big forgotten. American Idol reminds us that nothing is given to you. Sometimes our dreams remain as just that--dreams. Not everyone becomes Kelly or Carrie.
Then again, sometimes they do.
As we say goodbye to American Idol, to the end of an era, I feel saddened that it won't be there for the rest of the stages of my life. I feel sad that so many voices may go unheard now.
Some say American Idol isn't over. There will be a revival. I am a bit hopeful. I will keep that door slightly ajar.
But if it is really the final goodbye, I can only say this. Thank you, American Idol, for reminding us no dream is too big, no person is too small, to achieve greatness. Thank you for reminding us that whether we want to be a singer or a writer or a doctor or a world traveler, we can achieve it if we are willing to, in the words of Kelly, "Breakaway" from the ordinary.
SARAH STARTING OVER:
New Romantic Mystery Release
by MJ Greenway
Back of the Book Blurb:
Was Sarahâs husbandâs death murder or suicide? She searches for answers while raising her young son alone in the sleepy seaside town of Siletz Bay.
To make ends meet, she's working in a donut shop where she encounters Greyson. He's a hot, black P.I. with a prosthetic leg. He offers to help Sarah unravel the mystery of what really happened to her husband.
Their friendship provides answers and a second chance at love for two people whoâve survived great loss. Click to buy it on Amazon for .99
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
My great passions have always included reading and writing. When not engaged in one of those past times, I enjoy baking, walks and time spent with friends and family. I grew up in a small town and moved to L.A. after college. Adventures in that strange urban terrain inspired me to write my first novel, Dating Maggie.
As a kid I have a vague recollection of creating âmagazinesâ with a pencil and ruled notebook paper. I made family members buy copies for a quarter. Iâve been writing a variety of things since then: marketing copy, plays, short films and online content. I write-in a room of my own-under the clouds of the Pacific Northwest. Sometimes my husband and son pop in to check on me.
If you enjoyed this story, Iâd be pleased as punch if youâd take a moment to leave me a review on Amazon and or Goodreads.
Do you want to learn about giveaways and upcoming releases? Join my newsletter here: http://mjgreenway.blogspot.com/p/newsletter.html
You may also connect with me via social media if you like:
In my latest novel Then Comes Love, Amelia is the sassy wild child who isn't quite ready to settle down at thirty-two.
Where did her name come from?
Of all places, Amelia's name came from... Amelia. My cat. My first cat, to be exact.
It's quite fitting. I knew I wanted Amelia to be a sassy, wild kind of character, and Amelia is quite a sassy, wild cat. I though it had a nice ring to it.
Amelia, the cat, came into our lives our second year of marriage. We were living in an apartment and not allowed to have pets. About two weeks before we closed on our house, though, one of Chad's friends from work found a kitten. The kitten was outside on a day that temperatures exceeded 100 degrees. It was hungry, hot, and needed a home. Since they were allergic to cats, we ended up agreeing to take her.
In one of the few acts of rebellion in my entire life, I disobeyed the landlord and hid Amelia in our apartment for two weeks. It was quite interesting hiding a wild, crazy kitten in the bedroom of our apartment, but we managed to pull it off.
Perhaps from being out in the 100 degree whether, Amelia's a bit of an odd cat.
My Crazy Cat Amelia
1. She loves power ballads. If we play John Legend, Adele, or Sarah Mclachlan, she meows, rubs us, and cries repeatedly. She will try to climb up your leg, rubs Henry's face, and just goes crazy.
2. She is crazy obsessed with anything paper. She even stole our stamps one time.
3. She is alpha cat. If we bring a new cat into the house, she beats it up at least twenty-five times before she admits to liking it.
4. She is also obsessed with our computer room and desks. She walks around bawling, just waiting for one of us to go to the office. Then, she sleeps on my husband's hoodie under his desk lamp. She will sleep like this for hours.
5. She bites me if she doesn't like my perfume. Seriously.
6. She is a vegetarian. She will not eat meat, cheese, or cat treats. However, she once stuck her foot in a pot of water on the stove to get her favorite food: green beans. She loves anything green: salad, broccoli, even olives. Weird.
7. If you yell at her, she meows back at you.
8. She tries to sneak into the attic constantly. As in one day when we were at work, she managed to wriggle the door open to get in.
9. She used to have an obsession with jumping in the fridge.
10. She has stirred an irregular amount of conversations between my husband and I about Amelia Bedelia. Do you remember those books about the crazy housekeeper who took everything literally? Apparently Chad does because he can oddly quote a lot the books...creepy lol.
So yeah, Amelia is a bit wild and crazy. She's got quite a list of quirks, but what cat doesn't?
Do you have an Amelia cat? Tell me about your cat's crazy antics below :)
THE HUSTLE by Elizabeth Roderick
Publisher: Limitless Publishing
Release Date: May 31, 2016
Cover Designer: TOJ Publishing
✗ SYNOPSIS ✗
Liria is nineteen, homeless, and addicted to heroin…
She’s also determined to not end up dead—like her mother. But every time she tries to get clean, on her feet, and back on the employment train, everything falls apart. This time is different. This time, she knows there are only two choices—addiction or death. Once she gets clean, though, her life ends up even rockier than before.
Desperate for help, Liria goes to the one person she can count on for a safe place to stay and regular meals—her father, Cyryl Czetski. However, she soon learns Cyryl isn’t her real father, and he wants a very different kind of relationship. Liria ultimately rejects his advances and ends up on the streets yet again, this time working in an illegal strip club.
Finally taking control of her life, Liria lands a job in a Vegas nightclub, where she meets Arty—the woman of her dreams.
Arty is beautiful, funny, and rich. But when other nightclub employees turn up dead—including Liria’s best friend, Lee—Liria suspects the business might be a front for something far more sinister.
When Arty reveals Liria’s life is also in danger, she promises to keep her safe. But Arty’s acting strangely, and seems to know too much about the mysterious deaths. Is she really trying to save her, or is she holding her hostage, using her as a pawn in a game Liria doesn’t understand?
Liria thought she was used to always second guessing everyone’s intentions. That’s how life is. But if the drugs don’t ruin her, The Hustle will…
✗✗ ABOUT THE AUTHOR ✗✗
ELIZABETH RODERICK grew up as a barefoot ruffian on a fruit orchard near Yakima, in the eastern part of Washington State. After weathering the grunge revolution and devolution in Olympia, Washington, Portland, Oregon and Seattle, she recently moved to the (very, very) small town of Shandon, California: a small cluster of houses amidst the vineyards of the Central Coast.
She earned a bachelor’s degree in Spanish from The Evergreen State College in Olympia, Washington, and worked for many years as a paralegal and translator. She went on to study chemistry, physics, and higher mathematics, with the goal of becoming a research chemist, but was eventually forced to concede that graduate school would require too much time away from her husband and daughter, and that–despite her good-enough grades –she was perhaps the wrong kind of nerd for such pursuits, being more the type that likes to dress in cloaks and hauberks rather than lab coats and goggles.
She is a musician and songwriter, and has played in many bands. She’s rocked pretty much every instrument, including some she doesn’t even know the real names for, but mostly guitar, bass and keyboards. She has two albums of her own, which you can listen to at pimentointhehole.com. She writes fiction novels for young adults and adults, as well as short stories, and keeps an active blog at pimentointhehole.com/blog.
Limitless Publishing: http://www.limitlesspublishing.net/authors/elizabeth-roderick/
I don't trust a person who loves every book he or she reads. Seriously.
We all bring our own experiences, backgrounds, beliefs, and views of the world into the reading. It's what makes teaching literature so magical. To see a single piece impact a room of people in completely different ways is what I live for.
Students seem to think because I'm an English teacher, I adore everything we read.
I hate Great Expectations just as much as some of the kids, if not more. I loathe Heart of Darkness, could do without a bunch more classics.
Even in my personal reading, there are books I love and books I don't. Below, one recent book I loved...and one I didn't.
1. The Book I Love
My friend Kristin introduced me to Jojo Moyes last year. I was hooked on her style, on her ability to weave stories together from vastly different characters' points of view. I loved how she dealt with issues modern women face.
I've read a lot of her works now, but Me Before You stands out as one of my favorite books of all time.
I adore Louisa, this scatterbrained, quirky girl who loves bumblebee tights. I love how memorable she is but also how lost she is. She deals with an issue so many of us can relate to--not knowing where your life should go and not being quite brave enough to find out.
Will Traynor also stole my heart as he stole Louisa's. Here's a man with every reason to be cold and gruff. However, through Louisa, we see glimmers of the amazing man he was and still is.
Their love story is so unconventional. This book hits straight in the heart. It's painful, it's tragic, and it's moving. It really makes you ask yourself: What am I doing with my life, and should I be doing more?
Read this book. Seriously.
2. The Book I Don't Love
Surprisingly, my least favorite book I've read as of late is actually the sequel to my favorite. After You just really let me down, as much as I hate to say it.
I was so excited for the sequel to this beloved story. I wanted more of the characters. But it just didn't strike me.
The emotion of the first book was lost in the sequel. I didn't really care as much about it. I hated who Louisa had become. I didn't like the new characters. The chemistry, the magic was gone.
Not that it was a terrible, terrible read. It just wasn't memorable. It wasn't powerful like Me Before You. So, if you do read Me Before You, stop with it. I wouldn't suggest reading the sequel. I would have preferred to leave Louisa in my mind where she was at the end of the book.
How about you? Give me a book you love and a book you hate below. :)
I have a complete needle phobia.
It kicked in around second grade. Suddenly, the prospect of a shot or blood work was overwhelming. I would agonize for weeks over a doctor's appointment for fear of having to get a shot.
Everyone said I'd grow out of it. At twenty-eight, though, I still obsess over the possibility of getting a shot or blood drawn. When I have a doctor's appointment, I break into a nervous sweat. If a needle is on television or if someone even talks about one, I have to leave the room.
Yeah, it's pretty ridiculous.
Despite my phobia, or maybe because of it, the one thing near the top of my bucket list is to get a tattoo.
Someday, I'll face my fear...maybe. When I finally brave up to face up to the needle, I already have not one, but three picked out! Here are the tats I'm dying to have.
1. Walt Whitman's "O Me! O Life!"
I'm not brave enough to go all in for the entire poem, which is one of my favorites. I'm going for the final lines, pictures above.
I love the message, the idea that we all have a part to play. I also love that it talks about contributing a verse; I feel like this would be symbolic of my writing career. I would add a quill to the end of the line to symbolize my writing. This is my first tattoo I want to get...and will probably be the last knowing me.
2. Annabel Lee by Poe
Surprise! Another literary nerd tattoo :)
Poe is one of my favorite classic writers. My husband has the lines from "The Raven," but I love this poem because it's a softer side of Poe. Check out the design on Pinterest.
3. Tale as Old as Time
I loved Beauty and the Beast as a child. I love this tattoo because it's simple but meaningful. I will never, ever get it on my hand though...my husband told me his wedding ring was excruciating. Eek!
We all want to be J.K. Rowling.
The money, the fame, the ability to have millions read your words. It's the thing dreams are made of.
For me, though, my fascination with Rowling goes beyond the dollar signs and bestselling lists. It goes beyond the wizard named Harry and the magical world she creates.
J.K. Rowling's story of tenacity, persistence, and sheer magic in her real life is what keeps me writing.
I'm Not a Harry Potter Fanatic
Okay, I probably just lost a few of you, right?
Let me clarify. I love the Harry Potter books that I've read. Rowling's ability to paint a fully visible, magical world is truly awe-inspiring. Every luscious detail is fitting, every single sentence contributes to the world she's created. She makes us not just root for Harry; she makes us wish we were Harry.
That being said, I'm not the world's biggest Harry Potter Fan. I don't have wands in my closet or a full Harry Potter outfit. I have only read the first two books, and I haven't even seen the movies.
I guess I just jumped on the bandwagon too late and got left behind. I'm planning on catching up eventually.
Why the heck am I writing about J.K. Rowling then? How could she be so inspiring if I haven't even read all of her books?
It all started with my husband Chad saying, "You should see this," and then me rolling my eyes.
Magic Beyond Words
Scrolling through Netflix, one of our typical weekend hobbies, Chad came across a movie called Magic Beyond Words: the J.K. Rowling story. Chad added it to our list, and I thought nothing of it.
A few weeks later, though, I was bored to tears. I turned it on...and I was entranced.
I've now seen the Lifetime movie documenting Rowling's life three times. I've shown it in two of my classes. It is absolutely inspiring.
To see Rowling almost give up on her writing time and time again only to come back to it is so easy for me to connect with. Plus, there's the fact that she faced oodles of hurdles and failures in her writing career. The public likes to think she became a success overnight. She actually struggled many years, even finding herself on welfare before hitting it big.
I also loved how it chronicles the early years. The first author reading where only a handful of people attended...the scene where she wonders if her book will ever even be in a bookshop.
As a new writer, I can attest to the fact that the industry is tough. There are plenty of days when I feel like chucking my laptop and never putting my fingers on the keys again. There are millions of days when I doubt myself, my ability, and whether or my writing career will grow.
To see one of the most famous writers of our time deal with the same struggles is empowering.
Believe in Your Writing
Rowling shows us we must have faith in ourselves, in our writing, and in the path we are taking. It will work out as its meant to...as long as we are willing to put in the work.
Keep writing because the story calls you, just like Harry Potter called to Rowling. You never know how close you are to your own magical ending.
Recently, Rowling released some of the rejection letters she got in hopes of inspiring other writers. I think her ability to discuss and share her failures is admirable. She's willing to show just how far she's come and just how hard she's worked.
Writing success doesn't come over night. It isn't something that just comes to you. You have to keep your nose in your books, your heart on your sleeve, and just keep following your passion.
My soul resides at the beach, sand gritting against my bare toes, salty water slapping against my legs. I am a child of the flying winds, the humid breeze hard to breath. Seagulls crying, boardwalk foods drifting about in abundance. Resting on the shore, water slapping against the sand, I am at peace, I am at rest, I am at ease. I am my best self.
Okay, so the first paragraph is a bit overdramatic for a girl who only visits the beach four days a year.
But, if I had to pick somewhere to live, anywhere in the world, it would be the beach. Any beach.
There’s something soul soothing about being near the open water, even though I am not a surfer, boogie boarder, swimmer, or anything involving me going in the water more than a toe. But still, I find my four days at Ocean City to be the most rejuvenating. I think life by the beach would be the same.
Sure, the grass is always greener. There would certainly be downfalls of living at the beach--hurricanes come to mind.
Still, there’s a vision I have, a lofty vision I know, of resting in a hammock, reading my favorite book, Henry sleeping beneath the tree. We rest by our Cape Cod, a small cottage-like house decked out in all of the beachy decor we can find. When we tire of reading, we saunter down to the shore, easing along the water’s edge, the summer sun warming us until we are ready for a rest.
Okay, and maybe we’ll invite Chad, too :)
Sometime in my life, even if it’s just for a summer, I want to call the beach my home.
In my mind, it feels like a pipe dream. You’ll never do it, or it’ll never happen I tell myself.
Then again, this past year I’ve learned sometimes your wildest, craziest pipe dreams do come true.
So maybe someday it won’t just be my soul by the sea. It’ll be, literally and physically, me.
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