How Did We Get Here?

I am sick to my stomach. I am scared. No, I’m beyond scared, I’m terrified. We are three days away from the most contentious election I have ever been witness to and I can not even begin to imagine what the world is going to look like in four days.

In the past year, less than a year, the level of vitriol, hate, prejudice, and downright nastiness that has been shared over the airwaves, online, and in person is beyond anything I have ever experienced. While I may be too young to remember the civil rights riots and well anything that happened before 1966, I do have memories of bigotry, segregation, and misogyny that have taken place in my lifetime. I’m also a student of history, it’s one subject I actually enjoyed in school, and firmly believe if we don’t learn from our past we are destined to repeat it over and over. Which I guess is what’s happening now.

But what really hits home about this is being a parent. My teenager is not yet old enough to vote but is old enough to be aware of what is going on in the world. The level of anxiety that this brings on for her, and in turn, me, I’m finding is difficult to describe.

It used to be that when I was a kid, I could look to the future and think “wow, I have my entire life ahead of me. There are so many amazing things on the horizon; inventions yet to be produced, cures yet to be discovered, experiences yet to be had.” We had hopes, dreams, and passions we all wanted to pursue.

When she looks to her future, she sees none of that. What she is faced with is a population that is killing off  the planet. Robbing it of its resources and life-giving habitat. Not to mention what we are doing to the animals. She is faced with consumerism being the only reason to live; make money, buy stuff, repeat. Don’t think about saving money, just keep droning on, making those dollars, paying your taxes and debts, and turning a profit for the corporate giants that are taking control of every single aspect of our lives. Keep doing this until you die.

What kind of life is that? Is this really what we’ve become?

I’m not even going to speculate what the world will look like on November 9, 2016. Because every scenario I come up with, is not good. I only hope that we can come together as a country, as a world, as a human race, and somehow get past what has been dividing us, and save humanity before it’s too late.

 

Preparing for NaNoWriMo 2016

It’s that time of year again. Prepping for NaNoWriMo 2016 has begun. For those new to Brain Drops, that’s short for National Novel Writing Month. Writers from around the world strive to write 50,000 (or more) words in the month of November. While a lot of it might not make sense when you read back over it at the end of the month, you should have at least a good start of the first draft of a novel.

So posts may be sporadic, okay, more sporadic than usual. But know that writing is taking place in this little corner of the Internet universe. And when it’s ready, I’ll be sure to share it here too.

Who are the undecideds?

It’s the morning after the first presidential debate. I’m scrolling through my social media feeds and it’s become quite apparent that everyone is either for candidate A or candidate B. Okay, there are a few for third-party candidates too, but not many.

I also note that if you choose a side and publicly announce your choice, you are going to be wrong; in some opinions, dead wrong about your choice.

In one instance I saw a comment regarding the Save The Day video that has been making the rounds. The commenter said, “I need to take a look at this, if Robert Downey Jr is anti-Trump, I will just die!” Now I don’t know the person that made this comment, so I can’t say how serious they are, but it kind of summed up what I’ve seen others saying about how they are making their decision on who to vote for. Instead of relying on facts and doing the research themselves, they are relying on the opinions of someone famous that they have no personal relationship with, to make what most would consider one of the most important decisions you are faced with every four years in your adult life.

So I come back to my original question in the title of this post. Who are the undecideds? And more importantly, will they actually vote on election day? Or will they choose to stay home because they can’t make up their mind? And if that is the case, then the election of who will run our country for the next 4 years will be decided by approximately half (54.87% in 2012) of the voting age population. (Source The American Presidency Project)

Regardless of who you are planning on voting for, please, make sure to go vote.

vote

It’s definitely you and not me

Dear Facebook,

I am on the verge of breaking up with you.

You used to be fun. You used to be that extroverted friend I would check in with every day, more than once a day I might add. I used to be able to see my friends posts; what was going on in their lives, who was getting married, having a baby, other day-to-day life events that they chose to share. It was a social gathering place. It was one of the early, online social gathering places where friends from all over the world could connect or even reconnect after years apart.

But lately, you’ve changed. No longer is it “social”. Now my feed is full of pages sharing their latest post which usually is just click bait, followed by an ad, followed by maybe one of two friends statuses, and then more page posts and ads.

And before you give me all sorts of helpful information on how to “see this friends post first” or that I should unlike some of the pages, I have done this. I even created “lists” so I could easily see groups of friends and what they chose to share. But recently it seems that you don’t like that idea, so you’ve made it more difficult to access these shortcuts.

So you see, it’s not me. It’s definitely you.

Please, let’s bring back the social aspect of “social media” that you used to be and let me get my “media” from somewhere else more fitting to serve me the news, ads and other detritus.

 

4 extra teeth?!

“Are you sure this is your x-ray? How old are you again?” “Wow, I’ve never seen anything quite like this.” “Well, would you look at that tooth!” These are all direct quotes from dentists that I have seen over the years.

Let me set the scene for you. At the age of 24 I had to have my wisdom teeth removed, so I went to see an oral surgeon. He took the requisite x-rays and discovered that in addition to my wisdom teeth, I also had 4 extra teeth that were still impacted in my lower jaw. I had no idea they were there. They weren’t bothering me. When he told me the process of what would take place to remove them and all the other work he wanted to do, I saw dollar signs flash before my eyes and then I politely declined. I figured I would take care of it later if it ever became an issue.

Fast-forward a bunch of years later and they started to become an issue. Apparently, there were five extra teeth, one had erupted and fused to another tooth, kind of resembling a piece of cauliflower. The other four remained below gum level. It wasn’t a major issue, but through a series of visits with a periodontist, my regular dentist, and an orthodontist, it became clear that they would need to finally be taken care of if I wanted to keep my own teeth for as long as humanly possible.

April of this year was when the process began. First was the surgery to remove the teeth. The only memory I have of that was the laughing gas before general anaesthesia and then the soft food diet and pain meds for the next two weeks. The oral surgeon was of course fascinated by the entire situation, and scheduled an extra post op visit for a month later just to satisfy his own curiosity.

Two weeks after the surgery came the braces. I never had braces as a kid, so I had no frame of reference as to what to expect. Because of alignment issues I had to get regular braces and couldn’t opt for the Invisalign.

Looking back on it, I can honestly say, had they told me what I was in for, I probably would have thought twice, maybe three times, before committing to this process. For another two weeks after the braces were put on, I was still on a soft’ish food diet. Not to mention the restrictions on what I could no longer eat. Did I mention that I really like bread? A good crusty bread, a nice piece of cheese, a good bagel, a nicely toasted panini, well you get the idea. These were all foods that I could no longer eat.

Now my trainer would tell you that cutting carbs, especially bread, is a good way to lose weight. I can say, that is true. Five months in now I have dropped 21 pounds. I also attribute part of that to eating smaller meals, because with the braces I have to cut everything into toddler-size pieces and it takes me twice as long to eat, so I tend to get full faster. But damn, I still miss bread. I’m pretty sure that will be the first thing I eat when the braces finally come off.

So here we are, five months into the process, a second surgery had to take place. It would seem that despite their best efforts, the oral surgeon missed a piece of tooth. Cue laughing gas and general anaesthesia again, followed by yet another soft food diet. Let me tell you, after a week of smoothies, soup, and yogurt, you really want something you can sink your teeth into. Oh yeah, still can’t do that yet, though. But it has been mutually agreed upon by both the surgeon and myself that we never want to see each other again and we parted on good terms.

And that tooth that looks like a piece of cauliflower? Well, that’s the next  item that is going to be addressed. An endodontist has now been introduced into the mix of dental practitioners that have a very close relationship with my mouth. I am waiting to hear back from him if the tooth is viable and can be reshaped and crowned to look like a normal tooth again, or if it will need to be extracted and have an implant instead.

So here I am today, I still have 19 more months to go based on the original estimate given by the orthodontist. I’m hoping that since I’m such a dental anomaly that maybe it will go faster, but I won’t hold my breath. And if you see someone cutting up a burger into toddler-sized bites with no toddler in sight, that’s probably me, because now I really want a burger.🙂

 

2013panoramic-progress

Road Tripping

I had the opportunity to take a road trip last week and just had to share a few experiences from along the way.

As a writer, I’m always on the lookout for things that might spark an idea, help to finish a scene, or are just plain funny because of word usage. Road signs, I found, are a great source of amusement. Here are some of what I encountered –

  • Blue Giraffe Spa. A business sign spotted on I5 southbound. No picture of said blue giraffe though.
  • Pavement rehabilitation. Made me wonder what addiction the pavement was suffering from.
  • Easy Street & Shamrock Road. Perhaps this is where the end of the rainbow and the pot of gold are?
  • “Diggers. A bar and no grill.” Located in the town of Willits CA.
  • Bear Pen Undercrossing. Didn’t see any bears penned and wondered how they would cross if they were.
  • For Elk information tune to 1610 information. No, they weren’t referring to the lodge where old men meet.
  • “Food, Booze, Snooze” an inn on Route 199. At least you know exactly what you’re getting.
  • Hellgate Excursions. Not sure this is a place I want to explore.
  • The Feral Cats. A name of a local band.

And for your viewing pleasure, here are few of the sights I saw too.

 

Castello di Amorosa

Castello di Amorosa

Castello di Amorosa

Castello di Amorosa

Vineyards as far as the eye could see

Vineyards as far as the eye could see

 

 

Avenue of the Giants in the Redwood Forest

Avenue of the Giants in the Redwood Forest

Towering Redwoods

Towering Redwoods

Northern California coast

Northern California coast

Tumalo Falls Bend Oregon

Tumalo Falls Bend Oregon

Downtown Bend Oregon

Downtown Bend Oregon

Who Are You?

I’m a writer. There I said it. And the world is still turning. My knees may be shaking, I may have a lump in my throat, but at least I set out to do what I intended. And that was to identify myself as a writer.

For years when people have asked me “What do you do?” I’ve had various answers. Depending on when the question was asked, I was a student, a waitress, a receptionist, a camera operator at a tv station, a technical writer, a web developer, a massage therapist, and of course a mom. But the one answer that was always lingering in the background for so many years has been the most elusive one to come out of my mouth and that is a writer. Yes, I know I mentioned being a technical writer in my list of titles, and I was for a short time. But writing manuals about how to use tax software, well that’s not what I aspired to write, and that actually turned into my becoming a web developer after just a couple of months. So I wouldn’t have necessarily called myself a writer then.

There was one time I was flying somewhere by myself and my seatmate struck up a conversation. Of course one of the standard questions after are you going to xyz destination for business or pleasure, is, what do you do?  I actually said then I was a writer. His response was what have you written? Suddenly I was tongue tied. I had been writing this blog for a while, and some years ago wrote for my high school paper. Do letters to the editor count, I thought. Once I was finally able to corral my thoughts I feebly answered “I write a blog and am working on a novel, but nothing’s been published yet.” The conversation turned to other topics after that, and the butterflies that were trying to escape my stomach finally subsided too.  But ever since then, this one random encounter with a stranger, will come back to mind at the strangest of times.

Most recently was this morning, in the shower. Some of my best ideas come to me during that time. Probably because I’m not distracted by anything else, no one is wanting my attention, the sound of the water pretty much drowns out anything else going on around me. It gives me a chance to think, to let my mind wander, for ideas to germinate, or grocery lists to be formed. This morning however, I had an entire dialogue with myself about who I am and what I want to be when I grow up. (Okay, those of you that know me personally know I’m approaching my 50th birthday, and no I haven’t yet grown up🙂 I doubt I ever will.) But what I took away from this conversation with myself is that if I don’t believe myself when I say I’m a writer, who else will? I’ve been writing a book for going on 4 years now I think. It’s finally getting close to having the first full draft done. It’s well over 100,000 words now, at last count I think it was about 275 pages if it were published in paperback format. Of course there is a lot of editing that will need to happen before it’s even remotely ready to be read by the general population too.

But there it is. I’m putting this out in the universe, declaring and believing in myself, that I am indeed, a writer. And to that college professor all those years ago who told me I couldn’t and shouldn’t write, well yeah. You can use your imagination for what I’m saying to her now. Along with my inner critic, they are both relegated to somewhere else, not in my universe.

Now back to work.