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Clusterflake 2014

If you are bored with reality TV and the current Sochi Olympic conspiracy dramas, you may have watched the news enough recently to know that metropolitan Atlanta and parts of the Southeastern US have been hit by wintry weather the past 3 days.

While it’s a perfectly valid point that most Atlantans lack the driving skills, 4-wheel drive vehicles or snow chains necessary to safely navigate icy roads and therefore should stay off the streets, there’s still a lot of inherent humor in that the hub of of the New South has been effectively shut down over 1/4 inch of ice.

My favorite of the Ice-pocolyptic images currently floating around Facebook:
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(couldn’t find who to credit the photo to, but “Bravo” to you, unknown Photoshopper! And umm, that’s Atlanta’s own Big Chicken floating around in the back, for all you out-of-towners!)

Next up: the Big Thaw 2014

…belong the spoils.

All 30 of them.

I cannot believe I actually survived NaBloPoMo: 30 days. 30 blogs. I think that’s pretty damn skippy for someone who’s averaged 4-5 blogs a year for the last 3 years.

Now I just need to focus on content.

It’s been a really provocative challenge. I almost quit about 28 times.

There were nights I verbally “barfed” on the keyboard and hit “post” at 11:59 p.m. and went back after 12:00 a.m. and edited. There were times I should have gone back after 12:00 a.m. and edited but fell asleep instead.

Ouch.

I’ve learned the value of a quick and dirty “weekly photo challenge,” when words have failed me. Daily prompts have become my blogging BFF.

Most importantly, I’m developing the habit of writing. I’m finding that if I start throwing the words out there, no matter how random or vague, I can push through the “block” that so frequently cripples me. Once I get a sentence down, the Edit Monster can take over and make something of the garbage: fine tune it, focus it, even take it a different, better direction.

I think the most important aspect of this challenge has been finding some really talented writers to follow and learn from. I’ve been blown away at the kindness of total strangers who have stopped by my blog to encourage and support me.

I’ve even come out of my shell enough to make tentative comments on a few blogs I really enjoy. It’s hard for me to do – I feel my opinion doesn’t matter much to someone who doesn’t know me from Jack, but I’ve been seeing (and have experienced myself) how appreciated comments can be, even as innocuous as the ones I’ve hesitantly left. Again, I’m learning.

And one more major piece of wisdom gleaned:

When completely barren of ideas or inspiration,

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toss out some ragingly fabulous nature.

This week’s photo challenge on WordPress: in a new post created for this challenge, share a photo that captures a light source.

We’re enjoying a relaxing and lovely family vacation up in the North Georgia mountains.

It’s been amazing sleeping in with no agenda or schedule, reading a book curled up before a roaring fire or just sitting in front of the huge picture windows: drinking in the rich blue heavens, sunlight sparkling on the lakes below us, color saturating sunrises and sunsets in bands of jewel-toned strata.

Such a blessing to spend time with our parents; cooking, eating and drinking, catching up and swapping stories and watching old movies late into the night.

It’s so hard to break away to write, so I’ll accept the photo challenge and share instead a glimpse into our light-dazzled mountain views.

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Blogher’s prompt today asked you to tell about your very first blog post. I can do one better. I can show you.

This was published way, way back – April of 2010.

Back then I had little idea of all the wonderful changes ahead for me. I would buy my fabulous loft that October, meet my amazing husband in December, get married to him (twice!) the next January (and then again in December), leave my job of six years and totally change my career.

I wrote this very first blog the day after my birthday.

I had made the decision the night before that I was getting older without getting any closer to my dream of being a writer and I had to do something, anything to change that. I had been investigating free blogging websites, stumbled across WordPress and set up an account for “Kimicalreaction.”

That morning, I made my first post and my first start down the path of published writing.

Birthdays…
April 17, 2010
It’s two days after my actual birthday, but it’s Saturday morning and thus still a vital part of the “Natal Month Festivities.”

I don’t have to work today–therefore, I should be lying on the couch or buried under a mound of pillows in my bed, nursing a hangover and planning the next phase of the celebration.

Instead, I was up at 9, scrubbing my stove top for no apparent reason other than it seriously needed it.

I can’t blame demonic possession, there has been no mezcal.

What has happened to me? Does growing up have to make you boring?

And…and…tidy?

::shudders::

I am on vacation.

Fur realz.

It’s just like Valhalla, except without the nine, white-armed virgins.

I’m so overwhelmed with joy just to be away from work/obligations/weekday stress. We are in the most amazing house I’ve ever been in, which happens to be in located in the North Georgia mountains, but could more aptly be described as Real World, Jasper (GA).

So instead of writing, may I let my frenzied brain relax and treat you to gorgeous vistas viewed from a saturation of relaxation and happiness (and wonderful food and wine)? I’ll be back tomorrow to be Thankful, as this is a massively abundant Thanksgiving and I want to express how grateful I am for all the blessings in my life.

For now, I would like to leave you with wishes for sweet dreams, the most amazing Thanksgiving ever and all the love and joy and turkey you can hold.

Sending you sunsets and vistas and wide open spaces….
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Yesterday, I posted a blog with 5 truths and 1 lie. As promised, here are the facts vs. fiction.

(It was surprisingly difficult to come up with the lie. I’d like to think it’s because I’m a bad liar but most likely, I’m just sleep deficit.)

1. I once swam with dolphins.

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This is true. When I was a senior in high school, I was enrolled in a program that allowed us to pick a year-long study project. I picked “Cetacean Learning and Behavioral Patterns,” which sounds pretty grandiose coming from a 17-year old, especially one with little proclivity towards the sciences. My teacher, Mrs. Collins, was awesome and arranged for me to visit a theme park and work with the dolphin trainers for a few days. It was the highlight of my entire teenage experience and was for many years, a very unique story, until all the Florida and Caribbean resorts added a “Swim with the Dolphins” feature and people ceased to be so impressed.

2. I was born and grew up in Mobile, Alabama where I attended an all-girls high school.

Here, as Rarasaur says, “therein, lies the lie.” I actually was born in Birmingham, Alabama; although I did grow up in Mobile and I did attend the Julius T. Wright College Preparatory School for Young Ladies, which failed in almost every way to make me a lady, young or otherwise.

As I’m reading this, I realize that this was the absolute lamest of lies. Really? Oooh, I lied about the actual city in Alabama where I was born. It’s Alabama, does it matter? Mata Hari, you appear safe from me. My pathetic excuse is that I’m having a rough week at work and my brain was refusing to function creatively.

3. I interviewed Joe Satriani for an on-line magazine.

Again, truth. Years ago, I was briefly the content editor for an on-line magazine called HipCity.net, which sounds pretty grandiose, especially for a publication with a subscriber base of about 17 people. Our music reporter was scheduled to interview Joe, but she ate a bad sandwich and was tossing cookies so severely she had to cancel. They sent me instead, which totally ticked her off, as she felt I was musically “illiterate.” She also didn’t like my hair (but that was a separate issue.) I had to do some last-minute scrambling to research pertinent questions (I was pretty musically illiterate at the time – however, my hair was quite stylish.) Joe was incredibly kind and patient and we ended up having a wonderful chat about how much we both loved Star Trek.

4. I am seriously allergic to Jumping Jack Cheese Doritos.

Truth! Linda guessed it! The first time I ever ate them was at a Christmas party while I was in college. I woke up the next morning with my eyes swollen shut and my whole body covered in angry red hives. It was also the first time I’d ever even seen an allergic reaction, much less had one. I remember calling my mom, sobbing hysterically, because I had no idea what was wrong with me and I thought I was dying. The dermatologist misdiagnosed it as a reaction to a new perfume, so about a month later; while on a road trip to D.C. I ate another bag of JJC Doritos (Damn them! They are tasty evil!) and promptly welted up all over again. They were never able to figure out which magical ingredient was the culprit, since unofficial tests revealed I’m fine with Sour Cream Ranch Doritos and even Cheetos. I tend to avoid crispy snack foods as a rule now, not to tempt fate.

5. mtvI was an intern for MTV during college.

‘Tis true. I was the University of Georgia college campus representative for MTV my junior year. It was a pretty cool experience – I worked with their marketing department to produce events on campus, like a dance-off and a Remote Control audition, and got to fly up to New York and hang with Kurt Loder and Colin Quinn. They actually offered me a job, but I still had some classes to finish up to graduate and the starting salary was too dismal to really be tempting.

6. The first concert I ever went to was Cher.

I’ll give props to Priceless Joy. I was with my parents. I was so itty-bitty so I have no memory of the experience and it was so long ago, Cher actually may have still been Mrs. Bono.

So there’s my truths and lies. Thank you for playing along! I’d look forward to reading your stories.

doritos-jumpinjack-bagToday’s inspiration came from a fun post by Jen at Sips of Jen and Tonic (by way of Rarasaur). Basically, you share 5 truths and 1 lie and ask your readers to tell the difference.

So here are my five facts (and one fib!)

1. I once swam with dolphins.
2. I was born and grew up in Mobile, Alabama where I attended an all-girls high school.
3. I interviewed Joe Satriani for an on-line magazine.
4. I am seriously allergic to Jumping Jack Cheese Doritos.
5. I was an intern for MTV during college.
6. The first concert I ever went to was Cher.

Fun memories for me – I hope you enjoyed! Let me know if you can tell the one fable from the other facts! I’ll be back tomorrow with all the deets. Thank you for reading and playing along!

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