Tuesday, March 25, 2008

My User Name

If you look at my profile, you'll see that my "name" is gsd4de.

My husband has never liked that moniker. He thinks I'm trying to be clever. But if pressed, he can't come up with anything better so he keeps quiet. He isn't a fan of custom license plates either unless they are really brilliant, so I take his ribbing with a bucket of salt...

gsd4de stands for 'German Shepherd Dogs "for" De'. For 16 years my husband and I have had German Shepherds. That is, until our last gsd Gracie died this past summer. I had always planned on starting a kennel and raising beautiful, intelligent, friendly, healthy german shepherds. So maybe that screen name makes a little more sense to everyone.

And maybe you are all agreeing with my husband that it isn't clever enough. :)

Now that we no longer have german shepherds (which still feels really strange after so many years with them), my name makes even less sense now than it did before. But what do you do? I have had that name for so long now that everything is tied to it. I have TWO e-mail addresses with that listed. I am registered on a bunch of websites with that as my user name. To change it now seems like it would be similar to suddenly changing your home phone number or cell phone number and having to contact a million people to let them know.

Luckily for me I'm not feeling clever enough to come up with a snappy new name. We have two stinky toy poodles (so we aren't a completely dog-less family--although that is debateable if you don't really consider a poodle a dog...), but I don't want to be connected in anyway to poodles. They are my daughter's dogs. I don't claim them.

We also have a cat. She is stinky too, and I'm allergic to her so obviously that isn't even my first choice on the 2nd page.

I pretend we don't own three mice that are leftovers from my daughter's science fair project. So I won't go there.

Some people use things about themselves like Gr8Mom, ScrappingMachine, AustenLvr, etc. But since mine would read more like YouWantMeToCleanWhat?, GoAwayI'mReading, or It'sNotThePantsThatMakeMeLookFat...I don't see me coming up with anything short enough to describe myself in an internet friendly username.

So for now I'm stuck with gsd4de. Maybe I can make it stand for something else, but since I have to explain it as it is anyway that probably won't make much difference. Although it would be fun to randomly change the meaning.

Got Sons (&) Daughters 'for' Deserving Empathy

Gee, Someone Does "40" (4d) Easily

Get Some Donuts 'for' Delectible Expansion

Or not. German Shepherd Dogs 4 De works okay. Maybe it isn't all that clever, and you won't see it on any license plate...and it no longer makes sense since we don't actually have a real dog anymore. But it's me.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Writing Convention

I attended day one of my first writer's convention today. Day two is tomorrow. (Nice and orderly...) I'm not sure what I was expecting, but I'm pretty sure that even if tomorrow is horrible, I will have liked it well enough to already be looking forward to next year's convention.

It was fun for a few reasons (the least of which being letting my husband be the one home with the kids, so when Dom flushed his underwear down the toilet, my hubby was the lucky guy who got to fix that particular ick).

First, it was nice meeting people who like to write. Published or not, there are some awfully friendly folk at this convention.

Second, the workshops I attended were really well done and I learned something from all of them. One thing I learned is that there is no way I will win (or even place) in the 'First Chapters Writing Contest'. Which is actually a good thing. The minute they talked about POV I cringed and realized that I had inadvertantly done just that--switched point of view in the middle of a page. So regardless of anything else in my story, just that glaring error that shows my novice-ness (is that a word??) is enough to bump me back down the list. This year. Next year I'll go into it with a little more savvy. I might not win next year either, but I'm already looking forward to making it a close contest between me and the third place guy or gal. :)

[And just an addition--I was right in my contest assessment--I didn't win. But I got some great critiques that will do nothing but help me write (re-write) my book and I'm looking forward to getting at it tomorrow. And I DID win a lovely gift basket from Jewel Adams...so that was a huge bonus. She is great.]

Third, it was good to just think about writing for a couple of days. To learn about aspects of writing...research, self-publishing, self-promotion...the list goes on and on. So much learned in such a little time. And none of the discussions centered around the merits of who would win in an arm wrestle--Spongebob or Patrick.

[Speaking of Patrick--and I apologize for flinging myself completely off topic, but my 4 year old daughter asked me if there is a Saint Spongebob day since there is a St. Patrick's Day. Took me a minute to figure out what in the heck she was talking about "St. Spongebob???" but she cracked me up. The stink.]

So, what are some things I learned from the convention that I will implement immediately? I will tell people I am a writer. I will write more often in my blog and will read other blogs of authors and people "in the know", so that I improve and tighten up my own writing. I will choose to make time to write.

I will also try to think a bit before popping off when people ask me if I write. For example, when a lady sits next to me at a writing convention and asks "Are you a writer?" and I say "I pretend to be one." I will think first and NOT say that on the off chance said lady is an editor. [Yes, this happened, but luckily she didn't hold it against me and we ended up having a nice conversation and she gave me her card and requested that I send her something when I'm ready]. And I also won't tell a friend of mine when she finds out I was at a writer's convention and asks "Do you write?" and I say "Yes" (because I learned from the other example), and she says "Is it secret?" and I again pop off with the "No, it's sacred". Goodness, who in the world will take me halfway seriously if my smart mouth takes off before my brain tells it to keep shut?

So there you go. I am a writer.

And you thought I was just a rambler. :)

Saturday, March 15, 2008

You Know You're Old When...

Okay, I know we've all realized that I am not getting any younger. And since I turned 40 a couple of months ago I've done my best to ignore that number. But seriously...there are things that happen naturally in the world that just slam home the fact that I am getting old(er). (parenthases added for my well-being and psyche)

For example:

Baggers, cashiers, Dominoes pizza delivery guys, and refrigerator repair men all calling me "Ma'am". Ouch. I know it is cliche` of me, but ma'am? It sounds old. I know I'm too old to be called "Miss", and "Lady" is just goofy. In all honesty I would rather be called "Hey You" than "Ma'am".

Another big example is when I realized that my doctor and my dentist are younger than I am. I took Kady to her physical for track and the doctor asked her if she thought her parents were old. Kady laughed and very politically correctly said "No", and my age then came up...the doctor said he was sure I was older than him and I said, "Unfortunately, I am positive I am older than you." I told him my age and he shrugged and admitted he is just 36.
Doctors are supposed to be old men. Now my daughter thinks they are old men, but I am four years older than they are.

(The good news there is that he thought I was younger than his 36, so I guess I will take that as a good thing--I'm still not happy about all of these realizations about my age lately, but I'll take the slight compliment wherever I can get it).

Another thing is that this past week my Uncle John passed away unexpectedly. Someone asked me if he was old and I said "No, he's only about...." and then I stopped talking. In my mind he was about 40. Then I realized that it is ME who is 40 now and he was closer to 70. He will always seem 40 to me. And if my Uncle is 40, I can't possibly be that old. Right?

(On a side note totally off subject, but needed at this juncture: Uncle John was a genuinely nice guy to me and my siblings. And although we didn't see much of him after he retired and moved out of this valley I will always remember him for his Chuck-A-Rama lunches that always ended with the biggest dessert of strawberry shortcake I have ever seen...We will all miss him and my sincere condolences go out to his wife and children and to my mom and Aunt).

So to sum up, I really don't mind being 40. What I mind is being reminded that I am 40. If I could avoid that part and continue on with my ignorant bliss of thinking I am younger than I am, I would be a happy gal.

And then maybe I wouldn't have the sudden urge to deck the next guy who smiles brightly and says to me, "Have a nice day, Ma'am".