Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Ten Questions for me

Thanks Erika from the Sweet Life with Erika for inspiring me to write this post! I've been looking for some fun blogs to write and this ignited my imagination!

1. Do you own any pets? If so, what kind? Breed? Name?
No I do not have a pet but I'd love to adopt a dog. I'm not sure which breed I'd pick- maybe a Boston Terrier, a French Bulldog or a Pug. I do know that when the day does come to adopt, I'll name the male Jax, and the female Zoey.
The only other animal I'd ever want to adopt would be a horse. I do miss riding, that is for sure. Horses may not be very hard to care for,  but I'm sure it is expensive to keep them healthy with visits to the vet! 

2. What is the last book that you read?
Because I am a writer, I have a tendency to read a lot of different material. Sitting down to read a good novel has proven to be difficult as of late. Mostly because when I read a good book, I stop to think about my story and finish writing my story, instead of the book I'm reading.
The last book I actually finished reading was "Laws of the Ring" by Urijah Faber. 

3.  Favorite way to sweat?
I can't decide between Hot Yoga, and boxing. I love practicing power yoga in the heat, but boxing is new to me and I don't get to do it often. When I do go in for a session of punching and kicking a bag, I can assure you I sweat and burn calories

4.  What is your favorite piece of workout apparel?
I love my sports bras. I have not shame in wearing them to they gym for a work-out, and I'm going to hate wearing T-shirts over them this winter

5. Salty or sweet?
Salty! I've had to work hard at avoiding potato chips and I'm thankful I no longer want to eat them anymore! I still love salty nuts, salty pretzels, and I put salt on my veggies, and eggs. Gosh, had I not adopted a healthier lifestyle, I'd still be putting salt in my beer and on my pizza! 

 6. Favorite fashion trend right now?
Headbands, and beanies! I hate the cold fall and winter weather, so I'm thankful for beanies and headbands! 

7. If you could go anywhere tomorrow, where would you go?
I know you’re probably expecting me to pick an exotic island or a foreign country, but I won’t. I pick California. I’ve been waiting to go since I was a kid and I’ve yet to make the trip out west. I have no clue why I’ve made traveling to Cali such a complicated task- but I’m sure that means my first trip out will be more meaningful to my heart once I’m out there!
I’ve decided to avoid going anywhere until I visit California, including visiting family in New England!
Now if money were not an issue, I’d visit Napa Valley, San Francisco, Los Angelas, and travel to San Diego. Then I’d fly out to Costa Rica for a yoga retreat, to ride horses, drinking coffee, spending time on the beach.

8. What is your astrological sign?
I was born February 23rd, so I’m a Picses! I even live up to the type too!
I love experiencing as much as life has to offer. There’s more to see and do, and I can’t wait to get out there to see it all!

9. How many states have you lived in? Where?
I have had a legal address in four states, and one province. I was born in Quebec, Canada, and then raised in New Hampshire. I moved to Boston, MA and stayed there for six years. I made the decision to live in New York for a year, and not to long ago, I moved to North Carolina! I’ve also stayed in Vermont for a summer, but I wouldn’t say I actually ‘lived’ there!

10. What is your favorite recipe you’ve made lately?
I cook as often as possible, and to be honest, my favorite is breakfast! I love crushing avocado, and smearing it on an Ezekiel muffin (or bread) and a putting spinach, tomato, cucumber, and egg on it.

I'd like to know about you, if you're a blogger, join in and tell me, if you could own an exotic pet, what would you adopt? And where would you travel if you could go anywhere tomorrow?

Monday, November 11, 2013

Simplifying My Life: Part 1: A time when it was so simple

When you hear someone say they're going to simplify their life, what exactly does that mean to you?

I strongly do not believe there's a right or a wrong way to live your life. We all do have different lives and we all have different dreams, aspirations and goals. We've also all been handed a different set of life cards - and we're all just trying to live our own version of 'happily ever after.

A few months ago, I involved myself in a community - and joined a group of friends where we set a goal to simplify our lives this fall. As usual, I set several high goals. Maybe far too many to reach- yet they seemed so simple. Clean out every room in this house; clean, and re-organize my writing room- get rid of old clothes and sneakers- start writing my novel- so simple. But why do I find it so complicated to simplify my life?
 To avoid a lengthy boring post, I'll do my best to simplify this blog and talk to you about something that's on my mind, "A time when it was so simple."
I was born with a wild imagination. Since my childhood I've had a fascination with music, movies, and fiction story books.
 Lately, I've been feeling a bit nostalgic. I'm not so sure why.

Life was so simple in the late 80s. I was 13 in 1989, and I can tell you that was one of the best summers of my life. All I did was watch MTV. Okay, I take that back because I wasn't that boring. I went swimming and horseback riding at Girl Scout camp. I volunteered at the hospital. I took dance and gymnastic classes.
Yet, I knew back then that I wanted to grow up to be a music journalist and I was going to work for Rolling Stone. Or maybe MTV. Funny, I actually remember telling my 7th grade teacher that I was going to be like the red headed Downtown Julie Brown.
Wow- what ever happened to that dream? I grew up, and I outgrew the dream. That's the simple way to say it.

The truth is, when you run away from your childhood dreams, it does come back to haunt you. And I'm not talking about missing opportunities with Rolling Stone or MTV either. I'm truthfully happy that it  didn't happen!
As my writing dreams have matured and I focused on different topics, I also spent more time focusing on day jobs and petty things. I worried more about the fickle opinions of people that really never should have been a part of my life. I allowed the anxiety and the stress of paying rent, my bills and working a day job to prove to society I am a well rounded adult to get the best of me, instead of working extra hard as a writer.
Why is it that so many of us walk away from the things we wanted as children? I learned in church this year that we should never stop believing, loving or dreaming like kids believe, love and dream. Of course, we have to be reasonable and practical and realistic...but that's just it. Why do we think our dreams are so unrealistic - and who is one to say that our career aspirations are so unrealistic?
Some children want to grow up to be lawyers, and then drop out of law school and hate lawyers when they become adults. Other people get degree's in one field, pursue a career in another field. We change as time moves us forward, that's okay.
I guess I've once allowed all the wrong people in my life. Since my 20s, my life has been one wild roller coaster from one job to another; one college degree to another- to another certificate and another. Some were my doing, others were not. I admit that every career mistake I've made was because I was dumb enough to listen to the negative words of another person.

I digress.

The other day, while listening old favorite songs of mine on Pandora. All of the songs brought back memories of my teen days in 1989, and that brought a smile to my face and childish joy to my heart. Listening to the songs I loved when I was a teen has made me happy and that's probably all that really matters. It's amazing how some of my favorite songs still sound new and awesome and do not sound like they're getting old.
 I actually remember all the lyrics to all of the songs. And I don't even remember the lyrics to the songs I listen to today!

While singing two of the songs, I felt cold shivers run through my body and stopped me dead in my steps. Some of those 80s songs have a more significant meaning to my adult life than they did in my teen life. I'll tell you about one song, the one that sends butterflies fluttering in my veins, the one that makes me heart physically sore and forces tears to my eyes.

"Fallen Angel" by Poison

I should seriously have an entire section dedicated to Poison music. They are indeed my number one- all time favorite bands. Poison songs are about having fun, drinking a beer, loving life, riding motorcycles and falling in love. But some of them are about heartache, and real life. Fallen Angel speaks loudly to me - and I sometimes joke to myself that Bret Michaels wrote that song for me.

Springfield, MA,
February 24th, 1991
Bret Michaels and a very happy 15 year-old ME
I met Michaels the day after my 15th birthday, and I still have that picture of us. I was so shy back then, I didn't know what to say. After I walked away, I looked at my mother, giddy like a child and said the words she will never forget hearing me say, "I guess there is a God and He does answer prayers!"

Why did I stop believing that and why didn't I trust that He could answer more prayers- even prayers about my career? Why did I let people lead me astray and why did I quit on myself?

Because I stopped believing, Fallen Angel is my song. I joke that Michaels must have said, "There's a girl named Genevieve living in small town New Hampshire that needs to hear this before pursuing her writing and modeling dreams."
But we all know that didn't happen. What did happen is, I've had a few opportunities to get a taste of what if feels like to live my dream careers: writing, modeling, and in sports. And yes, the lights do seem brighter on my mamma's TV screen- and the days seem longer and the work is harder than I ever thought they would.
And I didn't stick to my guns when it all fell down, because sometimes you can't win. It's like heads you're gonna win, tails you're gonna lose.
What was harder was convincing the right people I belonged there and it was even harder to make the money to stay there. But more importantly, most importantly, and I quote the song directly- "When the ship came in, she wasn't there and it just wouldn't wait."

I've held on to the make pretend comfortable life and tried too hard to play it safe. I chose to live in North Carolina because it's more affordable, and I thought the odds of success were greater here than they may be in California.
 I've used the "I have a job" excuse, I've used the "I don't have enough money" excuse and the "I don't know the right people" line, and "I've dated the wrong guys" excuse; I've used the "I can't afford California" excuse; I've even said "I can't find an editor," and now I'm complaining because "I'm too old."
My negative, insecure, and scared attitude stopped me from being the best I can be and I'm living my nightmare. I've exhausted my efforts and I've become a martyr to my family trying to figure out my life and to balance having a reasonable day job all the while pursuing my writing dreams. I'm in debt, I'm broke and I'm pathetic.
I've complicated my life and simplifying it isn't coming naturally to me.

I accept that my life will never be as simple as it was when I was a teenager. Today is a new day and I want to get back on the right track.  I want to believe in my dream and I want to live the dream instead.

So what is the first step in simplifying my life and living that dream? I adopt the writer's life and write every day.

Monday, October 28, 2013

Daydream to story

Sometimes, I let my mind wander off and I start to daydream about the things I  know I'll never have. I think we all do it from time to time: Is it a healthy thing to do?
 I did a lot of daydreaming when I was a teenager, and I  took that as a sign to write fiction. I have a lot of short fiction stories that were never finished. I have a lot of characters that lived sad, happy, exciting, boring, scary, heartbreaking and amazing lives. I have character's I'd love to re-visit - and other characters I hope I never write about again.
It has been awhile since I wrote anything meaningful and worth sharing. It's been almost two months since I've written a fiction piece. I've considered participating in NaNo again this year. How I miss getting lost in a fictional world that I created. For those you unfamiliar with NaNo, it's an acronym that it stands for National November Writers Month. It's a competition with yourself to write 50,000 words in 30 days. I believe I got as far as 28,000 words last year, maybe 30,000.  Or maybe it was 26,000- I don't know, I'm a writer, not a mathematician, I really don't remember how many words I really write.
This year however, instead of trying to write 50,000 words in 30 days, I'd like to focus on the story I have worked on and focus on getting a start to actually have a book published- by the year 2015.
Or maybe, just maybe I'll try to write a whole new story with new characters living in a world I've yet to explore. I have a week to decide what I'll do.

Right now though, I'd like to share a piece of my mind. A few days ago, I daydreamed of owning a restaurant.
I have it all planned out. It would be a smaller sized place where I'd turn it into an athlete's heaven. I'd serve coffee and healthy breakfast. Oranges, and freshly squeezed orange juice, and I'd make smoothies using the fruit I bought at the local farmers stand.  I'd serve apples and apples sauces, and apple cinnamon treats that I made from apples in the fall, and I'd serve watermelon treats in the summers.
I'd serve fresh, crispy raw vegetable snacks and lunches.
For this to be a successful place of business for all athletes, I'd have to serve meats, and protein dishes for the bodybuilders and for those who cannot live on a vegetarian/vegan diet.
I'd prepare meals for those preparing for a competition; for those competing in 5Ks, or marathons; for those cutting weight for an MMA fight, and for those refueling after their competitions. I'd offer catering services to yoga studios, spas and local gyms.
I'd also cook some meals for homeless shelters, especially during the holidays.

My shop would be colorful- with avocado colored walls, with strawberry colored writing. I'd have white tables and chairs, and a bar. I'd have a magazine rack, a bookshelf.  I'd probably play music to chill out to- mellow new age songs that are relaxing.

I'm falling in love with cooking my own dishes, and I live alone so I'm the only one that gets to eat my food. So I'll share a dish I made today. It's called "Tuna Avocado Spinach Salad." There are many ways I could make this, but this is the main raw dish.

Spinach, romaine lettuce and mustard greens on the bottom
Cucumbers, carrots and zucchini
Avocado blended with onion and white albacore tuna fish
Drizzled with fresh squeezed lime

But the only place I own this restaurant  is in a world I'll never live in except in my own imagination.
Maybe this is the world I should explore for a new story.  What would my character's journey in the story be? How could I create a plot that's centered in a small restaurant?
I'd have a big deal chain restaurant trying to destroy the small town owner. Something a lot of people can relate

Or maybe I just  daydream about this restaurant because the only food the coffee shops sell around here are fattening pastries, cakes and cookies and brownies and foods that aren't made for athletes.

Maybe I'm just tired of the rude disrespectful comments people can make about healthy eating- and I dream of a place to eat where healthy food is appreciated- and not perceived as a deprivation.

Monday, September 09, 2013

Maybe...I'm just happier than you think I am

I'm not a typical chic. I'm quite unconventional- and I don't fit the stereotype of what a 37 year-old woman should look, think and act like.
What a 37 year-old woman should look like is beyond me, because no one has told me. I'm afraid to find out too, considering when I tell people I'm 37, they respond with a wild look on their face: bugged out eyes and wide open mouth,  and  a loud gasp. If I had a nickel for every time I heard:  "Oh My God! No way! You're lying!  I would've never guessed!" I'd be rich right now.
Never been married. Never had children. Nor do I yearn for the day I meet a man and have a child, live in a two story house with a white picket fence and a dog named Zoey.
Oh, and my career has fallen apart.
Sure- I crashed and burned in my career and now I'm back to zero.
Sometimes I feel the only thing I'm successful in is failing.
So there. Nothing about me says I'm 37. I confess, I've shed some tears, but I've decided to stop wasting my time feeling sorry for myself.
With all the bad luck I've been through since I've moved to Charlotte, you'd think I'd be miserable and run back to New England to hide in the comforts of my childhood home. But I didn't do that. Yet.

I'd rather move out west first. That's a different blog for another day.

I've realized that almost every wild, supposedly unrealistic dream I've ever had has at one point started to come true. Because it seems the dream to have a steady, stable conventional job at the office of a Fortune 500 company in Uptown Charlotte is suddenly- unrealistic and unattainable. Even though that is where my experience once was.

My newest goal is discovering what I need to do to continue writing about the athletic life I live - and answering the most important question: do I really want to pursue a sports journalism career where I'll interview famous rich athletes? If so, what sport? Can I cover more than one and should it be local sports or should I aim higher, go big, go for pro-sports?

I've finally read the book, Laws of the Ring by Urijah Faber, a successful Pro-MMA fighter in the UFC's bantamweight division. He tells the stories of his life, and of those who have made impressionable changes in their lives. It's eloquently written and personal. I laughed at some stories, I cried at other stories. Most important, I've gained a lot of respect for Faber. I've considered writing a traditional book review for it but

I've never met 'The California Kid' but I've invested a lot of time researching the internet, stayed awake until 4 AM watching videos on YouTube a few nights in a row and I find it hard to believe that one of the most dangerous men in the cage might actually be a kind hearted, loving, comical man outside of the ring. 

I think everyone has read that one book that stuck in their head and heart and suddenly their life changed. 'The Laws of the Ringis that book for me. It's almost as if Faber reached out punched me in the face. After years of living life full throttle, wide open in the fast lane I crashed. 

Unlike a NASCAR race,  have no spotter standing above me telling me when danger is ahead, nor is there a yellow flag waived if there's a wreck, or debris on the track to my future. 
Maybe Faber's book is the yellow caution flag waving in my face, because today,  I have no choice but to stop and proceed forward slowly.  (Or for you UFC fans-the book maybe the referee that stopped the opponent  from pounding me to death while I lay limp and unconscious on the floor). Now I'm wide awake, I've already taken action and started to answer some of the questions I asked two paragraphs above.
I hope that on December 31st  I'll write an essay that putting his 'Laws of Power' advice did work for me.

I'm putting it out there for the world to see without reservations. What more can you expect from a writer anyway? Fall goal to accomplish: put to practice the advice I get from the book I read, and the people I choose to surround myself with. Hope you stick around - if not that's cool. I won't be offended.

Week 1: Passion

I know I have a lot of passions, and if I could have it all, I'd have three careers. But that's impossible because I can't be in three places at the same time. I can't be competing in a fitness competition in Boston while working as a sports writer in another city and at a movie writers' conference in San Franscio all in the same weekend. I have to pick one of the three - and stick to it.

I know what I love. I know when I'm happy. I'm not even sure I know why I'm happy when I do what I love to do, I just know that when I'm focused I'm good at it and it makes me happy. I know, I'm a bit "unconsciously competent"  in fitness and writing and that's okay. I'm going to learn how to be a better instructor/educator and leader in these fields.
When I'm at the gym working out on something- or when I'm writing about a sport I love a strong sense of happiness over-comes me. It's the same strong happy, giddy feeling I got when I was writing articles while in the media center of a NASCAR race. It was the beginning of what could have been an amazing career but it ended abruptly. 
Faber discusses failure and losing, and learning from your mistakes in his book. I've already mentioned that I'm really good at failing- and now I'm ready to forgive myself  for the first time in a year. I have to say I didn't really fail, I don't suck at journalism or interviewing or writing. I've outgrown my NASCAR dreams. I've matured because of my experience and I'm a better person because of my time there. My biggest fear has been to walk away and leave it behind. I didn't want to downsize my experience to a hobby, but I can use that experience as my jumping off point to where I'll eventually be. Now I'm ready to pursue other writing opportunities, and I'm no longer afraid to relocate to another city or state if I have to.
I love to write and love to live. I have a long list of different experiences in my life and I'm learning to use that to my advantage. 

 I finally had the chance to check an item off of my bucket list last Saturday. I went out on the lake to do stand up paddle boarding. It was an amazing experience. I was balanced and in control on the board. Coincidentally, one of my yoga teachers tweeted recently, "How we train our bodies on the mat has a direct correlation to how we train our minds off the mat." If that is true- then I should believe how well I practiced yoga on a paddle board means I have what it takes to live a well balanced life that I can control. 

As the session came to an end,  our boards had drifted off to shallow waters. In a transitional move, while going down, I somehow fell off the board and landed in a perfect plank position. It was awesome- and the water was refreshing. I got back on the board and finished the 'SUP' lesson off strong. Just like I hope I end this crazy year - stronger, more balanced, stable and happy.

I am passionate about living, learning new sports, meeting athletes and writing about them. 
And that makes me exceptionally happy.