Thursday, September 30, 2010

Brain Freeze

     I mentioned on facebook yesterday that being pregnant four times has shot my knees all to heck. Aside from that and the many other physical ways my body has been destroyed by having four kids, my mind has also become somewhat less than it used to.
     I'm talking, of course, about the brain freeze. And no, not the kind you get after taking a big sip of slurpee. More the kind where you're in the middle of talking and suddenly- BOOM- your mind goes completely and utterly blank.
     This happened to me yesterday while I was doing my visiting teaching. I was in the middle of giving the message about nurturing the rising generation- something that should have been easy for me to talk about because I do it every day (or at least I hope I do!). But right in the middle of me expressing my feelings about the topic, all thoughts instantly and suddenly disappeared from my head, leaving nothing but emptiness.
     How embarrassing.
     Even after blushing and stammering and saying 'yeah' alot and explaining what had just happened, it still took me like five minutes before coherent thoughts returned to my head.
    Really embarrassing.
    And that's not the first time this has happened. Before having kids I could speak in church or bear my testimony with no problems. My talks would be written in point form and then I would get up and talk easily, using only my notes as my guide. Now I have to write every single word down and I spend most of the talk staring at my paper so I don't lose my place and then start babbling and then suffer what's sure to come- the brain freeze.
     The last time I bore my testimony (which has been more than two years now- yikes!) the brain freeze descended. I was in the middle of it and suddenly- whoosh- there went my thoughts and I was left standing there, blushing and saying 'yeah' over and over until I could get some sort of intelligence back. It's no wonder I've been reluctant to bear my testimony since, not because I don't have one, but because "yeah... yeah... um, yeah" isn't much of a testimony.
     FYI- I'f I'm saying 'yeah' a lot, that's a sure sign the brain freeze has hit me.
     I can't help but wonder if the brain freeze is a physical complication of bearing children- like stretch marks and a flabby tummy- or if it's actually the result of spending the last six years at home with mainly small children as conversation companions.
     Either way, when the brain freeze hits, I'm screwed. And embarrassed. And red as a beet.
     So if you happen to be around when this happens, please cut me some slack. Because I will eventually get my brain power back. It just might be a few minutes and a lot of 'yeahs' later.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Get Up and Dance

     It's time to change the music up. Not that I'm getting sick of those songs because I LOVE 'em, but I'm ready for some more upbeat songs happening.

     This time I've put on my top five songs that I'm really into right now. Starting with Flo-Rida's Club Can't Handle Me. This song makes me want to get up and do my very un-cool hiphop moves (which I only do if no one's around). Then we've got Taylor Swift's new one Mine. I am a huge Taylor Swift fan and I love her new song. I can't help but love the line, "you made a rebel of a careless man's careful daughter". Then there's Sky Ferreira's Obsession. I first heard this song on that Vampire Diaries clip I posted a few weeks ago and I've loved the song ever since. Although I'll admit I like the clip version better than the one I found on playlist, but what can you do?

     Secrets by One Republic is absolutely awesome. I love the violin (or is it a cello?) in the beginning- so gorgeous. And I have to admit that I became doubly a fan of that song after seeing the guy in The Sorcerer's Apprentice use his lightening-machine-thingy (didn't I say I wasn't a genius?!) to recreate that song. Amazing.
     Last but not least, a song I've been loving ever since I first heard it probably more than a year ago. Untouched  by the Veronicas makes me want to get up and dance too. But not in a cool way. More in like a jumping up and down and bobbing my head in a sort of 80s frantic way. Listen to it and you'll understand. And the song is kinda hot. There, I said it.    

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Gallagher Girl

     I read this poll once that asked if you could go to any fictitious school, either from movies or books, which one would you go to? Of course the number one answer was Hogwarts. I mean, duh. And that would be my number one as well. My second choice would be the Gallagher Academy For Exceptional Young Women.
     Now let's put aside the fact that 1) I'm too old for school, and 2) both Hogwarts and the Gallagher Academy don't actually exist (sigh). I'm just going to ignore those two things because in my world, well they're just not true. AKA 1) I am an innocent and stretch-mark-free sixteen year old, and 2) those schools are out there somewhere training young witches, wizards and spies to be.

     Unfortunately if the above were true, I would have about as much chance getting into the Gallagher Academy as I would Hogwarts. Not only do I have no magical powers whatsoever (double sigh), but I am not, and have never been, an Exceptional Young Woman. I only know 1 3/4 languages (1/2 french, 1/4 spanish), I cannot invent knew truth serums or invisibility cloaking devices, and I am definitely no genius.

     For those of you who have no clue what I'm talking about, I recommend reading I'd Tell You I Love You But Then I'd Have To Kill You by Ally Carter- the first in the Gallagher Girls Series. From there you can move onto Cross My Heart And Hope To Spy, Don't Judge A Girl By Her Cover, and then Only The Good Spy Young, the latter of which I just finished.

     Whenever I recommend these books to people, they kind of chuckle in a "yeah right" kind of way. But seriously- they're really good. If you're looking for explicit love scenes, the f-bomb on every page, and graphic and gory violence... well you won't get any of that with these books (so go ahead and chuckle away). But that's one of the reasons why I love them. They are innocent, sweet, funny and entertaining and I find that very refreshing. It's nice to read teen books that actually don't have sex, violence, and potty mouths galore.
     The best thing about these book though is the girls are strong, smart, and talented instead of the whiny, angst-ridden, and sometimes idiotic girls that are often portrayed in teen books. These girls are genuises. They know over a dozen languages. They take classes like Covert Operations, Culture and Assimilation, and Protection and Enforcement. They know how to kill someone with a barbie doll or a piece of uncooked spaghetti. Translation: these girl kick major patootie.

     Who wouldn't want to read a book about that? And more importantly, who wouldn't want to go to a school like that? So if I can't make it into Hogwarts, I'm holding out hope that I'll get in to the Gallagher Academy. Because who doesn't want to go to spy school?

Monday, September 20, 2010


     A few weeks ago my brother-in-law happened to mention the new Harry Potter coming out soon. My reaction? "Harry Potter- whowhowhooooo!" And that was a totally non-sarcastic laugh of excitement. (Seriously- can't wait!)
     So I can't help but wonder if that makes me a geek. Or a dork. Or a nerd. And is there a difference between those three?
     I never thought of myself as a geek (or dork or nerd). I was never great in school, I loathe science and math, Star Trek only has appeal because of Chris Pine, and I only ever played Dungeons and Dragons once. And to defend myself on that last one- I was like fourteen and at the time it was totally cool to get to stay up until after midnight to play the game with my older sister and her friends.
     On the other hand, I love to read, I have a collection of expensive dragon statues (not big ones), and my favorite t-shirt says, "I never got my letter to Hogwarts so I'm moving to Forks to live with the Cullens."
     Do those things make me a geek? The fact that I own that t-shirt (as well as two more Harry Potter and Twilight t-shirts) shows that I'm a Twihard or have Pottermania, but does that denote geekiness? I would say no. But others might disagree.
     To them I would say, have you watched The Big Bang Theory? I am nothing like those dudes! In fact, I would consider myself closer to Penny with her "blonde" moments rather than the nerdy Sheldon who spouts things I've never even heard of and would never have the brain power to understand.
     As I was watching Bachelor Pad a few weeks ago, Tenley, one of the so-called "cool" crowd in the house, described herself as a dork, after which Kypton quickly agreed and also called himself one. It reminded me of the movie Sydney White, where everyone stands up at the end and proclaims themselves dorks for one reason or another.
     So is it cool to be a dork? When I was a teenager, one would never admit such a thing. But it seems like everyone is saying that about themselves these days. And again, is there a difference between a dork, a geek, and a nerd? And if there is, which one am I?
     Maybe that's a question I don't really want to know the answer to...

Friday, September 17, 2010

Christina Perri - Jar of Hearts Official Video

Ok, I know I already said how much I love this song, and I still have it sitting there on my playlist, but I just saw the video and I think it's so hauntingly beautiful with the dancing and that whole sucking the heart out of the jar... LOVE IT!
You're gonna catch a cold/From the ice inside your soul/So don't come back for me/Who do you think you are?

Thursday, September 16, 2010

The Teen Book Curse

     So I've been reading A LOT of teen books lately. I've never been much of a teen book reader- even when I was a teen. I started reading Dragonlance novels in grade five and was hooked to fantasy from then on, leaving that genre only for required school reading or the classics. As I became an adult I branched out a little- Clive Cussler, Dan Brown, Sophie Kinsella, some historical church novels, and of course- more classics. But I stayed true to fantasy- rereading my faves Robert Jordan, David Eddings, Tolkien, CS Lewis, and Terry Goodkind.
     The only time I went into the teen category was of course Harry Potter, Eragon, and Twilight. You'd think that Twilight would have made me want to delve into the whole YA phenomenon, but it didn't even cross my mind.
     And then Jessica Jacobs was born. The first novel I have even written. And it happens to be, yep- a teen book. Once I had it written and edited (once) and out to its very first agent, I decided I should read some teen books so I could know my audience, see what else was out there, and get the feel of the whole YA genre (if it can be called a genre). Thus began a long... well not very long since that was last february... relationship with unforgettable characters, interesting plots and very very quick reads.
     So what is this so-called curse you ask me? Well, a month or so ago I had nothing to read. I had gotten Diana Gabaldon's "Outlander" last christmas and I decided to finally take a crack at it. Thus began the curse. I found myself skimming not only some very X-rated moments (why didn't anyone warn me about those???) but extremely long descriptions and scenes that seemed so unnecessary to the plot. (Like hello- we already know Claire's a tough chick- we really didn't need to spend pages reading about her fight with a wolf to prove that.)
     I couldn't help but wonder (so SATC) if I would have skimmed that book so much if I'd read it before my whole teen reading jag. I've been known to skim before, but mostly the descriptive or boring parts of books that I've already read ten or more times. But after reading teen books where every word counts, every character is major, and the pacing is so quick I'm done the book in a day or two, it's almost impossible for me to read an adult book.
     I have considered the possibility that maybe it was just Outlander, and not all adult books. But again, last week I was without a book, too lazy to go to the library, and had an unread book on my bookshelf just waiting for me to crack open. So now I'm reading the much recommended "Pillars of the Earth" by Ken Follett. And yes- it's a good book.
     And yes- the curse is upon me. Just last night I found myself skimming a scene where this kid sets fire to a church. It took eighteen pages to show the kid thinking about starting the fire, actually starting the fire, and then getting out of the church.
     In a teen book, that would have taken about two. I'm just sayin'.
     Will the curse ever leave me? You'd think since I'm a maturing adult, I'd be moving into more difficult and thought-provoking reads, rather than regressing to immortals macking on mortals, girls in spy school, and boys becoming werewolves in the cold weather. But no. Give me vampires, magic, angels, and tough chicks who battle it out in an arena. And give them to me in a book that I'll read in a day. At least until the curse disappears and I can read like an adult again.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

The Vampire Diaries - Obsession Music Video

The Vampire Diaries

   I finally watched the season premiere of The Vampire Diaries last night (it's on Thursday nights) and I LOVED it! I mean c'mon, what's not to love? Drama, action, romance, and two very hot brothers! The books are ok but this is one of the rare cases where I like the show better- probably because I started watching it before I read the books. I think what we see first is what we get used to. So I couldn't quite picture Elena as the blond ice queen that she's portrayed in the book.

     Anyway, I'm psyched that it's back. As much as I love my dancing shows (Dancing with the stars starts next week!), it's nice to have some drama to lose myself in. So yay for the Vampire Diaries. And ditto for Gossip Girl- although I haven't watched that premiere yet. Just waiting for some time...

Monday, September 13, 2010


     Motherhood has been on my mind lately. Ok- it's always on my mind. Because, duh, I'm a mother and have been since 2003. But more accurately, it's always on my mind because I have this ongoing battle inside myself about whether it's ok to want more than that.
     I've wanted to be a mother since I was a kid. I always knew I'd be one, I wanted it, and I never thought of anything more. Sure, I dreamed I'd be famous one day- a dancer, a pianist, an actress, on broadway, and of course- a writer. But I knew the reality was that I'd be a mother and I was fine with that.
     Before any of you dash over here- I'm still fine with it. I love being a mother and I love my children. There is nothing else like it in the world. Watching these kids who are a bit of you, a bit of your spouse, but mostly this whole new person, is just amazing. Seeing them grow before your eyes is AWEsome. And knowing they have the power to be anything they want to be- and more importantly- better than me, is my biggest dream.
     But I have other dreams as well. I want to be a writer. I want my book to be published and successful enough that I can go on and write more books. I want to write until the day I die.
     So the question is: is that wrong? Is it wrong to want more than just motherhood? Shouldn't being a mother be enough? Shouldn't my main goal in life be to raise my kids the best that I can, have a good clean home and healthy meals on the table and everything else that goes with being a mother/wife?
     Because I'll admit, that's not enough for me. And not a day goes by when I don't feel guilt over that.
     But here's the thing. I struggled when my third and then fourth were born with who I was. I felt like a completely useless person. That I had no skills whatsoever except maybe cleaning, which, c'mon, is not something I'm really proud of because I loathe it. Any mother who stays home with her kids knows that you can completely lose yourself. It becomes all about them and you forget who you used to be before they were born. Social skills become lost as you spend almost all your time talking with kids who can barely say a full sentence. Your brain power goes out the window, memory starts to fade, and body parts become almost unrecognizeable. So how do you find yourself again?
     For me, it was writing. When I got my idea for Jessica, I started writing it late september with a goal of 50 pages by Christmas. I barely made the goal- writing my 50th page on december 24th. But after christmas for some reason it was like a fire got lit under my butt and I went crazy- finishing my (at the time almost 600 page) book by february. And let me tell you- it made me so happy, so fulfilled and proud of myself that I don't want to ever lose that feeling. I think that every mother should pursue something on her own that brings back or helps her keep her sense of self. If you don't know what that thing is- find it! Search high and low for it, because I know the happiness it can bring.
     But I warn you- it also brings a whole new mess of problems. Like the guilt I mentioned before. The constant raging guilt that you should be spending time with your kids instead of doing that thing. Or the guilt from leaving the floor unvaccuumed, or serving mac and cheese for dinner, or staying up until 3 am because that's when you get the best inspiration even though you know you'll be cranky the next day. The guilt that you aren't satisfied with being the perfect mother/wife and that you need something more to feel like a whole person.
     I put this out there- not because I have any answers or solutions to this problem- but more to share what it is I'm going through daily and so that other mothers might realize that they aren't the only ones feeling this kind of thing. That many mothers struggle with the issue of who they are and the guilt from doing something other than mothering. I know I'm not the only one. And hey- maybe someone out there will read this and be able to give me some advice or words of wisdom... But no matter what, I'm determined to not only be the best mother I can be, but to write as well. Hopefully I'll be able to find a balance and someday leave the guilt behind.

Friday, September 10, 2010

The Dark Side and The Young Victoria

     So I've crossed over to the dark side. Yep- I've joined facebook. Now some might think- what the heck??? How is facebook the dark side? And others would think- what the heck??? Mel has joined facebook!?!?

     Here's the deal: although I do like keeping my life private, the fact of the matter is that I have written a book, and someday want millions of people to read it. And therefore I need to build a platform. And since I'm not so great at making contacts and networking face to face, why not take the easier route, AKA- Facebook.
     Besides, it's cooler than I thought it would be to see how old friends and family that I never see are doing. What can I say, I'm slow sometimes... which is why I never seem to get in on the trends until they're two, three, or ten years past trendy.

     And speaking of being slow, I just saw The Young Victoria last night with Emily Blunt and Rupert Friend. I know it has been out for awhile but it's one I've wanted to see since I passed on going to the early screening here in Calgary. I really loved the movie. What can I say, if a movie's got huge fancy dresses and people dancing at balls- I'm sold. Although I think the jump from Victoria and Albert being just friends to all-of-a-sudden married was rather quick, it was an interesting portrayal of Queen Victoria's early life. And both leads did a great job. So if anyone likes period pieces and hasn't seen this one yet- see it.
     And speaking of that movie- Albert gives Victoria a piece of music by Schubert that I love and have been trying to download it ever since but sadly it's very difficult to find classical music online these days- especially when you don't know the name of the song. If anyone knows what song I'm talking about and what it's called, let me know...

Thursday, September 9, 2010


     I just finished reading Linger by Maggie Stiefvater last night. What a great book! It's the second in what's supposed to be a trilogy- Shiver is #1, then Linger, and Forever is slated to come out next year.
     I can't say much about the plot since it kind of gives away Shiver, but the books are about werewolves in small town Minnesota. If you're getting sick of paranormal, or the whole werewolf trend, don't discount these books. It's a different take on it all and I like that no other monsters come along to cloud the picture. (Hopefully that stays true in #3). The great thing about these books are that they are more thoughtful, more poetic, almost literary even, compared to most YA novels. The main guy in the book is often quoting poetry or making up song lyrics in his head which gives the book something more, something deeper. It's nice to be able to expand my horizons (hello Rilke) while still enjoying an easy read. I also liked how the author often did the unexpexted. Sure, some of the basic plot points are pretty predictable, but the story went places that I didn't think it would. Always a good thing. I'm excited for the next one to see how it she wraps up the story.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Dance Like No One Is Watching

     So I went to my first jazz class last night. I'm taking it downtown Calgary at Decidedly Jazz Danceworks. Let me just say I was sooo nervous all day yesterday. On my way there I honestly had abdominal pains- like PMS cramps. Only they weren't cramps- they were purely nerves!

              (And no- this is not me by the way. Ha! This is courtesy of the DJD website.)
     Of course, all my nervousness and freaking out and scaredy-cat-ness was a total waste of time. The class was great! I had a really fun time and no- they didn't kick me out because I was so terrible. It was the perfect mix of not too easy but not too hard either. And it was a great workout. I am so glad I signed up and I'm already thinking of doing another class starting january.
     You know what my main problem was though? I am so totally inhibited. It's ridiculous. I know I can dance- moderately well at least- and that I don't look like a fool when I do- most of the time- so what is my problem? Why did I get all worried about what the other people in the class would think of me or that I would look stupid?
     It reminds me of waaay back when I'd go to Youth or YSA dances. Before the dance I would blast music in my room and dance around like crazy while putting on my makeup (not at the same time- hello mascara in the eyeball!), so excited for the dance to come. Sometimes that sort of free attitude would stay with me at the dance and I would have a great time. In fact, that's how I was when me and my husband first sort of got together at a YSA dance.
     Sometimes, though, I would get to the dance and lose all that carefree spirit. It's like, Phwump- it would all go inside me and I would just be there. I remember one in particular- I was at BYU and it was homecoming I think. I got all dressed up and so did the guy I went with who I was sort of dating at the time. There he was at the dance doing all these silly moves like "the grocery cart" and "the sprinkler". And what did I do? I just stood there. Like a fool. Is it any wonder that the guy dumped me the next day? (Although not without a total MO session after the dance. Guys! Geesh) I remember thinking at the time- What is my problem? Why won't I dance? I'm a good dancer!
     I did have fun last night, and I did get into the steps- somewhat. But I watched some of the other students in the class and there were a couple of people who would just give 'er and I thought, why can't I do that? Why can't I dance like no one is watching?
     So I hereby make this vow: That I will no longer be so inhibited. And that I will dance like no one is watching- in my jazz class, and in life.
     Good luck with that Mel.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

My Top #5 Slow Songs Right Now

     Ok, so I've figured out how to put a playlist on my blog (thank you Barb) and I've started with my top #5 slow songs that I love right now. Two of these songs are popular but the rest- not so much. But I love them all. And when I love something I want everyone to know about it so they can love it too.

     Like my #1- "Your Guardian Angel" by The Red Jumpsuit Apparatus (I know, weird band name but whatever). This is probably my favorite song of all-time. I don't know what it is about it, but the song just stirs something within me, causing my breath to quicken and my heart to pound. Everytime. No joke. I just can't get enough of it. If I still danced, I would so choreograph a contemporary piece to this song because it totally stirs my soul.

     #2- "Jar of Hearts" by Christina Perri. There's something about this song too. What's funny is that I don't relate to the song, but I just get it, like I feel her pain. It makes me want to write this kind of pain for one of my characters, although that's not really possible right now. Hopefully later I'll have a character whose been trashed by a guy this badly because this song is major inspiration.

     #3- "Two is Better Than One" by Boys Like Girls and Taylor Swift. Ok- I mention this song at the end of my book. It's funny because every time I hear it I see like a movie montage of my book in my head. It just fits so well with the story. If my book was made into a movie (I know, I know, I'm looking way ahead)- I would really want this song on the soundtrack. Or at the very least during the end credits.

     #4- "Beside You" by Marianas Trench. Love it love it love it. This song was major inspiration for the 'love scenes' in my book. And I just love that the guy totally wails it out but it still sounds so romantic.

     #5- "You and I Tonight" by Faber Drive. Again- I hear this as background music in one scene near the end of my book. It fits so perfectly. It makes me want Jessica and Lord Alric to just last forever in their last night together. Unfortunately (spoiler alert) it's not meant to be.

      An honorable mention goes to #6- "Try" by Asher Book. This song is from the newest "Fame" movie. Asher's voice is so sweet, and the song is just pure and lovely and I swear I would melt if some guy sang this song to me like he does to the girl in the movie.
     So that's my top 5 (well, 6). Stay tuned for some more faves...

Friday, September 3, 2010


     I just want to say thanks to all of you who have offered to come with me to a writers conference. My only question is, are you going to spend the one hundred and fifty bucks to go or are you expecting me to come up with that kind of cash?
     Ha ha, just kidding. Well, not really, because that's around how much the conferences are. But it's nice to know that I have friends who are willing to stand by my side. Seriously- it makes one all warm and fuzzy inside. I'll try to remember you all when I do get up the guts to go because it'll be nice to at least have a road trip pal along.
     Unfortunately, the money excuse isn't so much of an excuse as it is a reality right now. Since my husband just bought a new shed, some new golf clubs, and a certain christmas present for one of the kids, it's looking like I won't have to worry about being the biggest dork at the conference- at least not this year. Just wait Utah, I'll be there next year. But don't worry- you won't notice me because I'll be the one hiding out, ducking my head, avoiding everyone's eyes and trying my darndest to blend into the scenery.
     Ah, isn't it great to be me...