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Car Troubles Once More

I love my Ivy (She’s my car, a lovely shade of green, just a little old), she’s a great car. Usually gets me from point A to point B. But in the past couple weeks, she has died not once, but TWICE.

The first time, I was lucky. It was just the battery, an easy fix. The guy at the store, Auto Zone or something like that, even gave me a discount. So I had no problem there.

A week later though? Haha. Big Problem. My car died again. Now, I knew it wasn’t the battery, it had just been replaced. And it wasn’t the alternator, because my car died earlier in the year because of that and it got replaced. Soooo….I don’t know anything about cars.

Luckily, my boyfriend does. He managed to get the car running by banging on the starter, and we limped my poor little Ivy back to the college (We were at the mall, getting shoes and a little clutch to go with my dress. Turning 21 Saturday!!!). My car was complaining the entire way, making an awful noise, not going above 40 miles an hour. Not a good time.

This weekend was spent deciding what to do about my car, there were exchanges made, a Uhaul rented, several trips driven by my boyfriend, my grandfather, and I, etc. Now my car is in Orlando getting fixed, and my papa was wonderful enough to lend me his truck for the week.

All of this is to say….I didn’t post on Monday because of everything going on with my car. BUT I am posting now, and I have to say, the week has only improved.

I skipped yoga last week (bad idea, my stress went through the roof and I was tired for daayyyysssss), so after the stress of this weekend, I HAD to go last night. And it was just what the doctor ordered. It brought me back to my center, calmed me down, and got me ready for the rest of the week.

Today? Well, I’ve already gotten a lot done. I had an early start this morning (quite a reluctant start too, I really need to catch up on my sleep) and went down to Naples. For one of my classes, we’re required to do 10 service learning hours. For my hours, I chose to volunteer at Shy Wolf Sanctuary.

It was not at all what I was expecting. I was thinking it would be a secluded type place, sort of like a nature preserve where you can hike and such, one with a big sign to let you know “Hey, this is where the wolves and wild creatures are!” But no. It was definitely not secluded, it was in a residential area. I passed by the place and had to do a 3-point turn to get back. And it was…a house. There wasn’t a welcome center or anything. There weren’t even proper parking spots.

These are not complaints, just factual observations, because this place is….wonderful. It is a little slice of paradise for an animal and nature lover like me. Around the side of the house, there’s a gate and a fence so high you can’t see over it. It’s all very non-descript. Just your average home with a fence. Until you get in and see the HUGE cages, and I really mean they are huge. They have to accommodate wolves and Florida panthers and such, after all.

Looking around, there were several raccoons, a couple skunks, a few tortoises, one silver-tipped red fox (with two others in the quarantine area, they had just been brought in and still need to be checked out by the vet before being introduced to the other animals), one Florida panther, and wolves. Wolves upon wolves upon wolves. And wolf-dogs.

Now this place is more of a rescue than anything. They do not breed their animals, they don’t sell them or anything. It’s like a zoo almost, with every enclosure being tailored to the habitat of that animal. Except there are no mean humans there to stress them out, poke and prod at them, take constant pictures, be noisy, litter, etc. There are several volunteers, regular feeding days (Four days a week), cleaning of the enclosures almost every day (depending on the animals), and then there are the tours for visitors, and they also do community outreach to educate the people on Shy Wolf and its inhabitants.

All of the animals there are rescues. They have either been abandoned, abused, or injured somehow some way, and they found their way to a safe place where they could be looked after. Most of them were born in captivity and sold to people who didn’t know how to properly care for them. Now they can’t survive on their own. Especially some of the elderly wolves, who are blind. Or the sick wolves (one has blood cancer and could go any day. It’s really sad). But they get to live a life of relaxation and security at this place.

You all can probably tell I’m more than a little excited to get started there. Luckily my first actual volunteer day is this Friday, which is when I get started on my training as a Level 0 volunteer. Which leads me to the Level system they have.

Volunteers go from Level 0 to Level 5, each with a different type of clearance to go into the enclosures with the animals. Some are friendlier than others, and some present a biting risk and only certain volunteers, the very experienced ones, get to handle those types of enclosures. It’s a good system. It keeps the volunteers as safe as they can be, and it makes the animals feel secure and respected. Certain wolves only like a few of the volunteers, and only those volunteers can clean those cages and feed those animals. But then there are other wolves that love EVERYONE. We actually got to go into an enclosure today, a Level 2, with two wolves in it. One was skittish, so he stayed away from all the hubbub, but the other was all over everyone demanding to be pet, sniffing everyone, rubbing up on all of us new volunteers. It was a really cool experience. Now that last wolf I described is actually a wolf-dog hybrid. Surprisingly, she’s much more wolf than dog. She has a very high wolf content, but she acts more like a dog than a wolf.

It seems like things are really looking up, I’ll do another post on Monday, let you all know how the birthday weekend went. As promised, here’s a photo of the dress I chose for the family/friend dinner, and the going out with friends.

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Not the best pic of me, but a pretty good one of the dress. Until next week my lovelies, I bid you adieu!

 

 

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A Weekend in Orlando

Happy Early Birthday to me! Okay, it’s honestly a little too early to be saying that just yet, but after this weekend I am getting into the birthday mode. Why you ask? Well because my 21st birthday is coming up. Oh yeah, some real exciting stuff right there, right?

Haha, I laugh at my own sarcasm. Anyway, I took a trip to Orlando this weekend to visit my mom and siblings, and to go DRESS SHOPPING! My mom and best friend went with me, and it was an all-day affair. Wide variety of shops too, everything from Ross and Marshalls to consignment and vintage stores.

We had lunch downtown in the afternoon at this great barbecue joint. I took a little break from my primarily pescetarian diet and got a crisp pork belly sandwich covered in jalapenos and “dragon” sauce. Absolutely delicious! But it set my lips on fire. I mean, I probably could’ve breathed fire. Thank goodness for mango soda.

Two more stores after that, and finally, FINALLY, I found it. The perfect 21st birthday dress. The best thing about it? It was only $8. Yes, $8. And it is absolutely gorgeous. I’ll be sure to take some pictures when I’m actually all dolled up in it and let you all get a look.

Later that night, I helped my friend dye her hair. We stopped at target to buy it and I got some kombucha, it was pretty terrible though. I hadn’t had that brand yet, the initial flavor was great, but the after-taste is so gross and it LINGERSSSSSS. So I poured it out.

Two of my fingernails are now black, by the way. Because of the dye.

It also somehow got on one of my toes….

Anyway, my mom was the only one awake when I got home that night, and we got down to some Gilmore Girls. Who else out there loves that show??? It’s seriously great.

This week has been a no writing week, sorry to disappoint on that front. But classes have been drowning me this week, essays due, quizzes to take, I even pulled an all-nighter. I never do that anymore. I am a full 8 hours kind of person. So it has been pretty busy.

But this next week I intend on getting a lot done with it. I want to get some serious writing done. And I will! I’m gonna write a whole chapter. That’s the goal.

Anyway, that’s really all that went on this weekend, besides a bunch of homework, and that’s not very interesting. Which means it’s time for me to go, and I’ll meet you all back here next week. Until then, I bid you adieu.

Anniversary and School

Normally, I don’t get too personal when it comes to the people in my life. I don’t like airing their business or anything, it feels like a violation of privacy. But…this is a pretty significant event. I have been dating the wonderful man in the above photo for two years now. Which, for someone who has had major commitment issues in the past, is practically a miracle.

Seriously though, I’m thrilled to be sharing my life with this wonderful person. We went to Orlando to celebrate this weekend, stayed at a pretty nice hotel. If anyone’s ever staying in the Orlando area, I recommend Tropical Palms RV and Resort, and the Avanti Resort. Tyler and I have gone to Orlando a few times, and this time we stayed at the Avanti. The outside looks a tad run down, but the property itself and the rooms are very clean. The interior, meaning all the rooms, is very modern and nice. They have VERY responsive hot water. The people who work there are very friendly. We didn’t get around to going to the pool, but they have one and a hot tub too.

While in Orlando, Tyler and I went to Universal. We have annual passes, so we can get in whenever we want (except for certain events). For our first full day, we went to Universal Studios. We mainly went on the simulators this time, and we did that one Terminator show. On our way out I texted a friend of mine who lives in Orlando, she had just turned 21. I wanted to stop by her house later that night to drop off her presents. Well, she said we probably couldn’t come over tonight since she was headed to Citywalk. For those of you who don’t know, Citywalk is part of the Universal area, before you get to the parks. It was a HUGE coincidence. Of course, I let her know we were just about to leave the park, and she responded real quick with a “NO”. She wanted us to meet her at the Chocolate Emporium, so I said absolutely. We waited for a while. Eventually she called and asked if we could put her name in for dinner, and I said I would. She told me the number of people, including Tyler and myself, would be 15.

I felt so bad, I’m not gonna lie. Because I thought it was just gonna be her and a couple friends. I didn’t realize it was a big family event and that Tyler and I were basically crashing it, despite my friend being the one to invite us since we happened to be there.

So we waited some more, everyone showed up, the aunts, the uncles, her cousins, her dad, her grandmother, and a very close family friend. We all went inside and this place is GORGEOUS. It is steampunk themed, but super classy, and the staff are all very friendly. Most of them had a great sense of humor, and our waitress was phenomenal. The food was amazing too. Their menu has such a variety to it, and the prices are pretty reasonable (except for a couple items), and it was all delicious. If you ever find yourself there, order the almond chocolate bread. It is pure heaven.

It was also great to catch up with my friend, hear about everything that’s going on with her, make plans to meet up in a couple weeks to go dress shopping for my 21st birthday, and just chat with her and her family. I do feel bad that some of my family wasn’t there, especially my grandparents. But since Tyler and I were technically crashers, it’s not like we could invite anyone else ourselves, it would’ve been pretty rude.

We went to Universal again the next day, but the other park. Islands of Adventure. And we had a great time again, we did a bunch of rides, and I even got Tyler on a rollercoaster. He was feeling adventurous, haha.

We left after that, I took Tyler home, and headed back to Fort Myers. I got in pretty late last night, but gave my mom a call before going to bed. Tyler and I both had work today, morning shifts, otherwise we probably would’ve stayed another night. It’s never fun to go back to the real world after having a fun mini-vacation.

But now it’s back to school. I’ve already gotten some homework done, I have a couple more assignments to do. Classes are tomorrow. Nothing I’m too worried about, except for an in-class German essay. Even that, I’m not nervous about per say, but I definitely don’t feel like doing it. The rest of the week should be smooth sailing.

In terms of writing, since the wifi has come back, I’ve managed to start melding my new take on The Cottage Grandmother Left Me with the old concept of it. It involves a lot of editing, a lot of added detail, and I’m seriously enjoying the process. I wish I had more time to work on it though. School takes up a lot of time, classes and homework, so I don’t get to write as much as I would like to.

Anyway, until next week my friends. I bid you adieu!

Post-Hurricane Irma

Hello everyone! It’s so good to be back after such a long break from posting. I’m happy to say that my house and my mother’s house received no damage or flooding from the hurricane. We were without power for several days, and I’m only just now getting wifi back at the college.

Speaking of the college, maaaaannnnnn. Irma f*cked FGCU up. Luckily they managed to get most of the cleaning and such done before any of the students came back. I still have no wifi at my dorm, ironically my dorm is the only one in the on-campus housing that has no wifi. So I write this post from main campus, where there is wifi.

All in all, everything is going back to normal though. Classes resume on Wednesday, and I’m looking forward to getting back to it. Not so happy that they cut into our winter break to make up for missed days because of the hurricane. But there’s not much to be done about that. At least we still get a winter break at all. I’m just wondering how exactly they are going to fit exams into the schedule…we’ll see what happens.

Now, onto the discussion of the novel. I made several changes during my absence from my blog. I’ve changed the location of the novel. We are no longer in Georgia people, we are now in South Carolina. I like to write about things I have at least some knowledge on, and I honestly don’t know too much about what Georgia looks like, what the people are like, etc. All I really know is how bad Atlanta traffic can be, and how good Georgia peaches are.

But South Carolina? I’ve been there numerous times, I have family there. I’ve seen some of the cities as well as the coast and the ocean. So I’ll be able to describe scenery and people better.

I’ve also done some major changing to the personalities and backstories of the characters, especially the MC Rebekka. I really like how she is as a character now, and I love seeing the changes to the other characters and the story itself because of these personality and general character edits.

I’m very happy with how these edits have been going so far, but it does require starting from the beginning, changing entire scenes, copying and pasting sections from the original manuscript and blending it with the new. I’ve also made another huge change. The name of the novel.

Originally, Rebekka leaves Quince and takes refuge in her grandmother’s cabin on a little island on the Darien River in Georgia. Now that I’ve changed the setting, the log cabin is more of a beach cottage. Literally right on the beach. I can see it in my head, and it is absolutely beautiful.

The new title is The Cottage Grandmother Left Me. Okay, so not a huge change from The Cabin Grandmother Left Me, but….it is actually a huge change because it’s really affected the entire story.

Now, the storyline is mostly the same, I have taken some things out and replaced them with other things. I’m very excited for the surprises readers have in store currently. Maybe in a couple weeks I’ll include a little something from Chapter 1 to show how things have changed from the original. But I’m still enjoying my hiatus and it has really been great for my creative flow. I’ve been writing so much over the last couple of weeks it is RIDICULOUS.

Until next week my lovelies, I bid you adieu!

Hurricane Irma

Wheellllpppp, I live in Florida. So any of you watching the news knows that Hurricane Irma is coming our way. Now I’m not asking for any “thoughts and prayers” here, although you can send them if it makes you feel better. I did think that I should maybe make a post to let you know that I may not be able to post on Monday.

You know how it goes, power outages and all that. There’s always the possibility that I won’t be able to post because of all that. I’m not sure what I’ll be doing, but I’ll definitely be getting out of town. No need to worry about me though, I’ll be safe and all that. And anyone else from Florida reading this post, stay safe!

I’ll try to post on the normal day and everything, I just wanted to let all of you know that I may not be able to because of the weather. And anyone else from Florida reading this post, stay safe!

Breakfast Mishaps and Excerpt Hiatus

I’ve been doing some thinking this week. And not just on character development for old man Albert in Chapter 5. I have been working on my novel, but I think including an excerpt every week, or almost every week, puts a lot of pressure on me. At first, I wanted that pressure. It helped motivate me to write, but only in a rushed “gotta meet that deadline” kind of way. I haven’t been enjoying it like I should. So I have decided to take a break. Just from including excerpts in the blog.

I will post about my progress, where I am in the novel. But for at least two weeks to a month, I want to focus on enjoying my writing, both for the novel and for this blog. While I won’t include excerpts of the novel I’m working on, at least for a while, I will include book ideas, flash fiction that I come up with, short stories, and, as always, fun little tidbits of my life. The highlights you are so used to hearing. Speaking of these little tidbits, I have a weekly highlight that I would love to give to you. Without further ado, I give to you the Dunkin’ Donuts story.

Dunkin’ Donuts. Everyone loves Dunkin’, or so they say. I do believe that’s some portion of their slogan. Even I love Dunkin’ (just not their coffee, that stuff is groooossssss. The food is good though, and I like their tea, both sweet and the herbal hot teas). And most of the branches of Dunkin’ are great about orders, but I sweaarrrrr the one on my campus does everything they can to mess up my order every time. I’m pretty sure it happens like this.

“Oh look! That Kristen lady ordered on Tapingo again. Her order says this, but let’s give her the wrong thing this time!”

“Instead of giving her the wrong thing, we could just not include part of her order?”

“Oh yeah, I love that idea!”

Okay, so it probably doesn’t happen that way. The Dunkin’ at my school is not only understaffed, they also often have technology errors. Like the last time I went and the tapingo system wasn’t working there. I should probably mention that Tapingo is a food ordering app here on campus, so you don’t have to deal with a line. At any of the food locations on campus. It’s super convenient. When it works. And when the food companies make sure their menus on tapingo are up to date with what they actually have available. Anywhoozle….because their system wasn’t working, they didn’t get my order.

Which is fine, it wasn’t like I was in a hurry. I didn’t have class that day or anything. I just showed them the receipt for my order. It took 20 minutes to get all of my food. A doughnut (that they didn’t even have, despite hard-core advertising of this product, the pumpkin doughnut. Don’t advertise something you refuse to bake in the morning. It just isn’t very nice), a wake-up wrap, hash browns, and a sweet tea. I ended up with a strawberry jam filled doughnut. Which was delicious. A veggie-egg and cheese flatbread. Not a wake-up wrap. Also delicious, but not what I ordered. I was feeling less bread-y that day, a wake-up wrap is better for when you want less breadiness, as opposed to the flatbread, which is very bready.

Sounds like a real tragedy, right? Obviously.

Then they forgot the hash browns and drink order, so I had to go back. And they gave me the hash browns in about two minutes. But forgot my drink. Again. So I had to go back. Again. Keeping in mind, I wasn’t getting it to-go, I was dining in. So I would take my goodies back to my table, look into the bag, and discover one item or another missing. Leave everything at my table. And go back to the pickup area. Try to get someone’s attention. Fail for a few minutes before some person took pity on me. Then they would get me what I asked for, except not all of it.

I know I shouldn’t really complain, there are people starving out there, and here I am with my first world problems complaining about a flatbread and some missing hash browns (okay, a little more than that). But come on Dunkin’!!! Get it together. There are plenty of students here at FGCU, so much that they’re having to build more student housing around town. Like two whole different properties of apartments/condos. And another shopping center (I think? It’s kinda hard to tell what these corporations plan on doing with land they shouldn’t be messing with in the first place. But that’s a different tangent altogether). Which means I’m pretty sure they can find at least two more people to fill up positions that need assistance. Just two more. I’d like to go there and have my order given to me within the time range Tapingo says it will be finished in, and have it done correctly. When I say they have never given me exactly what I’ve ordered, I mean it.

Not. Once.

You know the definition of insanity? It’s doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result.

By this definition, I am insane. Because I will probably go back. Again and again. Probably this very week. And I will also probably expect the right order within the 10-minute time frame that is the norm on tapingo. And I will be disappointed. But I will continue to go back. Do you see a pattern here? Even when they get my order wrong though, they usually give me good food. So I can chance that, what I can’t chance is the coffee. They get that wrong every time too, every Dunkin’ I’ve ever been to. Which is why I’ve given up on the coffee, but not the food. Not yet! One day they will get it right. I have faith in them. Sort of.

Alright, tangent over, rant finished, I am done complaining about Dunkin’ and boring you with my story of breakfast-y misfortune. I hope y’all have a great week, and I will put up another post next Monday. Until then, I bid you adieu.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(Credit for photo to photographer)

Late Post, but Busy Times

I have been drinking coffee and tea in abundance this past week and a half, it’s been so busy. College is hitting me with homework right off the bat, all sorts of reading assignments and notes to take. The side of my right hand is permanently stained with black ink. So I have to apologize for the late post, but I like to think college work is a pretty decent excuse. And as usual, credit to photographers who took the pictures I didn’t take.

So details for the past week! Eagle Revolution. I went to this event with an awesome friend of mine, it’s a pep rally type thing where they played music (too loudly), announced things (too loudly), introduced all the sports teams and coaches (also too loudly. You may be seeing a pattern here). It was all fun though, despite the loudness. And the best part was FREE FOOD. If you stayed til the end, they had booths set up with free food for the students. I piled everything in my arms as high as they would go. And didn’t have to make dinner for two nights. Which is an absolute win for me.

All of my classes are great so far. Thought provoking discussions on theory and literary analysis, creative writing in-class assignments that are hilarious, and then there’s german. Which is pretty okay. Except we’re studying the accusative case in relation to accusative use of pronouns and prepositions. The pronouns are hell, but the prepositions are kind of fun. I know, I’m really weird. I have fun with this kind of thing. Ah to be a literary person and have people look at you like “Are you even human?”

I actually even had someone tell me this week that there is no way I am human. In a very joking way, of course. I told her that I was super excited to get my paycheck this week (tomorrow!!!). And she asked why. I told her all about thriftbooks.com and how I already have 7 books in my cart. All from Margaret Atwood, Maya Angelou, and Gloria Steinem. I went on about the price, how it’s all $26, and even less with the coupon that I have. AND if the order is over $11, FREE SHIPPING. She just looked at me like…what? Seriously? That’s what you’re excited to spend your money on? And I’m like…yes!!!! She straight up said “You can’t be human. You aren’t even an alien. You’re just a weird creature that exists.” And I said “yup.” It was actually pretty funny. Also, I didn’t mean to get all promotion-y about Thriftbooks, but it really is awesome. Seriously. Check it out. Books anywhere from $3 to $7 ($7 is the highest I’ve seen so far, and they always have options. Amazon is definitely not the only way to go when it comes to getting books).

Now onto the main event of the week! I got some writing done, more of Chapter 4. Yes, I am still in Chapter 4, it’s turning out to be a tad longer than expected and details that I hadn’t originally planned on popped into the novel almost of their own accord. Surprising even myself. So here’s a little conversation between the mc of my novel and an adorable old man named Cecil. I just created him recently and I’ve already decided he is one of my favorite characters ever.

 

It’s only fitting that I come back now when I most need a little magic and home healing in my life. Cherise and I have all of our stuff in hand as we go down the elevators and through the doors to the lobby of the local hotel. She goes ahead and waits outside, wanting to take in the sight of the town while I handle the business end real quick. I approach the older gentleman at the desk, luckily he’s someone I vaguely remember from my childhood. He glances up from his novel and there’s not a hint of recognition in his eyes.
“Hello there, Cecil. I don’t think you remember me, but I’m Rose O’Connor’s daughter. My grandmother gave me the cabin on the lake?” His eyes light up as he notices the family resemblance and a slow smile overtakes his face.
“Look at you! Our very own Ms. Rebekka come to see us all at last. And you’ve grown to be such a beauty! What can I do for ya on this fine day?” I’ve always loved Cecil, he’s a man sweeter than rice pudding, but he’s had such a hard lot in life. Both of his parents died when he was 16, and he’s been on his own ever since, working a full-time job from that age up. No wonder he always seems bone tired. It never dampens his attitude though. He is ever the optimist.
“Well ya see, Cecil, I’ve come to stay at the cabin for a while. I don’t know how long, but I definitely know it’s longer than three hours. Now my mom used to park in this hotel’s garage and they let it slide for however long she stayed. What should I do?”
“No need for any uncertainty, I’ll set ya up just like your mom. Make a quick note in the O’Connor file and let the hotel manager know your car’ll be staying here. You don’t have to worry about a thing.” I let out a sigh of relief, but then think about transportation to the island.
“Thank you so much, Cecil, it’s really appreciated. Now, I don’t have a boat or anything. I know my grandparents have a rowboat that they used to get back and forth, but I assume that’s at the house. Is there anyone you know who could get us across the river?”
“Absolutely! Let me make a call right quick and I’ll get back with you in a hot minute.” He hobbles off, age catching up to him and affecting his gait, around the corner where the phones are. I hear him making a call to Albert Wilbur. It seems almost everyone in town has some sort of connection to my family. Cecil comes staggering back and tells us that old man Albert will be coming to pick us up shortly and take us to the cabin in his little fishing boat.
“Thank you so much, Cecil, I won’t forget this anytime soon!”
“Don’t even worry about it miss, don’t worry about a thing. Most everyone around here would be happy to help ya. Just you have a good day, ya hear?”
“Of course, Cecil. You have a great one too.” I smile and give a friendly wave as I walk outside to stand beside Sherry and wait for old man Albert.

 

So there’s Cecil everyone! Isn’t he a peach? And I’m really excited to work on the character development of Albert Wilbur. I feel like he might be a tad grumpy, but with a loyal streak a mile wide. I promise to post on my normal day next week. Maybe with a Chapter 5 excerpt, if my characters will quit surprising me in this chapter and allow me to wrap it up. Until then, I bid you adieu!