Wednesday, April 27, 2016

How To Get Published In Three Easy Steps

I think there are approximately two people in my real life who actually read my blog.  And that's when I send them the link directly.  Even then, it's 50/50 whether or not they read it.  Which is why I feel justified in writing this post.  None of my real lifers will have to hear about this, yet again, but I get to share my extremely exciting news to even more of the world.

 I was recently published, and PAID, for an article I wrote for Salt Lake's City Weekly.  Not only was I published, but my article made the cover and it was a full four page spread.  I was so ecstatic when I heard the news, I immediately shared on my personal Facebook page and Instagram.  Now that my excitement has died down a little, the reality of what this means has finally sunk in.

My Salt Lake City Weekly article can be found here!


And that reality is...I'm totes legit peeps.  I'm an official, freelance writer.  And as such, I feel it's imperative that I share my knowledge and talents with those of you who haven't been quite as fortunate as I.  And so, without further ado, I'd like to bestow upon you, you sad, struggling unpublished populace, the secret to publication in three easy steps.

  1.  Know your audience.  You really need to think about who is going to read your piece and why it would be of interest to them.  It helps if you include boobs. 
  2.  Persistence.  If the Editor doesn't return your attempts of solicitation, he'll appreciate follow up phone calls, e-mails, and especially if you show up at his office on Main Street downtown unannounced.  It will break up the monotony of his day and he'll be obligated to acknowledge your dogged determination.
  3.  Know your worth.  You work hard and you deserve to get paid hard.  Negotiate for a fair price and if they're not willing to pay, well, that's when you play hard ball.  In the form of slowly peeling a grape, shoving it up your nose, blowing peeled grape into your hand and offering said hand for a farewell shake. 
It should be clear at this point that I have no idea what in the living hell I'm talking about.  I submitted my article as part of an assignment for school and was as shocked as an electroconvulsive therapy patient when the editor actually contacted me saying he was interested in my article.  Then even MORE shocked to learn I was actually going to be paid for something I had such a blast doing.  It was amazing.  I want to do it again.  And Milo wants to know when I'm actually going to use the treadmill I bought with my earnings.  Silly dog.  Little does he know it's actually just an oversized bra hanger. 


Thursday, April 14, 2016

She Said She Felt Special. I Think She Lied.

A couple of months ago I was at my parents house when my Mom brought up the fact that her birthday was fast approaching in April.  She stated that since she would be turning the big 65 she wanted a party.  This was significant for two reasons.

  1. She has never asked for anything birthday related in all the years of my life.
  2. I had no idea how old she was going to be this year.  That's what FB stalking is for.  Yes, this includes your own Mother.
  3. Birthdays just aren't a big deal in our family.  I texted my Brother a rotten e-card on his birthday in March.  Which is more than I did last year.  Which was nothing.  

Maths.

A week or so later when I brought up the idea of a party in front of her and Dad, she was quick to change her little birthday-loving tune with a demure "Ohh no Doodle-Anne, (the super awesome name my parents have called me since childhood) I don't want a party".

To which I responded in a 165 decibel screech, "THE HELL YOU SAY, SIMPERING HARPY!  You want a party?  I'll GIVE you a DAMN PARTY!"

Just kidding.  Years ago I've found it's SOO much easier to go along with what people say, then do just as you'd planned to do all along.  It's a win/win.  That person thinks you totally see their point of view and agree 100%, and I get to do exactly as my little conniving heart desires. 

Anyhoo.  After lots of research and planning.  I decided to take a look at my budget.  After looking at my budget, my list of party must-haves suddenly had a lot of crossed off items.

So long pony rides.
Adios mariachi band.
Maybe next time portable photo-booth.
Peace out pinata.  

Wait.  No.  Eff that.  I'm keeping the mother-loving pinata dammit!

E1 offered up his pad for the venue.  His space is in a very industrial part of Salt Lake.  There's a lot of metal, exposed duct-work, a recording studio and a garage door that opens up into a graffiti decorated enclosed courtyard.  The geriatrics would be horrified.  I immediately booked it.

The day of the party, April 1st, was sunny, warm and basically perfect.  Until I left the house. 
I stopped by the bakery to pick up the specially ordered cake I'd paid for a week in advance.  The gal asks my name and searches the shelves.  She heads to the back.  She returns to the front.  She searches some more.  She asks if it could be under a different name.  Nope.  Just mine.  She starts digging through receipts and I offer to get mine out of the car.  She declines and continues to dig.  She finally tells me the cake was never made.
I stand there and stare at her in silence while mentally, a thousand angry words are hurled through the air and bounce off her forehead leaving little red dents.
She says they can make another one but it won't be the cake, filling, or decoration that was previously ordered.  A WEEK IN ADVANCE.  I tell her I'll be back in four hours to pick up the travesty.  

Between the cake fiasco, dropping the birthday banner and watching the wind tumble it through a few mud puddles and then looking on as the giant number 5 balloon unwraps itself from it's weight and floats off into oblivion, things were not going well. I wondered if my Mom would be okay with the single remaining number 6 balloon.  I mean really, what's a few years, give or take a few 60?




The guest list mostly consisted of members of her Mormon church.  As these sweet souls braved traveling out of their comfort zones, staying up past their curfews and risked getting lost in an area they've most likely never set eyes on, I'm touched by their dedication to honor my Mom by showing up to share in her celebration.

That's when I get a call from my Brother.  "Yeah, hey Dawn.  I'm trying to find the party and I'm in some weird alley.  There's like, a lot of metal all over the place.  I'm not getting out of the car".
Brave brave Brother of mine.

It was Dad's job to lure Mom there with some convoluted lie.  Eventually he knocks on the door.  I shoosh everyone and motion for them to gather around.  With my fingers, I count down from three.  At one, I fling the door open and everyone screams "SURPRIIIIIIISE" right in Dad's face.  I can practically see his hair blow back from his scalp.  He stands there with eyeballs wide and a stunned look on his face.  I'm not entirely sure why.  He knew what the plan was, and yet. 
It took about a second for my mind to register the fact that Mom, the birthday girl, was not present.  It's right about then that she pokes her little head around the corner to peer into the gloom where a second, less enthusiastic "Surpriise" is emitted from within.

*SIGH*



The party turned out just fine.  My Mom danced.  My Dad put on a humorous slideshow (yes, a legit slideshow with a screen and slide projector and all) that had everyone laughing.  Everyone ate cake and didn't throw up.  (It was NOT good)  Mom beat the shit out of the cupcake shaped pinata and once it was down, proceeded to curb stomp it like she'd just watched American History X.  

All while Satan looked down with the dead eyes of approval.  Happy Birthday Mom.



Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Canada. Scarier Than It Sounds.

I know Halloween was sooooo last week but in the spirit of such, I wanted to post about something that positively terrified me earlier this year. 

I went to Canada.

HORRIFYING, right?  Nah, Canada is great.  Except for how clean it is.  And that goofy accent.  And how overwhelmingly polite everyone is.  Other than that, it's great!  Plus, poutine!!!

Whatever.  I'm getting off track.  My Sister lives in Nova Scotia and for funsies booked us a hotel room in Halifax so we could play tourist and explore the waterfront and the city.  Which, by the way, is one of my favorite cities and if you ever get the chance, tour the city on one of these little ditties.

Which we totally did.  It's an hour long tour that takes you through the streets of Halifax where you learn all kinds of nifty stuff and then it plunges into the harbor (excuse me, harbour. when in Rome and all) for the second half of the tour.  

 My beautiful Sis pretending being the middle daughter didn't scar her forever. 

Saint Mary's Cathedral Basilica consecrated October 19, 1899

Photo credit

Old Burying Ground founded in 1749.  The only picture of mine that won't upload is of the Burying Ground.  Naturally.


Halifax has been around for awhile and has an absolutely fascinating history which includes receiving the bodies of the deceased from the Titanic while the survivors went to New York. 

With all of this history, I can't help but wonder if it had anything to do with what I experienced the night of September 28 in our hotel room in Halifax, directly facing the waterfront. 

Sis and I were sharing the king size bed and after watching The Voice or something equally mind-numbing, she dozed off to blissful tranquility.  I normally have a pretty difficult time getting to sleep and this night was no exception.  I turned on my bedside lamp and cracked open my book.  Wicked, by the way.  Awesome-sauce.  Definitely getting tickets if it ever comes back to Salt Lake.  

I eventually feel my eyelids getting heavy so I close my book, shut off the lamp, and snuggle in for sleep.

I'm not sure how long I was out but I was ripped from my slumber by the most anguished, desperate, bloodcurdling scream I've ever heard.
The sound terrified me so furiously that I started screaming.  And then I saw it.  Or him.  At the foot of the bed.  Leering towards me was the dark outline and face of a man who seemed to stay at the foot of the bed yet hover closer to my face simultaneously.  

The screaming wouldn't stop.

It seemed to be the exact second that I realized the screaming was coming from my own raw throat that I heard my Sister say, "Dawn.  I'm here".

My eyes had already been open but it wasn't until I turned and looked at her that I really saw her.  I threw both arms around her and willed my heart to stop trying to gallop it's way out of my chest long enough for me to try to figure out what the effing hell just happened.

I have never been more uncontrollably terrified in my entire life. 

She said I simply started screaming and she tried four times to say my name but she couldn't get any words out.  She said her voice just wouldn't come out.  I asked how many times I'd screamed and her response of "at least 5" made me glance at the hotel door waiting for security to come pounding.  It had been such a gorgeous night, we'd left the windows open and I was positive someone would have heard the murderous ruckus.

No one knocked on the door.  No one called the room.  I still have no idea what happened to me that night but I do know one thing.

If you're going to get yourself murdered, don't do it in a hotel in Halifax.

    










Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Glitter Can Go To Hell

I've said it before and I'll say it again.  I FREAKING LOVE HALLOWEEN!  The crisp air, the changing colors of the leaves and those that have already fallen crunching underfoot.  And of course, the dressing up.  I love seeing people's creativity come out in a medium you usually only see once a year.
 
 I like gore and blood.  Erik does not.  Erik doesn't dress up for Halloween.  Which means Erik doesn't get a say.

While scrolling through costume ideas online and sharing with him my favorites, most of which included copious amounts of blood, he argued against each and instead made the request for a pixie type costume with lots of "sprinkles".
This coming from the man who, when allowing me to hack away at his hair, makes the request that I cut it "like they do at the store".
Sometimes he struggles with making the words.  Which is why by "sprinkles" I knew he meant glitter.

I hate glitter.

But, I agreed to something a little more feminine than what I usually go for.  I decided on a mermaid.  Erik was happy and I was purposely misleading.


 Upon seeing my interpretation, WHICH EVEN INCLUDED GLITTER, Erik was no longer happy.


 I didn't care.  With Milo's devoted help, my hooked mermaid costume was complete.


 And so it was I struck out on the mean streets of Salt Lake City to wreak havoc with the most adorably grumpy dwarf, a minion who can barely touch his fingers together and the resurrected Steve Jobs.
Side note here.  That minion was made from scratch.  As in, home depot and craft store scratch.  Effing amaze-balls.

Last year, I made no such promises of sprinkles or sparkles or pixies.  I told him my plans to be Little Red Riding Hood.  He approved.  Again, I didn't care.  And again, he wasn't particularly happy with the end result.



 


 This year?  I'm attempting a Voodoo Priestess meets gypsy clown.  I wanted something with lots of feathers on my head.  It's not looking good for me.  In trying to describe what I've created so far to a friend today, I realized it basically looks like a giant raven landed on my head to use as it's final resting place to decompose.  While simultaneously molting.  And it's making me feel a little stabby.  Luckily, I read somewhere that baking can be very therapeutic in relieving stress.


Turns out they were right.

Friday, October 9, 2015

Subtitles Required

My Grandfather is from Scotland and sailed across the sea to land in Eastern Canada where he knocked up my Gram and my Dad got himself born.
While planning the trip to England, it was decided that Erik and I would take a day to drive up to Scotland so I could see the home my Grandfather lived in.  Dad was pretty stoked and while providing me with Grandfather's Scottish address, requested I take lots of pictures as he had never been to Glasgow himself.  "Nooo problem!" I replied cavalierly.

On the way to discover my heritage, we stopped at this incredible, beautiful, broke-down castle.  I can't recall the name of it but I do remember trying repeatedly to pronounce it and sounding like the equivalent of a drunken southerner with a mouthful of marbles.



After wandering around and realizing how incredibly tiny people were back then, I naturally knighted myself Towering well nourished bad-ass of the Ginger clan.  I think the pink really brings out my menace.


After a couple of U-turns and some positively terrifying round-a-bouts that are even more troublesome when happening on the wrong side of the road, we managed to find the street in Glasgow my Grandfather lived on.


I was ecstatic and elated and other e words that mean happy.  These feelings were swiftly replaced with confusion and crushing disappointment.  Precisely where my Grandfather's house should have been, was now a parking lot.



 I immediately started frantically scanning the area looking for a quaint house that would be an ideal stand-in for the lie I was already forming in my mind to tell my Father.  But no such luck.  It was a strictly industrial area.
We pulled into my Grandfather's former home, paid for an hour of parking, and with a thoroughly dejected air, walked along the River Clyde until we found a coffee shop run by a charming fellow whose accent was so thick I needed subtitles to understand him.

The next day, Erik's Sister Jean and I dragged everyone through the streets of London visiting all those iconic Londony things you see on TV.  And it was glorious.

Erik was obsessed with the architecture of the Gherkin.  I've decided not to delve into the multitude of questions this brings up for me.


Tower Bridge.  Not to be confused with the far less remarkable and more than mildly disappointing London Bridge, which probably fell down out of sheer boredom with it's own design.

One of Erik's amazing shots.  This was a view of Big Ben from the side opposite the Thames including the architecture of the Houses of Parliament.

The Tower of London.  Bad things happened here.  Very bad things.

And then, just a typical day of Velma getting her ticket for the tube while Erik's Dad looks on in bemusement. 



It started pouring so we made our way to the London Eye thinking we could take refuge in the covered bubble thingies and see the city from above while we waited out the rain shower.  Only to realize there was a minimum two hour wait...while standing in the rain.

I was curious to know how many people had to have been kicked or bitten before putting up that plaque. Tourists are fun.

The lunch I grabbed for the train ride back.  Apparently convenience stores in London don't believe in providing utensils.  Or I'm blind.  Coffee stir sticks worked just fine getting those olives and feta into my face. 

 At the end of our second day exploring London, we made it back to our hotel room at The Thistle.  Erik threw himself on the bed and stretched out like the weirdest over-sized cat to ever sport a man bun.  Upon comparing the soft comfort of the hotel bed to our concrete slab back home, Erik stated: "That's it. We need a new mattress."

Me: "Want me to check Craigslist tomorrow?"

Erik: "No."

Me: "KSL?"

Erik: "Only if it's king size and new."

Me: "What if there are minimal splooge stains and they give us a good deal?"

Erik: "NO."

Me: "You have no sense of adventure."

Erik: "Whatever. I chose you didn't i?"

Me: "You're equating me to splooge stains?"

Erik: "Not at all. I'm equating you to adventure. A highly volatile unpredictable ginger adventure."



I'm pretty sure he was still suffering from jet lag.