2019 Predictions: Did They Come True?

I needed a calendar last year. (2019) So I finally decided to make one of those personalized Shutterfly calendars. But I kinda sucked at it and it ended up having all this random blank space, so instead of fixing the format I just decided to fill it full of month-to-month predictions. You know, just what I thought maybe we would be doing in July or October or whatever. And honestly, it kept us all entertained all year!

So now (2020) I decided to look over just how many of my monthly predictions came true and how many did not.

I posted them here, so you could see each one:

 

January

“See a lot of Uncle Jeremy”

True

After we really started to struggle with The Residency, Dan’s brother came down for a couple of weeks to help out.

 

February

“Meet Donjeta”

False

My brother Collin had an Arizona trip planned so that we could meet Donjeta (his then-girlfriend, now wife). They had to cancel last minute due to an unexpected surgery and we didn’t meet her until March

 

March

“Deal with difficulties at work”

True

We terminated our residency in March.

 

April

“Jack will suddenly like nursery”

True!

My painfully shy firstborn did not want to be babysat. He did not want to run off and play at the playground. And he REALLY did not want to go to my church’s nursery class. Then one morning in April, just like I dreamed… he decided he was over that phase. And none of that stuff was a problem anymore.

May

“Have a hard time potty training, but a surprisingly easy time transitioning boys to new beds”

Mixed

They both still suck. Casey transitioned easily.

 

June

“Have successfully made it through residency and start the job hunt”

False

Already had the job

 

July

“Be trying to extend the contract on our apartment”

False!

We briefly considered leaving our apartment and renting a house but ultimately signed a lease renewal in early August

 

August

“Be going to Utah for a wedding”

True!

Both my brother and close friend ended up choosing August for their Utah weddings

 

September

“Casey will be walking”

True!

Casey took his first steps in September

 

October

“Have a breakthrough with a writing career”

False

Sadly no. By this time I had decided to put away my YA contemporary to work on something completely different.

November

“We will be cooking Thanksgiving ourselves”

True!

Dan worked on Thanksgiving so we stayed in Arizona. I wasn’t even going to cook a Thanksgiving meal but caved the day before.

 

December

“We will move into a house”

False

But December is when we decided to become serious about the home search process

 

Pretty interesting. I got it about half right. 50/50 chance your random prediction will come true! I ordered another Shutterfly calendar for 2020 with 12 more predictions. So tune in next year to see if the 50% still holds up…

A Decade at a Glance

2010

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Where I was living: Cedar City, Utah. Centerville, Utah
The job I had: Student. Actress. Theater Tech. House Manager. Stage Manager. Assistant Director.
The career I wanted: Children’s Theater Instructor. Health Education Teacher.

A typical Friday night: Lounging in the jenkiest, ghetto cinderblock dorm. Hanging out with my boyfriend and watching a pretentious movie. Walking across the street to the cafeteria where we hope that the Football team hasn’t eaten every single chicken tender *again*.

2011

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Where I was living: Centerville, Utah. Provo, Utah. Lima, Peru. Trujillo, Peru.
The job I had: Actress. Student. Theater Tech. House Manager. Stage Manager. Assistant Director. Theatre Teacher… so on and so forth… Full-Time LDS Missionary (volunteer service).
The career I wanted: Children’s Theater Instructor. English Teacher.

A typical Friday night: Before the mission, I can guarantee you I would have been with my best friend Landon. In 2011 we were basically conjoined and a typical Friday night would be us doing something stupid like breaking into an abandoned building or irritating full-crowds by just being a hundred decimals TOO MUCH.

2012

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Where I was living: Trujillo, Peru. Salavery Port, Peru. Neuvo Chimbote, Peru.
The job I had: Fulltime LDS Missionary
The career I wanted: Probably a teacher but ???

A typical Friday night: A typical Friday night as a missionary in Peru is a lot of walking. Chicken and rice for dinner and then back to back appointments until you collapse on your bed in your small one-room apartment (quarto). Stopping random people in the street to talk about really serious existential questions. Butchering through my Spanish and trying to make it up by being as animated as friggin’ possible. Meeting really great people and talking and thinking about Jesus Christ.

2013

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Where I was living: Neuvo Chimbote, Peru. Centerville, Utah.
The job I had: Fulltime LDS Missionary. Student. Box Office Manager. ArtsBridge Scholar – Theatre Specialist.
The career I wanted: BTS Theatre Specialist for K-6 Elementary

A typical Friday night: 2013 was a weird year for me romantically. A typical Friday night I would have been on a date. (Sometimes even two dates on the same night. YIKES.) I also spent the majority of my time at the University of Utah Insitute of Religion where I met some lifelong friends, did a lot of service and too many stupid pranks.

2014

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Where I was living: Centerville, Utah
The job I had: Student. Box Office Manager. ArtsBridge Scholar – Theatre Specialist. Receptionist / AR Clerk
The career I wanted: BTS Theatre Specialist for K-6 Elementary

A typical Friday Night: I met Dan early 2014. When we were dating we would stay up ’til three, four in the morning just talking and joking around. Any Friday night we would be watching a bad movie (on purpose) or confusing our friends with our elaborate inside jokes. SHMOOPIE.

2015

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Where I was living: Centerville, Utah
The job I had: Receptionist / AR Clerk
The career I wanted: Stay at Home Mom, Theatre Instructor, Writer

A typical Friday night: I would come home tired and cranky from work around six or so. Dan and I would almost certainly be having Beef Stroganoff for dinner. Binging Breaking Bad on the pull out sofa bed in our front room.

2016

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Where I was living: Centerville, Utah
The job I had: Student. ArtsBridge Scholar – Theatre Specialist. Stay at Home Mom. Fulltime writer.
The career I wanted: BTS Theatre Specialist for K-6 Elementary, Stay at Home Mom, Writer

A typical Friday night: When Jack was born, I started writing all day every day. He never wanted to be set on the floor (he’s still the same). I would lay him on my legs and taught myself to type one-handed!

2017

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Where I was living: Centerville, Utah
The job I had: Student. Stay at home Mom. Fulltime Writer.
The career I wanted: An author / Stay at Home Mom

A typical Friday night: I remember Pharmacy School feeling like a backpack full of iron bars as we crawled toward the finish line. A typical Friday night would be, Dan in his office studying/crying. The baby mesmerized by music videos (he’s still the same). Vigourously researching story structure, plotting, and publishing.

2018

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Where I was living: Centerville, Utah. Mesa, AZ
The job I had: Stay at Home Mom. Fulltime writer.
The career I wanted: An author / Stay at Home Mom

A typical Friday night: It’s hard to even remember since it was so hectic. We spent a lot of time inside. A single mom. Dan miserable at work and Jack adjusting well to Arizona. Casey was an easy baby and spent most of his Friday’s asleep.

2019

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Where I was living: Mesa, AZ
The job I had: Stay at home Mom. Fulltime writer
The career I wanted: An author / Stay At Home Mom

A typical Friday night: As I write this post… it is a Friday night. Dan spent a long day at work (*the much better job that he loves so much). He fell asleep next to me, an interstellar space travel documentary is playing. Rain patters on the window. The boys are asleep, although, I am confident Jack will be up more than a few times tonight. And I am still writing.

And reminiscing.

 

 

Another Short Story Finds a Home

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Hey. I haven’t had a chance to share this because I’ve been so busy with NaNo but I had another short story published. Which you can read for free online in the Salt Lily Magazine…

*PG13 warning* This story is a direct modern translation of a scene from Taming of the Shrew. Some of Shakespeare’s inappropriate jokes survived the translation. Plus some swears here and there.

Even if you don’t read the story, you still should check out Salt Lily Magazine. They often feature artists and musicians and just have really great content.

 

READ HERE:

Life Update: So Much to be Grateful For

I just wanted to quickly let you know that things are going extremely well for us lately.

Dan’s job has been close to ideal. And my loved one with cancer has had a successful surgery in which they were able to remove the tumor.
2019 has been one of the hardest years of my life, but it’s ending as lovely as it could have. Each trial has been equally matched with a miracle and I’m leaving this year with even more than I started.
The biggest take away for me is the responsibility I feel to give back to others. Good and lucky things don’t happen to everyone every time. I want to remember my good fortune and work hard to help others.
So anyway! Thank you so much for the prayers and positivity. I really believe in my heart that it has made a difference and I’m so grateful to each and every person who has taken the time to read and care.
Love you.
PS Sorry for the quick and hasty writing but it is NaNo season after all. 🙂

Trying To Remember: The Indian in the Cupboard

This is a series where I try to write the synopsis of a movie BASED SOLEY on my ratty childhood memories of it.

 

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THE INDIAN IN THE CUPBOARD

So there’s this kid… I don’t remember his name, but I remember it’s a really French-sounding name so I’m just going to call him Andre. Andre has, what I assume is a birthday party, where he is given a mysterious stand-alone cupboard by probably his eccentric grandpa or something. He also receives a set of small toy cowboys and Indians.

I’m pretty sure he’s disappointed about these presents and says something like, “I’m not a baby, I’m TWELVE.” Or something. I’m also pretty confident that he is quintessential 90s, with a big drowning shirt, chunky watch and center-parted Backstreet style hair.

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So, he’s looking through his plastic toys and for some reason, he puts the *Native American* in the cupboard. He turns the magical and mystical key and when he reopens the cupboard he discovers that his toy has now become a real boy.

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Andre figures out that the Native American’s name is … Blackfoot? Little Blackfoot or something? I think he has to figure it out by pantomime. I don’t think that Little Blackfoot speaks any English. Okay so after the whole hey I’m a giant but I come in peace or whatnot, they become the best of pals. And he takes him to school in his pocket and everything. When Little Blackfoot gets hungry he puts a toy deer in the cupboard and even lets him build a fire in his room to eat it. I think he converts a little toy teepee for him to sleep in.

So someone, probably some dopey friend of his, accidentally puts a toy cowboy in the cupboard and turns the magical key. And this cowboy starts to fight Little Blackfoot and wounds him with his tiny toy rifle. Pierre… or Andre… or whatever the heck that kid’s name is, uses the cupboard to convert a toy soldier medic guy. He dresses the wound and saves Little Blackfoot. And I also feel like the cowboy comes around and they all eat the deer together.

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I know there’s some dramatic scene that takes place in the front yard… and I don’t really know how this movie ends. I’m pretty sure, it just ends with him putting the people back in the cupboard one at a time and turning them back into toys. And I think it’s like this emotional good-bye for Andre because it’s permanent somehow??

Or maybe he continues to see Little Blackfoot every once and a while and they remain friends whenever it’s convenient for Andre to bestow him life. That’s probably the ending, I don’t know.

 

GOES AND READS THE REAL SYNOPSIS

Okay, “OMRI” and “LITTLE BEAR”. So I was close-ish.

The Parking Meter Dork as told by Alex Ness

What happens when you meet a poet on the internet and he tells you some random guy’s embarrassing story? YOU POST IT ON YOUR BLOG OF COURSE!

 

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THE BIGGEST DORK a Twitter DM composed by Alex Ness

“The biggest dork ever was a guy who refused to believe he was a dork.

He would go to lectures (this was back in college) and after a guest lecturer would discuss a famous epic movie, he’d get in line to ask questions and he’d drop the “Where do you get your ideas from” bomb. People would groan any time his hand would go up, and tell him, “You dork”.

So, despite his being called a dork he didn’t see it.

We were walking downtown on a Sunday night in late summer (before the new semester was to begin.) The roads are nearly empty and he starts asking why he was a dork. He perceived dork to mean clumsy, which of course, fits but is by no means the complete example. So he looks at the three others of us, and says “Could a dork do this?”

And he starts leapfrogging road parking meters.

Every five feet he’d leap and do it well. He had a rhythm. It didn’t look dorky at all. Until he leaped before he looked and on his way down to his normal landing position he saw a former parking meter shaft, cut off, at about 4 feet tall, and about 2 inches from his crotch. He screams in a child’s most high pitch fear voice, he can only slightly adjust his descent, and he gets hit straight in his family jewels. And for the next two hours his voice was high pitch, and he was crying.

I didn’t laugh, much, because I thought he ruptured his scrotum or individual nuts.

I offered to take him to ER. He cried for two days almost and told everyone how he was so great leaping the meters. Well, he neglected to tell the whole story, and while I avoided laughing at him and others finished the story, he couldn’t see how he slam-dunked the last chance to not be seen as a dork.

He was not only a dork, he was the Dork King.”

 

Alex Ness is a writer of prose, poetry, and sequential fiction (comics). From the state of Minnesota he shivers and writes in the basement of his home, covered in cats, and drinking Diet Mountain Dew. He loves myth, legends, and the power of words to tell epic and universal truths. His work can be found here https://www.amazon.com/Alex-Ness/e/B00TYW7724

NaNoWriMo 2019!

So I’m doing NaNoWriMo again this year. Woot woot!!!! So excited for it too. I didn’t participate last year because ya know… newborns will do that to you. But back at it again with the lofty writing goals.

  • REAL QUICK If you don’t know what NaNoWriMo is… It stands for National Novel Writing Month. Authors from all over the globe attempt to write 50,000 words in the month of November. I’ve already been working on it for several days now.

Last time I did it I FREAKING CRUSHED IT. Finished my whole novel in THREE WEEKS. But I’m kind of a freak when it comes to writing soooo… Do I anticipate to do that again? Abso-freaking-lutely NOT. haha. For some reason (a reasonable reason) adding the second kid really slowed me down when it comes to drafting.

But I DID do 10k in a single day with both kids so… I could just do five of those and then… ugh. That makes me feel so tired I can’t even finish that sentence.

I’m doing a couple of things differently this year and I’m *intrigued* to see how they go.

One of the biggest differences is that I’m not going in sequential order. This is the 4th novel I’ve started and I’ve always strictly gone in order. Chapter One, Two, Three… But yeah, I’ve decided I’m not doing that this year. This time if there is a scene I’m really excited “to get to”, I’m just going to straight-up write it!

I’m also going to dabble in dictation. I’ve used it a little with outlining and blogging but never drafting. I think it would help with speed or situations where I can’t sit down and write, but I dunnnnoooo… my speech to text on both my phone and laptop are hilariously inaccurate. So if I do too much of it, I’m going to be rewriting my whole book in the editing room.

I also am going to vlog a little each day. *Try to* that is, so don’t hold me to it.

If the NaNo site fixed their links, you can see how I’m doing here:

https://nanowrimo.org/participants/val-manwill