Monday, October 25, 2010

Writers Conference!! URWA

Alright, I am a little behind, but I couldn't not write about this. Two weekends ago, I attended a writers conference put on by the Utah Romance Writers Association in Park City with some wonderful ladies! Jamie Bowden, she is a long time friend from grade school and it wasn't until recently that we discovered our shared love for writing. Now, we meet a couple times a month to critique and share with each other. Lisa Henderson Bell, I met her through Jamie, and she is hilarious! She is also a very talented writer and writes more in the fantasy genre. Kristie Conrad Smith, I met her through Jamie as well, and she was the only one of the four of us who had actually finished anything! We were all rooting for her when she went to pitch her book to the agent, and so far it went well! Good Luck Kristie!

The weekend was incredible and extremely informative. We learned about finding agents/editors, querying, promoting ourselves as writers, discipline, and what is currently selling. My skin was literally tingling with anticipation while we waited for the first panel, I was so excited! We stayed at the Canyons Resort and it was so amazing and surreal. My favorite part was probably all of it. Since it was a romance conference, they had a prolific writer as our special guest, her name was Christine Feehan. I have never read any of her books, but she has like 40 of them!! Her personal story was really interesting, she has 11 kids and wasn't even published until they were all grown. I always had this idea that famous authors are recluses hidden away in the mountains, heaven forbid they be real people! :) I sat next to her daughter during one of the events, we chatted about dogs. She loves them just about as much as I do!

Now, for those of you who are like, "WHAT?!? Hannah writing? Where did this come from?" Don't worry, let me give you a quick history. Ever since I was young, I would write crazy stories, multiple notebooks worth, but I RARELY shared them because it was just this deep little dark secret of mine. Even though Jar Jar (Jaron, my little brother) would sneak in and read them when I wasn't home. Brothers. Of course, my stories always involved dogs in some way, would you expect anything different? :) As I grew older I kinda phased it out, even though every now and then I would find myself writing some random scene that was running through my head when I should have been trying to write a term paper. Anyway, LONG story short.....the passion has been re-ignited and I started writing again and I am currently working on a novel. The reason I haven't and don't really tell people is because who knows if anything will ever become of it! But, I am trying really hard to make something of it because I believe in the story and would really like to share it.

As for what it is about, I want to tell you all, but the more I tell about it the more bored I get with it, I KNOW WEIRD, but its just this weird quirk of mine! In short, it is about a girl named Jade who is a serial dater, she is a little fed up with men, so to find some fun and variety in dating she compares men to different breeds of dogs, Labs, St. Bernards, Chihuahuas, and all other sorts! The story is about her life and explores the parameters of how quick judgements can lead to wrong conclusions, the ability for people to change, and finding strength through our friends and family when faced with hard times.
I told you, dogs run a heavy theme in my writing. :) And for those of you who are thinking, "Hannah, is this just an autobiography? Do you compare men to dogs?" Answer is: First, you have to actually date, to compare them. :) Second, face it, sometimes men are dogs! I am just over 80,000 words, but that number increases every day almost.

Anyway, so there it is, I have announced my status as being a writer. Lets just hope this doesn't take me as long to finish as everything else in my life, (college, mission, etc.) :) I have a good support system in place and through them, and hopefully you all, I will be able to get it finished, if only just to share it with you all!!

Here are some photos from the event:

Jamie, Me (not my best photo), Lisa, Kristie (notice, we were the youngest attendees) I don't think they knew what to do with us!

Cheesy head shot! Ha ha, it was part of the 200 bucks I paid for the conference, so why not!

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Rummaging through memories.....literally

I just recently got my book shelf back in my room and wanted to fill it with some of my favorite books from the past years that have inevitably made their way to the depths of storage. While rummaging for books, I came across MANY parts of my past. Old letters from friends, teachers, and family, old report cards and school projects, random flash cards from college, pictures (which I refrained from looking at because I would have been there even longer), and an array of nicknacks and other things, such as a birthday card from my first "boyfriend" in kindergarten - Tyler Cornia. (He drew us holding hands and it said "I luv you - luv Tyler" How cute were we? Pretty sure he is married now.)
One school project in particular was a book of poems, cleverly named, "Hannah's Book of Poems". (What can I say, I have quite the imagination) 8 poems to be exact - 3 about softball, 2 about my dog Jessie(May she rest in peace), and 1 about colors and 1 about flowers. The last one was one all about me and who I was and what I liked - 6th grade me, just to clarify. It is funny to see how much I am still the same..... Here it goes.....

Hannah

Nice, Brown hair, Brown eyes, Beautiful
Lover of .... Dogs, Blue, Sports, All animals (Sports? Really? And Blue? Who says that? haha)
Who feels..... Happy when playing softball
Sad when animals are hurt
Bored when I babysit (Yep, all still spot on! Except other things now occupy the "Happy" slot, I ditched softball in 12th grade)
Who needs..... Dogs, Family, Sports (Again with the sports - I am chubby now, no need for sports! :) )
Who fears.... Spiders, Clowns, Bees (Yep, but lets add Samara from The Ring, and never falling in love - What? I have matured somewhat....well sort of.)
Who would like to see... Hawaii, Italy
and Florida (Florida? What was going through my little 11 year old mind!)
Who will some day be.... A Vet or a German
Shepherd Dog Breeder (They told me to reach for the stars, but my arm got tired at mediocrity, apparently.)

Its funny how much I have grown up and changed, yet there is still the little 11 year old inside of me who is saying, "Uh ya, you are still the same and you hate babysitting." Either way, it was an enjoyable trip down memory lane! Needless to say, but the "Hannah's Book of Poems" will most definitely be featured on my bookshelf of favorite books.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Hannah vs. The Truck

After this weekend, I have decided that I am going to take a crash course in car mechanics. I have had the unfortunate event of trying to fix my truck all by myself today, yet, seeing as how my truck is still immobile, I have indeed experienced a huge fail.
Let me set up the scenario, the past three weeks I have been housesitting in Provo for some friends. Nice right? I work in Orem, so the commute has been shorter and I have saved on some much needed gas money. Its all worked out so well, until Wednesday night that is.
I made a trip up to Riverton to do a few things, and on the way home, I noticed that my cab and dashboard lights started to fade and my headlights were slowly dimming. By the time I made it to Provo my battery was almost dead.
Well, I like to live in denial, so I thought, "Hmm, maybe if I just let it sit for a day or two, it will work once its had some rest." Of course trying to avoid that fact that usually mechanical objects don't start suddenly working after some rest and relaxation. Normally I call my trusty father or brothers for such matters, but they are enjoying life in Moab, or otherwise engaged. *sigh*
I borrowed my vacationing friends car to go to work the next 2 days, all the while thinking, "It will work, it will work." Though deep down I knew I was screwed.
Enter Saturday. I go to work, reject a few offers of help, go back to the house and cross my fingers. Luck has to be on my side. I turn the ignition hoping to have the soft purr of the engine hum in my ears, though all I received was an annoying clicking sound. Sweet. Most likely not my battery. Reality sinks in. I pop the hood, rummage around in the engine, not having a clue what I am looking for or doing, but hoping that maybe, just maybe some strapping young car savvy male will come jogging by and inquire as to what my problem could be. Lady Luck must hate me.
With my limited knowledge of the car anatomy, I was able to determine from my rummaging that the oil and coolant were low. Maybe if I fix that problem then my car would spring to life, apparently still in denial at this point.
I made my way to the male sanctuary of Checker Auto Parts, taking a deep breath of confidence to bolster my female inability to know what to look for, though I am pretty good at pretending. Or so I thought.
Selecting an oil, not a problem, been there, done that, 10W-30. Though the coolant was a new endeavor. After about a minute or 2 of mulling in front of the coolant section, the store attendant approached me, "Anything I can help with ma'am?" Ma'am?! I am like 2 years older than you. But I kept my mouth shut. Apparently I was spending way too much time in one section. Doesn't he know how women shop? We mull, consider, weigh options. That takes time. I reminded myself that this was a man's shop. Men come in knowing what they need, they grab it, tell a dirty joke and leave.
"No, I am alright." Grabbing the closest coolant and walking towards the check out desk. As I prepared to pay, I briefly explained the situation of my car to the young boy. He looked at me questioningly, "If its your battery or your alternator, why are you buying oil and coolant?"
I was caught. I stammered, "Well, I don't know for sure yet what the problem is, and these need to be filled anyway." I quickly recovered. Whew. He accepted that, then continued to ask me a series of car anatomy questions that I answered with a long string of "I-dont-knows" and "I'm-not-sures." He informed me that I would need to remove my battery and bring it in to be checked, who does he think I am? Macguyver?
I left feeling deflated and worthless. I filled the respective fluids in the truck, looked at the battery longingly, willing it to work and hoping against all odds that it is the cause of all my troubles. Alas, the truck is still relaxing in a BYU housing parking lot and I am stuck with impending mechanic expenses. All of my "saved" gas money will go right back to my truck. *sigh* Who knows? Maybe my truck will find some religion and be healed. Too bad luck is not on the side reality.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Sabotage....

Alright, no more depressing, life-evaluating, angst ridden posts for awhile. Back to the normal Hannah blog, albeit normal doesnt really describe my blog. :) Anyway, here goes.....

It has come to my attention that the Sleeping version of myself is trying to sabotage the Working/Responsible version of myself. Now I know you are probably thinking, "Man, she is crazy!" And you may be right, but let me tell you what has been happening the last little bit....
So, of course here is the back story. I am a sleeper. There is no denying it. Ask many of my family and friends. Sure, I can stay up till all hours of the night, but once I am asleep, I can sleep for hours and hours. A short nap for me lasts about 2 hours. Since I have been plagued with such a curse, I have had to set many alarms just to ensure that I can get up in the morning. And even sometimes that fails. There have been more than a few occasions that I have slept through at least 6 alarms.......dont judge me. I like my sleep.
With my new phone, I have about 3 - 4 alarms set. Those are just the preliminary alarms to get me out of REM. The last alarm comes from a recently purchased table side alarm clock that unfortunately is not as loud as I would like, but it does the job okay. This clock runs about 10 minutes ahead of normal time.......I told you, you may be right when you thought I was crazy. Or maybe it OCD, whatever, still, I hate this clock nonetheless. Not only does it's piercing blue LED lights burn my retinas while I try to sleep, but the Snooze button is awfully close to the Hour button.
One night I set all my alarms in preparation for the next morning. I had to be to work at 7:45am so I set my clocks accordingly, 10-15 minutes apart starting at 5:45am in hopes that I would be up by about 6:15am with enough time to be ready and out the door at 7:05-7:10am - Yes this is how I plan my mornings.
Well, the next thing I remember as I woke up with a start and stared at the table side clock which said 8:27am. Panic shot through me as I jumped out of bed. I checked my phone, if it was that late surely my work had tried to call me and I was sure that I hadnt slept through that! No phone call, thats weird, but in my haste, I didnt really look at the time on my phone. I got up and started changing into my work clothes. As I passed the window I noticed that it was still dark outside and that is what tipped me off. I went back to check the alarm clock, it said 8:31am, I checked my phone, this time paying attention to the time, 6:31am. I sat down and finally figured it out. Instead of hitting the snooze, I had been hitting the hour button, hence disrupting the snooze cycle and making me sleep later.
It has now happened another 2 times, each morning making me panic, though I make sure to check my phone before completely freaking out. Now thats not all. Sleeping Hannah really has it out for me. Last Wednesday night, a friend called me. Well I wasnt able to return her phone call till the next night. As I went to find her last missed call I noticed that her name was listed twice, once with the "missed call" symbol and above it was listed a "call out" symbol. I tried to think of when I had called her, I was almost sure I hadnt. I pulled up the recent call history. 5:55am was when the phone call was made and it lasted for about 6 minutes. WTH?!?! When and why did I do that?! So I called my friend and asked her if she received a crazy sleep induced phone call. She laughed and said I had left a message, though you couldnt hear anything on it. Thank goodness she didnt hear me snoring. But come on! So I figured that maybe I was trying to turn off one of my alarms and somehow called her instead. But no, none of my alarms were set until about 8am........Sleeping Hannah is out to get me!
Bringing this full circle to get to why I am so paranoid about this, besides the obvious reasons of sleeping through my alarms and calling random people and leaving 6 minute blank messages that seem borderline stalkerish, I had a dream last night that I had to call 911. These 2 punk kids were holding up a Hobby Lobby with samurai swords and holding us all hostages. I snuck away and made a hushed phone call to 911 but I couldnt remember the place we were at for the life of me, I kept trying to tell them Kohls, but I knew that wasnt right. And the mysterious 911 operator said about 5 times, "Well, we know where you are located at because of GPS but we need to know what store you are in." DUH! Dreams are so flippin weird. Anyway, I am off subject, somewhere in the back of my head Conscious Hannah was saying, "PLEASE, PLEASE DONT REALLY BE ON THE PHONE!!" So I woke myself up, relieved to see that my phone was not in my hand, but still......this Sleeping Hannah is tricky, so I snatched my phone off the bedside table and scrolled through the recent calls and to my immense and utter relief there was no outbound call to 911...... Can you imagine if we had the SWAT team show up to my parents house saying, "We received a tip that 2 punk kids are holding hostages with samurai swords." I can only imagine that Sleeping Hannah would think that was extremely funny.....as would normal Hannah.
Moral of the story, you shouldn't shop at Hobby Lobby. :) Just kidding, but seriously, if you get a random phone call in the night from me and I dont say anything, just know that I really am not trying to be creepy.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Its depressing, watch out.

My heart is heavy with sadness today, and I just feel like writing about it. This isnt my typical post, usually they have some comical tone, but today its just depressing. I dont like being a downer, but I think writing about it will help me.
I feel like death is happening all around me, nothing too close to home, but with people I have met, worked with, went to school with, and even with the animals at my work. When we ask the big question, "Why do people/loved ones die?" Usually people come back with, "It was their time to go." or "It just happens, everything has to die." It doesnt make it any easier. And even with my religious beliefs, knowing that it is possible to see our loved ones and friends again, it still doesnt make it any easier.
I found out a guy I went to high school with died last week. I have no idea how or why. I only knew him through association, but I was still shocked and saddened. No one should have to die this young.
An old work friend from Alaska passed away last week from an awful car wreck. I dont know specifics, but I know he was in the hospital and that his family had to make the decision to take him off life support. I only knew him through work, but I always had fun when I worked with him. It breaks my heart that when I visit, I wont see his smiling british face. :) He was a phenomenal artist.
A woman brought her dog in today. It was an older dog, 14 or 15 years, and it had a serious condition, I am not sure of what exactly, but she knew she wasnt doing well. A fellow technician and I brought the dog back, drew some blood and took her back into the room to wait for the blood work. The dog seemed fine, maybe some heavy panting, but nothing to tip us off. In a 3-5 minute time, the woman came rushing out the door as I shut the lid to run the blood, and almost in hysterics asked, "Can someone come in here?!" I ran in to find the dog on the floor, taking some very painful gasps of air, extremely pale, and laying in a puddle of urine. I scooped up the dog and told the woman I had to get her on oxygen, I rushed to the treatment room calling for help, since no one was visibly in the vicinity to help me. I knew the dog was dead, but in that moment you think that it is possible for it to be resuscitated, and all I could think about was the crying woman who just watched her own dog die. Arent we supposed to be the knowledgeable ones? Arent we supposed to know when a dog is close to arresting? By the time a doctor came, which wasnt too long, the dog was completely gone. Any hopes for resuscitation were gone. I didnt cry, but I was extremely sad, we had already euthanized 2 other dogs earlier in the day. Death comes in 3's and 7's I guess. My next step was to go calm the owner down with out relaying the message to her that her dog was indeed gone. Even when she flat out asked me, "Is she gone?" All I could do was say in a soothing voice, "The doctor is working on her now, he will be in in a minute to talk to you." Which is basically saying, "Uh ya, she is gone." After the doctor told her that the dog had stroked out, the only thing I could offer her was a hug, from a complete stranger, but it was the best I could do. I have never, in the years as working as a technician, offered a hug to a weeping owner who has lost their beloved pet. Mostly because I am trying to be professional, but am I really? Or am I just trying to keep myself from feeling the hurt they are feeling, because I know it feels so awful. It felt good to lend my empathy to her, whether or not it helped. It still didnt make it any of it any easier.
I get the whole circle of life thing and that God has a plan for everyone, but still it hurts. I think it hurts so that we can remember what it feels like to love or care. If it hurts, then we know we really cared about someone, or something. I guess I am writing myself in circles, but what I have gotten most out of these deaths is that, life happens too quickly. We always think there is going to be a tomorrow, well, maybe there wont be. Why is it that sometimes we live our lives trying or pretending to be what we arent? I know I do it. Why do we always think we will call that person we have been thinking about all day, but then push the phone call till tomorrow because they might think we are "weird" for calling just to say hi, or that we miss them? Maybe its just me who does this, but I dont think so. I want to quit making excuses, I want to quit missing out on things just because I am worried that someone might judge me. I want to make sure that the people I love always know that I love them, whether or not they are here just for tomorrow or for 80 years.
I dont mean to get all "existential angst" about it all, but I think life comes and goes so quickly that we miss out on so much, and I dont want to miss any of it.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Something To Rival The Blob

*WARNING* This post contains descriptions and explanations of snot, or in other words Grossness. If you are at all perturbed or grossed-out by such things, do not read!! And it takes place in a bathroom so other things are mentioned, but dont worry, nothing too explicit. I was advised not to share this story, but it is sooo classic that I just couldn't let it sit in my head as an awful memory. You have been warned, and as always, don't judge me. :)

So last night I spent the night at my brother and sister-in-laws house to babysit the kids. And since I had to work this morning I took all of my supplies to get ready at their house so I could just leave straight from there. I have recently been plagued with a head cold that has caused much discomfort, but not enough for me to excuse myself from work. So as we all know, with head colds comes congestion, and with congestion comes, mucous or for lack of a better word, snot. Not pretty, I know, but we will get to that in a minute.

So to set the story off, I was designated to use the bathroom that is shared by the kids, and the new addition to the family, the rabbit. A kiddy-gate is set up in the doorway to keep the fluffy critter in the bathroom, but makes for a slight inconvenience when wanting to use the loo, but nothing major. Last night, I used the bathroom and pretty much the last of the toilet paper, assuming that there would be more in the closet for tomorrow morning. I readied myself for bed, drank some Thera-flu to help me sleep and drifted into an uncomfortable sleep due to the fact that my airway was only working 30% of its normal capacity. When I woke up this morning, very groggy from lack of sleep, I dragged myself up to the bathroom because the Thera-flu had indeed made it through my system, though I hadn't felt the effects. As I sat there, almost falling back to sleep, a vague recollection of using the last of the toilet paper the night before came to mind. I instantly looked at the roll..........empty........I was somehow thinking the magic toilet paper fairy had come during the night and put a new roll on for me. Well, now I was in an awkward situation.......either drip dry, or use the the cardboard roll.........cardboard won out. Like I said, dont judge me. After, I looked in the closet, much to my dismay, no toilet paper. So I continued to get ready as usual.
By the time I was flat ironing my hair, my sniffles had risen to an annoying level. I knew I had tissues in my truck so I could just wait another 20 minutes and I could properly blow my nose. But, apparently my nose couldn't wait, it wasnt much longer that I started to feel the all too familiar tale-tale signs of a sneeze coming on, the popping of sinuses, the tickle at the back of the nose, a sudden urge to close your eyes and wave your hands at your face. Before I knew it, I had sneezed and MAN, was it a sneeze! I could breathe again! But I could also feel the "blockage" slowly dripping down towards my lips. Now, I am completely DISGUSTED by snot and boogers(however you spell it) especially when it is my own. I sat there in shock looking at myself in the mirror experiencing my own personal hell, thats the best way to describe it. Who knew that much could be stored in my nose?! I quickly stepped over the kiddy-gate to check the kitchen to see if any paper towels or tissues were available to assist me, which, you guessed it, there weren't any, or at least not where I could see. I dashed back into the bathroom, almost tripping on the kiddy-gate this time in my haste. I opened the closet once more to see if maybe I had missed a secretly stashed roll of toilet paper, or one of the kids old homework assignments, ANYTHING that could take care of this bane that was ever slowly making its way further down my face. I briefly looked at the rabbit, who gave me a pleading look of "Please not me!" It only took half a second to realize that would be too messy, and really weird. I turned around to again be face-to-face, literally since I was looking in the mirror, with that disgusting creature that was taking over. In a last minute desperate attempt to rid myself of it, I turned the faucet on full blast and washed the goo from my face before it sucked the life out of me. It took me several washes of my face and hands to finally feel somewhat clean. Can I just tell you, I really hate being sick.