Saturday, August 28, 2010

Have we really changed all that much?

In our Lycan Regencies, the underlying theme in each story is ‘Change’. Once a month, each hero changes shape under the power of the full moon. However, even before the big physical transformation takes place, his temperament and personality undergo slight changes as well. He gets moodier, lustier, less patient.

And all the while, he tries to keep the ‘change’ a secret from those around him, usually including the woman he loves.

I suppose I could also describe this aspect of our Lycans’ personalities as them being insecure in their own skin. They’re not certain if their friends knew the truth about them, if it would change how they were viewed and accepted.

My son started back to school this week. Middle school, I should clarify. I know half of you reading this just groaned aloud. It certainly made me groan. Is there a more anxiety-filled three year period in anyone’s life? If you could go back to middle school and do it over, would you? I know I wouldn’t. The idea makes my stomach turn, especially as I see him make the transition from child to teen. It’s a difficult time and in a lot of cases, a painful one too.

What I remember most of my middle school years is my peers trying desperately to blend in, to hide what made them unique, and their overall desire to be accepted by the masses. It’s not until much later when people are secure in their own skin, when they feel comfortable being who they are, that they can find happiness and acceptance in their own lives.

I’ve often heard people say – “Wow, he/she has changed a lot since school.” But I don’t necessarily believe that is true. I think most people are the same they’ve always been inside. What has really changed is their desire to keep that part hidden from the rest of us. And that is the best sort of change there is.

Originally posted at 8/27/2010

Friday, August 27, 2010

And so comes the end of summer – from the Jodie ½ of Lydia Dare~

This year, my son and I took a cruise vacation the week before his school term began. We just got back last week. This wasn’t our first cruise, but it was one of the best! I should probably admit to being a bit of a travel snob and fairly spoiled as far as traveling goes in general. Most of this comes from the years I’ve spent as a meeting planner/travel manager for an IT consulting firm.

Usually when I travel, it is for business. Because I’ve contracted large groups and brought a number of people to a certain hotel or venue, I get treated like royalty. I am given the nicest room with the prettiest view. And waiting for me inside my nice room, there’s always a big basket of fruit, cheese, wine and a glowing note from the management telling me how wonderful I am. Best of all, it’s all free. Yep, being a meeting planner does wonders for your ego.

However, when I travel for vacation and I’m footing the bill, I get none of those perks; not usually anyway. I end up with a small room, with a less than desirable view. There’s no gift basket awaiting me. No note gushing about what a delight I am to know. In fact, they don’t even know who I am. Vacations are very humbling affairs for me.

But not this one.

This time, we went all out. In other words, we splurged. I reserved a suite and arranged for a limo transfer from the airport. We pretended we were celebrities. My son barely rolled down the tinted window enough for his hand and waved at the pedestrians along the streets of Miami, as though he was rich and famous.

We went parasailing, kayaking, snorkeling, and spent a day at the Atlantis Resort in Nassau. When we were tired, we rested on our balcony overlooking the Caribbean and just breathed in the fresh air. On board the ship, we won progressive trivia and Twilight trivia (although my son won’t admit to the latter), taking away the amazing prizes of a mug and highlighter.

This year my mother and my brother Ryan joined us for the cruise, which was a first time for them. It was so wonderful having them along for the ride, and the four of us have already put a deposit down for a cruise next summer.

I am so addicted to my iphone, that at first it was difficult not being able to send or receive emails in international water or ports. We were essentially cut off from society for a few days and I got the shakes. But in the end, not being able to communicate with the outside world was nice too.

But all good things must come to an end. School begins. Deadlines loom. Ex-es wait in the wings to ruin your day. And work calls for you to return. My late night evenings will be put on hold until next summer vacation. My days of waking up at 5:00am have returned in full force.

I am already dreaming about next year’s vacation.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

The Only Constant in Life is Change

Do you remember that stuff that used to clink in your pocket back before it was all replaced by debit cards and checks? You probably coveted it, and stuffed it into your piggy bank, saving it up for some special treat or another. I can remember when I was in my teens and I would count change to have enough gas to get from one place to another. And when I was even younger and I picked up change I found on the sidewalk. I’m curious to know how many people pick it up, now.

“Find a penny, pick it up. All day long, you’ll have good luck.” Of course, that only works if the penny is on heads, for some reason. I never did understand that part. At some point, the coins in your pocket become inconsequential. I don’t know when it happens. Maybe it’s when you get that first paycheck from your first job and you open a bank account. Instead of having the change clinking in your pocket, you have a debit card you swipe everywhere you go. Let’s face it -- it’s just easier to swipe a card than it is to use cash and coins.

But, I’ve recently had an opportunity to go back to change. My boys are fifteen and six. My oldest has a bank account and he’s very much in love with the debit card. He earns money and puts it in his account and spends it when he wants something. But then the six-year-old started taking notice. He decided that he wants to earn some money, too. So, change jar, here we come. He’s one of those kids that says “I want that,” to every commercial. He recently saw pillow pets on TV. When he said “I want that,” I asked “How much money do you have?” He looked at me, quite befuddled for a few minutes, and then my oldest said “Come and help me unload the dishwasher and I’ll give you a dime.” Yes, you can probably see the upcoming pattern. Dishes were my fifteen-year-old’s job. Now they take turns. And it all started with that dime. My youngest very quickly learned that he could walk the dogs, feed the cats or the chickens, help put the laundry away, and he could virtually do any job my fifteen-year-old was saddled with, and he could earn a dime each time. Within about a month, he had enough change saved up for that pillow pet. And he takes it everywhere. When he wakes up, that ladybug comes downstairs with him. And he takes great pride in the fact that he earned that thing all by himself. By the way, my youngest just told me he wants a quarter for doing the dishes. It’s extortion, I tell you.

Do you save your change? For something big like that pillow pet was to my six-year-old? Or for drinks in a drink machine at work like my husband does? Do you toss it in a jar and roll it up every few years, when the jar overflows? (Someone once told me that the only constant in life is change. My oldest will be in college soon. My youngest is going into first grade. I think that person was right.) Best Regards, Tammy

Originally posted at 8/11/2010