Archive for the ‘personal’ Category

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NEW WEBSITE!

February 19, 2009

So thanks for finding me here, but I have moved over to www.SarahSamudre.com!

I’m pretty excited. It’s a lot more aesthetic of a setup, so come check me out over there. I won’t be post anymore new posts here.

follow me

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At Disneyland and Wondering about Writing

February 12, 2009

Vasant and I sat in the Blue Bayou (the restaurant inside Pirate of the Caribbean) and talked about my trouble writing fantasy for nearly two hours today. If you’re going to have a talk about creativity, talking about it at a table right on the edge of the moonlit swamp is the place to do it! I wrote about my problems writing a specific genre a couple weeks ago in a post called “A MESS”, but to be less vague, the genre I have difficulty writing is fantasy. It’s not that I don’t like fantasy. I do. I love it. But there’s something subconsciously blocking me from producing any works of fiction in that genre at all. And the crazy part is- I’m finishing up a novel that has nothing to do with it. A novel I’m incredibly proud of and excited about. BUT… now that I’ve id’ed this problem in me, I can’t get it out of my head. I keep thinking there is a better writer within my subconscious that is being blocked by this mysterious hangup. Why would I love fantasy, have an incredible imagination, but feel frustrated and fogged in whenever I try to write it? And it’s not that I’m trying to write it and I’m just no good at it. I can’t write it. I can’t get more than a paragraph into it- I all of a sudden get angry, ditch the idea and walk away from the paper or laptop. It’s dumb.

I feel like when I can figure out what this problem is, and breakthrough with a completed short story in this genre, I’ll be able to get to parts of my imagination that for whatever reason have been blocked off. I don’t know why I blocked them off, but I know I have and I’m not resting until I solve this problem, open this door and write a fantasy story.

Interesting thought occurred to me today: how I write about normal life, no fantasy, only a little sci-fi… and how it doesn’t represent ME. I’m not normal. I’m a very odd person. If you’re supposed to write what you know…? Maybe I’ve taken that too literally. Maybe it’s not write what you know as much as it should be, write WHO you are. Not in a Mary-Jane kinda way, but in a “be true to thine own self” kinda way.

Anyway, Disneyland is an incredible place to ruminate on all these thoughts. I have an idea for a story, I just have to get rid of the barriers in my head and heart that keep me from writing it. We’ll see if, during the rest of this trip, I have any luck.

Some Disneyland pictures:

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I was so upset- my camera died right before he uttered the words, “You could always try MY way out…”

Recharging it for tomorrow. Hope the rain doesn’t spoil chances of getting good pictures. I so wanted to break in my new Nikon on this trip.

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True Love and Twittering During Superbowl

February 1, 2009

So I was sick all last week, so my efforts to try and blog more often totally crapped out. I had a three day migraine that lasted until midday Saturday. I’m still under the weather, but well enough to get out and about.

While I was sick, I missed a dinner reservation, a haircut, a gym trainer appointment, a paper deadline, and lost 10 followers on Twitter. But I also lost 3 pounds, sooooo…. win?

Sadly no. The loss of 3 pounds does not cancel out tons of mass guilt I feel for letting dozens of balls drop because of a stupid cold/flu. At least the migraines stopped and I can be sick without being unable to Twitter or read or write. Being sick is one thing, but migraines are the worst. (I’m not liking, by the way, that Twitter topped the list before read and write. What’s happening to me?)

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Anyway, I found this INCREDIBLE news story on a local news site this morning:

Couple die together after 62 years of marriage | KOMO News – Seattle, Washington | News

The story tells about a couple who recently died, after being married for 62 years, within six hours of each other. The wife had been diagnosed as terminally ill, and the husband basically ‘gave up the ghost’ when she passed away. Their relatives are quoted as saying that “their lives ebbed and flowed” together, and so, as sad as they are to lose both of them at the same time, they’re overjoyed that they died as they lived- completely in love and dependent on one another.

My husband Vasant and I were lying in bed the other night, and I couldn’t sleep- so I was distracting myself by trying to match my breaths to the duration and depth of his (he ALWAYS falls asleep right away). It took a while to slow my breath down to match his, but I kind of felt a “chi”-like energy in my gut breathing with him like that. I felt warm and drowsy and after ten or fifteen minutes fell asleep on his chest.

THAT is how I dream our last moments will be. In our nineties, on a house by the ocean, coming in from the garden and lunch, we’ll lay down together to nap, match breaths and just let go of this world. We’ve talked about that scenario so many times, and this story just kind of makes me feel reassured that it does happen. Vasant’s grandfather gave up the ghost six months after his wife went. Nothing was wrong with him- he just didn’t want to go on without her. The article details how it’s actually quite a regular phenomena, for couples who have been together for an incredibly long time to just “quit” life after one partner dies. Vasant and I read the article today and felt like that ideal afternoon 70 years from now… may be more than just our own sentimental wishes.

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In NON-SENTIMENTAL news, I twittered during the Super Bowl. It was fun. A small party actually happened at our place, last minute, which was wonderful, and while we’re all hanging out, I’m also twittering (I’m not anti-social, I’m WONDERFUL at multitasking twitter and live interaction). But man, watching the game was fun, but it was made even more enjoyable by watching it with all the people I follow on Twitter- especially when everyone in the room was yelling the same thing as all the people on Twitter. It was like being at TWO superbowl parties. I’m sure someone somewhere will right an article about that: Multi-tasking social events: Real Life and Twitter Superbowl parties and how they intertwine.

By the way, best movie trailer? Transformers 2. Best non-movie commerical? It was a tie between MacGruber and Alec Baldwin’s Hulu/Alien commercial. Great stuff.

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A MESS

January 20, 2009

Growling at myself today. I have a million things to do and I can’t stop to focus on any of them for more than a minute.

I’m taking a break from revision on the book to finish a short story I’ve been playing with since the fall. I am in love with the concept of this story, but something comes and blocks the actual production of it everytime I sit down to work on it. So I distract myself with blogging, twittering, facebooking and then get up and do something like laundry or cook.

Now some stories are just bad ideas and I talk myself out of finishing them because they’re better prompts and exercises than they are anything else.

But some stories are great, and the reason I have trouble with them is not because I’m at a dead end, but more like a locked door. There’s some psychological key to the door and I’ve got to find out what it has to do with, why it’s there at all, and what it will take for me to solve the problem in my head so I can get through it.

Sometimes it’s as easy as solving a plot problem. But this one is a “me” problem. I know the reason why the story isn’t flowing. It’s a genre I’m uncomfortable with. I know that’s why it’s important for me to take the time to complete this short story. But what I don’t know is why I have this problem to begin with. Why on earth would this genre, which I love reading and watching, be difficult for me to write? When I sit down to write it, something inside me squirms and feels miserable, almost guilty.

I’ve got to solve this. This story needs to come out, and I feel like when it does, it’s going to be like opening the cork on a good wine that was forgotten in a dark and musty cellar.

That or it will be like opening the top of a septic tank.

Whichever, I need to find out why I love this genre but feel like I’m barred from creating anything in it myself.

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We Have a NEW PRESIDENT!!!!

January 20, 2009

I am overwhelmed to the point of tears. It was a wonderful speech. It hit hard against the darkness of the last 8 years. It offered hope, and while drawing differences between the present and the past, offered continuity with our most enduring values. 

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The White House’s website is up, with a new look and a new outlook on how to connect with the people of the United States and the world. 

White House Blog is featured prominently on the front page. 

Vasant and I are on the way to class, but go out the door with a sense of new hope and promise underneath each footstep.

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Saving My Livejournal

January 14, 2009

What’s not “about to fall apart” these days? We were discouraged from giving gift cards at the holidays because businesses are filing Chapter 11 right and left, people are moving banks because of rumors that a financial institution is about to fail, and it seems that nothing right now is stable enough for us to trust in. Economic forecasters say this recession will last through the third quarter of this year, and we’ll probably not feel any upturn until 2010.

So with that in mind, it shouldn’t shock anyone that LiveJournal may be in trouble too…

LiveJournal, after many management changes, is again having problems LiveJournal deletes ‘about a dozen’ jobs | The Social – CNET News. It’s not a surprise, since many of the most stable institutions are having problems, that LiveJournal is as well. There is even rumors here and there that LJ may shut down for good due to recession problems and problems keeping up with the newer blog sites and social networks.

I’m new here on WordPress, but I’ve been on LJ for years, and I’ve tried to maintain my journal, even as our friends migrated onto greener e-pastures. Sites like WordPress have already started advertising LiveJournal specific import tools so you can relocate your journal to a more stable host LiveJournal Migration Made Easy « Blog « WordPress.com.

So I started looking through the options for downloading my journal, just in case. Since moving here and seeing the above WordPress bulletin, I started looking to make an xml file of my livejournal posts. I found a lot of good Mac download clients for LiveJournal (I settled on xJournal). But sadly, I soon realized that any client making an xml file would only grab my posts. No comments.

The comments, for many present or formerly hardcore lj-ers, was the REASON we loved LiveJournal. I mean, CRAP, my goddaughter would not be alive if it weren’t for the discussions that happened in the comment sections of livejournal. Friendships, family, drama, encouragement, good jokes and great stories unfolded in the comment sections. That is a hard thing to let go of- to realize seven years could soon disappear without any archive.

But that brings me to my great discovery!!!

LJBook (Turn your blog into a PDF Book)!!!!!!

This site is a free service that will take your livejournal, no matter how big, and turn it into a book: posts, comments, all security levels, even archiving the moods and music for a given post. The pdf is nicely laid out, and you can set it so it starts a new post on a new page, and it preserves ALL THE COMMENTS. You can archive journals, or whole communities. If you have a LiveJournal, you just need to log in to your journal on their site, select the conversion preferences, and make sure you’ve converted your journal from the old format: Change Old Encoding Settings. Go to that page and if your livejournal has mainly been written in English, select Western European (windows) and hit “Save”. LJ Book will be able to convert your journal and ALL the comments therein into a lovely pdf book that you can download to your computer, and print even (the site recommends Lulu.com)

Anyway, I’m here now, on Facebook, Twitter, and so while I still use my livejournal, I’m on it less and less. I’m just glad that I know the years of journalling and community formed over the comments there will be archived now.

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Wanting to Get Outta Town

January 12, 2009

So I’m taking my sister to the airport tonight. She lives in London, has for the last 2.5 years, and absolutely loves it. I love the airport. While I’m stuck here finishing up my education with my husband, the airport makes me giddy where the possibility of travel seems imminent.

Vasant and I are looking into going to England twice in the next six months. There is a possible winter trip before the end of March we’re looking into, just for ourselves to get out, travel and relax. I’d love to go back and stay in York for a while. I don’t know why, but this was one of the most interesting places where I’d want to go back and write.

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The York train station was one of the most beautiful stations we saw.

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We found these ruins along the roadside in town. There was a dark corridor along the sidewalk. No plaques, no sign leading inwards. But I decided to go check and found the ruins of a hospital, nunnery and roman fort, all close together in a beautiful field. It was one of those incredible finds, not on the guidebook or the map, just a local curiosity hidden by the wayside.

York is has incredible history. It was a major Viking settlement in England, a major Roman settlement (it’s where Emperor Constantine found out he was to be the next leader of the Empire), and of course a major English city.

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A statue of Constantine sits outside Yorkminster, the second most important cathedral in England.

One of my favorite places in York was the Shambles, a rickety road dating back to Viking occupation, resembling Diagon Alley, looking straight out of the pages of Harry Potter.

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These pictures don’t do the diagonal juts and cuts of the building any justice. As cool as it looks, it’s much more impressive in person, but then, that’s true of almost all travel photography.
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Vasant climbed up a medieval tower to get this shot of Yorkminster and the surrounding rooftops. In my opinion, the cloudy English sky adds to the beauty of this shot. I don’t know if I would have liked this place as much if it had been sunny.

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One of the best parts of York is that it is an entirely walled city. We walked the entire circumference of the wall that day. All the gates still operate as entrances and exits to the city, complete with their portcullises poised above the traffic.

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Lovely place. Full of age and mystery and winding close medieval alleys that lead to new discoveries that not even the guidebook can prepare you for.

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Can you tell I need to get away? I wish I were booking a trip to England now. I hope we’ll be there before Spring, but if not, we’ll at least be there in May for my sister’s graduation.

In the meantime, I settle for this for Vasant’s birthday:

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We’re annual passholders, so we already have free admission until this coming fall, but we’ll get a gift card equal to the price of admission on his birthday. Very excited about this!

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