Tag Archives: writer

Strange Encounters

So, I am going to take a risk and describe an odd encounter I had this weekend.

As I posted before, I went to Pittsburgh this weekend to help my mom.  I took her out for coffee Saturday night because she kept asking me if we were supposed to go out and do something else that day.  I could not remember any specific thing we had scheduled, but I took her questions as a desire to get out of the house for a bit.  We went to the evil corporate coffee bar down the street from her house, which despite its innate evilness, I really secretly like.

She ordered her cafe mocha and I had my cappuccino with a liberal serving of cinnamon sprinkled on top.  We sat there for quite a while talking about books, movies, life, etc.  when a man approached my mother, pointed to her broken arm, and asked if the other guy looked worse.  He was an attractive, middle-aged man, I’m guessing late 40s early 50s, (my mother is nearly 20 years his senior).  We all laughed and my mother implied that she pulverized “the other guy” in the mythical fight he was implying she had.

He then talked to both of us jokingly and then went off to his own corner of the coffee shop.  I continued having a nice long talk with my mom.

When we got up to leave, he came running across the store.  He told us that he is a writer and had been working on an essay.  He wanted to know if we would give him our thoughts on what he wrote.  My mom interjected, “Oh really! My daughter is a writer!” she exclaimed, pointing at me.

“Well, I’m trying to be one,”  I stated shyly, a little embarrassed that my mom overstated my writing career in an overly obvious attempt to get me a date.

We had a brief conversation about my nonexistent writing career and went over to his table to review his essay, which he insisted on reading aloud to us.  I would have preferred to read it and give him my comments, but whatever.  It was a pretty good essay and I gave him my thoughts.  Then we talked about his book.  He had a copy of a book with him which he had “compiled.”  It’s a book of inspirational quotes.  That’s not really my cup of tea, but I do know some people who like that kind of thing.

Throughout this whole encounter, I thought he was flirting with my mom.  She is a beautiful woman, but she’s 19 years older than him.  Some guys go for that, I guess, but I still found it a little strange.  My mom, on the other hand thought he was flirting quite a lot with me.  She said it was obvious he was just being nice to her hoping that if he made a good impression on the mom, that would go a long way to getting in with the daughter.

I don’t know.  I am not good at knowing when men are flirting with me, mostly because I am not used to it.  Nobody really flirted with the fat girl I used to be.  Plus, I looked horrible on Saturday.  My hair, which I had not washed that day, was pulled up in a pony-tail, and I was wearing a t-shirt and jeans.  I was not wearing appropriate date-finding attire.  He did give me an autographed copy of his book.  (He did not give one to my mom, a fact she has continually pointed out.)  Which makes me pretty sure he was mostly digging for a good rating on Amazon, which let’s face it, I’d do a little  bit of flirting myself if I thought someone would read my (nonexistent) book and give me 10 stars on Amazon.  A girl’s gotta do what a girl’s gotta do, right?

Although, he did give me his business card and asked my opinion on where I thought he could send his story to be published.  Clearly, this is a sign.  OK, maybe not.

Still, it was nice to be flirted with even if just a little bit.

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What? I Am Not The Center Of The Universe?

OK, maybe I’m the center of the Colleeniverse, and blogging about myself everyday certainly reaffirms that notion.  But I have conceded that I am not really the center of the rest of the universe. 

There are two events taking place today that have absolutely nothing whatsoever to do with me, yet both are consuming every thought in my head and every ounce of my focus.  One is of a celebratory nature, the other more solemn. 

My niece, who is the actual center of the universe, is graduating from pre-K today and despite her request that I attend, I cannot be there to help her celebrate.  If I could choose to be anywhere today, it would be with her.  I will see her this weekend, and shower her with love, kisses, and presents, as aunties are wont to do, but I really wish I could be there today to cheer her on. 

The second, more solemn event…a good friend and fellow writer is having surgery.  He has been suffering from a horrible illness and today will determine if his treatment has been successful.  I hope that has been.

So, instead of thinking of me, my general health, my weight loss progress, my mental health, and all the petty problems that plague my life, I am asking that everyone cheer for my niece and send good wishes to my friend. 

Better yet, show your good wishes and buy one of his books or his music.

Writing About People, Places, & Things – Book

The Girl, The Drugs, & The Man Who Could Not Drink – Book

Cash & Carry – Music (also available on iTunes)

I survived!

No, I did not have to be rushed to the hospital for anxiety because I had a public speaking gig on Wednesday.  I survived it and it actually went pretty well.  I did nervously race through all of my remarks in about 20 minutes, which was kind of hilarious.  The leader of the writing group did notice that too.  He just smiled at me and he and another writer actually helped me out by starting a very detailed and lively discussion about my writing “process.”  Everyone asked me a lot of questions as if I am some kind of expert.  Ha! I was actually very comfortable with answering questions, so that went very well. 

The workshop was called From Real Life to Fiction.  I have taken a lot of my own real life events and then fictionalized them, often creating completely different stories.  Some have been pretty good and others not so much.  One story actually received honorable mention in a contest, so I guess that’s something. 

But enough about writing…onto weight loss.

I am down to 201.  That’s a total of 97 pounds.  I am surprised that I lost anything at all this week, I have been very bad food-wise.  One day I actually ate quite a lot, which is not good.  I have also had trouble keeping myself on a normal eating schedule.  I’ve just been so busy.  Plus I have been feeling very bloated.  But on the flip side, the chronic constipation has abated.  Keeping my fingers crossed that I can keep that at bay. 

I am kind of excited about the 201 mark.  In just 2 pounds, I will be in territory I have not seen in more than 20 years…below the 200 mark!  It’s kind of a big deal.  Ok, let me be honest here…it’s more than kind of a big deal…it’s a ginormous deal!  I am also freaking out just a little bit, too.  Dropping below the 200 pound mark somehow makes it all seem like this is all really going to happen.  I am really finally going to be thin, whatever that means.  I have not been “thin” since my early 20s. 

It’s weird, because I never thought of myself as thin when I was younger.  In high school, I weighed about 125-128-ish.  College, my weight went up to about 130-140-ish.  At 140, I may have been a little bit chubby, but I certainly was not fat.  I certainly thought I was, however. 

Self image is a strange thing.  I guess sometimes it is easier to believe the negative stuff.  I know I did for a long time.  I am trying to change that, though.  I still struggle with it, but I try to keep telling myself over and over again all of the things that I want to be as if they are true.  I am thin.  I am beautiful.  I am healthy.  I am smart.  I am a good writer.  I am successful.  I am loveable.  I am confident.

I don’t always feel these things, but I try.  Maybe if I keep telling myself this, I will truly begin to believe them.  Maybe if I keep it up long enough, they will all one day be true.

Enjoy some cherry blossoms.  It rained today, so they are all most likely gone already. 

Cherry Blossoms

To Speak Or Not To Speak, That Is The Question

When I was younger, say 7th grade through my whole entire life, I was very bad at public speaking.  My teachers always made us get up in front of class and do a prepared speech every year.  I fretted about this pretty much from the second they announced we had to do this.  No matter how much I prepared or practiced, I would stand up in front of the class and shake, sweat, stammer, and be almost to the point of tears when I had to give my speech.  I was so nervous and shy that the thought of talking in front of people made me physically ill.

I was a little bit better in high school and college, but not by much.  As a working adult, I have had to get up and speak many times in meetings.  I have led training classes, taught diversity classes, given talks at client meetings, etc.  Nothing really big.  I think the largest group I talked to was about 50 people at a client meeting. 

The client meeting was a funny experience.  I was the only travel agent for this particular group of travelers.  My client contact had given me a list of the travelers’ concerns before the meeting.   I was ready and armed with responses for them.   I had heard horror stories about past client meetings and how these travelers were very unhappy with us.  I was nervous, but I was totally prepared. 

Basically, I won them all over.  I let them know that I understood how hard their job was, traveling all of the time, spending most of their time overseas.  I told them I wanted to make their travel easier.  I gave them all new profile forms and asked for all of their updated travel information so that they always got their miles, etc.  I joked with them.  At the end of the meeting, they all came up to me one by one to tell me how happy they were.  I chatted with each of them briefly before leaving the meeting.

In the car on the way back to the office, the sales manager for my company told me she never saw anything like that.  She said that all previous meetings were so stressful.  “You had them eating out of your hands!”  She went back to our director and told her how the meeting went.   The director sent me a nice email and ended it saying, “You must be a natural public speaker.” 

I nearly died laughing.  If she only knew.

Tonight I am leading a discussion at my writer’s group.  I talk to the writer’s group every week from the safe confines of my chair.  I always have an opinion and I share it without hesitation.  I have to admit though, I am quite nervous.  I am sure I will be fine.  I am prepared.  I created an outline and wrote down my comments.  Read articles over and over.  I bought a new dress and new shoes.  I fixed my hair.  I feel I am totally ready. 

I’m not expecting the wild success I experienced at my client meeting, but I’m sure I will do just fine.  Nonetheless, any time I have to get up and speak in front of a group, even people I know, see, and talk to every week, that scared, shy, nervous young girl sneaks up on me and says, “Noooooooo!”

Who’s That Girl?

Yesterday was a very strange day for me.  I saw several people whom I have not seen in a while.  Their reaction to my 75 pound weight loss was surprising to me.  I know that I have lost a lot of weight, but sometimes, when I look in the mirror or step on the scale, I can only see how far I have to go.

Last night I went to my weekly writer’s group.  I forgot to take my water with me to the meeting, so as I was running out to my car, I decided to stop in the little market that is in my building.  Pre-surgery Colleen went to this market all of the time.  I bought junk food, frozen foods, drinks, etc.  Post-surgery Colleen does not go there at  all.  I think I went there once to buy some water one time shortly after I returned home from the surgery.  Needless to say, before the surgery, I got to know the guy who owns the store pretty well.

I walked into the store to buy a bottle of water, and he gasped when he saw me.  “You look so different!”  He asked me what I did, I told him that I lost weight and had my hair done.  He told me how good I look and to keep up the good work.

Then at my writer’s group, my friend Bobby was visiting who is visiting town was there.  Bobby is a long-time member of the writer’s group and has recently relocated to a Central American country.  I have not seen him since last summer when he moved.  He follows my blog pretty religiously.  In fact, he was my #1 reader for 2012.  However, he has not seen me in person in a while.  Bobby is very excited about my weight loss and everything I am doing.  He always offers me such wonderfully supportive and encouraging words.  I really love his comments.

Bobby came to the meeting a few minutes late.  I was reading over my notes for one of the stories we were discussing, so I did not see him enter the room.  He apparently did not see me either because I received a text from Facebook from him saying, “Where are you?”  I looked up at him in surprise.  I could see this look of frustration on his face and I’m sure he was thinking, “Bitch. I told her I would be here.  I came here all the way from Central America and she does not even show up! Grrr!”

So, I messaged back.  “I’m right here, looking at you.”  I saw his eyebrows raise as he read the message.  Then he craned his neck looking around people to find me.  I can understand his not seeing me right away.  I am kind of short and we were sitting in rows with taller people in front of me.  When he did see me, he just smiled and waved and texted back to me, “OMFG!”  It was hilarious.

After the meeting, I walked over to where he was and he gave me a big hug and told me how great I look.

Also, another writer friend and writer’s group member, Michael Sullivan, attended our meeting.  I have not seen him in several months either, maybe even before the surgery.  He does not attend the meetings often, but I think he showed up to see Bobby.  Before I had a chance to even say hello to Bobby, Michael came up to me and said, “Excuse me, but are you related to Colleen?  You kind of look like her, but different somehow.”  Clearly he was joking about that, but he also told me how great I am looking.

Even the leader of our group, who I see nearly every week, commented on my weight loss last night.  He called me the amazing shrinking woman.  I find this funny because I saw him just last week and I have not really lost any more weight.

I have kind of hit a plateau.  I am not too worried about it.  That has happened two other times so far.  The surgeon says this is normal.  Your body needs time to adjust to the new lower weight and then the weight loss starts back up again.  I have found this to be true, so far.  Plus, it gives me a couple extra weeks before I have to go and buy new pants again.

I do know that I have changed a lot.  I do see it when I look in the mirror or when I look at some “before” pictures.  I also know when I put on some old clothes and pants fall off of me or blouses and t-shirts are ridiculously too big.  I can also feel it.  I am breathing much easier, my back does not hurt so much.  I can stand.  I can walk a good distance.  I can walk up steps comfortably.  I am sleeping better.  And I just feel better all around.  I do not feel that I have a huge mind/body disconnect as far s the weight loss that I have achieved.  But it sure does make me feel good about myself when I receive such positive reactions from people who know me.