Thursday, May 31, 2012

Friends: Why We Need Them

Currently, I'm writing a book set in Hungary. Yes, it's multi-cultural, and the book will explore cultural differences not just between the main character, Amanda (an American), and her Hungarian family but also with regards to a minority race. However, as with any women's fiction, the major themes will surround relationships. Family will play a major part in this but so will friendships. As any pantser will tell you, I always amaze myself when my characters do something quite unexpected. Amanda's love interest has a brother and two sisters. One of the sisters was going to be left in the background. She would add her own depth to the story as a minority struggling for an education that's been denied to her, but she was still going to be a minor character. Amanda had her own idea because she decided to make that woman a close friend. That's the trouble with book characters-- they have a mind of their own.

In honor of Amanda and Jolan's relationship, I've decided to write a blog post on the importance of friends. They comfort us when we're down and give a boot to the ass when we need it. True friends are valuable to our lives and how we live them. Aristotle has been quoted as saying, "In poverty and other misfortunes of life, true friends are a surge of refuge. They keep the young out of mischief; they comfort the old in their weakness, and they incite those in the prime of life to noble deeds."

Research has shown that when people feel unloved and have no one to lean on, there is a higher propensity towards homelessness, obesity, divorce, and other social and personal ills. Tom Rath from Gallup Organization posted some enlightening statistics:

1. If your best friend eats healthily, you are five times more likely to eat healthy as well.
2. Married people say their friendship with each other is five times as important as physical intimacy.
3. People without friends in the work place have only a one in twelve chance of feeling engaged in their job.

But just because friendships have its benefits, it doesn't mean we seek out those who line up to certain ideals to give us these benefits. Just like with Amanda and Jolan, friendships can arise indirectly by just living life and following our passions.

I'll give you another example, a real one. I enjoy archery, but until late last year I hadn't shot in years. I discovered that a woman at church I liked but didn't know well had recently acquired a bow and has been excited about archery. We started talking, and since then, we've met almost every week for archery practice. While we shoot, we talk about our kids, our husbands, and our lives. We're connecting as we fling arrows at targets. Both of us were pursuing our interests which resulted in a friendship. The benefits we share are vital, but they're also incidental because it's not forced. It's natural.

When we embrace those close to us, we realize we're not alone. We have an advocate who helps us get through this life through counsel, good examples, and the best medicine of all-- laughter.

Friday, May 25, 2012

For the Husband

My third year anniversary is coming up, and I know my beloved husband would love to have some boudois photos of me. Nothing skanky; just something classy yet sexy. However, I'm in my early forties, and I don't feel sexy. I'm fluffy in areas I never used to be fluffy. My stomach's still flat, but the girth has significantly increased, and my butt is huge. So I do what anyone in this predicament would do-- I dieted and excersised. There was some improvement, but I realized that I'm no longer at an age when I can think, "I want to be skinny today", and poof! I'm skinny! Along the way, I heard about drinking massive amounts of water to curb appetite, and I also heard about a shaper made by Spanx. So, between the shaper, drinking so much water I didn't have enough room for food, and alternating between going to the gym and walking in the park, I lost six pounds and had trimmed down nicely.

Great, right?

Wearing the spanx all the time caused a certain area not to breathe. I come down with a major infection six days before my appointment with the photographer. Antibiotics was able to kick it out in a few days, but I felt too miserable to move for the first two days. Then I spent two days at a writer's conference. You think I'm going to be uncomfortable sweating in a binder, running to the bathroom every fifteen minutes and deprive myself of gooey, chocolate chip cookies during a conference I look forward to every year? I don't think so. So guess how much weight I gained back? Not quite all of it-- five pounds, and I'm fluffy again because I hadn't felt like working out. I put the binder back on, after I cut out the crotch, but how much good will it do to only wear it the day before the photo shoot?

It was time to use my forty-year old brain and stop wishing I had the body of a twenty-year old just to satisfy my older, desk-job-bodied husband who worships my body anyway. So I did the most sensible thing I could think of:

"Honey, what is the absolute sexiest thing you would like to see me in?"

Was that so hard? He knows what he likes, and he gave me the perfect answer-- one of his dress shirts because it exposes my best asset, my legs.


Not only that, the photographer at Malek Foto knew how to pose me for some very tasteful, yet sexy pictures that my wonderful husband will certainly enjoy, and I can still have chocolate chip cookies without drinking enough water to drown an elephant.

Thursday, May 24, 2012


The title says it all. I'm a writer, but does the blogosphere really need another writing blog? There are some great ones out there with sound advice, but I'm pretty sure the only ones who visit are other writers. That is part of the reason I haven't been very active. What's the point?

The point is to connect with readers. Who are my readers? Women. What a coincidence! I'm a woman. What I love about women is that we are all unique with different perspectives, lives, and family dramas, but there's still a thread that connects us all. We need to feel, create, and connect. We love our men and our children, but we need other women to share our experiences with and to laugh and cry with. There's just one rule: If you cry too much on my blog, you'll need to dry off the screen yourself.

So this is just a short intro to let people know there will be a definite shift in the theme of this blog. I'll be discussing relationships, my fat ass, and my up coming research trip to Hungary. Tomorrow I'll share my experience with a boudoir photo session that I did for my husband for our anniversary. Shhh... Our anniversary is next month, so don't tell him.