Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Untitled Post

The last month has been a whirlwind. We got through Thanksgiving pretty well. Our aunties came to share the holiday with us. The five of us went to the graveyard to pay one last visit to Dad and Aunt Della before next spring, and to see their new monuments. Very nice and in some ways an eye opener. Seeing my Dad’s name on a headstone seems unnatural. At times his absence is very real to me and other times not so much. So we have Christmas, a birthday and New Year’s to get through and then we’ll be in the clear until Easter and then will come the first anniversary of his death. The holidays are always the hardest, especially at the very first. I have to admit, I was dreading Thanksgiving and it went better than I expected. So I have that to be grateful for.

With the help of an anxiety/depression program and a new exercise routine, I am doing quite a bit better. Still have a ways to go, but I think I’m on the right track. It helps that my sister is doing this too; keeps me dedicated.

Sent off around sixty some queries to the agents. Most have yet to respond, though a couple have requested to see the full manuscript. One agent in particular seems right for the story and she has had my novel for over a month. I want to ask how she likes it but am too afraid that she’ll reject it then and there. In the meantime I am polishing my WIP #2, which is even better than the first. I have more confidence in it than this current one. Hopefully it will be whipped into shape by the first of the year. Trying to get going on a third project. Do I start on another story based in this little town? I do have plans for one, but it is not appealing to me just yet, Believe it or not I am reworking my old Epic Novel that I set aside almost three years ago. I don’t know why, but the characters are speaking to me again. The tone is very different, so much so I’ll have to change the title if I go to send it off. It will be interesting to see what happens with that. Most of the research is already done and most of it is still floating around in my memory. So, we’ll see what happens.

The little Shih-Tzu we adopted has made himself at home. Checkers is a total stinkpot, eager to tease and start fights. We call him the “Little Hobbit” because he is so naughty. He has easily worked his way into our hearts. 

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

So Are The Days of My Life

I’ve been so busy it’s not funny. We’ve had work done around our house; new garage built, windows replaced, doors installed, back porch enclosed, trees taken out and parts of our fence torn down. The guys are super nice and I have nothing but praise for them, but we’ll be glad when things go back to normal around here.

My anxiety attacks/depression have made a return. It’s not easy because for about four years I felt pretty good. Not perfect but I made a lot of headway in that part of my life. And now I’m starting all over again. I’m taking a new medicine so hopefully in a few months I’ll feel better. The doctors always say it takes a couple of months to get regulated, but for me it generally takes a bit longer.

The agent I was corresponding with about WIP #1 decided not to represent me after all, so that’s set me back quite a bit anxiety-wise. I had really believed that my life was falling into place and now it’s all topsy-turvy again. What irks me is that for five months I remained loyal and followed all of her instructions. In August I started to suspect that something was up because I hadn’t heard much from her and asked her if she was still interested in my novel. Yes, she was but for her to represent me I had to wait until she made contacts at the AFCW conference. If I had another other offers, she encouraged me to go ahead with them. But since we had an agreement, and I consider myself a woman of my word, I assured her that I could wait. Fast-forward to last week. The conference was over so I e-mail her asking how it went and she responded that she was sorry but did not think herself right for my novel because she wasn’t as familiar with the Christian market.

So, I’m back at square one and down in the dumps. I am trying to prepare myself for the endless querying that I must get started on. At least the story has changed enough that it may appeal to other agents. It flows better. When I’m feeling better, I will resume my work on WIP #2 which only needs some polishing. I am actually more confident that this story will be accepted. It is a bit more unique and dynamic.

We’re going to have a new addition to our family. My Mom heard of a puppy mill that PETA is closing down and thought we could take in one of the dogs and give it a home. The dog is a male Shi-Tzu named Checkers who is in need of love. I was hesitant at first, because we already have two dogs and two cats. But maybe we need Checkers as much as he needs us. Our family needs healing and maybe he will be our bright spot of this year.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Yada, yada, yada

Can’t help but think of where I was eleven years ago today. Nothing about that period in my life is the same. But then nothing about our whole world is the same. Everything seems to be turned upside down and inside out. I keep waiting for the world to right itself, but it continues on its destructive path. I guess until we all surrender to the One who can make everything right this is how life will be.

Not sure what to write, but just want to write and post something. With all that’s happened this year, my anxiety problems have returned. I had really started to become comfortable in my own skin, if that makes any sense. I switched medicines and so I have had to re-learn everything. How to calm myself down again and to relax if possible, and to go places even when I feel like crap. That’s not easy when I feel loopy. Ah, the joy of anxiety attacks.

In the last couple months, this gray striped cat has hung around our house. We called him “Gilbert” and fed and watered him. He seemed content, then he disappeared. We feared that he had been hit by a car or that someone else had taken him in. He showed up again after a three week absence (we think he was catting around) and one morning brought a little friend with him. The little friend couldn’t have been more than six weeks old; a cute yellow-striped tabby kitten. We named him Rumpelstiltskin, Baby Rumpel for short. The poor thing had worms and an upper respiratory infection, but we got him some anti-biotics and were doctoring him. We made the mistake of letting him outside and a neighbor grabbed on to him. Knowing good and well that we were caring for Baby Rumpel, she took him to the vet and had him put to sleep. Naturally we were devastated and infuriated. Thankfully we were able to spare Gilbert from the same fate. After learning that he was healthy and had been neutered, we tried making him part of our family. That didn’t quite work out because we already had two cats and he wanted to dominate them. We weren’t sure what to do, but a co-worker of my Mom’s heard that Gil needed a good home and offered to take him in. So, we’re all very relieved about that.

Still, I have a lot of anger (maybe even hatred) for what this neighbor did. She has done other things, smaller things to us. There was a time that we were friends, but that was long ago. If she hates us, fine, whatever. But to take a poor, innocent little kitten and put it down just to spite us…it’s going to take an act of God for me to forgive this woman. I don’t claim to be perfect; maybe we did do something to offend her or hurt her in the past. But, really, euthanizing a defenseless kitten as a means of revenge? God give me strength! Hatred is a sin, I know. This is just something I will have to work on, I guess.

I haven’t been writing too much the last few weeks. I did a little last week on WIP #2 and ought to resume my work on it. I’m also doing research for WIP #3. I did hear a piece of news though that is exciting for me. I had submitted a short story for this book that is to be published next year called, “I Believe in Healing.” Well, it has been chosen to be included in the book. So, yay! I’ll finally be published. 

Friday, August 10, 2012

Day by Day

That’s how we’re taking it, day by day. I think with all of the craziness going on around here has been a little helpful. It is exhausting but it certainly keeps us distracted. Just when we think that we can’t take one more blow, somehow we’re able to hold it together. Others have it harder than we do. Everywhere I turn someone is in some kind of pain or going through some sort of difficulty.

Still writing like crazy. Nothing new to report on that score though. Just keeping my fingers crossed.

Trying to diet again. Yes, yet again. I need to lose maybe 30lbs. When I dieted in 2010, 22lbs came off in six months’ time. It didn’t last though, obviously. Maybe this fall I can start exercising again. For someone like me who battles anxiety attacks and depression, it is good to exercise. Finding the time though, is nearly impossible. Guess eventually I’ll just have to make time.

I’m a little late to jump on the “Once Upon a Time” bandwagon, but better late than never, right? I watched a little of last season and tuned in when my favorite Disney princesses showed up. Unfortunately I had missed my favorite heroine, Belle. When her episode premiered, our DVR went kaput. I did see the season finale when she showed up at Mr. Gold’s shop and was a little confused when they confessed their feelings for each other. Last I recalled Belle’s guy was Beast. Just this last week, I was able to watch episode 12 “Skin Deep” and all I can say is OH. MY. GOSH! Loved it! Rumplestillskin was always a hilarious character, but I just totally fell in love with him. It’s hard to remember that he’s a bad guy. Then I saw some scenes with him and his son and my heart went out to him. I have to keep reminding myself that this is not real and is just a TV show.

Now I am on a “Beauty and the Beast” kick. Sean and I dug out our old VHS tape of “Beauty and the Beast” and re-watched it. Still love it. Next we’re going to watch this new teeny-bopper movie called, “Beastly.” If it’s any good, I may even read the book.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Daydream Believer

Remember that song, by the Monkees? Whenever I hear it, I want to cry. When I was a girl, seven or so years old, I remember sitting out on our front porch and listening to it. It reminds me of my youth. As a kid I couldn’t wait to be an adult and now not a day goes by that I don’t day dream about being a kid.

Since I last wrote, my sister had gallbladder surgery and then six weeks after my Dad died, my aunt passed away. It’s a crazy, mixed up time for us. None of it seems real and I at times I really believe that someday everything will be the way it was. All that I can ask from anyone right now is prayer. Especially for my mother. It has hit her the hardest. It was her husband who died, and her baby sister she lost. If we didn’t have faith in Christ and the promise of Heaven, we’d be lost right now. In many ways we are lost, but we know that we’ll find our way again and that it won’t always be hard for us.

I don’t know much else to say. I have been writing; manically almost. Whether it’s much good or not, time will tell. I have tried my hand at shorter pieces and have submitted them to various places. Maybe this sounds crass, but it’s to make a bit of a name for myself and earn a little money. I need to do something.

Thank you for all of your thoughts and prayers. God bless and love to you all!

Thursday, June 28, 2012

My Truths & Lies: The Answers

I know you have been just dying for the results. Here are my answers!

1. I am adopted. - FALSE. As a kid I thought I was because I didn't resemble either of my parents. I actually resemble my aunt, my grandfather and my great-uncle.

2. My family once owned a pig.- TRUE. On the search for a family pet, my parents got my sister and I a pot-belly pig named Willy. No, we did not live in the country. We were city-dwellers. Needless to say, it did not work out.

3. I wanted to be a writer for as long as I can remember.- FALSE. As a kid I wanted to be a teacher, a firefighter and an astronomer.

4. I have never drank alcohol.- FALSE. My Dad gave me a droplet of a beer when I was a baby. When I was twenty-three, I tasted homemade wine.

5. Growing up, I loved to wear dresses.- FALSE. I hated those dress-up moments.

6. My favorite meal is pizza.- FALSE. Actually, it is my Grandma's spaghetti.

7. Chocolate has always been my true love.- FALSE. I saw the light when I was eight or so and have dedicated myself to chocolate ever since. I considered those first eight years the darkest years of my life.

8. I can't stand coffee.- FALSE. I am now addicted to ice coffee.

9. My family were once missionaries in Germany.- FALSE. That would have been cool though.

10. I don't have a favorite book because I love too many books.- TRUE. There are just too many books out there to love.

11. "The Wizard of Oz," is my favorite movie.- FALSE. It use to be. It holds a special place in my heart though.

12. I have been by bees at least a dozen times.- FALSE. Have never been stung!

13. I drive a 1994, Aqua colored Festiva, with fushia lightening stripes down the sides.- FALSE. The Festiva use to be my parents car and I have driven it, but never owned it.

14. I am heart and soul a Hoosier, but I was born in Illinois.- FALSE. I am a Hoosier by birth too.

15. Basketball is my favorite sport to play.- FALSE. Actually, it is hockey and I wasn't half bad at it either.

16. My favorite song is "Over the Rainbow," sung by Judy Garland.- FALSE. My favorite is, "You Belong to Me," by Tori Amos.

17. Bavarian torte with cream cheese icing is my favorite dessert.- TRUE. My Dad use to make it and I loved it.

18. My favorite drink is Cherry Coke.- FALSE. Cherry Italian sodas are my favorite.

19. Jane Austen is my favorite author.- TRUE. Love her!

20. I have been engaged before.- FALSE. Never even had a boyfriend. 

Saturday, June 23, 2012

My Truths & Lies

Here are 20 statements. Three are true. See if you can find them. In a few days I'll post the results.

1. I am adopted.

2. My family once owned a pig.

3. I wanted to be a writer for as long as I can remember.

4. I have never drank alcohol.

5. Growing up, I loved to wear dresses.

6. My favorite meal is pizza.

7. Chocolate has always been my true love.

8. I can't stand coffee.

9. My family were once missionaries in Germany.

10. I don't have a favorite book because I love too many books.

11. "The Wizard of Oz," is my favorite movie.

12. I have been by bees at least a dozen times.

13. I drive a 1994, Aqua colored Festiva, with fushia lightening stripes

down the sides.

14. I am heart and soul a Hoosier, but I was born in Illinois.

15. Basketball is my favorite sport to play.

16. My favorite song is "Over the Rainbow," sung by Judy Garland.

17. Bavarian torte with cream cheese icing is my favorite dessert.

18. My favorite drink is Cherry Coke.

19. Jane Austen is my favorite author.

20. I have been engaged before.

Monday, June 4, 2012

As Time Goes By

The last month has slipped by so quickly. I feel like I have lived in limbo since the couple days of April. We all have really. And yet April 28th (the last day Dad was alive) seems like years ago. Mom, Sean and I have drawn closer, but the family is incomplete now. We don’t laugh as hard as we did before or enjoy the moments. Nothing makes sense. If I didn’t have faith I’d be a lost cause. Last Saturday we saw his grave for the first time since his funeral. My mind cannot fathom that my Dad is buried there. This seems wrong to me. My Aunt told us all something that has stayed with me. My Grandma was 15 years old when she lost her Daddy and she never really got over it. I totally understand. She had it harder than I do though. She was only a kid and it was during the Great Depression. But I get it, why she never got over it. Her Daddy was only 44 when he died whereas mine was 60. Still, I don’t think anyone is ever prepared to lose their parents, no matter how old they are. Grandma was braver than I am. She probably confided in her brother and sisters, but she never felt sorry for herself and never burdened anyone. My only hope is that I can live up to the example that she left me. If she survived all of that, somehow we will too.

Just when we think things might settle down a little bit, something else happens. My sister Sean has been in traction for the last month. She’s been having stomach problems for a while now and since we lost Dad, it has increasingly gotten worse. The doctor did some tests and learned that her gall bladder is not functioning at a normal rate. She is to have it out tomorrow. Sean is looking forward to it because it has given her nothing but misery for two years now. I can’t wait to see her back to her old self.

In regards to my writing: The Harper Lee article I wrote for the May/June issue of Femnista is now available at charitysplace.com. I wrote an article for the July/August issue about “The Wizard of Oz,” book and movie. I still have one article for the September/October issue that I haven’t even started on. Very excited because it is to be about someone I admire very much: Sophie Scholl. Can’t wait. I never did get around to submitting a story in for the Writer’s Digest Contest. I found another contest that would suit the story better so I may try to submit it there. We’ll see. It needs some tweaking here and there. Also there is a story I am working on for Chicken Soup for the Soul book. Not sure if it will be accepted. Time will tell. In the mean time I am revising WIP #1. An agent asked for it exclusively for the next three months. So psyched about this that it almost seems too good to be true. I’m afraid that I’ll wake up and all of it will disappear.

Again, thank you to you all who have been praying for us. I so appreciate it. Love to you all! God Bless!

Tuesday, May 15, 2012


My Dad died on April 29, 2012, in the early morning. Mom found him in bed that Sunday morning and we think he had gone in his sleep. His eyes were closed and he had a strange smile on his face. Saturday the 28th was ideal. I had received what I considered good news the day before and we were all happy, going grocery shopping, talking about buying a new grill because the old one was shot. Nothing out of the ordinary happened and for Sunday Dad planned to make a big meal like he always did. Evidently something was really wrong with him; we suspect he had a heart attack and it took him quickly. The visitation was on May 2nd and the funeral was the 3rd. He was only 60 years old.

Our faith in Christ is carrying us through and consoles me because I know where Dad is. Knowing that I will see him again someday comforts me.

I wish I could write more openly on this blog about how I feel, but my words feel forced. To go in depth about it doesn’t seem right to me. I can only say this: life will never be the same again.

To anyone who has prayed for us, I sincerely thank you and ask for God to bless you. 

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Crazy in Indiana

Yeah, what else is new? Life is crazy as all get-out. For the last month or so I have juggled like five different writing projects. I love it! I am feeling more productive than ever. A couple of months ago, I had read an old copy of Family Circle and learned that they held an annual writing contest. So, I wrote a story for it and sent it off, with my eyes, fingers and toes crossed! Then, I read that Writer’s Digest also has an annual contest and wrote a story specifically for that. There is an entry fee of $25.00 and I heard on a writer’s forum that in 2009, that at least 8,000 people competed. It’s all very daunting. I go back and forth on what to do. I don’t want to see my money wasted, but if I place, it will all be worth it. Decisions, decisions… The deadline is May 15th. I’ll probably stew about this and on the 14th send it out. That’s how I usually operate. Then I visited one of my favorite websites, charitysplace.com and on the back page of her latest issue of Femnista, there were two openings left to write an article about a favorite literary heroine and the creator. I took a chance and asked if I could write one of the articles, and listed three heroines and their respective authors. Finally, I settled on Scout Finch and Harper Lee. And what do you know, for a first attempt at a biographical piece/essay, I nailed it. The article will appear in the June/July issue of Femnista. Super excited!!!! Happy, happy, joy, joy!!! And, as I speak (or should I say, write) an agent is looking over WIP #1. At first she rejected it out right, but after I asked her why, she suggested I revise it and then send it to her again. And I did. So, I am on pins and needles. I try not to slip into the abyss of false hope and keep my expectations low. Other than that, I don’t have much to report. Well, last Tuesday I attended a banquet for the Crisis Pregnancy Center. I had never been to a benefit before. Very awesome and I did really well there. In the past I had chronic anxiety attacks and new places/big buildings tended to make me nervous. I still do have anxiety attacks, but for some reason, I can control them better (or have a better reaction). The panic started to build as I entered the Hulman Center, but once I was seated, I calmed down. So that’s a huge praise. It’s nice to finally live life and not be confined by nonexistent boundaries. Anyway, that’s it for my monthly update. Until next time!

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Wax Figure of Anne Frank

Full Article Here

Recently a wax figure of Anne Frank was created. The link above leads to the full article and shows all the photos of it. Here are a few of the photos here. The resemblance between the figure and the real Anne Frank is astounding. It makes me want to cry.

-- A photograph of the real Anne Frank

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Life Update

I have slacked off from blogging. I’m lucky if I do one post a month. Life is just crazy, you know. There is the house to take care of (not doing such a great job at that though) and four animals, my aunt, and a few hobbies that I have. Then I am working with my two novels: the first WIP I am promoting to secure an agent for and I am doing my level best to complete the second WIP. The hunt for an agent continues. WIP #1 was originally written so that I may have a foot in the door of the publishing world. Along the way I fell in love with it and consider it my story-of-convenience (which is ironic, because the novel is about two individuals who enter into a courtship/marriage-of-convenience). I had thought it would be snatched up right away since the plot, themes and characters correspond well with everything else that is out there in the Christian market. To my surprise, most of the Christian agents have no interest in it. It is the secular agents that have been more compassionate and kind about it.

The second WIP is at the half-way point, I think. As for quality of writing, it has surpassed the first. It is a story I am passionate about. I want to finish it to see it published, but in a way I will hate to see it end because I love it so much. So, I am toying with the idea of sequels for it. It has to have a solid plot though, that way it will live up to its predecessor. Anyway, WIP #2 will be difficult to market. There are subtle Christian themes woven throughout the story, but the plot deals with spousal abuse, violence, marital rape and adultery. Not the typical Christian romance, right?

I’d like to do a blog post about the books I have read within the last year or two. If only I can get around to it. Recently I finished “Vanity Fair,” by William Makepeace Thackery. Super great! Rebecca Sharp makes a brilliant anti-heroine, even more so than Scarlet O’Hara. In my person opinion, Scarlet was too abrasive and annoying. I know that was part of her disposition and she couldn’t be any other way. But Rebecca Sharp is so manipulative and conniving, that she is almost likeable. She constantly slips into trouble, makes trouble and loves trouble, but somehow gets out by the skin of her teeth. Just when you think she has sank too low into the abyss; she rises up out of it. Right now I am reading “The Portrait of a Lady,” by Henry James. His style is different than what I am accustomed to, but it is enjoyable. His heroine Isabel Archer is endearing. I like good, strong heroines who know their own mind. They may have their flaws and stumble into all sorts of mischief, but it doubles the pleasure to watch them repent and learn their lesson.

I can’t believe “Downton Abbey: Season 2” is already over! I spent the last year sniffing around the internet, looking for spoilers. When the season debuted here in the US, I knew most of what was going to happen and it spoiled most of the surprise. This year I am going to do my best to avoid websites, articles and pictures that will give away the plot. Most of my favorites are still my favorites: Anna and Bates, Dowager Countess, Matthew, Thomas and O’Brien. Interesting enough, my appreciation of Mary and Edith raised and my respect for Sybil and Branson vanished. Last season Sybil was my favorite of the Crawley daughters and I thought her little romance/friendship with Branson was cute. But this season they irritated me. I had thought that when news of the Romanov massacre had come to light, that Branson might condemn what the Bolsheviks did. He merely shrugged it off as a worthy sacrifice for the cause, and Sybil said nothing. So, they are no longer my favorites. And Lord Grantham, what is wrong with you? What is with the mid-life crises dalliance with the maid? Well, at least you showed Mary mercy for her mistake. “Downton Abbey” is such a soap opera, but I love it! Can’t wait until next January! Why, oh, why can’t it air here in September as well?

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Saved by a Book

A few months ago, in October or November, I woke up to find pieces of plaster on my bedroom floor. From what I could see, my ceiling and wall were intact. My sister came in and looked around, everything was fine. We shrugged it off and when I had the chance, I vacuumed it up.

Fast forward to last Sunday afternoon. I was putting things that belonged to my grandparents away in my cedar chest when I find a hole in the wall, in between it and my little bookshelf! Now how did that get there? I wondered to myself. Had I done something and not realized it? Maybe slept walked and did some damage? Immediately the mystery of the plaster on my floor had been solved, but not how that hole ended up there. I went to tell my parents and the whole family came up to inspect it.

First Mom wondered if it a woodpecker had made it and I was thinking termites. Dad said that a woodpecker couldn’t have penetrated the siding and that termites don’t leave such a precise hole. He was convinced that something, like a shell had come straight through, but we couldn’t find any shells. From the way the hole was angled, we figured out that it went through the bookcase.

I moved my books and there was little hole in the back of my bookcase and a smashed up slug, the kind used for hunting deer! Then looking at my books, one of my favorites, “Winter is Past,” by Ruth Axtell Morren, is a little smashed up and discolored. Now I can literally say that her book left a lasting impact on me, in my ways in one. And it saved my life.

From what we come up with, by the way the hole is positioned; it was from a shotgun some two hundred feet away (just an estimate). And it happened while I was sleeping in my bed, directly across the room.

Naturally, I give thanks to God and credit Him as the One who truly protected me. It really brings things into perspective for me. Despite all of my doubts and confusion about life, He has a plan.

The hole in the wall will be eventually repaired, but I’m keeping my bookshelf as is. The book will be cherished always and that shell will be saved too.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Pity-Party Post

Disclaimer: As the title implies, this is a pity-party post, so you might want to skip this if you would rather not listen to whining, complaints and lamentations. But then what is a blog for if not that? Anyway, here it goes.

Last July I sent my current WIP to an agent and received what I thought was constructive criticism and encouragement. Agent told me that my work needed polishing/revisions but that it was lovely, it had potential and it could be unique and that after I did some more, to feel free and resubmit it to her. I was really appreciative and bursting with excitement. Therefore I spent the last six months laboring over my WIP and I have to say, it is much improved. It still may not be ready, but it is far better than it was. I decided to take Agent up on her word and resubmitted it. She replied that she did not remember me and did I possibly send it to one of her co-workers? She said that she would be willing to look over three chapters and a synopsis. My feelings were a little hurt, but I reminded myself that Agent probably receives thousands of queries a year and doesn’t recall all of them. I sent her the chapters and synopsis and her response was that there is now too much “telling” for her and that nothing really happens until page six and then it is a little later until there is more action. Ah, but there is good news, she continues. There are several publishers out there that do not require an agent and she mentions a few and offers her best wishes…blah, blah, blah.

As I have said, I can accept criticism and actually embrace it. If the first six pages of my chapter one are dull, I can improve it and rearrange it. What irks me is how she just brushed me off. I mean, what she said to me in July, was that just a generic reply that she sends to all aspiring authors that she is not interested in? If she really wasn’t interested, then she didn’t have to lead me on. I’m the kind of writer (and person) that when someone throws me crumbs, I pick up each and every crumb and gobble them down as fast as possible.

So now I feel like I’m back at square one. I’ll probably do a little more revising and then maybe by February I’ll have worked up the courage to send if off to some agents. We’ll see. I guess what depresses me most about this was that I thought that this was it. That maybe I really found someone else out there that likes my work too. I just feel like I can’t catch a break. I take two steps forward and get knocked five steps back.