Category Archives: Blogging

Happy Anniversary, FRIENDS

For those of you not in the know, we just celebrated the tenth anniversary of the final episode of the best show ever, Friends.

Friends cast

Click for Source

Crap. Now I want a milkshake.

Anywho, I am a HUGE fan of this show. So much so that I still use quotes from the dialogue on a regular basis. (Could I BE any cooler?)  So when my newsfeed started lighting up with Friends articles right around the anniversary date, I clicked on and read them ALL. My favorite? A blog by a writer named Tsh, called “The One Where I Love Friends.” It’s hilarious. And I loved it so much I went in search of Friends gifs that I could relate to my own life. Here’s what I came up with.

Me when I get question right on Final Jeopardy:

a woo-hoo!

Me when I’m on a diet:

MINE!

Me when the cats start yowling for food at 5 o’clock in the morning:

shut uuuuup

Me when Brian does the laundry without being asked:

how you doin?

Me when that thing happened on The Game of Thrones and I totally wasn’t expecting it:

huh? What?Me when I’m reading people’s Facebook status updates:

GRAMMAR please.

Me with every single baby I encounter:

a boo boo boo

Me with my iPhone when Brian catches me Twitter stalking Zachary Levi:

not guilty

Me in line at the grocery store when a cool jam starts playing:

groovin

Me at my Werq class:

boogaloo

Me with a particularly irritating customer:

grr

Me when I read that Donnie Wahlberg is engaged to She-Who-Shall-Not-Be-Named:

Whyyyyyyyyyyy?

Me reading Dune:

bo-ring

Me when I’m right and you’re wrong:

dancin'

Me constantly doing jazz hands for no apparent reason:

jazz hands

And finally….me every single time I watch the Friends series finale:

sob

Ok, that was so much fun. Thank you, internet, for having so many wonderful gifs to choose from. Now…I’m gonna go watch Friends all day.

A Conversation With My Blog

Hello, old friend. How I’ve missed you! I’ve thought of you often these last two weeks, and wondered when we’d see each other again. It’s been far too long, Blog. Far too long.

I hope you’ll forgive me for being so lax about maintaining our relationship lately. I’ve had a full plate, and while that isn’t a terrific excuse for neglecting a friend, it is the only one I can offer up to you today.

Yes, yes … we are fine. Thank you for asking. We’ve just been so focused on the adoption process and all that comes with it. Most of my free time recently has been consumed with creating pages for our adoption portfolio. What’s that? Well, Blog, an adoption portfolio is something we send to the agency that they will, in turn, share with potential biological families looking for a match. In essence, our adoption portfolio is like a giant, colorful pamphlet, filled with all the stuff a bio mom would want to know about us.

Of course! I’d be happy to share a few of those pages with you!

Brian's About Me Adoption Portfolio Page

This is Brian’s “About Me” page.

Abby's About Me Adoption Portfolio Page

This is my “About Me” page.

Abby's Hobbies Adoption Portfolio Page

And look, Blog…you’re right here, included in the pages of the most important scrapbook I’ve ever created! Of COURSE I included you … you’re my favorite hobby!

So you can probably see why I’ve been so preoccupied lately. It took a lot of time to filter through our thousands upon thousands of photos to select just the right ones for our book.

You don’t have to tell me that twice, Blog. I know that organizing my photos in a more user-friendly fashion would have helped me accomplish this project in a couple of days, versus a couple of weeks. But old habits die hard, friend. Plus, I’d rather spend my free time with YOU now that it’s all finished, rather than reorganizing my computer files.

Aww. Thanks, Blog. I love you, too.

I know it’s been a brief catch-up for us today, but don’t fret! I have lots of fun planned for us in the upcoming days and weeks. And don’t worry–even when I might disappear for awhile, I’ll always come back to you. Real friends are like that, you know.

(Click for source)

(Click for source)

See you soon, Blog!

All my love,
Abby

Areas of Improvement

It’s the first of the year. Practically every human being I know is busy making promises to themselves about things they hope to improve upon this year. You might call it ‘making resolutions’ or ‘setting goals.’ Or maybe you just think of it as ‘making a list of all the things I want to do better this year, especially eating more chocolate cake.’  But either way, I’m banking on the fact that you’ve got a list of your own, whether it’s tucked into your brain, typed out on your smart phone, or taped to your bathroom mirror.

I hope success for each and every one of you, whether your resolution is to lose weight, or to watch every single item available to stream on Netflix in the next 356 days. (That’s a lofty goal, my friend. Let me know how it goes.)

I don’t really have goals that I’ve set in stone. Sure, it would be amazing to finally publish my novel, or start a new career, or lose 100 pounds. But instead of focusing on specifics, I’m instead focusing on areas of my life that I want to spit shine till they glow. In case you’re interested, here’s a compilations of those areas seeking improvement.

Blog 1

This probably isn’t a huge shocker for you guys. I’m intent on spending as much time writing in 2014 as ever before. Naturally, this includes AbbyGabs, but I’m also looking to finish the novel I’m currently working on and, hopefully, starting another.

In this same vein, I’m also looking to further my writing career this year. I’ve already signed up for my very first ever writer’s conference, PubSmart, which will take place here in Charleston in April. I’m excited, and exhilarated, and scared out of my gourd that everyone around me is going to be able to sniff out the noob in the room. (That would be me.) So I’m stocking up on extra-strength deodorant, holding my head high, and hoping that I’ll get something worthwhile out of this conference. Most likely scenario–I learn some stuff I didn’t already know. Best case scenario–I meet an agent who’s so excited to meet me and hear about my stuff that she’ll backflip herself right into a publishing contract with little ol’ me. Here’s hoping, right?

Blog 2

I don’t necessarily mean making more of the green stuff (although don’t get me wrong. That would rock.) I’m thinking more along the lines of budgeting. Saving. Building a nest egg. Finally buying a second car. That sort of thing.

Because between you and me, the first year of having Brian on a nurse’s salary, as opposed to a bartender’s salary, was a fun one. I mean, we were spending like we had money to burn. (Dolla bills, y’all.) So I’m hoping to curb that enthusiasm this year, and really start to build a good foundation for our financial future.

Blog 3

Big shock. Abby’s getting back on the weight loss train. Again.

Here’s the thing: I have never conquered my battle with weight. Not once. But, I’ll keep trying until I find the formula for success.

So I’m trying a different approach this year. I’m easing into it. Counting calories (because that’s crucial for me to be successful.) Drinking water. Making healthIER choices. Moving more and eating less. I’m taking Brian along with me for the ride, and we’re determined to whittle a few inches from our growing waistlines. It’s not going to be easy. It’s rarely going to be pretty. But we’re going to feel better, and sleep better, and have more energy to do the fun things we love. And that’s all the payoff I really need, in the end.

Blog 4

I can already hear a few of my closest friends rearing up to argue with me over this one. Here’s the thing: I’m a perfectly nice person. I smile at people in the grocery store checkout line. I make small talk with the postal worker when I’m buying my stamps. I’ll give you the shirt off my back if you need one, even if I’m wearing my ugly grandma bra. But there are 3 situations that turn me into a not-so-nice person.

I have road rage. There’s no doubt about it. Driving often frustrates me, and anyone who’s ridden in the car with me will attest to that. This year I want to find my zen behind the wheel and stop cursing so much at truckers who cut me off without even a second glance. (Peabrain.)

I have work rage. I’m less-than-friendly with certain customers because they’ve been so hateful and rude to me in the past. I get annoyed with other customers because they’re slow, or easily confused, or generally nosy. And quite frankly, my phone etiquette sucks. There are a lot of reasons for this that I won’t go into here on this public forum, but I’m going to work on being nicer to the people I encounter at work.

I have poor self-esteem. I mentally beat myself up all the time: over everything from how much I eat to what I say to people, and especially about my body. I think the words “Fat” and “Ugly” on a daily basis–about myself. I’m a nice person…most of the time. It’s time for me to start being nicer to me.

Blog 5

This is a fun one. I firmly believe that, in order to be a good writer, you also have to be an avid reader. And I do read a lot already, truthfully. But this year, I’m setting a goal for myself to finish 50 books in 2014. It’s not such a huge stretch–I’m sure I’ve read that much before. I’ve just never counted. So I’m going to make a list of the books I read, ones I plan to read, and challenge my friends to compete with me. I ♥ books.

And finally…

Blog 6

It’s no secret to our friends and family (and most of the readers here) that 2013 was a difficult year for Brian and me as we uncovered the truth behind our problems with infertility. It was a difficult path that we had to take together…and one that we’ll continue to navigate as we move forward with our plans to look into adoption this year.

I may not have a child in my arms by the time the Christmas tree goes up, but I’m hoping we will have made serious progress toward opening our home, and our hearts, to a child looking for us as much as we’ve been looking for them. We have so much love to give, and while we’re nervous about the coming challenges, we’re (finally) ready to tackle them head on.

*     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *    *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *    *     * 

It may seem that I’ve set myself up for failure this year, with these lofty goals. And so many of them! But I firmly believe that we can accomplish improvement in every area of our lives that we want to, if we stay focused and driven. These are the things I want most for my life right now. And so if I want them, I have to work for them. Right?

“Far away there in the sunshine are my highest aspirations. I may not reach them, but I can look up and see their beauty, believe in them, and try to follow where they lead.”  –Louisa May Alcott

Year End Round Up (Yeehaw!)

Oh, how I miss you, readers. These last few months have kept me so busy that writing a daily blog has been…well, impossible. It’s something I hope to change in the new year.  So today I wanted to wrap up a few loose ends that have been flapping in the winter breeze since November. Here’s what you missed.

Nanowrimo 2013…
Remember how I told you I was launching into a new novel way back in November? And remember how, after that post, I never really updated you on how the whole thing was going?

Well, good news, friends and neighbors. I managed to complete the 50,000 word challenge an entire week before the deadline (thanks to copious amounts of coffee, an annoyance with social media that helped keep me focused instead of scrolling through my Facebook timeline, and a story line that just wouldn’t quit.)

nanowrimo1

I’ve already started editing the chapters I wrote in November and will continue the novel in the new year, so I can add it to my portfolio of “things I want to get published but haven’t yet because I can’t find an agent who will love me and squeeze me and call me George.” I do plan to spend much more time writing and seeking publication in 2014. (Don’t worry, you’ll read all about in my obligatory “Resolutions” post come January 1.)

Anywho, this novel is about a young woman named Robin, who is, by all social standards, a big ol’ nerd. She gets it honest–her father was such a major comic book fan that he named her after his favorite superhero’s side kick. Robin’s childhood was spent learning all about ‘nerdom’–finding an appreciation for comic books, reciting all the many characters from Marvel’s Avengers, and planning a trip with her Dad to San Diego’s famous Comic Con when she graduated from high school. But their dreams were dashed when her father stumbled into a robbery gone wrong, winding up forever paralyzed from a stray bullet. With his health declining, Robin–a news camera operator by day and a budding documentary filmmaker by night–decides to take matters into her own hands. She solicits the help of her best friend, Laney, and together, they head to San Diego to bring Comic Con to Dad, on film.

It’s a story about relationships: father and daughter, lifelong friends, a fan and her obsession, and maybe even a shiny new romance. It’s still a work in progress, and I can’t for the life of me figure out what the title should be. But it’s coming along nicely, and I’m pretty proud of that fact.

Pack My Pontiac Food Drive…
Remember how I told you I was pairing up with my friend, Lynda, to raise money for Crisis Ministries, our local homeless shelter? And that we were going to try and fill the back of my Vibe to the brim with nonperishable foods and supplies for their soup kitchen? And remember how, after that post, I never really updated you on how the whole thing was going?

Well, AMAZING news, friends and neighbors—not only did we exceed our $500 goal, we exceeded it by a LOT!

blog 3

Thanks to our friends and family, who were totally enthusiastic about our silent auction, we managed to raise a whopping $800, which went directly to Crisis Ministries. In addition, Lynda and I managed to stuff my little car with cleaning products, paper towels, dried pasta and beans, tons of canned good items, bottled water, diapers, and countless other items that will benefit those in Charleston who need it most.

Such a proud moment.

Such a proud moment.

WE DID IT!

WE DID IT!

We never would have been so successful if not for the generosity of others, so if you placed a bid, shared our page, made a donation, or even just cheered us on from the sidelines—thank you! We are already planning and scheming for next year’s drive. Who knows…maybe we’ll double what we made this year!!

What’s Coming for AbbyGabs in 2014?…
In truth, I have no idea. I can tell you that I plan to keep writing–both here and creatively–as long as my brain keeps working and the ideas keep coming. And I can promise that, whatever happens, it’ll be fun. So–thanks for continuing to support me and reading my blogs, few and far between as they’ve been in the past two months. Here’s hoping 2014 brings health, happiness, and prosperity to us all! (Read: an agent will sign me and publish my books, and we’ll all go to Maui together to celebrate over daiquiris.)

Happy New Year!

I Know, I Know. I’ve Been Gone For Two Whole Weeks…

…And I know your minds are all in a whirlwind trying to figure out where in the world I’ve been. So I’m here to dispel any rumors that have started on the internets regarding my whereabouts.

I did not, in fact, pack up my bags and my husband and take a whirlwind tour of New York’s version of ComicCon.

I did not go to space camp, or take a month-long sabbatical to Italy to learn how to make the perfect bolognese sauce, or visit the Doctor Who museum in Cardiff.

Nay. For the past two weeks, I spent my time with my toes in the sand of a very private, very beautiful island with my new pretend celebrity boyfriend, Nathan Fillion.

Nathan 1

That would be a great excuse to explain my fourteen-day absence, right??

No?

Ok, fine. I did NOT spend the last fortnight letting Captain Mal rub sunscreen on my knees. I did, however, spend it redecorating my house.

1

Not nearly as stimulating as a moonlit stroll on the beach with Captain Hammer, but I still rather enjoyed the process. (At least the part that didn’t involve me driving around the greater Charleston area looking for the perfect rug for the space…which wound up being the very first one I saw at Target.)

We also converted our craft/catchall/home gym room into a guest room…which started with a 2-day process of refinishing a thrift store headboard…

5

…and ended with a sunshine-yellow comforter…

3

…and the perfect accessories…

2

Making the decision to redecorate was an easy one–particularly when the last remaining furniture any guest could sleep on finally fell apart. We love entertaining, and we love having visitors, but people are less likely to stay the night if they have to sleep in the bathtub. So…we put our heads together and came up with a layout that we love, that is functional, but that is also beautiful. And I’m a happy…if tired…girl.

We celebrated by inviting some of our favorite people to spend the night…

8

…and while Tina and Charlene both approve of the improvements, there’s really only one opinion that matters most. That of our resident felines.

9

16

I think we did ok.

Best Friends “Furever”

When I’m blue, there are three things that cheer me up almost instantly. One–chocolate. Two–wine. And three–my cat, Scooter. Here’s why.

(If you can’t see the video, copy and paste the following code into your browser: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_qZOE-nBrc4&feature=share&list=UUEczew4VOwLtc9F–J-rUUA)

The Little Journal That Could

Things have been pretty tough lately. I know you’re familiar with the phrase “When it rains, it pours.” Well, in the last couple of months, the pouring rain turned into a monsoon, which flooded our lives with worry and sorrow, so much so that we attempted to build the Ark, but it sprung a leak and we wound up stranded on the Island of Despair with nothing but a pack of chewing gum and a plastic spoon, which we tried to use to create a happiness device but failed when the spoon broke.

Yeah.

When things start going wrong, I have an uncanny ability of only being able to focus on the “Woe as Me’s.” I’m constantly looking over my shoulder, waiting for the other shoe to drop. To be fair, since July, an entire Payless Shoe Store has been dumped unceremoniously, one shoe at a time, on my head. I know I shouldn’t focus so much on the bad when there’s so much good to be grateful for. But lately, finding the silver lining has been nearly impossible.

I managed to climb out of my self-made cocoon this weekend, and in an attempt to cheer myself up, did a little Sunday shopping. While perusing the aisles of Target yesterday, I stumbled upon this lovely little gem:

journal 1

I have a love affair with journals, and it was the colors of this one that first caught my eye. Cheerful, but subdued. Sweet but simple.

And then I read the quote on the front.

It felt like this little book was speaking directly to me from the confines of its shelf. I picked it up and ran my finger over the spine. And I knew I’d bring it home and turn it into a gratitude journal.

Last night, with my husband reading next to me, and a fat cat snoring nearby, I opened the journal and wrote out my mission statement.

“I will fill the pages of this little book with gratitude, appreciation, love, and positivity. And I will use the words I share here to soothe my soul and guide me back to the happy life I want to lead.”

 

I know there will be days ahead where I’ll have to really dig to find that nugget of appreciation to write about. There will be days when I feel like there’s nothing to be grateful for. But I will strive to find it. I will write about it. And I will change my attitude about the life I’m living, if only out of my own sheer force toward the positives.

journal 3

And it all started with the little journal that could.

It’s Not My Fault…

…that I haven’t written a blog since the uber-depressing one that I wrote a few days ago from the corner of Despair Drive and Sad Face Alley. (You think that’d be a perfect intersection for a cupcake shop, but I couldn’t find one.)

Seriously. You can’t be mad at me. Here are three legitimate reasons why blogging simply cannot be accomplished today.

 

 

If you can’t see the video, copy and paste the following URL into your browser: http://youtu.be/RIl1bN_ptYk

Here’s The Truth:

I haven’t been blogging much lately.

depression 1

The truth is, I haven’t been doing much of anything lately. I get up, I put on my cookie pants, and I flop down in front of the television. I don’t so much as glimpse at my computer–in fact, I go to lengths to avoid it, because sitting down at my desk, even to answer emails, makes me feel guilty that I’m not blogging or writing or sending out query letters.

My Creativity has packed her bags and left. She didn’t even leave a Dear John letter. That bitch.

It’s not just my writing that I’m avoiding. I spend my days coming up with excuses to cancel engagements with my friends and family. It’s not that I don’t want to see them, it’s that I don’t want them to see me. Because I know that those people who love me will see only one thing, despite my fake smile and fancy hair and copious amounts of concealer I use to cover up the dark circles under my eyes.

They’ll see the truth.

depression 3

You’re thinking, “But you’ve had so much AWESOME this summer! How can you be sad?”

It’s easy to toss off the reality cloak when you’re on vacation or going to concerts, but those are the spaces between the pain that glow like stolen embers. I wrap my fingers around them and hold on tight. I close my eyes and recall those fleeting seconds of happiness, letting them warm me through, if only for awhile.

Because it’s been a tough year for me, for my family, for my husband.

While these awful things keep happening to people I love, I can’t help but sink back into my own cocoon. I wrap an afghan over my head and peer at the sunshine through the dappled yarn. I feel like it takes every bit of my strength to smile. Tears hover, unshed, just beneath the surface. I know, without a shadow of a doubt, that there is potential for tomorrow to be better.

This is what it feels like to mourn.

It is a journey I have to take. And while I’m not the only one on this journey, there are parts of the path I have to navigate alone. Some days, as I turn the corner, I can see patches of funny and happy in the distance. Some days I find myself in a mire so thick and viscous that I don’t think I’ll ever fight my way out.

I’m staring at the blue Publish button and wondering to myself if I should just save this one for the archives. It is my truth, but is it too….truthy? I don’t want my mom to worry about me, or my friends to start arriving en masse with casseroles. It’s not as dire as all that. The button beckons me, and I know I’ll click on it, if only to explain my absence from this place that comforts me and offers me shelter. I want to find my way back to the silly that propels this place forward. And I will. I just haven’t reached that part of the journey yet.

PINK Warriors

I don’t know if you guys have noticed or not, but I’ve been having a hard time readjusting to “Reality After Vacation.” You know that feeling, right? You just took an awesome vacation filled with the kind of memories you want to relive over and over again. And at some point, you wake up and realize you’ve been telling the same stories about those memories over and over again for the better part of a month and you’re like “Holy crapballs! Is it really halfway through August already?!?”

Yeah. I miss San Diego.

But, if anything is going to pull me back into my own warped version of reality, it’s inevitably going to involve Donnie Wahlberg. (I know, you’re shocked.)

Last year, I introduced you to the lovely Selena–fellow Blockhead and fundraiser for the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Awareness Foundation. If you need a refresher course, here’s a little picture of our heroine with the always droolworthy ‘Berg himself:

Selena

Click on the image, and you’ll be whisked away to Selena’s personal page on the Komen website!

Selena and I have two things in common: our adoration for all things Donnie, as well as a passion for finding a cure for the disease that has so affected our lives. My readers know that my mom, aunt, and grandmother are all breast cancer survivors, and that I even got a pink ribbon tattoo in their honor. Selena, however, lost her sister last year to cancer, and so she fights the good fight in her memory.

Her ferocity to create awareness, and the desire to find a cure, is to be commended and applauded. And I’d like to do anything I can to help.

So, every year, Selena launches a charity raffle. All you have to do is click over to her page, donate at least $5, make sure to include the phrase “LoveEternal” after your name in the recognition field, and you are automatically entered to win some amazing prizes!! This year, Selena has paired with ThoseWahlbergMen.com, and let me tell ya, Donnie girls, the swag is pretty sweet!!

Selena 2

With a $5 donation, you could win one Love Eternal Pink Ribbon shirt, one NKOTB “Five Brothers and a Million Sisters” hardcover book (great read, by the way),  and one $25 T-shirt gift card for ThoseWahlbergMen.com.

I don’t know about you guys, but I’ll be entering the raffle post haste!

You have until August 20 to get your donation in for the contest, so make sure you click over and make a difference today! And it doesn’t matter if you live stateside or not–the contest includes free shipping to anywhere in the world!!

Last year, we helped Selena become the top grossing raffle on the site–she got an award, y’all!! Let’s make that happen again in 2013.

Good luck, Selena!! The AbbyGabs family is pulling for you to reach that $500 goal!!