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"Guard that which is important to you with all of your heart; yourself being first and foremost on that list."

publications.

Rather than post an entry every time my writing gets published, I'm just going to make a link list for reference. I will update it each time something new gets published. They are listed from most recent at the top to the oldest at the bottom. As always, please check them out, click the little "Helpful" box at the bottom, and leave comments on the articles. I earn credit for traffic to my pages and participation from my readers. Thanks in advance!

29. "Top Ten Post Break-Up Mistakes to Avoid" provides some guidelines for preserving your pride after a break-up.
http://www.associatedcontent.com/article/8357731/top_ten_post_breakup_mistakes_to_avoid.html

28. "20 Essentials for Hurricane Firsttimers: Hurricanes for Dummies" is a simplified hurricane preparedness guide for this hurricane season. It was published by Associated Content and Yahoo! News.
Associated Content: http://www.associatedcontent.com/article/8344213/20_essentials_for_hurricane_firsttimers.html
Yahoo! News: http://news.yahoo.com/20-essentials-hurricane-firsttimers-204000083.html

27. "Quake a Memorable Experience for Florida Transport" is a first person account of the East coast earthquake in August 2011. It was published by Associated Content and Yahoo! News.
Associated Content: http://www.associatedcontent.com/article/8335827/quake_a_memorial_experience_for_florida.html
Yahoo! News: http://news.yahoo.com/quake-memorable-experience-florida-transplant-002700854.html

26. "Irreversible" is a short story about life, death, and acceptance.
http://www.associatedcontent.com/article/8298625/irreversible.html

25. "She Allowed It" is a short story I actually wrote in my LJ many years ago about a similar situation I was in.
http://www.associatedcontent.com/article/8309457/she_allowed_it.html

24. "Social Bias: Sound Familiar?" delves into stereotypes, prejudice, and discrimination and the ways in which they impact people's lives.
http://www.associatedcontent.com/article/8283587/social_bias_sound_familiar.html

23. "20 Relationship Red Flags" discusses those early warning signs that may indicate (s)he isn't the (wo)man for you and how to avoid dating disasters.
http://www.associatedcontent.com/article/8272349/20_relationship_red_flags.html

22. "Just Who Do You Think You Are?" is a look at how we develop self-concept and how it influences our thoughts, feelings, and behavior.
http://www.associatedcontent.com/article/8167499/developing_selfconcept_just_who_do.html

21. "One Breath at a Time" is a tribute to all the women and men who are forced to love a soldier from a distance.
http://www.associatedcontent.com/article/8234990/one_breath_at_a_time.html

20. "A Girl Can Dream" is about the risks one takes for love.
http://www.associatedcontent.com/article/8223369/a_girl_can_dream.html

19. "Inside a Movie" was written long ago and far away, an attempt at prose.
http://www.associatedcontent.com/article/8167579/inside_a_movie.html

18. "Take Heart" is something of a personal memoir slash short story.
http://www.associatedcontent.com/article/8165279/take_heart.html

17. "Haute Mess" is one of my LJ Idol stories about how money and status don't mean everything.
http://www.associatedcontent.com/article/8165183/haute_mess.html

16. "Creating Your Ideal Relationship" discusses how to attract and maintain your ideal partnership!
http://www.associatedcontent.com/article/8071963/creating_your_ideal_relationship.html

15. "Why Women Date Jerks" speculates the reasons women tend to date jerks even though they claim to want a nice guy.
http://www.associatedcontent.com/article/7919869/why_women_date_jerks.html


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13. "Dating on a Budget" provides some ideas for fun dates without breaking the bank.
http://www.associatedcontent.com/article/7918977/dating_on_a_budget.html

12. "Bare Walls and Cardboard Boxes" is a short story about a woman coming into her own after a severely dysfunctional relationship.
http://www.associatedcontent.com/article/7722584/bare_walls_and_cardboard_boxes.html

11. "Heal Your Body" - Achieving better health without pills, needles, and doctors.
http://www.associatedcontent.com/article/7698414/heal_your_body.html

10. "Five Must Haves for Today's Single Woman" is an article that my girlfriends helped to write, the five "must haves" are also applicable to single men.
http://www.associatedcontent.com/article/6255850/five_must_haves_for_todays_single_woman.html

9. "Surviving Unemployment" is an article about my experience with unemployment.
http://www.associatedcontent.com/article/6253480/surviving_unemployment.html

8. "Diet and Exercise - 10 Ways to Stick to the Plan!" Tips for sticking to that new years resolution.
http://www.associatedcontent.com/article/8173865/diet_and_exercise_10_simple_ways_to.html

7. "The Ten Commitments of Marriage" Tips for a happy and successful marriage.
http://www.associatedcontent.com/article/6237786/the_ten_commitments_of_marriage.html

6. "Laissez Les Bons Temps Rouler! (Let The Good Times Roll)" is a short story about the magic of Mardi Gras in Louisiana.
http://www.associatedcontent.com/article/6249990/laissez_les_bons_temps_rouler.html

5. "Is Divorce Always Detrimental to Children: Opposing Viewpoints" is an article about how divorce affects the children involved.
http://www.associatedcontent.com/article/6229348/is_divorce_always_detrimental_to_children.html

4. "Marriage: What's Taking So Long?" is an article about why people are waiting longer to get married, or simply not getting married at all.
http://www.associatedcontent.com/article/6212416/marriage_whats_taking_so_long.html

3. "Matters of the Heart" is a story about  how my mother's death changed my life.
http://www.associatedcontent.com/article/6225432/matters_of_the_heart.html

2. "Job Seeking and Recruitment: Who's Interviewing Whom?" An article about job seeking and recruiting.
http://www.associatedcontent.com/article/6207044/job_seeking_and_recruitment_whos_interviewing.html

1. "Reciprocity" is a short story about warmth during the cold winter months. This was my first publication.
http://www.associatedcontent.com/article/6218038/reciprocity.html

momma jane.


May 4, 1947 - March 18, 2005.
Remembering and missing you today, and every day for the past 6 years.
I love you, Mom.

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article research.

This question is for the men - What is the one thing you would like to know about women? A question that maybe you've never been able to ask for whatever reason or something that has always confused you?

Your responses will be screened. This is article research.

LJ Idol: Week 11 - "Haute"

“No, no, no! This is ALL wrong!” Daysha snapped her fingers at the wedding planner, Ernesto. “Ernie, darling, I said ‘haute couture.’ Are you daft? What are these bargain bin table cloths doing here?” Ernesto began clapping his hands furiously at his staff, instructing them in some other language to destroy the offensive table cloths. Mackenzie rolled her eyes. Spanish, she thought. It sounds like Spanish. After a few more moments of gawking in disbelief as Ernesto’s entourage jumped through Daysha’s hoops, Mackenzie realized bridezilla was speaking to her.

“Hello?! Earth to Mackenzie!” Mackenzie wondered if Daysha was aware she was two seconds from snapping her neck. “What, Daysha?” “I swear, Mackenzie. You are quite possibly the worst maid of honor in history.” She glanced at her fingernails. “Matron of honor, D. Married women with children are matrons, we are no longer maids.” Daysha shrugged, “Whatever. Anyway, as I was saying, can you believe the nerve? They’re supposed to be professional stylists. What kind of professionals would try to use Martha Stewart tablecloths for an haute couture table dressing?” Mackenzie stared blankly. “The kind of professionals that are trying to save you a little bit of money because you’re already spending enough money to buy a damn pyramid. And D, I have no fucking idea what haute couture even means, but it’s really annoying when you say that.”

Mackenzie spun on her heels and started to walk away. Daysha caught up with her. “What is your problem, Mac?” Mackenzie turned to face her best friend. A wave of sadness washed over her for the stranger Daysha had become. “D, this whole thing is a big fucking joke. People are supposed to get married for love. A wedding is not a horse and pony show, D. It’s a celebration of the union of two people who are in love.” Daysha shifted her eyes, making sure no one could hear the two speaking. “Mac, welcome to reality. Being in love is overrated. I care deeply about Michael, but what I’m in love with is his hefty bank account and the status that being Mrs. Michael Bradford will bring me. The sky’s the limit, Mac. Besides,” she looked Mackenzie up and down, “you married for ‘love’ and look where it got you: you're a broke babysitter with not even enough free time to get a manicure.” Mackenzie’s blood boiled. She jammed an un-manicured pointer finger into her friend’s chest as she spoke, “There are a lot more important things in life than money, Daysha. Maybe I don’t wear the top designer clothes and yes, maybe I do forego an occasional manicure or waxing to make sure my children are fed. But at least I’m fucking happy, Daysha, which is a lot more than I can say for what you’re going to be.” With that, Mackenzie turned to exit banquet hall. “Haute couture, my ass,” she grumbled as she stormed out.

 

*****

 

Daysha had apologized profusely, though Mackenzie suspected it was more because she would be humiliated if her matron of honor was a no-show. Mackenzie swallowed her pride and agreed to partake in the circus. The ceremony went off without a hitch and the couple shared a passionless kiss to seal the deal. Mackenzie was sickened, but Daysha had been her best friend since they were in grade school. Though she made it clear she didn’t approve of Daysha’s choices, she had an obligation to be supportive. Daysha hadn’t judged her, even when her family disowned her for marrying a man who was almost 20 years her senior. She glanced over at Tyler, “What do you think about the décor?” Tyler looked around, “I don’t know. It just kind of looks like Barney exploded in here. I’ve never seen more purple in all my life.” Mackenzie giggled.

 

About that time, the chiming of a fork against a champagne flute quieted everyone’s voices. The best man, Michael’s brother, was about to make a presentation for the newlyweds. Max had put together a photographic slide show of the couple’s history as a tribute; he was apparently a genius with all things technological.

Everyone turned to face the big screen as he spoke, “On this very special day, I would like to raise a glass to my little brother and his beautiful bride.” Max raised his glass and everyone followed suit. “My wish for you is a lifetime filled with happiness and love. Cheers!” Yea right, Mackenzie thought. “Cheers!” the crowd repeated. A lifetime of bank statements and shopping sprees is more like it. “Mike, Daysha. I have put together a little slideshow in honor of your special day.”

The lights dimmed and the screen flashed. Mackenzie’s twins climbed into her lap for the show.
Tyler scooted close to place his arm around the back of her chair. Daysha looked like a princess who was finally being worshipped the way she had always wanted to be.

 

A picture finally filled the screen. Only, it wasn’t a picture of Michael and Daysha, it was a video of Max banging Daysha from behind in some seedy motel. Gasps filled the audience. Max turned bright red as he fumbled with the remote to turn the projector off. Mackenzie covered the twins’ eyes. “Okay, that would be our cue to make an exit.”

Mackenzie and her family, along with most everyone else in the room, rose and started to leave. Daysha dashed over to her before she could reach the door. “Mac! You’re just going to leave?! I’m mortified! You’re my best friend; you’re supposed to be here for me!” Mackenzie smiled. “Daysha, I love you dearly. Which is why I wore this ridiculous paper mache dress. But I told you, marriage should be about love. Had you married someone you loved, there wouldn’t have ever been a video to humiliate you. You’ve made your bed. Now, you’ve just gotta lie in it. Now, if you’ll excuse us. This broke babysitter needs to get these kids to bed. Good luck with that,” she said as she pointed over Daysha’s shoulder at her husband and his brother who were now rolling around on the ground, attempting to fight.

 

 

Daysha was left standing there, embarrassed and alone, watching her husband and the love of her life wrestle around on the ground. “Ok,” she thought. “Maybe Mackenzie did have a point.” 

 



*Entry written for [info]therealljidol.
You can vote for this entry here: http://www.livejournal.com/poll/?id=1674346

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My grandmother had been depressed for exactly two years – the entire two years that had passed since her daughter (and my mother) had been found dead in her apartment. I remember the look of shock on her face when I had to break the news to her; it was as if I had told her that aliens had begun taking over the planet. She said it was unnatural – a child dying before a parent – it wasn't the way things were supposed to be. She was right, it was unnatural. Sometimes tragedy strikes unexpectedly and it seems impossible to make any sense of it through the fog of grief. She was never the same after that conversation.

 

She stopped making her daily trips to the store and weekly appointments to have her hair curled. She stopped painting her nails and chatting with her friends on the phone. She was a ghost of the woman she once was; her body was physically present but her soul was broken. The holidays, which had always been happy occasions for the three of us, took on a melancholy tone once only the pair of us remained. I tried hard to make up for the loss of my mother – learning to prepare Thanksgiving dinner and making sure I chose the perfect Christmas tree and decorated it to her liking. My attempts were futile, though. I could never fill my mother’s shoes.

 

When I realized she hadn’t been to the doctor since my mother’s death, it occurred to me that I needed to pay much closer attention to ensure she was taken care of properly. I immediately made an appointment for her to get a check-up and informed her that I would be driving her there myself to make sure she didn’t miss it. The morning I arrived at her apartment to pick her up for her doctor appointment, I found her in her underwear on the floor. I had no idea how long she had been lying there helplessly. From that day forward, she was in and out of hospitals – intensive care units, and even a hospice facility – until the doctors finally let me take her home to live out her final days in familiar comfort. But she was the only family I had left in Miami and I wasn’t ready to let her go.

 

"Is there nothing that can be done, Dr. Evans?" I asked, for purely selfish reasons. He dropped his head ever so slightly, placed a hand on my shoulder, and replied, "I'm sorry, sweetheart. Her systems have already begun to fail. The process is irreversible. I'm afraid there's nothing more that can be done other than making her comfortable." I nodded, thanked the doctor, and wandered further down the hall where there was less foot traffic. I found a seat on an abandoned stretcher that had been shoved up against a wall haphazardly. I lay on my side, curled up in the fetal position, and cried until I ran out of tears.

She lived over an hour’s drive away from my apartment – a trip I made frequently – and refused to move in with me or allow me to move her closer. I didn’t push the issue, because her independence was the one thing she had left. Being an independent woman myself, I understood because I wouldn’t want mine taken from me. So I made the drive as often as humanly possible. I hired full-time nurses to make sure she had help for any amount of time I wasn’t able to be there myself. It was probably the most exhausting four months of both of our lives.

 

She told everyone at the hospitals that she was ready to die. It always caught them off guard; you could see the slightly horrified expression on their faces before they realized I was watching. “Not many people face death so gracefully,” said one of the nurses. Tiffany, I believe that was her name. I turned in my chair at my grandmother’s bedside to face Tiffany. “Gracefully? She is not facing death gracefully. She’s calling for it, and I wish she’d stop.” Tiffany looked embarrassed and hurried out of the room. But, really, I should have been the one who was embarrassed for placing my own feelings in front of my grandmother’s wishes.

 

Finally, she asked that I sign a paper providing my agreement to abide by a DNR order. “If I go, I don’t want you to encourage them to try to save me. I don’t want to be kept alive by machines. I have lived my life, Melissa. I have extracted every ounce of joy that I possibly could out of every single day. My joy is gone now. Please, let me go with her.” My eyes welling up with tears, I reluctantly agreed to respect her wishes.

 

Despite my selfish worries about what I would do once she was gone or how I would cope with being left alone, I respected her wishes from that day forward. I simply made sure that she knew, without a doubt, how much I loved her and would miss her when she was gone. I sat by her bed endless nights, watching her with bated breath, and hoping for just one more day with her.

 

You know when the end is close because their coloring changes. Their breathing changes, too. Sometimes they rally – or exhibit a small burst of energy – before they finally take their last breath. She had turned a pale gray color and her breathing had become very shallow. I stroked her hair away from her forehead and kissed her gently. I leaned forward and whispered in her ear, “I hope you are able to find your joy in abundance for lifetimes to come; that’s the only way I can accept your decision to let go of this one. I love you and I’ll miss you everyday.” And then she was gone.

I just hope she found her joy.



*Entry written for [info]therealljidol.

Second Chance Idol: Week 1 - "Take Heart"

Suddenly, I am taken back to that cold bathroom floor...

"I sat on the cold bathroom floor with my knees to my chest; arms wrapped around my legs tightly, grasping to find some sense or reason in all of it. 'How did it get to this point?' I thought to myself, as I wiped the smudged make-up off my face with the back of my hand. I had cried so much my head pounded in pain, screaming at me to stop; my body couldn't take it anymore. I knew that if I attempted to stand up, I would only come crashing back down to the floor, so I sat there - pretending I would be able to rise if I wanted to. The passion that initially attracted us like magnets was the same passion that was ripping us apart, piece by piece. 

I wondered where he was, and whether or not he even cared that we were slowly destroying each other. I wondered what he would say in the morning, when the light in the sky would offer us a brighter and better day. I wondered if daylight would ever come. I wondered if I would even recognize the sun.

I wanted to pick myself up off the cold tile and dust myself off, as I had always done in the past, but wondered if I even remembered how. 'How did it get to this point?' I had allowed it, that's how.

Not anymore.
I grabbed onto the sink and pulled myself up. I forced myself to look in the mirror.
There I was.

I allowed it. Not anymore."

...

They say the first heartbreak is the hardest; "first cut is the deepest," or some such nonsense. I'm here to tell you that's not the case. They conveniently forget to mention how much worse it is when you're older, you've experienced it, you know better...and you've sworn to never let it happen again. Because then, on top of the pain, is the added humiliation that your dumb ass dove head first off the top of the Grand freakin' Canyon without a safety net...knowing damn well what your fate would be.

I've always been the logical sort. Facts can be proven. There are certain rules for what makes sense and what doesn't. Two and two makes four. I respond well to a strong sense of reasoning. Reason lends itself more readily to sound judgments than does emotion. I was taught that a person, especially a woman, can only depend on herself. Reason says that the best way to maintain this sense of independence is to stay the hell out of love's vice grip because, if there's one way to ruin a perfectly responsible and intelligent woman, it's to present her with the possibility of love. Of course, when I say "woman," I am only speaking of myself. I can't make blanket judgments about anyone else, male or female. In any case, contrary to my affinity for "head over heart," I have been cursed with the most extreme of emotions. As you can imagine, this is highly inconvenient given that emotions make no damn sense at all.

When I fall, I fall hard - it's a "to-your-death" kind of plummet. When I love, it's that "deep breath" kind of love. You know the kind - you feel like you have to take a deep breath because it's just too much for your heart to hold - it overwhelms the senses. And that kind of love is all well and good...until it ends. When it ends, well...that's just dangerous. I will spare you the details, because it gets a lot more ugly than just endless hours of crying. Also, it should be noted that it's not that "tears rolling down my cheeks" sort of crying. It's that "sobbing uncontrollably, forgetting to breathe which turns into painful hiccups, face leaking like a faucet, will turn even the most beautiful woman into a hideous snot monster" type of crying. Why is it that women look so ugly when they cry, anyway?

I've vowed never to do it again. I've erected walls of defense that have been likened to the Great Wall of China. But somehow, here I am - on the other side of the country. Just packed up everything and moved - for love. Sure, I can rationalize it away or try to make some reasonable justification that appeals to the independent woman screaming and cussing inside me. But that's the truth, plain and simple. I followed my heart and this is where I ended up....

"Babe?" He waves a hand in front of my face. "You still with us?"

I shake my head and take in my surroundings. The DMV. What the hell just happened?

"Oh, yea...sorry. Must've zoned out..." How embarrassing.

Finally, the woman behind the counter speaks, "Ma'am? Have you decided?"

What the hell is she talking about?! "I'm sorry, what was the question?"

She sighs impatiently. "Would you like to be a heart donor, or not?"

I chuckle. "Absolutely."

He glances at me sideways. He wants my heart.

I don't even flinch. "Take it. And give it to someone who knows what to do with it."


*Entry written for [info]therealljidol

Second Chance Idol: Introduction

They say you never get a second chance to make a first impression. Apparently, that's not true...but I always like to make the effort anyway.

I've been sitting here reading everyone's introductions and noting all the clever ways they ensure they stand out among the masses. It makes me wonder if there even is anything special about me that would make my incessant babbling worth reading. The truth is, writing is all I have. Come to think of it, it may be all I've ever had. It's what I share my elation with when I'm climbing rainbows to cloud nine and the security blanket I cling to when I'm plummeting off the side of the world's highest mountain. It's my outlet, and that's all it's ever really been for me.

The truth is: I'm just a girl.
A thoroughly screwed up one, in fact. I'm not a model, I don't possess any superpowers (Side note: If I had to pick one, it would probably be x-ray vision...because I'm a total perv), and I haven't done anything monumentally heroic or record-breaking. I'm a 30-year-old woman (which, by the way, is my scary age) who, up until recently, was well on her way to becoming the infamous old spinster living in a house overflowing with cats and rocking those oh-so-flattering ratty housecoats with big purple flowers. But...that's a long story and probably better suited for another time.

My corner of the world has recently become rather minuscule - or ginormous - depending on one's perspective. Over the course of the past two years I've moved from one end of the country to, quite literally, the other end (Miami, FL to Rochester, WA). From Big City, Bright Lights to Small Town, USA and in the process I have watched my reality crumble and been forced to rebuild from the ground up on more than one occasion. I'm really rather depressed about it, frankly - but I'm always chasing those damn rainbows. 

Hopefully, this time, I'll catch one. 

xo.
Mellie

*Entry written in hopes that [info]therealljidol will let me in.  

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