Monday, June 29, 2015

Heckling at Church

Yesterday morning, I debated whether or not to go to my own church or to attend with my parents at the Greek Orthodox Church.  In the end, I decided to go with my parents.  It's a good thing I did.  At my church that same morning, 6 people were arrested for heckling the pastor and church members.  With recent events in Charleston and my history of panic attacks, I am glad I wasn't there.  I have been in church before when there was harassment from protesters who disagree with our teachings.  Pastor Joel Osteen handles it with grace, but it leaves me very uncomfortable.  If you disagree with a church's teachings, please just do not go there.

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Kids and church

I took my daughter with me this morning while I accompanied my parents to the Greek Orthodox Church. Annalise told me, "mama, I'm really sorry but I just don't like this church that much. Its just really boring, and- maybe it's because kids just don't understand it." She's right!  Orthodox church is not child friendly at all. At our church it is very child friendly with activities for the kids and everything. This morning at mom and dad's church, an old lady glared at Annalise for figetting too much.

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Service Dog

I found out recently that there are service dogs who are specifically trained to work with people who have panic attacks.  I have been having panic attacks regularly for almost two years now.  My doctor has put me on Buspar and Klonopin, and neither has helped.  I was able to take ativan briefly, but my doctor refused to give me any more, because of the potential for addiction.  Because I went through ativan so quickly, he really won't prescribe anything for me anymore.  But, I still have panic attacks.  
After much thought, I have decided that a service dog for panic attacks would be ideal.  I have decided to apply for one.  It's a little of a stretch, though, to get my heart set on this.  
1. I already have two cats, and my landlord only allows two pets.  There's no way I'd ever give up Alex, but I would give up Tiger.  The problem with that is that Tiger is Annalise's cat.  Annalise is the only person Tiger likes.  Those two have a special bond.  I asked Annalise's father to take Tiger, and he said no.  I've asked the landlord for allowance for a third pet as long as it's a service animal, and she said she'd get back to me on that.  There's hope!
2.  I have a new doctor now.  It was just too hard to get an appointment with the old one.  Literally, I would call and the secretary would say, "Sorry, there are no appointments available."  That's it!  Why would I even want to pay to see someone if they won't give me anything anyway?  My mom found this doctor who is both a shrink and a neurologist.  He has good reviews.  I have my first appointment with him on 7/14.  But I feel like I have to establish a relationship with him first before I ask him to approve a service dog.  

Getting a dog like this is a long shot, but I think it'd be good for me.  The more I research service dogs, the more amazing I think they are.  They have them for so many conditions now!

Friday, June 26, 2015

Success Principle: Reinvention

This is a great video I found on YouTube.  In the past, I've only known Steve Harvey as the host of The Family Feud, but he is also a great motivational speaker.  I'm familiar with the concept of reinventing yourself.  When I was going through a divorce, my cousin the shrink told me, "You've been reinventing yourself for as long as I can remember."  I seem to have been reinventing myself quite a bit since finishing college.  Life after college was not what I imagined it would be.  Goals change, people change, and sometimes we need a hiatus.  As long as we can get up and keep going, we are all going to be fine.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015


I have been getting emails for a couple months now stating that my story made it to the "final round of selection" to be published in Chicken Soup for the Soul.  Yesterday, I got an email telling me that it was not selected.  I was so sure I would be!  It would have only been $200, but still.  The clout with being able to tell people I was published in Chicken Soup would have been awesome.  

Friday, June 19, 2015


I have found a couple naysayers online regarding Postmates, the company that I just recently took a side job with.
The chief complaint is that it's an independent contractor job and not one with a salary or hourly wage.  The ads that advertise the courier job say you can "make up to $25+ an hour", and some people say that they guarantee $25 an hour.
It's clearly not a guarantee!  It says "up to".  It also says "+", meaning you can possibly even make more.
I dislike the idea that just because a job pays by the hour or pays in salary that it's a guarantee.  There are no guarantees in life.  Lately over the past few months, I have been starting to feel like the whole day job/wage/40 hours a week thing is something to reach beyond in order to achieve a new level of prosperity.  I have had ideas for businesses, and I have done freelance writing.  I read where the average millionaire has 11 streams of income.  I also read where truly successful people had 7 ideas that didn't work out for every idea that did.
The writing world is another place to find naysayers.  I have signed up to several groups that advertise publishing opportunities, and in the comments, there are always people complaining that it doesn't pay enough.  I think most writers have the idea in their heads that they are going to make millions off of their book idea, so to make $200-$1250 writing a short story that they give up copyrights to is an insult.  I'm no exception.  I've been daydreaming about my book The Child Advocate for years.  In my head, Oprah even had it on her book club list.  Chances are, that's not going to happen.  But I did write one story down and made $200 from it.  That was the first time I had ever submitted anything, and it was $200 I didn't have.  So I can't ever put that story in The Child Advocate, even if it ever does become book length.  That's ok- there are a million other stories.
With regards to Postmates, I plan to avoid the naysayers from here on out.  I don't want them ruining this for me.  I'm super stoked about it.  Today, I did not make $25 an hour, but I still did pretty darn good!  My customers all gave me 5 stars as well.  I find it insulting that they suggest I just should have sat at home all day and not made that money just because it was not "25".  I'm only insulted, because in one youtube video, this dude was like, "DO NOT work for postmates."  Sorry, you can't tell me what to do.
In my mind, it's just deliveries.  My working life in the past has been extremely tough and heartbreaking. Helping children NEVER pays $25 an hour, and I have been extremely devoted to it since I was in my late teens.  Everyone's life story is different, and if the naysayers knew what I've dealt with in the past, they would not think being a courier or a freelance writer was such a bad deal. You don't just walk in somewhere and make millions.  You have to start small, endure some setbacks, and build slowly.  I'm getting there.

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Egyptian Book

Today while browsing at a bookstore, I flipped through a copy of The Egyptian Book of the Dead.  I had never seen a copy of this book before, but I had heard it being talked about.
Reading it was so much like reading the Bible.  There were so many similarities.  The only difference I could see was that the Egyptian book talked about their gods, Osiris, Ra, and so on, whereas the Bible talks about Jesus Christ.
I got very emotional.  Looking at the book made me think about ancient Egyptian people.  Most of the time, we view them as fantasy characters or highly animated.  But they were real people like you and me with the same joys and sorrows and a very similar work of scripture.

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Tropical storm!

We are enduring a tropical storm here in Houston. This is why it's important to have a supply of food and water at home. This is the water aisle at Walmart, and that is my child playing in the empty shelves. 

Saturday, June 13, 2015

Random Short Story Opening Line Generator

I found this generator, and I feel like my life has been saved!  As a writer, one struggle I always have is the opening line.  What should it be?  How should a story or book start out?

Here are a list of my favorites that I got when I kept clicking the generate button.  These are opening lines that can be used for The Child Advocate.

He sat her down and held her close before telling her the terrible news

With him, she'd had some wonderfully stable times..

It started with a chance meeting on a film-set

She stood out from the crowd because

It was just for one night

Friday, June 12, 2015

Child Advocates Email Response

I heard back from the executive director of Child Advocates here in Houston giving me permission to write and publish a short story about a young woman who is a CASA volunteer.  It almost seems like they will expect me to do it now!  It looks like The Child Advocate will be a short story instead of a novel after all.  I am relieved.  The novel seemed overwhelming.  Now I need to get to work on the story.  I need opening line ideas.  Any suggestions?

Hi Danielle,
Yes, of course I remember you! This sounds like an exciting project and I’m sure we can work something out with you. I’m going to forward your email to our Marketing Manager, Ashley Brockette so she can follow up with you on more details.
I so appreciate your desire to help spread the word about Child Advocates as we really need volunteers and this would be a great way of showcasing the important work the volunteers do on a daily basis.
Thank you again and best of luck!

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Rock Idea

I love going into this one metaphysical shop to pass time. They not only have beautiful things to look at, but they have three dogs to pet.
I got this idea for someday when I have a lot of money to spend frivolously. I would like to go to this shop and get several different rocks about the size of my hand. I'd then like to buy them their own small bookcase and have them on display in the dining room. I love rocks and gems, and this would be beautiful. Someday!

Science book

Annalise wants to be a doctor. She has been told by several people that in order to do so, she must be very good in science. One of her goals for the summer is to brush up a lot in science. I got her this book at half price books to facilitate her interest. Here's to Dr. Annalise!

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Child Advocate Short Story

I've been looking at avenues to publish short stories that pay anywhere between $200-$1,250 per story.  Most of them take submissions in the month of September.  This gives me time to get to work on some that I have in my head right now.  I went for a long walk one day and thought of a good outline to make my book The Child Advocate into short story form.  The short story version would not contain descriptions of all the things the main character does to help children in her career, but would focus on volunteering with the CASA program.  A fictional case would be the center of the story.
I wonder how submitting my stories to several publications would work.  Would I have to inform each literary magazine of where else I submitted to?  I think some guidelines said something about this.  I'd have to double check.
Another thing to think about is that the CASA program might object to me using the name and details of their organization.  Many people have written entire books about being a CASA volunteer, so I don't think it would be a problem.  Just to be on the safe side, I emailed the executive director of Houston Child Advocates this morning:

Good Morning, Ms. Galvan, 
I hope you are well.  
You may not remember me, but I was a Child Advocates volunteer from 2009-2014.  
Lately, I have been pursuing a freelance writing career on the side, and I would like to write a short story about a young woman who is a CASA volunteer.  The case in the story would be completely fictional, and the story would help to raise awareness about the CASA program.  
I was wondering if this was ok, and if the CASA program would want something in return if the story is published.  
Thanks for your help,
Danielle Pate

Financial goals

Yesterday, I paid off my Amazon credit card.  I am still working hard towards paying off a credit card that originally had a high balance since I started snowballing.  I think I am making good headway.  
I like the blog Blogging Away Debt.  I have actually considered starting a debt blog myself, with honesty about all amounts.  I don't know if I am emotionally ready for that, though!  That's tough!  
I also want to make a new vision board.  This vision board will have nothing but pictures of money.  Money on trees, money in mailboxes, money in piles, etc.  I am a member of the Facebook Group Law of Attraction: Ask, Believe, Receive.  They post nice pictures like this all the time.  
I would like to be debt free, including student loans and including a brand new car.  I owe nothing on my current car, but I would like a brand new one debt free.  I would also like to take my daughter on a road trip.  I'm definitely not going to go to grad school! That would mess this all up.  

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

We love the nail salon

Anna was able to get her nails done since school is out. She got "sparkly green" and I got black tips. I also got my eyebrows waxed. This particular woman, named Thuy, is the only beautician in the world that can get my eyebrows right. 

Macaroni with swiss, mozzarella, and brie.

Sunday, June 7, 2015

vanilla pudding with raspberries

It has been a while since I've Felt like working in the kitchen. I made this vanilla pudding and added freeze dried raspberries. Time for a nice treat!

Saturday, June 6, 2015

Summer Unschool

I remember once going on a facebook group in the beginning of the summer and seeing a "summer unschool" challenge to parents.  The challenge was to put unschooling principles in place with your children all summer long.
Long time proponents of unschooling were outraged.  It has to be a whole-life endeavor, they insisted, not just tried out for a summer.  Knowing how negative these old timers can usually be, I ignored them and took them up on the challenge.
The facebook group is no longer there.  Here we are at the beginning of another summer, and my daughter Annalise is out of school.  I am also working a graveyard shift now, and do not need daycare.  Annalise will not be in daycare over the summer.  It's a huge relief to both of us.  The only concern I have is that I want her to keep her mind sharp.  She promised me she would read books this summer.  My boss is moving, and she has two daughters age 10 and 12.  She gave me a huge box of books they didn't want to take to the new house!  Annalise is in Heaven.  Some of these books are her favorite series, Junie B. Jones.  Others are Captain Underpants and The Boxcar Children.  I'm also going to head to Half Price Books to see if I can get her a children's science book.  She wants to brush up on science, so she can be a doctor.
I want this whole summer to be devoted to pursuing her interests and learning all kinds of things in an unschooling way.  Since I've always had to work, this is the only time Annalise has been home at all except for her first year of life when I only worked weekends.  It's her chance, and it's my chance to allow her to learn in this fun and positive way.
I love to explore blogs of unschooling moms and the chronicles of their families' daily lives.  One of my favorites is Stories of an Unschooling Family.  I also like to watch the vlog channel of The Sparkling Martins.  As for online discussion groups, I like the Unschooling Spectrum and Unschooling Single Parents.  Almost Unschoolers is another great blog and so is Yes, I Can Write.
My favorite book on the topic is The Teenage Liberation Handbook, which I read when I was 25 and applied to myself.
I think it's going to be a great summer full of books and video games, swimming and walks in the park, sleepovers at my parents' and outings to the Children's Museum of Houston.  Annalise is also excited that her daddy has left his job as a mechanic to return to college.  The thought of daddy doing homework makes her laugh.

Friday, June 5, 2015

Another pregnancy dream

Pregnancy dreams have been my typical night lately.  In the last one, I was having triplets!  In the dream, I announced it on facebook that I was 24 weeks pregnant with triplets and that I waited until 24 weeks to announce it, because that is the point of viability.  It was a boy and two girls, and I named them Evangeline, Anastasia, and Isaiah.
There was a ton of detail.  In this dream, I logged onto Amazon with my exact Amazon password and started ordering baby supplies like all-in-one cloth diapers and a Medela hospital grade breast pump.  (I don't know why those things are a key focus of all of my pregnancy dreams).  I also ordered three co-sleepers and three car seats.  I even went onto Craigslist to look for a new vehicle that would fit all of these children.  I called up my cousin in Chicago to tell her we would be baptizing the babies in Chicago, and would she like to be the Godmother?
It was a very, very detailed dream containing a lot of people in my life and real joys and fears that would come out of a situation like this. When I woke up, I went to the store and there was a child having a tantrum of epic proportions.  I thought, "That's good birth control".  Then, I thought of my dream and thought, "Maybe it isn't."

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Last Day of School!

That was today!  It was also the day Annalise got to celebrate her 8th birthday with her class.  I picked up her pokemon cupcakes yesterday and sent them to school this morning.  They were super excited about them and loved them.  When I picked Annalise up from school, I gave her two choices for her last day of school celebration:  We could either go to the nail salon (because school doesn't allow nail polish and now that school's out, she can have it), or we could go to the Children's Museum of Houston.  She chose the museum.  I worked at the museum for 6 years, from one year before Annalise's birth until she was 5.  She has been enamored with the Children's Museum her whole life.  We had a blast, and I felt very reminiscent of the happy times working there.  On the way home, she told me, "I wish I could live at the museum."  I bit my tongue when I remembered that sometimes, kids have slumber parties there.  I did not tell her, because to do that is insanely expensive.  We had a blast today, and I am looking forward to summer.

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Pregnancy Dream

Two nights ago, I had a dream that I was pregnant with a baby boy and was ordering "all in one" cloth diapers online.  In the dream, I also went to A Woman's Work shop to buy a breast pump and nursing tops. In the dream, I was elated to be having another baby.  Ever since I woke up from the dream, I have been thinking about it.  In July, I will turn 37.  The clock is ticking!  It would be so nice to have more children.  Is it "ok" or not to feel this way as a single parent?  The real question should be, am I in a place where I can be in a healthy relationship with a man without feeling guilty all the time?  I'm not sure.  I know I would definitely enjoy companionship of a husband, but only time will tell if I've actually learned from my mistakes in the past. You know what would be really nice?  Twins.