29.6.12

The Nail Files: Connect the Dots


The Nail Files


So this week, I decided to try out the dotting side of my dotting tool. 


Spoiler Alert: I'm now obsessed.



Finger Paints Black Expressionism, OPI Don't You Lilac It?, China Glaze Flying Dragon, In the Limelight, and Turned up Turquoise, Sally Hansen Xtreme Blue Me Away! and White On.



First try with the dotting tool. Two coats of White On and Turned up Turquoise and then I did a line of dots on opposite colours. It was kind of hard to get symmetrical dots right away. Especially on my left hand. By trial and error, I learned that it's best to dip the dotter for fresh polish, for each dot. 



And because my trial run worked out so well, I couldn't resist going a little crazy, haha! Yup, this is a double nail posting!



Horray!!


 Two coats of White On and one coat of Black Expressionism (yes, you read that right, only one coat! This polish is the best black ever. Trust me, I've tried a lot...haha!). Then I lined the top of my nails with either four or five dots of Blue Me Away! (depending on the width of the nail). Below that, there are three dots of Flying Dragon, two of In the Limelight and a final dot of Don't You Lilac It?. 


They remind me of those strips of paper with candy dots and I kind of want to eat them. Haha!


So, I guess it's safe to say that I freaking love my dotting tool. Frankly, I don't know why I waited so long to get one. Dots are awesome!


And I've had a few comments from bloggers, asking how I shape my nails and really, it's pretty easy. First off, go and buy a bottle of OPI's Nail Envy. I take a crapload of medication that saps the calcium right out of my body but after a year or so of using Nail Envy as a base coat, my nails are hard as rocks! Seriously! I actually have to buy a file made for acrylic nails! I am aware that I've been blessed with enormous nail beds but I swear, pre-Nail Envy, they were a brittle mess. Now, all I do is file straight across the top with the more aggressive file and then switch to a gentler one to soften the edges. So there you go - no big secret, just a fantastic nail-strengthening base coat! Haha! 



Thanks to Tara and Vicki for hosting!




Book Club Friday: Between the Lines






Okay, so last week I made a declaration that I was giving up fiction for a while. Which was going well but then I saw a book while grocery shopping that stopped me in my tracks. I’m not going to lie, I’m not a fan of books written by two authors. I find them detached and there’s often problems with the pace, in my opinion. So, when I saw a hardcover novel written by Jodi Picoult and Samantha Van Leer, I rolled my eyes. Picking it up, though, I learned that the second author is actually Jodi Picoult’s daughter. And after reading the inner flap, the story’s originality punched me right in the face, which felt surprisingly good.




So, with a moderate amount of expectation, I started reading.


A little under four hours later, I was finished.


Here are the reasons why you should read this book:


1.    It’s about fairy tales. Not an interpretation of a fairy tale but a NEW fairy tale. And not one about some handsome prince who rides in on a white horse to save the day. Err…actually, there is a handsome prince…and he does ride a white horse, but that’s where the similarities to other fairy tales ends. You see, the prince, named Oliver, is trapped inside the fairy tale. Forced to act through the plot, time and time again to the delight of Readers (people who are reading the book), Prince Oliver desperately wants to escape the confines of the pages. The only problem? He’s kind of a coward. Yup, the big-time Princey-pants is a big old scardy-cat.


2.    There’s a fantastic MC named Delilah and she’s the only Reader of the story who’s ever been able to hear Prince Oliver’s cries for help. I love a strong female character and Delilah’s perfect because she’s brave but also vulnerable, funny, loving and, in many ways, a typical teenager. Oh yeah, I guess I should have mentioned this earlier, but this book is categorized as YA.


3.     You get two perspectives: Delilah’s and Prince Oliver’s. Delilah’s takes place in the “real world” while Prince Oliver’s is in the fairy tale. There’s a third POV, but it's the fairy tale itself, and it keeps things moving steadily. Sounds confusing, but the premise of the book is that the characters are acting in a play while a Reader is reading and, when the book is closed, the characters have other lives. Such a cool idea, right?


4.      I never had any idea where the story was going to go next. There were many twists and turns but they were all very well explained and flowed fluidly from one scene to the next.


5.     Although this book is meant for YA audiences, I was able to sympathize with both Delilah and Prince Oliver. The language was mature while remaining authentic and I liked that the teen angst angle wasn’t overplayed.


As with everything, there were a few things I didn’t like but they didn’t have much to do with the story so I won’t get into them (although I will say that it makes me sad when feminists are depicted as man-haters (insert sad face) ).


So, I can’t believe I’m saying this, but Jodi Picoult and her daughter, Samantha Van Leer, make a pretty dynamic writing team. There’s a small introduction, written by Ms. Picoult, which explains that Between the Lines truly was a collaborative effort that took over two years to complete. I was still a bit skeptical but after reading it, I’m a believer. All of the things I like about Picoult's books - the world building, character development and dialogue - were in full effect but the addition of Ms. Van Leer made the tone a bit lighter. 


I'm sure it will come as no surprise that I'm going to recommend this book as a MUST READ! Perfect for a summer day but also for a rainy one. Yeah, it's multi-talented like that. Just like the Picoult family. 


Thanks to Heather and Katie for hosting!

28.6.12

Baby Jamie - Quickly Becoming a BFD



Remember this guy?


He's my baby brother.


And he has a film production company, named Fade In Films, and they made this:


It's been getting crazy-mad hits on Vimeo (like YouTube but different) and now they've been interviewed by Push.ca!!


Click here to read the article!


Go, Baby Jamie, Go!!



27.6.12

The Time I Had a Quarter-Heart Attack/When in Doubt, Add Sparkles





It’s been nearly five years since I caught a cough that just wouldn’t go away, and three years of being on daily steroid medication (click here to read the nitty gritty about all of that). The steroids keep me stable but have a whackload of side-effects and one of the newer ones is a teeny heart issue.


It all started back in November of last year. I was sitting on the couch, chatting away with my stepmom when my heart started to race. And by “race,” I mean “started to beat so fast that I thought I was having a heart attack.” After a couple of seconds, I told her I’d have to call her back.


Now, a few weeks earlier, I’d been to see Dr. Smartypants because I wasn’t doing so hot. He switched me to a higher dose of steroids. One of the primary side-effects of steroids is amplified emotional reactions (read: freakouts over nothing. Case in point: Crying over a lack of ripe tomatoes in the grocery store. And by “cry” I mean “wail.” Thank goodness it was six in the morning so it was just me, the bakers, and the dude buffing the floor), so upping the dose meant more frequent meltdowns. Knowing that my body had a tendency to overreact, and because I had no experience with either heart or panic attacks, and because having a band of paramedics storm my house for a panic attack would be embarrassing, I took an Ativan and waited.


Then I started to feel really good.


Great, in fact.


Aside from the fact that my heart was still beating about a bajillion times a second, the world was a pretty awesome place.


So, I called 9-1-1.


I won’t bore you with the intricate details of that call because, frankly, I can’t remember them all but I do remember two things:

1.    We counted out my heartbeat and it was over 200 beats a minute, which would have been terrifying if not for the fluffy cloud of happiness my brain was sitting on.

2.     The operator told me that I needed to have my health card ready, unlock the door, and lock up any animals.


Although I thought it was odd for a 9-1-1 operator to tell a potential heart attack victim to run around their house to prep for the paramedics, I did what she asked and, while upstairs, caught a glance of myself in a mirror and noticed a small hole in the bum of my pants. Fashion crisis averted. After getting changed, I went downstairs to sit on the bench by the side door and wait.


A few minutes later (or hours, time seemed to go by quickly and slowly at the same time. Again, Ativan is cool) the ambulance arrived. The pair of paramedics came into the house and saw me on the bench. They hooked me up to a portable monitor and it revealed that my heart rate was 204. Just so we’re clear, anything over 180 is serious biz. They were all, “why aren’t you freaking out” so I told them about the drugs. Then we all had a great laugh. While one of the paramedics took my other vitals, the other noticed our toaster on the kitchen counter, which is when we became kindred spirits because we both thought it was the worst toaster of all-time but refused to throw it out because it cost too much and we'd rather suffer than admit defeat. 


Blah, blah, blah, I got to the hospital and I wasn’t having a heart attack. They figured I had something called SVT that was probably aggravated by the steroids. The easiest solution is a small procedure called an ablation and all I’d need is a referral from a cardiologist to get a referral for surgery.


Sounds simple, right? Just two steps! TWO!


Well, I had my first quarter-heart attack in November. Three months later, I finally saw the cardiologist but sometime between November and February, the print outs from the ambulance heart monitor were lost and the cardiologist couldn't refer me to the surgeon without them.


Crap.


The only thing to do was get me hooked up with a portable heart rate monitor. There are two types: the Holster and the King of Hearts. Obviously, I told the cardiologist that I was all about the King of Hearts. Before I could tell him that I didn't need an explanation and that I'd pick the King of Hearts (because anything called the King of Hearts must be awesome) he said that the Holster was for 24-hours and it records your heart continuously while the King of Hearts is for two weeks and it records when you push a button.


Not-so-fun-fact's the cardiologist "forgot" to tell me about portable heart monitors:
(a) The button is on a cassette-sized box you wear around your neck which, when pushed, emits a high-pitched screech for thirty seconds that rivals any smoke alarm. Just ask the Costco employees, as that's where I was when I first pressed the button.
(b) Putting on and taking off sticky-pads every day for two weeks irritates the eff out of your skin and that, combined with delayed healing due to the steroids will leave you with a tan-coloured scar next to your rib in the shape of a square.
(c) The monitor can only record a certain amount of "episodes" before you have to go into the hospital and get it downloaded, so you'll live in perpetual sweaty fear of accidentally pressing it. 


Sounds fun, right?
Haha, I kid, I kid. That was rhetorical. I understand why he left that stuff out. You'd have to be crazy to willingly agree.


Blah, blah, blah, he booked me for both monitors because the quarter-heart-attacks don’t happen regularly enough to be sure one would be caught in 24-hours and, in late March, I got them put on. The Holster caught nothing while the King of Hearts got a good one. Awesome.


On Thursday of last week, I had a follow-up with the cardiologist. He grabbed my chart to read the report from the monitor's results, which confirmed that something fishy was going on. Then, he paused to pick up the phone to call the hospital.


Blah, blah, blah…turns out, the hospital LOST THE PRINT-OUTS!


AGAIN!


*dies*
(metaphorically – with all this talk of quarter-heart-attacks, I didn’t want to alarm you)


As I stated before, the only way to get a referral to the freaking surgeon is to have the printouts. Of which, I have zero. Despite having TWO separate sets taken by "medical professionals" (you get the quotes there, right?) and having them interpreted with full reports, the surgeon doesn't care. He wants the stupid freaking print outs. So that meant I had wear the King of Hearts for another two weeks.


Needless to say, Friday was a very bad day. And because I don’t want to get better just to end up starring in an episode of Intervention, I set aside the Ativan to feel the full throttle of the unfairness. Ten thousand tears A while later, I calmed down, which when I remembered my cardinal rule:


When in doubt, add sparkles.


After wiping my face and blowing my nose, I grabbed my laptop to do some internet shopping because if I was going to be stuck wearing the King of Hearts again (curse you Chalmers – yeah, I said it out loud) the only thing to make it better would be to dress the part.


Blah, blah, blah, I got the monitor put on Monday and my very appropriate accessory arrived Tuesday morning. Timing is perfect like that sometimes.



The receptionist at my GP’s office supports the look completely. As do the two hygienists from the attached dental office. An older gentleman in the waiting room didn’t seem to get it but three out of four isn’t bad. My doctor didn’t say anything but I figured it’s because it looks so natural.


So, although it totally blows that I have to wear this stupid thing for another two weeks, I'm really digging the tiara. In fact, I was excited to put it on this morning, which only proves my point, yet again, that sparkles can make anything better. And yes, that means I'm presently wearing it while writing this post. Haha!! 


And, just for the record, neither the cardiologist or the emergency room doctor supported my self-diagnosis of having a "quarter-heart attack." Quacks. 

22.6.12

The Nail Files: Pinterest Strikes Again


The Nail Files


This week, I was inspired by this:


cool clouds
Source: theberry.com via Sarah on Pinterest





Rite Stripe's Teal Sparkle and Pink Sparkle, Sally Hansen Xtreme in White On, Finger Paints Black Expressionism, China Glaze Turned up Turquoise, and Essie Bermuda Shorts.



Two coats of White On and two coats of Turned up Turquoise and Bermuda Shorts on the edges. I used the brush end of my dotting tool to sweep the border with Black Expressionism. It was my first time using the brush and I was pleasantly surprised to find that its 90-degree angle really did make things easier! 



 But because I am who I am, I couldn't handle the lack of sparkles. Luckily I had some that matched (haha, "luck" - more like "thanks to my obsessive collecting," but whatever).



Thanks to Tara and Vicki for hosting!



Book Club Friday: I Hate Everyone...Starting With Me






I'm ashamed to say it, but it's been almost a month since I've read a book. Well, a whole one, anyway. I haven't had the best luck reading fiction so I thought I'd switch to non-fiction for a while.  This is the first one I tried:




First thing's first, Joan Rivers is 79 years old.


SEVENTY-NINE YEARS OLD!!


And she's still touring! And booking gigs! Craziness!!


Although she looks like a frozen Skype image, she deserves a little credit for still somewhat resembling a human. After all, I don't think she has any original parts left.  


*Ba-dum, ching!*


Ooo, Jennie, that was mean.


Was it? Not in comparison to what old ole Joanie would say. Oh no.


I have to admit that I wasn't prepared for the uncensored and VERY politically-incorrect "comedy" stylings of Ms. Rivers. While the majority of the book was funny, she always ended up going too far, thusly ruining the funny times because I was too busy cringing to remember to laugh.


In terms of the format Joan uses, it's kind of like reading a stand-up routine. The book is divided into sections, including: For the Children, Love Sucks, Road Trip and Screw Mother Nature, and then each chapter describes just what Joan hates about it.


For instance, in the Manners chapter, Joan outlines how she hates people who fart in elevators (who doesn't?):


If you're the owner of the offending tush and you've let loose something more noxious than Zyklon B and you can't ignore the watering eyes of fellow passengers, then at least have the manners to quietly acknowledge the horror. And while there may be nothing you can say to make restitution for their collapsed lungs, you can certainly try to look apologetic and make an excuse. A surefire one for me is. "I had no idea Michelle Obama's recipe for fried chicken gives you gas. I was just trying to be a good Democrat." The goal here is not to deny ownership of the mushroom cloud but to elicit sympathy from the offended parties, which serves two purposes: (1) They will forgive the flatulence, and (2) It gives you license to fart again and again and again.


SO FUNNY! 


But then, there's bits like this, from the Love Sucks chapter:


I hate fat brides. A fat girl in a white satin gown doesn't look beautiful; she looks like an avalanche. I went to a fat girl wedding once. First they threw rice and then, in honor of the bride, they threw gravy. She was so fat there was only room on the cake for one. The priest said, "I now pronounce you husband and Pantload." He gave her the wafer, she put Velveeta on it and swallowed.



*stares*



*blinks*



Not funny, right?


So here's the deal. Remember when I told you that Joan Rivers is almost 80?! Well, I think that has a lot to do with what I didn't like about this book. Getting a laugh at the expense of another person seems like a very old kind of comedy, to me, and it's time for Joan to get with the times. Maybe she's in denial that it's no longer 1976  but continuous jokes about people with disabilities, illnesses, and seniors (including herself, so at least there's that)  simply aren't funny. And then there are the cracks she makes about Helen Keller, Stephen Hawking and Jerry Sandusky.


Yikes.


There are so many other talented comediennes out there who find humour in everyday things, without putting others down (except themselves, at times) and that's the kind of stuff I like. Maybe I'm too sensitive but I just don't think that the Holocaust is something to joke about. There are far too many, truly funny topics out there.


So, at the end of the day, I think this one comes out slightly above the "meh," category. Yes, there are some very funny bits but each one was neutralized by the offensive material that followed shortly after. 


But the good news is that I actually finished it. So take that how you will.


Thanks to Katie and Heather for hosting!









20.6.12

The Time I Used Expired Milk/When Ignorance is a Good Thing






The expression, “Ignorance is Bliss,” has always bothered. When people justify bad behaviour with, "Oh, he's just ignorant," I get a twitch in my neck. Being ignorant doesn't mean you get to crack racist jokes or use homophobic slurs. Information is power so GET INFORMED, PEOPLE! If someone ever referred to me as an "ignorant person," I'd be hugely insulted because ignorance is something that can be fixed with even the slightest amount of effort. Stupidity, on the other hand, is unfixable (stay tuned for what I think about stupid people in a later post). 


Now, what’s the point of that rant? The point, dear readers, is that I’ve recently had a change of heart. Okay, maybe not a change of heart, but my hard-ass stance on the topic has softened. Why? Because I've learned that there are things I'd rather just not know.


A few days ago, I was eating bowl of cereal. As some of you may remember, we live about one box away from needing an intervention.


Anyway, I opted for a Honey Crunch O’s and Honey Crunch Flakes combo. It was almost too sweet but totally delicious. So delicious, in fact, that I bragged about it to The Remix. A short time later, he got up to fix himself a bowl and noticed that we were out of milk. Mostly because our Gurgle Pot was sitting in the sink. Whoops.


Seriously, it's the best pitcher of all time. I mean, it actually gurgles!!


Being awesome, he washed it out and went to the fridge to get another bag of milk, which is when he called out,


“Hey babe, is this the only milk we have?”


“Yeah,” I said.


“Okay,” he replied.


“Why?”


“No reason.”


My heart skipped a beat. “Then why did you ask?”


“I was just curious. No big deal.”


The lump in my throat was suffocating and my mouth filled with an unpleasant taste of pasty grossness. “Just tell me.”


“Tell you what? There’s nothing to tell.”


“JUST TELL ME!”


“It expired two days ago.”


*rushes to the bathroom*


Now, I didn’t actually throw up but sure felt like I was going to. I had to brush my teeth twice to get rid of the taste from the back of my throat. It didn’t matter that I’d thoroughly enjoyed the cereal pre-expiration-knowledge, my mouth tasted like I’d just finished drinking forty-three liters of chunky milk bits.


Moral of the story: sometimes ignorance can a good thing.


Still not convinced?


Then how about this little diddy:


You’re hungry but not terribly motivated so you decide to make a few hot dogs on the BBQ. You’ve had some friends over and the BBQ’s been going all day. As such, the BBQ utensils are resting on the side. Ten minutes later, you’re eating a yummy pair of hot dogs. Now, what if the BBQ utensil hadn’t been as clean as it appeared? What if, for instance, it'd been licked clean by an adorable red squirrel, which was witnessed by one of the friends staying with you and captured on film? Would you really want to know that you ate squirrel saliva?


WOULD YOU??





I rest my case.






19.6.12

Uninvited Guests


So, it's pretty common knowledge that we have adorable furbabies. Yeah, yeah, we're biased but still. They're pretty darn cute. 


So cute, in fact, that the Schnauzers from the house behind us have become obsessed with them.


Ob. Sessed.


They first escaped through the forest and onto our property a few weeks ago and now, they come over all the time! It's hilarious! They're both girls and have wonderful personalities. I managed to grab my camera this time, so I'll just leave you with the following series of gratuitous puppy pictures.


You're welcome.



Such a good looking dog, and I'm not even talking about Pepi. We had a Schnauzer growing up named P.J. and these gals remind me so much of him. Loves.



This is Bella, Pepi's main bitch. What?! She *is* a bitch - a female dog! 
Haha, a joke that just had to be made. I'm not even sorry about it. 



Um...where're you going?



Playtime in the front yard.



Pepi was having the time of his life while Pickle was...well, Pickle (read: cranky old man).



 (Don't tell Pickle but they totally like Pepi more. Not that I blame them one little bit. Who wants to hang out with a crankypants?)




17.6.12

Happy Pawther's Day!




Nothing says, "You're the best, Dad," than a Dairy Queen Blizzard cake. 



I mean, just look how happy The Remix is! Ice cream is his favourite of all the foods. Especially when there's chunks of Skor bits and chocolate chip cookie dough. And double-especially when he gets to eat it for breakfast. As you can imagine, The Remix is having a pretty good morning.



Pepi and The Pickle, two thoughtful furbabies, just hanging on the front porch. They picked out the cake themselves (not really).




Happy Father/Pawther's Day everyone!


15.6.12

The Nail Files: I Lilac Them, Very Much


The Nail Files



OPI's Swimsuit...Nailed it, Do You Lilac It?, Gone Gonzo, Divine Swine and Sinful Color's Frenzy.



Two coats of Swimsuit...Nailed It and Do You Lilac It? Then I added a coat of Frenzy, thinking that the blue and purple sparkles would bring things together. However, when I was finished, they were quite boring. So I added a coat of Gone Gonzo over Swimsuit...Nailed It and a coat of Divine Swine over Do You Lilac It?


And you know what?


I lilac the effect, very much! Bahaha!!


Happy Friday, everyone!


And thanks to Tara and Vicki for hosting! Long live The Nail Files!!



13.6.12

Post-Traumatic Ugliness Disorder/My Greatest Fear As An Author






The lovely ladies of Parenthetically Yours have started a vlog channel where they talk about writing stuff. Gina posted a video last week about our fears as writers. It's funny. You should watch it. In fact you should watch all of the videos. Especially ones by Megan.


Anyway, it got me thinking about what my own author fears are. I've worked through most of them but a new one has raised its un-manicured hand and now that it's in my face, I have a hard time not thinking about it.


All right, here we go.


(As with most of my musings, there's a little backstory for context but I swear that it comes full circle in the end.) 


Many years ago, I suffered from an addiction to post-secondary education. Yes, I was one of those people who didn't want to leave the warm and fluffy place otherwise known as The University Campus. No real world for me, thankyouverymuch. I loved talking about things in theoretical terms and being praised for thinking outside the box. Of course, having only ten hours of classes a week was nice and it was extra awesome when I could organize my schedule to have Fridays or Mondays off. I mean...err...I love to learn? 


Being a compulsive student, I often imagined what my collection of diplomas would look like. I just love seeing my name on fancy things (who doesn't) and, when I learned that I'd landed on the Suma Cum Laude list - on the day of graduation - I daydreamed about how extra-fancy my diploma would be while the guest speaker talked about whatever (for the record, everyone gets the same diploma, regardless of academic standing....boo). But when I saw it for the first time, I almost passed out. Mostly because it was the prettiest thing my name had ever been on. 


Loves loves loves. 


After the graduation ceremony, there was even a framing booth set up where you could get an embossed matting. Ballin'. 


Naturally, when I completed my Master's degree, from a different university, I figured that the diploma would be even better than the one I got for my Undergraduate degree. I mean, this was a Master's degree, which is serious biz, right?


Wrong.


Oh, so wrong.


Side Story: That degree was the longest two years of my entire life. Mostly because I freaking HATED the university. The program was nothing like I was told it would be and it was essentially a big fat waste of time. Although, I did meet one of the funniest guys ever, so there's some solace in that. 


Anyway, I put in my time and took many classes unrelated to my thesis because nothing else was available worked my ass off to graduate on time.


Side Story #2: My class was made up of pretentious douche-bags (for the most part) and they nicknamed me the "Non-Grad," meaning that they couldn't believe I'd gotten into the program. I blame the sundress I wore during the meet-and-greet that, in retrospect, showed slightly too much side-boob. It was downhill after that. But, at the end of our second year, I was one of only two students to actually graduate on-time. Take that, douches!


So, with my thesis completed, and after surviving an hour-long defence, I headed back home. Home, at the time, was about five hours away and since I couldn't have been less invested in the university, I wasn't interested in traveling back for the graduation ceremony and therefore checked the "send my diploma in the mail" box on my graduation form. 


A few months later, it arrived. The Remix and I were going out for dinner and picked it up beforehand, at the post office. I waited until we were in the restaurant to open it up, eagerly anticipating the glory that would be my Master's degree. 


This is what I saw:




After a brief brain-explosion, I promptly burst into tears. In the red plastic booth of a 50s style diner, packed with people. The Remix didn't quite know what to make of my ridiculous overreaction insane meltdown behaviour.


"It's so ugly," I wailed into my half-finished giant burger.


"What do you mean?" he asked. "It looks fine."


"FINE? It shouldn't look FINE. It should look BEAUTIFUL! CLASSY! This is the worst thing I've ever seen!"


"Just put it back in the envelope and finish your fries," he said, knowing that diverting my attention towards deep fried food was the best way to calm me down. Which it did. Momentarily, anyway.


When I got back home, I called the graduate assistant from my department. Let's call him Phil. So, I called Phil to tell him how disappointed I was with the diploma. After he assured me that I wasn't being punished for not attending the graduation ceremony, he gave me an email address to contact the people responsible for designing the POS diploma. They wrote me back saying that I could purchase a "display diploma."


"WHAT THE HELL ARE YOU TALKING ABOUT?!? I raged at them after finding the phone extension. "I've already paid you THOUSANDS of dollars, including FULL-TIME tuition while writing my thesis and you want me to pay MORE? Don't you want your alumni to be PROUD of where they earned their degree? I could make a better version of this thing on my computer RIGHT NOW."


"Um...so do you want to order one?" 


*passes out due to extreme frustration*


Blah, blah, blah, at the end of the day, they refused to send me one for free. I even contacted the president of the university with a well thought-out argument on why ALL students should get the pretty "display" diplomas but he wasn't interested either. You can see why I didn't quite fit in there, right?


So what does that mean for me as an author? Well, it means that I'm TERRIFIED of having this happen to my books. While doing my agent/query research, I learned that it's publishers who decide on the covers - and titles - of the books they publish. Authors pretty much have zero control, unless you're Marian Keyes or something (which I'm not).


What if I hate my cover? What if I hate my title? What if I have Cover Envy? I already suffer from Food Envy on a bi-daily basis, but Cover Envy would be the absolute worst.


Side Story #3: Food Envy happens when you're eating something and then see something that someone else is eating that looks way better than what you have, thusly destroying your meal because whatever's on your plate suddenly doesn't taste as good. 


Yeah, yeah, I know that a publisher's goal is to make money and that they have lots of experience developing cover art but I'm a control freak and that, combined with the Post-Traumatic Ugliness Disorder I acquired after seeing my Master's diploma, has me waking up in the middle of the night from dreams of black-and-white covers with sad font and no sparkles. NO SPARKLES! Oh, the horror. I want people to take my books everywhere and show them off, like they would a teacup Yorkie or a set of thousand-dollar veneers, but that won't happen if the cover stinks. 


So there you have it, my greatest fear as an author. You might say it makes me superficial and, frankly, I'm okay with that. I'm attempting to break into the big world of publishing where people are encouraged to judge books by their covers. I know that I'm not likely to pick up a book with a cover I don't like, so I think it's a legitimate thing to completely stress-out about. Haha, I kid, I kid.


*pops Ativan*


And to this day, when Carleton calls me for donations, I tell them that I'd be happy to make a contribution once I receive a complimentary display diploma. Needless to say, I haven't written any cheques.