Day: November 21, 2013

Nanowrimo Day 21: A Love Story Within a Love Story


So how are all my Nanowrimo peeps doing?  I’m basically finished my story and I’ve wanted to post a section but honestly I don’t feel like any of it is that strong so I was hesitant to do so.  I’ve posted a few of them but it was my first time writing fiction and controlling the voices once they had switched places was very difficult.

I’m still mulling over and will do for some time.  I plan on using it as a concept and then writing more based on the idea and characters I created.  I’ve certainly learned a lot from creating an entire story.

One interesting thing about writing is you can start writing a character that is an aside and the longer you get in the story the bigger the character gets (and smaller in some cases).  Has anyone else seen this in your writing?  Well, I did.  I could end up writing a whole new book about a side character that I ended up bonding with.

The two main characters of my story are 2 women, Marnie and Becca, one is married, Becca, and the other, Marnie, is single.  I wanted to create a love interest for Marnie and as any rom-com will show you nothing is cuter than a single widower.  I don’t know if that is true in real life but ever since Sleepless in Seattle it’s pretty much a mainstay.

Finally, I ended up with a man named Josh.  He’s a single Dad who comes to the rescue of Becca who has kids the same age as his son Ben.  Eventually he gets to know both Marnie and Becca and becomes a friend to both and Santa does a little matchmaking!  At the end of the book he finally tells both girls about his late wife Mary, and their story together.

It kind of ended up being a love story within a love story and I enjoyed writing it.  It’s a tragic love story you might say but I don’t know if any love story is truly tragic.  Love gives hope and a complete human experience or at least so I am told.  I have yet to experience it myself.

There is also something inherently corny about romance.  You listen to anyone’s love story and it seems pretty cheesy but it’s also endearing and joyful, and a Christmas story definitely needs lots of joy!

So, Josh’s love story came together and I’ve decided to share it with you.  As a nanowrimo story it is very, very rough so please be nice.  I’m not sharing it for critique but more to keep you aware of what I’ve been working on.

Here it is

Josh and Mary’s Romance

“If you don’t mind my asking what happened with your wife” said Becca

“Yes, what happened? Can you talk about it?” said Marnie.  She started to talk but Josh was looking at Marnie while listening to her.  She started to tear up and that made Becca cry and Josh as he began to tell the story.

“Well, we met at a coffee shop.  It was about 2 blocks away from both of our jobs. She worked as a secretary for a big wig CEO downtown and I was in the mailroom at an office building- the one with the triangle top and like 20 floors.

It was quite the job making sure everything got where they needed to go.  Sometimes the basement where we would sort the mail would be so hot I would step out to get coffee just to have a break and cool down.

I know sounds funny cooling off getting coffee but that’s what I did. On the other side, Mary was constantly given chores and errands by her boss.  She’d get the dry cleaning, pick up her kids from school, even work at the soup kitchen for her boss and sometimes she ended up as hot and bothered as me at work.

Fortunately her boss sent her to get coffee often at the same time I was taking my breaks and I started to notice her.  She was pretty with black hair and blue eyes that sparkled like sapphires (I know that is cheesy but it is true) and a great smile.

Sometimes she would wear bright red lipstick and it would make her whole face pop out and I found myself thinking of those red lips all day long.

At the time she seemed way out of my league, like someone from a fairytale or the pretty girl in high school who only dated the captain of the football team”

“So how’d you get the courage to ask her out?” Marnie asked..  Just then I came into the room and Josh smiled as he saw me.

“That’s the funny thing is I never could quite do it.  I always worried that she would think I was so forward to ask a girl on a date he had just seen at the coffee shop.  Plus, she always seemed very busy so it was hard for me to catch a moment to talk and smooth into it.

  However, sometimes I would catch her looking at me and she’d smile and nod.  Finally one day she came up to me and said ‘what kind of coffee did you get?’ ‘tall low fat cappuccino with nutmeg and cinnamon.  I actually hate nutmeg and cinnamon but my boss likes it so that’s what I have to get’.

I said ‘why don’t you just get something else for yourself and something for your boss?’

She sighed and said that her boss was a real tool and if she didn’t taste the coffee first and make sure it was up to par there would be hell to pay.

I told her that I had worked at a place like that and it was the worst.  Then we bonded over our bad work stories.  Before you knew it we had talked for 20 minutes and her phone rang.  It was her boss and I could tell she was getting chewed out for taking so long.  ‘I’m sorry.  I will be right there’ she said into the phone.

You could see the weight off a job she hated on her shoulders.  It was like a black cloud had settled over the coffee shop.  I wanted to make things better for her but before I could offer help she looked at me with a sigh and said “hey would you like to go to dinner sometime.  I have a good feeling about you and would like to chat more with you”

“Sure” I said.  “I’d love that.  Tonight?’  I didn’t want to miss a moment to get to know this person and I’d sat enough times in a coffee shop to know that it was a once in a million girl.  It was my chance to make my life happen.

I know I never thought I would feel that way again but lately I’ve been allowing myself to have new experiences and have a window in my heart open for love again.  It’s hard because I don’t want to replace her because nobody will but I know she wants me to love.  She wants me to be happy.  She always did.”

Both Marnie and Becca can’t help but blush at his speech.  After all , he was talking about both of them but he kept looking at Marnie so I felt confident that the idea of having both of them in the room for the date was a good idea.

“So we went on our first date and then dated for a 2 months but too be honest we didn’t even need to wait that long.  We knew it was right.  There was no doubt.

I told my Dad that I wanted to ask her to marry me and he thought I was crazy but he said ‘if you know you know and you have to go for it.  We will certainly be behind you.  At the time I was a poor guy in the mailroom so I couldn’t afford much of a ring.

I was watching the home shopping network and they had some cubic zarchonia rings and I thought they looked pretty nice and I could pay for one, so I bought it and took her to the coffee shop where we had met.  She had the red lips that I loved so much.  At first I got really nervous because I knew she could say no and I couldn’t bear it.

When I got nervous she thought that I was going to break up with her.  She started to tear up and I thought she was breaking up with me and she said “just spit it out.  Just say it!”

I looked at her with surprise and wondered what she was talking about.  Figuring I had nothing else to loose I pulled the ring box out of my pocket and showed it to her.  ‘Mary, this is the place we met and I remember looking at you and your red lips and thinking I could never get a girl like you.

And then one day you talked to me and we vented about our crazy bosses and it was like you weren’t just the pretty girl but your heart was big and you were funny, everything I could have hoped for.” I told her ‘I love you and I will love you forever.  Will you marry me?’  To my surprise she started to cry and took out the ring.

“It’s not a real diamond.  I couldn’t afford it.  I am sorry.  I hope you are not disappointed” I said with hope in my heart that maybe these were tears of joy not ‘I’m going to break up with you tears’ then she smiled, smiled with her red lips and said ‘I couldn’t love it more if it was real diamonds because I love you and yes, I will marry you’.”

I’ve always thought that life was made up of moments, like a collage that we piece together with hopefully enough happiness to make it all worth it.  You don’t know how many times in the last few years I’ve thought of those happy moments and they have made it worthwhile.  I certainly would never take it back, even knowing the pain that would come.  Never”

“So, then you had Ben? Were you nervous about having a baby? How long had you been married?”

“We had been married 2 years and had almost finished our degrees.  Mary had 1 quarter left and found out she was pregnant.  We were so excited but she was determined to finish school out, pregnant or not.

I’ll never forget her crossing that graduation podium pregnant and glowing, for reason than one.  2 months later she went into labor and we had our beautiful baby boy.

She was the one who thought of the name Ben because she had loved the old Benji movies from the 80s with the loyal, kind dog.  After seeing what she went through I told her she could pick any name she wanted as long as it wasn’t something weird like Nature or Canyon.  Thank goodness she had more sense than that.”

“When Ben was about 6 months she took Ben in for his check-up.  Things had been hard but we were managing to stay afloat.  She was doing some tutoring and bookkeeping on the side and I was a marketing clerk at a prestigious graphic design firm downtown.

I knew that Mary had been feeling tired and a little pale lately but I saw all my other friends with babies and they seemed to be going through something similar.  I thought in a few months the worst of it would be over and we would be ok.”

“Then Mary told the doctor what she had been feeling and said that there was a pain in her abdomen that wouldn’t go away.  She was a tough cookie and hadn’t wanted to make a big deal of it but now that it had lasted months she was worried and asked him what he thought it was.  He sent her to a specialist to get some tests and turns out it was uterine cancer, stage 4, untreatable.

We had 6 months to a year to live and so we all the sudden had mere months to enjoy our baby and pile in all the memories we could, at least while her health remained strong enough to do anything.  We went bungie jumping and traveled to New York and saw a fashion show.

It was her dream but when we got home from the trip she went downhill fast and in a matter of 2 weeks she was gone.  When she was in the hospital she had her red lipstick on and she kissed Ben and left an imprint with lipstick on his bald head.  I have the picture here. “

Josh pulled out a photo from his suitcoat and it was a beautiful woman with red lipstick in a hospital gown. She was glowing and holding up her baby with big red lips on the top of his head.  It was priceless.


Read the Scriptures

This morning I want to tell my fellow Mormons about something exciting I have discovered.  First a confession- for years I have struggled to find a system of scripture reading that worked for me.

As a single adult I would often get distracted from my intent on reading and forget to do it and when I did remember the results were frequently less than satisfying.  Maybe it’s bad to say but more often than not I felt kind of bored reading the same material week after week and hearing the same commentary track inside my brain, new insight seemingly few and far between.

I tried different study guides and reading systems but nothing seemed to help, so scripture reading became something I do more out of obedience than anything else and that will only get you to remember so far and help you so much.  What to do?

With recent obstacles I had been challenged multiple times to make scripture reading more of a priority.  In particular, my bishop asked me to read the Ensign (our Church magazine) each day but if I struggled to read the scriptures how could I add The Ensign on to it?

Well, I have come upon a solution that will sincerely help me and I hope you as well.  There is a website called and it is a paid service that makes reading the scriptures and other church materials in an organized way easy.    It costs $4.99 a month but I’m very excited about it.  Seems well worth it to me.

Here’s how it works:

You log on to and make an account.   Then you select ‘Create a Schedule’.  This will take you to the ‘Available Reading Selections’ screen.  You can see below that you have a wide arrange of choices including reading your sunday lessons, church cannon and The Ensign.  Select what you want to read and then it will ask you how frequently and how fast you want to get through the selection.  This will create a reading schedule for you to accomplish your goal.

available readingEach day of your schedule you will receive an email with a link to what you are reading.  email scripturesYou then follow the link and it takes you to the scripture or article on and you can read or have it read to you.  Then when you are done you log back on to your email and click ‘Complete’.  If for some reason you don’t want to read that section you select ‘Send More’.   After selecting complete you will be taken to this screen where you can get an idea of your progress:

READ THE SCRIPTURESIt’s a simple system but I think it is really going to help me to organize my scripture reading, be reminded and set goals.  They also have journal, highlighting and other services to work with your reading.  The fact is I’m a creature of routine and this website is going to help me make those reoutines.  It’s pretty exciting.

Like I said, clearly you can get all of this information without the service.  You can just read the scriptures in bed at home but I found this way more engaging and helpful.

What do you do to make scripture reading work in your life?

Michael Buble 2013

So my friends I think the blog should be called today because I’m feeling super smiley.  Good music, friends and memories does that for me.  I got the opportunity to see Michael Buble for the 3rd time last night at Energy Solutions Arena.

The first time I saw him was in 2005 at Abravanal Hall with my friend and roommate Stef.  We were both going a bit nuts with another roommate and had bonded over books, broadway and the Nanny but I wouldn’t say we were really friends until the Michael Buble concert.  I was going to go with my friend Camille and then she ended up with a class so spur of the moment I invited Stef and she was super excited.  We went and had an amazing experience.

It was a small space and I was blown away.  At this point he had only his first album but there was such spectacle and he commanded the stage.  I was in love!

After that concert Stef and I were friends and are still close to this day (wish I had a photo of it)

Anyway, then in 2007 I got another opportunity to see Michael.  This time at the E-center with my sister Anna.  She was coming for a week’s visit! Nobody ever comes just to visit me for a full week.  I took the week off work which I hated my job so that was a gift in and of itself but I have such fond memories of that trip.  The culminating event was Michael Buble singing his heart out.  Again, I thought it was intimate and funny.  He was funny and the voice….Let’s just say I’d do a lot for a guy that could sing like that!

Anna and I 2007.  Warm memories.  Funny thing is I think we both look exactly the same and I still have that shirt.  Pretty sure she does too...
Anna and I 2007. Warm memories. Funny thing is I think we both look exactly the same and I still have that shirt. Pretty sure she does too…

I almost went to see Michael in 2010 when he came but I thought having seen him twice how could I justify the expense and then when the tickets had sold out I bitterly regretted it.  So many albums had come out since those 2 concerts that I missed hearing him sing so much.  I decided the minute he came back I would get tickets and so that’s what I did! Day tickets went on sale I bought 2 in a decent section and figured I’d ask someone to go.

Well time came and I actually asked Stef and Anna if they wanted to go but they didn’t seem enthused so I asked my friend Rachel.  She’s so much fun to be with and I knew she’d be a great companion at the concert.  She didn’t have to work so off we went!

I took the trax in which was exciting because it was the first time I used the new Draper stop.  I got a little motion sick by the end from all the stops and starts and it took me an hour  but still nice to not have to deal with traffic.

Then I met up with Rachel for a quick dinner at Gateway food court and went to the stadium.  It turned out our seats were better than I though.  On the ground!   And on the back row of the floor seats.  This was good because there was a separate back stage which gave us a front row for 3-4 songs!

Here you can see how close we were.  Pretty good seats!
Here you can see how close we were. Pretty good seats!

I read in the paper Michael did 24 songs and I believe it.  He sang for a good 2 hours and a good range of standards such as Fever, Young at Heart, Feeling Good, World on a String to his modern songs Haven’t Met You Yet, Beautiful Day, Everything, Home.  His voice was right on but you could tell he was getting frustrated with his microphones and earpieces.  The final encore he usually sings acapella but this time he ripped his body mike, ear pieces and sang with no microphone in that big stadium.  Pretty amazing and intimate way to end a concert. mb8

I wonder if he is nursing a little cold?  Every once in a while I noticed a cough and when he spoke his voice sounded a little gravely but not his singing.  That was first rate.  Michael also has a fabulous band and this time a local string section.  I mean can you imagine singing 24 songs in front of a huge band with a cold? I’m not sure but I think that is what Michael did last night and it was spectacular.  What a talent.  What energy and fun! mb3

So about 2/3rds of the way through he goes into the audience to move over to the smaller stage.  I was on the aisle and got to shake hands and greet him.  It was super exciting!  Then he sang right too me!!!

Look how close he was to us. Starstruck!
My friend Rachel took this photo and I think it is super good. He was so interactive with the audience. I love Michael Buble.
All I kept thinking was ahhhh!!! This is so cool!!!
He sang All You Need is Love and tons of heart confetti came down. It was just that kind of joyous event. Energy, love, happiness and lots of Mormons we found out!

Some of my favorite songs of the night was a romantic ballad section where he started with ‘you don’t know me’ the old Ray Charles song.  Sadly that is a love song I relate too)

All You Need is Love was wonderful and joyful.  Made you want to hug people around you.  I also liked You’ve Got a Friend in Me and Moondance.  There are too many.  Seriously 24 songs.  When have you been to a concert where they sang 24 songs?  So amazing!

The greatest thing about Michael Buble is that he seems humble and yet completely swanky and confident to pull off this type of ‘lounge music’ as my mother would say.   He says he’s grateful for each opportunity and for all of his fans and it feels genuine.  It seems like he’d be a great guy to go to dinner with and to sing with.  That may not be the case but in the veneer of a concert he totally pulls it off.

Anyway, it was a fabulous concert.  One I will never forget.  Oh! I almost forgot- Michael Buble shook my hand and looked into my eyes and smiled. Now that I have shaken hands with Josh Groban and Michael Buble my life seems complete.  All major goals accomplished…. Ahhhhhhhhh!  Still so excited!

Great concert.  Great singer.  Great friends.  Great life. I just love Michael Buble.