New Chapters

I posted this update over at Homeless Tales, Matt’s site, and wanted to repost here to fill everybody in on what’s been going on with the two of us (to make up for my somewhat vague update a couple of posts ago).

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I will start out with Matt’s joyous news – Wednesday, October 28th, at 9:25 AM Scotland time (2:25 AM PST), Matt’s daughter was born via Cesarean section. Her name is Kelsey, after his grandmother, she weighed just about 6 lbs. even, has bright blue eyes, and undetermined (but darkish-seeming) hair. She’s absolutely gorgeous. I don’t think Matt wants to post photos/video of her online, understandably, but if you’re interested in seeing her, perhaps he can e-mail you privately. That’s his call, though, and she pretty much looks like… a baby.

(Since you’ve likely guessed by now that I wasn’t the one giving birth, I should probably head off any negative knee-jerk reactions at the pass, so: No, there was no infidelity involved; yes, there was protection being used; and no, there is no ill will on the part of any parties involved).

Matt and I found out about Kelsey’s impending arrival a couple of months into our relationship. For a girl who decided at about age 9 that she never wanted to have kids (I mean, look at the role model I had to go on!), it was something of a shock for me and a lot to take in, and Matt graciously gave me the option of backing out. But I love him so much, and I know I’ll love his daughter, so I stuck around, obviously. Now I’m nervously prepping for the responsibilities that come with being a stepmom, and eventually a full-time mother, since we will likely have children ourselves one day.

Life-altering event #2 came the day after Kelsey’s birth, when I received an offer for a book deal (thanks to my brilliant agent, Chris Schelling, who also represents the famed Augusten Burroughs)! Chris is clearly the most awesome evil genius ever; the preparing of the contract and such details takes a few weeks, but upon signing, I receive a decent advance. It won’t buy us a house or anything, but it will rent us an apartment and should also clear up my debts, opening the way for us to get a home loan, we hope! There’s also talk about potentially turning the story into movie-ness, which is kind of mind-blowing to me, so I’m just kind of trying to study up on the various options one day at a time and make sure Matt is involved in all decisions, since it’s his story, too!

So where do we go from here? Well, for now, I’m still in the trailer, waiting on contracts and such to be ironed out. But upon receipt of the advance, we are likely going to look into relocating to upstate NY – towards the small, tree-covered town where we’d like to settle permanently, when we have the means – and yet within a couple hours’ drive of the city, for when book promotions and such things start, which I get the feeling might be largely NYC-centric.

Matt and I would also like to get married, although we still need to bat around immigration red tape, and now with Kelsey thrown into the mix, options are further narrowed down, so that’s just one big wait-and-see game. I imagine once Matt flies back to CA, there will be lots of running around and spazzing out like decapitated chickens, trying to get things planned and settled. I’ve entered that phase already, truth be told, but not much I can do about it for several more weeks, so I’m probably just stressing myself unduly.

In case you can’t tell, I never in a million years imagined something like this would happen to us, and I’m sort of floored and flabbergasted and quasi-in-denial. I don’t feel like an author or the subject of a movie, or anything grand like that, which kind of makes me feel a little like a fraud. I’m still very much “just plain me”. I keep wondering whether they’ve just got the wrong person and haven’t realized it yet. Or I keep coming up with “what-if” scenarios and future disasters like “what if it all falls through and they change their mind before the contract is eked out?!?!?!” Which is unlikely, I know, but still, what can I say? I’m panicky and uncertain right now. A large portion of my life I’ve been told that I’m untalented, uninteresting, a disappointment to my family and to God, and ugly to boot; it’s still so hard for me to imagine or accept people being interested in me, much less enough to ask me to write an entire book about myself.

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I can’t say it enough; I am so grateful to my readers, friends, and the Street Voices and Twitter communities for having my back for so long.  Things are finally really looking up and there’s no way that I would have gotten to this point without the online support network that I’ve been lucky enough to find, as well as the utter kindness and generosity of E. Jean Carroll, ELLE magazine, and the most fantabulous Chris Schelling.  Thank you all, guys.

Life-Altering Stuff

Hi all!  Quickie update  :)

Life-altering things have happened this week.  I need to check and find out what and how much I’m allowed to say, but looks as though I’m on the brink of exiting homelessness for good, so keep your fingers crossed for me!

Other than that, keeping on keeping on.  Matt’s still in Scotland, and is likely to be for about another month or so.  He’s working super hard keeping up HomelessTales.com, as always, and we’re still batting around red tape and fun things that have to be settled before we can marry or anything.  Still in love and so happy about it though, and that’s going a great ways toward keeping my spirits up.

I may have stable housing soon but will still, of course, continue advocating for homelessness, on this blog and elsewhere!  In fact, I’m glad to have recently done at least a little bit for a couple of girls on the east coast who were thrown out by their parents due to their sexual orientation, and are now living in a car in freezing weather conditions.  An appeal on Twitter brought a lot of fantastic suggestions for shelters, programs, donations, and just ways to keep warm in their current situation.  The girls wish for their names and location to remain anonymous, understandably, but I wanted to give them a shout-out on the blog and let them know that there are so many people rooting for them.  I also want to thank everybody on Twitter who reached out to help them, many mere moments after I posted the plea.

So, yep yep.  Thanks to my loyal readers for sticking around!  Also, I’m in the Guardian today, apparently.  I did this interview quite a while ago, and had assumed that it wasn’t going to go to print, since I didn’t hear back for so long.  So, an extra little bonus surprise today!

CNN’s Young People Who Rock

Well, here’s the video of my CNN interview with Nicole Lapin, on her weekly segment, Young People Who Rock.  It was supposed to be a bit longer, but Obama decided to give an employment update right at the same time my interview was scheduled, so that delayed it several minutes, and bit a chunk out of the time that I was to be on the air, so I had to try and cram a lot of the info I wanted to get in there into a smaller running time.  Therefore, I’m talking really fast, and barely letting poor Nicole get a word in edgewise.  Still, seeing myself on camera or in photos mortifies me, so I suppose it’s one of those blessings in disguise – less of my chunky face on TV, woohoo!

(I’m now seriously considering actively eating healthier; seven months of sustaining myself on cheap-ass food has not been kind to my figure.  I’m not quite as big as I appear on TV – the camera adds 10 or 15 lbs., and most of them seem to be in my face – but I could still probably stand to take much better care of myself).

Matt was there for this interview, so it was his first time on a TV set (the Today Show wouldn’t fly him out to NY as well along with me, so he had to stay behind and await my return, blegh).  I felt a little better and more confident with him there.  Less nervous.  I don’t think I’m quite used to being on TV, nor will I ever be, likely, but I was more at ease this time around.

And now to embarrass Matt a little with photos of his cute self on the set of YPWR.  This is history, folks.  Matt NEVER gets his picture taken.

Nicole was so super awesome and friendly, chatting with me in the makeup room along with the awesome hair/makeup artist, Jennifer, whose Herculean task it was to transform me into a raving beauty (kidding, but she did do a fantastic job!  I got airbrushed!!!!!)  Jennifer is having a baby pretty soon, so congrats on the new kid, Jennifer!

But yeah, Nicole was great at setting me at ease; she’s a total sweetheart and a damn fine reporter – she has this informal, approachable thing going for her, which I think is a great bonus when it comes to reaching out and reporting to our generation.  Nicole is right around my age and clearly she’s super intelligent – I can’t imagine what it must take to be a respected CNN reporter at so young.  Her segment has been going strong for 2 1/2 years, and I’m honored to have been her guest.

So, thanks so much to Nicole, and to CNN for having me on again!

On CNN Again; More Quickie Updates

Hey guys,

So, this afternoon I’m going to be on CNN again.  This time, though, it’s gonna be live!  *eep*  So tune in or set your TiVo to record CNN’s “Young People Who Rock” segment with the awesome Nicole Lapin at 12:30 PST!

I’m sorry I haven’t posted anything for over a week; the new job is fantastic and has been keeping me challenged/on my toes.  Plus my commute is four hours round-trip per day, and when I get back to the trailer, all I want to do is crash and unwind.  So I’ve been procrastinating, and I’m sorry.

I’m still on the back lot in Riverside, although that’s still a much huger step out of this.  In fact, it feels as though I’m in a bit more of a limbo between “homeless” and “not homeless”, by virtue of the fact that now I have some utility hookups, meaning that unlike living in the Walmart parking lot, I can flick on a light switch, cook, use the restroom, and even take a (cold) shower!  This is major progress!

Matt’s flying back home to Scotland on Monday, so I’m going to be spending all of my time this weekend with him – if you don’t see me around, that’s why!  This time, he won’t be able to make it back to Cali for probably 2 or 3 months, so that’s going to suck.

I swear though, after Matt lands safely in Scotland and I can stop chewing my nails over it, I’ll post a more comprehensive, detailed update.  I’ll also try my hardest to keep posting more often!

Love ya,

~Bri

Radio New Zealand Interview; CNN; Today Show

Interview – Radio New Zealand (Nine to Noon)

Above is the link to the audio file of my interview Tuesday with New Zealand’s NPR show Nine to Noon.  Sorry, my cell phone connection flickered at a couple of points, but overall I feel like I did decent.

Surprise; CNN news anchor Ted Rowlands called in the morning and asked if CNN could come film a segment.  Thinking he meant in a few days, I said absolutely.  Come to find out, he meant in about 2 1/2 hours!  Panic mode.  Dude; Ted Rowlands and his awesome camera guy were in our trailer today.  Very surreal.  They were fantastic, by the way.  Very personable and set me at ease, so I barely noticed that I was in front of a camera.  They stuck around for about an hour and a half; not sure how long the segment itself will be.  It might air Wednesday morning or (more likely) Thursday morning.  If I get any more info beforehand, I will post it; otherwise, I’ll embed the video on the blog.

In about 5 1/2 hours I fly out to New York, where I be on The Today Show Thursday morning with E. Jean Carroll (my first time meeting her in person).  I can confirm that we are scheduled to be on around 10:30 a.m., and we are being interviewed by Hoda Kotbe and Kathie Lee Gifford.  Will try to get and embed this video as well in a post, if you’re not able to watch.  Sadly, Matt will not be able to accompany me to NY, although I tried my darndest to get them to fly him out as well.  Sadness.

So, yep yep!  After my Today Show appearance, I will be attending a couple of meetings in NY, and then leaving Manhattan to fly home in the early evening.  Should be back home by midnight, Friday morning.  Very, very busy.  And tired.  But all super exciting.

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Confidential to Stacey Niffenegger in Gilroy, CA:  I just received your very touching letter in my P.O. box.  Besides thanking you for your very kind and personal words, I wanted to tell you that you are fantabulous and I know you will do superbly at finishing out college.  Your determination to commute an hour each way to and from school to better yourself each day is inspiring to me, as I have yet to finish college myself (or indeed, to attend any classes other than community college ones).  Keep up the awesome work, and know that it’s OK and normal to feel overwhelmed sometimes, especially with a mountainous task like higher education before you.  You rock, chika!

~Bri

P.S.  There is a rat or mouse in our trailer.  We’re not sure which, but either way… gross!  It got into a bag of chips and a sack of potatoes.  Ewwwww.  I hate killing things, but traps must be bought!

Ask E. Jean Update!

Wooooooooot!  E. Jean got back to me (thankyouthankyouthankyouthankyouthankyou!); my internship starts Sept. 1st!  Best of all, she was kind enough to tailor it to my circumstances by making it an hour a day, 6 days a week, so I still should be able to work a regular job (which is fantastic, since this week I’ve had several places express interest – tomorrow I’m interviewing as Executive Assistant at The Alzheimer’s Association, yay for nonprofit work!  Also have had interest expressed by a celebrity author/animal rights activist (PA), aerospace company (EA) and medical management company (EA).

Sooooo… things are looking up!  Which is great, because it cost quite a bit to fix my car (just finished today) and now Matt and I are running incredibly low on funds (although much better than we would be, thanks to the super-generous people who sent us donations), but it doesn’t even matter right now because I’m so ecstatic!  I have the awesomest internship that will make my CV look fantastic, and I’m likely to get a decent-paying  job within the week  :)

Poor Matt.  He’s been such a trouper.  I woke him up this morning gasping/screaming/flailing madly, having stumbled upon my own story on Save The Assistants (awesome blog run by awesome people; I highly recommend checking it out!)  Poor guy bolted upright all bleary-eyed and panicked, terrified that something was horribly, deathly wrong.  He was a very good sport about it though, and he’s very happy for me, though I’ve been ignoring him all day in favor of job applications, internship freakouts on FB and Twitter, and picking up propane/milk for us.  So I think I should probably sign off now and go give him some attention and cuddles.

Cheers and much love to my readers!

~Bri

Intrigued

So, as of yesterday I’ve had like 25 people visit me from a vegan community on LiveJournal.  I’m intrigued, but the referring link is a protected entry, so I have no idea why I have been mentioned there.  Right now, I’m really, really hoping that I haven’t offended a bunch of vegan people somehow.

Other than that, it’s pretty slow here.  Hopefully will have some form of interesting news to post soon, but it’s been very quiet lately.  Still working on getting the vintage site up and running.  Also, Matt gets peevish at me when I try to take adorable photos of him to post here.

Next weekend, the grandparents of my half-sisters are visiting from Texas to pick up some of their inheritance from me (I need to sign over title and such things) so that should be interesting, and a slight change of pace.  Found out from the half-sisters’ mom that my mother is aware they are coming out, so right now I’m really hoping I don’t have to deal with my mother tagging along, as she generally tends to enjoy being vengeful or otherwise unpleasant and I just don’t have room in my life for that kind of negativity.

So… yup yup.  If anything interesting or otherwise exciting comes up, I’ll post it  ;)

Ha! Hello, Mommy Dearest!

Hey mom,

Guess you discovered tGGtH yesterday…  You spent all of an hour on my site, right after someone from Flagstaff (yes, Britt, I’m looking at you) spent a nice chunk of time here too.  Welcome to the madhouse.  Does this mean you’re going to be a regular reader?  Not that I mind, every visit from you just drives up my traffic and reduces my bounce rate.  I’m just saying, the boys in charge might take issue with you “misusing” the internet to read *gasp* opinions outside of the WTBTS and all.

…What, no congratulations on my impending nuptials to a nice slice of smexy English hotness?  ;)

Matt Home, Raising Money, New Homeless Tales Authors!

Matt’s home!!!!!  I’m so excited  :)   At LAX, there were a ton of paparazzi hanging around the international arrival gate – David Beckham was supposedly arriving.  Also, Eric Dane (from “Gray’s Anatomy”) and Rebecca Gayheart (from “Dead Like Me”) got off while I was waiting.  I didn’t recognize them, because they were wearing sunglasses and scarves and things, but jillions of flashbulbs went off and people were following them around.  Then Matt came out and I hurled myself into his arms and it was all very cute-ness, once he figured out that the blurry ball of redhead bouncing at him was me and that I would indeed stop just before knocking him over at full speed.  I am soooooo happy he’s back.

We’re staying in a trailer on the property where Fezzik is being boarded, so that’s exciting.  It’s a farther drive to work for me, but it’s slightly more practical for two people and we get to spend time with Fez.  We have a camera now (not just my crummy, fuzzy, pixelated phone camera) so I will try to post pics and video of Matt, Fez, and the area we’re staying.  Work changed their mind about using Fez in a commercial (this is the third time they have asked me to participate in a commercial and then backed out, so I don’t think I’ll say “yes” next time).  This means I just get to relax and spend time with him now instead of trying to get him to do things for the camera, which is something of a relief.

Spending the next three months fundraising; ideally, we’d like to purchase our house right before Matt has to head back to Scotland (he has to return every 90 days due to visa waiver reasons, and stay for a week or two before returning).  That way I could move in, get things settled and all, and then he could come back the next time to a real, legitimate home for us.  So, my retail site should be going up soon.  Besides my very cool vintage clothing collection, we may also be looking into selling vintage books, as well as the trailer and my car.  So, if you need/want any of these things, they will soon be available.  We are currently building my new website and I’ll post linking to it hopefully sometime this week once I’ve got it a bit more established and polished  :)

Also, I’m very excited about all the discussion going on over at Matt’s site, Homeless Tales.  There are several new authors and comments have really picked up lately.  People are having some really thought-provoking ideas and, even when they don’t agree, some really respectful and healthy debate, which is awesome.  It’s so great to see so many homeless and formerly homeless individuals from such varied backgrounds and perspectives coming up with plans and approaches with which to combat the problem.  Please go check out the new articles there – I was blown away by the depth and preparation that obviously went into each of them.

Matt's Coming Home, and Fezzik is a Star :)

Matt’s plane lands approximately 5 hours from now.  I’m stoked!!!!!  This time at the airport I get to hurl myself at him and be all mushy and adorable.  The first time I was too nervous about whether he’d like me as much in person, whether I’d be invading his personal space, etc.  Now I know that all signs are go, so woot!

Also, Fezzik is going to be in a commercial for www.makeastar.com, which is pretty awesome!  I knew my pooch had star quality  ;)   Actually, he’s just going to be representing the “talented pet” contest they have going on, so it’ll probably be an hour or so of sitting around trying to coax him to actually DO something in front of a camera.  You know dogs, they’ll do everything you tell them to until it actually matters, haha.  I’d better stock up on meat treats this weekend and try to get him to put together simple concepts in his head:

“me + jump through hoop = MEAT!”

“me + stand on hind legs and slobber on Bri’s cheek = omg omg omg MEAT!!!!!!”

“bwahahahahahahhahahaha MEEEEEEEEEEAT!!!!!!!!!  IT’S RAINING MEAT!!!!!!!!!”

So… yeah.  We’ll see how that works.  He’s totally gonna be the most famous Neapolitan Mastiff EVAR.  Not that I can actually think of any other Neapolitan Mastiffs in entertainment.  But I bet there’s one or two out there somewhere.

That’s right, Beethoven!  You ain’t got nothing on my blockheaded dog!  My dog will whip your arse with his superior lumbering skills!  And his laying there and snoring/drooling on command skills!  Hell, yeah!!!!!!!!