Friday, December 29, 2006


Okay, so it's not really my fault! My sister did it, but I should have remembered what she did.
This morning, I get my daily morning email from my mom. In the note, she asks if K1 is missing a pair of socks. Then tells me she found said socks...In the freezer.
On Christmas Eve, K1 crawled under the table and proceeded to poke, pinch and harass anyone who happened to be sitting there. Why? Who knows. It probably had something to do with the almost glow-in-the-dark, flamingo pink color he dyed his hair - maybe certain brain cells died in the process. Or maybe he only sought an escape from the chaos of the 22 people crammed in my parent's house. A. took his socks off his feet and shoved them in the freezer. Except, the kid is so whacked he never noticed his socks were missing so the whole frenzy of "Where are my socks?" never happened and we forgot.
I don't know why Mom's surprised. Really. It's not like this was an isolated event. These things, and weirder ones, happen often when we're all together. I imagine it's different when you find a pair of teenagers socks in your freezer though. I mean, really, you do have to wonder if the germs were all killed by the cold or if thousands, maybe millions, of tiny teenaged germs are now roaming around the food you thought you were protecting. I would be scared. Who knows the last time those socks saw the inside of the washing machine? (K1 does his own laundry.) A. didn't break out with any horrible rashes though, so that has to count for something.
This is where that childhood phrase "I didn't do it!" comes in handy!

Thursday, December 28, 2006

Thursdays Thoughts...

The sun is shining. The kids are occupied and not fighting. The tree is down. Well, it's on the front porch, along with the needles that fell off. The decorations are stowed away for next year and my living room is back to normal.
I'm feeling rather accomplished and also kind of sad that the holidays are nearly over. Our New Year's will find us in the company of family and friends - carrying on, eating too much and being obnoxious as usual.
As I try to decide my writing goals for 2007, I can't help but reflect on 2006 and I found a few more things to add to my list. They're more personal and family oriented, so I won't bore you with them. Suffice it to say that each of the K's have achieved awesome new things this year and I'm very proud of each one of them.
Jeez. I'm in a mushy mood these days.
Must be all the pine-y fragrance.
Now that it's gone maybe things will get back to normal...

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Wednesday Chill...

Baby, it's cold outside!
There's a wind that feels like it slices your body in two.
And I had to go out. Well, I guess I didn't have to, but the kids were begging to spend some of their Christmas cash and we did need silly things - like groceries.
The tree is still up. I meant to take it down today. Really, I did. I'm anxious to get things back to normal around here, which sounds kind of "Scroogish" but is more related to the general dead-ness of the tree than anything else.
I was trying to think of some of the highlights from the year, mostly the writing ones. Here's what I came up with off the top of my head and in no particular order.
1. Our anniversary trip and 20 year anniversary.
2. My writer's group writing retreat. 3 days to do nothing but write. And eat. And talk to other writers. The weekend is the absolute best and I always come away so recharged and focused. And this year we're extending it a whole day!
3. Sending all four kids to school all day. Don't get me wrong, I adore the beasts and always look forward to their days off school, but this was a milestone for me. Sort of a bittersweet one - the end of having little, little ones and the beginning of full-time writer status.
4. Writing my very first single title book. In a month. The fastest book I've ever written and one I'm still excited about.
5. My writing friends. Somewhere along the way, the line between professional and personal got crossed much to a greater benefit. I don't know what I'd do without them.
6. Natalie and Megan getting me hooked on "Supernatural". Thanks to them, I put the season one dvd's on the top of my Christmas list and am now the proud owner of endless hours of Sam and Dean.
7. This Christmas. For many reasons and none of them material.
I'm sure I'll think of more. Maybe I'll post them tomorrow. Maybe not.
Be warm.

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

The Day After...

What a fabulous weekend!
Busy, mostly chaotic but, last night, as I sat with my nifty back massaging cushion and reflected on everything, I realized just how blessed we are. Not that I didn't already know that, but things kind of hit home for me. I'm not talking about material gifts, but the blessing of family and friends.
Now I'm looking for the blessing of the vacuum cleaner. Our tree is dead, dead, dead. The needles rain down at an alarming rate at the slightest breeze. It's coming down. Probably today if I can find the energy and dodge the scooter being ridden through the house.
I'm also eager to get back into my writing. I think my head is back in the right place now that the holiday stress has eased. With all four kids home, one extra and what will most likely be a constant flow of their friends, I'm trying not to expect too much out of myself.
I'm also thinking of my goals for 2007. I don't do resolutions - only goals. Yeah, there's a difference, at least to me and I only make writing related goals.
But first I have to clean up around here...

Friday, December 22, 2006

Happy Holidays!

This will probably be my last post until Tuesday. Maybe.
K1 did make it to school today. He stayed on the couch all day yesterday, sleeping, but by last night was up and foaming at the mouth to get out of here. Needless to say, he didn't go. Except out on the front porch with no shoes. We made him come back inside, much to his disagreement that it was a bad idea to run around with no shoes and no coat after spending 3 days insisting he was a cadaver. Not so worried about mono right now. Obviously.
K4 shares her birthday with Christmas. I will always remember the Christmas she was born. From the hurried trip to the hospital - total time of labor = 1 hour. To the fact that the older kids didn't want Santa to come if Mommy wasn't home. Their selflessness is something I'll always cherish - the brave front they put on that had me in tears and demanding to go home the next morning, the shock and surprise on their faces when we arrived back home from the hospital and they realized Santa kept his promise and came while they were picking us up.
The other thing you have to know is that K4 was unplanned. In fact, I was scheduled for a tubal. We'd tried so hard to concieve the other 3, and truly thought we were done. Obviously, that decision wasn't ours to make. She's a true gift and our Christmas angel. And I cannot imagine life without her.
On that mushy note, I hope the holidays bring you peace, joy and happiness.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Thursday Jumble

This week hasn't been the best so far.
Except for last night. Yesterday was our anniversary. Our trip in November was our gift to ourselves, so last night we stayed home. Which was nice, since it was also the first night in a week that we haven't had evening obligations. The grill malfunctioned though - and we didn't eat until late. Then we worked on the wrapping. Boring? Maybe to some. For me, just being able to spend some time together - talking and laughing - is far better than anything else we could have done. After twenty years, he's still my bestest friend in the whole world.
The crappy part of the week?
K1 might have mono. He's missed, so far, 2 days of school under doctors orders. He's home again now, but I'm hoping he can get to school before too much longer. Yesterday, he was doing great. Bored off his butt and working really hard at making me crazy. By last night, all the symptoms came back with a vengeance. By this morning, he had to crawl to the bathroom. We won't know until next week for sure, but the poor kid just signed up to play Rugby. Something he's been dying to do for a long time. If he has mono he won't be able to start practices in January.
And I'm still not done with my shopping. A combination of no time, not wanting to leave the sick kid and other obligations. I'd planned to go today, but he's home and I have to go to school to help with the parties. Tomorrow for sure. I hope.
And K2 didn't get a part in the spring musical. She's so bummed and my heart breaks for her. After months of tap classes and constant practice. She's good too, so I'm really confused. Her name wasn't even on the board though and she's worried that they lost her form. On a good note, she's gathering her paperwork for an arts school. Like a votech, but for drama. The only problem is no transportation is provided.
Yeah. A hard week.
But, I do still have a little Christmas spirit in me. Wrapping last night helped a ton. And everything that needs done will get done. I know that. By Sunday, I'll be excited and less worried about everything. No matter what, we'll have a wonderful holiday.
And I hope you do too.

Monday, December 18, 2006

Down to the Wire

A week to go.
A week before the big day.

And what am I doing?
Barely nothing.

My "to do" list takes up almost a whole sheet of notebook paper. (Yes, I'm a huge list maker.) So far, I've crossed off exactly 5 items, 6 once I finish and post this. Yeah, it's kind of early in the day yet, but...

Sunday, December 17, 2006

What I've been up to...

There it is.
Probably as crafty as I get. And the picture definitely isn't the best, but that's what I get for just snapping without any thought to lighting and my position.
We (my sister and a friend) started making these about 9 years ago. This is my version. The mittens are a new addition this time around. A fantastic suggestion by K4. Once everyone I knew at the time had one, I stopped painting them. This year, B was looking for something special for a good friend of his and tried to pilfer the ones I kept for myself. So, I offered to paint one for him. One turned into many, as I realized there are a few people that didn't own a snowman.
Like I said, this is probably as crafty as I get. I can't crochet, needlepoint and barely sew. We were running late for a function the other night when B realized his shirt was missing a button. He still needed to shower so I offered to sew the button on for him. You should have seen his face - it was like he thought aliens had abducted his non-sewing wife. Don't get me wrong, I would love to be one of those women who can create beautiful things on a whim, but that's just not me.
No wait. I would rather use all my creativity on writing - that's what I hope to be a beautiful thing. I can live without being able to make topiaries and floral centerpieces, but I can't live without the words and stories that are inside of me.
And I'm perfectly happy with that.

Thursday, December 14, 2006


Yesterday, I was thoroughly frustrated with the book I wrote when the kids went back to school. I even considered ditching the whole thing. (There was more to it than that and my thoughts involved fire, but I was quickly talked out of pursuing those avenues) I didn't know if I'd let it sit too long, not long enough or if I should have never wrote the darn thing to begin with. This book is the longest book I've ever written and I had a great time writing it. The words seemed to flow and I hit record page counts almost every day.
Instead of continuing to try to fix each sentence, I decided to just read and hopefully find the groove I had when I wrote it. The book is about two sisters and the haunted campground they inherit. Add four hunky guys, two choices for each sister, many ghosts, and an evil step-grandmother - and well, this ones considerably lighter than what I normally write. Originally, I had each sister's point of view and I liked it - what one sister believed, the other negated, but for some reason, by the time I reached the end, I'd decided to make the whole book in only one sisters pov and give the other her own book.
That was my mistake.
As I struggled through the edits, I found I mostly disliked the sister who was to have her happy ending in this book. She's too weak, too soft and has no sense of adventure. I wrote volumes of notes with ideas of how to toughen her up, but still felt like I made no progress. That's when I decided to just read. Hoping I'd find the spark I had when I first wrote this.
And I did.
I discovered this needs both sisters. The book is as much about their personal and sisterly growth as it is about them finding their soul mates. The sisters balance each other, they learn from each other and by the end, form a bond stronger than before. One has to let go of always being in charge and learn to have fun. The other needs to put past issues to rest and realize that she's capable. While there will be a romantic happy ending for each, their happiness will also be tied in with their sister relationship and the strength they find there.
And I need to get to work.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Random Things

In my bathroom:
A whole stack of "Barbie" books. Not just a few, a big stack. I don't know why.
The movie "V for Vendetta". That's a big why.

The Christmas Tree:
Our cat seems to think we put the pine branches up for his specific pleasure. Every morning, every time we leave the house, ornaments are strewn from one side of the living room to the other. The tree skirt is in a pile and he just sits there looking all royal and indignant. His new favorite spot is on the couch right next to the tree. He's waiting for us to leave so he can play. So far, 2 broken ornaments.

The dining room table:
I can't find it. There are two different projects covering the top, and a package of liquid bandage. One mine - not writing - I'll post a picture once I finish them. One B's - I'm not exactly sure what he's making. I ask him but he just mutters noncommittally. Last night, he sliced his finger open. A pretty good cut, not quite enough for stitches, but close. (Reason for the liquid bandage)

The shopping:
Mom and I went all morning yesterday. I'm close to finishing. There's just those few items I can't seem to locate. Oh, and the wrapping. I haven't done any yet. Last year, we were so behind we had K1 help. I think that started a tradition because he's already said he can't wait to help us again. I'm cool with that. We had a good time last year and the help was excellent.

The cookies:
Pretty funny to talk about making cookies when our oven is still defunct. That's one benefit of having B's mom living so close. We make the batter and then take them down to her place to bake. (Actually, B's the one making the batter.) It's working well so far. (And no, having my mother-in-law practically in my backyard does not cause problems. We have a great relationship.)

The writing:
Didn't do anything yesterday. Between my crafty project and shopping, I never got there. Today is a writing day. Tomorrow too. I've already met the monthly and yearly goals we set in my writer's group, but have a few personal ones to attend to before the end of the year.

The excitement:
K4's birthday is Christmas Day. You can imagine. She doesn't know what to be more excited about. So far, we've done well separating the two. We do birthday celebrating in the evening, with no Christmas paper on birthday presents and she chooses what we have for dinner. We've had some interesting things - from spaghetti to lasagna. This year she's picked grilled chicken, mashed potatoes and corn. And a homemade ice cream cake. This morning she asked me how many days until her birthday, immediately followed by asking how many days until Christmas. Even K1 is in on the excitement. He's constantly asking me about his presents, trying to finagle enough clues to figure out what he's getting.

And I'm not telling...

Monday, December 11, 2006

O Christmas Tree

Well, there it is.
Can't say this picture does the tree much justice though. Don't know if that's the camera or me. A big tree, and as the branches relax, it just keeps getting bigger.
We have a mish mosh of different decorations. The kids are allowed to hang what they want, where they want to. There are no rules. Except for K2's fragile collection of ballerina Barbies. They go at the top. And the handblown glass ornament my mom gave us the year we married. Other than that, they are in charge.
Most of the time, we have some interesting items on our tree. Skeletons, clothing tags...every year something odd gets placed in the branches. See that red sled at the left bottom? Someone stuck a "boys sleepwear" sticker on it last year. Once, at one of B's work Christmas parties, many moons ago, we made decorations out of the meal choice tags. For a long time, we had "chicken" and "beef" hanging from hooks on the tree. I'm sure we still have them in the box of decorations that are too fragile to use any longer. The memories stuff like that brings back are far more important than worrying about matching ornaments and uniformity of colors and shapes.
We did find a praying mantis egg sack in the branches. That's outside now. Every time I see it, I can't help but wonder what would have happened had it hatched in the house. Don't get me wrong - I think praying mantis' are cool, but I definitely don't want them in my house. I've seen them hatch before and there are hundreds of them. Yikes!
Every year, I think the tree is the most beautiful one we've had. This year is no different.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Weekend Update

Shopping started: Check.
I managed to get a good start. But I was the underachiever during our shopping trip.
Christmas tree: Check.
It's up. And huge. B rolled his eyes when I picked it out. He had to cut a good section off the bottom. And off the top. The lights are on and we'll decorate the rest tonight when the family is together. I'll post a picture as soon as I find the batteries for my camera.
Outside lights: Not check.
We'll get there.
I even wrote last night. And I think I convinced B he has to watch "Supernatural" with me. He's resisting and that boggles my mind because the show is right up his alley too.
The weekends been a pretty good one so far.
Some idiot side swiped my Suburban during the middle of the night. The tail light is busted out. Grrr....They left their mirror behind. Think they'll come back for it?
Yeah. Right.

Friday, December 08, 2006

"Weather in Your Tail"

My mom used to say that when we'd get crazy. "It's going to snow, or something, you all have weather in your tails." And usually, it did snow or the weather did change. Why is that? Are children some kind of weather predictors? Does the change in barometric pressure do something? I don't know. I can't think too hard about that right now, except to say now that I have children, I know my mother was right.
It's snowing here. Tiny little flakes. When it started, I was taking K3 and K4 to school. They stood on the front porch, the look on their faces one of pure joy and expectation. That was cool.
Tonight is shopping night. I'm excited. And I'm ready. Well, nearly. I only have a few more organizational tasks to accomplish, but they have nothing to do with hiding presents. Only finding things in my kitchen.
Vicky B blogged about critiquing my book today. She's yelled at me before for scaring her.
Tomorrow is Christmas tree day! I'm ready for that too. It only took me two tries to rearrange the living room in a comfortable and functional way. And I decorated the piano and bannister already.
It really is beginning to look a lot like Christmas!
Enjoy the weekend!

Wednesday, December 06, 2006


Usually, just as I'm close to finishing a draft or edits, I get a new idea. I'm not alone, most writers I know have this problem. The idea is strong and begs to be written. It's exciting, because you realize your brain still does actually work and that your well hasn't dried up like you feared after dealing with the same characters and words.
But it's also frustrating. Because usually we aren't ready to start that book yet. There's a 'to do' list in front of that idea.
The book I recently completed has the possibilty of several consecutive stories all relating to one event. The event has shaped each character differently and I'm excited to find out who's good and who's evil. Very excited.
Except. The last book, and it has to be the last book relating to this event, is already pressing into my brain. I know who the hero is and I think I know who the bad guy is. The story concept is shaping and I find I'm thinking about this book more than the one I should be concentrating on. And no, it can't be the second book. The hero from the last book has to be a part of each book prior to his own, without finding his own resolutions. His position is an integral part of each story. You could say, he's an authority figure who will finally get his happy ever after in the last book.
So, I'll write down everything I'm thinking and file it for when I'm ready. That usually works to take the immediacy away. Usually. I hope it does in this case, because there is quite a line in front of this particular idea.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Random Tuesday

Busy around here - sick kids, school meetings, that annoying organizing I'm trying to do.
And movies!
"Pirates of the Caribbean" came out on DVD today. Guess what's on right now? Why am I writing this instead of watching? Well, because the movie was put in too soon and I have too much to do to sit down and watch. And I saw the movie twice over the summer. But listening to it makes me very happy.
Went to see "The Nativity Story" last night. I won't give away anything, but I did like it.
The organizing is coming along. I need to get the rest done before Friday. Friday night is "Ladies Only Shopping Night". I'm looking forward to it. This night is a tradition for the women in my family. We shop, stop for a late dinner, then shop some more. Usually we don't get home until after midnight. Sometimes earlier, though usually much later. Some years, I'm almost done with the shopping and some, like this year, I've barely begun.
There's a homework line for the computer tonight, so I'm out of here.

Sunday, December 03, 2006


Natalie tagged any one who wanted to do this. So here goes:

2006 Holiday Edition of Getting to Know Your Friends
Your Name: Vicki
1. Egg Nog or Hot Chocolate?
Both, but neither. I have to be in the mood.
2. Does Santa wrap presents or just sit them under the tree?
Wraps. When the kids were little we used to leave one "big" present unwrapped.
3. Colored lights on tree/house or white?
Both. I prefer white outside, but like the colored ones too.
4. Do you hang mistletoe?
Yes. But for no reason.
5. When do you put your decorations up?
After Thanksgiving. Sometimes way after.
6. What is your favorite holiday dish?
Hmm....Good question. Probably Mandarin Orange Salad.
7. Favorite Holiday memory as a child?

The year my parents gave me the boots I wanted more than anything. Except they wrapped a pair of my mom's old snow boots. I was shocked. It was funny.
8. When and how did you learn the truth about Santa?

I'm not sure. But with 2 older brothers...
9. Do you open a gift on Christmas Eve?

We did when I was a kid. Always jammies. I guess we technically do now. Only we're with the family at my folks. We do a family gift exchange and the kids each get a present from Grammy and PopPop to open then.
10. How do you decorate your Christmas Tree?

Lights and ornaments. Breakables at the top because of the dog. No tinsel. The cat would eat it.
11. Snow! Love it or Dread it?

12. Can you ice skate?

I've only done it a few times.
13. Do you remember your favorite gift?

Probably those boots I mentioned above.
14. What’s the most important thing about the Holidays for you?

15. What is your favorite Holiday Dessert?

Pumpkin Pie.
16. What is your favorite holiday tradition?

Listening to the music from "A Charlie Brown Christmas" while decorating the tree. Going to my parents house on Christmas Eve and eating chicken rice soup.
17. What tops your tree?

And old fashioned Santa holding a candle.
18. Which do you prefer giving or Receiving?
Well, both, of course. I love watching the kids open something they thought they weren't going to get.
20. Candy Canes! Yuck or Yum?

They're okay. I don't eat too many of them.

If you feel like doing this, go ahead. I'm not tagging anyone specifically!

Friday, December 01, 2006

'Tis The Season...

For things to break.
I guess.
Ignore what I said in my previous post. Whatever is going on is worse that tryptophan depleting the ozone layer. It seems that the bad luck is rolling from one person to another with extreme levels for all affected. Weird. And I'm not liking the whole thing.
Especially since I seem to be the one holding on to the crappy luck right now.
1. K1 had to visit the doc yesterday. His eyes were swollen and had an itchy rash around them. An allergy, yes. But to what?
2. My oven died. I went to make dinner last night and the darned thing wouldn't turn on. The stove part works, but dang.
3. This morning I came down groggy and in serious need of caffeine. I turned the coffee pot on...and nothing. I did manage to get coffee, but dang.
4. My dryer is doing a death rattle. Anyone who knows my luck with dryers will shake their heads. I have gone through 5 in the past 10 years. Dang.
For B and I, the holiday season has always meant a run of bad luck - things breaking, big unexpected bills, family issues. The very first year we hosted Thanksgiving, our hot water heater died. His father had his stroke Thanksgiving morning.
I guess I shouldn't be surprised. I still don't have to like it, though, do I?

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Cosmic Tryptophan Interference

Why else would this rash of bad luck and irritating things be happening?
Not just to me. Though admittedly, my annoyance meter is no where near what other friends are. My troubles are more "life on steroids" as opposed to the heaped on lives of a few of my friends. One gets fantastic news Monday, only to have Tuesday bring chaos. Another goes through bad news like the Sunday paper. Why?
Does our turkey fest somehow disrupt the balance of the cosmos? Or is it the shopping? The Christmas lights?
I blame the turkey. All those fumes from baking birds have to do something to the atmosphere. Think about it...If aerosol hair spray helped create the hole in the ozone, what would millions of people cooking turkeys at the same time do? Something, I'd bet.
Maybe all that tryptophan causes some kind of shift in the alignment of the universe?
*I know. Too silly. Sorry.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Temper Tantrums

Today we started the school routine again after the long holiday break. Getting everyone awake (including me) was a chore. I should have know this afternoon wouldn't be any easier.
K4 has this nasty habit of releasing her daily stress on me as soon as she comes out of school. She's done this since preschool and it arrives in different forms - she's rude to her friend, she ignores me or throws a brief fit about something. Today she had a total meltdown - complete with crying and kicking as she rolled around on the grass outside of school.
I'm not exactly sure what started it. But it ended with her losing out on going to cub scouts tonight and having to go to bed early. The thing is, by grounding her from cub scouts, I've also grounded myself. I won't be able to go and see K3 get his awards. Definitely not smart of me, but at the time, I was grasping at straws trying to get through to her and I really thought the proposed grounding would move her in the right direction. I was wrong.
You would think after 4 kids that I would know exactly what to say, to do, and how I should have diffused the situation to begin with. With the middle two, they would have been off the grass and into the car before I got to two. Not K4. She's got a defiance only matched by the 17 year old.
And now, I have no choice but to follow through. If I relent and allow her to go, then I've set myself up for yet another tantrum of similar proportions. The funny thing about K4 is that she'll never admit defeat. When I said no cub scouts, her reply was that she really didn't want to go anyway. If I threaten the loss of toys, she tells me she's done with those toys. Right now, there's almost an entire Little People village in seclusion in the basement for that very reason.
And I'm left feeling guilty.
Some days it's hard to be a Mom.

Monday, November 27, 2006

Fear and Writing Friends

Or not. Who knows where my sleep deprived brain will take this post.

This was taken at the top of Barnegat Light. An achievement and proof of reaching the top.

And it makes me think about fear. Not fear of heights, but fear of success. I did make it to the top of this lighthouse, but not without fear. Unfounded fears - logically nothing terrible would happen. The stairs weren't about to dissolve under me, the railing wasn't going to give out if I leaned on it.

Fear is normal. It keeps us out of trouble and away from danger. But, fear also prevents us from reaching our full potential. I'm not talking about rational fears - like waking up to find a bear in your tent, or petting a dog that clearly wants to bite you. It's the irrational fears - like my trip to the top of the lighthouse (especially irrational because I'm not normally afraid of heights.). This is the fear we allow to sabotage us into not writing, not following our dreams. Fear sometimes turns into that little voice that tells us we're not good enough, that your work stinks and that you can't even construct a proper sentence. It's also partly responsible for the excuses we make for not writing when we should be. (I did say partly.)

That's when having the support of your writing friends helps. Those friends know fear and recognize the need for a kick in the butt, a shoulder to sob on, or a phone call to talk you through the rough patch. Writing friends know the path you're on. They're not strangers to what's going on inside your head. Every rocky step and oily mud puddle are familiar to them and they're the first to reach out a hand in support and understanding. They can help dissolve your fears, or at least temporarily banish the demons. If you don't have a writing support group, find one. You won't be sorry.

Writing is a solitary endeavor. It doesn't have to be a lonely one.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Oh. My.

My head already hurts.
The birthday party sleepover has started. K2, and her cousins. All 15 years old or close enough.
My kitchen looks like the aftermath of some twisted eating frenzy. Pieces of eggrolls, taco rollups and pizza rolls (among other finger type foods) spread from one end of the counter to the other. And they took pictures of the half-eaten food - the container of sour cream and the bowl of soy sauce. (Again, praise to the digital camera)
They have a full evening planned. Scary movies. Dancing. Music. More food. More movies. I'm not sure sleep is part of their time together.
Luckily the extra girls are very at home here. There's no awkwardness or shyness. If they need a glass of water, they get it - they know where everything is. That's a cool thing. I may shake my head at the food mess, but knowing my daughter has such close friends is a very good feeling.
And I cherish this time because one day soon there won't be any more birthday party sleepovers. One day, we'll take her to dinner for her birthday before she goes out dancing with her friends. Our house will be quiet, and clean, but at least we'll have these memories to hold on to.
This time goes fast. I'm noticing that more and more these days.
Now I must go clean the kitchen.
Hope your weekend was enjoyable!

Saturday, November 25, 2006


This is what happens when the kids use the camera.
I downloaded the Thanksgiving pics this morning only to find this. And a picture of a pie. And a bowl of mashed potatoes. And teeth. Yes, the child took pictures of the insides of peoples mouths.
Why? You ask. I don't know. But that's the glory of a digital camera. Out of 110 pictures, I only saved 48. At least I didn't have to pay to get them developed.
So. Yeah. Hey! We had salt and pepper on Thanksgiving! What a memory! Tee Hee.
At least I didn't post the pictures of molars and dental work!
Enjoy the weekend!

Friday, November 24, 2006

Black Friday

I have only shopped Black Friday sales once in my life. With my sister-in-law, who doesn't remember. That'll tell you how traumatic it was! I don't know that either of us will ever go again. But I applaud those who do go.
Black Friday is the anniversary of my very first car accident. Way back when. I had just dropped off the same sister-in-law from above (though she wasn't my sister-in-law yet. We were still in high school.) and was on my way home to get ready for work. (I can't imagine that we'd been shopping. Since I'm sure I didn't have any money for shopping.) Anyway, I hit a telephone pole and totaled my 1967 Chevy BelAir. Maybe that's one of the reasons I don't like to go out today. Weird, I know. But you already knew that about me.
Thanksgiving was great. We had a wonderful time. Lots of food and laughter and lots of food. Seriously, lots of food. And the best bunch of family and friends any person could want. I think we all went home knowing just how blessed we are.
Now for the next birthday. K2. Teenaged girl sleepover on the horizon. Oh my.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Happy Thanksgiving!

May your day be blessed with great food and people you love!

I think I mentioned in a previous post that we do Thanksgiving on a rotating schedule in our family. This year, we're heading to our good friends for their very first turn at hosting our large and obnoxious clan. I'm not sure what the actual number is, but I'm thinking it's about 26 people. That's pretty much our regular group. I know that's daunting to some, but I'm a member of a large family so it seems perfectly normal to me.

I'm looking forward to it. It's been too long since we all gathered together and we miss everyone. Schedules, activities, work and changes to our lives have prevented us from getting together. Something we previously did at least once a month - sometimes more.

Before that though, I have pies to bake and other food items to prepare. I love baking pies - even making the crust. It's not what you would call a pretty crust, but still edible and its something I enjoy doing.

With the kids home, my computer time will be limited until Tuesday. If my posts aren't regular, you'll know the line to get on here was too long.

Until then, enjoy this holiday! Don't forget to remember what you're thankful for.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Barnegat Light

Barnegat Lighthouse on Long Beach Island.
We climbed it, though I have to admit I got a little freaked out as we neared the top. I can't remember how many steps you have to climb, but it's not as many as the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse (I climbed that one too).
You can go out at the top. There's a safety railing from floor to ceiling. B ran around the circumference, taking pictures and hollering at me to come out. I would go out and right back in. Don't ask me why, normally I have no problems with heights. Coming down was a bit of an issue for me as well. My knees were shaking and I went really slow. Not B, he would wait for me to get to the next landing and then run down.
It's a beautiful sight. Looking out at the top was amazing and really added to our trip.
Today's the last day of school for the kids. They're excited. I am too. I'm looking forward to the break.
And to Turkey Day.

Monday, November 20, 2006

Just What We Needed

This is what I woke to Saturday morning!
A beach sunrise!
B and I actually pulled off a weekend away. Next month is our wedding anniversary and this is the first time in 20 years we've ever gone away just us. We didn't even take a honeymoon.
Normally, when we try to plan a weekend away something happens. One of the kids is sick, there's an obligation we can't get out of, or we get all logical and look at the money we'd spend. To be honest, up until the time we left, I had my doubts we'd actually go. But that's probably related to our previous history.
Once we got the kiddos settled and off to their destinations, we hit the road. Got a little lost (that's what happens when you don't bother to get directions, or a good map), but we finally arrived. And we had a most awesome time!

Friday, November 17, 2006


And they're back together.
Don't they look happy?
She looks a little worried to me. But they seem content to take their position on the porch, greeting travelers with their reminder that Thanksgiving should be celebrated and not ignored in favor of Christmas.
There are several radio stations playing Christmas music already. For some reason, I kind of mind that. Don't get me wrong, I love Christmas music. I guess I'm just not ready for it yet. Maybe its just because I still don't have a plan.

Enjoy the weekend!

Thursday, November 16, 2006

A Broken Love

These are my pilgrims.
I painted them myself. They stand on the front porch and give Thanksgiving greetings. Or they will. When they're back together.
They need marriage counseling. I'm not sure what happened to cause their relationship problems, but by last fall, they weren't able to hold the pumpkin they share. He left her with all the responsibility for the pumpkin. Look at her, she's mad. I think he pushed her. I found her laying face down on the porch. He had that gleam of achievement in his eyes. I put her back up, close to him, and the next time I went out, they were very far apart again. They spent time together in the basement, leaned against the wall side by side since last December. I hope they talked things out because they have a job to do. If you look at him, he almost looks sorry.
B will provide the marriage counseling with a trusty drill and a few screws. When I told him the above, he said I was weird.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Icky Housework

**Check out that word meter! 79.2% I'm almost done!**

With thoughts and plans for the holidays, I've also come to realize that this house needs a major organizational clean out. Seriously, at any moment, the house is just going to split in two, spilling its contents into the yard and street. And Christmas is coming. Which means even more stuff.
The clothes are the worst part. The ones that need gone through, handed down or given to charity. Or thrown away. That's an issue for me. Throwing away clothes. It's like throwing away books. I won't throw something away unless it's beyond help - stained, ripped or falling apart. It just seems like a waste to me.
Books are even worse. I found some books last week that were really mold damaged. Really damaged. It took all I had to toss them into the trash. We have several books that have been taped so many times, they're more tape than books. Those are the favorites though..."Are You My Mother?" "The Best Nest" "Henry Babysits"...favorites of all four kids and books that I will probably never get rid of. They were loved too much to toss out. Hopefully (in the far off, really, really far off) future our grandchildren will adore them.
How'd I get off topic?
Anyway, yeah. Organizing. Where is my magic wand? Why can't I just wiggle my nose and take care of all of this?
My computer's cool down fan is dying. Again. If I disappear for a few days, you'll know why.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Bugs in the Bedroom

So, last night B and I are laying in bed looking at a catalog for Christmas ideas. I reach back to turn the light off and he tells me to stop. I look at him and is face has "that look". The look that makes you shrink and fear what's behind you. I did turn, and saw nothing.
He pointed out how camoflauged it was. And then I did see it.
One of those icky assasin bugs, hiding out on the side of a hand made clay pot one of the kids gave to me for Mother's day. We stared at each other for a second.
There was no way I was removing the thing, he saw it first, he should do it.
He did and we spent several minutes looking around before finally turning the lights off. Making sure there wasn't more of them and wondering. Wondering if there was a nest of them somewhere and if they were just waiting for us to relax before they attacked. Wondering at their intelligence and their purpose for being in our bedroom. Wondering if we would wake up covered in icky bugs, or not wake up because we were bit so many times the toxins built up in our systems and killed us.
Okay, that was me.
Once the light was off, he fell asleep. I'm the one who felt every tickle of the sheets and every brush of my own hair. But...those bugs are gross! And why was one in my bedroom?

Monday, November 13, 2006

Monday Ramblings

Things have slowed down here a fraction. Enough that I've managed, at least this weekend, to squeeze in some writing time. I'm not foolish enough to believe things will stay this way - not with the holidays approaching. But, I'll take what I can get.
I'm trying to decide if I want to skip sending out Christmas cards this year. Every year I say I'm going to trim the list, and that never seems to happen. Before I know it, I'm spending a fortune in stamps and cards. Is getting Christmas cards important to you?
I'm still resisting the press of the holidays, even though I have no choice but to think about it. Shopping for four (plus the nieces and nephews) takes time, effort and a plan. It's soon time for me to figure mine out.
Surprisingly, I find I'm really looking forward to the holiday season. Last year, I was kind of a Grinch. I never did fully get into the spirit of the season. I did what I had to do but never found that excitement that's supposed to come with the hanging of the lights and the choosing of the tree. I don't know why. I want to be different this year.
Back to work! Happy Monday!

Friday, November 10, 2006

Random Friday

Thoughts, questions and experiences from my week.

I'm getting the idea that there is some messy spirit living in my linen closet. I'm not kidding. I go upstairs and the door is open. There is always something on the floor - sheets, towels, mismatched socks. I restore order, close the door and the next time I go up, it's the same thing.

More shoe trauma: Once I get out of here and run my errands, 3 pairs of defective shoes will have been returned in the past 2 weeks. Two pair were K2's, that she bought with her own money. The first pair broke before she had a chance to wear them, we took them back. The next pair fell apart the second time she put them on. The brand new, not cheap, boots I bought K4 (with the idea that when he grows out of them, they'll fit me) broke the first time he put them on. Grr.

What is it with teenaged boys and fire? Why do they want to burn things?

I just realized Thanksgiving is less than 2 weeks away. How did that happen? Last year, we were in charge of Thanksgiving dinner. We do a rotating schedule and my turn comes around once every six years. The next time we host, our family will be dramatically changed. K1 will be 23 years old. K2 will be turning 20. That is so weird to think about.

Soon, I will no longer be annoyed by all the Christmas ads and displays at the stores. (I went to the grocery store on Halloween and they were putting up Christmas stuff!) We still have two kid birthdays this year. K2 and K4 - K4's is on Christmas day. Always a challenge balancing both - we've done okay so far. We do Christmas the first half of the day and then her birthday. And we've had some interesting meals for Christmas dinner since it's her choice.

Anyone ever been to Beach Haven, NJ? I'm just curious.

And, a collective Happy Birthday shout out to the 5 birthday people in the past 10 days. You know who you are. And if you want, I'll sing to you. Except it might make you sick.

Have a fantastical weekend!

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Another Favorite Place

This is another place that speaks to my soul. When we are here, stresses melt away. We all look forward to our weekends here with contagious excitement. Sadly, our summer camping was practically non-exsistent this year due to weather, weather and crazy schedules.
The cool thing is that we don't have to travel far to go here. Day trips or impromptu weekends are possible. Sometimes, we forget that.
This photo was taken in early spring during the planting of K1's senior high project. He planted a beautiful weeping willow tree in one of the areas that tends to retain water. This picture doesn't do the place justice at all. But imagine sitting on a blanket on the creek bank, fishing and telling stories, hanging out with friends and laughing.
Word meter is back. And I'm still making forward progress.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006


Since those nifty word meters are out of order, here it is:
31,250 out of 72,000
or 43%
I found my groove again.

Monday, November 06, 2006

Well, I Warned Them...

So, Friday night, after B and K3 left for cub scout camp, I had to take K2 and her bestest friend to my sisters to assist with my niece's sleepover birthday party. K4 had already been picked up by my sister in a convoluted trade-off related to space, time and cooking pans. Don't ask. It's me and 3 teenagers in my husbands little car.
The trip didn't start out the best - did I mention this car is small? Teenage girls have "stuff" and I had two of them, plus K4's stuff, and I had to pick up the birthday cake. We won't discuss what happened in the middle of the grocery store - suffice it to say that it was one of those moments that made me understand why most wild animals don't let their kids hang around once they learn how to feed themselves.
We get back in the car, the cake perched precariously on teenaged knees. And the radio station fights started. What K1 liked, the girls did not. What they liked, he moaned in disgust over. They finally agreed to take turns. (Unbelievable as that is.) K1 was in charge of scanning the stations and that's when it happened.
An 80's love song - one I know by heart. I guess I should be ashamed to admit that, but oh well. I told him he'd better change the station before I started singing.
He didn't.
I did warn them. I said, "You'd better change it before this song gets stuck in my head and I start singing." Well, the song got stuck and I sang it to them, loudly and way worse than my normal terribleness, the rest of the drive. I guess I should be embarrased that my vocal skills created a lot of laughter, but it was the kind of moment that I'll remember forever.
Besides the grocery store tift, the evening turned out well. The car singing was fun. Dinner with my son was fun and the movie we watched afterward filled me with ideas for a new story.
Not too bad.

Friday, November 03, 2006

Funny Pic

One more of my sister's dog, Nezzie.
This was her Halloween costume. Faerie dog. I love that she actually looks like she's flying in this pic.
She trick or treated with us and had lots of compliments on her attire. One house even had dog treats for any trick or treating pooches. She did well, except for when we approached a man dressed in an elongated mask complete with huge hands. Of course, he was wielding a fake chainsaw.
Sadly, Abbie is not a trick or treating dog. We've taken her in years past, but we believe her night vision is poor. The crowds and darkness upset her. She won't even go get her ball at night, unless it's thrown in a well lit area of the yard.
Busy day and weekend ahead. Don't know if I'll be back to post until Monday. If not, enjoy the weekend and behave!

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Thought Provoking

This photo is one many people would ignore. An accidental picture probably taken while adjusting camera settings or the inadvertant push of a button.
Except this picture was intentionally taken and makes me think.
Who left those footprints? Where were they going? What thoughts weighed heavy on their mind as they walked the beach?
To me, this picture is a thought provoker. As I stare at it, ideas and scenarios rush through my brain. A lonely woman, walking the shore line and wondering if she will ever find the love she so desperately needs. A widower, mourning his long-dead wife and preparing to finally spread her ashes in the place she loved the best as a final act of healing. What if they met?
What about a teenager? Forced on vacation with his parents - equally resentful and pleased to be at the beach. He walks as a way to escape what he percieves as smothering, his anger not as focused now as it had been when he left. What if he finds something? A small treasure that has the power to change his life - even if he doesn't know how. What would the treasure be? A Genie bottle? An oddly shaped stone that connects him with another time and place?
I could go on. And on. But I won't. That little glimpse into my brain is probably already too much.
As writers, we find inspiration in odd places. The abandoned car alongside the highway, the lonely old barn, the dead cat in the middle of the road...really just about any thing or any place can spark a story idea, a scene idea or give us what we needed to tie up the plot. Sometimes, we have to force ourselves to remember to take time to look around, to get out in the world and experience even the mundane.
If you're a writer, you have been reminded.
If you're not, you now have experienced a small sample of the inner workings of my brain - as scary as it may be to you. I'm not saying all writers think like me, but I know for a fact many do. Be kind to us.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Equal Time

Feeling a little guilty for posting a pic of Miss Nezzie before I did one of my own puppy. This is Abbie, or Abbie Normal, (Bonus points if you know what movie that's from!) She's almost 5 and is tiny at about 100 lbs. We rescued her from the shelter and have never regretted it. Part Newfoundland, part Border Collie, she displays traits of both - except she's not fond of swimming. When the kids are in the creek its her job to stand watch and bark if she thinks they're doing something unsafe. She's a mother hen and a great member of the family, but is not so tolerant of playing dress up.

Trick or Treat night is over. We had a good time, even though K4 decided she was done 2 blocks from home. She dropped her bag, folded her arms and stomped down the sidewalk, refusing to stop at any more houses even though we had to pass them to get home.

November already. Can you believe that?

Tuesday, October 31, 2006


Isn't that a frightening sight?
This is my sister's dog, Nezzie. (and she only had the mask on for as long as it took to take the pic) Scary, huh? (Even scarier is the mask belongs to K2) Nezzie is the sweetest dog and so tolerant. The kids frequently dress her in fairy wings and dresses and she never gets annoyed.

Another scary thing?
The horrible odor in my house right now. A combination of K2's rat cage and an obviously deceased hermit crab. I hadn't planned on touching either since I have repeatedly asked her to clean "Spanky's" cage and from her comment this morning she obviously knew the crab had already died. Honestly, I don't know if I can take the stench much longer. It's amazing how a bad smell overtakes and reproduces. In just a few hours, it's gone from annoying to vomit inducing. Of course, it's warmer today than the past few days and I'm sure that has at least a little to do with it.

I guess it's obvious I figured out how to post pictures. See? I can be taught!

Happy Halloween!

Stink-o-rama Update: No dead crabs. After I wrote this post I couldn't take it anymore and went up to bring the cage downstairs. No smell from there and only one lonely hermit crab left. He has been relocated to a new home in K3's room.
So, yeah, all that stank came from the rat. I am happy to report things are back to normal now. The cage has been cleaned. Thank goodness.

Monday, October 30, 2006

This is what I need!

This! This beach!
We didn't get to go this year and next years trip will remain up in the air for several months yet. Let's just say we'll be lucky to find a way to go next year. I try not to think about that too much as there are several factors way beyond my control.

That doesn't stop me from missing what we missed. The beach trip makes the nonstop schedule we live with worthwhile. It brings balance, and perspective. There is nothing better than waking up to the sunrise - drinking coffee on the deck and watching night creep away.

I find I've been thinking about the beach a lot lately. Trying not to be too sad and trying not to worry too much about next year. I remind myself that the next time we go will be even sweeter - that the absence will definitely make the heart grow fonder.

I know I'm right but that doesn't help much.

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Birthday Partying

I should have taken a picture.
A picture of what my dining room table looked like after 12 pumpkins were carved. The wind was wicked so we had to move the festivities inside. I had pumpkin seeds, guts and chunks littering my table and floor. I don't know how many times I had to remind that we don't throw pumpkin guts in the house.

K3 had a great day and the birthday shindig turned out well. Lots of noise, food and people and the best version of the birthday song ever. (Anyone from my family who is reading this will laugh. Our birthday song makes animals howl in the next state and gets worse every time we sing it.)

This is a busy birthday time for us. We'll be singing the birthday song a lot.

Friday, October 27, 2006

Random Things That Make You Go...uhhh???

1. I bought coffee cups. When I checked out, the woman asked: "What are you going to use these for?"
2. Once, I saw a pair of white silk panties on the sidewalk in front of a store. (there's a story to this, but it's best told in person.)
3. Why is it when people dial the wrong number that they blame you? I had a call the other day. When I told them it was a wrong number, the man kept saying, "This is the number he gave me." Well, I'm sorry, I think you've been played.
4. Why, and this happens every time, do I end up with a big zit on my face when I'm going to be around other people? First thing B says to me is..."Who's your friend?" I should name it. The darn thing is like a symbiant being. I think it's trying to take over.

Enjoy the weekend! We'll be birthday celebrating with K3!

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

I'm Here!

Not intentionally silent -
I am working, as you can see. Took off one of my progress meters because just looking at it stresses me out.

Busy week here. Birthdays, school parties, school treats for birthday, costume organizing and creating. And the usual stuff.

And, lucky, lucky, me - Cold germs are now inhabiting my body. I am not happy.

Shout out Happy Birthday to the fabulous VB! And Happy Anniversary to the daring duo of D and R!!
(The entire time I've known them, I never realized they shared a special day until this morning! How stupid am I? Wait. Don't answer that!) But, hey! I figured out the linky thingy.

Maybe I should go back to bed.

Friday, October 20, 2006


No bathroom oddities again this week. I'm becoming concerned. We went through the entire summer with something different every week and now...nothing. Well, besides the dirty clothes and toothpaste messes.

So, instead this Friday I'm going to complain about shoes.

I know we're a big family but what's the deal? Why are there always numerous pairs of shoes littering every available space on the floor? This morning I came downstairs to find 13 pairs of shoes. At least half belonged to K2 - she's a shoe diva - the minute she gets money in her hand, she's begging to go shoe shopping. I have trouble understanding this as I own very few shoes. I'd rather go barefoot and would love to move someplace where shoes are always optional. At the beach we go to, you don't even have to wear shoes in the grocery store! I don't recommend that, even though I normally forget to throw mine on. The floors are freezing. But how cool is that? That you can go into any store, restaurant, whatever, and not have to wear shoes! That's where I need to live!

But I digress. I wonder how this shoe phenomena happens? It's the same thing every morning. Why don't I see the shoes before I go to bed? I really think they gather while we sleep and party - passing out on the floor without returning to wherever they'd been stowed. Maybe more shoes than I see attend the shindig, but they make it back to storage before morning comes. Is that why a single shoe will be found in a completely illogical location? Or shoes that had previously been missing are suddenly found?

Is it gnomes, fairies or some other paranormal force? Or has my total exhaustion caused me to stop making sense?

Thursday, October 19, 2006

More Long & Lasting Love

So I'm stuck in a groove here.

Since I blogged about B's parents, I thought it only fitting that I should mention my own folks. This past April they celebrated their 45th wedding anniversary.

The really neat thing is that my parents still act like newlyweds sometimes. (yeah, and sometimes it icks me out too!) Right now, they're on vacation. Just the two of them and their camper - traveling wherever the wind blows them and enjoying each others company. That's a pretty cool thing.

I remember my parents dancing in the living room to "their" music. We were all offended back then, as my kids are now when B and I even kiss, but now I realize that they gave us the ingredients to maintain our own relationships. And they continue to do so with their semi-retirement adventures.

I guess that's one of the reasons I turned out to be such a romantic sap.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Romance Through The Years

I love a good romance.
Which is probably obvious since I write happy endings.

This past weekend my in-laws renewed their wedding vows in honor of their 50th anniversary. Their actual anniversary was about 2 weeks ago, but my father-in-law was in the hospital at that time so the celebration had to be delayed. Now, my father-in-law is wheelchair bound due to a massive stroke 11 years ago. The stroke did affect his brain and occasionally, he's not quite aware of what's really going on around him.

But he always knows the love of his life. After 50 years spent together, the love in their eyes was incredible to witness. The wedding pictures from their youth were not much different from the photographs taken Sunday. Sure, age factored in, but the expression of devotion and love was the same. Unchanged by 50 years of dealing with the world.

That's awesome. And awe-inspiring.

I'm not hiring update: The amount of calls I've received is pushing 70 now. The frustration level has skyrocketed. My phone just will not stop ringing and the ignorance of people is truly amazing. Not only are the same people who called on Monday calling back, but now I'm getting messages. My voice mail clearly states that I have nothing to do with the ad in the paper and that they should check the current edition for the correct number. And still...Still I get a message. A message stating that they realize they had the wrong number but they were really interested in the job and could I please help them find the right number. Umm...what?

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

I Am Not Hiring!

Sunday I had two messages on my cell phone. Messages inquiring about the position in the Sunday paper. Umm...what? I checked the classifieds and sure enough, there was a position listed and my cell phone number was the contact.

I couldn't get in touch with anyone at the paper on Sunday. Not that it would have done much good. First thing Monday, the phone started ringing. Constantly. I placed a message on my voice mail that explained they'd reached a private number and I was in no way connected with the ad in the paper. I stopped answering except for numbers that registered as someone I knew or appeared to possibly be the school.

And still, I got messages. I did get an apology message from the man who placed the ad. Which was nice. I called the paper first thing but Monday's morning edition was already out.

If I did happen to answer, I explained the same thing to the caller. Without fail, they would ask if I knew the right number. Umm...huh? I had an insane amount of calls yesterday. They did finally taper off - except the call that came in at 10pm. Now that's insane! And I've had two so far today.

I did get a few good laughs - friends that called and left wacky messages in reference to the job. That made the ordeal a little easier to deal with. Except it saddens me that now I cringe when John Mayer starts singing...and I used to really love my ringtone.

Grandbaby update: K2's baby wasn't the only one that suffered with the death of batteries. We still don't know how she did yet, but at least she's not worried she did something wrong.

Monday, October 16, 2006

My Grandbaby

Friday K2 brought home a "baby" for her Child Development class. The baby is programmed to cry at intervals and simulate how life changing having a baby is. To make it stop crying, a key has to be inserted in its back, turned and held there for 20-30 minutes. The baby has to be taken care of 24 hours a day and will cry if handled wrong.

The baby went everywhere with K2 all weekend. She had to immediately tend to it when it cried. Needless to say, she's exhausted.

So, the baby's name was "Dorothy". Only Dorothy was not a girl. Dorothy had boy parts. All weekend B and I called it our "Gender Confused Grandchild".

Yesterday evening, Dorothy died. She stopped crying. K2 is sure she's going to fail the project. She's sure she did something wrong and caused Dorothy's demise. We're very certain the batteries just died. She did a wonderful job taking care of the "baby" so I'm certain that whatever happened had nothing to do with how she handled the plastic wonder. But, the poor kid is stressed - exhausted and worried.

And next semester, K1 will have this very same project. I'm glad for plastic crying babies though. That's the only kind of grandchildren I want for a long time. Even though we're a large family, I don't think the older kids realized just how much care babies require. They've never had to get up and walk the floors with their brother and sister. Sure, they've been ripped from sleep by crying infants, but they've always had the luxury of going back to sleep and letting Mom or Dad handle the situation.

They've never had to find childcare or rearrange their schedule to accomodate a baby. K2 had a lot going on this weekend and had to factor the baby's needs into her plans. And she did a great job. She also, as much as she loves babies, says she's not having children for a very long time.

This is a good project.

Friday, October 13, 2006

Friday, The 13th

I am missing all my nifty buttons on the create post page! I can't change my font, spell check or anything! Anyone else having this problem?

So, anyway. It's Friday the 13th. Are you superstitious?

Not me. Though I will admit to a few quirks. I'm more apt to believe in "good omens" than bad ones. Guess that makes me an eternal optimist.

No bathroom quiz. Again. Don't ask me. It's not like the kids suddenly developed neatness genes.

I'll be back Monday will hopefully more to say. In the meantime, don't open your umbrella up in the house. Stay away from black cats, ladders, cracked sidewalks and be careful not to break a mirror.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Where Is My Good Luck?

Okay, so according to my horoscope - several different horoscopes - I was supposed to have an awesome past couple of days. I already told you my feelings on horoscopes, but it's not like I don't have reason to hope. I do have work out in different places.

So, Friday I was supposed to recieve a financial gain and take my friends out to dinner. Hello? Where's my money? Saturday's prediction was basically a copy of Friday's. I had my writer's group meeting and we do a 50/50 drawing - half the money goes to the chapter and the other to the winner. I lost! Can you believe that? The winner happened to be sitting right beside me and gave me back the dollar I spent, even though I argued with her about it. She insisted.

Thinking my fortune had to be bigger than the 50/50 pot and the dollar from my friend was a sign, I used that dollar to buy a lottery ticket. 20 mil. HA! The scratch off ticket I bought as a back up was a loser as well.

During the meeting, there were two other drawings for various things. Nope. No luck there either.

Monday, my horoscope said something about opportunity knocking on my door. Yep, you guessed it. Nothing. Tuesday I got depressing news and K4 ended up with a fever that lasted until late yesterday.

I just want to know what happened? Where is my luck and good fortune?

Monday, October 09, 2006

Days Off

Today is a school holiday. Tomorrow too.

My house is full of kids. Right now there are 4 teenagers and 3 youngers on the premises. The noise level is relatively quiet, considering. The house is not clean, mind you, just a low noise level that defies logic. At least for here.

And I have a list of things to do that also defies logic. Grocery shopping - a feat that seems ridiculous considering how many kids will trail through the store with me. I may not tackle that one until much later. House cleaning - a ridiculous chore but necessary. Tomorrow is our town's Halloween parade and as usual, we will have a houseful of onlookers. Food will be prepared, obnoxiousness will ensue. In all, a grand time, but much work for me.

What I want to do, instead of the cleaning and shopping, is work on my edits/revisions for the story I am burning to send out into the big scary world. I'm not sure that's going to happen today. It's possible, just not probable. And tomorrow will be much of the same - with probably some extra running thrown in - I'm not sure K3 has all the components for his costume he needs. He, B and K4 are in the parade and I refuse to drag the massive crew to costume land. The grocery store is one thing, the party store is a completely different beast.

Yeah, I know this is normal. It's a balance that sometimes I'm not too great at - family and writing. Some days are easy. Others are not. Today will be easy because I'll make it so. I will try for writing time but if that doesn't happen, I won't beat myself up about it. I will have fun and enjoy the day. And I hope you do too.

Thursday, October 05, 2006


With Halloween approaching, I started thinking about monsters and came up with these rambling thoughts.

1. No one wants to be chased my a maniac wielding a chainsaw, but really, what are the odds of that happening? Well, maybe if you're at summer camp and are having a hot affair with the counselor from across the lake. (As much as I hate slasher movies now, I was a big fan when I was a teenager)

2. What about Mummies? I mean, come on! They'd dead, drained of their body fluids and wrapped in toilet paper! Do we really believe we have something to fear from them? How much havoc can the wreak after having their organs removed with a crochet hook? Scooby Doo just unwraps them.

3. Vampires. Well, vampires fall into a different category. At least to me. They are mysterious and dead but not. Hard to kill, hard to escape from and once they bite you, you're one of them. If you're afraid wear a garlic necklace, use garlic as perfume and carry a wooden stake in your bag and you're protected. Of course, some vampires are sexy so getting bit would be completely up to you.

4. Werewolves. Silver Bullets. And not the beer - though I imagine if you got a werewolf drunk, he'd probably fall down and stop chasing you. Professor Lupin from Harry Potter taught us a lot. Even though he was a likeable guy during the day, once that moon changed he was lost to his curse. Staying out of the woods during a full moon would keep you safe though.

5. Frankenstein. The only thing I can say is: "Young Frankenstein".

6. Clowns. Sorry. They are scary - probably falls into the same category as talking dolls.

Utter nonsense but that's all I can think of for now. I'm sure I'll come up with more later.

You've probably noticed my status bars haven't moved. They won't. I am working my rearend off but it's editing the same chapters and writing a synopsis.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006


I try to check my horoscope every day but it's not a big deal if I don't. I think it's fun and sometimes spooky - especially if I don't check until the end of the day and can see the parallels between what's predicted and what really happened. Actually, I prefer to check at the end of the day. That way I don't have any preconceived notions about what my day should be like.

So, this morning I checked my monthly horoscope on a site I keep forgetting about. It predicted great things for October and even greater things for November. (And, if I can add, what this great one said was not really in sync with the one I normally check) I would love for all of this greatness to mean something awesome for my writing career.

That's what made me think...Life is complicated. Life is layers of family, finances, hopes, dreams, careers, hobbies, friends, ect...So whatever good news is supposed to come my way these next two months might not mean a thing for my writing career. I want it to - doesn't that count?

The thing is, reading what I read this morning did more than just make me think. (I said I like to check in the evening, not that I always do) The predictions gave me hope - hope that the projects I do have out there will bring more than a rejection, hope that the project I plan to send as soon as possible will bring good news - you know what I mean...I think that's the important thing. Because no matter what the stars say, in the end what happens is directly related to my efforts, my attitude, and my belief that it will happen. Nothing good is ever going to happen if I give up, if I don't send material out, if I don't do everything I can to put myself out there as professionally and seriously as possible, and if I stop believing in myself and in my dream.

In the end, all the predictions in the world won't matter if we're content to just sit around and wait for good things to come our way. Just my opinion, mind you.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

What do you call it...

When, in an attempt to save time, you decide to make dinner early and you end up with a bigger mess than if you would have waited?

When you know you have to clean the shower and instead of actually doing it, you waste almost and entire (brand new) bottle of cleaner just spraying the stall every time you go into the bathroom?

When you can't sit still for longer than fifteen minutes at a time?

I'll tell you what you call day. And that's just the highlights. But in all, not a bad day. I can live with what I accomplished, even if it took me forever to actually finish.

Had to rewrite almost all of chapter two. Yeah, it stinks but I expected I would have to. I like the new chapter better so that counts for something.

Monday, October 02, 2006


Yay, I finally have a title for my single-title paranormal. Illusions. Still basically a working title. I'm trying it on for a while. I like it so far. We'll see if it sticks. I started editing this morning after spending the weekend thinking about titles and what I'm going to do about my back log of finished work. Still no conclusions - except for the titles and the fact that I have to get more out there before I start my next "from scratch" project.

Also, a new title for the paranormal I'm revising. Amended Destiny. I'm considering reworking this into a single-title. Still thinking. The cool thing about this book is that I have four or five spin off books that I can write with the same twisted beginning events. I'm excited about that. I just need more hours in the day. And a better brain.

A better brain. What a concept...

Friday, September 29, 2006


So, it's Friday.
Our weekend is busy, as usual. I'm still bumming about vacation but need to get over myself.

I have my proposal chapters done. They're off with my critique partners right now and I need to get busy revamping my synopsis. is Friday. I might take the day off.

Yesterday K1 was not feeling well and stayed home from school. He brought down a stack of movies and camped out on the couch. I spent all day working in the living room and watching movies with him. I got a lot of work done, saw two pretty decent movies and we had bonding time. A very good thing.

Watched "The Bourne Identity" - pretty good. Of course, watching Matt Damon was easy.
"Silent Hill" - I was intrigued by the trailers for this but wasn't sure if I wanted to actually see it. I thought it would turn out to be a slasher movie. It wasn't. Yeah, it was kind of scary. I liked it though. Made me think and now I have a few odd ideas rolling around in my brain from both movies. And, it had Sean Bean in it. Not to hard to watch him either.

Enjoy the weekend!

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Missing Vacation

I'd like it back. Please.
I'm bummed. Completely and totally bummed.
We're not going on our annual beach vacation this year. The reasons are many and the decision not to go this year was the right one. Except...I need that darn vacation.

I love the pre-trip excitement - the obnoxious emails counting down the days, hours and minutes until we leave, the planning gatherings, actually celebrating "Talk Like a Pirate Day" with excitement and anticipation for what lies ahead and, believe it or not, I love the organizing and preparing, the packing and even the cleaning.

Finally arriving at the beach and sucking in that cleansing breath of ocean air makes every tension vanish and seems to solve every problem. There's just something about waking up and staring out into the huge expanse of water that helps to center me. The relaxation of the week makes the other 51 weeks worthwhile. Everything is better at the beach.

Not to mention, we have more fun than I could ever explain. Our group is large, loud and obnoxious. Everyone gets along. The only problems we've ever had are caused by our sheer number. There is no such thing as a quick highway stop to use the restroom. Eating out usually stresses the wait staff and nets us a private dining room if possible. There are so many of us that we are usually able to receive a group discount. Most of us are related - those that aren't should be.

And we're all mourning vacation. It doesn't matter that we know the decision not to go was a required one. It's been proven necessary and a relief due to different changes in each of our families. We've been known to say, "I guess it is a good thing we're not going this year." Maybe it is. But none of us truly believe it is a good thing.

After all, a bad day at the beach is way better than a good day at home...

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Almost a Week?

I can't believe it's almost been a week since I posted last. Life has definitely interfered with the status quo. Things have been chaotic lately and that's an understatement.

There was nothing to guess at in my bathroom this week. Though what I found Saturday morning was interesting...and gross. K3 has frequent nosebleeds - allergies, change of season - you get the picture. Saturday morning I woke up to the aftermath of one such nosebleed. Apparently it started when he sneezed. Looked like a massacre - blood dotted every available surface, along with the smears of his attempts to clean up. Poor kid - the nosebleed happened again shortly after we finally arrived at the field and kept him out of the game. Like you really needed to know that...

Did you notice all the nonsense to the left? See that! Yes. I finished the book. Now it'll sit for a few days while I take care of the 0's underneath. Those are projects that need to be revised and sent back out into the big scary world.

I'll try to do better this week. I did actually have a post written earlier but it vanished right before my eyes. It was full of insight and deep thought...okay, okay - it was mostly nonsense but I was still sad to see it go.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Changing Seasons

Nope, not some deep post about change and life.

I love Fall. The colors, the smell, the chill in the air - I love burning pumpkin spice candles and making cookies and chili. And Halloween - I love Halloween. I could go on but I think you get the picture. For me, Fall fills me with a sense of peace. I don't know why. It just does.

You will all think I'm crazy but I love Winter too. Wait - let me clarify. I hate being cold. I love snow. Snowstorms are my absolute favorite. When everyone else goes to the store to buy toilet paper, milk and bread, I hit the snack aisle. I love watching the snow pile up, making snow forts and snowmen, and following the storm on The Weather Channel. I love staying up late and watching Lord of the Rings for the millionth time while peeking out the window at the white flakes falling down. Add a Christmas tree to the scene and I don't think life could get any better. Yeah. I know. It's weird but there's just something about being snowed in. I hope for piles and piles of snow this winter.

Sure, my opinion is bound to change by February. It always does but I always start Winter looking forward to the snow.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006


Don't be forgettin' today be "Talk Like a Pirate Day".

I be workin' and then be discoverin' I be missin' this important day. "Talk Like a Pirate Day" be important to me and me hardys and we be nearly missin' it. We should be emailin' pirate speak already but be sorely behind. This day usually be awash in excitement 'bout our yearly beach trip. 'Tis sad that no such pleasure be awaitin' us this season.

Even I be findin' some funny videos 'bout talking like pirates. I be too lame brained to be postin' links.

Avast, ye scurvy dogs! Be it not too late - get out there and be talkin' like a pirate!


Something To Do

I see these things all over the place and since I don't really have much to say today, thought I'd give one a try...
What's on my desk? (I technically have two desks. Well, one's actually an antique table. That's where I write. Otherwise known as "sacred ground")
On the Writing table:
my laptop, cordless keyboard and mouse. USB Floppy Disc drive.
A notebook, my progress sheet, jump drive cap, favorite pen and a CD case.
On the "House" Desk:
The computer - duh...
Men's black dress pants (borrowed and waiting to be returned to my dad)
A stack of papers - including the younger two's football/cheerleading pictures (cute!), school papers, a college catalog, cheerleading hair tie, cook book, kid magazine, receipts and grocery store coupons - that's all I can discern from here and I'm not going through the stack!
My library card, house calendar, writing calendar, an old cell phone, the house phone, a calculator, a basket with more weird items - including headphones, camping magazines (for research and recreation)
A basket with pens & pencils and probably more odds and ends at the bottom. A framed photograph of me, my youngest sister and our "adopted" sister at the beach last year.

Yeah, I know. That's so exciting you can't stand it.
Sorry but I need to get to work!

Monday, September 18, 2006

Progress and Questions

Yep. Somehow I actually managed to write a bit last night. A surprising, but very welcomed turn of events. As long as I get my tail into gear, I should be able to finish this book by Friday.

So...the questions:
1. What's the most horrible response you've received when telling someone you write? Did you have a snappy response or end up thinking of a dozen polite, but pointed, comebacks later on?

2. How long do you wait before telling a new acquaintance that you're a romance author? Do you tell them instantly or wait until you've established some kind of common ground?

3. Are there occasions where you don't mention your writing career? And if so, what are they? Does it depend on the situation, comments you've heard that person make or your mood?

4. Do you ever feel like you have to defend the genre? Or is the response usually pleasant and accepting?

5. Is it different once you're published? Or do you still want to hide under a table when someone asks you what you do?

6. What's the best response you've ever received?

7. If you're a mom and all your kids are in school all day, do people ask you if you're going to get a "real" job? Does your response depend on the situation, the person or what?

I ask for two reasons. One because I'm curious and nosy. :) The other because sometimes I don't tell people I write. And there are many reasons for that. I'm proud of what I do, don't get me wrong. But there are times that I don't feel like talking about it, especially if I've had a bad day/week or whatever. I'm always a little unsure of how people are going to respond, even though I've had several awesome reactions. I've had several less than awesome reactions. Nothing nasty or demeaning - just the blank stare and the end of what had been a pleasant conversation. I guess maybe that kind of response is what makes me a little cautious. Why is telling people that you write so much different than other careers? Or is it?

Am I odd?
I have more questions but I'll save them for later.

Sunday, September 17, 2006

An Adjustment

I actually did get quite a bit of work done on Friday. A really decent amount of pages. I did have to adjust the word meter though. I'd been going by my computer word count when I really should have been using the number of pages word count. Doesn't matter either way, but doing it according to page count makes me feel better - so that's what I'm using.

115 pages until I can call this book done. Hopefully by the end of this coming week. Then, edits.

This weekend has been pretty nuts - which is why it's taken me until Sunday to update on Friday's progress. This afternoon should be calmer...I can only hope.

Friday, September 15, 2006

Who knew?

Who knew that when you save a post as draft that it dates it at the time you wrote it? Maybe you did, but remember, I'm new to this blogging thing. I'm learning as I go.

So the "yesterday" on the below post was really for Thursday. I wrote it last night but my eyeballs were bleeding and I decided to save it for today. I'm still shaking my head about that...

Believe it or not, nothing interesting, gross or thought provoking in my bathroom this week. After a summer full of walking in there and shaking my head at the absurdity of some of the things I've found, well, it figures.

Okay, so I'm procrastinating right now. I will make that progress meter move today. Just wait...

Thursday, September 14, 2006

I Have This Kid...

and this kid is definitely his daddy's boy.

When B and I first started dating, we were still in high school. He was in a work release program and left everyday at lunchtime. Often, he'd call my mother after he left, claiming to be a truant officer with the school and did she know that her daughter was absent - again? Yeah. He's lucky she didn't ground me, or him, for that fact.

So, yesterday...It's after the high school has dismissed for the day. A little too soon for my oldest to be home but not unheard of. The doorbell rings. It's his best friend. Here's how it went:
Him: Is he home?
Me: No, he's not in from school yet.
Him: Oh, uh, he wasn't at school today.
Me: What? He better have been.
Him: He wasn't there. (strange look of - oh crap, I just ratted out my best friend - crosses his face.) Tell him I'll see him later.
Me: I don't think you will be seeing him.
(Paraphrased, but you get the picture.)
And I'm freaking out trying to decide what to do. I call the school, ask if he was counted in attendance this morning and ask all kind of questions about the possibility of him cutting later in the day. Hang up and call the kid. Ask him where he is.
At this point, my hands are shaking. I'm worried, angry but calm on the outside.
He says he's on his way home from school. In the background, I hear laughter. His best friend's laughter.
Yeah. I was played. Big time.
I call the school back, explain that it was a joke. All is well there.
The two of them walk in the back door, laughing and apologizing.

Okay. So it was funny. And I should know better. I mean, I live in a house with people who all act like this all the time!
And, no, I've never done a thing like this.

Okay, so that's a lie. The kid gets it from both sets of DNA.