Friday, November 29, 2013

Simple Recipe

Here's an easy and yummy way to make a store bought brownie mix just a bit better.

Take your brownie mix and use applesauce instead of the oil. If your brownie mix doesn't call for oil, add about 1/4 to 1/2 cup; it will add moistness. After stirring everything together, add some crushed up Trader Joe's Candy Cane Joe Joe's. I added about 1 cup of the crushed cookies to a bowlful of brownies that would fill a 9 X 13 pan. Bake according to the directions on the box, but make sure you don't overbake.

After the brownies have cooled, frost the brownies. This recipe is delicious:

3 cups powdered sugar
2/3 cup unsweetened baking cocoa
1/3 cup milk
1/2 cup butter (melted)
1 tsp vanilla

Blend the sugar and the cocoa together in a bowl. Add the melted butter, milk, and vanilla to the sugar/cocoa blend. Beat for a few minutes until well blended. If you want richer and darker frosting, add about 1 T of coffee (or 1 tsp instant coffee) and more cocoa. For thicker frosting, adjust the amount of powdered sugar. This frosting is delicious for just about anything, and will be enough to frost an entire cake.

I've been tinkering with muffin mixes, too, and even the dollar muffin mixes can be made quite yummy with the addition of applesauce or mashed banana, vanilla, and chocolate chips or nuts. You might as well try it out, because you aren't out that much money if they don't work.

Enjoy!

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Eats

I sat down to write a short post and looked over at Lucy, who is sitting on the rug in the living room. He has his paws tucked under him and his back legs are up a bit, and truthfully, he resembles the turkey I seasoned yesterday. As much as I get angry at the poor beast (who yes, woke me up again, at 4:30 this morning), I would never mistake him for the bird when it comes time for cooking. Or would I?

Take that scary thought with you this Thanksgiving and I hope you have super happy one!

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

My Questions

1. When did velour decide to make a comeback?
2. Whose bright idea was it?


Tuesday, November 26, 2013

China

Almost thirteen years and three months after our lovely wedding, I just got around to pulling the China we registered for out of the boxes. We had it stored in an upstairs linen closet, and when the kids saw the boxes, they asked to see the China. We don't have a China cabinet, and up until last month, when we were granted more cabinets with the remodel of the kitchen, we didn't have room in the kitchen for the China, either. I had toyed with the idea of selling it,  but realized that probably no one in this neck of the woods was looking for Lenox Federal Cobalt Platinum China. I wasn't completely sure I wanted to sell it anyway.

So out of the box the pieces came, and all of them now have a place on the top shelf of our corner cabinet. Melina is drinking tea out of one of the teacups right now, and she says she feels fancy. Tea might be the only use of the China that occurs for the next thirteen years and then some, but there was something about the moment, when I cracked open the boxes, that was just so sentimental, I'm glad that I was able to do it.

I thought of the people who cared enough to buy a place setting; I thought of the conversation I had with my mother, when she said I'd regret not registering for China (I didn't really want China, and knowing that it took me this long to open it, I don't think I would have regretted it, but who's to say.). I thought of that steamy September day when Tim and I and all the people who were important to us were able to party the afternoon away and then go on to have some drinks at the local watering hole. I thought of how different our life was then and how similar it is now: somethings have stayed the same, and others didn't.

I think if I'd have opened the boxes without the kids, I might have packaged them back up and listed the China on Craigslist. But seeing the wide eyes and smiles as we opened each box, the way the kids, all four of them, held the pieces in their hands, the way they gently placed a salad plate on top of the dinner plate and made sure that the tea cups were secure in their hands before coming down the stairs, the reverence in their actions. It meant something to me and reminded me that perhaps the China wasn't just another set of dinnerware. Perhaps it actually means something much more.

Bumps

Melina has a propensity to stick her finger up her nose. It started way back, when she had a slew of colds right in a row, and much of her mucus dried right up, inside said nose.

"I'm trying to get the dried mucus out," she always said.

"Don't put your finger in your nose," I always replied.

Well, Melina has gotten better about putting her finger in her nose, but every once in a while, I find that chubby little index finger attached to the right nostril. It happened again last week.

"I have a big piece of mucus in there, Mom," Melina said. "It hurts. Can you check it? It's a bump. A big bump."

"Let me give you a Kleenex and when I find a flashlight, I'll check it out," I said.

She was fine with that scenario and after I located a flashlight, I had Melina lie back against the pillows and took a look into her nostril. There was no mucus, only nose. The kid had been trying to go against a part of her nose that is supposed to be there. 

Now according to Melina, the bump has come and gone. What I think has happened is this: sometimes her mucus membranes are inflamed, and that's when the bump is bigger. I have no proof, but I plan on checking out this nose more often.

Just what I needed. Nose checks. I'll schedule those right in to my already very full days.




Sunday, November 24, 2013

Random Things

  • That the repetition of ONE WORD could make me laugh so much.
  • That I'd go back to Ann Arbor, enjoy the visit, but be happy to come back home to a place that is not Ann Arbor.
  • That I can seriously be chilled in a house, even though the thermostat is set at 70 degrees, which is higher than I keep it at our house.
  • That I'm looking forward to a week off at Thanksgiving because I can sleep in, even if it means I'll be sleeping only until 5:30 am.
  • That as much as I like our new, used car, and I'm grateful to the events that led to our acquisition of the car, I still miss my minivan, especially on longer trips.
  • That I might need to cave, soon, and purchase a phone that can do everything, even texting.


Friday, November 22, 2013

BUGS!

I despise bugs. It doesn't matter what kind. I JUST DON'T LIKE BUGS. I can look kindly at the innocuous ones, I've been known to scoot spiders outside, and I've had to kill wasps in my own home, with my own hands. I can deal with most of them, most of the time, but suppose you walk down to the basement, pull aside a boxspring, reach for a suitcase and realize that you are staring down a GIGANTIC cricket in the face. Don't you t;hink that might get to you? Trust me, it does, since I just did it.

We both survived. I scurried back up the stairs and shut the basement door. He went back to laughing at the crazy lady of the house.

P.S. Kelsey, you might be rolling your eyes at this post, but I'd be better off with a mouse. Seriously.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Competition

A rustling sound drifts down the stairway,
alerting me that Little Red is awake.
I hear the thump of still-small feet as they hit the wood floor
then scamper down the hallway,
before meeting up with the carpet of my bedroom
where the noise is snuffed as quickly as a candle.
I wonder how long it will be
until Little Red figures out that I'm not in the warm and cozy bed.
I'm downstairs, hunched over a computer, trying to find some time to myself
before the bustle of four kids and a still-sleepy husband
interrupt my story and force me to place it on hold, for a little while.
It's not long after the first sound
that a light hand snakes around my middle,
a warm forehead snuggles into my side,
and green, still-tired, eyes look up at me.
A shy smile erupts across his face,
causing his freckles to twist and turn against his alabaster skin.
I know what he wants.
I pretend that it's me, and my hugs,
and the scatter of smooches I will press to his forehead.
But I know better.
Because Little Red is an easy-to-read nine-year-old.
He wants an early-morning turn on Minecraft.
It's difficult to compete when you're up against a computer.




Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Journeys

This is what I call a cop-out post. Something I already said via some other form of social media and then plunked here, counting it as a post. But I'm not participating in NaBloPoMo, so it shouldn't matter, right?

I'm really just sharing this tidbit again because I want to remember this day. The day that Melina drew a picture and then wrote, in her kindergarten way: Hi. We wil hav a wundrfl jrne.

She ran over, held the paper up to me, a huge smile on her face. I gulped. I looked at my fourth child and leaned over and squeezed her. I inhaled the scent of her hair and willed a few tears to go away. If I had even tried to imagine the journey we would go on from the moment she was born, I could never have done it justice. I'm proud to have her in my life and can't wait to see just how wonderful our journey with her will be.

Sniff.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Story Questions

When I started a story back in the summer of 2012, it was because one incident at the local Kroger inspired it. I remember the event; I remember coming home and furiously pounding on the keyboard for a few moments to get out a beginning; I remember going back and filling in some details and then finding a groove for a few weeks.

I eventually started other book ideas, when I wasn't sure where the story should go, but I'd come back to it from time to time. Piece by piece things started coming together and a story about Sadie, Theo, and Andrew began to develop.

A month or two ago, I had point A and point B, but I still wasn't sure exactly how the novel was going to get from point A to point B. But I  knew that I wanted to find out. I challenged myself to get done with a draft. It didn't have to be a spectacular one, but it needed to be done. And so I did. I put forth a huge effort and sat, tirelessly, as the words began to flow. And a very strange thing happened. Actually, it isn't so strange. It's the same thing that occurs every time I sit and write: a story develops that I didn't know was there. As if my characters know what they are going to do and they plan on surprising me.

The surprise this time is that one of my characters has ALS. I won't say what happens or who it is, but because of the severity of the disease, the disease itself actually becomes a character in the story to some degree. It effects all persons of the family and each person must make adjustments and respond. When I sat down yesterday to do some tweaking of the novel, I realized that without doing a lot of research on ALS, I'd never be able to tell the entire story, the right story.

So my mission has been defined. In order to get that story I want, I need to make sure I get the facts correct. As a scientist, I would be doing an injustice if I didn't dig deep and find out the current and most trustworthy information, and as a writer, I wouldn't be credible without doing so. It will be a long and daunting process, gathering information from patients, caretakers, physicians and the like, but I am so excited, I can't stand it. I found myself eagerly wanting to begin yesterday, but realizing that I had to get some help, first. Hence, a Facebook plea and some great leads.

The novel won't be done for a quite a while, now, but in the end, I think it will be a much richer, far more profound account than I ever anticipated at the beginning. At least, I can hope.

The moral of this story? Always keep your eye open for story ideas. They have the possibility of morphing into something completely unexpected.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Listen to Your Elders

I love social media. Gasp. Did I just say that? I did. At first, I was wary, but good things can happen because of people who know how to use social media in the right way. Of course, bad things can happen, too, but I've turned into a half-full sort of person, and I'd like to stay here. So Pffft.

While I'm not that into different forms of social media, you know that I at least have a Facebook and Twitter account, both of which I check regularly. And though I'm often behind the times, i.e. True Facts by Ze Frank (argh, there I go again, laughing), I eventually do get to see what everyone else who is plugged in all day see.

So this morning, as I was sipping my coffee, I opened up Facebook and saw a post by an elementary school friend of a TED talk. If you've never seen one of these, you should. They. Are. Phenomenal. This one in particular showed a video of Angela Lee Duckworth, a psychologist who researched what makes people successful and found that the answer is grit.

Grit. The stuff that you put between tiles? No, that's grout. Grit. It's hard work, perseverance, the ability to commit to something and see the whole project through. The video is worth watching, really, because I find some people subscribe to the theories that money, or nepotism, or IQ are the means to success. According to Duckworth, they aren't.

What I found most interesting, though, is the way the video was linked in Facebook. It said that her findings were surprising. To whom? To her? I find that hard to believe. Duckworth might have found it surprising that she was able find a correlation instead of simply anecdotal evidence, but haven't we (including Duckworth) known all along that elbow grease does the job? How many parents have said to their kids, "Hard work and determination are the keys to success." Who doesn't try to instill a good work ethic in their children? We've known what Duckworth says for a very long time, but I guess we just didn't have the data to show it.

All the octogenarians out there are sitting in their rockers, nodding their heads and saying I told you so. Sometimes it helps to listen to the elders.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Science Fair Projects

DISCLAIMER: PLEASE REMOVE ALL CHILDREN OF READING AGE FROM IN FRONT OF YOUR COMPUTER. THANK YOU.

Aunt Maria messaged me this morning. "Chris, can you ask Tim if he has any ideas for science fair projects? We have until January but the topic is due tomorrow. Thanks."

I passed the message on, but thought I'd check to see what I could find on Google. I Googled cool science fair projects, but I wanted to see pictures, so I ran it through the imaging option.

I found a bunch of nice pictures, complete with smiling kids standing in front of prize-winning (or not) science fair projects. Some of my favorites? Keep reading.

DISCLAIMER (2ND WARNING): HAVE YOUR KIDS MOVE FROM THE ROOM, NOW, OR SUFFER THE CONSEQUENCES!

Do you know where this is going? I was hard-pressed to figure out how old some of the kids standing in front of the projects were, but I do know that they weren't old enough to use these words, ever. Okay, maybe the girls with the first project were, but that was really the most mild one I saw.

And here they are, in no particular order.

1. Music and Sex
2. Bitches Ain't Shit
3. I Hate My F***ing Braces (my asterisks, not theirs)
4. Fellatio, Do Not Swallow
5. Who's Your Daddy, 2nd Year

So what happened to baking soda volcanoes, or putting celery into food coloring? Those are still cool, right?

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Driving

I'm adding a little extra caffeine to the decaf/regular mix this morning because it is the first Plot Sisters' Road Trip!

I'm leaving my house at 5:30 to go meet up with my group and we're heading to our first writing conference together.

Woo-hoo!

And Good Luck, Tim.

Friday, November 15, 2013

Still Laughing...

"Mom, can we see True Facts about the Chameleon?" Zoe said.
"Please?" Talia added.
"Ten seconds. Only ten seconds. That's all you need," I replied.

They only asked to see it because they knew I'd end up hysterically laughing, which I did. And the girls had me repeat the first ten seconds at least three times. By that point, my face was down on the table, tears streaming down my face.

I'm gonna need a little help here...

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Real Problems

I was lamenting the fact that I had to have PB & J for lunch today. Some people would kill for a sandwich of that caliber. I know that. The kids go to school with children who wouldn't even have that as an option at home because there are no options at home. And here I was whining that I'd be stuck with PB & J.

You might wonder why I'm stuck with it. I certainly could go to the pantry and fix something else, right? Well, here's the story:

I started getting the lunches ready this morning (Yes, I need to force these children to help with their lunches, but at night, that is the last thing on my mind, so in the morning, in a rush, I usually ask them to put part, but not all, of the lunch together.) and realized it would, indeed, be another PB kind of day. I whistled as I slapped the PB on, and then scraped the last of the J out of the jar. I pushed the sandwiches into the boxes and figured that I'd make Tim a sandwich, too. (Tim is not so good about making his own lunch, or eating regularly, for that matter.) I went to find his container (he uses Melina's pink princess sandwich box) and realized it was still in his lunch bag. And that he still had a sandwich from yesterday inside the container.

Argh. I groaned. Loudly, I might add. Because a not-eaten PB & J in the box meant that he didn't need a new one, and that I would need to eat the new one, because I don't like throwing food away.

I can appreciate PB and J, I really can. But I need to be in the mood for one. And I could tell that today, I just wouldn't be. Call it a hunch, call me Velma. But no PB & J was in the plans for me today.

When I mentioned it to Tim this morning, he said, "So I'll eat two of them today." What? Really? "One for a snack and the other for lunch." Somehow, I forgot that I lived with the person who ate a PB & J sandwich every school day from kindergarten through twelfth grade.

Well, that solved the problem now, didn't it? Tim's the hero of the day, and I still feel bad about whining over a sandwich.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

The Good and the Bad

The good news: as of yesterday, I have a finished first draft of my manuscript.
The bad news: I have so many unanswered questions, that it might as well not really be called finished.

In my mind, however, it helps to know that I have told a story from beginning to end. That there is a start, a series of events where the plot unfolds, the struggle, the climax, and then conclusion to the story. If all of that is on the paper, then my work constitutes a first draft. See how I make myself feel better every day? The little things, people, the little things.

So the rest of this month, I will go back and figure out the answers to questions such as:
1. What purpose does Karen serve in the story?
2. What do they do about Charlie and testing?
3. What about the other kids, Lexie and Delia? Should they play more paramount roles?
4. What the heck happened to Pickles Martin?!?

I'm confident I can address some of these and at least get a somewhat more pulled together draft by the end of November. If I do it the right way, I could very well have added almost 50,000 new words to this book, in one month. My own personal version of NaNoWriMo. Wish me luck, friends. I'm going to need it.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

True Facts

Have you looked into Ze Frank's True Facts series on YouTube? If you don't have two hours to waste, don't even bother Googling it, for if you do, those two hours will spiral out of control and be gone within what feels like minutes.

On the other hand, if you want a good laugh (and by laugh I mean the tear forming, gut splitting kind), then look them up. You will find out so many important things, such as:

1. How to correctly pronounce the word chameleon. (I haven't watched the chameleon video since last week, and here I am, laughing again at the memory of how the narrator first pronounces chameleon. I don't want to ruin the fun. Just go here.)
2. That male ducks have corkscrew penises and that female ducks, in turn have corkscrew vaginas.
3. Tarsiers have very large eyes, each one of which is heavier than the brain.
4. The three-toed sloth actually has one more finger than the two-toed sloth. (Ze Frank, of course, makes fun of this misnomer.)
5. Land snails have love darts, which are stored in the dart sac. (Really, go here. You need to see this one.)

Five is a good place to stop because as I write this, I find myself watching these little videos, again, and every time I do, I've lost another two minutes and 47 seconds of the time I have alone. Which reminds me, DO NOT check these videos out with your children in the room, unless you really want them to know that the fruit bat has gigantic testicles or that the mantis, due to it's ability to turn it's head 180° would be the "only insect able to enjoy live tennis or some forms of pornography."

Snort.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Day of the Vet

Every year since we moved here, Veteran's Day has meant one thing to our household: the day we take the pets to the veterinarian. It wasn't a thing we planned to do the first year, but when we found out that Tim had the day off and the cats had to get to the vet, it was easier for him to do it than for me to take twin cats and twin girls to the vet. The next year, we had twin cats, twin girls, and a redhead little man to account for. Little red was only 10 days old on Veteran's Day, and I had no plans on taking him out. Thus the tradition, of Tim taking the animals to the vet, was born.

This morning, as I stood at the veterinarian with Lucy and Shadow (now down one cat and up one dog), I realized we need to change our ways. It's fine to know that each Veteran's Day we'll be taking in the pets, but it's more important to start the day with a remembrance of what Veteran's Day actually is and who it honors.

So next year, we might still drag the animals in for their yearly check ups, but it certainly won't be until we've had a discussion with the kids at the breakfast table. We'll talk about our veterans, what they've done, how they've been affected by their jobs, how we all take so many things, like freedom, for granted. I'll be sure to put the veteran back in Veteran's Day, at least in this household.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Love and Romance

Here's a snippet of an email I received the other day:

Do you use your imagination to come up with better than real life romantic heroes? Do you fantasize about perfect love or forbidden love? You can embrace your passions and turn your daydreams into written stories. The WDU workshop Essentials of Romance Writing will teach you how to shape your ideas into a readable story.

Yes, yes, yes! I thought. Only because I skipped over (inadvertently) the part that stated the title of the workshop, Essentials of Romance Writing.

So no, no, no. Because writing romances has never been on my list of topics about which I'd like to write. I cringe at the thought of stringing together sentences that should make people swoon. When I critique my writing friends' work, you can tell the moment I reach a romantic scene: my faces flushes and I scrunch up my shoulders, EVEN THOUGH NO ONE ELSE IS IN THE ROOM.

But the more I thought about it, the more I realized that a current manuscript of mine revolves around a forbidden love and the struggle my character has when faced with an attraction she never went looking for. Holy cats, it could be a romance novel. Who knew?

I have no plans to go back, tweak it, and write the manuscript as a romance. I'd probably need to get to the chiropractor if I did, so that he could dig my shoulders out from underneath my ears.

Friday, November 8, 2013

Creative Expression

Sometimes I amaze myself.

I don't say that to be cocky, I say it because I wonder at the capability of the human mind. And I know that anyone who says can't really means won't.

Because back on November 1, one week ago to be exact, I started working toward my goal of finishing up manuscript number three. (Saying that sounds insane to my ears. Three? I will have written three full books? That just means I need to get these published sometime within the next decade, or I'll have a shelf full of unrealized dreams.) And here I am, one week later, and I've put forth 16,000 words into this novel. They aren't superb words, but they aren't crap words, either, and as I hoped, they are bringing my story to life.

Isn't that nuts? I run, I cook, I drag kids to and from school, I volunteer and do laundry and cleaning and reading with Melina; I took time out for a concert and had a writer's group meeting, dinner with friends, and still, in one week I managed to get 16,000 new words into my story. Holy crap, let's bottle that shit! I'll scrap the book writing and make millions!

Okay, sorry for the cuss words and for the digression. But seriously. It's amazing, isn't it? Simply amazing.

Find that amazing inside of you and you'll go far. I guarantee it.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Brush With Greatness

Two cups of coffee and a coke, and it isn't even 2 pm. And this is for the gal who normally drinks a combination of decaf and regular coffee such that the caffeine intake is less than one cup per day.

My hands are shaking, my heart a little fluttery, but I can barely stay awake. Because Kelsey dragged me out last night, and I'm so glad she did. (And yes, we were out past 8 pm; I arrived in the door at 11:34 pm, I think, and then I had trouble sleeping, and was up and out of bed at 5:11 am.)

What were we doing? I don't normally just shoot the breeze with Kelsey until that time of the night. Instead, we hit a Dar Williams concert in a city close to home. It was my first time seeing her, and Kelsey's, I don't know, umpteenth? Who knows. Dar's music is fantastic when you listen to on CD; in person, it's even better.

So now, I owe Kelsey big. She's introduced me, literally, to two famous people. I have an inkling that maybe Kelsey herself will be famous someday, too. And I can say, I knew her when...


Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Top Ten

Top ten things we sang about yesterday (and by we, I mean Melina):

1. Dial soap
2. Shoe strings
3. Squirrels
4. Mrs. R, her teacher
5. Paper plates (Not kidding here.)
6. The number seven
7. Bum cheeks
8. Diapers (Hasn't worn these in years)
9. Plastic wrap
10. Ear wax

Giselle from Enchanted ain't got nothing on Melina.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Taking Care of the Girls

There are many reasons that breastfeeding has benefited me and my family. Only one of which was apparent today. What happened today, you ask? I had my first mammogram.

I've heard horror stories about small-breasted women and mammograms. "They squish the tissue you have, which isn't much, and it hurts," one person said. "Very uncomfortable," the second woman added. And another one revealed that she "passed out afterwards, the pain was so bad."

Really? Could this possibly be true? Would someone who has dealt with post-marathon muscle pain, natural childbirth, and a cracked nipple really find a mammogram uncomfortable? (I've experienced all three of those, if you didn't' know. And don't laugh about the cracked nipple. The nipple pain was worse than any of my labor contractions, and those pains were monumental; don't let anyone tell you otherwise.) I was confident that I'd be okay, but I'd be lying if I didn't at least have a slight bit of apprehension clustered around me and my aura this morning.

Well, fast forward to the point where I am standing in front of the mammogram machine. I see the plates and know that Jessica, the technician, plans on squeezing what little tissue I have between them. Thankfully, she starts with my right side, which has about two ounces more tissue in it than my left. She deftly places her fingers under my breast, pushes up against the chest wall, and flattens it out over the table. She has me do a little dance with my feet and moves my hands into different positions. She cranks the plate down and voila. My breast is the thickness of a pancake. I am standing in a very odd position, and the only discomfort I have is that I can't breathe. Literally, I can't breathe while they take the picture, or it could come out fuzzy. So two seconds later, I can breathe, and I am fine.

Jessica does the same with the left and then moves on to perform two more scans that involve part of the muscle. Even having my armpit hanging over the square edge of the mammogram machine is no match for marathon muscle pain, so I take a breath, hold it, let it out, and smile. I'm done.

And now you are wondering why I am thanking my former life as a cow, nursing mother. Well, I won't disappoint. It's because my breasts have seen far worse than the underside and top side of a mammogram machine. They've been grabbed at by little baby hands, which magically have a vice-like grip even though those same hands have very little fine motor control. They've become engorged and uncomfortable such that shooting milk against the shower wall became routine. They've done time between four sets of choppers, none of which actually bit me, but several of which tried to extend the nipple way past its normal elasticity.

So you see, this field trip this morning? Just another day in the life of my breasts. Nothing to see here, they said. Move on.

So I'm hoping they're still happy and healthy, because these girls have been good to me and my kids. I've got no reason to think that they won't be, but I'm glad that I took the time to have them checked.


Monday, November 4, 2013

Lumpy

"You're here to pick up Shadow, right?" The receptionist at the vet's office said as I walked in the door.

"Yes."

"Did they tell you they found some lumps on him?" She asked me.

"Uh, no. I know he had one on his head. I didn't notice any other ones. Did the doctor note on his chart where they were found? And do they know what they are?" Shadow has been through quite a bit between his ears, allergies, a staph infection. You can tell he's getting older.

"Well, let's see," she said. "If I remember correctly, they think they might be lipomas, but they probably should be aspirated to make sure. Now, let me check the chart..." The receptionist looks at the screen in front of her, and then nods to the other helper behind her. "It looks like they found the other ones around Shadow's penis..." She hesitates, not sure what to say.

"Well, I guess that explains why I never found them now, doesn't it?"


Sunday, November 3, 2013

Thanks, Again

Thank you to the two CVS workers that didn't bat an eye when a woman walked into their store in the wee hours of the morning looking for kids' Imodium.

And thank you for even taking me to the correct aisle, finding the medicine, and bringing me to the counter.

Thank you to the powers that be that Melina's diarrhea is only the result of too much mucus being swallowed.

Thank you for allowing us to make it through a church service without too much fidgeting from Aaron. (Melina wasn't there because the threat of a spill might have been too much for me.)

And thank you for some good chit chat with Kelsey.

Finally, thank you to Tim, who took the kids out for a bit this afternoon to play kickball (something I love to do) so that I could get some time to write.

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Thanks

I had a moment the other morning where I started to get down. I thought to myself, What in the hell am I doing? Why am I trying to make my way in the publishing world? Why can't I be content with giving you my views here, in this forum? I'm done, I said to myself. Just done.

No, I hadn't received another rejection, although I have enough to my name now that if I printed them out, I could nicely gift wrap a bowling ball, in a good size box, and then throw it at an agent's head for attention. I'm not actually sure what made me decide that my writing career was over before it had even started, but within 30 seconds, I had veered back the other way.

No, I said to myself. You aren't done. You will keep writing, regardless what happens. And so, within the blink of an eye, I was back on board and determined to keep going. I told my kids about my already solved dilemma; they looked at me with bleary eyes, said, Okay, and then went on their way.

They don't realize it now, but I just taught them a very important lesson. The lesson to work hard and not let the negative feelings get to you. To not let anyone else tell you what you can and cannot do. To not give up if you have a dream.

Someday, they'll thank me for it, I'm sure.

Friday, November 1, 2013

Trying

Tim used to say that trying to put tights on twin 9 month olds was like trying to nail jello to the wall.

Well so is trying to write when your kids have a day off.

Happy day off to me, right?

And Happy Birthday to Aaron!