Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Ovulation Syndrome

It used to be that I'd have a rash of days, just prior to my period, where everyone and everything would annoy me. We all know that as premenstrual syndrome, and it's a real thing. Look it up if you don't believe me.

As time goes by, I don't have that much trouble right before my period. Instead, I find myself extremely irritable during ovulation. Yes, you heard me, ovulation. And I don't mean only slightly annoyed. Today, for example, I am more than bothered by the sound of kids' voices, the to-do list, the basil that isn't as fresh as I'd like it, and the fact that I have to cook one more dinner. (Take out the violin, right? Oh what problems I have.)

Well, I don't know what the researchers would say about my being so rotten during ovulation. What do I think? It's my very own form of birth control.

Monday, July 29, 2013


"You should read The Discovery of Witches," someone said. So I requested it from the library, but couldn't get past the first chapter. "Try again," that same someone said. "It's a good book. I think you'll like it."

So, I tried again. And despite the overuse of adverbs (Seriously, Deborah Harkness needs to remember that it is possible to describe something using only the proper verb; and you know that I absolutely love adverbs, so she must have really gone above and beyond in her use of them.), I started to enjoy the book.

Until I got trapped.

By the book.

Why am I feeling trapped?

Because I want to know how the book ends. Which means that I will have to read the next two novels in the series. And this might be a problem, because mixed in with my enjoyment of this novel is the realization that the story is more adult Twilight than The Historian, an exceptional book to which I thought DoW could, at first, be compared. In fact, if I took a good look at both Twilight and DoW and brought out a pen and pad of paper, I might be able to track the similarities between the two books. Of course you all know that I don't have the time to do this, so it won't be happening.

In the event you want to read it for yourself, be assured that there is a major difference between these vampire novels. In DoW, the heroine actually thinks for herself, which is a character trait I find very appealing. So read it if you will. But if you want a really good (and long) book to read, try The Historian. You might feel trapped into staying up all night to finish it. But that's the sort of trap I don't mind walking into.

Sunday, July 28, 2013


Imagine my complete and utter surprise yesterday when, after having walked into the store Justice (I know, you are probably shocked I stepped foot in such an establishment), I ran smack dab into a set of dolls from a line called Ever After High.

My jaw dropped and I stopped. I looked at the 9 inch high dolls, and stood there, dumbfounded, reading about the daughters of infamous fairy tale characters. Without revealing too much, I realized, in that moment, that I have to start on my revisions, find myself an agent, and get my story out.

"Do you think I've missed it, Tim?" I asked. "The story isn't the same; it has a cool twist, but you know." I felt dejected. I'd worked so hard on this story, and truly, it isn't just the tale of a famous daughter.

Without a single hesitation Tim spoke. "Or maybe you'd be trying to publish at exactly the right time."

I don't want to miss the window. Hence, the 5:05 am wake-up time today. Wish me luck!

Friday, July 26, 2013

I Didn't Need to Know



This was a conversation I had yesterday with Melina.
Melina: Mommy, is anyone supposed to kiss your privates?
Me: Pardon me? [I felt my face flush. I was baffled at where the thought of this came from.]
Melina: Does anyone kiss the private area?
Me: Well, no. It isn't appropriate to touch anyone there.
Melina: Because X told me that her mommy and daddy kiss the privates.
Alarm bells sounded off in my head. I NEEDED to clarify what happened, in the event a kid's safety is at stake.
Me: What do you mean? Do they kiss her privates?
Melina: No, her mommy and daddy kiss each other's privates.
Better, but not a conversation I want to have with my 5 year old. And how the heck does this other kid know that? Maybe she walked in on them?
Me: Well...
Melina: Maybe she was just joking me. 
And maybe Melina will forget this conversation ever happened. I can only hope.

Thursday, July 25, 2013


What happened to Chris and what have you done with her?

Aren't you wondering this?

I've been such a wuss lately, posting about recipes. This is not a recipe blog! Not that I have anything against that type of blog. They are great and I use them often. But again, this is not a recipe blog. I don't have anything new to add in that arena.

Apparently I don't have anything new to add in the writing arena, either. Slow to move, this mind is. let's pray for another breakthrough soon.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Fritter Time

It's not often that I channel my mother-in-law. I love her dearly, but we are very different people. However, with the number of zucchini we are receiving in our CSA box, I had to pull out the Joan recipes. One in particular, her zucchini fritters, are quite good. Too bad I couldn't find the paper on which I had written it.

And thank goodness for the internet. Smitten Kitchen has just about every good recipe out there, and it didn't disappoint. I won't bore you with the details here. If you want to make some zucchini fritters, follow this link and enjoy yourself. I've got a load of corn in my fridge right now and I plan on checking there first for a corn fritter recipe. I'll let you know how it goes.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Wasting Time

I've spent a lot of time lately reading what some might call trash. I head to the tablet, download some free junk via the Kindle app we have, and then skim through some really bad writing. I've read some teen reads, some adult reads, some non-fiction garbage, and some short stories. You might ask why I'm wasting my time.

What I have found, at least for me, is if I spend some time with poorly written books, I can make my writing better, and also appreciate the well-written books that lurk out there. Warped? Maybe. But I have to do what works for me.

Because, as you know, FRN, it's all about me. Or you. I forget.

Sunday, July 21, 2013


Aaron: It's not Maximus Crime, Melina! It's Optimus Prime!
Melina: Okay, let's use him in the game.
Tim: You're funny, Mimi.

Thursday, July 18, 2013


Your kid might be
more talkative,
more creative,
a better runner,
a bigger reader,
a math whiz,
a bowler extraordinaire,
a swimmer who rivals a fish in water,
or a prodigy.
But they don't have us for parents.
Poor kid.

(Just kidding, sort of.)

Wednesday, July 17, 2013


In case any of you were wondering, I was on the receiving end of a critique on Monday night. Yes, July 15 was the day. The day to get back from my trusted readers the piece of writing I had so lovingly given to them. (If you don't remember, back in late winter/early spring, I had an epiphany of episode of writing so manic that I basically finished a novel in a month and then went ahead and added changes. That will probably never happen again, but I'm at least blessed to say it did once.) Anyhoo, on June 17, I gave the piece up, and on Monday, I got it back.

I was a bit nervous to head out to the meeting that night, but nothing too bad landed in my stomach. I like this story, and two other people who had already read it liked it, too. I can see the potential for a good book, if you like a fun teen read, and I already knew some holes existed. But I'd trust these ladies with not only my writing, but my life. So I wondered what they'd say.

To make a long two hours short, the critique went well. There aren't any major overhauls to be done, and my writing cohorts gave phenomenal suggestions. Some ideas I identified along with them, and other changes I have never even considered. And I realize this is a very boring post, but I have a manuscript to review and revise. The plan after that? Find an agent and get this thing published!

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Reasons 41 - 50

41. Sisters who come to visit.
42. Homemade vanilla almond frosting.
43. Scooperman ice cream.
44. Birthdays.
45. Chirping of the birds at 6 am near my window.
46. The blast of AC that sweeps my hair back as I enter the pet store.
47. Tom The Produce Guy.
48. CSA box treasures.
49. Little bits of silence stolen from a very busy day.
50. Positive feedback given for a manuscript review!

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Quote(s) of the Day

Melina: Mom! Is Catalina named after a cat?


Melina: Mom! I can feel my heart beeping!

Saturday, July 13, 2013


I know, I know, you've missed hearing about my great toe. Has it already healed? you wonder. Of course not. I just haven't written because I don't want to seem like a complainer. But as of recently, every doggone thing and their mothers have stepped, yet again, on my toe. Despite my use of the urea on the nail and an evening date with the nail file, it was pink, sore, and causing me great pain (again). This time, I didn't bother with the numbskull podiatrist.

No, this time, I decided to do the old-school home remedy of packing the nail with cotton. And all I can say is, ahhhh...the pressure is relieved.

I think I'll cancel my follow-up with the sadistic physician. His instruction wasn't much help anyway.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Sugared Up

What, may I ask, possesses people to offer kids candy at every opportunity? Stores, offices, churches...everywhere I go, if my kids are in tow, we have the chance to nab a bundle of lollipops. I said no this morning, considering the offer came at 8:30 am. And while I know the ladies were trying to be nice, I do have to think that if the roles were reversed, they might have looked at me a little funny, too.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013


Five years. Half a decade. One quarter of two decades. Five years of a lifetime that could reach one hundred and beyond. A blip in the number of revolutions around the sun that compose a lifetime, really. That's Melina. Right now. Today.

I thought all of that this morning, when I walked into Melina's room and viewed her face, full of smiles and bright eyes. She waved at me, blew me a kiss, and asked, "Am I five now, Mommy?" When I responded in the affirmative, she clenched her fists and trembled with excitement. Why? I'm not sure. She is just excited to be 5.

And I'm excited to watch her. To see Melina blossom as the years tick by, to grow from our little peanut into a willowy tree. To view the phases she has yet to go through, see if the princesses will always be her friends, or if someday, she'll find her niche at Fashion Week. I'm excited when I think about who she is now and who she will be tomorrow, next week, five years from now and more.

Happy Birthday, Melina!

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Not Writing

My manuscript has been out of my hands since June 17. Because of that, I haven't worked on it. Why bother? I'll need to consider the feedback my cohorts will be giving me on July 15.

In the meantime, since I haven't been writing, don't you wonder what I have been doing?

Aside from play with the kids or read to Melina, so far I've:
  • Painted a dresser
  • Decluttered Melina's room
  • Rearranged several storage cabinets
  • Thrown away junk from the basement
  • Cleaned out my closet
  • Went through old clothes of the kids
  • Spot cleaned a few carpets
  • Found out that Aaron has hardwood floors under his carpet
My house and things like it when I'm not writing.

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Silver Liquid Drops

We returned from a vacation on June 30 and I swear it has been raining since then. This weather isn't normal for our area. In fact, usually by this time, the grass begins to brown and the flowers begin to wilt for want of water. Last year, we mowed the lawn 4 times total. This year, our number will be much higher (provided it eventually stops raining).

And while I am not a fan of rain (4 kids inside all day going stir crazy makes me a bit loopy) I headed out this morning, in the light rain, for a long run. The light rain stopped at one point, and then it started up again, in earnest. I avoided the deluge, but by the time I returned, I was completely soaked. My hat dripped onto the foyer rug and the bath towel I used to soak up the rain became quite damp. I felt great, energized, cold, but refreshed. So I had to find a quote, one that summed up my feelings at that moment, about the rain. Because it wouldn't be long that I'd find myself looking out the window, whispering for the rain to move along and come back another day. Here it is:
Let the rain kiss you. Let the rain beat upon your head with silver liquid drops. Let the rain sing you a lullaby. ~Langston Hughes

Friday, July 5, 2013

Good Things

Two good things happened today.

1. My car battery died. That wasn't that good. But Tara was here, and we quickly jumped the battery and went on our way. The car is currently at the shop having the battery looked at. No harm, no foul, right?

2. On a trip to hobby lobby (after the jump), I apparently left my wallet at the check-out. We were in the parking lot when the young cashier ran out and asked if I had left it on the counter. Why yes I did, and thank you, Brandon.

Good times.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

New Loves

Our CSA delivers cabbage to us regularly. Sometimes, I think, too regularly. I've roasted it, toasted it, stir-fried it; you name it, I've done it. So this time, when the large head of white cabbage arrived, I looked for something different to do with it. I am happy to announce that I found, and loved, this recipe. It's new for me, probably not for you. (There are many versions of this cabbage salad around, but this one came from Katherine Martinelli. She has a beautiful website here.)

¼ cup soy sauce
¼ cup mirin (sub white wine vinegar)
2 tablespoons water
1 teaspoon sesame oil
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 tablespoon olive oil
½ large white cabbage, shredded
1 carrot, grated
1 zucchini, sliced very thin
½ bell pepper, cut into matchsticks
1 cup sliced scallions
¼ cup almond slivers, toasted
2 ounces (60g) quick cooking Asian egg or ramen noodles, broken up
1 tablespoon sesame seeds, toasted
  1. Put the soy sauce, mirin, water, sesame oil, and brown sugar in a small pot over low heat. Heat, stirring, just until the sugar has fully dissolved. Whisk in the olive oil and set aside to cool.
  2. Put the cabbage, carrot, zucchini, pepper, scallions, almond slivers, and uncooked noodles in a salad bowl. Pour half of the dressing over and toss vigorously until every piece of vegetable is coated. Add more dressing until the salad is well dressed. The remaining dressing will keep in a sealed container in the fridge for at least 1 week.
  3. Garnish with the sesame seeds and serve (salad can be made up to a few hours ahead and refrigerated; simply omit the noodles and toss in just before serving.)

Tuesday, July 2, 2013


Melina: Mom, why don't we get a urinal?

I really wasn't even sure what to say about that one, so I ushered her to bed.

Monday, July 1, 2013

Birthday Letter

Dear Julie:

I've been thinking about this day for weeks, possibly even months, if I dared to keep track. I've been trying to adjust schedules and juggle appointments and finagle a miracle to get my bum out your way to celebrate your day. But life happens, and you of all people know that. So instead of partying with you, on the 40th anniversary of your entrance to this magnificent world, all I can do is whoop with joy from 500 miles away, and write you a birthday letter. Thank goodness for the internet. (I didn't even manage to get the card out on time. But I promise to call. Even if all I do is leave you a silly voicemail.)

Speaking of which, we were in college at the dawn of that lovely thing called the World Wide Web. By that point, we'd been to the computer centers too many times to count and sipped a plethora of coffees, maybe from Cava Java. We'd been to Stucchi's and the CCRB, and a couple of really bad frat parties. We'd been through Hungry Howies on dining hall-less Sunday nights, Bohemian Rhapsody, a plant called Sarcasm, the smell of burned hair gel, an all women's dorm, the relief of Mojo and so many things. We survived junior year cockroaches and Richard the custodian, no space in the refrigerator, and too small of a room. We'd experienced riots in the street, tumbleweeds on the hall, and so much more I can't even remember.

But what I do remember is the first day I met the girl with the bright blue eyes. Thanks to letters sent before the start of school, I'd seen your picture and knew a few facts about you. There are very few letters, though, that can do anyone justice. The girl before me stood confident, poised, and ready to tackle the world: the complete antithesis of me, who would have holed up in a single room for the entire year had anyone let me. Over the course of that first year, and many years afterward, you broadened my mind to music, politics, love, and lessons in life.

I don't want to belabor the point here. We've known each other now for almost 22 years. I've known you longer than I haven't known you. I've lived in the same room, the same apartment, the same city, and different cities. Our families have changed our jobs have changed, our lives have changed. Some for the worse, some for the better (mostly for the better, I'd like to think). And in that time, I've come to realize what a gift you and your friendship are for me. You are my third sister. You are the one with whom I'd like to sit on the porch of the old folks home and reflect on our lives. You are Julie, and I'm so grateful that once upon a time, our stars aligned.

Happy Birthday, Julie!