Small town girl. Joins Navy. Sees the world. Flies in planes. Hunts submarines. Gets out of military and has 3 kids. Rejoins Air National Guard as an "old lady" of 38.


A humorous compilation of stories and lessons learned. Usually the hard way.

Friday, December 28, 2012

The Harsh Truth

I refused to do it.  I couldn’t bear it.  I swore I never would.  And then... a few nights ago, I found myself doing what I never thought I'd have to do.

"I think it's time," my husband said.  

"No- I'm sure we have more time!"

"Julia.  It is time we are finally honest and own up to everything."

"But I just can't- it will… it will change everything!"

I stood there in silence, my arms crossed defensively.  I felt as if I was being attacked- made to feel wrong for how I felt.  I was not ready for this and I couldn't understand why he would make me.  I felt like a mother that was trying to hold onto her baby in a tornado- as she was slowly slipping through my fingers into the violent winds above.

"It's time we finally told her the truth about Santa."  He looked at me sternly.  Suddenly I felt like he was my parent too.  "She mentioned to me that her friends at school are telling her that there is no Santa and we are lying to her.  I just can't handle that."

He was right.  I didn’t want her to think we were liars.  Stupid friends.  I guess at 10, she was ready- whether I was or not.  We had pulled it off this long- but the jig was up.

Slowly we made our way up the stairs to her room, peeked our head in, and sat down on her bed.

"Hon, we want to talk to you about all of the questions you've been asking lately about Santa.  We never want you to think you cannot trust us."

She squinted her eyes at the light streaming through the door from the hallway.  "Okay," rolled off of her puffy lips.  Her face still looked so cherub-like- especially when she was sleepy.

Her father took a deep breath and slowly began an explanation of how we were the ones who bought, wrapped, and placed the presents under the tree every Christmas.

"But there really is a Santa Claus!" I quickly interjected.  "He lived hundreds of years ago.  He was a saint that gave presents to all of the children in his village."

"Right,” her dad continued.  "However, it would be impossible for one man to bring presents to all of the children in the world in one night-"

"And that is why the parents help!"  I interrupted.  I shot him a glance.

“So there really isn’t a Santa Claus?” she asked, tilting her head to the side.  I knew she already had her suspicions.

I waited for her to panic.  To begin shouting.  Instead, she brushed a piece of hair out of her eyes and there seemed to be a look of relief in them.  Validation.  Wisdom that comes with growing.

“No, Sweetheart.”

“But there is!”  I said- a little too loudly.  “Er, there was.  He’s the Spirit of Christmas!”

She looked at her dad and then back at me- absorbing it all.

I quickly mouthed the words to her, “I believe!” nodding my head up and down.

My husband looks over and rolls his eyes and smiles at his hopeless cause.

But the thing is, it’s true.  I do believe.  Okay, I do put the presents under the tree.  However, I do honestly believe in the magic that surrounds Christmas.  I believe that anything is possible.  People are kinder.  Miracles happen. 

My sister (the crazy one) recently sent me a letter she found on Pintrest that I just fell in love with.  I think the writer sums it up perfectly in this letter for their own child, no doubt full of questions.

“Santa is lots and lots of people who keep the spirit of Christmas alive.  He lives in our hearts- not at the North Pole.  Santa is the magic and love and spirit of giving to others.  What he does is teach children to believe in something they can’t see or touch.  Throughout your life you will need this capacity to believe in yourself, in your family, in your friends, and in God.”

I believe.  And I want my children to as well.  So after our conversation with our first-born daughter, I went downstairs.  Sat on the sofa.  And I began to weep, as any mother that just realized her baby was slipping out of her fingers would weep.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Happy Holidays 2012

From our family to yours...


This year was a big one for us as it marked the first year that all three kids are now in school.  School is great.  I’m always so proud and sometimes quite surprised at all that they learn on a daily basis.  For an example:


CJ:  Mom, we need more Irish muffins.  [English?]
Geography.


CC:  Mom, once I’m a grownup, will you guys be like old grannies?
Human Development.


CC:  I’m going to throw this chicken bone into the yard so it will grow into a chicken tree.
Agricultural Studies.


JP:  [to CC] You were an egg once.  Did you know that?  It was in egg in Mom’s stomach.
Family Life Education.


CC:  JP’s killing a rabbit for me so I can have one and it won’t run away.
Science.


CC:  I ‘fought’ I heard a lion in the woods, so I came inside!  (naturally)
Personal Safety & First Aid.

JP:  When I grow up, I’m going to be a butterfly buster.  Almost like a Ghost Buster.
Career development.


Mom:  Um, why are you wearing that bandana around your head?
JP:  Because I’ve been wearing it for a few days now…  Because it was crazy day at school.  And I looked pretty good.  I got a girlfriend that day.
Sociology.


CC:  Do Indians drink out of their shoes?
Cultural Studies.


JP:  No, we went to a craft store.  Not Michaels.  I think it was called Staples or something.  Actually I think Dad just drove around a lot because he was lost, but don’t tell him I said that.
Driver’s Education


Auntie L. (The Crazy One):  Are we going to drive until we stop?
The Law of Physics.


JP:  Mom, how did God create Heaven?
Mom:  I’m not sure.  No one really knows.
JP:  Can we look it up online?
Information Technology.


I’d like to take this moment to thank all teachers everywhere.  I know it isn’t easy.  Our kids are no exception.  May we all continue to learn every day as we ring in the New Year!

 
Love to all and wishes for a joyous holiday season!

We survived the end of the world.  Now what's next?

Friday, December 14, 2012

Don't Judge.

So this one time, I had jury duty.

The letter arrived without warning one day in the mail and explained to me that I had been selected.  I then brought it to work, bragging to everyone I saw.  What's not to love?  An excused day from work.  A day with lots of quiet waiting- so I would have to read a book!  I'd actually have time to read.  But my excitement was only met with groans and moans.  Everyone that I spoke to that had jury duty before could only tell me how much they hated it- how boring it was.


Surely, they had to be wrong.  What could be more American, besides voting, than serving on a jury?  After all, Americans are bestowed the right to a fair and speedy trial by their peers.  My mind drifted off to Law and Order, Boston Legal, and OJ Simpson...


Finally the day came.  I picked out my best jury duty outfit.  Something not too trendy- one that said I'm serious, but fair.  I'm up-to-date with modern ways of thinking- but I am a responsible citizen that makes good choices.  (most of the time)  And of course, I was sure to dress in layers, as court rooms always appeared cold.


My long day began by my going to the wrong court house.  When I arrived, I waved my magic paper in the air that notified the security guard that I had been specially selected.  Security did not think it was as exciting as I did.  He simply requested that I put my purse on the scanner and to "please stop waving that godforsaken paper in my face, ma'am."  I was quickly directed across the street to the proper location.  At least I knew my bag would pass inspection.  (I had spent the night before removing anything questionable- lighters, razors, AK-47...)  


I was not to be discouraged though.  I leapt up the stairs, into courtroom number 1 and found a seat in the middle, front row.  I wanted to see everything.  


A couple of girls sat next to me and naturally, they became my new friends (my selection process isn't too rigorous).  We chatted and waited.  We got hushed for talking too loudly.  


Then they showed us a movie about our 'duty as American citizens'.  I mentally took notes.


About half way through, new friend #1 pulled a water bottle out of her purse and took a long, hard swig off of it as if it were a flask of whiskey on a Texas ranch.  But before she could put it down, a large white haired man with a county emblem on his jacket (the bailiff?) came running at her.


"Ma'am!  There is NO drinking, or eating, or chewing gum in the courtroom!  Your water must exit immediately."  It was as if he expected the water in violation to walk out on its own.


Slowly Friend #1 lowered her water.  Friend #2 whispered, "Just hide it in your purse."


Mr. Food Police then quickly turned to a gray haired woman sitting behind us.  "You there!  Is that gum in your mouth?"


Her face turned pale as the 60-some year old woman replied in a hoarse voice, "No Sir, it's just a cough drop.  Are we not allowed to have cough drops?"


"No COUGH DROPS!" and he turned and walked away.


I was beginning to realize how hardcore this stuff really was.  The courtroom looked just like Judge Judy's.  It smelled musty but felt historical and polished.  There were paintings of angry men hanging on the walls throughout.  They all appeared to be former judges.  Perhaps famous.  Some maybe not so much.  But they all had a furrow upon their brow that simply said, "I judge you.  Therefore I am a judge."  As if it was unconstitutional for them to crack a smile.


I could hear Jack Nicholson yelling, "You can't handle the truth!"


Soon the Judge herself walked in as Mr. Food Police instructed, "All rise."


Following her were the prosecutors, defendant, and attorneys.  I waited, half expecting to hear a narration of a completely irrelevant story in addition to why they were here- just like on Judge Mathis.  “The Plaintiff likes to eat cheeseburgers on Tuesday nights and ended up getting a catholic girl pregnant.  He is suing the Defendant for late rent money.”  However, the narration never came.


Instead, the Judge explained that this was a criminal trial today rather than a civil.  The Defendant was accused of second-degree rape.  I was unsure of what the degree meant- but I figured I could Google it later on my lunch break.  I suddenly felt anxious. Holy smokes- this was the real deal.


What followed next was about as long and drawn-out as the movie Lawrence of Arabia.  We began the process of jury selection.  Did anyone know anyone involved in the case?  Was anyone in the jury a felon?  An illegal immigrant?  (because I'm sure they would run up and tell the judge)

We got to hear all about crimes that everyone's family members had committed and/or if those around us were involved in or witnessed a crime.

Someone mentioned a vandalism case and suddenly I was having a conflicted conversation with myself.  I recalled the time I had my iPod stolen out of my vehicle.  No, no. That's not a big enough crime.  But you called the cops and they did a police report.  No, no.  There were no arrests made.  It was a mini crime.  And mini crimes don't count.  I'm sure.  So I didn't say anything.


And then they brought the accused out.  My first instinct was to judge.  How could he commit such a horrible crime?  He's wearing a wrinkly shirt without a tie.  How unprofessional.  He probably never owned a dress shirt- so I'm sure he's a hoodlum.  But then something about his face seemed so young and innocent.  Was he being falsely accused?  Cases like these are so he said/she said.  Suddenly I was worried about having to make a decision that will ultimately decide the fate of this young man.


"If it does not fit, you cannot acquit."


All of the famous trials came flooding into my brain.  And then I began to feel light headed.  Not because of the pressure, but because it was nearly 1 o'clock and we had not eaten lunch yet.  This was a big deal.


As the lawyers discussed technicalities with the judge, my stomach began to rumble in the near-silent courtroom.  Loudly.  My mouth was parched.  I was literally starving right in front of them.  I clenched my abs trying to stop the noises to no avail.  Friend #1 and #2 began nonchalantly glancing my way.  Oh crap.  They probably thought I was gassy.  I wanted to whisper, "It's not gas- I'm just very hungry."  But that felt even more strange.


I glance up at Mr. Food Police.  He had his back to me, so I took the opportunity to rifle through my purse for something with some calories.  Anything.


I found some gum and quickly popped it into my mouth.  Mr. Food Police glanced my way.  I did not chew the gum, but began to suck every last bit of sugar I could get from it until it felt like a piece of squeaky rubber in my mouth.  Discretely, I folded the used gum between a piece of paper- careful not to look obvious.  I pretended to wipe my face with the paper.  I continued to do this with three more pieces until I felt somewhat satisfied with the few bits of sugar I was able to get.  It wasn't much- but I figured it'd hold me over for a little while anyway.


The judge asked everyone to line up in single-file when their number was called- as if it were a police lineup.  The Prosecutor and Defendant went through and looked at each person.  Then they whispered.  Then they would either say seat or exit- meaning a stay or go.  For the life of me I could not tell what basis they were using.  I simply could not predict the outcomes.  They were judging the jury!  One person must have looked sympathetic.  Another person looked somewhat angry- maybe with the law.


And then what happened- I did not see coming.  Not by a long shot.  They selected 12 jurors and 3 alternatives.  And then…


They told the rest of us we could go home.

That was it??  All this time for that?  It was after 2 o’clock!  I've never experienced anything so anti-climatic in my life. Six hours straight in a court room.  And now I'll never know what happened?  I mean, unless I read it in the paper.


So I picked up my magazines and gum wrappers and slowly made my way out of the courtroom.  I’d have to wait 3 more years for another chance to be a juror.  And then,  I finally realized why people moan and groan over jury duty.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Art Inspirations: Christmas Carols

I am a Christmas junkie.  It may be possible that I can even get a little ridiculous sometimes.  However, I do follow all of the rules!  I never utter the word 'Christmas' until the day after Thanksgiving.  I promptly take down all of my decorations no later than January 1st.  

However, between Black Friday and New Years Eve- I allow myself to indulge in decorating, writing Christmas cards, drinking eggnog and peppermint mochas, and listening to Christmas music.  Constantly.  Yes, for a complete 33 days my radio plays nothing but yule tide carols being sung by a choir.


Now these Christmas carols have been played over and over for generation upon generation.  The same 50 songs have been remade and re-recorded by every artist known.  Every pop star seems to be required to make their own version of a Christmas album with traditional songs that hit every possible  musical note  and ad libs that one can dream up.  And though each has a slight variation, they all cling to an idea.


As everyone, I have my favorites.   


However, there is one song that can literally bring me to tears every time I hear it.  Tears of joy when performed properly.  Tears of pain when it is butchered by a well-intended lady singing in church on Christmas Eve.  


Every Christmas Eve we attend the mandatory church service.  (Mandatory in my own head.) We listen as  we clutch our candles and try to follow along in the hymnal.  Soon, candle wax drips past our knuckles.  It hurts, I won't lie, but we press on.

Then suddenly, the clouds part and they begin to sing Oh Holy Night.  (people- not the clouds)  Everyone stops and listens.  Moved into an abyss, we no longer feel the pain of hot wax.  


Next time you hear this song- I ask you to really listen to every note.  Hopefully you'll hit one of the good versions.  Whomever wrote this song was a musical genius.   A genius I say!  They had the power to truly capture the moment.  When I listen to the song, I actually feel the power of the night that the Savior was born.  I'm there.  What talent to have captured that.


Another stroke of genius is The Trans-Siberian Orchestra.  If you've never been to one of their concerts- I would highly recommend it.  And I don't recommend a lot of things.  Okay, that's a lie.  But there is something incredible about this musical revelation.  What they have done to our traditional sounds of Christmas has carried them to the 21st century on a 737 vice a camel.  Incredible.

Finally, there is just one other song that holds that kind of power.  It is our National Anthem.  Francis Scott Key was so eloquently able to echo his undying love for his country in the simple words and music that compose the most important song to Americans.  In it, I can actually feel his pride and patriotism.  I get goosebumps.  And I am moved.  I suddenly want to drive a tank, jump out of a plane, and fly Old Glory from the highest mountain.  In that order.


Art continues to amaze me. The perfect story.  The perfect song.  A captivating painting or photo.  A sculpture.  It can change people.  It can move mountains.  It can be passed on for generations and not to lose- but only improve it's meaning and power to all that will listen with an open heart.
 

What part of art captivates you?  In what way does it do that?

Thursday, November 29, 2012

The Mighty P-3 Orion

This week's post is in response to Mama's Losin' It Weekly Writing Workshop in which I was to incorporate the word "sparkle" somewhere.

Below is a clip taken from my book I've been working on for nearly a million years now.  Nearly.  Let me know your thoughts- too many adjectives?  Sometimes I have that problem.  But there is nothing better than free editing!  Well, except free beer.



          As the mighty Orion, with her rumbling four engines, soared through the hazed air, volcanic ash spewed forth in a continuous stream atop the mountain peak.  The sunlight sparkled on the wing’s condensation, lighting up the black stains from the engine tail exhausts. 

         The massive plane jutted to the left and then to the right, never missing a beat for she had been doing this for decades and was a veteran to many skies.  She dipped her port side wing ever so gently causing the entire beast to veer to the left in one continuous movement.  The plane seemed unaware and undaunted that just a simple shift in the wind could cause the stream of ashes to be sucked into the intakes, extinguishing the engines and cause her to fall to her eternal grave at the base of the volcano. 

        Yes, as she proudly flew with her chest thrust forward.  Unstoppable.  She believed her power was untouchable and the sky was forever her own- as it always had been.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Blessings in Disguise

As the Thanksgiving holiday quickly approaches, we all tend to use this season as a reminder to reflect on what we are truly thankful for in our lives.

Often the answers are obvious and universal:  family, food, and shelter.  The desires that unite all humans everywhere in every culture.

But what about the blessings that aren't so obvious?  The ones that come upon us as a camouflaged surprise?  The ones that we may not recognize as a blessing right away- or even for quite a while.  It may take many years until we can look back and really see what a blessing in disguise that it was.

The loss of a job-- only to have been given that opportunity to finally start up the career you've always dreamed of- not just the one you ended up in.

Your alarm not going off-- only to find that you avoided a horrible accident on the way to work.

A terrible break-up-- only to later find the person of your dreams- the one that you really should have been with all along.  The one that makes all of the heartaches along the journey completely worth it.

They are everywhere- big and small.  Any unpredicted, unplanned happenstance that you just don't know if you have the strength to survive- only to find you end in a much better place as a result.

My best blessing in disguise:  My little girl.  I already had two wonderful children which fulfilled our home completely.  Then one day I found out I was pregnant again.  (Still unsure how that happened??)  For a planner like myself- I did not know how to handle it.  I calculated everything in my life.  Now, I found myself having to re-write all of my future plans.  It took me many months to accept this.

And then my baby was born- and I suddenly couldn't remember life before her.  She is a beautiful butterfly that leaves a trail of happiness everywhere that she goes.  She lights up a room and touches hearts.  I could not imagine our family without this addition- our little blessing in disguise.

So for this holiday season ahead, I challenge you to try to embrace the hardships- even the little annoyances that we encounter on a daily basis. Try to trust that there is a plan for all of this somewhere.  Somewhere, it is really a blessing.


What are some of your blessings in disguise??


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Monday, November 12, 2012

The Artist Manifesto


For:  Those that love to create.
From:  A fabulous writer and teacher that asked us to share, Jeff Goins:  http://goinswriter.com/artist/

The Artist Manifesto


This is it. NO TURNING BACK. No excuses, no delays. Time to sit down and focus. To show up and create. To paint and play and craft. To DREAM and vision-cast.


To make all things new.


This is beauty in action. Life in full swing. THIS IS ART.


There are no ringside seats or sick days. Everyone must play. No second chances. You only get one shot. All you have is today.


THE TIME IS NOW. To inspire wonder and awe. To speak up in a world fast asleep at the wheel.


We’re counting on you. To be creative. To AWAKEN our souls with beauty. To use your heart and hands to bring meaning back into the universe.


Because without you we are all lost.


Life makes no sense without prophets and poets.


We need you to DO THE WORK and honor your call. To tap into the Muse and find your voice.


We cannot do this alone. We have lost the child-within. That part of us content to stare at clouds — at home with magic and mystery. We need your help to find her. So that we can dance and laugh and sing. So that we can BE WHOLE once again.


WILL YOU GUIDE US?

Friday, November 9, 2012

Beginnings & Endings

The following was written as a prompt from Write on Edge:  New

Rain fell on that northern summer morning.  It cleansed the air but cast a dark gloom.  It was the kind of rain that allowed for a lazy summer afternoon indoors, without the guilt and expectations a beautiful day will bring.

            We sat in silence during the hour-long ride to the bus stop.  If a word had been spoken, it was irrelevant, and quickly cast aside.  Everyone’s minds were preoccupied with a shared sensation of the expected loss that was about to come.  Any beginning requires an end- a loss.

            After an eternity, the car came to a halt. 

“Well, this is the place,” my father said. 

            I’d never been to a bus stop before, and this one seemed lonely.  Why was I doing this again?  I could turn around so easily right now.  Everything would be much easier- and safer.  But would I really happy?

I said goodbye to my baby sisters. They stood vulnerable on that cold morning.  Did they think I was abandoning them?  For the first time I was unable to shelter them.  I felt selfish when I thought of the burdens that they were to bear in the future.  I could only hope that someday they’d forgive me.

            It was his cry that paralyzed me.  My father.  He had always kept the monsters away.  And now he cried.

            “If it’s about the money- we’ll find a way to pay for college.” 

            “No dad.” It wasn’t the money.  He would’ve offered me the world in that moment.  But I couldn’t stay. 

I wanted to go home to curl up in my warm bed. But I couldn’t.  I had to go.  I wanted to see the world.  I wanted to fly.  I wanted to “save” the world. I had to jump and look later.

            So I turned away.  Quick, like ripping off a band-aid.  I climbed onto the bus and pressed my face to the window- swallowing to keep back the tears.  This wasn’t the place to cry- not right now.  I watched my family until the very last second- until they were too far away.

And then I panicked.  I just wanted one more look- but it was too late.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Something to be Thankful for: America's Elections

I stole this from an old military friend and just had to share. Thanks for the perspective, Pete, I couldn't agree more!

Once again, Americans have selected a leader. Note that, no tanks rolled through streets, no soldiers occupied towns and cities, no "factions", unsatisfied with the results, murdered other "factions". No thugs attacked people merely for voting; in fact, all citizens eligible were constantly encouraged to vote, regardless of whom they voted for. No riots broke out. No prospective aspirant leader called for the death of his opponents. No one ordered others to kill their enemies. Bombs were not detonated in polling places.

The process took place, peacefully.

No matter how you feel about its outcome, isn't that something we can all be proud of?

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

VOTE!

Jay Lenno once did a segment before an election surveying college students on the street posing the question:

We have started a petition to end women’s suffrage.  Would you be willing to sign it?

Unfortunately 98% of the students said yes.  Granted Women’s Suffrage, though it may sound terrible- is actually a pretty great thing.

Such a trivial detail of our lives- as we live in a time and country where these details are no longer threatened.  We become complacent.  We forget and soon, we take this little right to vote for granted.

We’ve heard the stories in our history books.  Before 1920, you could only vote if you were a land-owning, white male.  Now if you are not a land-owning white male, can you imagine what a powerless feeling that would be? 
"Pssst.  Mr. John Smith.  If you haven’t made up your mind about who is going to be my new President and my leader of this free world- will you pretty-please consider my opinion?”
 
What? You?  You a black female that rents an apartment is trying to tell me who to vote for?  Off with your head.”

John Smith can be such a jackass some days.

One day some chics had enough of Mr. John Smith telling them to make him some cookies.  They were all like.  “No Sir, Mr. John Smith.  Not today.  I AM a US citizen that pays taxes on my sugar for your cookies- therefore I WILL decide who the next dude I’m going to pay taxes to is going to be.  Umm hmmm.”  [insert Z snap here.]

Then one day not too long ago- surprisingly not too long ago.  As little as 1966 (a mere 46 years ago!!)- it was finally amended that ALL US citizens had the right to vote for their president and whether or not they wanted a casino next to the local daycare. (Blasted gambling toddlers!)

Our country continues to evolve as equal rights continuously expand and are redefined.  This is necessary.  As we become more educated and a less ignorant nation, we realize that ALL people are created equal and ALL tax-paying US citizens have the RIGHT to vote.  We can only hope that the rest of the world will follow suit someday.  We are getting closer- but still have so much to overcome.

So today, I ask that you remember that hundreds of thousands of people have fought hard and have even given their life so that you may be free and so that you may exercise your right to VOTE.
Please don’t dishonor them by thinking it is unnecessary, irrelevant, or meaningless.  We are only one battle away from communism and dictatorship.

And now you've had your history lesson of the day.  But I didn't have to tell you this- you already knew it.  Now, go out and make wise decisions.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

To Scare or Not to Scare

Happy Halloween!  Whether you chose to celebrate tonight or not, one cannot escape the commercialized, candy-infested holiday.  Though it may not necessarily be my most favorite holiday- I do enjoy the day- mostly now in the pleasure I see my children get from dressing up as their favorite characters and eating way more candy than they ever get to in a night (despite how much we may try to regulate it!)

Of course I loved it as a kid- just as mine do now.  So last week when I caved into their pleading and begging and brought them to the Halloween Store (generic name), I couldn’t help but be a little taken aback by the sights.

~Monster masks in the scariest possible forms
~Blood and gruesome weapons everywhere
~Nasty patch-on abrasions
~Characters from horror movies I would never allow my kids to watch
~Headless bodies dangling from a bloody rope
~Clowns!
~Disturbing babies actually eating their own legs!  It was purely wretched!

And I couldn’t help but think that we must be a strange culture- from an outside observer's perspective- as we celebrate these horrors and place them all about our homes where guests are sure to see.

I instantly felt guilty bringing my little ones there as I watched my 6 year old cringe at some of the horrible sights.  I did my best to usher her along to the princess section as quickly as possible.
I observed other parents in there as they tried to laugh off their toddler’s screams at some of the scary sights.  Oh honey- it’s just pretend!

It's true, it is pretend.  I’m not against some fun entertainment of being a little scary here and there- but this just seemed so extreme.  And then I couldn’t help but wonder- have we just gotten soft as a society?  Could that be the problem?  Do we shelter our children too much??

In the “old days” children were taught to fear God- and threats of Hell kept their behavior in check.  Granted, beating their children with belts was also acceptable behavior in the old days.  Not exactly an effective parenting technique.

I recently danced around an explanation of “Hell” to my 8 year-old when approached with the inquiry.  I was stumped for which direction to take.  I promised myself I would not ever lie to my children.   But I did not want to scare him either, as he would take it very literal.  

And then I bring him to a store where he picks up a bloody chainsaw (pretend of course) as his costume because he thinks it’s cool?  Does he really want to cause harm with it?  Should I worry about my boy turning into a chain-saw criminal someday?  I sure hope not- as he has the gentlest heart ever- underneath the dirt.  Yet something about destruction impresses boys.  Just what is the limit?

So I struggle, wondering what to do with this Halloween question.  Where is the balance?  Where does a parent draw the line as to what to shelter them from and what exactly is defined as just ‘fun’ scary stuff?


Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Precipice


My first adult publication released today!  No, not that kind of 'adult' story- just my first story without pictures! 

Write on Edge is pleased to announce that Precipice is available to the world!
Congratulations to Shelton Keys Dunning, Julie C. Gardner, AmyBeth InvernessAngie KinghornVictoria KirichokMelissa Rutledge Kirtley, Kelly KohlesJulia A. MakiErin MargolinStacey MeservyRachel PadgetJessie Bishop PowellTracy RimdziusKim Sisto Robinson, Dawn Hobbie Sticklen, Diane Tarantini, and Janice Wilberg on their wonderful submissions to the collection.

You can find Precipice on:
Coming soon in paperback via Amazon.com, and to other major ebook retailers.

Monday, October 29, 2012

How to Prepare for a Hurricane


Credits: NASA TV
Right about now- we are anticipating the arrival of an unwanted guest:  Hurricane Sandy.  The one and only great thing about a hurricane is that you have time to prepare.  Here is what our last week has looked like:

One week out:  
~Someone at work mentions that it's going to be a little bit windy next week.

6 days out:  
~I see my first report on the news about a hurricane building in the Atlantic.  Hmmm.  Interesting.  But this is nothing new.

5 days out:  
~Hurricane strikes the Caribbean causing catastrophic damages.  
The realization a hurricane may quite possibly be imminent begins a buzz in the air.

4 days out:  
~Look up the National Disaster Preparedness list online and realize that I have absolutely nothing on this list except for band-aids. 
~Go online to Amazon and order every item from Amazon with two day delivery.
~Order extra band-aids.

3 days out:  
~Life continues as normal.  
~Attend planned events with the family.
~Everyone out and about begins warning each other to be safe.
~Go grocery shopping on the way home and buy plenty of milk, toilet paper, water, and bread.

2 days out:  
~Begin to fill up every gas can we can find as well as each of the vehicle's gas tanks.  
~Dust off the generator and ensure it starts.
~Bring in the deck furniture.
~Nonperishable foods and hand-crank radio arrives from Amazon.

1 day out: 
~Head back to the store and buy more milk.  And toilet paper.  And wine.  
~Cruise around town, studying everything- taking it in- just incase it is not the same next time I see it.
~Eat Mexican.  Unsure when I'll get the chance to eat Mexican again.
~Go home and do all laundry.
~Do all dishes.


Day of:
~Linger in a hot shower.  Anticipate losing power at any minute.
~Make sure cats are inside.  At least the ones I like.
~Run the dishwasher, do laundry, and vacuum while continuing to anticipate the electricity shutting off at any time.  This may be the last time  will have electricity for at least a week (as was true with the last hurricane that passed through).
~Start eating everything in the refrigerator so it does not go bad- when the electric goes out.
~Move all albums and irreplaceable items to the middle of house and away from windows.
~Keep checking Facebook via phone to compare notes with friends as to what's happening where they are.  Try to post the most impressive picture.
~Keep checking the weather channel.  Every. Five. Minutes.
~Let the kids watch as much TV as they would like in the basement- assuming we won't have cable for the next week.
~Hold breath every time the wind picks up or I hear a loud noise.
~Pace.
~Check the weather channel again.
~Check the cars.
~Wash the dishes.
~Vacuum.
~Have a glass of wine to calm my nerves.
~Pray

And that is where we are now.  Still haven't lost electricity- however the TV keeps promising the worst is yet to come.  The anticipation, of course, is worse than anything.  But I just have to have faith at this point and trust that come what may- I don't think we could have prepared much more.

Hold on East Coast- let us brace for impact!


Thursday, October 25, 2012

Blonde Moments


Yes, she is old enough to drive.  Even old enough to drink.
But not at the same time, of course.

I think I'm going to start a new segment called blonde moments.  No I'm not blonde (at the moment)- nor do I have anything against blondes.  But my best friend is blonde...  coincidence?Perhaps.



Today I received a phone call from her- as she was barely able to speak.

"Oh my gosh- you'll never guess what I just did!"

"What?" I whispered under my breath as I was at work and my office mate is an engineer.  The crazy kind.  I didn't think he'd find this conversation appropriate for work.

So I tried to speak in Pig-Latin on the phone so I wouldn't look suspicious.

"Ut-way id-day oo-yay oo-day?" I continued in my secret, nearly unbreakable code.

"Well, on my to-do list today was taking the truck to the emissions place to get it checked out as the inspection is due soon.  So I'm just going about my day and driving down the road.  Hmm Hmm.  Hum Hum.  [that's how she sings]

"So I was almost there when I realized-- [long dramatic pause]  I was driving the car!! You know, instead of the truck- which was the vehicle that needed the emissions checked!!  It was back home, peacefully sitting in my driveway."  She was nearly out of breath by now.

I couldn't make this up if I tried.  It was almost as bad as the day I sent a letter to my sister in Washington- but forgot to write her address on it.  Just spaced it.  I found this out as the letter arrived promptly back in my mailbox the next day.  Of course I had at least wrote out MY return address on the thing.  Another stamp down the drain.

Go ahead.  Tell me your blonde moments.  I know you have them!  You're safe here.  We won't judge.  Well, mostly.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Pumpkin Surprise!



Today I'm going to do something that I don't normally do.  No, I'm not going to play chess, perform algebra equations for fun, or pet a lama.  (they are so dirty) 
I am going to post a recipe on my blog.  Crazy, you say?  Yes, it's true.  Unusual?  For sure.  Martha Stewart I am not.  Clearly, there must be something about this recipe!

It's true.  There is something about this recipe.  It's magical.  Easy as pie.
(By the way there is NOTHING easy about making the pie- and pre-made crusts don't count, there, lady in the back with all the comments.)

Yes, I can make a pie if I want to make a pie.  Do I want to make a pie?  Not often.  In fact mostly never.

And then one day, thanks to Auntie Ann, my cool Californian aunt out in California, (let me hear ya West Coast!!) I have a new recipe that literally knocks the socks off of people.  Seriously.  There will be dirty socks all over your kitchen.  It's like the black dresses of desserts.  Every girl (or even guy) should have a dessert they can whip up to dazzle others in a moment's notice. 

Here, my friends, is that recipe.  [drum roll]  And there could not be a better time to use it than this fall because it's made from- you guessed it- pumpkins!  (Hint:  it's in the name) 

Yes, made from pumpkins like every other god-forsaken recipe you stumble upon gracing the covers of magazines this time of year.  But alas!  This one- it's different!

How is it different?  It is fast, cheap, and easy.  Like I like my women.  Kidding.  I don't like women.  Not like that.  But it's okay if you do.
[Deep breath]

I now present to you....

MAGIC PUMPKIN SURPRISE!!  (I added the magic- because it simply is magical)

1 (32 ounce) can pumpkin (not pumpkin pie mix)
1 cup evaporated milk  [of course they never sell it as 1 cup- give the leftovers to your cat]
3 large eggs
1 cup sugar
4 teaspoons ground cloves [I personally used 3 teaspoons for each of these spices.  4 seems a little dramatic.]
4 teaspoons ginger
4 teaspoons cinnamon
1 (18 1/4 ounce) box yellow cake mix
1/2 cup butter (melted)
1 cup chopped walnuts [This I eliminated as I'm not a fan of nuts in my baked goods.]

Directions:
1.  Mix together pumpkin, sugar and spices; add milk and eggs.
2.  Spread pumpkin mixture into bottom of ungreased glass 9 x 13-inch dish.
3.  Distribute dry cake mix across top of pumpkin mixture. Drizzle butter over the top of cake mix. Sprinkle chopped walnuts generously across the top.
4.  Bake at 350° for one hour. Let the "surprise" sit for 20 minutes before slicing into it.

Read more at: http://www.food.com/recipe/pumpkin-surprise-143166?oc=linkback

Now see, isn't that easy??  Try it and let me know how magical it was for you. 
Stay tuned for next week when I post crafts.  I kid, I kid!



Mama's Losin' It