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.

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
~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


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, 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.
~Check the weather channel again.
~Check the cars.
~Wash the dishes.
~Have a glass of wine to calm my nerves.

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.]

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:

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