Are You Kidding Me?!

Are You Kidding Me?!

Monday, June 30, 2014


The wise and witty Geoff Le Pard commented on my Bite Size Memoir over at Lisa Reiter's blog. The topic was Childhood Illnesses and I wrote about my son.

Because he was a baby, we, as parents, had to make decisions for him as all parents do. But because he was sick, some of those decisions involved going to the hospital and being tested and having medical procedures. The last line of my flash memoir was remembering thinking that my son wouldn't forgive me. That is ridiculous, of course, because he was an infant. So, really, it was me. I questioned my decisions and got caught up in guilt and forgiveness.

So, back to the comment that Geoff made. It has been buzzing around my brain since he posted it. It is so rich and so true and so simple.  

"My experience for what it’s worth is they [children] forgive pretty much everything if you don’t burden them with your guilt."

If you yell at your kids, say 'no' when you probably should have said 'yes', miss their soccer game, forget to send their permission slip in for a school field trip, or lose their favorite stuffed animal, forgive yourself. Easier said than done. But you must. Because, chances are, your kids don't care half as much as you do. And, chances are, if you are riddled with guilt, you will burden them with it. Then, chances are, you will wind up with a child who doesn't forgive because he is constantly being reminded of this awful thing you did. But, chances are, if you don't continue to remind them and apologize for the next ten years, they will forgive and forget.  

Monday, June 16, 2014

Rage, Rage Against the Building of a Blog

Writing a letter to myself as a part of this awesome blogfest, How I Found the Write Path, really made me think about how much I didn't know, how much I thought I knew, and how much I still have to learn.

I quickly typed out a letter to myself about networking and how it is a necessary evil. It's not evil for every writer, of course, but for me. I am an introvert. That's being kind. But I learned that I had to put myself out there. It was horrifying.

Talking to people. Going to conferences. Joining social media. Promoting myself. 

Words like "Social Media" and "Platform" and "Brand" assaulted my poor, sensitive introvert ears. I didn't know exactly what these things were but I knew enough to know I didn't want to do any of it. I just wanted to hide in my room with a cup of tea and type away whatever characters were bugging me at the moment to be written about. Or slump in my chair with a glass of wine and write about a real-life scene that just happened at my house. 

Something I heard a lot about was blogging. "You have to have a blog." Ah. I knew more about blogs so this one was easier. No. I would not blog. Never frickin' ever. No.

Then, after much crying and complaining, I started a blog. And I read about blogging. "This is how you blog." "This is NOT how you blog." "This is how you get more followers on your blog." "You're blogging the wrong way." "You're not using all the tools available to you for your blog." Blah, blah, blog, blog.

I almost erased myself. Sounds menacing, eh? I made a list of all the sites I was on and systematically deleted accounts. I had been on Twitter for only a month and I hovered over the 'delete account' button. Kidding. What I really did was search in vain for how to delete myself and couldn't find it. Also, Facebook wouldn't let me delete myself for some reason. I'm still waiting for it to go away. And then I turned to my blasted blog and was two seconds away from deleting that, too.

Of course, since I'm blabbing at you here, that didn't happen. I'm writing and posting. I have a blog. I'm not sure how I feel about it but I have one. And it keeps me writing weekly regardless of what's going on in my life. I blog. I'm getting out there. Sort of.

Why do you blog? Why did you start? Did someone tell you you had to or did you decide to do it yourself? Do you enjoy it? 

Monday, June 9, 2014

Irony and Versatility

This is quite ironic. Two funny things about the title of this award: The Versatile Blogger

1. I’m not sure I consider myself a blogger (I have a blog but don't really consider myself in the same company as the many talented "bloggers" out there.)

2. I just had a conversation with my husband about my versatility as a writer (I'm a Lifetstyle writer who also writes flash fiction and satire pieces while working on my creative nonfiction and some children's' books. So some could consider me flighty while other, nicer people, like my husband, would say I'm versatile.)

Anyway, here I am with this Versatile Blogger Award thanks to the lovely and talented Anne Goodwin who writes at annethology. Thank you, Anne!

And because I procrastinate and love stressing myself out, I didn’t finish this and now have been given this award again by the amazing Lisa Reiter who writes beautiful stuff at Sharing the Story and challenges other writers by inviting them to participate in her Bite Size Memoirs. Thank you, Lisa!

I consider myself lucky to have met both of these wonderful women.

Versatile Blogger Award
For this award, the deal is as follows:
  • Thank the person who gave you this award. Include a link to their blog.
  • Nominate 15 bloggers for the Versatile Blogger Award and include a link to their sites. (This is my next step and will be done without much delay. As Anne writes in this blog post, acceptance is optional.)
  • Tell everyone 7 things about yourself.

So, down to it then. Seven secrets about me that you all are simply dying to know. Okay, since I write about myself, some of these aren’t very secret but whatever. Here goes:
1. My natural hair color is (was) blond but I colored it brown. When I became pregnant, I stopped coloring my hair and it grew in almost the exact shade I was coloring it. (Except for the purple streak…that’s colored. And wicked cool.)

2. I love essential oils and use them almost every day. Lavender is my favorite.

3. I still believe in fairies. (We have fairy doors in our home and build fairy houses in our yard. Though they don't look as beautiful as this one.)

From "Fairy Houses Everywhere"
by Barry & Tracy Kane

4. I love herbal tea. I have so much that it takes up two shelves in my kitchen and I buy it in bulk.

5. I fell off a stone at Avebury and landed in nettle. (And took my dear friend down in the process.)

6. I got stuck in a phone booth in Paris with a mime outside.

I have no picture for this.
Would you really want to witness my pain in that way?

7. I have a bag in my car at all times filled with blankets, clothing, and Dunkin' Donuts gift cards so I can give items or food to someone who needs it.

And the award goes to...

As Anne and Geoff both say, some people may feel like this is a chain-letter type of award, and as such I will repeat that this is an optional acceptance. Geoff really explains it well in this post.

Okay... I did it! Fifteen bloggers. They are all awesome and there's quite a variety here so sure to be something for everyone. :-) Please check them out. 

Kristen at Little Lodestar

Loni Townsend at Squirrel Talk

Cristina at Filling My Prayer Closet  

Pete at Father Knows Little

Robin L. Flanigan at The Kinetic Pen  

B.A. Wilson Writes 

Casey Rose at Casey On Purpose

Keely Hutton at Writer's Dojo  

Elena Linville at Tower of Winds

Shane King at Shangel's Reviews (A must for BtVS and Angel fans.)

Amanda at Gun in Act One  

Georgia Bell at Unbound (All Good Things)

Three lovely ladies who tackle the topic and issues of giftedness each in her own way. Bravo to all of you for helping kids, teachers, and families. 

Jade Rivera   

Colleen Kessler at Raising Lifelong Learners   

Celi Trepanier at Crushing Tall Poppies 

I'm going to go ahead and include The Grimm Report in my nominations because, even though they are more of a collection of articles, they do reside online and therefore qualify (technically). And they are extraordinarily versatile with all the stories and voices from the different contributors as well as the amazing podcasts.

Monday, June 2, 2014

My Little Mr. Men

My kids could not be any different if they tried.

My 9-yr-old
My 9-yr-old is disorganized, loud, messy, and forgetful. He loves sports, running, jumping, throwing, stomping, and any event held at a place packed with screaming kids.

When I ask Mr. Messy to clean his room, he picks up a book that's right in front of him, leaving the dirty socks, snotty tissues, pencils, paper airplanes, and Lego pieces littering his floor.

"Hey, thanks for picking up your book, kiddo. How about that puzzle, your hotwheels, the crumpled-up hoodie, the twelve pencils?"

"Oh. I didn't see them."

Huh? Yes. And, after years of living this, I know he's actually being serious. He doesn't notice it. I have to turn heel and run. The mess hurts my head.

My 7-yr-old is orderly, quiet, neat, with a memory that rivals my laptop. He loves playing the piano, dancing, karate, and any production held at a small venue with quiet grown-ups.

My 7-yr-old
When I ask him to clean his room... Ha! Kidding. That's never happened. I'm not sure when, or even if, he's ever learned the saying, "a place for everything, and everything in its place" but he lives it. Since he was two years old, he's put his books back on the shelf (upright, spines facing out), grouped by color, size, or subject.

So when I ask Mr. Perfect to eat his dinner, he moves his cup ever-so-slightly closer to his plate and adjusts his napkin. Then he begins.

"What if I moved your cup here," I grab his drink and put it on the other side of his plate.

"I'll move it back," he smiles.

"What if I say you can't do that? You have to eat your meal with your cup on the other side?"

"I don't think I can eat if it's on the wrong side," he answers.

Wrong side? Yes. I know. After years with this one, I know that when the cup thing is over, it will be something else. So I let him have his desired cup position.

But I have to draw the line sometimes. I have to fight with my kids. Mr. Messy has to clean his room when things begin moving on their own, you know? And Mr. Perfect has to deal with his day when things aren't exactly the way he needs them to be.

Yes, my little Mr. Men. They drive me batty. They make me worry. But, regardless of how long I can tolerate the mess or the perfection, they make me happy. And, more importantly, with their quirks and ridiculously different personalities, both of my kids are happy. And, if there is only one thing I can say about them that is alike, that is the thing I want to be able to say. 

My little Mr. Men 

Sunday, June 1, 2014

The Day I Decided To Dye

I am participating in Diane DeBella’s I Am Subject project. This project showcases women's stories about when or how they reclaimed their lives. There are many stories, many voices. Here is my #iamsubject story:

When I was young, I was blond. 

A pretty, little schoolgirl with pigtails and blue eyes. My grandmother’s “doll”, my mother’s only daughter, my teachers’ cute student, my ballet instructor’s graceful dancer. They loved to see me happy. So I smiled. 

I tried to be the girl they saw.

As I grew, my hair did, too. Long. Stick straight. Still bright blond. I was cast in the lead of the elementary school play, placed front row center in my class picture in a different color chair than all the other kids, thrown into spotlights when all I wanted was to hide in the shadows. I was confused and shy. People seemed to like me that way. So I stayed. 

I tucked my discomfort away.
As a teenager, the “dumb blond” stereotype brought some twisted form of admiration. It got me invited to the cool parties and landed me a job as a beer girl. I earned a great hourly wage laughing and handing out t-shirts, koozies, and blinking buttons to bar-hoppers. So I acted. 

I tanked my grades and found acceptance in stupidity.

In a moment of defiance, during which I realized my life was not mine, I dyed my hair brown—a tiny slice of time, a small act of defiance. I saw this as so much more. It was me rebelling against everything people thought I was and wanted me to be. 

I wasn't that girl anymore.

Reactions ranged from disbelief to disapproval. Family was shocked. Friends asked why I would get rid of my blond hair. People told me I used to be pretty. My soon-to-be-ex said it looked awful. 

I had never felt more beautiful.  

Then I met my perfect. He had everything I could have dreamed of plus a bit more. I became pregnant and stopped coloring my hair. I expected bizarre-looking roots to start showing. My blond growing in. I was going to be a pregnant skunk. I laughed at the thought. But I swore I would get rid of the blond the minute I got home from the hospital.  

I didn't have to.

My hair grew in a different shade—shiny, beautiful…brown. I had my son. A gorgeous boy with brown hair and blue eyes who looked exactly like his mother. As many new moms do, I spent countless hours staring at my new baby. He tugged at something deep within me. The child I never got to be. The mother I wasn’t sure I could be. 

I had watched women disappear into motherhood, losing themselves in the responsibility of raising a child.

The thing that might have taken away my sense of self broke me out of the shell I had lived in and gave me the self I wasn’t aware I was searching for. The baby, who forced me into the role of mother, helped me define who I was as a woman. Someone I didn’t know. Someone I liked. 

A smart, strong, sarcastic, loving brunette.