Monday, March 24, 2014


As our children grow and we get older I have been faced with a movie viewing problem.

I finally got our son to bed at 9 PM last night so that my husband and I could watch Captain Phillips.   Yes, we are far behind in our movie viewing and here is why: my son is not old enough for PG 13 and if we start a movie we have to finish it in one sitting (my husband's rule) and I get so caught up in the movie if it is at all stressful or tense I am a wreck when we are trying to go to sleep.

On a Friday night we are both too exhausted from our week to stay up until 11 watching a movie, Saturdays we are usually out with friends and Sunday we should go to bed to prepare for the week but that is the only night we generally can watch a movie.  I try to scurry the kids off to bed earlier- which never really works and then we settle in to finish out the weekend with the movie we rented Saturday.

Last night I was so caught up in the tense situation of the movie that I found myself picking at the side of my nail, shifting positions in my seat and taking laps around the couch, and of course I was unable to fall asleep.  I asked my husband about his movie viewing experience and he said it isn't real, it is just entertainment.  I know this but I still associate with the characters in the movie and emphasize with them.

I don't think the director and actors who are putting so much effort into their work want us to just watch the movie as an unattached observer.  I think they want us to feel the story.  Making me their perfect audience.

Yet, my ability to so closely associate with the emotions of the movie wreaked havoc on my sleep last night.  I think I only managed a few hours after I was finally able to unwind and let go.

I cannot limit my movie viewing to only happy comedic movies before going to sleep but neither can I send my children away in the middle of the day so their dad and I can watch a movie and leave myself enough time to work it out of my system.  Weekends are about family time and I don't want them to think that a movie is more important than they are.  I think I may have to skip these types of movies for the next few years, let my husband watch them on his own and keep a list of what I want to see.  If you can see another solution- as much as I have tried I cannot disassociate myself from them so that is not a viable solution- I'd love to hear it.

I hope you all had a restful weekend and your work week is off to a good start.

Friday, March 21, 2014

Best Laid Plans (Theme Reveal)

I am not a planner.  If you have done NaNoWriMo then you know the term pantster and I should be the poster child for that term.  

If something is going to be a lot of effort, is very important or will require the help of others I try so hard to plan ahead.  But I usually find myself running around at the last minute saying, "I meant to do this two weeks ago.  Where did that time go?"

But not this year, oh no.  I was all prepared and ready to go for Blogging A to Z.  I had my theme and all my work and research done.  I just had to start writing the blog posts this weekend and then...

I had the most amazing, uplifting, exciting phone conversation with David Henry Sterry of the Book Doctors the other day and all my planning- which I never do and was feeling so accomplished and responsible adult about- has been shot to hell.   Please realize that I am not, I repeat, not complaining.  David gave me some very favorable feedback- which I am tempering with a lot of realism as he has not actually read my manuscript - but this feedback has re-energized my interest in my first book, which I hadn't touched since November because I wrote another book during NaNoWriMo.  I also set a deadline for myself and it may not have been realistic but I told him it would be done in a month; right in the middle of blogging A to Z.   Do you see my problem here?

So my theme will go away- and I was really excited about it so I will make it part of my normal blog instead- and blogging A-Z will follow the challenges of getting my manuscript ready to go.

The Book Doctors are available for consultation and I recommend reaching out to them through their website if you need professional advice.  I love my writing groups but none of us have ever been published and one of my groups couldn't find a bad thing to say about a tornado if it had recently torn through their homes and left them homeless and destitute. Super wonderful group, God bless their hearts, who I love dearly but my book and everything I write cannot be as fabulous as they say.

Working with the Book Doctors through seminars and personal consultations has given me a lot of very helpful and useful as well as realistic information about writing and publishing my book.

I can't wait for Blogging A-Z and a chance to have some of you cheer me on as I work tirelessly to shore up my manuscript and get it out into the world.  I am sure I will be needing some encouragement.

I look forward to all the new blogs I will discover and some new friends along the way.  

Happy blogging everyone.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Yesterday was a tough day, it did start with an earthquake so that was certainly an indication of where my day was headed.

I used to love Saint Patrick's day and then I made the fatal error of choosing it to be our son's birthday.  I really chose Wednesday and was told the week we had to have the C-section.  Ever the planner and realist I had decided Wednesday had seemed like the perfect day.  I would be home from the hospital for the weekend and my husband could keep working on Thursday and Friday so he could take more time off when I would be home and needing the help.  When it turned out to be St. Patrick's day I thought, well everyone will be celebrating your birthday, you're part Irish, yeah, that'll be perfect.  

Now I dread a day everyone celebrates.  Sucks doesn't it.

Death is hardest for the ones left behind and it doesn't matter how long has passed it is not any easier.  In fact it seems to hurt worse because no one acknowledges it was our son's birthday.  Okay to be fair my father and one friend did ask how I was.  I know it has been a long time since his death but did you think I forgot and if that you don't mention it that will be best.  Don't want to stir up any unhappy memories.

I am infinitely realistic and also realize that he was my son making this far more important to his father and I than to anyone else and I should cut them all some slack.

The lack of acknowledgement leads me to feel isolated but it is I who bring this on myself by not ever telling anyone what is going on with me.  I am tough, I can handle anything and I can do it alone.  But does that make me a better person, probably not.  I am tough though.  I have survived much more than I care to think about but I want to do more than just survive and carry on.

I am going to push myself out of my comfort zone and start asking for help and share something that is actually meaningful and might be a touchy subject with my friends and see how it goes.  I hope to figure this life out someday.

Monday, March 17, 2014

Happy Saint Patrick's Day

Happy Saint Patrick's Day!

I hope everyone has a wonderful and safe holiday.

I am actually Irish and spent Sunday with friends who were talking about making corned beef and cabbage.  Not something I have ever eaten.  Now my dad is the Irish one and in true 1950's fashion he never cooked, he would grill what my mom told him to but he never planned and cooked a meal.  Which may be why I had a dearth of Irish food in my upbringing.  Mom cooked and mom is Italian- so fear not I was always well fed; just not Irish food.

As an adult I have tried to cook Irish dishes and add them to our diet but none of them have stuck. I do make an Irish Soda Bread every Saint Patrick's day and have one cooking in the oven now.  I bought Kerrygold butter and blueberry preserves to spread on the slices.  My kids are really looking forward to it as am I.

I do not own any green work appropriate clothing so I will not sport the colors tomorrow but I sincerely doubt anyone will pinch the HR Manager so I think I'll be fine.  Plus, I feel having red hair and freckles is really enough to give me a pass on having to prove I am Irish.

Have a safe and wonderful holiday my Irish and Irish for a day comrades!

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Demands on Our Time

I have read a lot of posts by people lamenting their lack of time for their writing and as I read all of them I thought you just make the time.

I don't watch television, I don't clean as much as I should, and I spend every moment I can working on my writing.

Of course every moment I can is diminished by time I spend with family, time doing chores, grocery shopping, and working.

Work and family take the majority of my time, as I am sure they do for you.  What is left is little to no time to write or to see friends.

I am lucky to have some wonderful friends and writing partners but to keep my friends I have to spend time with them.

The month of March has been unusually demanding and now I am fighting to figure out how to fit in time with my friends, family and not disappoint anyone and still find some time to write.  Plus I wouldn't mind just a little time to myself.

I now find myself in the same boat with all these other writers struggling to fit their passion into their demanding lives.

I know that March and April will be very demanding on my time and will not allow for very much time to work on my novels.  I will be spending a lot of time working on my writer's platform instead and hoping for good results.

The more focused I get on publishing my book the more I realize I will have to carve out some of my writing time to spend on my platform and researching the marketplace.

Sadly the more time I spend away from my novels the more I find myself resenting the desire to get published and having to create a platform and then when I look back at my novels the spark I had is diminished.  I couldn't wait to get home and write. In the car I would be constantly coming up with new angles or scenes to add or re-write and now those creative juices all seem to be suffocating under my responsibilities.

I have to find a way to keep up a platform and keep my excitement in my writing.    Wish me luck as I navigate through March and April.

Monday, March 10, 2014

Darkness or lack there of

When we see views of city lights I am upset.  There should not be so many lights on; what a waste of electricity.  Office buildings should not remain lit up, people should shut down their computers, monitors and printers, and turn off their lights when they go home for the night and especially for the weekend.

When I sleep I like it really dark.  I want it to be so dark I can't see my hand when it is right in front of my face.  Unfortunately that is impossible in this day and age.

It used to be that light noise or light pollution was only outside my bedroom window but when I look around my bedroom at night I am accosted by light.  There is light from the alarm pad, the digital clock, the cell phones keep flashing blue lights, the television and satellite box, the devices that are plugged in to charge emit lights, our electronic toothbrushes all have lights and one of our charging plugs actually has an orange light on it as well.  I can see perfectly well in my room at night due to all the electronic devices that my world has become populated with.  When my computer is charging the light is so bright I have to throw clothes over it.

I know it is silly to think I would get rid of any of the electronics, I love my computer and my electronic toothbrush, my cell phone; but why do they all have to give off light?  I want some way to put them into sleep mode so that all the lights will go off.  I don't need to see the light on my phone blink to know it is connect to the wi-fi or blue tooth, it tells me with a ping when it connects and a message on the phone.

I'm probably complaining from lack of sleep last night brought on by the time change but these are pet peeves that always drive me crazy so I decided to just air them.

Please turn off any unnecessary lights at your home and office, encourage others to do so.  Don't leave chargers plugged in because they still pull power.  Turn off monitors, printers, shredders, whatever you can when it is not in use and will not be in use.

If you know a way to outsmart the devices that are constantly glaring lights at me please let me know and if you work at a company that makes one of these devices please think about adding a way to stop the lights from coming on if you don't want them to- and make it easy to find and use please.

Thanks for listening to my griping and helping to save our precious natural resources.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Why You Should Own A Dog Before Having Children - Part II

Previously we talked about parenting style.  This post is about the nitty gritty responsibility necessary to keep your dog alive and happy and healthy.

I stated that you can leave a cat for a few days- I've not owned a cat but have many friends who do and they have said they can leave out food and water for a couple of days and go on a trip and their cat is fine.  This is not and would never be the case with a dog- or a child (in case you weren't sure).

A dog owner must go home after work to take his dog out for a walk.  A dog owner cannot go to the bar for happy hour with all his co-workers unless he arranges for a friend, neighbor or relative to make sure that his dog is let outside to do his business and gets fed and some personal attention.  Dogs are very social and don't really like being alone all day.  They also need their food rationed or, in most cases, they will eat it all in one sitting even if it is twice their normal amount.  And unless you like presents of smelly puddles and stinky brown piles they need to get outside.

If you want to go away for a night or a weekend you will need to find a babysitter for your dog. Your free wheelin' days are over.  You are now a responsible pet owner who has to get up and walk your dog, even if you don't feel like it, you will have to take them for walks in rain and inclement weather, both morning and night.

Since you are a responsible pet owner you will have to safety proof your home.  Just like you would for your children you will have to pay attention to the dangers inherent in your home and make them safe for your pet.  When we first moved into our house we didn't give the upstairs landing a thought.  There was a nice sturdy railing there and a similar one right below it downstairs.  As I stood on the entrance to our split level home I watched my son crawling upstairs, the baby gate closed to prevent him from falling down the stairs and then watched our dog walk right through the spindles of the railing downstairs.  I looked up and then down and the spindles were exactly the same width apart!  If the dog could fit through my son could certainly have fit through and possibly fallen down to the floor below.  We immediately fastened a safety gate across the upstairs railing and then the downstairs one so no one would fall or get stuck going through.
Dogs, like young children, love to chew on things and are rambunctious and will run through your house and slide into coffee tables and sharp corners.  They will also pull down any item they want that is within their reach.  They don't know or care that the table cloth they want to tug on has your favorite aunt's vase on top of it which will topple over and break into a million pieces.

You will learn to put food out of reach, secure items you cherish and not get too attached to your material possessions.

One of the many positives of owning a dog, and yes there are many, is your socialization.  You get out a lot more, you will meet more of your neighbors and you will become friends with other dog owners.  You will have this same phenomenon with your children as well.

We have adopted three dogs from the local shelters and every single one of them has been great.  If you would like to become a happy owner of a dog please take some time to decide if you have the time and patience to spend with your dog.  Research the breed and size of dog that would be best for you.  Spend time at the shelter with the dogs you may be interested in to be sure that you are compatible.  Talk with dog owners and the workers at the shelter, ask them all your questions.  The more informed you are the easier the transition to being responsible for another creature's happiness and well being will be for you and your new companion.
If you know anyone thinking about getting a dog please suggest they adopt.

Monday, March 3, 2014

Why You Should Own A Dog Before Having Children- Part I

I have always had pets, dogs in particular.  My husband had never owned a dog.  When we got one together we never realized that a dog is the best precursor to having children we could have had.

We highly recommend to everyone that you get a dog before you decide to become parents.  And I do believe that being a parent is something you should decide to do before embarking on this lifelong responsibility.  Not everyone has to be a parent and not everyone should be one.  But that is a thought for another post.  If you are thinking about being a parent here is why you should own a dog first.

While I am a dog person and preferential to them I believe that there are not other common pets that will be the same responsibility level and training ground for you as a dog.  A cat can be left alone with food and a litter box for a couple of days, not so with a dog.  A dog wants to be with you and needs to be trained and socialized properly; which is not the case for many other pets and these demands on you are exactly what makes a dog a great first step towards parenting.

When you first bring home your furry bundle of joy from the shelter they are cute and wonderful and untarnished; at least until they have their first accident in your house.  That is when you realize they don't have a priori knowledge that you expect them to do their business outside and it is your job to teach them.  Training a dog is not a one time event.  It is a constant work in progress and will take numerous attempts and a lot of patience.  You learn a lot about yourself and your partner through this process.

Who reacts calmly to finding the presents left by your new companion?  Who can patiently work with your dog over and over until they understand what you expect of them?  Which one of you is good at praising and motivating?  Which of you is lax about training?   Who will be the first to get angry or to give up?   These are all the same attributes you will have while parenting your children so if there are huge discrepancies in your styles now is a great time to talk about them and set expectations.

You will learn that being a good parent is as much about training yourself as it is about training your children.

When we first got our dog my husband was the first one to get angry and upset at anything the dog did wrong yet he would not spend the time training and working with our dog.  For the first few months we had him the dog would not listen to my husband, not at all.  When my husband finally realized the mixed messages he was sending to the dog by being lenient with him and not working on training (setting expectations and giving praise for the good behaviors), hubby started working on how he behaved and viola, the dog started respecting him as a leader and began listening to him.

It is hard to think that you may be the problem not the dog but in most cases it is a little bit of both and self-realization is a lot of work, it's easier to blame the dog.  When my husband stopped blaming the dog things got better immediately.  But to get to that point we had a lot of discussions about how to raise our new family member and who was putting in all the effort and who was not.
Believe me even after all the lessons learned from our first training experiences with our new dog it is hard for my husband to change.  He never read a single parenting book despite all my pleading, coercing, or reminders of dog rearing.  At least I knew from our experience with our dog what I was getting into.

But this is just the tip of the proverbial ice berg... Wednesday: Part II