Every family has that one person who is just a little "off", right? What do you do when the oddity in your family tree is sanity? I've got that kind of family. The kind with only one sane one, I mean. My sisters are two of my best friends. The oldest (or eldest since I don't like the word "old" anymore) lives many hours away so it's a rare occasion that I get to see her. Last week, I had the pleasure of sitting at my dining room table discussing everything from black hair dye and rock and roll to politics and high school football. In all fairness, no matter how cool Steph can be, she is the black sheep of my family. She is (*shudder*) sane. I love her in spite of this flaw and often think of her when I need to be grounded a little bit. In my mind, 'What Would Steph Do' is a calming mantra sometimes.
And then there's Cathy... She's the really trippy sister in our family. Ignore the fact that she works eighty hours a week and brings it all home with her at the end of the day. Also forget about her status as wife and mother of three who keeps a clean house, a happy husband, and a few kitties that are so fat you know they are well cared for. Super smart with a popular smile, she is the epitome of a well groomed woman. On paper, she is quite boring.
But... It's that time of year again. The time when Cathy gets a little coo-coo. Deciding she was in the mood to host a family dinner (which includes anyone who wants to come regardless of whether or not we know your name), she put up a post on Facebook inviting the world to "It's Not Thanksgiving Dinner". Cathy doesn't see a reason to make big meals only on days that Hallmark deems significant. It might not be Halloween yet, but turkey is delicious no matter what day of the year it is. Who can eat turkey without the mashed potatoes, candied yams, green bean casserole, and stuffing? For that matter, why not add some delicious ham to the mix and call it a holiday?
I'm pretty sure if she had time, the Christmas tree would have been up and decorated for the occasion. Thankfully there wasn't, because we took up every available square inch of her house as it was. Two turkeys, two hams, and more side dishes than I can count later, I'm still sleepy from the festivities. I had an amazing time (even though I didn't win the Phase Ten game), and can't wait for her to invent another holiday!
She might be a little insane, but I'll take it. Especially when I was getting ready to leave and she exclaims "See you for It's Not Christmas!"... Looks like it's time to start stuffing the plastic eggs with candy. I never know when she's going to want to start hunting!
Peace, Love, and Happy Easter!
I don't know where time has gone lately. I'm pretty sure not even Dr. Sheldon Cooper could come up with a workable theory on the disappearance of time. All I know is that it's nearly time to come up with a good reason why my kids don't need to go Trick-Or-Treating and an even better excuse for why we have pizza delivered so often. I've run more errands in the past few days than I have in the past few years and it's nice to finally have a day to sit on my butt and do nothing. Too bad that gives my brain plenty of time to overthink everything in the world.
And what could be more pressing to the heart of a true American than the horror that is coming out of Washington lately? I sit by and watch as decisions are made, points are racked up, and ranks shift. There is nothing I can do about it and I am honestly saddened by that fact.
It wasn't my choice to hand the ball to that guy, but when he gets it and runs with it, it seems like no one can stop him. Everyone gets thrown to the ground and trampled over. They say that injuries are inevitable when you have two sides that want to win, and neither backs down an inch. I tremble at the thought of who is going to get hurt the worst, and in the end, will they be able to even stand up again? If recent history has anything to say about it, they will win. We will lose. And there is nothing I can do about it. I think it's time for one huge Hail Mary. It's our only hope.
Washington has been our rival for more years than I've been in the loop and they always will be. We have been knocked from our number one seat and may not even see the playoffs this year. I don't about you, but around here, high school football is a pretty serious thing...
Peace, Love & maybe next year...
Seven thousand years ago, when cellular technology was new, I had this cool little flip phone. It was shiny silver with the word NOKIA carved into the face of it. I could stay in touch with friends and family, even when I was away from my home phone. When I got really bored, I could play this cool little game called Snake. As the years passed, I upgraded from that to a Blackberry (affectionately called my CrackBerry). More options were offered and I was happy to play along, even if it meant no more Snake. When the crack on the screen (hence the nickname) got too big and the roller ball got too sticky, it was time for a new one. This time, I got a Droid. I no longer needed to use my favorite MP3 player anymore. Who needs an iPod, I said? Apple is overrated, I insisted. And then I got sick of the Droid constantly malfunctioning and buckled. Yes, just put that charge on my bill, I said the day I picked up my new iPhone...
In the past year that I've had it, Apple has lovingly offered me several "updates". Okay, I say, hitting the settings icon and settling in for the hours long wait. In the past, I haven't minded, but this latest one is seriously making me want that Nokia back... Not only did I stupidly update it and now have to look at strangely colored and huge icons, my music player is completely different. It took the skills of my eleven year old to show me how to delete about a thousand songs off of my phone that automatically synced with the last update. Normally, I wouldn't care about the excess files. I could scroll through them if I wanted and had become the master of creating playlists. Too bad having that much music completely overloaded my phone and froze it up until I deleted a bunch of stuff.
And too bad I didn't remember that pain-in-the-ass task before I did the latest update and sync last night... I have spent three hours this morning deleting all of the games my kids have purchased for their iPods (yes, mommy has them all linked to her account so I can monitor what they buy). I had to remove all of those songs again and go through the tutorial to see how to use the playlist features again. Of course they weren't helpful (someone thought it would be a good idea to write it in Smart-People-Speak) so I had to Google it.
There are household choirs to do, business paperwork to complete and a manuscript to work on. But no, I'm stuck in Apple Hell... I haven't seen one positive bit of feedback about this new update online, so I know I'm not the only one frustrated by all of it. I'm sure Steven Jobs is laughing hysterically from the great beyond. So while I sit here and try to figure out how to get my phone back to the way I liked it in the first place, I'll be watching for the next Apple Un-Update and remembering that I prefer my apples coated in caramel.
Peace, Love, and Where's My Droid?
When I was a little girl, graveyards were the subject of nightmares and day fears. It's where the dead live and witches play. You don't go there for any reason or else the ghosts may eat your soul. Even driving by one, I would hold my breath so that the spirits couldn't take it from me.
As I grew older and became a teenager, the rows of stone markers weren't so much scary as they were exciting. Doing what you aren't supposed to was probably one of my favorite pastimes in those years. I can recall spending the 4th of July at a nearby cemetery, wandering the rows, taking pictures and even climbing a two story tall marker. I'd find interesting names and imagine life stories for the people who rested underneath my feet. Once, I even swear to God that I met a supernatural being in the flesh (but that's a story best saved for another time). I'd always sworn that when I died, I wanted to be cremated and not interred in the ground for an eternity. The idea of being trapped in a little box, even if I was dead and unaware, disturbed me.
This morning, after taking my kids to school, I decided to go to the local cemetery to look at tombstones and carvings in order to get some book cover ideas. After being detoured around a car accident (how ironic) at the front gates, I managed to pull into the back of the huge lot. There I slowly drove past row after row of family names and untold stories. Most were easily read and looked maintained by someone. I don't know if family members came to visit or if there is a sexton who wiped the dirt away. Either way, someone did it, which means someone still remembers and more importantly, still cares.
Spotting a few marvelous carvings in the distance, I had to abandon my vehicle and walk through the park like yard. I was careful where to place my feet, lest I accidentally stepped on someone, and snapped a few photos (like the one above). On my way back to my Jeep, something in my heart told me to stop. I didn't want to stop wanting to take pictures or stop wondering about who these people were. I didn't want to stop thinking about the stories that should be told and retold. I just wanted to stop.
Taking a deep breath, I forgot about the sounds of traffic driving by. I didn't care about the oppressive humidity that was choking the air already. The police sirens from down the street faded into nothingness and the lovely chirping of birds took their place. A light breeze touched my cheeks and the bright sunshine was no longer glaring, but reflective. I felt nothing but peace. No longer is the thought of a graveyard scary or intimidating. It's a place of remembrance and contemplation. If the spirit truly does linger, as I believe it does, I know that they are there for a reason.
Maybe their reason today was to make me take a break, even a short one, and realize that there really is peace in the world. Even if you have to look in a strange place to find it.
Eternal Peace and Love!
Ok, I'm going to do it. I'm going to publish this damn book if I have to do it myself. Of course, I'd still love to have a big contract with a glamorous agency touting my awesome writing skills, but hey, that may come with time still. In the meantime, I'm doing everything I can to polish this manuscript and make sure it is as perfect as it could be. I've read through it multiple times and each new page gives me yet another opportunity to use my favorite red pen. I've had friends and acquaintances do the same and they have responded quickly and given me wonderful feedback. But...
I am still not confident that it's right. Not yet anyway. It's like a meal that tastes good, but to add a little spice will make it even better. I need a little salt in my book I guess. I've gone through it again and found a few more things that could use a little tweaking (not twerking, no Miley stuff here please). I've traded in the red pen for a pink highlighter. I've decided on a few minor changes and a couple of big ones. I've even come up with a complete outline for the sequel, all in the process of making this the best it can be. I'm afraid it's still not right and may just be a national emergency in the making...
What do you do when you have such a crisis? You call in the armed forces. The Army to be specific in this situation. Other writers call English professors and professional editors. Not me. I called in the assistance of a chic with an M4 Rifle who can disassemble and reassemble that bad boy in 24 seconds flat. I haven't seen this Specialist since before she knew how to read, let alone edit, but when you need the best, you call the best, right? And too bad she's using that damn pen as though my grammatical errors were insurgents. I guess I have a little more work to do, but at least I'm not going to have to call in a medic anytime soon. (I hope)...
Peace, Love & Be All That You Can Be...
While I openly admit my blogging habits have been worse than poor lately, I'm not so sure I mind all that much. Yes, I am behind the ball here, but when you're trying to balance yourself on several different balls at one time, it's hard to stay on top of all of them. I kind of figured that the blog would be here when I came back to it, but the thoughts racing through my mind could disappear with the wind. The kids being in school has given me time to do things like fold and put away laundry, cook real meals, get the business book work in order finally and WRITE...
As the process of finding a publisher for Out Of The Darkness continues, the sequel is coming out of my head. It's hard to think about much else other than that lately. I mean, how can I possibly care about the dirty dishes when Nick is not doing so well? Yes, I should blog about the recent discovery that cheerios don't flush, but Cadi is getting herself into an awful lot of trouble. If I can't work the whole cereal in the toilet thing into my plotline, I can't give it more than a fleeing thought. Super Cool Husband about blew a blood vessel when he discovered the dirty laundry pile in the basement last night, but whatever... He has clean clothes to wear. I'm not sure Alexander even has clothes right now.
For those of you who've read the entirety of Out Of The Darkness, I need your help. Even though I managed to find what I consider the 78,000 perfect words to tell the story, I'm having a hard time coming up with a title. OOTD doesn't seem to fit, so if you have any suggestions, I'd appreciate it! If I pick yours and it ever gets published, I will make sure to publicly thank you in it somehow. Maybe name a character after you or something?
Although the blog today is weak and boring and short, it is time to get back to the manuscript. I know you're all disappointed since you've been waiting on pins and needles to hear about my latest escapade (snort), but what can I say? I've got angels to rescue, demons to kill and maybe a little bit of the traditionally unexpected happening in my fingertips right now.
Peace, Love and Writer's Cramp!
Well today is the day. The day I get to take possession of my mind again. The day that the house is quiet and stays clean for more than fifteen minutes at a time. The day that silly cartoons aren't playing on the television while pre-teen girls argue with each other out of boredom. It's the day that all of the confusing government paperwork has been completed
and filed and my computer is now free for writing... After taking a much needed "Social Media Break" for two weeks followed by a few days of getting back into the school routine, I've discovered that you haven't really missed out on anything of importance in the lives at the Raine House. I have, however, learned a few things about myself. Who would I be if I didn't share them with you all?
I have read nine books and spent an entire day having a Harry Potter movie marathon with my kids. I forgot that I never watched the final two movies. Now that I have, I must say it was a day well spent. Of course, one of my children now refers to Harry and spell and Hogwarts constantly. t's not that I mind, but I swear to all things holy that if I hear "Accio Shoes" one more time, I'm going to throw them at her.
I've learned that it is not smart to put off school clothes shopping until the very last minute. After planning to do it the weekend before they start, the not so super cool husband informs me that he has a jam packed activity filled weekend in store for them, so shopping is out. Nothing like scrambling to Old Navy and Target on a whim I suppose. It may have been a brutally rushed day, but none of my kids are naked at school right now. I'm sure their classmates appreciate it.
Although I have one solid go-to when it comes to television watching, I have branched out and given consideration to others. That Honey Boo Boo still cracks me up, but I must say the love her father has for the kids and her mother is touching. On the other hand, that Shelby the Swamp Guy is absolutely ridiculous. And seeing Mancow trying to sell cars on the History Channel is an hour well spent. If you don't know who he is, you should find out.
The youngest got an iPod for her birthday. This means all of them have their own, complete with headphones so mom doesn't have to listen and they can zone out all by themselves. No longer do I have anyone begging me to let them play games on my phone or getting bitchy because their sister's turn was longer. Why on earth didn't I do this years ago? Such peace and calm has taken over my house! I'm pretty sure the next gadget purchase can't possibly beat it.
All in all, I haven't learned anything new that's worth value to the world. I've done dishes and mowed the lawn and cleaned most of the house. My bedroom still isn't completely clean though, and all of the laundry still isn't folded and put away, so I'm taking it as a sign from God that He doesn't intend it to ever be. All I know is that I could take a bath in the silence that is filling my house right now. As a matter of fact, I just realized I can actually... Take... A... Bath...
Peace, Love and Shhhhhhh.....
Today marks the day when I am officially too old to consider myself anything but old. My youngest, my tiny little baby, is now in double digits. Although she can still throw a tantrum like the best three year old on the planet, she is now in her last year of grade school and closer to going to her first Homecoming Dance than her first Daddy-Daughter Dance. She is a typical pre-teen than wants all the latest, greatest gizmos but she still likes to play with Barbies while her iPod is recharging. While she is interested in the newest dance crazes and music releases, there is still a stack of Disney movies in her room. I'd have to say that the worst "in-between" she is suffering from is clothing fashion.
Although she wants to dress just like all of the other teenaged girls out there, it's just not possible for her most of the time. The first time we noticed her tiny frame was smaller than most girls her age was when she was two. Completely potty trained and proud of it, all the poor child wanted for her birthday was underwear that fit. You see, the smallest size they make is 2T, and even though she was the right age, her little butt still fit in baby sizes. We actually contemplated buying panties at Build-A-Bear. Instead, she just couldn't wear her favorite dresses. If she did, the poor girl's drawers would fall to her ankles as she walked across the room. Even now, we have the same problem sometimes. She fits in big girl sizes for her length, but that itty bitty waistline still reads in the toddler sizes.
One of my best friends is getting married soon and Micayla will be a junior bride's maid. The dress has arrived and even though we bought the smallest size available, it still is at least six sizes too big. I am especially thankful that the kid is inventive and has learned how to make it work when it comes to her outfits. With one elastic head band (you know, the ones most people put in their hair, as the name implies), she created a belt that holds up the material nicely. A few stitches here and there, and we have a dress that fits AND goes along with the rest of the bridal party.
I'm not sure where she inherited her stature from. If she didn't look exactly like Super-Cool Husband, I'd wonder if there was a mix up at the hospital. Lord knows there isn't a single member of our families that suffer from being too skinny. She eats like a champ, but plays harder than one, so I suppose her metabolism is cranked to the max. All I know is that it's hard to believe that my girl, who is just a tiny little thing, is now ten years old. I'm proud of her, of her attitude and intelligence and can only imagine one real concern in her future...
Can you buy a prom dress at Babies R Us?
Peace, Love & Safety Pins!
14 years ago today, I married my best friend. Three awesome kids and lots
of laughter and tears later, we're still going strong. Right now, even though
I have the flu and he isn't here rubbing my feet and filling my tummy with hot
tea and saltines, I love him more than I did the day we tied the knot. And
I know he feels the same, even if he uses the phrase "liked your photo" instead
of the traditional "I love you". Hey, I'll take it where I can get it!
Peace, Love & InstaLove!
You know summer is almost over when the September calendar is posted up on the kitchen wall. Although it will be sad to see the sunshine and warmth leave, the crisp fall afternoons that are about to happen are my favorite. Friday nights will be reserved for high school football games under the lights. Candy apples and hot chocolate will be the beverage of choice while screaming encouragement to the local kids from the sidelines. Leaves will begin to change colors and swirl to the ground. The fields will be harvested and the sun will set a little earlier, giving my family a reason to sit together inside playing games, watching movies or reading. Sounds like a dream to me.
Because it is. A good dream, but no more real than the one I had where I was Lady GaGa's manager. September means homework will begin on a serious level. Hours will be spent arguing with kids to go to bed because midnight isn't a suitable nigh' nigh' time anymore. My household chores will more than double because my helpers now have full time jobs and won't have time to do much. Weekends will be rushed days of projects and shopping and activities. An entire brass section will be practicing their instruments in my garage on a daily basis. Harvest will begin and I will become a single parent for the weeks it takes to complete. Making plans of any kind will be tentative, all depending on the weather. Super-Cool Husband's involvement will only come if there is rain.
My granddaughter will turn one, my twelve year old will become a teenager and I will only have one kid left in grade school. My birthday will come and go as it does every year, and I will continue to not know how old I am. To celebrate this year, I will be shuffling kids to the homecoming festivities and listening to their school band play in the annual parade. In other words, September is still a month away and I'm already exhausted just thinking about it. At least I have the season premiere of Criminal Minds to look forward to, right? And yes, I have that date marked boldly. Much to SCH's chagrin, I shall spend the next 55 days watching reruns while waiting for the magical day!
Peace, Love & IONtv!