Justifying the Time

Writing looks, in a lot of ways, like a very selfish enterprise. - Gail (chatroom buddy and writing pal)

This little statement really hit home with me when I read it on the screen during a recent chat. When I consider my personal struggle with finding and taking the time to write, I invariably end up feeling guilty. Not because anyone says or does anything to make me feel bad but because I have a hard time justifying the time and effort.

I've often dreamed of retiring from the day job and making writing my fulltime profession. In this little fantasy of mine I see myself dedicated to the computer while the kids are in school and the hubby is at work. I see myself succeeding because I've finally found guilt-free time to focus on the story. Distractions would be minimimal and yet I'd still manage to be wife, mom and housekeeper. I'd churn out the stories and start peddling them to agents and pubishers alike.

Of course, I never quit the day job because that would be irresponsible and, dare I say it, selfish. My income is just as necessary as my husband's. It does more than pay for daycare, it allows us to eat on a regular basis and remained clothed in more than tatters. My checks also help to fund things like vacations, Christmas, birthdays, and anniversaries. Hubby's checks pay the bills--mine make life comfortable. Quitting my job to write would probably kill my marriage and force me to stop spoiling my very spoiled children. So I keep working.

Working full-time means my time is limited. Should I lock myself away to write when the kids need help with homework? The dishes need to be done? Laundry is piled sky-high? Dust bunnies are gathering under the furniture? Do I sacrafice a social life I value? And what about my extended family? Do I blow them off to write?

I know many people are faced with the same dilemma and I know some of them answer those questions quite the opposite I do. I'll admit I have regrets when it comes to my writing. I know I don't give it or myself a chance to shine. But I've yet to regret spending time with my loved ones, of providing for my family, and taking care of them the best I know how.

Perhaps someday when the kids are grown and the mortgage is paid, I'll be able to retire and devote myself to the one true professional goal I've ever held. I know the writing will always be there; it's been a part of me for too long and has survived many years of neglect.

Should I manage to get lucky with the sporadic writing and even more sporadic submissions I mail out, maybe my priorities will change. In the meantime, I'm going to continue to play with my kids, attend social functions, love my husband, and keep our house relatively clean. (I can't vouch for the laundry or the toilets...I hate them both.)


Me & Ken camping this weekend. Posted by Hello

Psycho-b-gone

Well, apparently my dad's girlfriend stepped over the line Saturday night. She had been drinking again and let her claws out. I guess they had been sniping at each other on and off during the evening because she was drinking again. Dad always believes her when she says she's quit and then he gets all bent out of shape when she shows up on his doorstep with a 6-pack.

Well, long story short, my sister was bringing her three kids into the house (remember she lives with Dad while her and her hubby work out some issues) and heard the two of them arguing. So, she decided to turn right around and leave. She had the baby's carseat in one hand and a gallon of milk in the other. Using her hip and butt, she pushed out the door. Well, it slammed closed behind her. Not intentionally--her hands were full.

Upon hearing the door slam shut, Nutty looked at my dad and said, "Your fucking daughter just slammed the door."

That got her booted out of the house. Dad told her get her crap and leave. She did. Now if I could just find some psycho-b-gone spray to fumigate the house....

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Changing the template seemed to help!

Font Issue

I don't know what happened but apparently it's some funky setting in internet explorer. I can't figure out how to reset to default so I'm just playing around with some settings until I can find something I can live with.

This shouldn't effect anyone else.

Weird question...

...for my handful or readers.

Does the text in this blog appear italicized to you? When I'm at work it doesn't but at home I can't get it to look normal! Is it my monitor or something funky about the blog? I just can't tell.

Your input will help. I hope.

Busy, Busy

Evening schedule for the week so far:

Monday - Baseball
Tuesday - T-ball
Wednesday - Baseball
Thursday - Pack Camper for Weekend Away

I've been busy! Unbelievably, I have managed to get a little bit written this week. Not a lot but I'm a firm believer that something is better than nothing when it comes to keeping the writing alive.

I've managed to bump up the wordcount on Magic & Madness (the romantica story) to 6K. Not bad considering this story is only a couple weeks old.

I also sat down the other night and began reworking Dragonborn. I'm still figuring out how to make this Ghislaine's story and not Danken's. While he still plays a major role, I never should have written with him as the MC. It's not his story! My only excuse is this was my first ever attempt at writing fantasy.

I'm going to try to get another few hundred words on Magic and Madness before bed. The story is moving along nicely and I don't want to jinx it!

Totally crossing a line.

Okay. I usually post blah-blah entries about life beyond writing but today I'm going to give myself over to the Dark Side of the Force.

My dad has been divorced for almost a year. This was his second marriage and it lasted 18 years; his marriage to my mom lasted for 11.

My Dad is awesome. Seriously. I couldn't love him any more than I do. When my mom decided to end their marriage my dad fought for us and won costudy. This was nearly unheard of in the 80s but, with our help, he managed to convince the Judge that he would be the better choice for his four kids. Mom had an issue I'll refer to here as "Crazy, Wacko Boyfriend".

I was ten then. I met my future step-mom a few months after my parents split. By the time the divorce was final, D and her one-year-old daughter had moved in. Wedding plans were underway. They were married the June after the the divorce was final.

Now, although I love my dad, I know the man has faults. He's a clean freak. No, not your casual clean freak but the kind that has minor hissy fits if his house actually looks like people might live there. ~gasp~

He also struggles with jealousy. Of course, given my mom's betrayal, I guess that's not surprising. However, even after 18 years of marriage to his second wife, he still felt it necessary to accuse his significant other of cheating on him. Living with this constant lack of trust must have been very trying; I know I'd want to beat the crap out of my husband if he went into jealous tirades over the simpliest things.

My step-mom was 15 years younger than my dad and, combined with his clean freak tendencies and his uncontrollable jealousy, the age difference began to take its toll. My dad is the type who loves to hang out at home and would be content to never socialize outside his family unit. Seriously. Bit of a hermit.

Step-mom, on the other hand, was a social butterfly and loved to party. She was good for Dad because she got him to come out of his shell and do things he would never just do for the sake of doing them. Unfortunately, when she started hanging out at the bar every weekend without my dad--he had no desire to go drinking and dancing--things went really sour. You could see where things were heading and when she left it really didn't come as a surprise.

Her actions during and after that timeframe did come as a surprise but this post isn't about her. It's about my dad.

So, Dad is suddenly single again. He's dating. Only he's not. He looked up a girl he knew from his childhood and discovered she was still single. He also found out if he would have given her any indication after his first divorce that he was interested in her, she might have been my step-mom instead of D.

Dear God, no.

This woman is a freaking nightmare! She's an alcoholic. I'm not saying that casually or just to be snide. She had one of those breathalizer units attached to her steering wheel when my dad first started dating her. She hides alchohol in the back of her toilet and anywhere else she can think to. Alcoholics Anonymous is a joke. She tells everyone she goes--and maybe she does--but then you'll see her walking out of the store with a case of beer. She never calls her support person when the urge strikes.

Now, if she were a nice drunk, I might be able to overlook this behavior. But she's not nice. She's a bitch. The first night I met her you could smell the liquor (it's not her breath so much as her skin). She opens her mouth and insults my brother. What the hell?

Okay. For dad's sake, because he really needed to be happy right then and seemed to like this woman, I pretended this didn't bother me and decided not to hold it against her. (Well, I've changed mind since then and am now holding a grudge...I'm a woman and entitled, damn it!)

Her next target became my little sister. Continually. My sister isn't in a position to do much about it because she needs to keep the peace with my dad. She's the one living him while temporarily separated from her husband. She can't afford to strike out on her own just yet and so she decided ignoring Nutty would be the best thing to do. Well, of course, Nutty complained to Dad about none of his kids giving her a chance.

She's nothing if not a trouble maker.

Well, I had heard some pretty nasty rumors about this woman that I kept to myself for a long time. Then I had someone give me details that went beyond "I've heard...". This person knew people involved. Gave me names. I waited to tell my Dad about this latest tidbit until he had broken up with Nutty--a weekly occurance because he hates it when she drinks, which is all the freaking time. So I told him (he's my Dad and I think he deserves to know).

Of course, Dad is so afraid of being alone, he'd rather put up with drunken rudeness and so much more than risk staying single. So they get back together and he told her what I've heard, which of course she denies.

Trust me on this...it's true.

But my Dad is a sap and he thinks everyone's picking on poor Nutty. So they hook back up. Break up. Hook up. Break up. Hook up. Get the picture?

Well, I know it's only a matter of time before this woman turns her claws in my direction. And you know what? I'm eager. I've had it with her and I'm tired of being civil just for the sake of keeping the peace.

She tried starting shit with my sister-in-law over the weekend. My SIL did the mature thing and walked away. She did tell my brother, who in return said some very rude things not four feet from where my dad stood. He didn't use his quiet voice either so we know Dad and Nutty heard him.

My brothers hate this woman. My sister hates this woman. My aunts and uncles hate her. No one thinks she's good enough for my dad. My husband thinks she a cancer that's destroying my dad's life. I think she's a freaking nightmare.

And now let me say thank you for reading this insane rant.

Good intentions

After I got home from my son's baseball game tonight I booted up the computer. I then made the mistake of turning on the TV. There's this new show, The Closer, on FX. It's pretty good. I had watched the season premiere last week and had liked it well enough. Yep, you guessed it. I got suckered into tonight's episode. Next thing I know it's 10:00 and I've not written anything.

Damn that box!

Father's Day

Didn't have time to post yesterday because we were on the roads most of the day. Poor hubby. I can't imagine it's much fun running from here to there trying please his dad and mine. After purchasing their gifts--yes, on Father's Day--we stopped by the campground where his parents were camping for the next few weeks. We went put-put golfing and on a horse-drawn wagon ride. After we left there we stopped for ice cream and then continued on to my dad's house.

We didn't get anyone anything fancy for Father's Day. My dad loves StarBucks coffee so we bought him a big ole bag of StarBuck beans. His dad has a passion for Peppermint Schnapps and popcorn so that's what he got. Not very sentimental, eh? But we know they'll be put to good use. :-)

My hubby insisted he didn't want anything more than the wash pail the boys had decorated for him at daycare. It has their little handprints immortalized on the sides with their names fingerpainted beneath their respective artistic creations. Inside the bucket the daycare provider had placed a sponge and carwash fluid.

Because money is always tight, I took the hubby up on his offer to bypass the store on his behalf. I know he wants a powerwasher but those things aren't cheap! Maybe for Christmas...or his birthday....

For Fun

Okay. I don't really have anything new to post. I came home tonight and crashed. Didn't even do the dishes. Made dinner, which is impressive since you know I don't like to cook, and then tossed all the dirty dishes into the sink with a "I'll do these later" comment.

Worked out on the Gazelle for 1/2 hour while watching LOTR. Hey, it helps pass the time. Exercising is not fun for me.

And that's pretty much it. No writing. No great insights. Nadda.

So....in an effort to amuse you and embarrass myself, I decided to post a snippet from somethig I wrote nearly a decade ago. Perhaps longer. I really should date these things. It's probably full of grammatical errors and makes no sense whatsoever. Consider yourself warned.

And without further ado....

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
copyright Krista Heiser
2005
(Because you never know if I might decide to fix it up and send it out)



It was still dark when Raena Colbert handed her meager belongings to the fidgety stagecoach driver, a short, wiry man who stood no taller than she. The nondescript, brown carpetbag he took from her was tossed with little care to a young man atop the stage were it would be secured among the other passengers' luggage. Raena shrugged away the careless treatment--there was nothing delicate inside.

Having delivered her only parcel into the care of the stagecoach employees, Raena was jostled to the side where she gripped a paperback book in her hands and patiently awaited further instruction. She had never traveled by stagecoach before and she did not want to make any foolish mistakes that would cause a scene. Making a ruckus, even at this ungodly hour, would only serve to sabotage her otherwise unremarkable passing.

As she stood alone in the dawn shadows she could not stop herself from thinking about the drastic changes her life had undergone in the last several weeks and her current need for anonymity. She was frightened Edmond would find her before she reached the safety of her grandparent's ranch. She was frightened she would never see her mother again, although she had extracted a precarious promise before she had agreed to leave New Orleans. Frightened that the grandparents she was depending so much upon would refuse to believe who she was and take her into their home. She was also frightened that her roots would make her an outcast among her grandparents' peers if they did accept her.

Thoughts of those roots left her uneasy, especially as she stood surrounded by what she was sure were good, upstanding citizens. She had not had an acceptable upbringing by most people's standards. Her mother had been forced into an ugly profession early in her life and, until recently, had been forced to continue down that cruel path. Raena had once feared the same fate but her mother had worked hard to see that it never came to pass.

Her eyes misted over and she blinked the forming tears away. This was not the time or place for her to become nostalgic and weepy.

She focused her attention more closely on those around her, determined to think of something else. These people would be her companions for at least two weeks. Luckily, she was not the only woman present. It would have been nice to have someone nearer to her own age but she wasn't about to complain. Harriet Butterfield was in her forties if she was a day and seemed to have little patience with her husband, Alfred, while she doted on their son, Oliver. Other than Mrs. Butterfield and her family, there was Mr. Tollinger and a man that had not yet been introduced to her. The former gentleman was barely past adolescence. His cheerful, friendly exuberance was refreshing in the early morning hours before dawn. He had immediately disclosed his destination and the reason for it upon his self-made introduction. "Gold. I've heard that there's gold in Montana and I'm goin' to find me some! Get rich and live the good life, that's what I'm gonna do!"

Raena had been mildly interested in the prospect of finding gold in the land that she was journeying to but it had not stirred her blood as it had Mr. Butterfield's. The two men had immediately fallen into a conversation that was still going strong ten minutes later.

Oliver, who was only ten years old, was leaning against his mother with his eyes closed and his head sagging. Mrs. Butterfield, who was a moderately pretty woman with strong, bold features, held her son firmly to her side and cast fuming glares at her husband's back. Obviously she was traveling west against her will or, as it may be, her better judgment.

"Are you going to Montana as well?" Raena asked the lady for lack of anything better to say or do. They were still loading the luggage and no one had made a move to enter the stagecoach.

"No," the older woman's voice was brittle with anger. Her blazing, blue eyes, illuminated by the lantern outside the boardinghouse where they stood, bored into her husband's back as she replied, "We’re going to California. My husband is under the assumption that that is where we will find our destiny."

The woman's undisguised sarcasm and apparent frustration unnerved Raena. What could she say? Obviously Mrs. Butterfield was unhappy with the changes within her life, too, but Raena could offer no advice or words of wisdom. It seemed they were both facing an uncertain future.

"Well, I hope everything works out for you."

Mrs. Butterfield stiffly nodded her head in acceptance of Raena's goodwill, her lips pressed tightly together.

Not wanting to intrude further, Raena turned her attention to the last passenger, curious as to what she might find, and found herself overwhelmed by a current of emotion that nearly knocked the breath from her. Even in the darkness just before dawn her eyes were held captive by the most unnerving golden-brown eyes imaginable. She felt herself drawn towards him by some unexplainable affinity. Who was this man?

"Logan Giovanni," he drawled, almost as if he were reading her mind. The fact of the matter was Logan had been struck senseless by the small, fine-boned, young woman minutes ago but had recovered his wits before she had turned her undivided attention upon him. He hadn't been able to take his eyes from her since he had first spotted her trudging down the sidewalk towards the stage with a book in one hand and her carpetbag in the other. "I'm afraid I missed your name."

Raena couldn't stop herself from staring. Whatever was the matter with her? She had seen handsome men before. So what if this one was by far the most appealing in both appearance and manner that she had ever encountered? "Raena, Raena Colbert."

Logan's smile was a slow, sensual curve of the lip. "Are you traveling to Montana?"

Raena could only nod in response. Her vocal cords had ceased to work. Her body was rioting with feelings that she would do well to ignore. She knew exactly what kind of feelings these were and knew also that it was folly to tempt the fates. She had only just escaped with her virginity intact and here she was thinking of compromising it for a sultry smile and a pair of gorgeous eyes. Whatever was wrong with her? Surely she was losing whatever sense she possessed.

Logan's smile revealed that he was aware of her instantaneous attraction. It was most assuredly mutual. His brown-gold eyes moved leisurely over her upturned face. He had to admit that she was more than pretty. She was actually quite stunning with big, dark eyes, framed by long curling lashes and delicately arched brows. Her heart-shaped face was finely sculpted with high cheekbones and a pert, upturned nose above full lips. Rich, thick hair fell down her back to rest just above her hips. She had tied it back with a piece of ribbon but a few wispy strands refused to be tamed. The soft ringlets framed the edge of her face and slim neck. He wondered at the color it, the darkness cast her mostly in shadow.

Logan felt an unreasonable surge of desire sweep through him as her eyes continued to hold his. He wanted to turn her towards the light so that he see the true color of both her eyes and hair. Resisting the unexplainable urge, Logan forced himself to break the unnerving spell the bewitching young woman had cast over him.

Tipping his hat, a confident, sensual smile on his lips, Logan moved away from her to talk with the driver about the trip west.

Rained Out

Both of my boys had ballgames tonight. On our way to pick them up from daycare my husband must have called our answering machine at least three times because we were certain the association would cancel all activities. The sky was dark gray and swelling, the clouds expanding with moisture. It was so going to rain. Of course, there wasn't a message and we were forced to pack the kids up and run them to the fields.

It started raining five minutes into their games (they were on two separate diamonds). It rained and rained and rained. The kids played for fifteen to twenty minutes, soaked through and through. Now, mind you, these aren't high school kids. My youngest is on the 4-5-6 year-old league and his brother is on the 7-8-9 year-old league. These are little people and one of mine has been fighting off something.

Well, they ushered the kids into the dugouts where they made them stand for another 15 minutes to see if the rain would let up. Call the games already, ump! Although I brought an umbrella, I was getting soaked too. The wind was pushing the rain in side-ways, which meant my entire right side was wet down to the skin.

Finally, they called the game. We were there for nearly 45 minutes when we shouldn't have been there at all.

Grr.

Prayers Answered

While we don't have a definitive answer on the reason for my son's swollen lymph nodes and the on-again/off-again fevers, the oncologist assured us cancer was not a concern. He suspects either a parasite or virus. He's going to have the lab check for the parasite and/or viruses he suspects could be responsible for the symptoms.

This is a huge relief. Although we were told his lymph nodes may remain inflammed for several weeks, months or years, we shouldn't worry unless more dramatic symptoms appear. Random fevers are also to be expected and shouldn't send us running to the doctor's office.

I can deal with that.

Oh, and that unsightly cyst he's had since birth? Unless it becomes infected, it's harmless.

For those of you who said a quick prayer, thank you. I truly believe we were blessed today.

Writing Weaknesses

If you're a writer, you have them. It may be presumptuous--who? me?--but I believe even the most accomplished writers have their weaknesses. Of course, if these authors have made it not only into print but have managed to repeatedly climb the NYT Best Seller lists, I must assume their strengths far outweigh their weaknesses.

The same holds true for those who can claim professional status even if their books have resulted in moderate sales or worse. Perhaps their books are more well written, their conflict tighter, their characters more believable than their NYT Best Seller counterparts. It's certainly possible. But why then do their books not receive the same recognition and acclaim?

It's a question that you'll find discussed in a variety of places and by a variety of people. Books have been written to help aspiring and mid-list authors alike achieve a higher level of writing.

I own a few of those books. I read them every now and again...bit by bit when the writing bogs down.

Exercises and advice aside, I've come to realize admitting your weaknesses is the first step to improving. You can't fix what you don't realize is broken. If you mistakenly label action as conflict, you're not going to understand why your characters seem to be moving aimlessly through an obstacle course. If you believe your characters are fully developed, you won't see how flat they appear while on-screen. If you see description as a waste of time or superfluous, you're not going to realize your story takes place in a void.

Your readers will. They'll notice the clunkers. Every one.

So how do you recognize your weaknesses? They're likely a weakness because they have fallen off your writer's radar. When you're busy worrying about the presentation of your story's main conflict, it's easy to forget things like setting, theme, and characterization. Some oversights may not be noticeable while writing. You think you've included all the necessary elements. After all, it makes perfect sense to you so you must have succeeded.

Not so. You're simply blinded to the holes your subconscious automatically fills in. This is why editing is so important. After a bit of distance, the flaws jump off the page. Be warned: they may even mock your initial efforts.

Some things are easily fixed and cannot be considered a weakness. Everyone has typos. Everyone leaves out words or jumbles them into unintelligible sentences. Yes, they do. Don't argue with me on this! Seriously. Do you want to make me cry? Alright then, behave yourself.

The weaknesses begin to become apparent as you move from scene to scene, chapter to chapter. After you've written enough manuscripts, you'll soon realize some of these flaws follow you from story to story and you realize your writing has inherent weaknesses.

I have several weaknesses. The most irritating is my presentation of conflict. My story's have conflict but I never nail it in its presentation. I take something that could be powerful and turn it into angelfood cake. Don't ask me how. I have no idea. Excuse the expression but I tend to pussy-foot around conflict.

I also tend to be very vague. I'm thinking it's keeping the reader in suspense but, in retrospect, I believe it only confuses things unnecessarily.

Have you discovered your weaknesses yet? And how are you coping with them?

Update

Well, the appointment got cancelled. The doctor wasn't going to be able to make it (no explanation why) so the receptionist rescheduled for next week. In a way, I'm glad. The hubby is home now and will be able to attend the appointment as well, which means he can hear first hand what's going on.

Too distracted to work.

I have the perfect opportunity to write. The kids are in bed, the hubby's is gone, and I've got time to spare before I need to turn in for the night.

Unfortunately, I can't seem to focus on anything. I can't stop thinking about what could possibly be wrong with my baby. Even when I reassure myself that it might be something minor, perhaps even silly, my fears won't allow me to relax.

This is going to be a long week.

5 Biggest Mistakes

In response to Holly's challenge:

These are the "mistakes" I'm ever so grateful for making. Holly wanted us to list five mistakes but three seems to be my limit tonight. I'm getting tired!!


#1
College: Settling for less.


I really wanted to be a marine biologist when I graduated from high school. I loved my science classes, had a fascination for anything aquatic, and had dreams of swimming with the dolphins and studying the sharks in their natural environment. Of course, my grades weren't the best back then but I felt certain I could do it if I put my mind to it. After all, I got decent grades with very little effort. Put some studying into the mix and I imagined I'd be just fine.

There were a couple reasons why I didn't pursue this dream. Money was a big one. My dad was the sole provider for a family of seven but, apparently, he made too much money. I could get loans but not grants. Scholarships were, at that time, out of the question. I just didn't have the grades or the scores. Not then.

The idea of putting myself into debt didn't sit well. By chance a friend of my future husband worked for a consortium. If I picked a career and college from their list, they'd pay for it all. They'd pay tuition, provide gas money, and even cover the cost of textbooks. This was a deal too sweet to pass up. So I looked at their list and made a practical choice. Everyone gets sick and a medical assistant should be able to find a job easily enough.

My school of choice also happened to be the same institution my high school sweetheart attended. Bonus.

#2
Career Decisions:


I graduated from college with a degree I realized too late I didn't want and had no intention of utilizing. My internship at a local doctor's office convinced me I wasn't cut out for a life filled with sickness and blood. Okay, mostly it was the blood that did me in.

It was my first in-office surgery and I passed out cold. Now, that might not sound so bad but fainting is not exactly what happens when I hit the floor. Oh, no. I have to seize. My eyes roll, the body shakes, and I happened to lose bladder control on that particular day. (Can't believe I just admitted that to the whole wide world....)

Now, I'm not epileptic. Since the age of 13 I've undergone numerous tests in an attempt to discover what exactly my problem is. The convulsions (or whatever you'd like to call these little fits) started when I had a serious allergic reaction that summer so long ago. If I'm seriously ill or seriously freaked out, my body just kind of does it's own thing. Not a good thing to have happen when you realize the sight of blood really freaks you out.

So, I walked across the stage, got my degree, and tucked it away. I took an administrative position that eventually led to my current position. This position provides so much more than a mere medical assistant job would have (no offense meant to those souls who find satisfaction in that field!). I have great benefits, a decent wage, and flexibility in my schedule. This job has given me the means to help my husband provide the life we both wanted for ourselves and our children. It has also given me the means to pursue another degree, one which means something to me.


#3:
Writing: Setting aside the Dream


Even before I wanted to be a marine biologist I knew writing was just something I was destined to do. I probably didn't decide I wanted to make it a profession until I was in my teens. Yet, it's so not a practical career choice! I was also aware of the uphill battle publishing would be and I wasn't sure I wanted to stake my future on something so uncertain. Thus Mistake Numbers 1 & 2.

Looking back I'm so grateful I didn't hold out for publication. I might have loved to write but it didn't mean I was ready to go pro. Not by a long shot. I had a lot of growing up to do. I needed to experience life and not just read about it.

Unfortunately, I didn't write while I pursued an education, a career, and a family. Other than the occassional short story or poem, I set it aside for several years. I found other hobbies to express my creativity. Yet, the writing never really let go, and now I'm ready to learn the craft and put forth the time and effort necessary to fulfill the dream.

The Kids

Well, my oldest did not need stitches. A little steri-strip to hold the edges together seemed to do the trick. Whew! No need to feel like worst mom of the year today!

My youngest, on the other hand, seems to be up to his usual tricks. The doctor has decided to refer him out to a specialist, one that deals with blood infections and oncology. He told me not to panic but you know a small (okay, big) part of me can't help but to freak out a little.

I can't imagine anything worse than something happening to my boys. These temps and swollen lymph nodes (it has progressed from just along his neck to his neck and armpits now) scare the shit out of me. I can't help it.

Needless to say I called my mom and asked her to start praying and then I promptly did a little on bended knee action myself. I'm not usually the type so you know this has got the worry juices flowing. I tend to say my thank yous and pleases when I'm in bed just before drifting off to sleep.

His appointment is on Friday. If you believe in God and don't mind adding another little name to your prayer list, his name is Gage and we have no idea what's going on with him. Remember when I found out he had had Mono? Well, they had tested him for Leukemia at the same time and that came out just fine. Hopefully whatever is causing these lymph nodes to swell and his temperature to spike is easily fixed.

Every time

I don't know why but it seems as if something bad happens every time my husband leaves on a trip. He's in Chicago this week for a conference. He's been gone less than 24 hours and I'm taking both kids into the doctor's office--I think my oldest might need stitches and my youngest is running a fever and his lymph nodes are swollen again.

Last night we had tornado warnings, which meant we retreated to the basement where, should the worst happen, we'd stand a better chance of survival. The basement is nothing fancy. It has cement floors and walls. Half of it is filled with exercise equipment, a wrap-around couch, and toys. The other half is my scrapbooking room and laundry area. Once I realized the weather had become unstable, I sent my kids and my sister's kids into the basement. Then I spent time finding a flashlight, a lighter for the candles I keep down there, warmer clothes for all of us (the basement is always cold), snacks, and drinks. Once the essentials were taken care of my sister and I started to move our scrapbooking stuff downstairs. In the background the television was issuing it's warnings and telling us how to survive a tornado should one touch down in our area.

We'd just gotten everything moved down there and the radio turned on so we could continue to listen to the storm's progress when my oldest began screaming. The kids had been playing with a ball, kicking it back and forth. Apparently, it hit my son in the back of the head, which propelled him into his dad's makeshift workstation. Two boards had been balanced between a couple of chairs so my husband could stain some trim a few weeks ago. Well, my son hit the boards with his face. The cuts aren't big but I think the one must be very deep. I gave him some aspirin, bandaged the wound, and had him put ice on it. After the storm passed and my sister and her kids left I changed the bandaid and sent him to bed.

When the little guy woke up this morning the second bandaid was soaked through and some blood had seeped out. I cleaned him up and put a third bandaid on the little cut. (Seriously, the cut might be 2 cm long and it's not at all wide). I had hoped that would be end the of it but the damn thing won't stop bleeding.

I admit I was still going to go into work and have my daycare provider keep an eye on it for me. I always feel it's better to go in to work and get called out than to not go at all, especially on days I've agreed to cover a coworker's late night. When I woke up my youngest that plan went right out the window.

I don't know what's going on with that child. He was fine when I put him to bed but this morning he was running 103 fever. The daycare won't take him when it's over 100 degrees so I really had no option but to call in.

I called the doctor's as soon as they opened and made an appointment for each child. 10:40 seems a long ways away.

Added another link.

A good online friend of mine has finally joined the blog-o-sphere. She's only posted twice so far but it's good stuff. At least, I think so. If you have the time and inclination, stop by her new site:

Fetu's Lantern

I think it's erotica.

That new story I said was spewing forth? Well, I think it's erotica. I've tried to imagine how to vanilla it down and it's not possible. This story doesn't want to be "good girl" material. The main conflict is directly tied to sex. Of course, being me, I can't just let my heroine have indiscriminate sex with whoever happens to be handy. I want romance, too.

The thing I find most interesting about this is that I didn't think I was capable of writing erotica. My rather straight-laced upbringing has preprogrammed me to censor certain words. Although I can read them without flinching, to write them seems vulgar. This story is determined to break down those barriers!

Of course, I'll probably be too embarrassed to share this with anyone. It'll get written and quickly filed away. Kind of like how I gobble down the chocolate bar when no one is looking and bury the wrapper in the garbage.

Going to the zoo

I'm chaperoning my son's first grade field trip to the zoo today. Lucky for me it's a different zoo than the one I just visited with my preschooler on his field trip. I have little over an hour to get ready so this will be a short post.

Yes, it takes me an hour to curl my hair, put on makeup, and eat breakfast. My hair needs to be cut, which means it's reached the "I refuse to do what you want me to" stage. I was supposed to get it cut last night but the fates conspired to work against me once more and I had to miss my appointment.