Tuesday, June 30, 2009

The argument

I knew it. I knew it for some time now, but I never said anything about it. I just kept this knowledge to myself and did NOTHING to remedy the situation.

Because I was a little too busy indulging in it.

Today, hubby got upset about something. He started to complain about how all I ever do...is write!

I asked, "Well, what do you WANT me to do? Bag groceries?"

For some reason, I thought this was another episode of the "why haven't you started making millions of dollars with your writing yet?" argument.

But, actually, it was the "all you ever do is write, write, write!" argument.

Yes. I know. I DO write a lot. Whenever I have a free moment, I am working on my books. Or, as in the occasional instance, going through my work for something to send to a contest or anthology. But if not, then it's the books I am busy working on.

And I actually have a very good reason for working on the books. One that I told my husband: "Well, I DO have a deadline." (A deadline that I have NO intention of missing, by the way! I can't mess this up!)

His response? "Why do you even have a deadline?"

"Because I have a contract."

"Well, why do you even have a contract?"

This got me confused. First he was complaining that I spend so much time writing, then he wants to know why I even have a contract to write a book? Huh?

So I started thinking, maybe this is the whole "this writing thing is a waste of time" argument and started getting angry. The whole 10+ years he has known me, he KNEW I am a writer! I have been writing for MANY, MANY years and I have no intention of stopping that, either. I LIKE writing books! Hell, I am lucky to have book contracts!

So I started feeling a little defensive. Ready to give him that whole, "I am writer, hear me roar!" lecture. I just looked straight at him and said, "I am a writer and I'm not going to stop being a writer. And I LIKE writing books." I kinda left out the "so deal with it!" part I wanted to add. (Yep, I was feeling pretty angry.)

Then he said that's not the point he was trying to make. He was just saying that every free minute I have goes to the writing. He said, "You need to get a hobby."

"I don't want a hobby," I said. I guess he doesn't think that my fascination with the paranormal is something that I DO consider to be a hobby.

I was also thinking, I don't even have TIME for a hobby! It's not like I have a HUGE amount of free time, as it is! During the day, I am also caring for the children, cooking the meals, running errands, and cleaning the house. Heck, if he was in my shoes, having a hobby would be the last thing on his mind! (And just to note, he spends a lot of time on the couch, watching TV and movies.)

What little free time I DO have goes to the writing. And I'm okay with that. It's comforting, actually. I don't really have a social life. I have friends, but not the kind who visit me every day or show up at my house unannounced. I am not taking a class, being a member of a club or teaching anybody anything. You know? I really don't have much else going on for me EXCEPT the writing.

And I have been fine with that. I am stressed out as it is about meeting my deadlines and getting my books done. (I'm working on two at a time.) I REALLY don't have much time for anything else. Heck, this is why I'm not even signed up with Twitter. I just don't have the time.

And I keep telling myself, next year will be better. I have made a promise to myself for 2010: Only ONE BOOK at a time. Not two or three. JUST. ONE. I have to make sure I keep that promise, too.

I have thought of taking a class. A cooking class. I have thought of volunteering at an animal shelter or soup kitchen. I have thought of joining a gym and working out. But right now, I'm just so fixated on the writing. And he's acting like that's a bad thing.

Still, I have agreed to at least look into something to get involved in. I thought on it, and I can't bear the idea of being away from my children for too long. (Which is why, if I took a job, it would HAVE to be at home.) I need to be around AT LEAST one of them! So I talked with Jennifer and decided I will look into a "Mommy and me" class. Yoga, swimming, cooking. Something that we can do together. It won't take up too much time in one day. And I'll be able to fit it in. And it will be something new for Jen to be a part of now that T-ball is over with. So I will do that and see where we go from there.

But as for the writing...I'm not giving it up. Something tells me I'll even be writing when I'm dead! (I do believe that, after I die, I'll pull a Hemingway and be busy writing stuff as a ghost.)

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Take me out to the (last) ballgame

Yesterday, Jennifer had her very last baseball game. The night before, Jennifer got glue glitter on her team shirt. I soaked it in water overnight, washed it in the morning, and, thankfully, it came out. Yeah!

Both of us were upset the season was ending (at least, as far as her being on a team went), but we both decided to go to the game and give it our best. I was sure to bring the camera along so that I could take pictures. My husband and I both took a lot of pictures!

After the game, I was talking with the coach. I asked about next season and she said she won't be coaching. Because, fanfare please, she's having a baby! When she first told me she is pregnant, I did a double take and said, "What did you say!" I was surprised and so very happy for her. Yay! I gave her a hug and offered congratulations. Lots of the kids on the team were giving her hugs, too. She told me this would be her third child and indicated that things were probably going to get a little crazy. I told her, "If you can manage a team, three will be fine."

(I myself am feeling that clock ticking. I would also like to have another child. But as it is right now, we're still paying off the medical bills from the last baby! I am still feeling that "time" to have another, though. I just KNOW that it's time.)

Anyway, it was a great game. Jen hit a home run and everybody had fun. Thankfully, the weather was great for a baseball game, and there was no drama among the team members. It was a great last game and I'm sad to see it all come to an end.
Here are some of the pictures I took. I'll load as many as Blogger will allow me! Jen is #17.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

RIP, Michael Jackson

As a kid, there was one music sensation who I enjoyed listening to and adored: Michael Jackson. Songs such as "Beat It" and "Billie Jean" often played on high volume in my parents' home, and we all enjoyed singing and dancing along. I collected his posters, joined an unofficial fan club, watched his videos and stayed updated on what Michael Jackson was up to. He was called the King of Pop, and rightfully so. He blew millions of fans away with his music and self-styled "moonwalk." That famous dance move became the dance style many people and many singers alike tried to imitate, but never could master except for the Man himself. I dreamed of meeting him someday. And I almost had that chance had I listened to my mother who grabbed my arm and told me, "THERE'S MICHAEL JACKSON!!" But I thought otherwise. At least I can say I was once in the same room as Michael Jackson.

And despite the controversy surrounding his personal life, I still loved and admired Michael. I understood why things happened and how hard it was for him to have some kind of "normal" life while in the spotlight. It seemed that controversy awaited him everywhere he went, and the media ruthlessly hounded him and tore any shred of privacy he had left to pieces.

So it was with shock and sadness that I learned that Michael Jackson died today. He was 50 years old. He died of cardiac arrest in his Southern California home.

I actually found out about his death while on the Internet. (No TV today because we had our carpets cleaned and everything was moved out of the room while the carpets are drying.) I came across a blog post I am subscribed to which revealed the blogger's shock over his passing. My reaction was, "What? Oh, my God! No!!" But I started checking around on other sites and was dismayed to learn that this was true. Michael Jackson has truly left us. And he was only 50 years old.

I started watching some of his videos on YouTube and tearing up. I started to cry as I watched him perform "Billie Jean." He was so amazingly talented and had a wonderful voice. I am grateful I was able to hear his voice before I lost my hearing. His songs will remain in my memory and my heart forever.

I chatted with my publisher about this today. We both think it is very sad that he is gone. He was taken from this world too soon. My publisher expressed her outrage that there were people saying mean things about him, even now that he is dead. I was reading on the 'Net comments people left when they heard the news and I started to get angry, too. Some people said "it's better off that he's dead" and "now little boys will be safe." I thought that was really cruel and heartless. The man has just died! Show a little respect! I think you should NEVER speak evil of the dead. Not ever. My publisher noted that these people are inviting bad karma.

In my opinion, he should be remembered for the POSITIVE things that he has done. And he HAS done good things. He helped a lot of handicapped children. He has done charity work. That's got to mean something, doesn't it? Remember him for the good things, not the bad things. No one is perfect. No one will EVER be perfect. Despite Michael Jackson's faults, let us not tarnish his memory, or his legacy. He was not a saint but he DID still try to do good in this world. He has three children he has left behind. Do you really want them to grow up in a world that would rather stomp on their father's legacy instead of love him and remember him for the good things that he has done?

That said, I will always love Michael Jackson and remember how I was once such a big fan of his. My heart is broken because he has passed on, but I am thankful for what he leaves behind in this world. I am thankful that the world got to enjoy and participate in his talent and his musical gifts. My thoughts and prayers go out to the Jackson family. Michael will be sorely missed and remembered forever. May he rest in peace.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009


If you mop the floor, something will be spilled on it that same day.

If you get ALL of the laundry done in one day, more piles up by day's end.

Those two universal truths happened today. No fun.

This evening, I was lying in bed, reading. I wanted to sleep, but the kids were still awake (in their room) so I couldn't go to sleep yet. Over the book I was reading, I coulda sworn I saw Jennifer walk past my door. Or...someone her size. 'Oh, great,' I thought. 'She's out of bed.' (I was trying to get her to go to sleep.) But when I got up, she was not out there. Actually, she was in bed.

Guess I saw "somebody" else....

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Don't get mad, stop blogging

I came across a blog where the blogger's last post, from 2 months ago, announced the closing of the blog because nobody was commenting. I thought this attitude, while valid, was a little dramatic. If you're upset that no one is commenting on your blog posts, don't make a fuss over it and say, "I'm not blogging anymore! Goodbye, cruel blogosphere!" Just stop blogging. It's the right approach to take.

I know of some writers who complained about not getting any comments on their blogs, where they posted samples of their work or things they were doing. When I commented on their blog, I saw that they did not return the favor by commenting on any of mine.

Gee, maybe this is why they don't get any comments?

The commenting thing works both ways -- in MY opinion. I mean, you comment on my blog and, God willing I miraculously find the time eventually, I will comment on yours. In my opinion, that's the way it should be. But not everybody thinks so....

Still, just because there are no comments, especially over a long period of time, it doesn't mean you should get all upset in your last post. Don't throw a hissy fit and announce, "Screw you guys! I'm not blogging anymore!" You know? Just stop blogging. It looks childish to just say "not blogging anymore because nobody is reading it." (And how do you know no one is reading it, anyway? Sometimes, people don't have anything to say. Sometimes they'll read and not comment. A lack of comments doesn't mean NO ONE is reading it. I mean, I've gotten emails from people commenting on my blog posts, when they didn't leave a comment. That's just as good!)

Myself, I would continue blogging even if I had NO followers and NO commenters (I still love my followers and commenters!). Once upon a time, it used to be that way. I had NO followers and NO commenters! It bugged me (because I was hoping that at least someone in my FAMILY would at least leave a comment -- and for a while, one of my sisters did), but I kept up the blogging, anyway. Because you know what? I like blogging. I like doing the blog thing. It's fun, challenging, a great diversion and a safe outlet to just write...WHATEVER.

Comments or no comments, my heart is still in blogging. And that's got to count for something.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Short update for today

I am finally over the flu. Yay! Everything is pretty much back to normal. The meeting today went well. I'm so glad there is an online conference room available through Yahoo Messenger. Just another example of how helpful technology can be for the deaf! They actually wanted me to call it in but I did not feel comfortable participating in the meeting without my co-author. She surprised me with how assertive and firm she could be. I wish I could be that way....but I guess not. Well, that's part of the reason why I wanted her there, too. I am just not assertive like that.

Anyway, I've gotten plenty of writing done since getting better. And a lot of housework, too. It's like I have a new zest for life and just DOING things!

We haven't found Jen's mitt yet. This is craziness. I swear, part of the reason why I have been cleaning like a madwoman is so I could find that mitt. It's like it disappeared! Her dad will probably have to buy her a new one.

Didn't have too much else going on today besides the meeting. Hubby was in Portland with Jennifer for most of today. The baby took a 3-hour nap. (Wow!) I watched the movie The Godfather Part 3 for the very first time (and cried at the end) and hung out on Facebook. I'm really starting to like Facebook. And at first, I didn't add people I didn't know. But now, anything goes! I'm still careful, though. I know you have to be wary of crazy people on those social networking sites. You never know who could be on there.

Got a busy weekend planned and looking forward to getting more writing done. And reading, too.

This blog post is short and just rambling because I want to get OFF of the computer and...go do stuff. Feeling restless. Fridays can do that to ya.

Enjoy the weekend!

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

No more pencils, no more books

Today was Jen's last day at school. Yay! We both put together thank you notes for her teacher. Even though I'm still sick, I went over there and said goodbye to everyone. Gave lots of hugs and wished everybody a great summer. Jen was hugging lots of her friends, too.

One thing I told the teacher was that I was really impressed with how well Jennifer has progressed in her reading and math. She's coming out of first grade with a memorable educational experience! Her teacher tried to avoid the praise by saying that Jennifer is smart, but I wanted her to know that I thought she did a fabulous job teaching Jennifer and the other children. The teachers who try to be good teachers really do make a difference. Jennifer was very lucky to have such a smart, caring and helpful teacher this year!

You can tell how much the children love her. One child hugged her goodbye and didn't want to let go!

So I did the interview last night, for one of my books. And it went well. Yay! The interview lasted for over an hour! Anyway, I was able to stay focused, type without a bazillion typos, and even think up extra questions to ask during the conversation. I was also able to ask for more information that I needed for that part of the book. The interview was with a restaurant owner who has paranormal activity in his business. (Not giving away the details -- you will have to wait for the book to read these stories and see the spooky photo!) I was very happy to finally interview this person. He is a wonderful person and has lived a very rich and fulfilling life. His success story of growing a successful business after coming here from Ireland just really blew me away. So I'm very happy that interview finally happened. Up until then, we'd been playing email tag and having trouble getting the interview underway.

I saw the doctor yesterday. Got an ear infection in addition to this flu. Bleh! The baby has been sick and yesterday he woke up from his nap crying really bad and putting his finger into his ear. I'd spoken with the nurse at the doctor's office the previous day and she said to call back if he was doing that. (Up until then, he had a fever and a suspected sore throat.) So I took him to the doctor and he has an ear infection too. It's just me and him being a couple of sickies! I was up late with him last night because he kept waking up crying. He was just miserable. Both of us have antibiotics, though. I still have to give him Infant Ibuprofen for pain, when needed.

I really shouldn't be driving. Even though I had to yesterday and today. The thing is, I almost drove right into oncoming traffic when driving myself to the doctor. It took a huge amount of effort to stay focused and aware. I'm going to try to avoid driving as much as possible, until I am recovered. This morning, I could barely get out of bed. I was really weak.

Also this morning: When the alarm woke me up, I saw someone standing next to my bed. I reached over to turn off the alarm then when I looked back, no one was there. No one was anywhere. That happens sometimes. I've seen people in my room and they disappear. Or, I will see them, turn away, then when I look back, they are gone.

Jennifer missed her game yesterday. She lost her mitt. I came home from the doctor to find her crying because she wanted to go play baseball, but couldn't find her mitt. I helped her look for it. Practically turned her room upside-down looking for it. It wasn't in there or anywhere else, either. Neither of us were happy about her missing her game. The fourth one she's missed! And she missed today's game, too. So that makes it five games missed. We once again tried to find the mitt but had no luck. I guess we'll have to get her a new one.

I am having good and bad moments. Sometimes I can sit up okay and be aware. Sometimes, not so much. Today I was able to read TWO magazine articles in Poets & Writers Magazine, and didn't have trouble focusing on the words or thinking about the subject. Woot! Hopefully, I can get back to reading grown-up books real soon. Hopefully, this sickness will pass soon enough. I am hoping so; got a virtual meeting to participate in on Friday.

And soon I'll get back to the writing again.

I feel useless not being able to do any housework, not being able to go out, do all the things required to care for the children and write. And I don't like not being able to do my daily Bible study, either. (Can't think straight enough!) Maybe some women would LOVE this kind of "down time," but not me. I am happiest when I am productively contributing to my family, my home and my writing career. I just want things to go back to normal. Soon.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Very sick, little sick, then very sick again

Just when I thought I was getting over this flu, it's gotten worse. I'm so angry and frustrated that I'm really sick, because there's stuff to do and I don't have the strength or the energy. Sometimes, when I'm on my feet, I feel like I am going to drop. And there's things I had to do at times and on days, and I couldn't do them because I either couldn't drive, couldn't go out or my brain was fried and I forgot.

First I was feeling better. Then I'm feeling worse again.

I am seeing the doctor today, but mainly for pain in my ear. My right ear has been having some bad pain in the inner ear. There's also pain on the outside of my ear. Pain and pressure on the inside. But if the doctor is willing to comment on my flu, I'm willing to listen.

I hate being like this. It slows me, and everything else, down. My thoughts are disorganized. It is hard to think straight. I have to interview somene tonight for one of my books and even though I already put together the questions before, and will have them in front of me, I'm worried I'll screw it up. But I know I can call back if I forget something.

It's hard for me to read the adult books I have. I can only read the kid books. I want to read the adult books! The books on science, writing and animals. I want to read those books but it's too hard to concentrate and think right.

So I'm dealing with those frustrations in addition to being sick. I am just grateful that the story I am working on right now is for kids. I read through kids' books really fast. I just plow right through them. I am enjoying Goosebumps series. So I'm reading them and writing one too. A kids' story. Yay.

Hopefully I will be out of the woods soon. I am thinking of changing my medicine. Been taking Tussin but it doesn't help. Might take NyQuil or Comtrex instead. I hear that TheraFlu is good, too. Thankfully, hubby is on vacation this week, so I'm in the clear to take flu medicine and get lots of rest. I sure do miss drinking coffee, though. *cry*

I also miss taking Jennifer to her games. She has missed 3 because of this darn flu. Her dad is taking her today. I hope he will take her tomorrow, too. (Yep, two games two days in a row this week.)

That's all.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Unwritten rules

There seems to be some kind of unwritten rule which states, "Anytime Mommy gets sick, the house goes to pot."

I was reminded of this today. I have been a little sick with the flu for a couple of days. Today I finally started feeling better -- and I kinda started to wish I had an excuse to crawl back into bed. The house was a disaster area.

Spent most of today cleaning and getting the house back in order. I think my back is hurting on account of all the baskets of laundry I was carrying around. Ugh.

But I also found a small window of time to fix up a chapter in the Revisions book. I wanted to add something else to it, but was not able to finish because I couldn't get very good information about this topic on the 'Net. I'll have to either try the library or bookstore to see if I can dig up the information I need.

Also found the time to read a magazine article in the recent issue of the DPPi Journal. I didn't finish reading it, though, because I got a little angry over how the writer kept going on about how deafness is genetic. Hello! I'm living proof that deafness is NOT genetic! So are my kids. I became deaf because I caught an illness that caused my deafness. My children are both hearing children. Of course, that fact may not be sufficient to refute the writer's claim, since I was not genetically rendered deaf, but it's still proof it's not genetic. (I would need to look into this matter further. Back in the day that I was writing for SIGNews, I did come across reports of studies being done to determine if deafness is genetic. I don't recall many of the results the tests showed, so I would need to revisit this to see if there is anything new on the subject.)

There is another unwritten rule about what happens when one person in a family gets sick. Someone else in the family is likely to get sick, too. Jesse woke up at 6 this morning, crying pretty bad. The first thing I noticed about him as I picked him up was that he was VERY HOT! I removed his pajamas (leaving on his onesie), changed him, took his temperature (it was 101!) and gave him Infant Tylenol. After that, I gave him a sippee cup of water and rocked him as he drank from it. When I put him back in bed, he slept for about four hours and seemed to be fine. But I have kept an eye on him today and so far, nothing more serious than a fever.

I'm still feeling pretty yucky -- got some head congestion, sore throat, pain in my neck and minor body aches -- but I'm just glad to be able to think straight again and be aware of my surroundings. It's no fun being sick. And it's also no fun having to clean up a neglected house because of being sick.

Last night, I dreamed that we were on our way somewhere. It was me, my husband and the kids in the car. It was snowing and the streets were covered with snow. At one point, my husband dropped me off at the curb and Jennifer got out of the car to hug me goodbye. I started to walk away then looked back to see her climb back into the car and then as my husband drove them away. I was walking down the sidewalk. I eventually came to a street I recognized. I walked up to the house, full of anticipation. It was my grandmother's house and she was having a Christmas party. The house was beautifully decorated on the outside, with Christmas lights and decorations. I knocked at the door then, as I waited, I hurriedly removed the hair band that held my hair up in a bun. I wanted to put my hair down because I know it looks better down. When my hair is up, my burn scars are showing and they're like THE thing that people see. And people, including family members, have said it looks better when my hair was down. And I started to feel self-conscious about that. I tried to cover my scars with my long hair.

A cousin on my mom's side answered the door. She let me in and I started to greet everyone. It was so wonderful to see everyone again. People I haven't seen in ages. And I was still nervous about my scars. trying to use my hair to cover them up. But they all had an attitude like, "This is how Dawn looks!" None of them cared about the scars.

I didn't see my grandmother in the dream, though. I was making my way through the house to her, but awoke before I got to her. Which made me sad, really. I miss her so much. She passed away over 15 years ago and I still miss her terribly. Sometimes she has been in my dreams, which I am grateful for. I always cherish those dreams I have in which I will see a departed or long-lost loved one.

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Giving myself permission to breathe

Last night, I didn't get to bed until 1 a.m. I finished my writing for the day at around midnight and went into the kitchen to do the dishes. (I wasn't tired so I figured I might as well get them done.) So at 1 a.m., I finally crawled into bed. The problem was, though, I couldn't sleep. I ended up tossing and turning. I just couldn't get comfortable. (You would THINK after several months of falling asleep all alone in that big bed, I'd figure out how to get comfortable by now!) I knew I could probably just turn on the lamp and read or go sit on the couch and watch TV, but I was determined to try to get some sleep. I had to get up at 5:15ish in the morning, since it was a school day. (When summer vacation starts next week, I'll still be getting up early in the morning, just so I can have uninterrupted time to write. It just will be a little later than it is now.) I was worried about waking up on time AND being a zombie all day since I was getting to sleep so late, but I figured the alarm clock would wake me up, so didn't dwell on that concern.

And, actually, the alarm clock didn't wake me up. GAH! It was 7:30 when I woke up! The first thing I noticed was the daylight in the windows and I was thinking , 'Wait a minute, there isn't supposed to be daylight yet.' That's when I looked at the time. And I couldn't remember if I had woken up and, in a haze, turned off the alarm then went back to sleep, or even if the alarm woke me up at all. I didn't remember it happening.

So I got out of bed and got Jennifer up. Jesse was already awake (he usually wakes up at this time). I explained the situation and she kinda freaked at first. Then I told her she was not VERY late for school and she relaxed. (Her school starts at 7:55. I usually get her up to get ready at 7.) So I got her dressed and had her eat a little breakfast, since by the time she got to school, it would be past breakfast. (The kids at her school get free breakfast. Yay!) Her dad got up to drive her to school and I took care of the baby while he got ready. After she was on her way, I tried to think of what could be wrong with the clock. Later, my husband was looking at it and testing it at different times. He thinks one of us accidentally hit the "off" button, or something.

I spent a lot of time working on the Revisions book today. But, mostly, I was fixing up the chapter I wrote yesterday, as well as another chapter. I also logged in at Facebook, but after it got to be too much of a distraction from the writing, I stayed off of that account and decided to log back in there tomorrow. But the good news is that a writer friend of mine, who is on there, has invited me to guest blog on her blog. Yay! We talked about the post I made at the DC blog today and also about other things related to it as well as to the book, and she told me exactly what she'd like to see for a guest blog post. How interesting people are getting "sneak peeks" of this book on blogs before it comes out! I'll have to spiffy up the excerpt she would like to use. I told her I'd be available for that in 2 weeks.

Also for the Revisions book: I MIGHT have a new title. Yay! I have been really having a hard time coming up with a good title for this book. I've been brainstorming over it for months. And, today, one title popped into my head: WIP It Good: Tips and Techniques for the Revising Writer. The whole "WIP it" part is kinda funny, though. I couldn't stop laughing about it.

Of course, "WIP" stands for "Work-In-Progress." The first part of the title is a play on the popular song "Whip It." (Hey! I have another novel planned called Sometimes Love, and those two words come from a John Cougar Mellencamp song. I don't just look to songs for book title ideas, though.) Anyway! Yes, the title made me laugh and even blush a little. Even though I am NOT into that stuff. But, it was catchy. And very appropriate since the book's audience is for writers with a first draft of something or something that they need to "whip into shape."

Still, I had to get some input on that. So I asked my publisher what she thought of it. Her response? "Sounds good to me." Yay! I also asked my friends on Facebook. You can never get too much feedback on something!

Anyway, enough about the writing stuff. This isn't the writing blog, after all!

We have a water heater problem. Apparently, we no longer have a lot of hot water. I discovered this the hard way: While I was showering. The hot water went out about 5 minutes after I stepped in! And there I was, all soaped up and shampooed. GAH! It was NOT pleasant trying to rinse off with cold water. I think I shrieked a couple of times and worried I was going to go into shock because the water was so cold. You can bet I moved VERY fast! And started to ponder cutting my hair since it takes FOREVER to wash and rinse long hair. So at first my husband thought a fuse was blown. He tried the reset button on the water heater and we waited to see if that did the trick. Tonight, as I ran the water for the children's bath, I saw that it did not. (In order to ensure that the children don't freeze to death with what little hot water they CAN get for a bath, I run the hot water until it's gone then let the cold water bring the temp down. I have resorted to taking baths, too, because of this, and that's how I draw my baths. Even if it means I only have enough water to cover my legs. At least it's not freezing!)

So now we think we just need a new water heater. We'll have to call the landlord and hopefully it will get put in very soon. This situation is very aggravating.

I recently ordered two books from Amazon and they arrived today. One is called The Wisdom of the Native Americans edited by Kent Nerburn and the other one is Circle Of Life: Traditional Teachings Of Native American Elders by James David Audlin. I got these books purely for research but Native American studies is a subject I have long been fascinated with (which explains why I have an MG book with Native American characters. Or maybe it will be a YA. I haven't decided yet). I'll probably post my thoughts and comments here after I read them. Or write up a review to send into Associated Content.

I took Jen to her baseball game today. She hit a homerun! Woot! I didn't care if the parents looked at me weird while I was clapping and cheering, "Go, Jen, go!" as she ran those bases. I was proud of her and wanted her to know it! After her game, she and Jesse got to snack on some Goldfish crackers. Jesse loves the Goldfish crackers so I was happy to give them to him. Not so happy when he later threw them all up on the dining room chair. Ugh! That's the first time he ever threw up after eating Goldfish crackers. (Not the first time he's ever thrown up, though. He's done plenty of that since the day he was born!) When I told my husband about it, he shared my confusion as to what made him throw up. I mean, he hasn't been sick. He eats Goldfish all the time. He seemed to be cheerful and active before it happened. Well, maybe he was just being too active and got too excited, or something. Jennifer got upset and thought he might be sick but I assured her he's probably not sick.

Well, I hope not. All the same, we all kept a close eye on him. He seemed better for the rest of the evening.

I am beginning to think that it's okay if I don't spend all day working on the writing. Or writing in every free minute I have. Gotta make room for other things in life, too. Like...reading a book. seeing a movie. Going out for coffee. Taking a walk, reading friends' blogs and just doing something else BESIDES writing. I don't want the writing to be an obsession. As it has been known to be in the past. I really think that if you get a lot of the writing work done in the day and accomplish something, it's okay to just relax for a while and put it all away until next time. Just take a break from it and enjoy the other things until a new day arrives tomorrow.

Sunday, June 07, 2009

Baseball and birthdays

This weekend was insanely busy. And I mean BUS-AY!

On Saturday, Jennifer had her first baseball game. (Ahem. T-ball. But I call it baseball because starting a sentence with "T-ball" and even having that letter-dashed word representing a sport just irks me. Hey, at least it's like baseball! Just so you know, for future reference.) Anyway, we got to the game, and I didn't realize that the looong schedule written out on the roster meant it was going to be a long game. What happened was, the teams played on different fields, so we were all rotating around the entire field at certain intervals. We ended up being there for over 3 1/2 hours! Yikes! Fortunately, we had a 45-minute break. I used that time to go buy an outdoor lounge chair to sit in (was getting tired of sitting on the grass, especially with all the bugs and beetles crawling about) and Jen got a kid-sized chair, too. Then we got lunch, but we had to eat it fast to get back to the game. (Thankfully, I wasn't that hungry, anyway, and I brought some snacks along for Jennifer.)

At one point during the game, Jen got upset because she couldn't be pitcher. I told her it was the first game, so don't worry about it. They have lots of other games scheduled and she'll get to be pitcher at some point. (I did, however, get irritated that one girl in particular got to be the pitcher so many times. Now I don't exactly know how that whole "choosing a pitcher" thing works. But I still thought it was unfair. This particular girl should not receive favoritism or special treatment just because she's in a certain position on the team.) And let me tell you, I was sooo glad I got that chair. It was a lot more comfortable, especially since the game went into overtime. By the end, I could tell a lot of the girls (Jen included) were tired and worn out.

After the game, we had a birthday party to go to. My friend, Jimmy, has a daughter who celebrated her birthday yesterday, and we were rushing to get the gift wrapped, me get directions to the place where the party was at, and get out there. I'd never been to the place we had to go to, so I didn't realize that it was ALLLL the way out in Springfield and that it took nearly 40 minutes to get there. (Believe it or not, I didn't get lost!) I kept wondering why the heck would someone have a party so far away. But when I got there, I found out why! The party was at Splash! and I thought it was a very cool place. It's a huge indoor water park and they have EVERYTHING, for the people who can't swim to the expert swimmers. They have a huge waterslide and even a tiny pool for babies. Very cool. Jimmy was surprised to learn that I couldn't swim. Well, Jennifer can't swim, either. So imagine my irritation when she kept going into the deep end. I kept warning her to stay out of there. Wearing a life jacket, she assumed that she was safe to go into the deep end. I wasn't prepared to take that chance.

Today, we had ANOTHER baseball game. I was not looking forward to it. Yesterday, I was so sore and worn out from all the moving around and coming and going all the time. I was literally walking hunched over because my back hurt so much by day's end! I had asked my hubby to take Jennifer to her game today, because I needed the rest. And I wanted to spend time with the baby because I barely got to see him yesterday. But hubby's allergies were bad today so I had to chaperone again. I was thankful that at least today's game would be short.

Before we could go to her game, though, we had YET ANOTHER birthday party to attend. (Jennifer is sooo popular. She gets invited to a lot of parties!) So we ran to Fred Meyer to get the gift, picked up lunch, came home to (hurriedly) eat, then wrapped the gift and were out the door again. We could only stay at the party for a few minutes, though, because the party was too close to the time the game starts. So Jen just had the time to give her friend the gift and wish him a happy birthday. I briefly spoke with the birthday boy's father, apologizing that we couldn't stay. They were very understanding and supportive of Jennifer's game, wishing her well. Her friends were excited to see her wearing her team shirt and cap. The parents were generous enough to give Jennifer a goodie bag even though she could not stay, and I really appreciated that.

Getting to the game was another matter, though. It didn't go well. It was located at a park that I had trouble finding last season. In fact, first I ended up at the wrong park, then in a dead end, cursing Google Maps. This time, hubby wrote out the directions, and even showed me a satellite photo of where the park was. And I still got lost! I spent half an hour driving in circles and trying to remember how I managed to find the park last time. What's worse is that I kept asking people where the street was and where the park was, and they said they didn't know! I started driving around grumbling, "We're trying to get to a park that nobody knows about!" At one point, I texted Jimmy, because he and I talked about him going to her game yesterday. And I was all, "I hope you didn't go to the game, because I'm lost!" (This after we were over 30 minutes late for the game.) The first thing in his message when he texted back? "Lol." I rolled my eyes and mumbled, "Well, I'm glad I made him laugh."

Finally, FINALLY!!!, we found someone who knew where the park was. And the street, too. It's a miracle! (Cue a chorus of angels singing, "Hallelujah!") She gave us directions and I used that along with my memory when things became familiar to FINALLY find the park. I told Jennifer to go on to her game while I park the car and I'll catch up to her.

While they played, the assistant coach noticed how Jennifer was wearing the same cap from last season. This season, the caps are blue, not black. The coach had told me it hadn't been a problem when I asked her about it on Saturday, but now the assistant coach said something about it. She told Jennifer to give me her cap and they tried to find an extra one for her to wear, but there weren't any. So they sent her out to be pitcher. Yay for finally being pitcher! But, boo for no cap! I was sitting there, mentally freaking out and thinking, 'Gah! She can't play with the sun in her eyes! She needs a cap!' It took A LOT of effort to restrain myself from launching an Obsessive Mom protest of how they were "making" her play without a cap and she had the sun in her eyes. But the assistant coach and coach started a conversation and I just watched and waited. They wouldn't just let that happen. They had more common sense than that! Then the assistant coach came up to me and said they'll bring a new cap for Jennifer at the next game (on Tuesday) and for now she could wear the old one. I was grateful for this. When Jen came back after that inning was over, we talked about the cap situation. I told her she can keep the old one as a souvenir. She laughed then went back to her team. I suddenly visualized a row of her team baseball caps all put together on display, representing Season 1, Season 2, Season 3... (LOL)

Miraculously, I got home okay. Despite ONE bad turn, at least I knew the area and knew I had to turn around and go the other way. (I have been living in Eugene for how many YEARS now???) I can't believe I get lost so much. Even with the directions. I can be so brainless sometimes! I mean, not too long ago, I was trying to get to this business located in Springfield and somehow or another ended up in Goshen! But somehow, I figure out how to get home.

And if I don't, at least I can text hubby or Jimmy to tell me how to get there. Even if it means they'll end up pointing and laughing at me about it.

Friday, June 05, 2009

My "woe is me!" post

Last night, I took on a challenge: Try to cook a steak. In my past attempts of trying to cook a steak, both by pan and by oven, it either came out too dry or too tough. Or both. For some reason, I am trying to overcome my culinary challenges, and trying to cook a juicy, chewy steak came upon me. And when I saw chuck steaks on sale, I decided to go for it!

I researched several food and recipe sites and message boards, hoping to pick up tips on how to cook a steak without it being too dry or too tough. I was chatting with my publisher and she offered some pointers on how to cook a chuck steak. So I set about following her directions, but with a little improvising. I browned them before I put them in the oven, cooking them on low heat just as I read to do. I added some water to the cream of mushroom soup mixture she suggested I pour over the steaks. And because we were out of garlic powder and onion soup mix, I used Mrs. Dash, thyme, garlic salt, regular salt, and pepper. I threw all that in the oven with a cover over the pan. It looked weird while it cooked but it ended up being very tasty. The steaks came out not dry at all and not tough, either. Hooray!

Next, I tried to make a homemade stew, using the leftover steak. I chopped the steak into tiny, bite-size pieces. I found a recipe for a crockpot beef stew on the 'Net, and thought it would be suitable. As long as I took out the onions, because I know Jennifer would freak over the onions.

As good as the stew smelled as it cooked for 5 hours, it was not as tasty as I had hoped. The soup itself was too thin and with no flavor. The vegetables and meat were just right, of course. Still, I thought it could've been better. Oh, well. Maybe I'll find a better beef stew recipe somewhere. At least I tried! It was still edible.

Anyway, Jennifer has her first game tomorrow. At least, I think she does! The schedule says "Sunday" but the coach said it's actually on Saturday. She was supposed to e-mail me the info yesterday, but so far, I'm not hearing from her! It's making me angry. I guess it's easy to forget about people who can't call you on the dang phone.

We won't be visiting my mom this summer. I'm really upset about this, given how sick she is and how close we all came to losing her recently. We just don't have the money. Hubby had been telling me he was saving for the trip, but now he's telling me he's broke. Excuse me! Well, I guess I can't depend on him for things like that. It's up to me to make the trip happen. Though I don't know how in the world I'll do it since I have no education and no job and most of my monthly account has been used for food, kids' stuff and rent.

I'll never forgive myself, or him, if my mom leaves us before I can see her again.... You don't know how painful it is to be separated from my mother for so long. My mom and I are so close. Nobody understands that.

We survived that car accident together. I have always felt that, in some way, this strengthened the bond, the connection, that I have with my mother.

Well, I am trying to stay positive. I've been praying an awful lot lately. I am also depressed about putting on some weight, and how I have turned to food as a coping mechanism, and I am trying to stop that, too. I am also upset because the romance in my marriage is DEAD and my hubby treats me more like his mother than his wife. Which I hate. I hate being the "mother" and not the "wife" to him.

I am trying to hang in there. I am throwing myself into my writing work -- and I do have A WHOLE FREAKING LOT of writing work to do!!!--but I know that will only last for so long.

I am also reading a lot, too. Just, anything I can get my hands on, really.

I am also sad because I miss my friends. I wish I could see them and give them big hugs. The "no friends to hang out with" thing is aggravating.

Still, I press on.

And I just needed to get ALL of that out. Thank you, I feel better now.

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Titles of the books in the picture

Here are the titles of the books you will find in the Snapshot blog post, Plenty to read

Oregon Ghosts & Monsters by Mike Helm

The Red Ghost by Marien Dane Bauer

Physics of the Impossible by Michio Kaku

Queen of Miami by Meta Smith

Pale Horse, Pale Rider by Katherine Anne Porter

Failing America's Faithful: How Today's Churches Are Mixing God with Politics and Losing Their Way by Kathleen Kennedy Townsend

Animals and the Afterlife: True Stories of Our Best Friends' Journey Beyond Death by Kim Sheridan

When Ghosts Speak: Understanding the World of Earthbound Spirits by Mary Ann Winkowski

The Diviners by Rick Moody

Silence Fell by Josephine Dickinson

Failure by Philip Schultz

Living in the Past by Philip Schultz

How to Overcome Fear and Live Your Life to the Fullest by Marcos Witt

Verses and Versions: Three Centuries of Russian Poetry by Vladimir Nabokov

Hannah Keeley's Total Mom Makeover

These are what await me each night when I finally get to bed. I am slowly but surely working my way through them all. I have more arranged on my dresser, but I have already read some of them. I just like to keep them out so I can reread a page or two sometime.

And, oh, yeah, I have even more books on a shelf atop a cabinet in my room. As well as under the bed. Next to the bed. Inside the closet...

Monday, June 01, 2009

Swingin' in the rain

This morning's weather report said there'd be rain. Actually, lightning and rain. Upon learning of this news as she was getting ready for school, Jennifer was not happy. She doesn't like the rain, and the thunder/lightning scares her. I assured her that she'd probably be inside of school when it was raining. I don't think they'd let the children have their recess outside when it's raining. (If it's really pouring when school is out, the children who get picked up by their parents usually wait by the door.)

Well, I kept an eye out all day. No rain. Hm, I thought. Maybe the weatherman was wrong. (That HAS been known to happen. On days he'd said "no rain," we had rain! Saying there'd be no rain in the Northwest is like saying there won't be any snow in the North Pole!)

But, guess what? Right when I got Jennifer to baseball practice today, it started to rain! Yep, right then and there. Heck of a time for it to start up!

I waited and watched, wondering if the coach was going to cancel practice because of the rain. Thankfully, she did not. So us parents (and our younger progeny) sat on the bench in the rain while our kids played baseball. In the rain. And there I clapped and cheered. In the rain!

I thought the whole situation was kind of funny. Hey, it's no longer the postal carriers who can proudly recite that "neither rain nor sleet nor ice" motto! Baseball players get to say they'll play baseball rain or shine, too!

Jennifer managed to hit a homerun during practice. Yay! Another girl hit a homerun and I thought hers was really something because, first, two girls kept fumbling with the ball (which was kind of funny to watch as they kept scrambling for it) then another outfielder tried chasing the girl with the ball (instead of throwing it to home) and she was not fast enough.

It wasn't long before the girls got dirty and muddy. The coach cut practice short. The girls started using their water bottles to get the dirt and mud off of them. Well, everybody got a little dirty (especially the girls who kept falling in the dirt and even especially everybody's shoes!) but it was still a good game and everyone had fun.