Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Health day

Today, Jennifer decided to do a “health day.” Specifically, she wanted to do things good for her health. While I was happy that she wanted to do these things, I couldn’t help but wonder why every day can’t be a “health day.”

Ever since I wrote the first draft of the health book, I have taken a closer look at my own exercise and eating habits. Granted, I have been doing things for a while now, but this book actually snapped me to attention. So of course this has become a big issue in our home.

One of the things I talked with Jennifer about in her quest to be healthy is that moderation is key. Instead of eliminating junk food forever and ever, enjoy a treat every once in a while. Also, don't try to live off of one thing only. I heard about a woman who only ate one kind of foods every day and suffered health problems. When I told my husband, he said, "That's because she wasn't getting any trace minerals." He added that you cannot live off of one thing only. I also told her that she should watch the serving size of what she eats so that she doesn't end up eating two servings of something instead of one.

I have also come up with some pointers as a result of working on the health book, some of which I talked with Jennifer about:

1. Try to exercise in some way every day. Even if it’s only for 10 minutes, find a way to exercise. Go for a walk, stretch, ride your bike or go for a swim.

2. Try to eat right. A lot of us usually can’t, so I won’t say, “You MUST eat right at all times!” The key word is “try.” Opt for healthier alternatives. For example, I used to give the kids potato chips with their lunches. These days, I give them baked or whole wheat crackers instead. Opt for whole grain bread instead of white and have some yogurt for breakfast instead of sugary cereal.

3. Try to take care of yourself. Get enough sleep (though this has been IMPOSSIBLE for me during the summer because the kids are not sleeping!), take time to destress, deal with personal problems, practice good hygiene, etc.

4. Try to conquer temptations. I deal with them every day, believe me. But then I remind myself of why I brought changes into my life or tell myself “I’m not that person anymore.” Or I remind myself of how bad habits hurt my health.

5. Try to make good habits routine. Whether it’s morning prayer, a walk after dinner or exercising during commercial breaks, do it and keep doing it.

These are just some of the things I think could be a good part of a “health day.” If everybody tried to make every day a “health day,” I think more people would be seeing some positive results!

Friday, July 20, 2012

Please don’t blame Hollywood for the Colorado shooting

This morning was a bit of chaotic for me. I usually start my mornings off by reading the news, but since I had a doctor appointment this morning, along with some errands to run, I only had so much computer time. I did log in at Twitter to share a link, and I noticed that someone on there was expressing his sadness over “the shooting in Colorado.” (Leave it to Twitter for me to get news!) I saw that and wondered what he meant. Unfortunately, I didn’t have the time to find out. (Double unfortunate that I missed the morning news shows on TV.) (Yes, I am a news junkie! What?) So I spent a good part of the day wondering about that. I grabbed a local newspaper, as well as USA Today, but there wasn’t anything in there about a shooting in Colorado.

Then, finally, in the late afternoon, I was at the desk again, online again, and able to finally read some news lists I am subscribed to. That’s how I found out about the gunman who opened fire at the showing of the movie The Dark Knight Rises in Colorado. As I read that report, I was horrified. I was shocked and saddened. What a terrible tragedy.

I also read that the gunman was dressed as The Joker, the character from the Batman stories. I cringed when I saw that, hoping that there weren’t going to be people saying movies are EVIL because they influence people to commit murder, do drugs, rape women and rob banks. (Do we really NEED another TV show or movie making the bank robbers the good guys or letting them get away??)

Well, when I logged in at Facebook, I saw someone (not on my friends list) saying just that. Movies are EVIL! They are a bad influence on someone stupid enough to be so impressionable that they want to be just like The Joker and shoot up a movie theater.

I could only shake my head when I saw that. That’s such a sad claim to make. That is just not the truth!

It’s the same argument with guns (and you just KNOW the anti-gun crowd are going to start hating on guns because of this, too). Movies don’t kill people; people kill people.

It’s not the movies’ fault.

It’s not Batman’s fault.

It’s not The Joker’s fault.

It’s not Hollywood’s fault.

It is the fault of one person: The guy who started shooting at innocent moviegoers.

Yes, there are people who are fans of TV shows and movies. Some of them are such HUGE fans that they dress up like their favorite characters on the night a movie premieres. But these are NORMAL people. They are not people who are going to think that it’d be fun to shoot up a theater. I mean, seriously. There is a very fine line between fantasy (movies and TV) and reality – reality being a majority of moviegoers and fans who like to dress up as characters and watch their favorite TV shows or movies and who UNDERSTAND it is all fiction. These are people who know the difference between right and wrong, who are not “messed up in the head.” These are regular folks!

On the other hand, there ARE crazy lunatics out there who are going to ruin it for the rest of us. There are messed up people out there who prefer violence, death, murder and chaos over a good time at the movies. They have zero respect for life, zero grasp of reality and zero regret for what they do.

In essence, it is a person or people’s fault for such tragedies, not the movie’s fault. And not Hollywood’s fault, either. Hollywood wants to make movies that entertain. And who doesn’t love Batman? Who doesn’t enjoy a good Batman flick? The Batman movies are fun, exciting, funny and creative. They’re not meant to promote violence and certainly not to promote the evil ways of The Joker.

While Hollywood does make movies that promote violence, it’s not their way of telling moviegoers to pick up a gun and start shooting. Some people dig those violent and gory movies. Some people watch them. And so Hollywood caters to this need.

But don’t condemn Hollywood for that. The next time a movie comes out where there is a villain shooting up people or a bunch of crazy lunatics killing everybody in sight, keep in mind that this is only Hollywood making a movie for that particular audience. It’s not Hollywood saying that we should pick up a gun and start shooting everybody. Hollywood doesn’t do that. People do.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

The 5-10 Survey

Saw this survey while I was doing research for one of my books. Filled it out just for fun and posting it here because this blog could use a bit of an update.

Q1: What were you doing 10 years ago?

Living in the California desert and working as a freelance writer.

Q2: What were you doing 1 year ago?

Writing for a content mill. (No more of that!)

Q3: What are 5 snacks you enjoy?

Rice cake, Triscuit crackers and a glass of water, fruit, yogurt or grahams with a glass of milk.

Q4: What are 5 songs you know the lyrics to?

We Built This City (Starship)

California Girls (Beach Boys)

The Best of Times (Styx)

These Dreams (Heart)

In My Dreams (REO Speedwagon)

Q5: 5 things you would do if you are a millionaire:

Buy a new car (one that WORKS!)

Pay off all my debts

Set up a college fund for the kids

Buy this house we are living in

Donate to the Grossman Burn Center.

Q6: 5 bad habits:

Biting nails

Checking my email before getting any writing done.

Juggling too much at once.

Watching TV to relax and unwind

Taking the name of the Lord in vain (sad, but true)

Q7: 5 things you like to do:


Reading (anything!)

Playing with the kids or just spending time with them


Go for walks

Q8: 5 favorite toys:



Cell phone


Art supplies

Q9: 5 things you would never wear:

Dress (Eww!)



Mini-skirt or mini-anything (I prefer a broomstick skirt!) (if I HAVE TO wear a skirt!)


Q10: 5 things you hate to do:

Clean the bathroom

Clean up after the dog (but somebody’s gotta do it!)

Deal with nasty/disrespectful/rude/negative people

Stand in line at the DMV

Call someone on the phone (I don’t like using relay, even though it is my ONE way of calling someone on the phone)

Saturday, July 07, 2012

A perfect day for ice cream, music and water fun

Today was officially “summer” here in Eugene. Meaning it was HOT! Of course, not as hot as it gets in the California desert, but still pretty hot. I’d been saving a coupon for ice cream at Coldstone Creamery, and today was the perfect day to go out for ice cream Because the coupon was a twofer, I took Jennifer along with me. She loves going to Coldstone so she was really excited about it.

At Coldstone, Jen ordered a chocolate scoop with Butterfinger candy pieces mashed into it. I had cheesecake flavored ice cream with strawberries. I thought it was neat that they had cheesecake-flavored ice cream! They also had cotton candy and peanut butter. Yum! The ice cream was really good. While we ate, Jennifer asked who the musician was in the picture hanging above our table. I told her that was Buddy Holly. She said she thought it was Elvis. I made a mental note to introduce her to some OTHER musicians from the old days besides Elvis.

After Coldstone, we walked over to Trader Joe’s. On our way there, I asked her if she ever misses California. She looked at me and said, “All the time.”

I was shocked! I mean, I figure she is happy here in Oregon. She probably misses the family we have there. (I know I sure do.) I have always wondered if I would move us back to the California desert if that chance ever came up. I know I would want to be close to family again – without a doubt! But I have a lot of bad memories from life in that desert. And, of course, being a burn survivor, it’s not good to live somewhere with such oppressive heat! (Though I lived there for 14 years and came out okay. There ARE ways to get around that.) But Jennifer always talks about moving back to California someday and how she misses everyone. I DO want her to be happy. And, okay, me too. I miss my sisters.

So I told Jennifer, “Well, we’ll move back there someday, just because you want to.”

I hope that will happen.

When we got to Trader Joe’s, I realized it was a store Jennifer was not familiar with. She looked around and took all this different stuff in. She ended up not liking it very much. So I tried to just get that cookie butter I was there to buy (as well as snapping up a jar of honey apple butter) and get on out of there. I also bought a very nifty reusable Trader Joe’s bag. (It had surfboards on it! How could I say no??)

After that, we headed on our way to the store. On the way there, I told Jennifer I had a song stuck in my head. She said she had one, too. I asked her what it was and she said, “California Girl.” I laughed and said, “I have a Beach Boys song stuck in my head, too!” First it was “Get Around” then “Surfin’ USA.” (Ah, those surfboards!!) That was quite an interesting coincidence. We have Beach Boy fever!

While we were downtown, two police cars raced past us with sirens blaring. They parked maybe a block ahead of us. We tried to see what was going on but couldn’t get a good look. I told Jennifer “I don’t want to find out!” and took a detour. Unfortunately, that little detour got me a little lost and we pulled over a couple of times so I could text hubby for directions. Finally, I got back on West 11th. I told Jennifer to let her dad know via my phone and we were on our way to the store. I read her message at the store and noticed the two exclamation points after her message. I frowned at her and said, “Don’t yell at your father.” She thought that was funny.

After we got home, the kids played in the sprinklers and I watched an episode of Falling Skies I had DVRed. (AWESOME SHOW!!!)

We had a good day today. It’s not over yet! Now it’s time for pizza, a movie, and, of course, more music – but this time playing on the speakers! After all, I have some old songs and musicians I gotta introduce Jennifer to.

Thursday, July 05, 2012

A happy 4th of July

On Saturday, June 30th, I made a list of a bunch of errands I had to run. (I have to make those lists when there is just too much to do, otherwise I’ll forget things!). As it so often happens, however, I could only get so much done at a time each day. It’s times like this hubby reminds me that it’s just not possible to complete a long to-do list in one day. And while I accept that, it’s frustrating when I can’t get all the stuff done in one day. Even more frustrating when a holiday pops up during the week and I’m still in “to-do” list mode.

That’s the way it was for me yesterday, on the 4th of July. I kept thinking “I need to do this, I need to mail that, I need to pay that.” Then I’d remember that yesterday was a holiday. I had to remind myself, “I can’t do that thing on my list! There’s no mail today, that place is closed, there isn’t anyone online, etc.”

Yes, yesterday was the 4th, and we had a nice Fourth of July, too. We spent the day together as a family, though I wasn’t exactly in chipper spirits because of my cold and my hip bothering me. But it was still a good day. The kids rode their bikes, we hung out and talked, watched favorite TV shows. I made burgers for dinner and Jesse had his first s’more for dessert. (He liked it.)

When it was time for the fireworks, we were able to get together with our neighbors and we all set off our fireworks together. It was nice to hang out with them. Our kids get along well with their kids and everybody was just in a good mood. We were also entertained by some of the BIGGER fireworks other neighbors were setting off last night. It was quite a light show.

As so often happens on these kinds of days, I thought of family and friends a lot. The people who are living far away from us and who we haven't seen for years. I miss them all the time, but I especially missed them yesterday. It would have been nice to share that day with them and I smiled at some of the memories of past Fourth of Julys with friends and family. I also took time to remember friends and family we have lost this year. They were not with us in person but they were definitely in my thoughts and in my heart. When I was looking up at the sky to see fireworks go off, I smiled at the thought that maybe they were up there enjoying those fireworks, too.

Tuesday, July 03, 2012

Summertime activities! Day 2

Today was Day 2 of the summer activities I have planned for the kids. My back and hip were REALLY bothering me last night (we’re talking radiating pain jolting up my spine kind of pain) so I was not able to blog about Day 1 last night. So! Here is Day 2!

Since we were going to do something science-y today, Jennifer wanted the theme to be "static electricity." So when it came time for that, I read to the kids these kid-friendly pages I printed out about static electricity. They had fun charging a comb and watching the cereal on a thread move close to it, as well as “bending water” with a charged comb. Then they logged in at to learn more about static electricity.

While there are positive things resulting from these activities, such as the kids learning new things and working on their math/reading skills, it hasn’t exactly been smooth sailing.

For one thing, I have come down with a cold and it’s a struggle dragging myself out of bed in the mornings when I just wanna STAY there and be a sickie. I thought Jesse caught my cold for a while there (he had a bad couple of days) but today he seemed okay. I hope he stays okay! But I wouldn’t be surprised if he caught my cold, too.

For another thing, we’ve been off schedule for two days in a row. Everything is supposed to start at 9:30, but it’s a struggle getting Jennifer (the night owl) up in the mornings. She is NOT a morning person. So we’ve started late.

Also, the kids haven’t EXACTLY been getting along very well. The kids have been fighting and there’s been a lot of drama. Today, after it got so bad that Jennifer tore up Jesse’s picture, I declared activity time was over and the both of them had to be separated for a while so they could cool off.

And, finally, it’s been a challenge for me, personally, trying to do housework and work with the kids during these activities. I fit stuff in here and there – for example, yesterday I folded a load of laundry while lunch cooked and today I made up the beds while the kids took a quiz on the BrainPOP site about static electricity – but not as much got done as usual. I do try to make up for that after we’re done for the day.

Overall, though, it has been fun and it’s definitely kept the kids from having a “boring” summer vacation. Tomorrow is “history” and even though it is technically a holiday, technically not a day for “school stuff” and technically our “family day” during which I’ll be off the computer, we still want to do history. It’s a good opportunity to talk about why we celebrate the 4th of July and what it means to be a free country.

We are looking forward to “craft day” coming up. This week, for music, we have been exploring making music with musical toys. Next week, we’ll make music with homemade instruments. We don’t have many, so we’re going to make more on “craft day.” And Jennifer is excited about “cooking day” coming up. She wants to make something with zucchini. (She is a budding chef.)

I have still managed to fit in time for the writing and book reviewing here and there, as well. Today, however, my muse has been rebelling and because I’m feeling so yucky, I told my muse, “Rebel away.” I’ll get back to it when I am able.

Today Jennifer has learned about “Bloody Mary.” She got really freaked out about it and asked if it was true. I laughed and told her it’s just an urban legend. She says she still wants to do it. I told her to go for it. I just hope she doesn’t learn about “Bloody Mary” the movie. I don’t think that’s a movie she should see.

Last night in my dream, I saw Jonathan Knight at a kid’s birthday party. He was dressed up as a train conductor and entertaining a group of kids. Because I follow him on Twitter, I was tempted to tweet to him, “You look cute dressed up as a train conductor.” But given what happened the last time I replied to one of his tweets, decided to pass on that.

Yeah, I send tweets to people I don’t know on Twitter. I do that all the time. Even respond to tweets from people I don’t know. Is that so terrible? Not that I even HAVE as much time to be on Twitter, as it is. But I’m on there sometimes. Or make it a point to be on there.


Recently, I read an article on strange things people do with ice cream. It mentioned the Ben & Jerry's flavor "Late Night Snack," which has chocolate covered potato chips in it. When I shared that article on Facebook, I noted that I wanted to try it. Happened to see it at the store the other day and it is REALLY good! Who knew that chocolate-covered potato chips in ice cream could be yummy?? Jesse was the only one brave enough to taste it and he likes it, too. So he and I are the only ones in this house who like it. (Jennifer won't go near it!) The ice cream is very soothing to my sore throat. Ah, that is one good thing about having a sore throat. You have an excuse to eat ice cream!

And just for the record, that TV show Good Luck, Charlie rocks! I love that show. I was excited to find out today that there will be a new episode on the 15th. Yay!! The little girl who plays Charlie is ADORABLE. And the new baby is soo cute!!

Personal note to Jennifer: I liked that song "Don't Run Away" too. Well, as far as the lyrics go! And I forgot to tell you that I have a poem in a book called "Run Away." But it's about domestic abuse. So when that book comes out and after you read the poem "Run Away," you can listen to that song "Don't Run Away." Ha!

Have a happy and safe 4th, peoples. Peace out!