Monday, September 30, 2013

The other Dawns

I have heard of employers doing a Google search on people applying for jobs. Recently, I had to fill out a form for the new job I got, and I started to wonder what kinds of things might turn up if they did a Google search on my name – my married name.

I was asked what other names I have gone by and I mentioned my maiden name, having used the name “Dawn Colclasure” for all of my writing work. I did not change the last name I write under after I married, as some female writers do, because I have always wanted to use the maiden name at all times, even if I was married. Some people in my family may wonder WHY I would choose to continue using that name since some of my siblings have some bad things on their record and people might think I’m like them, and there are some people who wish the ENTIRE Colclasure clan would suffer a slow and painful death. But, really, I want to keep using my maiden name for all of my writing endeavors. Some people on my husband’s side of the family have grudgingly accepted this.

I have done Google searches on the maiden name in the past. Only one thing came up: Author. But for my married name, it seemed there were A LOT of women out there with this name (since the last name, Wilson, is a common name) who were pursuing a variety of different careers. I decided to Google THAT name today and see what I came up with. I only went through a few pages in my Google search. These are the results I got:

Real estate agent
LOL I always say I'd never fit that job profile.

I have actually thought of taking up professional photography!

Hm, I AM interested in psychology, but not enough to make it a career.

Although I say I am of one religion, I have a strong interest in studying all religions, so I wouldn't feel right preaching just ONE religion!

LOL No way! Same reason why I'd never qualify as a real estate agent!

Hm, that's actually something that COULD be me. I've always been interested in getting into the film industry.

Museum Director
Oh, yeah! I love history and culture! That could TOTALLY be me! As long as I don't have to wear make-up or nice clothes.

Professor of Psychology
Hm, I have always wanted to be a teacher, and I AM interested in psychology. Another likely one!

I would definitely NOT fit this job profile for the same reason why I decided to pass on pursuing a career in herbal medicine: I am not one of those people comfortable with having someone's LIFE in my hands. I don't think I could live with myself if somebody died because of me.


Hey, that's me! Oh, wait, under my maiden name....

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

A sad time, then a happy time

Today was my “day off” from the new job, so I decided to make it a “day off” from working on my books, as well. I have not had one of those days for some time; I’ve been so busy working on the books. So it was nice to just step away from it for the day and just do other stuff. 

And while I may have stopped working on the books for the day, I did not stop writing. After I got a Starbucks, I opened my writing notebook and wrote down a few poems. After I finished the poems, I sat there drinking my coffee, lost in thought. I thought about the friend I’d seen on my way to getting the coffee, feeling bad for her because she’d told me her husband of 40+ years recently died and she’s really been having a hard time with it. I thought of how I told her “just take it one day at a time” and I just felt sad for her. But I was glad I was able to see her and offer some comfort. Then I started doing some people watching. I happened to notice this one person who looked like a man my mom once knew, and of course, that got me to thinking about my mom.

It’s been over a year since my mom has passed away. It has not been easy. I still miss her so much. It may have been over a year, but it’s still hard. Then I started to wonder if I was being selfish wishing she was still here, because she is in a better place now. She is happy, healthy, young, free, and able to run again. She’s able to even TALK again. And she’s pain-free. I told myself ALL of these things but they did not make me feel any better. I just started to feel sad. Then I made myself STOP thinking about her – because if I thought about her too much, I’d start to cry. And I didn’t want to cry in front of these people.

So I distracted myself with more people-watching and texting. Then I went to buy some dog food. I was able to hold it together until I got to the car. That was when the tears came. After I cried a little, I got myself together again, started up the car and went to run a couple of other errands before I picked Jesse up from school.

After I got home, there was something waiting for me that made me forget the tears, the sadness and the pain. There was something there that got me excited, made me happy and made me smile: The proof copy of my new poetry book, Touched by Fire. Hooray! It arrived today!

Here is a picture of me holding the book:

That's me with the print proof of my new poetry book, Touched by Fire! For the record, my hair is up in a ponytail.

The proof copy looked great and I got online to approve it. I shared about it on Facebook and I also showed it to the kids. When the print goes live on Amazon, I’ll share more about it on my writing blog.

So today, there was a sad time and then a happy time. I am grateful the happy time is something I can end this day with.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Jesse's first Open House

Tonight was Jesse’s first Open House at his new school, as a kindergartner. Jennifer was not feeling well today and had missed school, but I could not leave her home alone, so she had to come with us. She wasn’t happy about it but she got into day clothes, put on her sneakers and put on her hoodie to go with us. I was excited because this was Jesse’s very first Open House. I remember Jennifer’s very first Open House; Jesse had been a baby in the stroller at that time. Now it was his turn.

It was nice to see his teacher tonight. I also got to check out a special picture he made that was hanging on the wall. I got to check out his desk and go through his classroom, looking at everything. I also signed up for a parent-teacher conference.

Jennifer enjoyed meeting Jesse’s teacher but she wanted to go visit with her 5th grade teacher. I told her to go on ahead and we’ll catch up with her.

From the classroom, we explored the library then we went to the Music Room. While I chatted with the music teacher, Jesse went straight for the piano to try it out. I was surprised because he’d never shown any interest in playing a piano before. Jennifer has been asking for piano lessons for months. I asked the music teacher about it and she said every time Jesse’s class is in there, he goes for the piano. I made a mental note to consider piano lessons for him, as well. (Hey, if a kid has an interest in a musical instrument, I think parents should run with that!)

We also toured the cafeteria then spent some time talking with the principal after Jennifer rejoined us, as well as some other staff members of the school. It was nice to see some familiar faces again.

Finally, we checked out the playground, and Jesse pointed out what he liked to play on during recess. Walking around the campus, Jennifer got nostalgic. I could tell just by the way she was looking around that she was recalling special memories from when she attended that school. She smiled at me and said, “I’m happy I came here.” I am so glad she had some good times at that school.

It was a very nice first Open House for my kindergartner and I look forward to going to future events.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

It's okay, they know me here

Tuesday was Jennifer’s first day of sixth grade and yesterday was Jesse’s first day of kindergarten. My daughter is now in middle school and my son is now in elementary school. Wow! I wanted to get a blog post about their first days and I wanted to do this after they have both had their first days at school, so that I could have their pictures together. Because yesterday was 9/11 and pretty much a day of “blogging silence” for me, I did not post about it then. 

But I will post about it now.

Here are their first day pictures:

For Jennifer, it was an exciting day. Her first day at middle school! Quite a big deal. I remembered my first day in junior high. It was awesome! I wanted this day for Jennifer to be awesome, too. We were going back and forth to make sure she had everything she needed and that she did not need any other papers or anything signed or filled out. She wasn’t sure if she was supposed to take her lock for her locker and I told her it was probably a good idea to take it. She was not worried or freaked out at all. She was actually pretty excited and ready to take middle school on! I was proud of her. I chose not to go into the school with her to say goodbye; didn’t want to embarrass her. She was confident and focused and didn’t seem nervous at all. It was a good first day for her.

For Jesse, he was also excited about starting kindergarten. He was ready to go! I made sure he had his backpack and extra T-shirt labeled and reminded him that he would not be having lunch at the school. I made sure he had a good breakfast and snack before he left. When we got to the school, he actually ran to go inside! He couldn’t wait to get to school. When we went through the office, the principal smiled at him and the secretaries cheered him and gave a thumbs-up on our way to his classroom. He found his cubby just fine and even said hi to some of the kids in the class. He wasn't nervous or clingy at all. It was just a day back at school for him. Some parents were sticking around with their kids for their first day but I decided it was best if I did not do the same. Didn’t want to cause him to worry. And I didn’t want him to see his mommy cry, either. I actually got emotional and teared up watching my baby in his first day of kindergarten. I wanted to run over and pick him up and hold him close to me for the longest time. I actually had to FORCE myself to leave the classroom! I had to repeat to myself “keep walking, keep walking” and try to assure myself he would be FINE. I was so proud of him but also sad because he wasn’t so much of a baby anymore.

My kids are growing up. Waaah!!

As I was leaving, I kept seeing familiar faces from when Jennifer was a student there. It was nice to see everybody again and say hi. When I walked out of the school, the other classes were at recess and I remembered how I’d often run to the school for something or another and see Jen at recess. I can still remember the same door she walked out of when in kindergarten; not it’s Jesse’s turn to walk out that door when school is out. It will definitely take me time to get used to this now being JESSE’S school instead of Jennifer’s.

After school was out, both of the kids told me about their days. And, of course, I had more paperwork to fill out. Yippee skip! I was surprised by one notice I got from Jesse’s school: They are now going to serve lunch to the kindergartners. Yay! The kids will get a sack lunch starting next week. I am so relieved and so happy. I was worried about Jesse and other children going hungry. (But I don’t think they would make the children go hungry. In fact, when I was there this morning, one student was sitting at a desk eating fruit salad. I’m sure they’d give a child an apple or something in the event of being hungry.) But I am just so very glad they will have lunch now. Yay! Thank you to whoever made that possible.

The kids love their schools and we have been spending the week getting settled into a routine. I’m loving the afternoon school Jesse has and Jen is grateful she doesn’t have to get up as early as she used to for elementary school. We look forward to seeing what else the new school year will bring.

Monday, September 09, 2013

Two Meets and Greets

Today was a “meet and greet” kinda day for the kids. Both of them will be going into new schools for the new school year and today they met their teachers and saw where their classrooms was. (Well, Jesse did. The teacher for Jen’s room had the door locked the WHOLE time and we didn’t get to go inside! What the heck?) Jesse's teacher has a last name that is hard to pronounce but, thankfully, Jennifer's teacher does not. It's a common last name easy for me to pronounce. We also got the final paperwork taken care of and the school fee paid for Jen’s school. (I have to pay the fee for Jesse’s school on Wednesday – it is an annual school supply fee, which means I don’t have to buy him any school supplies. Yes! But I did have to buy school supplies for Jennifer. Sigh! The kids also got new clothes and Jen's dad bought her a backpack.)

When I was in the process of enrolling Jesse into his new school, I could not help but think how much enrollment has changed ever since I enrolled Jennifer into kindergarten. But the surprises did not end with enrollment! Now this school has morning and afternoon school for kindergartners. Additionally, the kindergartners don’t get lunch! When Jennifer was in kindergarten, she was there for a full day (except on early release days) and she DID get lunch! But now that won’t be the case for Jesse. Wow, I wonder when they stopped giving kindergartners lunch?

So I explained the situation to Jesse. I told him that, not only would he be having breakfast with me because he’s going to afternoon school, but he will also be having lunch with me. Of course I’m concerned he’ll get hungry at school (my kids are ALWAYS hungry!), but it’s only for a few hours so I think he’ll be okay. I assured him he WILL get lunch no matter what happens.

At Jen's new school, we got a little lost, even though we had a map. That place is like a maze! We had to ask some people where certain places were. After a while, we found an easy route for Jen to get to her locker then to her classroom. Easy enough to remember. But the funny thing was that, as we were leaving, we got lost again! We couldn't find a way out! And it was like we were the last people there because lights were off and doors were locked in some parts of the building. (It was almost 8 p.m.) I joked to Jen that maybe they locked us in. Eventually, though, we found our way to a door that opened to outside and not to some fenced-in court like with one door.

After everything was done and settled, Jennifer spent time texting with her friends to see what classes they had together. For Jesse, it’ll be brand new; none of his friends who graduated from preschool will be there and neither will his friend who lives next door. I am confident he will make new friends at his new school and I’m glad he’ll be at a school where I know so many of the staff.

Tomorrow is the big day and we are excited about the new school year!

Thursday, September 05, 2013

Choosing to forgive

For some time now, I have been carrying around some unnecessary baggage. There are a couple of people from my past who have hurt me, one person in a VERY big way, and I have spent so much time and energy being angry at them and hating them. Most of all, I have been unable to forgive them. One person did apologize to me at the time things went bad, but at that time, I was too angry to forgive her. I was just so hurt and it was hard to deal with.

And I had carried that baggage with me ever since. And I keep asking myself, why? Why is it so hard for me to forgive these people? I have forgiven my father for wrongs in the past – though he probably doesn’t know it since we don’t talk. (I hope someday to change that.) So why can’t I forgive these two people?

First, the question: Why is it a big deal whether or not I forgive them? I think it is a big deal because carrying that stuff around is like carrying around unnecessary weight – baggage, really. It’s like a weight on my shoulders. “These people did me wrong." “I have these memories haunting me.” “I have this pain in my heart.”

And it got to be too much. All that anger and hatred and AVOIDANCE. It was just too exhausting for me to keep carrying it. It was a real burden.

Every time I was asked if I have forgiven everyone of wrongdoing, I would always answer, “I’m working on it.”

And I know that forgiveness is a big deal because God is willing to forgive ME of my mistakes and my sins. I think I should extend the same courtesy to the people I share this world with. We are all connected, on a spiritual level. I truly believe this. So I think it’s important to be able to forgive. Nobody is perfect. We are ALL human. And humans make mistakes.

So, you know, I think I should try to find it within myself to forgive. To just let it all go. Drop that baggage, wipe the slate clean and start over.

That is what I chose to do today. I no longer want to carry around that baggage, that weight. I no longer want these past grievances to be in my present, or even in my future. I don’t want them around anymore. So the best way to get rid of those painful memories is to make peace with them, make peace with the people involved, and move past them.

I am going to forgive. I am going to forgive and forget – and, by doing so, push away EVERYTHING those two people did to me and just focus on the here and now. I will not be a member of the “hate club” anymore. I am going to be a member of the “forgiveness club.” Whether or not a person involved in something or another will forgive me too is entirely up to them, but I am going to forgive.

So I let those two people know that I am forgiving them. I let them know that I am wiping the slate clean and welcoming their friendship again. I don't know yet where we will go from here, but at least it's a start.

And you know what? I feel a whole lot better after I did that today. I feel that weight off of my shoulders and I feel happier. It’s a great thing to forgive. I think I’ll be doing it more often.

Wednesday, September 04, 2013

So now she's making videos

My daughter created a video recently and posted it on her Facebook page. It is the second video she has made, I think! The video shows off some of her most recent art, which I have to admit is pretty awesome, if I do say so myself. She is really growing and improving as an artist! I told her she should feel proud of the fact that she can draw animals. I don’t know many artists who can! And I know that as long as she keeps up with it, she will get better than ever in the future.

Check out here Facebook page here and have a look at the video.

Also yesterday, Jennifer created a logo for my new publishing company, which will launch next year. Yay! She created the logo for my self-publishing imprint and now I have a logo for the publishing company. I am very excited about this new development and this new journey I will be taking. The logos are awesome and I can’t wait to share them!

I have been working on getting my next poetry book ready to send off to the printer. It is almost ready to go. I need to get the TOC put together and format it. I have the cover, the poems have been edited, and I created the copyright page. It’s got the dedication page and “About the Author” page. Soon it will be released. Woot!

Today, I came across an article on how to deal with negative blog comments. I saw that and thought, why even “deal” with negative commenters? Seriously, have we preached the tolerance message so much that we roll over and play dead anytime someone throws hate at us? As for me, I don’t “deal” with negative comments. I delete them. Life is too short to put up with haters, believe me. All the same, I read the article, and it made some good points. Definitely worth a look. (On the other hand, if someone is spreading hate, just for the purpose of spreading hate, then I definitely would suggest deleting the comment and/or blocking that person.)

This morning, I woke up with one thought: “I’ll ask Ruth.” The “Ruth” in question is the publisher of the haunted houses book, TOTALLY SCARED: The Complete Book on Haunted Houses, which I co-authored with Martha Jette. I recently learned that the contract for this book will not be renewed and that it will go out of print. So I had to find out how much time left before that happens. I am going to have to find a new home for this book. It will stay available under the current contract until December.

And speaking of books, I have been reading this other nonfiction book I wrote several years ago. I was actually inspired to write it when I got the ideas for it from meditation. I am reading it because I want to go over it, practice what it preaches, and see if it’s something that actually “works.” Something that could actually benefit a reader. The subject is Eastern Philosophy and it’s about a new way of thinking, living and growing. I really like it a lot but I have to go through the whole thing and see if it’s actually something that could fit into a person’s lifestyle. If I feel it is sound, I will ask a few beta readers to look it over and tell me what they think. If it gets some good feedback, I’ll consider submitting it somewhere.

My kids are big fans of the TV show, iCarly. We were sad when it ended. I bring this show up because, in the past, I tried making a dish that show introduced to us: Spaghetti tacos. When I first tried making them, I used regular spaghetti and a favorite sauce. It was okay. Today, I made spaghetti tacos again for lunch, and this time, I used canned spaghetti. It tasted MUCH better, although it is still messy.

Jesse spilled his juice during lunch. When he got a juice box from the fridge, he reminded me about when he was drinking a juice box last night at dinner, and when it started leaking. “That was so funny,” he said.

“You thought that was FUNNY?” I asked, surprised.

“Didn’t you think it was funny?” he asked.

“I thought it was CRAZY,” I said.

He nodded then said, “I thought it was funny and crazy.”

I have been thinking about this blogging thing. About the stuff I put on here. All this time, I keep the super-personal stuff in my private journal, and post the “other stuff” on here. But it seems like people see the things I share in my blog posts, or the things I have written in books, and it’s like they KNOW me or they understand me. But there is so much more about me that I don’t share. So much more of the REAL me that I put into a private journal. I share bits and pieces of what is in that journal, but not all of it. I once read about a teen girl who self-published her journal. I don’t know if I could ever do that with mine. Jennifer wants to read my journal after it is all filled up. I told her, “You can read it after I’m dead.” Maybe it is better that way. I have been told that my handwriting is unreadable.

Tuesday, September 03, 2013

Running with my blinders on

Yesterday, I took my daughter to the store to get her school supplies. When I was walking through the store entrance to get a cart, my daughter grabbed my arm and, when she had my attention, she said/signed a name.

I turned and saw my neighbor smiling and waving at me. I was like, “Oh! Hi!”

Then I was like, D’oh! Apparently, I’d walked right past my neighbor without even seeing him! Let alone recognizing him.


I have done that sometimes. When I’ve had Jen with me, she’d grab me by the arm whenever our neighbors were around and I didn’t see them or it’d take me a while to REALIZE that, hello, someone was THERE!

I’d either be lost in storyland, distracted by something or I’d have my mind set on one thing and not realize someone was there.

I remember when I was taking an art class in college. One day, the class was OUTSIDE of the classroom, just sitting there having an “outside day.” And I walked right past them ... and into an empty classroom. DUH! (Heh, maybe they thought I wanted to attend class INSIDE the classroom today, professor be darned!)

I have heard that some people have a certain “disorder” or some such where they can’t recognize people, but this is not my case. I just fail to notice people. If I know someone well, I WILL recognize them! (One day, I saw my friend at the store and I kinda stood off to the side waiting for him to see me. So, yes, I RECOGNIZED my friend! No troubles there.) It just has to be someone I know well. Then I recognize them. Ya know, I have seen another former neighbor at the store and walked over to give him a hug then catch up on old times. (You can’t be my neighbor and not have stuff happenin’!) 

But aside from that, I just don’t notice people as much as I should. I mean, my neighbor was Right. There! And I just moseyed on past him. Didn’t say “hi.” Didn’t give him “wazzup!” Just walked on by.

I get bugged about being so watchful over who and what shows up on my street, yet I walk right on by the people I know! Craziness. And I know, that’s a bad thing for a deaf person. I have been told many times to stay aware of my surroundings because I can’t hear what’s going on around me (once had a friend pull me out of the path of an oncoming car, and even stood in front of an oncoming trolley!). I KNOW I have to be aware of things, and aware of people.

It’s just that sometimes … I’m not. And I am glad that there are people who understand that was just my “duh moment” and shrug the whole thing off. I was NOT ignoring them. I was NOT avoiding them. That was just me running with my blinders on. Thank you to those people who have not taken it personally.

Sunday, September 01, 2013

Three days of fun and friends

First, there was the sleepover. One of Jennifer's best friends got to spend the night at our house. Lots of fun, good food and antics all around.

That was the first day.

Next came our summer picnic. Yay! I viewed it as an "end-of-the-summer" picnic. We got together with good friends and two other of Jennifer's best friends showed up. More good times and good food. I also got to talk with my friend about certain things going on, as well as going over all the things needed for enrollment in the new school. (Her daughter is going to this school, as well.)

That was the second day.

And then, there was the playdate. Jennifer was invited over to a friend's house and she was there for almost 6 hours! She even got to have dinner with them. More fun and it seems, good food was had by all.

That was the third day.

Three days of good fun with her friends for my daughter. She's so lucky! She said the day of the picnic was the best day of her entire summer – because, not only after the picnic did one of her BFFs get to come to our house for a visit, but she also got to have takeout from her favorite restaurant for dinner. Oh, and we ended the day with a movie she enjoyed, as well.

It's rare we get such good days. The same goes for Jennifer. In her case, she had 3 straight days of fun with her friends. I hope those are memories that will last her a long time. A great way for her to end her summer.