Thursday, August 11, 2016

The Last Week of Vacation

I would try to list all the things we did with the kids this summer to keep them and us busy alongside work and everything else, but instead, I'm just going to show you last week. 

Had to get a Rivercats game in. Our local AAA team is
pretty amazing. And even if our season has been less than stellar,
we won that night.
So there you go.

It wouldn't be summer without a trip to the optometrist, right?
My eyes are slightly worse in the first time of EVER. (I turned 40 recently, that was
definitely a summer event ... that I don't want to talk about. You understand).
But, my wonderful father is said optometrist, so it's always a fun
visit. Thanks Dad!

We usually squeeze in a trip to IKEA.

Random trivia: We bought this exact table and chairs 10 years
ago as a "temporary" fix for the dinette until husband made a better one.

Here's a couple other trivia things to note:

1. We paid $120 ten years ago. Woah. Inflation.
2. We still have this "temporary" table. Using it. Daily. Nightly.
3. IKEA tables and chairs are obviously FAR sturdier than you ever thought possible. Who knew?
4. I'm still waiting on that other table.
5. I'm way more patient than my husband tells me I am. Case in point.

This puppy of mine loves to swim and be with her "brothers." Even when she's done swimming,
she'll watch them play. 
From the comfort of my chair.

We went to San Francisco. Gorgeous view here from
Twin Peaks.

Went to the beach. Boys had never been to the SF ocean.
Even though somehow only I'm in this picture, I swear
the whole fam was there.

Visited this bridge, as we usually do.
It was 55 degrees when I took this picture and
99 degrees in Sacramento at the exact same time.
Not sure WHY we live in Sacramento.
Oh right. Cost of living in SF is one of the worst in the world.
Ah, but the bridge sure is amazing.

Another awesome view of said bridge.

Okay, seriously folks. Who doesn't go to the California Academy of Sciences with their kids
ever until last week and now that my oldest is 15 years old? We do. That's who. So lame of us
because this place is amazing. We only visited the day,
but we could go back for days more.
And might I add that I saved $5 with my student ID!
Woop woop! Haven't saved money with that kind of ID in twenty years.
And here I thought  being 40 was all bad.

(Never mind that the ticket lady thought the student ID was initially for my oldest. Just kidding! But, maybe not. She probably did and didn't say anything ... I could be over thinking this.)

Happy August and I'm going to say it, Happy Fall, because when kids go back to school
even if it's in August and it's 102 degrees, I think Fall and Autumn, and pumpkins and cool, crisp
weather and apples, and fires and sweaters and boots and ... 

Saturday, June 4, 2016

My Little Corner of the Writing World

You know, for being a writer, I sure don't blog a lot. I mean, I'm a failure when it comes to this. I started my blogs because, let's face it, what's a writer (or who's a writer, really) without one?

It's like the necessary notebooks, books, journals, pens, computers, PCs -- on at the same time while on my phone as well, but that's another story for another time -- that a writer needs and wants that co-exists nicely with the incessant dialogue or scene setting that goes on in a writer's mind.

It's perpetual. It's never-ending. And it's lovely.

And I have kids. Kids can kind of take every living ounce of strength and will-power out of me, so that I don't want to write. At all. Like, at all all. Like ever again.

Okay, not true. That part just isn't true. But, their constant energy and living their schedules, warrants an IV caffeine drip into my right arm.

So it's ironic and very lackadaisical of me to not be writing here at my blog --my little corner of the world -- for perhaps maybe five readers. As the adage goes, if you're not writing, you're not a writer. This little "corner" should be my go-to. Especially when I'm not writing.

And while not writing doesn't not make me a writer really, in the basics of it, not writing doesn't further my writing skills. Therein lies the problem.

So, why am I not blogging? Am I just lame? Am I taking too may selfies? Is coffee just too much of a priority? (rhetorical question- the answer to that is a resounding "no.")
I'm not blogging probably because I'm writing other things. But, that's so incredibly backwards and ridiculous.


Okay. Here's a couple valid reasons (that I've rounded up in the last seven seconds) as to why it takes me darn-near two months between each post. Fair warning: some of you will be reading some new information here that I've not shared before.

1. I write monthly for an online magazine, called Society Letters. (You knew this.)

2. I will be writing monthly for my local magazine, called Gold River Living. (You don't know this. But now you do).

3. I am currently in school, online school, but school none-the- less through University of Wisconsin, Stout. I'm acquiring an online teaching credential. The teaching thing was a long-time coming. Now that the kids are growing up, I'm able to ponder this possibility again, so getting a credential is the next step. And teaching online as a precursor to in-class teaching, could be -- and may be --  the ultimate goal. I haven't decided that yet, either. (You didn't know this one for sure, but now you know).

4. I'm always thinking about my work-in-progress, a mid-grade fiction book that has yet to find an agent. Heck, it has yet to be edited fully and then submitted. Someday. (You knew this).

5. I also have another blog, for my vintage stuff. Blog ◄ (You may or may not have already known this. I blog there twice as much as I do here!!! Once a month. Yeah. Lacking.)

So, there you are. Five reasons I don't blog as often as I should.

←And this furry thing.  She doesn't help ... but she sure saves my sanity.

Having said all that, I hope to be back here soon.

Thanks for your perpetual patience.


Thursday, March 17, 2016

Intentional Living

Last night, my son had a track meet in a city about an hour from home.

With my younger son's schedule, and the fact that it was a school night, I decided not to go to the meet (which kills me) and pick up older son when the bus returned to school.

My husband was at work (he works 48-72 hours at a time) so I was the one doing all the picking up.

At 9:45 when older son texts me he's near the school -- when I'm sort of grumbling to myself about how late it is -- I get in the car and head over to get him.

This is when the self-pity can worm its way in. Easy to do when driving, looking like this.

← I mean, you're focused on driving, kind of.

But thinking about everything else.

(Admit it, we all do this).

Why do I have to do this?
Why can't my husband be home?
Why this and why that?

I stopped myself. Nope. Not gonna do that. Feeling sorry for myself was getting old, like, annoyingly old.

No. I would think about other things. I would think about how I was hungry. 

I brought some Fritos with me and opened them.

No.  Let's be really awesome here and be happy, I thought, crunching into a chip.

I should've brought coffee, was my next thought.  Where was my brain? Not so awesome of me.

I wondered if my dog was doing this as I drove away. On my bed. Happy as can be.

Undoubtedly, yes.

Instead, I said to myself:

I get to do this!
I get to do things on my own and be capable and cool and unneedy.
I get to be in the car with my first born.
I get to eat chips --while wearing my slippers and listening to jazz music -- and no one is going to complain about that. Very cool.

Best of all, I get to see this face when I get him.

This post has nothing to do with writing, or books, or anything other than me being a mom.

And that's cool, too.

Yay for being a mom.

Monday, January 18, 2016

Boys: Welcome to My World │ Raising Boys

I write for this online magazine called Society Letters. It's a perfect place for women of all ages to come together to discuss life, raising kids, how to improve their marriages. You get the idea.

My editor asked me to write about Things Only Parents of Boys Can Understand.

Naturally, I jumped at the chance. Because if I didn't, my thoughts about wanting to write this post --but not writing it -- would drive me crazy.

So, ↓ here's the article. It's a snap shot of my wonderful life. And one that --if you've had, or have or will have boys -- is a snap shot of yours. Ha ha. Welcome to my world.

Parenting: 5 Things Only Parents of Boys Can Understand

There’s a running joke between my husband and me. And the joke is really on us because, a long, long time ago in a galaxy far, far away, we both assumed we’d be the best parents, discipline our children to perfection, love them beyond unconditionally, and that everything would be great.

Well, everything is great. It’s dandy. I love my two boys. But, the joke here is that you can’t control children. Or what they say. Especially boys.

Every parent who didn’t have kids and now has them, knows what I’m talking about. I mean, ultimately, we try our best to create and control the environment that they live in as they grow up and mature.

We teach them to do the right things, say the right things, feel empathy, love their siblings, brush their teeth. But, at the end of the day, we can try all we want but we really, really (really) can’t control what they do.

Do yourself a favor and understand that concept. The sooner you realize this -- the not being able to know what’s going to come out of their mouth ever -- the happier you’ll be.

If I had a dollar for every time we grownups look at one another and say, “Write this down, I never thought I’d have to say ...”, I’d be rich enough to hire a Ms. Manners to teach my children the proper thing to say and do around home, school, family, or friends.

But, I’m not rich because I forgot to write all 12, 387 of them down. And Ms. Manners is me. And I’m clearly not good at this. At all. So, while girls aren’t much “better” at being a bit more proper (I know; they fart and belch like the best of the boys) they don’t find it necessary to revel, laugh, joke, or question every bodily function the ways boys do. They aren’t magnetically drawn to dirt. They don’t find the desire to jump off everything.

So. Are boys in your future? Don’t know yet, but wonder and maybe hope they are? Good. Boys are the most wonderful creatures. But, there are a few things you need to jot down to remember so you don’t tear your hair out while raising them:

1. They are always loud
Okay. I know what you’re thinking, “Yeah, well I have girls and they’re loud too.” Yes, yes they are. But girls tend to be louder when they’re around other girls. Boys? Boys are loud wherever they go. Twenty-four-seven. Loud around the dog, around their siblings, around their peers, by themselves! They yell in laughter, in pain, when their brother pants them, when playing video games. They live by the motto “loud means you’re living” and it’s best knowing this the second they breathe their first breath of air into this world.

2. They are always dirty
Try not to be too shocked by this. If it’s clean when he puts it on, it will –not maybe – it will be dirty within five minutes. Dirt comes out of the carpet, from the walls, from their very words, and imprints onto their clothes like a best friend. After fifteen years of boys, I’m still unclear about this scientific process.

But somehow, this theory is true regardless of the cause and effect. Invest in stain remover, buy “Oxy Clean” stock, and call it good. Hand wipes, towels, and washcloths should be in your purse or the trunk of your car, too. At all times. This dirtiness also means they will smell. Just how it is. Prepare yourself.

3. They are always (trying to be) funny
This is obvious. How? Because boys grow into men, and really, you can’t separate the boy from the man. If one trip down the stairs is funny, then how about two and three times tripping down the stairs? If one joke was hilarious, then how about a variation on that joke? There are times when my boys have me in stitches. I love it. And sometimes, my husband has me laughing. Sometimes.
But here’s a tip to teach your budding comedian: new material is funniest. And also remember, as a favor to the boys or men in our lives, laugh. Even if it isn’t funny. For the love of all things hilarious, just laugh. It will keep them (hopefully) trying to find fresh material.

4. They are always making messes
There’s a saying about boys and it’s this: Boys are dirt with noise. This pretty much needs to be on a plaque and tacked up to your wall. When you wake up and see this, you won’t sweat a thing. You’ll know to expect noise and dirt, and if it happens together, well, your boys are healthy!
Warning: boys rooms are kind of equivalent to a lab, a lab of any kind. Medical, science, black lab with a wagging tail. Food will end up in there (even if it’s against house rules), dirty clothes will happen every second, Legos will magically ascend to every inch of flooring. Plan on telling them they have to clean each mess up. Oh, and did I mention boys smell? Yeah. These messes create more smell. Yippers.
5. They eat. Constantly.
Do I really need to elaborate? Okay. When they’re in their terrible-twos stage, food isn’t such a precious commodity to them. They turn their nose at it, prefer to play, and eat when they absolutely have to. But be prepared for the table to turn. The second they reach seven to eight years old, food is virtually their reason for living. Get a second job. Get a third. Plan your monthly menus religiously. Food is the main course, at every course, and it will be your job to make sure it gets in their stomachs before all hell breaks loose – which, if they don’t eat, is roughly 13 times a day.

And yes, this transcends into adulthood. i.e. your boyfriend / husband.

Oh, and one more thing. Boys for some innate reason that goes beyond understanding (but I think heeds to the days of the Garden of Eden) don’t want to wear clothes. If they do, it’s usually one item. It may be pants. It may be underwear. Maybe just a puffy vest in the winter, or as my youngest says, “My winter tank top.” (I’m another dollar richer for that one… you can’t make that stuff up!)

But, if you have a boyfriend/husband, you already knew this one, right? Less clothing = better living. Or something like that.

This is just a small look into the world of raising boys. And while I still have to say things like “stop arguing with your brother … while you’re naked” or answer questions to “Do fish barf?”, or contemplate my eldest’s son comment of “I want to make a one-hit-wonder. That’s on my bucket list,” it’s obvious that with boys, life is never, ever dull.

So, expect crazy. And expect joy. And expect dirt with noise. But most of all, expect that boys are beautiful in their own way.

I love this sweet chaos about boys. So, teach them as best you can. And most of all, laugh and have fun with them every day. Because if you don’t, seriously, if you don’t … a padded room might be in your future.