The Forest

I sometimes forget how much I actually do.

You see, I get so wrapped up in the “big picture” of my job–creating functional communicators–that I can’t see the minor improvements that we make. Sometimes, it takes looking at where the child was six months ago for me to actually “see” progress.

And sometimes, it shocks me.

Today was one of those days.

I guess it’s a matter of losing the trees for the forest. I look at that forest and I think, “But it’s so different from all the other forests out there.” I didn’t see the beauty of the trees. I didn’t notice how much they’ve grown or how many more of them were.

I only focused on the difference of that forest and how I could make that forest more like all the others.

I don’t think for a minute that the forest is bad. It’s not. The ground it grows in might be a little more rocky, and so it needs more nurturing than the others to grow. Sometimes, it’s hard to see that growth. Sometimes, I get frustrated because things aren’t coming along the way I would like them to, and when I get frustrated, I want to abandon everything I’ve been doing and revamp my approach.

See, I hate taking data–I’d rather just work with the kids and do what I do. Taking data makes me want to tear my hair out and run screaming from the room. It takes away some of the spontaneity of therapy, takes some of the “fun” out of it. But I recognize the importance of having it, because if I hadn’t had some really good baseline data, I never would have seen the difference I’ve made. I would have revamped my therapy without really recognizing how well what I’ve done has worked. There were no amazing breakthroughs that made me believe I was on the right path.

When you work with kids with significant language impairments, it’s not always clear what the right approach is. There are no signs in the forest that say, “Our roots are growing deep. Keep doing what you’re doing!”

That’s what data’s for.

Damn, I hate data.

But damn, where would I be without it?


Polar Bear, My Ass

I bought a pair of sweats the other day.

This, in and of itself, is not necessarily of note. However, since boycotting just about everything in regard to my alma mater for almost ten years, I broke down and bought a pair of sweats from said university. I guess I’ve finally gotten over my thesis.

In any case, I meant to get these cute blue sweats that had the name of said university running down the leg. That’s harmless enough.

Instead, as I was searching for sizes, I didn’t notice that the motif had changed. So what I bought were sweats that had the team logo on the ass.

This, even, would be alright, if my ass weren’t the size of Montana. And if the team mascot wasn’t wolves.

See, it has the team logo, along with wolf prints right on the butt. Only, when your butt is the size of mine, it looks less like wolf paw prints and more like, “Oh, my god, I was mauled by a polar bear!”

This is exactly the look I was going for.

I should return the sweats. I really should. But I’m not going to.

Not only is history an indicator (I really don’t return stuff I bought, unless I made a huge mistake with sizing, which happens, precisely, never), but I’ve also worn the things. I’d pulled off the tags before I even noted the polar bear prints right on the butt.

So I’m wearing the infamous sweats.

And proudly embracing the polar bear.

My life as the Borg

You may not have noticed this, but I am a geek… So yes, the Star Trek: Next Gen reference is intentional, and understood.

Right now, I’m undergoing a minor medical test. I’ve been wearing a holter monitor for the last 23 and a half hours (just a few more minutes to go–yeehaw!). I have wires just about everywhere, but it’s not the huge pain in the ass that everyone told me it would be. Throwing up all the time is way worse.

In any case, husband saw me with the monitor on–wires and all, and he says, “You look like the Borg.”

My geeky response: “Yes. I am Seven of Eleven. Because I like snacks.”

Sure, I don’t look nearly so hot as Seven of Nine in a bodysuit, but hell, I can have a slurpee if I want one.

Long live Seven of Eleven!

A million things I’d rather be doing.

Here are the top 20 things I’d rather be doing than cleaning my house:

20. Driving around in my car

19. Doing revisions of my book.

18. Having coffee at the library.

17. Writing the church newsletter.

16. Watching soap operas.

15. Listening to the radio and daydreaming.

14. Cutting my toenails.

13. Going to work.

12. Taking in a movie.

11. Having lunch.

10. Planning a week’s worth of menus that I won’t make because somehow, I’ll run out of time.

9. Writing the blog

8. Writing the book.

7. Talking to a friend on the phone.

6. Emailing my friends.

5. Reading a book.

4. Reading a book to the kids.

3. Playing with the kids.

2. Chatting with M.

1. Having sex.

Kids… *Sigh*

Sea Monkey (age 6): Mom! Chewey’s being obnoxious!

Chewey (age 4) (without a hint of irony): It’s true.

Sea Monkey: See! He admits to it!

Me: What are you doing, Chewey?

Chewey: I don’t know. I guess I’m just being annoying.

Me: Oh. Well, carry on. Monkey, just ignore your brother.

Sea Monkey: But it’s so hard! Do you know how annoying he is?

Me: I had a younger brother. So, yes. Leave him alone.


40 before 40

First, I would like to thank Elizabeth Hinds for the inspiration behind this post. Her 40 before 40 was amazing and wonderful, and if I could figure out how to link to her page, I’d show you. Alas, I am technologically impaired. I can do what I can do, and that’s about it (but it’s on my list!)…

In any case, it occured to me that I am officially 30-something.

I suppose that I’ve been 30-something for the last few years, but something about crossing over the 35 mark makes it seem more real. So, I’ve come up with the 40 things I’d like to do before I turn the big 4-0.

1. Get out of debt (this is a big one, and may only be doable  before 40 if I publish a few books or we inherit some money from a mysterious, long-lost aunt, but a girl can dream).

2. Take a fabulous vacation. I’d say Prague and Budapest, followed by a jaunt through Croatia and maybe a stop off on Mykonos, but I think that number one is completely unattainable if we go that route, so I’ll settle for Hawaii.

3. Hike to the summit of a nearby mountain.

4. Take the kids camping.

5. Go fishing.

6. Learn to love myself–scars, saggy everything and all.

7. Get a really fabulous haircut.

8. Change my hair color.

9. Go camping at Mt. Ranier. Hike up as far as reason and normal people would go (not going to do ice climbing or repelling. I mean, hiking. That’s it).

10. Get into shape (other than amorphous blob). Like with actual muscles.

11. Lose 20 more pounds. And then I’m done. Everything else is gravy.

12. Go on a “girls only” trip, even if only for a weekend. Not a work trip, but an actual trip. Spas, massage, girl bonding. I’ve neglected my girls and I miss them.

13. Finish a half marathon. Don’t care if I have to walk it, but I want to finish one.

14. In that same vein, get well. I’m sick of being sick and tired. Find a doctor who will actually believe me when I say I’m not well and not tell me “You don’t look sick” and that I need to “Go enjoy my life” when I’m wrapped around the toilet three days a week. Because barfing and enjoyment are somewhat mutually exclusive in my world.

15.  Buy pants not in a fat girl store and not in the fat girl section of a major department store (I’m actually fairly close on this one).

16. Start saving for college for the kids. Should’ve done this years ago, but better late than never, right?

17. Get the kids in swimming lessons. Keep going.

18. Figure out a way to make Chewey behave more… consistently.

19. Calm the f*ck down.

20. Take up yoga.

21. Meditate.

22. Finish my series (both of them).

23. Find an agent.

24. Find an editor.

25. Get published… OR still be trying. But keep doing something.

26. Learn to accept my mother as she is, and not how I wish she were.

27. Tell M I love him more often. Daily would be good.

28. Tell the kids I love them every day, even when they’re being… imperfect children.

29. Figure out how to program a darn Dynavox.

30. Go someplace new once a year. Even if it’s close by.

31. Learn to get out of my comfort zone. And know that I’ll be OK outside of my box.

32. Get more technologically savvy (kinda goes along with 31).

33. Don’t allow people to put me in a box. I’m more complicated than that.

34. Go to New York and see a show on Broadway.

35. Visit with my friends more often.

36. Redecorate the computer room. Some nice tropical theme would be nice.

37. Paint the boy’s room.

38. Paint the living room.

39. Get the floors finally finished downstairs. Floors are done. Baseboards are not (Yes, I’m giving myself four years to finish a project that should, realistically, take a weekend to finish. Why do you ask?).

40. Have great sex in some fabulous place. Really, this one SHOULDN’T be last.


Decided to change the blog around. Go ahead and take a look. Let me know what you think.

I’ve added a tab where you can read synopses of my manuscripts. Soon, I will be posting more information about my latest works in progress (WIPs), Shanghaied (historical) and Attendant (paranormal/urban fantasy). Because I like to write in more than one genre at a time, both manuscripts are well underway.

Happy reading! And to those of you who are also writers… Happy writing!

Scotch and Whisky

Maybe I’m hearkening back to my decidedly Celtic roots, but I love scotch and whisky.

Not to drink, mind you, unless it’s Irish whiskey (there is a difference between whisky and whiskey, I’ve been informed), and only then in coffee with liberal amounts of sugar and cream, and only once a year, if that.

No, I don’t want to drink the stuff. I want to fantasize about it, and read about it, and imagine owning a distillery somewhere along the wind-swept Scottish coast. I picture amber-gold liquid trailing down the sides of the glass, and I imagine the scent of oak barrels, peat, sea spray  and caramel that will tinge the flavor of my scotch.

Not that I really have any idea what peat smells like, but I imagine that the aroma is earthy, with maybe a hint of grass. I like to think it doesn’t smell like manure, anyway.

I suppose all of this could be solved by my actually trying scotch.

But you see, I’ve built up this elaborate fantasy about scotch the way some women fantasize about their wedding days. And all the women I knew who fantasized about their wedding days wound up disappointed and stressed out when the event actually arrived. (Not me. I was, perhaps, the most laid back bride ever. I ate french fries in my wedding dress). For me, that fantasy is scotch. I’m a little afraid that if I do try it, I will lose the delightful fantasy of what I think scotch will taste like in exchange for the harsh reality of what it actually tastes like.

It’s like hooking up with a man you think is like Gerard Butler, all sex and great abs and a charming accent, and only to find that he farts and snores and carries a man purse. Scotch could very well be this drink of the gods in my head that actually tastes a bit like horse urine.

I wouldn’t know.

I don’t want to know.

I have my happy little fantasy, and I think I’ll keep it that way.


I have received my first blog hater….

At first, I was a little upset by this. After all, having someone tell you they dislike what you’re doing does tend to hurt your feelings. I, personally, have never felt the need to tell someone I hated their blog, and I’ve read blogs with spelling errors, grammatical errors, and written on a topic that I found so boring that I actually stopped reading. But I never wrote to tell them I hated their stuff. Mostly because what they’ve written is entertaining for someone, and I am, perhaps, not the target audience.

The blog in question was, admittedly, not my best work. And thank you, anonymous hater, for pointing that out.

Because, here’s the thing: after I got over the initial shock of 1) OMG, someone actually reads the blog, and 2) someone actually hates it, I felt… legit.

I have my first hater. It’s almost like getting that first rejection letter (which was nicer than the hater comments). I deleted the hater comment… And now, I wish I hadn’t. I wish I’d written back to her (struck me as written by a female), and thanked her. And I’m not talking about a snotty, “Gee, thanks for nothing, you raving sack of horse manure,” I’m mean a true thank you.

Critical feedback is appreciated. Yes, the blog in question was not my best work. No, she didn’t offer anything constructive. But she took the time to comment, which means she actually read the entire post. Maybe it’s five minutes of her life she’ll never get back, and, to the anonymous hater, I apologize for that.

But, in return, I extend the olive branch.

Thank you for reading the blog and for taking the time to respond. Every author I’ve ever met has people who hate their stuff. So now, I may actually be legit.

Taking a Break from Mom Guilt

We all suffer from it: Mom guilt.

Some of us suffer more from it than others. I am awesome with guilt. For instance, I cheated on a test in third grade (3RD GRADE!), and I still occasionally feel bad about it. Guilt works wonders on me, which may be why my mother uses it so often.

In any case, I’ve decided to take a break from Mom Guilt.

This kind of guilt is something mothers are particularly prone to. My husband, bless him, doesn’t feel bad that he goes to work everyday. He doesn’t feel bad that he goes out with his friends and plays on Friday. He doesn’t feel bad when he ships the kids outside and stays inside to watch a movie. He doesn’t care if the dishes sit in the sink, or if laundry piles up on the chair. If he did, one of us would probably do it. The difference is, he doesn’t feel bad about it, and I do.

But me? Oh yeah, I feel like a bad parent every day of my life.

So I’m taking a break from the guilt and I’m going to see if I can just be for one week.

I will not feel bad about the following things:

1. Telling the kids to go play. Outside, inside, whatever. And then having them do that while I do something else. I do not need to be the ever constant source of their entertainment.

2. Not feeding the kids their vegetables. It’s not like they eat them, anyway.

3. If we have a dinner consisting of cereal and OJ, that’s OK. No one’s going to die of malnutrition, right?

4. Taking a little time for just me. I love the kids, but I forget that they’re not little dictators who get to control all aspects of my life. If the one gets up at 4:30 in the morning, I don’t need to do so, too. He can go play in his bedroom until it’s a reasonable hour if he can’t go to sleep.

5. Not being perfect housekeeper. The house can be dirty–no one can eat off the floors in my house. But then, people shouldn’t be eating off floors at all. If a load of dishes doesn’t get done, if the laundry isn’t folded and put away, no one’s going to die.

6. Not being a stay-at-home mom. We need the money. I have a skill that can bring in said money. It’s not just that I don’t want to stay home (though that is true, at least in part), it’s that I can’t stay home. We wouldn’t be able to pay the bills if I did.

7. Not having the kids in every after school activity on Earth.

     a. Yes, I’m sure Chewey would love martial arts. And I know they both need to be in swimming lessons (because, really, swimming is a life skill). I know Sea Monkey wants to take horseback riding lessons and dance. Chewey has demonstrated an aptitude and affinity for music. Yes, these are all wonderful things.

     b. I don’t have the money or the time to cart them all over the world for said lessons. Do I feel bad that I am, essentially, denying my kids opportunities to explore their creative genius or become spectacular at something? Yes. Do I feel bad that I have a six-year-old who can only “kind of” swim, and a four-year old who really can’t? Yes. I know they need to continue with swimming lessons, but who has the time? We’d be relegated to more meals out of a box if we added more to our already busy schedules. Seriously.

8. Not being the calmest mom out there.

     a. Scenario: We’re already late, because Chewey got up at 3:30 and once I got back to sleep, I slept through the alarm. For the 5th time this week, Chewey can’t find his shoes, despite the fact that I put them right by his door before he went to bed to combat this very issue. Alien gnomes came and stole them, I’m sure. After telling Chewey to look for them for the 50th time, I come upstairs to find him playing with his pirates in his bedroom. His shoes are not in sight. Only now, he’s not wearing any pants.

     b. My response: I was distinctly unhappy about this turn of events, and I let him know it. Yes, he got yelled at. Not my finest parenting moment, but he did find his shoes shortly thereafter. Was it bad? Maybe. But I’m a mom and I’m going to make mistakes. God knows I got yelled at often enough as a kid. I’m not always going to parent with love and logic. Sometimes, my parenting will be emotional and pejorative. It’s not going to always be about positive reinforcement–sometimes, a kid’s going to get punished. 

So, I will attempt to take a break from the guilt. We’ve all survived getting yelled at by our parents (shoot, I got yelled at three days ago by mine). We’ve all survived breakfast for dinner or TV dinners. We survived having imperfect parents, and  our parents probably didn’t feel the same level of pressure to be perfect that we do, as much as they like to criticize our parenting skills. Or lack thereof.