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Karen's blog is about life, love, and the pursuit of writing well
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2626. NaNoWriMo Excerpt - 2006


From my NaNoWriMo 2006 project entitled: Reality Check


“No. I mean, I messed up with us, didn’t I?”

Never one to go out of her way to hurt people’s feelings, she shrugged once more. “I can’t offer you anything more than friendship, Paul. It’s too soon. And to be perfectly honest, I’m not sure I have those kinds of feelings for you.”

His jaw clenched noticeably and he gave an abrupt nod. “Right.” He stepped toward her. She stepped back. He sighed. “We’ll talk some other time.” He looked over his shoulder and nodded toward Ethan. “See you later, kiddo.”

The child began crawling furiously toward them as soon as his presence had been acknowledged.

Brenna stepped in front of her son to prevent him from crossing the threshold. “Good night, Paul.”

“Nite, Bren. Sleep well.” He put on his jacket and walked toward his black ’04 Mustang GT.

Brenna quietly closed the door and leaned back on it in relief. She hugged herself tightly and shivered gently. “Geez, that was weird.” She picked Ethan up and hugged him tight. “Just me and you, kiddo. Can you handle that?” The boy squealed and bumped his moist mouth against her jaw line. She laughed. “We need to work on your kissing skills, little guy.” She carried him back to the couch, sank down in it and playfully tossed her son into the pillows. “I’m thinking that was the last time Paul comes over. What do you think?”

Ethan grinned, graham crackers clinging to the corners of his mouth. He rolled and slid off the couch.

Brenna pulled her cigarettes from the drawer in the end table and lit one up. She inhaled deeply for long moments before laying her head back on the headrest. “Yep, you and me, Ethan. Just the two of us.” She sighed heavily at the lonely prospect and took another drag.

The grandfather clock ticked in the growing silence. The clicks of the machinery sliced through the peace and quiet. She could feel her eyelids drooping; she imagined tiny men pulling on the ends, like window shades being drawn for the night. She was so tired. So tired of the never ending frantic pace of her job, tired of taking care of herself and Ethan, tired of never having enough time or energy to do the things she really wanted to do, tired of being alone.

“Marcus.” She mouthed the name wistfully. “Marcus,” she repeated, savoring the sound of his name on her lips. They had met shortly after she had gotten promoted to art director at Liberty Advertisement. She had always known whom the handsome brown-haired lawyer with the dreamy hazel eyes was, but had never had an opportunity to actually talk to him. Marcus was the company lawyer, well, the head honcho of the legal department anyway. He had been exiting her boss’ office just as she was entering. They had collided.

“Oh! I’m sorry. I didn’t see you.” She had stammered and blushed, like a high school girl being caught practicing different ways to sign her lover’s name. Her heart had jumped into her throat at his touch. The areas of her body that actually made contact with his husky form tingled, like when your foot falls asleep and you try to walk on it before the circulation had returned.

“Well, hello.” Marcus had smiled down at her, his perfect white teeth gleaming seductively off her reading glasses.

“Hi.” She remembered reaching up to tug off her spectacles, self-conscious and worried he would think her a geek with them on.

“I hear you were promoted. Congratulations.”

She ducked her head and then promptly chastised herself for acting so immature. She lifted her head and determined to at least act mature, nodded brusquely. “Thanks. It was a long time coming.”

It was a long time coming? She mentally kicked herself for her stupidity. The man probably thought she was one of those people who thought too highly of themselves.

“Indeed. According to Tom, it was. He’s had his eye on you for too long.”

Brenna couldn’t help it she preened at his words. “Yeah well, I’ve worked here for almost eight years now, I suppose it was either this or bring in new blood.”

New blood? What was she trying to do, be a hip twenty-something? She coughed to cover her embarrassment.

“Yeah, longevity definitely has it’s advantages, but knowing Tom and his drive for perfection, I have a feeling it’s about more than just the number of years you’ve been here.”

“Thanks.” She couldn’t help herself, she flashed a cheesy Cheshire grin up at him.
Could her attraction for him BE any more obvious?

He started, “I was wondering …” His cell phone began to buzz and cut off the rest of his sentence. “I hate this damn thing.”

Brenna had remembered laughing into his yellowish-brown eyes, tiny flecks of green mesmerizing and numbing her brain; like a butterfly caught in a spider’s web and awaiting execution.

Tom had called her into the office at that moment and there wasn’t a chance to stick around to see what he had intended to ask her.

A baby’s short shriek of pain jerked her abruptly awake. Ethan, curious about the smoke coming from the stick dangling from his mother’s fingers, had tried to fist the red-hot tip in his chubby hand.

“Oh baby! I’m so sorry! Mommy wasn’t paying attention!” She hastily snubbed the cigarette out and lifted Ethan into her lap. “Let me look at it, champ.” Her son looked up at her with watery hazel eyes. A lone tear rolled down his plump cheek and he cradled his injured hand close to his chest. “Please baby, let mommy look at it. I promise I’ll make it all better.”

Ethan gave her a doubtful look before offering his palm. His lower lip quivered with the effort to keep his emotions in check. Brenna gently held his tiny hand and examined it. The skin was red and irritated, but wasn’t blistering.

“There, there now, it doesn’t look that bad. Let’s go put some ointment on it and make it all better.” She glanced at the grandfather clock – 9:03. “Boy, I’m really dropping the mommy ball tonight, aren’t I.” She muttered into her son’s downy hair before giving him a kiss on the forehead. “First I let you stay up past your bedtime, and then I burn you with one of my nasty cigarettes. I need to give those up, don’t I.” She nodded down at him soberly. He mimicked her and nodded back, equally serious. “I always meant to, you know. When I found out I was pregnant with you, I told myself, ‘Self,’” she lowered her voice a notch which prompted a reluctant smile from Ethan. “’you need to stop this nasty habit right now. Your baby doesn’t need to be breathing all those nasty fumes.’ But did I quit?” She cocked her head as she stood up from the couch; Ethan snuggled close to her chest.

“Well, I tried. I didn’t smoke as much when you were in my tummy,” she tickled his stomach for emphasis, “but then you were born and I was nervous about supporting the both of us, who would take care of you … would I have the energy needed to get my promotion …” she tugged on her lower lip as she remembered how scared and worried she was when she found out she was pregnant. “You know what? It doesn’t matter. It’s all excuses. From this point on, I’m quitting. Is that all right with you?”

Ethan inhaled a heavy sniff and nodded enthusiastically.

“Fine. It’s a deal then. Let’s go patch you up.”

She carried him to the bathroom, snagged some aloe ointment from the medicine chest, sat down on the toilet with Ethan in her lap and began to softly hum while she administered the cream to his palm. Her son rested his head against her shoulder and she could feel his tense little body relax against her.

She smiled. Dear God in heaven she loved this child. She couldn’t imagine not having him in her life. There was a time, a short pocket of time right after she found out she was pregnant, that she entertained the idea of getting an abortion; it certainly would have made her life easier. She had even gone as far as making an appointment, but in the end, she knew she couldn’t do it. Ethan was conceived out of love, even if his father had betrayed her.


Thanks for reading. More on Tuesday.

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2627. Song of the Week - #12

I love music. I love unknown musicians. I post a song from an unknown musician every week. Support your local musicians, won’t you?

This song is fun and almost innocent in presentation. What do you think?

Song of the Week:

I also post a daily comic strip from Baby Blues. Life is tough - take a moment and laugh, won’t you? :D

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2628. VideoPlay: NaNoWriMo Progress?

1 Comments on VideoPlay: NaNoWriMo Progress?, last added: 10/20/2007
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2629. Aloha Friday


Fellow blogger and gal pal Kailani, from An Island Life, has started this fun Friday meme. Here’s a little bit about the meme and how it works:

Aloha Friday is a very popular term used in Hawaii. It’s basically a day where we take it easy and look forward to the upcoming weekend - kind of like T.G.I.F. I’ll be posting a simple question or topic of conversation and then opening up the comments to you. If you’d like to join me, just post something on your blog with your own question and then sign the Mr. Linky below. Then we can all go around and visit each other.

So, if you would like to play along, visit Kailani’s blog, answer her question, and then visit, and answer everyone else’s questions! If you feel inclined to answer my question, please post your answer in the comment section. Sound fun? Of course it does!

(Please feel free to answer the question below, even if you’re not playing Aloha Friday!)

My question:

If you were writing the ten commandments of cell phone etiquette , what two thou shall not rules would you list?

5 Comments on Aloha Friday, last added: 10/19/2007
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2630. NaNoWriMo Excerpt - 2006


Here is the first part of my NaNoWriMo 2006 project entitled: Reality Check.


Brenna Foster was sick of being pawed and groped like a cheap, pole dancing stripper. She continued dodging, twisting, and bending around Paul’s clumsy advances. She felt like a character in “The Matrix” avoiding bullets in slow motion.

Paul Gibbons. A sweet-looking guy on the outside: 6’1, slim athletic build, bleach-blonde hair, light green eyes, not so sweet on the inside. Though Paul was nice to look at, he wasn’t always so nice to be around. His people skills lacked a certain … finesse, polish if you will. His abrupt change in moods often made people uncomfortable and they avoided him like a slobbery dog trying to plant wet kisses all over your face.

Brenna released a soft, pent-up chuckle of frustration. “Look, Paul …” She evaded his descending lips; she quickly turned her head. His kiss landed on her cheek instead of her rather thin lips. “Could you please stop?”

“Bren, come on, don’t be like this. Just one kiss. What’s the harm in that?”

She winced at his words. Harm? There was no harm in allowing him to kiss her but she knew it wouldn’t stop at that. He would want more; he would demand more – all men demanded more sooner or later.

“Paul …” she forcibly shoved him away from her. She was surprised, and not a little repulsed, that it was fairly easy to get away from him. She had always been strong. Standing at just under 5’6 and weighing no more than 130 lbs, people often misjudged her.

Paul sighed with exasperation. “Geez, Brenna. We’ve been dating for five weeks now and you haven’t let me kiss you once. What’s up with that?”

“Paul …” she assumed the tone of voice she reserved for her son, Ethan – soft, soothing, and placating. She swallowed her impatience. “We’re not dating, we’re friends. How many times do I have to tell you that?”

“Friends, dating … it’s all good.” He reached for her again and drew her up against him. He ground himself suggestively against her groin. “Come on, Bren. We’re attracted to each other. We’ve been hanging out a lot these past weeks …” his fingers buried themselves in her shoulder length brown hair, “it’s only natural things would progress to the next phase.”

Brenna knew all about the next phase; the proof was five feet away. “Paul, come on. I’ve told you, I’m not ready to start another relationship. I need more time. I need a friend now more than a lover.” She placed her hands against his chest and pushed. When he didn’t budge, she pushed harder. His arms tightened around her rib cage, squeezing the air from her lungs. She suddenly felt claustrophobic and a finger of fear snaked through her annoyance at his uncharacteristic aggressive behavior. “Paul,” she kept her voice low. She didn’t want to sound as alarmed as she was feeling. “Ethan.” She nodded toward the boy playing at their feet.

“Yeah, so?” He dipped his head toward her and nuzzled dry, chapped lips against her neck.

She blinked in surprise at the painting over the fireplace. What was wrong with him? He had never been this pushy before. She had been able to dodge his advances in the past with soft and self-deprecating excuses. It was her. She wasn’t ready so soon after Marcus. She had a headache, she was too depressed, tired, distracted and so on. He had accepted, and respected, her wishes up to this point. What had changed?

“Look,” she pushed harder, for once grateful her strength. “I said no.” Her voice was flat, authoritative.

Ethan looked up at them at the sound of her voice. A small wrinkle marred his baby-soft forehead.

“Brenna, I’m losing patience here. I’m just a man. A man with needs. You had to know that this is what I wanted, what I was waiting for, from the very beginning.”

“Actually,” she arched away from him as his face advanced toward her again. “No. I didn’t know. I’ve always been very honest with you, Paul. I made it very clear, from the very beginning, that I wanted nothing more than friendship from you. You’ve been a really good friend and I’m very grateful that you’ve been there for me, listening to my problems, offering advice, watching Ethan …”

“Grateful.” He spat the word. A droplet of spittle landed on Brenna’s upper lip. She resisted the urge to cringe in disgust. He pulled her tighter against him, his hands dropping to cup her firm, round buttocks.

“Ma, ma.” A small voice sounded at their feet. Ethan had crawled over and was clutching Brenna’s pant legs, using her body to pull his into a standing position.

Paul’s hold on her eased somewhat and Brenna took advantage of the distraction to step back and scoop her son up into her arms in one fluid motion.

“I think it’s time for you to leave.” A small sliver of disappointment eased past the coldness of her voice. She would miss his companionship. He was easy to talk to and had taught her to laugh again. Something she wasn’t sure she would be capable of doing for a very long time.

Paul stared at her for long moments, his face a hard, unyielding mask of fury. She swallowed and unconsciously braced herself for … what, she wasn’t sure.


Thanks for reading, everyone. I’ll post another excerpt Sunday.

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2631. Flash From the Past - Jamming, Big Time

Jamming - Big Time

This is my husband when he was … around 19 or 20. A bunch of his friends had formed a band, Oxidation, and they were practicing in his parents’ basement (i.e. his room). As you’ve probably surmised (since ya’ll are so much smarter than myself, lol) he was jumping on a bed here and one of the guys was down below, taking his picture. Just look at that face! He was really into his playing.

Or …

He hit his head on the ceiling. hehe

Personally? I like this shot. For a lot of reasons. null

1 Comments on Flash From the Past - Jamming, Big Time, last added: 10/19/2007
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2632. Blog Roundup

Blog Roundup

I think I’m going to try something different with the Blog Roundup. Instead of only listing these blogs, I’m going to include them in my blogroll, too. Then, every few weeks, I’ll rotate the blogs on my blogroll in an attempt to share the linky love. Why? Because the search engines will pick up those links, record them and up the stats for that blogger. If I continue to rotate the links, then I can hopefully up a lot of bloggers stats. Maybe if we all started doing something like that …? I don’t know; it’s just a thought.

Okay, here are another ten blog links I thought were interesting.

I started at my good buddy Deb’s Place - Mom of 3 Girls. Deb is so good about visiting, and commenting, that I was curious to see who was on her blogroll. (I’m excited to say I was on there! Yippee! Thanks Deb!)

I actually recognized quite a few bloggers on her blogroll, so I concentrated on visiting the ones I didnt recognize. I always tend to search blogrolls from the bottom up. Why? Because the blogs that begin with “W” (ahem) tend to get overlooked and since I’m super sensitive to that, I click from the bottom up. :)

Jean at Working Momma 24/7
Her profile: I’m like any other mom. I work my 8 to 5 shift and begin my “real” job of raising my 3 boys. I’m happily married to my husband C going on 9 years. I love to read and have just really started enjoying cooking and baking. This blog is just a dabbling of my thought processes.Who knows the possibilities that it could lead.

Wendy at WeSnLaNi
Her profile: I live in New Hampshire with my husband Michael and my two kiddos, Wesley(7) and Lani(1)! I am a work at home mom and scrapbooker.I also love to take photos with my scrapbooking in mind! I love to spend time with my family, going on day trips and other adventures! Thanks for stopping by my blog!

We are Reilly
Her profile: I strive to be a Christian-centered, fun-loving wife of one amazing, grounded husband, one adorable keeps-me-on-my-toes-daughter and one incognito cat, Duncan (AKA: Pooh Kitty). I am a full-time mom, part-time working professional woman and a full-time servant for Christ….come inside my blog and get to know me better.

Carrie from Three Girl Circus
Her profile: I am a wife to the cutest bald-headed guy ever, a mom to three gorgeous girls (Mara-3, Emily-2, and Becca-1). Three girls in less than three years, and I’m still alive to blog about it! This blog is about my journey as a mother, wife, and aspiring Proverbs 31 woman. Life in the circus… It’s crazy; it’s loud, but it’s too much fun. The best show on earth!

The Twinkies (What a fun title - she has a twin boy and girl)
I am a quasi-AP mother of twins, J. and F., born in July of 2006. I spend most of my time breastfeeding and wondering why No Cry Sleep Solution claims that babies spend 4 hours a day napping. Who are these babies?

Nap Warden at The Chronicles of a SAHM
Her profile: Wife to Husband Step to #1 Son, and #1 Daughter… Mommy to The Little Man (11months) Miss Peach (2 years) and one fat cat named Smokey…Former trader current SAHM…Enforcer of all naps…Hopelessly Addicted to Coca Cola…

Sara at Suburban Oblivion
Her profile: 28 year old stay at home mom to 3 kids. Wife to a tech junkie. Playgroup fugitive. Writer extraordinaire. Big dreamer.

Melissa at Suburban Bliss
Her profile: I enjoy writing and have actually found I communicate much more effectively in writing than when using my mouth. I once spent a summer in ‘counseling’ by writing in a notebook and dropping it off with my therapist, getting it back the next week with added notes. It was surprisingly helpful.

Megan at SortaCrunchy
Her profile: Sorta crunchy as in sorta granola, sorta hippie, and always in her barefeet. One member of a body of Believers. Natural living enthusiast. Coach’s wife. Mama to two year old D and the lovely brand new AJ. User of copious exclamation points and gratuitous ellipses. Under a shady tree in the Texas Hill Country. Take those shoes off and sit yourself down. Let’s talk.

Sarah at Real Life
Her profile: I am a 33-year-old “Don’t Stay at Home Mom” of 3 girls (HipChick~6, Princess~4, Little Pea~2), and I teach private voice and piano lessons. I’ve been ecstatically married to the most awesome guy for 10 years.

I won’t even tell you how much time I spent on all of these wonderful blogs (yes, I DO stick around and read instead of just randomly post links) but suffice it to say, I have will now have to work late tonight to play catch up.

But you know what? It was worth it. :D

I’m also making it a goal to visit these new bloggers at least once a day to catch up on their lives. So, I’m out there, lurking, peeking into your back door and reading about your (mis)adventures.

Don’t be scared, I’m harmless, really. lol

I’ll randomly select someone from this list and look at her blogroll in the next Blog Roundup.

5 Comments on Blog Roundup, last added: 10/21/2007
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2633. iWrite


In case you didn’t know that. :D

My mom made this for me. Thanks mommy!

1 Comments on iWrite, last added: 10/19/2007
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2634. Thursday Thirteen - Moody #7

Moods from the Past Thirteen Days

Ever wonder why I pick those little mood icons you see in my sidebar? I actually put a lot of thought into what mood I post on any given day - and there’s usually a reason behind it. These are the reasons for my moods for the past 13 days. (Weekends count as one day).


1. null Loser: Mood for October 4th

There are times when I don’t feel like I’m contributing enough, financially, to the family. I hate the feeling that I’m mooching off the hubs and even though he’s absolutely great about being okay with me working from home, there are times when I know he feels like I’m taking advantage of him. This feeling usually happens when business is slow and I’m too lazy to get off my butt and get some things done around the house. He confronts me, I get mad, then I calm down and admit he’s right and then I feel like a total and complete loser because I’m not keeping up my end of the bargain.

2. null Sexy: Mood for October 5th

I haven’t been eating very much lately. I usually have a cup of coffee and two granola bars for breakfast, a soft pretzel and water for lunch and then a small dinner. I don’t know, I just haven’t been hungry enough to eat anything more substantial. This may sound good on the surface, and I’m certainly skinner than I used to be, but I’m tired all the freaking time. And yes, I’m exercising. And yes, I’m taking my vitamins/iron. I really think it’s because I haven’t been eating properly. So, which is more important, eating and having energy to do things? Or not eating, looking skinny and enjoying the hot looks my husband sends my way.

I’m opting for the hot looks. null

3. null Sweaty: Mood for October 6th/7th

The carpet people came and put in our replacement carpet yesterday. Yay! For those of you that don’t know, we had new carpet put in all our bedrooms, hallway and family room. Only, the family room carpet was flawed – instead of having nice, straight Berber lines, it was concaved. The carpet guy noticed it and let Home Depot know about it. They were great about ordering a replacement carpet and they installed it yesterday. We’re very happy. But now, I have the pleasure (*koff*) of putting the house back together again. Having carpet installed is like moving, only worse because you can’t really move your stuff out, you just have to move it out of the way. In the process of putting everything back, we’re gotten rid of a lot of junk, which we gave to the Christian Foundation. I was hot and sweaty the entire weekend.

4. null Javalicious: Mood for October 8th

I’m excited; it’s a caffeinated sort of day. I always look forward to the days I can drink coffee in the afternoons, which works out to be every other day. I drink a cup every morning, and then alternate when I drink coffee in the afternoons – I have to or I get these killer caffeine withdrawal headaches on days I don’t have my required intake. I’ll need coffee today. I have the very big task of going through our pictures and finding the crème-de-la-crème to blow up and put in the numerous frames I bought for this very thing. I plan on lining our family rooms walls with family pictures and my goal was to have it done before Thanksgiving. Given I need to pick the pictures, scan them, upload them to Flickr and then request they be blown up to 5x7’s, I need to get that started TODAY or I’ll never get done in time before Thanksgiving. Thank God for coffee – I’m just saying.

5. null Stuffed UP: Mood for October 9th

I woke up at 3:00 this morning gasping for air. I couldn’t breathe out of my right nostril. At all. It was completely clogged. And the left nostril? Picture breathing through a straw. I’m not a mouth breather, unless I don’t have a choice, like today. And when I’m forced to breathe out of my mouth, I get cranky. Why? Because my throat dries out, my voice gets thick and low and I sound like this woman. Only not as smoky. I have had sinus problems my entire life. My mom tells me I come by it naturally – she has very small nasal passages and has trouble as well. Considering this is Fall, and I appear to be allergic to ragweed, it starts out as allergies and then graduates into a head cold. Hey, as long as it doesn’t slide into a sinus infection, I’m happy. Now wasn’t this fun?! Talking about my sinuses?? The things you learn when you visit me …

6. null Vulnerable: Mood for October 10th

Things are quiet on the business front. I’m between projects right now, which gives me a perfect excuse to get my professional site back up and running. I’ve also been toying with the idea of giving this blog a fresh new look. The problem? I can’t seem to decide on a design. This wishy-washiness is causing me to feel vulnerable and wide open to criticism. It doesn’t help that I’m still feeling icky and just not mentally ready to handle life.

7. null Content: Mood for October 11th

I feel so much better today; in fact, it’s safe to say I feel 100%. I can breathe again and my throat isn’t sore anymore. Things are good. The hubs and I are REALLY getting along well; the boys are both doing really well in school. My house is looking pretty good and though I still have some work to do, I feel confident everything will fall into place for the Thanksgiving dinner. I’ve been reading over past NaNoWriMo projects and that has gotten me in the mood to start planning for this year’s project. I feel content and comfortable – if only every day could be like this.

8. null Bloated: Mood for October 12th

Geez Louise, where did this water weight gain come from? I feel like one of those hot air balloons from the Thanksgiving parade. I’m simply bobbing along, minding my own business, trying to breathe because my jeans are too tight and my fingers look like cucumbers – flesh-colored cucumbers mind you. I know it’s getting close to THAT TIME, but I shouldn’t be THIS bloated … oh wait. I had soup for lunch. Was it the salt intake? Whatever it is, I’m a waddling penguin today. Bleh.

9. null Fabulous: Mood for October 13th / 14th

I’m feeling fab-U-lous today darling. It’s going to be a busy weekend. The boys and I are drove to Mount Vernon today for the Apple Butter Makin’ Days. There was food, entertainment and of course, booths upon booths of crafts. The boys were actually okay going, which sort of surprised me. I mean, boys plus crafts usually equals cranky but I think they were looking forward to getting out of the house and enjoying this great weather. We were all fine for the first hour, but then it all started to look alike and we were getting tired of walking around and our petals definitely drooped from the unexpected heat. My mom, however, was full of energy and was only getting started. It was a good thing we took two cars because we didn’t want to stay as long as she did (she closed the place down). Sunday, the hubs and I went shopping. We’re redoing our front bathroom and we’ve decided to do a beach theme. We’re painting next weekend. It’s been like this for six years and truly needs a redo.

10. null Whatever: Mood for October 15th

I’m not in a good mood, I’m not in a bad mood, I’m not even in a blah mood. I’m just in a whatever happens happens sort of mood. (I actually posted an audio entry on this emotion if you’re interested). I have all of my emails caught up and am now working on making backups for another school that has requested some structural changes. I’ll upload those changes later (so I don’t freak school personnel or parents out) and make it ten times better. Have I mentioned I love my job? No? Where have you been? The weather is pretty blah today – cloudy, cool and on the verge of rain. Perhaps the weather is affecting my mood. Does the weather affect your mood?

11. null Hungry: Mood for October 16th

This mood is nothing new. I’m always hungry - always. However, I rarely do anything about it. Most of the time, I can handle it. But there are those times when I’ve had lunch with the hubs, and then I eat dinner, and I’m pleasantly stuffed, and my stomach has stretched out so that by the time the next day rolls around, my stomach is growling because I’m not filling the stretched out parts. It’s a never ending cycle. But I suffer through it, my stomach shrinks once again and I’m no longer hungry, well ravenous, that is. Being female = being hungry. It’s just a fact of life. *sigh*

12. null In the Dark: Mood for October 17th

The only thing I can think about right now, is what the heck I’m going to write about next month for NaNoWriMo. I’ve been reading Will Write For Shoes: How To Write a Chick-Lit Novel by Cathy Yardley and I’m really liking what I’ve been reading so far. Ms. Yardley has a way of just telling it like it is - she really doesn’t mince words and I appreciate her honesty about the genre. And something else that I really like - the genre is about so much more than just a bunch of 20-something party girls looking for that perfect soul mate while dodging the evil boss in NYC. (That premise is SO OVER!). I would like to write something more along the lines of what’s deemed “Mommy Lit” which deals “specifically with the problems that women with children deal with” or “Lady Lit or Hen Lit” which deals with “older children moving home, late pregnancy, or menopause, as well as age-appropriate takes on the usual themes such as dating … or finding one’s life purpose.” These sound more up my alley and something I can relate a bit more to. At any rate, I’ve had my head in the clouds these past days trying to work something out and I can see what I want, I’m just pulling my way through the fog to actually grasp the entire concept. And I’m alllllllmost there. Stick around, I’ll be posting excerpts from my project next month and hopefully, it’ll be good enough to entertain you. Hopefully.

13. null Inspired: Mood for October 18th

By jove, I think I’ve got it. (See mood for October 17th).


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tags: thursday thirteen


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2635. Three Word Wednesday - An Imaginary Friend


Bone, from If You Only Read One Blog This Year, has challenged us to write a story using these three words: Field, Hide, Second

I’m also combining this exercise with today’s Bright Stuff prompt over at Write Stuff that Tammi supplied.

Bright Stuff

Your character’s child keeps talking about an imaginary friend that is very similar to someone your character knew many years ago.

I don’t know, they just seemed to go together. :)

Here’s what I came up with:


An Imaginary Friend

Debra rubbed her temples and shut her eyes. Her blood vessels were pounding so hard in her head she was surprised blood wasn’t seeping from her ears. She slid a hand back, dipped her first finger into her ear canal and snuck a peek, just to make sure.

No blood.

“Mommy, look at me.”

Debra squashed a sharp retort and forced both of her eyes open. She squinted and tried to bring her five-year old daughter into focus.

“See? I drawed it.” Emily proudly held up a large piece of paper with a crude flower drawn in crayon on the front in bright pinks and purples.

“That’s great, honey,” she mumbled under her breath. Even that small bit of speech was enough to split her head wide open. She groaned from the increased pressure. This was the second time this week she had had a migraine. She was going to have to break down and go to the doctor. She groaned and winced again at the thought of having to pay an outrageous sum of money, money they did not have, in order for some middle-aged know-it-all to prescribe her heavy-duty aspirin.

“Isn’t it pretty?” Emily turned the document around in her small hands in order to admire her work. Debra nearly screamed as the loud sound of paper crinkling bounced around in her head like a coin on stiff carpet. Her eyeballs jiggled behind the lids.

“Yes. It’s gorgeous, honey. Could you please keep it down? Mommy has a really bad headache.” She closed her eyes and concentrated on taking deep breaths.

She didn’t need to go to the doctor to know what were causing her headaches. They were tension headaches and they had started shortly after Calvin died. She still couldn’t believe her partner, her lover and her best friend was no longer around to take care of her.

“It’s okay, mommy.” Debra felt a very small, and very soft, hand caress her cheek. She smiled. “We’ll be quiet.”


She fought her way through the painful haze and forced herself to concentrate on her daughter’s voice.

“We need to be very, very quiet, Marsha,” her daughter said. “Mommy has one of her headaches and if she doesn’t make it go away, then she’ll get sick.”


“Yeah. She’ll throw up. And it’ll be green, smelly and gross.”

There was a long pause and Debra tilted her head in order to capture her daughter’s elusive giggles and whispers.

“Sure I saw it. Well, I saw a little bit. There was some on the potty …” Emily began humming under her breath and Debra opened her eyes.

Emily was alone. Curious, she sat up a little straighter. She paused for long seconds, waiting for the nausea to settle before turning her full attention to her daughter.

“I’m bored,” Emily whispered. “Let’s play hide-n-seek. You count, and I’ll hide.”

She watched her daughter patiently wait for Marsha to start counting before she snuck around the back of the sofa and crouched down.

Debra arched a brow and then promptly wished she hadn’t. She rubbed her temples again but Emily’s imaginary friend had caught her attention.


“Ssh, mommy! We’re playing hide-n-seek!”

“Who are you playing hide-n-seek with, Em?”


“Who’s Marsha?”

“My friend,” she said in an exaggerated, impatient, five-year old tone of voice.

“You know Marsha isn’t real, right?” There was a long pause and Debra began to think that maybe she hadn’t heard her. “Em?”

“I know that, mommy.”

Debra shifted her position on the cushion curling one leg under her body while resting an elbow on the back of the sofa. She gingerly placed the side of her head on her palm and took a deep breath. When had Emily conjured up an imaginary friend? And was it because she hadn’t been there for her as much as she needed to be over the past several months?

“Do you see her?”

“See who, honey?” She closed her eyes again and concentrated on keeping the contents of her stomach from pitching forward.

Emily expelled a long, and overly dramatic sigh. “Marsha!” She hissed under her breath.

“Oh sorry, no.”

Emily giggled. “I found a good hiding spot, then. She usually finds me by now.”

Debra smiled at the thought of her daughter playing with her friend. She remembered doing something similar when she was about Emily’s age. They were in a field and the grass was as tall as she was. She was hiding … only, from what? She furrowed her brow as she tried to bring the memory into focus. It was on a Sunday. And it was cloudy, she thought. Or was it nighttime? She couldn’t really remember. It was cold. She remembered feeling very cold, but she had on shorts so it must have been in September sometime. She was talking … who was she talking to? Various images and sounds began flying past her mind’s eye before slowing down and allowing her brain to catch up with her memories.

“Come on, Sherry! We mustn’t get caught or we’ll be spanked.” She remembered ducking under the tall grass when she heard a man’s voice, off into the distance, calling out her name. “We’ll hide out here for a bit until daddy comes home.” Why was she hiding in the grass?

Debra turned her head and pressed the area between her eyes against the hardest part of her palm trying to massage the memories loose. She had been scared, she realized with a start. She had been very, very scared. And Sherry … she remembered. She had created Sherry because she couldn’t cope with the terror on her own. She had needed someone and there hadn’t been anyone else to offer comfort.

The grass had tickled her nose and she had sneezed. She remembered hearing the grass rustling as a man … a familiar man, came crashing through the field looking for her. He sounded calm, only it was a fake calm, like someone sounds when they are trying to control their temper. She had remembered peeking over the grass to see where the man was. His back was toward her and only about twenty feet away. It was when he started to turn around that she saw his face.

It was her uncle. And she suddenly remembered why she had been in that field. She remembered why she was scared and she remembered why she had created her imaginary friend.


“No mommy. Her name is Marsha.”

Debra opened her eyes and slid off the sofa. This had to stop. Had Emily created Marsha because she was feeling scared and lonely too? She wouldn’t allow her daughter to feel like she had all those years ago.

“Mommy! You’re up! Are you feeling better?”

Debra swallowed the bile in the back of her throat and braved a smile. “I am now, baby. I am now.”


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2636. Like Animals?

I’m not exactly a big animal lover myself but for those out there that are, you might be interested in the following Animal of the Day Code for your website/blog:

Animal of the Day

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2637. Wordless Wednesday - #44

Want to play?

Embracing Words

I like this photo because it’s all about embracing language. Words are so important - please use them wisely.


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2638. VideoPlay: View From My Window

Blog mentioned in video: Deb from Mom of 3 Girls.


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2639. Parenting Tip: Living on One Income

Article found here.

There are many reasons why families live on one income, including a new baby, being a single parent, one partner losing their job or perhaps by choice, when one of you decides to be a homemaker and spend more time with your children. Whatever your situation is, living on one income is often hard and may mean that you will have to look carefully at home to reduce your spending by making a few clever budget changes.

First, work out your cash flow:

First, it is absolutely essential to look at your cash flow: that is, what money is coming in and what money is going out. List every penny of income you receive on a regular basis every month. Then list everything that you are committed to spending on every month, including your mortgage, car payments, loans, utility bills like electricity, cable and water. This list should include everything that you absolutely must pay for every month.

Now add a realistic amount for food and other essentials such as diapers for your little ones, toiletries, medicine, stationery and so on. These are your essential monthly costs.

Then simply take away your monthly costs from your monthly income. The difference between these two amounts is you disposable cash - or how much you have to spend on everything else.
Of course this amount might actually be negative and if this is the case for your family, you should do some serious family budget work to get the situation under control before you consider giving up one income and making the situation worse.
Next, look at where you can reduce costs:

There are many ways to reduce your costs. The amount you are aiming for may seem unobtainable, but if you can reduce your spend by a dollar here and five dollars there, the figures will soon add up!
First, go through your list of monthly bills and see how you can reduce each one. Quite often you can call credit card companies and get a reduced rate. You may be able to switch cell phone providers or find a lower rate.

Many people don’t take advantage of offers that come through the door for cheaper monthly cable or a lower monthly telephone service. Also, one of the easiest fixed costs that you can lower is insurance. Call all the car or home insurance companies and get them to beat each others offers. As long as you are realistically lowering your monthly costs then you are going in the right direction.

Then take a look at your existing credit. If you have good credit then you are in a good position to shop around for a better rate car loan or a better mortgage. If you’re credit isn’t great then log onto the three credit companies, Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion. These will give you practical information on how to fix your credit so that you can get those monthly costs down by either consolidating your debts or replacing them with loans over a longer lending period or with a better interest. Again, be careful you don’t end up paying more.

Then have a look at all the things that can buy cheaper, like cheaper gas, cheaper brands of food. There are lots of ways to spend less on the things you buy on a regular basis by either finding sales, coupons or special offers or buying it somewhere else where it’s cheaper.

Then comes the part where you have to look at all the things you can cut out of your budget all together. Do you have any monthly subscriptions or memberships that you don’t really use anymore? Do you spend money on services or products that you don’t really use any more? Do you really need those expensive brands?

Once you have sorted all your costs you should see if your monthly costs, both essential and non-essential, are lower than your potential monthly income. If it is, then great! Pat yourself on the back for a job well done.

If it isn’t, and you have really tried to squeeze every last dollar out of the costs, then you may have to reconsider your situation. You could either start cutting things out of the budget - perhaps by using only one car, one cell phone, and so on - or you could try to increase your family’s income by finding a better paid job or working from home in the evenings.

Either way, try and be creative in thinking about the ways you could save money so that living on one income is a comfortable step and not a financial nightmare. With a little thought and planning ahead you may be able to get by easier than you think.

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2640. It’s All About Attitude

Ability Is ...

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2641. Whatever and Blah

Afternoon all,

Here’s another audio entry. You can hear me chewing a pretzel in your ear. Doesn’t that make you want to listen? lol

(Click the arrow to play
Length: 6.39)

If you don’t feel like listening, you can read about it below. Just click the “more” button.

Hope your Monday is going well!

**UPDATE: MK didn’t find out if he made jazz band today. For some reason, they delayed the announcement until tomorrow. I wonder if this means they are having a hard time deciding? More later …

Howdy ho, bloggerettes.

I was going to write something meaningful today but I’m not feeling in a very philosophical mood today. In fact, if you will note the little punkymood girl in the sidebar, I’m feeling pretty “whatever” today. It’s going to rain? Whatever. I need to get the chili on for dinner tonight? Whatever. If I don’t make it, then we’ll have fish.

I don’t have an idea for NaNoWriMo yet? Whatever. I’ll find something. My laptop has a Trojan? Whatever. I’ll just reformat, no biggie. And on it goes.

I’m currently eating my lunch – a pretzel. Can you hear me chomping? (chompchompchomp). Sorry, I won’t chew in your ear anymore. I’m sure there are some kids out there going – “Ommm, she’s not supposed to do that. How rude!”

And you’re right kids, it IS rude. My apologizes. I’m so disgusting, especially when I’m bored.

I have most of my emails caught up, so far, and I’m left sitting here, lost in space and daydreaming about two things:

1. our house


2. NaNoWriMo

First our house. The hubs and I went shopping this past weekend. We have decided to redo our front bathroom. The décor is roughly six years old and the paint looks nasty – sort of a mustard-y look. We’re sick of looking at it and it just looks grody in there. So, we went to JCPenney’s home store and bought a new shower curtain. Which is cool, because now I have my focal point. Remember it’s all about the focal point for me. The shower curtain is well, here, let’s see if I can find a link to it. Er, no, I couldn’t find a link. Okay, so picture this – it has palm trees on it and is a sage/khaki sort of color. Clear as mud? Anyway, I love it. And I bought some dark green towels and a chocolate bathmat and we’re going to paint the walls the same color as the shower curtain and we’re changing the light fixture … well, I’ll post some before and after pictures because I suck at this explaining thing.

I need to find some pictures for the walls. Swell. I hate shopping for art because I never find anything. But we’ll need something for the walls – some sort of beach-y theme thing.

Enough about the decorating thing. I know that must bore ya’ll but it’s been on my mind a lot lately. And please don’t think I’m a Martha Stewart or anything – not that there’s anything wrong with that – but it’s not my cup o’ tea, let’s put it that way. The only time I ever think of doing anything to the house is when we host Thanksgiving dinner for my in-laws because they intimidate me and have great taste and though they deny it, I know they are looking at my house thinking, “I so would not have put that there,” or “those colors .. what was she thinking??”

Moving on …

NaNoWriMo. I turned on my laptop yesterday, for the first time in weeks, to see if my 2006 project was on there. It was. And it’s not that bad, quite frankly. At least, the parts I read. But in the process of looking up the project, my virus scan thing kicked in and before long I had one of those dreaded little notice boxes pop up in upper left-hand corner of the window. I had a virus. A Trojan, no doubt. Dang it. It was some sort of ad/clicker thing and though it tossed it in quarantine, I knew it wouldn’t do any good. Once you get a Trojan, it’s pretty impossible to get rid of them entirely. So, I spent a few hours last night reformatting my laptop. Even though getting viruses is a major pain in the butt, it’s sort of a good thing (did you hear that hackers? You’re actually doing me a favor, you slime buckets) because it gives me an excuse to clean all of the crap off and start over with a clean slate.

So, my laptop is running like new again and I’m all set to tuck that baby under my arm and hole up in Barnes and Noble somewhere and write my fingers to the bone. Only, of course I won’t do that because I have to have it completely quiet when I write. But that’s neither here nor there.

Ideas. I don’t have any. But I will. I’m actively looking and I’ll find something. And I’ll have the first few chapters outlined out before I start thing in seventeen days. I’m not nervous, but I am feeling anxious. Anxious and antsy – I’m ready to get started. Which doesn’t make any sense considering I’m not ready. But when have I ever made sense?

The boys and I drove to Mt. Vernon, Missouri this past weekend to attend the Apple Butter Makin’ Days with my mom. She’s a huge craft nut and really looks forward to visiting all of the craft fairs this time of year. The boys were actually okay with going – I think they were looking forward to just getting out of the house for a bit, and it was fun to hang out with my mom, who always makes the boys smile and laugh (which is more than I can do nowadays), but after walking around and looking at crafts for an hour, we were done. My mom, however, was just getting started. Luckily, we had taken two cars so we were able to leave her there and drool over all of the goodies.

MK is supposed to find out if he made jazz band today. I’ll post an update later after I pick him up. I really want that boy to make it. I think he would be so good and think of all of the neat experiences he’ll have! I still think it’s so cool that he tried out at all. I never really had the guts to do anything like that when I was his age. Then again, I was like GD – I didn’t really DO anything outside of homework and read.

Man, I’m in a blah mood today. I can’t seem to get worked up over anything. Is the calm before the storm? Knowing me? Probably. I’m going to sign off now. I’m craving a white chocolate mocha from Starbucks. Anyone want to go with? Well, get your shoes on and let’s go – I’ll be in the car.

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2642. Toxic Friendships

Are you friends with people that constantly drain your energy, in both obvious and subtle ways? Several types of people will exhaust you or deter you from your path of extreme self-care. Cheryl Richardson, author of Take Time for Your Life, gives you the types of friends to watch out for.

The Blamer
This is a person who consistently blames you and/or everyone else for her problems. The world and the people in it always seem to create havoc for this person, and instead of taking responsibility for her life, she’d rather blame others.

The Complainer
This person likes to hear her own voice. She constantly complains about what isn’t working in her life and yet gets energy from complaining and dumping her frustrations on you.

The Drainer
This is the needy person who calls to ask for your guidance, support, information, advice, or whatever she needs to feel better in the moment. Because of her neediness, the conversation often revolves around her, and you can almost feel the life being sucked out of you during the conversation.

The Shamer
This person can be hazardous to your health. The shamer may cut you off, put you down, reprimand you, or make fun of your or your ideas in front of others. She often ignores your boundaries and may try to convince you that her criticism is for you own good. The shamer is the kind of person who make you question your own sanity before hers.

The Discounter
This is the person who discounts or challenges everything you say. Often, she has a strong need to be right and can find fault with any position. It can be exhausting to have a conversation with the discounter, so eventually you end up giving in and deciding to just listen.

The Gossip
This person avoids intimacy by talking about others behind their backs. The gossip gets energy from relaying stories, opinions, and the latest “scoop.” By gossiping about others, she creates a lack of safety in her relationships, whether she realizes it or not. After all, if she’ll talk about someone else, she’ll talk about you.

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2643. Wake Me When It’s Friday


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2644. Photo Contest Theme - Fall


WOW! What a fun contest! I love it when the results run so close you end up hitting the refresh button every few minutes to see who’s ahead. THANK YOU FOR VOTING, EVERYONE!

Rachel will get to choose any BusyBodies product of her choice ($20.00 max) OR a $20.00 gift certificate to Amazon.com AND this button to display on her blog (if she chooses - it’s not a requirement :) )

THANK YOU again for sharing your lives with us!! Let’s do this again in December!

1. Charlotte
2. ideru
3. RittyRats
4. Rachel
5. Heather
6. Believer in Balance
7. Summer
8. peppylady
9. Ninnie
10. Wendy @ WeSnLaNi
11. With An Angel on My Shoulder
12. Jo
13. Mama Zen
14. Angie
15. Corey~ Living and Loving
16. erin

Powered by… Mister Linky’s Magical Widgets.

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2645. Flash From the Past - Dressed Alike

Dressed in Stripes

MK and GD about three years ago. Yes, I used to dress them alike. Well, sort of. They are both wearing the same type of shirt, only different colored stripes.

I miss dressing them in similar clothes. They were so cute. Now? I’m lucky if they wear more than one shirt a week. I actually have to hide their shirts just so they will wear something different. They think wearing more than one or two shirts at all times makes them look preppy and nerdy (Where did that get that??)

This was taken in my mom and dad’s sunroom at Christmas. As you can see, MK’s plate is still full, GD’s is empty. This is one of the few pictures I have that shows MK eats at all!


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2646. Aloha Friday


Fellow blogger and gal pal Kailani, from An Island Life, has started this fun Friday meme. Here’s a little bit about the meme and how it works:

Aloha Friday is a very popular term used in Hawaii. It’s basically a day where we take it easy and look forward to the upcoming weekend - kind of like T.G.I.F. I’ll be posting a simple question or topic of conversation and then opening up the comments to you. If you’d like to join me, just post something on your blog with your own question and then sign the Mr. Linky below. Then we can all go around and visit each other.

So, if you would like to play along, visit Kailani’s blog, answer her question, and then visit, and answer everyone else’s questions! If you feel inclined to answer my question, please post your answer in the comment section. Sound fun? Of course it does!

(Please feel free to answer the question below, even if you’re not playing Aloha Friday!)

My question:

If you were being interviewed for your dream job and they asked you what your biggest weakness was, how would you answer?

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2647. Friday Craft - Ball Player Pumpkin

Transform a pumpkin into a bubble-blowing major leaguer.


Carving knife
White paper
Acrylic paint or markers
Pink balloon
Baseball cap

Time needed: Under 1 Hour
1. Cut the pumpkin’s top off and hollow out the shell.

2. For eyes, carve holes in the shell and tack white paper behind them.

3. Use acrylic paints and colored markers to add hair and eye black below the eyes.

4. To make the gum bubble, blow up a small pink balloon and pull the knotted end through a small hole in the pumpkin’s shell. Then add a baseball cap for the finishing touch.

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2648. Saturday Photo Hunt - Smelly

This week’s theme: Smelly

One thing I’m NOT, is a foot person. I can’t stand feet. Even my boys’ cute little toesies. And especially now as they get older and take off their shoes.

Whoo! Pass the Lysol.

GD’s feet, on the left, are completely flat. He has to wear arch supports in his shoes. MK’s feet, on the right, have a very high arch. These boys are so different; it’s hard to believe they came from the same man.

Best Foot Forward
Grab the Scavenger Hunt code.
Photo Theme. Join the blogroll. Visit participants.


null Attention shutterbugs! It’s time for another photo contest! The theme is Fall. Check here for rules. Winner receives either BusyBodies merchandise ($20 value), or a $20 Amazon.com gift certificate. All you have to do is post a picture - how easy is that?

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2649. It’s a Question of Scruples - #17

View results here.

Care to elaborate? Why did you vote the way you did?

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2650. Song of the Week #11

I love music. I love unknown musicians. I post a song from an unknown musician every week. Support your local musicians, won’t you?

I’m feeling a little blue-sy today. You?

Song of the Week:

I also post a daily comic strip from Baby Blues. Life is tough - take a moment and laugh, won’t you? :D

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