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Viewing: Blog Posts Tagged with: Life, Most Recent at Top [Help]
Results 1 - 25 of 1,743

1. Make homemade Peeps.

2. Eat homemade Peeps until I'm sick.

3. Rest.

4. Repeat.

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2. First blood.


Oh, man. It's going to be a gory spring.

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3. In Praise of the Mom-Traffic Controller

Yesterday was one of those days. It is beyond my man-sized mind how everything fit together. I had nothing to do with its success or organization. But like a giant fuel-guzzling puzzle, the last piece set in perfectly about nine o’clock. Until then, my family ranged in different directions all across the metro area. The amazing thing is that the MTC (Mom-Traffic Controller) was absent for a good portion of it.

I had business on the other side of the city that kept me away until most of the flights were filed and done. If you know Atlanta traffic, you know that being on the other side of it on a weekday means that, while only thirty miles away, I may as well have been in Guatemala in case of an emergency. Sometimes, there is just no getting home. But the MTC needed me not.


The Grandaddy taxi (my kids’ favorite ride because it often stops for a milkshake) had a few trips, she called in a favor from another middle-school parent, my nephew’s girlfriend made a pick-up, and I think there were two dog sleds and a rickshaw involved. Of course, this day involved multiple after school activities for every child that required extra commutes. Here is where I think the MTC was just showing off – she drove an hour north of the city on a college visit and took the only other driver of the house with her. So she wasn’t even around to oversee her masterpiece!

Through some mystery of mother magic, everything worked out. I counted two children when I got home and the other two trudged through the door soon after. They looked haggard but familiar, so I’m fairly certain they are mine.

Men, lest you think you could handle this task, let me recount for you my experience on Saturday (Car Day). I had one assigned job, ONE: pick up dancer daughter at 12:30. The brakes took a little longer than expected, but I finished and went inside to wipe the grime off of my fingertips so I could handle food. While at the sink, my phone lit up with a missed text. Instantly, I had that “Oh Crap!” moment when I saw the digital readout. You guessed it, 12:40. I forgot my one job, along with my daughter who sat waiting twenty minutes away. The forgotten child’s next text went to the MTC, who was at a play. I had planned to bribe my daughter’s silence with ice cream. But on the frantic trip to get her, I received from the MTC saying, “Nice job, Dad.” Exposed.


So, all hail the MTC! I don’t know where you received your degree in family flight management, but the entire (and somehow intact) family is glad you have it!

10 Comments on In Praise of the Mom-Traffic Controller, last added: 3/25/2014
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4. In which April does the math

Every night I lie awake doing the math.  In the next six weeks, I need to:

- Write 70K words. This is what is stressing me out the most.  I can't skip a single day of writing.
- Try to read someone's book to blurb
- Go to Missouri and do several days of school visits
- Go to the Houston Teen Book Con
- Write two articles (one may be emotionally wrenching)
- Celebrate my birthday
- Drive five hours to my home town for two days of school visits and a presentation at B&N
- Walk through the house where I grew up and where my mom died and say goodbye because it just got sold
- Finish paying my taxes and set up an IRA SEP
- Speak at a benefit for low-income housing

And a few other things.

I just tell myself something Laini Taylor did once.  That there is a future me and she has done it.

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5. The Holy Trinity of Boys

Passing over the bridge to the park Saturday, I heard laughter mixed with threats from the creek below. It took a few steps to get a view of the action between the dense limbs forming a canopy above the slow moving water. But what I saw brought an instant smile to my face: a real, knockdown, drag-out mudfight.


Four shirtless combatants

No distinct sides or teams

Eight handfuls of muck and sludge, ducking, slinging, flailing away.

Goo and gunk flying in every direction.

Filthy joy pigs would be proud of.

The Holy Trinity of Boys – Filth in all three forms: Dirt, Mud, & Dust


One Mom – a lax referee, sat on the bank chuckling along. I wanted to take a picture of the fun, but was afraid to be labelled some sort of park whacko. So I just watched, a little jealous of them, wondering if I could have been as cool a parent to sons. Would I let my boys get that dirty, despite the inconvenience of taking them home? Or if I had boys, would I be more worried about the cleanliness, my car seats, and the waste of time?

(Nah, I’m pretty sure my shirt would have been on the bank with theirs…but who knows.)

I don’t know who you are, lady. All I know is; you are the official Mother of the Weekend. You get no award besides the joy you allowed your boys. But that’s enough.

Artwork credit: Harold W. Olsen (www.haroldolsen.com)

10 Comments on The Holy Trinity of Boys, last added: 3/18/2014
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6. "What? I want one!"

Josh: *sad sigh* There's not a Girls of Hart of Dixie calendar available on Amazon.

Me: *side eye*

Josh: What? I want one!

Me: *side eye*

Josh: WHAT? As if you wouldn't want a Hot Neighbor Wade calendar.

Me: Okay, you're totally right about the Hot Neighbor Wade calendar. But I'm still totally judging you right now. ALSO, IT'S MARCH.


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7. Hasten, Spring


One last sketch before I head off to the weekend.

I'm planning to watch this.
Read that.
And fingers crossed, cook this.

And you?

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8. J Is For Job Losses In Phokeng

Central Phokeng, around 5kms from where I live One of the reasons I'm such a strong advocate for running your own business is that no one can retrench you. A client can fire you. A long term contract that provides the backbone of your business can expire.But hopefully, if such a thing happens, you made sure you have other clients who can take up the slack and you know where to go look for

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9. J Is For Juggling Roles

The weekend was rough. We had electricity problems and were unconnected for more than 24 hours. It was not a loadshedding issue ( loadhshedding was not implemented in my area anyway). It was just a technical problem that was complicated by a techie who told the utility company that everything was fine on their end when they did in fact have a problem and it was affecting us. So I had to

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10. Two Years. 2,000,000 steps!

Celebrating a Milestone

This weekend I’m celebrating a milestone. Two years ago I began running on the steps in front of my local courthouse. In these two years I’ve run up and down about 2,000,000 steps – between 3,400 and 5,600 steps per day, depending on how I feel and what the weather is like. On my 53rd birthday in October I challenged myself to run 10,000 steps. I did it in one hour and 38 minutes!


Why I Love Running Steps

Running steps more than anything is meditative.  I walk about a half mile from my house to the courthouse, through my alley and down a semi-busy street. I watch the sun rise every morning, listen to the birds chirping, often flying overhead. I pass by morning glories opening and alley cats that scamper as I approach. I arrive at the courthouse while no one else is there, except for the security guards. I count the number of laps I do up and down, which I like to call “innings.” I don’t really focus on counting, it just happens naturally and keeps my mind light and free.

I live in Miami, so it’s hot here – really, really hot and humid. That adds to the challenge of keeping up my energy. But it also allows for a really good sweat, providing that feeling that I’ve sweat out the toxins and have accomplished something worthwhile.  It may sound crazy, but the hard work is worth the euphoric feeling you get when you’re finished. I leave with happy, positive thoughts. Running the steps is free. No club membership! Plus it doesn’t take much time – about 45-minutes of time from start to finish.

I run barefoot because shoes cause injury to my feet and knees. Here I am running the Rocky Steps in Philly.


 What Motivates Me to Run

When I was a child I was always the last one chosen for sports teams whether at school or at play. I wasn’t an athlete; in fact I couldn’t hit a volleyball over a net, hit a baseball or golf well. But as I got older I realized that not being athletically inclined didn’t mean I had to be unfit. My father passed away when he was 40 from a heart attack and my mother had two forms of cancer suffering for 9 years before passing away at age 70.  I can’t change my genetics, but I realized I could get and stay fit, eat right and do what I can to stay healthy. Thinking about my parents’ health challenges motivates me every day. I live by my motto, “Shut your pie hole and move your ass!”

It’s Not Discipline

In the beginning, running steps was really challenging. I was already doing aerobics for years at home, but running up and down steps is really a strenuous workout. It took a lot of self-talking to get up and out of the house early every morning. But then after a few months, gradually I began to look forward to going. Now I can best describe running as a habit. It’s sort of like getting up and brushing your teeth. You just do it. I do have sluggish days when I just don’t feel like running, but I go anyway. My husband calls those “bonus days,” because although your time may be slower or your step numbers may be lower, you went out there and did something on a day when you just didn’t feel like doing it.

A white layer cake I made to celebrate.

What Running Has Taught Me

It’s wrong to label yourself in any negative way. “I’m not athletic,” “I’m too old,” “I’m uncoordinated” or “I don’t think I can or should do this or that.” Running has taught me that I can have as much energy as a 25-year-old, and that if I can stick to something athletic and challenging, then I can transfer that success to other areas of my life. The only boundaries are the ones we put on ourselves.




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11. I is for Ideal Working Conditions

Night flowers I'm planning to watch unfold Sometimes you have to work hours or in locations that are less than your ideal, and your work has to fit around your life issues.Today is one of those days for me. In general, I do better, am happier when I have a routine. I know, I know. Dull, isn't it? But I've come to terms with the fact that I write/work better when there is no drama except the

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12. Thou Shalt Not Curse at Missionaries

After coming home from a service trip to Swaziland a few years ago, I felt renewed, energetic and ready to go again. It wasn’t your average mission trip, we worked hard to prepare a home for abandoned infants, which is a big problem there. I loved every minute of it and started dreaming about another place to go.

You see, I like to build stuff. I’ve been doing it for years and have built almost all of the wood furniture in our house. I’ve finished rooms, our basement, and done some pretty big construction tasks over the years. I even got to build this table that now sits at the missionary house in Heart for Africa. I like to think it will be useful for a good purpose long after I am.image

I’m not the guy who is going to go door-to-door or perform street theater – but I’ll pour concrete, remove debris, or swing a hammer. It is wonderful when God marries a talent with a need and grants the ability to go somewhere to serve. When Sudan and South Sudan were splitting apart, I got burdened for the people of South Sudan and wanted to go. That got me started trolling for an opportunity and I found a cool mission group who work with an orphanage there.

I contacted a very nice lady name Rose. Several emails and a few calls later, I learned of a trip with building men like me that was perfect and I began praying about it. I emailed one last question to Rose from my iPad – “Is South Sudan a yellow fever area? Swaziland isn’t and I don’t have that sh-t.”

Whatever I typed, the glorious auto-correct feature from Apple naturally assumed I needed to discuss feces and not an inoculation. I didn’t notice until I got her response and read what I had sent. My mind went into overdrive:

Did I really send that??? To a missionary?? Why yes, yes I did!

Is there a commandment about that? Something about a special place in hell for people who cuss at missionaries?

I thought I should probably let it go, but didn’t want to be ostracized from the trip. So I sent an apology saying, “Obviously, I meant shot.”

I loved her response, “HaHa. I know, I got a snarky giggle out of it.”

Haha, indeed.

Unfortunately, the trip was cancelled due to instability in the country.  I’d still love to go there and other places to lend a hand. In the meantime, I’ll watch my words more closely and try to handle surprises that come my way with Rose’s grace and understanding.

Has God married a talent of yours with a need? I’d love to hear about it.

10 Comments on Thou Shalt Not Curse at Missionaries, last added: 3/6/2014
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13. Well, hello there.

Long time no see.

I've been radio silent while dealing with my annual bout of Winter Malaise—which seems to get worse every year, maybe I should buy one of those full-spectrum lights or something?—but I'm finally starting to feel like myself again. And by "feel like myself", I mean that I'm finally wanting to blather on about books and, like, INTERACT WITH HUMANITY, and just generally do stuff other than play Gnomoria* and Kingdom of Loathing while drinking endless cups of tea and re-watching Next Gen.

But until I manage to get Totally Motivated, just so you know, I AM STILL ALIVE, and will be getting back to posting regularly very soon.

Annnnnnd I just looked outside and it's snowing again.




Josh: How are your gnomes doing? Did your yaks run away again?

Me: Pretty good! I've even got some emus and alpacas now, and they're all just trucking along. No one's even died y— ...OH MY GOD HOW DID ALL OF THOSE GOBLINS JUST GET INTO MY FORTRESS THEY'RE PUNCHING MY YAK AND STEALING MY STUFF WHAT THE HELL WHERE DID THAT MANT COME FROM!?!??!?!

Josh: I am judging you so hard right now.

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14. I Is For Insurance/Income Protector

One of the issues we need to consider as business owners is how to bring in money when we are sick and incapacitated in some way. In South Africa, many employers provide insurance that allows you to be paid your salary/a portion of it while you're on medical leave. We also have an unemployment fund, from which one can claim during the time that they are incapacitated. However, as small business

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15. Dr. Seuss Quotes to Change Your Life

I came across this wonderful infographic by www.mamiverse.com and - in honor of Dr. Seuss's birthday and Read Across America day - had to share it! My absolute favorite is #11 ... it's a keeper, and one to be passed along to my children!

Which one is your favorite? (You don't have to pick just one! :-)).

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16. A Wet Lazy Sunday

I'm  having one of those slow, wet, lazy Sundays that you wish could go on forever. It's midday as I write this post, and I'm sitting on my bed with pillows balancing my back, a laptop in front of me and curtains wide open so I can watch the slow gentle rain outside. I had a massive cook-out yesterday, preparing various dishes to freeze for days when I don't want to cook. The house is clean and

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17. Poetry Friday: Poems for a Book Character

Photo by Mary Lee Hahn. May be used with attribution.

I still haven't quite recovered from reading The Goldfinch. (My gobstopped review is here.)

This is a poem the main character, Theo, would appreciate. It fits with his world view. Mine, too, on the days when I choose not to think about the truth of our existence here.

by Wyatt Townley

It's only the body
It's only a hip joint
It's just a bulging disc
It's only weather
It's only your heart
It's a shoulder who needs it
This happens all the time
It's very common
It's unusual
For people your age
For people your age
You're in great shape
Remarkable shape
It's nothing you did
The main thing is
It's temporary
It's only a doll
In a house that's burning

But Theo would also like this one, knowing, as he did, the power of art to change our lives.

Archaic Torso of Apollo
by Rainer Maria Rilke
translated by Stephen Mitchell

We cannot know his legendary head 
with eyes like ripening fruit. And yet his torso 
is still suffused with brilliance from inside, 
like a lamp, in which his gaze, now turned to low, 

gleams in all its power. Otherwise 
the curved breast could not dazzle you so, nor could 
a smile run through the placid hips and thighs 
to that dark center where procreation flared. 

Otherwise this stone would seem defaced 
beneath the translucent cascade of the shoulders 
and would not glisten like a wild beast's fur: 

would not, from all the borders of itself, 
burst like a star: for here there is no place 
that does not see you. You must change your life.

Anastasia has the Poetry Friday Roundup this week via Poet! Poet!, but on Pinterest HERE.

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18. Just thinking

I would like to think that I could come up with some Geo-Terra-forming-hyper-thoughts but can only come up with the belief that I am correct to feel immortal and know that even after I go to the next eternity, that itself will end, and “I” become some horrific to these “Now ” eyes, some specimen of thing unknowable to this consciousness, yet another “thing” that feels correct to it’s nature and has no thought of being not correct, that after an eternity of these formations and resurrections and deaths I will sink into the opposite sludge of nonexistence but after a time, that is not time, will again float to the surface *POP* out and start all over again.

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19. I’m an Independent Thinker … Mostly

personality2 So I took the personality test that is going around Facebook

I’m an independent thinker. Let’s analyze this, shall we?

Independent Thinkers are analytical and witty persons. They are normally self-confident and do not let themselves get worked up by conflicts and criticism. They are very much aware of their own strengths and have no doubts about their abilities.

Completely agree with this. I can’t STAND drama, of any type. I do get worked up a bit by criticism, but only when it comes from Kevin … not sure why that is. Everyone else? Meh.

People of this personality type are often very successful in their career as they have both competence and purposefulness. Independent Thinkers are excellent strategists; logic, systematics and theoretical considerations are their world. They are eager for knowledge and always endeavour to expand and perfect their knowledge in any area which is interesting for them. Abstract thinking comes naturally to them; scientists and computer specialists are often of this type.

Yes. I take great pride on my work. No matter what I’m doing, I strive to be the best (insert name of whatever I happen to be doing) that my employer has ever seen. It’s a personal challenge to me and I thrive on a job well done.

Independent Thinkers are specialists in their area. The development of their ideas and visions is important to them; they love being as flexible as possible and, ideally, of being able to work alone because they often find it a strain having to make their complex trains of thought understandable to other people. Independent Thinkers cannot stand routine. Once they consider an idea to be good it is difficult to make them give it up; they pursue the implementation of that idea obstinately and persistently, also in the face of external opposition.

Not sure about the specialist part, but I think I only say that because I haven’t really stuck to any one thing long enough to BECOME an expert. I absolutely prefer to work alone – though I can absolutely work in a group, if forced to. I tend to take control and just prefer to do something myself as opposed to relinquishing the control over to someone else. I don’t agree with the last half of that paragraph, though. I like routine. I get BORED with routine and will often tweak it, but for the most part, I would rather have routine than not. And I’m more than open to considering other peoples’ suggestions on how to make my idea better. I’m never too proud to listen.

Independent Thinkers are not the type who easily come out of their shells. Speaking about their emotional life is also not one of their strong points. Anyway, social relationships are not particularly important to them; they are happy with just a few, close friends who find it easy to share their intellectual world. They find it difficult to establish new ties. In love, they need a lot of space and independence but this does not mean that their partner is not important to them. Independent Thinkers often make a cool and reserved impression on others; but this impression is deceptive: they can hardly bear it if people close to them should reject them. They prefer a harmonious, balanced relationship with a partner who shares their interests and with whom they can realise their visions.

Very true. I have a pretty thick shell and I’m absolutely okay with it. I don’t regret it and I use it – often. I don’t like to speak about my emotional life too often, which sounds weird considering this blog, but there is A LOT I don’t say on this blog because I take my audience into consideration (believe it or not). You have to pay attention to what I’m NOT saying. I’m actually okay with not having ANY close friends. Kevin is my only close friend and I’m perfectly okay with that. I’m selfish with my time, I’m not afraid to admit that – and friends simply demand more time and energy than I’m willing to dole out. I’m a cool and reserved person and don’t care what others think … unless it’s Kevin, then I care. A lot.

Career Advice

Like all Thinker types you tend to lean towards perfectionism and in the work place you are always striving for as much knowledge and expertise as possible. You are rarely or never satisfied with your accomplishments and that applies to yours as well as the achievements of others. Sometimes that makes it pretty difficult for your colleagues and subordinates to please you. Once you have privately tagged somebody with the label of incompetent, they will not have an easy time in your working environment. However, for those who manage to gain your respect with ability and intellect, you are an equally quick-witted as well as sagacious colleague who is ready to solve even the most difficult problems without apparent effort.

Wow. This sums me up perfectly. I take a moment to savor whatever goal I’ve accomplished and then I’m off to make bigger and better goals. And yes, I have no patience for incompetent people – none. Especially those who always have a ready excuse for not doing something or not learning how to do something better. Lazy people completely turn me off.

Hardly any other type is as interested in wielding power. However, the Thinker is less interested in wielding power over other people but rather considers controlling nature and his environment to be much more interesting. This is the main motivation for your continuous hunger – almost an obsession – for more information. Improving your capabilities and expanding the store of your knowledge and experience is your life’s main objective.

Oh my gosh, this part gives me goosebumps. I don’t think I even realized I WAS actively controlling my environment until I read this. I’m happiest at my job when I’m in a position to CONTROL every aspect of it. Then I can comfortably accept responsibility for my success, and my failures.

You are as hard on yourself and your own achievements as on others, and you put great pressure on yourself in your work environment. Sometimes you agonize over self-doubt thinking that you may not accomplish anything after all. Occasionally you stand in your own way obstructing your superior capabilities instead of being able to utilize them. In case it actually happens that you make a mistake, you mercilessly exercise self-criticism and double your efforts for perfection. Your coolness may occasionally appear to be arrogance, and that often deceives people around you about what really moves you.

Again – SPOT. ON. There’s nothing to add to this – this is me, in a nutshell.

Adjectives that describe your type
introverted, theoretical, logical, planning, rational, independent, intellectual, self-confident, analytical, structured, dogged, witty, resolute, self-critical, visionary, inventive, independent, unsociable, reserved, nonconformist, quiet, visionary, honest, demanding, hardworking

Really – what more can I say? You now know me better than most of the people in my life know me.


Filed under: Life

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20. Take Responsibility for Your Own Lives, People.

So I heard on a radio home show today …

The couple who sold their house couldn’t figure out why they weren’t getting any of their mail – no catalogs, no glossy magazines, no bills … nothing.

They emailed the radio show host to ask if it was illegal to not forward their mail to them. Didn’t the new owners of their old house know they needed to forward their mail??

They admitted, in their email, that they hadn’t filled out a forwarding address form, but STILL. Don’t the new owners know they have to take it upon themselves to address their mail with their new address? What was WRONG with these people … GAWD.

The radio host, very kindly, explained to the people who wrote the letter, that it wasn’t against the law to throw away catalogs and glossy magazines, but it was absolutely a felony for someone to throw away first-class mail.

I can just imagine the smug looks of satisfaction that crossed the people’s faces of whomever wrote that letter. “See?” They knowingly nudge each other. “Told you!”

However. It wasn’t the responsibility of the new owners to fill out a change of address card for their new address. All the new owners had to do was write “return to sender” or “no such person exists” on the envelope and put it back into their mailbox.

This story absolutely got my blood boiling – IT’S STILL BOILING. I have a tendency to let a lot of things roll off my back and I’m already convinced that a large chunk of people are honest-to-God stupid nowadays, but I have no patience – ZERO – for people who refuse to take responsibility for themselves and/or are too lazy to fill out a freaking change of address card and take care of their own damn business.

Instead, these stupid people spent the time and energy to write a radio talk show host to find out if there were legal ramification to get someone else in trouble for something they should have the brains to do themselves.

This is where we are in America today.

Doesn’t it give you the warm and fuzzies??

Filed under: Life

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21. 2014 Reading Goals.

This'll be short and sweet, because my MAJOR GOAL is this:

To stop worrying about always staying on top of the newest, the shiniest, the most buzzed-about books.

To stop reading what I think I SHOULD be reading, and to read what I WANT to read.

To stop beating myself up for not writing at length about everything I read, for not posting every day, for not doing MORE MORE MORE MORE MORE.

I would also like to:

Read more adult fiction. I miss it, and I've been so busy over the last couple of years that it's been super-backburnered. I'd like to read at least a chapter a day of SOMETHING originally written for the adult market, if only as a palate cleanser.

Read more backlist. An easy 99% of the pitches in my inbox are for the NEWEST, the HOTTEST, the NEXT BIG THING. I feel like I've missed a lot of stuff over the years, and so I'm giving myself license to forgo reading some of the super-new stuff in favor of focusing on some older titles.


You? Any goals for 2014?

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22. Our Youngest Son Graduated from High School – Seven Months Ago

I’m a terrible blogger.

Brandon graduated from high school! Back in May of 2013.

He also graduated with all A’s and B’s – he didn’t have one C on any of his report cards from his four years in high school.


The baby has flown the coop … well, the baby is still IN the coop, but he’s definitely starting a new phase of life.

What’s happening with Brandon? I’m glad you asked …

He took a few months off after graduation to slum around the house and spent most of his time with his face buried in his computer monitor. Kevin finally got tired of that and soon “encouraged” (I’d say threaten, but that sounds so harsh, let’s go with encouraged) to get a job. Brandon, being the lucky person that he is, landed the very first job he applied for – in a restaurant.

It’s been a learning experience for him. It’s been a GOOD experience for him. Everything has always come pretty easily for Brandon. He’s a smart cookie and I’ll be honest, I sometimes suspect Lady Luck follows him around occasionally. But working this job has taught him responsibility and to endure uncomfortable situations, whether that stems from co-worker relationships or the physical discomfort of plunging his hands in very hot soapy water and doing dishes … for four hours at a time.

He’s been pretty discouraged and he wanted to quit after only working there for two months. However, I forbid him to quit because HELLO, real life, you don’t quit when things get tough. I did, however, encourage him to apply at other businesses because life is too short to be that unhappy. So he applied at several retail stores (because he’s through with the food industry – I feel his pain – I worked at Wendys for the first seven years of my working career) and surprisingly, hasn’t had one interview. That’s not true, he had one interview at Wal-Mart, but they told him they had already hired someone by the time he showed up. (Which – Hmm – weird. I wonder if they took one look at his scrawny self and thought he was too weak to handle the job? It’s possible because he is “stick boy.”)

So he’s learned, very quickly, that getting a job, under normal circumstances, is not as easy as he thought it was going to be, or as easy as it was when he got this first job. In the meantime, he’s been written up twice at work – mainly because of his attitude. Brandon is very stubborn (guess where he gets that trait – from both me and Kevin, to be honest) and he gets pretty pouty and obstinate whenever he doesn’t want to do something or feels like his performance is sub-par. He’s VERY hard on himself, which to some extent is not necessarily a bad thing, but everyone has to understand and respect his/her physical/emotional limitations. I’ve had several conversations with Brandon about real life and how important it is to take everything in stride and try very hard to take the high road – it’s not always easy. And sometimes, it feels like an impossible task, but he has endured his hardships and I’m not hearing him complain as much, though this is not a job that he will ever grow to LOVE, he has grown to tolerate it. And he’s getting better, and more comfortable, with what he’s doing.

He’s been working for this company for about six months now – it feels WAAAAY longer. Probably to him, too. I’m sure he’s wracking up the moolah because we’re not making him pay any bills for now – he’s saving his money. (I wish we had insisted that Blake get a job after he graduated from high school, but his story will come later).

Bran is also starting a community college this month, too. He’s taking two campus classes and one online class. It’ll be interesting to see how he handles the extra pressure because he’ll be working part-time and going to school part-time. We have told him, in no uncertain terms, that we will pay for his schooling as long as he takes it seriously. The moment he blows it off, he’s paying us back for the classes he blew off and if he wants to go back to school, he has to pay for it himself.

I think that’s a fair deal.

We’ll see how he does.

We’re not MAKING him go to school – this is his choice. We told him that he could continue to work at his minimum-paying job and if he’s okay with living his life from paycheck-to-paycheck and enduring the stress of living life barely scraping by, that’s certainly his choice. But if he’s going to go to school and work toward a long-term career-type of job, he would need to go to school and learn a trade. He wouldn’t necessarily have to go to a four-year college – trade schools are certainly a viable option and especially if they offer an associates degree in the area that interests him – computer animation.

He starts classes in a few weeks. I’ve been encouraging him to buy a laptop so that he can remain on campus after his classes and get his work done. Speaking from experience, it’s REALLY HARD to come home, after class, and be disciplined enough to do homework. I would get home, eat a little something and then get sleepy, because you know, my bed is only a few rooms away, and I would crash and not get my work done until the last minute – I was in a perpetual state of stress the remaining years of my college life.

He’s expressed interest in that option, but we’ll see if he follows through with that. “Laptops are expensive, mom.”

Funny how he’s FINALLY realizing that now that he’s making his own money.

I finally broke down and MADE him buy himself new sneakers and work shoes. He was wearing his old sneakers to work, sneakers that he’s been wearing for the past three years, every day, and that didn’t have one shred of tread on them. When he was coming home with bruises on his arms/elbows and told him he had fallen no less than eight times – EIGHT TIMES – at work due to it being so slippery in the back room, I said enough.

(It’s a miracle he didn’t break an arm – thank you God for watching out for him).

We went to Shoe Carnival and he bought a pair of black heavy duty no-slip, waterproof shoes to wear to work as well as new sneakers. Because he was always getting his sneakers wet at work, they never truly dried out and they started mildewing and smelling up the whole house. They were simply gross. So, he bought new sneakers, too. He’s fallen less since he’s been wearing his work shoes, but he admits it was long overdue and he was glad I made him man up and dole out the money for safety reasons.

Silly boy.

He’s been very responsible. He’s been setting his own alarm and getting himself off to work every day. I usually have no idea when he works until he walks out of his bedroom in his uniform (which consists of a company t-shirts and khaki pants). I’ve been very proud of how responsible he’s been handling this new stress in his life.

It was funny – we went to a band competition back in October and he met up with some of his band buddies who told him that they were going to a big, four-year college and I could tell Brandon felt like he was missing out on something. His buddies are playing in the college band and were telling him what a great time they were having doing it. We had a conversation about that after the competition was over and we were driving back to our hotel (we opted to stay over night as opposed to driving home at 3:00 a.m. – we WON’T be doing that again any time soon – GAH), and I offered to help him enroll at our local four-year college and look into playing for the band if he truly wanted to do that, but after some consideration, he said no, he felt like working at this job was what he wanted to do for now and would slowly ease his way into the college life with his upcoming classes. Plus, he knew how expensive a four-year college was as opposed to the technical school and would prefer to get his required classes out of the way and then perhaps transfer to a four-year college later.

It was a very proud mom moment – we’ve taught him well, apparently. :-)

So that’s where Brandon is right now – on the cusp of starting his life and it’s both exciting, and scary, to stand on the sidelines and wait for the next phase to play out.

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23. This is Why They Call Them “Average” Tempertatures

Look at the temp differences today through Monday.

Is it any wonder that I keep Aleve D on hand?? These jumping temperatures cause havoc on my sinuses. I woke up at 5:30 this morning feeling like a small child was sitting on my face. NOT FUN.

It’s not Global Warming. It’s not Global Cooling. It’s not even climate change (to use the current buzzword). It’s actually called natural cyclical weather changes that occur every cotton-pickin’ season every cotton-pickin’ year. Some winters are bitterly cold, some winters are unseasonably warm. Some winters we have a lot of snow, some winters we have zero snow.

These temperature changes are WHY we have average temperatures. You know those average temperatures weatherpeople (because God forbid I keep it politically correct) report on? THIS is where they come from – wildly fluctuating temperatures that are a NATURAL PROCESSION WE EXPERIENCE FROM SEASON TO SEASON.

Sorry to yell.

Humans are a speck of dirt in the grand scheme of things. Sure. We can, and will, do a better job of keeping our Mother Earth (Ugh – that sounds so hippy-ish, but you get the idea) clean, but honestly, humans have ultimate impact/control over our weather conditions??

HAHA. Get over yourselves. Geez. It’s not rocket science, people.

Anyhoo – dig out those heavy coats, hats, gloves and long johns: It’s going to be frigid for a few days.

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24. Best day ever?

Today, I held the library's first Lego Club.


Also, a patron brought me chocolate-covered bacon.


And finally, somehow the bathroom door got locked from the inside with no one in it, and like a boss, I figured out how to open it.


Now, Josh is making me a grilled cheese.


And I'm going to eat it while drinking a Sierra Nevada Ruthless Rye.


While watching an Archer rerun.


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25. Today @KirkusReviews...

...I wrote about what I've been reading to combat my winter blues.

Feel free to give me some recommendations, as I've been feeling SOMEWHAT LOW.

(Not in an unusually bad way. Just in an It's January And We Still Have February And March To Look Forward To way. In other words, BLAH AND ALSO BLERG.)

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