August 27, 2009


I'm becoming obsessed with my computer. In the past week, I have hardly been able to get away from it. It's like that boyfriend, just after highschool, who was so intense and so James Dean that no matter what he was arrested for, or what horrible secrets hid in his past, you couldn't turn away. You had one, didn't you? I married mine. God help me make a better choice with this PC.

I have been chain-reading OPB this morning. (Other People's Blogs). I start with a blog I know, like Kim's, because she has a gazillion followers, and I start clicking around her list. Granted, as a result of starting with the blog of a YA fiction author, I am "meeting" a lot of YA fans and writers. (That's quote-meeting-unquote, like I "met" Justine Bateman one time when her bodyguard held the door open for me at the frozen yogurt place.)

"YA" stands for Young Adult. Yeah, I didn't know either, and I'm a freakin' high school English teacher! Reason #52 I quit teaching. But not knowing the YA Secret Handshake is not stopping me; I'll crash any party. I have no desire to write YA fiction; (I lived it for long enough, thank you. There is nothing in the universe that could make me want to go back to middle school, in the form of any character). But I love the stuff that's coming out now for kids to read. I wish Jack were a more avid reader and that I could hook him up with some of these books. His reaction to my presenting him with a book would be quite similar to his reaction to school supplies, so I dare not push it. Until school starts. Then I'm militant.

And, YA or not, I have read so many awesome blogs! I'm so envious of the Bloggers who seem to have all the right connections and know all the right Blog Lingo. There are contests and interviews and pictures of really cool book covers (because some of these folks are actually published). There are fun little facts about people that are truly interesting, even if I haven't met them. And hilarious stories like Little Ms. J's poop story, which had me in tears. I've already plugged her blog (pardon the pun), so I won't go all stalker on her and link you to it every time I read it. But really. Funny story.

I'm grooving on all the different lives people lead and how well they all write. Since I decided to become a Web Designer, out of the blue, since I still don't know what I want to be when I grow up, I have been all over the blogosphere and the internet, checking things out. Where in the world has this been my entire life? Here I am, in my pj's, in my comfy big-girl office chair, reading away the hours and calling it "research". And with coffee! Does it get any better than this?

But RL just kicked in and I have to head out to my new Personal Trainer and my first consultation at the new gym. Getting my BMI measured (not to mention my thighs) will be good for me, right? The truth will set me free, right? Or at least give me something to write about when I get home.

August 26, 2009

My Rained Out Parade

It is so time for school to start. The kids have run out of fun things to do and have now resorted to generally stirring up the shit. Like last night, when Jack and his buddies got a little sideways of our neighbor. I needn't go into all the details; suffice to say that blackberry juice does not rub off the side of someone's house with a shirt sleeve and some spit.

So I was thinking a day off from causing trouble in Mayberry wouldn't be a bad thing. I woke up with a plan. Instead of letting him wander around with the other hoodlums, trying to figure out ways to keep themselves busy, I thought it would be fun if just the two of us, Jack and me, went out and shopped for all of his school supplies today. We could go out to lunch, you know, a little McD's, hang out, roam around Target, that sort of thing.

I was psyched. School supplies! Sure, I'm a fast food junkie, and the thought of a #1 with Coke is not unappealing. And who doesn't love to loiter in Target? But the real draw for me is the pens. The paper. The notebooks and binders and sharpeners and folders and pouches and - oh my God, I'm starting to sweat. I adore school supplies. There's a whole cult of us out there, I know, secret Pee Chee lovers. I can't imagine a better shopping trip (although Vegas with a zero-balance credit card is up there.) I was so excited to present this opportunity to Jack - this blast of a day, just Mom and Me...

....but, alas, Jack is not a cult follower. Weird, since he's so like me, in so many other ways. When I asked him if he was up for the idea, he looked at me like I'd asked him if he wanted to go shopping at Macys for underwear, then sit in the hair salon while I had a cut and color, then go to lunch at some restaurant with food he can't identify. He looked pained.

"Arrgghhhh...." he groaned, his head thrown back dramatically, his arms dropped helplessly by his side, "do we haaaaave to? I haaaaaaate school supplies."

That can't even be a real sentence, can it? "I hate school supplies" ? Is he out of his mind? Whose kid is this, anyway?

Fine. I'll go by myself. Too bad for him if he ends up with a Hello Kitty binder and sparkly pencils with his name on them.


P. S.
I found a new blog I really like. Check it out: (Is it normal for me to plug other people's blogs?) I don't even know this woman, although we do have a mutual friend. She's seriously funny and I hope I can be as entertaining as she is. In the meantime I'm just going to babble and hope I strike a chord somewhere.

I'm not crazy about the new font I picked for my last post. In fact, it looks like something a 3rd grader would choose. But the point was to learn how to do it, and I did, sort of. I was quite proud of myself; if you knew the extent of my brain's scientific capacity, you'd be proud of me, too.

August 25, 2009

I Know Nothing

I always knew I was technically challenged, but I kind of pretended not to be.  I acted like I had some inkling of what was going on inside this machine. This week, however, I started my quest to learn how to create websites.  Since I didn't really know where to start, I started Googling.  (See?  I can use terminology correctly.) Suddenly, my screen was jam-packed with sites to explore....and within minutes, I needed a drink.  I was seriously overloaded on the first day! 

This week, I was owned.  By a PC.

I had no idea I had this much to learn, but I should have known.  It's not like the whole computer industry was just born and I'm getting in on the ground level.  I could just as easily become an Ice Road Trucker, as equipped as I am to learn website design.

Nonetheless, here I am.  I'm not giving up.  I could, but if my other option is learning to back up a semi and straighten my hair perfectly in a truck stop bathroom, I'm out.  I'm just not that cool.

But I did learn how to add a new font.  Did anyone notice?

Baby steps   

August 20, 2009

Book Contest!!

Book Lovers - Heads up!

I have written before about my friend Kim, otherwise known as Kimberly Derting, author of The Body Finder. She is the first and only published author I have ever met, if you don't count my sociology professor in college. Which I don't. Kim writes Young Adult novels and she's awesome. Her blog is on my sidebar - - The Road to Publication - - and it's totally worth checking out.

This week she has a post that advertises a Book Contest being held on another blog, wherein you can win A COPY OF HER BOOK!!
So quick! Click here: Book Contest and enter. It's tremendously easy; you don't have to dance or sing or run around playing musical chairs blindfolded. Honest.


August 19, 2009


Things I'd Like to Get Better at:
Totally grammatically incorrect title, I know.

Computer skills - web page design
Healthy eating
Working out
Saving money for travel - then going
Writing regularly
Calling friends
Taking more pictures of my family

Daunting, isn't it? At least I didn't say things like singing, which I am so certain is out of my realm of reality, at least in this lifetime.
But a little photography may be do-able. My sister-in-law is a photographer and, if I may say so, a damn good one. She started her business not even a year ago and is already quite successful. I would say I was jealous, if I were any good at photography at all, which I am not. I'm envious, of course, that she has this great talent and that she's able to bring it to the rest of the world. I wish I had a gift like that. But the coolest thing about her job is that she's constantly taking pictures of her kids and chronicling their lives as she goes. She's capturing all these great moments that we think we're going to remember but, I know from experience, we don't.
Check her out when you get a
She used to scrapbook and was amazingly good at that, too. When she first moved here, she kind of got me interested in it and helped me get started. It's such a huge, huge hobby though. Expensive and time consuming beyond anything you can imagine. You scrapbookers out there are laughing at me, I know. It's not time consuming, it's fun! Not for someone like me. I'm too impatient. I'm too scattered. Remember, too, I can't make a decision to save my soul? I'd lay out an entire page, get the glue ready, then think, oh, wait, let's put that, there. And this, here. By the end of my 8-hour scrapbook clinic sponsored by the high school Drill Team, I'd end up with one thing - like a button, or a strip of ribbon, glued to the page. Then I'd haphazardly stick the rest of the stuff on there so as not to leave without at least a complete page. One page! That was a good day!

And then it clicked. I got hooked. I started buying stuff. Brads and paper and raffia and things I'd never heard of, like velum. I started a book for Matt, a small, reasonable book that even I thought I could finish. I intended to give it to him for his 13th birthday, before he got too old and thought it was dumb. I had visions of him reading through all my little stories, smiling at all of our tender memories....

...he'll be 17 in a month and that scrapbook is still in the drawer upstairs. Unfinished. He's never seen it. Sometimes I go up there and sit on Casey's bed, lay it all out in front of me and read every word, savor every picture. My kid when he was three, in the cockpit of my dad's airplane. He and I, taking a picture of ourselves together on his bed, upside down. I want to finish it. I want to take all that out and pick up where I left off, as if that will somehow help me remember him. The Matt I used to know. But, woah, that's going down another path altogether. Let's not go there right now.

What I mean to say is that I would love to have that later, to have more pictures and memories and stories about my children and their lives. Ones that don't float around in my head, but ones I can put out on the coffee table, or hang in the hallway. I want to be a better keeper.

August 18, 2009

Will Babble for Cash

Ok, enough about medication and craziness and all that TMI. I was just thinking about how I couldn't link to the Drew Barrymore picture, and not for lack of trying. I am so computer challenged it's a miracle I can get this blog up and going.

But I would love to change that. I am recently (clear-headedly) interested in going back to work, in the real world. A job that pays money. (Not that being a Stay Home Mom isn't a job, please don't get me wrong. Although I don't think I do a very good job of it, I do believe it is a job. And a hard one. Which is probably why I want to quit it. More on that later.)

I tried this for a year. I thought my kids needed me to stay home and be there for them. Turns out, Matt needed me to disappear from the face of the earth and Jack only needed me to be within shout's reach of him, which included the cell phone, so technically, I didn't have to be here at all. Sure, the house stayed a little cleaner, we ate dinner a bit more regularly and a bit more healthfully, and yeah, John didn't have to do much laundry for a year.

But honestly? I was no Super Mom. No Domestic Goddess, no Donna Reed by any stretch of the imagination. I volunteered at Jack's school, which I felt was worthwhile, if only for 3 hours a week. Oooh! Crazy busy! I did the shopping and the blah, blah, blah, but if truth be told, I took a lot of naps and watched a lot of CSI reruns. A lot. And even though I wasn't eating bonbons, per se, I did manage to gain a hefty amount of weight and get completely out of shape, even though I had all the time in the world to go to the gym. Go figure.

So here I am, at the place my husband hates the most: the What Do I Want To Be When I Grow Up place that I revisit every one, two or three years. Really, I've never kept a job longer than that. Three years is it. Crazy huh? It makes John insane to have to come here with me; he would love it if I just picked something and stayed with it.

The thing is, I can't pick a favorite brand of toothpaste and stick with that, so what on earth are the chances that I'd be able to nail down a career??? I feel for him, I do. I know this must suck. I'm pathetically indecisive. In fact, my friend Joanne calls me Sarge - SGT - as in Second Guess Tam. It happens to be a nickname I incurred recently, while wearing this military sort of hat thing .... oh never mind. I thought it was cute when I bought it. But she's right - I can't make a single decision without reworking it four or twenty times before I actually do anything. And this truly does range from committing to a career to whether or not I'll have cream cheese or butter on my bagel this morning.

Sad. And frustrating. I would love to just do this all day. Write and blab on and on about, well, nothing really. Like a Seinfeld in writing. As if I'm the first person who ever though of it. Which kind of brings me back to the whole computer illiterate thing. If I could design web pages or blog for a living, wouldn't that just kick ass?

Waking Up

I'm crazy alive these days.

I know, most of you didn't know I was dead, but I was. Walking Dead, like in the movie, only the bags under my eyes have been slightly less noticeable.

Since I decided to kick my Prozac cold turkey, life is great. I know, I wasn't supposed to do that, but I really didn't want to wait 12 weeks and try to keep track of weaning doses. Not to mention, I felt like if I didn't get off it right now, I was going to explode. (Is it possible to explode from napping? Because that's about all I was capable of there at the end.)

I had no idea how lethargic and listless I had become or how much it was affecting every part of my life to be that sedated. Yes, I know that less than a year ago I was singing the praises of this drug and I'm not going back on my word. It was a great thing for awhile for me. It helped me cope with all that s**t we went through with Matt and probably saved me from other mental health catastrophes along the way. But the crises mode is over and I need to get on with my days, in some state of awareness now.

You probably don't need to know all that, but remember, that's the theme here. Family makes you crazy. Or something like that. At any rate, I'm back in the real world and hoping I didn't miss too much while I was gone.

Just wanted to tell someone.

The name "Drew" might have tripped him up

My friend Karma is a little worried about Jack. Yesterday I opened the new issue of Entertainment Weekly to a killer picture of Drew Barrymore. (Check it out if you can - I'd link you to it if I knew how. But that's another topic altogether.) She's wearing a leather jacket and her hair is a little ratted, smudgy black eye makeup...that kind of picture.

So I show it to Jack. I was just planning to check in on his Girl Meter, where he's at these days with noticing he's a boy and some other people are not, you know what I mean. He's 11. I ask, pointing to the picture,

"Do you think she's pretty?"

He stares at it for a second, his brows furrowed, then looks at me, a little confused.

"That's a girl?"

Hm. Well then. I mean, what do you say to that?

Guess we'll wait on the Girl Meter for a bit.

August 13, 2009

Alive Again

I just watched the movie 17 Again and cried all the way through the end. Normal? Or Prozac detox? Could be both. I'm off my crazy meds these days (on purpose) and actually feel stuff again. This could be a good thing, I think, but a box of Kleenex for Zac Ephron? God help me.

Oh, yeah...the worst and most embarrassing part? I loved the movie. Not like a mom loves The Lion King because her kids love it, but like, actually loved it.