Monday, February 27, 2006

The battle heats up

This weekend I've been fighting the age old battle, not of good vs. evil, but of parent vs. child. As his thirteenth birthday looms dangerously around the corner, my son is beginning to think I'm as dumb as a stump. The weekend breathy sighs resonated throughout the house, and eyes were rolled skyward as I constantly badgered him to clean his room. My patience tested to ts end, I contacted the most knowlegable child expert, my mommy.

It really didn't do much good though, she only reminded me of my short-comings as a child. I was a very rebellious teen. I wore jeans to church on Sunday nights. My dad really didn't care about the jeans at night services, just as long as I was in church; Mama was horrified though. After Daddy died, I got real rebellious. One fine summer day, I was riding my horse a couple of hours before night services. She said, "I don't care how you get there, but I want you in church tonight. She should have specified what mode of transportation I took. A couple of hours later I arrived at church. Mom flashed me a "You knew you'd better come look,' from her seat in the pew. She thought she'd won until church released after services.

"I want you to take your cousin home for me."

"I don't think that's possible," I said, coolly staring at my nails.

"Why on earth not? Wait a minute, where's your car?"

"My ride is over there," I said, pointing at my palomino mare, saddled and grazing at the end of a picket line. I saw the furious _expression in my mother's eyes, and thought an explanation was in order. "You said 'get here,' you didn't say how." Mother rolled her eyes and stormed away. I won that battle.

And now as I look back on this past weekend, I see myself in the same position she was in so many years ago. Yes, the challenge as been made, and in yet another generation, the battle wages on.

Friday, February 24, 2006

The dust has settled. . .

The dust is settled and things are back to normal since the "chocolate" incident. I was able to rescue another cleverly hidden chocolate bar and enjoy this one in private.

Another much sought after commodity in my house is soda. My children never cease to amaze me. Sometimes, they are in the other part of the house, but appear like magic, slobbering like thirsty hounds, when they hear the quiet pfft of a soda can being opened; other times a hundred piece marching band, playing Stars and Stripes Forever, could march through the house and they would never notice.

In his most recent post, my friend, Dave, mentioned his drink of choice was Coke. I couldn't agree with him more. Other than an occasional chilled glass of vino or a "White Russian", Coke is my "poison" of choice. I love the slightly biting edge it has. Like so many other things recently, Coke triggers fond childhood memories.

Every Saturday afternoon it was a ritual in my house for my dad, mom, and I to take a nap after lunch. Daddy and I always fell asleep watching The Rifleman, but Mom rarely napped. Those naps allowed her precious "alone time" to do whatever she pleased. I was always awakened from my nap with a cold half bottle of Coke, and some peanut butter crackers. I still remember how cold and refreshing the slender bottle felt in my hands. Coke may have reverted to the original formula, but the product in the can still cannot contend with the product in the glass bottles.

On another note..............................................

*My comments are in bold

Ms. Vickie had several interesting points about life on her blog, and I couldn't agree more. To fight aging , she suggests:

1. "Enjoy the simple things."

Try to see the world through a child's eyes. You'll be surprised at what you've been missing.

2. The tears happen. Endure, grieve, and move on. The only person who is with us our entire life, is ourselves. Be ALIVE while you are alive.

I spent twenty miserable years grieving over my dad; that's not how he taught me to live my life. Enjoy every moment of every day like it was your last.

Make decisive decisions and stick with them. Don't look back and dwell on the "only ifs" and "what ifs". They will eat you alive emotionally, and it will not change the outcome of what has already happened.

Don't fear failure, learn from your mistakes. We fail at something--whether it be a recipe or a test--at least once a day every day of our lives.

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

The affair

I thought I was safe, I should have know better. All day I had cajoled and pampered my two sick kids, all the while counting the minutes until he and I could enjoy a reckless moment of abandon. It was a secret affair I had kept hidden for almost a week, not even John knew it. Finally, it was time.

I left the kids in the oldest's bedroom, happily watching television. A small twinge of guilt hit me as I stared at their innocent faces, so childlike, so unknowing. My heart pounding, I crept into the laundry room and prepared for my careless fling. He was already there waiting for me, hiding behind the dryer. I grabbed him and breathed deeply, enjoying his peanutty fragrance. My passion in overdrive, I ripped his wrapper--- Oh, by the way, did I mention my passionate fling was with a Butterfinger?

Chocolate is a scarce commodity in my house; my children are chocolate mongers. To be able to caress the precious candy bar I had in my hand was a rare treat. Carefully, I ripped the wrapper a little more; the wrapper crinkled loudly. "Shhh!" I hissed, looking around anxiously. Sure enough, the door burst open, and my toddler stood in the doorway, sniffing the air like a hungry, half-rabid wolf.

In the dim light of the laundry room he spotted me cringing in the corner. He pointed his nose into the air and howled the hunting cry "Chocolate!" I had no chance, there was no escape. Within minutes the older boy joined the fray, and soon my candy bar was no more. They walked away with chocolate smeared on their faces. I was left with only an empty wrapper.

Sunday, February 19, 2006

Remembering and yearning

Ah yes, the morning has finally arrived when I can sniff the aroma of freshly brewed coffee without retching. Thanks to everyone for keeping us in your thoughts and prayers.

When I feel as badly as I did, I wish for my childhood home and the comforts I found there. The gentle tap-tap of the pecan tree’s branch on my bedroom window as it swayed gently in the breeze was always a soothing sound for me as I lay sick in my bed. I miss the faint aroma of my mother’s perfume as she gently laid a cool hand on my forehead, checking for fever.

I crave the wide-open prairies I thundered across on my horse, for the tall prairie grasses that whooshed as we raced through them, striking my bare legs with their tips as if punishing me for invading their privacy. These were the same grasses, on other days that were my best friend as I lay among them by the creek, reading a book, or staring at the clouds. They whispered secrets of times gone past as the wind gently blew through them.

I miss early morning rides. The magical hour before dawn when the earth was silent and seemed to hold its breath, waiting for the sun to rise. The ground emitted a fresh, slightly parched scent, and the dew still clung to the native grasses. My palomino horse, Dewdrop, pranced excitedly, eager to be off and perturbed by the tight rein I held on her until we were out of the corral. I miss the release of her tightly coiled muscles as I loosened the reins. She was my horse, and I knew she would give her life for me, and I for hers. She tolerated no one else on her back but me. We were joined heart and soul; the kind of relationship every cowboy or cowgirl wants with their steed.

Sometimes, on those early morning rides, a coyote appeared, and together we raced through the grasses side by side, until it veered off and disappeared.

It’s been thirteen years since I’ve experienced the comforts of my childhood home, and though some things have changed, I have to look no further then my precious memories to find he comfort and warmth I yearn for.

Friday, February 17, 2006


The last few days have passed in a fog for me. Wednesday, my sons and I chose to eat ate a local fast food eatery after we did the grocery shopping. I don't usually frequent fast food joints, and after this week, I'll never do it again. Long story short, we have food poisoning. I'll add more to this when I feel better. Hugs to all and have a great weekend.

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Another Christine?

I hate cars smarter than I am. I have a “plain-Jane” GMC Jimmy equipped with a CD player. The tiny SUV asks me no questions, just starts up and goes when I turn the key in the ignition. I had a wonderful relationship with it until it broke down a couple of weeks ago; that put a severe kink in my lifestyle.

I’m an avid nature lover; I like to drive to the state park and meander among the trees when my mind is overstuffed or I just want some alone time. Without my set of wheels, a trip to the park was not in my future. I tried to “make do” here at home, but there is just so much meandering around four trees you can do before you get bored. There are also not many hiding places away from the kids. I have the option of either walking down the drive or hiding under the house with the rattlesnakes, and I really don’t think the snakes want a new neighbor.

Just before I thought I would lose my sanity, my “knight in shining armor,” my hubby, came to the rescue. He’s gone for a whole week to a conference, but before he left, he rented me a Toyota Corolla. My hero!

After he left on Sunday, I loaded the kids into the Corolla. I needed to exchange some things at the store, and not only would the trip be refreshing, it would make time pass faster. Happily, I sank into the driver’s seat and turned the key. Nothing. No way! This can’t be happening to me, I fumed. I checked that the car was in park, and tried again, nothing.

“You and Robert get out of the car and go inside while I call the rental place,” I barked at Seth while fumbling for my cell phone. I walked a few yards away and dialed the number. My children stared at me from the back seat of the car. Why are they still sitting there? I wondered.

I got an answering machine at the rental place. Darn it, they’re closed. I stomped back to the car and looked for another contact number.

“Did you know you, or do you care we’re locked in the back?” Jonathan asked me icily. Huh? Oh, there must be child safety locks in the back. I looked at the back doors, and sure enough, there were the child safety locks. I

“Sorry buddy,” I said, flipping the lock back on one of the doors. I tried the outside handle to the door and, nothing. It wouldn’t open. What the. . . I reached my arm into the back of the car and tried that handle, again nothing. What is this thing, Christine? I finally found the roadside service number on the receipt and called it.

“________rental cars road side service. Are you in a safe place?” a guy at the other end of the phone asked.

“Yeah, I’m in my driveway.”

“Well, you can’t get any safer than that,” the guy chuckled. “What’s the problem?”
I told the guy my problem, and he said it was the security system on the car. He told me you have to put your foot on the brake to start the car. If you don’t the car assumes it’s being stolen and the ignition system shuts down. The helpful guy told me how to override the system and get the car started.

“Is anything else wrong with the car?” he asked.

“It’s eaten my children.”

“Eaten your children? Whadda ya mean it’s eaten your children?” he screeched. I thought from his previous comments he had a jovial sense of humor. Either my comment caught him off-guard, or there really is something to my Christine theory, I thought.

“I’m sorry. I was joking about the ‘eaten’ part. The rear doors will not open, even with the child safety locks unlocked.”

The guy, obviously relieved his car did not turn demonic, said when the car sense it is about to be stolen, it shuts everything off and even disables the locks. I hung up and eyed the car. Many things in my life have made me doubt my abilities, but never a car, until now. I cautiously eased into the driver’s seat and tried what the rep advised. It worked!
The boys cheered as we drove off, but were silenced when the doors locked themselves; it was another security measure of the car’s.

I don’t like cars that are smarter than I am. Give me a bicycle any day over a super-smart car.


Saturday, February 11, 2006

My abnormal life

Almost every time I leave the safety of my home, something strange happens to me. For example, last Thanksgiving I bought a large turkey at the local grocery, and because I was planning to stop at my Wal-Mart super center, I placed it in a cooler I had brought from home. I put the cooler in the back of the truck, drove to Wal-Mart, and went into the store. Imagine my surprise when I returned and found the turkey—cooler and all—had been stolen. I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t mad, but since the kids were with me, I had to censor my language.

Another time, before Chicken Soup for the Dog Lover’s Soul was released, my family and I were dining a favorite eatery when John saw a couple of ladies he grew up with. Greetings were exchanged, they sat at a table near us, and pleasant conversation ensued.

“Debbie has a story in Chicken Soup for the Dog Lover’s Soul,” John said, glancing at me proudly.

“Omigosh! You’re a writer?!,” Friend #1 screeched. I was flattered, but her outburst brought unwanted attention. I felt myself blushing as diners around us stared at me curiously.

“Can we get your autograph?” Friend #2 chimed in.

“Um, I’m not famous,” I muttered, glancing around nervously. The same diners were still staring at me. I contemplated going to the restroom and sneaking out the small window.

“That’s okay, you might be someday. I just want your signature now.” I admit I was touched by this woman’s faith in me. Fame and fortune is not what I seek though.

Given my experiences, you’d think I would have known SOMETHING was going to happen when I went to get my hair cut the other day.

It started normal; a hunky guy washed my hair, and then started to cut it. We chitchatted as he snipped, as soon he asked, “So, what do you do for a living.” I hesitated before I answered; I get mixed reactions when people ask. Some are enthusiastic, like the women I mentioned earlier, and others are scornful.

“I’m a freelance writer.”

“Neat. Writers are a tad eccentric, aren’t they?”

“No, not really,” I replied. “We’re pretty normal.” I thought about the time I poured coffee over my head. “Depending on what you define as normal,” I said quickly. A few minutes later, the cut was completed, and I borrowed their restroom facilities. When I walked out of the restroom, there was an extremely tall woman standing at the counter, smiling, and waving frantically at me. At 5’6 and ¾ inches, I’m not what you consider short, but this woman towered over me.
She looks familiar. I thought. The next few seconds were a blur. “Debbie!” the woman screamed, running towards me. She engulfed me in a huge bear hug, pinning my arms to my side, and began to cry. “I love you!” she screeched. “How the hell are have you been? It’s me, Rosemary!” I felt relieved. This was not some maniac who had randomly selected me to be her next murder victim. It was instead a dear old friend I had lost contact with through the years.

As Rosemary and I left the hair salon, I couldn’t help but think about what was considered normal. For some, an uneventful trip to the store is normal; for me, the abnormal is normal.

Wednesday, February 08, 2006


By now, most of you are familiar with my Malamute/Husky, Blue, and all the joy and sorrow he has bestowed upon my family. If you remember, I found Blue several months ago in the bushes at my house; something clicked and the entire family fell in love with him. We learned he was our neighbor's, but was overjoyed when my neighbor so graciously said we could have the dog. Over a period of the past few months, he has disappeared and reappeared several times; each time he disappeared it played havoc with our emotions. I think it was my friend, Perpetualchocoholic, who enlightened me on the fact Huskies loved to roam. Thanks for the info by the way!

In my blog entry "A Late Christmas Miracle", Blue left us again ,but returned several weeks later after we had presumed him no longer of this world. True to form, my mutt stayed just long enough to make us think he was back for good, then pulled another disappearing act. The next day I called my local animal control to report him missing. "If you find him, please call me. He's a beloved pet and we're all heartbroken, especially my oldest son," I told the female officer.

"No problem. If I see him wandering, I'll bring him home."

"That would be great." Yeah right. She probably said that to get rid of me, I thought, hanging up the phone. A week later, I received the surprise of my life. I was busily typing on the computer at home when I heard a vehicle door slam. Curious, I raised the blinds and peered out the window. A white truck with the words Animal control on its doors was parked in the drive. What are they doing here? Still dumbfounded, I walked to the living room and opened the front door.

"Are you still missing a Husky?" the smiling female officer asked.

"W-Why yes I am."

"I was in your neighborhood checking on a female dog, when I saw Blue sleeping beside her. I remembered what you said about your son being heartbroken, so I grabbed him."

I was touched. This complete stranger had cared enough about my child to return his dog. "I can't tell you how much I appreciate it," I stammered. There has to be a catch. Even though there's no lease law in the country, I thought I would still get a ticket. "How much do I owe you?"

"Oh, nothing at all. It's payment enough to know how happy your boy will be when he gets home from school." Together, we walked to the truck and unloaded a very nervous Blue. "He uh, he likes the female dog across the road," the animal control officer continued.

'That's sweet."

The officer shook her head and grinned. "You don't get it. I mean he REALLY likes the female across the street. He's been there for a week!"

"Oh," I blushed. Blue is an un-neutered male and. . .well. . .you get the picture. After the officer left, I tied Blue with a rope to a tree in the front yard. He'll be visiting the "nice" vet on Friday for a *ahem* procedure which I hope will cure some of his wonderlust. John has been working on fencing in the yard for him.

In the meantime, Blue has been working on his "nut tying." When I walk him, it seems to be his mission to wrap me up in the rope. You guessed it, I'm the nut.


Here's a couple of shockers! LOL

You Are an Espresso

At your best, you are: straight shooting, ambitious, and energetic

At your worst, you are: anxious and high strung

You drink coffee when: anytime you're not sleeping

Your caffeine addiction level: high

Your Career Type: Artistic

You are expressive, original, and independent.
Your talents lie in your artistic abilities: creative writing, drama, crafts, music, or art.

You would make an excellent:

Actor - Art Teacher - Book Editor
Clothes Designer - Comedian - Composer
Dancer - DJ - Graphic Designer
Illustrator - Musician - Sculptor

The worst career options for your are conventional careers, like bank teller or secretary.

Monday, February 06, 2006

Embracing my inner child

This weekend I embraced my "inner child" and had a blast. Friday night, my oldest pleaded me to leave the comfort of my notes and computer keyboard, and go outside to play. "Are you kidding?" It's 9:00 at night."

"Yeah, but there's no school tomorrow," he pointed out. "So pleeeeeeeeeaaaaase," he begged, managing to summon tears into his eyes.

He could win an Emmy with this performance, I thought. I could have tortured him by making him wait a few more minutes, but the look in his eyes was too pleading. But you weren't ready to stop writing yet, my pratical side whispered. I ignored it and instead smiled warmly at Seth.

"Okay, you win. Only for a minute though." A cold blast of air hit me in the face, jump-starting my senses as I stepped outdoors into the winter night. I took a deep breath and exhaled as I looked around, enjoying my surroundings. The lights in the town below twinkled merrily, and there was a contented hush in the neighborhood. A light wind caressed my cheek and rattled the dry native grasses nearby; giving off a parched earthy scent..

Seth and I played a joyful game of tag with the dog until we were breathless. "Whadda wanna do now?" Seth gasped.

I shrugged. "I dunno. You're calling the shots right now. What do you wanna do?"

"Spin in circles!"

I groaned inwardly. I knew what the outcome might be of that, and I didn't really relish saying hello to my supper on the ground. "Aw, come on Mommy. It'll be fun!" Mommy. It won't be too much longer till "Mommy" will sound too childish to him, and he'll want nothing more to do with me. I took a deep breath, and with my arms outstretched from my sides, I began to spin.

"Hey, wait for me!" Seth screeched. Together we twirled down the drive into the night, the hint of a moon the only light to guide us. The stars in the black velvet colored sky shimmered and danced as we twirled faster and faster. Finally, we collasped into two giggling, dizzy heaps on the lawn. I glanced over at Seth as he lay in the grass and stared at the sky. Chubby cheeks were disappearing, bring replaced by more manly chiseled facial features. A wave of sadness washed over me; my baby was becoming a man before my very eyes. We lay in the grass a few minutes more, talking and star-gazing. I didn't want the moment to end. I wanted to remember every expression he made, every thing he said. It became cooler as the hour grew later, and finally we went back inside. I was glade I had gone outside, and even more grateful to my son. For a few fleeting moments, he taught me how to be a child again.

Here's a great piece written by the late great Erma Bombeck

Thursday, February 02, 2006

Happy, happy, happy!

I am a bundle of boundless, hyperactive energy today. Not only have I happily partaken of four cups of coffee, I received a wonderful email yesterday, and I'm still on an emotional high. Late yesterday afternoon, Ms. Graves, the editor from Sasee magazine, emailed me, said they loved a humorous piece I had submitted, and wanted to use it in the upcoming March issue! Regretfully, I declined. GOTCHA! Yeah right! I almost broke my fingers off typing her a reply that gave permission to use the story.

This morning was even better. I'm usually very shy about talking to editors; I'm afraid I'll say the wrong thing and sound like an idiot. I called the magazine to relay some info Ms. Graves had requested, and got to speak to her directly. Ms. Graves put me at ease immediately. She is a very warm, witty, charming woman who I truly enjoyed talking to. I thought things couldn't get any better, then she asked if I would like an editorial calender. This has the upcoming themes, so I can submit in the future if I wish.

Nobody pinch me; this is one dream I DON'T want to wake up from.

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Flying Wheelchairs

My children never cease to amaze me. This past Sunday my oldest, Seth, lay across my bed reading a book while I worked furiously on a manuscript in my "office" corner of the bedroom. Even though I'm working on a manuscript, I keep the bedroom door open. I want my children to feel they are always welcome around me. My children do know though--even the toddler--that when I have "the look" on my face, not to bother me unless it's an emergency. When I have "the look", I'm wrapped up in the story I'm writing, or I'm in the editing phase.

That day I was grimly struggling with the word count so it met an editor's requirements. Darn it! I was 300 words over the limit. Where in the blazes can I cut out 300 words? Every single one of them are important to the story. Even though I love writing, I would rather stick a fork in my eye than spend a weekend afternoon pouring over a manuscript fifty times looking for unnecessary words. Though I gripe, the end results are good; the newly revised copy always pleases me better than the original.

I was so absorbed in editing, unknown to me, Seth had stopped reading and was watching me instead. ""Umm, Mommy," he ventured.

"What?!" I barked.

"Are you in pain?" I sighed and turned to face him. I need a break anyway, I thought.

"No. Why do you ask?"

"Because you keep frowning and moaning like you're in pain." I never realized what a performance I had been putting on.

"I'm just editing my story," I laughed.

"Oh." Seth stared at me thoughtfully. "If it won't hurt your feelings, I-I don't think I want to be a writer."


"Well, if it's that stressful, I don't want to do it. I'd rather be an architect"

And that's not stressful? I thought. Instead, I smiled and said, "Of course I'm not hurt. You can be anything you want to be." Seth looked visibly relieved.

"Hey Mom, know what I'm gonna do after I retire from being an architect? I'm gonna invent flying wheelchairs for the elderly. Has anyone invented that yet?" I had a mental image of elderly people, decked out in aviator garb, zipping through the air. My laughter turned into a coughing fit when I saw the seriousness in his eyes.

"Not that I know of," I gasped.

"Great! Wanna know who I'm gonna use to test them?"


"You!" he announced proudly. I had another mental image. This time I was in my 80's and hurtling through the air in a wheelchair at "G-force" speed, my wrinkled skin blowing straight back, and my dentures flying out of my mouth. Sounds like a fun ride. Anyone want to take a walk on the wild side and come along?

On an unrelated note------------------------------------------

I am way to amused with my book, Amazing Kitchen Cures. They have a lot of interesting facts. For example, in ancient Rome, people with dark hair were thought to be "upper class." Hmm. Maybe should stop trying to change my hair color. Like my dark hair would get me really far in life ; )!

The book also says the men in ancient Rome would wear a concoction of herbs and earthworms to bed in order to keep their hair from turning gray.

Like I said, the book has some interesting facts and cures. I don't know how much faith I could put in a book that suggests using Tampax Tampons as earplugs. I guarantee, if I put those in my ears, and went out to mow the lawn, hubby would have me committed before I could say "Jack Robinson."