Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Summertime and the Blogger is...

... Lazy???

            That isn’t really fair. I’m about as far from lazy as a person can be. I just haven’t been writing much. So I thought I’d share a list of things I’ve been doing this summer other than writing.

1.) Making music. Owen and I have started taking a guitar class together. I have had a guitar for ages and taught myself a few chords but I’ve never played in public. Owen started playing the saxophone at school this year. He didn’t love it but he practiced dutifully. I know enough about music to know it has to be done out of love and not duty. The morning after his first guitar lesson he picked up the guitar to practice—because he wanted to, not because he was told to. That is the beginning of music.

2.) Redecorating. My boys share a room with bunk beds. They like to share a room, but they don’t want to be in bunk beds anymore. Unfortunately two side-by-side twin beds won’t fit in their room. So I’m moving them into the guest room, my office will become the guest room, and the boys’ current room will by my office. (Did you follow that?) The office and the guest room are the places we put things when they don’t have a “home”. Sorting and purging have been the name of the game lately.

3) Biblical Theatrics. I’m directing skits for our volunteers to perform for the kids at my church’s Vacation Bible School. This stuff isn’t bound for Broadway but the kids will get some laughs out of it.

4.) Celebrating Birthdays. Both my boys have July birthdays. So it’s been a month of pizza, cake, legos, arcade games, and roller coasters.

5.) Losing weight.  Sort of. It’s a little difficult with all the celebrating. But I’ve been slashing calories in between rounds of birthday cake and squeezing in workouts wherever I can. I’ve managed to keep off about three or four pounds. It isn’t much, but I figure if it comes off slowly, it’s more likely to stay off.

6.) Working my day job. I got a small promotion at the end of the spring so I’ve been putting in more hours. My job can be very routine, but this new position has given me the chance to learn more and do different things. So I’m much happier when I’m at work and the extra hours go by pretty quickly.
We also went on vacation!

7.) Drama. Literally. I’ve taken a position on the board of a local community theatre, agreed to direct a play in the winter, been nominated for an acting award, and there is a possibility I’ll be teaching some acting classes. It’s busy. Maybe too busy. But other than spending time with my family there is nothing that makes me happier than theatre. Yes, I’ll get crazy and stressed out. But it’s my favorite kind of crazy and stressed out. 

            So I apologize that this blog has been a little meager lately. I have no doubt I’ll be back to writing more regularly soon. Thanks for reading!

Monday, July 16, 2012

What's for Dinner?

            Last week my husband was working late so the boys and I ran some errands and went out to dinner after day camp. I tried to talk them into going to an actual restaurant with menus and waitresses, but they had their hearts set on fast food. We picked Wendy’s since I’m trying to shed a few pounds and they have some decent options for the health conscious.
            The boys have outgrown fast food kids meals. They realize now that the toys are disappointing. I’m pretty ecstatic about that myself. No more little plastic toys to clutter up my car and no tears to soothe when the toys get “lost”* or broken. The main reason though? The typical fast food kid’s meal isn’t filling enough to sustain them. There are enough calories, to be sure. But they’re still hungry after they’ve eaten. So we’re on to regular menu items these days.
We ate our dinner and headed off to Trader Joe’s. I adore Trader Joe’s, but the closest one is about 40 minutes away. So I shop there the way most people shop at Costco or BJ’s. The cashiers always comment on the amount of peanut butter I buy. I have three insulated bags for the frozen stuff I bring home and those are usually jammed full. I pretty much stop shopping when my cart is about to tip over.
            As I was contemplating how many bags of Mandarin Orange Chicken I should buy, James asked, “What are we having for dinner.” We had only left Wendy’s about fifteen minutes beforehand. Dinner? What was the fifteen bucks I dropped at Wendy’s for? A snack? I looked at James, a little short for his age and so skinny I can count his ribs. He had just consumed about 800 calories at Wendy’s and was ready for “dinner”. Two things popped into my head:
            1.) I’m going to have to work overtime to feed these kids and

            2.) where can I get a metabolism like that? 

* By “lost” I mean thrown away by their mother.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Lean and Mean

            Suzanne could feel the security guard watching her toned legs as she strutted past. Two months of sweating through Pilates and kickboxing had made her lean and fit.  She smiled at the slight ache of emptiness in her belly. Suzanne had replaced dozens of meals with high protein shakes. She could ignore the hunger until her afternoon snack of celery and a hard-cooked egg.
            “Suzanne, come in here. Dana baked a cake for Rob’s birthday,” Jonathan called from the staff lounge.
            If anyone else had invited her, Suzanne would have kept walking. But Jonathan was the manager so she had to sing Happy Birthday along with everyone else. Suzanne made an effort to not role her eyes at Dana playing the happy homemaker passing out slices of cake, a dollop of chocolate ganache on her frumpy paisley blouse.
            “Are you sure you don’t want a slice Suzanne?” Dana asked.
            “Oh, no. I’m still full from breakfast,” she lied. “I really ought to get back to my desk. Happy birthday Rob.”
            The intern smiled and waved, his mouth too stuffed with chocolate cake to speak.
            “Do you have a moment to talk?” Jonathan asked.
            She nodded and they walked to his office. He weighed his words before he spoke.
            “It’s the new client.”
            “What’s wrong? I thought they loved the campaign.”
            “They did—the artwork, the new slogan, all of it. But they’re a plus-size women’s catalog Suzanne. They feel you can’t relate to their customers.”
            “That’s absurd. Their customers are women who love clothes. I’m a woman who loves clothes. The only difference is a few pounds.”
            “They’ve requested Dana to be their account manager.”
            “Dana? You can’t be serious.”
            “You and she have different styles. They want Dana and that’s who they’ll get. Pass along your files to her today.”
            Suzanne handed off six months of brilliance to Dana’s assistant, before storming into the lounge for her snack. It had gotten pushed to the back of the refrigerator by the remains of Rob’s birthday cake. She brushed her sleeve against the shimmering frosting as she reached inside.
            “Damn,” she said wiping away the offending chocolate with her hand. Without thinking she licked her fingers. She felt a rush of euphoria as the rich flavor filled her mouth.
            “Oh my God,” she whispered, breaking off more cake. Her knees nearly buckled from the sweet tart surprise of the raspberry filling. Suzanne’s self-control shattered. She devoured the cake and licked the plate clean in seconds.
            Mortified, she washed the plate and laid it in the drainer just before the door opened. It was Dana.
            “Thanks for getting those files to me. I hope there are no hard feelings.”
            Suzanne shrugged, hoping to hide her guilty secret.
“It happens. The client is always right.”
            “I just came in to get my cake plate. It looks like someone washed it. How nice.”
            “Well, I should get going. Have a good weekend.”
            “You too. Suzanne?”
            “You have a little chocolate on your forehead.”

            This week’s Write on Edge prompt was “To flip freedom upside down and write about the forbidden or the taboo. The word limit was 450.” Speaking of taboos, I went a little over the word limit. Although I did manage to cut over 200 words from the first draft. This story may or may not have been influenced by the fact that I started a diet this week. 

Thursday, July 12, 2012

A Good Way to Start the Day

            I woke up this morning absolutely determined to do some writing. I have been making a huge effort this week to get more exercise and even go on a (cringe) diet. I won’t bore you with the details of the diet. Suffice it to say that after a year of increasing my work hours followed by a vacation to Hershey, it had to be done. The only writing I’ve been doing this week is in my diet journal. I was determined today to do some real writing. I was not even going to check e-mail or Facebook. I was not going to read any blogs. I was going to get up and write!
They like us! They really like us!
            I dutifully recorded my weight into my log (down two pounds—yay me!), got a cup of coffee, and opened my laptop. I was ready to write. I was not going to get sucked into reading something else. I wasn’t… that is until I realized I had left the computer open to Facebook and I had a lot more notifications than usual. Curiosity got the better of me and I checked. This was one of those rare times I’m glad I got distracted.
            Several of those notifications were messages of congratulations. This past winter, I was in a production of The Odd Couple. It was the first time I had been on stage in over ten years. I must still know what I’m doing, because I was nominated for a DASH (Distinguished Award and Special Honor) for Best Specialty Ensemble along with Maureen, the brilliant woman who played my sister in The Odd Couple. DASH awards are given out by the Eastern Massachusetts Association of Community Theatres. There is a big gala at the end of the summer. It’s a good thing I’m on a diet, because I think I’m going to need a new dress.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

100 Word Song: A Light Left On

            “Everything okay Bud?” I called, hearing little footsteps in the hall outside my bedroom door.
            “I brought you something,” Brian said. His face was shy and serious as he presented his Scooby Doo nightlight.
            “What’s that for?”
            “You keep leaving Daddy’s light on all night. I thought maybe you were afraid of the dark since Daddy went to heaven.”
            I didn’t even realize I was doing it, but Brian was right. Peter’s platinum wedding band looked like a holy relic resting in a pool of lamplight on his nightstand.
            “You keep that nightlight Sweetie. I’m not afraid of the dark.”

My Blog Can Beat Up Your Blog

            For this week’s One Hundred Word Song, Lance presented us with the song “Leave Your Light” on by Tim Eriksen as a source of inspiration. It immediately made me think of Michaela, whose story I haven’t visited in a while. She’s the “star” of my very rough first novel "Lost and Found". If you like it, click here for more.

Friday, July 6, 2012


            Charlotte opened the sunroof of her little Honda coupe. The cool autumn breeze shattered the perfection of her carefully styled hair. She pressed number three on the CD changer and sang along:
I went to the doctor, I went to the mountains
I looked to the children, I drank from the fountain

There's more than one answer to these questions

pointing me in crooked line
The less I seek my source for some definitive
The closer I am to fine.
            Today she stopped trying to be someone she wasn’t—the person she had tried to be for years. She was more than a brilliant student. She was more than her research. She didn’t have a name for what she was and that was okay for now. For once, knowing the answer didn’t matter. She knew without question that this was the right path. Realization surrounded her like armor, like a warm blanket, like sunscreen. The time was right.
            Her cell phone rang. She glanced at the number and tossed the phone into the passenger seat.
            “Not today Honey,” she said out loud. “Today belongs to me.”
She pulled into the passing lane and sped up. Going faster, but no longer running away.


I’m linking up with Write on Edge today. Our prompt for the week was to write about “Freedom” in 400 words or less. For once, I didn’t have a hard time sticking to the word count. Charlotte has a lot to say. But for now, she’s just enjoying the ride. She has an interesting journey ahead.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Monday, July 2, 2012

In Which I Get Angry and Political

            I was away all last week with my family on vacation. Today’s blog post was supposed to be a wrap up of the wonderful time we had. But that will have to wait. A former classmate posted something that happened to a member of my college family on Facebook last week that got my blood boiling. I don’t like to discuss religion or politics. It’s something I rarely do I real life and do even less frequently on this blog. But once in a while I feel like I need to stand up and say how I feel. This is what made me so angry:

            This was printed by the Washington DC group who calls themselves "Public Advocate of the United States" and was mailed out across Colorado to attack Sen. Jean White, a supporter of civil unions. What makes the particularly despicable is that it is the actual engagement photograph of a couple from New York City. The original looks like this:

Image if your personal photograph commemorating one of your most precious memories was distorted and used as a weapon to limit someone’s right to marry the person they love. I understand that there are folks out there that believe that gay marriage is wrong. To those people I say, don’t marry someone of the same sex, don’t go to a church that performs same-sex weddings, and if you get invited to a same sex wedding don’t go. But do not stand in the way of your fellow tax paying citizens having the same rights you take for granted.
            I am straight. I am a wife. I am a mother. I am a Christian. I am a patriot. I support same sex marriage. Bigotry and hatred are not family values.