Friend or friendship

Friend or friendship…that is the question.  (is there a difference?)

Friend by definition is a person whom one knows and with whom one has a bond of mutual affection. Typically exclusive of sexuality or family relation.

Friendship by definition is the emotions or conduct of friends ; the state of being friends.

It is true that we can not pick and choose our family but we certainly do such with friendships. Of course there are those few friendships that are formed through parents and even a spouse, but still we choose to keep them.

Family is fabulous and most times will always be there for you. (well they ought to be) Family likes to believe no one knows you better than they, but come on we all know that’s not true. The only thing family knows better than anyone else is who, what and why you are the person you are. Only family can fully understand our value wiring because they were wired the same way!  The bond we create with friends are true and deep, friends are the ones we choose to confess what color our wires are.

Having someone to laugh with, cry with , be silly with, be crazy with and just be silent with is essential to the human spirit. Having that bond is as vital as consuming water.

When I was a child (many moons ago) life here in my neck of the woods was what I wish for every child. We didn’t have scheduled play dates. Friendships did not depend on the mothers getting along or having the  time. We didn’t have electronic devices to keep in touch, we actually walked up to front doors and knocked. (and politely asked if Janie or Johnny could come out to play) We didn’t wait for the mother’s to clean the house, send her e-mails and troll Face Book, or for her socks to match her purse before chaffering us to a timed park event.  We woke up did our chores and waved goodbye as mom reminded us that “so and so” from the next block would paddle our behind if we acted up! (paddle …I crack myself up, no I am not talking about Little House on the Prairie time, but it was a safer and less technology driven time where the village had a voice)

I did not dare utter the words “I’m bored”.   To be honest not only would I get smacked upside the head and given enough chores to occupy my time, but I was never bored. During school months I would be sent out the door with a full belly, by the time I got to the end of my block I was joined by 8-10 of my friends on the way to school. We knew enough to go straight home after school to do a few chores and get the homework done in time for a game of man hunt (hide and seek) before dinner. School breaks and Summer was a glorious time. Excitement rose me with the sun. I either  dug out hats, gloves and scarves or shorts, tank tops and flip-flops rushed through the chores and headed out for the day. My stomach dictated when it was time to show my face at my door or a neighbor’s door so they knew we were safe and when our names echoed through the neighborhood  we knew it was dinner time. The street lights coming on informed us that it was time to gather on a stoop until one of the moms gave “the look”.   Summer meant the fun didn’t end at dinner time ; it meant that chore money went on batteries for the flash light man hunt adventures!                                                                                               Now everything has to be scheduled and supervised.   Parents have forgotten the value of  childhood friends.

As adult, married with children and grandchildren , no one can ever come above or before God and my family but I value my friends and friendship so much more.  I hope my boys value their friends and friendships. (I know my older boys never waited for my socks to match but my younger boy waits for other moms to send their e-mails!)

I have friendships, many friendships.  The one that I can laugh for hours with. The one that understands what our crazy aging bodies are going through. The one that understands the mental anguish of the daily routine, The one that tells me the truth about not succeeding at hiding the middle age bulge but compliments me on trying. The one that will join in on my plots against the “20 something know it all’s”. The one that knows the right time to drag me out of the house for a cup of coffee and when to keep me out for a cocktail.  The one that will come pick up my youngest child while secretly turning off my phone so I can recharge my patience . The one that speaks only the truth I need to hear.  That one who is always on the sidelines shaking her pom pom’s cheering me on.  That one who  helps guide my path.  That one who feels no envy but shares my joy.  That one that our lives have taken a different path and when we do find the time to speak we pick up right where we left off.  All of these friendships are vital to my existence, I need love and cherish them.    But only a friend is all of these friendships rolled into one amazing person! 

There is a clear difference between friendships and having a friend!                           By definition a friend is by far the best answer!

 (you know who you are )

It takes a village

It takes a village to raise a family.

Young mothers today seem to feel threatened by the village.  They take away the village , take away the child’s ability to know and show love to anyone other than themselves!  These new mother lack confidence and assurance that their child will and does love them!

Once upon a time when a child was born into a family, the Grandmothers and Aunts were on hand and ready to bathe, cut  nails and show the mother the best way to relieve infant gas. Now they wait  for the golden invitation for the opportunity  to look at the infant in the bassinet from afar. (but not before they are power washed with sanitizer in the front yard and stripped of all thoughts of kissing the precious child)

Grandmothers, Aunts and Cousins would walk throughout the door with trays of fried, sautéed and baked goods as they were announcing (shouting)  they were there to squeeze the little ones cheeks and bit their chubby legs.                                      Grandfathers and Uncles were behind the woman with their tool bags, a few beers and cigars to stand around patting the new dad on his back with pride and scare him a bit with diaper explosion stories as they were putting together all the infant essentials.   Now mothers are out to prove they need no one. They rather no dinner be on the table for the father when he excitingly returns home from work. They rather a hired high school student from the local baby store fumble through tightening each screw of the crib and of course there would be no cigar smoking celebratory pat on the back within 10 miles of the house. (ok…we all know smoking of any kind is terrible for anyone especially an infant, but you get the point here…)  Any talk of “been there done that” is utter nonsense to the new mother. Even though her and the infants father made it to the point in their lives to conceive a child, the parents had nothing to do with it, in fact they did everything wrong and know nothing about raising a child!

Mothers use to carry their bundle of joy with anticipation of one day having their figure back and fitting into their favorite dress and leaving the baby at Grandma and Grandpa’s house for the long-awaited date night to celebrate being a parent . (in reality the first sleep over was just so mom and dad could sleep).                                                                     Now the mothers forget all about the fact that they created this beautiful being with the man they love. They want the world to believe being a mother fulfills their every second and the father should be just as fulfilled working all day and coming home to a woman who “is a mother” therefore she has no time to even brush her hair. He should take over child rearing but he of course does nothing right so the mother is “fine” with doing it all.  If the father dare express he is tired from work, or that he would like to go out with just his wife, well then he of course  hates his life and certainly can not love his child!

These new mothers do not look at their child as a member of the family (the village). No..the child is their possession! Their possession is not a grandchild, niece, nephew or cousin, he/she is a possession that requires written notice to be loved. The family is thought of as out of control and disrespectful to dare to want to hold the child, feed the child, spend time with the child or even buy the child unaproved gifts.

What is the threat? What happened to this generation?  When did these new mothers lose the values they were raised with?  Who led them to believe they do not need the village? When will they understand the village is there for them to learn from, lean on, teach to and fill their child’s world with love?  Why would they want to raise a child that will never know the debts of their father’s silliness and capabilities? Why did they have a child with a man who is nothing more than a pay check? How can these new mothers deny their child the joy of the parent that is not stressed with routine, rules and regulations and that can show a different way to  do things. Why would they not want to lean on the man they chose to have a child with? How dare they raise a child that does not know that there are no rules at Grandma and Grandpa’s house and that their every wish will be granted?  Why deny them the fact that “NO” is not in a Grandparents vocabulary? What is the reasoning to deny the child to spend time with an Aunt or Uncle that can share fun stories of their parents? How is the child ever going to learn that an Aunt or Uncles house is always a safe place to complain about mom and dad. How can anyone deny a child a safe place to express a thought that only an Aunt or Uncle would understand?  Will the child ever learn that cousins are  your best friends? (no one will understand the craziness of your family better than a cousin)

I fear there will never be an answer to these questions. I fear generations to come will never know that using the village ensures a healthy, happy, loved,  well adjust adult!

I realize this has been happening with the generations that came after me, and that is why the world is in the sate its in!!!

It will take a strong village to rebuild and show these new mothers…there is nothing new about raising a child. The village needs to show these new mothers that your child is of course “your child” and will love you no matter what, but love is what makes the village work

Parenting Adult Children

No one prepares you, certainly not one person dares to warn you about parenting an adult child.  People say children should come with instructions,  I believe the instruction should pop out when the child becomes an adult! (not exactly sure where they should pop out of, but they should!)

When mothers are pregnant we are dreaming of holding our bundle of love to our breast snuggled in their receiving blankets. Parents are wondering who the little love will look like and who they will take after. Mothers are hoping their sons have their father’s stunning good looks. Fathers are hoping their daughter’s have their mother’s timeless beauty. Of course the parents second guess themselves and read every book on the parenting shelves hoping they have every safety gadget and all the comfort needs for the arrival. Advise has been spoken, written and e-mailed about the proper diapers, weather or not the little loves should sleep on their back or tummy and which bottle will prevent gas. (ummm, that is if one chooses NOT to breast feed….agh! that’s a whole other issue)

During the first precious year we are blessed with mile stones.  That first poop is simply an amazing magical occurrence that we must show one another and call other loved ones to explain the color and quantity! How wonderful it is to see the little loves turn from their back to their tummy! How special of a moment when he/ she holds his/her head up and looks into our eyes.  Watching the little loves fine tuning their motor skills is always a laugh. Oh! and how exciting it is to spot that cute little first tooth. In my family we come at the little loves with a silver spoon and wait to hear the “clank, clank”, whoever finds the tooth is honored to buy the first pair of walking shoes.

The next few years we get to witness their wobbly steps become a stride in search of things to destroy with sticky fingers a. Potty training is such a great reward. Sure at first it’s all trial and error, creating the need for extra laundry detergent and floor cleaner but the end result gives mom the go ahead to use her favorite pocket-book again. The transition to sippy cups is liberating for both mom and baby. The formation of words in place of babbling “momma” and “dadda” gives parents the opportunity to add manners to their vocabulary.  Between toddler and school age parents are able to teach the importance of sharing and the virtue of patience and the excitement of interacting with others. (other than family that is!)

School aged children become a bit of a challenge. By this time that blessed feeling  of holding our bundle of love is desperately missed. We have to remind the little ones daily about manners and work harder at instilling family values. Along with all the other rules the little loves had to master now they need to fit in math, science, social studies, english and study skills.(of course this is all the parents evil plan to make their lives miserable!) The biggest struggle is the dear child understanding parents are not the enemy by requiring them to bath, brush teeth and hair and match their socks with their shirts!

The epic parent child battle is the teen age years!! The little lovely girls mothers know nothing about fashion, friends or boys. The little bouncing baby boys fathers would never understand that if they did not wear the $185 sneakers that they just would not have a friend in the world and no girl would ever look at them. And of course both parents are just plain mean by expecting chores to be done and curfews to be upheld. And heaven forbid we drive them to their destination with “old folk” music playing and have the nerve to drop them in front of the destination…well then we are just about the worst thing that ever happened to their lives!

Sometime while they are depending on us and fighting for their independence and we are fighting to hold on to the tender years, a calm comes over parent and child. The universe in lined up for a brief moment. The parent learns that the child can be trusted and child learns the parent can be counted on!

Then it happens…in a blink of an eye the child is an adult! The child is making their own car payment, FaceBooking through their own data on their own cell phone plan and shopping for their own clothes. The child is kissing mom on the forehead and telling dad not to wait up as he/she is walking out the door with dinner plans. Mom and Dad are left with a table set for two.

Do these adult children realize MOM has carried their precious lives for 9 long months in her womb? Do these adults understand that  Mom and Dad have spent years building traditions! Do they have any compassion for the old folks that sleep with one eye open. Do they understand that mom worries they are not eating a healthy diet and that she knows they are not getting the proper amount of sleep. How could they not comprehend that Dad knows nothing of value is happening past midnight!

How can they walk out of Mom and Dads house and into an apartment with the furniture mom picked out and Dad carried in and put together after his long day of work!? Who is going to do the food shopping, make sure they have clean sheet and underwear?  Dad has all the tools, who is going to fix the leaky faucets and door jams and connect all the cables to the T.V and game systems?

 

The sad reality is that our little bundles do NOT come with instructions and NOTHING pops out from anywhere when they are adults. All we can do is say a prayer and trust that we did the best we could raising them to become well adjust, happy, healthy adults!

As a parent of adult children I am learning that we no longer should expect our children to do as we say!  We can only offer advise and hope they take it.

( I mean really …do they not understand we know a thing or two because we have done a thing or two?)

Summer

I wait out the long months of Fall and Winter anticipating my reward.  Unfortunately in my adult years Spring has not been worth the wait and has certainly not delivered an award. During the latter part of June, I am rewarded with Summer. My reward does not last very long but I am grateful for it.  The long hours of day light is delightful . The smell of the ocean, back yard BBQ , and tanning lotion is tantalizing  and the warmth of the sun is stupendous.  Ever since I was old enough to possess self-awareness I knew I belong to the sand, ocean  and tanned skin. Yet I dwell in the dreary east coast in a suburb that one needs to be diligent towards what lay beneath the sand and dare not venture into the ocean. And sadly tanned skin fades sometime before Halloween.

At this very moment I am mere weeks away from my reward.  The excited preparation has begun. My 3 dogs have enjoyed the run of the yard, now I have the disgusting duty of cleaning their free range toilet privilege. During my rewarded season their privileged area will be restricted to a hose off only zone. (I swear I should have been strictly a cat person) The patio furniture is drug out of storage and laying in wait for the home and  garden store run for cleaner.  The grass seed is spread and lawn edger oiled up and ready to make a perfectly straight line of weed free grass along the patio. The seedlings are already plants and planted in the vegetable garden awaiting to be harvested.

Here in my neck of the woods Mother Nature does not want to cooperate with the “April showers bring May flowers” saying. May came and rain still fell. She graced us with a brief heat wave which confused the flowers, birds and bees. Then dumped more rain and teasing us with spring weather. A day here and there she gave me a reward but took it away soon as night fell. Weeks away from my reward she is still dumping rain and not providing enough warm days to propel the yard preparation forward.

This time of year I start plotting on how I am going to convince my family to uproot their lives just to make my life sunnier.  I know that they know that I know ,I will forever be awaiting my season. I will forever be a New Yorker!

Speaking of seasons…so this menopause thing, some call it a season of a woman’s life. Well ya know what?, I could truly do without this season! I think sometime around October of 2016 the wonderful hot flashes went from occasionally to extremely regular. The flashes did save on the heat bill and my clothing expense all winter long. ( I mean come on the family could bundle up, I could not peel enough off  )

What I did not anticipate while waiting out the misery for my great reward of Summer is  the dreadful feeling of being on the surface of the sun while having a hot flash! I mean in the colder months I could strip down to an  acceptable layer of concealment and stand on my porch. But what do I do now? How can I possibly cool down now? Sure I can put the air conditioner on but by the time it reached a temperature that soothed me the flash would be over and I would have melted from the inside out! I could leave the air on all day in anticipation but that would require me to keep the winter clothing out of storage for the rest of the family. ( which my husband does not see how necessary this is to HIS health,… YET!)

Let me try to explain the feeling of a hot flash. It is a flash!  You have no warning it’s coming. It can come happen any where. In the shower, while your sleeping, while your all dressed up enjoying a cocktail or two, embraced in a tender moment, in the park with your youngest or while your brushing your teeth. Some times the flash starts at the bottom of my feet. Yes my feet! Imagine walking on hot coals, you don’t feel the pain you just feel the intense heat. Then my shins catch fire from within and sweat, ummm yes my friends shins can sweat! Some how the middle of my body is spared the heat, (briefly). My eye lids feel as though someone is washing them with the hottest ,driest rag from the inside. My hair-line begins dripping sweat into my burning eyes. My head, well its in an incinerator and filling with thoughts of pulling my hair out and or breaking everything I could get my sweaty hands on!   Now, …now the middle of my body jumps into the furnace causing rapid heart beating and an ache that forces me to contort in ways I didn’t think were possible. Of course any layer of clothing I didn’t manage to strip away is  soaked!  And in a flash it’s over. I blink and quickly have to answer the dazed and confused questions written all over faces that are in my vicinity. Which at this point the flash is over but the rage is taking a bit longer to subside. Once subsided then the embarrassment sets in and the apologies flow to whom ever I offended with my snark answers. ( warning: Never, never, ever ask a woman of a certain age whose face is flushed and visible sweat is upon her upper lip is “everything is ok”)

I did not anticipate this happening in the midst of the stupendous warmth of the sun! This “season” of my life is ruining the  reward of my beloved Summer season! I did not foresee the prepping of the yard while having a flash. I did not in any way foresee me throwing the stupid patio furniture into the draining pool. No one could foresee me ripping the canopy to shreds instead of ripping out my hair. (which I have learned to keep tightly wrapped in a school marm bun to ensure not a single strand touches my skin) The poor dogs did not foresee that they would be confined to a penned in area and scolded for doing their natural business.  My husband did not foresee having to make multiple trips to the home and garden store after his long day of work to replace the hose pipe that was bent because the hose had the nerve to kink!

Summer…. The season I waited too long for , the season Mother Nature is teasing me with, the season that once brought me such joy.  The season I once had a kindred connection with. The season that sparked the desire to uproot my family has turned to dread!   While this “season” of menopause last it appears as though Winter will be my reward.

Jealousy

I am consumed with jealousy over my 2 main characters. They both happen to be women. (well I guess that did not just happen). They are both mothers and doing whatever they feel necessary to keep their son safe.  Now, I know I would do anything, anything at all to ensure the safety of my 3 sons, and I try my hardest to give them a well-balanced healthy life. However the older I am getting the more anxieties are setting in.

When my older 2 boys were younger I ran in the park with them, pitched the baseball, climbed the trees and dug in the dirt. The bigger the thrill the more fun we had. I could not wait until they were tall enough to ride the big rides at an amusement park. I have always loved roller coasters.  Before they were tall enough I would go to the amusements parks with my brothers or cousin and wait on the long lines for a few seconds of pure adrenaline fun. Well as each grew tall enough, we discovered they just did not like rides. Gees! I couldn’t believe my boys were afraid of rides, I mean really who raised them?

When the little guy came along 18 years after the oldest and 13 years after the now middle boy I found I was not running as fast.  The baseballs were pitched from a machine  and I thought it to dangerous for me to attempt to climb a tree ; but I still dug in the dirt! I still love the rides and hoped the little guy would too.

At an early age he gave me hope. He would get bored with the kiddie rides and beg to go on the bigger ones. We managed to compromise on a few rides that allowed the little ones on as long as they were accompanied by an adult.  We would be forced to sit together, I mean I am the responsible adult taking him on the speeding roller coaster! The older he got the less they forced (allowed) us to sit together! Ummmm, what was happening? Why was my little guy growing up? Why can’t mom sit with her little precious cargo?

Finally he is tall enough! But…I can’t, I could not bear it!

We stood on-line for our first big (really, really big) roller coaster ride. He wanted to do a loopy loop one first, but I explained to him that we should start with a non loop to get the feel of a big roller coaster and to make sure the thought he had of the thrill in his head measured up.  We were next, we were going to be on the next coaster and in the front seats!!  No!, No!…what was happening to me. My mind went dark, then started a horrible picture show of what could go wrong! No….I waited too long for this moment, my little guy waited 11 long years for this very moment!

Without a second to back out and fake a heart attack we were on the ride buckled in and headed up the long haul of doom. My heart was racing so fast I thought for sure I was truly going to have a heart attack. My mind was telling me he was not buckled in, that he was going to slip between the safety bars or that the coaster was going to malfunction.  As we soared down towards the earth and back up to the sky I twisted my body against the G-force trying to hold my little guy.  By the time we pulled back into the station (which felt like a life time, but was probably not even a minute) I was sweating from places I didn’t know I had and my mouth was so dry I couldn’t swallow.  Firmly standing on the exit plat form I hugged my boy as if I had not seen him in years. He hugged me back but with pure excitement and cheering for another go around!

Well I fought against the fake heart attack but orchestrated  diversions of needing to eat and well the food must have not agreed with me because I could not stay out of the restrooms. I insisted he go on the rides without me but the lines were so long he only made it one ride before mom could not bear the pain in her stomach any longer. (and oops! we were leaving for home the next day!) On the long ride back to the hotel he was in the back full of disappointment and I’m sure a little hatred for me. I was consumed with self loath and guilt that I am not as strong as the mothers I write about. The mothers that fight over one little guy and would do anything to put a smile on his face. I was so jealous that they were fearless and the only anxiety they felt was over whether or not they were going to get caught for doing whatever it took for their little guy!

My characters should feel lucky that I have gotten to a point where anxieties control me, because now they have all the fearlessness of my youth!

That mother daughter thing.

So another Mother’s Day! My 45th motherless Mother’s Day.  I envy those who have that mother daughter thing.  I have so many questions unanswered.  I have asked them many times, my wonderful Aunts have given me their version of  how my mother would answer, but the questions still linger.  I try not to dwell in the sadness but it creeps in this time of year.  Just when I thought I was going to dwell, anger arose instead!

As I listen to daughters (and sons) complain about having to spend the day with their mother I wonder how hard I should slap them up side the head!  I mean really, is having to plan, shop, clean or cook really that much of a sacrifice? ( I’m betting your mom didn’t think so)

When daughters and sons are young, mothers are showered with hand-made cards, macaroni necklaces, and hand-picked flowers. A make shift breakfast is presented with glee and the day is spent doting on mom.  When those same sons and daughters become teenagers, mom gets a peck on the cheek and maybe some time at the breakfast table. When those sons and daughters become adults with families of their own suddenly mom don’t matter.

Adult daughters with children of their own feel as though the day is all about them. Any time spent with their mom takes away from their special day.

Of course, it is about you! I mean you are a mother now.  But stop for a moment and realize that your mom is over the moon to have raised you and now watching you raise your own children. Your mom and mother-in-law feel doubly proud and would love nothing more than to spend the day with you and your children.  And when you are in their shoes you will know that mom is perfectly happy to see you have your day in the sun as she is quietly in the back round helping the grandkids shower you with hand-made items, stringing the macaroni and  cooking your favorite breakfast.

Adult son’s with children of their own somehow feel like it is their anniversary or something special just between husband and wife. Of course you ought to show your wife just how special she is to be the mother of your children.  You better be helping the children hand make something and taking them to the store to show their mother just how appreciated she is! And by all means take the load off her, give her the time to just enjoy being a mother. She should not be cooking, cleaning or planning anything, the only thing your wife should do on Mother’s day is enjoy the love and attention from her children.  But when and who decided that Mother’s day is only about your wife and that your mom don’t even deserve to be lurking in the back round?

I never knew my mother, she passed when I was 9 months. I am lucky enough to have my mother-in-law. Of course she could never take the place of what I feel like I missed out on, nor would I want to put that pressure upon her. But because of  the place she has in my children and my heart she sure deserves to be celebrated. My husband, her son has never expected her to be lurking in the back round. She has always been front and center and shown just how much she is loved and cherished. She raised the man who I cherish and love, she is the mother of the man who gave me my children!  There are so many reason and emotions I could convey for celebrating with my mother-in-law but the single most important one is because she is the mother of the man who I married!

To be perfectly honest I would not respect my husband as much as I do if he did not have his mother on the pedestal she deserves to be on. I always held it dear to my heart that my boys would see how their grandmother is treated and show my grandchildren the same.  (parenting fail 101: having expectations)

The urge to slap others upside their head is so real.  As much as I love my mother-in-law, I wish I was planning on taking my mother to her favorite restaurant or cooking her favorite meal, showing up with her favorite flowers, picking out her favorite baked goods and writing her the perfect mother’s day card. I feel cheated that she is not here to spend our special day as mother’s together.  I wonder if like me she would prefer going to the local nursery and picking out the perfect vegetable and vibrant flowers to plant and asking only for “lots of love of hugs”. (in other words T-I-M-E with my boys)  I know for a fact I would not feel as though she were infringing on my special day. I mean it’s not my birthday, not my wedding anniversary …It’s Mother’s day!! A day to celebrate with your Mother, Mother-in-law, Grandmother, God-mother , Aunts, and all the family and friends that are mothers!!!     (even if it means that you will have to plan, shop, clean or cook..suck it up buttercup and count your blessings that you have someone to do it for)

Rain, rain go away…

I sat here for at least an hour trying to write a little something witty that related to my life and my writing.  As I heard the clock ticking I realized this week I have not been productive with writing. I would like to blame my characters but I have to admit to myself that it is all my fault.

I can not even blame the weather, in my neck of the woods we have not seen the sun in some time. I should be able to blame my little guy. I should have been schooling him, but the year is coming to an end, nothing new he is interested in learning so he has dutifully sat and done review work.  I already administered the end of year assessment, sent it out to be graded and have the outstanding grades in an envelope ready to be mailed to the Department of Education.

I was gearing up for a local book signing.  It was to be at a spring fair a friend organized.  All my focus was on gathering the giveaways, deciding on what I was going to say to talk the wonderful patrons into signing up for my blog. The fair was to start at 9am but I had to be there at 8AM, I was dreading the early hour and trying to decide on an out fit that looked natural but put together at the same time. The event was to go through the day ending at 3pm.  Honestly my main focus was on what I was going to bring to eat for the day. The easy part was filling up the coffee thermos, but the hard part was deciding on chips or planning a 15 minute escape to grab a few slices of pizza or some sort of sandwich. I knew I should really be planning on something to eat with a fork or spoon, I mean how was I going to sign all those copies with crummy hands?

Well all that planning and scheming ended with me being able to eat whatever the heck I wanted. The event was cancelled! Mother nature dumped a heap of rain and wind in my neck of the woods causing wide-spread flooding. The event venue suffered with broken windows and water damage.  All my advertising and anticipation was washed down the gutter. I felt like a school girl who was stood up. I was quite angry with no one to lash out against. I waisted a week, I told my characters I had no time for them.  The only person I could lash out against was myself!  Well, if you have ever been full of emotions and no one to release them upon but yourself, then I am sure you know…there is no satisfaction in berating ones self!

I may have not come up with something witty, but I did come to the revelation that I truly did not ignore my characters. (my writing)  I mean I was going to show case them at the signing. I was going to talk them up and convince people to sign up for my blog and enter a contest to have first glance at their new adventures. Not only was I going to offer them first glance but a lucky winner would have had the opportunity to come up with a working title for their new antics! My characters were going to be front and center. I however was going to be in the back round sipping my thermos and squirting hand sanitizer onto my hands after every 12 chips or so!

The venue has not released a rain date,  but I am more than prepared for when they do. This week I will be focusing on packing for my road trip so again my characters will not be front and center.  I will not sit around waiting for someone to blame or for mother nature to rain on my parade. I will prove to them just how important they are. They may not participate in much scheming, twisting or turning but they will be on the ride along.   They must know by now even if they are not active upon their pages, they are always active!

Vacation planning

AH! The ever so exciting, vacation planning.

My family is planning a road trip from New York to Florida.  The plan was for 2 of my sons, the older boy’s girlfriend, my mother in law and of course myself and husband. The older boy is 24, and he has the nerve to be in a wedding and have a great job interview lined up. This will be my first vacation without him. He however has been on many without me! I’m not sure how I feel about this yet.  On one hand he saved me from spending $100’s on having to kennel my 3 dogs and finding a sitter for the cat. I also save on the $ that would have been spent on him to ensure an even attitude! On the other hand  my heart is heavy, I mean really how dare he grow up !!! My youngest being only 11, saves him from the melodrama. I swear the older 2 (29 &24) have no clue what their younger brother has saved them from. I could be a beggar and the crafty mother still able to guilt them into searching for the big mouse with me. I contemplated changing the dates of travel to accommodate him, but my mother-in-law over ruled that.  We dare not interfere with her schedule! ( I know you wondering about the 29 year old…He is married and blessed me with 3 grand-daughters, which I would love to vacation with but that’s another story)

I am so blessed that my mother-in-law still vacations with us. I realize how lucky I am that I have the 11-year-old. I am sure my mother-in-law loves me and her son but somehow doubt the excitement would be present if not for her grandson. Well maybe this vacation because we are staying with my brother-in-law who moved to Florida a few years back and visiting my husband’s uncle who has lived there as long as I know him.  She is thrilled to see her son’s new home and visit with her brother.

Now that I don’t have to worry about finding a suitable kennel for the dogs or a sitter for the cat. I have to plan their every meal and somehow ensure they do not shed while I am not here to vacuum the hair.  I have to cut, slice and dice their food and have it portioned out for the convenience  of the older boy. I have to leave notes in the fridge , by the sink and near their water bowl to feel satisfied that the boy will keep them hydrated. Before I go I have to somehow find a way for the boy to appreciate their love and devotion to feel comfortable knowing he will show them adequate  affection.

I feel guilty that the boy has to fend for himself so I will stock the fridge with all his favorite vegetarian foods. Of course leave enough money for him to order out because no matter what I stock the fridge with, he is sure not to like, want or trust that it is indeed vegetarian!

So the planning… I already reserved a rental car. I mean we can’t travel such a distance and put miles on the every day car. The hunt for the best price was at my finger tips and just a click away from reserving.  The 11-year-old had a growth spurt throughout the winter so he of course needs new summer clothes. Not just plain old t-shirt’s and shorts that I can run and pick up within 10 minutes. No..he he is older now and feels the need to pick out his own clothes.  Planning a suitable time for him to grace me with his presence in the store is when the negotiation began. He can not wear plain solid shirts, he need graphic design which can not be stiff feeling cotton, the shirts must feel like silk. I was forced to search high and low for the perfect length shorts to match the graphic t-shirt. He simply could not be seen in shorts that were “too short”! I negotiated my way into purchasing a few tank tops that would match the perfect length short. Which he stated he would only wear at his uncles, because after all “it’s weird” for boys to wear tank tops, “you wear them Mom”!  I gave up trying to explain and visually show him the difference between tween boy tank tops and “mom” tank tops.   As the heat rose from my toes I wished with all that I had that I just didn’t mention the fact that he needed new clothes and simply search the web and had them delivered to my door, packed them and gave him to choice! (Mom fail 101, giving choices)

My husband is the easiest, I simply fill him on the when and where. His suit case get packed without input. I dutifully pack his favorite shorts, comfortable shirts and shoes and always a little extra in case he hates what I packed. And I never forget a dress outfit in case a night of fancy eating is suggested.

OK, in full disclosure…I learned a hard lesson. A few years back we went on a cruise. Keep that in mind, A Cruise! No where to shop for clothes, no fancy dining options unless of course you shop at the on board high (very high) end store, where nothing is under $250.00! (not even under garments) Well I dutifully packed ALL his FAT clothing! . I somehow forgot that he lost a ton of weight throughout the year, I’m talking loosing more than 3 sizes.  I was just so impressed with myself that I was ahead of schedule that I packed and loaded without realizing I had not purchased  clothing  to accommodate the weight loss. . Well, bless the man. We had a good laugh and bought a shiny new very expensive belt from the very high-end on board shop and for the first time he had an even upper body tan! (no pesky shirt lines) If I had not been foolishly impressed with myself I could have clothed my entire family for the next few seasons with what we spent on that belt!

So as I make sure of the clothing size and pack the boys silky tops and perfect length shorts and shove whatever I think will camouflage the extra pounds brought on by menopause for myself I begin to panic. What are my characters going to do while I’m gone? Dare I bring my lap top and keep them engaged? I could bring my notebook and pen and enter their shenanigans upon my return, but I feel they will be idle too long. How can I keep them spinning towards triumph and defeat as I’m driving and keeping conversation with my mother-in-law flowing and restraining the 11-year-old from asking “are we there yet”!  How am I supposed to enjoy the visit with family if I’m consumed with finding the right strategy for my characters to cope with their emotions? I certainly can not walk around searching for the over grown mouse while thinking my youngest character deserves to find what he seeks. So now I have to plan in advance their every move. I need to propel them to the end before I plan my selfish vacation! I need to plan for them to get where they need to be or at the very least to make them understand why they will be idle.

Planning for vacation is ever so exciting!                                                                                     At the same time the feeling of guilt leaving the 24-year-old, the dogs, the cat and my characters behind is crippling!

This menopause thing.

This menopause thing is making my writing  hot and cold. {oh! yes, pun intended}

It all started with not keeping the seasons in order for my characters. I must have re-written the same scene several time. Once I was confident it was perfect, {ha!} I read it out loud. Well…I wanted to throw my computer out the window and just give up. My poor characters were dressed all wrong, driving in a snow storm in one line then packing the car for the beach the next line!  I tried to take a breath and move away from the screen but I just could not catch my breath.

I was so angry and feeling a bit spiteful, I decided to kill off a main character. I mean really he was not cooperating so he deserved it. When I felt vindicated from the brutality tears swelled in my eyes and rolled down my cheek. How could I be so heartless? The poor guy was just trying to do his best. So of course that scene had to be deleted and re-written. I had no words for the poor guy, naturally I was angry again that I had to delete! He is stuck somewhere between being supportive, being assertive, being showered with affection and feeling the wrath of the vicious murderer. In actuality what he needs to do is find his boy and show that he can step up when required.

I sit staring at the screen when the sound of one of my little dogs nails clicking on my hard wood floor sent chills up and down my spine. I made a deal with myself that if he just sat down then I could continue on with my work. I promised myself that if the clicking just stopped I would not send him and the other 2 dogs out in the rain for the day. You would think he would cooperate or the very least the other 2 would force him into submission! Nope...so knowing how they despise the rain, a feeling of sweet revenge eased my tingling spine as I sent them out in the pouring rain.  I sat back in front of my computer feeling spiteful.

The spitefulness flowed onto the screen. Just when the mother and father were in reach of their boy, his captive cleverly escaped. This drove the retired detective to feel like retirement was just in the nick of time. My words made him realize he is too old to be in the game, he needs to step aside and let his apprentice take over. The old man second guessed his every move. I drove him to the brink of a break down and I was loving it! How dare he be so arrogant and testify in front of a judge convincing her and the jury that the mother ought to be locked away in a criminally insane asylum? Yet again, I had to delete my words, I remembered that the mother and father needed his help. After all he was retired but still had all his connections. He had to believe in himself and the woman he helped put away or the boy would never be rescued.

The blank screen was mocking me. My hands were gripping tight to the screen ready to smash it to the floor. I needed to hear the sweet sound of it crashing to the floor as the glass broke. Instead from the second floor my boy was asking to eat. Really?…I just fed the boy yesterday! Out of my mouth flowed the words, ” sure sunshine, what would you like?” In my mind I was screaming, “YOU, YOU ARE hungry, NOT me, you are capable of making your own sandwich and while you’re at it make me one too”.  While making his sandwich my stomach began to growl, but I can not indulge in the high fat, high salt processed lunch meat! As I fought back the drool and urge to devour the boys food, I spotted the healthy vegetable filled salad I made the day before.  I took one fork full of the healthiness and dumped it in the garbage. I returned to my computer with a heaping handful of salt and vinegar chips and a fresh cup of coffee.

After the last chip was delightfully digested I began to craft a scene that was sure to send me soaring to the top of a best sellers list. I would love to tell you about it, but the barking from the drenched dogs made me practically rip my hair out. They came running in at such speed all 3 slid across the wood floor and into the table causing the clothes that were still not folded to tumble on the floor. I’ll assume it was pay back as they proceeded to roll themselves into the clothes. Well, 2 can play the pay back game, all 3 were shuffled into their crate with a slamming of the latch! When I sat back at my desk, I slammed my hands onto the keyboard and deleted my best seller scene. In pure defeat, I hung my head in my hands and sobbed.

I sobbed for my characters, for my lost words, for the pile of clothes now needing to be laundered again. Somehow through my sobs I determined this was the boys fault. He was having a bit too much fun on the phone with his friends. He should have known I was working and the dogs needed tending too, so now he was going to sit at the table and compute at least 50 algebra questions. He didn’t even bother to fight me, which made my heart melt. I watched as he sat there and dutifully did his work. I could not let him go on, I could not go on!  I ran in the bathroom to hide my shame. I emerged smiling and happy to announce we were going to the local five and dime and he could get anything he wanted. Still he said nothing. I think he is too used to the highs and lows.  [What I really think is that he rides out the lows knowing he will benefit from the high!]

When we returned he retrieved back to the second floor to call his friend and give details of his prize for dealing with me. My computer was beckoning me but the clothes needed to be transferred into the drier. I passed the kitchen clock and realized my husband would be home shortly and I could not allow him to be greeted with no dinner. By this time the fullness front he chips wore off and I was famished. I set out to whip up a seven coarse meal but sadly was hit with the fact that I had not food shopped in a while. I debated running back out but before I knew it I was on the phone and ordering an over load of carbs, grease, fried something or another with a side of healthiness. As I waited for my husband and food delivery I sat back at my desk with determination to complete a scene.

My mind was blank, I had to scroll up to high and read what was written to familiarize myself as to what should come next. When the words started to form I could not sit still in my seat.  The heat started from my toes and stopped at the nape of my neck. I’m pretty sure I was sweating from behind my ears. I tried reaching for the ceiling fan chain but the stupid new dining room  table that the fan hangs over prevent such. Rage cause more heat than I could handle, I had no choice than to stand on my front porch flapping my shirt in desperation to cool down. My neighbor had the nerve to wave to me!  Embarrassment caused a laugh reflex as I waved back. I slid back towards my door hopefully out of sight as the laugh turned into a full on belly chuckle. I breezed back into the house, shouting up to the boy making sure all was right in his world. The door opening and closing alerted the dogs that I forgot were punished. I allowed them to shower me with affection as they followed me through the rush of a house cleaning.

My husband finally home and dinner delivered. [Bless his soul, he never complains  about a thing, he could care less what the house looked like or what was or was not on the table.] We recap the day and discuss issues that needed tending too.  As I clear the table, the boy return to the second floor, the 3 dogs enjoy scraps from dad before he tunes into whatever t.v. program interest him. I figure since all matters discussed, bellies full and each in their corner of the house that it was the perfect time to finish a scene.

As I sat and stared at the screen hoping for magic, the guilt of what I ate agitated me to tears. The tears turned to anger, the anger turned into a hot flash. Not being able to tear off my clothing fast enough caused irritation. My flaring around apparently was a funny sight which made my husband laugh. I guess from the look of death shot his way he figured out quickly to focus  back on his  t.v. program.  Finally disrobed and defeated I too went to the second floor to soak in a cool bath.

My loving , caring, understanding family has learned to ride the highs and lows of this menopause thing. I just hope my characters learn to ride along too!

Work with me.

I beg my muse to work with me.  I mean really I think she has turned her back on me.  ( well who needs her?)

She has always sat by me and gave me the push I need. Lately she is so far in front of me I think she is looking for someone else to talk to.  I think she is annoyed that I just have not had the time to listen to her.  She seems not to care that the weather broke for a little bit in my neck of the woods and I needed a healthy dose of vitamin-D.  She certainly does not want to listen to the fact that I am still a mother and wife. I invite her to come along on errands. I would love for her to pick up the slack when it comes to house keeping. I could certainly use her improvisation when it comes to schooling the boy.  And I tell her all the time, she can feel free to entertain the fury members of the family, but she ignores me.

My muse just does not want to listen  to reason as to why I need to get away with my family and leave her at the computer waiting for my return.  I think she is sick and tired of the fact that the key board has been quite. She does not care that the house needs to be in order for the dog sitter to have easy access to their needs. She hates the fact that there is water in my hand instead of the many cup and coffee that helps the key board perk up. She has no patience when I leave the volume up high on the phone instead of hitting mute and kicking up the radio volume. ( which she knows motivates me to make the key board sing)  I think she’s a little annoyed that I have ignored her shove a few too many times.

What she really needs to do is work with me on is this menopause thing happening! I need her to work on keeping me focused. She has to work with me through the ups and downs. She has to stop me from expressing the crazy over the top highs and lonely lows through my characters that have no idea why they are twisting and turning line after line.  She has stopped trying to keep the season scenes in order, one minute they are in the deep freeze of winter and the next the sultry  humid days of summer. I think she forgot that she is supposed to be pushing me through a fictional crime thriller.  She has allowed the characters to be your average next door neighbors! She needs to work with me and stop them from being vulnerable!  I have tried to ask her why she took a strong character and in just a few sentences made her submissive.  She has not stopped me from inserting rage in a character that was once so meek!

I beg her to help me show the rawness of emotions for a particular character but she just leaves me begging!   She needs to work with me on one very important character but she is just choosing to ignore me.  I think she is punishing me for not listening to her!  I really do not think she believes me when I tell her I was trying!  I mean, I  was sort of listening as I was cleaning up my yard. I was trying to tune in to her as I was teasing the dogs with the hose. I thought I heard her whispering as I was bouncing on the trampoline with my boy but the sound of my bones creaking was loud!  I wasn’t sure if it was  her buzzing in my ear as I was preparing the soil in the vegetable garden for next months plant or the carpenter bee trying to burrow into the garden wall. So I naturally flared around like a drunk ninja and continued prepping!  Perhaps it was she that was causing me to fidget in my lounge char instead of the blazing early evening sun.  I tried to tell her I earned that moment in the sun. Not only did she not care what I did or did not do to earn that, but neither did the boy, the husband, the 3 dogs or the cat!

My muse needs to work with me and get into my groove! I mean really I have living to do, things to grow, family to tend to, sun to soak in and off the chart hormones to deal with! ….

SHHH…between me and you. I NEED HER BACK!!!!. I WILL LISTEN TO HER, I WILL, I WILL, I REALLY WILL!!! I WILL COMPLY TO HER!  I SOLEMNLY SWEAR  TO WORK WITH HER!