Sunday, July 21, 2013

Let's Talk Attraction

What do you find attractive when you're searching for a significant other? I know I'll hear about good bodies, hair, eyes, and the rest of the physical attractions. But that's not what I mean. Of course, you want to be physically attracted to your significant other. But that can't be all of it.

The physical attributes fade. That tattoo of a hummingbird on her hip that's so attractive now, will turn into a screaming vulture that travels on a downward slope to her thigh....or her knee....or ankle. Gravity will take over, don't doubt it. The head full of think hair will recede until his head looks like a cue ball. And those flat stomachs and rock hard abs will turn to "spare tires" and "love handles". Or c-section scars and stretch marks.

What else do you find yourself attracted to? For me, it's intelligent conversation, a sense of humor, an open mind. It's trips to new places, getting lost and discovering something new. It's quiet walks on the beach or up a mountain trail. It's finding a "mountain lion sighting" sign and racing to it, giggling, snapping pictures in front of it. It's getting lost on a "shortcut" home and finding a little cabin in the middle of nowhere to stay the night.

It's watching him play silly games with a baby. Hearing him sing to quiet a frightened child in the middle of a barbershop packed with men. Watching him sleep with a sick baby on his chest so the little one can rest. It's patience and soft words. It's a quiet strength. It's security and belonging. It's her voice singing a lullaby, slightly off tune. Whispers and kisses to take away bad dreams or hurt feelings. It's knowing without a word, what someone needs from you. It's giving that attention when you have nothing more to give.

I find those things more attractive than physical appearance. Do you agree?

Saturday, July 20, 2013


Thursday was not a productive writing day. But it's summer and I spent the day with the crew. The crew being my three boys. We had a couple of errands to run -- snooze fest. Then we went prowling around flea markets and such places. Our mission? Find materials to make a castle.

One of my twins loves to build. Give him plans or a picture and he'll build with no help. And he designs his own plans too. He's only seven. Yep, that's right, seven.

As we dig through mountains of potential materials, his eyes light up. He has a grin from ear to ear. He's in his version of heaven on earth. I'm happy watching him. And I started storing the details in my mind. He grabs a candle holder. (Wooden, looks like stairs when you hold it the way it's meant to sit. And like the bottom of a boat when it's turned upside down.) I nod my approval. We leave with a dollhouse kit (he hates that idea) and several wooden boxes and trays.

We stop by a tobacco shop and get an empty cigar box. He only had one, but agreed to keep the empties and let me collect them periodically. This stop led to a great discussion on the dangers of tobacco and alcohol. (I take what opportunities I can to educate them.)

Friday, we got a couple of towers built for the castle. And today, we started planning the walls and drawbridge. Let's just hope we can skip the moat and scary crocodiles/alligators. I'm not up to that much reality....unless they're plastic critters. Now, we're waiting for our base to dry. (Wood glue takes a little while.) Then we start building the walls!

I'm thinking I should have saved the construction tape they had around our house a couple of weeks ago. We may need it for our project.

Back to building! Have a great weekend and as always, thanks for reading!

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

A Review of Scott D. Southard's "A Jane Austen Daydream"

I couldn't tell you the last time I picked up one of Jane Austen's works. No, that's not quite true. I know it was around the time I took English literature in college. So, for me to pick up and read a book about Jane Austen, fiction or not, was a minor miracle in itself.

I don't know what I was expecting, but it has to be one of the best pieces of fiction I've read in a while. Scott D. Southard's "A Jane Austen Daydream" had me at page one. He is a very gifted storyteller with the ability to bring you into the story quickly and keep you there. I felt every disappointment, triumph and tragedy. I literally could not put it down. And the twist at the end was written so well that it took a moment for me to realize what he'd done.

If you want a great read, get this book! You won't be disappointed.

Monday, July 8, 2013

Parenting Woes

This morning my 9 year old tells me about a new friend of his. This "friend", we'll call him Johnny (little Johnny always gets into trouble in stories), tells my kiddo he has a social media account. Sigh. I can feel myself gearing up for the fight. So, my kiddo says he thinks we should let him online to get a social media account.

He goes on to say, "And before you say I'm not old enough, all I have to do is lie about my age."

No. Nope. Uh uh. He did NOT just say that to me. I explained that we don't encourage or tolerate lying in this house. And that once you start lying, it's hard to stop.

He then tells me that "Johnny" said his friend posted a comment saying someone is a "f'ing 'tard." Damn, damn, damn. We have worked so hard to keep him from using words like that!

I went on to explain that 'tard is slang for retarded and that we NEVER use that word. It's hurtful, ignorant and inexcusable. And I know you're probably wondering why I didn't address the f-bomb. He knows it's not okay to say, he even said so before he quoted "Johnny".

Now I'm faced with that age-old parental dilemma of REALLY disliking this new friend and knowing if I say so, he'll stick like glue. My plan? I'm going to get to know this child (he's a recent addition to a group my kiddo belongs to) and perhaps I can minimize the damage.

In the meantime, I'll watch closely, be glad he confides in me and pray he loses interest in this new friend SOON!!

And the social media fight was nipped in the bud quickly after the f-bomb and the "r" word. If we're doing this now, what in the world will happen during his teen years?!

P.S. Mom, I'm really sorry for my friends you didn't like. I know why now.

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Why Can't I Get This Written?

For two years I've been trying to write a piece about my dad. And for some reason, I can't get it written. Everything I've written comes off fake. Or makes him sound like a saint, and as much as I loved him, he wasn't.

He wasn't a bad person. He was human. He had a horrible temper, held grudges far longer than he should have, and could terrify you with a look. But he also loved his children--biological and stepchildren. He wasn't always fair, but he did love us.

His grandchildren were the light of his life. One of the biggest regrets I have is that he didn't see my boys much. We lived quite a distance away. And after he got sick with cancer, he didn't feel up to the trip or the chaos a visit would bring if we made the trip. Cancer sucks. It's one of the few diseases where the treatment poisons your body so much that it can sap your will to live.

My dad fought it, but he'd had so many other health problems and eventually he lost the fight. And he held on for his wife and kids. Until we gave him permission to let go. I miss him more than I can say.

He taught me to work with wood. We'd build things together. I love the smell of fresh cut lumber. I sometimes wander the lumber store just to bring back those memories. I learned to change oil, change brake shoes, and clean battery connections from him, too. I've helped him haul wood, herd cattle (a comedy, trust me) and work in his garden. He taught me to shoot guns, fish, dress dove. All those things a daddy might teach a boy, if he'd had one. But Dad had me, my sister and married a woman with two daughters. Poor man!

Well, look here! I actually managed to write a little about him. Huh. Who knew? Maybe I was trying too hard. Anyway, thanks for reading and please feel free to comment and/or share.

Thursday, July 4, 2013

I'm Here and I'm Not Going ANYWHERE!

I've been writing for years. I've not published anything yet. Not because I've been rejected, but because I haven't submitted anything to anyone. Why? How long do you have? Short version, fear. That's it. Fear of rejection, of someone not liking what I wrote, of offending someone. Now that I'm approaching my next birthday (the big 5-0), I realize I don't care any more. I don't care if I offend or someone dislikes what I write. I just plain don't give a damn!

I presented a piece of work at a writing group last month. The critique left me discouraged, frustrated and above all, mad as hell! I am not a poet, never professed to be one. And I prefaced the reading with that statement. And when I was done, I felt like I'd been punched in the stomach. My fault for calling it a poem. I should have called it a narrative or something. The end result, after I got over my cowering fear of presenting ANYTHING to ANYBODY, was to sit up and say, "Screw you!" Okay, not literally, but yeah, that's how I felt. And now, I'm glad I read it. I'm even glad I got the comments I did. I'm done worrying about it. It is what it is, good or bad. That's all. And you know, I'm not getting rid of it. It's got potential.

I'm putting my name out there, making my name visible to publishers, editors, other writers, and the general public. I want people to know who I am. A friend recently asked me how I feel about this new mindset. The answer? Scared shitless. I feel like I'm standing on the edge of a cliff, getting ready to bungee jump. And I can't wait to do it!!

My novels in progress are getting a lot more attention these days. My journal is filling up. I'm putting myself "out there" and letting life happen. By the end of next week, I will have an article ready for submission. Period. No "plan to" or "should have", it will be done.

So, watch as I jump! How do you like me now?