Friday, March 20, 2009

Free to good home: Six lovely, well-mannered children

I'm having one of those "I really want to put all of my kids up for adoption" kind of days.

And I'm trying really hard to remember why I wanted so many kids when I was younger. I always said I wanted 10 kids. Then I found out how babies are born and decided I would just adopt. I mean, come on, childbirth HURTS. Of course, I was only 9 years old and didn't know anything about lovely epidurals.

When I got older (older meaning 16 years old) me and my future ex-husband decided two kids would be good. We wanted a boy and then a girl, and we thought 2 years apart would be perfect.

J.R. was born on 11/11/92. On his second birthday, his sister Katie was born.

Then came Dustin 13 months after Katie while I was on birth control pills.

Then 2 and a half years later came Hunter while I was on Depo-Provera.

Then 11 months later came Mikaela....well, because we were drunk and stupid which translates to not being careful.

Then Mark had a vasectomy, the only birth control that worked for me.

That didn't help me once me and Mark split up. So I started taking the pill and ended up with Wren. 2 months later I got pregnant with Boogie.

And a year later, Wren got a vasectomy for Father's Day. I even took him to the same doctor I took Mark to. I think that doctor likes me.

So now here I am, 6 kids later, and I can't quite remember what I thought was so great about having kids. I told Wren I want to put them all up for adoption. He said we could keep the two oldest ones. Then he changed it and said we'd just keep Katie. She's such a huge help around here and never causes any problems, even at 14 years old when she should be a huge pain in the ass. I guess the other kids are trying to make up for her.

J.R. isn't a HUGE pain but he's just so dramatic and pessimistic and he drives us insane sometimes with his bitching. Plus, he's 16 and wants everything immediately. Patience is lost on 16 year olds. And 5 year olds.

For the last 2 months, Boogie has been waking up 6-8 times a night crying. It started gradually when she had that ear infection that wouldn't go away. She'd wake up saying her ear hurt, so we'd put drops in it, give her Tylenol and she'd go back to sleep. But it's gotten worse and now she has NO idea why she's waking up. In the middle of the night, I'll find her curled up in a ball on the floor in the hallway, or the kitchen, crying. When we ask her what woke her up she yells "I don't know!" Then we ask her why she's crying and she yells "I don't know!"

I try to be sympathetic, I really do. I pick her up, sit with her for awhile and then send her back down to bed. But after the 3rd or 4th time of this, it starts to get frustrating. I probably wouldn't mind as much if she actually came into our bedroom instead of laying on the floor somewhere crying loud enough to wake the whole house. I also probably wouldn't mind as much if she could tell me WHY she's crying.

Needless to say I was really tired today after only getting 4 hours of sleep last night. So Wren went to pick up the kids from school and I took a nap. He told Boogie to sit in the living room and watch TV until he got back because I'd be sleeping. She says "But who will keep me from getting into stuff?"

Ok, so it's funny, but not so much when you consider that I woke this morning to find her on the couch surrounded by chocolate chips cookies and an open bottle of pink fingernail polish on the coffee table. Oh, and did I mention the coffee table is now painted pink? Yeah, it's pretty.

So I fell asleep and at some point she managed to find some dum-dums. I only know this because I half woke up when she climbed on my bed to set one next to me. She likes to share. I noticed she had 2 in her hand and fell back to sleep. I got woke up less than an hour later by her crying and running back and forth from the living room to the back door, looking for Wren and the kids.

Her tooth was hurting her. So I got some Oragel and put it on there, and gave up on sleep. About half an hour later, after the kids got home and she played with Hunter in the yard for awhile, she started crying and saying her tooth hurt again. So Wren put some Oragel on it. She spent the next HOUR laying on the couch crying nonstop. She wasn't crying loud or anything but it was really putting me in a bad mood.

When her crying started getting more dramatic, it became obvious that it wasn't about her tooth. She was tired, from not getting enough sleep lately, and playing it up. Wren told her to go down to her room and cry. She kept screaming "I can't walk!" and wouldn't get up off the floor. Oh, didn't you know? Teeth are connected to legs.

Finally, Wren carried her down to her room and put her on her bed with a sock full of ice. She spent the NEXT hour screaming at the top of her lungs. I went down there at one point and said "Do I need to take you to the hospital?" She yelled at me to stop talking to her and said she was about to stop screaming when I came down there. lol Funny how quick a threat to the hospital will get a kid to stop being a drama queen.

On top of all of this, Dustin, Hunter and Mikaela were supposed to be getting dishes done so Wren could make spaghetti for dinner. They got them done very quickly and he went in to make it after bringing Boogie downstairs. He went looking for a pot and found 4 or 5 DIRTY dishes hidden in the back of one of the cupboards.

This has been happening a lot. We keep finding dirty dishes in the cupboards because one, two or all three of them don't feel like washing them so they shove them in a drawer or cupboard with food caked on them, thinking we'll never know it was them who did it. They're right, of course, which is the part that really sucks.

If God was going to make being a parent so difficult, why didn't he at least build us equipped with lie detectors so we'd ALWAYS know which kid to punish?

Wren grilled them for awhile and got nowhere. I decided from now on we're going to have to stand over their shoulders while they do dishes and inspect each of them before they put them away. Yay!! More work for me and Wren to do!!!

Also, it seems our dishes have mysteriously been disappearing. I've bought new spoons and forks twice in the last year, and my sis-in-law bought us some new ones just a few months ago. But tonight there were 5 forks in the drawer. Definitely not enough to feed 9 people spaghetti. We're pretty sure they've been throwing them in the garbage to avoid washing them, but, of course, they won't admit to that either. Wren sent them on a fork hunt (not as fun as an Easter egg hunt, let me tell ya) and they eventually found enough for us to eat dinner.

Despite my frustration, Boogie DID eventually stop screaming too. She even stood up on her own two legs and walked up the stairs. Oh, she got on her knees and pulled herself around up here on the hardwood floors for awhile, saying she still couldn't walk, but she made a miraculous recovery when Hunter took something from her and ran.

Soon Mark will be here to pick Dustin, Hunter and Mikaela up. Things will quiet down around here, and I may even be able to relax. But tomorrow, Mark will be bringing Mikaela home since she's having a hard time staying at his house lately. And with her, he'll be bringing his girlfriend's daughter Jasman to stay the night.

Which means we'll start all of this over again soon. I think I'll go check into the cost of sound-proofing my bedroom.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Hit and run tantrums

About 8 years ago, my house got hit by a car.

Yes, you heard me. My house got hit by a car. It wasn't just your normal vehicular assault either. It was a hit and run. Some drunk slid on a patch of ice, slammed into the back of our house, then took off before we could recover from the shock and realize what had happened. If it had happened a half hour later, my boys would have been covered in glass. As it was, their bunk bed was broken and it took quite a bit to repair the damage.

Honestly, it turned out to be a not so bad thing. Our insurance company cut us a check for the estimated repairs and, since we had built the house ourselves, we fixed it ourselves and got the supplies at wholesale. I think we came out about $1000 ahead.

Plus, we get the privilege of telling people that our house got hit by a car, which is pretty fun to say.

I wonder sometimes about the idiot who hit it. Does he (I assume it was a man, and I'd rather not explain why) walk around telling people "I hit a house with my car once. I thought it would be a fair fight. Turns out, the house was much tougher than it looked."

On another note, I've decided it's time for me to resort to throwing fits. My four year old does it. Why can't I?

So next time Wren won't go in and make me mashed potatoes with cheese, or tells me that I HAVE to wake up because I'm sleeping all day, I'm just going to throw myself down on the floor, kick my feet, and start screaming and crying. I really think it will work. I think he'll be so shocked and confused, that he'll give me what I want. Hell, with how loud I can scream, he'll probably promise to erect a statue in my honor out on the front lawn just to stop the madness.

Yep. It's the Terrible Thirty-Threes for me.

Oh, and no, I won't be doing videos of me throwing fits. I'd hate to tarnish my image.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Let's all pack up and move to Alaska!!

There's nothing quite like getting woke up by a 4 year old voice saying "Mom, the bathroom is flooded!"

Sure enough, after jumping out of bed, I found a lake in my bathroom that was seeping out into the hallway. Another 10 minutes and it would have made its way to my bedroom, creating a swamp out of the mounds of clothing, yarn, notebooks and boxes that are strewn across my floor.

It's not bad enough that the floor was flooded. Both the hot and cold water were on full blast in the sink, which doesn't drain anywhere near enough to handle that much water flowing into it. I turned off the water, and made my way back to bed. Unfortunately, I couldn't fall back to sleep knowing the lake in the bathroom needed to be mopped up. Oh, I wanted to be lazy. I wanted to believe I could just drift back off to slumberland and the magical water faeries would fly in and soak up all the water for me. I tried to tell myself this. But I knew I was going to have to get back up and deal with it.

Well, that....and I had to pee.

So I grabbed a blanket out of the hall closet and threw it on the bathroom floor. Before I sat down to pee I realized it was awful cold in there, despite the heat coming out of the vent. I pulled back the curtain and found the bathroom window wide open.

Since I was still half asleep, I kind of shrugged, closed the window, peed and went back to bed. It wasn't until much later that I woke to hear Wren yelling at Boogie about turning on the water in the bathtub and her insisting she didn't do it. I lay under my warm blankets for awhile, wondering if we had a ghost. Or maybe.....did somebody break into our house and turn on the water? Perhaps one of the kids just decided they wanted an ice rink in the bathroom.

I think I must be really smart when I first wake up. Maybe it would be a good idea for me to do all brain-requiring activities first thing in the morning. Because as I lay there, I started thinking. Last night before we went to bed it was REALLY cold in our house. I mean, like, I went to pee and was shivering so hard I ended up with a headache. The thermostat in this house sucks. The only way to turn the heat on is by going down to the basement to the furnace. Oh, it has a neat little remote control that you can turn it on and off with, or reset the temperature on it. Ideally, this remote is supposed to work from anywhere in the house. In reality, we can't even get the remote to work when we're standing next to the furnace and pointing it right at it. So our thermostat is permanently set at 86 degrees.

Now, I'm all for warmer temperatures but 86 degrees is a bit warmer than I really want. So all winter long we go down and turn on the heat usually about once a day, for an hour or so. Apparently it got really cold last night, though. And we couldn't turn on the heat and then go to sleep or we'd wake up in a pool of sweat (although that may have been preferable to waking up with a lake in the bathroom). In my freshly awakened state, I put two and two together and actually came up with four!

It was cold this morning when the kids woke up. They turned on the heat, and realized the pipes were frozen in the bathroom (this has also been happening a lot this winter). One of them, thinking they were being helpful, turned the water on in both the sink and the tub hoping it would thaw out. Then they left for school. Luckily, Boogie was downstairs in her bedroom watching TV, noticed the water dripping from her ceiling and came up to investigate. The sink always thaws out before the tub does, which is why the water in there didn't start running until later. Oh, and the window? Well, Boogie loves to open the bathroom window and yell goodbye to the kids in the morning. Unfortunately, I think she opened it too much and couldn't get it closed.

I swear, I'm a genius.

I got up and went to tell Wren my wonderful epiphany and....mother of all that is holy! It was absolutely Arctic in the house again!!

Thank Moses for warm, oversized hoodies. I don't know where I'd be without them. I pulled on a hoodie and huddled back up under the blankets. Layers are good. Not only do they keep you warm, they hide any extra pounds you might have put on over the long winter.

You know, as much as I may get sick of the cold, it might just be worth it to move to Alaska. Hoodies and layers all year means you NEVER have to worry about dieting. Hell, I bet they even have sex with hoodies on.

Alaska, here I come!

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Procrastination at its best

For as long as I can remember, I've wanted to be a famous author. I'd start writing a book, get a couple of chapters written, and then never go back and finish it. One of my life goals was to actually finish writing a book. Another life goal of mine was to get a book published.

In 2007, these goals hit me hard. On April 8, 2007 my brother, at the age of 35, died of a heart attack. He was a great painter, especially when you consider he had very little formal training. He never did anything with it, though. He painted and painted but never sold anything until shortly before he died when he started making 3D wood sculptures and selling them to people. I felt like he didn't take any real chances to achieve his goals.

Then, on November 13, 2007 my dad died of lung cancer. My dad.....where do I even begin to talk about him? We had a terrible relationship when I was growing up. We butted heads all the time. He was an alcoholic and took a lot out on me. But in so many ways, I was more like him than any of the other kids. My dad was a writer. He wrote poetry more than anything else, but he always wanted to be a published author. This may be where I got my own goal from but since I can't remember when my desire to write started, I couldn't really say. As an adult, our relationship totally changed and he became by biggest supporter and fan. I loved showing him things I had done because I could always see how proud he was of me.

When my dad died, he wasn't a well-known author like he wanted to be. In fact, other than posting on some ezines and in a few literary magazines that nobody had really ever heard of, he wasn't published at all. I found a folder full of his writing in his file cabinet. It was line after line of beautiful, melodic prose that, rather than making me feel good, actually caused me to feel desperate. My dad wasn't just a good writer, he was a great writer. Yet he went nowhere with his writing because he didn't take chances. Or if he did take them, I certainly never knew about them.

Last April, 1 year after my brother died and 5 months after my dad died, I decided I needed to push myself to achieve my goals. I have so many story ideas inside of me that it's almost painful. I sat at my computer and, in 11 days, I wrote a 107,000 word book. I thought that I'd feel this great sense of accomplishment when I finished it, but instead I almost felt depressed. It was sad to me not being able to run to my dad and show him what I had done. I think the let-down was magnified by the fact that it was all so anti-climactic. I was happy with the book. Sure, there were some areas where I thought it could use work. What piece of writing can't use work? But overall, I was happy with it.

Sometimes, achieving a life-long goal isn't as exciting as you expect it to be.

And maybe part of it was the fact that there was a whole other step to this goal that seemed insurmountable. The publishing part.

I spent the spring putting off writing a query. Once I had finally exhausted all of my excuses, I wrote the letter. It wasn't good. Really, it sucked. But it was finished. So I sent it off to 10 agents. I knew my summary paragraph wasn't good enough for them to ask to see more. I knew what their responses would be. But I sent it off anyway, just so I would feel like I was taking chances. But I stopped after those 10 because I knew if I really wanted to get anywhere, I needed to change that summary.

And now, here it is March. I haven't rewritten the summary or attempted to contact any other agents. There's always something that keeps me from doing it. Right now, it's a new book. At the end of last summer I had an idea for a new book and started writing it. I got halfway through the first chapter, and did a basic outline, but then never went back to it. I'm finally forcing myself to write this one because I think it will be better than my first one, especially now that I have a better idea of what it takes to fill a 107,000 word book.

There's something I realized last night. I used to constantly hear authors say that when they're writing a book, they become obsessed with the characters. They can't talk about anything else or think about anything else and even have dreams about them. The characters become like real people to them. I never completely understood this until I wrote that book last year. But last night I realized that, for me at least, they had it all backwards.

It's not a matter of "once I start writing a book, I become obsessed with the characters." For me, I can't begin to write the book until I become obsessed with the characters. Once I've talked about them, and outlined them enough to make them real, I have no choice but to get their story down on paper....or laptop. Whatever.

So right now I'm lost in a world of my own creation. It's an interesting world. Unfortunately, it's almost like being God and knowing exactly what's going to happen to all of the people in your world. Luckily, also like being God, you can't completely control the characters in your book. Not if you've done a good job making them become real. You'll be typing and they'll say something or do something that surprises you. Something you didn't see coming.

Or, you know, maybe it's just me.

*Disclaimer: Since I really am the Queen of Procrastination, I should tell you that everything you read above was really just my way of putting off writing chapter 2. What? Did you think there was actually a point to all of this rambling?

Monday, March 9, 2009

Snow and birthdays

I really don't hate winter. I probably sound like I do most of the time. I absolutely love the concept of winter. Snow is a fun, wonderful thing if you don't have to go out and drive in it. Or worry about loved ones who are driving in it in my case because I wouldn't be caught dead driving in this crap.

I love making snowmen, which we haven't been able to do yet this year because all of the snow we've gotten has been too powdery. I love having snowball fights with the kids, but once again, that hasn't been possible this year. It's so very beautiful to look at and there's nothing I love more than sitting in a nice, warm house, drinking hot chocolate, watching the snow fall outside. This is the first time I've ever lived in a house with a fireplace and the idea of roaring fires with snow drifting down out the window is just so romantic.

The reality is quite different, though. Who knew that fires were such a pain in the ass? Sure, it roars for about 5-10 minutes but then it starts dying out and somebody (read: Wren) has to get up and stack more wood on it. There's no such thing as relaxing in front of a fire. Or at least, there isn't if you're Wren. One thing I have learned this winter is that a gas fireplace would be much more preferable. I think I'm just burnt out on winter and snow after the 3 feet we got in 2 days back in December. Being snowed in at Christmastime wasn't fun. And, of course, now that it's snowing again Boogie keeps running around saying "Christmas is coming back!" It probably doesn't help that I still have our tree and decorations all up. Ah, the life of a procrastinator.

Apparently, Boogie also thinks it's my birthday today. She spent over an hour telling me it's my birthday and that she's getting everything ready for my party. I caught her in the kitchen filling coffee cups with water from the cold water dispenser on the freezer. Despite the fact that I told her after 2 cups that she needed to quit because she was dirtying up all the cups in the house, she still ended up filling 9 cups, one for each of us and one for Luke who has been here since Saturday.

I wonder if I should just go along with the birthday idea. It's not like I usually get a birthday celebration in May, when my birthday actually is. I'm pretty sure she's taken some of her toys and wrapped them in towels for me to open. And it didn't help when Wren came back from picking up the kids and had a big cake that he just had to get from the store because it looked so good. Now Boogie thinks that's my birthday cake.

I was wondering how old I would be if I actually had as many birthdays as my kids have thought I should have. I figure that each of my kids has tried to celebrate my birthday at least 5 times in their young lives. 6 kids x 5 birthdays = 30 years old. Of course, since they don't acknowledge my REAL birthday, I think we could just leave it at 30 years old. I'm ok with that.

Hell, most people get older on their birthdays. I just became 3 years younger. Awesome.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

All the reasons that my hair sucks ass

My hair is really thick. Sometimes I like that it's so thick. I mean, everybody wants thick hair, right? The problem is, my hair is also very, very fine so it doesn't actually LOOK anywhere near as thick as it is. The only time anybody realizes how thick my hair is, is if they're cutting it or dying it for me. And they always act so shocked about it.

Having thick hair sucks in so many ways. For instance, it takes hours and hours for my hair to completely dry. Why don't I use a blow dryer? Well, that would be awesome if it didn't create frizzy, fly-away, staticky hair on top of my head. Having thick hair also means that in the summer, my head sweats like it's being interrogated by the FBI. And for me, sweaty scalp=itchy scalp. Which creates knotty, frizzy, fly-away hair on top of my head. Sure, it's nice to be able to go outside without a hat on when it's 20 below, but you know, I actually enjoy crocheting hats and they only take me about 2 hours to make so I have a lot of them. I'd settle for hair that's a little bit thinner, and cute hats in the winter.

What fine hair means is that it tangles easily. I could seriously brush my hair for an hour, get every single last tangle out, have it looking all smooth and shiny. But 5 minutes later I guarantee it will be in knots again and look like I haven't brushed it all day. It likes to wait until I've walked away from every brush in existence. Once there are no brushes in sight, the chief yells "OK troops! Deploy!" and they all embrace as if they're saying their last goodbye.

I used to always say my hair was so straight you could hear it cry when I'd wrap it around a curling iron. As I've gotten older, I've noticed there's some body to my hair. It's not enough to call it curly, or to use any of those "curl-enhancer" products to create cute little waves. It's just enough to make it turn frizzy on me when I brush it out.

Keeping the balance of oily vs. dry is so tricky with my hair. The only time I think my hair looks good is the day I wash it, but if I wash it every day it gets very dry and brittle. Even washing it every other day eventually makes it dry. So, for me, it's every 3 days because by day 3 it will start looking oily.

One good thing I will say about my hair is that it usually grows pretty quickly. That's nice when I'm trying to grow it out, like I am right now. But about a year ago I decided to cut some of my bangs short and I get really tired of having to trim them every 3 weeks to keep them out of my eyes. Of course, the minute I decide to grow them out they'll start growing as slowly as they possibly can.

I've been dying my hair since I was 12 years old. I think it's decided to rebel. I really can't stand my natural color, which used to be a mousey boring brown but is now sprinkled with greyish-white strands. I wonder sometimes if I stopped dying it and let it grow out naturally, if the mousey brown color might get some natural highlights in it, but now that the grey keeps sprouting up, I sure don't plan to ever find out.

Does it sound like I'm bitching and complaining? Well good, because I am. I often think about shaving my head but I worry that under all of this unmanageable, fine, thick, frizzy, mousey-brown hair, my head may be misshapen. It wouldn't surprise me. Lord knows I've taken enough bumps to the head.

Ah well. Make due with what we have, right? Guess I'll go wash this "blonde" dye out even though it doesn't appear to have worked in the slightest. Maybe I can still get the pink to look good.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Laundry and bathrooms

I was all set to post a blog today. Did a quick video blog at the laundromat and I was planning to come home and blog a bit. But that was hours ago, before I drove all over town and back, and now I'm just tired and mildly cranky. Oh, I really WANT to post a blog. I'm just not in the mood. So I decided I'd just start typing and let my mood catch up with my desire. Sounds good, right?

At the laundromat, they have a play area for kids. Of course, I wasn't insane enough to bring kids to the laundromat with me. That's why I have teenagers. Built-in babysitters. But the play area is nice looking and I found myself thinking that Boogie would probably love to spend a Saturday afternoon there playing on the toys. It's like an indoor playground. I couldn't help but notice the sign posted there, though.

Play in play area at your own risk

What? Do they have snakes roaming around under the slide? Is there a giant Puma lurking behind the toys just waiting to grab little kids, drag them back home and have them for supper? Or perhaps it isn't anything as menacing as that. Maybe they've just buttered up the slide so the attendant can get her laughs in as she watches little kids slide down and bash their heads on the linoleum floor.

There was another sign above a sink that I noticed as Wren was tying his shoes.

Please clean this sink when you're finished

I informed Wren that apparently he can make a big mess in the sink and leave it, but if I use it, I have to clean it. I mean, I'm sure that the majority of people who go to the laundromat are female. We all know most men don't do laundry. They just wear their clothes until they become too stiff to conform to their bodies anymore, then throw them out and buy new ones. That, or they have their wives or mothers do their laundry for them. But come on. As jaded as I am, even I know that there ARE men out there who do their own laundry, and even take time out of their day to sit at the laundromat to get it done.

On another note, I realized something today. Ok, maybe saying I realized this today makes me sound like an idiot, so perhaps instead I'll say "I was thinking about something today that I realized a long ass time ago." Yeah, that sounds better.

One bathroom for 8 people just doesn't cut it. We have another bathroom downstairs but it's currently out of order. And until I get Wren to turn off WoW and go down and put another coat of sealant inside of the toilet tank, it's going to stay out of order. So, for now, we're making do with one bathroom.

It seems like every time me or Wren says "I gotta pee" the kids suddenly turn on their super-hearing power and rush in there ahead of us. We've discovered this a long time ago so we've taken to whispering it to each other. Doesn't work, they still hear it. Wren found out the other night that in this house all you have to do is THINK "bathroom" and somebody rushes in there before you ever make it. It's almost like you have to tell yourself that you're heading to the kitchen, then make a beeline for the bathroom.

I've always been a bathroom dresser. I get dressed in there, brush my hair in there, do my makeup in there. It feels like there's always somebody needing to use is, though, so lately I've started doing it ALL in my bedroom. But today I decided, since I had to pee anyway, I'd bring my makeup and brush into the bathroom and get ready for the day after I peed. I made it in there, put my stuff down and had just sat down on the toilet when Hunter pounded on the door and yelled "Are you almost done?" My response was a very loud, rather rude "No!" I managed to get halfway through my makeup before I had Katie, who spends longer in the bathroom than all of us combined, knocking on the door.

I'm thinking, since I've figured out how to do everything else from my bedroom, maybe I just need to buy a portable toilet and put it next to the bed and start using the hose in the backyard to bathe.

Or maybe I should just convince Wren that we need the downstairs toilet fixed.

Bathtub Book Reviews, Volume 1

Last summer, while I was checking out agents and deciding who to send my queries to, I came across a new author named Eileen Cook. I read an excerpt from her book, Unpredictable, and loved it. I knew I needed to buy it.

But then, as usual, I got obsessed with something new (probably drawing, or cow tipping or something) and forgot all about it. In early February, I suddenly remembered there were a few books I'd been wanting to buy. I remembered the excerpt really well, but no matter how hard I tried, I couldn't remember the name of the book, or the author.

In my own stupidity, I just figured I'd drive on down to Hastings and find the book. I knew I'd recognize the cover if I saw it, since I rarely forget the covers of books. But when I got to Hastings, I realized how naive I was. With so many books to look through (would it be in romance or novels?), there was no way I'd find it if I didn't know the name or the author.

I came home and spent the next hour or two (it could have been longer really since I tend to lose track of time while I'm on the internet) searching for the excerpt from this book. Perhaps if I hadn't replaced my laptop not once, but twice, since finding this book my search would have been easier. I tend to randomly bookmark sites when I think they might come in handy in the future. But seeing as I was on a new computer, with no bookmarks to speak of, I resorted to yahoo searching.

I typed in keywords that I remembered from the excerpt. I spent so long going through pages and pages of sites, until FINALLY I found it! It was Unpredictable by Eileen Cook. I was so excited. I called Hastings to make sure they had it, and was very disappointed to find out they didn't. So off to Barnes and Noble I went. After searching there for awhile, I braved the line at customer service (Ok, I didn't really. I sent Wren to brave it for me while I looked at other books. Isn't that what boyfriends are for?) and found out they didn't have it in stock either. Of course they offered to order it for me but I was so upset I told them no and walked away, shoulders down. It was very depressing for me to find that this fairly new book, by a new unknown author was already off of their shelves while they had 8 copies of books like How To Make Anyone Fall in Love With You. As an aspiring author myself, it was quite a blow. I mean, I read that excerpt. It was soooo funny and showed such promise. It was clear to me that Eileen Cook is a better writer than I am. What chance does that give me to become a well-known author?

Despite this, I was determined to read this book. Since I don't have any credit cards, I had to get money over to my friend Dawn and have her order it for me from Amazon. It finally came in the mail this week and me, being the speed reader that I am, read it in one day.

So was it worth it all? Well, of course it was. As I said, Eileen Cook has this flair for comedy in her writing that had me giggling. At first, I was constantly making Wren pause his movie so I could read him sentences like "February is the worst month in Vancouver, nothing but nonstop rain, the kind of rain that makes you start thinking about taking up ark-building as a hobby just in case." Or at one point, I made him pause his movie while I read him this whole paragraph:

"Do you have a reservation?" the hostess asks. I can't think of what to say because I'm too busy focusing on how impossibly thin she is. If I held my book behind her back there's a good chance I could read the text right through her. My wrists are larger than her thighs. No adult person can be this small. She must be violating some kind of child-labor laws or else she's some kind of fashion pygmy. I'm surprised she could get a job at a restaurant; she's a walking ad for famine relief. It looks to me like she hasn't even been in the same room as food for a considerable period of time. I suppress the urge to offer to sponsor her.

How can you not love a book that makes you laugh? It got to the point where Wren would hear me giggle and he'd say "What are you giggling about now?" and wait in anticipation.

Ok, I'm not here to completely rave about the book. I do have to admit that Unpredictable was a bit.....well.....predictable. Sometimes I think romance books are getting that way, though. Despite the fact that I knew early on how it would end, I still enjoyed the journey to get there. I know Eileen Cook is writing YA novels now but I hope she ventures back into the adult arena soon. I'd love to see what she comes up with next.

Friday, March 6, 2009


I got my first diary for Christmas when I was 8 years old. It was green, which is my favorite color. (Don't be fooled by all of the pink on this page. I really do like green the best. Pink comes in a close second now.) I remember the false sense of security that flimsy lock provided me. Like my older sister wouldn't be able to crack through this high-tech system to read all of the secrets I was so sure I would be writing inside.

As any child does, I wrote it in it for a whole 2 days before I ran out of things to say. Despite my lack of juicy secrets, I found myself collecting diaries. By the time I was 13 years old, and my secrets would begin, I had 4 of them. My green one, with most of the pages still bare, a satiny red one, a velvet green one that had a simple snap instead of a lock, and my favorite one. My favorite one was given to me by my best friend who moved clear across the state. It was bigger than the others and had a unicorn and rainbow on it.

I switched back and forth, writing in different diaries until my friend gave me that unicorn one, and from that day forward I wrote in it exclusively. When I discovered my sister reading them out loud to her friends one day, I decided I needed better security in the form of a cosmetic suitcase with real locks and a key. I stored all of my diaries in there, where they still reside today.

I started my first online journal back in 2002. It was a rough time for me, with the demise of a 13 year relationship, and I felt the need to write about the things I was going through. Little did I realize how popular online journaling (or blogging, as it's now referred to) would become. I had approximately 13 friends who would read my journal daily to keep up on the things going on with me. Once I had an audience, my writing changed a lot. I began catering to them, writing about the funny events more often than the sad ones, and paying close attention to the wording of every single sentence.

I think I currently have blogs on 4 or 5 different sites. Livejournal (my first journaling site, where I currently have 2 different blogs), Blogspot (of course), Wordpress (which still only has 1 post) and my MySpace blog, where I write the most. I may have one somewhere else, but if it still exists, I'm certainly not using it anymore. I find that my MySpace blog is the only one that contains accounts of events going on in my life, perhaps because I have a lot of family who reads it. Rarely do I vent about things on there and when I do, I try to keep it as vague as possible to avoid hurting anybody's feelings. The freedom to say what I want and be who I am is lost for me in this world of online blogging, which is probably why I seek out sites where I can be anonymous. It's a different feeling knowing that the people who may read it won't really know me, and will judge me based on the words they read.

On here, I can be anyone I want to be. I can be that exotic woman you pass on the street, who walks with her nose in the air and would walk right over you to get to her destination. I can be the eccentric stranger who walks up to your table in a restaurant and grabs some fries off of your plate, dipping them in your ketchup with a smile, knowing you won't say a word because you're not quite sure if she's insane or not. Or I could be the kind, sympathetic neighbor who always lends a hand, doing things like shoveling the snow off your walk, or feeding your cat while you're on vacation. Hell, I could even be the grouchy lady on the bus who does nothing but bitch about things like taxes, traffic, and grouchy ladies on buses.

I think I'll choose to be all of them. But today, I'm the 33 year old woman, with the voice of a 12 year old, who just made her first video blog. I wonder if this is the way things have evolved. Starting with my little green diary, I have now become the video blogger, too lazy to even type the words out, instead choosing to click on a button and talk.

Nah. I still like writing way too much to stop doing it. But recording videos is fun too. So, here's my first video blog. Turn up your volume, press play, and don't make fun of my 12 year old voice dammit!

Oh, and an added bonus. Here's Boogie, after she watched my first video blog, making fun of me: