About Me

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Jersey Shore, United States
In case any of my friends or family members actually read this Blog, please consider all Names, Characters, Places and Incidents to be the product of the author's imagination and any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, events or locales are entirely COINCIDENTAL...Muaaah!! Now, really, about me: I bring the crazy wherever I go, so I've been told...I make fun of myself more than anyone else ever could. I hate: the awkward silence in elevators, watches with no numbers, picky eaters, Cancer and legalism. I love: coffee, stalking Hugh Jackman, my Spanx, COMMENTS, sarcasm and writing: Middle Grade, NA, YA Paranormal and Urban Fantasy.

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Monday, December 23, 2013

Happy Holidays and Book Release


Merry Christmas!
Hey Everyone!! Rest assured I have not forgotten about my blogging friends; you are all in my thoughts and always on my mind. Unfortunately, my health has still not improved. I've really been struggling these past few months. Don't want to whine about it- it is what it is. But I'm definitely praying for a happy, healthy New Year over here at the Bird's Nest, that's for sure!  Wishing you and yours  a wonderful, blessed, joyous and HEALTHY  holiday season. Hope to get back to my regular posting schedule soon. Love and Best Wishes to You All~ Jaybird

OOPS: I almost forgot!! My brother Chris just released his book, Convergence, Sola Hominidae, over on LuLu. Check it out if you are into Sci-fi/Fantasy. Personally, I think he's brilliant and his book is pretty stinking awesome. (I'm not biased or anything) I am certainly thrilled at least one of us Birds got it together and  launched a book this year!! LOL. Below is the cover and a little bit about it. You can give it a preview or purchase it over on LuLu. 



Seeing himself through the recorded memories of his adversaries gives Daniel a unique, nearly omniscient perspective. No tragedy, comedy, or embarrassment is lost to his memory or hidden from sight. Despite being culturally distinct from his neighbors, Daniel does everything in his power to be near them. His self-hating behavior and the inevitable rejection he suffers at the hands of those from whom he seeks approval ends in violence. The events of his life mirror those of a flawed biblical character. However, technology creates the cultural rift in Daniel's world. The tension of his world can be seen even now in the stares of smartphone users as they gaze upon those with inferior devices. When the line between human and device is blurred through electronic and genetic engineering, a mindless, homogenized, socially awkward future is assured; and, nature dictates, the survival of only the fittest.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

December Insecure Writer's Support Group


This first Wednesday of every month is set aside for the Insecure Writer's Support Group. At least it's supposed to be. For some reason or another, I keep missing that deadline and wind up having to post a day late. (Yesterday was my birthday. I'd like to say I spent the day doing really fun birthday-related activities. Instead, I spent the day running errands and sick kids back and forth to the doctor's office.) I'm posting today with the optimistic mind set of better late than never. I hope you will all humor me and that optimism. Thanks so much!


Dear Insecure Blogging Friends: This month, more than any other, I am in dire need of your encouragement. The time between my posts have been growing further and further apart, much to my dismay. Maybe you have noticed that I haven't been around to drop comments and check in with you all-and I hate that. These past few months I have been consumed with poor health, a very crazy and stressful schedule and an overall lack of inspiration. These past few months have also been the least prolific (and most depressing) I  have ever had in my writing life.

I've fallen into a deep slump and I can't get up! I'm not sure what can pull me up out of this writing black hole. Every time I think I have a second to sit down and write or even an inkling of inspiration, some kind of major catastrophe happens requiring my immediate attention. Overall, this lack of creativity and production has left me feeling like a complete hack. I'm so discouraged. Exhausted. Depleted. Worn out. Ready to throw in the towel and just give up. Why did I ever think I had what it takes to be a writer in the first place?  Oh, yeah. It's that bad. I'm flirting with the idea of giving up on my writing completely. Like I said before, I'm in dire need of encouragement. Or an intervention. Or a vacation...  So, any comments, suggestions or inspirational quotes thrown my way would be much appreciated ~ Jaybird

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Who Stole My Mojo?

I probably should have saved this post for the Insecure Writer's Support Group next month, but I am too bothered by my circumstances to wait that long. This is serious. Someone stole my writing mojo! And I desperately want it back. Writing is something I have been doing since I was a little girl. From the minute I learned the alphabet, no one has ever had to encourage me to write. The compulsion to do it has always been there. It became second nature and "normal" for me to cruise around  with a head full of characters yammering on and on insisting I write their stories down.** But these past few weeks something very strange has happened. My mind has gone silent. And that silence is deafening!

Have you seen my mojo?
 
Who stole my writing mojo? Where the heck did all of my characters go? I am so bereft without my characters' voices. How can I write with only my own voice in my head? It's futile. If I had to pick a suspect out of a lineup, I would point my finger and blame it on my busy life. Life, for me, has been jammed full of  poor health, The Husband, the kids, my job and trying to tackle oh, a thousand or so other responsibilities. For way too long I had been unable to stop and sit down for five minutes and write anything creative. Of course, now that I have decided to put my foot down and insisted on carving out some precious time for me to write, all has gone silent!!!

I have often marveled at you, my fellow writers. How the heck do you manage to find time to blog, write, edit, critique, publish and market your books and still have a life? And when you only have a precious few minutes here and there to spare, how do you get your writing juices to respond and start to flow?  Is there a magic trick or tip that I can try? Anyone else ever find that their writing mojo has gone missing? Oh, and if any of you happen to see mine floating around, would you please send it on back to the Nest? Cause this Bird really misses it!





**To those of you non-writers reading this who may think the voices in my head are not characters at all, but would be better labeled as something called "multiple personality disorder" I apologize. This phenomenon is generally something only other writers can fully comprehend.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Insecure Writer's Support Group: Target Audience


Well here we are again at the beginning of a new month wherein I find myself posting a day late for the Insecure Writer's Support Group.  I absolutely hate being in this position, yet somehow I keep finding myself in it. I'm going to save all of the whining deep, introspective thoughts I have about my pitiful time management skills for another post and just focus on today's IWSG post: writing for a  Target Audience.
My girls love archery. They have been avid archers for quite some time.
And unlike many others their age, that interest in shooting predates The Hunger Games. 
There is no denying that prior to the Hunger Games and Katniss "making it cool" (as my daughter Faith would say) my girls were the only girls in our area to visit  the shooting range. But not any more. Now, the influx of young girls their age at the shooting range is staggering. All of their friends who used to care less are interested in learning how to shoot! It got me thinking about the incredible impact our writing can have on young minds. Did Suzanne Collins ever imagine how many young girls were going to run out and buy bows while she was writing The Hunger Games?

How many of us writers start out working on a project with a specific type of audience in mind? Does the genre in which you write already geared towards a certain group of fans?  While your writing, do you keep your target audience in mind the entire time? What happens if you feel the characters are taking you in  a different direction? Do you edit material or plot elements  because of your target audience? How many of us actively consider the impact our words will have on a younger audience whether we intended it or not?

I do not have illusions of grandeur- I highly doubt my first book will have the impact The Hunger Games did on  the YA world- but watching the impact of Collin's words and the ripple effect it had on the kids my daughters' age did make me sit up and take much more notice and care with the content I include in my writing.

If you'd like to know more about the amazing Insecure Writer's Support Group, or like to sign up, please check out Alex J. Cavanaugh's blog or the Insecure Writer's Facebook Page! Finger's crossed that next month's post for this awesome group will be on time...(I believe in miracles.)

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Embracing Your Uniqueness

A couple of weeks ago,  my daughters and I attended a local, outdoor farmer's/flea market. I wore: a Wolverine t-shirt, jeans and sneakers. This is a pretty typical, normal Saturday afternoon outfit for me to sport. Nothing out of the ordinary, so I didn't think anything of it. The girls and I were having a great time, walking around, checking out all the sights and enjoying the unusually warm Fall weather when  we came upon a booth the girls were interested in. We stopped to check it out. The older woman behind the table hairy eyeballed me and my t-shirt for a long time. I smiled at her. But she didn't smile back. She said in a sarcastic sneer:

Lady: "Did you actually buy that shirt for yourself?"
Jaybird: "Yep!"
Lady: "You are really immature, do you realize that?"
Jaybird: "OK."
Lady to my kids: "You realize your mom is really immature, right?"

The Husband and I have taught my girls to always be respectful to their elders, but when it comes to defending me, I knew that the girls were going to throw respect right out the window. Before the girls told this lady to go pound sand, I pulled them away. I saw no benefit in arguing with ugly. Instead, I chose to use the situation for good and as a teachable "mom-ment".

As we walked away, I turned to my daughters and said, "You know how Mommy loves comic books and superheroes? Well, some people, like that old lady, thinks that makes me immature or even foolish. Should that make me not read comic books anymore or wear my favorite Wolverine t-shirt, because of what other people might think of me?" 

We wound up talking at great lengths about being who God created us to be and not trying to be somebody were not. Overall, as mean spirited as that woman was, I have to thank her for providing a very valuable lesson for me to teach my girls. I am, for sure, nothing like any of the other moms at school.  But that's OK. Trying to fit in and be like everyone else, is not the way I roll. Nope, I embrace my uniqueness and individuality. I like being me. I want my girls to learn that no one should ever pressure them into being something that they are not. And bottom line, sometimes people are just straight up mean. Bullies can by any age. I don't want my girls to ever feel like they must stifle their creativity or their ability to express themselves, to please someone else.

The very next Saturday, we found ourselves at another outdoors function. Guess what I wore? Another one of my Wolverine t-shirts, sneakers and  a pair of jeans.  And guess who we saw? LOL!!!! Yep. Same old lady. Of course, this time, we didn't bother stopping at her booth. My girls and I marched proudly on, heads held high. :)

Friday, October 18, 2013

Commitment

Yesterday, The Husband and I celebrated our 17th wedding anniversary. I can honestly say that I love and appreciate my husband so much more today than I did on that sunny October afternoon, seventeen years ago, when I pledged my heart to him. Now, you all know I tell it like it is. So, I'm not going to sit here and blow smoke up your butts telling you that every single one of those years were all sunshine, unicorns and rainbows, because that would be a big fat LIE. Marriage, at least to me, is like a roller coaster. It has many twists and turns and ups and downs. The real test is if you can stay in your seat, keep your hands to yourself and finish the ride. There were definitely times when I wanted to smack my husband upside the head for being so stinking obstinate. Then again, there were plenty of times he's wanted to shake the crazy right out of me. Bottom line, we made a commitment to each other.  And we intend on sticking it out.  Even when things get rough and life isn't easy, we plan on honoring that commitment.


This week, the Husband and I were heart broken to find out two of our very good friends have called it quits.  It just shocked and crushed us to find out that these particular couples were throwing in the towel. They don't want to fight for their marriages either. They won't even give counseling a go. We've spoken to each of them individually, but all parties involved seem to be completely done. Don't misinterpret what I'm saying here, neither of these couples had abusive or dysfunctional relationships; I would never condone anyone staying in the case of abuse. That's clearly not the issue here. Both sets of our friends are claiming to just no longer be compatible. :( Which is the saddest excuse to me. Crap, my husband and I have never been compatible! As a matter of fact, we've got to be two of the most incompatible people you'd ever want to meet. But somehow, we've made it through the tough times and made our marriage work.

Maybe I'm being naïve (I've been accused of it many times before) but I feel like our friends are taking the easy way out. It's easier to give up and walk away. It's harder to try and communicate our true feelings, admit our faults, selfish habits, and rude assumptions to one another. I am thoroughly convinced that in both of these cases, all parties involved will be extremely sorry for this quick decision to walk away, without even trying to work things out, later on in life. Whether or not these issues can be resolved, you can bet they will resurface again with a future partner if they are not at least addressed. I'm not a counselor. I won't pretend to have all the answers. But I will ask this, how about commitment? How about making a promise and giving your word that you would love someone in good times and bad, through sickness and health? There is a reason those words are included in most marriage ceremonies.

I'd really like to hear your opinions on this subject. What do you think about marriage? Are you seeing a trend of people giving up on marriage instead of trying to work things out?  Do you think it's better to walk  away if things aren't working out, or would you think twice before walking away?

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Hello! Again.

Hello again...please allow me to re-announce that I'm back. Because literally five seconds after I posted my whole "I'm back" speech, two of my kids were sent home from school sick. There was such a bad outbreak of the Norovirus, they actually had to close the entire school for cleansing.  This is the same nasty virus that spreads like wild fire and takes down everyone on cruise ships. It's vile and very catching. And, once again, I found myself lacking the time to comment and/or catch up with anyone's posts. Ugh.

My family and I have contracted this lovely virus in the past. So, instead of not posting today, I thought I'd repost what I wrote previously about this virus just to give you a little idea of what I've been dealing with. It's titled, "It's All Fun and Games Until"...

It seems like every year, no matter how many precautions I take, my family still catches the dreaded Norovirus. There is no mistaking this plague once it's unleashed. The minute the first victim goes down, you know it's only a matter of time. One by one, slowly it creeps up to claim you and every single member of your family and any living organism you have come in contact with in the past three days.

The demonic smell of this evil virus alone, is enough to take the strongest of us all out. You have never smelled anything quite like it on the face of this earth, trust me. It's so purely unique in its foulness, you know right away that you are dealing with something horrible, something other than human. Literally, it could be the "weapon of mass destruction" we've been searching for.

Almost like being in labor, when the first clench of a stomach cramp hits you, you know your time has come. Once the Norovirus has claimed you as its next victim, for the next 12-15 hours straight, you will become its bitch. The subsequent shrieks of protests that resound from deep within your abdomen have no effect. The Norovirus, once unleashed, never deviates from its mission. It's ultimate plan, of course, is for you and your entire household to empty your bodies of any fluids or solids ingested since infancy, from every orifice you have.

Over the course of the most miserable 12-15 hours of your existence, you have only two options. Pray and wait. Wild, errant thoughts enter your head while you are wallowing in the trenches. At first, I thought, wouldn't it be easier to just lay me down in the tub and let someone come hose me off from time to time? Then, around the tenth hour, when I was delirious, angry and quite possibly mad, I thought, come on, Norovirus, bring it, what have I got to loose? Another five hours of this and I will reach my goal weight !!

Then, like a King Cobra, as quickly as it strikes, it retreats. Yet you just can't really believe it's gone. Although you wait for the counter attack, it's already moved on to its next victim. This is a good thing since you have no more fight in you. There's nothing left to give. The cold tile floor in your bathroom has become your resting place and it never felt so good. You may, like me, choose to just rest there for another twelve hours or at least until the dizziness and hallucinations pass.  It's only when I'm strong enough to pull the scale out and weigh myself, I know it's truly moved on.

Although the battle is over, unfortunately, the damage is done. The whole house is wounded and just trying to get the smell out can takes weeks. Just consider every single pot, garbage can, blanket, pillow, comforter and pair of underwear your family has ever owned as collateral damage. There is no recouping those losses.

So what advice can I give after this kind of destruction? Go on with your life. Rebuild, take comfort knowing your skinny jeans will fit you once again.. Live, laugh, love to the fullest. Because you never know. It's all just fun and games, until ....

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Hello, remember me?

Hey Guys!! Sorry I've been absent from class. I needed to take a little emergency break. But I'm back. And I sorely missed you all. Thanks so much to everyone who reached out or sent me e-mails and checked up on me! Thank God, I'm on the mend and life is slowly getting back on track in the Bird's Nest.

Please forgive me though, for being away and missing out on a lot of important events and happenings in your lives over the past couple of weeks. As much as I'd love to promise to read every one of your back posts and catch up, I know that's not  possible. It would tax me and I can't do that anymore. It's a lesson I'm continually having to be retaught. How do you stop pushing yourself? Especially when the temptation to do it is always there?

I don't know about you, but it is tremendously hard for me to say no to people! I want to help everybody. I tend to overcommit and plan/pack as many activities as I possibly can in one day. But it's seriously not healthy for me to continue to do this. Knowing to pull back when my body is beginning to feel fatigued and tired, is my biggest downfall. I'm trying to make good choices for my health and not feel guilty about it. What about you?

Do any of you struggle with saying no and/or then feeling guilty for saying it later? It's a hard habit to break, that's for sure. (I think this is especially true of moms.)  Right now, I can't promise to be here three-four times a week like I used to be. I'm getting better, but I simply could not keep up with my old pace, just yet. In the meanwhile, I'd really love it if  you'd leave me a comment about something great/positive/interesting/new that has been going on with you. That would make me so happy!     ~ Jaybird

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Bird's Nest Transitions and Sacrifice HER Cover Reveal!

Hey Everyone! First things first: do you all know the lovely Miss Sheena over at Queendsheena?  I count myself blessed to have had the opportunity to get to know her.  Initially, Sheena and I met through the A-Z Challenge, where I honestly think she gave the Ninja Captain himself, Alex  J. Cavanaugh  a run for his money when it came to leaving the most comments!! (Which we all know it's close to impossible to beat Alex in the comment department, LOL) Today, I could not be happier to take part in Sheena's cover reveal for Sacrifice HER! It's awesome. Please take a moment and  show Sheena some love by checking  it out:



                                                             Sacrifice HER by Sheena-kay Graham
Goodreads: Sacrifice HER
       Release Date: December 2013

 Summary: When a city is at stake is the life of one sixteen-year old girl worth risking thousands? Deidra Moore goes on the run after escaping from a group of human sacrifices for Bane: God of War. She doesn't believe he exists and sees uncertainty in the scorching desert as a better alternative. But Faux City isn't finished with her and their leader Lord Brinn is ordered by Bane - through one of his maiden worshipers- to bring her back or face dire consequences. In the desert Deidra meets a wanderer named Kane and as feelings spark can they find a safe place to lead a new life before Lord Brinn and his soldiers catch up with them? Yet the question remains. Does Bane really exist and if he does what will happen if either side succeeds or fails? Told in alternating perspectives of both the runaway servant girl and the blonde strong willed leader.
 
Author Bio:
Sheena-kay Graham was never meant for a traditional job behind a desk. Her childhood career plans included becoming a ballerina, actress or someone who helped people. So naturally she decided to be a writer who writes from her bed. Yes, no desk for this Jamaican book lover. No matter if it’s reading, writing or using the computer....you get the gist. The love of the written word has always been with her leading to stories, novels, poetry and way too much fan fiction. This Christian woman can be found trolling Amazon online, in local book bookstores, watching movies on the big screen, or in her bed, or reading/writing/on the laptop...again in her bed. Mainly writes YA fiction and is ready to unleash her creativity to wow the masses.
 
Links
 
 
Now I'd like to talk about some hard transitions that are happening over at the Bird's Nest. Specifically, the transition from elementary school to Junior High School. It's been a rough one. I don't know about you, but going from a tiny school with a total of 120 students, where the Superintendent/Principal knows every single one of the kids by their first name, to a ginormous regional school with over a 1,000 students, can be pretty traumatic. (The media center in the Junior High School alone could fit our entire elementary school in it...) Faith has never even had a male teacher before.

Besides getting used to the overall largeness and diversity of the school, Faith got accepted to a very competitive academic program called GATE. No other students from her elementary school that  applied got accepted. She literally knows no one in any of her classes. (Except for in lunch, thank God she knows one other girl.) It's a such a tough thing, for a shy kid to start all over again. It's hard for her to make new friends. I keep encouraging her to try to start conversations with the other girls and maybe extend herself a bit, but Faith doesn't have my type of outrageous outgoing personality. Needless to say, things have been a bit bumpy.

It's only been five days since she started. On the first day she got lost a few  times, but still managed to make it to class on time. Yesterday, she had her brand new sneakers which she only wore once,  stolen right out from under her in the locker room. Then she came home and tried to access her student account called EDMODO and could not get in. She couldn't finish her homework  and to a kid like Faith not finishing a homework assignment is just as criminal as someone stealing her sneakers! Oh, there was a whole lot of wailing and crying.  I e-mailed her teacher and he e-mailed me back almost immediately saying not to worry he would personally walk her through it the next day. He was very understanding and so helpful. On another positive note, she made the volleyball team. Which was a whole other worry for her (and me) since this is the first time she has tried out for a sport. Academically, this program is tough but Faith is a smart cookie and I have no doubt she will ultimately be fine. Me, on the other hand, am one giant mess. Emotionally, I can't believe my baby is in Junior High School.  Academically, I never felt like a bigger dumb ass than when The Husband and I sat through the GATE orientation!
I still can't believe my sweet little girl is in Junior High School. Ugh.
 As soon as the Math teacher stood up and started walking us through a bit of her curriculum, it was like she was speaking a completely different language. I didn't understand a word coming out of her mouth. I heard,  "Calculus, equations, differential and blah, blah, wha, wha, wha" Then it all sounded like Charlie Brown's teacher. I blanked. My kid is in seventh grade! And she's going to be doing Calculus? Holy crap. The same thing happened with Science- all I heard was microbiology and virology and something, something....The Husband and I looked at each other and panicked. But then, we looked over at Faith and saw a huge smile on her face. At least she seemed super stoked about it. The teachers are all absolutely amazing and Faith seems to like them all a whole lot. I'm betting Faith will wind up doing very well. Now, for me, the best part of this whole stinking transition is that the GATE program has Faith enrolled in a class called Genres of Writing. *SQUEEE!* Finally, someone is speaking MY language. After listening to that teacher talk about her genres curriculum I was so freaking excited I wanted to sign up for the class!!  It's awesome. Just listen to this- Faith's first assignment was to write: "If you were to receive superpowers for just one day, what kind of superhero would you be and why?"  The next assignment was to write a horror story with a twist, based on one of Edgar Allen Poe's tales!!! I think I might do that stinking assignment myself because it sounded like so much fun! 

Overall, I'm sure in a big transition year such as this, we will be experiencing many ups and  downs. I am just praying that by the end the ups will madly outweigh all the downs and things will eventually calm down and even out. And then, I have the added pleasure to look forward to repeating this entire transition process all over again with child #2, Farrah Beth, who will be graduating and moving on up to the Junior High School herself,  next year!  (Lord have mercy!)  

Friday, September 6, 2013

Welcome to My Wonderful Life

So, here I am, rushing to get to the bank yesterday before it closes, when I realize I left the check I wanted to deposit, home on the kitchen counter. I have to turn around and go back, after I had driven almost all the way to the stupid bank.

I dash back into the house, grab the check and hurry back out the door. I run straight into a cob web. A huge cob web that gets tangled in my hair and laces itself across my face. Many of you know I am completely bat-shiz crazy and suffer from many phobias, but arachnophobia is at the very top of that list. I am convinced that there is a spider on me somewhere, and I am FREAKING OUT. But I can't fart around looking for an imaginary spider because the bank is going to close and I won't be able to deposit that check. Dang. I jump in my sweet WHIP, (a/k/a my mini-van) and take off.

The whole time I'm driving I'm still totally wigging, peeking up in my rear-view mirror, checking my reflection and running my  fingers through my hair, trying to see if there is a spider (God forbid) on me. I can't shake that creepy-crawly feeling. I open all the windows in the vain hope that if there is a spider on me it will blow out with the breeze. (I know this is completely retarded but it makes me feel better.)  I make a sharp left and my totally awesome Wolverine bobble-head I have had on my dashboard forever flies out the freaking window. I am driving on a super highway with a ton of lanes- there is no way I can go back and recover it. I am devastated, but what can I do?  :(

Finally, we make it back to the bank. But we have to wait, because now, there is a line. I get into the drive up middle lane, which looks like it's the shortest but of course, it's not. We have to wait longer than anyone else. Twenty minutes later, it's our turn and I place the check and deposit slip in the plastic bank thingy and press the button.  A fight breaks out in the back of the van, over something really important, like who's the best Mario Kart player or some such bull and it starts to get heated.  I start yelling over the seat for the girls to settle down and knock it off because I have a headache and am all frazzled from this whole ordeal. They keep fighting and completely ignore me and I am getting pissed- all I want to do is get the heck home. I grab the stupid plastic container and take out  my receipt. I place the thingy back in  the cradle that holds it and start to drive away. Only I didn't really place it all the way back in because at the last second, I feel something run down my leg!! So I involuntarily push the gas pedal and start swatting at my leg and screaming and I run the stupid thing over!!  I ran the plastic bank thing over- all you hear is this incredible CRUNCH. And then the van finally becomes silent. Every single car around me is staring and pointing and the people in the car behind me start honking their horn at me and are so pissed off, because they had to wait twenty minutes too and now they have no thingy to put their shit in and they are hollering at me! The fight between the girls is forgotten as they dissolve into giggles and total embarrassment. They duck down in their seats so no one can see them but don't stop laughing like crazy. I look over to the teller through the window and I realize she is laughing so hard she's crying. I put my arms up and am all, "Oops, my bad." What do I do?  Do I go back inside? Do I dare to just drive away? She waves me on. I don't wait for her to change her mind- I smoke my mini-van tires and ride off like a bat-shiz crazy bitch from hell.

Ah, welcome to just a little slice of my wonderful life... Some days, it's just so incredibly fun being me.~Jaybird

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

IWSG- Letting Go


The Insecure Writer's Support Group meets the first Wednesday of every month. Check it out over at Alex J. Cavanaugh's site, to find out more about this amazing group and what it's all about.

The month of September brings many changes in my life.  And I fear change. It's really hard for me to let go.  I will, of course, e-v-e-n-t-u-a-l-l-y let go, but it takes me a little more time than most to adapt. The same is true in my writing life.

Once I've committed to a plot, it's hard for me to shake it. I've found I'm very resistant to changing it. Even when it's not working. I hold on to my original ideas and dig in my heels and act like a three year old insisting I have my way. It's not pretty.  I know I have to let this childish attitude go. But I don't want to let it go! It's my story!  I want it to stay the saaame! Waaaaa!


Why can't I just let it go? Why do I have to act like a whiny, stinking child?  Help me out here guys, cause I'm digging in my heels even though I realize that I am being completely irrational. I could really use some help. Or a great big push and a  little encouragement, to help me move along...just  like the kid in this video.

What about you? Know you are being sentimental and holding on a little too tight to a piece of your story that really needs to be let go? Who else has a hard time just letting it go?










Monday, September 2, 2013

Red, White & Blue Makes Purple Blogfest



Happy Labor Day! Today I am participating in the Red, White & Blue Makes Purple blogfest, hosted by the fabulous Melanie Schultz.

Here's how this blogfest works:
1. Sign up on the Linky over at Melanie's blog and you receive 1 tally with your name on it (in a hat). Yes, a literal hat.
2. Post a short story of 500 words or less on your site on September 2, 2013, with a military theme, good for 10 tallies.
3. Post about this blogfest/contest on your blog sometime in the next week. - 1 tally
4. On September 2, visit those who have posted stories and leave a comment on their sites- 1 tally
5. On September 2, mention Melanie's blog- 1 tally

All the stories entered will be complied into an anthology and put into an e-book available on Kindle. All proceeds will go to Operation Purple, a great organization that sends children of our military to summer camp, free of charge.  And if that's not incentive enough, one randomly chosen entry will win a $50.00 amazon gift card, as well as a signed copy of Melanie's book, The Newstead Project. Win, win, all around if you ask me.

Here's My Entry:

         One, two, three. I count off in my head. Calm it down. You know what to do. Stop and slow your breathing. Who cares that you just ran a hundred feet at full tilt with shots fired at you in every direction? Too stinking bad you ripped every last bit of skin off your arm sliding into this prone position; none of that matters. Suck it up Marine!

My instincts and training snap into place. I focus on my breathing and go absolutely still. The air around me is hot, stagnant. I’m sweating profusely, which causes these little grains of rough sand to stick like glue to every last inch of me. I block out all the chaos around me until I hear absolutely nothing but the sound of my own breath. Four, five, six. The pain in my arm, disappears. There are no more uncomfortable bits of sand sticking to me. I do not feel the sweat dripping down my back or the blood flowing down my arm. The intense heat of the desert sun burning my skin dissipates. The sand fleas jumping around my ears fade to nothing. My pulse slows to a crawl. Seven, eight. Just breathe. In and out. I line up the shot. My spotter has fallen. Don't think about that. You can't think about that. Block. It. Out. Nothing matters but this shot. Snipers don't miss. I close my eyes and my wife's beautiful face, all lit up with that huge smile of hers, flashes briefly in my mind. Failure is not an option. Nine. I take in a deep breathe.

I squeeze the trigger. Ten.

Hope you liked my entry. Now I'm off to go check out all the others! Wishing you all a  marvelous Labor Day!  ~Jaybird

    

 

Friday, August 30, 2013

August Meeting of the Cephalopod Coffeehouse

Hey All! It's the last Friday of the month, and that means it's time once again for the Cephalopod Coffeehouse. This wonderful group is hosted by The Armchair Squid, and if you are interested in joining or finding out more, go take a peek at his blog to sign up and/or gather more info.


This month, I'd like to discuss Far, Far Away, by Tom McNeal. I was drawn to this book because I am a huge fan of Grimm's Fairy Tales. If you looked on my nightstand right  now, you'd find a very worn copy sitting there. (It's actually the  second hard cover copy I've had to purchase since the first's spine ripped straight away I read it so often.) What does Far, Far Away have to do with Grimm's Fairy Tales, you ask?  The main character, one that's most unfortunately named Jeremy Johnson Johnson, is haunted by the ghost of one of the brothers Grimm, Jacob Grimm, to be exact.

I may be partial to my copy of Grimm's Fairy Tales but that hasn't stopped me from reading any other fairy tales I can get my hands on in any way, shape or form they are presented. Writing modern day fairy tales is no easy feat, but I believe McNeal is successful in his attempt with Far, Far Away. That having been said, I'm not entirely certain I would have loved this book quite as much, if it weren't for the ghostly presence and influence of one Mr. Jacob Grimm. His ability to whisper in Jeremy's ear and impart his snarky, ancient German wisdom and idioms, were the key to this book's success, in my mind's eye. Jacob watches over Jeremy, protecting him from evil and reminding him repeatedly to remember his "studies". Jacob knows studying and getting a quality education is the key to what Johnson desires more than anything else, to get out of  the heck out of the town of Never Better.

Never Better is a modern town that has electronics at it's disposal like cell phones and television yet, it remains the kind of small town that is ultimately timeless. Old habits, prejudices and customs die hard in Never Better. It provides the perfect setting for this dark fairy tale.

Although he tries his corporal best, Jacob Grimm can't protect Jeremy from everything. And he immediately smells trouble when the unpredictable Ginger Boultinghouse takes a liking to Jeremy. Especially since her interest in him just happens to spike when she takes her first bite of a Prince cake that only the Never Better bakery can produce, and is reportedly so delicious it’s thought  to be bewitched. Jeremy's own mother was rumored to have fallen under the very same spell of the cakes, when she ran off with another man, leaving Jeremy and his father to fend for themselves. I don't like to include too many spoilers in my reviews, so I'd like leave the rest of the plot twists here a mystery.

This book does contain an overall creepy, dark theme (like a lot of fairy tales) but is in no way overtly scary or demented. It's perfectly appropriate for anyone aged twelve and up.  There is a fair amount of humor and sarcasm brilliantly woven into the ethereal voice of Jacob Grimm that I just adored and don't think any Grimm fan should miss out on.  Overall, I really enjoyed this fairy tale and would give it a four out of a five star rating.        

What's the best book you read this month?  Anyone else a huge fan of the Brother's Grimm? What's your favorite fairy tale? Interested in joining the Cephalopod Coffeehouse? Don't forget to stop by The Armchair Squid's blog and check it out!

Monday, August 26, 2013

Stupid Fall Woke Me Up Early

It is so rare for everything in my universe to align just right so I can sleep in. Just off the top of my head, I can think of three things that always prevent me from a solid REM. The Husband's snore. The cat's meow and that stupid buzzing noise emanating from my alarm clock which means I must smash it really hard every ten minutes until it can't make that sound anymore. But this morning, it wasn't any of those things that woke me up. Nope, it was a loud bang. Followed by two more bang, bangs.

I was quite certain the bang was not from a gun. You see, I am very familiar with the various sounds a gun makes. Especially since I live with Dirty Harry, spend an enormous amount of time at the range and almost everybody in my red neck town has a hunting license. Although I did duck under the covers and went very still out of pure instinct, I knew it definitely wasn't gun shot. So what was it?

Maybe a kamikaze bird, flew into my sliding glass doors that lead to the deck off my master bedroom.  But after careful inspection for any errant feathers and/or other various bird debris and finding none, I knew that wasn't it either. I was starting to get really perplexed, when all of a sudden, BANG! BANG! BANG! There it was again. But this time, I was standing out on my deck and had a front row seat for the sky falling.

Acorns. Lots and lots of acorns! Acorns were falling off the ginormous tree in my backyard and  hitting my deck in rapid succession, mimicking the sound of gunshot. But it's still AUGUST for crying out loud! But that didn't stop stupid Fall from waking me up early.

Friday, August 23, 2013

Good Times

I'd like to start today's post by saying thanks so much for all of the well-wishes guys! I really do appreciate it.  I am happy to report after keeping to some strict bed rest last week, I am finally feeling better. But boy does this chick hate being confined to bed. It's torture for a Bird like me to have their wings clipped. All  I can say is, Thank God for good books! Most of the time, reading is all that keeps me from going bonkers. Considering last week virtually stood still for me, I just can't believe how this week whizzed on by. Here's what's been going on at the Bird's Nest this week:

*Despite being trapping in the house on bed rest, I still haven't worked on anything writing related. I know this seems like the perfect time to do so, but trust me, I've tried to write before when I was in a brain fog, and it's not worth it. I just wind up scraping everything in the end because it makes zero sense. I do, however, like to read in the genre I'm working in. This week, that means I read a lot of Urban Fantasy. Good times, good times.  If you can't BE a kick-butt heroine or write about one, reading about one is the next best thing, to me. :)

*The Husband and I went to a wedding. I was a  little worried because I am still recovering, but I thought if I just take it easy and not dance or run around, I'd be alright.  The reception venue was one I hadn't been to in years, but had a very solid reputation.  Although the wedding itself was lovely, the food was the worst I have ever tasted. If The Husband is hungry and doesn't eat the meat he's being offered, that's bad. I felt so sorry for the parents of the bride, because I know they spent a fortune on that food. I have to say it was the first time I ever came home from a wedding having to hit up the Wendy's because my $150.00 plate of food sat untouched. Tragic.

*I had to take all three girls to the doctor for sports physicals and shots and eye tests and all the general well visit stuff kids need before starting school again. Looks like one baby bird might need some glasses. I thought she might squawk at this, but instead she surprised me by being kind of jazzed. She can't wait to pick out the "most sparkly bright purple" pair of glasses. *Fingers crossed I can find frames that come in extra gaudy* 

*It was Shark Week and our TiVo memory has been filled to maximum capacity. My daughters  go crazy for these shows. Many of you know I hate to swim with things. That is particularly true of the ocean. I usually only go in up to my shins. After watching Shark Week, I am now hitting the ankle mark. My little mermaids, however, go all out. They love to push it and see how far they can go, before the lifeguards start blowing their whistles. Punks.

So this week, imagine my surprise, while I was sitting my crazy ass up on the beach, diligently scanning the horizon for fins, like I usually do, when all of a sudden I see one!! I actually had to do a double take. But that's exactly what it was, an extremely large fin!!  What did I do? I did what any other psycho lunatic mother would, I jumped up and down and waved my arms like that scene in Jaws and started screaming "Shark!" A few minutes later, a couple more crazies spot the fin and start yelling for their people to come out of the water. Before I full on hyperventilated and keeled right the hell over onto the sand, three more fins popped up. And oddly, that's when I grew calm. You see, I knew, from watching freaking Shark Week, most sharks don't hunt in groups. Right when I came to that conclusion, all four fins broke the surface at once and jumped. It turned out to be nothing more than a  pod of graceful dolphins. The whole ordeal left me feeling winded, a bit ridiculous and totally tuckered out. The kids took pity on me and stayed close to shore from then on. Still, that night, I had a horrible nightmare about my girls getting eaten by a shark. Stupid shark week. Messing with my head!
I'm so sad to say over 200 dolphins on the East Coast have reportedly died this summer and no one knows why :(
Hope you all had a great week! Anyone else hit the beach? Ever see any fins? I'm still in the process of scrolling down my blog list, trying to catch up with everyone. If I haven't hit you up yet, I will soon. Have a wonderful weekend everyone!!

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

What's That Smell?

Not sure about you, but my girls are like three little mermaids all summer long. From the second the weather cooperates and The Husband opens our pool, those girls are in it. They will go in early in the morning and not come out until it's dark and they are shroomed' and shriveled and even then, I have to practically drag them out of it. The only time they willingly come out is when I yell into the backyard, "Who  wants to go to the beach?" Yes, it's only with the promise of yet more swimming, I lure my little mermaids out of the water.
Funky Frankie finally clean.
Last week, I got sick. Real sick. And just like that, I was taken out of commission. I had to stop and leave what I was doing (which was teaching VBS), so I could go home and rest. I had no choice but to stay put, in bed. It's really hard for me to swallow, living with these limitations, but this is my life. And this is what happens every so often to remind someone like me, who has a compromised immune system and tries to live like I'm normal, that I'm not. I have to stop pushing my body until it just gives out.  The Husband and the girls accept these limitations on me, much more easily than I do. They are really great about stepping up when Mom hits a wall and is down for the count. They don't seem to miss a beat. Everyone pitches in and helps taking on my chores and responsibilities. Sometimes, (I'm ashamed to admit this) it makes me feel bad that they can all just go on turning so easily, without me. But last week, they missed something.

The girls did all the things they usually do but instead of me navigating The Husband took the wheel of the ship. My little mermaids went on their play dates and to their doctor's appointments and school shopping and to VBS and of course, they continued to swim everyday. Since I was confined to bed rest, I only saw my girls for a couple of minutes, at different times during the day. One night, when my littlest mermaid came to say goodnight and crawled into bed with me I smelled something funky. It didn't take me long to figure out who it was. This is how our conversation went:

Jaybird:  "I see your hair is wet. Did you take a shower?"
Frankie: "Oh no Mom. I'm good."
Jaybird: "What do you mean, you're good? Did you take a shower or not?"
Frankie: "I took a pool."
Jaybird: "You took a pool?"
Frankie: "Yeah. It's the same thing as taking a shower."
Jaybird: "Um, no it's not."
Frankie: "Dad said."
Jaybird: "Dad said what?"
Frankie: "You're chlorinated kid. So I thought, I'm good."
Jaybird: "Frankie, you're funky. Go take a shower.
Frankie: "I'll take one in the morning."
Jaybird: "Go take one now."
Frankie: "But I don't want to take a shower. I'm clean." (insert a really bad NJ whine and tired kid voice here)
Jaybird: "Frankie, you smell like parm cheese."
Frankie: "Really?"
Jaybird: "Yep. You are ripe kid. Go take a shower now."
Frankie: "Kay'."

Sometimes,  it's nice knowing you are still needed, after all :)

Monday, August 19, 2013

Unexcused Absence

If I were still in school, I know I'd be in big trouble right now. Because I was absent from my blog, (for two whole weeks) without written permission. Back in high school, we had a Truant Officer named Alphie, who was a legend. He took his job of catching truant  kids- to whole other level.  This dude would show up at your house to make sure you really were sick and/or find out what was your excuse for missing school. If you drove, that did not mean you were safe. He knew all the Junior and Seniors cars. Make, models and years. If your car wasn't parked in the parking lot at school where it should be and you did not have an excused absence, Alphie would come looking for you. And all of a sudden, (no matter how far away from school you happened to be)  he would just show up behind you! Then he'd ride your bumper and flash his lights until you made a U-turn and headed straight back to school.  Sometimes, Alphie would go into stealth mode and hide. This guy knew all of our favorite places to hang out, and where we were most likely to go while ditching. Once, he hid under a blanket at our local beach (for hours) just watching and waiting. When all the kids saw no signs of  Alphie following our cars, we falsely assumed we lost him.  Just when we started to set up our stuff in the sand and waxing our boards, he jumped out and started yelling, "You are all busted! Get back to school!"  Good Old Alphie. I often wonder what ever happened to that guy...

I am very happy, however, there is no Blog Alphie, who comes looking for us truant bloggers. I would be so busted! Although I do have excuses for being absent, and my excuses are all extremely valid, they are still excuses and I feel  bad about ditching. So, my goal this week is to comment and catch up with all of you, to see what I've missed. I'd also like to try to get back to my regular posting schedule of Mon,  (sometimes Wednesday) and Friday, without any excuses. Here's hoping life slows down enough to allow me to follow through with this plan. Fingers crossed!! 

Friday, August 9, 2013

August Birthday Blitz, Part One

We celebrate The Husband, my mother and daughter #2's birthdays, all in August. And these celebrations come right on the heels of the three birthdays our family celebrates in the month of  July. Summer is always a busy time, but throw in six big birthday celebrations and it becomes more like a Birthday Blitz.  Here's part one of the tale of The Husband's birthday celebration...

This year The Husband decided he wanted to go stay at The Borgata in Atlantic City for his birthday. I can't tell you the last time he and I went away alone, sans kids. It might have been two years or three. Neither one of us could even remember, which means, we really needed to go.

Atlantic City is not my first choice of a romantic get away spot, but it wasn't up to me. We started out by checking into our room, and then going to stow our luggage in it. The room was nice, with a pretty view. It seemed so foreign to see a room with only one bed in it, since we are used to no less than two and extra cots and cramming in as many kids and people as you possibly can. I was also kind of surprised to see a sign in the bathroom that said if you so much as touched the samples of soap, shampoo or toothpaste, you had to pay extra for it. I always bring my own, so it wasn't an issue, but I thought that was kind of stank. Maybe this is a common practice, but I've never run across it before.  Charging extra for the soap was nothing, compared to what I encountered at the vending machine.
This was the view from our room.
I was thirsty and wanted a water, so instead of going all the way down to the lobby to one of the restaurants, I decided to purchase a water bottle from the vending machine. The machine had the label of water, but black covering the window of what that water bottle looked like. I should have taken that as a bad sign. But I went ahead and forked out a whopping $2.25 in quarters and waited. What dropped out, was half of a half of a water bottle. I couldn't believe it! The older man behind me, waiting to use the same machine, (in typical Jersey style) started cussing and shouting real loud, outraged on my behalf. He yelled, "You gotta be f-ing kidding me! That's what you get doll? For $2.25! Forgettaboutit! I'll walk down 28 flights before I pay that. What a f-in rip off!" Then he huffed and cussed his way down the hallway and all the way back to his room. Oh well, lesson learned. From now on, I won't be buying any more water bottles from the vending machines. By this time, The Husband was really itching to go, so I gulped down my one sip of water and we were on our way.

My favorite penny machine.
The Borgata, is set up in a circular pattern, which is a good thing for someone like me. I tend to get lost and distracted by all of the bells and whistles and people watching and I always wind up forgetting where I am. But at least I know when I'm here, eventually I will wind up back where I started. I'm not a big gambler. That comes from being poor. Every time I put money down on the table or in the machine, I realize I'm never seeing it again. And that's hard for me to swallow. Yes, I know there is a possibility I may get more back, and maybe even win big but that possibility, rarely becomes a reality. That's why I like to spend most of my gambling time, in front of the penny machines. It doesn't hurt as bad, when I loose pennies. (At least that's how I justify this to myself) Besides, I can sit at those for quite a while before I loose everything. My favorite machine to play, are the penny slot Wizard of Oz.  They are fabulous! Those machines are loud and glittery, and they sing and dance and make all kinds of noises. I lurrrve it! As I'm sure you may have guessed already, The Husband, not so much. He was torn. He doesn't like leaving me alone in AC. (He says when he walks away from me in a place like AC it almost feels like he's leaving one of the kids behind, LOL). I told him to go and gamble at the testosterone filled tables,  where he would enjoy himself much more and I would meet up with him in time for dinner. Besides, (as per usual) I had already bonded with the gays playing the Wizard of Oz machines, to my right and my left. I would be fine. :)

There are many fantastic restaurants in Atlantic City to choose from. We narrowed our choices down by agreeing that neither one of us wanted to leave The Borgata. I thought an earlier seating would be best because we had tickets to a comedy show that started at 9:00 and we didn't want to be worried about rushing back for that. Since it was The Husband's birthday, I left the choice up to him. And, surprise, surprise, he choose a steak house. Of course, he felt like eating a steak. When doesn't he?

There are a couple of places to get a good steak in The Borgata. There are the chains and big names, like Bobby Flay and Wolfgang Puck but then there's also The Old Homestead Steakhouse. Which is a restaurant that a couple of brothers from the meat packing district in NYC started way back in the day, and that's where The Husband wanted to go. They seated us on the beautiful second story balcony, overlooking the restaurant and I was quite pleased. I love being up high and being able to see everything like that. The Husband started by ordering his favorite appetizer, fried calamari. It came with a pad Thai dipping sauce that was out of this world. I honestly wanted to lick the bottom of the dish. IT was fantastic. I started by ordering a Rose Sangria. It was, hands down, the best sangria I have ever tasted. And I've tasted a lot...
Me and my Rose Sangria. Yum. Although I'm certain it looks like I've had more, I only had room in my tummy for one.
Caution: Objects in this picture are actually even larger than they appear.
The only thing I wish I did differently, was I wish I asked more questions about the menu, because if I did, I NEVER would have ordered what I ordered. Unless I knew five other people were also going to eat my entrée, with me. For some reason, once The Husband said he felt like steak, I felt like it too. I almost always order the sea bass when we go out. But I decided to change it up and ordered the prime rib. When they brought it out to me, it was a Fred Flinstone-sized side of beef that was so obscenely large I just stared laughing. I thought I was being punked. This had to be some kind of joke, right? The cute, classy little blonde at the table next to me, looked over and said, "Holy crap, you ordered that?"  Yep. Yes, I did. And now I was going to act like I knew this place was going to put forth an entire side of a cow on my dish. From the taste of what I managed to gnaw off the sides, the prime rib was delicious. I decided to try and make a respectable dent in it. But after a few minutes, I got the meat sweats so bad I felt like I was going to die. We couldn't order dessert or coffee or anything else, because I was full to the rim with meat. I needed to go walk off the meat sweats, STAT.

That's some serious meat. Note: See the cute little blonde I told you about at the table next to me?
She was smart enough to have a salad and order only one entrée, which she shared with her husband.
The Borgata is connected by some high end shops to The Water Club, so we took a stroll down the corridors and cruised around through all the stores. But I didn't stop to shop; I couldn't. I felt like a shark that had to keep swimming or else it might die.  I thought briefly about taking the stairs, instead of the elevator up to our room on the 28th floor...but that thought was fleeting. So I kept walking and The Husband stopped every once in a while to gamble here or there. Before you knew it, it was almost 9:00 and in was time for our comedy show to begin.

Most of the time I am really skeptical about going to see comedians. For those of you who read this blog regularly, I like to think I have a pretty good sense of humor and can take a joke. I also don't take myself very seriously.  But I have had bad experiences in the past with going to comedy shows. Once, (a very long, long time ago) I saw George Carlin and he was so disgusting and just flat out rude to the people in the audience, I walked out. I didn't find him funny at all and I was shocked by his later success. I'm sorry to speak ill of the dead, but I thought he was a complete tool. Anyhoo, this night wasn't about me, it was all about The Husband. But I'm not beat. So I went to the bathroom WAY before the show opened, so not to become a target, and I made sure (although we were early and totally could)  NOT to sit in the first few rows. Then I waited... The comedy show surprised me. The first comic was from Texas, and did a whole thing about that. He didn't mess with the audience at all and I thought that was a good sign. He was OK, I laughed a little at a few of his jokes, but overall that's what the opener is. Just the opener. Then came a guy I think I had seen before on Comedy Central- and he was hilarious. I laughed at all of his jokes. But then the headliner came out, and I waited for the torture to begin. He didn't torture the audience, but he definitely messed with a few women in the front row. I overheard the lady next to me whisper to her husband, "I'm glad we didn't sit in the front."  Overall, the show was much better than I expected and I was glad we went. On another happy note, I had finally overcome the meat sweats and I was ready for dessert.

Another giant bonus for me, besides the circular layout to the Borgata is that they have a Ben & Jerry's in their basement! And that's where The Husband wanted to go...um. No. Honestly, nope. That's not at all where he wanted to go for dessert but he knows how much this Bird loves her some ice cream. So we went. By that time it was really late and we were super tired. We decided to call it a night and went back up to our room. And that's where I'm going to cut this off.  Cause I'd like to keep this a PG blog  :) Stay tuned for Part Deux of The Husband's birthday weekend extravaganza to find out what we did on his actually birthday.

Happy Friday Everyone- Hope you all have a great weekend!!


Wednesday, August 7, 2013

August-Insecure Writers Support Group


This month, my IWSG post may be a bit convoluted. Please hang in there because somewhere along the rocky way, I'll get to a point that's relevant to IWSG. Don't know about the IWSG? Check out the list and learn all about it over at Alex J. Cavanaugh's blog.

When my sister Emily was dying, there was very little she could eat. Even her favorite foods didn't appeal to her  anymore because taking massive amounts of chemo ruined her taste buds and crushed her appetite.  Eating, which used to be such a pleasurable experience for her, had become a daily battle and dreaded chore. One afternoon,  I was at my sister's house and we were wracking our brains, trying to come up with something, anything, she could eat that wouldn't make her sick, when the door bell rang.

I was surprised to see my friend Lisa standing on my sister's porch. But there she was, like Little Red Riding Hood, holding a basket of goodies. She had just baked a whole batch of homemade biscotti and knowing Emmy was struggling to eat, thought maybe she might like to try some. It was such a sweet thing to do and we were so touched by her thoughtfulness. Of course, I invited her in, but she couldn't stay. Lisa had tons of errands to run and things to do but she wished my sister well and left her basket of cookies with us. I immediately made some tea and  put the biscotti (that were still warm) on a plate for my sister.

The fact that Emmy thought they smelled amazing was encouraging and she actually got excited to try one. She took a tiny bite. Then another. And another. Then we waited. She didn't feel sick! Her stomach did not reject it. I know this may sound so trivial but when you haven't held down anything in days, this was a monumental victory.  We couldn't believe it.  Lisa's homemade biscotti were a hit! I couldn't wait to call her and tell her. I also planned on begging her for the recipe so I could immediately try and bake more for my sister to eat.

But when I called Lisa and told her Emmy loved her biscotti and could I please have the recipe, she wouldn't even hear me out. She said she would give me the recipe, but insisted on providing my sister with all the cookies she might ever want or need from here on out. And that's what she did. Lisa went right back in the kitchen and started baking. And like clock work, she would show up and deliver cookies to my sister's house.

On Monday, I found out my sweet friend Lisa, passed away. It came as quite a shock. I was not even aware she was sick. Turns out, she had cancer too. But decided to keep it a secret- I'm not entirely certain why she didn't want anyone to know. Although I can guess. The woman who gave up so much of her time and attention to those who were suffering, didn't feel comfortable allowing anyone the opportunity to return the favor. That's who she was. Someone who was truly more comfortable giving than receiving,  a wonderful example of a what a friend should be, mother to three girls, beloved, supportive wife of  a NYC cop.  And someone I will never forget.

As I sat here, contemplating what I should write about for the IWSG this month, I really struggled. My thoughts kept returning over and over again to Lisa. Her loving kindness, her generosity and her overall quiet, gentle spirit. She was someone that was so good she seemed surreal. She was like a character an agent or your CPs would tell you, "Hmm, she doesn't seem real, give her a few flaws...." Every once in  a while in this life you will encounter a "Lisa". A character with no flaws. One that doesn't fit the mold. Someone who doesn't conform and will stand true to themselves.  What do you do in that circumstance? How do you deal with that? Do you write that character as they are? Or do you change them for the sake of the story and throw in a few flaws to make them seem more believable?

Friday, August 2, 2013

The Cat-Dog, A New Breed

My brother Chris is seriously prejudice. Against catsThe boy mocks me mercilessly for being a crazy cat lady. (Even though I only have one and not fifty running around inside my house.) He also loves to tease my kids. One of his favorite forms of torture is to never call our cat by her real name: Princess Filamena Joy or Mena for the short version. No, Chris prefers calling her things like Princess Dingle-berry Turtle Head and then laughs when she comes running to it. He is relentless. He never tires of teasing us about how much we spoil and love her. I guess because sometimes little brothers, no matter how old they get, will never stop being total butt munches :)
 
Since the very first  day we rescued her and I brought this little kitty home, maybe  I have bragged about her incessantly. AND maybe nobody really cares about how many neat little tricks my cat can do and how loving and sweet and cute she is. This is the first cat I've ever had, after a lifetime of having dogs and I'll be the first to admit that I have become completely and utterly impressed with her. Mena is highly intelligent, super affectionate, attentive, playful, loving and so entertaining to watch.

This cat somehow managed to win over The Husband. Which is a dang miracle. Because he used to be as equally prejudice as my brother. I asked him what changed his opinion about her, and he said, "Well, I guess it's because she acts more like a dog." From then on, we started to joke around and refer to her as a new breed, a sort of hybrid mutant. We call her "The Cat-Dog". 
Which do you prefer cat or dogs? Why? Maybe you have mad love in your heart for both, like me. Or are you prejudice towards one or the other because of preconceived notions of what they are like?

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

The Wolverine Movie Review and Awards

After waiting for this movie to come out for like FOREVER, I finally got to go see The Wolverine on Sunday night. My fervent desire to see it most likely won't come as a shock to you, since I don't keep my uber stalking of Hugh Jackman a secret. Nope, I actually prefer to be all out and proud about it.  Why not own it?  Um. Yeah. About that...

My fan girl enthusiasm for Wolverine may somehow have rubbed off a bit on my kid. 
Check out my little mini-stalker.
How cute is she?

I did my very best to contain my drool myself throughout the movie, for the benefit of all of those who sat next to and/or around me. All and all, I think I did a pretty good job keeping a cap on it.  Well, maybe up until one particular scene where HJ is buck nekkid in a tub. I may have clapped and squealed. Just a little. Come on, I'm only human...   
 
Overall, the movie was great and had most of what I was looking for:  the awesome sauce that is Hugh Jackman. My favorite mutant  has always been and will always be Wolverine. And there was some classic old school Wolverine lines and reactions going on. The duality of the man and beast warring within him has always intrigued me. But even a die-hard fan such as myself has to be honest and admit that I came away just the tiniest bit disappointed with some of the plot. I had anticipated such great things from director James Mangold and the whole Japanese story line; maybe I  set my expectations and the bar way too high. That having been said, I would definitely go see it again. And y'all know when it comes out on DVD this stalky-bird will be the first in line to own it.  *If you haven't seen it yet and plan on it, make sure you stay until the very end of the credits. It's worth it.
 
 
So, wow, over the past week, I have been truly honored to get picked for two pretty cool awards. First, I'd like to thank Suzanne Furness, over at  The Word Is for passing me the Sisterhood Award. Thanks so much Suzanne! I really appreciate you sending this my way. I'd like to pass this award on to every righteous gal pal I have here on the blog-o-sphere. But I'm only supposed to pick 10. Yeah, well, I've never been one who's able to follow rules. So, I choose all my girlies. Because I can. And  I love you all.

 
Next, I have to give a shout out to my buddy Mark, over at Left and Write. He gifted me with the SuperBlogger Award and totally blew my mind. I was like, whaaaa? Me? Jaybird? A/K/A the Queen of Typos and Epic Grammar Failures. Moi? A Super Blogger? Dayamn. At first I laughed.  Then I cried. Because Mark picking me for this award made me so happy. And the fact that no one heckled him for his choice in the comments (Phew) made me extremely happy!  I'm giddy and excited that someone actually gets my warped sense of humor and my all over the place, A.D.D. blog. So big, huge thanks to Mark. I TRULY appreciate you picking me. It means more than you might realize. I will be passing the torch and picking someone to gift this on to in the very near future. 

SO, what about you? Have any of you gone to see The Wolverine yet? What did you think? Any squealing or clapping happen? No. How bout now? 

You're Welcome. 
What qualities do you think help make someone a Super Blogger? And Girlfriends, (when you're done squealing) please don't forget to pick up your Sisterhood Award :)

Thursday, July 25, 2013

The Cephalopod Coffeehouse Meeting- July

Well hello there! It's time once again for the Cephalopod Coffeehouse. This wonderful group of diverse bloggers,  hosted by The Armchair Squid, meets on the last Friday of every month to discuss the best book they have read. (I'm posting a day early because I'm not going to be around tomorrow. Please pretend this is really Friday...) I'd like to take a moment to say thanks Squid, for inventing and hosting this fun group! I'm loving every minute of it. So, please, grab yourself a tea, (however you prefer it, iced or hot) or refill your tankard of coffee (like me) or whatever it is that you like to drink and curl up in front of the computer for a nice book discussion.

This month, I read A LOT of books. More so than usual. I think it was the heat. My family and I seemed to wrap things up a bit earlier at the Bird's Nest out of sheer heat exhaustion.  Since I was the only one awake and the house quiet, I choose to stay up and read. As I was thinking back over all of the titles I consumed, it was really hard for me to pinpoint which book I wanted to discuss today. I can't say that any one book would count as my all time favorite. But I can say this: I simply could not wait to discuss the book that took me by surprise. It's called Rotters, written by Daniel Kraus. And it was dark, gritty, raw, real and gross as all get out!

I know, I know. With a title like Rotters, I should have known it would be gross. But I found it in the YA section and I may have mentioned this before, but I pre-read everything I hand over to my kids. And holy guacamole thank God I do! Because this was something my ten year daughter was interested in reading.  Let me start by saying, the material in Rotters, is NOT appropriate for a ten year old girl and I'd be very careful who I recommend this book to.  That having been said, once I started reading this, I simply could not stop from reading it straight through to the end- and here's why:  Joey Crouch. The sixteen year old main character.

His life is a demented, twisted and very dark roller coaster ride. I could not put the book down out of fear of leaving him alone in his misery. His problems, his life, his story were so well written, Joey is one of those characters that long after you finish reading this book, you will still be haunted by and can't help but think of him. The torment he feels is so raw, so real, it's tangible. The reader is dragged along and sickly propelled right with the main character- and neither of you can help but get swallowed up in a circus of the macabre. Knowing how much I hate spoilers, I'm not going to get into a plot discussion here, as I think it would take away from too much of  the story.  But I  will say this, the pacing is slow at first, but I believe that's quite deliberate. And the foreshadowing of the title, "Rotters" really does not prepare you for all this book encompasses. Yes, it's about corpses and grave-robbing and death but there's so, so much more than that going on here.

In conclusion, I find myself in this very weird position. Because as twisted as it was, I liked it. Am I really going to do this? Yep. I am. I am going to recommend you read this totally dark, disturbing book. But with a strong warning: please do not read this if  (1) you are a 10 year old girl (2) you have a weak stomach (3) discussing corpses, grave robbing and desecrating the dead will freak you out and/or give you nightmares.

And if you do decide to read it, after that stellar endorsement, (LOL), please let me know what you think!