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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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!

Friday, July 19, 2013

Fragmented

While I was contemplating what to  blog about today I had a difficult time concentrating on one topic. My thoughts, as scattered and fragmented  as my schedule. I thought when summer came I could take the time to slow down, ease into my mornings and keep to a much less frenzied pace. But here we are half-way through July and I'm still spinning my wheels.

First, I thought I should write about our trip to the beach the other day.  It has been so steaming hot I thought the beach could bring the family and I some much needed relief. But I knew the minute we hit the sand and the wind felt like a blow dryer pumping hot air out in our faces and our feet started to burn like two strips of bacon sizzling in a frying pan, that wasn't going to happen. It was every man for themselves as we made a wild, mad dash down to the water. You could practically see the steam come off the soles of our feet when we plunged them into the cool ocean. After a few seconds, I opened my eyes and looked up and saw the kids and The Husband had joined me, doing their own awkward version of the "let's put out the flames consuming the bottom of our feet dance" in the water. Laughing a little at how stupid we look, I paused to look up and down the beach to see if anyone else caught the comedy act and was absolutely shocked. The sand was practically empty! This is July at the Jersey Shore, and our beach was EMPTY.  Once again, just when I thought I had finally put Hurricane Sandy behind  me, I felt her full impact, all over again. And it sucked all the joy out of my beach visit, much like the oppressive heat.

Then I thought, why don't I post about the girls, and all of the things we've been doing that's been keeping me running around and going crazy and not able to sit down and take a breath. Maybe I'd touch on our psycho schedule and my inability to say no that has prevented me from having a coherent thought, but then I decided I've been waxing on and on about the girls and my neurosis a whole lot lately. And I'm starting to sound an awful lot like one of those obsessed moms I used to hate and swore I'd never become but can't help acknowledge their similarities to me...

After that I thought maybe I'd  post about  my trip to the library the other night. Call me a freak but I love every single second of my library visits. From the swish of the doors automatically opening and welcoming  me to the very first whiff of old, stale musty book air, I LOVE the stinking library. As I wander from section to section, perusing the packed shelves, my fingers linger over the spines I recognize. I smile and acknowledge each and every one, like I'm greeting old friends.  All of these books I've read hold treasured memories and I can't help but take a second and acknowledge the precious gift of escape they afforded me. And then, of course, the big question I have been asking myself (for far too long) always pops into my mind. Will one of my books sit on those shelves, just waiting to be picked up? Will my work ever be good enough to provide relief, a respite and a form of escape to someone else when they really need it? Publishing my work started as a whisper, became a wish, a dream and eventually turned into a fervent prayer. Although I have been saying "one day" for so long now I wonder if I am just lying to myself. As busy and as fragmented as I have been these past few weeks, I haven't had a chance to even work on the revisions and edits I've received back from my CPs.

 And here we are.  A post written with no real direction, bouncing along from one topic to another, never really finishing any one thought. Completely fragmented. Just like me.

Monday, July 15, 2013

I Survived the Sleepover!

Good Morning everybody!  How was your weekend? Mine was crazy, as predicted. But, I did it! I  survived the sleep over party. It wasn't easy for me, but it was well worth it to see Faith, her sisters and all of her best girlfriends laughing so hard and having tons of fun. Man, do I wish I had their kind of energy! Because at 2:30 am, when the girls just started to Wobble, I had to sit down-because the room had already started to wobble on it's own! What's a Wobble? Check it out:
 
 
 
Now normally, I love to Wobble. And I would jump right in  with the girls. But at that point in the evening, I was so exhausted I just flat out ran out of steam. I think the girls finally crashed somewhere around 4:00. (But that didn't stop them from waking up at 7:00 all recharged and ready to go!) Meanwhile, it's two days later...and I'm still exhausted! Ha.

Here are some pictures that help tell the tale of our epic night:

Mustache glasses for everyone.

Each girl started the night by painting their own t-shirt
 
We played LOTS of games. Quelf, Spin Tasty, Sleeping Beauty, Truth or Dare

The girls really loved the ice cream sundae bar with all the fixings
 gummi bears, M&M's, Twizzlers, Reese's Peanut Butter Cups

I'm not even sure how to caption this one. LOL

Breakfast the next morning.
Note: a VERY busted Jaybird sucking back her coffee at the head of the table.




 
 


 

Friday, July 12, 2013

Sleep. It's not over-rated. At all.

Hey guys. So let me fill you in on what's been up. Me! That's what. Haven't been getting much sleep these past few days and I'm afraid any thoughts of catching up on some Z's tonight is out of the question. Because tonight, I am hosting a slew of Faith's girlfriends for her 12th birthday and sleep over party extravaganza! 




Can't hardly believe my little girl is turning 12.

There was time in my life, when I could fall asleep on a picket fence and in a matter of minutes. But not anymore. Now I  lay awake for hours, staring at the ceiling, praying that maybe, just maybe, I can close my eyes and fall asleep even if it's only for an hour or two.  What changed?  Why can't I fall asleep and stay asleep? I have come up with a theory why.

Don't get me wrong. Every single one of those sleep deprived nights, were well worth it.
We always manage to fit in a laugh

My sleeping habits for the first half of my life were healthy and normal. But that was all BK (before kids). It seems to me that all the years of forcing my self to stay awake when my girls were babies, night after night after night, disrupted my sleep patterns greatly. I can't seem to relax my body or my mind long enough, to actually fall asleep. It does something to you, when you are all relaxed and comfortable and just falling into a nice, deep sleep and then WAAAAAA! WAAAAA! Boom. Snap. Your eyes pop open and your heart starts racing and you jump up out of bed in the dark, usually banging into something like the edge of the dresser with your knee and then your cussing and rushing to the babies' room and by that time your nightgown is soaked because your boobs are leaking like crazy and then by the time you feed the baby, burp her and  lay her back down and get her to go back to sleep, you are now fully and completely awake.

At first, when I just had Faith, I tried going right back to sleep. I really did. But less than a year later I had Farrah and I had the pleasure of repeating the whole nighttime scenario I just explained to you, times two. And another eighteen months after that, along came my Franchesca. At this point in motherhood, at least for me, once I was up, I was up. There was no going back. Although my babies have all grown up, my sleep patterns have remained, irreparably broken.

We have a bit of a running joke in our house that goes something like this: Dad fights in his sleep, Daughter #1 walks in her sleep, Daughter #2 farts ridiculously loud in her sleep, Daughter #3 laughs and giggles in her sleep and Mom, well, Mom just NEVER sleeps.  Ha.

This evening, I have already resigned myself to the fact that I will be pulling an all-nighter. It has always struck me as funny, that these events are called "sleep" overs, since no form of sleep is ever encouraged or happens at them, at all. And God forbid you are the one who falls asleep first!  I can almost guarantee that unfortunate person will fall victim to all kinds of mischief. You know, like squirting shaving cream on the victim's hand and then tickling their face or having  a mustache and funny eyebrows drawn on them with marker while they snore away obliviously....there are so many more but that's all my sleep-deprived brain can come up with right now.

How about you? Is it hard for you to fall asleep? Have you ever been the unfortunate one who fell asleep first at an all-nighter? What kind of mayhem and mischief have you experienced or got up to at sleep-over parties? Have any suggestions for us tonight? :)

This is one of my favorite pictures of my three girls, from back in the day.

Monday, July 8, 2013

Poetry: Love it or Hate it?

Hey guys! Hope everyone had a nice weekend. It was hotter than hot and humid as all get out here at the Jersey Shore but despite the heat we still managed to have an awesome weekend up in the Bird's Nest. But you're not here to discuss the weather with me, are ya? I'd like to discuss something a bit more interesting with you in this post. Something  I often wonder about: poetry.  What makes people love it or hate it?

Recently, while I was working on my Middle Grade WIP (work-in-progress), a situation presented itself in a chapter where I had the opportunity to insert some original poetry. Coming up with stanzas that would have sprung organically from the minds  and perspectives of  my middle grade-aged main characters was no easy feat.  But I have to admit to loving every minute of  the challenge it presented me. I had WAY too much fun writing it!!

You see, I am one of those people who are on Team Poetry. I  love it! I love reading it, writing it and hearing it performed. But I have found in and around my circle of friends, more of them hate it than love it. SO I have to ask, why? Why do people have such a visceral reaction to poetry? How do you feel about it? Do you love it or hate it? Why?

*For those of you who are on Team Poetry with me- below is one of the poems I came up with for my WIP. Hope you like it :)


I wish I were a Superhero,

wearing red, white and blue

I'd soar through the sky

up, up, and away I'd fly

from all that plagues me


I wish I were a Superhero

I'd leave black and blue bruises

as I battle and fight

a ginger-haired knight

I'd rage against evil

all through the night



I wish I were a Superhero

with a shield of gold

bullet proof, invincible

I'd save myself and the world

Oh, I wish I were a Superhero


Thursday, July 4, 2013

Have a wonderful 4th of July

 
Happy 4th of July everyone. But please take a moment today to reflect and remember your freedom doesn't come without sacrifice.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

July Insecure Writer's Support Group


Here I am somehow shocked once again to find that the first Wednesday of the month has crept up on me so quickly! For more info on the Insecure Writer's Support Group and all the awesome they are about, please go check out Alex J. Cavanaugh's blog and his description there as well as the list of other participants. My gosh, there has been so much activity in my life these past four weeks it has made it virtually impossible for me to sit my large rump down and attack all of my writing goals this month... Sigh.

I never thought I'd admit this, but I'm  missing April! You know, when I was forced to glue my ADD butt down and focus on coming up with a new blog topic everyday for the A-Z Challenge.  I miss the spontaneous creativity that challenge pulled out of me but it's more than that- I miss all of  you!  I miss that close connection I felt to all of you during A-Z time.

Reading about your individual lives and seeing what was going on in them day by day, was my favorite part of the challenge. Being so stupid busy recently afforded me very little time to read and comment on your blogs. Which  made me feel awful and sort of like the kid who moved away and lost touch with a bunch of great friends from the old neighborhood. When I came back from vacation, I can't tell you how eager I was to read through my blog roll to see what everyone had been up to! The distance also made me realize how ridiculously attached I've grown to all of you. (Whether you wanted me to or not! Ha.) Therefore, this month, my post is not going to be about my writing insecurities, but the opposite. It's all about the security I've found here.

Who knew joining a group about insecurity, would prove to supply the exact opposite? But that's what I found here. I discovered the security of knowing when I do let go and open up about all of my shortcomings and wild, writerly insecurities, you all are going to be there for me. And holy crow no matter what crazy bits about myself I've chosen to share, you have all rallied around me with such amazing words of encouragement, support and advice. I want you to know how  much I appreciate you championing me like that. I cherish and take to heart each and every single up-lifting and/or constructive comment left here for me. I  credit all of you, for the amazing steps forward I've made in sharing my fears as well as my writing itself.

Before I started this group, I was absolutely petrified to share my work! Every time I even thought about sending it out to someone to critique, I wanted to throw up. But that has changed. This chick has critique partners now! Whaaa? Yep- and I send my work off to them without wanting to throw up.  Do you know how monumental that is for a spaz like me?  I have all of you to thank for that. So thank you. Thank you Insecure Writer's Support Group brothers and sisters for pulling out something  in me I absolutely never thought I'd find: SECURITY. 




Monday, July 1, 2013

Reflections and Pictures of Our Trip to Gettysburg



Four score and seven years ago....

Hope everyone had a wonderful weekend. I can't believe it is July already!  We feel like our summer just started because of Hurricane Sandy, my kids did not get out of school until the 21st of June. Ugh! To kick off our summer vacation The Husband and I decided to take the girls to Gettysburg, PA last week.

The town of Gettysburg is going all out to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the historic battle fought there. There are so many things to do, places to see, monuments to look at and learn about we could have stayed another two weeks and still not have had the time to see it all.  We had a ton of fun and did a bunch of diverse things in and around the town of Gettysburg, but for those of you who know me, you have to know, I cried A LOT on this trip. How can you not be moved by what transpired there? Learning about all the men (and women) who gave their lives and fought so fiercely on that battlefield is sorrowful and to be perfectly honest, in my opinion the cemetery should be viewed in a somber, reflective state of mind. While we were standing in those sacred places I did not feel it was appropriate to be my usual ridiculous self and did not joke around or act stupid like I  normally would. My girls are very sensitive like me and were having a hard time keeping it together too.

A couple of places that had my girls and I in tears was the Jenny Wade House. Jenny was sitting in her home early in the morning, just kneading some dough, making loaves of bread while her mother and  sister sat in the other room taking care of her newborn niece. A stray bullet went through the wall and killed her instantly! The other story that got to us was the story of a dog named Sallie. She was the mascot of a  regiment of Union soldiers. After one particularly fierce skirmish the men lost sight of Sallie amidst all the chaos and thought their dog was lost to them for good. Only to discover her weeks later, exhausted, hungry and thirsty but unwilling to leave the side of the bodies of the fallen men from her beloved regiment.  Sallie sat there loyally protecting their bodies and simply would not move until the rest of the regiment members came to recover the bodies. After taking the audio tour, going through the visitor's center and touring the battlefield, I told The Husband the girls and I needed to make a few happy detour stops to break up some of the sadness that was threatening to overtake us.

If you plan to go to Gettysburg with young kids or if  even if you are older but have a sensitive, soft heart like me, I strongly suggest throwing in some non-war related things into your itinerary to break it up. It really helped the girls and me make it through the rough stuff.

PS: The Husband took a whopping 850 pictures in Gettysburg.  I am posting only a select few of that number. He took so many great pictures it's going to be so hard for me to choose!

PSS: It was hot, humid and in the high 90's the entire trip. As far as the girls and my hair in these pictures, FRIZ happens :)
Frankie, Jaybird and Faith out on the Gettysburg Battlefield.




One of our much needed "breaks" from the battlefield. The girls took a stained glass work shop and made sun catchers!



Frankie was convinced this knot had to be a portal to Fairie Land!



 

The statue of  Sallie!

My girls petting the little  statue of Sallie. Oh my gosh, heart-breaking!



Watching Frankie cruise around town in her favorite moustache glasses is always fun!

View from Little Round Top




Faith taking in the views.



 
 
My little foodie highly recommends stopping at this French Bistro for breakfast- the croissants and crepes are fabulous!!

Farrah climbing some serious steps!

Frankie  couldn't help herself from doing what the sign said :)

We stayed at The Lodges at Gettysburg- amazing views and hiking trails!

View in the morning from our back deck :)
Dressing up and taking a picture at the Victorian Picture Studio! So fun.
My girls went nuts for all of the baby bunnies we encountered while hiking at the Lodges

The Lodges have a great pond to fish in too!







 

Me and my girls