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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Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!!

Hey Peeps!! Sorry life has called me away again. But you have never been far from my heart or mind. Had to pop in today (no matter how crazy my house is) and show you some love. I would not be able to go to sleep tonight if I didn't wish my peeps a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!!

This is simultaneously a wonderful and hard time of year.  I think a lot of people may feel the same way. Loved ones are gone and they are sorely missed during the holidays. Empty chairs at the table break my heart. But because of my faith, this time of year is still a blessing. I will never forget the most perfect gift I have ever received.  "Today in the town of David a Saviour has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord" Luke 2:11 And because of that, no matter what loss, hardships or trials I face, I can remain, truly joyful this season.

From the bottom of my heart, I wish you all a very healthy, happy, peaceful and blessed holiday season. xo- Jaybird

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Happy Thanksgiving!

Just wanted to pop in and say Happy Thanksgiving to everyone- hope you have a wonderful holiday chock full of thanks, family, fun and food. As usual, the Bird's Nest will be over-flowing with people, food and lots of activity.  And therefore, I will be MIA from the blog-o-sphere for the next couple of days in order to rest and recooperate. I honestly could not pull the holiday hosting off at all, if it weren't for my awesome sister Adrienne and my mom. They help me so much! Oh, and what would I do without my Faith in the kitchen? That kid is a dynamo. It's 9:00 a.m. and she's already prepped one of our 25 pound turkeys and put it in the oven, started the mashed potatoes, whipped up a chocolate tart,  candied some pecans and made homemade cranberry sauce!! And she's no where near done cooking yet.   (I will try and get her to post those yummy recipes over on her blog Faith's A Foodie. Faith's been so busy with school she has really been neglecting her blog.)

Even with all of the help I receive, after my family leaves, I usually can't walk or get out of bed for a few days. I really knock myself out with preparations and cooking and cleaning and entertaining. But I wouldn't have it any other way. I love that everybody comes to my house. I know I am so incredibly blessed to have such a loving, close-knit family and we truly enjoy each others company. We have a blast every time we get together and that makes it all worthwhile.

Happy Thanksgiving Everyone- Peace and Blessings!!  Jaybird

Thursday, November 20, 2014

The Cat Who Chose Us and Other Cat Stories

Just looking at that sweet little kitty face makes me want to buy a dozen copies of this anthology!!

Hey Guys-I'm super stoked to promote this anthology today. And  not just because yours truly has a submission contained within. I am always looking for ways to use my "talent" for charity or to help out others. Although I may not be the most prolific or talented writer, it is something I love to do and if I can use that to help out this worthy cause, I'm all in. Check it out on Amazon. I have to give a big, huge thanks to Kyra Lennon for doing all of the work and pulling this together!! You rock Kyra.

Here's the blurb:The Cat Who Chose Us and other Cat Stories is a collection of short stories, true life stories, and poetry put together by a group of successful, cat-loving authors from all over the world. Slip between the pages and you'll find a variety of feline tales to amuse, entertain, and warm your heart. From grand rescues, to special surprises, there is a story for every kitty fan. All profits from the sale of The Cat Who Chose Us and other Cat Stories will be donated directly to your local branch of Cats Protection to help needy cats across the Uk.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

"The Practice of Choga"

Before we get into "The Practice of Choga"- I wanted to take a minute and apologize. Sorry it's taken me so long to get back to blogging and all of you! The computer virus and issues I had, I think, are all cleared up now. I am still tentative about believing my computer is fixed completely as I type this. Cause honestly, the virus I caught was cra-zy and this machine has been WHACK for weeks now!! Sending funky messages out and allowing all kinds of Spam in. Seriously, I had no idea how many Viagra spammers there are out there. Dang!!!

 For those of my followers that don't know this about Jaybird, I sorely lack the computer gene that so many of the young kids seem to be born with today.  Trouble-shooting, has never been my strong suit. I can barely operate the computer and this blog when they are healthy,  much less when it has a problem. Thankfully, I am related to a stand-up IT guy (my brother Chris). He travels a lot though and I had to wait for my own personal "Geek Squad" to come to the rescue. I plan on making my way around the blog list and trying to play catch up. I am sure  I missed out on some good news/announcements and other cool stuff over the past few weeks and I apologize  for that. Bear with me please, as I try to catch up. Thanks!

Recently, a girlfriend of mine started a yoga class on Thursday nights at my church. Years ago, when my kids were little and so was my waist, I used to practice yoga. The girls and I loved the mommy and me classes. Nowadays, I am not in such great shape. Oh, I'm sure I could twist my fat self into a few of those old yoga positions, but I would most likely get stuck in them.  Since it is a good friend of mine that is teaching, I was contemplating giving it a go anyhow. I was kind of hesitating over my calendar, and penciling in the class, when my daughter Franchesca saw me and asked me what I was doing. (It is not uncommon for me to stand still and stare off into space with a blank expression on my face for long periods of time. Sometimes, I need the girls to shake me out of one of my "thinking trances")  I told Franchesca what I was thinking about- and what were her thoughts on it. She laughed and said,

 "Mom, if we go back they'll have to change the name to CHOGA, cause that's what we'd practice".
"What's Choga?"  I asked.
"CHUBBY YOGA!"   CHOGA!! I died laughing. That's the best name for it, ever. I love that kid for telling it like it is and keeping it real for me. I think I am going to make up matching t-shirts for us that say CHOGA on them. Hey, you never know, this new practice might catch on!! LOL

What do you think? Anyone else down for practicing CHOGA?  Would you buy a t-shirt? How about any of  my middle-age Peeps out there- have you ever gone  back to something you used to do and have to re-learn how to do it?  And how's everyone been? Any good news you want to share with Jaybird?

Monday, October 27, 2014

MIA Again.

Sorry I've been MIA. But for once, it wasn't because I was sick. The reason you haven't seen any comments from me or new posts was because my computer was the sick one! It was infected with a wicked virus. I apologize to any of my friends and/or followers if you happened to receive an inappropro message from Jaybird. Please know that (for once) it didn't actually come from me. Ha. J/K.

Hope all is well with everyone in the blog-o-sphere. You are all in my thoughts. As usual, life is flying by this Bird and I have SO much to say, yet very little time in which to do it. I planned on having something much more interesting to post, but this little update will just have to tide you over until I get the computer issues all dealt with and patched up. *Fingers crossed I can be back up and running in the very near future. *    Jaybird

Monday, October 6, 2014

Waking Up Happy

99% of  the time, I pop up out of bed and am full of joy, energy, and a renewed sense of purpose. I'm super cheerful and genuinely happy. I begin most mornings, singing and dancing. This part of my personality tends to drive the kids and The Hubs a bit crazy, as they all tend to be night people. They've asked me to try and "tone it down" for them, at least in the morning hours. But I can't. You can't contain this!!! I've tried.
Often, I get up just to see the sun rise. The beauty and splendor of it goes a long way in making me appreciate the day ahead.

I don't understand what makes my family wake up so stinking cranky! I don't get that.  I'm always so thankful and grateful I made it through the night and God gifted me with a chance to live out another day, how could I possibly be sad? Often, I get asked what my "secret" to happiness is. Why am I always so full of joy? Surely, my life is perfect? I must live in a mansion and have tons of servants, cash, good health, and no problems. Ha!! Hardly. Most of you know that none of those things are true for me. My life is far from perfect. But everyone has troubles. And if I woke up every day and focused on all of the bad things and worries and stress, I would never get out of bed. Instead, I CHOOSE to put all of my energy and strength into focusing on all of the positive things I've got going on. To me, the key is being grateful and thankful for every good thing I've been given and choosing to focus on that, instead of the negative.

Over the course of time, I've encountered some really negative people. They look me in the face and swear that they have absolutely nothing positive or good going on in their lives, and nothing to be thankful for. Man, does that just make me want to cry. I'm not trying to be patronizing, but I can usually point out a good fifteen or twenty things they should/could be thankful for in less than thirty seconds!!

What choice will you make today? Will you choose to focus on the glass that's  half-empy or half-full? I challenge you to look at your life today with a renewed sense of purpose. Most of us are here are writers, try this: wake up each morning this week and write down everything you can think of to be thankful for. At the end of the week, go back and look at your list. It might just blow your mind at how many good things we might tend to take for granted every day.

Happy Monday Peeps- Jaybird

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

IWSG- Month of October

This month I am really behind. I haven't had a moment to string two coherent sentences together. But I didn't want my lack of time to stop me from participating in this month's IWSG. Please allow me to (hopefully) inspire you with what inspires me- some of my favorite quotes. I'd love to hear some of yours too! I have a separate page on my blog dedicated just to inspiring quotes, so feel free to share there as well.  Have a wonderful IWSG Wednesday!!

"Be who you are and say what you feel because those who matter don't mind and those who                           mind, don't matter." -Dr. Seuss

"You are never too old to set another goal or dream a new dream." -C.S. Lewis

"You can't get a cup of tea big enough or a book long enough to suit me."- C.S. Lewis

"Not all those who wander are lost."- J.R.R. Tolkien

"All we have to do is decide what to do with the time that is given us." - J.R.R. Tolkien

"No one can make you feel inferior without your consent." - Eleanor Roosevelt

"Be faithful in small things because it is in them that your strength lies." - Mother Teresa

"Attitude is a little thing that makes a big difference." - Winston Churchill

"I fear not the man who has practiced 10,000 kicks, but I fear the man who practiced one kick,                     10,000 times. " - Bruce Lee

Monday, September 29, 2014

Homework, homework and more homework

I don't know how things work in the other states across this country, but I do know that when I was a kid, I never had any where near as much homework as my children do.

Granted, my two older girls are in a gifted and talented program, so I kind of expected more homework would be in the cards for them. Last year, was my first foray into the wonderful world of G&T.  When Faith was accepted, I wrote a post about never feeling dumber in my entire life than when I sat through the orientation and saw what curriculum they had in store for her.  I have to give daughter #2 mad credit, because Farrah saw first hand the pounds of homework and projects older sissy had to do, but it did not in any way deter her from applying and interviewing for G&T herself. Honestly, to have one kid make it into this program was a blessing, but to have two???  My cup runneth over!! But so does the homework.... We spend at least 3-4 hours every night and almost our entire weekend, doing homework. By the way, that's after sports and clubs and every other after school activity my girls are involved in- quite often they are up to one or two in the morning, finishing homework.

My youngest is still in elementary school, fifth grade.  And yet, she does no less than two hours of homework a night. Unlike big sisters, Franchesca has a much harder time focusing on homework. She is the type of kid that needs to be in a totally quiet space, with ZERO distractions. And even then, I have to keep reminding her and redirecting her to focus on her homework.  It's a nightly battle. Out of all my kids, I can relate to Frankie the most. I was always daydreaming or having a hard time focusing on one topic. Anyone who reads this blog can clearly see, I still have that problem.

This weekend, my older girls turned down free tickets to Fright Fest at Great Adventure, because they had way too much homework to go.  They also had to pass on Rosh Hashanah dinner at their Aunt Lynn's house (one of their favorite celebrations to attend). I wonder what else they will have to miss out on in the future because of homework and I wonder if it's at all worth it.  On the other hand, I do absolutely LOVE the teachers and program my two older girls are enrolled in. The Husband and I are very grateful our girls were chosen to be a part of G&T. However, I have to ask myself, what's more important. My kids being challenged or them losing out on fun activities?  What if it's too much pressure?

Have any of you seen a trend towards more and more homework, like me? What are your thoughts about homework? Recently, I was speaking to someone (from overseas) who laughed when I said my kids are enrolled in a difficult academic program and I worried deeply about their stress level. According to him, we are a joke in the education department, no matter what program your kids are in, here in the USA. I argued there are only so many hours in the day to do homework, no matter what country you hail from. Although he absolutely insisted his country was superior to ours in every single way, and I wasn't going to waste my time arguing with him any more about it. *** 

Please, drop me a comment. I'd love to hear your thoughts and opinions about how much homework your kids do or how much you had to do. I don't ever remember doing more than an hour in elementary school, but that was a long time ago now.

***Sorry, but after talking to that gentleman, I feel compelled to add this thought: to all of the people from other countries who immigrate to America and then want to stand there and bash it to pieces and insist the country you came from is so freaking awesome and superior to mine in every single way, do us all a favor, and GO BACK HOME. Cause no one asked your stank ass to move here in the first place, thank you very much.  

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

My Tragic Loss of Sport-less Gloating and Glee

I may have mentioned once or twice, that sports are not, nor have they ever been, my top priority. I am not athletic in any way, shape or form. Most of you know, my exuberant top half prevents me from ever being able to complete a push up. Not that I care, but I worried for my kids. Would they want to play sports? I knew for a fact that they would not inherit any awesome athletic ability or aspirations, from me, that's for sure. And for many, many years I was able to dodge the "sports bullet" as I like to call it.

Early on Saturday mornings, I'd pass by the humid, mosquito-infested fields and I'd see all of the sucker  soccer parents who were going to have to sit their swampy butts in that hot sun from 8-4, watching one miserable game after another. And I grinned like the Cheshire Cat, knowing I got to whiz on by, sipping my Starbucks latte, feeling quite privileged that my three scholars were perfectly content to pass right by that sucky field too. You see, we were on our way to much more civilized events, like Chess Club. Which meet in the air-conditioned, bug-free and always hospitable, library. I felt very lucky indeed. But for some reason, my fate all changed, last year.

To my horror, in the beginning of  September, my daughter came to me and said she wanted to try out for a "team" sport. Gah!! How did sports suddenly become a priority to my little nerd? Why? What kind of evil was this? I was so afraid. Do any of you all remember my posts about the dreaded Field Day? Yeah, to say athletic ability was never our strong suit, is a total understatement.

I was petrified, but swore to support my daughter, if this is what she really wanted, no matter what. Honestly, I wasn't really prepared for what was to come. Because I never thought in a million years she would actually make the team. But she did!! Oh man was I shocked. I thought for sure I was going to be able to maintain my sport-less existence until they graduated. Not so. Not so. So where did all of this jock-itis stem from?

Although my girls have never shown any interest in team sports before, they are highly competitive and have always kept active. They love, love, love to swim and hike and they have all been involved in one form of martial arts or another. Bottom line, no matter what they are doing, (academic or otherwise) they like to WIN. In all my years of sport-less gloating and glee, I had forgotten that very important detail. Along with one other:  my girls weren't just half me, but half The Husband too! They must have inherited all of this competitive drive and crap from him.

Needless to say, my transition into becoming a sports parent has not been easy. I actually have to go into jock stores now. Did you know that their store is literally called "Dicks"?  From the second I walk in the door, my heels click, click, clicking on the marble floor, carrying my gigantic Ulta shopping bag, I stick out like a sore thumb. Even the stupid mannequins in that place are all jacked. Everything in there is completely foreign to me. The sales people are carbon copies of who I spent my entire high school existence avoiding. Oy. What I won't do for my kids!

As a new year and season commences, my older daughter has again, made the team. Wish me luck friends. Change doesn't come easy to this old Bird, and I am still grieving the tragic loss of my sport-less existence.

Friday, September 5, 2014

Cat Anthology Blog Hop

I am SO happy to be able to take part in this Charity Cat Anthology Hop hosted by  Ms. Kyra Lennon,.  The rules were simple:
(1)The story MUST have a cat in it. 
(2) You can write a story within your usual genre - even if it's a sci-fi, or a paranormal cat, or a love story that has a cat in it
(3) You can write a poem if you prefer
(3) The absolute maximum word count is 2500 words 
(4) All entries must be edited by the author prior to publication 
(5) You MUST write somewhere on your post that you allow permission for me to use your work in the book
(6) You must also attach a short bio and one link to a place people can find you online
Authors retain copyright for any work submitted to the anthology, and can republish their own work elsewhere, with the understanding that all proceeds for THIS anthology will be going to Cats Protection.  

As most of you know, I am a Crazy Cat Lady so I was all over this! I hope you like my submission, which Kyra now has my blessing and permission to publish in the anthology. Anything I can do  to help a feline out!  I've titled this  "The Nightmare"

The nightmare was back, again. I woke with a start, gasping for air, heart pounding, body shaking and terrified, tears streaming down my face. Just like all the times before. And just like before, Yury snored his way through the entire episode oblivious to my plight. I stared at my husband's massive shoulders and back and watched his enormous chest rise and fall with each and every breath. For all of that muscle and strength he possessed, my big, strong protector was powerless to fight this enemy. As I sat there trying to catch my breath, something flew out of the dark and hit me square in the chest.  

It took a second before I registered it was only Ivan, my cat. He knocked the wind right out of me, which I decided was a good thing. Otherwise, I would have unleashed a scream loud enough to wake all ten floors of our apartment building. If I wasn't so shaken up from the nightmare, my cat would not have been able to ambush me quite so spectacularly. Ivan always instinctively knew when I was in distress and came running to the rescue. As my fingers wrapped themselves up in familiar soft, white, fluff I tried to relax. The sound of Ivan's purring filled up my room and my heart. I could have stayed like that forever, except my feline remained standing squarely on my chest, and just like Yury, my cat was no light weight.

Looking straight into Ivan's big green eyes, I took my time and slowly opened and shut my own, in an exaggerated blink. Which I knew, roughly translated into cat, meant I love you. He returned the gesture, turned and launched himself straight at Yury's head. Yury woke in a fury, his tree trunk arms and legs flailing about, his deep voice stringing together some Russian cusses I've yet to master. Ivan was no fool and he beat it out of there before my sleeping giant could rise up out of bed. He did, however, pause in the doorway just long enough to throw me a pointed look over his shoulder and convince me the waking of Yury had been no accident.

My husband turned over to face me and the whole bed shifted under his weight when he did. I started to roll away but his arms shot out and wrapped around me; I was not going anywhere now. Once he had me locked in he leaned over and kissed me.

That little fluff-ball is very lucky you are so fond of him. What's this? Tears? Not the dream again?” Yury wiped the residual tears from my cheeks.

Yeah, the stupid dream. Don't be so hard on Ivan. He was trying to comfort me.”

I wish I knew how to comfort you and make this nightmare go away. Maybe I should not do overtime or the split shift next week. Maybe I could....”

I loved my husband for even offering. But we both knew he had no choice. The jobs here were so few and far between and we were barely making it now. There was no way he could turn down the opportunity and money working overtime generated.

Things are so different here than they were back home in the states. I knew they would be and man did I catch a whole lot of grief for coming here. My parents have disowned me. I was a true Southern belle, born and raised in Savannah, Georgia. Spoiled rotten from the time I was born as the only daughter of a retired Senator and District Attorney. My parents were older, with even older Southern money, who had nothing but time and the mind to hone me into the perfect debutante. I was considered quite the prize catch. I had my chance with a wide share of suitors there for a while. One right after the other, all marched in purposefully, coming on the pretense to call on me, but they were really there to impress my parents. Oh, the pedigrees they pulled out. All of them the picture of Southern charm and gentility. But one after the other, I could not bear to spend even a minute in their company. Their arrogance and so-called charm was all a big show. Their political aspirations had them drooling and dripping with insincerity all over me. It was nauseating. I wanted no part of any of it or them. All I wanted to do was dance.

Of course, my parents had me enrolled in dance lessons from the time I could walk. They were absolutely delighted when I clung to ballet like a fish to water. It was through dance I found my freedom. When I was dancing, everything else just fell away and I was free. So just how did a spoiled, Southern Belle like me end up on the other side of the world? How did I go from sipping sweet tea and mint juleps with well-bred, preening Southern boys one day to downing vodka shots in the freezing cold with my rough, working-class Russian the next?

The summer after my high school graduation, my ballet teacher tipped me off about a world-renown Russian ballet company touring the United States that just happened to be holding open auditions. I knew from the second I walked into the audition, I would do absolutely anything to become a part of this company. These ballerinas danced with a precision and technique I only dreamed of. They pushed and pushed until they had nothing left and I knew they could help take me to the next level as a dancer. I spent every waking minute I could that summer, hanging around the company. It was there I met Yury; technically he was a part of the production team, mostly they had him doing all the heavy labor. Like breaking apart and reassembling sets and hauling around the sound equipment. He scared the crap out of me first time I saw him.

One night, I thought I was alone, the last one to leave the theater, and on a whim, I jumped back up on stage and performed the solo of the Prima ballerina. When I finished, I heard clapping. He stepped out from behind the stage curtain.

“You are good. If you manage to make it into this company, you could be great.”

“You just gave me a flipping heart attack buddy! What are you doing here? More important, who the heck are you?” I practically screeched at him. Yury smirked. He approached me, slowly and silently and I wondered how anyone that massive, could be so stealthy, so silent? He thrust a giant hand in my direction and introduced himself.

“I am Yury Varennikov, Galina's nephew.” That was all he said by way of introduction, but it was enough. Galina was the director of the entire ballet company. If he was related to her, he had every right to critique my dancing, as well as be in the theater, after hours.

Soon I found that Yury was different in every way I would have imagined him to be, and from every other boy I had ever known. He was like a breath of fresh air. So uncomplicated, so simple! In no way do I mean to infer he is not intelligent, not at all! My Yury is extremely bright, it was more like I never had to guess with him, I always knew exactly what he was thinking. He was direct and honest and had zero ulterior motives in wanting to be with me. In stark contrast to all of the Southern boys with their flowery words and ingratiating flattery, he was a man of few words. Yet, he never had to struggle to get his point across. Looking into his dark eyes reminded me of looking into the eye of a tornado, all around us was chaos, but inside, he was the very center of the storm, the calm.

My parents, of course, went absolutely ape when I told them Yury and I were in love and wanted to get married. I knew they would put up a fuss, but I did not think they would disown me. Now I feel bad I ever even dragged Yury over to my house and subjected him to such scrutiny. But he dealt with them with dignity and grace, like everything else.

They escorted us into the parlour, all formal. Yury took up almost the entire Queen Ann settee himself, but I managed to squeeze myself in next to him. My mother began the cross examination. When she was through, she tagged my father, who stood. He picked up his whiskey sour, and arrogantly threw us the question he assumed would be the final blow.

“What does someone like you, possibly think you could add to my daughter's life?” Funny, how both of them made their livings out of arguing and yet, Yury silenced them with one word.

“Substance.” Yury stood, completely dwarfing my 6 foot 200 pound father. He grabbed my hand and we left. I was determined to marry Yury, with or without their blessing, and I did. What I didn't tell them was when the ballet company's tour of the United States ended, it would go back to Russia and Yuri and I planned on going with them.

Being here hasn't been easy. Between my accent and the cold and my ignorance of the language I have committed more than a few cultural faux pauxs. But being with Yury makes my life here, no matter how hard, worth it. I was doing better too, until a few months ago when the dream started. Now, no matter what I do it haunts me day and night. 

It's such a simple dream. But terrifying none the less. It always starts the same way, I am coming home to our apartment, but Yury is not there. I walk up the stairs and when I open the door and go in something, or someone, evil is waiting for me. There is a dark shadow hanging over my apartment and I feel doomed. I know it sounds so simple to relate it. It's simplicity is what's so scary. My imagination goes so many bad places with it.

Despite my lack of rest due to the dream, the weeks flew by in a flurry of classes and rehearsals, as Yury was kept busy working the split shift and as many hours of overtime he could. One Friday night, Yury had to stay late and I had to make my way home solo. I missed our stop completely and had to wait for another train to take me back. (I am still getting used to navigating the public transportation system and the Russian alphabet is not the easiest to pick up, that's for sure) I decided I would walk the rest of the way, but it took me longer than expected.

It had begun to snow, soft flakes that were light but falling steadily. It was truly a beautiful sight, and St. Petersburg was truly a spectacular city. Somehow, this place had really started to feel like home. I was humming the tune of The Nutcracker to myself when I turned onto our street, and was shocked to see police and many of our neighbors standing outside our building. From what I could gather and piece together, with the little Russian I knew, it seemed our building had been hit by burglars. Every single apartment in our building had been robbed, and I needed to go up and check our place to see what was missing.

Slowly, I climbed the stairs. Things I had never really picked up before started to all click into place. I broke out in a cold sweat as I realized every detail of my dream was now solidifying before my eyes. As I walked past a neighbors' open door, I took a peek inside. Their couch had been turned over and a vase lay broken, fresh flowers strewn across the floor. Drawing on every reserve of inner strength I possessed, I steeled myself for what I would encounter in our apartment. It was time I faced my fears. As I climbed the last few steps, I stumbled. I placed my hand out to steady myself, and when I did, my hand touched something wet. It was thick and a deep rich red and I had a terrible suspicion of what the substance was. I looked up the rest of the steps and I saw more drips and drops of what I knew could only be blood. Terrified, yet determined, I pressed on.

The door of our apartment was slightly ajar. I procrastinated in the doorway, solidifying my will to take that final step and go in. There was a small puddle of blood just inside the hallway. I was about to ditch, thinking the hell with seeing my nightmare come to fruition, I'm outta here, but before I could beat feet and run all the way back down those stairs, I heard a very indignant “Meeeooow!”

Ivan! I burst into the apartment and found every one of my fears to be completely unfounded. There was no evil, no dark presence waiting for me. Our place, other than the puddle of blood at the entryway, stood virtually untouched. It was then I saw Ivan, my soft, fluffy,white, ball of fur, perched gracefully on top of the back of our couch, carefully licking blood off his claws.

Jennifer Bird loves to read, write and spend time at the beach, which is convenient since she resides at the Jersey Shore with her husband, three tweenage girls and one very spoiled and very fat cat named Filamena. You can usually find her weaving tall tales on her blog, The Bird's Nest.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

"A Slow Fade" September Meeting of the Insecure Writer's Support Group

Gah! Is it really September? Do my kids really have to go back to school tomorrow? Oy!! Somehow, the summer is over and here we are, the first Wednesday of the month, ready for another IWSG post. If you'd like to know more about this spectacular group of insecure writers, click here: Alex J. Cavanaugh or hit up their Facebook page!

This month, I plan on implementing huge changes in my writing and personal life. It's been WAY too long since I focused on me. I know that sound super selfish, but ever since I became a mother, (13 years ago) I have put myself dead last at the bottom of  a long list of priorities. Even the cat's needs get met and placed before my own. Who's fault is this? Completely mine! I plan on rectifying that though, starting today.  This month, I promised myself I WILL take time for me. I WILL schedule writing time as well as take a much needed break, just for me. The only obstacle I face is me. Yep, my biggest enemy has always been myself.

In my writing life- I continually knock my work down with my lack of confidence and insecurities. I never feel like I'm good enough. In my personal life I constantly feel guilty if (God forbid) I sit down for five minutes. It's so bad, I can't even tell you the last time I had a decent hair cut. You know, a hair cut that is not me getting fed up so I take my kitchen shears and chop my bangs off along with all of  the dead ends myself. It's been at least ten years since I visited a real salon. TEN YEARS!! My younger self is cringing. There was a time I wouldn't even venture out of the house without my hair coiffed and my make-up perfectly applied. Now I'm lucky if I leave the house wearing a clean shirt! How did I allow this to happen? How did I push all of my wants and needs and dreams aside? It was a slow fade friends. But I don't want to fade out completely. I want to start shining brightly again.  I want to pursue my wants, my needs, my dreams, before it's too late and I am but a shadow of the person I once was.

Have any of you suffered from a slow fade in your writing life? What about your personal life? Any of you feel massive guilt, like me, if you take time, just  for yourself?

Monday, September 1, 2014

The Great Sausage Controversy

Today, ladies and gentlemen, prepare yourselves- you are in for a rare and wonderful treat. You are about to read a poignant post full of pure, inspirational thoughts, words and encouragement. Yeah, no. Not even close. With a title like "The Great Sausage Controversy" you must have known there's no well-written, poignant post full of meaning to be had here....ha ha.  Instead, I'm going to be filling you all in on an epic event that went down in the Bird's Nest and is now and will forever more be referred to as "The Great Sausage Controversy" among all of our friends and family members.

Ah, it's been quite some time since The Husband and I have had a little  WWE Smack Down marital spat. As usual, this disagreement sprung from a matter of the utmost importance, one of our deepest fundamental differences; it's a wonder our marriage has lasted the past nineteen years. I'm sure you are all wondering, what in the world could have sparked this  knock down all out war disagreement between two people who made a commitment to love, honor and respect one another, so many years ago? Here's the skinny:

The Husband and I are both fat and Italian. To fat Italians, pizza is no joke. We regularly order out and/or make our own pizza at home. The Husband called on his way home from work, requesting that I make him pizza for dinner. Sure, I told him, no problem, I had all the ingredients. I just needed to allow the dough to rise. But wait, The Husband loves to have sausage on top of his pizza, and I had none. I asked that he would please pick some up on his way home, which he agreed to do. All was well until he came home. I had already started preparing everything, I was just waiting to blanch the sausage. AND he lost his mind.

Husband: "You can not cook the sausage first! It has to cook on the pizza or it will dry out."
Jaybird: "Husband, I will  not place raw sausage on top of this pizza. Raw pork will kill you. Let me blanch it, at the very least."
Husband: (his voice was escalating and he was now using what I like to refer to as his condescending COP tone) "No self-respecting pizza place uses cooked sausage on top of their pizza, it would come out tasteless and all dried up!"
Jaybird: (my voice and tone, only in response to his of course was now getting elevated at this point) "Get outta my kitchen and mind your business. I know what I'm doing!"
Husband: "I'm calling Nunzio's!!!!"
(The Husband whips out his cell phone and hits speed dial- he connects with one of our favorite places to order pizza. On the Jersey Shore, you never know when or where you'll be in the mood for pizza. We have a favorite place in just about  every county  and town in South and North Jersey, just in case.)
Husband: "HA!  Ha, ha, ha. I WAS RIGHT!!  I toooold you SO! Nunzio says that they NEVER cook the sausage first, it will dry up!! And we've been eating that pizza for years and we never died!"
Jaybird: (Not willing to give in or concede at this point, because now I'm fuming mad at his tone and his condescending I told you so attitude) "Pizza places have ovens that heat up to 500 zillion degrees, maybe that's okay for them, but at home, no way. I'm still cooking the sausage!!"
Husband: (Get's the cell phone back out, and dials pizza place #2 and asks the same question, just to gloat and be a total tool but instead, I have the satisfaction of hearing this) "Whaaat? You cook your sausage first? WHY? Doesn't it get all dried out? Oh. Because it's raw pork, you blanch it before it goes in the oven? Okay."
Jaybird: "HA!! Ha, ha ha."
Husband: "I don't care what they say! You are not going to cook that sausage first." (Husband goes to make a grab for the package of sausage)

And, because clearly at this point you can already tell we are the King and Queen of maturity and wisdom, things unravel further. Jaybird, normally a pacifist and a calm, centered woman of faith, picked up that package of sausage and threw it at him, adding in a couple of brilliant Italian hand gestures and phrases that I care not to repeat at this time, since I am no longer in a fit of rage and anger. (Don't judge. Some people do Meth. And for the record, no one in my forty-three years of life has EVER incited me to violence. Except The Husband. For some reason, he can make me go from zero to sixty in two seconds.)

BTW: You would think that my children would be cowed or at least shrinking and crying from the escalating violence in the kitchen, instead, they were laughing so hard one of them almost wet their pants. Then, they did what every other person we told about this ridiculous fight did: they picked sides!!!

Honestly, this stupid, stupid sausage fight raged on and on because- everywhere, absolutely everywhere we went, for at least a month, the kids told on us!! They told all of our friends, neighbors and any family members who would  listen. So the stinking sausage debate raged ON. My parents got into it over it. My dad thought it would be fine to throw the sausage on the pizza raw, my mom, went with cooking it first. They went out to dinner with their best friends and they weighed in as well. (a split decision)  I went to a party at my brother-in-law's house and the first thing he did was walk up to me and say, "Jen, surely you won't die from raw sausage!" Et tu brute, et tu?

Annnnd, again, because we are so mature and everything, we kept tabs. How does something so ridiculous get so out of hand? Welcome to my world. Where my husband and I's biggest fight in almost twenty years of  marriage, was about sausage. So I have to ask, who's side would you be on in the Great Sausage Controversy?

*There is no wrong answer here. Just go with your gut instinct. And please, please, don't cite any Google engine search results. Trust me, they have already been thoroughly exhausted by my friends and family and reported to us, ad nauseam.

Friday, August 15, 2014

Flesh Eating Zombies and Evil Ex-girlfriends Cover Reveal

Today, I am so excited to be a part of a very special cover reveal- Flesh Eating Zombies and Evil Ex-girlfriends authored by my supremely awesome friend, Miss Rachel Schieffelbein. Check out the cover below:

Isn't this cover so sick? I love it!!

OK, most of you know already that I am too big of a chicken to usually read anything even remotely related to Flesh Eating Zombies but I have to tell you, for my girl Rachel, I decided to make an exception. And man am I glad I did, because this is a wicked, twisted story and I totally loved it!! Here's the blurb:

Erwin is in hell--- Locked in his high school with his ex-girlfriend, her new pain-in-the-ass boyfriend, and a handful of others while zombies claw at the doors trying to fight their way in. The bright light in the dark is Sylvia, whose strength helps hold Erwin together when everything is falling apart. When they realize the school is no longer safe, Erwin is determined to keep the group together and get them all to safety. But he can’t save everyone. 

Release day is September 17th. Don't forget to add it to your Goodreads list!

Wednesday, August 6, 2014


It's the first Wednesday of the month, and you know the drill. This is the day set aside for insecure writers across the blog-o-sphere to share all of our individual experiences, the good, the bad and the ugly. I can't say enough about this group or how encouraging they are to me. Reading and sharing our thoughts here once a month has made a tremendous impact on my writing life. If you are interested in finding out more, you can visit the Insecure Writer's Support Group Facebook page, or click here- on Alex J. Cavanaugh's site to sign up.

A few weeks ago, my youngest daughter came running up to me, a hot little mess of  boogers and tears.  I couldn't imagine what was wrong, because I had only checked on her a couple of minutes beforehand, and she was right as rain, sitting on her bed, listening to music and reading her bible. What the heck could have happened? I was shocked when she started wailing, "I'm unclean!" She was pointing to the place in scripture where it says, "Listen and understand. What goes into a man's mouth doesn't make him unclean, but what comes out of his mouth is what makes him unclean."  

My poor kid took those words straight to heart and couldn't get beyond them. I was torn between bursting out laughing or wailing right along with her.  You see, I had come to the same conclusion about myself.  I am an "unclean" writer. Yes, I've studied grammar and sentence structure. I have also read many books and taken extra writing classes to improve. But no matter what I do, I always, always, seem to screw up my tenses and/or throw in about fifty unnecessary commas. What's wrong with me? Am I too caught up in plot and climbing inside my characters' heads to focus on the details or is it because my mind is too thick to fully grasp all the rules? It doesn't matter, cause either way, I'm still stuck in the same wretched state, "unclean".

What about you? Do your CPs fantasize about bashing you over the head with an English text book? How many times can you edit your work before your eyes cross and your head splits open?  Any suggestions on how I can improve?

Monday, July 7, 2014

Kettle Corn, The Wolverine and Lessons Learned

All of you who read my July IWSG post know that I suffered another health crises this past month. But what many of you do not know is what triggered it... Since I find the cause kind of hilarious and heart-breaking at the same time, I thought, why not share this little episode of suck with my blogging buddies? So, yeah,  uh, nothing average about this chick or what plagues me. It's always something so weird, so far-out and unbelievable. I don't know why I am still taken by surprise when whacked out stuff happens to me. Cause by now you would think I'd be used to the crazy, it's kind of my normal. 

One of my favorite snacks combos of all time is KETTLE CORN and an ice cold Dr. Pepper. Maybe not the healthiest thing to munch on, but hey, it's my guilty pleasure. I have always liked the sweet and salty combination, as well as the satisfying crunch the kettle corn makes when you pop it into your mouth. About two weeks ago, I was sitting down watching The Wolverine, (recently released on video AND on HBO rotation, woot woot) and popping kettle corn in my mouth, like usual. All of a sudden I realized there was a kernel, stuck in my throat. I coughed, I gagged. I hacked like a champ. But I could not dislodge the stupid kernel. This went on for a couple of hours. The feeling was quite uncomfortable because I knew that kernel was still stuck on my tonsil, but there was really nothing else I could do about it.

TWO days later, I couldn't take it anymore. My tonsil was starting to swell a little and the feeling of having something stuck in there went from uncomfortable to down right painful. Because I am a genius I decided I should stick my finger down my throat and dislodge the stupid kernel manually. My brilliant plan worked! Once I hacked the kernel up, I thought for sure this whole ordeal was over.  (I really should know better by now.) It didn't take but a couple of hours before a raging fire started blazing in my throat. I finally decided I should get a flashlight and take a look. What I saw wasn't pretty. My tonsil had a long white line on it, and it was inflamed to the size of a golf ball. I was pretty sure that  was not good.

Around this same time, I started to feel hot all over and could barely swallow. It was time I dragged myself to the doctor. When I say dragged, I mean more like crawled. I literally crawled into her office because by the time I got in to see her that afternoon, I was in a world of hurt. The doctor said I had an infected salivary gland/duct and it was bad. She scripted me some strong antibiotics and told me to gargle with this nasty stuff every couple of hours. My immune system isn't all that great and once my tonsil got so jacked up, the rest of my body just shut down trying to fight it. Subsequently, I spent the next three weeks in bed fighting off the stupid  infection. (And eating soft, mushy foods. I felt like a baby, having to squish everything up just so I could swallow it. I pretty much lived off of Lemon Italian Ice.)

Who knew? Seriously, what are the odds? I mean, who could have guessed I would go from innocently munching on my favorite snack and watching my favorite X-man to three weeks in bed recovering?  What's the weirdest health thing/accident that has happened to you? One thing is for sure, I need to come up with a new favorite snack. Cause I won't be popping any kettle corn in my mouth any time soon! (or ever again) Any good snack recommendations? What's your favorite?

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

July Insecure Writer's Support Group

The Insecure Writer's Support Group is amazing. It meets the first Wednesday of every month. For more information or a list of participants you can visit Alex J. Cavanaugh's site or the IWSG Facebook page.

OK- this is going to have to be short and sweet this month. I am trying to keep up my optimistic attitude, like I told you about last month. Unfortunately, I haven't made any real progress on my WIP as of yet. Once again, I was stopped in my tracks due to health issues. But I am not going to let it keep me down. God willing, I will be back up to full strength and writing my little heart out again real soon!! One of the bonuses to being bed-ridden (for me) is  having nothing but quiet, alone time. It kind of sends my crazy writer imagination into overdrive!! I come up with all kinds of stories and plots and new characters. It helps take my mind off of some of the pain and is a great way to help pass the time!  (You see, if you look hard enough, you can find a positive side to any situation :))

If you don't get a visit from me today, I apologize. I am going to try and get around to as many of you all as I can, but it might take me a little longer than usual.  - Jaybird

Monday, June 23, 2014

A Little Bird's Nest update...

It's officially summer over here at the Bird's Nest. Well, at least for two of my little chicks. The oldest has four more finals and days left in this marking period. Of course, she has been working her little tail feathers off, trying to finish the last of her big projects up and cramming for her final exams. This year, her very first in Middle School, (and the extremely tough Gifted and Talented program she is enrolled in)  proved to be very challenging. We had many ups and downs. I'm happy to say, the ups outnumbered the downs, which is a very good thing indeed. Any new school environment takes time to adjust to. Overall, she had a stellar year, growing academically and physically. I can't believe my little girl is going to be an 8th grader!
Dr. Faith during a recent frog dissection.  It's not easy being green.
So Chick #2, a/k/a the middle child, just graduated from 6th grade and will be making her way over to the "big Middle School" next.  She did amazing at her graduation, winning a Peer Leadership Award (which as her momma, I was so stinking proud of, even more so than any of the academic awards she received). Sitting in the audience, watching her graduate, gave me the worst sense of deja vu. Was it only last June that I watched  daughter #1 do the very same thing? But chick #2 took it to another level when she decided to apply for the same gifted and talented program as her older sister. Gah!! The pressure of having to live up to your over-achieving big sister! I wondered and worried incessantly if this would be too much for her. Thankfully, she does not take after her anxiety-ridden mother. She welcomes any academic challenge. My smart little chickadee made it through Phase 1, (woot, woot) which means they accepted her portfolio, work samples, teacher recommendations and test scores. She had her interview and assessment tests on the 17th, which constitutes Phase 2. Just getting through to this last stage is truly amazing. Now, we just have to wait. Sitting and waiting for the phone to ring....is that hardest part, for me. Cause waiting patiently, yeah, not my strong suit.
Farrah, receiving a great big hug and award from her teacher, while the Superintendent watches and smiles.
On to daughter #3. She may be the smartest, toughest chickadee of all. It's not easy being third in line. But she always finds a way to stand out. She is truly a bird that marches to the beat of her own drum, or guitar is more appropriate, cause that's her instrument of choice.  Playing guitar, archery, being a part of the chorus, and heavily involved in Girl Scouts, are some of her favorite things. But she's no chump in the academic department either, having achieved nothing less than a 96 as a final grade in any of her classes.
Frankie on our recent trip to Florida.

If you couldn't already tell, The Husband and I are very proud of all three of our little chicks. We take delight in watching them grow into their diverse personalities, as well as watching all of their academic achievements, but most of all, for the loving, kind and respectful chickadees they are becoming. But man, oh man, am I really looking forward to a homework/project-free summer. One full of rest, relaxation and tons and tons of books. I can't wait to catch up on my TBR pile, that's floor to ceiling high right now. As well as get back to work on some of the writing projects I had to shove aside for lack of time during the school year, as I was too busy being chauffeur, chef, counselor, activities coordinator and social director.  Being a mom is the hardest job I have ever had, but by far the most rewarding.

What are your plans for the summer? Any of your chickadees graduate? I have to give a shout out to my  niece Holly, who graduated from high school on Friday night. I am extremely proud of her. Drop me a comment Peeps- what makes you most proud of  your chicks (or yourself)?  ~ Jaybird .

My niece Holly 

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

The Axe Epidemic

There is a new and rather disturbing trend that has become popular with Middle School boys. This fad is what my daughter and I have come to refer to as "The Axe Epidemic".   I'm not sure about anywhere else in the country, but the boys around these parts have all lost their minds and their olfactory glands, because they have decided that taking a bath in Axe body spray, is a substantial substitute for antiperspirant/deodorant. And  they would be, of course, dead WRONG!

I was first made painfully aware of this epidemic, at the beginning of the school year. Back in the early and still quite warm months of September and October, my daughter BEGGED me not to have to ride home on the late bus. At first, I thought it was because she was new and as a 7th grader, one the youngest to attend the school. I assumed she was intimidated and afraid of all the rowdy, ginormous 9th grade football players that pile onto said late bus, after practice. Like any other good, enabling mother, I started to pick her up after school everyday, thinking it would be best, just until she got settled into her new school and all. But I should have given my daughter more credit. She is her father's daughter and is not easily intimidated by anyone. Never in a million years would I have guessed the real reason my kid didn't want to take the late bus home.

A significant amount of time passed. I saw her adjusting well to her school and becoming comfortable in her classes and new routine.  I suggested she start taking the late bus home again. That's when she broke down and said, "Mom, I just can't take it." I swooped in like an after-school special. I was armed and ready to go with my love who you are, go self-esteem, be a leader not a follower speech... But before I even got through my awesome opening statement, she jumped in, cutting me off saying, "Mom, do you think I am afraid of the football players?"  "Yes, I did. I do. Wait, aren't you?"  "NO!" She yelled at me and started laughing in my face. Which was reassuring, I guess. After containing herself, she added, "I don't want to take the bus home with them because they smell so bad they make me want to puke! They come out of the locker room in a cloud of Axe so thick you can't  breathe. I have to hold my breath the whole way home or inhale the fumes. They make the late bus smell like Axe and hoagie. It's disgusting!!"

My question is, why isn't anyone telling these poor, stinky boys that Axe is NOT a substitute for deodorant? If not a parent, what about a coach? A friend? A sister? Have any of you fallen victim to the Axe epidemic?

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

June Meeting of the Insecure Writer's Support Group

For more information or to find a list of the other participants in this month's meeting of the Insecure Writer's Support Group, pop on over here: Alex J. Cavanaugh.

This month I am not really in the mood to rehash and dwell on all of the same old writer insecurities that have been plaguing me. You know, the old, I'm not good enough, check. I'm afraid to fail, check. I have ZERO time, check. I lack inspiration, check. Slow pacing, check, bad grammar/editing, check, check...flat characters...check. Oh yeah, all of those stupid insecurities are still with me. I haven't beaten them, yet. But I believe with all certainty, I can. And one day, I will!

This month, even though every excuse I have had from the beginning is  holding onto me like a desperate mother who reaches out and grabs a fist full of  her toddler's shirt, I'd like to think of myself more like one of those kids who doesn't stop, but kind of wiggles and wrestles themselves away from whatever or whoever is trying to hold them back! I'd like to start to change my way of thinking and stay in a positive frame of mind. I may wrestle and struggle. But at least I'm fighting! And one day, I'm gonna come up swinging. I will break free.  I will stamp out each and every last one of those ugly excuses from my mind, until they no longer exist.  What about you? What do you need to break free from? Let's make a break for it, together!!!

Friday, May 30, 2014

The Cephalopod Coffeehouse Meeting

Hey All, it's the last Friday of the month and that means it's time for a meeting of The Cephalopod Coffeehouse. If you are not familiar with this fun, informal group of book enthusiasts or it's illustrious host, the Squid, I strongly urge you to go check it out.  For a list of  participants click here:  The Armchair Squid.

The month of May has been so busy, unfortunately, it's left very little time to read. Somehow, I still managed to squeeze in a little book time and steal a minute or two here and there to finish a couple of books.  Out of the few I managed to read, I'd have to say my favorite was the debut novel of Sally Green called,  "Half Bad".

Initially, since it's YA, I picked this book up to pass on to one of my daughters. Once I read the first sentence on the jacket, I decide I might have to read the book myself.. This is what caught my attention: "Sixteen year old Nathan lives in a cage: beaten, shackled, trained to kill."   Whaaa?  I wanted to know what happened to him, what landed him in the cage, why is he shackled? I had so many questions. I decided I would read the first chapter. Because for some inane reason, I assumed that the first chapter of this book would provide me with all of the answers to those questions. Guess what? Spoiler alert: it doesn't!!! So I had to keep on reading. And reading...

This book is written in flashback and out of order. It can seem confusing at first, and I was pissed because I just wanted to know what the heck is going on. But if you stick with it, all of your questions will be answered. The not knowing is oddly compelling. It sucks you in and makes this a real page turner. As I have stated before, plot and pacing are important, but I am basically a character driven reader. Nathan is one of those characters that is unique and flawed and yet you cannot help from championing him. His choices, good and bad, will keep you turning pages until you finally, finally find out what will become of him.

Half Bad is book one and an awesome beginning to this unique trilogy. I am quite interested in continuing to read this series, not just for my daughter, but now for myself as well!  Any of you read Half Bad? What did you think? What was the best book you read this month?  Drop me a comment and let me know- Jaybird

Friday, May 16, 2014

Wrestling with Deja vu

This morning I was struck with a bad case of deja vu. Butterflies are swirling around in my stomach and my mind's swarming with all kinds crazy thoughts. These anxious feelings are ones I'd previously fought and thought I'd overcome. But here they are again, trying to reel their ugly little heads.

I am but a few short weeks away from my daughter Farrah graduating from elementary school. Since my girls are only a year apart, last May I faced these same feelings with Faith, daughter #1.  Let's just say, I took Faith's  graduation and subsequent move up to middle school about as well as one takes a colonoscopy prep. It was vile, messy and tough for me to swallow. I fear change, so much! I love the familiar. The familiar is so awesome because it gives us that illusion of having some control over our lives...LOL. Even though I know it's only an illusion, I still find myself desperately clinging to it.

Oh man, last year, at Faith's graduation, I had worked myself up into such a state, I was a fast disaster! Hot flashes assaulted me one after another in a relentless wave of  fury and nuclear heat. The flashes melted the foundation right off my face and left my cheeks, both sets, soaking wet and dripping with sweat. Any traces of dignity the hot flashes didn't rob me of were completely obliterated by the loud, booger filled sobs and subsequent nose blowing that ensued whenever the Principal announced my daughter's name. It was ridiculous. I was being ridiculous. (Can you imagine what I'll be like when they graduate high school? Arggh!)  Why couldn't I just enjoy her success and milestone? Why was I such a hot mess? Nope, this neurotic mom was consumed with her own trepidation and fear. My old nemesis had come up and bit me hard on my sweaty butt checks: stupid, stupid change!!

Because I allowed my stupid fear of change to cripple me last year and I was so stinking angry at myself about it afterwards, I never thought I'd be going down this road again. I thought I was over this. How could these feelings I felt with Faith (and I thought I had defeated) come right back up again this morning with Farrah? Yet, here we are. Just like when I eat hot peppers, those lousy feelings are crawling right back up my throat again, repeating themselves.

Thoughts of losing my darling, sweet, innocent elementary school student and exchanging her for the dreaded middle schooler haunted me. I was terrified of losing Faith to the age of puberty and hormones and disrespect. The age wherein your mom suddenly goes from being your center, to persona non grata.  Oh yeah, I wallowed in that sad cloud of self-pity and lament over my baby girl growing up and possibly not needing me or gasp, wanting me around anymore, for the entire summer. When Faith started school in September, I cried every day for three weeks. I cried because I felt like I lost her. She went from being home every day at 2:30- to not coming home until 8:00 at night!! Between her sports and activities and new academic commitments, I never got to see her! I missed her SO much. Somewhere, deep, deep down inside, (that rational part of me that likes to hide a lot) knew, this was what was best for her. Growing up is part of life. But I couldn't help myself from feeling so bereft and lost without her. I'm ashamed to tell you how long and how hard I had to pray before I finally yanked my head out of that cloud of negativity and self-pity I was wallowing in and pulled it together.

Funny thing is, as I look back and reflect on this year, it was full of astounding growth and change for Faith. Not just physically but mentally. And all of the growth and change in her has been (praise God) completely positive! If only, if only, I could say the same for her mother! How can I even entertain these deja vu feelings with Farrah, when clearly I saw no good come of  them before? Especially since none of my stupid fears even came to fruition! So, I have to ask, have any of you found yourselves revisiting a situation you thought you had a handle on, only to wrestle with it, all over again?

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Happy Mother's Day

Three reasons I will have a blessed Mother's Day!
Don't forget to show your momma some love this weekend. Happy Mother's Day to all of you mothers out there :) God Bless. Have a great weekend everyone!!
My girls and I in on out trip to Epcot :)

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Blinking Icons- Insecure Writer's Support Group

Today is the first Wednesday of the month, which means it's time for another meeting of the IWSG. To find out what this group is all about or to join in all of the insecure fun and games, check out Ninja Captain Alex's site or the IWSG Facebook page for more information.

I have been sitting here for what seems like a century, watching that blinking icon flash on and off  and on and off the screen, in a bit of a trance. One second it's there and then the next, it's gone. Kind of like my thoughts. Oh, I have brilliant flashes and moments of sheer genius while writing. My fingers will fly over the keys pounding out my characters, dialogue, plot and building worlds. When this burst of creativity happens, I can barely contain myself. My joy is complete in my creation. But for some reason, my insecurity will creep up on me and that creative light will dim. My positive feelings and enthusiasm for my work will come to a grinding halt. My mind gets stuck in that disappearing phase of the icon.  And I'm gone.

I struggle to find that connection, that spark again. Instead of fighting through it, I have this destructive tendency to pull into my shell, totally clam up and refuse to share what I'm working on with anyone else. I convince myself that it's all crap and not worth anyone else's time. Why would other people connect with my characters when they are all one dimensional and flat? I've been stuck in these starts and stops for quite a while now. How can I convince myself to push past my insecurities and find the strength to press on? Do any of you suffer from blinking icons? Flashes of pure brilliance and clarity one day, and the next, all goes dark?

Monday, May 5, 2014

A-Z Reflections Post and Jaybird's Sweet Peeps Giveaway Winner!

How is everybody doing after the 2014 A-Z Challenge? I definitely needed the last few days off to rest. As I was reflecting on my participation this year, there were some definite highs and serious lows about the challenge. I'll start with-

The lows:
1. I didn't comment  or follow as many new blogs as I would have liked. I am pretty disappointed in myself about this as it was my #1 goal for the challenge. I really wanted to get around to comment and follow more blogs than I did last year! But every day I found myself, out of time.
2. We decided at the last minute to go on vacation for a week, which made commenting and posting during that time, quite a challenge. It was next to impossible to find  a good Internet connection while on the road, and I was waking up really early and/or going to be very late on vacation, just to finish posts and/or find a place to connect to the Internet. It was NOT easy.
3. Vying for the computer at the same time as my daughter, kind of stymied my creativity. I am not used to waiting to write my posts. Normally, when inspiration strikes, I am jumping right on the computer and typing away (otherwise my addled brain will forget what I wanted to say). But this year, I found that almost every time I thought of something interesting to post, there was Miss Faith, with her cute little bum in MY chair. Ironically, it wasn't until the last week of the challenge that  we realized Faith could post directly from her phone!!! Grrr.
4. I don't think I'm as funny as I used to be. Overall, I think last year's posts were WAY funnier and that pisses me off. I know my inner comedian is in there somewhere! I need to dig deep and find her again.

Here are the highs:
1. I was able to do this challenge with Faith. She was very encouraging and we helped each other push through the pain. I just love that kid to pieces, even when she was driving me crazy and stealing my writing chair and computer.
2. Somehow, I managed to find time to write and post while on vacation! I still can't believe I never missed a day. Some of the posts during the week we were away might have been lame, but I was able to push on through and get it done!
3. When things got tough, I didn't quit. That makes me ridiculously happy.
4. I was able to hit 201 Peeps!! That, my friends, is a huge milestone.

In honor of hitting 200 Peeps, I decided to do a giveaway. To those of you who entered, THANK YOU SO MUCH. Because I'm technologically challenged and don't have the slightest clue how to set up a proper Rafflecopter-giveaway-thingy, I kicked it old school and wrote down all the names of everyone who entered on little slips of paper and placed them into a hat. Then I had my impartial judge with glitter fingers (my daughter Farrah who avoids this blog and knows nothing about any of the names inside the hat) pick out a slip of paper. That system may take a little longer, but it still works. And the winner is:


It really warmed my heart to see their names get pulled out of the (look close for the "made in China" tag) hat, because Brandon and Bryan a/k/a the Beer Boys are two of my oldest and dearest followers. By the way, if you don't follow A Beer for The Shower, you are missing out of some hilarious posts and two really amazing guys. Big Congrats Boys! Shoot me an e-mail me at fvfbfn@verizon.net and I will send your Sweet Peeps Giveaway prizes and surprises right away!  Wishing you all a wonderful week! ~ Jaybird

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

A-Z Letter Z is for Zoo

Can't believe we're done-but here we are at Letter Z. Faith and I made it!! Thanks to everyone who commented and kept up with this theme-less hot mess of  A-Z posts. And great, big thanks to everyone who commented and/or  followed Faith's blog.  (Today she is featuring my mom's recipe for zeppole; go check it out. They are made of awesome) I am so happy Faith and I were able to do this challenge together. It wasn't always easy- especially while we were on vacation, had Internet issues or were both vying for the same computer,  but we managed. Any time we spend together is very special to me. Thanks!
Oh, how fast they grow! These are my girls, a few years ago, at the Cape May Zoo.
The zebra exhibit at the Cape May Zoo.
 Letter Z. Z is for the zoo. I absolutely LOVE the zoo. (Maybe because it reminds me of my life.) Ever since I was a little  kid, I have loved visiting zoos. I've been to zoos all around America and have a strong fondness and affection for every single one. From the small- like the Popcorn Park Zoo, who has my kind of heart because they rescue hurt, abandoned or disabled animals, to the very large, like the San Diego Zoo in California. While honeymooning in Hawaii, I dragged The Husband to visit the Honolulu Zoo. The Honolulu Zoo has to be the most beautifully landscaped zoo I've ever seen. But my favorite zoo of all, is the Cape May Zoo, right here in South Jersey.

Cape May Zoo doesn't have all the animals or notoriety some of the other zoos have but what it does have, is special.  First and foremost it's free! Can you believe that? They suggest you make a donation but you decide how much you'd like that amount to be. Which I adore. Because that means no one has to loose out on going to the zoo for lack of funds. They have lots of picnic areas and covered pavilions and playgrounds, where the girls and I like to camp out. We bring a picnic lunch and just enjoy the beautiful scenery. They also have nature paths and a train and a carousel and ice cream. Oh, I want to go right now! Too bad the kids are at school.
Faith, Frankie, Farrah and G'ma (my MIL) at Cape May Zoo. Love the expression on Faith's face. 
Are you a fan of zoos? What's your favorite animal? I love elephants. They are pregnant for two years straight! (I can relate to that, LOL.) Another cool elephant fact- a momma elephant won't leave it's baby without a babysitter. And they only choose babysitters that are familiar- like Aunts or cousins to watch their young. That  fascinates me! But... deep down you all know I'm a crazy cat lady :) Those big cats are simply astounding. I have been at the Cape May Zoo when the lion wakes up, opens his mouth and roars. Holy H is it FIERCE. The whole ground shakes!! You hear that roar loud and clear no matter where you are in the zoo. He is King of the jungle, for sure.

Hope you all enjoy your day and the relief of completing another A-Z Challenge. Peace Peeps! ~Jaybird