Tag Archives: life

What do I know?

On the way to dropping Miss Drama off at school I got a call from the high school.

“Your son has a spider bite and it’s bad. He needs to go to the doctor.”

“He’s had that for like a week. ”

“But it’s getting worse. He really needs to be checked out. It’s contagious.”

No, pretty sure that isn’t how that works and it didn’t look bad when I saw it.  “Okay, fine. I’ll pick him up.”

“So, you’re on your way?”

“Not right this minute. I’m across town dropping my other child at school.”

So, I drove all the way back, took Mr. Smarty-pants to the pediatrician, who shared my, “Seriously?” attitude.

It had finally burst as those icky things are wont to do, releasing all the icky stuff, which meant it was healing up. No red streaks, no sloughing skin or crazy swelling– he just had a raw spot that’ll scab over and heal up in another week or so.

I told the doctor, “Yes, they claimed it was contagious.”

She laughed. “Yeah, if he like smeared it all over someone.” She gave him a band-aid to cover the bite so the school would quit flipping out. Yes, it fit under a single, normal sized band-aid.

As consolation, she gave me a sports physical form so I wouldn’t have to come back for that.

Having missed his second breakfast, AKA school lunch, I swung by the house so Mr. Smarty-pants could get noms. He devoured two sandwiches and three hot-dogs. Yep, sooooooo sick. I then took him back to school less than two hours after I had checked him out. The secretary that had flipped out seemed surprised to see him.  “I guess he was fine.”

I just smiled.


Defective Human

As I got ready for work Friday a heavy rainstorm rolled through. Before it hit I convinced Zeke to go outside to pee. Marble stepped outside, looked up, and promptly went back into the house.

“Nope. I’ll hold, thanks.”




I went inside and made breakfast as the bottom fell out of the sky and peals of thunder had Zeke glued to my side.


Jack wanted outside. I opened the front door. He took one look at the rain and changed his mind. I shut the door and went back to cooking my bacon and eggs.

“Meow, Meow, meow, meow.” Jack had a LOT to say.

“Fix it Mom. Why is it still raining? I want to go outside. I can’t go out if it’s raining. Make it stop. Why aren’t you doing anything? Jeeze. I thought you were a fully functional owner. I distinctly recall requesting a fully functional owner. Clearly you are defective, because it is STILL raining. Are you listening to me?…”

And on and on and on….

When I was done eating and the rain let up I opened the front door again.

“Really? You couldn’t turn it all the way off? Pft. Fine. I suppose this will have to do.”

I’m obviously a defective owner. I can’t even make it stop raining.

Middle Mania

So, the past few months has had me in the middle of a lot of chaos. My advisor changed schools, the announcement of which happened right when I was about to take my oral candidacy exams and there was a slight debate about the timeline of my dissertation.  That was resolved, finally.

Then, the school year started. While I hunted for data and filled tables and wrote really boring science stuff, my middle child started middle school.

In all her years of school so far, she’s been my independent child. Suddenly my low-maintenance child is requesting help with EVERYTHING. My sister, who teaches middle school, assures me it is a common phase which will pass, but it drives me nuts. While things appear to be waning, for awhile every night it felt as if I had middle school homework.

For full disclosure, I hated, loathed, and despised middle school. In all three years, the only thing I really liked was choir and the fact that I finally made a few friends. I did my time, so to speak, and having to muddle through pre-algebra again is not my idea of fun. It isn’t the math that is tedious, so much as explaining things over, and over, and over, because Miss Diva has misplaced her confidence.

I sympathize. I do. Twelve is a tough age, but it is tough for her while it was hell for me. She’s pretty, popular, and an excellent student. I was gawky, a social outcast, and criticized for that excellent student status. Everything I did was wrong, so in many ways, it gave me a freedom I didn’t know I had. She’s a sweet child, but at times I see the girls I went to school with– the ones that treated me like less than dirt. She worries about her hair and nails, about looking cute and not making mistakes. For me the challenge is teaching her to find confidence and independence that will last a lifetime while learning to share some of her interest, even if I’m only doing so for her sake.

So, I let her do my nails, even if they are totally not my style. I take her shopping, even though clothes shopping ranks pretty low on my “List of ways to have fun”. I also check her math homework when requested, but there may be a glass of wine or a mohito involved. I got through three semesters of calculus, differential equations, and statistics. I can do pre-algebra even when buzzed.  I can even do math while I write or inform Miss Drama that baths really ought to be a habit and tell Mr. Smarty-Pants that no, he cannot be online until he’s passing ALL his classes.

Have I mentioned Mr. Smarty-Pants is ALSO in middle school? Yes. 8th grade. This is his last chance before high school for him to get his act together. He’s trying–mostly. He had all A’s, aside from the big fat F in literature and a D in Science. He’s nearly brought the D to a B. I’m not sure much can be done with the F. If he’s passing by the end of the quarter, that’ll be a miracle. On the bright side, he finally has a teacher that gets it. He’s lazy if it isn’t something he likes.

I think he was Tom Sawyer in a former life.

The silver lining in all of this? Mr. Smarty-Pants will be in High School before Miss Drama gets to Middle School.  Then again, Miss Diva will still be in Middle School, so maybe that’s more like a brass lining.

Con Aftemath

My first convention as an author guest is over. MSC was fun, and it was great seeing folks of all artistry types that I’ve gotten to know while volunteering the last few years. It’s a bit surreal to be on the other side of the table, not as a moderator, but a guest. As a brand new author, as expected, no one outside of my writer associates knew me, but earning a spot on a panel imparts an aura of “real author” respect. Panel attendees were friendly and several happily accepted the bookmarks with the free download code. (After all, free, right?) My editor relayed that the feedback he’d received was very good and he’s invited me to a couple of regional fairs, which sounds like fun. He asked when he could see book two, so that’s even more exciting! For those of you who are fans of audiobooks, he informed me that mine will, eventually, be an audiobook.

I’d like to send a great big thank you to those who came out to the con and even more thanks to those who bought books!

I’ve always enjoyed MidSouthCon. This one followed on the heels of several very successful years, and I think the pinch of the economy showed in the smaller crowd and absence of authors who could not afford to travel as far as they once did. That’s sad to see, but hopefully things will rebound in the future.

Despite a very light load, in comparison to the fifteen hours at the con I did last year, my weekend disappeared with the speed of a treat in Marble’s vicinity. Now you see it….wait did I even see it? Miss Diva has a science fair project with a classmate that, of course, experienced technical difficulties. I think I’ve figured out what the problem is, but we’ll have to run to the store for supplies. A Mad Scientist’s work is never done.


The rain in Spain

Blame it on my high school drama teacher who commanded me to “lose the Southern accent” or maybe I watched “My Fair Lady” one too many times. (Yes, I’m one of those people who sings along with every musical.) While I suffer from what I term affected language disorder*, wherein I find myself picking up the linguistic habits of whomever I’m around, otherwise the most anyone can pinpoint upon meeting me is that I’m not likely to be a northerner. I’ve heard of others who also slip into similar speech patterns when around certain groups. I think the entire American teenage population suffers from this so severely that sometimes they cease speaking English altogether.

Sadly, it strikes early on and requires a strict regimen of grammar policing to prevent a life-long chronic case of “ZOMG, I no can spekiz.” In my house, I battle that and ghetto-speak. I haven’t figured out which is worse.

Mr. Smarty-Pants can, without much of an accent, use “prerogative” in a sentence. Ten seconds later he’s talking into the Play Station’s head set complaining that “That’s booty man. How they leave a brother like that?”

His sister, Miss Diva, dons the ghetto accent with even more ease as she takes charge and commands that all the internet, or at least those enduring the misfortune of gaming on the same server, aid her in winning or else.

So far, Miss Drama only slips once in awhile. Personally, I think this is due to the fact that she is more stubborn that the other two put together. She’d rather march to her own tune than whatever tune the crowd is playing. Of course, this also means she may ignore proper grammar and make up her own.

Were Henry Higgins to visit, he might keel over from language abuse. Of course, this is America, and according to Higgins, we haven’t spoken English for years. Sure, he’s a fictional character, but I find arguing with characters unwise. He might collude with one of mine and convince them to be uncooperative. A writer can’t be too careful.

*NOT a real diagnosis, disease, or ailment. Also I am NOT a doctor.

GPS Not Included

Thirty-three years and some odd months back I woke my poor mother, cancelled a planned picnic with homemade fried chicken, and inducted my parents into the world of sleep deprivation and cold dinners. I was not outfitted with a life GPS. Okay, so the Department of Defense was still working the kinks out of the GPS thing, but they had maps, and I didn’t get one of those either. Of course, no one that I know got one.

On the radio this morning two DJs were asking for calls about biggest regrets. The most common one seemed to be leaving someone they loved. Sometimes they found them again and sometimes not. My initial thought involved decisions I made regarding my ex-husband. Then I stopped and thought. Do I really regret all of that time? Truth be told, no. Was it harder, lonelier, and stressful? Oh yes.

However, had I not taken that road, I would not be where I am today. I might not have discovered my passion for writing or met the amazing people I have become friends with over the years. I might not have found my beloved Soup King or have three ever-entertaining children.

So, at the end of the day, I might not have always made the wisest choices or the best ones, but I have no true regrets. Whenever I play my last act in the play that is life and the curtain closes for the last time, I want to smile and think, “Now that was a grand adventure!”

So, ditch the worn out road map someone handed you, or the bossy GPS society tries to sell you for life. Make your own adventure!

In the wise words of Robert Frost:

“I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I,
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.”


Call me Dr. Google

I don’t know everything. Sure, I know a lot of things, but no one knows everything. Somewhere along the line my friends realized I gave good advice, whether it was in regard to relationships or medical suggestion. The scary thing? I’ve caught doctors’ mistakes on at least three separate occasions. Of course, I am studying medicinal chemistry, and who do you think teaches the medical students about drugs? Medicinal chemists.

Armed with the power of Google, I am a force to be reckoned with.

Somehow, maybe via the secret and mysterious Googlely works behind Google, people outside my circles of family and friends have called upon me for advice.

Okay, so the one woman who worked in the lab near mine who once shared labs with me wasn’t exactly a stranger, but we didn’t exactly hang out either. I think I found out more about her than anyone else and assured her that the magic of antibiotics would fix her right up.

Last week I got an email from a fellow student with whom I’ve maybe exchanged a handful of passing words. She requested an opportunity to speak with me on a personal matter. At first I ran through possible screw ups on my part, but wouldn’t that involve, you know, interaction in order to screw up? No, it definitely sound like an advice seeker. I sent her the info on my location (I’m squirrely. You never know where I may be.) but she never showed.

Perhaps she reconsidered asking a perfect stranger for advice or maybe she found out that I’m not really a doctor….yet.