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Friday, January 30, 2015

Did I Really Just Say That? #Thingsmomssay

As a mom, words come out of my mouth that I never imagined myself saying. Almost daily. And in many cases whom I am saying it to can be surprising (and disturbing). Here are some examples. Feel free to throw in some guesses as to whom I am speaking to – the dog, my son(s), my daughter, or my husband. The answer may surprise (or disturb) you.

  1. Please do not pee on the toilet seat.
  2. Please do not go to the bathroom in the basement.
  3. Please do not go to the bathroom in the trash can.
  4. Please do not go to the bathroom in the heating vent.
  5. Please do not pee on me.
  6. Please do not throw up on the living room carpet.
  7. Please throw up outside.
  8. Please go to the bathroom outside.
  9. Please stop chewing on your toe nails.
  10. Please get your finger out of your nose.
  11. Please get your finger out of the dog’s ear.
  12. Please do not rub your boogers on me.
  13. Please do not flick boogers in my car.
  14. Please stop licking your plate.
  15. Please stop burping at the kitchen table.
  16. Please stop farting at the kitchen table.
  17. Please stop drooling all over my house.
  18. Please do not spit on the floor.
  19. Please do not drool on my pillow.
  20. Please get your butt off my pillow.
  21. Please do not rub your naked butt on my bed.
  22. Please wear underwear (preferably clean).
  23. Please do not re-wear your dirty socks.
  24. Please use your own toothbrush.
  25. Please do not kiss me so passionately.
  26. Please do not touch my boobs.
  27. Please do not rub my butt.
  28. Please stop snoring in my face.
  29. Please do not lick the car.
  30. Please do not lick your sibling.
  31. Please do not lick the dog’s tongue.
  32. Please do not eat off the floor.
  33. Please do not eat random food found in random places.
  34. Please do not drink that, it’s been sitting out all day.
  35. Please do not eat that onion like an apple.
These adorable kids couldn't possibly be responsible for any of the above grossness, could they?

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

New Year, Same Ole Me?

It’s a New Year, and I've brought the same ole me to the party. I, of course, can pretend that I am going to make and keep some New Year’s Resolutions. I can tell myself I am going to eat those grapefruits I bought for breakfast instead of a bagel and cream cheese. I am going to use that free gym membership I won. I am going to finish my novel and get it published. Polish and submit those short stories sitting on my hard drive. I am going to get right to work each morning instead of wasting time on the Internet waiting for my coffee to kick in. (Actually, I am going to drink a NutriBullet smoothie each morning instead of coffee.) But by mid-January the excuses already start to pile up and I am ready for Girl Scout cookie sales to begin…

New Year, same ole me? Or, maybe it’s time to let go of past failures and excuses, stop simply wanting things and start doing?

A recent blog on Writersdigest.com by author Kerrie Flanagan talks about moving beyond want and start doing… As she says, there are so many things we want – to make them possible we need to stop wanting and start doing.

What will you DO in 2015?

This is the year, I will finish the novel and find an agent. I will invest time in my writing, have confidence in my abilities, and push through to the finish line.

Thursday, January 8, 2015

36 (or so) Reasons Why I Will Never Be A Professional Writer

  1. I am a Stay-At-Home mom.
  2. That lives in the suburbs. 
  3. With my husband.
  4. And three kids.
  5. And I like it. 
  6. I like to come home and pull my big SUV into a garage. 
  7. I like square-footage and acreage. 
  8. I like chemically treated lawns with playsets in the back. 
  9. I like a basement full of toys.
  10. I like shopping malls. And Target. Even Wal-Mart. I love Costco. 
  11. I eat at chain restaurants. 
  12. I order pizza from Dominos.
  13. I go to a hair dresser to have my hair dyed blonde.
  14. I've been known to listen to RadioDisney when the kids aren't in the car. 
  15. Once, I even turned on Saturday Night Live to watch One Direction (but fell asleep 10 minutes in and missed their performance).
  16. I love Disney World. Love it. Even though I can see the reasons why one might not love it – the crowds, the expense, the tourist traps, the marketing gimmicks, and the complete and total fakeness of everything -- I still love it. 
  17. I think Disney World is the happiest place on earth.
  18. I can’t describe things in metaphor. If something is good, it’s just “good” not “as good as a hot day at the beach” (see that sucked). And, if something is bad, it’s just “bad” not “as bad as a cup of coffee with no cream or sugar” (again, suck).
  19. I use a thesaurus. A lot. So I can make things slightly better than “good” and come up with “propitious” but since I think I've changed the meaning, I go back to good and resign myself to the fact that I am a suck-a$$ writer.
  20. I do like New York which seems to be some prerequisite for writerly-types. 
  21. I love New York, as a matter of fact – Times Square, Toys R Us, The M&M Store, The Hard Rock Café, FAO Schwartz, The American Girl Doll Store, The Lego Store…
  22. I don’t understand why I used the em-dash above instead of a comma or semicolon. 
  23. I use too many ellipses. Seriously…
  24. I don’t have an MFA but occasionally research it until I see the admissions requirements and then I freak out and close the computer.
  25. I cannot recall ever having read anything by Flannery O'Connor, Raymond Carver, John Cheever, James Joyce, or Gertrude Stein. 
  26. I could never be a cool beatnik. The closest thing I came was my college cross country road trip in which I happened to bring along a tattered copy of On The Road.
  27. I watched On The Road recently and felt anxious. I mean, how could those people live like that – traveling around without an itinerary?!
  28. I write detailed itineraries for vacations. The last time we went to Disney World it was 14 pages long.
  29. That is the longest thing I've written that I actually let anyone read.
  30. I waste too much time on social media.
  31. I will now spend the rest of the day checking for comments on my blog (hint hint hint).
  32. I want to stay married, though, so I will go clean my house and make some dinner.
  33. And check on the kids so Child Protective Services doesn't take them away…
  34. Oh, and maybe I’ll go wash everyone’s underwear for good measure.
  35. I write clichéd things like “for good measure.”
  36. I don’t know whether the period goes inside or outside of the quotation marks above (actually, it should go outside but it didn't look right...)

Monday, January 5, 2015

Lice PTSD For The Holidays

Ahhh. It’s the New Year. The Holidays are over and the kids are back in school. It’s time to sit back and reflect on the previous year, and make plans for the new one. As I reflect on this past Holiday season I realize that I may be suffering from a mental illness I will name “Lice Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.”

Are you worried you may have suffered from Lice PTSD this past holiday season too? The first step is to recognize the signs, then seek treatment (although what the treatment is, I’m not sure. Maybe a Xanax? A stiff drink?).
Signs you suffered from Lice PTSD over the Holidays:
  • All holiday guests were given a wet comb through before entering your house (because you know that the best way to find those fast little buggers is by dousing them with conditioner and combing the hair with a nit-pick).
  • Your new found head lice knowledge was the go-to conversation starter at all holiday functions. For instance, did you know… Head lice will not infest your home the way fleas or bed bugs can (they only live about 24-48 off of a host); lice is generally spread from head-to-head contact; lice reproduce sexually with mating lasting an hour; a female louse will lay around 6 to 10 eggs per day after mating once; a louse can hold its breath for up to 8 hours.
  • You correctly identified this picture as a male head louse:
    "Male human head louse" by Gilles San Martin - originally posted to Flickr. Licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0 http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:

  • You treated, nit-picked, and checked your head daily for lice but it would not stop itching. Finally, during a Google search you found a condition that you were convinced you had. Upon further investigation, you discovered that it is a psychosomatic condition. You regret including the diagnosis on your year-end newsletter.
  • When making your Christmas cards, you note the family pictures before lice (heads touching) and after lice (heads as far away as possible).
  • Family members began to avoid sitting near you because you were known to shriek “no touching heads!” every time you saw two young cousins with their heads close together. On one occasion you were seen elbowing grandma and pole-vaulting over Aunt Ethel to separate your daughter and her cousin quietly playing Barbies in the corner.
  • You replaced all brushes in your house with nit combs which you store in individual zip-lock bags in the freezer even at your mother’s house next to the turkey.
  • You sported the Sinead O’Connor in all holiday pictures.
  • When reading 'Twas Night Before Christmas to the children you recited: “not a creature was stirring, not even a louse” as a little prayer.
  • Before leaving your in-laws, you quietly put all pillows and cushions in trash bags on the back porch and told them to keep them there for a few days just in case.
  • You have decided to homeschool instead of sending your kids back to school after the holiday break.
And, the number one sign you may have suffered from lice PTSD this holiday season:
  • You composed a blog about it.
I wish you a lice-free 2015! Please share if you or someone you love may be suffering from Lice PTSD…

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

I Am A Loser Baby #NaNoWriMo

In typical "365 Excuses By Julie" fashion, the excuses in November mounted up faster than lice can reproduce and I failed to meet my National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) goal of writing 50,000 words in one month. 

I fell about 13,000 words short. Here's what my NaNoWriMo words chart looked like:

Although, technically I am a loser, I do *feel* like a winner. (I hope that counts for something) I have about 37,000 words and 127 pages of a novel that I didn't have a month ago. I worked out some plot points, added some twists and subplots, flushed out some characters -- none of which would have happened if I hadn't attempted to write a novel in one month. 

Now, the goal is to continue the momentum and write through December. Then start revising revising revising.

For those goal-oriented and nagging friends of mine (you know who you are) -- my goal is to be finished with self-editing by February (Finish It February) so I can share with my writer's group and other readers. 

(Now I just need a fancy chart like I got on NaNoWriMo.org) 

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

There Is A Louse In My House #drasticmeasures #amNOTwriting

I've been behind on my NaNoWriMo word count but nothing a few word sprints couldn't solve… But, when you have three children, you never know what surprises might keep you from your plans. This time, it was lice.

Remember my blog post a while back titled "I Wasn't Prepared for THIS!"? Well, add lice to the list of things I did not think of when my children were just a twinkle in my eye. More specifically, the idea that I, at 38 years old, would be experiencing my first case of head lice.

For all of you out there who have not had the wonderful experience of head lice in 2014 – it is not like in the 80s when a treatment of Nix would knock those suckers, eggs and all, out of the park. No, those of us inclined to put pesticides in our hair will soon learn that these lice are immune to it. So, in a word, it’s useless. A fine tooth comb and some time (HOURS A DAY) to sift through your hair is really the only sure fire way. There are natural alternative on the market (like Fairytale Goodbye Lice), and certain shampoos (like Coal Tar Shampoo), certain conditioners (like Suave Coconut Conditioner), and good ol' fashion home remedies (like mayonnaise and saran wrap), plus blow drying and flat ironing. Ultimately, though, you still have to sit and pick those suckers out with a comb every single day. Which I've been doing. Not to mention all the laundry which is a completely separate blog post for me because as some of you know I have been using a Laundromat since March even though I have a fancy washer and dryer in my basement (we have gas/propane/plumbing issues that are going to be solved “any day now”).

Anywho, my excuse for not writing this week thus far is that I have been busy de-lousing. Going  slightly crazy as one does when fear of infestation takes over. One might say I went a little more than slightly crazy when I was alone picking through my long locks, imagining the lice taunting me like the mucus guy in those commercials: "We’re setting up shop in here! You’ll never find us in all these tangles!” That’s when I found myself reaching for the scissors….

Drastic times call for drastic measures
 Take that you lousy louse!

I have to admit it looks cute in a it-looks-like-you-cut-your-own-hair kind of way... More pictures to come (after I find a proper hair dresser to fix it and give me a good dye job). Now off to write (after another trip to the laundromat).

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

No Excuses, Just Write!

I love National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) for many reasons none of which are the misconception that at the end of the month I will have a completely finished and publishable novel. My goal is simply to have the 50,000 word skeleton of a novel in which I can add the meat during revisions. In a few months’ time, I’d like to have a draft I’m willing to show someone. In the meantime, I am just writing.

NaNoWriMo strips away all my excuses. I am forced to sit down daily and plug away as fast as I can at my novel whether I feel inspired or not. I have to push away all negative thoughts and procrastinations and just write. I don’t have to think of any rules, tricks, or techniques, I just write. I don’t have to worry about what a potential agent, publisher, or audience is going to think, I just write. NaNoWriMo is about finding your voice and telling the story you want to tell and ignoring everything else (like your inner critic).

11 days, 14,000 words, and 45 pages later – I am still writing. Some days the writing is great and I’m excited. Other days, not so much. But I continue to show up and write, when I am lucky the muse joins me. When I’m not so lucky, I push through anyway.

Week two of NaNoWriMo is notoriously tough and I have not been the exception. But I continue to try to push away the excuses and keep going (slowly but surely). What keeps me going is the knowledge that successful novelists have worked this way too. Like Sara Gruen for one. Check out this list of 14 published novels written during NaNoWriMo:

For tips on getting through the week two blues, check out this entry in the NaNoWriMo Blog:

Or, for more info, you can check out these previous blog posts of mine:

NaNoWriMo What?

Need Some Motivation

No Excuses, Just Write!