Posted in Thor

The Beginning of Me


On the way to school this morning, I asked Thor, “Do you know what today is?”  He said, “December 17?”

I said, “Yes.  And do you know why that is special?”

I could see the little gears turning in his head, which he shook.  “No.”

I told him, “December 17 is special because that is the date we found out we were getting you.  December 17, 2004, Daddy and I found out we were having a baby.  It was one of the best days of my life because out of everything in the world, you are the best thing that has ever happened to me.”

He smiled.  “Because you love me.”

“More than anything in the world.”

“Because I’m yours.”

“Yes.”

The day we found out Thor was on his way, I was sick as a dog.  I thought I had the flu.  One of our cars was misfiring, and B was coming to pick me up, so we could go pick up the car from the mechanic.  It was raining and terrible outside.  Cold and wet.

I met B at the door with a positive Clear Blue Easy, and later that evening, we picked up several more just to be sure.  I think we were both equal parts terrified and excited, and worried and happy.

That was nine years ago, today.  Nine years ago, at this time of day, I just thought I was sick.  I am so excited for the 6pm me!  6pm me knew a baby was on the way, but 6pm me had no idea how good life was about to get.

That kid is the best thing that has ever happened to me.  I laugh every day.  He has made me more genuinely optimistic, more open-minded, and more careful of others.  He has expanded my capacity for love.  He inspired me to grow a backbone.  He has been the catalyst for many good things.

December 17 is special because, as Thor put it, “That’s when you knew there was the beginning of me.”

And I am so thankful for it.

Posted in B, Family, Thor

The Way You Look Tonight


While shifting some things around at my mom’s house, I found the cd B & I played at our wedding.  I popped it in the car today, and though Thor howled at Etta James’ At Last vocals, like Hoo howls at police sirens, I had a great time listening.  The boy was dropped off at school before Etta had finished, so I got to listen to the rest by myself.

We’re coming up on our 10th anniversary.  The really nice thing is that if you’d asked me in December of 2003, what I thought December of 2013 would look like, I’d have described something like this exactly.  B and I have both progressed in our chosen fields.  We have a great kid.  We live in a place where we are all happy.  We have a goofy dog, wonderful family and friends, and we still like watching football from the sofa.  (I still don’t know what 4th and Down means, or whatever.  But I still like watching.)

I feel very fortunate to have this life, and very proud of all we have accomplished as individuals, and as a family unit.  Life can be hard, but we’ve all worked together to try to make life a little easier for each other.  Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t, but it’s always appreciated.

One of the songs on the cd is The Way You Look Tonight.  Sinatra’s version.  I love the opening lines.  “Some day, when I’m awfully low, when the world is cold, I will get a glow just thinking of you, and the way you look tonight.”  I’m that way about B.

I can think about him and feel warm down to my toes.  You throw Thor into the mix?  Well, I couldn’t have imagined a world I love more.

Some day, when I am an old, old lady, I’m going to remember these days and feel so very, very blessed.

Posted in 2the9s, A Day in the Life, Explaining the Strange Behavior, Family, Thor

Photogenic. Photogenetic.


hockaday   It was 6th Grade, and I insisted upon doing my own hair for picture day–the oxford and blazer were part of the uniform, but the hair?  All mine.  I was arguing with my mother about it out the door, and I know what Lane-has-been-crying face looks like–that’s it.  I remember standing in line for my picture and realizing that all the other girls, from the neck up, looked like they’d been styled for a wedding.  From the neck down, we looked like a Green and White episode of Facts of Life the Middle School Years. One of the teachers asked me if my mother had forgotten it was picture day.  The photographer pulled out a comb and made a tent flap in my bangs so that my eyes would show.  I felt a sting of regret.  My mother had been right.  I should have let her fix my hair.  But, I wasn’t going down like that.  Oh no.  I held my wooby, little head high and said I meant to look that way, and that I liked it.  Pride.  Proud.  Defiant. When the pictures came home, my mother was grim.   It was the only time in my life that she ever asked for retakes.  She called the school and asked for retakes. For what it’s worth, I look back on the day with pride.  Still proud.  Still defiant.  I was twelve, and I had hot rollers.  Don’t give a kid hot rollers, if you don’t want her to use them. It’s also funny how dark the picture is.  My hair looks auburn, and my blazer looks black.  My hair was strawberry blonde, and my blazer was a medium green. Today is picture day at Thor’s school.  Last night, after telling me he’d like me to go buy him a black suit, white shirt, and fancy tie to wear (far too late in the day to even think of making that happen), and after going through several mental wardrobe changes until we got down to shorts and a polo shirt, he woke up asking for a tie.  He had to wear a tie. It didn’t matter that it didn’t match.  It didn’t matter that it was too long.  It didn’t matter that he was wearing it with a polo shirt.  He. had. to. wear. a. tie. I put one of B’s ties on him, and it was like turning on the Christmas lights.  That kid was proud.  Delighted. He stood in front of the mirror for a long time, declared himself very cool, wetted down and tamed his own cowlick, then went to find his shoes. Of all the shoes he could choose, he came out of his room with his plaid Vans.  Proud.  Delighted. I did point out the problem with mixing a white, blue, and pink striped shirt, with a navy, gold, and olive dotted tie, and red, white, and blue plaid shoes.  He said, “I think I look cool.”  I thought, “He’s watched too much Doctor Who.”  I said, “You are cool.”  He said, “You need to call me Mr. B because of the tie.”  I said, “All right, Mr. B, grab your backpack and let’s go.  Your close-up awaits you.” When he looks back at today’s picture in 30 years, I want him to be able to say, “That was such a great morning.” It’s his school picture.  He should be happy.  We’ll be going to buy him a tie that fits. thorsday1 He does look cool.

Posted in 2the9s, A Day in the Life, Explaining the Strange Behavior, Family, Thor

hockaday

 

It was 6th Grade, and I insisted upon doing my own hair for picture day–the oxford and blazer were part of the uniform, but the hair?  All mine.  I was arguing with my mother about it out the door, and I know what Lane-has-been-crying face looks like–that’s it.  I remember standing in line for my picture and realizing that all the other girls, from the neck up, looked like they’d been styled for a wedding.  From the neck down, we looked like a Green and White episode of Facts of Life the Middle School Years.

One of the teachers asked me if my mother had forgotten it was picture day.  The photographer pulled out a comb and made a tent flap in my bangs so that my eyes would show.  I felt a sting of regret.  My mother had been right.  I should have let her fix my hair.  But, I wasn’t going down like that.  Oh no.  I held my wooby, little head high and said I meant to look that way, and that I liked it.  Pride.  Proud.  Defiant.

When the pictures came home, my mother was grim.   It was the only time in my life that she ever asked for retakes.  She called the school and asked for retakes.

For what it’s worth, I look back on the day with pride.  Still proud.  Still defiant.  I was twelve, and I had hot rollers.  Don’t give a kid hot rollers, if you don’t want her to use them.

It’s also funny how dark the picture is.  My hair looks auburn, and my blazer looks black.  My hair was strawberry blonde, and my blazer was a medium green.

Today is picture day at Thor’s school.  Last night, after telling me he’d like me to go buy him a black suit, white shirt, and fancy tie to wear (far too late in the day to even think of making that happen), and after going through several mental wardrobe changes until we got down to shorts and a polo shirt, he woke up asking for a tie.  He had to wear a tie.

It didn’t matter that it didn’t match.  It didn’t matter that it was too long.  It didn’t matter that he was wearing it with a polo shirt.  He. had. to. wear. a. tie.

I put one of B’s ties on him, and it was like turning on the Christmas lights.  That kid was proud.  Delighted.

He stood in front of the mirror for a long time, declared himself very cool, wetted down and tamed his own cowlick, then went to find his shoes.

Of all the shoes he could choose, he came out of his room with his plaid Vans.  Proud.  Delighted.

I did point out the problem with mixing a white, blue, and pink striped shirt, with a navy, gold, and olive dotted tie, and red, white, and blue plaid shoes.  He said, “I think I look cool.”  I thought, “He’s watched too much Doctor Who.”  I said, “You are cool.”  He said, “You need to call me Mr. B because of the tie.”  I said, “All right, Mr. B, grab your backpack and let’s go.  Your close-up awaits you.”

When he looks back at today’s picture in 30 years, I want him to be able to say, “That was such a great morning.”

It’s his school picture.  He should be happy.  We’ll be going to buy him a tie that fits.

thorsday1

He does look cool.

 

Posted in books, Career, continuing education, Cozy Cat Press, Destinee Faith Miller Mystery, Explaining the Strange Behavior, School, The Book, Thor, Tiara Trouble, writing

Terrifying Tiara Trouble and Thanks


I have great news!  TIARA TROUBLE, the first in the Destinee Faith Miller Mystery series, will be available for purchase on 10/28/2013.  Eee!

TiaraTroubleEbook

And that’s the cover, right there!  All Destinee’d up with her signature pink and zebra.  You knew Destinee’s signature colors were pink, black, and zebra, right?  Unlike her trampy arch-nemesis, Tishelle Tucker, whose signature colors are red, black, and leopard.

So, now with a release date set, and behind the scenes plans going into action, I will admit to you that I am scared.  What if it flops?  What if people hate it?  Why did I write so many words?  Is anyone going to get my sense of humor?  What if I’m not a good writer?

A lot of what-ifs, people.  Ultimately, if it flops, it flops, and if people hate it, they hate it.  I wrote so many words because they seemed necessary at the time, and if I continued to second guess myself, it would have been whittled down to the length of a magazine article.  If no one gets my sense of humor, that’s fine–like that hasn’t happened before.  I’m okay with the sound of crickets.  And, I know I write well.  Whether, or not other people agree that I write novels well is yet to be seen.

I think I got so used to people telling me that I wasn’t ever living up to my fullest potential that I never think my efforts are my best.  Or, maybe I’m afraid they are.  And if they are, what does that mean?  Does that mean I am not the rare Sparklefly my mother thinks I am?!

I think about that a lot when it comes to how I parent.  I see a lot of myself in Thor.  He is an exceptionally smart child, and he is an exceptionally creative daydreamer–those two things don’t add up to Straight A Student.  That doesn’t mean he isn’t living up to his fullest potential, though.  That means that this is his groove.

Grades don’t show potential.  Grades show self-discipline.  Kind of like being an accomplished musician is different from being a talented musician.  You can be taught to play anything.  You can’t be taught to create.  What is ideal is when you have the self-discipline to make the grades, and the potential to turn that self-discipline/learning into something.

I tell Thor that he must strive for excellence.  I expect him to try his hardest, and not give up.  I don’t expect him to make perfect scores, but I expect him to work toward getting things right–he should want to get things right.  I don’t expect him to be the top of his class, all honors, everybody’s all-American.  I expect him to fully utilize his resources, and do the work.  Where he lands, he lands.*

I have, and will continue to impress upon him that education/school is what gives you the tools to build a future.  Does he want a brain that is like the little pig who built his house out of straw, or does he want a brain that is like the little pig who built his house out of bricks?  Well, he has to have to right tools to build the kind of brain he wants, and the right tools are often heavy and take more effort to lift.

Writing this, I am thinking about the wonderful teachers I had, who outweighed the awful ones.  Good teachers are brain-tool salesmen, who make you think you can’t live without knowing how to parse a sentence, or solve a quadratic equation.  You just have to have that ability to name the colors in the rainbow!  You absolutely MUST get in on that ability to recite the Gettysburg Address!  You cannot possibly go another day without reading The Scarlet Letter!  Because good teachers get you to buy in to the mental body building it takes to wield the tools, and the stamina necessary to keep going.

It isn’t necessary to be a sparklefly.  Sparklefly is only good for so much.  But it is necessary to build a solid foundation and the self-discipline to put that foundation to work.  Enough elbow grease can shine up an ordinary fly to look sparkly.

I worked hard at TIARA TROUBLE, and I’m not going to lie and tell you I didn’t on the chance that it fails.  You know, so I could say, “Well, it’s not like it was my best effort.”  I honestly don’t know what my best effort looks like.  All I can tell you is that I worked very hard and I am proud of the result, and I really hope you like it.  I hope it makes you laugh.  I like it.  I’ve had to read it about 60 times now, and I still make myself laugh.

So, thank you Mrs. Farr, Mrs. Mendina, Dr. Chaisson, Dr. Morris, Mrs. Monroe, Mrs. Anderson, Mr. Cargile, Mrs. Mack, and Mrs. Barnes.  You were excellent brain-tool salespeople, and the fact that I am a functioning adult, much less a published author at all is a credit to your mad skillz.

 

*There is no Tiger to this Mom.  That might not be something to be proud of, I don’t know.  I guess I’ll find out in about 20 years.