Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Quote of the Day

"...Maybe Henry lost faith in himself. I don't know. You ought never stop believing in your own story. Stop believing and you drown."

--Bary Kitterman, The Baker's Boy, p.28

This is just a quote from a work of fiction I am currently reading. It really struck me--I read that line twice. I think that is very true! When you stop and look around and begin doubting the choices the you made, you can feel bombarded by doubts, especially other people's! It's important to stay on your path, being as authentic and true to yourself as you can possibly be---put blinders on if you have to!! :)

Go on! Go make at least one small decision today that is authentic and keeps you (or puts you!) on a path that rings true to you!

Monday, April 27, 2009

A little Twilight update for all you crazed fanatics out there....

...like me! :) Actually, honestly, I love the stories, but I'm not combing the internet and obsessively reading or anything....only in fits and spurts, when I'm not reading something more interesting! lol
Here's a great link though, showcasing all the new people they hired (most of them anyway! I didn't see the actors to play Sam or Leah, for example on this site):

http://www.ew.com/ew/gallery/0,,20234559_20234565_20273159,00.html

They are getting more and more already-known actors.
There is a complete cast list at Internet Movie DataBase:
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1259571/fullcredits#cast
Ok, couldn't find Sam Uley listed, so I started clicking on names that aren't immediately ringing a bell (see? totally not obssessive or I could name all the characters!!) and one says "Lakota." They've renamed Sam and he is now Lakota for the movie!! WTF?! People are going to be waaaaaay confused if they've already read the books! People who only know the movies, not too bad for them, but I am actually quite surprised that there isn't more talk about this! That is just crazy! Why do that people?? Why?!! geesh!

Ok, gonna get the kiddos out for a walk before it's unseasonably blazing freakin HOT!!!

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Quote of the Day

All that you have within you, all that your heart desires, all that your nature so specially fits for you--that or the counterpart of it waits embedded in the great Whole, for you. It surely will come to you. Yet equally surely not one moment before its appointed time will it come. All your crying and fever and reaching out of hands will make no difference. Therefor do not begin that game at all.

--Edward Carpenter
(I totally stole this from my friend Kelly's blog, The Impluse Itself, but it really spoke to me...)

Welcome to Fairy Land

I swear to God, my husband thinks fairies come and do the damn dishes, change the bedsheets and clean the bathrooms. He has no concept of all the work I do!! It's very frustrating. For him, I firmly believe it must be like living in a hotel!! I have to knock some sense into him a few times a year and frankly, I don't feel like dealing with it!! I am a very common sense kinda girl. I beat him into submission with common sense. He usually gives over to it, but not this time....

So, I just need to take a page (or ten) to vent here for a moment. And perhaps you can guess where in my "cycle" I am? but I am not in the mood to put up with this (lately) re-occurring problem.

My college friend and her husband came over for dinner last night and gave us a Melaleuca presentation. (I'll be doing a review of those products as soon as I get them and use them!) At one point, they are of course talking about the business side of Melaleuca and about how they are excited to earn some extra money due to a change in their circumstances.

TANGENT!! I am taking care of my BFF's two girls for a monthly fee. I work Mary Kay part-time and now that I am working on writing my book, I basically take in re-orders. And my Mary Kay director and her offspring director have hired me to be their administrative assistants. So far, I'm averaging 16 hours a month on the job and another 4-8 hours a month working from home. So all told, I probably bring in $1000 + a month, without leaving my children!! I try to only do my admin work on-site when Charming is home so I don't pay a sitter my paycheck. So, for example, on a Wednesday, after I've been with 4 kids, fed them, put everyone down for nap, I rush out the door, work two hours at my director's house, bring home work and make dinner. It's rush rush rush from lunchtime to bedtime at least one day a week. Charming works from home every other week. Keep in mind, that on top of one full-time job (babysitting is 7:30am-5:30pm, sometimes later) and 2 part-time jobs, I also am alone 50% of the time. I take care of all the household chores 50% of the time and then 80% of the chores when Charming is home. I do all the finances, the cooking, the laundry, the cleaning, the errands. I made up a chore list: there were 108 chores on it that I do! No lie! Also to bring in some money, I regularly clean out my closet and my children's closets to take stuff to consignment. I either collect the checks or use the store credit to buy my children clothes. I am trying really hard to NOT charge on our credit cards. I meal plan and clip coupons. I have cut our electric bill in half. I work hard to maintain our household. In addition, I am trying to write my first book and get my name out there, via blogging.

Now, in fairness, on the weekends, Charming does try to let me sleep in. He cleans up dishes when I cook (which is most of the time). He feeds the pets (there are 4) most nights when he is home. He bathes the boys every other night when he's home. He puts them down for naps on the weekends. Last summer I had a lawn care service ($60 a month, every other week) but in the interest of saving money, I am not doing that this year. He is very disgruntled about that. He hates doing the lawn now. He complains. He bitches. He whines. But that is seasonal and I have a huge list of items I do all year 'round. And he has said, "we just can't afford a cleaner anymore! I don't know how you're going to do it, but we can't spare $100 a month!" So consequently, we can't afford a lawncare service either! ;)

That being said, he keeps feeling this weird financial pinch (ironic, considering he plugs his ears and says "la la la la I can't hear you!!!" whenever I try to discuss the finances with him. He thinks it's too stressful and it's therefore easier to just dump all the stress of that on me.) and we have a huge fight over the phone about two weeks ago. Which, honestly, we almost never fight. Our status quo is usually ok. Lucky for him, I can practically read his mind. Otherwise, if he'd been fighting with someone else, he would've been hung up on multiple times. He was basically saying that with all the travel of his current job it's very stressful and he's also National Guard which has become more and more demanding. The training weekends are all 3 day overnighters lately, making his schedule (and of course, mine and the boys') very tight at least one week a month. It sucks. He tells me: I'm stretched too thin. I can't earn anymore. Once all the kids are in school, in like three years, we're gonna have to sit down and talk about what you're going to do for a job. (Pause. Are you done gasping?....I'll wait....ok? ok) The man has a problem with thinking of only himself, which is encouraged and enhanced by all the time he spends alone (this is just a theory, but a very important one, as it keeps me from smothering him in his sleep).

SO, all this background info is leading up to this one line he then so wisely chooses to utter in front of my friends:
(patting me on the shoulder) Well, if we had two full-time incomes, we'd be doing a lot better. (cheesy grin, chuckle).

He's still alive.

I know, I'm a saint. I don't know how I do it either! What did I say? (grin) C'mon, you know me, I said something along the lines of:

Not only do you not want to go there with me, you don't want to go there in front of company. In addition, I work three jobs that pay and at least two that don't. So.... you need to shut up.

Later, after they had gone, I said to him:
And if you ever mention me getting a job again, especially in front of company, I am gonna kill you! I'm tired of talking about it!

Him, all innocent:
what? I didn't say anything!

I felt like saying: Well, if you would be so kind as to tell your other personality, the sexist pig one? Yeah, if you could tell him to stop it, I'd appreciate it!

Instead, I repeated what he said verbatim.

He says: I didn't mean anything by it!

Me: don't mention it again. You're making me angry.

(and you don't want to make me angry...)

I'm going to print out my 108 things I do around the house. And I'm going to keep track of everything I do for 2 weeks, wrap it up and give it to him.

And if that doesn't work, I'm going on vacation alone, for about two weeks, and leaving him the boys and a To Do list comparable to what I normally do and see if that works to change his perspective!!!

So there!!
Who's with me?!!

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

TV Review: Castle

So the greatest pleasure on my DVR is admittedly the Nathan Fillion show "Castle." At the link to "Castle" there, you can see free whole episodes and whatnot. If you recall, I have a Joss Whedon addiction, which you can read about here. And via Joss Whedon, I was introduced to one Nathan Fillion:

He is cute, but don't let that fool you! He is sharp, witty, sarcastic and from his blogs, highly social and kind too! :) He is big on courtesy, paying it forward and common sense (a man after my own heart) but back to his career, shall we?

I first saw him in Buffy as Caleb, and agent of the ancient evil, The First. He was very creepy, nasty with a flick of his finger and no change of countenance. He was nearly unbeatable and always appeared in a priest's black frock. Creeeepppyyyy!

Then I saw him in a totally different light as the captain of the ship on Firefly and the movie Serenity. Here I found a comic timing that startled me and a dry delivery that made me laugh out loud. This is one of my favorite movies. THEN I buy the movie Waitress, cuz I love me some Keri Russell and lo and behold, there's my Nathan!! He's a romantic lead! He's kind and lovely and I watch this movie every time it comes on TV!

You cannot imagine my glee when I discovered I could once again see Nathan in weekly installments and as I have never seen him before! He's still smart, sarcastic, and funny, but now he's a writer, a dad, a bit of a wuss (watching him want to go on police raids but then try to find an out in some intellectual, non-physical way is so funny!) His facial expressions alone make the show worth watching. I promise.

Here's the premise:

He's a writer that had written a hugely famous series of detective novels, but when he gets tired of writing about him, he kills him off (he's always running into fans who are none too happy with him about that!). Then he encounters writer's block and languishes for a while, living in a New York loft with his eccentric ex-actress mother and his smart and adorable 15 year old daughter (who has gorgeous hair and the most amazing skin I've ever seen on a teenager!!). His ex-wife is a complete flake, also an actress, who flits in and out of their lives. He follows his whim but is practical, makes life fun for his daughter but is definitely an involved dad and he cooks, people!!! Pancakes and all sorts of things for his little girl! awwwwww!

One day, Rick Castle finds himself called in by the police on a murder that is a replication of a murder scene in one of his books. He's called in as a consultant, but totally rubs the lead detective, Kate Beckett, the wrong way. They have awesome chemistry. She is a closet fan of his books, and his over the top ladies' man attitude amuses and sometimes exasperates her, but I think secretly she hopes his passes at her are for real! Every show, I debate on whether they are going to try and put the two of them together or not. She is alone and is already being taken in to his little family.

Well, Castle is totally inspired to start a new series of books, based on Det. Beckett, much to her chagrin. He has a slew of connections in the city because of being a famous writer and is a font of information, due to researching a variety of topics for all his novels. Beckett hates how much help he can be sometimes! He uses one of his connections to be named a consultant on a more permanent basis, for his new series.....and we're off!! :)

I got both my husband and my sister to watch it and they both enjoy it---my sister and I were laughing out loud last night.

My recommendation: Laugh Out Loud. Watch "Castle," CBS, Monday nights at 10pm.

Helping Hands

I am constantly on the look-out for that one charity that really hits home, the one that feels like a fit for my intellect, my heart and my pocketbook! I decided to start reviewing charities I find via Oprah's O Magazine and Reader's Digest, among other places.
But first, my Mary Kay unit is doing their own little charitable act,
for women who are close to my heart....

For Mother’s Day this year, we wanted do something very special.
There are many of our Armed Forces who remain in the hospital.
These soldiers’ family members, acting as caregivers, are making sacrifices every day as well, to be with their injured soldiers providing the love and care they need to heal. These caregivers, be it wives, mothers, grandmothers, aunts, or sisters, go unrecognized.
We would like to give them a little something to let them know there are people thinking of them and praying for them and their families during this long and difficult time.

From now until April 28, 2009,
you can donate a
Satin Hands Set,
purchasing one for just $20 (regular price is $30).
All of the donated sets will be delivered to the family members at
Bethesda Naval Hospital on Friday, May 8, 2009
just before Mother’s Day.


We are hoping to be able to deliver 150 sets!



Would you like to help?
If so, I will need your order NO LATER THAN APRIL 28, 2009.
This gives me plenty of time to get them in, wrapped, and delivered.
I’m really excited about this and I hope you are too.
It’s a little sacrifice for those who have sacrificed so much.
Thank you so much!
Lara Taylor, Mary Kay Independent Beauty Consultant
or email me if you want at lara.taylor77@marykay.com
and we can make arrangements that way too!
(Please note, you CAN order these online.
I receive the orders and dictate the charge directly,
so there's no fear of being charged the wrong amount!
Your total will be $20, period. $10 off, no tax. Go to my website, above,
click on the "Spa and Body" tab and then select "Body Care."
You'll see Satin Hands Set about halfway down the page)
I know a few of my readers are military wives and we also know there is not nearly enough done to assist us, as family members. We often bear the brunt of the fallout from a soldier's time before, during and after a deployment.


Please help make someone else's day a little brighter during a tough time!
THANK YOU!!


Monday, April 20, 2009

Literary-Themed Inn

I found this article on a cool website which I just added to my list (I just went through Erika Robuck's Blog Roll and stole a few things! lol) but my mom loves Nora Roberts and my parents still live in MD (where I spent most of my life) and I thought: Wow!! Holy cow!! Gotta tell Mom!! :) but then, I thought I'd tell you guys too! ;)


Author Opens Literary-Themed Inn
February 18, 2009
Elizabeth & Darcy, perhaps? This week novelist Nora Roberts opened the Inn Boonsboro in Boonsboro, Maryland. Seven of the bed-and-breakfast’s eight rooms are named for literary romantic couples and feature d├ęcor in keeping with each one’s time period and circumstances.
In an interview with USA Today, Roberts described the Nick & Nora room — named for the married detectives in Dashiell Hammett’s The Thin Man – as blending “sleek art deco and fussy Hollywood glamour.” One important point, she explained, is that all the couples she chose had a happy ending (alas, there’s no room named for Romeo & Juliet or Rhett & Scarlett).
Along with Elizabeth and Darcy, Jane Austen’s popular pair from Pride and Prejudice, other room-inspiring couples include Jane & Rochester (Jane Eyre), Marguerite & Percy (The Scarlet Pimpernel), Titania & Oberon (A Midsummer Night’s Dream), and Eve & Roarke from the “In Death” novels by J.D. Robb (a pseudonym for Roberts).
The luxurious lodgings are housed in an 18th-century abode, the first stone building constructed in Boonsboro. Among the inn’s unique touches are specially-created bath gels and lotions with a personalized scent for each room. One place that might appeal to bibliophile guests is the Inn Boonsboro’s library, where they can while away the hours in front of the fireplace with a good book — perhaps one featuring their room’s namesake duo. –Shannon McKenna Schmidt

From: http://noveldestinations.wordpress.com/


**************************


Like what you've read here? 
Check out the NEW and IMPROVED
LaLa Land 
over at: 
www.lalanetwork.com
I will begin to transfer material from here to there shortly.
Thank you for stopping by! 
Lara   


Quote of the Day

Nothing has a stronger influence psychologically on their environment and especially on their children than the unlived life of the parent.
--C. G. Jung


I also updated with some new Links and some new Blogs, so check them out...over there ----> :)

I Fixed It!!

Word of the Day:
Retard
Verb
to delay or slow down (the progress or development) [Latin retardare]

I guess I better Keep it Simple Stupid, huh? No more fancy templates for me! It only gives me a headache!!

On to better and funnier things!

So Princess and I are driving back to PA after visiting our parents in MD last night and we see this crazy motorcyclist go weaving in and out of traffic. We began discussing our latent desires to ride a motorcycle, except for a few things: fear and money. We are a little afraid (although my father rode one back in the day and so does my uncle/godfather) and I frankly don't understand the lack of helmet laws in PA! Actually, there is a law: you don't have to wear one once you've been riding one whole year!!! Because what, the chance of someone else hitting you goes down somehow? WARNING: Graphic image. All I can think about is my poor noggin hitting the hard asphalt and breaking open like a melon. ewwwww. Not to mention painful and, you know, deadly.

The money issue is of course that we don't have the money for another vehicle payment and more insurance. I thought briefly of trading in my Mountaineer, but then, I'm pretty sure they are unbending on the No-two-year-olds-on-the-back-of-motorcycles law... so that was a no-go.

Then we were discussing the comfort level of a bike and how we probably wouldn't be using it for long-term driving, only local trips. However, upon more thought, I realized I only drive locally for:

1. Grocery shopping. Not feasible for obvious reasons.

2. Library. Maybe. As long as I had a contraption on the back, a compartment thingie to put my books in. Or I guess I could just wear a backpack. But who rides their motorcycle to the library?? That's totally not cool. Then how do I juggle holding books AND my bulky helmet (helmet law or no, I'm protecting my melon....in a very cool, non-hair smashing type of way)

3. Haircut. Again, unfeasible!! If I don't wear a helmet, it will get more than a little wind-blown; I'd get blasted and all semblance of original styling will be lost...on the other hand, my stylist doesn't typically style it like I want it, so maybe wind-blasted would be an improvement.

Anything else are usually family activities, like running errands or going to dinner...I just don't know when I would use it!!

Also, I couldn't drive at night.

I know, I sound like my 85 year old grandmother, but seriously, if I wanted to ride at night on a motorcycle, I would be the one with reflective tape all over everything. A few stripes on the back of my sleek black helmet, stripes of it down the back of my cool leather jacket, vertical stripes down the back of my knee-high boots, heck I'd put it on my wheel treads all the way around if I could. People would be driving by going, "look at that freak! she's all tricked out in reflective tape!!"

And learning to ride one? C'mon. I don't drive a stick for a reason. I like to zone out when I drive in an I-have-reflexes-of-lightning-and-fantastic-peripheral-vision kind of way. Can't do that when I need both my feet and both my hands to be changing gears, going forward and braking for God's sake!! I'd be in class, telling the instructor, "Now, can you retard the entire instructional process, then dumb it down some and go from there!" (see, that was used in a non-derogatory fashion, based upon webster's actual definition!)

And just like that, it's lunchtime! Where does the time GO?? Oh, right. Blogging.

so next time, I will recount....paraphrase....a conversation my hubby and I had with my siblings and brother-in-law about use of words that have been in our vocabulary since we were in 8th grade but now seem derogatory, but we have a hard time dropping...and some unrealistic (but funny) alternatives!

Um, Blog Issue...Obviously

If you can read this, something has happened to my blog....obviously! I don't know if Batman managed to pull this off (although this was my initial thought, my sherlock holmes sense kicked in and I realized, this is a link to something that is overlaying my entire template! I don't see how Batman could do this, as I'm pretty sure it involves using html...)
The only thing I added recently was FeedBurner. I removed that element and it is still jacked up. I don't know how long it's been this way either!! If you were on this weekend and it was like this, please let me know so I can try to figure out when the glitch started!!
I basically added this Notepad Template a few short weeks ago and it was time-consuming. I'm going to delete the template though and see if that works....which, if it doesn't, I'm gonna be PO'd, because that's gonna be a mother BI----to put back!!!
A hack? I don't know. I don't really know anything about HTML either, so it's like a blind woman in a dark room...with pointy things that hurt. That's how I feel right now! This is what happens when you mess with things about which you nothing. You get burned. Ouch.
Working feverishly to fix it. Check back later!! Cheer me on!! lol ;)

Friday, April 17, 2009

Quote of the Day

Why should we all use our creative power....? Because there is nothing that makes people so generous, joyful, lively, bold and compassionate, so indifferent to fighting and the accumulation of objects and money.
--Brenda Ueland

Movie Freak!!

Ok, so I am a total movie fa-reeeeaaakkkk!!! If I had unlimited money and a sitter every weekend, I would go to the movies every time, hands down. Of course, I love going with Charming (as he also loves him some movies) but going with the girls is always a blast and quite frankly, I love going with my family! (although I haven't seen a movie with my parents in ages!!). So I'm realizing the list of movies I want to see has gotten quite long, let's see what we have here.....


1. Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. I just watched a new trailer!! Voldemort, new romance (GINNY!!), and a KISS! and comedy and then a FIGHT (that stinkin Snape) and a secret revealed and then NOOOO, Dumbledore and and....I cannot speak. gak!!! cannot wait!! That is all I have to say, besides this: I may have to read this one for the third time before I go! And that Daniel Radcliffe, the Princess and I agree, is a cutie-patootie of the first order!


2. Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen. This is a must-see because it has my Hollywood boyfriend, Shia LaBeouf in it. [he's 22! Totally legal!! :)] And I am a lover of action films. That is just the way it is! It will be intense and lots of CGI. The only thing that leaves a bad taste in my mouth is this comment from Megan Fox, who plays Mikayla: Yeah, Michael [Bay, the director] likes his leading ladies hot, so I have to get in shape! (totally paraphrased, I have no reference here!) I mean, ugh. Sexist pig. But here's a pic of my honey, totally just for my own self-gratification:


3. Terminator: Salvation. Ok, this movie just looks wicked cool! I mean, they've never given us a look at the future, at how John Connor made the decision to send his own father back in time, both for John's own life and for his father's death. The time-travel thing can make your head spin, but I am still looking forward to this! and Christian Bale....I spend a lot of time alone, can you tell?

4. X-Men Origins: Wolverine. Hugh Jackman. That is all. Juuuussttt Hugh Jackman.....that and X-Men has actually been rather influential to how I want to tell stories. Who doesn't want a character they can really relate to? X-Men gets all ages and both sexes excited, because everyone has their favorite character! My book is also going to have an ensemble cast, in an effort to appeal to as many readers as possible! It's a great tactic! which I'm gonna steal....

That is all I have right now...I am getting old, I need to write these things down when I see them cuz I know there's at least 3 more!! But, I'm technically supposed to be sorting through coupons and getting ready to go to the grocery store, soooo....I'll add more later when my geriatric brain is feeling more cooperative.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Internet Predators

Charming and I were watching a DVR'd Oprah last night, about Internet predators (he'll adamantly deny that of course). And unfortunately, sadly, one of the young girls was so distraught and depressed after being sexually assaulted, she committed suicide at the age of 14 (I know, something none of us wants to think about). But it was still on my mind this morning, as Charming and I had discussed it last night and it seems like such an insoluble problem: young girls who are considered good students (i.e. smart), attractive, close to family, pleasant, trusting and trustworthy. How are these girls getting sucked in? The parents never think their good kid is going to be the one taken in by an Internet predator. Here are some theories I've come up with in the last twelve hours.

Both the mother of the deceased girl, and a young girl who had been held captive by a predator and used as a sex slave for four long days, said that the predators used the following phrases during the "grooming" process: I am your friend, you are so beautiful, I would never treat you that way, your parents don't trust you? that is crazy! why wouldn't they?, etc. etc.

That is the first piece of information that kept looping through my head and wondering why what they were saying was so seductive.

Here's the second piece of information that kept going through my mind: bits and pieces from The Beauty Myth by Naomi Wolf (if you've not read it, you must, especially if you have children). The basic message of The Beauty Myth is that women's power is all wrapped up in their perceived level of beauty, sexiness and desirability; all things that are immeasurable but are unconsciously utilized in work situations, social situations, dating situations, you name it, we're influenced unless we are really really aware. Both men and women do it. (which is sad, that we women are judging each other, sizing each other up as rivals. The average brain is run amok with constant streaming judgements...pay attention to your thoughts for one hour today and see what I mean!)

Here's what I came up with when I put the two together: These are young girls that are craving validation. They are under the impression that their self-esteem comes from outside of themselves. They crave being told "you're beautiful" because that means they mean something. It gives them their worth. They are already aware on some level that how pretty they are directly correlates to their place on the social totem pole. Schools are a microcosm of society: the prettiest girls and most athletically inclined boys are at the top of the social food chain. All the plain girls want to be pretty. Why? So they get attention, so they get attention from boys, so they get a boyfriend (which indicates social standing). Some kids, I know, believe that the prettier girls are treated more leniently by high school staff and teachers. It's highly possible this is so, although I haven't done any research on this topic.

The question is, why are our young children so vulnerable to this kind of luring? Even moms considered "overprotective" are finding their children victims. So what is the answer? Keep computers out of the home altogether?

I truly think the answer lies in several approaches:
1. Teaching our children that pride and self-confidence come from within. That praise from mom and dad or teachers are secondary. They need to be proud of themselves.

2. They need to be taught, early on, about peer pressure and independent thinking, because a step away from peer pressure is a step away from Internet predators, to my way of thinking. These are grown men that act like young children and know how to get inside our children's heads. These men are fulfilling a deep-seated need children have to be acknowledged, cared for and accepted, for who they are in the bigger world, not just at home. This "need" needs to be minimized and subjugated to the more primary need to be self-confident, regardless of what is going on around them. These men are sympathetic and manipulative. A child that can stand on their own two feet, feel confident in their own judgement and gut instincts, who feel it's okay to say "no," are less likely to be taken in.

3. In defense, our children need to be encouraged to communicate and to not be afraid of communication with strangers, especially on the Internet. Tell them to ask questions (well, how do I know you're that age? I don't contact other kids I don't know!) and that it's okay to block a stranger. Too often, we tell children it's impolite to ask questions, to seek answers and information. By the time they are 11 or 12 years old, that is deeply ingrained etiquette.

4. Finally, I think in the whirlwind we call life, our children are involved in many many activities, exposed to many many people. In addition, we are very busy ourselves, working, volunteering, parenting, taking care of our homes and sometimes, extended family members. We forget that all relationships are ongoing work and that the doors of communication need to be completely open at all times. We need to touch base with our kids every day and they need to be a priority, which does slip from time to time, sometimes for extended periods of time when we have a crisis or a lot going on. It is during those times our children are most vulnerable.

Ultimately, I don't think it's about keeping our children closer and smothering them, I think it's about educating them, expanding their thinking and encouraging them towards self-confidence and common sense. Their greatest fear shouldn't be that of being ostracized, but not being true to themselves. These victims were girls that were thought to have it all, the whole package. They were ideal daughters, great students, and yet they were taken in, to the point where they were acting out of character.

Parenting is not an easy job, but don't let fear run the show. Talk to your kids, make sure they are aware there are "posers" on the web and that you want to know who they are talking to for their own safety. But that is just the beginning of the conversation...

For further reading, look on Amazon. When I searched for the Beauty Myth, I got a whole list of other feminist readings.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Tila Tequila Suicide Threat on Twitter?

So here's what happened in a nutshell:
Tila Tequila (you can check out who she is here and here) supposedly made a suicidal comment on Twitter. (here's my Twitter page) Here is the article talking about it. (it's pretty short)

Here are some key questions I had while reading:
Why would she want to let everyone watch while she was dying?

Why would she assume that because she won't call the cops (which, if you really want to die, you aren't going to call the cops first and THEN kill yourself anyway!) that someone she knows won't do it for her? (which, if this is really the chick, then she doesn't really want to die. She must know someone else will call the cops/911!!)

Tyrese then basically asks for proof it's her, assuming it's a hacker. After her answer, he says: Ok, I can't say this is a joke anymore. She answered the question...I'm going to sleep as this must be a bad dream (paraphrased).

Some friend you are Tyrese!!! "Sorry you're going to kill yourself, I'm going to bed now, I'll check on you (or your body) in the morning." WTF?!!! (if this alone isn't enough to convince you that this is a sham or a hack or something other than real, read on!)

Supposedly, her response was that she last saw him at Robin Thicke's birthday party. Well, that's proof right there....Hello??!! Robin Thicke?? Why would Tila Tequila, a D list celebrity with a bisexual reality show even BE invited to Robin Thicke's bday party?? C'MON PEOPLE!! *sigh*

I will leave you with a quote from a fantasy book I am reading that just seems apro po:

"Wizard's first rule: People are stupid...People are stupid; given proper motivation, almost anyone will believe almost anything. Because people are stupid, they will believe a lie because they want to believe it's true, or because they are afraid it might be true. People's heads are full of knowledge, facts and beliefs, and most of it is false, yet they think it all true. People are stupid; they can only rarely tell the difference between a lie and the truth, and yet they are confident they can, and so are all the easier to fool...."

---Wizards First Rule by Terry Goodkind, page 397.

I'm taking a stand: it's either a hack or a celebrity stunt to get more Twitter followers.

What's really sad is that if it's a stunt, this girl believes so much in the power of followers that she's willing to put something very serious out there in order to gain more celebrity; it's that important to her. sad, sad, sad.

Technology, that double-edged sword...which I am gingerly using as we speak! ;)

Quote of the Day

A good writer is basically a storyteller, not a scholar or a redeemer of mankind.
---Isaac Bashevis Singer

I have been out of the writing loop for far too long. And it amazes me every time I return to it: I become so relaxed, I am almost boneless. I unwind like a skein of yard someone is tugging on the other end (perhaps it's God? lol). How do I always forget this?? The longer I am away, the more tense I am, the more likely to snap, the more grouchy. You can probably tell just from speaking to me for a few moments how long it's been since I've had a chance to write.

It's funny, because I went from tentatively telling people I wanted to write a book to incorporating writing into my lifestyle, referring to myself as a writer (it's a mental thing!). So much so that at night, as we're climbing into bed, if I am crabby and complaining about my day, Charming looks at me and says:
Did you get any writing done today?
lol

Back to unkinking my mood....

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Quote of the Day

It is not because things are difficult that we do not dare; it is because we do not dare that they are difficult.
--Seneca

Artwork I

I am going to try and keep my artwork updated....which means I have to create more! lol But I am still getting really comfortable with the idea that I am finally pursuing an urge I have been stamping down for years. It's a strange sensation. Most people want to know how I will make a living off of art and here's my answer: I don't know. But I'll figure it out. And does it really matter? This is such a part of me that to not draw or create in any way makes me feel like an amputee, like I am stumping around on one foot, minus the crutch. I just don't feel like me. I get by, but I always feel like something is missing. So now I'm going to go for it whole hog.

My writings, my fantasy/scifi story is great fodder for art; my skill just has not caught up to my imagination, which is why I am going to start taking classes in the fall. One of my characters, Riley, is an empath and can sense people's emotions, which she sees by looking inside their minds and observing their "orbs," their true selves. Every orb is unique because of course, each human is unique. There are all different colors and textures. Some are flawless, some are missing pieces (usually a disturbed mind) but all emotional colors are universal. Yellow on any orb usually indicates anxiety, for example, but if their orb is already yellow, it may flare brighter or a darker shade of yellow may enter their orb. So I think I'm going to do a series of paintings that are the orbs of each of my main characters. I have a slew of ideas for other books, including children's pictures books. So for now, I just keep a journal of writing/story ideas and keep plugging away on my novel.


Because I really gave in to the whole idea that my work could not possibly help my family (as a matter of fact, I felt it was taking away from my family) I have not done a lot of artwork the past ten years or so---ever since I had a really bad run-in with a really bad art teacher. But here's some of my art anyway... can't really figure out why it's so small, but I'll work on fixing that as well!



This is a draping exercise from my scary class in 2000. This is a white jacket hung on a chair. It had to be white and it had to be fabric, so we could work on picking out shadow.


This is one of my characters, a sketch of Melkiand, who is a Jurnhey-virat, a Traveler. He would be albino. I made up character profiles, complete with actors/actresses pics to help round things out and really give me a good visual and this is who would be Melkiand, in my head:



Now really look at the two...wouldn't Christian Bale be a good Melkiand? lol

My children are zooming around on a Pooh Bear Train and I keep hearing them crashing in to things, so that's my cue!!

For more on my artwork, head over to http://www.taylorink.blogspot.com/ , ok? :)

Monday, April 13, 2009

Last Ones of the Evening




So here are some shots from our second-story deck, because our house is built right into the PA hills. We are in the hills of the Shenandoah Valley, so it is not unusual to see some super heavy fog---there are days we can't see past our neighbors right behind us! It can be both cool and creepy sometimes! But this is in the morning, with the sun trying to burn off the fog but more just sort of blinding me! lol
And, like I said in a previous post, this is the view from my deck and what I can see from desk as well. It's nice to have this view when I'm writing. I can't complain! Except for that water tower....that I can complain about.


More Pictures...

I'm basically trying to find a way to sort and organize (in a user-friendly yet anal way...) but I really wanted a layout with navigation bar or tabs up top. What I really need is a website I guess, but I don't know how to do that, so I've got to work within these bounds! oh well.
So here's my goal: to use only a set number of labels, which are under the heading "Categories" over there ---> so I can try to organize in that way. Then you can find what you need or are curious for, especially if you're new to the website.
That being said.....here are my children!


So here is a pic of my nephew (left) Forget Me Not's son, Little Bear and my son (right)
Optimas Prime, obviously in their jammies at our house. Their birthdays are about 3 weeks apart, I think to the day....

And then here is (left to right) Prime, Batman (2.5 years old) and Forget Me Not's youngest, The Innocent One (because she's so darned cute!!! Even when she's in trouble, she looks at you and beams and you just...well, she's off the hook!) who turned 3 on St.Patty's Day
(she was almost named Colleen! lol). As you can see, she's not in her jammies yet!


Just like MY brothers, they are one light and one dark. In fact, in high school, the small Catholic one we went to, I was a senior, The Musician was a sophmore and the Computer Guru was a freshman and my friends could never differentiate between them. So they referred to them as the Light One and the Dark One. :) My husband as also much darker than his brother, who had nearly white-blond hair growing up and now has pretty dark hair himself. Funny how those things run in the family.


(left to right)
Prime, Batman and Charming
Summer 2008 I believe
(look how much younger Batman looks!!)

This was taken with the built-in camera on the computer,
hence the crappy grainy quality.



This was just taken the other day, with cream cheese all over his face cuz bagels are his favorite, like his mommy! ;)




This was taken a few weeks ago, just cuz I had the camera out, which Batman was greatly interested in, as you'll see if you scroll down....

Now, I don't have any concrete proof, but I'm betting Batman took this. What is this I'm looking at? you ask. That is a super close-up of my pink wireless mouse on my desk, which is up against the stationary side of our sliding glass doors. Note the lovely view out the window and the box of Kleenex and the Pooh Bear mouse pad I use. Isn't that nice?
At least nowadays, he can't waste film!

I remember when I was 12 and had gotten my first camera. When I got the first roll developed, there were about 7 or 8 wasted shots of my brothers, clowning around, taking pics of each other! They were in their uniforms, so it must've been right before leaving for school. They would've been 10 and 8/9 years old. Little stinkers. They were always doing stuff like that!! lol
I have a few more shots, unrelated to family, which I will put up in a separate post.










My Puppies!!!


















TRINTIY is a Siberian Husky who turned 6 years old in March and I swear is just starting to settle down with her energy!! The top pic is before grooming, the bottom is AFTER. She is indeed named for one of the main characters in The Matrix series. Funnily enough, one of her littermates, a black male, was named Neo! haha. We got Trinity as my college graduation present to myself :), from the Delaware Valley Siberian Husky Rescue. Apparently, her parents were a mated pair owned by a family that kept dropping them off and then coming back and picking them back up. This time, when the family dropped off the pair with their litter, staff told them to not come back, as it was traumetizing to the dogs, who could have a nice constant loving family. They left the pair and a new litter of puppies behind. Trinity was one of only 2 females and the only cream colored one. She is a purebred. She is loving and cuddly and great with the kids. Her more submissive personality makes her easier to discipline (voice commands usually do it).







(The top pic is POST-grooming and bottom pic is before grooming)
SHADOW we purchased when he was 9 weeks old and we had been married only 2 weeks! In Fayetteville, NC from a couple who was just trying to sell the dogs so they could move! lol So we got him half price. He will be 12 years old July 1st. He is also a purebred. Shadow is much more independent and stubborn. He used to frustrate the hell out of us when he was younger, because we'd let him out in the fenced yard and then he wouldn't come in when you called, you know when you were trying to leave the house or go up to bed; when it was totally inconvenient to just leave him outside. But he is also my buddy, my bug killer, my comforter when Charming is gone----he has been my constant companion for the whole of our marriage, through all Charming's military and job traveling (which has been extensive!!). I'm such a chicken, I wouldn't have made it without Shadow some nights, as he walked very cooperatively with me to check out noises in the house, or following me on "rounds": checking the kids and all the locks. He is very in tune with my moods and responds immediately if he senses I am on "high alert" from a noise or anything! lol He is getting old, although I still see the face of my puppy when I look at him. Charming keeps warning me he could go soon, but I refuse to think about it. I just try to spend a few quiet moments with him each day and say a little prayer he stays with us as long as possible.
If you have any questions about Siberian Huskies, please feel free to ask me! I have read a ton of books and we've owned them for 12 years almost. I would love to pass on some of the info I have on Huskies! :)

Update...

For some reason, I guess because I started writing it on Friday, my latest post is actually one I started Friday and got saved all weekend as a draft. When I published it, it published it under the date of the 10th, so you have to scroll down to see it: Ramblings....it's titled.

Just didn't want anyone to miss it! ;)

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Happy (Late) Easter!!

Happy Easter everyone!!

Even though the start of spring was technically some time ago, I never feel like spring more than I do at Easter time! Outside, hunting up eggs...today, even with the chilly breeze, we were outside with the 7 kids we had between us, playing baseball and kicking a variety of balls around---it was mad chaos but loads of fun! It was like recess! lol The egg hunt with so many kids is great!

The funniest part of our day though was when we were leaving to head down to my mom's and we see a flower stand on the corner. Someone dressed as the Easter Bunny was standing there waving and our boys were beside themselves! They waved and waved and Prime says:

Look Mom!! The Easter Bunny came to our house and now he's there with the flowers!! He stayed right by us!!

lol

ahhh kids, they make the holidays just....so much more.

Hope everyone had a great day!!

Follow Me!

Also, if those of you interested could just re-apply to follow me, you know...so I don't look lame and follower-less....that would be a big help...you know, to my self-esteem :).
Thanks.

Sorry.

I will try to keep this layout for, I'm thinkin', forever.

MORE Technical Difficulties....

Apparently, you can't have too many technical difficulties! Well, this isn't the format I chose originally, because I was really looking for a navigation toolbar, but this was way more user friendly. However, it was made by a random person on the web and put up for free, so glitches abound and as I've already established, I'm not computer/blog savvy enough to fix it!

So, consequently, the following doesn't work, so don't bother to click on them (and for God's sake, don't email me or comment me about them please, I know they don't work and I'm exasperated enough for ten bloggers, ok?? thanks!....although I know this will not deter the smartasses who will comment anyway....Yunker, I'm talking to you!)

Search
About
Archives

Those aren't important anyway, right?? lol Oh well, it LOOKS cool, that's the important part! ;)

Technical Difficulties

It is really difficult to upgrade your blog in a fancy way when, technically and strictly speaking, you don't know what the f@!* you're doing. :) so I tried to make it all cute and add these cool navigation buttons and a carousel of photos and videos and um....well, my blogger dashboard went like this: gack!!! gasp!!!! choke, choke......paaaahhhhhhhh.........thhht.

So you get what you see right now.

But I'm so insanely stubborn, now I'm determined to get this to work....even though I'm a big fan of common sense and common sense says: you don't know anything about html. This is too complicated for you. Just change the background.

No, I'd rather give myself a migraine. :)

Happpy Easter.

And may you never have to struggle with a foreign language like html if you don't have to. Ever.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Ramblings of a Tired Housewife...

1. I'm lovin' Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles!!

The storyline is excellent, it's all very well done. The girl who plays "Cameron," Summer Glau, was in a Joss Whedon show, Firefly and the follow up movie, Serenity. (see below for info on J.Whedon) Lena Headey is Sarah Conner (the queen from the movie "300") and the guy who plays John Connor, Thomas Dekker, is freaken adorable (check out those eyes!!). There are rumors he's gay in real-life, but I just plug my ears and hum the Terminator theme song....lol. I highly recommend it.
I've been watching it on DVR. It's the season finale and they've included a special clip of the next Terminator movie, Terminator: Salvation, with Christian Bale. I can't say I am a huge fan of the Terminator movie series. I like the second one best because Linda Hamilton has morphed into a badass and I like me some good badass female leads. But I ALSO like me some Christian Bale, so we're going to go see it. Period. :) I'm going to review the TV show in its entirety in another post, but I was very excited about both the movie preview and the TV show; it's like watching a movie every week for an hour!!
If you have Netflix or something, try to get the first season on DVD. (I just checked, the first season IS available on DVD at this time. 2nd season just ended this week, so the release date is currently "unknown.")


2. In addition to Chronicles, I also am enjoying more and more the show Dollhouse, also on FOX. It was created by Joss Whedon [creator/writer/director the TV show Buffy the Vampire Slayer, but also a participating writer on a little movie called Toy Story! Perhaps you heard of the online movie he did during the writer's strike: Dr. Horrible's Sing-along-blog? Check it out, so funny! Neil Patrick Harris, Nathan Fillion (who now has his own show, Castle, which I also find greatly amusing)]. But the reason I am enjoying the otherwise somewhat flat Dollhouse more now is because I stuck with it and then last episode: BAM! Huge Joss Whedon twist that I actually rewound and played a second time and clapped I was so delighted. (no, I'm not going to tell you what it is. Yes, I clapped. Yes, I want to be Joss Whedon.) Sometimes the build-up can take a while, but Joss (we're on a first name basis you know) Joss is the executive producer and in certain scenes, you can really see it. I also love Eliza Dushku, who plays Echo, a woman whose memory has been erased so wealthy clients can pay to have her reprogammed for their needs/desires (so far she's been a kidnap negotiator, a deceased woman much missed by her husband, a spy, an art thief and so on.) There is an FBI agent, Paul....duck...no!! BALLARD! lol Ok, so his name is Paul Ballard played by Tahmoh Penikett.....say hello to Tahmoh:

I got this pic from a blogspot dedicated to him: All About Tahmoh Penikett. Check it out! :) (I'm going to write the author of that blog in just a sec to let her know I, um, "borrowed" that!)
There are other....very nice....pics of him, sans shirt. :) And that is why I watch Dollhouse rather obsessively now! I'm thinking of adding Battlestar Galactica, the TV show that just went off the air, to my Netflix as well, as he was in that too. When I like an actor or actress, I really catch up on all their stuff!!
Gotta get kids outside but like I said, I am going to start devoting whole posts to the review of a show, book or movie, with pics and all, to mix things up a bit! :)
Have a suggestion? A request? Email me and let me know! (also, this is my first direct email link-up, so let me know if that's not working! LOL I'll go check now...)

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Raving Lunatic

So, at the risk of being reported ....to whomever you report nutso cuckoo people, I was a raving lunatic this morning. I was screaming (yes, screaming, I'll not shy away from it) at the kids for everything under the sun. I just wanted them to listen to me! And apparently, I thought they're ears had ceased to function in the last 24 hours and the way to get them to be obedient was to turn up the volume. I succeeded in injuring my vocal chords and scaring the kids. And exhausting myself. And you know why? Because I had the totally unrealistic goal of cleaning uninterrupted. With first 3, and then later, 5 kids in the house.

And I was struggling to get the house all spic and span (and succeeding only in spic-ing it, the span has been left undone) because like a heartbeat the words, "You need to write....you haven't written in 2 weeks....you have all those painting ideas and haven't started on a one....you need to write....hurry up and get the house clean so you can write!....you need to write! You NEED to WRITE!!!!!" was pounding in the backround of my mind. *sigh* I burned my energy out completely. I was exhausted by 10am.

So I took the kids on a walk, which made me feel better, to be outside in the sun, until the kids started bickering over who was going to be at the front of our long train of walkers. And then I lost it, as they'd dashed all hopes of restoring my Catholic zen. We went trudging back home not a quarter of the way through the walk, which went something like this:

Batman: Hold you mom, hold you! (this is his version of "pick me up")

Me: nope. we're out here to get some exercise, we've barely started.

Batman (jumping up and down): NO! Hold you mama! Hold you!!

Me (firmly): No. You need to walk. You're too heavy to carry. Ray-ray, stop letting your coat drag on the ground! Hay-hay and Prime, you're too far ahead!! Slow down!

Batman: Nooooooooo!!! (jumping up and down more fiercely) HOLD ME MAMA!!!! (looks down dejectedly and kicks the ground before running ahead, crying)

Prime is now crying so I look up and he's on the ground, frozen in this awkward position, tears leaking from behind his sunglasses.

Me: what happened??

Prime (wailing): I fell down!!!

I jog up and crouch, pulling him to stand.

Me: what happened?

Prime: Hay-hay pushed me!!!

I look up and Hay-hay is almost a block ahead, hair disheveled, coat nearly off, looking at us with eyebrows up. She is six. I sigh. She likes to be first. Prime just likes to run.

I help Prime up and get us all going again. I feel a tug on my jacket. Here we go again.

Batman: UP Mama!! Hold you!!! (wraps himself around my leg)

I pry him off and give him a gentle push.

Me: go on, we're here to walk.

I hear more screaming. I shade my eyes.

Prime is standing on the sidewalk crying again.

Me (getting exasperated now): what now??

Prime: Hay-hay won't wait for me! She keeps running ahead!

I call to Hay-hay to wait. By the time Prime catches up to her, she is waving her arms and yelling and protesting waiting for Prime when she wants to be first.

Batman is screaming at me to get my attention and yanking in a rough and annoying fashion on coat. Ray-ray is hopping from foot to foot, watching her sister and Prime yelling at each other, saying: Miss Lara? um, um, Miss Lara, Hay-hay just was running and then Prime was just running and and and then PRIME.....

At this point, Prime and Hay-hay have started running again, and like a Mom-seatbelt reflex in the face of an accident, she is shooting out her right arm to catch Prime in the chest, preventing him from going in front of her. They are running down one of many hills in the neighborhood. Third time, Prime stumbles a bit and I suck in a breath, thinking he's going to bite it again. But he catches himself. And then he pauses in his running to give Hay-hay hell for doing it.

Can you guess where this is going?

Me (yelling because they are a block away and I wonder what percentage of people with windows open are actually home as I draw in a deep breath...): THAT'S IT!!!! LET'S GO!! Back home! This walk is OVER!!!!

Seriously, it's not usually so bad! We walk together all the time with no problems!! But I walk to enjoy the many different birdsongs in our neighborhood, to keep an eye out for rabbits, to feel the perpetual wind on our hilltop residence in my (too short) hair. Not to hear kids bickering and not to be interrupted thirty times.....you may have noticed a pattern here: I don't like being interrupted when I'm on a mission or in the zone...I hear that's actually a symptom of ADD....hmmmmm.

Life Goals, no big.

Can I just tell you that one goal in my life is to stop living so much in my head and follow what my "God nudges," as I privately (or not so privately now!) call them, those moments when you just know you're going in the right direction, so much so, you can almost feel someone pushing you gently from behind? You make a decision and feel peace and like coming home? I'm not very good at it. I especially struggle while I have PMS----the hormones work so hard against me, it's like swimming upstream against a really really hard current. It makes me just giggle, jump and clap at the prospect of menopause, let me just tell you!!

I'd have to say my goals are (in no particular order:) authenticity, balance, stretching boundaries (my own or other people's, I'm not picky!), challenging my paradigms, more love, less anger....cuz stupid people really agitate me. Really. I'm a natural grudge holder and have a lot of emotional flair-ups, so it really goes against my nature to let go and let God, as it were. And it has been on my mind a lot since I finished reading The Shack....which I can't tell you about without giving away the plot, but I will just echo my friend Trace here by saying: Go. Read it. Right now. I'll wait. It's that good. I've been telling people that it's like The Power of Now or A New Earth, both by Eckhart Tolle, but less cerebral and more narrative. It's in a story format that just sucks you in and challenges those paradigms, gets you to look at things in a different way, just takes your perspective and rotates it a good 180 degrees so you can look at something with new eyes.

The problem for me is, I've read all these great inspirational books, but the moment of enlightenment often feels like a flash in the pan, rather than a long-lasting change. Which troubles me, because it means my perspectives are pretty firmly entrenched. I think we can change if we try, but boy does it take tremendous, consistent effort. And just as Eckhart Tolle counsels us NOT to do, I keep looking forward, instead of living in the now, letting go of the future (which is an illusion...I love this, cuz get this: there IS no future. Think about it. We are living in the future we were thinking ahead to 10 years ago, 5 years ago, last week we might have been thinking of today, thinking what a great day it might be for whatever reason, and we spend a lot of time stuck in that, in the future...but there is only the Now in reality....I need to go back and reread me some Eckhart Tolle. His brain boggles mine.)

My biggest problem is I am so logical minded....but at the same time, I am waaaay emotional and creative, which sometimes makes me feel a little...schizo if you will. But without the meds. :) Sometimes I get so caught up in the thinking, the analyzing, I begin to lose sight of things, of my personal truth mostly. One of my personal truths is this: if I don't work on something creative every day, I will go completely, stark-raving berserk. No joke. And while I know this about myself, I still do not practice it every day, because I let the every day get in my way. I feel like I should be cleaning like a fiend. I should be cooking big wonderful healthy organic meals for my family, while perfectly balancing our checkbook and clipping coupons. And there you go: completely lose sight of what's important to me as a unique and spiritual human with unique and spiritual gifts. Some days I can completely ignore dishes and dirt, most days actually, but then PMS hits and I find myself trying to cram in a month's worth of cleaning in 2 days. Not that my house is gross...I don't think. I am very organized and keep the rooms we regularly use very clean. But I digress...I also need to wake the kids from naps so they sleep tonight! hold that thought, I'll have to continue this later!!

PLEASE do add your comments, I would really like to hear more from my readers, so I don't feel so much like I'm writing into a vacuum, 'k? :) In the meantime, here's the prayer I use before I sit down to write (I wrote it):

The Artist's Prayer

Be with me God
In all my dreams.
Help them come to fruition.
Assist me
In translating my inspiration
From thought to reality.
Never stop whispering
To my heart.
I need Your love,
Inspirations and support.
Help me to remember
That my art and writing
Are your work too,
And are therefore good.
I trust that You will always
Guide me and
Look out for me.
Help me
To be open to new ideas.
Encourage me
To follow my whims.
Lead me
To other artists
And positive influences.
Amen.

Multimedia Download in Progress

When you're a stay-at-home-mom (I hate the acronym SAHM, but I hate typing it all out even more!!) when you're a sahm, variety is KEY! What type of variety? you ask? (what a wonderful question you smart readers you!!) I need variety in just about everything: what I eat, what I watch on TV, whether I read or write or draw or collage, yell at the kids or choose time-out, dress up and clean, or go out looking like a schlub. You have to have variety (within a strict regimented schedule of course!) in order to survive. Or else boredom sets in.

Which is Bad with a capital B.

Boredom (linked to lack of husband) + PMS = Depression.

This is Lara's Unique Math. No previous experience/knowledge necessary. Just follow along.

To continue:

PMS + depression= A heightened sense of frustration.

Depression + Frustration = More yelling than usual.

Frustration + Yelling = Copious tears. And the kids cry too. (The PMS is a sort of floating ghost quotient that is actually included in and affects each equation by the way. I believe that is referred to as "a given.")

Did I mention my husband goes away every other week and I am also isolated? I'm not sure what that equals when you add it in, but I can tell you this is going from math to a very sloppy, volatile recipe which can only turn out about as well as a souffle in a house full of running screaming kids: deflated. caved in. Something no one wants that is just nasty. (dead horse? beaten? check)

Let me just.....pull myself up by .....my fingertips here.....almost out of that....self-pity hole.....there! (pushes hair out of face)

moving on.

I am going to try and spice things up for you guys by adding some pictures and videos (both most likely of horrible quality by the way, so don't get too excited!) but there is the aforementioned (ANT!! ANT!!!! where the hell are they COMING FROM?!! sigh. it's dead now. :) ) variety. I'll get them up as soon as I can....I'm kinda excited about this.

I might even muster a smile. :I close enough.

by the by: why do I ASK my 4 year old if he would LIKE to go in time out?! The answer is always no! duh!

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Diana Gabaldon ROCKS!!

Sooo, I followed the directions for the Lemonade Stand award and posted on Diana Gabaldon's blog and I GOT A REPLY!!!! (Erika, you may be the only one that really "gets" this!!) *sigh* :) This makes my whole day....it's makes my week!! There is an email in my inbox....and in the "From" slot, guess what it says? DIANA GABALDON!!!! *sigh* again. I just may leave it there forever, so every time I open my email, I see it.

Ok, enough schmoopieness, here's what she said:

Dear Lara--Thanks! [s] Appreciate the good words!


Isn't she awesome?!
*sigh*

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Things That I Don't Love, so much...

I decided "Things that I hate" was a little, well, negative. So I changed it. It's a psychological thing!

1. Getting groceries in the rain....your bags are wet, your cardboard-boxed purchases are soggy and water-stained, water pools in the plastic-non-recyclable-horrible-for-the-environment bags...it's a just a mess and you take it home with you...in your car. Yay.

2. Getting groceries in the rain...with 3 children in tow. nuff said.

3. Ants in my house. EWWWW! the downside of living beside a farm: lots of bugs that, while physically smaller than I, have more legs than me. Therefore, they deserve to die. Other insects, living a single life, I may see fit to escort outside in a moment of zen-ness and concern for my Catholic karma. However, insects that live in colonies or swarms? All bets are off, especially when you're congregating where I eat man!! I had just enough ant killer from last year to kill on the spot all the ants I could find, which included but was not limited to: sink ledge, up my pantry door, along the base of the pantry, exiting the baseboard of my dishwasher, along the floor under my sink and in the corner next to my stove. Yay. I had only two traps, but let's face it, they take 24 hours to work and in a frenzy I killed all the ones I could see, dead. They wouldn't be takin' anything back to their families...sorry Buddha! Funny: the ant killer says: Do not spray into the air. My question: what if you have ants with wings? I'm just sayin'....

4. Repetive noises that children make. Seriously? Did that sound just come out of my son's mouth? Better question: why? why do you sound like a robot on crack? And why does that not hurt your own ears?? I don't remember making noises like when I was a kid! Talking in ear-piercingly loud high pitches, pretending to be a cat or dog's voice (like the girls I babysit for). Honestly, did I do that? How did my mother tolerate us?! I'm gonna ask her...and further, if we did, how did she resist the urge to do an emergency tracheotomy with her kitchen shears? This is very pertinent information. In fact I may need to stop blogging to call her RIGHTNOW! "BOYS!!! Stop making that freakin' noise!!!" *sigh* Usually I can just yell his name, and he KNOWS, he knows...

5. Toys that make repetitive noises. Now at this point, you may want to label me "high strung" however let me elaborate: we own a kids' laptop that has a little monkey as the sort of MC to all the games? and when you hit the volume button, to adjust his volume? Yeah, it does this high-pitched squeaky monkey noise over and over and over and over (at all different volumes as you adjust it) and here's the kicker: IT DOESN'T STOP!! You literally have to turn it off or hit one of the game options to make it switch noises. This is no joke. It's like migraine in a computer. Who approved this for sale?!! I'd like to know!!! Imagine one of the little ones hitting the volume button volume and walking away....groan!!! I've had company, people who have never heard this before, and literally almost got tackled by a friend or relative as we all lunged to shut it off! It is instantaneoulsy annoying!

Now, I have to go before my husband blows his stack. Charming has been taking care of them for the past two hours now and he DID make dinner....I guess I should go relieve him. After all, he has bath duty tonight, he should have a bit of a break between now and then! ;)

I've Won My First Award!! :)









My friends are so cool!! :)

This is what my friend Trace did for me:

I am passing along a "Lemonade Stand" award that I received from Tracey at Little Patch of Clover. Go check out her blog. She is seriouly funny!!

So, here are da rules...

1) Put the Lemonade Award logo on your blog or post.

2) Nominate at least 10 blogs that show great attitude or gratitude (or, as many as you have time for! In this case, like 5! lol)

.3) Link to your nominees within your post.

4) Let the nominees know that they have received this award by commenting on their blog.

5) Share the love and link to the person from who you received your award.

Here are the blogs I am nominating: (there will be a lot of writers!! AND I would nominate Tracey, but she's already up there with a link and I think that might be against the rules....oh, wait a minute, I never follow the rules! duh...)

1. Tracey's blog I found when she posted on Facebook that she had updated her blog--which I didn't even know she'd had!! So I read it, laugh at all her 80's references and sarcasm and bam! I'm in love with blogging! ;) So here's a second link to Little Patch of Clover.

2.The running blog at my friend Erika Robuck's site, http://www.erikarobuck.com/ where she frequently talks about one of my favorite things in the world: books! :) She is sensible and smart. Love reading her stuff!

3. I like the writings of one of my recently favorite writers: PC Cast, the author of the House of Night series, another YA series on vampires (I know, it's like I'm addicted!....I think we've been here before, so moving on...) and she is always so happy and thrilled with her fans and the direction her life is taking. Another sensible woman. :) She also used to be a teacher AND she's a writer?! A woman after my own heart! :)

4. Another writer! Diana Gabaldon is the most awesome historical fiction writer EVER! love her!! Love, sex, fights, memorable times in history, "medicine woman" type stuff, Scotland and sexy accents---it doesn't get much better than this!! started reading her around 1998, no joke! Check her out!

5. So after I discover Trace, I think, hey! This is pretty cool!! So I see HER links to favorites and come across The Pioneer Woman, whose story of her courtship with her husband makes me belly laugh. She also has recipes and photos and all kinds of cool advanced stuff! :)

Minor Updates

Ok, so I noticed my stinkin Twitter thing (over there ---->) wasn't working at all, although it was working on my friend's blog, so I knew somethin' wasn't right! (technical genius that I am!) So that is all fixed! :) And, on a sad note....sigh.

My ranking has dropped on Helium for my novel excerpt and since I cannot tell a lie, I had to change the number from being ranked #6 to #42! Which is a huge drop! But keep in mind, this is totally subjective judging, by people who have signed up voluntarily on the website. I have actually gotten notes from some of the raters. One woman in particular said something to the effect of: I like happier stories. And I'm thinkin', you're supposed to be judging on the quality of writing!! And I'm writing a darker fantasy/scifi story, but it's not gory horror! I most likely had almost no spelling or grammar errors (only because it was my like 25th draft on there, not because I am perfect or anything!) and a damn good story if I do say so myself! But did she mark me down because it wasn't her genre or type of story? most likely. Thems the breaks on that kind of website.

That's what makes it so hard to make it anywhere on that kind of website (*shrug*). I mean, some of the number 1 slots are filled with articles or excerpts that are full of spelling, grammar and syntax errors (most leave you wondering if English is even on their list of spoken languages...) and that is specifically how the site counsels you to rate: by concrete things like spelling, grammar, paragraph breaks, excellence of content--you know, like how a good English professor would do it! As objectively as possible, or even, on two planes: you read it through with a sharp eye, noting mistakes or "flagging" possiblities (because that is usually what stands out first and can really take away from a story). Flags are those things not allowed to be on the family-oriented site, like language, sexuality, etc. THEN, secondly, go back and note the story content, sending the author notes of praise. Totally easy, yet so frequently screwed up!! I sent a guy a note once because his story was extremely well written, but it was about the (graphic)murder of a young girl and I was like, "well written, but totally inappropriate for the site my friend! gonna have to flag you!" It wasn't something I would've wanted my nephew, Glasses, at age 12 to have come across!

I'm gonna have to leave it there....Batman would like some Megabloks which are all the way in the basement.....sigh.

Up next: Things I Hate.....discuss amongst yourselves...

Sharing the Love....

My sissy, Forget Me Not, sent this to me via email, and I thought, I cannot limit myself to sharing this with merely 2 people, as the email suggests!! Why, that would selfish!! So here is my gift to you today:


5 MINUTE CHOCOLATE MUG CAKE
4 tablespoons flour
4 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons cocoa
1 egg
3 tablespoons milk
3 tablespoons oil
3 tablespoons chocolate chips (optional) [to my mind, this is actually less optional and more essential!!]
A small splash of vanilla extract
1 large coffee mug (MicroSafe)

Add dry ingredients to mug, and mix well.
Add the egg and mix thoroughly.
Pour in the milk and oil and mix well..
Add the chocolate chips (if using) and vanilla extract, and mix again.
Put your mug in the microwave and cook for 3 minutes at 1000 watts.
The cake will rise over the top of the mug, but don't be alarmed!

Allow to cool a little, and tip out onto a plate if desired. EAT!

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Every slave story is a ghost story....


I just finished reading Receive Me Falling by Erika Robuck and I just wanted to do a little review on here, as she is a friend of mine from high school! How cool to know a published author, right? :) And I know that she published herself and has really started a grassroots following, booking her own signings and all that! I am so proud of her (not to mention, taking copious notes on how the heck she’s doing all this with 3 kids to boot!!). It encourages me to keep plugging away! The quality of the writing will take her everywhere, I suspect, but once again, I digress….

This is an historical fiction novel that splits its time between present-day Annapolis (which is so cool cuz she mentions places I know!!!) and 19th century plantation life on the Caribbean island of Nevis. The amount of information she has amassed so that this story is authentic must be incredible!! She discusses plant life, artwork, life on a sugar cane plantation not to mention herbal medicine treatments and the process of making cane into sugar!! And I thought I had done a lot of research for my book, but this is re-dunck-ulous!

The story builds slowly, each chapter alternating between time periods. She introduces a variety of interesting characters, slowly but surely revealing a mystery and a ghost story. By chapter 10, I realized I was almost flying through the pages. I literally could not put it down, as all the pieces began to swirl together, teasing conclusions from the reader, although I couldn’t quite figure out how it went together until I saw them sliding into place.

And there were no loose ends!!! That has got to be one of my biggest pet peeves when reading: wait, what happened to so-and-so?? And they never resolved such-and-such! I seriously hate that. It just implies a gap in the process, cuz shouldn’t the editor or someone, I don’t know, maybe the author, have noticed that?! Geez!

All in all, if you are looking for something to read and want a satisfying ending, not one that leaves you feeling totally breathless, but content, please try Receive Me Falling! It is a really good read!!
p.s. by the by, I am once again using my husband's wonderful laptop. And yes, it took waaaaaay longer than five minutes to fix and NO it had nothing to do with my intelligence level, thankyouverymuch!

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