Tuesday, September 29, 2015

What Will I Do Then? What I'm Doing Now.

It's a personal goal of mine to have someone say to me, "Whatever you stand to make, I'll double it."

Which granted, most of the time I stand to make a good round figure of zero on most things that I venture into, and zero doubled isn't much of a stretch, but it would awesome to have someone think my mad skills are worth that statement.

Mad skills in what, you ask?  That's inconsequential; minor detail; I'm just pretty awesome on every level so we're just going to roll with that goal.

Brynn asked me tonight what my plans are for when I finish my degree.

The question triggered a thought process for me and I realized the answer is very easy:

I hope to be doing exactly what I am right now.

How many people get to say that?

I love my job.  I love what I do, I love the people I get to work with, I love the work that I help propel, and I love my boss.  I believe in his vision and our personalities mesh really well.  For the first time in my life, I'm not casually browsing for the next work opportunity while going through the motions of my current job.

Which is probably a good thing since my boss "lectures" me and reminds me that I have a job and don't need to be looking for one elsewhere, thank you very much.

I'm not!  I swear.

  I hope to be able to ride this job out with him for a long, long time.

I love the opportunity that I've been given this year to do make-up with a local haunted house.  I love that it's a "come as you can" schedule and I look forward to learning so many new techniques and growing leaps and bounds artistically with it.  I'm still meeting and getting to know the people I work with at the haunted house, but it's a place where we all have a mutual love for the hobby and we're all choosing to be there, which makes an instant bond and acceptance.

A demon make-up that I did one night at the haunt.
Perhaps it's a useless talent in the scheme of things that matter in life, but it's my useless talent and I really love it.

So my answer to Brynn is this: The one thing that ever seemed to hold me back, was the fact that I was missing my degree.  It's been hard to finish it with the way my life has unfolded.  I've had to make sacrifices, my family has had to make sacrifices, and it has been a lot of stress facing homework along with all my other responsibilities but it will never again be the thing that stands between me and the opportunity that I want to go for.  That being said, I'll be happy to have this stumbling block become an asset in my back pocket as I continue on with where I already am.

I am so happy with my opportunities right now and I'm absolutely enjoying giving them all I have.  I plan on enjoying the ride for as long as the road will go there for me.

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Thanks The Circus McGurkus.

When you "quit" blogging due to the overwhelming madness in life (high stress job, full time school, half a dozen kids, The Man, volunteering in a church position with the youth that requires a lot of your time...), and by "quit" I really just mean that there simply aren't enough hours in the day. 

But then you come home from a long camping trip to find you received happy mail of a book sequel for a book you reviewed last year, along with a personal note from the author.

 Two things Monica McGurk told me in that note: she calls her gang The Circus McGurkus after the Dr. Suess book, and she says I can visit her in Georgia so I can scratch that off my bucket list. 

Also, the first book was really good. 

Also, also, I really miss blogging. 

Here's to a good push to start up again. Daily posts starting... Now. Watch for a book review and giveaway coming soon (where was this book this weekend while I was re-reading Harry Potter??)

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Giveaway: The Hobbit: The Battle Of The Five Armies On Blu-Ray.

My Circus can't grasp that when I say I studied "The Hobbit" and "The Lord of the Rings" trilogy in Jr. High School, I mean we really studied it.  We read them all the way through, tested on them, wrote essays on them, and spent class after class talking about them.

For three years.

Being the lucky soul that I am, I was in a certain program in Jr. High which led me to have the same teachers in every subject, year after year.

Generally that was okay, I was a good kid, and an excellent student, and my teachers were pretty cool, but it's a wonder that I actually still like JRR Tolkien , as I had a strong aversion to my English teacher.  It took a certain level of patience and tolerance to stand her personality, none of which I was willing to give her in all my adolescent glory.

To be fair, she didn't like me either and was always making underhand remarks about me to the class.

So I think my intolerance was justified to say the least.

As it is, this post isn't about my Jr. High English teacher.

It's about JRR Tolkien.

More specifically, it's about me giving away a blu-ray of the The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies.

Argue if you must that the books are always better than the movies.  Argue if you must about the storyline changes.

Argue if you must, but frankly, I find myself being a solid fan of both the books and the movies.  And I'm pretty stoked to be giving this movie away to one of you.

Here's what you have to do:
Take this quiz and see if you're brave like Bilbo. (Warner Home Video's rules, not mine, so go with it.  It was kind of fun in that cheesy quiz way so I can get behind it.  For the record I am brave like Bilbo.)

Now tell me in the comments, are you?

I will choose a winner from the comments on Thursday April 9th at 11:59 pm.  Or if I'm being honest, I'll choose it on Friday April 10th around 8:30 am, but I'll be looking at the comments that hit before midnight... so either way, get your comment in before the end of April 9th.  Winner will be notified by email, so please make sure I have a valid email to contact you.

To be fair, there are some rules. Each household is only eligible to win One (1) Blu-ray The Hobbit: Battle of the Five Armies via blog reviews and giveaways. Only one entrant per mailing address per giveaway. If you have won the same prize on another blog, you will not be eligible to win it again. Winner is subject to eligibility verification.  Open to the US and Canada.

Also, this:

I didn't receive anything for writing this post, but Warner Home Video is fronting the prize, so there's that.

And guys!

Three Rings for the Elven-kings under the sky,
Seven for the Dwarf-lords in their halls of stone,
Nine for Mortal Men doomed to die,
One for the Dark Lord on his dark throne
In the Land of Mordor where the Shadows lie.
One Ring to rule them all, One Ring to find them,
One Ring to bring them all, and in the darkness bind them,
In the Land of Mordor where the Shadows lie.

Which isn't The Hobbit, but The Hobbit begins it all and it's now time to geek out and re-watch the trilogy.  All.  Weekend.  Long.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Shark Tooth (Hoo Ha Ha).

This post was partly written and originally posted on January 17, 2012.  Updates have been added to this post.

Sometimes you get a phone call from the school saying your daughter has fallen (but was able to get up), and they believe she's okay, but she has a fat lip and some blood.  Everything seems fine, regardless, she didn't break a tooth or anything.

Sometimes you talk to your daughter and your daughter agrees that, yes it hurt, but she's fine and wants to stay at school.

So you hang up and don't think much about it until you get home.

What turns out to be "she's fine, she didn't break a tooth or anything" actually appears to be quite the opposite and you're not entirely sure how the school staff missed the fact that your daughter's tooth is now shaped like a shark tooth.

You call the dentist.

30 minutes and $50 later...

Getting rid of the shark tooth... PRICELESS.

Cali has an overbite and the orthodontist mentioned, at a check up while we wait for her to get older before beginning work, that Cali needed to be careful because kids with overbites of this degree tend to break their front teeth at least once when they fall.

Oh good, she's done it three times now.  We tend to be over-achievers at our house.

I just need to make this kid wear a helmet until she turns 12 and we can begin her orthodontist work.

On the plus side, the dentist only charges to fix a broken tooth one time within a year's span.  If it breaks again, there's no charge.  I'm sure this is to cover any work that doesn't stick on their end, but I'm not complaining in any way.

Need a good dentist referral?  Go here.

Tell them Cali sent you.

(No, I didn't receive compensation for this post.  I just really appreciate a good dentist.)

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

What Your Pill Problem Has Done To Me.

This post was originally written and posted on May 30, 2011.  I would like to add that while my relationship with my mom still feels strained at times, we are on much better ground with life than we were at the point when I wrote this, and she is in a much healthier place.

Dear Mom,

First, let me say that the apologies don't really count when they're covered with enabling excuses. I know you were in a car accident. That happened 30 years ago. I know you had breast cancer. That happened 13 years ago.

Maybe I don't understand.

But let me tell you what you don't understand.

I remember lying in my bed in the middle of the night, and listening to you upstairs, getting up every half hour (oh how I wish this were an exaggeration) and going to the pill cabinet. Until I finally crept up the stairs and took the bottle I knew you were going after. I took it and hid it in my bedroom. And then I got to listen to you get up every half hour and dig with more frantic sounds through the pills, dropping bottles everywhere as you couldn't find it. I don't even know what the pills were.

I remember my high school boyfriend finding your pills in my jacket pocket and looking at me angrily. Until I had to explain to him that the only reason they were there in my pocket, was simply so you couldn't find them.

I remember coming home after a date to popcorn spilled all over the floor, and knowing that you had just stumbled from the couch to your bed, not caring or perhaps not comprehending the mess you were creating.

I remember you trying to talk to my friends in slurs and fragmented sentences. And the drift that was created between my brother and me because I stopped bringing my friends home, and thus stopped being home.  He's blamed me for not being there for the family ever since.

I remember coming home after a date and telling you I was home. You were in bed but asked me about my night and we would stumble through a 15 minute conversation. Only to have you scold me the next morning for not checking in when I got home. You didn't remember anything about our conversation.

I remember the letter you tried to write me... that was nothing but scribbles and illegible words. Until it finally just dropped off.

As an adult I remember taking my brand new baby to visit you. And as you held her you weaved and stumbled, and then got angry and threw a fit when we took her away from you.

And how you faked the seizures in the kitchen until we hauled you off to the hospital. What you don't know is that Dad and I took the E.R. doctor aside and told him of your medication problem. He said he wouldn't give you anything that would "affect" you. But once you knew you had your medicine, you started acting "loopy". Being flippant with the nurses and calling loudly across the hall at the doctor. When my 8 month pregnant body screamed for bed after hours in the ER I decided it was time for me to leave.  I don't remember the degrading remarks you made to me for leaving, but I remember they were made. And I remember how embarrassed Dad was by them.  And how empty it made me after all that I had done for you that night.

Every conversation was slurred. And full of chronic diseases. And I finally stopped answering your calls.

And now you need a place to live. With a pending neck surgery and a bag full of pills. And I don't think I can do it.

I can't have my Circus watching it. I can't have them living it. I can't listen to your excuses as to why we should all put up with it. I can't listen to the apologies that are nothing but "feel bad for me's". I can't feel bad for you. I'm too hurt for myself.

I'm too hurt that the pills take precedent to your family.

 I'm too hurt that I raised myself, with Dad being at the fire station and you...

I'm too hurt that I can't handle a conversation with you that goes deeper than the latest mod podge project.

And I'm too hurt to bring it into my home now.

 I'm sorry, but there are some things that medicine can't fix.

And no one can fix this but you.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

The Toothfairy Test

I had a conversation with a co-worker a few weeks ago about being a parent.  I think she said it nicely when she stated, "It doesn't matter how many books or articles you read, or how prepared you think you are for parenting, it's never enough.  Those kids come with their own hard drives and you can only hope that they'll turn okay despite you."

Here here, amen, and all that jazz.

Parenthood is giving me a great big slap in the face right now with a couple of my children who are struggling with school, and I'm at a complete loss as to what more I can do.

And equally as aggravating: the toothfairy. (here)  Yeah, totally on the same level for me.

Yesterday morning I was throwing a load of laundry into the dryer because I needed an article of clothing out of it to wear to work.  Tayler's alarm went off in her bedroom, and she crept out into the hallway rubbing her eyes.

"Mom, I need to tell you something."

This could be the opening for who knows how many things so I simply turned and looked at her, waiting for what would follow.

"Cali lost a tooth yesterday but she didn't tell you because she wants to see if the Toothfairy is real."

I almost had a hallelujah spot right there in the closet of a laundry room (Literally.  It used to be a large linen closet).  I hate the Toothfairy.  Loathe her.  Who in their right mind ever thought she was a good idea?  You're naturally growing up and loosing body parts, let me give you money.  And here it was, my perfect chance to be done with it for good.  Cali is my last believer, and we're on borrowed time with her belief at that.

But then I thought of all the ways to realize that the Toothfairy isn't real... and of course, subsequently the Easter Bunny and that jolly ol' elf, Santa Claus himself...  In one early morning moment all of that would be gone from our house.  Forever.  And not just the loss of those beliefs, but we'd be leaving behind a stage of our lives.  That would be the end of little kids in our home.  Our family would step into a new phase of life.

And it all hung on that stinking Toothfairy.

I walked Tayler downstairs where we raided The Man's wallet for a single dollar, because let's face it, I rarely have cash on hand.  I handed the dollar to Tay and asked her to go make the exchange.  If Cali woke up it would be much less strange to see Tayler standing next to their bunk beds than it would be to see me.

But Cali didn't even stir and Tayler found the tooth hidden in an empty gum box (I don't know... my kids are weird).

And with that we borrowed just a little more time for Cali's childhood, before she gets too big on me.

For the record Cali didn't say a single word to me about her missing tooth until after dinner last night.  And she only showed me the gaping hole in her mouth, she made no mention of her test, and the fact that it successfully proved the reality of the Toothfairy.

Not a single word.

I guess that's how it is when you know something secret, that not everyone else is sure they know.  There's power in that, and that was good enough for her.

Or she faked sleeping and knows exactly what went down and now has a completely different secret.

I guess I'll never know.

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

After by Anna Todd: A Warning.

In this post I'm going to give you the run down on Anna Todd's Wattpad experience, that ended up in her online writing hobby becoming a printed novel series.  But at the end I feel it necessary to give you a warning about her series and the uses of Wattpad.  I don't feel like I can be comfortable promoting this platform without telling you what I have come to realize about it.  I'm not saying that it shouldn't be used, but I feel there's an issue here that parents simply need to be aware of.  I'm not against Wattpad in any way, in fact I have half a mind to start toying with my own story, but I feel a bit of education needs to happen for those of us with teenagers who may be reading these things, for free, on this site, and have known nothing of the site ourselves.  


Twenty-five year-old Anna Todd wrote the majority of After from her mobile phone while in and out of appointments and running errands.  Her story had over 1 billion reads and more than 6 million comments (and counting).   

The After series tells the story of Tessa Young, an optimistic freshman at Washington State University, and the dark, troubled British bad boy who stole her heart. 

Since becoming one of the most talked about stories on the internet, the After series garnered attention from Gallery Books, an imprint of Simon & Schuster, who published the first installment of the novel, which went on sale on October 21, 2014.   

On Wattpad, After has over 1 billion reads, more than 6 million comments and the print edition is available in 26 countries.   

Wattpad is the world’s largest community of readers and writers. It has connected over 40 million people around the world who share a love of reading and writing.   

Wattpad is a new storytelling experience that’s mobile and social.   Wattpad stories are free.   

Mobile: With Wattpad you can read and share stories from your phone, tablet or computer. Whether you’re online or off, use the devices you already own to carry an entire library of stories wherever you go.   

Social: Wattpad creates direct connections between readers and writers. Everyone participates in storytelling on Wattpad. Some people may not identify with being a writer, but they can share plot suggestions via comments and messages or create original art/music to go along with the stories they’ve read.   

Anyone can share a story on Wattpad. Whether you’ve never written before, or published multiple books, Wattpad offers benefits for writers of all levels.   

One of the greatest benefits of Wattpad is a direct connection between readers and writers. Readers receive notifications whenever a new chapter of a story is posted. Many writers share their work serially: posting stories one chapter at a time, so readers keep coming back. As soon as a story is uploaded it can be accessed by millions of readers around the world. 

Wattpad by the numbers:
More than 40 million people have joined Wattpad
More than 80 million free stories are available on Wattpad
People spend 9 billion minutes a month on Wattpad
Stories available in over 50 languages - all for free
A new user joins Wattpad every second  
More than 24 hours of reading material is posted to Wattpad every minute
85% of all activity is on mobile

If you have never looked into Wattpad I would recommend it.  You can find some fun stuff being written on there.

That being said, I have something in particular that I want to say about the After series, and the realization it's brought to me about Wattpad.  After is a graphic harlequin romance book with strong language.  If you like harlequins, then this may be up your alley.  Though please be warned that it is also full of grammar mistakes and I wanted to take my red pen to it numerous times in the bit that I read.  It's poorly edited, which surprised me. What really concerns me, though, is the number of 11, 12, and 13 year olds who told me via social media that they had read the After series in its entirety and loved it.  It was their favorite series because, of course, it's based on One Direction.  And we all know how fangirls are about their bands (if you don't, I invite you to spend a day with my daughter, Casidee).

I'm concerned that this book is being marketed as One Direction fanfiction and is drawing the attention of tween and teen girls.  I'm concerned that they can read these graphic details, for free, through Wattpad.  They don't even have to buy the book.  And I'm concerned that parents don't know that their girls are reading these types of things.

While I can see that Wattpad can be a fun thing, it comes with a warning that anything can be written there and parents need to be aware of what their teens are reading. 

I put this out there simply as information and let you each make your own decision on the matter.  But I for one will not be allowing my girls to read this book.  I can not and do not recommend this book.

I participated in the After by Anna Todd blog program as a member of One2One Network. I received compensation but all opinions are my own.  Obviously.
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