A schedule is a schedule, after all.

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I’m a scheduler. It’s not very romantic or exciting. I don’t wait for the magic of summer to hit us–I plan a schedule for our day.

There are reasons behind this–the boring parenting kind that I won’t burden you with. ;) However, every morning we have scheduled in a walk. It is written in permanent marker on a piece of paper taped to the wall. That’s very official stuff. On that schedule, I have added in some work time for me… See how this works? Otherwise, I can kiss goodbye any writing!

Here are a few pictures from this morning’s walk.

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That is my son scooting off in the background. ;)

That is my son scooting off in the background. ;)

I find our town really cute.

I find our town really cute.

And now, it’s time for me to get some editing done. A schedule is a schedule, after all!

 

Making friends

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Today, I stumbled across this TED talk. It was so moving that it teared me up! Zak Ebrahim is the son of one of the bombers from the World Trade Center. He was raised to fear, hate and live opposed to everyone else in his American home, but even with that upbringing he chose a different path, and he discovered that we aren’t all so different from him after all.

This is a timely message, I think… There has been so much fear and negativity in the media. Even on my Facebook news feed, I see people from different walks of life posting angry, political, opinion-heavy messages that insist that their way is the only way to see things. Anyone else is wrong–or worse, despicable.

If there is one thing I’ve learned it’s that ideas and opinions only go so far, until you have a human being in front of you. It changes things–for most of us, at least. Making a friend can make all the difference in the world.

Mr. Johns was right

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So this summer, I had decided to grow food. It was going to be amazing–we’d plant a small balcony garden and we’d grow fresh peas, some herbs, some peppers…

“Why not just plant flowers?” Mr. Johns asked. “I like flowers on a balcony.”

But no! I had IDEALS, people! I was going to show my child where the food on his plate came from, show him those beautiful life lessons that country kids glean from the simple experience of watching a seed grow. My town raised child would not miss out on those simple pleasures. He would eat the very peas we grew… standing in the dewy morning coolness of a morning… on the balcony.

We were going to grow FOOD, blast it! And then we were going to eat it. It was going to be amazing.

Well, one by one, my planters failed me. As it turns out, there’s a reason why people tend to grow their vegetables in an actual garden and not in small pots on their porch. My peas were looking decidedly anemic, despite all their direct sunlight, plant food and doting love they received.

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So I tore them out and put in some flowers. The flowers look equally anemic right now, having spent their entire existence from seed to wilting plant in the Plant Center outside the grocery store. But I have high hopes that they’ll perk up.

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Flowers know how to live in pots. Peas, apparently, do not. Mr. Johns was right, but sweet guy that he is, he tends to just go along with my schemes until he is proven right in the end.

Me: That’s it! I’m going to take out the peas and put in flowers. The magazines and inspiring internet memes were wrong.

Mr. Johns: And…?

Me: You were right.

Mr. Johns: Amen!

Me: Mr. Johns, this is not church. *scowl*

Mr. Johns: *grins*

Binge-watching Netflix

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House_of_Cards,_season_3,_promo_imageI’ve had a week off. It was necessary after finishing up a rough draft of a novel and then coming down with a summer cold. So while I nursed my cold and let my brain lay fallow for a few days, I finished up the last season of House of Cards that I was watching on Netflix.

Binge-watching House of Cards while taking cold medicine can make a girl rather paranoid when it comes to politics! I don’t really have anything else to say about that… just that the last episode of Season 3 left me seriously horrified with Doug! I saw it coming with Underwood, but — I digress! This isn’t the point.

In my writing, I’ll be editing a proposal I’ll be submitting in the next few weeks to my Love Inspired editor. I’ll also be doing the final edits on two books coming out in 2016. With any luck, I won’t have any more colds or flues to battle while I do it.

In my family life, I’ll have my 7-year-old with me, and we’ll get going on our summer activities until Mr. Johns gets home at night. His summer vacation starts tomorrow at 3 pm, and I’ve been looking forward to this time together. In a way, this will be slowing down–something I knew I’d have to do during July and August all along–but it’s going to stay busy regardless! My son will make sure of that. ;)

And that is the update! I’ll be sure to keep you posted on the summer experience in the Johns’ house, where the summer might be short, but we’re going to make the most of it. :)

 

 

A Mitten-clad Handshake

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I WAS the girl on the right… with less coordination. I now have a child exactly like that, too, and I keep reminding myself that being different is a good thing… right?

We tried putting our son into Jujitsu, and it didn’t work. Every time he had to spar with another child, he’d lose for the fun of it. He’d wait until the other kid touched him, and then he’d wilt to the ground dramatically. It was just more fun in his head. It drove his coaches crazy.  It drove the kids crazy who were actually quite passionate about martial arts. It became agonizing to watch from the bleachers, and we eventually let him quit.

My child was the one who wouldn’t take off his bike helmet for one whole summer. He wore it everywhere–including to church. That winter, he refused to remove his snow suit. Everywhere he went, his snow pants swished. That was my kid! Just… being him! A big smile, a big heart, and a mitten-clad handshake.

What can you do, especially when he’s exactly like you used to be?

I was the talkative kid who made elementary school fame by telling a story about a urine sample at the doctor’s office. I was awkward, lanky and pretty sure that the person sitting next to me would be more entertained by my stories than by listening to the teacher. I was in constant trouble. I grew up to be a novelist, but in the process, I may have been the cause of a few nervous breakdowns in the school system.

So when I came across the meme above, it made me laugh! It’s true–being different and seeing the world differently is a wonderful thing… sometimes. Then there are times when we simply have to learn how to cooperate with a group, write our stories in a notebook, and keep our feet on the ground because “underpants are private, missy.”

That’s much less fun, though. I know it. And when I see kids just doing things their own way, I feel some genuine sympathy for the parents, because I’m there, too! But one day, we’ll have the pay off when these unique little rascals grow up and become interesting, free-thinking adults.

I’m holding out. ;)

Conversations with Mr. Johns

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Mr. Johns and I decided we needed a new garbage can. It was a very exciting day because our old garbage can was driving us crazy, and we made the mutual decision that we were willing to spend as much as necessary to get the garbage can of our dreams.

So, as we all started getting on our shoes, I stopped in front of the mirror and said, “Does this shirt make me look too fat?”

(Side note: I have no issues with my weight. I love my curves, and I’m very healthy, besides the odd bout of Strep Throat, so this wasn’t an insecure question. I’m just aware that some styles are less flattering than others–and this was a rather snug-fitting tank top that I hadn’t yet worn out of doors.)

Mr. Johns burst out laughing.

Me: What?

Mr. Johns: I’ve heard stories about that question. Men warn each other about it. People have gotten divorced over that question.

Me: Well, do I?

Mr. Johns: No.

Me: Would you tell me if I did?

Mr. Johns: Of course not. I don’t want to end up divorced… but you don’t.

This left me in a quandary, because if he wouldn’t tell me if the shirt were unflattering, then how could I trust this current declaration that the shirt was fine? But frankly, this wasn’t worth the trouble since we were only going out to buy the mother of all garbage cans, so if someone happened to pass me and think, “That shirt does nothing for her,” then I’d just have to live with it.

We looked at each other for a moment, he gave me the once over up and down, cocked his head to one side.

Mr. Johns: You’re beautiful. Let’s go buy a garbage can.

So we did. <3

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And it’s a good garbage can.

Have a seat with some sky

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On a Walmart trip with my 7 year old son, I had the brilliant idea that we should buy a puzzle. I thought it would be fun to do it together, and since we have a whole summer coming up, and sitting in air conditioning with a puzzle seemed rather pleasant.

So we chose one.

The thing is, we chose a puzzle based on the picture, which seems like an excellent idea, except we didn’t actually take the number of pieces into account, so we now have a 2000 piece puzzle with a very nice picture that I’m working on alone.

DSC04012It’s actually rather relaxing! When I’m sorting through some writing knot in my head, or if I’m just feeling rather empty of ideas, I stare at the pieces and see what I can make fit.

I’m getting somewhere with it, as you can see. Slowly but surely! This means, however, that we can’t have anyone over for dinner until I finish it, because it’s absolutely massive and it’s taking up 3/4 of the table, with the center leaf in! (We’ve been eating in a little hunkered family group on one end of the table…)

It’s rather relaxing, and instead of dealing with real life, I’ve been working on my puzzle. So this is what I’m up to when not clattering away fingers to keyboard. Way less exciting than you thought, no?

If you know me personally and happen to be in the area, stop by and sit down with some sky. I’d love you forever. ;)

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The summer is upon us!!

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This has me mildly panicked because I have a child in school. This means that in two short weeks, my child will be at home with me for 24 hours a day, and my beautiful 6 hours of peace and solitude in which I write will be a thing of the past.

And I still have to finish a book.

Part of me wonders how the teachers are faring. They’ve had our little angels for the last ten months, and they’re probably running on fumes about now. I imagine they army crawl to their cars at the end of the day, and when the last day of school finally comes, they’ll toss our little angels back at us and then go weep quietly in exhaustion.

That’s when we get to have our summer fun, which I’m looking forward to, except that writing with my 7 year old around is incredibly difficult. And like I said, I still have to finish a book.

Gone are the days of tapping and pestering for snacks. Now, he wants to discuss the feasibility of “inventing” his own space helmet, or he’ll ask why his friends’ parents got divorced. (Answer THAT quickly, then get back to work. I dare you!) Plus, it’s the summer, and I’d much rather eat popsicles with my son and call my husband at work just to say hi… Who could blame me? Besides, I really miss them when they aren’t around.

So my peaceful quiet is nearing an end, and while I’m looking forward to parks and playdates with friends, and while I’m looking forward to walking to the library with my son, answering his increasingly in depth questions about life and relishing family weekends when my husband is home from work, I’m still a little worried because

I still have to finish a book.

Wish me luck!

Photo by: Ewald Gabardi

Photo by: Ewald Gabardi

Underneath my window

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So while I was sick, I spent a lot of the night awake. The weather was warm enough to warrant an open window, but not so warm as to need the air conditioner, so I got to listen to the noises of the night…

And that night, the neighbor was having a party.

Now, I live in an apartment building, so neighbors are pretty close, and in the neighbor’s defense, there was no music playing and people were just talking in regular tones, so they weren’t being obnoxious or anything. But all our windows being open, I could hear it all, the most interesting of which being a drunk guy on his cell phone. On speaker.

Jack_Sparrow_-_Johnny_Depp_(Madame_Tussauds)Drunk guy: “Hey man, how are you?”

Other end: “Fine. Are you drunk?”

Drunk guy: “Yeah. I’m… Yeah. Can I come sleep at your place?”

Other end: “Not in my bedroom. I need my bedroom.”

He jumped to that really fast. This guy was quite protective of his personal space, or perhaps he’d had some experience of Drunk Guy in the past.

Drunk guy: “Of course not. Just like, on a couch or something. I think I need to sleep.”

Other end: “Okay, fine. You can come.”

Drunk guy: “Can you come get me? I’m laying on the grass.”

At this, I HAD to drag myself out of bed to check this out. If there really was a drunk guy laying on the grass outside my window, I was totally calling the local cops to come pick him up. Sorry, I’m a prude like that. But guess what? Drunk Guy LIED! He was not laying on the grass, he was sitting on a chair on the porch outside the neighbor’s sliding glass doors.

Other end: “No. I’m busy.”

At 3 am, I’d think sleeping was a better excuse, but whatever.

Drunk Guy: “Okay, I’ll find my way to your place.”

Other end: “Okay, bye.”

Drunk Guy: “Love you!”

And as it came out of his mouth, you could tell by his tone that he was thinking, “Crap! Why am I saying this? Oh man… I’m drunk.” The other end hung up without a response to that, which made me a giggle a little bit, even being as sick as I was.

Drunk Guy just sat there staring at his phone on the porch for a long while, and come morning, he was gone, so someone must have taken him under wing.

And there you have it–the things that happen during the summer when the air conditioner isn’t running. And I’m awake. My snoring husband missed the whole thing.

I’m so glad I live now!

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I have Strep Throat. Wow, is it ever miserable. While I lay in my bed all feverish with a throat so sore I couldn’t swallow, I thought to myself, I wonder if people used to die of this? I could just imagine being a woman in the Victorian era “taken to my bed in a bout of illness,” with nothing to make me feel better except some tea and a loyal maid. The doctor probably would have bled me or something. Ick. Except in the Victorian era I probably would have been the loyal maid, so my chances would have been significantly lower…

V0016862 A surgeon tending a sick woman who has just fainted, she is

Yes, I confess that I get morbid and a tad self-indulgent when I’m sick. ;)

So anyway, once getting onto antibiotics and feeling like I might actually survive this after all, I decided to look it up, and guess what! People DID used to die of Strep Throat! (Ha! Don’t ask me why that feels like a victory. ) I can’t imagine trying to just soldier through this without a welcome round of antibiotics, and it’s one more reason why I’m so glad to live now.

So that is what your local romance author has been up to–being sick. Hoping to be back at it on my manuscript soon.

Spoiler Alert: I didn’t die. ;)

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