Welcome to my world - The world of Tish

Tuesday, September 28, 2004

Writer Conference Jitters

Two days to go. I have my professional suit, my semi-casual pants and top, and my children's floaties ready for the trip. I don't think my husband understood how this conference would dominate my time. He volunteered to 'keep' the kids, entertain them in Dallas, and even mentioned shopping...never mention shopping to a 7 year old Diva. Her eyes glaze over at the thought of a new mall to explore. My son, he wants to look at clothes, but mostly goes to check out the women.
Listening to their in-depth conversation last night, I was educated about women in Big D.

"I might marry one of those girls in Dallas," my son says to no one.
"Well, you know all the women in Dallas wear swimsuits," my daughter counters.
"So?"
"They all have tans and won't want to marry you if you can't wear a swimsuit, too." She studies his pale complexion for a moment. "You need some sun, too."

I don't know where she developed this hypothesis about Dallas women, and don't care. My son doesn't seem fazed by her in the slightest. He just wants to marry someone that can cook macaroni and likes SpongeBob.
So while I am schmoozing my agent and possible editors for A MONTH FULL OF SUNDAYS, my son will be making eyes at swimsuited women, my daughter will be trying on her 15th pair of shoes, and my husband...well, he will vow a blood oath never to take the kids on a trip without my close assistance.

Friday, September 24, 2004

Lucking out at JCPenneys

Just when my day was looking slightly gloomy, my day was brightened by a wonderful sales associate by the name of Sheila. She graciously pointed out what kind of suit would fit my body, accentuate my features, and most of all, she may provide the critical 'zing' I need for A MONTH FULL OF SUNDAYS to increase my chances at publishing. Hopefully with her input and the addition of one chapter explaining the main character Evie's wild past, I can land that publisher and fulfill one of my dreams.
So for the writers conference networking party, I will be the one looking fabulously professional, on the verge of being hot but contained in a sedate package, and with the blessing of God, my dream will come true.
Or I will just look good next Saturday night and my husband will be thrilled.

Thursday, September 23, 2004

How not to train an English Mastiff

She's only a year and five months old, but Sophie can frustrate me more than my two kids combined at a WalMart with sugar highs.
What was I thinking? Sure, obedience class sounds good on paper and all that, but try loading 135 pounds of muscle and slobber into a Ford Expedition by yourself. If I didn't have back problems before, I can line up with the other suckers for the chiropractic sessions. (Some chiropractors are well worth the time, but that's another blog.)
As in 'human' life, the biggest man in the bar always gets picked on, harassed, berated, and egged into a fight with usually the smallest of men in the world. Why? My guess is to show it's the testosterone mixing with ego, or the insecurities of one man being played out with a strange, giant man. Anyway, I can honestly say it's the same for dogs. Imagine, a cocker spaniel weighing all of 30 pounds actually believes he can take on my Sophie! She can eat that much in a day if you let her. Then, when the cocker gets quieted by his miffed owner, the teacup crossbreed dog-like creature takes its shot. At this point, Sophie realizes there is not real threat by this tiny thing, so she just stares at her. I love that about her, that look of "are you kidding me?" to anyone and everyone that isn't of her stature.
So at the end of the hour, we've gone over 'heel' and 'sit' with microwaved hotdog pieces and Sophie graciously obeys me 50% of the time.
And the real challenge wasn't in class. Oh no, Sophie decides to let loose some rabid 'funk stank' as we used to say in college, during the entire ride home. They should bottle this and send it to Iraq for terrorist interrogations. In all of two minutes we could find Osama after that.
Beauty of the story, it will all be replayed next week, same bat time. Maybe I'll let Sophie teach those little punks a lesson.

Wednesday, September 22, 2004

The fair, resale shops, and Buzz Lightyear

Tonight we will take the kids to the fair. $80 for unhealthy food, rickety rides, and games hosted by ex-convicts. If that ain't fun, I don't know what is!
I happened by a local resale shop searching for nothing in particular. 15 minutes later, I walked out with four bags. Between two pairs of pants and three shirts there was a Buzz Lightyear costume my 4 year old has been begging to wear for three months. Mind you, he had the same costume two years ago and swore he wouldn't wear it again since he was a "big boy". Today, he stripped down to his BVDs and went "to infinity and beyond" for at least an hour.
Good to know a $5 item can bring this much joy.
If only they made "Wonder Woman" in my size...

Tuesday, September 21, 2004

Stepford Kids, really

Maybe the moon is full, or the mosquito fog has been sprayed around our house, but tonight the kids actually OBEYED. 'Yes Ma'am, no Ma'am' with each answer, carrying the plates to the sink after dinner without being asked, and here's the biggie: NO ARGUMENTS WITH GOING TO BED. I guess threatening them with no light, air, food, and bike riding works. Okay, we let them have air and light, but they don't get to pick their dinner.
This morning I mentioned to my husband that Britney Spears was getting married. My daughter pops "Again?" How in the world did she know it was her 2nd marriage? When I was a kid, if the stars were married wasn't even a thought in my mind. All I wanted was to be on Battleship Galactica as a human child trapped on an alien planet. And my daughter knows who Jessica Simpson is, her husband, everything.
I miss my childhood for her.
I miss my childhood.

Sunday, September 19, 2004

Discipline

I believe that your children's behavior is directly proportional to the amount of 'fun' time you allow them. On a regular day, homework dominates so there is no pay off for acting up BUT take a weekend day, one where you plan a fun activity, entertain one of their friends, buy popcorn at the movies... and what do they do? Instead of being grateful, they turn into the biggest brats not once but twice. Their reasoning escapes me; it's like getting a raise on Monday and Tuesday you start embezzling funds. What's up with that logic?
I don't like to spank but I will when it is the only method of containment/redirection. I also will throw favorite toys away or take away privileges away. Maybe they are reading from a different playbook, but I cannot figure out the most effective defense against bad behavior. Like football, I have a strategy with 'players' set in motion for the smaller offenses. But somehow they are able to outmanuveur and head straight for the 'touchdown'. Tonight, it's not going to sleep, spraying Windex all over the bathroom, jumping up and down on the bunkbed - and that's all within three minutes.
Maybe that's it - timing is the method to their madness. Maybe they have secret meetings, age specific of course, and they discuss how to completely irritate parents within a specified timeframe. Now it's all making sense to me. If I can disrupt them, throw them off their path, then all will run smoothly in our home and possibly the world. Yea, right.

Saturday, September 18, 2004

Hanging out on Saturday night

With the demolition derby entertaining the kids and hubby, I have the entire Saturday night to myself. For most people, that is not a big deal - just another weekend night. For mothers, we cherish each and every 'time out' as if it were the last one. It's more about refreshing the mind, regrouping the soul, and EATING AT A REAL RESTAURANT WITH NO CLOWNS!
Tonight I've chosen a local coffee house that also serves salads and has a band. Since the owners are charesmatic Christians, I will be listening to Jesus rock and roll. Nothing wrong with that, but I do like a little White Snake or Van Halen thrown in the mix.

My agent wants more zing in A MONTH FULL OF SUNDAYS. What is 'zing', you ask? Hell if I know. I'm assuming it's that little extra that pushes a pretty girl into supermodel status, or the invisible attraction you feel to someone without putting your finger on it. I really don't want to 'sex' it up, as the main character, Evie, has a sordid past she is trying to outgrow. Domestic violence, racism, homosexuality...it's all in the story. So what's left to add? A new scene, maybe a flashback to her last sexual encounter could work, but knowing my mother, she will cringe at the thought of me writing the word "nipple" or "orgasm".

Of course, I am writing this blog in this ultra religious environment so what does that say for me right now?
Tish

Thursday, September 16, 2004

What to write...what to say...

I've been toying with the idea of writing a column for a local paper. They don't know this, so that is why I am just 'toying' with the idea. Some might say "How do you know you can do this if you haven't even approached the paper?" I live life like this: when I want to do something, I decide first to pursue it and then I work out the details. Take writing A MONTH FULL OF SUNDAYS - I don't have an English degree, but I knew I had a story to tell, so I did. Once I decided to write it, I knew I would get an agent. Now it's a matter of time for the publishing part, but you see what I am saying. Life isn't supposed to be authorized by someone else, it's yours to decide and make happen. The rest is cake.
Back to the column idea. I have many ideas, stories, comments, and of course, opinions that I think everyone should hear. Family and motherhood will probably be the course I take, although I give great advice to those that don't want to hear it.
Tish

Wednesday, September 15, 2004

Finding time to write

Friends that recently found out about A MONTH FULL OF SUNDAYS always ask this question first: When do you find time to write? Out of a 24 hour day, I probably sleep 7 hours, and that's on a good day. I want more sleep, but so does every mother in the world. For work, I average 6 1/2 to 7 hours a day including paperwork at home, patient care, drive time, and office activities. That's 14 hours right there that cannot be altered during the week.
Kids take up minimum 5 hours from 3 pm until the first bed time warning at 8 pm. In this time, it's dog chasing, movie re-enactments (my favorite is The Mask as my son tries to dip his older sister per the dance scene between Jim Carrey and Cameron Diaz), 2nd grade homework, Pre-K "homework", dinner, baths/showers, and one TV show. Whew! I am tired just typing that.
From 8 to 10:30 is my time to either write, watch TV while folding an endless amount of clothes that hardly ever find their way to the appropriate drawers, and husband time. On Saturday, you would think it would be easier to find time to write but between our standard ChickFilA breakfast date, house cleaning, laundry, and in-law dinners, I am scheduled pretty tight.
What about Sunday? Well, if we are being good, church takes up our morning from 8:30 to 11:30. Lunch at a local cafeteria, Cowboy football, refereeing the kids outside, laundry, and finally, my time to write uninterrupted for an hour or two before starting on dinner, baths, bedtime and ending with me falling into bed with earplugs and a Tylenol PM.
Does that answer the question?
Tish
PS It took me two years to complete A MONTH FULL OF SUNDAYS and begin five other novels. The laptop helps but so does long trips to Oklahoma for longhand writing.


Tuesday, September 14, 2004

Husband-less

For two nights, I am husband-less. What does this mean in the real world? On the good side, it means no snoring at night, less dinner to prepare, picking my own TV shows after the kids go to bed, and no one to guilt me while I am working on my next novel with "Come spend some time with me".
On the flip side, I miss him at night because he makes me feel safe. I won't sleep well until he is snoring away next to me, all because if there were to be a break-in, I have all the faith in the world that he would take care of us. The kids miss him swinging them around like limp noodles, and yes, I miss the cuddling.
I don't know how single mothers do it. Whether it's their choice or circumstance, I have all the respect in the world for what it takes to raise children alone in this world. Bless those Mothers and Daddies (yes, there are those too) that face this most challenging career on their own: Parenting.
Since we are going to a dog obedience class tonight, I am sure the next blog will be filled with commands your dog, child, or spouse can follow. Hopefully all three will benefit in my household.

Saturday, September 11, 2004

After 9/11

It's hard to believe three years ago I watched in horror with my co-workers the second plane hit the Tower. Life changed that day but now I wonder, what has it changed to now? Sure, we all say we are concerned about terrorism, but what has changed? Our family is considering a trip to Florida next year when three years ago I said I wouldn't fly again ever. I know, life goes on, but what happened did more than kill over 3,000 innocent Americans - it shattered the security blanket we have all taken for granted. My children will never know a world without bombings, terrorist alerts, or hatred for Islamic militants. And make no mistake about it, hatred is the tamest word I can use for what it is I feel for these animals. They have stolen something we didn't realize was in danger and for that, they should feel the wrath from all Americans. This country was founded on freedom and liberty at any cost with the blood of patriots. Now, our blood spills on foreign soil for our freedom and liberty by patriots knowing that if the fight isn't won there, we will have more tragedies and catastrophies on our own soil that will dwarf the horror of 9/11.
God bless our soldiers and our leaders. No matter what you may think of our President, don't take it out on our military. They are our gladiators fighting the lions of Islam that need killing.
Tish

Thursday, September 09, 2004

Girls Night Out

For three whole hours, there were no children, no husbands, no patients: just five good friends sitting around a table at Chili's laughing at our crazy lives and jobs. One friend is pregnant with her first child while another has grown children and grandchildren. Two others have small children like me. Another is getting married later this month. Quite an eclectic group.
It was work that threw us all together. Between patient care and paperwork, you get to know your co-workers. Every job is like that, I know. But out of the many places I have worked, these people were and still are like family. Even after leaving, they are still a large part of my life.
When women get together, we talk about work, kids, husbands, other people's husbands/wives, etc. When men get together, what do they talk about? My husband says they don't gossip but I have a hard time believing that. You can only discuss batting averages or Tiger Woods for so long. Sometime during the night they must talk about their wives, kids, jobs, etc.
Why is it so hard for men to admit they gossip? or criticize? Hormones aside, we are all the same. We want to know what is going on, with whom it is going on with, and occasionally, HOW it is going.
Look at it this way, Adam was just as curious about the apple. He just didn't talk about it as much as Eve.

Wednesday, September 08, 2004

A teacher conference

There are a few things in this world I don't want to be: a skydiver, a trapeze artist, and my daughter's 2nd grade teacher. I love my daughter beyond words but to sit for 7 hours and teach that rascal the finer points of government, English, math, science, and art would drive me past drinking. Here's the phrase I was told "she's very creative"...my mom heard the same of me. "She doesn't pay as much attention as I would like"...again, my mom heard the same of me. When I asked if there was the possibility of ADD, she assured me not at all. So, the theory that has lucked in the back of my mind is now becoming a reality...MY DAUGHTER IS BECOMING ME!
Those curses my mom threw at me 25 years ago have come true "I hope you have a daughter just like you!" Well, guess what? She has better skin than me (thank God) but the same sassy, smart alec, Diva attitude that she thinks is hers was merely inherited from me.

So that means in the future I have this to look forward to: backtalking, sweet love notes, smiles, tears with the added stomping, hugs, blank stares, sneakiness, adoration, homemade birthday cards, missing dollar bills from my wallet....what will 3rd grade be like??

Tuesday, September 07, 2004

More tears for Russia

Today I heard some of the atrocities committed in the school in Russia. Like so many, I have cried for those parents, surviving children, family, and for those that suffered an unimaginable death at such a young age. But now, I feel anger and fear. Anger at the cowardice existing in so many of these terrorists. Anger at their cold, calculating methods that easily destroys a family, a community, but hopefully not a country.
Fear of what is to come also creeps down my spine. Is this another preclude to our next attack? Will there be another school taken hostage, but this time inside our borders? I know many parents didn't sleep well at the breaking news last week when it happened and I am sure that now that it is over, many of us won't sleep well knowing how long this was planned, how many planned it, and most of all, how easy it was for these animals to take control of a school.
God, a school! One of the few places our children should be the most safe.......and what is next? Hospitals, nursing homes, what? These barbarians have no shame, no sense of decency and that is hard to fight. And to know that there were women posing as terrorists.......it sickens me to know a woman could taunt and kill a child for nothing more than a political statement.

It's time to take the kid gloves off and make our statement, loud and clear.
NO MORE! Not with diplomacy or restrained force but with the iron fist of the greatest nation on this earth. Search and destroy any and all terrorists, sympathizers, and sleeping cells within our own borders while assisting other nations rid their country of this evil.

I wish there was a way to send our condolences to the grieving families of those children and parents. If anyone comes across that information, please send it my way. And hug your kids twice. Pray our nation is spared this tragedy..........pray our nation destroys the enemy.

Sunday, September 05, 2004

Editing the last word of A MONTH OF SUNDAYS

Ahh, the feeling of hitting the 'save' button with the last revision is right up there with a kiss, a fondle, maybe even.........no, not that good. But knowing that my revision is done, I do feel relieved and envigorated. Now I am ready to tackle my next project, ROCKS OF AGES. Actually, it is the first story I penned when we bought a computer way back in 1995. The nursing home where I worked had the most colorful characters that I couldn't pass up the chance to introduce the world to them. The only problem, I thought I didn't have time to write. Hah! I was newly married, had no children, and was alone most of the time as my husband worked shift work at that time, requiring 12 hour nights. What was I thinking?! I could have written War and Peace twenty times with the freedom I had, but instead I shopped, worked out occasionally, and dined out quite a bit. All that money, all that time....gone with the birth of our daughter and son. A trade off I would do again in a heartbeat. But with more drugs this time, maybe until they were two.........or six.

Procrastination

I could be editing my novel right now, so why am I watching The Mask with Jim Carrey for the twentieth time? Because my son wants to, that's why. And why haven't I mopped the kitchen on my day off? Because it's my day off. A day off shouldn't consist of duties you dread during the week, oh no. A day off is meant for relaxing, shopping, reading, napping, playing, dancing to Lizzie McGuire with your 7 year old, and yes, watching Jim Carrey throw Cameron Diaz around a dance floor.
We've forgotten the hidden beauty of a day off and traded it for another work day that doesn't pay us, insure us or give us any type of retirement other than the assurance that next week you will have the same duties to perform as this day off............it's a hamster wheel, cleaning on your day off.
At least that's what I am telling myself.

Saturday, September 04, 2004

Childrens' Birthday Parties

Today I attended yet another birthday party with my son. We seem to be on a birthday party tour that began with his last year. After inviting his Dayschool class, my friends' children, and a friend or two for his older sister, the number grew to 30. Figure 2/3 show up, there's twenty birthday parties you've just signed up for the following year.
Watching the kids play together is nice, but after ten weeks of Saturday parties from 11-2, I've grown weary of singing the song, eating the cake, and most of all, spending more money. On average, a decent birthday gift with mandatory gift bag, runs about $15. Unlike some of my friends, I don't spruce a bag up with wads of tissue paper. Here's the gift, there's a bag you can recycle at another party, ta da! Kids don't care if it's wrapped in day old, grease stained brown paper - they want the present.
It's the parents that like the tissue, colorful wrapping paper, coordinating bows and ribbons......great if you are taking a picture but not functional at all.
This is a mother's duty, I guess. Very seldom do you see father escorting their children to a birthday party unless Mom's very sick. You can spot them sitting on the edge of the fray, away from the gaggle of other moms trading birthday party stories. His eyes scan the crowd for another man to at least share in his misery and trade golf scores. When the cake is served, the lone father will swoop his child out of the group for a quick goodbye. And for that single afternoon, the father will feel as if he has paid dues that extend far past a week, month, or even a year for any other birthday party/play dates.
Maybe we mothers should have Birthday Tour 2004 T-shirts made up and add each party attended in concert format. Like Girl Scout badges of honor and once the shirt is completely full, the mother earns an automatic pass from all birthday parties in the following year. Like an exemption, you could say. But if you throw in a shirt, husbands might show interest and then, before you know it, they will have it on ESPN as a new sport. Cameras will follow Dads around, trying to 'score' another party before the other Dads..........what a reality show that would be!

Friday, September 03, 2004

Tears for Russia

I pray for the Russian parents today. A fear that we all bury deep in our minds became a cruel reality three days ago. When I saw the photograph of a father carrying his blood stained child from the school, I wept. There is so much we take for granted in this United States. Not that we haven't had our share of school violence, but I cannot think of a hostage situation anywhere near like what the Russians have endured this week in our country. God bless those families that sigh with relief their children are home, and God comfort those families that have an empty seat at the dinner table, an empty bed at night, and hearts full of sorrow.
Please pray for these individuals, families, and for their country to do what ours has done: Stand up to the terrorists and squash them until they can no longer control with fear.
As I picked my children up today, I felt different about our country. We are so blessed, so fortunate that our military is fighting a war away from our children, away from our homes. If you get a chance to pray for the Russians, please do. If you get a chance to pray for our soldiers, please do. Prayers and faith can carry our country through this darkness to the light of freedom and security for generations to come.
Tish

Remember Labor Day when we were kids?

Maybe it's just me, but when I was growing up, Labor Day was awesome. No one went to work so your parents were home, grilling and watching the games on TV. There were at least 100 fireflies dancing in the front yard after dark and you got to sleep late.
Fast forward to 2004 and here's what Labor Day has become:
Sales at JCPenneys so you dare not sleep late (like that isn't an every day occurence).
Parents working while kids are at daycare.
Gas grills instead of charcoal for the environment, our health, blah blah (who misses that taste like I do? Admit it, that was one of the tastes of summer).
Crowded restaurants and movie theatres (didn't go when I was a kid so maybe that hasn't changed).
Two days of Political debates on TV instead of one, especially this year with the election.
No firecrackers - tell me I wasn't the only kid who popped some Black Cats or singed my fingers with sparklers left over from July 4th.
Kids riding their bikes all over their neighborhood because you knew and trusted your neighbors (this really bothers me since my kids will never know that carefree feeling of just taking off down the street without me fearing the molester or drunk driver is out to get them.)
We don't have fireflies at night in our yard. The gas grill does just fine for our meals and I don't buy any firecrackers for my kids because of my constant paranoia of them blowing their hands off. And I don't mind going to the movies on a holiday, even if it is rated G or PG.
I guess it's me then. I'm the one that's changed, not Labor Day. Except for the fireflies. That's not my doing.

Thursday, September 02, 2004

Golf Widow

For the next few days, I will be husbandless all thanks to the sport of Golf. There were times in my marriage I considered golf as the other woman, always luring my husband away from me, the kids, and our life. Now I have a different outlook.
When I type my blog, check my emails, surf google, my husband is an internet widower. Yes, my body is present, but my mind is millions of miles away which is the same thing. I can't begrudge him his own time. There might be a time where I learn to play, although being left handed might be a handicap. The kids can play with him as they grow older but I will be happy if I can have my wireless laptop in the golf cart.
But for the time being, after 8:30 tonight, I will have three hours of freedom to surf the Net, lounge in the tub, or finish my edit on A MONTH FULL OF SUNDAYS. What do you bet I will do all three?
Tish

Wednesday, September 01, 2004

WalMart, Spiders, and Harlequin Romance Novels

If someone tells you to take both of your children to WalMart, remember this story.

After listening to an endless story containing the largest spider ever in my daughter's classroom and its effect on her, the class, and the world at large, we finally took our spot at the checkout counter. Behind us stood an attractive 20ish woman wearing a tank top and a push up bra. Unbeknownst to me there was a book rack to the side that my 4 year old was studying and while I listen to the 14th version of the spider that taunted Mrs. Sharp' s 2nd grade class, I hear my son say in his loudest, most grown-up voice,
"Look, Mom, she's showing her BOOBIES!"

Even the black checker froze. The young lady stared at me, I looked side to side as if it wasn't my child but my ever so observant daughter verifies his statement,
"Did you hear what he just said about her boobies?"

Now you might be thinking he is a young casanova, and he is that, indeed. But this day he was holding a Harlequin Romance novel with a cleavage shot on the cover. Thank goodness. We all had a good laugh but for that one moment, I was speechless. Thank God for children.