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November 2013
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January 2014

Happy 2014 -- Are you Organized?

Okay, so I'm big on planning this year. Because, as I said, 2013 sucked, so I'm hoping NOT to relive it anytime soon.

After my daily word count, I am organizing like a mad chick. We have these laundry room cabinets, and the shelves are all falling down, so they're not much use. I went the hardware store, and my plan is to fix them today and organize the laundry room.

Not to diss DH, because there is a LOT I'm not good at, but we had dinner at my friend's house on Sunday night, and her husband was fixing the doorbell when we came in -- and then he took out the vacuum because something was on the floor. My son said, and I quote, "He's done more since we've been here that I've seen Dad do in six months."

Classic. And sadly true. For some reason, it really bothers this son to see me with a power tool. But necessity is the mother of invention and YouTube can show you how to fix anything.


Luckily, I am the daughter/granddaughter of a plumber and the granddaughter of a carpenter. I'm actually quite handy because of all the time I spent out in my grandfather's shop. Mostly to escape my grandmother's kitchen and baking lessons, but whatever. God knew I needed the handyman stuff more.

Anyway, are you organizing something for 2014?

(FYI, in the name of full disclosure, my kids also told me I need to take cooking lessons from my friend. Sadly, she's been trying since we were in high school. It is what it is.)

Now I'm Jealous...

This is my son in Oxford. He's in England watching Manchester U play Tottenham. Today though, my boy sent me this. With the suggestion that I can write my ghost story and write off a trip. I know, right?

Now, if they send me a picture of the mother ship Prada when they get to Milan, I may change the locks before they come home. You can have the soccer. Ghost tours and Prada? Calling Mom's name!


On a related note, these haunting photos of abandoned places are amazing:

Time Management

This will come as a surprise to no one, I'm not great at time management. And that's fine, I usually get everything done, and I have a system in place. However, I want to write more this year. I want to go back to at least 2,000 words a day and get some books out.

I bought a book called "Time Warrior" by Steve Chandler, and I'm very happy with it. It's only $4.88 on the Kindle, so buy one for yourself for the New Year. It's got some great advice, especially for us perfectionists, who try to do everything.

My day is constantly chopped into bits. One kid needs to be here at this time, the other across town at that time. I have to try writing in between all that. I remember when Lawana Blackwell quit writing when her kids were teens (I had four little ones at the time) and I couldn't believe her day was harder than mine as a mom of young kids.

Mind-wise, it's totally harder. Physically, not so much. But you have to much to think about when the kids are teens and somehow, my day just got parceled to the point where I wasn't working. When they're young, YOU control when they go. My kids parceling my day had to stop, but I needed some direction. If you're looking for a time management book that is made for an artistic mind, I think this is it.


It's very simplistic, and probably nothing you don't already know, but this morning, I had my word count done and the groceries bought by 11 a.m. And my house is clean and the bills are paid. Granted, it's easier this week because the kids are home, but I had a lot more time for social stuff yesterday as well.

And no, I get no kickback on the book. I just thought it was very helpful for a mind that has too much on it.

Buy at Amazon here.

So head's up on a quality, easy-to-read book.

Writers Who Speak their Truth: Where Have they Gone?

I love this article. It's about Camille Paglia -- a feminist writer -- complaining on the lack of men in our society. We've created that lack of men by teaching in classrooms that any physical activity is bad -- and worthy of ADD pills. We've also seen men failing in school and women taking over the colleges. Which later leads to women being the main bread winners in the house.

You can deny that's a problem, but for most men, hardwired with pride, it's a tough sell. One of my BFF's has had a stay-at-home husband for her entire 20+ year marriage. It works for them. He cooks, takes care of the cars, protects. She earns the money. But the way men and women are hardwired, I don't think it's best for it to be society's norm.


Neither does Camille Paglia, and as a truth teller -- I love that she's speaking out. It's not a popular view. She actually stood up for Phil from Duck Dynasty, saying the man has a right to his beliefs. Really? Not in this environment we've created. Truth is the new hate speech. Remember when journalists/writers were willing to risk it? That era is gone.

Eve's Bayou...

I'd never even HEARD of this movie, but it was on BET last night, and it was SOOOO good. I just loved it. First off, it's set in the Bayou. Who doesn't love a good Bayou story?

Angie from All My Children is in it. She has "the sight" -- ie., she has visions and sees the future. There's a creepy voodoo chick who reads chicken bones. (Seriously, who would take advice from chicken bones?)

Anyway, it's a great cautionary tale about playing God, and it has some great lines in it. I did enjoy it.


The Racist Drink Debate...

You know how your grandparents used to call Asians, Orientals? And you were always mortified, and tried to correct them. Well, my kids are mortified when I order a "Mexican Coke" -- at a Mexican restaurant. They claim it's racist.

The BOTTLE SAYS "Heche en Mexico" -- that makes it a Mexican Coke. When I order a plain Coke, they give me a can. If I say, "Mexican Coke" I get the bottle. So the kids, thoroughly mortified by me, rush to order the BOTTLED COKE before I can open my mouth.

I've been going to my hole-in-the-wall burrito joint since Jr. High School. If I AM racist, in ordering a "Mexican Coke" then it's been that way for a long time. Besides, these Cokes are better. They are made with REAL Sugar. It is a superior product, so I don't see how I'm being offensive. But whatever. Fast forward to last night.

Trouble at the Vietnamese restaurant.

"I'll have a Vietnamese Iced Coffee."

Son slaps his head, "MOo--om!"

"Well, I don't want an Iced Coffee. A Vietnamese Iced Coffee has condensed milk in it." So they show me on the menu that it does not say "Vietnamese Iced Coffee."

"Okay, but it does say Thai Iced Tea. If I ordered that in a Vietnamese restaurant, is that racist?'

Roll of eyes. Conversation is over. Mother is hopeless. I will ordered a bottled Coke for their benefit, but I still fail to see how it's racist.


I don't order a "Mexican Margarita" -- THAT would be racist. So does that mean a French wine is racist? I'm confused. Clearly.

What do you prefer in life?

I love this quote:

"To know what you prefer, instead of humbly saying 'Amen' to what the world tells you to prefer, is to have kept your soul alive." Robert Louis Stevenson

I think the greatest gift in life is to discover your purpose early and not kowtow to someone else's vision for your life. At what age, do you think you knew what YOU preferred?

(It's so much easier to give others what they prefer and not cause conflict. But life is rarely that simple, is it?)

For me, I wish I knew early on that a giant house wasn't my preference. It was someone else's vision of "the life" -- I couldn't care less about a big house and quite frankly, prefer a smaller one. I prefer a home that I can put my stamp on and that's cozy.


Courtney Loves Dallas Proves Anything can be a Show...

I had a pedicure on Christmas Eve. I dropped my son off at SFO and I'm helping my daughter try to win a contest to meet Austin Mahone.

So Bravo...when do the cameras arrive? Because seriously, after seeing my first episode of "Courtney Loves Dallas" I am convinced that *I* am interesting enough to have my own reality show.

A writer is not an active job, so we'd have to up the conflict. You know, bring in some smart-mouthed maid to make me espresso and clean stuff. I'll make clever quips while she scrubs.

Andy, do you see where I'm going with this? I'll need a wardrobe budget. (My son's going to be in Milan and can probably get you a deal on a Prada -- unless you know somebody.)

So this girl Courtney, I still haven't figured out exactly what she does -- something with fashion -- which must be Texas fashion because it's not translating. On next week's episode, there is some guy telling her completely straight-faced, and without any emotion whatsoever, that he wants her back in her life.

Flatline dude? She's all yours!


Now Bravo Andy, back to my show. Okay, as far as a romantic interest...hmmm. This might prove difficult. Engineers are, how do we say...not exactly penning sonnets in their free time. So it would have to be that awkward love out of water, that kind of thing. Oh my friends would totally be great on this. They're even snarkier than me. But they'll need a wardrobe budget too.

Sheesh. Bravo is trying too hard. I feel like if I put a camera in my SUV and drove the soccer carpool and to the dentist, I'd have a show! (Can you hear the conflict with me trying to talk with COTTON in my mouth? Oh, the hilarity that would ensue!)

Maybe we should aim a little higher...

Handwritten Notes...

This is a "list" of the best notes of 2013. I have to say, I love a good handwritten note. They're so special anymore, aren't they? I mean, after you lose someone truly special from your life, their handwriting is so alive. It can really jar you to find a note or a card from someone who has passed away, and I do hope we're not completely losing the art of pen to paper.

It must be the romantic in me, but I do love a good penned note. It's a piece of warmth that is with you always. Some of these are kind of creepy I thought -- like the gal who gets revenge with tiny red hearts in her letter. And the guy who buys a pizza because the wife was breastfeeding her baby. Seriously, that's creepy. But whatever...notes. Write one! (Before the art of writing completely disappears!)


Katie Couric...

I just turned on the TV -- yes I'm writing in bed, Merry Christmas to me! Anyway, Katie Couric has a show now, and she opens by saying, "He can dance. He can rap and check out that body!" Then people in the audience squeal.

Okay, ick. Katie Couric leering lecherously over a Pitbull picture is something that I did not need today. So I thought I'd share my discomfort. You're welcome.


And I guess he's just not my taste anyway. Shoot. Phone call. I knew the whole "writing in bed" thing wasn't going to last.