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Raised my sons right -- best analogy ever!

Last night, my youngest son and I went to dinner and he was telling me his girlfriend hadn't seen many movies so he was catching her up this summer. So far, they've seen "Forrest Gump" and a few other classics. Then, he informed me with horror, she's only seen Avengers: Infinity War and Avengers: Engame Since I've only ever seen Dr. Strange I could not for the life of me understand why this was so shocking.


He tells me, "Mom, there's an order to the movies and you have to watch them in order or you don't know any of the characters."

"I watched Dr. Strange and it didn't seem like I missed anything. I did learn you have to wait until the end of the credits to see the next movie clip."

He's growing more frustrated as he's trying to explain. Finally, he stops, sucks in a deep breath and says, "Mom, it's like if you tune into Pride and Prejudice when Lydia is getting married and you're expected to understand why we like Mr. Darcy and he isn't a dog."

OOOOOH. Now I get it. And I totally raised my boys right. YAY ME! Obligatory Darcy pic.


I NEED a new handbag!

Some people LIKE to buy new handbags but I have something more serious going on. It's an addiction -- and let's be clear, I have no desire to go to Handbags Anonymous or fix this addiction, I just want to a new handbag!


This has been a lifelong thing. My first memory of money is my grandpa bringing me a Navajo suede purse that had feathers dangling off of it. He put a few coins in there and that's my first memory. In college, my rent was $200 and so was my handbag.

I should also mention since I'm a writer and work from home, I tend to dress like a bag lady. No pun intended. T-shirt, jeans, Keds. Hasn't changed since high school. (Works for me, what can I say?) So it's not a fashion statement for me. It just simply brings me joy and it always has.

Every once in a while I get the itch and it's happening now. I'm trying to write today and not think about it, but I've been avoiding this reality for months now. I had to throw my daughter a party. Cha-Ching. I had to buy a new pull-out sofa for my son, cha-ching. I got a new computer because mine finally gave way. Cha-Ching, cha-ching. In other words, I'm not getting a new handbag so I needed to vent. Lucky you!

Maybe I should start a go-fund-me account. LOL. My mother already thinks I need a "real" job, can you imagine if I started begging for a new handbag? I think she's had hers for going on a decade now and I bought it. Being an artist born to a family of practicality is excruciatingly difficult. I know how I SHOULD be. But yeah, I'm not.

I did get a little coin for writing a short story yesterday for a friend who is compiling them. That was nice. But it won't buy me a new handbag. If I was a normal it would, which is only a painful reminder that I am not a normal. WWWHHHYYY???

I'm consoling myself with an iced soy latte. What's your poison that you can't justify to others?

Toy Story 4 Week!!

Toy Story was the first movie I took my firstborn Trey to. Jonah was home with grandma. The movie has meant so much to us over the long haul. We quote from the movie all the time and it's part of the family vernacular. Trey was like Woody -- he had all the wooden toys and built things. Jonah was my Buzz and always was into the motorized cars and robots. So over the years, my love for the movie has only grown and it's one of my favorites.

When Andy went off to college in Toy Story 3 and my boys were off to college, I may have sobbed. So this week, I'm going by myself to see the new Toy Story 4. Trey's an engineer in L.A.; Jonah's a Marine on deployment; Seth is home from college but working constantly and is probably not interested in seeing Toy Story 4 with his mom -- how rude; and Elle has left the state to go to cosmetology school. My job is done here. But that doesn't mean I can't revisit that life once in a while.


They may all be grown up, but that doesn't mean that I have to be.


I'm off to the vet for the one furry child who hasn't left me. Though I wish...

90 Day Fiance: The Other Way

Just when you think you can't think more highly of yourself for not being on a reality show, along comes "90 Day Fiance: The Other Way." This is where desperate Americans don't marry for a green card, they set off into lands unknown to marry a foreigner on their own turf. You probably didn't think you needed another franchise of "90 Day Fiance" but you'd be wrong.

First, anchoring our show is Paul and Karine. Now, I'm a huge Paul fan. Ever since he received a blob of him mom's hair before he left for Brazil, I knew this kid was for me. Karine loves stuffed animals and candy and her dad was a cop. Paul has a record and may or may not have set his ex's house on fire. There's some kind of strange charge -- as is the norm on this show. Everyone seems to have a brush with the law, but this doesn't stop them from finding love on the Interweb.


Now first, as a person who is very careful and probably too cautious, I want to say that I love that people are willing to go to these efforts to find love. I wish they didn't have to, but I'm home watching it alone, so I have to applaud them. They're not letting fear or sometimes, reality enter into the equation and as a romance writer, I can support this. Where would we be if Mr. Darcy didn't ignore his nightmare future mother-in-law and throw caution to the wind? I'm always going to be on Paul and Karine's side because they both worked really hard to make this work. And now they have a baby.

Full disclosure: I have Paul running up the hill on my phone. For some reason, I love this scene and it makes me happy every time I watch it. I can totally identify with, I don't want to have this awkward conversation about my life, so I'm going to run into the jungle and allow you to be robbed at Machete-point. I mean, seriously, where are you going to find this kind of drama?


A lot of this year's cast is middle-aged women who are going to foreign countries that aren't, shall we say, feminist-centric. Jenny is an older blonde who is headed to India to marry Sumit. If his parents allow it. Judging by how many arranged marriages that I live near here in America, I'm going to say this is going to fly like a lead balloon. First of all, did I mention she's blonde? Ie., not Indian? Well, there's that and there's her age. She's a grandma and he's not yet 30. What could go wrong?


Laura is 51 and she's flying to Qatar to meet Aladin. This one I don't get. Maybe it's because I have sons, but that dude is too young for you. Who wants to be with a kid? It is just strange to me. I can't find a picture of them. But she's a beautiful woman of 51 and he's...not.

But as I said, I'm on the side of love, so I'm rooting for them. Well, I'm not really rooting for the Mormon guy opening a bar in Ecuador. Mostly because he has to give up his family and his values for his would-be wife. Corey comes from a nice family and Evelin is from a place with no running water and little electricity. That would be fine if I thought she was in love with Corey, but I don't and I think he's going to be sorry. As a mom, I would probably burn his passport so he couldn't go. Just saying.


There are other couples, but you get the gist. This is quality entertainment. Yes, my son makes fun of me for watching "crap" television, but all I can say is, it's worth it. Thanks TLC.

Manly Milk...

My son is home from college and he drinks a lot of milk. Elle and I went through a quart in maybe two weeks. So I had my AC2 milk that lasts longer and doesn't have lactose. My son looked at the date and said, "What's wrong with this milk? Why does it last so long?"


"It's easier on your tummy. It doesn't have lactose."

"If you're going to the grocery store," he says, "get me some manly milk."

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Done. We now have manly milk next to the beer in the fridge. My, how things have changed in such a short amount of time. I got rid of three HUGE boxes of shoes, not to mention her mounds of clothes, when Elle left and I had two large boxes of gaming ware come in. It feels a lot bigger around here.

The happy news is that Seth doesn't ask me to make soup at 9:30 p.m. or he won't eat and the dog sleeps later with Seth here coddling her. I have to look at all the good things because I miss my baby girl something fierce.

I am well on my way to finishing my book though, so at least I'm working again. Right? Right.

Southern Charm without T-Rav...

As is well-documented here, I have never liked Thomas Ravenel and I have always seen Katheryn as a victim of her own youth and naiveté. Now that Thomas is gone (accused of some very sordid deeds) the show is fine without him. And I couldn't be happier. We still had to see the clip of Kathryn running pathetically after him on the dock yelling, "Thomas!" Although, even that clip isn't getting as much wear as Austin in his chones. And ewww. We get it, Bravo. It's like, "Shep got a haircut -- cue the Austin in his undies clip."


Upon news that Kathryn had a liaison with Whitney -- I don't know if this is truth or a producer-created fantasy, but it seems like the latter. That being said, the idea of Whitney in his glasses and nothing more makes me laugh out loud. Getting old is real. That's why you don't belong with women in their 20's.

I love more of Chelsea and I also love that she sees right through the men of Charleston and has moved on with a yachtie from somewhere else. I guess Cameron got the only grown-up in Charleston. I'm not a fan of Naomie without Craig. Yeah, Craig needs to up his game and actually just get up, but Naomie's new choice seems shallow and I worry if she marries him, he will quickly turn into a monster. A monster who has access to drugs that can put you to sleep. Yeah. Not a fan.

Danni deserves the limelight this year. She's played second fiddle for too long. That being said, her "talk" with Kathryn made me so angry. Kathryn just doesn't want to be held accountable and even though she's dating another loser politician with a sex scandal, Danni is just supposed to sit by idly and wait for Kathryn to call. No thanks. I know Kathryn has a lot of issues, but she needs to learn how to have an adult conversation and not just step out every time someone calls her on her garbage.

Anyway, as you can see, I put far too much thought into this show, but there it is for your reading pleasure. Happy Friday y'all!

Art for the sake of the artist...

The California rolling hills are in their glory. The incredible golden grass dotted with the lush, dark oaks. Mmm. Perfection. It's my happy place and it's the season. It makes me want to paint again just for the sake of painting. Ie., art doesn't have to have a point. It can just be there to make the artist feel better. I admit, I have a hard time not being productive, so sitting down to paint feels unproductive. Especially since I can lose hours in the process. But it's also healing and that has value, true?


I lose time when I write and when I paint. So it seems wasteful. But as I get older I'm seeing that maybe it isn't as wasteful as I once thought. Maybe it's there to help me be present. Do you have a hobby where you lose time? How much time do you allow yourself for that hobby?


Now that Elle took all my art off the walls, maybe it's time to paint again and fill them up. I have my walls back!

I'm also back to writing so I will look at that as "work" and painting as the hobby. Even though both of them make me happy and my fullest self.

It's MY Turn! Living the Writer Life...

The other day I was in the movies. I saw "Rocketman" -- now I'm not a big Elton fan anyway, but the movie was just okay. I think since my life would be rated "PG" I tend to struggle with some biographies that take me to places I'd rather not be. "Rocketman" was one of those movies. But I digress. While in there, I saw a preview of "Downton Abbey" the movie and I'm uber excited about that one, but I also saw the new ad for "The Art of Racing in the Rain."


Now the last time I spoke as a writer, I was on a panel between the author of that book (Garth Stein) and Van Jones. Just the three of us. We were speaking on faith in our writing. I mean, how cool is that, right? But Garth is now having a big movie made of his bestseller and Van Jones -- well, Van Jones is busy saving the world. And me? I'm sending my last kid off and feeling like a complete loser. And that's not because they are skyrocketing in their careers and I'm not. It's because I'm not doing what I was placed on the earth to do. I've been doing a job -- that I'm grateful for -- but that also isn't me AT ALL.

We all have to get by. God doesn't owe me anything and I'm so happy for the career I've had while raising four kids. I'm a firm believer in the fact that we're all where we belong and we have to look for the lesson in where we are. However, a few weeks ago, a screenwriter contacted me and wanted me to turn her screenplay into a novel. Okay, she's my kind of people. She's producing reality TV for Bravo and she may or may not have let a curse word slip out while we talked. We've been collaborating on her idea and how to turn it into a novel. (It has lots of time jumps and Old Testament action.) Yesterday, when we talked and I was able to give her feedback on what we needed from the characters and the chapters, I just came to life. This is SOOO easy for me. It's like not working at all.

I may have a tiny rant that it's not fair most men just get to do their jobs. But women have to do their jobs and raise children. I know that's changing and I wouldn't want any career over getting to see my kids follow their dreams, but I'm so happy that it's my turn again. In celebration -- and because my desktop is dying -- I'm getting a new iMac.


Luckily, the 21-inch model is cheaper -- and I'm too ADD for the 27-inch model. I actually had one and gave it to my kids and went back to the smaller one. In the meantime, one son in southeast Asia riding an elephant, one was in Disneyland's Galaxy's Edge and my daughter is currently at the Grand Canyon. My son who is managing the pool this summer is home with me and just took over my desk with a giant gaming monitor. Do you see my point? They're living the dream. It is SO my turn and mama wants to write! That's my long-winded update to say I finally have time to do what it is I was meant to do and I'm so happy about it!




I clearly taught my kids to live the good life -- now it's time to take my own advice!