Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Writing Challenge - Breaking The Boundaries But Not The Rules

Sara paced up and down the hallway, her long skirts rustling along the stone floor. Her father was in the throne room, asking the King for a boon that could change her life. As the daughter of a Count, her main goal in life was to marry and produce children. But Sara had a dream that she hoped would come true.

As a titled lady, she had received many instructions in things a lady and a future wife would need to know. As a child, she received singing lessons. These lessons were the highlight of her day, until ladies singing in court went out of vogue and the lessons stopped in favor of sewing frilly patterns on handkerchiefs.

I would sing when I was alone, but it wasn't the same as being able to raise my voice in court itself. I had several suitors but I couldn't decide on one. My father finally noticed that I was distant and moody, and sat me down to discuss what was going on. I told him about my feelings about singing and how it was the only thing that made my heart light. But I didn't want to break the rules of the court by pushing the issue.

My father was silent for a moment and then told me he would have to do some thinking. I thought that was the end of it. I was very surprised when my father came to me yesterday and said that he was going to have an audience with the King about the singing issue. My heart leaped and I slept very little. Now I was forced to pace outside as I waited to hear what the King's answer was.

The great doors opened and a page beckoned me to him. As I approached, the page said, "The King would like to see you."

My hands trembled as I followed the page back into the throne room. The King and my father were smiling as the talked. My father glanced up and saw me approaching and gestured for me to come to his side.

"Sara, I have good news," my father said, looking down at me, "The King has agreed that singing in court would be a nice change. You can start performed as soon as you become engaged."

I nodded feeling a little mixed about this, but at least I would get what I wanted without breaking any of the rules.


For the IndieInk Writing Challenge this week, Diane challenged me with "Breaking the boundaries but not the rules" and I challenged The Lime with "Crazy is how you perceive it"

RIP Davy Jones

A piece of my childhood passed away today. Davy Jones died today from a heart attack and was only 66 years old.

When I was younger, The Monkees TV show started playing in syndication. My sister, Kelly, and my cousin, Sarah, and I would watch the shows as often as we could.

We all had our favorites. Davy Jones was my sister's favorite while I preferred Micky Dolenz. I think my cousin liked Michael Nesmith. My cousin would usually spend a month of her summer break at our house and it was during one of these times one of the amusing stories from my childhood happened.

Kelly and Sarah decided to go to the TV and kiss their favorite Monkee. I opted not to. Well, they managed to make the TV fall and it broke. They got grounded from watching TV for a week or two because of that.

The Monkees did a big tour after the show took off again and my parents got us tickets. It was one of the first concerts I ever went to and it was awesome to see the Monkees (minus Michael Nesmith) live. Ironically Weird Al was the opening act, but I had no idea who he was at the time. It wasn't until later that I started listening to his music.

So RIP Davy Jones - it's a very sad day for all Monkees fans out there.

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Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Sleeping On Her Own!

Emily has never been a great sleeper and she never liked sleeping on her own. For her first year, she slept in a crib in our room. I was nervous about co-sleeping with a newborn but I wanted her nearby since she was waking up every couple hours to nurse.

We tried to get her into her own room after she was one, but it turned out to be a battle. When she did sleep in her room, I'd have to wait until she was completely asleep before I could make my exit. I would be waiting for hours and if I misjudged it, she would start crying and I'd have to start from the beginning.

I should mention at this point, that we weren't fans of the Cry It Out method. I tried it a few times but it proved to not work at all for Emily. I swear I spent the first couple years of her life in a haze because I was getting so little sleep.

I don't remember why we started co-sleeping, but for a while, Emily would sleep but she wanted to sleep with me. I would sleep on a blow up bed in her room, in order to get her used to sleeping in her room. Plus I didn't want my poor husband to have to sleep on the couch.

Finally the blow up bed died because we have cats with claws and we were using it everyday. Emily and I moved into Todd & I's bedroom briefly as I began to reason with her (as much as you can reason with a three year old). I stopped waiting for her to fall asleep before going out of the room. She got upset the first couple of times, but I explained that I was just going to be in the living room if she needed me. She quickly got used to the new routine.

Then I started taking up how she would be a big girl if she slept in her own room, then decided on a day to try out having her sleep in her own bed. Todd wasn't convinced that it would work, since we had tried and failed several time in the past.

But this time was different. We did the exact same bedtime routine except we were doing it in her room. I got her tucked into her bed and gave her hugs and kisses. She requested I sit in the chair that is in her room for five minutes. I did so, then got up and gave her more hugs and kisses. I told her I was going to be either in the living room or in mommy and daddy's room. She briefly said she wanted to go to mommy and daddy's room, but I gently said no.

I went out to the living room and then to bed a few hours later. I didn't hear a peep and neither did Todd when he got home from work. She was so excited when she woke up in the morning that she had slept in her own bed because that made her a big girl.

It's been a while since Emily started sleeping in her own room. It's been so nice to have her in her own room and not have to worry about bedtime drama. Now, she does wake up sometimes and comes out because of nightmares. But usually once I calm her down, she'll go back to sleep in her bed as long as me or Todd (if he's home) sits in the chair for five minutes.

I'm not sure what I would have done different as far as her sleeping. I don't think there is much I could have done when she was very small. If we were to have another baby, I'd probably push for a king sized bed so we could co-sleep. But since Emily is our only, it's a moot point.

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Friday, February 24, 2012

Luck and Claw Machines

My husband is a winner - as in he wins a lot of stuff. He's won a snowboard, a watch and even an xBox 360 that came with two games along with t-shirts, hats and coupons for Mountain Dew. But the thing he is best at winning is toys out of claw machines.

When we first moved to NC, we would go to the nearest Walmart a couple times a week. Nearly every time we went, we would stop by the claw machines they had in the front of the store. And nearly every time, Todd would manage to get a stuffed animal out.

We haven't done it much lately, but Emily asked today and we had some change in our pockets. It took Todd two tries but he managed to get Emily an minion from Despicable Me, dressed as a bunny for Easter. She was very excited when her daddy actually won her a stuffy.

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Thursday, February 23, 2012

Writing Challenge - You Can't Run Away From Trouble

My horse trembled behind me as I pushed it to the absolute brink of exhaustion. He took another step and his legs collapsed underneath him, taking me down with him.

I rolled off, groaning in pain. I scrambled to my feet and hurried over to my horse's saddlebag. I pulled out a small package and stuck it into a pocket in my skirts. I also grabbed my bag of supplies. I ran my hand over my horse's head as I murmured, "I'm sorry, Princess."

My pace was nearly a run as I left Princess behind. I willed myself to slow down to a fast walk, just in case I came across another traveler on the road. I kept my head down and just kept walking as my mind went over and over the events of the last couple of days.

The village I had lived in all my life was very poor. We were serfs to Count Doofen, who was a cruel master. We grew crops in the fields but we didn't get to keep hardly any of the food.

Even though I was thin and sickly, I was cursed with a beautiful face. The Count recently did a ride through of our village and I had the misfortune of catching his eye. He brought me to his castle and did unspeakable things to me. I endured it because I felt I had no other choice.

It wasn't long before I was with child. The Count longed for a son and I knew if my child was one, I would become his wife. I prayed for a son because I knew it would make both of our lives so much better.

But when the midwife told me I had borne a healthy baby girl, I wept and could not be consoled. I was allowed to keep my daughter for several years but it was recently she was taken from me to live in my old village.

I tried to console myself that at least my parents would look after her, but I felt so much pain that my child was forced to live the same merger existence that I had to deal with. I just tried to keep living until a few days ago.

News reached the castle that a plague had been spreading through the countryside like a wildfire. My entire village perished, including my daughter who had just turned ten years old. Outside, I pretended to grieve and move on. But inside, I was aflame. I had to get away from the count, from this life. I was fueled on by the fact that I was newly pregnant.

I made a plan by beginning to gather supplies. On the night I made my escape, I stole a valuable necklace in the thoughts of selling it once I got far enough away. Even though Princess, my favorite horse, and I had made a clean getaway, I felt like there was a host of people behind me.

As I walked, I began to feel a flush rising up my neck. My steps slowed and I found that my whole body was starting to feel very heavy. I ended up having to stop and sit with a tree at my back. My eyes began to feel heavy and finally I fell asleep.

I died peacefully on the side of that road, from the same plague that had killed my daughter. I couldn't run away from the trouble I was in or from my life. But death was something of an escape for me.


For the IndieInk Writing Challenge this week, Tara Roberts challenged me with "You can't run away from trouble. There ain't no place that far. - James Baskett" and I challenged The Lime with "All She Needed Was A Good Beating"

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Ash Wednesday

I'm Lutheran so we observe Lent. Today was Ash Wednesday so Emily and I went to our church's child friendly service at 5:30.

The service was nice as the kid's choir and the kid's bell choir played some songs. The homily by Pastor Mark was nice, though Emily was a wiggle worm during it.

At my church, we do ashes on the forehead as the Pastor or the Vicar say a blessing over you. We went to Vicar Ingrid's side and she give Emily then me our ash cross on our forehead. Emily was really geek to get her's. The picture doesn't show it well, but she is showing off her cross.

After church we had to go to Walmart to get the ingredients for Monster Spray to help with Emily's nightmare problem. I got a new spray bottle and some Febreeze. We mixed the Febreeze with water and she was very excited to spray it around her room.

Emily said that she felt better after her room had been Monster Spray-ed. But we'll see if it works to keep the nightmares away.

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Plagued by Nightmares

I've always suffered from vivid dreams and scary nightmares as far back as I can remember. Many nights I wake up all freaked out but since I'm an adult, I can calm myself down because I know it's just a dream.

My poor Emily seems to have inherited these dreams and nightmares from me. She started having nightmares when she was very small and would wake up very upset. But it wasn't a constant thing so we just dealt with the nightmares as they came.

But the past three nights, she has woken up totally scared by nightmares. The first night she was so scared she was trembling in my arms, the second night she woke up twice with nightmares and last night, she told me she was dreaming about monsters.

We've done what we can to cut out anything that might be 'scary'. There was a new one hour Bubble Guppies that we DVRed this weekend that featured a witch that wanted to turn everyone into frogs. Emily loved it, since she likes the 'scary, scary' stuff, but we told her that she can't watch it for a few days because of the nightmares.

I got some advice from an online mom's group I'm in and I'm going to make her 'monster' spray for tonight. We are also going to try and make a dreamcatcher this weekend on the advice of my best friend, Dolli.

But I'm not sure what else I can do. I had a pretty bad nightmare last night (thank you so much, Steampunk book I'm currently reading :P) and it made me feel worse for my teeny child. I hope they ease up for her soon.

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Tuesday, February 21, 2012

My Love of The Haunted Mansion

Outside the Haunted Mansion in 1986

I was always told that I was a pretty morbid child. My parents thought this was because I lost both my paternal grandparents in less than a year when I was very small. I vaguely remember them but not well.

When I was nine years, my family went to Walt Disney World for the first time. I loved it all but my favorite ride was The Haunted Mansion. It scared me a little but mostly I found it fascinating.

The Haunted Mansion in 2007
My parents bought me a Haunted Mansion record / storybook and I listened to that thing so much after we got home from the World. My love for the Haunted Mansion waned a little as I grew up, but it came back with a vengeance when Todd and I decided to make Disney World our honeymoon destination.

The first full day we were at Disney we went to the Magic Kingdom because Todd's favorite ride, Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, was going down for rehab.

That day, I got to ride my beloved Haunted Mansion again. It had just been rehabbed and it was as wonderful as I remember from when I was younger. When we got home from our honeymoon, I started pin collecting.

Lots of people collect Disney pins, but my collection was just of Haunted Pins. eBay has lots of them for sale for fairly cheap. My collection is small since I stopped after I was laid off. But hopefully I can start up again soon.

One of the best garage sales finds by my husband was a Haunted Mansion house. It's awesome and I've never found where it came from. It's awesome though with glow in the dark hitchhiking ghosts. I hope that someday I can have a whole Haunted Mansion collectibles collection.

For 25 years, I've loved the Haunted Mansion and I know that it will be something I always love. I look forward to riding it again at my next trip to Disney World.

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Monday, February 20, 2012

Going Back To Work

I've been out of the traditional workforce for over three years. I was laid off from my job the day before I was suppose to go back to work after maternity leave. It was when the economy was so bad so I wasn't able to find another job after six months of looking.

My husband and I made the decision that I would go back to school. But now I'm done with school, it's time to go back to the workforce. And it's a little scary because I haven't had to do this in a very long time.

Because I had decided to go the employment agency route, Todd and I got childcare set up before I started looking. And today, I went to my first agency.

I had used this particular employment agency before, back when we first moved down here. Back then, I did the whole application as well as the testing at the agency. But now you do everything online. So I was able to register in my pj's from the comfort of my own home.

Hopefully it will yield something decent sooner than later. Though there are other employment agencies I can try if this first one doesn't pan out. I'm a little nervous to get back into the workforce but I think it's time.

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Saturday, February 18, 2012

Geeky Card Game Night!

I have memories when I was very small of going to my mom's best friend's house and playing with the other kids while our parents played cards for hours. It was always a treat because we were allowed to stay up later than usual.

Yesterday, my husband and I went to my best friend's house to have game day / night with my best friend and her husband. As we were playing our last game of Super Munchkin and our kids were playing in their pj's because it was way past bedtime, I had a flashback to my childhood.

Of course, we were playing Munchkin and now something like Spades or Poker. But I wonder if my child will have similar memories when she is older about these card game nights.

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Thursday, February 16, 2012

Some Star Wars Prequel Thoughts

Ever since I watched Star Wars: The Phantom Menace in 3D last week, I've been wanting to watch the other prequels as well as the originals. I just got around to watching Attack of the Clones tonight and I had some thoughts I thought I would share.

Even though Hayden Christensen is very whiny in the role of Anakin Skywalker, I find him a lot easier to watch than Jake Lloyd. The bad acting of Jake Lloyd is one of the big reasons that The Phantom Menace is my least favorite of all the Star Wars movies.

During this re-watch, I keep comparing Padme to Bella from Twilight. Admittedly, Padme is much more kickass than Bella, but they have misfortune of falling for whiny guys who are all about the domestic violence. While Anakin doesn't actually kill Padme, he tries pretty hard and thinks he does. And of course, Bella gets killed though she gets to come back as a vampire. And there is that whole "I can't live without my love" BS they both have going on.

It always bugged me that Padme was given the shitty ending of "I'm too sad to live." Her character is so strong-willed that it just seems like a huge cop out to just have her die even though nothing physically is wrong with her. I know that it wouldn't have jived with the originals to have her live, but I just can't see her dying especially after giving birth to two healthy babies. As well as knowing enough to be able to name them.

All that aside, I do love Ewan McGregor as Obi-Wan Kenobi. The parts of Attack of the Clones are always fun to watch. Now if he would have been the one who was being all stalker-y to Padme and then a murderer to the Sand People, I could have given him a pass because he wouldn't have been whiny while doing it. And he's pretty hot besides. He is a big reason why I still even watch the prequels every once in a while.

That said, the prequels can't hold a candle to the originals. While I will go see the other prequels in the theater when they are released in 3D, I am really looking forward to seeing the originals on the big screen again. And by that time, Emily will be old enough to go see them with us!

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The Longest Second Of My Life

Tonight, Emily and went out for dinner at Earth Fare. They have family night on Thursdays where you can get a free kid's meal the purchase of $5 or more. It's a great deal because the kid's meals are huge!

We got our food and ate it in their cafe area. After we were done, I told Emily to stay in her seat so I could start cleaning up. I put my dishes and my garbage away, and turned to look at Emily.

Her seat was empty. My heart stopped and I started crying out, "Emily! Emily!." She came up behind me and I just grabbed her. I got our stuff and headed back to the car.

I tried to hug her tight but she was more concerned about getting buckled in so she could have the trading cards that came in her kid's meal. I think she had followed me and probably knew where I was. But to me, my baby girl was missing and it was the most terrifying moment of my life.

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Writing Challenge - The Cold, Grey Light of Dawn

My eyes blinked open as the cold, grey light of dawn washed over my bruised and battered body. I groaned as I tried to move to a sitting position but every inch of my body cried out in protest.

Once I was sitting up, I was able to see the dead and dying surrounding me. I suddenly remembered that I had been in a battle. My people had been slaves to the King of Joshic for generations, but there was a prophecy that that a crimson haired woman would lead us to freedom.

Red hair was scarce with my people and it had been a thousand years since the prophecy until I was born, with a full head of auburn hair. As I grew up, my hair just got more and more red, which caused everyone around me to revere me since everyone thought I was the promised one.

I was given the best education that a slave race could get away with and I was sheltered from doing any work. I thought it was great until I realized that I was expected to free my people from the tyranny of the Joshicites.

An army was formed and on my 18th birthday, we marched to the castle. I made our demands for freedom and when the King refused, we began to set siege to the castle. It seemed to go well for a while, but my army wasn't trained as well as the royal troops.

The royal troops had been called back from the foreign wars and tore into my ragtag army without pity or mercy. I fought as hard as I could, but I vaguely remember taking blow to my head. After that everything went back.

Groaning, I managed to get to my feet. Swaying slightly, I looked over the battlefield again, taking in all the destruction. The weight of responsibility for all of this made my knees start to buckle under me. But then I heard a shout behind me.

"We have a live one over here," the voice said. I turned slowly, wincing as I did so. I saw a squad of royal troops with their swords drawn, advancing towards me.

My mind spun through all the possibilities as all I could do was blink and stand there. "I surrender," I called out, "We all surrender."

The soldiers bound me and took me into custody. I cast my eyes down, unable to look the scores of people I had led to their deaths. I knew I would also die for my crimes and I welcomed the release from the responsibility of savior that had haunted me my entire life.


For the IndieInk Writing Challenge this week, Crosshavenharpist challenged me with "The cold, grey light of dawn...." and I challenged Mediocre Wayne with "The Love of A Child"

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Why I Like The Facebook Timeline

I've heard a lot of complaints about the new Facebook Timeline. Many, many people hate it and have good reasons to do so. But there is a reason why I love the new Facebook Timeline.

The new Facebook isn't one of my favorite things but at this point, I'm used to it. I've had the Timeline for a while now, and it gives me a way to do something I have been wishing I could do. And that is to be able to go back and see my oldest Facebook posts.

I've tried to scroll back a couple of times before Timeline was put into effect, but my old laptop tended to freeze up after a while. It was also a very time consuming process. But I really wanted to see those statuses again so I could copy them into my Livejournal. I like being able to read my Livejournal to see where I have been and I think Emily will find it interesting when she is older.

But there was a time that I wasn't posting as much on my Livejournal but pretty much only using Facebook. So what I was doing at that period in time was stuck in Facebook and I was unable to get to it. Then the Timeline came along and I was able to jump around my old Facebook statuses. I've started copy and pasting my old statuses into my Livejournal. It's still a time consuming process but it's much easier to do now that I can put it down and come back to it because I can jump to the time that I left off at.

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Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Happy Valetine's Day

My Valentines!
So, it's Valentine's Day but we didn't really do much today. Todd and I aren't huge fans of this holiday because we like showing our love for each other on all days.

I did let Todd sleep in and while he was sleeping, I had Emily draw him a card. She put Daddy on the front and Mommy on the back, with a heart (that I had to help her with) on the inside. She was very excited when it was time to wake Daddy up and give him his card.

We also called Todd's mom and Emily got to talk to her grandma plus her cousins. And I called my dad so she could wish her Pop-Pop a Happy Valentine's Day as well.

Beyond that, we didn't do anything out of our ordinary routine. But I hope all of you reading out there had a great Valentine's Day - if you celebrate!

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Monday, February 13, 2012

Star Wars: The Phantom Menace in 3D

I wasn't ever a big fan of the prequels and The Phantom Menace was my least favorite of all them. But when I found out that it was going to be in the theater, in 3D, I didn't think about not going to see it.

The problem with The Phantom Menace is that it is very good in parts, especially the lightsaber duel at the end. But there are other parts that are so bad. Like whenever Jar Jar opens his mouth or Jake Lloyd's terrible acting.

Being in 3D doesn't really fix any of the bad parts, but it does make the good parts much shiny-er. It had been years since I last watched The Phantom Menace and I found myself really enjoying it, mostly because I knew and forgave it for it's flaws.

I think it was best said by a Facebok friend of mine when he was asked why in the world he was going to see The Phantom Menace at midnight opening day - Star Wars is still Star Wars. I've loved Star Wars since I was very small and even if it is the prequels, I'm going to go see it in the theater.

I find myself looking forward to having each movie being released in the theaters in 3D - especially since by the time they get to the originals, Emily will be old enough to not think they are "scary scary" and can come to the theater with us.

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Friday, February 10, 2012

The Ninja Migraine

So, I have daily chronic headaches so I'm always in some degree of pain. But usually the pain level is low enough that I can pretty much ignore it.

When the pain does get bad, usually it amps up to the very painful level so it's a little easier to deal with. But sometimes the pain sneaks up on me and hits me over the head - these I've named The Ninja Migraine.

Today we were having lunch. It was near the end of the meal, when I suddenly felt a little woozy. Then BAM! A Ninja Migraine clobbered me over the head. I was unable to finish my lunch and all I wanted to do is climb into bed.

Thankfully, Emily still naps so I was able to nap with her. The pain is still pretty bad so I won't be doing a lot this afternoon. Right now, we are watching Toy Story and I'm just counting the hours until it's time for Emily to go to bed. Ninja migraines are no fun at all.

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Wednesday, February 8, 2012

The Demise of Fanaticon

At the 1st Fanaticon

There was some sad news yesterday. Because of logistic issues, the 3rd Fanaticon has been canceled without any plans to try and revive it in the future.

I've always wished there was a con in the Asheville area since the closest one is ConCarolinas which is two hours away in Charlotte. So I was excited when Fanaticon started in 2010.

The last two years, I helped man the Charlotte Browncoat table and didn't get to see a lot of the con. I was actually really looking forward to just exploring this year.

I hope that there will be another con that will be in the area again sometime. There was always a ton of people at Fanaticon as well there being a rather large geek community here.

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Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Writing Challenge - The Cat Slept Beside the Lantern

The cat slept beside the lantern, resting over my shoes. I laid on my side in my bed, my golden hair fanning out over my pillow as I watched my cat. I was envious of the slumber the grey and white cat was enjoying since I was having issues getting to sleep myself.

Tomorrow was my wedding day and the thoughts of my new life as a wife was swimming in my head. My parents had arranged a marriage with the Mayor's son. I wasn't in love with him, but he seemed nice enough.

I sat up in bed, my pale blue eyes still resting on my cat. I knew that my marriage would help my family greatly. My father was a poor farmer who barely was able to eek out enough food to sell as well as keep my mother, myself and my five younger brothers and sisters fed. But my dowry was enough to help improve the farm and put more food on the table.

My mother had been speaking of how I was helping and how my life would be so much better after I wed. But I mourned the loss of finding love. I have always been an emotional girl and I dreamed of the day that my love would find me. But he never came, but the Mayor's son somehow fell in love with me despite my ragged clothing.

I flopped my head back down on my pillow, glancing at my cat whose paws where twitching in her sleep. I thought once again about running away from this marriage and the life that was being thrust upon me. But then I heard the sad, small cries of my youngest sister.

Slipping out of bed, I went to the next room. I picked my baby sister up out of the basket my mother had fashioned to be a bed. I cradled her to my chest as she sniffled and coughed. I looked down at her bright blue eyes, which where so like mine and I knew what I had to do.

My marriage might mean that I will never find love. But if I didn't go through with it, my small sister might have no life at all. I knew after tomorrow my parents would be able to get her the medicine she sorely needed.

I carried her back into my room, and settled her next to me in my small bed. I glanced at my cat, smiled and was able to fall fast asleep.


For the IndieInk Writing Challenge this week, R Martinez challenged me with "The cat slept beside the lantern, resting over my shoes." and I challenged Supermaren with "Transforming for good or ill"

Wrestling And Robert Irvine

I'm a big fan of wrestling, but I'm also a fan of the Food Network. While these two things don't have much in common, I encountered both this past Saturday.

Todd and I had gotten tickets for a TNA house show. We anticipated seeing some great matches as well as maybe getting some autographs. But what we didn't expect to see Robert Irvine sitting ring side.

But there he was, just hanging out ring side. Todd had remembered that he was dating one of the wrestlers, Gail Kim. It was still rather shiny though bizarre to see a Food Network star at a wrestling event.

It was one of the highlights of the house show. We did get to meet and get autographs from Kurt Angle, AJ Styles and Jeff Hardy.

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Monday, February 6, 2012

Meet Red Car!

About three months ago, our Bug died. It's something that Todd can fix but it's a long, hard job. With him working 60 hours a week as well as being in school, he simply hasn't had the time to fix it.

It has been awful only having one car. Since Todd works nights, I would be stuck at home after he went to work. I was feeling a bit trapped before the Bug died, but that trapped feeling got worse once I was actually trapped in the house.

But we did our taxes a little over a week ago and got our refund a week later. We had a busy weekend with wrestling shows and a bridal shower, so we didn't get a chance to go car shopping until this morning.

My dear husband has been researching cars for about a month now since we knew we were going to get something once our tax refund came. And he found a great one at a local car lot, so we went to see if it was still there.

It was and Todd took it for a test drive while I waited at the dealership with Emily. He liked it (and he's super picky) so we did all the paperwork right then. So we are now the owners of a new (to us) Honda Santa Fe, which Emily immediately named "Red Car".

So now I'm no longer trapped in the house and I can start looking for a job next week. So it's been a very exciting day for our family!

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Thursday, February 2, 2012

Writing Challenge - The Stroke

It has been difficult for months now, ever since my mom had had the stroke. It had been the 2nd one she had suffered from in the last few years. With my dad gone after dying in the Vietnam War when I was just a baby, it was up to me to care for her.

With this latest stroke, my mom seemed to lose the will to live. But I wasn't ready to let her go yet, so I dragged her dutifully to all her appointments as I tried to get her to rehabilitate like she did before. Instead of improving, I had to watch her slip away from me.

I prayed like I hadn't done since I was an innocent child, for guidance on what I should do for my mother. That night I had the most vivid dream of my life.

Dressed in a white sundress, my bare feet glided along the kitchen from the house we lived in when I was a child. My mother, who looked like she did before she got sick, was sitting at the kitchen table. She looked up from the book she had been reading and gave me a brilliant smile.

"I've been waiting for you, sweetheart," she said, her voice filled with warmth and life, "I know things have been difficult for you, and I'm sorry for that."

I sat down next to her and she took my hand in hers. "I'm not ready to lose you, mom," I said, the tears filling my eyes.

"You lost me a while ago," she said, her free hand brushing my tears away and trailing down my cheek. "I'm ready to move on, to be with your father again. You have your life ahead of you but mine is done."

We sat there in silence for a long moment as her words washed over me. She gently caressed my hair as she did when I was very small. "I love you, Michelle," she said, "Always know that I love you."

I nodded, my vision getting hazy because of the flood of tears. "I'll always love you," I managed to say, "But if it's your time, I won't stand in the way anymore."

It was at that point that I woke up. I sat up in my bed, feeling wide awake. I dashed from my room to my mother's room. She was laying in her bed, still as the grave, having passed away in her sleep. I cried my tears over her, but I felt at peace at last. She had moved on and now I had my life to live.


For the IndieInk Writing Challenge this week, Caroline Gerardo challenged me with "Tell me about caring for your Mother who had a stroke." and I challenged seeking Elevation with "The Creepy Toy"

Hospital Birth Vs. Home Birth

Emily, moments after being born
I'm very, very tired this morning so I was mindlessly surfing the internet. I came across an article about a home birth advocate who died of cardiac arrest after having a home birth. The article goes on to ask, even though home births are on the rise, are they really safe?

My feeling is that it is up to the parents, especially the mom, on how they want their birth experience to be. I've known moms who were able to have home births without any issues. But for me, a home birth wasn't an option.

I have a lot of health problems on a normal day, but on the day my daughter was born, I wanted to make extra sure that none of those issues turned into a life-threatening issue for me or Emily. I knew the moment I found out that I was pregnant I was going to have her in a hospital.

My decision was reinforced by the fact that Emily had a 2 vessel cord which can lead to problems. I was monitored throughout my pregnancy because of it. When it came to the end of my pregnancy, I was induced because issues with a 2 vessel cord can get worse if I had gone over.

I did end up with a c-section because Emily's head got stuck in my birth canal. It wasn't the ideal experience but it's not one that I'm unhappy with. I just was glad we were in the hospital where we could have a safe birth for both me and Emily.

A hospital birth was right for me but that doesn't mean a home birth isn't right for someone else. If you are old enough to be having a baby, you are old enough to weigh the pros and cons to make an informed decision about what you want.

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Wednesday, February 1, 2012

From My Childhood - Annie

I'm in the front
playing the part of Molly
When I was younger I loved the movie Annie so very much. My sister and I, along with the neighbor girls, would act out the scenes from the movie.

After finding out that our local community theater was going to put on a stage production of Annie, all of us begged to try out. I remember there were dozens of little girls hoping to get cast in the play, but even the tryouts were fun for me.

I got cast in the part of Molly, the smallest orphan. I was the youngest member of the cast but I remember having a blast. I couldn't carry a tune in a bucket at the time, so all my singing solos were given to other orphans. But I really shined during the scenes I was part of.

My parents took turns accompanying me to the rehearsals since I was so young. I have a whole photo album of pictures my parents took of the rehearsals and performances. I even have a VHS tape of one of the performances. It resided in my parents' safe for years because it is very precious, but I have since transferred it to DVD.

My mom also put together a scrapbook of all the press clipping from the newspaper. Apparently, I was so cute and funny that I stole the show - or at least that's what one newspaper reporter thought. I also still have several copies of the program as well as a cast shirt that my dad had gotten for himself.

Being in Annie left me with a lifelong love of the theater. I was very involved in the theater program when I was in high school. I would love to be in another production but it will have to wait until Emily is a little older.

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