I Volunteer; I’m just that Selfless

It’s 6:51 am.    I just worked out at Crossfit, made lunch and breakfast smoothies for everyone and made Kevin an omelet.  In the next half hour, I will make pancakes for the kids as well.  And Tuesday is the day I volunteer at the school and bestow my knowledge upon Littles and basically change lives within half an hour.

I feel like that should be enough for the day.

Isn’t it kind of greedy for my family to want more?

Isn’t it the time of year to be nice and kind to all?

Wouldn’t that mean letting me stay in bed for a few days?

Aren’t I part of ALL?

If EVERYONE is supposed to be nice and do good to all species during this time of year, then who gets to sit back and enjoy all this niceness and goodness?

I volunteer.

It should be me in sweats, in bed, with a tv, and this cake.

It should be me in sweats, in bed, with a tv, and this cake.

Tis the Season

I feel like December is a sprint to the finish line.  And I’m tired of hearing how I should slow down and focus on the reason for the season.  I think we all know what we need to do this month and we should all just get on with it as cheerfully as possible.

Being thankful was last month’s problem.

We don’t have to do that anymore.

This month we are supposed to focus on being cheerful.  Holly and Jolly.  Merry and Bright.  Silver and Gold.

So let’s do it.  Let’s go to three different children’s school performances all in one day with a smile on our faces.  Or go to those three Christmas/Hanukkah parties in seven days wearing a bright and happy Christmas sweater.  (Do they have Hanukkah sweaters?  Christmas has plenty of ugly ones to cover all denominations so maybe that was seen as being enough.) Let’s spend more than the suggested budget for our coworker secret Santa.  And laugh merrily as our kids switch their entire Santa list on December 23rd.

Come on everybody!  Let’s get going in the festivities.

We will have all the time we need to relax in February after we spend January trying to improve ourselves and lose weight.

Now is not the time to slow down and enjoy.

Now is the time to buy a box of chocolates and hide it in your underwear drawer so you can sneak a piece before every celebration!

I may not be found consistently on this site this month but when I am you will know it will be with a smile on my face and a box of Sees chocolates in my hand.

And if all else fails, I’ll see you at the gym in January.

 

 

My Sisters Finally Listened to Me

And lived to regret it.

Last week I went with my two older sisters to Disneyland

this is a horrid picture of us before being abused on the Matterhorn

 

do we look related? (the bear totally photobombed)

I am the youngest by a lot.  My sisters were basically in college by the time I could actually speak full sentences. It’s hard to take someone seriously when they are that much younger than you.

But I’d finally done it. I’d gotten them to believe me when I told them the swinging carriages on the Ferris wheel at California Disney weren’t a big deal. They barely moved. I’d been on them once and I remember feeling disappointed.

And the line was half as long.

So we should just do those.

And they believed me.

And I was just fine.

Underwhelmed once again in fact.

They were not. They did not enjoy rocking back and forth and the two guys from Mexico in the carriage with us had horror in their eyes.

My sisters yelled to get off but due to a malfunction, they couldn’t. So we went around. And my sisters threatened to kill me.

Which is kind of immature for their age if you ask me.

But we got off and they got a free pass to any ride for the inconvenience of almost vomitting due to a malfunction.

So I say it was a total win.

But I don’t think they will ever listen to me again.

( At least I got to skip the Peter Pan line. )

 

Surrey International Writers’ Conference

I went to SIWC this year.  It was a very good time.  I got to see good friends and I got to spend a day in Vancouver where my friend and I rode a tandem around Stanley Park while wearing helmets and looking totes fab.  I’d never been on a tandem where you could change gears.  I guess I still haven’t technically because when I tried, the chain came off.  But a nice guy helped us get it back on after my friend was already covered in grease.  We only thought we were going to die twice and the poutine we had in McDonald’s afterwards was poutine from McDonald’s.

Good Times.

I’ve got to say I love Vancouver.  It has the greatest little water taxis and people are incredibly nice and the food was amazing.  We even got to walk East Hastings Street which we found out very quickly, one should not do.  And if one finds oneself on said street, one should go to another street.  But I did find a great place to buy gear if I ever decide to become a stripper.

Then we went to the conference and Jasper Fforde. was there.  I love Jasper Fforde.  He wrote The Eyre Affair and tons of other books.  You should read them.  They’re amazing.  But this was the first time I was going to meet an author I had read before finding out they would be at the conference.  And I was very excited.

And I let everyone know.

On the first day, when they introduced everyone, I watched for him and memorized what he was wearing so that during lunch I could stalk him.  But then his name tag was turned around and I wasn’t positive it was him.  Luckily the author/SIWC board member in front of me asked how I looked familiar and I said I was a Calgary writer wanna be and then I told her I was trying to stalk Jasper Fforde.  She then politely called over to him so that I knew that was him for sure and asked him a question.  It was all very well done and not creepy at all.

Then I went to the two panels he was on that day.  Or maybe it was only one.  When I saw him in the hall, I started talking to him and we had a wonderful chat and I knew that my plan to go to every one of his classes was the correct one and still not creepy at all.

And just to show how not creepy I was, I even saw him in the club room and didn’t go and try to steal the egg roll off of his plate.  (Seinfeld reference there.)

The next day I went to another panel class and then it was time for the “Lunch with a presenter” lunch.  They make the presenters sit with us commoners.  And I wanted to sit at his table.  But he kept talking to people in the buffet line.  So luckily a SIWC volunteer saw me and asked how my stalking was going and if I was going to sit at his table and I said yes but I didn’t know which one it was because he wouldn’t get out of the stupid buffet line and then he finally did and actually sat down right behind where I was standing which didn’t make it awkward at all to turn around while holding a plate of food and nonchalantly sit across from him.

Then I went to two more of his classes and then asked him to sign four books and then I walked away to never see him again.  Sort of.  I mean there was still half a day but I’m only good at stalking for two days.  Then I get tired.

Overall, it was the most successful stalking I have ever done.  (It’s actually the only stalking I’ve ever done unless you want to count volunteering for Montana Book and Toy bookstore so I could be near David Sedaris all night Tuesday, but that was more a civic duty.)

And I feel good about it.

I should get these for stalking

I should get these for stalking

How to Get to Honduras in 25 Easy Steps

I mentioned we went to Honduras as a family.  This is part of a month long mid-life crisis my husband is having while turning 40.

He loves scuba diving.  So he chose to take our family to Utila, Honduras where we could snorkel and scuba all day.

He did a great job researching the little resort we stayed at.

He did not pay much attention to how we would get there, however.

So we arrived in Honduras on a nice commercial airline.  Then we were met by a pilot of a smaller plane so that we could fly to the island of Utila.  On the website, the airplanes looked like small jets.  When we got to our airplane, it was a 6 seater.  Without room for a flight attendant.

We sat in a nice waiting area while they crammed our things into this plane.  We were a family of five with four carry-ons and backpacks and one bag full of scuba gear.  Maybe we had five carry-ons and one had snorkel stuff.  I dunno.  But we didn’t have tons of stuff.  We did have enough stuff to worry the pilot about taking off.

I also worried the pilot.  He told me that he would love to have me sit next to him, but women get nervous and grab the controls.  I laughed thinking he was kidding.  He wasn’t.

So I sat backwards for the 45 minute flight across water.  There was no air conditioning and we were dressed for cold airplanes.  We sweated buckets back there.

We finally landed and we got into a minivan with the steering wheel on the left.  Utila used to be part of the British Commonwealth so we figured they drove on the left.  But then our driver drove in the middle of the road and would move to the right when a motorcycle came toward us.  So only our car was different.

And there was only one road on the island.  That’s why there aren’t many cars.  There are 3 wheeled taxis and motorcycles and four wheelers.  That’s it.

And there was no road to our resort.

So the van dropped us off at a boat.  By this time I was questioning where exactly we were going.  Kevin didn’t know.  I was glad I was taking Spanish and could easily converse with everyone about their curly, blonde hair.

(Most everyone on Utila is bilingual, we found out.  Just not anyone driving us anywhere that day.)

We were taken across an inlet and ended up at the resort.

To recap: Commercial airline, 6 seater airplane, van, and a boat.  (Not to mention the three vans we had to take from our hotel to the airport then to the international section of the airport.  This trip was about traveling.)

If you scuba dive, I highly recommend Utila.  It was a nice place to go and we met some great people from New York City and Australia.  But bring steroid itching cream.  Because those sand fleas will eat you alive.

This is after 2 weeks

This is after 2 weeks

This is how I tried to hide them.

This is how I tried to hide them.

The Elk Shoes

Photo on 11-6-15 at 4.08 PMThis is what the shoe would look like if I was holding it while wearing a coat, scuba diving.

Where Have I Been?

I have a lot to catch you up on.  My family and I went to Honduras and I went to a writing conference where I learned Ned Stark is NOT Tony Stark’s dad.  But the reason I have not been here lately is (laziness but let’s not be honest about this) due to a traumatic event in my life.

That's an elk hoof.  or foot.  No longer part of the elk.  And that's my kitchen floor.

That’s an elk hoof. or foot. No longer part of the elk. And that’s my kitchen floor.

My husband shot an elk.  Not a big deal.  But then when my son asked if they could bring home a leg for the dog, my husband said, “sure.”

While everyone was gone, the dog brought it into my house and dragged it around.  (Once you bring an elk leg home, the house is no longer yours.)

I screamed.  I locked myself in my room with Oreos.  But the side door was open and the dog brought the elk hoof INTO MY ROOM.

I called a friend’s husband to come remove it, but once he got on the phone, I felt too proud to ask him to come over to move the hoof 2 feet to the porch.  I made him stay on the line as I kicked it out the door, however.  And when the skin wrapped around my ankle, I screamed.

But it was out of the house.

I thanked Chad for being there for me and then I hung up the phone.  Only for the stupid, yet fast, dog to bring it back inside the house but this time to the door of my bedroom.  I quickly shut all doors leading out of my bedroom and waited until my 8 year old got home so he could take care of it.

My husband posted on Facebook how dead he was and the majority suggested he buy me a pair of shoes.

As luck would have it, I had a new pair that I was saving as a reward for something.  (I buy myself rewards before I figure out how I’m earning them because I’m more motivated to do something- anything- then.)

They were incredibly expensive shoes (for me.  Not Jimmy Choo expensive.  But more than Nordstrom Rack.)  I was saving them for something big.

But I’ve decided to listen to the people and wear them as a reward for battling an elk hoof and coming out alive.

That elk has ended up being the most expensive chew toy my dog has ever had.

(Although you may think I would be willing to go through this again for another pair of shoes, you would be wrong.  I would much rather earn them by finishing a manuscript or running a half marathon.  Or getting a minimum wage job and saving up.)

The shoes deserve their own web page so expect to see them soon.

What’s your Opinion on What’s Appropriate?

I’m thinking more about what I’m writing lately.  I got called out on a blog post and a Facebook post.  Perhaps I don’t think before I write as much as I should.

At the same time, my English professor did tell me “Don’t change the names of the guilty.”  (I feel as though I should add that my English professor was Louise Plummer.)

But do the names need to be included at all?

I thought I wrote an incredibly vague post and then found out not everyone thought it was vague.  (And then I found out it could apply to more than one person I knew and so that caused some confusion because I realized it was too vague.)

What do you think?  Do you think you should feel bad about misinterpretation or a joke?  Should a person remove a post if it is taken the wrong way?  Or does it depend on how wrong it was taken?  Is this blog my interpretation so I can say whatever I want or does that disrespect others around me?

Should I shut down the blog and stick with fiction?  Remove myself from social media and just watch others from my desk?

Move to Hawaii and learn to surf?

Okay.  Having tried surfing, I think that last one won’t be happening.  No matter how many 19 year old boys try to teach me.  And I’d prefer England over Hawaii.

But I think I’m digressing from the point.

I recently listened to a Fresh Air Podcast on the Univision anchor Jorge Ramos who was thrown out of a news conference by Donald Trump’s body guard.  It brought up freedom of the press and avoiding topics you don’t want to answer.  (Trump didn’t want to answer specific questions about his immigration policy.  It’s a great podcast and brings up some great points.  Listen to it.)

But is a personal blog the same thing?  Do I have the same freedom to write my viewpoint the way I see it?  Is there a line?  Can I say what I want unless it’s just mean?

I read a blog once where the author posted pictures of little kids and made fun of the fact four or so girls wore the same style dress.  Is that too far?  Are little kids the limit?  Would it be okay if it were four women wearing the same dress to the holiday party?

What do you think?  I’m interested to know…

(And I am also completely willing to go surfing in Hawaii if someone wants me to go with them.  I want to MAKE IT CLEAR I’m not against surfing in Hawaii.  I would love to surf in Hawaii.  I love Hawaii.  I love surfing.  I’m leaving any statement about 19 year olds alone.)

Hugs.

If you need three pieces of camouflage luggage, you're bringing too much while hunting.  (This statement applies to no one in particular)

If you need three pieces of camouflage luggage, you’re bringing too much while hunting. (This statement applies to no one in particular)

 

How CrossFit Increases Spirituality

Today, my husband and I finished the intro for CrossFit.

Congratulations to us!

Except

I don’t want to do the real class.  The intro classes scared me to death.  It was hard.  Really hard.  And there were a lot of squats.  More than necessary.  I don’t care how many times Kyle tells us it’s an everyday activity.  No one does that many squats in any everyday activity I know of.  And if you do, you should just stay down.

And I promise to never do another activity that makes me squat then throw a ball against a wall.  Especially an activity that makes me do that over and over for five minutes.

It really hurts.

I don’t like pain.

And now I’m working out every day of the week and then praying during the weekend.

I’m a writer.  I’m supposed to have soft, uncalloused hands and carpal tunnel syndrome.

But next week, we start the real class.

I guess I’ll be praying on week days too, then.

(I would include a picture, but my phone is on the ground and I can’t squat down to get it right now.)

AND THE WINNER IS

Using a Random Number Generator twice, (hint, remember the number you designate to each comment when you use this device) the winner is:

Sibyl!!!!!!!

I will email you and give you the number you need for the Audible copy of Fishbowl.

I hope you enjoy the book as much as I did.  And I hope I send you the correct information so you can enjoy the book!

Everyone else should just go buy the book and read it.  If you do, let me know and I’ll let you know which character I think was based on me.

And Don’t Forget:

It's Taco Tuesday!!

It’s Taco Tuesday!!