Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Goodbye 2013 - Bring on 2014

This time last year I made a resolution to get my health in check for 2013. The positive is I did what it took to make my health better. I had all my routine check-ups and had a hysterectomy in March. The doctor thought it would cure some of my Anemia issues, but it didn’t.

In November I had an endoscopy and a few days later the doctor called me at 9pm to discuss some issues. I’m not sure about you, but if my doctor calls my house at 9pm he’s not calling with good news. My hubby said not to worry, it if were cancer he’d call me into the office to discuss it.

Well, okay – maybe. See the doctor is concerned there’s something going on with my ulcerative colitis. And yes, he used the word cancer. See when someone battles UC for longer than 8 years there’s a higher risk of cancer. I’ve been suffering for almost 14 years. My blood levels are off and I’m severely anemic.

This means my 2013 resolution will carry over to 2014, because I am determine to get my health in check. I refuse to allow the scare of cancer hold me back. I will beat it, if that’s the issue.

Lucky for me I’ve been working two jobs for the last few months so my mind has been distracted.

In a few weeks I’ll have my answers. In the meantime I’m eating better and getting my mind healthy. I’m ready for any battle. I’ve survived a 15 yr abusive relationship and a disease that can wear you down. I’m not going to go down without a fight!

I’m also getting back to my roots. Writing. I have to do what I love and that’s telling stories or helping others with my articles.

Do you make resolutions? Do you keep them?

Oh and I have to add – Happy 7th Anniversary to my husband Sean. He’s my best friend and someone who shares my sick sense of humor. It’s amazing that after all the ups and downs we’ve suffered we can still make each other laugh.

Happy New Year! May 2014 be the best.

Monday, December 30, 2013

Happy Birthday, Connor

4 years ago at 10:29pm I gave birth to a premature little boy. He weighed 10oz. The doctors predicted he wouldn’t survive the delivery. I knew differently. Something in my heart told me the delivery would be okay. I have to thank the doctor who managed to get the breathing tube down Connor’s throat that day and he did it in record speed. He amazed the 15 other doctors and nurses in the room too.

We’d survived the first hurdle – birth. That was only one of many hurdles our son would have to overcome. He had a salt build up and couldn’t urinate. Each hour was a win. I stayed in the hospital with Connor for 5 days before they forced me to leave. I didn’t want to leave my son, but I couldn’t stay…insurance policies and all.

The NICU did allow us to stay in Connor’s room and we did. It wasn’t easy to sleep during those days. Any odd noise coming from the many machines keeping him alive had me on high alert.

On the fifth night Connor peed. He did it right in front of my husband and me. I never felt so excited to see someone pee. Everyone on staff in the NICU found this to be a huge hurdle. In fact his Neo Natal doctor said, “Go home and start pumping. He’s going to need all the breast milk he can get.”

To parents it was one of the best conversations we had. It was a positive sign.

We went home that night with the nurses convincing us it was all good. We slept better that night.

The next morning we walked into his room and I knew immediately something was wrong. The nurse pulled me aside and told me he took a turn for the worse. I cried and demanded to know why they didn’t call me. She said I needed sleep. I need to be rested for the day ahead of me.

They had pumped him full of blood to give us time to call in the family so everyone could say goodbye. He wasn’t going to make it after all. The urination was just a fluke. Maybe it was a sign for us to go home to rest because the next day was going to be the most difficult of our lives.

That day both our families came up and each and every one of them got to hold Connor. We asked everyone to leave and we held our son one last time.

They took him off oxygen. 10:27pm on the sixth day Sean and I sat holding him while he took his last breath. Ironic.

I don’t care if you have 6 hours, 6 days, or 16 years with a child – the pain is unimaginable when you lose them.   

The staff of nurses and doctors at Women and Infants Hospital is an amazing group. I’ll thank them for the rest of my life.   

Thursday, November 28, 2013


This year I'm thankful for my health, considering all the stress my life has been under these last six months, the Crohns has stayed under control. Not an easy feat!
I'm also thankful for my family and friends. They make my life better for having them in it.

Wishing everyone who celebrates a very Happy Thanksgiving.

Friday, November 22, 2013

Superman or should I say Superwoman?

Over the years friends have called me Superwoman. Funny thing is – I don’t feel like superwoman. I feel like a mom, wife, and daughter who does whatever it takes to survive.

Currently I’m working two full time jobs and holding my writing career down. The two jobs are only temporary…just to get through the holidays and put away some money for my daughter’s wedding next year.

The last time I worked this hard was just before I was diagnosed with Crohns. The positive side of this time is I know my limits. I know the signs to look for when I’m getting sick. I’m not superwoman by any stretch of the imagination, just someone who does what needs to be done.

Again, I’m thankful for the ability to be healthy enough to work two jobs and continue writing.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

The Shoes

I’m a huge fan of the ID channel. One day I’d like to write True Crime and I do incorporate suspense in some of my novels.

Today while I was watching a show it started off with the family member seeing a murder on the news and seeing the victim’s shoes.

She repeated the words, “The Shoes.”

It brought a chilling memory back; you see I had an experience with The Shoes. About ten years ago one of my daughters almost died.

It was a beautiful Sunday. I took my youngest out for soft serve ice cream, as we pulled up in front of our house there were three police officers walking around my house, looking in windows and trying doors.

The first thought is my son and his friends. When I had left they were walking the streets and teen boys were mischievous. Much to my surprise it wasn’t about him. They asked me if I had a daughter B. I said I did. They immediately tell me I have to follow them.

My heart pounded in my chest. I begged them to tell me why. What was going on? Was she okay? They said NOTHING. Just that I needed to follow them.

Now mind you, what mother could drive in that condition? Somehow I managed to follow them. We drove to a house next to a parking lot. There were many cars, an ambulance and a bunch of police cars. Now my little one, who is only 5, is in the backseat. She has no clue what is taking place.

A mother I knew came running over to the car, crying and saying she’s sorry.

I can’t fathom what she’s sorry about. I look to the ambulance, they’re putting someone on a stretcher inside the back and then I see – The Shoes.

I jump out of the car and order the mother to sit with L. I run over to the ambulance screaming, “Is she alive? Is she alive?”

A cop pulls me aside and tells me she’s alive, but that she hadn’t been a few minutes ago.

I’m a mess. I find out her and a few friends decided to drink some vodka. They were fourteen years old. She overdosed on alcohol. The medics were able to revive her and at the hospital they pumped her stomach. They filled her with IV fluids and released her the next day. She doesn’t remember anything and she doesn’t feel any side effects. If you’re a parent you know the next day my first thoughts were she should feel hung over! After what she’d done she should have some pain. She didn’t.

I relive that day over and over. I still see The Shoes.

As Thanksgiving approaches I know I’m very thankful for the medics who were quick to respond and save my daughter.

What are you thankful for?

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

My Obsession - One of them...

I have an obsession with calendars. I use a day planner for my day job. I have one for my writing. On my desk I have two blotter calendars – one for the day job and one for everyday use. The blotters are used for passwords, appointments and other things I need to remember.

My desk is L shaped. On the side that houses all my day job stuff I have a wall calendar. It’s more for show. My son gives me a dog calendar for Christmas every year. We have three dogs; a yellow lab, a chocolate and a golden retriever. Each year I get something to do with one of them.

Where the house computer sits I have a tear-away calendar. It’s usually a Maxine. I love reading her daily rants.

Lastly, I keep a small one in my purse. It has doctor appointments for the family.

Oh, I can’t leave out the hubby’s calendar. That is on the side of the refrigerator. He keeps track of the appointments for the dogs and himself. LOL

Is it a big much? Maybe, but in my head I can justify all of them. :o)
Do you have any obsessions?

Monday, October 21, 2013

Rotten Experience

I pay to belong to a freelance job board. I’m not mentioning the name here, but it’s huge and many a writer belongs to it. Anyway, I’ve been bidding on jobs lately trying to fill the gaps with the holidays around the corner.

One proposal was accepted and when I was given the work or shall I say test, I found the work wasn’t for me. It made me feel uncomfortable, so I decided to withdraw. This person got ticked off and threatened to leave negative feedback. I sent a long letter explaining my reasons. Now mind you it’s supposed to be a company, not an individual. I thought I did the professional thing by backing out because I truly couldn’t do the work.

If there’s one thing I hate, as a survivor domestic abuse, it’s to be threatened. My hackles go up and I get into fighting mode. I don’t like to fight when it comes to my career. So after the second email from said person, I decided not to respond. My first was very professional, so I’ll remain professional and not respond. If I get negative feedback, I’ll survive. I’ve survived much worse.

They have their opinion and I have mine.

What would you do?

Monday, October 14, 2013

Fall Foliage

Over the weekend we drove to New York to visit family. The fall foliage was at its peak in some areas. The brilliant reds, vibrant oranges and the stunning yellow and gold leaves reminded me why I love northeast.

Zooming down the highway at 70 mph taking in the breathtaking view is exactly what I needed. It’s been a stressful time for our family. The various colors brought happiness to my heart and so did the warm temperatures we were blessed with.

My son introduced us to his new girlfriend. She has a young child and he’s a cutie pie. I liked his new girlfriend. They appear happy. It always fills my heart when I see my children happy. It’s been a long time for my son. He had his heart broken a few years ago and this is his first serious relationship since that one ended. Sure he dated over the years, but nothing he wanted to commit to.

When he asked me to lunch last month when he was visiting to tell me about her I knew it was important to him. It seemed like he sought my approval. Of course I gave it to him. J

The break away from the house was a break we all needed.  

Monday, September 30, 2013

Wednesday is the new Sunday

As a young child Sunday’s were family day. The family would gather at my grandmother’s house or my aunt’s for dinner. When I had children of my own and my grandmother had passed away I continued the tradition with my husband and kids.

Every Sunday I’d make a big meal. Whether a pot roast, homemade spaghetti sauce, or a turkey dinner, it was a tradition I wanted to pass down to my kids.

Life handed us many challenges. I divorced my ex and move 200 miles away from my family. My new husband didn’t care much for those big meals. He enjoyed spending time outside the house the entire weekend. We feel into a new routine.

Two years ago we had a new baby. My father in law often talked about doing a Sunday dinner. Not every Sunday maybe once or twice a month. It brought back childhood memories of a time I loved.

Gathering around the table talking about your life, hobby’s and hopes. Nowadays life is so busy I feel like we don’t stop and enjoy the people in our life often enough.

One Wednesday my husband suggested we bring dinner over to my in laws. At the time it was because we were both extremely busy with work and needed the extra hour of babysitting. We did this a few more times and then my mother in law offered to cook for us.

It’s only been six weeks, but I believe we’re starting a new tradition. Wednesday is now the new Sunday in our family.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Interesting Article

I read this article yesterday and #10 really struck a cord with me. It's about authors competing with other authors.
As I've discussed, I write under a pen name. I self-publish and work with a few big publishers. One thing I've never considered was another author being my competitor. I support all authors. I promote a ton of different writers on my facebook page. I do everything I can to help get their name out and hopefully find new readers.
Competition? I just don't get it.

Here's the article...I'd love your thoughts.

Friday, September 6, 2013

I Signed this Petition

As readers of my blog you probably know I'm a former victim of Domestic Violence, so for me signing this petition was a no-brainer. If you read it and find it's something important to you too, consider signing.

I just signed the petition "Honor Jennifer Martel: Protect Victims of Abuse" on Change.org.

It's important. Will you sign it too? Here's the link:



Thursday, August 29, 2013

Crazy Clown

Not the kind of clown you'd find out your little ones birthday party.

So there's a new drug running rampant and this one is called Crazy Clown. On Monday a radio station I listen to talking about how 8 people in GA were sent to the hospital after using the drug.

I pulled up a news article which you can read here

They report that the drug, which is "most commonly smoked or burned in a small bowl and inhaled," is a form of synthetic marijuana.
It also went on to say that some of the people are on life support and/or intensive care. Someone said a girl was foaming at the mouth and rolling around on the ground. What are people doing to the drugs? Why are they lacing them with things that can kill?

Scary! If you have teenagers I suggest you read the article and any information you can find on the drug. And if you haven't heard about Molly do a Google search. My local police gave me a frightening insight. 

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Molly, Not the Girl Next Door

I’ve had an extremely busy summer…too many things happening. I used to write for Listen Magazine and to do so I had to be “up” on the recent trends with teens. The good, bad and ugly. I was faithful about this while my eldest daughter was a teenager. When my middle daughter became a teen I was still writing for Listen Magazine, but I never worried about her. She just didn’t seem like the child to do anything wrong.

Well, we were having some issues and I was talking to the DARE officer at the school and he was telling me about a new drug, Molly. Here’s a definition of Molly.

“Molly,” the powder or crystal form of MDMA, the chemical used in Ecstasy, has been a popular drug at music festivals and now high schools.

The police officer told me, it’s a quick high. The thing that scared me the most? People are making the drug in the garage. They are using ingredients like rat poison, calcium powder, caffeine, and methamphetamine to name a few.

The DEA considers it a controlled substance and can become addictive. It can cause sleep issues, confusion, depression and dehydration.

It’s a scary drug. One you should become better familiar with you have children in high school. A simple Google search will net you a ton of information.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

RSVP - What does it mean to you?

Growing up my parents stressed the importance of RSVP’ing. They instilled the significance of letting the party host know whether or not you’ll be a guest at their event.

When I moved from New York to Rhode Island I found a different meaning. Here, many I know only RSVP if they’re attending.

I can see both sides of this. If no RSVP, they aren’t coming.

The one issue I’ve noticed? People not RSVP’ing, but showing up anyway. Depending on the event that can be a bit rude. Now, I’ve never witnessed this with a wedding, but I have seen it with a social gathering where plated food is paid for prior to the day.

I’m curious do you RSVP regardless if you’re attending or not? Inquiring minds want to know! J

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Reliving a bit of my youth

My husband and I are going to see Bon Jovi in concert. It’s one band we make an attempt to see when in the area. We’ll be catching up with some family and friends. I’m sure it’ll be a fun night. It’s hard to believe I’ve been listening to their music for over twenty-five years.

Tonight I’ll be feeling like teen again. :o)

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Your Marriage is Killing You

My story – Your Marriage is Killing You will be published soon in the Lemons to Lemonade Chicken Soup for the Soul book. Life is a bit ironic right now. We’ve been dealing with teen issues, some normal, some not so much. During this time I’ve had to deal with my ex-husband. I do NOT like this man, not even a little bit. He’s not a good father, but he is our daughter’s father, so I try to be civil.

During a conversation with him on Sunday I heard something that frightened me – anger. Violent anger. The worst part was my daughter was with him. I called him out on his anger and let him know if he went after our daughter he’d be in serious trouble.

I’ll be honest for a few moments I was brought back to a time when I was being abused. I didn’t like it.

So what am I going to do about it? Two things. I’m going to the courts and asking for sole custody of my daughter. She doesn’t need to deal with a crazy man and neither do I.

The second thing is I’m going to write a book. The story Your Marriage is Killing You is only the portion of the marriage. The part when I left. I’d like to help others who are in abusive situations to show them that you can get out and have a better life. It takes time, courage and an internal strength. But if you want freedom you can achieve it.

I’ve always said if I can save just one person I’d be thrilled. Don’t get me wrong, I want to save lots of women, but if my story saves one, I’ve done something successful.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

On Vacation

I’m on vacation this week, but I’ve been doing conference calls and exchanging emails for a ghostwriting gig. This is my first time doing this kind of work and I have a ton of questions. I’m also suffering from doubts. Not in my ability to do this, but the people behind the book.

I’m not sure if its nerves or what I know about the publishing business. Like I said, I’m green when it comes to ghostwriting, but I’m not green to the publishing world.

I’ve been negotiating the contract. There are a few stipulations I need added.

So the vacation has turned into a staycation/workcation. :o)

The weather is still blah, but they say it will be changing tomorrow. The family plans to be beach bound the rest of the week.

Friday, June 28, 2013

Vacation Time

Today is my last day before vacation from the day job. It’s a much needed a vacation. We’re not going away during this week. There’s too much to do around the house that can’t get done while working our stressful jobs. It’s okay, because the weathermen aren’t offering a promise of sunny days. Each day holds a high chance of rain.

Our true vacation will be in August when we go to Virginia. I’m looking forward to that vacation, but not rushing the summer away by any means.

I’m in talks for a three book deal with a publisher. The contract will be a ghostwriting gig. I’ve written over thirty books under a pen name, so doing this will be knew to me. It’s an exciting prospect though.

So our vacation will be a working one for me, but not stressful work. I love writing.

Any fun plans for the weekend?

My mom and son are traveling here from NY for a three day visit. Tomorrow I’m throwing a birthday party for both my mom and husband. I had hoped the kids could use the pool, but it doesn’t seem likely. It’ll still be a good time.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

The End of Craziness is Near

Life has been overwhelmingly busy. I’m working on new contracts. My day job has demanded 75+ hours a week and the school year is coming to an end. Oh and add in a sick two year old. Talk about crazy. As the weather starts to brighten here in Rhode Island, so is life. Work at the day job is slowing down, my projects are almost done for June and I’m gearing up to send out emails for July and August work.

Balance has played a key role over the last few weeks. Things had to be left by the wayside and blogging was one of them. In your career you have to find balance. You can’t make money if you’re focusing too much on social media, yahoo groups and neglecting your writing.

So I had to disappear from these for a time to balance the important things…making money and caring for my family.

With the summer weather I tend to find it difficult to want to sit at my desk and work, but I do it. The sun and pool taunt me from my office window. They beg me to join them.  My checkbook reminds me I must work. The bills that continue to fill the mailbox monthly remind me that if I want to play I must work hard. But I do spend time in the pool. My reward for a job well done? My iPod, a cold drink and my purple float, drifting around the pool.

Do you reward yourself when you accomplish a project? If so how?

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Happy Father's Day

I'd like to send father's day wishes to my dad, husband, father and son-in-law. I have beautiful children and grandchildren because of you!

Friday, June 7, 2013

Have You Arrived Today?

I was reading an author’s blog on the ABC’s of writing. She started with Arrive.

Arrive – or show up. This is exactly what it takes to become a successful writer. If you don’t show up, put your butt in the chair and write every day you don’t stand a chance at success.

Showing up every day is not easy. Who has time to write when laundry is piling up, dishes need to be clean, the dog needs to be walked and anything else you can think of to distract you. Sometimes when I procrastinate even cleaning the refrigerator is more appealing than putting my butt in the chair.

If you have children they demand attention. You’re constantly running to baseball practice, dance recitals and doctor’s appointments. The beauty is the downtime it offers. While your little one is practicing jot down some ideas for a new query or outline the article idea. You might even be able to write the first paragraph.

Stealing fifteen minutes here and there can be just as rewarding as sitting at your desk for an hour.

The bottom line is we have to write, write, write. If only 100 words a day, you need to write something.

100 words will lead to 2, 3, 4 and soon 500 words. Before you know it you’ll have a fleshed out query, article, story or anything you want to publish.

So what are you waiting for? Write something now!


Happy Friday!

Thursday, June 6, 2013


I’ve had a few. Life had dealt our family a little more than we can handle lately, but in all the dark I’ve come realize how wonderful it is to have friends in this business.

One came from an editor her comment: You’re one of my favorite writers.  *blushes* It’s nice to be appreciated.

Another was with a friend. Her daughter has an eccentric art teacher. She was telling me how the teacher names all her paint brushes, holds funerals for them when they break and if you hold them under water too long she’ll say: gulp, gulp, gulp…I’m drowning.

This conversation gave me a chuckle in a time I really needed one.

Another friend created a banner for a new release for my alter ego. I wasn’t expecting it, so it was a wonderful surprise.

Writers understand how lonely this business can be and how we might need a shoulder at times. So thanks to those who’ve brightened my dark days.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Can a Baby Ruin Your Marriage?

Recently, I read this article on how a newborn can ruin a marriage. As a mother who has given birth to five children, I can relate. Who the heck wants to be intimate when you're up every 2-3 hours feeding an eating machine? When that child is napping the only thing you can think about is sleep.
You're constantly tired and even cranky. Sex is the furthest thing from your mind. And it's the reason you're in the situation.
So yes, I can agree with this article. The only thing I'd add is if you truly love your mate, you'll do whatever you can to make it work. Someday that child will be off on his or her own and it'll only be you and your mate. Remember why you're there. You committed to a lifetime...good or bad. :o)

Friday, May 31, 2013


Hubby and I went away last weekend. A much needed kid-free weekend. It was a peaceful three days in New Hampshire. We visited Portsmouth and crossed the border to Kittery, Maine where we shopped ‘til we dropped. We also drove an hour north to Freeport where we did more shopping.

On our last day there we drove up the coast to Hampton Beach. We loved seeing all the beautiful houses and of course the ocean. I love the ocean. Watching the waves roll into the shore is calming to me.

Life was good in NH.

We returned to reality and all hell broke loose. All good things must come to an end and boy was it a slap in the face. It’s all I can say at this time, but damn sometimes kids can stress you and break your heart.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Goodbye to a Historic Site

I grew up in Watervliet, NY and lived two blocks from the historic Saint Patrick’s Church. You could see the church from our second floor windows. The building was huge and the inside beautiful.

My parents were married in the church, I made my first communion and we went to many midnight masses on Christmas Eve. I’d heard the rumors from family and friends that they planned knock down the church and put up a Price Chopper Supermarket.

Now I’m all for using unused space. I’m one who believes if a space is empty another business should use that space instead of building a new place. I just have a hard time tearing down a historic site. It broke my heart to see the pictures on friend’s facebook pages.

Here are the before and after.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Just Hit Send

You create your masterpiece. Polish it to within an inch of your life and then you do it. You hit the send button. Let the waiting begin. If you’re anything like me you want instant gratification. After all, with technology the way it is anything is possible. But is a response in a few hours realistic? No, definitely not. It’s not impossible though. I have to take a step back and realize I’m not the only writer editors are receiving submissions from.

It’s not easy being a writer. When you send your baby off into the big bad world it’s scary. Just thinking about my story or article idea being under a magnifying glass, viewed by a critical eye, gives me the willies. With each page that sits in from of an editor I know he or she will examine every word looking for errors and wonders if you have a unique idea/plot. She’s looking to see if you can weave a riveting tale or pique a reader’s interest in a subject.

As time goes by a million questions form in my mind. Will the editor like the story? Will she think – what the f%^& was this writer thinking? Is she laughing at my attempts to write? These are questions I ask myself every single time I send a manuscript out.

I’ve published numerous stories in the Chicken Soup for the Soul books. I wrote for True Confessions, True Romance and Modern Romance for years. My articles have appeared in many issues of Listen Magazine, Western NY Family mag and SheKnows.com, but it doesn’t ease the fear of rejection.

In my other life I’ve published 35 books…the one thing they all have in common? I hit the send button. If I hadn’t none of this would be possible.

So what are you waiting for? Just Hit Send!

Friday, May 17, 2013

Stressful Week

One thing I didn’t plan for in May is a sick child…yet I’ve been dealing with one all week. The little one has had one of the worst colds. Saying she’s cranky is putting it mildly. Getting any work done, even with daycare has been a challenge.

Yesterday was the first day all week she showed some signs of returning to her normal happy self. There’s a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. LOL

All joking aside, it’s difficult when your child is sick and there’s not much you can do. Sure, I help clear her nose with saline. Hubby put the humidifier in her room to assist with her breathing at night, but that’s the extent of what we can do. She’ll be two in July and the doctor’s don’t recommend any medications and I’m okay with that.

Instead I watch her on the monitor at midnight when she’s coughing. I crawl out of bed at four when she starts up again, so she doesn’t wake the hubby. I’m not sleeping, but that’s what mother’s do. Once she’s better I’ll sleep…until then I’m a tad cranky too.

On a happy note I received an email yesterday that my story – Your Marriage is Killing You has made the finals. It will be published in the Lemons to Lemonade Chicken Soup for the Soul book. I’m very excited to have another story out. Look for it in August!
On an even happier note - It's Friday!!!!

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Breaking the Bottle

Four children. Yes, I have four children. I’ve delivered five, but that’s another story. Three of those children were off the bottle by age one. Teagan is not. I’m at my wits end. She’s nearing her second birthday and I can’t seem to wean her off the bottle. Now before you start sending me hate mail about how I’m a terrible mom – DON’T. I already feel guilty.

And in all honesty she only has her bottle for milk. She’ll drink water in a sippy cup…sometimes juice. She doesn’t seem to like juice which is fine with me.

I thought we might have made progress when our grandchildren were here over the weekend. They were drinking milk out of a sippy cup, so she had to emulate the older kids. She drank half. I silently cheered. Once they were gone the thrill wore off.

On Monday I told the hubby I’m just going to throw out all the bottles and he thought it was a good idea. Until Teagan woke up sick. Both of us had trouble denying her as sick as she was.

So, how did you do it? Did you force your child to give it up cold turkey or wean him or her?

Tuesday, May 14, 2013


Last summer or fall The Young and the Restless did a storyline on bullying. It was handled pretty good in my opinion.

With the different levels of social media, bullying is much different from when I was a teenager. Back then if we had an issue with someone he might have spread rumors, but it didn’t go as far as it does now. We might have even gotten in a fist fight, but it wouldn’t go viral and it wouldn’t involve a gang beating.

Our daughter was bullied in middle school. The girl bullied our daughter because she lost her brother – our son.

It was difficult enough for our family to deal with the loss of our precious son. He was only six days old when he died, due to premature birth. To have a student at school bullying our daughter over this confused us.

Lexi wanted to beat the girl up and in all honesty, I understood. BUT I told her it wasn’t the way to handle things. Lexi threatened every day to follow her off school grounds and beat her up. It never happened.

I tried to get the school involved but they didn’t want to. I had print outs of the online bullying to show them it was taking place. They didn’t feel it was a school issue, even though it was happening IN SCHOOL too. This is something I still don’t understand.

The bullying stopped for a bit and when it resumed I’d had enough. Our family was trying to handle their own grief. We didn’t need outside forces adding to it. At my wits end I hunted down the girl’s mother and called her. Maybe this woman would talk some sense into her daughter.

Her mother immediately went on the defense when I called her. I expected it. What mother wouldn’t want to protect their child? What shocked me the most was I learned that this family had a son with CP, Cerebral Palsy. Their son was born prematurely.

My heart was breaking on so many levels. Why is this child torturing my daughter over her brother’s death if she knows what it’s like to have a brother born prematurely? I’ll be honest, I have a few assumptions, but they’re not facts so I won’t speak of them. All I know is it still breaks my heart.

When we explained the situation to our daughter SHE looked at the girl differently and found a way to ignore her. Lexi felt sorry for the girl.

We had Lexi see a therapist to deal with her grief and thankfully she’s recovered. The best part is once they reached high school the girl was never in any of her classes.

Our bullying situation ended on a happy note, but not all will. Please if you know your child is being bullied or bullying…do something. Don’t count on the school to handle it, because they may not. Get involved. You could save a life.   

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Friday, May 10, 2013

Let 'er Rip

I’ve read a ton of advice books over the years. In fact I still do on occasion. In this business, I don’t think you can ever stop learning. Knowledge is power.

Today I’m talking about writer’s block. You know when your muse decides to take a vacation. You can sit for hours staring at a blank page, or solitaire becomes your best friend. That masterpiece you wanted to create is put on hold because, well frankly your muse doesn’t give a sh*t.

One thing almost every book suggests is to free write. Pull out a journal and write. It doesn’t have to make sense to anyone but you. Heck, it doesn’t even have to make sense to you. You can write a grocery list, a to-do list, or just how you’re feeling in that moment.

Write a good-bye letter to your muse if it helps. Just write, write, write until it charges your muse again.

Basically, let ‘er rip.

Thursday, May 9, 2013


Ding. Ding. Ding. You know the familiar sound. New email. A text message. All distractions.

In this social media era, there are too many reasons not to write.

I’ll just check email quick.

If I only surf Facebook for five minutes, I’ll recharge my brain.

I should text my mom and see how she’s doing.

These are all the excuses I use when I’m struggling to get words on paper. Sometimes it works. I give myself a goal. After 500 words I can see what’s new in my inbox.

 Read some blogs after 100 words.

Not all days are full of distractions. Some days I can sit with my laptop and the words flow. Those are the days I enjoy. Once I’m done with whatever project I’m working on, I can spend time online or reading. :o)

After all I’ve earned it.

How do you keep the distractions at bay?

Monday, May 6, 2013

Monday Again

Boy the weekend seems to fly by. It was busy, but fun. We saw Ironman 3 over the weekend. I wrote a story for Chicken Soup for the Soul – Dating Game.

The story of the day I met my husband is pretty humorous, so I decided to share it in a story. I hope the Chicken Soup editors enjoy it.

I have a pile of ideas and magazines I’d like to submit to on my desk. Each day I take the one on the top and work from there. The process is going pretty good so far. Will I keep up the momentum? I plan to.

If I miss a day, I try to make it up the next…it works for me and in all honesty the only thing that matters is if I reach my goal of 30 at the end of the month.

Now it’s time for me to get to work.

Thursday, May 2, 2013

1 Down 29 to Go

I most likely won't update every day, but I did manage to submit a story yesterday! I love to challenge myself.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

30 Day Challenge!

I’m challenging myself this month… 30 days 30 submissions.
It’s a lot for me, with a full time job and other writing commitments. But I want to add new magazines and trades to writing. There are a few new to me online mags I want to submit.
I know there's 31 days in May, but I'm taking Mother's Day off, because I am a mother after all. And not the mother my ex used to call me. ;)
I’ve made a list of about ten ideas for stories/articles. I’m off to a good start.

Now ready, set, GO!

Monday, April 29, 2013

Birthday Weekend Hangover

No, there was no alcohol involved. Not for me at least.
Saturday we celebrated our granddaughter's 4th birthday. Spent the day at one of those Chuck E Cheese type places. Our 2 year old had a blast on all the rides. She rode these cars on a roller coaster type track. She'd ride one car, get off and climb on another. This went on for 10 consecutive times. Finally we had to move to the Ferris Wheel and Merry Go Round. Mom, dad and grandma had enough of waiting for her to leave the cars.
Sunday was a longer day, as we were hosting a Sweet 16 for our middle daughter. Some family drove three hours to celebrate her birthday. Something we all appreciated. Overall, it was a fabulous weekend. Now I'm exhausted, but back to work. Busy, busy, busy.

Hope everyone else had a fun filled weekend too.

Saturday, April 20, 2013


Like many Americans I spent most of Friday glued to the television. We don't live far from Boston and we have family who live pretty close to the chaos that ensued.
My thanks go out to all the Boston PD, FBI, Swat and others involved in the capture of the second bombing suspect. They truly are heroes in my mind.
Continued thoughts and prayers for those hurt or lost in the Marathon tragedy.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

General Hospital and Plastic Surgery

Growing up I would run home from school every day to watch General Hospital. Over the last twenty-five years while raising kids I’ve tuned in, sometimes regularly, sometimes not. The beauty of soap operas is you can miss a year and still know what’s going on…that’s the downfall too. They drag out story lines for way too long.

As the 50th anniversary approached there was quite the hype about returning stars. I looked forward to seeing old faces, so for two weeks I recorded the show. I realize Hollywood makes a big deal about actors and actresses getting older, but damn, some of these actresses have had too much plastic surgery done.

I don’t get it.

Why would you want to go under the knife to the point you can barely smile? Or that you look like you’re permanently smiling? Have they not seen what’s happened to other actors?

Why can’t we allow people to age gracefully? Why do we insist they need to fix themselves to look ten, twenty years younger?

I know for me the fear of looking like a plastic scary doll isn’t an option. I personally couldn’t get the work done that these Hollywood types are.

What are your thoughts?

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

A Bit of Good News

I don’t share the contracts or assignments for articles, but I do like to share when I receive good news for stories.

Sunday I received a letter from Chicken Soup for the Soul letting me know I made the finals for the Lemons to Lemonade book. I had to sign a release form. While I may not make the book (keeping fingers crossed), it’s nice to know I made it into the finals. The book comes out in August 2013 and hopefully my story will be in there.

I’ll keep you posted!

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

What's Going on in this World?

I had a blog planned for today, but in light of what happened in Boston yesterday I decided against it. The heartache for the people involved is deep. We were lucky our family living close to the bombings were all okay.

My thoughts and prayers are with those in Boston today.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Five Year Limit

A few weeks ago the hubby and I were watching a Dateline or one of those shows about a woman who after almost ten years of marriage, her husband is arrested and convicted of rape and murder. The woman didn’t believe her husband was guilty.

Fueled by her rage over the conviction, she set out to prove his innocence. It took her twelve long years, but she did it. She found the true killer and her husband was set free. When he was released from prison it was a joyous reunion for them.

Sadly, they divorced eight months later.

My husband was commenting about how wrong that was. Here’s my take.

People change. Twelve years is a long time to be apart. I told DH five years is a long time. He looked at me appalled.

The brutal facts are people change. They must if they’re to grow. Would I leave my husband if he went away for five or more years? I’d like to say I wouldn’t, but the honest truth is I’m not sure. I love him with all my heart. I just know people change.

So what are your thoughts?

Tuesday, April 2, 2013


The hubby and I, along with our youngest daughter traveled to Upstate New York last week to visit my family. Our other two daughters stayed home to spend time with their significant others family. They were staying at our house to watch the dogs and make sure our home was safe.

The first morning I woke up early and spent some time in the room upstairs at the hotel. We had a two bedroom place. Anyway, I took a shower around 6:15. When I got out I heard loud music.

My first thought was the toddler was awake and hubby was trying to amuse her with music. As I left the bathroom I realized it was the alarm clock beside the bed. I thought it strange, but being it was our first night, maybe the guests before us had set it. Hindsight I wonder if it were intentional.

So I turned it off and went about my business. Later that morning my oldest daughter called and the first words out of her mouth were, “Thanks for the alarm.”

I’m confused. As we talk some more she tells me that the alarm clock in our bedroom went off at 6:30. It woke her and the kids up.

Ummm, we NEVER set the alarm clock. There’s no need for us. I’m always awake around 4:30 but rarely sleep past 6. Hubby wakes on his own by 7. And even if we did oversleep, we have a 20 month old who would wake us up.

A chill passed through me when I realized both of our alarms went off at almost the same time. I say almost because I can’t confirm the exact time of mine because I was in the shower.


Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Write What You Know

These are words to live by when freelancing. You shouldn’t only stick to what you know, though. You should also write what you’re passionate about. If you’re passionate about a subject you’ll do it justice in your articles.

I know this because I know domestic abuse. I lived it for over fifteen years. When I read Listen Magazine I knew I found a home for my passion…teaching teens how to recognize the signs of abuse. Educating teens was the best place to start. For five years I wrote various articles and quizzes on abuse for them.

I wrote on other subjects, like drugs. My ex, who was not only abusive, he was addicted to drugs. His drug of choice? Marijuana. I wrote articles on Huffing, Dusting, Bath Salts, Cocaine and Pain Pill addiction. It’s surprising to see the statistics on teen drug abuse.

I’m passionate about these subjects because I had teens at the time. I didn’t want them or others to fall victim to a life I’d lived or witnessed. I’m still writing on these subjects.

I now consider myself an expert on these subjects which helps when querying magazines. I have lots of clips.

Ten plus years ago I took a freelancing class. The instructor asked us to write down things we know.

As she stood in front of the class, the students looked at her dumbfounded.

Most grumbled, “I don’t know much.”

She laughed and asked a few questions to get us started.

Are you married?



Where have you worked?

Do you have hobbies?

Do you see where I’m going with this? When you start answering these questions you can find an array of article ideas.

Being a divorced mother of three at the time, I wrote articles on how to cope with divorce. I wrote articles about how to manage the holidays, which weren’t easy in the beginning for me. I wrote an article on certain items you should duplicate at your home and your ex’s.  I’m sure you get the idea.

In the end I had a lot of subjects I could write about. I haven’t stuck to writing only what I know, but if you’re starting out…this is a great way to do so.


Friday, March 22, 2013


It’s my middle name.

Sure I’ve met every deadline every assigned to me, but procrastination is in my blood. My family will tell you, my motto is: Why do today what you can put off 'til tomorrow.

You know the deal. You have an article to write and suddenly the laundry looks more appealing or the sink full of dishes. Oh and don’t forget the closet needs to be cleaned out for spring. Whatever the excuse, I normally find it.

Lately I’ve been doing better. I’m getting things accomplished. This week I’m recuperating from surgery I had on Tuesday. I had plans. I had a to-do list while bed ridden. I haven’t done any of it. Though, I’ve done something better this time. I’m doing what the doctor’s told me to. I’m not procrastinating.

Instead of working, I’m sleeping, reading, and watching some horrible television. I have no deadlines right now, so that helps.  

How do you deal with procrastination?

Friday, March 15, 2013

Happy Birthday, Sharon

Today should be the birthday of one of my best friends. Sadly she passed away in August. Her passing has weighed heavily on me all these months. Yes, I knew she was suffering from liver disease and toward the end she had pneumonia. I’m not sure what claimed her life and I’ll never know.

What saddens me the most is she called me the Friday before she died. I was on a conference call and couldn’t answer the phone. Because my husband and I were leaving the following Tuesday I figured I’d call Sharon back on Monday when things settled down.

I didn’t have until Monday. Sharon died on Sunday. Her niece called me on Monday morning with the news. I’ve regretted not calling her back on Friday since. I also heard from a few other friends she’d called them on Friday and Saturday, almost as if she knew her time was near.

Sharon was always my biggest cheerleader. She constantly told me how much she idolized me for being such a strong woman. Sharon was strong in her own right. She had a lot of family issues, not marriage, more her brother’s and sister’s. She battled them and held strong to her beliefs.

A week ago I had a dream. In the dream was a slip of paper with Sharon’s full name on it, next to it are words that haunt me – Not My Time.

Today I want to wish friend a Happy Birthday. I love and miss you every day.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Love What You Do

The other day I read an article that touched me. The bottom line of the article – love what you’re doing.

This has stuck with me because frankly I don’t love what I’m doing. Yes, I love writing. What I’m struggling with is my day job. Back about ten years ago I left the world of accounting and entered the IT business. I love my accounting job. I’m great with numbers, but in all honesty, it didn’t pay well.

When you’re raising kids as a single mom, money trumps happy job. Up until about a year ago I hadn’t regretted the decision I made. I’ve enjoyed the work I’ve done. So what happened? I lost my co-worker. She was subjected to the dreaded work force reduction. Now two jobs are my responsibility. I’m super stressed all the time. I really dislike my job. I cringe every morning when I have to boot up my work laptop. I’m moody and often depressed.

The only ray of sunshine I get is from my writing. I’d love to do it full time, but the truth is it doesn’t pay enough as my IT job. So, until I come close to what I make in my day job, I’ll have to continue working.

What I don’t have to do is stay in this rut. I’m no longer a single mom. Those days of being stuck in a job I don’t like are over. I’m in the process of looking for a new job. Hopefully one will be right around the corner.

Do you love what you do?  

Friday, March 8, 2013

The Waiting Room - Flipside

So yesterday I discussed the fees doctor's charge for being late. Today, I discussing why we might be waiting. This gave me a new perspective on doctor's. Now I don't get so angry while waiting.
   Have you ever sat in the waiting room of your doctor’s office, fingertips tapping on the magazine you’re trying to concentrate on, but can’t? Your foot stomping, you’re frustrated. You arrived early for your appointment so why can’t your doctor be on time?

     What’s taking him so long? Doesn’t he know you have other things you could be doing at home? How unprofessional of him or her to leave you waiting so long.

     I know I’ve been that person on many occasions. A recent stay in the hospital shed a different light on my doctor and his time.

     I was hospitalized for a severe case of pneumonia.  My doctor showed up in my room every morning around seven am to check on me. Like clockwork he checked my condition faithfully. And if he couldn’t be there his partner came. Sometimes he would stop back at night to see if I was progressing. These are doctors that I want to continue caring for me. They were both very concerned with my health.

     I wasn’t the only person they visited in the hospital. There were other patients they had to check on.

     I learned that he not only made rounds at the hospital every day, but two days a week he also started his morning doing minor surgery. So when I go to his office and he’s running late it could be because he got caught up with a very sick patient at the hospital or a procedure took a little longer than planned, either way he started his day much earlier than his office hours and he’ll still be going long after the office has closed.

     After a sixteen day stay in the hospital I have a new respect for my doctors. Next time I’m sitting in the waiting room wondering why he can’t be punctual I will remember that he is caring for others.  And they deserve his time just as much as I do.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

A Fee for Being Late? Really?

   Doctors are starting to impose fees for being late for your appointments and for missed appointments. But what about when your doctor keeps you waiting? Should you be able to collect a fee for him or her being late fifteen minutes?

   Sitting in the waiting room of my doctor’s office the other day I was bored and began reading the different signs they had posted along the walls.

   One sign indicated there would be a twenty-five dollar fee imposed for a missed appointment. Okay, I can understand if you don’t call to cancel your appointment, the doctor should charge you. Someone else could have taken that slot and might have really needed to see the doctor, so that fee seems reasonable.

   The one sign that really caught my eye was the one stating if you were fifteen minutes late you would not be seen and it would be considered a missed appointment. Charge twenty-five dollars. And the doctor would not see you again until this fee was paid in full.

   Okay this may be a bit extreme. How many times have you sat in the waiting room of your doctor’s office waiting for longer than fifteen minutes? Every time a nurse walks out you’re hoping they’re going to call your name, only to be let down. Or better yet you get called into the examining room only to wait even longer.

   I did on this day. In fact I sat for thirty minutes in the waiting room. I showed up on time for my one o’clock appointment, actually I was five minutes early hoping to be taken in quicker! Ha! Was I wrong.

   On my way out of my appointment I asked if I was entitled to the twenty-five dollar fee as he made me wait for half an hour. It wasn’t my fault that a baby decided to come into this world at the same time as my appointment. They didn’t find the humor in my question.

   It all goes back to fair charges. Should doctors be able to charge you for being late when they consistently make us wait?

What’s your opinion?