I’m the kind of person who can’t watch a scary movie without tucking the comforter under my feet when I go to sleep for fear the monsters under my bed will gnaw off my toes. Walking out of a dark room also proves itself as a form of entertainment for anyone else in attendance as I inch my way away from the bogeyman hiding in the shadows. He’s never actually reached out and dragged me back into the darkness, mind you, but that’s only because I’m so vigilant. I mean, how’s he going to surprise me if I’ve trained myself not to blink as I dart my eyes back and forth while keeping my back pressed to the wall until I’ve made it to the stairs and run like a crazy woman while everyone laughs at me?
I’m also the kind of woman who isn’t ashamed to admit I saw a ghost once or that my grandmother smiled at me when I gave her a kiss in her casket. The ghost we call Fred and my in-laws believe he came with the property. He wears a Fedora and a suit and his tie is undone and only shows up to let you know he’s still around. The smile happened when I was six and I thought my grandmother was sleeping and I didn’t understand why everyone was crying. When it was time to go, my mother lifted me up as I requested so I could kiss her and when my lips touched her cheek, she did what she usually did when I kissed her in her sleep and I left the funeral home content in the knowledge that she loved me.
The point is that I’m a believer. I’m not sure if it’s my open mind or my writer’s imagination or some combination of the two, but when the hair stands up on the back of my neck, I listen. And I can guarantee you that I would not be the chick trying to make my dramatic escape from the ax-wielding maniac while in my high heels if I was a character in a horror movie. I’m not an amateur, you know.
So when I found myself waiting for my boyfriend to come home because my key wouldn’t let me unlock the front door, my first thought (naturally) was that the house was possessed and the evil spirit residing in the home we shared with my future brother-in-law just didn’t want me there. This line of thinking was only reinforced when my boyfriend came home, laughed at me because he thought I had forgotten my house key, and quickly unlocked the door. I let it go the first time it happened, hoping it had just been a fluke, but the next day I found myself on the front porch again furiously trying to make the key work before I had to explain to anyone outside of my own head that I was afraid we were going to have to call in a priest. This time, my boyfriend’s brother rescued me as he let us both in upon his arrival from work. Obviously, the evil spirit in residence only had a problem with me. I was relieved. That meant no one else was in danger.
I was jumpy and hyper vigilant when home alone, always waiting for something to reach out in the darkness. I tried convincing myself it was just new house nervousness. I hadn’t even familiarized myself with the layout enough to not walk into a wall on the way to the bathroom at night yet, so maybe I was just over-reacting? But this theory fell by the wayside as I stood in the bathroom one night, drying off after a hot shower. At first I thought I was imagining things. I wasn’t really seeing letters forming in the steamy mirror, was I? I froze. I may have blinked a few times. And when I opened my eyes the last time, I almost screamed.
“Get Out,” was now clearly written on the mirror. I ran, naked and terrified, across the hall and into the room to wake up my sleeping boyfriend to tell him we had to move and we had to move now before anything terrible happened. I told him that something didn’t want me there and wouldn’t let my key unlock the door there was something evil here and to go look at the mirror. So he did.
And that’s when he started to laugh.
“You need to come see this,” he choked out when he could speak again. I found him in front of the mirror where the words “When you get out of the shower, please make sure to clean up after yourself,” greeted me on the mirror. It had been a household reminder from his brother, written in dry-erase marker and wiped off with a napkin. Obviously, not well enough. The residue from the marker had blocked the condensation from forming where the letters had been, allowing the words to slowly reappear as if written by invisible fingers.
“But..but…how do you explain the key? Something doesn’t want me here!” I insisted.
He didn’t answer. My boyfriend simply grabbed my hand, led me into the bedroom, and handed me the shiny new key he had left for me on the dresser that I had forgotten to put on my key ring.
***
This essay originally appeared on the awesome An army of Ermas site. Stop by for some Halloween-themed fun and keep coming back because we’re funny.
Oct 282011
 

Look at that.

My baby girl. Modeling the dress of the month at Above All Fabric for my very talented friend, Melanie. We met up at Trail Dust Town in Tucson, had a great time while our daughters hammed it up for the camera, and then ended the day with a nice meal at Pinnacle Peak Steakhouse.

I know I have pictures of her all over the place with the blog and all, but this is somehow different. And way cooler.

Please, stop by Above all Fabric to see a few more shots of the dress of the month and maybe stay for a bit to see if anything catches your eye. I’d buy something if I could do more than hand The Husband the sewing kit when a button needs to be sewed back on to whatever it popped off of. But as things stand, I’ll just stand back and ooh and aahh at what Melanie can do.

Oh, but before I go? Let me show you the photo that didn’t make the cut.

Because it’s my favorite.

I may even frame this

 

I recently joined Brooke Warner’s Mightybell Experience focusing on six steps to build my writing platform. And? It’s a blast. One of the first exercises I participated in was making my I AM FABULOUS list, with the premise being about learning to talk myself up honestly and passionately because, and let’s be honest, as writers we are selling ourselves and our words as our product.

That being said, it’s not always easy to do it. Talk someone else up? No problem. I’ve got a mile-long list of writing friends with accomplishments totally worth writing home about. If you are a writer reading this post, I’m assuming you do, too. But what about yourself? When’s the last time you caught your reflection as you passed a mirror or a store window and told yourself how awesome you are?

Brooke’s suggestion was to get the pretty glitter markers and stickers and just have fun creating our I AM FABULOUS lists. (And yes, I smile every time I type that, so thank you, Brooke. Mne and my glittery list are certainly in a happy place right now.) So I did. Buttercup asked me to help her make a list, too, but I’ll share that with you another time.

For now, it’s show and tell. Here’s what I came up with:

*I have the power to make my words speak on paper

*I’ve written for The Detroit News, Crain’s Detroit Business, & been published on Hippocampus Magazine.

*I’m not afraid to make fun of myself for the benefit of my reader’s experience.

*I’m sarcastic. No, really.

*I’m relatable even if spellcheck feels its necessary to argue with me about relatable even being a word every time I type it

*I’m also modest. Maybe.

*I once queried an agent with the phrase “my mama muffin top” in the first sentence, only it came out “muff top” & I didn’t throw myself in front of a bus after sending.

*That means I’m stubborn and am not afraid to keep trying after making colossal mistakes.

*You’re welcome.

*I maintain this blog, relaunched my other blog for something to do in my spare time (insert laughter here), write for bookieboo, review books for Hippocampus, write for An Army of Ermas, and still have time to pretend I’m not crazy. I know…it’s a gift.

*I embrace my flaws and celebrate my strengths. Translation? Typos in this blog post are meant as visual aids to illustrate this point and are not to be confused with me being a horrible typist. Because I am.

*I sacrifice sleep and television for the chance to play with words and I do it gladly every chance I get.

*I’m better than I was yesterday, as good as I can be today, and confident I’ll be able to say the same thing tomorrow.

*I wrote a book. A whole book. And I’m still working on making it the best it can be because I believe in it and in myself.

***

Did I mention how much fun I had writing this?

Now grab your markers and construction paper, people. It’s your turn. Tell me…why are you FABULOUS?

 

I’m combing through my archives in an effort to maintain just a little bit of sanity while trying to do a massive revision of my manuscript, maintain the blogging schedule because I’m OCD like that, and do that motherhood thing. Santa may be receiving a letter from yours truly in the near future asking for a maid, a cloning device, or a one way ticket to Fiji (his choice), but until I actually have time to write it, it’s all about the archived blog posts and a liberally poured glass of wine.

Or five.

And because I am now officially dairy-free, may I suggest coconut milk ice cream as a nice alternative for The Reverse Sundae?

 

sundae

Sometimes, you just gotta live it up. No matter what diet or eating plan you are following, carrots sticks and chicken breasts are going to get boring if you don’t treat yourself every now and then.
So what’s a mama to do?

Live it up, of course! But play it smart.

That’s how I came up with what I like to call the Reverse Sundae. I was up late one night working on my book and decided I wanted to have some ice-cream. Six months ago, that would have meant a huge bowl, ignored serving sizes, and enough sugar to put an elephant into a coma. But things have changed. I’m working with a nutritionist now, eating as clean as possible and learning more everyday, and best of all, I no longer suffer from the All or Nothing mindset that used to doom me and my good efforts the moment I let a pinkie toe off the proverbial wagon.

So I went down to the freezer and pulled out my Haggen Daaz Five Vanilla ice-cream pint and prepped the counter to slice up some fresh berries and a banana. I also made sure to get my dessert bowl out of the cupboard…the huge bowls I used to use are no longer the first thing I reach for.

Once the berries were slices and nearing the top of my dessert bowl (about a cup of fruit, I think), I placed two smallish scoops of Haagen Daaz on top of my fruit. If I had to do this again, I’d probably say I used less than a serving size and may use even less when I make my next Reverse Sundae.

And that’s it! I grabbed a spoon and headed back up to my computer, enjoying every single bite of cooled and creamy fruit as I wrote. I got my fix, a nice serving of fruit to go with it, and felt great about my decision, my new creation, and myself when the last bite was done.

Give it a try and see what you think!

This post originally appeared at Bookieboo.com!

 

Teacher asks Buttercup: “How can you be a good friend?”

Buttercup responds: “I give my mom a present at her birthday. She will say Thank You Thank You after she opens it up and she will say, “Oh, Baby! Lovely, Lovely.”

And teacher writes it all down on construction paper, sending her home with her imagination stuffed safely in her backpack for Mama to find later that afternoon.

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