Tuesday, May 31, 2011

What My Kids Would Say If...

You may or may not know, I have this fantasy that indicates I think I am someone special, and should be on The Ellen Show
This goal has nothing to do with me writing a book. In fact, in a letter to Ellen, back in ’06, I told her I wanted to be her first un-famous guest. I would still qualify!
I told my kids we need to start making “Why We Should Be on Ellen “ videos and submit them.
“Make them go viral,” I said and my son’s response was, “but WE don’t wanna go on Ellen--you do”. [he is wrong about that…my daughters would LOVE to go on Ellen!]
Okay, well, my kids won’t write her. I tell them to write her and tell her how great I am. They won’t. They won’t make the videos either.
So, I had this idea today that I would write to her- AS them. Well, that didn’t quite turn out. 
So I just decided to write what my kids would say if asked, “Tell Us About Your Mom”

So here it is:

What My Kids Would Say About Me If…

IN ORDER OF BIRTH [have to do it this way or they fight over somebody being a favorite-I don’t have a favorite]

Adam: Uh-I don’t know. Will she read this? Uh-she’s alright, I guess. [smiles and looks over his shoulder like someone is going to jump out and surprise him] Uh-she’s my mom? [says as question, believing it to be a test of right/wrong answers.] Uh…[struggling to think—eyes brighten—big grin] She wrote a book! It’s about—[slumps slightly] uh-a…little girl? [looks at wife] Ah, hell, I don’t know…ask her [points to wife] She knows that stuff.
Anika: Ki**’s great. Oh, you guys call her Kimberly, don’t you? Yeah, she’s cool. She’s my mother-in-law. We actually went out once. To a karaoke bar. I surprisingly had a good time. It was fun. [looks at Adam. Adam shrugs, confused]
Adam/Anika [in unison- yelling into air] JENNA!

~Enter small 6-year-old child with an over abundant amount of brunette hair topped with princess tiara, carrying a frog in one hand and a Barbie in the other. Looks first at Adam and says “Tape this on there, will ya?” Handing him both of her possessions. He obliges.
Jenna: [looking at her mother, confused] What?
Anika: [whispering] Talk about Grammy
Jenna: I LOVE GRAMMY! Can I have my frog back now?
Adam/Anika: [slightly short of unison] NICK! 
Adam: Ask Nick. He’s her favorite.

Nick: She’s alright. SHE thinks she is pretty cool. I guess she is. She wrote a book and it’s published. I read it along time ago, before it was a book-it’s good. She loves playing the Kevin Bacon Game. She is getting senile.  No not really. But she probably will, someday. It’s gonna be great!  We are so gonna mess with her! [looks at Adam. They both nod and snicker. Jonathan lets out a big “ha ha”]
Adam: Oh yeah it is. [high fives Nick and Jonathan]
Anika: [smacks Adam in the shoulder] Stop it Adam! [yells into other room] Hey, Jessica. Come tell stuff about your mom.

Jessica: [enters room with one dangling iPod earplug] MY mom? Oh [smiles sweetly] okay.  She’s great. She’s really pretty. People say I look exactly like her. Oh, not that I think I am pretty, but people say that all the time. I’m not pretty. But she is. She’s a foxy mama. [says with a growl and flirty raised eyebrows] Oh, and she is really easy to scare. We do it all the time. Just stand behind a door and say “BOO”!  She always jumps. She went airborne once. We should have done it on video. Oh, and she wrote a book. It’s really good. And she sings karaoke. Are there prizes for this? Do I keep going? Cause I can. She’s really short. She has really pretty eyes. She dyed her hair blue by accident once. It was super funny. Okay. I’m stopping now. Give Jennifer a turn. I have to go straighten my hair.

Jennifer:  What are we doing? I am NOT playing the Kevin Bacon game. I hate that game. Oh.  Mom? Mom’s awesome. She is always there when I need to talk. We are a lot alike. I write too. I write songs, mostly, but, I have a book started. She does make me pay rent though, which I think is crap. But, I finally got my own room now. With a door. It’s awesome. Wanna see it? [siblings yell at her to talk about their mom- not her room] I was talkin’ about Mom!  She let me move my room out of the basement into her office. That’s awesome. We wrote a song together the other night-well, part of a song- and then she ditched me. She is awesome, though. But, I’m done playing now. I wanna go play my guitar. Ask Nick-he’s her favorite. [told by others that Nick already had a turn] Oh, well then, ask Jonathan-she spoils him!

Jonathan: Oh man! Why are you asking ME? I don’t know. She wrote a book. I have her eyes. But mine are cooler. [Jennifer demands the others yell at him for talking about himself. They remind her she went to go play her guitar-she stomps off “fine I don’t wanna play this game anyway!” The others laugh-more high-fives exchanged]
Jonathan [continues]: Mom is really annoying. [“JONATHAN!” The others yell in unison, except Adam-he snickers-Anika punches him again] Well, she is. I hate it when she says the word “pompous”. And when she tries to talk slang.

Jessica: You think that stuff is funny. You are always making your facebook status stuff she says.

Jonathan: Yeah, she did say “I just try to keep it real” the other day. That was pretty funny. Oh, and remember when she didn’t know what “that’s what he said” meant? And she kept sayin’ over and over- THAT was hilarious. And, how she ends every word with a “y”.  Like thingy and, what did she say the other day? “Facey-book” What the heck?
Oh, but, she did say last night that her and somebody were “really tight” and I told her “NO! DO NOT SAY THAT! Absolutely not!”
Jessica: Who did she say that about?
Jonathan: I don’t know. Her and Ellen, I think-OH no, wait-it was about YOU and Ellen. She was saying since Ellen follows you on Twitter, you guys were really tight. I don’t know. It’s Mom. Whatever!
Jessica: Ellen and I ARE tight. Man, we are like this! [holds up crossed fingers]
Nick: You wish!
Adam: Ellen follows you on TWITTER? What the heck?
Nick: Duh, Adam where have you been?
Anika: Even I knew that!
Adam: Nobody tells me anything
Nick:  You just don’t pay attention
Adam: Shut up, Nick!
Jennifer: [yells from the other room] None of you are talking about Mom!
[in unison]: Yeah we are!
Jennifer: Did you even say Mom wants to BE on Ellen? No, you didn’t.
Nick: Oh yeah, she wants to be on Ellen. But, I ain’t gonna be on TV
Jessica: Whatever Nick. If Mom goes on Ellen, you will too, go.
Nick: I didn’t say I wouldn’t GO- I said I wouldn’t be on TV
Jessica: Heck, I will! I better be on TV!
Jennifer: I am the one who should be on TV!
Jonathan: Not about you, Jennifer!
Adam: Wait! [stands up with hands in air] WAIT! MOM’S GONNA BE ON ELLEN ??
Unison: Shut up, Adam!
Mom (aka, Me-aka, Kimberly) [enters room]: Ooh, what’s going on? Are we playing the  Kevin Bacon game? I’m down!

[Jonathan changes his Facebook status...]

Probably should have called it "Why I Will Never Get on Ellen!" LOL!
P.S.  Ellen really DOES follow my daughter on Twitter! (@jessicaangelina Go check it out!)

That's all 
Until next time,

Friday, May 27, 2011

My Kids are Cooler than Your Kids....

During each of my pregnancies, I had the normal fears. I prayed the baby was healthy, had all it’s fingers and toes, was a boy/girl. You know, all the normal stuff. And I had these normal, thoughts… I hope I don’t gain too much weight. I hope I lose all this weight. But, then…I had this one:  

I hope my kid is cool.

Yes, I thought that. I obsessed over the thought that my child would be a nerd. I feared a dork, even. I know what you are thinking…who IS this woman and HOW could she think this way?
Well, let me tell you.
I was young, but, I was the epitome of “cool”. I listened to the best music, knew the latest dance moves, and could, as previously and publicly stated, I could talk like a leprechaun. 
Armed with a quick wit and an ability to carry on the deepest of conversations, I had a battalion of friends and family and was the "bomb diggity” at most parties. [urban definition of bomb diggity meaning “awesome”, not full-figured.]
So, with all that criteria, of course, I obsessed over the future social standing of my child in public situations.
Well, let me tell you what happened.

Due to my exuberant personality and my approach to parenting, I had the most incredible children. My first two, Adam and Nicholas, were amazing.
Adam was such a little jabberbox, with his own special language, you couldn’t help but love him. You couldn’t understand him, but you had to love him! He was animated and quite the comedian. He played a wicked plastic guitar and was the destined to be the next Evel Knievel the way he handled a Big Wheel.  Thumb sucking and blanket toting, he passed the “cool” test.
The younger of the two, Nicholas [nicknamed Nicky,by my mother AND against my wishes-of course, it stuck], had big blue eyes that would pierce through to my soul. I told my mother when he was born, “I can’t put him down. He is just too cute.” Her advice was quick and fierce. “PUT THAT CHILD DOWN, NOW!” 

I did not.

Six months later, with my Nicky sitting on my foot and clinging to my leg, I called my mother, “This child will NOT let me go anywhere!” As I walked through my apartment, dragging him along, she replied victorious, “I told  you so”. Hence our love for Randy Travis began.  
He was covering Randy Travis songs by the time he was 2 years old with such compassion and heart, I would melt at the sound of it.  And he could understand Adam, so I was finally able to communicate with him, as well. That made my Nicky even more amazing and, therefore, he passed the “cool” test.

Next in the line-up-and formally known as “The Girls”.

My first, Jessica, a princess at birth, was called precocious by my OB/GYN. That comment came after a statement she made to him about seeing her mother naked. [“boy was my face red” moment] She was known in our circle of friends and family for her long blonde locks that, if stretched to capacity, would have been taller than her. She had the Barbie vanity and used it daily to make herself “beaut-ful”. 
She adored Bill Clinton and aspired to marry him. Bizarre watching a two-year-old fly from another room, ditching Barbie and various Little Mermaid paraphernalia in her wake, to perch in front of the television just because she heard his voice. When I asked her why she wanted to be the President’s wife, she thoughtfully changed her goal and said, “No, I will be The President. (at 2 ½ she had the role of his wife figured out)
While my father and her lovingly played with her new Barbies one Christmas, Dad, being Dad, told her “boys toys are more fun than girl ones”. Without missing a beat, and leaving him speechless, she replied, “Well, girls are smarter than boys.” She passed the “cool” test.

Enter daughter #2!  Jennifer! She cried, she screamed, she had colic! OH MY GOD! This is the one, I thought. This is the one who will be…well, anyway.
If I needed a babysitter, I had to pretend she would nap the whole time I was gone. My father, who is the most wonderful man the universe, would ask “Jennifer, too?” I could always hear the fear in his voice. She frightened all of us, as well. 
As she grew into toddlerhood, the screaming stopped. Only to be replaced with a little OCD and some traces of narcissism. [hats off to anyone suffering from either disorder-no disrespect intended.]
When she wasn’t cleaning everything-running around saying “uckky” to each microscopic piece of paper on the floor-she was telling us that she was prettier and smarter than everyone in the whole world. Many lessons were given on vanity, bragging, and the fact that I was the parent.
But, through it all, she emerged an adorable five-year-old and the family entertainer. She would climb up on top of the kitchen table and sing to us, making up the words as she went. She developed a strong empathy toward animals of all kinds, bringing home a broken baby bird egg to bury and capturing a wounded crow that she named Midnight. [*Note to Adam: you still owe your sister a parrot for agreeing to let it go, but thank you!]
Once while at dinner, she swatted and, to her horror, killed a fly. Carefully scooping it up and grabbing the garden spade from under the sink, she ran off to her makeshift cemetery in our backyard. We waited for her. We knew better not to. Suddenly her voice rang in, through the open kitchen window,
“Somebody gonna come out here while I sing or what?” 
It was more of a demand, but she passed the “cool” test. [she will probably read this and I am still afraid of her so, yeah, well anyway…]

And then, finally, the baby was born. [I know, right…How many kids ARE there? Last one…]
I named him Jonathan. Now, he was just born cool. He was the quietest, calmest, most cuddly baby, EVER! As he grew out of infancy and into being a little boy, he breathed more of the same. He had baby tricks. Being the youngest of five, he was constantly being talked to, played with, and “trained”.  
Adam and Nicky [known after this point as Nick-*sad face*] taught him to spell carbohydrate off the back of the cereal box when he was 3. [bingo ladies "awed" over him at the grocery store] Jennifer had him convinced he was her dog and would take him for walks. [complete with leash and an occasional “bark”] and he could imitate Clint Eastwood “Make my day”, with thumb/finger gun and Jim Carrey “Smokin’”, with the funniest expression known to man. He truly was like having a puppy but he didn’t pee on the floor.
He passed the “cool” test.

And so, after 27 years of motherhood, I can say, I worried for nothing. My kids are cool! 
But, where are they now, you ask? [pics over to the right and up or down)

Well, Adam didn’t turn into Evel Knievel-he lost his license as a habitual offender for speeding. On a happy note though, he is the epitome of cool to his two little kids and new wife. Outfitted in plaid golf shorts and a few ugly facial piercings he can be found riding his 3-wheel bike down to our local river to fish [or in the words of Stephen Wright, “to stand on the bank, looking like an idiot.”] 
He never catches much and pretty sure he still sucks his thumb.

Nick, as he prefers to be called, once aspired to have the most college degrees or to be computer hacker. He did neither one. He dabbles in penny stocks, works full-time, comes over every Sunday and says he can’t wait for my Alzheimer’s to go full bore. “I’m gonna so pretend I don’t know you.” He tells all the time and then laughs[insert evil Nicky laugh]

I burst his bubble when I tell him I won’t remember that.

Jessica is beautiful and quirky.  She thinks Will Ferrell is sexy, has favorite aisles at Wal-mart [laundry soap & and towels["cause they are so colorful"], and when most people are scrambling to get to the safety of their homes, during a tornado, she is looking for her keys to go chase it.   
She is also the most caring person I know. But, there is a downside. She cries a lot! She cried when Ace young got kicked off American Idol, when old people mow their own grass, and when she sees an Oompa Loompa.[ I know, we ALL cried when Ace Young left]
But, a lover of anything Irish, McDonald’s sweet tea and music, she can often be found driving around, with her IPod, searching for a Mickey D’s. And, if you want to know ANY song lyrics, just ask Jessica.[except Nickelback-they make her nauseous]

Well, she is a singer/songwriter who plays guitar[self-taught] and wants to move to Nashville someday. She is also working on her first novel, a paranormal tale, that she won’t let me read[insert big sad face] She has her days and nights mixed up, except on payday when she is up by noon. Other days she’s usually up just in time to make it to work so we don’t see her much.  
My favorite music to listen to while I write, is hers!
We are all, still, basically, afraid of her.

Jonathan? Well, at fourteen, he and his girlfriend at the time, announced they were going to have a baby. WOW! FOURTEEN! Yes. I know. My mother yelled at me for not talking to him about it. I told her I did talk to them both, about it, but, ultimately, I wasn’t there at the time of decision, so what can you do? I chose the happy road. No sense being mad for 9 months. Flip a switch and get happy? No. I chose happy. Happy, as life could always be worse.   
Sadly, their relationship didn’t take the happy road and they split up shortly after the birth of their beautiful daughter, Natalie. [featured in the video on this blog]
And now, he is the best father since my own. 
At 17, he shares physical custody, 50-50, with Natalie’s mother. They live with me, but he is the dad. He is the giver of baths, the preparer of meals, and the teacher of rules. At 17, he is a great father. [told ya he was born cool]

Except, there is one thing. He doesn’t think Chuck Norris jokes are funny. What is wrong with him? How can you not think Chuck Norris jokes are funny? 
Chuck Norris, after all, is the reason Waldo is hiding! How amazing is that? [kudos here to Chuck Norris joke guy who thought up that one-I don’t know who you are, but WOW! That is funny shi*]

So, what is my purpose here?
Did  I miss a memo? Is there a purpose? 
Well, crap.
I just think my kids are cool. Sorry!

Until next time,

Thursday, May 26, 2011

The Other Part of Me

Okay, I just have to share this video. Then I have to go clean my house. Yeah. The dishes! YIKES! They are scaring me today. Normally they just sit there and look stupid but....yeah well, anyway. This is my granddaughter, Natalie. She spent the last few months watching Idol with me and she was definitely a James fan! Then a Casey fan. She would swap back and forth. But the last week, she jumped over to Team Scotty!

This morning she was at breakfast and just started singing. We have no idea what she is singing about in the beginning but in the end, it's pretty clear....Ode To Scotty.

Hope you enjoy the video. It's proof that my life is awesome! I am truly blessed! Enjoy!

Click here to view, like and comment on youtube

Until next time

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

In The "Joe Zone"

So, if you follow me on Facebook or Twitter, you may have heard me refer to being "in the Joe Zone". Well, I am gonna tell us what that is. Then when you see it in my Twitter feed or posted on Facebook, you can smile, send me a smile, and know I am in a great place with two of the greatest people in this world! Here goes:

In my previous blog post, you know, the ten defining moments one? Well, some of those moments included my father and my brother. In that post, it was revealed that my father has cancer and my brother has cerebral palsy.

Their names are Joe. (things are starting to click now, huh?)

I will begin with my brother.
We are besties. He is a couple years younger than I am, just a smidge cuter, but I make better coffee.  He will tell you his coffee is better but he lies. (not really, LOL) Oh, me making better coffee, that's true. Him lying isn't.

He was diagnosed with cerebral palsy at 18 months of age. (it was later changed to cerebellar atrophy but because of his improvements over the years, that diagnosis doesn't make sense) As a child, I never knew that Joe was different. He was just my little brother. And we were best friends.

I can remember putting braces on his legs at night. They were big hunks of dull metal with grungy brown leather straps that imprisoned him and held his legs together, unable to bend or move. I hated when he cried and yelled.  And, I can remember saying “It’s okay, Jody. This will help you learn to walk.” I know now, I simply mimicked my mother, as I had no idea why he couldn’t walk.
He didn’t speak either. Grunts and pointing was his form of communication. And then my step-father made him speak. I remember thinking how cruel his was. “Jody can’t say milk!” I cried from my spot at the dinner table. I wanted to run over and give him milk but it wasn’t allowed until he said it. “Mu” finally came out. I would like to publicly honor my step-father for being so “cruel”!
After that, he started to talk. Not perfectly, but he talked all the same.  Being so close in age, adults in our family, my mother; grandmother; uncle; everyone really, would holler at me, “Kimmy, what is Jody sayin?” I always knew. Every time!
I started trying to teach him to walk. Sitting facing each other, I would put his brown, high-top orthopedic shoes on top of my feet. Holding hands we would stand up. Oh, how many times we fell. Over and over. But, we would succeed too. And then I would take steps, and with him balanced on top of my not-so-white sneakers, he would too. Pretty soon, we were dancing that way.
He got crutches then, that had the wrist strap and he would get up on his own. He got pretty good at those. After a few years, he could take steps alone. He found things to grab in his path; the chair, the doorway, another chair, a doorway, a buffet in the dining room, the table, the doorway- you get the picture.
By age 11, he had it down. He could walk!
Shortly after his 13th birthday, he found baseball. He became a walking, talking, baseball encyclopedia! He could tell you stats, games up, games back and any other baseball related info you needed, including when the games were on, where they were playing and what local channel.
At 14, he entered public school. At 18, he graduated.
Now, at 46 and still my best friend, he is an independent man; a hard working sports fanatic/geru, who loves coffee, collecting autographs of famous people (and he has some good ones!), and his cat Mrs. Goldberg. And yes, she is named after the wrestler. Well, she is named after his late cat, “Goldberg”, who was in fact, named for the wrestling giant.
Oh, and he is also a member of the American Checker Federation and plays in national tournaments all over the United States. I have not beat him since the 80’s. Instead we go to local concerts and have family day every Sunday. Here we are today:

Now, for Dad; the original Joe.
Okay so he’s my dad and I’m gonna say he is the coolest guy in the world. But, he really is. Ask anyone. He can’t be explained in words. Even for a writer.
He writes too. He has three books out there. Zapata’s Horse –The Book of While, Ogallala:The Rise of Morning Sun (someone in Nebraska asked him NOT to publish this one), and The Minimal Man.  Zapata’s Horse is my favorite, although Minimal Man was good too.  As for Ogallala…I will say I can see why Nebraska was mad! LOL! Sales on that one will probably soar now, huh?
He is true in his mind and pure in his heart. He doesn’t hate. Not even people who should be hated. He is a die hard Cardinal fan and even applied to be head coach. Actually got a letter back thanking him for his application. Kept it on file.  When we were kids, he worked at an antennae factory and would find the biggest box he could fit in the car and wrap it at Christmas for HIMSELF!
When my boys asked him who Santa was, he said he was. He couldn’t lie. It was okay, though. My boys just thought that was why they couldn’t go in the shed. (he kept the reindeer in there) He makes wicked homemade popcorn and a mean Shirley Temple. Makes a pretty awesome Bottom Bouncer too but there is a 2 drink limit for good reason…LOL!
He has always made a point to tell me he is proud of me. No matter what, he loves me and he always makes sure I know it. My brothers and I truly are, the luckiest kids in the world!

In 1998, Dad called me and the horrible words came out of his mouth, “I have cancer.”
In the days that immediately followed, we were in a fog. There was immediate surgery to remove a grossly invaded kidney and similar adrenal gland. There were months of medicine, weight loss, nausea, and shock. In the years since then, there has been more of the same, but,with moments of hope and victory.
Today, it’s the same. Medicine, weight loss, nausea, shock, and now-fear.
He has given up all his disposal organs. The big demon has invaded his pancreas and his liver. We wait. Remind him to eat. Hope he doesn’t catch a bad cold and visit him every Wednesday at his workplace- Our local VFW!
That’s where  you will find me, every Wednesday.
At the local VFW, with the bartender, my dad, Joe; who makes a wicked Shirley Temple and an equally toxic Bottom Bouncer and with my little brother, Joe; a checker playing, coffee loving sports guru who can’t make a decent cup of coffee.
So now you know....The Joe Zone; my favorite place to be!

Smiling right now cause it's Wednesday!
Until next time,

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Top Ten Defining Moments

I have this friend. She is amazing beyond words. I laugh so hard my face hurts for days. And she makes me think. She is a therapist so I get a lot of free counseling. LOL!
She asked me the other day to come up with my ten most defining moments. Can you believe that? In all my life, with 3 ex-husbands, five children, 3 grandchildren and oodles of strangeness in my head, she wants me to come up with only 10 defining moments.
Of course, at first thought, I was down to five as the births of my children would have to be there. Well, I thought about it and decided they were not going to be on this list. (YIKES!)
While each one is special in their own right and each birth unique, those moments did not define me. As I became a mother long before their birth. Which took me to my first defining moment. Now, most of these are just in the order I thought of them, or in the order I want to talk about them. They are not chronological nor in order of importance. Except maybe this first one….

#1 When I told my father I was having my first child
It was that moment in time that I felt like a mother. He was so happy and so proud. He picked me up and twirled me around. At that very moment, I knew I was doing something phenomenal! He made me feel like that. I was going to be a mother. And my father will say that is the noblest job in the world. He thinks mothers rank right up there with God, The President, and Stan Musical. Yes, Stan the Man. When he asked when I was due and I replied with “April 25th” He exclaimed, “A SPRING TRAINING BABY!” Definitely, my most defining moment!
Now, in no particular order or importance!

~~When my husband said he didn’t know if he loved me.
That’s all there is to that one. At the time, it was horrifying. Now, I am just grateful!

~~When I wrote THE END on Just Sippy
As a writer, there have many attempts at “the book”. When I started Just Sippy I was at work and the first line came to my head. I immediately wrote it down as a text in my phone. When I went home that night and put it into the computer; I had almost the whole first chapter done that night. I wrote the next day and the next. I just knew. I knew this was the one. I told my mom and my kids. I told my dad. And my friends. For the next several months, they agonized while I wrote and read to them. Finally my son said, I don’t want to know any more. Wait til it’s done. Then I really knew. I started sending chapters to my mom and sister. They were begging for more. I struggled over time lines and events. I re-wrote. Changed the storyline twice. And then one day, it just clicked. Fell into place and I wrote THE END. My friend walked into my office just as I did it and I told her. She jumped up and down and then I cried. It was done. Bittersweet I think as I had spent so much time with my characters, they had become family. It was hard to not be with them everyday.
Until I found a publisher, of course, and the word “edit” entered the picture. Welcome back, guys! HA! Enter my next great defining moment

~~When I found out Just Sippy was going to be published.
Enough said really. Can’t put it into words. Seeing it out there. Hearing people say they loved it. There are no words. The moments continue to be defining! I am growing and learning more each and every day more of what makes me who I am and who I have yet to become.

~~The day my grandmother died.
This would be my maternal grandmother. Since I was the product of a teen pregnancy, my maternal grandmother and I were very close. I spent a lot of time with her and my grandfather. She always had heart trouble but as a child I was unaware. I thought ALL grandma’s had those little white pills. She died suddenly one Sunday night when I was 14. I remember my mother running out of the house and I knew something was wrong. She came home late that night and told me she had died. It was the first time someone close to me passed away. I felt so bad for my grandfather as he was just so sad. He and I became closer after that. I felt the need to take care of him. Enter my need to “fix” everything maybe.

~~ The day my brother said “I’m not retarded anymore”
My brother, diagnosed with cerebral palsy and mild retardation at 18 months old, is my best bud! Always has been my shadow. Two years younger I taught him to walk, dress himself, and dance. He has always been there in my life. We never made him feel incapable of doing something. He was always told he could do anything. When he was little he wore a helmet to protect his head from falls. He was never allowed to get up and walk without it. I remember one day when we were about 13 and 15, he was sitting on the couch and he just took his helmet off and said “I am not retarded anymore.” I didn’t think he even knew the word “retarded” as I myself hated it. (Punched a kid once but that is another story). Mom and I both looked at him and Mom asked, “What are you?” Joe just looked at us and said “Just regular”. We laughed and laughed about that. To this day, I feel like we coined the phrase “regular Joe”. And from that day on, Joe was just regular. He never wore that helmet again. He had to do chores and make his own bed. Today, he lives in his own apartment , pays his own bills, and attends and plays in the National Checker Tournament sponsored by the American Checker Federation every year. Just a regular Joe.

~~ When I left home at 18
This one is a given, I think. Everyone probably considers leaving home a defining moment. But, I was 18 and had just graduated high school; As valedictorian, I was definitely heading to college. Nope. I shocked my entire graduating class and my parents by leaving California and moving back to my hometown in Iowa. You know…the “I’m taking a year off to find myself”. Without a plan or a job, I moved in with my grandfather. Within a year, I was married. I didn’t attend college until I was well into my 30’s. **NOTE TO SENIORS-Do NOT take a year off!! GO TO COLLEGE NOW!

~~The day my Dad said the words “I have cancer”
This was almost 13 years ago. Those words will never erase from my memory. They resonate in my mind; a permanent stamp in my grey matter. The cancer, found in his mouth was renal cell carcinoma, which if you know anything at all about cancer, that means metastatic cancer, or MOVED from one place to another-in his case kidney to mouth. This was NOT good! He underwent surgery to remove the kidney and an adrenal gland. Years of medicine. He got supper skinny. He got sick again. We had a doctor error. Which led to REALLY REALLY sick! Well, today, Dad still says “I have cancer”. Yes, he is still with us. Still fighting the big fight. It has spread now to other places and he has given all the organs he can. Right now, we are winning with medicine! He can be found handing out cold beer every Wednesday night at our local VFW, telling stories and perfecting the art of making a wicked Shirley Temple. He writes too. He has published 3 of them; Zapata's Horse, Ogallala:The Rise of Morning Sun, and The Minimal Man, all available on Amazon! http://amzn.to/lDQJiI There’s your plug, Dad! I love you!

~~SOLD OUT on Amazon
Self explanatory! And yes, THEY ARE GETTING MORE!! http://amzn.to/jHmtNN

~~Having grandchildren
How much more defined can you be? There really isn’t anything better than when a little mini person calls you Grammy? Or Mimi. Those are my names anyway and it ROCKS! And no, it doesn’t make me feel old at all!!! My son turning 30 in a couple years---yeah, that might!

Okay, so there you have it. My Top Ten Defining Moments. What are yours? This is not as easy as it seems. It is actually quite hard and I will think about it for days and wish I would have put something else on it. There are more moments that have defined me and they are either too personal, too sad, too embarrassing, or not suitable for children. HA!
So, get to it. Give me yours. Comment here or send me a link to your blog about it.
Until next time

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Yes, I Keep Rearranging the Furniture!

And "painting" the walls.
I am referring to the re-design of the blog. Just trying to find the right look. If you have been here before, the previous green was better than the, before that, black, yes? (WOW, that was a horrible array of commas and screwed up wording. Yeah, well, welcome to my world) Anywhoo....the green didn't work for me. Found myself looking behind me wondering where I was each time I came here... So, I painted. White.
It's fresh. It's clean. I needed that. And doing it here was a lot less expensive than doing it to the living room. And less work. And the kids aren't mad at me for it.

So, aside from rearranging things (and promoting the book), I have been job hunting. Now, formally known as "slowly killing my self-esteem one resume at a time". It's become an art form to me really. Changing the wording of cover letters to suit the position desired and re-vamping the resume to showcase talents otherwise hidden.(*Note to prospective employers: Please rest assured I did NOT do any of those things to the information sent to you!)
I have started to use my people voice around the house. The kids thought my mother was here and the cat hissed at me when I asked her nicely not to vomit in the clean laundry. Yeah, I am that good at it!
I hit the mother load at a garage sale a month or so ago. At a church. Business attire! Great clothes. Bargain prices! So, I clean up pretty good. Mastered walking in heels. I wouldn't challenge Kelly Ripa, but I can get around okay.
Now, I am not being vain. I went to a seminar on how to interview effectively. The interviewer told me everything was great. Resume looked good. I articulated well. Held myself great. Okay, he didn't know it wasn't good posture, but that I had a zipper malfunction that was about to puncture the skin near my 4th lumbar vertebrae, but still, I did alright.
So, now what? Well, until the right employer(with an impeccable taste in employees), calls, I will continue to change the wording on cover letters, re-vamp the resume, and practice my people voice, even if it scares the cat.

Maybe I will paint the living room!

Until next time,

P.S. Just Sippy is now available on AMAZON!!!

Monday, May 16, 2011

Who is This Man and Why is He Following Me Around?

So, apparently there is a man in my future. He's around my age, I think. Maybe; wait, actually a bit younger. He's dark headed. Tall. Thin but not skinny. Attractive enough but not dashingly handsome. I don't know where he came from or where he is going. He's married. He has at least one child; a boy.
As a writer, I deal with this "invasion" of my personal space daily. I usually don't mind at all as they generally stay pretty dormant until I call on them. This one, however, is quite, the intruder. He just barged his way into my life and is demanding his story be told.
I will, of course, honor that request and do whatever I can for him. His world has become mine and mine is now his. He is my latest character in a world of many. His story is unfolding to me as I write it and as soon as I know more, I will share.
For those of you who have asked for the rest of Sippy's story...well, that may have to wait. A sequel may come someday, but for now, I have this man following me around. And I must give him his time.
Oh, and he likes baseball. Lord, help me. Does anybody out there know anything about baseball?
I guess I should be grateful...could have been the rodeo clown or folk singer that asked to play. At least I know a little about baseball.

Until next time,

Friday, May 13, 2011


Okay. So, why haven’t I done this before? I don’t know. But, I suppose now I feel a little more comfortable here. I am trying to lure you in to be my follower. I want more Facebook fans. I want to sell more books. I want to be Twittered about. I am trying to get this out there to the world. I want this story to be read. All of the above.
While in local markets, Just Sippy has done well, and, in Colorado, the home of my publisher, it has done very well, but I want more. Like most things in my life, I want more. More shoes, more caffeine in my coffee, more excuses for my non-dieting days, more chocolate, more money, more free time, more time with the kids, more date nights, more writing time, more novels….the list could go on and on.
So, with that, I give you the first few pages of Just Sippy.
I hope to leave you hanging and wanting more. More of Sippy….
Reviews are welcome. Twitter about it. LIKE my fan page on Facebook. Follow this blog. Write a review. Buy the book! http://www.amazon.com

Hope you like it.
Until next time,



Never have been good at tellin’ stories. Mama says I talk too fast, and Daddy says I leave out important stuff like the color the sky was or how the room smelled. I just tell it, is all—the way I see it. Guess I don’t notice the sky much. And all I ever smell is fish. Damn river. Every time it rains, I can’t smell nothin’ but fish.
Most folks don’t notice that smell no more, but I do. And most folks have lived here their whole lives. Even their mama and daddy and granddad and memaw have lived here their whole lives. Memaw. That’s what I call my grandmother. Don’t know why. Never did hear that story. Guess I should of asked. Probably wouldn’t tell it right though, so it don’t really matter none.
I got a better story to tell. It don’t matter if I tell it right or not. Ain’t nobody gonna hear it but you. And nobody else is gonna tell it. So it’s just ’tween you and me. Now, if I get goin’ too fast, well, I’m mighty sorry. If I forget to tell ya a smell or a color, just make one up in yer head. I don’t think color matters none, but the sky here is blue like anyplace else. And like I said, all ya ever smell is fish.
My name’s Sippy. That’s not my given name, of course. When I tell ya my real name, ya can’t laugh. I got two memaws, and Mama and Daddy wanted me named after ’em, but they couldn’t choose one over the other for my first name, so I got two middle names, Bernice and GraceAnna.
Have I told ya yet my daddy loves storytellin’, fables, and anything odd or unusual? Have ya ever heard of The Three Princes of Serendip or Horace Walpole? I’m not surprised none if ya haven’t. From what I gather, there is a fairy tale about some princes who found stuff by accident and whatnot. Well, them princes, they was from Serendip (that’s a country), and they made a real big impression on that Walpole guy. So he made up a word—serendipity — to mean “by accident.”
My daddy said I came to them by accident. So he named me—no laughin’ now—Serendipity! Serendipity Bernice GraceAnna Johnson. But try teachin’ that to a baby brother. It comes out Sippy. And that’s what everybody calls me. Just Sippy.
I got two brothers and two sisters. They got normal names—Thomas Joseph, Rebecca Elizabeth, Emma Ruth, and the baby, James Scott. Of course, to us, they’s Tommy, Becky, Emmy, and Jimmy. Two is older and two is younger. I fit right in the middle. And we got a dog. We call him Whiskey. He’s almost eleven, which is how old I am. Daddy says he ain’t gonna make it much longer. Hope he never says that about me. I guess in dog years, though, eleven is a lot. That’s what Becky told me anyhow. She tells me a lot of the stuff I don’t know.
She told me about our neighbor, old Mr. Baker. Guess he’s not really mean like we all thought. He’s just sad. His wife had an operation years ago, and she couldn’t have babies. So they just stayed alone all their life. When she passed, summer before last, he just got sad. I always heard he was a mean old man and not to go near his gate or he’d come after ya with a chain saw. I never have walked that way home. My friend Max don’t believe Becky and says he’s as mean as all the stories say. Says it’s all true, and he’s seen the saw even.
“Seen it with my own eyes. Hangin’ in the shed when me and Pa did some work for him.”
“That don’t mean nothin’,” I told him. “Daddy’s got a saw himself.”
But he said Mr. Baker’s had blood all over it.
“Drippin’ right down into his hay bales!”
I didn’t believe him none. I think he just likes to show off. He does that a lot. Becky says it’s ’cause he is smitten with me, but I don’t think she’s right about that at all. Max is just a boy, and boys love to show off.
Becky also told me about the curse I’ll be gettin’ soon. All girls get it, she said. She said it will come every month with the full moon, and it’s women’s punishment for what Eve did. I said Memaw never told me anything about that when she taught me about the Bible. I said I never heard such nonsense, but she swears it’s true. Becky wouldn’t swear if it weren’t true.
Now mind ya, nothin’ real excitin’ ever happens around here. We live in Iowa, and well, it’s just like you heard it to be. Quiet. Everybody knows everybody. We don’t have dirt floors, and we aren’t married to our cousins like the jokes say. Although Daddy says Mama’s crazy friend, Dottie Roberts, and her husband Frank are related on her Mama’s side.
“It sure would explain a lot about them kids o’ theirs.” That’s what Daddy said to Mama, and then he reminded her about a time when them kids was on top of their house and they just started jumpin’ off it. “Two of ’em broke their arms, and I think they all got stitches somewhere. They said they was tryin’ to fly!” Then Mama remembered a time those kids were makin’ tents out of blankets.
“Remember? They had one side tucked behind the davenport, and the other side was over a chair. One of them thought it looked like a trampoline and jumped off the back of the davenport right into the middle of that stretched-out blanket.” Mama put her hands on her hips and spun around to face Daddy. “Frank’s mama was sittin’ there. Remember me tellin’ ya? She was holdin’ that blanket in place. Why, it flipped that poor woman right clean outta that chair.” She shook her head. “Looked like a turtle on it’s back when she tried gettin’ up.”
Mama said she was darn mad at those kids. She chased after ’em, but they just ran off gigglin’. Daddy says all them kids are still pretty wild.
Since our town is so small, we hear lots of stories like that, and usually the people are some relation to a neighbor or two. So let me tell ya. When something big does happen, it’s the talk all right. And somebody always manages to know your business. I ain’t figured out yet how that happens, but it does.
My brother, Tommy, skipped school once with Mary Beth Lawrence. He took her down to the river for a picnic, way down on the island side where no one lives or has any reason to be, and I’ll be darned if Daddy didn’t hear about it down in Bakers Flatt, about thirty miles from here. And he knowed it long before they even got done eatin’ the pie Mary Beth stole from her grandmother’s kitchen. Shoot, her grandmother didn’t even know the pie was gone, and the whole town knew they ate it.
My Aunt Lily found out she was gonna be havin’ my cousin Billy from the lady at the beauty shop. Mama said the nurse at the doctor’s office was the sister-in-law of one of the ladies who fixes hair, and she spilled the beans. Becky told me eatin’ beans won’t make me with child; I was glad to hear that, ’cause I hadn’t ate beans in a long time.
Like I said, I’m eleven, which makes it 1973. And my story starts in November…

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Sucking it in Wearing Sweat Pants!

How depressing it that? OMG!
I was so excited last week at the doctor's office when my weight was down 15 pounds from my visit in September. Shocked that I had shed that much, but, at the same time realized it was a no-brainer, as I was there back then to get my possessed thyroid under control.
So now, as I hold my breath in elastic waist, I ponder, how did I stuff this, plus the equivalent of two average sized bowling balls, into my size 7, non-elastic, denim jeans? How did I not, succumb to the inevitable pressure on my diaphragm, and, pass completely out?
That question remains a mystery but I did ask my doctor at my visit last week the easy question, “Now that my thyroid has been exorcized and is controlled by daily meds, how do I shed the rest of this weight?”
“The diabetic diet is the best and easiest to follow”.
“Really?” I know I sounded excited.
He sugar-coated and I am paraphrasing. No sugar. No bread. No potatoes. No rice.
What’s left?
“Protein,” he said. “Cut the fat off meat and eat lots of veggies.”
“Oh yeah”, I said. ”I love salads and, of course, there’s fruit.”
“Oh, watch salad,” he said. “Limit cheese and dressing. And fruit does contain sugar. Limit yourself.”
Feeling defeated that he had taken away my favorite parts of dieting, I asked about exercise. Yes, I am a glutton in all realms and that day, I was a glutton for punishment.
“Aerobic is best; and the best of the best is running.”
Now, I may run things through my mind, run to the store, or run out of something, but I am sitting at my desk, behind the wheel of my car, or looking in the fridge at the time. All kidding aside-I don’t run!
“20 minutes of running and you can eat whatever you want.” He added.
I like my doctor. He’s a nice guy. I didn’t like him that day.
“Just give it a shot. Let’s get your BMI down 5%. Blood pressure is on target. Shoot for 3 days a week on the exercise. We’ll follow up in 6 months.”
Then he sent me to be jabbed in the arm by a new nurse with little blood drawing experience, charged me $125 dollars, and requested a THREE month follow-up.
Before I got to the safety of my car, he bombarded me with the ultimate deal breaker, in our otherwise excellent relationship, “How ya doing on smoking? We need to address that soon.”
So, now a week later, as I sit here holding in my breath in sweat pants that, in this 80+ degree heat, have earned their name well; sipping on a large Dr. Pepper; smoking an unheard of quanity of cigarettes, I am wondering…
What’s for dinner?

Until next time,

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

I Really Just Want To Cut My Hair

Am I really going to talk about my hair? Of course not! I'm not THAT boring! Okay, that's a lie. I truly am that boring but I am still not going to talk about my hair. Just didn't have anything else on my mind at the moment.
Okay, so what am I going to talk about? Let's see. I want to back to school. You know, do some online stuff. Maybe a meteorology class. Get my BA degree. That would rock, actually. So, why don't I? I have no answer for that.
Does anyone out there watch American Idol? Well, you should! It was awesome tonight. This is one of the hardest years! They are all so good.
Going to Omaha this weekend. Have a book signing. That's right. For all you Omahaians-I will be at Jason's Deli on Dodge from 1:30-3:00 on Saturday, May 7, 2011. That's right. Come grab some lunch and while you are at it, get a book! I will be there to answer questions, pose for pictures, and sign your copy! There. My pitch for the day. I think we are going to try to give free carnations with each book. A little Mother's Day promotion! Be sure to visit http://www.justsippy.com to learn about the book if you don't already know. Oh and those who have been there, it's been re-designed so check it out. Mother's Day gift to myself! HA
Speaking of Mother's Day. Do you have your wish list done? I have mine. Wanna here it? Here goes:
A black, Craftsman self-propelled, rear bag mower/mulcher with a Honda engine and a 22" cut, a white Whirlpool dishwasher with Eco Wash, Quick wash, and self cleaning filter, a ProSport treadmill with built in web browser and 32 workout apps, and a Dr. Pepper.
I will let ya know how I make out. I am pretty sure I will get the Dr. Pepper!
Originally, I had asked God for a nice eligible bachelor with a lawn mower. Then I realized I just wanted the lawn mower. And a dishwasher. The treadmill was an after thought. Then I figured, well, crap, if I have a treadmill, I can drink a flippin' Dr. Pepper.
So, that is really all I have for today. I will finish up loose ends tomorrow to ready myself for Omaha. Driving over so leaving Friday afternoon. And then will head back on Sunday to celebrate Mother's Day with the kiddos. Would like to grill. Maybe work in the yard a little. Need to get the garden ready. I hate tilling the garden! Maybe I should have put that on my list...HA! No....you know what I REALLY want?

I really just want to cut my hair! (you saw that one coming, right?)
Until next time,

Monday, May 2, 2011

It's Official...I Hate Doing Dishes!

When going through my day for a topic here, I paced through the house around 16 times. I would say that I got quite a bit of exercise while doing so but, I stopped by the fridge 3 of those times and grabbed, in order, a yogurt, a thing of string cheese, and lastly, a slice of turkey. Oh, that's not bad you are thinking....yeah well that was after I had a frozen waffle and a leftover birthday cupcake.(no, not MY birthday cupcake) Oh, I also dipped my turkey in a puddle of ranch.

So, now that we have determined that I am an emotional eater, we have also established I have a hard time making decisions, did not experience a birthday and have nothing to write about here. Partly all true and partly all rambling.

My point however, is that each time I walked through my house, I looked at the dishes that so desperately need done. I "ughed" each time I passed as if some inner being thought some outer being would do them when I wasn't looking. And while it would be nice to assume I was thinking one of my children would do them, #1 I know better and #2 they weren't home. So, now there is a strong possibility here I am entering some phase of my life that could be construed as delusional. Or I could be experiencing moments of fantadreamereality. And yes, I totally just made that word up. It means moments of a woman's day when she suddenly puts herself in daydream state where fantasy is complete reality. Oh, shit....that is marriage! Damn!

Okay, that was completely uncalled for and probably has strong potential of deletion. And could quite possibly, not make any sense at all. Truth is I did look at those dishes like the first time I had seen them. I did find their presence shocking each time. I did believe in some sub conscious area, they would be gone. But, honestly, I hate them. I hate washing them. I despise putting them away. I shiver at the thought of rinsing them, hearing them clang together, and silverware...don't even get me started on that!

They are still there. Looming now as I am aware of their continuous presence. I can't bring back the delusion of their non-existence. I can't pretend anymore. I still hate them.
Maybe I will just buy paper plates from now on. Paper cups. Plastic silverware. My niece has a fetish for plastic. She won't even use stainless steel. She could be on to something. Of course, the baby would eat Styrofoam. That probably isn't nutritional, is it?

You know, yesterday I asked God for a nice eligible bachelor who enjoyed dining out, good music and my kids. I told God a lawnmower was required. Then this morning I retracted that request and just asked for the lawn mower. Suppose it's too late to add a dishwasher to the list?

I should probably go pray now. Thanks for letting me vent.
Until next time,

Sunday, May 1, 2011

What happens when there just isn't anything to say...

This could be my downfall. This could be why there are times I don't write here. I obviously didn't have a topic for yesterday which is why the page remained blank. I don't have one for today either, but felt bad not writing as I promised.

Plan on getting out in the yard again today. Spent a little time in it a few days ago. The back deck needs my attention today. Plan on getting a little spot set up for the garden to go in. See? How boring is my life?

I love working in the yard. I really do, but I am having color issues with it! I don't have any spring blooms. All my green is coming in fine but my floral color comes later in summer. Boo! I need to plant some spring stuff...blah blah blah.


My brother just called. He is my weekend warrior. Hangs out with me when I am bored. Shampooing the carpet...Raking the backyard. He doesn't care. He is as bored as I am most of the time. HA! He is handi-capable. As long as I have coffee he is happy.

The kids are at a birthday party today. Doesn't happen often that the house is empty. I usually spend that alone time cleaning with nobody walking behind me to mess it up! Love it!

Okay, well if you have never read this blog before I am sure you will never return....so sorry. This is not my normal effort. Please see prior attempts. I am gonna go with I have not had enough coffee....

Maybe I will write before bed later when something meaningful has happened. Or at least when I have had a functional amount of caffeine.

My book at least isn't this horrible. Even I can say that! Have you checked it out yet? Website remember is http://www.justsippy.com
There is big news on the horizon! Can't wait to share that here! Okay...gotta go get the brother so I can start cleaning the deck. Maybe we will grill something! He will love that!

Until next time,