Friday, December 6, 2013

Pardon my Absence, but....

Yeah, yeah, yeah! Excuses, excuses!

Sorry, but I wish I had time to write more here. Instead I'm going to refer you to my other blog in hopes that you will go there and catch up.

But, in the words of way too many cheesy good guys and villains... I'll be back!

Friday, November 8, 2013

A Little Encouragement

I went for a walk with a friend today.  She and I are in the same stage of life, and while I have one Critter more, her youngest has Downs. In parenting terms, she's got me beat.

We commiserated with each other in ways that only someone who's walked a mile in your muck boots can. Our oldest children are both in college, and were decidedly easiest of the lot. They were (still are) people pleasers, who at least on the surface towed the line. My Firstborn's biggest infraction was/is a consistently messy room (The Sty) - hers, a toss-up between being wishy-washy and addicted to video games.

Our current high school seniors are both honor students and generally really good people. We have the sweetest picture of them as King and Queen Charming (Cinderella's beau's parents) taken in third grade or so. But while Only Son has continued to act and plans to pursue that as a career, she wants to study the sciences. Curfews are an issue for both, though not collectively. It's hard to be tough on them when they're such good kids otherwise, but teaching kids to respect authority these days is a challenge. Especially since so few in authority today (parents excluded) deserve respect.

Our Third Children, both girls though not the same age, are the ones we really butt heads with. They have game faces for the rest of the world, but when they come home, the mask comes off and the mitts go up. They, too, are really good kids - just selective in who they shower with their goodness. Happy the days when it falls on us. But rare.

Sweetie Petite-y gets her own category, and would be ideal if she wanted to be, but she's her own worst enemy with procrastination and lack of follow thru. I nag her as much as the rest, but for how she affects herself, not others. In many ways, she's a mini Firstborn.

Our Bonus Babies are the apples of our eyes, different as night and day, both getting sweeter by the minute. And they drive us absolutely crazy much of the time. We had them when we were older, and they're supposed to be keeping us young, but OMG! (as the Critters would say) We're too tired for this!

We've had it easier than lots of struggling parents, and gladly acknowledge that our kids are a blessing. But there are still days that wear you down so much you wonder what you were ever thinking when you had kids. Days when you're surprised you're not bald yet from pulling your hair out. When, if you have to fight one more battle over family rules, delegate one more contested chore, trip over one more toy or haphazardly plopped backpack, you know you'll feel like throwing in the towel --- AND I'M NOT TALKING MORE LAUNDRY!

So what's so encouraging about this rant?

We're in it together.

(Remember Critters, if you read this, that this blog is Mom Therapy. All nagging accomplished here is that much less you'll have to listen to.....)

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Almost There!

Just in case you missed it on -
Here is a sneak peak at the cover... 

We are so close to being done! After a VERY stressful week of laboring to birth this novel, I am about as anxious to hold it in my hands as any of my other children. Hopefully, next week!

Thanks to everyone for being so patient and supportive. It's been a long ten years since I started this process. Writing the series was the easy part. Publishing it has been a bear. And though I would have loved to go through a "big house", I've learned a lot about self publishing that I would have never otherwise known.

This is a soft cover edition. I'll let you know as soon as I have pricing, but for those of you who would buy it regardless of cost, you can pre-order by commenting on this post. And remember (for what it's worth), you can get an autographed copy mailed right to your door (postage and handling not included) by purchasing direct.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Why Do We Do It


Growing up, I couldn't stand it when I questioned parental motives only to be told "because I said so!" The unjustness of it all! So when I became a parent, I vowed to always help my Critters understand the whys and what-fors behind my logic, assuming that as young, but rational human beings they would value being treated as such.

I was wrong.

They just don't get it. No matter how much effort is expended attempting to enlighten them, they generally refuse to acknowledge the wisdom of age and experience. Maybe it's because their brains aren't done being wired yet. A smarter mom would take St. Francis' admonition to "seek not so much to be understood as to understand" at face value, but determined Momster that I am, I've gotta give it one more shot. So speaking for Husband as well (whether he wants me to or not) here goes....


NAG - Because you don't do it right away/ the first time we tell you/ thoroughly/ without being told.

GUILT - We want you to think about your actions and how they affect the world beyond your nose.

COMPLAIN - Admit it: You are messy, loud, lazy, inconsiderate & immature. Our job is to fix you.

SAY NO - It's a knee-jerk reaction, easier to take back than a YES should we change our minds.

ASSIGN CHORES - To teach responsibility, team work, work ethic, cause and effect, etc....

TAKE OVER - Cuz you're doing it wrong, whining or being a pain, and we're too tired to deal.

In general, EVERYTHING we do as parents is because we love you and want what is best for you. Sometimes that means being the bad guy, the fall guy, the guy behind the wheel eight hours out of twenty-four, or telling you yet again to eat healthy food, not junk, though we know you won't listen. It means putting up with you when we'd rather put you out, and saying no even though you hate us for it because it's what you need, not what you want. And despite the fact that you don't get it, one day you will.

But by then it will be too late.

You'll be parents.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Poetic Reflection

Children, Like Puppies

My attention span is bouncy today as the dog’s tail

as she trots a pace ahead,

stopping to sniff the latest reminder that a world of other canines

 lies just beyond her yard,


 for a fraction of an instant

it lingers long enough to realize that


 like puppies,

sense a similar expanse,

and will someday, as parental leashes slacken,

wander out to make their own deposit on the world.

On down the road,

I wonder,

will blooms appear where they have trod,

or will they return with tails between their legs,

“perfumed” with what they’ve rolled in?

There is a reason for teaching young dogs new tricks,

and children to lick their wounded egos

till they master themselves.


Friday, September 20, 2013

The Proof is in the Pudding

Yes, I'm still alive and back with a brand new post. Thanks for your patience with my absentee-ism, but summer was much too busy and short. And my apologies especially to any younger readers for my most recent, interim posting.  You deserve better.


I've never really understood that old saying " the proof is in the pudding".  I know you have to "proof" yeast, so I could get an adage like "the proof is in the cinnamon buns", or "the proof is in the kronuts", though even that is still pretty obscure. Maybe they (those mysterious coiners of idioms) mean English pudding, as in, any ol' dessert.

Hmmmmmm........ time out while I Google it.....

(please enjoy the entertainment)


So.... it's actually "the proof of the pudding is in the eating,", as in, you can only tell how good a thing is by sampling the finished product. Well, I guess I wasn't too far off. The thing is, I finally have the hard copy of my book in my hands.  Not the FINISHED copy, mind you.  This is a write-all-over-me-with-blue-pen-and-make-corrections copy.  In other words, a proof.

And is it ever proving necessary! Though I'm resisting the urge to edit my own writing yet again (for the most part), it's loaded with errors that occurred during formatting - argh!!!!!!! And I'm making a pretty blue-pudding mess of it.

Sometimes I wonder if I'll ever really hold the finished, truly published version in my hands --- if I'll have the stamina to see this marathon thru to the finish. A watched pot might never boil, but dreams only take wing when you stop chewing the fat, poop or get off the pot, and put some elbow grease into it! Yes, I know why the caged bird sings: SHE WANTS SOME PUDDING! for crying out loud!

At least while waiting for my just dessert, I've got this sweet little dumpling to fill me up.....

Friday, September 13, 2013

Why Do You Love ________ Science?

Reader beware!  No cartoons here today, rather a point is about to be illustrated.  A very "colorful" point.

(Note: My profuse apologies to all people of sensitivity including, but not exclusively, my Critters, boss, pastor, little old lady next door and all my regular readers.  This is not my usual G- rated post.  If children are reading over your shoulder, you might want to ask them to leave the room.  No, I mean it.  Seriously.)

---------------scroll down--------------

Okay, last warning.  If you don't want to be offended, leave now...... or check out my former post Alternative Cusswords and Clean Getaways, which by the by, is really more my style.

---------------scroll down--------------

Still here? Okay, you've been warned...


The text formerly in this area has been removed by management.

Had enough? Me too.

I. Am. Sorry.  So terribly, terribly sorry.

No, I did not suddenly develop Tourrettes, though sometimes it seems the rest of the world has. What is this need consuming ordinary folks to litter speech and foul the air and cyberspace with constant profanity?  I just don't get it.

News Flash:  You're cool enough already!  Do you have to keep trying to prove it (to yourself maybe?) by using "adult" language?  Grow up and grow your vocabulary instead!

Time to start thinking about someone other than yourself.

For those of you convinced I'm just old fashioned and prudish, well, you might be right, though that's something I've attempted to cultivate rather than outgrow.  But do you at least get my point?  If not, then read this again, this time sans profanity:

Why do you  love "I Love _______ Science"?  Is it really any better than any other science website? Who cares if there is foul language in the title? Well, I do, that's who!  Because, I really love science, yeah! - just for what it is.  Do I want to be offended by foul languagevery time I go on Facebook or visit a website?! No!  So please......... just stop.

Profanity not needed.  'Nuff said.

Oh, and in case you're wondering --- I am the management. Now if only other powers that be would own up to their responcibilities, we might be able to enjoy cleaner internet and other media too...... 

Sunday, June 30, 2013

Stir Crazy

The New England Rain Forest... Betcha didn't even know there was one.

I'm usually not one to complain about the weather...

 ... everything else - yes. But really, why bother ranting about something there's no hope of influencing.  Unlike the Critters, the weather has absolutely, positively no chance at all of ever being swayed by my critical protestations.

Or maybe I should have said like them......

After being cooped inside for days on end, everyone's patience is starting to wear thin - especially mine, since it gets tried and stretched the most already. While the incessant rain provides the perfect excuse for ditching outdoor chores - except for Husband who, though he hates working wet, spent last weekend stringing pig-fence in a downpour - I fail to see why it makes loading the dishwasher or cleaning the basement playroom impossible!

One thing that hasn't suffered from monsoon-itis is Third Child's culinary creativity.  The more it pours, the more lemon poppy seed muffins, chocolate chip cookies and microwave brownie-in-a-mugs remnants I find when I get home from work. If only I could channel her interest into meal preparation instead of just baking!

Bonus Baby would love to be head chef, and is a great "help" in the kitchen.  She loves to stir things up, literally and figuratively, but I just don't think a five year old is ready for that kind of responsibility.

Speaking of stirring, the soup inside my head is in constant whirlpool these days.

I'd like to let things simmer quietly, season with more prayer and less worry, to avoid boiling over. But while I'm a pretty good cook, I'm lousy at following simple recipes. Just ask Hubby and the Critters - I have to doctor everything. And an overactive imagination, while great for a writer,  is often the worst ingredient on a mother's pantry shelf.

The two oldest Critters were 45 minutes late the other night, and I had them lying bloody in a ditch, while I lay sleepless, caught in a continual loop of mental agitation. Third Child complained of sleeping poorly and I envisioned death by sleep apnea. Likewise Bonus Baby --- she often feels breathless when crying, and I see asthma attacks plaguing both of our futures.  And don't get me started on Sweetie Petite-y! If one more thing goes wrong with that child I'm really gonna crack!

I worry about family. I worry about work. I worry about worrying. One of my most worrisome worries right now is that my novel (which I worry no one will like) will never get published because the printer likes it so much he's stolen it to plagiarize and sell under his own nom de plume! Crazy, right?

Yeah, I thought so too. 


Disclaimer: The incoherent ramblings documented here are not, and never shall be, documented proof of  this Momster's instability.  They are, indeed, fictitious ramblings, and not the product of a sleep deprived and over worked nature, and therefore not admissable as evidence of the temporary insanity known as parenthood....or are they?????

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

The Law of Averages

Murphy rules. Not because I agree, but just because he said so!

This is especially true in large families. It doesn’t seem to matter the circumstance, if we want something to go one way, it will go the other. For example:

  • No matter how many times you tell your kids to clean up after themselves, the law of averages (one of Murphy’s many aliases) says that if you are not there to supervise, it won’t get done.

  • Walking into the living room moments after you’ve left it spotless, you will find at least one dirty sock newly stuffed into or under the sofa. This average increases in cooler climates and with the number of children per household. Likewise, you will find it after you have finished doing the laundry.

  • If you plan a special family dinner, one or more teenager will have previously unreported plans for that evening – which they will need transportation to/from.

  • When you are most looking forward to a quiet morning at home, a child with a fever/bellyache/rash/vomiting will crawl into your bed earlier than your usual waking time.

  • Once that child is finally well, another will succumb.

  • The number of unauthorized, injury-free leaps made from the deck is always one fewer than the number of offspring who attempt it.

  • The year your loving spouse voluntarily sets up the pool early (with no nagging from you), it will snow Memorial Day weekend. And rain the rest of the summer.

  • The more you look forward to your head hitting the pillow any given night, the more frequently your sleep will be interrupted by Critters of both the two and four-legged varieties. And if especially sleep-deprived, woodpeckers will find your house to be an irresistible soundbox at the crack of dawn.

  • Critters who can't remember simple instructions for: running the dishwasher/washing machine/dryer/lawn mower, sewing on a button, folding clothes, making Ramen, etc. can nonetheless operate and navigate any and all technology AND tell you exactly how the world should be run. Which is, of course --- without your interference.

  • The number of events crammed into your hectic schedule is proportionately equal to the resistance you'll face in getting everyone out the door on time.

 Spring was wild, and this pretty much sums it up, except...

....even though the last post featured her, I really should elaborate on the last couple of weeks from Sweetie Petite-y's perspective since she and Murphy have bumped heads on more than one occassion. She survived missing her class trip thanks to a wonderful day spent being spoiled by her Godmother. But she almost missed being class speaker at her graduation thanks to bouts of laryngitis and a virus that might have been food poisoning --- till it later made the rounds of Hubby and remaining Critters in milder form. They avoided the projectile vomiting, but then, they had less riding on being healthy. But everything turned out well in the end.

Murphy might rule, but a mother's prayers produce miracles.

And pretty little graduation dresses as well.


Sunday, May 26, 2013

Somewhat Comic Relief

If laughter is the best medicine, then laughter through tears is a super-pill!

Remember that scene in Steel Magnolias just after the funeral when all the ladies are crying, and Olivia Dukakis cracks a joke? I was blubbering so hard that I almost missed it, and then it took me so completely off guard I practically snorted! I know I sprayed the person in front of me, but it was kind of a chain reaction. There were still tears steaming down my face after that, but they were tears of relief.

Sometimes we wanna wallow in self pity and enjoy our pain for a while.  After all, its a valid - though not very productive - response. When I feel like a little wallow myself, I try (operative word) to set a time limit, say... five minutes allotted for a pity party, then back to business. There's too much on our plates to indulge in much more.

Some of the Critters get this....

... and some still don't.

Sweetie Petite-y, who despite her tender years is a seasoned veteran,  has recently acquired more first hand experience. She learned that humans really cannot fly, that gravity is more than a mental state, and that sometimes you should listen to your Momster over your siblings. Oh, and that the ground is pretty darn hard.......... A couple of broken metatarsals in a compliant cast later, the novelty of having the first broken bone among siblings has worn off. Pain, excruciating and bravely met at first, is annoyingly persistent, and worse yet, limiting. Her eagerly anticipated, end-of-the-year, ropes course field trip now looms like dark cloud on the horizon.

The thought of her missing it is enough to make my eyes brim, but I witnessed in amazement the other day while she allowed herself only a few self-conscious tears, and then apologizing, put on her Pollyanna face and looked for the brighter side of things. No praying for it to rain on her classmates for her. Though she is opting not to go (and make fun of them as their butts zoom awkwardly by overhead, like her oldest sister would), she is determined to work hard and heal enough to wear both shoes by the time eighth grade graduation rolls around.

That's what a joyful spirit does: It looks toward an optimistic future, one filled with laughter and celebration.

And healing comes.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

The Party's Over.......

Sloshed Apostles Anonymous

Well, it was one for the bucket list! Hard to believe that my return to the stage has run its least... this show has.

What fun! As terrifying as auditioning was, performing in Jesus Christ Superstar was a total blast - not just a blast from the past. I wasn't nervous at all, which took me by surprise. And with each performance the gel thickened until we really were apostles, priests, tormentors, soldiers, procuators, lepers, buyers & sellers (prostitutes?) and soul girls. Oh, and savior/superstars!*

I think my favorite part was flitting around backstage between scenes. It was hard to believe I was there, the firefly light of the microphone glowing on my back, my costume (pieced together with contributions from my She-Critters closets) swaying as we danced to oh-so-familiar music, huddling around the mike with the "rabble" to affect an angry mob. I loved rushing to change from apostle to leper to apostle again, and finally to soul girl (and apostle again for curtain call). They say the magic of theater occurs onstage and in the audience, but it's palpable backstage as well in the dim footlights and glow-tape, the props table and dressing rooms - and the wings!  Always in the wings!

Quite a few cast members got teary with post production letdown, but I'm still pumped! I actually did this brave, wonderful thing - an experience that greatly enriched my already full-of-many-blessings life. I stepped outside of my comfort zone, tested my abilities, made new friends, embraced my inner thespian, and lived in a fun and creative way. No whining here, just really good wine! (The bread was pretty awesome too --- I scored the recipe from the props mistress!)

And... the party doesn't have to end. For the time being I'm back to chauffeuring Critters to & from their play practices. But, watch out! Actress Momster has been set loose!

*Almost forgot to mention the amazing band and tech crew!  Thank you one and all! 

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Another Naked Post


Whew!- so glad that wasn't what you thought it was! Actually, just bare words here again. Wish I had more to report (and more time to report it), but I'm still in waiting mode:

Waiting for the electronic proof of my novel.
Waiting for the opening night of Jesus Christ Superstar (ohmygosh!-it's tomorrow!).
Waiting to go back to work after more than a month-long shut down.
Waiting for spring....scratch that.  We skipped spring this year and went straight into summer.
Waiting for the end of the school year. One Critter down, four to go.
Waiting for the soft pool to fill up.
Waiting for my shittake mushrooms to appear (I gave up on the morels).
Waiting for the house to clean itself--- Whoa! Not possible you say?  Au contraire!  If the right hints are dropped just prior to Mother's Day, you never know......

Anyhow, one thing I'm no longer waiting for is life to pass me by. Some things are worth waiting for, but some you gotta go out and grab by the horns.

And that's the naked truth.

Friday, April 19, 2013

Update From the M.I.A./An Overloaded Post

Yep, it's been a while since I posted.  After February's month long blogging spree it was a bit traumatic to give this up in favor of accomplishing some other goals  ---- or at least, getting started on them.  Here's the scoop...

Rehearsals are coming along for Jesus Christ Superstar. Here's me as one of the Apostles:

Obviously, we're not concerned about gender stereotypes!

Third Child tagged along recently and was impressed by the play and, amazingly, her 'ol Momster's performance. During one character development exercise, I realized I can still break out the waterworks when necessary. Guess tears don't fall far from the genetic material - FirstBorn is rocking her college performance of the weeping mother of the convict in Dead Man Walking.

Actually, come to think of it, there's more than one drama queen in this household....


And speaking of Third Child, she recently set the goal of teaching herself to play the guitar. After just a few days of strumming four basic chords, she was able to accompany herself singing a dozen or so tunes! Inspirational.... to say nothing about how nice it is to have a variety of music in the house tho' FirstBorn is away at school. T.C.'s repertoire on the piano was limited to two or three Adele hits that we've heard times beyond number. We were about Rumored, Someone Like You'd and Skyfalled out! 

Only Son has been swimming in accomplishments lately. He won the state level competition for Poetry Out Loud, and was invited to recite at our State House. The Resolution of Honor and standing ovation he received must have gone to his head --- that night he was floating so high he whacked his head on the ceiling and broke it open.  Thankfully, no brains leaked out.  After all, he still has the national title to compete for later this month!

The tears in the background are Bonus Baby's --- she worried not only about spilled brains, but the blood on the carpet! Another one for the waterworks squad...

Sweetie-Petite-y has experienced her share of accolades during this month-plus of silence.  She managed to win not one, but two science fairs with her research on Tetrachromacy! This should give you some idea what that's about....

Do you see this....?
(Okay, don't be lazy!  If you don't get it, look it up!)

Sweetie-Petite-y still dislikes math -

but at least it no longer makes her head spin....

...except when she wants it to!

Husband has been holding down the fort while I'm at rehearsals. He tapped trees and made syrup, and now is busy building new piggy pens.  We are about to become swine guardians for the third summer in a row, this time -

Oh, joy! Hopefully the tractor is still working so we can lower them down the hill to their new home.

In other news, we added another Asian son to the mix for ten days.

 "Y" was cool, loved to sing, and was very tolerant of the amount of time he had to spend traveling down the BBM (that's Backroad of Busted Mufflers for the uninitiated) despite feeling continually carsick.

Vantana rides again... and again, and again, and again....

Oh, and going back to FirstBorn, I should mention that she not only made the Dean's List, but got not one, but two poems published. She really is multi-faceted...
 As for my own publishing goals, I finished a final edit and delivered my manuscript to the printer a couple of weeks ago. Yeah, yeah, yeah..... so I didn't make my self-imposed deadline to publish by my birthday! At least I got it there within said time frame. Just waiting to see a proof now before adding in the support materials.  And then, I will no longer be just another struggling writer: I WILL BE AN AUTHOR! Before you know it, I'll have a stack of books to my name --- and hopefully not just several copies of this one that I can't unload!

Well, that's news from the front, and all the major characters. Except that wacky dog....

(Hope you appreciate the recycled cartoons - maybe one of these days I'll have time to make more!) 

Thursday, February 28, 2013

Now, Go Cat - Go!

Well, this is it.  Once I actually think of something to go with this title, finish typing and click on publish, I will have posted every day this month.  Yay me!

So what, you say? 

I met my goal, that's what!  It may seem a small accomplishment to you, but so is tying your shoes.  Try running a marathon without that first step.

Hubby has been asking periodically when I plan on self-publishing my novels.  (I have two thirds of a young adult trilogy languishing on my desk.) After a long, drawn out, disappointing attempt at finding a publisher in this recession-ridden, celebrity-crazed market I have decided that is (probably) my best option.  So what if fate has not smiled kindly upon my writing career thus far?  It is high time I stop waiting around for fate and just get the job done.

It's taken a while for me to wrap my head around the idea of going it alone.  Self-promotion isn't something I excel at despite the narcissistic nature evident in these ramblings. Talent and self-sufficiency aside, I know my limitations....

....or maybe.... I've leaned on them too long.

This month besides being a fun challenge was a first step.  There's enough material to browse thru here to keep newcomers busy even though I won't be posting as often.  And hopefully, now this blog has enough of a presence to go it alone for a while, just like me.

Here's my new challenge: To publish


by Easter.....


by Christmas, and....


by my birthday next year.  (And yes, that is original cover art.)

I'm not giving up my day job (or my play, or this blog forever, or most importantly my vocation as wife and mother) so things might get a bit wild around here for a while.  But as a famous philosopher once said "Have no fear of this mess!"

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Three To Get Ready

Awwww... come one!  You knew it was coming, didn'tcha?

Actually, comings and goings are very appropriate subjects for a blog about surviving large families.  Or more specifically, transitions.

Why is it transitions are so hard?  Let me answer that with another question. If the shortest distance between two points is a straight line, why do we constantly head off on tangents, especially when timing is crucial?  Does this happen in your house too?  You know you have to get out the door at a certain time to make it to point B, but despite having roused everyone early so as to assure more than adequate time to prepare, one or several someones hold up the show.  Maybe it's a last minute item that needs retrieving, personal grooming to be completed, or more often than not, just plain ol' attitude.

Living this far out, we try to pack as many errands and appointments into every trip to town as we can.  Sometimes this means a lot of waiting around.  And even though I might not need to be at the chiropractor till 2:00, we may have to leave the house at 11:00 to drop this one here, that one there, and pick up something for so-and-so in between.  It can get pretty complicated, and everyone looks to Momster to keep it all straight.  Most of the time I do, but usually not too gracefully.

While we've struggled with transitions over the years, we've never really come up with a solid strategy for managing them well.  Hopefully, that is about to change.  I'm about to implement a new family policy.  It may be a little challenging at first (especially for me!) but in the long run it just might be brilliant.  It's called Three To Get Ready.  Here's how it works:

Every time we approach a transition, whether from one activity to another or switching time zones, if EACH family member would only follow these three simple steps, improved flow will happen.

1) Think about who else (other than self) this transition is affecting.
2) Do everything possible to not hinder them.
3) When you can, do everything possible to help them.

Pretty simple. Some might call it mindfulness, respect, and charity.  I like to call it real love rather than lip service.

And since getting ready is what this whole life is about, isn't it about time we take transitions seriously?

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Two For The Show

Actually, more like Two for Tuesday, as in two topics for the price of one.

Today is just an ordinary day, kinda gray and quiet - relatively speaking.  I attended a funeral this morning while the Critters (who are enjoying February break) lounged around at home and burned up our allotted internet usage for the day.  Not that I blame them.  We live in a remote part of the world (northern New England) where we still don't have access to high speed internet without a satellite dish --- meaning our ability to watch You Tube videos and look up pictures of cute little kittens is severely limited. Can you imagine anything more tragic? 

Some mornings as I sip coffee and gaze out upon our scenic mountain vista, I contemplate all of the horrors I might inflict upon my oh-so-deprived offspring, such as actually making them spend time in the fresh air of the great outdoors.  Such a cruel Momster, I know!  Today was not one of those days. Today rather than forcing the issue, I guilted them into it by taking advantage of my poor deceased friend. 

"I bet Mrs. M. would like to be outside right now.  I bet if she could do it all again, she'd spend a lot more time outdoors."

Actually, I don't know anything of the sort.  She wasn't exactly the athletic type.

But maybe it was attending her funeral this morning that made me think about what I would miss most if I could no longer do it.  Just walking in the crisp, fresh air while enjoying the sights and sounds of God's creation would rank right up there.  So would spending time playing with my Critters.  I get so busy with other, less important "stuff" that I sometimes forget what incredible gifts each of them are.  And sometimes not having "stuff" (such as unlimited access to the internet) is a blessing in disguise.  So excuse me for a moment (or hopefully an hour or two) while I go spend some quality time with the ones I love.


Take II

A few posts back I taunted you by withholding important information.  (No, I'm still not going to tell you what that mystery non-post was about!)  Though I shared my audition experience, I left you hanging about what role I got cast in for Jesus Christ Superstar.

I am....... drum roll, please.....

A Soul Sister


an Apostle.

Pretty cool, huh?  Two roles for the price (and believe me, I paid in nerves!) of one audition. Last night I joined the rest of the cast in the first read/sing through.  It felt really good to be up on stage again, especially since the hardest part was over.  Looking forward to finding out if I still have what it takes... but since they already cast me, guess they'll have to take whatever I've got!  So starts a new chapter....

Monday, February 25, 2013

One For The Money

I'm not, are you?

Here we are, counting down the final days till the end of the month and twenty-eight consecutive posts.  I've been enjoying the challenge and hope you have been too. And I also hope you know I'm not in it for the dough.

Take a look along the sidebar.  See any ads? 


Now, why (if I'm such a talented writer) wouldn't I be writing for profit?  Is it because I totally lack ambition?  Connections?  Sense? You already know I'm not independently wealthy --- name one person with five kids who is! And those five kids are all gonna want to go to college, which trust me - ain't cheap.

Truth be told, I'd get paid for this if I could.  I not only love blogging, but it loves me too.  I'm better with a creative outlet, and this medium allows me to grow both as an artist and writer.  Attempting to amuse you on a regular basis forces me to look at the humorous side of life more often, and that's good for everyone.

There are three posts still to come, but I really do have to move on to more "profitable" work after this month-long journey ends.  But don't worry - I won't stay gone.  I'll be back from time to time with updates on life along the Backroad of Busted Mufflers and the Critters' latest antics. But feel free to come back and poke around in old posts anytime....

*In case you're wondering, the Top Mommy Blogs icon boosts my rating on their site when you click (so please, please do!) but so far at least, the only thing that benefits from it is my ego!

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Return of the Condiment Queen

While Hubby and I were dating (and even prior) it was a well known fact that one of us was rather fond of condiments. Since he's a basic ketchup and mustard kinda guy, you may be able to guess who it was.

He affectionately dubbed me The Condiment Queen after an episode at the local pizza joint involving not only the classic add-ons of garlic, Parmesan, and oregano, but also massive quantities of chilis and hot sauce. There may have been more options too, and if there were I'm sure I took full advantage.  But since my head caught fire that day, that's all I can really remember. 

It's not that I didn't like plain old pizza, or whatever.  I just liked to spice it up a little.  Still do.

Which must be why I kept on adding children...

When we had FirstBorn life felt pretty complete. But with each addition our family just kept getting better and better, each member adding new flavor to the mix.  It's no coincidence that the most addictive foods are not only sweet, but salty, acid and umami as well.  Rich with layers of flavor.  We've been stewing all together in this pot for so many years now that sometimes it's hard to discern those individual flavors.  Except.... now that Firstborn is away at college, dished out into the world separately, we're beginning to find out how she'll season things there sans the rest of us.

I'm not too worried - I know she won't leave it bland.  She's inherited my love of spice.

And she carries a little of each of us with her.


Saturday, February 23, 2013

Dirty Rotten Cheater

Not a label often applied to me, but there's a first (hopefully non-repeatable) time for everything.

I have a confession to make. Even though I committed to writing a post every day this month, I didn't do it.  I cheated.

Yesterday I wrote two.

This is not one of them.  The first of the two you may have already read - it's the post immediately preceding this one.  The second of them you may never get to read.  Not unless I work up the nerve to risk really offending you.  You see, not only am I a dirty, rotten cheater ---- I'm a chicken.  So you're getting this (freshly written today) totally bland and non-offensive post instead.

Guilty Conscience is my middle name. After all, I'm a mother and a Catholic to boot!  Any mother (or Catholic, for that matter) worth her salt wouldn't be entirely comfortable with herself if she wasn't feeling at least a little guilty about something, anything... everything.  Most of the time, guilt can be dealt with.  Thank goodness!

But the reason you're not getting to read the post I pre-wrote is not because of a guilty conscience, but a preference for a clear one. It is because, dear reader, I don't want you to think any less of me than you already may. (Not to be confused with "think of me less often" than you already may, in which case - how would I know?) Because of it's objectionable subject matter.  And no, I'm not gonna tell you what that is because someday I may decide my conscience be hanged!

Only one other person in the world has read that post so far, but I know Hubby loves me unconditionally.  Someday you may know me well and love me despite of it too.  And then you'll know that whether it ever gets posted or not, I have your best interest at heart.

Friday, February 22, 2013

Something Old, Something New, blah-da, blah-da, blah...

You're probably thinking this post is about weddings or brides, or maybe even traditions, but you're wrong.

This is another post about breakfast.

You've already read about pasta for breakfast, and other such culinary quirks of mine. This morning I opted for something a little more traditional --- albeit with a typical Momster twist.  What could be older (or newer) than eggs to start your day right?  Oh, favored protein source the world over, your compact oval shapes beckon with the promise of long lasting heartiness and energy, fuel fit for a blissful, busy/full day!

This morning I cracked open two (large?) brown eggs, and quickly decided to scramble the little beasties.  Accidentally breaking the yokes may have been a contributing factor.  But, what to add?  Since it's a Friday in Lent, ham was out of the question.  Likewise the leftover burger in the fridge. Suddenly the jeweled tones of peppers caught my eye: brilliant ruby and verdigris..... and a jar of topaz, pickled, hot banana pepper rings - yee-haw!  I cut them all up and threw in a handful of baby spinach for good measure, a little tip borrowed from the breakfast chef at work. The vibrant slurry quickly coagulated in the hot pan.

Hmmmmm..... old & new, borrowed and..... bleu!  Crumbled stinky goodness added just the perfect touch!  Dumped onto a plate and topped with a decorative squirt of sriracha, a heavenly new favorite was born.

 I think I'll make it a Friday tradition.....

....unless, of course, there are cold, leftover fried trout in the fridge....

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Tacky, Not Techie

I am not, nor will I ever be technologically savvy. 

The Critters and Hubby are.

But I am, and ever shall be, a fan of the good old fashioned way of doing things, especially when it involves crayons, pen and paper, scissors, tape and/or glue.  I love it when my budding artists/writers bring home their doodles and projects from school, eager for my appraisal.  I love posting things on my wall --- my Critter Art Wall, that is--- which is covered top to bottom with layers of creativity.

Most people have at least one or two juvenile artworks magnetised to their refrigerator. I have far too many Critters for that. Here it takes an entire wall and then some, and mind you, I do take down and replace items now and again.  (There is an overflowing file cabinet in the basement attesting to that fact.) It's not hidden away for our eyes only either.  Our art wall is the first thing you see when you enter the house.  Visitors who comment on the  display are proudly conducted thru the developing years of the artists by this collection's loving curator.

I had plans to make the house barren before Lent, strip the walls clean, eliminate all clutter - HA!  As usual, time wins in every race against it. But looking at the art wall today, I was really glad.  Part of my Lenten experience this year is not only striving to become the person God intends me to be, but more fully recognising the special-ness of each and every person.

Beginning right here at home.

So, while some people post scores of pictures on cyber walls, I'll keep on tacking up memories one masterpiece at a time.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

The Transformer

The transformation was far from painless.  But it is now total.

Only Son has morphed from....




My poor Critter!

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

An Explanation

Yesterday's post may have seemed out of the blue, though auditioning for our local theater production of Jesus Christ, Superstar is something I'd been considering for months.  What with everything that's been happening health-wise in this house, I wasn't sure I was going to be able to manage it. Yet despite frayed nerves and that darn, lingering head cold, I worked up my courage and gave it a shot.

It was definitely one of the most terrifying experiences of my life!  And that includes accumulated hours of hard pitocin- accelerated labor.

But after all these years of shuttling the Critters back & forth to auditions and play practices, I realized that I really miss being onstage myself.  Narcissistic, you say?  Or perhaps a midlife crisis?  Maybe both.  Or maybe girls just wanna have fun, even fifty year old ones.

The last time I auditioned for anything I was a confident young college student with a drama scholarship, young being the operative word in that statement.  I wouldn't exactly be auditioning for the same roles these days.  But that's the great thing about community theater.  If this were The Sound of Music you might see a cast with a fifty year old Maria to a seventeen year old Captain.  (Can't tell you how badly I wanted to trip the leading lady and belt out a verse of title song when the Critters performed it in children's theater this summer! Ah, for the glory days!  It would've worked that Third Child & Sweetie Petite-y were Von Trapp children, but since Only Son was cast as the Captain, I refrained.)

The only real role for a woman in this upcoming production is Mary Magdalene, so I went for it.  Me and every other woman who wasn't shootin' for Judas.  It's been even longer since I last saw this show than since I had no stretch I was a little fuzzy on the lyrics.  In fact, some of the music I would swear I've never heard before.  But there I was, up on that stage with all the other Mary wanna-bes not knowing how to love my little heart out.

And yes, it was scary, but it was also a blast.  No matter what happens, I'm glad I did it.

And in the meantime, I'm living the role of a lifetime.  My audience may not always be appreciative - yet.  But I'm hoping for a standing ovation by the time they have families of their own.


This just in: before I'd even finished spell-checking I got a call from the director.  But.... I think I'll make you wait till next post.......

Monday, February 18, 2013

The Audition

*to be sung to the tune of "I Don't Know How to Love Him"

I don't know how to do this.
I don't know what I'm doing
On this stage, here on this stage
It's been thirty years, well - give or take,
Since I got up the nerve.

I don't know how to sing this.
What if I mess up the lyrics?
It's just a song, a pretty song,
And I've sung so many songs before
But always ones I knew.

Okay, here goes.

Oops, I started high-
Did I stop too soon?
Is my voice too soft?
Should I belt or croon?
I never knew I'd shake like this
Feeling like I'll swoon.

Don't you think it's rather awkward
All these other people waiting
For their turn to come on stage
And try their best, but do their worst
But I did my worst first
It scared me so.

I really thought I'd pee my pants
Right up on that stage!

But if they say they want me,
I'll be back here in a heartbeat
It's been so long, yes, much too long.
And I want the part... heck! Any part-
Please, I don't want to go.
I've missed it so.
I want it so.
I love it so.

Sunday, February 17, 2013


Nope, not  a misspelling.  Febluary just seemed more witty than February Blues.

I've been sitting here tossing around ideas for this post, but nothing seems to click.  Ever have times like that?  You want to share something meaningful, something that not only resonates with you, but will hopefully touch other hearts (or at least tickle funny bones), and you can't seem to settle on what that should be.

It's not due to an appalling lack of material --- on the contrary, everyday life is simply overflowing with it.  I usually spark on a title idea, and - BLAM!  The post practically writes itself.  But occasionally it is a struggle. 

Here we are more than halfway thru this month.  The groundhog has spoken - or at least, it's shadow has.  Throats were blessed and ashes have marked us.  Hearts have been wooed, won and/or broken.  Presidents past are soon to be honored.  And don't forget the Critters' winter break!  A lot happens in February considering how length of days-challenged it is. And, not to go there again, but throw in cold and flu season on top of everything else and this month is overwhelmingly full.

And more than a little boring....

Not that prognosticating rodents, rites of sacrifice, romance, and truthful politicians with wooden dentures aren't interesting.  (I'm not so thrilled about stuffy heads and body aches, and frankly think sandwiching in a winter break between Christmas Break and Spring Break is overkill.)  But the constant gray skies and muddied snowbanks of me, Febluary sure make this month seem like the longest of the year.

Good thing you've got me to entertain you.....

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Yep.... it's a long, long month.