Friday, November 14, 2014

You're cured!

Not that I was ever really sick, but this overwhelmed Momster definitely had need of blog therapy for a few years! And that's exactly what "imustbeoffmyrocker" provided.


Writing (and ranting!) to my computer  keyboard was possibly the most positive step I could've taken at a time when, in the throes of motherhood, it seemed I had misplaced an important part of myself. The need to vent, to "think out loud" has always been crucial to my sanity. When voices stay locked inside my head, they start to bounce of the walls of my skull, spinning into a never-ending vortex that sucks attention, time, happiness, energy, etc.... you name it. But constantly ragging and nagging the family can bring them down too. "Millstone" is not who I wanted to be.

Time out to reflect on the joy of parenting helped me to see it more clearly.

So thanks, Momster, for being my alter ego/therapist for the last several years. I'm not saying you're a miracle worker or anything, but I am feeling a lot more like myself again. And though I may check in for a booster shot occasionally, for now....

.... I'll be doing most of my writing as C.A. Morgan, Author.

Come visit me at:

-and be sure to like on Facebook!

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Autumn in New England

Jeepers Creepers - the peepers are out!


No, not that kind of peeper!


The hills are so gloriously, riotously colorful right now that even the most jaded, non-nature loving, blinder-wearing driver can't keep their eyes off of them. While we Northeast Kingdom folk love sharing all that beauty, we love it even more when peepers pull over to soak it all in. And by pull over, we mean consciously, and not in a sensory overloaded daze!

Sure, we're used to it. But even so, this year is turning out to be especially spectacular. The display of color along the ridge on a sunny afternoon, or single crimson tree appearing suddenly out of the early morning valley fog has taken my breath away more than once this fall. Add to that the big bull moose that walked through the yard the other day, and the tang of fresh cider in the air, and you've got Vermont heaven.

But Bonus Baby isn't impressed. She's waiting rather impatiently for her favorite fall ritual - jumping into piles of raked up leaves.

The rustle and crunch of crisp brown clouds punctured by sneakered feet, armfuls of Critter-made storms raining down upon her. The earthy musk of composting foliage rubbed into clothes and hair (with spider sprinkles - shhhhh!). The promise of pumpkins to carve and sweet treats to beg for - that's her idea of heaven. Can't say I'm anxious to accommodate her. Given my druthers, I'd take two more months of exactly how it is right now. But soon enough the trees will perform their slow striptease (or frenzied disrobing depending on wind and rain), the vibrant hues will fade, and the gray winter skies will leave me longing for color.

And she'll be on cloud nine.

Which, I guess, is just as good.

Friday, June 6, 2014

A Death in the Family

It was inevitable. No matter how much we may fight it or try to deny the fact, death happens. And this week it hit home.

She was a matriarch of sorts, our first family pet, picked out by Firstborn on her seventh birthday from a litter of fluffy, mewling kitties. Chosen for her sass. She was the one that wouldn't stay put in her comfy basement enclosure, the one that always escaped to roam upstairs where she wasn't allowed. Her first owners were glad to see the "unruly" one go.

Once home, it wasn't hard to name her - simple enough for a first grader. When she curled up on the hearth near the wood stove, her mottled gray fur could easily have been mistaken for a pile of ashes. So, Ashes it was.

We loved her feisty, somewhat aloof attitude, at least... most of us did. Husband accepted her presence in his home because he is a generous man. Third Child was a little afraid of her, and Sweetie Petite-y was allergic, although we didn't figure that out until several years later. By then, it was too late. She was part of the family.

She was a full grown three year old when Only Son picked out her adopted "little" sister, Fudge, a labshepweiller mutt puppy three times her size, who grew to ten times bigger. (Side note: Fudge resembles her name as much as Ashes did hers, though left up to me, I'd have called her Bliss.) A pecking order was established, and Ashes came out as Top Dog. She tolerated the interloper, but barely, and never played with her despite Fudge's enthusiastic attempts. The canine water bowl was deemed drinkable only after it served as feline bath water, delicately applied by paw, and Fudge waited patiently for Ashes' daily ritual like, well, a dog waiting for table scraps.

Years passed. For a few months, a stray calico kitten shared our home and Ashes' food dish - our affection, though not hers. But Callie disappeared one day as quickly as she came. Another adopted stray was Third Child's best ever Christmas present, but sadly, Tiger possessed the same wanderlust, and was gone within a year.

Ashes never wandered. Even though she spent summer nights prowling the yard and woods that surround our house - decapitating rabbits, nabbing bats mid-flight, and ridding the mountainside of field mice. And no, we never suspected her of foul play where the other cats were concerned! But over the years our fearless FirstPet did get into a few minor(?) scrapes. An occasional scratch on her nose, a small tear in her ear, and a scab on the back of her neck that she reopened time and time again attested to the fact that she could take care of herself. With each dawn she'd meow- she was a very vocal kitty! -  till I let her in off the deck or opened the basement door. She'd then proceed to regale me with her nightly escapades, which I'm guessing included more than one rebuffed lover, and possibly an occasional fisher or coyote. Since she was much smaller than she looked under all of that fur, she was hard to catch. But she was always there in the morning with presents for her family, ready to find a sunbeam for a catnap.

In the winter, she epitomized the term "lap cat". If you were lucky enough to have her warmth curled up over your knees, you didn't want to move. Especially since disturbing her usually meant claws exposed on her way to the floor.

Once the cause of Sweetie Petite-y's eczema was partially pinned on her, Ashes was relegated to either the outdoors or basement at night, weather depending, and the younger girls room was deemed off limits at all times. About a year ago, Hubby finally installed a screen door over their bedroom door so that there could still be air flow with no hair flow. Both Sweetie Petite-y and I had a love/hate relationship with the cat by that point. All of that irresistible, soft gray fur begging to be stroked was like living with an addiction.

She was never a playful kitty, but there was one thing she couldn't resist - our reusable plastic advent wreath. From the moment it was set out her tail was a-quiver with excitement. One by one, she'd steal the sparkly boughs from it and bat them around till they disappeared under stove or fridge. Eventually, I took to hanging it (sans candles) from a hook on the deck door, and she would sit below, eyeing it with such longing that, each year, I would  have to break off at least one bough to give her, just because.

Earlier this spring we got our first indication that Ashes would not be immortal. At first, she just seemed a little off. Then we noticed that her pupils were different sizes and she began to have some issues with balance. Firstborn was away at college when Ashes had the full blown stroke that left her hindquarters immobilized. It was finals and theater tech-week, and I was afraid that if I told Firstborn she'd be a wreck. So, even though it seemed wrong to keep it from her, I did, hoping that by some miracle the cat would pull through.

Amazingly, she did!

For over a month after that Ashes appeared normal. Her ordeal had left her a little thinner and slower than usual, but she was eating and acting like herself again. And then suddenly, she wasn't. She went off her food first, even turning down the tuna juice that was her favorite. I noticed right away, and eventually Firstborn did too. Then, she stopped drinking very much, moved very little, and took to hiding in secluded corners. I suspected the end was near. For a day or two we debated taking her to the vet, but  decided not to traumatize her; she had always hated the car, the cat carrier, and the vet's office even more. Out of compassion, we decided to let her passing be natural. It was difficult to watch her waste away, even though she didn't appear to be in any pain. I took to singing to her softly while gently stroking her, missing the times I could have done so and hadn't. She tolerated it, even purring, though sometimes I could sense she just wanted to be left alone. She seemed so frail.

The morning of her passing she wanted to be outside. Rain was coming, and I had to leave for work, so I didn't want to let her out. But I did. I watched as she slowly, stoically stepped through the doorway to the stone porch, resting just outside the door. I scratched behind her ears, whispered goodbye and drove away. Firstborn, fighting the urge to put her back inside, did the same as she left the house a while later, both of us somehow knowing.....

When I got home from work after picking up the Critters from school, she was gone. I searched the house, not knowing if she'd been put back inside, and failing to find her, looked around outside. It had rained during the day, and the darkening sky portended another approaching thunderstorm. If she was still alive, I didn't want her left out in it. But she wasn't. I finally found her under our mudroom, just beyond the opening in the stone foundation and lying on some lumber we store there.

Only Son helped me retrieve her body, carefully lifting out the boards till he could get to her with both hands, wanting to retain her dignity in death. His lighthearted comments as he worked belied the catch in his voice, and I knew he was as sad as I was. After brushing her a final time, something she wouldn't stand for in her last days, I placed her in a box with a favorite towel that had been marked with our family name. Her family name. Then we waited for FirstBorn to come home. She took the news gracefully, with quiet tears.

After dinner, the whole family gathered around the little plot in the woods that was meant to be a mushroom garden, but had never produced. With its woven branch fence, it was the perfect spot to lay her to rest. Hubby dug her grave, Firstborn placed her beloved wreath over her, Only Son said a few words, and the rest of us looked on remembering what a good cat she had been. But Bonus Baby's tearful regret at never having the chance to get to really know her was heart wrenching. She'd had to keep her distance since Ashes hadn't been overly fond of little people. But it hadn't stopped Bonus Baby from loving her.

A week has passed since these events, and we're still adjusting to the meow-less mornings. As I write this I am still teary. FirstBorn has been working such long hours that I wonder if she's had time to process it. We know we won't get another kitty in this house, though she might someday.

But we will all always remember our FirstPet, Ashes.

Ashes & Firstborn in her Senior Photo

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

An "All Seriousness" Aside

Normally I try to be witty in these posts. But, today I'm writing straight from the heart  about a subject that weighs heavily on it, namely - what will become of my Critters?

Hubby and I have raised (are still raising) a houseful of talented, outgoing, caring, bright and enthusiastic young people. People compliment us all the time on our great kids, to which I reply, "Thanks! I like them too!"

Only, sometimes I don't.

WHAT A HORRIBLE THING TO SAY!!!!! Yeah, but real. And if you really admit it, you've felt the same way about yours occasionally too. It's okay. They feel that way about us parents more often than we'd like to think they do, and it doesn't change how much we love them, right?

Sometimes, I get so frustrated that I just want to throw my hands up, throw in the towel, THROW ANYTHING! It usually happens when they are acting like, well... kids, and not the mature and wonderful people everyone thinks they are. Funny how their childish actions make me want to act childish too. Like yesterday, when I finally did throw something and shook up the entire household. (The clatter from the handful of silverware I was getting out to set the dinner table with as they fell forcefully back into the drawer was extremely satisfying!) I didn't stay around to see the effect it had, but stormed out of the house in bare feet and headed down the driveway to cool off.

The Critter who added the last straw wasn't most to blame for my overload, but the one who was, was oblivious. So really, all my little tantrum did was set a bad example. And therein lies the rub. Hubby and I work hard to set a good example for the Critters to follow. For him it comes naturally, but I have to overcome a plenitude of natural inclinations to be the kind of person I hope they will become. When they display those same natural tendencies, I worry. I recognize negative behavior when I see it because I've been there, still am there, fighting it tooth and nail. I want them to be more like Hubby, and less like their Momster. Not that I don't like myself, mind you: Narcissism is one of those natural inclinations I was just mentioning. But it's harder to overcome bad habits than avoid developing them in the first place.

One of the Critters (I won't mention names, but he just graduated) started his first real job yesterday, and already he's moaning about it. After one day! I've seen this kid spend countless hours writing a paper or memorizing a script, skipping meals and working on stage till he could barely stand, holding doors for people, donating blood, serving on the altar at Mass ---- he's a good kid, and hardworking when he wants to be (though sometimes I wish he'd never been introduced to video gaming). I am immensely proud of his many accomplishments. But he has a poor me attitude about having to work hard this summer before college, and I just don't get it! His dad works two, sometimes three jobs. On top of my writing and everything else I do around here as mother of five, I went back to work when Firstborn started college to help pay the bills. She's working three jobs herself. None of us prefer to bust our butts like we do, but we do it because we need to. This Critter knew he would have to help pay for college, yet it was Hubby and I who tracked down job leads for him since he had "other priorities". It's not our fault he turned down the cushy camp councilor job since it would mean not seeing the girlfriend, or didn't keep pursuing the golf course grounds-keeping position, or show a little more enthusiasm for waiting tables.

Sometimes you just do what you gotta do.

I wish that I could just hand him the money for college, but then again, maybe I don't. Where's the lesson in that? Entitlement attitudes abound today, and wouldn't that just play into it?

There is a lack in my parenting skills that is becoming increasing evident: I hate to see my kids suffer. I rescue them time and time again, and then I resent it. This time I want to stand firm, make him tough it out and build character. But I also want him to just stop whining.

Maybe I should set the example.

Monday, April 28, 2014

Not a Party Animal

My last two attempts at hosting a party were unqualified disasters. You've read about one in this blog, or if you haven't, you should (check out "What a fUn-Party"). But actually, I misspoke when describing that event since at least it was one. Last weekend was the party that really wasn't.

Now, before you go thinking that I'm just a lousy and/or boring hostess, let me chime in. I have hosted great parties before! Not the falling down drunk, going home with strangers kind, but good ol' family get-togethers filled with good food, fantastic conversation and lots of fun. Granted, I'm not known for my spontaneity, so when I entertain it's a well thought out, preplanned and stressed-over event that usually leaves me exhausted and in need of a glass of wine or two at a more casual gathering hosted by someone else. Because of this, I generally wait for a BIG EVENT to invite folks over.

 But, back to last weekend.... I was supposed to host a Pampered Chef party. As a foodie, I just love the product line even though the only items I'd ever owned were gifts from someone else. Recently though, I'd attended a friend's PC party and splurged on my own early Mother's Day gift - a spiffy new ceramic omelet pan. That got me thinking about how sweet it would be to have a whole set of cookware that wasn't pieced together from grocery store incentive programs and rummage sales, or add worn Teflon to my family's diet. The only way I'd ever be able to do that was to earn free stuff. So, despite the fact that the whole premise of marketing parties makes me a little queasy for a variety of reasons, I thought I'd give it a go.

I think God's trying to tell me to stick to birthdays and graduations.....

Out of almost 60 invited guests (they tell you to over-invite - same logic airlines use with booking) only two good friends told me they were definitely coming. And since one of them was the hostess at the party I had just attended, and the other a guest, it was looking more like a pity-party. Now, I'm not begrudging anyone the extremely important other events already cluttering their weekend plans ---- I had several other things going on myself, including a daughter's dance recital that I was informed of only two days prior. And I'm not saying that anyone should have tried harder to squeeze my party in - no guilt trips coming from this direction! But I am saying that when I pick 'em, I really pick em! This was the second date in as many parties that just was a lousy fit for everyone.

So, I cancelled. And then I got to thinking.... the reason I enjoy having people over is that being with friends feeds the soul. So much of what we do everyday doesn't. And most of that has to do with stuff: earning $ to buy stuff, caring for stuff, losing or breaking stuff, wishing we had more stuff, having too much stuff.

One friend told me after I'd cancelled that she had actually been looking forward to my party, even though she hadn't committed, because she needed a little girl-time. She's the mother of four boys, so it wasn't about stuff for her, but nourishment. And so, as much as I had been hesitant to host "stuff" parties, I guess as long as my intent is focused on the people part of things, even they can feed the need.


Here's wishing you all a place at the table.

Friday, March 7, 2014

Marketing Tips for Busy People

My life right now pretty much revolves around the need to strategize the marketing of my book -

 ....that, and what's for dinner.

And getting whoever needs to be wherever they need to be whenever they need to be there.

And laundry - always laundry....

You see, no matter what pulls me into the outside world, what's happening here in my little family universe takes precedence, like it or not. Griper that I am, most of the time I do not. That doesn't mean I don't have my priorities straight, just that that I'm still a work in progress. Like you are too, I imagine. A busy home life is like a centrifuge, spinning uncontrollably, pressing your back against the wall even as it pulls you toward center. The moment you lift your head to look outside the home sphere, it gets slammed back into place. Illness does this, and car repair costs, and even the occasional favorite owl hat lost by your six year old.

Anyhow, despite everything I have to do around here, I have been spending an inordinate amount of time trying to figure out how to get my book "OUT THERE" where it will be noticed. So that it will sell. So that I can help pay for kids' clothing, dental work, college, etcetera. So that I can continue to write without feeling guilty about it...

See what I mean about the centrifuge....?

Here's what I've learned about marketing so far:

1) You gotta do it everyday. Like eating or brushing your teeth. Sure, everyone skips once in a while, but if it's not a habit, bad things happen. Or nothing will happen, which is also bad.
2) Use people. Not in a horrible way, or without their permission. But netWORKING is named that for a reason.
3) Give it away. Seems counter intuitive to someone who is struggling to make ends meet, but there you have it.
4) Write - DUH! Your second book is the best promotion for your first.
5) Get technical. As in, learn about technology and how to use it.  This one is a toughy for an older newbie like me, but I did e-publish shortly after releasing my paperback. Now if only I can master the web....
6) Do your research, and get reviewed. I put these together because knowing the reviewer's style, tastes, and likelihood of giving a positive review matters.

There are a lot of other things I've learned in this process, but since I need to go back to learning more now, I'll leave you with one final tip -

7)Work harder than everyone else. Personally, I have a difficult time justifying time spent without documentable results, but I'm learning that increments of progress vary. Slow and steady really does win the race. Oh, how cliché!

Yes, I'm recycling cartoons again, but you get it don't you? Buy my book (and get your friends to buy it!) and I'll have oh! so much more time to draw again! Available at your favorite bookseller.

Sample or purchase Emrysia: Awakening:
and while you're at it, be sure to visit and like my C.A. Morgan Author Page on Facebook! (See, I'm starting to get the hang of it!)

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

What a F-Un Party!

Granted I didn’t put a lot of planning into it, but a casual gathering of friends to snowshoe and ski seemed like just the way to kick February vacation off to a good start. I should have taken heed when most people rsvp’d that they would (regretfully?) be out of town, no doubt traveling to less snowy climes, doing exotic tropical things. With our crew that has never been an option, not that I’ve minded ---- much. Fun is what you make it, right?

Party day got off to a rocky start the night before, with me worrying half the night about our “adult” Critters  who were out and about – when does this stop? – and crawling out of bed not only still exhausted, but with allergy nose, sneezing and dripping like a sieve. Since FirstBorn and Only Son had opted to spend the night at thier friend’s house, the bright spot of the morning was that the rest of us could all fit in the car on the way to Mass. (Did I mention that Vantana is in the shop getting a new transmission and wheel bearings, leaving only the five-in-a-tight-squeeze passenger, stick shift SuZi? But that’s another story...) After Mass, we headed downstairs to the parish hall for a little pre-party Sunday brunch. Being a social butterfly has its drawbacks; we were some of the last down so we missed out on the bacon. Also, we had to eat with plates in our laps, which reminds me – I still have to get that syrup out of Hubby’s slacks.

Back at home, I put a pot of homemade chili on the back burner to simmer, sampled the guacamole, and did a little last minute tidy before folks started to arrive. Backroad of Busted Mufflers aside, the families that actually made it had more issues with our steep, ice-crusted driveway. Dr. Denny and CindyComeLately with their three Amigos were surprisingly early, wearing winning smiles and bearing a beautiful lasagna.  Big Johnny, when he arrived, took a hard spill coming up the walk, but bounced up with barely a grimace, his family following more cautiously in his wake. Our missing Critters eventually showed up (I didn’t ask) and that’s when it started to get interesting.

Accepting that we weren’t going to abandon our guests for four hours (as forewarned) to drive her back to college in time for her tech rehearsal, Firstborn attempted (unsuccessfully) to rustle up a ride. When nothing panned out with her friends, Big Johnny offered taxi service in lieu of our planned outdoor adventure. Maybe he was being nice, and maybe he’d hit the ice harder than he let on, and wanted an easier out.  Either way, boy, was he ever wrong!

Finally, it was time for the rest of us to head into the Great Outdoors - everyone except for the teen-aged girls, who squirreled themselves away in Third Child’s purple-passion den, doing girlie stuff. Sorting out winter gear, skis, poles, and snowshoes, Hubby, Dr. D. & C.C. Lately, and the remaining Critters divvied up trail maps and headed out. The day was sparkling, the breeze light, and trails thoughtfully pre-tramped by Hubby the day before. Big Johnny’s Missus and I hung back with our youngest, Little Miss and Bonus Baby, attempting to put on their skis. Note: a persistently drippy proboscis and broken bindings do not go well together. B.B.’s boot ended up covered in eeeew! and held in place with used twist ties. Halfway across the yard she lost a ski. More bending over = more dripping. More ski’s coming off = tears, more exasperating dripping, and finally a decision to go sledding instead. Too late, I realized how icy our driveway (a.k.a. the sled run) really was, and nearly broke my neck attempting to stay upright while holding back a sled load of anxious six year olds. I parked the nose of the sled in the snow bank with orders for them to stay put until I called up the all’s clear from the bottom. When they came screaming – literally - down the driveway, my heart nearly stopped. B.B. rolled out as the sled tipped and Little Miss shot past, crashing harmlessly into the bank. More tears from Bonus Baby, but nothing more serious than a bruised elbow, thankfully. Little Miss wanted to go again. We compromised with me offering to pull them back up the hill, but ended up turning it into a game where they had to crawl up on their bellies to save us all from an early grave. Big Johnny’s Missus and I were more than ready to chill out on the porch with a glass of Zinfandel when the little ladies went inside to play.  When we eventually got up to go inside, another bout of sneezing caught me off guard.  You’ve no doubt heard women complain about the effects of sneezing after childbirth: Multiply that by five. Needless to say, I had to change. A little later, Bonus Baby got a little too wrapped up in playing, and well, let’s just say she and I had a little more in common than usual.

As the trekkers straggled back in, I doled out hot cocoa and begged the teens to include the pre-teens in their activities. More sneezing and more dripping nose. And then the phone rang.

It was Big Johnny. A harrowing blowout had left him and Firstborn stranded along the interstate with a shredded tire, and little chance of her getting to rehearsal on time or him making it back without a very expensive tow. Possibilities were kicked around, and soon Hubby & Dr. D. hopped into our SuZi and headed an hour out of their way to pick up Big J.’s spare – then off to the rescue! In the meantime, a tow truck was called to haul the stranded motorists to the nearest town, where they waited, cold and hungry.

Back on the home front, kids found stuff to do while the ladies commiserated, drank more wine, and played Bananagrams on the floor in front of the wood stove. It was almost fun, except this hostess felt run over by a truck – sneezy days really wipe me out, even without the accidents and added stress, and my bed was looking mighty appealing...... and really far away!

By the time help finally arrived, Firstborn had gotten a college chum to come and pick her up. Just as I was getting dinner on the table she called to say she’d made it safely back. Confession time: I was still a little miffed, though once the decision was made for Big J. to take her, the outcome was irrelevant, and I knew I had no right. I told her I was glad she was safe, but at that moment thirteen hungry people were waiting on me, so I didn’t take time to elaborate. The chili was hot, but she still had a while to stew.

The Husbands finally returned a little after 9:30 (note the party times) to a noisy house and riled up kids, hungry but in good humor. A little guy bonding time appeared to have done them good. An hour or so later, they were still at the table laughing, while the Downton Abbey contingent had retired to the living room.

Did I mention I was still sneezing?

Since we had already told the youngest that we might end up having a big sleepover, they were pretty disappointed when informed that wouldn’t be the plan. As much as I love my friends, I gotta say, I was relieved. It had been a long day. But I felt bad about it too: Big Johnny & Family had another forty minutes to drive, and another icy driveway to walk up in the dark. We sent them on their way with prayers and leftover chili.

 Do-over party at their house later in the week....

Note* This account, though it leaves out several painful details. is entirely accurate --- except that it neglected to say that I am blessed with some amazing friends who, despite my whining, still want me around. Thanks you guys!

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Howdy, Stranger!

Well, it's been absolutely forever since I've written here! Not that I've forgotten you.... just ask my extended family * whose birthdays I never remember in time. That's what busyness does - it makes you take those you most appreciate for granted. :(

And I do appreciate you, blog reader! Really, I do!

That's why I try so hard to make you smile...

or laugh....

or cry.....

or think....

or shut off your computer and stop wasting precious time........ actually, that's for me.

When I'm bored or overwhelmed or stumped for ideas, I too often turn to Facebook or various blogs, and before you know it, a perfectly good hour has passed by with nothing to show for it besides my own entertainment. Not that being entertained in and of itself is a bad thing, but I'm a doer, not a spectator. And if that doesn't jive with my couch potato image, bear in mind that I can barely sit and watch a movie anymore without falling asleep, but I can write or paint all day and be so engrossed that I forget to eat!

What does that for you?

When I think of mankind as being made in God's image, our ability to create is what comes to mind. It's what I love most about being human. That goes for everything from writing a novel (shameless plug for Emrysia Awakening!) or drawing a caricature, to flipping an omelet or expertly applying makeup. It doesn't have to be something big, though it can be. It just has to be something that involves you in the creative process.

What brings me the most satisfaction is often what also provides the most frustration while in progress, like learning to make an awesome pizza. Like getting my book published. Like raising the Critters.

My pizza is now highly anticipated once-a-week fare on movie night (which I'll sleep thru). Seeing my work on store shelves is great, though so far I've gotten more reviews on the pizza. But watching my offspring become salt and light for the world? Now that's amazing feedback!

So, forgive me for not making more time here. It's not that I don't enjoy it - I really, really do! I just have other things to create.

*If you are an extended family member (or friend, which is the same thing to me), you know I love you, right?