My present to you –
Select books only 99 cents until December 27!
Looking to gift yourself something fun this Christmas? Check out Absinthe, Unexpecting or Charlotte Dodd – or all 3! Only 99p!!!
Merry Christmas to you from me!
To my continual horror and amazement, I am the mother of a teenager. She is the source of laughter and frustration, joy and exasperation, worry and pride. With the teenage years, comes hormonal mood swings, later bedtimes, the growing importance of friends and the bizarre world of social media. Her cell phone is her life line. We’ve had many talks about her constant need to be in touch with people, how streaks in Snapchat are soooo important and reminding her that what she shares on-line is forever.
I’m sure my parents had issues to deal with when I was teenager, but nothing like this. And we haven’t even got to boys yet!
Anyway, I used to view K’s cell phone with a mixture of disgust and wariness. Yes, I like my phone and yes, I use social media but never to the extent that she does. I’m actually thinking of putting her in charge of my Instagram account! But to be honest, when she got the cell phone, I viewed as one more way I was losing my little girl.
My husband and I are unusual in our neighbourhood – we made K responsible for her phone. She picked out the phone she wanted, pays the bills with her babysitting money. When her screen broke a few months ago, it was up to her to deal with whether to replace or repair. I’m sure not all everyone agrees with this (I’m sure K doesn’t, especially when her friends seem to get new phones every time someone sneezes on it) but we’re hoping it will teach her responsibility. I don’t want one of those kids who think they’re entitled to everything.
K is in high school, yet another way I feel I’m losing her. But thanks to her cellphone, we’ve found a new way to communicate. I’m happy that we’ve always been close, and proud that my daughter still tells me everything. (Sure, sure, you say, but I believe it’s true. Plus, nothing that exciting has happened that she would feel the need to keep from me.I’m sure this phase won’t last forever so I’m enjoying it while it lasts.) Lately, I’ve discovered a new-found appreciation for her cell phone.
A handy fixture is the ability for me to double check anything I might be buying her because she rarely agrees with my sense of fashion. When she does, it’s usually joined by anger that I bought something similar to something she already has!
But my favourite thing about the phone is that K texts me during the day. Sometimes she does it in class, but only when she wants to share a grade with me, or something that happened. She keeps me informed of her day and lets me be a part of it. I don’t have to wait until we’re home for the one-word answers teenagers are famous for. I have a string of texts from her – some funny and light-hearted, some proud, some disappointed.I get to share it all with her.
My son is starting high school next year and I’m not sure I’ll have the same experience. But I’ll do my best to keep up with his day, like I do with K. I’m very thankful for her phone and how it helps with our communication, because I think that’s so important for kids and parents. I’m thankful for her, too. All of my kids!
On Friday I posted about my confusion about country music. UPDATE – I actually had to go and download several country songs Friday afternoon. The horror! I’ll try and work through it.
On Sunday, I had a few free moments (which doesn’t normally happen on a weekend, so I took advantage of it because I can’t seem to shake this silly cold I’ve had all week) and actually had the television to myself for a short time. I found E.T. – The Extra-Terrestrial was playing on one of the movie channels, with only a half hour to go, so I turned it on.
When was the last time you watched this movie? It has been years for me – so long that my children can’t remember ever watching it with me. And they need to watch it. In 101 Movies To See Before You Grow Up, E.T. is number 10 on the list.
For those of you who don’t remember, or might have been living under a rock for the last few decades, E.T. is about a little boy (Elliot) who finds an alien stranded on Earth and living in his shed. He lures him into the house using Reese’s Pieces and Elliot’s brother and sister help hide the alien from their mother. E.T. and Elliot soon begin to share a strange connection as the kids help E.T. build a device that will let him contact his people. They both get sick, E.T. actually ‘dies’ but both recover and with help from kids on the street race to get away from the authorities in an epic bike chase. You know the one.
The short time I spent watching the movie brought back a ton of memories of my childhood. It came out in 1982; the iconic catchphrases still exist for many. ‘E.T. phone home.’ When E.T. touches his heart and the finger glows. ‘Ouuuch.’ Reese’s Pieces became famous from that movie. I had a stuffed E.T. and everyone wanted a little sister like Gertie. Even after 30+ years, there are so many moments from the movie that are embedded in our pop culture.
I started watching just before E.T. dies and started crying right away. I have been known to cry while watching movies, but this was a bit much, especially when I just tuned in. I chalk the waterworks up to how many times I’ve watched the movie, the love I have for it, and the nostalgia it brought while watching it.
I cried when he died, I cried when E.T.’s heart started to glow again. I laughed when the brother was trying to drive the van with the scientists still in the giant tube attached. I made 2 of the kids watch the bike chase with me. S was at first concerned and then amazed to find me crying, tears that would not stop!
I cried when the bikes lifted into the air and that iconic scene of the kids against the setting sun. I cried when they got into the woods and the glow of the incoming spacecraft appeared. And I was practically bawling as as they took turns saying good-bye to the beloved little alien. It was bad. Maybe it was hormonal or because I’ve been sick, but I watched 30 minutes of that movie Sunday afternoon, and I cried during 26 of them. I was spent, exhausted… but so happy I had the experience of watching it again, and especially that 2 of my kids watched some of it with me. They made fun of me crying, once they figured out I wasn’t upset, but it nice watching it with them. We’ll watch the entire movie as a family sometime soon, and I’ll make sure I have lots of Kleenex.
This is an awesome book if you have kids and like watching movies with them! It’s full of little tidbits that are interesting for all.
I don’t listen to country music. Ever. I only like Taylor Swift when she’s pop, not country. The only thing that interests me about Keith Urban is that he’s married to Nicole Kidman. (wouldn’t it be cool if he was related to Karl Urban – Bones on new Star Trek?) And Blake Shelton may be a handsome devil but his music doesn’t move me in the slightest.
And I do have one. I admit, there was a time I used to listen to country music. My childhood was spent in the country, growing up on a farm, with parents who did their best to share their love for artists like Charley Pride and Conway Twitty with their daughters. This was the time before iTunes, so unless you had your own stereo in your room, with your own supply of LPs (vinyl records for those of you millennials) you listened to the same music as your parents. Country music was in the car, with my mother singing along to Skeeter Davis’ End of the World. (thanks Kristi for coming up with the song!) Country music was always in the house. I think it might have been in the barn as well.
My first record was Kenny Roger’s Greatest Hits and to this day, I still know every word of Coward of the County. My sister and I went to country dances at the Community Centre in Roseneath, doing our version of the two-step to the George Brothers’ band, Family Tradition. (Drummer Teddy was always my favourite!)
But as soon as I was able to trade in Kenny Rogers for Michael Jackson’s Thriller, I began to shun country music. Cyndi Lauper took over from Waylon Jennings’ as my most listened to record (The theme from Dukes of Hazard if you must know.) I began to travel down my own music path, as far away from country as I could go. The screaming of 80s metal has nothing to do with the wailings of Tammy Wynette and was much more to my liking.
And this is where I find myself – more interested in listening to alternative pop than the grandpop of country, Hank Williams Jr. Yes, I admit I have the odd country ditty on my iTunes playlist (Kenny Rogers still has a place in my heart, as does Alabama’s Roll on Eighteen Wheeler) but the list is pretty country clean.
My parents had a dance for their 50th wedding anniversary. I found myself dancing to country music. Singing along. Knowing EVERY WORD.
I chalked it up to a one-night lapse in judgement and even though I was left with the earworm Thank God I’m a Country Boy, I thought it would go away.
I started seeing commercials for the 50th CMA Awards. (Country Music Awards)
Here’s the link that’s causing all my kerfluffle. It’s got the Forever Country video, a mix of new and old artists singing a few classics, including Dolly’s I Will Always Love You. Because I watched that (I’m not telling how many times), I then had to watch the highlights of the show, including medley of hits the show started with. I knew who most of the performers were! I knew all of the songs! Because that’s what I had grown up listening to. And the tribute to Dolly Parton…wow. I don’t know if it’s all included in the clip but watch it if you can. Amazing.
I thought I had shaken the country off my city boots, but now I’m not sure. I’m going to go listen to some Green Day now, or I might find myself scrolling through Dolly’s Greatest Hits on iTunes, looking to download Jolene. Wish me luck!
For those of you non-Canucks, this weekend was a pretty big one in Toronto. Along with being Thanksgiving, the Blue Jays beat Texas for a spot in the American League championship. Go Jays!!
We’re a big baseball family, which is why the time for Thanksgiving dinner was changed so hubby and his mom could go to the game on Sunday. I’m glad they won. I hope hubby’s sister forgives him for ducking out so early.
We had Thanksgiving dinner at our place this year and both sides came, which equals 18 people. A good group and thankfully, I love to cook. My cooking abilities have been complimented many times, so I can confidently say, I’m a pretty good cook. But this year, dinner kicked ass!!! Bring on the Master Chef Mirror Ball!
(Oops. That’s Dancing with the Stars, isn’t it? Pretty ball…sparkly…)
I don’t like turkey. I’m not opposed to making it, because I make lots of things I don’t like, such as anything chocolate. I can tolerate turkey if it’s dark meat, but last Christmas, I discovered a whole lot of family like the legs too. Turkeys only have 2 legs…
Instead of cooking a whole turkey, I got one cut for me, and added extra legs and thighs. Lots of dark meat for all. I braised the legs and thighs and sprinkled pancetta on top to replace the crispy skin. Then I roasted the two breasts after brining them in a maple syrup concoction. Along with A LOT of meat, I served roasted garlic mashed potatoes, peeled Brussel sprouts sauteed with shallots and pancetta, mushroom and sausage stuffing, roasted beets with goat cheese (should have been with sauteed kale but I ran out of stove space), squash (thanks mom-in-law), cauliflower (thanks sis-in-law) and mushroom gravy. Mom and Dad and bro and sis-in-law supplied pies and sweet stuff to go along with chocolate cake I made.
I’m not the type to take pictures of my food, but I wish I did for this. It was a good meal Mom-in-law said best ever. Dad called to compliment. Two days later, I’m still feeling proud of myself! I wanted to share! And best thing is, not many leftovers!
I’m being creative.
I love my kids. I really do. But there’s nothing like the first day back to school.
Back to routines and regular bedtimes. Although I’m not sure what that is anymore with two teenagers. They may be nervous about new schools and teachers but all I can think about it 6 kid-free hours which I don’t have to be peppered with questions about what we’re doing, what time are we doing it, should my super hero have pink hair and can we go to the drugstore to look at makeup.
I’m going into the writing cave today and I’m not coming out until I hear the school bell ring. And we live close enough that I can really hear it!!
I’ve been sharing my quiet mornings with Red the squirrel for the last four weeks. Our relationship was contentious at the beginning. He would chatter to me, clearly unhappy that I had invaded his territory of the back deck. Now, he’s still a bully to the other squirrels and chipmunk, chasing them away whenever they venture close, but he’s accepted me. I’m sure the crusts of my toast helped!!
I’ve had countless people ask me about what my inspiration for writing is. Where do I come up with the ideas, the stories, the characters. For me, ideas come from everywhere and my little squirrel is a perfect example. I set a goal for myself to get a first draft of my second Dragon book finished this month. (I failed miserably – the book is coming but not until later this fall.) But I did come up with a new character- Jezualah (JayZ for short). He’s a talking squirrel who provides help for the kids during their adventure in Dragon Land. (I’m still working on coming up with the perfect name for the new world they visit). The sequel to The Dragon Under the Mountain will be more fantasy, with more powers and world building, and a talking squirrel will fit right in.
For two reasons – one, I’m profoundly disappointed by the book I just finished and don’t feel like writing about it yet. Maybe next week I’ll feel that it deserves a mention.
And two – it’s nearing the end of the summer and like the kids preparing to go back to school, I’m readying myself for a fall full of writing goals and deadlines. I’ll be revising my marketing plan (or lack of one), learning about Instagram and other networks to get myself and my books out there. More blog posts, and more about me and my writing rather than just me and my reading.
I’m ready to jump back into things. I’ve been working steadily this summer and I have a few good chapters of The Best Worst First Date to show for it, but writing with a cottage/house full of kids, not to mention friends and family is quite different than being alone in my writing cave all day.
But that’s not until next week. Right now, I’m enjoying my second tea of the day and watching the waves crash onto the beach. I’m also waiting for Red to come back and finish his crusts.
It was wild wind that greeted on the shores of Georgian Bay yesterday morning. The sound of the waves crashing against the shore is one of my favourite things at the cottage and Sunday was no exception. The whitecap were the largest I’ve ever seen here and as soon as I could, I took the kids and the boogie boards down to the water to try our version of surfing on the waves!