Writer’s Workshop – My how things have changed

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1.) What were you writing about last year at this time? What has changed?

Below, I will post my Random Tuesday from April 16th, 2013, then break it down.

  • Random acts of violence really bother me. Especially bothered by the fact that it affected runners and spectators of a running event. The racing atmosphere is one of unity and fun; not the place for bombs. I’ll be really interested to see if they can track down the culprit. I’m thinking someone much like the Unabomber.
  • In other random news, I watched this show on the Nat Geo channel last night all about how the 80s made America what it is, down to the good and the bad; mostly the bad and the whole “me” generation stuff. I kind of miss those times sometimes; be it because of the economics or the fact that I was a carefree kid.
  • What I didn’t know was that when the Romanian leader allowed the Who Shot JR episode of Dallas to air, the Romanian people wondered why they didn’t have all these cool things like Americans and they revolted against him and overthrew him. Huh? Who knew the affects of Dallas were so far-reaching?
  • I just beat level 102 of Candy Crush; I honestly thought I might be stuck there forever!
  • Last night, I let the dogs out and there was a small green frog on the glass door. I think I scared him when I opened it; he jumped about 5 inches and then this stream of liquid slowly dripped down the glass. Did I scare the piss out of a frog?
  • Temps in the low 90s today?? We skipped right from Winter to Summer, apparently, though we got the pollen crud from Spring. Not fair, Florida.
  • I miss Boston Market. We used to have three locations; now we have one but it’s not in an area I drive often. Now and then we’d get it for dinner and as I get deeper into this pregnancy and don’t want to cook, home-cooked type meals are more alluring, especially if someone makes them for me. Le sigh. The good places always end up closing down.
  • I didn’t think it was appropriate to have Man Candy today so I present a… patriotic image, in light of the recent tragedy  Happy Tuesday, folks.

And I included a picture of Captain America. So it looks like I was ranting about the Boston bombings and rambling on about other random stuff in my life. I can’t believe I was on 102 of Candy Crush; I’m on 268 now! It was hot then but today, it is 54 and beautiful. Seems like the weather is a little wonky this year compared to last. I looked up what I wrote about the day before and here are some highlights:

  •  Ell’s game was at 10:30 and it was wonderful weather: sunny but not hot, breezy too. His team “lost” but I figure it was payback for the butt-whooping we gave them last time. Promptly afterwards we went home, changed, made some pb&j sandwiches and hit the road. We decided to go all the way (all one hour and 50 minutes!) to St. George Island. In spite of the wind, it was still really quite wonderful.
  •  We watched both Old Yeller and An American Tail.  Isaac is going through a can’t sit still phase though so movies are a little on the outs for him

Isaac watches movies now, Ell’s team is winning games, and we went to the beach and it was cool. But for the most part, it looks like we’re doing all the same things! We have sports and movies and beach trips and relaxing and family. Now we just have an added body. I was at a particularly good phase of pregnancy in April; I felt good and able to live life normally. Now, I am free of her inside me but burdened by the fact that an infant is rather demanding. This morning, for example, I was in the bathroom and it’s by far the worst time to be indisposed. The boys are getting ready and whining about stuff and they want breakfast and then SHE wakes up and it’s not like I can just up and vacate the bathroom to help everyone. The boys can wait but an crying baby is all like, “Come get me now before I pop a lung here!” But I am happy with where my life is.

To be honest, reading my archives from last year has made me realize just how good we have it. I’m in awe of how my outlook has turned around. Writing this post has been wonderful!

Writer’s Workshop – You thought you were busy before…

workshop-button-15.) Something that is a challenge for you

As a mom of three, keeping up with everything is a challenge for me and here’s something I wrote about it:

 

It has been a scant 20 seconds since I gave at least three hugs and kisses to each boy, tucking them back in after they got up to close the closet or move a shoe or something of that sort. The door creaks open and one is now thirsty; the other is, therefore, also dying of extreme thirst and they both pad into the kitchen. I tell them goodnight one more time and sit on the couch, holding my breath. What other stalling tactic will I see next? How long before I hear the door again? I don’t, but then my seven month old remembers it is still evening hours which means she should scream her lungs out for absolutely no justifiable reason. It is her job as a baby – who does little else – to exercise those new lungs so I’m up again, cradling a tiny warm body in hopes she stays quiet for a little while, because after a nine hour work day where my office is a revolving door of grad student with their own set of problems, the last thing my fragile psyche can handle is more senseless crying.

A friend once told me that the hardest thing is going from zero kids to one. That first kid is a doozy but as you add more, it’s never so bad. You’re more prepped, they explained. You’ve done it before and at least know what to expect. Ok, I’ll give my friend that: as I had my second and third children, I went into it knowing how the kid thing works. But I don’t know if it’s “not as bad” so much as it is just entirely different. One to two seemed like my problems enhanced exponentially. They didn’t just double but intensified based solely on each individual issue that arose. The thing I had going for me that second time was that I had another boy so I felt comfortable in doing boy things. No new clothes needed to be purchased. The nursery stayed as it was; all the toys were good to go as boy #2 aged. Sure, having two boys amplified the sound in our household tenfold and there were a lot of pretend guns and cars and dinosaurs. But it was also pretty magical. Still, I don’t think zero to one was harder than two to three. Dividing my attention amongst everyone is by far the most difficult part. I’m pulled in so many directions: the boys, husband, jobs, my own basic desires like, you know, going to the bathroom.

There are days when 24 hours is enough. I get work done, the kitchen cleaned, dinner made, kids in bed, AND find time to work out and watch an episode of Inkmaster. Still, there are days when you’d think I hadn’t the slightest idea how to be a mom. Jeans didn’t get washed or we’re out of apple sauce and the dogs are jumping on kids and kids are crying and this mom has had it. There have probably been times when my neighbors thought they should call the Child Services because I’m ranting about my kids’ lack of sense. I would kill for just one or two more hours to wash dishes and maybe – just maybe – I could even read a book.

I chatted briefly with a guy who works at a downtown eatery I’ve been frequenting for years. I knew he was getting married over Spring Break so we talked about it and he beamed happily explaining his honeymoon in Paris and Rome. Then he said, “Well, back to the grind. That’s the way it is.” And he’s right. This is life; the good stuff presents itself here and there and sometimes you get a break but day to day this is what we do. We’re busy, we have to get stuff done, we give ourselves over to inevitability of responsibility. You could go crazy thinking about what the point of it all is but then, when my oldest son comes out of his room again, even after the second glass of water, and gives me a sweet kiss on the cheek and a tired “I love you”, then I know why I do all this. I know.

Writer’s Workshop – I needed that smile and laugh

workshop-button-1Last night, I was still busy with grading papers so Ash did the laundry (I almost died of shock!) and then threw on one of our all-time favorite stand-up comedians, Eddie Izzard. My first run-in with him was actually in one of my favorite movies, Velvet Goldmine but his stand-up is hilarious and exactly my kind of humor. It’s been a while since I laughed hard and this was just what I needed. Below are some key parts of the shows.

I know I didn’t write much, seeing as how it is WRITER’S workshop and all but these speak for themselves. And the laughs were well worth it.

Writer’s Workshop – Compare and Contrast

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1.) Find a photo of yourself taken 10 years ago and display it on your blog along with a current photo. How have you changed since the day that photo was taken?

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To be honest, the first photo MAY have been taken in about 2002. So it’s more like 11-12 years old. But it was a good one to show Ash and I doing a pre-selfie era selfie. Then, there’s the photo the nurse took of us mere minutes after Dakota was born in August.

The ways in which I have changed are vast and varied. I was a much different girl back then and I suppose, though I always wondered when it happened, I have become a woman in that time. In 2002, I’d been dating Ash a few years, I was graduating from FSU with a BA in English, and I had absolutely no idea where I wanted my life to go. Work? Grad school? I didn’t have a lot of motivation or even vision for the future. So at my roommate’s encouragement, I applied to CompUSA. He had recently quit so he could focus on school and he knew they needed cashiers. I’d worked a register once before: during a two week stint as a Baskin-Robins employee. I wasn’t very good at it and they let me go. The only other job I’d had before that was as a camp counselor, which is pretty different than retail.

I learned a lot working in the “real world” as opposed to sitting at a nice safe desk in a brick building on one of the most gorgeous college campuses in the country. I grew up a whole bunch in my two years there. I learned how to deal with people and not only that, but myself. I used to be a staunch believer in just that: my beliefs. And sometimes I let those stop me from being reasonable and/or putting up with something. In some situations, you have to let silly little principles go so everyone can move forward.

In 2003 I applied for the FSU Masters program in Creative Writing. Surprisingly, they let me in. In 2004, they gave me a TA-ship and I started teaching. In hindsight, this was pretty much the best thing I could have done because now, I work in that department and my degree allows me to continue to teach as well. This pretty much defines my adult career, though at the time, I wasn’t sure where it would take me.

Of course, back then, I couldn’t even see myself getting married, let alone having children. What changed in those years was my confidence. I had pretty low self-esteem and confidence in my abilities. As bad as it sounds to say Ash brought those out in me, it’s true. I had to have that approval to foster in myself those feelings of self-worth. These days, and since becoming a mother, I can do it myself. I don’t need approval to better myself. Though it doesn’t hurt to hear how awesome I am!

At the time of that photo, I’d say I was at least 60-70 pounds overweight. Though in my newest photo I am ten pounds heavier than my lightest, I am definitely more in shape now and aware of my eating habits. I run now and I know that I have to keep in shape to keep up with the kids. Back then I was pretty much on a 3 AM pizza diet every day.

I have changed in so very many ways in the 11+ years since that photo of us. It’s kind of crazy to think just how far I have come and matured. I am much happier now, I can tell you that much!

Writer’s Workshop – Unpopular Opinion: I love Florida

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4.) List 8 best reasons you love living in your state.

1.) Though I don’t like this about myself, I am the kind of person who likes to show people when they’re wrong. SO, reason number one that I love living in Florida is to shove it in peoples’ faces when they say that there’s nothing but Disney World and Miami here. Does this look like a big city or an amusement park?7051827873_1624ecd317_c8552339411_8d3af0d80f_c8712394444_02a986b116_c

2.) Now, just because I said we aren’t all amusement parks doesn’t mean I don’t totally love them! I grew up in South Florida and though my parents didn’t have a lot of money, they found ways to make a yearly Disney trip possible. And when we moved to Orlando in ’94, we bought annual passes. I LOVE Disney. I love how it makes you feel like the outside world simply doesn’t exist. Once you live near it, it almost feels like the parks are yours. When you get to go in for special things or know someone who works there and can get you in for free, they become your special place. (Below: my mother and I at EPCOT, 1984 and my kids there this past summer)7176869287_36b5a71cc3_c9059500785_ab484c66f3_c

3.) I love the weather. Sure, it gets hot but I am used to it now and I kind of hate the cold. I live in north Florida now and we get just enough cold to remind me why I would not want to move anywhere with snow. And, though most people will disagree, we do get leaves changing color and nice Springs; it just depends on the year.4452649922_23d1662875_z

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Ell in a frosty winter field

4.) I actually kind of like that we’re a joke to people. Yes, there are a lot of nut bags in Florida. Just look at these! enhanced-buzz-25878-1383591045-10

5.) I like that we have three state school football and three professional football teams and right now, only one of them is any good (Sorry, UM fans). Uh, that would be FSU, ICYMI. Go Noles; woot woot! (Below: me in front of a mosaic in FSU’s coach’s office)7983689714_dcfafbeaf1_c

6.) I love our beaches. You might tell me that they’re better in Cali or Hawaii; of course they are! But they’re pretty awesome here too.images8648579558_0e2baba422_c

7.) I love that Florida has so many regions. Much like my answer to #1, our fair state can be broken down into so many subcultures. I, personally, like living in the north where it’s southern, if that makes any sense! (I’m a country girl at heart.)A_6ab1fe_790984

8.) It’s home and it always has been. I lived in the southern portion, the middle area, and now, the panhandle and no matter where, it always just feels like home. I traveled a lot as a kid but there’s no place like home, as they say.il_224xN.489663637_5ig2

Writer’s Workshop – Makin’ it work

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2.) Your top 5 secrets to a successful marriage!

I feel a little out of m league taking on this topic but let’s give it a go.

Ok so my husband and I recently celebrated eight years but I have known him since 1999. It wasn’t always happy times, let me tell you that. But we’ve managed to make it work and we get better and better. So, the secrets to it?

1. You always hear people say communication is key. And it is, very much. But I think you have to learn how you best communicate with each other. I tend to “take one for the team” a little too much. Luckily, Ash is very intuitive and understands people way  more than I do so he knows when I am harboring feelings and problems. He coaxes me to open up and once we discuss something, everything feels much better. This keeps us even-keeled.

2. Division of labor, knowing it won’t ever be equal. I remember being a kid and complaining how nothing was fair or equal. Well, it isn’t. The world is not a fair place, as my parents endlessly explained. I used to expect Ash to do stuff around the house but then he told me we just see things differently. He’ll never notice when the floor needs to be swept. And his idea of when the dishes need to be done is different than mine. So if I wanted things done, I had to let him do them his way. As we went along and had more kids, he started taking on certain tasks and I didn’t have to ask anymore. He’s still never swept or vacuumed but hey, we all have our things. And this works.

3. (TMI alert) Healthy sex life. It’s true. y’all. I went to one of those Passion parties and the woman who ran it was probably 50 or so and she was so down to earth about loving her husband and how they kept the interest after all the years. I’m not saying you have to buy toys, etc, but you do have to put in the effort. I think that’s different for everyone, of course. For some, it might just be easy because you find you’re still totally in love and attracted to them. I speak for myself in that this is true, but for others, I think exploring a variety of things in the bedroom may help bring two people closer. And that part of a relationship is quite important.

4. Having your own things/hobbies. I struggle here because I often allow chores/motherly and wifely duties to be an excuse for not doing things for me.  I have the kind of husband who has no problem with me going out with the girls on occasion or running off to the salon for a pedi at a moment’s notice. Ash goes out on Mondays and plays Magic and every three months does an all-day tournament. I have no problem with this since we have that kind of understanding. This stuff keeps each person sane and happy with themselves, enabling them to be better spouses/parents.

5. Another obvious one but still: trust. I can’t speak for everyone (and having just watched a particular Breaking Bad episode where she is on to him!) but this is the uber key to success. And I don’t just mean trusting each other not to cheat or do other shady things. I mean simple things. Sometimes I start to stress and Ash has to calm me down. And he always tells me to just trust him that when it comes to the “big stuff”, he’ll take care of everyone. On the other end, he trusts me to get all the little things done for the kids, the house, etc. It’s a wonderful balance we have and it has led to our success.

There’s no sure-fire secret but you have to be rational and attentive. Things are constantly changing so you also need to adapt. However, I believe the above five facets will  solidify any marriage.

Writer’s Workshop – Oh, I miss it

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5.) List 10 things you miss about being a kid.

Now you see, back in 2011, I actually did a post just like this. Here you go, take a look. I’ll work on a few of these for the sake of this post and elaborate.  http://incognitusscriptor.com/2011/08/04/13-things-i-miss-from-my-childhood/

Now, things about being a kid are a little more general, I know, so here goes:

1.) I loved being able to run and run and not really feel tired or bothered by the heat/sweat. I mean, I LOVED to run all out. I loved how it felt as the wind rushed past me and the thrill of beating other, slower kids.

2.) Being invincible to food. Who knew that as you aged, some food wouldn’t sit well in your system? I can’t eat a sausage without heartburn these days. And I am not actually prone to heartburn.

3.) On that same note: eating fast food and not ever feeling guilty. I was a pretty sturdy kid but never overweight; that didn’t happen until high school. I miss going to McDonalds with my dad on occasion and having a good old fashioned Happy Meal.

4.) The television. I spoke of cartoons in my other post but I miss the feel of 80s TV. There was something so charming about the commercials and the type of shows. I mean, Full House! My kids love watching that, which is a testament to how those values stand the test of time.

5.) I miss the curiosity. I still do have a thirst for knowledge but when I was younger, there was this desire to find out how things worked and to acquire knowledge. And I had all the time in the world to do it. These days, I am lucky to pick up a few facts from the internet.

6.) Accomplishments felt bigger. When I got on the honor roll or won an award, people praised me up and down. These days, victories are smaller and sometimes only I care about them or just my husband. There’s no reason why i can’t celebrate more, but it’s not the same. (Though, when I beat this one level of Candy Crush, my kids and I jumped around the living room like fools; I was just so excited.)

7.) I miss my room. A kid’s room is a special place. It feels like yours in a world where you actually own so very little. I spend very little time in my room now aside from sleeping so it’s nothing special.

8.) The excitement of the first day of school. Granted, I was a nerd but I loved going into a new classroom with a new teacher and the possibility of making friends. As an adult, all this stuff freaks me out.

9.) I liked that school was my job. I tried my hardest and then knew I got to go home and play. Now, I go to work only to go home and do more work. Though the perks are pretty awesome – my kids make it better.

10.) I miss getting really excited about the next thing. You remember how magical it felt to look forward to something? I still do look forward to stuff but that unfettered feeling of joy is just not there.

Writer’s Workshop – A different POV

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4.) Hand your child a camera and share life captured from their perspective.

Ok so I didn’t have time to put a camera in Elliot or Isaac’s hands this week but here are some shots from about two years ago (or so). Elliot went through a phase when he wanted to always have my old point and shoot Canon. Here’s a few shots he captured, then a link to the full set.

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I think he may actually have an eye for photography. At this point though, anything I suggest he might like, he fights against, just because. At six, he’s basically already a teenager!

Full set:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/allstarme/sets/72157627575996471/

Writer’s Workshop – Down! Set! Hike!

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3.) 10 Things you love about football

I don’t know if I can think of 10 but five came to me right away, so let’s give this one a go:

1.) I love how football goes hand in hand with Fall. It was the soundtrack of Thanksgiving when I was a kid so it always makes me a little reminiscent.Football Thanksgiving

2.) I love how college football people usually don’t like pro as much and vice versa. It’s interesting to see where allegiances lie and how into a team people can get. It’s crazy! My parents got married in November and my dad’s family is from Alabama. Because the Auburn/Alabama game was on the day of their wedding, a good number of his family did not even attend!ironbowl

3.) I love football jerseys. They’re super comfy!

4.) J.J. Watt:JJ Watt

5.) The communal aspect. People love to get together and watch it; feel the ups and downs with each other.

6.) Food! Isn’t football food the best? Nachos and all kinds of good stuff.FootballSnacks

7.) I love the sheer barbarism of it. It appeals to our inner cavemen. Yes, hit that guy! Take out his knees! Touchdown!SONY DSC

8.) I like that it is on basically all the time. Monday, Thursday, Saturday, and Sunday. And sometimes Friday!

9.) The strategy behind it. I like watching and figuring out plays. Also, there’s so much teamwork involved compared to most other sports.

10.) Fantasy football! Having a team of players and going head-to-head against opponents definitely makes watching the sport even better. There’s something at stake along with the fun of watching. That’s my actual team down there and my match-up for the week. I could win…

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Writer’s Workshop – Get yer Fall on

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1.) Happy Fall! The first day of Fall was September 22nd, share something fall related you did!

Two days ago, I went searching our piles of bins in the garage. We’re quite organized so we have stacks of bins, all labeled. Well, a week ago, I couldn’t find my Fall stuff – and I have quite a bit. So when I went back out to find it, I realized why: the sticker I put on it to label somehow got hidden under the lid. I guess I didn’t realize how much the sides of the lid covered the top of said bin. Anyway, I put out a few Fall things, tastefully, about my living room.

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I have also partaken in a few pumpkin spice lattes and I scoped out one of the local pumpkin patches, which is one of my favorite things to do. I am looking forward to October, though I know it’s about to be super busy here very soon!