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My new office space…

We have finally come to a stopping point. The midkid’s room and the youngest kid’s room are both finally painted and set up. I am having some ongoing health issues, so we chose not to repaint the space that’s become my office because I cannot handle the lingering paint fumes at the moment.

So while I’m not done, exactly, we’ve come to a bit of a standstill. Here’s a sneak peak of the space so far.

Looking into a small home office space from a doorway. There is a window in the center of the frame. to the left is a dark wooden desk with nine drawers. It has a laptop with an extra monitor on top, plus a tiffany style lamp on the left side. In front of the desk is a teal fabric chair. On the wall above the desk is a couple of small square corkboards and some small card-sized pieces of art with fairies and dragons. To the right of the window is a three foot tall, narrow bookshelf filled with small spiral notebooks. Sitting on top of it is two small white vases filles with greenery and a large watercolor painting of a pineapple. To the left of the shelf is a twin size bed draped in a white blanket with blue, green, and teal paisley. The sheet and pillows on the bed are navy. Above the bed are four white, floating shelves, which have dragons, pineapples, a writer's block emergency kit, and a many pointed star lamp.
Looking in from the doorway
In front of a mint green wall, a three foot tall by four foot wide golden wood bookcase is sitting on top of something draped in gold and blue fabric. The bookshelf is filled every which way with books. A small orange fairy, a small black typewriter, and a stack of books sit on the fabric. To the right of the bookcase, on the wall, a decorative black branch with many leaves and gold paint hangs above a yellow ceramic star-shaped light switch cover. Below that sits a three-tier corner shelf that has been painted turquoise. On the top shelf is a dolphin oil lamp. The second shelf contains a red square box and a box of tissues. The bottom shelf holds many different colored binders.
To the Right of the door.
There is a six foot wide closet without doors. It has purple curtains pulled back to the sides. Inside the closet is a small black desk with yellow magazine holders on the shelves below. Leaving against the wall above the desk is a mirror with several panes that look like a window. To the right of the desk is a black metal bookshelf filled with paperback books and a couple of brightly colored full-page hole punches. On a shelf above the desk, there is a small white castle, a wire paper tray, and a blue/black/white storage cube. In the foreground, ther is a desk chair covered in a beige crocheted shawl, some more magazine holders, and a small, but deep golden wood shelving unit with a teal file box on each of it's two shelves.
To the left of the door.

The room is currently furnished with things found around the house. The twin sized bed is staying in case we have overnight guests (it will be replaced with a wire framed trundle bed soon). I have a different tall bookcase that I may be picking up this weekend (or maybe not – one of my kids just got diagnosed with Covid) to replace the big one in the room.

I have a plan to take out one of the closet shelves so there is more light shining on the desk. That’s my project desk, which I can leave things out on and just close the curtains on if I am having people over.

I’m so excited about this little space. It’s been nearly two decades since I’ve had a room of my own to work in. I’m hoping it will up my productivity level in the days to come. ๐Ÿ™‚

Painting and Moving and Painting, Oh My

My middle child graduated from high school last month. He’s starting out at the local community college five minutes down the road, which is known for its fantastic band program, with the intention of heading to an even bigger band program a couple hours down the road to get a music education degree and become a band director. In any case, he is moving this week.

For those of you new here, my father has a house around the corner from me, in addition to his main house in College Station. Our eldest son moved over there his second semester of college, just before Covid hit. We never got his room repainted, he eventually decided he liked a different room better, and he never completely unpacked in either room so now he has stuff in two different bedrooms.

What the room looked like when my eldest lived in this room.

So last week we started consolidating the eldest back into one room and prepping the walls in the other one for painting. My husband and youngest kid primed the deep maroon walls with Killz.

This week we (my husband, me, my younger two in pairs over three days) painted the room mint green. The midkid started packing up his room at this house, in between Freshman Orientation and working at Studio Movie Grill. So far, he’s entirely his mother’s child and has only packed books and stuffed animals.

So refreshing now! To be fair, we haven’t really moved anything in yet.

In the meantime, his little brother, who is taking over his room here, has been picking out paint for his new space. Just imagine the opposite of this happy light green. This kid wants to live in the depths of the evil forest. He’s already weeded through all his worldly goods and is halfway packed. Yesterday he stood by his brother most of the day and made him keep putting things in boxes. I love him so much.

halfway packed and has .

I’ll also be moving — all my office equipment, writing, and craft stuff over to the youngest’s old room — so I have been picking out paint samples of my own, buying decor, and trying to find some bookcases that don’t have to be built by me. I was sorely tempted by a color called Love Poem just to be silly, but I don’t think I should live in a color so lurid.

No writing has been done in the last couple of weeks, but I have touched nearly every book in the house at this point. Hahaha. It’s exciting around here, to say the least.

Putting This Off

This morning I woke up, light streaming in from the edges of the blackout curtains hitting my eyes. I swore, stumbled to the bathroom, and heard the car engine start outside. I ran out and tapped frantically at the window of the small red car. My husband rolled down the window, a look of concern on his face.

“This life we lead is unmanageable.” I croaked, my voice decomposed from the lack of sleep.

“I know. You should go back to bed.” He reached a kiss from his lips to my arm with his hand.

“I can’t. I have to take the child back to work for opening shift. He had keys they need in his pocket when he left last night. No, this morning. ” I brushed my hair back.

“I have to go. The beef needs to be traded out. My sister is waiting.” His eyes are tipped down at the corners, stress of the day already pulling them down. It’s 8:05am.

“I know. Say hi to her for me.” I smoothed down the edge of last night’s dress as I turned to go inside.

I heard “I love you” simultaneously with the rolling of the window and the crunch of the tires on the driveway.

Keyboard Tracing

While waiting at the hairdresser, I read an alarming article this morning that claimed that my mechanical keyboard was putting me in danger of having my writing stolen. So naturally I had to go try out the software they said was so advanced that every sound of a touch on my keyboard could be tied to an exact letter.

The “sentence” I typed, which could only be lowercase and spaces, no other characters, was this: “the dark sky really looks bad she said altering the way she looked at the code on her phone”

There were seven pages of one sentence results and these were the closest ones:
1. “he see and i was the of little and the soon of the their press alreally in there water inter been a ”
2. “h walls none and streemed iioie hthe latter anhere in the that and the see this worth they really o”
3. ” c s of there and and looked to ea and therent of it and i had feeling seen this the s and rho”

Whee! Needless to say, my fears have been allayed.

Two books for sale, one to go!

I honestly wasn’t expecting all the pieces I sold last year to come out all in the same week. They originally had publication dates that gave me a few weeks of breathing room in between each one, but one came out later and another one sooner and BAM, here they all are. So thank you for being patient with all my posts being about these books for sale. And thank you for supporting me and my writing for so long. Y’all are the best!

Now on to the books. One came out earlier last week and one came out today and the last one will be out tomorrow, but I was just too excited to wait. Here are links for the first two, along with a little description of what to expect from my piece in each book:

https://amzn.to/36qEyjY

This book has my poem “Last Family Vacation” on page 116, which is a peek into the heart of a mom with a kid in his senior year of high school. ๐Ÿ™‚

https://amzn.to/3OvLLAF

This book has my essay “Revealing Rainbows” on page 74, which is a more in depth personal look at encouraging not just my sons to be themselves, but all the other boys they know as well.

Several Quick Things

  1. I am not dead, just super busy – still teaching at the library, running the ETWG, on the church board, etc – but also we had all the visitors in March, then Easter and now all the birthdays, too.
  2. I also have pieces in three books coming out all at once this week.
  3. Go look at my Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter for more info about all that – posting there is quick and easy from my phone, but the blog? Not so much.
  4. I have also been writing this week, finally, after months of drought.

Next Chapters Unleashed available now for pre-order

https://books2read.com/nextchapters

I am so excited to announce that my first published short story is available as of today as a pre-order. You can click the link above to order from any of those fine establishments right now. Seeing the book here was really nice and pretty and I clicked each one of those links to see the book in each of the stores, because I’m extra like that.

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/60422120-next-chapters-unleashed

This is the image that made me cry. I have been shelving books I read into Goodreads for 15 years now. Read a book, shelve it. Read a book, shelve it. All this time I’ve been scribbling away all these little stories of my own in the background, but I was too scared to do anything with them. Last year I decided that I wasn’t going to hide my words any more. And now one of my stories is there on Goodreads. Goodreads! I’m crying again, y’all. It is a wonderful feeling.

Boy Mom anthology news

Last year was a kind of a banner year for me because I finally took charge of my very large folder full of unpublished writing and started submitting my work various places. I’d never done it before and it was hard and scary to get over just the fear factor of it all. The banner part came because publishers started accepting my works.

This morning I head back from the Boy Mom anthology people, who accepted my memoir-style essay about raising my boys sometime last fall. They revealed the cover and told us that it will be going out for sale in time for Mother’s Day!

I’ll let y’all know when I know more, of course. But for now, rejoicing! ๐Ÿ™‚

Here’s the silly mock-up I made for myself one day. The photo really encompasses the essay I wrote for the anthology.

The Overachiever of Illness

“The Overachiever of Illness.” That’s what the ER doctor called me two weeks ago when I went in, unable to breathe. Turns out that not only did I have Covid, but also bronchitis and Flu B. I’ve been mostly in bed ever since.

Am I really sick?! Yeah. I’m sick.

Fortunately, I have long been a person who forgets to pack pajamas on trips, so I have a full drawer of them. I have a solid week’s worth at this point, from lightweight beach themed summer wear to heavy duty pink snowflakes, and everything in between. I can change into new pajamas every day! It’s been great. (A kids friend said she aspires to that lifestyle and I laughed too hard.)

Boring!

I’m not going regale you with all my temps and oxygen levels and liquid intake and literally nineteen new medicines (the real literal, not the fake one) and all that because it is so very boring, even to me. Just know that I’ve been checking levels every hour or so for two and a half weeks now.

So to keep myself entertained in between taking down data for nurses, I’ve been in bed reading and watching movies and catching up on Netflix series. Here’s what I’ve been up to….

View from my window. Sitting up helps me breathe, but all I want to do is lie down.

Books:

First I finished “Project Management for Parents: Engage the Family, Build Teamwork, Succeed Together,” which I really need to post a review of. It was a good book for the left brained parent, or maybe for the right brained parent who wishes they were more left brained? That might be a better descriptor. In any case, a good book if you like parenting books.

I finished all the Practical Magic books, which were lovely, as expected. A bit more repetitive than I’d hoped, but that’s what I get for reading them back to back to back. It was good to see the whole story from beginning to end like that and really take in the whole of the way the curse changed the family as time went on and how each generation dealt with it in unexpected ways.

Then I read a new book by Freya Marske called “A Marvellous Light” that I loved so much that I immediately tried to buy the sequel to, only to be told that it was pre-order only until November and I’m dying over it. I really need the next one because this gentle Victorianish man romance/mystery/magical thing is my jam, apparently. Who knew? Steph. She always knows what I need to read.

So now what I’m reading is “Dear Writer, You Need to Quit,” a title which cracks me up. One of my writing groups suggested it as something I needed because I’m always needing to quit things and sometimes I don’t choose the best things to quit.

Sometimes I put the kindle down and stare at the fake fireplace. Greg can hear it through the wall and yells at me to keep it down. Hahaha.

Movies:

“Unicorn Store” was the first one I started. It took me forever because I couldn’t watch more than 10 minutes before I was overwrought. I don’t know why. It was just too cute and embarrassing, but I couldn’t not watch it, either, so I watched it in 10 minute spurts.

One day the kids were horrified to realize that I had never watched “Ponyo” all the way through, not even once, given that they had each watched it approximately 95,000 throughout their childhoods. So we watched that. It was really good and now I know what Ree’s t-shirt means. Ponyo Loves Ham!

Like everyone else on the planet, I couldn’t get “We Don’t Talk About Bruno, No, No” out of my head, so I watched “Encanto” multiple times until I could sing all the songs. When I feel better I will learn the dances and then my children will be really embarrassed. It will be great!

I thought I’d seen “Cloud Atlas” before, but apparently only the same few sections a couple times, so I watched it all the way through and it was more violent than I’d expected, but I liked it and I’m still thinking about it in that way that you do with weird movies like this.

Netflix Series:

I’d started watching “Locke & Key” with Greg when Season One came along and we both loved it. By the time we got to Season Two, Greg thought it had gone off kilter and “too relationshippy” and he didn’t want to watch any more, so I finished this off while he was at school.

Greg and I also would watch “Good Witch” together, which we’ve been watching since practically before he was born at this point (TV movies first, of course, then the show). He stopped watching at the beginning of this season because he hated the new intro and wanted Grace and Nick back in the story. So I’ve watched this last season alone and I don’t know if it’s the missing Grace and Nick, the missing Greg, or the missing soul of the show, but this season was just not what I wanted. Taking the emphasis off of helping others and putting it all into minding their own magic threw me off and I was just glad that it ended, I guess, because it was breaking my heart going on the way it was going.

Here’s something more cheerful. The Other Lisa H brought me tiny art and potions for healing and eggs from her own chicken ladies.

So then I got on the bandwagon and started watching “The Woman in the House Across the Street from the Girl in the Window” because a) Kristen Bell and b) the title is hilarious. But the show? Not so hilarious. Slow. Suddenly sexy. Slow. Slow. Huh? Slow. Slow. Oh wait, what??? Slow. Suddenly sexy. Confusing. Suddenly violent. Is it over yet? Maybe? I hope so. But wait, maybe not. I don’t know, y’all. I watched it all day long and now that it’s over, I just wish I’d used my time better that day.

After that we had snow days and the kids and spouse were home to entertain me, so I stopped doing anything that wasn’t staring at their faces, unless it was staring at the Olympics. Figure Skating is my favorite. I could watch that for hours.

In any case, I hope you never, ever become the “Overachiever of Illness” because it’s terrible. But I hope if you do, you have friends to help you along and access to all the books, movies, and series your heart desires. ๐Ÿ™‚

Some more goodies from friends. They really helped when both my spouse and I were sick at the same time. (Nick naturally got better in two days. I’m still sick. *sigh*)