My kids lovingly refer to me as “Bear”.

The nickname started because I’m just not much of a morning person and if I attempt to talk too early, my words come out more like growling than speaking.

My growl is much worse than my bite but I guess I can be a pretty scary mom. A girl who liked my son refused to come to the house and meet me. She met my husband and the other kids, but I scare her.

My kids know the truth. I’m a big ole teddy bear. My daughter was in trouble for something a couple of weeks ago and I was laying into her in my mommy tone and she smiled, patted me on the head and said, “Mom, I still love you even though you’re yelling at me.”




As a side note, Happy Birthday to the Mad Hatters! I hope they reach Julie’s goal of 250,000 visiters by the end of the day on 9/11.

LIFE – All of the Moments Added Together

I’ve been missing for a week.

What do you mean you didn’t notice? Gee, thanks. I’m going to write anyway.

So, for the past week, I’ve been working like crazy and spending a little time living life. I’d much rather Live life like crazy and spend a little time working, but it just isn’t working that way. Someday it will.

Yesterday, my fourteen year old son played his first High School Freshman football game. He didn’t get to play Pop Warner or football in junior high. The closest he’s come to getting to play on a team has been the rag tag session of all of the neighborhood kids tackling each other in my front yard and throwing passes the length of the street. I assumed that Joey wouldn’t have enough experience to play and I anticipated he would be on the sidelines for the entire first game.

How wrong I was. This boy played defensive end for most of the game. I’m usually proud of this kid anyway. He is in three advanced placement classes, he is the first one to encourage other kids, he always treats his dad and I with respect and even when he picks on his little brother and sister, he doesn’t overdo it to hurt their feelings.  All around, Joey is just a great kid.

 He’s number 84.

Towards the end, he will turn and look at me and then you can hear the group of girls sitting behind me yell his name. Apparently I’m not the only one who thinks he’s a great kid.

Here’s another short little video of him playing. It’s grainy because the camera was full and my battery was dying thanks to my younger children recording themselves jumping on the bed – but that’s another story for another day. 

 I cleaned out my camera, so next week I will get more video. Every Wednesday for the next couple of months I will be taking time out to share a few moments of life.

Sometimes, you just have to stop and catch a football.



Working for a Living

Much of my writing comes from the huge variety of jobs I’ve held in my lifetime up to this point.

My job history began at the tender age of 5 when my mother started her own business. As a child, I was paid to clear snow from sidewalks and driveways in the winter and mowing yards in the summer. I never received an allowance from my parents. They thought feeding, clothing, and sheltering me was enough payment for chores.

By the time I was thirteen, I had moved on to babysitting. I never got paid for babysitting my own sister since that fell in line with chores, but I did get paid for babysitting other people’s children.

When I was fifteen, I got a job washing dishes at my best friend’s grandmother’s restaurant. It was hard work but I got paid regularly.

I have also had the following jobs along the way in no particular order:

Busser, waitress, preschool teacher, US census employee, librarian, tax preparer, office manager, controller, executive administrator, accountant, author, mother, wife, secretary, accounts payable clerk, fraud accountant, accounts payable supervisor, purchaser, asset manager, auditor, bookkeeper, graphic artist, editor, tutor, apartment manager, cashier, Avon rep, answering service operator, fast food crew member, sandwich artist, credit counselor, and public notary.

I’m sure there were more titles along the way, but you get the idea. I’ve worked hard my whole life, often working two jobs at a time. It gets on my nerves to hear people say what jobs they refuse to do like they are too good to flip burgers or stand at a drive through window. There are always worse jobs out there.

So what’s the worst job you ever had?

You want me to do what?

I’ve never parallel parked.

You heard me.


I have a phobia about parallel parking. Seriously. I took driver’s ed when I was fifteen and I completed the class with an A grade, but whenever we practiced parallel parking, I simply moved back in the line of drivers and didn’t actually parallel park. I took my driver’s test on my sixteenth birthday and I completed every task requested of me. Finally, the instructor and I are sitting in my car and there’s only one thing left to do.

“Okay Miss Collins,” he said. “If you could just pull forward and park between those two cars, we’ll finish this up.”

The car didn’t move.

I thought about trying it. Really I did. Instead, I turned to the older man in the passenger seat. “If I refuse to do it, will I fail the test?”

He frowned at me and looked over my scores. “Well, no. You’ve aced every part of the test. You pass whether you parallel park or not, but you might as well try.”

I put the car in reverse and parked it in a space in front of the building. (If you don’t parallel park, then what do you call parking in a regular space? It isn’t perpendicular parking or lateral parking?)

The instructor looked at me and I looked at him. He shrugged and said, “Congratulations. You are a licensed driver.”

That was over twenty years ago. To this day, I have never parallel parked. I’m an excellent driver and I handle a car well. I know that I could parallel park, but I don’t want to – ever, and I don’t even know why I have this issue. I just know that something in me prevents me from putting a car in that position.

What silly little things do you refuse to do?

Back to school!

My kids went back to school this week. This time of the year is very stressful for me. Not only is there the expense of buying new clothes, backpacks, and supplies, but there’s also the emotional hold of letting go of my children a little more.

Each school year means they have grown up and away just a little bit.

My daughter started the third grade and she’s still only seven years old until Monday. She’s the youngest in her class and the youngest in our family. My only daughter. The one who takes my kisses, peels them off her face, puts imaginary glue on the back, and sticks them back on her cheeks to keep them forever.

My third son is a walking brain, always thinking and continually questioning the world around him. He’s already determining what his science project will be and tickled that his teacher always gets all of the “smart kids”.

My second son sailed through gifted classes and now finds himself taking advanced placement classes as he enters high school as a freshman. He’s also over 6 ft tall and as cute as he can be with long dark hair and big brown eyes. He’s preparing to play football knowing that it’s a pass to play situation where if he isn’t passing his classes, he can’t play football. This is going to be a tough year for him, but he’s ready for the challenge. As long as some girl doesn’t side track him, I think he will do just fine.

Finally, my oldest son is finishing up his college classes and I hope he will be able to find a job out in the real world.

I watch the kids grow up measured by a calendar based on new clothes, pencils, and teachers. A school year paused by a summer break where kids can just be kids before they leave again to return to the educational institution and remind me how fast they are growing up.

Happy Days

Lately, life’s been handing me the pits instead of the cherries and I haven’t been my usual happy self.

I’ve been downright sad and depressed. I hide it well.

It’s time to shake it off so I’ve been trying to keep positive influences in my life.

So many of you make me laugh and smile and that helps me shake the blues off.

I want you to help me. When I get down, music always lifts me back up and soothes my soul. 

Please share a song with me that makes you happy.

It can be silly, happy, or sentimental, as long as it lets us share a smile.



According to Ivan, this says “You know what? Just see it. Deal with it.”

And that sums up how you beat the blues.

Dog Days of Summer


As Ivan pointed out, I haven’t posted in awhile. I’m sorry to disappoint. The problem is that my life is generally very boring. I wake up at the same time every day, leave the house and go to work, arriving at the same time every day. I leave work, come home and take care of kids, the house, bills, and whatever else needs my attention at night. I fall into bed exhausted at nearly midnight, then I get up at 6 am and do it all over again. Blah, boring.

And then there are weeks like this past week, where the only two people in the chain of command above me at work both decide to take their vacations at the exact same time for the whole week. Every day, I dragged my tired body out of work an hour later since I spent most of the day taking care of extra duties besides my own.

On top of the extra long work day including the extra work that goes with it, it’s 112 degrees outside. It’s supposed to be 115 tomorrow. The pool feels like a giant bathtub. The air conditioner hasn’t kicked off in weeks.

It’s too hot to cook. Too hot to eat. Too hot to move. Too hot to breathe. Too hot to think.

I’m going to go take a cold shower. Oh wait, that’s right. Only hot water comes out of the water tap now no matter which knob I turn.

In December, when everyone else is complaining about how cold they are, and I’m wearing shorts and enjoying the 75 degree weather through the open windows, I will direct you back to this post and you won’t hate me quite so much.

A Grand Birthday



My birthday party this year was a grand event.

The day started bright and early with my family of six piling into my truck like sardines. We drove for four hours, the wind coming in the windows growing considerably cooler as we drove north.  The speakers maintained a continuous stream of music ranging from brand new pop music that made the teenagers happy to the classics that make my husband and I feel young while at the same time, reminds our children how old we are.

The Grand Canyon is incredible. 

We left the Natural wonder of the world at 9:30 pm and didn’t arrive home until nearly 2 am. The radio crooned quietly to not disturb the sleeping children, both big and small alike and the wind through the windows changed from chilly to fiery as we drove south.

I’m sharing some of the pictures, but this post isn’t about the beauty of the grand canyon.

This post is about spending over seventeen hours in close quarters with my husband and children and enjoying the experience.

It was a great birthday.





Funny and Sweet – Time’s running out!

My friend Bearman is doing a great thing http://beartoons.com/2009/06/01/beartoonscharitydrive/

Not only is he a very entertaining cartoonist, but he’s also going to donate to the FreeStore FoodBank.

 Bearman is only doing the promotion for another week so jump over and help out.

 Also, there’s only a week left for submissions to the Murder On the Wind contest.  This is your chance to enter to have a short story posted in a mystery anthology. Read the instructions and email your 5000 or less short mystery story to Tracy@secondwindpublishing.com


Thank you!

Revivin’ the Drive-In

The drive-in – not just for making out!

 If you’ve never been to a drive-in movie, you are missing a part of Americana that is surely going to be extinct soon.

I don’t care if you call me a hick or archaic or an archaic hick. There’s nothing like loading my truck up with lawn chairs, the cushions off my couch, a full cooler, all  of the kids, and parking in front of a huge screen in the dark. We lounge around in the bed of the truck, seated comfortably on the couch cushions while the big kids hang out on the tailgate or in the lounge chairs and the little kids curl up on a stack of pillows and blankets. We take fast food or pizzas in with us and the cooler is full of snacks and sodas.

The local drive-in is cheap, only about $6 for an adult and about $4.50 for kids 11 and younger and we can stay and watch two movies in a row for the price of one. Last weekend, we saw “UP”. The second feature was the Hannah Montana movie and my daughter and I wanted to stay, but the four males in our family outvoted us, two of them threatening a murder – suicide if we didn’t leave after “UP” was over. I almost stayed just to prove they wouldn’t go through with it, but part of me was worried they would.

The drive-in is much better than a jammed movie theater. I hate those places. I haven’t been inside of a movie theater since 1994. Honestly. The movie I saw was “Sixth Sense”.

I remember sitting in the crowded theater thinking, “No one in here will shut up, I’m sick of hearing cell phones, the guy behind me is drunk and about to upchuck on my neck, and if there’s a fire, I’m going to die.”

I don’t have those thoughts at a drive-in.

Besides, if it’s a crappy movie, I didn’t waste a ton of money and I can look up and watch the stars instead.