Bring Your Own Hygiene Products

First of all, a bit of background about that title…

My older daughter, Thing 3, is turning 18 in July. She designed her own birthday invites and unfortunately added that title in the “What to bring” section of her invite. I about died laughing. I mean, really? What 17- or 18-year-old girl isn’t going to bring along her own hygiene products? Oh, gawd.

Thankfully her younger sister, Thing 4, saved the day by redesigning her invites. You see, Thing 4 is a whiz when it comes to all things Photoshop and design. By the way, Thing 4 is a photographer and artist, is the owner and CEO of her own photography company, and she’s only 15. She is one talented little stinker.


And The Birthday Shenanigans Begin…

Thing 2’s birthday is coming up on Wednesday.  She turns 17…not sure where the time went.  Yesterday her and I went out to the mall, and I ended up letting her get a tattoo.

I can hear it already. Oh my gawd! What parent lets their minor child get a tattoo?

Hold on to your underpants. It’s not permanent. Even though she’s begged me to let her get an actual tattoo, I’ve told her repeatedly she’s simply going to have to wait until she’s 18. This way, when she’s older and possibly decides she doesn’t like it, she only has herself to blame for it. Not that I have anything against tattoos. Heck, I’ve got one myself. But, seeing as how a tattoo is a lifelong commitment…well… she needs to be old enough to make that commitment on her own.

So, here she is, getting a henna tattoo.

Bri getting henna tattoo

And the finished product:

Bri's tattoo

Tuesday her boyfriend is taking her out to dinner.  I believe Wednesday she’ll be with her dad. Thursday I’ll take her out, and then Friday I’m taking her, Thing 3, and my niece to Chicago for the day. Then on Saturday, I believe her grandmother is taking her shopping.

Whew! Let’s hear it for week-long birthday celebrations!

Anita Dee II Chicago

So…over the weekend my friend, Michelle, and I went to Chicago. We stayed at the Hyatt Regency on Wacker Drive. The room was great, the beds were comfy, and service was superb. We had a room with a street view and barely heard traffic go by.  We parked at a Panda parking garage and got parking for $25 for 24 hours which I thought was pretty good for Chicago. It was only about a 10-minute walk, if that, from the parking garage to the hotel.

We found a cute little outdoor café on the Riverwalk called Cyrano’s, and our waiter was hot! He had this Italian accent and if Michelle could’ve taken off with him, she probably would have. She ordered a chicken salad, and I had some type of quiche, don’t remember what kind exactly, but both were good.

Afterwards we meandered our way to the harbor for the night’s festivities…a yacht party on the Anita Dee II.

Anita Dee II

Here we are, waiting to board.

me and michelle

And then, partay!!

crowd on boat   Navy pier  chicago cares

We had a blast, got drunk (the bartender was making the drinks STRONG!!), danced with some young 20-something hotties from Canada who were celebrating their friend’s bachelor party  and thought I was waaayyy younger than what I really am -snerk- and somehow Michelle and I managed to get our drunk asses back to the hotel without getting kidnapped or raped. I do recall Michelle petting some guy’s hair in the hotel elevator…that’s how drunk we were. We were petting random strangers’ hair. And I think Michelle is now in a bunch of strangers’ Facebook pages since she was photobombing everyone on the yacht.

Oh, and I forgot to mention Metrosexual Man who apparently had a thing for Michelle…

Good times, good times. We’re planning on going again in a few months. Who’s with us?

Holy Shit. A Full Freakin’ Year?!

I realized my last post was in August of last year! I went over a year since my last post! Damn.

I have no excuse.

Okay, now I’m going to list all of my excuses. -snerk-

Most of it has to do with Thing 3’s health issues. They haven’t gotten better but worse. In fact, I’m now working full-time from home because I was having to take her to the doctor so much, the hospital decided to let me work from home. They gave me a laptop and the rest is history.

Last July she was diagnosed with pain amplification syndrome and hyperflexibility and told to do intense physical therapy. She started the physical therapy and…got worse. In fact, exercising seemed to bring on a fever, more body aches, sore throat…and then, she actually passed out during one of her sessions. Since then, she’s been going to the Chicago Children’s Hospital’s pain clinic, which they no longer think she has the pain amplification syndrome but autonomic dysfunction, Ehlers- Danlos syndrome, and POTS disease. Next month she goes to more specialists to see if she has those conditions, and if so, then it’s on to Mayo Clinic for a few weeks to figure out exactly what type of autonomic dysfunction, what kind of exercises she can do, and what foods she can eat. Her condition has worsened quite a bit since a year ago, and now simply standing for 20 minutes to bake a cake is almost too much for her to do. Her body seems to be set on a setting of pain, so she’s in constant pain–it never lets up. A good day for her is a pain rating of 6. A bad day for her is to be in such excruciating pain that simply touching her makes her scream. The last time that happened she had been swimming for an hour and apparently it sent her body into such a mess that she was pretty much comatose for five days.

In the meantime, I’ve been working odd hours, taking her to school when she can go, and trying to keep up with housework, yard work, and writing. Last year she tried going to school for 4 hours a day, but that got to be too much so that she ended up missing six weeks straight. For second semester, she went three days a week for an hour each time with one-on-one sessions with a teacher.

This year the school started up a new blended learning which is a combined online/onsite schooling. Some kids do all of their schooling online, others might only do a class or two online and do the rest of their schooling in the classroom. She goes in when she can, but she does most of her schooling at home online. It’s great because she gets to be around other kids who are doing the same program, and when she needs extra help, she can go in and a teacher is there to help her. The classroom is pretty cool too. There are lounge chairs with tables, a high table with barstools, and a worktable with chairs and desktops. There are laptops for the kids to use and a fridge for drinks, lunches and snacks, or the kids have the option to eat lunch with their grade.

Other than that, I’m working on revising my query letter. Mine is pretty good, but I’m sure I can make it better. I feel like I’ve been working on this book for forever and I just want it done!


It’s been awfully quiet here for a long time, and for that I apologize. I was going to keep up with the Chicago Writer’s Conference posts but they sort of fell by the wayside. Thing 3 has a lot of health issues and the last few months have been a whirlwind. In May alone she had seven doc appointments and two MRIs. On top of that, I was trying to finish up my WIP to get it sent out to agents, finally started querying and have had a few responses so far. This is just the first wave of queries, so we shall see how things go.

School starts next Wednesday, but for me things will simply get busier. Thing 3 will only be in school half days and I’ll be working from home part of the time. I’ll be starting work at home at 5 a.m., work until 9, get myself ready for the office and Thing 3 ready for school, leave at 10 to drop her off at school, head in to the office, work until 2:40, pick up Thing 3 at school, and then head home. Once she starts physical therapy, then we’ll have to add that in after school plus visits to the pain specialist.

Hopefully I can find time in there to write.

Things were great…until I tried the tea

I went Black Friday shopping at a local mall. This is only the second time in my life I’ve ever went shopping on Black Friday, and it reminded me of why I don’t do it.

There’s waaay to many people!

I didn’t get much simply because I’m saving up for other stuff, so I “tried” not to spend money. Really, I did try.

I was doing great until we stopped in at Teavana. We moseyed around the store, sniffing and sampling different teas. Most of them were kind of blah or okay, but then…the sales associate had us try the holy grail of tea.

White Chocolate Peppermint.

Oh. My. God.

That first sip almost sent me into orgasmic bliss. By the second sip, I was hooked. When I asked her “how much?” she went behind the counter, opened up a tin, and the scent wafted out. She then proceeded to fill up a tin, weighed it, and told me the price.

I almost dropped my teeth.

A hundred-fifty bucks for 2 pounds of freakin’ tea?!

I was in turmoil. What to do? If I bought the full 2 pounds, then I’d get the tin for free AND 20% off the price!

Thing 2 and Thing 3 were both with me. While I was having an internal debate on what to do, they were chanting, “Get the tea! You know you want it. So do we. Get the tea!” I’m sad to say, I bowed under peer pressure and bought the damn tea. Of course, I also had to get a teapot to properly brew my tea.

After we got home, we all relaxed from a long day of shopping with a nice, hot cup of White Chocolate Peppermint tea. Ahh, heaven in a cup.

Rather than throw out the used tea, I have it simmering over the stove. My house smells delicious.

And the $150 tin of tea I bought? It’s now a prized possession and under lock and key. I told the kiddos they can’t make this tea whenever the hell they feel like it, because it’s gotta last an entire year! It’s only sold during the holidays, and I’m not spending another $150 on tea until this time next year.

Zombies…Legend or Fact?

So…zombies don’t actually exist, right?

That’s what most people think…

Let me give you some backstory. My dad has ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis) or more commonly known as Lou Gehrig’s disease. It affects the motor neurons in the brain and spinal cord, which affects nerves and muscles–basically, causing the muscles to weaken and atrophy.  There are different forms of ALS–one is spontaneous–it just happens, and another is genetic.  My dad has the genetic kind.  My sister is a nurse and, seeing as how she may one day be affected by this disease, decided to do some research…

My sister wasn’t sure which country, she thought maybe Papua New Guinea, there is a cannibalistic clan that has a form of ALS.  Now, this clan’s form of ALS is different in that it causes frontal-lobe dementia.  Most forms of ALS don’t cause dementia so as the person’s body atrophies, his/her mind stays sane.  But, in this clan, the mind atrophies as well.  Not only this, but this form of ALS can be spread through eating the flesh of one who has the disease.  Ewww, right?

Have you ever seen anyone with frontal lobe dementia?  Neither have I, but my sister has.  She explained people with this type of dementia walk like a zombie–the slow, shuffling gait–and eat anything given to them, in front of them or around them.  She’s actually seen people eat their own shit and not have a clue.  Seriously.

So, there you go.  Zombies actually exist…in Papua New Guinea or wherever in this cannibalistic clan with a virus-like ALS.

And with that happy thought, Halloween is coming up!

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