Thursday, June 02, 2016

When Traveling Abroad meant Texas!

Tabitha, center with her XploreAsia colleagues-yep they're exploring!
My millennials, who had returned to the roost, figured out their next venture and flew off. Tabitha flew to Thailand for a programs internship.  You can read about her adventures on her blog: Keeping Tabs








Jordan and his TESOL classmates, he's the tall one on the right.









Jordan flew to Costa Rica to hone his Spanish
and teach English as a second language.

 Although I love them both with all my heart and cried big fat crocodile tears when I dropped them off at the airport, I was not unhappy to see them go! I will never not worry about them, but I am happy that they are happy and they left with my blessing.

It brought back memories of my own departure from the small community of Walnut Hill, Florida. I couldn’t wait to leave home and see the world.

That's me atop that TX Longhorn.
That experience is why I always advised my children to see the world while they’re young and unencumbered. Pretty much the exact opposite of the advice my parents gave me!

After college the Peace Corps was not encouraged, and becoming a flight attendant (my original career goal) wasn’t feasible for lack of demand. So I hightailed it to the most exotic location I could get away with—Texas!

For the female millennial who finds this definition of exotic unbelievable and/or hysterical, it’s only because you have never been expected to find a husband prior to finding a career, advised that your best possible career options were nursing or teaching, or were turned down for employment with degree in-hand because the company you applied to didn’t need any secretaries.

When I graduated high school in 1977 I was encouraged to marry a doctor, not to become one. Young women were just beginning to do things like enlist in the armed forces.

Bucket List: Become s a Flight Attendant, check!


At my parent’s house, the mere mention of traveling outside the paradise they fondly (and embarrassingly) referred to as Solomon’s Happy Hill Farm was just proof that my brain was damaged at birth. And while my brain damage was common knowledge in my immediate family, they didn’t want the neighbors or the rest of the world to know.







As a child I once overheard my father exclaiming to my mother that, while he was pumping gas at the local gas station, a woman who appeared to be educated and decent was purchasing gas while traveling from out of state—and she was traveling alone! My farmer dad cultivated chauvinism like he did soybeans. There were some things decent women just didn’t do, and traveling across the country without a male chaperone was only one part of a long list.

I couldn’t wait to leave home and become indecent.  

You would think at age 56, I would be impervious to the guilt heaped on me by my parents, but nope. I’m sandwiched between my son complaining that I’m a helicopter parent for expecting him to check in from Costa Rica, (his sister is keeping tabs) and my parents who blame me for their grandchildren not being in the United States of America.

My mom: Have you heard from Jordan?
My white lie secured via Instagram: Why yes… He’s doing his practice teaching.
Reality: Has Hades had an ice storm yet?
It’s not lost on me that my own children often offer me a large helping of exactly what I fed my parents when I was their age.

If only guilt was as sweet as the cream horns I crave.


Reality....                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               how I wish it was....


Off to Costa Rica

Zooming thru Hua Hin on a motorcycle.















Update: Apparently Hades does get ice storms.




Congrats to Jordan and his classmates who are now certified to teach English as a second language!








Sunday, May 01, 2016

Train Ride to Heaven: A Love Story about Living, Dying and ALS.

Today I have the privilege of posting my review for a memoir written by a school friend:




Train Ride to Heaven is author Vanessa Maholovich’s heart-rending memoir about her husband Glen’s fatal struggle with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis  (ALS) or what is better known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease. Emotionally it was not an easy read for me, which is why I could not put it down.

Vanessa and Glen Maholovich and I went to school together. They graduated in 1975, just two years ahead of me, and I grew up in the same rural Alabama-Florida panhandle communities that Vanessa so thoughtfully details in her book.

When I think of Glen Maholovich I still picture that curly-headed (afro curled perms were the style, but his was all natural) boy, running off the football field after a game, grinning. Everyone knew he was searching for Vanessa, who would be waiting on the sidelines to embrace him.

Vanessa’s memoir made me homesick for the people and places I left behind all those years ago. It made me laugh, and it made me cry as I reflected on those optimistic, unjaded children we once were before life experiences -and diseases like cancer and ALS- turned us into grown-ups.

In her memoir Vanessa describes Glen as smart, imaginative, innovative, and funny, the type of person whom everyone liked and no one had a harsh word for; she could just as easily have been describing herself. I would also add that they were unpretentious. 

Vanessa and Glen 's Wedding 1975 
They were those rare high school sweethearts that everyone liked because both individually and as a couple they were kind, considerate, and thoughtful to all their peers. If Hallmark made their story into a movie it could conceivably be the first time Hollywood actors were not more alluring than the people they portray.

Facebook did not exist back when we graduated from high school, and prior to it I could count on one finger the number of school chums I had kept in contact with.  It had been decades since I had seen Vanessa, but my parents still resided in the panhandle community of Walnut Hill, Florida, and it was my good fortune to run into her on a visit home.  She expressed such joy that we had bumped into each other and it was a pleasure to reconnect. I had no idea that Glen had only recently died, nor what they had gone thorough until much later, when I read her book.

Train Ride to Heaven first came to my attention via my Facebook feed! It was such a profound moment when the book arrived and I saw Glen’s face superimposed on the cover. It now resides on my bookshelf alongside other books I cherish.

As someone who has a cabinet full of journals with significant gaps in their dates, I am in awe of how Vanessa managed to juggle her career as a professional nurse and her responsibilities as Glen’s caregiver and still have the energy to write.  I know how tired she must have been and can appreciate how difficult it was to maintain a journal when the plans and dreams she had hoped to chronicle vanished.  

As an author and cancer survivor, I understand what compelled her, and the resolve and commitment it took to see her memoirs published.  It is one thing to keep a journal, but it takes strength and courage to allow the world a glimpse inside your private pain, and her book deserves our reverence.

Glen in his prime, age 41 years
In Train Ride to Heaven Vanessa gives her readers a blunt account of what her self-described ordinary family goes through during her husband’s battle with ALS.  She does it with humor, humility, and grace. Despite everything Glen goes through, Vanessa makes sure his dignity remains intact, and permits her readers to see the larger-than-life man she loved; not an incapacitated invalid

She makes it obvious that she did not pen this tribute to Glen to solicit pity. Instead her prose beseeches all of us to recognize the solace, humor, and love that are found in the worst of times, and to be grateful for them.




Train Ride to Heaven is an inspiring read for any caregiver, and for families struggling with ALS, or any other catastrophe.  However, it is much more than a memoir about an ordinary family’s inspirational journey with a fatal disease; at its core this book is a love story.


April 2015
In the book's touching epilogue Vanessa addresses the poignant questions she asked herself when she realized she was falling in love again after Glen's death. Her answers- like her book- are wise and full of heart.

Despite the sorrow and inevitable outcome her memoir chronicles, readers will be unable to resist yearning for what Vanessa and Glen Maholovich had. They may have been ordinary people living a small town life, but theirs was an extraordinary love story and it is evident on every page of Train Ride to Heaven.

Glen Maholvich died at 4:22 PM November 22, 2011, but the legacy of his love lives on.

Authors Bios:

Vanessa Maholovich is a Registered Nurse. In 2015 she was chosen "Best of the Best in Nursing" by the residents of the Atmore, Alabama community where she worked and lived. Today she has remarried and resides in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, with her husband Barry Carden.  She continues to work as an RN and is persuing becoming a Certified Caregiving Consultant.

Sherry Sapp is a freelancer who writes for newspapers and magazines; this was her first book. According to Vanessa, " I shared my story and writing with her, and she brought my words to life. I could not have done it without her!" Sherry Sapp resides in Pensacola, Florida.


Amelia Frahm helped pioneer cancer resources for children. She is the author of the award-winning children’s books,  Tickles Tabitha’s Cancer-tankerous Mommy, and Nuclear Power: How a Nuclear Power Plant Really Works!   





Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Nuking the Easter Egg!




Last year, I was helping some of my colleagues in the nuclear industry as we got ready to bring the Go Nuclear Website online.

It goes without saying; they did not bring me on board due to my engineering expertise, but rather as an advisor for public relations/marketing and education as it pertains to nuclear power.  The technicalities and politics of nuclear power can leave me feeling overwhelmed and under qualified, but I have noticed some people feel the same way about PR and marketing. 

At STPNG 1980's
Over the years I’ve implemented marketing events of all types and scope, in venues as diverse as the causes and organizations I represented.  One thing they all had in common was that they were an opportunity to educate and inform about my cause while providing my target audience with a good time.

Since Easter is approaching, I thought I would share one of my favorite, least expensive, and- because most Americans are familiar with the concept- easiest, marketing events to implement: the Easter Egg Hunt. 

It can be adapted for any age group, used to raise funds, or promote a cause; but there’s a big difference between holding an Easter egg hunt and nuking that Easter egg into a marketing event that promotes your objective! It calls for careful planning, hard work, and CREATIVITY!

Get ready to brainstorm; success hinges on your marketing pitch.  The marketing pitch is what can take an ordinary Easter egg Hunt and what in some circles is the yawn-provoking topic of nuclear power or any other yawn-provoking topic, and turn it into a Nuclear Powered Glow Party. 

When Nuclear Power:How a Nuclear Power Plant Really Works! was published my daughter, Tabitha came up with the bright idea (all my puns are intentional) of  making our annual neighborhood Easter party a glow-in-the-dark Easter Egg Hunt to celebrate my book’s release.

That year the Easter Bunny got his eggs from Nukie Nuclear Power Plant!




I know my colleagues in the nuclear industry are rolling their eyes at how ridiculous it is to suggest that Easter eggs obtained at a nuclear power plant would glow in the dark. 

This observation and an invitation to attend a glow-in-the dark Easter egg hunt is just the sort of marketing pitch that can be used to shine some light on a topic like nuclear energy! 

Here’s ten ways to radiate a Nuclear Powered Easter Egg Hunt:

                    
1.      Create your Pitch



The pitch, either written or verbal,  is the invitation/advertisement you use to capture your "target markets" attention to convince them that they want what you've got! Competition is fierce in today's social media savvy world. Your objective is to come up with an idea that will tie your event to your product or message in a creative way that gets noticed!


The moment  your pitch leaves your real or virtual mail box you are setting the mood for your event.



Here we took a  plastic hard hat resembling the ones worn at a nuclear power plant and turned it into an Easter Basket! My book's cover is adhered to the front, and I  included a character from the book!  You could easily insert your invitation into an egg. This would be a great way to invite a classroom or civic organization to your event.



I usually pitch the media via e-mail.  If possible I always include a visual with my pitch. You have about 15 seconds to grasp their attention!

To set the mood for our nuclear Easter egg event, I used an illustration from Nuclear Power: How a Nuclear Power Plant Really Works! and the following verse in my invitation:






This year the Easter Bunny had some help from:
A Pretty Blue Bird , a White Lab Rat, and Red-furred Cat
who got their Easter eggs from Nukie Nuclear Power Plant.

Nutcracker Publishing invites you to:  Hop on Over!
We are Cracking Open Easter eggs that Glow in the Dark.
Join us for a Nuclear Powered Easter Egg Hunt that Radiates Brilliance!

2.      Target your Market

What is it that you really want to do?


Educate your Community
Let people know your company/product exists
Raise Awareness
Raise Money
  
Who do you want to do it to?

Pro Nuke Colleagues
Anti-Nuke Neighbors
People on the Fence
Media…who will reach all of the above.


Parents at 1980 STPNG Easter hunt

Inviting children to your Easter Egg Hunt does not necessarily mean you’re targeting children.  One of the first things I observed while working in the nuclear industry is that parents would use their children as an excuse to educate themselves about nuclear energy.  The elementary school program I created was frequently requested and presented to community civic clubs.

An Easter Egg Hunt that begins after dark can easily be adapted into an adult party.

If your objective is to raise awareness go ahead and invite your anti- nuclear neighbor!  BUT if you are trying to raise money DO NOT invite or ask for a donation from anyone who does not support your cause! 

If you are targeting the local media, find out if they have children or grandchildren.  When you contact them with details about your event invite their children to participate in the egg hunt.

If you had to work weekends wouldn’t you appreciate an assignment where you could bring along the kids?

3.      Figure out your Budget


Only you know what you can afford, but the thing I love about an Easter Egg Hunt is it does not have to cost a fortune.  Plastic eggs along with glow-in-the-dark sticks can be obtained at the Dollar Stores.  You can ask volunteers or even the people you invite to bring cupcakes/cookies/plastic eggs etc. 

It’s been my experience that when you’re hosting a neighborhood or community event open to everyone that people are grateful that someone is doing all the planning and legwork.  They are happy to donate eggs YOU can stuff and hide.   

Seek out a sponsor who supports your cause and ask them for donations.  Easter supplies are not expensive, and it is easier to ask for and receive Easter eggs or bunnies than money. 

If asked, local businesses will often donate their products or service in exchange for advertising.  

Your goal is to be Memorable not Expensive.

4.      Recruit Volunteers



Talk to the local school/college/church.  In today’s competitive world I’ve found that high-school or college students are often happy to do a volunteer gig that earns them a letter of recommendation that can be listed on a college application or resume. Don't overlook younger children. They complain less than adults! As you can see from the photo above they enjoy helping. 

Make the big decisions BEFORE you recruit anyone to help you.

There will be plenty of opportunity for disagreements on the smaller decisions- like cupcake flavor.

The more planned out your event is before you recruit your volunteers the smoother it will go.  This will make your job look easy, fun, and glamorous to anyone on the outside, who is wondering how you managed to work yourself up to such an enviable position.   With luck, next year you will be able to congratulate them on their promotion as chairperson and let them head up your Easter Egg Hunt.

5.      Pick your Date/Time/Venue and  Pick your Rain Date/Time Venue

Notice I placed this after recruit. 


Easter often coincides with Spring Break so it’s a good idea to make sure the majority of your volunteers will be able to make the date/time/ venue of your event, and are not in a condo on the beach somewhere.

Once the arguing has subsided and your date, time and venue has been programmed into everyone’s smart phone, you need to come up with a rain date.  Perhaps it will make you feel better to know that despite always doing this, I have never had to use a rain date for an Easter event.

Snow is not a deterrent for a nuclear powered glow-in-the- dark Easter Egg Hunt!  It might even be an advantage.  You will not need to wait until dark to hide your Easter eggs!   If you do not bury them too deep, they will radiate that nuclear glow right through the snow.

6.      Props, Prizes, Food, Entertainment


Get ready to spend your budget money.  

Props
You will want as many plastic Easter eggs filled with glow in the dark items that you have the funds, time, and energy to stuff and hide.

Here is how we “nuked” our eggs.   We purchased glow-in-the dark bracelets, activated a bracelet and then inserted it into a plastic Easter egg.  I got eggs and glow sticks from the dollar stores.  Making the eggs glow was not expensive…

 OR EASY! 

The glow will not last forever, so we had to wait until just hours before our hunt to activate the bracelets and stuff our eggs.  Also the bracelets were a tight fit inside the egg.  So nuking (stuffing) our eggs took longer than expected.  So find the largest eggs and smallest glow item you can!

I have noticed that today you can purchase glow-in-the dark eggs, but I would advise doing some research and reading the reviews before you do. 

When it comes to decorative props I usually purchase items that will decorate my venue, but later I can hand out during and after as prizes.  Such as:  Easter baskets, large stuffed Easter bunnies, floral arrangements, decorative jars filled with jelly beans, even Easter flags.


Prizes
Whatever you purchase to decorate the premises with can usually be used as a prize that participants can win.  People love to win prizes.  Spread the love and opt for a lot of inexpensive prizes vs. one big ticket item. 

Even adults can guess how many jelly beans are in a jar, or participate in the Bunny Hop or Raw Egg Toss.  Children love to see their parents participating.

Sometimes guests will show up without an Easter basket to gather their eggs in.  Make sure you have some sacks or plastic buckets with your company logo on them that can be used.

Food

My favorite thing about any party is the food!   So when I plan a party I plan on giving myself an excuse to eat all those fattening treats I usually avoid.  However, some people have will-power and /or health concerns.  It’s a good idea to have diet drinks, gluten free something and anything that might illicit an allergic reaction labeled.

Even if the party is for children, you need to feed and satisfy the adults as well.








Entertainment



The competition of the hunt itself is usually entertainment enough.

However, you will also need something that will keep everyone occupied while waiting for dark, and your volunteers hide those nuclear powered eggs.

Like pin the tail on the bunny, and dancing to the bunny hop.

Or the video you see here. 




It’s entertaining, educational, and self-promoting.

This is your opportunity to get your message out in a way that is fun. If you squeeze it between your video and a dance party;  make it fun, call it a game, and offer prizes to the winners you will find that no one minds a dose of self-promoting Trivial Pursuit or nuclear fun-fact Jeopardy.  

7.      Costumed  Characters/ Visual Interest




Whether it’s the Easter Bunny, a company mascot, or a storybook character like Tickles Tabitha,
Someone is going to have to dress up and that’s all there is to it!

Plan far enough in advance to make sure you get the Easter Bunny and not the Easter Chicken.

Journalists and especially TV journalists want to see both a compelling story and colorful visuals.  Let them know you can provide both when you send them your pitch.

A costumed character provides a great video and photo opportunity.   When they are posted on Facebook it will help get the word out about your organization. 

I would suggest creating a backdrop out of an old sheet that has your company logo/ and or website address.  Strategically place a bench where the bunny can sit in front of it and have pictures made with attendees.

8.      Competition

Easter Bunny Competition.


I will never forget my first corporate Easter Egg Hunt.  We failed to mention that the grand prize was random and NOT going to the kid who collected the most eggs. It was a parent free-for -all as they literally ran over each other’s children to make sure their own child got the most eggs.   I was twenty-something, child-less, had zero tolerance and much disdain for those parents.  It took about a decade and having two children of my own before I had any empathy.

Even if you are having a friendly neighborhood fundraising event, announce your ground rules prior to the hunt and make sure you have volunteers stationed to enforce them.

Here is the way I have handled the stampede.  Let the youngest participants go first and every minute or so let another age group join the hunt.

The cat won!



9.        Marketing your message:   Nuclear powered eggs should be served over-easy! 



An Easter Egg Hunt may provide a captive audience of excited participants, but it is not the time for a lecture on the technicalities of nuclear power or any other lecture.

While most local reporters enjoy attending and reporting fuzzy bunny tales like your Easter party, it is not a breaking news event. 

Make sure someone writes, films, and photographs your party.  So later, if the media is a no show, you can express regret that they missed a great party, and send along your own stories and photographs for publication.  Most will appreciate it, and often will publish something you have sent.

If the local media does not, the social media experts attending your hunt will!  Thanks to Facebook just about everyone is a social media expert these days. 


As any five-year-old knows the best parties are the ones that give the attendees something fun to brag about later to the kids that didn’t go, and a yummy goodie bag to take home.  The same can be said for grown-up marketing events. 

So give your participants a memorable event, and send them home with a goodie bag filled with conversation provoking marketing  materials...like  maybe a picture book about nuclear power! Wink, wink.  


10.   Follow up

This is the section of marketing 101 that distinguishes a PR expert from a marketing amateur. It contributes to how people perceive you, your company, and your message. It will make it easier to keep or recruit volunteers for the next event.   It indicates your level of professionalism.  It will help promote your message.

Saying THANK YOU!





Say it, write it, and most of all mean it!

I was horrified to discover a story I sent a journalist several years earlier, that I thought had never been published, had made several regional papers where I lived near Raleigh, NC.  It was the second time that journalist had published a story on me, and probably would have been the last- even if she had not left journalism for another job. She did me a huge favor and I had not bothered to say thank-you.  I didn’t become on expert on any of these tips without making my own mistakes along the way, and I hope you can benefit from my mistakes.

Although it is the final step on my blog, it should be at the top of a “To Do” list.  Even for an informal event I have written down a verbal thank you to say the day of, have composed thank-you notes, and a letter of recommendation that can be personalized with the names of volunteers who helped out.

Thank everyone publicly during any welcome speech the day of the event, including the people who show up to hunt eggs.
Say a private verbal thank-you to volunteers afterwards.
Post your thanks on your own and their social media pages.
E-mail a thank you to colleagues.
Write and deliver a letter of thanks and recommendation on your company’s or organization’s letterhead for your volunteers. 
If the media attends send them a thank-you via whatever social media you used to contact them ASAP. After your story is published or airs send them a handwritten thank-you note.  If possible, one that pictures your company’s logo.

Sadly, the only time some people adhere to this advice is when they’ve spent mega bucks to hire a PR consultant who offers up what my mama told me free of charge:   Use your manners, show some class, and say Thank you!

So….thank-you, for reading through my rather lengthy nuclear powered Easter blog. 


Happy Hunting! 


Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Leaping over Lent!

February 2016 is a leap year.

Children's Book/Work-in-Progress

Instead of leaping over the file of unpublished manuscripts cluttering my office space I decided that since I now have an in-house illustrator I would attempt to publish one of them.

All creative writers have their muse and mine happens to be milk chocolate candy accompanied by a cup of coffee.  

Consequently what I would really like to leap over is Lent. This year in support of my vegetarian daughter I gave up meat along with chocolate candy for Lent.

My Lenten sacrifice has nothing to do with religion. If it did I wouldn’t be posting it on this blog.  My own personal belief is that posting your pay it forward good deeds and self-sacrifices all over social media does not impress Heaven.  It only annoys us heathens.

I’m giving up meat and chocolate candy to impress myself and annoy other people by proving that I can!  It could also mean dropping a few pounds due to healthier eating habits-unless you’re me. Read on….

Since I would be spending some of Lent at my parent’s home in Florida, I knew better than to classify fish or seafood as a meat. Giving up meat was sin enough as far as they were concerned. I grew up on a Protestant farm and the cows that still reside there are not being groomed for the petting zoo. Their future is in fast food, if you know what I mean.
Solomon's Happy Hill Farm Cattle

Watching the cows graze did nothing to diminish my resolve to go without meat. Also it helped that the Florida Panhandle where I’m from has some of the best southern fried seafood you’ll ever eat. This trip I went to David's Catfish House

Doing without meat is not so bad when you have fried seafood as an option.  It has been rather unfortunate for my husband (who did not give up meat) and has been cheated out of his ritual BBQ pork meals that his wife no longer feels obliged serve.  

It’s not the meat, but the chocolate covered Valentine’s and now Easter candies on every store shelf I shop that’s really teaching me the meaning of Lenten sacrifice.  

I was afraid it would be after Easter and a dozen or so of those Cadbury bunny eggs before my creative abilities would flow ever again. Luckily I found a bakery the next town over from my hometown here in Tennessee!  

It’ll take a few more trips to decide, but I think the cream horns may be even more productive and muse worthy than a Hershey bar.   I’ll let you know….

Simply Sweet Bakery






Thursday, January 21, 2016

Surviving Breast Cancer: Long Live the Sitcom Queen!

“Your odds are good, but I wouldn’t go to Vegas if I were you,” said the oncologist with the best bedside manner NEVER… At least according to some patients – but he and I shared the same perverse sense of humor!

Twenty-two years later… I’m thinking I should have gone to Vegas!

January is my Breast Cancer Anniversary.

Before the movie popularized the term “bucket list,” I had one! Luckily, I had checked the really death-defying ones – sky diving, for example – off early.  Back when I was young, invincible, and coordinated –and before a husband, children, and a reason to live!

This year I decided to celebrate life in 2016 by stepping out of my comfort zone and doing something fun once a week – or at the very least once a month. The only thing that’s kept me off the couch and out the door so far is my daughter Tabitha.

One week we hiked and last week we went ice skating for the first time in years. 

It is becoming clear to me that the longer I live the more death defying things I used to consider fun have become.  Even hiking my neighborhood is beginning to make me feel like a wuss. Not just the actual hike – which is the equivalent of walking up the black diamond of a ski slope – but the wild animals my neighbors keep reporting they’ve seen! Anyone else seen, The Revenant?
  
In 1994, I remember bartering with God and suggesting he let me live long enough to see Tabitha get married.

She’ll turn 26 in April. Perhaps this sheds a little light on why her mom, unlike my own mother (who never missed an opportunity) has never ever demanded she catch the bridal bouquet.  

Yesterday we had our first snow, and the roads off our mountain were impassable. Snow days make it easy for me to stay home and write; unless I’ve found a lump in my breast and I’m scheduled for a biopsy.

 In January 1994, that is exactly what happened.  The snow could not melt soon enough that year.

I recall lying on the examination table of the doctor’s office where I had gone for my biopsy. Thank goodness he had removed the needle, before I heard Tabitha howling in agony!

My husband had dropped me off and taken our children to get some breakfast. Tabitha had insisted on a chocolate (no shock here as she’s my daughter) milkshake. It was still freezing cold outside and her fingers had stuck to the milkshake cup.  

Nope, she was not wearing gloves, and more than likely she had argued about wearing a coat too.  Her argument being that the inside of it was too cold.  

I’m sure every woman between Mickie D’s and the Doctor’s office swooned at how adorable it was that my husband let her get away with this sort of thing.  However, I can tell you, I would have and did receive the stink-eye every single time I allowed either kid to win one of these arguments.  

Present-day, Tabitha has been assisting me with the manuscript of a children’s book I wrote for her years ago. I had all but forgotten about it, but it was one of her favorites.  It is a feminist fairytale about a hard-headed princess and her adoring father. 
How did I ever come up with that idea? 

There was no Queen in the story.  One can assume she died from breast cancer.

Lucky for me, my life was not a fairytale, but more like a sitcom.  Long live the Queen!


Thursday, January 07, 2016

Happy Nu(clear) Year!



Chubby the white lab rat has been dismantled and Tickles Tabitha's Christmas costume packed away. It felt a little sad to wave goodbye to the tail end of Chubby, and the year 2015.


A lot can happen in a year.



This is a photo I posted last year, I was sitting on this same sofa, looking out these windows, realizing how lucky I was to have such a beautiful view. I was home alone, in a new house, in my new home state... simultaneously pensive and restless.

Some of the new neighbors I had met had been talking about their young (in some cases not so young) adult children who had moved back home for one reason or another. Even though they definitely were not bragging about it I felt the slightest twinge of envy.  

My children had been on their own and loving it for a couple of years by then. I would have predicted Hell to freeze over before predicting that either one of them would move back in with me.  

Yes, having to do this might be one of the reasons living here got called Purgatory. 
Hell didn't happen- but Purgatory sure did! First my son Jordan, and then my daughter Tabitha asked to move in with us here in Tennessee, or as Tabitha labeled it to Purgatory, while they navigate the next course of their own lives.  

Life is like that- just when you think you’re headed one direction someone hits the brakes and you’re taking a detour.

I’m happy that now Frahmhaus will also have been home to my children as well and not just their parent’s house.
  
My children are not the freeloading Millennials you see stupefied on an episode of Dr. Phil. They’re smart, independent, and definitely more worried that living in their parent’s basement will go from temporary to forever than I am. 
Tabitha and Jordan


Now I have someone handy to do those embarrassing side gigs for Nutcracker Publishing, and to give me all sorts of ideas and material to vent write about. 

I can't wait to share one of the many humorous and heart-warming stories my son likes to provide, to any future grandchildren he has.

FYI: The possibility of my demise before grandchildren is why I have a bookcase full of journals!

Wishing all of you a Happy Nu(clear) Year!  Clear of stress and without mental meltdowns!

Here is to 2016 and all its possibilities!