Monthly Archives: February 2014

Spring Cleaning: Spoiled Children Must Go

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I am dying for spring to get here. My attention keeps wandering to plans for the garden. I long for blossoms to turn my fruit trees pretty colors. The sweet smell of pollen in the air and the buzz of the first bees – which I promptly run away from because I’m allergic to the suckers.

I miss going out to water my garden in the early morning and having The Cat chasing imaginary things in the grass. I would say she’s chasing bugs, but I really think she’s just nuts and it’s in her tiny, walnut-size brain. Not that it matters, it’s cute. 

Being able to enjoy sunrise and sunset at decent times of the day, remember that? And starting the epic battle to get The Boy away from his video games and outside behaving boyish. Wait, no, I’m not looking forward to that. Maybe this year the kids will mow the lawn or weed a bit more. Probably not, they’re spoiled. 

I was just talking to Mrs. Patience, who lives with her husband – Gandhi reborn, I swear – and their four children a couple of houses down. We let our kids get away with so much now. She thinks it’s innately ingrained in parents, mothers especially, to want to give their kids at least what they had as a child and preferably more.

Makes sense. My mother was raised with few money problems and generally spoiled. I was spoiled to the point of having few chores and given almost anything and everything I asked for. I never had to wait for Christmas or my birthday for things. Although wrapping paper was nice. Hubby’s parents had a tight budget, but they somehow found ways to give their kids things that they didn’t have when they were children. 

My kids are spoiled. The Girl is a good sport about it because I told her when she was younger about The Mother’s Curse: All the trouble you give me, you’ll get back with interest when you have your own kids. (I pointed to her little brother that she considers the bane of her existence as proof that I wasn’t a perfect child). As good as she’s being, I still wonder what that’s going to mean for her kids when she tries to give them everything she had and more. How old will my grandkids be when they get their first cell phones (my kids were seven), or laptop (The Boy was five), or TV in their room (about four although The Boy doesn’t have one anymore – he has to earn it back)?

Mrs. Patience complained that her kids are picky eaters. I’m on board with that one. We feed The Boy almost anything he asks for because the kid is underweight and we’re desperate to get protein in him as he grows into his adult height. He knows this and uses it mercilessly. Except we won’t feed him junk food. He’s not happy about not being able to eat Goldfish crackers for every meal, but I’ll get up in the morning and fry him a ham steak. Hubby will make a full breakfast on a school day without blinking. I ate cold cereal every morning before school. Where did this change come from? If we make spaghetti for dinner, and he doesn’t feel like it, he’ll ask for – and usually get – a different meal. Mrs. Patience reports her husband has taken on the skills of a short order cook, sometimes fixing each child a different meal at their request. 

When we were young, you were taking your life into your own hands to first: saying that you didn’t feel like this or that for dinner – when it was already on the table – and second: requesting something different. Why do they get away with it? I know I would have gotten slapped or spanked, depending on how old I was, and that’s not an option any longer. Send him to his room? Why? That’s where his laptop, tablet, and phone are – all with video games and a lifeline to his friends to complain we’re mean. Ground him? Yeah, I try. Enforcing it is a whole other problem. 

I told hubby I’m going to start changing the wifi password weekly and they have to earn the new password. That’s a hassle and as annoying for us as it is for the kids. If they don’t like dinner – from now on they can make their own PB&J or Ramen to have instead. That’s more than I would have gotten. 

 This trend of spoiling the children has to end, or I fear for the world by the time my grandkids are grown.

 

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Darth Jingles

ImageLet me tell you about our cat. You know supply and demand economics? Well, she’s a little black cat of no particular pedigree that we picked up from the pound for $5 during the ‘kitten giveaway’ season. That’s when many households have ‘Free to good home’ signs posted in their yard with a picture of kittens or puppies. You know what I’m talking about. Of course $5 included getting her fixed, so hey, that was a bargain.

She never took to Hubby but did her job scampering around and keeping the kids entertained. Then she’d come settle on ‘The Mommary’ for love and quiet time. Yup, right there on my chest. When she outgrew that, she’d hang out on the back of my chair and chew on my hair. The cat has a thing for hair.

The cat has a thing for a few oddities. First, she doesn’t care for moist cat food. A bit odd, but fine. If she doesn’t appreciate the hassle or expense, I’ll just feed her bulk dry. It makes her happy. Second, she doesn’t like leftovers either. If I’m making stew, she does not want a bite of beef, either raw or cooked, but will lick the gravy off it. Ahem, cat, you’re a predator, you eat meat! No, she really doesn’t.

Actually, she likes ham. If you cut it from a ham roast, if it comes from a ham steak, she’s not really interested. This is unfortunate for her because we fry ham steaks fairly regularly for breakfast for The Boy, but we rarely just buy a ham to cook. Occasionally, but rarely. And she doesn’t like ham lunch meat either.  

She does like baby food. Occasionally I’ll put a little in with one of the lizards and we caught the cat begging, so . . . Yup, loves it. Weirdo. She also likes dried seaweed. Yes, it’s true. Begs for it. And Cheerios.  And fake plants with long, grass-like, leaves. They’re her favorite cat toys until she destroys them. I’m so happy I can get these at the dollar store.

We have a theory that, when we got her as a kitten, she imprinted on my son. This would explain her disproportional preference for ham, taste for seaweed (he eats those thin sheets you buy for sushi like they were chips), and also her hostility toward Hubby. The Boy fights with Hubby (he’s almost 14, so this is normal, loud, and irritating) therefore the cat shuns the man of the house in support of her boy. She also sleeps with The Boy more nights than not, usually in a little Easter basket that she can just fit in – snuggly – and stays in there all night.

She has bells on her collar and jingles as she scampers through the house. You know that quote from It’s A Wonderful Life – “every time a bell rings, an angel gets its wings”? Well, in order for there to be angels to get wings, people have to die. (Yes, we’re a morbid household to realize the truth behind that sweet thought). When our cat jingles through the house, we imagine she’s wiping out entire villages in some poor country you hear about on the news a lot. She’s ‘making angels’ – there, that’s a nicer thought, isn’t it?

So, our cat, jokingly called ‘Darth Jingles,’ is a seaweed and baby food fixated grim reaper wrapped up in black fur and purs. Now you know our dark secret.

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75% off through Valentine’s Day!

75% off through Valentine's Day!

A Thousand Words is discounted on Kindle Countdown Deals http://amzn.to/1hXcd1t Grab a steamy romance for the holiday!

Cross-country flights and jumping through legal hoops were not how Teri envisioned her honeymoon, but it was worth it. Flynn’s wonderful. He’s a patient husband and an understanding father. Her son needed a role model and Flynn stepped up to take Dev under his wing.

The honeymoon’s over early when Flynn’s past starts ambushing Teri after just a few months. It terrifies her, confuses her, then . . . she died inside. She knew who he was before she married him, but she didn’t expect it to hurt so much.

Her family’s falling apart and Teri is caught in a whirlwind of emotions. Can she overcome the apathy she feels for her new husband? Can she fight the bitterness inside? And what will Teri do when she realizes the truth she was hiding from herself?

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February 12, 2014 · 2:01 pm

Be Careful What You Wish For (this Valentine’s Day)

Be Careful What You Wish For (this Valentine's Day)

Throw a little magic into your Valentine’s Day with a mischievous genie, a wish gone wrong, and a love story with a twist that leaves you smiling. http://amzn.to/1a6pOlM

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February 8, 2014 · 9:17 pm

Science Fair Non-projects

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Science fairs. I don’t want to go there, but for the sake of my mental health, permit me to rant for a moment. First of all, I grew up in Washington and did not participate in a single science fair when I was growing up. Not one. Nada. Am I clear on this point? They were extra curricular, extra credit activities. I didn’t need extra credit and wasn’t interested enough in science to do anything in that subject outside of school. I was a bookworm, I read outside of school. And wrote. Bet you didn’t see that coming, did you?

Anyway, fast forward to high school, I read sci-fi, but I’m still not really into science per se. In fact, I took chemistry and physics just so I wouldn’t have to take biology because I couldn’t get an A in the class unless I did a bug collection and there was no way in hell I was doing a bug collection. That was my attitude toward science. Moving on to college, I graduated in biology. But I still didn’t do a bug collection! Okay, that’s not true, I helped The Girl with hers. Next year, I’ll help the Boy with his.

The kids went to a charter school and I have a standing invitation from the science teacher to help when the ninth graders do dissections. Yay! (This is a person who writes romance . . .) This year I’m one of the science fair judges. As of the time I’m writing this, not posting it, my son has still not completed his science fair project. It’s due tomorrow. Hmm. I’m not judging his grade/category – they’ll figure that out somehow. Just as well, I’d flunk the little brat because I know he’s going to fake his data.

So, I never did the science fair thing as a kid, but I did it with my kids from third through eighth grade, twice. Last week, my extended family was at the in-law’s house gathered for something festive and my young nephew was complaining about his science fair project. Like my son, it was due and he hadn’t done it yet.

“Really? What’s your project?” I asked with interest. This kid was only interested in football, so to see him doing anything academic had me intrigued.

“Which paper towel is the best.”

I frowned. “That’s not a science fair project, that’s product comparison.”

“I’m only in sixth grade.”

I let it drop. My kids weren’t permitted to do product comparison or a research project in third grade (school rules, not mine) but maybe that’s because they went to a charter school and had higher standards. I almost had a chat with my sister-in-law about her youngest being robbed of a valuable learning opportunity, but decided against it. She already doesn’t like me, didn’t go to college, cares more about the name brand of her hoodie than has mistrust of the motivation of the school in question, so I let it drop. Besides, I was tired and wanted to go home. The Boy had some data to fake.

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Chrysanthemum

Chrysanthemum

Soulmates for Valentine’s Day – There’s nothing sweeter than a two-thousand-year-old love story.

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February 7, 2014 · 2:29 am

February Promotion

February Promotion

“AKA Lexi Frost” & “Flynn’s In” Kindle books 25% off for February. Read the first two in the series, then the third, “A Thousand Words,” will be 75-50% off for Valentine’s Day weekend. The fourth in the series, “Transitions,” will be available in March. Jump into a fun and steamy contemporary romance saga.

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February 1, 2014 · 6:38 pm