Monday, December 28, 2015


I used to love babysitting.

When I was a teenager, I babysat my neighbors all the time. I got paid really, really well, too, which didn’t hurt. And I loved kids so to me, it was paid playtime.

But now I’m an adult, and while I still love babysitters, I’m a little less in love with babysitting, especially since everyone I’m surrounded by is way too old to be babysat.

Like when I’m sitting in my house and the Princess got up early to go to swim practice, but her camp friend is still here sleeping. Do I wake her for breakfast? Lunch? Do I leave her alone or suggest she might want to do something?

Like when Banana Girl has all of her friends over and I wait around because I’m not a fan of kids being completely un-chaperoned (even though they’re good kids and old enough to be on their own).

Like when the adults around me need someone to knock their heads together so they act like grownups.

Like when school vacation is not actually a vacation for me, yet everyone around me is taking one (formally or informally) and wonders why I’m cranky about not being able to get my work done.

Like when everyone wants to make plans, but no one actually makes them, and then wonders why I can’t give them an answer when they ask me what the plans are.

I don’t know what the going rate for babysitting is, but I used to make $10 an hour. Pretty sure no one who knows me can afford my rates.

Monday, December 14, 2015

Calm Within the Storm

There’s something very satisfying about being the calm within the storm. It doesn’t happen often. I’m usually the one freaking out over everything, and if I’m not freaking out about something, I’m freaking out over having nothing to freak out about. It’s exhausting.

But right now, I’m calm.

All around me, people are gearing up for celebrating Christmas. Stores are mobbed, people are counting down, lights are blinking and music is playing. It’s lovely from a distance, but here at home, Chanukah is just about over—only a few more hours left. It’s a small holiday, although it lasts a while, so we don’t have the craziness that is generally associated with Christmas. And as I pack away the decorations for another year and clean the wax out of the menorahs, I appreciate the peace. No more triple checking what time everyone will be home and fitting in candle lighting with homework and meetings and dinner. For me, it’s a quiet time, and I’m going to appreciate it.

Social media is filled with political rants on both sides. No matter which political party you support, everyone is shouting (admittedly one party is shouting louder than the other right now). Sure, there are rights to support and observations that need to be made, but nothing has been decided yet. Primaries haven’t even occurred. If this is how loud we are now, I can’t even imagine what it will be like when we have two actual candidates. The ugliness is reaching a crescendo and I don’t know what happens when we reach the summit. So I’m liking and commenting on posts that are particularly “likeable” and “comment-worthy,” but I’m taking a step back when I can and not jumping into the fray every single second. Sometimes shock jocks and fear mongers do what they do for the reaction they get. I’m not playing that game.

I’m sure as soon as I post this there will be something to freak out over—I have two teenaged girls, after all. But for this moment, I’m taking a really deep breath.

Good luck everyone!

Monday, December 7, 2015

Me Vs. You

I overheard some friends of mine talking this past weekend—this is where I a) find out which of my friends read my blog and b) lose many of them who fear ever being mentioned here.* They were discussing the idea of working from home and one said, looking at me, that she could never do what I do because it requires too much self-discipline. It's actually not the first time I've heard this; it is, however, the most recent.

And I beg to differ.

Working from home takes the same amount of discipline as working out of the home does. I’ll admit, my schedule is a little more flexible, but there are many similarities between us (I’m talking the generic “us” here):

We both have a schedule. You have a meeting or break at x time, a proposal due at y time and a client at z time. I have a certain amount of words I need to get written before 3:15, when all hell breaks loose my kids come home from school.

We both have daily “chores” to get done. You have to go through voicemails, emails and other daily stuff. I have to get the errands done for that particular day, as well as go through emails, make phone calls and figure out dinner.

We both have “water cooler time.” When you need a break from your work and want to talk to someone, you turn to someone down the hall or in your office or by the coffee machine and have brief conversations. When I need a break from my work, I turn to social media. I “like” a few things, “post” a little and then turn it off and go back to work. And because there’s no one hanging over me (like a boss) to remind me to get back to work, I either schedule downtime into my day or set an alarm.

Is it exactly the same? Of course not. But my right to call what I do “work” requires the same amount of discipline as the necessity for you to show your bosses that you’re doing what they hired you to do. Your fear of getting fired or disciplined is equal to my fear of not making a deadline (self-imposed or not).

Making me out to have more discipline than you do leads too easily to judging everyone around us—who’s a better mom (the stay-at-home or the work-away-from-home), who is more organized (the one with one kid or the one with five). We all have strengths and weaknesses and none of us need to be judged well or harshly. I have complete faith that in my shoes, you could do exactly what I do, neither better nor worse, but differently, in a way that works for you.

So thanks for the compliment, but honestly, it’s not necessary. Our similarities and differences make us the friends that we are.

*I promise, this is as “bad” as I get when mentioning real-life friends. For some crazy reason, I like you guys, and want to keep you! J

Monday, November 30, 2015


Thanksgiving is probably my most favorite holiday of all time. I have great (selective) memories of getting together with my cousins for the holiday, going to high school football games (our big homecoming game was Thanksgiving weekend), going with my family to the racetrack and using my great-grandmother’s winning strategy to bet on the horses, and of course the food.

My kids, however, are less than thrilled with the holiday. Probably because we celebrate all our holidays with all of our family, it doesn’t stand out as much. And they aren’t big fans of the food. Banana Girl said it’s just an excuse for people to say they’re thankful for something, and then spend the other 364 days doing whatever they please and not being thankful.

I think she’s a little young to be so cynical, but I’ll admit to sometimes having a hard time stepping out of myself and being thankful for what I have. Too many times it does feel forced, and too many times the stress of life gets in the way. I wasn’t in the right frame of mind to pass around our construction-paper feathers this year and ask everyone to write what they’re thankful for, but now, after letting the holiday pass, having a relaxing weekend, and taking some time to breathe, I realize I am thankful for many things:

  • My kids. Eyerolls and all, they’re awesome.
  • My husband. He’s the most supportive person I know, when I let him be.
  • My family. They put up with me and help me find the funny even when I’m sure there’s nothing funny about anything.
  • My friends. They make me laugh, make me talk, let me not talk and force me out of the house when I start to become a hermit.
  • My writer friends. They understand this weird profession we’ve chosen and are truly happy when others succeed. The lack of jealousy and the consistent understanding, not to mention providing rescue out of plot holes, is amazing.
  • My dog. She forces me to get exercise, which automatically makes me feel better, and she makes me laugh when she tries to protect me in all her 29-pound glory.

Happy Thanksgiving to all and may you find what you’re thankful for throughout the entire year.

Monday, November 16, 2015

The Power of the Pen

This is going to be a writer-geek post, but a little different from what I usually post on the subject.

I have a lot of writer friends on social media and they are supportive and kind to one another. I think that’s what I love best about romance writers. We build each other up, rather than spend time criticizing each other. In an industry dominated mostly by women, that’s kind of unique (I don’t mean to be stereotypical here, but...).

Readers, on the other hand, are of a slightly different breed. As an author, I depend on them. Without them, I can’t sell books. And I appreciate each and every reader who takes the time to buy or borrow, and read, my book. Good reviews, bad reviews, whatever. They have plenty of things to do with their time, and spending even an iota of their time reading my books is something I am truly thankful for. I’ve never met a reader who has been anything but kind to me, whether in person or on social media.

However, an author friend of mine recently received a review of her book that can only be considered bullying. Forget that the review was bad. Each reader is entitled to his or her own opinion and that opinion is valid, whether or not anyone else agrees with it. What galls me is that the reviewer took the time to include GIFs in the review, belittling the author and her work.

I’m sorry, but that is offensive. That is uncalled for. That makes the reader look like an idiot. If you want to slam a book, go ahead. But use respect and be kind. A book is more than a bunch of words thrown together. It is a product of a person’s soul.

It’s easy to hide behind the anonymity of social media to leave nasty comments about any number of people and things. Voicing your opinion is your right and is an expression of power. Turning into a bully and using your voice to belittle others is not powerful; it’s a sign of weakness—your own.

So by all means, read my books and review them. Honestly. Just treat me, and every other writer, as you, yourself, would like to be treated.