Thursday, July 28, 2016

History Is Made

I have tears in my eyes as I write this. Not because anything terrible has happened, but because a woman was nominated for President of the United States. Before you stop reading, please understand. This post is not about politics and certainly not about one particular political party. I’m not actually a fan of this particular woman.
However, I’m caught up in the history of the moment.
Because for the first time ever, a woman from a major political party has been nominated for the highest position in our country.
I wish it were a different woman. I wish she wasn’t the first, because there are women I admire more and who I think are far more deserving of the honor. But she has won the nomination, and as the mother of girls, I am proud.
I am proud that my girls have tangible proof, rather than my biased “mother-words,” that they can be anything they want to be.
I am even proud that my girls don’t recognize the historic moment they currently are living in—so many amazing other women have paved the way and made that possible.
It is shameful that it took as long as it has, that other countries have figured out what it took us so long to learn—but better late than never. We have a long way to go and there is much to do. But tonight, we are one step closer and our dreams are a little more concrete.
We are at our best when we support each other, raise each other up, and celebrate each other’s victories. Hillary Clinton has many who have helped her get here and many still whom she herself will enable in the future. But our future is brighter today because she has helped us reach this milestone. Like others before her, she has pushed the boundaries and with every step, let the light in.
"For what is done or learned by one class of women becomes, by virtue of their common womanhood, the property of all women."
—Elizabeth Blackwell

Monday, July 25, 2016


Most people are posting this cartoon from The New Yorker regarding the news media. My problem, of late, is Facebook.

I’m the first to admit that I often exaggerate, especially on Facebook—my “bear” posts are a perfect example of that. Those who know me know that I’m joking. Those who don’t try to give me actual advice about bears, or sometimes camp--and that's okay, I'm happy anyone actually pays attention to me. My posts usually take a regular situation and focus on the part that I find funny. Or I focus on the one small part of the day that caused me aggravation and I talk about that.

But in general, my days are not nearly as funny or as frustrating as my posts indicate. Because my posts are a thin sliver of my life. While I have absolutely no desire to post about my breakfast or complain about the weather, I try—only sometimes successfully—to entertain myself and others with my posts.

However, lately, Facebook has become a lot less fun. Between politics and terrorism and each person’s reaction to those things, Facebook is turning into a magnification of all that is wrong with the world. Our lives, as represented on Facebook, are intended to garner a reaction from people, so we vent and we share without consideration of whether those things are accurate.

Political posts are skewed. Posts about terrorism are intended to pull out the greatest emotions from everyone. Like the news media of late, everything is biased, which sometimes makes reading a Facebook news feed painful.

As we get closer to the elections, I suspect my newsfeed is going to be cluttered with anti-candidate rhetoric on both sides of the aisle. I myself post some of it, although I do try to be careful with what I put out there.

But we’re all guilty of it to some extent (except for those of you who post your breakfast habits).

So this weekend, I took a break. Facebook is my water cooler, my entertainment break for the day—despite the fact that I leave myself signed in because, quite frankly, I can never remember my password, I’m not actually on Facebook 24 hours a day—and it’s supposed to entertain me. It hasn’t in a while. So I took Shabbat off.

It was difficult, as I found myself automatically clicking on it and then remembering and getting out of it again. Instead, I found other things to do. And I really didn’t miss it all that much. In fact, I found the break useful and relaxing.

I’m not giving up Facebook anytime soon. It’s fun and it’s useful and I’m not hiding under a rock. But I am cutting back.

Because with all that’s going on in the world, if my “breaks” are stressing me out, I’m doing it wrong.

Monday, July 18, 2016

Camp NaNoWriMo

A bunch of writer friends and I are participating in CampNaNoWriMo this month. It’s a shorter version of NaNoWriMo, where you choose your project and your final word count.

I aimed small with only 20,000 words. I’m more than halfway there and shouldn’t have a problem meeting my deadline.

As for the camp part? Well, you form “cabins” with your friends to cheer each other on and your cabin gets a target word count based on everyone’s individual ones added together. There’s lots of support.

My cabin is very supportive of each other. It might be because everyone is nice or it might be because we’re all romance writers. As a genre, romance writers are extremely supportive of one another. It’s very rare for anyone to tear another author down. Even the big names make a point to help out other writers, remembering that they were once there too.

Support is crucial. We all go through periods of time when we think we suck, when we’re ready to give up, when we’re completely uninspired. It’s those times when we fall back on our writer friends, or in this case, our cabin. And those friends and bunkmates remind us we don’t suck, convince us not to give up and help us find our inspiration.

So while my kids are at camp, I’ll be there too. Only mine has AC. The food is good, if I do say so myself. And there are no bears.

Monday, July 11, 2016


I’ve been told by the Princess that I should worry more about skunks than bears at camp, since so far, she’s had two skunks “charge” at her and there are at least seven at camp.

Being a paranoid camp mom, I could easily find more things to worry about. However, I’m not sure I should add skunks to my list. Here’s why:

She’s a very intelligent person. However, I’m not completely sure she would recognize “charging” if she saw it, as her normal speed is “turtle-slow,” so technically we all “charge.” And while she only has to be faster than the slowest person if running from a bear, she usually IS the slowest person.

Even if we accept her classification of “charging,” neither of those two skunks sprayed her. I’m curious to find out what was behind her, since perhaps there was something else they were after—I know, she’s the center of the universe, interest in anything other than her is probably impossible to imagine. Maybe there was a bear?

I’m pretty sure that if the skunks were “charging” her that means their heads were closer to her than their tails. Tails being the dangerous parts of skunks. Bears, however, have bigger teeth and claws.

According to the Internet, which is at least as reliable as my teenager, skunks eat plants, bugs and small rodents. Basically, they get rid of pests. While she might be a pest, no self-respecting skunk is going to eat her. Bears, on the other hand...

The cure for being sprayed by a skunk is bathing in tomato juice. You then have to take an actual shower to get rid of the juice. Encouraging bathing while at camp is a good thing. What am I missing?

Monday, July 4, 2016

Piggy And Baby Gone Bad

I’m trying to work on my camp communication skills.

You see, each year it’s a struggle to keep in touch with the kids while they’re away at camp. I like to write them every day or almost every day, because I want them to get mail. I know they look forward to the mail arriving and I want to make sure they get something from me on a regular basis.

However, I’m not really that interesting. There are only so many questions I can ask about camp (most of which are not getting answered) and only so many things I can tell them about my day, without repeating myself. This year, it’s especially difficult because one is now allowed to text and we communicate often—okay, mostly it involves, “Mom, can you send me…” but at least I know she’s alive and hasn’t been eaten by a bear. The other one warned me she wasn’t going to write and I haven’t heard a thing from her. The only thing keeping me from going off the deep end is that I see her in photos.

So this year, I decided to do something different. I don’t want to be “that mom” who texts constantly. I want the Princess to have as much freedom as she wants, free from having to check in. Not to mention, the more I text, the more chances she has to ask for food or other items. But I did want to perhaps provide a little amusement, and maybe spark some sort of reaction.

I started taking photographs. Both kids have guys they sleep with, and both kids left them home. So, stealing from the Elf on the Shelf friends, I have been posing them and photographing them. For Princess, who’s allowed to have her phone with her, I’ve been sending her “Fun photos of the day.” For Banana Girl, I’ve been printing and mailing them, in the hopes of eliciting some sort of response and maybe getting a letter in return.

I have not yet gotten a letter. I have, however, gotten return “Fun photos of the day” from the Princess, which tells me more about what she’s doing than if I asked her directly. And my adult friends, who see my posts on Facebook or Instagram, seem to be enjoying my endeavors.

I’d like to thank all my Christian friends who have made Elf on the Shelf part of their Christmas tradition, because you have inspired me to create something while my kids are at camp. I’d also like to thank my few chosen “Elf on the Shelf Gone Bad” friends for their wacky sense of humor, which has allowed me to expand upon my own creativity and truly make my project complete.

Things might be getting a little out of hand.

Even when the kids are gone, I can't shower in peace!

Entertaining themselves.

Who do you miss more?

Mmm, bacon!