Thursday, January 31, 2013

Dreaded birthday parties

I'm not a fan of birthday parties.  Never really have been.  Oh, I've done a few, especially when my first two children were small, but now, we hardly ever have them.  (This is one of those sad cases where my first children got special things like birthday parties and kids number 4 and 5 are lucky to get a frosted cake.)

My kids come home from school periodically with birthday party invitations.  If we're lucky, we've got something else going that day and they can't go.  Occasionally I'll "loose" the invitation or as I have with the last two parties, "forget" to RSVP.  I feel bad about doing that.  I really do, but the truth is, I hate taking my kids to birthday parties!

I hate shopping for a kid I've never met (as is the case with 90% of the invites that come home from school.)  Then, for the actual party, I either have to drop them off and remember to pick them up two hours later (yes, I forgot to pick up a kid once) or interrupt other activities with the other kids or family because it's time to go pick up the party kid.  OR, worse, I have to stay at the party, sitting with a paper cup of lemonade while a bunch of kids and parents I don't know run around like crazy.

Then, there are those parties where an event center is rented.  The food is good pizza, sodas and a huge hand-made fondant cake.  The mom looks calm and happy and is easily directing kids to various games and activities.  She never breaks a sweat as she hands out homemade designer cookies and goodie bags to make the Academy Award winners jealous.  You know the kind.

I am not one of those moms.  My kids laugh because for the last three years, or so, any and all attempts I've made at decorating a cake have been disastrous.  Really.  I tell them to quit complaining.  The cake might be ugly, but it tastes good.  So eat it!  One year, when my youngest son turned 5, I couldn't find any birthday cake candles.  I was sure I had some, but I could not find them.  Determined that he would blow out five candles on his cake, I got five red taper candles.  They put some massive holes in the already pathetically decorated cake, but he got to blow out his candles and make his wish.

Somehow, I think his wish was that I not make him a birthday cake in the future.

I never put pictures of my kids on my blog, but oh, if you could see my son's face in this picture....  He was not happy about this cake.

This past year I got smart with his birthday.  I bought him a cake!  Yes, one chocolate supermarket cake that cost $15.  I could have made him one for less than $4, but it wouldn't have been so beautifully decorated. I also made sure I had nice, little, normal birthday candles.  He was thrilled.

I got a little off topic, birthday parties.  I don't like them!  I don't do them for my kids, I probably won't attend the one for yours.  Don't take it personally.  It's not you, it's me.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Sometimes you just have to talk it all out...

Last post I questioned whether I should write or not.  I decided that I would keep writing until I didn't want to anymore.  And that happens.  I go in waves.  I'll go weeks or months and just write, write, write.  Then I'll go months without an idea.  Or I'll decide to work on another project.  Then I go back to writing.  It's all fine and good.  So, for now, I'll write until something else catches my attention.

I was feeling rather down, though, about my writing.  It's not the greatest literature out there, but it's not so bad either.  I've definitely read worse..... but today I got a bit of a boost.

At church, one of the ladies approached me and told me that her book club wants to read my book for next month's meeting and would I come to their meeting and talk.  REALLY??  Be a guest speaker at a book club? Awesome!  OK, she told me there are only 4 or so ladies in the book club, but still....  it's cool.  I was flabbergasted.  She told me she had just finished reading it last week and she thought it was a cute book.  That was certainly a boost I really needed.  It made me feel happy.

It's not easy being a mom.  Ninety nine percent of what we do goes completely unnoticed and unappreciated.  I have felt that I (that Molly) has almost ceased to exist.  Everything about who I am has been put on hold to raise kids and it might never resurface because it's been tucked away so long while.  We (I) need those little compliments once in a while.  Today I got a compliment for being Molly and it felt good.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

To write or not to write

I love story writing.  I write stories constantly.  I've got about four I'm working on and each is very different from each other.

Over the last three weeks I hand wrote, in a spiral notebook, 108 pages of story.  It's a fun story and I have since typed it up onto my computer.  I tweaked the story some as I typed it and corrected a lot of spelling errors.  I'm a terrible speller.  Of course, when I type fast, I make a lot of typing errors too and have ended up with some funny typo mistakes.

Now that that story is finished, I can concentrate on some of the others.

But the thing is, do I continue writing or not?  Is it worth spending that amount of time on something that will never be shared?  No one will ever read my stuff.  It's not that I don't want anyone to, I do!  I want people to read my stories.  I've submitted my writing to publishers and magazines.  Rejected.  I've self-published my book and sold about 15 copies (mostly to family).  I've added my stories to websites that are for that purpose (I've read a lot of stories from those sites, too.  I couldn't just add my own stuff and expect someone to read it without reciprocating.)  I've even started a blog for my stories.  I'm the only one who reads my own stuff.  My hubby and kids won't even read my work.

So, is it worth my continuing to write if nothing I write is ever read?  Perhaps I should put my efforts and energies into something else.  I'm not sure what, but I could be more productive in my life.....   I should be more productive with my life.

Friday, January 18, 2013

Chocolate Covered Bacon.... wait, what?

There had been a party at my husband's work the other day.  He got to try chocolate covered bacon.  When he came home and told me, I couldn't believe it.  It sounded just wrong.  What's more is he said it wasn't bad.

How can that be?

That night we grilled burgers.  I had a pack of bacon and I fried it up to have bacon burgers!  Hubby mentioned to the kids about chocolate covered bacon.  They wanted to try it.  I pulled out the chocolate almond paste, melted a few chunks and we all had our try.

It wasn't bad!  Almost like a chocolate covered pretzel, sweet and salty.

My 12 year old son thought he was in heaven.  He has found his new favorite food.  Good thing I don't buy bacon often.  So, if you should ever get the opportunity to try chocolate covered bacon, go for it.  (In small chunks, obviously.  Don't go for an entire strip.)

picture: Choclate Covered Bacon from My Kind of Cooking

Monday, January 14, 2013

Baptism by Fire: Basketball

Years and years ago, I probably surprised my family by studying recreation in college.  I hated sports.  But to me, recreation was more about camping and being outdoors than sports.  I had dreams of being a camp director, living and working in the forests and teaching kids how to cook on a 'buddy burner.'

So I got my degree in recreation and did some work along those lines, but not much.  Instead I fell in love, got married and had kids.

Now the kids are older and I decided to look for a part time job.  I got one with the local park and recreation department.  I had come home to my degree.

Sort of....

I enjoy working at the parks, even when I'm emptying trash cans filled with baggies of dog poo.  But last week, the parks and rec basketball season began. I don't like sports and I know very little of the games.  I thought I would simply be monitoring the gyms, leaving the game to the players, coaches and refs  But no, that is not quite what it turned out to be.

Come to find out, I have to make sure the scoreboard and clock are run correctly and that the official score book is kept.  I don't have to work these things myself, the teams provide one parent to do these two jobs.  However, guess who has to train the parents on how to run the clock and keep the book:  ME!  Yes, the girl who knows nothing about basketball has to keep track of the game, the clock, the possession arrow (don't even ask me to explain it, I'm still trying to understand the arrow), the points, and the fouls.  In three days last week, I sat through 14 games.

I'm learning a lot about basketball.  By the end of the season, I imagine I'll be quite the expert in parks and rec basketball.  It is fun.  I enjoy cheering for both teams since I'm on neither side.  I love the 8 year olds who run the same court and shoot the same hoops as the 17 year olds.  There are a lot fewer points in those 8 year old games.  Their games run a little slower.  It's good.  It has given me the chance to learn the game.  Saturday I watched a game where the players were 15-17 years old.  That was a fast moving game with lots of points.  I couldn't keep up.  Thankfully, the two guys running the clock and the book were TOTALLY into basketball and knew exactly what was going on at all times.  I quit trying to keep up and I just sat back and watched the game. 

Who would have guess that I, of all people, would be working a job with sports.  My mother is getting a good laugh over this one, I can tell you that.

Saturday, January 05, 2013

New year, good year

I have been so uninspired lately for my blog.  I'm writing constantly, but stories, not blog stuff.  It's not that things aren't going on here, they are.  They always are.  There is always something going on.  Kids, concerts, chopping up tree stumps in the yard.... there is always something. But it's been good stuff. We had a nice Christmas and a nice new year.  My job is going well.  The kids are good.  The Hubby's job is secure for another year.

My four year old has been rather funny lately.  She is very interested in talking about marriage and children.  All of her baby dolls get married to each other - every day.  She loves to take care of her babies, dress them, feed them, carry them around the house.  She keeps asking me when we are going to have a baby.  There are lots of ladies at church having babies, why not us?

I keep telling her she is my baby.  The end.

She is concerned about who she will marry one day.  She wonders if she can still live with us and she is also worried that she doesn't know how to cook.  I've assured her that she will find a nice man to marry one day, she won't want to live with us and I've promised I'll teach her how to cook.