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POEM – kissing a grizzly bear

I got chicken
stuck behind my back tooth
I got Good Charlotte
Playin’ on my radio
Maybe I should be doin’
more with my life
But I feel like it’s almost over anyway
26 and I’m dying more everyday
One more day and I’ll fade away.

I go to work
To zone out all day
I lose myself everyday
In a caffeine and sugar haze
You think I am punching numbers
But I’m writing songs and drawing houses
And rhyming my life away
The days just seem to go faster that way.

Someday I’ll drive home
the wrong way down a one way street
Someday I’ll write a poem
that my honey will think is real sweet
Someday I’ll drive out West
to kiss a grizzly bear
Someday I’ll get brave
and get 1990s Winona Ryder hair.

They are all risky
But someday I won’t mind
I will wake up and realize
This is my one and only life to find.

One of very few pictures of me when I got short Winona Ryder/Mandy Moore hair, around Fall 2005.

One of very few pictures of me when I got short Winona Ryder/Mandy Moore hair, around Fall 2005.

Well, it seems there are at least TWO pictures...

Well, it seems there are at least TWO pictures…

Follow the romantic entanglements of The Riley Sisters in my books:
The Wind Could Blow a Bug – AVAILABLE NOW!
When You Least Expect It NEW RELEASE!

Secret Hiding Spot (For Mommy Only!)

I recently redecorated most of the upstairs of my house. I turned what used to be a craft/hobby room into a train station bedroom for my son. You can see pictures here:

But I didn’t stop there.

I also repainted the area (landing?) at the top of my stairway that used to be a heinous beige pink and had been driving me crazy for years.

I was sooo happy with the changes I made. My only regret was not having done them earlier.

But, well, in this shuffle, items that used to be in about four rooms was moved into three. When all was said and done, my husband decided to turn the old nursery into a “man room.”

This left me with a bedroom upstairs filled with my hoarders delight of boxes of crafts and paperwork. What was the first thing I did in the room?

I made a secret hiding spot. Just for me. So that no one could find me. Not my son. Not my husband. Not even my dog.

I put up a three-paneled screen (that I have had for years and had no idea what to use it for) to block off the rest of the room that was still cluttered with boxes. It has a window for sunlight and fresh air, a mini alter with colorful stones and tarot cards, and a fairy garden. Best of all, it has a hidden corner with pillows to read or nap.

Secret hiding spot by the window

Secret hiding spot by the window

When I am really stressed (if I remember), I can run to my corner and just chill out for a few minutes. I actually have fallen asleep in there a few times.

My husband takes my secret hiding place as some sort of insult. But I pointed out that he heads out to the garage for house to tinker with stuff. That is his spot. I just wanted a little spot to myself. Just one problem with the secret hiding spot…

Secret hiding spot reading corner

Secret hiding spot reading corner

There are toys left there that are not mine. The blanket will look as if a dog made a nest out of it. And when I am there, sometimes a man who looks suspiciously like my husband will come and assault me with real life.

The son found it. The husband found it. Even the dog found it.

I guess the best secrets are very hard to keep…

I heard the latest trend was “she sheds.” Hmmm… Maybe I will have to get me one of those.

Follow the romantic entanglements of The Riley Sisters in my books:
The Wind Could Blow a Bug – AVAILABLE NOW!
When You Least Expect It NEW RELEASE!

What I Learned This Week – 9/20/15

Last weekend I went to the Kerrytown Bookfest for the very first time. It was the 13th year that the festival has been held.

Why was it my first time?

Because a year ago I didn’t even know that it existed. And while I don’t live in Ann Arbor where it is held, I did work there for many years for a big box bookstore, may it rest in peace.

Heck, I didn’t even know book festivals like this existed at all a year ago. Boy, do I still have a lot to learn go as a new author!

Anyway, I bought way too many items there and decided to show them off to you.

2015 Kerrytown Bookfest haul

2015 Kerrytown Bookfest haul

I also got to chat with some of the coolest authors, such as Andy Lockwood, Kimberly J. Fuller, and Bethany Neal. I met author M.G. Buehrlen. Unfortunately, she was sold out of books by the time I got there (it must be really good). Instead, I purchased her calming essenital oil, appropriately named “Tiny Bottle of Calm: Let’s Calm the Eff Down, Ppl”. I am happy to try this oil in my never-ending search for something to help manage my anxiety. And a product you can use when you actually feel the anxiety as it begins to creep over your body? That seems very useful.

Although my son had to stay home sick, I was able to win him some super sweet swag. Here is a pic of him showing off his new book and T-shirt featuring Perla Garcia and the Mystery of La Llorona, “The Weeping Woman”.

M holding Perla Garcia's first mysterio

M holding Perla Garcia’s first mysterio

Follow the romantic entanglements of The Riley Sisters in my books:
The Wind Could Blow a Bug – AVAILABLE NOW!
When You Least Expect It NEW RELEASE!

Dinosaur Gardens

My family was lucky enough to get a chance to escape up to northern Michigan this summer. This gave me the opportunity to introduce my son to the land of dinosaurs, better known as Dinosaur Gardens.

You see, I visited there when I was only a little older than he. And I not only lived to tell the tale, but I left with proof.

Dinosaur Gardens

Dinosaur Gardens

I didn’t tell my 4 1/2 year old son where we were heading. I had visited the Dinosaur Gardens website, but I was still afraid that maybe they would be closed or something. Then, of course, he was asleep when we arrived. I groggily took him out of the car and, holding him lovingly to me, said, “Hey, look what is over there in the woods!” and pointed out the giant brontosaurus to him.

An immediate look of horror crossed his face. This is a little boy who actually likes scary things. (And making up stories. I am planning on him to be the next Stephen King.) But, well, apparently he doesn’t like them when he first wakes up.

We took him into the gift shop, where the sight of toy dinosaurs quickly woke him up.

But when we began down the path into the woods, M wouldn’t budge. He was afraid of the brontosaurus. Mind you, it did tower over even mom and dad, let alone him. With some gentle but firm coaxing, he entered the forest. But first he said, “This is very weird and ridiculous.”

I can't imagine why he could be scared...

I can’t imagine why he could be scared…

In time he became so comfortable, he even began to feed the creatures himself!

M feeding one of the animals.

M feeding one of the animals.

I had told my husband that my mom had brought me here 30 years ago. He asked me how she knew about it. My mother’s grandmother had a newspaper clipping she had saved about the extraordinary sculptures someone had made in Osseneke, Michigan. So, they had brought my mom (and most likely her older brother) up here once when she was a girl. I love that this roadside attraction, many of which thrived in the days of drive-ins in the 1950s but have since become extinct, continues to roar on for generations of my family.

Even my husband was charmed.

Even my husband was charmed.

I asked my son if he would bring his kids back to visit. He said that he would, and that I could come too.

I think it is amazing that this tourist attraction has survived for 80 years. And not only been maintained, but improved! There were two new exhibits that had been added in recent years. While we were there, we saw several concrete statues that had either been recently repainted, or had had their previous paint carefully removed and were primed for a new coat.

This was the only sick animal, and I thought it was very clever how they explained his illness.

This was the only sick animal, and I thought it was very clever how they explained his illness.

This is a great stop for everyone. If you like art and dinosaurs, you will love the statues and appreciate all the hard work that must have gone into them by the artist, Paul Domke. If you are a nature enthusiast, you will love the walk in the woods. If you like souvenirs, they have those too. (Personally, I like all four of those things.)



I love that all this was created from one man’s imagination gone wild. He stood on this piece of land and saw that the fabric of time was thin here, that others would be able to come after him and experience prehistoric times as he could, with a little help from his own hands. I love that he had a dream that most would call crazy, to build dinosaurs in northern Michigan’s harsh climate. But he did it. And it has endured for nearly a century.

Yes, I had to recreate the past.

Yes, I had to recreate the past.

That is all I am asking out of my writing career. That isn’t too much to ask for, right?

The End

The End

Follow the romantic entanglements of The Riley Sisters in my books:
The Wind Could Blow a Bug – AVAILABLE NOW!
When You Least Expect It NEW RELEASE!

Young & Hungry (& Good TV)

Emily Osment stars in Young & Hungry on ABC Family

Emily Osment stars in Young & Hungry on ABC Family

A few months ago on Netflix, I stumbled upon a show called Young & Hungry. I may have skipped over it completely, until I saw that it starred Emily Osment. I always enjoyed her as the sidekick on Hannah Montana (yes, I am an adult who watched Hannah Montana. Deal with it.). I actually always liked her character of Lilly better than Hannah.

I gave Young & Hungry a try, and I am so glad I did. If you are looking for a realistic, deep, intellectual drama… ya, keep walking. But if you just want a little bit of marshmallow fluff to make you smile at the end of a rough day, this show is for you. It is a multi-camera sitcom in the tradition of humor based on misunderstandings, the type that no longer exist on the big 5 television networks. I love that by reading one word in the episode title, I can guess the plot of the whole ensuing episode pretty spot-on. That brings me great joy.

It is the only show that has made me literally laugh out loud in a really long time. And yes, much of the humor is based off of stereotypes, but I think it is done in a way that doesn’t come off as offensive as many other shows.

The basis of the show is that Gabi (Osment) is a young and poor girl who is good at cooking and desperately needs a job. She interviews to be a personal chef for a wealthy, successful tech developer named Josh (Jonathan Sadowski). They discover that they have a bit of chemistry. They sleep together, then realize it is a mistake for several reasons. And then he hires her anyway.

And, that my little friends, is THE PILOT.

Yes, they go THERE in the pilot. The ensuing episodes all have a standalone plot, while the overarching theme of the series is always “When will Gabi and Josh get together as a couple?” Which, unfortunately, is something I totally fall for.

Elliot (Rex Lee) & Yoland (Kim Whitley)

Elliot (Rex Lee) & Yolanda (Kim Whitley)

The supporting cast is great, and one that makes you believe that old sitcom falsehood of “they are all one big, happy family,” even though they bicker with each other. It is a very diverse cast. And the actors mesh together so that I actually believe they might all talk to each other if they were in the real world. There is Kym Whitley playing the strong, outspoken black woman. There is Rex Lee playing the gay Asian who bosses everyone around, but is actually quite insecure when not involved in his job. I LOVE Aimee Carrero as Gabi’s roommate Sophia. She gets some of the best lines.

I loved it when Gabi was going to set up an online dating profile against her wishes and stated that her name, “Sofia Maria Consuela Rafaella Rodriguez,” would be an auto-correct nightmare.

Aimee Carrero as Gabi's roommate Sophia.

Aimee Carrero as Gabi’s roommate Sophia.

I love it when Gabi’s car breaks down, so Josh figures he will remedy the situation by buying her a new used car. And his other employees Yolanda and Elliot are like “What about us? Where are our new cars?

“Or when Gabi thinks she may be pregnant. And she has only slept with Josh. And apparently the only place she can take her preg test is at work at Josh’s apartment?!? Hi-jinks and confusion ensue.

Josh often wears this expression. As if he is frustrated with Gabi, but about to bust out laughing any second. Photo: ABC Family

Josh often wears this facial expression. As if he is frustrated with Gabi, but about to bust out laughing any second. Photo: ABC Family

This show is currently in the middle of its second season on ABC Family. You can check out past episodes on Netflix. And it is a show that, with my brilliant synopsis above, you could join in the fun at anytime. Just know that as the season comes closer to an end, the writers will give you the illusion that Josh and Gabi are getting closer to a real romantic relationship. Then they will find a way to RIP it away from you! (That is what happened at the end of season one, and before the mid-season two hiatus.) But, the show is so cute and funny, you will find that you will come back for more anyway.

Don’t forget I have a NEW CONTEST running where you can win a pair of passes to the GREAT LAKES BOOK BASH October 10th in Kalamazoo, MI. Winner provides own transportation and/or lodging. See contest for complete rules. Hurry! Contest ends September 15, 2015.


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