Tuesday, December 30, 2014


With only New Year’s left to contend with, I think I can safely mark the most frantic time of the year as finished. From Halloween until now, it’s been a season of go-go-go-go. Decorating, meals to plan and prepare, treats to concoct, presents to buy-wrap-mail, memories to make...good heavens, let me take a breath. 

Sure, there are a couple of things left to do. Like drink in a couple of days, because nothing says ‘fresh start’ like a massive headache on January 1. Actually, I plan to have those drinks to celebrate getting through another holiday season. Last will be the putting away of decorations and bringing the house back to its old comfortable, boring self. Then ... ah. 

I am tired. Celebrating takes some doing. Yes it was incredibly enjoyable, particularly Christmas this year. Making a gingerbread train with Kiddo, then minutes after its completion watching Kiddo dismantle and eat it.
He maketh...

...and he eateth.

Watching classic Christmas movies with the family. The movies lasted twice as long as usual, because Son of Mine likes to rewind his favorite parts and watch them over and over until he can’t giggle anymore.

 With cavities being filled recently, Jacob particularly enjoyed seeing someone else in Dental Hell.

Decorating. Jacob again took the lead, picking out our tree, picking which decorations he wanted to see on it, and piling them on the bottom half. Now if I could just figure out how to get him to hang the lights, we wouldn’t have such a ‘blue’ Christmas due to my language over half-burnt out strings.

 Not to mention all the knots those things tie themselves into.

And of course finding gifts under the tree and unwrapping them. Such joy over material things! But hey, you’re a kid only once...which is why Hubs and I continue to put off growing up to this day. Judge all you want; getting stuff is fun. So there were three of us counting up our loot and feeling like we won the lottery. Peace and goodwill, yeah, sure, yadda, yadda, yadda. Fire up the Xbox already. 

But seriously, under all the frantic activity there was some of the more heartfelt mushy stuff. I’ve taken two weeks off from work for Kiddo’s vacation from school just to spend this wonderful time of the year with him. I made it my priority to remind him that being a part of this family was the most important part of the season. We laughed. We hugged. We celebrated what really mattered. 

Hopefully, we can carry that into the next year and well beyond. I wish the same joy and love to you. Happy New Year, all.

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

The Blog Before Christmas

This is a repost. It's the holidays, for heaven's sake. I'm allowed a break.

Twas the blog before Christmas
And all through my head
Was the deadline approaching
For which I felt dread. 

All the subjects of note
Had fled from my brain
I stared at my screen
And sorted in vain 

Through ideas dim-witted
And certain to bore
Recycled and re-used
I’d writ it all before. 

Nothing to make you muse
Nor fit to make you laugh
Though I sweated and labored
And rejected many a draft. 

Coming up empty
I strove for distraction
But the blog to be written
Demanded quick action. 

So I sat at my desk
And faced that blank screen
Ready to write a blog
The best ever seen. 

Peering through the muddle
I felt kind of sick
I just couldn’t conceive
Of an idea that would stick. 

Against the desk surface
Pounding my head in vain
My family scattered
Convinced I’d gone insane. 

A topic!  A title!
Attend me now muse!
A subject!  A hint!
Just one little clue! 

Of something to share
Just one little drop
Of sweet inspiration
That won’t be a flop. 

The cursor, it blinked.
The page, how it mocked
It was no use
I was hopelessly blocked. 

I got out of my chair
And traversed the hall
Showed up in the kitchen
Heeding a primal call. 

There at last, the answer
To my mind so stuck
The Fountain of Good Writes
Awaited my cup. 

I approached with joy
Shouting with delight
The drought was over
Coffee would make it right. 

Caffeine imparted thought
I knew what to do
I ran back to my keyboard
And my fingers flew. 

The words came easily
All was again fine
Naught beats coffee notions.
(Except perhaps wine) 

With the answer at last
A blog was achieved
Caffeine-jittery now
But still quite relieved. 

I wish all my loved ones
Celebrating far and near
A very Merry Christmas
And a Happy New Year.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Alone at Last ... Now What Do I Do?

I am at a loss. Kiddo is in school. Musician hubby has a day gig out of town, which meant him leaving early this morning. I have the house to myself for most of the day. 

Let me repeat: I have the house to myself for most of the day. 

It’s quiet. The heater hums along because we have a taste of cold for a change here in Hell’s first circle, aka Georgia. My clock ticks. My fingers tap the keyboard. But otherwise, it is silent. No television. No one watching YouTube. No toys crashing. 

No one is asking for a snack or wanting to know what’s for lunch or sharing the latest bit that shows up on a Facebook newsfeed. There are no distractions. No responsibilities. Nothing but me. 

I don’t know what to do with myself. 

Myriad options pop into my befuddled brain. I could catch up on cleaning with no one underfoot to undo it within seconds. I could work with no interruptions. I could read a book. I could work on art. I could dance around for no reason at all. I could be productive or silly. The options are endless. 

Which is why I’m utterly frozen in place. I don’t do well with too many choices. What if I make the wrong one? What if I fritter away this amazing occurrence on something I thought would be a good use of my time only to discover I should have done this other thing? Here is an opportunity to indulge me, and I don’t know how to! 

Oh, the inhumanity of such a gift. Me time. Me, me, me. I can do anything I want, but I don’t know which anything to choose. I’m starting to panic because if I don’t pick I’ll end up losing hours to the internet or the television. No! This moment is golden! I must take advantage of it! 

I’m trying to remember if it was like this back when I was single and didn’t have to make anybody happy but me. Maybe since there was no seeming end to the days of selfishness, I dealt with it better. I could lose a day to stupidity and not care because tomorrow was there waiting in the wings. Glorious time to waste, time to be foolish, time to while away with nothing in particular. 

These days I am relentlessly productive. With fans begging for the next book, I churn away at my desk. With a husband, I must devote quality time to him. I am at Kiddo’s beck and call. I don’t have much time to stop and think about what I’d like to do. 

Whatever it is I choose to spend this block of hours on, I will do my best to treasure it. Heaven only knows when I’ll get to think about me and me alone again. Hopefully, my head won’t explode at the wonder of it all.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

'Tis the Season to be Sneezing

Two years ago, I achieved a new ability I hadn’t possessed before. It’s not something I sought. It’s not something I wanted. And yet, it was granted to me by some cosmic practical joke. Along with all the other curve balls my aging body has begun to pitch at me, this is the one I expected least of all. In my mid-forties, I gained seasonal allergies. 

As I sit here writing about this relatively new part of my life, my head is pounding, my sinuses are pouring, and my throat is scratchy. In short, I’m more miserable than is my usual state of Tamara-ness. While many of you are locked in a cold, dead world of winter where nothing pollen-like can assault you, I’m basking in the slow switch of seasons that will hold sway in southeast Georgia for at least another two weeks. It’s the time of year where I start my day by putting Kiddo on the bus in a coat and gloves, and then take him off the bus in shorts and a tank top. Leaves are still falling, and the air swirls with whatever it is that drives my body into allergy hell. 

Allergies are so new to me that an onset still makes me sure I’m coming down with a cold. I think ‘This sucks, but it will be over in a week. I’ll already be feeling human again within three days!’ But three days pass, then the week passes, and I’m still stuffy and running through a forest’s worth of tissues. My throat is so rough that I’m sure I could pass another forest through it and make you all nice, glass-smooth decks for Christmas. It feels like a portable sander in there. 

Ah yes, it just has to happen during this time of year. I watch Miracle on 34th Street and It’s a Wonderful Life with tears streaming down my cheeks ... not from the saccharine sweetness of those movies, but because of allergies. Singing Christmas carols brings on a fit of coughing. If I time those bursts just right, I can follow along with the dog-barking version of ‘Jingle Bells’ pretty well. Considering how ear-melting my usual singing voice is, that’s probably a good thing. My head pounds in rhythm with the incessant chant of “I want, I want, I want...” that comprises the Gimme Lists of my two boys. Ugh. This is the gift that keeps on giving long after I scream, “Enough!” 

I hate cold weather. I hate snow. But I’m starting to weigh their inherent bleh-ishness against these twice a year visits from the Allergy Fairy. It may be that or moving to the desert.  

Just in case it comes down to that ... how does one put a star at the top of a cactus?

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Facing Myself

I’m not young anymore. I haven’t acquired senior citizen status yet either. I’m kind of in that halfway place where my psyche feels like a kid, but my body feels like lying down and taking a nap. I am middle-aged. 

It’s not a bad place to be in the overall scheme of things. I’m in the best shape of my life. I have a successful career that I love. I have a pretty good family when I’m not tripping over all the crap they’ve left in the middle of the floor. It’s probably the best time I’ve known. 

Yet all is not well in the land of Happily-Ever-For-Now. For with every silver lining comes a little dark cloud. My particular blot on these sunny days appears in the mirror.  

Lines from movies appear in my memory much like the newly found lines on my reflection. Steel Magnolias: “Honey, time marches on and eventually you realize it’s marchin’ across your face.” Freaky Friday: “I look like the Crypt Keeper!” Ah yes, the roadmap of my life is there on my skin...literally. In relief. With gullies.


Next milestone in life: eating yogurt to help me poop.

It probably doesn’t help that it’s a magnifying mirror I’m staring in horror at. I try to comfort myself with the knowledge that of course every line and crease is going to appear when one’s face is bigger by 2 1/2 times. “So look in a normal mirror, idiot,” you might say. I would, but my eyes are as old as my face these days. I can’t see anything closer than a football field away anymore. I have to have the magnifying mirror which tells me things I don’t want to know. Like my face is beginning to resemble the moon Europa.

I hate it when my foundation settles in the cracks like that.

I do everything they say will help one’s aging appearance. I don’t smoke. My diet is healthy. I don’t drink much. For all my great love of wine, I indulge in only a glass a week. Instead, I drink tons of water, which they say is supposed to plump up the skin. I’m not seeing it. Instead, my toilet is on speed-run from all the water I drink. If anyone needs to find me, that’s probably where I am.

I slather on enough moisturizer to allow me to slide my head through a sewing needle. I try anti-aging serums. I pull my hair back in a tight ponytail in order to make the skin taut. I look like the Joker from Batman with my face tugged back so far. And yet those telltale signs of me not getting any younger remain.

With dewy youth behind me, I’m having to get used to that new visage in the mirror. I smile at the woman before me with sympathy, and then I wipe the smile off because of the crow’s feet that appear. And not just one crow, either. A whole flock stomped over me, apparently. Yet the lack of smile brings out the lines at the corners of my mouth. I can’t win.

It’s official: I have only two options now. I can either age or suffer the alternative. I could go on and on about mourning this, but there’s no point in it, is there? Besides, the water is kicking in again. I have to go.