Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Still haven't read Underwater?

Check out an excerpt here...and see if it wets your whistle...

“You insult yourself all the time.” He slid his hands up my forearms to my elbows and positioned himself on his knees before me. “Don’t you understand how extraordinary you are?”
“You’re the one who can turn into a fish.” My voice was scratchy, and I could hardly hear it over the sound of my own heartbeat. “That’s pretty extraordinary, if you ask me.”
“Only half fish,” he corrected me with a smirk. “But look at you. On top of being one of the most uniquely beautiful humans I’ve ever laid eyes on, you’re smart. And ingenious. And considerate.” I tried to look away. The moment was getting a little too intense for me. But he followed me, moving his face so I was forced to hold his eye contact. “You survived an accident that crushed part of your spine. And now you push yourself around despite the fact that part of your body no longer works. You’re amazing.”
He closed his mouth, but his voice sounded inside of my mind.
It was the strangest of feelings, having his words reverberate inside my skull as though we stood inside of a deep cave. It reminded me of when my family went to ride bikes on the Hiawatha Trail in Montana the summer before my accident. We’d ridden through a pitch-black tunnel two miles long. The only way of knowing where my parents were was by the way their voice echoed behind me. That’s what his telepathy sounded like.
We don’t survive accidents like yours. We can recover rapidly from injuries if we’re under the water, but if we’re immobile on land, we start to shift and eventually die.
I shook my head. “I don’t understand. What do you mean?”
We take on human form, but if we can’t get to the water fast enough, we suffocate. That’s why you’re so incredible. You were irrevocably injured, and yet you still get up every day, move around, and attend school. It’s inspiring.
“Why did you come to the surface?” I held my breath as I felt him tracing lines up and down the outsides of my upper arm with his thumbs. “Why did you come to my school that day?”
His Adam’s apple bobbed as he gulped. There are certain expectations I am required to meet.

I frowned at him. “What sort of expectations?”

Sunday, April 23, 2017

My list.

I recently made a list of my favorite simple pleasures, and I'd like to share it with you.

These are the small things in life that make me happy, even though many of them make no sense to anyone else--least of all, my ever-patient family.

I('m sort of what my late father would've called "an odd duck.")

Whatever. Here's my favorite simple pleasures:

1.) The smell of rain.
Even as a kid, I appreciated this aroma. But now, as an adult living in Asia, where the air often smells like sulfur and sewage, or that awful yellow dust and pollution that wafts over here from China....give me some fresh Washington State air with a hint of rain coming soon. Sigh. Pure bliss.

2.) New socks.
Is there anything better in the freaking world than sliding on a new pair of well made socks? I think not. Literally nothing better.

3.) Those whole body stretches that newborns do when they're waking up and you unswaddle them.
So. Freaking. Cute. I can't get enough. Especially when they toot as they're doing it.

Photo credit: Ashley McNamara (found on a Google Search of newborn stretches...I highly recommend google searching that...because there's a whole lot of cuteness to be found.

4.) The sound of rain on a metal roof.
Our cabin on Priest Lake, Idaho, had a metal roof, and my favorite sound was when rain hit it. When my own family bought our travel trailer, and we would lie in it at night listening to the rain, it came in at a close second...almost as good of a sound, but not quite as stellar as rain on a metal roof.

5.) Summer evenings.
The kind where it's not uncomfortably hot, but still warm enough to go outside in the yard wearing your PJ's, and no socks and shoes, and you sit there watching the sky turn to pink and purple and then the stars come out, and you sit there listening to birds and crickets and stuff? Oh, it's the loveliest of nights....

Photo credit: Ellen VanDenDole

6.) Finding a vintage glass bluebird in a second hand shop.
My collection is growing out of control. I love finding these silly bluebirds. I have collected about a dozen of them. Someday I'll have a house to put them in. But for now, I hoard them. They're supposed to bring happiness into a home, I'll have you know. Though it's my personal belief that they bring more happiness when you've rescued them from a second hand store.

7.) Finding one of those "pick your flavor" Coke machines.
I always get the Dasani Peach water, with a tiny, tiny shot of Dasani Sparkling peach water right at the end. It's delicious. And whenever I find it, I have to stop my life to do a happy dance. It's the little things in life, you know.

8.) A clean house.
Holy crap on toast with capers....I love it when my house is clean. It isn't always that way. Especially when my dog needs a haircut. Then it's a furry mess, and I get all stabby. But when it is clean and smells good? Color me a happy wife and mother.

9.) A good book for a cheap price.
There's nothing more fun than grabbing a book off of Amazon for like 99 cents, or better yet, available in Kindle Unlimited, only to discover a new author to stalk, or that the book you assumed would be crap, winds up being one of your favorite books of all time. I LOVE THAT.

10.) When my kids have spontaneous bursts of kindness and joy with each other.
Catching them put an arm around each other. Hearing them snicker together. Listening to them talk as friends. Watching them enjoy a shared joke. Seeing one who is upset cry for their older brother or sister. There is nothing better than realizing that the humans you created really do like each other after all. It's awesome.

They were total spazzes tonight. But having a ball together. I guess that's all a mom could want, right?

What are your simple pleasures??


Friday, April 21, 2017

When I was bad, and that was good.

I read a blog that has the specific purpose of posting blog post topics for other bloggers like me.

That sounded way more confusing that it should've been, but you get the drift: she posts a topic, I occasionally post about it, and then we all win. Or at least you, my loyal readers, win...because you have some new, weird rambling from my peculiar brain to read about while you await my next release...which really is coming soon, I swear.

Today's topic was a good one. I couldn't just ignore it. "Write about a time when you were bad, and it was good." She said she was inspired by Wreck-It Ralph--a cartoon my kid's never really got into, though for some odd reason, my husband did. Whatever. He's goofy.

But when I read that topic from AnnDee Ellis, I had to blog about it. Because well.........I am often bad. But it's always for a greater good.

First and foremost, as a parent, I am often required to be what my children would likely qualify as "bad," though I have to do it for their own health, mental health, safety, educational success, social success, etc. When you're a parent, you never get to just be the "cool parent." It simply doesn't work that way. Sure, there are glimpses of "hey, mom, it was awesome of you to buy me that new blouse," but those "cool" moments never last. Not if you're doing your actual job as a parent. Because the word "no" inevitably comes back, you inevitably have to make someone lower their voice, do something they don't want to do, change their course, or stop something they don't want to stop. But, of course, you're doing it for their own safety or well being. So....there you are.

Being "bad," but it's good.

Also, as an ex-wife...I am always, and I do mean always placed securely and permanently in the role of the bad guy. Always. Every day of the week. Every week of the month. Every month of the year. It never stops. Sometimes it wanes more than it waxes, but over all, as a whole...I am always the bad guy. So in this respect, I can really relate with Wreck-It Ralph. However, that does not mean that I enjoy this role, the pressure this role puts on me, the strain it creates in my life and in my relationships, and the persona I've been irrevocably gifted with. But I deal. I have no choice but to deal, and so I deal. It's cool, because the kids I do it for are far more important than a silly little thing like a reputation.

I don't necessarily think that being the Wreck-It Ralph around here is all bad. The truth is, I get stuff done. There is no pussyfooting around with me. We don't have a lot of clutter in our home. When I set deadlines, I hit them. When I make goals, I achieve them. I don't procrastinate. I don't put things off for later. If I say I'm going to do it, I do it. Usually quickly. Sometimes I do it by all means necessary. This can sometimes make me look ruthless, and ruthless is considered....bad. But I've learned to appreciate this side of my personality, because without it, our life would be in disarray. I keep things running. I keep things organized. I keep our home--and all the people in it--functioning at its best capacity, and for that I'm a little bit proud.

So yeah....I'm bad, sometimes, but it's good.

If being "bad" keeps my sweet husband and children healthy and happy, then I'll be bad every day, every minute, every hour, every week of every year. It's cool. I can take the tarnished rep. I've had it for this long, I'm actually growing quite fond of it. :)


Monday, April 17, 2017

So because Easter was a few days ago....

I've been thinking about eggs.

Mostly because there was a Bird Flu outbreak here in Asia a few months ago, and everyone was losing their crap about it. We were fine, of course, but the city where we lived in was very careful on where the eggs we had for sale were from, etc. But as all of my friends painted eggs for Easter back in the USA, I couldn't help but think about how much I love eggs.

My family would probably laugh if you asked them about my relationship with eggs. They're one of my favorite foods. I love them so much that I get up early to cook eggs a million different ways for my kids every morning--which is especially unfortunate for my 10 year old, Charlie, who would prefer never to eat another egg again. But whatever. Eggs are brilliant.

My teenagers have learned to tolerate my forceful egg serving. Sometimes they argue, but they all know that if they eat their protein filled egg breakfasts every morning, they'll perform better in school, so they relent. I try to be creative, but when it comes to my kids, they really just want me to scramble them and let them douse them in either ketchup or Tobasco sauce. Personally, I think ketchup on an egg is a crime, but I'm down with Tobasco. I would eat Tobasco on everything, if I thought I could handle it.

But I can't. I'm a spice lightweight. *sigh*

Here are my ten top ways to eat eggs. Not that you asked, but lands sake, it's hard to think of things to blog about.

If I am ever taken out to breakfast, I will inevitably order Eggs Benedict. I still remember the first time I ate Eggs Benedict. I was at a fancy restaurant with my mom on Mother's Day when I was 17. They served EB with edible flowers on top. I thought it was the height of sophistication.

You literally cannot beat a classic fried egg sandwich. Whenever I make them, my whole family complains...until they bite into them. Then they're hooked. And thanking me. Checkmate. 

A poached egg over asparagus with parmesan will literally make your toes curl and your eyes roll back in your head. This is fact. 
I could eat an omelette every single day. This is fact. I legit could.
Eggs scrambled with goat cheese is a gift from God himself. When you eat it, you can actually *hear* angels sing. Go ahead, try it. You'll thank me.
Toad in a Hole is the ONLY egg breakfast my 10 year old will eat without complaining. I like them, too. They're a bit ghetto, but a lot good, and whenever you can get my kid to eat without complaint, it's a good thing. 
I adore avocados almost as much as I adore eggs. Putting them together is just magic. My 15 year old daughter loves this breakfast, too. She's a good girl.

Egg salad rules my world. My family actually likes it, too, which is rare. Is there anything tastier than an egg salad sandwich on white bread? I think not. However, there's a downside. My family becomes undeniably stinky after eating these. Barf.

The simplicity of a soft boiled egg served with a dash of salt and pepper and a slice of sourdough toast is art.
Most people who know me know that I am not a big Mexican food fan. Just not my thing, especially here in South Korea, where they make *everything* hotter than lava that's been microwaved hotter. But put me in front of a homemade breakfast burrito with some salsa or Tajin seasoning, and it'll be like Wild Kingdom.

How do you like your eggs prepared?

Happy breakfast eating!


Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Apples & Oranges' Marisol has an interesting relationship with her mom...

My mother’s latest plastic surgery left her face looking like a potato.
No, really. It was oversized, comparatively speaking (the woman was a size two for crying out loud), and her skin was pulled tight over surgically-enhanced cheekbones and chin. Though the effect was like an allergen test gone bad, my mother, former eighties’ nighttime actress Annalise DeLoria, wore the hornet attack aftermath proudly.
My mouth dropped open when I saw her.
“Twenty grand well spent,” she announced.
Thirty minutes into lunch, and I was still stupefied by the sight. Her caramel skin looked so uncomfortable, my own face ached just looking at it. And I kept waiting for her head to flop forward, landing face first in her food because of the weight of its man-made parts.
The more Annalise talked—chastising me in Spanish for having the nerve to ask if it was her last procedure since it was lucky number fifteen—the less her lips moved. She looked like a ventriloquist, sitting there calling me a grosera, mocosa egoĆ­sta over her untouched, undressed spinach salad. Except that her hand wasn’t up anyone’s ass.
Oh, and she wasn’t calling me a rude, selfish brat for comedic effect. Oh, no. This was all for the sole purpose of knocking me down a peg or two. After all, I had the audacity to show up for our once-per-year luncheon looking younger, prettier, and more human than she did. Never mind that I was thirty years younger. And her daughter.
            Nobody outshone Annalise DeLoria. Not ever.
            “Well, have you found yourself a man, Marisol?” she asked me through frozen lips.
            “I’ve been dating,” I replied cautiously, pushing my smashed red potatoes from one edge of my plate to the other. “Nothing too serious, though.”
            “You do realize how many calories were in your meal, don’t you?” She flared her nostrils at what was left of my salmon filet.
My mother had been dieting for as long as I could remember. One of my earliest memories was of her cussing out my nanny for pouring two percent milk on my cereal. It was no wonder I’d grown up and started my own catering business. Rich, delicious, home-cooked foods at my fingertips every day. Sure, I spent most of my time at the gym working off the foie gras and truffle sauce, but it was worth it. (My super ripped trainer helped, too.) Besides, it was either open a business where I could eat anything I wanted after being forced to diet from the age of seven, or become a hard-core bulimic.
I didn’t like throwing up. It screwed up my lipstick and made my breath stink.
Catering it was.
            I pushed my plate back, no longer hungry. Being around Annalise did that to me. “So tell me about Don.” Maybe asking about my most recent stepfather—the seventh, in case you were wondering—would change the topic. He was a lawyer in L.A. whom she’d met while he handled my fourth stepfather’s tax evasion case. They’d been married all of a year, and I was certain she was cheating on him. I didn’t have high hopes for the longevity of their relationship.
            Annalise waved a manicured hand. “Please. The man barely notices when I’m there.”
            “Well, he is seventy-three, Mother.” I discreetly checked my iPhone for messages, then hid it under my napkin on the table. My business partner, Lexie, was drowning in lobster stuffed mushroom caps, and I needed to get back to work. “I suppose his attention span is only so long anymore.”
            “Well, he certainly noticed his case last month.” She forked a piece of spinach, held it up to her mouth, rethought it, and put it back down. “That’s all he noticed, if you want the truth.”
            I shifted in my chair. My mom had never grasped the concept that most people—normal people—actually work for a living. “Well, I’m sure it was a big case if he—”
            “Want my advice, my dear?” She put down her fork and steepled her fingers. Her gaze was heavy… or maybe that was just the weight of her giant face. I couldn’t be sure.
            “Annalise, uh, Mom, I—”

            She shushed me with the wave of her hand. “Get yourself a man. An older one who’s filthy rich and retired. Who’ll worship you, despite your shortcomings.” Annalise smiled at a waiter passing the table—a gesture that was almost undecipherable because of her puffed face—then pointed at my head. “One that will ignore your crooked nose. Or your muffin top.”