Dog Parks, Writing, and Kavanaugh

I met a dog named Dog today. I took Son Number Two to the dog park. Dog was a sweet old dog. His owner said she’d gotten to the age where she just names her dogs “Dog” and her cats “Cat.” I liked it. It reminded me of Because of Winn Dixie for some reason.

Son Number Two always gets hurt when we go to Shakespeare. Shakespeare is a park that has a Fine Arts Museum and the Alabama Shakespeare Festival, a outdoor amphitheater, a dog park, and lots of green space.

But for Son Number Two the following things have happened at Shakespeare:

  • Fell and broke his wrist
  • Fell and his head hit a hard stone, causing a small bullet-sized wound on his head. The wound went all the way to his skull
  • And today–got bitten by a dog at the dog park. I didn’t lose my shit. My dog, Jazz, has nipped a kid before. She can be a bad dog. This dog had just bit another kid though, and then went after Son Number Two. And he did the grab and started to try to shake. I don’t know what set him off. Son Number Two and I were on the way out of the park.

He is okay. He is currently at movies with his dad and brother. They’re seeing something I don’t want to see so I’m having alone time.

My writing is non-existent. My sister wants me to write about my alopecia for The Moth. I also need to be writing and submitting, but I’ve been so busy. Plus, I have thank you letters for work to write, and PTA minutes to write. So much to do.

I wanted to comment on the Kavanaugh proceedings when they were going on, but didn’t have the heart to, especially with the way things went. I am worried for women. I am worried for America. I am watching The Handmaid’s Tale and it suddenly doesn’t seem out of the realm of possibilities that women’s rights could be erased. I believe women when they say they’ve been assaulted. False accusations are rare. But in the U.S. we still have this blame the victim mentality. And then Kavanaugh played the victim. I don’t want to get political, BUT I don’t think respecting women and listening to them is a political issues. I think we need to learn how to teach our young boys to be gentlemen and that sexual assault is bad. We need to change the narrative.

Signing out–hope to write more. I plan on posting some stories soon, you know, once I start writing them again.

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Hello Again

It’s been awhile. I have had a lot going on in my life. All good things, really.

Here’s an itemized list of my month of August

  • Kids started school. On August 6th. I mean, why? Super early. But, honestly, the routine has been good for them.
  • Hubby went out of town and came back on August 6th. Then he went out of town on August 15th for a week. This meant I had to go it all alone (with some help from my awesome mom and my awesome niece).
  • I started a new job on August 15th. Did you notice how that coincided with Hubby going out of town? Yeah, perfect timing! HA
  • My sister came into town to visit. I spent almost every night hanging out with her, except when she went to see Phish with my husband.
  • My sister and I drove up to see my other sister one weekend.
  • We went to the beach.
  • There were about 12,000 back-to-school nights, PTA meetings, and one conference.

I love my new job. I’m no longer in banking. I’m in education. And I’m working for a non-profit, which is seriously awesome and I feel more fulfilled in my life. That’s super important for me, I think. It took me a long time to make a leap out of the safety of my banking job, but I think I did it at the right time. I ultimately feel happier and more satisfied.

I promise to start writing a weekly blog. I will be continuing my race series, and adding some short stories. Maybe one of these days I’ll have time to work on my novel again.

But for now, I just wanted to say hi and that I’m around even though I’ve been quiet. August is just an insanely busy month.

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Vengeance

Another Chuck Wendig challenge today. Chuck asked us to write a story about revenge. I decided to write about a victim of bullying, and how she decides to enact revenge on the bully.

Unfortunately, this story hits home to me. As a 4th grader, I was repeatedly bullied and physically assaulted by another child. I have alopecia, and because I was different, this little boy decided to pick on me. I didn’t tell my parents for a long time. I confided in my sister. She and I spent time sending him love and positive energy, as my sister thought this might make him change his ways. It didn’t.

The next year, my parents moved me out of that school into a private school. I have never forgotten what that little boy did to me, and to this day I wonder if he feels guilty about it. I also wonder what was going on in his life for him to treat me that way. Bullying is a serious issue and should always be addressed. I don’t want to enact revenge on my bully, but an I’m sorry would have been nice. The beginning part of this story is a autobiographical. Teach your kids to be kind and accepting, especially to those who are different.alo


Vengeance — 839 words

 

I had been obsessed with finding Burke Hardwich since about seventh grade. Lying in my bed at night, I pictured his 4th grade self. His two canines missing—never having grown back—and me looking up at him from the ground. The first time he hurt me, we had been lined up for music. He pushed me down, and I went skidding onto the black asphalt, my arm split wide open. I needed stitches. I told my parents it was just an accident.

The accidents continued. Burke would find me alone on the corner of a playground, and he would hit me in the stomach. He kicked out my foot while I carried a tray of spaghetti across the blue and white tile of the cafeteria, red sauce spraying the walls like blood.

I never told Mom and Dad how much Burke hurt me. I started having stomachaches. I sat in the office for most of my 4th grade year, waiting to make a phone call to Dad’s secretary at work who I could always depend on to pick me up.

Burke moved in 5th grade. I felt relief in his leaving of course. My tormentor was gone, and there wasn’t another one to take his place. But as the years went on I became more and more obsessed with Burke.

Fast forward to now. I’m sitting in a dingy apartment in Alabama, and I’ve just landed a job with Burke’s company. He’s a high-powered CEO. Making the big bucks. He’s married and has 2.5 kids, a white picket fence, and a dog. I have none of those things. I am alone. I have fixed up my appearance today. I’m wearing a red dress designed to accentuate my curves. I’ve had my teeth stained white, put on just enough makeup, and my hair has been recently curled. I look in the mirror, double-checking myself. I look hot. Who could say no to this?

My pseudonym is Camilla. The name means warrior, and that is what I am. For too long, I have let Burke destroy me, and now it’s my turn to destroy him.

In the office, I plant myself at my assigned desk. My heart beats fast in excitement, not nervousness. Burke comes in, chatting on his cell phone. He raises his eyebrows at me in acknowledgment. The skin in between his eyebrows crinkles up as he looks at me. I see recognition, like he knows me but can’t place me. Yes, Burke, you do know me—at least a previous version of myself.

He goes into his office. A few minutes later, he pings me. I walk in. I place my whole body up on his desk, and I cross my sleek legs. I tap my foot, and my heel slips on and off. I take in his look. His eyes run up and down my body, trying to make sense of what he sees. I know he wants to touch me. I can feel it. I like playing this game of cat and mouse with him. I like being the one in control, not the one flat on my back in the asphalt, or being punched silly on the playground.

The weeks go on. I make advances. At first, he doesn’t do anything. Then one day, there is a touch of my hand. A week goes by. My phone is set to record when he tells me what he wants to do with me. I smile and nod, playing along. That night, I send the audio file to HR. They waste no time in terminating him. I am exultant at his demise.

The next day, I show up at his door. His wife answers. She is grimacing at me.

“Are you her?”

“Is Burke home?”

“Burke,” she screams, and slams the door in my face.

He comes out his face tilted down in guilt and angst. I understand I have probably destroyed his marriage too, a fact that makes me giddy.

“You ruined my fucking life,” he says. “Why would you do that?”

“Burke, do you know who I am?” I ask.

I am playing with fire, being there anyway. He could call the police. He could say I have been stalking him. It would be true. I stand with my hands on my hips and stare at him. His face looks like a question mark. Of course, he would not know. I had meant nothing to him in 4th grade. I was a piece of garbage he had been intent on annihilating. He had put me away with all of the rest of his childish things.

I reach into my purse, and I pull out the 4th Grade class picture. I am in the front row, glasses, and bald spots from alopecia. Burke stands in the back, towering over everyone. I tap on my picture as realization spreads across his face.

“I’m sorry,” he says, shaking his head.

“Yeah me too. But now we’re even.”

I throw the picture at him, and I walk away.

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Gun Violence Continues to Kill Our Children

Today, a shooter went into a high school in Santa Fe, TX and killed at least 8 students. There may be more casualties. This is breaking news. What? You’re not shocked. If not, maybe it’s because since Sandy Hook, in the U.S. a gun has been fired on school grounds at least once a week. Maybe it’s because it has become almost commonplace for us to think a shooter *may* at some point show up at our children’s school. Maybe it’s because we know that all the pro-gun advocates have to offer up is more thoughts and prayers without a solution to this problem. We think it’s normal to tell our children to make sure they know where their safe place is. We think it’s normal to tell them to look out for children who may be carrying guns. I have news for you: this is not normal.

Some pro-gun people will tout that gun laws strip them of their second amendment rights. If you say something like the forefathers did not foresee these type of guns, they will laugh in your face. Their solution is to give guns to teachers. Their solution is to train teachers how to shoot an intruder. Since when is this a teacher’s duty? Don’t teachers already do enough? What are the psychological effects of a teacher killing a previous student, even if they previous student is doing harm to someone in the classroom? Can these questions even be answered? One school district even gave teachers tiny baseball bats to fend off intruders. That would be laughable if it wasn’t so sad.

The problem is, as soon as anyone brings up gun control, the pro-gun people go nuts.

“They want to take away our guns. What if the government goes berserk and I need them to create my own militia?”

I’m telling you–the government is already berserk. As soon at they shot down reasonable gun control laws after Sandy Hook they had betrayed the trust of the American people. They’re continuing to allow children to DIE because of money they’ve received from the NRA. Money and profits are more important to your government than putting their citizens first with reasonable gun control laws. No one wants to take away all the guns (well, I’m sure someone does, but that’s not what I’m advocating).

How many times do I have to blog about this? How many kids have to die before someone will do something to change the way things are? . This is not working for our U.S. Do we really want to send our kids to school in fear that their life could be snuffed out in a place where they are supposed to feel safe?

If you want to be shocked read this article on the LA Times and scroll down through the list of gun activity at schools:

Since Sandy Hook, a gun has been fired on school grounds nearly once a week

Or this article on Vox:

After Sandy Hook we said never again. And then we let 1,650 mass shootings happen.*

*It should be noted that the Vox article exaggerates. They consider a mass shooting an incident in which 4 or more people are killed. These could be any type of murders, not just in the school. Also, if the definition of 4 or more people is used as a mass shooting, then the mass shooting in Benton, KY would not count (2 killed, 18 injured). This is all semantics, and of course VOX is trying to get views by throwing that large number out there, but there is truth to the number out there just not in an apples to apples sort of way.

Anyway, my point is something needs to be done. We need better gun control laws. We need to figure out what’s going on with the white boys and why they feel like they need to go shoot up schools. Are we failing them? Probably. We need to make things right for our children by enacting commonsense gun control laws.

Every time I hear one of these stories it saddens me, but it also disgusts me that the U.S. continues to turn a blind eye. That ain’t justice or freedom. American children are living their lives in fear.

Here’s Three Commonsense Gun Laws we can fight for:

  1. National permit-to-purchase: policy requiring permits and background check before allowing someone to buy a firearm.
  2. No guns to violent offenders/domestic violence perpetrators: This law explains itself.
  3. Banning certain assault weapons, bumper stocks: What is the intent of these weapons? It’s not to go hunting. This is the law the pro-gun people have the hardest thing when. They don’t want anyone taking their guns. But after the Parkland shooting, the police stations saw people readily giving up their AR-15 and other assault-style weapons.

These are just three laws that would be well worth fighting for the reduce the number of casualties from gun violence every year. This type of gun control has been shown to work in other countries.

It’s time to make a change, America.

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Rules Are Made to Be Broken

I have a thirteen year old. I like to award him his privacy, and I rarely discuss my children on this blog. He missed an assignment in his Honors English class on haikus. I told my husband, and he said in honor of this day, we should only speak in haikus.

I sent him a haiku (three lines), and he replied back in haiku, of course:

The proper format
Haiku five seven five
Sorry about head

I have a headache today. But I must keep working through it.

Isn’t his haiku 5/6/5? The (1) proper (2) format (2) = 5. Haiku (2) five (1) seven (2) five (1) = 6. Sorry (2) about (2) head (1) = 5. I digress…

I find it funny Hubby is schooling me on correct haiku format. He gets irritated when I correct his grammar. How many times have I had to tell him which of these little words to use: you’re, your, their, there, and they’re?  I had to look up haikus, because, God forbid he be right.And he was right. Except that in the 17th Century, many poets broke away from the 5/7/5 form and just made a haiku a three lined poem. That’s because rules are made to be broken. But my husband likes it old school apparently. Not me. My motto has always been rules were made to be broken, or at least bent. I’m sure this made me a difficult teenager.

In honor of Hubby, I’ve written a couple of haikus that follow the 5/7/5 rule and a few that don’t. Enjoy. And hopefully Son Number One will complete his work, and I won’t have to give him a consequence.

Rustling wind moves leaves. (5)
On this clear first day of Spring, (7)
cold air tells the lie. (5)

Baby feet have grown (5)
too fast. Forgotten toys put (7)
away for electronics. (7)

Sweet sorrow of love (5)
that cannot be. Replaced by (7)
longing for the past. (5)

Sweat pours down my face. (5)
Running off the blueberry donut. (8)
The price of sugar. (5)

Apparently I’m not great at these. Maybe some of you masters of haiku can put a few in the comments. I plan to write a flash fiction piece for Chuck Wendig’s blog at some point this week. I’ve been working on a novel (different from my almost completed piece), but mostly I’ve been spending time with family lately.

Don’t forget to leave
a comment below, so I
know you are reading.

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The Rambler

Welcome back. Oh wait, I mean, you’ve been here so I am really just welcoming myself back. Life happened, and I realized this AM I had not blogged in a month. The strange thing is, I’ve been writing–well, at least a little bit. I have been working on my novel again. Mainly, I need to finish and then edit. This is what I’m very bad at doing. Editing seems like the dregs to me, and where is the time? It takes me a good three hours to be invested in editing my work, and there are no three-hour time slots open any where in my life.

But life is good, mostly. Good but stressful. I’ve made some great friends lately, and I’ve put myself out there. This is good, because I was having a near constant desire to sit in the blue easy chair, drink a Truly or two or three, and watch Netflix. I find leaving the house is the hardest before you actually do it. Like, it takes a lot of motivation to get off my butt and actually go out and be with people, but once I do it I love it.

I wanted to write about the Parkland shooting, because it’s never too soon to talk about common sense gun control. Last week, I blogged about it in my head. But then I thought, this is never going to change anything. My goal is to become involved in Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America. This, I know, is the right thing to do. I have three kids, and I don’t want their right to life to be trumped by someone else’s right to own an AR-15. I know not everyone agrees with me, but I think the high school students speaking up for themselves, staging walk-outs and protests, is truly amazing. Folks, this is how democracy works.

And mental health? Why can’t it be both? I want our country to take mental health issues more seriously. It’s hard to get adequate care in this country. But so many people need it. I can’t tell you how much I’ve paid out of pocket to see therapists in my lifetime. And you know what–it helped me! And there’s nothing shameful about that. Get rid of the stigma surrounding mental health. That would be a nice place to start. Our boys (because those are usually the perpetrators of these crimes) need to learn self-control and self-regulation. I don’t think every violent crime is done by someone with mental health problems. I think ANGER is a huge issue in our society. Anger leads to domestic violence situations, mass shootings, as well as homicides. I think our boys have a lot of anger because they’ve been taught their whole lives to swallow their feelings. Well, that’s not doing anyone any good. Anger management needed, yes! Therapy or someone to talk to needed, yes. Let’s change society for the better. What’s wrong with doing that?

I promise, I’ll blog more. I have finished Waking Up White and need to blog about some of the ideas from reading and pondering over that book. I also am planning on writing a flash fiction piece and getting it posted. Here’s to more words more often.

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Random Thoughts Blog

This weekend, I thought about how texting prohibits you from hearing someone’s voice. I admit, I text way more often than I talk on the phone. I’ve never been a great phone talker. There are a lot of empty spaces. I like to see people’s body language when I talk to them, and for some reason I feel self-conscious on the phone.

We were out at a birthday party, and Darling Daughter came up to me to tell me something funny. She is a happy child. Laughs and giggles and takes everything in stride. I think it’s an amazing attribute to her personality. I told her, “I kinda like you, gal.” Gipop, my grandfather, used to always say that to me. I could hear his voice echoing in my head. It made me miss him, but it also made me miss my sisters’ voices and my brother’s voice. I don’t talk to them often enough. There simply isn’t enough time. And the world nowadays is all about convenience. I fall back on texting a lot, but I need to make that change.

I like to be lazy on the weekends and play Civilization on the PC. I play an old version. It must be about 5 years old. My dad played it when I was growing up. And so maybe that’s the reason I like it. I’m a pacifist, but when it come to Civ I’m a warmonger. My favorite thing to do is to build up my military and take over other countries. I wonder what this says about me!

This year, Hubby and I are hosting Thanksgiving. My brother’s family will be there. Two of my aunts and their  families. My cousin with a baby who I’m dying to meet! I’m nervous and keep thinking I’m forgetting something. I woke up at 3 AM wondering if I needed to buy Sprite for the kids. Insomnia over Sprite, people! In the South, we make a lot of casseroles for Thanksgiving. I think ours will mostly center around dessert though. Son Number Two wants to make cherry pie, and I’m already making black bottom cupcakes. I think one of the things we’ll be missing this year is sweet potato casserole. Oh well.

This past weekend, I tried to do some intentional things with the kids so we weren’t just potatoes lying around on the couch. I went to Darling Daughter’s parent observation ballet class. She laughed the entire time. I hope she does a better job concentrating when I’m not there.

Laughing Through Ballet

Hubby and I took all the kids to the playground. Even the thirteen year old participated. Miracle of miracles.

son-number-1.jpgSon Number 2

This week, I’m going to work on writing again. I know my blog has been sparse. It’s been busy up in here!

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Education Smeducation

Last night was one of those nights where you cringe as a parent. Son Number One had a soccer game at 6:30 which meant we wouldn’t be coming home until 7:30ish. All the kids did their homework before I came home so we had dinner, and then we went to the soccer game.

Son Number Two had to work on a catapult, study for spelling and math, and then study for two other tests. Did I mention he’s in third grade? Before we left for the soccer game, he lamented about school. “I’m just a kid. I have too much homework tonight. And I have to study so much.” He cried, real tears people. And it made me wonder: what the fork are we doing to our kids (thank you Kristen Bell from The Good Place, that’s now my favorite non-cuss word)?

I sympathize with Son Number Two as we wrapped up our catapult and crammed spelling words in and finally sat down to read at 8:30 PM last night. School isn’t fun anymore. It’s standards and tests. And funding. And it’s not about educating the kids anymore. It’s about schools meeting numbers and making test scores. It’s about politics that hurt kids, drive continued segregation in our schools, and take funding away from the schools that need it most. Our children are learning how to take tests. They’re not learning how to think creatively and socialize and get along with peers anymore. Perhaps they get some of that in Maker’s Labs or STEM classes if they go to a school like Son Number Two’s where they’re lucky enough to have it. Heck, my twelve year old art-loving child doesn’t even have an art class at his school. But perhaps the real travesty is there isn’t enough time for play. For kids to be kids. Not only at school, but also at home.

playground-clipart-RTd6ndjT9

Most of our children don’t even have recess, or they go outside for 20 minutes a day tops. Children need a mental break to be able to keep working. When was the last time you sat at your desk for an hour? Even adults need mental breaks. At work, we socialize. We get up and walk around when we need to retrain our brain. These breaks allow us to refocus when we sit down to do our work again. Can’t we give our children the same benefit?

When I was a kid in the 1980’s, we played all the time. I went to Dannelly Elementary. I remember spending time outside on the baseball field playing games, and hanging upside down from the monkey bars for what seemed like hours on the playground. On rainy days playing four-square or jumped rope in the trailer (I’m from the South People–double-wides have a lot of uses). Somehow, teachers knew appropriate development included plenty of play and movement. I’m sure we had homework, but I don’t remember feeling stressed when I was seven years old or nine years old. I remember having plenty of time to come home, ride my bike, play in my backyard, to be a kid.

My education in the ‘80s wasn’t perfect. I don’t think I learned fractions until I was 18. I somehow missed that coming along. I had a huge gap of knowledge, but there didn’t seem to be anyone to point out to my parents that I struggled with math. I also had low self esteem, because I was bullied for having alopecia. These were things I mostly kept to myself as I have never been one to rock the boat. Perhaps, I should have learned long ago that rocking the boat sometimes leads to beneficial change. But, I did develop social skills that benefit me in life.

Look at successful people: most of them have wonderful social skills. If we don’t value play and socializing in our school system, our children will not learn how to work together. They won’t learn the right way to socialize and get along with others.

I’m sad my kids are stressed. I’m sad they’re growing up not loving school. Yes, I think it’s normal for middle-schoolers and even high-schoolers not to like school. But elementary? It should be fun. It shouldn’t make a nine year old cry on a Monday night because he’s stressed out. That’s good for no one. I’m not sure what the solution is, but what’s going on in our system right now is not working. And something has to change.

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Total Eclipse of the Sun

Total Eclipse

Today, there is a solar eclipse. We don’t exactly get total. We are in the path of about 90% totality. Pretty awesome. I’ve been super excited about this event. I have my glasses (no, you can’t have them!). And my kids have been excited too.

In fact, our kids’ schools didn’t plan ahead for some reason. Apparently, the glasses have been on sale for a year but the schools still didn’t get glasses. They’re sold out pretty much everywhere. I signed permission slips at 2 out of 3 schools for the kids to watch. The little one is watching on NASA, and she’s fine with that. I mean, why watch the real thing when you can just watch it on T.V.?

We are checking out our oldest son, because he doesn’t think he will be able to watch it. He has Technology that period. I think it’s a travesty that a STEM school isn’t watching the eclipse. But what do I know?

I do know that parents have been freaking out about this. They’re worried about retina damage. My middle son has overheard me and is now worried about this too. This summer, he was worried about mad cow disease. I see anxiety meds in his future.

I trust the teachers at my kids’ school to make informed decisions. I understand, in a middle school, that allowing some kids to do it and some kids not to might not be a feasible option. I hope they’ll understand when my kid is checked out so he can see this amazing science event.

There is a risk to anything in life. And yes, you can go blind from looking at the sun. But you can also teach your children the right way. I coached my child today. I told him where to look. I told him it would be okay if he follows directions and listens to the teachers. We can’t protect our kids from everything. I’d rather mine see the eclipse in person than worry about the rare chance that they are going to burn their retina. Read the article (out of 45 people, 4 had lasting damage). Don’t look at the sun without protective eyewear. Duh.

But I’m not going to judge. And I understand the worry and the want to protect the kids. I just think for my kids actually watching it will be something they’ll remember for the rest of their lives! And that’s pretty cool.

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Going Ons

Hello Lovelies! I’ve been busy lately, and I’ve neglected my blog again. I’m sorry about that. Here’s a little bit of what’s been going on in my life.

I got a Fitbit HR Charge. It was a present to myself. I’ve been obsessively trying to beat a co-worker in steps each week. He’s short, so I think he must take about five or six strides to my one. At least that’s what I’m telling myself. The Fitbit has been motivating me to exercise more again, which is great because I had fallen off the wagon. Now, I’ve been doing Glide about three times during the week, and running about 2 times. I’m still running short distances and mostly running on the treadmill. I went out for a morning run the other day, and I had forgotten how much I liked the solitude and peace of the outdoors in the morning–not to mention the coolness, as opposed to 90+ degrees days.

My son found an Eastern Fence lizard in my parent’s yard, and he decided he had to have her as a pet. Her name’s Spikey.

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I spent about $100 getting this lizard set up in a cage with a thermometer, sand, water, a fake tree and a rock hiding place. I do hope she lives for a bit. We bought crickets to feed her, and we put them in a little critter keeper. They are the loudest things in the world. As I’m sitting here they are chirping and driving me nuts. At first, I felt bad that we were feeding the crickets to Spikey. But this morning, I woke up and went to get my coffee. I noticed the crickets were low on food, so I put some in their critter creeper. One of the crickets was cannibalizing the other. I had no idea they did that. Plus, the poor victim was still alive even though half his body had been eaten. Gross. I found this article about them, so I’m guessing these guys are really katydids and the lack of food in their cage led them to eat each other.

I’ve been writing again. Putting my energy into a story that is flowing better than anything I’ve written in awhile. Plus, reading. I read Fates and Furies by Lauren Groff over the weekend. I highly recommend this book, and I’m going to write a review about it a little bit later this week.

And my oldest has middle school orientation this week. Where did the time go? I thought he was still just this little baby.

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But no. Here he is, a tween, and looking more and more grown up every day.

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Being a parent is so much about loving, teaching, and learning to let go. I hope I’m giving him the right tools to succeed in life. Parenting is the hardest, and every day I question myself. I used to have so much guilt in everything I did. I felt guilty for leaving him at daycare while I went to work. I felt guilty for disciplining him. I almost felt guilty for breathing. I was driving home from work the other day, and I realized that guilt is gone. Why? Because we, parents, are human and we’re doing the best we can. Because I know I am a good parent to him even on his hardest days. I know he’ll look back at his childhood and know he was loved. And that’s the most important thing, right? I also know, that he’ll blame me for a thousand wrongs. But that’s human nature. Boy–do I love this big kid more and more every day. It’s amazing to see him blossom into a young man, full of his own ideas, and to see him making his way in this amazing world of ours. Love you kiddo!

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