Thursday, October 8, 2009


It has been so long since I last posted on either of my blogs, that I feel compelled to do a simultaneous post to let you all know that I have not forgotten about you. My life has taken a few turns since August, and I have been preoccupied with my immediate surroundings, and have neglected to make the time for my loyal followers (all three of you) out in the cyber world.

Makaya has started school (more on her first day of school in another post), and with that comes more work and responsibility than I had first imagined. I am still unemployed, but have taken advantage of that to work more on my writing, and after some very favorable feedback on one of my children’s stories, feel I am ready to tackle that query letter and really put myself out there. I have joined a new writers group that meets twice a month, which helps keep my motivation and courage up since I don’t have to go so long between meetings. Through this group, I have met several wonderful people who are excellent writers, and I'm hoping some of their talent will rub off on me. I haven’t been to the gym as often as I would like, and have to find the time and motivation to get back in there and make my goal of a slimmer, healthier me a reality.

That is all I have time for at this moment, but I will hopefully have more very soon.Until next time...
C'est la vie...

Friday, July 17, 2009

The Speech

The following is my speech from Calvin’s funeral. A few things to keep in mind, I do not do public speaking because I tend to get nose bleeds then throw up. My Mum told me I could not cry because she could not handle it. I managed to make it through the entire thing without as much as a single tear, drop of blood, or even so much as a gag and I did not once loose consciousness (that I know of).

This past week, I’ve thought a lot about my brother. I’ve remembered wild stunts, crazy stories, long lost friends and enemies, and I’ve finally gotten the back story on so many jokes. But I sadly realized just how little I really knew about my own brother. We had our rough patches growing up. It’s inevitable when you are as close as we were. But as we got older, the petty childhood bickering faded into the past, and we would talk more. Never about anything serious or deep, just about day to day life and our kids. We would talk for hours about nothing at all, but somehow the conversation would always get back to his girls.

Cal loved children, especially his girls. They are his pride and joy. The true loves of his life, and he would do anything for them. The last time I went to see him, he showed me a playhouse he had built for Gabby. It was wonderful! It had real windows, a light inside, and a little covered porch. It was a masterpiece and a perfect example of his talent. He had built it from scraps of this and leftovers of that. Gabby was so proud of the little house that her daddy had built, she couldn’t wait to show it off. That was one thing she definitely got from her daddy, Pride.

Cal was always so proud of his family and friends. He loved everyone, and it was almost impossible not to love him back. Don’t get me wrong. There were times when you really weren’t happy with him, but you always loved him, and you knew that he always loved you too. He was always ready with a good strong hug. A “Love ya, Sis.” Mum says he always gave the best hugs, and it’s true. He could have taught a class on it. They were always just right.

Though we talked now and then on the phone, it was always in the back of my mind, “I should call Cal and see what he’s up to,” but it would get put off. There were errands to run, chores to do. My regret is that I didn’t make the time to call my little brother more often, just to say “Hi”. I let life get in the way.

Last week things changed. Priorities were shifted. Despite the prayers of thousands, God felt it was time for Calvin to come home. Friday morning he slipped peacefully through the gates into the arms of loved ones who had gone before him. They will be catching up on all those wonderful hugs that I'm sure they missed.

I know the full reality of this has not hit me yet. It may not for a while. But I also know that someday I too will pass through those gates, as we all will, and Cal will be there, arms open, ready to give me one of his wonderful hugs.

Calvin William Allen Skinner
August 11, 1980-April 17, 2009

Tuesday, July 14, 2009


It has been several weeks since I’ve posted on either of my blogs. A lot has gone down in that time. Easter weekend, my little brother was in a car accident. He suffered a traumatic brain injury that resulted in his death, but his passing was not in vain. His wish was organ donation, and through his gift, others will have a better life.

I’ve had a hard time dealing with this, and have never wished more to be closer to my family. You see, they live in Pennsylvania, and I'm way out here in Iowa. That’s three states. Nineteen hours by train. Twelve hours by car. Five hours by plane. An eternity if someone is hurt.

I haven’t posted about this for “so many reasons”.

Jeopardy is on.
I'm too busy.
It’s too late at night.
Letterman’s on.
Craig has Eric Idle tonight.
Makaya has her dance recital tonight.
Mum’s in town, have to spend as much time with her as I can.

All the while, I was unwilling to face the main reason.
If I don’t talk about it, it never happened. I can push it to the back of my mind, and pretend it was a dream.


Pure as fresh snow.

There have been dreams. Nightmares really.

Doubts. Did we make the right choice? Did we act too soon? Should we have given him more time?

Unanswered questions. Did he know what was going on? Did he know we were there? Did he know how much we all love him? Did he suffer at all? Was he scared? Who will care for him? Is there a heaven or hell? Why did it happen to him? Was there someone else involved? Why now when he was so young? What do we say to his girls? Did he know I love him? Did he know how sorry I am?

There are ok days where I only think of him in passing and the loss doesn’t fully register.

There are not so good days where I cry without realizing it, and have to answer my daughter’s concerned questions with vague assurances that “No, Mama’s not hurt sweetie.”

Then there are the bad days. The days where I have to hold my self together, wrapping my arms around my body. I have to squeeze tightly because I'm afraid I will shatter into a thousand tiny shards if I don’t. The days where I sit in bed and rock myself in an effort to soothe an injury that refuses to heal. The days where my heart quite literally aches, each beat a painful reminder of the one that is now forever still.

Those are the reasons why I haven’t posted.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Feedback Is A Writers Best Friend

On the first Monday of the month, I go to a writers workshop at the downtown library. Some of the other attendees bring something to share, and some come just to hear the stories. After each reading, there is a short discussion where the author explains where they are trying to go with the work, or sometimes they just sit back and listen to the comments and suggestions offered by the other members of the group.

Tonight, I read (actually, I had one of the other ladies read the story because I become too emotional when I read it) a story that I wrote with the thought that it would be a children's picture book. Everyone really seemed to enjoy the story. There were several parents, grandparents, and even a great grand mother in the group tonight, and they all thought it would be a great story to read to their kids/grand kids/great grand kids.

One dad said that while Mary was reading the story, he could see himself reading it to his children, and that even without pictures I did a good job with the descriptions. He also said that he liked the alliteration at the end, and the creative answers for the little girl's strange questions.

It was great to get all that feed back from those folks. This is the story that I'm trying to get to an agent or a publisher, and almost everyone in the group said it was one I should get published (I had not mentioned yet that this was the one I was trying to get out there). It's one thing to have family or friends read a story and tell you it's good, but to have a room full of strangers tell you it's good, then you know they're not just humoring you.

Now that I have so much time on my hands, I think I'm finally ready to get serious about this and really push to get a story published. This will be the year.

So it is with determination, joy and hope that I say...C'est la vie.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Maybe I'm Crazy

Stop me if I'm wrong here, but when you pay someone to watch your child for you, they should be at the designated spot for drop off when you get there to drop said child off for care.

Twice now in as many weeks when I arrived at my day care providers house to drop off my child, she was not home. When it happened for the second time on Friday, I waited for more than 30 minutes for her to return to her house, but she never showed up, and she never even called to tell me what happened. She ended up shooting herself in the foot on that one, because I had her check for the week, and she didn't get paid because she flaked out on me.

This was her second chance that most people felt she didn't deserve, and I'm sorry to say that after more than two years of her watching my daughter, we will have to find someone else. This is unacceptable. She says she depends on the income, but I depend on the ability to drop my daughter off in the morning for a few hours, and I'm not going to pay her if she's not doing her job. Plain and simple.

The other thing that yanks my chain is that I was laid off, and she still wants me to pay the full weekly price to "Hold my spot" for when I find another job. What? I don't have that kind of cash anymore. I don't have a job!

But, C'est la vie...

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Happiness Is A Good Plum

After all those horribly sad and depressing posts, I need something to make me smile, and you want to come back and read some more.

I love Janet Evanovich's books. She has a series about Stephanie Plum, a bond enforcement agent who lives in Trenton, NJ. Stephanie is only good at her job because of dumb luck and bull-headed persistence. Oh, and a little help from her friends. It never fails that when I read a Plum book, I will laugh out loud, and cause people to look at me as if I have lost my mind.

I just finished reading Plum Spooky, and it did not disappoint. I'm sure there were several strange looks from the people on the treadmills around me, but I didn't notice. It was a great book, and a quick read.

Now, I'm happy to say...C'est la vie.

Wow, can we say "Shitty Day" boys and girls?

Good Job!! I knew you could!

So, after not working on Monday, I get a text saying I don't need to work today either (I only work two days a week, so that means no work at all this week, and a really small paycheck next Friday). Then a few hours later, I get a phone call, yes you read that correctly a phone call, telling me that I don't have a job anymore. Classy.

So here I am, without warning, unemployed.

Then to put the cherry on top of my day, on the way home, I'm in a car accident. No damage to my car, and just a few scratches on her bumper, but of course, it was a white car, and she had just had the bumper fixed, so they were so nice and visible. I'm hoping we won't have to involve insurance, but my gut is saying she does this a lot, and she will suddenly have all kinds of injuries tomorrow.

Yeah!! Super awesome day!!

C'est la vie........

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Death and Taxes

Two things that are unavoidable. True, people still try to avoid and cheat them, but it all catches up to you in the end.

I had my rabbit put down a few weeks ago. I'd had him for 10 years, and it was a hard decision to make, but as a pet owner, it was inevitable. I put it off for a while, but after a few months, it became clear that I wasn't doing it for him, I was doing it for me, and that's when I knew it was time. My husband prepared the grave, and I took him to the vet (the rabbit, not my husband, just to be clear). It was quick, and painless, for him anyway. Me, I was a mess. My chest hurt, I couldn't breathe, I was crying so hard I couldn't see. Not a good morning.

Later that week, I got some news about my dad.

Quick background, my dad left my Mum while she was out of town for a week last summer. He has told my brothers that it's all her fault, and other heinous lies about how she mistreated him, and they not only believe the lies, but they tell their friends and the rest of the family these lies like they are gospel. He has also stopped talking to me, and generally become a giant ass due in no small part to his continued mistreatment and abuse directed a my Mum. The reasons for all of this are still unknown to myself, and everyone else in the family (my brothers may know, but since I disagree with the way dad's behaving, they won't talk to me).

At a support hearing my Mum was informed by the defense attorney that dad was in the hospital, and may need open heart surgery. Honestly, when she told me, I felt nothing. I was more upset over the loss of my bunny than I was over the news of my dad's health. I guess he had been in there a week already, and no one bothered to call me or my Mum. I'm sure I sound callous, but I can't help it. I've cried so much over him since last June. I've been up until 4 am more nights than I can count, and spent so many endless hours on the Internet trying to find him, and all this time, he could have just picked up the phone and called me.

But he didn't.

So I've done what I have to to protect myself and to protect my daughter. I can't live my life trying to get back into someone else's.

Ah well...C'est la vie...........


Ok, you may not believe this, but just a few weeks ago, I had never bloged before. Ever. In my entire life. Shocking I know, but try to calm yoursef so that you can continue reading.

I'm now starting my second blog because flotsom and jetsom from my life was getting in the way of me being able to post on my exercise blog. Here I can vent about the general unfairness of life, and get it all out of my system then switch to my fitness blog and post about how awesome my workout was and how many calories I burned in one hour on the treadmill. I'll have plenty of time to do lots of posting since I was just released from my job today. Oh yes, you will hear all about that soon enough...