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Making A Scene At Thanksgiving Dinner

Nov. 19th, 2006 | 05:08 pm

Yesterday, my sister spent a lot of time preparing the majority of our family's Thanksgiving dinner dishes. I know she worked hard to get everything ready by 6:00. It's become a tradition for the family to get together the Saturday before Thanksgiving. In this case, the family means siblings, spouses & their kids plus our divorced parents, our stepmother, our only living grandparent and a few special guests. Yes, you read that correctly. Our mother, father and stepmother all gather under one roof for dinner. They do the same thing on December 23rd when we have our traditional Christmas dinner and a few other times during the year for birthday parties. Usually, the dinners go off without a hitch and everybody behaves.

This time I didn't behave. Karrie was being criticized --harshly-- by William. I've heard him say similar things in the past and it always gets under my skin. He said she should get rid of the TV and video games and spend more time outside exercising because she's fat. No child should have to hear the things he was saying to her. She's not skinny but she's nowhere near what I would describe as fat. She's a beautiful, active ten year old. I don't remember everything I said but I know I made a scene in front of my sister's guests. I do know when William said Karrie is more of a headache than anything (or something very close to that), I retaliated with, "the same could be said about you." I told him she doesn't need him making her feel self-conscious and I don't ever want to hear another comment like that come out of his mouth. (Yes, I know how 'mom-typical' that was). He stared at his hands in his lap most of the time I was talking so I'm sure I embarrassed him. Our conversation was not private. He was sitting on the sofa beside our father and I was all the way across the room. I wasn't yelling but I was loud.

I walked out with my father and stepmother when they were ready to leave so I could apologize that they had to witness the scene. My stepmother has never seen that side of me. Father probably hasn't seen it in so long he forgot it existed. It would have been easy to stand there and talk about William's shortcomings but we didn't. I apologized to Becky because it was her house and to my mother because I know she's going to hear about it. William lives with her. I also apologized to Dennis...not for making a scene so much as not giving him a chance to defend his daughter. Karrie stayed overnight with me so we talked a little about what had been said. I don't know how much good it did for me to defend her like that and then reassure her. Hopefully, when his poisonous comments float through her mind, she'll remember our conversation, too.

Three Months

Nov. 12th, 2006 | 09:15 pm

I have been working at the library three months now. It doesn't seem like I've been there that long and in fact some other staff members still refer to me as "the new girl in circulation." I should lose that label soon because another person joined the circulation staff last week. I work 3 or 4 days a week including every Friday and rotating weekends. The writing is going well enough...no major news to share there. I've been reading a lot of course. Here's a partial list of books I've read in the past three months:

ANGELS FALL by Nora Roberts

KEY OF VALOR by Nora Roberts

KEY OF KNOWLEDGE by Nora Roberts

KEY OF LIGHT by Nora Roberts

HELL'S BELLES by Jackie Kessler (available in January 2007)


SALT RAIN by Sarah Armstrong

THE SECRET SISTER by Elizabeth Lowell


THE PULL OF THE MOON by Elizabeth Berg

TO DIE FOR by Linda Howard




Oct. 24th, 2006 | 08:42 pm

I got a box of air from the City of Hickory. Yeah, I should probably explain that. The library director provided me with a door prize ticket because I was working the day of the co-worker appreciation luncheon. When I went to work again a couple days after the luncheon, I saw a wrapped box on a desk in the workroom with my name on the outside. My co-workers urged me to open it right away because everybody was curious to see what was inside. They had spent days shaking the box and trying to guess what could possibly be so light. When I opened the box, it was empty. A phone call to the woman in charge of the luncheon resulted in an apology and a promise to send me a new umbrella. I got my new very large umbrella last Thursday-- the same day I got a gift from some friends.

One of my friends had sent me an email urging me to watch the mail for something from her and stating it should arrive Wednesday or Thursday. I didn't know what to expect when I saw the envelope from her that evening. Five of my friends pooled resources to pay my first year dues to RWA...Romance Writers of America. I know I stared at the message, the enclosed check made out to RWA and the membership form for a long time. Timmy finally had to ask what it was but I'm not sure he understood what it meant to me. I know how much planning must have gone into the gift because these friends are scattered all over the world. They have been some of my biggest supporters over the past several years and I've always appreciated their honesty, insight and encouragement. I couldn't begin to repay them for the kindness they had already shown before last week. Their love and belief in me leaves me nearly speechless. I hope I don't disappoint them.

General Rambles

Oct. 3rd, 2006 | 04:10 pm

Last night, Timmy and I took the girls shopping for Halloween costumes. We do it early to give them a bigger selection. Halloween night I'll be escorting a forest fairy, Genevieve from Barbie in The Twelve Dancing Princesses and Ariel as a bride.

Today, I've cleaned all day but it doesn't seem like I did anything. I cleaned in the 'hidden' places. Outdated food has been removed from the refrigerator, freezer and pantry. I made a list of everything we need to fix or replace in the house and called around for prices on one or two items. I even called about potential Christmas gifts.

A Look Inside

Sep. 20th, 2006 | 07:06 pm

I'm currently reading SACRED SELFISHNESS by Bud Harris Ph.D. It's A GUIDE TO LIVING A LIFE OF SUBSTANCE and I found the following before I even got 30 pages in:

How many of us try to chase away our restless dissatisfaction, despite our nice homes, job, and families by asking ourselves, What have I got to complain about? How can I complain when so many other people are less fortunate? And, our ability to face dissatisfactions is complicated even further if we have reached a level of education and success beyond that of our families of origin. It's very scary for us to outgrow our families psychologically, and realizing we are doing so may leave us feeling terribly guilty and even ashamed of ourselves. It can also leave us feeling like exiles, without a home or roots or people who care about us and understand us on a basic level.

When I read that, I wanted to shout, "That's how I feel!" I often downplay my accomplishments because I feel guilty and afraid. I even have the twisted sense of shame mentioned in the passage above but the sentence that really hit home for me was the last one. It's like Dr. Harris looked inside my heart and described what he saw there. Some of my cousins have been calling me "the maverick" for over a decade but the feelings Harris describes have become more pronounced in the past three years. Sawmills isn't home anymore. "Helton Hollar" hasn't changed much since I roamed those acres as a child. I can never go back (and I don't want to) and my future is a giant neon question mark. The present feels like floating in the ocean under cloudy skies with no ships or land in sight.


Sep. 8th, 2006 | 07:14 pm

The sex offender registry issue comes up in my family at least once a year...usually in April when my brother has to verify his address. This year, we made it all the way to September before the subject came up. The latest information makes me sick to my stomach. My brother went to prison for a sex offense and was paroled before the registry law came into effect. After the law's effective date, he returned to prison for parole violation. The new officer in charge of the registry in his county says my brother shouldn't have even been on the registry because he didn't return to prison after the date under sex offense charges. The officer has submitted necessary paperwork to remove my brother from the registry. I know that's 'fair' to him because of the way the law is written but I don't like it. This situation highlights something I have been saying for years now. People cannot rely on registries to identify potential predators. There are people who never had to register because they were out of the prison system before the laws went into effect and there are people who have never gone to jail because a victim hasn't spoken up yet.

School Time

Aug. 30th, 2006 | 07:34 pm

Today was Amanda's first day of school with a full class. Monday was a stagger start day and based on what she said when she got home, there were four other kids in the class that day. She couldn't remember anyone's name but she told me what they look like. "Two girls have brown hair, the boy has brown hair and there was another girl with blonde hair like mine. She had her hair in a ponytail." I'm glad her first day of school has finally arrived. She was getting tired of waiting and I was starting to think "Do I have school tomorrow?" would become part of our normal bedtime routine.

Maria is in 2nd grade now. I'm hoping she has a calm year this year. During both her kindergarten and 1st grade school years, she lost a loved one (Timmy's dad and my Grandma). Her kindergarten teacher moved out of state and her first grade teacher took a job at another school in this area. The bus driver she had for two years retired at the end of last year. Ria and I both like her teacher this year. Best of all, she finally got assigned to a class away from a particular little girl. If Ria came home from school upset about something, the other girl was always involved. I don't know if the email I sent the principal at the end of last year had anything to do with the class assignment but I'm thrilled she'll have limited contact with that child. I didn't identify the other child in my email. I simply mentioned she had been in the same Kindergarten and 1st grade classes with Maria. None of the little girls in Ria's class this year were in her class both those years. A few were in the same kindergarten class but a different 1st grade class. Others weren't in kindergarten with her but were in the same 1st grade class.

No Big Deal

Aug. 18th, 2006 | 07:34 pm

Today, a lady came in the library, struggling to take each step and obviously in pain. One of the staff members assigned to the desk checked the catalog to see if the books the woman wanted were really in the library so she wouldn't have to walk all over the lower level checking first the large print section and then the regular fiction section. I wasn't on desk duty so I volunteered to gather the books while the woman sat at one of the study carols. After I gathered the books on her list, I checked them out and carried them to the lady's car. It only took a few minutes and the lady was grateful. It was such a little thing, I didn't give it a second thought until the Deputy Director walked up an hour later. She asked who had looked up books, gathered them and carried them to the car for a lady. The woman called the library and asked for the person in charge because she wanted to make sure they knew how helpful the staff had been. After she got the names of the people involved, the Deputy Director emailed the Circulation Supervisor and the Library Director (who were both out of the building at the time the lady called). The Circulation Supervisor printed the email and left it at the desk so the rest of the circulation staff could read it. The Library Director made a point of thanking both of the staff members personally. I was actually a bit embarrassed by all the attention. I just helped a woman get the books she wanted. I didn't do anything special, certainly nothing out of the ordinary.

Busy Weeks & Big Decisions

Aug. 15th, 2006 | 02:23 pm

I spent most of July looking for work outside the home because I'm tired of feeling trapped in a relationship with a man who refuses to make his marriage a priority. I couldn't leave because I don't have my license or my own transportation and I had no personal income. August 2nd was my first day of my new job. I now work part time for the City of Hickory as a library assistant. The work is fun, the people are nice and the pay is adequate.

While I was looking for a job I was also making decisions about my future. I'll be opening separate bank accounts in my name only as soon as possible. At the moment, my top goal is to get my license. After that, I'll work on other things.

My optimism for the future of my marriage fades more every day. Divorce seems like such a personal failure and I can already tell I'll be the villain in this situation. My family continues to tell me I expect too much from my husband, that I have no right to ask him for anything. His family...well, I won't even go there. I'm exhausted by the constant battles. I know I don't expect too much. I did not get married to be treated like furniture. I'm more than a babysitter, cook and housekeeper. I'm tired of telling my husband I would like for him to come home earlier only to have him stay out even later the next day. I'm tired of hearing how it's my fault he doesn't spend more time with me. More than that I'm tired of people treating me like I have to earn every bit of attention, every minute of time and every tiny show of affection. That's not love...at least it's not how I love. The people I care about do not have to behave, dress or believe certain ways before I spend time with them.

Since I'm not sure my marriage is going to last much longer, I have decided to publish under my birth name. It's a little less common than the married name and allows me to honor Grandma.

We're getting close to the first day of school here. Amanda is so excited she can't stand it and Maria is anxious to see her friends again. Sarah appears to be looking forward to spending time alone. I work 3 or 4 days a week so I still have plenty of 'home time.' I've been writing on my lunch break. I also take advantage of the gap between my arrival or departure and my scheduled work hours.


Jun. 23rd, 2006 | 11:34 am

I got a letter yesterday. Due to limited space, Sarah didn't get one of the More at Four slots. I would have had to decline her spot if she had been accepted anyway so that worked out for the best. A few roadblocks came up after I sent the application in and I hadn't come up with a solution yet.

When school starts in another two months, it's just going to be me and Sarah at home. Of all my children, she's the most inclined to play alone. She's not a noisy child unless her sisters are pestering her so I think we'll have mostly peaceful days. I should be able to get in at least an hour of work when it's just the two of us.

I've already decided if I haven't at least hopped on the query-go-round by Sarah's first day of school in August 2007, I'm getting a day job. That's 14 months away.