Wednesday, June 30, 2010

They are here! They really are here!

Greetings Land of Blog!

I am so excited I can hardly sit to write this post.

The books, the Bingo's Big Adventure books, have arrived from the printers and look incredible!!

I wish my night time, incandescent lighting did these justice, but I could not wait to take these photos in daytime!

The printers did an outstanding job putting my vision on paper and I am so proud to be able to say I photographed, wrote and published this little gem of a book. This is not to say I did not have help along the way. I had several "editors" who gave me their comments and feedback to refine my story.

The folks who have helped me do read this blog and I must say a few words to them . . . I know I have not won any awards here, but I simply must thank them.

I would like to thank my Aunt Karen and Uncle Bill for their insightful contributions from the inception of this journey. I want to send my appreciation to Jenny who gave me technical and creative edits that were spot on. And I want to thank Holly for editorial comments and the slap in the head (metaphorically of course, although she probably wanted to do it for real with justification) when I got off course.

Without technical assistance from my friend Suzanne with the final production process, I would have been totally unprepared for printing. When I thought I was close, I found out how much more I needed to do to make it "print ready." Many thanks to you Suzanne!

Now the quick summary.

Bingo's Big Adventure is a children's story (appropriate for ages 3 to 8), in a 10"x 8" format in either hardback or softback, which follows the path of Bingo, the newest cat on our farm. Bingo is a real member of our family and all photos in the story were taken on our little farm.

In this "Cat's Tale," Bingo explores his new world and tackles adventure with curiosity and a touch of well founded reservation. Bingo meets other animals on the farm including a pesky rooster who challenges his instincts. Vibrant color photographs document the story line and are matched with lively text describing Bingo's thoughts. This story is told from his point of view.

I know that adults as well as children will enjoy reading this book.

If you are looking for a new book for your kids or have gifts to give to children in this age range please consider purchasing my book for them. It would also make a great coffee table book since the photos are quite lively.

With your purchase you would be buying a quality children's book, be supporting a women owned business, and be promoting independent publishing. I would be honored to sign any copies that are purchased on your request.

Please visit to order Bingo's Big Adventure via Paypal. It is also available on Amazon as well.

Now all I need to do is take a few deep breaths and try to go to sleep . . .

Friday, June 25, 2010

About Dinner with Wyatt

Tonight at dinner we were having the usual battles regarding the cuisine du jour. Wyatt, my soon to be six year old son, was behaving like the exorcist, spinning in his chair, standing up and down, and exhibiting his best "eyes rolling back in his head" look. He was showing his strong contempt with the food he was offered.

What do we eat in the house of Our Simple Life? Well, our dinner this evening consisted of spinach ravioli, steamed green beans and squash with salt and butter, and sliced cucumbers in sweet Italian dressing. Quite a tasty meal if you ask me.

And on a sided note, I often get questioned by my husband, "How come you aren't serving more meat???"

My logical response is always the same, "We don't have to eat meat every day, Dear." Actually, we've had meatless meals a couple times a week since before Wyatt was born. So this alone is not so unusual.

BUT getting Wyatt to sit still for any length of time, longer than it takes for him to pick his nose, is still somewhat impossible. I think he can actually pick his nose and run a sprint at the same time, so maybe my comparison is ill founded. However, this dinner time chaos has been chronic. If nose picking was part of dinner, I might actually have some kind of advantage. But thank goodness it is not.

In addition to Wyatt's normal spastic tenancies on this splendid evening, he was refusing to eat his ravioli. "I'm only eating the veggies, Mom. That ravioli looks like raw sewage." My son has a rather colorful way with words, especially when they come to disgusting things.

With dinner under siege, I got creative and said, "Hey Wyatt, Do you know what that ravioli really looks like?"

Wyatt shakes his head, "No Ma. What is it? Tell me. Tell me."

I began slowly, looking him in the eye with my head tilted to the side for emphasis. I squinted my eyes and said, "Well, I think they look like a giant eye. Like the eye of a giant squid." This was not far from the truth as the dark round circles where the spinach and cheese filling lies between the pasta dough does resemble the eye of the aforementioned aquatic beast.

My son's face lighted up and his eyebrows rose in surprise. "Yeah. I think your right Mama," he blurted out.

I continued carefully with emphasis just in the right areas, "And I think you are the sperm whale who is going to eat his squid eyes tonight, right?"

"Mom, Mom, I need to get out the book with the giant squid inside it to make sure..." Wyatt rushes away from the table to the bookshelves, " make sure it looks just like the squid eyes!"

"Get back here!! No! Sit down NOW!" I roared at him as he jumped flea-like toward the books.

Wyatt came back to the table. This whole time he was carrying around his ravioli. Where else should it be? Plates? Who needs plates with plates for hands... It was still gently cradled in his junior man hands.

We have a bench seat on one side of our trestle table because when Wyatt was two he almost tipped himself over in the chairs daily by putting his feet on the table lip and shoving back. He would try to rock the chair on it's back legs from the confines of his booster seat. I had to buy the bench seat to avoid the emergency room visit to stitch up the back of his head.

Wyatt wiggled around the end of the bench seat and took a big half moon bite of his ravioli. He chewed with an expression of acceptance.

"What does it taste like, Wyatt? Is it chewy or gummy? Does it taste like a peanut butter and jelly sandwich or does it taste like play dough? Be a food reviewer and tell me the flavors. If you were going to write about it in a magazine what would you say?" I figured questioning him will make his brain work and settle his body a little.

The ferret running on the wheel in his head sputtered out, "Play dough. But I like it."

"When have you been eating Play dough lately, Wyatt?"

"I haven't. I just remember."

"Mom, I just farted." Wyatt shared with glee. Then he continued, "It smells good!" while he broke out into laughter.

My stone cold, no expression face does nothing to deter him. Where does he get all this from? His little sister is NOTHING like this and I swear I am raising them the same.

Ten minutes and two ravioli later, I excuse my son from the table. I am basically mentally exhausted. Sometimes it can take him 20 minutes to eat five bites of food. I just want to put my head down on the table and sob from time to time.

I think the only logical solution is to buy this:

Yes, the object of last resort. A velcro suit. I can zip him in, attach him to his wall, shove a table in front of him and walk away. Then he can learn to talk himself through dinner every night.

I think it would look lovely in my kitchen too. My kitchen resembles a three ring circus when my son is at dinner so I say . . . "Why not!"

By the way . . . Am I actually complaining that my son said he would ONLY eat his veggies? I just realized this factoid. I guess the world is really upside down right now, isn't it.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Great Expectations?

Am I the only "house wife" (I use this term very loosely...) in America with a husband who can look in the refrigerator and tell me with a grief stricken, forlorn face that there is nothing to drink while gazing upon five to six different icy cold beverage choices???

Seriously, I have had numerous occasions where after unloading beer, bottled water, juice, milk, Gatorade and chocolate milk into the most important appliance in my house hold, I am told unequivocally that, "There is not a thing to drink..." by my dear and loving spouse.

The reality is that this commentary from my husband is code for "I want a Pepsi." But I refuse to supply the high fructose corn syrup-carmel colored elixer to the humming bird my husband has allowed himself to become.

So by his declaration, my husband, either wants to incite a battle over some inconsequential beverage choice, or he likes to hear me scream like a victim out of Halloween XX. I hardly can believe the shrieks that emerge from my own vocal cords when I am accosted with such an attack.

Is that me yelling or is someone being bludgeoned with an ax? He is known to be a tinsy bit antagonistic just for fun and I should, after 13 years of exposure to him, be well immunized from such balderdash, but somehow I am always suckered in.

To sum it up, if my husband was a wizard he would cast a spell upon the refrigerator such that upon its opening a colorful puff of smoke would burst from within and a cold soda would levitate to his lips, while simultaneously a hot cheeseburger and fries would leap into his hands. Then he would say jovially, "See, Honey, I made dinner tonight."


Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Now I Know Why my Mom Dreaded Summer

Happy Summer Folks! It feels like the season is really, really here. Tomorrow is the last day of school and Wyatt is going to be home as a kindergarten graduate in need of constant occupation.

This picture of pretty flowers from my garden is supposed to calm me regarding the inevitable.

Well, nope. That didn't really work. Oh crap. I'm doomed.

We spent some time outside this afternoon in the lovely weather. Temperatures topped out at a mild 80 today and even though I could probably survive in Siberia and be happy, I tolerated the heat. Huh huh. . .

Ella, meanwhile, made the pilgrimage out to the arena to drive her wheelbarrow around and tie some invisible object down with a ten pound chain.

Wyatt, not to be outdone, found a spare building anchor in my barn and was spinning circles around the base as fast as he could.

My kids are kind of like cats. They are attracted to sand and can be occupied by strange but fascinating things that are not real toys. I swear that I could give Wyatt a bottle cap and a piece of lint and he'd find some new way to use it.

Getting bored with heavy chains and such, Ella took a seat on the cavelletti's in the middle of the arena. I've been meaning to move them for weeks but somehow just forget. They are really in the way when I am trying to do lateral work on the horses but I just ride around them. I guess I've been lazy like that.

I just love this photo for some reason.

I think Ella was gazing in amazement or in dizziness at Wyatt spinning around and around and around. Knowing he was being watched, Wyatt interrupts the moment to show Ella that one can "taste" sand. He's a smart cookie. Yep.

Mind you I warned them both, "Your mouth's not gonna like that!" But sometimes one must figure it out the hard way. Plus, there being a whole ham between the two of them and a camera in the vicinity, a show must be put on.

Not being one to turn down a dare, Ella partakes in some grit tasting of her own.

Then of course there was this.

On to smarter animals. . . Horses. Now they know what is edible and what is not.

While it looks like they are eating dirt here, actually they are picking up bur clover seeds (Medicago polymorpha) that are all over the ground. It is one of the last thing that gets munched out of their little pasture. When the seeds dry out, they are edible. Earlier in the year the horses don't touch them. Most "clovers" are more bitter earlier in the year when they are super green.

And because I can't enter their field without being attacked, here's the two nice horsie faces up close and personal. Meet the Vegetation Destruction Team. I think they would like to be like the A team. And the have enough legs between them. Gemma is a professional escape artist and Sharpie could be the look out.

I ramble. . .

Our little vegetable garden is going strong now. My favorite are the snap peas. I LOVE LOVE LOVE eating them right of the plants. And I am strangely fascinated by the twisty tendrils.

At our house the rule is "If you pick it, you eat it." So certain children better not pull any peas off the vines that he does not plan on putting in his mouth.

Lastly, Bingo is living the good life. Some food, some exercise, some socialization, and some restful sleep.

It's all in a days work!
How is your summer starting?

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

I am The Driver of the Badwordmobile.

I do not drive "the bookmobile" or "the batmobile" or "the Popemobile." But I am the some what embarrassed driver of a vehicle which can only be conservatively called "the badwordmobile." My embarrassment really only lasted about a half second, so I must share the results of my experiment. I may also be required to categorize this post under "Bad Mommy Part III."

I would totally be excommunicated from the Catholic church, were I a member, for my evil parental transgressions over the weekend. How now brown cow, you say? Well it started with a drive home after a long day of exploring over the weekend.

Let's just say I had three boys (my son and two of his cousins) stuck in my truck on the way home after a long, long, long day. We had a drive of a little over an hour to endure getting back to our housing compound.

By some law of the universe, the three boys ages 8, 7, and 5, could find nothing more entertaining then to say naughty words to each other under their stinky little breath. I still can not comprehend their excessive fascination, bordering on a compulsive disorder, with BAD WORDS. But it is what it is.

As I was driving I kept hearing whispers from the back seat, "Ass. . . ass head. . . butt wipe. . .butt funk . . . " and so on.

I briefly pondered pulling over and beating the crap out of the boys. Then I decided there'd be too many witnesses along Highway 101. Time for other strategies.

And reverse psychology, having some kind of effect on kids, was to find it's role in the parents guide to the universe once again.

"You know boys, I CAN hear you," I told them when the next round of filth emptied like a quietly sneaking black fog from their mouths.

Silence. Then uncontrollable giggling.

I continued,"We don't talk like that. You KNOW that already though don't you boys."

A staggered chorus of "We know... OK." was heard from the backseat. Then another fit of giggles erupted.

"Well, maybe today we can do something different," I speculated out loud.

I went on, "What if you write all the bad words you want on paper instead of saying them? I don't want to hear them, but you can write all the naughty words you want. I repeat, the rules are you must NOT say them. AND you can't tell anyone about this. We're gonna call it the badwordmobile. OK? This will be our secret. Right."

Secrets and bad words are things which kids like, so I was betting the clandestine nature of this operation and being told to use the words they aren't supposed to would do the trick. Maybe this would satisfy their need to explore vocabulary while simultaneously keeping them from verbalizing those things that they should not. Maybe this was pure parenting genius. Maybe NOT.

Pandemonium with whoops and hollers broke out intermixed with, "Yeah!! Yeah! Okay! and Really? The three boys were laughing and sputtering with excitement like Bevis and Butthead at their worst. They were chortling and chirping like a pack of dirty starlings.

After a scramble for scratch paper and pens, the boys were totally absorbed with their new directive and silence in the truck ensued. Those three boys set to work to write their worst.

I could see my son Wyatt carefully writing, "Luke is an ass." Then he stopped to ask, "How do you spell 'balls'?"

Bwahhaahaaaa. Laughter of the most uncontrollable kind broke loose for five minutes.

Then Trevor piped in hissing with glee, "I'm gonna write 'Butt lick'."

"Hey!! I said you CAN'T say the words boys!!! What about our rules?" I hollered at them.




The furious writing by unsteady hands using pink felt tip markers on the back side of scratch paper was palpable. Concentration of this magnitude in boys is not often observed.

A rustle, a squeak, a sigh . . .

Then paper airplanes laden with profanity took flight across the back seat of my truck. As each recipient claimed his specially addressed airplane, raucous laughter echoed through the vehicle. Each boy read the naughty note written just for him. I think it was truly unmitigated joy.

What did I do?

So this pattern went on for the half of the trip home. Writing bad words, folding paper airplanes, reading, cackling laughter. But the bad word verbal banter was gone.

As we approached the exit to our town I said, "Okay boys. That's it. The badword mobile is over. Now what are the rules?"

"Don't tell anyone about the badword mobile," one of the boys volunteered.

"We can only write down the words on paper and not say them," another piped up.

I nodded my head and said, "Good! Excellent! Now there is just one more thing. Every scrap of paper must be thrown in the trash as soon as we get home."

And when we got home a few minutes later the boys cleaned out the truck of the foul debris.

Now let's see how long the foul words are absent from their tongues. . .

The Day the Swallows Came Home

The tree swallows are here already.  They arrived January 30 much to my dismay.  Swooping and calling and chirping their merry song over my ...