Writing

Graduations, Birthday Parties, and Broken Bones…Oh My!

broken footWhat a whirlwind spring! I’ve been away (says Captain Obvious), because Murphy’s Law struck again, and when I put more things on my plate, someone came along to heap more on top.

I’m not gonna be able to eat all that! I think I just need to lay down.

See? My life has spun so much that I’m mixing my metaphors. *DEEP BREATH*

What I’ve been up to…

I’ve done some local author appearances complete with reading excerpts in my attempt at the Irish brogue. I’ve played harp when I can at a weekly Open Mic.

If you're ever in the Tampa, FL area and need a photographer, look up the fabulous James Geiger. He's  very down to earth and takes beautiful photos. :)
If you’re ever in the Tampa, FL area and need a photographer, look up the fabulous James Geiger. He’s very down to earth and takes beautiful photos. 🙂

And, of course, I’m writing. I’ve gotten down the first twenty-three pages of my next book…because the story wouldn’t stop traipsing through my thoughts. This is my first book that’s not Young Adult. It’s a Historical Fiction centered on the lifting of Prohibition in America. Most importantly, it’s inspired by the true story of my great-grandpa who owned a restaurant/bar during the Great Depression. He doted on my Grannie, who was 10-years-old at the time. The trouble was, great-grandma was a bad alcoholic.

And so the story goes…

And Yet…

First and foremost, I’m a mom. Sometimes, my writer/musician life gets in the way.

Charlie graduated from VPK and “Exceeded Expectations” in everything scholastic despite having brain surgery halfway through the year. *fist bump*

Charlie grad William started our annual birthday sprint (three birthdays within ten days). I’ve learned a valuable lesson about birthday invitations this year. When sending them to kids whose parents aren’t in my phone’s contact list (which was most), don’t assume that most of them know what Emily Post teaches about “RSVP.”

Cue frantic indecision about how much pizza and cake to order.

And as if there wasn’t enough stress in THAT weekend…

The evening before William’s birthday party, Charlie decided to perform some kind of daredevil stunt. Ya take your eyes off them for a second! We were in the gymnastics room at the YMCA and he tripped. Yep. That’s it. However he did it, he managed to brake the end of one of his metatarsals near his toes.

If you don’t know what a metatarsal is, then clearly you haven’t read The Stone of Kings. <=== *that’s a hyperlink right there (hint hint)* 😉 Who knew I’d use the information for my own kid?

Courtesy of The Writer's Circle
Courtesy of The Writer’s Circle.

Then hubby had to promptly leave for a few days on an out of town business trip. No wonder I managed to pick up some kind of stomach bug the last couple of days.

What? You’re exhausted? Why? 😉

At least this month wasn’t nearly as bad as when Charlie had his neurosurgery.

Now that Charlie is casted and can join day camp with his brother, I will hopefully be able to crank out my new book.

In the meantime, unless the earth swallows me up, I hope to resume blogging. But it won’t take away too much from my novel-writing effort since I’m starting a series called “Grannie’s Memories.” I’ll post the anecdotes and interesting bits Grannie wrote down. These are things she remembered about being a kid during the Great Depression. I’ve been reading them over and over for background for my book. You might like them. Grannie was quite a character. 😀

Till then, would anyone like some leftover birthday cake? …please?

I’d Love To Hear From You!

Do you mix metaphors when you get over-stressed? Are you looking forward to a bright spot of peace that’s almost within your grasp? Do you know what a metatarsal is because you’ve read TSoK?

The Stone of Kings · Writing

Finish What You Start

muse car seatDuring my blogcation, I also gave up writing in general (much to the chagrin of my muse) to focus on Charlie’s neurosurgery. The mother in me shoved Muse to the backseat, buckled it up, and let it listen once more to the audio version of the Harry Potter books just to keep it quiet so I could think more clearly about what was happening to my four-year old.

That worked for a little while.

But if you have kids, and even if you don’t, you’re probably well aware of how deafening the backseat can be. At least they’re strapped in. My ears are still ringing from the scream Charlie produced the other night. Nothing was wrong. He just felt like screaming.

Ow.

Muse did the same thing to me after we had to postpone the initial surgery date because Charlie picked up a cold. In full “Are we there yet?” mode, Muse gave me the desire to write-up a story based on my Grannie’s childhood and centering around the lifting of prohibition.

I wrote about ten pages.

Okay Muse, you need a bit of discipline. I’ve got an unfinished screenplay and the first half of another book in the works. I’ll never finish either of them if I keep starting other things.

Now that Charlie is fully recovered, Muse is brooding in time-out while I continue my screenplay to The Stone of Kings. Meanwhile, Inner Editor is shut in her room because she keeps reminding me that my page count is entirely too high for my characters to still be in Dublin and Kells.

**calls through the door** “I’ll fix it when it’s done!”

On the plus side, working on the screenplay immerses me once again into my story. So, in the spirit of finishing what I start, I’ll be resuming the analysis of characters for The Stone of Kings next Monday. Get ready to meet the fiery red-headed Hannah.

I’m picking up Wednesday Welcomes too! I’ve already got authors lined up for the next three months 😀 starting this week with the lovely Coleen Lahr! You’ll get to read a fun excerpt from her recent release, Accepted – maybe it isn’t where you belong, but who you belong with.

I’d love to hear from you!

Do you have trouble finishing what you start? Do you sometimes feel like a jail warden for your inspiration? Does your muse scream louder at you during times of stress?

Friday Fun

Friday Fun – Neurosurgery

Fortunately, Mickey didn't need to go under the knife.
Fortunately, Mickey didn’t need to go under the knife.

Since Charlie’s diagnosis of Type 1 Chiari Malformation is what prompted my overlong blogcation, I thought it only fitting that I start up again on Friday Fun. 🙂

His surgery was on December 10th and I still can’t get over how well he did! He is back to being the same old Charlie, except that he sleeps soooo much better. No more sleep apnea, no more thrashing, no more waking at all hours of the night. Well, he still comes downstairs and crawls into bed with us sometimes, but at least he goes back to sleep. 😉

We were very blessed living so close to All Children’s Hospital in St. Petersburg. It was a fabulous experience, given the circumstances. The staff did a fantastic job catering the minds and spirit of children. We even got a surprise visitors!

Charlie thought it was pretty cool that they posed for me. :D
Charlie thought it was pretty cool that they posed for me…instead of wrapping me in webbing.

But since they happened to stop by the evening of Charlie’s procedure, this is what Charlie saw:

The backs of his eyelids were more appealing than Spiderman at the time.
The backs of his eyelids were more appealing than Spiderman at the time.

The superheros were nice enough to leave Charlie a present before they left. He was pretty stoked about it. 😀

How can you celebrate Christmas without an Avengers Santa hat?
How can you celebrate Christmas without an Avengers Santa hat?

Charlie recovered remarkably fast for decompression surgery, though for a while he did lots of this:

Things to do today: play - rest - play- rest.
Things to do today: play – rest – play – rest.

After a mere two weeks, the Neurosurgeon cleared Charlie for normal activities again! I was relieved because I was getting tired of reminding him that he couldn’t run or jump yet. 😉

I’m inexpressibly grateful that everything went so smoothly because I know that it might not have. My blogcation and the holds I put on the other areas of my life could have been much longer. But I’m not going to think about that. *shudder*

Now I’ve got my funny little clown back and we’re considering signing him up for drama classes. I’m having fun seeing what little performance he has planned for me everyday.

Have you ever had a scary experience go better than you could have ever hoped? If things went bad, did good come out of it anyway? Please share!

Friday Fun · Gluten

Friday… Well, Not so Fun, But Answers Bring Relief…and Irrational Guilt… and Somehow the Muppets Fit Into It

sleep study blog*Deep breaths* So it’s only an Arnold-Chiari Type 1 malformation. It’s not a type 2 or 3, fortunately. But it means Charlie probably needs neurosurgery.

Neuro. Surgery.

Wow. The kid is only four.

I’m so glad I’m an observant mother. I noticed that just as Charlie fell asleep, he would exhale…then wait. After several moments, he would gasp in his air. The first time I brought it up to our pediatrician, he said, “As long as he’s not snoring, he should be fine.”

Um… oookay! Time for a second opinion.

Same pediatric group, but a different doctor, checked his tonsils and adenoids, and they were fine, so she sent us to a sleep specialist. *sigh* Good, getting somewhere.

A sleep study determined Central Sleep Apnea, but they didn’t know the cause. MRI time.

That’s what revealed the Chiari Malformation and where we are now.

So I’m reading up and according to National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke,  “It can be caused by structural defects in the brain and spinal cord that occur during fetal development, whether caused by genetic mutations or lack of proper vitamins or nutrients in the maternal diet.”

That actually makes a lot of sense. During my entire pregnancy with Charlie I was lactose intolerant. After he was born, I discovered my issues with gluten leading to self-diagnosis (long story about a lazy GI “specialist”) of celiac disease which would explain the weird lactose intolerance which seemed to disappear a few months after Charlie was born. I’d had a random bout of lactose intolerance before that vanished just as weirdly. I can’t remember if I brought up the lactose intolerance to my obstetrician. I’m pretty sure I did, but I’m going to contact them to find out.

Celiac disease is known for malabsorption of nutrients because it blunts the villi in the intestine where they are absorbed. I had no idea that I might have celiac disease when I was pregnant with either one of my boys.

*slumps shoulders* Bring on irrational guilt.

I know, it’s not my fault. It’s not like I drank alcohol or smoked. I took care of my body with the knowledge I had at the time. As rigorous as I am to sticking to a gluten-free diet, had I known then what I know now, part of me thinks that Charlie wouldn’t have this problem at all.

Oh, if time travel were truly possible! Circumstances like these are probably why we creative types dream of it. When I think of all the expensive prenatal vitamins that I took but probably did not absorb because I was also eating bread, I start to feel quite sick.

Ugh.

Well, at least we know what’s going on now, instead of when he’s a high school dropout at 16 because we couldn’t figure out why he couldn’t focus or even why he didn’t have the fine motor skills to write his name properly.

There’s definitely that.

Meanwhile, for the last day and a half since the first mention of the word “neurosurgery,” a kink in my own mental wiring thrust this blast from the past that I never have forgotten:

When Baby Piggy promises to practice neurosurgery on Kermie’s brain… yeah. It’s been stuck in my head ever since. I guess it’s my subconscious way of lightening my mood. 😉

Simply prayers, please.