Professorhinkle frosty the snowmanDo you remember the animated 1969 Christmas show, Frosty The Snowman? I love that one. Professor Hinkle was the magician who chased Frosty for his magical hat. In the end, Santa Claus shows up and tells Professor Hinkle he’s on the naughty list and he better get his act together before Christmas Eve otherwise the mean magician is getting coal. Professor Hinkle, in his relief to still please Santa lists all the things he needs to do in time. Then follows up with, “busy, busy, busy” before he runs off.

That’s the kind of week I’m having.

Noodge 2 is making her Bat Mitzvah. Bat Mitzvah means “Daughter to the commandments,” and it signifies that a Jewish, young lady has reached the age of religious majority. A Bat Mitzvah is entitled to all the rights and privileges of religious adulthood and of course, to all its obligations and responsibilities.  In other words, it’s a big deal for her and especially for her Italian Catholic mother. I have a party to plan.

This is the week of last minute details. I’ve made my lists and checked them twice. I’m off and running with my goals in sight. And when we arrive at our final moment, hugging good-bye to our guests, thanking them for sharing in her special day, I’ll need a nap. For a month.

In the mean time, I wish you all health, joy and happy reading. Preferably, one of my books. Wink, wink.

See you next week.

Get ready. It's coming in April 2015.

Get ready. It’s coming in April 2015.

 

Photo courtesy of morguefile

Photo courtesy of morguefile

I hate when the school nurse calls. Almost nothing good comes from a call that starts, “Hello, Mrs. Wilk, this is the nurse from school.”

Right before Christmas I received one of these calls. The nurse informed me Noodge 1 was hurt in gym class. She kept talking, but the only words I caught after were, call your doctor and emergency room. It didn’t matter what was hurt or how, I just had to get to the school as fast as my Dodge Durango could take me. Thank God, for V8 engines.

Now, let me explain, I laugh when I’m nervous. I’m pretty sure I got a speeding ticket the very first time I was pulled over, a hundred years ago, because I laughed while the police officer was talking to me. He probably thought I was an obnoxious teenager, but I was really scared to death.

When the receptionist at the school said the nurse would bring Noodge 1 to me instead of me going down to the nurse’s office, I turned away because the effervescence of laughter was making its way out my mouth and over my lips. I clamped my teeth shut and repeated the mantra, “don’t laugh.” How bad was he? I should have paid better attention on the phone. And honestly, it would have been terrible if Noodge 1 thought I was laughing at him and his injuries.

I’m not a patient person. I don’t like to wait for anything so imagine how hard it was to wait for the Noodge to be brought to me. The nurse didn’t take long, it just felt long. If I couldn’t laugh, I’d pace. Doesn’t look any crazier than laughing. Really. Trust me.

You know what I’m going to say next, don’t  you? I stared down the long, school hallway, red lockers lining each side, and willed that nurse to show up. A door opened into the hallway, and a short woman with dark hair, backed out a child, wait for it now, in a wheelchair into the hall. My next thoughts: “Don’t pass out.”

I really am good under pressure, and if you want to read about how I handled Noodge 2’s trip to the ER you can here, but I can’t stand the sight of blood or anything remotely resembling an injury. I hated high school biology for a reason. Noodge 1 was coming to me in a wheel chair. I couldn’t laugh or pass out. That wasn’t going to be easy.

But I have to tell you. Mothers can rally. We pull up our boot straps and tighten our belts. Our children need us. Passing out is for the weak. I plastered a smile on my face, swallowed the laughter, made my legs hold me up, and drove my kid to the walk-in place with an x-ray machine and avoided the ten hour wait in the ER. I didn’t face plant, vomit or crack-up. I can handle a call from the school nurse any day of the week. Piece of cake.

Yeah, right.

 

 

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This is my crack. Kidding. Not crack. Just chocolate.

My first day back to work in 2015 didn’t go quite the way I planned. I had organized my desk and my calendar. I blocked out time to write a short story I’m going to enter in a contest, time to come up with clever blog posts for all of you to read, and time to work on Welcome to Skull Mountain, book three in the Gabriel Hunter series due out in the spring. (Thanks for letting me plug it.) Then the Universe laughed at me.

Noodge 1 must have his high school I.D. with him at all times while on the school campus. Every morning, I ask him if he has it. Yesterday he didn’t realize he had left it at home until we were at the bus stop and the bus was coming. Yes, I take him to the bus stop. I live in the country. The bus stop is no where near our house, the bus comes before 7 and we don’t have sidewalks or street lights. I might not trust my Noodge to have his I.D, but I trust everyone else less. I had to drive him to school. I took a deep breath, didn’t panic, knowing I could make up the time elsewhere.

Every morning I take Munson out to play. An eight month old German Shepherd puppy needs to run. He loves to chase leaves. I let him have at it while throwing a tennis ball into the mix. Munson was in his glory and full of mud which I didn’t realize until he was dripping on my floor and getting mud all over the walls. Have you ever tried to clean a 60 lb puppy? Munson lives from a place of “are we playing a game?” and “can I eat it?” Another deep breath, but now I missed my yoga class. I didn’t panic. I’ll just eat fewer calories.

At lunch time I burned my food because Munson needed to go out. More leaves, more mud, fighting with the prong collar. A nap was in order, but I don’t take naps. In fact, I hate sleeping. And my writing time was being gauged into.

Instead, I put a candy dish full of Hershey kisses on my desk. Comfort food. I’ve never put a full bag of candy within arms reach of my computer before. If I’m going to eat the chocolate at least I can walk downstairs to get it. But my stress level was up and chocolate releases serotonin in your brain as well as increases the numbers on the scale, but the kisses are wrapped in pretty Christmas foil and I’m bummed the holidays are over. I have to search for a holiday movie on Netflix now and what happened to my Christmas music?

Then, Noodge 2 sent me a text around 1:30. She didn’t feel well. She wanted to come home from school. My new year hadn’t gone the way I planned. I wanted a do-over. And candy.

Remember do-overs? Do-overs allow you to make mistakes, try something out, and not worry about the results because you can just shout “do-over” again until you get it right. The best games I played had a do-over option. Do-overs mean there is still a chance for your plans to turn out the way you hoped. Do-overs make me think of hot summer days, cherry ice-pops dripping down your hand, running across the parched earth kicking up dirt in your wake and filling the air with your laughter. Do-overs are about childhood when you still have all the chances to live the life you dream about.

Today was my do-over and every day I wake up. Today is another chance to write those stories, practice yoga, laugh with my Noodges, wipe off the dog, and eat the chocolate. That’s the only “do-over” I need.

staceywilk:

 

Even though Christmas has past, I’m still in the spirit. (I hate to see the season end.) I’m reblogging today a post from author and social media expert, Kristen Lamb. She’s done a fantastic job of breaking down one of my favorite stories – A Christmas Carol, and showing how Charles Dickens infused the Christian meaning of Christmas into his work. If you’re a fan of A Christmas Carol then I think you’ll enjoy the post too. I might be late, but Merry Christmas. Thanks, Kristen for letting me share.

Originally posted on Kristen Lamb's Blog:

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One of my all-time favorite movies for the holidays is The Muppets Christmas Carol. I believe I’ve seen this movie a few hundred thousand times. I’ve worn out three VHS tapes and at least three DVDs. I play the movie over and over, mainly because, well, duh,  MUPPETS! I drive my husband nuts playing this movie over and over…and over.

I’m worse than a three-year-old.

Muppets aside, I also can’t get enough of the music. I love the story of A Christmas Carol no matter how many times I see it, no matter how many renditions, and I am certainly not alone. Charles Dickens’ story of a redeemed miser is a staple for holiday celebrations around the world and across the generations.

This story is virtually synonymous with “Christmas,” but why is it such a powerful story? Why has it spoken so deeply to so many? Why is it…

View original 1,966 more words

The Coffee King and I all dressed up.

The Coffee King and I all dressed up.

We’re an interfaith family. That means the Coffee King and the Noodges are Jewish and I’m not. I’m trying to make the dog a Catholic, but he keeps eating the Communion wafers at the wrong time. Being Interfaith also means we’re knee deep in Hanukkah and with Christmas around the corner it always feels like we slide head first into the end of the year. Another year over, another year older and I have the lines on my face to prove it.

What is the meaning of this time of year? I know it’s not supposed to be about the rush through stores trying to pry the last Harry Potter Board Game out of the hands of some unsuspecting woman. (That actually happened to me. Well, the strange woman didn’t put her hands on me, but she was ready. She wanted that game and thought it was the last one on the shelf.) It’s more than wrapping presents in pretty paper, but my mother is the best wrapper I’ve ever seen. Between her cleaning skills and her wrapping skills she’s a tough act to follow, let me tell you. This time of year is more than baking cookies and pies even though I love to bake. I can’t wait to make my egg nog pound cake even if no one wants to eat it.

What does this time of year mean? Is it peace on earth and good will toward men? That’s one of my favorite meanings because it includes everyone. I love the idea of peace on earth. No more crazy people who strap bombs to their bodies or fly planes into buildings or shoot someone just because they’re mad or angry or confused. Every person filled with kindness and intentions of goodness toward others. No more, trying to be right instead of trying to be kind. No more fear and hatred. Yeah, that’s the kind of earth I’d like to live on.

Of course, I know this time of year is about the birth of Christ, but we’ve come a long way from that don’t you think? Trying to celebrate someone’s birthday for 2014 years is bound to morph into something else. I like buying gifts because I love to see the look on someone’s face when they open up something you tried hard to find for them, that special thing that says, “Hey, I saw this and thought you’d like it and giving it to you will bring you joy which brings me joy.” I watch too many Hallmark commercials, I know.

I’d say this time of year is about spending time with family, but most people don’t want to spend time with their family so that doesn’t count.

This time of year could be about saying thank you. “Thank you, for delivering my mail every day. Thank you for choosing to be in my life. Thank you for talking me off the ledge.”

Or maybe it’s about hope. Hope for a better year next year. Hope for peace on earth. Hope for that job, that special someone to arrive in your life, hope that your kids will stop driving you straight to the liquor store, hope for more readers, another chance to write a good book, hope for a new friend, and hope that people will stop showing you their crazy side. Hope that Santa does exist.

Whatever this time of year means I’m surrounded in red, green and gold. The air is filled with pine, cinnamon, and nutmeg. A fire pops and cracks under the mantle hung with stockings. Presents are in the closet waiting to be wrapped.

I’m thankful for you, my faithful reader, I hope your holidays are filled with blessings, joy, and… a few cookies.

Happy Holidays, Stacey

 

 

 

 

I recently read an article about 13 things you should stop saying to your child immediately, well, it’s not really an article, it was 13 photos of cute children under the age of 7 and a caption under each photo. I’m including the link to the web page here if you want to take a look. (It won’t take long.) I try to understand this new world we live in with the need for instant gratification and shorter attention spans, but come on, you mean to tell me people can’t sit through an entire article any longer? I think humans are smarter than we’re given credit for. But I digress. Back to the article, I mean, photos.

I know as a parent I’m always looking for better ways to handle any situation so when I saw this “article” I decided to pull up a seat and see what it was all about. Well, since I read it before I even sat down, I thought we’d have a little fun.

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Courtesy of Morguefile

1. “Here. I’ll do it.” When you’re trying to get out of the house in a hurry because your Mommy and Me Music Class starts in 10 minutes and you have to get there early to wipe all the snotty toys off with a Clorox wipe before Little Johnny gets his hands on them you just have to drop on the ground and tie his shoes for him. He’ll figure out how to do it before he goes off to college. Don’t worry.

2. “Don’t cry.” Listen, I’m a big crier. I cry at those Hallmark commercials so I totally get the whole go ahead and have yourself a good cry thing. But there are times when you need to tell your little darling to suck it up like when Susie from across the street tells your little girl she’s stupid. There’s no crying for that. Don’t give Susie that much power. Hold your chin up high and walk away. Save the tears for the Hallmark commercial.

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Courtesy of Morguefile

3. “Why can’t you be more like ___?” I think that fill in the blank would refer to a sibling. Yeah, I guess that’s a bad thing to say. I’ll give you that one.

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4. “Are you sure you want to eat that?” I say take it up a notch and say, “don’t eat that.” What if it fell on the floor or your little love bug comes into the kitchen and decides cheese doodles would make a nice appetizer before dinner? Why does everything have to be a choice? Who’s in charge here?

guinea pig

Courtesy of Morguefile

5. “Wait until your ____ gets home.” I love fill in the blanks. What if you tell them wait until your guinea pig gets home? Guinea pigs are fun. (as long as it’s not in my house. Just saying.)

Crying

Courtesy of Morguefile

6. “You’re fine.” Sometimes they are and that’s exactly what they need to hear otherwise they learn to cry over everything including mean old Susie on the playground and Hallmark commercials.

7. “I promise.” You don’t want your little darling to have trust issues so you’re never to say that. I suppose you should also forgo the whole Santa Claus and Easter Bunny thing too since you’re lying. What’s worse: lying or breaking a promise?

8. “Your ___ is an idiot.” What if the blank is? Just saying.

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Courtesy of Morguefile

9. “There’s no reason to be scared.” Are we walking down a dark, deserted street in Detroit at 2 am? Or are we going to bed in our home with Mommy and Daddy just down the hall?

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Courtesy of Morguefile

10. “I hate you too.” Yeah, that’s a bad one. Worse than #3. Don’t say it to your kid. But you have to be told this? Come on.

11. “Because I said so.” Ma, you reading this? What have I been saying all these years?

12. “I hope you have kids just like you.” And that’s a bad thing?

13. “Shut up.” I’m not saying a thing.

The article/photo shoot only had 13 things to stop saying. I thought I’d add one of my own.

14. “I’m not sharing my cannolis with you and if you ask again I’m going to sell you to the gypsies.” It’s an Italian thing.

Need I say more? Photo courtesy of Morguefile

Need I say more? Photo courtesy of Morguefile

I’d like to thank you, faithful reader, in advance, for indulging me. Our relationship thus far has had an understanding; when you sit down and share your very busy time with me, hopefully with your cup of coffee and a cannoli, I promise to poke fun for a few laughs we all need and hopefully share a little insight so you walk away carrying a new nugget of thought you might not have had before. I’m not holding my end of the bargain today. No jokes. No poking fun. Just me, sharing my feelings about motherhood. I still hope you walk away with a new thought. Hopefully, you don’t just walk away.

A boy and his dog.

A boy and his dog.

Dear Noodge 1,

I know you’re unhappy with me and Dad right now. We’ve squashed your first chance to really be independent of us and fly to your marching band trip with your friends. I know you’re not focusing on the fact you’re still going on the trip, still rooming with your band mates, participating in all the fun activities, and not glued to my hip for six days. The part where you miss the flight down and back has your full attention and my answer to your “why” question doesn’t satisfy your need to know because my answer isn’t tangible. Sit with me a while and maybe you’ll understand.

From the moment you arrived in the world staring at me with those huge, brown, eyes and long, dark eyelashes I was in awe of you. Still am, actually, but you were this little person relying on me to keep you safe, healthy, and happy. Instantly, I took my job very seriously. It wasn’t hard really, you were the only person ever I fell in love with at first sight. Love at first sight is called motherhood and it happened again when your sister was born.

I read to you at night until you could read yourself, I held your hands to help you walk until you could take steps on your own. I made sure to catch you when you jumped down flights of steps, even when I was across the room, because jumping was way more fun than walking, for you. I ran with you while you learned to ride a bike just to keep you from falling and scraping a knee and I sat up with you all night when you didn’t feel well. I did it all without hesitation because I love you. Three simple words that have enough strength to hold up a universe, but you can’t know how strong that sentence is until you say it as a parent.

I knew there would be times I’d have to let you explore the world on your own and I knew you’d have no problem heading out to see what the world offered. When you were three and starting preschool, you waved good-bye and walked away like you’d been doing it for years. But for me, it was the first time I let my child out of my sight and it felt like someone had squeezed my heart with a metal vice, but I had to let you go. That’s part of my job too. The part I don’t like.

Our time together is short, for me at least, and whizzing by at break-neck speed. The day will arrive when you leave to lead the life you were meant to lead. The life Dad and I have worked so hard for you to have. The life I want you to have. But I don’t want you to go. Not yet, anyway. I’m not ready to send that little boy off into the world alone. Who will hold his hand when he crosses the street? Who will wait for him to make sure he arrives safely? But you’re not that little boy anymore. You’re becoming a young man right before my eyes; a young man I am extremely proud of with a good head on his shoulders and kindness in his heart. My job here is almost done and I know I will miss you to the moon and back when real life takes you by the hand.

So be patient with me. I am slower to let you go than you want me to be, but I will catch up to you. Just not today and not for this trip. This trip is another chance to know you arrived safely, another chance to make sure you look both ways before you cross the street, another chance to stand there and watch you walk away before you walk away for good.

I love you, Noodge, every second of every day, always and forever. But I promise you this, should you some day become a father, you will call me and say you finally understand why I didn’t let you get on that plane without me. You’ll know why I had to chaperone all your class trips, and why I waited and watched you walk home from the bus stop every day. You’ll understand why one of my greatest joys is to watch you sleep and you’ll understand why I wrote this letter. Until then, you’ll have to trust me and why my decision is the best one for both of us.