Tuesday, November 2, 2010

How To Grow A Spider

I was hoping to have this blog post coincide with Halloween – but you know how spiders can be. In the midst of putting together Halloween costumes, working on novel #2, a sick child, and planning a Bar Mitzvah, the number one thing on my mind these days has been spiders..it's true!

Now I admit, I am not normally a huge fan of spiders, although I have gotten better. After all, they do keep other bugs from getting into the house. But generally speaking, the thought of spiders does not excite me.

So when I opened the annual Halloween package from my Aunt and Uncle to find three rubber spiders, my first response was “yuk”. Upon further examination, I learned that these were no ordinary spiders. These were “growing” spiders – double yuk. Nevertheless, as any good mom would do, I decided to follow the directions and put the three spiders in a bowl of water where they would allegedly grow four times their size within seventy-two hours.

At this point, a strange transformation occurred. I actually became interested in these spiders – one may even say my interest bordered on obsession. While my children took a peek every morning when they woke up to check on the spider’s growth progress, I checked on the spiders every few hours. I made sure they had enough water, I turned them regularly so that the water touched them on all sides evenly as they grew, I took pictures, and I even moved them to a larger pan of water once they outgrew their original bowl.

Sure enough, after 72 hours of TLC, they reached their peak size. I was such a proud mama. But my job wasn’t done yet. According to the directions, once you remove the spiders, they are supposed to shrink back down to their original size.

Let me just interject that we are now five days into this little experiment, and my children have completely lost interest…but that doesn’t stop me. I lay out some paper towel on my counter and remove the spiders. The paper towel immediately becomes saturated, and I realize that these spiders would do much better on one of my plush towels. They sit nice and comfy for the next three days as they start to deflate. But then, I begin to think: Am I doing all I can do for them? Of course not! They need somewhere warm and cozy, where the water inside of them can properly evaporate. So I moved them to the best seat in the house:




And now, I continue to wait to see what my little big spiders will do next.

***

http://bit.ly/KPTbooks

Monday, October 18, 2010

The Real Reason The Phillies Win Games

I live with a die-hard Philadelphia Phillies fan. For those who have seen the movie ‘Fever Pitch’ starring Jimmy Fallon, you know who I mean. Case in point - my youngest son shares the same name as one of the Phillies’ starting pitchers. Now admittedly, I have always liked his name, but I can’t say for sure that my husband would have so readily agreed if say, The Yankees, had someone on their team with the same name. If fact, 3 of our top 4 names for my son happened to be names of starting Phillies…coincidence?

My wedding anniversary was this past weekend. My husband had a ticket to the first game of Phillies play-off series for that night. Had our friend not had an extra ticket, we would have spent the night apart. Would I have been disappointed? Yes. Would I have been surprised? No. My husband has had the same Phillies season ticket package with the same group of people long before I ever came into the picture, and post season games are serious business! The night also happened to be my husband’s birthday (I won’t say how old, but it is a milestone year). So, I did what any good wife would do – I threw on my Phillies sweatshirt and baseball cap and headed off to the ballpark for a romantic evening with 45,000 other people.

Sadly, the Phillies did not win.

The next day, a few of our friends who were also at the game came over to our house to analyze the game.

The reasons The Phillies lost were numerous:

-one guy who always ate salted pistachios at every winning game, had switched to unsalted - or was it the other way around?

-another friend of ours who claims that every time she watches the game on TV they lose, had inadvertently turned on the TV.

-my husband blamed it on his Hamels jersey - apparently, wearing it keeps the Phils from winning.

-somebody even implied that the Phillies had won every game until I had attended!


The only thing that didn’t come up, was that maybe the Phillies didn’t play at their best… yeah I said it. However, if my husband feels that shaving off his ‘play-off’ beard will help, I’m all for it!


All in all, the weekend was still great, I got to spend my anniversary with my husband, we have a fun get together on Sunday and the Phillies wound up winning their second game....must have been my Pesto Chicken - - Go Phils!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Are You A List Maker?

From Wikpedia: A checklist is a type of informational job aid used to reduce failure by compensating for potential limits of human memory and attention.

I am a list maker. Some people prefer sticky notes, some leave messages for themselves on their voice mail, some email themselves, and some people can keep it all in their heads (I hate you by the way). Not me, I need a list – and not just any list, I need separate lists - there can be no commingling.

So how exactly did I turn into my mother? Well, it turns out that mom’s lives are complicated!!

For shopping, I have my my grocery store list (sometimes two separate grocery stores depending on what I need), I have my Target list, my Walgreens list, and my BJ’s list.

I have my to-do list, which has now broken out into a Bar Mitzvah to-do list (only a few weeks away -Yikes!), a phone call list, a forms list, and a general to-do list. Speaking of Bar Mitzvahs, I also have a guest list I am trying to wrangle (sorry if you are not on it, I wish we could have invited more, but at $75/head, I need to be able to still pay the bills). Oh yeah – I also have a bills list - funny how I keep forgetting about that one!

Then there are the kid lists. Since my 7th grader has selective memory, I try to go on the school website daily and make a list of his assignments to make sure he has them all. I’m happy to report his organizational skills are improving & he will be making his own lists in no time. We also have reading lists, school supply lists, activities lists and at one point, we had a chore list that seems to have suspiciously gone missing.

Since I have finally finished my book (Yay!), I now have an agent & publisher list. Sadly, I also have a growing rejection list as well…. but fear not, I also have a list of ideas for a second book that I hope to start  soon.

No, I haven’t started my holiday list yet, but I’m sure it is only a matter of time before I get cracking on those. Yes those – there is the Hanukkah list, the Christmas list, the card list, the company list and the meal lists.

I know I am missing some of the other lists I have floating around. Hmmm – perhaps I need a list of my lists.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Speaking of Causes…. Team Toz Hits The Pavement!


5 years ago, I knew what it felt like to have enough energy to take my kids to the park. I knew what if felt like to be able to play with my kids on the floor. I knew what it felt like to be able to move freely. 5 years ago, I knew what it felt like to be pain-free.

When my doctor first told me I had arthritis, I thought she was mistaken. Arthritis was for old people. I was only in my thirties. My pain was from overdoing it at tennis. I just wanted a referral for some physical therapy so I could be on my way.

She explained to me that I had “rheumatoid arthritis” or RA, a disease that is blind to age. RA is an autoimmune disease. Essentially, your body’s immune system believes your joints are “bad” & tries to destroy them. In addition, like most auto-immune diseases, RA causes exhaustion. Not just, ‘I’m tired because I need to sleep better at night exhaustion’ - I’m talking about ‘unable to function at 1:00 in the afternoon exhaustion.’

Over the last 3 years, I have tried more drugs then I can remember. I’ve had allergic reactions,  hair loss, weight gain, headaches, nausea, bruises, broken bones, fevers, insomnia and multiple infections. I’ve had to give myself weekly injections, go through regular blood draws to make sure my liver is functioning and deal with monthly IVs.

The drugs unfortunately, work by suppressing my immune system. I have had to keep myself as isolated as possible from anyone who appears sick, so as not to get sick myself. Not an easy task with my little one in preschool! I’ve had to stop and restart treatment several times now due to illness. If I am not able to stay on the drugs, I will soon be out of treatment options.

For the second year now, my amazing husband John, is running the Arthritis Foundation’s 5K Jingle Bell Run this December; not just for me, but for the millions of adults and children who suffer from this debilitating disease every day.

Like many diseases, there have been great strides made in research, but no cure. Last year, thanks to the generosity of our family & friends we raised over $500. This year, we want to raise even more.

If you would like to help “Team Toz” this year either by running/walking with Team Toz, or with a donation, check out our team web page. We thank you so much for your support!!






Also – if you would like to understand the story behind the “spoons” & get a glimpse into ‘a day in the life of ' check out this article – a must read if you or someone you care about suffers from a chronic disease.

The Spoon Theory

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Too Old to Text?

I have a love/hate relationship with texting. Conceptually, I think it is a brilliant idea. What better way is there to let your spouse know you are stuck in traffic or ask a friend a quick question? In those situations, texting is fabulous.

Shortly after my oldest son turned twelve, we got him his first phone with a texting plan. I thought it would be a great way to communicate things with him such as what time he needed to get picked up or to remind him to do his homework when he was home alone.

What I did not realize was that I was going to have to learn an entire new language – all in abbreviations. In scrolling through my son’s texts, I can only make out about one out of every six. I’m positive some teenager came up with this weird language to throw their parents off. Well, it is working.

I’ll admit it - I am one of those texters who types most words all the way out. But in an effort to be the “cool mom”, I tried to text “how r u?” to my son one day on my smart phone. Well, it turns out my smart phone is really smart, because it converted my abbreviations into the words “are you”. So much for my cool factor.

The one that truly baffles me is ‘kk’. Is it really so difficult to type ‘ok?’ I mean, the ‘o’ is only a tiny bit up from the ‘k’ on the qwerty keyboard. It’s not like you have to type “qk” – I understand that would be completely unreasonable.

The other day, I sent a text to my son to remind him to skip football practice and come home on the regular bus. Yes, I wrote that all out in a text.

His response: Lk ik

I figured out finally that the ‘ik’ meant ‘I know’. But the Lk, baffled me. I even tried googling it. My search resulted in everything from lakes to left kidney. I asked him about it the other day. He said, he meant to type “kk”, but hit the wrong key. I asked him why he didn’t fix it before sending & he said it would be too much trouble and anyone else would have known what it meant.

All I have to say to that is: ATEOFD, SFMAK it’s 2MTH. SICNR. TTFN.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Crafts for A Cause - Part Two

After finishing my Project Linus blanket, I came to the realization that knitting and arthritis were an impossible fit. It saddened me that I was no longer able to knit, especially because I felt such a strong connection to Project Linus, and wanted to keep contributing to this awesome cause. Knitting had been a big part of my life for so many years; it was difficult for me to admit defeat. My other unfinished projects, that I started “pre-RA” would have to remain unfinished.

This past summer, as I have for the past three summers, I welcomed an Occupational Therapy student into my home to observe and offer adaptations to help me with my daily tasks. We began talking about how I miss knitting and she immediately became excited and said, “I’ll teach you how to crochet! It is so much easier on your hands!”

“Won’t happen,” I immediately replied. My grandmother had tried and failed to teach me more times than I could count. I never understood it, I could knit elaborate sweaters with my eyes closed, but when it came to crochet, I never made it past a single chain. I always blamed it on the fact that I was left-handed. Plus, how could I possibly crochet? That needle was even smaller than knitting needles. Surely, my hands would not be able to handle that sort of grip.

The next week, my student showed up with crochet needles and yarn. She showed me the basic chain stitch, which I had easily mastered many times. She then tried to explain the ‘single crochet’. As expected, when I tried the pull through the stitch, the entire chain came off the needle. It was hopeless. She patiently explained it again, showing me how to hold my work with one hand, while my pulling the needle through with my other hand. Something so simple, that I had never thought of, because in knitting you don’t hold your work, you hold the needles. We moved on to the ‘double crochet’ & everything started making sense.

I know that for those of you who do not knit or crochet, I have completely lost you…. The point is, that someone finally taught me how to crochet and I love it!!! Not only that, the grip is completely different and so much easier on my hands. Thank you Leslie!

I had planned on jumping right into a blanket for Project Linus, when my friend Kris posted on Facebook about an organization called ‘Operation Gratitude.’ They were looking for people to knit or crochet scarves to send in military care packages overseas. I knew immediately I had to crochet a scarf for the people who risk their lives every day to protect my family and my country.


I’m not going to lie… I started my scarf over three times. It took me a while to get the hang of where the row started & ended (again, something I never had to think about with knitting.) But once I finally figured it all out, there was no stopping me. I was able to crochet, virtually pain free for 20 minutes or longer every night until I finished just last week.

I’m now working on a second scarf and plan to alternate between blankets and scarves to donate for as long as my hands will allow.

If you’d like to learn more about the carepackages sent to our service men and women, visit www.operationgratitude.com

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Finally...

I've promised (& promised) and here it is! I found this excerpt from my story fitting as my blog posts this week highlight two wonderful charitable organizations.

~~The year is 1987~~

Thank goodness we have reserved parking, because when we arrive on campus, there is absolutely nowhere to park. In addition to the concert goer’s cars, media vans are everywhere.

We arrive at our seats in the front row as Kevin takes the stage.

“Ladies and Gentlemen,” Kevin screams into the microphone above the roar of the crowd, “Welcome to our first annual Rother Foundation Benefit Concert. We’re so excited to have you all here with us.”

He waits for the applause to quiet down and continues, “There are children in this world who are not as fortunate as all of us. They cannot walk into their public library and read a book; they do not have books to read in school, they do not have newspapers or comics, dictionaries or encyclopedias. Many of them cannot even read at all. The Rother Foundation, was founded to help these children; to help build libraries, to supply books, and to teach them to read. We rely on the kindness of people like you, to provide resources that will help us help them. We thank each and every one of you who came out today to support us. We especially thank James Bishop and Spectrum for coming out here today!”

Kevin waits as the crowd erupts in cheers.

“Before we get started, I would like to take a minute to thank the fabulous team of student interns and support staff that helped make this all possible,” Kevin motions for us to stand up and wave. My hands start to sweat as I nervously rise from my seat, grateful he does not ask us all to get on stage.

“And now, the moment you have all been waiting for. Ladies and Gentlemen - - SPECTRUM!” Kevin extends his hand as he rushes off the stage.


You know I can't give away too much now, but let me know what you think & I'll keep posting ;)

Monday, September 13, 2010

Crafts for A Cause

Helping others is one of the greatest gifts you can offer. In the book I am writing, the main character devotes her time to promoting literacy through charity work. Everyday, there are opportunities available for each of us to perform our own Mitzvah. As we enter the holiday season, please keep in mind those in need, as well as those who sacrifice their own lives to protect us.

~~~~~~~

My Grandmother could knit an entire sweater in a single day. We used to visit with my Grandmother every Sunday. She had a closet at the front of her small apartment with games to keep my brother and I from getting bored, but I was always more interested in what she was making – an afghan, a scarf, clothes for my dolls. There was always something interesting in the works.

Finally, when I was in fourth grade, my Grandmother gave me my first set of knitting needles. They were metallic pink. I remember her patiently showing me how to form the stitches, one after another. She wanted me to start with something simple, I insisted on making a sweater. Knitting quickly became my favorite hobby. In my attic, lie bags of sweaters I have made over the years; they are tattered, stained, and no longer in style, yet I cannot seem to part with them.

Shortly after my youngest son was born, he came down with meningitis and was hospitalized for nearly two weeks. Those days were some of the worst I have experienced to date. A couple of days into our stay, a nurse brought us two beautiful baby blankets, hand-crafted and donated by an organization called “Project Linus.”

I was so touched that people I never met would take the time to quilt, knit and crochet these beautiful blankets to brighten up a child’s stark hospital room. I knew it was time to put my knitting skills to good use.

Unfortunately, my arthritic hands were not so willing, and I was only able to knit in 10- minute increments every few weeks, sometimes months. Nevertheless, I was determined, and eventually, I did finally finish my blanket for “Project Linus.”

It may not seem like much, but the blankets we received in the hospital were truly a sign of hope for us. I knew from the moment we received them, I needed to pay it forward .

If you are interested in learning more about Project Linus, please visit their website http://www.projectlinus.org/ Even a few minutes a day can make a difference!

Watch for part 2 on this topic later this week & as promised an excerpt from my book!!

Monday, September 6, 2010

Anatomy of a Toddler Appetite



I have the world’s pickiest eater. While many parents around the world hold claim to this notion, I can honestly say, my son wins the prize. I know most picky toddlers turn their nose up to broccoli, spinach and most anything else green and healthy. But how about turning away pizza, cookies, candy, cake and juice? No, I’m not complaining, it’s just I cannot believe sometimes that this child and I carry the same DNA.

My son is on what I refer to as “The White Diet.” He will eat bread, bread with cheese, macaroni, macaroni with cheese, crackers, crackers with cheese … do you see where I am going? I did get smart and try cauliflower with cheese, but it appears my child is a genius.

There are other “white foods” I can get him to eat occasionally: chicken nuggets, fries, scrambled eggs (with cheese of course), waffles, light colored yogurt and cheerios. Bananas were on the list for a while, but have sadly dropped off. Hummus was good, but the subsequent rash took that food item right off the list as well. Daddy’s pancakes, of course, are a favorite. I wonder how many ‘secret’ ingredients we can hide in the pancakes until my son catches on.

Over the past six months, there was a glimmer of hope as my son welcomed a few of “the reds” into his diet, namely ketchup, hotdogs and watermelon. I tried to pawn off some of my cherry tomato stash on him, but that was a complete failure.

Do I worry? Not really. I would rather my son eat something he likes than nothing at all, and miraculously, he does like his daily vitamin. I get plenty of unsolicited advice about my son’s diet including the ever popular “Just give him what the rest of the family is eating for that meal and when he gets hungry enough he will eat it.” Not true, but, I politely smile and act as if I never thought of that one myself.

Yes, I am one of those parents who fixes a separate meal for my child. I go even farther than that – I ask my child what he wants to eat for his meal. Why do I do this? Well, my almost thirteen year old just hit 6’2” tall. You can imagine what my food bills look like. I really do not want to waste food these days.

Of course, there are days, when even asking does no good. This morning was a perfect example, and the inspiration for this blog post:

Me: “What do you want for breakfast?”
C: (with a definite tone in his voice) “Bagel & cream cheese!” followed by “I don’t think I like this anymore,” after I present ½ a bagel to him on his favorite Scooby Doo plate. He looks at me sweetly and asks, “How about a blueberry waffle?”

Having had only two sips of my coffee, I realize I am not up for a debate and pop a waffle into the toaster. Seconds later I hear his little voice say, “Wait a minute, I do like bagel and cream cheese.” Sigh.

In the end, he ate both the waffle and the bagel, and I was able to finish my coffee in peace.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Do All Kids Dream of Being Famous?



My ten-year-old daughter has been taking dance lessons for several years now, and so last fall, I decided to take her to see the move “Fame.” I had seen the original version when I was around the same age. I knew she would enjoy seeing the dancers, if nothing else.
To me, this was an opportunity for a mother-daughter outing. To her, it was an epiphany. She sat in the theater mesmerized, soaking in every scene. When the movie was over, I told her that the story was based on a real high school in New York City. You would have thought I told her I just won the lottery. We talked about the possibility of her going to a performing arts high school when she got older. She decided to bypass high school and set her sights straight on Julliard instead.

When we got home, my daughter raced upstairs. I could hear the ceiling above me rattling under her dance steps. Eventually the vibrations stopped and silence once again ensued. After about an hour, she came down stairs holding a piece of paper.“Mom”, she asked showing me the paper listing her name several different ways, “When I become famous, how should I sign my name?” My daughter’s confidence suggested that becoming anything other than a celebrity was out of the question.



Ironically, the novel I have spent my summer writing, explores the issue of celebrity. The novel did not stem from my experience with my daughter, as I have had the idea for this book even before she was born. Yet I find it interesting that my own daughter is so interested in this topic.

My main character is a woman who had the opposite experience of my daughter. She finds herself famous, yet prefers to remain anonymous. While writing the book, I began to ask myself, “Do all kids want to be famous when they grow up? Did I?” I can remember sitting around a portable cassette player with my brother recording our own version of “The Donny and Marie Show, ” but that was more of a game, not a full out plan to have my name in lights some day.

I love that my daughter has something she is so passionate about, but of course I worry about what the future will hold. Still, I feel compelled to support her as best I can, and so I tell her – dream big!

Are you interested in reading an excerpt from my novel? Stay tuned!!

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Attack of the Tomatoes!

I blame the blizzard. Make that blizzards. I believe there were three this past winter, but I lost track somewhere along the way. We had over 70 inches of snow in total, the year before there was less than 15 inches. In addition to the snow, there were the incredible howling winds. Trees and power lines snapped at a rapid pace. Sadly, we lost two large trees. Several others were badly damaged and had to be removed as well.

In the spirit of re-growth, I decided to take advantage of my no longer shady backyard and do something I have wanted to do for years: have a vegetable garden! I have always enjoyed gardening and had a decent track record with growing a variety of flowers, shrubs, herbs and other various plants. However, when it came to vegetables, I seemed to have a brown thumb.

Every year, I would buy one or two tomato plants. Since the only semi-sunny spot in the backyard had been at the edge of the patio, I planted these vegetables in pots. Friends of mine had a lot of success with their potted gardens, so it seemed like the perfect solution. Every summer, it was the same story. The plants would get to what I considered a decent size, produce a couple of yellow flowers and then wither away without a single tomato.

This year however, I had a sunny backyard and a small patch of land itching to be tilled. I went to my local garden store without any knowledge of how to actually grow a vegetable garden. I decided I would try three tomato plants. Why three? I have no idea, other than I thought that 10 feet across would be plenty of room to plant three tiny plants. I chose three different varieties: heirloom, roma, and cherry. I planted each carefully, watered diligently and went out daily (sometimes multiple times during the day) to see if there were any signs of tomatoes.

After a few weeks, I was thrilled to see little green tomatoes sprouting on both the cherry and roma plants. I was even more thrilled when some of them turned red. I picked them all proudly and kept them on display on a plate in my kitchen.



My harvest continued. about once a week, I would walk outside and fill a small bowl with a handful of cherry tomatoes. Occasionally a Roma would get thrown in. The heirlooms, were also starting to grow, but staying green.

And then... the tomato Gods must have decided I was a worthy farmer. It started with one or two heirloom and/or Romas every few days with a bowlful of cherry tomatoes thrown in. My cucumbers and basil were doing pretty well also. A lovely cucumber-tomato salad was becoming a nightly staple, with no complaints from my husband. I even had a few left over to give to our neighbor. We were in tomato bliss.

But then, as if in the 'I Love Lucy' episode where the candy factory conveyor belt starts moving in overdrive, the tomatoes went crazy. Every day, my husband and I both went out with bowls, picking red fruit off of plants that had grown as tall as us. We tried to give some away to anyone who showed any interest in taking them off our hands.


We ate tomato salads, tomato slices, and cherry tomatoes by the handfuls as if there were grapes. Not a dinner went by where tomatoes were not incorporated into the meal somehow or another. Canning was just too much work for me and out of the question. I finally went on Facebook looking for ideas. Salsa - of course! My friend Heather posted an awesome and easy (which was the key) recipe which I am happy to share if anyone is interested.

So today, I grabbed some peppers, onions and of course, TOMATOES and made my very first salsa - topped with cilantro from my garden.


Pass the chips!!

Monday, August 23, 2010

Big Dreams

My dream started many years ago. I can remember sitting at my parent's manual blue typewriter trying to type out short stories. My fingers would get so sore from the pressure required to push the keys down (perhaps a precursor to the arthritis I would later develop?). Thank goodness for correction tape. Lord knows, I went through more than my share. Yet, after all that hard work, I never seemed to be able to please my English teachers. My papers would come back with so many red marks through them; it was difficult to see the words I originally typed.

Math was my subject. I guess I always believed that people excelled either in math or in English, and so I decided early on that writing, whether as a career or as a hobby would not be in my future. Instead, I went into accounting, where I wrote with numbers, disappointed that my family’s DNA filled with artists, writers and musicians had passed right over me.

I married, had children and prepared taxes. (It was all so much fun, that I decided to repeat it a second time, with much better results on the marriage part.). During these early years, something happened. I heard a story on the news while I was pregnant with my oldest child that I could not get out of my head. I replayed the events repeatedly, changing the scenarios, asking myself “what if?”

Before I knew it, I had created an entire novel in my mind.The problem, however, was how to get it on paper.I tried several times to write my story, never getting past the first few paragraphs. Not being able to find my own voice was incredibly frustrating. I would put the story aside for years at a time, always with the intention that one day I would write my novel.

A funny thing happened over the past several years. I re-discovered reading. I had always enjoyed reading as a child, but once I started college, I found I had little time. After college, there was graduate school, which did in fact involve plenty of reading, just not the type that I had enjoyed. Then came babies and sleep deprivation, followed by toddlers and potty training. Before I knew it, my reading library consisted mostly of Sandra Boyton books (which I highly recommend, by the way).

Slowly, however, my time did become partially my own again and I began to make regular trips to the library. I read everything from the Harry Potter series to Ayn Rand (though admittedly I am still struggling to get through the 1000+ page fine print). At some point, I started paying equal attention to both the writing style and the story itself. I read books written in the first person, books written in the third person, books written as a series of letters, books written as diaries, and books written from several different characters’ points of view.

I felt I had a good grasp on what writing style I enjoyed and I decided to make the leap. I opened my laptop, and without hesitation started writing. The words flowed quickly, and within a month, I had my story. Not in any type of form where I was comfortable having someone read it just yet, but enough of a shell where I could go back and fill in details and depth. That was three months ago and I am still writing, revising, writing, and revising some more. I know my commas are not all in the right places and my grammar needs fine tuning, but those are all (hopefully) easy fixes. The real accomplishment for me was capturing my thoughts on paper.

A woman I ran into told me not to get my hopes up, that she, as a writing professional, had tried unsuccessfully to get her story published. She told me about all of the rejection I would inevitably face; all of the disappointment I would feel after putting so much of my self and my time into writing.

My response to her is now my mantra:
“I tell my kids all the time to dream big, so why shouldn’t I dream big as well?”

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