Life · Writing & Publishing

Happy Birthday, Fix Your Liver

It’s been a busy few weeks since I last posted, but I wanted to stop and check in with you!

A few weeks ago I started teaching yoga again! I rented a space on Monday nights at a pop-up shop in the next town, and it’s going GREAT! Sadly, this cuts into my writing time, but I really love my time on the mat. Three straight hours of yoga is great for the body….especially as it ages!

Right? Wait! What?

If you count back 40 weeks from this week, you land on New Year’s Eve/Night. With the most popular birthday being October 5th, you can pretty much assume all of us first week of October babies are the result of some hard core partying on the part of our parents as they rang in the New Year. I apparently am no exception, with my birthday being October 6th.

Last week I went to the doctor for a routine checkup and to refill my depression medication. No big deal, right? WRONG. She thought it would be cool to stick me with a needle and draw some blood. (I had Talia with me and she scored not one, but TWO toys even though I had to give up the blood!!) Anyway, I didn’t think much of it, and moved on with my day. The next day though, the doctor called….and told me she needed more blood. Apparently, Dracula didn’t care for my elevated liver enzymes and wanted to do further testing.

Seriously? I’m turning 36, not 86!!!! (Though we all outlived Hugh Hefner, which I did NOT think would happen!)

So after I told Bill what was going on, and called my mother in a panic, and then my dad (demanding an extensive family history…none of which included liver disease) I turned to the World Wide Web for answers….

Here’s a pro-tip for you….if your doctor tells you something might be up, don’t get on the web. If you do this, you will convince yourself you are dying of some foreign disease not in existence for the last 300 years.

Me? I thought I was dying of liver cancer…..

I’m not dying of liver cancer.

My doc called back today and told me I had high cholesterol and had to stop my medication for ADHD because it could EFF you up! (I’m looking at you Lily Pharmaceuticals).

Thankfully, I just need to take a new medication and stop they other medication. I did however jump on Amazon and order liver cleanser…..I know, I know, but what can it hurt? It made me feel a bit better for about an hour.

So tomorrow is a new start. I’ll be 36 (still in my MID-30’s…..not late 30’s yet) and I hope with the new trip around the sun, I can be more diligent about posting on this blog! Be assured, if you don’t hear from me, I’m okay. I’m working on writing my next novel and doing a lot of freelance work! OH! How could I forget??? Hockey is also back as of tonight (I write as I sit in front of my TV). Hopefully I’m a better fan this year. Last year I was working so much, I didn’t log in much fan time.

#GoBruins

#BruinsForLife

Here is a picture of Talia when she turned 1!!!!! #HockeyBabyHockey Baby.jpg

 

Life · Writing & Publishing

I’m Still Here

It’s been awhile since I’ve updated this blog, alas, I am alive. I still think about you, dear reader, quite often. The reality is I’m working on a new project.

Let me back up.

We have settled into Illinois and I am sure we made the right decision to move here. I found a day job I enjoy (I literally get paid to drink coffee all day!) and our children are loving every minute of being with family.

Sadly, my paternal grandmother passed away in July. Bill and I had to take the kids to PA and then CT to say goodbye. I won’t get into the sadness of it all. The lady was 95 years old! She lived a good life and now it’s time for her to be with her youngest son and my grandfather again.

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I was able to see my her in April at my cousins wedding. Here is the last photo of us together. Please note my daughter had on pants which were too big, so the last picture of her with my grandmother entails her pants being around her knees….only my kid!

My own kids are growing like weeds, as they say…and Liam was kind enough to wait until we were in a hotel in CT, completely tired and stressed out, to break his first tooth. He’s much happier now, and since getting the second tooth in, he has taken on everything from pasta to Pop-Tarts (the Pop-Tarts are his fathers doing!)

Talia is talking up a storm, and just when I thought she was already into everything, she finds something else to get into.

Back to the project.

I completed the book Seeking Sita. I’m still working on finding a Literary Agent to work with, but in the mean time I am writing The Legend of Lavinia Fisher. Because it’s a historical fiction novel, I have had to do an extensive amount of research, hence my lack of updating this blog.

I did start another website, http://www.LaviniaFisherLegend.com to detail the book. I’m hoping to put together a book trailer once the manuscript is complete and edited. I’ll keep you posted.

In the meantime, I am almost done with research and I’m outlining the book so I can start writing.

I’m also baking again, going back to teaching yoga, and finally finishing my degree. I have chosen Forensic Psychology as my major, since most of my coursework has already been in Criminology and Psychology. I feel it will help my writing, since the main theme in my books has been setting the main character free from whatever their struggles have brought them. I can talk more about this once this next book is finished. As crazy as it sounds, I also have ideas and themes for the next two books as well. Basically, I need about 10 more hours in each day!

Until next time!

Life

11 Things I Learned in the South

I’ve been in Illinois a week and thankfully I have not had too much in the way of culture shock! I was a bit surprised when I tried a new grocery store and they required a .25 deposit for the cart, then charged me for bags, then made me take my groceries back out of the cart to bag my own bags…which I just paid for, but nothing was as surprising as the things I encountered when I moved from New England to the South. Some of them are funny (now) and so in no particular order….

  1. Texas Pete is not a biker dude. When I first moved to the south, I left the world of law and my position as a paralegal to wait tables. The money was much better, and I was not stuck behind a desk. A rather large man with a Harley Davidson shirt asked me for Texas Pete. The restaurant was loud on a Sunday morning for brunch, so I did not clearly hear the way the question was phrased….I just heard the name. I was taken back for a moment. I know I have tattoo’s, but what about me made this guy think I hung out with a guy named “Texas Pete”? When I told the gentleman I didn’t know him, he asked for hot sauce in an aggravated tone. It wasn’t until I got back to the server station and asked if anyone knew my mystery man, did I realize my mistake. Texas Pete IS the hot sauce. This was 10 years ago, and I’m sure Texas Pete has made it into New England supermarkets since then.
  2. Armadillos are roadside ornaments. In the 10 years I spent in the Carolina’s, I never once saw a living armadillo. I only saw them on the side of the road….dead.
  3. Alligators will fuck you up. I’m not kidding when I saw my first “Beware of Alligators” sign and about choked. I had no idea I was moving to the land of gator, and I thought they only lived in the Bronx Zoo. Not only do they walk about freely, there was one found at a drive thru window in the heavily populated Tanger Outlets near our house, just looking for a burger. Not cool.
  4. They are still fighting the Civil War. This one is sad. As soon as I landed in North Carolina, and even more-so in South Carolina, it was evident racism is a BIG deal. Having grown up an hour outside of New York City, where you can be anyone you want to be, I was shocked. I can’t tell you how many times I was called a “Yankee” with negative connotation. Some people just automatically hated me because of where I was born. They have not realized the Civil War was over 150 years ago, they lost, and my family didn’t even get here until the 1920’s…..we really had NOTHING to do with it.
  5. They call Cockroaches “Palmetto Bugs!” Not only is this the state bug (gross), it’s a damn cockroach. Southerners can call it what they want…it’s a cockroach and it’s nasty!
  6. College Football is a Religion. It doesn’t matter if you even went to college, or where. Everyone has an affiliation they pull for on game day. Some of the major teams include USC, Clemson, Ole Miss, Florida State, and Virginia Tech. Like I said, you didn’t have to go there, you just have to wear their colors and carry their koozie around….which brings us to number 7….
  7. Everyone uses a Koozie. I had never heard of this until I showed up in the south. Everyone uses koozies for everything from soda to beer. They come in all shapes, sizes, and colors. They even personalize these things. Having a bakery, I delivered cakes to a lot of weddings. Personalized koozies were so popular, I swear 3/4 of all weddings I did the cake for offered guests their own koozie commemorating the happy couple. Koozies bring me to the next thing…Moonshine.
  8. Moonshine exists. In high school and college I could drink a lot of people under the table….then I met moonshine. People in the south still produce the illegal substance in sheds and can it in mason jars. It comes in a variety of flavors and is often given as a gift…you know…on the down low. This stuff is no joke! My first sip almost knocked me off my stool. I’ll just stick to my Amaretto Sour, thanks.
  9. No One is Ever in a Hurry.  Dear Lawd I cannot express to you how frustrating it is when you’re trying to do ANYTHING in the south in a timely manner and everyone else is just taking their time! They don’t drive fast, talk fast, or just move fast at all. Yes, I grew up an hour outside of New York City where the term “A New-York Minuet” comes from, but seriously folks, people will just miss entire green lights and NO ONE will hit their horn AT ALL…EVER….. These same people enjoy sitting out on their front porch, just sitting. They aren’t even reading a book. They just sit there with dogs next to them…..doing nothing!!!! The dogs bring us to number 10.
  10. Hunting Dogs Are Working Dogs. Here is another sad one. So many people in the South actually use their dogs as hunting tools. When they are done with the dog, they abandon them. The most common of these dogs are Treeing Walker Hounds. I have had 3 in total….all abandoned.

    This is Tremor. He survived one of the worst abuse cases in SC history (by the skin of his teeth) and was once a great hunting dog. Because he’s older, he was abandoned and given to a man who killed over 200 hunting dogs. Tremor was one of 45 to survive.

  11. BBQ is important. In Connecticut, we used to drive over an hour to get the best BBQ in the state….it was also the ONLY BBQ in the state. In the south, BBQ is so serious, each state has their own signature flavor or rub. Some people will only eat certain types of BBQ and I’ve even heard people fight over what is the best. Seriously, I was just happy to have it wherever I went! Some people take their BBQ so seriously, they drive around with smokers attached to their vehicle. I guess it’s “just in case?”

So there it is! The good, bad, funny, and ugly of living in the south.

Life

Tanski Talks: My Mental Illness

I have Major Depressive Disorder. It’s not a secret. I’m not ashamed. Sure, I know some people judge because of the stigma around mental illness and being “crazy” but remember, I am currently writing the book on crazy…literally! Visit my Author website to see an excerpt from my book Literary Crazy.

Anyway….. Scott Tankski. Scott Tanski plays for the South Carolina Stingrays (hockey). Last night we had the pleasure of meeting him in person. He organzied the Meet N’ Greet as a “Thank you” to fans who purchased his “Tankski Talks” t-shirts. Money raised from the shirts is being donated to the mental health clinic here in the LowCountry, which I might add, actually saved my life once.

Here is a picture of one of my BFF’s Mersadies, me, Liam, Scott Tanski, Bill, Talia, Big Garrett (Mersadies hubby) and their son, Little Garrett.

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Tanski was personally touched by the story of Daron Richardson, the daughter of a 20 year NHL player (Luke Richardson) who lost her battle to mental illness at age 14. He designed the t-shirts to raise awareness, get people talking, and support local organizations.

Click HERE to listen to the interview of Scott Tanski.

Bill and I purchased a shirt for each of us, one for Talia, and one for my therapist who I will see for the last time before our big move, at the end of the month.

Here is a picture I stole from the SC Stingrays website of all the guys sporting the t-shirt.

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Scott could not have been any nicer. He signed Talia’s shirt for her and I told him (almost without crying) how the organization he is donating the money to saved my life once. (That is a whole other blog post!) He seemed to be appreciative of hearing the story and gave me his full attention, even with a line of people out the door to meet him.

Also this week, I got another tattoo…this one is the semi-colon. It’s not because I’m a writer, but because it serves as a reminder I could have ended my story, but decided not to.

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Project Semicolon was founded  by Amy Bleuel who started the semicolon tattoo trend. Sadly, she lost her mental illness battle last week, so it was time for me to get my tattoo for myself, and for Amy.

Some people get cancer, some people have diabetes, others live with IBS or an array of other medical issues. Some of us have mental illness. We need to start talking about it. We need to accept mental illness like we do other forms of illness. Let me know if you want to chat!

Life

The Case for Peter Rabbit…err…Gizmo

First let me preface this post by saying I do not believe once you adopt an animal as a pet, you should just willy-nilly get rid of the pet. This said, Bill and I did recently agree to find a new home for his snakes.

For starters, moving them home to Illinois from South Carolina poses the risk of one or both tanks getting broken or damaged in the move. This is not a major issue, but my Mother-in-Law has a phobia of snakes. When we got them, we had no idea we would be moving to Illinois. Had we known this, we would not have gotten the snakes at all.

Bill has taken great care of them over the past few years, but I can’t have my MIL deathly afraid of coming into the house once we are home. The snakes are not attached to us the way our dogs and cats are, so we decided finding them a new home was okay in this one circumstance. Again, I don’t agree with getting rid of pets because “we don’t have time” or “they are getting too old,” etc. etc. (I often volunteer for an animal rescue, and I’ve seen it all. I really don’t talk about the rescue work because that is not why I do it. I can’t stand when people do things and then get on the internet and say “look at me….I’ve done something good.” UGH! I hate that. It’s the quickest way for me to unfriend/unfollow you!)

I digress.

While I would not give up one of my dogs or cats, even if I had to live in the street, we sought a new home for the snakes. Now since we are buying a home and about to move 1,000 miles away, I’ve been working as much as I can. I have one job 5 days a week. The second job is then 2 nights a week, until 3:30 am.

Between job 1 and 2, I come home and sleep. Last weekend, I came home from job 1 and tried to catch some sleep before job number 2. Bill takes Talia to the pet store to get food for the snakes. When he doesn’t come home in a reasonable amount of time, I call him. I need him home to care for Liam so I can get some sleep.

He answers the phone and proudly announces he’s found a great home for the snakes. At this point, I don’t care. I’m in the middle of 7 straight shifts, 2 of them being overnight.

Then he lowers the boom. “Oh, but here’s the part you won’t like….” he starts. I’m still half asleep, so I don’t care…yet….

“I got Talia a bunny!”

What…the….actual….F@$K.

“What do you mean?”

“I mean, she wanted the bunny, so I’m getting her one from the people taking the snakes.”

I am now awake….WIDE awake.

“She’s TWO!” I remind Bill.

“I know, but she can learn how to properly take care of pets.”

“WE HAVE 5 DOGS AND 3 CATS SHE CAN TAKE CARE OF!!!!”

“But this one is her own pet.”

THIS IS WHAT HE SAID ABOUT THE CAT WE GOT LAST YEAR!!!!!

Do you see why I’m getting grey hair? Shit like this!

Bill goes on to make the trade and I go to the next job. I’m not happy, and I really don’t care if it’s cute or not. I’m also aware Talia would forget about it in a day or so.

Bill then posts a picture on the internet. I’m at work when I get a message from one of my BFF’s, Selena. The photographer. The newborn photographer. Do you see where this is going?

Shes dying to know if we really got a rabbit and if she can do a newborn session with it. Meanwhile, all the money I made that shift went to rabbit toys, bedding, hay, and just dumb rabbit stuff I didn’t want to spend money on.

I WILL give my husband this. Every time he and Talia go into the kitchen, when they get up, and when they go to bed, he does have her “check the bunny” to see if it needs food, water, litter change (oh, yes….I bought it a litter pan), or new toys.

I’m not happy about the rabbit….but it’s growing on me. Without further adieu, meet Gizmo:

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P.S. The snakes are doing GREAT! They hit the jackpot on a loving home!

Life · Writing & Publishing

I Went To Jail Today

I went to jail today….and it was on purpose! As I work on my book proposal, I took an opportunity to visit the scene of the crime so to speak, and have some girl time with my friend Beth!

Neither of us encountered the ghost of Lavinia Fisher, but we had fun and learned a lot! Here are some pictures from the evening!

Inside the jail, our tour guide showed us how prisoners were beaten and abused. There were no guidelines for punishment and in many instances if disease didn’t kill a prisoner, their punishment did.

Imagine one of these on each wrist, your feet secured in a box, then someone pulling the ropes so your arms are yanked in the air before being beaten.

These doors were no joke! Notice the diagram for hanging a person. When the weight was dropped in the hole, the condemned was flung up toward the sky m, breaking their neck. There were severe consequences if the weight wasn’t balanced based on the weight of the prisoner….but I’ll save that for the book!

This is the room where Lavinia Fisher was held.

My sweet friend, Beth!

We then had girls night while the husbands were home with kids!

Beth is actually very pretty, yet she insisted on sticking her tongue out in every damn photo!

As soon as I got home, I started working on my proposal. Sadly, I work in the morning and didn’t get very far! I’ll be sure to let you know when I send it in!

Life · Writing & Publishing

If I Won Powerball…

Apparently the Powerball payout is crazy high again. I remember last year in January it was ridiculously high, and we bought the employees Bill and I had working at the bakery a bunch of tickets just for fun. I never thought for a second any of us would win, and of course we didn’t. This morning on the way to work, the local radio station was talking about how virtually no one wins, but it is fun to think about what you would do with the money if you did.

Of course I would buy a house, pay off our debt, pay off our parents houses, put money in CD’s, etc, etc….but what about every day life?

I’m not huge on traveling. Sure, I would one day like to see other places around the world, but I don’t really LOVE living out of a suitcase, or having to leave my dogs at home. I’m all for SOME travel, but not a lot.

I would no longer go to either of my two jobs (no one punches a clock to make someone else rich because they WANT to!) but I would continue to write. I would write books upon books upon books….even while most people would probably be on a permanent vacation, I would need to write.

Here is the fun part: Thankfully I don’t need to win the lotto to write books. Sure, I would have more time, but I can still write.

So with this said, I’m starting a new project. It started about two weeks ago, but someone cracked the screen on my PC (probably me, but possibly a toddler), and it has been with the geeks at Best Buy. I just got it back a few hours ago.

I want to introduce you to the new project, starting with the historical fiction book, so here is the pitch:

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For almost 200 years, the story of Lavinia Fisher has been handed down from generation to generation. Now, in the new millennium, tour guides throughout Lavinia’s hometown of Charleston, SC tell her story to hundreds of tourists each day. Some claim she was Americas first female serial killer, others claim she never killed anyone at all, while still others believe she was a witch. Some people believe her ghost lives on and can be seen around Charleston after dark. Many secrets were taken with Lavinia to her grave when she was hung on February 18th, 1820. I will tell you the story, you decide for yourself who was the real Lavinia Fisher.

Intrigued? I hope this makes you interested. Of course I will share more as I work on the project. I keep referring to this as a project because it had more than one part to it.

My first goal is to write a non-fiction book about the jail where Lavinia and John Fisher were held and eventually hung.

I then want to write a historical fiction version of their story.

To start the project, I’ve been poking around the jail, and I will tour it inside next week with my friend Beth. I will leave you with some pictures I’ve taken!

No, I’m not usually a selfie person, but I accidently flipped the screen to me and went with it. Bill came with me to look around. When a wagon of tourists passed by, he told me I should jump the wall and onto the wagon yelling “Go! Go! Go!” as if I was escaping the jail. I’m pretty sure we don’t want to scare the tourists driving our economy away like that!

Given our move in 66 more days, I need to work as quickly as I can to get all my research in before we leave. Of course we plan on coming back (hello: book tour!) but the majority of the leg work must be done in the next two months. With this I must leave you to go schedule some research appointments!

Life

Getting My (Cake) Groove Back

Last year was a crazy year. So much happened during those 365 days, yet one of the biggest things to happen was closing my little bakery. We did not have a store front, ( we baked out of a commissary kitchen) which made things easier to close down, but emotionally it was still hard. At the time, the decision was the right one. I was exhausted from being pregnant with Liam, had a hard time finding good help, and I still wasn’t taking a paycheck. I sometimes would work 36 or more hours straight. I was going in a million directions with events, restaurant orders, personal orders, etc. It was draining. After almost 5 years of pouring myself into this, I crashed and I crashed hard. I wanted it closed and to move to Illinois to be near Bill’s family, and I didn’t want to look back.

Even though our doors were technically closed, I continued making smash cakes for my photographer friend. Over the past few weeks we have had a LOT of cakes and it made me realize how much I love to bake.

IIWith the smash cakes, I’m usually given colors and a theme and can be free and creative. I love doing it and it made me realize I’m ready to get back to baking after the break I’ve had.

How talented is Selena? These pictures are amazing. You can check her work out at http://www.selenastoneyphotography.com/. It’s pretty amazing. She did both newborn sessions for our kids. I’ll share those in another post.

When I look at the work Selena does, I just want my cakes to measure up. I also admire how hard she works to make her business a success. Basically, I’m really lucky to have a BFF I also look up to as a mom and businesswoman. (Selena is my “IDK WTF I’m doing as a parent and need help,” go to person……like when Talia stuck a popcorn kernel up her nose!)

Back to cake….

Of course for Talia’s cake smash, we went all out on the cake theme.

No, the cakes in the background are not real. They are dummy cakes. I use Styrofoam to decorate! Only the smash cake is real.

So as the life plan keeps evolving, I’ve decided to go back to baking. (I’m still going to write as well…)

When we get to Illinois, I can legally bake out of my house. I’m only going to make cakes, and I’m only selling directly to customers. I’m not going to work with restaurants or try and do events. The money, time, and energy needed for those things drive me to shut it all down before. I needed this time to step back and reevaluate what worked in my business and what didn’t. I think I can make it work again this time, and do it from the comfort of my own (new) home. I also think just doing cakes instead of over 75 pies, 50 flavors of cake, 40 cookie flavors, etc, etc, will help my success.

I’m really excited for this new beginning with cakes again. Follow me on Instagram @TinaRussoKinney to see more cake. I would also really love it if you liked my FB page!

Life

It Sounded Like A Good Idea…

Lots of things SOUND like a great idea, but then I get myself into whatever it is, and realize it wasn’t such a great idea after all. Prime example = getting my tubes tied sounded brilliant. The reality? Well, I’ll get to the horror of that in a moment.

Let us start at the beginning. In the beginning, lots of women walked around claiming to love being pregnant. They carried on about it being the best time of their life, their friends exclaimed how they were “glowing,” life was wonderful, and they were so sure they would be sad to see their bump go.

THIS IS A LIE.

I hated being pregnant. I got sick, I was always tired, I felt like a beached whale, and I was generally miserable the entire time.

Nothing about me glowed.

Nothing about me loved waddling around at high speeds, trying to get shit done during my short bursts of energy.

Nothing about me wanted the bump forcing me into perpetual yoga pants to stay  a bump.

I.WAS.MISERABLE.

I could go out on a limb and guess Bill was miserable too, but he as already affirmed this on more than one occasion….and to many people.

I digress. Here is a picture of the end product of the last pregnancy. Totally worth it! (Photograph by Selena Stoney – Newborn Photographer)

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When we were sure we were done having our own children (something I was never so sure of as I was when I was in labor both times) Bill and I decided we needed a more permanent method of birth control.

While I acknowledge our VA hospital here is one of the best available, I still don’t feel totally comfortable with a VA doctor near my husbands junk…with a knife.

So I said I would take the bullet (see what I did there? you know, since he’s the Marine…..anyway).

Thursday morning we packed up both kids and headed to the surgery center. I was fully prepared to go in, get my tubes tied, go home, and in a few hours resume my life.

WRONG!

I could not understand why they were making such a big deal about not driving, working, signing important papers, picking up the children, etc etc, until I was waking up from anesthesia. The only way I can describe the pain is it felt like a sumo wrestler had ripped out my girl parts and was jumping on them. At one point the nurse asked me about my pain on the pain scale of one to ten. (I’m dying and she wants me to think of a number between one and ten….seriously???!!!!)

I couldn’t really give her a number because I couldn’t think straight with the pain and the anesthesia, so I told her I had given birth naturally to both my kids and did not need medication, but now I needed ALL the medication. She then gave me some cocktail and I was out like a light again.

I don’t really know how I made it through childbirth without any medication, but a simple 30 minute procedure caused me to need more than one type of pain medication and to have to take some at home.

Bill called my boss and told him I was not going to work my day job on Friday. He was MORE than understanding. I guess he saw me trying to be a badass and already figured I would be out. I did however go to my night job. I supposed I technically went to work the next day, but I did have ample time to rest. Bill was awesome and took care of kids and everything else at home. I did a whole lot of sleeping (and not as much reading as I thought I would with all that time off).

So here we are on Sunday evening. I have so much I wanted to read tonight, and even more I wanted to write, but at 8:07, I’m turning in so I can work tomorrow. If the pain keeps me up tonight, I can think about what a great idea I thought this whole thing would be, and how wrong I really was. In the long run, having your tubes tied is better for someone with endometriosis (which I have had) and I won’t have to remember to take a pill every day, but dang…that shit hurts!

Please remind me of this next time I have another “brilliant” idea….

Life

The Love of a (Great) Grandmother

I love my grandmother like you wouldn’t believe! She’s a strong, hard working, caring person, and I just love her to death. I apparently was a complete shit-head to her growing up because she thought a box of musical “equipment” as we shall call it, for my children, was necessary.

Let’s back up.

Over Christmas break we stayed at my dad’s house for a few days. He has a player piano, the type you put the music in and it plays itself. My father probably knows three songs he can actually play, but the music coming out of the piano is impressive because it plays off the player music you put in.

Talia thinks this is cool as all hell. My dad likes to put her up on the piano bench with him and pretend to play. At 2 am on Christmas Eve, when Talia could not sleep for whatever reason, she decided to start playing the piano at my dad’s. My mother (who is divorced from my father) and grandmother think this is hysterical. Meanwhile, my father and his girlfriend think giving Talia a drum for Christmas is also cool….

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I’m not really sure what I did to deserve this  but I must have been a miserable teenager and didn’t know it because that drum was filled with other musical instruments as well.

Anyway, last week my grandmother is out with my mother and she sees a keyboard. Apparently she thought Talia needed said keyboard, based on her 2 am escapade at my dad’s house.

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Talia LOVES this thing (apparently Tremor thinks it’s cool, too, as you see in the picture.)

Now look at this picture of my grandmother with Talia and Liam. See how innocent this little, old, Italian grandma looks? Don’t be fooled my friends….

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Not to leave anyone out, my grandmother got something for Liam as well. Here’s where life fell apart last night.

Having to work in the morning (yes, I’ve gone back to work, but that is a whole other post), I was less than happy when Liam decided to wake up in the middle of the night and Bill just would not wake up. I climb over Bill and spend a great deal of time trying to get Liam back to sleep. The toy my grandmother bought him is in the crib with him, so I turn it on. It lights up on the “screen” but it also projects an image onto the ceiling for him to stare at. Liam LOVES this. I set the music mode to jungle sounds, and he drifts off to sleep. Success….or so I think.

I leave the timer on 20 minutes thinking it just shuts off like a normal child’s toy. Oh no my friends…..the toy goes off, and then 20 minutes later it comes back on! The picture is back on my ceiling, and the thing is now playing baby freaking show-tunes. Bill is between us, so after I’m startled awake, I now have to climb over a sleeping Marine to get to my kid…and the toy.

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I don’t even have to get the image going the right way for you to see how annoying this is for me.

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Here is the image of Liam’s “friends” on the ceiling. You can see how scary they are, right?

There are at least a dozen buttons and switches on this thing and none of them seem to want to shut the whole thing down. Liam is now awake, and we are back to square one….only now Bill is awake and wants to know why the baby is playing Nintendo. I inform him he’s not helping, the baby is not in-fact playing Nintendo, and Bill rolls over so I can be between them. Once I get the thing shut off, Liam doesn’t want to go back to sleep until I get that stupid image of those smug looking cartoons back on the ceiling. ARGH! Dogs are also now awake and wanting to know what is happening, so they all start rotating on and off the bed.

This whole thing carries on for well over an hour. By the time everyone is asleep and happy, my alarm clock goes off. I honestly thought about calling my grandmother at one point, and just giving Liam the phone to scream into. I don’t want her to miss out on all the excitement since she started this whole thing in the first place. (I’m totally kidding, though she has a cell phone now and can’t work it. It would be a wasted call.)

Thankfully there was a counterbalance in the mail today. I was able to sign both kids up for Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library. As if we need another reason to love Dolly, she has a program for children through age 5 to receive an age appropriate book every month, free of charge. When Talia was born, our zip code did not qualify, but just before Liam came, our zip code was included, so I signed them both up! Talia has received a few books, and Liam got his first one today! Talia came running and sat down as soon as I started reading!

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As you can see, he thought this was pretty cool! We’ve read it a few times, and I’m sure we will be reading it a lot more before the next book comes. He also got a lot of great books for Christmas, so he won’t be tired of any one book anytime soon!

I’m off to try and get some sleep to make up for the escapades last night. Right now I have the toy in the crib, with the directions close by! The moral of the story…be nice to your parents and grandparents because payback comes in the form of musical instruments and