Life · Writing & Publishing

The Up Side to the Flu

South Carolina loves to make lists. Charleston is usually number one in wedding destinations, travel, and friendliest places to visit. These are things I can live with. We also are 6th worst for education and tied for worst drivers. These are both things I can’t wait to leave behind when we move to PA this summer to be near my dad (for the baby…but that’s a whole other post!) This week, South Carolina, in a very unscientific study by, rated us 4th for the sickest state this week. Yuck! That is not a list I want to be on.

This said, I have spent the better half of what we have seen of 2015, in bed.

Days 1-3 I wanted to die. I couldn’t breathe, see, smell, taste, MOVE! By day 4 I was starting to feel a bit better, and left the house long enough to have lunch with Bill and pick up books for next semester at school. The semester starts on Monday, and I’ll finish my Professional Writing Certificate in May, so I’m VERY excited to get going!

Today I tried going into work because soon, I’ll be out on maternity leave.


I won’t get into the details, but I had to leave because I needed to be in bed.

I’m tired of being in bed.

The dogs are even tired of me being in bed. I think they have had enough of me laying around, too! They also have not been able to get into any trouble this week, since I have barely left the house.

The only positive of all this, is I have spent a considerable amount of time on my book proposal, Literary Crazy.

The idea of the book is discussing world famous authors and their mental illness(es). The subject fascinates me, and I believe I can write the book well…’s just trying to convince an agent and publisher of this. Thankfully, I have a secret weapon. Well, two secret weapons. The first one is Bill, who has been VERY helpful in nailing the ideas and outline down. The second one is my former English professor, who actually used the word “honored” when I asked him to review the proposal before sending it off.

Since classes start Monday (mine are all online, Bill has to go to campus because for some reason they don’t think you can learn welding at home) I’ve set a goal of having the proposal done to send with Bill on Monday, to give to my professor. I’ll probably send along some baked goods, too. Not a bribe, but a thank-you.

The only thing I am really worried about is the sample chapter. Of course everything has to be notated and cited. I hate that. Just let me write. Sitting there, citing information is rough enough for people without ADD. Forget having to look up and see butterflies going by your window every two to three paragraphs. It’s also just a tedious thing I could care less about. I rarely read something and check the notation to see where they got their information unless I REALLY want to follow up and find out more about the subject matter, but again, my ADD usually just trusts the author and moves on.

Once I get everything finished, sent along to my professor, and returned, I’ll let you in on a sneak peak of what I’ve been writing about, and which of the famous authors I…well, Bill and I…..decided should be included in the book. It’s a GREAT list!


We Did It!

Well, it’s been a little over a week sine I posted, but all is well.

We got married (in the sense that we signed the paperwork and had a small get together, but no ceremony, no ring exchange (yes, we do have wedding rings), no official “I do” but who needs all that anyway?

Not us!


Here is a picture of us at our get together after the hockey game (because everyone goes to a hockey game on their wedding day, right?



Here is a group shot….with some missing.


These are our camouflage and purple cupcakes….yes, I made the inside camo for him! Of course he smashed mine in my face, and I was blowing purple frosting into tissues for days….and I have yet to figure out how to get the video up for you 😦

As for everything else, I’m down with the flu again. Hopefully I can get back to writing more in a few days….


Military Spouse Life

Traditionally Nontraditional

Bill and I have spent the last two years beating to our own tune….er…you know what I mean. We don’t do things because we are “supposed” to do them. We do them because we want to and it works for us.

Our wedding is turning into a classic Bill and Tina moment….or week.

Please let me explain…

The Stingrays decided we couldn’t get married on the ice, so we then thought we would get married at the gazebo downtown where we had our first date….but that got complicated. We want to save money and have it for the baby, not spend it on getting married. We will do the whole big wedding thing when Talia is old enough to participate…so we are doing this the easiest way possible.

We went yesterday and applied for the license (which is $70 freaking bucks in South Carolina!!!) which we picked up today. Then Bill ran the paperwork up to his buddy Josh who is actually a tattoo artist, but is also a wedding officiant. Josh signed the paperwork, which is post-dated for Sunday, because that date is important to us (it is the two year anniversary of meeting). When Bill gets home, we will both sign it (I’ve been busy baking), and then Sunday when we wake up, we are married! I’m willing to bet there are less than a few people who have done it this way, if anyone. It’s probably not even allowed by the probate court, but I’m sure you won’t tell!

We have some people coming with us to Sunday’s Stingrays game, and then it’s out for Italian food. Super easy, super simple, super Tina & Bill style.

Now onto my Panettone dilemma.

Italians have a special Christmas cake (more like a fruit bread than a cake) called Panettone. It’s really old world style and traditional. My mother would always get it for my great-grandfather for Christmas because he LOVED it.

Every year since he’s been gone (10 years) I’ve gone out and bought the bread. I don’t eat it. I don’t even like it.

Last year was the first Christmas Bill and I were together. I bought a coffee flavored version of it with chocolate chips, hoping it would be better. It was eehhh. Bill claimed to like it, but most of it sat on top of the refrigerator, probably until February.

I could try making it myself (I AM a baker) but you need so many special items, it could get costly, and I’m busy baking things I know I like…but making it myself, I might be able to “fix” it.

It also wouldn’t be the same as buying it in that neat shaped box.

So what do I do? It’s a tradition for Italians, but so are many other things I make. It’s more about my great-grandfather than anything. I’m really having trouble letting go. I still wear his dog tag around my neck, next to Bill’s. I won’t even take it off on my wedding day 😉

His flag from his funeral (United States Army) sits on my dresser, along with a picture of him and my great-grandmother. It’s been hard. I still get depressed on his birthday and the day he passed away on. I’m talking uncontrollable depression. I usually take the day off from work, because working turns into crying.

I just know it’s a waste of food to buy the bread, and it’s me not letting go and moving on. I also know Talia will one day ask me why we have this tradition of buying the bread on the refrigerator every year and not eating it.

It would be sad not to buy the bread. Maybe Talia will be more like my great-grandfather and LOVE the bread. I guess I just answered my own question, and I better keep stashing it on top of the fridge with just one slice missing from Bill eating some. Maybe Talia will like the tradition…..

Military Spouse Life

FINALLY DONE with Finals

I had to ask for help. I HATE asking for help. It’s not because I’m full of myself or prideful, I just like doing things myself so I know it gets done and done the way I want it (okay, that sounds snotty)… but last week being sick really threw me for a loop and classes were ending. The way the college does things now, you have a regular semester broken in half, so instead of taking six classes over 14 weeks, you now take three classes for seven weeks, have a break, then take three more classes for seven weeks. Cramming an entire class into seven weeks is no easy task…and most students only take four classes a semester, or two at a time. I have to be the overachiever and take the max amount of credits.

Anyway, I had to ask for an extension for two of my classes (just until today from Friday) to get everything done, and then rely on Bill to take care of EVERYTHING around the house….including those five crazy dogs! Ugh!

Life has kept inter-fearing with school for years now (you know, since we have that whole “have to be an adult and pay bills” thing going on!). I’m finally almost done with a certificate in professional writing and I need one math class and one science class to get my Associates from Western Connecticut State University. I have about five more classes to get my BA degree. I’ll end up with all these things eventually, but I’m just taking my time. I’m looking forward to having my certificate at the end of next semester, so I at least have SOMETHING to hang on the wall for all this hard work!

Classes don’t start back until the 12th of January, so I am willingly taking this month off and doing some writing of my own.

I hope to finish my book proposal, and finish my fiction novel. I of course also am getting married, work full time, and am getting ready to have a baby…in the middle of next semester…. PHEW! Oh, and I can’t forget about this blog!!!

I do have a lot of work to do around here. I’m going to try and get some lists together for you…books I’ve read, those I recommend, etc. I just got a new book in the other day about Emily Dickinson. I’m excited because it will help me with my non-fiction project….and I like reading about weird. I mean, we are all a little weird, and I too think the macabre is interesting, but this chick was SERIOUSLY depressed…but that might just be the thing that really makes her writing stand out. It’s fascinating to read what she wrote about death and dying. It makes me want to examine her head!

Who would you go back and talk to and ask questions to about their writing? I think Faulkner and Poe also deserve a chance at explaining themselves. Hopefully, I uncover some answers in my book. I’ll be happy to let you read some of it when I’m done with my sample chapter! Stay tuned!

Military Spouse Life

I Refuse to “Think Pink” (So I Must Be An @$$ole)

Admittedly, this post should probably come at the beginning of October when store fronts start painting their windows pink and even bakeries start producing pink bagels (ewwww)…..but alas I could not wait another 10 months for this post….

Yesterday was the two year “anniversary” of the shooting in Newtown, CT at Sandy Hook Elementary School. Some people remembered yesterday and talked on Facebook about “where they were when it I heard…..” and then today went back to life as we know it.

Not me.

I’m from Newtown. I was born in Danbury, and for a few short months lived in Southbury, but by the time I was a few months old, we moved (literally down the street) into Newtown. It’s where I learned to walk, talk, and bake. The logo for my bakery is of me under the willow tree in our back yard in Newtown, making MUDD pies and sharing them with the neighborhood dog, Pokey.

Even though I’ve lived in many other places since then, I still consider Newtown to be my hometown.

When Adam Lanza opened fire in Sandy Hook Elementary, it could not have hit home anymore than it did, unless I had been there or was close with someone killed (I knew people and even went to high school with one of the teacher aids, but I was not close with any of them. I am not professing to be a victim. I’m heartbroken for my hometown).

Today as I checked Facebook for daily news (yes, that was a joke), I was outraged when someone I grew up with posted an article stating nine of the Newtown families (those who directly lost someone that day) have filed a lawsuit against the gun manufacturer for the gun Adam Lanza used, stating the gun should not be on the market, it has no value to civilians….

EXCUSE ME?????????

First off……this is a Second Amendment issue, and this post is not about that.

Second, Adam Lanza ILLEGALLY obtained the gun, so everyone can get off their “stricter gun laws” high horse.

Third, the issue is mental health, not gun laws. Criminals don’t follow gun laws. Those are a moot issue….but back to the mental health issue, and why I hate pink.

Americans are so proud to sport their pink bandannas, water bottles, shoes, dog collars, shirts, and cookies, saying “I support the cure for breast cancer…..” it’s almost sickening!

I can’t stand the pink.

I hate the “Save the Ta-tas” bumper sticker. I hate the pink water bottles. I hate how manufacturers try selling their goods based off making people feel like they are making a difference by buying a pink house-key for their key ring for $3.95, instead of a silver one for $.95. I hate how when we buy these things, we get on our high horses thinking we did something to end breast cancer.

Guess what folks? There is more to life than making yourself feel good for buying a pink cookie in October.

I’m not saying we should not find a cure for breast cancer. We should. However, what about finding a cure for AIDS? What about the 22 veterans who commit PTSD related suicide EVERY DAY? That number is based on the 23 states who report….not all 50, and it doesn’t account for the other veterans around the world!! What about the people with depression? I myself have major depressive disorder. I fight it EVERY DAY. There is no cure. Even with breast cancer, those people usually have a fighting chance to live a healthy life. I DO NOT HAVE THE CHANCE TO BE DEPRESSIVE DISORDER FREE and it makes me angry that in the United States, we continue to sweep mental illness under the rug.

Newtown, CT is a perfect example of this.

We want to blame the people who make the gun? How about looking at Adam Lanza and his DOCUMENTED mental illness? What about his DOCUMENTED NON-COMPLIANT MOTHER who did not actively participate in his healthcare? Oddly, she is believed to be his first victim. How about looking at how our government shut down every last mental institution in the 1970’s and started pumping people full of medicine until they felt nothing at all? That is no way to treat mental illness!!!!

As a country, as a planet, we need to stop sweeping the real issue under the rug. It’s like suing McDonald’s because you’re fat. Maybe look at the reason why you are over-eating, instead. No-one at McDonald’s held a gun to your head and made you eat their food.

As a side note, please do not order a Big Mac, large fry, apple pie, and a diet coke. That doesn’t work either.

I’m waiting for people to wake up and see they need to stop with all this PINK bullshit and start looking at other issues plaguing our communities. Maybe I’m an asshole for being tired of seeing all those stupid pink rubber bracelets, but when was the last time you saw a green one for mental illness? When? Never?

I don’t need a pink window visor to make me feel better about myself. I would feel a lot better if we would open up and talk about the problems we have with mental illness, which happens to be a driving force for many things, including school shootings.

Stop talking about the guns like they grew legs and started killing children. Address the real issue. The mental health issue. It needs to be as prominent as the breast cancer awareness.

I’ll enter my first full marathon for a cause, when we start running for depression, PTSD, schizophrenia, and the multitude of other mental illnesses we like to just sweep under the rug and pretend don’t exist.

Military Spouse Life

Bonus Post: Salute to Small Business Single Moms

I happen to know first hand, running a small business is a lot of work! Running my bakery takes about 300% of me. I can’t wait until we move back home and reestablish the bakery in Harrisburg (PA), but before running home, I must salute the people of Charleston for getting me off the ground.

Today while looking over Fox News, I saw an interesting story about a single mom who also started her own business. The best part? She is from right here in Charleston, SC! She started out making soap for friends and family, and is now a proud business owner!

Here you can find out more about her and her company! As a small business owner, I salute you! Wishing you luck, strength, and hopefully some rest, in the new year! Please check out The Charleston Soap Chef!


The Craziness Continues

What a week! Not only was it EXTREMELY busy, but I had to pull it off while being absolutely sick. Being sick while pregnant poses its own problems. I can’t take any medication, so really I just had to suck it up and suffer through it. Overall though, it was a great week!

We started with a baby shower on Monday night! I still don’t have pictures (they are on everyone else’s phone still) but the owners of the cafe where I work wanted to put together a shower. I’m guessing it’s because someone asked me about having one and I mentioned we didn’t think we would have one. Bill and I don’t have family here, and our closest friends live all over the country. There were about 10 people and the party was great! We have some new stuff for the baby AND the owners, who have three kids of their own, bought us a stroller/car seat combo. This is such a relief to us because it’s so confusing for new parents to look at these things and figure it all out!

Tuesday night, Bill was awarded Hero of the Game at the Stingrays Hockey game (which they also won!) There is a video floating around somewhere on my PC so I can show you…. Basically they choose a veteran each game and honor them during the game. We had some of our friends with us, I cried, and Bill had a great time! I’ll get you that video as soon as I can!


Friday night we had the Holiday Party for the US Coast Guard. Each year we are honored with preparing the desserts for the party. We even have our own flavor for the USCG! This year we did cake pops and cupcakes for the display AND we got to go on the USS Yorktown which is (decommissioned) and put on display right here in Charleston!



Saturday I was back to baking with this cake and smash cake for a 1 year old! It was good to be back in the kitchen, even getting over not feeling well (don’t worry, I had no fever and was over being contagious by the time I was baking!)



Saturday night it was back to see the Stingrays. Obviously, we love hockey, but Saturday night told the whole story. Back in the 1993-1994 season, one team started what is known as a Teddy Bear Toss, where fans toss a new or gently used teddy bear onto the ice after the home team scores their first goal. Those teddy bears go to local charity groups, hospitals, shelters, etc.

It has become tradition among the lower hockey teams (I’m waiting for the NHL to start participating!!) but we set a record this past Saturday with the Stingrays collecting 3,835 bears for charity!


I was a giant mess and it was AWESOME! It took them a good 15 minuets to clean up. They brought out pickup trucks, filled the beds, AND the cabs, in addition to several large bins and other methods of collection. Yes, I cried when I saw the generosity of the ECHL!!!!! It’s also funny to watch these big burly hockey players pick up hundreds of soft little teddy bears!

Finally, Sunday was the two year anniversary of the Sandy Hook Elementary shooting in Newtown, CT. This hits home hard, because, well, Newtown was my home for the first 6 years of my life. I knew three people inside that day, two of whom are no longer with us.

Those who remembered, got on Facebook and did the whole “I remember where I was when….” Me? I’m still angry. I can’t believe this would happen in our small little horse town. I’m angry it happened, I’m mostly angry at Adam Lanza, and I’m tired of hearing people scream “gun control” because obviously criminals DON’T OBEY THE LAWS. Adam Lanza went to the local Walmart….one I had been inside 1 million times as it was right down the road from my parents house in Danbury, and was DENIED a gun. He still obtained one. He killed 26 innocent people. I’m angry and probably always will be.

On that note, it’s time to start a new week. I’m still feeling under the weather, but I have a lot to do! I’ll tell you more next post!