Mama's Go (Crazy) Bag of Readiness

It was just me and Buttercup. No school, so I called a friend and asked if her kids and my kid could play unsupervised in her fenced backyard so I could lounge on her couch with a glass of wine and have my own little play date. She said yes.

So I packed.

That's right. I said P-A-C-K-E-D.

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First I needed to get rid of the Lean Pockets my mom left in our deep freezer from her 8 week stay. That went into one cooler. And because Buttercup and I are on a gluten-free diet and Friend Jill was making pancakes for dinner that night, I also packed:

*corn tortillas with slices of cheese for quesadillas for Buttercup

*a fruit cup

*leftover bison steak and veggies for me

*a Lara bar in case I couldn't gag down the reheated bison steak (which is what ended up happening.)

*three juice boxes for the kids to feel like they were getting something special when Friend Jill and I cracked open another bottle of wine.

*two oranges for me because I have been craving some major vitamin C.

And then I moved on to the diaper bag. Which really doesn't carry diapers anymore because Buttercup is kinda sorta potty trained. In it? I packed:

*four training pull-ups

*a spare set of clothes in case Buttercup got a pull-up wedgie going down the slide while simultaneously peeing and needed a change of clothing. (Yes, it's happened before.)

*a pair of pajamas for insurance because every time I go to Friend Jill's house, which is only 25 minutes away, I end up staying until the kid's need to go to bed.

*a water bottle for Buttercup.

*a water bottle for me.

*a snack cup with gluten-free pretzels to tide her over till dinner

*Buttercup's sunglasses

*My iPod Touch and my Droid X (because I am nothing if not addicted)

*Buttercup's Snow White and Cinderella dolls because they are The Dolly Flavor of the Week.

*Buttercup's purse (of course) in which, I think, she packed rocks and her play cell phone. Who am I to judge?

*My (her) Nintendo DSi which allows me to drive with my nerves intact and my guilt assuaged while I focus on the road and Cookie Monster teaches her to count.

And because that wasn't enough? I also took:

*My purse

*Which we won't get into because there isn't enough space on the internet for me to share.

When I left my house, The Husband didn't even raise an eyebrow because he knows better. I am nothing if not Over-Prepared and Un-Medicated. When I showed at up Friend Jill's house, she asked if I was moving in.

Smart ass.

I'm prepared for anything. Always. Why? Because that guy on the street corner with the dirty trench coat and the ARMAGEDDON sign might be on to something. And? Me and What If don't get along very well. So? I pack a diaper bag like a crazy lady.

You should see what I take with us to Barnes & Noble.

But don't worry, peeples. Even if (if I said IF so don't even ask) I end up with another kid between now and the next episode of Jesse Ventura's Conspiracy Theory, I have plenty of room in my Go Bag for the essentials. Like Humanitarian Suspenders.

And lip gloss.

Resolutions and Other Things on my To Do List

I have two blog posts left in 2010 to cement my place in history. As what? I'm not sure. Which means I probably should just accept that this and the next post will probably be cute and mediocre, and the world will be a much happier place. Since it's appropriate to sit here and look back over the past year and cry into my cheerios about everything I didn't accomplish while making a list of big dreams to turn into my own realities Santa apparently doesn't read my blog, it only seems fitting to write up my List of Promises to Myself I Will Probably Break of Resolutions.

In the realm of health and fitness:

*Continue to dream about that Husband-sanctioned affair I plan to have with a plastic surgeon so I can score a Mom Job (read: boob lift, tummy tuck, and lipo) while focusing on the reality that I don't know any plastic surgeons to have an affair with.

*Eat right, work out more, and bitch less. Wait...no. If I do that, I have no blog. Ok...Eat right, work out more, and just bitch. Kind of like Nike...only funnier, right? There, that's better.

*Cancel my gym membership. *Screeching halt* What? Yeah, you read that right. While the rest of the free world joins Jenny, starts counting points, or waits for their dehydrated Nutrisystem scrambled eggs to show up in the mail while simultaneously doing 15 sets of squats on the way to their shiny new gym, Me and My cellulite will be walking into my old gym sometime soon to sign the break up papers. Before you get all What The Hell and What About The Search for a Smaller Ass, Pauline?, remember that I don't have time to waste wishing I had gone and then saying Screw it, Where's My Dairy Queen when I could instead be focusing on what I have readily available to me. (Read: My legs, my shoes, two dogs, a jogging walking stroller, and a kick-ass hilly subdivision. Also? Enough dust on the unused exercise DVDs to start my own bunny farm and a pretty new PS3 and Zumba game to get my Latin-Mama groove on. Bottom line? 2011 is the year of no excuses (ok...I'll make excuses. But I at the very least Resolve to make them amusing.)

In the the realm of Motherhood:

*Try to say "In a minute" less often.

*Forgive myself for when I say "In a minute" too often.

*Lather, rinse, and repeat.

In the realm of Wifedom:

*Try to say "In a Minute" less often.

*Forgive myself when I say "In a Minute" too often.

*Lather, rinse, and repeat.

*P.S. Add "sex" to my To-Do list more often. The Husband is happy when this happens. He gets attention, I get to cross something off of my To-Do list without ruining the moment by thinking about what I could be doing to cross something else off of my never ending list, and it's generally a win-win for everyone involved. (Also see "Try to say "In a minute less often.")

In the realm of writing:

*Because I decided last night that I already met my goal of finding an agent in 2010 (Because I did, dammit. I found 25 of them. *Holds hand up* Stop! My blog post. My semantics war.) I figure I can make 2011 the year an agent finds me. In the bottom of the slush pile. In a hopefully typo-free query.

*Make peace with my Chronic Typosis Disorder and just deal. There's a reason I went into REPORTING and not COPY EDITING. Namely, I didn't get the copy editing job. And? I typo like it's going out of style and I just can't let go. We have a neighbor like that. She never met a can of aqua net and a bang wave she didn't like. If she can look in the mirror and think that looks good, I can hit publish on a blog post or write muff top in a query and still think I am a good person, dammit!

*Keep trying. Keep querying. Keep writing. And? Buy more rejection panties. I'm  a big girl with big dreams and (shut up) I can only bitch if the rejections stop coming in. Because that means I've stopped trying. Which isn't going to happen because I just said it wouldn't so...moving on...

*Start that Super Secret Project with Juliette that doesn't involve zombies or crossbows.

*Buy less shoes so I can bank the unspent cash for a writing conference or two. Ok, fine. Less shoes and less purses. And clothes. Definitely less clothes.

In the realm of All Things Pauline:

*Keep dreaming. In the I can do EEET! kinda way and not that Keep dreaming, asshole kinda way. Because I think I can. Even if they say I can't.

Which reminds me:

*Figure out who THEY actually is. Because dude, it's driving me crazy. And...wait...that's an entirely new blog post...

A Very Query Christmas

I thought I just had to rewrite a song. Then I checked out TBFF Juliette's blog and find a full out blog post prefacing her little zombie-themed holiday ditty and find myself feeling all inadequate. Cuz I got nuthin'.

So instead of embarrassing myself while trying to be witty and typo-free at the same time (which is probably about as likely as real life BFF Mel successfully walking and chewing gum simultaneously) I'll just stick with the basics.

* TBFF Juliette was asked to host a 12 Days of Christmas blogathon.

* TBFF Juliette agreed.

* TBFF sent me an email indicating she now wouldn't be sleeping until next week and proceeded to tell me that because she was in, I was automatically required to participate.

* I considered telling her to bite me (which really? If you know me, you know this is only a phrase I save for my very best friends. Which actually makes it a compliment.)

* I then decided I want to stay on TBFF Juliette's good side seeing as she has The Walking Dead backing her up now. My posse consists of a 4 pound puppy, an 18 pound mutt, and a sarcastic 3 year old. Juliette wins.

On the first day of Christmas, my true love gave to me An idea for a brand new book.

On the second day of Christmas, my true love gave to me Two new shiny chapters and an idea for a brand new book

On the third day of Christmas my true love gave to me three plot holes, two new shiny chapters, and an idea for a brand new book.

On the fourth day of Christmas, my true love gave to me Four hours wasted tweeting, three plot holes, two new shiny chapters, and an idea for a brand new book.

On the fifth day of Christmas My true love gave to me Five thousand words, Four hours wasted tweeting, three plot holes, two new shiny chapters, and an idea for a brand new book.

On the sixth day of Christmas My true love gave to me six beta readers, five thousand words, Four hours wasted tweeting, three plot holes, two new shiny chapters, and an idea for a brand new book.

On the seventh day of Christmas My true love gave to me seven likes on Facebook, six beta readers, five thousand words, Four hours wasted tweeting, three plot holes, two new shiny chapters, and an idea for a brand new book.

On the eighth day of Christmas My true love gave to me eight new rejections, seven likes on Facebook, six beta readers, five thousand words, Four hours wasted tweeting, three plot holes, two new shiny chapters, and an idea for a brand new book.

On the ninth day of Christmas My true love gave to me nine query rewrites, eight new rejections, seven likes on Facebook, six beta readers, five thousand words, Four hours wasted tweeting, three plot holes, two new shiny chapters, and an idea for a brand new book.

On the tenth day of Christmas My true love gave to me ten tweets supporting, nine new rejections, eight query rewrites, seven likes on Facebook, six beta readers, five thousand words, Four hours wasted tweeting, three plot holes, two new shiny chapters, and an idea for a brand new book.

On the eleventh day of Christmas My true love gave to me eleven foursquare updates, ten tweets supporting, nine query rewrites, eight new rejections, seven likes on Facebook, six beta readers, five thousand words, Four hours wasted tweeting, three plot holes, two new shiny chapters, and an idea for a brand new book.

On the twelfth day of Christmas My true love gave to me twelve agent offers, eleven foursquare updates, ten tweets supporting, nine query rewrites, eight new rejections, seven likes on Facebook, six beta readers, five thousand words, Four hours wasted tweeting, three plot holes, two new shiny chapters, and an idea for a brand new book.

Merry Christmas, ya'll. Now go make Holiday Merriment on Juliette's blog. If you want in on the zombie survival crew, it's a good way to make nice while there's still time.

Mappy Birthmas (to me)

I was born on December 26, 1977. I should also point out that my mother went into labor with me after Christmas Eve dinner on December 24.

And?

I am surprised she is still talking to me.

Seriously. I was in labor for 12 hours and I promise you that I'll be throwing that in Buttercup's face when she gets all teenager-y and hormonal and demands to stay out past curfew because her friend's all have much cooler mothers than she does.

Anyway, I'll be blowing out the candles on my 33rd birthday cake sugar-free, dairy-free, gluten-free pumpkin mousse this year. Which goes to show how much has changed in the last year.

Other things to celebrate?

*My ass-tau has been reclassified as a J-Lo.

*I finished a book. As in, I wrote a fucking book. Which also means I didn't have time to read one.

*I've made peace with my ego. Bring on the rejections.

*I've been rejected. Many times. Which means I moved way beyond the realm of dreaming and ventured into that of actually doing.

*Years and, okay fine, decades of angst regarding me and my kinky curlies Mama gave me are done and over with. Can you say MEXI-FRO?

*I met The Bloggess,sat next to Kendra on a plane,  hung out at Rudolpho Anaya's house, had lunch with Rick Najera and his lovely wife, and was told that my manuscript didn't suck by the amazing Demetria Martinez.

*And? Twitter brought me TBFF Juliette and @HC_Palmquist and @NL_Gervasio. I know. You guys are welcome for meeting me, too.

*I gave up sugar and gluten and found my waistline. Newscaster says? Parade at 11.

*Did I mention I wrote a book?

*Or that the number of candles I will be blowing out this year doesn't bother me in the least? It'd probably because I adopted a new mantra. Can you say, "I don't give a shit?"

Next year is almost here. A little part of me is always going to be looking back and focusing on what I could have done and where I think I should be by now, but I'm okay with that. Because that little voice is just going to push me to try harder in my new year and the New Year to follow.

Mappy Birthmas to me.

The Stars Say...

My horoscope for Tuesday:

Capricorn Nov 30 2010 Whether you're in search of the perfect job, the ideal friendship, or a wonderful marriage, you cannot attract it if you aren't honest with yourself and with those who are critical to your pursuit. You may be playing a role now, Capricorn. You want to be the person that a potential job, or friend, or marriage partner would need you to be. But you can really only be who you are. If you were to attract someone while you were playing a role, then it would not last. And, even if it did, it would not be fulfilling. Be yourself now, and you will find your heart's desire.

My translation?

So if I want an agent and a book deal, I need to stop pretending I can spell?

Awesome.

Official Announcement:

Dear Publishing World and Future Agent,

I can write. But let's face facts, here. I suck at this spelling business. (Note the spelling of Apocalypse in my comment on Juliette's  #zombiesurvivalcrew post here. What I actually wrote kind of resembles Alpaca Piss. Hey, at least it's entertaining for you.) Once we both admit I only think I have caught my typos (Say it with me now: Post Mama Muff Top!) and you have to deal with everything that made it through, the world will be a happier place.

There...now that we have that out of the way, I'm off to email and blog stalk myself. Which reminds me. I also have no shame.

So! Where do I sign?

Kudos (and a drink ticket)

Sometimes, good things happen to really good people. And this time, I happen to consider one of these good people as a true friend. My TBFF, writing partner, and all-around sounding board, Juliette Terzieff, has been selected as a finalist for the BlogHer Voices of the Year competition. Thousands entered. Juliette made the short list. This is a major accomplishment and I am so very proud of her.

Please take a look at Juliette's entry here and, if you are so inclined, leave a congratulatory comment for the super star.

She's going places. I know it. And I can say I knew her when, which honestly, is pretty awesome in and of itself.

Oh and Juliette? Your first BlogHer drink is on me.  High fives, babe.

Special guest for a special cause

I've become a lot of things in my life. A student. A bratty teenager. A blushing bride. A journalist. An aspiring writer (on my own terms).

But becoming a mother is the one that has finally shown me what my parents meant when they sighed and said, "You aren't going to understand until you have your own."

I get it now. I do.

Like any parent, I'd do anything for my child. And what follows here is a guest post by Juliette Terzieff about an ever-growing number of moms and dads willing to do the same for a world of children suffering from rare diseases. I'll be wearing jeans on Feb. 28. Will you?

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Most mothers will do anything to protect their child’s best interests and help them succeed. It’s part of being a mom – a reflection of that overwhelming, all-encompassing love that we feel for our tiny mini-mes.

So I guess it’s hardly a surprise that battalions of mothers (and fathers!) out there have joined together to support the campaign effort to raise awareness about Rare Disease Day, February 28. The slogan for this year’s campaign is “Hope – It’s in your genes.”

These parents are simultaneously just moms and dads like any of us, and amazing individuals willing to step forward and try to make a difference. They, and the campaign, deserve our support.

The campaign is simple, as campaign organizers explain:

"[an]occasion to inform or remind people that rare diseases need to be paid special attention to, because:

The lack of specific health policies and the scarcity of expertise translate into delayed appropriate diagnosis and difficulty of access to care.

Rare diseases are life-threatening or chronically debilitating diseases with a low prevalence and a high level of complexity. Patients with very rare diseases and their families are particularly isolated and vulnerable ….

The rare disease patient is the orphan of health systems, often without diagnosis, without treatment, without research, therefore without reason to hope."

While it may sound like an oxymoron thousands of rare diseases affect tens of millions of people around the world – 30 million in the U.S. alone.

The Global Genes Project is helping to drive the campaign with information and ways to get involved found here.

There are several easy ways to get involved:

  1. Wear jeans and/or a denim ribbon on Feb. 28 to show your support.
  2. Follow campaign supporters/leaders like @GlobalGenes @RareDiseases @RareDiseaseDay and @CRDNetwork on Twitter – and Retweet their campaign messages.
  3. If you are on Twitter, Tweet out to your followers on Rare Disease Day and trend #raredisease and #blog4rare
  4. If you are a Facebook user, get involved, become a fan of the Global Genes Project here.
  5. Blog about Rare Disease Day like mom @sneakpeekatme did on her blog “Sneak Peek” – Then send a link to your blog to another mother-activist @supercatcalhoun who is publishing a running directory of Rare Disease Day blogs.
  6. And, of course, follow me @SpecTeams and come join the #specialteams – a community for parents, caregivers and supporters of ill or special needs children – for more information, support and opportunities on efforts like Rare Disease Day.

This post originally appeared on Juliette Terzieff's website.

A new kind of special team

juliette and harisMaybe it's a writer thing. Maybe it's just intuition. But the first time Juliette Terzieff sent me a message on Twitter, I knew we were going to be friends. It's only been a few short weeks that we've been communicating regularly, but in that time we've come to learn a lot about each other, become critiquing buds, and support for each other when the writing gets tough. I'm writing a book about trying to not be fat after having a kid. Heady stuff, sometimes,  but still...there are worse things than having to shop at Lane Bryant. Like losing a son.

Memories are precious to any parent. But when those memories are all that is left, I can't even imagine their worth.

"Easily the best part of every day for me was bedtime. Haris shunned the crib very early on and preferred to fall asleep with me in the big bed. From the time he was about 8 1/2 months old, the only way he would fall asleep was for me to lay on my side and let him sit facing me," Juliette says of her most treasured moments. "He would put his hands on my stomach, and keeping his face turned towards mine, bounce his head and body back and forth off my stomach with a big smile on his face. After about 10 minutes the bouncing would begin to slow, until he was asleep leaning on my stomach. I would gently pick him up (smother him with kisses) and shift him onto his back."
Most mornings Juliette would wake up to find that he had turnned to face her overnight and grabbed a hold of her hand.

Haris was just 18 months old when he died.

I'm not here to depress you on Valentine's Day. I'm here to help spread the word about a mother's love for her child and her quest to help other parents living through similar experiences gain the knowledge and support she looked for on the bookshelves and was unable to find.

That's appropriate for today, I think.

Juliette has shared news with the world during times of war with an impressive list of publications to her credit. But the story that really matters is the one she is currently writing. The working title is Born into Battle: Surviving and Thriving Amidst a Child's Complex Medical Situation, a tribute to the son she lost after a precious little time. A memoir chronicling her experience as the mother of a special needs child, and a guide for other parents finding themselves fighting the same battle.

"Reaching out to engage other parents through a Twitter chat is an extension of that desire to give parents, caregivers and supporters of ill or special needs children a place where they know they are not alone," says Juliette. "A place where they can discuss everything from specific treatment options to emotional setbacks to the many victories that occur along the way - or discuss nothing at all and just be. Nobody understands the awe and awful that accompanies caring for a sick child better than others in a similar position."

Follow Juliette and Specteams on Twitter. Join the chat at 8E/7C/5PST on Wednesdays. Find love, support, and understanding...just there for the taking.