Friday, April 8, 2016

Life Balance - when winning a battle means you've lost the war...

With all of our tech tools life should be easier, right? Apps to organize, virtual calendars that allow you to sync with your coworkers, family, and friends, even hands free calling for your car and wifi in almost every public place - we should be the most organized, least stressed people in the world.

But we aren't.

I was giddy when I finally got my workspace in order. After three weeks of dedicated purging, organizing, and reassembling, my house looked amazing. I had to be organized after all, I had a business to start, kids to parent, sports to coach, a job to maintain, a house to maintain, bills to pay - and that's when I realized that my organized house did little to organize my life.




I'd walk you through a typical day but does it matter? Many of you probably have similar situations. Too much to do, too little time. And nothing works with anything else because that would be silly.

Why would Maddox's school musical - that he has to attend - NOT be on the one night of the week that Autumn has softball practice? Because that would be crazy.

It's the same for most parents, methinks. But for us single parents, it's an extra special challenge. We can't splice ourselves and our former other half may not be able - or willing - to be there. Then one parent is left to be two parents. But what happens when you can't be in two places at once?

I keep hearing "kids are resilient." You would not believe how many times I've heard that. People trying to make me feel better about not being able to do everything. I appreciate that said people care enough about me to want to make me feel better, but it doesn't. I still see the disappointment in my kids' faces when I can't do something, when I have to choose to go with one instead of the other. I give them reasons but they don't see the time I spend agonizing over the decision before I even tell them.

But I try to be everywhere, I try to make it work. I've switched jobs and continue to work toward financial stability WITH flexible times so I can be Mom and still support us. I feel like I'm not doing a very good job of either. This is where I realized that I've won the battle of organization - seriously, you should see our "family command center" and my work area is insanely organized if you ignore my smattering of toys and trinkets from the kids - but I'm still losing the war as my life balance is woefully out of whack.

I rarely take time for myself - because I can't afford to in any way, shape, or form. I look at my life and see that I always come last. Kids first, then work and by the time that's all done I've got nothing left. All the while I worry about making ends meet so I find a way to write just one more article because that $5-$15 will help. I have to write a lot of words to make enough to support my family and that takes time. But, I can write at 2am when it's quiet, homework is done, practices are complete, musicals have been attended, laundry and dishes are done and the only thing I missing out on is sleep. Who cares if I'm not sleeping? Exercise? How can I justify walking for half an hour when that means another $30 or so in articles or blog posts? If I have to choose, I choose the money because that's what you do when you're in debt and trying to pay for a place you really can't afford (so your kids can stay in a school system that really works for them) and their activities and supplies and clothes (so they don't feel the impact of how poor you really are). Meanwhile my life is passing by at a startling pace as I approach my 38th birthday and realize that I'm almost 40.  I keep promising myself that I'll take time for me, that I'll get to the point where I can do something simple like curl up in a chair and read for as long as I like with no regrets.

I'm just not there yet.

In the meantime, I'll load up the coffee pot (brew set to extra strength) with Deathwish Coffee, don my ill-fitting mom clothes, and trudge through this battlefield. Maybe if I can win one more battle it will turn the tide of the war.

Who's with me?



Friday, February 5, 2016

In search of:

Hey authors! Anybody looking for a little extra promo? I'm looking for authors to interview for this here little blog of mine. Know somebody awesome who fits the bill? Somebody who needs a little more face time??

Contact me at booksbyviolet@gmail.com for interview questions!


Wednesday, January 13, 2016

New book review feature!

In sticking with one of my New Years resolutions, I've been working to be more consistent with my blogs. Part of that is a new venture with my daughter on our family blog - Kharmic Chaos - where we review books as we read them. We are always looking for new books to read so send them our way at kharmicchaos@gmail.com! Stop by and check us out!!

Oh, and who wants to join me for this year's book challenge on Goodreads? My goal is 200 books this year, what's yours??



Thursday, December 31, 2015

Happy New Year!

New Years is a time of resolutions and reflection.I fall victim to such folly as much as anyone.

What will I change this year?

This one question quickly devolves into a mess as I break down what I want to change versus what I can reasonably change. It then takes me down a path of reflection that occasionally goes to bad places, those places I would rather let be. It becomes difficult to move forward when things from your past reach out to drag you down, to pull you back into an ugly place that you wish to escape. We've seen it time and again, Tony wants to leave the Jets, Michael Corleone hopes to legitimize the family business he never wanted a part of, Veronica Mars is oh-so-close to a life as a high powered attorney before being sucked back in to Neptune.

Okay, so all of these characters are fictional. But there are hundreds of thousands of examples in every day life. It is no wonder we see the same stories in our fiction. Some see it as addiction, some as inability to leave the comforts of the known, and some see it as others pulling us back to where they want us.

Maybe I'm oversimplifying some things and exaggerating others but in the end, this is what I think. These are the peculiarities that roll through my mind this time of year.

In the end, I look at what I want to change. My dream list of where I'd like to be by the end of the next year. I ignore the things that could pull me back, drag me down, or tempt me in another direction. I #postpositive as much as possible. That's how my year starts, in fighter's stance with a plan to attack and achieve those things on my dream list. I don't score on all of them, but if I make progress I am pleased.

So what are YOUR resolutions and do you think you can stick with them?


Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Why I let my kids watch The Walking Dead.....

I'm a terrible mom.

It's time I face the facts, I guess. All of you mom-shamers out there have finally made your point. I'm awful for allowing my kids to watch The Walking Dead.

No, that's not right. I don't feel bad at all for sharing this show with my kiddos. And here's why:

1. Zombies are cool. Just as Freddy, Michael, and Jason were *totally awesome* when I was a kid, zombies are the new cool. The zombie myth has been warped and twisted and stretched into almost every age range in every medium possible (Plants vs. Zombies, Monster High, Alice in Zombieland...need I go on??). At school they talk about zombies, draw zombies, and write about zombies. Bottom line, my kids are into zombies and they are going to find a way to access all things zombie so why not be a part of their discovery?

My daughter getting her zombie on as "Zombie Sophia"

2. TWD is about more than zombies. There are some incredible story lines that have led to interesting, in depth moral discussions with my kids. It's kind of like disguising vegetables so the kids will eat them....hiding lessons in TWD, who woulda thunk it? I'm not saying TWD is this generation's After School Special but we've addressed issues about defending yourself/your family, how far you'd go to survive, first crushes, and the importance of being honest. I never know what I'm going to get out of them after an episode but I look forward to it.

My son impersonating "Carl."

3. The fandom is incredible. We've attended a few events now - just a few, lol - and with this fandom, you can expect a lot of entertainment. My kids are no exception and have taken on their own "characters" to join the excitement. They've met some of the actors and I have to say that for the most part, TWD has some of the nicest celebs we've encountered.

My kiddos acting up at Horrorhound

4. It is just fun. The kids and I make a huge deal of our Walking Dead time. We like to get wings, special drinks and cool snacks - a la Gilmore Girls. Everything is set out before we even start the show and settle in so nobody misses anything.

So, I'm going to argue that I'm a great mom. My kiddos and I bond over the The Walking Dead and the best part of that statement is "bond." How many of my wanna-be-shamers can say the same thing?

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Remember, remember the 5th of November

Remember, remember!
The fifth of November
The Gunpowder treason and plot;
I know of no reason
Why the Gunpowder treason
Should ever be forgot!

More than just the opening quotes of one of my favorite films, these lines begin a British folk verse telling the tale of Guy Fawkes. It seems appropriate that on this day, the 5th of November, I pay homage to the man, the legend and because I can, the film.

First, the man. Guy Fawkes is most famously related to November the 5th even though he was not actually the lead conspirator (according to most of the accounts I've read). What I've managed to find has been interesting but I will just pull out a few links for your brief enjoyment:



Guy Fawkes and Bonfire Night gives a very basic breakdown of the whole affair.

Guy Fawkes - this is probably my favorite because who doesn't love the BBC???

Here is the full Fifth of November Verse as well. If you are interested...

So, as it seems, Guy Fawkes was a pretty impressive man recruited for his know how and martyred to his groups cause after a significant bout of torture. Poor guy. All because he wanted to topple an oppressive government.

It is with this spirit that the film V for Vendetta burst onto the Hollywood scene. A stunning if not thought-provoking masterpiece by the Wachowksi siblings, V pushes the ideals of Guy Fawkes and his co-conspirators.



"People should not be afraid of their governments, governments should be afraid of their people."

This is one of my favorite quotes from the movie and delivered at a poignant moment as V (portrayed by the ever impressive Hugo Weaving) explains to Evey (the lovely and talented Natalie Portman) why he is pushing forward with his shocking plans to tear down their current government. I won't give away the plot for those who have not watched V for Vendetta yet, but know that it is well worth your time to be reminded of what many Americans seem to have forgotten. Governments are meant to work for their people, not the other way around. I am posting political now but only to say that we are at a breaking point as our government is failing because the parties are so at odds fighting over issues that should not even be on the table when people are dying of diseases that should be curable, wars are being fought on foreign soil, our fellow Americans are starving and impoverished and utterly uneducated. Frankly, I don't know that it matters anymore who sits in the White House so long as our nation remains so divided and focused on issues that function as little more than smoke and mirrors to distract us from the real issues at hand. I hope America comes to her senses before Idiocracy becomes our reality....

Friday, September 18, 2015

Three ring circus featuring purple elephants in top hats....

Okay, I pretty much never post political because my personal beliefs are just that - personal. I have friends who run the gambit from extreme conservative to extreme liberal because I choose to generally not discuss politics with them. I ignore their political posts whether I agree or not because I don't want my friendships to be based on common political beliefs. But now, in light of the current political climate I feel the need to make some observations.



Over the years I have witnessed a lot of beautiful and terrible things, injustices and the perfection of karma coming through appropriately. To that end, I have learned that our world is not black or white. I don't think it ever was. It doesn't matter what your belief system, good people do bad and bad people do good things and above all, everybody has something. Until you've walked in somebody else's shoes you don't really have a right to tell them what to do or how to handle a situation because nobody has the exact same life experience.

Personal example? I'm divorced. I didn't want to be. I wanted the life I was promised. But that didn't happen. I've done the best I could with what I have left. People disagree with some choices. That's fine. But do you know the worst part? People look down on me for not making my marriage work. Divorcee is a dirty word to more people than you would guess. These people have no idea what happened or why my marriage is over. Yet they still weigh in. It's a good thing I'm confident in myself and their condescension doesn't get to me.

Anyway, I'm looking at a variety of other issues on the table and what I would really like people to think about is how a particular issue affects them on a personal level. I mean, really, setting aside all personal objections, moral arguments and so on, how are YOU as an individual affected? Does something offend your personal belief system? Why should that matter to Joe Schmo?

Just for Shits and Giggles example? Joe Schmo likes purple elephants with tiny top hats to dance at all of his birthday parties but his neighbor from two doors down, Cindy Lou, thinks purple elephants are an affront to God. Cindy Lou petitions to have purple elephants outlawed because they infringe on her personal beliefs and must not be tolerated. Joe Schmo wonders why Cindy Lou even cares about his purple elephants because she only sees them being led from the truck to Joe's back yard and then back into the truck after the party. Cindy Lou does not have to pick up the purple elephant turds or scratch behind the elephant's ears or provide a barrel of peanuts or even pay for the elephant's services.
Thanks Purple Elephant Clip Art for this cutie!

So what do you say about the purple elephants in top hats? Does Cindy Lou have a claim? Does it matter if Joe Schmo likes to have purple elephants for entertainment in the privacy of his own back yard? What if he wants to parade them around the block?

Obviously, I like purple elephants and I would REALLY like them in top hats, but that's not why I use this silly example. Again, I'm not addressing my personal political beliefs here, I am simply asking people to take a step back and look at the big picture. Before getting pissed off about an issue and rallying against something, step back and think "does this affect me on a personal level in my day to day life?" If the answer is "no" then why not let it go. If the answer is "yes" then figure out how it affects you, how significant an impact it actually has on you. Does it just offend your moral code? Not that that's something to be taken lightly, but I would caution that our country was built on the idea of separation of church and state with freedom of religion being protected. That does not give anybody license to force their personal religious beliefs on another person. When was that forgotten? Disregarded? Blatantly ignored?

I guess what I'm saying is, frankly, I don't give a damn what your personal beliefs are. My own personal beliefs don't matter either. What matters on every issue is what those most affected believe. I think somehow we've lost sight of what's important somewhere along the line. If everybody believed the same thing our world would not only be a boring place we would have no progress - ever. Nothing good can come of what's currently happening in our country. Nothing good at all.

Please, stop the insanity and let purple elephants rock their little top hats!