Albuquerque!!!!!

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Gah, this has been a busy summer already! Between finishing up my newest novel and readying for our trip to Romania, I haven’t had the time for the blogsphere! In lieu of Father’s Day this past weekend, though, I had to make the time to stop by and pen a post.

 

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I have the coolest dad. No, really.

He’s a big and muscly Gulf War vet with sharp intelligence, tattoos, armory you’ve never even heard of, and a badass motorcycle—in other words, he’s super intimidating. But on that same coin, he’s ridiculously handsome, charming, and I’ve met very few people in my life who can socialize like he can. No one’s better at hugs when you need them the most—and I mean real hugs, not the quick kind we give out of politeness.  I mean, have you ever met a doomsday prepper who can teach you how to protect yourself from bad guys AND make you feel like the most loved person in the world with his bear hugs at the same time? That’s my pops.

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Look at that handsome guy who would go from skateboarder to my dad one day 😀

He was surrounded by estrogen with four of us daughters and at least three female dogs at a time running round the house. It’s astonishing to me that he still has his sanity, but my dad always seems to take everything with a witty—and albeit extremely patient—grain of salt. He let us dress him up like Jack Sparrow one Halloween—eyeliner and all—sitting there patiently with a tumbler of bourbon in his hand and football on the TV as we dressed him up. The outcome was pretty rad, though:

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He was a stud at my wedding with his dress shirt rolled up to his elbows, a glass of whiskey in his hand, and a stogie in his shirt pocket, and I couldn’t think of a better image representation of my father. He’s the most intelligent man I’ve ever met with the open mind that always has allowed me to come to him with anything and not feel judged. Cheers to you, Dad, for always accepting me for whatever I did or wanted, so long as I put my very best into it.

 

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Oh, and also…

 

My Top Favorite Wisdom-isms from My Dad

 

1.)    “Shitass.” My dad has always had this incredible knack for creating out of the box swearing when he’s in the heat of the moment. I used to giggle at this, but now I find myself doing the same thing. Imagination knows no bounds.

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2.)    “What do you want to drink?” Ah, a man after my own heart. Not only does my father know how to make an IMMACULATE cocktail of perfection, but he always seems to know when to pose this question. On top of that, my dad can expertly gauge what kind of drink his daughter needs in seconds: sad, mad, happy, moody, etc.—no matter what I’m feeling, he’s got a remedy.

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3.)    “You missed that blade of grass.” My dad used to drive me crazy when I was younger with this seemingly unreachable expectation. Whether it was mowing the yard or washing my car, there was always room for improvement or to better what I was doing. Do I even need to explain why this is one of the most important life teachings my dad could have ever given me? If I do, then you definitely missed a spot mowing your lawn.

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4.)    “You have to watch Saving Private Ryan once in your life.” Again, if this doesn’t make sense, then you need to go watch Saving Private Ryan. Now. Go.

5.)    “Albuquerque!” This one still cracks me up to this day. In a house of so many girls, there was a lot of talking, most of the time undirected and chaotic. Anytime anything has ever gotten ultimately crazy and loud with gab, my father will blurt out in his loudest volume “Albuquerque!” We all immediately fall quiet and look at him, burst into laughter and all is calm again. It has worked every time.

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6.)    “I really love him, you did real good. But if he ever messes up, I have a hole dug in a secret spot just for him.” During our father-daughter dance at my wedding. I’ll let you guess who he was talking about. 😉

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Why Life Gets Damn Good from Year 25 and On

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My husband turned 25 this past weekend. Now, I’m a few years older than my hubs and as we celebrated his quarter of a century birthday, it made me reminisce about my own 25th and the few years that have followed since. And you know what realization hit me? Just how absolutely fabulous life becomes on that 25th year and after.

 

 

Oh, sure, at first, there’s a huge shock value that runs through your mind when you blow out those 25 candles. You have this momentary panic about being so close to 30. But then, you stop yourself: imagining becoming 30 isn’t actually so bad as it was the year before. In fact, you have to admit to yourself that it’s a little exhilarating even. A whole new chapter of life—of new goals, new wisdom, and new uncharted territories open up in front of you, ripe for the taking. It also helps that with 25 brings that beautiful drop in the yearly dues of your car insurance AND you can actually rent a car everywhere you go now. Liberating!

 

You’re at that place in life that no matter what your situation, for the first time ever, you actually have gotten to know who YOU are. Maybe you’re married, maybe you’re single, maybe you’ve got five kids, maybe you’re the CEO of your own company, maybe you’re working at Starbucks while you embark on a master’s degree, maybe you’re a tour guide at Yellowstone…no matter what your life looks like, as you start rolling through your late twenties, you’ve finally made that official introduction of “Hi, this is me.” Even if you’re unsatisfied with where you are in your life, your perspective is completely different than ever before because now that you know who you are, you have a whole new empowerment within you that allows you to change your circumstances if they don’t mesh well with your soul.

 

You also really take a long look around yourself as your twenties are rounding off and it’s kind of amazing just how much your outlook on a few pretty big things in life has changed. Like,

 

Family: Your parents become something entirely different because you realize they are not just “Mom and Dad”—they are human beings: just like you. You’re not only meeting yourself completely for the first time in your life, but you are also meeting your parents as “Kent” and “Samantha” instead of “Dad” and “Mom”. They have so many stories (many not unlike some of yours) and life lessons to share that you will need more than ever before, and now, sitting around the table playing cards and drinking good beer with your new best friends known as your folks is one of the best ways to spend your weekend.

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Friends: Whether you’ve grown apart or had an unfortunate falling out, your circle of friends becomes indefinitely smaller as you get older–especially as the quarter of a century dot on your timeline rolls around. It’s inevitable. People change and there is nothing wrong with taking separate paths in life. Memories are a great keepsake as you do amicably grow apart from the majority of people you called friends from childhood, teenage years, and sometimes even college. You’ll find yourself now meeting people and forming different types of friendships: deep, meaningful, and incredibly substantial. You’ve raised the bar on the standards that define what a friendship means to you and though probably not many, the people you meet now who mesh with those standards will become faster and closer friends than even some people that you have known for years. This same thing goes along with older friendships, too. The friendships you do keep as you get older change as the both of you do, and you both come to mean even more to each other as these years go by.

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Career: As human beings, we are on a constant journey for change and conquering new things, and this characteristic jumpstarts at this point in life. You’re finally past that “intern” status in your career and free to move up, or maybe make a complete change. We start to realize now what our passions are, how to tap into them, or maybe even how to make way for them to evolve. Maybe you’re completely content with what you do for a living or maybe you’ve discovered you want to do something completely different than what you went to school for. Maybe you’ve discovered you can’t work for other people and want to be an entrepreneur. Maybe you’ve had a new epiphany that you love a 9-5 schedule or maybe you thrive on a graveyard shift. No matter where you are or what your stance is on your career, the point is: in your late twenties, you are finally brave and independent enough to start the process of figuring it out. Your job is 85% plus of your life and now you start to realize that what you do needs to make you happy.

 

Priorities: Life is short. Work and day-to-day often is exhausting, so when we get those precious bits of free time, the whole concept of mortality is clearer than ever. The people you love the most—family & the few close friends you have—they become priority in how you spend that little bit of free time. And those free moments you do get have now become more special than ever because you’ve finally made room only for what makes your heart the happiest.

 

 

Firming Creams: Gravity is a bitch.

 

 

Quality over Quantity: This suddenly applies to EVERYTHING. A plastic handle of Mr. Boston was completely logical when you were 20 and poor, but now, you work hard for your money and you deserve that tumbler of Grey Goose that isn’t going to make you throw up for two days after you drink it. Forever 21 clothes that fall apart after one wash don’t quite seem as appealing as that cute dress from the Loft that will last 10 years and NOT make your butt hang out because it falls to a modest knee-length. Also, you are now sort of embarrassed of those plastic folding chairs serving as furniture.

 

Health: UGH! You have to start taking care of yourself now. Like really taking care of yourself. It’s not about being skinny anymore. It’s about all the organs and other really important stuff about your body that you’ve been ignoring for the past 25 years—liver, heart, brain, skin, teeth, blood pressure, cholesterol…stuff that you never even knew about: “What does my pancreas do?” You gradually become your mother when every morning you mentally begin to remind yourself to take your vitamins. Slowing metabolism, mandatory doctor’s appointments, and investing in fruit over hot pockets really sucks—but you realize a short, low quality of life sucks way more.

 

 

The History Channel: Or the Discovery channel, or a ridiculous amount of documentaries on Netflix. Maybe all three. Whichever it is, you begin to realize just how much you didn’t know about World War II or how to survive in an apocalyptic wilderness. Your brain is beginning to get hungry from all those years out of school and now you kind of feel dumb for always giving your dad a hard time about staying glued to the History Channel’s black and white, 8-hour shows when you were growing up.

 

YOU: As I mentioned before, you are finally meeting YOU! And while some insecurities do inevitably linger, most are fading away and you have at last come to that point where you are pretty okay with who you are. You are fully aware that not everyone is going to like you, but you are honestly fine with that. Being comfortable in your own skin is the most incredible feeling in the world and you’re finally on your way there. You are ultimately the one who has to wake up with yourself every single morning, and that is how you find your happiness. For the first time in your life, you truly begin to understand and believe the age-old wise words of Dr. Seuss: “Those who mind don’t matter, and those who matter don’t mind.”

 

**Cheers to the Quarter Life Crisis! :D**

Things My Mom Was Right About (Besides Everything): Part 1

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My mom came to visit last week. With the help of lots of bourbon, tequila, and grits, two Southerners managed to survive the Arctic blizzard that rolled through—well, Mom didn’t get away without catching a pretty bad case of bronchitis and a lungful of black smoke from the accidental almost-fire I set to the chimney, but hey—things could always be worse up North. Way, way worse. We do boast the harboring of the Yeti up here, after all.

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My mom’s visit prompted me to write up a top 15 list of her oh-so-wise lifetime of advice. I’ve been far away from home in this Great White Arctic for two years now and I don’t think I’ve ever really understood and come to appreciate my mother’s (sometimes absolutely crazy-sounding) foreboding phrases more than I do now. I cannot even count how many times I find myself muttering “Now I understand why my mom did [insert motherly genius-ness here].”

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Top 15 Things I Took From My Mama’s Wisdom Bank With Me To The Arctic

1.)    “Be grateful for your eyebrows.” Maybe this sounds like a weird way to start off this list, but hear me out. I grew up with a mom who had no eyebrows. None. I’m serious. I watched her meticulously create eyebrows on her face every single day of my life and she did it perfectly. So, I listened to my mother and never drastically changed these brows, embracing the fact that I had them at all. And now that I’m up in the Artic, they kind of serve as miniature face scarves, so that’s a plus…

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2.)    “When you have a sore throat, just drink whiskey.”

3.)    “When you have a stuffy nose, just drink whiskey.”

4.)    “When you have a full-blown flu cold, just drink whiskey.”

5.)    “When it’s 1:13 p.m. on a Tuesday, just drink whiskey.” (You get the picture. It’s always whiskey ‘o’ clock somewhere…)

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6.)    “Let’s go to Key West!” (Always cures the winter blues or any other serious ailment. And Key West never runs out of whiskey.)

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7.)    “If you would have done it the way I told you to in the beginning, you wouldn’t have this problem now.” Oh, God, in so many ways was she right about this…

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8.)    “Do you want me to make you some grits and/or a grilled cheese sandwich?” Always say yes. Always.

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9.)    “Never be without good lipstick.” Not for the pretty factor—it’s so that I don’t chew my lips off as they peel disgustingly away during the Arctic winter.

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10.)  “Let me teach you this card game…” I found this insufferable when I was younger that my mom always wanted to teach me some new card game to play. Now, the fact that I know probably almost all card games ever invented serves as extremely helpful when the Arctic snow knocks the internet out and interrupts a Netflix binge. (Mom, you still know more card games than I ever will. But I’m damn good at Old Maid.)

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11.) “Always wear good underwear in case you get hit by a car.” Which has a high percentage of happening in the Arctic where people tend to think they can drive. On ice. In a Prius.

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12.) “Come snuggle with me.” I have never been a super affectionate person, so I rarely would snuggle with my mom when she asked. Now that I’m all growed up and so far from home, I wish I would have taken advantage of snuggle requests—because now I miss my mom’s daily affection more than ever.

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13.) “Don’t sit that close to the TV, you’ll go blind.” SHE WAS RIGHT! It happened. And I’m really bad at putting in contact lenses. It never takes less than an hour…

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14.)  “You can hold it.” Oh, we all know this one. Long family road trip in the minivan, whining to pee every ten minutes. The woman who bore you gives you the Mom Look and utters that phrase. Without her refusing to stop at 27 gas stations on the way from Atlanta to Savannah, I wouldn’t be able to hold my pee for, say, two days at a time when it’s Ice-Skating-To-Hell kind of freezing up in the Artic and you’re afraid if you drop your pants, you’ll get frostbite.

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15.)  “Always remember that no one ever has to get you anything.” I’m pretty sure she was talking about gifts, but this phrase that my mother said billions of times to us growing up has taken on a different meaning for me now. I live in a place where the winters are not only brutal, but they last 6-8 months. So, when a miracle happens like today and we get a 40 degree heat wave and two hours of sunshine, I am ready to send Mother Nature a gold-embossed Thank You card.

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While there are sooo many more than just those tidbits, I’ll save it for another day—I wouldn’t want your head to explode from so much wisdom.

Thanks, Mom. Miss you already.

Respect the Val!

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Valentine’s Day was a few days ago.

You know I have to blurb a bit about this day of passion and romance, don’t you?

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Believe it or not, I’ve always been a Valentine’s Day advocate, even for most of my life when I wasn’t particularly ever in love with anyone besides Freddie Prinze, Jr. Yes, it’s a holiday for lovers, but it’s also a holiday to celebrate the romance and passion in everything—not just “In A Relationship With” on Facebook. It’s also another undeniable excuse to celebrate and party heartily in the name of a “holiday”. (Why, yes I do even have a little par-tay on an obscure day such as Columbus Day–what of it!) I have a rant all ready for you, but first, I want to introduce you to St. Valentine—the reason for this season of love.

There was a time in history when the world was ruled by giant jerks (Hard to believe, right?) and one of these jerks in particular decided he was going to outlaw marriage (again, hard to believe!!! [sarcasm begins to shoot off the charts…]) This jerk’s name was Emperor Claudius II and he didn’t outlaw marriage for everyone—just for the soldiers fighting for him. He thought love and marriage would be too big of a distraction for his soldiers as they continued to battle for him. (Do I even have to note that segregating certain people out from being able to marry the love of his/her life is not an okay thing?)

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So, in comes St. Valentine. Ol’ Val used to be a doctor, but then he became a Christian priest. This in itself was crazy because he lived in a time in this world in which most everyone else believed in multiple gods instead of just the one Valentine believed in. Val didn’t agree with this outlaw of marriage, so Val began to secretly perform marriages for the soldiers. Eventually, Val got busted, and the Emperor Claudius II threw Val in jail. But Val didn’t save his love and passion just for marrying people—even in jail, Val performed some seriously romantic miracles.

Valentine befriended nearly everyone in jail—even his own jailer—and he passionately told stories of his unconditional devotion to his faith and beliefs, even when the rest of the world seemed to be against him. Valentine’s jailer had a blind daughter, Julia, and eventually the jailer came to trust Valentine so much, that he asked if Valentine would read stories to Julia from books and teach her the ways of the world that she could not see. The jailer’s daughter and Val allegedly formed a friendship and further secret romance while Val read to her. There is even legend that Julia was cured of her blindness towards the end of Valentine’s stint in jail.

The emperor Claudius II actually really liked Valentine, so he offered a literal get out of jail free card for Valentine if he would renounce his faith and start believing in what everyone else did. Valentine refused, so sadly, he was put to death. Before his execution on February 14th, 270 A.D., Valentine wrote a letter to Julia, thanking her for her friendship and love, and he signed his letter “From Your Valentine”.

I bet you 9 out of 10 people really agree when they hear “Oh, Valentine’s Day is just a Hallmark holiday.” But isn’t that true of every holiday we have come to celebrate? Like our other days of celebration, Valentine’s Day has just as much of a solid basis for where it comes from than any.

And while I can appreciate the mottos we hear about “Happy Singles’ Awareness Day!” and “Stupid Cupid!”, I can’t say I agree with any negative connotation that goes along with it. Valentine’s Day is a happy day! It’s a day of passion, of romance, of love for whatever we choose! I love the hell out of my husband now and I do celebrate that love for him on Valentine’s Day, but there are other passions and romance that fill my heart that I also celebrate. (Yes, Netflix and moscato DO count as a Valentine!)

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Before I had any significant other in my life, I still was just as excited about celebrating Valentine’s Day! Maybe it was a year to celebrate with a full heart with my girlfriends, or reading the newest HP book, or watching old videos of my parents’ wedding. Hell, there were some years I was excited to celebrate myself with Boone’s Farm and a Backstreet Boys in Concert Special on VHS.

St. Valentine was a man who was an advocate for love—not just when it comes to marriage or relationships. He represented love and passion and romance for human rights, for his faith, for keeping a kind heart, and to pour that love into all things—even when he was in the darkness of prison.

So, I challenge those of you who hate Valentine’s Day—for whatever your reasons—to see it in a new, rosier light next year. Not as a holiday for companions or candlelit kisses, but for a day to indulge in our lovely, wonderful, and often times cheesy and ridiculous passions. We live in a world now where we are not necessarily persecuted for these simple things as St. Valentine was so long ago. Let’s honor Val’s legacy to the fullest just this one day out of the year.

Let the jovial sound of chocolate wrappers ensue.

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Married Conversations: Part 1

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Loads of statistics and people seem to be a little Glass-Half-Empty when it comes to marriage.

“Sure, you love each other now, but then—it’s misery! The end of your life!”

I may not have twenty years in yet, but I still think those statistics and people are stupid. I could get up on my little sunshiney soap box about this all day long, but I’ll save it for another day. Instead, I’ll just leave it at that I don’t agree and that if anything, so far, marriage has just made my personal love story with my hubs more entertaining. To an extreme level.

My hubs finally got a day off from the World of the Iron Beast (A whole weekend off!), and I would like to present to you a summary of this rare occurrence in which we get to hang out together for 2.5 days straight, never changing out of our pj’s while we have coffee in one hand and a bag of Fritos in the other. Add a new TV in the mix and now we get to judge and cackle at people we don’t know on a bigger screen.
This is heaven, right?

Allow me to present to you the first installment (because how could there not be tons of these to come?) of a weekend full of Married Conversations.

FRIDAY NIGHT:

Me: “You’re home, you’re home! Let the weekend festivus BEGIN!”
Hubs: “I had a bad day. I’m going to take a nap.”
Me: (A switch flicks and I go all THIS IS SPARTA! on him) “Shug, [my term of endearment for my hubs. It’s a shortened form of the word “sugar”] are you kidding?! It’s the weekend! You are off, you are awesome! Did Leonidas take a nap or did he take 300 guys with some serious weaponry and show everyone WHO’S BOSS? Huh? Would you rather be the guy who takes a nap after a bad day or the guy who DINES IN HELL?!!!!” (This goes on for roughly ten minutes as I also throw in references from history/fiction land such as Spartacus, Batman, and The Punisher…Oh, you thought I only get crazy with embellishment and imagination with the books I write? No. It falls out like verbal vomit every time I speak.)
Hubs: “Okay, okay! I’m up! No nap!” (Walks out of the bedroom)
Me: “Where are you going?”
Hubs: “Alcohol…I need…a drink.”
Me: “We can’t leave. It’s a blizzard outside.”
Hubs: “I don’t need to leave…I have root beer vodka, Dr. Pepper, and….”
Me: “Netflix?”
Hubs: “Netflix! Russia’s Toughest Prisons?”
Me: “This is why we are soul mates.”

SATURDAY:

(It’s been a day of mindless TV and comedies. As the sun sets, things are about to get real)


Hubs: (Walks in the kitchen) “What are you doing in here?”
Me: “I’m making this our personal pub. (I turn on the speakers and start jamming out Black Sabbath. I point at the kitchen tile) That’s our dance floor.”
Hubs: “I’m going to shovel the driveway.”
Me: “What! Why? It’s just going to keep snowing and your hard work will be in vain.”
Hubs: (He chuckles because I am not from the North and I am still learning things—especially about snow. Still, he is amazingly patient with me as he teaches me the ways of the Arctic) “It’ll just make things worse if I don’t shovel a little bit now. Things will turn to ice and…”(He proceeds to give me this logical explanation on why he needs to shovel a bit of the driveway tonight. My mind wanders to this idea I have about strapping a plow to the front of a golf cart and I accidentally stop listening to him.)
Me: “Okay…but no more than ten minutes out there.”
Hubs: “Deal.” (He goes outside and returns ten minutes later to me dancing with a glass of wine to “LaGrange”.)
Me: “Heyyyyyy!”
Hubs: “What happened to Ozzy?”
Me: “I accidently hit the shuffle button and it became the DJ.”
Hubs: (Sits down)
Me: “Dance with me!”
Hubs: “I’m wiped out! I just shoveled the driveway!”
Me: “I have an idea that will refresh your spirit! Let’s go watch old music videos from when we were teenagers on YouTube!” (Hubs bounces up, totally into this idea.)

(Five hours later, we’ve successfully watched every video from mid-nineties to mid-2000’s, bowing down to these memory triggers of nostalgia to BSB, Daft Punk, Muse, Savage Garden, Matchbox Twenty, Justin Timberlake, Oasis, Eminem, and Outkast…the list is endless. Is there any better way to spend a Saturday night with the love of your life? )

SUNDAY:

Hubs: (As we finish our morning coffee and Investigation Discovery is rolling criminal stories in the background) “Sam’s Club?”
Me: “Before the church crowd and late sleepers hit the streets?”
Hubs: “Let’s go!”

(Two hours later, we’re both cranky and are convinced humanity is lost. We are also coming up with new ways to get a buggy [shopping cart] through a parking lot of nine inches of unplowed snow)

THAT NIGHT…

(We’ve been watching the Grammys and all the pre-shows since 6)


Me: “Look at that hat—does he think he’s a Canadian Mountie? Does he know he’s on national TV?”
Hubs: “Who is that? And that? And that?”
Me: “Google.”
Hubs: (Googles these unknown Grammy nominees on his phone, reads off the list of 90% of the “celebrities” on this show who we have never heard of)
Me: “This is depressing. We know maybe 5 out of the 500 people on this show. All I wanted to do is just to see Paul and Ringo perform…why do we have to sit through 5 hours of these kids to get to that point?”
Hubs: “We are so old…ugh, look at her eyebrows.”
Me: “Gross. Look at that one’s dress. I mean, why didn’t you just take the slit all the way up your body since we can already see your underwear.”
Hubs: “She’s wearing underwear?”
Me: “I’m gonna go with the hope that she’s wearing underwear.”
Hubs: “How does someone keep all their stuff in that kind of dress?”
Me: “Tape. Lots of tape.”
Hubs: (Winces) “Doesn’t that hurt?”
Me: (Sigh) “The things we do in the name of beauty. You have no idea…Oo oo, I know him! Finally! Oh, and look at her—gorgeous!”
Hubs: “If clubs impose dress codes, so should the Grammys.”
Me: “I never thought of that, you are so right.”
Hubs: “It’s like, I can’t come in wearing jeans, but this guy is wearing a jean suit. Really?”
Me: “He just called his award a gold sippy cup. Must be nice to have money. Hey, we should buy a lottery ticket. I want a gold wine sippy cup. I’m serious.”
Hubs: “Where are the Fritos? I’m about to eat my emotions.”
Me: “Why? Not into the gold sippy cup idea?”
Hubs: “No, I just want to hear some real music. Some good music. What’s with all this loud, no-talent, everything sounds the same crap?”
Me: “Wow. Did you just hear yourself? Are you eighty years old?”
Hubs: (Gives me a look) “You know you agree with me.”
Me: (I’m laughing pretty hard now) “ ‘Merica!”
Hubs: “Aren’t you a comedian.”
Me: “No, no, no, I totally agree with you! That’s why when I get pregnant, I’m going to blast the kid’s ears with classics. Queen, Rolling Stones, AC/DC, The Who, The Beatles….when music was GOOD. Do they make earphones for your belly? I should invent that if they don’t….”
Hubs: “It’s my turn to ask YOU how old YOU are now.”
Me: “Whatever. You’ll thank me when your kids burst in the house singing “Thunderstruck” opposed to twerking like they have some kind of mad cow disease to a Justin Bieber tune.”
Hubs: (Thinks this over) “Okay, you definitely win on this.”

See? Married life is kind of awesome….and this is only a small slice of just how entertaining it can be.

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Introductions!

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Ok, ok. I did it. I caved. Here I am, people.

Due to some extensive pressuring of professional (and personal) peers around me, I am finally entering the blogsphere.

Is that what you call it? The blogsphere? Or did I just accidentally put in for a new Webster word, to soon be added after twerk, frenemy, and lindseylohanrealityshow?

I had a blog set up since I began my career as an author two years ago, but it was really just because I had to. I think I had three posts over eighteen months. I guess that’s not technically how I’m supposed to do things in the blogsphere.

So, happy 2014! Here’s to a hopefully colorful and entertaining handful of blurbs involving my reality-tv-show-worthy personal life (Hey, “Battle Cats” got its own reality show. Don’t judge me so quick.)

I’ll start basic.

Hi, I’m Tabitha. I write books for teenagers. It’s my full-time job, a dream come true, and I have a ball doing it. It’s a pretty awesome gig. Also due to the fact that I can wear my flannel jammies to work every day.

I’m a Southerner, born and raised in Georgia, and I just merged that already loud culture with another even louder way of life–my husband is a Romanian Railroader. Tall, dark, and handsome, with a European romantic streak that will knock your knees together and cause an explosion of cartoon hearts to erupt out of your ears. He comes with a family that is My Big Fat Greek Wedding on Red Bull. They are emotional, raging with passion, love, and adventure, and can convince you that Vodka is a food group. It’s great.

When I met my husband two years ago, I left my warm, Southern sunshine to be with him in the tropical heaven of….Cleveland, Ohio. (Yes, I’m really sarcastic.)

When you have that thick, warm-weather blood running through your veins, anywhere above the Mason Dixon line feels like the Arctic. So, instead of referring to my new home as “Ohio”, we are just gonna go with “the Arctic”. Got it? Great.

Once I arrived in the Arctic, my husband pushed and pleaded for me to quit my normal job and chase my dream of being an author. I finally caved, and somehow, it actually turned out right. With a solid backing of love, support, and enthusiasm from my hubs, I don’t think I could have ever allowed myself to fail at this…and I was actually lucky enough to make it my full-time career.

Well, aside from being a Real Railroad Housewife, of course.

Ah, the Railroad. The steel this country was built on, still rumbling through all powerful now. It’s not Polar Express, people!

The Railroad is the Mistress in my life. It takes away my hubs for days on end sometimes, leaving me to walk around my house mumbling new stories to myself while shamelessly in the same wine-stained t-shirt and grungy sweatpants for a week.

When my Railroader is home, the clouds part. (No, no, I’m not being sarcastic this time) He is really an awesome man who seriously sits there after working a 48 hour straight shift and intently and patiently listens to me ramble on about a chapter I just wrote this afternoon about an ordinary girl who had to fight off a gigantic seamonster on a paddle boat.

Have you seen the AT&T commercials with the man sitting at a round table with all the little kids, listening and talking to them as if they are adults with some logical thoughts?

That’s exactly what my kitchen table looks like when I corner my husband with my fictional bubble I’ve been in all day. He’s a good sport.

So this is my life, in a nutshell. It’s half fake characters having a party in my brain and half real characters in my life constantly blowing sparkly confetti out of a Ke$ha-made glitter gun.

I hope you’ll enjoy the shenanigans with me as we begin this new year.

Now, I’m off to write about the newest tale in the cloud bubble above my head….something about….apocalyptic female gladiators?

Hmmmm, now this should make for an interesting Wednesday.

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(Originally posted January 8, 2014)