Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Worst Parenting Advice

The other day I was reading an article online about the worst advice new parents had ever received out of pure curiosity, just to see what some people might say. After all, maybe I could use it in a story someday, and then I came to this little tidbit:

“Twins are easier than one at a time because they have a built-in playmate/friend.”

I cracked up! Spoken like someone who has never had to deal with a couple of toddlers conspiring together to overthrow a safety gate or anything else. Oh, at first it might seem fine.

Our dad insisted that while we were babies and toddlers, before we started talking, we would jabber at each for hours, seemingly having very interesting conversation only we could understand. And it’s not that much harder to change two diapers then to change one, but once twins are mobile – Look out!

I mean let’s get real. All of you parents out there imagine your little one-year-old hellion and times that by two.

Times the un-diapered runaways, the knocked over lamps, the banging pots and pans, and all the other minor disasters one can cause by two, and throw in a dose of they communicate with each before they can actually talk, and believe me, that safety gate will only withstand their assault if its bolted to the wall.

To hear the war stories my parents used to say about my early years, I’m guessing we got all our mischievousness out before we entered school, because I’m telling you our teachers never had that much trouble. Though believe me, we pulled some mighty interesting stunts. And I’ll have to admit we were in grade school for a certain feat we pulled involving a Christmas present, but that did occur at home. Our teachers never had any such problems with us.

(Excluding the one trick where a friend dared us into switching places for April Fool’s day, which would be the only time I have ever pulled an April Fool’s prank, and, as I’ve mentioned before, it didn’t work too well.)

Of course, I don’t have to go with just what they said; I know plenty of other parents of twins. And one theme I’ve noticed is that when in trouble, they run away in opposite directions. And I experienced that as a young woman babysitting a set a twin boys! You aim to grab them, to get them out of trouble, and they’d scamper, giggling, in opposite directions, generally, both finding something else to get into.

I’m telling you once twins are mobile you need to be two people to keep up. And to just plain catch them!

I feel sorry to single parents of twins and for every couple out there with higher order multiples. With my active imagination I can figure out how that would be, and I do not want to go there! Ever. My sympathies to all of you.

But then again, I really ought to work some of this into a story.

Time to get back to my writing! Have fun everyone. J

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

The Twin Connection

Not too long ago my husband took our daughter and her two fur babies to the vet. While there he saw a woman who looked familiar but clearly didn’t know him.
He asked the woman if he knew her but she said she didn’t think so but then added, “I do have a twin sister though.”
As I wasn’t there, I’m not sure which one brought up the name of our doctor but when he was telling me the story, Jerry made it clear the woman looked a lot like the woman all of us, except my husband, see for medical care, and she did say that our doctor was her twin sister. (He goes to the VA.)
Jerry told me about because he’d been unaware our doctor had a twin.
I knew that, but it was surprising, after all these years, that we’d run into her sister. This is a big city.
Anyway, a few days later I had to take a couple of my kids into the doctor so I asked her, “Have you talked to your sister since Monday night?”
“No. Why?”
I told her about Jerry having to go to the vet and as soon as I named the clinic he went to she started laughing. Though when I explained that Jerry talked to her sister she seemed a bit surprised. She said, “Yeah, if you see me out and about and say hi, but I don’t respond, it’s actually my sister.”
While she didn’t actually say her sister was ‘the shy one’, that was what she implied.
If you’ve ever seen Lily Tomlin and Bette Miller in “Big Business” you’ll see that for both sets of twins, one is considered shy while the other is very much outspoken. This is considered fairly normal among twins.
Bonnie and I have already posted about all the times I didn’t talk to her friends. What I didn’t say is I never had that problem, because she always figured a stranger talking to her must have known me.
What I realized that day in the doctor’s office is that my doctor is the outgoing one like Bonnie is and her twin is the shy one like me.
In the past my doctor and I have also talked about being mirror twin, part of the reason I knew she was a twin. Anyway, because of that I know my doctor is right handed, like Bonnie.
So I actually have more in common with her sister than I do her.
But, you know what? It doesn’t really matter.

What matters is we are both twins and we understand each other on a level that people who aren’t twins can’t.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

My ADD Muse

I think the hardest part about writing is when your mind moves faster than your fingers can type, but it’s doubly hard when the story moves on in your head while you’re dreaming, taking your brain further along in the story than where you’ve typed to.

You would think after all these years I would be accustomed to this problem, since, after all, my stories do play out in my mind while I’m doing other things, like chores, or sleeping, and the fact is it usually helps me work out what happens next.

My problem is that sometimes my brain skips way ahead.

I know there are authors who insist they write whatever scene is on their minds then go back in edits to put the scenes in order and fill in the blanks. I’ve tried this. I have several manuscripts with the words “skip ahead,” typed into the manuscript. But each time I reread those manuscripts I’m still drawing a blank as to how to fill in the gap.

In the past week, instead of forcing myself to work on my manuscript I’ve volunteered to chauffeur a friend around, went shopping and out to lunch with a friend, taken my sister-in-law to various appointments, and played countless games on my computer. I’ve also opened my manuscript any number of times, but all I’ve managed is adding a couple paragraphs, and those simple sentences took me most of the day! I’m generally not that slow.

In fact, I have it open right now. But as I know it ends well before the spot running through my head, I can’t bring myself to even look at it.

Why does my brain have to jump ahead?

Well, it needs something to do while I’m doing other things. Let’s face it, I have ADD, my brain goes, period. It doesn’t stop, not even when I’m asleep, since my dreams often give me story ideas, or solve problems I’m having with a plot.

None of which helps me complete another manuscript. I’ve managed it six times, but none since, and I’m starting to feel like I will never manage it again.

I’ve gone to the point of telling myself not to start another one until I finish what I’m working on, but then the story I’m working hits a road block I can’t seem to work out while another story takes over. This has happened many times, and only once have I managed, after almost a year of working on other stories, returned to the interrupted story, when a sudden idea gave me a new path to take.

Then again, I did finish that one, thanks to the inspiration. Maybe I should stop fighting it and just go along with my scatterbrained muse. What do you think?

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Travel Arrangements

Though I don’t watch TV or any news programs, I’m informed enough to know that Greta Van Susteren is some sort of news commentator. I’ve also heard, or read, enough of her commentaries to know she’s conservative, and anti-Obama. Since I’m very conservative and anti-Obama, what I have read from her, I’ve agreed with.
Today I was reading through Facebook and saw someone’s post sharing what was titled as her rant about Obama’s spending habits.
I’ve seen plenty of headlines about the lavish vacations he and his family take and other headlines criticizing how much taxpayer funds the Obama’s spend on personal things so I had every reason to believe this was more of the same.
The entire article was about spending taxpayer money on travel expenses.
One thing she pointed out was that under normal circumstances, news reporters wanting to interview the U.S. President would have to pay their own travel expenses because the President wasn’t going to go to them.
However, that’s just what Obama did.
He traveled to California for an interview. True this one wasn’t with a news reporter, but rather a talk show host, but it’s essentially the same thing. His wife also traveled to California for an interview, just a different talk show.
While Ms. Van Susteren did point out that past presidents had never traveled to interviews, and these interviews were purely for entertainment television, as opposed for news purposes, her main objection was not to why they traveled but the means they choice to travel.
 Granted her complaint was focused fully and completely on the cost of that transportation choice. A cost we as taxpayers clearly will have to pay.
I agree.
It’s expensive and we as taxpayers should question every such expenditure. I believe it’s our constitutional right to do so.
I certainly don’t understand why they had to do the interviews.
It’s not like Obama can legally hit the campaign trail for 2016 and if he tried I would fervently pray that this time the masses have wised up and actually realize the man and his wife are anything but patriotic and we do not need them in our White House.
But Ms. Van Susteren’s biggest argument against the expense wasn’t about the entertainment or how past presidents dealt with interviews, but the fact that the Obama’s used two different planes to travel to the same place at roughly the same time.
Now I’d like to point out something to Ms. Van Susteren.
It is also policy that the president and vice president don’t travel together.
Because if something should happen we as a nation wouldn’t lose both at the same time.
I do realize that Michelle isn’t the vice president. What she is, is the mother of two beautiful young daughters, who call our president Dad.
I’m the mother of five.
When I have traveled it has been with my husband and kids and never by plane. But I think young Sailor Gutzler would agree that parents traveling together can be a tragedy for the children. She’s the sole survivor of a plane crash that took her parents, sister and a cousin. I think she’d feel better right now if her mom hadn’t been on that plane and was still here to comfort her.
The Obama’s aren’t the only parents in this unpredictable world of ours who choose to make separate travel arrangements.
You may not like how much money they spent on this trip, but don’t automatically assume their choice was purely for their personal creature comfort.
As a mother who hates Obama, I’m not making that assumption.

Wednesday, April 1, 2015


Ever since the first time I heard of school district passing a zero tolerance for violence policy, I’ve wanted to say just one thing. It won’t work. It in fact will backfire because it gives bullies leverage and victimizes their targets two times over.

How did I know this up front? Simple; the first time I heard of this policy, I flashed back to time in my life when a certain bully would pin me in the corner then call me every filthy name in the book to my face until I, in an effort to get away, would punch him in the stomach and or kick him in the shin. At that point, he’d go running to our mother crying that I kicked him in the groin for no reason at all.

Our mother insisted to there was no reason for me to damage my baby brother in such a vicious manner and refused to listen to my side of the story, so she spanked me. Nothing I said managed to get through to her, not even saying repeatedly I didn’t get him in the groin, not by a long shot. This continued until the time I managed to point out that my younger brother was quite a bit larger than I was which had the unfortunate results of the next time I fought back that he trounced me instead of running to our mother.

And while I know this zero tolerance school policy wouldn’t be between siblings, it was still the same situation where the adults in charge would not accept any reason for one student to hit the other. I knew right then, the bullies of the world would figure out pretty quick all they had they had to do was avoid touching their victims and they wouldn’t get into any trouble.

Better yet, for them anyway, the system would further victimize their targets the second their targets fought back.

It was a disaster waiting to happen without adding in internet, cell phones, and texting. (Those additions make it a nightmare.)

But I seriously doubted anyone would listen to a college dropout, so I kept my mouth shut back then, and now I’ve read a story of a mother who fought back, and I applaud her.

Not too long ago I read a story on the internet about a mother who got called into school because her daughter had slugged a boy (a much bigger boy) a couple times in the face, and her reaction was fantastic and about time!

First, she actually listened to her daughter’s reason (unlike anyone else) and second she turned the tables on the principal and teacher present. If you haven’t read the story, here it is in a nutshell.

The boy in question had been repeatedly snapping the girl’s bra. When she told the teacher, he did nothing about it. (Please note the teacher was male.) So she resorted to slugging the pervert, whereupon the principal called her mother as his first step toward expelling the girl. (Please note the principal was also male.)

This fantastic mother boldly accused the boy of sexual harassment (a form of bullying I also endured during school) and promised the principal she was going to the school board because the teacher did nothing to protect her daughter from a boy who was considerably larger than her daughter. Hurrah! Well done. And it’s about time someone did this.

When I mentioned this to my twin, she told me of woman she knew who got called to school because her small for his age, black belt, second grader used his skills on several fifth graders who were bullying him. This mother informed the school her son had that black belt to protect him from bullies because the school wouldn’t. Again hurrah!

And it’s about time the school boards, principals, and teachers of this country actually started to protect the small, weak, and female students from the taunting and degradation heaped upon them by the bullies and perverts also attending their schools.

If you’re going to inforce a rule of zero tolerance, make it zero tolerance for name calling, harassing, and bullying, and let’s not forget to include in that snapping girl’s bra’s, groping, and or making sexually suggestive comments and remarks to or in the hearing of persons of the opposite sex.

And let’s send out one more hurrah to all those mothers out there standing up for their victimized children!