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On My Mark, Get Set….Here I GO!

8 Jul

Long-ish story, but the short version is that I signed up to be part of a group of people who will share a goal (or goals) that we want to reach in 24 days. I think our 24 days begins on the 15th, but along the way, we will be e-mailed mini-missions that will encourage us to step out of our comfort zones and work toward our goal.

My goal? Get my manuscript edited so that I can publish it on Amazon for the Kindle.

It needs to lose some weight.

The manuscript

I will be a published author by August 10 (I think that’s the end of the 24 days).

For those of you new to the game, my book is called “186 Days: The Marvelous Adventures of the Fabulous Nolens,” and it’s about our 6 months in England with 3 little kids.

Stay tuned!

P.S. I’m a little freaked out just writing that red sentence above.


How To Take Your Toddler To The ER In 32 Easy Steps

18 Oct

1. Leave Kid #1’s ADHD meds in an accessible place. Preferably the Intuniv, because it was developed as a blood pressure medication and will cause the most uncertainty with Poison Control and the ER doc.

Yup – she’s tall enough to reach. Dang it. Now I have to move all the crap backwards away from the edge.

2. Call Poison Control after Kid #4 returns Sunday’s empty pillbox and tells you, “I took my meds, Mommy.”

3. After Poison Control tells you they aren’t really sure what will happen because not many kids have taken this med accidentally, agree to go to the ER for the child to be “observed for a while.”

4. Rush around the house throwing on clean (hopefully) clothes, yelling at Kid #3 to brush her teeth and get her backpack for school (Kids #1 and 2 were already gone).

5. Grab the Kindle Fire, the phone, the iXL, and the scarf you started knitting the night before. Do not, I repeat: DO NOT take any chargers for the electronics because you will only be there for “a while.”

6. Deliver #3 to school and head to the ER.

7. Notice at the admitting desk of the ER that one of #4’s earrings is missing. It must have gotten pulled out when you hastily yanked her hot-pink leopard-print fleece sweatshirt over her head. Take other earring out and stash it in your purse because you don’t want to look like a bad mom.

8. In ER room, take picture of child watching “Jake and the Neverland Pirates” to post on your blog later.

Happy as a clam.

9. Feed child via syringe 1/2 c. of sludge consisting of liquid activated charcoal (to stop absorption of the meds into her system) and chocolate syrup. It was a gooey black mess.

Words fail…

10. Move up to a regular room – or in the case of our tiny hospital, ICU room #5. Watch more Disney Junior while child is hooked up to various computers to monitor her heart rate, blood pressure, and respiration.

11. Email hubs, grandparents, aunts, uncles, and Tardie Sue’s bestie with an update. Wonder how long the battery on the phone will last, because now “a while” has turned into “at least 7 more hours.”

12. Eat an average lunch with Kid #4 and Hubs, who has walked over from work to check on us.

13. Make Hubs stay until after the Big 3 Kids get home from their half-day of school (12:45) so he can call them on his cell. Your phone’s battery is now down to 40% and there’s no phone in the room. (What?) You aren’t allowed to switch phones with Hubs, either, because he has an employer-issued phone with a super-secret passcode to get into it.

14. After issuing orders to the Big 3 that they can watch TV and NOT ARGUE, bid Hubs goodbye and hunker down for a long afternoon of inane kids’ cable programming.

15. Get in the bed with the kid because you are afraid that if you don’t have some kind of hold on her, she’ll try to walk out of the room while you’re asleep, despite the fact that she has 6 different cables attached to her little body.

16. Have a brief wrestling match with the child as you assert your parental right to take a stinking nap. Express your feeling of ambivalence regarding her own state of consciousness, but assert your need for 40 winks. Keep a (semi) death grip on her to prevent her from slipping out of the bed.

17. Wake up 20 minutes later to find the child asleep.

Notice she’s hogging the bed – sleeping right in the middle.

18. Find yourself unable to go back to sleep, so bust out the Kindle Fire for some entertainment.

19. Get hungry and make too much noise getting your chocolate croissant out of the bag an hour later and wake up the kid.

20. Give the kid the Kindle Fire and try to “help” her play various games – most of which are way too old for her anyway.

21. Realize the phone’s battery is down to 30% with at least 3 hours to go.

22. Knit.

23. Fight with the kid (for the 37th time) about how she needs to keep the pulse/ox monitor on her big toe.

24. Realize the phone’s battery is down to 20% with 2 1/2 hours to go.

25. Knit more as you watch NCIS because now the kid is watching “Go, Diego, Go” on the Kindle. Wonder how long the battery will last.

26. Feel slight panic as you text a reply back to your friend because now the phone’s battery is at 15% with 2 hours to go. Turn the phone to sleep mode, not realizing that you will receive NO texts or calls while it’s in that state.

27. Knit more as the kid begins another episode of Diego. Think thankful thoughts for Leroy Jethro Gibbs and Anthony DiNozzo.

28. Manage a minor crisis when the Kindle battery craps out. Pull out the iXL.

29. Realize that the “at least” part of the time estimate is no longer in effect because the kid’s blood pressure is back to normal. Wonder if the hospital will get us dinner before our paperwork is ready.

30. See the doctor one last time. Get released.

31. Decide to go to Sonic for tots because the food services guy came 30 minutes earlier and skipped our room.

32. Twenty-four hours later, laugh as Hubs changes the 4th black-as-tar poopy diaper since you got home and says to Kid #4 (who is perfectly fine, thankyouverymuch), “You know, if you get constipated right now, you could make a diamond!”

My Alter-Ego’s BFF

9 Oct

I read a post today that probably resonates with a bunch of women (married or not). The author poses the question: do we have best friends when we get all grown up? Are we allowed?

I can count on one hand my besties throughout the years: Laura, Mikey, Heather, Juanita, Heidi, Ecklund. Okay, maybe two hands. Different phases, different friendships, but I still love each of these ladies dearly. My last two besties came in college, but that phase of my life ended almost 20 years ago. Lives change, people move away, and though the friendship remains, it’s different.

I’ve met ladies throughout the years with whom I’ve enjoyed spending time, but for whatever reason, I’ve not felt the closeness of that best friend relationship. Maybe it’s me. Maybe I’ve been afraid of putting myself out there in case the other person didn’t feel I was BFF material. Wouldn’t that suck? Maybe that mysterious best friend-resonance just wasn’t there. In any case, I didn’t think much about it, other than those times when I saw other women doing stuff with their besties. Or rather, when I saw pictures of my acquaintances and their besties on Facebook doing cool stuff together. Then I was a little envious.

I want a BFF! I want to do cool stuff with someone! I want someone to whine to when my kids are obnoxious!

Along came Fifi Trixibelle.

I first met her 4-ish years ago. She had just had her first child, and I felt a connection with her because her son’s name is the same as my son’s name. We were at a church function, and I enjoyed chatting with her. We didn’t intersect much after that initial meeting because her husband worked odd hours, so they weren’t able to do much stuff at church (which is where most of my social interaction happens, in case you were wondering).

Then she started going to the same Bible study I go to. More importantly, she started hanging out in the sound booth in the back of the church with me during the teaching time of the Bible study. One of us worked the computer, the other did the sound, and we quickly realized we shared a sarcastic, warped sense of humor. Soon after that, her husband got a job with normal hours, and they were able to do stuff at church again. Then they changed churches and I was sad. But we still hung out in the sound booth at our Thursday morning Bible study and bonded over weird stuff. Like the pollen count apps on our phones.

But then a glorious thing happened – they came back to our church! Our families started hanging out more, and our relationship began to deepen. We went shopping together (just a few times because we live SO STINKING FAR AWAY from decent shopping), got coffee together, and learned of a shared fondness for margaritas. We took our relationship to the next level – we had a standing Saturday morning garage sale date.

Remember the “Katniss Everdeen Collection?” I never would have stumbled upon this gem of a garage sale without Fifi Trixibelle.

In the meantime, she’d had two more kids, and I’d had one more. We texted as often as teenagers in a mall, even though we lived less than a block apart. Sometimes we were even lucky enough to see each other 4 times a week. It was awesome.

Then her husband got an even better job…90 miles away. So they moved. And I was sad. Still am, in fact, because this happened only 2 months ago.

And the weird thing? It took the bizarre ramblings of my alter-ego, Tardie Sue, for me to realize and vocalize my feelings about this precious woman. It felt weird to say out loud that she’s my best friend, because I felt somehow like I was cheating on my best friend from college (who lives 600-ish miles away and who I see maybe once every 2 years). I didn’t know how to handle that until Tardie Sue showed up and declared out loud and on YouTube that Fifi Trixibelle is her best friend.  I felt nervous about it at first, because I didn’t know how Fifi would respond. Would she snub me? Would she reciprocate?

Then I got this text yesterday from her about that blog post I mentioned at the top: I love the last line – “I’m Anne, I have my Gilbert, but am looking for my Diana.” I’m so blessed to have you for my bestie! We are Anne and Diana, just a little less mischief, I think.

Sigh. All is well in the world. I have a best friend. I wish that for each of you, my dear Chickadees.

Parental Bribe of the Week to Ensure Child Cooperation

28 Sep

Yeah, I’m home alone on a Friday night. Hubs & #1 are at the football game (#1 and the other 6th grade band students are sitting with the high school band) and #2 is being a server at a fundraising banquet. #3 is watching a movie of her choosing with no sibling interruption, and Baby Tay is in bed.

The biggest news is about Baby Tay. She’s 2 1/2 and still uses a pacifier, or as she calls it, a mimi. I’ve been planting seeds about giving it up, though. I knew it would be rough. She’s the 3rd of our kids to use a plug – #2 wanted nothing to do with the things, but the other two loved their binkies. I cut off the tips of #1’s mimis, then they just got “lost” when he told me they were weird. We sent #3’s off on a small bouquet of helium balloons, and that worked ok. The cutting and “losing” didn’t work too well, and there’s a nationwide shortage of helium these days, so I had to come up with something else.

My brilliant idea? Outright bribery. I told her that the Mimi Fairy would bring her a toy if she gave up her silicone suckers. I asked what she wanted and without missing a beat, she said, “Rockstar Mickey.”

“Are you sure that’s what you want the Mimi Fairy to bring you?”

“Rock. Star. Mickey.” Her answer never deviated.

I have three words for you – Tickle Me Elmo, people. Rockstar Mickey is Elmo’s more annoying karaoke cousin.

But getting rid of the mimi is worth it.

I looked up Mickey on Amazon, but then went the cheap route and bought one off eBay for less than $20 with shipping. He finally arrived yesterday.

After naptime, Baby Tay and I packed up all the mimis in a pretty little gift bag and then I called the Mimi Fairy for instructions. Over the buzz of the dial tone, she told me to put the bag out on the front porch. #4 followed her instructions, and within 5 minutes the doorbell rang.

With some help from #3, she got the door open and found Rockstar Mickey where the bag of mims had been. Oh, joy!

So last night at bedtime, Baby Tay had a rough time. She cried the tears of grief as she went to sleep without either mimi or Mickey for comfort. Yes, I was a big, giant, meanypants and made the singing mouse stay on her dresser. She wailed. She cried. She yelled. I felt bad, but didn’t relent.

When she got up this morning (after a couple more crying jags in the night), she told me she didn’t sleep well because she didn’t have any mimis.

She took a quickie nap in the car today, sans binky, and was still nice and tired at bedtime. My brilliant idea? Take Mickey’s batteries out and let her have him.

It worked like a charm. I tucked both of them in a little while ago and haven’t heard a peep since.

My Rehearsal Space

18 Sep

This Thursday, Tardie Sue is making her annual appearance at my Community Bible Study. For some reason, it’s impossible for me to write her script until the day before I’m supposed to perform. I’ve known for several weeks that today was my deadline, but I just couldn’t think of anything.

Finally, on Monday, I was able to sit for a few moments and jot some thoughts down. Then it was time to rehearse. Want to see my rehearsal space?

Yes, ladies and gentlemen, I practice my Tardie Sue schtick in the shower. Every year. This is the first time I’ve brought my notes in, though. I’m rather impressed with my idea of sticking it in a baggie and clipping it to my shower caddy. So I practiced it once in the shower, then once after I got out.

Maybe one day she’ll hit it big, take her show on the road, and make enough money to renovate her rehearsal space. I can only hope…

You’re Putting WHAT In The Closet?

15 Sep

My dream, folks. I’m putting my writing aside for a while because it has morphed into a guilt-infested monkey hanging on my back.

“Oh, no,” I hear you cry, swooning with shock. “Will That Nolen Chick delete her blog – nay, her very existence – off the interwebs now?”


BA HA HAAAA!! Yeah, fat chance of that.

I’ve realized over the last few weeks that writing isn’t fun for me. I feel guilty that I haven’t touched any of my three manuscripts in weeks (memoir), months (mystery), and years (children’s book). I feel guilty that I’m ignoring the multitude of writing-related tweets, e-mails, and Facebook notifications I get daily. I feel guilty that I have books about writing that I keep meaning to read, but somehow never get to. A dream shouldn’t feel like this, so I’m going to shelve it for a while. I’m not giving up on it – I’m just laying it down until it sounds like fun again.

I’ve spent a lot of time & energy recently avoiding writing – what will I do with all of that extra time? I’m going to clean my house. Now before you go wondering if the gypsies have shamed me into this, I assure you they haven’t. I was convicted a couple of weeks ago that I’m a wife first, mom second, and everything else comes after those two things. Part of those top two jobs is getting my house in order – literally.

I don’t live in a pigsty, but there are some things that have been on my to-do list longer than kid #3 has been alive. That’s 6 1/2 years, if you’re keeping track. Like the top of our computer desk. Ick.

There’s a whole other layer of crap just behind this first layer. Plus there’s about 1/2″ of dust up there. It’s embarrassing, so naturally I post it online.

Or the three ginormous boxes of photos that need to be scanned onto one of our external hard drives. Or the box of video tapes that need to be converted to digital. I’ve been telling myself for years that I’ll get around to doing those things someday.

Guess what, amigos? It’s someday.

I’m excited about this.

I’m still going to blog, but now it’s going to be just for grins and giggles. No ulterior motives like building a platform to impress potential publishers or agents. It’s just you and me, kids!

More Colorado Weirdness – Shiny Houses

25 Jun

Down the road from the creepy laundromat, we saw this house:

Oooh – sparkly!

Your eyes do not deceive – that is beer can siding.

A SoCo mansion

This home (?) stands next to the castle. It’s three stories of what appears to be mobile homes with glass bottles lining the windows.

The whole estate

This place is called “Cano’s Castle.” Here’s a news story about it. I’m not sure which website I read this on, but Cano built this for Jesus to live in. Cano doesn’t live there. I wonder if Jesus is lonely rattling about in that big old castle by himself?