I only got the sunny hours

I’m off work today, catching up on a few things around the house and on the manuscript project that will never die (although the light at the end of the tunnel is still gleaming in my eye). Needless to say I’m reaaaaaally looking forward to this long holiday/birthday weekend.

I don’t want to dwell on the busy-ness — or, should I say da bizness — of this last week, what with the first day of school, first soccer practices, a jam-packed workweek, another Dinner for One due, etc. etc. But truthfully, I’ve been struggling a lot lately wondering how I can fit in all of these important people and activities in my life without burning myself out.

Lately I’ve felt really burned out.

How in the world can I give enough attention to my kids, Fly Boy, who has been WONDERFUL and post-worthy in his own right after two months together (yeah, a post is coming, hold your horses), my family, my friends, my job, my writing projects, which are starting to take off at least in my mind, this blog and you?

Oh, wait — then there’s ME, too! I can’t forget about me, no can do.

Did I mention I’m also an aspiring songwriter with a penchant for rhyming verses? Relax, I’m kidding.

I had a minor meltdown with Fly Boy about all of this a few days ago, but he helped to calm me down. “Don’t be so hard on yourself,” he said and suggested I think of my to-do list in “One dog, one bone” terms. (He’s an animal lover, what can I say? He also understands much of this because he’s the same way. Damn, there goes the rhyming again...)

I also realized that I should follow my VERY OWN ADVICE, namely the “P is for Perspective” part from my Dinner for One article. Duh, Susan, duh.

Life is good for me, despite all da bizness, so I’m winding down my 30’s this weekend with a renewed attitude and outlook…plus a few beers, deep breathing techniques, good food and even better company. I want to thank you all for reading One-Woman Show and your great advice. I’m taking it to heart.

Here’s to sunny hours for all and a great no-Labor Day!

It’s like the wise man said, relax yourself
When it’s moving too fast, you set ya down
When the going gets tough, then get to going
If you really wanna speak, then make the sound

Keep your eyes on the prize and realize
That the struggles gonna come in all shapes and size
But you gotta stay strong, don’t let your knees buckle
Gotta keep the hustle, keep hustling, do it, do it, do it


Surviving another school year

The kids’ first day of school is tomorrow. Wow, I can’t believe summer is almost over! While I dread the mounds of papers I’ll undoubtedly have to read and fill out over the next two weeks, I’m looking forward to a set routine and schedule — two things that will make this single mama’s life a whole lot easier. I hope.

In the spirit of the season, I’ve made my very own back-to-school shopping list — one that I hope a few of you single parents can use, too. Check it out at this month’s Dinner for One and let me know what’s on your list to get through the school year ahead!



A bloggy good time

I usually don’t have plans for weeks at a time and wouldn’t you know I had invitations to attend not one, but two blogging get-togethers yesterday evening. So, I did what every master juggler/love my blogging people person would do. I bemoaned the fact I was so popular and went to both.

We may have giant pierogies racing at the ballpark, dump french fries on salads and obsess about winter storm warnings in the heat of summer, but Pittsburgh’s a really blog(ger)-loving, great town. Visit us sometime!

Wrong, wrong, wrong

Cougar, originally uploaded by ashour rehana.

The kids and I just came back from a dinner out at Red Robin. Now, I’m usually pretty clueless about guys noticing me, and even me noticing guys for more than a casual “Yeah, he’s [hot/cute]” moment. I mean, I love me a handsome man to look at, but I don’t make a fuss or get worked up about it, nor do I have an innate ability to flirt with strangers. I’m a terrible flirt, really — in the “terrible-terrible” way, not the “terrible-cool” way.

There must be something in that family-friendly air, though, (with an emphasis on friendly) because I found myself staring at all of the hot young waiters. I mean, like practically drooling. There were a lot of them to look at, especially ours. Big brown eyes, long eyelashes. Curly dark brown hair. A muscular-but-lean bod he undoubtedly shapes with lots of reps between basketball practice and math homework. Polite with a cute, eager-to-please smile.

Okay, so he was just taking our order, but still. Later he asked me me twice — TWICE — “Are you sure there isn’t anything else I can get you?”

Hmmm. C’mon! He’s very mature for his age…he must be at least 18 or 19.


I also realized that under my black pant suit I’m wearing a top that has a sort of leopard print on it. Not exactly a cougar, but…

To top it all off, we didn’t order 2 lb. burgers with french fries or fried onion towers. Nope: a mac ‘n cheese with apple slices for T-Rex, a mini pizza and a side of carrots and dip for Drama Girl, and a small chili and side salad for me.

There are just so many things wrong here.

Lunch and Learn with Philip Beard

A few months ago I joined FaceBook and MySpace to catch up with friends old and new, and to do a little networking with other writers. I took a chance and contacted a local author, Philip Beard, to introduce myself. Well, what do you know? Not only did Philip agree to connect with me, he sent me a personal note, we exchanged emails a few times, and yesterday we met for lunch.

Yes, he’s that kind of guy.

Philip has published two novels, including one of my favorite reads, Dear Zoe, named one of the ten best first novels by Booklist when it came out. Dear Zoe is a truly wonderful story — the voice of his teenage protagonist, Tess, rings so true it’s hard to believe a man who was in his 30’s wrote it! He’s in the process of shopping his third novel and about to start a new project, so it was a great opportunity for me to hear his insights and advice about networking and writing, plus the challenges of the publishing business.

He even asked me to pitch my book to him, which I feared he might do, because, well, after 4 hours of sleep and coming directly from a morning jam-packed with meetings, I wasn’t exactly what you’d call eloquent. (Note to self: Always be prepared and eloquent, you doofus!) But after kindly listening to my jazzed-up on nerves and Diet Coke rambling, he offered me another networking opportunity with someone he knows. I honestly didn’t expect that!

Yes, he’s that kind of guy.

Check out Philip Beard’s backstory about Dear Zoe’s journey to publication (a testament to persistence if i ever read one!) and his books, Dear Zoe and Lost in the Garden.




Laughing matter

I’m taking Drama Girl to the oral surgeon in a few minutes to get an extra tooth removed. Yes, apparently an extra teeny-tiny tooth has formed in her mouth, out of sight; it came up when we had an x-ray taken after she fell and chipped the back of a tooth a few months ago. The extra tooth isn’t causing any problems now, and may never cause a problem, but it’s best if it comes out. Geez, my kids’ teeth are showing some wacky growing patterns. Who knew?

In preparation for this minor procedure, DG’s been asking a lot about the laughing gas she’ll take. What if she doesn’t fall asleep? What does it feel like? Should she just laugh inside her head, or can she laugh out loud? What if she laughs so hard the dentist can’t get her tooth out?

I never thought I’d have to explain nitrous oxide (or make stuff up) for three days in a row. This morning she was worried about the dentist not being funny enough to make her laugh. Now, that I thought was hilarious.

Update a short time later:

Well, no procedure after all of that — no kidding.

We got to the surgeon’s office and everyone was ready to start (this is pre-hooking up the laughing gas) when I happened to mention that I did not end up giving what The Ex and I thought was an optional Valium pill to DG before we arrived. The doctor said, “What? Why not? The laughing gas isn’t enough.” I explained that we heard his pre-op instructions to mean that, if DG was feeling anxious about the procedure, we could give the pill to her to help her calm down before we got there. Apparently my extensive description of proper laughing gas etiquette worked because DG was pretty much ok with the whole thing — hence, no pill needed. Or so I thought.

Doc: “Oh, no. We talked about it being used in combination with the gas.”

Oh no we didn’t.

Doc: “What does it say on the envelope [containing the pill]?”

Me: “It doesn’t say anything…I guess I should have called to double check.”

(God, I hate when I apologize or take the blame to make other people feel better. Stupid! It just comes out before I can stop myself.)

He looked at me like I had two heads and responded in a way that seemed (to me) like I was pushing for him to go ahead and do the procedure anyway. “It would be too much for her with only the gas,” he said a second time. I agreed with him a second time. I get it, doc, okay??! You think I want my kid to be in pain?!

Good thing I mentioned this in the first place because no one bothered to ask us whether she had taken the pill at all!

Anyway, next week I’ll take a day off of work to take her in all properly valiumed up.

After we left the doctor’s office, The Ex told me that he had heard exactly what I did when we received the instructions a few weeks ago. Phew. I’m not losing my mind after all. Maybe my sense of humor, but not my mind.




pol-ish (vb): 1: to make smooth and glossy usu. by friction : BURNISH  2: to smooth, soften, or refine in manners or condition  3: to bring to a highly developed, finished or refined state : PERFECT

I realize I’ve been remiss in blogging since the month began, but it really hasn’t been by design. I’ve been polishing my manuscript instead — and simply haven’t had the energy to do that, plus work, parent, live like a healthy, normal human and blog.  The good news is that I’ve heard back from most of the 10 agents I contacted back in June. Two requested the first 3 chapters of my novel and a synopsis, which I promptly sent off, and one requested my full manuscript…which has led me down this polishing path once again.

Depending on your definition, this will be my third or fourth draft. I’m trying so hard to plough through the edits without second-guessing myself (again) or fretting that I have no business being a writer or that it’s taking too long or that I’ll never be able to quit my day job to focus on this or the other useless chatter going on inside my head. The truth is, I want this. After this rewrite I know I will have the best possible product I can create at this point in my life — a product I will have no hesitation in sending to an agent, or in putting into print the second I’ve finished.

But first I have to get through 15 more chapters. Since late June I’ve made the first 185 pages/35K words shine, a smidgeon more than halfway through what I expect to be the total page and word count. I’ve had this hanging over my head and, frankly, I need to finish it by the end of the month or I’ll go crazy. (Or I’ll make my loved ones crazy.) So, while I’m feeling better about my polish there, bear with my dull finish here. I’m writing, even if you can’t see it yet!