Category Archives: Life? You Mean I Have To Have A Life?

Believe it or not, I do actually do something besides write, work, and play mommy.

Binging Again

Remember back in October when I confessed to being a binge reader? I’m at it again. This binge was precipitated by two factors: my husband once again being in the hospital (he’s home and fine now, thanks) and the need to research something for the book I’m currently writing. Here’s the problem with that: I’d rather read than write.

Heck, I’d rather read than work, do chores, grocery shop… But then this darned day job thing gets in the way, and kids, and the aforementioned husband. He wants to talk to me! Have you ever heard anything so ridiculous? I’m sitting there minding my own business, making it perfectly clear that I am otherwise occupied, and he starts talking! Really?

So eventually I am going to need to put down the book and pick up the… well, the book. Cursed isn’t going to write itself, after all.

But for now, you must excuse me. I need to go read for awhile.

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A Moment Frozen in Time

The day after Christmas can be a downer for a lot of people. The parties are done, the gifts are unwrapped, and the leftover turkey is in the fridge waiting to be turned into sandwiches. For me, the holidays aren’t over. In just a week we get New Year’s Day, which is a great time to refocus and a new chance to make every day count.

But it also signals the passing of time. It’s that passing that is making me stop and think this year. My boys are getting older, and even as we went into Christmas week I almost wanted time to stand still. With every passing Christmas, that’s one less I have to spend with them before they grow up and move away. Today I know I have fewer holidays to spend with them. Just as they’re getting interesting.

I’ve been watching myself with curiosity as this has happened this week. I never used to feel this way, but I suppose it is inevitable as I grow older. My own mortality comes into clearer focus, and I realize that life will change. There’s no stopping it.

Which is why, I now realize, I enjoy reading so much.

This occurred to me last night when I was awakened by my oldest going to bed – a full hour after I had. It finally happened that my kids have a later bedtime than I do. And as I lie there thinking about that, I realized that no matter how old I am, I can still go back into my favorite books and they will stay the same as they were the first time I read them. The answer to life, the universe and everything is still 42; Scarlet will realize her feelings for Rhett too late; and Sherlock Holmes will still be one step ahead of Watson.

The first book I wrote as an adult is, I now realize, just for me. It’s unpublishable, but I still love it. As a friend described it, it is the book of my heart. I can go back to that now and, even though I wrote it nearly ten years ago, it is the same as the day I typed it into Word.  It still makes me feel the hope, the despair, and the joy.

When I read a book, I feel it, you see. I bet many avid readers do. It’s almost like I’m there and a part of the story. And when I go back to re-read my favorite stories, I can be a part of it again. I can relive it and take myself back in time. So unlike life, which flies by a million miles and minute unnoticed until we realize it’s half over.

So today I will enjoy the holidays with my kids before they’re gone, but I’ll also pull out an old favorite and read for awhile. Because even if life sails by in a flash, there are some moments that are frozen in time and I can live them over and over. Maybe I’ll even write down a few, while I’m at it. Make my own moments frozen in time.

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Filed under It's A Writing Life, Life? You Mean I Have To Have A Life?

Writing and the Working Mom

So NaNoWriMo… after several years of failing to “win” NaNo, you’d think I’d learn, but I don’t. However, I think I have decided that NaNo is no longer for me.

I still love it. I love the don’t-look-down writing, the camaraderie of going nuts with other writers, and I owe NaNo a lot, since both Let’s Dish and Another Time Around both started as NaNo novels.  But then my kids started growing up.

November is a wonderful month. It starts out slowly as fall creeps in. Everything is getting crisp and there’s nothing better than sitting at the coffee house at night and writing. This year the book is even going well, and I got in about 10K before life got interesting.

One of the other things that happen in November is the State Special Olympics Bowling Tournament. Not only do I want to see my kid participate, but since it’s in town, I volunteer at the dinner. So no writing got done that weekend.

The other two seem to be getting involved in more, too. My lovely geek squad are busy with Math Counts, Scouts, National History Day… the list seems endless. Mom, being the main taxi driver, doesn’t get a lot done when I need to be shuttling the young-uns.

Then this year I thought I needed a little more Christmas spirit, and decided to “Tree”. And I love it! I haven’t been able to really sing in years, and it feels so good to stand up there and really belt it out. But it takes time. After taking the laptop to rehearsal a couple of times, I realized it wasn’t the best environment for writing.

And it’s November in the States, which means Thanksgiving and decorating for Christmas. And we’re not even discussing trying to maintain a full-time job in all this.

Yes, I’d love some cheese with my whine.  I’m partial to the really stinky strong ones.

So this weekend, I am planning to work on the book. I have scenes in my head, I know what my characters are doing, but I need to carve out the time to let them do it. Will I hit 50K before the end of November? Don’t hold your breath. Will I finish the book? Heck, yeah.

But NaNo and me? We’re just not working out anymore. So I think it’s time I broke it off, take the pressure off, and write when I can write. I thank you for everything, but it’s over. At least until the kids get older.

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The Hierarchy of Me

Yeah, yeah – just me checking in to whine yet again. But hopefully some of you out there can relate to the ping-pong game my brain is going through lately.  I thought I was good with the whole process that my husband was going to go through. I thought I had a plan in place I was comfortable with. Then we got firm dates and my mind went BLAAAARGGGHH!

I was talking to my friend yesterday, and told her that, like everyone, I have many Cates. In order, there’s Mommy Cate, Wife Cate, Worker Cate, and Writer Cate. Writer Cate already got shoved aside for awhile, and let me tell you, she’s ticked about it. But until she starts paying a bigger portion of the bills, she can sit back and shut up.

But now Worker Cate is going to take a hit. She’s not nearly as mad about that, but where anger lacks, guilt reigns supreme. Not to toot my own horn, but  I have a lot of folks who rely on me here at the Not-So-Evil Day Job, and I am going to start disappearing for weeks at a time.  This brings out someone who should be at the bottom of the hierarchy, but who’s very loud and obnoxious – Guilty Cate.  She’s bitching and moaning about missing work and not writing both, so she gets very irritating.

Mommy Cate and Wife Cate are at odds right now. Right or wrong, being a mom has always been top priority since Son #1 showed up. The husband and I agreed that throughout the transplant process, it is of utmost importance to keep the kids’ lives as stable as possible. We don’t want them missing school any more than we can help it. However, Wife Cate is insisting she needs to be with her husband while he gets tested for his upcoming procedure, and she beat the mom side of me hands down. Giving Guilty Cate more to complain about. Oy!

This all leads to all the Cates coming together as one entity – Insane Cate. Thank God for pharmaceuticals, baby!

By the way, for those of you confused by the stem cell transplant process, here is a quick primmer (as best as I understand it):

Step 1 – DH is given chemo and “growth factor” to grow more stem cells

Step 2 – Stem cells are collected – we think inpatient – through a process called pheresis, in which his blood is pumped out of him, the stem cells are collected, and the blood is pumped back into him. Yummy. This should take about a week.

Step 3 – He checks into the hospital, gets about 5 days of intense chemo which kills his bone marrow. He will have no immune system, so will need to be in isolation. The stem cells are then injected back into his body, and will slowly rebuild his bone marrow – healthy, we hope. This should take about 2 months, during which time he will be very weak and susceptible to disease.

We hope to see him more than once or twice during this process, but due to distance, the kids and I will not be able to make it there often. And thank God for a ton of great neighbors and friends willing to watch pets and our house when we do have to be gone!

So that’s it in a very large nutshell. Is it any wonder I’m nuts?

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Goodbye to Charlotte

Her name was Charlotte Isabelle. I knew it from the second I laid eyes on her. We were at the Humane Society, just looking around, when she literally reached out and grabbed my husband. That was almost sixteen years ago.

Today I came home and knew it was over. She couldn’t walk and was too weak to even meow. She left us shortly before 4:30 this afternoon.

Goodbye, sweetheart. You were a good girl, and I have no idea what life will be without you. A little sadder, that’s for sure.

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Come Over to the Dork Side

Have I ever told you all about Son #2? He’s a bright kid – or so they tell me. Actually, to be fair, he’s extremely bright about a lot of things. He just doesn’t have an ounce of common sense. This is the kid from whom the following gems have been uttered:

“This ice cube is cold.”

“It’s dark at night because the sun’s not out.”

And my favorite…

“You don’t move much when you’re dead.”

A few years ago for his birthday, we bought him a tee-shirt that said, “Captain Obvious Strikes Again.” He loves it.

But whether he’s stating the obvious or researching how to build a fusion generator (not kidding), he cracks me up. The other day, he was talking about how other kids want to be in his group because they know they’ll get an A on their project. (Okay, so he does have a clue about some stuff.) He wasn’t complaining, just stating. And then he said, “I guess there are advantages to being a geek. Soon they’re all going to want to come over to the Dork Side.”

You can imagine the peals of laughter from us all. Of course it didn’t end there. We started in with, “Luke, join the chess club!” and “Use the slide rule, Luke.” My stomach hurt the next day I laughed so hard.

I got to thinking that same day that I should start writing this stuff down. If I’m ever in need of a cheap joke, I’ll have one handy. ‘Cause face it, there’s nothing funnier than a kid. Even when he’s stating the obvious.

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There’s Good News and There’s Bad News

Well, I stopped blogging, stopped writing, stopped doing promo, etc. for several weeks now in order to get my life in order at home. I don’t think that will ever happen, but there has been some progress on the personal life front.

The bad news was that the husband had a blood clot in his leg over Christmas. This was brought on by a perfect storm of medication side effects, low blood pressure, dehydration, and lethargy. The good news is it was taken care of and he feels a bazillion times better. So happy husband means less stress on Catie.

The bad news is I really haven’t written a thing in weeks, which, of course, includes the blog. The good news is I miss it. I want to start writing again, but am forcing myself to take off until February to make sure my batteries really are recharged. Which leads me to…

…the bad news that I have no idea what I want to work on next. Happy Medium started out with so much promise! I loved the idea behind that book. But I sold (yay!) Let’s Dish right after I started working on it, and it sat stagnant for way too long. Now I think I need to move on for awhile, though I hate giving up on it. I still love HM, but apparently now is not the time. The good news is I still have Guys and Dogs to edit and get ready to go out, so at least I have something to stall me from having to actually think for awhile.

And while I was out, there is even more good news. Let’s Dish is now out in print, and is available all over the place. Don’t have it at your local bookstore? Ask for it, or go to Amazon, B&N, Borders, etc. Bookplates will be available soon, just as soon as I figure out how to fix the PO Box issues I got myself in trying to rent it online under my pen name. Stooopid Catie.

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