Writing Stuff

A Race To Finish Before November

Race car drivers are sexy.

And if you don’t agree, then your X chromosome is asleep. πŸ˜€

They’re so sexy, in fact, that I’m going to base my NaNoWriMo project on them – well, one of them at least. Well, it won’t actually BE one of them, but based on one …. oh heck, you know what I mean.

In case you’re just tuning into the Internet and you’re wondering what in the world NaNoWriMo is – it stands for National Novel Writing Month and it happens every November. In essence, writers are asked to participate in a writing challenge by writing 50,000 words in 30 days.

And believe it or not, it’s doable. In fact, it’s VERY doable IF you commit to the challenge and write at least 1,667 words every day in November.

And don’t tell me you’re too busy – bah humbug. EVERYONE uses that excuse and if you WANT to do something, then you’ll find the time to do it, period. Get up an hour earlier or stay up an hour later. Write on your lunch hour. Write while little Joey plays t-ball. Tape your favorite TV shows then watch them later. (Think how much time THAT will save you alone!) Or take your laptop and write in your car while waiting for your youngest son to finish his saxophone lesson. (Yeah, that would be me).

I’ve participated in the challenge since 2005 – so this makes my fourth year to do the challenge.

The first year I did this, my novel was pure and utter garbage. But that didn’t bother me because what I took away from the experience was INVALUABLE. It taught me to just release my inner critic – ignore it really – and JUST WRITE. It gave me permission, if you will, to simply write and not worry about whether it made sense, or if I was using proper semantics, etc. I finished the challenge feeling freer than I EVER have as a writer.

I have no idea what I wrote the second year. In fact, I can’t seem to locate the binder (I print off the pages and put them in a binder because it’s SO SATISFYING to see the pages build up). But I’m not overly worried because it must not have been that big of a deal to me if I can’t even find it now.

Last year … I really liked my story idea. In fact, I still think it’s worthy of digging out and pursuing. And that’s saying a lot for me because I’m usually the first to discard anything I write as nonsense but this particular story … I think it has potential. So, I’m definitely keeping that one and may pull it out after this NaNoWriMo and work on it. I haven’t looked at it since last year and I think enough time has gone by now that I’ll be able to read it with an impartial eye.

This year … I had toyed around with the idea of writing a series of short stories, which I’d still like to try some NaNoWriMo, but not this year, I think. I’ve decided to write a fast-paced story around NASCAR racing.

And it’s going to be a romance story. Because I’m DONE trying to deny the fact that I enjoy romance stories – both reading them and writing them. And I’m GOOD at it. I’ve been trying to convince myself that I’m more of a “literary” writer when in fact, I think my writing is strongest when I write romance. So … why fight it. That’s what I’m going with this year.

Why NASCAR? Well, it’s my husband’s fault really. He’s converted me.

Though I wouldn’t say I’m a big-time race fan, I do enjoy watching races. Especially with my husband because he tapes the races and then fast forwards through them until someone wrecks because let’s face it, wrecks are exciting. I feel a wee bit guilty for watching racing simply for the wrecks, but, there you have it.

In the process of watching races, I’ve been paying attention to the kinds of characters these race car drivers are. They are arrogant, self-assured, and cocky, but they are also supremely vulnerable, passionate and completely flawed.

I think those qualities make up a sexy man. Hence the reason I plan on modeling my next hero after a race car driver.

The problem with writing a racing story is that I don’t really know a lot about racing, not really. I mean, I know the basics, but I know nothing about the inside “track”, so to speak. So, I went to Barnes and Noble yesterday after I dropped the boys off at school (and after I took a shower and picked up a coffee from Starbucks – hey, the kids are IN SCHOOL. Isn’t that reason enough to celebrate? *grin*).

I have to tell ya, I felt a TAD guilty indulging in one of my guilty pleasures (book shopping) while the boys were trapped inside new classrooms and having fresh syllabi shoved down their throats.

But then I got over it so … *evil grin*

At first, I picked up “NASCAR for Dummies” because let’s face it – I am a NASCAR dummy. But then “The Girl’s Guide to NASCAR” caught my eye. And when I read that Liz Allison, the author of this book, “has been a veteran of the speedway as a fan, girlfriend, wife, mother and reporter,” I knew this was the perspective I wanted to capture in my story. (And after doing a little research on Ms. Allison, it looks like she’s actually written quite a few NASCAR romance stories herself – JACKPOT!)

I can’t exactly TELL you the plot of the story, I mean, what if I go on to sell this book and make loads of money? Talk about a spoiler. *grin* But I will say that I’m excited about learning more about the sport and about writing this particular story and when you’re a writer? Being excited about a project is always a good thing.

So, I have some research to do. My goal is to have a tentative outline and character sketches drawn up before November 1st so I’ll have a general idea where I want to take this story. And I’m QUITE looking forward to the research part of it so I can impress my husband with all my new-found NASCAR knowledge. hehe

Is anyone else out there thinking about participating in NaNoWriMo this year? If so, do you have any idea what you might like to write? You’ll be hearing about NaNo A LOT on my blog in the coming months, so brace yourself. πŸ™‚

By the way, here’s an amusing time killer: Have an issue? Let a race car driver help you.

Oh, one more thing – here are four race car drivers that I’m thinking about basing my hero on – can you guess which one of the four I have a huge crush on?

Favorite Racecar Drivers

______________________________

null
It’s fun!

Life

The First Day of School – Years Later

My husband spent the entire weekend going through old home videos. In the process, he uploaded this one so that I could share it with you.

This video was shot in our screened-in back porch. We (well, the husband) has since enclosed it and it is now his office/music studio. I had no idea he even TOOK this video until this past weekend when he played it. (Talk about a nice surprise!!) I was working nights at Wal-Mart back then and missed a lot of the sweet, evening stuff that went on between father and sons. 😦 However, I’m SO THANKFUL that the husband had the foresight to “interview” the boys like this. What a precious moment in time!

And thank God for video cameras, eh?

Side note: I have NO IDEA why there were wild squirrels trapped in our porch. I guess they had somehow gotten in through a hole in the screen and made a home behind our lawn chairs. I’m surprised the boys could even form coherent sentences given that distraction, but there you go. Neither the husband, nor the boys, remember this moment in time which is really weird because how can you forget about wild squirrels chirping to be let out? It’s not like that happens every day.

But I digress …

Every time I hear the boys’ sweet voices on this video, my heart melts and I feel such an overwhelming feeling of tenderness toward them, I almost feel nauseous.

I’m thinking that’s a good thing? πŸ™‚

My God, they were both so honest and full of boyish charm, weren’t they? I mean, they are full of charm now, but it’s a different sort of MANLY charm now – back then, they were simply scrumptious with their wide-eyed innocence and high-pitched little boy voices.

And I MISS their overall enthusiasm and optimism for school. They enjoyed it back then. They came home excited to tell me stories, or what so-and-so did that was so funny or how such-and-such chased them at recess or the new tricks they learned on the monkey bars. They were eager to learn and were so proud of their efforts.

And what is up with the cute adjectives my boys used in the video to describe their first days of school? Words like “perfect” and “super.” AARGH! Are they TRYING to kill me with their cuteness!! And when MK tells daddy about what he did that day, “We talk about the ruuuules. And we played outside … and we watched TV and uh … it was lunch time. And then it was lunch time again …”

HAHAHA! Sounds like MY day! πŸ˜‰

Okay, not really. (I wish though).

Now? I’m lucky if I get more than a grunt of acknowledgement when I ask how their day went. And I consider myself fortunate if I happen to learn about anything school related. (Perhaps that’s why I so eagerly got involved with designing and maintaining school websites – to keep in the loop? To be a part of my boys’ lives whether I was invited or not? Hhmm… I smell an ulterior motive here.)

And forget about smiles. They ain’t happening. It’s “cooler” to frown nowadays. (I should know. Heh).

*sigh* Yes, I miss those sweet, innocent years. But instead of getting depressed about it, I’m now choosing to appreciate them in different ways. The fact that they can feed/bathe/entertain themselves. Their senses of humor and impeccable timing when they make off-the-wall comments that cause me to snort water up my nose. Their struggle for independence. Their surprising intellect and the fact that they “get” so much more than I give them credit for. The fact that they are really good, honest, fun kids and that the husband and I? We made some pretty awesome people, if I say so myself.

I used to cry on the first day of school. No scratch that, I used to BAWL my eyes out the first day of school. Would they be all right without me? Would they make friends? Would other kids be mean to them? Would they be able to keep up with their studies? Would they stay safe on the playground? Would they just stop growing up so fast!?

And then the rest of the day, I’d walk around like a zombie. Not sure what to do with myself because so much of myself was wrapped up in those two little boys. Around noon, I would jostle myself out of my numbness and proceed to finally take a shower and get my day started. And I would then purposefully stay busy so I wouldn’t think about them too much.

Things haven’t changed much over time. Though I didn’t cry this year (which is the first time, actually and I think that’s mainly due to the fact that both kids are going to the same schools as last year so there wasn’t really any “surprises” to deal with), I’m still in my PJ’s and sort of “in a zone.” I’ve had these boys close to my heart strings for the past three months and now … nothing. Silence.

Dead, dead silence.

*sigh* I need to pull myself together and get this day started. I think I’ll treat myself to a few Krispy Kreme cinnamon buns and some Starbucks coffee and “The Girl’s Guide to NASCAR.” (Heh! Curious? Check back later and I’ll tell you why I wanted to buy this book).

Hey, it’s HARD WORK letting your children grow up.

And just think, in three short years, GD will graduate from high school and then I’ll REALLY have something to cry about!!

EDIT: I just finished signing about ten million syllabi and it sounds like the boys are going to be QUITE busy this year. However, I was PLEASANTLY surprised to find them in good spirits when I picked them up after their first day of school and I think (hope/pray) this is a good year for them. GD has his best buddy in a few classes and seems a lot more comfortable with school this year. He acts like he’s looking forward to learning about PhotoShop and studying Japanese.

MK is mentally preparing himself to play in band, jazz band and has already said he’s trying out for pep band (which requires 80% attendance at the school games!!) AND honors band. This is IN ADDITION to his other, regular classes.

Whew. I have a feeling I’m going to be putting quite a few miles on my car this year.

Here’s to a successful, and FUN, school year! *cheers!*


writefromkaren.com

Monday Morning Meme

Monday Morning Meme – August 25th

All you have to do is answer the questions below either in the comment section, or on your blog. And elaborate! Make these questions show your unique and special personalities. This meme entry will post at 12:01 every Monday morning and will be the first postentry listed on WFK all day Monday morning. (This is an all-day Monday meme, so please, play all day!)

Did you read the Carnival of Family Life post? No? Well, after you post your Monday morning link, hop on over and take a gander!

Monday Morning Meme at writefromkaren.com

August 25th Questions:

1. What are you up to today? Be specific. We’ve talked about your morning routine before, now walk us through a typical Monday for you after breakfast is over. How do you feel about Mondays? A fresh start to your week? Or do you dread the drudge of getting back to the same old routine?

2. Earworms – we all get them from time-to-time. What tune do you have stuck in your head at the moment? How important is music to your life? List some of your favorite songs – and I’m talking about songs that evoke a strong emotion in you; joy, anger, sadness, etc. Do you have one particular song that brings back a certain time period in your life? What is the song and what is the time period?

3. Who have you needed to say thank you to lately? Who is this person and what did he/she do to prompt a thank you?

4. How many candles will be on your birthday cake this next birthday? What do you think about the age you are now? Are you comfortable with what you’ve accomplished in life so far? Or do you wish you could have achieved more? You’re being granted one birthday wish – what is it?

Monday Morning Meme Participants

1. Marianne
2. Sue
3. Dawn\’s Daily Life
4. Jodi
5. Jen at mommablogsalot
6. Susan
7. Kailani
8. Jennifer

Powered by… Mister Linky’s Magical Widgets.

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Coffee Chat at writefromkaren.com
Another session of Coffee Chat starts soon!

General

Carnival of Family Life – August 25th Edition

COFL

Oops! I didn’t write an introduction! My bad – blame it on the fact that my kids started back to school today. I feel like a robot today – everything is in automatic mode and I’m trying not to think too much or I’ll break down and cry (like I always do the first day of school).

I volunteered to host the Carnival of Family Life today on purpose – I knew I would need some distractions from releasing my kids out into the wild once again. So, if you find yourself suddenly kid-less, please consider clicking on the links below. Have you clicked outside your blogroll lately? πŸ™‚

Education

Cindy presents To Copy Is To Cheat; Or Is It? posted at Life Without School.

Family Crafts and Activities

Joanne presents Make A Back To School Gift Basket posted at Homemade Gift Baskets. Joanne says, “I did this for my kids, even though they are homeschooled, and they loved it. It’s a cute way of presenting their school supplies.”

Joanne presents Easy Summer Craft For Kids posted at Summer And Kids!, discussing a very simple craft her daughter enjoyed at Girl Scout camp.

Family Fiction

Jenn presents In the Morning Light (Part One), a fictional story about a man diagnosed with terminal cancer who, facing the end of his life, also faces regret. Based on a writing prompt from A Thousand Words.

Patricia Twitchell presents The Adventures of Penny Pincher: Penny Pincher Learns A Secret posted at Just Bears and Stuff, inviting readers to “join Penny Pincher teddy bear as he learns a secret about ants in winter.” Patricia tells us that it’s a great story for children.

Family Finance

Super Saver presents Sorting a Lifetime of Accumulation posted at My Wealth Builder.

Debt Freedom Fighter presents Watch Out For These 5 Retail Rip-offs posted at Discover Debt Freedom!.

Money Answer Guy presents How Do I Keep From Getting Hit With Credit Card Charges? posted at The Money Answer Guy.

GrrlScientist presents High Wire: The Precarious Financial Lives of American Families posted at Living the Scientific Life, a review of what GrrlScientist calls “a nonfiction masterpiece that will keep you awake at night planning how to safeguard your economic future — all on your own!” She says that the book focuses upon the “most important and long-term relationship in your life: your relationship with your work, and how that has changed substantially since the 1970’s. It also discusses the myth that the average American can become a wise enough financial planner and investor to ‘beat the odds’ and become financially comfortable.”

Silicon Valley Blogger presents Upromise Survey: Saving For College, Getting Tougher? posted at The Digerati Life, a discussion of backo-to-school expenditures, focusing upon saving for college.

Matthew Paulson presents 3 Proven Tips To Start Organizing Your Home Easily posted at American Consumer News.

Debt Freedom Fighter presents 5 Ways A Good Credit Report Can Enhance Your Quality Of Life posted at Discover Debt Freedom!.

Money Answer Guy presents Why Don’t We Save More Than We Do? posted at The Money Answer Guy.

Family Health and Wellness

Matthew Paulson presents Love Your Kids With These Healthy Lunches posted at American Consumer News.

Lovelyn presents Recycle Your Compact Fluorescent Bulbs posted at The Art of Balanced Living.

Kathleen Gage presents Never enough time – or is there? posted at Daily Awareness. Kathleen opines that “There is not enough time to do all we think we must do, want to do or dream of doing. One of the few things we truly possess is time. How we choose to use the ‘here and now’ is a personal and a powerful choice.”

Toni presents When TLC is more healing than medicine posted at Wifely Steps, telling us that “the care of a husband is even more healing than medicine.”

Alvaro Fernandez presents Exercising the body is exercising the mind posted at SharpBrains: Your Window into the Brain Fitness Revolution. Alvaro asks, “Want to generate a few extra neurons?”

Family Humor

Denise Swank presents Goodbye Lazy Summer Days posted at There’s always room for one more. Denise tells us, “I have six kids — three 3 biological and three internationally adopted — aged 21 – 13 months. I try to find the humor in everything.”

Gabriel Almada presents Se habla espaΓ±ol posted at Live from Waterloo.

Family Relationships and Self-Improvemen

Ishan presents A letter to Father posted at Life of an Unorthodox Loyalist, a heart-wrenching message from a teen-aged son to a father who is not paying attention.

Kathryn presents How Many Tears Does A Mom Have? posted at knittsings, saying, “Letting go of a loved one is never easy, even when you know she will be home at Christmas.”

Laura Scarborough presents forever ‘fected posted at Adventures in Juggling.

Family Travel

Matthew Paulson presents Travelers Who Wait Might Have a Disappointing Christmas: Nearly 60 Million Airline Seats will not be offered posted at The Travel Advocate.

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Thank you all for participating in the Carnival this week!

Submit a blog article for the September 1, 2008, End of Summer Edition of the Carnival, hosted at Almost Frugal by clicking here!

The Carnival archive can be viewed here.

Interested in hosting a future edition? Review the schedule here and then drop a line indicating the week you would like to have the Carnival visit your site!

General

Burning the Midnight Oil?


You Are Midnight

You are more than a little eccentric, and you’re apt to keep very unusual habits.
(Actually, no. I’m a creature of habit right now and usually wake up at the crack of dawn)

Whether you’re a nightowl, living in a commune, or taking a vow of silence – you like to experiment with your lifestyle.
(Um, no again. I like my lifestyle just like it is – fun, secure and safe)

Expressing your individuality is important to you, and you often lie awake in bed thinking about the world and your place in it.
(Expressing my individuality is important to me, and I often lie awake at night but I don’t think about where I fit into the world but rather, how I can write about it)

You enjoy staying home, but that doesn’t mean you’re a hermit. You also appreciate quality time with family and close friends.
(This one is true. I am a homebody and proud of it)

This quiz was totally off the mark. Though I have been staying up later working on some websites, it’s not the norm – I’m usually in bed and ASLEEP by 10:00.

What about you?
_________________________________

Coffee Chat at writefromkaren.com
Another session of Coffee Chat starts soon!

Abundant Life

Teaching: How to Study the Bible

Every Sunday I provide videos and valuable links to the Truth or Tradition teachings. We’ve been following the Truth or Tradition teachings for many years now and they have truly blessed our family. We have found peace and happiness through our beliefs and we walk confidently for God. My hope, by passing on this information to you, is that what you find here, or on the Truth or Tradition website, will guide you to a better, more blessed and abundant life.

If you would like to read my views on religion and how we got started with the ministry, you can read this.

Let’s get started:

Last week, I posted a video and a link to an article about WHY we should study the bible. Here’s an excerpt from the Truth or Tradition “Bible Study Guide” about why we should study the Bible (this is a large PDF file and may take a few minutes to download, but please be patient, it’s WORTH it):

It is important to have the proper perspective about the Bible, and understand why we study it. In these modern times, individualism is highly esteemed, and it has become fashionable for people to read the Bible and ask, “What does this mean to me?” While that question is important, there is one much more important: “What is God saying?”

To answer the first question, “What does this mean to me” does not require any study of the Bible, for any passage of Scripture can mean any number of things to the person reading it. After all, it is simply his opinion. He could be either right or wrong about what the verse is actually saying, but of course it will mean something to him.

God did not author the Bible to be merely a tool for personal reflection and devotion, something we ponder over and are satisfied with what it means to us. No, God gave us His word for many reasons, including, to foster the personal relationship between Himself and us; so we could obey Him and thus have the best possible lives here on earth; so we could know how to build and maintain godly marriages, families, and societies; and so we could know the way of salvation and be assured of everlasting life. We can have these things in part or in whole if we know what God says in His Word and follow His commands. No one, including God, likes to be misunderstood. When we write a letter to someone, we want him to know what we meant, not just what he thought we meant. The Bible is God’s letter to mankind, and it is important we discover and understand what He means.

Finding out what God says and means requires study. Many Christians agree that the Word of God is “the Truth,” yet from one Bible come many differing interpretations of what “the Truth” is. It was never God’s intention that people read the same text and come away with different ideas about what it is saying. In Matthew 22:29, Jesus said to the Sadducees, “You are in error because you do not know the Scriptures or the power of God.” He did not say, “You Sadducees have your opinion, and I have mine, and both opinions are okay with God.” His reference to error implies that there is both a correct and an errant understanding of each verse of Scripture. Consider the following verse:

2 Timothy 2:15
Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a workman who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth.

“Correctly handles” is translated from the Greek compound verb, orthotomeo, which is built from the Greek root-words, ortho (straight) and temno (to cut). The idea is that there is a “straight cutting,” correctly handling (NIV) or right dividing (KJV), of the Word of God. There is a way to rightly divide God’s Word so that we get out of it what He intends, and not just our opinion. Also, just as there is a way to rightly divide the Word of God and handle it accurately, there is a way to incorrectly handle the Word and misunderstand or misinterpret it.

In order to rightly divide the Word, we must learn how to study it. And to learn how to study it, we must have tools with which to work with.

For the next eight weeks, I’ll be posting videos that talk about these tools. So, if you’ve ever had the desire to study the Bible but wasn’t sure where to start or how to go about it, stick around, this will be an informative eight weeks that I sincerely hope help and bless you.

For now, let’s begin with an overview of How to Study the Bible:

Vodpod videos no longer available.
(If this video will not play for you, you can find the original file on this page).

By the way, in case you’re curious, I use the NIV version – in fact, I LOVE the NIV version because it just clicks for me. And I also make notes in my Bible so when I go back and read those particular verses, my notes remind me what it’s really saying. Remember, the Bible is something that God has provided you to learn from and USE in your day-to-day life. Don’t be afraid of it, write in it, study it and enjoy it for it provides GREAT peace. πŸ™‚

If you have any questions, or would like to learn more about God’s wonderful message, please visit the Truth or Tradition website. You can also keep track of the ministry through their Facebook page.

Thank you for visiting and God bless.

Life

Revealing 25 Things About Me

I keep assuming, perhaps incorrectly, that everyone who reads this blog knows a little something about me. But since I’ve moved my blog (it used to be self-hosted until I simply couldn’t handle the crap my host was giving me and decided to move over here. Only WordPress wouldn’t cooperate and my posts wouldn’t transfer, so … here we are, at the beginning once again), I’m beginning to think people DON’T know me very well at all.

I aim to correct that by transferring past posts, from my older blogs, bit-by-bit to not only share a little bit of my past with you, but to have a record of these posts here, on my new (and hopefully LAST) blog.

The 100 Things About Me … thing … that everyone seems to be doing nowadays is something I’ve put off doing for a long time, not because I have anything to hide, per se, but because I’m simply not that interesting. But heck, I’ve been blogging since January 2005, perhaps it’s time to lay my cards on the table …

I also have another page if you can stomach any more About Me. Proceed with caution. πŸ˜€

1. I was born in November, 1965.
2. Which makes me a Scorpio.
3. And trust me, I sting people.
4. But I don’t believe in astrology.
5. I’ve been in several accidents.
6. Most of them my fault.
7. I sewed a needle into my finger in middle school.
8. I stepped on a can lid and sliced my heel open.
9. I’ve shattered a glass and gouged my finger while washing it.
10. I fell off a ladder.
11. And bruised my kidneys.
12. I had to have seven enemas so they could inject dye into my kidneys and check for internal damage.
13. There was none, thank God.
14. I fell out of my car.
15. While driving it.
16. My sunglasses shattered on my face.
17. I broke my nose.
18. I had two black eyes.
19. And a huge gash in my forehead that took 25 stitches to close.
20. I have a scar, but it’s barely noticeable, thanks to the amazing emergency room doctor who sewed me back up.
21. I lived with three other girls.
22. Our apartment was party central. (Think Sex in the City sort of girls)
23. I’ve had a few one-night stands.
24. I’ve smoked pot.
25. I used to own a bong.

Shocked? Sorry. But my past is part of who I am today so … please accept me, warts and all.

Twenty-five more things about me coming soon.

Life

A Crabby Lunch

My boys are not allowed to watch cartoons – not that they would now anyway – they’re teenagers … but they haven’t watched cartoons in years.

You must think I’m the meanest mom in the world.

Truthfully? I’m definitely a runner up.

But no, cartoons are not allowed in my house. And here’s why …

They are mind-numbing nonsense.

When the boys were little, they watched cartoons. Hours and hours of cartoons. So many cartoons, in fact, that it got to the point where I could virtually recite, line-by-line, some of those silly cartoons – that’s how many times I listened to them while picking up Lego’s, stepping over Thomas Trains and balling dirty socks up in one fist and “shooting” them into the clothes hamper. (Hey, you have your entertainment, I have mine – don’t judge).

But it wasn’t until one particular cartoon became popular that I put my foot down. The cartoon?

Ed, Edd and Eddy.

I ABHOR this cartoon. I mean LOATHE it.

First of all, what is up with all of the character squiggly lines/movement? It is the most distracting aspect of trying to watch that stupid show. What, the cartoonists thought it would be cool to give viewers headaches with trying to keep up with all of the jerky animation?

Guess what? It did.

And then the characters themselves are just downright nasty to look at. The flesh tones are pasty and remind me of vomit and the eyes cross. Ugh. And then, there’s the language. The dialogue was … asinine. The plot was pointless and the humor? Wasn’t funny, it was just stupid. And the voices themselves … the tones just grated on my nerves.

But I could ignore all of that and did for a long while because the boys enjoyed it. Even though the entire concept behind the cartoon was to dumb-down any and all intelligence, I looked the other way all for the sake of listening to my boys laugh at the sheer insanity of this cartoon.

But then … then they started quoting lines from the cartoon. And began to assume characteristics of these idiot characters and re-enact portions of the cartoon and I simply couldn’t take it anymore.

I started paying attention.

I began not only watching Ed, Edd and Eddy, but I began watching a number of other cartoons the boys were watching. Spongebob Squarepants for instance (though equally stupid, at least it was funny). And a number of other popular cartoons at the time.

And I found all of them severely lacking in content and/or intelligent humor (which could be argued, how intelligent can you get with school-aged kids, but still … let’s give these little people SOME credit, shall we?)

After a while, I just couldn’t justify allowing the kids to watch something so … mind numbing, so pointless, so … stupid. I realize they are cartoons and they aren’t meant to be taken seriously, but some of the messages behind these cartoons was just … skewed that I didn’t feel like it was adding anything to their intellect.

And so, I directed the boys to something a little more intellectually stimulating.

The Discovery Channel, for instance. Shows that dealt with space, history, the earth, science, animals, technology … you know, shows that used proper grammar and talked in complete sentences – shows that actually stimulated intelligence and prompted thought. (Remember the whole what you put into your mind comes out your heart thing?)

My boys soon began to LOVE Dirty Jobs, Mythbusters, How It’s Made, Man Vs. Wild, The Deadliest Catch and so on. At least these shows experimented with real-world concepts and jump started their synapses.

The husband began taping all of these shows and we would sit down, as a family, and watch them together. And they have prompted more than one thought-provoking conversation, which in my opinion, is always a good thing. So I didn’t feel too terribly guilty taking the boys’ cartoons away from them when it was replaced with something that actually required them to think, contemplate and regurgitate questions and ideas.

Our favorite show, though, out of all of those mentioned above, was “The Deadliest Catch.” We have been HOOKED on that show since it began. It was not only the process of fishing for crab that caught our attention, but rather, it was the strength, endurance, patience, risk and sheer determination of the fishermen who lived the experience all for the sake of catching a spider-like creature at the bottom of the Bering Sea that “reeled” us in. (pun intended).

We simply couldn’t get enough of it. (It also introduced the boys to Bon Jovi because of the theme song. Speaking as a child of the ’80’s and who has had a crush on Jon Bon Jovi for as long as I can remember, I was ESTATIC. Now I had an EXCUSE to blast Bon Jovi whenever I had the chance. Boo-yah!).

It also made the boys very curious about crab. They wanted to taste it, touch it, really get a chance to examine it.

So, the husband and I took the boys to Red Lobster for lunch yesterday. We didn’t want to order a whole plate of crab in case they didn’t like it, so the hubs ordered a combo plate. MK ordered the popcorn shrimp, GD had the shrimp alfredo and I had the crab alfredo (I’m not a big seafood person to begin with, but I can occasionally handle crab).

When our food arrived, the boys were very eager to take a look at the crab legs. They handled the legs, they made little scratching gestures, they bent the joints, they tested the sharpness of the claw … oh wait, that was the husband. (In fact, the husband was having so much fun with the crab legs he made our waitress laugh).

The husband showed the boys how to crack the leg and attempt to pull out the juicy meat in one piece. He wasn’t successful, but it was fun to watch the guys try it.

They tasted it. And they liked it. And the experience satisfied their curiosity so now, when they watch The Deadliest Catch, they will have a deeper understanding of the monetary value and hard work behind the fishing escapades.

It’s so SATISFYING when your children pursue and then learn something about the world around them, isn’t it?

Yesterday was our last luncheon together for a while – school starts back on Monday. That was sort of the grand finale of the summer – we had been promising to take the boys out for crab for weeks, but wanted to wait until the very end because A. it prolonged the suspense and B. it’s freaking expensive to eat seafood! ($50 plus dollars for lunch?!).

But the time and money was nothing compared to the pure joy and satisfaction on the boys’ faces. They’ve ingested a bit more of the world …

Literally.

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Photos

From the Past: Being … Cool?

I believe THAT’S debatable. πŸ˜‰

Being Cool?

Beginning at the left: my sister, my brother and me, looking smug and quite sarcastic (gee, not much has changed, has it).

This would be … in the early 80’s, I believe. That would make me a freshman. Check out our short-shorts and my brother’s feet – nice sock tan line there, bro!

And you thought I was KIDDING about the no boobage thing, didn’t you. HA!

(My apologizes to my sister and brother who are probably going to kill me for posting this. Oh well, it wouldn’t be the first [or last!] time).