Category Archives: writing

What If I Had Never Moved? {Spin Cycle}

When I was twelve years old, my parents announced that we were moving. Dad had a new job, and so we were packing up and moving to the ‘burbs. Just as you would expect a moody sixth grader to react, I instantly resented my father for taking a new job. He was ruining my life!

It took a long time to adjust our new town. Junior high school was horrible, and I cried at my eighth grade graduation because I felt like I had no friends. High school was a little better, but not much. Going off to college, however, was great. I loved being a college student!

As the years go by, however, I realize how much I gained from this move from a small town to the city. If I hadn’t moved, I wouldn’t have attended high school with such a great academic reputation. Maybe I wouldn’t have been accepted into the university I wanted to attend, the university I ended up loving. Without such a good education, maybe I wouldn’t have been able to get my Master’s degree at another university while I was working full time.

When I was in high school, my mom was diagnosed with breast cancer. Unlucky, huh? But now we lived in the city where my mom could see the best doctors and get the best care. So when I was diagnosed with cancer 13 years later, I was referred to amazing doctors who gave me the best care as well.

Back when I was twelve, there was a boy who was much older than I was. He was sixteen. When I went to high school, he went to college. I knew of him, but I didn’t know him. He knew of me, but he didn’t know me. Both of us went to the same church on and off through the years. Finally, when we were both in our 30’s and still unmarried, we went out for breakfast after church.

Now we’ve been married for twelve years and have two children. What if we hadn’t moved when I was twelve years old? Would Ed and I have met?

It turns out my Dad didn’t ruin my life after all.

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Do Ed and I Clash? {Clash of the Couples Cover Reveal}

Ed and I are happily married! Really, we are. Most of the time, I write about all the stuff that makes us happily married. He even was behind my surprise wedding shower, as I told you last Friday. One of my dear blogging buddies, Mara, has even told me she wants to clone Ed.

I always tell her he’s not that great.

Even the happiest of happy couples disagree from time to time. Ed and I certainly do. Back when we were first married, we had a huge argument. I can’t even remember what it was about. I called my mom and told her all about it. First, she told me about the first big argument she had with my dad. I believe he had burned a tablecloth with a cigar. Then she told me not to be too hard on Ed.

Ever since Mom gave me that advice, I do my best. After all, I’m not so easy to live with, either. Every once in a while, however, Ed does something that ticks me off. Every once in a while, I have to vent to my girlfriends.

ed and me

Ed and I at a costume party.

This summer, Crystal Ponti, the editor of The Mother of All Meltdowns, compiled a book about arguments couples have. I’m pleased to announce that I’m a part of it!

Crystal writes:

Coupledom. Fact or fable, Adam and Eve birthed the perpetual relationship drama as seen on TV today. Despite the serpents, this couple HAD IT MADE. Luxury real estate, lush gardens, and privacy out the yin-yang. Life was glorious until the bare-bottomed babe could no longer resist temptation. Despite her better half’s warnings and threats to sleep in a tree, she tasted the forbidden fruit. One bite of that seductive, juicy contraband and the stage was set for eternity— a nibble that has blossomed into an endless supply of tiny tidbits that divide lovers to this day!

Taking a cue from the naked explorers of authentic sin, Clash of the Couples is a new anthology featuring a collection of completely absurd lovers’ squabbles and relationship spats. Think couples fight over kids, sex, and money? Think again! Furniture, the last beer, and where to store the placenta are what genuinely ignite our feuds. And no argument is off limits. This book has it all! Inside you’ll find a gut-busting compilation of stories such as: “I Can’t Believe You Ate My Sandwich,” “Never Assume Anything,” “Only I Can Talk About Me,” and “You Want Some College Boobs?” from forty-three fearless writers. Prepare to laugh, roll your eyes, and shiver in suspense. While Eve may have had the first bite, we ate the whole tree. And made pies.


Published by Blue Lobster Book Co., Clash of the Couples launches loudly and obnoxiously on November 3, 2014. You’ll hear us coming, but look for it on Amazon, B&N, Apple, and other places where you typically buy books. For instant updates, follow along on Facebook!

The lineup includes:

Andrew S. Delfino of Almost Coherent Parent

Crystal Ponti of MommiFried

Camille DeFer Thompson of Camille DeFer Thompson

Kimberly Morand of Anchor Magazine: Navigating Depression, Bipolar, and Anxiety

Meredith Napolitano of From Meredith to Mommy

Chris Dean of pixie.c.d.

Linda Roy of elleroy was here

Kevin Zelenka of Double Trouble Daddy

Sarah Cottrell of Housewife Plus

R.C. Liley of Going Dad

Mary Widdicks of Outmanned

Marie Bollman of Make Your Own Damn Dinner

Ginny Marie of Lemon Drop Pie

Mike Reynolds of Puzzling Posts

Leigh-Mary Hoffmann of Happily Ever Laughter Blog

Lisa Petty of Lisa R. Petty

Lynn Shattuck of The Light Will Find You

Jeff Bogle of Out With The Kids

Stacey Gustafson of Are You Kidding Me?

Angela Godbout of FRaPS

Courtney Conover of The Brown Girl with Long Hair

Jenny Hills of Express Bus Mama

Marcia Kester Doyle of Menopausal Mother

Julia Arnold of Frantic Mama

Jessica Azar of Herd Management

Susan A. Black of I Like That

Dave Lesser of Amateur Idiot Professional Dad

Sarah del Rio of est. 1975

m.nicole.r.wildhood of Naught Be All Else

Angela Keck of Writer Mom’s Blog

Alexa Bigwarfe of No Holding Back

Brian Sorrell of Dadding Full Time

Kathryn Leehane of Foxy Wine Pocket

April Grant of 100lb Countdown

Bev Feldman of Linkouture

Jodi Flaherty of The Noise of Boys

Scott Rigdon of Three Five Zero

Lydia Richmond of Cluttered Genius

Allie Burdick of VITA – Train for Life

Michelle Grewe of Crumpets and Bollocks

Barb Godshalk of Co-Author of Tall Tales and Short Stories from South Jersey

Jonathon Floyd of One Funny Daddy

Amanda Mushro of Questionable Choices in Parenting

Chris Carter of The Mom Cafe

What a great line-up! I can’t wait to see what the rest of my co-authors wrote about in this book. Some of the writers also contributed to The Mother of All Meltdowns, so I know their stories are going to be good.

Be sure to look for Clash of the Couples on November 3!




Your Spin Cycle Prompt {week of 9/15}

Back when I first started blogging in 2008, I stumbled on a little meme called “The Spin Cycle.” It was created by Jen, who blogged at Sprite’s Keeper. She had this idea of bloggers “writing a post based on a topic, and linking to each other’s sites so you can read two different spins (Get it? Spin? Spin cycle?) on the same subject. If you enjoy this idea… let us know and we’ll try to make a go of staging an open forum on Fridays where everyone will be able to post their own variations of a common theme on their blogs.”

After a while, Jen decided to give up The Spin Cycle, but we weren’t ready to stop spinning. Gretchen from Second Blooming, who you all know and love, was able to take over for Jen. And then after a while, I offered to help Gretchen with The Spin Cycle and became her partner. Gretchen is taking a short break from The Spin Cycle, but I’ll continue to post prompts here each week.

My first Spin was on the prompt “What if?” I chose to write, “What if the moon really were made out of cheese?” In honor of my first prompt (partly because I’ve always wanted to have a “do-over”) our prompt this week is: What if?

Write your spin on What If? and link up here any day this week! I’ll be back on Friday with my new What If? spin!

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He kept a secret from me.

I wanted to get married so badly, but I did NOT want to plan a wedding. Ed and I were engaged at the beginning of April, and we wanted to get married in October. Only six months to plan one of the biggest events of our lives, and I was not the least bit interested in getting it done.

As a Lutheran pastor’s family in a small town,  we were at every wedding that took place in that town. I watched the wedding ceremonies from the balcony as my father was up front officiating. I listened to my mother singing, most likely Malotte’s “The Lord’s Prayer.” Hearing it sung so many times unfortunately has me automatically rolling my eyes whenever someone else sings it. I know every note of that song by heart! After the service, everyone headed over to the Parish Hall, known as the school gymnasium during the week, for cold cuts and butter mints. The dance was at the American Legion Hut, where the adults stood around listening to the band and the kids ran around the Hut, the cool evening grass tickling our bare feet. My sister and I collected the wedding napkins. You know, the ones with the bride and groom’s names embossed on them. We had a large box full of just napkins from all the weddings we attended.

These memories are good memories, yes. However, after attending dozens and dozens of weddings as a child, I grew to dislike weddings. And so when it was my turn to get married, I wanted a church wedding and dancing at our reception, but I didn’t have any interest in actually planning the event. My parents had just moved to Colorado, so my mom was too far away to help me with the details. I missed her so much and wanted her to live close to me again. My sisters also lived out-of-town, and my mother-in-law to be was not in the best of health. It was up to Ed and me to plan our wedding together. Since I was teaching at the time, we figured I would have plenty of time to plan during my summer vacation.

We survived the whole planning process pretty well, although once we set the date, we discovered that October is the second most popular month for weddings. Finding a reception hall was more challenging than we thought it would be. There were a few panicky days as we tried to secure a location before our trip to Yellowstone. By the time school resumed, Ed and I felt like everything was under control.


At Yellowstone, relieved that we had a hall for our wedding reception!

There was one thing I had resigned myself to; I would not be getting a bridal shower or bachelorette party. My maids of honor, my sisters, were out of town. One of my bridesmaids had basically told me she wasn’t planning a shower for me, even though I had thrown a nice bachelorette party for her a couple of years before. I didn’t have the energy to organize my own party; plus, that felt just weird. I was feeling a lot of stress in planning the wedding in just six months as it was. So while I felt sorry for myself, I tried to focus on the big day itself instead of a shower.

One Sunday afternoon, Ed and I were driving to the northern suburbs to meet his family for dinner, which was a weekly event. I remember feeling particularly crabby that day. I don’t remember why. But when Ed’s sister called to ask us to stop by the grocery store on the way to the restaurant, I lost it. I ranted and raved. Why did we have to stop to get bread, of all things, for his sister?

I think I was still complaining about one thing or another to Ed as we walked into the restaurant and suddenly people yelled, “SURPRISE!” I would hate to see the look on my face if anyone took a picture! Ed and his sister had pulled together a surprise shower for me, and I hadn’t suspected a thing!

That surprise party was so sweet and thoughtful, and I’m sure I didn’t appreciate it as much as I should have. It also makes me wonder…

…what others secrets has Ed been keeping?

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Your Spin Cycle Prompt {week of 9/8}

Everybody’s got one. Some are good at keeping them, some let them spill. What am I talking about?


Shhh! Can you keep a secret?

Has someone told one of your deep dark secrets to everyone? Or maybe you accidentally let the cat out of the bag! Is there a secret from your past that really isn’t a secret any more? Was that surprise party really not a surprise? Did your kids find their Christmas presents in November?

Write about keeping secrets this week on The Spin Cycle!

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