Tuesday, May 6, 2014


I’m speeding out of control, in a cart, with no brakes. The road I’m on has hairpin turns, scary cliffs, and oncoming traffic. Okay. Not literally. It was a dream I had on Sunday night—or Monday morning. But that's not important. One doesn’t have to have a chat with Sigmund Freud to interpret what’s happening in my subconscious. I’ve been burning the candle at both ends lately. My upcoming book, Rest in Peace, had a tentative publish date of April 28—I say tentative because I’m an indie author and deadlines are self-imposed. Not only did the 28th pass by without a completed book, I haven’t been able to work on it for over a week. No time in my schedule. I wear many figurative hats which include, but are not exclusive to, mom, wife, author, photographer, cook, maid, and animal wrangler. I’m sure you can relate to the chapeau metaphor.
L-R: Hannibal sporting his dapper tie, Hannibal biting (of course,) Kitten Face getting into trouble, and  looking sweet and innocent. 
           Animal wrangler was a fancy way of saying I clean litter boxes, pet barf, and feed and water our two dogs and three cats. I sometimes give bathes. Our little Jack Russell/Chihuahua mix has found something stinky in the yard to roll in over the past two days that has required an immediate decontamination session with hot water and coconut shampoo. Afterwards, he smells like wet dog and piña coladas. Hannibal, yes, as in “Hannibal the Cannibal” because he's slight, sophisticated, and likes to chew on everything, is a scamp with boundless energy. He also likes to stir up trouble. This odiferous activity is his latest way of menacing our house. Hannibal joins in with our other menace, Helena, AKA: Kitten Face. She is capable of the most death-defying feats of skill and committing general acts of mayhem. Nothing is hidden from her. She opens drawers. It's crazy. If she had thumbs, we’re all fairly certain she would have hacked up the entire family by now just so she could have the house to herself. While she is the most adorable long-haired, brown tiger you’ve ever seen, she’s very independent and not very affectionate. If she could talk, her favorite phrase would be, “I hate you all.” And, still, we dote on her.
L-R: My latest photography "gigs". Pre-prom photo shoot and a country-themed wedding.
The author hat is pretty self-explanatory since Broads of a Feather is an indie romance author blog shared by Robin Janney and myself. It’s my official job since I earn a living from it. The photographer hat stems from my favorite hobby. I love recording events one frame at a time and digital cameras make it so much easier. I like the instant gratification of seeing the shot immediately after I click the shutter. Don’t like the shot? *Delete* So easy. There is also a multitude of free online photo editing software out there. My favorite site is picmonkey.com just because it is extremely user friendly. I had Photoshop installed at one time, but felt like I needed a degree in software engineering to understand it. I don’t want to split the atom, Photoshop Designers. I just want to remove red eye, cover up blemishes, and add a sepia finish. Sheesh. My latest photography “jobs” were a pre-prom photo shoot and a wedding. I can’t really call photography a true job since I do these projects for free. I love being able to give friends and family a unique keepsake of their special events. My work is well-known within our community. I get asked to do senior photos and weddings all the time. Unfortunately, I have to turn them down due to time constraints and because of my temperamental Kodak Easy Share camera has outlived it's lifetime. Perhaps a fancy new 18 megapixel camera will encourage me to take on a few jobs in the near future. For now, I simply enjoy photography as a hobby.
L-R:Some of my culinary creations; baked brie in puff pastry, clams and spaghetti, lemon/blueberry tart, my "Shroomin'" pizza.

My other hats can be put into one category: housewife. Our family keeps me busy. It’s my most important job. My youngest is special needs and requires more of my attention. We’re entering into IEP meeting time. She transitions from middle school to high school this year. While I know everything will go well, I can’t help but feel a little anxious in anticipation. I think it stems from the fact I’m always second guessing what we do for her. The nagging question of “Could we be doing more for her?” is always at the back of my mind. My oldest just took her SAT’s this past weekend. She was very nervous. So nervous in fact, she said her hand was shaking so badly when she was signing in she was worried her signature wouldn’t match the signature on her ID and the testing officials would boot her out. She’s pretty sure she’ll have to take them again. As for the cook hat, I love to cook for my family. I have them spoiled rotten. They each have their favorite Mom recipes and place requests frequently. Sometimes, they even agree on the same dish.
Back to the runaway cart analogy. I'm feeling a little stressed out right now. So many things need my attention. I can’t be in two places at the same time so I have to prioritize and learn to say no when things can’t be squeezed into my already full schedule. I always feel badly for saying no to someone. Guilt sucks and I truly like helping people. In order to keep my sanity, I have to get over the guilt. With that being said, my dream made me reevaluate my life. While I will manage to juggle everything that has me bogged down at the moment, I need to focus on the gig that helps pay the bills. 

How do the rest of you manage your “hats?” Do you have a hard time saying no to people? C’mon, dish!! 


  1. I have learned throughout life how to say "no" to people. It is always difficult in the beginning but if I can't give something 100%, I would rather not do it. The one person I struggle to say no to is my child. I have always wanted her to have more opportunities to grow and experience things. I see now in hindsight that this giving just started a whirlwind that doesn't stop. I certainly had everything I needed growing up including idle time to learn how to entertain myself and she would have been fine with the same kind of childhood.
    Working full-time, being a mother, animal caretaker, housekeeper, cook (although that generally gets last on the task list), barn hand, etc. takes a daily toll. I never feel that everyone is getting my full attention and I am certainly not getting the "me time" that most of us need to re-charge. I think the full speed ahead mode of this generation is wearing us all down.

  2. I can't agree more. Saying NO is one of the hardest things to do, but sometimes you have to put yourself and your family first.

    Of course, from some of the pics I've seen, you could probably charge a couple bucks and no one would bat an eye at it because you're pretty good.

  3. You summed it up with the "full speed ahead" thing. It perfectly describes the current 10-24 year-old age group. We have them partaking in multiple school sports, plus outside activities like karate and dance--in our case horses, and then the normal on-the-go socializing. They don't know how to stand still anymore.

    Robin, a couple extra bucks in my pocket would be nice!