Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Space Bags Giveaway

I’m giving up Space Bags for Lent. What I mean is I have too many of them, so I’m giving some AWAY. Who knew a blog would be such a great way to get rid of all the extra clutter in your house?

I really hope someone from my town wins, otherwise I’ll have to drive the Space Bags to the winner. On second thought, I hope the winner is from California or Georgia or somewhere equally nice and toasty warm.

Just leave me a comment at the end of this post and then tell 200 of your friends all about The Kerrie Show (just send a mass e-mail is what I would do). Then after 100 of your friends have visited my blog, I will put your name in a hat to win.


Just leave me a comment. You can tell me how blue my eyes are or how you love the antlers in my Profile photo or how much you, too, love tacos.

I’ll have my oldest son write your names on pieces of paper and then we’ll draw a couple on the 5th of April. I’ll let you know if you won, and then we can work out my travel details. I only fly First Class.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Follow-up to Parental Abuse Expose

Back on the 14th I wrote about a woman who didn’t care who was watching her elderly mother overnight as long as she didn’t have to bother with it. Since then I’ve talked to a friend who said, “Maybe the mother was abusive and that was the daughter’s way of giving that back.”

I said, “Maybe. But that would be pretty sad. I don’t think I could do it because I’m not that kind of person. No matter how crappy someone is to me, I always seem to give them chances. I’m not good at being mean to someone just because they were mean to me.”

I would arrive around 9:30 p.m. Mrs. K would let me in and lock the door behind me and hide the key. We’d watch TV for a while. She couldn’t handle the news, so we mostly watched Letterman, but she had to catch the weather. If she accidentally saw some news, she grimaced and groaned and changed the channel fast. I had been at school and work all day long, so I was always beat and did a little homework to try to stay awake.

Then it was time to make her breakfast for the next day. She thought she was allergic to the Freon in the fridge, so she’d stand on the fringe of the kitchen and give me orders. One hard-boiled egg in melamine bowl with melamine dish on top. Put in fridge. One slice of cheese on top of that. Five prunes (pronounced “pwunes” by her) in a bowl with a dish on top. Then maybe some odd jobs like changing a light bulb or taking out the trash, all with very specific instructions. There was no small talk. I was merely “the help.”

The bedtime routine started after 11 p.m. She’d go to her cash box and give me $25. She’d hop my case for wearing something she could smell, like deodorant or hair spray. I had to stay awake while she got ready for bed and I couldn’t turn out my light until she turned out hers. I woke around 6 a.m. to get to school and work. I had to wake her in a certain way so she’d get up and unlock the front door for me. I always worried she’d die in the night and I wouldn’t be able to get out of the house in time to get to school.

So yeah, she was kind of a pain in the butt (and I know I’m forgetting lots of annoying little things), but she was still somebody’s mother and a human being, so I just dealt with it for a few months. She died a few months after that.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Christ Renews His Parish Weekend ...Men

Folks, look forward to many more pissy stories like the one that follows. The more pregnant I get, traditionally, the pissier I get. When I was pregnant with Michael, I (generally a total wus who got bullied all through school) challenged a woman at a Phoenix library to “take it outside” because she used up all her time on her computer while I was waiting and then re-signed on and then had the audacity to get in my face about bringing a 16-month-old child to the CHILDREN’S section of the library.

So here’s a discrepancy for you, and I’m interested in your thoughts and comments. My husband is at this religious men’s weekend at church. It started at 8 a.m. yesterday and ends today at 5 p.m. He stayed the night at the school. I’m taking the kids to Mass by myself today.

So I called the Coordinator before the retreat just to see if Aron would be able to call home Saturday night (last night). I told him even when Aron travels, he never goes a day without talking to the kids or to me. I told him if I knew he’d be calling, I’d stay home since my cell phone is broken. In case you’re wondering why I even called and are saying that’s something you would NEVER do, let me remind you I am a bit ornery, especially when pregnant.

They guy said they can’t have cell phones and can’t call home. I asked why, which I seem to do more and more the longer I homeschool. It’s not like I will die if I don’t talk to him, but isn’t this a churchy thing? Doesn’t the church (especially the, ahem, CATHOLIC church) encourage FAMILY? The guy says, “We’re on GOD’S TIME this weekend.”

I LAUGHED my butt off and said, “Huh. Well, with GOD’S help, Aron and I have made FIVE kids. You’d think GOD would encourage him talking to his wife and kids daily, especially with the divorce rate these days!” So they can’t take 5 minutes out of 33 HOURS to say hi to their kids? Weird.

When Aron put the boys to bed Friday night they were upset that he couldn’t call us and that he wouldn’t be going to church with us today. I’m thinking my husband doesn’t even NEED this weekend since, to me and the kids, he’s the perfect father and husband anyway.

So yesterday morning 10 minutes before he’s even supposed to be there, they CALL our house to make sure he’s coming, which annoyed Aron. I told him to please not come back with a chip in his skin acting like a Stepford Husband. I also told him not to drink the Koolaid they may provide.

I hope I’m not spoiling anything for anyone who goes on a future weekend like this, but my friend who saw her husband off at the school for the weekend said all the guys’ luggage had been packed in a van. Huh? If they are sleeping at the school, why is their luggage all in a van?

The snow and ice were coming down crazy yesterday and I’m sure Aron was worried about our power going out and us freezing to death. We were prepared and made a fire just in case and had candles all ready to go.

Why are church-y events sometimes so disruptive to family life? My friend’s husband says, “God always comes first.” I agree. Without God, I would have and be nothing. But I think there’s something to be said for mothers and fathers making children and then BEING THERE for them most of the time and not being made to feel like heathens for not being in a Bible study or going on a religious weekend when the ma and pa are in the baby-raising phase (and happen to be having a bunch of kids, by the way).

Oh, and I'm betting it's like Marriage Encounter where they make it a big secret and you can't tell ANYBODY about your "special" weekend, which just freaks me out. I'm a Gemini and have to know stuff, not to mention we don't keep secrets from each other. I bet they tell the guys "don't tell other guys cuz it'll ruin the surprise and don't tell your wife in case she ever goes on the women's weekend." Forget THAT!

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Does a Booger Sandwich Have a Mother?

We’ve been reading the book “Does a Kangaroo Have a Mother?”

So Michael asks me the other day, “Does a booger sandwich have a mother?”

I told him yes. Wouldn’t you?!

All of our babies have had names in utero (Baby Mac, Squirt, Sprout, Pokey P.). Michael got to name the one that is currently cooking.

Michael has named Baby #5 “Samwich.” Not sandwich. Samwich.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Make Good Choices

I risk offending a few people here, but it drives me nuts when parents tell kids to “make good choices.” Yeah, like YOU are making such great ones yourself. Let’s explore:

“Daddy didn’t make a good choice when he got drunk at his work party and then drove home, resulting in a big, fat DUI. He needs to make better choices.”

“Mommy knows we are broke and can’t pay our bills, but Mommy REALLY wants that pair of heels at Macy’s, so Mommy’s going to buy them with a credit card. It’s not a good choice, but Mommy’s a grownup and can do what she wants.”

“Mommy only gets to eat air for dinner tonight because she made a bad food choice and had 3 pounds of M&Ms earlier today.”

So what’s my alternative? My solution? Just tell the kid to “CUT IT OUT” if they’re doing something bad. And when you send them to someone’s house to play without you, just tell them, “BE GOOD” and then do that thing where you make the peace sign and point from your eyes to theirs to signify that you are watching them all the time. I get so sick of all the psychobabble when parenting can be so simple.

And, yes, I AM an expert at screwing up at the job of parenting, so you probably shouldn’t listen to me.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

The Best Things In Life Aren’t Things

I found this while cleaning out a bunch of old papers and wanted to share it before I pitched it (trying to get rid of stuff).

This describes why I love for my kids to nap on me, why I stay home with them, why I snuggle close to 2 of them at night while growing another in my body and having another 2 not far from me in their own little bedroom.

This describes why I’m constantly giving things away and why I didn’t freak out when a neat bowl we got for our wedding got broken last week. You can certainly tell by the things in my home that I’m not a decorator and don’t care about how my furniture looks to the world as long as it’s functional and can stand kids jumping on it. Mom has always told me I don’t know how to take care of things, and she is right. I lose things. I break things. Yes, that is a fault.

But …

I’ve never forgotten my kid in the car when I went in to a store. I’ve never left my kid at a place because I forgot to pack him or her in the van. I may not take care of things, but I take damn good care of my children and pretty good care of my poor, often-neglected husband.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

I Love My Mommy Friends

My friend Ellen picked this shirt up at a thrift store and thought it would be perfect for my husband. We like to make light of the fact that we don’t know what causes pregnancy and all the resulting kids. Some guys at Aron’s work ask him when he’s going to get “fixed” … but I’m pretty sure nothing is broken.

Funny, nobody has EVER asked me when I’M going to get “fixed” … they probably don’t want a broken jaw and a big ole black eye.

And I’d run them over with my new 12-passenger Mac Bus, once I get it. Look out, car salesmen: I’m comin’ to negotiate with ya, and I’m one tough cookie!

My friend Eva wants a post about van-hunting for my basketball team of kids. When I start hunting, I’ll let you know.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

The Final Wedding

[edited to delete photo b/c of fear of family photos being on Internet]

This was taken in December of 2004 at the wedding of Aron’s sister, the last of the 5 kids to get married.

I was hesitant to post this photo and post because of the circumstances of the wedding, but my intentions are only good because I do love this family. I won’t name names because some people are Blog Sensitive and are afraid of being stalked.

Three of us were pregnant in this picture: me (7 months along with Callie), the bride (6 months along) and my red-headed sister-in-law (3 months along). My in-laws got 3 new grandbabies in only a few month’s time in 2005.

Aron just had hernia surgery the day before and was in a lot of pain. He’s the one who looks like he’s going to puke. Girls, you don't know love til you've nursed your man through hernia surgery while pregnant.

I love Aron’s family because it includes many nationalities and colors. I hate the term African American unless someone is from Africa, so I’ll just say my brother-in-law is black; my sister-in-law is Korean; her 4 kids are all mixed (and gorgeous and smart). We have German and Irish and Swedish in this family, that I know of. We are the Melting Pot Family.

I’m proud of the McLoughlins and am proud to be one.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Why the Dinosaurs are Extinct

Here is Michael’s theory:

“The brachiosaurus bit all the other dinosaurs and put them in a pile (dead). Then he was too big to get down and eat the leaves, so he starved to death. He couldn’t drink, either.”

Michael continues, clapping gleefully, “But wait, Daddy, he could bend his neck down …”

Aron asks, “So how does that play into our theory of extinction?”

Michael, “Poo poo.”

Then Joel says, “Hey, something extincts in here.”

Saturday, March 21, 2009

American Family Insurance … Again

Last year I wrote about the annoying survey American Family Insurance spent tons of money on and sent out to policyholders rather than just call customers to see how they were enjoying their service and agent.

Now I’m griping because we got a letter from them saying they “may use a credit-based insurance score based on information contained in [our] credit report(s).”

I know someone who had their insurance rates go UP because they had bad credit. I’m sorry, but I think insurance should cost the same (based on number of tickets, age, etc., of course) for everyone, regardless of how bad or good their credit is. Our credit is great, so I’m not worried about our rates going up.

But maybe I should be. Maybe they raise the rates of people with BAD credit because they are a risk and those with GOOD credit because they are responsible with their money and possibly have more of it. I like to think most people with bad credit are working hard to pay off their debt, so why should they be penalized and charged more for that?

I feel for these people. When I was in my early 20s and had just escaped from an abusive marriage with the clothes on my back, the guy wouldn’t pay his bills, so creditors came after me. Even though I didn’t end up with any of the stuff, I worked hard and paid off the credit cards and even the IRS so they would leave me alone and not mess up MY credit for what HE had done.

Is your insurance company pulling this crap? How can we stop it?

*Follow-up since I wrote this post … they LOWERED our rates by about $40 every 6 months on my husband’s 1994 truck. I want to know who is paying for our lower rates now? Do you think this is fair?

Friday, March 20, 2009

Moral Lessons of Harry Potter

This post is for those who believe that the Harry Potter series of books and movies are evil. You know who you are. Hear me out. I’m not 100% sure, but I doubt I’m headed for hell for enjoying Harry Potter. While we’re confessing, I like to read books off Banned Books lists also.

Years ago, Mom bought every Harry Potter book for herself as they came out, then passed them over to me for the kids when she was done reading them. Aron started reading #1 to the boys over a year ago and they recently finished #4. It brings them together.* It’s not like we plunk them down in front of the HP movies and say, “Okay, now, try not to have nightmares later.”

Forget all that crap about the author coming out later (ha!) and saying Dumbledore is gay. I don’t buy it for a second and it doesn’t change the fact that the stories are great. The author (J.K. Rowling) was just looking for more publicity. She’s pretty, talented, famous AND rich … she also must want to be controversial. Whatever.

Here are “The Moral Lessons of Harry Potter”, part of an article I saved from the January 2002 issue of Child magazine (now defunct):

“Adversity can be overcome through perseverance and hard work. Despite the circumstances surrounding his early life, Harry is hopeful and able to thrive. … Harry is always having to confront his fears.”

“It’s important to be accepting of differences in others and to treat everyone equally. … Having been rejected by his own relatives, Harry is particularly sensitive to others’ suffering …” Yes, I’m aware that I’m “religious” and am supposed to cross the street when I see a gay or different-in-any-way person coming my way. But get out your Bible: Jesus himself hung out with prostitutes and lepers and other socially unacceptable people. If I have a divorced friend, that doesn’t mean I’m going to become divorced.

“You don’t have to be perfect. [Harry is] rather gawky, and his hair won’t even stay in place … Nonetheless, he prevails, using logic, kindness, patience, and bravery when strength or special powers fail him.”

“Education and knowledge are essential. … School plays a prominent role in all the Harry Potter books. … [and] Rowling employs rich vocabulary words, such as flouted, prudent, and abashed.”

“Loyalty to friends is important. … Even though the characters are strong as individuals, it’s as a team that they solve all their problems.”

How do YOU feel about Harry Potter?

*Aron made an Executive Decision and isn’t continuing the series until the boys are older. We moved on to SuperFudge and Wind in the Willows.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

384 Paying Parenting and Family Magazine Reprint Markets

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Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Reality TV

Some people don’t understand the appeal of reality TV shows. There are some that disgust me because you can tell they are edited only to make the “stars” look stupid.

I watch The Bachelor because I love love and they got it right ONCE (Trista and Ryan). I am aware that I am living my own reality love story. But when he is snoring in bed and the kids are all asleep, I like to watch some TV. Although I may be off The Bachelor for good after this stupid season.

I watch The Amazing Race because I want to travel, but it isn’t in the cards right now.

I watch Flipping Out and Million-Dollar Listing because I learn about the real estate market (and how many realtors pronounce it REAL-A-TOR).

I watched Ashley Paige Bikini or Bust because it was cool to see the business side of fashion and to watch this chick try to get her ideas up and running.

I watch Jon and Kate + 8 because they give me discipline ideas and make my life seem like a piece of cake.

I watch Celebrity Apprentice because it helps me remember my working days and appreciate that I’m not still there!

I watch The Biggest Loser because I struggle with my weight.

I watch because I like to unwind that way. Because yes, I live in reality ALL DAY LONG. The reality of 4 kids plus sometimes their friends. The reality of cooking, cleaning, writing, errands, phone calls, plans, homeschooling, mail, bills, gassing up the van, having people over, going places, picking up after my Tornado Toddler, enduring screaming tantrums by my 4-year-old, wondering if there’s anything I should be doing to entertain my younger son who is all introverted, making social plans for my social older son, doing laundry, and 100 other things I won’t bore you with now.

I don’t drink. I don’t smoke. I don’t do drugs. I indulge in the occasional chocolate. Exercise is almost impossible sometimes. So I watch TV. Rarely, but I do watch. I prefer shows like Madmen (I’m a retro gal), Rescue Me (guys crack me up) and Family Guy (I’m a naughty little kid at heart).

I watch when I can’t sleep (my mom and I are like technological dinosaurs … she should have Tivo but she tapes for me and I appreciate her “sacrifice”!!!), when the baby is napping on me and the kids are playing in their rooms. I don’t sit around on my butt all day watching TV, trust me (sometimes I STAND in front of the TV … haha)!

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Old Picture Tuesday … Me and My Boys

So this picture isn’t that old. It was taken in August of 2007, when I was 6 or so months pregnant with Eva. You can see Callie’s little body in the background. We took a bunch of pictures that day at a homeschool picnic, and I absolutely love this one of my precious boys. They are such good boys, too. They play well together, they are great helpers around the house, they can get themselves ready to go places with no problems. They are amazing, and I am so happy God is letting me raise them (and my girls!).

Here are Three Reasons This Baby in My Belly Has to Be a Boy …

… because I have THREE blue lounging items for the kid (tiny bouncy seat with attached blankie and vibration, bigger bouncy, and low-to-the-ground bouncy/bassinett that vibrates).

… because I bought those stickers for the back of my van, and one pack was a baby boy AND a baby girl. I have the baby girl on the van and am just waiting to use the boy.

… because I’m good-to-go on estrogen in my house for now.

Too bad we never find out the sex of our babies before they are born. Don’t get me wrong, either: a girl would be wonderful, too. I’m happy with whatever comes a flyin’ out of my va-jay-jay in October.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Flipping the Weight Loss Switch Monday Part 6 (Your Kids)

So now the cold, hard truth. I’m teaching my kids to eat crappy. Don’t get me wrong: they eat plenty of veggies and could practically live on fruit. But I use sweets as rewards and we ALL eat sugar when Mommy is feeling stressed.

Why do I put out apple slices and carrot sticks for the kids to munch on all day, yet I grab a cookie or Bagelful when I go to sit down to nurse? No wonder my blood sugar levels are probably all over the place (as evidenced by my moodiness).

Even skinny chicks struggle with weight … keeping it off or else for, say, an anorexic person, they might need Weight Watchers to make sure they are eating ENOUGH food.

But I digress, as I will do when I’m winding down on a topic. Where was I?

Oh, yeah, KIDS. So I’m working hard to plan meals ahead of time so I’m not scrambling last minute for something that turns out to be bad for us. It’s Lenten season, too, so I have to think about Fish Fridays … fish is healthy, right?!

So it’s pretty obvious that the less you keep chocolate and junk in your house, the less it will be eaten. For instance, I can’t keep soda or chips in the house or we’d all weigh about 500 pounds. I try to make sure I always have baby carrots and lots of fruit in the house. When I make Jell-O, I throw in a can of fruit. They drink a lot more water these days instead of lugging Capri Suns everywhere we go. Get your kid his or her own water bottle and watch them drink like a fish.

Good luck in your weight loss ventures. Mine is currently staying the same, although I’m growing a human being. I swear that Vitamin B-12 helps me have no morning sickness, little fatigue AND must be great for my metabolism. Have I found the new Wonder Drug?

If you’re preggy and feeling pukey, do me a favor and give B-12 a chance and report back to me!

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Parental/Elderly Abuse/Neglect

Yes, folks, just like anyone else I am a treasure trove of crazy stories. Here’s another one.

When I was 24 I came across a job listing in some junior college newspaper. It was asking for someone to spend the night with an elderly woman a couple of nights a week for $25 per night. Being recently divorced from a credit-challenged man-boy and working 2 jobs and going to school, I thought it sounded great.

The elderly woman's daughter (owner of chocolate store in Kansas City) had me over to her huge house to discuss me spending a few nights a week with her mother. Here’s where the weird crap comes in:

-- She could not keep my name straight. To this day she thinks my name is Terry; she always called me that.

-- She did not get my Social Security Number.

-- She did not get my address.

So a couple of nights later I started spending the night with this elderly woman, which is an entirely different story!

She pays me in cash every night before bed, and I know where she keeps the stash. She has tons of furs and nice clothing all over the house. She has nice jewelry in the bedroom where she does not sleep. And a nice car in the garage.

Thank God for her my parents raised me right because a bad person would’ve robbed her blind. Sure, she locked me in every night, but I could’ve gotten out through a window. The daughter should’ve had a bunch of $25 checks written, locked up the furs and jewelry, etc. She should’ve known WHO WAS WATCHING HER MOTHER in case I was an ax murderer.

I keep finding myself on this soapbox: Most Americans have no regard for life … either unborn, a twinkle in the eye, born and not perfect, or elderly. If I have to go into massive debt to make sure my parents and Aron’s parents are taken care of until they take their final breath, that is no problem. I want no part of them rotting in a nursing home (unless that’s what they want, to be left alone).

Update 11/5/18 and now we live on enough land to build tiny houses for all of our elderly relatives to keep them nice and close and cared for.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Taco Burrito McLoughlin (Baby-Naming Fun)

Just for fun around my house we’ve always liked to talk about having more kids.

Joel says, “I want twins!” Judging from this photo, he wants ASIAN twins. Not sure I can accommodate since my husband is Whitey McWhiterson. The day I went for my pee test at the doc’s office, Callie says, “Mommy, you have a boy baby AND a girl baby in your belly.” I said, “Shut your mouth, child.”

To Joel I say, “Bite your tongue, Boy. That would do me in for sure. One at a time, please. TWINS are not on my Vision Board.”

I don’t really have a Vision Board. (Piece of advice for the single ladies: on your first date, don’t tell a man his picture is on your Vision Board … that’s a little creepy.)

Callie wants a big sister. But not little brothers because they will be mean to her. She likes the names I threw out that are Aron-approved: Reuben or Levi for a boy and Olivia for a girl. Except Aron keeps changing his mind.

I like Taco Burrito for a boy and Salsa Nacho for a girl. I love my Mexican food; what can I say? My grandma had 2 sisters: Eva and Juanita. I ate so much Mexican food when I was pregnant with Eva that my grandma said maybe I should name her Juanita if she was a girl. She is a wise woman.

Alright, all you people who like to suggest baby names, here are your guidelines: the first name can’t start with the same letter as any of my existing children (Joel, Michael, Callie or Eva) or A or K. The first and middle names combined need to be 11 letters. And it has to sound good with McLoughlin. And no Irish jokes. Okay, I like Irish jokes.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Family Bumper Stickers

I found these deadly bumper stickers (or car window stickers) at Michael’s for $1.99 per pack. There were only 3 options for each dad (golfer, sports coach or briefcase-toting guy) and mom (yoga chick, sports coach or briefcase-toting chick), so I picked these 2 and later took them back. Who cares if Mom and Dad are on the back of the van, anyway? I’m wondering where the other options are, though, like Writer Mom or Crazy-Frazzled Homeschooling Stay-at-Home Mom. And Aron’s should be more like Woodworking, Lawn-Mowing Dad or – better yet – FISHING DAD!

These 2 are the boys (dirty boy Joel who makes messes and regular boy Michael):

These are the girls (princess Callie and baby Eva with leftover baby boy for later):

Here’s the chemical warning that totally freaked me out:

So this is KNOWN to the State of California to cause birth defects? Why is the rest of the country so stupid, then? Why is this product being sold? Why did I put these stickers on the back of my van? You bet your sweet butt I washed my hands pretty good after applying them!

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Author Interview: J.A. Konrath writing as Jack Kilborn

I’ve been hearing about Joe Konrath for years. He wrote some entertaining articles in Writer’s Digest, and I knew he’d written some great, humorous mysteries with the character Jacqueline (Jack) Daniels. But, man, I didn’t realize he’d written SIX in this series and crossed over to horror as well. I’m grabbing his latest book, “Afraid”, for my husband.

I thought it’d be fun to interview the guy. Rather than freak him out by giving him a tinkle on the telly (he’d hear the 4 squealing kids and my morning-sickness retching in the background), I decided to give the guy a break and just do an e-mail interview to feature on my little bloggies. Enjoy.

Queen Kerrie: Why are you using a different author name with this book?
JAK: J.A. Konrath writes funny mysteries with some scary parts. Jack Kilborn writes all scary parts. To speak in marketing terms, they're different brands, so they should have different names.

Moi: What do you wear and eat when you write?
Famous Writer Dude: In all seriousness, I write in my underwear. :) I have a variety of boxer shorts with cartoons and funny slogans. The pair I'm currently wearing say, "Make me an offer I can't refuse." Spongebob is another fave. In CHERRY BOMB, my sixth Jack Daniels book coming out in July, I have a character who is tied up wearing nothing but Duff Beer boxers -- that's the brew Homer drinks on The Simpsons. While I wrote that scene, I was in my Duff Beer boxers. Every time my son brings friends over, I manage to throw on some jeans and a tee. But during the day I have the house to myself, so clothing is optional. This is probably waaaaaay more than your readers wanted or needed to know, so I'm going to retcon the whole topic. When I write I wear a black Armani tuxedo.

Me: What do you do when you don't feel like writing something difficult ... do the dishes, take a walk, prank call a friend, mess around on Twitter or Facebook?
Joe: I'm so attached to my computer I have a chamber pot under my desk. I'm always answering e-mail, blogging, or replying to someone on some social network. Whenever I get stuck in a story, distraction is always a mouse click away. Though I do enjoy prank calling those "Everything Is One Dollar" stores, then repeatedly asking how much certain items cost. After the eighth or ninth time, the clerks think it's funny, I bet.

Miss K: How do you do laundry? Cram it all in or sort?
Joey K: I'm a crammer, and my wife hates it. Unless it's a red sweater, there is no reason towels can't share washer space with socks and jeans. Are there actually men who sort?

*Note from Kerrie: I am a crammer, while my husband used to be a sorter before I converted him. We suck it up and deal with gray socks that used to be white.

Constantly Pregnant Chick: How much time do you devote to writing per day?
Father of a Son: When I'm on a deadline, fourteen hours a day isn't unusual. In between books, it depends what I'm working on. I do a lot of short stories, so I'm often playing with one or two. But weeks can go by without me writing anything creative, except from my daily Twitter joke. Here are some of my daily Twitter jokes:

-- I haven't learned a thing in hypnotism class, and it costs $300 an hour. But for some reason I just signed up for six more sessions.

-- I've talked to dozens of people, but nobody wants to invest in my all natural "green" toilet paper substitute; the washable pooper cactus.

-- My wife is demanding a romantic getaway this Valentine’s Day, but she refuses to tell me whom she's going with.

-- You have to watch out for bad cholesterol. The other day, I was eating a pizza, and some bad cholesterol stole my car.

-- I missed mime class, because I was practicing at home and got stuck in an imaginary box.

-- Few things are as crucial, decisive, exigent, foremost, imperative, meaningful, necessary, relevant, salient, and vital, as the synonym.

-- Sex is great exercise, but I probably need more exercise than just four minutes a month.

There are more than two hundred other gems like this at www.twitter.com/jakonrath.

I really need to get away from the computer, I think.

Kurious Kerrie: How many books have you published? (In hindsight, I realize there ARE dumb questions, as I could’ve easily Googled this).
Funny Guy: The Jack Daniels series, in order, is comprised of WHISKEY SOUR, BLOODY MARY, RUSTY NAIL, DIRTY MARTINI, FUZZY NAVEL, CHERRY BOMB. I also edited the hitman anthology THESE GUNS FOR HIRE. AFRAID, under the Jack Kilborn moniker, comes out at the end of March. Kilborn also wrote TRAPPED, coming out later this year. These are both really, really scary, so only brave people should attempt to read them. Of course, there are no braver people on the planet than mothers, so I think your readers can handle these with no problem.

On my website, www.jakonrath.com, I have dozens of published short stories and three unpublished novels that people can read for free. I also have a scary flash game for AFRAID.

Kooky Homeschooler: How many articles have you had published?
Super Rich Writer Man: I've been in Writer's Digest a bunch of times. I lost count how many. As for short stories, I've done more than sixty. One of my current faves is a werewolf novella in WOLFSBANE & MISTLETOE, edited by Charlaine Harris and Toni L.P. Kelner. Lots of people seem to like that story. It's a funny Christmas/shapeshifter/romance/psychotic Santa tale, which are really popular these days.

Chocolate Lover: Do you recommend an author book tour?
Sarcastic Guy: Only to authors.

Mrs. McLoughlin: Who is your favorite author?
Mr. Konrath: My favorite novel is THE JUDAS GOAT by Robert B. Parker. That got me into writing mysteries. I just blurbed a terrific horror book by someone named Jack Kilborn with the quote: "What an amazing debut. I wish I'd written this." I think the book is called AFRAID. Everyone should run out and buy thirty copies.

Final Question Asker: Do you think sites like MySpace, Twitter and Facebook have helped broaden your fan base?
Long-Suffering Interviewee: Yes. Never before in history have authors been able to reach out and connect with their readers in such a big, and instantaneous, way. Of course, the secret isn't befriending people who are looking for you. The secret is to befriend people who find you when they're looking for someone else. For example, many of your blog readers probably had no idea who I was. Those who managed to wade through this interview now know me. Maybe a few of them will check out my books. That's the key to broadening your fanbase. And that's why I'm so happy you had me here today. Thanks! :)

You are very welcome, Joe! Yes, my blog readers are very beautiful and intelligent, so I’m sure they’ll be checking out your writing! Thanks for answering my often-inane questions! You rock. Knug (knuckle hug).


Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Is It Okay to Drink While Pregnant?

Man, people get so bent out of shape when they see a pregnant woman swigging liquor straight from the bottle. That’s why I love the show Madmen … you get to see women from the ‘60s sitting around smoking and drinking. There’s nothing funny about kids being born with birth defects and alcohol dependency and low birthweight, but I haven’t seen the statistics on how many of those kids born in the ‘60s actually were messed up. And by the way, let’s try to define the term “messed up” because I know some perfectly healthy people who are messed up.  Good luck.

This was taken in 1971 in Germany, when my mom was pregnant with me. She wasn’t REALLY drinking, friends. She was trying to be funny, and if you don’t think it’s funny, then I’m not sure why you’re reading this blog because I have the same sick sense of humor as both of my parents. In fact, I think I have a similar picture of myself, only I’m balancing a beer on my pregnant belly (I hate beer).

Or maybe my mom really WAS drinking and it affected the developing part of my brain that regulates childbearing and when to say "when" as far as how many kids to have.

We’ll never know.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Flipping the Weight Loss Switch Monday Part 5 (Influences and Fears)

Are you afraid to lose weight because some of your friends are overweight? Are you afraid you won’t have the bond you once had with them once you are skinny and can’t sit around eating nachos and chocolate chip cookies with them?

My friend Smoosh and I still have a bond, even though she always declined my nasty food offers. I never tried to push bad food on her and respected that she was trying to stay thin.

I would like to apologize to my mom when I was or am a bad influence on her Weight Watchers efforts and promise to be more cognizant of her feelings when I bring bad food around or offer to spring for McDonald’s.

In addition to worrying about how your friends will receive you if you get skinny, here are some other common fears:

-- I’ll be a Fat Snob and look down on anyone who is a tiny bit overweight (e.g., “If I could lose weight, why aren’t THEY?”)

-- If I lose a bunch of weight, my boobs will look like pancakes on my chest. As long as I stay overweight, at least they will SEEM a little fuller.

-- I might draw too much attention from other men, which makes me uncomfortable (or else makes me feel a little TOO good about myself). My mom and I call this being “drunk on skinny” … you get all giddy and goofy because you are in control of your eating and are getting more attention because you’ve lost weight. As a result, you do things you might not ordinarily do that you are ashamed of later.

-- I’m afraid I’ll dress slutty because I’ll have a better body. This isn’t much of a concern for me since they don’t make many slutty maternity or nursing clothes. Hey, a new business opportunity for someone!

For a nice change, check out Tiffany's blog about losing weight.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Meals on Wheels Volunteering With Kids

I feel kinda bad this time around since all I do is sit on my butt while the kids do the meal deliveries. I don’t really know any of the people we’re delivering to, but once the weather gets nicer I’ll get all the kids out of the van and introduce us all proper-like. And the kids plan to start drawing or coloring pictures for all the people on our route (15 people, about 10 stops since some stops are husband/wife).

I do know that one of our stops has 10 grown kids! He called me a lightweight for only having 4 so far! Some of these people just want someone to talk to, and I wish I could chat with them all day.

I honestly tear up when I see these people open the door with such delight when they see Joel with their food. So my heart melts about 10 times every Friday, which makes me highly recommend anyone doing a Meals on Wheels route.

Michael doesn’t want much to do with the deliveries since he’s not so social, but Joel (and sometimes Callie) does a great job and learns a lot about who gets what kind of food (one hot tray and one cold bag to each house; some get a diet tray instead; some get 2 frozen meals to tide them over for the weekend). Someday soon it will also be a great homeschool lesson in maps, geography and navigation.

Often a client’s son will meet us outside to take the meal, and I think that maybe someday my kids will be hanging out with me on a Friday either waiting for my Meals on Wheels lunch or making me something.

All 4 of my grandparents are 80 or almost-80 now, and they are all able to cook for themselves still or, in the case of my mom’s parents, hit the Taco Bell out in the country every other day. I pray there will always be someone to take care of them and make their meals for them and be a source of company.

And please don’t leave me comments about how great I am for volunteering for Meals on Wheels … I do it because Joel really wanted to and I want him to see how great the elderly can be. When he gets in the car after a delivery he always says, “She/he was really nice.”

Here’s your mission: Appreciate the people in your life, even the crotchety, grumpy, judgmental ones. Seek to understand why they act the way they do (e.g., living with chronic pain or watching all your friends die first can’t be fun), and try to love them anyway.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Recent Purchase: Diaper Bag

Ah, LandsEnd.com. How I love you. I’m not usually a shopper in general (especially at full price), and especially not on the Internet because I like to try it before I buy it, but now I am a believer. A few weeks ago my red-headed sister-in-law (and ex-roommate, God help her) came into town. She had a cool bag from Lands End, but it wasn’t big enough for my needs for a diaper bag.

Remember I cloth diaper, so I have to fit a few of those thick suckers in a bag, plus wipes, medicine bag, butt cream, baggies for dirty diapers, wallet, gum, suckers, chapsticks and lip glosses, plus Post-its, pens, chocolate, Advil, a spiral notebook, a magazine or two, extra clothes for Eva and about 10 other things I’m forgetting. I’m a just-in-case gal, especially since I have little kids. It drives Aron NUTTY that I end up with a 10-pound diaper bag (and that’s on a light day!). Usually, I end up not carrying it for long; it has a spot of honor in the front seat of the double stroller most times so I can easily get to anything I need.

Sooo, my SIL and I go online and I order a bigger version with a zipper (and BOY, is it big!) in brown and orange (not my first choice, but retro enough to make me happy). Oh, and I got my name put on it! So now when I’m out brand-new stalkers will know my name! I kinda wish they had a size in between Medium and Humongous, but I’ll take what I can get. Can’t send it back now!

I know what my dad will say when he sees it: “Wow, my mail satchel was smaller and lighter than that and I had to carry it for 30 years.”

Aron says he could drive his truck into the new diaper bag.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

A Great Playdate

There’s just something about a great playdate that makes the world seem rosier.

Recently I went to the house of a friend for the first time. We knew each other through homeschool groups, and she’d been to my house years ago. We’d talked on the phone and on Facebook.

I almost didn’t go because I got a migraine on the way over (spots that prevented me from seeing the street signs … it’s a wonder I even found her house). But I plowed on … for the sake of the “socialization” of my homeschooled kids.

Once there, I dug through my monster diaper bag for some Advil and came up empty. My friend gave me not only Advil, but also some Coke (I need the caffeine for the migraine) and she had ordered pizza for us and the kids. We left after 2 hours, which Joel hated because he was having fun. Even Callie was warming up, but Michael was stuck to me the whole time, and the baby was getting tired. I didn’t want to overstay my welcome, but usually we’ll stay all afternoon on a playdate if everyone’s hitting it off.

Anyway, they are transportation-challenged currently, so we made plans for her 3 oldest kids to get to my house one day the following week to play for the WHOLE AFTERNOON. My friend would get hours to herself with only her 3-year-old to care for while I would get friends for MY kids. Everyone is happy.

Now I envision the future: we will be best friends. Our kids will be best friends. She won’t go all Catholic-psycho on me like 2 other women have in that homeschool group. She likes Harry Potter, so already we have that naughty secret. I see them coming over for cookouts and picture our husbands having a beer and laughing heartily over Obama’s latest antics.

A friend for me who does not have a homeschool schedule or keep an immaculate home! Friends for my kids! A potential friend for my husband! I am giddy!

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Old Picture Tuesday … Prom

This was taken in my backyard right before my Junior Prom, the only one I attended. I wish Rachel Zoe had been around then to be my personal stylist. She would’ve told me that dress was not very flattering on my body. It had a big white bow that covered my chest that I ripped off. I think I should’ve left it on!

My date picked me up (along with his friend and his friend’s date, a flippin’ FRESHMAN) and we went to Fedora on the Country Club Plaza. I immediately lost one of my Lee press-on nails at dinner. We hit the dance (in our school gym) for maybe 30 minutes, then met a bunch of people back at my date’s house to just hang out. Nothing exciting at all, believe me. I wasn’t drunk and I was home by midnight.

As for Senior Prom, I bought 2 tickets, a gorgeous white-with-diamond-accents dress and was going to take my 21-year-old boyfriend, but he never intended to go in the first place and chose to work that night instead (a waiter at Bennigan’s). Once I figured this out, I started calling every guy I knew looking for SOMEONE to take me. And yes, I called Paul, who already had TWO dates to something else the same night (mimbo!). That night I ended up going dancing at the Varsity Club, an under-21 dance club, and that was about it. I liked driving around by myself in my 1978 yellow Chevette a lot back in those days. I was home at an extremely respectable hour.

Does the word PROM strike fear and bad memories in your heart or was it one of the best nights of your life?

Monday, March 2, 2009

Weight Watchers Points

I know you don’t have to spend money to lose weight. In fact, you should be SAVING money when you lose weight because you are eating LESS. And walking is free. So are exercise DVD rentals from the library. Still, I’ve always found Weight Watchers to be quite motivating. It worked great for me for a few months back in 2006. Then I gave up.

I tried again after Eva was born, but I think it was too early and I was starving all the time from breastfeeding and wasn’t able to make the meetings with a tiny baby nursing and trying to sleep (and another child wanting to tag along) and wasn’t able to leave the baby at home because I’m a freaky attached mommy.

When my youngest just turned 1, I did WW again and lost a few pounds. It motivates me knowing someone will be weighing me in on the same scale every single week. Of course, every time I lose some weight, I get pregnant again. But for a few weeks (before I knew I was pregnant) I was my own little Food Dictator and monitored all that went into my mouth and went all Diet Coke and Splenda (yes, poison, I know) and people rolled their eyes at me, but I DID IT FOR ME and didn’t care what anyone else thought.

So how do you stop using food as your drug of choice? It always helps me when I’m stressed out. It’s better for me than cigarettes or Ritalin or tequila, right? Safer, anyway, I guess. I’m like a drug addict on Celebrity Rehab when I try to lose weight. I just KNOW this time will be the time I will kick my food addiction. But then somehow I always end up with needles – I mean, Dove chocolates – in my back pocket or diaper bag.

How do you learn Food Appreciation versus Food Inhalation? How do you live mindfully and EAT mindfully? And no, I’m not letting pregnancy be an excuse to start pigging in tons of chocolate again. I have relapsed a couple of times with vanilla Coke and Hershey’s extra creamy hearts (who knew?), but this time around I can eat 2 hearts and be happy rather than eating 20 and being able to taste ONE of them.

Next week we’ll talk about your Weight Loss Influences (friends, family, etc.). Don’t worry, I’m tiring of the weight loss thing, so suffer through with me for a few more weeks!


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