Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Black Friday - 2008

This year was incredibly anti-climatic after the Cat Fight Christmas of last year. Mom and I went out at 3:30am again and waited in line, but we were inside Walmart, so it wasn't bad at all since we were inside this time. I left Mom to gather up two of a certain item while I went and waited for another item. While waiting, I wandered the store, talking to managers and finding out where items where that they had wrapped up in black plastic so we couldn't "peek". It was kind of dumb, especially when you just ask and they told ya anyway.

I got everything I went after, so that was good.

Seriously, it was a boring day, aside from the cramming of items into the van and wondering where we'd go next. I'd kinda hoped for another story like I had last year, but alas, none to be had.

The weekend was a whirlwind though. We arrived in Ft. Worth on Wednesday night. Thursday morning was cooking and baking and then to my aunt's for lunch. Thursday night, the girls and my cousin and her daughter and I went to the movies to see Twilight. I'd never gone to the movies on Thanksgiving night, but it was pretty neat. I'll post about Twilight later because I actually have things to say about that. Then Friday morning, Mom and I got up at the crack-ass of dawn and did the shopping thing until 4:30pm then went back to her house and died a little... I mean... recovered. Saturday morning was more shopping, I got a haircut, then Saturday night we had a mini-class reunion for some of us in the area, so I got the fabulous opportunity to reconnect with people from high school, including my partner in crime, Margaret -- who looks GORGEOUS -- as well as Danny, who took me to my senior prom 20+ years ago. He still looks gorgeous too. I love surrounding myself with gorgeous people. If I could get my laptop to acknowledge my photo card, I'd post pictures, but alas. The beautiful chick up there in the photo is Margaret with me, taken with her camera because HER card/laptop still work!

Then Sunday morning, it was up for church, then lunch, then the horrible drive home. Our 2 hour drive took 5 hours with traffic down the parking lot known as I-35. Then I had to go further to take Shandie back to San Marcos, so I ended up back here at 12:30am Monday morning.

So although there was nothing exceedingly dramatic over the long holiday weekend, it still left me exhausted! And this could be, hands down, the most boring blog post I've EVER written.

I promise to do something way more exciting in the very near future. Well, as exciting as I ever get.

I hope your Thanksgiving was filled with family and fun and the making of fabulous new memories.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Happy Boo to You!

Yup, it's another Halloween here in God's Spit, Tx. This year, for the first time in several years, I got fully into the holiday spirit and went all out with decorations and costumes (for the kids! Not me!) We had a lot of fun and created a lot of new memories.

Cooper's first pumpkin! Designed by Dudeface, cut by Mom.

Syd Vicious and her first pumpkin and her first design!

Carly being particuarly disgusting, insighting screams from Syd and Cooper. (No, she didn't really eat it!)

THE FINAL RESULT! Plus my rockin' cool witch!

TADA! The Queen of Hearts, The Mad Hatter, and the Walking Dead Seven Year Old.

Hope you and your family made a thousand great memories this Halloween, and you all got a load of CHOCOLATE! I mean, isn't that what Halloween is for?
Happy Halloween '08!

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Another Year Older, but None the More Wiser

So after midnight, to ring in my birthday this morning, I listened to Big and Rich's Lost in this Moment for the first time in months.

I didn't cry.

Then I listened to Edwin McCain's I'll Be.

And I did.

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

For Riley

For the last few months, I've been suffering huge, disgusting bouts of insomnia, and for those who know me, that's rare. Just my condition alone requires tons of rest, then mix in my cocktail of medication and I should pass out rather quickly. Yet... here I am.

I spoke with one of my very dear friends tonight (shout out to Ang!) and she mentioned trying to blog more often, and to capture one humorous part of her day and write about it. I found it a neat concept. I've often whined on here that I'm not sure what to write, but I know I need to be, so I thought of her idea, and yet nothing funny came to mind.

Tons of other stuff did though.

Friday morning I lost a very good friend of mine. Her name was Riley. She was a tiny little puppy in this huge cage at the pound, shivering against the wall. I never knew why they had her isolated. She wasn't the dog I went to see. She was maybe 10 weeks old. But I asked to see her, and when we got out to the "play yard", she came alive, running and bouncing, and when she wagged her tail, her entire body wagged right along.

We already had Samson back then, who was a Newfoundland mix, so HUGE. I'd been looking for him a playmate, and had wanted something large enough to handle his playing. Instead, I found this little redhead with golden-green eyes and this goofy under-bite that made her grin like the Grinch.

About two weeks later, I heard about big puppies at the store here in town and went to see, since they were the kind of breed I'd originally searched for. And being me, I took one home, and named her Delilah, to go with Samson. However, having two new puppies, four kids, and the slew of other animals at the time proved to be too much for me and for the longest time, Delilah and Riley were simply outside farm dogs. Samson couldn't be contained (we tried everything in the book) so we rehomed him for fear of him being hit. We live on a highway.

Last summer, after about two months of having Delilah, she died from a snakebite, but I barely knew her, hadn't really interacted much with her, and since it was summer, the kids and I were at my parents anyway.

So even with Samson rehomed and Delilah now dead, Riley was still this outside dog, seen once a day for food and water, and her entire body wagging with unbridled delight to be petted. My guilt knows no bounds.

I'm not sure what triggered it, but the last three months, Riley was integrated into the family fulltime. Inside dog. She wasn't very playful in general because of lack of interaction but she was protective to a fault, and her favorite activity became the morning school run to take the kids to school. Todd, the chihuahua, bounced between me and Carly in the front while Riley maintained one of the middle captain's chairs, Sydney being made to ride in the back because Riley had her post to maintain. And maintain it, she did. Anyone walking by our van would result in this low growl, and those intense gold-green cat-eyes of hers were beyond focused until the PTA Moms were no longer considered a threat. Every. Single. Morning. it cracked us up to no end.

Friday morning, I got up for the usual, and the first thing I do is put Todd and Riley outside. But I couldn't find Ri. Then I heard it. This horrible keening sound. I found Brian and told him. He went out and found Riley in the ditch... hit. He drove the truck down the driveway with her in the back and covered her with a blanket. I took the kids to school with just Todd, Carly just instinctively knowing... Cooper and Sydney still too sleepy to notice. And by the time I made the 15 minute round trip, Riley had died. She was in the back of the truck, covered in a navy fleece blanket, and I undercovered her, and her golden-green eyes still shined, and her under-bite held her infamous grin, forever staying just like that. I petted her, I kissed her head, and I thanked her for loving us. And for some odd reason, just last week, Carly captured this wonderful picture of her grinning and those cat-eyes. In all the time we had her, a photo was JUST taken that truly grabbed her personality. Such odd timing.

I walked into my house and didn't think about it. The amount of animals we've lost since living out here is astounding. I had a PEACOCK hit by an 18-wheeler. Who DOES that? Who lives in a place like that? Me.

My only consolation when it comes to Riley's life was that at the end, she was a very vital part of our family and not just the country dog living in the backyard. But damn if I can do the morning school run and not still listen for the growl from the backseat as mothers pass our van.

It's 3:10am and pouring down rain, a pretty decent Texas thunderstorm, and tonight is the first night I've cried for Riley. Maybe I had to wait for God to cry with me.

I haven't posted this because of some issues in my life. If you look at recent postings, they're all generic. I've lately discovered that evil truly lies in the oddest of places and the most unsuspecting of persons, and I have no doubt that some out there would take this pain my family is suffering and joke about it, and make light of it, or even say we deserved it, so I hadn't posted like I should about personal stuff just to try to keep them out of my life, and then I realized that I'm giving them way more importance over me than they deserve. And they know who they are. They are the ones dead to me.

Riley will forever live on.

I miss you, Ri. You were my friend, my guardian and protector, and the one with the grin that always made me laugh when I was quite sure I'd never laugh again, and for that, I will forever be thankful. I hope you died knowing you were loved, because you were. Hugely.

Monday, October 06, 2008

So What

This is the song I'm loving right now. LOVE the message, especially in how it fits in my own life. First few lines aren't fitting because it's not my "legal roommate" it reminds me of, so I took that part out. It still applies if another word was used, but alas...


This song empowers. Energy. Attitude. LOVE it.

So What by Pink

Na Na Na Na Na Na Na
Na Na Na Na Na Na
Na Na Na Na Na Na Na
Na Na Na Na Na Na

So so what?
I'm still a rock star
I got my rock moves
And i don't need you
And guess what
I'm having more fun
And now that we're done
I'm gonna show you tonight
I'm alright, I'm just fine
And you're a tool
So so what?
I am a rock star
I got my rock moves
And i don't want you tonight

You weren't there
You never were
You weren't all
But thats not fair
I gave you life
I gave my all
You weren't there
You let me fall

So so what?
I'm still a rock star
I got my rock moves
And i don't need you
And guess what
I'm having more fun
And now that we're done (we're done)
I'm gonna show you tonight
I'm alright(I'm alright),I'm just fine (I'm just fine)
And you're a tool
So so what?
I am a rock star
I got my rock moves
And i don't want you tonight

No No, No No
I Don't want you tonight
You weren't there
I'm gonna show you tonight
I'm alright, I'm just fine
And you're a tool
So so what?
I am a rock star
I got my rock moves
And i don't want you tonight

Ba da da da da da

Saturday, September 27, 2008


Seems hardly fair that 23,000 keystrokes only equate to 4,300 words. But hey, just the way it is, I guess.

And better yet, those 4,300 words are GOOD ones. Man, I forgot what a rush this is, watching it come to life on the page and knowing I did that.


Saturday, September 20, 2008

Talk about TMI...

Okay, so I'm blog-hopping today, which I haven't done in a really, really long time, but since I'm forcing myself to write a minimal number of pages a day, I figured I'd see what all was going on in rest of the writing world (it's amazing how left out you feel if you miss Nationals, I tell ya.)

So I stumble across The Lipstick Chronicles and thought, "Cute name" and clicked on it. Then I got to reading.

Let's note the time: 4am Central. So I'm already in that kind of slap-happy state as it is, and this post had me DYING. Read it, but don't say I didn't warn you!

Tuesday, September 02, 2008


Yeah, I know, another book review. Yeehaw, right? Sorry! Deal with it!

Lisa Gardner holds a special place in my heart. She was one of the keynote speakers at my very first conference back in 2004, right here in a good ol' Dallas. Although we get a crapload of free books at Nationals (this year blew for me, since I had to miss San Fran), we get the recent books for the keynotes on our chairs at the meal. Lisa was funny and SWEET. Keyword there: SWEET! Because afterward, I read the novel that had been on my chair: THE PERFECT HUSBAND. And as she addressed in her keynote that day, I then knew why she always got asked, "How does a sweet girl like you write such dark novels?" And I was hooked.

And don't tell her, but I happen to know she has issues with Freecell.

SAY GOODBYE is by far her one of her darker novels, and although her notes in the book say she thinks it the darkest, I don't think it is. I don't know why... but (shrug)...I digress. I do believe it's one of her best and that says a lot. It IS dark, it IS gory, it IS suspenseful.

I think a lot of times, guys get suckered into thinking only other guys, like King or Koontz or Patterson, can write something that would thrill them in print. I always recommend Lisa, because she's right up there with them. So, embrace the new age, boys, and pick up and let me know what you think, k?

SAY GOODBYE by Lisa Gardner

Come into my parlor...
For Kimberly Quincy, FBI Special Agent, it all starts with a pregnant hooker. The story Delilah Rose tells Kimberly about her johns is too horrifying to be true -- but prostitutes are disappearing, one by one, with no explanation, and no one but Kimberly seems to care.

Said the Spider to the Fly...
... she's close -- too close -- to a psychopath who makes women's nightmares come alive, and if he has his twisted way, it won't be long before it's time for Kimberly to

I left out part of the jacket cover teaser. It's up to you to find it and read it.

It's 7am and I have yet to sleep. Forgive any typos, as I'm sure I'll find tons after a decent nap. Due to my conditions, sleep is exceedingly difficult but on nights I can't take my medication, it's worse. I lay there in the dark, and my brain can't turn off. The constant shifting for my body issues, the constant sighing for my life issues. So I got up and I finished reading this book. Lisa has stayed up with me many nights. This night was no exception. And the mind wonders:
What if you knew it was time to say goodbye?

What would you do?
What would you fix?
What would you ignore?
Who would you cling to?

I have a feeling Life's Priorities suddenly slam into order, exceedingly quick and with blaring clarity. Sometimes I long for that moment, just to see how it all would lay out for me.

Damn curiousity anyway.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

The Dirty Secrets Club

Not everyone has a quote from Stephen King:
"The next suspense superstar."

By Meg Gardiner

An ongoing string of high-profile and very public muder-suicides has San Francisco even more rattled than a string of recent earthquates; A flamoyant fashion designer burns to death, clutching the body of his murdered lover. A superstar 49er jumps off the Golden Gate Bridge. And most shocking of all, a U.S. attorney launches her BMW off a highway overpass, killing herself and three others.

Rest of the jacket, you'll have to read for yourself. And I highly suggest you do. Although I wish a couple of the characters were more fleshed-out, the book held me captivated to discover the secrets of these characters who would rather kill themselves then have their dirty little secrets revealed into the glaring, unforgiving light. A couple of them I thought, "Um, okay, not worth killing oneself over, but hey... whatever works."

Then I thought about my life (as one is prone to do when reading a fascinating novel about secrets, the irony of the timing in my own life almost laughable) and found myself desperately boring. I don't have huge secrets. And the few I have, they're definitely not the kind I'd rather kill myself over, much less murder another prior to suicide.

And you? Do you have those truly dark, beyond conscious-forgiving secrets which could absolutely ruin your life as you know it, resulting in not only affecting you, but your CORE BEING: your family, your children, your entire world imploding if others found out, so great and disgusting that suicide is the only way you'd ever find inner-peace?

Like I said... fascinating read.

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

The Adultery Club by Tess Stimson

Without pause or exaggeration, this should be required reading for every adult on the planet, regardless of reading preferences, regardless of whether you're single, divorced or married.

Just... read it.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

A Mother's Brag

Being Mother's Day, I can't get over the idea that this is quite possibly the last Mother's Day that I know for sure Shan will be with me and not at college, or married with her own family some day.

This picture was taken last weekend for her prom, but it's also the photo I included in her graduation invitations. The beauty of her blinds me, knowing her soul and the funky mentality and wit she possesses is captured, the confidence she radiates, it's all in this photo and it leaves me speechless. My baby girl...

Shandie has been accepted to Texas State University, her SAT score of 1790, and graduating high school with thirty-three college credits already successfully completed. My pride knows no bounds.

I look at my other three kids, ages 14, 8 and 6 1/2, and I remember when Shan was that small, when The Class of 2008 seemed forever away, and yet in less than two weeks, my baby girl will no longer be mine, but simply Shandie, in all the wonder and splendor that she is.

So yeah, it's Mother's Day, technically MY day, but all I can think of is when I met a blood relative the very first time: Shandie Alexandra Fontenot.

The world is yours, baby girl. Rock it.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Happy Anniversary to a Glorious Addiction.

Of all the photos and cartoons on one of my favorite websites, I decided to use this one because like caffeine, Evil Editor is an absolutely wicked addiction.

And I'd have it no other way.

Today celebrates the 2nd anniversary of Evil Editor gracing the Internet and making it a better, if somewhat more sardonic, place. Sometimes I try to think of what my life was like without his presence but my brain just doesn't wrap around the idea. He's alpha and omega. He just... IS.

In celebration of this day, there is a party blog created by his many devoted minions. Please stop by and see why we bow in amazement at this man, and how overall awesome his entire community is. We are this incredibly odd-functioning family who love, need and depend on each other. It truly is a fantastic thing to be a part of, and I love it.

EE has the rare ability to place us on pedastals when we need it, then back to groveling at his feet when we need that too. He is encouragement, he is punishment and scathingly harsh, he is witty and sarcastic and a man who will forever have my loyalty. He gives without expectation. He strives to make us smarter, faster, to mold us into the writers he knows we have the potential of becoming. We have mourned deaths, celebrated successes and became brothers and sisters from the fatherhood he created two years ago today.

How do I put into words what this anonymous man means to Brenda though? I've never heard his voice. I've never seen his face. I don't know his nationality, his age, his history. There is not one personal thing I know about him save one thing:

I know his heart.

You humble me like no other.
You make me laugh through my tears.
You lift me up when I can no longer see the sky past my own fears and insecurities.

Most importantly, if I never get published, I will forever know there is a very wise man out there who truly believed in me, and that's a gift beyond comprehension and worth more than gold.

Happy Anniversary, Evil Editor. You truly are a god amongst men.

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

One Song

I drove down the road today, admittedly tired, so that may be why I was affected so, but I doubt it. A song came on, one that used to calm me, but now it just rips through my soul with an ache beyond words, the kind that makes you double over and wrap your arms around yourself, rocking back and forth in an effort to self-soothe. In one instant, in the beat of four notes of a song, and my good mood plummeted. That fast. That intense.

My fingers wrapped tighter around the steering wheel and my mind flashed to different times, to moments in my life when that song meant something else to me, to those memories that hurt and you try not to think about anymore. I have no idea why I didn't change the station. If I'd thought of it, I doubt I could. The bittersweet memories held me captive.

Breathing hitched, fighting off a panic attack I hadn't experienced in a long time, the road blurred as tears threatened to escape and I blinked and blinked and blinked, my eyes wide in an absolutely lost effort to keep tears from escaping. But one did... one fled from my inner eye and trailed down my face. I tilted my head to the side and the salty moisture lingered on my lip and I licked it back into me.

It didn't escape after all.

My mood hasn't lifted yet.

How was your day?

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Tired but... Unethical?

Granted, I don't know crap about cars, much less tires, so we're going to begin there with that little fact.

My daughter's car had a flat tire. For some ungodly reason, in the two years we've lived in this little town of God Spit, Tx, we have had a LOT of flat tires. Not sure what's up with that. I went to our one and only tire store to have it patched.

The owner comes in and tells me it needs to be replaced, that "steal is showing", but what do I want to do? I knew the car needed to be aligned - it's been pulling really badly. He gives me a rundown on tire prices plus alignment. "So around $175-$200." Um, okay. I mean, it's my daughter in this car. I don't want her to have a blow out or anything. I need her safe.

This was at 4:30 yesterday and they said they'd do it this morning. During the evening, I found out it's ILLEGAL to patch a tire if the steal is showing. Ooooh, I see. So which is it? Was the steal showing as he stated and they HAD to be replaced? Then why offer to patch it if it's ILLEGAL? I can't fathom an ethical place risking lawsuit and sanctions by doing that. Or, if it WAS patchable, why lie to me and tell me steal is showing? Either way, he's lied about something. Either way, this is a dinky town man screwing over a citizen by playing up their ignorance on the situation. Either way, it's WRONG.

I dropped the kids off this morning and rushed immediately over there to tell them to patch it and do nothing else because of the information I found out last night. Oh too late. It's already done. Of course. Oh, and, by the way, it's now $233. Whatever. Fine. I pay it. Shandie is to pick it up after school.

I come home this morning and I'm talking to people about it. I finally call this dinky place back and tell them to put my tires in the trunk because I want them ON HAND to show people what they did. They didn't seem too happy about it, but I really couldn't care less.

I called around and two shops in Temple are going to look at the tires and give me their opinions on it. Should be interesting.

Anyone else have anything like this happen to them? I'm pondering a letter to the editor in our Once a Week newspaper.

Friday, February 22, 2008


I have a theory, and I don't claim it as my original idea, because I'm sure I heard it from somewhere but I have no idea where that may have been: Life is too short to read a boring book.

I believe this 100% except for one small factor. Dr. Dickson, my biggest nightmare through two years of Advanced English, held the belief that you should give any book at least 100 pages before you made a judgement on it. I specifically remember which book we read at the time of him making this small declaration: LORD OF THE FLIES.

If you've read it, you do know, for a fact, that after the first 100 pages, that book gets quite um... interesting.

And being the ever hopeful one, I like to think that even if I can't stay awake in the first 50 pages, surely it will improve or it wouldn't have been published anyway. Then before I know it, in a quest to prove this book worthy of being read, I get past the Dr. Dickson required 100 pages and I just don't have that much left anyway so I trudge on through it.

But when your To Be Read list takes up approximately four shelves (and those shelves are a good five feet across and packed double layered and some on top of others - in other words CRAMMED full - I took it upon myself to ignore Dr. Dickson's 100 pages and if I couldn't get sucked into it, I'd give up after about 3 chapters (that's the writer in me - supposedly this book sold on proposal, so SOMEONE thought the first three chapters were good).

Another thing I can't do is read more than one book at a time. My brain can't seem to keep the characters of two unrelated books straight, so I have to do one a time. This is so extreme that during a judging contest, I have to stop reading for pleasure or it confuses me going from a judging 'script back to my pleasure reading.

Now, add that all up: I can't read more than one story at a time and I'm bound -- most times -- to finish one I've started. The first book I never finished was Terry Pratchett's THUD. I spent a month trying to slog through it while my TBR list sat and waited helplessly. I finally gave up. I wanted to like it really badly because a lot of people praised it like crazy, but alas, I just couldn't do it and I grew recentful because it kept me from the books I DID want to read.

I'm now on another book I just bought. I specifically bought it because it's written 1st person past tense and I'm looking into working on one of my 'scripts that's written the same way (my only one like that) which I hope to make into a series. I found this book and barely glanced at the pages, realized immediately it was a contemporary AND written first person. Rock on. When I got home, I then learned it was a series book too! ~GOLDEN~

Oh. My. God. Trudge. Trudge. Trudge. I'm dying here. I'm on day four and still, I'm barely making it through. I literally started falling asleep in the tub while reading. Uncool. Worst part yet, the author quotes on the cover are from goddesses in writing. If you take the premise (series) and the viewpoint (1st person past) and the quotes on the cover from some of my favorite authors, this should have been a freakin' goldmine in "reading my line" but as of right now, I don't see how I will ever get it finished.

Have you ever had a book like this? One you felt you needed to read, one that came with great quotes and recommendations and yet in the end, it was dryer than a marked up copy of Cliff Notes?

Talk about sleeping material and it was SO unintentional. I doubt if I ever meet this author she'd want to hear, "Whenever I had a hard time falling to sleep, I just picked up your book and started snoring after three pages." Ugh.

You have one of these? Please oh please say yes, even if you have to lie to me.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Hop Skip and a Cyber Jump

Life is filled with rituals, but I think my most tried and true is my morning online ritual while inhaling nicotine and guzzling caffeine. Those places I check in first thing every morning. I work through my "favorites" folder and go down the list, one at a time, doing my daily check for all the things out there in cyberland that make Brenda smile, or at least things that make me go "Hmmm".

I've been trying to find new places to add to my usuals, and of course, the easiest way is to blog hop. Then my morning checklist goes from that above to looking more like this:

(And I have no idea why when I upload an image here, it automatically puts it at the top and I have to go and copy all that flippin' code and cut it to where I had it originally destined to be placed. Grrr.)

So what does your morning ritual consist of and where are you favorite cyber spots? They may be places I'd love to visit too and who knows - may accidently bump into you there.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Expanding Horizons

I'm doing new things as a writer I've never done before. (And although I said I was going to blog daily and don't, ya gotta admit, I AM doing it exceedingly more often than I ever have, so any progress is good, right? Right!)

After a couple of years drastically out of the writing world, I'm slowly but surely making my way back.

I look for any excuse not to write, it seems, so for me to suddenly participate in writing challenges/exercises is something I pushed myself to do. There's no commitment to 250-300 words or to spend 20 minutes pushing my brain into new places and genres and thinking ideas. I've found it quite fun, especially to see if I can nail to the EXACT word count required. I've always felt that if I write, it has to be toward publication, toward a finished product, and never just for fun.

Another new thing I'm doing is participating in novel chats and book discussions (well I haven't yet, but will be).

I owe these new horizons to the God of All Things Sadistic and Brilliant. Thank you.

Friday, February 15, 2008

Love & Chocolate

I never know what to write for holidays like this, but at the same time, especially being a romance writer, I feel it's expected, like married sex on holidays and birthdays, even if you would really rather ignore it.

Evil Editor had a romance writing exercise, so I did that. I believe there were 23 scenes submitted, so if you need some reading material, scuttle on over there and read up.

I spent the evening with the heathens. The typical Italian meal, served on a white tablecloth with my red dishes, candles in red and white and pink, gifts on their Valentine's Day napkins atop the plates, helium balloons tied to their chairs. They loved it. Spoiled punks.

Then we spent the evening watching Pride and Prejudice.

There are many things that come to my mind on this holiday, and for those who are regular readers here, you already know how I feel about days created for forced appreciation, like this day, and Mother's Day, etc. Regardless of claims, expectations are set and often disappointed, and I'd rather be told what I mean to someone on a regular basis than on a day someone chose from the calendar.

So to keep from blathering on about this... holiday, this year in particular being difficult for me - I decided to list my favorite all time romantic movies (in no particular order):

Pride and Prejudice
Ever After
The Notebook
The Princess Bride
A Knight's Tale

I find it interesting that my favorites tend to be period films. Hmm. Maybe I was born in the wrong century. That would explain so much.

What are your favorite romance movies?

Oh, and a special thank you to Furry Sound for the Valentine heart I posted here. It was my only Valentine. So thank you, much. ~kiss~

Saturday, February 09, 2008

Bloggy thingies...

I want to do RSS feeds from my favorite blogs, but I have no idea how to do this. Surely someone here knows.

I did not call you Shirley, so don't even start with the jokes.

Also, as I mentioned, I cleaned out my blogroll of names of people I didn't even know and plan on putting new ones that I do read regularly. If you want yours listed, just drop a comment.

And to email me, it's brendabradshaw@gmail.com - I'm about to go into the template and see if I can find a way to put a link in there.

And life in general is aggravating me to epic porportions.

Sunday, February 03, 2008


I got this idea from my friend Kat's blog. 100 random things about me:

1) I don’t really like chocolate.
2) I collect Santas, quilts, baskets and oil lamps.
3) I want to be Jennifer Crusie when I grow up.
4) I think Evil Editor is rockin’ cool and I don’t even know who he is.
5) I think people watch too much tv.
6) I have a huge, huge phobia of snakes.
7) My first pet was a poodle named Pancake which was then ran over by a car. Bad name for a dog.
8) When I’m nervous, I rip at my toenails.
9) I took the time to explain to my mother that my screaming of “OH MY GOD” during labor was not taking God’s name in vain, since I was literally pleading.
10) That same birth, I ordered pizza afterward and my mother said I wouldn’t have craved that if I’d just seen what she had. I didn’t need to know that.
11) I like made up words, like “hork” and “extramarricular”. I claim the first. BAT gets the second.
12) I really, really love ghost hunter shows even though I don’t believe in ghosts.
13) One of my dreams is to travel around to the most haunted places just to see for myself.
14) I have a thing for plaid and checked fabrics.
15) I like puffy Cheetos but not the crunchy ones.
16) I read 3-4 novels a week.
17) I have a huge, huge fear of success.
18) I fight the label “lazy” in my own mind.
19) I innately believe in Happily Ever After, even if I never experience it for myself.
20) Rachel Ray’s voice grates on my nerves, but I still find myself watching her stuff if I come across it.
21) I have three tattoos.
22) I don’t think I could spend $500+ on shoes, even if I had the money to do so. But I could on a purse.
23) I love to people watch.
24) I can read people well, but I’m a horrible judge of character.
25) I understand the mentality of cutters.
26) John Edwards freaks me out.
27) I think I talked to my grandmother once when she was a butterfly.
28) Commando is the best way to go.
29) I want a fourth tattoo.
30) I got beaten up by a ski lift when I was 13 in Red River, Colorado.
31) I haven’t taken my younger two kids to the beach yet.
32) I can start novels but can’t seem to finish them (aside from one).
33) I can pass a lie detector when lying.
34) Today is February 3rd and I still have Christmas stuff out.
35) I’m in denial that I am old enough to have a child graduating high school this year.
36) I love fireplaces.
37) I love rainy days.
38) I believe that reverse discrimination is hugely ignored.
39) I love cold.
40) I am blessed with some truly good friends who I know will be friends for life.
41) I wish I could re-do from 9th grade to college.
42) I’m a lucid dreamer.
43) I want to stop smoking but I’m afraid of gaining weight and going through withdrawals.
44) I believe kissing is more intimate than intercourse.
45) There are moments in my life that I wish I could freeze forever.
46) My son has the longest eyelashes ever.
47) House is my favorite show on TV, followed by SVU. Only shows I purposefully watch.
48) DVR is a kickin’ invention.
49) I only like Hershey Kisses with almonds.
50) I love to bake, but don’t very often because I hate to clean up.
51) I refuse to buy generic toilet paper, peanut butter or sliced cheese.
52) A Knight’s Tale is the greatest movie ever.
53) Heath Ledger was the first death of someone I didn’t know which made me cry.
54) I want a basset hound and name him Casanova.
55) I don’t believe that sitting in a church pew will make or break your entry to heaven.
56) I think most attorneys get a bad rap on their reputations and jokes.
57) I could care less about Aggies vs. Longhorns.
58) I love all things vanilla. Candles, shampoo, lotion, food.
59) Basic things like toilet paper, deodorant, toothpaste, shampoo should be free. ‘Cause ew.
60) Gluttony is disgusting beyond words.
61) I innately believe in karma.
62) I love wildflowers.
63) Facial piercings make me want to grab it and rip it out of their face because it’s distracting when I’m trying to talk to them.
64) I hate white walls in houses.
65) I had a weird pseudo brain tumor thing in 92 that I never bothered to learn to spell.
66) Yankee Candles are the best candles ever.
67) I have cankles.
68) My brain doesn’t wrap around 900 channels and nothing but crap on tv.
69) My parents were the best parents kids could hope for.
70) Amish people have the right idea.
71) I voted for Ross Perot twice.
72) I adore George Bush and his family.
73) Right now, at this moment, I understand why some animals end up eating their young.
74) I sleep with four feather pillows.
75) If a doctor’s office charges you for missing an appointment, we should charge them per minute we have to wait past our appointment time sitting in the waiting room.
76) Dentists are sadists.
77) I wish Fred Thompson had made a serious run for President.
78) I cannot sleep without a heavy blanket on me, even in the summer. The weight of a sheet, or nothing at all, and I wake up.
79) I want to own a bottle of My Insolence. It smells great and the name is awesome.
80) I do not believe in abortion unless it’s from a crime or the mother’s health is in jeopardy, and even then, I’m iffy.
81) Ron White is a riot.
82) I drink Diet Coke just for the taste of it.
83) I’ve met over 400 people from the Internet.
84) Arch angels have just got to be the baddest of the bad.
85) I refuse to use the motorized scooters in Walmart and instead use the wheelchair if I need to. I hate the BEEP BEEP of backing up. Stick a WIDE-LOAD sign on it and make it more obnoxious, k?
86) I LOVE LUCY is a timeless sitcom. I really want to own all the seasons on DVD.
87) I hate floral scents.
88) I love the word serendipity. The sound of it, the definition of it. Even the movie.
89) My favorite mixed drink is Long Island Iced Tea.
90) Jared from the Subway commercials? Yeah… wanna kick him in the teeth.
91) I hate chat/text speak and refuse to use it.
92) I want to go on a cruise.
93) I don’t CARE if Ryan Seacrest is gay or not.
94) No, I’m not related to Terry Bradshaw. No, I’m not related to Carrie Bradshaw. By the way, Carrie Bradshaw is a fictional character. Hello…?
95) Music drastically affects my moods.
96) I had a gum transplant in 1988 and I’m going to have to have another one. Ouch.
97) I think it’s funny the Patriots went all year undefeated but then lost the Super Bowl tonight. (No, I didn’t watch it.)
98) I answer to the name Lira as easily as I do the name Brenda.
99) I wish I’d retained more of the French I learned in high school.
100) I find it intriguing you just sat there and read 99 random odd tidbits of my thoughts.

Saturday, February 02, 2008

A Little Too Much of a Good Thing

Have you ever had a moment when you realize your romantic tendencies have gone too far? Have you ever read in a book where it says something like, "This was real life, not a romance novel" even though, obviously, it WAS in a book? When you hear the phrase "romantic at heart", do you raise your hand and pretend you're not such a romantic that you had an episode of insanity you craved so badly to be real but it wasn't, and you mutter to yourself, "This is real life, not a romance novel"?

Once upon a time, after awhile of internal struggles and personal chaos, I wrote an email, a "Dear John" letter, if you will. I poured myself into it, every ounce of emotion, every drop of despair, every thought that spewed out of me and onto the page. And I stared before hitting send, because that's your "can't turn back" moment, after all, and I read and re-read and questioned and questioned, but in the end, I sent it. And waited. It sounds so horrible to do it via email, but given the mileage between us in that long distance relationship, there really wasn't another option, at least, I felt I'd ran out of them. But I'm a silly girl, right? Err.. WAS a silly girl. When this happened. Anyway...

I'd ended the email with "If you want to discuss this, find me, otherwise I'll assume you agree this isn't what either of us wanted" (paraphrased, of course) and waited to see if I heard a word. And waited. And waited. And finally, with the hours of silent confirmation, I came to the conclusion that he agreed with me. The bandage had been ripped.

Four hours later I left to run an errand. On the windshield was a small piece of paper. Nothing on it. But it was under the blade and I couldn't figure out why or how or anything like that. Then, as I drove down the highway, I passed this truck that looked incredibly familiar and I noted the time: time for him to drive to me to make that effort to show me, prove to me, erase all questions, to snag just one night of precious time when we could, when I felt so lost, so alone, so in doubt. And it explained why I hadn't heard a word. It made *sense*. As I passed the truck on the highway, in my rearview mirror, I saw the brake lights come on. I convinced myself that my brain was wanting it to be something it wasn't. I made myself keep driving to the store.

Of course, I mentally turned it every which way, inside and out, one minute convinced it was him, the next berating myself for being so foolish. On the way home, back down the highway, I passed a black truck and I couldn't see the driver's face, but his hand was stretched passed the steering wheel, and I swear I'm not making this up, his finger was doing that circle motion like "turn around". I blinked. I'm going 50 mph but holy crap, why did I see that? I drove on to my house, up my driveway, and forced myself into the house.

And thought and thought, sitting there. Was it serendipity like when we first met? This was exactly like a novel I might read, one I'd write, that moment when she's convinced it's over and he's literally chasing around a town trying to find her for that huge lovely moment we just flipped through 400 pages to find.


Guess what?

It really is just a novel. It really is just in a chick flick. I had really read one too many Happily Ever Afters.

Have you ever had a moment that felt it was right out of a novel? If so, please share it so I don't feel like Kathleen Turner in Romancing the Stone. She didn't age well. I don't want that same fate, k? Thanks in advance.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Court is now in Session

Uh huh. Pardon me while I yawn.

For those following the Day in the Life of Cameron Tales, today was the day I was summoned to court. Note just me. Why Cooper's father wasn't listed not only floors me, but he seemed slightly offended by it as well, until he realized I'd be the one in jail for going off on the judge and he could dance along his merry way.

I was scheduled to appear at 9am and in an unusual display of all things odd, I showed up early. There were five other people waiting to be seen, and then I saw the principal waltz in as well. I have a history with this principal from back in the days when Syd went whacko in Kindergarten, and once again, my gaydar dinged so loudly I was convinced others had to have heard it. If they did, they also bit back squeals of laughter as I did, because no one moved. Finally, we were told we could go in. Yippee.

I, of course, showed up in a sweatsuit, no bra (hey now, my jacket was zipped!) and black house slippers. No make-up. I'm 99% sure I didn't bother to brush my hair, although I did take pity on others with my teeth. It was the principle of the matter. Normally, that's what I'd be wearing to deal with house stuff all day, cleaning and laundry and all that jazz, and I'd be damned if I was going out of my way to change my routine for something so inately stupid.

I sat on the front row, smack dab across from the judge. Takes a lot to intimidate me, and he wasn't going to be one who did it. We were then told we were all there on the charge of "Parenting contributing to the nonattendence of a student."

Took everything in me not to stand up and scream, "My FOUR children don't even have to grace your schools ever again. I have the right to HOMESCHOOL them and then guess what? You LOSE those government funds sent to you per student per day they attend!" (Because that's really, really what this is all about, and we all know it.) But I was good and just stared right back at him and decided to not tell him that I'd bill him for the time he was wasting in my day. I had a nap scheduled. I was running late for it now.

They called roll to see who all was there. Lots were missing. He got to "Brenda Bradshaw" and like a good little girl, I raised my hand and said, "Here!" Then the judge, perched way up high on his little throne to look down upon the masses, spoke directly to me for the first time, even though I hadn't been called for my testimony yet. Gulp.

He peered at me and said, "When did the constable serve you?"

Well! Now that you ASKED! "He served me night before last, Monday night, even though this paper states he had the form for a full two weeks before he decided to grace me with his presence."

The judge nodded and made a note. I think the Constable may be getting a spanking, and it explains why so many others hadn't shown up. Said Constable must not be taking his elected job very seriously. Given my experience thus far, I can't really blame him.

The first parents were called up and had to go and sit in the defendents' table. Interesting. I felt like a hillbilly version of Law and Order. The judge read them their rights, told them that if they signed this form, they agreed to waive said rights and they should check the plea they wanted to enter: guilt, no contest, or not guilty.

This is where it got good. I feared I may been the only one to raise a bit of angst, but nooo. The first set of parents (note that BOTH of the parents were on THEIR form, unlike mine) beat me to it, and it took all I had me not to stand and applaud them. They said they were entering not guilty, and requested a trial. Woot! The judge stared. The principal (seated at the table for the state) had his jaw drop to the floor. I had to bite back giggles in the biggest way. Then the guy said: Is it trial by judge or jury? The judge said: Whichever you decided. The guy looked at the judge and said: Oh, definitely by jury.

Oh SLAM! Judge said: I'll send you the paperwork with it scheduled. You're done.

That man and his wife left. What a way to start the day! Hee!!

I was second to last. I got called and sat at the table and Brian sat down next to me (and everytime he sat down with me, he made sure to put a chair between us. Smart man.) The clerk brought me over the papers to sign (everything between the first guy and me had plead guilty - no way in God's green earth was I about to do THAT). I said, "Um, I have a few questions first."

Brian muttered, "Oh God, here we go."

I can't really blame him. Most know my attitude for the stuipd and ignorant and lack of common sense. I have very, very little patience, but I DO start out nice. Promise. I just go from Nice to Verbal Castration at the speed of light should the situation arise. I have at least two people who already told me they had bail money ready, and I had them on speed dial on the cell should I need it.

Judge said, "Go ahead."

Me: "One of his absences was 11/5/07, although he was there for part of the day, and still there at 10:30, so legally he was counted as there. However, we have the dental note stating he had proceedures done on that day. The two days after that date, the 6th and 7th, are two of the days in question as being unexcused."

Judge nodded, having the note in front of him.

I said, "I realize NOW that it has to be in writing, however, on the morning of the 6th, I walked in my son and my 7 yr old daughter and hand delivered the dental notes. Cooper was still dressed in PJs and I had him wrapped in a quilt. I sat him on the desk and the receptionists were all doting on him as he showed them the work done. I told them his mouth was sore from it all, and that I'd be keeping him home for the next couple of days."

Not only was the judge nodding, but so was Gaydar Principal. He'd been in there that morning. He remembered it.

I said, "In my world, I've expressed, as his parent, that he would be absent and the medical reason behind it. If it was an issue, one of the receptionists should have said, 'Here, jot me a note real fast for his folder', but she didn't do that, so I had no reason to believe there was an issue which would later land me in court. I'm requesting those that two days be reversed from unexcused to excused due to the circumstances."

Judge agreed. By law, by the State of Texas, he can do that. He had the school note the change. The school, however, has the right to still view it as four (not now two) unexcused absences. He asked the school if there had been any since, and Principal said, "No." Duh.

Another incident involved a note I DID sent with Cooper after an absence that the teacher never received. I'd sent that thing back with Cooper for DAYS, yet every afternoon, it was still there when I checked his folder. I told the judge that if I, as his parent, am expected to check that folder everyday for notes from his teacher, then that teacher should have the same expectation of her. That was our form of communication and I had the expectation that it worked both way. Judge agreed again. I got to stay nice, which was a little disappointing because I do so love a good verbal castration, but since he has Striped Prison Wear on his side, I guess I shouldn't press my luck.

I expressed my concern over all absences. Cooper missed 3 1/2 days last week during the Epilepy stuff, and I told the judge he'd be out Thursday of this week for pre-op and next Tuesday for his MRI, and of course, I'd have a note. He said that would be fine. I swear, he seemed as bored with it all as I was.

We still had "sanctions" levied on us. If Cooper has anymore unexcused absences, we'll be fined $187. I said not to worry: Since my verbal word wasn't good enough, and since notes sent with Cooper were often overlooked, I'd start sending the notes via mail, with delivery confirmation and signed return receipt required.

The judge smirked, I winked, and got up and left.

As I was leaving, the prosecution's table of the Truancy Officer of the district leaned over and whispered, "Hey, did you film the Constable serving you like you said you would? I want to watch it!"

I laughed and said, "No, I couldn't find my battery."

She seemed disappointed.

Apparently she hates the anti-climatic as much as I.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Ummmmmmmm Plucky Plucky

Growing out eyebrows is almost as painful as growing out a bad hair cut.

Just sayin'.

(Note that it may not be a thrilling topic, but I AM blogging regularly again!)

Go tweezers?

Monday, January 28, 2008

You just can't make up this kind of crap...

For those long-time readers of my blog, I'm sure this will come as no surprise when I tell this particular little story, but even for someone like me, who lives in this town day after day just shy of two years, I'm continually amazed and equally appalled by the latest development of Living in the Town Called Cameron.

There is a Texas law that states that children may not have more than three UNexcused absences. Okay. Easy enough. But when I take my child in, who just had some major dental work, and set him on the office desk wrapped in a quilt while he shows off his work and tell the women in that office that I'm going to be keeping him home the next couple of days due to the pain, in MY little brain, that's excused. I'm informing the school that he won't be there, and the medical reason why.

So explain to me why I'm summoned, served court papers in my home, to show up in court for "Parent Contributing to Nonattendance". And, shocker of shocks, this is just toward me, my son's father not remotely named. Why? Not sure, but I plan to find out.

I understand the need for this particular law. I really do. Shandie drives herself t school with a vehicle her guardians provided for her. If she then uses that car to ditch school, I happily and readily agree that I'm at fault. But this was summoned for COOPER. He is SIX. If a six year old isn't in school, I betcha he's with his PARENT. (In this case, a parent who did, indeed, notify the school of his absences, but apparently it wasn't WRITTEN DOWN to be placed in his PERMANENT FOLDER. Pardon ME.)

Ohhhhhhhh I don't know. Maybe when I sat him there in the office explaining his dental work and that he wouldn't be in school the next couple of days, the secretaries could have said, "Here. Jot down a note for us to put in his folder." Instead, they nod and give him hugs and wish him well and I think all is fine until two months later when, at 6pm on a January night, a constable knocks on my door.

There comes a point when common sense has GOT to dance hand in hand with the law. Pile this lame, incredible waste of my time and tax payers' money to the load we've carried the last week or so with my Lupus scare and Cooper's Epilepsy, and all I could do was laugh in the constable's face. I said: When is this because if it's on the day he's scheduled for his MRI I won't be gracing your little courthouse.

He said: Oh... judge wouldn't like that.

Oh pardon me AGAIN while I attempt to CARE.

Crap... nope, didn't work. Can't summon up an ounce. SUMMON! HA! I'm so flippin' funny.

So Wednesday morning, 9am, I shall be at the courthouse (Cooper has pre-op for his MRI on THURSDAY morning - judge got flippin' lucky on this one.) I promise to update you as soon as possible. If there's a fine attached to this, guess who will not pay it on general principle. Yup. Me. Many people thought I'd be an attorney growing up because of tenacious ways and word usage, but I know me, and my attitude, and I know I'd be in contempt alllllllllllll the time. Considering I plan on letting this judge know exactly what I think about all of this, we'll be lucky if my happy little ass doesn't end up in jail now. Maybe they'll have internet access.

I've kept my rant to a minimum and my cussing reigned in. Mom sometimes reads this, and she hates when I get that way. You're welcome in advance, Mom.

I've already got my call into my Attorney Extraordinaire, JBM. Maybe he'll have huge words of wisdom. One can hope.

I look really bad in stripes.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Shake Rattle and Roll

The title of this is hugely inappropriate but given how he's handling it, with his usual nonchalance and Super Cooper ways, I decided to use it anyway.

There are times when you do things you'd never, EVER dream of doing. I had one of those moments last night. I had my little six year old dude on my lap, absorbing his little boy giggles and the best hugs and whispers in the world, and teaching him to say a new word:


Cooper received this diagnosis yesterday and twenty-four hours later, my heart is still attempting to deal with it. It stems from head trauma and a van door over two years ago, recently rearing up in our world with little seizures that don't seem to phase him but freak me out beyond words. He's got a fabulous physician, hates the taste of his medication, but thinks the idea of Med-Alert dogtags sounds uber-cool. In the grand scheme of things, we're still very lucky, and I know this, and I accept this, but the blood that courses through my veins wants nothing more than to make this all go away, and let him be just a normal little dude who doesn't have to worry about a thing in the world, much less how to pronounce Ep-i-lep-sy.

Shake, rattle and roll, dude face. Momma's got your back.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Click it! Click it GOOD!

At the top of this blog is a little tab that says NEXT BLOG. Click it. It's quite neat to see where all it takes you. Several years ago, this was how I found John who ended up designing my fabulous website, so you never know who all you may find that will influence your life later on.

I did this tonight for the first time in YEARS. The very first one had these great shots of her dog and really funny captions, and like a total twit, I didn't save the link to share it here. I did leave a comment for her, so maybe she'll visit here and you all can see her cute dog and her creative camera angles.

Anyway, try it. It's kinda neat.

On another note: I've updated my blog roll. I had people listed over there and I have no idea who they are. Sorry, but it's gone now. As you can see, the only one really there is EE, my personal editing god because he's the only one I read faithfully right now. I have a few personal friends I'm going to list (non-writing) here in the next day or so, but if you frequent this blog and want to be listed, just give me a hollar and I promise to add you.

On another note: I'm trying to be more creative, so one of the things I want to try is daily blogging on whatever comes to mind. Could be from the kids, the news, whatever. Hope you drop in more often if I do this. I miss my commentors!

On yet another note: I'll update Christmas tomorrow and how it all went down, and get you all caught up on what's happening in my world thus far in 2008. It's not so great right now with the Super Cooper Dude.

On a final note: I'm noted out... g'night.