The Time I Got Called The “C” Word

Since I began blogging last March I have met a lot of wonderful people.  Talented and versatile writers posting about their experiences.

 Unfortunately, a recurring theme seems to be accounts of relationships with psychopath partners who should be behind bars.  

Some very scary individuals like blogger Aussa’s psychotic “ass-hat of an ex” we would all like to “make disappear”.  Or Molly’s “Cocaine Boy” who stalked her and got her fired.

Some accounts are told with humor while others with a very serious and dire tone.  Regardless of how they are told, the common theme is:


These posts have reminded me of an experience I had many years ago.

I had broken up with my boyfriend and wanted to date other guys.  After all, working downtown Boston was the prime place to meet new people. I lived at home (with my parents) about 45 minutes away by train from downtown and commuted every day.

I met him at my train stop.  He lived in the same town and was a fellow commuter.  He looked handsome in a suit even though he was not really my type.  He was a bit shy yet had a cockiness about him.

He sat next to me on the train and we began to learn about each other.  He also lived at home and worked in securities for a Boston firm.  A graduate of Babson College with a business degree, living with his mother after his parents divorced. 

There was something about him.  Completely opposite of my ex boyfriend.  This guy seemed mysterious and had a “bad-boy” appeal to him that intrigued me.  He drove a sports car, smoked pot and was edgy.

Before agreeing to date him, I warned him that I had recently broken up with my boyfriend and that I did not want anything serious.  

Michael’s obsession with me did not take long to surface.  At a Boston nightclub he almost got into a fight with a guy who commented on my braces (which I had gotten after college.) He had also began telling me what outfits he liked on me and which ones I should not wear.

One day while dropping me off at my house after our date, I noticed that my ex’s car was parked in front of my house.  My ex had made it clear that he was not going to give up on us and continued to call me and visit while I dated Michael.  I still loved  him but after our six-year relationship, I was excited to meet other guys.

Michael, after I told him that my boyfriend was in the driveway, immediately got out of the car and was ready to “smash my ex boyfriend’s head in” .  I somehow managed to stop him and no one got hurt.  

For reasons I still don’t understand, I continued to go out with Michael.  I was attracted to the thrill and challenge of being with Michael.   Regardless of the fact that he tried to force me to do drugs with him while at his mother’s home,  he drove recklessly wherever we went and needed to know where I was at all times.

A mutual friend who attended Babson with Michael warned me that he was bad news. 

I knew better.  I was an educated young woman.  I was self assured and had a healthy self esteem. Why did I stay with him?

Then, he asked me to marry him.

This scared me more than anything.  It was such a desperate attempt at “having me” to himself and controlling my every move.  I finally woke up.  I knew I had to break it off with Michael ASAP.

After telling him we needed to talk, he picked me up in his car and we headed to a restaurant.  While in the car I began to explain to him that me dating him was a mistake and that I thought it was best to end it.

As I turned to look at him I could see his face tensing up.  His foot pounded the gas pedal and he began yelling at me.  With burning fury in his eyes, he said it.  He called me that 4 letter “C” word that no woman ever wants to hear.

He then leaned over me and opened the passenger door and demanded I get out of the car while continuing to drive erratically and calling me names.

I begged him to stop.  We were near my cousin’s house and I ordered him to drop me off at her house.  It was as if he had suddenly woken up from a trance and had no idea what had happened.  He continued driving, calmly this time and dropped me off at my cousin’s house.  

Had this just happened to me?  What if he hadn’t settled down?

Michael is now dead.  

I found out by google searching him one day.  It doesn’t say how he died but I can only imagine.  He had tried contacting me and my parents after I had broken it off to find out where I was and where I lived.

This was 26 years ago but I remember it like it was yesterday.  I know I am one of the lucky ones who was able to escape unharmed.  I know many victims have endured way more than what happened to me.

There is no excusing this abuse and violence.  As a society we have a huge problem in our hands that needs to be better addressed.

But what continues to disturb me is why I didn’t listen my internal alarms as well as external warnings.  Yes I was young, but I knew better.

Why against our better judgement do we sometimes still choose to play with fire?

*Here is an interesting article about “bad boys”.

Más Español (Spanish Lesson Numero Dos) – How to Get Published

Apúrate, Apúrate!

My Spanish class is filling up quicker than my Depends pad – which means it’s overflowing with students chomping at the bits to enroll in this one of a kind state of the art educational and entertaining program.

This is why I have extended the enrollment period and added 500 new slots.  As per the high demand, I wanted to make sure I don’t leave any of you out from experiencing this unique set of lessons.

Here is another preview of the type of pertinent information you will learn to say, en Español .

How to plug your book to an agent

1.  At a Writer’s Conference:  Hola agente, no pierda su tiempo con estas personas inútiles, yo soy la mejor autora aquí’, duh. = Hello agent, don’t waste your time with these useless people; I am the best author here, duh.

2.  While giving your pitch:  Tengo espinaca entre mis dientes?  = Do I have spinach stuck in my teeth?

3.  Mire que lindo es el papel que yo usé para escribir mi manuscrito, me dará puntos por eso?  = Look at this pretty paper I used for my manuscript, do I get points for that?

4.  El género literario de mi libro es una combinación de erotica mezclada con ciencia ficción con un poco de poesía e misterio y autobiografía.  Si no le gusta, vayase p’al carajo = My book genre is a combination of erotica mixed in with science-fiction with a tad of poetry, mystery and autobiography.  If you don’t like it, go to hell.

Bonus Random Lesson:

Justin Bieber, que tipo de producto de pelo tu usas?  Justin Beiber, what type of hair product do you use?

Stay tuned for Lección Número:

Is It Wrong That I Love Chubby?


image by google

Kids – that is.

There is nothing yummier than layers upon layers of baby rolls and folds and dimples and crevices and roly-poly bellies and plump thighs and rotund cheeks and quadruple tubby chins.  Utterly, edible.



It’s an obsession I have had since I was a young skinny lass.  My family knows too well that if there is a young chubbo in the room, I am a goner.  They roll their eyes and say, “Here we go…a chubby baby”.

I cannot help myself.  My legs go weak and buckle, my eyes go bug-eye, my tongue dangles lifeless over my chin, I gasp for air, my voice goes up 130 decibels…well, I think you get the picture now.

Moms hold your chubby babies tight when I’m around

They are just so damn irressistable.

Take a look at this chubster.  Who needs a bidet anyway?


image by google

It’s not just chubby babies that I adore.  I will also kill for chubby toddlers.  They are everything adorable chubby babies are except for now, those rolls, folds & crevice-infested beings, move around and talk!  Me muero!

Imagine my surprise and delight when a little super chubby 4/5 year old boy approaches me at Target yesterday.  I almost peed a lot a little.  Except that this precious ball of chubbiness was alone and he was crying!

I scrouched down to his level and asked him what was wrong.

Tub-tub:  I can’t find my family (whimper, whimper).

Me:  (holding back the urge to squeeze him) Oh, honey it’s ok, I’ll help you find your family.  Don’t you worry.

Tub-tub:  Maybe they went to the mall without me (whimper, sniff, whimper).

Me: Oh no honey, I am sure they are looking for you right now.  I know that your mommy and daddy told you not to talk to or go with strangers so I am not going to hold your hand (even though I want to stuff you in my cart and take you home) but I want you to hold the cart and we will go together to the customer service desk to find your family.

Tub-tub:  What if they went to get food without me? (sob..sob..sniff)

Me:  Oh no, they wouldn’t get food without you.  What’s your name sweetie?

Tub-tub:  Oscar.

Me:  Ok Oscar, we are going to have the store call your mommy over the loud speaker so that she knows where to come get you.  Is that alright (you bundle of irresistible toddler lard, you?)

Oscar and I sit on a bench by the desk waiting for the mama to get paged

Target Lady:  Will Shelley please report to the courtesy desk, Shelley.

I spot a “Shelley” and an older brother running towards us pushing their cart.

Shelley:  Oh honey,  you knew just where to go so that I would find you!

Me:  Ehh…actually I brought him here (had it taken you two more minutes to get your *ss here, he would have been MY Oscar).

Shelley:  Oh, thank you and I’m sorry.  Oscar, it’s ok.  You drifted off to the toy aisle and we couldn’t find you.

Oscar:  Sniff-sniff, whimper-whimper, hug-hug

Big Brother:  Why did you leave to look at toys, stupid?

As I say my goodbyes and start walking away I hear Oscar say;

Don’t ever leave me alone again, that made me very sad!!!

I love me some chubby Oscar.

“Noe H-ablow Es-panole” – A Spanish Lesson


Unless you have been living under a rock (which would be nice, wouldn’t it?), you have heard that Spanish, is the second most used language in the U.S.

According to, “Spanish is by far the most spoken non-English language in the U.S. today among people ages 5 and older. It is also one of the fastest-growing, with the number of speakers up 233% since 1980, when there were 11 million Spanish speakers.”

Bottom Line:  Andale, Andale people!  Get with the programa!

Your choices are to dust off that high school Spanish textbook,  invest in Rosetta Stone or (the better option) enroll in brickhousechick’s Spanish Lesson/s.  (Depending on the enrollment numbers, more lessons will be taught in future posts.)

This first lesson costs no dinero – because I love you all.  Let’s get started:

*  I will phonetically spell the words out to help you with pronunciation

(because I am muy bonita)

1.  Useful Spanish words to say in your casa with your familia:

* Cayatey la bowka, e-diotah! – Cayate la boca, idiota! = Shut your mouth, idiot!

* Feyo esposo/a,  da-mey me coemeedah a-aura!Feo esposo/a,  dame mi comida ahora! =  Ugly spouse, give me my food now!

* Dah-may el clicky-clicky, din-bat! – Dame el clicky-clicky, din-bat! = Give me the remote you dingbat!

* Noe voy a sahkar la malldeetah ba-soorah – No voy a sacar la maldita basura! = I’m not taking the damn trash out! 



   Muy bien, amigos.  Your pronunciation was excelente.  Take a 5 minute siesta or go drink a cold cerveza and come right back.  I will be waiting.

All set?  Vamos!

2.  Useful Spanish words to say while at the DMV:


* May goose-tarhea raynovar me leeciencia, por fa-vore –Me gustaría renovar mi liciencia, por favor. = I would like to renew my license, please.

*Ohyay Saynore bagow kay noe teeanay oh-trah veedah e ah kien lay enkantah estar en controll, coemow kay es-tah ventahnah estah ser-ada? – Oye, Señor bago que no tiene otra vida y al quien le encanta estar en control, como que esta ventana esta cerrada?  =  Listen, lazy guy who has no life and loves to be in control, what do you mean this window is closed?

*Porkay daymonios estan towdos los emplayahdos  almor-sandoe à la meesmah vez? – Por que demonios están todos los empleados almorzando à la misma vez? = Why the hell are all the employees at lunch at the same time?


You all did a great job repeating the phrases.  Before you know it, you will be one of  406 million people speaking this all-important language.

Enrollment is now open.

Holy Guaca-MOLE! How I Made a Mountain Out Of a MOLE-Hill

****WARNING: This post contains an insane amount of exclamation marks!!!!!!****

How often does one see a mole scurrying around their bedroom in the middle of the day?  Anyone?

And I am not talking a mole like, on your face:

I am talking a dark furry disgusting blind rodent like this one:

Don’t give me that, “it’s kind of cute” business, because – it is NOT.

Questions: What the heck is a MOLE? What is the difference between a MOLE a VOLE a SHREW and a MOUSE and more importantly, why is it in MY ROOM?

Answer:  No difference, they are all disease-causing parasite ridden barbarians that do NOT belong in my bedroom!!!

For the love of children all around the world, why am I being punished?  It was bad enough having a gigantic pregnant spider in my coat closet a couple of months ago, now this?


Let me tell you the burrowing details;

My daughter and I were hanging out on my bed (well, technically it’s also Mr. brickhouse’s bed but he wasn’t home) last Saturday morning chatting away, while still wearing our batas (bathrobes).  My son had a college friend over for the weekend.

All was lovely and peaceful, when suddenly my daughter yells out, “AHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!  There is a black mouse right there, OH MY GOD!!!!!”  

Typically, as I have mentioned in earlier posts, I tend to stay calm during emergencies and try not to show fear so that my kids stay calm as well.  This did not happen.

Are you insane, daughter of mine????? You must be hallucin…HOLY GuacaMOLE!!! There it is! Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

While standing on the bed utterly horrified, we yelled out in unison, “MATT!!!!!!!!!! HELP US, THERE IS A MOUSE in here!!!!!!!!! AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Get it out!  Get it out!  Get it out!

Traumatized by our screams, the little savage squeezed under the bedroom door and ran out into the hallway.  But as my son and his friend were running toward our room to rescue us (wait for it…) the rabid earthworm- eater came BACK into the room and disappeared behind my dresser. Did you know that their saliva is toxic and they use it to paralyze the worms they capture? Yea.

Before I go on, are you able to truly appreciate – shear hysteria?  Have you ever suffered or witnessed someone else suffering from a full blown case of irrational and diabolical hysteria?  No?  Well, let me tell you, it ain’t pretty.  Especially, if you are an educated adult, a parent and many years older than your children.

My son and his friend (who will likely never return to our home after this debacle) ran into the room and began looking for the brute.  It ran behind the TV.  It hid behind the file cabinet.  It scurried across my papers on the floor.  They chased it, they tried capturing it and hitting it with a stick.  But the little vermin was too fast.  

Needless to say, my daughter and I had stopped breathing at this point and had no feeling in any of our limbs.  Get the f-in thing, NOW or I will kill you both!!!  Yes, I actually said those exact words to the two boys…

Next thing we know, it runs back out under the door into the hallway and straight to the bathroom.  The boys lock themselves in the tiny bathroom with their weapons to try to catch the beast.  Meanwhile, my daughter and I stuff a towel under the door blocking any possible re-entry and barricade ourselves in the bedroom.  

vastplanetnews - barricade

vastplanetnews – barricade

The boys came out of the bathroom and informed us that the thing was GONE!  Vanished!  Not in the bathroom!  WHAT??????????????????  ARE YOU F’N KIDDING ME??  I TOLD YOU TO GET IT NOW OR I WOULD KILL YOU!  LOOK AGAIN!  IT CAN’T BE GONE!! PLEASE, GET IT NOW!!  Yes, I yelled out those exact words.

“Mom, it must have gone down the dryer vent or something, it is not in the bathroom!”

My daughter and I held each other tight and began to whimper.  For the love of God, GET HIM, PLEASE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  

Two hours later, we were still barricaded in the bedroom with no intention of ever coming out.  We tried to read and pass the time as best we could but every couple of minutes one of us would say, “Oh my God, I’m going to die.  Where is it? I am never leaving this room, ever!!!!

After my son came in to check on us to make sure we were still breathing, he closed the door and left.  The towel!!!  He messed up the towel under the door!  At that moment,  I stared my daughter down and demanded she go secure the towel tightly in the event the monster came back.  “No mom, I’m too scared. What if it’s hiding in the towel?”   My eyes widened and with pure and raw intimidation I replied, IF YOU DON’T FIX THE DAMN TOWEL NOW, WE ARE GOING TO DIEEEEEEEE!!!!!!” Yes, I said those exact words.

google Yup, this was me

Yup, this was me

That’s when my son’s friend (who feared for his life now) yelled out that he could see the killer (the mole not me) going down the basement stairs.  He and my son cornered it and trapped it using my wicker wastebasket.  Prolem: the wastebasket had small holes all around it and the savage was trying to squeeze out of one of the holes.  AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!  

wickerliving Not a good mole trap.

Not a good mole trap.

My son quickly put the wastebasket inside one of his big fishing buckets.  It let out a deafening high pitch squeal as it tried to climb up the bucket.  OMG! Kill me now!!!

My son yelled out, “I think it’s a vole or maybe a mole, take a look at it mom.”  NO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  Put a cover on that bucket, or it will get out!!!  “Mom, it can’t climb up the bucket!”  I don’t care, cover it up NOW!!

Because Mr. brickhouse is a biologist, we decided we better not kill it (damn biologists) and left the bucket outside so that he could identify it and get rid of it once he got home.

I braved it and decided to take a peek at it.  EWWWWWWWWWWWWW!!!!!!  It was black and furry and had a horrid pointy nose and paws with one extra thumb on each paw and it was shiny and gross and what the hell was this subterranean evil-doer doing inside my house!?  



Just as my daughter and I were beginning to regain our strength, it occurred to me.  What if there are more of them????  Where is its mama? AHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  

It has been three days since the horrifying incident and my daughter and I are still being treated for having a severe case of MOLE-phobia, to which there is no known cure.


If you give a mole a muffin…

Is That a Heart Attack You Are Having or Are You Just Happy to See Me?

It was 1:30 am and I was sound asleep.

Suddenly, I was rudely and abruptly awakened by a piercing pain in my chest.    I gasped for air and shrieked.  Was there an intruder in the house and had he stabbed me?  Thinking we had been attacked by aliens, Mr. brickhouse jumped out of bed alert and wide-eyed, ready to defend his domain.

Oh my God, it ****ing hurts!  When I breathe in and out it’s worse.  Help me, please.

Mr. B (still technically asleep) was frantically circling the bedroom asking me if he should call an ambulance.  I signaled for him to hold off and I began to relax my body and to breathe slowly.  The pain was gone.  No need to call the ambulance, it was probably just gas.

During the next couple of weeks I became increasingly weak.  Walking to the kitchen felt like I had climbed Mount Annapurna (Mount Everest is so overused.) I was short of breath all the time and continued to have chest pains, particularly at night.

After seeing a cardiologist and discussing my long-term use of steroids for my Rheumatoid Arthritis, he was concerned that them “roids” had done a number on my heart.  A stress test was ordered.

Gulp.  I failed the stress test.

I am used to things being wrong with my body but this time, I was really scared.  I was only 44 at the time and was not ready to die of heart failure.  I had visions of living a long life (with deformed joints and all, nevertheless, a life) and was NOT prepared to die.

That evening my chest pains intensified.  So much so that we should have called an ambulance but stupidly decided to wait it out at home.  After propping myself up with pillows, the pain vanished once again but not before I promised Mr. B that I would call the doctor first thing in the morning.

What happened next made me seriously doubt all my parenting skills and wonder where Mr. B and I had gone wrong.  The next morning I put a call into my cardiologist and left him a message alerting him of the continued pains.  In trying to maintain some sort of normalcy with my children, I took my daughter and her friend to their scheduled manicure appointments.  Just stay calm, brickhouse and don’t scare the kids.  While waiting at the salon, my cardiologist called me back and told me to do exactly as he instructed.

“I want you to go home right now, pack an overnight bag and get yourself to the hospital ASAP.  Enter through the ER, and I will be waiting for you there.”

Oh My God, try to stay calm brickhouse and find a way to tell your daughter.

After calling Mr. B and telling him to meet me at home and calling a friend to ask her to pick up my daughter and her friend, I decided to tell my daughter what was going on.

Sweetie, mom is ok.  Everything is fine.  I just have some pain in my chest and the doctor wants to check it out.  I have to stay overnight at the hospital , but I am sure it will be nothing.  To which my daughter responded, “But MOM, who’s going to take me to get my haircut later?”  Okay… I must have done a really good job of hiding my fear, so much so that all she cared about was her haircut.

To make matters worse, as we were arriving at the ER, my son (knowing what was happening) called my cell phone and said, “MOM, where did you put the Dunkin Donut munchkins? I can’t find them anywhere!”  Really?  I may be dying and you want to know where the munchkins are.  What kind of evil children had we raised?

Ok, I’ll get to the important stuff now.

After getting hooked up to all types of monitors and EKG’s, the pain came back.  We are talking, GIVE ME SOME DAMN MORPHINE NOW OR I WILL KILL YOU ALL – type of pain.  Handfuls of Nitroglycerin tablets were forced into my mouth by the nurse while other nurses ran around the room checking my vitals and monitors.  It hurt so bad.

Next thing I know, I am riding in back of an ambulance in pain but this time, the pain was not coming from my chest.  The pain I felt was in my whole body – as the ambulance hit every single pot hole on every road as it sped to a bigger hospital, 20 miles away. OUCH

I was wheeled to a room on the cardiac ICU floor.  I looked around and noticed that the average age of the patients on this floor was...95.  Why was I here?  I didn’t belong.  My roommate was waiting for me in our room.   A very nice elderly woman who for her own protection, was placed on “bed-arrest”.  Meaning, a bed alarm would go off if she tried to escape.  Yea, It was not a good night.

The next morning, they performed a Coronary Angiogram (a cath) via my groin, to check my arteries and my heart.  I was given the good news once I awoke, that my heart looked perfect and that there was no sign of damage or disease.  You mean, I’m not going to die? AYA CARAMBA!!!  But, what is wrong with me?

After the procedure, I was to lay still and flat on my back on the hospital bed for several hours to avoid any bleeding or other side effects of the cath going through my groin.  Ugh.  I looked over at my roommate’s bed but she wasn’t there!  Oh Shit.  Did she…perish?  I was afraid to ask.

The next several hours were by far the most humiliating hours of my life.  Having to lay flat without moving my legs or body meant I could not get up for any reason, including to use the bathroom.  The instructions were to ring for a nurse and she would help me, using a bed pan.

I don’t know if they were short-staffed or what but after ringing the damn bell for 20 whole minutes, no nurse came to my rescue.  I was wishing my roommate was still with me so that she could help call a nurse.  I really had to pee.   I kept hearing the beeping out in the hallway but it was as if the entire floor had been deserted.  Finally, not being able to hold it any longer, the flood gates opened and I was soon laying in a pool of my own urine, completely drenched.

The nurse finally showed up and saw that I was crying.   She apologized and began complaining about staffing and how it was someone else’s fault.  Are you kidding me?  I am in a cardiac ICU floor and it took 20 minutes for a nurse to show up?  I could have been having a heart attack!  Maybe that’s why my roommate was “gone”!  

After filing a formal complaint the next morning and listening to the head nurse profusely apologize, I was released from the hospital.

In the end, we found out that the pain in my chest was caused by inflammation and  fluid around the lining of my heart and lungs (pericarditis),  which would get worse when laying down.  Just another lovely symptom of RA.  The abnormal stress test?  That was a fluke.

I learned a few important lessons after that whole traumatizing  experience;

* Never use my poker face with my kids during an emergency

* Never buy Dunkin Donut munchkins again

*  Write my city council to request more funds be allocated to fixing all the damn pot holes on our roads

*  Though warm, never lay in urine again – be it mine or anyone else’s.

A Healing Post

You are a shell of existence. You live in your own web of lies.  You are so trapped in the chaos, of your very own ill mind.

Not a curse you desired, but one that is here to stay. One that is kicking your ass but one only you can make go away.

You let everybody in but you let no one in.  Life to you has no maybes, it is either black or white.  One day feeling horrid the other, wanting to fly.

Gratification is all you desire, no matter what the price.   You want it, you simply do it,  you steal it – that is your vice.

Nobody understands you – you understand no one at all.  You want to be someone today, yet yesterday you thought you were gay.  Who will you be tomorrow?  No one can really say.

Loneliness consumes you, that beast is imbedded for good.  He will never leave you, loyal forever he’ll be.

You need the TODAY and the NOW.  Tomorrow just does not exist.

Lessons are never learned, no life skills to retrieve. Today is all you are after, only the here an now.  Mistakes continue to haunt you, repeated time after time.

Faulty connection to others, missing the one piece that counts.  Feeling betrayed and judged yet hurting those in your way.  A prisoner to your desires, unaware of the pain it will cause.

You know the key to thriving, but you choose to throw it away.  You know where the light comes from but continue to miss the switch.  You turn down the life boats that pass you and continue to swim at your own risk.

Nobody is able to reach you, you are hiding behind the wrong door.  Nobody is able to help you, no matter how hard they pry.   Nobody is able to save you, yet they continue to try.

Sadness engulfs your loved ones, despair and anguish mixed in.  You are loved by so many, yet love proves to not be enough.

I will not judge you any further, for who am I to say. You don’t have malice within you, only the works of the beast.

Sweetness and love hide inside you, wishing they could come right out.  Locked up deep down in your soul, they can’t find their desperate way out.  I remember that child inside you, that smile that brightened the room.

I can’t wait for that you to come knocking and will hold on to hope for dear life.  God has a way of teaching us, our faith being tested all day.

 I will forever love you, yet I need to care for myself.  I pray one day you awaken and dust off that book on the shelf.

The Three Wise Men Arrive Tonight, But I Need Advice from YOU, Oh Wise Ones

Happy Three Kings Day mis amigos!

 I am hoping they bring a lot of gold this year (I can do without the frankincense and myrrh.)

Do you like my new blog theme for January? I decided that I am going to change my theme every month just for ha-has.  It’s fun and will help with the winter blahs and keep things interesting .  There are so many color palettes and backgrounds to use!  I recommend playing around with all the different themes available.

****Speaking of blogging themes and blogging.  I need advice from all you wise bloggers out there.

How do you do it?

How do you manage your time effectively so that you can write, read, comment, tweet, facebook and have a life with your family?  Am I missing something?  Is that even possible?

My little family is getting tired of watching me sit around in my bata (bathrobe), typing away, ignoring them, not cooking, not cleaning, not talking, not ANYTHING else – but blogging. I try to change positions so I at least look different than I did the last time they looked at me and I even change my bata for variety – it’s not helping.

I try to esplain (like Lucy) to them that this is the etiquette for blogging.  You write, you read, you comment and then you – REPEAT.  I tell them that this is serious business and that it is imperative to developing and maintaining a wonderful blogging community.  They just stare blankly at me.  The common questions I get are, Are you getting paid for any of this? and Why?

Last night I went out to my favorite Mexican restaurant (ate killer fish tacos) with Mr. Brickhouse.  The entire time I talked about my blogging friends.  I discussed what they do, what books they have published, their experiences, their sad posts, their happy posts, their funny posts, their sexy posts, their underwear size and their menstrual cycles.

He listened attentively (either that or he was pretending to listen as he checked out the young girl at the bar) and even asked questions.  I figured, If I introduce my blogging friends to him in this way, he too will feel attached to you all and will understand my need to blog 24/7.  I think it worked a little…or it might have been the beer hearing aids he was wearing.

He is sober today and watching me in my bata right now writing this and does not look as happy or interested as he was last night.

This is my usual daily blogging routine:

(Keep in mind that my RA makes it difficult for me to have a real job since my pains and fatigue are unpredictable although usually present)

1) While waiting for my joints to un-stiffen every morning (usually at 1:00 in the afternoon), I stay in bed and begin reading all the new posts of the day.  While doing that, I get interrupted by an email or 5 or a Facebook message.  Then I remember that I have to transfer money using my online banking tool and switch over to that.  

2) Two and a half hours have passed and I have answered 20 texts and my mother’s phone call – which usually lasts one hour, while reading posts.  I check my Reader and there are now 10 new posts from bloggers I follow.  I don’t know if I should I read those or comment on the comments I commented on while reading the comments in the comment section? 

3)  I think of an earth shattering post I must write, right there and then and begin a new post.

4)  It’s 1:00 pm and I haven’t had breakfast, lunch or taken my important meds.  

5)  I get up and it takes me one hour to make breakfast, empty dishwasher, do dirty dishes all while trying to read new posts.

6)  Now I have to nap because I am exhausted from making breakfast and cleaning.

7)  It’s 4 pm and I go back at it on my laptop, while watching Judge Judy.

8)  It’s 6 pm and there is no dinner in sight.

9)  I make dinner, clean up and sit to rest while trying to catch up on the 50 new posts posted by the people I follow.

10)  I fall asleep at 11:45 pm with my laptop on my belly.

11)  New day = REPEAT

Please help me, oh wise ones.  

What strategies, tricks, time management skills,  or super powers do you have or use?

Pains of Passion

It was day one of 2014 and I was utterly exhausted and had done more on that day than I did all last year. The festivities began with Mr. Brickhouse and I attending a crazy New Year’s Eve Party with a Beatles theme, a strawberry vodka killer-punch, a ball drop and a spectacular fireworks show.

After making it to midnight, I was feeling simultaneously hyper and relaxed.  Relaxed thanks to the punch and hyper because it was the beginning of a brand-spanking-new (albeit frigid) year!  And, I was actually awake to welcome it. But by 1:30 am, the champagne had gotten warm and tasted more like stale racoon pee rather than bubbly happiness.  It was time to go home.

One of us was sober enough to drive (we won’t mention names) while the other, was feeling no pain.  That is, until the…

New Year’s Day Pain of Passion

You see, Mr. Brickhouse and I have a tradition of “christening” each new year with an abundance of passion.  It was 2:00 am and we could not break tradition. It was time to start the year off with a BANG (why not start the new year giving my readers TMI too?)  Needless to say, my recently turned 50-year-old arthritic body was once again victim to the New Year’s Day Pain of Passion (NYDPP).  

I’m getting too old for this.

After dragging my aching body out of bed and taking the additional dosage of Prednisone (steroids) – saved specifically for the NYDPP, I resumed my New Year’s Day activities. Shhh, don’t tell Mr. Brickhouse but what we did next was by far my favorite part of the new day.

Being married to an avid birder, we were privied to “on the lowdown” type information that a Snowy Owl was spotted in an agricultural field a half hour away.  Why did we care and why should you care?  Because the invasion of Snowy Owls flying south from the arctic for food is being described as the Invasion of the Century and a Tsunami of Snowy Owls.

Apparently, the population of lemmings (small rodents) in the arctic is lower than in previous years so the adult owls shoo off their young to fend for themselves since there is not enough food for all.  Thus, these young Harry Potter birds are showing up everywhere and as far south as California, Texas & Florida.  They are typically seen on the coast but are now being spotted inland.  Unlike their relatives, Snowy Owls hunt during the day time making them one of the “most wanted” birds on a birder’s wish list.

We successfully spotted the owl perched on a fence post.  It was shielding itself from the biting -100 winds and familiar arctic conditions.  Not exactly my favorite time to be out and about or on a frozen cow field – but Mr. Brickhouse’s passion for wildlife was contagious.  It was a bit far away from the road but we could see its beauty from our telescope.  It was an awesome feeling to watch it as it hunted from the post.

.Photo taken from telescope lens

Photo taken from telescope lens

In spite of the many other spectators who apparently also got the memo, showing up to get a view, it did not fly away.

photos courtesy of John Lambdin

photo courtesy of John Lambdin

photo courtesy of John Lambden

photo courtesy of John Lambden

As passionate as I felt looking at this lovely creature, it too was causing me PAIN on this New Year’s Day.  There it was, my #2 Pain of Passion!  The wind was so brutally strong and the temperature so frigid that even my spleen was hurting – and I don’t even have a spleen.

I would also like to add that I almost caused pain to another human being by being tempted to throw the $5,000 telescope at her.  This lady had decided to bring and walk her TWO dogs (with sweaters on) right near the owl!  I love dogs, but WHAT??  Brilliant! Let us bring dogs to a rare sighting of a bird, why don’t we?  The fact that it is a new year and I am supposed to be kinder to people, saved her and her dog’s life.

My New Year’s Day ended with some more pain.  After making my little family some hot chicken soup to warm up their souls (and their little behinds), I decided to deep fry some green plantains (tostones) to go with the soup.  Because, of course everybody wants to deep fry on New Year’s Day, duh.

My kids love tostones with… you guessed it, a passion so — frying I did.  Pain of Passion #3:  scalding frying oil landing on my arm as it splattered all over the kitchen.  The tostones were worth it (said my family), but I could have done without the pain.

My New Year’s resolution:  To have a more passionate and less painful year ahead.

Did you suffer from any NYDPP?  Particularly of the love kind?