Monday, March 29, 2010

One blog, one tree - Writing my way to carbon neutrality

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I received information that the average blogger is anything but carbon neutral.  In fact, annually, a blog can generate an average of 8 lbs. of carbon!  So, I am working to make this pretty, pink blog a greener place to read.  I am joining the "1 blog, 1 tree" movement and having a tree planted to neutralize the carbon emissions caused by my blog. 

During the Spring and Summer, I suspect I do my fair share of combating global warming.  I plant and grow flowers and veggies and love my outdoorsy stuff.  I don't know what we'll grow this year because we're looking at potentially moving.  But even if I can't grow a lot this year, I'll at least have a tree in my blog's honor. 

So, in an effort to encourage greener living, I will encourage you to join the "1 blog, 1 tree" movement and do your part to minimize your carbon footprint.  Remember, we can always use more trees!  I will also encorage you to take other steps towards a self-sustainable lifestyle.  These are things you can do in both the big city and out in the country.  Grow a garden.  It can be in containers on a patio or balcony or you can plant them in the ground.  There's nothing quite like fresh veggies right from the plant!  Plant your own tree, bonus points for a fruit tree!  Volunteer at your zoo or park.  Pick up garbage from the road in front of your residence. 

Good luck and let me know how it goes! 

Friday, March 26, 2010

This month has been rough!

Well, this month's class is over and I am thrilled to reach the end of the month.  this month was harder than usual due to the illness that went raging through the house.  After it laid us up for a week, I realized that I had lost so much time and missed the grading I needed to get done.  It was horrible trying to catch up.  But last night at 9:30, I filled in the last blank spot in my gradebook and submitted my grades. 

Another month down and now I have a week off.  This break is definitely needed and I will be taking advantage of it.  Part of it is going to be spent finishing the recuperation process from this illness.  There will also be cleaning, crocheting and hopefully calmness.  I need to do some prep for next month, but I am free baby! 

Little Guy and I are going to continue to work on the potty thing.  He's still balking at the potty,  He wants to do what he wants to do and doesn't want to take a break to sit on the potty.  It's turning into a major headache but I cannot give in.  We've relegated diapers to sleep-time.  And, unfortunately, I've learned that sleep time cannot include rest-time in the front room because he'll take advantage of it. 

However, this weekend we have a birthday party to attend and I am rapidly realizing that Easter is approaching and we have gotten NOTHING for Little Guy. This needs to change. 

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Just shoot me

So... Where have I been? If you're familiar with Stephen King and
The Stand, then you're familiar with "Captain Trips". I had his close
cousin. We've all been sick around here, even Little Guy and it has
totally sucked. (Yes, I know that is not proper English Teacher
wording, but it really has totally sucked.) Whatever we got stemmed
from Big Guy's place of employment and he got it first.

It hit Big Guy during our anniversary weekend and really put a damper
on things for him. By Sunday he was feeling bad enough to not go to
work on Monday. After he came home early last Wednesday, the illness
broke and he started feeling much better. Unfortunately, that is when
I started getting sick. I made it through Thursday and Friday and
then was out for the count over the weekend. We took Nyquil, Dayquil,
everything we could get our hands on. I drank cup after cup of tea
and attempted to stay hydrated because I was blowing my nose
constantly. By Sunday, Little Guy had started sniffling and he was
obviously not feeling good.

He's doing better today though, so it appears he got a mild case of
it. I'd hope that was due to our foresight when Big Guy got sick
where we started pouring orange juice down his throat and ensuring
that he ate all his fruits and veggies and his vitamins. Right now
he's sniffling and coughing like the rest of us, but he doesn't seem
to have caught the majority of the aches, pains and general malaise
that went with this bug, lucky little booger.

So, I am still alive, and I have not forgotten about my journal. My
illness put me extremely far behind in grading though and this week is
that last week of class for the month. Grades are due for me on
Thursday and I still have an entire set of papers to grade. I've been
busting butt to get it done, but I can't seem to catch up. Luckily, I
have tomorrow and during the day on Thursday! Wish me luck!

"It took a lot of blood, sweat and tears to get to where we are today,
but we have just begun. Today we begin in earnest the work of making
sure that the world we leave our children is just a little bit better
than the one we inhabit today." - Barack Obama - A Blog about Urban
Homesteading and Crocheting and the craziness that goes with both


Friday, March 19, 2010

Parenting while sick - the gift that never stops giving

Well, it's happened.  Big Guy's cold has worked it's insidious way into my body and now I am huddled up at home with a stuffy nose, headache, achy body, the works.  Right now I've dressed Little Guy in a diaper and laid him down for a nap because he started whining over a mess he made which precluded playing with a particular toy.  While I was trying to clean it up, he started doing this screechy scream thing because he wanted it and he wanted it now.  I gave him a five count and when he kept pushing, told him he was going down for a nap.   This screechy scream is always a bone of contention between Little Guy and his parents. 

I know my patience is at a low point right now, and I try to balance it out when I know I'm not feeling well. Parenting while sick is so very difficult.  Trying to figure out the proper way to parent and ensure you aren't too harsh because your patience is low or too lenient because you don't want to deal with things is one of the biggest issues.  Right now, I am relatively certain that he needs a nap and I need a time out from him or else I am going to have a mommy meltdown.  And, when you're sick, minimizing stress needs to be a key point.  You may enforce the rules more closely when you're sick, but that's OK.  Enforce the rules, but make sure you don't go overboard too.  

For sick parents who are home all day with the little ones, it may seem like your time with them will never end, particularly when the normal routine for a stay at home parent extends, in general, until the child goes to bed.  I recognize that, for the most part, I have Little Guy on my own during the day and then, on nights where I don't teach, Big Guy and I split the parenting at night.  On nights where I teach, Big Guy gets a half-measure of the day's activities and then we work together when I get home.  Tonight, though, I've already told Big Guy that he needs to take over with Little Guy when he gets home.  I'm not going to have the energy to chase Little Guy or nail his butt to the potty chair. 

Little Guy wants to do all the normal things we do, which often means climbing on mommy like a jungle gym and having a playmate who will pretend with him.  Thanks to the achy muscles, the jungle gym was closed today and, while I could definitely applaud his imagination, I was too brain-dead to help come up with more stories.  I am sure some of his afternoon meltdown is simply a frustrated reaction to the change, and I wish I could make it better for him.  However, I don't want him to get sick, so snuggles and kisses are off the table for today. 

As it is, being curled up on the sofa with the laptop and some tea has helped to recharge the mommy batteries, but I still think both of us need at least an hour's time out.  Little Guy's stopped being mad about being stuck in his room and I can hear him playing.  I can let it go because he's not wound up and I know that eventually he will fall asleep.  I will continue to curl up on the sofa and maybe even allow myself some time playing Bioshock 2.  The goal is to relax without letting Little Guy walk all over me or allowing myself to overextend and become even more ill. 

And hopefully I'll see you on the flip side of this cold. 

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Happy Saint Patrick's Day!

As I sit here with coffee that contains a shot of Irish Creme in my cup, I would like to wish everyone a Happy Saint Patrick's Day.  Big Guy is still sick with his cold, so he won't be celebrating to hardily.  I, however, embrace my Irish heritage on this day.  The irony does not escape me that today, we celebrate the triumph of Irish Catholicism over Paganism.  I can only give a wry smile over it. 

Admittedly, Saint Patrick's day is not really an Irish holiday, but more of a "diaspora" holiday.  We've turned it into a holiday for everyone to remember their Irish heritage, no small feat when you consider that the third largest ethnic group in America is the Irish.  Of course, my family tends to add to that number, throwing ourselves whole-heartedly into our Irish history.  Mom says we'd probably be considered "Shanty Irish" and it's always amusing to see how my family interacts with each other.  People will fight, yell, bitch and snipe at each other....  And then 10 minutes later it's pretty much forgotten.  Why?  Because you're family, and that's what family does. 

So, go out and embrace your family.  Raise a glass in memory to the ones who are gone and enjoy time with the ones still here.  That's what I did. 

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Potty training body parts

Stephanie at The Dirty Mommy blog discussed an amusing tale with her young daughter showing her anatomy smarts on the playground.  I think most parents can recognize how embarrassing it is, particularly since kids seem to pick times when you least expect to be having that particular discussion. 

We've been dealing something similar with our Little Guy.  We try to use the correct terms for his body parts and he seems to understand it pretty well.  He's known for a while that he has a penis.  However, he's reaching a point where he's now recognizing the difference between boys and girls.  So far we have established that (always at the top of his lungs) Little Guy has a penis, Daddy has a penis and boy-cat Tiger has a penis.  He's always so proud of himself for identifying them.  Petting girl-cat Caitlin, on the other hand produced shock and concern. 

Caitlin was sitting on my lap, getting pettins, and I was scritching that little spot where the tail connects to the body because she loves that and always arches her back for more.  As we were petting her, Little Guy noticed that there was something different about her. 

"OH NO MOMMY!" he screeched.  "Where is Caitlin's penis?  Where did it go?"

I explained that Caitlin was a girl and, therefore, did not have a penis.  Big Guy and I both emphasized that boys have penises (penii?) and girls do not.  So far, we have not had to deal with what girls have instead.  Now, however, he's just as proud of his knowledge of who has a penis and who does not.  This is becoming even more important to him as we work on potty training and he spends a good portion of time nude.  This makes it difficult to try and enforce appropriate times for identification because right now he needs to be naked to get to the potty in time.  Add to that, our desire to not give our son body issues and sometimes the embarrassment reaches epic levels. 

On Sunday, as I was preparing to take a shower, a very naked Little Guy burst into our bathroom proudly announcing that "Mommy has no penis!" 

Er, yes, thank you.  Go find Daddy. Go sit on the potty.  Go do SOMETHING else! 

"Little Guy has a penis!  It's naked, see?"  Cue typical boy dance.  "And dancing!" 

Yes, I know.  Go into the family room. 

"I have a butt!  It's naked too!  See?" 

Luckily, Big Guy appeared to shoo our son into the family room and his little potty.  I know I need to thank my lucky stars that I have a smart, clever son.  He puts pieces together and figures things out much faster than I expect.  Now, if we could just get him to understand the importance of using the potty!

Related Seeds:
Are Anatomically Correct terms okay? 

Monday, March 15, 2010

Where did you go, my lovely?

So I disappeared from the internet this weekend, but I promise it was for a good reason.  This weekend, Big Guy and I celebrated our 6th anniversary and I made a concious decision to stay away.  I guess you could say I abandoned you for love. 

Our weekend went r eletrively well.  It started around 3 pm on Friday when Big Guy showed up at the door with a cake and dinner.  The cake was made by a local bakery and was a recreation of our Wedding Cake top layer with frosting roses on the top made to look like my bouquet.  We ate dinner (and cake) and played video games.  However, the joy was not to last. 

The next day, Big Guy woke up feeling bad.  Sore throat, cough, snuffly nose, all the hallmarks of a cold.  We went out for a little bit, stopped off at Krispy Kreme, picked up a few items to help with the potty training of Little Guy and then came home.  Big Guy played a video game and we putzed about the house while I tried to get Little Guy to use the potty on a regular basis.  However, Little Guy's lack of nap caught up with him and he ended up being put to bed early due to a fractious nature. 

On Sunday, Big Guy was still feeling off but we were up "early" due to a strange noise and an even stranger smell.  We got up to find our Rainbow Vacuum cleaner was on, thanks to our cats.  And, since Big Guy had forgotten to empty it the last time he vacuumed, we were smelling the old, dirty water being churned about.  We turned it off, cleaned out the vacuum and then decided to go out for food  It was then that we discovered "Dayligh Savings Time" had occured.  It wasn't 9:30, but 10:30 in the morning. 

We got Little Guy up, went to Ryan's and then came home.  Big Guy was still not feeling well, so I let him relax and play while I graded and then we went to bed.  It wasn't an amazingly romantic weekend, adn could have been better for poor Big Guy, but we did have a good time with each other.  Today, Big Guy called in to work and is still sleeping away in the bedroom while Little Guy adn I continue to work on potty training.  Wish us luck! 

Friday, March 12, 2010

Anniversary Weekend

This weekend, Big Guy and I celebrate six years of marriage.  It's so hard to imagine that we have been together that long, and yet people still talk about the party that was our wedding.  It really was a remarkable party that was a blast.  We were going through some pictures with his parents and came across some pictures from later that evening that will make great blackmail pictures for our friends. 

Being married to the love of my life has been an amazing experience and one that, like any marriage, has been full of ups and downs.  Big Guy and I were lucky enough to have the opportunity to go to counseling and learn how to communicate better with each other.  It ended up being  one of the best things we could have done for ourselves and for our marriage.  Aside from learning to communicate more effectively with each other, it also reinforced how committed and devoted to each other we are. 

Even more importantly, with all the horrible things hat happened over the last year, I am not sure how effectively we would have dealt with things.  Because we were able to improve our communication, we ere able to connect with each other even when the kids left and my aunt died.  It also enabled us to get through the job reduction he suffered with minimal conflict between us in our most stressful times. 

As it stands, I am happy we found each other.  We're on the same page regarding the raising of children and the way a marriage should work which makes any situation that much easier.  We know each other well enough to know what the other person's answer is likely to be and respect each other enough to not commit to things unless we're absolutely certain the other person is on board.  I feel like I have found a real partner who is devoted to our family and treats me like a princess. 

In a time where 50% of all marriages and 80% of all second and subsequent marriages end in divorce, we are lucky to beat the odds against us.  Even more importantly, we recognize how truly wonderful it is to have each other.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Potty Watch and Midterms

I'm taking advantage of the silence this morning to sit down and write this entry.  Little Guy is still asleep and so my busy day hasn't started yet.  I watched my Orange County Housewives reunion show and ate a bagel.  I'm enjoying the silence so far. 

Yesterday was full of screaming and wailing as I put the kibosh on fun times unless potty time was implemented.  By the end of the day yesterday, I was more than ready to close the day with a seriously strong drink.  I am realizing that my son is more than capable of holding his own line, even in the face of an upset mommy and daddy.  However, because of that, I spent a lot of time with an angry, screaming, whining 4 year old who could not understand why mommy would not help him or give him what he wanted. 

Tonight is the midterm night for this month's class and they have a paper due tonight as well.  I am still scrambling to finish up the papers from the first week, and I have almost finished.  However, a comment from a student threw me into a tizzy and now I am trying to decide how or even if to approach it with the students who were upset by it.  Right now, I am leaning towards getting a feel for the emotions of the class today, a full 48 hours after "the incident" and seeing if it needs to be addressed or not.

In the meantime, I'll get back to grading.  Ugh.   And here's Little Guy...  Time for another day of potty drama and cuteness! 

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Back on the potty

Now that the weather has been warming up and our house isn't so cold, I am getting Little Guy back on the potty training train.  He's not happy about it but we've got to get this done.  I never thought I would have an untrained 4 year old, but he hates having to sit and take the time to go to the bathroom.  Of course, he also hates it when we have to take the time to change his diaper. 

Today, however, I tried a new trick.  There was no playing on Starfall or watching of TV in the front room until he used the potty.  There was definite wailing, gnashing of teeth, and overall unhappiness but the stubborness finally broke about 10 minutes ago when we had pee in the potty.  After a bit of celebratory yays and dancing, I flipped the breaker back on (because he knows how to turn on the computer and  the TV), and he is now happily playing away on Starfall. 

I've also told him that if he tells me when he has to go potty and doesn't use his diaper, then I will leave it on.  We'll see if this works.  I'm not so keen on using his education as an incentive to use the potty, but we're running out of ideas and this is something he cares enough about to work. My goal is not to break his spirit and give him enough encouragement to do this on his own, but I  have to get him to use the potty. 

A lot of the sites I've read say that this is something that kids have to choose to do on their own because this is the first choice they really have any influence over.  I just wish he'd choose to do what I want him to do.  I am really looking forward to his choice to use the potty. Wish us luck! 

Monday, March 8, 2010

Pre-K leanings

Little Guy and I have been frequenting the Starfall website.  The child is reading like a maniac and having very little difficulty.  Big Guy and I discussed the issues with the school systems in the area and have narrowed down the systems we will allow our son to attend.  We've also discussed our concerns regarding socialization and extra-curriculars.  Although, after watching the news, I am rapidly becoming convinced that the only way to ensure your child is well-rounded and can play in sports or have an instrument will be to homeschool them. 

Three of the school systems in the area have been in the news recently due to financial troubles.  I've made my position clear and we agree that there are two school systems that our son will not attend.  We also narrowed down the systems we will let him attend.  There's only one school system that I will truly feel comfortable letting Little Guy attend.  There's one system that I will grudgingly let him attend. 

Big Guy and I discussed some of the concerns with homeschooling, especially the socialization aspect, and discovered that we agree on everything.  Most of our differences right now stem from the fact that we are placing importance on different aspects of schooling.  My focus remains on education, Big Guy thinks that giving him access to a structured social life is important.  However, we may have found a way to get around that while we live here.  I'll keep you informed as we move along that path. 

However, Little Guy is devouring the letters and books on Starfall and I am now looking for a similar website to let him practice math skills.  I think we are good at learning numbers though since, with very little help, he can count up to 140.  I do want to start practicing pattern recognition though,  Suggestions? 

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Spiritual Sunday - Sacrifice

 Last Week

Sacrifice is a difficult subject to discuss because it is such a difficult thing to do.  However, this is the season of sacrifice.  There are many religions that focus on the idea of fasting and sacrifice as we move through winter and into the spring season.  Christianity has Lent which leads, of course, to Easter (or Ostara), Muslims have Eid-Al-Adha, even Ancient Rome explained the cycle of the seasons using a mother's sacrifice of her daughter and the daughter's return at the beginning of Spring. 

The idea of sacrifice, purposeful sacrifice, is something we all dislike.  We give up so much in the day to day struggle of life, why should we be forced to give up more?  We give up time with our family, comfort, and sleep for work.  We give up money, time, and happiness for our family.  But the idea of sacrifice is supposed to remind us of the good things we have, the happiness we find in our lives. 

We do sacrifice on a daily basis, and we do it to have some of the good things that we enjoy.  I have sacrificed a certain amount of financial freedom to be home during the day with Little Guy.  If I worked during the normal office hours, we might have more money, but I believe that Little Guy would suffer for it.  By that measure, Little Guy himself requires many sacrifices.  We stopped being nearly as independent once we had a child and our free time is now spent with our little monkey.  Again, we judged the sacrifices we make as parents to be worth it.

It's difficult, sometimes, to look at the sacrifices we make and find something worthwhile in them.  I struggle with that too.  I look at the difficulties we have and the struggles we endure and sometimes I have to fight off the negativity by reminding myself of the good things we have.  I also make it a point to remember the fact that we are better off than many others.  Big Guy and I have jobs; Little Guy is happy, healthy, and amazingly smart; we have a roof over our heads and a car that runs; and, even more importantly, we have each other and appreciate that fact. 

It's important to examine the sacrifices you make and the good that comes from them.  Remember that our sacrifices give us one thing even more important than anything else.  Our sacrifices give us hope.  It gives us hope for a better life, a more comfortable home, a happier family, and a better attitude.  It is the spring to the wintry darkness in the rest of our lives. 

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Oo-ee-oo He looks just like Buddy Holly

Yesterday, I managed to make a wonderfeal meal out of a tragedy.  It also proved my point that everything happens for a reason.  I have been trying to get back to planning menus and trying to use what we have.  Unfortunately for me, I may have planned too well.  Last nights meal was supposed to be oven roasted chicken.  However, I unwrapped the chicken and realized rapidly that there was no way we were going to eat this meat.  It had already gone bad.  I was so upset. 

However, the night before I had picked up some store-made fried chicken after work and had picked up enough to act as a couple meals, most likely a couple of lunches.  But I certainly had enough for a mixed dish.  So, I sped up the menu plan and made the meal I had planned for the leftover roasted chicken.  It was a completely made-up and yet it turned out better than I could have imagined.  It's a relatively easy Cheesy Chicken Casserole recipe.   And we would not have been able to have it had I not picked up that fried chicken. I'll include the recipe at the end of the blog post. 

Yesterday, I also took advantage of the lack of school-teaching to get some important things done like folding laundry and I also trimmed Little Guy's hair.  I loved his hair style, it was definitely in keeping with his personality.  It was kind of wild and free, and definitely marched to the beat of its own drum...  However, Little Guy doesn't believe in using napkins.  That, apparently, is what his hair is for.  And, as it got longer, the harder it was becoming to prevent.  So, after his bath yesterday, I made a valient attempt to cut his hair.  That meant trying to get him to stand still for a few seconds. 

What actually happened is I managed to get parts of his hair cut short.  It is DEFINITELY not a professional hair cut and I am thrilled that his hair is curly enough to hide some of the mistakes I made while trying to get him to hold still.  As Big Guy pointed out though, it's short in the back and longer in the front...  And with his hair being the way it is, it's totally a "Buddy Holly" hair style.  What have I done?

Sadly, with both his father's and my eyesight, he's likely to need glasses like Buddy Holly too.  I hope that the mad eating of carrots that I did during the pregnancy may help him to avoid too terrible of eyesight though.  Poor kid. 

But now, the recipe:
Easy Cheesy Chicken Casserole

Leftover chicken pieces
1 family size can Cream of chicken soup
1 can mixed vegetables
1 can corn
1 cup shredded cheese
1 tube large flaky biscuits

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees F.

Tear up the chicken and  remove from the bone.  Put chicken, Cream of Chicken soup, veggies, corn and carrots in a large baking dish and mix with the cheese. 

Open the tube of biscuits and tear each biscuit in half and layer across the top of the mix.  Bake for 20 - 25 minutes. 

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Another Month, another class

Class started last night and I am teaching Comp. II this month.  I actually miss my Fundamentals class because they, at least, recognize they have a problem and need to be there.  I have been faced with students in the upper level comp. classes who don't understand why they need to know how to write.  There are times that attitude is very daunting for a professor.  No one has yet said something like that to me this month, but the month only has just begun. 

The biggest problem I had last night came in the last half hour of class when a number of students just got up and left.  They decided the class was done, and therefore they left.  This was while I was still lecturing.  In response, I gave the remainder of class a homework assignment that the others will not be able to make up.  I would like to know what prompts people to do that.  Our classes are scheduled until 9:50 at night.  If we get out early, so much the better, but  if we don't then we don't 

Honestly, though, that lack of caring and respect towards education is exactly why I am glad I teach at a college.  In high school, you are required to care whether or not the students care.  In college, I am there to teach the students who are there. If you show up and participate n my class, you'll get much more out of it.  If you choose to show up and not participate or not show up at all...  Well, that's your problem not mine.  I give the students plenty of opportunities to pass and give them more help than I probably should, certainly more help than Big Guy feels I should give them.  I do want them to pass though.  I want them to succeed. 

But, in the end, their choice whether to put forth the effort or not remains their choice.  If they choose not to, I cannot help them.  And that is the worst part of teaching.  I can't make them stay, I can't make them participate, I can't make them do what they need to.  All I can do is present the information and interact with those who are interested.   

Despite that, for some reason I do love to teach. I love getting in front of people and discussing the finer points of books or grammar. I like teaching a subject I am truly passionate about, and honestly, how can you NOT love the English language or grammar.  It's intricate and twisty because we stole so much from so many other languages. 

Part of that has to do with the British Empire's desire to control the entirety of the globe.  But it also has to do with everyone wanting to take of the islands of Ireland and England.  The Vikings and the French most notably donated quite a bit to the formation of the English language, but then the English went everywhere else on the crusades and, as a result, assimilated so much.

When you start explaining that to the students, they start to perk up and pay attention.  It gets better when you explain how all literature is tied in to sex and they start really listening.  All of a sudden, English becomes an interesting subject.  And my goal in teaching is that the majority of my students end up leaving my class more interested in the subject than when they started.  I think I'm doing OK. 

Monday, March 1, 2010

Beg, Borrow and Write

So, if you haven't noticed, I have started a support this blogger page.  I read an article which smacked some sense into me and made me bite the bullet to do so.  It asked what your reasons were for writing your blog and pointed out that, if you want to earn money from blogging, you have to be shameless.  So, I swallowed my pride and have put up a bit of begging.  I apologize in advance. 

Now, I will admit, most of my motivation in putting fingers to keyboard and blogging stems from my own deep-seated need to write. As I explain to my writing students, writers have a love-hate relationship with writing.  It controls you, forces you to write and then smacks you upside the head.  The writing process sucks.  You put everything into your writing, and then you look at what you've created and, as a writer, realize that you think it sucks.  It's horrible.  So then you re-write, and re-write, and re-write...  Writing is a cruel mistress, capricious and mean. 

But, writing can also earn you a bit of cash.  I have done freelance writing for pay, and I have tutored in writing for pay. My real-world job involves teaching people how to construct viable essays and papers. And, I have obviously monetized this blog.  (Hello Google, thanks for giving me some pay.  I <3 you).  If you are a good enough writer, if your writing can resonate with people or interest them in some way, they will come back.  Most of the information you find on blogging says that you need to figure out what the hot topics are and write on those, but I am a stubborn, prideful little wench and tend to write about things that I find interesting. I have to accept that it may mean I will never become popular, but I also believe that the sheer force of my personality and the fact that I'm just so darn cute will win out over that. 

If it doesn't, I'll rely on the fact that my son is so darn cute.