What Goes Around Just Came Back Around...But It's All Wrong!!! They Have the Wrong Guy!!! Hey, What'd I Do?!

Okay, about this giving birth thing. It seemed like such a good idea at the time...But then real life intervened and now I'm wondering...What in the Hell was I thinking?!

Forget the issue of the sperm donor, whether it was Love or just Time to Breed that influenced my decision to marry this person and bear his children....(Oh, please, when these kids need something or have done something whose children do you think they are? His? I think not! They're mine! So the ridiculous idea that I "bore" anyone's child is just beyond me! But I digress...) Anyway, forget the sperm donor and why I decided to have children. I did. And once conception took place, it's a whole new ballgame. First of all, the kid has to be born...Either that or your guts get stretched by a group of cells that progressively multiply into a person who just grows and grows and grows. Better to dynamite the little sucker out of there before he grows beyond the size of a Thanksgiving Turkey and makes the movie, Alien, seem more autobiography than sci-fi.

Okay, so they're born. You survive toddlerhood. You re-learn Second Grade Math and realize, probably for the first time since birth, that you are really, really stupid. That's bad, but that's not what does you in.

They become teenagers.

Yeah, like the one your parents used to warn you about by saying, "I hope you have a kid just like yourself one day. Then you'll see what hell you've put us through!"

At the time you didn't believe you'd ever see anything eye to eye with your parents. You figured you'd certainly NEVER parent like them, so what was the big deal? If you had a kid like yourself, you'd understand him or her and be a much better parent than your stupid parents ever thought about being!

Damn. That pride goeth before a fall thing just up and kicked my ass.

You see, the first kid was nothing like me. And the second one showed no signs of my former rebellious behavior. He hates conflict. He does whatever he can to stay on my good side. He does really well in school. He's quiet...too quiet...

The sneaky little bastard!

It's late, but I see the signs now and I'm on to him!

He's got a girlfriend. She appears to be a sweet thing, but hell, I appeared to be a sweet thing, too. He talks to her for hours and hours at a time. He won't talk to us, his family, but HER, well, apparently he'll tell her any damned thing. I've heard him. "She's making me clean up my room...Yeah...I know. I know!" Sure I'm making him clean up his room. It's a freaking health hazard! It's littered with fast food wrappers, tiny bits of paper, dirty socks and clothes...And the further kiss of death and sign that my parents' wish is coming true....His room is just like my room was when I was his age... Before I discovered cleanliness is next to avoiding a diphtheria epidemic.

Then...He tells me if I go to the 8th grade dance as a parent volunteer/chaperone, he won't go! He doesn't want me on the property! "It's embarrassing, Mom! It makes me look like a pansy!" His brother, 2 years older, says "Ben, you're 14. Mom gets to mortify you for a couple of more years until you learn how to work her so she doesn't do it to you. When you're 16 you get to drive, then you can get away from her!" I whap him upside the head and he laughs and I'm charmed... So yes, the 16 year old jerk has learned to play me...But his younger brother is not so sharp...Okay, so maybe he is as sharp as his brother because when he said he wouldn't go to the dance if I volunteered, I looked into his eyes and saw...Well, his eyes were bright with tears and he looked so absolutely pained that I suddenly felt how very hard, embarrassing and mortifying it must be to try and dance for the first time with your first girlfriend...And to have to do it with your mother watching your every move? Oh, I so felt it! Damn. I was siding with my son against my own self!

But I came back to my senses with the arrival of the next sign that my youngest son is turning into my worst personal, parental nightmare...

Not only does he think I'm stupid and to be avoided; not only does he give me the barest of details and none of the pertinent information in his life...Now, in his quest to apparently be the child my parents wished I would have...Ben has added another log to the fire of my eternal damnation...

He likes all the music I used to like! He's listening to Led Zepplin, the Allman Brothers, Cream, Pink Floyd...This is a disaster! Where did I go wrong? He's growing his hair...I led the boys in my high school in a sit-in because of the dress/hair length code...and now Ben's growing his!

I was the teenager from Hell and now, in my own house, despite my careful, not-like-my-own-mother parenting, I have bred my own little hellion! I am immeadiately going to enter into negotiations with a security firm. I need motion detectors, lights, infared cameras, bodyguards...I'm bugging the phone, the computer, the bathroom. I'm marking the liquor bottles, taking the important thingy off the carburator, getting a larger, smarter dog...a herding dog.

How on earth has this happened to me?

I know what's next...that's what the Hell part of all this is...You know what's coming for you because you once brought it down upon your own parents!

Yeah, but they deserved it, I say, but what did I do? What? I mean...It's not as if I act like my mother did or anything! I'm always there...volunteering at school, checking up on things, driving him to and from school and to his friends' houses, monitoring his whereabouts. I mean, it's not as if I'm "intrusive" or anything!

God, you'd think I wrote about him in my blog and published it or something!!!!


No, Thank You. I Really Prefer Not To Be Swept Off My Feet!

It was the way he moved that made me notice him...lean, muscular, panther-like agility, all packaged in faded jeans that hugged all the best places, leaving very little to my starved imagination. He walked toward me, across the ballfield, watching me, tasting me with his eyes.

This had been going on for almost an hour. From the moment he'd spotted me, he'd studied me with an honest hunger that declared his intent more than words ever could. And now he was striding across the field, coming for me. I knew he was coming for me.

My heart caught in my throat. My body ached with the possibility of his imagined caress. It had been so long. So very long.

Surely I was imagining things. He couldn't be coming for me...was he?

Oh, yes he was.

He walked right past the other moms, climbed the metal bleacher seats, taking them two at a time, until he was standing right in front of me, undeniably present...waiting.

He smelled like leather and sweat and hunger and I have never wanted anyone as much as I did in that one moment.

He held out his hand, more command than invitation.

I let him draw me to my feet, felt the world spin around me and knew with embarassing certainty that I was about to faint. It was desire, taking my breath; blood leaving my head to flood the swollen, aching parts of a body that knew all too well what this stranger offered.

My traitorous knees began to buckle. He moved, scooping me up in strong, sure arms, and smiled down at me.

"To hell with waiting," he said. "I'm taking you home, right now."

I struggle out of his arms to stand before him. "Oh, really, thanks so much for your kind offer but I don't really want to be swept off my feet. I prefer something a little less...well, shall we say, directive? I mean, I'm sort of an equal give and take kind of person, you know?"


She said what??? She doesn't want to be swept off her feet?! She doesn't want a handsome stranger to pick her out of a crowd and carry her off for what will surely be the thrill of a lifetime? She doesn't want romance and passion?

Hello?! Is there anybody out there who wants a sweet, bland love affair?

According to my informal, unscientific study, nine out of ten women want to be swept off their feet...(and I'm still not sure what the tenth one was really saying when I asked her!)

You know why?

Because there's hardly a one of us who doesn't long to be taken; swept off our feet, carried away and overwelmed by passion, emotion and the thrilling raw sensuality of a lover who knows and takes what he wants.

The takers, the tops, those lovers we all love to look down on publically seem to be the very ones we lust after privately. Why is that?

How can we survive like this?

I mean, here we are wanting to be equal partners, but we long to be taken past the point of no return in the steamy darkness of our bedrooms.


I had a lover like that. It was so smoking hot in bed I thought I would die from overindulgence...for about six months...then I was ready to kill him! He was so obnoxious, so overbearing, so freaking paternalistic!

I loved fighting with him. It was so raw; so in his face; so undeniably honest and without manipulation.

It was also so all-the-time constant!

I had to fire him. He just wore me out!

Still...if only behind closed doors, I long for that sweep you off your feet, take your breath, you can't stop this, kind of passion. Don't get me wrong, I like give and take. I like to play my own games successfully, but dazzle me with strength and confidence and I will follow you anywhere.

Which leads me to my next idea...

If the sweepers are so hard to find and in such demand...I'm thinking about switching over.

Those manly types love to have the tables turned on them. I mean, look at Halle Berry in Catwoman or Angelina Jolie in Tombraider. How hard can it be? I'll just throw on a pair of kakhi shorts, grab a sleeveless white T-shirt, lace up my construction worker boots and strap on a tool belt...better yet, I'll run down to North State Feed and Seed and pick up a bullwhip. I mean, how hard can it be, cracking that whip?

It sure didn't look hard when Halle did it!

I figure one day, years after I'm gone, they'll put up a monument...Something big, but tasteful. Something to remind us all that playing by the rules isn't all it's cracked up to be. The monument will mark the end of an era. Little girls will stand around it and gaze up at my Xena-esque bronze likeness and then turn to their mommies, puzzled.

"You mean women used to wait for men?" they'll cry. "How silly!"

Their mothers will smile ruefully. "Well, honey, that was a long, long time ago...We were still a little shy about tasting power, so we had no idea how intoxicating it could be."

The woman's husband slips his arm around her waist, lets his hand slip slowly lower to caress her before he playfully pinches the firm bottom. Their eyes meet; the promise of later clear in their exchange. The heat of impending passion makes the warm summer afternoon seem suddenly hot. There is no aphrodasiac like power.

In the background you can hear the sound of whips snapping sharply as a classful of Girl Scouts surround their leader, practicing for their next merit badge.

Nearby a few young boys lounge beneath a tree, watching the girls with unabashed interest.

"Why can't I find me a woman like that?" one asks.

Why indeed?


The Crush of Returning Spring...

Some nerve I have, feeling sorry for myself! Dragging around the house all night, painting the trim in my bedroom and crying like a baby. What a pitiful sight that must've been! It's that single mom thing rearing its ugly head again. It's hard. Sometimes it feels like I'm trying to paddle my canoe upstream and not only don't I have a paddle...there's a hole in the boat!

Dear me!

Clearly someone forgot to count her blessings!

No one's dead. No one's sick. No one's coming to take the house. The power's on. I have a book contract. I have happy boys. And I have amazing friends.

Have I forgotten already the way the day started?

It's Spring. I walked outside this morning and the tulips were just opening their petals, offering their sepials up to the warm sunlight. The rose bushes had thousands of buds on them. And, even better, my youngest son and I were on time to drop him off at school without getting stuck in the early morning, late drop-off, carpool line.

Love was in the air. My boy has his first, sweet girlfriend and I am soooo not allowed to talk about it, or watch too openly, or dare discuss how it feels or how it felt when I was just a young girl in love with my first boyfriend!

Spring is for love and crushes.

Everything is new and green and beginning all over again. Just like a new love, or the fresh kiss feel of a flirtation...

I love the excitement of discovery. I can't begin to write a new romance without falling slightly in love with someone. I am forced to wait until just the right one comes along to trigger my fantasies...

In Sophie's Last Stand, which comes out May 1, I saw my crush in a small deli in New Bern, NC. He was standing with a small boy. His hair was cut bottle-brush short, his eyes were an electric blue that sparkled as they met mine from across the room. He smiled and I melted right into him.

He sat in a booth across the room from me, but every time I looked up, there he was, smiling...his blue-gray eyes promising me a lifetime of fantasies.

My sister said, "He's staring at you!"

I knew it! And what did I do?

I ran right out of the deli! Just as I knew he was about to approach me, I ran!

What a scaredy cat! But hey, a great romance novel came out of that one!

I thought about that today. I thought about how few men have ever admitted to having a crush on me and how delicious it feels to learn that someone "likes you!" It is rare and sweet and utterly the stuff that fantasies are made of.

Take Miss Annie for example...

I walked into her room at the nursing home today, sat in the chair across from her rocker and admired the hundreds of cow figurines that cover every nook and cranny of that small, cinder-block room. She was wearing a pearl necklace, ornate with a huge pearl medallion that dangled against her thin chest. In fact, as I studied her, I realized Miss Annie was dressed up, as if going to church, but this was Tuesday and Bingo was long over.

"Oh, yes, I went to Bingo," she said. "My young man took me." Annie blushed and gave me a sly little grin. "Do you know him?"

I'm thinking, a new orderly? A male nurse? A volunteer?

But no, it's Otis, the man who lives in the room next to Annie. He's 82. She's 91. That makes him her "young man!" Annie has a suitor! They go to all the activities together, and this after she asked the social worker if Otis was "a little slow" because he didn't immeadiately comprehend Four Square Bingo!

"I've been to his room," she told me in a conspiratorial whisper.

Oh, dear God, too much information!!!

But no. "He's quite fastidious! Not a speck out of place. I do adore a clean man!"

Ah, and they are so hard to find, too!

I left Annie, daydreaming of love and wandered on to Walter.

He is dying of Huntington's Chorea. 50 but looking so much younger, the staff sits him up in the hallway because if left alone he tries to hurl himself from his wheelchair. It is all he can do...paralyzed, sentenced to watch his body seize up and abandon him, knowing that eventually he will go insane and shake uncontrollably...Walter's wife and 2 babies left him after he was diagnosed. He's watched his father and 2 brothers die.

He is mine and I am his.

He watches me as I walk down the hallway. His eyes glisten. His face is frozen in a perpetual goofy grin. He is patient with me, repeating over and over again the simple phrases that I work to understand. He sighs and tries again because, perhaps, I will understand, finally...just as I did that first day we met. He struggled, fighting to form the words yet again, sighing and trying until at last the lights came on and I looked at him, comprehending. "You miss your mother?"

"Yesh, mish mo-har!"

"I miss my mother."

The boy missed his mother. Such a simple and yet basic thing. I called her and she came that weekend to sit by his bedside.

Now Walter says the same thing every time he sees me and I no longer work to understand him. He looks at me, eyes bright, and says "I love you. I love you."

And I take his hand, touch his arm, and say "I love you, too."

How can I feel sorry for myself when a man like Walter loves me? When Spring is in the air and my boy has a date for the 8th grade dance? When Miss Annie grins and beats Crazy Pearl away from her table in the dining room saying, "I'm sorry, this seat is reserved...I have a young man coming."

What match are bills and pride when put up against the shining face of Springtime?

The baseboards are painted. The tears have dried. And tomorrow is a new day in Single Mom Land. We'll kick ass tomorrow!


Stop It Before It Breeds Again!!!

This winter, while I was busy writing two novels, working three jobs and raising two boys, my basement had sex. That is the only explanation for the population explosion below the decks of my 1750 sq. foot ranch house.

I came up for air around March 15th and ventured downstairs to clear a path through the laundry room. This led to a trip to my office...you know, that room where we're supposed to keep files, important papers, all the receipts needed to do the taxes! I couldn't get through the door! All winter long, whenever bills, papers, books arrived, I shoved them into the room...Okay, and if I must be completely honest...I flat threw the things in there, along with extra clothes, junk from my other office move, boxes of candles and junk Martha needed to clear out of her house before she put it on the market and stuff I bought at Goodwill that I just knew would sell like hotcakes on eBay. Of course, I'd have to take the pictures and write the descriptions before I posted the listings and with 2 books on the way, who could find the time to write a paragraph about a stupid pair of Lucky jeans?!

I am an optimist. I bought the myth of my generation...If you work hard, miracles can happen. Oh so NOT! I labored for days downstairs and guess what? It's actually much worse!!!

My friends have offered to help, but if I take them up on their kind offers they'll find out what a horrible person I really am! I mean, the health department might condemn my basement! My Ex might sue for custody. I might find a dead body and that would necessitate writing yet another book!

I was so sure that finishing this last book would return my life to "normal" but instead the little wheel inside my cage just keeps spinning faster and faster and the basement just keeps right on having sex!

The good news is...I cleaned out my bedroom closet and managed after 2 weeks to fill my car with Goodwill donations.

The bad news?

I threw everything that I couldn't quite throw out down the laundry chute and the hungry basement gobbled it up!