Herman Melville and Me

Ankylosing Spondylitis:

Ankylosing spondylitis is a long-term disease that involves inflammation of the joints between the spinal bones, and the joints between the spine and pelvis.

These joints become swollen and inflamed. Over time, the affected spinal bones join together.

I was recently diagnosed with degenerative disk disease and arthritis in my hips and so I went crazy and googled up a storm.  This AS disease caught my eye and I became convinced I have this, as well as Multiple sclerosis, Fibromyalgia, and countless other disorders.  Don’t google your  symptoms, Peeps.

But shortly after that, I came across an article about famous writers and their various medical conditions.  Turns out Herman Melville had AS.  And I became convinced that this meant that I am also destined to be a great writer.  Because I am so humble like that.

Haha.  Go ahead and laugh.  I’ll allow it.

Later, Peeps.


Is that bad?

As a companion to my Motherhood Monday’s feature of Kiddie Comic Relief, I will also be posting questions I ask myself about mothering.

Is it bad if…:

  • The kids asked for animal crackers for breakfast and I gave them some?  That’s ok, right?  Most of my FB friends seem to think so.
  • I sometimes “treat” my kids with activities they’d be a part of regardless, like going grocery shopping? I tell them they can’t go unless they clean up ( or finish their lunch, or stop fighting, etc).  It actually works.  Suckers.
  • During the spring and fall months when we have our house windows open, I often tell the girls that if they play/sing/fuss too loudly that our neighbors will call the cops and we’ll go to jail?
  • I once told Loopsy that the bottom drawer of her dresser was filled with tiny polka-dotted monkeys that like to eat children just so she’d stop opening it and throwing her clothes all over the room?  In my defense, she was only about 2 at the time, and I didn’t think she was really paying attention.  I certainly didn’t count on her actually believing me.
  • Hubs and I ate all the good (read: chocolate) candy from their Halloween buckets and we told them that they must’ve eaten them?

I’m definitely going to hell for some of these.

Secret Scroogies Unite!!

So, Peeps, miracles do happen.  I believe, I do.

I was hitting brick walls in my search to connect to families in need.  The schools, churches, PTAs and other organizations I’d contacted were unable to cooperate for one reason or another.  I started researching other avenues to help, like hooking up with a toy drive or Breakfast with Santa.

But then overnight, I get an email from a group called Santa for Sandy Survivors.  They have a list of families and can get all the information we need to adopt families!!!

I am proud for Secret Scroogies to join efforts with Jadey Jade and her group!  They have a live spreadsheet detailing needs as they come in.  Here’s our chance to do real good!!!

Please contact me or Santa for Sandy Survivors:









Kiddie Comic Relief III

  • After sampling some of her Halloween stash, Loopsy declared Skittles the best M&Ms ever, prompting me to Google the number of that DNA testing place that Maury Povich uses because clearly I am not her real mother.
  • I sang a silly made up song to the girls the other day in a terrible off-key voice.  I asked them if they liked my singing.  Lala said that I’m the best singer, but that Daddy is the best dancer.  If you’ve ever seen my Hubby dance or heard me sing, you’ll realize just what I did…  This kids are full of shit.
  • At a restaurant, a nice lady stopped to talk to the twins.  She asked them if they have a special secret language.  Lala told her yes, sometimes they whisper to each other.  She asked them what they whisper about and Loopsy answered, “We say, ‘Why is Mommy so grumpy?'”  Sigh.
  • They both just told their Daddy that he’s going to be on the naughty list because he is yelling.  He was not yelling.


Secret Scroogies Down to the Wire

Hi everyone out there in the blogosphere…

My holiday project is chugging along and decisions have to be finalized.

If you would like to be a Secret Scroogy and give to families in SINY that are short on comfort and joy this holiday season, please contact me by Monday November 26!

If you, or someone you know, are in need of comfort and joy this year and would like to receive a Secret Scroogy gift, please contact me by Wednesday November 21!!!  (All personal information will be confidential)

Secret Scroogy gifts will include, just like I stated, some comfort & joy.  (Comfort- warm clothes, a blanket, or gloves/hats for each family member; Joy-a small gift for each family member).

So many people want to help, so many feel the need to give back because we are so blessed.

So…  Christmas is coming, Peeps!  Let’s get this show on the road!!!


Here are links and contact info:


Twitter profile @SecretScroogies

Email me at hecallsmescroogy@aol.com.

Dusk to Decide

“You sure you feel well enough for a walk tonight, Annie?”  Tony asks as I’m holding my breath to tie my horrendously smelly sneakers.  He is speaking normally, I remind myself, and I try to deal with his voice seeming so  loud that I can feel my hair vibrating.  “You’ve been sick on the couch most of the day.”

“I think the fresh air will do me some good, babe.”  I stop and give him a quick kiss, careful not to cringe at the fading garlic aroma on his breath from tonight’s dinner’s alfredo sauce.  I grit my teeth against the scrape of the wool and pull on my hooded cable knit sweater.  “Just make sure the twins get their allergy meds after their bath.  I’ll be back soon.”  I say, and I know I might be lying.

“You have your cell phone?” He shouted through the door I’d just locked behind me.  No need to be so loud there, dude.  But still, I shouted back that I did.

Okay, Courtney.  What now?  I skip down the front steps of my house and onto the sidewalk.  I feel freer and lighter than I have all day.

It begins.

After fitting my ear buds (which feel the size of wine corks) in my ear, I switch on my iPod to the lowest volume possible and laugh at the irony that the first song in the shuffle is Bullet With Butterfly Wings.  The world is a vampire…

Just as I reach my favorite part of my neighborhood walk, the cresting hill where Leslie Ave meets Edro, just as I’m admiring the last trace of pink in the twilight sky, she’s there.

Suddenly I’m weightless.  I feel her behind me, cold as stone and just as hard, her marble arm encircling my waist as she lifts us higher, faster and faster.  We are soaring above the trees, the wind roaring like jet planes in my ears, the cold biting into my skin like razors.

And just as quickly as we went up, we descend.  She lets me go and I tumble to the dry leaves covering the rec soccer field.   I’m engulfed in their crunchy, earthy aroma.  I get up to my feet and after my head stops swimming, I turn to face her.

“Why?” I ask breathlessly.  I take off my earphones and wrap the cord up before shoving it all in my pocket.

“What did you think was going to happen?”  She says snidely, dropping to the grass and sitting with her legs folded like a child at story time.

“You’re a dream.”  I stand, stubbornly before her and cross my arms.  I can be childish too.


“Are you really-”

“A vampire?  Yes.  You know all about me, Annie.  You’re writing a goddamn book.”

I lower myself to the field next to her.

“I thought it was fiction.”

“I know you did.  I know.  Your fiction’s much better than my reality, let me tell ya.”  She lays back, rests her head on her folded arms, and sighs.

“How?”  I start pulling the grass out in handfuls, wiping the blades off my palms, pulling again.

“I dream-jacked you.”


“Its sorta this thing I do for fun.”  She’s star-gazing, talking to me like we were discussing casserole recipes.  “Hey, is that Venus?”  She points to a bright light in the indigo sky.  “I really should learn more about astrology.  Or is astronomy.  I always get those mixed up.”

“Astronomy.”  I answer and lay back to observe the heavens with my new undead BFF. “So…  dream-jacking?”

“Right.  I get bored.  It’s not like vampires sleep at night like the rest of the world.  So, I sometimes enter people’s dreams.  It’s like watching a movie that I can be a part of.”

“So, why me?”

She chuckles.  “I was in the neighborhood?”

“Listen, jackhole, you freakin drained most of my blood.  Something about me is changing.  I need answers.”  I sit up and turn to face her. “Serious ones.”

“Okay, settle down.”  She sits up and turns to me.  We are now sitting knee to knee in the middle of a soccer field.  This is surreal.  “I really just found you randomly, I swear.  But your dreams were different.  I liked how your mind worked.  I kept coming back.  Eventually you had a dream about writing a horror novel.  I started to play around with you, to show you.”

“So all of that, every word I’ve written, came from you?”

“Give yourself some credit, Anne.  You do have a way with words.”  She brushes a stray piece of grass off the knee of my sweatpants.  Even through the material, I can feel how icy is her touch.  I scoot back, suddenly feeling too close.

“Why did you bite me?”

“You deserve it.”

“Excuse me?  I deserve to be bled to death?”

She throws her head back in laughter, the rising moonlight sparkling on her crimson curls.

“Now who’s the jackhole, huh?”  She smiles at me, her cobalt eyes twinkling with amusement.  “You deserve this.”  She gestures to herself, to the night sky, to everything.  “The Gift.”

My heart thunks to my gut and back again.  Did she just offer me immortality?  Is this happening?  Maybe I’m having a stroke.  This cannot be real.

I stand up and start walking towards the wooden bleachers.  All I can see is the ground before me, all I hear is the churning of my belly, I am tormented by one thought.

She’s already sitting on the top row when I make it there.  Sneaky fast.  I sit on the bottom row.  I need space.

“Will I die?”

“Not unless you want to.  I am giving you a choice here.”

“If I choose to live, what will happen to me?”

“Your body is already working on making new blood, but I can take to to a nurse friend of mine for a transfusion to speed it up.  You’ll be good as new.”  Soundlessly, she’s next to me, on the opposite end of the row.  “Well, at least you will be once my venom- the reason your neck is still so pink and fresh where I bit you- fades in a few days.  Unless…”


“Unless you choose to go the other way.”

“How does that work?  Will it hurt?”

She’s closer now, I can feel the cold radiating off her body.

“No.  The worst part was last night.  You passed out, so…”  She shakes her head in mock shame.

I laugh, “You scared the shit out of me Courtney.”

“Sorry.”  She literally wipes the smile off her face and shows her best imitation of contrition.

“What happens if I choose your way?”

“I’ll have to draw a little of your blood to get the circuit started, but then I’ll fill you with my blood.”

“Fucking gross.”

“Hey, don’t knock it.”  She shoulder-nudges me jokingly.  “Then we’ll go to the earth at dawn, and when we wake next dusk, you’ll be a vampire.”

“What about my family?”  I am staring at my hands, twirling my wedding rings.

“What about them?”  With her index finger, She turns my face so I can look at her.  Her eyes are so startlingly clear, so earnest. “You’ll always be able to protect them.”

“But what if I want to-”

“Eat them?”  Her hand drops from my chin.  She moves to kneel before me, and takes my hands in hers.


“I won’t let you.”

“I don’t know.  I don’t…”  I let my words trail off, feeling the panic starting to rise.  My heart is beating so fast, I am sure I’m going to pass out.

“Ok.  Let me show you something.”  And quick as a flash, her arms are around me and we are up and away into the night.










In Gratitude of Generosity

This time of year, especially, I become gleefully aware of all that others do to help others, to give back.

Whether it’s the support I’m getting for my Secret Scroogies project, or the guys I see participating in No Shave November, or the multitudes of other bloggers working on helping others this season.  I am in awe of Glennon from Momastery and Jill from Scary Mommy and the communities of generosity they have established.

So, run that Race for the Cure, give to the Zombie Flash Mob Food Drive, become a Monkee See, Monkee Do… or, of course, a Secret Scroogy.

I promise that you’ll feel so gracious and thankful for your efforts. 


Twitter handle @SecretScroogies

email: hecallsmescroogy@aol.com

Soundtrack of my life

I wasted a whole lot of time today (when I should’ve been writing my novel) making a playlist on Spotify.

I decided that I needed background music to inspire my creativity.  Yeah, that’s the ticket…

Since Courtney is in college for the first part of the novel, and it’s set back when I was ACTUALLY in college, I spent time researching all my favorite songs from the mid 90s.  I rediscovered my love of R.E.M. and Smashing Pumpkins.  I remembered that obsure-ish band I liked called Fuzzy.  I finally admitted that now that grunge is over, I kinda did like Salt n Pepa and TLC, and I’m okay with that.

It’s amazing how songs can take you back.  Just last week I heard November Rain on the radio and remembered hanging out with my college dorm-mates one rainy November afternoon listening to that song with the lights off and the window shade all the way up.  Just watching the rain fall in the Quad.  It really wasn’t as cheesy as it sounds, Peeps.  Okay, maybe it was.

Right now, I’m listening to 4 NonBlondes.  OMG, remember them?  Gah.  Love this song.  “And I try… Oh my God, do I try…”  I remember singing that with mock desperation with my friend Sarah over some, um, relaxation aids.  I wonder whatever happened to Sarah.

Those songs were on the soundtrack to my college experience.

Going way back to my childhood, well, those songs would be from Lionel Ritchie, The Bee Gees,  Barbara Streisand, James Taylor, The Beatles, Crosby, Stills, & Nash, Elton John, Carly Simon.  My parent’s favorites, obviously.

My high school tracks would include tunes from New Kids On The Block and Vanilla Ice mixed with INXS and  Depeche Mode.

Post college would include lots of Beastie Boys, Dave Matthews Band and Foo Fighters and dance/club music like “Mr. Vain” or “No Diggity”.

We all have a soundtrack to our lives you know.  What is on yours, Peeps?

Kids TV is rotting MY brain

I limit my kids’ TV viewing to movies or shows either on Netflix, on PBS, or on Disney Jr or Nick Jr (no commercials).  But still, these shows are driving me bonkers.

Here are some less than appropriate thoughts I’ve had or statements I’ve made or songs I’ve sung about kids programs:

1.  “Handy Manny IS a tool…”  sung to the Handy Manny School for Tools theme song.  To which Loopsy replied “No him not, Mama.  He’s a people.”

2.  Along the same vein, “Mickey is a Mouseketool, am I right?”  (Said to my “nephew” Matty Moo moo when he was about 5 and we were on the way to OBX for our first combined family trip.  He didn’t get it.  Not sure he even heard me.)  Happy 9th birthday Matthew!!

3.  Ruby from Max & Ruby gets on my last damn nerve.  I mean, where are her parents?  They probably left because she’s such a bitch.  (Going to Hell for that one, Peeps.)  Why does she have such control issues?  Max is USUALLY right…  You’d think by now she’d give the poor kid more credit.  Poor Max.

4.  Caillou.  I mean, need I say more?  I’ve made up lyrics to his theme song too.  “I’m just a whiny-butt, I never have some fun, I keep on whining I’m Caaaaiiillloou…”  I’ve asked my kids again and again why he has no hair, but his baby sister Rosie does.  They say it’s because he’s a boy.  Whatever.  His parents are clearly on some good pharmaceuticals.  They are way too relaxed and easy-going and patient with his antics and whining.  He’s a big whiner, in case my song wasn’t clear.  Stupid Caillou.

5.  Some theme songs just get stuck in my head.  On endless loops of animated insanity.  Special Agent Oso (he’s a unique stuffed bear, btw).  Gaspard & Lisa (“Hello, Bonjour!).  My Big Big Friend (OMG…  we get it.  He’s your friend and he’s big. Carry on.).  Sid the Science Kid (Hey, Sid, whattaya say?  Shut it, Sid!!!)  At this very moment, the twins are watching Toy Story 3, and I guaran-damn-tee I’ll be singing or humming “You’ve got a friend in me…”  all the live long day.


The Scroogy Family Band

Loopsy, Lala and I have formed a band.

Loopsy plays Lead Recorder, Lala heads up the rhythm section with a mean Paper Mate pen on a plate.  And I, of course, am on Vocals.

We just did a rocking rendition of Twinkle Twinkle Little Star.

I think the band is heading for internal strife though.  Loopsy keeps demanding bagels and Lala wants to go to Little Katelyn’s and I just want to write my blog then do the dishes.

This would be the point on Behind the Music where we’d break up, I think.