Find the time to write

Note: I used Grammarly for proofreading online because sometimes even the biggest grammar snobs don’t catch their own mistakes. Disclosure: This post is sponsored by Grammarly. Every once in a while I do sponsored posts because they help me contribute to my family or do fun things like go to conferences. All bad writing and terrible metaphors are clearly my own. Thank you for supporting the companies that support Genie in a Blog.


I wrote my first book in the third grade.

It was composed on standard 20 lb, white copy paper, with half of the page dedicated to the story and half to the illustration. I held both roles. It was a Goldilocks and the Three Bears-inspired plot, but all I remember was that instead of running away, my protagonist shot at the bears. With a gun. The bullets went right through them, and now she had a bunch of holey bears trying to eat her. In the end (SPOILER ALERT!) she woke up, and alas, it was all a dream.

One, I’m not sure how I escaped therapy with that one, and two, good God I wish I could get my hands on that book so I could bask in its ridiculously terrible terribleness.

I always loved writing short stories. I remember just starting to write and eventually losing myself in the story. But growing up, art was always my thing, so that’s the direction I took in my education. As I got older, there wasn’t much time for reading that wasn’t on a syllabus, and even that was minimal at best. Let’s just say there was no time for reading that wasn’t on the back of a cereal box or case of beer.

I journaled through college, and a little after, but really only when I was pissed off about something. That guy’s drawings look like a pig threw up on the paper and then wallowed in it! I have no idea why the professor is so in love with him! [Insert various scribble scrabble and angry doodles here.]

I started blogging when my girls were 6 months old, and I quickly realized that I loved channeling my creativity into the keyboard. The anxiety and stress and apathy I had felt about creating visual art didn’t exist here. Now I knew wanted to become a writer. I actually googled “how to become a writer.”


But I guess it’s not too lame, because I found the same answer time and time again. The key to becoming a writer is to just write. Write in a journal, write on a blog, write on scraps of paper and compile them into a cute little pocket sized mini-book that will make you millions in check out stand, impulse-buy sales.

I don’t have time to write, you say. I know. Me either. As a parent to three kids ages 5 and under, finding time to write for myself is my biggest challenge, especially if I’m working to meet deadlines for other sites. But I squeeze it in when I can. I’m typing this hurriedly – typos and all – while browning up some taco meat for dinner, while the kids watch Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs. I’ll edit it later, hopefully before I hit publish. So for all of you who want to write but don’t know when to write, here are a few suggestions.

How to find time to write when you are a parent (the eternal question)

In the early morning, before anyone in your house wakes up. Just know that as soon as you settle in with your coffee and your laptop, one of your children is going to get up. Even if you are up at 5 am and they never – EVER – rise until 7? They will choose this day to get up at 5:13.

When the children have all gone to school. This may be your best bet if you are a work at home parent. Good luck ignoring all the laundry and dishes and other chores that you can really only get done when the house is empty.

Actually, I do a pretty good job ignoring that stuff.

During “naptime.” I use elaborate, dramatic air quotes here because there are no naps in the Torres house. Our only downtime is usually Pixar related. But any quiet downtime is a good time to unload some of the words that have been in your  brain all day.

At night, after all the young ones have gone to bed and the house is quiet. Never mind your spouse bugging you with a million things that have obviously been piling up in his brain all day like “Hey, remember when I use to like Cheez-Its? Crazy, right?”

When you’re staring blankly at Facebook. I actually tend to stare at Facebook when I’m feeling tired, overwhelmed, and I don’t think I could focus on writing. But if you shut Zuckerberg out for a while, you’d be surprised what you can get done.

WHEN YOU CAN. This is the only real answer. Inspiration can hit at the absolute worst moments: in the shower, as you’re  about to turn out your light at 12:21 am, or as the kids are all running around like wild animals and you. can. not. think. Mornings may work best, but you may get a wave of inspiration in the evening. I’ve been known to open up a new draft and jot down a few notes or type up some specific lines I would like to use in a post. Sure, I’m sitting on about 103 unfinished drafts right about now, but that’s neither here nor there. Clearly I’m waiting for the next “naptime” to go through those.


Convincing yourself that you don’t have the time to write can be as crippling as thinking you don’t have anything to say. Just open that laptop or that journal, and get to writing.



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Saturday I took Rachel to her first birthday party without Claire. One kid. One twin.

I always feel rather anonymous with just one twin. No second glances, no stares, no Are they….? I feel so uncharacteristically normal.

I didn’t drop the news right away because I am a total chicken. I waited until a few hours before the party, partly procrastinating the discussion, but also because in typical Leigh Ann fashion, I had my dates wrong and thought the party was the following weekend. So I was also that parent hurriedly calling the night before to RSVP.

This is a bittersweet, yet necessary fact of life of being a twin and a twin parent. You know they will eventually be doing separate activities, making different friends, developing different interests, because that’s what normal kids do. And you, as a twin mom, have always been set on keeping things as normal as possible. They’re in separate classes because it’s best for their academic and social development. They’re going to get invited to different parties once in a while because sometimes kids only invite their class, and that’s okay.

Claire was a little hurt at first, not because she didn’t get invited. It was more just the fact that Rachel was getting to go to a party and she wasn’t. So we assured her that she and Zoe and Dad would do something fun while we were gone. They ended up jumping on the trampoline all afternoon, which is pretty much what Rachel did at the bouncy house, minus the cake. And honestly, if I had the option to stay home and bounce with no loud music and not having to cram myself into a room with 87 other people, I’d take it. But I’m a crotchety 35- year-old, not 5, so there’s that.

Some people would say to call the host and ask if sister could come, but I’m not comfortable with that. When Claire was invited to a party earlier in the year, the boy told his mom that she had a twin, and she graciously invited her as well. But I don’t expect all parents to know that I have another kid in a different class. These parties at these bouncy places can get expensive, and every head counts. And I can’t stand the thought of someone feeling guilty and saying yes, go ahead and bring her when they’re at max capacity already. Saturday’s event was at a place that caters to parties only, so it wasn’t even like we could bring the other 2 and pay admission for them.

So I know all of these things, and I’ve been mentally preparing for this since they were born, knowing that this is how I would handle it when it came up. I will tell parents not to feel bad about not knowing that the girls are twins!  But it still sucks because even in my own mind, I have a hard time separating them. They’ve done the same thing practically from birth — they ate at the same time, played at the same time, slept at the same time…kinda.  And let’s face it, life is easier when everyone does the same thing. Diversity is for people with greater attention spans than I.

I’m grateful that they are young enough that they can get over this quickly, and all it takes is a fun activity to smooth things over. There were no real hurt feelings. I keep thinking about a section in Abigail Pogrebin’s memoir, One and the Same: My Life as an Identical Twin and What I’ve Learned About Everyone’s Struggle to be Singular. Abigail and her sister Robin recall a time when Robin was invited to a party, but Abigail wasn’t, and Robin declined to go without her sister. It wasn’t that this girl didn’t know Robin had a twin; it was a clear case of her inviting one twin who was her friend, and not inviting the twin who wasn’t. And really you can’t blame her. It’s just unfortunate that the one she wanted to invite and the one she didn’t happened to be identical twins.

And twinship often trumps non twin relationships.

When we returned, Claire hugged her and said, “I’m glad you’re back!” And that was that. I’m not sure how these scenarios will play out in the future, and I imagine we’ll just take them as they come. Maybe their twinship will become common knowledge, and an invitation for one will automatically incite an invitation for the other. Or maybe the day will come when one has to decide if she wants to attend a function to which her sister wasn’t invited. All we can do is wait and see.


Amazon links are affiliate links. One and the Same is one of my most highly recommended books for twins, twin parents, or anyone who is close to a twin. It’s a fascinating read.

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Some Stuff

Let’s just start with this, shall we?


I love me some Daryl Dixon.

I haven’t done Some Stuff in a while. I usually save it for the weekends, and then…well if you can believe it, I’m even lazier on the weekends than I am during the week.

Some Stuff

In case you missed me spouting it all over the place, I’m co-producing the Austin production of Listen to Your Mother with my friends Kristin and Heather. I’m so excited to be a part of this amazing movement.


I get pitches a lot from local (and non local) companies asking me to get the word out about their business. One that caught my eye most recently was from Delysia Chocolatier, a local, woman-owned business based here in Austin that offers gourmet chocolates in various flavors and designs for special occasions. Check out their Kickstarter campaign to fund the creation of a new state of the art kitchen and chocolate education center. I actually had the chance to meet owner Nicole Patel at BlogathonATX and taste her amazing product. Again, and again, and again. She had one made with the spicy rub from the Salt Lick and the I died and went to chocolate heaven.


There’s yet another MomCom Austin coming up January 24-25, 2014. This year founder Trish Morrison has outdone herself with the speakers, who include Glennon Melton from Momastery (!!!), Karen Walrond from Chookaloonks (!!!), and many, many more. This year’s event is a 2 day affair, and it will be a blast!


Also…I just bought my ticket to BlogHer 14! It will be my first time. Will you be there?

Some links

I’m pretty sure I came across some killer content over the web, but since I haven’t done Some Stuff in over a month, there’s no way I’m digging through my social media profiles to find them. But I did find these!

Gaudi’s unfinished masterpiece completed in 1 minute

Awesome people hanging out together

This mom right here.

The 33 dumbest things that have ever happened. Dying.

Lice outbreak!

Me, elsewhere

Moms disclose their deepest fears (mine is driving off a bridge into water and not being able to save all of my children. Aaaaaand now I need a Xanax.

Photos parents should stop posting to social media and why

Visit the museum! And other scary places! I wrote this after I got several surprised reactions that I managed to survive taking my 3 kids to the Blanton Museum of Art over the summer. You too can survive an outing with children! And it may actually be fun.

6 books for preemie parents. Did you know that November is Prematurity Awareness Month? Pass these reads on to your preemie parent friends.

Austin has a very cool Art in Public Places program.

We toured the Texas Governor’s Mansion. It was fun!


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Announcing Listen to Your Mother Austin 2014!

I am a jeans and tshirt kind of girl. Flip flops. Flats if I’m feeling fancy. Basically, I like being comfortable.

Things I don’t like include being in uncomfortable situations, trying new things, and the unknown. And pickles. I don’t really like pickles.

The last time I really stepped out of my comfort zone, I ended up on stage with 14 other fantastic writers, all of us sharing our stories about motherhood in the 2012 production of Listen to Your Mother Austin. The experience was, in the end, everything I had hoped it would be. I feel lucky to have forged so many relationships through LTYM and blogging.

What I’m trying to say here is that my comfort cover has been blown, and I’m forging new territory for myself, with the help of some friends. Kinda like the skinny jeans I bought last week. I’ve eyed them from a distance and finally tried them on. They fit and were comfortable, and as a bonus, no one screamed when I walked out of the dressing room.

I’m proud and nervous and excited and a bit squeamish to announce that Heather, Kristin, and I will be bringing you 2014 production of Listen to Your Mother Austin. We have big shoes to fill and a wonderful example to look up to from the past productions headed by Wendi and Liz, and also from all of the wonderful shows around the country. LTYM is coming to an astounding 32 cities this year, furthering the incredible movement that Ann Imig started back in 2010 with ONE show in Madison, Wisconsin.

The 2012 show left such an imprint on my life, I’m honored to get to join the team for this production, and we welcome your words and stories. I’ll keep you all posted on all the deets to come. Until then, enjoy this lovely video. You should know that I haven’t been able to watch it yet without crying.


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Should I even post about Halloween, or are we done with all that?

I know. You’re over it. Meh, I’ll do it anyway.

We had Batgirl, Batman (emphasis on the MAN), and a unicorn, despite telling anyone who would listen that she was going to be a butterfly. I have bought the supplies, child, YOU ARE A UNICORN. In case you think I’m projecting my own childhood issues of never getting my own unicorn costume, this is what she asked for about 57 times before she decided to start telling people otherwise.

We actually had a fantastic night trick or treating. We invited Rachel’s little bestie from her class to come with us, then ended up picking up a couple more kids that they knew, including Claire’s current love interest. And then she told his dad, with all earnestness:

“J gets a lot of negatives in class.” And he laughed. Because I’m sure he knew that.

Halloween week was pure hell, with a sick child home for 2 days, which put a kink in my productivity and runs for costume supplies. Yes, I am a costume maker.

I have this terrible, annoying habit of preferring to make things. I can’t even bring myself to buy a piece of art from a chain store because I know that a) there are ten thousand others just like it, and b) surely I could slap some paint on a canvas and have something original. Yes, please ask me if I take the steps to do that. Possibly related: my walls are pretty bare.

So I know I can go buy a Batman costume, but wouldn’t it just be more fun to make it??? The answer is no, it would not. It will be stressful and annoying and “measure twice cut once” and then cut again because you didn’t learn from last year to tack on a few extra lines of the ruler to everything.

Regardless, I cut some fabric, threw on some velcro and no-sew adhesive (because I don’t sew, and I’m too lazy even for iron-on adhesive), and about 238 man hours later, we had three costumes at a fraction of the price it would have cost to buy them, and that’s even with my gross overestimation of fabric, another lovely habit I am proud to carry around. If anyone needs a pink superhero cape, holler at me. I’m up to my ears in shiny cloth.

But wait. There’s more.

Thursday was also Science Day at school, where the kids were encouraged to dress up as a sciency word, Dress up = costume, and that’s just more work for me. We decided on the extremely complicated and advanced themes of Hot and Cold. Not too difficult, but bad timing, school. Bad timing. Although sources say that maybe I procrastinate a little and that adds to my stress level?

So Wednesday night I was up until 1 am making Science Day stuff AND working on costumes, then was up at 6 am to get the girls to school. After drop off I stopped at the library to ask about a book we drenched in milk (and now own! Yay!), and that’s when I found out that the Science Day parade was at 8. Yeah, it was on the marquee outside the school and I didn’t notice. I’VE BEEN BUSY. So I stuck around with about 5 other parents who actually remembered, and we watched them all march around as thermometers and suns and beakers. And Iron Man. One kid was Iron Man. Because eff it, it’s Halloween, and Tony Stark is the ultimate scientist, right?

And then I went home, did some dishes, puttered around with Zoe, finally dragged Christian out of bed (he took the day off, thank GOD), crawled into bed myself and passed out until noon, NO LIE.

THAT, my  friends, is how you know you need some sleep.

Also, we’re turning our clocks back tonight, which means my kids will be getting up at like 5am for the next week or so and drive me freaking bananas like last year. It was super fun. Happy Daylight Savings! Here’s a unicorn.


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Touch-A-Truck Benefiting Austin Children’s Shelter


I’m doing a rare, local giveaway here today, so if you’re not an Austin area reader, feel free to check in with me next time, and have a great weekend!


This giveaway is closed! Congrats to Carol for winning the family 4-pack of tickets!


On Saturday, November 2, 2013, Gorgeous Millie presents their third annual Touch-A-Truck event, benefiting the Austin Children’s Shelter. The event takes place from 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. at Bridgepoint Elementary School (6401 Cedar St). Parking is free at Riverbend Church (4214 N. Capital of Tx Hwy). In 2012 over 1800 people attended the event, and Georgeous Millie was able to hand over a $10,000 check to the Austin Children’s Shelter.

At Touch-A-Truck, kids will be able to see, touch, and climb into over 20 different vehicles: fire truck, police car, ambulance, limousine, and more. How fun would it be to see your kids crawling around these larger than life vehicles and talking to them about what they do? Hopefully this will be the only time my girls ever see the inside of a police car.

Along with the vehicles, kids can bounce around in a bounce house, get their face painted, and snuggle little animals in a petting zoo.

Admission for Touch-A-Truck is $5 per person at the door. Children 12 months and under are free. VIP tickets are available for $20, and include limited access from 9 a.m. – 10 a.m. (great way to b eat the lines!), premium parking spots, and free breakfast.

Now. Thanks to the lovely people at Gorgeous Millie, I have one (1) family 4-pack of general admission tickets to give away to a reader (a $20 value). All you have to do is leave a comment telling me which vehicle you think would be your kids’ (or your!) favorite to check out.

  • One comment/entry per person. Easy peasy.
  • Giveaway closes Wednesday, October 30, 2013 at 11:59 p.m.
  • Open to all US residents (but you’ll probably only apply if you’re in the Austin area…).

For more information or to purchase your own tickets, visit the Touch-A-Truck website or Eventrbrite page. Kids’ t-shirts are also available on the Eventrbrite page.


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Kate Hopper’s Ready for Air

 claire nicu preemie

From our first OB appointment to confirm my pregnancy, I knew I was high risk. Rachel and Claire were monozygotic/dichorionic twins, meaning that they resulted from the same egg and shared a placenta, but they each had their individual amniotic sac. Not the most risky twin scenario, but the chances of developing complications was high. Still, I went through the majority of my pregnancy with nothing but slight anemia giving me trouble. Except for the fact that I was exhausted and was a complete menace if I forgot my support belt, pregnancy was a piece of cake.

I knew preeclampsia was a possibility. But hearing it actually declared at 29 weeks sent jolts of panic through my body. I was ordered to go to work only to tie up the loosest of ends, then head straight to the drug store for a portable blood pressure monitor, then straight home to the couch, where I would remain for the next week until I was admitted to the hospital. The preeclampsia was progressing too quickly. I delivered a week later, at 31 weeks. My girls stayed in the NICU for a thankfully boring 38 days.

ready for air cover kate hopper

When I read Kate Hopper’s memoir Ready for Air: A Journey Through Premature Motherhood, I was dumbfounded by how eerily similar our stories were. Kate gave birth to her daughter Stella at 32 weeks after her own battle with preeclampsia. I felt my blood pressure rise just reading her account of her hospital stay (fun fact: I still get extremely nervous when I get my blood pressure taken). I felt her heartache. I knew her guilt of feeling like she had done something wrong, although the situation was beyond her control. I nodded in recognition as she described how the magnesium sulfate, a horrible, yet life saving drug, made her hot and sluggish, and I recalled many a nurse I too wanted to scream at because their bedside manner was less than stellar.

Her illness and Stella’s resulting NICU stay were all so familiar to me because I had lived them myself in such a similar way.

Kate’s memoir is a melodious read of a difficult time. She captivates the reader with her grace and candor, while still allowing her raw emotions and uncertainty of Stella’s future to show. And although mine and Kate’s NICU days are behind us, there’s nothing like the comfort of someone else knowing what you went through.  Kate’s story is real.

NICU Book Giveaway

Kate is graciously offering 15 NICUs a chance to receive a copy of Ready for Air. Please visit Kate’s blog and leave a comment with the name and address of the hospital you would like to receive the book, and specify whether it should go to a NICU or a family resource center. At the end of her virtual book tour, Kate will randomly pick 15 hospitals to receive signed copies of her book.

Ready for Air  Book Club Contest

Kate Hopper wants to come to your book club! The author of Ready for Air: A Journey Through Premature Motherhood and Use Your Words: A Writing Guide for Mothers, is giving your club a chance to win one of three Skype or phone chats with the author to discuss her memoir. To enter the contest, please e-mail
with the subject line “Ready for Air Book Club Contest,” and include a few sentences about why you’d like to have Kate visit your book club via Skype (or, if you’re in the Twin Cities, in person). Contest deadline: October 31st.

Ready for Air  is available for purchase at the following online retailers:




Barnes & Noble

About Kate

kate hopper headshotKate Hopper is the author of Ready for Air: A Journey Through Premature Motherhood and Use Your Words: A Writing Guide for Mothers. Kate holds an MFA in creative writing from the University of Minnesota and has been the recipient of a Fulbright Scholarship, a Minnesota State Arts Board Grant, and a Sustainable Arts Grant. Her writing has appeared in a number of journals, including Brevity, Literary Mama, Poets & Writers, and The New York Times online. She is an editor at Literary Mama. She teaches online and at the Loft Literary Center in Minneapolis. For more information about Kate’s writing and teaching, visit www.katehopper.com.



I was given a copy of Ready for Air and was asked to participate in Kate Hopper’s virtual book tour. All opinions, bad analogies, and typos are my own, as usual.


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This is how you know you found the one

Tuesday was my birthday. 35, that’s me! It feels a lot like 34, and 33  before that, but 32 sounds just plain young now.

The day lacked all fanfare, which is fine for 35. Celebrations were supposed to be held on Monday, only I hadn’t figured out a thing I wanted to do except visit Gorgough’s Doughnuts, because if you’re going to treat yourself, it may as well be a doughnut as big as your head, smothered in strawberries and cream cheese frosting. But instead of celebrations, the long weekend was filled with flu (Claire) and rain (the entire city of Austin).

About this flu business. Claire came down with a fever Friday evening, of course. I have a real “wait and see what happens” attitude towards fevers, especially with no other symptoms. The flu didn’t even cross my mind until Sunday when she still had a consistent fever, save a few periods of what I like to call Medicine High, where the fever was down and she bounced around the house until she once again crashed in a hard, terrible, feverish heap. Then what was once just a fever became OMG ALL THE GERMS! with every little cough and sniffle.

Even if she had been well, it rained all day Monday, so festivities were cancelled. Instead we hung around and watched TV all day. After three days of sickness, I can say that I have found the End of Netflix, and it’s Spooky Buddies.

 spooky buddies

I am terrible at birthdays, even my own. Christian said, “One of these days, I’m going to throw you another party.” The last one was my 30th. 5 years ago. I haven’t lamented not having a party since.

“Er, why?”

“Because it’s fun!”

“For whom?” I’m not trying to be a bitch. I just don’t like being the center of attention. I’ll attend your party all day long, but being the guest of honor stresses me out.


For dinner we opted for Chuy’s, the local Tex-Mex place, where I learned that dinners out with 3 young kids are overrated, even on your birthday. The bathrooms were nice though. I know because I made the trek three times.

And upon my return from the third trip, the waiter came by with the check and a heaping plate of fresh, hot sopapillas and honey.

“Someone told me that it was your birthday, but they also said you hate being sung to…so here you go!” And I couldn’t help but give Christian a thankful smile across the table. I could have died and gone to Heaven, not just because the sopapillas were melty in my mouthy delicious, but because in this moment I knew he really got me.

Also, the sopapillas. Because DUH.

I made it small so as not to scare you. Do I look any different at 35.1?


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The Best Neil Diamond Covers

I have a deep, abiding love for a good cover song. I’ve hardly met a cover song I didn’t like. Except the Flying Lizards’ cover of Barrett Strong’s “Money (That’s What I Want),” which was also covered much less terribly by the Beatles. But the Flying Lizards did end up winning me over a bit when the song was featured in the movie Empire Records. Man, that movie was the showcase of everything about the 90s that I loved and wanted to so be a part of, but I was a tad too young: the short skirts and boots, moody alternative music, and cute boys with long hair.

But back to the cover songs.

I have a soft spot for Neil Diamond. I grew up listening to his music, as my mom is a huge fan. In those days I just thought he was a fluffy haired, caterpillar-browed, sparkly shirted music man to the old folks. Now it’s one of the legacies I pull from my childhood, a source of comfort and nostalgia. One of those things that we realize as adults that we really did love, no matter how much we made fun of it at the time. If only a photo existed of him without the Farrah Fawcett ‘do and the sparkly, open collared shirt…

Oh wait.

Hello, Neil.

Now whenever I hear one of his songs, I belt it out like I’m his #1 fan. Because somehow I know all the words. I’m well aware that my kids will soon think of my favorites as Old People’s Music too, but I only hope that someday they grow to appreciate it for the music that it is, like I have my friend Neil. Still, I’m readying my cane and my “you kids don’t know what good music is!” lecture as we speak. Possibly related: I am getting old.

I heard this cover of “Solitary Man”by Johnny Cash on the radio today and thought it was fantastic. Yes, I realize it’s like 12 years old. I never claimed to be the first to hear about things.


And then it was down the rabbit hole of Neil Diamond cover songs on YouTube. Hours, I tell you. Here are my favorites.


Girl, You’ll Be a Woman Soon, Urge Overkill

Pulp Fiction. This might be one of my most favorite Neil Diamond covers EVER.


Sweet Caroline, Waylon Jennings

You can’t talk about Neil Diamond covers without throwing in Sweet Caroline. The most popular covers seem to be from Sinatra and Elvis, but this one’s more my style. I only like Big Band in my Christmas tunes.


You Don’t Bring Me Flowers, Barbara Streisand

I’m not a huge Babs fan, but this song is seriously gorgeous. She and Neil also did a duet that I remember fondly from my childhood.


I’m a Believer, The Monkees

Didn’t know this was a cover? Me either, for the longest time. The Monkees are another one of my favorite childhood memories. I watched the show every day after school on Nickelodeon, and had a mad crush on Davy Jones. Now I think I may be more of a Peter Tork girl.


Forever in Blue Jeans, Will Ferrell?

Of course there could never be a cover of Forever in Blue Jeans that beats this one. Because really? David Hasselhoff is the only other person who’s covered it? Someone else get on that, stat.


I didn’t find any good covers of some Neil classics like “Song Sung Blue” and “America.” Because like with most things, nothing beats the original. No one sings a Neil Diamond song like Neil Diamond. I’d have a hard time not snatching up tickets if he came to town.

Neil, you still got it. Also, you’re better with short hair.

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That time I witnessed a car accident

I witnessed a car accident today, on my way to pick the big girls up from kindergarten. We usually walk, but today Zoe and I had run an all important errand to Garden Ridge for random decorative crap.

If you’re not from Texas and don’t know what the hell Garden Ridge is, think humongous, unsavory-looking orange warehouse filled to the brim with all things home decor. And scrubs. I have no idea why they carry scrubs, but if you’re in the market, they’re over by the wicker baskets.

I was following a black sedan down a house-lined road with a relatively slow speed limit when a black SUV approached from the opposite direction and went to turn left into a driveway, directly in front of the sedan. Like SO RIGHT IN FRONT OF HER it was obvious she just didn’t see her. The sedan slammed on her brakes, but there was no time. Her front end crunched into the passenger side of the SUV. I pulled over, already reaching for my phone to call 911.

EVERYONE IS OKAY. Thank God. Had the sedan been going faster, or the SUV, who knows how much worse it could have been than a crushed hood and dented side. Fire and EMS were on the scene within minutes, and man, did those people get to work. Much respect.


I learned a few things about myself during the scenario. Not that it’s even about me, because it isn’t, and had everyone not been okay, I’d likely be telling a different story. But as much as we try to prepare, sometimes we never really know how we will react in these situations.


1. I am quick enough to think to call 911 and try to get someone out there. Tell me what to do, and I can follow directions like a boss. I maintained a clear head, dictated our location, the makes of the vehicles, and exactly what was going on, including whether or not anyone was in dire need of medical assistance. And I managed to hold onto the mallowcreme pumpkins I may or may not have been about to pop into my mouth when the accident occurred. So I’m also resourceful?

2. I am NOT responsive enough to immediately jump into the scene. As I was on the phone with 911, I could hear the driver of the sedan wailing. The driver of the SUV ran over and helped her out of her car. Turns out she had a little girl, maybe 18 months, strapped into her carseat.  Was I hesitant because I saw people already responding? Or was it because I couldn’t think past what I was already doing, which was on the phone and being passed around more times than a doobie at a Phish concert?

Sometimes I am too self absorbed for my own good. I don’t think that I am the “run into a burning building” type. We all play scenarios out in our heads, and we’d like to be the ones who valiantly pull victims from dangerous situations, but in the heat of the moment, I kinda froze. Let’s all hope that a) that status won’t stand when my own children are hurt or in danger; and b) I never have to test that with my own children.

3. I am terrible a cop-speak. I’m all, “She was going that way, she was coming this way, SHE turned in front of HER at the last second, and SHE…” and he’s all, “Who exactly was doing what, and OMG CIVILIAN, YOU ARE KILLING ME.” So I had to stumble through a cop-appropriate version using makes and models and possibly directions. It was rough.


Let me reiterate, everyone was okay, just shaken up. But the scariest part about this accident is how out of your control things can be some times. You can be driving as safely as you can, all eyes on the road, and it won’t necessarily matter. Someone else who isn’t paying attention or just plain didn’t see you can pull out right in front of you. I saw every move of that accident with my own eyes. There was no way the sedan could have avoided hitting the SUV that turned in front of her. It was a good reminder to remain attentive while driving and make sure your kids are appropriately strapped in. I know how easy it is to rush through the strapping and the clicking and the tightening.

And maybe since she was paying attention and not speeding, she was able to keep the damage to a minimum, and she and her little girl got to walk away today.


Have you ever witnessed an accident? What did you do?

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