Tuesday, May 20, 2014


She sat with me, resting in the silent wake of chaos that had been our week. Her semester was over, summer break had begun, and she was…visiting.

I wanted to think she was home. But she’d arrived with only her dirty laundry and a dress to wear to her boyfriend’s college graduation. All of the boxes and laundry hampers full of stuff that usually arrived with her were sitting in a new apartment six hours away.

It was Mother’s Day.

We had planted new flowers and shrubs in the front yard and were enjoying the fruits of our labor from the freshly swept porch. A southern breeze enticed low, melodious notes from the new wind chime hanging above our heads. The front pasture was spread out before us, green from recent rains and mild temperatures, a refreshing sight during the current drought. She was lost in thought, staring at the pasture with a half-smile on her lips. I followed her gaze to see what she saw.

Ah. It was the ghosts again.

A small blond girl skipped through the pasture, both hands clutching wildflowers. She wore jeans and a striped shirt—I only like plain clothes, Mama—and a little boy followed behind. He paused to pick a flower and stuck it behind his ear. Then he continued along the cow trail, walking carefully with both arms out to his sides. He didn’t want the flower to fall.

Watch out for rattlesnakes! Don’t step in fire ants! These were warnings I wanted to yell. The ghostly apparitions always bring a tightening in my chest, a need to protect them, hold onto them, keep them from fading away…

The little girl stopped to admonish the boy. He had frightened off a rabbit. Or maybe it was the cry of the baby, or the screeches of their younger brother. He offered her a flower, and they continued on their way.

There was so much to do. Would they head for the rope swings in the big tree? Maybe they would climb the tree and make heart-stopping jumps with the swings between their legs—flying, flying like the hawks that hunt in the fields. Or would they head to one of the ponds in search of frogs and tadpoles? Maybe they’d go to their secret hideout in the cattle pens—the one they thought I didn’t know about. They skipped away, trailing giggles behind them.

A lump formed in my throat. I looked at the young woman at my side, so strong and beautiful and self-assured. There were hardly any traces of the little blond girl. I had a question to ask. I thought I knew the answer, but I wasn’t entirely sure. Because sometimes when I see the ghosts of the children, I also see the ghost of woman, and she’s tired and frustrated and low on patience. She thinks she will always be exhausted, that they will always be needy and noisy and that nobody in the house will ever sleep through the night. Stupid woman! They aren’t even the same as they were a minute ago. Can’t she see time rushing past her? Literally washing over her and taking their precious little voices and tiny hands with it?

My voice strained as I finally asked, “Was it a good childhood here? I mean, was itmostly good?”

She looked at me and smiled. “I was just thinking that it was,” she said.

With one last glance at the pasture, she stood to go inside and gather her laundry. It was time to head home.

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Because I'm a Professional

This is awkward. It's been so long -- I feel as if we hardly know each other. We've drifted apart...people change...it's not you, it's me...let's still be friends...oh wait- what am I doing? I ALMOST JUST BROKE UP WITH YOU GUYS.

So it has been a long time. I've been very busy with Facebook important projects and Twitter taking care of home and family. Also, remember that little novel I wrote? I whined about it all the time (I realize I whine with such regularity that you might need to concentrate in order to remember the novel-whining). I whined about writing it. I whined about editing it. I whined about revising it. I whined about querying it. I whined that it would never be published....GUESS WHAT?

It's under contract with a publisher. (I did not put an exclamation mark in that sentence because I'm totally calm, cool, and collected about all this and also my editor has made me terrified of exclamation marks - I wear this collar around my neck and when I type in an exclamation mark it shocks me.)

I'll tell you more as the release date approaches. In the meantime, I'm still the same person. I'll be blogging about writing at my new author website (possibly launching March 1, 2014). As for Sardines in a Can, it will remain the same old blog it's always been. I will, however, attempt to project a more professional image. No more exclamation marks!! A REDUCTION IN THE FREQUENCY OF ALL-CAPS!! No pictures of my kids or dogs!! No more making fun of Rick Perry!!

Let's start with Rick Perry. Actually, no, let's start with Greg Abbott, who is quite possibly/very likely going to be our next governor of this here Great State of Texas. The dude has been hanging with Ted Nugent. And people are all riled up about Ted Nugent because HE'S CRAZY. But personally, I love Ted and I love it even more when politicians use him to talk to The Commoners. I mean - gosh - it's just so uncomfortable and delightfully awkward. When Ted opens his mouth Abbott visibly flinches...you can just see him praying Dear God please don't let him say anything about Mexicans or sweet poontang just let him talk about guns please please please please God - just guns. And maybe Obama. Guns and Obama. 

The family values gang loves Ted, too. He performs for crowds of rally-goers, folks with their hands in the air like they don't care, thoroughly enjoying their first concert experience, wondering when the next album will be out (never), and enjoying the lyrics about female genitalia while thinking about what a great role model Uncle Ted is for the kids.

We're going to be seeing more of Ted Nugent in Texas over the next few months and this makes me a happy girl. I realize there's something wrong with that.

Let's see - before I start projecting more professionalism, let's sneak in one more pet picture. This is my dog Napoleon.

And kids. I realize I never posted Joel's un-graduation photo on the blog (and there have been a few requests) so here it is. And yes, he's wearing a smoking jacket and ascot. Also - yes - that is a bearskin rug.
 "Putting the Class in 2013"

That's all I got for now, folks. It was great visiting with you again!!!. Let's stay in touch!!!.