Geese are evil and other bird(brained) musings

The newest Cupid’s Coffeeshop story, Lucky Latte, is available now! I hope you’ll love Grayson and Claire’s story.


Since spring finally sprung here in the DC area, Fox, The Pilot, and I have been taking many walks around our neighborhood after dinner. Sometimes, these are restful and I’m free to snap photos. Other times we’re chasing Fox on his scooter like we’re trying to outrun zombies. It’s usually a combination of both, actually.


One of my favorite things, other than the terrific weather, is that The Pilot and I get a chance to have a conversation on these walks. Like any long-married dual-career couple with a school-aged child, conversation more in-depth than “Did you pick up the milk?” and “What time is Cub Scouts?” can be rare.

So, I thought you all could accompany us on our walk and listen in. You’ll probably want to nominate The Pilot for sainthood after you hear this but…here goes.

Wait–first, before you read this, you have to understand my issue with geese. You know how in Gilmore Girls Jess has a small issue with swans? Well, I have the same issue with geese. Vicious animals. There are actually memes for evil geese! I am not alone!

Jess Swans

My issue stems from this story. Last spring, we took Fox to a local farm to enjoy the spring weather and so I could snap some photos with my expensive DSLR camera that gets used about as often as my wedding china. Anyway, The Pilot, Fox and I were walking by the ornamental lake when suddenly there’s a vicious hiss from next to the path. And a sleek black head rises slowly from the mud.


Now, I am deathly afraid of snakes. If you’ve ever seen a goose raise their head, it looks not unlike a cobra rearing, especially when seen from the corner of one’s eye on a dimly lit forest path. Yes, I am intellectually aware that cobras are not native to the greater Washington, DC area but in the split second I saw the cobra/goose, I was too panicked to remember all the bio lessons I skipped/slept through/read a novel through over the years. So I screeched and grabbed Fox in a death grip. And apparently, according to The Pilot, I screamed, “I will throw my camera at you!” to the goose/cobra.


I don’t actually remember threatening the goose/cobra with expensive photographic equipment because panic had set in and I was convinced Fox and I were going to die. The Pilot was on the opposite side of the path so I figured he’d survive to tell the tale. The poor goose was just protecting her nest. We had mutual, common goals. She was protecting her eggs and I was protecting my chick. Child. Whatever. Anyway, since then, I’ve not been on the best terms with geese and The Pilot hasn’t missed a chance to tease me about it. My antipathy toward geese is especially unfortunate as they love nothing more than to settle in the swampland near DC and hiss at me.


Okay, and the second thing you have to understand is that I went shopping with my BFF last weekend. And we went to Pier1 and I may or may not have spent a mortgage payment. (Side note to The Pilot: YES! We do need those carrot napkins. AND the bunny ones too!) Anyway, I purchased this bluebird painting to display in my front hall. It’s springy right?


And it’s a bluebird which I like because bluebirds mean happiness. And I was shopping with my BFF, which I only get to do about once a month or so when our schedules align. And everyone knows you have to grab things when you see them at Pier1 or they’ll be gone. And my BFF had a coupon. So, clearly, the stars aligned and I had to buy this painting. It’s science, ya’ll.  It’s now in my front hall where my mother saw it, which is where my story starts.

Oh, wait! Later in this story, I’ll mention that I collect rooster stuff. But that’s not because they are birds. That’s because, when my mother read my first novel, Forever a Bridesmaid, she had a pearl-clutching fit of the vapors over the hero’s use of the “c” word that rhymes with lock during the first love scene. I try to use it in ordinary conversation with her as often as I can: “Cockamamie, Coq a Vin, Cock-a-doodle-do!” Also friends and family (other than my mother) give me housewares, mugs, and magnets with roosters which never fail to make me laugh. So I collect cocks. I mean roosters!


And last, my mother, sister, and The Pilot are all wonderful present givers and like to coordinate presents for me because otherwise I’ll just buy it for myself! So, here we go.

Me (to The Pilot): I love my mother, really, but if she tells you I want more bird art for the house or anything with birds on it, don’t get it as a gift. I’m not a bird person. I don’t like birds.

The Pilot: But you just bought that bluebird in the cherry blossoms on Saturday (NOTE: I think it’s actually a dogwood branch but clearly The Pilot and I are not up on our flora and fauna trivia).

Me: Well, I like bluebirds. Not geese.


By this point in our walk, we’re by the lake in our neighborhood, and the geese, sensing my presence armed with camera equipment, have begun making their way toward me. It’s like cats and horses. They sense the dislike. The Pilot claims this is because everyone in the neighborhood feeds them so they flock whenever they see humans. But I know they’ve got me on their little geese network and are plotting my imminent demise.

The Pilot: Okay. Got it. No bird presents.

Me: Well, see, I like bluebirds. Because they are a symbol of happiness. So I like the symbolism. This is because I was an English lit major and am trained in symbolism. It’s like pineapple.

The Pilot (probably not listening because Fox had taken off on his scooter and we’d just corralled him back onto the path, away from the evil geese and their duck henchmen): Do birds like pineapple?

See? I’m not the only person with geese issues.

Me: It’s a symbol! The pineapple was a symbol of welcome in colonial times. Just like the bluebird is a symbol of happiness. But I don’t like birds. Wait! I like robins. Sign of spring.

The Pilot: And you decorated the house with chicks. (NOTE: Not live chicks. Just Easter decorations but I can see how this would be confusing for The Pilot).

Me: That’s for Easter. Oh wait, I like owls too. And I collect roosters now. But that’s my mother’s fault. Maybe I do like birds! I’m actually a bird person! {NOTE: Stopping on the path for this road to Damascus moment was a mistake as it gave the geese a non-moving target}


The Pilot (Somewhat muffled as he’s now pulling Fox’s scooter out of a bush again): To Kill a Mockingbird is one of your favorite novels.

Me: That’s a book bird. Doesn’t count. Also, not really about birds. It’s about…

But I didn’t get to tell The Pilot what To Kill A Mockingbird is really about because no less than four geese charged the path then and hissed at me. I fled and now can’t go walk near the lake anymore because they are out to get me.

Maybe I really hate birds…

Evil Goose

Bridesmaid Trilogy, Lost Art of Second Chances, Parenting, Writing

And the living is easy…

Happy Summer! Fox is out of school for the summer. Hard to believe he’s not a kindergartener anymore. I borrowed this meme about summer from my friend Mary’s blog, Passionate Perseverance. She started the blog to document her life with her severely disabled daughter, also named Courtney. Her story is amazing (have Kleenex ready if you read it!) and she’s always an inspiration to me.

Here are my Answer Me This answers for Summertime…


#1 – Any big plans for the summer?

Mostly, I’m going to be spending summer with my favorite guy, Fox. He is going to camp on and off all summer. In between, we’re going to do crafts, go to the pool, and participate in the local library’s summer reading challenge. To that end, if anyone has any suggestions for keeping an almost 7 year old amused, let me know in the comments. I need all the help I can get.

I’m also in the final stages of two books, Forever a Bridesmaid, and The Lost Art of Second Chances while starting to draft Once a Bridesmaid. I need a time turner.


And we’re planning to go to the Outer Banks in July and Myrtle Beach in August. Should be a fun, full summer.

#2 – What is the strangest thing you believed as a child?

I went to 13 years of Catholic school. I totally bought into the Jesus and the saints are watching your every move deal.
#3 – What is you favorite amusement park ride?
Any roller coaster. Anytime, baby! My favorite coaster ever is the Alpengeist in Busch Gardens in Williamsburg.


#4 – What’s on you summer reading list?

My TBR pile is teetering off the nightstand. Here are just a few choices:  I’m really looking forward to Elizabeth Gilbert’s Big Magic, which is due out in September. I want to read Lauren Willig’s That Summer and The Other Daughter. I’ve heard great things about The Rocks by Peter Nichols.

I’ll also be doing summer reading with Fox. I think Henry Huggins by Beverly Clearly will be our first one.

#5 – Have you ever fallen asleep in public?

No, not since I was three and fell asleep in my stroller at Disney World.

#6 – What is your favorite smell?
All the lavender. LOVE that one. But I’m a lotions and potions kinda girl so I love lots of different ones. My all time favorite lotion is satsuma from the Body Shop. So bright and clean and happy. And I also love their new green tea line.

classic-satsuma-gift_l fuji-green-tea-body-butter_l

That’s it for this week. Tag, you’re it! Your turn to answer the questions….


Happy Summertime! 🙂

Parenting, Writing

Snow Day Fun


We’ve now had four snow days in a row here. That’s right, after a two week holiday vacation, the kiddos had exactly two days of school before enjoying another six days in a row off. In many ways, this was super-convenient for me, the stay-at-home writer mom, because all my careful new year goal setting went right out the window the first week of January. How stress-reducing for me! Take that, resolutions! I didn’t even make it to the 5th before I blew it. With the holiday next Monday and a teacher work day the following one, Fox won’t have school on a Monday for the rest of January–that means a three 4 day work weeks in a row for me.

Remember when you were in school how a snow day seemed like a gift from God? No homework, no stress over where to sit at lunch, and if today was one of those god-awful Presidential Fitness days where the gym teacher actually expected you to run a mile. I mean, I changed into my gym clothes. Wasn’t that enough? Now I was expected to ruin my makeup on top of everything? Or, even worse, having to play that crazy crab version of kickball in the gym where all the guys crowed over seeing your undies up your gym shorts. No? Just me with that fun memory then? But back to snow days—as an extra snow day bonus, you got to stay home and see what mom was up to all day, relaxing at home. Snow days. They were the best, back then.

And then, once the work-a-day grind commenced, a snow day meant sleeping late before curling up on the sofa to read a whole novel or watch a movie or, once paired off like the animals in the ark…well, let’s just say, there’s always a baby boom nine months later for a reason, am I right?

And now? Now that I work from home, what is a snow day like with a six year old? Well, first of all, he’s still at the age where he adores school and is furious that he can’t go hang out with his friends for story and snack time. My little social butterfly is in kindergarten this year and still thinks school is awesome!

Snow Day1

Also, because of the reflection of the sun on the snow outside, his bedroom is lit up like a magazine cover photo shoot so he’s awake at the ass-crack of dawn. My little darling is a breakfast eater—adores breakfast and it’s the one meal he’s guaranteed to eat—so sleeping late is out the window. Then, he’s expecting a non-caffeinated Mommy to bounce of bed trilling circle time songs and ready with a convenient craft time activity. That’s so not happening.

After I negotiate time for Mommy to sip coffee by swearing to play Legos all afternoon, he’s got every Thomas the Trackmaster train he owns running across our hardwood kitchen floor (the noise alone is enough to make me weep into my coffee cup) and then I get to trip over one of Thomas’ 45 closest friends on my way to brew a second cup. Eventually, I feel awake enough to read Fox a story which I do wrong so he takes the book away and looks at me expectantly. Oh, yes, I still have to come up with an activity, don’t I? Last Wednesday, we made banana bread, cut out 3D snowflakes, and built Legos–all before lunch.

At some point, he’ll say, “Mommy, lunchtime!” And I look around for my mother to show up with my favorite snow day lunch of grilled cheese and tomato soup. Then I remember, I am the Mommy and slap together a crustless PB&J before trying to sneak another chapter in my book (currently the fabulous Yes, Please by Amy Poehler. It’s more a series of comedy essays than a memoir but it’s great. I want her to write more books all the time but I know she’s the single mom of two kids so I kinda get how it is. Snow days and all that equate to no writing time.)


Now, after lunch, Fox informs me that it’s recess time. It’s time to struggle into the snowsuit for a bracing three minutes of outdoor fun that will take us thirty minutes to get undressed from and re-dressed in our jammies (which I never wanted to get out of in the first place!) Better go find the snowsuit…and pray for warm weather.