Category Archives: Personal

Home Cooking

My previous munchie post was well received and made me reminisce about the first things I ever cooked, especially when I was living on my own. My family did not make extravagant meals and we tended to stick to a few basics and rotated through. I rarely saw my mother use a recipe and there was definitely no Pinterest inspiring her to try new things. Regardless there were a few things my mother made that I couldn’t live without and still can’t. After I moved out, I’d start to crave something and ask my mom for the recipe. Those conversations went one of three ways. 

The first way was what a lot of people discover about some of their favorite baked goods, it’s on the back of the box. This is how this traumatic event played out for me. I had been craving chocolate chip cookies for awhile. I wanted to try something new and decided I was going to make chocolate chip cookies. I knew my family had a good homemade recipe for cookies. I called my mom and asked for my grandma’s cookie recipe. She replied back, “what cookie recipe?” I thought to myself, are you serious, what do you mean what recipe? I held in all my thoughts and replied simply, ” The chocolate chip cookie one. They always turn out perfect like store bought but I don’t want store bought, I want to make them fresh.” ” oh it’s on the back of the bag of chocolate chips. ” “No, the one where they come out just a little raised and gooey in the center.” ” Yeah it’s on the bag of chocolate chips.” I was crushed. I felt I was going to get some time honoured tradition where it’s handed down to the first born daughter in every family. I was in denial at first and figured my mom was just confused. I tried the recipe to prove her wrong. I was ready to call her as soon as they came out of the oven and tell her she’s wrong. They came out perfect. I figured they probably taste just like the store bought, nope they were just how I remembered them. I didn’t know if I was more upset that I felt like my family cookie recipe was a fraud or if I was annoyed my mom was right. However, I was able to move on and enjoy my cookies and forget about the betrayal. 

The second type of recipe I’d get from my mom was the, “a little of this.” Any true cook has those recipes where they just put a little of this and a little of that and know by smell, look and taste if they got it right. Well this is not a concept I enjoy. Frankly, it drives me insane. I’ve been cooking for awhile, I always use a recipe. That’s why it always turned out perfect, cause I followed directions. People always complimented my cooking, I said I just followed the recipe. 

Every holiday my mom made these amazing beans. We always brought them to events, they were always a hit and I loved them. I loved them cold, I loved them hot. I loved them in a pot, I loved them a lot.  One holiday I said, “you’ll have to give me the recipe some day.” Again I was thinking this was some guarded family secret, more guarded than the Bush baked beans recipe. She replied with of course and started rattling off ingredients. I stopped her and went and grabbed a pen. I said the ingredients I knew, she filed in the blanks. Then I asked, okay so how much of each?  She replied with bunches, one or two depending on size and a little of each of those. I looked at her like she was crazy. How on earth would I know how to duplicate the beans without exact measurements. I asked for further clarification, after a large amount of prying I finally got her to give me a few measurements to work with. However, after the first time I made them I never followed the recipe again. I did add a little more of that and a little less of that. Every time I make them they are a little different but no matter what they are always amazing. That recipe taught me to try it with other things I made.  Now my favorite thing to do is read reviews of what other people did when they made the item. I can always find great fixes and ways to improve a recipe. I also tend to change things up now and again depending on what I have handy. It’s always a blast to discover your experiment actually turns out. It always makes me feel like a real cook. Their best recipes are always memorized. 

Finally, on rare occasions when I ask my mom for a recipe she actually has to find it. Now those are the best recipes. Those are the ones handed down, have been tried over and over and are absolute perfection. They are always fairly simple recipes but they are by far the best recipes. One of my favorite things to eat was always banana bread. My grandma made the best banana bread. One day I had some bananas that were getting old, I thought I should make my grandma’s banana bread. I called my mom to ask for the recipe. I was waiting to be directed to the back of a package, or  told just a few random ingredients to make it but she shocked me. She couldn’t find it the last time she was going to make it. I called my grandma, she replied with she needed to look for it. I called my uncle, he kept track  of everything. He wasn’t sure what he did with it. I was shocked! No one knew where this treasured family recipe was and I wanted to make banana bread. As I was waiting for someone to call back with my recipe, my boyfriend decided that banana bread sounded good and used my bananas and made some. I was thrilled to come home to the smell of banana bread. I asked where he got the recipe since I was still on the hunt for mine. He replied that he used the one on the bag of flour. I thought to myself here are my dreams of a huge family secret recipe about to come crashing down. As I took my first bite, it wasn’t how I remembered it. It was good but not as good as grandma’s. 

After waiting and asking a lot, I finally got my recipe, Grandma’s banana bread. I talked it up a lot. I was worried it wouldn’t be as good as I remembered, but when I finally finished it and the whole house smelled like banana bread, I realized it was worth the wait. It was moist and soft and the perfect ratio of banana. It was absolutely amazing and better than I remembered. I was immediately transported back to when my grandma made her banana bread, I was so happy. Then I waited to see his reaction when he tried it. We’d grown up with different banana breads in our lives, we’d been trying other recipes, none that were my banana bread though. Would he feel the same or would we be a house divided that had to make two different banana breads. Luckily he loved it and we’ve always used the same recipe. So what better way than share my favorite family recipe. You may say it’s common or on the back of some box, but this will always be my grandma’s recipe, the one that took time to find. The one that no one else compares to. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do, the recipe is located here:  

Grandma’s Banana Bread 

Also if I do make something and show pictures but don’t post a recipe, it’s more than likely because it looked way better than it tasted. I’m also not going to share recipes unless they are worth sharing. Every calorie consumed on food that doesn’t taste good, is a calorie wasted. I always want to enjoy my food and I do not eat anything because I need to eat. I have to enjoy it. Therefore, I’m never going to recommend any food unless it’s worth that extra gym time or pound. You can only eat so much and I love food and I am going to ensure everything I eat is worth it. 

Thyroid Cancer

I wrote this around February.  I never really meant anyone to see it. I considered publishing it possibly in a medical journal so that others with Thyroid cancer could possibly find something to relate to.  I am not sure if everyone has the same experience I have had with Thyroid Cancer but this is about my experience and my feelings.  I want to premise this with, overall I am extremely lucky with my diagnosis.  I know others have not been as lucky as me and my heart goes out to each one of them. Cancer is a horrible thing to be diagnosed with and live with.  The treatment options available seem worse than the cancer itself and I hope the future brings better treatment options.

Why Thyroid Cancer Sucks!

“Of all the cancers you can have, thyroid cancer is the best.” That is what everyone told me while I was going through the unknown, wondering if I had thyroid cancer or not. It all started innocent enough. I decided to go to my doctor because I was feeling lethargic. I didn’t really think much of it. I had two little girls at home and just wanted to have everything checked out to make sure I would see them grow up. I figured as usual I had nothing to worry about and I was just being a hypochondriac which I tended to do a lot. The first step is always admitting you have a problem, right?

That is when it all started. The doctor called back and said my test results were weird and they were sending me to see a thyroid specialist. Weird? What does that even mean I wondered, but I didn’t really give it much thought. I went to my appointment with hopes and dreams that finally my fatigue would get in check and I would possibly start losing weight because obviously my thyroid was messed up and causing all my problems. The doctor confirmed my results were “weird” and ordered a huge panel of tests. He felt my neck and decided to do an ultra sound. This was the first time I heard the word cancer and thought no way could that even be possible. He did the ultra sound and found a nodule, it was fairly large and nonchalantly stated we needed to biopsy it to determine if it was cancer. However, I had no reason to worry cause thyroid cancer was rare. I put it out of my mind, I was young. I just had two beautiful healthy baby girls. No one in my family ever had thyroid cancer, or any cancer that I was aware of. I had never even heard of thyroid cancer before. I went about my life as there was no possibility that this would impact me, I pushed it out of my mind.

The day of the biopsy I felt we were just being overly pre-cautious. My other lab results came back perfectly normal so I had nothing to worry about. The biopsy was unpleasant and hurt. I hate needles so much and that day was no exception. It was quick, slightly painful and I ended up with a beautiful band aid and ice pack, I figured that was the end of that. A few days later I got a call that there was about 20% chance that the nodule was cancer and I had to go in for another biopsy. That was a scary call, I realized that I have went from “weird” test results, to there is a lump on your neck let’s do an ultrasound, to that is a large nodule we need to biopsy it, don’t worry thyroid cancer is rare and there is only about a 6% chance of it being cancer, to my chances have just increased and this seems like a real possibility.

The second biopsy I brought my husband, I wasn’t sure I would be able to fully understand what was going on. They kept saying cancer but not to worry and I was screaming inside wondering how am I not supposed to worry. The second biopsy hurt about as much as the first and the conversation was about as pointless and no concern as it was rare and if it was cancer it was no big deal as there would be surgery to remove the thyroid and a radioactive pill to kill the remaining cells and I would be good to go. However, I felt like I was missing something, it couldn’t be that easy could it? Was it really no big deal like everyone keeps telling me? The second biopsy was done and my results came back with a higher percentage chance of it being cancer but they still weren’t sure. It was up to me if I removed the half of the thyroid with the nodule as a precaution, it was after all 3 cm in size and may have been causing some swallowing issues I was having. Being the overly cautious hypochondriac I am, I decided to go through with the surgery.

Every time I brought up what I was going through looking for support and help to digest what was going on I was met with some really poor support. The medical community treated it like it was not a big deal and it wasn’t definitively cancer so there was nothing to worry about at this time. My family and friends had no idea how to react, cancer is terrifying so they tried to be supportive but no one was sure it was cancer so what do you really do? They tried to be optimistic and say that I’d remove half my thyroid and that would be the end of it. I was just numb and not really sure what to think at this point and just went through the motions of what I needed to do.

My first appointment with a surgeon was the worst experience with a doctor I have ever had. They were an hour late, I went in and we were already making a follow up appointment and we didn’t even do anything this appointment. I mentioned my concern about it being cancer and what would happen next. I was told I was worrying about something that we were not even needing to worry about at this point and we didn’t need to discuss it. I would come back in for a follow up and then we would have the surgery. I wondered what the point of this appointment even was. I was incredibly upset when I left the appointment. I had my husband with me and I asked him if the doctor was being difficult and insensitive. For the first time since this all started he actually gave a definitive opinion and agreed he was not very pleasant. I immediately called my doctor office and got a referral for another doctor. Which was not something I wanted to do, I didn’t want to have to wait for another appointment. I just wanted this out of my body so I could move on with my life and forget the word cancer was even mentioned. The not knowing was driving me crazy and I felt like this cloud was hanging over me and in a moment it would just be more than I could handle.

My second appointment was a night and day experience. The doctor was amazing. He didn’t make me wait and he actually did an exam. We would schedule the surgery and there was no need for an appointment before hand. I was already feeling so much better with this doctor, I felt safe. I then asked him the question that I knew the answer to but I still needed to understand it. What if it is cancer? He replied just how I needed to hear it. Not how everyone else had been saying but what I needed to hear. We are not there yet, so don’t worry about it. However, if it is cancer we will then remove the full thyroid. While you are under we will biopsy the nodule and if it is cancer, while you are still under I will remove the rest. If it comes back as not cancer, we will send it away to make sure and on rare occasions you will have to come back and have the rest removed. I felt at ease and now I was just dreading the scar on my neck I would have the rest of my life. I already started buying scarves in anticipation. I googled images of other peoples scars to prepare myself.  I discovered the more I talked about my ordeal the more I found out about others who had their thyroid removed. I was impressed with the recovery, even though I felt like the scar would always be a giant sign that said, “Hey look! I had my thyroid removed!”

The surgery happened, it was scary cause it was surgery. Good news it wasn’t cancer and only half my thyroid was removed. Everyone was right and I had nothing to worry about. I went home and started to enjoy my leave and recovery. The Wednesday after the surgery I got a call. I will never forget this call. They said that my lab results came back and it was cancer and the doctor wanted to see me and have the rest of the thyroid removed. He wanted this done quickly so I had little time to heal and the surgery would go easier.  Everything was scheduled very quickly and I was just numb. I cried. I always knew it was cancer the moment they used the c word. I was in denial but I knew this was going to happen. I was trying to be optimistic about the whole ordeal but my worse fears were answered. I knew what to expect. I had already prepared myself. It wasn’t a big deal, it was going to be removed and I would go about my life cancer free and it would be all okay. I had to be strong for my girls and for everyone around me. After all thyroid cancer is the best cancer to get, that’s what they all kept telling me.

I had the surgery, I had my follow up appointments. I now had the wonderful joy of seeing my endocrinologist every 6 months. We would have some blood tests, yay more needles. He would ask how I was, I would complain I was tired. It is expected, he would look at my blood tests and everything would be fine and we would see each other in another 6 months. I started to live my life 6 months at a time. I would have 5 months of carefree, no thought about cancer. I didn’t even care about my scar anymore, my doctor did an amazing job and I barely noticed it. However, every time I had to get my blood work, I would start to get that nervous feeling that it would come back and I would have to really experience what everyone else has had to go through with cancer. So far I thought how lucky I am. I only have to see the doctor every 6 months, have some blood work and I am good to go for another 6 months.

They never tell you though you will live in fear the rest of your life that the cancer will come back and you will not be so lucky to remove an organ and be on with your life. They never tell you that there are other tests you have to go through to ensure they are not missing any signs of the cancer. An ultra sound to get a baseline of where you are. That was the easy test. The full body scan you have to do after the ultrasound because they found thyroid cells and are concerned. The full body scan is awful because you cannot help but wonder, will it find something? Of course none of these tests are quick so you never get told the results quickly. You never get to find out you need to take the test, take the test and get the results all in the same day. No all of it happens for weeks,  which ensures you really get to wonder and become full of worry and concern. However, you can never really express this because again you are lucky it was just thyroid cancer, you haven’t had to go through what others have with cancer. You haven’t had chemo or radiation, you just have a few tests you have to take every once in awhile.

You have to be strong for your family. No one really seems to understand thyroid cancer. They just hear cancer and immediately are worried for you. You pretend it is no big deal to help ensure them that you are okay. However, inside you are scared to death because you know for the rest of your life you have to wonder how long will it really be no big deal. You can’t really voice your concern with medical professionals cause it’s just a test, you are lucky it was only thyroid cancer, there is no real concern here. It’s when you meet other people that have thyroid cancer do you really get a good idea of what it means. This is what no one tells you, or really comprehends.

When you talk to other thyroid cancer patients, they will all play it off as no big deal because that it was we are told. We all had the same surgery and now no longer have a thyroid. We have our scar that we do not notice anymore. Some of us had radiation after our surgery to limit the chance of our thyroid cancer coming back, some of us didn’t. However, we all spend the rest of our lives going to appointments to make sure we are still okay. We all struggle with our medications. We have no thyroid and we have to take high doses of thyroid medication to ensure that our thyroid cells are not active and risk re-creating the cancer. This causes problems that only a person without a thyroid can understand. Imagine being completely exhausted most of the time. When you wake up in the morning you can barely get out of bed until you have had your thyroid medicine which makes you feel like you can actually start the day. You cannot eat for 30 to 60 minutes after taking it, so you really have to plan your day. Everyone has different medications and doses, it is the most un-exact science, it feels. No medicine or dose works for everyone, it’s a series of guesses and checks. The worst is if you end up having too much you become hyperactive thyroid and the world just spins and you cannot do anything till your levels get back in balance. When you actually talk to people who are going through this, you discover all of the things no one can prepare you for.

I am lucky I only had thyroid cancer. I get to spend the rest of my life wondering if it will come back and if I won’t be as lucky. I will spend the rest of my life having various tests done hoping they never show anything. I get to be a guinea pig with my medicine and spend a life time in trial and error hoping to feel some what normal. I cannot complain to anyone cause I am lucky it was only thyroid cancer. I do not have all the horror stories other cancer patients have, going through chemo and radiation. I do not have the understanding of how deadly cancer can be. I have convinced myself that I really do not have cancer, I cannot complain about it or worry about it because I see what others have to go through and I think how lucky I am. Once in awhile though, I have to have a test that just terrifies me to no end wondering if my luck will run out. I wonder will I ever have my medication in order to feel normal and what is normal anymore. I am very lucky I do not have the experiences of most cancer patients. I am going through something that only fellow thyroid cancer patients can understand. They say it is rare but I have met a lot of them, we all fear the unknown and we are all just trying to make it through the day and feel normal. We cannot ask for help because we got lucky and are not going through real cancer problems. We silently put on a brave face and think how lucky we are, when on the inside we are screaming for understanding and someone to help us through it all.

Recently my appointments have been moved up to every three months. My medication is messed up, I think.  If I take my full does my face goes numb and my fingers are numb.  The only thing I can do is ride out the day.  I also get incredibly irritable and am a nightmare to be around.  I am working with my doctor to get my dosing right, but he is not entirely convinced it is related to the thyroid.  So here I am a female, with no gall bladder, no thyroid and in child bearing years. If I say I am nauseated or dizzy they immediately ask if I am pregnant.  No one knows what is causing my symptoms and I just go from one doctor to another trying to figure out the cause. I have a doctor for everything.  I never thought I would be just over 30 years, with a medicine cabinet full of of various medications and multiple doctors in my address book. I can hold my own with any older person in a health conversation and I feel they tend to feel sorry for me. It’s been quite the experience and I hope if this helps one person feel they are not alone it was worth writing.  Also I have discovered that Medical Marijuana has really helped with a lot of my symptoms my constant nausea, dizziness and overwhelming stress and anxiety of the unknown. My doctors don’t even say anything when I say I have my card, it’s almost like they know it is a better choice than the countless prescriptions they would have to prescribe for the same results.

If you have any questions or can relate to my experience. I would love to hear your comments.  I do enjoy hearing about others experiences.  It makes me feel like I am not completely alone going through this all by myself.  Thank you for listening, I hope it was informative.

Write more… Blog more… More… More… More……..

In life we are always faced with challenges and expectations. Sometimes these are things we just have to go through as a fact of life.  More often we do these things to ourselves. I am especially guilty of this. I always bite off more than I can chew. I am also seriously my worst critic. I look to others frequently for self-assurance but still assume they are hiding their true feelings from me. I have done this since school.  With every “A” I received on a paper, I always wondered was it truly good, or did it just meet the assignments expectations. I always wonder if there is more that is not being said and I will analyze and contemplate the hidden meaning, till it drives me completely crazy.

Now imagine all these self-doubts, and add in Twitter and users following and un-following you like it is nothing. Each added follower provides a new excitement and with the loss of a follower, I instantly wonder why and what I could do better. I am wondering if I am just boring my followers or do they just not like what I have to say. Also I see my statistics on my posts, and think wow, people have actually looked at them.  Then I immediately wonder, does each Hit mean someone read what I wrote or did they just glance at the page and move on.  I know I am guilty of this as well with others webpages.

In response to all these doubts and concerns, I have decided to control what I can,  I am going to work on making my writing the best it can be. As I am writing this I’m trying to figure out a good writing schedule. I am hoping that my followers are just getting bored with the lack of consistency and new information. My solution, figure out a way to keep it interesting and provide lots of new content.  I want a way to be able to maximize my time and I want to start and complete all my writing ideas. I have never been good at finishing any projects I start and  trust me I have probably a few years of work between crafts and writing. The idea seems kind of daunting at first glance.

However, I know the first step to writing, actually sit down and write. Well I’m not sitting down, I’m laying down (or sitting down days later to edit) and when I start to write, it’s easy.  All the thoughts and ideas that have been swimming around in my head finally have a voice and they just come out. I’ll re-read my writing and be surprised it was me who wrote it. I know I wrote it cause there is definitely no writing elves doing my work for me, as much as that would make my life so much easier. Oooo can I forgo the writing elves and just get a set of cleaning elves?  I think that could help me keep up with EVERYTHING that I expect myself to do.  I digress.

For the first time though, I feel I have really found that something I have been searching so long for.  I enjoy writing, I have lots of ideas, I think I’m doing a good job. I feel I have strong stories but with anything, especially in blog form there is a need to edit and polish. I will also be the first to say, I’m awful at grammar and I hope no one uses that against me, but I am trying hard. I am trying to be a writer, an editor, a publicist, a social media expert on top of everything else I am as a person, mainly a mom who needs to support her family.

This can’t be just a hobby, I need to figure out how to make it so I can earn money in order to be able to put the time in that I need to do, everything I want to do.  I was always told that  anything worth doing, is worth doing right and I want to be good at what I do.  I want others to enjoy reading my writing, as much as I enjoy writing it. In order to get others to be able to read my work, there is a whole other side of writing, which is to get others to be able to find it.  It’s hard to get things out there though, if you do not have anything for people to read. Such a circular argument, that would drive anyone crazy. So the point I’m trying to make is, why is it so hard for me to just write?

I think it is because this is not going to be just something else I give up on or don’t have time to do. I want writing  to be my life.  I want to be able to write various work s and have multiple projects going on.  I get distracted easily and I need things to keep my attention.  I do not want to get stuck in a little box where it is  assumed I can only be one thing, or write one genre. Instead of having multiple jobs, which I feel I am starting to collect, I want to have multiple projects that I am involved in. The idea that I could be working on multiple writing projects that I love and can equally divide my attention to,  would be a dream come true.  Can you imagine how easy it would be to work three jobs if you loved going to them and they paid equally? How great would it be if they were all just a little different, in order to keep you entertained but nothing ever felt like work. Instead of my current situation, one job that pays nothing, another that you enjoy but is a ton of work and one that pays the bills but you hate going to.   It is all just overwhelming.

I have found the one thing that makes sense and know it is what I want to be when I grow up, I have never felt that way about anything before.  I also know it is going to be my biggest and hardest challenge yet.  In order to deal with that, I just shut down. I feel like I spend my days trying to work myself up to writing. I’m surrounded by my daily responsibilities, taking my oldest to school, working the job that pays the bills, taking care of my family, taking care of the house and doing all those things that fall under being a mom and an adult. The one thing I want to do is write, but I feel it’s the hardest thing for me to take the time to do.

It isn’t an absence of things to do, I’m not even sure a lack of time accurately describes it. Let’s face it, if you want something you’ll make time for it no matter what. When I start to write, it consumes me and I loose track of time. That is definitely not a good thing when your life can be scheduled to the minute. I will feel like only minutes have passed but the day is gone before I know it.  That is probably the real issue.  I want to be able to just do nothing but focus on the writing.  I will have an hour to write, or I just want to post this Tweet really quick. Before I know it hours have passed or I haven’t finished what I started but I get interrupted and lose my train of thought.

I’m also everywhere with my thoughts and ideas and trying to get my writing and name out there. I enjoy promoting and researching and engaging in social media but that all takes away from the writing.  It feels more like a choice, do I have time to write or do I need to send this Post.  Maybe I need to submit my book to more publishers, locate more ways to get my name out there.  I’m always trying to do more. More tweets for attention. More blog posts for a better understanding of me. More writing to finish the ideas I have. I just keep expecting more and more from myself to the point where I get nothing done and avoid writing all together. Which is a problem when you only have a few hours here and there to accomplish anything.

In a world where it seems we expect more or others expect more from us, how do we find that balance? Currently I’m struggling with that. I’m opting for my favorite escape, into my mind and dreams where everything seems so much clearer later on. However, it tends to prevent me from doing what I set out to accomplish. How do we get from expectations to reality? That is going to be my biggest challenge moving forward. How do I make my instinct to be a good mom and the expectation to do everything to be a good adult, mix with my dreams of writing? Is there room for more in my life? I’m full of doubt and confusion while I’m seeing if I can figure it all out, and incorporate more into my life because I can always take on more. It will be interesting to see exactly how much more I can take on and make work. I am always up for the challenge and enjoy pushing myself.

I feel like I am starting to get a handle on all the social media requirements and expectations.  I have a Facebook page, it is linked to my Twitter account which I can easily make posts that link to Facebook.  The self doubt kicks in though, am I annoying my Facebook followers, what do Twitter followers want to see? These are all the questions I ask myself with every post, tweet and blog.  I have created FOUR websites! What was I thinking?! I spent the entire night getting them uniform and professional.  I also discovered a website to broadcast my stories to attract more readers.  It is really good, checkout
You can find me via Nichole Kay. However, all my current works are going to be displayed on my websites.  I will move them to that site when I feel they are ready.

With the challenge of all the expectations I have for myself, what others expect and just what I want to get done, there is one thing I never thought I would have to really face.  I struggle with an attention for detail.  Some will say that I have one, but if they ever really got to know me, they would realize I do not. I am more of get it out there, get it done and call it good.  However, I keep hearing,  ‘Anything worth doing, is worth doing right.’ I follow this well.  Any project I set out to do, I want it done well. I am not going to piece it together. I am going to make sure it is complete and how I want it. I will not notice if there are extra spaces or a return out of place.  I may miss some grammar errors or a lot.  At first glance it will be complete and visually appealing. With anything though, I can look at it over and over and see all the things that need to be corrected. Especially, when I look at anything through with a new set of eyes.

I discovered this while organizing my latest book.  My sister would look over my work. If something was not centered or one side had more space than the other she would notice.  I do not notice those things right away.  The only way I will notice things like that, if I am laying awake in bed.  Then I will see that the drywall tape on the ceiling is showing or that spot that needs a second coat of paint.  It is truly interesting what others will pick up on versus what we normally see.

Anyways, I just needed to voice my exhaustion of trying to keep everything straight, organized and stay productive.  I am excited to write and make things available.  To avoid ridicule, I will pace myself on posting things though. If you notice errors, it was only so I would have the ability to get it out sooner. Please judge nicely.  I hope others can relate to my rants.  Maybe soon I will be able to put it all together and provide some amazing epiphany on how to manage everything in life and be the best we can be. Till then, happy reading. I hope I can give you what you are looking for. I feel this may have been a little disjointed journey into my thoughts, I hope it wasn’t that confusing.

Occupation: Author

If you read my last post it was a lot about discovering being an author. I think the main take away is I think after years of trying to figure it out, I have finally figured out what I want to be when I grow up! I am excited about that.  However, this may turn into my most stressful an exhausting job ever, well next to being a mom. Let’s face it being a mom there are no sick days or vacation time. With writing at least you set your own schedule. I think it’s one of those things though that the amount of effort put in equals the amount of return you get back.

I have published my first book and I have spent hours trying to get the word out there. I sit and refresh my social media pages and my book sales numerous times to see what is happening. I have reached a new level of insanity. It is truly maddening. Here I sit though ready to take on the world and figure out all the social media and promoting tricks. It is completely exhausting. However, with every like, tweet, and sale I get, there is a sense of knowing that I am getting attention and my dreams are not that far out my reach.

The start of this post seemed like such an epiphany driven post and then it just stopped. I should also clarify here, I am going to be typing like I think. Kind of a free writing blog where I can just let my mind wander. All my other writing and life is so structured it would be nice to have a space that is where I can express all my thoughts uninhibited. So enjoy the peek into my mind, it can get scary and confusing and I apologize now.

I originally wanted this post to be about the long struggle to figure out what I wanted to be when I grew up, but now I cannot remember if I said that the last post or not. Well I’ll say it again, but probably completely different. It will be an interesting journey regardless.
I had mentioned before how I didn’t give much thought to be a writer when I grew up. I was going to be a lawyer. Then I actually worked for and had to see the dealings behind the scene. I also had to deal with court proceedings in my own life. Maybe one day we’ll get to that story, but I digress. The whole experience left a bitter taste in my mouth.  I didn’t want that to be my life. I had another thought though to, Would I be good enough? My parents always told me I could be anything I wanted to be when I grew up. All the TV shows delivered the same message. I believed it every minute of the day. Then I went to work, Then I was faced with disappointment and hurt and being told I wasn’t good enough. I needed more experience . I started to doubt myself .  Little by little the doubt would flare up. Others would reaffirm my doubt.It was never intentional, it was usually their own doubt crossing over into my doubt. If they didn’t believe they could be anything they wanted to be, why would I think I could be anything I wanted to be. They often proved that they couldn’t do it, how could I do it.

So I had a job that I didn’t like how things were done. If I was motivated and full of hope I would have said I would change it. I would make it better, hurrah! I was hitting that cynical door. I was hearing what was coming out of it. So I thought if I doubt I can even be a lawyer how can I possibly be good enough to change everything.  However, I reached this Epiphany while I was in college studying psychology to help me read people better  for witnesses and such. That was the plan. The plan was also to study to be a paralegal while going to college. That way I could get my certification and start getting my legal experience right away. That was motivated full of life, Nichole’s dream. I was real Nichole and I already worked and went to school full time how can I do that as well?

I went to school for a degree I didn’t plan to use and a dream I was starting to give up on. I was going to school in North Dakota at the time. The freezing temperatures and deep snow didn’t help my desire to go to class. I also was never one to want to go to class or wake up early. I was about a full semester away from graduating and I just stopped caring and failed an entire semester. I also was transitioning jobs. I was unhappy and knew I needed to make some changes to make life better.

I changed jobs a few times, I always assumed I’d be happy if I just found a good job. I actually found it. It was a police dispatcher for the city. It was great and full of excitement. I got to meet new people and experience new things, but it just wasn’t enough. I still wasn’t happy. I knew I could never deal with the cold and be happy. I was bored in life and needed more. I had the opportunity to move to Arizona and I took it. I was willing to walk away from everything I had to start over in a new place. I needed a change and that’s just what I did.

I packed up my house, put my house up for sale and left North Dakota for Arizona with no job, no place to live except the camper I was driving and a dream of a change. That whole experience is a story in itself. That will be later. I was motivated to make Arizona work and I did. I got good jobs. If I didn’t like what I did I would move on to something better. After quite a few years in Arizona I had everything a house, a family with two kids ava two dogs and a really good paying job. I had gone back to school and got my psychology degree, another great post opportunity about my feelings on college, later.

At this point I reevaluated my life. I still wasn’t happy and I should be happy. I had struggles like anyone but it shouldn’t have been as bad as it was. I had read self help books. Everything they said made sense, it all felt like common sense. I looked at my job though. It had tons off opportunity for growth and advancement. I had put 6 years of my life into that job. However, I hated it. The only reason I went to work was cause I liked a lot of my co-workers but I also had a lot that made me dread going to work. I just didn’t know what to do. I felt all the signs pointed to quitting. I took a leap of faith and decided to sell insurance and do customer service from home so I could keep my income steady.

It was at that decision I felt for the first time that I really started to understand and get myself on the right track. I started to feel the bitter and angry Nichole go away. The motivated and full of dreams Nichole emerged. I felt for the first time I finally had a plan of action and the only one in my way was seriously me and I worked hard to get out of my way. Sometimes I held me back, sometimes I pushed me forward. However, I still had no idea what to be when I grew up. Do I stick with customer service and try to climb the corporate ladder again? It was a plan I was familiar with, I knew I’d learn from my mistakes and this time I could really succeed. Every time that thought crossed my mind, all I could think was a big fat  nope! I tried to learn more and look around at other possible career paths. I knew it was just the responsible adult option.

Then I’d consider insurance salesman. I could see that as an option. It gave me the freedom I needed. I would have the income potential I desperately needed. However, there was zero stability and I only made money if I put 110% in. I kept trying to convince myself I could do it. I’m still trying to convince myself I can do it but I am still not sure it’s ultimately what I want to be when I grow up. Do I go back to school and get my masters in psychology so I can do something with my degree or do I finish my original plan and go to law school? None of that really felt right. So I would tell people I didn’t know what I wanted to be when I grew up. They thought I was being funny. The truth, I had dreams of what I wanted to do in life but I had no idea how to get there and what I would like to do to get there.

Now we have come full circle, after years of deciding what I want to be when I grow up, I have finally found it. I want to be an author. I want to write like I’ve never wrote before. I want to finally write down all the idea and stories that have been in my head for years begging to come out. Since I’ve started writing I’ll think of an idea and won’t be able to stop writing till it’s complete. So far I have this blog I want to commit to. This is going to be my public journal of my thoughts and opinions and discoveries. Included in that ramblings is going to be me attempting to make my weight loss dream a reality along with my other hopes and dreams. If I’m not accountable to anyone I’ll never succeed but if I get outside pressure and start being completely honest with my self I will succeed.

I’ll be writing a blog and page for that will be for news about the book and other ideas I’ll be having in the future. I also decided to try and get my other writing ideas out there. They’ve been ideas for awhile and will be fun to share, but take a lot longer to complete. Those writings are going to be on I’ll seperate each page to be a different story and a new blog post will be a new installation of the story. Also we all have our dark dirty side and sometimes you just need to get lost in your own dirty thoughts. So add the need arises or if one of my stories lends itself to a really good erotic scene I’ll be writing those versions on my other website at! I am thinking that between keeping up with 4 websites, a Facebook page, a Twitter account and other social media my writing career is going to be the most time consuming experience of my life. However, it’s definitely something I am super excited to begin. I feel like I’ve just been waiting to write everything I have to say down so I can finally stop talking all the time and just listen and experience life.

So far I have my other jobs still, I’m a Mom with a child about to go to kindergarten and a three year old, I have to take care of my household and now I want to be a writer. I think to say I’m busy is the understatement of the century. I feel like super woman ready to take on the world. I just have to keep reminding myself I can be anything I want to be, I just have to work hard for it. If I work hard I’ll have my dreams come true. That’s the message I want my children to learn and the only way they’ll get it us if they see it happen. I’m going to make this happen for me and my children. I want them to be the best versions of me, I want to contribute two amazing productive members of society. We all have to start somewhere if we want to make a change. I’ve learned over the years, if you are not happy with something, figure out what it is and how you are going to change it. Only you are responsible for your own happiness.

A Place to Collect my Thoughts.

People have started to call me an author. In my entire life, I never seriously considered the option of being an author. I always thought it would be something that you just did in your spare time. No one could actually make a living being an author. You had to have an amazing idea and a series! I never thought for a moment that could be me. The thought of being an author was like being an astronaut or a famous actress. It all sounds possible, but that would never be for me.

Then one day, I had an idea. I wrote it down and the more I thought of it the more I realized it was a good idea. I shared it with Family and Friends they agreed it was a good idea. That was all it was though, an idea for a story. I had a lot of those in the past. I always enjoyed writing. I also had stories I wanted to share. I just never had the time or follow through to finish them.

That changed one day.  One day I shared my dream. It was no longer a half-hearted attempt, I was going to make this happen.  It was a slow process and I kept talking myself out of it. It became one of those projects that I could work real hard on but then I would never finish. The first obstacle was writing the story. After two sessions, I wrote it! I was thrilled. The more I read and edited it, the more it just became a reality and got better.

However, I knew that it would not go anywhere if I did not have good illustrations to go with it. I couldn’t draw to save my life. I asked around, I begged, and I pleaded. I couldn’t find anyone to help make this a reality. It got pushed to the back burner and I started to give up. I just assumed it was a good idea and that is all it would ever be, an idea. This would be one of my many failed dreams.

One day at the end of June,  I started researching publishers. Seeing who I needed to talk to in order to make this a reality. I filled out a form and got contacted by a publishing company the next day. They explained self-publishing. Everything they could do and the difference between them and a publisher. Needless to say I was overwhelmed and overjoyed. The problem, only 3 g’s to make it all happen, illustrations and published.  I had no idea what to do. I was completely broke that is why I wanted to publish in the first place. I needed someone to help pay for the illustrator. I had no money. Then I remembered I had been saving money for my girl’s future. So I asked them, ” Can I borrow your money to publish my book or should we save it for other things like toys and things.” They both said to publish my book. They were 5 and 3. For two little girls, to pick my dream over toys or other things they may wanted, it touched my heart in ways you will never be able to imagine.  I knew then this was going to happen. I was going to get this book published and make my children proud of me.

I got my husband involved, we knew this was something we had to make happen. We were discussing illustrators and hiring our own. I thought if I can just get the e-book ready I can make this famous! I just needed pictures. I was going to swallow my budget and use my girls money to hire an illustrator but one I picked and for a lot less than 3K. I was going to try the cheap route. I gave myself to the end of July to get it all figured out. If I couldn’t make it happen I would contact the publisher and get the help I needed.

Then one day, it hit me… PHOTOS! Why didn’t I think of this before?! I take pictures. I have taken them my whole life. It’s amazing what I can do with a photo. I will take photos and use those. No illustrator needed, best of all I knew the perfect model! I immediately sent her my story, told her my idea and we met up within days. I told my sister my idea of photos and she says, “What about one of those things to make it look like a cartoon.” It was all I needed.  This was it. I had it all figured out. I planned the photos. I even cleaned my house to stage my photoshoot. This was a major admonishment with two toddlers running behind you and messing up my hard work. For the most part they actually helped. They knew how important this dream was to me and they wanted to make it happen for me!

I had been anticipating a release at the end of July. I couldn’t stop working on my book. I couldn’t wait to get the photos done. I found the perfect dress for my model. I had the perfect shoes. I love shoes so I had those picked before the outfit! My model came ready to shoot with her son who was the perfect teen! We only took a few hours to shoot over a 100 photos. As soon as I had them, I started to convert them to cartoon. I had been playing with editing software for weeks, in anticipation of this moment! As soon as I converted them, I knew this was exactly what I had seen and imagined when I was writing the story.

I loaded those photos and got to work. The cover, was the hardest. I kept working on it. Finally, I moved passed it and after a couple days of delays, I worked pretty much non stop on the pages.  It went faster than I could have ever imagined. The only delay, waiting for my photos to convert to cartoon! At about Midnight, when I was waiting for a new photo every 5 minutes or so, I was very upset I hadn’t converted the photos earlier in the day. I had an early morning and went to bed to let the photos convert. I laid in bed tossing and turning for hours. I just wanted to get it done, but I knew I would work faster than the software could update my photos. I was so excited it was all going so well. All I could think of was how amazing it would look finished!

I finished my day early, went through my photographs and got my pages exactly the way I wanted. I was still waiting for the photos to finish converting. It didn’t even bother me cause the finish line was so close. I finished! I got the book just the way I wanted. I didn’t include all my photo ideas, but it didn’t even matter cause it was done and it was amazing. I never imagined it could have turned out how it did.  How could the idea of a Pot Brownie, being accidentally eaten by an unsuspecting Mom turn into a book that had blown my wildest expectations.

I am filled with pride and excitement as the release date approaches. I have set it up to be an e-book and impatiently sit here waiting for it to publish. I can only imagine the response it will get. I hope more than anything it will be as good as I dream, because I am so proud of this.

I am impatiently waiting for the story to be available to share. I cannot wait for people to enjoy it and laugh. I feel like this could definitely be the start of a writing career for me. Fun stories like When you give a Mom a Brownie.  Of course I have tons of spin-offs in mind. However, I may actually be able to write other stories I have always wanted.  I suppose this means I should brush up on my grammar or hire an editor. But until then, the mistakes are due to the excitement and my inability to remember simple English rules.  Thanks for your understanding and happy reading!

Update When you Give a Mom a brownie is now available on Amazon as an ebook and available for free via Kindle Unlimited.

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