Welcome to Hardwick House

Small Goals

So, here I am, once again shocked that it’s Friday.  How does the week fly by so damn fast! But that was discussed couple weeks ago hehe

Last month a friend asked me to join her in a challenge – a personal challenge – to get ourselves writing, bust out the words without worry of any details and content. Just get words on the page.

I set a goal for myself. When she first asked me to join her, I thought 650 words a day would be a good challenge. I work full time, five days a week. I have step sons and homework to deal with, dinner to make, a house to clean. Hell, at that time, I barely had time to sit and write like I wanted. Then, for my birthday, my mother gave me an awesome gift: her notebook laptop.

With this awesome little thing in my possession, its lime green slime cover making me smile, I sat down and thought about what I could really do. I could average more words if I really wanted to push.  And I did. My goal for Mayhem is 31,000 words, 1k a day, just shy of the 1667 needed for NaNoWrMo. Not much to some I’m sure, but  I’m happy to say that although today is only day three, I’m well a head of schedule with 5k under my belt.

I know that doesn’t sound like much, but to me its thrilling. Knowing I can do that makes me want to do more. The more the story flows out, the more I see clearly, the more I think about where things could go. As I write my first draft, I’m keeping notes and discussing possibilities to be considered when it’s finished. No going back, no editing.

I finally understand the importance of “put ass in chair and write” and it’s a wonderful feeling 🙂

As a new writer, I’m learning that this shit ain’t so easy lol You have an idea, you want to write it out, you think it would be good – you’d read it. But then you sit down and you start to write and they hit you, the questions: Who, what, when, where, why, and for God’s sake HOW!

I can’t tell you how many times in my short amount of writing time I’ve asked myself these stupid annoying little questions. It really does amaze me how genuine authors do it. I think back to the books I’ve read, the weaving and the twisting, and find myself thinking…nothing. Why? Well, what can I say, I’m in shock at their ability to do it so well 🙂

The more questions I ask, the more answers I get that only lead to more questions  – Would he do that or would she? Should she meet him here or there? He wouldn’t say that would he? Couldn’t that wait till later? How the hell am I going to get her there, and why is there cheese!

There is however a good side to all these pesky questions. Little by little, I’m getting to know the voices that live in my head and talk to me through out the day. As I listen to their answers, telling me what they would do, where they would go, and how they would get there, I’m learning the ins and outs of their personalities, qualities, and mannerisms that I hope to someday show the world by using words on a page.


Bad News

Well, nothing like getting back into the groove of things with bad news…

Took Puss to the vet last week, his lymph notes were getting a little large again. They checked him out, took some blood and said that while his white count was down he may have caught a cold, or have allergies. But if that wasn’t it, there was another option: Rescue Therapy. Basically that means we start treatments all over – once a week. We just got down to once a month.

Well, today was his actual treatment day. The prognosis was not good. As I already noticed, his lymph notes are already bigger than they were last week. They suggested we start the “Rescue Therapy” next week.

I came home, slow tears running down my cheeks. I don’t want to make my dog go though anymore treatments and he may not even respond this time around. So, after much discussion with Michael, though it’s mainly my decision since he’s my dog, we’re going to keep going with the monthly treatments till he’s gone.

They’re giving my boy 2 months at the most. Something inside me says it won’t be that long.

My heart is breaking.

Where does the time go?

Man! I just start this thing and I’m already behind haha but really where do the weeks go? I work, I read, clean and write and before I know it – BAM! – it’s Friday and I haven’t posted on my blog again. *rolls eyes* ah well, we can’t all be perfect like Miss Mary Poppins 🙂

Time management is lost to me when I’m home. I sit down at my computer and before I know it, it’s 8 o’clock and I have everything still to do and boys to check up on. Did you  take your shower yet – No. What do you want for dinner – Um…

How is it that it moves so quickly one minute then so slowly the next? I don’t get this. I can even find myself busy and then shocked at how little time has passed. Or slow and think “wow, really? it’s already 2? but today was so boring.”

Like I said, work is different for me and my time management. I have a job, I get it done before I go home. Nothing is left unfinished but home? There are just so many things I want to do that I can’t fit them all into an evening that consists of 5 hrs at the most, no matter how hard I try. You’d think I’d learn 🙂 but here I am, writing a blog at 10:54 – 4/20 thinking “HEY! It’s still Friday where I live.”

Michael has made suggestion on spreading out housework and still getting my “me” time in, like setting an alarm to go off every hour reminding me to get up, do a few things then come back and set it again. It works really well, when I remember to do it 😛

Anyway, this week’s been filled with squirels and broken wrists. BUT this week I’m posting damn it! even if it’s just randomness from my mad mind.

Hope you all are handling your time well!

Never let it be said I passed up the opportunity to milk something for all it’s worth. Yes, i can be cruel, even sadistic on occasion. – Elena Michaels, Bitten

I love this book. It doesn’t matter how many times I’ve read and re-read it. I really enjoy seeing Elena in all her stubborn glory! As I re-read Bitten again this month (with no skipping mind you 😉 ) I once again got sucked into Kelley’s world of werewolves and meeting them all again for the first time.

I can’t stop watching Elena and Clay and laughing. Knowing that this pair grow into such a meaningful fun couple makes me smile. One of my favorite parts is when Clay and Cain are fighting, making Elena turn away at the sight of Clay getting bloodied. Her constant denial is so much fun because Clay and I both know that she loves him. I truly do think that Elena is the only thing Clay has ever waited for, begged for and I love seeing them together in the end.

One reason I fell in love with Kelley’s books is that she has a great mix of plot and sex. Sex is alway fun in a book but a good plot is necessary to keep me intrigued. I like that Kelley has never shied away from  details in her novel, deciding again the “cut to black”.  I also like that her sex is real, no condoms or soft sheets. In Bitten the sex is rough, and for some out there that’s the way they like it, but it’s also full of emotion love or fear. That connection to life in the most basic way.

What a great way to get someones attention – start leaving half eaten bodies out for discovery. I love the two kinds of wolves that Kelley creates with her Pack vs the Mutts. And I love that it’s wolf against wolf, not wolf against human or vampire. All races right amongst themselves, why should werewolves be any different 🙂

I like to think of myself as Kelley’s Elena mixed with Kim Harrison’s Rachel Morgan….and re-reading Bitten has only made me think that more 🙂



Before you say no, let me give you some information. – Michael, my husband

 Most people, when their significant other says “We have roaches” you call the exterminator or run to the closest dollar store and buy a can a Raid. You picture 


running along the walls and hiding in the cabinets.

We don’t have your typical house cockroach, we have Dubia Roaches and they’re a little bit bigger.

THIS (close to actual size)  is what lives in my house…okay they’re actually in a tote in my house.

Our roaches are feeder roaches for our reptiles and are quickly becoming more popular than crickets for many reptile enthusiests, providing more protein per meal. They are also much easier to breed and maintain.  Dubia roaches give live birth, unlike cricket, so there is no hopping the material you provided for eggs is kept at the right temperature.  Plus, the don’t have that gross cricket stink. 😛

Their maintanience and care is also fairly low. We, like others, keep ours in a medium sized tote. The tote contains 4 egg crates for the roaches to hide and climb on so they aren’t stomping all over each other on the bottom, and three jar lids holding high protein ground up cat food and water gel. When it comes time to change the egg crating, usually only every few months, you simply shake them into the tote off of the old and put in new. They spend most of their time on the on the egg crating or in the jar lids so the bottom doesn’t become too much of a mess. Did I mention they don’t stink like crickets?

Dubia roaches are tropical roaches so need to be kept warm. They can survive at a minimum temperature of 68 degrees. They prefer to be kept between 85 to 95 degrees. This means that unless you keep your house hot, they won’t live long outside of their container. We keep black light above a hole we cut into the lid and a hot-pad under the tote and have a temperature gage inside the tote to make sure we’re maintaining the proper temperatures, and with Michael being half polar bear, our house is rarely above 65. It also helps that they can not climb glass or smooth plastic, meaning they’re not getting out unless you drop one while feeding your reptiles.

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Dubia roaches are live bearing roaches and the males are easily discernible from the females. While it can take time for your colony to get established, once it is, you have a constant flow from baby to adult and a wide range to feed your various sized reptiles. Our turtle love the big males which helps keep down the male population of the colony, keeping the males from becoming too many who take up more space and eat a lot of the food.

So, not all roaches are bad. Or maybe I’m just used to my husband asking me about having strange animals in the house. 😀 Though I do have to admit, I still can’t bring myself to pick up one of the big ones *shivers* I just can’t take the feel of them crawling on me! 🙂









This past few weeks I’ve been struggling. I’ve never tried to write a novel before and just kind of started on a whim. I wrote my first draft of the first chapter and posted it to my first ever Online Writing Group. It got good reviews and I got lots of good suggestions and critiques. I kept writing and wrote up to four chapters. Then on a drive out of town, discussing my ideas with Michael, I decided to do a revamp. I like the revamp idea, however, ever since going back to my chapter 1 to start over, I’ve been stuck. Writing and rewriting the same damn chapter over and over to the point where I just look at scrivener and cringe. So, I did a little rant to my group about my frustrations of trying to meet a word count, my strange phobia of posting things out of order to the group, and how I didn’t feel I could move on till I got that stupid chapter one perfect, but I didn’t want to look at it anymore. I got a lot of great advice which I wanted to share, for any other newbies out there who just don’t know what direction to go and as a reminder to those who do 🙂

  1. Write bits/scenes as they come and worry about fitting them in order and together when the time comes.
  2.  F*** perfect writing. Get the idea out. If you delete everything you have nothing to work with or fix.
  3. Use the index cards on your scrivener. Do a basic plot of the conflicts you want your characters to get through in your story.
  4. Try writing at the same time every day.
  5. Set a goal and try and meet it everyday.
  6.  It’s hard — if not impossible — to make it perfect, and the more you rewrite it, the more you want to rewrite it. My advice is to move on, continue writing C2 and C3 and keep going. You can always go back and do rewrites later
  7. Forget about the word count. A chapter can have three words or three thousand words, if it fits the story. As long as it feels natural to stop at that place, stop there.
  8. If you sit down and can’t figure out what to write. Just have something crazy happen to your characters.
  9. Treat your novel much like you would during Nanowrimo. Just get that first draft down, take all the ideas and notes swimming in your head and put them to the page, no matter how crappy the writing is.
  10. Also NaNoWriMo is fabulous practice for “sit butt in chair and write”.
  11. Podcasts, writing programs, and books on writing can help so it never hurts to try stuff like that.
  12. It’s not good to think too much, especially when we are just starting on our manuscript. Forget about dos and don’ts and just write.
  13. Keep it fun!

Some of these things already knew but I still let them get in the way until I had it pointed out to me that that’s what I was doing. I even gave some similar advice to a friend, only to have her turn around and give it right back. It’s funny how we don’t always listen to ourselves.  – so I give props to all my fellow Misfits out there. Where would we all be with out others to encourage us when we’re down and kick us  when we’re being ridiculous and should know better 🙂

I have a busy life, like so many others, and finding time to do what I want to do is hard but it’s also important to me that I make time for myself. It helps keep me sane and right now, what I want to do is write. So, I’ve done rearranging of my schedule, and am going back to the way I was writing before – JUST WRITING! and seeing where it takes me. It’s my minds adventure, time I let it run its course 🙂

A Blessing and a Curse

Why are stem-mom’s always evil? Snow White, Cinderella, Enchanted even…poor beautiful girls abused by their evil stepmothers

I’m a step-mom. There I said it, can you see my horrible evil step-mom mole? Being a step-mom is hard. You have the same responsibilities, especially when the kids live with you full time and the real mother is never there or even when she is. But there is always that one factor that people throw at you – You’re not their mother. Yes, I know. But they are still mine.

I became a step-mom when I was 21 years old, having only moved in with my boyfriend/husband 1 year before. I hadn’t even met my husbands oldest son until the day he moved in, his mother dropped him off and didn’t come back. I didn’t know what to do with a 7 year old boy and 2 years later,  Michael’s younger son moved in when he was 7, his mother wanting him to go to a smaller school. I’d met him when he was only 4. Yes, they have two different mothers.

It’s hard dealing with women who know I’m raising their children, seeing three different kinds of mothers: Mom 1 has never really been there, Mom 2 willingly gave her son to his father for the good of the son, knowing it was what he needed, and me – the Step-mom, raising two boys like they are my own, thought I’ll never be their mother in their eyes.

I hope to share some of my joys and trials as a step-mom, and hope that others like me see that they are not alone. 🙂

Michael’s best friend comes over every other week to drink, hang out, and just have a good time. It’s always just the two of them while I sleep upstairs, buried under dogs. When his friend still lived in town, he’d leaved through the back gate of our fenced in yard, until one day he didn’t quite shut the gate. Michael woke me up at 2:30 am saying that all the dogs were gone. It’s was the puppies one year birthday exactly. I freaked. Though they were vacinated, none of them had collars, not even ID tags.

The older dogs, the girls Maggie and Baby, you could see from the house, sniffing around the neighbors trees. One yell and they came trotting back home like nothing had been wrong, “What momma? The gate was open.” The boys, however, were no where to be seen. They’d been out for an hour.

I jumped in the car and drove in the direction that Michael’s friend would have walked home, thinking maybe the boys had tried to follow him or his scent. I drove slow, really slow. About half way there, I thought I saw a dog in the center of a side road I passed but by the time I’d reversed to check it out, the figure was gone and I convinced myself it was my wishful imagination. Finishing the drive past the friends house, I went back the same way I’d come. What if that figure really was one of my dogs?!? I couldn’t just let it go. Right where I’d seen it last time, there it was, the shadowy figure of a dog but it was too dark to tell which one it was.

I pulled over and called both names. Nothing, and when I’d start to get close, the shadowy dog would skitter away. After about 15 minutes of chasing a dog, I finally got a glimpse of white reflecting the moon, it was Paulie. I went for him again, but he was terrified and not coming anywhere near me. I watched as he darted under a bush and an idea hit me. I plopped down on the curb and waited, continuing to gently call his name, my back to where I knew he was. Eventually I heard the soft shuffling and I carefully turned to look, he was coming towards me, crawling across the ground on his tummy, shaking. I turned back and continued to talk to him until I felt his nose bump into my rear. Reaching back I petted him, told him he was a good boy, then scooped him up and carried the already large dog to the car. He sat in the front see just like this – As though he couldn’t be more happy than to just sit in the car, relaxing after a long scary night all alone. My only question now was, where was his brother?

I called the pound and the local dispatch to report Puss missing since it was becoming daylight. I continued to look for him but never found him. Animal control called, saying they’d had a report of two boxers running around on the other side of our 15,000 population city. No way that was him, he was alone.

It poured rain, I cried. The sun came back out, I calmed down a little but was still worried about my boy. We didn’t find Puss right away. In fact, we didn’t find Puss until my husband Michael went to work that night at 5 o’clock. All the way on the other side of town, right where the pound had said he was, apparently Puss had found a friend during his escapade.

Michael pulled the car over at seeing my boy Puss drinking water still in the gutter from the rain that morning. One word – Puss – was all it took for my perky puppy to come running to his owner. So unlike his brother! Puss had loved his day of adventure and to this day I don’t know what he did or how he survived crossing one of the busiest streets in town with out getting hit.

That day I bought all four of them collars and some very cool personalized doggie tags off Ebay’s King Pet Tags – They are really cool and I got ALL of my information on them including full address and phone number. 🙂 So the Boy’s birthday present? Their very own great adventure, I don’t plan on letting them have another 🙂 I don’t think Paulie would want one!

So, since I’m still introducing myself to the world of blogging topics, I want to introduce The Jungle. Not only do I have 4 boxers and a cat, but this house holds many more surprises inside. Okay, it’s not really a jungle per say but that’s how I think of it. This is just a quick rundown , a small glimpse through a crack in the fence .  I’ll save the pics for later 😉

The Jungle I call a house has many animals and plant plus other living things to keep the more important living things alive. And I’m not just talking about crickets. That’s right, for any other reptile owners out there, we have roaches. Not your average EW GROSS! roaches but tropical  Dubia roaches. I’ll get to that later.

We have your typical bearded dragon. And an Iguana, which require more work than people realize and shouldn’t be purchased for children or teens as pets but again, another topic for another day. My husband still rescues abused Iguana, it’s a sensitive subject. We have crested geckos, which at one point were thought to be extinct, and we have the babies ours produced. We have Panther Chameleons and Leachianus Geckos, the largest geckos on earth reaching up to 15 inches in length for certain types. The leachie’s are almost old enough to breed. In the past we’ve owned a Savannah monitor that was 3 feet long we dontated to a real zoo and a  Mali Uromastyx that met an unfortunate end.  We’ve had Satanic Leaftailed geckos, Veiled Chameleons, and gave a poor water dragon that had been living in a 20 gallon tank with no water a full tank with lots of room to swim until he died, unable to recover from the damage already done.

We have 3 sugar gliders, though at one point we had 15. Another animal people think is easy to keep only to find out differently after purchase. That’s where we come in.

Along with our animal rescues,  my husband keeps and grows carnivorous plants. Let me tell you we don’t worry about flies in the house during the summer! He has all types out there like Butterworts, Cephalitis, Nepenthes, and Sundew. But the one you’ve all probably heard of is the Venus Fly Trap. Yep, we have those too. Not to mention the two HUGE ficus and schefflera trees we have in the living room. Michael, the hubby, is currently in school hoping to go into botany, but he’s also been offered the possibility of running the greenhouse that the school is looking to purchase. Let me tell you, even though he’s just now going to school, my man knows his stuff.

So, that is my jungle in a nutshell. I can’t tell you how glad I am to have married a man who love animals as much as I do and strives to better himself and other about them. I do my part, his assistant if you will.  I look forward to introducing and informing you about them all, one species at a time 🙂