Teenage Mutant Hormone Ninjas

Teenage Mutant Hormone Ninjas

I have a confession, and I’m pretty sure I’m not the first mother to make one of these: I lost my temper with my child, and now I regret it. No, you don’t have to call child services, she’s fine. I think I’m more traumatized by it than she is. And I now need a new cell phone.




I’ve read the parenting books (okay not all of them, but at least enough not to get drummed out of the Mommy Club), and I know the theory. Breathe! Don’t react! You’re the adult!

But Goddamn it, when you’re faced with fourteen years of seething hormones, rolling its eyes, steam coming out of its ears, muttering dark curses beneath its breath—all because you had the audacity to help her with something, and then not do it in a manner which pleased the beast.


I want to take those parenting books and…Make the people who wrote them parent my teen.




Teens are tough. They’re like toddlers, only mouthier and the problems are a lot bigger. Now the battleground has shifted from whether or not you can touch the kitchen knives, to whether or not you can date. A resounding no, to both at this point. Somewhere along the way, my sweet little girl, mutated into an angry young woman with mood swings that leave my head spinning.

Somewhere in there—I get a flash every now and again—is my little girl. Even better, lurking beneath all the teenage angst is a fascinating, intelligent, quirky wonderful woman who I can’t wait to meet. She has opinions (and is not shy about voicing them), she is developing her own set of ethics, and setting her own moral compass. How much credit/blame I need to take for all of that, is not sure yet.

And as I write this, I think of when she was born, and I looked at this baby and shuddered at the thought of when she would be a teenager. It scared the crap out of me. And none of the teens around me at the time, did anything to alleviate that fear. My mother said something to me at the time, and she’s right. Our kids aren’t born teens. They go through all these stages to get there, and we grow right along with them. I feel as if I blinked and I was here, the parent of two teen girls.

But I did grow along with them. Like most parents, I adapted to each new stage in their lives, and arrived at this point with a lot more tools in my belt than that new mum fourteen years ago. Not enough tools, mind you, but enough to survive—I think…maybe…



Fresh New Start

Fresh New Start

It’s back to school time. The start of a fresh new school year. I don’t have kids, but as a writer, I appreciate the sales on writing supplies.
I stocked up on post-it notes, a couple of notebooks, and a box of “Xtra Fun” pencils (extra fun because they are multiple colors). We have tons of pens (collected from fellow writers and writing conventions) in the apartment, but had only one pencil – a golf one left over from a game of mini-golf a few years ago.
Some people use this time of year as a sort of New Years. They may start a diet or new exercise plan, or some other “big change”. They’re back from vacation, ready to get back into the grid. It’s the perfect time to implement a new routine.
The return of September also means the return of football. I’m super excited! Any given Sunday, your team has the chance to win. I have high hopes for a lot of teams, and players (and am personally vested several in thanks to fantasy football). 
Cue up Autumn Thunder and give me some Gridiron Greats. 

The weather is turning cooler, the air more crisp. Soon, leaves will fall, and we’ll swap shorts and tees for jeans and sweaters. After the heat of Summer, the first stirrings of Autumn are very refreshing. 
And…a discussion about September wouldn’t be complete without mentioning…pumpkin spice lattes.
They’re ba-ack! But I personally feel these should wait until October before making their appearance. 🙂
What are you most excited about this time of year?


I Have No Idea What I’m In For

I Have No Idea What I’m In For

You know, in many respects, I’ve loved middle age. In particular, once you hit forty (and then some), you kind of a adopt this, “Oh, why the hell not,” attitude. Life is short, right? Why not live a little and experience the things you put off in your twenties and thirties? I can’t tell you how many times I’ve used midlife crisis as a tongue-in-cheek excuse for my escapades–my new badass Chevy Camaro included. 🙂

Chevy Camaro

What I’ve NOT enjoyed about middle age is weight. I confess, I was one of those lucky bitches growing up that had an astronomical metabolism. So long as I exercised regularly and didn’t live on Oreos and Doritos, my weight stayed pretty stable.

And then I hit forty…

And then I went to work in an office environment…

Seven years later, I’m scratching my head and wondering, “What the hell?” I exercise regularly, watch my calories like a freakin’ hawk, and STILL put on weight. I even did P90X for about six months, and while I got super toned, I never dropped a pound. Twice, I’ve gone to docs for assistance, and instead of being concerned like the media insists they should be, they shrug and give me the old, “Well, you know…you’re getting older now.”


Are you kidding me?

So, the other day, a friend of mine suggested a local doctor who practices this thing call Functional Medicine. I googled it and found the following description:

Functional medicine addresses the underlying causes of disease, using a systems-oriented approach and engaging both patient and practitioner in a therapeutic partnership. It is an evolution in the practice of medicine that better addresses the healthcare needs of the 21st century. By shifting the traditional disease-centered focus of medical practice to a more patient-centered approach, functional medicine addresses the whole person, not just an isolated set of symptoms. Functional medicine practitioners spend time with their patients, listening to their histories and looking at the interactions among genetic, environmental, and lifestyle factors that can influence long-term health and complex, chronic disease. In this way, functional medicine supports the unique expression of health and vitality for each individual. 

Grudgingly, I scheduled an appointment. I’m a little terrified she’s going to tell me I can only have vegetables and protein and nothing else. I barely have time in the day to work, shuffle my kids around, workout for 30 minutes, and write. Where am I going to slip in these custom recipes I fear she’ll hand over?

Does anyone else have information on what I’m in for? Warnings or praise? What are your midlife struggles and how did you deal with them?

Rhenna Morgan

A la When I was a Kid

A la When I was a Kid

Do you have any memories of your parents pulling the old “when I was a kid . . .” routine?

I do.

My dad still tells me stories about how, when he was younger, he had to wait for it to be his turn to wear the shoes he shared with his brothers, before he could go out and play. Or that he would walk miles and miles, in two feet of snow, to get to school.

I listened to his stories, laughed a little at the craziness of them, and a lot of times would not exactly believe everything he told me. It was too outlandish to think my dad had to SHARE SHOES, right? I mean really?

Then, recently, I found myself pulling this routine myself. With my oldest daughter.

First-time-driver-courseYou see, she passed her behind the wheel driver’s test this summer. She’s official.

(I know, right?)

Honestly, that’s a whole blog post in itself. But I digress.

I remember when I got mine, back in the day, and my mother would read me the riot act about where I was going, who I would be with, when I’d be home, etc etc etc.

Looking back, I’m sure she worried like a mother. (get it?)

Surprisingly, I’m not as panicked about my own daughter driving alone as I once thought I would be.

Although, in part, I can attribute this to the fact that I spent the past year driving with her and seeing with my own eyes that she’s a good driver, pays attention, follows road rules and I trust her impeccably, I can honestly say that it’s also thanks to technology that’s available today.

WHEN I WAS A KID, we didn’t have cell phones. We had to hope we found one when we got to where we were going and could call our parental units if we were gonna be late because if not . . . GROUNDED.

TODAY, my daughter sends me a simple text to say “got here” or that she’s “leaving now” or even from time to time, “can I stay a little longer?” and I am good to go.

WHEN I WAS A KID, I couldn’t call my mom on the way home if I got lost, or stuck in traffic, or missed my exit, or got a flat tire, or any of the other millions of excuses there were for not being home as expected. I’m sure she went a little nutty on more than one occasion, waiting for me to arrive home, safely.

find-iphoneTODAY, I can click on an app called FIND MY iPHONE, if I need to, and I know where she is immediately, so I know what’s up (because she cannot and should not ever ever ever text me while she’s driving, right?).

WHEN I WAS A KID, our parents didn’t have the access to us that we have to our kids today. Maybe that’s a good thing, maybe not. It is what it is. Personally, TODAY, I’m glad we have it. Because even though, from when she was very small, this girl has proven to us over and over again that she’s ready like Freddy, for “the next thing” to come along in life, I’m always going to worry about her.

Sure, she rolls her eyes from time to time at how many questions I ask her when she’s going out (the same ones my mother used to ask me, by the way) – but I have to say, it’s worth it, since knowing that, with certain technology, I don’t have to worry about her, quite so much.

Any technology you feel like you couldn’t live without in today’s world even though you never had it growing up?

Tell me, and thanks for stopping by!

Big love,

Jo xoxo 6


(pics found in this post – “welcome to the future” – forbes.com, “first time driver” – dmv.org,  “find my iPhone icon” – ismashphones.com)

Making my space Fresh

Making my space Fresh




Makeovers. They always seem like a good idea until you unearth the mess, and then… well, there’s the mess.

I decided my space needed some rejuvenation. I work, sleep, watch TV and entertain my cats in my bedroom. It’s my sanctuary, so why does it look like a cave?

This is what I asked myself, and the reason? It’s really a pain to redecorate. Sure, pinterest makes it look sooo fun. I mean, you know you have a couple boards full of all the things in the world you just know would be awesome. Right? Yeah, me too.

But the reality is, my space is small and I needed to restructure and make it a place I wanted to sit down and write in, lay around in, etc. At the moment it’s like I walk in and shake my head before walking back out.

The first task I decided to undertake was paint. It needed some pep, and I figured, hey, that’s cheap and not too much labor, I can conquer that. Welp, I bought the pain and it’s still on the back porch and my walls are still grey and white.

But the color I picked is so pretty. I am a beach girl through and through, so I chose a picture that would bring me closer to that place that makes me the happiest.


I did manage to get a new comforter–it’s so pretty and soft–and I found a desk that will not only take up less space, but it also has enough room for my printer, computer tower and two monitors and the best part? DRAWERS. You have no idea how important these are to me.

Picturing it all together is exciting. All the pieces and parts to make my little getaway fabulous. Now, if only my money tree would break ground out in the back yard, I could really get a move on this little endeavor.

How about you? Any summer projects going on in your life?



It’s SUMMER!!!!!!!!!!

It’s SUMMER!!!!!!!!!!



For this summer baby, it couldn’t get here soon enough. Time for huge sunglasses, sandals, floppy beach hats, and SPF-50 by the gallon (protect your skin, people!). 
It’s also time for bathing suits.
Most stores get them in around January or February. I think that’s brilliant because by January, I’m so over winter’s chill. Buying one gives you hope that soon enough, the ice will thaw and the dull gray of winter will turn into the vibrant colors of summer.
But with that happy promise also comes the weight of The Choice. What do you choose? straps? no straps? halter top? high-cut? thong? boy-shorts? retro? cut-outs? sexy? sporty? *cue up the screeching horror movie music and add in an overwhelmed shopper, running from the store, screaming, “Too many! Too many!”*
Buying one also makes me realize that short people who also have a short torso can’t wear regular one-piece bathing suits. They’re too long. As is anything else made for people over 5’4. Those of us on the wrong side of that height mark always need alterations…but that’s a post for another day… 
My short person problem is solved by the two-piece. My indecisiveness about which type, and then which color or pattern to go with is what keeps me in the store for hours. (I am the girl who will be on a first-name basis with the dressing room attendant by the time I’ve made my decision).
Not all people wear the same size on the bottom as they do on top, and most stores sell the pieces as separates, which is convenient, unless you’ve found the piece of your dreams, only to discover the size you need of the corresponding piece is out of stock. *cue up the sounds of crying, and a shopper standing in the middle of the store wailing, “Why? Why?” then sinking to her knees murmuring about the cold, cruel world she lives in.*
And about those two-pieces…specifically, the bikini. Apparently there’s some “rule” about the proper age to stop wearing one. Dude, rules were made to be broken. Whatever suit makes you feel your best is the one you should be wearing, whether it’s a bikini, tankini, one-piece, or a full body suit. (Hey, surf’s up!) So wear what makes you happy. And anyone who destroys your confidence can go kiss your sunscreen.
Whatever you do wear, please cover up the rest of yourself with a decent SPF. Skin damage isn’t a good look on anyone, and skin cancer is scary. So slather yourself up. Often. As in, every-two-hours often.
To top it all off, you should definitely accessorize with a floppy hat and sunglasses worthy of a film star. (This is my favorite part of the whole buying process!) When in doubt, always go for the dramatic flair.
All this talk about swimwear makes me want to run outside right now and drive to the closest beach. Now I just have to decide which bathing suit I’m bringing with me…


Connected at the hip.

Connected at the hip.

I got an email the other day from my pedometer.

Fitbit email
Okay, the thing hangs on my belt, and came with a wireless USB connector that I plugged into my computer. Now every time I get anywhere near my computer, important data streams from my hip down the internet tubes. Important data that when extensively analyzed reports back to me that I sit at my computer way too much and don’t walk enough.

My Zip

My Zip

Hey, I walk all the way to the kitchen for cookies. That should count for something.

Anyway, my relationship with my Fitbit Zip has been uncomplicated so far. It tells me to walk more, and I ignore it. A pretty good relationship, right?

But now things are getting complicated. The thing has become . . . needy.

Or has it?

Is it just being sly?

In order to get it new batteries, I need to get up and go to the store. I’d need to walk, which is what it’s been wanting all along.

So I ask myself: What happens if I don’t get it batteries?

Will our relationship die? Can’t things just go on just the way they were?

If I get it batteries, will it demand something else?

Long walks on the beach? Heaven forbid, a gym membership?

I need to think. I need a cookie. But I’d have to get up and walk to the kitchen.

I think it’s winning.


The Post Graduation Lie (For Parents)

The Post Graduation Lie (For Parents)

I’m not gonna lie. Being an adult comes with great privileges:

  • You can go to bed when you want.
  • You can splurge on something you really, really want without explaining to anyone (except maybe hubby) why you bought it.
  • Meals can be comprised however you chose—healthy and well-planned with all the fixings, chips and dip while you surf the web, or gluttonous cookies.
  • Your house rules are whatever you make them.
  • You don’t ever have to do math beyond pushing keys on a calculator if you don’t want to.


Stop the presses!!

I’ve been robbed!! Jilted, I tell you!!!

The day I graduated from college, I took perverse pleasure in flipping the proverbial bird at every math class and teacher I left behind. It’s not that I didn’t pass, or that I didn’t feel it was necessary in preparing me to be an adult. I just freakin’ hated it. With a passion. My brain doesn’t work well with numbers. I’m a writer, for cryin’ out loud. Give me words and pictures any day. Bring on the bloody essays.

So, yeah, when I left school, I reveled in the knowledge I would NEVER have to tangle with algebra or any other atrocious combination of numbers with the alphabet as long as I lived.

And then I had children.

Post Graduation Lie

It’s a cruel joke, really. You think you’re out of math class…and then your kids show up with homework. Horrid, mind numbing homework. And don’t even get me started on the Common Core topic…unless you just enjoy seeing smoke come out of my ears.

I can almost see my geometry teacher gleefully rubbing his hands together now. The bastard. (As a side note, geometry class is where I acquired the art of forging my mother’s signature. Progress reports? Problem solved.)


The last year, I’ve often found myself thinking of the game show featuring Jeff Foxworthy called Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader?

Are You Smarter Than A Fifth Grader

I have the answer, at least as it pertains to math.

Not only no, but hell no. And based on the questions my kid is asking me, she isn’t either. Thank God, I can answer the English questions and Google for science stuff.

Anyone else having this problem? Feeling a little archaic and jilted in the homework sector?

Getting a bit Zen

Getting a bit Zen

Faced with a  clean slate on what to write about today, I—naturally—went blank. And then I got to thinking about what’s going on for me at the moment, and inspiration struck.

I am two weeks out on a big release. My first contemporary romance and my first time into mass market paperback. And I’m surprisingly relaxed. I came across this article a few weeks ago, talking about sleep and successful people. It failed to find any correlation between how many hours successful people sleep (and by this we are talking the uber successful of the world—those household names: Obama, Branson, Gates, Trump). Some needed more sleep, others less. But what they did find, was that most of the people polled were early risers.

Bad news for a night owl like myself. I stumble out of bed in a fog every morning, reaching blindly for the coffee maker. They broke down some helpful hints for adopting an early to rise strategy:




  • Drink a glass of water first thing. I can’t tell you how this works. It doesn’t make up for lost sleep, but it does bring my brain on line. I generally down it while I get the coffee on. According to the article, you get dehydrated while you sleep and that glass of water puts your body back in the game.





  • Don’t reach for your electronics first thing. Resist the urge to check your email, cruise Facebook etc. Spend a short time with yourself every morning. Also, a revelation for me who used to reach for her phone as soon as I could clear my vision. That twenty minutes I spend with a journal really helps put my day in perspective and get me in touch with how I’m feeling that day.





  • Plan your day. It should be obvious by now, but it isn’t—at least not to me. I don’t know a woman (sorry Steven Mitchell) who isn’t busy. Motherhood, careers, writing, marriage, homes—we juggle an enormous list of tasks for every day. Five minutes taken when everyone is still asleep to plan has really helped me keep on top of my day, and left me feeling more in control.



And that’s really it. I get up half an hour earlier, the house is blissfully quiet—just me and the dogs. Of course, there are mornings when I get derailed by life, but for the most part, I try and do this every morning.

Give it a try, let me know what you think if you do. Or maybe you have a something to add, something you do each morning that gets you on track.


And the winner is…

And the winner is…

Well, it’s that time of year. The stars align, shining brightly as we gaze upon them in awe. No, I’m not talking about celestial stars. I’m talking about the stars here on earth.

This is the time of year when just about every segment of the entertainment industry pats itself on the back and hands out awards for being…well…the biggest stars.

Oscars. BAFTAs. SAGs, Grammys, Golden Globes…the list seems endless. It makes you wish you’d invested in a company that makes red carpets. Ever wonder what it’s like to attend one of this glitzy events? Well, let me enlighten you. [Read more…]