Author Questions

My first children’s book was published this spring.

(Shameless plug: Here it is on Amazon –  – it’d make a great Christmas gift! )

A few months later I’ve, mostly, stopped looking for someone else in the room when people ask “the author” a question and I’m starting to see a pattern emerge in those questions asked.

Yes, I did really write the book. (PSA announcement: Don’t ask people that. Just don’t.)

Nope, I didn’t draw a single picture. (Occasionally I think drawing a butterfly in the book when I sign it is a good idea. And it is a good idea, in theory….)

Yes, I’d be happy to tell you the long crazy story of how it was published. How much time do you have? (Shameless plug #2: Sign up for our newsletter at to learn the story.)

And yes, unless you are a full blood relation, I will indeed avoid telling you exactly how much I earn per book. (PSA announcement #2: Do unto others as Ann Landers would do unto you.)

But for those of you who can’t contain your curiosity at just how much cash I may be raking in I have two facts for you:

  1. I’m very happy with the amount of books we’ve been selling. (You guys, people read my book to little kids! Ones I don’t know! That’s astounding!)
  2. It was 27°F when drove the kids to school with my drivers side window down because it’s broken and no longer goes up. (It’s second in line of cars to be fixed as that’s not a safety issue, just cold, inconvenient and noisy.)(Shameless plug #3: Authors like windows that roll up all the way when it snows. Reviews sell books- leave your book review here: )


Have any more author-y questions you’d like answered? Ask away!


60 Random Questions

Every so often I see a list of questions making the blogger rounds, sometimes it even gets sent to me but, and I know I’m a blogger so this sounds weird, I don’t actually want to sit down and list answers to a bunch of questions all about me. However, one night last November, John and I answered a giant list of questions together.  That was a whole different story, we laughed and talked and teased and discussed and had a lovely evening and then the list and answers were forgotten. Today, I was prowling through my drafts looking for inspiration and pulled it up. The answers are still all true so if you want to know what John and I think of a whole lot of random things read on…

Do you sleep with your closet doors open or closed? Both. It doesn’t matter until winter when it’s really cold and then we have to close them because our closet is quite possibly the coldest room in the house.

Do you take the shampoos and conditioner bottles from hotel? No, John just shaved his head again and they never put anything worth taking in them.

Do you sleep with your sheets tucked in or out? Nothing may be tucked in because that would make your feet trapped and claustrophobic and who could sleep in a situation like that?  (To let the record show, John thinks its ridiculous!)

Have you ever stolen a street sign before? John has, and other random acts of vandalism, I have not.

Do you like to use post-it notes? “Dear God, it’s one the best inventions ever!” – John  And yes, I like them too.

Would you rather be attacked by a big bear or a swarm of bees? Bees. Bees don’t actually attack when they are swarming-  big bears do.

Do you always smile for pictures? Mostly.

What is your biggest pet peeve? “People who don’t throw away the sandwich box at work. What a stupid question. Why isn’t it everybody’s?”- John  We are both surprised that I can’t think of one, must have been a good day.

Have you ever peed in the woods? The question should be, “Have you peed in the woods today?” John-yes, Jessie- not since yesterday

What about pooped in the woods? Yes.

Do you ever dance even if there’s no music playing? You don’t need music to spontaneously dance in the kitchen together.

Do you chew your pens and pencils? “Pens? Pencils? I never chew my keyboard” – Jessie “I’m a chemist, lord knows what’s on the pens and pencils.” -John

What is your song of the week? Shut up and dance with me is stuck in both of our heads, possibly the kids’ fault.

What’s your least favorite movie? Jessie refuses to answer because that’s by nature a ridiculous question. John, apparently, hates the LEGO movie.

Where would you bury hidden treasure if you had some? If we told you it wouldn’t be very well hidden now would it. But it would for sure be in a tin, because I love tins.

What do you dip a chicken nugget in? We are a BBQ or Ranch house.

What movies could you watch over and over and still love?  John can re-watch movies an alarming amount of times, I don’t.

Were you ever a boy/girl scout? No Boy Scouts and one short stint as a Brownie.

Would you ever strip or pose nude in a magazine? No, we are too old for that shit.

When was the last time you wrote a letter to someone on paper? When our friend’s husband died.

Can you change the oil in a car? John is a super fantastic oil changer – so I don’t have to be.

Ever gotten a speeding ticket? “The more interesting story is when I talked myself out of a speeding ticket by telling the officer I was going to study organic chemistry at 7 on a Friday night, sadly it was the truth.” – John “Nope, I drive nice and slow, that way everyone else wants to drive so we get there faster, then I don’t have to drive and we get there faster – win win.” – Jessie

Ever ran out of gas? Yup.

What is your usual bedtime?  12 – 1 Am

Are you lazy? John isn’t lazy, he says he could be, but he isn’t. I’m not lazy it’s just that after a day of super productiveness I sometimes need to reward myself by reading an entire book.

What is your Chinese astrological sign? Apparently we are a Monkey and a Snake – and we are not impressed.

How many languages can you speak? We are pretty good at English and if pressed John thinks he could still navigate a French speaking country. I however panic in the face of foreign language and could not.  (Update: In the last year we have now learned to sing in Portuguese, though we don’t always know what we are singing about and John can count to ten in Korean.)

Do you have any magazine subscriptions? Only nerdy ones. National Geographic and Discover.

Which are better, legos or Lincoln logs? That’s… That’s… such a ridiculous question. You can build houses, barns, other square buildings, and fences with Lincoln logs. You can build ANYTHING with Legos. Also I might have a MiniFig obsession…

Are you stubborn? “I’m gonna let you take this one…” – John.  “Yes. I think yes is the correct response here.” -Jessie

Who is better, Leno or Letterman? John says Letterman, I dislike them all.

Ever watch soap operas? John hasn’t but in college I was a regular Days watcher.

Are you afraid of heights? John climbs high things for fun while I try not to watch.

Do you sing in the car? Totally.

Do you sing in the shower? Never. That would mean you would be wasting time in the shower and then you’d be in there longer and that would be ridiculous.

Do you dance in the car? Only when there isn’t oncoming traffic watching.

Ever used a gun? Not today, and that’s a serious issue when it’s November.

Do you think musicals are cheesy? Of course they are it’s part of their charm.

Is Christmas stressful? No. Having a kid’s birthday on December 23 might be though.

Ever eat a pirogi? “What’s that?” – Jessie  “Yup, made by a polish woman.” -John

Favorite type of fruit pie? Apple… or blueberry.

Occupations you wanted to be when you were a kid? Paleontologist, Astronaut, Doctor, Veterinarian, Elementary School Teacher. You can guess who’s who on those.

Do you believe in ghosts? “Nope.” -John  “Except when its a dark and stormy night and I hear funny noises then my imagination tries to convince me otherwise.” -Jessie

First concert? I don’t remember. John saw Air Supply with his mom.

Nike or Adidas? Ummm dude, shoes are foot coffins, they are both evil!

Cheetos or Fritos? Doritios is the -itos we should be talking about here!

Peanuts or Sunflower seeds? John loves sunflower seeds, but they aren’t really food so I’m choosing peanuts for both of us.

Ever take dance lessons? They don’t give those out in cars so no. John took a swing dance course in college though.

Regularly burn incense? Does burning oak in the wood stove count?

Who would you like to see in concert? The Piano Guys, Little Big Town (but I couldn’t remember their name so I’m probably not going to make that happen) John’s adding Rush, I don’t even know who that is.

What was the last concert you saw? Great Big Sea

Are you patient? Do elephants fly?  

Which are better, black or green olives? Ick. I give all my olives to John and he says their isn’t’ enough data in the question to make an informed decision. Fancy green, canned crap, black.

Can you knit or crochet? I could knit, not sure I remember how anymore though.

Best room for a fireplace? The middle one.

Who was your HS crush? Somethings should die with High School.

Do you cry and throw a fit until you get your own way? No, that’s what the three year old tries and it doesn’t work for her either.

Do you have kids? Three

Do you want kids? Three is good, no more please.

What’s your favorite color? Blue

Do you miss anyone right now? Not more than usual.


How about you?

Have you ever answered questions with someone before?


I Need More Dark Chocolate

It’s true what they say.

As my children age I am getting less intelligent.Ivy black and white

Or as my eldest says, “YOU’RE JUST STUPID!”

Sadly that was as I was asking her to do something totally outrageous like get in the car for swim lessons and not after one of our dreaded circular conversations when it might (in a nicer manner of course) have been warranted.

Ivy has two snack times now and, my feelings on that aside, I needed some clarification on exactly how it worked.

“Do you need to bring a snack for milk break too?” I ask.

“No”,she says as she laughs, “They pass one out.”

“Oh, so you only need to bring one snack.”

No!“, and she laughs harder shaking her head, “There are two snacks!”


“Mom…” she laughs as she shakes her head.

“No really. When do they pass out snacks?”

“MOM! At snack time!” -giggle, giggle-

“But, then when do you eat the snack you bring?”

“At snack time!”

“So you do need to bring two snacks?”

And so the conversations goes round in circles while the first grader laughs at her oh-so-ridiculous-mother that doesn’t know a single thing about snack time.

Clara is more patient with me.

She knows that sometimes I just don’t get it. When that happens she raises her eyebrows, look to the heavens and says, “Actually Mom…”Clara black and white

Every now and then Ivy will pipe up with a gem like this: “How many ten minutes.”

And I, admittedly, panic.

It’s early in the morning. I have no idea what we are talking about. The question makes no sense to me. Is it better to pretend I didn’t hear? Or do I ask for clarification and risk the circular conversation before I’ve finished my cup of tea? Will she find my stupidity this morning amusing, frustrating or will it bring on tears?

“Actually Mom…”

“No Mom, mini-corn dogs are a healthy lunch.” Ivy says laughing at my disbelief.

“Actually Mom..”

And then Jane chimes in.Jane black and white




What, who me?!





Then, just like that, in the midst of the chaos I can practically feel it happen -poof- there goes another batch of brain cells.Clara and Jane black and white

Fortunately I’ve done .45 seconds worth of internet research on sub-par sites and discovered that dark chocolate is good for your brain.

Unfortunately we are out.

Somebody forgot to get more…

Santa Eyes

I was contentedly driving down the road when from the backseat Ivy asked a question about another car’s blinker.  A lovely, educational conversation ensued about blinkers, how they work and why we use them. Then, as the topic was wrapping up, Ivy asked why it was still blinking after the car turned and kept driving.

I explained how blinkers usually turn themselves off after you turn or that you turn them off so you don’t confuse people and that even if it looked like it was still blinking as it went around the corner it was probably turned back off by now.

Ivy insisted she could see that the car still had it’s blinker on.

Now by this point we had driven close to a mile away from where we had seen the car with the blinker turn and that car was going in the opposite direction. The girl could not possibly still see the car much less check on it’s blinker status. This would also be the point where a smarter mother would have realized her daughter was just looking to disagree and let it slide. But my mothering skills are a work in progress so I foolishly pointed out that she didn’t know if the blinker on the car was still on because she couldn’t see it any more.

Wrong answer Mom.

Yes, she could still see it and it’s blinker was still on. Why was it STILL on?!

Slightly irritated my response contained facts about the impossibility of her seeing the other vehicle as well as the reasoning behind the high probability that the cars blinker was off.

My mothering needed much help that day.

 “MOM, I CAN SEE IT! I’ve told you a million times, I have Santa eyes!”

Ivy on bike

Her eyes see everything!

Finally napping mothering skills kicked in and I realized that I had been goaded into  a pointless, losing argument by my six year old.

The only way out would be sudden distraction or acquiescence.

Look Ivy!


Strongly Agree

Even down here, from under this nice comfy rock where I reside, I can tell the election is coming. If I were to manage to forget the date, miss the yard signs and keep the radio off  the phone calls alone would remind me. These are no ordinary political calls either.In fact I haven’t received a single call telling me who I should vote for and why. Nope, so far all I’ve answered are survey questions. Survey questions, which I must admit, I’m pathetically happy to answer.

You see it’s like this…

Here I am home alone with three kids. We’ve almost made it through another day. Which means that I’ve answered approximately 5,00,000,003 questions. 3,000,000,000 of my answers were considered wrong by the children and resulted in lengthy repetitive “discussions” (read how many different ways can you say, “No more apple cider!”). 2,000,000,000 of my answers were never heard by the kids because they had already moved on to other things and the last three of my answers were considered satisfactory and were allowed to stand.  I’m on the brink of answering question 5,000,000,004 thinking the odds are poor that it will have a good outcome when the magic moment happens – the phone rings. A ringing phone can only mean one thing – ADULT CONVERSATION! I jump up shedding kids, dogs and dinner paraphernalia like a duck sheds water, dash to the phone and try to say hello as if I’m not grasping at a life line.

My excitement over the ringing phone had started to wane when I realized that three quarters of all my phone calls were people asking me what I think. But then I realized something. Three quarters of my phone calls are adults asking me what I think! I answer, and no one argues, screams, cries or stomps the ground. Sometimes they say things like “Really?!” which strikes me as odd and my science background is then suspicious of their results.  Sometimes I mess with them to see if I can get them to leave their script – also not good scientific survey etiquette. Sometimes they provide “information” and then ask their questions again which makes the biologist in me shudder in horror. Most of the time I just cheerfully answer their questions using their awkward phrase of choice.

After the most recent barrage of survey questions I hung up the phone and realized something quite depressing.The political season’s version of telemarketers has become my new entertainment. Standing in the kitchen already besieged by more unanswerable questions from my own personal Lollipop Guild  I immediately made myself a promise that I strongly agreed with…

I must crawl out from under my rock for a social event more often than my once a week library visit and I will never believe the results of the phone polls!

I wrote this for the Daily Post’s writing challenge of the week (of Oct. 1st) and am going with the better late than never theory. To see other responses to the challenge check out:

“Stupid” Questions

Ivy was in a great mood today.

She was good.

She was helpful.

She played with Clara.

She listened well at story-time.

She drove me insane.

Here is the problem. When Ivy is extra super happy, she talks extra super much, and it’s not just talking.  It is non-stop question asking.

Now before you think I’m a horrible intolerant mother let me refer you to this post –One Hundred and Seventy Seven.  The short story on that post is that one day Ivy asked me 208 questions in one afternoon, I learned from that experience that counting the number of questions only makes me more insane  and does nothing to stem the flow of asking.  In fact it’s been almost four months since that day and we are still in question land.

Especially when Ivy is in a extra super happy, because that means she is also in an extra super talkative mood.

The problem is that I am happy to answer real questions.  It’s the “stupid” questions I have a problem with. Every time Ivy asks me a “stupid” question I hear countless old teachers’ voices echoing in my head saying “There is no such thing as a stupid question.”

But there are.  There are lots of stupid questions.

Things like “Mom, where is Storm?” – In the same crate she’s been in for the last two months and easy to locate because she is barking.

or “Mom, are you eating?” -While we are all sitting down eating lunch together.

or “Mom, are you peeing?” -That needs no further explanation other than to say I look forward to the days of kid-free bathrooms.

Repeat questions are also stupid questions.  If you have already asked me three times what color my shirt is, time number four is, without a doubt, a stupid question.  Possibly two and three were as well.

The stupid question crowning moment came late this afternoon. Ivy and I had a conversation that almost made my head explode.  It went something like this:

Ivy: “Mom, what you doin?”

Me: “Pulling out weeds.”

Ivy: “Why?”

Me: “So we can plant garlic here.”

Ivy: “Where are you puttin’ those weeds?”

Me: “In a pile over here.”

Ivy: “What are they?”

Me: “What are what?”

Ivy: “Those.”

Me: “These weeds?”

Ivy: “Yeah, those.”

Me: “I don’t know what kind of plants they are.”

Ivy: “Mom, what are they?”

Me: “Ivy, I don’t know.”

Ivy: “No, what are they?”

Me: “I don’t know”

Ivy: “What are they?”

Me: “I don’t know!”


Me: “But I don’t know what they are.”

Ivy: “Mom, they are WEEDS, just say weeds.”

Me: “Why are you asking if you already know?”

Ivy: “I don’t know…”

Just typing that might have made five more hairs go gray…

The problem is I suspect she just wants to have a conversation with me, but all of my strategies to teach her how to start one without asking a question she already knows the answer to are massively failing. The end result is that I end up pulling out my hair on days Ivy is super happy while feeling guilty that her happy question asking makes me insane.

So please if you know how to get a kid to stop asking stupid questions let me know.

If by chance you are one of my old teachers who have accidentally come across this blog – I challenge you to take Ivy for the day and see if there is still no such thing as a “stupid” question.