A forced break from reality.

We went from lovely spring weather right back to winter crap in what seemed like over night. Our bodies rebelled. The last two weeks has been spent in a sneezing, coughing, vapor rub, blowing our noses til they are raw, hell.

Me and my girls played Hay Day. We have accumulated a great group of neighbors and have placed 2nd in the derby. We are ranked at expert level.

I know. But when you're laid up sick and it's all you got...

I'm also almost done with the series on Netflix, Hart of Dixie. What appeals to me is that it is set in a small Alabama town where everyone looks out for everyone, brings soup to the sick and pies to the broken hearted. Where people meet for coffee or a meal at a venue where everybody knows everybody, and they throw different festivals all the time just to have a reason for everyone to get together. And winter doesn't exist.

If only there were no crocodiles and snakes. Although, the Mayor does have a pet crocodile named Burt Reynolds that doesn't seem so bad.

I know, totally not reality. But who needs reality while you're laid up sick?

The men folk, I've noticed, have a different way of waiting out this horrible plague that has been brought upon us. They play live gaming where they get to shoot and blow up bad guys and other things. My son from the 2nd floor, my ex husband from the 1st floor. Whenever us girls venture down from the 3rd floor we can hear them hooting and hollering. Poor Mika has been confused. He hears them through each others mics and has to check and see if someone else is here, and there's been a breach in his security.

Oh yeah, we live with my ex husband. How does that work? We're a family. It works like any other family, I guess. You will need to just follow my blog to find that out. Not that I'm trying to solicit you to follow my blog, but I really don't see any other way.

In the mean time, the weather is starting to warm up again, though I'm not sure I should trust it. I think we are also at the end of this cootie bug infestation. I'm looking forward to warmer, longer days. I may not live in a small town full of old fashioned southern hospitality. It's more like a suburb of a small city in Ohio, but it will have to do.

And now, I have two weeks of reality to catch up on . Man, that stuff really piles up quick.


I remember... some stuff.

Haley, My nine year old, is always asking the most random questions. One time she asked me what I thought Mika, our mini pin pup, dreams about. My guess on that was bacon. The boy loves bacon treats.

Recently Haley asked me how people can possibly remember when they were little. She wanted to know if I did. I told her I remember blips of it. What I didn't tell her is that I am probably not the best to ask this question to. There's a possibility that I just don't want to remember a lot of it.

Actually, my first memory was sitting in the back seat of my parents car with my two brothers and my sister. My father was driving and my mother was riding shot gun. It's also the only time I ever saw my father drive. I guess he quit driving shortly after that.

I remember that the car was red and had a checkered interior. My parents were arguing. I don't remember anything I heard. Mostly I just remember that car. My guess is because of the red color and the checkered design.

When I grew up I told my mother about that memory. She was surprised.

“How in the world could you possibly remember that!” She said. “You were a tiny baby! You were only a couple months old!”

Then I was surprised. I had always thought I must have been at least three or four. I had told that story to quite a few people growing up and I always said I was about three or four years old.

I have quite a few memories of when I was two. That's when I cut all my hair off and my mother had a conniption fit. I didn't really see the problem with it, but she seemed to to think it was a major deal.

I remember sitting on my sisters back while she laid on the floor and I would brush her her hair. I have never been into doing hair and wasn't interested in it then either, as you can probably figure out by the fact that I didn't even see the point in having hair. I was a toddler and she's seven years older than me. For me, it was just a way to be able to hang out with her.

I can remember swimming in the back yard in one of those kiddie pools. My mom was sitting in a chair, reading a book, trying to get a tan. I was playing with a coffee can in the pool. I wasn't really paying attention to the fact that my mother was looking for something, until she snatched the can, which I had sunk to the bottom of the pool, away from me. She reached in and pulled out her watch.

“My Watch! It's probably ruined now!”


My brother, who was the oldest of us four kids and eight years older than me, would spread out in that pool leaving the rest of us to share half a pool. My other brother, who was only two years older than me, taught me that splashing water in his face would solve that problem. He couldn't stand it.

“Aw... don't leave mad.”

I remember my oldest brother had a cat named Max. He was a mean cat. Max preferred to stay outside most the time. He even hung out in the sewers. Not long ago I was talking to my brother and mentioned that cat.

“You remember Max!” He said. “You were like a baby then!”

“Hey, if you remember a cat, do you remember around that same time your sister (He always address's our family as if he too isn't related to them.) got up in the middle of the night and said someone was in the house? She said they tried to take her.”

“Um, no. Holy crap! Seriously?”

“Yeah, the cops came and everything! You don't remember any of that?”


“They had dogs and was searching the neighborhood. You don't remember that?”

“No, I don't remember any of that. What happened?”

“They didn't find anyone. How can you not remember that?”

“I don't know.”

“Dang... but you remember a cat, huh?”

So you see why I might not have been the best person for Haley to have asked this question.


January tried to take me down

Just let me dust off my keyboard real quick.

I started a project before the holidays. My calculations said that I would be done well before the holidays hit. That didn't happen. Before I knew it I was juggling both.

Why can't the holidays be more spread out? Every month is a holiday! I use to think it was a nice distraction from the gloom of winter, but that only works til January 1'st.

After the holidays, hence January 1'st, you're back to every day routine. You notice the cold more. You know you are looking at, in the least, three months of bare trees, gray skies, achy bones, horrific allergies, and cold. If anything is causing you stress, it will be doubled, maybe even tripled, during the month of January.

I was exhausted by the time Christmas was over. The week between Christmas and New Years, not much of anything got done, which unfortunately gave me more time to catch up on social media, because, you know, January ain't hard enough.

My faith in humanity plummeted.

Maybe if I would have stayed away from the comment sections...

January was a loss. I was physically and mentally exhausted. I trudged through the things that had to be done and put off anything else that could wait. January was taking me down.

Then I remembered something I had read a long time ago, that what we feed our brains can have a profound effect on us. How I felt was a perfect example of that. I started cleaning up my social feed and e-mail. I had been meaning to do that anyway and kept putting it off. I knew it was going to be time consuming since it hadn't been done since my youngest was a baby. She's nine now.

It took a little while, but I started feeling better. There's so much wrong in this world, but there is so much good still too. There has to be a balance to what we fill our minds with. All negative, all the time, every day, will take it's toll.

It also helped that this year has been oddly warm. People are out doing yard work that usually isn't done until spring. Our temperatures are matching those from the warmer states. Some days we have even been warmer. Although possibly not a good thing, it's sure making this winter more bearable for everyone.

The thing about that, though. I have a lot to catch up on. I ain't even done with that project I was working on. I was supposed to have at least three more months before any outdoor stuff happened. That's one good thing about winter, there's hardly any outdoor work. But even so, I kinda like skipping winter this year.

I want to cook out here in the next few days. That way I can say I barbecued in February. In Ohio!

I know. It don't take much with me.

It's the small things, though.


This chic has issues!

Our cat Midnight, doesn't appreciate the fact that she is not the only pet. She probably doesn't even thinks she is a pet. I'm pretty sure she thinks we’re her pets, but either way, I know she don't appreciate the fact we allow Mika, our Mini Pin pup, to live here too. She pretty much stayed on the upper level of the house with my oldest daughter Shaye, to avoid him. Sometimes I forgot we had a cat.

Lately she has decided that she wants to hang out on the lower level of the house. I finally got Shaye to do something with her warehouse of a room, so I'm thinking Midnight is confused and thinks were moving, or that something big is up.

Mika actually handled this better than I thought, for a Bossy, jealous dog with O.C.D. He barked at her a little at first, but I'm pretty sure he was just laying down the rules. He likes to run a tight ship. After that he usually just yelled at her for laying on shelves, the kitchen table, and being up on counters was a big no, no. Really, just anywhere he knew we didn't prefer our fur babies to be. He also complains if my youngest daughter Haley, takes the kitty in her room and shuts him out.

“Oh hell no she didn't!”

But, things settled in. He continued to yell at her about her bad habits and she continued to ignore his wishes. The occasional nails in, smack is administered, but things never turn into an out and out barroom brawl.

Then one day she crossed the line. Big time!

She actually used the bathtub for a kitty litter box! Seriously?

This chic has issues!

He was escorting me down the hall, because when he isn't sleeping or keeping look out in the window, making sure nobody breaks the fifty mile perimeter he has mentally built around our house, he feels it's best if I be escorted. Suddenly he stops and his head jerks toward the bathroom, his nose pointed up, nostrils flaring. He darts into the bathroom and then over to the tub where he raises up on his back legs and looks in.

Oh, it's on!

He runs out of the bathroom and into the kitchen, where Midnight was laying in a chair, and starts yelling like there was no tomorrow. She tried smacking him a couple times, hissed a few, but he didn't care. He refused to stop until she ran back upstairs.

She did it again after that, but we found it first and well, we figure what he don't know won't hurt. I decided to keep the bathroom door closed after that. Then the other night I was walking through and Midnight is sitting by the bathroom door like she's just waiting her turn. I yelled in at Haley and told her to take Midnight upstairs to her sister for the night. I didn't want to be woke up through the night by deputy control freak yelling at Queen priss to get off the counter and table.

Mika heard me and since he's a busy body, he came in to see what the deal was. And then he saw her!

“Oh hell no! I know she don't think she's going in there!”

To be fair, he probably did get her upstairs faster than it would have taken Haley. I just wanted to pee, so I could go to bed. By the time my hand reached for the knob Mika was back and butted his way in front of me.

“Mika, I really don't need an escort for this.”

As soon as I opened the door he ran over to the tub and looked in. I think I saw his chest relax a bit, and then he strutted out.

“Really Mika, the door has been shut.”

Your dog is weird too, right?


Writing is hard and so is being naked.

What am I doing here just sitting? I should be doing dishes, laundry, or some other form of manual labor. Writing is not real work. Wait, are those my words, or is that just me listening to others?

Writing is work! It's hard work!

I mean, I did have to learn some basic grammar, which I don't always remember to apply, and I had to find my own voice. Writey stuff like that. Sometimes there's a lot of research involved, which actually, I don't mind. I know, who in their right mind likes research?

Hi, my name is Chantelle, and I'm a closet geek.

But, really all of that sentence structure and knowing where to put a comma kinda stuff, most anyone can learn. At least for me that's the easier part. Well, maybe not that comma part. People should really pause more. Take time to stop and smell the ink.

The hardest part to writing, in my opinion, is letting people in your head. Most the writing books I have read say that the best writing is honest writing. Seriously, do they realize that nobody who knows me personally will ever speak to me again?

I'm just kidding. I think very highly of everyone I know.

I am an observant person. I notice things that most people don't see. Probably because they don't want to and are wondering why I am bothering them with it, because I also like to ponder things. Out loud. Like, what does squirrel poop look like? Seriously, when there is a lot of birds around, there's poop everywhere. Our yard is full of squirrels, because we have a huge tree full of acorns, but I don't see squirrel poop. Do I just not know what it looks like? Do they have private bathrooms?

Hey, maybe we should look this up!


Alright, I'll do it later and let you know.

Then there is the hardest kinda writing. The heart felt kind where you let it all out. The kind that makes you feel vulnerable and like your naked on stage at a sold out concert. This is the really important writing too. It's the kind that touches people and can even help them. But, if you want to reach those people you have to stand on that stage and endure the people who like being mean. “Hey, your butt looks like kneaded dough!” “Stretch marks much?”

So, writing may not be physically hard, but it is hard. It takes a lot of courage to share so openly. To let people see you for who you really are. Flaws and all. To endure all the hate in hopes that you were able to help, at least a few people, not feel so alone.

What do you think? What's the hardest part of writing for you?


About me

Chantelle Gilliam lives in Ohio with her three kids, her bossy dog, and her cat who thinks she is the Queen. Chantelle has had a love for books since she can remember. By the time she was eleven her love of books grew into a love for writing. Her life has been an interesting one and after spending the last twenty one years being domestically challenged, she figured she would revisit her love for writing. And actually let other people read it. Chantelle gets real. She gets deep, and sometimes she can even be funny.