All posts by suzannemsabol

Suzanne M. Sabol began writing at a young age, completing her first full-length novel at the age of 17. Her love of everything paranormal and romance began shortly thereafter. She is an avid reader and writer, focusing mostly in the urban fantasy genre. She loves reading anything from contemporary single title romance to detective noir and the classics. Suzanne published her first novel Cursed in 2009. She is a graduate of The Ohio State University with majors in Criminology, International Studies, Russian, and Political Science. She is currently working full time as a Human Resources Professional and Fiscal Officer. Suzanne was born and raised in Ohio. She currently resides in Columbus Ohio with her husband, Ross. When she’s not working, writing, or reading, she’s spending time traveling. She is a member of Romance Writers of America and Central Ohio Fiction Writers.

Birthday Party Extravaganza

I promised you pics of the Care Bear Birthday party. And when I promise, I deliver. Let’s start with the decorations – let me preface this entire post by saying that only seven people were there (including myself, Ross, and Scarlett).

This doesn’t look like it’s that bad but that Care Bear banner was EVERYWHERE. I cut out like a gazillion of those little fucking bears. Then I hot glued them to the ribbon, burning several of my fingerprints off in the process. Then it fell off the table as I was knuckles deep in glue which tangled the shit out of it. I think I spent more time untangling the stupid thing than actually putting it together. We also had plates and napkins that I spent waaaaaaay too much money on for paper plates but they were cute as hell and I’m fine with it. Thanks hardtofindpartysupplies.com! Yes, that’s real thing. I might have a Rainbow Brite party for myself this July. I’m looking forward to buying over priced plates and cups for my 41st.

Also, I need to point his out because, for some reason, I really liked my rainbow fruit platter.

And yes, those are tiny marshmallows. They’re supposed to be clouds. Don’t judge.

Let’s move on to the cake which really impressed my dad and my father-in-law, not to mention Ross.

This wasn’t the hard part, the cake was really just mixing a bunch of food coloring for the six separate cakes. Here’s where it gets complicated. I iced the layers in a tower of six cakes then rolled it in sprinkles. That’s right, bitches, I rolled that fucker in sprinkles and hoped and prayed that the thing wouldn’t fall apart.

I tried to do clouds on top of the cake with icing but it looked like shit so I scraped it all off and then dropped a shit-ton of sprinkles on top too.

Now, you might think to yourself, this isn’t that bad. You’ve over hyped this thing. Perhaps. I would like to remind you that only four outside people came to this party and it was our parents soooooo, we could have gone with nothing and it still would have been okay. I have a problem but I do love a theme. I refuse to apologize for this. My crazy is my crazy and I own it. I’ll be honest with you, it stresses me out but I secretly love it.

No, Alex Trebek! NO!

This almost broke my heart!

Here’s the thing. I’m 40 years old and I don’t know a world where Alex Trebek doesn’t host Jeopardy. I have been watching Jeopardy for as long as I can remember.

My husband even tried out for Jeopardy. If I hadn’t been expected to deliver Scarlett within the week when he got the invitation to film, he would have gone. Good thing too because that little stinker came on her due date. We’re prompt people.

Here’s the thing though. I understand that Alex Trebek is 78 years old. I understand that he isn’t going to live forever, even though that’s what should happen. If anyone should get the immortality pill, it should be Trebek. Then Jeopardy could go on and on and on FOREVER. However, here’s the thing we need to remember about AT. That man – at the age of 71 – chased down a burglar out of his hotel room in the middle of the night. Because no one steals from AT. NO ONE!

I have the strong belief that if anyone can beat Pancreatic Cancer…it’s this bad ass. Alex Trebek, you kick that cancer’s ass!

Questionable Reading Habits???

I’ve been on a weird dismal kick in my reading habits lately. Twisted psychological thrillers, dystopian – both futuristic and fantasy, and books where the central heroes/heroines are murderers by trade. Each once of these In the last two months, I’ve “read” – aka listened to – the following:

I’m not even sure I should be ashamed of this or what this says about me that I enjoy multiple books about murder and societal collapse over and over and over again. I feel no shame.

They were, each in their turn, AMAZING. The problem I’m running into now is that some of these are series and I’m playing the waiting game with the library or going to have to buy the subsequent audio books because the library doesn’t have them. This angers me! If you’re going to get one in a series – GET THE REST!

If you’d like to know what I’m reading on a regular basis and read my real thoughts about them, subscribe for my newsletter. Once a month, you’ll get a recommendation about a book or two that I loved. Look up there, the sign up for Damsel Newsletter is on the right hand side of EVERY PAGE ON MY WEBSITE!

If you have recommendations of your own, leave them below. I’d love to hear them.

Follow up: Extra Mom

Turns out, it doesn’t matter. It’s not just my daughter. It’s pretty much everything I do. Here is the cake I made for Ross’s 40th birthday.

You might say, that doesn’t look that complicated or over the top. Just you wait.

Three layers and yes, that is a cozy coupe in the background.

A berry reduction that I pureed, sifted, and cooked to perfection!

A mascarpone cheese icing, that I’m going to be honest with you, i probably should have read the directions first. I just threw everything into the bowl and started mixing. When it was still liquid after a couple of minutes, I realized I had the wrong attachment on my mixer. Then, I might have turned my back for a few minutes while it was mixing and suddenly I had a full bowl of icing. It was damned delicious though.

Now the layers. Three to be exact.

Here’s where my inability to keep things under control comes in. I made the fruit reduction first. Thinking that I was making three cakes, the recipe must be wrong. I didn’t realize that the layers would be so thin as they honestly, should be with a layer cake. The recipe didn’t seem like enough fruit filling. So, in keeping with my portion control issues, I doubled it. This was what I had left after building the cake and icing it.

Instead of just letting it go and being a normal person, because now we have a giant cake in the house that only one person is actually going to eat, I double downed on the sugar.

Yep, those are cinnamon rolls and fruit filled rolls.

Also, delicious, by the way.

Happy Birthday Ross!

Extra mom

I have come to the realization that I can’t ever have a birthday party for Scarlett where other kids are invited. This may sound like a strange statement but I’ve come to understand my limitations or – maybe the more appropriate categorization of what I suffer from is bat-shit-craziness.

As an example, we had to get valentines for her class. Sounds simple right? Just go to the store buy a box of valentines and you’re done. No. I bought packs of skittles and fruit snacks in addition packaged and wrapped 24 individual gift bags with tiny gifts, valentines, and temporary tattoos…because I am THAT mom. For her birthday, I ordered invitations and decorations for a party that is going to consist of 7 people (us and our parents…that’s it).

I once made a castle out of a cardboard box for fuck’s sake. There was no reason. There was a box. We made a special trip to target (the devil’s own store) to get the materials. This was just for shits and giggles…cause I didn’t have enough to do that day. That’s right. That thing had a fucking drawbridge.

Below was her second birthday party and there were only 10 people there – only family. I have a problem. I cut out all those mickey heads and strung them up. They were all over the house.

I imagine having a birthday party with all Scarlett’s friends playing in the overly elaborate party decorations while the mom’s huddle together in the corner with wide eyes as they realize that I am, in fact, a crazy person. Then this snowballs into Scarlett not being invited anywhere because her mother is a crazy person. Then she hates me because she doesn’t get invited anywhere and it becomes a thing.

You might suggest that I just curb my crazy. You would be right. That’s a wonderful idea and I wish it was that simple. It should be…but it isn’t. Here’s the thing though, even when I think I have curbed it, its still extra – the theme, the decorations, the presents, the cake, the gift bags. It’s all still over the top, just not as over the top as before. We’re talking shades of gray here. There’s a spectrum between normal mom and a weird Pintrest-obsessed mom. I’m somewhere toward the latter but closer to the middle than some. Not so far toward the end of the spectrum as the people who hire professionals but just short of making my own giant ice cream cones out of cardboard and paper mache.

I mean, I could do that…I would have to get the materials and…NO!

An added problem is that I can’t reuse any of the decorations. II could, realistically, through another Mickey Mouse Clubhouse Party, she wouldn’t mind, but my crazy won’t let me. So, I’m sitting on all of this stuff that will never get used again. I might start a party decor swap thing on my neighborhood Facebook page. At least someone would get some usage out of it. Then again, I don’t know that I could use someone else’s decorations. That would weird me out.

Yep, I have a problem.

This year’s theme is Care Bears. I’ll put up pictures after the party. Promise!

Goodbye Simon

This past weekend was hard for us. Last Friday, we had to say goodbye to our cat, Simon. Here he is in much happier, cozy times.

Simon came to us from my friend but Simon and I were old friends. We’d lived together before and cuddled many times. When he moved in with Ross and I, Ross seemed apprehensive because only six months before, our cat, Voodoo, had gone into kidney failure and had to be put down. Replacing Voodoo seemed impossible.

Voodoo – look at this adorable face. At one point, he was 30 lbs. He was a large, snuggly cat that liked to purr very very loudly in my ear and be carried around like an infant.

Soon, it became apparent that Ross really liked Simon. He got attached, even though it was supposed to be a temporary stay. Soon enough, Simon was a permanent resident in our house.

Here he is in 2015 at a healthy 18 or so lbs.

When Scarlett came, Simon seemed a little wary of her but she loved the cat and was very respectful of his age (he was already 14 or 15 by the time she was born.

in a bowtie 2013

I feel zero shame about making this cat wear a bow tie. He liked it and didn’t he look sophisticated?

Over the past year, Simon declined quite rapidly, losing weight (weighing a little more than 6 lbs.) and becoming more and more immobile with his bad hips. He had stopped grooming himself to the point his fur was scraggly. He had become incontinent with diarrhea. It became clear that we couldn’t put off the inevitable any longer. This was Simon on Friday a shell of his former self.

That night, Scarlett and I had a good cry and a long discussion about death. It’s hard to describe death to a 3.5 year old and not scare them. Having said that Simon was sick translated in her mind that sick meant dead. When my sinuses started acting up on Sunday, she asked me if I was sick. When I said yes, she asked if I was going to die. There was a moment where I thought, well, yes, I will die. Because we will all die but saying that to her would not come with the complicated concepts of time and real disease. So, instead, I said no, I was not going to die.

This was, of course, a lie. But that’s a conversation for a much older Scarlett and a more prepared me. Maybe even making Ross field this one, I don’t know that I can be trusted to explain this in a way that won’t scare the shit out of her. I’m blunt that way.

Now, we find ourselves without a pet. Our house is quiet but I find myself catching glimpses of white out of the corner of my eye and thinking I have to step over him because making him move was too much for him. Then I remember that he’s not there and I’m sad all over again.

Crazy Neighbors

So, we all have that one neighbor that drives us nuts.

Maybe they put too many Christmas decorations up.

Maybe they mow their lawn at 6:30am.

Maybe they have raucous parties and don’t invite you.

Maybe they have loud sex and again…don’t invite you. Listen, I don’t judge. Oh wait, I do but don’t worry, I’m probably judging the neighbor for the lack of invite and not you. You do you.

Whatever it is, we all have them.

I have one that might actually be certifiably nuts. She has a yard compulsion. She rakes leaves when the first start to fall even though there’s a tree full of them. The part that bothers Ross is the raking of leaves on our side of the street. I don’t know why this bothers him but it’s like there’s an invisible line down the center of the street and she crosses that every fall to moves leaves on our side of the street. This really gets under his skin. I think she has this vision of what our neighborhood should look like and it resembles the Edward Scissorhands standard.

She shovels snow in the middle of a blizzard. It’s like the guy who waters his plants while it’s raining. I’ve seen one of those in our neighborhood too. I actually stopped my car to watch because I couldn’t quite comprehend the logic of that. He was out there with an umbrella in a pretty heavy rain…with a hose,,,watering his flowerbeds.

This woman, literally, shovels the street in front of her house. BY HAND. It’s not like she’s got a snow blower and is making passes. She’s clearly in her sixties or seventies and is using a shovel to clear the street. But only in front of her house. Which makes no sense because anyone driving is going to drive on more parts of the street than just in front of her fucking house.

So let’s bring this back around to why this crazy person matters. On Wednesday, here in Columbus, the temperature (in my neighborhood) was -3 outside with a windchill of around -22. These are temperatures that are unsafe to be outside. In fact, OSU canceled classes.

Let me repeat that because it’s worth noting since OSU didn’t even cancel classes the day after a terrorist attack. On Wednesday, due to unsafe weather conditions, OSU CANCELED CLASSES!

I stood in the large picture window and watched this woman…sweeping her driveway first…then the sidewalk…then THE STREET…with a broom. Because there was a dusting on the ground and not enough to justify a shovel. At some point, her husband opened the front door and yelled at her to get inside because she was being crazy. I assume that’s what he said by the hand gesturing that was going on. I didn’t open the door to find out because it was fucking cold yesterday.

She was out there for almost 30 minutes which in those temperatures was plenty of time for frostbite to set in. And here it is. This is me judging. I don’t care, though, that’s nuts.

I know you’ve got them. What are your crazy neighbor stories?

Closing Doors

Why are closing doors/cabinets/the REFRIGERATOR so hard? No. Seriously? This is a legitimate question. I routinely walk around my house closing doors.

This morning, I came out to my car in the garage to find that my back passenger door was still open from the night before. What? How hard is it to give the door a little push when you get the kid out of the car. Luckily, I have my interior lights turned off so it didn’t drain my battery. If my car hand’t started this morning, a battle royale of epic proportions would have ensued.

I don’t go in the kitchen without closing some cabinets or the pantry door. I’ve even walked into the kitchen to find the refrigerator door hanging wide open.

After in depth discussions with my coworkers, I have discovered that this is not isolated to my house. This happens in other houses as well. Why?

WHY?

Dudes? Seriously? Why can’t you close doors?

This isn’t a rhetorical question. I seriously want to know. What is it about the door that causes you to rebel?

yoga

I’m back! I took a slight hiatus from all the stuff (newsletters, blogs, etc). I had a book to finish and the holidays to survive.

In an effort to get on a routine and continue on my “health journey”, as Ross has dubbed it, I have changed the way I eat and my relationship with food. That took a year to set in, really get in a habit of eating in a particular way and change my palate to crave less processed foods and sugars.

Now, I fear, that I’ll have to begin the second stage of this journey. I am actually going to have to EXERCISE. Booooo! I hate exercising with the fiery passion of a thousand suns. I really really hate it.

I have come to the conclusion that a low impact and relaxing sort of start is the way for me to go. If I can get in the habit of doing something every day for at least 30 minutes, it may have a better chance of sticking. Let’s be honest here, I’m not getting up in the morning to do any of this. Don’t get me wrong, in the morning would be ideal but I know myself and I’m not capable of that.

Back in the day, when I was going to the gym three or four times a week, I once got out of bed at the ass-crack of dawn…got dressed…put on shoes…then…went straight back to bed. I have paid for an entire year of gym memberships and then not gone ONCE. I can’t be trusted. I realize this about myself. I am not a morning person. I am not a person that will drive to a place-outside my home- to do a thing that I hate. NOPE. It’s just not going to happen. My only alternative is to do something at home.

I have two options.

  1. Bodyboss – which i have already purchased and have used in the past. The last time I did a workout from there, (and this was the pre-program…you know the stuff to get you ready for the real workouts) Scarlett asked me if I was going to be okay. I honestly answered that I didn’t know. So, maybe not jump into that one.
  2. Yoga – this seems like the more sustainable option at this point and doesn’t make me want to collapse in a sobbing heap of sweaty, disgusting flesh. So, there’s that.

There are some drawbacks to yoga. Maybe some of you know them. The most prevalent, at least for me, is the farting. Whatever is going on inside my body when I practice yoga, turns me into a stinky, disgusting, 90-year-old-man who’s eaten nothing but brussel sprouts and broccoli for days on end. It is repulsive, and loud, and almost shameful. I say almost, because really I have zero shame.

There is a second issue with yoga in my house that hadn’t really occurred to me until I actually attempted to do it. Practicing yoga with a 3.5 year old is almost like having a puppy or cat around. She’s crawling through my legs, lying on the mat while I’m in downward dog and staring up at me, throwing stuffed animals at me because they’re “going over the bridge”, wrapping a blanket around my legs and shouting “NOW YOU’RE TRAPPED!”.

So, at this point, I practice yoga to the risk of everyone in my house. Myself because of the probability of physical harm and everyone because they have a sense of smell.

#you’rewelcome #sorrynotsorry

Sappy HOliday Movies

It is the Christmas season and you know what that means…

Sappy, overly nostalgic, and corny Hallmark movies. That’s right. Not only did I watch The Christmas Prince A Royal Wedding over the weekend, but I went back and watched the original because I had refresh my memory about what happened last year.  Just as a reminder, here are the trailers.

The Original
Round 2

The lead character is played by Rose McIver who was born in 1988. Meanwhile, she looks my age, close to 40. Maybe it was the makeup or the lighting but I’m thinking this woman looks better as a zombie.

zombie face

What I also noticed this weekend that hadn’t occurred to me last year was that, these two people had zero chemistry. At some points, it seemed like they didn’t even like each other. It was awkward and uncomfortable to watch. 

So what’s next, you ask? What could possibly follow such a clusterfuck of ridiculousness? 

Yes, please!