I should be writing my novel. Today is the first day of NaNoWriMo. Sometimes I have to get other stuff out of my head before I can settle down and write fiction, though. That’s what blogging is for. Something that has been on my mind lately is the way that babies have become an accessory to the Pinterest Moms out there. I am amazed by all the handcrafted stuff out there that new moms will allow their children to have just because it is adorable. Of course we all want our babies to be Instagram-ready at all times and look like a Pottery Barn Kids ad. Moms from the pre-Pinterest era will remind you that some items give up some form in favor of function, however.

In the interest of full disclosure, I am not a mother. I am an aunt. I am a former babysitter. I am a former child care worker. Before you spout any, “you’re not a mom; you wouldn’t understand,” nonsense, Pinterest Moms, I will tell you that I have a huge extended family (lots of babies) and have been listening to child safety warnings since I was babysitting you for pocket money in middle school and high school. Not being a mother does not make me less knowledgeable than you. It does not take a genius, nor a mother, to recognize that hand-crafted does not equal safe.

Recently, I was put in my place by a gaggle of new moms when I tried to tell them one of their adorable Pinterest items was a choking hazard. I politely stated that I did not want to be a buzz kill but was concerned for child safety. I was basically laughed at. For my readers, the image below is not the exact product. It is an example of the product being discussed. Now, pacifier clips have been around for years and years. They come in quite handy. I am all for pacifier clips. They will usually be included in my baby shower gifts. I have nothing against Crystal Dream, who makes product shown below. I only chose this image because I think it is adorable. If I had babies and could be convinced this product is safe, this is the one I would choose.

Courtesy Crystal Dream


Beads and buttons. Top items on the choking hazards list since the term choking hazard was invented. Why are they being used in a product we encourage our babies to put in their mouths? The only reason I see is because they are cute. Is that a good enough reason to train your child that beads and buttons belong anywhere near your mouth? I do not believe so.

What the Pinterest Moms told me was that they are completely safe. They are “made with a special 75lb weight string.” Well, I hope it is not string. The constant wetting and drying would rot string quickly enough. I assume that it is actually 75lb test fishing line, if they know the strength of the string. That is what is often used in crafting. Do you know what 75lb test actually means? I did not debate it with these woman. I opted to pick my battles, so to speak. I spoke my mind and left it at that. What 75lb test means is this: the weakest point of the line will withstand 75lbs of pressure so that the line doesn’t snap while reeling in a fish. It is made for fishing. You catch a fish with it. If it was too damaged while reeling in the fish, you cut the damaged line. Imagine a baby with one of these pacifier clips. Pretty, shiny beads are going to get their attention. They are going to play with it. That line holding it all together is going to go through hell. Just because an average baby cannot pull it apart, doesn’t mean it’s indestructible. The line will be bent, stretched, and twisted. The pacifier will get caught. That line will be yanked on repeatedly. All of this assumes that it is the line that will break. In reality, this line is only as strong as the knot at each end.

My one argument with the Pinterest Moms was that there is a reason this type of clip is not sold by the major baby products manufacturers. I was told that they are made by the major companies, and sold in Target, Walmart, Babies R Us, and Buy Buy Baby. This was shocking to me. I was going to write to these retailers. When I checked their websites, I found no beaded, buttoned, nor pearled pacifier clips. Not a single one. All there were, on all four sites, were the traditional, safe clips as pictured below.

Courtesy Babies R Us

Maybe you’re still asking, “What’s the difference? How do you know the boutique pacifier clips are not safe?” Read their disclaimers. They will at least say not to leave baby unattended with the product. Many add that it is a possible choking hazard. You will not find any safety ratings for these products. You can easily find safety ratings for products from major retailers, like the MAM pacifier from Babies R Us, shown above. Major retailers have Research & Development, Legal teams, and Underwriters Laboratories (UL) all making sure that product is safe as humanly possible. Boutiques and DIYers don’t have that sort of oversight. They may have done what testing they think they need to do, but I suspect that the vast majority are relying on things like “75lb test” for their safety measures.

We may have to agree to disagree when it comes to choking hazards, but what about the sanitary aspect? I cannot fathom how many germs and food particles are going to get trapped in those beads. It turns my stomach thinking about it. The hefty ribbon a retailer like MAM uses is designed to be washed, and to stand up to repeated washing. That adorable Etsy product, not so much. Sure, you can hand wash it, but how sure are you that you are getting all the soap and yucky dish water out from between the beads and from the line running through them? Remember, this is going in your child’s mouth. This is an irresistible item to teethe on. I am certain that heat from the dishwasher, and possibly even the detergent, would weaken the line over time. Using the washing machine is asking for it to get tangled and break in the wash.

I am not anti-DIY. There is a lot that can be improved by DIY or from buying from a DIYer. I am pro-local business, pro-small business. Quite a few of these boutique business are focusing on eco-friendly alternatives. I am ALL for that. Organic yarns and fabrics for baby clothes, bedding, and stuffed animals is fantastic for children who have allergies and sensitive skin. There is a trade-off there in that these fabrics are not flame retardant, but that is an individual choice. I understand the need to put children in clothes that won’t make them miserable every day of their lives, and to give them toys that won’t make them ill. To me foregoing the flame retardant fabric makes sense in a case like that. I can even understand the “hippy” parent who is taking a stand and reducing their impact on the environment. My hat is off to those parents, truly.

What I don’t understand is foregoing safety for fashion. This is your baby, your offspring. You are responsible for raising a happy, healthy, well-adjusted human being to adulthood. If you want an adorable diaper bag, that’s great. You can treat that as an accessory, like your shoes or your purse. Please, don’t treat your children like accessories. They are not Pinterest models designed to make you look good. They are individuals. Treat them with more respect. Better yet, ask yourself: as a parent, how would you feel if your child did choke on such an accessory when non-choking hazard versions were in abundance?




Most of my current readers are here because of Puppy Doe. I just got some news, that I am excited to start writing about, but I have to get something off my chest first. I hope you don’t mind if I blog about other things. If you have read my old stuff, you know I blogged about whatever is on my mind. At the time it was mostly Twilight. Today I need to vent about something that just happened in what I thought was a support group. I won’t name the group or the people. I’m not trying to throw anyone under the bus. I’m just venting. I’ll understand if you want to look away now.

My day was going great. I recently started a fund raiser to help me through some rough times, being unemployed. Today, I am setting up social media and inviting people to follow me. As I am a writer, and NaNoWriMo starts in a few short days, I decided to raise funds for NaNoWriMo, too. My promise is to give back to the NaNoWriMo community by donating to NaNoWriMo.org, when my fundraiser is complete. I think it’s Win-Win. Thinking that my fellow writers were the best bet for helping me spread the word, I posted on the group’s page. I did not ask for donations from them. I asked them to “help me spread the word,” and posted a link to my fundraiser page (you’ll also notice a donation button on the front page). I thought they would enjoy that I was going to donate to NaNoWriMo. Boy, was I wrong. I got a scathing comment saying that this was, “wildly inappropriate,” and that I, “need to stop making excuses and get a job.”

Ouch. I have been job hunting and interviewing since June, when getting rehired by my old employer fell through. It took two months for them to tell me that they could not take me back. Naturally, in that time, I was not job hunting. Since then, I have been though. I even got hired at one point, but my employer exercised their right to say it wasn’t a good fit within a few days. It’s a Right To Work state. It happens.

I am sure that the people who scolded me did not follow the link and read my letter, in which I explain what I am asking for and why. I hope so anyway. If not, these people must have a very low opinion of crowd funding to begin with. I think it’s great. I would much rather someone get help from people who choose to help, than go on Welfare and make everyone pay. The karma just seems better that way, to me.

Yep, it’s a ramble. Sorry about that. You’ll find that I do that sometimes. It helps me get my thoughts in order. Not all of my writing is as organized as I would like.

Anyway, I removed my post from the page. After the long scolding, someone Liked the scolding I got and then continued with a scolding of their own. I do feel bad that I offended them, but I think if they had actually read my plea they would not have been offended. It’s not like I don’t want to do my part for society, and I’m just trying to sit around and collect money. The Universe just seems to be telling me that I need to be writing right now. Job after job that I am SO qualified for are refusing interviews or giving the job to others. Meanwhile, total strangers are finding my blog and saying things like, “I hope you are a writer.” I’m in a real pickle. If I am to write, I need funds….hence a fundraiser. Being fully aware that I can’t just panhandle to support myself, I added the charity piece. It’s no lie. I fully intend to give to charity. It’s something I need to make me feel better about asking for help, which I have been avoiding doing for months, and to help hold me accountable for the writing I need to do.

I am putting it out in the Universe that they never have to rely on the kindness of strangers, because karma isn’t a bitch, as it is so often said. It is a mirror.

Thanks for reading this far,


NaNoWriMo 2009 is upon us. I will do it, but I can tell you I will not finish. I have too much going on this month between moving (new apartment, yea!), a short trip back home, and other fun stuff, I won’t have much time for that kind of writing. Just getting back in the habit of writing will be accomplisment enough this NaNoWriMo. Have a great time, WriMos!

So, it’s April. Google/Gmail is playing their annual April Fool’s joke, promising an email auto-pilot which will automatically send the perfect reply. I liked last year’s time machine un-send feature better, but auto-reply is good too.

What do you think? It’s a new month, a new season, could a new job be around the corner? I hope so. I’m running out of ideas for places to apply.

Other than the job, and of course the money, life is good though. I can’t really complain too much. I still have my friends and family, who are wonderful. Ideas for my book are coming fast and furious. I’m not doing much actual writing, but I’m working a lot of stuff out, which is very exciting to me. NaNoWriMo told me not to work on it until April anyway, so I may even be ahead of the game.

Congratulations to J & B, and Little L. I hope the bundle of joy on the way wasn’t an April Fool’s joke, because I’m very excited for you! J, you said no names from Twilight, but how about Luna Nueva for a girl? JK! Sorta.  🙂

Nope, I didn’t finish. Nor did I quit. I ended the my first NaNoWriMo with 25,753 words, just a little over half way to the goal. I am not discouraged though. I did most of that in a few good nights, so I know what I am capable of now. Actually, it is amazing that I even signed up. It’s more amazing that not only did I start writing, but I continued throughout the month. This was a very outside-my-comfort-zone thing to do.

What I’m happiest about was everything I learned about writing, especially my method. I never really thought about having a method before, but guess what–I have one. It’s sloppy and emotional, but it’s a method, and I can work with that.

Over the years I’ve read interviews with my favorite authors in which they described their characters demanding certain things or going off on their own or getting mad and giving them the silent treatment. I thought this was quirky and fun, but I can’t say I really got it. I get it now. I found myself cringing when my main character did something that wasn’t really smart for a young, cute high school girl to do. But I’m writing it. Am I liable for child endangerment? You know what it’s like? Imagine a kid playing with GI Joes. He’s making them wrestle around. He’s saying, “Oh no! AHHHHH!” and making gun noises. What he’s not doing is making them sit quietly and enjoy life. That’s what writing is like–playing GI Joes. Ok, so sometimes it’s like playing Barbies, too. It’s about creating people you love and throwing them in harm’s way, or in drama’s way anyway.

Knowing today is my 3 year anniversary with Old Man Bobby, and I probably won’t get any writing done, I wrote last night after midnight. I have 912 words to show for my first NaNoWriMO venture. The website seems to be having some technical difficulty right now (VERY frustrating!), so I haven’t posted my word count. It’ll be fun to do that for the first time.

Happy Anniversary, Old Man!

Happy All Saints Day, to you Cathaholics out there!

Apologies to my fans, both of them, for not being around much lately. Work has been crazy. Not the kind of crazy that makes for days that fly by either. Crazy as in crazy low morale that has everyone watching the clock. Not good. I’d give you the scoop but aren’t people getting fired over that sort of thing these days? Let’s talk about something more positive: NaNoWriMo. I’m still excited, but now that it’s less than a week away, I’m also nervous. I’ve got a case of the What Ifs. What if I can’t write three pages a day? What if I don’t write one day and then can’t manage six pages the next day? What if I’ve been thinking about this book for all this time, and taken all these notes, and I can’t get 90 pages written in 30 days? Worst of all, what if this is a huge demotivator for me, and I give up?

That can’t happen, right? It just can’t! This is the one I’ve been waiting for, I think. Of course I’ve never really written anything, so I can’t be sure, but I finally have characters of my own that I’m in love with. I wake up thinking about them. I actually found myself daydreaming about them while reading Twilight last night. I really want to tell their story…I just have no idea how.

I went to my first NaNoWriMo meeting today. Well, yesterday, I guess, since it’s after midnight. Rosa, you are an excellent host. Your excitement is contagious. I had a lot of fun. It’s odd, but I feel both more nervous and more relaxed about it all. I don’t know if I can explain that…

I guess I’m more nervous because I didn’t realize how hard it is for me to talk about my book, even though I talk to Old Man Bobby about it all the time. I wonder how I can possibly write about it and hope to publish it for the world when I have a hard time talk about it amongst friends. Side note: Old Man Bobby has been really great about the endless games of Ask Me About My Book, and has really helped me flesh things out. On the flip side, I’m more relaxed knowing that you all aren’t uber-writers and some of you aren’t sure what you’re going to write about yet. I have my subject, and lots of notes. I just don’t have the confidence to say Yes I Can to writing 50,000 words in a month.


A friend of mine from The Game Depot introduced me to National Novel Writing Month, or NaNoWriMo, which is celebrating, as they put it, “10 years of Literary Abandon.” I’m in, my friend! I’ve officially signed up as of tonight. I figure if I don’t do it I’ll always wonder. To my family, this is my GarveyStrong moment of the year. I’m going to step outside my comfort zone and attempt to write 50,000 words during the month of November. My friend assures me this is approximately 3 pages a day. A few of you are writing books of your own. If you’d like to join me, check out the FAQ.