Thursday, March 29, 2012

Just Can't Get Enough

I just love being a mother lately. So much I can't even express it. Baby Brown Eyes just gets more fun and adorable every day. He melts my heart and fills my life with so much joy.

I love hearing his little voice try out new words. He repeats almost everything I say. Including "What the heck!" when I am raging at the TV. Good thing I didn't use a more colorful phrase. Other favorites include: spider, shark, bubbles, star, okay, milk, machines (when he wants to watch his favorite show, "Mighty Machines"), no way, and Hayden (his cousin).

He loves to just run, circling the house over and over again, his little feet pitter-pattering on the tile, collapsing on the carpet in a fit of giggles. The other day we went outside to play and he dashed away toward the horses while I walked down to the mailbox. I grabbed the mail, then looked up to see my little boy running for me across the yard, pumping his little legs as fast as they could go, his blond hair blowing, his grinning face tilted skyward. I will never forget that sight. It's what I live for as a mother.

A couple weeks ago I took him to work with me for a few hours. He entertained himself really well, pulling apart my folders, eating jellybeans, coloring, and looking at pictures of trains on my computer. He also found a couple hard hats and insisted that we both wear one.

I wish I could take him to work with me everyday. But then, I don't think I'd get much work done.

I just can't get enough of him.

Yours Truly,
The Brown-Eyed Girl

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

The Spark

Inspiration is elusive.

I would know. As a writer, I am in constant pursuit of it. Yet when I try to catch it, I never do. I have to wait until it comes to me, a delicious spark that flickers and then burns, flooding my entire being with purpose and clarity, opening my eyes to details I had never seen before even though I see them everyday, illuminating my mind until it's filled with so many ideas I can't write them down fast enough.

As a writer, I live for those moments.

But, more often, I know the desolation of not having it, the agony of staring at a computer screen until my eyes go crossed, only to eke out one sentence that I then quickly delete. I can write without inspiration. I have to; it comes too seldom to rely on all the time. But it's hard, painful, even, like pushing through a workout on my elliptical when the resistance is set at twelve.

I never know when inspiration is going to come. There is no magic spell to conjure it. Often the spark is ignited by the most unexpected things: a conversation I hear in passing, the sound of rain pattering on the grass in our yard, a drop of condensation sliding down my glass at a restaurant. Whatever brings it, whenever it comes I wish it would stay forever.

Recently I've been feeling like inspiration had abandoned me altogether. Debilitated by writer's block and discouraged with every story I had started, I hadn't felt like writing for weeks. No spark, only cold ashes.

Until yesterday, when, on my way to Target for the second time that day (after an hour of shopping, I had gotten to the front of the line only to realize I had forgotten my wallet at home) I saw the strangest sight. A middle-aged woman riding a horse through my neighborhood, a bright red, flowered hat perched on her head and what looked like a violin case slung aross her back. Alongside her she led a shaggy pony straddled with two massive, overstuffed saddlebags. I stared at her as I drove by. Where is she going? I wondered. Where did she come from? What the heck is that on her head?

It didn't matter that I would probably never have the answers to those questions. The second I saw her, I felt the spark of inspiration flicker inside of me for the first time in months. I welcomed it with joy and relief. It hadn't abandoned me, after all.

I don't know how long this spark will stay burning, but I will take advantage of it while it lasts, and then bide the long wait until it comes again.

Until the next red-hatted woman I see riding down the road.

Thank goodness for her,
The Brown-Eyed Girl

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Monday, March 19, 2012

Welcome Home

Upon touching down in beautiful Phoenix, I practically leapt off that plane and charged down the airport terminal, snatched my luggage off the baggage carousel, and dashed outside, knowing that when my sister's car pulled up it would have my beautiful little boy inside.

And when I flung open the door there he was, peacefully snoozing with his mouth hanging open.

So, instead of being greeted with the boundless excitement and giggles of delight I'd daydreamed about during my entire return flight, Baby Brown Eyes welcomed me home with his typical I-just-woke-up-and-I-hate-everything-including-my-mother-who-I-haven't-seen-in-four-days mood.

The delighted giggles he saved for later, when we visited Mr. Brown Eyes at work. When Baby Brown Eyes saw his daddy walk out of the fire station, he was so excited he could hardly contain himself.

Life is so unfair.

Of course, I discovered later that Mr. Brown Eyes won Baby's love and affection by feeding him candy, buying him toys, and letting him stay up late watching movies while I was gone.


I wish I'd thought of that.

Glad to be home,
The Brown-Eyed Girl

Monday, March 12, 2012

From a Lonely Hotel Room

I am in California this week for some work training. Four days away from my family, sleeping in a cold, eerily-quiet hotel room all by myself.

I almost cried at the airport when Mr. Brown Eyes kissed me goodbye.

On the upside, I've never had a hotel room all to myself. It's kind of exciting. I can jump on the bed, set the heater to "Satanically Hot," and make a big ol' mess that I won't have to clean up.

But, instead, I'll probably just sit at my computer and stare at pictures of Baby Brown Eyes.

Jumping on the bed just isn't as much fun by yourself.

Missing my family,
The Brown-Eyed Girl

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Fudge Cake

Back in the day, before I was even a twinkle in my parents' eyes, my mom used to make this cake for Sunday dessert every single week. It was my dad's favorite.

As a result, most of my siblings hate it.

I wasn't part of that Sunday tradition, but growing up I was indifferent to fudge cake on the (much more) rare occasion that my mom made it, simply because I don't like chocolate cake. Simple as that.

Until one Sunday at my parents' house, when my husband helped himself to a piece and I found myself drooling over it. So I took a bite. And my life was changed forever.

I had the opportunity to make it myself for my dad's 70th birthday party last month. Which meant I got to take the leftovers home with me.

And all was good in The Brown Eyed Girl's world.

Fudge cake. It's simple and delicious. And I'm sharing it with you.


2 cups flour
2 cups sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
2 sticks butter (1 cup)
1 cup water
4 Tbs cocoa
1/2 cup milk
2 eggs, beaten
1 tsp vanilla

1 stick butter
4 tsp cocoa
5 Tbs milk
1 box powdered sugar
1 tsp vanilla
Nuts (optional)

Mix the first four ingredients in a large bowl. Bring the butter, water, and cocoa to a boil in a saucepan. Pour into the flour mixture. Add the milk, eggs, and vanilla, mix well, and pour into a greased and floured 9 x 13 pan. Bake at 400 degrees for thirty minutes.

For the frosting, bring the butter, cocoa, and milk to a boil; pour in the sugar, then add the vanilla and nuts. Stir until mixed well. Frost while cake is still slightly warm.


And don't make the mistake I made of only putting 5 teaspoons of milk in the frosting, instead of 5 tablespoons. Oops.

The Brown-Eyed Girl