Tuesday, January 31, 2012

100th Day of School

Today is the 100th day of school for the McBrothas.  Daniel and I made a cake for his class last night to celebrate. He helped me mix the cake, frost the cake, and he counted out one hundred M&Ms to decorate the cake. He was so proud of himself. He said, "Mommy, I'm 100 days smarter than the first day!" 100 days is quite an accomplishment.

 When I was five months pregnant with this little fella, they told me I had miscarried. But, after an ultrasound, there he was. I'm not sure why he was spared, but I am grateful to have him in my life. Maybe he'll cure cancer or the dreaded "diabeebees" that makes his brother have to have shots. Maybe he'll invent something. He already has a brain that builds, tinkers, and reboots. Maybe he'll grow up to be an outstanding friend, father, and spouse. More than anything, I want him to have a happy childhood.

The past 100 days of school haven't been easy, but they have taught me a great lesson in making every single day count.

 I think if we broke down huge tasks into one hundred day chunks, we could accomplish a lot. Where do you want to be in 100 days? Do you want to be 100 days smarter? Do you want to be 100 days happier?
Well, today is the first day...

Monday, January 30, 2012

eTange : The Work Around Queen

I have been writing like a maniac. But nothing I'm writing fits on this blog. I'm publishing my own work on Kindle, and my plan is to launch my own digital publishing company in April.

New York publishers are not interested in people like me. So once again, I have to find a way around my problems. New York publishing houses say that stories about African-American women in the south can only be written by white women. You know, like The Help (no, I'm not a fan. I make no apologies, and I don't want any from you for liking it)... I have been told that no black woman could have ever written a book like that "with so much sensitivity" by someone at a fancy literary agency.... My response was "REDACTED. REDACTED. And another thing, REDACTED."

I know enough about publishing to be successful at publishing the stories I want to read. I worked all those years at River City ( did everything from writing contracts to selling paperback rights to selling movie options to making copies) and I've dabbled in PR at some level since leaving (all those articles about my comedy, that wasn't my agent---I am my agent---I did that all by myself).

Digital publishing has made the opportunity to publish more EQUAL. I'm looking forward to being a part of this brave new world! I feel no shame about not being published by New York. I feel no shame about being self-published. I am looking forward to selling my work and other writers...MAKING MONEY doing something I really love. I love writing, but I also love publishing.

It has taken all these years of "research" to see that I was supposed to be doing this all along. It all fits together. EVERYTHING: teaching, publishing, cleaning, even my failed small business, stand-up comedy and being a mama has taught me all I need to know.

I have never been afraid to work hard for what I want. Cleaning was probably the best prep for the business end of publishing. If I didn't clean, we didn't have power or gas or food.

I have never lost my love of books. I never lost my dream to be a "real" writer. I've never given up on me. I'm just done trying to play a game where the deck is stacked against me. It's taken a whole lot of death and a whole lot of broke-ass to slap me out of the bad dream and the waiting and waiting and waiting. Seriously, fancy ass New York publishing world, if you were a man; I would have dumped you for less a whole lot sooner.

I am looking forward to helping myself and soon, others who want an opportunity to tell their stories.

P.S. If you want to secretly submit a story or novel or essay collection ekhoffeditorial (AT) gmail (DOT)com.
Looking to help folks who are WOEFULLY under-represented by New York....
Looking for happy books, humor books, poems,  love stories, southern stories, chick lit, black chick lit...make it fun, folks!

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Good, Clean Fun

Daniel spent the week asking us (repeatedly, like, 5 million times) for a family outing. "Can we do something as a family?" he begged, all week long.

If you are a parent of limited means, you know dollars spent on entertainment always means fewer dollars for bills.  We are always guilt-ridden about saying no so much, because we know that The McBrothas need to do more than: write on the wall with my eyeliner, get into a fistful of hair fight, or get naked and have a smush your boy parts against the window contest. As a former teacher, I know that kids learn by doing. Experiences teach children how to be productive members of a community. We wonder if our children have been deprived because of our lack of money.

Today we decided to take The McBrothas to the newly remodeled McDonald's. Our Owasso McDonald's is amazing: rock climbing wall, second story slide and a bank of video crack for the gamer babies. The boys were angels. DaddyFixIt and I spent most of the time in complete awe that the boys did not fight, bite, or cry. They both put on their shoes when we told them it was time to go...without a meltdown.

Then, in an absolute stroke of genius, DaddyFixIt decided to take Foxy Boxy II (our totally sexy, tricked out, low-riding, pigeon-poop splattered, 1996 Volvo wagon) to the car wash. I agreed to keep Adam in the car in case I needed to restrain him or hug him or cry because I couldn't console him.  In addition to being Type 1 diabetic, Adam has ADHD in HD and has Sensory Processing Disorder, fancy, Doctorese for "that young 'un will lose his mind in new, crowded, or Wal-Mart-like situations." With Adam, errthang is a situation. Taking the McBrothas out in public is always sketchy because of Adam's issues. Daniel is our BIG HELPER and he agreed to help Daddy wash the car. Dando is sensitive and emotional, but when you give him a job to do; he is locked and loaded!

As Adam and I sat inside Foxy Boxy, Daddy started up the sprayer, and Adam, Mr. Most Likely to Freak Out, laughed and laughed and laughed and laughed and laughed. The car wash was like The Three Stooges, The Hangover, and Richard Pryor all rolled into one. Adam had actual tears of bliss rolling down his face as he laughed when Daniel knocked on the window and sprayed the car with soap. I could hear Daniel laughing from inside the car. Daniel was laughing and jumping up and down; his cinnamon curls seem to record every giggle. It was beautiful.

After it was over, after Daddy helped Daniel click his seat belt in his big-boy booster seat, after we pulled out of the car wash and headed up Main Street towards home,  Adam said, " I had fun at the car wash, Mama."

Daniel chimed in, " I had fun helping Daddy, and Adam was laughing at me spraying him with the soap gun."

I turned around and caught a glimpse of the boys looking at each other. They were both beaming. Then Adam erupted into a cotton candy fluff of laughter, and Daniel joined him.

My husband gently patted my hand. He knew I had welled up. He didn't even look at me. Had he looked, he would have sprung loose like a cracked levee. We've been through a lot of bad as a family. We are finally going through good as a family. Good makes you far more reverent as a parent after you've been sopped down in bad. We spent two dollars on a car wash that will be a million dollar memory to the McBrothas.

As The McMama, I always worry about how much my boys lack, but on this cold, blustery, winter day in Oklahoma, our boys gained an abundant experience that will last them a lifetime. As parents, we earned the priceless experience of seeing our children happy. It was an embarrassment of riches. Today, we were millionaires. Our children got a trust fund loaded with good, clean fun.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

The Liebster Award

This little blog was awarded the Liebster from the wonderful Erin at the beautiful, funny, and touching blog, "from Prada to Payless".  I can’t tell you how honored I am to win an award. Thank you so much, Erin!

Here's a Little more about the award from Erin: 

Liebster means "dearest" in German. The Liebster award is given to up and coming bloggers, who have fewer than 200 followers. 
There is no evaluation committee or formal award process (darn!) for the Liebster, but it is better than that. It is recognition that a peer has noticed and appreciated your hard work. 
There are just a few rules that come along with the Liebster Award. They are as follows:
* Thank your Liebster Award presenter on your blog.
* Link back to the blogger who awarded you.
*Reveal your top five blog picks, who fit within the award parameters.
* Inform them that you have chosen them by leaving a comment on their blog.
* Post the award on your blog.

Here are my TOP FIVE. I look forward to reading each of these blogs and I feel the bloggers that run them are among the best in the world! Allow me to get my Oprah on as I screeeeaammmm, " You get a LIEBSTER!"

LMAO with wendy (liebman)   Stand-up comic-Wendy Liebman is one of my idols. Her blog is smart, smart-ass, and informative. It's a wonderful mix of info about healthy living and pie in the face funny. I love this blog. Well, go join it---NOW!

The Sassy Piehole  A hysterical look at motherhood. It's funny and sassy and it even bakes you a hot apple pie! 

Blogged Down At The Moment This blog is a great humor site run by Mariann Simms. Beautiful pictures razor- sharp insights. This lady is funny as hell. I'm also kinda partial because she's from Alabama!

Captain Canard Run by humorist, contributor to Stupid Ass Questions, and Twitterererer Extraordinaire, Dan Burt. Pretty much a one stop shop for funny and off beat stories and one-liners. Dan is an AMAZING comedy writer. I wouldn't be surprised if he ended up as a head writer for a TV show.

Life on (De) Mars This Mississippi Mama does it all! This is my go to blog for great recipes, cute kid pictures, and money saving tips! I love this blog. Now that Paula Deen has had to cop to giving herself "The Diabetes," I expect Margaret to slip right in, and take her place, y'all.

How to Live in a 320 Square Foot Home I love this blog. I'm breaking protocol by honoring this blog. I'm gonna do it anyway.  Anyone who can live in a 320 Square Foot House with this much beauty and charm deserves this award! A really fascinating look at style, function, and sustainability. I'm mesmerized by this blog.http://www.320squarefoothome.com/

There you have it! Congratulations to the winners of the Liebster Award! Now get out there and pay it forward!

~ Tange ( Tangela Ekhoff, Award-Winning Blogger!)

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Bay-Z 2012/Doomsday/ Aretha's Engaged

I have tuned out the real news, especially politics, because, well, in December the world is gonna end. If you've seen any good disaster movie, you already know what's up. All good disaster movies have a BLACK PRESIDENT( because, hell, it’s science  fiction and what are the chances of a black dude running this country?) an asteroid hits the EARTH, and we are all doomed...unless you're like Tom Cruise, Will Smith, or some really drunk conspiracy theorist who actually has an ARC hidden out on your farm in Idaho. I am not handy or smart enough to build an arc...so, sweet baby Oprah in the manger, I’M GONNA GET BURNED UP LIKE A MARSHMALLOW AT A GIRL SCOUT CAMP OUT! DAMN. DAMN. DAMN.

These days, I tick off my Mayan calendar (ok, I bought myself a sweet Justin Bieber calendar) and I only watch news that doesn't scare me: ENTERTAINMENT NEWS. Yeah, all you smart asses will say I am being dumbed down by Hollywood. You damn right, slick. Look around, fool, the only people who can get a little taste of the American Dream are the ones who have a killer sex tape.  Sex tape is the new HARVARD, peeps.

Back in the day, I used to be all about politics. I used to fold and stuff in the name of the future. I used to plant-gate, yard sign, and petition like it was my job. It took quite a few years of actually hanging out with politicians to realize true believers were pawns in the man's game. I was a true believer. I'm still going to vote in the general election, but it's gonna take all I got not to write in Mary Hart, the Matron Saint of Mindless, Blathering, Bronzed, Capped-Tooth Perfection...and self promo. I. Miss. Her.

I can't be bothered with North Korea or China. They are going to sell us flammable clothes and then set us on Nuclear FIRE! Stock market? I ain't got no money. Gold? Sold it all. I did keep my teeth a.k.a.  fronts in case I get a wild hair and decide to hitch my wagon to Lil' Wayne's crew and freestlye with my bad self. You ain't know I had rhymes? Don't make me...

These days the most important new is my life is the manufactured Hollywood goo that high-paid publicists crank out to justify their Prada passion. These days, I get my hard hitting news from TMZ and Perez Hilton. It would be un-American to deny these anorexic, iPhone-addicted prophets of tabloid-land my time. See, I am a true patriot. Yesterday, Aretha Franklin announced she is engaged and not preggo. But, I think Dionne Warwick may be sprouting a baby bump. I wonder who the daddy is? I am not one to just make stuff up.

Back in the day I would have been caught up in the swaggerfest known as the Iowa Caucus. These days, I am on Maternity Watch. My Beyonce/ Jay-Z Birth Watch 2012 is a full time job... in between looking for a real job, raising the McBrothas, and writing a totally original book about vampires. I can't wait until Bay-Z, the richest, most bootylicious, gangsta cooing young 'un in Hip-History, makes an appearance. Why? Because the Iowa Caucus is boring the dog snot out of me. See, the future of the country doesn't depend on what lackluster candidate we elect. It depends on the first Red Carpet outfit Bay-Z will be wearing. It will set the tone for the  future. If Bay-Z is wearing a one-of-a-kind piece sewn by Donatella Versace...with her own two French mani'ed hands: The Earth will not be destroyed by an asteroid or nuclear weapon, and the markets will rebound. If Bay-Z is wearing some outfit from Target, we are in big trouble. Expect more economic doom, political upheaval, and the Kardashians to be a continuing puss-filled boil on the American ass for the next decade.

The future of country, and yes, our planet depends on the birth of Bay-Z. I hate to get all Matrix on y'all, but I have read the tea leaves in my sippy cup of boxed wine. If America is to be saved, a child will do it. I wanted to believe that Mariah Carey and Nick Cannon's twins, Monroe and Moroccan, could do it. #DemBabies have huge TwitterLove, and cuteness, but they just don't have the Messiah Factor. I just don't believe #DemBabies are willing to give up their $1,500 pacifiers to save us. Mariah is not know for being humble, and I suspect #DemBabies are selfish as hell. I just think Bay-Z will be a kinder, gentler kid...even though Bay-Z's daddy was a gun-slinging drug dealer who would shoot first, rhyme later...which never made in his Oprah special.....

Anywhooo, I mark the days off my Justin Bieber Mayan Doomsday Calendar with a purple Sharpie (JB's fav color, I know, right!) and wait for Bay-Z to come into this broken ass world of ours. Bay-Z 2012 is more exciting than Iowa and less terrifying than thinking of N. Korea. And Aretha getting engaged at 69 years old should give hope to all the single ladies. Now put yo hands up!

P.S. What if, Jessica Simpson and Beyonce' went into labor the SAME DAY...who would get more coverage? Or would it be like the Farrah Fawcett/ Michael Jackson Going Home to Glory the Same Damn Time, So How the Hell Do We Get Mary Hart in Front Of Both Morgues At the Same Time? situation we had on June 25, 2009. I'm just sayin...

P.S.S. What kind of ghetto ass name is Bay-Z gonna get? Or, is she going to let her BFF and bad baby name giver Gwyneth Paltrow help her? Mary, mother of Oprah…is that Oprah’s Mama’s name?

Sunday, January 1, 2012

New Year's Eve Ball Drop on the Prairie

We had a great time on NYE! Looking forward to a great new year! There is nothing like the feeling of having a clean slate and a fresh start!

We did the McBrotha's 4th Annual NYE Ball Drop at our house. It's always fun for me. This year, both the boys were old enough to really enjoy it.

I wish you all a healthy, happy, prosperous NEW YEAR.