Name: Kim Tracy Prince
Web Site: http://www.kimtracyprince.com/about-me/
Bio: I am a writer. Most of my material is on the web, but the best stuff is still in my journal under the bed.
Posts by ktprince:
Six years ago our family moved to our current home. We chose the house for its location, in a lovely town that feels like a small town even though it’s just another part of the sprawling metropolis of Los Angeles. We are separated from the rest of the city by a shifting barrier of traffic. Sometimes it’s not there at all, sometimes it’s impassable.
Besides the general loveliness of our town, the location is perfect for another very big reason. The schools.
We live a mile from the boys’ wonderful elementary school. They ride their bikes to and from school – they come clanging into the house, usually fighting, around 2:45 every day. If it gets to be 3:00 and they’re not home yet, I find things to do in the front. Cleaning out the car, deadheading the camellia bush, pulling weeds from the front lawn. I busy myself until they tear down the block.
When we moved here, Kyle was about to start Kindergarten.
Now he’s in 5th grade. It was a given that the boys would attend the middle school that is right behind our house. If we lived in a more adventurous neighborhood, he could zipline from his bedroom window to the school’s office.
My, how you’ve grown.
In the years since we moved, however, the district developed GATE, a program for gifted and talented students, but it only exists at a different middle school, a 10 minute drive away. Even though Kyle seemed destined for this program, its geographic disadvantage made us kind of ignore it all this time. He took the test for it anyway. He was curious. We were, too.
He got into the program, of course. You knew this story was going there, right?
There’s an equally challenging set of honors classes at the closer middle school. We assumed Kyle would stay here, take the honors classes, get involved in some of the cool electives and enrichment opportunities they offer. Kyle seemed happy with that. He looked forward to the short walk around the corner to school with his friends.
Until the gifted program had their showcase.
Even though our family was 99% committed to the local middle school, I didn’t mind attending, because I was hoping for a sign. Something to tell me either way what the clear right choice would be.
And here it was. In a morning of presentations and classroom visits, our family got to see the other middle school’s campus, meet the teachers and principal, and ask the students themselves about their experience in the program. These 6th, 7th, and 8th graders were articulate, engaged, and enthusiastic about their school. Every time they spoke, Kyle’s eyes lit up with recognition. I could practically see him processing this discovery. He looked at me and smiled, and flashed a thumbs-up.
When a kid seems excited about going to school, that’s a pretty good sign.
A ten minute drive isn’t a big deal, really. It’s a luxury, even, for most residents of Los Angeles. For me, it’s about adjusting to the loss of the easy morning routine I thought I would have, and accepting a carpool life. Kyle is undaunted. He looks forward to it.
There are some formalities. It’s not our home school, so I had to apply for a “school of choice” permit, which was virtually guaranteed by his admission into this program. Still, when I received the email with the subject “Permit Approved,” I felt a shift.
It was a door opening for our family, a gate if you don’t mind the wordplay, to something unexpected. Something that could be wonderful, if we just give it a chance.
This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #MyPledgeCastle #CollectiveBias
Here at the House of Prince we are royalty by last name only, and our house can be considered a castle in the hearts of the people who live here! With two young boys and now a kitten among us, this castle is always in need of a little picking up and dusting.
Our Humble Castle
One of the ways my husband and I have dressed up our humble house is by carefully choosing our furniture. Most of it is designed to withstand the abuse of two little boys, but there are a few beloved pieces that anchor some of our rooms: specifically, our Mission-style dresser, the imported sofa table that now displays treasured family photos, and the bar I put together with my own two hands. Every time I look at them I smile – unless they are coated with dust!
And of course since I work at home I look at these items every day. I hate it when they get dusty so I am known for my “random acts of dusting.” I use Pledge® Lemon Clean Furniture Spray (purchased at my local Ralphs) because it doesn’t just come in handy for dusting – it also gets the wood nice and shiny and leaves behind that fresh Lemon Pledge® scent.
Pledge® Lemon Clean Furniture Spray can also be used on laminate, stainless steel, leather, marble, granite and plastic. Plus it features Allergens Trappers® to remove dust and up to 90% of the allergens found in dust.
Use Left-behind Socks For Random Acts of Dusting!
This is a great little trick that I tell my friends about: use the sad single sock left behind when one goes missing!
Save the Socks
Don’t throw those singletons away – save them for dusting! I also save socks that the kids reject as uncomfortable, or socks that have become too small for them, or too worn out or holey for me!
Mark Them Up
Mark them with a permanent marker or the kids will grab them and put them BACK in the laundry rotation, making me go crazy trying to match them up with a partner!
Station Your Stash
Stash a set of old socks with a can of Pledge® Lemon Clean Furniture Spray. Make a few of these sets and place them throughout your house where they can be in easy reach when you spot dust collecting on your pretty furniture. A simple spray and swipe will make you smile!
Pledge® is more than just a wood polish – you can use it for your everyday cleaning to bring out the beauty in your surroundings.
That’s why you got that lovely piece of furniture, right?
To see what other fresh scents you get with Pledge® visit their Facebook page!
And for inspiration and housecleaning tips, visit Pledge’s #MyPledgeCastle page!
Does the world need another book about motherhood?
Because So Glad They Told Me: Women Get Real About Motherhood from the Her Stories Project is a collection of essays by mothers about advice they were given or wish they were given. And I’m so proud that the book will include an essay I wrote about an epic struggle between a mother and a strong-willed child. Let it serve as advice to mothers everywhere: I went through this, and I survived.
The official release date is August 23. Stay tuned for more details.
I’m pretty excited to have my essay published in this anthology alongside work from wonderful, accomplished writers. Maybe someone, somewhere, will buy this book, read my story, and say “Me, too” and feel less alone.
I looked at the photo in horror: am I really that old? Later, the answer came: yes, I am. And that’s okay.
In January I went to a special job fair for moms who are trying to get back to work after off-ramping themselves to take care of their children. I attended Momfair both because I knew it would be full of good stories – the people and businesses would be interesting and fun to meet, for sure – and also because it’s finally happening to me now. My kids will be in 4th and 6th grade next year, and the money is running out. I need to get back to work.
I don’t know how that will look. To be near the children, I would prefer a work at home job like I’ve been doing all along, but something more consistent than freelancing, or maybe more consistent freelancing? I toy with the possibility of going back into television, a medium I still love, that loves me back if I treat it right. Does watching House Hunters every night as I fall asleep sound like I treat it right? I see en suites and kitchen gut jobs in my dreams. I think so.
With “someday” growing closer, I headed to Momfair with a little bit of detached curiosity. I was happy to run into several people I already knew, and I had a great party date in Jen (whose blog is The Real Mom of SFV). We divided and worked the room. But first we hit the Headshot Truck.
At this event, their setup was all in the conference center, but normally the Headshot Truck is like a food truck but with a photo studio inside. They tool around Los Angeles, hired by companies and events to provide professional photography on site. Their photo studio at Momfair was there for the women to get updated headshots taken right then and there, that we could purchase and use in our LinkedIn profiles and social media channels, all of which can be important in a current job search.
Jen and I were up first. Jen is delightful and super camera-friendly. She struck the poses and I saw how it was done. I was next.
What I couldn’t see as I watched her was the enormous preview screen that faces the person being photographed. Think of the biggest monitor you’ve ever seen in the Apple store, turn it vertically, and display a high-resolution image of your own face, seconds after the photo is taken. That’s what happened.
And I was horrified.
The photographer was lovely. I told him that I’m writing a book, and that I would like a photo that says “serious writer” and also that since it rained that morning I wasn’t too excited about my hair. He turned me and posed me and shot until he felt he got it just right. But after the first frame appeared in the monitor, I lost my appetite for the project.
When that first giant image of my face popped up, all I could see were wrinkles. Not just the cute laugh lines around my eyes that I imagined I had, but serious, deep, fissures that spider through my face, betraying me to the world.
On the inside, I still feel like I’m 25 and ready to take on the world. I still think of myself as looking that way. Freckled, with glasses and long brown hair. I forget about what the rest of you see. That big, wrinkly face that faced me? It made my stomach sink.
The shoot was finally over – it had only lasted minutes, but it felt like so much longer – and I managed to forget about it for the rest of the day. I learned some new things (you should put keywords that describe your dream job into your LinkedIn bio). I got a sense of what the job market is like (awesome if you’re a programmer, not so much if you’re anything else). I met some new people. And I went home tired and happy and optimistic about my near future.
But I did hold on to that photo experience. I thought about it every day, telling myself to accept it. This is my life. I’m 44 years old, and I look like it. And that’s okay. And honestly, even though I do still picture myself as that energetic 25-year-old, the truth is that most of the time, I feel every day of my 44+ years, sinking into my bones, dragging me down for a nap.
Why not embrace the fact that I look like who I am?
Ever since I had laser eye surgery in 2012, I’ve been much more aware of the lines on my face, the way my eyelids are sagging, the deepening grooves between my nose and the corners of my mouth.
This is what life has wrought. This is what the children, the romances, the aggravating arguments with people over PTA matters, money worries, lack of sunscreen, laughter, love, heartbreak, kittens, and puppies, red wine, and coffee have done to my hair, my face, my teeth, my eyes.
I’m a 44 year old person who has lived this life, and it shows.
I am aware that my age might make me less obviously the right choice for certain jobs. But why hide it? If hiring managers are looking at social media profiles, and a photo is required on a LinkedIn page, people are going to see what I look like no matter what. They might as well see the real thing.
That’s only the first hurdle, the skin-deep part. My confidence in the skills I’ll be bringing back to the workplace after focusing on my children for the past several years – that’s the core of the thing. Still, I know first impressions are important.
Two weeks after that photo shoot, the proofs came out, delivered by email. I dreaded seeing mine, but my hand moved the mouse to the link and clicked before I could get up and walk away from the computer. I steeled myself for the experience of facing my face, professionally done, in HD.
And here is what I saw:
Talk about anticlimax. It’s not so bad, is it? It’s not bad at all.
Looking at the photo objectively, I know I’m not more wrinkled than someone my age is expected to be. But also, I came a long way toward facing reality – letting go of the 25-year-old and accepting who I see in the mirror. Somewhere in the two weeks between the photo shoot and receiving the proofs, I had met myself in the middle.
So this is what I really look like on the outside. I’m kind of proud of it. It would be weird if I still looked like I did 20 years ago. Plus, I know who I am on the inside. Yes, I’m still that young girl, that energetic woman, this often-tired mother.
In ten years, I’ll read this post and I will laugh and laugh, as I’m sure my older friends and family are doing right now. But for now, I’m gathering my skills, my confidence – and my headshot – and forging back out into the world. Wish me luck.
Special thanks to Momfair and The Headshot Truck, who retouched the raw proof and made me this really nice headshot:
Kim Tracy Prince, Serious Writer
Frosted Cowboy, the debut novel by Charlene A. Ross, is released today. Buy it on Amazon.com for an entertaining lighthearted read!
Sometimes you want to live a fabulous life vicariously through a character in the pages of a story that leads you confidently through its ups and downs and twists and turns. Sometimes you want to be entertained, to love a character lightly, to root for her and not worry that she’s going to experience the darkest side of what humanity has to offer. Sometimes you just want to laugh. Thank goodness for stories like this.
And thank goodness for Frosted Cowboy, a delightful debut novel that follows aspiring fashion designer Laney – 32 years old, recently single, recently unemployed – through a year in her life when she struggles to find herself. But this is no slog through despair.
Laney is a regular gal from the suburbs, trying to make her way among socialites and quasi-celebrities in Hollywood. Meanwhile, although she still stings from the rejection of having her boyfriend of 7 years cheat on her, Laney juggles the attentions of two hot young firemen and a not-gay massage therapist/aspiring screenwriter. Her sassy wit makes her attractive to many of the men she meets in her new life, but she has no idea. She’s just being herself.
The language in Frosted Cowboy is kicky and fun, and Laney’s observations of the people she meets are often scathing even as they flow by so easily that you might miss their humor. Laney is plucky and self-deprecating and bitingly funny, prone to speaking in asides and parentheses and multiply-hyphenated phrases. In a scene where she prepares to weather New Year’s Eve alone:
I’m looking forward to my food orgy and girl-so-obviously-gets-boy-despite-all-obstacles-because-she-looks-like/is-Katherine Heigl-Rachel McAdams-Amanda Seyfried movie fest.
I love the way the author describes the food Laney eats and the outfits she wears, little details that make her come alive. I read an advance copy of this novel on the Kindle app from Amazon, which is a departure for me since I am a die-hard paper book reader. I worried that it might distance me from the story a bit, but since the author guides the reader through with such a confident hand, I found myself flicking through page after page, eager to find out what was coming next.
It’s a sweet, happy story with enough roadblocks in Laney’s way to give her chances to exceed her own expectations of herself. There’s sex and rock and roll. No drugs, but plenty of wine and margaritas and the eponymous Frosted Cowboy, a trendy cocktail whose recipe is provided at the end of the novel. Once you make it to the end of the story and you’re sad it’s over, a Frosted Cowboy will perk you right up again. Cheers!