Monday, December 30, 2013

Live in the space of each moment

Last night I stayed up forever because it was Sunday, because I drank too much caffeine (again) and because I kept thinking I needed to get ready for work. (One day, I will have a job where I don't get as much time off, but I'm hoping to put that off for a year or two longer). Husbear has time off, too, and it's awesome because he's been home long enough that now he's beginning to do dishes and be generally around. I wonder when the balance between work and home got so, imbalanced?

I remember Christmas break as a child. The holiday would come, then we'd have a full week of this lingering feeling of celebration and Christmas. This is that in-between time, the week between the day after Christmas and New Year's Eve. Many people are just working, but there's still that lingering 'holiday-ish' feel out there.
This year, I'm using that time to get some things in order around the house. Deep clean the kitchen, because it was driving me crazy, check, declutter the dining area and living room, check. Toss out ugly lamp because Bear through a meditation pillow at it and broke it, check.

It's more than an effort to match the standards of organizational magazine perfection, but more of a way to create more space. I know I've mentioned it before - rather than finding time, find space, because after looking at my day, I have the time. We all do. We just struggle to find space, and call it time.

I have the space to write, which is the most important, but it took longer than I thought. It was a work in progress, but over the past few months, I managed it. Husbear had to help, because he's really good with physical spaces. I worked on the emotional space, the letting go of things that I don't want to hold on to but sort of just linger anyhow, like the taste of orange juice right after brushing your teeth. There's just no way to get rid of that easily. Mostly it's annoying things like, so and so (who you don't even really care about) did this annoying thing, or said something to someone, and it's all at work and so and so is sooo just very sooo...,and you just... can't... stop....thinking about it...and then you're like, 'but I don't even caaarreee...' and well, many of us do it. I'm proactively not doing it.

Walk with Bear down the Lefthand Creek path -
We were checking out the flood damage from September - the month
whenmoments we weren't expecting interrupted
the moments we had planned.
I have the space for my crafts now, too. I don't have many, writing takes up the brunt of my free time now, but I'm determined this year to finish my quilt, and, yet again, to manage to finish my daughter's cross stitch that I started when she was 3. Don't tell her though, in case I don't.

One weird thing I noticed is that I am better in everything when I meditate or do Tai Chi. Tai Chi is the easier way to meditate. You can get lost in the movements. It's also really really good for your health overall, though I'm not 100 percent sure why.  I'm less stressed, less aggravated, more calm, I have more energy and it's easier to just be present.

I love being present, and being mindful. It really does make every moment, well, just... more, because you're in the moment. The truth is, we can predict based on the patterns of the past, for the most part, what our lives will be like, but the other truth is that we also can't, because while we can be fairly certain that we'll wake up, drop off kids, go to work, pick up groceries, come home, shop for sales on line, etc etc on any given day, we can't be certain that on any given day that cycle won't be utterly changed by something, for good or bad. You suddenly run into someone and it leads to an opportunity for a great job in another state. Whoa. (See, it doesn't have to be bad, we just always thing, yeah, at ANY given moment, a meteor could land on your head, instead of, at any given moment, an act of serendipity, good fate or good fortune will surprise us!) The point is, we worry about, dwell about, think about and plan an unchanging future, when the truth is, our future will change. Nothing to stress about, it's just life, but we should just... be okay with it, and live in the space that the moment we are occupying is in, and fully explore the space of that moment, so as to truly live it. When I do that, when I truly occupy that space, I find that the moment seems infinite. Time slows. It's beautiful. (Unless the moment involves having just stubbed your toe or something painful, but it's still worth being there. It really is, it makes the stubbed toe feel less stubbed, trust me on this one.)

It's time now for everyone to ask about New Year's Resolutions, and most of us at some point just stop bothering, because we realize the New Year is really just an extension of the old. It is a good time though, to reflect, and think about whether or not you're headed the right way in life, whether or not you're doing the work you want to do, exploring the hobby you want to pick up, etc etc. My New Year's Resolution is to continue the same resolutions I've had in the past. Write. Run. Be healthier. I'll add one though, I'll add, 'Live in the Space of Each Moment.'

Saturday, December 28, 2013

It's cleaning time - but not, or kinda... I don't want to.

I stayed up a little too late reading all these ways to truly clean your house. There are magazines and television shows devoted to a clean house. I get how people can lose entire days in the pursuit of the perfectly coiffed home. Everything is always pretty, perfect and coordinated. I find a degree of cleanliness and neatness also occurs in households with no children, or a small child to adult ratio - like two parents, one kid, three parents, two kids etc etc... I have three kids and a husband that works forever, so my ratio is 1:4. I'd surrender, I would, but there's no one to surrender to. I  even tried once. I spent a week once waving a white pillowcase to the OverLords of Organization, Order and Coordinated Rooms, bought just for the occasion, but they refused to accept it.

I can say that most of my house is pretty and coordinated when it's clean, we've painted most of the downstairs, and two of the bedrooms upstairs, but, alas.... the perfect part eludes me.

I do have pockets of clean areas that move around the house, sometimes it's my desk area, sometimes it's the living room, sometimes it's the kitchen, but it's never all of those areas at once. My house isn't big enough to trick guests. I can't just invite them into the pocket of clean, because we have a small town home and an open floor plan. Poor planning on not-my-part.  I suspect the real problem lies in the children, and there isn't a place I can store them neatly, though I have tried.

Their stuff gets everywhere. It creeps out of their room into the hall, down the stairs and onto every surface - there's a sock, shoes, a leftover shirt that randomly got taken off, stuffed animals, a small lego creation... just now, I see a long green stuffed snake, some hero factory dude, headphones, night vision goggles (toy)... all scattered randomly around. They pick them up when I say, then somehow, new things come back.

That, and crafts.  I'm looking at a corner filled with fabric, plastic bags of pieces of fabric cut for a quilt I'd like to work on and somehow, a rock tumbler, a white board and a few other non-mine things have slipped in the open boxes.

I could leave it all today. I could. But I can't stand the sight of it. What I mostly want to do is get to my writing, but it's hard to write when all around you is disorder and chaos. I must take care of the house now when I have the vacation time if I want to write at home.

So that's why today I'll probably go to a coffee shop to write...

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Things I googled today

I'm writing, which means that I spend about 15-30 minutes of doing anything but on the computer.

I'm smart enough to know how easily distracted I am, so I avoid social media, Facebook, Huffington Post, etc. if I have any intention of actually accomplishing anything. But I can't avoid the questions in my head that pop up, and Google, Google can answer them all...

For instance, today, I've googled:

Is Agave just corn syrup? I'm drinking tea now. Like, literally, right now, and I put agave in it. I read that agave is essentially corn syrup. So I googled it.  (It's highly processed, so might as well just stick with honey.)

Brooks Adrenaline GTS 14 Review (Best rated running shoe for pronators, again).
Brooks Adrenaline GTS 13 (colors) (Because shoes that are really good are somehow never really bright and happy looking).

Lego Creator models (to see what else Bear will be building in the future).

The weather, because is it going to be this warm the rest of winter? (That would be cool! I italicized that for no real reason.)

Why does my cat follow me around? Mostly because of Husbear's cat. He follows him everywhere. My cat, fat as he is, just mysteriously appears wherever I am. It's because they like us, that's why they follow us, not because they want more cat treats all the time. That search took a while because there were links about cats and kittens and it's the internet...

And then, then, I wrote this, helped Bear maintain calm under the pressure of finishing his Sopwith Camel, and finally got to writing.






Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Christmas Eve, which means the Doctor Who Christmas Special is on... and Santa Cl... Sherlock!

Cookies are bad for you. Bad. Tomatoes, a refreshing glass of
water and fresh carrots for the reindeer help keep Santa
energized throughout his long night of toy delivery - a better
choice than cookies. Santa appreciates it. 

It's Christmas Eve! We had a rough night with Bear tonight at the grandparents, but now he's in bed, sound asleep, waiting for Santa.

I don't mind Christmas. I like Christmas, but I am not a huge Christmas Spirit person. I think I mentioned this in my 'ready for 2014' post. I used to love Christmas passionately, like really passionately. I wanted to wear red and green for a week straight during Christmas week and would (attempt to) bake many cookies and package them up cutely in cute Christmas boxes. I dreamed of Christmas Caroling (in the dreams, I could sing) and I wanted to show up to people's loverly-decorated Christmas homes on snowy evenings dressed in a stylish, muted plaid with lovely smooth hair bearing cookies and presents in shiny packages. (I did go to my mother-in-laws, but I wasn't wearing plaid, my hair wasn't super smooth and straight, and there wasn't any snow around - it was fun though).

I know I should be excited about tomorrow. It's going to be a good day. The kids will have their presents, Beef Stew will be hanging out on the stove all day (hopefully I'll remember to bake the garlic bread) and the family will be hanging out all morning just chilling out as a family. I might even do a puzzle with drama girl. She likes puzzles, I'm pretty sure. But I don't love Christmas right now.

With this ring, I thee pronounce you Princess Lauren, sister -in-heart
to Princess Nikki, first bearer of the Princess Ring, 
presented to her by her mother, Queen Mother, many, 
(but not sooo many) years ago.
Maybe I'll love it again one day, but for now, I like Christmas, like, we're friends and we've had a lot of good times behind us, and will have more in the future, but I just like Christmas. I do, however,  love, love,  love,  Doctor Who.

The thing I'm most excited about tomorrow though is.. the Doctor Who Special!

I'm nervous about the new Doctor Who, but I always am. All Whovians are. It's risky! You never know what the new Doctor will do!

I love that I still have things to geek out about, that I can still get a little giddy about Doctor Who episodes, like I did when I was 12 and would rush home after school every single day to watch Starblazers. Truth - first crush I ever had was on - Derek Wildstar. If you don't know what's so odd about that, you've never seen Starblazers! It is also probably one of the reasons it took me forever to start dating as a teenager...

I also was in a Sherlock Holmes phase as a child, which is why tonight, when the  BBC released seven minutes of a mini-episode of Sherlock Holmes, I watched it twice, three times, still counting...

It's like, all my favorite things colliding. The only thing that could make it better is a modern adaptation of Starblazers that doesn't have to be snuck out of another country for Americans to view it.

As for Sherlock, I enjoy the modern adaptation, and I  love the actors playing Sherlock and Watson. I wonder how Cumberbatch is as Smaug. I wonder if seeing the Desolation of Smaug is worth it just to see how well he plays Smaug. I do love the Lord of the Rings Trilogy, but I haven't been quite as excited about the Hobbit.  No Arragorn, for one.

While the children are asleep, dreaming of Santa's visit, and Husbear is playing Skyrim.... again... (Look, look honey, I shot an arrow into the sun and made it night...), I'm watching Doctor Who trailers and geeking out a bit on the Doctor, Sherlock and now, the Hobbit (because Cumberbatch is the voice of Smaug, and also I like the Tolkien world. I always thought I'd make a decent hobbit).

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Countdown to 2014

I've already moved beyond Christmas.

In my mind, after a month of preparation, after setting up the tree, buying all the presents and reaching the two-week break that is known as Winter Break, because not everyone celebrates Christmas, I have moved past Christmas.  

Now, I'm one of those people who think it's perfectly reasonable to say Happy Holidays to someone if you're not sure if they celebrate Christmas, while at the same time being perfectly content to say Happy Christmas to those who I know celebrate Christmas.  I just ask that people not make a big deal of it if I mess it up, and also that people don't get cranky if someone doesn't say Merry Christmas to them if they don't know them. There's nothing wrong with not celebrating Christmas.  It's probably a hell of a lot more economic, that's for sure.

But none of that matters, because as I've said, I'm past Christmas. I'm already making plans for the New Year. This is completely opposite 'being present' but I am not one for big events. I view them as distractions from carrying on with the rest of my life. I know, it's silly, because they are a part of my life, but I like my routines, and I like my weekends to be dedicated to things I like, and not shopping, which I dislike. I stress about presents, I stress about the economics of said presents and I stress about how it's cold and snowy out and if it was March or April it wouldn't be. I stress about how I haven't run in three weeks (EEK!) because of the cold and haven't figured out a time to get to the gym. Seriously, not running in three weeks. (EEEEEEK). I washed my face warmer, so I am going to try to force it soon. So in my mind,  Christmas is over. I'm past it, and into 2014. 

Oh, I'll enjoy the days. Lazy family time eating stew, getting some writing in, plotting ways to get the kids on a hike, it'll be a blast, but I'm looking forward to January. January is a solidly plain and simple month. Lots of days of routine. Lots of ho-hum-hi-ho-hi-ho-it's-a-simple-life-yo days in it.

So Merry Holidays, Happy Christmas and here's to the New, But Mostly Predictable and Routine, New Year!

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

My Perfect Parent Night Cooking With My Bright, Creative Baker, Dreamer, Potter, Possibly Future Welder-Artist Son


Yes, I am a Perfect Parent with my Perfect, Bright, Creative Baker, Dreamer, Potter, Possibly Future Welder-Artist son, making a project for his class that represents Treasure Island. The book. He and his class read it in English, then he read it in Latin. Because he’s Perfectly Bright and finds Latin romantic in a sad, soulful kind of way. If he was just a ten year old boy, he’d have only read it in English.

The idea was his. And everyone knows that it was his idea, because I would never, ever, eveeer in this lifetime, concoct the idea of making the Inn from Treasure Island out of food. I was more a shoebox project girl myself. I did a wonderful diorama of a beach with starfish and seashells I collected, (with real sand!)and a representation of half of the solar system. Food constructs? Not my thing. 

So tonight, we built the Inn from Treasure Island.  Bear wrote the name of the Inn on a graham cracker with pink sparkling food glitter gel! That was my idea. The writing the name of the Inn. The pink sparkling food glitter gel was Bear’s.

Because I’m a Perfect Parent, and Bear is Perfect, Bright, Creative etc etc., I documented the whole process, because why wouldn’t I share our Perfection with the world?

Old Treasure Island Inn Constructs were notorious for their weak
malleable walls, and often underwent extensive settling, it's what gave
the Inns their rustic charm.


He shopped. He insisted on pushing the cart. I didn’t catch any shots of us in the grocery store, but he chose all the ingredients, and said ‘excuse me’ politely to three people in the store! That’s the truth of just the ten year old boy. Since he’s Perfect, Bright etc etc he thanked them in Mandarin. The language spoken by a certain species of citrus fruit, specifically, not the language spoken in many parts of China. 

Do you see the perfection of these Cocoa Krispy treats?
Just any 10 year old could not have melted butter and marshmallows together
to get such a fine marshmallow-y glossy sheen of sticky gooieness.  

First step, Bright, Creative Baker takes off his shirt. It's a thing that happens every night when we get home now. It's because he's super creative. Shirts stifle the soul. Next first step, the creation of the chosen food for the walls of the cabin: Cocoa Krispy treats. Myself, I would have chosen a pre-fabricated Gingerbread House as a base, seeing as it’s That Time of Year where the store’s are overflowed with them, but Bear chose to use rice krispy treats. My contribution as his Treasure Inn Concoction Advisor was to use COCOA Krispies, so the Inn would have a darker, woodier look to it. They’re organic, of course, the Cocoa Krispies were $12 and imported from the same place as all my coffee.



Making the dirt
Second Step: Prepare the base. The idea was to use Graham crackers. Chocolate ones, because why not? Squish them up, and it’s early spring when the fields have been freshly tilled. No, there’s no grass. This is a self-sustaining Inn. The land in front and all around is used to grow hops.



There's a river by the Inn, Twizzler River.
Everyone knows this.
Next, Bear placed the walls of the Inn up. The Cocoa Krispie treat walls were malleable, and easily placed. Bear and I discussed the roof. Since I'm a shoebox girl, I thought we were done when the four sides of the Inn Construct were covered with a layer of pretzels. Roof done, good. 




Four pretzels=Door! Backside of Gummies=Window! There are
no structural concerns with the Cocoa Krispie walls, none at all,
There's a notch in the sign, from where the Capt'n cut it with
his cutlas. 

Still structurally sound! I was ready to call it good, but does
that look like a proper Inn roof to you? Of course not, because
it's not, not at all, and it just won't do. There's more work to do here.
Bear, however, is Perfect, Bright, Creative Baker, Dreamer etc etc., and he wanted his Treasure Island Inn Construct to have a roof that was more triangular-ish in shape. More pretzels! Since I’m a Perfect Parent guiding my Etc Etc child, I stepped back and licked the frosting off of pretzel sticks while he worked tirelessly on the roof.

Finally, in an effort to not confuse people who might mistake this for a crazed Gingerbread-Pirate Recluse’s House, we coated the white frosting with crushed graham crackers to make the white frosting look more like wood beams. The average 10 year old with a mom who specialized in shoebox dioramas as a child would not be able to pull this look off. Luckily for us, I'm Perfect, and he's Perfect, and everything is just so Perfect. 

Then we placed it in the freezer to solidfy it’s malleability.

The end result?

Everyone knows it's the final details that really make a
Food Constructed Treasure Island Inn... note how the
Cocoa Krispie Treat walls hold up just fine here?
Also, note, the not grass.


Ouila. 

Monday, December 16, 2013

The Christmas Tree Decorating Night

Merry Holidays! From the Tree Decorating Committee.

The children want to create this tradition where we put up the tree right after Thanksgiving, but that's too soon for me! The beauty of Christmas is in the anticipation, the decorating, the baking, the singing, the lights, the cold, the food... all leading up to two events: Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. Anticipation is exciting only for so long, before it turns a little sour and you just want it over already. I never want to feel that way about Christmas.

It's bad enough that every year the season starts sooner and sooner as people continuously forget about the point of Christmas and go on mad shopping sprees to celebrate the time of giving and sharing - to the sad and eventual demise of Thanksgiving.  Save the Turkey Day! I say.

Soon, Christmas will overtake Halloween, and children will no longer dress up as monsters, Disney princesses, robots and zombies, and will instead all dress up as little cheerful elves, trick or treating for Candy Canes and grumbling at the healthy, yet insulting, bags of Roasted Chestnuts that occasionally get handed out.

That's the case I make when the kids pressure me. "I'm doing it for you, for the sake of your happiness," I tell them. "You know not yet what it is you will lose if you start Christmas in September..."

This weekend was Tree Weekend, though. The kids dragged the non-flammable, won't-burn-the-house-down-if-you-don't-water-it Christmas tree upstairs. I opened the bag of carefully selected Gingerbread Men and Sugar Cookies while Drama Girl put on the lights (I was helping, but she determined my help was unnecessary, and in fact, not helpful, and requested I leave it to her - she's a bit of a Christmas tyrant, that Drama Girl) and then, after the  tree was up and lit, the kids took a hot chocolate and cookie break before tossing every ornament we own on the tree haphazardly, while Drama Girl ran around the tree redecorating it, trying to balance the ornament placement on the tree without letting her brothers' know, because, they placed their ornaments with thought and intent, not haphazardly. I shouldn't have even suggested it was haphazard. It was chaos with thoughtful intent.  Husbear stuck the star on top - it's not a lighted star, we no longer attempt lighted toppers. For some reason, figuring out the configuration of a lighted topper, and getting it to stay lit, not crooked and on the tree, for us, is too challenging.

Then, the children placed the Christmas stockings on their feet and slid around on the hardwood floor laughing hysterically. It's not a problem, every other year, I forget where I placed all the Christmas stockings, so we have to buy new ones. Everyone now owns at least three Christmas stockings. 

Now, now we can spend a good week and a half anticipating Christmas, sliding around in red stockings, fully enjoying the moments, and preserving the wonder and magic of Christmas without getting stressed out about it.

Happy Holidays!










Saturday, December 14, 2013

The time of stews

The crazy weird thing about me (just the one) is that when I was younger, reading all those fantasy books, (just the other day, in fact) always, they always talked about stews and rabbits and broths and you know, fantasy stew foods. Platters of birds and roasts for celebration, but for our heroes, usually, stews, yummy sounding stews and breads and broths at village inns or taverns or camps or wherever.

I am a Rosemary and Lamb stew, using Thyme
because we were out of Rosemary. It's black and
white because no one could handle the awesomeness
of Lamb Stew in color.

I love making stew because it takes me back to this simple place of taking root vegetables and meat and flour and wine or beer or broth and creating this really flavorful meal that is so comforting and so homey that it makes everything so much better... there's added warmth when stew is on the stove, the house smells amazing, the temperature on a chilly day seems to rise... everyone wants to pick at the stew while it's on the stove... I love it. I love the big dutch oven I use to cook it in. I love the feeling of 'home' that I associate with it. I love the time it takes.

My family growing up wasn't big on stews. We had a lot of Italian cooking, since you know, we were well, very, very... very Italian... there was pasta and spaghetti and pasta, and then, sometimes, sometimes, meat pie... meat pie... can feed a small army, and it's essentially spaghetti casserole minus the noodles, add the pie crust. Or lasagna.

Sometimes my mom would cook. So we'd have Macaroni, or hot dogs, or some weird thing involving gravy and turkey and peas on toast, which sounds great unless you dislike soggy toast. I despised it as a child, and it still sounds mostly unappealing. My mom wasn't a bad cook, she was a disinterested cook. She made amazing appetizers though - her stuffed mushrooms to this day are a go-to  party dish. 

At some point in my marriage to Husbear, I made a Pot Roast that was so amazingly delicious on the one hand and so simple to make on the other, and so beloved by both Drama Girl and Husbear, it became a staple called Roast Feast. Then the boys were born and they too love Roast Feast. There's only one person who's not crazy about it... me. I'm just not into it. But boy, do I make it well...

I moved on to stews a ways back, and here I found food mecca for Husbear and family. The boys say they don't like stew, then they eat it all, so I'm not sure what to make of it, but I've got several stew recipes on file now. It's one of those things I crave, especially when I'm in the mood for a good fantasy book or movie, curling up in winter with some bread and broth.

So tonight, stew is on the stove. I'm drinking the red wine left over from the stew, and I'm dreaming of leftovers. (There won't be leftovers, I used 2 pounds of lamb and that'll be barely enough to feed the boys!) 





Thursday, December 12, 2013

Writing along

I enjoy the writing the most, the scenes and tales and characters that pour onto pages and pages, flowing seamlessly, becoming richer the more time I spend with them.

I'm editing right now.

I do enjoy editing, but it's not pages and pages of scenes and tales and characters pouring onto more pages and pages.

It's stops and starts and gasps and hmms, and oh's. Change a word there, delete a paragraph there, write a new page here. It's jarring, but it must be done. The good thing is, as I work with the story, I"m seeing the flow, I'm seeing where my character's out of character, where I reveal too much too soon, where I haven't let anything 'build.'

My other stories are being oh so very patient. But I sense my time with this story is almost over, it's almost complete. (Again.)

This story has been with me forever, it's my first novel, and now I'm bringing it to life again, to see if I can restore it. I feel it's important I Finish The Tale for the sake of not just the story, but every other story I write. They all want to be finished, and I do not want to leave anything unfinished.

So, the jarring process of picking apart pieces goes on for just a little while longer.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Time wasters

There's nothing clever in this post today, or witty, or funny.

Probably best not to read it.

The number one rule to being productive is to not be distracted.

This is difficult with the interwebz, but I have succeeded tonight, it's like a little victory.

I enjoy this place off writing when I get to it, it's when I'm the most prolific, the ability to not be distracted because my mind is ready for the story, or the story finally came.

I'm torn with time though, because I'm doing an editing pass on one and writing another. The two are different to the brain, editing uses different skills than writing, so I can work on both in the same time span, but how I want more time... how can I steal time?

I think that is going to be my 2014 goal: How to become not just a writer, but a prolific writer. How to steal more time.

Sometimes, I just want to run off to a cabin for a week, but that's not possible. And it doesn't help that winters here are so sunny - there aren't long gray days that make staying in the comfortable choice...

It's always the weather's fault...

I've got some minor edits done and a complete read-through of my first story, but I had hoped to have it fully done by now. I'm readjusting it, and I think I'm going to spend a day on it this weekend, just crank it out like I used to crank out those epic tales when I made stories for games. Once I do a major pass I can start on the next project.

I feel my stories beginning to be impatient with me. They've always been finicky, but they're becoming a little more outspoken lately! They must know something I don't. They usually do.

Sunday, December 08, 2013

gaaah my truck, gaah

I'm a little overwhelmed this week.

I've got a truck that won't start that needs to magically get to the shop, two appointments to reschedule, two swim lessons to get to with Husbear's help, two science projects to help out with and of course work, a Christmas party and oh, the decorating.

Okay, the decorating isn't stressful, but it requires I clean out the area our Christmas tree will go, and then we have to sort out the lights. I despise lights. They are always tangled and they never work. My next Christmas tree is going to be one of those pre-lit deals. Don't even talk to me about a real tree, yes I love real trees, but I don't have the time to not mind the amount of extra work a live tree involves.

I don't want to just blog about the truck, but not having my truck today is driving me crazy. Without my truck I feel trapped - like someone stole my escape vehicle...  even though as a Mom, sometimes the truck is the prison... but never mind, because sometimes it's my escape plan.

I want to say something poetic but really I just look out the window at my non-starting truck and mentally scream because I suspect that if it wasn't -200 degrees out the past few days, my starter wouldn't be not-starting.

Work truck, work.

Gaaaaah.

p.s. Looks like it'll be running weather in just a couple of days... weeee.... that'll make it better!

Monday, December 02, 2013

Monday Mopes

I don't think that's actually a thing, Monday Mopes.

It's Monday night and my mind is all awake and insomniatic, which isn't a word, but should be.

I'm working with this whole concept of walking through the world as a writer. I didn't make up the phrase, I read it somewhere, maybe two somewheres, and I love it, though I'm pretty sure whoever said it didn't mean that you should fuss about the things I do when experimenting with the concept of walking through the world as a writer.

For instance, what does one wear in this concept, that will help one exude writerness?
Should I change my accent? My tone?
Should I walk softer, firmer, slower, more deliberate, or whimsical?
Whenever I do something socially inept (about 20 times a day) do I shrug it off and say 'mm, writer, what can one do?

Okay, I jest. Mostly. I could really use some help with the first question, though, and the last.

Here's my Monday Mopes Notes:

My Monday Mope  is, once, this famous blogger who isn't me, wrote this book talking about how incredibly lost she gets even in areas she shouldn't be lost in. I thought of that, driving my son around for 45 minutes following a mis-guided navigation system in my own town, missing his first swim lesson. Mmm, writer, what can one do?

My second one is I wanted to run today, after work, and was going to, but got into an argument with Drama Girl (right, of course I did, she's not nicknamed Drama Girl for nothing) and couldn't leave the boys with a grumpy 17 year old who was furious with me. Also, she would sneak the television, which is what the argument was about. We parents only punish ourselves when we punish our children.

Third, at work today, I realized I had more junk/spam mail than real mail. Even more than that, I sent out a survey with the wrong year. Twice. /facepalm It'll come back in the survey comments, I'm sure.

Just the three. I'm not going to try too hard to come up with more!

On good notes, Mondays' about over, I'm going to self-publish my first short book once my BFF in SoCal finishes reading it over just to do something with it, and I'm on track to finishing my next chapter in the new book I'm writing this week.

Go writery me.





Sunday, December 01, 2013

Everything is all right, and the boys are 10

We are ten years old. We are our mother's
sons. We are our father's sons. We are freakin' hilarious.


I can't believe I have two ten year olds.

Do you know what that means?

Ten years ago, we were miles away, on the East Coast, and everything was good. Great jobs, great friends, great house...

The twins were born, and boom! when we thought there'd be one, there was two, and it changed everything - I left my great job - have you done the math on daycare? We ended up moving. Things moved in a blur for a year and a half,  but it was all good and settled for a while. We spent two and a half years in Washington State. I got to stay home with my babies, and worked on a second degree so that staying home with my babies wouldn't be the doom of my career.

Isn't that horrible? That of all the things that I did, the one that brings me the most relief, is that I got to stay home with my babies, and with my eldest child. I work now, it's in my original field, but not an intense job, and until they are in high school, I don't think I can do intense, but that's okay, because I know the value of our time together.

I mean, when they were babies, I worked on my second degree, I wrote a book dammit, I did all these things, but what do I value of it the most? The photographs of my babies smiling at me randomly from the living room.The memories of their hugs. The memories of me hiding in the kitchen, crouched in the corner where they couldn't see me so I could sneak a quite moment of coffee, only to have them find me, and want a hug, so then I didn't want to hide anymore. The walks to the parks, the loooong trips to Fred Meyers (is it strange that some of my favorite memories involve shopping at a local northwestern store?) mixed with the memories of hugs and home-made cinnamon play dough and their goofy laughs.   My daughter, coming home from school, which was literally just around the corner, through a fence post, for snacks and mom-time. Making dinner. Waiting til they were in bed so I could write. Chasing my daughter's cat around to pull string out of her butt because my daughter's cat is the reason she can't have fringe. Helping decorate the kids' rooms. Taking them to ballet, gymnastics and those hilarious first attempts at socializing, when I was part of a mom's group that saved my sanity more than I ever knew until now? Yo, Kent moms, lookin' at you here...

The giggles, the lake we used to go to, the pre-pre-school... all of it.

Then we moved to Colorado. The boys were three.

Now the boys are ten years old. Drama girl is 17.

We've given them a stable home, a stable environment, a stable school. I stayed home for a couple years here, and walked them to the park, walked them to the circle, watched them play in the magical grove, took pictures of them all, the three of them, their friends, my friends - yo Poplar Grove peeps, our lives, all connected. Seven years. Plus three. Ten. Ten years old.

I can't pass by a newborn baby without flinching... give me my babies back, I think, but don't really mean, because I didn't miss those years, I was there, I had my babies, I had my time. Sometimes, I want to go back, to hug them one more time in their chubby wubby years, to see their delight, to hear the baby laugh, but it's okay, because lets face it, they still are my babies. I feel a little guilty because I am happy, more than happy, that I got to stay home with them before they were in school all day. And I look back at those days, occasionally, because they get older every day, and today they are ten, and when I look back I smile, because I remember how we played. I look at them today, and they are ten.

And they are ten.

They are ten.

Ten years old.

Whoa.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

I had this cool dream about the universe and music which I know nothing about


That title can't possibly make any sense.

I'm trying to live a simple life here, where I become a writer. Maybe that's my enlightenment.

A simple life of simple pleasures free from self-imposed worries. And writing.

I should live in a cabin. All simple-living writers have cabins.

Writing - but not just 'how to get published' or 'how to make a million dollars.' Those I can worry about after I've finished the book (ha, I know how little most authors make).  Really, it's the space to write, and writing what I am capable of writing, the really good stuff that's buried underneath the meh stuff, the rich rich stuff I have inside that can only come out through writing and writing and writing.

So last night's dream, of course, I dreamt of the universe, and music, and sounds and vibrations.

Of course I dreamt of the universe in a musical way, and I am not musical, but it had everything to do with writing and nothing at all to do with it.

It was a beautiful dream though. Three lines, strings of this universal instrument, and it was all there was. There was one note to play, one note that if you could hear it, and if you could live your life on that note, that note was the one that was deep inside, that could barely be heard. It was the piece of the music in the background that you never noticed while you were listening to it, but, without it, the music wouldn't be music.

In the dream, it was the only note playing, the only string vibrating, the only one that mattered.

I like to think it means I've finally got something right.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Writer unleashed

Hold yourselves back - nothing is more (less) exciting than a writer... writing.

I was having an email chat with another writer friend, who doesn't think she's a writer, but yet writes, therefore making her a writer... but never mind that.

We were talking about writing. 

Writing requires that, while you're writing, you're focused on you know, writing, which means the other things going on around you... aren't the priority. 

Children are fighting. Writing? You won't notice until they either figure it out or knock themselves out. 
Laundry. Writing? Well of course you've forgotten about the load you left wet, in the washer. For two days.
Dinner. Writing? Yes, then you're also hungry, along with your family, who will give up on you because you no longer cook with love and spend more time cooking with frozen foods.
Groceries. Writing? Then you probably didn't get a chance to stock up on frozen foods, so it's pizza night. Again? Right, Chinese this time.
Bedtime. Writing? You missed it. Work is going to be awful in the morning.
Work. Writing? Well, then you're at work wishing you were writing, thinking about writing, trying to write at lunch, and probably, moping about writing.
Angst. Oh, good, you're writing. 

I think the important thing to note about writing is that prior to the writing, there's a lot of procrastination of the writing. Then while you're writing, if you're not on, or you're struggling with a scene or pages, or kind of at a block, well, then, there's things you do to help that, that may look like procrastination, but are really, as I like to call them, 'thinking breaks.' 

For instance, right now, I'm trying to end a dreadful few pages I wrote about a silly pie sale which seems to be never-ending, but surely, it has to end, right? Because pie sales don't last forever, they're not eternal, yet somehow, this one seems eternal... How to get past this, the eternal pie sale, a minor sub plot of a sub plot, that shouldn't take much... the eternal, never-ending pie sale... I need a think break....

Here are my tricks:

  • First, make a bowl of hot cereal, maple and brown sugar, my go-to favorite evening comfort food. 
  • Second, check email. Or Facebook. Why doesn't anyone message me or e-mail me during these times of need?
  • Third, scroll through television. Doesn't work when the show you land on is a show about writers, seeing as I'm a writer stuck on writing...
  • Fourth, blog, specifically about how you're a writer not writing, and the things you do to avoid it.
  • Fifth, Make Tea - ooh haven't done that... 


BRB...


Saturday, November 23, 2013

Are you ready for the holidays?

Yeah, me neither.

But it's okay, because I have learned a lot about the holidays over many years of holidaying, and I know the recipe for a happy holiday.

Tune out.

Tune into yourself, what experiences do you want, what traditions do you have, or want to start? Keep it simple if you're simple. Go crazy if Martha Stewart is your domestic goddess. Just tune out to what isn't 'you.' 

The ads on TV, the radio, the online ads will all have jingly music, fake snow, ridiculously happy people and abnormally perfect families. The actors will be dipping into what seems to be an endless bank account to buy tons of things for tons of people and they're all so happy about it. No budget worries here! 

Then there's the food commercials. We'll see grocery store ads and TV spots with roasted turkeys and hams and casseroles on large dining room tables located in neighborhoods where perfect snow falls on perfect people.

So tune it out, because it'll just stress you out. 

Every year, most of us want to spend more than we have, eat more than we should, bake too late into the night and freak out because we have too much to do.

So tune out of the holiday buzz, fuss and glossy, photo-shopped, video-edited version of what it should be. Make it your own. 

And if you don't know how to do that, go watch A Christmas Story.

This year, I'm about spending time with the family, about making memories. 

I'm excited because I've got it all mostly planned. 
I'm going to help Bear bake, and sew a stuffed monkey with him.
I'm going to do something with Turbo, mostly hang at swim lessons, I think. He's not big on chillin' with me.
I'm going to have tea with Drama Girl more often.
I'm going to take the boys to the Denver zoo lights, Husbear and Drama Girl included.

I'll decorate mildly, and not over-extend.

Christmas presents are budgeted and pre-planned, so there's no shopping stress for me, just Black Friday Fun - and it is fun if you have no mission.

Happy Merry Days!











Monday, November 18, 2013

Baker's gonna bake some cookies

Bear's favorite book is 1001 Cookie Recipes.

I don't know where I got this book, if I bought it, if someone bought it for me or how I ended up with it. All I know is that since before the boys were born, I've owned this book. Drama Girl used to look through it - she always wanted to make the cookie pizza.

All the kids love this book, but Bear looooves this book.  We read it together just the other night... Fudgies II, Galaktobouiriko, Galette Bretonne, Gazelle Horns, German Bon Bons, German Brownies, German Christmas Cookies I, German Christmas Cookies II, on and on...

In the middle of the book, in the I section, because the cookies are labeled alphabetically, is a sheet of paper with a list of cookies, numbered by some order, perhaps of 'order intended to bake.' He wrote this up, and is still adding to the list as he works through the book.

Tonight, we made Gum Drop Cookies. They weren't on his list, but I wasn't up to Creme De Menthe Brownies, Dainties, Date Logs, or Danish Apple Bars.

I let him do everything himself, even sacrificing an egg so I could teach him how to separate the egg from the yolk.

These cookies are the best I've ever baked. Bash the Baker.
Look how proud he is!
He measured, creamed shortening and sugar, added dry ingredients, realized his arm was tired, did ten stretches to loosen up his muscles, continued adding dry ingredients, and rolled the cookies into walnut-sized balls.

Final product: Yummy spiced gum drop cookies
The book said it would yield 60, but they must come from the land of tiny walnuts because we only got 30...

The final result:

One proud, happy Bear, one happy but worn out mom, 30 cookies, ten of which are slotted for his writing group.

Look at that grin, his, look, look what I did on my own, grin.

We might just try this again. Well, according to Bear, we're DEFINITELY doing this again.

Bear is in bed now, tucked into his sheets with the book in hand... 1001 Cookie Recipes, 1001 Dreams for a Little Boy.



There's this thing, that I think is more than a thing - Vague blog post to be followed by vague Facebook status

I believe in mother's intuition. I believe if we listen to ourselves, when it comes to our children, we get little flashes of insight meant to help us guide our children.

We're not always right, but very rarely, when a notion comes into my head that something might be something more than it is, am I wrong. 


So I've got this thing on my mind, and I'm figuring it out, waiting, watching it unfold, because it's a thing where I can only wait, and watch, and be ready.

There will be a time, I imagine, when I find out if I'm right, or if I'm wrong, or if I'm halfway right and halfway wrong, and if I'm right or halfway right, then well, we'll have some interesting years. If I'm wrong or halfway wrong, then I'll wonder how I could have gotten it so wrong ha!

It's not a bad thing or a good thing, it's not a secret boyfriend or girlfriend, or smoking habit, it's just... something... something new I'm seeing, something that has always been there but seems to be creeping up more and more, and is more evident.

It's like I'm on alert because I think the balloon in the air will pop soon, and then everyone will startle.






Friday, November 15, 2013

Today I spoke as a writer


The single best thing about today was talking to a small group of middle school students about writing. The students are in a writers workshop in the school where I work, and randomly, and I mean randomly, the teacher mentioned they were doing NaNoWriMo for kids this month. I randomly mentioned, oh how nice, I was doing it for adults. Then we chatted about writing and she invited me to talk to the kids just as someone who was doing the process. Then we chatted about my writing past, as in, you know, my writing career, because as it turns out, and I think I've mentioned this before, I'm a bona-fide writer, because I've always made my living writing. 

The thing is, I got to talk about my favorite subject in the world -- writing. It was the best thing because each of the students had a specific hurdle they had encountered in their writing, and because I happen to be a, you know, bona-fide writer, I was able to give them something to do that would help them. 

We talked about techniques to get out of writers block - potato chips and soda... just kidding. We talked about the danger of outlines in the rough draft of a story - what if your story wants to move? Your outline can be a prison.. danger, beware! We talked about the importance of knowing the ending, and in one student's case, knowing the character. 

I told them the only thing necessary in a rough draft was the beginning, the end, and a strong character.  Some might disagree, but remember, I"m talking stories, fiction, and in telling a story the most important thing to do is to get it all on the paper. Like most good students, they were trying to follow a structure, rules, an outline, and of course, were fixing grammar... in a rough draft... the horror.

I told them about the 'inner editor,' that harsh critic that says what we write is silly and we should give up - I know it's not just me, every writer writes about this! 

We talked about the experience of reading something and liking it, that small nugget that's on your page and you think,  did I write that? and that is what happens when you write - you write beautifully - you just have to get out of your own way. I said grammar does not a good writer make. I said write horribly, embarrassingly, awfully, fearlessly,  but to get it all down. I told them how to just write through their problems... the monster came crashing through and then.. I don't know how - figure out how - but it ended up smooshing a dwarf.. and that's how we all met Ed... Ed was a diminutive creature... etc etc.

I asked them about their stories, and what challenge they were stuck at. They all had good stories in different genres. The ideas were great! The characters believable.

And then something happened. The interview ended (I did talk a lot, hopefully not too much) on a pause, and then, they just... got up... went to their chrome books and .... started writing.... The teacher and I just looked at each other, I didn't know what to think. She said I was inspiring.

I just hope that whatever I said that reached them, they can hold on to, because writing, when done right, is hard!


Wednesday, November 13, 2013

PKS: Perfect Kid Syndrome

There's this social disease we have going on, and we've had it for a while.

It's our perfect kid syndrome,  our belief that a kid is only going to be as good in their entire life as they are when they're a kid, a kid who hasn't achieved anything in sports, well, not going to the Olympics boy, now are we? Don't have a 4.0 in 4th grade? Second-rate college for you little girl. What you do when you are 8, 9, 10? Sets the tone for the reeeeest of yeeeer life... so put your back to it, get your head out of your little butt and get cracking on those spelling words.

Aaaagh. It's not enough to be just a kid. It's not enough to have the goal of running home so you can go play outside/on your console/with your friend/just get home and have a snack  and plop down in front of a cartoon dang it, you have to achieve something real, something notable, something the average adult hasn't even accomplished in their entire lives... but, oh.. no, the best kids, well, they're not mine, they haven't invented anything, not yours, haven't composed anything.

Are you in competitive soccer? What? No? Why not, is he in baseball? What? No? It'll affect his game when he's 12.... say it with me... aaaaahhhh.

Oh. Well, what languages does your child speak? Oh, they're just starting Spanish?  My child, smarter than yours. In the highest level origami group, and speaks Mandarin Chinese, as well as French, fluently. We take things seriously in our family.

The thing is, the thing we know as adults because we've been through it, is it all resets. They stop doing the things they did just to make us happy, and do their own thing, around the time they hit high school and sometimes, middle school.

Kids are like the training tutorials. It's all nice in there, and the rules are fairly easy and well explained, and the little diagram boxes pop up to help you understand how to use the combos on the controller, and there's lots of training fights, but then, you leave the tutorial room, and your kid is no longer in your protected space.

Everything about a child, their hopes, dreams and wishes gets analyzed and occasionally tossed out the window.  In the game of growing up, the rules are tested and personalities, interests change, begin, or are lost.

In High School and beyond suddenly, the dreams are theirs, the goals are theirs and they're not interested in soccer, they stopped doing Mandarin Chinese homework, they can't remember French and they are now majoring in sleeping in and no longer interested in being an engineer or whatever they were convinced they were going to be at 12. At 10, I was going to be an army combat doctor,  surgeon specifically, I'd have a combat helmet and be running around on a field being all cool combat chick with a surgical kit. Or maybe a scientist because all I did was devour books on planets and stars. I knew the compositions of all the planets in the solar systems by heart. I was going to go to the olympics for roller skating - I had a silver star! -  and somehow, in my world, roller skating was going to be cooler than ice skating.

I was also going to be rescued from this planet by my people, who lived on another planet and had been looking for me, their long lost warrior princess, for 11 years. I remember the palace I created in my imagination. It was on a beach by a beautifully tropical ocean with a pink sunset that lingered for hours. Every now and again, I look up, hopefully...

Of course I was also going to be an archeologist, geologist and explorer.

So when I hear people talk about their child's achievements, about how amazing, brilliant, wonderful, athletic, smart, genius-like, driven etc etc, how they'll grow up to be engineers, professional soccer players and this, that, the other thing, or how they have a natural gift,  I smile, how wonderful.

I also know it's not going to hold true throughout their lives, because at some point, these kids   are going to have opinions, pick up friends, stop going to soccer practice, and hopefully, hopefully, will just be kids.  Hopefully, they''ll stick to their natural gifts, and follow their passions.

The truth? We all get tired of it, us parents, we don't want to hear about it. If we're a parent, your child's brilliance, amazingness and specialness is nice, but it is nothing compared to our child's own version of brilliance, amazingness and specialness, even if your kid is headed to the youth ice skating championship of the world before headed to their world chess league games conveniently located in China, where your child can also practice their foreign language skills.  And I'm not fooled. I know it's exaggerated, the nice bits of the kids polished up, the rough spots covered with a tacky blanket from grandma. I know that under that veneer of parent boasting, under the PR sales pitch, your kid is just a kid.









Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Peach Cobbler - coulda wrote it better

I spent a thousand words writing a scene including peach cobbler in the novel I'm writing.

Of course, now I want peach cobbler.

A hazard of writing I suppose.

One thousand words, and though the scene isn't strong yet, it has good stuff in it, so when I go through on an editing pass, I know it'll be 'realer' and 'funnier.'
The first draft is always so fun, but also so frustrating. It's really just a fast outline where you're putting words on a page in the order you feel they'll probably be, or just writing bits and pieces you know will be somewhere. But they aren't finished, polished and smooth. The important details in one scene are left out completely while in the very next chapter too much detail has been included. One chapter is a struggle to complete because you know this chapter will be in the finished book, and it's important, but none of the characters seem into it and the writer (me) is dragging them onto the pages because hey, they haven't come up with something better themselves, and then you write four pages where everything flows smoothly and sounds brilliant, and you wonder why doesn't all of it flow smooth and sound brilliant?

The characters are all there, but it's like they're reading the script for the very first time for a part they've never played before.

The first draft is never great, or rather, it is great, and terrible, and horrible, as well as wonderful. It just depends on which part of the draft you're reading!

Go Write Me!

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Thor. Doctor. Dyson.

I'm heading out to the movies today with the boys to watch Thor 2. We'll do a nice matinee so that they can be loud with all the other loud boys and girls.

Kinda excited to see Thor 2. I love Loki. Obviously, he's just misunderstood.

I'm mostly excited to see the Day of the Doctor ooohhhhh.... it's playing at our movie theaters, but none of my friends are dorky enough to see it with me. Le sigh. I mean, it's David Tennant and Matt Smith and John Hurt... how could you not see it?

I'll be home that Saturday, watching it by myself with popcorn, clearly.

Oh, also, our vacuum cleaner broke, anyone have a Dyson they want to send me?

Saturday, November 09, 2013

November Saturdays

There's something about them, the Saturdays after Halloween and before Thanksgiving. It's a quiet time for me though I know most people are out and about, preparing to be frantic over the holidays. I saw it today, driving Drama Girl around to pick up costume clothing for her school's musical - the roads were packed, the stores were crowded, and oh, the decorations are up.

Tis the Season! Tis the Season! It might as well be 'Batten the Hatches' or 'The Redcoats are Coming' because Tis the Season! harks a period of frenzy that is less cheerful and more survivalist. It's like the grocery store before a winter storm, the airport when everyone is running later than the planes, the road trip to grandma's when you're supposed to be on the road but the cats aren't fed and your kid didn't pack, Grimes and posse getting the group the heck out of dodge when the zombies come to the farm...  

It's just as intense and crazy, but, with Tis the Season! you have to pretend to enjoy it. Oh, and don't forget to shop a lot, more than you want to, more than you need to. 

Tis the Season! Sing! Smile! Shop! Bake! Ugh! 

This is why I'm savoring these November weekends. I enjoy the nice, warmish Saturdays when we have them. I browse through cookbooks and imagine the winter stews and soups I'll bake when the Sundays are cold. I pitter, I patter, I plan a hike, just the one, I promise, kids, just one hike this month, I clean a bit, and I don't feel pressured, because, why?

There are so many things that are stressors in life, a time to be joyous shouldn't be one of them. Which is why, this Saturday, behind me, to the right, is an area of the house overtaken by clutter. I will attack it today, but I can't right now, because I"m blogging, and drinking coffee, and because it's quiet in the house right now.  I haven't had my me time yet what with all the driving Drama girl around and cleaning the coat rack, and browsing through the How To Cook Everything Vegetarian Cookbook for clues on how to get the family acclimated to an expanded palate that doesn't involve meat (we all have our dreams).

The bigger challenge I face, is how to teach my family that Tis the Season! isn't necessary. We can be merry and happy and pleasant this year without the frantic stress, because the stress defeats the entire purpose.

I know there are people who thrive on frenzy and celebrations and the Tis the Season!ness of it all, and that's fine. I'll catch up with y'all in January!




Friday, November 08, 2013

Another new thing learned

It's funny how I'm going through this really forced process of looking at my life and seeing how to ensure that writing becomes a permanent fixture in it. It's also interesting to see the things that are around my writing that are important to my writing but have nothing to do with the tools or art or act of writing - mindfulness, running, my morning tai chi (i'm so cool, everyone will be tai chi'ing soon... right?) my coffee, my pacing... my friends (sigh, yes them too).

The one thing I tell everyone with writing is it's hard to find the time.

For the longest time, I said I didn't have time to write. It was hard to find the time, and everyone knows we have no time, but then I kept reading about how time is never the problem. So I looked and tried - really tried - to find the time. I found the time. I have the time. Yet, still, I didn't.  Even though I had time, it seemed empty and useless... I was tired, wound up, still had my head somewhere else etc etc.

It's true in the sense that it's hard, but finally, after a week of having returned to my habit of spending 5 to 10 minutes with my little mindfulness app (never have zenness masters been so accessible... thank you technology) it suddenly hit me.  It's not time I need, it's space... whoa... time and space are two different things, but they are wholly related...

(Dear friends who know me, no, no this has nothing to do with any of my Dr. Who watching... the time and space I'm talking about are not the time and space he flits about in, okay?)

I had the time, so looking for it is silly. What I need to find is the space. I don't mean physical space, either, I am someone who can write anywhere. I need the space that lets my mind go to that place where my words and characters and stories live. I need the space that lets me be ridiculous on the page. I need a calm state of mind, so I can withdraw into that place freely, without fret or worry or, lets face it, emotion.

It's so liberating to know what it is I need, because now I can make sure I have that space.

Today, I found that space. It was at my son's appointment where, for an hour and a half, I sat in a waiting room blissfully writing out the characters and the state of mind they were in after this one 'event' occurred in their lives. I had to write their emotions, their moods, their feelings, their essence, but to do that, I needed to leave behind mine... I needed that space.

And I wrote.

That makes it a good day!

Monday, November 04, 2013

Pre-writing

Pre-writing is an interesting process for me. It's not just 'brainstorming,' it's more than that. It's about 'what am I doing with this story, is it saying anything?'  I don't mean that my writing has to make a statement, but it should have a story to tell, about people, and how they interact with one another, which is basically, every story ever told. But how it is told is what matters.

Going through this writing pre-section I always go back to the stories I've begun, started or thought of in the past. Normally that works. But this time, something has changed... and the stories I worked on don't work for me now. Between now and then, I changed inside, and so, the stories have changed. This is what happens when you take too long between writing stories.

That's really all there is to say about it!

Sunday, November 03, 2013

Run! Tai Chi! Write! Chocolate beer! Neurosis! It's all in here!

I love running in fall. Today, in Colorado, it was around 67 degrees out, and while I had every intention to take the boys out for a hike this morning, I didn't actually plan for it, and the boys weren't ready, I wasn't ready and so that didn't happen - next week, we'll be ready!

Instead, I bee-bopped around the house getting stuff done so the house could maintain a sort of, well, you could see if you really looked, I mean, well, order, if you squint, and close the left eye and don't look down, and dont look at any surfaces, then you'll see there's some order... there's even a tablecloth on the table... there is a semblance   if you look really closely, and I'm hoping that one semblance will last through the week.

I did go for a nice sunny run though! It was awesome! I love running through leaves. One of the sections of my run was so covered with leaves I couldn't see the path at all! I would have lost my way if the creek wasn't on the right and the park on the left...

Thing is, I'm noticing that since I've started Tai Chi, which I am still thoroughly enjoying even though I'm horrid at it, and I'm convinced the instructor is judging me and I will never join them for meditation because I dislike meditating in groups (I don't know why, it's just a thing, I prefer my mindfulness app in the privacy of my own head)... yes, so... lets try that again.

I've noticed since I've started Tai Chi, that more things are sore when I run. In other words, though there's not a lot of you know, strenuous effort in Tai Chi, apparently there's juuussst enough effort to make running suck a bit. I mean, I have a groove, and a good run length that I can easily attain without worrying about being overly sore, it's 3-5 miles, easy peasy, no pain unless I push myself for speed or run up a hill, but even then it's okay. Now, there are these new little... somethings... that suddenly seem to be protesting my runs. The only thing I've changed is Tai Chi. My body will adjust soon, I just think it's odd. I like to pretend it's because all these 'micro muscles' or 'mini muscles' as I like to call them, are beefing up, and preparing to be an integral part of a newer, leaner, Tai Chi'ing runner me that can leap tall buildings and sprint up mountains and stuff.

I desperately want to take a picture of my Shake Chocolate Porter, because I'm convinced that more people read blogs when there are pictures, and this... this is just decadent. Okay. Here you go.

My new yummy decadent chocolate porter. And a bunny stuffy.
Because it helped fill the frame.  Yeah. This'll totally
increase my readership!
It's November Nano-Writing month, and for many people, it's a fun challenge to try to write a book in a month. BWAHAHAHAHHAH. I mean, of course it can be done. I'm altering it, though. I'm making it allll about meeeeee. 'Cuz it's my blog and I can if I want to, can if I want to... I'm making it November Nanner Nanner Write Every Day Month.

So that's what I'm doing. I wonder if I should count blogs? Or the article I'm half-writing for my writers workshop (worst workshop participant evvvveer)?

I did use the word neurosis in the title, but I think I'm using it wrong. I think, currently, neuroticism is trendy, and the inner voices inside our head freaking us out with their incessant nagging and constant reminders of how much we suck because no one else likes chocolate porter dork, how lame we are, and how we're probably going to sprain an ankle during Single Whip Tail somehow, and all that, is not actually neurosis. But it's currently trendy. I'll have to look up neurosis.

Be happy peeps, tomorrow is Monday.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

I Tai Chi

I like to think it's trendy of me, but it's not....

All the cool people are in yoga.

The thing I am discovering about Tai Chi is that it's kinda addicting.

I try to do the form, and find myself wanting to do it again, to fix it or tweak it, and then, to do it again because I like it, and again because it's fun and again because it's calming, and then I look and I've just been practicing for like 20 minutes.

It helps now that I have each move take a breath. And also, there aren't too many steps right now!

I you-tubed the form, but couldn't find the one we're learning, just pieces of it, but I"m SURE I'm doing the last bit wrong.

So not the point.
I enjoy, actually enjoy the movements. I can pretend I'm waaay more graceful than I am! And it looks cool.

I know it looks cool because my Bash thought it looked cool, and if an almost-ten-year-old boy thinks it looks cool, it must be cool.... right?

Then again, he is also the one who suggested we meditate together.

Sometimes, though, he just likes to think of Minecraft.

That's really all I have to say, which is funny, because this morning, I had about 12 things I was sure I wanted to write about!

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Sunday morning wake-up, analyze things

Life is hard.

We know this, but for some reason I woke up this morning with that in my head. I think it had something to do with 'life is hard, cut people a break' or something, though what the origin of the thought was I have no idea. Probably something to do with my frustration with not having enough time to do the things I want to do, because too much time is taken up with things I don't want. Then, add on top of that, frustration that other people have figured it out, why can't I?

I do have the time. It's the energy, I expend too much of it, and leave too little at the end of the day. I worked it all out, and it will work out, but sadly, I do have to get up an hour earlier in the morning to work out. No more luxurious after-work, sun-is-out runs for me.

This means I have to go run in the coldest time of day. It's essential, though, because while I can fumble out and start running at 5:15 a.m. because my head clears the minute I walk out the door and am assaulted by wind, cold and frost, I can not fumble out of bed and immediately write anything coherently. I need to warm up. My writing time has to be my running time, my running time has to be in the morning. Brrrrrr. Brrrrrr. Brrrrrrrr. I think I have enough willpower to do it though. I'm already remembering how beautiful the sunrise is, and how good I feel after I've been working out in the cold. I do enjoy cold weather, I love the feel of just a bit of arctic chill.

I need warmer running pants. And I need to find my hat. Probably a light thingie so I can see in the dark. I'm already cold just thinking about it.

This is coming:

Ice. Snow. Cold. How Pretty! If one has earmuffs, one can
enjoy all sorts of wintry-weather concoctions.


I also woke up with a short idea to work out, it's less than 1500 words, so it'll be fun to just crank it out. Love found and lost, in 1500 words or less. Kinda excited about it.

Also woke up with a greater understanding of my voice. It's been bothering me for a while. Not my actual voice, my writing voice. I've been doing a lot of writing mimicking other voices, which is natural and good when practicing, but now that I'm wanting to really reach deeper into my writing, I need my own voice. I have two stories that are good representations of my voice so I'll go back and re-read those to give me a head start.

I've also decided to focus on the story I'm writing that has a theme I really want to explore more. I started it at the same time as this chic lit story I'm working on.

See, I woke up today with only writer thoughts and writer problems on my mind. I believe that is progress! I have a bit of writing to do tonight besides the short short story, but it's article writing, which is a different mindset.