Thursday, December 25, 2014

Christmas Day Ponderings, or Pontifications…

Something different for the holiday tree pic!
The boys are 11, and Lauren is 18. To put that in perspective, we moved to Colorado just yesterday, when Lauren was 10 or 11. Tomorrow, Lauren will be 25 and the boys 18. We've been in the same house for 8 years this April. That's a record for us! It's not the biggest house we've ever owned. Actually, it's the smallest, but it's the one with the most living done in it. Each and every home we ever lived in has its memories, its moments and its special times, but this house, by virtue of time, claims the right of 'childhood home' for the kids. The boys ran through these walls since they were in diapers. Lauren was able to find a place to settle after years of move after move. We turned down an out of state job to preserve their childhood, to give them a hometown, a place to say they came from. Roots.  This is where we've spent the last 7 Christmases. 

Christmas for us is a slow, month-long celebration. A time when we decorate the whole house out and spend more time together. Over the past 8 years, without realizing it, we've developed traditions here. They weren't intentional, as all the best traditions aren't. They came out of the routines and yearly things we did that took on a meaning for everyone.

This is us. Aren't we all adorable. It's not a question.
It all starts the weekend or so after the boys Dec. 1 birthday, because I'm adamant their birthday not get sucked into Christmas. We decorate the tree, and it's a special night. We have sugar cookies with sprinkles or frosting depending, and music playing or a Christmas show. Then the tree and lights go up, oh, the lights… always the lights - check, do they work, check, are there enough, check, why do we have 12 strands? Then, the children each search out their favorite ornaments from over the years, each with a memory associated with it. There's a lot of 'do you remembers…' and 'oh this is my favorite… and 'mom mom this one's yours…' It becomes a wonderful night of light-hearted conversation, story-telling and walks through memory lane. There's always the picture by the tree after, with the three kids always looking so pleased with themselves.

Then there's finding a place for the nutcrackers, changing the table cloth to a Christmas tablecloth which, I know, it's a small thing, but we all notice, and putting up the outside decorations. It's one of their favorite nights. This year there was some grumbling, so we did a second night later with hot chocolate. I don't want everyone being all like 'remember that one night where everyone argued?' even though holiday memories can't really be complete without some memories of the holiday squabbling. During this time of year, we play more board games and eat dinner at the table more. This is because the demands of work and school let up, or maybe we stress less about it, and find more time for each other. Sometimes we see the holiday parade, but sometimes we don't. Then it's Christmas Eve. This year, we didn't make it to the grandparents,  too many sneezing, coughing germ-laden kids on our end to visit the one set, and a grandfather recovering in surgery in another state on another set, and a third grandfather filling in as Old Man on the Mountain in New Hampshire, so this year,  we had a Christmas Eve dinner of bibimbap, the most amazing Korean dish ever, and a huge family favorite. Turbo described it as 'exciting.' I could do an entire post on bibimbap. Another day. Look it up, though, it's amazing.

The children hate being out late on Christmas Eve, so even when we go to the grandparents' we don't stay too late.  They are still at the age where they can't wait for Christmas Day. An age that too soon will fade.
Holiday Fireplace!

Today is Christmas Day, and the children are scattered about occupying themselves with their presents. Turbo is playing on his Nintendo 3DS, Bash is building paper crafts from a paper Minecraft book, and Drama Girl is trying on her hair extensions. I'm lounging on the couch thinking about making another pot of coffee, wishing it'd make itself.  The Holiday Fireplace is playing on our TV. Soon, I'll make stew, our traditional lunch/dinner for Christmas Day, and tonight, I'll partake of my own tradition, watching Doctor Who's Christmas Special. 

I'm watching the children now, Turbo in a chair, chattering incessantly at his game. Bash, quiet and focused on his project, popping up every ten minutes or so to show us his latest creation. Drama Girl teasing her hair. There will be so many Christmas' to come, and so many more of these Christmas Days, but not much more when the boys can be called boys, when Drama Girl is still living with us, and when the magic of Santa gives way to the reality of Santa Mom and Santa Dad. 

The one thing I know I'll take into next year, though, the gift of this day, is the gift of remembering. I remember how these days fly by so fast, how children grow too quickly, all these moments we live become the memories they take well into their lives.  They should be worthwhile memories, then. Warm memories that will get them through whatever days they will one day face as they explore different paths. I'll let the stress of work and school fall off in favor of dinner and tea and board games and walks and bike rides and conversation. That is my resolution for 2015. To pay attention to what matters: the children, the moments of the seasons  the work I crave to do, the dreams they start to follow, and let the rest fall away to nothing. 

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Sunday Quick-List

Writing:  Finally Chapter Ten of Book Two. Then going to take some time to write out some character traits so I don't forget them.  I have my storybook outline out so I don't stray too far. This is just the first draft. After I write it, I have to go over and revise.

Music: Bear McCreary. I feel so cool just typing that, but it's true. I've been listening to musical scores mainly from BSG. Great music. Have to, because music with words distracts me. I start singing and stop writing.

Shopping: I finally had to click away from the amazing all-the-things websites because I want all the things.

Drinking: Diet coke. I know I mostly quit, but I'm sooo tired for some reason and need the caffeine kick.

Life decision: If I ever make it as a published author who can afford to write at home all day, I'll have to buy better quality lounge-wear for when I have to venture out. Got a few strange looks with my indoor/outdoor clogs, my son's jacket and old knit pants. Knit. I don't even know why I own knit pants.

Next: I'm dying to start my next book, which is very different from these two, and the first one I ever wrote. I can't wait. I found out Santa is getting me a new journal, and it's going to be the idea/dream book for this next project. I don't mind they are all different. I'm growing as a writer and exploring different genres and themes.

Procrastinating: Chapter Ten of Book Two. But I'm on it!

Surprise: The score from Cowboys and Aliens is on. I loved Cowboys and Aliens.

I am reading this great book about goals and happiness, and it comes down to it's really about the journey, that success is great, but the real joy is in the pursuit, the doing, of something. The achievement is wonderful, but for sustainable happiness, you have to be constantly doing the thing that you love. So I'm just having fun with writing, and only writing in the genres and themes that make me happy, because the last thing I want to do is end up being trapped writing in a genre that I don't want to write in. For when I"m successful and all.

Back to Chapter Ten!

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

The Tale of the Freeing of the Z

There was once a 1991 300Z that lived in a garage. It was a sad 300Z. So sad. It's owner loved him, but could not take him out, for his tires were flat and his battery dead. Ages passed. The car sat. Through toddlers climbing its hood, a plague of dead flies dropping on its valued, intact white paint job, and bicycles precariously passed along its doors, the 300Z sat, sadly, a heart of vroom vroom and silent screams, unable to voice the need, the desire to go fast, loud and screaming out of these four walls. 

The owner wanted good things for the 300Z, but could not provide them, and did not truly enjoy working on wild beat-cars. The toddler boys grew, and they themselves felt confined, a heart of choo choo and build build and quite-loud cries, voicing their need for space - a build space, a train space, a no-sister space, space space... aaahhhh. 

And so the owner, who loved them all, went to the Great Queen. She was a grand queen, in turquoise pants of the finest fleece found in all the land, the Tar-get Fleece. She was ever-so-smart and brilliantly clever, and much loved, and supreme in her knowledge of all things, wise and kind, yet firm, handsome in a beautiful way, and tall in attitude. She had already heard the cries of this poor 300Z, though no friend to it was she. She knew such wild throaty things had no place in her palace. So she searched the whole of the land for a good knight. It took a mightly long time, a good whole two days, to find her hero. And thus, the 300Z was loaded onto a trailer and transported beyond the plains into the great mountain lands where the Knight Hero lived, and would be able to care for, and bring back the vroom vroom and the fast, loud screaming 300Z. 

Things will be better I think when the kids have the garage. I think they will be in there a lot. They are excited about the space, and the garage isn't really big enough for my truck, so they get it. There are already plans. Some of them mine! A pantry shall be placed in said garage! For rice, beans, cans, lots of dried goods, so I don't have to shop so much. There'll be an entire shelf just dedicated to diced tomatoes! The table for the trains and build table we already have. It's just cleaning it up and moving them out there over break.

In other news:

  •  I'm trying to live in the moment and not just mentally brush past Christmas like I often do. I always want to get over the holiday and January part of it and move straight into the New Year, when all my plans for spring can begin again. This year, I"m trying to 'be' in the moment. I do think I'll resurrect flowers on the table, though, I rather enjoy  that.
  • I'm going to actually try to bake custard and other Christmasy things! Okay, probably just custard. And fruit tarts. Those are easy. I've already done two batches of sugar cookes with sprinkles (Thank you, Dough Boy) and have one tube left.
  • I'm the worst secret santa ever. :) Seriously. Worst. Well, no, the old gym teacher was, but in his defense, he didn't know me well. Nail polish? Really? Me? I always sign up with this ridiculously optimistic hope that this year, THIS year, I'll get it right, I'll be a great Secret Santa. Ummm....
  • I need to winterize the image on this blog. I've got another four and a half months of winter!
  • I had this idea to write a short story adventure, so I"m writing the idea down and letting it sit, along with this other beautiful YA novel. It's good to have the ideas, because we never know which one will stick! I don't see how this one will stick, but I LOVE the premise. It could be a great, fun adventurous YA novel. I do think I need to return to the YA theme, or the New Adult theme, because that seems to be where some of my ideas come from.  But I do have difficulty with that age.

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Sunday thoughts

My story is in a snarl, so I'm letting it rest, but I want to get words on the page. Writing, writing, must always write... :)

I'm going to a Holiday Tea Party this afternoon at the home of one of the women who went to boot camp with me over the spring/summer. She had to stop going, but we've done a couple of non-workout events together. I'm going for five reasons:

1) Holiday Tea Party. I love tea parties. I'll be greatly disappointed if there is no tea.
2) I like the woman.
3) It's a small gathering - I do not usually enjoy large gatherings.
4) I am trying to be more social - I'm an introvert. Like many introverts, I can be socially awkward. That's an introvert thing, right? The thing is, I know that before I can spend time with anyone on a sort of closer level, in this case, actually going to their house, I need to know them first. I'm actually surprised she invited me. I figured I was too weird for her.
5) A couple of the other boot camp women are going, and I like them, too, because they are interesting characters with interesting lives. (Yes, I occasionally get fascinated by people, and then I have to hang around them to figure them out... it's a strange hobby, I know...)

Because blogs need pictures:

This grove is proof that magic is real. Fairies run in it,
disguised as squirrels.
I took this picture on a run yesterday. It's the grove behind my little ole lovely townhome. I ran yesterday because I knew today might be snowy, and while I will run in the winter, I won't run in a snowstorm unless desperate. It's Colorado, I can wait a day. Turned out it's not so snowy as melting flakes today.
I took the pictures because I love being out on the last days of a season, knowing the landscape can change overnight. I love a hike before the first cold day. A run before a snowfall. Being out the last days of winter.
I took this picture, and another, posted below, because as I was running by, sweet memories of earlier days and seasons flooded my mind, and I wondered at how many wonderful things have happened over the years. Yes. I wondered at. You can totally wonder at things.
I also took the photo because partly on the run, too many times, my mind kept drifting away where I didn't want it to go, just ruminations, we all have them. Those intrusive thoughts that keep us from being in the moment we are. What you could say, what might happen, whatever.

So, instead of being grumpy about it, and locking myself in this ridiculous rumination (alliteration!) I ran and did the 'state the obvious' game, my best escape from drifting mind syndrome. The pavement is clear. The creek is running low but fast. The air is cool but the wind is a cold sting.  My breath is perfect for this pace. The mountains have snow on them. I am running on the trail I've run for years. The dirt is packed hard. There are bicyclists. That's an old man with a long beard and long shorts.

Anyhoo, it works. It pulls me into this place where I'm thinking about what I'm doing, and then I'm running but more than that, I'm truly running and my mind is where I want it to be and I'm where I want it to be, and my mind is not making up absurd scenarios or stories in my head simply because it's trying to devise strategies for scenarios that never would happen in a gazillion years. That type of mind wandering is best left for my stories, and frankly, even then, my mind doesn't just go rambling. It presents a coherent vision.

Drifting minds, man... they suck. But my strategy works, as it always does, and the rest of the run was enjoyable. There's the large evergreen tree that holds a tiny cave. The artist faces used to be up here. There's the fish water bubbler and the red bench. The bridge under the path. The newly repaired bridge over the creek. My breath is awesome, one breath, three steps. Woot!

I know, I got the parking lot, but there's a lot of green behind it! When the boys
were toddlers, they played on this yellow set, and the swings. Such happiness.
Then, I turned the corner and passed the park the boys played at so many times, in the pool that's no longer there except for in memories. I remembered this one moment with the boys when they were toddlers and we had just moved here. I was going on a walk to explore a different park, and was pulling them in the red wagon, because it was too far for them to walk all the way to. I wore a rust colored dress that I loved. I had few friends, because we just moved here. (Okay, no friends..)  It's one of my favorite memories. I remember the sun, the heat, how happy we were together, seeing the mountains in the distance and noticing and being amazed by it as only someone new could.
Then I passed my friend's house and remembered when she was in a different house, even closer than the whole block away she moved. I remembered the friend who's off having a wonderful time in the Northwest and our trail runs and hikes. I remembered kids playing and adult badminton and my neighbor/friend who doesn't read my blog but whom I love anyway... and I wanted to take the pictures while I had the moment and the memory.

It was one of my best runs, though not my fastest...

It's why I love running. Most people run to lose weight, or to stay in shape. Or to do marathons and achieve things.

I think people who know me know that I run so I can stay in good enough shape to continue running.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014


I love being a writer. Living in that whole essence of writery-ness. It should be a word, writery-ness.  It's not just being an author, technically, as I have not published a book, or had a book published, I'm just a writer. Which is okay, because writery-ness is a liberating stage of exploration and freedom enjoyed until author-dom hits, and the need for a publishable, sellable book has an impact on what is written. I most certainly expect to hit the stage of author-dom in my lifetime, by no means will I be content to live in writery-ness forever! But for now, I'm enjoying it.

I'm enjoying times like this morning when I was getting ready for work, and these words from a shelved character in the recesses of my mind came pouring out. I grabbed my phone and did the voice-to-notes thing while getting dressed because she finally spoke. I knew she was real when she first appeared, months ago, knew she could be three dimensional, knew she had a mind and a voice, but I hadn't heard it. She had come up and then, faded away with nothing more than a thought of what could possibly maybe be. So I placed her in a home, a young girl with dark long hair and acne-pocked skin. And she spoke, and now I know more about her. It will be interesting to see who she becomes, and if she is strong enough to carry forth a novel.

I was absurdly pleased when the working title of the novel I'll work on in January came popping into my head, with an image to match! It's an epic tale, I expect it'll take me the better part of a full year to write, but I'm excited about it.

I love that when I'm wandering through my day, working ho hum working ho hum, lines and images and voices come crashing out that can't be ignored anymore, so I have to write them down. Sometimes it's as simple as saying hey, hey, I'm languishing here in Chapter 7 trying to build something and you've completely ignored what this means to me, I have feelings! Don't ignore the point of what I lost! Or a scene just plays itself out. Or, sometimes, a character bows out, and says, no, this isn't the story for me. Like the falling woman, who I'm sure is real, and needs a story, but not yet, she says. Apparently, I haven't got the drift of her yet.

Writery-ness. The weird place where suddenly, you see things around you differently, because there's a new, unexplored realm waiting for you in your head, but you're physically stuck in a chair, ho hum ho hum... and the mind is off, and the words come tumbling out and you find a page or a notebook or a laptop and there, you've escaped and are free, in the unmapped terrain of your mind. It's there for you, the realm of writery-ness.

Thursday, December 04, 2014

Writing - and the shiny reason why I'm behind tonight

I view writing like work. I have to write at a certain time, for a certain amount of time. Sometimes, that time goes longer, and that usually happens on the weekends, or vacation time, or when absolutely nothing else is going on. But I know that every night, at such and such time, I shall write.

But then shiny's come.
And my hour becomes two becomes three and I still have to write.

Which, honestly, I'm going to, just as soon as I'm done explaining why I didn't.


Not KT Tape, like I was calling it.

Kinesiology tape.

As sported by many, many, many runners at the Boulder Bolder when I ran it a couple years ago. There were so many different runners wearing so many different colors of KTape in so many different ways, that at first, I thought it was just some strange runner fashion accessory meant to replicate war paint or something. Because, not athlete.

But I ran tonight, and noticed my ankle, which was sore during a workout on Wednesday, performed quite fine during the run, but was a bit sore and grumpy after, because I've been putting a lot of stress on it.  I went to the store to pick up one of those big sports ace bandages from the 1980s or so, when I saw KTape, and thought, what the heck, I've been running a few years now. I run.  I'm a runner. I can pull it off all legit like. 

It's pink, too, so I had to hide it from the one in my house who likes pink that isn't Drama Girl...


You have to go to the website to watch a video to apply it right. So I did. And I was jealous, because I didn't think to buy multi-colors... And then,  I saw it could be used for bunions. Bunions! So I had to watch that video, too. 

Then I read the blog...

It's like, a thing...

And then I realized I'm supposed to be writing, and I"m way too easily distracted by shinies, but hey, KTape!

I'd take a pic of me in my pink Ktape, but I think my feet are not photogenic, so I"ll spare you.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Don't talk to runners, we're kinda boring, even us slow ones

But nobody is more boring than a runner who writes, or, a writer who runs. Except writers don't talk about their writing, because well, if we talked about our stories, than we'd have spoken the story and then, we'd run out of words when it came time to write the story... so writers are mostly quiet and hide out in their homes or coffee shops, being silently boring, but not inflicting boredom on others. 

But runners who write can talk. Yes, we can talk! About running! Because it's not like you can talk out a run. And if you're not running, which is the best thing to be doing, that, or writing, you're thinking of running, or the writing. Mainly, though, running.

There's not much more time in life for running and writing. Well, work, but who wants to talk about that? We go to bed early to get up early. We spend at least 45 minutes or more a day running or doing something to make us run better or whining about not running or thinking about running. We love running gear even though we don't need much of it. And. We like to talk about running.

It's just true. Any non-runner who knows a runner dreads when the conversations filled with interesting topics like Benedict Cumberbatch, Walking Dead, and anything else, runs low, and then the runner says something seemingly innocent, like, "I ran this morning."

"Oh?" says the non-runner friend, wary and cautious. This never ends well.


...silent pause....

"Windy out, wasn't it?" Inside, the little voice that's like no, no, don't say anything...tooo muuuchhhh...

"Mm. Windy. I don't mind. Resistance training.... blah blah blah.... 

And the runner is off, on hills, windy runs, cold runs, straights, fart-leks, compression gear, times, races, not races, injuries, where it hurts, cold weather running, running indoors vs. outdoors, cross-training, running with the breath, running without tech, running with the bestest tech ever, shoes, shoes, oh the shoes...

I'm looking at new shoes. My tread is gone. 

Anyhow.  On Thanksgiving, don't talk to the runners.


I ran today.

Day 4 of 7 straight days of running 3 miles a day. It's not an epic, marathoner, elite-runner kind of run streak, but hey, it's something to do while my morning boot camp is on hiatus. For some bizarre reason, the trainers all take December off. As if we can all be trusted to go through the entire holiday month eating well and exercising on our own.

Anyhow, I'm not trying for some major streak. Really, it's all part of a clever plan of mine to ensure success when I do this Runners World 36-day-of-running-at-least-a-mile streak, which I'm using as part of another clever plan of mine. By doing the 36 days of running from Thanksgiving to January 1, I'm hoping to spur myself into this crazy mad cold running mayhem for January and February, where I actually go out and run instead of staring out at the cold surrounded by running magazines and books.

I need gimmicks to get me to accomplish my goals.

So three miles every day this week. I've followed it by any of the yoga moves I could remember from yoga class (oh yoga class, how I miss thee) to stretch my poor, tight, what-the-)%TR)#-are-you-doing-to-us muscles.

Because they weren't part of this decision, and my ass has just realized this year that it's actually a muscle, and is expected to do some work.

I'll tell you what though, reader of mine, compression exercise clothing is awesome. You look sleeker, feel stronger, everything's flexed and compacted and you're like, YAH i am SO COOL. Like, Ninja Sleek Warrior Chic... I can RUN for miles, I can LEAP, I can DANCE. I can do TREE POSE for HOURS.... my shadow is thinner than a pencil.

Then you take it off and all of a sudden it's like marshmallows being unleashed onto the's like all your fatty flesh is like 'Freeeeee wwweeeeee arrree freeee"

Seriously, it is.

In running gear: Bad Ass
Out of running gear: Marshmallow Ass

Things to keep in mind.

My sister theorizes that successful blogs, aside from being blogged on frequently, involve recipes and images of food.  In a sad, half-hearted attempt to gain readers and be a blogger blogger, and eat healthy through this perilous, food-laden holiday season, here is my lunch:

Little boats of edamame floating peacefully on a tranquil sea of Edamame-Tofu dip with spiced pita chip shores. All home-made in under 20 minutes.

Looks very green, I know. It's not this green in reality, but I"m going with a Green Grinch theme here. But it's delicious. It's an Elie Krieger recipe. Her image is much better. But it's so very tasty!

Monday, September 22, 2014

A little bit of this and that, the details of calmness

I'm such an unreliable blogger sometimes. I don't like that about me. I'm hoping I've set up an RSS feed, so people can just get my posts :)

I've accomplished a lot lately, a lot of little things that matter a lot to me. Things some people do every day without thinking a thing about it. I envy those people. The ones that get up and are excited about their morning workout at 5:30 a.m., vs. me, the person who fervently truly wishes that a freak thunder and hail storm will occur right as I walk out the door, so I can go back inside and spend the next hour drinking coffee. The ones who are already a success at their chosen profession, instead of, like me, trying to slip in unnoticed, in an unfamiliar world... (Don't mind me, I've been writing forever, just, not for you... here you go, slip it in your accept pile, we'll go from there...)

But the big payoffs have been in the mental switch that I've somehow made. I have scoured mindfulness websites, read everything on simple mindfulness, practiced moving meditations, do some yoga poses, practice all sorts of breathing tricks. It's all in the head, it's all silly little tricks, but, I have become calmer. (Seriously, I have, I know I know, I could be a lot calmer still, but we have to start somewhere...)

I stress less. I accept more. I take slower breaths, longer ones, as habit, not as an effort. I let the noise of other people pass by without taking it in and becoming part of it. I butt out of conversations no matter how juicy or interesting the tidbit. I generally care more about the people I do converse with, because I have more energy for them. I've embraced my introverted-ness. I mean, I've always known I was introverted, but now I'm retreating a bit more, thinking a lot more, and, ta da, writing more. There is just a peacefulness in how I'm living right now. Not that anything has changed, nothing has. It's my view of things has changed. I accept more, and I have more mental energy. I don't get as fired up or wound up, and I am less stressed, and generally less upset-y. Upset-y is not a word, but it is a true state. It's that place where anything can have you spinning one way. Where instead of spending a few minutes logically reasoning as to why it's not worth being upset over, you spend hours being upset. I don't get upset when someone nonchalantly accidentally tosses half a bottle of soy sauce on his plate and halfway across the table, or spills his entire breakfast on the floor. (Full disclosure: My daughter makes me crazy. The other day I stopped the car and pulled over, yeah that's right, P.U.L.L.E.D. O.V.E.R. because she was being... fill in blank... That's not me, though, they say that that is just a thing that happens, so I don't consider her driving me crazy not being calm. I say that I'm a lot calmer than can be expected in the face of seventeen year old girlness...)

What is going on in this calm, peaceful spot of life?
It always comes back to writing, food, kids, and running.

Kids. My boys are almost 11, they are wiry knees and elbows still, they are taller though will never be tall. They have opinions and thoughts and unfortunate tastes in fashion. They are at the age where looks matter, but it's okay to where three-day-old socks. They devour all the food in their path. They are sweet and rude, kind and mean, passionate and misinformed. They still believe in dreams and Santa, but one has discovered, through science and the composition of rainbows, the impossibility of leprechauns. The other hangs on to the belief. They know everything. Sometimes I think of writing for them, or about them, but that isn't what's in me to write just now. My daughter is surviving her last year of high school, with no solid plans for the future. That's okay, though. Who does, really, at 17, have it planned out? I'd just like her to get a license and a job. We can go from there.

Food. What a wonderful thing food is. I'm forcing myself to cook, no matter how tired, on weeknights and weekends, one, to save money, two, see: lost 7 pounds. It's great for both things. There's really nothing to say right now about food. I'll never be able to write about food, not really. I don't have really informed opinions about food, only, this variations of tasting good, and a questionable habit of creating substitutes for missing ingredients.

Running. I'm taking a break from being an epic kinda-runner and doing morning fitness camps. I plan to pick up running next spring. Right now, I run during boot camp, do some swimming, and read running magazines....

Writing. Ah. Writing. I've found my voice. I think I've written that before, fairly recently. It's true, I have. I finally wrote a full short story in it. It's not fantasy, it's not paranormal urban, though I love reading those genres, and experimented it, and have that full written novel in that genre, but it's something else. I won't even attempt to describe it, it is just, sweet. I'd like to say lyrical, but we'll see.

In other notable life events, I've killed my poor plants on the front porch, except the mint, (of course not the mint, it's never the mint) and have to replace them with lovely fall creations that I can't kill.

Sunday, September 07, 2014

The 7-11 trip

Yesterday, the boys rode to the 7-11 for the first time, alone, with $9 in hand. The store isn't that far away. It's just outside our small neighborhood, the first store on the corner of a busy street. It has a lot of traffic. I sent the boys off, Bear now comfortable enough to ride his bike outside the neighborhood - the incentive of a slushy helped - after the unfortunate incident two years ago where his bike fell on him, and, as he explained to his young friend the other day, 'my nuts hurt for three days.' Nuts. My ten year old said nuts.

But this isn't about his saying nuts. In fact, two years ago, the bike did flip over and land on his… groin… and cause considerable pain. Looking back, perhaps it would have been nice if I insisted he ice with some frozen vegetables, but I didn't realize how MUCH his… groin hurt…he seemed okay after with the exception of the two-year-long fear of bikes…  I hope he'll still be able to have children…

The 7-11.  The corner store. The nearest store children have access to. For me, it was the Store 24. It's a rite of passage. The first time you have money in your hand and wander off, on your own, alone, to buy something with your money. Some children do it younger. Some older. But there comes a time when you go alone. When I went, I pushed my sister to the counter in front of me because I didn't want to talk to the cashier, because I was shy. I bought a candy bar. She kept trying to push me. In the end, due to my complete ability at that age to never speak if I set my mind to it, I won and she had to. There's a lot of people who would have a hard time believing there was ever a time when I avoided speaking to, well, people, for a great many years. I find myself returning to that time when I was quieter, though no longer due to fear, now, due to a desire for quieter, more meaningful conversation over inane chatter. (Still, I struggle, I love chatting.)

The rite of passage, though, is something that can often go unnoticed. To the boys, it was just 'FINALLY mom is letting us go to the 7-11 to buy something.' And in my head I'm going 'Ohigosh, they are so little, they are tiny, and too young, and it's such a big world, they might get knocked over and then what…' and then I looked up and realized I wasn't looking at my babies, my little toddling chubby-legged sweethearts with pudgy hugs. No, I was looking at bony, lanky dirt-streaked boys almost as tall as me. I was looking at a thin, angled faces, one more marked with freckles than the other. I stared into confident gray eyes that said "we asked Dad if we could go because you're kinda a worrywart and would probably have said no.'

They were loud and sure and running loudly around, one looking for shoes (you can't wear slippers to the 7-11) and pants (no pajama pants either) the other procuring funds from their father.

I wondered if they would be shy. I told them to buy small slurpees so they had enough money. I perceived that their experience would be like mine, and tried to prepare them for the greatest success - go in with enough money, get your goods, flee. I anticipated their anticipation, a little bit of giddiness (freedom!), but no, that was my experience, not theirs. Theirs was full of giddy slurpee-ness joy.  They were all sure of themselves, hopping on their bikes practically running over each other on their way out, and, having none of the reservations I had as a child about speaking, the first thing they did when they got in the store was ask - "How much are the large slurpees? The extra large?" They did some quick math, and realized they each could get a large slurpee, they could get me a small slurpee (how sweet!) and a second root beer. They came home with their bags hanging off their bicycles. They ran outside to show their friends their loot. They have gone to the store, and spent their money. They now know the value of money, the joy of buying precious things.

Thy'll soon have a mall to wander around in bicycling distance. (The advantage of living in an urban area - okay, it's not like, you know, quaint posh magazine urban, but we've got stores, a new mall being built, coffee shops and a fairly decent main street and downtown all within walking or bicycling distance!).

I'm happy they are here, at this stage, and I know two things.
I know they now will desire to have spending money for all the things they can get at the magic 7-11 and other stores - joy for them!
I know now, I can pay to have things done I don't want to do - yay for me!
I"m never going to be able to get away with forgetting to pay their allowance (I'm human!)

It's time to teach them about spending, savings and earnings on a strictly monetary level.
They are going to gorge themselves on slurpees. They are going to become slurpee addicts, and suffer major cold-inflicted headaches. They'll soon have a mall to wander around in bicycling distance. (The advantage of living in an urban area - okay, it's not like, you know, quaint posh magazine urban, but we've got stores, a new mall being built, coffee shops and a fairly decent main street and downtown all within walking or bicycling distance!).

They are growing up.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Funniest things I noticed

The funniest things I noticed today.

I have a chin hair.
So I can say, 'not by the hair on my chinny chin chin' and mean it.

We had a torrential downpour that lasted twenty minutes, and made me miss day-long rainfalls.

It's really important to get out of the work environment for the day, for at least a little bit if possible, even if it's just outside, to maintain a greater perspective.

I am a fickle writer. I enjoy it, but I have yet to settle as one.

I miss working with words all day.

My son genuinely enjoys drinking Peppermint tea at night, and loves wearing his plaid robe and pajama pants, making him look like a quirky character in a young novel.

Commercials ruin the television watching experience, to the point that I am perfectly content watching old seasons on Netflix. Commercials are like an assault on your enjoyment. I am happy that my children are not used to commercials.

I can not WAIT until the boys are in bed so I can sneak some ice cream with crushed peanut m and ms and hershey syrup, because I don't have any Hoodsie cups to mix m and ms in. Yes, I actually noticed that.

I just caught above-mentioned son smiling at a boy-girl kiss on a show we're watching. But I can't tell him I caught him.

I'm probably going to not eat the ice cream and just go to bed early, because the time to eat ice cream has passed.

The things I noticed aren't really funny.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Sunday thoughts

Here's what's hard about making space for the work you want to do. All the other things. The work you have to do for a paycheck. The dinners you have to cook for family. The things you're needed for in the moment, things that must be done.

Sometimes, the work I want to do, that must be done at the end of the work day, the things I love, the writing, the editing, the playing with words, the pulling out the camera and taking pictures, (so many pictures!) has to fall to the side. In favor of a bicycle ride to the creek. A trip to the movies. A conversation about superheroes. Finding laundry. Good night kisses. Tea.

I think, I'll never get to write. I'll never get to sit down. It never ends.

But that's a lie, because I will. One day, the boys won't be ten. They'll be teenagers passing through the doors. One day, my girl will be gone, off somewhere living her own life. The nights of little boys stealing time will fade away, and how sad to think of it.

So the space I have now, in between the other things, the working, the family, the living of the life, well, I carve it out, here and there, between the rest.

One day, I will be glad for the extra time, when the boys are no longer ten, and the girl has graduated high school, found her way to a path, moved past the need for this home.  Sometimes, though, I think I'll stop, and sigh, and wish for ten, again, and think it'd be nice, to watch a show (maybe Doctor Who...) with the three of them, and then I'll sigh, and remember bicycle rides by the creeks and peppermint tea at night, and write.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

An Apple Butter Jam Kind of Life

I’m home sick, eating the toast I want, without the jam I want. I’m craving the apple butter jam I had that day at breakfast earlier this summer with my friends.  That was the only day I ever liked apple butter jam, and that day, I believed, it was strawberry jam I ended up putting on the toast. It’s just that the apple butter jam had a lovely color to it, and a wonderful name, and we talked about it for a while, because there wasn’t much of any other jam left, and the whole time I wanted to be the person that appreciated something as subtle and pale and delicate as apple butter jam. I could be the friend that would say, on a breezy Saturday morning sitting outside a breakfast cafe, that could I please have the toast, and then to my friends, “Oh, I just love the apple butter jam.”

I’d like to live an apple butter jam kind of life. It’s awful confusing the life I’m living, it’s not at all the one I’d imagined, or sought. There seems to be so much going on it that there’s no time for subtleness or delicacy or loveliness. It’s all rigid and ordered and bright primary colors and bold statements and noises.

Take the first day of school, for instance. It’s soon, in case anyone hasn’t been paying attention. The ads on the television and the radio and the internet are screaming at me, shouting at me, and have been since the end of July, warning me about the busy bustle of school, of all the things I’ll need to get done, and barely have time for, coaching me on how to be organized and still be working/carpooling/homework-helping/sports-chauffeuring/dinner-making family mom who still has a sense of humor and hair, and who, for some bizarre reason, loves not having a minute to herself. The martyred uber-woman. She does it all, is frazzled, but look at her family, so worth it, we are taught to think. So since summer, it’s all been shouting, Shouting, SHOUTING  at me, and I turned away, covered my ears, closed my eyes. I don’t want it. I don’t want to be shouted at anymore, I don’t want the world to yell at me. It’s really enough. It’s why, this year, I’m both barely prepared and more prepared for school to start than any other year. I have just the right amount of deafness to the world. I think at one time, I tried to be that woman, that mom, but it didn’t last long. It turns out, I’m singularly incapable of martyring myself on the altar of the uber-family-woman. It’s probably for the best, that I failed so utterly at it, because if I had been able to pull it off, I fear I’d still be there. 

I believe there are more women out there like me, blocking their ears and cringing in the aisles of Targets and Walmart’s, not signing up for the extra duties that our children might one day need. It’s just none of us are shouting back. Instead, we're just quietly dropping out. The little girl that chases all the older kids playing soccer or football or whatever, and then, not being able to catch up, realizing she doesn’t even like the game, just the running bit,  goes off and plays on the sidelines with dirt and flowers and other little kids.

Of course I bought the school supplies, I am a mother, after all, and have responsibilities, but I am not lying when I say that a part of me recoiled in terror, and my fight or flight reflex kicked in, urging me to run for cover, when, in the Target aisle, turning the corner, I heard the voices of raised mothers and daughters and mothers and sons as they analyzed school supply lists and matched them to the proper product. Oh so carefully! So precisely! Then, let the negotiations for color, brand and style commence! Big red carts filled with too many things, paper things, plastic things, boxes of things, things, and more things. Things we, for some reason, did not need as children going back to school. What happened to one big binder with a few notebooks and pens and pencils? Now, we must buy dry erase markers, elite Ticonderoga pencils, pre-sharpened preferred, crayons, sharpie markers, notebooks for every thought, binders and index cards and labels and folders, so many folders. It was overwhelming, the noise of it all! 

I want to walk away from it, and go back to a place where things were not the thing, where education was not dependent on the things, where it was libraries and books and dog-eared text-book pages from reading and reading and reading to understand, and confounding problems solved with chalk at a board as students followed another student trying to figure out where they goofed on the fourth long division problem of the day, and heads on desks because the Velveteen Rabbit was too sad to watch where others could see you cry, and there was so much more of the mind and less of the thing. Where after school was for playing and after dinner was for family, no one used snow days for homework and parents said ‘do your homework’ without sitting down to help unless it was Algebra and you were failing, and even then, it was up to you. You know, to live an apple butter jam kind of life.

A quiet, perfect, glass world

This is a terrarium I created sometime last winter. The plants are still alive, the bicycle still parked in its lovely spot by  sheep and rock and ferns.  It's the thing I look at when I'm writing, when I'm working, and sometimes, just when I'm in the room, and feeling out of sorts and away from where I want to be.  It reminds me of the things that make me happy. If it's a day like today, when I am stuck home sniveling with a swimming head groggy and grumpy that a cold has had the audacity to affect me, and annoyed with myself for somehow letting this cold affect me, well, I can look at this terrarium, this little glass world,  and remember the cold will be gone in a few days, and soon, I can go back out there, to the trees, to ride my bike, to run, to hike, to play. This is not a permanent state. I look at it some more and the stirrings begin.  They turn and toss vaguely inside and become a thing, a thought, a want. I start to desire. That is when I remember the point of it, the reason why I created it, why I tolerate the sight of so much dirt in a jar. It has a mission, this silly little oversized vase with its miniature plants. The most important thing about the terrarium, the thing I can never forget, is its role as a predictor, a marker, a promise of the future, a goal, a harbinger.  I look through the dusty glass into a moment of thought in stasis, a moment I captured with  rich, moist soil and green ferns that when looked upon becomes a hint of fields and forests and quiet country. Then, I remember, I captured this world from a loved and almost lost memory of a different yesterday, and a dream of a desired tomorrow filled with wet, dark, spring soils and flowering fields; of forests and country with  quiet bicycle rides and roaming meadows where shady trees and busy creeks mark long-shadowed days of summers as they fall joyfully into crisp, sunny, golden falls. All that in this little, quiet, perfect, glass world.

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Living fearlessly in the every day

Bear on the Ropes course.
This is Bear. We waited an hour so he could play on the Ropes Course. He loved it, up there, climbing and swinging and leaping. He was fearless, his hair swinging in the wind, his laughter high and loud. This is how our lives are meant to be lived. Fearlessly. I spent a lot of time not writing on this blog to finish a book I was writing. I had it in my head that I could not write and blog, which is silly in hindsight. I love this blog. I love posting little vignettes of my life and my thoughts. Returning back to work after a month off, we participated in some professional development which focused on living authentically. So much of the session was about how to live your life past your fears, the little fears that stop you in your every day life. After four hours, I realized that I wasn't living without fear at all, and that it had been holding me back. I suppose many of us feel that way! It is not how it is meant to be, though, we are meant to be only ourselves, no one else, nothing else. I did finish my book, and only time will tell if it's the one that will get published. In the meantime, you can find me here, in between the times I'm writing my next story and getting through the daily living of life with cats and kids.

Sunday, January 05, 2014

Breathing through the days

So much of what we do is reactive. Have a rough encounter with a grumpy sales person, react. Be surrounded by yelly, upset people, react. Be in a group of people who just are negative, react. Be in a group of people deep in worry about their own days and problems, and we react.

I'm over reacting.(ha ha ha) My whole intent going back to work is to not react, because my purpose, my intent in life, does not reside in that job, in that work. I will never get to where I want to be, however, if all of my energy is used reacting.

I have words pouring through my mind that need to find blank pages to fall onto. I have characters living lives less than the ones they should be, wanting to be on those same pages. I have beautiful people, beautiful thoughts, and I want to release them.

That separation from the tasks of making money to the task of creating must be solid so that one day, the art of creating is the income, or, or even, the art of creating is simply accomplished. I would like to earn income from it, but for the time being, I'm focused on the creating.

Do not over react, do not react with too much energy, do not offer it too much thought. That is my charge going into work next week. I plan to do a lot of nice, relaxing breathing. Maybe I'll do tai chi in my head. Heck, maybe I'll do tai chi in the office!

Welcome back to work! For some, it is their life's passion, for others, it's a job while they conduct their life's passion in their off time!