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.