Wednesday, June 29, 2011

The Courage to Write

"Advising writers to go ahead and ignore their anxiety and forge ahead is like telling a ten-year-old who's about to get a shot, "There's nothing to be scared of." That kid knows better. So do writers." (from The Courage to Write-How Writers Transcend Fear by Ralph Keyes)

I just started reading this book and am finding it tremendously useful. To be cliche',  writing is as essential to my life as breathing.
Even so, I love it and I hate it.
Getting the narrative out of my head and into print is freeing
Getting the narrative out of my head and into print is terrifying.

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Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Fireflies, photos and probable bad impressions

Last evening after getting the kids to bed I wandered outside because of the sky.

I stood and breathed and let my mind settle after a busy day. As the sun set further, the toads began to sing, then the jug-a-rum calls of the bullfrogs from the back ponds showed up. A high pitched squeaking with scrambling sounds came from the vicinity of the barn as the bats made ready for their nighttime exodus.
I stood and watched as the bats dropped out...they fall and swoop back up. Twenty one bats exited last night.

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Sunday, June 26, 2011

Nighttime Adventures

Last night I went to bed late. Midnight to be precise. I was sort of ok with this, because 5 hours is the lowest amount of sleep I can get and still function semi decently. Emphasis on semi. Should I get 4 hours and 55 minutes, then it becomes semi indecently. Really, my mind just sort of implodes at that point.
Anyway, confident in a full five hours I pulled the covers up and started to drift off.
Mid-drift I heard growling, and snarling and thumping.
It came closer...
and closer...

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Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Without fail...

There is a phenomenon in my house that confounds me on a daily basis.  In fact, it is happening right at this very moment.
All three of my children were occupied, in separate parts of the house, everything was quiet and calm. I thought "Great! I have some ideas percolating in my mind, and I can get them out"

 I took my laptop into the kitchen and sat a the table, and sat down prepared to write.
The moment my finger touched the very first letter a giant fight broke out amongst the barbarians children. One wanted to do a Pokemon battle, the other one didn't. Apparently the one that didn't want to play promised yesterday that she would today.  This started a giant argument, and a third child got involved.
So now I am back to being referee, and talking to the upset child about why no one wants to play and suggesting ways that he might create an atmosphere that would be conducive to his siblings to want to play with him.

I am now clueless as to what it was I was going to write when I sat down.
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Tuesday, June 21, 2011


This past week I discovered, experienced, etc....

~That things like this...
...Make my family and me laugh like lunatics.  The first time we saw it we turned around and tried to take a picture but the people who lived at the house were in their yard and staring, so I drove away.  The next day I managed to drive past again and no one was outside.  I considered taking him because I was imagining several awesome photo ops I could use him as a prop for, but I wasn't sure if he had bugs or anything so I left him.

~My 9yo ds had his brown belt test yesterday and tested really well. Afterward his instructor, who is a very intense, always happy, upbeat positive man who commands respect came over to tell me how pleased he was. His conversation went like "I am so pleased with your son's progress!! He has achieved some wonderful accomplishments and his confidence is through the roof! He maintains eye contact well and speaks loudly.." Pause his conversation and I need to say here that he is talking and standing close to me, I have a pretty large area of personal space that I am comfortable with, and he was closer than that, and making strong eye contact, because that is what they do in TKD. NOT only am I uncomfortable with people standing close to me, I have a VERY hard time with sustained eye contact.  However, I figured this was not the time to let my eyes wander around, so I stood there and thought "keep eye contact, keep eye contact" and I have no real idea what he said past the part I paused a few sentences back, because it took that much concentration from I smiled and nodded and said thank you.
Awesome social skills for the win!!!

~ My kids are now old enough to handle all the furry beastie care, so I delegated tasks and chores to them, and told them that I am only taking care of my large dog, and they can take care of everyone else. They agreed and have been very diligent with their chores.

~When eating breakfast my daughter is prone to yell for me from upstairs to "come see something" I ask her to explain but she sounds panicky as she repeats herself. I go up and discover that she is brushing her teeth and whatever food she just ate is being brushed out of her teeth and this worries her.  I reassure her this is a  normal and good thing.

~ I haven't gone shopping for clothes or bought any clothes for a whole year.  Since my jeans were getting holes in them my husband suggested that I might want to buy new ones.  I went and relearned a few things.
1) If I am putting on a shirt or dress and cannot figure out which is the front then I should not even bother because chances are the shirt will look horrible.
2) If I have to struggle to pull a shirt or dress over my boobs then I shouldn't -with ridiculous determination- pull it all the way over, because it will be much harder to get off and I will wind up I with it stuck on my body while I do some weird panicked dance and debate if I should ask for help. The inevitable decision on help will be that I would rather die stuck in fabric then ask a stranger to help  me pull a shirt back over my boobs.
3) I remembered that buying a new outfit can do wonders for lifting a person out of feeling frumpy.

~I learned from my Dr. that I am  anemic which explains why I am always so tired and feel horrible and only get short bursts of energy.
I also learned that my cholesterol level is 145.  This made me super duper happy, because I remembered when I was 22 my cholesterol was 202.  My other numbers were perfect and she declared me wonderfully healthy...aside from being anemic.  (I haven't been to the Dr in over 4 years.)

~Unlimited wifi from Verizon does not REALLY mean unlimited.  Apparently, when you hit 5GB of usage they filter your usage so if you try to watch Netflix whatever you are watching will pause to reload every two minutes and a 30 minute show will take at a minimum twice as long to watch.  Now we need to ration our Netflix viewing.  Which is hard because my husband and me are completely addicted to The IT Crowd
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Tuesday, June 14, 2011


~Writing brings one's various neuroses front and center.
  ~ this can be helpful because then they can finally be used
   ~This is not helpful because they make one aware of various weird quirks they have that they enjoy
being unaware of.
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Sunday, June 12, 2011

Boys and dolls

I took the kids to Goodwill the other day and told them they could get something.  My oldest son, who will be 11 next month came up to me with a boy china doll and asked if he could get it.  I looked for a minute and probably made a face. He asked what was wrong, and I told him the doll was creepy.  My son shook his head at me, looked at the doll and informed me that he was very cute. I couldn't argue with that so I said yes. 

A few minutes later he comes back with a girl doll and told me that both of them would only cost $3 and he would like to have them both and call them Lysander and Lindsay.  He also told me again that dolls are not creepy and he really likes them.

We bought the dolls and the ride home he just held them on his lap.  At home he brushed their hair and fixed them up and put them in a safe place where he can look at them.  He thanked me for letting him get the dolls and says he knows that sometimes people might find it weird that a boy would even want a doll but he loves them. I thanked him for being himself and told him I admire his nurturing spirit and how what people might think does not bother him. 

He is a boy that has great empathy and a love of younger children. He told me one day that his favorite thing is when a baby looks at him and grins, it makes him feel warm and happy and peaceful inside. 
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Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Taking a break...

From social media.
I realized that I had become dependent up on facebook for all my social needs.  Being an  introvert, I am ok with checking in on people, having a brief back and forth conversation and presto! my social needs feel fulfilled.  However, they really aren't, and it became an excuse for me to not pursue friendships on a deeper level, or to get together with people and so on.
(that hurts to admit, but it is true)

Another reason, my attention span has decreased to the  point of being more akin to the attention span one would find in a kitten on speed.  I fully blame FB. Why? Because I can log on, look at the updates of 100+ people and see all the interesting links they post which leads to a scenario like this:
(entirely loosely fictional)

Person's status- i made pork cheeks for dinner tonight
(my head thinking - what is that and where does one get it and do with it?)
go off and google pork cheeks, but while that is loading because sometimes my computer is slow, I look at someone else's update and see a link to something.
Person's status- I LOVE this site, check it out!! I love the tips on making a childhood magical and sparkly!
Me- OOOO! I should read that. So I click and look it over for a split second. Oh LOOK! beeswax crayons, I like beeswax crayons. They smell good. Then I search for those to find the best price.

Oh, gotta check my email.
Email - Lose a zillion calories with this workout!
me - Awesome! (check it out and it involves some barbaric looking exercise that I would never do)
Wait! Library!
Off to library web site. 
There was a book I wanted, what was it called? About decreased memory? Damn! What is that book?

Commence search on book about decreased memory, see a billion results
Olive oil helps memory loss. Greeks use lots of olive oil. How much is a vacation to Greece. Ok, nevermind. Does my school have Greek classes?  Look that up, and no. But they have Japanese. How much is a trip to Japan...wait, nevermind. Radiation and all that.  Radiation leads to looking up the Cold War and that leads to Russian history which leads me back to the mystagogy site about Orthodoxy.

look at time and realize family will be waking up in about 20 minutes and I just lost 1 hour to looking up nothing beneficial in the time I am supposed to be writing.
Ok, back to writing.
Sit. Stare. Blank Page. Scary Blank Page. Type something. Laugh at it because it is too lame.
click on FB icon to escape annoyance at my writing.
See an article on education.
Go to article...which talks about the effect of techonology on adolescents. Remember book about descreased memory, try to find it. Go back to library web site and reserve a bunch of Atlantic Monthly magazines.
So, by 7 am I have completely fried my brain doing nothing productive, but instead behaved in a way that makes me think of a hamster on a wheel. I have now overwhelmed myself with too much information about too many things, I am completely overstimulated and want to go back to bed.

That is why I am taking a break.
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Monday, June 6, 2011

Kid pictures

Gwen and Burrito

And for comparison- two pictures of all three kids. The top one is from their first day of school this school year and then one I took this morning of their last day. (almost last day, it is actually tomorrow)

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Saturday, June 4, 2011

Any given Saturday

Took my husband’s blue French cuff shirt out of the dryer and noticed that it was too wrinkled and the collar too limp.  Out came the iron and the ironing board in the room that is supposed to be my office but has been taken over by clothes marked for donation.  The collar was curled under and stubbornly refused to straighten as a proper collar should.  After many minutes and much pressing the collar finally agreed to submit and lay pointed and true.
My husband told me one reason out of a million that he loves is that I notice things like his collar and fix them, so he doesn’t leave the house looking unkempt. 
He left for his sales calls.  I fixed the kids their cereal.
A blanket went into the washer because my son was wearing it around the house, causing it to collect dog fur.
The kids argued over who had to take the dog out, one son objected because he was only wearing boxer shorts.  The other pointed out that we don’t have next door neighbors. I pointed out the group of men working in the field adjacent to the house with their bulldozers and assorted loud machines. Oldest son said he never knew they were there.  I mentioned the smell of exhaust fumes coming in the windows, he shrugged and took out the dog.
I vacuumed the floors wondering how a small dog can drop so much hair.  I wondered about my attention span and lack of focus. I thought about the bit in a book I’m reading that addresses self doubt and her cousins talking to a writer while writing and making a mental note that they somehow appear even while cleaning-but never about cleaning.  The kitten and the dog began wrestling in line of the vacuum and I shooed them off.  My daughter began crying about an ant that could only move its antennae and not walk; I quickly picked it up in a Kleenex and flushed it.
She cried harder and told me I killed it.  I tried to explain suffering and that with insects it is better to kill them swiftly. She told me I was mean.  Later she asked me to get rid of a big hairy jumping spider on the curtain, I used the vacuum hose.  This did not make her sad.  
My son ate an apple and instead of it turning out the normal shape an apple does when eaten to the core, he ate it into a square.
I was given a note covered with infinity signs that said “This is how much I love you, your kid Gwen”

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Wednesday, June 1, 2011


I took last quarter off from school in order to focus on getting things done at home.
I didn't accomplish as much as I thought I would and I got rather uninspired. 

Over the summer I am taking a Sociology course, and then in the fall will take on a decent course load.  Between having the kids in school all day, and not taking any classes I discovered that I get MUCH more done when I have more to do. When Im not busy I get complacent. 
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