Friday, October 30, 2009

Friday 2

I've been sick for two weeks, not terribly, but it's wearing me down. Kids have been sick, mil, Honey. Even had a trip to the ER with Baby C. I cancelled our overscheduled weekend and am currently up in the air about Trick or Treating.

Nano starts in 2 days, and I still haven't finished edits on book one. and I feel crappy and for two days I was just plain old useless...

Ok, I will stop whining now.

Here's a poem I wrote the other day because I love Fall:

the whole of the world
is right there
in the green to gold to red
of a single autumn leaf

Have a lovely and spirited All Hallows Eve.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Thursday threes

Three days to Nanowrimo. Three kids for Halloween in two days. Two on the neighborhood loot journey, one to scare the the trick or treaters at home.

S has decided to be a classic cartoon criminal, complete with black and white striped shirt and swag bag with sharpie'd dollar sign. Should have seen what it took to find a black and white striped shirt.....

Honey's old nickname and costume of preference is El Diablo, so Baby C is going to be a little devil. Really, she is anyway of late, we're just dressing her for the part. Horns and all.

Another year, I'll get all woo-woo on you with my love of the Day of the Dead, All Hallows, Halloween, Samhain, and everything of the Crossroads. This year I'm too busy wrapping up book one edits in prep for book two in Nanowrimo.


Wednesday, October 28, 2009


Four days to Nanowrimo and part of me wants to run screaming. The other part is happy to have found a face to face writing group that is focused on children's literature. Who knew I lived among likemindeds? And one of them has signed up for the November torture device. So they are crazy like me, too.

How inspiring!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009


5 days to Nanowrimo and I have just registered the impact of: on Nov. 1, I have 5, count 'em loud, 5 scheduled obligations, each lasting between 1.5- 3 hours, throughout the day and evening and out of the house. And two are potlucks.

I am not quitting before I even get started. This is a sign from the Universe of what a kick in the pants I need to give myself.

Okay, who is joining me? For Nanowrimo, that is, not for kicking me in the pants.

Monday, October 26, 2009


Write a 50K word novel in 30 days. Come on, I dare you. All the cool writers are doing it.

November 1st. It's only 3.3 double spaced pages per day in 12-point Times New Roman.
PS: I am still supposedly attempting to edit my first novel in the week prior to starting the second in Nanowrimo. Wish me luck, still on hiatus, still in the mayhem, too - sick kids, me, week of editing was hijacked due to scheduling difficulties...

Monday, October 19, 2009


I must listen to my creative instincts, which have been gathering, and take this week to write the part of my children's novel manuscript, that up until now has eluded me. All the research I did over the summer has finally digested and I feel the story coming on. The combination of the conversations on CC last week and my creative juices bubbling reached a crucial convergence.

At least that's what the voices in my head are telling me as I post this. ;)

see you when I'm done!
photo credit is unknown but I will gladly credit it to the it's creator if anyone knows.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Holy smokestacks of mom blogging controversy

The venerable Liz Hum of may have finally and appropriately settled the uproar.

My take on what has been going on at Creative Construction this week is that the reason we are even there is to figure out amongst ourselves how to negotiate our way through our lives and live them creatively as well as in the process maybe inspire, or console or give each other tips on how to do so when some of us may otherwise be pulling out our hair in a moment of drudgerous mayhem. And maybe together, we can find our way closer to the joys that feed us from our children, to our partners, to our arts. I like to think of us as a matriarchal tribe, who rather than beating our laundry out on rocks together by a river, are conversing on the internet because that is how we do it in the 21st Century. This is how we commiserate, negotiate, commune, get it off our chest, so that we can move forward.

After all, that's life. Saaaaan-yo!

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Poem for an Autumn Day

I should not be wandering the house aimlessly
When there is so much to do
And the toddler is napping.
But I don’t know where to start.
I’m too tired from cuddling
the little fusspot with the stuffy nose.
The fourteen year old is sick, too.
But I made him go to school today
Because yesterday, he lay listlessly,
chanted a mantra of
I’m booooored. Soooo bored.
Til I couldn’t take it anymore.
Then the middle child,
The one who presents
Very differently when he’s sick
Came home and announced
What a good day he had.
My immediate thought –
He must be coming down with it, too.

I wander aimlessly, wanting to write,
Looking at the spots on the kitchen floor,
The dog and cat hair collecting along the baseboards
And turn around to the room I won’t see them in,
Nor the dishes.

I look at the computer
And distinctly feel I cannot write.
I have no brain.
What is this stiff ache along the back of my neck
Moving up into my ears?

I can’t get sick.
They all need me.
The laundry needs me.
The baseboards need me.
The baby, the preteen, the teen
All need me.

I can’t get sick.
The writing needs me.
But I wander aimlessly,
My face feeling flush.
Maybe I’ll go walk the dog.

Or maybe I’ll just sit back down.
Through the window,
The sky is grey.
The leaves flutter in the wind.
The world is awash in lesser hues,
As the strong rains
Approach from the west
Just out of reach.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Ah fall....

I took these at dusk last night. First I forgot to set the camera for no flash, but I kind of like the contrast and it makes the leaves stand out better.

No, it's not as brilliant as when I lived the majority of my life in New England, but here in the Coastal Plains of Virginia, I look for it in every little way I can. I am beginning to appreciate that autumn starts later and lasts longer here, too. Our first Thanksgiving, Honey wore shorts, and I didn't wear a sweater. Seemed like blasphemy then.
Now I find it's subtler beauties in little moments like this one. No, not a flaming tree full of yellow or red, but the slow dying of the leaves fluttering individually from the tree. A birch in my old Massachusetts town would be long bare by now. Not this one. And it's mine. This is home now.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

to write in the midst of it all

Creative Construction is a great site for mothers who are trying to juggle being an artist of any form with being a mother and the demands of working or SAHMing or wherever you are on that spectrum. It has been instrumental for me in getting started back to writing anything again after a huge dry spell period in which I had a myriad of other things going on. I realized that what I needed to do regardless of being in the midst of - you guessed it - Life, that what I needed more than anything was to write.

First I read and commented on others' posts . Then I started posting some blogs periodically there, then I found my way back to a huge old project, which is now a completed first draft of a middle reader novel with a scientific hole in the middle. Then I started writing this blog, because I was drained re: the novel, but recognized I still very much needed to stay in the habit of writing. I seriously suggest that if you feel even the slightest notion to be creative in the midst of everything, to go there, to do it, to let go of the things in life that will be there anyway regardless of whether or not you take an hour for yourself, or even ten minutes, and do what you love.

I am now feeling like I could go back in and take a look at what is missing and try to at least hobble something together out of the void, with all my little research materials. And what I don't know, I can fake well enough that I can send this out to agents, etc and if I get a contract out of it, I can ask for assistance from contacts they may have to clarify what I would like to have in better detail. I think I can do that now. It's been a good couple of months since I closed the last chapter and sent it out to a couple of trusted readers. They've returned it well-marked, but also with kudos that I wrote a good story that really should see print, and not just because they are friends of mine, but because they are serious readers and know a good story when they see it.

So, as soon as C goes down for her nap, and I get that next batch of laundry in, and something resembling a meal in front of me, I will creak open the slightly rusty manuscript and give it a go.

What is your dream of what you want to be doing outside of your daily norm? If you still don't know...hang out over at CC for a while. You will likely find it there.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Couples Retreat, the movie

Boy do I feel guilty. Saturday, Honey and I ran errands with the girl, and left the guys with Mil early in the afternoon, then I talked Honey into a dinner and movie date night. That takes a lot of convincing, believe you me. So we decided on an early dinner then the 7:30 showing of Couples Retreat. Of course this means, we dumped all the kids on Mil for the night, too. We left at 4:30, ate and got dessert. We haven't had a dinner date in so long we couldn't figure out where to sit without having to separate K and S, pin S into the booth and fit C in a high chair on the end and figure out who of the three adults gets stuck next to K or S to run interference. We got a glass of wine, a beer and dessert (beware the peanut butter cup at Uno's - it is pure evil incarnate and delish). Big money night. We had time left over to buy a tube of toothpaste at Kmart, look at toddler Halloween costumes and still had time left over to wait in the car outside the theater. So I feel guilty about dumping kids on Mil effectively all day. But it was worth it. And she got to cuddle with C at night for bedtime, which she really wants to do.

But if this is a movie review I have to get to it. And I want to because if you are married, especially with young children, you will LOVE this movie. It is hissafreakinsterical! I haven't laughed that much in a movie theater since I honestly can't remember. This is a pee your pants funny movie! And besides the humor, the movie is well written by Jon Favreau and Vince Vaughn. Vince Vaughn is all over this movie, from production to acting. I'll tell you, it's a good thing I didn't meet him before I married Honey, because, that whole thing about making a girl laugh will make her fall in love with you definitely applies to me. I know, like I'd have a chance in a pig sty with Vince Vaughn.

I don't know how to tell you about the different couples and their relationships without giving too much away. Favreau and Kristin Davis were spot on for the married young - get me out of here couple. Faizon Love was so funny and sweet, and Kali Hawk as his little girlfriend was a hoot. Kristin Bell and Jason Bateman as the uptight couple nailed it so much I wanted to smack him in the head, which is saying a lot because I have such a crush for years on him, even though he tends to play the guy you want to smack upside the head in recent roles (Juno). Vince Vaughn and Malin Akerman renewed my faith in my own marriage. Sure we get on each other's nerves, fight, avoid each other, get too caught up in the everyday of life with kids, but when we stop and really see where we are and who is standing there with each other, it's all good.

And in there just for giggles is a duel so epic, it will remind you of every old Western and Bruce Lee movie. It's a laugh riot.

Keep an eye on the little blond kid and mark my words: we're going to see big things from him. He is a comedic natural. I am still laughing about his final scene. That kid has got It. Colin Baiocchi - remember that name.

Oh and keep your eye out for Papa Vernon Vaughn as Grandpa Jim Jim. You can see the humor tree from which Vince fell.

One note: don't take your kids. I saw what looked like an eight year old come in with his mother and teen sister. This movie is very risque for a PG-13. No nudity, but there's not much doubled about the entendre throughout. The theme is trying to make marriages work, and there is a lot of sexual content, very funny sexual content, but not for a kid. I wouldn't want to sit next to my kids for this one.

Go see it, it's a really good time. Parents, get the sitter, call grandma, whatever it takes, and have a date night to see this movie.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Old obsession

When I was a girl, I watched old movies with my mother, and was absolutely enthralled with certain icons of a more glamorous age. Marilyn Monroe was a particular obsession. Around age fifteen, I wanted to be her, or someone like her. I was skin and bones, she was voluptuous, sweet, enthralling. She was also dead. All through those movies where she seemed to find happiness, I always watched the sadness in her eyes. She was the ultimate incongruity of brazenness and vulnerability, Aphrodite incarnate and insecure little girl. I wanted to protect her in Some Like It Hot, in Seven Year Itch, and in How to Marry a Millionaire, Bus Stop and Gentlemen Prefer Blondes. I was in love with her/wanted to be her in those and all the rest of her movies.
There is something about Marilyn that still speaks to fifteen year old girls and it's in that inherent, awkward 'Do you like me? Oh, you do? How did that happen?' questioning of almost every young woman on the verge of sexuality and how will men react to her. Around that age, we fantasize being fairytale princesses and movie stars swept into the strong embrace of a square jawed prince or co-star. It's our tale we've been fed for centuries. And then we have our families (hopefully) doing everything they can to protect us from what wasn't seen on the screen in the old movies. All we wanted was to fall in love and slake our hormonal messes of pubescence.
As I grew older and studied film - making, art of and history around film - a bit in college, and as a film lover, Marilyn's vulnerability spoke to me in many different ways. Sometimes to the injustices of her neglected childhood and a how it drove her to relationships in which she was always vulnerable, how that played out in her life and on screen.
I am on the fence about whether she died from an accidental overdose or whether as the conspiracy theorists contend, she knew too much. I don't think she was at a point in her life when she would have willfully taken her own life. We've all repeatedly seen those last scene shots of her swimming in the pool for the ironically titled, Something's Gotta Give. I love watching that scene because, for once, she seems on the verge of something big, something good, swimming away from the expression that Richard Avedon caught so off-guard in the above photograph.
She's still among the most beautiful people that the world and I are still captivated by. I guess the mystery of her death and the incompleteness of what she left behind will always make us smile then make us want to cry.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

18 months and growing

How did she get so big so fast?

She's talking, she's walking, running, climbing, exploring, getting into absolutely everything. She knows everything we say to her and responds accordingly. She loves to throw her diapers in the garbage after a change. She walks over and says, "Poop" while reaching around behind, in a very matter of fact manner. Then she runs to the changing area, saying "Yenge!"

We had her check up yesterday, and she's small on the growth chart, but so was I, and she's following the basic curve appropriately.

She's such a big girl - with a curl right in the middle of her forehead. I feel nostalgic for the little squidge with a mohawk and two fingers stuffed in her mouth that could fit in crook of my arm. Her two fingers are generally still stuffed in her mouth.
Thank goodness for the little things, right? She's growing way too fast.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

The Next Big Thing

Why is it even when I have several projects I could be working on, narrowed to two that I am working on (read procrastinating) that I generally have at least part of my writer's eye on The Next Big Thing?

This is also true in the home improvement arena, you should see what I've come up with for the addition now that we are paying a mortgage and have a yard of our own rather than renting a condo.

I mean I could also be focusing on getting those wonderfully folded piles from last week into dressers before starting this week's loads. But I'm already a day late anyway, and have no earthly idea how it is that I wash the same five outfits per family member twice a week and there are still piles of folded and sorted laundry sitting from two weeks ago.

I'm planning next spring's gardens while the plots are currently filled and continuing to fill with weeds. I really need to buy more sand to add to my clay soil which needs to be turned and covered, with compost, too, before I start plotting next year.

I am also dreaming baby names, when I know, logistics and physicality have set in stone that C is the last of my progeny. I am thinking of new baby names instead of being present with the three kids I have now.

I can use the baby names for characters, but that is the only technical resolve I have for this dilemma I have that the next thing is better than the present. It's sparklier, it's as tempting as a dessert sitting on the counter while I'm preparing dinner.

Something about the new, the imagined, the dreamed is much easier because I can keep my hands clean thinking about it while the dirty work of the present is a constant.

Maybe I just have trouble with finishing, with letting go, with saying finally, for the last time, that this version of the poem, the children's novel, the article is good enough just the way it is.

I'm sure there is a psychological disorder with a big fancy name for this. It has conveniently slipped my mind.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

S sends a Letter

I often wonder how S occupies himself when I am at church with the other two kids, and Honey is mowing the lawn or taking care of other stuff around the house. S doesn't come with us because he gets too sensory overloaded and I would like to enjoy the service rather than attend to redirecting him when he doesn't want to be there. It makes for an unpleasant day all around. This is a battle I choose not to fight. I believe I have chosen well. Of course I rethink this decision every week, ask him again if he'd like to join us, then leave well enough alone.

I was pleasantly surprised by an excited attack from S when I returned this Sunday. He was sealing an envelope, readying to send it off to Toho Studios. Together, we looked up their address online, which took a bit more of a search than anticipated. He had typed it up and translated from English to Japanese using Babelfish (I wonder how legible that letter really is), drawn characters, given them bios, and basically given them the plot idea and story arc for his big monster movie idea. He has been bugging me to move to Japan so he can work at Toho Studios, the makers of Godzilla movies, and get them to make his movie since he was about four years old. He's eleven now. He is the living definition of persistence.

Well, being Sunday, of course the letter was not removed by the mail carrier. He kept checking the mailbox. At one point, he came back in carrying his prized letter, and demanded that we needed to get in the car right now and drive it to the post office. I did eventually get through to him, that whether it was in the blue box in front of the post office or in our mailbox, the letter was not going to start its journey to Japan until Monday afternoon.

Yesterday, he woke up, ran down the stairs at six a.m. per usual, but this time, out the front door to check and see, yes in fact, the letter was still in the mailbox.

By the time this posts, that letter will have started its journey to Tokyo, but it will not be soon enough for S. It's easy to see that he feels he is one step closer to truly making his own giant monster movie - in Japan.

Good luck, kiddo. It's a great idea.

I copied the letter and pictures he drew in the scanner, and sealed the original in another envelope, dated it, had him sign it and I signed it as a witness, just in case. It really is a good idea and very well thought out, as he's had many years to think about what he'd like to see on the big screen.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Ho hum

No news is good news, right? So here's walking the dog on Sunday. S took the first photo. Sunday was beautiful. Not to rub it in, I was dressed a bit warmly for 78F. Happy October from Southeastern Virginia! We passed K hanging out with his friends. Of course, he ignored us. Honey, S and I walked the dog and sat by the fingerlake. C was napping. I should really hold in my pooch (not the dog) a bit more. Or lose weight.

By the lake, we saw this leaf....or is it?

Am I seeing things?

No! It's really a beautiful butterfly! I never saw this type before. Again, wish the photo weren't so blurry. This butterfly has a crisp stripe of clear sky blue along the outer rim of his wings.


Friday, October 2, 2009

To Conclude Banned Books Week

I would like to simply point you to a lovely letter written by a librarian to a patron regarding a book the patron wanted removed from the children's section. I believe it is well thought, well stated and in accordance with the the purpose of our founding fathers.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Should I be concerned?

Dinner conversation

S rats out Honey for giving him forbidden pepperoni pizza the other day when they were returning from their jaunt at the model train show.

K: Oh, you are so getting shanked in prison, snitch!
S: What's snitch?
Mom: It's tattling and you are not going to prison.
S (completely ignoring mom): What's shank?
K: Homemade prison weapons used for stabbing. They're made from sharpened plastic utensils, scraps of metal, usually sharpened screwdrivers, pens, pencils....

In the meantime, Honey is still sshhhhing and shaking his head. Then recounts the time S snitched on him teaching the boys to drive his car when they were five and eight, long before we got married....