Monday, December 27, 2010

Christmas and Eve Thereof

Brendan and I stayed up until 1:30 in the morning on Christmas Eve wrapping and assembling one of those arcade type dual basketball hoop thingies. Normally a late night such as that wouldn't bother me. But I literally fell asleep a few times holding some things steady for Bren. I guess when you take quadrillion pills for sizillion health issues, it gets to you.

Sleep. This thing was unheard of during college. Ask my roommates. Even ask friends who weren't my roommates with whom I talked to all night. And ask my husband with whom I dated very late into the night. (Children, disregard that sentence.) But come on, he was so cute.

Christmas wasn't that great once middle school rolled around. Cuz it was just clothes and bleh bleh. I know not everyone felt that way. I have friends, (Tonya) who thought the other 364 days of the year were meant to prepare for this Holiday. Buying gifts for others was always fun.

BUT. Christmas came alive for me again after Madelyn was born. Yes, she was only 3 months old on her first Christmas. But I couldn't wait. I was so excited. I woke Brendan and Madelyn up at 5:30 in the morning to open presents. And ever since then, Christmas has held it's magic.

I loved having them line up at the top of the stairs. Wait for me to go down and turn the Christmas Tree lights on. Then let them take a few stairs at a time and stop to pause for effect. They were all happy. Happy at what they got, happy for what their siblings got. Happy to rip the pretty paper and make messes. And happy to eat stocking junk food before breakfast.

It was a good day. Because I have them. Because I have Brendan who always feels whatever he's gotten me isn't enough because he wants to give me the world. And it was a good day, quadrillion pills or not, because I was there.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Even when expected, death is difficult

One of my sweet friends called a bit ago to say that her husband had just passed away. The tears haven't quite slowed yet.

When I was young, I walked to Elementary School. On the way there and back I would stop and visit with an elderly lady. I wish I could remember her name. I don't know how or when we became friends. I think it started with me watching her fill her flowerbeds and tend to her garden. It was the first time I heard about peat moss.

The two of us spent a lot of time together. I remember sitting at her table, talking about who knows what while eating her fresh made fruit leather. One of her walls had all kinds of sailboats on it. I loved everything about her little house and her. This lady who didn't even know who my parents were but shared her life with me, a 7 year old.

I have always had an affinity for gray hair and wrinkled eyes. As I, myself age, I've come to understand cognitively what I felt in my heart for so long, that our bodies succumb to a corruptive process, but our spirits stay youthful and vibrant.

This friend of mine who just lost her husband, though her wrinkles are plentiful, is the same as me on the inside. I consider all of this time that she has taken care of her ill husband and I love her even more. He suffered from the same disease that plagues my body. I see myself in him, limited by the shell we carry. And at the same time feel comfort in the knowledge that I have a husband who will care for me with all of the love that my friend has for her spouse.

I cry with her today. For her loss. For her service. For her empty home. My heart is with you, O.J. Richard has gone home to his Father in Heaven and is finally free of his pain.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Christmas Quotes from my Children

"Are we really getting nothing for Christmas?"

"I hope Christmas is like last year when I got a new tetherball and it was fun."

"I already knew that, the Tooth Fairy is dad, but Santa is real."

"Make sure you remember everything I want in my stocking."

"We already had Christmas last year."

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Breaking Stuff, Building Stuff, Avoiding Stuff

One day I thought, I will take a hammer to my wall and make a little storage room under my stairs. Yes, this was a good thought. So I found the hammer, which is usually either in one of the drawers in my kitchen, or somewhere in the yellow bag o' tools. The hammer was next to the yellow bag o' tools. Of course.

And so I commenced said hammering while all my children stood in amazement. Saying encouraging things such as, "Dad is going to be mad.", "Does Dad know about this?", and "Wait 'til Dad sees this." Apparently my children think their mother just goes Willy Nilly Whatever She Wants Sometimes. Oh, please.

Nah, he didn't know. But one time we talked about accessing that space. So that's pretty much approval right there. And plus, he doesn't have to lift a finger, it's all my job. And that's the way I like my projects. Control issues? Ummm... maybe.

So now I have it pounded out and vacuumed up with the beautiful shop-vac I purchased on Black Friday Morning from Home Depot. I used much restraint to stick to my list in that place. I'm like a fat kid in a candy store in there. I Want Everything.

The thing is, I'm supposed to be writing. Working on my novels. And look at me right now, writing a blog entry. Avoid much? Okay, but I also have a kiddo home with me today. And I'm cutting up shelves so I can finish the project. And it's snowing, kind of. And I haven't seen the sun today. And me working on a project means my house isn't getting the attention it needs.

But. I did send out 10 pages for my critique group today. Of course, that doesn't add to my word count. Dangit.

Plus also, and including another excuse for my writing negligence, I got Ally Condie's book, Matched, in the mail today. And I want to read it!!! Wah. Wah. Wah.

Time to use the Skill Saw now.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Eat Pray Love and Take a Nap (spoiler alert)

In general, I like Julia Roberts. But I just have to say, her lips distract me. I find myself ignoring the story and staring at the oddity on her face. Have they always been that big? Did she pull a Meg Ryan?

Anyway - back to the movie. I completely sided with her husband. How about some communication, Julia? How about you mention throughout the years that you're not happy instead of all of a sudden leaving? And then you sack up with a boy? And seriously... that guy? The Spiderman mean guy? I'm sure the book held much more detail. But I'm talking just the movie here.

Then we have clap, clap, travel to Rome, India, Bahli, and meditate. Yes, meditation will help you - find yourself. Gag. Ick. And lame. How about we just all open our minds and forgive ourselves for bailing on our marriage, committing adultery, and running away from our responsibilities? Oh, I feel so much better.

Yes, there are tears, Julia. Because you're an idiot for looking for a sign from an old guy with no teeth who reads your palm. Let me tell you something lady, there are plenty of "signs" for infidelity. Plenty of selfish reasons to think you as an individual are more important than your commitments. Pull up your big girl panties and work on your marriage.

But no, you run away and hook up with Felipe who has so much in common with you - you're both divorced, ooh, that's a rare thing to find nowadays. And he owns an island? And a boat? And he's Brazilian? Yes, this non-commitment, commitment is SO much better. And don't worry, you won't ever have disagreements with Felipe, you won't ever have to WORK on your relationship. Living in la la land is great.

So - in conclusion, I did not like the characters, did not like the story line, and did not like that I wasted my time waiting for something to make sense.

Good news is, if you need help falling asleep, slide this one into the dvd player.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Give it a rest! (For Intense Writers like Me.)

Give it a rest!

But when?

I like intense. I like not realizing I'm holding my breath while reading. And I like eventually taking that breath since not taking a breath would render me dead. It's easier for me to draw on the intense, on the powerful emotion as I write. I've lived it.

But. Undulation.

It's the law of our life. And just so you know, and for the purpose of this next personal story, I'd like to add that in my next life I'd love to be an X-treme Sports-chic. A few years ago I hit the white rapids with a group of friends. We ran into a raft-swallowing rapid. A friend of mine was on her way out, so i reached out and threw her back in. And what a boring story if I myself did not fall in. So, Yay for not boring because I did land in the water.

It moves so fast. The water. All I could think was, feet forward, ( so your back doesn't smash into the mammoth huge rocks.) breathe at the bottom of the wave, then close my mouth. Cuz here's the deal. You never crest a wave for a breath. You go THROUGH the wave. The most disconcerting thing is the speed doesn't allow you to take a full breath. You have a split second and then you are under water again.

Don't worry. I made it. Just in case you were wondering.

If books are a reflection of life, then we have to follow the laws of life. We have to have moments to breathe, even if for a split second. Like the split seconds we get in Suzanne Collins' books. I forget this sometimes. In very fact, I mentioned this to Carol Lynch Williams, at which point she said great, write about it. (So I did.) Which, by the way, is not the kind of answer I was looking for, that just goes against my philosophy of immediate gratification. You know those people who when you asked for a definition they said, Look it up. Ewww. Grrr. Except for Carol. She gets an ewww and grrr pass.

So as far as timing goes, I've tried to look at my writing as rapids. After a good soaking, let the reader come up for a breath. And make sure the climax feels like there is no way back to the surface.

Let us not drowns our books. And let us be glad for a few moments here and there that we dared to jump in.

Happy writing and rafting.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

My Kids Reading Infatuation for the Week

Charlie Bones and The Children of the Red King by Jenny Nimmo.
My 10 year old son has read 5 of the books in the last 4 days.

I'm going to have to read one to see what it's all about.

Poochie is Accosted by TSA

Dear Readers,

Who so far there are none since I just started this blog. Yes, another blog. Stop it. That's not the point. The point is Poochie.

Rumours have escalated around the emotional trauma that Poochie the dog has had to endure since being shoved through the naked scanner at the airport. Apparently Poochie had an accident with a stick one day in his backyard. A tragic event that left him half the man he used to be.

Poochie tried to cover up this crude half-castration with some creative engineering from articles he recovered from the neighbors garbage can. (Well, they shouldn't have left it out on the curb that long. A dog can't be expected to have self control indefinately.) It's really amazing what duct tape can do.

But alas, poor Poochie was REVEALED during the naked scanner at O'Hare International. After the preceeding pat-down (inappropriate touching) the ingenious article was removed. Because apparently you no longer need underwear to be an underwear bomber. So said the grinning and somewhat slimy TSA worker.

You can imagine the humiliation. Of which Poochie seeks to be compensated for in the amount of 84 million 763 thousand 482 dollars and 36 cents. He is also suing for loss of girlfriend who no longer finds Poochie... suitable.

If you have any information - cell phone video - audio recording - water cooler gossip - to use in this case of, "Don't Touch My Literal Junk" please contact his lawyers.