Tuesday, December 25, 2012

There's a reason they put repeat as an option on itunes


"There's a still in the street outside your window" --Brandon Flowers

Dear You,

The first time I hear this song, we are sitting in a booth in a place called Joe Mama's eating brunch. And I say, "I love this song. What is this song?" And I love it more when you listen so closely and try to hear the lyrics for me. I write what we can make out on an Equal packet and put it in the zipper pocket of my purse, and when we get home--okay a day after we get home--I remember and say, "oh, man, that song!"

I search the lyrics. A really awful, tacky rap song comes up first. I clarify my search with the one word you were able to hear that I hadn't heard in that noisy diner on a Pittsburgh corner on a Sunday morning, and it is the magic one that leads me to the song which I buy immediately. And then listen to obsessively for the next hour. You grin, and I say, "Sometimes, I am..."  You finish, "Obsessive Compulsive?" and you laugh. I laugh too, but I'm nodding and saying, "I really am..." 

I make no apology. I rinse and repeat, rinse and repeat, kiss and repeat.

I love this song. Obsessively and without end-- for now.

You, I love for always.

Love, Me

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Hustle-bustle writing

Last night, I dreamed about writing. I was writing and working on things, but stuck and struggling. Still, it was an oddly positive feeling, like at least I was trying. Also, John Green was there in a library that was haunted, which was pretty cool too.

I have to write a devotional for my college, and I'm really blocked. This is why I HATE having a subject matter given to me with deadlines. (Kinda like I do to my students all semester long, wut?)

It has to be a Christmas kind of devotional. I was thinking of using Isaiah 9:6 because I love that song, and it's a little off the Christmas Scripture's normally beaten path, though still very much about the first coming of Jesus.

For some reason, I keep thinking of Robert Frost's poem, "Stopping By Woods on  Snowy Evening." It feels very Christmas-y to me, what with the snow and harness bells, even if it does have a bit of darkness to it.

This is why I'm not in journalism. That and I never took any courses on journalism. And also because I wrote for publication that one year and hated it-- the deadlines... the bustle... the bylines. Okay, it wasn't all bad.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

I remember cooking... once...


It bothers me that at age 40 I still don't know which cut of beef makes the best pot roast. These questions that can so easily be answered-- by Google, by my mother-- that I can't seem to find the answers that sometimes keep me awake at night, like I haven't earned the right to the answer.

I'm a good cook. I don't even think that's debatable, but because I don't cook often, it feels like it is. There's an unwinding that happens as I walk from my school to my car and begin the drive toward home that I can't seem to turn off. And it's not that I'm physically tired, it's more of an unwinding of mind and spirit, a release of duty that is nearly impossible to reverse. I am often the last person to return home, and this usually has me asking, as I go through the mail on the table, "What's for dinner?" to the nearest male. The answer is usually a sigh, a moan, a suggestion to eat out, or an actual answer if you're my self sufficient youngest son. He waits for no man, that one. He likes cooking and being in charge of when he eats and what he eats. Also, he's good at it, and he shares.

That doesn't mean I never cook, but I've taken to crockpot dinners and quickie stove-top meals, not the fried chicken of my youth. My mother used to buy a chicken-- an entire chicken-- remove the insides, cut the thing up, create a flour coating and fry the pieces in Brady-mom Wesson. 
I think of this, I consider the effect such a meal might have on my family, and I remain solidly unmotivated.

Maybe I will make a cheesecake from scratch over Christmas break. I used to do this all of the time when I was a stay-at-home mom. I cooked pot roasts, homemade biscuits, casseroles, stir-fry, even an occasional stew. I guess I need to recharge, to coil that creative energy back up and ladle it out over carved turkey or hand-mashed potatoes.

But not before I write. Darn it. I've got to write this break. Write now, cook later. My kids seem willing to forgive this transgression in favor of McDonalds or Cousin Vinny's Pizza a couple of nights a week.

You there, the one about to comment on what a dreadful mother I am? No need. I'm well aware. Thank God, they're healthy and not overweight. They are getting soft though... maybe they could pick up jogging or sit ups or something... or sit and think about doing those things like their mom. 

I diverge. I divulge. I wish I cooked more often and varied. I wish I exercised with my kids, so we could all tone up. Well, they'll tone up, I'll lose 45 more pounds. Yep, that seems like a good plan.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

We've all got shame music. This is mine.


It makes me run. Not just my legs, though they’re sure to fly over green grass or cracked sidewalks— but inside, my blood moves more quickly in my veins through  my body and back around to my twisty straw of a heart.
Let’s just say you know the lyrics are crap. Like, maybe they handed a four year old a marker and a piece of paper? But then. Music, friends, music is something else altogether. It has this quality that lives and breathes on its own. I don’t care what they’re saying as long as they break down for the verse and build back up toward the chorus (right before they drop the bottom out)  All I think is, “something’s gotta give now…”  I struggle with sitting still and those curly pixie straws I call veins are rushing and pushing the music straight to my twisty turny heart again.

I want to dance, I want to montage to it— type on an old typewriter, fold clothes, dance across the room with a dust rag in my hand, exercise, eat healthy, have all of the things I should be doing squished into 3 minutes of rushing, pumping, nonsensical improvement.
I… can’t stop listening to this song. I’ve always been the repeat queen, and this is my current obsession, this one thing.
I’ve lost all street cred. 


This is really the pre-dance before the big dance

Stop being so stuffy and dance with me, Baby! The papers are graded!

Granted, I collect three more tomorrow, present a short workshop on APA, and I will have to regrade revisions next week, but for now? I'm the freest free bird that's ever flown free.

Now dance.





Sunday, December 2, 2012

Mostly this is for Jaimes...

This made me laugh more than it should have.





Saturday, December 1, 2012

Why Facebook Sometimes Stresses Me Out

Okay, this article, linked below, is why I never, ever friend students unless they've crossed over into friendland after the course, and I mean friendland IRL, which cannot happen during the course, and only happens after the course as a matter of, well, course. Except for Jaimes. And Bekah. And JaronandLauraandTim. But all others and since that first year, no more friending. And also, I defriended all of those people except Jaimes on Facebook. And other Laura, because she is so smart and interesting.

And this is why I never, ever facebook friend someone from work. Seriously, I used to, and I got rid of them all too, and then made it a point not to friend ANYone from my current place of employment, even though they ALL friend each other. I just say, "Oh, I only use that for family" and triple-double checked that I'd made the page private, seen only by "friends."

High school friends, you're next. I mean, c'mon. We're not interacting, we're visually stalking each other. Period.

But yeah. We are a little different with family than we are with friends, even if it's not drastic BIG differences. And it's stressful trying to remember that and keep it all straight and still interact.

This is why I love tumblr-- it's fresh and I started over and only one person IRL reads it and sees what I repost or write there.

Article here.

Friday, November 16, 2012


Oh, man. It's not time yet, but when it is, this.

Excuse the language-- hear the message.

Doing the math

I overcommitted. It's late in the game to realize that, but there it is.

So.

I've got 21 papers to grade by Sunday night. That's not bad. What bothers me is that I will have 29 papers to "re-grade" by Wednesday night before Thanksgiving.

Then I will grade 29 new papers on November 30, and they MUST be turned around by December 4. THEN I will regrade those papers after they've been written between December 8 and December 15.

Add to that 5 more papers for the projects at another school = no life.

I cannot freaking wait for December 21. All grades must be in by then. My life begings again that day.

I will bake, clean, sleep, and watch silly videos. I will catch up on TV and read books, books, books.

It's about a month away... I can do this.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Debilitating

Dear Me,

When you are feeling overwhelmed and exhausted and behind on EVERYthing, try to remember that you feel this way only because you have a husband who genuinely likes spending lots of time with you; kids who want to tell you everything that's going on in their lives and ask your advice; coworkers who want to call you friend and ask your opinion on their projects; and a job where the demand is in direct proportion to how fulfilling it is.

Yeah, remember that as you fall into bed at 11 pm, unprepared for your evaluation with your department chair tomorrow, behind in your course and your grading, and feeling like you didn't give enough attention to your family.

And then remember that Thanksgiving is just around the corner, and then Christmas and those sweet, sweet 3 weeks of vacation filled with family and reading and relaxing.

You got this.

Love, Me.


Tuesday, November 6, 2012

birthday

Best. Birthday. EVER. No, seriously. My husband literally spent 1200 dollars on real jewelry for me-- a wrap for my solitaire, 1/3 karot (this is how Mike told me to spell. I KNEW it was wrong. It's carat or karat, darling.) CERTIFIED princess cut diamond earrings, AND an 1/8 round solitaire for my cartilage on the left ear.

ALSO. A sterling silver chain with a beautiful designed created sapphire and little white created sapphires... lovely.

And my husband said I should definitely get a tattoo because that would HOT. So. I'm thinking maybe on my foot... a line of poetry. Suggestions welcome. And I'd LOVE to get my sons' names and their birthdays on the inside of my wrist.

Life is so good. Chocolate cake, candles, just the best birthday I honestly think I've ever had.

Forty looks just fine.


My son says this makes me look like a zombie... I guess I can see that.



Friday, November 2, 2012

This is...

This is what happens: You collect 44 papers, and you create your presentations and you do NOTHING. ELSE. Except maybe spend time with the husband who is telling you that you never spend time with him. And maybe spend time with your kids too, because you actually do enjoy spending time with the husband and the boys.

But you do NOTHING ELSE. No blogging, no tumblring, no... nothing.

And it seems to have started an avalanche of nothing, because I'm just answering student emails, working in the writing center, spending time with the family, and collecting more papers... no writing happens. NONE.

And it's freaking Nanowrimo, and I was going to participate in my own bastardized version of it-- 1,000 words a day on the WIP and one blog and/or tumblr every other day.

It's not too late... right? After all, I have the day off today, and I WILL grade 6 papers today, but I can also write a little before I do laundry, fold clothes, and hang with the husband and son. (Other son, older son, is at Grandma and Grandpa's.)

Younger son is starting a new school on MONDAY. So psyched about this. He visited and LOVED it! He is my hero for so many reasons, this is just the latest one.

I will now WRITE, darn it.



Friday, October 19, 2012

This is to help me organize...

I can't. I just. I can't.

Microsoft Word wouldn't save my files last night. I would grade a paper, try to save it, and it would say I couldn't due to filetype. It did this with every kind of filetype, no matter what it was. So, I literally spent the entire afternoon/evening trying to figure out what had happened-- I assumed it was a virus. Spent until 10 pm trying to fix it, and finally figured out what was causing it though I still don't know how it started. I graded seven papers and created a presentation and lay down around 2:30, drifted off sometime after 3:30, got up this morning and delivered the presentation (which went REALLY well, so yay), had lunch with my son and came home. And now.

Now I need to grade the rest of one college's papers: 15 and then grade the other college's papers: 14. You know, 29 papers. No... biggie... Write two discussion posts and reply to four people; then create the presentation for that course by Sunday night.

The plan is to grade all of the papers and do one discussion post today.

Then one discussion post and a presentation tomorrow. Then rest on Sunday.

*complain, whine, complain*  Sorry. Call me a wambulence.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Not depressed, really. Overwhelmed.

This is what I have to do.

1. Grade 21 papers and input midterm grades TONIGHT for one of the colleges I teach for.
2. Create a presentation about turnitin.com which I must present tomorrow.
3. Create a presentation by Sunday night for the TESOL course I am taking.
4. Join in scholarly discussion on the TESOL course and post replies to others by Sunday night.
5. Be mom and dad to the boys tonight... (again?) since Mike has to be with his dad who is back in the hospital.

I'm buying dinner out for the boys and me. I'm going to do my best on the grading-- what else can I do? I'm going to practice my presentation for tomorrow a few times (after I create it, ha).

It's getting to that bad time again. The time when I would foolishly welcome some small surgery, a minor car wreck, anything to give me a chance to stop and actually think about the steps I'm taking and the things people around me are saying.

This is what tired truly is.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

bah.


When I think about sleeping tonight, I keep getting these little white hot sparks of fear-- you know the kind, the ones that spark from your heart to your toes and into your fingertips.

It's unreasonable. It's ridiculous. But last night, I broke my record for staying up and not on purpose. I couldn't sleep until 5:30 this morning. Now, I never used to be a person who couldn't sleep-- even at slumber parties or pulling an "all nighter," 4 am was about as late/early as I could go.

I just don't understand it. Is it stress? Is it pre-menopausal crap? I am not that old. Bah. I am not very tired at all today either. Please, please let me sleep tonight... no restless legs, no running mind, please. No staring at the ceiling thinking that I'm fine, I'm not worried about anything, the world is snoring, so WHY CAN'T I FREAKING SLEEP?

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

No matter how quietly you whisper


Here is what I promise. I promise that I will listen when you talk. If I am writing, I will put my pen down; if I’m watching TV, I will turn it off; if I’m running from place to place, hurried and busy, I will stop mid-step. I will turn to you, look at you, and hear every word you say.
I won’t change the subject or connect what you’re saying to something that happened to me; I will be comfortable with your pauses and will not fill the in-between air with meaningless words of my own. 
And when you’re finished telling your story, really and truly have gotten it all out, I’ll ask only one question, and I promise to mean it with all of my heart, “How can I help?”
And then I will listen again.

Mom


I have a very kind mother. A patient, loving, genuinely kind mom. I spent the weekend with her, wishing I were as kind and thinking that, above all other attributes, I'd love to be remembered as someone who was always kind first.

Even over strong, smart, or talented; over creative, interesting, or well liked, I would consider it a great victory, a wonderful homage, if I am remembered as someone who was kind to everyone, even and especially to those who aren't commonly thought of as deserving kindness.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Farther Away


I can't take as deep a breath as I used to. I don't know if that's age or generalized exhaustion, but everything seems to be a little farther away these days; it all requires a bit more of me, taking the ease of breath and my expected sense of gravity with it.

Yesterday I was dizzy all afternoon and evening. At one point, it was so severe I asked my husband to drive me to the ER, then promptly talked him out of it. Google says there may be some rare disease, and I, in typical hypochondria, want to agree.

It's probably exhaustion. Just being tired. Maybe it's psychological because there isn't enough day right now. The evenings are shorter, the mornings earlier, and really, I swear,  everything is just a little farther away requiring more of me than my body wants to give.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Again

Can I come in through Your back screen door and sit at the table where the light shines in? Maybe we can start from there, if Your door is still open and Your table ready. What else should I do, how  else can I find You once more?

I know, I'll follow these breadcrumbs You left before the beginning of time of Your words, Your deeds, and Your thoughts about me, knowing with each step I'm already there, that we've been at the table from the moment I formed the thought, whispered the words, "I want to come home."

Wednesday, October 3, 2012


I am always in a hurry.

Ever since I was a little girl I've hurried everywhere I went. I don't know how it started, this impatient, speed-walking thing I do, never mind if I'm early, or I have no appointment at all; I feel an implacable desire to make the shortest time in the distance between one place and the next. And it later translated to my driving. I'm always going those five free miles over the speed limit and looking ahead to consider the timing of lights and which lane will have the shorter line, and I don't know why.

Maybe, despite my love of maps, I am not as much a lover of travel as I imagine myself to be. Maybe, despite all of the warnings I've been given, I can't stop making it about the destination.

Or maybe, I just think that something is waiting around the next corner, at the stoplight just ahead and crowding the crosswalk, that thing that I never stop looking for.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

On Empathy and Exhaustion


When I was little, my empathy was boundless and always on, attuned to any living thing in the area. I cried over sick, winged things, sighed and sat quietly with cats, and begged my mother to punish me instead of the sisters who were in trouble for something they had done to me. (They would often join in, "Yeah, spank her!" *see my wry smile here*) 

As I grew, I learned to rein that empathy in, store and focus it when the time was right. I stopped letting every broken thing in through the window, and I turned my head when people walked by, because I didn't want to see what was true behind their eyes, at least not every day. My mother says that being upset, whether sad or angry or even excited and happy can exhaust you worse than running a mile. I think she's right, especially when it's not my pain I'm feeling. 

But then someone reaches in past the boundaries you've carefully placed by simply being really sad and in the same space you happen to be in. You say the right words, you make yourself small and quiet, and you hope they don't see you shaking. You shake because when the empathy is on and going full blast, you see how fragile everyone is, they are all brittle bones and weak hearts and shuddering breaths, and you've got to be so careful, so awfully, terribly careful with the wounds they've often unknowingly bared.

And for a few days after an episode like that, I still feel careful with everyone I meet, down to the mere flashing of eyes when I pass them in a hall, because I've been reminded that everyone feels; that there is a world of secret going on behind their crossed arms, and they may need my careful hands and quiet heart today. 

And it's exhausting to be so careful, so aware. I sleep the best after the days that I care.

Sunday, September 30, 2012

writing update


After church today, I watched Doctor Who and took my son to look at Halloween decorations at the store, then I came home and opened my laptop, and I started writing.

I wrote this scene I'd had in my mind for a while now, and I ended up writing 2400 words. Weird.

I like most of it. But hey, I forgave myself and got it all down. I'm sure it'll be reworked till I want to puke someday, but today is not that day. It's down on paper!

On to the work week.

ETA: And then I thought I'd write this other little scene I've been thinking about and suddenly I've written over 5,000 NEW words today. WHAT?



Friday, September 28, 2012

An Open Letter to My Heart

This is for both of you.

It's nothing you haven't seen before, another letter from your mom, another bunch of words telling you that you make up the very best parts of me and that I can't imagine the world before you, that separate life of other things that I thought were important.

And I know that when you see this, you might roll your eyes, smile a bit and say, "What did you do now, Mom?" with a sense of indulgence well beyond your years. Sometimes, when I can't hold back and I try again to write about the way you changed the meaning of love and life for me, our roles reverse, and I'm the child with a picture for the fridge, these words that I pick up again and fail at, again.

Because I can't write all of the things you are. I can't say all of the ways I hope for you or make your eyes  see the girl I was before you, so you understand how much better you've made me, just by existing.

The world is better because you breathe and move in it. And all I want from you, all I've ever wanted is for you to see what I see, to recognize the miracle you are, and to fulfill the promise your existence makes of a better world.

That's all.

In other words, be the you God created you to be, as loudly and as colorfully as you dare, make horrible mistakes and get back up, and know that somewhere, high in the stands, I'm watching, shielding my eyes against your quiet brightness, waiting for you to amaze this world by simply, forcefully being yourselves.

Oh c'mon lurking lurkers... your advice please!



ALSO. Go to this tumblr of amazing things. She pairs lines from books with TV shows of today, and it  works so awesomely well. Very cool.

And it looks like I'll be full time next semester due to a maternity leave (not mine, haha, one I'm covering)  AND I get to teach a young adult literature course! OH YEAH, I SAID IT. And we get to DESIGN IT, YO.  Another teacher and I are going to team teach-- she's going to do children's lit, and I'm going to hit young adult. I'm thinking some John Green, maybe some Hunger Games, and we're going to find out if we can do Harry Potter. Oh, and The Outsiders!

Any suggestions, leave them in the comments. I'm thinking I should look at high school required reading and avoid any YA on those lists, you know like Catcher in the Rye, Lois Lowry, A Wrinkle in Time... they will have read most of that. I am the go to girl for amazing off the grid YA literature.

Separated this out because there are a few other people who happen by on occasion and I'd like to hear their thoughts... if they happen by...

p.s. I was in a meeting with associate professors and the chair of the department when this fell into my lap, and we were discussing whether Harry Potter could be considered, and I said, out loud, filter off, "Wait, this is my job? Like you want to pay me for this?" Thank goodness they just laughed, not knowing I totally meant it and would design and teach this class for FREE.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Good news and spoiler butts. and inevitably, The Fault in Our Stars


Look, I know the guy at work was older and maybe a little out of touch, but I had just loudly announced, "I haven't seen it, so don't spoil it for me!" Regarding a new show that came on this week... he wasn't listening and proceeded to tell the BIGGEST SPOILER OF THE ENTIRE SERIES. And hey, I'm not asking him not to talk about it, but you know, give me a sec to get out of the room. I just really HATE spoilers.

I picked up The Fault in our Stars by John Green after work today, as something to read while Brad had piano lessons. After what I'd read about it, I wasn't too enthused, but I was going to hear him read in October, so I figured I should read the book I planned to ask him to sign. Thought it would take me a while to get through too-- I just don't like sad. And I suspected sad.

BUT. I laughed quite a bit during this book. I felt all the feels. And I finished it five minutes ago. It was a one nighter for me. It's a solid YA book. Touching, sweet, funny, thoughtful, and yes, sad. Especially reading it as the mother of teenage boys.

And I'm not sick anymore! Feel like a person again! No more puking-- huzzah!

[This paragraph makes no sense, unless you read the blog post I wrote after it... which is technically above it right now.] So, you know, dear readers, all 1.5 of you, give me good, solid but not cliched book ideas. I swear if the world were mine and I had two semesters to teach it, I'd toss in Twilight because it would make a bloody fantastic study on overused tropes and cliches, and anti-feminism, and racism, vamps versus werewolves... I mean that could be super deep... oh, wait, never mind any of this last paragraph-- I'm on Ambien. It was the walrus' idea to include Twilight. He's a kindly and fluffy old gramp, but his ideas are terrible and not well thought out.




Wednesday, September 26, 2012

sick


I have the stomach flu. Like in the worst way. I woke up at 5:30 with it.

Like holding a trash can and... yeah. I haven't been sick like this in YEARS. Please, please be a 24 hour thing... please.

*big baby*

Aaaand I have a fever. I have to go into work tomorrow, no matter what. Oh, bah.



Tuesday, September 25, 2012

What Would You Do?

Spent the day collecting "What Would You Do?" videos on youtube (from the show on ABC) for an in-class response activity.

And it inspired me to do something different. The class is a first year composition course at a college, and its focus is social media. They will be doing a final project in groups, and it's going to involve media in some form, and I can't help thinking that it could have a community base or become a service learning project.

And it feels like the "What Would You Do?" videos could connect to this, but I don't know how right now.

Maybe if they found a local or under-appreciated charity and used social media to promote awareness and a call to action? They could write a new slogan, redesign outdated ads, create a Facebook, Twitter, website... of course they'd have to get permission from the charity-- OR they could keep it all private (which means no Twitter or Tumblr...). Or maybe a local person who is trying to raise money for medical bills?

Hmmm... Thoughts?

Monday, September 24, 2012

Standing on the Precipice of Greatness

I often feel I'm on the fringe of something amazing. You know? Like it's just around the corner, and it's waiting for me... but not in a creepy now-I'm-scared-to-turn-the-corner way.

But it's not. Because amazing things do not wait behind bushes and under corner streetlights for us to happen along as we do nothing other than live. I'm not talking about appreciating the everyday amazing things that happen all around us-- that's a different blog post (and anyway, even those everyday amazing things require action in order to recognize and appreciate the commonplace miracles they are). I'm talking about the amazing things we go through, the revelatory moments that change our lives indefinitely. And I know that sometimes those come without a warning, like the birth of a child. Or they come and they're not positive, at least not in the moment, like the death of someone you love.

But for the most part, those moments of greatness are not thrust upon us, but the things we've worked toward, sought after, fought for.

And so that feeling that something amazing is within my reach is both the lie and the truth; it's there, but it won't spring around the corner, it will hide and run and fight me tooth and nail most times. I won't fall into a finished work of fiction if I don't take the time to write; I won't earn a PhD without ever applying to grad school; and I won't live this life to the edges, if I am clearly content dealing in trivialities.

Here's my newest manifesto, the things worth fighting for, the things that require doing the hard thing:

--Raising two responsible, well adjusted Christian members of society who will contribute to their world in a positive, creative way while pointing to Christ with their choices and their words.
--Sustaining a healthy, interactive relationship with my husband by keeping him my best friend and confidant in all things.
--Educating my students for life beyond the walls of Composition by showing them how to put their writing to work for them, promoting their ideas and thinking critically about life's big decisions
--Writing a book I can be proud of, whether it sees the public light of day or not, by forgiving myself enough to get down the first draft I will most likely not be as proud of.
--Learning and applying the ways of the God I profess to know in a real, meaningful, everyday kind of way that reaches other people. Putting my hands where my mouth is, service behind the words.

No more waiting for the amazing, time to go get it.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Accessible or, in a way, even more obscure?

Fourteen papers graded-- I made my goal for the day. Thirty more by Saturday-- totally doable. If I'm disciplined.

In other news, I'm fascinated by the accessibility of famous people to fans via social media. However, I wonder if it's a false sense of accessibility-- like, is it actually the person or their publicist? Or is it false in that, even if it is the person, they're only sharing the person they want you to know and see? And is that any different from what we non-famous folks do with social media?

I don't know. I feel like with some time and effort this could be the topic of a dissertation. I mean, it would have to be narrowed down considerably, but it kinda fascinates me.

Just sayin'.

Stupid puffs of stress and old age and... genetics?

The bags/dark circles under my eyes have always been there. Here I am at 18:

It's kind of hard to see, but my eyes disappear when I smile because the puff under my eyes (check out the puff on the top of my head, but hey it was the 80s get off me) pushes up into my eye area. Bah.

Lately, however, whether due to the trouble I have sleeping, stress, or age (or more probably some combination of those three things), the under-eye issue has gotten worse. So today I put preparation H on the areas... yeah. I've always said I'd never get surgery on my face, but I'm starting to think this is like, changing the way I actually look. Which is not cool when you're inexplicably vain.

Trying not to be. 

In other news, it's Sunday, and we're going to church, but first a check-in-- I did write at least 750 words every other day; in fact, I wrote more than that some days, and I definitely wrote something every single day (except yesterday). So hurrah. BUT. None of it was on my WIP. It was all nonsensical fun type stuff. But it's a good way to start a habit, you know make it fun for the first week. This next week, my goal is to write 750 words every other day ON MY WIP. Report back next Sunday.

As for today, Laura will be grading... I've collected 44 papers, and 14 of them MUST be graded by 8 am tomorrow morning. I've got this whole system set up-- grade 5 papers, give yourself a reward of entertainment-- like viewing one of the few vlogbrothers videos I have yet to see; read 10 pages of the book I'm enjoying right now; or watch one section of a show I've tivo'd up to the commercials. And so on. Maybe I can get 20 done and get a bit ahead for the coming week...

See you on the other side.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Oh, Ambien walrus... is it adventure time already?

All of these are taken from  http://www.toothpastefordinner.com/ who came up with the brilliance and spot on accuracy of the Ambien Walrus.






Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Toe pick!

Did I mention I started ice skating lessons with my sons last week? I mean, I'm taking the lessons and so are they. When I was younger, I taught myself to get around the rink without hugging the wall, but I've some bad habits to break.

Last week, I was dripping sweat, like just drenched, which is awesome. I mean, it's not awesome if you care what you look or smell like, but it's awesome if you're learning to skate and burning up a few calories at the same time.

I don't think the instructor will be able to teach me to skate backwards... I just don't see myself ever being able to do that. Mike (who played hockey in high school) tried to teach me when we were first married, and I just couldn't get it, no matter how I tried.

We'll see.

I'm sure I'll be doing stuff like this in no time... minus the puffy-headed guy starting at my chest...


Step back, it might be catching...

Holy crap, it's the Bekah theory!

See, I have this friend Bekah, and she has this theory (confession, amazing self awareness?) that some of us have input/output cycles.

Like I said in my last post, I went through about, well, if I'm honest it started in July, so 6-8 weeks of reading, TV watching, and insightful video viewing on Youtube (input). And now, now all I want to do is vomit words onto the page or work on lesson plans or talk to people about the things I've read and seen (output).

Bekah, it's a thing. And I've got it (like a disease?). Now, if I could just put my output to work on what I felt like instead of letting inspiration hop and skip me on each rock across this stream, I might have something real to show for it when the next input phase hits me.

What do you think? Is this a thing for you too, sometimes?

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Facing the Facts


*side note* I have a tumblr. Follow if you want. It'll have some crossposting, but will mostly be some old stuff I found recently and shorter snippets of things I'm thinking or writing.

Stasis. And the changing of the seasons. Turning 40. Writer’s block. Visiting my past through heart rending blog posts.

These things combined to make me depressed over the weekend. Like, to the point of not-wanting-to-get-out-of-bed-or-eat-anything depressed. I was trying to decide if it was any one of these things, but it wasn’t—any one of these things slows me down or makes me a little sad for a while; these things combined knocked me flat on my back with this awful, restless feeling.

Stasis. I haven’t been moving forward in anything. I’m just sort of treading water at work when there are all sorts of exciting things I should be working on, like proposals for a new program, lesson plans for the rest of the semester (actually kind of fun since I get to design it all myself), and the layout of a new course for Academic Support in our new LMS, Canvas. Then there’s my personal life where I’ve been hiding out. The husband and I spent nearly every night together the last two years, and it’s been amazing for our relationship. Add to that all of the great conversations and even the not-so-great conversations I’d been having with my sons about school, friends, bullies, and the meaning of life, and I had connections, people. But the last few weeks, I’ve been burrowing, and I don’t think it’s been healthy. I’ve been going up to my room and watching videos and TV and reading like a fiend. Just boundary-less entertainment and input, and it was amazing at first. But now, I think I’m feeling the disconnect, and it’s tough to get it back. My husband keeps calling me out on it, which is good, but he can’t be expected to try to pull me down the stairs every night. Time for me to reconnect, because hiding upstairs is only making my stasis, my depression, worse.

The changing of the seasons. This always happens to me. Though not usually in fall, I’m usually manic in the fall, and it’s the spring that kills me. I think this one will right itself if some of the other reasons right themselves, because I freaking LOVE fall.

Turning 40. It's not like it sounds. I don’t mind turning 40 or growing older—age really is a number to me. I still love my birthdays, and I don’t feel any older than 16. BUT. I am starting to evaluate what I’ve done so far with my time and what I’d like to do with the time I have left. I articulated this to my husband last night, and without looking up from the sports cards he was sorting, he said, “You’re having a midlife crisis. It’s your turn.” Which I thought was hilarious and incredibly self aware of him because, ladies and gentlemen, he had his own midlife crisis a couple of years ago (around the time he turned 40… coincidence?).

Writer’s block. I’m terrified of looking at my WIP right now. I just can’t face it. I’m going to write it in the wrong direction and then have to start all over again; I’m going to write my characters into some kind of hole or my MC isn’t likeable enough, so I should start over now, or… see? Not so much writer’s block as writer’s scaredy-pants. I just need to open the page and face the blinking cursor. Every day. 750, here we go.

Visiting my past. Oh nostalgia, you suck. You are a motivation sucking machine. A few years ago I went through a weird quasi-depression. Not a real depression, because I was happy for the most part (except when I was feeling sorry for myself, heh), and I was producing work like a madwoman. Too bad most of it was self indulgent crap, though I like some of it. I salvaged a bunch of it and stored it on a tumblr I started over the weekend. If you want to follow, it’s here. Basically, it will be smaller snips of what I do here, with some crossposting, so you might not want to follow. It’s up to you.

Ideas I’ve been having which may or may not just be a distraction from all of the things I should be doing: 1. A video blog to my sons, like letters in video form. It’s been done before, and I’m not trying to break new ground or gain an audience, this would just be for us, for them… someday. 2. Restarting book club. I had a book club with some grad school friends of mine, and it just fizzled and DIED when two of the girls had babies. Like, poof. And I can’t blame them because I and the other girls let it die, like maybe I just didn’t want the obligation anymore, I don’t know, but I kinda want it back now. The discussions were so much fun.

And this was for me. If you read all of this, you deserve a dozen cookies or a shopping spree. You choose and then, you know, go and get it. Because the girl who has lost 18 lbs has no cookies and will not be going on any big shopping sprees until she loses the rest. <3

Monday, September 17, 2012

I hate magicians

I won a ticket for a front row seat to hear John Green read at the Cincinnati Library! I was very excited when I first found out.

But then I really started to picture it, and now I wonder if it's going to be okay. I'm not saying I'm giving up my seat or anything, but... stuff like this is awkward to me. Basically live performances of any kind (except for bands, why are bands okay?) make me nervous, embarrassed, and uncomfortable.

So why does it feel a little like when your mom hires a magician for your party and you're all nervous and sick inside because you're worried he won't be good or your friends won't like him or, worst of all, he'll lock eyes with you just before he pulls the rabbit from the hat?

Am I the only one that is embarrassed and uncomfortable with stuff like that?

I'm a teacher. I can stand in front of 30 some kids and teach and talk and be just fine, but put me in a front row where things are live and there are variables and someone else is up there... performing... and... I'll start getting nauseous and worried the lion tamer's chair will break.



Tumblr with the Bundles...

Obscure Annie reference... anyone? No? Really? Okay.
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Here's the thing. I used to write nearly every day, and I recently stumbled across this defunct blog I wrote in years ago. Some days I wrote sheer silliness or lists, but other days-- other days it was poetry and stories, or lovely little pieces of myself and my family, my situation as a teacher, a reader, a writer, and a homemaker. Some of them still stir the emotions I was feeling when I wrote them. Some of them are funny, downright goofy. But they're all honest. And it felt wrong to let them die in what had essentially become a blog graveyard.

So I took that defunct blog, and I salvaged the posts and started a tumblr to post them to, a place that keeps them separate from the blogging I now do here and keeps them organized. Anyone is welcome to follow it. I went through some of the toughest times of my life during those years. And it's some of my favorite work, if not a little too altruistic and downright sappy. There may even be some cliche, haha. But if you want to know what kind of a writer I really was in my early thirties, nearly ten years ago, feel free to check it out. http://motherofboys247.tumblr.com/

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Motivation, I can haz it?

Lol cat reference! Anyone...? Anyone...? Too old hat? Okay, moving on.



Comforting. I mean, I know some of my friends have taken a while to write their drafts and have had to rewrite their drafts, but it's nice to hear it again and again from published writers whose work I admire. And I think I read somewhere else that he took 4 years to write that same book. I read too many Stephen King interviews, because I kinda worship his writing style and his characterizations, and he writes most of his books in 3-4 months. Now, I'm sure that is just a first draft, and there simply have to be months of revision that follow, but he does seem to (according to his interviews) get most of it right the first time. The jerk. It's an impossible standard for new writers to aspire to. Maybe after we've been writing for 40 years like he has... maybe.

I have to remind myself that: I have 1.5 jobs right now teaching writing to college freshmen (which means GRADING PAPERS-- BOO to the HOO); that my husband gets hurt if I don't spend time with him most evenings (luckily he usually falls asleep around 8 or 9); that my kids enjoy my company (which I should take advantage of because, let's face it, when you have teenagers, that is not always the case); and that I have a house I'm supposed to sorta keep clean... and do laundry in... and yes, watch some fall TV while I fold clothes.

So, it's hard to find time to write, but it's not impossible. Which is why I'm planning on doing my own version of Nanowrimo. The last time I did this, I got 30,000 words out of it. I didn't end up keeping much of it, but it did help me work out a few things on the page and figure out more of my story, and that's a good thing. Nothing good can come of not writing.

So I'm planning on doing 750 words a day in November; that's weekends, holidays, whatever. EVERY DAY. And I'll start doing every other day this week. Baby steps.

Check this site out. I'm going to see if it helps me-- some of my friends have used it to motivate them to write their dissertations or first drafts of pieces for literary journals. (Yech... I'm such a grown up.)

I just want to get the bones down on this story that I've been thinking about and trying to write for 5 years now. Check in next Sunday.

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Oh fer tired. We painted my son's room today-- it is now a silvery, grayish green. Very nice and it was very needed.

But I'm tired.

I can't stop thinking about my WIP. It sucks that I just never have time to really work on it. I mean, I do mess around some, and I guess I should just quit... that. I need to make a schedule, yeah, that's it.

And I'm going to sleep before midnight tonight, darn it. As in, right now.

This looks good. Requested at the library.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

But I'm so good at it...

I'm doing that thing. You know that thing that writers and teachers do where they do ANYthing they can think of other than what they should be doing, i.e. grade papers, write, lesson plans... I am quite good at it, I must say.

What I really want to do today:
Read a book I got from the library yesterday about time travel.

What I would feel good about doing today:
Help my son pick out paint and get started painting and fixing up his room.

What I have to do today:
Finish lesson plans for the semester and get them posted into the online LMS. And check up on the online classes I'm teaching at the other school...

What I will try to do today:
The lesson plans and the online stuff... and we'll pick out the paint and at least make a plan for painting. Maybe we can get started painting tomorrow after church... the day of rest...

ETA: Goodreads is EATING MY LIFE. When I'm not messing around on it, finding more books, reading reviews and discussions, or requesting books from the library I've found there, I'm reading the books I've found there... ugh.

Friday, August 24, 2012

The conversation continues...

**This was super long and I had edited this out, but now I want to put it back in-- this post is NOT commenting on professional reviews. Thoughtful responses to scathing, professional reviews is a whole other matter and can be done very well, and, I think, is perfectly acceptable and should not be a mark against an author. The difference is that the power is equal (or closer to it)-- both are arguing from public platforms and at least some degree of fame. No author is going to embarrass a professional reviewer or make them too uncomfortable to review honestly again.

I've been thinking more about a convo in the comments of my last post between me and my friend, Jaimes, and I wanted to clarify a little. The post I made was more about how I related what happened with the author to an incident at work that day-- that sick feeling that I had gone too far in defending against what was ultimately someone else's opinion and how that is magnified when you're on the internet and well known.

I don't believe the author should be crucified in reviews of a book. Go ahead and discuss and/or blog about the bad behavior-- otherwise, how do you stop it? That and don't buy his or her book. Because without some kind of rebuttal to such behavior, the power isn't equal.The author in this case was calling on her fans to dog-pile on the reviewer, which is unacceptable. You cannot use your power as a well known author to shut up readers who don't like your book.

I probably won't pick up a book if I hear of an author behaving very childishly. I really want to "like" you before I give you the very precious time away from family and work that it will take to read your words, and it's hard to do that if I think you're small. I assume you're all right up until you prove you're not. (side note: I could not care less if we share political or religious views-- ha, I'd read much less fiction, listen to less music, and enjoy less art, if I took that stance!) You might be a great person, but the internet leaves a big impression that can last a long time that may only showcase a small part of you. If nothing else, I'm going to question your intelligence-- we've seen so many times that this doesn't go well, so why are you doing it?

But I would NEVER give an author a bad review or one star on a book based solely on that author's behavior. That isn't honest. Salinger wasn't a people-person, but the man could write. Do we penalize him for being a hermit, give ugly reviews because he wouldn't sign books or shake hands? Would you want to deprive others of his words because you were offended by his actions or an interview he gave? And where do we draw the line? What's rude behavior to you might not be to me.

But the responding-to-a-bad-review-harshly thing seems to be universally reviled and only detrimental to you, dear author. So please, step away from the keyboard... better yet, don't even click on those one star reviews on Amazon, and just walk away...

p.s. lively discussion on actual issues in a book is a whole other matter for a whole other post that I probably won't write. ;)

Thursday, August 23, 2012

There's always next summer...

It amazes me how fast my room goes from pristine to absolute pigsty. It's quick, my friends. One or two mornings of the "I don't know what to wear" game, a night or two of "I'm too exhausted to do anything but fall into bed" combined with a weekend away and not having time to unpack. Yep, that'll do it. That and returning to work and dumping everything when I stagger up the steps to my bedroom.

Tonight I'm ready to read and sleep. I'm not going in tomorrow, but I've got to finish lesson plans and set up my course online, a big task. My son wants to paint his bedroom, and I promised my boss I would look over her dissertation.

I do not plan well.

Bring on the school year.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

A Defensive End

So this thing that keeps happening happened again today to another author. Or it didn't happen *to* the author. And while I can stand outside and shake my head and knowingly wonder why they would ever think this is a good idea, I have to admit, I can understand the impulse. Today, I was in a meeting and [an idea I had] was attacked, or rather a group of people of which I am a part of ['s idea] was attacked, and I defended it-- not even in a scathing, upset way-- but I have this horrifying feeling that I talked too much. I worry that I looked too upset, too offended.

And it reminds me of this simple truth: not everyone is going to like me [or all of my ideas]. And more than that, not everyone *has* to like me. Trying to make those people like me is an exhausting waste of my time. It robs me of my joy. Hey,  I'm not for everyone. However, at the risk of sounding conceited, most of the people I meet, do end up my friend. But there will always be a few who just aren't going to like me, and I'm not going to stop being myself or chase after them or try to convince them they're wrong by sicking my friends on them to convince them they're wrong; instead, I've learned to shrug it off and enjoy the company of the people who enjoy mine.

Because life is too short, and the internet too big for this kind of nonsense. It doesn't work. It makes you look small. In the end, it reinforces all of the things they believed about you to begin with.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Dream Job?

I am going to force myself to come back here and read this next time I'm burnt out and think I don't want a job. Staying home without any schedule makes me USELESS. I watch a LOT of tv and that is about it. The first 3 weeks are usually good, then I just go to pot. That doesn't mean I feel like going back to work; I don't. But I feel very slimy and gross and depressed, and I know that needing to get dressed and ready and be somewhere, more than just for Sunday church is a must for me. And going out to spend money just makes me nervous, so shopping and eating out aren't as much fun as they might be for someone else.

I go round and round; if I were super rich would I still work? If I didn't, I'd have to be very disciplined and get some kind of a writing schedule in place, make appointments for book clubs, exercise classes, SOMEthing. I could do that now, but I'm going back to work one week from today and do have plans for the weekend (thank goodness).

Living the dream? I don't know. Maybe it works better as just a dream.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Wanna walk in the sun

It wouldn't break my heart this much if I hadn't loved the simplicity of the Lauper version. But this? Yeah, this is heartbreaking. Honestly, I cry every time.


Saturday, August 4, 2012

Weight... Again...

So I started on Adipex this week. WOW. It's like I own my body again. I eat when I'm genuinely hungry and I don't overeat. I have energy I never imagined possible.

The drawbacks? Some of the side effects are uncomfortable-- I have some of the more rare ones. Probably the one giving me the most trouble is the random excessive sweating. I mean, I'm not hot, I'm not even doing anything, and there will be SWEAT. Sometimes it's a cold sweat. And if I'm cleaning or working out, fuggedaboudit-- sweat city! It's almost like my body is heating up, my metabolism is revving up, it's melting the fat-- because the sweat is in a weird place: my middle, where my fat lives, brutha.  I've also got cotton mouth occasionally.  But the trade offs? TOTALLY WORTH IT to feel in control of myself again. I'm a little worried about when I go off it; I'm just going to have to focus on making good habits and retraining my taste buds.

One of the good side effects? The label calls it "a false sense of well being." Which makes me laugh because, well, if I feel good, what's false about it? I don't think I'd still feel good if something bad happened, it's just like a normal day, and I do feel amazing, but how is that a bad thing?

I have not experienced any heart racing, something I kind of expected. That's the kind of thing that would be a deal breaker for me, so glad it's not an issue. If it becomes one, I'm done.

Anyway. We'll see. I'd love to be down significantly by my 40th in November. It's a big birthday.
Go. To. Bed.

Friday, August 3, 2012

At the Edge of the Ocean by Ivy

This song sort of captures the dreamy feeling of a scene I'm working on between my main character and her dead father. I've got it on loop. 

And it must have provided lots 'o inspiration for other creative types as it's appeared in Veronica Mars, The Nine Lives of Chloe King, Greys Anatomy, Shallow Hal, Felicity, and more. 



Tuesday, July 24, 2012

The one bad habit of tired, cranky people

I have this really awful habit. Habit-- what a benign word that is; somehow that word doesn't convey the pattern I'm stuck in. I stay up far too late when I don't work the next day (and even when I do). And I know it while I'm doing it, but that doesn't seem to stop me. And to be honest, I feel just as bad when I don't stay up too late as when I do because it's like I'm missing something-- that magic, quiet house, black outside time, when the kids and husband are sleeping and I really get to decide what I do without any input or worry for anyone else. It's a little delicious. But I feel like crap right before I finally give in and sleep, and I feel like crap the next morning too.

Bah. It's an issue, but I know how to fix it. I guess it's just that 50% of me doesn't want to, even as 100% of me recognizes what a bad habit it is...

It's like I won't even try to sleep until I'm really sure I'll just drop off. No need to lie still in the dark and think, for Pete's sake. Really healthy.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Random but honest tribute to my boys

Sometimes, I think about my children and I'm overwhelmed with gratefulness to just know the awesome people they are becoming.

My sons. You mean more to me than you will ever know. Be embarrassed, annoyed-- but know I love you more than my own heartbeat, and I'm not ashamed. I've got this whole, full life, but you are the biggest, best piece of the puzzle. I love you so. What a wonderful surprise motherhood was for me-- it didn't take me away from other things; instead, it finished me, completed all of the things I'd started previously in ways far better than I ever could have imagined. And while I might go on to do other things, even good and important things, you are the most important things, the very best of everything I've ever hoped or tried to be.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Tomorrow

Tomorrow. Tomorrow is my last day of work until August 20. The prospect of all of those structure-free days makes me giddy. I love sleeping in and deciding on the spur of the moment to go somewhere. No, no, wait-- I love waking up in the morning, getting coffee and SITTING. Just sitting while I drink it instead of getting on the elliptical, getting a shower, putting on make-up, doing my hair, stressing out over what to wear, and worst of all, sweating while I sit there, putting in rollers, looking over my shoulder at the clock.

Now, I can't lie. I'll miss the early mornings in my office, pure quiet, dressed, ready, cool. But I'll trade it for the next five weeks of nothing, blank-white-space days.

Tell your friends: summer officially begins at 2 p.m. tomorrow.


Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Rain, Rain...


         Do you feel that? The weight of the cosmos, pressing down on my head and shoulders. Getting to the bottom of why I feel the way I do, it could go a long way in helping me deal with… well, everything. It would make me a better mom, wife -- person. 
            If only it would storm. If the clouds would collect, pull into the center of the sky and let fly with the water they’re surely holding, I know I’d feel better. At least half of this heartache would be relieved, the pressure released like a tea kettle screaming. And I’m not being metaphorical. I can’t help but believe that if Mother Nature let herself go, I’d be able to. I only know that I am sporadically sad, that I don't know how to express it, and that it’s not your fault. And those are the only words I can pull out of this clear blue sky, the only thing I’ll be able to know for sure until it rains: that, as easy as it would make things, it’s just simply not your fault.
            And I love that you offer to drive me to the rain, to chase heavy clouds as they darken and arrive with the storm in some other city, some faraway state. I know I make little if any sense to you, this longing for rain, but you see that I need it, and the offer is real. I shake my head and smile, looking to the sky, because I have to see it fall here, hear it beating on the windows of our home, saturating this little square of earth we own. I look for lightening, and you come and give me some of your own, fingertips to fingertips, and I rest my weary head on your shoulder. We hold our breath and wait.

 
  

 
         

Friday, July 6, 2012

Chapter 4

Yay for writing groups and summer time to write! Chapter 4 is ready, mt bruthas. Well, it's ready for critiquing. I don't like the opening, but the rest? I like it. And that's something these days.

Friday, June 29, 2012

Random

I don't really care, yet for some reason, it does make me feel... relieved? that Katie Holmes is divorcing Tom Cruise. That relationship gave me the creeps from day one, wish her the best.

In other news, JUST TWO MORE WEEKS OF WORK! Then I'm really off. I found out I will be receiving some kind of part time contract for the upcoming school year, more than I'm making/doing now, which is great. AND thanks to my writing group, I've been writing. Like new stuff for the WIP, and improving some of the stuff I've written, like drastically. It feels good to be moving forward again.

If not for this ridiculous headache, this would be a pretty good evening...

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Right Now

I think someday I'll look back on these blah days, these not-really-awesome-but-nothing-truly-horrible-has-happened days, and I'll realize they were the real gems, the moments we have it all right now, right here, no true loss or heartache yet. So I'll bask in the sound of my son's video game and the sight of my husband on the floor sorting his baseball cards. We're all here and healthy: it's a good day.

And I love watching old shows, shows from the 90s mostly or the early 2000s. I picture myself hiding between the years, like I see this very literal mental picture-- the years are these cozy blankets, and I crawl and hide between them. Nostalgia is a very powerful thing.

So I'm balancing the right now with the back then, wallowing in them both until I (I'll never) get my fill.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

I'm on a jag, bear with me

My friend Bekah says she goes on these jags, these input/output jags where she is all about input-- reading, reading, watching, watching, then she can only output for days-- writing, writing, talking.

I'm in an output phase right now. Everything I think seems magically important enough to write down. Heh. But I did spend some time in a bookstore today, waiting to meet my best friend of 35 years for the first time in a year (she lives in Florida) and I had a thought that has been a thought before, but one I've never let come to the front of my brain, to let myself realize it, to say it out loud. I wrote it down: I haven't lost anyone that I love more than myself yet. This feels profound, because I think this is true for a lot of people, but they don't know it. They're not enjoying it! Every day that goes by and my children's, my husband's, my mother's lungs fill with air, and they are a mere tapping of numbers away, I am the luckiest person alive. And I've got to make sure I'm aware of it and taking advantage of it, dang it.

Also, I've been thinking about the longevity of words, especially spoken. More later.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Keep Moving

I have to stay busy, that is key.

This week was crazy, early mornings every day (had to be at work 7:30) and early evenings. It was finals week and the semester is over now. One week off starting today, then back to the new summer semester.

Since August, I've struggled with getting to sleep and staying to sleep, to the point of getting medication to help me sleep, and then two weeks ago, BAM! I can't get enough sleep. I nap after work and still sleep a full night and feel so tired the next morning and throughout the day.

What is this? Is it Spring? Depression? What is up with my body?

Mom is coming tomorrow for a week. We're going to paint the bathroom and maybe the boys' rooms. I cleaned my room today, like really got into the corners behind/underneath dusted and vacuumed CLEANED. Feels amazing. But I'm super exhausted and I've still got to mop the kitchen, vacuum the living room, and clean the bathroom. Tomorrow.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Lost and Found

Have you ever liked a song despite the lyrics? I don't hate the lyrics, but they are a little non-sensical to me-- I am just in love with a song that takes the time to build and gives you that overarching "epic" feeling. I love this song.



That is artistry. Or one form of it at least.


Okay, it's one of two things..

Either I'm old or I've just watched and read too much, but I swear, I can predict just about any TV show. Maybe it's the hints. They seem so obvious to me most of the time, a trail of breadcrumbs for viewers to go back to and say "Oh, and this and this-- it all fits together!" But I swear I usually see it all coming ahead of time. Are we supposed to? At least to some degree? Do you?

There are a few that are written so well that I can't predict what happens next, yet I don't feel that the events come out of left field either, and I go back to those breadcrumbs and say, "yeah, right, okay they *did* set this up." And there are always those that do come out of nowhere, and I usually stop watching those. You have to give me some honesty in the character and story-- they can't act out suddenly contrary to the circumstances and their own  beliefs, things you've written up to this point.

Maybe that's why I liked Buffy so much. Even though I knew who would live or die, the "monster of the week" way it was written kept me guessing, and who in the world knew that Buffy was "The Gift" or that it was all set up episodes ago?  Or that Buffy would actually have to kill Angel, the real-for-real Angel just as he was healed in Season 2?

Oh, Joss. Come back to TV and do something great. I miss you. I miss not knowing what's coming and that delicious moment when it all comes together.



Anyone Can Read Shakespeare

Why is it easier for some to understand Shakespeare while for others it's much tougher, if not impossible altogether? My first thoughts are pretty simplistic-- they don't concentrate/focus while they read it, etc. But my actual guess is that they don't read it long enough before they give up. I'm not talking about reading with a class because you have to, I mean reading it to yourself and reading for at least an hour with focus, before deciding you can't understand it.

For me, I think it was a combination of all of the simple things above but mostly that last idea; I didn't want to give up. I hadn't read much Shakespeare at all when I arrived a freshman in college, and I felt horribly behind as an English major. So, I took myself to the college library when I had breaks in homework, and I read. Usually right there in the stacks on the floor, one tragedy after another, a comedy here and there to break things up. The weird thing is, the words that I'd never heard of before began to make sense after sort of skipping over them at first, but only when I'd been reading for a good bit.

Of course, the biggest reason is context, and you have to read for a while before that context can take shape and allow you to begin to interpret the old English in the text. Soon, you're filling in the blanks, and that beautiful rhythm helps you along too. Maybe it's the high school English teacher in me, but I think anyone can read it with a little dedication, focus, and time.

It has been a very long time since I've read any of his plays, but I'm thinking it may be time to give the Bard another go.

Monday, April 16, 2012

You Remind Me

Would it surprise you to know that when I see you doing everything you said you would that it doesn't spark jealousy in me? I see you on the water, I hear you singing, and I think, "Well, yeah." And then, "My turn." I don't really know what it is about seeing people I was once very close to achieving their dreams, but man, it's inspiring. It's concentrated inspiration, dark liquid in a bottle stopped for no good reason that I can see. When I see you happy, I remember my way back to that bottle and I want to break it and release my second chance.

I keep remembering my life isn't over and that no one can decide anything for me. That doesn't mean that I don't take my kids and my husband into account, but dang it all if they don't pretty much support me 100% in my choices. Mostly because, while my hopes for the future may be a bit off the expected path, they won't bankrupt us or embarrass the family name. Anymore than usual... After all, I just want to write. The possibility of publishing is nil. But the practice of writing is healing and may be enough to be my thing, my inspiration, my doing what I should be doing.

And at 11:00 at night it seems so easy. When it's dark out, it's easy to believe that all one needs is a plan and a list, and they are armed to start their lives in a completely new direction.

This is the time of night for "what ifs" and "why nots."

This was written in the full throes of Ambien. Will it still make sense to me in the morning?

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

The Quiet

And sometimes I think about the Quiet. No more groans or flare-ups, no shrugging of the shoulders or the nearly audible rolling of the eyes. Floors will be cleaner, clothes hung, no more messes made and left. No computers or headphones, tinny guitars and thumping drums through their tiny speakers. No more footsteps late at night or fights over which chair, which computer, which game, or which TV is used by whom.

And far less laughter. No keyboards playing or chasing of the cats, no late night snacks with refrigerators opening. Just two heartbeats, not four. Just two plates set at a small table.

Quiet.

I think about that Quiet and run into the sound of your laughter, your frustrations, your light. My sons, all love and Sound, sweet Sound.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Yuck

Watching a Dateline special, and I had to turn it off. I can't watch or read stories about extreme bullying that results in suicide; they make me sick, like actually physically ill. Especially those gems with the bullies who continue to bully a victim after death-- taunting the grieving family and celebrating the death.

Something inside of me sort of snaps when I hear that. The mother in me wants to see them suffer. Like, really, really suffer.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Off to St. Louis for the Conference on College Composition and Communication on Thursday, and I'm so excited, nerd that I am.


Sunday, March 18, 2012

Meet Me in St. Louis

Getting the spring blues a little. Or maybe I'm just overwhelmed.

I'm heading to St. Louis for the big 4 Cs this Thursday through Sunday. Roadtripping with three other gals from my grad school days, which I know will be fun. The problem is-- I collect final papers from one of the schools I teach for on Thursday, and final grades are due the Tuesday after I get back. So I either have to try to grade in between conferences and with three other girls in the room OR grade two classes' worth of papers Sunday night and Monday.

And there are other stresses at work. The only thing I can do right now is wait. No other options, and it's freaking killing me.

So I'm trying to be quiet and just breathe... and wait.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Spring Break?

Well, it's spring something. Mike has pneumonia. Full blown, on antibiotics and an inhaler. His temperature was 103 on Monday, which considering his core is usually cooler, a pretty high temp. In the middle of the night, Brad wandered into my room complaining of a sore throat. He's headed to the doctor this afternoon.

If I can escape the sick, I'm headed to my sister's tomorrow to hang out with family and see Fiddler on the Roof in downtown Indianapolis. Here's hoping.

In other news, I've got the spring cleaning bug and went through my clothes and shoes yesterday. I removed 6 30 gallon trash bags of STUFF. Gone, outta my room, hallelujah!

Today, it's the sitting area at the end of the room and possibly the bookcases.

And. I'm dieting. Like really successfully. Think I might make my goal this summer after all. FINALLY.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Feeling Connected

You know when you have a feeling or a thought and you read someone else having that exact same experience, and even though you know this should not be shocking because we're all from similar stock, you find yourself feeling shocked anyway, because, wow, someone else totally understands the way you feel.

I've been going through some stuff, and it's almost become an OCD thing-- my inability to stop thinking about it has made me sleepless, caused me to lose my appetite, and generally made me a distracted, jumpy person.

And then I found this simple quote tonight:

"Anxiety is a thin stream of fear trickling through the mind. If encouraged, it cuts a channel into which all other thoughts are drained." Somers Roche

That. That is what I'm feeling, and that is what is happening. In times like this, prayer works best for me, prayer and meditating on the Psalms. But knowing someone else (most likely everyone else at some point) has felt this intense fear that eventually takes over every other thought is just... comforting.

And though the fear and anxiety are still very much with me, I guess what I'm saying is misery truly does love company.


Monday, February 6, 2012

Back on the Horse

Habits. Quitting the bad ones and forming good ones-- supposedly if you can do something for 30 days straight (or not do it) whichever way it is, that becomes your habit. So, eating really badly for like several years straight, haha, which is SO EASY, is a habit. So, today was just day one of South Beach. I'm craving carbs HARD and have a headache.

I can't wait until week 1 is over.

Two other habits I'd like to cultivate? Daily Bible reading and daily writing sessions.

30 days and I'm good... right?

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

This Old House

And I can't stop dreaming about houses. They are always big-- lots of space. And I'm running through it trying to get the best room to be my room (like I'm 10 again) and it's such an important decision because it'll be my room forever, and I go through the cold and dirty rooms-- some with wood floors, sandy with dirt beneath my feet. Others hold old, wrecked furniture-- a broken chair here, a cast-off old shoe there. And then I hit pay-dirt. Carpet, plush, soft, and SPACE. Such a nice large room and a big closet and a soft bed and beautiful, polished old furniture.

Last night's room of choice even had a bay window with reading seat, a dream of mine ever since I can remember. But my sister had beaten me to it, and she was being really stubborn about giving it up.

The rest of the house was amazing too. Two kitchens, several bathrooms (these are NEVER nice in my dreams though, always dirty and kinda old), big, spacious living rooms... and this one guy wanted Mike to coach the local high school football team, so he was giving us a DEAL: $85,000 for this house right in the middle of the city. Out the bay window, I could see the city's lights (no idea what city), skyscrapers and blinking apartments.

THIS is interesting. A little overwhelming, since I dreamed about pretty much every room last night. It's the second house dream this week, though. And I had one last week.

New job, new phase in life, getting back into my writing, and feeling creative... a lot of it is guesswork-- how can anyone know what my subconscious wants to say to me? Still, I also think we're all pretty similar in the way we process information, so there could be some truth to this stuff.

I don't know. But I can't stop dreaming about houses.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Guilty Pleasures

Rewatching BTVS is one of the most delicious guilty pleasures I have. That show provides entertainment, people. It's always made me laugh, even cry in one spot (just one, hush), and there's such a comforting familiarity in it. Rewatching it is like taking a cozy, warm little trip through time.

And no, I'm not even on Ambien as I write this. Just feelin' the Buffy love.

There are no high quality videos of Buffy online. This is one of my favorite bits from "Restless," the finale of Season 4, where they are all dreaming (I adore a good dream sequence). This is Giles' dream where he figures out they're all in danger and sings the exposition.



Friday, January 20, 2012

Ice storm's a'comin'

As long as we don't lose power *knocks on wood* I love that we're under a winter storm warning. We've got everything we need, and I cleaned the house, so bring it on.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

To Be Read

Or not to be read?

Here's my list. I need some order, as I've started about 10 different books and they are all in various stages of completion.

1. The Hypnotist by Lars Kepler (library book, so it needs to get read and get back)
2. Tinkers by Paul Harding (from the library as well)
3. How I Live Now by Meg Rosoff (also library)

4. And once I finish those, I will not be getting any other books from the library until I've read Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell by Susanne Clark (on Kindle).
5. There's another book on Kindle that's next: A Visit from the Goon Squad by Jennifer Egan.
6. Mile 81 by Stephen King (also already on the Kindle).

There. Now I have order! Watch me go.