Thursday, February 28, 2013

Groovy

Stephen, the cashier at our local Trader Joe's said, "Hey, I really like what you've done with your hair."

Clearly, I visit Trader Joe's often, if a man points out that he noticed my hair. Of course, who wouldn't? The fluorescent lights make the burgandy stripe at the front of my hair really stand out.

"Thanks," I replied. "I think it is all a part of my mini-mid-life crisis, but I like it."

"Oh no," Stephen says, "It's groovy."

"Well, thank you. Have a great day."

And I'd love to believe Stephen. I'd like to think that it isn't a part of me going crazy, but I can't trust him. You can't trust a guy wielding a sharp instrument and you can't trust a man that still uses the word groovy, right?

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Waiting for Spring

Well, I had plans to run this morning, during the time Melina went to school. Usually, I consider that time sacred. Not that running isn't sacred, it is. But getting school work and writing done is much easier when no one is around. I am sure I didn't have to tell you that.

And I usually run on T/Th, but yesterday it was cold, windy, and rainy. I had no desire to step foot out the door, so instead I did aerobics. The workout is okay, but I never feel like I've actually done that much work. Hence the plan to run today.

I just looked at the weather forecast, though, and it ain't much better than yesterday. For a moment, I felt a bit sorry for myself. I'd not be able to cast my inner demons to the sidewalk today, unless I want to use the treadmill. Then, I checked Facebook and realized that many friends to the north might have a snow day today, and now, I am counting my stars and hoping the ice doesn't freeze and leave me with kids at home again (I saw them 3 full days over a span of 8 days past due holidays and snow days). Sorry, FRN, if they did, indeed call it for you.You can always move this way; the climate is a bit warmer on the whole, I think.

All of this gets me to thinking about one thing: Spring. I think it is time for it to arrive. It's easier to do everything in Spring, when the flowers burst forth and the sun begins to shine more. It's a small window of opportunity around here, that Spring is. It's a fleeting time before the summer comes (duh), and then the air gets too hot and thick with humidity, and the kids are put back inside because by golly, it's just too darn hot outside to play.

I love Spring, and I'd like to see it. Right about now.





Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Into the Drink

Sometimes I think I'd make a good alcoholic housewife.

Like today, for example. My feet trudge back to the refrigerator, ensconced in fluffy magenta slippers spattered with dirt. The dirt simply matches the greasy hair that hangs in my face, the crumb covered light pink bathrobe, and the dregs of coffee I sip from the bottom of my WEMU mug.

This day could be so BAD, if I let it. I could tip a spot of rum into the coffee, or perhaps a finger or two of Bailey's, sit back, and watch the world slip away.

I'm not angry or sad or depressed; just tired, from staying up too late, getting up too early and trying to get everything done for four little people. People who, at this point, need to become more independent, self-sufficient, and helpful to the old lady I am before a shower and clothes transform me.

I think you know this about me: I would never make fun of addiction, including alcoholism. I've seen the product of alcoholic families; I've coached students in the throes of the disease. But sometimes, it is easy to see how people can slip down that road. Thankfully, I've never been drawn to the drink myself.


Monday, February 25, 2013

Good Ole Cal

"Hey," she says. "I like your new story."

"Thanks. I'm feeling this one a bit more," I reply. Which is true. It still won't be an award winner, I'm sure, but if I can get a draft together, maybe I'll try to do something with it.

"But what's up with Callum? Haven't we seen that one before? Are you part Irish?"

"I looked it up online...I wanted a British first name. I tried a couple and then chose a common British last name to go with it. So Callum Davies it is." I tend to name my characters right away so that I can get a better idea of who they are.

"Then why is this familiar?" she asks.

"I don't know."

So I do a Google search on Callum Davies and realize that the guy is famous! He's a professional footballer (that's soccer to us of course) who plays for Gilllingham. I found pictures and all, and while his likeness isn't that far off of what I imagine my Callum Davies to be, it is clear to me that I need to change names, AND this might be why his name sounded familiar. 

Any thoughts as to a good (and more original) British name?

Sunday, February 24, 2013

And It's Over

Today was the day.

We had our first Rediscovering Catholicism meeting.

Lightning didn't strike me down. Locusts didn't fly through the windows. The plague didn't magically appear.

I, along with 3 of my friends and a few other newcomers, sat around a cafeteria table, ate a doughnut, drank some coffee, and chatted about Catholicism. Everyone was respectful and honest. We laughed, we cried. We'll gather again next week.

I missed the simple yet convoluted conversations that we normally have on Sunday mornings, but if I think that this Lent, perhaps I am making myself a better person by helping facilitate this discussion, I will be able to get through the next four weeks.

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Cutting Teeth

I am not 100% certain of this, but it is more than likely that my Harvey story will be tossed to the curb. Sure, I have a draft in hand, but as I have said many times (at least to myself and my local friends, if not on this blog), I am not feeling the story. It started out as a book to be written for the kids, my kids, and since I've read it to them, and they liked it, I've accomplished a goal. But having it published? Laney's adventures with Harvey aren't good enough for the masses. And more importantly, I'm not sure I will ever get the tale to that point. Again, because I am not feeling the story; I'm not inspired.

I have mixed emotions about this curb tossing incident. I've spent much of the last 9 months with these characters, infusing them with life and action and seeing how they deal with the everyday and not so everyday problems. I poured a part of me into every scene, and used my kids' personae for secondary characters. If I shelve the story, it will be like I am taking a piece of my life away and dooming it to an existence covered in dust.

Then I think of the whole picture. I finished a story. A story! A 45,000 word story, that if put together, is a decent sized book. And if I were interested in self-publishing, I could probably do it. Furthermore, the journey I took while I wrote that story has enabled me to become a better writer. So even if I need to place Harvey on the shelf, I certainly better keep him accessible and dust-free so that when the time comes, and another idea pops into my head, I can use what I know and write the firecracker novel that simmers beneath the surface of my mind.

Cutting teeth is really hard. Don't let anyone tell you otherwise.

Friday, February 22, 2013

Got It Covered

The frozen  ice began to pelt the windows last night, shortly before I headed to bed. I had been working on a new story, something that popped into my head while reading one last bedtime book to Melina, and so I was up a bit later than usual. In fact, I checked the clock on the computer just as the first ice pellet hit the window. 10:31 pm. Early for some, late for me.

I had the presence of mind to check the weather. Would the kids have a snow day (God forbid) or at least a delay? The weather site showed that some nasty ice and snow would probably be around for the early  hours, but most likely things would clear up. I knew the possiblity of a delay was big. So I called the school hotline. Nothing recorded at 10:40 pm.

Oh, if I'd just stayed up a even a little later, because at 10:51 pm, an email from the schools was sent to my inbox. I of course didn't know it then, but this morning, after I'd been woken up by Tim, who had a headache (surprise, surprise), I came downstairs to find that lovely, cheery email sitting staring me in the face. To be quite fair, when I came down, I already knew about the delay. I had called the hotline from the bedroom at 4:48 am. But I was already awake. I think if I'd known about the delay when Tim crawled out of bed to take care of that head, I'd have simply rolled over and gone back to sleep.

Ah well. I grabbed a cup of coffee and a banana, and I hope to get a few more words put together for my story. This whole mess just goes to show me that I need to open myself up to the technology that is available. Don't rely on the old-fashioned hotlines, for goodness sakes. Embrace the new and improved, stay connected at all times, and then, I'll have it covered.

At least the kids get to sleep in.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Bits of Randomness

The girls showed me this little video last night. If you like Fred Rogers and all of the things he stood for, you'll probably enjoy the video as well. Just remember that you, yes you, have a garden in your mind. And so does your neighbor, your grandma, your child. Cultivate the garden, don't kill it.

***

Yesterday afternoon, Melina and I sat around the dining room table working on our own respective projects. I had kidney lectures to review, and she had dolls to dress up. The dolls, in this instance, were on the tablet, and she must have spent a very long time placing new dresses, crowns, and gloves on the virtual princesses. Melina quickly learned which buttons to push, and how to get back to the beginning. Then, she figured out how to use the memory game and the painting app. I managed to finish up my lecture, and all was right with the world.

***

I looked up at my white board the other morning and realized that my good friend's due date was quickly approaching. March 13, 2013, was written in black. Holy cow! I managed to get in a decent sized call to her yesterday. It was good to hear her voice, and it made me realize how grateful I am for good old friends. And I don't mean old as in age, but in those who have known you for a while.

***

I signed up for another writing class. This time, the class will focus on Characters. I had toyed with taking a Craft of Writing class, but I am picking up the craft at my twice a month meetings with the writing group, and the Character class fit into the schedule better. I'd like to make Laney, Harvey, Cecilia, Daniel, and a whole bunch of other characters that sit with me each day as real as Melina is. I think it will be a lot of work, but worth it.

***

Toe splints, even flexible ones, are painful. I woke up in the middle of the night, my great toe throbbing. Maybe I'm not supposed to wear the splint at night, but I have for the past couple of nights just to keep it safe from the cat that sleeps upon our bed. I'll try something different this evening. But let me reiterate: learn from my mistakes and walk away from the person wielding a sharp instrument. Or, pretend that you faint from even the easiest procedures and insist on Lidocaine.



Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Saga of the Great Toe, Part II

Never trust a man who says This won't hurt, I promise.

My OBs have been smart enough never to say something like that.

The podiatrist I saw yesterday let the phrase slip. But I'm smart enough to know that a man wielding a 2 inch long pin-like tool can only inflict at least a bit of pain. And I was right.

Here's the story. Remember my great toe? The nail fell off a while back (I posted about it here); somehow, it keeps getting stepped on. So even though the old nail fell off, the new nail never stood a chance. And unfortunately, it has taken me a little while to notice that the tip of the new nail had started to grow into the skin of my toe. (I've got 4 kids, some animals, a part-time job, and I volunteer at school. I try to keep up on the house and I am in the process of writing a novel. Is it really any surprise that I didn't notice my toe nail's errant growth? No.)

A week and a half ago, however, I did happen to realize that the toe needed professional help, and I made an appointment. I scrubbed my feet in an attempt to make the scene much better for the podiatrist, a person I'd never met. I made sure to find clean socks with no holes. And then, I made my way to the office, and waited to be seen.

The podiatrist was a jovial fellow. He seemed nice (always watch the use of the word seem, you know?). He asked me a few questions and got right to work.
Him: Let's see. I am going to have to try and lift the skin a bit. This won't hurt, I promise.
Me: Okay.
I clenched my eyelids shut and grasped the handles of the chair. I know it wasn't the best response. Tensing up never made childbirth any better, but I just couldn't help it. I felt the tip of the excavator change from cool goodness to pain in an instant.
Me: Ow!
Him: I'm sorry. I need to get this skin up.
Me: I know, but it hurts.
Let me say, the grand old foot doctor didn't even introduce the idea of Lidocaine, but I would have taken it. In fact, as time I went on, I even suggested it.
Him: I'm almost done here, and this is the worst part.
Me: Okay, sorry. It just hurts. Any hope of Lidocaine?
I am certain the podiatrist thought I was a wuss, and that is fine. I made it through a C-section, the recovery associated with it, and two vaginal deliveries. I gleefully admitted, as my heart started to race and my hands became clammy, that I was not tolerating the pain well. He didn't seem to care.
Him: Lisa, can you please find me a nail splitter, the sharpest you can find?
Me: Are you serious?!? That sounds promising.
At least I didn't lose my sense of humor while I was in the chair, you know?

In the end, the podiatrist ending up removing the top half of the old nail. He said that had the toe been worse, he would have suggested taking off the entire nail, and he would have used Lidocaine for that procedure. Thank goodness. I'd really like to think that this man is not a sadist. He sent me home with a flexible splint for my toe, a prescription to keep the nail soft, and instructions to file the nail at night, across the top, so that it can start to clear the skin as it grows. Easier said than done. I tried filing it at the end of the day yesterday, and had tears in my eyes.

Moral of the story? Beware of people who come at you with a sharp instrument. And always wear shoes. Had I kept my shoes on in the house, I'd have a dirtier floor, but an intact toenail.

Monday, February 18, 2013

I Forget

I tend to forget many things these days. I forget to transfer clothes from the washer to the dryer. I forget where I put my notes for class. I forget to pick up the item at the store I really need because I forgot to write it on the list. And, I forget that I am getting older.

Last night, I received an email invitation to dinner at my friend's house. It is an adult-only (not that kind, FRN) dinner party, something small, just a few couples. I was excited to receive the invitation because, after all, I enjoy being in the company of these people. I was even more overjoyed to see that she indicated the children should be left at home. I love my kids, but I don't need them around me every second of the day.

But before I could sit and reply to her email, my brain jumped. Am I old enough to go to an adult-only dinner party? I thought to myself. Am I really that old? Am I not 22 still? I walked through my memories, watched the girls transform from sweet twin cherubs to the eleven year olds they now are. I remembered Aaron in his baby swing and then again last fall in soccer. I saw Melina in her baptismal gown and last week reading a sentence. Holy crap! I AM that old.

And of course, this notion will hit me again and again and again because, as I said, I forget.

Friday, February 15, 2013

Rediscovering Catholicism

Life is so ironic sometimes.

Just two days ago, I posted about how I will be leading a discussion on Rediscovering Catholicism, and I wondered if I was the right person to do so.

Just yesterday evening, Tim walks in the door:
Tim: Hey, we're getting a new person for the volleyball team tomorrow.
Me: Oh really?
Tim: Yeah. J told me that the reason the other 8th grade team doesn't want her is that she is an RE student.
Me: [Whipping my head around.] WHAT?!?
Yeah, you heard me right. The other 8th grade team of a CATHOLIC PARISH is shunning someone because she doesn't attend the school. Rules state that students participating in a Catholic Youth Organization (CYO) sport can be a part of the CYO team if they are a registered member of the parish. It doesn't matter if you are a religious education (RE) student or if you attend the school. You pay the same fee and you should be able to be on the team.

FURTHERMORE, AND I WILL NEED TO BE OWEN MEANY HERE FOR A MOMENT, SO PLEASE EXCUSE THIS, BUT WHAT THE HELL? WHO GAVE THIS OTHER TEAM THE RIGHT TO SAY SORRY, CHILD, BUT WE DON'T WANT YOU? HOW CATHOLIC OR CHRISTAN IS THAT? WHAT HAPPENED TO TREATING PEOPLE AS YOU'D LIKE TO BE TREATED? IN WHOSE UNIVERSE IS THIS EVEN REMOTELY OKAY?

Apparently I shouldn't be getting down on myself. I might not completely agree with the tenents of the Catholic church, but I certainly adhere to a moral and ethical code that includes treating people with respect. If I can verify that this actually happened (and I have plans to approach a couple of people, including the person who told Tim, the school principal and the pastor), then I just might excuse myself not only from leading a discussion on Rediscovering Catholicism, but also from this sham of a Catholic parish.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Missing You

I miss Ferdinand for myriad reasons. I loved his green eyes, his warm fur, the purr that escaped from him at any moment. All of the sentimental memories I have of him still bring tears to my eyes. Really.

I also miss Ferdinand for blog worthy reasons. His antics, whether diabetic induced or not, were good fodder for blog postings and kept me writing. He made our lives the freak show that it sometimes was.

I'm not begging for anything here other than some fresh ideas. Keep 'em clean.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Poseur

Don't judge me, but I probably ain't the best Catholic. I don't go to confession often enough, I don't believe that birth control is wrong, and I certainly don't always get to mass. I do, however, hold Mary as sacred and believe in Jesus, God, the Holy Spirit and the Saints. More importantly, I believe that each and every one of us is special, and that we should treat every person and animal on the planet with respect and dignity. I'm on board with many social justice issues, and I do believe that if Jesus walked the earth today, he'd be a liberal. (The pope just shuddered.)

Do you have to believe the way I do? Certainly not. And I won't judge or berate you if we don't see eye to eye. Furthermore, I won't push any propaganda on you or try to convert you. I love you for who you are, as hokey as that sounds.

So, I am probably not the best spokesperson for the neighborhood Catholic parish housed here within a somewhat conservative microcosm. And yet, come February 24, spokesperson I will be. I, along with a few other friends, have been pegged to lead a discussion on Rediscovering Catholicism. Don't laugh, FRN, for its true. The problem? As much as I think I could stand to be more spiritual, I don't think that I need to be more Catholic. In fact, I don't really need or want to rediscover Catholicism. I'd rather eat my doughnut, drink my coffee, and sit and chat with a few friends on a Sunday morning where we reaffirm friendship, find fellowship, and bask in the knowledge that these ladies inspire me in ways that the Vatican just doesn't. (OMG. The pope just stepped down.)

Poseur I will be, but I've done this before. If I can pretend to be a fashion model, I can certainly fake a discussion session, right?

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Happy Tuesday!

How did your day start?

Mine started with pancakes. Talia requested green, purple, and yellow for Mardi Gras. I am a sucker. I made them, although I never did get to the green ones. Tough. The kids' just-as-much-of-a-sucker dad had gone and bought Packzi, so breakfast was a carbohydrate wonderland.

The day continued with running. After packing up lunches, I realized that I'd not had but a sip of my coffee. Who can have a good day without their beverage of choice? Not me. But I was in line for that run, so I stuck my coffee in the fridge and headed out the door.

Next in line? Dog poop. Yep, you read that right. I ran back over the bridge toward my house and just about stepped into dog doo.  Some idiot had allowed their dog to defecate right on the concrete, in a place where some unsuspecting runner like me could find their way to it. Thank goodness I now wear contacts when I run, or I'd be writing about my time in the laundry room, just me, my shoes, and an old toothbrush.

And what's next?  I'm not sure. Pancakes, running, and poop aren't so bad, at least not for a Tuesday. It could get better, it could get worse. But the sun is shining and Melina is happy, and that is enough for me.

Monday, February 11, 2013

Monday Morning Shock

I need to avoid Facebook. I actually have a whole list of reasons, but the main one is, my heart can't take it.

Today's shock? A person I went to high school with is proudly announcing that her grandson will be arriving soon.

GRANDSON!!!

Need I say more?

Sunday, February 10, 2013

It's Bigger on the Inside

I must be experiencing another mini mid-life crisis.

Our front door stands to be replaced, something which probably won't happen for a couple of years. And while we still have the old door, I am thinking of painting that old thing...

...to resemble a TARDIS.

What will the neighbors think?!?

Friday, February 8, 2013

First Drafts

My first draft is done. Actually, I had a first draft that has since undergone a minor revision, in that I changed the beginning of the story. The kids like the story, but I have yet to become attached to it. The manuscript might be done, but it ain't finished, if you know what I mean.

Knowing that I want to revise this piece, possibly in a big way, I asked the kids what they'd like to see happen. I told them in no uncertain terms that I would be avoiding potty humor, disrespectful behavior, and anything else I found to be inappropriate. I want kids to like this book, but I always want grown ups to like it, too.

Here's the premise: Laney has always felt different, and her mother confirms it one day when she tells her that she might be from one of Jupiter's moons.  But Laney's mom is called away and the conversation cannot be finished. Laney, Harvey the Hippo, and a few close friends go on a quest to find out if she really does hail from one of Jupiter's moons. They never make it into space, but they do find some interesting things along the way.

It's an okay premise, but it needs some embellishment. According to the kids, here is what the piece needs:
1. A scene in which I can put Jeopardy music to work.
2. A flight to Mars. (Did they not notice I chose Jupiter and its moons?  I think Aaron mentioned this one.)
3. A scene where someone is trapped in a box with spikes, and in order to get out, the person needs to play a video game and of course, win the game.
4. A video screen that pops up at a crucial moment (I can't say when) that invites Laney and Harvey to press a button and experience a blue hole. (If you don't know what a blue hole is, please Google it. But do realize that blue holes aren't a space feature, so again, did they not notice the discrepancy?)
5. A scene in which Francesca finds a magical piano.
Of course! Why didn't I think of the magical piano!

Actually, I am thrilled with the kids giving me this feedback. Even though they liked the story, it is obvious that it needs to be more fantastical and engaging. It is also obvious that I have my work cut out for me.  This book writing is tough stuff.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Experiments

Melina's mind as of late lies on the outskirts of science. I am thrilled, as you could probably guess, because anything that isn't pinkalicious is usually frowned upon by the princess. The only thing is, Melina's science curriculum has been limited, and her experiments sometimes don't work right. I guess we need to hurry up and explain the scientific process to her and give some good examples of hypotheses.  In the meantime, we have completely age-appropriate experiments.
Melina: Mom I need you in here.
Me: Why?
Melina: I got bubble gum on my ring.
Me: How did you do that?
Melina: I wanted to see what would happen if I put bubble gum on my ring. So I put the bubblegum on my ring and it got on my ring.
See what I mean? There's a better experiment there...I know it. Melina simply needs time for her brain to develop. In the meantime, she keeps me laughing.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Impatient

According to Merriam Webster, the word impatient means:
1a : not patient : restless or short of temper especially under irritation, delay, or opposition 
b : intolerant 1 impatient of delay
2 : prompted or marked by impatience an impatient reply
3 : eagerly desirous : anxious impatient to get home
I find myself severely impatient these days, and yes, I just utilized an adverb. Remember, I like adverbs. I won't overuse them, but I will continue to subtly force them under your nose (or not).
 
Anyway, I find myself impatient to:
Get my run in
Get my school work finished
Get the house cleaned
Do the grocery shopping
I rush through:
Checking email
Folding laundry
Proofreading exams
Brushing teeth (yikes!)
 
All because of writing.

I have pushed the fast forward button on life so that I can sit and chat with a handful of characters, who thankfully remind me that living life in the fast lane is no way to live.  

So I am trying to be patient.

Didn't I already say that once before?

Monday, February 4, 2013

Crazy, Right?

Melina always likes to say, "Crazy, right?" Most of the time, whatever it is to which she refers is just not crazy.  But this morning, we had craziness, at least in my mind.

What is it, you say?

I signed Melina up for kindergarten today.

That's it.  That act might not rock your world or cause craziness to ensue in your head, but it certainly did mine.  My little baby -- the last born, the mini-me, the I love you giver -- will be heading off to kindergarten come August.

No crying this time, but just wait. I'll take a picture of Melina on her first day, and the lens will be blurred with my tears, not hers.

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Guess Who?

Tara found this. It perfectly describes someone we all know well.  Any guesses?


Friday, February 1, 2013

Learning Day

I learned a lot about grouper and termites today. Probably more than I needed to know. And for the first day of the month, a Friday at that, I guess I should be proud that I managed to learn something.