Category Archives: Writings and Ramblings

I never said I’d win Mom-of-the-Year, but did you have to agree?!

In the van on the way home from picking up my eight-year old from after school care, she asked me if I’d remembered to check on an extracurricular activity she’d been hounding asking me about. “Umm. No, I forgot,” I admitted.

“Well, what about checking with Emmy’s mom for that play date?”

“Sorry, hun. I’ll do it soon. I promise.” Geez. I can’t believe I forgot again! I wonder what I should fix for dinner. I’ve got to wash those pants for tomorrow and remember to finish that summary I was working on at the office. Pick up the prescriptions at the pharmacy later and pay that bill online.

This was followed by some whining and a big sigh from the back seat.

“I’m sorry. I’m a lousy mom,” I joked. I figured she’d come to my rescue and stick up for me, saying, unequivocally, that no, I wasn’t a bad mom, just a busy mom.

She says, without missing a beat: “I know. I’m just glad you’re able recognize that about yourself.”

Ouch.

My damaged self-image was only half resurrected by the fact that shortly following this statement, she busted out laughing. Which made me realize that: a) I’ve really got to watch myself lest my unintentional broken promises wind up the source of some future therapy sessions for her and a heaping load of parental guilt on my part; and b) she’s got her own little quirky sense of humor emerging.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have some errands to run. And some laundry to do. And I must remember to email about that play date. And the violin lessons. And then thaw out the chicken. And…

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Be Ever So Careful What You Wish For

Perhaps I should have specified. I didn’t really want to feel unwell in order to have some downtime.

I simply wanted some time to myself to relax and reflect. To regroup my thoughts and spend some uninterrupted time working on some rewrites for my novel, without the hassle of having to get out of bed or to cook or clean or shuffle kids here or there. Not in the least, to skip having to go to that pesky, time-encroaching day job.

It was a fleeting fantasy and I quickly realized that everything I’d neglected would probably be there waiting in a big, looming pile upon my return to the real world anyway. <sigh>

So, guess where I’m posting this from? Anyone? Anyone? Bueller?

Just take a wild guess.

You’ll never guess.

Bed! That’s where! Laid up. Down for the count. And not even with anything remotely useful, like a sore throat or the sniffles, where I could at least be indulging in a guilt free chocolate milkshake or some sodium-laden chicken noodle soup.

Nope. I threw my back out. And not even by doing anything remotely exciting or strenuous, like mountain climbing or hang gliding. I was bending over to check my daughter’s backpack before school.

I bent. I stood up, empty handed. And then WHAM! It felt like I’d been kidney punched. I nearly passed out from the intense, sudden pain and had to grab hold of the table to remain relatively upright. And once I finally stopped wailing, my 8 year old asked (from the safety of her bedroom) if I’d been shot or stabbed and then begged me not to die. Apparently, she either has a very active imagination or we live in a more dangerous neighborhood than I ever realized because I was alone in the middle of our kitchen when said injury occurred.

I was a trooper though. I delivered all the kids to their destinations and arrived at the day job, on time I might add. Once I finally could call it a day, I headed home to the comforts of my bed where my husband has offered a massage and to make dinner. I should be doing some rewrites but that might be ill-advised on account of my creativity being jacked up by the muscle relaxers and pain relievers. I’m afraid that might result in only more needed editing.

So, next time, when my brain starts devising ways for my body to catch a break, I’ll try to be more specific in my fantasies.

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I Think I’m Coming Down with Something

I was watching TV with my 8 year old daughter the other night. And because it’s sometimes just easier and I was only half-watching anyway, she had control of the remote. I was relegated to watching an age-appropriate kids’ channel–an episode of one of her favorite programs I’ll probably have the pleasure of seeing at least another half dozen times.

Remind me why we ordered the DVR feature again?

Anyway. The mom in the show had the flu. Her hair was a mess, she was dressed in a grungy robe, looked like she hadn’t showered in days all while coughing and hacking with every other strained breath. She looked miserable and her acting actually had me convinced she was really sick.

Nobody wanted to be in the same room with her for fear of catching it.

The story went on with the mom hiring an older neighbor boy to help watch her younger son (about my daughter’s age) and to run his “errands” with him. While she’d paid the 14-ish-year-old to escort her little boy around town for the day (busy Chicago, none-the-less) to get his haircut, buy some new “slacks”, among a myriad of other to-dos, (predictably) they ended up ditching the entire list laid out for them and spent the day at a baseball game instead.

Equally predictable, they ended up on the big screen at the televised game, where the bedridden mom caught them in the act, since she had nothing better to do in her invalid state than watch ESPN.

I actually envied her.

Really?

Yes. For a brief moment I thought: If only I had a couple days downtime to myself. How much writing could I get done in that time? Would life go on, seamlessly, without me for a few days? My husband would have to handle school transportation and meals and laundry. Dishes and homework help and straightening the house. Maybe no one would even notice if I were bedridden. I could even call in sick to work. Sure, I could do that.

I was even beginning to feel somewhat feverish and maybe a tickle in the back of my throat.

Then reality hit. Trust me, it didn’t take long.

I realized, that once I was fully functional again, there would likely be a pile of paperwork at my day job when I returned. There would still be a load or two of dirty clothes to be attend to and dishes left undone. And, although my family might have survived during that time on Ramen noodles, I would rather have something with a little more sustenance. Perhaps something in the vegetable group.

Suddenly, I was feeling much, much better.

And, really, would I have gotten all that much writing done anyway? Probably not.

 

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Just Stuff

I’m in a funk.

Not necessarily in a bad mood…just a weird mood. I feel like I’ve lost my momentum, like things aren’t moving forward but I lack the energy to get them moving again. Everything’s just standing still. I don’t like standing still.

Writing is frustrating me right now. I can’t seem to make this new story come together any more than I can my own life. My other novel, already drafted, still sits. Unpublished. I know it needs revised and polished and, yet, I’m reluctant to do it. Why?

I don’t know. Maybe because I’m afraid that even when I do, it still won’t be good enough? Probably. If I want to be a writer so badly, then why am I standing in my own way so much?

I’ve been researching college degrees online today. I’ve been thinking about it way longer than that. If there is one thing I regret in my life, it’s not going to college. I feel like the poster child for the need for continuing education. I feel like I’m missing something, but do I want the degree, or just the life experience? It seems like all the courses are geared toward medical or technical or business. I’m not interested in any of those things.

So what is it?

I’m being totally honest here (plus I’ve had a couple of glasses of wine); I feel like I’m banging my head against a brick wall. I don’t know if it’s an age thing, a hormonal thing or something else. But please tell me I’m not the only one who’s felt this way or else I’m really going to regret this post in the morning when the wine’s wore off.

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I’m not Avoiding You, I’m Avoiding Everyone

I’ve had a slightly used jug of buttermilk stashed in the back of my fridge since shortly before Christmas, marked “best by Jan. 25th.” The recipe–for a lovely, decadent, double layer red velvet cake–only called for one cup. The store only had one-quart jugs in stock.

At first, determined not to waste it, I vowed to find a few other culinary endeavors to use up the remaining buttermilk. But my abilities to dream up uses for sour milk are limited and I admittedly didn’t take the time to look up alternate recipes online. So, time marched on. And pretty soon my shame became evident as the expiration date neared.

I’m avoiding it now like the plague.

(Reading the title, you probably clicked over here thinking you’d catch up on some very good reasons why I’ve been so elusive online lately, expecting to see some humble, heartfelt apologies for why I’ve not posted since…well, since the buttermilk was only slightly past its prime, but I’ll avoid all that, too.)

I see it in there on a daily basis, relegated to the furthest point – back corner, top shelf – of my refrigerator. It’s to the point now that I’m really terrified to open it in order to dump the contents down the sink and to rinse out the jug. In my estimation, whatever soured milk turns into once its crossed over, it can’t smell good.

On the other hand, I’m still feeling just guilty enough about my wastefulness that I hesitate dumping the whole thing, undisturbed, into the trashcan and forgetting about dutiful recycling, just this once.

Something’s gotta give.

What about you? Do you have seemingly easy tasks or decisions that you’d rather put off? Come on, don’t ignore me! I’m right here and I’m not going away, so you might as well share! Hello? Are you avoiding me?

 

 

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A Year of Reflections and Resolutions

I met up with my best friend over lunch today for our annual New Year’s hopes and dreams pow-wow. It’s an excuse a chance not only for us to catch up (which we manage to do several times a month anyway) but to talk about what we hope to accomplish over the next year. It helps for me, and her too, I suppose, to say the things I’m dreaming of doing out loud to a real person. It makes me accountable to someone other than myself.

Not only does my friend refrain from looking at me as if I’ve got a few screws loose when I say I want to run 13.1 miles in the middle of November through the streets of downtown Indianapolis with several thousand strangers shedding articles of clothing, she’ll cheerfully tell me, “You can totally do that!”

It’s not that my husband won’t give me the same encouragement. He will. Eventually. But first he’ll scrunch up his face and ask me if I realize exactly how far 13.1 miles is. And then he’ll remind me that I do have four wheels that will take me just as far and faster.

In honor of our annual tradition, I decided to post my thoughts here. But, then I thought it was fitting to not only make resolutions for the upcoming year but to reflect on the past year as well.

So here goes…

2010 marks the year that I reached my weight loss goals and actually surpassed them by a couple pounds, fitting into a size I never thought I’d see again.

I discovered the joy of running and spending quality time with my other best friend.

I competed in my first of several 5k runs and a 15k and discovered a lot about myself with each step.

I was even somehow able to pull off that 13.1 and finish my first mini-marathon!

It’s not all been good though. I’ve had to withstand numerous eye surgeries and procedures, disappointments and setbacks, but I like to think I’ve done so with at least a small amount of grace and minimal self-pity.

And through it all I’ve come to realize I am truly blessed.

Now for 2011…

I want to finish at least six 5k-15k runs, plus 2 half-marathons or a half and a full. I’m allowing myself an open ended goal on this one because it has a lot to do with available events, timing and whether or not I’ll have any unavoidable down-time due to unforeseen eye issues.

I will finish the draft of Sawyer’s Bend and polish it, then stalk contact an infinite number of agents until I find one who will not take out a restraining order represent me. It would be best if this was followed by an offer from a publisher.

I will strive for continued improvements in my physical, mental and emotional health and well-being.

I will work at making my home more comfortable and inviting to family and friends and in strengthening those relationships.

I will be open to new ideas and creativity.

I will be more present in all things.

I am looking forward to the New Year and to all the opportunities and blessings it has to offer, and I wish each and every one of you the same. Happy New Year!

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Pressing Issues (or ways I’m distracting myself from writing)

Last week it was preparing myself for my first mini-marathon. The week before, maybe it was Halloween or my oldest daughter’s school trip to Washington DC.

Whatever the reason, I seem to be finding more and more things to place in my own way and to not write. It’s not that I don’t have the time. Right now, time is the one thing I do have. More eye troubles and another recent eye surgery have forced me to take a time-out, in fact.

No running, no work. No bending, no lifting. No cleaning. No sleeping on my right side. Surprisingly, I am allowed to drive, but seriously, where would I go and what would I do with all these restrictions and a black eye? Until Wednesday, at least, there’s tons of things I can’t do.

I can, however, sit for seemingly endless hours at my leisure while life goes on around me, not entirely uninterrupted, but as close as it’s gotten to it in a very long time.

So, what am I doing with the hours between sleeping and eating and checking in with the family every so often?

Reading mostly.

My spot on the waiting list at our local library for The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson came at a very unopportune time. I’m halfway through the nearly 500 page story and I’m hooked. I also have the next one in the series, The Girl Who Played with Fire, waiting in the wings. I only hope the third one is available soon after I’ve finished with the other two.

Larsson was a brilliant writer who died shortly after delivering his three manuscripts for publishing. It’s unfortunate that he was unable to realize the full extent of the brilliant writing career that he so deserved. It makes me wonder if he, too, ever put off his writing in favor of other things. Or did he keep at it, day in and day out, until he was finally able to present something worthy of catching the eye of the right person at the right time? Something every writer dreams of.

So, what’s stopping me from realizing my dream? That’s a big question.

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