Friday, December 31, 2010

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Day 70

Day 70.  I like the sound of that.  How cool is it that my twelve year old class came over for a party and we had so much fun that four hours later they finally left??  Even more cool that I had so much fun, I didn't even care!      

Sorry, C.  I miss you.  Let's talk tomorrow.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Day 69

The blizzard rages white outside and inside T is painting the kitchen cabinets white.  My kitchen is shredded, trashed, but you should see how good the cabinets look.  He is painting them cream actually and then will glaze them with a deep brown.  It will change the whole look of the kitchen which is good because right now the walls and cabinets are practically the same color.  T is home all week and its been so nice, the kids have loved it even if he has been really busy.

As he is my captive audience, I read him about five chapters of my story.  He gave me advice.  He challenges me, asks me questions I never considered, and he likes my writing.  I love reading him my stuff.  My daughter hung out with her best friend today.  Her best friend is 13, though little C thinks they are the same age.  She got her hair curled with a curling iron (something I would never have attempted), and had her finger nails and toe nails painted. 

I've edited about 17 chapters.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Day 68

Ok, I have been doing some heavy edits on my novel.  Lest you think I have forgotten all about it, I have added an additional 2,339 words since I "finished" it for NaNoWriMo.  I have edited up until Chapter 15, but there is still tons to do.  So is it around 70,000 words for a YA novel?  I guess it doesn't matter at this point, it just needs to feel finished to me.

I had a lovely time meeting up with you today, J.  You definitely warmed up the bitter cold weather!  I just ate my weight in chicken enchiladas sans cheese so I'm off to do Pilates.  Then at 10pm (can you believe it, I really need to go to bed!) I am comparing cool skirt finds with L that we procured from the DI of all places.   They really were some great finds.   

Monday, December 27, 2010

Day 67

I want to write this before I forget.  This year I have been richly blessed.  It made no sense for me to start Pilates and Physical Therapy now.  We don’t have a lot of money; T is still looking for another job.  Yet, through help and inspiration I have been able to heal with the best PT I have ever worked with at a time in which my mind, body and spirit are able to receive it.

 I felt prompted to write everyday and while perhaps that writing is only for my family or only for me to personally keep up on a talent I’ve been given, the prompting was strong and I have followed it.  I have been able to write a road show, novel, and have received personal insights that because I am in a habit of writing, I have documented for posterity.

I have taught by the spirit a group of amazing children when I wondered what my worth in the gospel was and the experience that verified the calling was strong and personal from a loving Father.

I have been blessed to go to the temple every week and have changed my life because of it.  The blessings have literally come true in my life and I wish I could convey the beauty that I have found within those walls, within myself.  I am communing with angels while I am there.  It is that profound, that lovely, it is home to me, it is what I want my own home to be.

These things plus the family I adore have been my life this year 2010.  This is what I have been doing.  I have never been so happy. 

For 2011, I have a couple of additional goals.  Well, first off I would love for T to find a great job.  Second, I would love to buy vintage dresses and change up my style.  I would also love to feel well enough that I can take a dance class.  Ballet, please.   And one day when I have the money, time, wherewithal, I would love to take up oil painting.  I envision myself with a canvas creating a masterpiece of color.  Isn’t is strange?  I don’t feel like there’s an artist within me, but the image won’t leave me.  I just have this feeling like I’m a painter who doesn’t yet know she’s a painter.  I wish I could describe it.  The writing thing is clear, and the art thing is embedded, but it’s there.

Finally, I want each of you to know how grateful I am for you.  Thank you for supporting me, cheering me on, and loving me despite all my faults, foibles, and weakness.  Thank you.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Day 66

L, your lesson on the Savior today was one of the most beautiful I have ever heard.  Thank you. 

Today I said goodbye to my awesome twelve year olds.  This has been a banner year with them.  I have taught a lot of teenagers, but these kids are exceptional.  I look forward to watching their lives unfold for years to come.  Next week begins 9 AM church.  No more nap time woe, but can we be ready that early?

10 AM is when I begin to shine, so watch for the droopy redhead for at least an hour on Sunday mornings in 2011.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Day 65

On C's second Christmas I bought a giant piece of plywood and had it cut into 6 large squares.  I painted each square a bright happy color and then painted a different jungle animal on each one.  It took me weeks after he went to bed and there wasn't much room since we lived in my parent's basement at that time, but I remember how excited I was for him to see them.

My tenacity paid off and Christmas morning his eyes were saucers as he gasped in his baby way to see the homemade pictures all over the room.

A couple months later I would be hurt and it would start a journey of pain that made another attempt at such a Christmas surprise impossible.  I have not had another Christmas as good as that one, now 8 years ago...until today.

Until today.  T,C, and little C I love you with all my heart.  Merry Christmas.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Day 64

I wrote a few words just to keep my momentum going, but let's face it, it's Christmas Eve.

The children are nestled, the stockings are hung, and now comes one of my favorite parts preparing for tomorrow.  There is one gift in particular that I can't wait for little C to receive.

So all I have to say is Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Day 63

Just got back from Temple Square.  Phew!  Beautiful, but did everybody have the same idea to go there tonight?  So crowded, but the kids had a great time and it was nice to be together.  Tomorrow morning I am taking C to see Narnia.  Has anyone taken their kids to that yet?  It will be a date just the two of us and its long overdue.  We are instituting a rewards chart for being responsible and getting chores and homework done and the big ticket items are dates with T and dates with me.  So far the response has been enthusiastic and its something I'm really looking forward to.

Speaking of C, he says Merry Christmas Adam, being of course the precursor to Eve...

Chip.Block. I tell you.  The puns don't skip a generation around here.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Day 62

Today I tried to deliver neighbor gifts with the kids, but it started pouring rain.  We decided to postpone that and came home to make paper snowflakes.  I tried to recreate a scene out of Porter Rockwell's paintings, but the truth is I became impatient at the mess and frustration of scissors, paper, glitter glue, etc.  I sent everyone to take a rest and took one myself as I reread part of one of the Anne of Green Gable books.  After that I was able to start over and C literally made dinner with me, browning meat, sauteeing onions and adding ingredients.  I was so proud of him.   Little C helped me make biscuits and by the time T got home, there was a candlelight dinner on the table with my Grandma's best china and we had a real "tea" party as we ate the most delicious, heavy on the kid participation, meal.  Holiday spirit, rescued.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Day 61

Writing done, but off to watch a late movie with the kids.  Love a snowy night.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Day 60

I was proud of myself for editing my story today.  I can't believe it's Day 60-Woohoo!!  Some days I look at my story and I can't understand if it's any good, and then other times I will smile as I read a line or a passage.  I need to hurry and edit it so I can have other eyes look at it for me.

  I need to actually finish making dinner as it's almost 7:30.  I love having C home and no homework or hurry in the evenings.  We will probably have late nights every night this vacation, but I don't mind.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Day 59

Our stake presidency challenged us to read the four gospels in a row by the end of the year and I realized I had never read them all together before.  It has been awesome and the testimonies shared in RS about the Savior were amazing today.  I get to go to RS and Gospel Doctrine for these next two weeks and it has been nice.

My writing on this Sunday consisted of Christmas cards.  I am trying to do better this year, so we have printed off a Christmas letter and I am writing out some cards by hand.  My poor kitchen table has become Christmas central and I know its driving T crazy.  Poor C is under the weather, poor guy, but I think the last four nights going to bed way too late isn't helping him any.

Thanks to J and B for a delightful time.  Dinner: scrumptious. 

K, I am waiting on pins and needles for your big news.  

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Day 58

This is a shout out to A.  The CD, Anchor, that you gave me today is little C and my favorite one to listen to together.  I didn't own it, we would just listen to it on youtube or snippets on blogs.  I put it on tonight as we traveled north to the one time a year I make the trek to the inlaws.  I know that sounds bad, but for those of you that know that story you know that after 15 years, I still clasp T's hand and clench my jaw the whole 40 minutes there.  I have pondered not putting myself in the situation, but I do it for T, for the kids, and in the hopes that one day things can be different.

Tonight at the end, I shook my FIL's hand.  That was a big deal for me.  Hugging him would be unthinkable, though I've done it before.  I can be rather bitter about it sometimes, but the truth is I just want to be loved and accepted.  It's been enough time and enough feelings have congealed into kind of a thick emotional paste, that I don't know exactly how it will happen, but I know I pray for things to get better.  I pray for my heart to soften, for me to truly forgive and show love, even when I am rebuffed, ridiculed, ignored, or given up on.  It is a work in progress.  Sometimes I get closer than others.  I know that deep inside I love him and everybody else.  I've just got to tap into that place and then stay there.

A, thank you.  I love the music and I love you.  And you're right, the song California is my favorite.  That would be my life, if dreams came true...or at least for half of the year.   I would "pack my bags and lock my door" and travel to all the places I imagine, gathering experience and people like pebbles on the seashore.  But my life is here among my nearest and dearest and it is an amazing journey just experiencing life with all of you practically in my own back yard.  So I get to write and experience far off places that way.  And that will suffice, for now.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Day 57

I didn't get much writing done today and this is why:

Little C was a tiny lion in her dance studio's production of the Wizard of Oz.  I have to say it was a three and a half hour deal, but I could not believe the quality performance.  I see now why this studio came so highly recommended by so many people.  She danced her little heart out.   Roar...

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Day 56

I worked for awhile on my story today until little C woke up from a non nap and bigger C came home from school.  I wish I had more time to work on it, but there is so much to do.  Tonight I make some Christmas crafts.  We are three gifts away from being all done.  Now comes the wrapping and the cards...which are my favorite part.  Shopping, blech.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Day 55

I come from a long line of worriers.  My parents are both worriers as well as my grandparents and I can't remember my great grand parents, but chances are they liked to fret as well.  The last couple of days have been, well, for lack of a better word, worrisome. So, in order to lighten the mood T suggested we write poetry together as my writing for Day 55.  We each wrote one line and handed the notebook back and forth.  Both poetry pieces were quite profound and unfortunately not appropriate to share on this family friendly blog.

I am the Firewoman, after all.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Day 54

Wrote one paragraph tonight.

I want to fix all my kids' problems and I can't.  I just read a book and the daughter asked her mother what the worst year of the mother's life was.  The mother said sixth grade.  Really, said the daughter, did you have a hard time in middle school?  No, said the mother, your sixth grade year.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Day 53

I only got a few words written today.  I added a little to the ending of the novel.  It was hard to find the time to write.  This evening was hectic and after I got the kids off to bed, I perused the vintage dresses online.  For research, you ask?  Why no, I just dream of wearing fifties house dresses.

Thanks to C for making four and a half hours fly by like mere minutes today.  I haven't felt that relaxed in a long time.  Thank you.  

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Day 52

It is almost 10 pm.  Why are we just getting home and putting the kids to bed on a school night two hours late????

My parents got a ping pong table...

Enough said.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Day 51

After my last post, T asked me as we were falling asleep if I was still going to do fiction.  Oh ya.  No worries.  I am tired.  Got up early for the Christmas party at the ward and little C's recital practice.   I enjoyed my two visits this weekend with L.  It had been too long and it felt like old times. 

I still have to work on sharing time and I need to put a good hour in on pilates, so I will sign off.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Day 50

I started a nonfiction piece today that has nothing to do with Curly or Q or any other heroine I have worked on in the past year or so.  When I went to Writer’s at Work a couple of years ago, I should have taken the Nonfiction class.  I wanted to be with J and C so much and I had gotten recognition for fiction, but I wasn’t in the right class.   It’s not easy for me to say this.  The author who taught our class, while I learned in that week’s time to respect many things about her, didn’t touch my heart as a writer and unfortunately as I have read a very limited amount of her work, it doesn’t touch me either.

The author who was conducting the Nonfiction class however is a different story.  I could have learned from her.  As I scribble away at fiction, somehow it always comes back to my real life.  I can’t pretend as easily as I can draw on my own experience.  I often think why else have I lived and toiled and laughed and struggled if not to someday write about it.   Even if it’s only for my two children to understand, breathe in who their mother was who was difficult, who challenged them, who delighted them when she was not stressed and who filled their eyes with tears when she was.   I have taken my son with me to apologize to the neighbor boy I swore at when he trespassed and then mouthed off and the Irish ire was ignited.  I apologize an awful lot.  I hope they see me writing, doing my exercises to strengthen this body so it can play with them and have energy and trying to make goals so they will know how to as well. 

If they could read the stories of my life which when all the fragments and scraps are woven together into a kind of abstract art piece maybe it will provide answers as to who they are too.  I wish I had the stories of my parents (hint, hint) of my grandparents because I know I would find my place more readily in this world as I still daily struggle with figuring out who I am.

 I tell you, in no way are we challenged, staring into a mirror that is way too large for us and where we can see every pore, than in being a parent.  We can hold down our fears, our idiosyncrasies, our pain, but the moment we are a mentor for another human being all bets are off and we have to come to our knees. 

Writing my memoirs is like that for me.  It’s coming down to my knees and not being afraid to pull out every thorn, every piece of cloudy glass and attempting to dust it off and find the beauty in it, because at the end of the day every story of every soul is beautiful and to me there are no better stories than the true ones…I can only imagine all the untold stories that would fill the whole world just waiting to be written down. 

So yes, I believe if I am true to who I am as a writer, than I am a memoir writer.  I missed an opportunity, but now I know it.

I watched Little Women today with little C and as Professor Baer admonished Jo to write what was in her heart, I knew that this novel I have just finished isn’t it for me.  There is a story I haven’t identified yet that is my Little Women.  I just love that book, that movie, Louisa May Alcott, even though truth be told growing up I always wanted to be Amy…but that is a post for another day, isn’t it?

Carry on.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Day 49

I am up way too late.  Those of you who read my blog before bed will be shocked that it's past midnight and here I am with only a few words to show for the day of writing. 
It has been a very eye opening day.  I have learned a lot about being a parent, about the type of parent that I am.  And its been very sobering.  Sometimes its great to have somebody say to you, this is what I have observed and I don't think you're seeing it.
I knew that my son was struggling this year but I didn't know why or what to do.  I have always put him on a pedestal to be honest and the truth is, that wasn't helping him at all.  I can't always protect him or keep him in a bubble or always soften his falls.  I need to learn how to differentiate between his success and failures and my own.  Dang this parenting thing is hard.  T and I had a great conversation about ways we can help our kids and things that need to happen.  Thank you S for your insight and advice.

Also, a huge thank you for the overwhelming love and support we have received.  Thank you for your calls, your emails, seriously, I love you guys.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Day 48

1,349 words.

Today I witnessed my first born in the school Geography Bee.  He was nervous because "Mom, there are going to be eighth graders!"  He asked for a blessing from his Father, he had thumped the fourth grade being the only one who got through all rounds without a mistake.  His teacher was ecstatic and is working with the gifted/talented coordinator to keep him motivated and challenged. 

He walked up to the microphone, shorter than it had been positioned.  "South Carolina."  Incorrect.
He looked nervous.  The school and parents could only give a non verbal shaking of hands for the clapping whether correct or incorrect.  Round two, only five had gotten the first question correct, one more shot and then disqualification.  This time written on a whiteboard and held up.  In perfect penmanship and in cursive.  "Kentucky."  Incorrect.

Somewhere my heart took a swan dive.  Not because he didn't win or get one right or even because I knew somewhere he knew the answers, but was overwhelmed by a brand new experience in a gym full of people.  It was because in his defeat he walked away and despite the hands of friends waiting to give him five it was like he didn't see them.  Couldn't see the beauty in both his teachers sitting by him, comforting him, his grade cheering him on, his spelling teacher looking like a proud dad when his name was called, other contestants shaking his hand.  I knew he couldn't see the beauty in the moment he had achieved, he could only see the defeat and it stung him.

I told him I never care if he ever wins anything else in the world, all that matters is his attitude afterwards.  He looked at me.  "But mom, I will be back next year."  I realized that he does want to win and that's ok.  I want him to want to win, but he needs to know how to lose and lose well.  T says it's ok if he's not ok losing because it means he will never give up.  It's still hard watching him work so hard for something and not achieving what he wanted so much to achieve.  He's only 9 after all.  I know the feeling.  Let's face it, he has two of us who don't like losing, but who lose all the time.  He's going to know what that feels like time and again, but I never want him giving up or not finding the necessity and wisdom that comes from loss.

So far, it's come easy for him.  I hope he remembers this day and that one day when he adds to the two medals he already has he won't forget all the people that loved him even when he wasn't on top.

Go, C.   I don't always understand you, I am often blown away by you, but I love you fiercely and win or lose, you are my hero.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Day 47

Writing is an escape.  The story I can create is not mine and I can travel the world as I long to do.  I am revisiting Curly and her “ghost.”  It is soothing.  Curly has a strong voice and something about her resonates with me. 

I have known for a couple of months now, though I haven’t said anything, but I find myself in a familiar position.  My darling T is being let go from his job (trust me, not because he did anything wrong).  The layoff will be right before Christmas if not sooner.  I apologize for not coming to my nearest and dearest and confiding all.  To be honest, my parents have only known about it for a couple of days.  I found I couldn’t say the words.  I couldn’t make myself admit that it was real, not a story I was creating. 

I have learned that I have faith.  I watch my husband so blessed, so beloved as he ONCE AGAIN goes above and beyond to help everyone and anyone find work.  He has literally helped and placed tons of people.  I watch him mentor young men and established ones as well and give them career advice free of charge.  I watch people come together to put their heads together to find him a great new position.  I know this road.  It is lonely.  Hope, hope, hope, hope.  How did the interview go?  Have you heard back on anything today?  Do we sell the house?  Do we sell the jeep?  What do we do about health insurance?  Oh my gosh, what about physical therapy…trust me, this smoothes off rough edges. 

Having said all of this, I am not afraid.  I am not bitter, only my heart aches for the one I love most.  I have mentioned before that by doing initiatories every week for well over a year that the promises are literally coming fulfilled in my life.  I have made covenants, I pay a full tithe, I have the most darling family, I have a warm extended family and the most AMAZING friends on the planet. 

Christmas will be great.  Luckily we got the kids’ gifts while we still could.  We are keeping things simple and focusing on our Savior and service.  R, I will take you up on writing to your son and son in law and we are getting more service men’s names.  I want to go to retirement homes as well.  I am full of gratitude.  I want for nothing.  I am the richest person in the world.  The great thing about the uncertainty is being cradled in His arms and remembering what means most.  I love Him.  I always say there’s beauty in pain because I get to walk beside Him. 

Back to Curly, I’m trying to adapt her into a novel.  I thought she was finished, but she means a lot to me and maybe through all of this I will find she still has more to say.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Day 46

Stephen King wrote in his book, On Writing, that once one finishes a piece they should put it away for a couple of weeks and then come back to it with fresh eyes.  I'm doing that.  I just can't look at it right now.  I am going to work on the ghost story, I think.
I wrote in my journal today.  I have had the same journal for 16 years and I still have a few more pages left.  How sad is that? 

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Day 45

So long, long ago I taught the 18 year olds in my ward.  They are 22 now.  I've gone to weddings, mission farewells, mission reunions and yes, baby showers for these "kids".  I had a nice long talk with two of these young men outside the bishop's office today.  Love these guys!  This is why teaching youth is the best calling in the world. 

I only have three more Sundays with my 12 year olds and before I know it, I'll be dancing at their weddings and another boat load of years will fly by.  We finished decorating for Christmas and I'm finally ready.  T leaned over to me today and whispered he wants our family to write letters to the soldiers in Iraq for Christmas. We have been so blessed and hard times are scratching at our windows, trying to get in and so this season that we have been blessed so much, we want to do things that remind our family what's really important. I can't wait.

Happy Sunday.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Day 44

Ok, between my "dirt" herbs I drink in glass jars and the myriad of vitamins and minerals I take every day, I rarely get sick.  Knock on proverbial wood.

I am freakin' sick.  Writing, what's that?  My voice is GONE.  I have been squeaking all day, trying to sound loud and I sound like a fluffy mouse.  My family must be rejoicing. :)

I don't have time to be sick...ughh...

Friday, December 3, 2010

Day 43

T asked me the other day who dies at the end of the story.  He told me to tell him the ending and I told him no.  He has to read the whole thing to get the ending.  I guess he thought he could get a pass cuz he's my husband and all.  Yah, he probably gets a pass.  I also know he will read the whole thing and I appreciate that.  He has always been so supportive of my writing.  He's not afraid to tell me when something doesn't work.

I am trying to revise a chapter in the psycho stalker's POV.  It's slow going.  This editing thing is tough.  OK, so I've met my goal in finishing NaNoWriMo and now all the revisions are a chore.  I need to finish this, but I'm already thinking of another project.

On Good Reads, I saw a book I want to read about a man who was down on his luck, so he wrote a thank you note to someone every day for a year.  Have you noticed I'm all about doing something everyday for a year around here?  I would love to write a thank you note everyday for a year.  Maybe in 2011.  What a cool project.  That is 365 people to thank and I love that.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Day 42

Have you ever showed up to a Drs. appt a week early?  That's how the day started.  The good news is I'm all caught up on all the episodes of Parenthood now.  Love that show. 

Truth be told, I edited very little of my story today.  My Pilates trainer kicked my butt and thanks to mom for watching C.  It was nice to rest up and I'm starting to kick this cold to the curb I think.

Thursdays are temple, Pilates, and PT and are always my favorite day of the week.

I'm off to spend some time with the hubs.  I'll write more tomorrow.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Day 41

Just some editing today of the first two chapters.  Spent most of the day playing catch up on cleaning the house and laundry.  Almost done Christmas shopping.