Wednesday, December 19, 2007

I just spent a couple of hours Christmas shopping, sans kids.

I got S a video trilogy that shall remain nameless on the off chance he finds this site. I’m thinking I might give a movie marathon basket to go with it.

Man, I should have gotten the Lord of the Rings trilogy. I would have made a basket with all sorts of hobbity foods—sausage, apples, wasa crisp as stand in for the elven lembas bread, ale, mirth leaf (I think that’s tobacco,) some smoked salmon (close enough to raw fishies,) maybe I could even get some rabbit, or perhaps some kind of jerky would be rough enough to stand in for travel foods. Alas, I did not think of this when I picked my movie trilogy, and the one I got does not lend itself so nicely to cuisine.

I got some videos for kids, too. Not cartoons, but the first Harry Potter and The Princess Bride. I know G likes the first, and I’m sure he’ll like the second, although it is going as a present to Ivy (really for me, but we’ll just say Ivy.)

Then I went to the bookstore and started to get overwhelmed. I really haven’t bought books for the kids in so long there were too many things to choose from. So many lovely books. It started to depress me, since I only had the cash in my wallet and it would have been so easy to go over that limit. Put back the hard cover Madeline book and got the soft cover instead. Put back the multiple Suesses. Resisted continuing to browse. I did get a gorgeous animal book for G, and a couple of books for I, but I couldn’t get the mini library that I wanted.

I think one of the keys to having a merry little Christmas is to not get upset that you can’t have everything you want. I suppose that Christmas, in a way, is about wishes. It’s become way too materialistic for my liking, but it is about wishes, even when they are not materialistic. Wishing your family could be all together and happy with no drama, wishing you could bake more and more cookies, wishing your house could be lit up with festivities and spotlessly clean, wishing you could have another serving of Christmas ham, wishing you could go to a million parties, or wishing you could stay home with a movie and a cup of hot cocoa. And we can’t always get those things we wish for.

I guess there has to be some sort of balance between wishing for all that good cheer and being content in what your life actually is. Maybe that’s why the holidays are so notorious for depression and suicide, because the reality almost never lives up to the wishes and expectations.

Maybe that’s also why we should focus on the merry LITTLE part of Christmas. Focus on the little joys, the little goals, the little life that is going on in the present (not in the presents, but in the present.)

I want to focus on the Christmas lights, and G’s anticipation. The smell of evergreen trees. The holiday movies on tv. Singing carols. Cookies. Taking the time to paint or stitch or bake something by hand, something intended for someone I love.

Merry (little) Christmas

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Stitch by Stitch, Progress Goes Slowly, but Quick.

Making Ivy’s Kitty Ugly Doll is a little bit of an adventure, although tedious at the same time. I don’t know what it’s going to be like, but I think it will be kind of cool. I have no idea if she’ll actually like it. I hope it will be sturdy enough for a baby/toddler.

So far, after designing it and making my own pattern, I sewed the arms and taill and sewed half of the body. There are a few pattern flaws, but I’m okay with that. That’s where the “ugly” and the freeform come into the equation. I’ll just take a nip and tuck with my needle.

Oh, did I mention I’m doing this by hand? No sewing machine. And I’m not a very pretty seamstress, but again, I don’t care. Luckily, the furry fabric hides all the stitches. That was a lucky accident.

Have one half the body left and two legs. And the stuffing and the stitching of a face. Do I have any embroidery floss?

I hope I have time to finish one for G as well. I think I will make him a monster… a wild thing, since that is what he is. It needs horns and teeth and maybe claws if I can swing it. A mane perhaps.

Friday, December 14, 2007

I have been watching

G turn into a big boy, right before my eyes.

He’s almost 2 1/2 years old and I can see something in his face and in his body changing from that toddler to that little kid.

It’s a very odd thing. I mean, I saw him go from baby to toddler, and that was pretty dramatic, and I am watching Ivy go through the same transition, but this change is different. This change means he is becoming a real person, not just a baby or a bigger baby, but someone who is getting ready (slowly) to be an individual doing things and going places on his own.

So strange. I can almost see the boy he will be. Almost, almost see the man he will be.

Many moms would be sad to see this change, I think. Sad to feel like they are losing their little baby, but not me. I can’t feel sad about it. I find it more along the lines of exciting. Of course, I think I am really not a very good mom of toddlers. I don’t think it’s my thing, and I think I will have much more of a handle on older kids. I really can’t wait.

I might be the only mother alive who would rather have teenagers than babies. Well, I’ll be getting my wish sooner than I think.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Under My Couch

I got ambitious, got the broom, lay down on the ground and swept under there (it’s very low and covered with a slipcover.)

Here is what I found.

A mini magnetic drawing pad.
Calculator that the kids use as a “computer”
Half a dozen balls.
A dumdum pop.
A little cat.
A plastic rattle/teething ring.
A soft cloth book.
Three sponge swords (homemade.)
Book, “Little Gorilla.”
A coloring book.
A porpoise.
Two plastic fish.
One squeeze starfish.
One seahorse water gun.
A shark.
A monster truck.
A bumble bee maraca.
Two plastic cups.
A plastic mini baseball bat.
A cow.
A horse.
A dinosaur.
My hairbrush.
One baby pacifier with teddy bear clip.
One boy pacifier.
One mini play do container.
A sponge “T.”
Bunny rabbit bubble container.
A goose.
A drawing pencil.
A baby hat.
My missing sunglasses.
No less than four of my shoes—no matches, all singles.
One THOUSAND cheerios.

There was, however, no whale. Do you think he found a more exclusive hidey hole? It was a bit like Times Square for toys under there.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Number One Happiness in 2007

Ivy Beatrix

A new little person came to join our lives this year. On her own time table, I might add. After hanging out until two days past her due date, she wanted to be born and she wanted to be born immediatel. So she popped out to say hello.

Little Ivy Bean. Beanie Baby. Little Elizabeth Taylor of the dark blue eyes. My Baby Ive. Little Gurrul. Smiles. Baby Doodle. Stink Butt.

She’s already got boyfriends littered throughout Brooklyn.

Everyone is always so amazed at how well behaved and happy she is.

She is so alert and strong. Oh, very strong, from day 3 when she was already beginnning to hold her head up and the doctors and nurses were surprise only a couple weeks later when she tried to roll over on her own.

She loves her big brother and always wants to play with him.

She loves her papa and already says “PaPa.” Infact I think today she said “Bye Bye PaPa.” Is that possible?

Little Baldie Baby.

Welcome to the world, Ivy.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

What Does It Mean to Live Life Well?

It means living in positives. The focus is on what IS, what CAN BE, what is beautiful, meaningful, happy, productive—rather than what I don’t have, what I am not, what is stopping me, what is wrong with the world, what bothers or upsets me. It does not mean that those things aren’t a factor, it means that I choose not to give my energy to them.

I want to look for moments of inspiration and beauty. Capture them. Seek them out. Court them. Open up for them to arrive.

I want to value what I have, whether those are things or experiences or qualities.

I want to be productive and work towards getting the things I want to have in my life, not just think or write or talk about them. Do, do, do.

I want to be creative and say yes to the possibilities of failure. Not everything needs to be perfect, not everything needs to be brilliant. The process of creation is often more important than the product. And allowing failure in means I am making room for success.

I want to be open in my relationships with the people, not withdrawn. I want to communicate more, whether face to face or online or on the phone or even letters. I want to share of myself.

I want to go on adventures and challenge myself and face down the monsters of fear and insecurity.

I want to listen to music and dance and surround myself with art and watch good movies and read good books, and share all those things with people.

I want to create a home that is comfortable, beatiful, welcoming, stimulating and relaxing.

I want to find a balance with our finances so we do not have to worry all the time.

I want to enjoy my children and S. and revel in every moment I have with them.

I want to connect with friends again.

I want to take care of myself, and my children and S. so that everyone is healthy and strong for our many upcoming adventures.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Forced, and I do mean 'forced' myself to write last night

The kids had me busy all day yesterday without a break, since their naps did not coincide. And of course I was exhausted.

So when I finally sat down to write at 10pm, I was almost ready to say “screw it!” and rest on the laurels of my wordcount. Hey, I have plenty of leeway to win Nano, I don’t have to force myself to write every single day!

Except winning Nano isn’t really the point. The point is to write and for me to develop my writing practice again. It’s about writing my novel, not hitting a wordcount. Nano is like the tool I use to get what I want, not what I want in itself.

I thought about the future, and what my saying “screw it!” to last night’s writing would mean in the long run, and I knew it would only be the beginning of not taking my writing seriously. There would be more and more days of deciding I’d done “enough,”and that would then lean to loss of momentum, and soon I would stop writing regularly, and soon I would stop writing my novel at all, and it might never get done.

I have too much work to do to allow that. So I told myself I had to at least write something. A few hundred words, that was all. And when I checked a half hour later I had some few hundred words, but I still had a half hour until midnight, and I thought I could stand another half hour, so I kept writing, and decided I had to get at least 1000 words, which isn’t a minimum for anything, in my book. So I thought I should hit the nano minimum of 1667, and then when I checked I was TEN words short, so I had to keep writing and then the next time I checked I was about 200 words short of 2k, so I decided I couldn’t give up there, now could I? So I ended up writing for an hour and a half and hit 2073.

So there’s my forcing. It’s strange that once you get past your own resistance, it isn’t as hard to hit your goals as you feared it would be.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Back in the Game at 30,643 words

I think, anyway. I can’t guarantee that I will be able to continue writing at the prior speed. I got 3732 words yesterday in two sessions, nap time and after Heroes.

I am less than 20 thousand words away from winning NaNoWriMo. That’s exciting. I won’t be done with the book then, that I can understand and accept, but I will have achieved my goal. Last year, I wanted to complete the actual book, and then I wanted to hit the double 50s, or 100k.

This year, I think I’m going to take a more relaxed route to finishing my novel. I think that when I hit 50k, I want to slow my pace down from 3500 words or so a day to two thousand I day, and then use the remaining time for… wait for it… editing!

Yes, I think I am ready to begin using the internal editor while I am still writing the novel. I feel like Nano had done it’s job and gotten me away from the paralyzing fear of not being good enough. Or not being able to do it.

I still like having the deadline, but I want to develop a writing practice that won’t overwhelm, one that’s sustainable.

Someone remind me that I said that when I start freaking out.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Throw Away Fifty Things

This is a challenge I am going to give myself. It will be the last gasp of purging all the useless and outmoded things and ideas in my life, since I have already been working on it all. Fifty more things, on top of everything I have already done, will be almost like a life change.

I will lump some things in one lot. So all the old tank tops will count as one thing, not however many tank tops I throw away, but if there are certain items that take more emotional effort to throw out, they will be bumped up to one item. Like the huge book of 9/11 photos will only count as one item, althought I may have ‘old books’ as one lot. I might also try to sell some things, or give them away, rather than just toss them on the street, but I have decided not to have a sidewalk sale, because that was just giving me an excuse not to just up and get rid of things.

So here goes my list. There may be addendums or switch outs, that’s all okay. All I need are 50 things, it doesn’t matter which 50.

1. sell or give away my huge, old, barristers desk, nicknamed ‘my boyfriend.’
2. sell the piano (it’s too big for us to move around. we can buy an electric keyboard with whatever we sell it for and G can play that.)
3. wok
4. pots and pans I don’t use
5. blender
6. old sewing machine table
7. big white round table
8. tanks that are too small or too tattered
9. orange plaid vintage dress
10. exersaucer
11. doorway jumperoo
12. old black frames
13. red plates
14. typewriter
15. shoes
16. old video tapes
17. old books
18. wig
19. unused or usedup art supplies
20. broken children books
21. all saved glass jars and tins
22. ratty red cushions
23. old outdated files from the bookcases
24. boppy
25. slings (to flying squirrel)
26. baby mobile (to flying squirrel)
27. nice baby clothes (to flying squirrel)
28. donate baby clothes (to salvation army)
29. my handmade scrapbook
30. the worlds largest laundry basket (aka the broken co-sleeper)
31. straw mat
32. an old coat
33. another old coat
34. decorative paper party lanterns
35. ‘witches brew o words’
36. rooster
36. strange paper vase
37. candle stick with green shade
38. scarves I don’t wear
39. old holy socks
40. brass wine cup
41. broken terracotta weird cat/dog thing
42. that found bike that is too big for G and will be so for about 5 years
43. paper supplies that I just won’t use
44. art books that I just don’t care about
45. all metal hangers
46. big white wall shelf that I’m never going to put up
47. some tea cups that I used to collect
48. those square ice chests
49. old phone books
50. ohmigodmylastone! a whole bunch of old makeup and perfumes and creams and what have you from the medicine cabinet (second sweep)

Now that I look at this list, I may have to do another fifty once I am done with this fifty, but I will still mark this fifty as quite an accomplishment when this is done, because I have put some might difficult toss-aways on this list.

Phew! Now get started on the tossing.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

I've got to get cracking!

Yesterday, I hit 21,704 words. Passed the 20k milestone!

Now it’s 1:25 pm. And I have a feeling that one or both of the littles will be up soon.

Man, I should have started writing sooner. But I had the nerve to shower, dress, eat something, get some more coffee, check a couple of emails and a story on AOL about how astronomers have found a planet outside of our solar system—this actually is connected to my science fiction story, so I had to read it.

Well, I still have time to get my writing done. Maybe. No need to anticipate failure, right?

Lets get moving, and maybe I’ll get my reward for hitting 25k today. I asked for a crock pot. So unglamorous, but I like the idea of cooking without all the tending. It would make my life easier.

Okay, get to work now. I really do want to aim for 25k. It’s only 3,296 words. I think my average daily word count is just over four thousand.


Tuesday, November 06, 2007


I only wrote 483 words.

A big drop off from my four thousand plus of the last four days.

But that’s okay. I did it consciously, I didn’t beat myself up about it. I just took a day (mostly) off.

I was exhausted from repeated wakings the night before, and needed to get some other things done and needed to get to sleep a little earlier. So I took it easy.

It’s a good thing.

But I have to make sure I pull it together today and for the rest of the month. Remember, it’s a marathon not a sprint.

Monday, November 05, 2007

Day 4 wordcount 17802

I’v been writing about four thousand words a day. I think that’s a lot. Whenever I tell S how much I wrote, he is always amazed. I am too, a little.

I don’t know if I will be able to keep up that pace. Last year, I started out with a pretty high wordcount, and then stumbled quite frequently. I take the low days as part of the process. They are going to happen. There will be days when nothing comes or when life keeps you from sitting down. That’s why I wanted to start out with more words than I needed as a cushion. I still finished with a pretty high wordcount, but I don’t know what will happen this year.

I might be moving soon. I hate not knowing, but I’ve got that in the back of my head—another reason that I’m trying to get ahead of the game.

Whatever the result, I am not anxious about how many words I write. I am not going to stress about whether I reach 50k or double that, or whether I finish the story. More than anything, I am doing nano for myself, and for my books. They want to be written, and without the impetus of nano, I put them off and put them off and maybe wash the dishes instead—or maybe not, maybe I’m just watching tv, giving in to the exhaustion of raising two little guys.

So I will write, trying to beat my wordcount or trying to surpass it, or trying to scrape up enough words to match yesterday, because without that goal, I let it slide. And I don’t want to.

I might get depressed if I fall off the writing. If I stop or slow down. There’s no reason to, but I know it’s what happens when I fail to meet my perfectionist standards. I’m trying to be easy about it all, and not get too excited about having my nice fat wordcount, so maybe I won’t get too disappointed if I don’t keep it.

Gosh. None of it matters, really. All that matters is that I write. And I’m writing.

Yay me!

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Nanowrimo Day Three: 4007 words

It is SOOOOOO hard.

And it’s not the writing that is hard. It’s me. It’s fighting with me, with my exhaustion and distraction and confusion and worry that it is no good and fear that it makes no sense and lack of focus and lack of will to write.

I knew that it was a normal difficulty, that the struggle is part of the process and that with persistence it would pass, but that doesn’t make it any easier to bear when you are stuck in the middle of the stuck.

I wouldn’t turn off the tv. I went online to various websites. I sat trying, again and again to get on the nanowrimo site. I even started a fight with S. All ways, I know, to avoid sitting down and facing the page with my FULL attention.

And when I did, finally, without distractions, without feeling sorry for myself and my sleep deprivation or bad back or lack of planning time, well, I broke through the rough spot and found where I was going with this scene. And it made sense in the story. And things that needed to be addressed were addressed. And characters were fleshed out. And I started to really feel the story, which I wasn’t before.

What a relief. I believe that’s called breakthrough. Gosh I hope it lasts until tomorrow.

The moral of the story, trust in the process, don’t give up, and write, write, write.

Friday, November 02, 2007

Once upon a time it took me two years to write a novel

And it wasn’t any more perfect upon completion of the first draft than the novel it took me a month and a half to complete last NaNoWriMo.

The novel I slaved over for months and months, painfully typing out words that I would then erase, obsessing over whether it was good enough, staring off into space before commiting to a phrase or sentence, well, it needs just as much revising as the novel I wrote last year for Nano, whipping through the pages in a desperate, terrified,caffeine fueled fire. And they were both equally painful and ecstatic in turns.

This is an interesting realization.

I know that in my slower phases of novel writing, I often worked so hard on getting the right words and perhaps the words were more polished, but those words sometimes took me off track, and because I worshipped them so much, I would let them take me for chapter and chapters, wondering all along what was missing but not being able to put my finger on it. More than once, I had to delete huge sections of my book because they had taken me where I didn’t want the book to go.

I also know that in my quicker phases, I have spent an awful lot of time on planning when I wasn’t writing those words. Much more time planning and ruminating than actually writing, and I think that has a lot to do with why I was able to write a story that was just as coherent as the one that took a couple of years. Nano looks like a shorter process, but it isn’t shorter by much, although I think the external pressure definitely speeds it up.

Another thing that I know is that I am kind of stumped when it comes to revision and rewriting. I have written two complete novels and one play in the first draft, in addition to numerous unfinished first drafts, but have never been able to finish a second draft, beginning to end. Hmm.

Nano is tough, but it’s in and out and over sooner rather than later. Revising? That’s something different. If I may, for me writing a novel during Nano is like childbirth. All the planning that goes before is the gestation, but Nano itself is the labor. And then, I’m afraid the revising and everything that goes into putting out a finished book is like raising a child. That’s where all the really sustained work goes.

I need Supernanny for novels, to help me raise my books.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

This is so hard

I’ve been trying to work on my outlines and characters and all that, but everytime I turn around, the boy is whimpering in his sleep… or maybe he’s getting ready to wake up again. And the apartment is still such a wreck. And I’ve had muffins for dinner, although they are zucchini muffins that I made this afternoon. The recycling needs to be done. And my back is killing me. They don’t tell you that in all that prenatal stuff. They don’t say how having kids wrecks your back and the rest of your body, actually. Sure, they always talk about losing your figure, but I’m not talking vanity, here, I’m talking function. MY BACK IS KILLING ME.

And the tv is going, oh yes, it’s going. I can’t tear myself away. I guess I just want to have a little relaxation time. Especially with my scattered brain. Of course, I wouldn’t be so scattered if the tv were not playing. I mean, really, do I NEED to watch Beauty and the Geek? It’s not even a new episode, it’s all “behind the scenes” crap. Come on, Ro. And yet, I don’t want to turn it of and focus down. It’s such hard work. And I’m so tired.

Rant over, I guess.

I have one day left to get this stuff done, and that day is Halloween. I’m not going to get the apartment spotless. I’m not going to have a month’s worth of meals prepared and frozen. I’m not going to have the apartment packed for the move that will probably come in a couple of weeks. I don’t have a comprehensive list of characters or a map of the land. I don’t have my plot down pat, but I suppose things could be worse. So I don’t know every scene, that doesn’t mean I can’t still write. I do have a good idea of what happens. There are so many things I could have done to get ready for Nano, but wasn’t able to get to. That’s okay. It’s because I’m living a very demanding life, and that life doesn’t get to stop just because I want to do Nanowrimo. Whatever I manage to achieve during Nano is fine.

In the best case scenario, I actually develop my writing habits and don’t fall off when Nano is done, and take my writing career seriously. That would be an even better scenario than what happened last year, where I wrote 101 thousand words or so in November, and finished a 140 thousand novel by the middle of December, but after that I crashed and burned and didn’t even look at the dern thing until the summer. (Fine I also had a baby, but we’re talking writing habit, here.) So if I just go slow and steady and hit 50k words, it’ll be good. That’s still a heck of a lot of words. I don’t need to race for a higher word count, really I don’t.

Okay. This helps me. I don’t have to do it like last year, although I like knowing that I wrote more than anyone else in New York except for Jaybiz. It’s a marathon, not a sprint. I don’t have a deadline built into my writing. I mean, well, there’s Nano, but I get to keep writing once November is over.

Monday, October 29, 2007

More Delays

We are trying to get this new apartment in an unorthodox way, so things keep getting put off. First a failed attempt at subletting, then going directly to the landlady skipping the normal channels. It’s only a couple of days to the first of the month and we haven’t met the landlady yet.

Packing also keeps getting put off. Which makes sense. Why rush to pack when we’ll be here for another two weeks. Or is it another month? Or maybe we’ll be here until the end of the lease? Who knows. I suppose the packing aspect could be considered organized if I were actually doing it. And it’s as timely as getting a lease has been. Unfortunately.

If I were in charge of this matter, would things be expedited? Would we be getting ready to move right now? It’s frustrating.

But on the plus side, I have more time to pack. I don’t have to be so driven. Especially since I’m not getting any help from S, who I don’t think is ready to let go of this apartment. He says it’s an end of an era, Joe Torre is no longer with the Yankees. His old cat passed away two days ago, and we have to leave the apartment he’s lived in for almost 15 years. I’ve only been here 3 years, and am not as attached. I’m ready to let it go for the nice light and space and neighborhood of the new place (that I hope to all that is holy and good will actually come through.)

So, back to packing. Back to tossing things we don’t need. And I’m ready to toss. Forget the stupid moving sale. If I’m not getting any help with packing, I’m certainly not going to get any help with getting ready for and holding a moving sale. For the few things that are too nice to put out on the sidewalk I can make a listing somewhere. THROW IT ALL AWAY. Or give it. I should call my sister, maybe she’ll take it. Maybe she’ll take my desk! I bet JJ would like to use him. (He’s a he. I made him my boyfriend when I first got him, 15 years ago.)

Packing here is about releasing things into the wild, or wrapping them up to hold onto them. I’m getting more and more ready to release EVERYTHING, and let go of this interminable process.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Where does little guy with a cold fit into this strong and happy thing?

Poor G has a cold. The sore throat is over, but he has a cough now. And everytime he goes into a coughing fit, he starts to cry and gag. He’s miserable, not just because he’s sick, but because he’s miserable. It’s the first time where he’s been really aware that he’s sick, I think, and he’s feeling sorry for himself.

Before, he cried because he didn’t feel well. Now he’s crying because he’s sick and he doesn’t like it. There’s a difference. I suppsose it’s about cognition. It almost makes the cold worse, because he’s not just lying there feeling miserable, he’s lying there miserable, cranky and fighting it. He doesn’t have any coping strategies for dealing with it. So he coughs, chokes, and then cries, “mama, waaahhhhh…” And he won’t take the medicine, either, or anything I offer. Not even hugs.

There’s nothing I can do about it. He’s just got to learn to handle it, I suppose. I guess that will make him stronger.

Friday, October 26, 2007

While I Pack

I’ve been trying to think about where these things will go in the new place.

Will I have a spot for them, or will they stay in the box I am packing them in right now?

I found so many old papers. I must keep them, but do I have room in my files? Not really. I have stuff for my active files that I’m still using. This is a hard one, because I’m a writer, so I have lots of paper. I’m also a teacher, and I have a lot of writing for that, too.

This idea keeps me from holding on to things that are not really important or really useful. I’m working on it. It’s a hard mind-shift, actually, learning not to hold onto things. But I do not want to keep all this stuff in my life. I don’t want to be cluttered in home and head.

Breathing is good. Breathing room.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

I've been working on character

A novel is all about character to me. The story is led by the characters. It goes where it goes because of their actions. They must deal with the results of those actions and grow or change accordingly.

If the characters in a novel or a movie do not touch me, if I do not connect, then I am not invested in the movie, no matter how exciting the plot.

And as a writer, the characters tell you where to go. Or they go there of their own will. That is the funnest part of writing; when the characters take over and you are just sitting there as the story zooms off into life.

Love that.

So I’m developing the characters. You’d think that I know who my characters are, since I have already written one lengthy book about them, but I learned so much about those characters during the writing, that all the thought I had done on them has now changed. Plus, I need to know where they are at the start of all the new action.

I also discovered that I was about to make my main character passive to the whole story, as everyone else took action around her and she was simply swept along on the tide of events. But doing the outlining helped me catch that and turn the main character into an active participant, even if she is doing stupid things that make everything in the story fall apart. Before, it seemed as if I was keeping her safe and keeping her ‘perfect’ and never allowing her to make wrong choices. She’s the youngest character, kind of an Alice in Wonderland kind of girl, so it’s easy to make her at the mercy of the other older characters, but that doesn’t help the story or the character grow.

I may have thrown my poor little girl in front of some bullets, but she’s making the story a lot more interesting.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Feeling Panicky

So time to center. Time to be a warrior. As Castaneda says;

A man goes to knowledge as he goes to war: wide-awake, with fear, with respect, and with absolute assurance. Going to knowledge or going to war in any other manner is a mistake, and whoever makes it might never live to regret it.

A warrior chooses a path with heart, any path with heart, and follows it; and then he rejoices and laughs. He knows because he sees that his life will be over altogether too soon. He sees that nothing is more important than anything else.

A warrior is a hunter. He calculates everything. That’s control. Once his calculations are over, he acts. He lets go. That’s abandon. A warrior is not a leaf at the mercy of the wind. No one can push him; no one can make him do things against himself or against his better judgment. A warrior is tuned to survive, and he survives in the best of all possible fashions.

_A warrior must cultivate the feeling that he has everything
needed for the extravagant journey that is his life. What counts for a warrior is being alive. Life in itself is sufficient, self-explanatory and complete. Therefore, one may say without being presumptuous that the experience of experiences is being alive._

THIS IS IMPORTANT for me to remember when I am losing it. When all I can see is how much I am not where I need to be. It’s okay to be afraid, that’s natural. But fear is just fear. It doesn’t need to stop me. I know what I’m doing. Just do it. And whatever results that come from that, I’ll deal with.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

10/20 The Day of Family

I finally got to purging and packing some things that have had me frightened and pulling the blankie’s up over my head. It wasn’t as bad as I thought it was going to be. And now it’s DONE. Woohoo.

Then we had lunch with hot dogs and home made fried zucchini for Mama, Papa and G, and some yogurt and bananas for baby. We don’t often all get to eat together, so it was nice. And we watched Monster House while we ate, just hanging out.

For dinner, we went out, walking down the street, G in the stroller, and Ivy being carried by papa. Papa has been focusing on G for the last few months, and maybe has been intimidated about taking both kids at the same time, so he doesn’t often end up spending as much time with Ivy, but that is starting to change. And Ivy got to spend some time up high on Papa’s shoulders. Fun.

At bed time, G was having his milk while Ivy nursed, and we were all sitting on the couch. Poor Dama the cat, who is dying, jumped up on the couch, and we told G to be nice to her because she’s old and sick. G put his finger to his lips and said, “hmmm,” which is what he does, I think, when he is wondering what something means. So I told him, I said, “that means Dama is sad.” And then, all of a sudden, his behavior changed. He started meowing at her, and patted the sofa next to him for her to sit. Then he covered her with his blankie and offered her some milk and his pacifier. It was really sweet, and the first time we’ve seen him really be that compassionate. (Although he has given toys or blankies to Ivy when she cried.)

Thursday, October 18, 2007

On the Difficulty of RaisingTwo Kids in the City

One of the problems with having two kids and no car is grocery shopping. Particularly when you live in a walk up apartment.

It’s almost prohibitively complicated. I can’t buy too much, because I can’t haul it all back if it doesn’t fit in or on the stroller. Tied to that, I can’t buy groceries that are too bulky or too heavy—like bulk toilet paper or lots of cans. And I can’t use a shopping cart because I can’t push the stroller and the cart at once. And there’s nowhere to put the double stroller if I were to put the kids in the cart.

I usually use the handbaskets to carry the groceries in the store, but if I put it on the stroller, it can be tippy or dangerous for the little one in the lower seat. And if I carry it, it kills my hand, and the stroller is difficult to navigate through the aisles.

The double stroller also does not fit through any of the checkout aisles, except for the express lane. Plus, I have to remember that at the end of shopping, I’m gonna have to haul all bags, a baby, a toddler and myself back up the stairs to my apartment.

This is all on top of the normal fitting grocery shopping in between double naps, diaper changes, meals, and screaming fits.


I think I have figured out a sort of technique to simplifying the grocery shopping technique.

Bring my canvas shopping bag instead of using the plastic bags. Then, not only can I carry my groceries home on my shoulder, I can also shop using the bag instead of the store baskets, which are hard to wield while steering.

Also, limit my shopping items to ten items or under, so I can just go straight to the express aisle. Then I can buy some of the bulky things I need, too. And everything will fit in my bag or on the stroller, and I can carry them up the stairs with baby while wrangling the boy to climb the stairs himself.

This basically means I have to go to the grocery store a lot more often. But soon, perhaps, the boy will be able to walk to and from the store without trying to run off (he walked all the way home today, and did pretty well.) And soon he will be climbing stairs without me having to follow quite so close behind him lest he stumble.

I do think lots of things will get easier when G is able to motor under his own power without such eagle-eyed supervision. I won’t always need the double stroller and can use the more manueverable single. Or skip the stroller altogether and just put the baby in the carrier and bring a shopping cart. It’ll almost be like shopping like a normal person.

(In case anyone is interested in my child transportation modes, I use a Phil & Ted E3 with toddler seat, a MacClaren Triumph, and an Ergo Baby carrier. All excellent and sturdy options for getting babies around a city. The Phil & Ted is a technological marvel. The Ergo is the bestest carrier, and doesn’t hurt your back. And the Mac is super convenient and sturdy. I recommend them all—just not for grocery shopping with two itty bitty littles.)

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

We Adventured Into Greenpoint Today

And walked down unwalked-down streets. I found the YMCA, it’s across the street from both a police station and an Elementary School. What’s cool is that that corner is only a couple of blocks away from the apartment we’re trying to move into it.

We went to visit said apartment. It was up high. Third floor! Walk up! Yipes. But manageable, because the stairs are carpeted and not as steep as our present stairs, which means the boy feels more comfortable going up those stairs, and I won’t have to carry him up and down forever. It’s a little smaller than our current place, but not by much. It is a hundred times more gorgeous than this place. Love high ceilings, wide windows with real shutters, a bay window, gorgeous molding, dark wood doors and even a pantry. No washer dryer. Tiny kitchen. Oh well.

It’s totally doable. Extra doable since we are still considering our move to California in a year or so. We might someday soon try a left coast life style for a while. Interesting idea.

As for the adventure part, G loved running through the place, closing doors and heading through into other doors. And then closing them. And he went down the stairs on his own, sliding butt first style. He seemed to enjoy it. Adventure boy and the twisty stairs. Did I mention they twisted, too?

Sunday, October 14, 2007

What Would Jane Austen Do?

I did some research today on my upcoming novel. Surprisingly, the research was on Regency England. Yes, I’m writing a science fiction novel, but I’m also writing about an oppressive, colonial society with very a strict social order—but a lot of privilege, luxury, jostling for influence and standing. Well, privilege for the ruling class. The higher your rank and title, the more of the good stuff you get. It’s not so much fun for the grunts.

I got some good ideas about how high society worked in Regency England. Salons and spa holidays and gambling. Economy and fashion—because Napoleon Bonaparte linked the two… who knew? He made the men wear white britches to court, and made the women wear new gowns every time they came. So they had to buy more clothes all the time. And gowns with trains came into fashion, so people had to buy more fabric. And he banned the import of foreign textiles. Also, women who had big fortunes could afford to wear white dresses all the time because they are high maintenance to keep clean and pristine. All good details for my book.

I don’t know if I can quite use everything, but I think it’s some interesting stuff.

For instance bonnets and gloves were important in England, but they wouldn’t be on a interstellar space ship. Not much chance for a tan. But what happens when they arrive on a planet that they need to build into a flourishing society from scratch????? What would be the most prestigious? A tan or pale skin?

Just some details to consider, which might add life and body.

What Would Jane Austen Do?

I did some research today on my upcoming novel. Surprisingly, the research was on Regency England. Yes, I’m writing a science fiction novel, but I’m also writing about an oppressive, colonial society with very a strict social order—but a lot of privilege, luxury, jostling for influence and standing. Well, privilege for the ruling class. The higher your rank and title, the more of the good stuff you get. It’s not so much fun for the grunts.

I got some good ideas about how high society worked in Regency England. Salons and spa holidays and gambling. Economy and fashion—because Napoleon Bonaparte linked the two… who knew? He made the men wear white britches to court, and made the women wear new gowns every time they came. So they had to buy more clothes all the time. And gowns with trains came into fashion, so people had to buy more fabric. And he banned the import of foreign textiles. Also, women who had big fortunes could afford to wear white dresses all the time because they are high maintenance to keep clean and pristine. All good details for my book.

I don’t know if I can quite use everything, but I think it’s some interesting stuff.

For instance bonnets and gloves were important in England, but they wouldn’t be on a interstellar space ship. Not much chance for a tan. But what happens when they arrive on a planet that they need to build into a flourishing society from scratch????? What would be the most prestigious? A tan or pale skin?

Just some details to consider, which might add life and body.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Mama made meatloaf

And I did that sneaky chef thing and put all sorts of vegetable matter in there. The boy didn’t eat last night, but that might have just been a not hungry day. He’s already had a slice for lunch today. All I had to do was give him a blob of ketchup for dipping and he asked for more. I put mine on a hamburger roll and had a meatloaf sandwich.

I remember my mom making meatloaf all the time, and I always loved it, but my years of being a vegetarian made me out of practice in the carnivorous cooking. Now, here I am making all meat and starches because the kid won’t eat a veggie, and I have to get creative with my mom’s old recipe. Lemme remember what was it?

Rosymamacita’s Meatloaf

1.5lbs ground beef
3 chicken sausages
5 mushrooms diced fine
1 grated zucchini
1 onion diced fine
1/4 cup of olives, diced fine.
2 slices whole wheat bread, turned into breadcrumbs (I think I could have used less bread) soaked in milk (which maybe I didn’t need, with all the veggies)
Some tomato sauce… maybe half a cup
worcestershire sauce
1 egg
salt and pepper

then you do a sauce with many of the same ingredients. tomato sauce, mustard, worcestershire, a little anchovy paste, a dab of vinegar. Thin it with some beer, or, barring that, I used water and it was fine.

Make your loaves. I made muffin meatloaves, and used an icecream scoop to fill them. Pour the sauce over the meatloaf/muffins. Bake at 350 for 30-35 minutes. More if you’re doing a big meatloaf.
With all the veggies I added above, I ended up with 12 meat muffins and two small loaves. The muffins are good for freezing.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

It's Possible That Yes Means

accepting the possibility of getting hurt, or losing, or falling flat on your face, or rejection.

I guess it’s not possible at all. That’s what yes means. Yes, I will put myself out there even if I am taking risks. Yes, I will take a chance on someone not living up to my expectations, because maybe they actually will. Yes, maybe I have to struggle and be sad or in pain sometimes so that I can be there for the joy and the success.

Yes, yes, yes, even though I am afraid.

Saturday, October 06, 2007

The Day of Ivy's First Pizza

We went for pizza tonight and since Ivy's been so in love with cheerios, I thought I'd try another solid food. Pizza! I got a small piece of crust and gave it to her to taste. She liked it, but wanted me to hold it so she could gnaw on it. Then I showed her that she could hold onto it in her fat little hand and chew on it all she wanted. Her eyes lit up and she went through three separate crusts before she moved on to a bottle. She even offered some crust to the cute bartender. It seems she has an eye for the boys. The best part about it is that we're heading towards self feeding! Yeah baby.

I also heard from my buddy who has been in Costa Rica for the last couple of years. She's visiting and we made plans to meet in Union Square. Yeay. S is not sure he's up to watching both kids, so I might bring Ivy with me, or maybe I'll let him take care of them both. I'm sure he can do it. I do it everyday. Although I might be inwardly snickering if he was overwhelmed with watching both all by himself the way I do every single day. Does that make me a bad person?

And bedtime was extended, since both kids wanted to play and play and play (Ivy is really stepping up her game) but we ended the night with two rounds of Dr. Suess's _There's a Wocket in my Pocket_. The both sat and listened and looked at the pictures.

Friday, October 05, 2007

Monkey Man took a monkey tumble right out of his crib

He didn’t want to take a nap, so he climbed up over the side—I’m sure he was quite proud of himself for managing the climb, something he’s been shy about doing—and landed on his head!

It is the end of an era and the beginning of another. How will we get him to nap when he doesn’t want to go to bed now?

Stay tuned for more exciting adventures.

Saturday, September 29, 2007

So Say The Stars

I found a site that gives parent and child astrology compatibility forecasts.

Scorpio parent – Pisces child
This is a great combination – a child who nourishes your soul. Both of you are water signs and will automatically understand each other. Your little Pisces child is full of imagination and
dreams and will just go with the flow. You might try to get him to stick to some sort of plan, to adhere to some rules, but you are wasting your time. He will just withdraw into himself and flow out in another direction. The Scorpio parent will love the kindness and gentleness of this little child, as they will feel
appreciated. You can pick up each other’s feelings without speaking and this bond ensures that you grow closer and closer to each other. This child will really affect you to the depths of your soul. You will do anything for him, and he in turn will do the same for you. Fuel his imagination with fantasy stories
and games.

Scorpio parent – Cancer child
How similar, the Scorpion and the Crab – both have hard shells hiding their real selves from the world. Both can strike out their pincers if you get too close. This parent/child combination is intense and emotional. The Scorpio parent will understand well when this Cancerian child is slow to move out into the world, and needs to test the water first before any move is made. The well-controlled and proven environment, which Scorpio will have laid out for little Cancer, will be adhered to well by the Cancerian – he is not one to take risks anyway and always likes to stick to the safe and trusted path. As he grows older, a bond of teamwork can be achieved if both are driving towards the same goals.

G is the Cancer and Ivy is the Pisces. I actually love these little reports. They warm my heart. I mean, who really knows what our relationship will be like, but if they follow what’s written here, I will be very happy, because those sound like great relationships, and they would very well with what I want.

Still Learning How to Manage These Healthy Mom Meals

Always an adventure. Lately I feel as if the boy is getting more balanced meals than I am, as I so often just feed him, feed the baby and then graze the kitchen for dinner myself. In the last few days, I think I have had the following for meals: a handful of dry cereal, cookies and milk, a lot of fried zucchini, a hard boiled egg,some grapes, a protein bar. Sigh. Peanut butter and jelly sandwiches seem to be my most well balanced meal lately.

I found an article though about a woman who manages making dinner while being a busy wohm. I’m not a wohm, yet, and my kids are a good deal younger, still nursing and on baby food, or in toddler hood, but she has a couple of good ideas for making meals that everyone will eat… part of it comes from making parts of meals that can be assembled in the form and with the ingredients that individual family members will eat.

Friday, September 14, 2007

I need to learn how to roll with the punches

Instead of getting stuck when there are roadblocks, I need to learn how to keep up my positivity and continue my forward momentum.

I can’t find my portfolio… discouragement.

I have technical difficulties that get in the way of signing on to paypal… I feel like I can’t get anywhere.

Time and children get in the way of actually working… I start to not bother trying to squeeze one more project in.

Questions about where we are going to be living in a few months? Well, why even try, if I’m going to have to start all over again somewhere else where I’ll probably be too busy getting life set up and adjusting to even get back to doing what I want to do.

No matter what bumps come in the road, I have to remember to look forward. I have a tendency to only see the littlest baby steps, and then get flumoxed when those baby steps fall short. There are benefits to going baby step by baby step—but I think it’s also important to keep the big picture in mind.

This is about following my dreams, not about letting my insecurities and neuroses take over. Do I really want neurosis to be the defining characteristic of my life? I do not. I want to be the woman who follows her dreams and is not stopped by blocks or detours.

Full steam ahead.

Eyes on the prize.

Green light go.

Saturday, September 08, 2007

A Boy

When did my baby become a boy? He was always a boy, I mean. I remember that sonogram picture and the unmistakeable evidence: little weiner, proudly flying between half made baby limbs. I've changed the diaper and watched him flirt pretty much from awareness with girls and women all over town. That love of football? It started at 3 months. Why am I surprised that he is SUCH a boy? Snippets and snails and kitty cat tails (we don't have puppy dogs.)

His latest thing is running around dressed in Shark Pajamas, the pants legs fastened over his shoulders and flapping down his back like a cape. He is a superhero. And then there's also the sword fighting. He has sponge tubes and he likes to barrage anyone within range with wackity wacks. We've made the rule that he's only allowed to hit if the other person has a similar "sword." He also adores monsters of all types, both makebelieve and wild animal. Sharks, Alligators, Wildthings, Wockets in the Pockets, Nightmares in the Closets, Shrek the Ogre, what have you. He is not picky. All I have to do is say, "Are you a monster?" and up come his claws. Out comes his growl. And the laughter! Oh, it's so funny.

He's started to tell stories. Often featuring monsters and swords and much running about. He doesn't speak very well yet, so it's kind of hard to understand what is exactly happening in these stories, but something is happening. These are not things that I led him to do. He has picked up all of these things on his own. Painting, I can say I encouraged him in, and enjoy his interest in, but being a Superhero or a monster? These are things that mommy did not create for him. Something in the boy brain made the jump from small boy-person to Shark Boy who flies about the room with his cape.

He is growing up into a little person. A boy person. Not a baby.

When I first found out I was going to have a boy, I think I went into a little shock. I had a hard time conceptualizing how I, a woman, a very non masculine (though not girly) woman could have this male person growing inside of her. I've spent so much of my personal and professional life considering what it means to be a woman and girl, that the idea of raising a boy threw me for a huge loop.

Of course, once you have a baby, it doesn't matter what sex they are. They are just your little baby. Your little person. And you are the mommy, and that's all there is to it.

But now, the baby is fading away, along with the chubby legs, and the Boy, capital 'B,' is standing in the baby's place. Now, I feel like we're really starting to get into the business of what it means to be a boy, and someday not as far off as I think, what it means to be a man.

What role do I have, as mother, in who he is as a boy? As a man? How does it relate to all of my studies of what it means to grow up female? As a woman and a feminist and a human and a mother, I think having my Boy Boy is going to be one of my greatest life lessons. I can't even imagine what is going to come next.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

The Road Begins

I started my second draft today during nap time. Four pages so far. Added a new kind of intermission or heading that I want for all the chapters… a view from the outside, in a way. News reels. Documents. Correspondence. They live in a formal, constructed world, although from the inside, being used to it, they wouldn’t really see it. So I can deal with a lot of the exposition that way, rather than always having the characters talking about “the way things are.”

Also started with changing the POV, and that seems to be helping with the exposition overload, also.

Of course, the babies are up from their naps now, and I have to take them to the playground. So that’s all for right now.

But I started. Yes I did.

And that’s the way things move in my life right now. In inches. 4 pages a day means it will be done in a few months. I guess from here on in, I am stilling time to write. A few minutes here. An hour there.

Well. I’ll work on it. I’d like to have at least an hour a day scheduled. That means I’ll have to give something else up.

Saturday, September 01, 2007

Moving and Shaking

Yesterday, I revised 30 pages. And it wasn’t some special day where I had hours off from the kids. This was simply because I took my novel and a pen to bed with me, and that was how I wound down. I thought I was going to get tired and pass out like usual, but I got into it.

Today, I just got through another twenty pages or so and I only have 30some pages left in my first read through!!!!!

Holy Frickin’ Shafizzle!

And it’s not even 11 pm. I could conceivably finish my first revision tonight! And then I can cross of my goal of editing my novel and start a new goal of writing the second draft. That is really exciting. I could even, maybe possibly, have a readable second draft done or partly done by the end of September. Or even October, if I am willing to give up part of October, which I had planned for plotting and development of book two. But the writing of book one can definitely contribute the the movement of book two.

That’s exciting.

What’s also exciting is that the end of my book is WAAAAAAYYYY better than the middle, which sucks, and much better than the beginning, which is skimpy with undeveloped characters. While reading through the ending, I actually got the feeling that I was reading a real science fiction novel, like a published one. Cool.

And I’ve come to some decisions. I need to make this all from the pov of the youngest sister. She needs to be with the other two sisters often. Then we will get the older sister’s POVs through dialogue, not navel gazing and exposition… always two things that I rely too much on. And the ironic thing is, I’m actually pretty good at dialogue, but I’m such a Hamlet overthinker myself that my characters always talk talk talk—to themselves. Soliloquy central.

I just hope that I remember there is nothing to be scared of. And I hope I remember how much I like the end of this book, and that the story is not the tripe that I often fear it is.

It’s all okay, we can whip it into shape. Woo hoo! Charge!

Thursday, August 30, 2007

The Blog-o-Sea

I spent a lot of yesterday looking at blogs. I even commented upon a few of them, like I said I was going to. That’s good, big step up in my not being a frickin hermit and hiding my head (and my writing) in a hole. I found this one blog that I thought was hysterical and brilliant. The best I’d read in… well, possibly the best ever, in part because she isn’t trying to be something that she’s not, and part because she’s just that good a writer, and part because she is, did I say it? HYS. TER. I. CAL.

Check out this post if that is in dispute… but don’t if you have a sensitivity about cuss words, condoms, or the torture of teenagers.

I think she is so funny that it makes me all shy inside. I have my sense of humor, but it’s a much lighter, dryer, flakier kind of humor… like a biscuit.

A biscuit? What kind of metaphor is that? I guess I also just went to this blog so I’m feeling kind like blueberry cobbler.

Looking at all these blogs, though, got me thinking. I am no novice to this genre. Not to blogs and not to personal essays and not to journaling. Computers, I’m not so good with, but writing, that’s my thing. And journal writing? Well I’ve got about 70 hardbound journals sitting in a bookcase to attest to my experience with that. I’ve got just as much of a right to be seen and read and enjoyed as any other blogger. Everyone does, hurrah for the democracy of the internet, but why do I have this feeling in me that no one would want to bother with what I have to say? I mean, any more so than anyone else.

It’s time to take myself seriously as a writer—as someone who can and should be read be persons other than my immediate circle.

Get on out there, Rosy, the water’s fine (sharks? what sharks?)

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

When nothing is sure, everything is possible

So says Marge Drabble

Good quote. So true.

I probably won’t be living where I live by this time next year, because of a psychotic landlord who has just up and decided he won’t renew our lease. Don’t know where we’re going, but I doubt it will be here, (unless said landlord gets therapy.)

Instead of freaking out about all the change, instead of worrying over unknown possibilities, instead of grieving the loss of my home, I’ve decided to embrace the change. I’ve also decided to take advantage of all that my neighborhood has to give.

I’m looking forward to change. Change gives a fresh start in live, and I’m kind of feeling as if I am in a transition period… or perhaps nearing the end of the transition and wanting to really move forward. A new home, a new neighborhood… it could be good. I have faith that we will find a place that we will be happy with. So believing that, I want to have fun with the last of my life here.

I want to go to galleries. I want to take the boy to that little garden by the park. I want to walk across the Williamsburg bridge. I want to go to the Metropolitan Museum of art. I want to take a ferry across the East River… I think there’s a ferry landing a few blocks to the south of us. I want to have more picnics in the park as long as it’s warm. I want to try that pizza place I heard was yummy. Maybe I want to write some articles for the neighborhood newspaper again, (maybe, maybe not.) I want to have better relationships with the other moms here, too. Stop being so antisocial, even if we might move far away, that doesn’t mean I can’t make connections that last.

It also means stop complaining about the sucky things in the neighborhood and the apartment, and just enjoy what’s there. Let go of it with joy.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

I Think Warriors Should Know

When to ease back.

A warrior needs to take charge of herself, be aware of what’s needed and necessary and take a break. Be kind to herself.

Breathing deeply is important. Caring for the self. Figure out what recharges and what depletes.

It will be clear when it’s time to charge forward again.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Having a project makes me feel closer to being an adult, again

A project or two not related to children, housework or being a mom, that is.

I feel a little selfish, sometimes, when my time and energy go into my art or writing, instead of the kids or the house, but I need to do this, for me. I don’t know if I would be happy with ‘homemaking’ as my focus for life. Sometimes, I wish I could. I would not be as pulled in as many directions. I wouldn’t feel like I was somehow subpar as a mother.

I’ve got to get all those expectations out of my head. There is no “should be” for life, mothering, or being a woman. There are lots of ways to be. And I am who I am. Ignoring the rest of myself won’t make the non-mom-me go away, it’ll just make me miserable. The all of me, mom-me and non-mom-me both.

I am an artist. I am a writer. I am a mother. I am not a very good housekeeper. I guess something has to give.

Friday, August 24, 2007

The Cat Burglar

This was one of my favorite sketches from this week. I used the gouache I bought to paint it in my journal, but the paper is not good enough to sell, I think. I either need to find some good paper in my house, or go buy some. I might have it. I’m just a little disorganized with my supplies, since it’s been so long since I did any art.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Chugga Chugga Chugga, Choo Choo. The little engine starts to move.

Searching through etsy gets the juices going again, but if you don’t capture that inspiration right away, it dribbles right out of your ears.

Today I painted three paintings. Not ones I can sell. I’m not ready to use good paper when I’m still just experimenting, but I’m getting the ideas and the style down. Closer anyway.

All three were on a blue background, then I gessoed in white figures, then painted the outline of the figures over the gesso. Child-like in style.

One was “Cookie Boy, with the power to resist dinner.” One was “The Super Pooper, with the power to: you don’t want to know.” Both of those were superheroes with red flying capes. And then the last was “My White Rabbits” and it was two child like white rabbits, one a big boy, one a baby. The big boy yelling/roaring and the baby looking up adoringly at the big boy.

I didn’t get to do any more mature art, but I guess we’ll just see what develops. Somehow, that kind of work didn’t come out, although I was doing sketches of skylines and birds and all. Oh well.

Friday, August 17, 2007

One Way to See the World Through the Eyes of Your Child

Take a different route home.

It’s surprising how new the familiar can seem when you see it from a different direction, literally. North instead of South. East instead of West.

I don’t know if I was delighted by my little adventure, but it didn’t feel like the same old same old. There was a bit of wonder.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

I Write in The Laundromat

Lately, I find myself going up and down with everything. One day, I'll have it all under control. The next, no so much. When there's so much going on, it's really easy to get overwhelmed.

The overwhelm is not worth it. It's not worth it to wallow in the 'poor me's. There are things I want in life, I need to get there. It doesn't do any good to panic about how far I have to go, or how hard I have to work to get there, or get bogged down in the fear.

I can only give this minute at any given minute. So, yeah, I need to keep my eyes on the prize and do some of my dreaming and planning to figure out what I have to do to get that prize, but really. Really. What I need to do is act. I need to write. I need to paint. I need to take care of my kids. I even need to wash the dishes. I need to DO what I need to do, in that moment. And I need to take all those moments I have and really use them. I don't want to waste any of it.

I just found Ariel Gore's blog and her post on this , was wonderful and just exactly what I needed right now, in this instant.

And so was the poem she shared. Thanks so much Ariel for your writing and insight.

I Write in The Laundromat:

I write in the Laundromat.
I am a woman
and between wash & dry cycles
I write.

I write while the beans soak
and with children's voices in my ear.
I spell out words for scrabble
while I am writing.

I write as I drive to the office
where I type a man's letters
and when he goes to lunch
I write.

When the kids go out the door
on Saturday I write
and while the frozen dinners thaw
I write.

I write on the toilet
and in the bathtub
and when I appear to be talking
I am often writing.

I write in the Laundromat
while the kids soak
with scrabbled ears
and beans in the office
and frozen toilets
and in the car
between wash and dry.
And your words
and my words
and her words and their words
and I am a woman
and I write in the Laundromat.

By Marcy Scheiner

Another Double Page Spread in My Alice in Wonderland Book

I did it a while ago, but never posted.

It’s all about the illustration, here. It’s when Alice shrinks and ends up in a sea of her own tears. I myself sometimes feel as if I am treading water in a day to day life of my own making. Being a mom is hard, and the demands of needing to be everything for everybody sometimes drown out your own identity, and you forget to be there for yourself. Trying to keep a hold of who I am.

The text says: (sideways) “As wet as ever,” said ALice in a melan-choly tone; “it doesn’t seem to dry me at all.”

(and below) “Why, she, of course,” said the Dodo, pointing to Alice with one finger; and the whole party at once crowded round her, calling out in a confused way, “Prizes! Prizes!”

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Did some quick paintings

Have decided that my paintings right now should be rather autobiographical. Stick with what you know, you know?

Follow my inspiration, which is, right now, my little guys. The boy did some painting on his own, then when he went to bed, I let myself be inspired by what he had done. One of the pieces was called “The Boy Wants to Paint.” Another was called, “The Boy Was Sad and Did Not Know Why.”

I used child like stick figures and watercolor washes like scribbling, the way the boy does, and put them together. Both paintings featured little boys with their mouths wide open—roaring, yelling, laughing???? I think I will call them the Roar series.

I kind of like them. So does the boy. I asked him. I am going to have to experiment with medium, though, because using kids watercolors and writing pen on a journal page is not the most enduring of artwork. I’ve got to find the right kind of paper and the right kind of ink/paint combo to sell them. Experiment, experiment. And develop. That’s what it means to be an artist again.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

My plate is full

But I’ve been struck by this idea that I can set up a shop and sell my art online.

I have always avoided selling my art or showing my art beyond a very small level. I always pooh pooh what I can do, although everybody around me thinks that I should do something with it, that I HAVE something. Maybe I blow my talent off because it is something I have always had, and art has always come easily to me, so I discount it. I also have a thing about the art industry. And I’m not very competitive… I get scared by the tough guys, the big guys, The Man.

But what if I were to open up a small art shop on What if, what if? I almost don’t want to talk about it, because I don’t want to be held accountable if I waffle and wimp out. I guess that means I should tell everyone.

But, like I said, my plate is full… I must be insane to take up a new project right now, with a toddler and a baby, a novel to be revised and rewritten and published, a second novel to be written (and a third, because it’s actually a trilogy. Go Sci Fi!) A house to be kept clean. Food to be shopped for and cooked. A photo project going on. A blog to be kept up. A relationship to attend to. You know, a life to live.

I think the key is to not got haring off in wildly different directions and try to be something I not, but actually build my art practice into my daily life.

I think I should use my day. If I am going on adventures with my children, I should document them in paintings. If I want to write a novel, I could draw images of my themes and questions. If I want to do an inquiry into what it means to be the hero of my own story, I should explore it in images. If I want to keep up my blog, I should post my art and write about my process and my progress. If I want to cook… well… not quite sure how to blend that one in, but you get the picture.

I also think that I should not try to adopt the styles of those artists that I see and like. I am not a novice. I’ve been painting and drawing for 30 years. I have recurring themes and images. I have ideas. I have a lot of previous work to use as inspiration. I have explored and enjoyed different media. I don’t have to find a new media. I have cabinets full of supplies. I don’t have to run to the store and buy new paints. Granted, a lot of what I have is old, but what I do have might actually drive my art.

However, I feel like I don’t have a cohesive style. That may just be my insecurity talking. It may be my rusty chops. I have to climb back on the artist wagon in order to find out who I am as an artist again.

I suppose, just like with writing, I can actually use my art to find out who I am as a person—since I have gone through such profound changes in the last few years.

I am an artist, because it is who I have always been, a creative. But I want to be a painter again. I want to be a visual artist. And I need to live it to be it.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Gabriel and His Guitar

He loves it. He can’t play it yet, but that doesn’t matter. Soon enough he’ll be able to play, I figure. For now, he can just sit with it, and pluck the strings, and watch people play on tv. Same with the piano, which he also loves.

We might be raising ourselves a little musician.

Not a singer, though. He doesn’t like to sing. Ivy seems to, even so young. I guess we’ll see where life goes.

Thursday, August 02, 2007

We didn't "go" anywhere, but it's an adventure anyway

This morning, Gabriel wanted to paint. He took out his set of crayola water paints and poured a cup of water into it.

Ha Ha. Big mess, but it wasn’t on purpose. He wanted to paint. The mess was a side benefit.

I got him his paper—one of the ones that got doused in the cup-o-water spill, and he ran to get his paintbrush and he just started going.

He’s only two, but I think there was some deliberation in his painting today. I watched as he chose, over and over greens and purples/roses. He repeated his motions and marks, tried to cover up some black marks. Then he asked for the pencil he’d left on the table, and added some more marks with the pencil.

Near the end, he stuck his finger into the paint and made some emphatic marks on the right side. Then he kissed the painting.

I think that meant that he liked it and he was done.

It is very interesting to see a child begin to make choices, to express themselves, to have vision. Come to think of it, that’s the adventure for me.

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Tried to be virtuous today

Turned off the tv. Fed the little monkey a healthy well balanced meal or two. Went on a morning adventure when we usually don’t leave the house til three. Cooked a nice dinner from scratch for a bargain. Used up fresh veggies that were sitting in the fridge waiting to go bad. Had actual activities like drawing, jumping practice, splashing in the sink, dancing to The Red Hot Chili Peppers. The second solid food meal for the baby, starring sweet potatoes.

But oh! The screaming! The tears! The tantrums!

If it wasn’t one, it was the other. Did the morning adventure screw up their napping schedule? Did I not give the boy enough breakfast? Was pierogi and apple sauce too weird for a late lunch, even though he loves all the ingredients, potato, spinach, pasta and apples? But then, he didn’t eat the cheese and crackers that I gave him for his late morning snack/early lunch,(his nap goes from noon to 3 or 4 sometimes.) All he wanted was chocolate or cake or more blueberries, and I wouldn’t give it to him with his lunch still sitting there. And then it was just hungry, cranky boy.

When I played with him, the baby cried because she was being ignored. When I fed the baby, the cranky boy got worse and at one point knocked over a step ladder, and ran into his room to lie face down underneath his crib. Whatever. Atleast he wasn’t damaging anything. Sometimes, they were both screaming at the top of their lungs at the same time. Usually it was when I had my hands wrist deep in raw meatloaf, or putting a full pan into a hot oven or something uninterruptable, like that.

I finally gave in and gave him the crackers and cheese he had left before. He only ate the crackers, but it got him over to dinner… which I do have to say he ate all of. He was so hungry he actually took a bite of the green bean, before spitting it out and wiping his mouth in disgust. Argggh.

Now he’s sitting here, happy with the milk and the brownie I gave him as a reward for eating all of his dinner. I never actually expected him to eat green beans, instead, I hid zucchini, onions, and olives inside the meatloaf. But as a tip for next time, chop the onions finer, maybe even grated like the zucchini.

So, I was virtuous, and didn’t give in to the lure and the easy out of the tv or of snacks or of processed food, but let me tell you…It was not enjoyable. I called my boyfriend and told him the next time he complained about my poor housekeeping skills while taking care of these two little kids, I was going to tear out his eyeballs.

I think threat of violence was warranted.

I've been working on this photo a day project for a few months now

And I must say, I think mama’s getting to be a good photographer. I’ve always loved photography, I am the daughter of a photographer, and I love to take photos, but except for the one term in High School, where I took a photography class, I have never really put significant time and effort into developing my skills.

I bought myself a 35mm camera for my 30th birthday and had a few enjoyable excursions with it. It wasn’t until I got my digital camera that I really had the opportunity to explore photography. I love that you can just snap away, hundreds of pictures, and not worry about developing things or rolls of film. I never develop them and they just sit in a drawer somewhere. I don’t know how to do my own development, either, despite that term of photography class and the old enlarger that my father gave me. But I do have an eye, even without the technique or the technology, so I’m really enjoying my project.

And this is a good time for it, with my kids so little and changing so quickly. It’s also a good time for me to have a project that I can put my energy and creativity into.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Yesterday I called an old friend

who I hadn’t seen in two and a half years. There was no answer, but today, she called me back. Woohoo!

The sad fact is, I don’t have a life outside of my children. Since I got pregnant with my second, I barely even have a community of other mothers, since I got all hermity and antisocial. Some people might just have “nested,” but I, with my natural tendencies, crawled into my little hidey hole and turned out the lights.

Now, almost 5 months post partum, if I am actually calling people, then something has changed.

I was so glad that we reconnected. In those two and a half years, I’ve had my two kids and she left for Oakland, but thankfully came back. She was in school for massage therapy. I think that’s great. We were waitresses together many years ago, and worked in many different restaurants together, then I started teaching and our different schedules got in the way and we kind of fell apart. I’ve missed her. I know our lives have changed directions and we live in different neighborhoods and I have a hard time getting around, and we both have things that require our attention, but I would like to be friends again. Good friends, too. Not just friends who keep saying they should get together but never do.

She said we should get together next week, and I said, yes we should. Let’s make plans. So she’s coming here on Wednesday, and we can have lunch on the deck. See, I set my deck up so that I could have people over. Now I can invite people and be social, again. Maybe not huge parties and bunches of people—that still stresses me out to no end, but one or two people? I think I can handle that.

When I first got pregnant I stopped creating and stopped going out and kind of became someone else. A friend of mine told me not to worry, it would come back, and it did, after G, until I got pregnant again. Then the ‘me’ went away again. Now that I is starting to get older and starting to take solids (I fed her rice cereal for the first time today!) maybe, just maybe, I can start getting back to my life again. You have no idea how relieved I am.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Ai, Ai, Ai!!!

1pm and I’m still in my pajamas.

I thought the day and my schedule in the day was on the right track. Kids dressed and fed, some dishes done, baby down for first nap, boy watching Max and Ruby while I put her down, waiting for his own nap… then something took a little longer than expected and I didn’t take the opportunity to put G down for his nap after Max and Ruby, and then he wanted something to eat, and so did I so his nap was delayed, and then the baby woke up screaming although I knew she was still tired and I had to burp her and feed her and put her back to sleep and the boy ended up changing the channel (I don’t know how) to some cartoon movie and he started getting more wired and playing with the baby’s toes, and then I got the baby to stop crying and close her eyes and I put the baby down again and got G into his room, changed him, as he kicked all the while I dressed him, then laid him down for his nap so that he could get up at a decent hour and we could go play with his buddies in the playground, and as soon as he was down, the baby started crying again, needing to be fed and burped and rocked to sleep again because I know at this point she is just overtired and crying because she can’t get to sleep and now finally they’re both down but I am starving and know I should take a shower, but don’t know which to do first, because I’m really hungry and want to make some lunch, but if someone wakes up I won’t be able to take a shower but might still be able to eat, although it will just be a grab and snack not what I want to cook, and my mind is whirling, partly from the hunger and too much coffee and I wanted to get my head straightened out but my head isn’t straight because I don’t think I’ve taken a breath!


And yet, I still feel like I have done nothing today. The days just slip by and this is partly why.

And I am still not dressed.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Alice in Wonderland Spread: My White Rabbits

I let G help me on this spread. He’s the guest artist, then I added a footprint from Ivy and a handprint from G.

I think I am trying to figure out my new identity WITH my children. WITHOUT ignoring my self.

There's a new park in the neighborhood

One of the good things about gentrification, I suppose, is they’ve got to improve the neighborhood services. So, while they’re building skyscraper condos on the waterfront, they are also opening a new park by the river.

It ain’t fancy. It’s a lawn, that’s about it. And a cobble stone road for the maintenance guys who seemed to drive back and forth every fifteen minutes. And there was a cement expanse, like a parking lot, but without cars, where you could set up a barbecue and grill some dogs, I suppose. There was also a flock of geese which G loved, thought I could have done without the goose poop.

But the most glorious part of the new little park, the view. You can’t get much better than that, really.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

The Perils of Being a Martha Stewart Wannabe

The Monkey and I are hanging out at home this morning, and Martha is on the tv making loads and loads of delicious looking berry pies and tarts.

The problem with this?

Monkey is moaning and crying for pie. Maybe it’s berries. Definitely he wants Martha’s desserts. He keeps pointing at the screen and then pointing at his belly. Plums won’t do. Grapes won’t do. Cheerios won’t do. He wants pie.

I tell him, “Monkey, we don’t have pie. We don’t have blueberries. We can try to get some when we go out this afternoon,” but he is unappeased.

Ohhhhh! Woe! Moooommmm! MMMMMMM! Ohhhhh! Oh woe.

P.S. Fig Newtons do appease. I guess the commercials are correct. It is fruit and cake.

Monday, July 16, 2007

My Novel is Slow Going-- But What'cha Gonna Do?

I’ve been noticing that my main character—the one that I initially thought of when I started writing is the worst character. Her scenes are the sketchiest, her personality the flattest, her motivations the most forced. However, her two sisters, who are the other two main characters, have caught my inspiration more and more. I was thinking about dropping the middle sister, but she is necessary to further the action of the story. She’s a catalyst.

I think the reason why she is the most boring is because she is the character who is most closely based on myself. I mean, all characters are partly the author, but this is the one who is the “me,” and I think because of that, she becomes a cipher. I can’t see her from the outside, so I just can’t really see her at all. It’s something my writing has suffered from before, not a new problem at all. The other issue I’ve had in my writing is writing “around” the heart of the matter, and then when I get to the real rough stuff—the pain, the meat, the moment—I rush right through it.

Writing brings up so many of your personal issues. Anyone who has ever said writing is easy either has never written, or is rather oblivious to their own psychology. When I was a kid, writing was easy. The ignorant are blessed in this situation.

But now I know my problems, and I can see my character who isn’t there. I’m hoping that as I read the rest of the novel, she will become clearer to me… I seem to remember that her character made a lot more sense to me as I wrote the novel. It’s just been so long since I wrote it, and I wrote it so quickly that I don’t remember her, I just remember a vague sense of plot.


The only hope for my troubles is a straight forward one—


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