Sunday, May 30, 2010

Quiet Sunday

I woke this morning with the song "On The Willows" from Godspell drifting through my head. Even though I haven't been to church for years Sunday morning pulls at me. While race cars go round and round the track on tv I am sitting on the couch reading poetry and looking for something...

After Psalm 137
by Anne Porter

We're still in Babylon but
We do not weep
Why should we weep?
We have forgotten
How to weep

We've sold our harps
And bought ourselves machines
That do our singing for us
And who remembers now
The songs we sang in Zion?

We have got used to exile
We hardly notice
Our captivity
For some of us
There are such comforts here
Such luxuries

Even a guard
To keep the beggars
From annoying us

We have forgotten you.

"After Psalm 137" by Anne Porter, from Living Things Collected Poems. © Zoland Books, 2006.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Menu Again...

Ah Spring! Everything is growing, I've got tons of energy, and I'm sick to death of cooking. The good news is that in just one month our CSA deliveries will start and I can start planning menus around the fresh vegetables in my box. I really love the challenge of opening the box and figuring out how I'm going to use everything. It's like an episode of Chopped in my own kitchen.. except I'm not a world class cook and my family knows better than to be too honest with their critiques. So in preparation it's time to start menu planning again. Oh, and to make things more interesting, my vegetarian children have decided, after two years of strict vegetarian eating, that they are eating some meat again but are still mostly vegetarian. Which means that I don't know who I'm cooking for anymore. Oh well, we will work it out as we go along.

Here's the menu for this week:

Monday - Breaded Chicken, Mashed Potatoes, Corn (no vegetarian option because both of them asked for this meal)

Tuesday - Rigatoni with Marinara Sauce, Meatballs, Garlic bread

Wednesday - London Broil or Portobello Sandwiches, Salad, Chips

Thursday - Bean Tostadas, sliced leftover London Broil, Avocado Corn Relish

Friday - Panini Sandwiches, Chips

Saturday - Bob cooks something delicious

Sunday - Salmon, Frittata, Steamed Red Potatoes, Asparagus

For more menus check out the list at Laura has completely revamped her website and it looks fantastic!

Thursday, May 13, 2010

It's a beautiful day in the neighborhood...

For the last week we have been working on transforming our front yard. Where we once had a messy, poorly planned (by the builder, not me!), and attention demanding flower bed I decided I want grass and a strictly disciplined rose garden. Usually I'm the last person calling for more discipline but this is a rare case. You see, I'm tired of weeding in the front yard where my neighbors can see the results of my work and, more often than not, comment. There are many good things about living in this neighborhood. Yard work isn't one of them. Especially when I can trust our heavy handed HOA to send out nastygrams if the yard doesn't look good.

So, over the weekend we went from this mess hiding behind the gorgeous girl...

To this...

We dug up a dozen bushes and moved them to the side of the house and I have been transplanting them to planter beds in the back. This morning I had a big bush left to plant under the dining room window at the side of the house. I had raked the gravel out of my planting area and dug a nice deep hole when my neighbor came over. He's an older man who doesn't speak English but always waves and smiles when he strolls past on his thrice daily walks. On Monday he took an interest in our project and stood on the sidewalk watching us roll out sod. He supervised the whole job without saying a word. However, today I was working alone when he showed up. He walked up, grabbed the shovel and, waving me away, proceeded to take over. He planted the bush and, when he was done, he grabbed my hands. Pointing to the dirt on them he shook his head and lectured me in Korean. Then he hugged me, patted my butt, and walked away!

I'm not sure if I should be annoyed or flattered...

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Happy Mother's Day!

Instead of flowers for Mother's Day I got two lovely maple trees!
Happy, Happy, Joy, Joy! I hope you all had a wonderful day.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

NaPiBoWriWee - Day 7

Seven picture books in seven days. It's an impossible challenge. On the surface it seems easy but it's a lot like spending the week with a four year old who never stops asking questions. On the first day it's fun and you feel special because you know things.. but by the end of the week you really just want some peace and quiet and a whole lot of vodka.

I finished the challenge though and now I have seven rough drafts to work on. Seven ideas that I didn't have on paper a week ago. Seven potential books. That is huge! I can never thank Paula Yoo enough for coming up with this challenge and being a constant source of encouragement this week. I don't know how she did it. Although she was writing her own books, and still working her day job, (she's co-producer of the Sy-Fy series Eureka) she still managed to write a daily blog post with tons of good information and encouragement, plus she responded to posts, did a live twitter interview late, late, one night, and had to deal with website and computer problems. I am in awe of her abilities!

I'm going to bed now and tomorrow I'm going to relax and not worry about writing. I might do the same thing on Sunday... But on Monday I will be back to work. I have some serious rewriting to do!

Thursday, May 6, 2010

NaPiBoWriWee - Day 6

Day Six?! I can't believe I'm almost done with this week. One week ago I was griping that I had no inspiration, no motivation, that I didn't know what to do and motivation jumped up and bit me!

Today I wrote an outline for a story but didn't actually write the story because the outline was over 3000 words. Obviously I need to rethink this story but I really like it.

Tomorrow is the last day and it's going to be a busy day for me. I am meeting a friend for coffee in the morning and we have tickets to see "Ragtime" in the evening so there won't be a lot of extra time for me to goof off or waffle about what I want to write. I just need to sit down and write the final book!

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

NaPiBoWriWee - Day 5

Brain Drain

Brain Drain is the working title for book number five and honestly the title is probably the most creative thing in it. I am so terribly tired... who knew that writing simple little picture books could be so exhausting? Truthfully, I had a suspicion that it would be a lot harder than it looks from the outside but I decided to do this, and I'm sticking with it, even though I feel as though every ounce of creativity has been sucked down that picture book brain drain.

I'm going to bed and praying for a bolt of inspiration or a miracle dream about a fully written story.

Day 5 - four and a half books written. (Book number four never did fully gel and I have decided to let it sit for a bit longer)

Happy Cinco De Mayo

To my favorite seventeen year old birthday boy!

Even though you have grown up (and your hair has grown out!)I still catch glimpses of the little boy you used to be. You still have the same smile, the same sneaky sense of humor, that makes me laugh, not just at the joke but with amazement at your brilliant wit. Sometimes I miss that little boy, because he was so cuddly and sweet, but I am very proud of the man you are growing into. I love you Zane.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

NaPiBoWriWee - Day 4


Today was tough. I just had too much to do and didn't manage to finish my fourth book. However, I have the idea outline and the book half written. Tomorrow I will finish it and move on to the next one.

Today's book is about seeing beauty in the routine of every day. Children are so good at this! The story is inspired by(but not about) an experiment that The Washington Post conducted. The article just received a Pulitzer Prize and is a really interesting read if you have the time. For me the most wonderful "revelation" in this article was that children are far more observant than adults.

Ok.. I'm off to bed. Four days down... 3 1/2 books written... 3 1/2 to go!

Monday, May 3, 2010

NaPiBoWriWee - Day 3

I feel different. Is different okay?

Either I'm doing something right or I'm doing something very wrong! This morning I got the kids off to school, ate some heavenly strawberry and honey Greek yogurt, poured myself a cup of coffee and then wrote thirty lines of rhyme for my NaPiBoWriWee day three picture book in thirty minutes. The book came together so fast that I just now realized that my coffee cup is still full and stone cold.

It's odd how debilitating self-doubt can be. From the time we are small children we are told that we have to work hard to be good at things. "Practice the piano, you'll never get good if you don't work at it." "Try harder!" "It takes work to learn the basics of a sport." "Don't give up!" "No pain, no gain!" But what about the things that we are naturally good at? For some reason I have discounted skills that seem too easy to master, placing little value on anything that just comes naturally to me. These skills seem suspect. How can what I wrote this morning be any good if I didn't struggle with it? Well, I guess I am struggling, in a way. I'm struggling to give myself permission to be good at something without hating it. Do you know that the only writing I've been paid for was stuff that I hated? I hated every minute of writing it, I hated the finished product, I hated myself for using words to sell stuff. But I got paid for it which gave it value and the suffering just proved that it was legitimate work, right?

Well, whether it's a natural talent or a load of crap, I have managed to write another picture book today. We are almost halfway through the week. Three down, four to go. Tomorrow I think I'll write about finding something you are good at.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

NaPiBoWriWee - Day 2

I didn't think I was going to manage to get a second book written today but at 10:30pm, sitting in bed with my laptop, with Bob snoring slightly and the dogs making themselves way too comfortable, I managed to write a truly pathetic picture book about making blueberry muffins. I don't care how bad it is because it's just a shitty first draft and it doesn't have to be any good.

Two down, five to go...

Saturday, May 1, 2010

NaPiBoWriWee - Day One

I am excited and invigorated and even a little proud to report that on the first day of NaPiBoWriWee I have a teeny tiny, slightly slimy, and very rough, draft of a picture book written!

Now I need to get dressed, take Delaney out for lunch as promised, get her glasses repaired, buy hair dye for Taylor, come home, dye Taylor's hair, watch hockey, figure out dinner, cook, do some laundry, work on my list of chores that never gets done... blah, blah, blah.

But I don't care how many chores there are on it today because I put the one that really matters to me first.

Thanks to gribley for the perfect photo.