Saturday, September 27, 2008

Still here

I am still here.

I was, and had nothing urgent to share.
Then, I wasn't here. The hubbie and I got a chance to go to Chicago for a conference (his) without the kids! My parents came and watched all three kids! I found so much inspiration in Chicago and was ready to write but had no time and did not bring the laptop. (I know--it wasn't my conference--so I should have had time but we got to meet up with great friends that we had not seen in two years, so, there you go.)

I have not forgotten my few, loyal readers! I have funny comments about the election, worrisome thoughts about the bailout, funny mass emails about both that I could share but I'll wait until I have something new to say.

How are you?

Monday, September 15, 2008

Unfinished business

Yesterday, the kids and I were talking about when my daughter was in preschool. I made the comment that it was nice--during the time she was in preschool, my son would nap and I would write.

"You have been working on your book that long?" my son asks.
"Well, I've started a few things along the way, and I've rewritten it a few times now but...yes."
"Mom! That's six years! That's almost my whole life!"

Chastened, I left the breakfast dishes in the sink and sat down with the computer while they played games downstairs. The last six years have slipped by rather quickly. I actually have made much progress but it never feels "done." I've got too many other stories in my head to keep wasting time with this one, however. I'm going to work on it NOW.

Well, after one more comment. I included Infinite Jest in a previous post as a book I feel guilty about not finishing. Much like the book I'm writing, I made it most of the way through but never finished. The author, David Foster Wallace, passed away recently. I wonder what he left unfinished.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Take a hike, Ike!

Pick a place a hurricane can strike and I probably have relatives, friends or both living nearby. A week ago, I was worried that Ike would slam into my parents. It is going far away from them now--right towards my husband's family and my friends in Houston.

My daughter has, up to now, been relieved that hurricanes don't hit Indiana! We received some thunderstorms left over from Gustav however, and Ike looks like he's trying to swing on up here, as best as he can!

It looks like a good weekend to visit Kansas. Or Canada.

I don't know if many of my friends in Houston read this blog but B ~ I know you do. Post a comment when it's all over and you have power to let me know y'all are OK, please!

Friday, September 12, 2008

The Girl Who Stopped Swimming

Joshilyn Jackson's latest book takes place in Florida. 

Her first two novels put you in the South.  I grew up in Florida and went to college in New Orleans and her books captured much of the essence of what I like to remember as "home."  I was excited to learn that her latest book took place in Florida but I did not get as nostalgic with this one.  

While she included some references to the sandy soil (which differs, apparently, from the actual dirt next door in Alabama) much of this novel takes place in Anywhere, USA.  Which is actually closer to where I really grew up--and where I live, now.  

Ms. Jackson has a talent for creating memorable characters and locales.  Her details put you right into the story.   I was sure I had the "whodunit" part figured out this time--and was wrong again!  It was worth the read--I just didn't feel like to I got to escape to the South this time.  I felt like it could have taken place here--in my current home.  (Although I do not have a pool, nor a dead girl floating in one.)

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Thank you, Blogger

Today's "blog of note" from Blogger is Nathan Bransford, Literary Agent. I popped over to take a look and was glad to have done so. I've found yet one more site to look at while I pretend to be writing.  It's great and he has plenty of interesting information. What I'm sharing with you today however, is a link --and a question--that he shared from the Washington Post book blog: Short Stack.

What book(s) are you embarrassed not to have read?

I have read parts of--but never the entire--Bible. I don't know if that counts. (Actually, books I've started, read parts of or are still theoretically reading could be an entirely different category! Infinite Jest and Les Miserables would top that list...)

(Unlike other members of my family, I have not read one Harry Potter book--but I'm not embarrassed by that.)  
Books that I'm embarrassed to say I haven't read yet would include:

Moby Dick - Melville 
The Divine Comedy (The Inferno, The Purgatorio, The Paradiso) - Dante 
A Room of One's Own - Virginia Woolf (I keep saying I'd be a better writer if I had one but I    still haven't read the book!)
Catcher in the Rye - J.D. Salinger (I'm pretty sure everyone has read this but me)
Uncle Tom's Cabin - Harriet Beecher Stowe (I've read so many other Civil War books and even have a WIP based during the War so it's particularly shameful that I have not read this one!)

Seven years ago

It took a while to get our furniture--we slept in new sofa beds for a month.  Once our goods arrived, it took a while to get the boxes unpacked.  We finally got things put away, had the children settled into their new rooms and were finally adjusting to the new house.

I had been telling my family we'd have time and would likely be ready for a visit by September.  In normal fashion, I waited until September to get online and book a ticket.  It was around 6 or 6:30am.  The kids were playing nicely; I logged on to the computer but when I tried to price a flight, I saw the message informing me that, in light of recent events, all flights were suspended until further notice.  I remember looking out the window, up at the clear, Alaska sky and wondering what could have happened.  My imagination took off and I pictured a few horrible scenarios.

I turned on the television.  Nothing I had imagined came close to what I saw.

I am thankful for my gift of procrastination.  In  August, 2007, I looked at the calendar, checked our schedules and thought that we would be ready to travel by September 11.  While it took a bit longer to actually get on a plane and visit my family, I am glad that I waited until that fateful day to attempt to book our flight.

May God be with the families who lost loved ones seven years ago today.

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Focus on what's important

The title of this post is a reminder to myself.

My daughter picks on her brother more each day. The more I chastise her for it, the more she does it. (Life is a bit busier with three kids and now that the baby is mobile, I guess any attention she gets--even if it is negative attention--is welcome.)

It was a wonderful treat to open my email earlier this week to find an email from N's teacher. She wanted to take the time to tell me that N had impressed her by stepping up and helping a fellow student at school. Another girl was feeling left out and the teacher asked N to move to a new desk--away from her best friend--to help this other girl feel more included. The teacher went on to tell me how my daughter did not hesitate and displayed Christian behavior.

While I want my daughter to receive a good education, the note was an affirmation that we are doing the right thing for our children in sending them to a school where Christian values are stressed just as much as math facts and spelling words.

(Here is where I have to remind myself again to focus on what is truly important. The note from my daughter's teacher was loaded with misspelled words and grammatical errors. Realizing that this person is also my daughter's English teacher makes me cringe but I am choosing to believe that she is a person that believes that spelling and grammar rules do not apply to hasty email messages.)

The note was also a reminder to me that encouraging her is probably a better way to get N to be nice rather than yelling at her when she picks on her brother. I am fully aware that much of her pestering would stop if I simply ignore it--but it's hard when my son is right there--I don't want him to think I won't stand up for him. Having said that, he keeps telling me "from now on, I will stand up for myself with N." I should give him a chance.

Whether she pesters him or plays with him, C will do anything that N says. He loves her and wants her attention--negative or otherwise. We looked at some photos last night and found one of her snuggling with C when he was a baby. He smiled, looked up at her and said, "I guess you do love me."

I tried to use that as a reminder this morning when she was picking on him. I didn't catch on to just how much she is looking for the same thing from me until after I finished yelling this morning. I still haven't folded the laundry or unloaded the dishwasher but at least I can say I've learned something today.

(Now I am going to look for a coffee pot with a timer so I can spend the rest of my mornings smiling and being nice, rather than yelling at my kids for not helping out when Mommy hasn't even had a chance to make a pot of coffee!)