Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Patience is a tired mare but she jogs on.

Is writing a learned art or a God given ability? My 18 year old self hopes it's the former. I can count on one hand the number of papers I actually finished while being homeschooled--they typically turned into stubborn showdowns with my parents. Consequently the first week of college I found myself clutching a one paged, in class essay on Great Danes vs Chihuahuas, it was covered with corrections and I was in a mandatory meeting with the instructor bawling my eyes out. Those were the days where every cool homeschool chick worth her salt carried a 4 inch folding knife in her pocket. After looking between me, the knife in my hands, and my tear splotched paper, you can't blame the worried instructor for threatening to take my easiest means of suicide away... or maybe he was concerned for his own safety. I'm not sure.

Hopefully I've come a long way since then. Although anything involving the alphabet and a thirty min timer is still doomed for disaster, because I am anything but a fast writer and the best I can do is aim for persistance. I'm not a wordy writer either. People who can whip out four pages without even pausing are geniuses in my eyes. Nanowrimo last year was possibly one of the most painful things I've ever done. To this day I have to resist the urge to check my word count on blog entries and mentally congratulate myself when I hit 800 words.

I've managed to squeeze out 12,000 words in my novel so far. That's 12,000 words I currently despise, but that Jim has forbidden me to erase. 12,000 words that roll over and over in the back of my head and haunt my dreams with what the next 12,000 words will contain. Everything I read says to write the first draft then edit, edit, edit. I think that must apply to people who like to write 150,000 word epic beasts. In my case it will have to be "revise", "rewrite", "revise". Because really, I'll be doing good if I can hit 60,000. The first Harry Potter book was 80,000 words.

Oh and I'm begging... somebody go sign up for Nanowrimo this year, because I can't, what with the rule about not starting till Nov 1st coupled with my inability to do two things at once has sadly disqualified me from participating this year. But I want to live vicariously through someone and cheer them on!

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

There was this one time...

I have a friend who has the worst girlfriend I have ever met. Seriously. She's one of those people who you want to like. you try really hard to like...mostly because you you really want to be a part of your friends life and you know your friendship with him won't be the same if you hate his wife. But It's horribly horribly depressing. And I've tried, I really have. But what are you supposed to do when you find out she's cheating on him? Do you tell him? I did. He doesn't care. He loves her anyway. And so for his sake I try again. We went out for a girls night one time, shared martinis, gossiped about our favorite books and generally had fun. I was shocked. I couldn't even believe this was the same woman who days earlier had borrowed my car without asking and gave it a dent she insisted was there before. The same woman who flirted with my husband and the had the audacity to tell her boyfriend it was Jim not her. The same women who thinks it's hysterical to send me obnoxious texts around the clock. And yet, despite our becoming "friends" the other night, I find out she told everyone I whine too much and that she really has to bite her tongue to keep from callig CPS because my kids are "emotionally abused and physically neglected." Seriously.
I give up. She's a crazy person and it's a hopeless case.

And yet I can't. Because "She" is the church, and I am her too.

And really, although I know the above is a bit of an exaggeration for me, it isn't for some people; and it is quite the bugger. It would be much easier if I could be one of those people who believe it's only about "your relationship with Jesus" and church doesn't matter. Which yeah, is partly true: your relationship is with Christ, but the church is clearly the bride of Christ. Try being best friends with someone while refusing to acknowledge their spouse. Conversations are awkward and dinner parties are a bitch.

Not that I'm condoning abusive relationships on a person-to-person level. People have shitty things happen to them-- alcoholic husbands, creepy step-fathers, bi-polar mothers, teenagers who are hell-bent on destruction.
But in the case of the church you already know the ending. You already know that no matter how many times she flat-lines, the defibrillator is always going to work. Yes, she's been diagnosed with cancer, but we already know the chemo works.

Clearly we can't give up when we know the end of the story. It isn't a hopeless case. Even though I live in a place where every gosh darn church is either filled with pretty people congratulating themselves on how cool they are, or some watered down, old fashioned service filled with old old or creepy people. In my own beloved circle of reformed churches here in San Diego, it seems like everyone either hates everyone or has some ancient grudge that they refuse to let go. It gets quite depressing to be around people who refuse to let go over things that happened before I was even out of elementary school.

And yet I love my church, I really do. I just suck at trying to figure out how to help.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Maybe Next Saturday...

Jamie and I read "The Little Engine That Could" a lot. My mom used to read it to me too. I hated it. Mostly because everytime I had a meltdown and insisted something was impossible (which was quite a lot), my mom wouldn't say anything but just start chanting "I think I can, I think I can, I think I can" until I went and tried again. It was very annoying. Sometimes she even added a peppy little "choo choo!" to cheer me on. I was only five and it was still mortifying. Even now, I'm tempted to edit and change the book as I'm reading it to Jamie.

"...the little engine tried and tried, but she was too little and not strong enough and children on the other side of the mountain did not get their toys and good things to eat. The End"

After months and months of houseguests/people living with us, I finally decided enough was enough and scoured the house top to bottom. Or tried. I swept the floor and was halfway through mopping it when Jamie and Charlie got hungry and spilled dried spaghetti all over the floor. I told myself to remain calm, and then congratulated myself when I spoke "calmly" but "firmly" to Jamie in my best James Bond voice. "You will pick up these noodles and you will put them in this bag and you will do it now." Jamie didn't sass back, he picked up a noodle, looked at me, snapped it in two and threw it on the floor. He's fond of drawing lines in the sand. I again resisted any screaming or yelling. Even though what was merely supposed to be the daunting task of sweeping and mopping the floor while dodging two small kids and a large dog, suddenly turned into the monumental battle of clashing wills with Jamie + all the mopping. And that was just the floor. While I was disciplining Jamie, Charlie was quietly disappearing to the laundry room where he somehow managed to scale the washer and dryer to empty a bucket of oxi clean on the floor. The dog hopeful it was food, was sadly disappointed and so came to tattle mournfully. I swept up the oxiclean, and was starting a new load of laundry when I was interuppted by shrieks from the kids bedroom. I ran down the hall to find both of them on top of the dresser in the closet where Jamie was hanging upside down off the clothing rod and Charlie was trying to join him. Jamie felt this was highly inappropriate behavior for a little brother (although perfectly reasonable for him to do), thus the shrieks. I rescued both of them and chided them not to do things that will get them hurt. Then I stomped through the house and turned on Angry Men from Les Miserables which I sung at the top of my lungs.

Later I was cleaning the bathroom (since I couldn't remember the last time I cleaned it). Scrubbed the bathtub, dragged Charlie away from the toilet, grabbed Jim's toothbrush from Jamie. Emptied the trash, cleaned the mirror, took both kids out of bathtub that was now covered in muddy foot prints. Re-cleaned bathtub, scrubbed the sink, took kids out of the bathtub again, kicked them out of the bathroom entirely, locked the door and re-cleaned the bathtub for the third time while they both pounded on the door sobbing about my cruelty. Mopped the floor and was hitting the finishing touches on the chrome in the sink when it got quiet...too quiet. I whipped open the door to reveal Jamie and Barnabas gone, with Charlie left munching happily on...toilet paper? no. Trash? maybe. The tied up bag of trash looked like it had been torn open. I pried the prize from his clenched fingers and mouth. Yup trash.
A used tampon to be exact.

They win.

I don't think I can do this.

Monday, September 21, 2009

The Prodigal Chicken

Jamie is grooming Barnabas with a eyelash curler and what used to be my toothbrush... it's obviously Barnabas's toothbrush now. I'm not sure what an eyelash curler is useful for on a Dutch Shepherd, but Jamie seems to think it's necessary and Barnabas isn't minding it, so I'm letting slide. I am kind of curious though what it's like brushing a dog who's three times bigger than you with a tooth brush. Something like brushing a grizzly bear I'd imagine. I was terrified of dogs at Jamie's age because well...they looked enormous and scary to me. Of course I didn't have a dog like Barnabas to help change my mind. The important thing is that I like dogs now...more than chickens. Not that I dislike chickens, but ours are rather relationally distant, emotionally challenged, and dumb as a box of rocks. All of them except Mrs. Marley, she's actually dumber than the rest of them put together, but she's also so sweet and nice, she's won Jamie over for life, and she has Jim and I worried for her safety and well being. I'm not sure what her problem is, but I think maybe she can't see through the fluff in her eyes. Is that possible? I put food out for the chickens and they all come running, except sweet little Mrs. Marley who happily clucks around my ankles still asking me where breakfast is. Jamie has to physically put food in front of her nose in order for her to find it. She does the same for water. The other chickens don't pick on her, and they all seem to get along but I'm still worried. She's by far the smallest, and I'm concerned she doesn't have the necessary survival instincts to be a chicken. Or maybe she really can't see through all the feathers in her face, should I clip them?

Like I mentioned before, we have an even half dozen...or had. We have seven now. Apparently when my parents were bringing them down to us, one escaped and they assumed she became coyote snack. Fast forward two weeks, and my mom heard something clucking in the build up under the house. Yup, it was the chicken, no food or water for two weeks and she was still alive and healthy looking. She's currently a little obsessed with the water bowl, but other than that she's fine. Unbelievable.

She needs a name.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

The reluctant

I've been meaning to come out of the closet about something for awhile, but I never seem to quite work up the nerve. Until tonight. For no other reason except that I very nearly lost my mind and ruined my entire life this evening and nobody would ever know why. That and the only reason really to resist confessing, and to not talk about it, stems from pure pride and chagrin on my part because well... I'm writing a book.

Best case scenario: writing it makes me happy, reading it might make other people happy.

Worst case scenario: I pour hundreds of hours into my book, a few small chunks of my soul, and a dash of my sanity only to have it be total and utter crap. Which lets face it, is highly likely.

For all the undiluted opinions I throw out about this book or that book; Twilight sucks, Harry Potter is entertaining but mediocre, Gregor The Overlander doesn't end well, I don't pretend for a moment those books were a cinch to write. It's a little obnoxious that it takes me mere hours to read and pass judgment on a book when in reality an author somewhere poured their sweat and blood into the monumental task of putting eighty-thousand words together in a coherent fashion.

So I would definitely choose in favor of not writing a novel if I could, it's embarassing and a recipe for remorse, but I can't stop. I'm a hopeless case. The story got stuck in my head one day and like pregnancy, it just kept getting bigger and bigger until it had to come out. Like it or not.
Not that I'm entirely pessimistic. I like my story and I like writing. I've got a unmarked white binder stuffed with fifty pages worth of outline and notes on characters, milieu...what they eat and how they spend money. I take the notebook everywhere with me and whenever something strikes my imagination I write it down. I've even pulled over on the freeway to write something before it disappeared into the mom brain malady I suffer from. It has sand hiding in the crevices from trips to the beach, and some of the pages stick together from spitup and pb&j. The outside (nor inside) has a title or label on it anywhere because I was too embarassed to admit its contents to people, contents I completely lost tonight. Took it on a date with Jim tonight, and came home without it. No clue where I left it. I've detailed my penchant for losing wallets and cellphones here before, but this was far far worse. When I told Jim, he looked at me like I'd just announced I dented the car. That's how many hours I've poured into that notebook. Thankfully, Jim could still think clearly and logically despite my hysterics, so a few well placed phone calls to the mall and my notebook was found: Sitting on the counter at Panda Express.
How did I do that?
And what have I done?

Anybody else reading this ever started or considered writing a book?

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Because it just doesn't feel right...

...To blog pictures and not put them over here. Two blogs? Still getting used to it.

Ben and Danielle's wedding.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Bug sushi

I do clean my house...really. Not that you would ever guess, considering what Charlie finds to put in his mouth. Jamie never put anything in his mouth except maybe the occasional crayon, or razor blade (kidding kidding). So I found it disturbingly shocking that Charlie can locate any coin in a fifty yard radius at any given time. I'm convinced he even has a homing beacon in his sleep, sweeping the perimeter with baby radar, always on the lookout for something dangerous. It's gotten to the point where I've prioritized and categorized. Poisonous spiders, marbles, coins, buttons and nails are things that warrant a red level freakout and trigger the oft-touted mom adrenalin super powers like sprouting wings, bellowing like a baritone bull, and perfecting the headlock-heimlich-poised-finger sweep. Lets just say my adrenalin is running pretty low and Charlie's mad skills even extend to somehow conjuring up rusty screws in a walmart grocery cart. I have given up trying to completely prevent him from eating harmless things like beetles, grass, seaweed, sand...and anything else not poisonous. Seaweed is a good source of iodine!

Amazingly enough, Charlie met his match when baby Jack showed up this weekend with Kevin and Bethany. He apparently not only eats grass too, but he eats lots of it (despite our best efforts to take it away from him). You never know whether to sigh and chide or smile and giggle at him. He is a pretty expressive specimen of baby, and his eyes in particular speak so clearly there really is no need for him to ever learn to talk.

"This rubber bug doesn't taste nearly as good as the real thing"

Friday, September 11, 2009

Our satellite dish is broken and rats have chewed through the electrical wiring on the hot tub (which oddly enough resembles an old monitor plug...who knew?). The kids have declared that in case of such emergency (the lack of Little Einsteins in the morning), they will instead dig holes and play in the mud. I'm supposed to be impressed they get Barnabas to dig holes for them, but I'm not. And yes Jamie, I have noticed he can dig faster and deeper than either you or Charlie.
We have played in the mud every day since last Thurs, not counting the weekend, and each time it started without my knowledge. It's like they wait and watch, distract me with a plea for peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, and Bam! they're out the door and in the mud before you can say scudder's-all-natural-peanut-butter. I do what any self respecting person would do in the same situation. I join in on the mudflinging until all we can see is the whites of each others eyeballs and then I hose everyone off. The lawn gets watered, the kids get bathed, and everybody's happy. Until the next day when they do it all over again. Urgh.

I'm snowed under an immense pile of photo editing and even with the addition of Lightroom, thirty min of Dora the Explorer would help tremendously. I'm putting up a few of a family photoshoot this afternoon, and some of a wedding I shot last weekend. So if you want to check them out, go take a peek at my photography blog.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

The New Pecking Order

We got Chickens!

Six of them to be exact. And they're all different colors, shapes and sizes, although this one is the cutest in my opinion. She doesn't have a name yet, but check out those rockin blue legs. We ordered them in April, so we had pretty much given up ever seeing them and then Jamie arrived Sunday from his grandparents house belting "CHICKENS...we've got CHICKENS!!" which sent us scrambling trying to figure out what to do with them. They ended up in the garden, but they've since learned how to jump the fence so Jim is frantically building them a coop, and until then Barnabas alerts us to when they've escaped.
At least thats the idea.

And yes, this is my new blog. While you're here you can add it to your subscriptions. ;-)
The xanga one has lived a good life and is passing on to the next life.