Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Slugs, Tomatoes, & Doodle Pros

In my ideal reality, I'm one of those people who catches every moment on camera. The person who makes the mundane look spectacular with the press of a camera button. The mom who visually documents every important moment in her daughters' lives. The mom who wears her digital camera in a holster around her waist, ready to pull it out and shoot when the unexpected occurs.
In real reality, I often forget my camera or am too overwhelmed by a situation to remember to grab it from my purse. Or, I have sprint up three flights of stairs to get the camera only to find that the photogenic moment had passed before I was halfway up the first flight.

Lately, though, I've had this urge to take photos of objects or situations that strike me as funny ha ha or funny strange. Maybe these random, disconnected photos have something to do with a situation I'm trying to deal with, maybe they don't. I'm peeling away layers of sadness/madness/confusion and trying sort out a situation that I just can't quite wrap my head around. I'm hoping for the best, but gut instinct tells me things are going to end sadly.
I found this slug on our deck this morning. He got the Morton treatment.

Audrey drew this picture of a volcano/tall mountain. Very detailed!

A woodland critter has found our tomato crop. It goes for the good stuff, too! Big Boys and Beefsteaks!

A cookie-baking disaster. At least they tasted ok.

These are remnants from Audrey's lunch. She picked the PB&J clean!

Monday, July 27, 2009

Parting is Such Sweet Sorrow

I'm in love with the idea of technology. The Kindle. iPods. Phones that do everything except flush the toilet. Cable service that skips commercials or allows me to freeze my show in one room and pick it up in another. That's cool stuff! I love to daydream about what my life would be like if I was teched-out to the max.

But truthfully, I'm old school. My cell phone only takes and makes calls, and very rarely at that. I watch possibly five of the 72 basic cable channels on my television. And while I can see the convenience of a Kindle, I prefer the touch, smell, and even the weight of good old-fashioned hard copy print. I don't think I could get cozy with a Kindle. Not like I can with a book. And the newspaper is meant to be shared with a loved one over a cup of black coffee on Saturday and Sunday mornings. Scrolling a computer screen in tandem involves a form of sharing and a level of patience I have yet to achieve. Besides, you can't swap sections very easily on a laptop. And magazines? Well, magazines are great for ripping and tearing recipes, decorating tips, and beauty advice.

So, it was with great sorrow that my husband and I decided against renewing our subscription to The Kansas City Star newspaper. We are regular Thursday-Sunday subscribers, but when the bill came late last week, we realized the publishers had finally priced themselves out of our value range. The Star, like most city newspapers, isn't what it used to be. Every week the news and feature items are fewer and far between. The National and Local News sections have been smushed into one section in such an odd way that it reminds me of roommates who have nothing anything in common trying to live together. The TV guide faded into oblivion months ago, as did The Northland News section. The publishers are trying to sell less for more, and I'm no longer buying.

But price isn't the only thing keeping us from renewing our script. Our life has changed. Before the peeps arrived, and even while they were itty bitty, my husband and I maintained our weekend morning ritual of coffee and paper in bed. We had our unspoken routine. He started with National News; I browsed the Local News. As we read our way through FYI, Arts & Entertainment, and Sports we organized the sections into two piles: a "both have read" pile and a "one person has read" pile. But over the past two months, our routine has been either disrupted completely or delayed by the peeps, who have yet to grasp the concept of sleeping in. The joy is gone. I guess it's time to join the legions of folks who read their news online.

So, I bid a fond farewell to my old friend, The Kansas City Star. I'm sorry to see you go, and may you rest in peace when your time arrives.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Sounds of Silence

I'm at the point where I need about a week of silence and solitude to appreciate the nonstop hullabaloo and pandemonium of my life. Just one week to breathe a real breath, think a complete thought, sleep a deep sleep, savor a full meal, collect my thoughts, and miss my family.

I have required solitude for as long as I can remember. Regroup. Re-energize. Reflect. Decide. Prioritize. Plan. Dream. But these days quiet moments are few and far between. And in those few and far between moments, my mind swirls with thoughts about what I want to do, need to do, have to do, should be doing. My head feels like it is stuffed with cotton, and I can visualize my thoughts trying to wade through the fluffy tufts to catch my attention. On really good days, several of those thoughts push their way through, and I feel like I've made some headway in life. Other days, I slither into bed at the end of the day and realize I didn't make much progress in an aspect of my life.

I don't believe I am the only person in the world that feels this way. That feels if she just had a week of quiet she could rule the world again. That if she could just get a few moments of solitude, she could re-energize and in turn, be a better wife, mom, and friend. Yet, it's something no one ever talks about. We just paste on our best smiles and swear up and down that everything is, "Fine! Just fine! And how are you?" while inside we are longing for the sounds of silence.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

I'm Lovin' the Love List

Today was one of those days. I've struggled to be cheery and positive since the alarm jolted me out of my warm snuggly sleep at 5:20 this morning. Grumpy. Lumpy. Cranky. GRRR. And then, I realized that today was Tuesday! Not just any Tuesday. Love List Tuesday!

In case you haven't read my previous entry (see "Runnin' Down a Dream"), my friend Jennifer Brown is eagerly anticipating the day in September when her first novel, Hate List, hits the bookstore shelves. The weekly Love List Tuesday contest (Get it? Hate List/Love List) is Jen's creative way to countdown the weeks and celebrate this major accomplishment in her writing career.

How can you spread the love? Just visit Jen's web site and tell her what you are lovin' on this week. You could be the lucky winner of the weekly Grab Bag O'Love or the ultimate Grand Prize Grab Bag, which includes an autographed copy of Hate List. After I posted my list this morning, I felt a little better. A smidgen less cranky. And after reading the Love Lists created by people from all over creation, I think I might have smiled. Maybe chuckled.

So ... what are you lovin' on right now? Tell Jen all about it!

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Life Outside of Facebook Really Does Exist: My New Ideal Reality

In my ideal reality, social networking and blogging and tweeting are the means necessary to get me back to writing regularly. In my ideal reality I blog consistently and have legions of followers hanging on my every word. I post clever, mysterious, and humorous status updates that make all one billion people in the FB family want to be my friend. And I tweet, whatever that means. This is the reality I'm in love with.

In my true reality, I rarely blog. The life I'm supposed to be blogging about absorbs my writing time and more often that not, leaves me to exhausted to type. Or, I let writer's block get the best of me. Or I just don't feel like it. And those legions of followers? Uh, they number into the ... zeros. And Facebook? Addicted. To the point that this past Friday I put my foot down and banned myself for one week. I was checking my News Feed every few minutes to get the latest news from all my virtual friends. While I was ecstatic that they were having great days, enjoying the cool morning air, and planning busy days, I found myself thinking, "Who really cares?" When it gets to that point, you pretty much have to plan an intervention. And Twitter? Never been there, don't plan to do that.

So, what have I been doing with all of this extra time? I'm creating a new ideal reality that includes reading books to my girls, coloring with them in their ginormous ABC coloring book, playing Little Red Riding Hood with a scrap of red fabric we dug out from underneath the bathroom sink, introducing them to "The Wizard of Oz," engaging in some professional development, exploring a writing project that really rather excited about, cleaning and organizing, and finding my way back to the gal I was before Ruthie and Audrey exploded onto the scene. I really liked that gal.

Maybe I should Facebook her when I lift my ban on Friday.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Runnin' Down A Dream

(Title credit to Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers)

So, it's been awhile since I've blogged. Almost two months. Time flies, that's what folks say. In those two months, the girls have transitioned to big girl beds, which meant we had to revamp their room. "Had to " might a little strong. "Wanted to" is more appropriate. Pastel yellows and pinks intermingled with bright greens and brighter pinks. Flowers and butterflies. Spring and summer mushed into one. I get happy every time I walk into their room. I think they feel the same. We've also been to Omaha for vacation. A spectacular city when you are in need of a quick getaway.

I'm still plugging away at the master's degree and still hunting for the elusive teaching job. Stupid economy. As hard as it is not to take it personally, some days I still do. I get that "No one wants me" feeling that I'm sure millions of people have right now. I just try to keep it all in perspective. Right now, the plan is to sub three days a week, cherish my unexpected time with the peeps, work on my master's, and perhaps tackle some writing projects.

Speaking of writing, that brings us to the reason behind this blog's title. A friend of mine, Jennifer Brown, is on the verge of "runnin' down"one of her dreams: a published book! Her YA novel, "Hate List," will scream onto the store shelves in September. I cannot wait to get my hands on it! (Pre-order at Shameless plug.) The early reviews have been positive. The rave for this book is on!

One of the reasons I am so excited about the arrival of "Hate List" (other than the fact that Jen is a good egg and all good eggs deserve good fortune) is that it represents a departure from the norm for her. She is known for her humorous writing. Wait. Strike that. Humorous is so not the right word. HILARIOUS writing. KNEE-SLAPPINGLY FUNNY writing. CHUCKLE CHUCKLE, GIGGLE GIGGLE, SNORT writing. Yeah, she's that good. She has this uncanny knack for shining a light on the most mundane of life's experiences. But "Hate List" isn't funny. It's a serious look at a serious situation. Jen took a risk. She jumped out of the box and followed her writer's instinct. To me, people who do that are the real deal.

Check out Jennifer's website. While you are there, join her weekly Love List Tuesday contest for chance to be a Grab Bag Winner.