Friday, July 28, 2006
Moving tomorrow...

Internet connection hasn't yet been established at the new house (probably for the best, as my first school packet is due next week, and I tend to be an internet surfer when I'm procrastinating.)

Be back soon...

Tuesday, July 25, 2006
It's done. Nearly two months after we first laid eyes on it, we own it.

It was a long, l-o-n-g day with lots of driving, lots of paperwork and several moments of temporary insanity between my husband and I. The Boss endured it all with us, in and out of his carseat all day long, a wet pair of shorts, and an empty cup of juice all before lunchtime. He's a trooper.

To see his face light up as he ran between the rooms of the house made it all worth it. He looked right at home, grinning and running laps around the realtor's legs - it was all the confirmation I needed that this is where we should be. Home.

And tonight, my head hurts.

Now to focus on packing/organizing/and moving this weekend...

Next week: Writing.


Thursday, July 20, 2006
Much Better Today
I managed to focus on one story today - only one.

Though, still have had my nose in two books throughout the day. Ethan Canin's Emperor of the Air is one that I'm reading for class. It's a collection of very sparce first person short stories. Reading such minimalist writing is interesting to me because I tend to write (and write and write) in quite a contrary manner - very eloquently, but perhaps without getting to a point.

At my workshops recently, most of the feedback I received was actually quite positive, perhaps too much so. And so it's good to be reading this book, as I'm challenged by it, not because it's a difficult read, but because for myself, it would be difficult to write - to pull in the reigns and use so little to say so much.

But I'm intrigued by it, and I'm experimenting with it. Can't hurt to have one more short story in progress...right?


Wednesday, July 19, 2006
I'm having an ADD night, flickering from scene to scene like my mind is a hotel of wandering characters - let loose from their stories, their purpose, and so they're haunt me.

There's a father frying greasy meat in a kitchen beneath a blanket of smoke. A mother snapping gum and tapping on a windowpane as she and her daughter drive up the coast. Down the hall, a young woman is squeezed between a grimy airplane window and a particularly fleshy man with sour milk breath who refers to her as Mam. Two pages down, (open Word document 5 on my desktop) we have a young couple with blackberry stained fingertips and lips lolling on the lawn. Upstairs we have a daughter returning home to her mother, with a secret so guarded that I don't even know it yet, and so they're idling over tea in a sun dampened room, talking about nothing and everything all at once - but going nowhere.

None of them are going anywhere because my mind is going everywhere.

I'm surrounded by deadlines - the closing, my first submission of the semester, various magazine contests and deadlines - yet, I can't accomplish a thing. I'm spinning my wheels in six or seven different worlds.

I'm even reading three different books.

Can I blame this on stress or pregnancy? Or is this simply a case of temporary writer's insanity?

I so badly want to have a clear focus. A story.

Actually, I'm going to need more than one. This semester I need to be working on gathering pieces for my thesis, the first draft of which will be due early next semester. Considering that I have only two or three short stories that are within a draft of being complete, I've got a long way to go. And I'm going to need a little more direction (and a lot less distraction) to get me there.

Do you hear that, you crazy characters taking up residence at Hotel Mella (and in Word documents all over my desktop)? Go home, and don't come back until you have your story ready to be written.

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Tuesday, July 18, 2006
And the rollercoaster swoops around a corner before it slows to a chug, clicking-clicking-clicking up the track...

Things are in an upswing. Again. And oddly enough, I'm thankful for the hullaballo of the past week. Because of the technicalities and problems that we went through, the shape of the mortgage we'll be closing on is dramatically different. It has a lower interest, lower payments, and is a shorter term mortgage (15 year fixed rate) - and my husbands miscellaneous debt has been removed, paid off by the mortgage itself, giving us less outgoing payments each month.

Blessings I'm not sure that my pouty-complaining heart deserves. But I'm grateful.

And I'll be even moreso when I sleep for the first night in our new home.

Which should be soon.

Thanks to all of you for thoughts and prayers and candles lit.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006
Bump in the Road
I woke up this morning knowing that these are my last couple of weeks here, that my husband and I will be closing on our house on the 21st and moving shortly thereafter. I spent some of today's naptime clicking through odds and ends online to furnish or decorate the house, emailed myself a dozen or so items I want to remember for the upcoming weeks.

The rest of naptime, I spent working out and showering up, thinking about how very little the scale at the doctors office was intimidating me for a change (referring to my afternoon 24 week check up.) After all, I've been exercising hard, eating well and drinking enough water to happily float a family of fish in my stomach at all times. I've even traded my hard walks in for spurts of jogging (something I normally don't do while sporting a miniature Buddah-belly.)

My husband arrived early from work to pick The Boss and I up. The day was smooth sailing. All systems seemed Go.

That is, until I opened the passenger side door and noticed the loan application sitting on my seat. Something that is so very out of place in our situation - backwards. We've already been approved, got confirmation, have a closing date set. What is this? Why now? Huh?

We're not dead in the water, is how my husband begins explaining it to me. I had no idea we were anywhere even near water. But, apparently, there have been some complications with the bank and our mortgage.

The house we're (hoping to be) buying is a nice wood framed home built in 2000...on the rails where once stood a 1970 single-wide trailer. And there's the rub. Although the home itself is practically brand-spankin' new and in near perfect condition (according to both the home inspector and the appraiser), because it was built on top of the stupid metal rails from an otherwise demolished and long gone trailer (which was the only way they could build a new, non-mobile house in community of mobile homes) - it is, according to paperwork, a 1970 mobile home.

And apparently, this ridiculous little on-paper-only technicality is a problem for the bank. They don't do mobiles that were built pre-1980. Uh...ok...but this home isn't a mobile, and it was built in 2000. And, is there some reason that they couldn't have brought this to our attention before they committed to give us a mortgage? Or is it more fun to chatter around the office cooler about how you tricked another poor family into thinking they could actually own a home?

Oh, but there are lots of options, my husband quotes our mortgage broker as I stare blankly ahead trying not to imagine bringing my daughter home from the hospital to live with us in my parents house.

Still, everything he says makes sense - we do have options. The bank may decide to make an exception based on the appraisal. If not, there are other banks. Other options. We're not, infact, dead in any water. But still, it's more stress for me that I have no place to escape from.

(Oh. And then, I stepped on the scale at the doctors office and it laughed at me. More of a snicker, really. And I swear it said, Eat as healthy as you want and exercise 'till it hurts, but you can't trick me!)

Bump in the road. Bump in my belly. So goes life.

Sunday, July 09, 2006
The Dock and Me
I spent naptime today down on my parents dock with a mug of tiramisu flavored decaf and a smile. The dock's turned gray and creaks as the waves push beneath her. She's getting old and moves more easily with the water. We both swayed to the lake's rhythm in the cool of the morning. So calm and peaceful, I wondered why it's been so long since I've sat there.

Well, The Boss, for one. He's hardly the type of mellow little guy that would let me sit quietly on the dock while he sat quietly beside me, and so we don't go down there during the day. And then of course, there are the spiders. Dock spiders - bushy black legged beasties. Last summer, I saw two and lost the nerve to put naked toes near the planks for fear of what might come from between to greet me. I forced myself to imagine that they haven't yet found the dock this summer, that it's still mine, and so I sat.

It was like visiting an old friend. Myself. The girl who used to spend hours scribbling in notebooks, lounging on this dock. The girl who kissed boys she had no intention of kissing, but did so anyway on this dock. The girl who sat at the docks edge and stared at the moving water in the hopes it would somehow give her direction, purpose.

Then I wondered, how is it that I am years apart from this girl, yet still connected? Why is it that I still want for there to be room for her in my current life? The one with the husband and the babies and bills and stress - where she'd serve no purpose but to distract?

But then again, for a writer, perhaps that's a solid enough purpose. Without wondering and distraction, what would there be to write about?

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Saturday, July 08, 2006
Or Alcoholism
I don't normally make a big to do over the links on my site (though I should - there are some very talented people who write some wonderful reads over on the left of my page) but since this link in particular is to a good friend of mine, The Novice (a fellow writer & new mother) I thought I'd make note of it. So, check her out - links on the left, you know, among the other inspiring reads that you should check out as well.

Friday, July 07, 2006
Updates from The Boss
Boss meets the ocean...stones were tossed, sand was eaten. (Not pictured though - that's a cookie)

Pudding from Nonna. Pudding is good.

Words are still mostly mushy and incoherant, with a few standouts. Gran-ma. Da-Dee. This? This is his favorite word. He uses it to question everything and to tell us what he wants. Juice=This. Blanket=This. Diaper=This. This. This. This.

First thing in the morning, he will scream his head off until I open the door, at which point he will stop, smile, and point to his crotch while giving me a very cheerful, This? Man, It's hard to stay morning-grouchy at him. And I typically excel at being a morning grouch.

Though his speech isn't remarkable yet, he understands almost everything, which is both fun and scary. It's so neat to watch him as he does what we ask (Can you go find your taxi and bring it to Mommy? Can you go get ready to take a bath? And, like magic, he does just about everything.) It's fantastic. I'm going to try to hold on to this feeling of how great it is to communicate with him. I'll want to remember it when he's a teenager, I'm sure.


Full Bed
It's midnight and I'm starting this now.

Writing. Unwinding. Letting the day (the week...s) slide off of me like the heat slipping from my skin and onto the cool sheets at the end of a muggy July day.

It's the first real moment I've had to sit still since school happened. Since the month of June happened. It feels...amazing. Like letting go, again. And I'm reminded that peace is a practice. A habit about which I'm training myself to become accustomed. Which is so very hard, being that I'm my mother's daughter (a worrier of the most severe variety, she hardly ever sleeps through the night...Instead, she listens to the chorus of What if, what if, what if? that goes on sloshing through her mind all night long, until she finally passes out, just before the alarm rattles to wake my father.) Oh, I am so her daughter.

She and I have almost always been alike. Awake together during the nights, even while miles apart. Sick at the same time, again, while miles apart. Very connected. Maybe this is why I'm so drawn to writing about the mother-child connection in my stories. The bond, as I've experienced it, is so beyond explanation that I'm limited to using fictional characters in an attempt to describe it.

And writing here is my (lame) attempt to describe the glories of my own experience as a mother. A mother and wife and student and now & again office slave and Betty Crocker (and food peddler...have I ever mentioned that I sell food. Not my own, but the prepackaged, gourmet variety...the type that prompts housewives and busy working ladies to host taste-testing parties in their own homes? Probably not. It's not something I pride myself on. Just another hat to wear. Another attempt to put a nickle in the bucket.)

Wow. I am officially moving to a full speed ahead tangent.

Where was I again? The day sliding off of me...something about cool sheets?


Time for bed.

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Monday, July 03, 2006
Back Again
We finally made it home on Sunday - but have still been running around like mad. Getting ready for the 4th tomorrow - I'm Betty Crocker, didn't you know? Or perhaps even crazier than 'ol Betty herself for baking all day in this heat. I blame the Food Network. It does things to me. Today I baked two batches of cookies, two batches of peanut-butter cup cheesecake cupcakes, and a batch of espresso brownies (for the brownie-misu that I will assemble in the morning) - I did all this with lines of sweat stretching from my neck down between my breasts (hate that), hair sticking to my neck (hate that even more) - but I just couldn't stop.

Baking is so simple - it's a recipe and a result. Cut and dry. Neat and clean (ok, neither neat nor clean, but you get my drift.) Whereas life, particularly mine as of late, is so filled with things that have no recipe whatsoever- and results that are too far beyond my line of vision. Today's baking was about control - even in a 90 degree kitchen. I was saying You can't stop me! To the weatherman, or God, or someone. Or everyone.

My residency on campus went well. I managed to miss (skip, or miss with legitimate reasoning) two seminars, but made it to all of my workshops. They were, 'eh. Helpful, but not earth shattering. My faculty advisor this semester is not the one I'd been assigned to work with last semester (before life took it's turn and I took a semester off.) This advisor is soft spoken and sweet...and very encouraging. Perhaps to a fault.

I don't need to be told that I'm good (ok, not much) - I need to be made better. That's why I'm shelling out so much money (and signing my life away to Sallie Mae) for this program. And because, really, what else do aspiring writers who know nothing of the publishing world do? (Aside from bake in sweaty tank tops in July, just because they can.)

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