Sunday, September 30, 2007

Hmmm, originally uploaded by Mella.
I've been thoughtful lately. Not the useful, purposeful sort of thoughtful though. No, this week has been more the distracted, keep my brain cluttered to avoid dealing with the things that are right in front of me - clear as glass - more filled with thoughts than thoughtful.
More than simply distracted though, because distraction suggests that one is attempting to focus but has been diverted, sidetracked. And clearly, I have been making a point to keep my mind as hyperactive as possible lately on a mission of avoidance. I've had no intention to focus.
No writing done. Not listening to the characters sputtering around in my mind (which almost always leads to these sort of momentary lapses in sanity.) Not paying attention at work. Sort of wading through the days here, though surprisingly more present than when I'm actively writing. Perhaps it's because rather than trying to focus on a story and finding my children to be somewhat distracting (always at the most crucial creative moment), I'm simply off and playing with them. Zooming toy cars around the house, crawling on all fours and sitting on the floor feasting on a plastic food picnic, laid out on a navy striped kitchen towel - set up by my son, who came and took me by the hand from the computer and invited me to shuffle off this adult coil and simply be.
After a drenching rain yesterday, the yard was scattered with leaves and acorns have been popping off of our roof, settling throughout the yard. And so today, I took the kids out to explore in the crisp afternoon. For a short while I traded my worries about finances and jobs and all the rest of the mess mucking up my mind, and I let them scatter like leaves over the grass. Instead of dwelling on the impending sense of dread, of waiting for the shoe to fall, I chose to sit right down on the soft cool ground and let the dampness of the dirt soak through my jeans. I laughed with my children. I played with the new camera that we probably shouldn't have bought in the first place. But for that brief moment, I didn't think about it, or anything else like it. No price tags or oil bills. No buyers remorse or thoughts of our bank account.
Instead, I snapped pictures, marveled at the blessings God has given me. My little home and our little yard. The smudged and smiling faces of my children blinking against the sunlight.
At dinner, as we sat down at a table spread with fine, good, healthy food, we prayed as a family. I peeked up at my son, who sat beside his father, repeating the blessing, thanking God for the beautiful day and for the full plate before him. His eyes were squeezed shut, his head bowed down. I mouthed the words with him. Thank you, Jesus.
And again now as I type this, I'm thankful. For the comfort and clarity of faith. For the reminder that nothing can separate me from the love of Christ - not evil, nor bill collectors, or even my own fruitless attempts at distraction.

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Wednesday, September 26, 2007
Time for a Meme.
(Courtesy of Phx.)

Three things that scare me:

1. The fear of anyone close to me dying
2. Heights. I can't even climb a ladder without freezing.
3. Telephone calls between midnight and six am. They almost never bear good news.

Three people that make me laugh:

1. My Husband
2. My Siblings
3. My Friends

(So, I cheated on that one. Sue me.)

Three things I hate:

1. How quickly time passes, and how little I appreciate the moment as I live it.
2. Automatic toilets that flush before I'm done.
3. The fact that I can go out and buy a pair of pants with a ridiculously small number on the tag, and then still come home and find things to pout about in the mirror. Wasn't I supposed to be over that, like, months ago? (Years ago? Forever ago?)

Three things I don’t understand:

1. College football
2. Blind hatred
3. How my son can have a perfect day (potty training wise) and then follow it up with TWO episodes of peeing on the floor - right in front of me. Argh!

Three things I’m doing right now:

1. Playing Scrabulous (so addicted)
2. Rocking side to side (something I've always done, no idea why)
3. Thinking that there are better things to be doing with my time.

Three things I want to do before I die:

1. Be satisfied with something I've written, and hopefully have it be published
2. Travel more

3. Raise happy children to be compassionate, helpful, happy adults.

Three things I can do:

1. Make people laugh
2. Change a poopy diaper in the dark
3. Empty the dishwasher, make dinner & sort laundry - at the same time.

Three ways to describe my personality:

1. Sarcastic
2. Sweet
3. Silly

(I enjoy alliteration)

Three things I can’t do:

1. Work full time

2. Speak fluently in Romanian (anymore)
3. Beat my husband at basketball

Three things I’d like to learn:

1. How to use our fancy-pants new camera

2. How to do anything with my hair
3. How to lose a guy in ten days...Oh wait. I think that was a movie. I was just going with the "How to..." flow

Three favorite foods:

1. Hummus (shocker, I know)

2. Rotisserie Chicken (changing things up a bit)
3. Ice cream (not supposed to have it, thus, I want it. Often)

Three beverages I drink regularly:

1. Waist Watcher's soda (and yes, I know that it's probably altering my DNA and slowly mutating/killing me...)
2. Water

3. That's it, actually. Water and Waist Watcher's Ginger ale. I'm boring.

Three shows I watched as a kid:

1. You Can't Do That on Television (I had a crush on a boy named Alistair, I think)

2. Benson (we used to beg my mom to let us stay up past eight to watch it)
3. Kids Incorporated/Mickey Mouse Club

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Tuesday, September 25, 2007
Peter Pan and I
We were friends in the quiet places. On starlit sidewalks and on swing sets, beneath the halo of streetlights and beside the shushing of the ocean. We were midnight friends, two am, four am, friends. Anytime and on either side of the ocean, friends.

We were friends in the loud, unbearable way. The way reserved for siblings or those you've allowed to become close as such. Boisterous and obnoxious, silly and endearing. Tears, lice, twenty-seven hour train rides, trans-Atlantic plane rides, professions of love, or not. We were our best and worst with each other, never once fearing that the other would leave.

He was married on Sunday. And it was beautiful.

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Thursday, September 20, 2007
Because Pictures Make Easier Posts
I have a few posts bobbing in and out of focus at the moment, and I have an hour or two here in the office to attempt to grab at least one of them and wrangle it into submission, into a post that isn't simply a photo-update of my life.

But since pictures are easy and at the moment words are elusive, here is another photo post while you wait for me to formulate something coherent.

I post a lot of photos and stories of my children here, some cute, some funny and some that might even be considered embarrassing. Out of fairness, knowing that their embarrassing, humorous experiences have only yet begun, and that I will most likely retell and photograph them, because I know myself and know that I have a hard time not sharing a good story or picture - I've decided to unveil some of my own embarrassing moments, captured so lovingly by my own parents.

In the meantime, I call this brief glimpse into my adolescence, "The Badness That My Parents Allowed to be Captured on Film, Fully Knowing The Embarrassment To Come"

This is a New Kids On the Block tee-shirt. Oddly enough, I remember this picture being taken, and the chuckle of my father when I declared proudly that NKOTB was in fact the best musical group ever. Ever. I was quite serious about this point, as most ten year-old's would be, of course. My larger concern though is with the shirt that I'm wearing, not the one that I'm holding. Because, yes, a fascination with NKOTB is forgivable for a prepubescent girl growing up in the late eighties, early nineties. However, wearing a short-sleeved knit shirt with, what appears to be, a pink-roofed houseboat stitched on the front, is not.

This is a picture that might be considered one of my father's crown jewels. Not only am I rocking florescent (electric?) blue spandex and a magenta tee-shirt (which I adored) but I am also wearing socks. White socks. With. Sandals.

And here we are at the Grand Canyon. I don't know if I need to say anything to further explain the hideousness of his outfit, but I will. Notice the red hat beneath my arm. I wore that. Also note the black circles attached to my ears - earrings. But you don't get the full affect from his picture. No, those black circles are only the top of a mess that dangles in a giant yellow squiggle down to my shoulder, where a black star rests (Thank you Ames discount racks). The glasses I will not touch. Those are classics.

This photo needs no defense. Stone-washed denim jacket. Leopard print spandex. Another Ames special dangling from my earlobes. You're jealous.

And this, well, it's not so bad. To be honest, it's probably something I could even wear today. If I only had an over sized pair of brown corduroy's to cut off, then patch with an old flannel shirt, and a men's undershirt to pair with a hemp necklace, and a scrunchie to wear around my wrist like a bracelet. Oh, and an additional forty pounds or so.

Well. That was fun. I'm going to go and work on something a little more productive now, even if only a real post for the blogosphere.

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Sunday, September 16, 2007
Now and Then

Now and Then, originally uploaded by Mella.

We took our annual apple picking trip today. Amazing how quickly time goes, how only two years ago, The Boss (on the right, in 2005) was the little one fumbling for apples and licking the skins like they were nothing more than glorified teething toys.

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Saturday, September 15, 2007
Why I'm Like a Ten Year Old
Ok, so remember that whole thing about spending the money from the Ann Arbor Festival winnings on school debt? How I had such grand delusions of being responsible with my winnings?


New camera is on it's way - ordered as soon as the check arrived in my mailbox.

But I need it, you know, for that cruise I'm taking next month...the one I paid for with the money from the Family Circle prize...

I'm seeing a trend here...writing for money = writing for pleasure.


Actually, there's not much to think about. It's good.

Another good thing (and reason I am like a ten year old) - one of my favorite strange movies from childhood is on this morning (followed by the sequel - sweet) and my son is enjoying it almost as much as I did growing up:

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Sunday, September 09, 2007
Oh, It's On...
My favorite non-writing/reading distraction has finally returned and Lila is ready.

Go Pats!

Now to just get a jersey for Alex...

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Saturday, September 08, 2007
I got a very nice email this morning telling me that my story, "Only In Bellington" has been selected as the winner of the 2007 Ann Arbor Book Festival's Short Story Contest.

That's money in the bank. in the bank then back out again to pay off things, like, my MFA.

Either way, it's good, and I'll take it.

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Thursday, September 06, 2007
Excuses, Excuses
Not that there's really any excuse, nor should there be, for not blogging - but I wanted to assure you that my absence has simply been for want of time. You could say we've been busy.

Like, a wedding weekend extravaganza type busy.

The Boss served bravely as Ring Bearer, though there was no pillow and he walked the aisle holding our hands, so I suppose he could more accurately be called "The Cute Bearer" - a role in which he thrived.

The weekend itself was a stream of commotion and car rides and late nights that turned into early mornings, they type of late where you're buzzing from being with friends whom you rarely see, and it becomes hard to force yourself to do the responsible things. To stop playing games. Stop talking. To simply go to bed, as you should.

But without the anchor of children for two whole nights, responsibility seemed distant and enjoying the company of friends prevailed.

And the company of best friends, most of all.

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