Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Tuesday is get your bottom in gear day! A list....

of things on my particular plate doesn't make terrifically exciting reading, but it affects y'all personally today!

#1 - THANK YOU, READERS! it's nice of you to come today! And I have one more follower which gave me the goofiest boost of happy - thanks for coming on board, my sister.  You always know how to make me smile :-)

#2 - My Christmas cards are here and I can start addressing them, and IF I may say so, THEY ROCK! If you haven't got a Christmas card from me before, I likely don't have your mailing address  - send it care of this account or send a Facebook message to me and I will be sure you get one.  My holiday happy could overtake my holiday stress any second now - wheeeeeeee!

#3 - I have to make red sauce, meatballs, (extra batches to freeze of course), find the ice rink hours, find Vincent's skates, call his best friends mom to see if an after school date is available, reboot the damn laundry, bless (that's Flylady-speak for 'clean') the bathroom and the living room floors, drink my water, get a quick bite to eat, and.....and....ohhhh crap.  Something else I can't remember, but it all has to come together by 3:30.  Hope I remember what it is!

#4 - All these missions mean about one hour of free time for art or writing tonight - could be the poetry, could be my teeny tiny horror story, could be more rhapsodizing about snowflakes - who knows! Last nights art was simply our paper chain for counting down days 'til the big one, I'll post a pic of it later.

Get your bottoms in gear, folks - do one thing today or tonight that feeds your holiday happy.  I'm mentally just trying to store up this feeling, as the week to come is seriously dreadful - Denny's anniversary is the fourth, and it completely shakes my goodwill to men into small, mean, pointy pieces.  I'm sorry to say that it takes heavy, heavy lifting on my part to not sabotage the mood in the house for Jon and the kids.

That being said, what may help me, this year, is thinking of Denny watching over us, thinking of how he would rate my efforts to impart and share the true generosity of Christmas with others.  My brother gave of himself so generously, and selflessly.  He made time if he understood you needed it, he knew what was important, and what was not.  If I can think of the joy my family may bring to others, it will honor my brother in ways tears could not.  And if all else fails, with my mother's permission, I'll post the infamous Elmer Fudd police story, starring Denny, my fabulous and sadly, recently departed Uncle Tom, my mother, and one police officer who, thank God, is nameless to me.  It's not precisely holiday cheer, but I laugh until my head hurts everytime I read it.

I wish you all a good day - we're at something around 4 degrees right now, so I hope the day finds you warm, cozy, busy, and safe.

Hugs from me to you,


Monday, November 29, 2010

Accckkkk! Monday!

Here it is alright.  Monday morning and already I feel like I'm scrambling.  Late night writing idiocy means that I don't even get out of autopilot until 9, and I've already used electronic devices, hot liquids, and sharp pointy things.  Anyone know where I put that spoon (yikes, didn't i lose a butter dish this time last year?)? How 'bout Dora's stroller?  I am serious - I don't think I could even run the dishwasher in this condition! Clearly, today is not a day to cut back on coffee!

Now, because even I have a few autopilot routines I've got the basics covered......but I don't even remember when I got dressed. I think the next step is haranguing my son into getting dressed, checking his backpack to see if there is something we weren't supposed to forget about, and tossing some clothes on Siena.  These tasks right now look to eat up anything from 5-45 minutes.  There's a trip to the dry cleaners ( a code red trip, due to the filthy cats) which will be hotly contested by my son, since it will cut into some video game time.  I have to actually present as a somewhat together parent at Siena's 3 yr. well check, so, I dunno.  Could be a challenging day.  I foresee exactly zero art/writing happening today.  However, grumpy kids is a forecast for a Lot of tickling and silliness, so that's something to look forward to!

I wish you all a less scattered mind than mine today, and as much coffee as you need.

"Once more into the breach, dear friends"
(is that Henry Vth?)


Sunday, November 28, 2010

Late night post - why am I not asleep!

Well, my far flung friends, this isn't late for everyone, but I like to try to get up and at 'em on a Monday morning, and that's already outta the question!

While working on getting the kids down, a few lines kept floating back and forth in my mind, and I liked the trend.  The problem is trying to assign non-obvious and not frivolous meanings to phrases that have lovely scenic value, but little emotional pull.  That's interesting right there - our last writing group topic was about the power of description - AND balancing it - not so much your reader loses their insomnia problem, but not so little that the characters lack grounding in a believable world.

So, friends,  I came up with three short verses that may or not be obvious, have meaning, or have interesting content.  It is intentionally obscure - in my annoying way, it will again probably take three poems to divulge the full subject.  Plagiarists be damned, if anyone is going to try to publish this dreck as their own, well, I hope they like rejection slips.  Version one of a poem about, quite simply, someone who is cursed.

Singular clusters of feathers
Shift, rustle, stir
Quietly, repeatedly,
In a corner of the orchid room.

The last seventy-two minutes
Of setting sunlight grace these pale walls
With ochre, amber, and deepening rose.
There are other tickings -
Like a countdown -
and murmurs
I’m trying to ignore.

One red fingernail shivering against
Cloudy glass
Betray the effort -
Betray the collapse.
And nightly, nightly
I’m heavy and light
With snowy visage
And shattered appetite.

(a postscript of sorts.  I removed about 50 stupid and useless words from the horror story, and put in 105 better ones, after writing this poem.  Not bad for 45 minutes total, but I will be happier when I come up with either version two of a more coherent poem, or the second piece that will make this one make sense.

Happy, er, well, I mean, interesting reading!

And, of course, sweet dreams :-)


Friday, November 26, 2010

Hitting a lick at a snake - an evening post

Anyone who knows me well knows that I've turned to the Flylady website to help me get a handle on homekeeping.  Long story short, I was tired of feeling guilty about housework and shirking artwork as a result.  Since last spring, I tuned into Flylady online (I doubt she is for everyone but I know it works for me) and her website encouragements helps me get more done quickly, and, voila, more time for creative work!

Fast forward to today - I'm using the 15 minute timer method to get some writing done - what Flylady calls 'hittin' a lick at a snake' - she refers to just putting a small amount of effort to tackle something scary.  So, I set my timer after Siena went down for her nap, told Vincent that when the timer went off, we were practicing violin, and I would get some writing done (no, not this blog, either ;-)

Back when Vincent came home from the hospital in 04'.  I would dose off during/after nursing, and these dreams (about some really hateful teenagers) kept coming, except they were in order - they told a story.  Wierdly, there was an actual plot.  This was a technicolor movie-style dream, and I even cast it with a few known actors in my dreams (no, I've never actually met any of them :-) I told myself for about 6 months that I really needed to craft it into a story, and I got as far as a 2594 word outline, in a month or two of writing.  And then life happened and I put it far, far aside.

To sum up, this afternoon I added about 400 useful words and removed about 75 substandard ones, in about 30 minutes total of writing (yes, we did get the violin practice done).  I am going to freshen up my look (having realized that washing ones face daily does, in fact, keep the acne faery away), take a big swig of water, wake up my daughter, and start some chicken piccata.  Oops, chicken piccata, sans parsley.  Then I'm going to celebrate some actual productive work (no matter how tiny) with a good dinner and silly evening with family.  Dear God, please don't give me any more projects to consider for the rest of the day.  Please let it wait until 6:30 tomorrow morning......

Good night friends, I hope your weekend is wonderful :-)


Score one point for self restraint - zero point for motivation

The sparkling day I dreamed of two days ago has dawned, it's postcard pretty out there.  My crystalline blue sky, the slight powdering of snow, and the grimy grass properly covered.  Am I glossing over the fact that this is the coldest frickin' Thanksgiving since 1996? Of course I am! The wind chill factor today is a frigid 2 degrees farrenheit.  Yup, our high today of 21 will feel like about.....9.  For those of you who just try to ignore the math, that's eye-watering chilly, inhale-and-your-nostrils-crack cold.  Recall that water-based liquids freeze at 32 degrees....hey! Let's make ice luminaries!!!!  Anyone know how?  Hmmm...a few ideas come to mind, we'll see if I have success, and post pictures tonight.

Today is a wii-fit, cheerios, and laundry marathon. And maybe some cookie baking.  This ensures that I am finally caught up with laundry and I burn off most of my extra calories from yesterday (I said make cookies, not necessarily eat them.)  I held myself back pretty well, because I typically eat myself into a stupor - I'm having my right foot operated on Dec. 16, so I really want to have all my housecleaning and xmas prep done by then.  A food stupor would not exactly help. Not to mention I feel guilty as hell doing artwork or writing when my house feels like one day of slacking will cause an avalanche of chaos! And ice luminaries do count as artwork -  or, creative work, anyway.

Thinking of the ice luminaries brings the movie trailer for "The Black Swan" to mind.  I encourage folks (of age) to check it out - yes, the story has some seriously twisted elements, but the art direction is jaw-droppingly beautiful.  I am not a big Tchaikovsky fan, but the snippets of Clint Mansel's soundtrack for the movie (based on Swan Lake) are gorgeous and I am going to have to revisit the ballet music.  Come to that, I really want to go to a good ballet someday - it's a powerful demonstration of art intersecting life, and if you think I'm talking out of my hat here, try standing in toe shoes sometime and consider if ballerinas are atheletes or just cute tiny girls in sparkly skirts! :-)

So ice, swans, sparkling snow, ballerinas, candlelight, midnight, moonlight.  Laundry, cheerios, wii fit, chocolate chips.  My day is a study in dualism for sure - what kind of day will you create?

Stay warm, for me :-)


Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Down and grubby indeed...it's turkey poetry time! My Thanksgiving post to you....

Good morning to you, wherever you are.

For some reason, I went to sleep last night, thinking dawn would break on a sparkling, crystalline morning, that sunlight would bounce through our lace drapes in the dining corner, that the snow would have an extra sparkly dusting on the snowman in the yard, that the sky would be blue and a cardinal would perch on the birdfeeder in the most artistic pose possible.

Well, have I mentioned I live in Minnesota?

November in MN means a sky roughly the color of a cataract, 9 days out of 10.  The longed for dusting of sparkling snow couldn't sparkle even if it had arrived.  The boot prints in our yard show up the dingy, yellow-grey grass just as vividly as they did yesterday.  Now, this isn't all bad - my head has been murky for two days with allergies or other gunk, so I am not sure how much sparkle I could take.  The gleam off Siena's party hat (er, pearlized pink cone with pastel stripes of blue and cream, plus organza ribbons and curly wrapping ribbons cascading from the tip!)  is almost too much for me.  Of course, this means the dang thing won't come off her head anytime soon today.  Damn.

Like most folks, we have to gear up food for tomorrow, plan dinner for tomorrow evening, make sure we have spare pie in the house, maybe Another batch of pumpkin bread.  My kindergarten son has no school, and his best bud is going to be here in 50 minutes or less.  The bags under my eyes (from aforementioned gunk) would be oversized at the airport, and jammies are the only thing any of us have on.  The only sparkle we are going to get this week isn't going to happen in this house unless I get busy on this house - too sick and tired to tidy up last night!  Very non-orchid house indeed! So where, you ask is the writing?  Where is the art?!  Well, maybe it ain't art, but it is poetry.  My only poem about Turkey so far.

It’s not by Chance
There are some people who haven't forgotten  
- that chickens once had teeth;  
- that creatures like emus once hunted in packs,  
  like wolves
- and that somewhere in the spiral
behind the eyes of a vulture
and in the hips of an ostrich
the equation for tyrant lizards lies in wait.

There are other people who know

that a wild turkey
entering a windshield at
65 miles an hour
northbound on 35W, is a gift from God
- it's three days before Thanksgiving,
- the only things broken are the windshield and one bird neck,
- you have the number of a very good butcher.

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

...you have to start somewhere

....and this corner looks just fine, right now. 

There are a few reasons I decided to keep a public web log.  The first just has to do with creativity, 101 :-)  In a very, very good book called "The Artists Way", by Julia Cameron, one exercise endorsed is the three pages daily.  First thing when you wake up, grab your coffee or favorite whatever, and just write until you fill up three pages.  If I recall correctly, you are not writing a memoir, a story, or poem.  You are just emptying the contents of your head out your fingertips.  If you have to re-write the phrase 'three pages daily sucks' repeatedly, because nothing else is on your mind, so be it.  If you have to write your significant others' name repeatedly, so be it.  The act and the amount are the only thing that counts.  I should add, the author has a far more eloquent way of putting this.  In fact, go to your library, or her website, or the bookstore and just read anything by her, she's brilliant!!

To bring this back to my original point, when I was more-or-less single, I gave the 3 pages a real run for a few months, and I had powerful results.  Emptying all the daily nonsense out of your head makes room for real creative flow, and my creative output at the time was tremendous.  Although this blog will be, by nature, something I edit for babbling, boredom, and relevance, I do like the commitment of weekly entries.  So, blogging may not be as effective as Ms. Cameron's exercise, but I think it will help.  And, I need all the help I can get!

Tracking my efforts, and being accountable to readers for either sitting on my bottom or doing real work, is the other reason.  I'll try to get on here once or twice a week (which will be quite something in light of children, housework, homework, attempted artwork, attempted writing, cooking, and everyother aspect of parenthood). not just to say, "whoo-hoo, I did 300 words in 30 seconds", but to share the humor I find in trying to do just about anything.  Learning to laugh at myself has helped calm my life, because life has a way of ramping up the crazy. In a way, it's fitting I am starting this on my lovely Siena's third birthday, right before the holiday craziness begins.

And so, to you, my eventual readers, I wish you clear weather, warm clothes if you need them, good family, hard work, and happy rewards. Comments will be enabled, er, once I figure out how to do it, and I look forward to hearing yours.  I appreciate your taking note of this, and I hope to make it worth your time by sharing the sacred, the scared, the beauty, the profane, the occasional mundane, and the ludicrous - all of which play a role in any art I make. 

Onward, my friends, and until next time.