Friday, September 30, 2011

Friday Odds and Ends

Some of the leaves Will and I found in our travels.
Photo credit: The Man.

What I meant to write: "Her skin was flecked with little pieces of grass."

What I accidentally wrote instead: "Her skin was flecked with little pieces of grace."


There were ten million things I was going to accomplish this morning, but here it is almost noon, and mostly I've been fooling around. I've been writing a picture book manuscript for no unearthly reason. I don't write picture books. But this morning I had an idea, so I started playing with it. It reminded me of writing a poem.

I don't know if I ever mentioned this, but I used to write poems. I have a graduate degree in poetry writing. I love poetry and poems, but for some reason, in my mid-twenties, I found it too hard to do anymore. I don't know why. I went to a therapist to talk about it. She said maybe I would write poems again later. Maybe there was something else I needed to be doing at that very moment. She said not to be too hard on myself.

She was a good therapist. Shortly after I finished my sessions with her, I started writing children's books, and that's worked out well for me.

But I miss writing poems. I miss polishing sentences and playing with words that way. So writing a very small story this morning was nice. It reminded me of the kind of fun I used to have writing poetry, minus the cigarettes.


Nothing going on this weekend. Nothing going on this weekend! And it's going to be a beautiful sixty-five degrees. I think I'll be taking some walks. And buying new walking shoes for the 5K I'm doing in a few weeks. I'll be sniffing the air a lot, and finishing up the sweater I'm knitting. And making spaghetti pie for Jack's youth group on Sunday. And reminding Jack to make pumpkin pie.


And who knows? Maybe I'll get an idea for a poem. It could happen.

What are you going to do?

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Where Did Last Week Go?

(Last Sunday, Will and I took a walk with the goal of finding ten interesting things. We called this stick we found "Singing Opera Lady." Photo credit: The Man)

It is a strange thing to lose an entire week. Where did it go? Is it hiding under the couch? Did the dog chew it into little pieces?

I have no answers. What I know for sure: I did a school visit. I didn't do much cleaning. I wrote in the mornings. The weather was wet, humid and gloomy, inviting armies of mushrooms to invade my front yard.

What happened to last week? What happened to fall? Where is my cool, crisp air? Why are mushrooms so disgusting?

The funnest thing I did last week was make lists of interesting things I saw throughout the day. This is a good exercise if you feel a need for minor league delight. Given the icky mushrooms in my yard, I needed all the delight I could get. It takes a lot of delight to counteract a mushroom attack.

Some of the things I saw as I made my way through the week that disappeared:

1. A periwinkle blue mailbox.

2. A private street sign that read "Blue Dog Road." (Isn't that a great street name? I wish I lived there.)

3. A little girl on Our Fine School's playground twirling around in a red, sparkly skirt.

4. A license plate that read "FishFndr." Is that Fish Finder? Or Fish Funder? Or maybe Fish Founder?

5. A woman wearing big curlers walking her dog.

6. A crow eating a potato chip.

These are not especially amazing sights, but they cheered me up and made me glad I'd taken the time to look around. Did you know there's a carport in my neighborhood with a chandelier hanging from the ceiling? I've walked past this carport over a hundred times in the last few years, but only noticed the chandelier last week, and only because I was actively looking around, wanting the world to delight me, if only for five minutes.

So that's sort of what happened to last week, that and mushrooms and really bad allergies that made me feel sleepy all the time.

I am going to leave you with the last stanza of one of my favorite poems, "I Am Waiting" by Lawrence Ferlinghetti. If you want to read the whole poem, you can go here.

(And don't worry, this week doesn't seem to be going anywhere. I guess it likes it here.)

I am waiting
to get some intimations
of immortality
by recollecting my early childhood
and I am waiting
for the green mornings to come again
youth’s dumb green fields come back again
and I am waiting
for some strains of unpremeditated art
to shake my typewriter
and I am waiting to write
the great indelible poem
and I am waiting
for the last long careless rapture
and I am perpetually waiting
for the fleeing lovers on the Grecian Urn
to catch each other up at last
and embrace
and I am waiting
perpetually and forever
a renaissance of wonder

Thursday, September 15, 2011

All a Boy Wants

This is the quilt I'm making for Will. All that's left to do is the actual quilting. Will picked out the pattern from the book Layer Cake, Jelly Roll and Charm Quilts by Pam and Nicki Lintott. This is the third quilt I've made from this book--it's a marvelous collection!

Tomorrow is "No Nag Friday," my favorite day of the week. On Fridays I don't remind Jack to brush his teeth or floss, I don't boot him into the shower, I don't even tell him to get off the computer when he's been on there way too long. I take Fridays off, and it feels great.

Interestingly enough, he seems happy about it, too.

Jack's favorite thing to tell me right now is, "I just want to do what I want to do." Which of course makes me laugh and laugh. Oh, honey, I think. Oh, little baby sweetie pie. Your days of getting to do what you want to do are so over. You're twelve. You don't even have any good Christmases left. You're going to start getting shirts and wallets for Christmas. You're going to get pajamas.

Oh, where is Santa Claus when you need him?

I just want to do what I want to do
. Well, that's true for all of us, I suppose. And growing up is one long lesson in realizing that you get to do what you want to do after you do your homework and study for your Latin quiz, after you walk the dog and call your grandmother and go to youth group and make polite conversation at the dinner table and floss your teeth. In the ten minutes that are left of your day, you get to do what you want to do. Ain't life grand?

I should be honest here: I had very little self-discipline until I was in my late twenties. For much of my life, all I wanted to do was read, and that's pretty much all I did. I did what I wanted to do, and for the most part my grades reflected that. Sometimes when I worry about Jack, I remember my twelve-year-self and think, "He's not half the idiot you were."

And that's why I don't nag him on Fridays.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

An Alphabet of Dreams

(I made these kitchen curtains in July. If you click on the picture, you can better see my barnyard animals, which are there so I can pretend I live on a farm. A tiny, tiny farm.)

Today I rearranged our bedroom furniture. Which is to say, I've tipped the first domino. Now that the bed is in a pleasing new spot, we will have no choice but to a) paint the bedroom; b) go back to IKEA and buy the other chest of drawers to match the lovely dresser we bought in August; c) replace the bathroom sink and mirror; d) put in a new bathroom floor; and e)paint the bathroom.

Then we will naturally want our bedroom to be extra neat at all times, so we will f) weed out all the clothes we haven't worn in over a year and sweep all the dust bunnies out of the closet. Peeking into the hallway we will be overcome by the desire to g) organize the linen closet; h) put my office closet to rights; and i) take boxes of boxes of books to the library donation bin.

By this time the weather will have cooled, at which point I will go back into the attic and j) sort through all the games and puzzles and donate 98% of them to Good Will; k) go through all the last day of school bags the boys have brought home over the years, replete with math folders and paper mache moons, bags I've chucked into the attic with the thought that I'd make lovely scrapbooks out of their contents (it will never happen); l) make an honest effort to go through the bins of fabric and table cloths and sheets and honestly assess how much, if any, of it I'll use; and m) burn all the Lego.

Okay, that's only half the alphabet, but you get the idea. I have been bitten by the organize/makeover/make lovely bug. It's a fall thing, I think, even though we haven't had any true fall weather, aside from a few mornings that have been pleasantly cool. I have gotten two books out of the library about organizing and unstuffing and decluttering. One of them is taking a very psychological angle, giving quizzes and asking me about my values. Really what I'm looking for is a stern taskmaster to say, "You haven't worn that skirt in five years, and you've gained twenty pounds since then--out with it!"

I will keep you abreast of my progress. It might not always be pretty, but at the end of it, my life will be totally perfect. I know!--I can't wait, either!


Today I picked up a copy of Where Women Create. Have you ever read it? Essentially each issue profiles ten or fifteen women artists and crafters and shows lots of yummy photos of their studios. I normally don't buy this--it's way too expensive--but I thought it might be inspiring, given my current mood, and besides, one of the profiles is of the artist Susan Branch, whose blog I found via Pom Pom. It's quite wonderful and cozy and homey, as is Susan's art, and I enjoyed her profile very much.

I mention this because I know we have several Susan Branch fans in our midst, so if anyone wants to borrow the magazine, please let me know. We can even do a round-robin. It really is a fun magazine to look at, and I'm happy to share. Drop me a comment if you're interested.