Saturday, September 29, 2012

Coffee Break

 Latest quilt-in-progress

Hold onto your hats: I'm drinkin' coffee! Right now, as I write this. My first cup in months.

I might point out that what I'm really drinking is half and half with a little coffee thrown in, but it's a start.

I haven't decided what kind of coffee life I'll have from now on. It may be a ten in the morning kind of thing. It's not so bad waking up slowly, sipping peppermint tea. I like that I don't have to have a cup of coffee to start my day.

But I've missed coffee, and I want it back, if only in small doses every few days. With lots of half and half.


Jack didn't win the Student Government Treasurer election. He didn't seem too upset about it; in fact, sometimes I wonder if he runs for office to make a point, that it's all a popularity contest. And the truth is, the boy who won is one of the most popular kids in school. When Jack told me who he was running against I had to stop myself from saying, "And you expect to win?"

A side note: the boy who won has always struck me as a really nice kid, friendly, polite, has super-nice parents, etc. But for all I know, he's actually a rotten, horrible bully. It's just impossible to know these things from the outside. I'd be sad to learn that he's not the kid I think he is, but it's a possibility. I guess I could ask Jack, but Jack's not a great authority--he thinks anyone who doesn't do their homework is a juvenile delinquent.


Some of you have asked why I don't blow my own horn about my books on this blog. This may sound strange, but I want to have a place to write that's all my own. I love my family, but they have access to a lot of my writing, which is to say, a lot of my life. Imagine if your parents and in-laws and brothers and sisters could wander into your office and peer over your shoulder to see what you were doing any time they felt like it. Imagine them having access to your boss's evaluations of your job performance. Nervous-making, huh?

If I started writing about my books, a simple Google search would land all sorts of folks here. But I like it when it's just us, me, you, and the seventeen other people who read this blog. I like our neighborhood. I like being able to write about my life without getting phone calls from concerned relatives.

So, that's why. Simple as that.


The Man is over at Duke University Medical Center, for a gathering of bone marrow transplant patients and their caregivers. Our friend David, who I've written about here, received a bone marrow transplant a year ago in June, and after a really rough period, is doing great. While he was in the hospital, the Man went over every morning before work and took David on walks. He made David walk even when he didn't want to because he was feeling too tired or depressed to walk.

A few months ago, David told the Man that according to his doctors, without the walks, he probably would have died.

The big deal today: David is going to meet his anonymous bone marrow donor, who's been flown in from California for the occasion. Can you imagine? Oh, the tears are going to flow, I do believe, and I bet the Man sheds one or two himself.


It's a rainy Saturday morning. Jack is still sleeping. I'm composing a list of chores for him to do when he wakes up; otherwise, he'll waste the day away on the computer. I'm making a list for Will to do, too, mostly to encourage him to take up a project. If he's working on a project, I might not make him empty all the waste baskets. If he's just loafing about, I've got a long list of tasks. Attic, anyone?

I'm going to do some work in my study. I don't use my study much, for various reasons. During the day when I'm here all alone, I like to be downstairs, near the heart of the house. Our neighborhood is pretty safe, but every once in awhile there are a rash of break-ins. Tucked up in my study, I would never hear someone rattling the doorknob, or see a masked man coming up our driveway. I feel better being downstairs and having an idea of what's going on around me.

I should probably just convert my study into a guest room, but I like the idea of having a room in the house I can play with. Lately, I've been putting poems on the walls. There's a closet with lots of shelves, and I'm thinking of turning one of the shelves into an art exhibit. Don't quite know how that would play out, but it's fun to think about.

So I think I'll spend some time this afternoon up there, going through stuff, dreaming. Maybe reading poetry. I may turn my study into a poetry-reading room, stuffed with art and dreams. I'll take a picture if I do.

Have a great weekend!

Monday, September 17, 2012

My newly organized scrap baskets!

On Friday, I did a radio interview and a reading at a local bookstore for my new book. I'm not sure I've recovered yet. I'd planned to spend Saturday working on the attic--I really did! Honest!--but mostly I napped. Yesterday I worked on a quilt I'm making my sister-in-law for Christmas and made a pot roast. In other words, another quiet weekend. And an attic that's still a big, honkin' mess.

Various things to report ...

  • Jack is running for Student Government treasurer. He would do a good job, but he probably won't win. I believe his campaign platform is "I'm obviously the superior person for the job, and you'd be an idiot not to vote for me." I'm happy that my child does not lack in the self confidence department, but I wish he'd figure out that he'd win more votes if he was actively nice to his peers. 
  • I tried eating bacon recently. It was a bad idea. My gut is tolerating a wider variety of food these days, but pig is not one of them.
  • The administrative assistant at Our Fine Middle School continues to be one of the scariest people on the planet. I needed something from her the other day and barely lived to tell the tale. I thought by having Jack bake her a pie at the end of the school year last year, I'd have it made in the shade. Mrs. T would love our whole family, and when ever I walked into the office, she'd smile and say, "How may I help you, Mrs. D?" Boy, was I wrong. Fortunately, I have learned from my Southern husband that in situations like this, the best defense is to be ridiculously polite. Because you might feel bad after being abused by a difficult secretary, but not as bad as you would if you were snotty about it.
  • I can hear the UPS truck coming down the street. I haven't ordered anything, but I still hope it'll stop in front of my house. I always hope the UPS truck will stop in front of my house.
  • I'm still feeling quiet. I'm writing my prayers down in a notebook, and it feels like writing a very long poem. I like writing prayers--I concentrate better, and am sometimes surprised by what it occurs to me to pray about. 

Sometimes I wonder if I'm feeling quiet right now because there's something inside me waiting to be born. I'll let you know.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

New quilt: Front

My back to school edge seems to be wearing off. The first few weeks I'm always Miss Organized, Miss Got All the Forms Signed, Miss Get out of the Door at 7:35. Now I'm more like Miss Whatever.

That's not entirely true. I still make lunches the night before and I still comb my hair before pick-up if I'm going to walk into the building. But that's about it. I'm done in.

The boys seem to be fine. We've revised Jack's contract once already, amending it to require more family and downstairs time, plus exercise time on weekends. Plus a clause requiring him to be friendlier to his little brother. He's doing two afterschool enrichments, which is good. Most kids these days are overscheduled; mine are pretty much nonscheduled. But Jack could use a little scheduling here and there, a few more hours out of the house. He seems to like it.

This has been a quiet weekend. Yesterday I worked on a quilt and cleaned the house and then went out to a nice dinner with my friends Amy and Danielle. The Man worked on some projects in his study, and the boys took about eight hours to complete one chore apiece (Jack: laundry; Will: trash). I'm trying to get them to do more work around the house. They resist by saying, I'll do it in five minutes and then not doing it in five minutes. They think that eventually I'll get tired of nagging. Sometimes I do. Yesterday I held firm and the jobs finally got done.

It was a little frustrating, nonetheless.

Today: Church, naps, football on TV (not me; the Man and Will), youth group (Jack). All of the boys, Travis included, are on a walk/bike ride as I write. It's a beautiful day, and I should have gone, too, but what I really need to do is work in the garden, which has turned into a jungle. I will. In five minutes.

 New quilt: Back

This feels like a very quiet post, but I'm feeling very quiet right now. I'm working hard on a new book, which always makes me quiet and a little withdrawn. Not withdrawn in a bad way. Maybe I should say focused inward. That's what I am right now. Living all the way in my head.

Fall is on the way. Today was the first day you could tell. Driving home from church, I saw many of my neighbors in their gardens. We've all been waiting for a nice day in the upper 70s, light breeze, and here it is. I think I'll go enjoy it.