Wednesday, June 30, 2010
I'm writing again, as in productively, on my novel, instead of just free writing. I'm so close to the end and yet so far away. Still haven't made it to the climax ... my main character is discovering something about herself, which I had not planned when I wrote the outline. I'm trying to get out of the way and I am enjoying watching the story unfold in my head. Too bad it gets mangled on paper in the process. But that's what revisions are for.
I've had some extra time on my hands this week so not only have I cleaned house thoroughly, I've spiffed up my blog and cleaned up all the labels. You like?
I can't believe it's almost the end of June. Where is the warm weather? Oh, it's very pleasant, but I want to feel the heat. I want to know it's summer. Thankfully the salmonberries and huckleberries in the woods are loaded ... our usual 40-min walk easily translates to an hour as we stop to pick and eat and pick and eat. It's a great treat after lunch or dinner. But Wind, won't you chase Cloud, so that we can have our Sunshine?
Monday, June 21, 2010
Wednesday, June 16, 2010
It's officially summer even though it doesn't feel like it. We've had more rain than sunshine and I'm missing hanging out my clothes to dry. Soon, soon. I have faith. Then I can lie in my hammock outside and read. Except ... I'm dreaming. I don't have a hammock. Oh, well, the sleeping bag will have to do. Aren't those clouds amazing? My son took that.
The kids came home in high spirits today ... We went over the report cards, last minute drawings and rocks and pencils and plastic animals that were discovered in the depths of their cubbies. Already they want to go to the library, but today I wanted to stay home and cook a nice meal and have supper all together in a relaxed manner instead of having to rush off to baseball.
But what an amazing season our son's team had. They went from losing eight games in a row to winning eight, then losing the championship game in a nail-biting game. I loved watching how all the boys grew over the season. Lots of life lessons to learn from baseball. And I, who never dreamed that I would ever write a *sports* story, have half a dozen baseball shorts percolating. Maybe this summer, I will write up one of them.
Of course, I teach all-year round, so summer almost always presents a challenge, but with a lot of help from my family, I am able to get it done. I do a lot of free-writing and it's one of the best things about summer -- writing without destination, chewing on ideas, trying them out, playing with words in my notebook. I don't feel like I get much writing done in the summer and it's true that the pages of novel won't be stacking up, but that's okay as well. There is a season for everything and summertime simply lends itself to a more relaxed pace of life.
I hope you will enjoy the summer, wherever you are, whether or not the sun shines.
Friday, June 11, 2010
Keturah and Lord Death by Martine Leavitt. I enjoyed this story of the orphan Keturah who only wants: “to have my own little cottage to clean, my own wee baby to hold and most of all, one true love to be my husband.” It's a tale of love and sacrifice, with a very fairy-tale like setting.
Wanting Mor by Rukhsana Khan: This is based on a true story about a little girl who was abandoned on the streets of Kabul. People ask me why I like such stories because they can be so depressing, and they are, but they are also uplifting. I have seen the most generosity in poor places, where a child will tear off pieces of a roti he's been given with younger siblings, instead of eating it all himself. Good will always prevail.
My Life as a Rhombus by Varian Johnson: I had loved Wendy Lichtmann's book Do the Math: Secrets, Lies and Algebra and so when I came across another math-based novel I had to pick it up. Well, let me tell you that the two books are entirely different in nature. Do the Math is for MG and up, but Rhombus is definitely YA. It's a tale of love and forgiveness, of things that cannot be undone (abortion), and how one moves forward. The characters are believeable and I loved the ending. The last chapter was brilliant. In less than half a page, Johnson told me how the rest of the near future of these characters develops. Yup, math is succint.
The Migraine Brain by Carolyn Bernstein and Elaine McArdle: I'm educating myself. If you suffer from migraines, pick this up and learn what's available to developing strategies to having fewer migraines. There are many online resources as well.
Time to Write by Kelly L. Stone: Well, summer's here and I need to remind myself how to make time to write with kids and teaching and housework, etc. My plan is to write shorts this summer. I've got so many baseball stories percolating, it's time to start fleshing them out at the pool or park or backyard.
The Gargoyle by Andrew Davidson: This book is so insanely rich, I had to go back to page 1 as soon as I finished it. I wanted to eat this book. It's got stories within stories, folklore and more. It's a terrifying story of love and redemption, of love and sacrifice and the best love story ever that I've read in a long time. Even better than the Time Traveller's Wife.
Happy reading folks.
Wednesday, June 9, 2010
Since then, I've missed games, have had to cancel volunteering duties, and not been able to do the things I've planned with my kids because I am only doing the things that must be done. My husband and kids help, but it's not like I can simply go lie down and let everything run itself because frankly, it doesn't. My husband is busy with work and baseball tournaments (he's an umpire and a darned good one at that), the kids need feeding and they can only eat so much cereal and oatmeal, the lessons need to be corrected, etc. etc. I have whittled down my to-do list to the necessities and I take time to rest with an ice pack, read, relax on the Blueboards, even blog. The only music that soothes me is that of the Priests.
I'm under the care of a neurologist now because after two years of suffering stoically, I realize I need help. So I'm educating myself about migraines and how best to prevent them, manage them and lessen the impact on my life. I've not yet accepted how much time I lose with the people I love and care for, including my story people. I miss working on my novel in what I consider a productive fashion. But I still write in my notebook and get some valuable insights.
There's still a lot of laughter.
This evening, I dished out dinner to my kids -- lamb stew with salad, bread and milk. Then I laid down with an ice-pack on my head and a cat on my stomach. I closed my eyes. The kids blessed themselves and the meal and asked God to make my headache go away. There was a lot of talk about school (it's almost the end), how much they love their teachers and how much they'll miss them, the books we have on hold at the library that I've not had a chance to go pick up yet, the grass that just keeps on growing, the baseball game tomorrow. They were go good and sweet and kind to each other. And let me tell you they are not always like this, but when I am not well, they cooperate and take care of each other.
I know the kids thought I was sleeping because my eyes were closed, but I heard a lot of whispering how they should take a picture of me, but how the flash might wake me up. They decided against it.
This has been my worst migraine ever, not in the intensity but duration. After six days, I am less cranky and more exhausted. I want this to be over. It's hard to sleep, it's hard to enjoy all the little things that bring me joy, it's hard to write coherently and I feel sorry for my poor family. But there is a silver lining: my prayers are more fervent. Sometimes it's simply the Kyrie (Lord have mercy) or Psalm 23. And I've learned the art of silent prayer. God knows what's in my heart and He always provides, big or small. I am humbled. My children see me in my weakness and forget their rivalry. Family and friends pour their love out on me.
Today I had a lovely note from a friend telling me that her daughter had shelved my books (she works at a library). This little bit of news made me smile; children are reading my books. Another friend stopped by to share her story. It made me cry. She cried when she wrote it. I think it's pretty obvious that her heart is right there on that page.
And so I end this post with a Bible verse (1 Thessalonians 5:18): Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you who belong to Christ Jesus.
I have a grateful heart. Amen.
Sunday, June 6, 2010
My son took the pictures. I had to remind him to be mindful because we are here to adore our Lord, but I am glad for these pictures.
The cross-bearer leads the way.
Four strong men are needed to hold the canopy. My husband is on the left.
The Grand Knights of Columbus follow right behind.
And the rest of the congregation and choir follow behind. It poured all morning, during Mass, but we had a lull in the rain for our procession! God hears our prayers.