Where Were You Yesterday?

On Friday, I dropped in for a brief visit with those characters from the first 50k I wrote in November. Only, I didn’t leave. I lingered for the entire day. Then, I figured, what the heck? I might as well stay for the weekend and clean things up a little.

What started as some simple spring cleaning turned into a major remodeling project. So, that’s where I have been since Friday. Oh well. It’s all good. In the end, I am hopeful I will have a second draft I am happy with.

Yesterday, I managed to escape and return to the real world. I’m pretty sure it’s not the respite I was looking for. But, I think my characters needed some private time. So, here’s a look at where I went …

I dropped Issa off at school just as the last bell rang. She refused to dress and missed the bus… again!

Then, Riff and I went to the library. I let him go in his pajamas because we had been rushed to get Issa to school on time. We picked out some books for Issa to use with her reading tutor later that afternoon. Riff enjoyed playing with the toy train at the library. It operates with the push of a button and circles the the ceiling in the children’s section.

Back at home, I realized our dog, Buddy, accidentally got locked in our master bathroom. Please don’t call animal rescue on me. I put him in there to give him a peaceful place to be while Issa was having her meltdown. But, then I got caught up in the rush to ensure Issa made it to school. Upon rescuing Buddy from the bathroom, Riff and I gave him lots of attention; and then listened to music.

Riff usually takes the bus to school. But, he decided to copy his sister’s lead. Riff refused to dress and missed the bus. He was attempting to talk me into a hooky day. I wasn’t having it.

As I drove him, we experienced a delay due to a traffic jam. A funeral procession was trying to enter a cemetery. There were so many vehicles involved in the procession that it was causing traffic backups in both directions. What really struck me was the assistance a couple motorists gave the grieving family with directing traffic. It did not appear that these two guys were a part of the procession. They must have just seen the family needed help in this way and did what was required to ensure everyone’s the safety on the road.

Back at home I killed it on my elliptical. For the fun of it I tested myself. I ran 3.1 miles in less than 20 minutes. So, I think I have the bug for trying another 5k some time this spring or summer. Don’t you think it’s a good to test one’s ability on real terrain in the real world? I do.

When Issa returned from school, she got to work writing a letter to a boy she had a crush on at school. As she typed, she saw an old note from Riff’s teacher regarding behavior issues her little brother is experiencing at school. The teacher said Riff had been hissing (like a snake) when he refused to comply with her instructions.

Issa said, “I need to stop hissing like a snake at you when I’m at home, mom. Riff is copying off of me.”

B-I-N-G-O!!!!

Big sister finally catches on to what I’ve been telling her for two months, now. So, I make her a deal.

“If you don’t hiss at me for the rest of the week, I’ll take you to the dollar store and buy you more plastic snakes,” I offered.

“Deal!” Issa agreed.

Just this morning, Issa hissed at me. She claims it was just play. But, she and I both know otherwise. So, we’ll see about that trip to the dollar store.

Anyway, back to yesterday’s chaos …

After Riff returned home from school, he and I took Issa to see her reading tutor; and then went to the grocery store to pick up a few things. Want to know something? I forgot to buy bread. So, where do you think I need to go this afternoon? Ugh! You know I’ll end up buying more than that loaf of bread. I even had a list. The first item was what?

B-R-E-A-D!

Finally, after Issa’s reading session was complete, my Tuesday was nearing its finish. We dined on hot dogs, chicken, broccoli, fruit salad, and pizza; and watched Jake and the Neverland Pirates. Issa purchased a 3-D book about snakes from her school’s book fair. So, I read a few pages about these menacing, but fascinating creatures to her.

Once my two were sleeping soundly in their beds, I opted to watch one of the many movies I wanted to see, but didn’t, in 2011. So, with my third glass of Bellissima, a semi-sweet, red from Filipo Marc Winery in Clinton Township, I selected Moneyball.

I will share my thoughts about Moneyball in a future post before the end of the week. You will find it in new category — See It — I am developing. Similar to my Book It category for books I read and like; when I see a movie, television show or live theatrical/musical performance, I like, I’ll tell you about it.

That’s all for now. Enjoy the rest of your Wednesday from where ever you may be.

Writing is My Therapy

I have the perfect mix of emotions fueling my post today. My daughter, Issa, refused to get dressed. Then, she went into meltdown-mode when she missed the bus. Consequently, she was tardy for school. Don’t you just wish there was a re-start or rewind button for mornings like this?

Anyway, one can assume I have my fair share of these tumultuous daily beginnings. If you read previous posts you’ll discover I write frequently about writing and my reasons for doing so.

Like exercise, I find writing to be an outlet for stress and negativity. I do all I can to minimize both. Once I put words on a page, I feel calmness. Perhaps it’s the acknowledgement of my feelings and reality that helps. Also, I believe writing enables me validate whatever I am experiencing. It’s just me and my words. There are not outside voices talking at me or trying to influence my feelings.

What about you? Does writing help you de-stress or rid you of toxic energy?

Outta My Chair

The one constant I love about parenting is being on-the-go from the time I rise until my head hits the pillow at night or in the wee morning hours. Before children, life was not dull. I was on-the-go until I arrived at my office cubicle. Once there, I sat for hours — sometimes until late evening — managing event details, carrying out lead generation strategies, and crafting presentations to incite prospective blue chip companies to pick my employer as their information technology solution provider.

When Issa was born nine years ago, my uninterrupted, three-hour sessions in my writer’s chair disappeared. That’s not to say I don’t write or work on professional ambitions. It just means I adapt to their schedules and needs. A lifestyle with children prompted me to get outta my chair, which is a change I embrace every day.

While I can do without the added housework children bring into the picture, I love the spontaneity they bring to daily life. Not one day is the same as another.

While outta my chair today, I worked out, helped Riff finish a craft project for his afternoon preschool class, went to the store, donated blood, took Issa to a reading tutor, played chase with Riff, made meals, babysat a neighbor’s children, and read stories to my children,

On-the-fly writing works for me. I write in the moment of whatever I am living. It gives me the opportunity to relax my posting schedule a bit so that I can learn a thing or two about myself, others and life.

Why I Blog: Seven Reasons

There are a gazillion reasons why I blog. Here are seven.

1. Therapy. Like exercise, writing is an outlet for stress, negative energy and toxic thoughts. The act of writing enables me to think more objectively about parenting, marital conflict, peer relationships and other domestic issues; and often opens my mind to considering viewpoints beyond my own. This encourages a positive spin to my posts and sometimes allows me to solve problems fueling me with  stress, negativity and toxins.

2. Practice. Just like anything else, writing successfully requires replication. It takes a certain practiced finesse to string words together in a fashion that makes sense and that encourages readers to feel, think, comment, or share. This finesse just doesn’t happen magically; at least not for me.

3. Develop my craft. I suppose this is similar to practicing. But, I see it as a separate purpose. One reason is development of my craft requires more than just writing. It also requires reading fiction, non-fiction, short stories, essays, magazine/journal features, news articles, blogs, poetry, etc., etc. The more I expose myself to writers who have already achieved success as authors, journalists, screenwriters, bloggers, etc., the more inspiration I have for making my own writing better. There are so many willing to share tips on how they achieved their success. Why not tap into that expertise?

4. Build an audience. When I began my blog, I knew finding readers would require studying successful blogs and traditional media that have achieved a significant number of followers. The techniques used to building an audience is similar those used to find new business opportunities for my previous employers. I still have yet to leverage all of these tools to their fullest potential.

5. Building my brand. Since there are so many fabulous writers out there as well as other forms of media begging for attention 24/7, establishing an identity that connects with readers is a key objective. Since I have not published anything with a byline since college, I figured a blog would put me on the right path in meeting this goal.

6. Good company. I am a social creature. Sitting quietly in my chair all day at my desktop or laptop is not what gets me off. The network of writers I circulate with through my blog and other social media platforms is a motivator to write as often as possible. Some are accomplished, published writers while others have other professions and interests they love to share. This gives me a broader view of who I share this planet with. I love chatting with people, learning about others’ interests, and reading what others have to write about their life experiences. My blog enables me to connect with people I wouldn’t have a way of getting to know otherwise.

7. My children. While both of my children are in the early elementary phase of their academic journey, there is considerable emphasis on literacy and language development. If the two witness my commitment to reading and writing daily, I am hopeful they will  follow my lead. My daughter loves books and does apply a great imagination to creative writing tasks at school.

So, why do you blog? I would love to read about your reasons.

Related posts at my blog …

Schedule It

So Much to Write

Words Are Mighty

Also, here are some fave blogs with recent posts about writing …

Linda Cassidy Lewis

Sarah Smiles Awhile

Limebird Writers

The Tattered Thread

 

 

Schedule It

This week I found myself lingering at blogs with tips and advice for success. Some are specifically for writers while others seek a broader audience.

Ironically, I’ve been struggling this week to complete my writing in a timely fashion. This obstacle delayed completion of other action items; and now I’m looking at the calendar thinking, “Oh, sh*t! It’s already Thursday! WTF did I do this week?”

Perhaps these WTF encounters prompted my visits with others who experience the same; and who have successful coping strategies.

So, one of the tips I’m going to try is a writing/blog post schedule. To date, I just sit and write whenever my mood or time permits. Going forward, here’s the schedule I sketched in my idea book at lunch yesterday.

Instead of trying to post everyday, my goal is to publish 3x/week: Tuesday mornings, Thursday afternoons and Sunday. My intention is to make myself more accountable to you — my readers.

Blog posts about parenting, family matters and other domestic issues will appear on Tuesday mornings. Thursday posts will be dedicated to writing, professional ambitions and other random adult conversations. Finally, Sunday posts will be about experiences I have when I’m not writing.

I am hopeful this change will keep me moving forward. Thanks for reading and have a spectacular day!

Related articles

Thursday at 10:43: The Liebster Award

On Tuesday morning I shuffled into my home office with my venti coffee in hand. I stood at my desktop, scrolling through my list of unread e-mails. There, in the midst of the boring pitches to click-and-read I spied an e-mail from blogging friend and mentor, Linda Cassidy Lewis.

Upon opening the e-mail, I felt myself smile. She had awarded my blog the Liebster Award. Linda says Liebster is German for dearest, beloved or favorite.

Thank you so much Linda. I am truly honored to receive this award from her. She is a new author I discovered upon introducing my blog at WordPress. Her book, Brevity of Roses, as well as her blog, Out of My Mind, inspired me to take a stab at NaNoWriMo in November.

Like other blog awards, the Liebster Award rules say to pass it along to five favorite blogs. But, here’s the catch. They need to have less than 200 followers. Like Linda, most of the blogs I read don’t publicly track the number of followers they have. So, just like following her lead in living to write, I’m adapting her rules to better fit my situation.

I am going to pass the Liebster Award to two I have mentioned previously and to three I have not.  Two previous mentions that I have an addiction to are:

Tickling My Fancy because I can’t resist reading MB’s movie and book reviews, her fictional pieces, or her posts about transitioning from Southeastern Michigan to Sacramento. Besides, we’ve been friends since childhood; and long-time friends stick together.

The Laughing Mom because she always makes me giggle. Today, she challenged visitors to come up with a birthday rap. I’m still working on mine. That’s why she writes what she does so incredibly well. Check her out. BTW, someone should sign this lady to a writing deal; pronto!

Three blogs I love, but haven’t promoted, yet, are

Mama’s Empty Nest because her words are powerful and she inspires me. Also, she gave all of us moms a “pep” talk the other night about losing our minds, parenting and surviving those “not-about-me-decades.”

Anna C. Shade Jewelry and Metalwork because Anna is a tremendous creative force who is achieving much-deserved success making and selling her art. Plus, she’s my cousin and a member of my Big Beautiful Family.

The Big Sheep Blog because the posts are timely and humorous.

Wednesday at 10:49: So Much to Write

There is so much to write, so much to say and so much to do. Here I sit. The notes from this morning are there. I went old-school and grabbed a pen while listening to Riff sing the Mat Man song during snack time this morning.

As ideas and phrases came to mind, I jotted them into my journal. After all, I live with children, a husband and a dog. If I don’t write it all down, I’ll forget those precious thoughts.

But, now, I’m not loving the ideas or phrases I did back at 10:30 am. Maybe that’s because I’m in a different place. I’m always thinking.

Here are some thoughts…

Keeping up with Issa and her evolving interests is equivalent to tracking technology advances. It’s nearly impossible. Change occurs so quickly. But, it is so exciting to witness and to participate. Her interests are so academic and mostly trend toward the sciences. In chronological order — from earliest to now — it was the alphabet, ducks, elephants, mice, dinosaurs, space, and now snakes.

Laughing matters. It breaks up the stress and makes living with children survivable. I sent Riff to his time out spot for a five-minute respite. He was pretty pissed off and began throwing things that were within his reach.

He eyed a pair of my shoes and said, “He’s going to throw your shoes.”

Three inches of snow is finally being forecast for Southeastern Michigan. We have experienced nearly three weeks of 40-plus temps and sunshine.

What I Meant to Write: Yesterday’s Post

I meant to write this post yesterday. But, then I cleaned the house during the morning hours. My five-year-old, son, Riff, was willing to help me make beds, sweep the floor and vacuum. So, how could I not oblige him. I take help when I have it.

Then, morning turned into afternoon. Riff got on the bus for school. I managed to write the title for my post, What I Learned Today. Also, I scanned the Internet looking for some stuff to learn. Did you learn anything, yesterday?  I did.

A woman filed a claim against Starwood Hotels. She was allegedly, sexually assaulted while staying at one of the hotel’s properties in Finland. The commentary following articles about this lawsuit are as interesting as the story itself. I have never been impressed during any of my stays at their hotels.

But, instead of writing, I walked the dog, ate second lunch, read a few pages from John Sallis‘ What You Have Left: The Turner Trilogy on my Kindle, and shared some love with Your Shape on my XBox.

Afternoon turned into evening. Issa and Riff were both home from school now. My duties now involved officiating television time, playing games online, making dinner and getting ready for an evening meeting at church.

For the record, I did not play Angry Bird. The games I played were for educational purposes at this fun and excellent website, http://www.starfall.com. I learned it has reading- and language-skill games to help elementary-age children improve literacy. I was nicely pleased to see Issa spend about 30 minutes playing around here as well.

Then, you know what happened? Afternoon turned into evening; and then evening into night. I came home from my meeting at eight and waited to claim the television from my husband.

While waiting I learned Mitt Romney won the New Hampshire GOP primary, but with only 39.3-percent of the vote. Also, David Fincher’s The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, is getting positive press. Friends from my blogging and neighborhood networks all say its better than expected. My husband and I have a date night scheduled for Saturday, which may include a movie. I’m trying to decide between this one and Sherlock Holmes.

After claiming the television I watched a couple on-demand episodes of Once Upon a Time, ABC’s new show about fairy-tale characters caught in limbo between reality and fantasy. I re-learned about characters such as Snow White, Prince Charming, and Rumpelstiltskin.

So, what I meant to write yesterday at 9, didn’t happen until now. Stay tuned for today’s post…

Words Are Mighty

Words are mighty. They wield the power to love, hate, free, imprison, heal, poison, mend, hurt, help, hinder, reward, punish, agree, protest, include, exclude, dominate, share, unite, divide, build, break, motivate, defeat, encourage, inhibit, celebrate, silence, bully, defend, protect, attack, empower, debilitate, propel, stop, add, subtract, multiply, delete, mediate, instigate, calm, infuriate, judge, forgive, push, pull, tarnish, shine, triumph, diminish, overpower, undermine, prevail, conquer, inform, conceal, protect, endanger, preserve, change, comfort, scare, create, destroy, promote, inflict, investigate, manipulate, expose, control, educate, deceive, console, terrorize, enrich, connect, polarize, captivate, rescue, dictate, and overthrow,

A boy who has Leukemia and who attends the same school as Issa is asking for words — not money — to help him fight and to help him stay strong.

Cards wanted for boy with leukemia

Another shared love for everybody.

My story

More continue to protest the greed, corruption and manipulation.

OWS

I consider myself fortunate to have a mind open to messages old and new. The blogs I visit (Mama’s Empty Nest), stories I read (The Book Thief), songs I hear (Ozzy Osbourne’s Crazy Train), and films I watch (Tree of Life) all leave their impressions. Some are fleeting. Others linger.

NaNoWriMo: The Week After

Well, it’s been almost one week. I have ignored my characters’ pleas to change their scenery or edit their dialogue. In fact, I haven’t even peaked at their story.

I figure it’s the winter holiday season; and I do have two school-aged children chattering non-stop about Santa, Rudolph, and our temporary live-in elf from the North Pole, Neptune. Retracing my steps through Jakarta, Melbourne, and Capri will have to wait for those frigid January days when I am looking for a warm-up.

Looking back on my first 50k experience, the circle of writers I came to know — some strangers and some long-time friends — was the most valuable takeaway. MB, my childhood friend, was really the catalyst for my participation. I truly appreciated having a pal rooting for me to come away with full pages each day. Three new acquaintances I made a long the way include thesweetkitten, talin401, and limebirdbeth. The first posts about Brussels, Belgium. I was drooling over the photos and the delicacies detailed there. The later two are about writing, which I now follow for insight and inspiration.

This first 50k, was indeed, an enriching experience.