Wednesday, June 29, 2005

A Moment to Breathe

Whew... that was a long haul. I still have two more articles to finish up by Friday, but I can see the light at the end of the tunnel. I am not sure if I could have done this had my son been at home because of the time he needs the computer for school. So far I have finished 5 things off my weekly to do of 13. Not bad considering that I was out of commission visiting family on Monday.

It has been incredibly quiet without either one of the children home. Megsies is at the rink all week to help out with camp and the Dh and I are getting a glimpse of what our lives will be once they are gone. I wonder if I will get tired of quiet? Nah:)

There is an interesting discussion on one of my lists about books that you reread. I have always been a rereader. I love going back to old books and when I lose them for some reason, I mourn them like old friends. When I have a hankering to get into a book I sort of linger over my bookshelves, looking for what I feel like reading. Some books aren't rereaders... they might be great books, but didn't move me or touch me enough to make it a great rereader. The Lords of Discipline is one ... well, all Pat Conroy's books are rereaders. The Little House books, some romances... one called the Proud Breed is one of my favorites. What are your favorite rereaders?

Monday, June 27, 2005

It is too early to be believed

I have been having a wee bit of trouble sleeping lately.

Not at night. At night I am so exhausted that I fall asleep right away. I just wake up a bit too early. My hubby has a new shift. He works four ten hour days. When he works a twelve hour shift for some hot sweet OT, He gets home about 5 am. Which wakes me up. Now I should be getting up around six to be a happy camper all day. Getting up at that time makes me mean.

Now, getting up at 5 isn't too bad, but lately I have been waking up in the four hour and then I can't get back to sleep. Then I nap, which, as I have explained before, is bad for me.

So I just get mean.

I am taking off for the day. Am going to go visit my parents and take them out to lunch. See, I am a dutiful daughter. I spent a gazillion dollars on an Arizona trip that was... interesting and now this. No one can say I didn't try!

I am even putting of VIW (very important work) in order to do this.

Did I tell you that we have kicked the big cats outside? I figured it was time...they have started a nasty little marking war in spots in the house and I got tired of it. Besides, we are repainting the inside of the house this summer and redoing the floors and figured they might as well get used to it. I think we will have to live in tents when we get started on the floors. Oh, Joy.

Saturday, June 25, 2005

A Few Free Minutes....

So what do you do with a few free minutes?

Okay, they're not really free because there is always something I could be doing... busy momwriter person that I am... but nothing is URGENT.

My son is at an archery shoot this morning with a friend. My daughter is blissfully sleeping in as she doesn't have to go to the rink today. My husband worked until 2am and won't be up for hours. I have a couple of articles due next week, but there is no reason to hurry. My NW Woman magazine work is going very well. I have another conference call with my boss later, but I have my reports ready and don't need to worry. I guess I should work on some crits for my critique group and then head out to work in the yard, but I am in no hurry. I have my carmel latte and raspberry scone at hand, though I can't really taste the scone because of the cold. Which is much better, by the way.

So I have time to ruminate over this and that. Friendship, work, family... that sort of thing. I have a friend that I have been close to for a number of years... she was the friend I had when our children were little together. I don't think you make a closer friend at any other juncture of your life. Especially if you are a stay at home mom. They are your life line to reality when barney and big bird have taken over your life. When the most important thing in your world is the potty chair. When we met, my friend was incredibly liberal. At some point in our friendship, we began to change... she became more and more conservative and I became more and more liberal. It's funny, really. There have been several points during our friendship that we haven't spoken for a couple of years... We are far more grown up now and laugh at our differences. We pull no punches with each other. I value that. During the time when we were apart we both grew professionally... I began writing seriously and she started her own business. My brain tumor brought us back together that time and we have been friends ever since... funny how the unimportant stuff doesn't matter.

Our boys have been best friends for years able to keep up with their mother's neurotic behavior without missing a beat. My son is exactly six months older than her son. This summer they are both fifteen. Ethan has a job and her son is going to be a Councilor in Training at a Christian Camp for the next six weeks. Ethan leaves on his missions trip tomorrow and her son leaves tomorrow as well. They are at the archery shoot together right now, hanging out before their seperate summer starts... I remember when I was fifteen.

Anyway, no point to any of this... I am just writing to write. Which is a good feeling. I have written just to write for a long time:)

Friday, June 24, 2005

Still Pounding

Tiny little men mining for something just inside my temples. I don't know what they are looking for. Hope they find it soon. I think I swallowed a chimney brush as well and everytime I try to talk, it runs itself vigorously up and down my throat.

I have to drive to the ice rink, but after that I am going back to bed. No, wait. After I edit and send in one article. And make a phone call. And talk to my editor. Then I will, I promise... ooops... I have to get some NW woman stuff in today...

Thursday, June 23, 2005

I'm sick, not tired!

Okay...maybe I am both. I slept about 15 hours yesterday. My ears hurt. My throat hurts. My head aches. I just feel so YUKKY!

I did manage to finish my final (hopefully) edits on the first three chapters of Pour Some. I have an agent I would love to have interested. I need to get it to her ASAP.

I also have a gazillion phone calls to make and several articles due by the end of the month. Ack.


Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Fighting off Exhaustion

Now I've done it. I went and took a nap yesterday because the weekend's figure skating left me hammered. (She got 1st, 2nd and 5th, by the way:) So then I was up too late last night and now I am exhusted. I have a real love hate reletionships with naps that way. They feel so good when you lie down to take one... decadent even. Sleeping in the middle of the day flies in the face of our puritan work ethic. You wake up almost always wishing you could sleep more, but you know what lies ahead... the restlessness, the tossing and the turning and with a sigh, you leave your bed only to suffer for it the next day. On top of not being able to sleep well, my daughter spent the night crying because the ortho had his way with her mouth yesterday afternoon and now she is paying the price. I had to run and fetch hot cloths to put on her poor wee jaw.

I woke up with a sore throat this morning... my son has a cold, so I am hoping to avoid it by drinking green tea and popping some vitamins.

I am taking a work run to the coast. I have to tour a hotel they just did a 4 million renovation on. I am working on an article for NW Woman on the Grand Hotels of Oregon. I am taking my son and one of my lovely niecy girls with me. We will head over, shop and hit the beach and then do my tour. Should be a good time. The weather looks lovely. I really can't afford to be away from my work for that long, but I will make time!

Sunday, June 19, 2005

Writing and family life....

Writing with a family can be challenging. I know many writers with small children are wondering what the heck I am talking about and yes, it is far more difficult to write with wee ones hanging on your knee than it is with the odd teen asking to be taken to the mall. But I figure that homeschooling makes up for it because I am with them ALL THE TIME!

Now don't get me wrong. I am not really complaining. I love homeschooling and quite frankly I love being with my kids. I love the we have raised them. We are, in many ways, extraordinarily close. I have a friend who has a teen who doesn't seem to see him much. He has school and friends and she has work and friends and their weekend social life seems to be just for the parents. She tells me that he is independent and I am all for independence... I don't want my kids hanging around me all the time... but I like being a family. I love going to the mall with my daughter and the movies with my son. I like having a bbq with no one but us.

Can this make it difficult for the writer? Yeah. Especially since my freelance writing career is so varied and busy. But there is a time for every season... my problem is that I am sort of in the flux of two different seasons.

There are so many choices for women to make now... we are definately in the best of days. Think about it. We can have our fulfilling career, leave that to have babies or try to do it at the same time, (good luck with that!) We can go back to our careers when the babies start flying the nest or even try something else! I read a fab article in TIME about how women are using the life crisis' of middle life to go in a completely different direction. It was interesting stuff.

Made me realize I need to savor the last few years I have with my kids. Also made me eager for the next part of my life.

Friday, June 17, 2005

The end of the week

I am looking at my writing to do list for the week and am feeling pretty good. I was able to cross out 20 things off of my list of twenty five. I didn't do so hot on the Home to do list, but that is sort of my MO. I am a bit disappointed on how difficult it is to get anyone to get back to you. I have called and emailed several people about Northwest woman and haven't recieved any responses at all. Mean, mean, mean.

HAd a great conference with the publisher of NW Woman. Everything is full speed ahead. Am excited about the prospects of this magazine. I have to work hard though to get it out there and get a lot of ads for it. I guess I am going to have to go to see the people who won't call me back:)

Oh, I am thinking about some contests for the Book Club... Any ideas? I think I am going to get a fabo prize for the first one, but I have to figure out how to do it. It should be tied into our next book... It will go into the next magazine. (Aug/Sept issue) The next book is set in World War two... should I do something along those lines? Maybe an essay on a notable world war two hero? Perhaps the best fictional letter written to a loved one fighting the war? Maybe a picture of a world War two fighter and a multiple answer question on what type it was and we draw from the ones that have it right? let me know what you think would be good and send me any ideas:)

My mom is coming up for the weekend. The ice princess has a compeition this weekend and the guys are going cmaping so it was perfect timing. Meggie hasn't been skating well, so we will see. I think she just needs to focus on testing and her training right now and stop competing so much for a bit. She doesn't need the extra pressure and she already has a lot to do this summer. It should be a good weekend. I would love to get another article done and the third chapter in my YA book. We'll see.

Thursday, June 16, 2005

On Motherhood

I have been working with my fab critique list on Pour Some...

Some questions have arisen on the resentment that my heroine sometimes feels towards her children. I thought some resentment in motherhood was normal... Sacrifice is hard. Love my children, lay down my life everyday for them, but am not always happy about it. I thought that was normal! Snort. Maybe not? HA! I always felt that motherhood was sometimes a conflicting experience. Especially with teens! For instance, my only lovely ice princess was throwing a fit because I wanted to leave a little early to drop her off at the rink. She was tired and didn't want to have to skate for that long and was afraid her coach would make her. She would be there about twenty minutes early...

I wanted to take her there early because I still have to run my son to the zoo, (ten miles in the opposite direction) Get back home, have a conference with an editor, finish a pile of newsletters for her skate club, run my son's mission letters to the postoffice, run and get her from the rink, and run and pick up my son from the post office. I wanted to get an early start. She was whining and it was all me me me. I was a bit resentful at that.

Now, teens can be selfish. It is the time of life they are in... It is my job to help them see that. But I still get resentful at the selfishness while I am sacrificing!

Now, this is also the child who did three hours of yardwork without being asked, so she does know how to give. But... You get the picture.

Motherhood isn't easy. It isn't all roses and moms don't always feel loving towards their children even if we always love them. Or am I a freak???

Have to run. Zoo time.

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

Barking up the Wrong Tree

I think I have been barking up the wrong tree as far as my novel is concerned. Or perhaps I am barking prematurely. Each and every agent that was so eager to read my partial has declined to see the finished product.

I sent out the query too soon. How many times will I let my impatience as a writer (And as a person) do this to me?Screw something up because I refused to put in the knocks? The novel is only 57000 words long. A novella actually. Not long enough. And the story is told. I tried layering another plot in but can't really think of anything that would give the book 50,000 more words. I have two more agents to send to and I am almost afraid to.

The critique group has been awesome and I love their input, but I am wondering if I shouldn't be focusing on another work. My YA Novel and my other WIP. Or should I curb this cursed impatience and finish editing this novel and call it a learning experience?

Like the witch on the Little Mermaid said, "Life is full of tough choices, idn't it?"

In other news, I have a radio interview this morning for my nonfiction book, Day Tripping. That will be salve for me battered ego.

I hate waking up early and not being able to sleep. What a pain.

I got tons of work done yesterday... My family went to the lake to fish with friends and I stayed home. I polished off an article and sent it. Made tons of phone calls to tons of people. Read some work from my crit group as I try to catch up to everyone's manuscript. I also managed to roast a chicken, mop and scrub the kitchen, and clean the bathroom... verra productive time.

Must run to check up on a few blogs.

Monday, June 13, 2005

A Brand New Week

And here I thought that the work would slow down after the tea launch. NOT! Now I have even more work to keep the momentum going here in Portland about the magazine. Promo work. Distribution work. Writing work. Advertising work.

And that is just the magazine. Doesn't include my freelancing work and fiction work. Arg!

I didn't write at all yesterday. I did a lot of cleaning and organizing. Synched my calendar with the family calendar. Signed up son for camp and mission's trip. I picked up a friend of my daughter's and dropped them both off at the mall. Went grocery shopping. Cleaned up piles around desk. Went to bed early. I felt I needed a break from the writing... especially as I knew what was going to start up today.

I lurve Jane Porter. I don't think I mentioned that in my exhausted post on Saturday. She said she wants to sit down and talk about my fiction... isn't that sweet? Fabulous speaker and generous person. Buy her books. The Frog Prince. Wonderful:)

I am LOVING my crit group. I am learning so much. I know it is making my writing stronger and tighter! I need to do another crit for them today or tomorrow. Give and take is what the group is about and boy, can they give it;-)But it is good. Tactful honesty is good. It strengthens your writing skills.

Does anyone else belong to a crit group? How do you like it?

Saturday, June 11, 2005

Tea for Many

It was the Rose Festival Grand Floral Parade here in the Portland area. Don't ask what Rose Festival is... It is a huge deal here in Portland and has to do with an imaginary kingdom and electing princesses... oops, we call them ambassadors now. The parade completely messed my publisher and I up as far as meeting at 1:00. But we did meet.

No, no big raise. Well sorta one. NW woman is going into radio and Charity will call me twice a week for a five minute "Portland Report." I will get paid each time. This will also help out with ads as well. And she does eventually want an office here in Portland. With MOI in charge:) She is looking at opening one in the next year.

Then the event. I think it was a smashing success. Everyone seemed to enjoy themselves and much smoozing was going on. My feet are killing me from my new heels. Charity and I had martinis before the event... The food was drop dead nummy. Mmmmm

Okay. Must go collapse.

Friday, June 10, 2005

Almost there....

Tomorrow evening I will know whether I have a full time position at the magazine. I know she wants to hire me, but it being basically a start up (having just changed owners) I am not sure what kind of backing she has. My dream goes like this:

Me: I just love working for you, I can do so much for the magazine (blah blah blah)

Her: I just love having you, you have been an answer to my prayers (blah blah blah)

Me: I would really love to be able to work for you exclusively. (blah blah blah)

Her: I think that would be wonderful! I need you to work full time, here's a big fat raise and let's go ahead and set up an office here in the Portland area.

We hug and cry and throw a super event wherein I totally prove my worth.

Nice dream, huh?

*The reality

*I had to take off the reality. Shannon McKeldon told me that throwing bad thoughts into the world was bad Karma. Or something like that:) So only good thoughts!

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

Awaken Me Darkly and other stuff

I finished Awaken Me Darkly by Gena Showalter today. Fab, fab book. Very fast paced read. The only trouble is that I can't share it with my 15 year old son. Way to much nummy sex in it. Poor hormonal thing would pass right out. Buy it, read it, hide it from your teen;-)

What's next? Oh, the reports of my Reno trip were highly premature. Dh and I sat down and crunched the numbers and there is just no way. No way Hose. No way no how. No Sireebob.

This is why:

Missions trip for son: $275
Camp for son: $340
Skate club dues for dd $275
Skate camp for dd $225
New skates for Dd $545
Competition fees $400
Coach fees $740
Laptop $600
Regionals $1000

No way can we afford that, let alone a grand for Reno! Snort! So I am resigned. I have been to Reno... But I will see you all at Atlanta!

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

In a Tearing Hurry....

To get to bed!


Got lots done including getting my eyebrows done. I went to a new place and had them "designed" OUCHIEWAHWAH!

But I now have lovely arched eyebrows and look like a surprised skunk. (Remember my highlights from the other day?) I have the final count for my High Tea. I had a great meeting with my publisher... it was only a phone meeting, but it went quite well and she still wants to meet for coffee before the event so I am hoping she talks money then... she is wanting me to take a bigger part of the magazine:) All good stuff!

Um, let me see, what else... not much on the fiction front. I am learning how ti critique other manuscripts and am trying to get up the courage to post the first three chapters of one of mine... we'll see.

Okay... gonna go read some blogs before I head to the land of Nod!

Monday, June 06, 2005

Oregon Weather, BBQ's and the Week to Come

I actually made it to the parties/bbq's I was supposed to.

The first one, an interclub skateclub picnic, went very well. It was located at Oaks Park, which is one of the oldest amuzements parks in the west. The kids had a blast. It is so nice to have teenagers whom you just let go. Though I did end up doing a lot of the work. There must have been about 150 people there. As far as the weather, it rained, it shone and then it rained again. Not too bad for Oregon.

Had to pull my kids away early as we had the graduation picnic to go to and had yet to get a gift. I spent all my time Saturday shopping for myself and didn't pick anything up for our graduate. I ran over to the Shane Company... a fabulous jewelry store, and found her a very lovely diamond ring. Just perfect and not expensive at all. (They have the best quality diamonds for less than anyone. Direct Diamond importers) It was small, but not a chip, and the setting was lovely, very contemporary. It took her breath away:) By that time the weather had turned ugly and was raining sideways and very cold. We ate opened gifts and ran for shelter.

Time to make the Weekly To Do List.

I have a gazillion articles to do and must work my butt off on the event.

I hope to get to the third chapter of my YA book and I have the rough done on my synopsis and hope to get that out as well.

I may post something to the critique group I joined, but I don't know if I am brave yet. I may just help other people for a bit. Figure out the system.

I need to work out all week.

I would love to go back to bed! Snort!

Sunday, June 05, 2005

Party Hardy

Have a BBQ for the end of the skate club year today. This is the first year our club has been invited to join the other clubs so I am hoping for a good turnout. Since I am the contact person between our club and the other clubs for this event if anything goes wrong, I will be the one to get an earful. (We are a fairly new club which is why we have never been asked before) That starts at noon and I am driving somewhere I have never been which makes me very nervous. I have a thing about driving.

After that we have to run back and get to another party. The graduation party of one of our dear friends. Am so proud of her! Her mother ran away with another man when she was fifteen and she basically took care of her eleven year old sister and her six year old sister. I plan on getting revenge on this woman by writing her into a book, name and all.

So not only do I have to drive to unfamilar places, I have to do it in a tearing hurry.

I have been trying to stay off the computer for a couple of days and give my arm a chance to heal. it is doing beautifully. Will give it another day and then tomorrow will have to kick it again. I have eleven articles due this month as well as the fiction work I wish to get done. I have a lot to do.

I went and got my hair highlighted and cut last night in anticipation for the big event this week. I also picked up an Anne Klien black blazer with thin pink pin stripes for... get this... $45! In my size. OMG! Looks fabulous with my new striped hair. Also picked up a pair of dark jeans and the cutest little pink high heals... I haven't worn high heels since the eighties!

I am hoping that it will work... the Editor of the magazine did say she wanted some privy jtime with me before or after the event... that could mean that she regrets giving me so much responsiblitiy or that she adores me and is going to give me a fat raise. At any rate am verra nervous about the whole thing.

Friday, June 03, 2005

The Week in Review

What a week of ups and downs this has been writing wise. Rejections, assignments, requests for partials, a possible promotion or raise at one of my many writing gigs. Every Monday I make out a to do list for my writing week and every Friday I check it over and see if it is up to date and how well I did. As every writer knows, you must be prepared for the unexpected. The article that needs a quick reworking. The request for more information than you had. The source that couldn't be reached or the scene that wouldn't come out right. But at the end of the week I have to look back and see how I did overall.

I did pretty good this week in spite of everything.

I wrote two articles and rewrote another. I finished a chapter on Rink Rats (My big YA idea) I made up a rough of a synopsis for Pour Some. (Believe it or not, I have only had two agents request it!) I am pulling the loose ends together for the NW woman magazine event. I sent out one request for a partial and one packet of clips and resume for a publisher of nonfiction children books who requested it. I am in the process of printing out some more media materials for the NW woman event and will more than likely begin the hunt for next week's sources. Not too bad for one week. Especially since I am only supposed to be doing this part time.

Yeah, right.

Thursday, June 02, 2005

WARNING: Whining post to follow

I think I wanna whine today.

I have been feeling the pressure lately. Probably because I fell off the diet/exercise wagon and gained eight pounds in three weeks. Which turned out to not be eight pounds at all, but rather five. Thank you, Lord, you do love me.

But, really. All the things we women are required to do in a day. I SO DID NOT SIGN UP FOR THIS!

Check both Calendars: My children's orthodontist told me he was kicking us out of the program if I missed another appointment. I believe him. It is a well known fact that all orthodontist's are assholes. Don't try to tell me different, I have met many of them.

Then I have to check my work log: Anything due today? If so, get on it. If not, what is due tomorrow and how much fiction can you work into the morning?

Keep track of two different to do lists: The family/home to do list which includes errands, home repair and maintenance, garden stuff, skate stuff and birthday stuff for my husband's cousin's cousin and anyone else who needs to be feted. This time of year is graduations. Do I need to take some young person out to lunch where I resolutely keep my mouth shut on how fun it is to be a modern woman?

Exercise: It is the cure all for obesity, hormone regulation, osteoporosis and some cancers. We women must get our exercise!

Diet: I am responsible for my own nutrition intake and that of my family. God help us all.

Teeth maintainance: Did you floss today? Did you know that the health of your teeth a risk indicator of dropping dead of heart disease? I have to keep track of cleaning appointments, dental appointments, ortho appointments and retainers. AND HAVE YOU FLOSSED TODAY???

Personal hygene: Do I need to get my eyebrows waxed? Who needs a hair cut? No you can't get highlights, if anyone is going to get highlights in this family it is ME, Dammit! Please, for the love of all is holy, put on some pit stick!

Education: No, Teen People cannot be swapped for a single Little House book, no they are not the same thing at all. Yes, building a fort in the woods is educational, but no, you can't do that instead of environmental science. Yes, you have to do that math even if you are never going to use it again for the rest of your life, no one knows why! Maybe it's punishment for having better highlights than your mother and reading Teen People.

Career: Yes, when I said my deadline was today, I actually meant today. No, you cannot read the article before I send it in cause you will want me to change this and that and the other. No, I cannot add a 1000 piece sidebar to an 800 word article. Yes, I will make those changes. Yes, I will make somehow make the tragedy of incontinence, light, bright and fecking breezy! No, I don't mind not getting paid again this week because as everyone knows, writers don't have bills!

Relationships. No. You are not getting sex ever again no matter how much you sit up and beg. Sex is what started all this remember? Oh, what a wicked web you weave when you first practiced to conceive.
(I know the tenses are all mixed up, but it works anyway.)

Now I have to quit whining and wake up my daughter who has to be at the rink in an hour cause then I have to take my son up to the zoo where he volunteers. Then the gym. Then a quick rewrite before picking my daughter up at the rink. Then picking up my son and getting everyone started on school before I go pick up a graduating friend to talk to her about the joys of modern womanhood. Then maybe work on a bit of fiction before I have to run to a mom's night out that I'm running.

Anyone wonder why I drink?

Wednesday, June 01, 2005

On martinis, food and cigarettes


They weren't really martinis. They were rum and cokes. Has anyone tried the new rums they have out? I got hooked on the malibu rums, but am now delighting in the vanilla spice rum and cokes. Had several last night. Was my consolation for gaining eight pounds in the last three weeks and losing three agents in a very short amount of time.

The eight pounds kills me, you see, because I had lost forty pounds from November to April. Was working on my last 30 and wham... life gets stressful, diet goes out the window and I have no time to hit the gym. I have learned one thing though.

I can never eat normal again.

That thought is more depressing than losing three agents.

I quit smoking 6 years ago. I loved to smoke. LOVED IT! The icky smoke everyone hates... nummy. An ashtray is pure potpourri for me. But is horrible for me and worse for the kids and I wanted to break the cycle. And then I put on the weight. And then some more. Now instead of smoking I eat. And occasionally drink little rum drinks. Okay. They were big rum drinks. BUT... I didn't eat And I made it to the gym yesterday!

Things are looking up! Now, if I could just get rid of this headache!