me bw2


At the cabin, after the barbeque. Kids want to chill and Handsome One (my husband) and I are up for a walk.

It's dark out
. Pine trees disappear into the night. Yellow squares of light peek out of houses tucked away from the road. We walk down the slope, around the curves, keeping to the left like good pedestrians.

Our lungs inhale clean air that the lake seems to purify somehow. There are no sounds but our voices and the crunching of the gravel beneath our
feet. I walk quickly to warm my body in the cool night air. At 6'4", Handsome One just increases his stride slightly to keep pace.

We talk about life, family the future. We murmur our hopes and fears, words drifting away in the higher elevation. Juniper and ponderosa absorb our spoken thoughts along with the CO2, recycling them back to us as life breath.

Our thoughts, opinions, and ideas are in sync more
often than not and I relax into the comfortable feeling of easiness. Eighteen years will bend any couple toward each other, if they let it. I am at peace and I am thankful.

Cars come around the bend now and then, bright lights cutting through the night like knives. I close my eyes and reach for his hand, trusting he will keep me safe until I open them again.
me bw2

Darling Daughter's Departure


When I pass her room and see the boxes piled up my heart hurts. When I step into her empty closet my gut wrenches. When I lay on her bed and smell her scent I lose it. Darling Daughter is leaving for Oregon on Labor day. The enormity and finality of it is washing over me like a tidal wave and threatening to sweep me out into oblivion. Why didn't I paint toenails with her more often, take her to lunch, shop when she wanted to? I always thought there'd be more time for that, but my heart hammers as I realize time's up.

I am not a helicopter parent. I do not hover. I am excited for my daughter to be independent and well-adjusted. I just love her so much.

She was a freshman at community college this past year and we saw so many changes. She was beginning to emerge from the teenage egocentricity (emerge, mind you, not free of). She learned to take responsibility for herself, especially with her schooling and finances. The enormous relief to a parent that comes from the end of nagging is indescribable. We were able to start a new chapter in life. One where she became a dear sister to Wee One, a friend to me and a source of pride to her dad.

We only got to enjoy one year of it. Husband and I agree that it would have been much easier if she had left shortly after high school. Mother nature produces those strains through the adolescent years for a reason. It's a way to begin the eventual separation. We were always close, but the drama was really hard to endure. Tensions were high, but they've disappeared significantly since then.

I could list a thousand little things I will miss with her gone. But I'm trying not to be selfish and concerned only with what I'm losing. I'm trying to be excited for her new adventure. I haven't cried in front of her yet, I don't want her to feel more homesick. I already made husband cry, though. It will be tough for all of us.

I'm making a herculean effort to hold it together. I know all of our good times together are not over. We can still paint toenails, go out to lunch and shop when we visit. I'm going to enjoy watching her spread her wings and start this new phase of life, and treasure the parts I get to yet share with her.
me bw2

Confessions of an anal-retentive exerciser

The first in an on-going series . . .

The fact that I even exercise is amazing. This feat is accomplished only because I joined a women's circuit fitness club which has set up the workout for me so that I have to do zero thinking. All the effort I have to put into it is to drive there and get my sorry saggy butt in the door (which is a challenge in itself).

This nation-wide chain is popular with the older set, and my club is no exception. Perhaps you have heard me rant about being stuck in the circuit behind the senior with the walker. I have many tales to tell about my escapades with the exercising elderly. Today's involved The Odiferous One.

The Odiferous One (T.O.O.) must be pushing eighty, though her hair is still as red as it was when she was twenty. Grandma cannot seem to come to the gym without a dousing of old lady perfume, despite the many signs posted about the place asking the women to refrain from wearing scents to the club. I'm not normally sensitive to smells; I wear a spritz of O oui! myself from time to time. But this chemical, vaguely floral, smell is a sinus assassin.

T.O.O. has an uncanny knack for showing up whenever I choose to workout. I've tried to vary my workout times in vain. But today I thought I pulled a fast one on granny. I'm on the last leg, thinking, "oh, yeah, olfactory freedom at last!" As if that were her cue, she pops in.

T.O.O. starts about seven spots ahead of me in the circuit. I'm on my last round, I figure I can tough it out. The problem is, T.O.O. is so slow she moves one station for every two the rest of us do. It isn't long before I'm slammed up against her on the circuit - and my head is about to explode with every inhale. So I skip the last few machines.

Curse you T.O.O.! My butt will forever be saggy because of your old lady scent.

At least that's the excuse I like to use.
me bw2

Mia culpa Monday

I want to be a good blogger, but I feel like all my creativity needs to be directed toward my ms right now. Blogging, any kind of writing, requires a lot of focus for me, and I can't split that focus between different projects very well. This makes me sad because it makes me seem like a deadbeat online writer friend.

I do read all your posts, but even commenting takes effort and time and I sometimes don't do it, but you all deserve better. I will try to be better about commenting, but for what it's worth, I am reading.

So close to finishing the revision I'm on, but I don't see time to write for a few more days. It dangles in front of me like a shiny bauble I can almost reach. As much as I want to get the ms back to my agent, it needs complete attention to be done right. I have to just trust writing time will come before long and leave it at that.

I have so many people I want to connect with and art I would like to do. I'll get to them, it will just have to wait until Darling Daughter leaves for Oregon after Labor Day, she's my biggest focus right now.

Just wanted to touch base and I guess vent my guilt. Hope you're all enjoying your Monday.
blue flower

The Awkward Years

Junior High sucked.

That's what I remember about seventh and eighth grades. Kids from several different elementary schools converging to be educated in six separate periods a day, with dress down P.E., combination locks and no outdoor recess to speak of, was way too overwhelming for me. Just the concepts of a before and after school snack stand and dances were hard for my twelve-year-old brain to get around.

There was too much information coming at me from too many sources. Combine that with the onset of puberty and you've got pre-teen John Hughes movie material.

I hated it.

Okay, there are a couple of good memories: Mr. Franzen praising my science report presentations as the most entertaining and informative he ever heard (I can tell you some interesting facts about black rhinos), getting to know girls who would become lifelong friends, and being introduced to real literature.

But the scale tipped far towards humiliation more than anything good. I have disturbing memories of face-planting in the gym while chasing a boy (do not ask me why I was chasing a boy, I still have no idea what possessed me to do such a foolish thing when it held so much potential for embarrassment), a fear of not having something to do during lunch break (i.e.; a group to walk around with and belong to), having my new pair of swishy sweatpants borrowed and ruined in P.E., losing my temper and storming out of a classroom after having enough teasing and being labeled (deservedly so) as emotionally fragile forever on, square dancing (holding random boys' hands? Seriously?), joining the basketball team without having a clue as to how the game was played, and a P.E./dance teacher obsessed with Steve Perry (Oh Sherrie, indeed) and Chaka Khan. The horrors.

So Wee One starts middle school on Monday. I have high hopes for her. I know it will still be an awkward time, but she has a large group of good friends and more confidence than I did at the age. I'm pretty sure the biggest anxiety will be learning to shave. But we'll get through that together.

That may be the biggest difference: parents who are able to be involved. My single mom did what she could just to provide for us physically. Wee One is blessed with a great dad and a mom who doesn't have to work to support her family. I plan on taking advantage of that to help navigate her through the beginning of adolescence as gently as possible.
me bw2

(no subject)

GAH! Wee One is away for the week, boss is on vacation, rest of the fam won't be back for a few days . . . perfect time to write, right?


How am I going to get anything done with WriteOnCon?

And why does my house smell like IcyHot?
me bw2

Guilty Pleasures

My favorite kid thing to do is color, especially in Barbie fashion coloring books - even though I'm thirty-nine. Coloring is very relaxing. I love the feel of the wax gliding across the paper. It's a zen thing for me. Unless I mess up and color her arm blond because I thought it was part of her hair. Happens.
How about you, what is your favorite thing to do that could be considered "childish"? Watch Spongebob? Swing? Eat Fun Dip? Tell me I'm not the only one who does stuff like this.
me bw2

The view from here.

Besides writing, I occasionally play with collage art for a creative outlet. This scene is actually a composition of six different pictures. One of the things I'm drawn to in doing this kind of art is making an entirely new landscape out of images from several different sources and playing with perspective.

Growing up I thought my mom was so tall. Like stilt-walker tall. I don't have many specific early memories, but I keenly remember staring up at my ginormous mom towering over me, her legs rising over me like redwoods, sure that she must be one of the tallest women in the world.

In actuality, Mom was 5'4".

One time I heard our elderly neighbor's landscapers and later noticed the leaves in our yard gathered into piles. I couldn't believe the nerve he had to send us a message by having his landscapers blow our leaves. Husband knocked on his door to straighten him out. As soon as he mentioned the leaves, the old guy, who had a bad heart and a false eye, said he was sorry he couldn't pick the leaves up, but he was just too exhausted after raking them.

A few months ago Wee One was waiting for the computer as I finished checking email.

"Oh Mom," she observed with tender pity, "you have a folder called 'Rejections'."

A few months earlier I would have looked at her with chagrin. How nice it was to be able to laugh and explain that I didn't use it anymore.

And don't get me started on going from complaining about toys strewn around the house to cherishing the sight of them.

It's all about perspective. Things can be perceived so differently depending on time, distance and attitude.

As one daughter leaves for college and another enters middle school, as I come to a startling realization of how old I'm getting when I find out Lance Armstrong is a year younger than me (I don't know why, but that one blew me away), as I heed advice and revise a manuscript or read books with exceptional writing, as I accept that things aren't always neat and tidy and life still goes on, I'm gaining perspective.

And wadda-ya-know, the view is so much clearer from the vantage point of an open mind. 
me bw2

heartbreak all around

My Mac Air crashed. Again. It happened in May and I had to have it wiped. They are clearing it again as I write. 


I still don't know what all I lost the first time. Luckily no writing. But there were pictures that are gone forever now. This time I hadn't saved much on the hard drive, except for a very productive day's worth of revising which has left me very bummed. Needless to say I will be obsesively backing up from now on.

They're replacing the hard drive this time. I hope it solves the problem. Luckily it's still under warranty. I'm pretty freaked out about the warranty running out in Sept.

I wanna love Macs, but I never lost anything on my PCs.

Other randomness:

Darling Daughter is at a camp for kids with cancer this week. I know it's going to be a life-changing experience for her. I'm so excited she's doing it, but it's also given me a taste of what it will be like in the fall when she goes to OR.

DD and I are finally entering that wonderful stage where we can really be friends. We share a lot of personal stuff and I'll miss having her to talk to. Thank heavens for Skype.

I've decided my sadness at her leaving is selfish, though. She's going to have a great experience and will grow a lot. We want our kids to have their own lives and be successful, aferall. The sadness is for what I'm losing, and that's something I'll just have to deal with and think of as a necessary (albeit painful) sacrifice for her gaining independence.

Wee One and I have found ourselves spending more alone time together. Do I have to tell you that losing one daughter is making me truly appreciate the time I have left with the other one?

Hope you're all enjoying the summer as it flies by.