13 November 2010

nanowrimoing gopher

I'm right in the middle of NaNoWriMo, (National Novel Writing Month) and am exactly where I'm supposed to be. (finished day 12, yesterday, with 20,000 words) In order to get 50,000 words by the end of the month I use all my free time at night to write. Crazy thing is that I really like it. I don't think I've exposed myself to an obsession, but it's definitely something I might look forward to every year.

But, I'm procrastinating right now. I really need to be moving my plot along but my head is doing that deep-in-the-background pounding created by a migraine of insane proportions that can only be dulled, not eradicated, by a higher-than-recommended dosage of Advil floating though my veins. At this moment, the idea of creating a literary something from nothing creates a smidgen of apprehension which causes a slight increase in blood pressure resulting in an immediate increase in tempo of the drum corp in my head. I'm just waiting for the two cups of coffee to increase the size of my brain veins and hopefully in concert with that Advil, the magic will be wrought, bringing peace by firing said snare drums. Unfortunately, I have a sneaking suspicion that this is one of those headaches that will only be satisfied by my sacrifice of complete sensory deprivation via a night of sleep. Dang it!

I don't really have anything important to say, just wanted to stick my head out and holler, "Hey there!" I dream that one day I'll be this disciplined, enlightened blogger with a huge following, but then I remember that blogging isn't my hobby, it's just something I do. I've recently realized that to be great at something you really need to dedicate a significant portion of your free time to it. (I know, seems obvious. But I find that most things I don't actively think about, when I actually take the time to apply thought, I'm surprised by what pops out. For instance, my dad used to say "'Tough titty,' said the kitty when the milk went dry." instead of saying "Tough luck, buddy." I always knew it meant "That's just too bad" but I had heard it so much I never really thought about the exact words he used. When I was in college, yes college!, I actually thought about that little saying and realized that poor little kitten's mommy had a hardened up teat. I was flabbergasted! And of course my dad laughed his head off when I told him "I got it." But that's my point. I could have figured it out years ago, but I never actively applied thought. I just accepted it and moved on. I hope you understand now because I'm not going to explain it anymore for this might be my record for a parenthesized explanation.)

I am not a monogamous hobbier. There are too many fish in the sea, as it were. I barely have time for crocheting, bike riding, garden planning (I'm hoping to move into the execution phase of the plans any day now. Yep, any day), video gaming, movie watching, laborious recipe cooking, baking, internet puttering, reading. And I haven't even tried all the things I'm interested in yet. There's still belly-dancing, knitting, cheese-making, soap-making, sailing,  motorcycle camping...the list keeps growing the longer I'm alive. And so I need to resign myself to the fact that I am, in reality, a gopher blogger. I pop up every once in a while and then go back to the other stuff I'm filling my life with.

It would be awesome to be one of those obsessive single-activity people, but alas! not me.

Okay, enough procrastinating. Back to my novel...

PS - I finally got to watch Tim Burton's Alice in Wonderland...Loved it! The absolute randomness of Lewis Carroll married to the crazy, albeit oftentimes a little too dark for me, imagination of Burton worked perfectly.

31 October 2010

geeks and dogs, just another day...

My husband and I stayed up last night making jokes about how popular it is to use Schrodinger's Cat thought experiment in movies and tv and how incorrectly they use it. Then I pointed out how I couldn't imagine very many other couples extracting this much pleasure from a quantum mechanics explanation misapplied. After a brief discussion of how completely geeky we are, we then lamented on how geeks are actually misrepresented as nerds and the distinctions between the two. It was at this point that I realized how perfect we are for each other and went to sleep rather contented.

Chewy has grown since this picture, but it's so cute...
Oh! I almost forgot! We have a dog now! Her name is Chewbacca and she's perfect. I've been wanting a dog and she just fell right into our laps. She was my parents' but we dog-sitted (dog-sat?) her quite a bit and my parents saw how well she fit into our family, how the kids loved her, how she loved our huge yard and how much I appreciated having her in the house when my hubsters was gone. They said if we wanted her they would give her to us. Of course we couldn't say no. Did I mention she's perfect?

1667 words every day?!

NaNoWriMo starts tomorrow.

I'm a little nervous only because I'm afraid of failing and I HATE when I tell people I'm going to do something and I don't.

I guess I should stop being a ninny and just do it. *big, deep breath* Okay then.

50,000 words...your butt is mine.

28 October 2010

♪♫ you're so vaaaaaaaaain...you probably think this post is about you, don't you? ♫♪

Vanity's been on my mind as of late.

My husband is the most unvain person imaginable. I strive to attain his level of mastery, though I fear it is just something you are, not something you become. He doesn't care about what others think about him because it never even crosses his mind that they would. It's a non-issue for him. I don't know how he does it, but it's enviable.
Pablo Picasso - Girl in front of mirror

Not so with me. I am so concerned about not concerning myself with what others think that I base some of my decisions solely on what "everyone else" is not doing. When I was little I would change my order if anyone at our table ordered the same thing I was wanting. I loved Jeep Wranglers until everyone else did. In church, if someone says, "Let's all lift our hands," I won't. I can't.

But isn't that still vanity? alterno-vanity? or maybe anti-vanity? Whichever it is, it is still basing my decision on what someone else thinks. And I'm not sure that's any better.

When I was in high school  I revolted at the idea of people dying their hair to hide the gray. I thought the practice deceitful and the people who did it insecure. (I know, harsh, but when we're teenagers, don't we know everything and call it like it is?) Well, a couple years ago I died my hair a really dark brown (my favorite hair color, while I was blessed with dirty-dishwater blonde). When I grew tired of the constant re-coloring every few weeks, I started using lighter and lighter colors until I returned to my natural color. When the roots grew out, I noticed a substantial percentage of gray hairs. (I have a great set of early-onset-graying genes.)

I wrote "hair dye" on my grocery list and then suddenly realized that this was a moment. (You know, those times when something monumental reveals itself, and your decision carries with it something more substantial than usual.) Up until now, my hair dying was done only to gradually grow out the dark brown dye. If I bought this next box of Nice-n-Easy, its sole purpose would be gray coverage. I would turn into one of those people I swore I would never become.

All this to say that I've decided to not dye my hair. Part of it is sticking to my younger-self's guns. I really think, that while severe, she understood a truth that I still aspire to. I'm also really adverse to what society has become and though allowing myself to naturally gray will do nothing to fight that monster, it will keep myself from joining that massive Me-Focused Whole.

But at the very bottom of it is the vanity thing. Since most people cover up the evidence of their age, everyone looks younger than they are, thus conversely most will conclude that I am older than I am. Is that really so bad? My vain self screams, "Yes!"

And that's where I am right now. I don't know how else to fight it. When I glance in the rearview mirror and my eyes are drawn to the silver strands on my head reflecting the sunlight like miniature mirrors, I cringe. But then I immediately tell myself, "That's right, Vanity. Deal with it, 'cause it's only gonna get worse."

27 October 2010

when it rains...it doesn't?

It hasn't rained here (NW Houston) for ever. It seems like at least a month or two. I just happened upon this lovely white noise site called, appropriately enough, RainyMood.com. It loops a 30-minute rain sound effect. Extent of site. I find it most relaxing, especially when I'm missing the good ol' soggy Pacific Northwest.

08 October 2010

what if...

Sometimes I wish the Shire was real. Today is one of those times. (And the London Philharmonic would have to play "Concerning Hobbits" in the background. Maybe they could hide behind one of the hills.)

24 August 2010

calm in the chaos

Okay, I will never ever write the words "screw you, morning self" again. Last night, after I finished my blog post, my cocky self was rocked. I won't go into details but I was calling the bank at 3am and then my parents, bawling my head off at 330am. I think I might have been trying to sleep by 430am.

Today I found out that my husband might have to work in Ohio until December. This coupled with a very stressful middle-of-the-night and an almost complete lack of sleep tipped me seriously close to the edge. But God had my back.

Not only did my dear friend, Amy, spontaneously visit (without foreknowledge of my situation and bringing her beautiful children to distract mine and a kombucha starter to distract me!) but my beloved friend, Mel, called at nearly the same second I got the heart-rending husband-less-months-ahead news. One friend to calm me, one to keep me distracted and then another darling friend, Beth, wanted to make sure I was okay through the medium of Facebook (and although we're great friends, we've both been rather quiet these last few months with various life situations which makes the "reach out and touch" moment that more weighty). Three vehicles to deliver God's love and assurance that I wasn't alone. I didn't contact even one of them to let them know I was so distraught. How amazing is that? And that's not counting my husband's texts and my mom's calls.

I don't believe in coincidence. I believe I'm loved.

...and the one the LORD loves rests between his shoulders. Deut 33:12

taking charge

I could have been sensible and wise. I could have went to bed three and a half hours ago, at a decent time. But I didn't. Instead I started at 10pm and watched all four episodes of the mini-series The Buccaneers. My morning self will hate me, that's for certain. But if I did everything to please her my life would be blah-dom. So tonight I said "screw you, morning self" and did what I pleased. Sometimes you've just got to put your morning self in her place.

(I know her well, though. She won't take this lying down. Tomorrow there'll be some changes, that's for sure.)

20 August 2010


My husband has been traveling a lot. Tomorrow is the 5th week and next week is the last of his commuting to Manhattan on Monday and then back Friday night. I'm tired and just realized in the last few days that I'm lapsing into survival mode. I don't want to cook. I don't want to clean. I don't want to blog or do anything that uses my brain. I don't want to exercise. I don't want to make my kids do their school. I just want to escape through novels, movies, or mind-numbing internet time wasting. (i.e.- My daughter is grounded from the computer for the week and in order for her to get this certain pig for logging on to Happy Pets 14 days in a row I'm having to do it for her. And I'm doing it! Sometimes even twice a day I will feed, clean and play with her little virtual animals. How depraved is that?)

I know I have only a short time left but it's always the last bit that's the hardest. When it gets like this my auto response is to clear my schedule and quit all commitments. I don't want anything going on that I have to do. The idea of having to get all five of my kids ready for something and be somewhere by a certain time overwhelms me.

I'm at my parents' house in San Antonio right now. It's over 100 every day and I have no a/c in my car. (long story) In order to get back tomorrow without getting sick from the heat, I have to leave by no later than eight am. Eight AM!  It would be best if I could leave by 6 or 7 but that's pertneer impossible. Eight is even pushing the reality barrier.

But I've got to. My favoritist person, my best friend, the absolute love of my life is coming home tomorrow night and I must see him. There is no option. It would break my heart to miss a second of his weekend time home. So it's tomorrow morning, eight o'clock. 8:00am even though everything in me revolts at the thought of waking up earlier, getting the kids around and packing up the car to leave in time.

I'm realizing that this has just  been a one of those therapeutic, verbal puking sessions. I shouldn't post it. Especially if I want to maintain the facade that most bloggers keep: My life is peachy keen and even the bad things are funny. Ha, ha ha!

But to keep this honest I will hit the "PUBLISH POST" button. This is me, folks. And right now ain't so hot.

15 June 2010

goodbye, sweet death machine

We're selling our beloved Honda CBR, the bike I learned to ride on.

Some guy's picking her up tomorrow. I'm so sad. Her beautiful red body always made my pink Doc Martens pop.

What's worse is that I got to know her intimately tonight. My hubsters cleaned out her carburetor, changed her spark plugs and fuel filter and I helped him put her back together. I may not know the names of all the tubes and parts or even what they do specifically, but I think now I could put her back together starting with the carburetor.*sniff, sniff*

And then when she roared to life...it broke my heart. I just wanted to take out her to the interstate and open her up. Let her do her thing...and try not to kill myself.

That low rumble of idle...the high whine of speed...I'll miss you, Zinger.

husbandly advice

"I never hold back on sneezes, Tricia...it could kill you." - Douglas Potter

25 May 2010

Texas: an Oregonian's view

In September 2008, I left my home state of Oregon for SE Texas. Since then, I've noticed a few differences between these states. Here are the biggest ones (Their order is based on when they popped from my brain to the keyboard.):

1. Where once I saw Priuses Prii Prius cars and Subaru Outbacks, now the streets runneth over with Hummers, motorcycles (without helmets!) and Corvettes, with nary a hippie car to be seen. (Seriously, I haven't seen one Outback since moving here. Not true for the steakhouse though.)

2. Instead of your choice between 6 Starbucks, 8 hip little local chains, 11 stand-alone drive-thru shacks, and 4 independent fair trade shops with organic beans roasted in the back in a recycled barrel, my coffee choices are reduced to McCafe, the one Starbucks in town or the one independent coffee shop that will probably be going out of business soon because everyone would rather have a Sonic cherry-limeade anyway.

3. The variety that is missing in coffee is made up for in doughnuts. While College Town, Oregon could support only one doughnut shop (In ten years I witnessed the failure of three separate ventures, one right after the other, and recently the sole survivor just threw in the towel.) Our Small Houston Suburb has six and they are all fiscally sound.

4. Texans are apparently very self-conscious about their nails. I did a search on my NavCenter in my car and in a 1/2 mile radius there were 15 nail salons, not including full-service hair salons. These were strictly nail places. I honestly can not remember one salon solely for nails in Oregon. Every strip mall, no matter the size, has a donut shop and a nail salon. Okay, that's not exactly accurate, but it's surprising how many of both there are.

5. If you find a sidewalk you are one lucky critter. Most of the small, old downtowns have them and a few subdivisions, but in general, the few people you see walking are in the grass on the shoulder. The reason I'm given: It's hot. Come on people! It's too hot for three, maybe four months of the year. The rest of the time it is perfecto! For every vehicle road, Oregon has about four other ways to arrive there under your own power and without causing increased carbon emissions. And all that with only about three months of dry weather per year. This is probably the main difference between the two places that really bothers me.

6. Feelings about children - In Oregon, children are a way to ensure that someone carries on your ideals for planet-tending. You really only need one for that and it can still be a positive experience if you branch out and have two. But that's the limit. Anymore than that and you are condemning our sweet Mother Earth to an early grave. And apparently it's best to roll your eyes or glance disapprovingly at anyone who doesn't conform to your ideal in the hopes that this will alert them to their error and keep them from repeating it. In Texas, on the other hand, many people actually think of children as a blessing, something to cherish for their own sake, even in large numbers, and they appear to admire a mother who can sanely care for them all.

7. Texas is flat. Really flat. Not Kansas-flat, but compared to Oregon...flat. They have a "Hill Country," but that is, shall we say, a bit of an exaggeration.

8. In Texas, everything stings, bites or irritates. Fire ants, coral snakes, nettles, gigantic red wasps, scorpions you name it. Oregon has a lot of these things but they are the benign versions. I used to get irritated with sugar ants because they would make a trail along the baseboard of my wall. Now I have to deal with mounds of fire ants that, once disturbed, form an attack wave thousands strong. It's like they took the slightly annoying innocent bugs of the Northwest and dosed them with Venom's symbiote goo. Now they are bigger and stronger with evil intent.

9. They really do say "y'all" here. A lot. But they most assuredly do not tell me to "come back now, y'hear." I purposely say "you guys" (that's my independent streak (read: stubborn) coming through) but y'all is a mighty useful phrase and I know that my y'all-less days are numbered.

10. The sun shines most every day. I was born on the Oregon coast, moved to the Willamette Valley for college and then settled down to raise my family there. I know rain and I know overcast. Intimately. I mean, I got a degree in atmospheric science. Gloomy, gray months just meant snuggly cups of tea and lots of good books. And if I wanted to get out, I'd just understand that I'd be wet. That was life. Then I moved to a land where, on average, there are three more months of sunny skies. It's only taken a year and a half and now I'm accustomed to sunshine. We recently returned to Oregon for a few weeks and the dreariness really got me down. What!? Only 18 months to undo thirty-one years of acclimation?! Ridiculous but true.

There you have it. Our Small Houston Suburb vs Oregon College Town. I miss certain parts of Oregon, but to be honest, I love it here. (The half-the-price-of-Oregon real estate doesn't hurt.) And now our family gets to explore a whole other side of the country. It's awesome. We've met real Cajuns and have seen the sun set parallel with the beach. We've tasted fried pickles and can spot a fire ant nest from across the yard. What else is in store? I'll keep y'all posted... (I know, that was cheesy wasn't it?)