Saturday, August 29, 2009

New Things

I'm so overwhelmed.

But I'm excited at the same time!

My problem is: I love new things. I love to try new things. There's that new love/new sex/new relationship kind of feeling when I try new things. Like, the building a garden, getting chickens, learning to knit, making strawberry jam for the first time and picking and freezing sour cherries and blueberries -- what an urban homesteading rush!

And homeschooling. That was new last year, so this year I'm adding a kid -- my daughter -- and curriculum to my son's unschooling routine. That's a new and different aspect to homeschooling for me.

And now it's a new puppy. I've wanted a second dog for a couple of years. For Kiya's sake -- I wanted her to have a friend to snuggle with when we weren't home. We didn't want a puppy; we were looking for an older dog, one already potty trained. And then we stopped looking for almost a year. But then Humphrey came along when he did and he just happened. Like life usually does.

The other new thing I'm juggling right now -- as I've mentioned before -- is my book proposal I'm writing. Or rather NOT writing. Right now I'm soaking in the bathtub.

I'm finding it difficult to get to the next stage of this proposal because this is the reading part and I don't want to read right now, I want to write! So I'm stagnating. Hmpf.

Best go and do some reading. I AM in the tub after all. What better place to read? Except for maybe in front of a fireplace, under a lap quilt, with pjs on. Mmm. I love winter for that very reason.


Thursday, August 27, 2009

Who I Am

Part of me wants to upload pictures of my house (each room) so you can see what the inside of my brain looks like right now.

But then I get too embarrassed.

But then I think: There are so totally other moms out there with revolting homes that never seem to get organized no matter how they try and might even feel better and less like a louse if they saw my wreck.

But then I think: No way, Jose. I'd alienate you all forever and maybe even the county would come and plaster my doorway with those condemned buildings signs and tapes.

So I won't upload pictures. Just use your imagination.

I've hit the puces again. My house is a new shade of the leader essay I wrote a while back.

On a home-schooling vein: I'm anxiously awaiting our Waldorf curriculum. Aubrey wants a curriculum to follow instead of being unschooled as Robert is. I am also buying a used copy of the 3rd grade curriculum for him -- in case I can sneak it in for him, or if he sees his sister doing something and wants to follow suit. Also, it just gives me an outline to work with. If he wants to do it, cool. If not, no biggie. I'm only out $17.

I registered them for classes on Tuesday. They got all the classes they sent me out to get.
I'm not sure how I'll fit the Waldorf rhythms into this but I'm gonna try!

Both Aubrey and Robert are taking a chess class (which counts as a math core class) and water safety once a week. In addition to that, they are each taking an additional p.e. class: Aubrey will be doing ballet and Robert, another swimming class, so he'll be swimming twice a week. Also, Aubrey is taking an American Girls history class and Robert is taking a computer art class.

So. We'll see what happens. I'll try and get more math in for Robert (since he likes it anyway) with the Waldorf math book I bought. (It's a combined grades 1-5 math book.)

I told Paul today that it felt like I had four full-time jobs. I love them all and don't want to quit any of them, but that that's why the house looks like this. ;)

Job 1 is, of course, homemaker. I could totally have the house immaculate and healthy meals around all the time if that's all I ever worked on.

Job 2 is a homeschooling parent. I'm driving the kids all over for classes four times a week, in addition to curriculum. But I so want to do this forever. It is the right thing for my kids.

Job 3 is a writer. I'm writing and researching my proposal for my non-fiction book Grief Shadows: Young, Pregnant and Widowed. Four agents have requested that I send them either pages or a proposal, so I TOTALLY want to get on that and not let this AWESOME opportunity pass me buy. This is my dream job and a project I've had on my mind almost since Rob died. I want our story told and I want it to inspire other widows.

Job 4 is a homesteader (gardening, keeping animals, canning and knitting and otherwise trying to live sustainably and self-sufficiently), which probably should go up with job 1 so that I can also add

JOB 5: feeding myself (with hot baths and romantic comedies and reading and art and dates with my husband and socializing with friends and one-on-one times with my kids) so that I can be a healthy, contributing member of my family -- one who is pleasant to be around.


How can I do all those jobs every day?

Because I can't quit any of them. They are all vastly important to me and make up who I am. And who I've always wanted to be. I can't change that, nor do I want to.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Chicken Coops and Clotheslines

I can't recall if I've shown you the new coop. The 2x4 is bracing the door because the door latch is too small and doesn't hold it closed. And it still needs a roof, obviously. Oregon rain comes a plenty in the nearby month(s) and we want to be ready for it.

The chickies still don't like using the ladder. We think maybe the slats are too far apart and if we nail on some more, they'd be more apt to use it. The rooster refuses to use it at all. I've been opening the door for him so he can flutter out. And I have to put him in at night.

Here are the dolls in their coop.

And this, FINALLY, is the clothesline we put up in the yard. I think the next step to our suburban homesteading will be rain barrels.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Fluffball the Manic Rooster is leaving in thirteen more days.
Poor dude.
He's so misunderstood.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Oh Bother

I walk in the front door, eager to see my children but don't see my mother-in-law's car out front. She's been watching them this weekend because I've been in Portland pitching my book to a handful of agents (who want the proposal!).

"Hello!" I call out. My housemate, Steve, comes around the corner from the kitchen. "Where are the kids?"

"I don't know," he says. "I think I heard them talking about pizza."

I can't decide if I'm disappointed they aren't home. A nice quiet house to reflect on the success at the conference and the No Shame skit I'm thinking up in my head? Or little ones running at me and hugging me and telling me how much they missed me. Hmm.

I bring in my things from the van and sort-of put them away, think about the music I listened to on the way home and the memories it evoked, check on the wee chickens and admire the work Steve has done on the chicken coop so far.

I call Paul and wildly hint about sex tonight and wonder now, since the children are still not home, what I should do with my free block of time.

Work on proposal?
Straighten bedroom?
Get something to eat?
Start watching a dvd -- knowing they'll be home ten minutes after I start it?
Clean off the kitchen table?

This might be why I can't seem to take advantage of small blocks of time during the day. I never can decide which of the pressing items to choose from and so do nothing out of panic and indecision.

Oh Bother.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

I'm Holding My Breath

I'm having a blast at the conference this weekend.

I've had four requests from agents and publishers to have me send my proposal/manuscript in!

Off to another day full of workshops.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Off to the Conference!

I'm packing up for the conference. Paul is at the pool with the kids and I just need to gather my paperwork, checkbook, laptop, etc for the drive up there. The clothes and stuff are already packed.

The kids slept over at a friend's house last night so that Paul and I could go out on a date before I left town. We saw Funny People and got home after 1a.m. It was a great movie. I'd really like to watch it again.

I'm trying to maintain my cool for the whole pitching my book at the conference thing. Part of me (ok most) feels totally unprepared for this. Paul has wisely framed it like this: I'm just going to the conference to learn how to pitch. That's it. I'm not pitching my book to an agent in hopes of selling it; I'm learning how to pitch to agents. These will all be practice runs.

But I can hope, right?

The deal is, it's just not really completed. I still need to add another hundred pages to make it a standard book length, and I'm still reorganizing the essays -- moving them from chronological to thematic format.

But enough of that, I'm going to have fun at this conference! I love conferences.

Now, let me go pack already! ;)

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Faeries, Elves, Chickens and Manuscripts

Well. I feel sheepish. (Baa.)

I signed up to do this Nablopomo for the month of August where you post something every day on your blog. Um. It's already August 4th (my mom's birthday, by the way) and it's the first day I've even remembered to post anything. Ai-yi-yi.

So a recap of stuff that happened since August 1st: I recuperated from 9 hours at Faerieworlds on the 31st of July.

I took the kids to the library and to Blockbuster and spent a huge amount of time typing up my manuscript and tweaking the format. Willamette Writers Conference is this weekend so I'm freaking about preparing for that.

August 2nd found us back at Faerieworlds

and by the time I got back home I was crumbly, hot and headachey. More work on manuscript in the evening.

August 3rd was yesterday and I took the kids to swimming lessons, went and picked up our raw milk from the farm, hit the library again and researched agents and publishing houses for the rest of the day.

My mom-in-law, Anna, came over, I played Banangrams with her and Robert and printed out a selection of the manuscript to take to our critique group.

Group was great. It's a strange mixture of inspiration, discouragement, and hope. My book is still very rough draft and the whole structure needs to be changed. It is written in chronological format right now, and it really needs to be organized thematically instead. I need to write another hundred pages or so, and there are other subjects that need to be addressed.

This all can't happen by Thursday, of course. So, mostly I'm working on the hook and my pitch. I also want to finish researching and spinning my pitch to specific agents and their houses.

Today, I visited with Anna in the morning, talked to her about the book's theme, took the kids swimming (lessons), sent Pebbles (one of our roosters) packing,

(Bless his fuzzy little heart; he started crowing yesterday and we can't have roosters in the city. Fluffball, the white chicken you can see a tiny corner of in the photo, is also a rooster. But we're pretty attached to him, so he's going to a friends' house on the 22nd.)

checked the mail, made lunch and started reading a book I'm dying to read but stopped myself after three pages because I simply can't justify reading right now.

Before I go to the conference I need to:

charge batteries
gather business cards, a briefcasey thing to hold the first fifty pages of my rough draft (3 or 4 copies -- I'm thinking insanely here, but it's fun) and my agent research
I need to go grocery shopping so Anna has food the kids will actually eat without giving her too much grief
journals and laptop
get my allergy shot, chiro appt and massage done
and continue to take kids to swimming lessons, have a SpiralScouts business meeting and a Firehawks Hearth meeting at the swimming pool on Wednesday night.

Making some yogurt before I go would be nice, too.


I think I'll go write now.