Friday, June 26, 2009

Now This Is What I Call A Vacation

This is Mirror Lake

Not hard to figure how it got it's name.

As our family drove the scenic byway 10,000 feet up through the Wasatch-Cache National Forest, we marveled at the majestic evergreens and watched in amazement as our car's outside temperature gauge dropped from 80 degrees to 76 to 74 and down to a final 62 degrees upon reaching our destination. 

We saw remnants of winter clinging to life

As summer pushed it's way in

 We watched as city boy met country boy
and learned about trout fishing

Watching the life go out of these innocents was a little hard for this city girl to take but since I'm not a vegetarian, I was not one to judge.  (The family who caught these were planning on eating them for dinner, fyi.)

When we got home, I spent two hours working on my novel.

It was a good day.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Mountains and Lakes and Word Counts...Oh My

To those of you who may be wondering,
NO, I haven't stuck to the NaNoWriMo schedule.
But don't be disappointed IN me or FOR me because I have been writing away.
I've been outlining, and thinking, and dreaming, and, on top of that, I've written over 3500 words.

I quickly discovered that writing a novel without an outline, no matter how spontaneous and freeing and full of possibilities, is not my style.  So I'm keeping my outlines to the bare minimum to allow for surprises and making up the rest as I go along.  I'm pretty much a trailblazer like that.  I guess I could call it FraNoWrihoweverlongitfreakingtakes.

Hopefully, I'll have a rough draft sometime before the plans for my daughter's Bat Mitzvah kick into high gear at the end of summer.  But, truly,  I'm just happy to be writing.  I still need you guys to kick my ass encourage me because my husband is too scared to try I'm not sure how long this productivity is going to last.

But for now, I'm on family vaca in Utah and it is bea-u-ti-ful.  The rain stopped for our arrival and the temps rose.  In only a few days we have biked, hiked, visited large lakes and small towns, and sunbathed by a pool.

This is the view on our morning walk with the dogs.

I need the new iPhone.  I hear it has a better camera.  This one STINKS.
And this is the Jordanelle Reservoir just outside of Park City.  

Tomorrow is predicted to be another beautiful day.  A hike in the Wasatch mountains and some WRITING is in the plan.

I like it here in Park City.  It's even more beautiful in summer.  The only thing not to love is the Utah "5 oz" pour.  Can you spell g-i-p? 

And, well, from their t-shirts, I can tell they just get me here...


Who told them I was coming?

Monday, June 22, 2009

Give Me The Grateful Life - Monday

Summer is here.  What's not to be grateful for, right?
  • I am grateful for successfully motivating myself to write. It has been empowering (so far).
  • I am grateful for gorgeous green mountains against blue, non-polluted skies.
  • I am grateful that my kids are relaxed and stress-free.
  • I am grateful for watching them play and laugh in the pouring rain.
  • I am grateful for Jamie Lee Curtis.
That last one is curious, I know.  But hear me out.
I've always loved Jamie Lee Curtis.
Not for her role in the Activia commercials, not for her movie roles, but for her contributions as a writer.

She has published some amazing children's books, written for and is currently a contributor at HuffPost. For someone who grew up in Hollywood, with celebrity parents, Jamie Lee Curtis has a strong sense of right and wrong. Her feet are firmly planted into the ground. She is sensitive, attentive, and eager to share her parenting mistakes and insights with the rest of us.  I always enjoy, and learn, from her pieces.

I came across her most recent essay today and thought it was a "must share".   For those of us who didn't have the benefit of seeing what she did first hand, we can take her experience and find a way to make it our own.

Here is the link to her essay, Pay Attention,  in today's Huffington Post (for which I am grateful).

What are you grateful for this week?

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

My Latest Wacky Attempt At Calling Myself A Writer: NaNoWriMo

This is a short post. 
It has to be.
Wanna know why?

'Cause I've up and started my novel.
Yes, I said novel.
Not a great American.
Just a novel.

Oh, and I'm writing it in 30 days.
Yes, I said 30 days.

'Cause I'm an idiot that way.
'Cause otherwise I'll spend another 15 years writing nothing.

It's called NaNoWriMo.  NAtional NOvel WRIting MOnth.
For everyone else it's in November.
Crazy people, like me, get together online and spend the month of November killing themselves. 
They lose touch with their families, forget to shower, drink too much coffee, eat too much junk, chew their nails to the quick, pull out their hair. 
But they do it together.
And at the end of the nightmare they are rewarded with a first draft, albeit, most likely an awful one, of their novel.

The timing makes sense.
The weather is miserable in November. 
The kids are in school.
It's before all the holidays.
But I rarely do things that make sense.
And I can't wait that long.


I'm doing it this summer.
Starting today in fact.
While living in sunny California.
Within walking distance of the beach.
During the time we take our family vacation.
And while my kids are going to be home ALL THE TIME.

Make sense?
Not to me either
But... WTF

So wish me luck.
Don't mind my absences.
And please feel free to check up on me to make sure I'm not rocking back and forth and babbling incoherently and my ludicrous endeavor.

Really, I'm going to need someone to kick my ass encouragement.

So, here goes.
You heard it here first.
Now I have to do it.

Wait.  Is that a dust bunny under the bed?

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Cleaning House In The Digital Age

Every morning I wake up and one of the first things I do, sometimes even before hitting the bathroom, is turn on the computer.  It's the modern-day equivalent of running to the mailbox.

I love to watch the screen fill up with emails.  The quiet morning air abuzz with possibilities: friends or colleagues answering a question I posed, sharing a joke, making a date, or re-discovering me, after many years, on Facebook.

Lately, though, the emails that fill my inbox are from strangers.   Nigerian bankers, people with funny sounding names wanting "to be my friend", Harry and David, West Elm, Pottery Barn, anyone and everyone I've ever had the brief pleasure of sharing my credit card with, no matter how casual and brief the interlude.  I don't know these people, I don't want to know these people, and yet they are here, knocking on my internet door before I've brushed my teeth or drank my morning tea.

Junk email is nothing new but since the recession I've noticed a huge increase in volume.  Stores introduce new sales, and even newer sales, HOURLY.  Scam artists demand my attention and my money DAILY.  On-line media promoters and marketers solicit me WEEKLY.    It's so desperate, so distracting, it's the internet equivalent of drunk-dialing.

I have squandered so much of my valuable energy and time deleting this vast wasteland of correspondence from my computer and then doing it all over again on my iPhone that today, I decided to put an end to the nonsense.  I decided to take control.

I unsubscribed to ALL the merchants.
I marked as junk ALL the people who claim I'm about to become a millionaire.
I wrote to ALL the promoters and said thanks but no thanks.

I took my life back.
And I will keep taking my life back until all the unwanted strangers are gone and I can open up my email in the morning and SMILE once again.

Take that internet.
Don't mess with a busy mom.

*photo courtesy of google images

Monday, June 8, 2009

Give Me The Grateful Life - Monday

It's June Gloom here on Los Angeles' westside.  I'm wrapped in a sweater, gazing at grey skies, waiting for the first rain drop to fall.  This is the one time of the year where it is NOT better to live by the beach.  While the rest of you thaw in the heat of the new summer sun, we ocean neighbors chatter our teeth, socked in by cool, damp, blankets of fog until late afternoon. 

We may get to neener, neener the rest of the year, but in May and June, you have it all over us. 

You may gloat now.

But it's Monday, so enough complaining, let's get to the gratitude.

  • I am grateful that my son and his friends had a fantastic time at his birthday party.
  • I am grateful that no bones or furniture were harmed during the production of said birthday party.
  • I am grateful that both of my kids are occupied until 5pm today. 

Yes, the boy with the wild expression and the equally wild hair... my son.

What are you grateful for today?

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

My Intellectual Fantasy - What Goes Around Comes Around for This Shallow B*tch

I don't go out a lot.  Not (so much) because I don't get asked... but because there's little I'd rather do than cozy up in my pajamas and read or watch tv.

But last night, Ira Glass, host and narrator of This American Life, came to town and I wanted to see him.  I have always been a fan of good storytelling and T.A.L. is some of the best storytelling around.

When I was young, I had my share of nerd crushes but I never allowed myself to date any of them.  No.  My dates were not pale-skinned and weak-sighted, buried in books and hiding behind cloudy, prescription lenses.  No.  My dates were smart, athletic, they knew how to PARTY and they were CUTE.  Always, they were cute.

Shallow.  I know.  I was young.  Insecure. 

Give me a break.

But now, in my 40's, I have shed my superficial, worried-about-what-others-will-think-of-me cloak and find myself intrigued more by brains and less by looks.  I find myself regretting the missed mind-expanding opportunities of my youth.  I find myself with a crush on Ira Glass. 

Why not? 

(Besides the fact that I'm happily married.)

I love his smooth voice, his sharp wit, his brawny confidence.  He even dresses...alright.  I can get past the coke-bottle lenses in anachronistic frames, the non-movie star features, the way he reminds me of boys who sat in the back of my classroom picking their noses. 

But, as life often finds ironic ways to make it's point,  my maturity has come too late.  The current object of my affection could not care less about my admiration.

To Ira, I was just another notch on his fan belt. 

My crush crushed me.

Karma is a bitch. 

(This crappy photo is not my fault. I credit my dear friend, Sarah, who is my intellectual superior,  an incredibly talented yogi, a many time black belt in karate, a fencing champion... but apparently not too great with the iPhone cam.)    ;)

Monday, June 1, 2009

Give Me The Grateful Life - Monday

Here we are again, another week another budget cut reason to be grateful. 

  • I am grateful that Peanut is back to her energetic self and that all of her blood tests came back negative.
  • I am grateful that summer is near because I am as sick of doing homework as my kids are.
  • I am grateful that my son's turning 9 this week and hoping that I survive his first sleepover party.
  • I am grateful for summer fruits, late sunsets, and chardonnay (sometimes I skip the merlot).
  • I am grateful for being part of a public school where the parents make things happen even when the people who are supposed to (Schwarzenegger, LAUSD and UTLA) DON'T.

What are you grateful for this week?

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