Month: December 2011 (page 1 of 2)

Remember the Smart Girl?

I used to be that girl. The smart one. The not-dumb one. Right up to this morning, I think. Then I was looking over (stalking) Facebook on my phone. Because why not? And I saw this link. For Costco cards. (I know. You’re already shaking your head. As you should be.) and this link was connected to other smart people that I know. So I clicked over. It said that I should say something like, “Thanks, Costco” or whatever. So I typed in “I sure hope this isn’t an elaborate spamming hoax” and now my mobile Facebook won’t work.

Um.

But at least I did’t fill out all the forms and information and give the scammers Anything personal. At all. Just my snarky comment. And possibly my FB link. Oh brother. Back when I was smart? Yeah, those were the days.

That Brilliant Dreamer I Married

Some people think and some people plan and some people execute. And you can get a lot of things done that way. Like putting gas in the car or crossing off a list of Things to Do.

But somehow, when the thing you want to accomplish is Bigger than You, is full of life and emotion, then you have to be a Dreamer.

My Husband is one of those. A Dreamer of Epic Proportions. And I want to tell you about his latest dream. He has a beautiful, inspiring, fill-your-heart and flex-your-muscles kind of story to tell. And he is really, really good at telling these kinds of stories. He’s good at finding and writing them. He’s great at putting together a production team to execute them. He has a gift, is what I’m telling you. And with the help of KickStarter, he has a chance to tell THIS truly amazing story.

It’s not really a football story, even though it is. It’s not really a special-needs story, even though it is. It’s really, really a Stick-To-It story. A Never-Say-Never story. A You-Can-Do-This story. And it’s a great one. And he’s using this cool program to get it off the ground, turning it into a community effort. And it’s Bowl Season, so the timing is excellent, right? So if you want to, if you feel like it, stop over and pledge a little something. [1]

[1] KickStarter is cool. They’ll ask for your credit card, but nothing gets charged until the whole project funds, so… you know. And also? Thanks for listening.

Christmas Cheer and Stuff

We’re in it deep here, friends. The Christmas cheer, I mean. An overload of presents, treats, menu plans, and giddiness. Yesterday was the Kids’ first day off school, and we spent it all together. Library, grocery store, bank [1], baking, eating dinner, Sleepless in Seattle, Chex mix… it doesn’t get a whole lot better than having them all want to be together, all day.

I would like to announce that for what may be the first time ever, I didn’t read the Kids’ gift books before wrapping them this year. Can I say? I’m excited for Sunday. And the following week. A steady diet of cold cereal meals and new books. Sounds perfect.

Decided to spend writing time this morning as a little devotional. I wrote my testimony. Committed it to paper. I don’t do that very often. Or maybe ever. But it felt good to do. And right, for the season and such. It’s a gift to have one, and a gift to share it.

Should I stop telling you how much I like kids? Mine, in particular? Because I maybe tell you a whole lot. But they are a whole lot awesome. All of them. Kid 1 is awesome. And Kid 2 is awesome. And Kid 3 is awesome. Also Kid 4 is awesome. See what I’m getting at? A whole lot of awesome.

And last night I read them David Sedaris’s “Six to Eight Black Men” as a little bit of Christmas cheer. I have managed difficult things in the past, like unmedicated childbirth and stuff, but I have to say, reading that out loud without laughing is a feat I am seriously proud of.

Speaking of feats. And feet.

(Look. I want. Don’t they make your feet happy? Or make you want some orange sherbet? Or something? I don’t know. But I want.)

In an effort to make the Christmas cheer last and last (and not to have a psychotic episode) I have limited my Christmas Music Intake to what happens when I’m in a store playing canned Johnny Mathis and Brenda Lee. And this is good. Because as you may recall, I have a limit to the Cheesy Songs of the Season. But we need to listen to SOMETHING in the house when we’re doing many dishes and making bread and apple pie bars and whatever. So we’ve discovered Pandora’s “PG Comedy Radio.” And it has saved me. In particular, I can put a load or three of dry, clean laundry in front of my kids as they sit on the floor laughing at Jim Gaffigan, Jeff Foxworthy, Brian Regan and BILL COSBY (“Noah, how long can you tread water?”) and they will fold it all, almost without noticing. Oh, thank you, Pandora. (Also, no commercials yet. Hours of comedy. Not a single commercial. Yet.) I know there are cool Pandora Christmas stations, but very few of the songs do it for me. (Except Barenaked Ladies and Sarah MacLaughlin’s “God Rest Ye…” and Katie Melua’s “Have Yourself A Merry…” and any of the awesome Christmas hymns that we sing around pianos or on porches.)

In the spirit of full disclosure, I should tell you this: Don’t hate me, please, if I am the only woman in the world who isn’t in love with Michael Buble. I can stand up and say it. I’m a Sinatra girl. Always have been. And I don’t know if I always will be, but I’d bet on it. I know it’s unfashionable to Not Adore MB, but I just don’t. I can do a song at a time. Then I need some hours of something else. But Kid 1, knowing this about me, made me listen to MB’s “Santa Baby” and she laughed  with me until our guts ached. Um, really? Mike, we should talk. Someone should have staged an intervention with that guy before the album was complete. Doesn’t he have an agent? Or an editor?

Attention future agent and/or editor: Please. Let me not take such a step. Thank you.

Hey, friends, I hope you have a Christmas full of cheer. I hope the food is good. I hope the family is near. If you’re still in That Stage, I hope batteries are included. I hope peace and fulfillment fill up all the corners. Merry Christmas.

XO,
B

[1] I don’t believe in credit cards. So I transfer all our savings. Somehow that should make some financial sense. Or something.

Pagan Day, Again

This is the post from one year ago today:

We’re not actually pagans at our house.

(Surprised?)

In fact, we think ourselves rather committed to all things Godly. But today, on this Winter Solstice, we have a little bit of a heathen celebration. Every year. Because, you know, this is an important day. It’s the shortest day of the year. Meaning (by logical extension – see if you can follow me) that tomorrow will be a little bit longer than today. There will be more theoretical sun time (even if it keeps snowing until our house is buried*). And days will continue to stretch a little longer every single day until Spring comes, and beyond.

And that feels good. Spring, I mean. And also longer days.

When I was in college, I took an American Folklore class, which was a perfect combination of cool and ridiculous. One day, our teacher (he was a grad student who always needed a haircut, and I regularly had to resist the urge to fix his tie) invited in a pair of witches to guest lecture.

They were weird, I’m not going to lie to you.

They explained Wicca business, and it was strange and earthy and slightly unwashed. But then they said this. “When we see the first crocus of Spring, we kneel down and say a prayer to Mother Earth, thanking her for the world’s rebirth.”

And I got simultaneous chills and shivers. Like, “Yes! I do that, too!” and also, “Wow. That is truly strange.” CLARIFICATION: I don’t pray to Mother Earth. If you do, right on. I’m partial to praying to God, myself, but I respect your right to go your own way. But I do say a little prayer of thanks when I see shoots and blooms popping up through the muddy springtime ground. I get wet knees and possibly a smudge of mud on my nose from exploring REALLY closely.

And it’s coming. Closer every day, starting today.

So we’ll celebrate with our tomato-basil soup and our homemade bread, and our shoveling and our slipping around. We’ll enjoy this last darkest day, and we’ll look forward to what is to come — today, this weekend, and several months in the future.

But if we go without showering for more than 24 hours, please send help.

*8.5 inches between last night and 6:0 a.m.

It’s a lot like that now, except that we haven’t had any real snow yet. I know, weird. But it’s good and cold. (That’s just a phrase. There’s not that much good about single digit temperatures when you measure in Fahrenheit. But we did wake this morning knowing that it all gets a little brighter from this day on. And that feels pretty awesome to me.) Happy winter. For a minute.

Well, I Never.

(Did I sound like my Grandma to you? Just checking.)

I’ve never had braces. My teeth are straightish on their own.

I’ve never been to Europe, yet somehow The Continent keeps running without me.

I’ve never taken voice lessons.

I’ve never ruined an entire load of white laundry by including a red sock or towel.

I’ve never eaten a Big Mac.

I’ve never enjoyed dusting.

I’ve never driven a motorcycle.

I’ve never operated a snowblower.

I’ve never burnt meat in a microwave.

I’ve never watched the Literal Video of “Total Eclipse of the Heart” without wetting myself. (Not actually wetting myself. Just nearly so.)

What have you never done?

Happy Birthday, little boy-child

Okay. so you’re not so little.

Eight. Really?

Oh, yes. Really.

And I never want you to forget that I tried to surprise you with the Angry Birds cupcakes, but you saw the file hidden on the computer, and you gasped and you grinned and you hollered, “ILoveYouMommyILoveYouMommyILoveYouMommy” just like on Kid History.

(I did. I made them. Following this woman’s seriously adorable advice. )

Little boy, you bring a huge wad of joy to our house. We all adore you to the maximum allowable limit, and just a little bit beyond. You make us laugh when you say things like “It’s a Trifle Trifecta” as you put away the dishes. We get giddy when you can spell words for your weekly test that still stump the rest of us (government? privilege? independent? in the second grade?) We love to see you being in the middle of the kid-ish clump because everyone wants to be near you BECAUSE YOU’RE SO NICE.

You completed our family, and we couldn’t ask for more. Really, we couldn’t. We’re not allowed to. And we wouldn’t. Because we love you so.

Wow. Wow. Wow.

Remember how I love the fact that I’m a stay-home kind of Mom? And that I have all manner of time to do whatever I feel like doing, such as baking things, and writing things, and planning things, and wrapping things, and writing some more things, and reading things, and napping and stuff? Remember?

I feel like I’m falling behind a little right now.

I’ve been doing a lot of subbing. I think it becomes 8 or 9 days in a row by the time I’m done. All for the same teacher, who is a good friend and an absolute CYCLONE. She is remarkable in her ability to retain seven thousand pieces of information in her head at any one time. (I do not, in any way, share this ability.) She is also amazing in her manner of coaching young actors. (Likewise, I share very, very little of this ability. I’m pretty good at compliments, though.) Also she just might assume that I’m good at / proficient / capable of comprehending a whole lot of stuff that is, in fact, a mystery to me. But I’m teaching Tale of Two Cities to the cutest AP English class, and when I come right out and ask them, “Who hates this book after the introductory first 6 chapters?” they actually tell me, and I tell them to hold on, because although Mr. Dickens isn’t going to get any less wordy, he is going to get a whole lot more character-driven in the very near future. And then, when I ask, “Who hasn’t been bothered to read this yet?” and they actually admit it, I tell them to get on it, because there’s something coming up that they really DO NOT want to miss. And then we read about Sydney and I sniffle a little in preparation for that which is to come. Oh, Sydney.

*sniffle*

Also, I play. As in, Drama. Teaching drama is a riot of Biblical proportions. Dogs and cats living together, I’m telling you. Oh, so fun. So, so fun. There are some clever and lovely kids I’m getting a chance to know, and I really do like this gig.

And I’m seriously grateful to have it.

Meanwhile, laundry? No. Reading any of the several library books on the nightstand? No. Making delicious, well-thought-out meals? Sorry. Planning / prepping / wrapping gifts (Christmas ones or Kid 4 birthday ones)? Oh. Not so much. Critiquing manuscripts? Don’t make me laugh. And just trust me on this: You do not want to take a close look at my kitchen floor.

Here’s how much I’m not doing: I have a manuscript (possibly finished [for this round]) and a finished query letter. How many agents have I sent it to? Zero. I decided that I need to give this my whole brain, and that means it will happen sometime after the NYC Publishing Industry Month-Long Shutdown.

WHAT? Becca, you ask. What are you thinking?

Well, I answer, I want it to be just right.

How much time do you really think it takes to fire off a bunch of emails? you want to know.

See, I reply, there’s more to it. I need to personalize each letter to each agent. I need to double check submission guidelines and statuses. (Also, I should find out if Statuses is a plural, or if there’s some sort of Latin -i ending. But not right now.) I need to send each agent what he or she wants, like the correct number of pages pasted into my cleverly written and totally not misspelled email. Also, I need to build in time to sweat and grow a few ulcers. Because, well, you know.

And I don’t have to be in a hurry right now. Lots of people do. It’s one of the downsides of having an actual contract. Deadlines. All my lines are currently alive, and I like them that way.

Carrying on. And trying to not forget to be awesome now and then. You, too, I hope.

(*Deep breath. Repeat.*)

Singing In

I’m not actually singing. But I am at a little Messiah Sing-in where Kid 2 is rocking the first violin. And I’m totally paying attention. I am. As much as I possibly can.

I was supposed to be singing, too — just in the choir, but I woke up grumpy this morning. So I bailed. Okay, not really. I mean, I did wake up kind of grumpy. And I did bail, but I also have a cold and didn’t fancy coughing and nose-blowing in front of dozens of people. Also I am singing in church tomorrow with Kids 1&2, so I can justify resting the voice. And try not to feel guilt about the six lonely altos up there on the stage.

Kids 1&2 both sing in high school choirs directed by the same little guy (remember Steve from Blues Clues? I’m pretty sure it’s the same person) and he had all the “women” in his choirs learn a three-part arrangement of The First Noel. So I got to learn the second soprano part to sing with the girls, which second soprano part I’m pretty sure is payment for sins past and future. And we will sing it tomorrow.

I’ll be sure to let you know if we were adorable.