Becca Wilhite Blog

May 31, 2012

Dear Blog,

Filed under: Uncategorized — becca @ 7:37 am

I’m sorry I’ve been neglecting you, Blog. I know. There is no excuse for such behavior between friends. I know. There is no one I’d rather talk to (*wink to the humans out there*). I’m a big meanie, you’re absolutely right.

But, Blog, you know where I’ve been, don’t you? You know I sort of went back to high school, right? That I’ve spent the last 4 weeks there? Every day? Every single day? And that I’ve been working hard on this Fifth Gift revision? In stolen moments and on Saturdays and on that one holiday I can never remember the name of? And that I have to do the mom thing still? And that I love my husband very, very much and must go see The Avengers with him twice?

I know you’re suffering. I know you’re lonely. I know you’re patiently waiting here for a little attention, like a puppy or an unwatered plant. I know. I do.

So, you understand, don’t you? You get it, right? You can forgive me, can’t you? And have a little faith that someday I’ll be clever again? That I’ll write thoughty thoughts and witty wit?

This isn’t forever, Blog. It’s not a breakup. And believe me when I tell you: It’s not you. It’s me.

Love,
Becca

May 28, 2012

Breathing

Filed under: anxiety,Fifth Gift,writing process — becca @ 9:35 am

I’m gasping a little, here
Not drowning, exactly —
Just feeling the water slapping against my chin.

Working.Working.Workworkworking
And not much getting finished.
Sticky, life is.
(Also floors. And cupboards.)

Is the story any good anymore?
Hard to say.
Hurry hurry hurryhurryhurry
to Finish It Up.

Why?

So it can be done?
Or so it can be right?

Can the HURRY help the RIGHT?

Time to focus on the breathing.
To enjoy the cool of the slapping water.
To live the moments
That may not, surely Will Not
Happen again.

Moments.
That’s what I’m breathing for.
Moments.

May 22, 2012

Badger day

Filed under: anxiety — becca @ 4:46 pm

Sometimes the world seems big, out there past my (newly washed) windows.

There are days when I think the whole big thing is opened up wide and waiting for me to explore it. Waiting for my Kids to conquer it. Waiting for us to learn about it and see it through new eyes and compare it to the little piece of it we’ve known so well for so long. And there’s theme music and a laugh track, and possibly a great deal of awesome ready to happen.

And then there are other days when I look out at the big old world and think, “It’s full of badgers. And they want to bite my face.”

Today just might be a badger day.

May 16, 2012

Baggie Ice Cream

Filed under: food,school — becca @ 9:06 am

**UPDATED TO GIVE BETTER MEASUREMENTS** (We tried it like the teacher gave it to us, and we all had a sugar/vanilla buzz. Go easier on sugar and vanilla (like it says in the new and improved directions below), and we’ll all be happy.)

 

Today I’m teaching science — all week, actually. And today, we’re making ice cream in a bag. So I thought you might like to get in on this, since it’s a lovely way to freeze your fingers off.

In a quart-sized Ziploc bag (yes, I totally am brand-loyal on this one… you don’t want anything to split, I promise), pour in the following:

1 cup milk
1 cup heavy cream
1/2 to 3/4 cup sugar (1 cup was too much)
1/2 Tablespoon vanilla extract (1 Tablespoon was too much)

Then seal up the baggie. Then, place that bag inside a bigger bag (is anyone else thinking of “The Emperor’s New Groove” right now?), a gallon sized Ziploc bag full of ice and about a Tablespoon of rock salt. Seal it up tight. Mush the bag around for about 20 minutes. We play catch with them, or fold them inside towels to prevent frostbite. Just sort of massage the bag for a while. At the end of the 20 minutes (maybe this takes less time if you’re working in a very cold room, but don’t bet on it) dump out the outer bag’s ice and water. Wipe off the inner bag before you open it. Then open it up, break in some cookies or candy pieces, berries and fruit, whatever, or just dig in with a spoon.

It’s ice cream! In a bag! Life doesn’t get a whole lot more fun than that, does it?

You’re welcome. Happy Wednesday.

May 14, 2012

Bring the Monday

Filed under: cuteness,familyness — becca @ 7:10 am

Yesterday when we got to church, I looked up on the stand and saw my 10-year-old Kid 3 sitting there, grinning at me. In our church, people are asked or assigned to speak on Sundays, but they don’t use little kids except one day a year. And then they use all of them. But there sat my Kid, with 5 other young people (13+), on the stand ready to speak.

I looked at Kid 1. “Tell me you wrote her talk.”

“Nope.”

Kid 2? “Did you help her?”

She shook her head with a little laugh.

Husband sat down beside me. “Please. Tell me you helped her.”

He shrugged. “A little. A very little.”

Deep breath. Smile at Kid 3. Say a fervent prayer.

Here is her talk, unedited by me, and apparently only “green yogurt” added by her dad.

Today I am supposed to talk about my mom. My mom is a great role model to me; I always want to be like her. She lives the gospel, so, naturally, I want to as well. She helped me decide that I want to be a mom when I grow up. I am so glad that she is a good example to me. She has helped me grasp what is really important, like wants vs. needs, or choosing church over sleeping in (today, as you can see, I chose the right). Later, after she helps me make these choices, I realize that these are good choices that will benefit me later on.

My mom is good at being nice, even when she messes up. Like the time she made skor cake and tres leches cake and put the skor bars on the tres leches cake and made a joke out of it (she is a cake ninja).

My mom is good at being funny. One time when we went to the zoo for my kindergarten field trip, and she made a girl laugh so hard that yogurt squirted out of her nose. The sad thing about it is it was key lime pie yogurt, which is green.

My mom is good at quoting movie lines. We have a game called ‘the movie line game’ and she knows the answer every time.

My mom is good at making popcorn. Every Sunday we have ‘popcorn Sunday’. Most people think there is only one flavour of popcorn, but I can list a few. There is ranch, Italian, burnt butter, and many combos. Every Sunday it is like a whole new popcorn experience, all buttery and delicious.

My mom is good at handling lots of things at the same time. Well, most of the time. One time when she was driving Matt to school, she drove him all the way to the front door… of the high school. Matt is eight years old, and has not yet graduated elementary school.

My mom is good at maintaining a low temper level, even being married to my father, I have no clue how she does it. My mom is good at loving us, even when we are not the best. I could tell you stories of us not being our best, but I’ll leave that to your imagination. And my mom is good at loving the gospel. About every week, she goes to the church at 7 am, just to fulfill her callings. She is always (well, not always) reading her scriptures, she makes sure we have some sort of family night each week, and she taught us ALL (including Dad) how to forgive. The best way you can tell she is loving, not just living the gospel, is how she treats others, or how she quietly serves. We all have nice things to say about our mothers, that is why we celebrate mother’s day on the 2nd Sunday of every May. Mother’s day is the time when we show our moms we love them all day, even though they show us they love us every single day of the year. I want to take this opportunity to tell my mom how much I love her. Thank you, mom, and happy mother’s day!

*****

Um, yes. She’s cute. And if you could have heard her delivery, you would have fallen instantly and irredeemably in love.

 

May 11, 2012

It’s More Stuff, at last.

Filed under: familyness,Fifth Gift,food,Mom — becca @ 6:29 pm

Do you ever feel the need, the deep, deep NEED to be poetic or intellectual or (dare I say it?) satisfying when you write? I do feel that need, but I try to push it to the side as often as possible. So, what I’m saying is, although I could astound y’all with my reamarkability, I’d rather just spew out some word vomit so you feel more at home — and like I’m accessible.

See? I’m here for you.

So. Mother’s Day. Coming right up. We’re having homemade wheat bread and honey butter and reading out loud to each other. That’s what passes for Big Wilhite Plans. (But the adults are going to Cheesecake Factory tomorrow, for Pre-Mother’s Day Festivities, and that’s plans if I ever had some.)

Speaking of Cheesecake Factory. There are times that I miss my mom. Things I wish she could have known. I know I tell you that a lot. And the last time I went to CF, I had one of those times. Because I had a tuna salad. My mom knew tuna salad as this:

You know. It’s canned tuna chunks, mixed with mayonnaise and dill pickles. Maybe red onions and celery if you’re in a dicing mood. You put it on bread. You eat it, and for a mayonnaise-based meal, it’s good. Even satisfying. At least it CAN be. But my mom never ate this:

That is the Cheesecake Factory’s Seared Ahi Tuna Tataki Salad with avocado and wasabi vinaigrette. With a pretty rosette of pickled ginger (mmmm). 441 calories, if you keep track of such things (which sometimes I do, and that’s the perfect number, since the slice of mango-lime cheesecake I’m going to eat for dessert has a few whole lot more than that).

I wish I could have shared this with my mom. Not literally, you know. She’d have to order her own. Oh, come on. Just kidding. I’d share. But really? This is tuna salad nirvana, and I wish she could experience it.

*Theological/Existential Question: Is there seared Ahi tuna Tataki salad in heaven? And mango-lime cheesecake? If there’s not, I’ll find a way to be happy anyway, but I think there might be.

On a non-foodly topic, I have a deadline. Remember when I told you I was enjoying what I hoped was my last non-deadline writing project? It was. And now, with the excellent editorial advice of Agent Meredith, I am revising FIFTH GIFT for a soonish submission. And it’s going great. Do you want to know how much she likes my story? A lot. She has lovely and kind things to say about characters, language, world-building and such. It’s a fun story, on it’s way to awesome. And she’s helping me make it better: Want to know what she asked of me? Setting, that’s what. She wants my characters to wear clothing and live in buildings and have SCENERY outside their windows. And she’s absolutely right. But do you want to know what happened? When I started putting my characters in clothing and having them look out the windows in the buildings they live inside… they had to go out into the scenery. And new things are happening there, in the outside. Cool things. Things that will hopefully thicken up this story to the point of its becoming a BOOK. That someone will PUBLISH. And when that happens, I’ll be so sure to let you know. (Yesterday I added scenes that were awesome and met my 2000 word goal. I cheered. And made peanut butter fudge as a reward. See below.)

Peanut Butter Fudge. It’s a new happiness. I saw the recipe in my Hershey’s cookbook. My Grammy gave me this cookbook 18 years ago as a wedding present, which is exactly in line with my Grammy’s gift-giving mojo: Give the gift you’d like to receive. I’m not much of a chocolate dessert person. But know what? Husband is. And so this book has pages (like the one with the “deep dark chocolate cake” recipe) that are stiff with spills and smears of ingredients. Which, you know, is how to measure the success of any recipe. Pick the dirtiest card, the stiffest page, the one with unbookly colors and textures on it. Also pictures.

If you’re a candy purist, this isn’t even fudge. Know what? I don’t care. Because even if it isn’t fudge, it’s good. And BONUS… it’s easy. Also, there’s sweetened condensed milk. So, you know. Happiness.

Here it is.
Fake Peanut Butter Fudge

2 cups (12 ounces) Reeses’ Peanut Butter Chips
1 (14 ounce) can sweetened condensed milk*
3 Tablespoons butter

Line a 9×13 pan with foil. Spray the foil with pan spray. Pour chips and milk into a saucepan. Melt over medium heat until it’s all smooth. Stir in the butter.  Spread the loveliness into the prepared pan. THEN, there’s this:

2 cups (12 ounces) semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 (14 ounce) can sweetened condensed milk*

Rinse the peanut butter sauce pan. Dry it really well. Pour chocolate chips and milk into the saucepan. Melt over medium heat until it’s all smooth. Don’t forget to stir, and don’t turn it up too high, or you’ll get lumps. That would be sad. When it’s smooth, pour it over the peanut butter layer. Cool it in the fridge. Cut it into 1-inch squares (they’ll be cubes, really, and they’re lovely and striped). I know. Too easy to really be fudge. But so tasty. Tell me if you try it.We can make yummy sounds together.

There’s more, but we can save some of the random for another day, right? Happy Mothers’ Day, mamas out there. And those who have mothers, ever knew a mother, or have a Mother Heart. You, especially.

XOXO

May 8, 2012

Enough

Filed under: gratitude — becca @ 5:54 am

Things and moments can stick out, shard-like from life’s fabric, snagging and cutting and causing damage. I’m not saying this is happening right now, to me, but it’s happening right now somewhere, and I can see it. Accidents tear up communities. Unkind words gash at families. Bitter hurts fester, judgments cause rifts, thoughtlessness scabs over the tenderest hearts.

But.

Also.

Sometimes it’s just the opposite. Sometimes things and moments can stick out, featherlike. Delivering touches of softness and mercy and comfort. Some days are full of Enough. Enough time. Enough laughter. Enough to eat, and to share. Enough energy to do what’s required. Enough grace to see past the action back to the intention. Enough restraint. Enough patience. Enough forgiveness, for self and others. Enough beauty and loveliness that fills up the heart and spills over from the eyes.

I am grateful for the Enough.

May 3, 2012

Catching

Filed under: books,bookstores,events,food,happiness — becca @ 11:33 am

Name a cliche with “catch” in it, and I’m trying to do it. Up? Yep. Catching up. With my life that’s trying to run away without me. A Break? Yep. I’m always trying to catch a break. A Tiger by the Tail? Why not? My Breath? Always.

(But so far I’m not catching a wave or catching hell. Let’s hope that all stays that way.)

New York was perfect in almost every way. I adore the upper East Side of Manhattan. I became a total pro at the subway business. I would live there (Manhattan, not in the subway) for a year. (Husband’s not convinced. I’ve got time to work on him.) It was cold and rainy and sunny and windy and cloudy and cold again, and that was great. Everyone in New York wears a scarf. Everyone. Man, woman, child, and dog. Not kidding. I was glad I had a couple of scarves, because otherwise I did NOT blend in, clothingwise. Remember how color is back? Nobody told NYC. It’s all black, all the time. I stood out like a proper tourist in my orange and blue. Ah, well. No worries.

I spent a great many hours wandering. Museums, book shops, Union Square, Times Square, Park Avenue, Madison Avenue, streets in general and specific. You’d think I’d have come home skinny, but for this: The white-flour based foods. Oh. Yes.

And now it’s time to work on my revision. Because Agent Meredith is excited about submitting, but she’s holding the reigns until I get it right. Whatever. (JUST KIDDING. I WANT IT TO BE RIGHT, TOO. THAT WAS JUST A LITTLE IRONY.) So I’m working on it in chunks and pieces. And it will be great. Because she has good, good, good ideas. And she asks important questions (like “So, what happened to that character who was so important for the first 2/3 of your story? Where did he go?” Oh, that.)

But today, and tomorrow, and also Saturday, it’s time to conference. I’m ready to party with the LDS Storymakers’ people. I’m helping with an intensive workshop critique today (in a few minutes now), and I’m teaching a class on overcoming the things that keep us from writing. That will be Saturday. Right before lunch. Also I made a presentation. Like Powerpoint, sort of, but not. Because it’s different. And nothing flushes off the screen. (The Flush transition always makes me disregard any further points of interest in a PP presentation. You’ve been warned.)

And if you’re in the direct vicinity of Provo, Utah, there’s a massive book signing Friday night (I’ve heard that there might be 100 authors there) at the Marriott at 100N and 100W. I’ll be there. Wearing orange, so you can find me. Maybe that trick won’t work so well in Provo as it worked in Times Square, but I’m trying it anyway. If you come, come say hi. I’ll sign a book for you. Or your arm. Or whatever you stick in front of me, You’ve been warned.

 

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