OK, I give up. Here is another quote...

I haven't posted in ages, because I just don't feel like writing all the dingdang time, so there.  I am, however, able to type. 
from Steve Hely's How I Became a Famous Novelist
1.  The essayist Dalton Tierguard was once asked by an interviewer what he hated most about being a writer.  Without a second's hesitation he answered, "Writing."
2.  The 19th-century French writer Jean Jacques Plachet so despaired of ever finishing his novel Les Femmes Laides that he loaded a hunting rifle and shot himself in the right foot.  Thus immobilized at his desk, he was able to finish his masterpiece.
3.  The stories for which Scottish writer Hamish Baird is known were all written during a 6-year period, after which Baird took a job cleaning the sewers of Glasgow.  He said his second career was a welcome relief from the misery of writing.

What I say to my husband when I wake up in the morning:

Call Dr. Kevorkian.
Groundhog Day!
Just nail my coffin shut.
Knock me out with a baseball bat.
Get a block and tackle and hoist me out of bed.
Will you hand me the bedpan?
Will you hand me my snowmobile suit?



"The most remarkable thing about my mother is that for 30 years she served the family nothing but leftovers.  The original meal has never been found." ~ Calvin Trillin
That certainly wouldn't apply to my mother, who was a very accomplished cook.  For example, nobody on earth made better gravy, and that was so stated by everyone who ever ate it.  Absolute truth.
I hope my kids wouldn't apply a Trillin to me, but it is possible.  Tonight I made turkey-oat hamburgers on the grill and had one left over which will magically re-debut as a meatloaf sandwich at some point this weekend. 



"There's no shortage of books on how to meditate, but none so far as I know mention hoe-leaning.  Here's how to do it.  While working in the garden, when your muscles become a bit tired or sore, you put the working end of the hoe on the soil, hold the handle near the top with both hands for a bit of a prop, rest it against your shoulder or cheek, and, while supporting some of your weight on the tool and leaning slightly forward, stare off into space or at some part of your garden and don't think.  Then, when you do resume thinking, don't try to force yourself to stop, which is what people who meditate do--just resume hoeing.  Don't let anyone call this laziness; hoe-leaning is a vital gardening chore, equally as important as hoe sharpening." ~ Steve Solomon, Growing Vegetables West of the Cascades
I like this very much.  I intend to incorporate more hoe-leaning into my gardening. And actually sharpen my hoe, for once.


Prompts and plots

(I was facilitator for our group Writer's Calling last month, and each week I sent out prompts to encourage folks to write.  One week I sent a list of prompts that included writing a piece from the point of view of a dog bed, or the point of view of the first plant to sprout from a seed blown onto a tiny new island.  None of which inspired much response.  When I sat down to respond myself, I had just read a chapter on developing plots.  Anyway, this is my explanation for the response I wrote, as shown below.)
I love this set of quotes that introduce Brigid Lowry's chapter "Plot" in her book, Juicy Writing:
  • The cat sat on the mat. No story. The cat sat on the dog's mat. Story. ~ Anon
  • The king died and then the queen died. Story. The king died and then the queen died of grief. Plot. ~ E.M. Forster
  •  Often I'll find clues to where the story might go by figuring where the characters would rather not go. ~ Doug Lawson
  •  Don't say the old lady screamed - bring her on and let her scream. ~ Mark Twain
Now I have never developed a plot in my whole life, but I do enjoy presenting ideas, situations, episodes. In light of that I present a little something:

The family is fond of mentioning, whenever another piece of stuffing falls out of me, that I was last the bed of a dachshund, that furiousdiggingforbadgers breed, so I suppose it scrabbled a hole in me. But, being a dog bed, I am not privy to my “previous lives” with other dogs. My first memory is of my current Mopsy flopping on me by the hearth here in the family room. Mopsy is an Old English Sheepdog; apparently she was rescued from a place without a dog bed, for she lays upon me whenever in the room, although the family is also fond of pointing out that she very mellow, unlike your typical goofball OES. I’ve learned a great deal about dog breeds from this family, with their voracious appetite for books of all sorts. I guess I’m just fine with being laid on all day, I’m a bed after all, and have no sense of…anything really although I must be able to hear. But I cannot see, or smell, or taste or touch, and I know what those are for I have heard the Child discussing these things.

Right now the Child is near me by the hearth, doing homework and telling Mopsy not to drool. On me. Well, I don’t care, for I will be thrust into the washing machine and hear the thrumming and then into the dryer and hear the other thrumming. It’s a nice change of pace.

The Child is working on a writing prompt; the teacher’s assignment being to write a piece “from the point of view of the first plant to sprout from a seed blown onto a tiny new island.” At first there was muttering about what a stupid prompt this was and why must I do them weekly, blah blah blah, but now there is only the scratching of the pencil and I know that soon Mopsy will be read a story and I will hear it. What a treasure to bestow on an old dog bed!

If you are a writer, my advice to you is, write it down and spread it around. It is much appreciated by someone or something.


You live in a garden. What will you be? A bluebird? A gnome? A hedgehog? A broken mosaic birdbath?

Dear You,
Rabbits, I can assure you, are nothing like Beatrix Potter’s interpretation. We DO enjoy entering your garden, though. I like yours so much that I have taken up residence here. I won’t tell you where my burrow is, but I do have some things I want to say about this sublime garden that you work so hard on and is so perfect as my home.
I know you have seen me sunning myself in the early evening, cleaning my face and nibbling on grasses and dandelions. I hope you are not plotting a coup to remove me. Rabbits seem to be universally reviled by gardeners, but give pause: I may do you some good. I am an elderly boy, not interested in the ladies, but still territorial, so I will keep other rabbits away, and won’t be littering your garden with kits. My favorite item is the dandelions that keep cropping up here and there, and I do so appreciate the organic approach you take. You are the only one in the area with comfrey, which, while I’m sure you planted it to attract bees, also is very soothing to delicate rabbit tummies. I couldn’t possibly put a dent in the comfrey, it is indestructible. As for the raspberry patch, all I want is a few leaves, and again couldn’t put a dent in your magnificent crop. Digging is enjoyable, but actually unearthing a carrot is a bit much for my old bones. Let’s declare a truce before the war, shall we? You in your sunhat and floral gloves, me with my adorable hippity-hop, we enjoy each other, don’t we? Let’s keep it that way.


Ol’Man Wabbit


Prompt: What is porridge to you?

Porridge is a literary object, turning up in many stories of old. I always had in mind it was sort of an oatmeal, but have never looked it up. Clean simple living, or a pauper’s meal, depending on the context. Wooden bowls and spoons, hand-carved. Giant kettles cooking over an open fire or in a huge walk-in fireplace. Women in long brown calico skirts. Gaunt London tots with enormous eyes and pale skin, shivering. I see a dirt floor and a broom with bristles made on twigs. There is always a long-handled ladle; sometimes the porridge is scooped into tin cups. Once I thought of porridge and there was a tidy, large country kitchen with steaming bowls of porridge on the table in front of a rosy buxom family, pots of jam and brown sugar and butter to pass. Rarely does Goldilocks come to mind, but when she sneaks in, the bowls are blue floral ceramics, and the spoons are very plain metal. That table has a gingham cloth on it.

I have never been offered actual porridge. Have you? Is it extinct?


Off the Field of Play - Alpine Last Line

We've been home since Friday evening.  I was cleaning out the lint trap in the dryer and the lint was brilliant sky blue.   Well, I didn't get a reminiscent lump in my throat, missing my volunteer role or uniform.  It was well worth the effort, but I won't try something like that again.  I can't stand around for 9 hours in my ski boots. I wasn't there long enough to get to know anyone, because the steward crew was quite numerous and I was paired with someone new every day; in fact, they had so many stewards there was very little to do.  I found out I cannot be firm with people.  And in that role one couldn't feel close to the action.  It was fun to sit in the break tent with a crowd of volunteers and watch the Women's Combined on the TV.  I didn't get that sense of contributing, I suppose because I wasn't there long enough.  There were no days on which I was in Whistler Creekside to soak up the Olympic atmospere there--I was always up-mountain, guarding some passageway, until all the events were long, long over with.  At Creekside, when there isn't an event going on, there is nobody there.  One has to take a bus to Whistler Village for apres.  But, I must do SOME field research, in my role as your intrepid gal reporter, even if that means standing by a ski run in the snow all day long, making sure no riffraff get onto the racecourse, even if only three people come by the whole day, and there is no toilet in sight, and I feel like I'm starring in an episode of My Life on the D-List.


On the Field of Play - Alpine Byline

7 a.m.: OK, today is my last day of volunteering. When they lower me into my coffin, I will have thighs of steel and feet the size of basketballs. A sunburned face and chapped lips. Bury me in my uniform, with my accreditation, lunch pass and lift ticket around my neck.


On the Field of Play - Alpine Byline

Today I guarded an entrance to the course above the start, only for the lady skiers and their coaches, for the downhill portion of the Combined.  I won't say who won in case you watch it tonight---But, as I got off my shift, I rode the gondola down over the finish area and was able to watch and hear the flower cermony!
I just got back from wandering around the Village with the rest of the family, and left Dan and Mara at the Skeleton event--they have tickets to watch that. Now I am back at the condo and watching it live on TV!
While we were in town we watched a band of street performers play-acting a curling match, using audience members as human "stones"!!! It was very funny!


Prompt: Use "desultorily"

OMG, more irony category: Can you believe that I was scheduled to steward for the ladies' alpine events at the Olympics, had to cancel the first few days of that to take another trip to someplace Euge, and the weather in Whistler has delayed those events such that I will arrive just in time to steward those very events? How cool is that?

Apropos of nothing, I am tonight thoroughly enjoying cutting out my idea of cute fashions from the various fashion mags laying around the house and glue-sticking them into an old spiral notebook. (Jeepers, some guy just fell during the pairs figure skating competition on TV...ok he's up and they are going again; they look lovely and the music is divine.) I just started doing this to keep track of what I like; I am always thinking about repurposing clothing and fabrics (from home, from the thrift shop, from freecycle) into something gorgeous......well, as many of you know, I like to plan projects but rarely complete them, so, don't be looking for me on Project Runway. (Now why for crying out loud are they only replaying the fall and none of the beauty?)

As a child, I was a daydreamer and wandered through life in a fog, and was, therefore, clumsy. No, nobody saw any Olympic potential in me at all. But I hope to medal in volunteering. Good grief, here's an Herm├ęs leather post-it note case, sort of a wrap with a snap---$240. “Sucker born every minute,” I trill. I’m not clipping that out. Paper dolls, entire towns built out of soap boxes, miniature furniture made from graph paper, scotch tape, and colored pencil, flowers made from Kleenex and a bit of wire, comic books, greeting cards; those were my crafty trends as a child.

Sometime during my 30s I hit upon a creative little craft I still enjoy very much—making my own gift tags from greeting cards. Sounds silly but for some reason I get a big kick out of cutting tiny pieces out of greeting cards to make teeny tiny gift tags, that fold such that there is a picture on the front and inside I can write in small letters the “to” and the “from”. Why this is so satisfying to me I don’t know, but it is.

I also have the habit of recycling past humiliations. One will pop into my head, give me that adrenaline rush of shame/fear/shame/disgust, and ruin my day. Does anyone else do this?

I have presented my evening musings as desultorily as possible, which seems to be the way I like to write. I didn’t even know what the word meant when I selected it for our writing prompt.


Puleeeeeeeze get a gold medal, Canada!

And they did! I know it was a while ago but I just saw it on ol' NBC's tape delay b.s.  I have truly and fiercely been rooting for Canadian athletes even over U.S. in every event. 
Go, Canada,
Our fa-ave neighborland,
Go, Canada,
We stand   aside    for   THEE!

Oh golly jeepers I can't wait to get up there.  Your intrepid gal reporter will go up to Whistler tomorrow.  I plan to chase away the rain and fog so that the alpine events that have been graciously waiting for me can go ON!!!!


The Future is Unwieldy!

Rick Mercer did a 'mercial on the new Apple iSlab.  "Because why use your fingertip when you can use your whole hand!  Fits neatly under a queen size bed."  He's so adorable. 

waaahhh interruption: last Jay Leno Show on right now.....

Ok it is now the next day and I never finished this post!  I got up early and went all the way to Seattle for an MRI of my knee, all the way back home, did some online banking, made three phone calls totalling 1/2 hour dealing with an incorrect bill and boy am I a bore!  This sounds like a tweet for heaven's sake!  Make me shut up! 

OK wait, I can't shut up, I thought of one more thing: blast...... it evaporated..........


Evening musings

     I gotta take a break here from picking apart the mats in the dog's fur; MiddleChild tells me I look like a chimp picking nits off another chimp.  So I will write. 
     Or maybe just pick other people's creativity off of them.  I checked into Dave Barry's blog....his posts about the TV show 24 (which I have never watched) are so perfect that in just a few words I get the whole gist of the show and everything that is right and wrong with it, such that I neither need to or want to watch the show but am immeasurably enriched anyway.........sigh............ see http://blogs.herald.com/dave_barrys_blog/2010/02/01/ followed by http://blogs.herald.com/dave_barrys_blog/2010/02/24-1.html and you too can be enriched and relieved forever that you aren't missing anything by not watching 24.
     I like this little quote from Philippe Janvier, a paleontologist at the National Museum of Natural History in Paris. "It may have been easier for some fish to come out of the water and eat their prey peacefully by the shore where they wouldn't get hassled."  Nice little image that I wouldn't have thought of, illustrating evolving to avoid competition, that basic tenet of evolutionary pressure. (an interruption:  Oh POOH, David Letterman's top ten list tonight is about the SuperBowl, not Sarah Palin's tea party crib notes!)   Anyway I came across the quote in an article at http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/science/biology_evolution/article6978486.ece#cid=OTC-RSS&attr=3392178  announcing that critters moved from sea to land much earlier than scientists had postulated, based on new evidence.  Apparently the sea of the Middle Devonian age housed fish, scorpions and crabs, and perhaps was getting crowded.  Meanwhile, the land was still sort of barren and maybe critters could have a more leisurely picnic there.  And begin obsessively picking nits off each other. 


A David Letterman-style Top Ten List

First, I need a warm-up act. Please visit http://www.cbs.com/late_night/late_show/top_ten/ and listen to or read some of Dave's lists.
And now, here are the:
Top Ten Things you May Not Want to Hear About My Trip to Eugene This Weekend:
10. It rained the whole way!
9. I went deaf from listening to my daughter's music in the car.
8. They have their own version of the Seattle Weekly! It's called Eugene Weekly! Ok, THIS part you might like: There is a column in it called Something Euge (cute, huh?).
7. The Motel 6 does not even supply a doll-size sliver of soap.
6. The "signature item" on the menu at Denny's is chili--"always available", plus it is the soup of the day for Saturday and Sunday. But they were out of it!
5. My 16 year-old daughter has had her license for 1 month and she can drive for 3 hours straight, which is longer than I can.
4. Traffic through Portland on a weekend is every bit as ghastly as it is through Seattle!
3. It was a great way to miss the SuperBowl.
2. I got back home in time to watch the PuppyBowl on Animal Planet!
    And, the number one thing you may not want to hear about my trip to Eugene this weekend is (drum roll): The movie she was sent to audition for was NOT a thriller about moody, Pacific Northwest teenage vampires! Yay!


On the Field of Play - Alpine Byline

Your intrepid gal reporter is gearing up to fulfill her volunteer role stewarding the Ladies' Alpine Skiing events in Whistler, B.C., February 12-19.  I have my uniform: an absolutely brilliant sky blue, overlaid with a very subtle shimmer pattern, makes the jacket the focal point of the ensemble. A matching fleece vest for warmer days if any, or, for under the jacket on extra cold days.  A matching and rather tiny toque will be bobby-pinned to my head to keep it from boing-ing off my grizzled grey locks whenever I move.  Black ski pants.  They even gave me adorable matching blue long underwear tops, two of them, so I don't have to do laundry quite so often.   "2010 Olympics" emblazoned on everything.  What collector's items!  I would never sell any of it, certainly not the ski pants, which wouldn't sell anyway, being in a men's size 3x I think---I wanted them big enough to go over many layers of longjohns, because I am a freeze-baby when I am standing around in the snow. 

I ran out today and bought the last pair of winter boots left at REI, having just discovered that the only pair of winter boots we have around here date back to the Pliocene (i.e., when we lived in Minnesota and actually wore winter boots) AND they are cracked/not waterproof/hubby's hand-me-downs/way too unsightly to be seen on moi. 

Now stewarding, from what I can gather without actually reading the four training manuals I have been sent, will involve being stationed at key points along the ladies' alpine courses to check credentials of folks trying to enter the "field of play," as it is known, to make sure they are officially allowed to be there, and sending them on or sending them away with Canadian-style aplomb, civility, and cultural sensitivity, which I am SURE I can handle, being a faithful watcher of Rick Mercer. 

And I LOVE Canada.  Especially beautiful, beautiful British Columbia.  Does B.C. have it's own provincial song, you know, like we have state songs?  I know Minnesota, Hail to Thee (actually I don't know if that is the state song or the U of MN's school song...).  There must be a Washington state song, but I do not know it.

These are the skiers I have a tiny bit of knowledge about and will be rooting for:  Lindsey Vonn, from Minnesota.  For the Canadians: Robbie Dixon, Michael Janyk and Britt Janyk from WHISTLER!!!! and Emily Brydon from Fernie, BC.  Go skiers!


Let's go nextblogging again!

http://dorion55.blogspot.com/ posts this adorable photo; I have no clue why this is a nextblog for Frito Lei:


MiddleChild and I toured two community colleges last week, she with some trepidation about the whole college concept, me with the eagerness of a mutton-headed labrador retriever (I would LOVE to go to college again).  But, this was for her, not me.  Edmonds Community College actually has dorms, a rarity in the community college world.  The tour guide showed us her own dorm room, which was more like an apartment--full kitchen, sitting room, 2 bathrooms, 4 single bedrooms.  One of her roommates had pranked her by covering her walls with different colored post-it notes, all perfectly aligned in rows and columns.  How fun; I want to be pranked!  Having left the dorm, walking along, I discovered a post-it clinging to my sleeve---I told her I had absconded with some of her wallpaper and presented it to her with a flourish.  We all had a laugh, something MiddleChild needs frequently, and who doesn't?  I hope she liked the school, I sure did.

Hair Topiary

Today, sort of a grayish cobwebby halo........ :(


Let's go nextblogging!

I like this "about me" from Obed's blog: "I surmise my writings speak for me; I have no description. Tell me when you describe someone multi-talented in a different way." I think he came up as a nextblog because he has "Chew" in his header and I have "munches" in mine?

Help me name my inner critic?

I have placed a sign on the dining room table (ground zero for preparing the tax return) that states:
S.---the 2009 tax return is not finished until you have collected all receipts justifying all deductions, and set up a better system for organizing and tracking medical expenses for 2010. 
Your Inner Critic
Now this is an edited version, the first draft of the sign was quite foul. 

I know I don't NEED an inner critic (I have plenty of external critics such as my daughters, who threaten to nominate me for What Not to Wear), and am trying various techniques to get rid of her or disarm her or transform her into an inner voice.... if she had a name I may be able to collar her.  She's wiley.  I guess if I am able to edit the first draft of the sign to something neutral if not positive, that must be my inner voice sounding off.  And I know her name.  It's my name.


RE: Jiggity-jog over to my bloggety-blog

Here is my 19-year-old son's reply to my email announcing my blog: "Mother, this is exceptionally exceptional. Thank you. <3"
    Sigh.......... He's away at college and I miss him sharply, painfully.  OK, he's only 40 minutes away, but still.


Ah, Mi-na-Soh-dah........

"...he was confounded by the local custom of driving a jalopy onto the lake in the dead of winter and placing bets on which day the ice would melt enough for the car to sink through."--Dana Goodyear, on the author Neil Gaiman, about his move to Minnesota from England (The New Yorker, 1/25/10).

Stardate 01.27.1958. And a baby boy was born unto...

...V. and T. As he "squirted out like a fumbled football," (all of V.'s deliveries were effortless), the doctor hauled him up by his little feet and swatted his behind. No crying he made, but he did have this to say, very precociously: "Hey ma, I'm gonna be an engineer!"
And so it came to pass that D. DID become an engineer, in his vocation and his numerous avocations, where engineering comes in oh-so-handy. Love (mm-hmm, certain aspects), remodeling, landscaping, car maintenance, rock climbing, kayaking, hiking, skiing, scuba diving.
Honey, today, MiddleChild had her senior portraits taken here at home, every backdrop consisting of something you created: rock walls, cedar outbuildings, flagstone walkways, steps, railings, benches, trees, shrubs, vines!
We celebrate your other qualities too, such as total commitment to family and to taking care of yourself in all dimensions: emotional, spiritual, physical, parental.
D., you are an awesome and integral cog in this world and we are happy you are in it and we are so lucky that you will be in it for many many years to come.
Happy birthday,
S. and the kids


Inside a mirrored ball.

Saw this at http://askville.amazon.com/imagine-ball-completely-mirrored-inside--facility-inside/AnswerViewer.do?requestId=65470869 "imagine a ball completely mirrored on the inside- if we had the facility to 'see' inside the ball what would we see?"
I imagine myself as a softly glowing creature inside the ball, the only source of light......I just don't know what I would actually see......I need a physicist!


Mindfulness Shmindfulness

A classic.

Having some wonderful preserves on hand, I decided to bake cornbread for dinner. What to go with it? A plan came about slowly over the day: cornbread and preserves.... with chicken cutlets.... and sweet potato fries. I whipped up a batch of cornbread and put it in the oven, then got busy with the other items. When the oven timer went off, I turned it and the oven off, meaning to take the cornbread out when I had my hands rinsed off from the chicken breading.

We had a lovely meal. The thought of the cornbread, and the preserves it was to showcase, never crossed my mind. It wasn't until bedtime that I remembered this hub, this nucleus, this centerpiece of the meal.

Natch, my inner shrill piped up--this time she had a screeching Irish brogue, tougher to fight off than the Southern drawl. I elbowed her in the teeth and told M. the whole story. We laughed about it.

The cornbread, a very dark brown dry mass, will please the hens tomorrow.

Our (Perhaps) Unique Family Traditions

  • Watching thunderstorms together from the picture window
  • Getting right out into heavy rainstorms to run through puddles, and collect worms.
  • Once in the dead of each summer, I wake the kids up early by saying “Get up, time for school!” and they groan with shock, and then annoyance at being tricked again!
  • Wednesday is allowance day, because Wednesday needs something to recommend it….
  • When asked what I want to do or get for Mothers Day, I always smile sweetly and reply, “Oh, nothing! Every day is Mothers Day!” (family groans).

And, finally, it has become a family tradition that, whenever I am forgetful, hubby mentions the time I baked banana bread and left the bananas out--a bowl of mashed bananas sitting right next to the oven. Didn't notice my error until I pulled the baked loaf out and it was strangely pale and small and odd looking. T. was a bun in MY oven at the time.


Prompt: "The last time I..."

The last time I was scolded by my inner critic, she spoke to me in a southern drawl, a real piney-woods-of-Georgia accent, and I just had to sigh, and laa-aa-afff it off, la-la-LA! Oh, brother. Apologies to Southerners everywhere, but that’s what I heard.
I had this idea a couple of weeks ago—to catch myself berating myself and try to turn the whole thing around, and came up with the idea of giving it an accent. Jotting “inner voice=accent” down on a post-it next to my keyboard and glancing at it frequently, I finally remembered to accentuate myself yesterday. It worked like a charm. I’ll do anything to fend off that bitch. She sounded like a moron and she cut no ice with me! If all she gets from me is laughter and scoffing, well, she can’t last long.