Little Disappointments

The writing life is full of its disappointments. The words are never quite the gossamer things they were in your head. Projects you spend days, weeks, years on don’t always come to fruition. The work you submit to journals for publication gets rejected, again and again, over and over. Events get cancelled. Publishers close.

At the end of March, ELJ Editions announced that it was closing its doors — an event that leaves my chapbook Pantheon, along with a great many other books, without a home. Since this announcement, I’ve been dealing with feelings of sadness and self doubt, while at the same time being moved by how the writing community has responded. In the wake, publishers have stepped up, offering to take a look at homeless books, and ELJ authors have come together to provide support and encouragement — which is a beautiful thing.

Over the past couple of weeks, as I’ve been processing this news while also being overwhelmed at my day job, I’ve let a few things slide, including the National Poetry Month fanfare I normally engage in.

Things, life, whatever is moving on, and I’m currently working to find my chap a new home. If you want to send me some good vibes on that account, I’d appreciate it.

ANNOUNCEMENTS

In the realm of good news, my poem Songs for Psyche is now up at Devilfish Review. I’m excited about this because I’ve been trying to get work in Devilfish for a while now.

Here’s a little taste of the poem: “if you believe the path / of an arrow is straight // you’ve never / been within / cupid’s quiver”

Zoetic Press is hosting a Kickstarter in order to support its forthcoming anthology of dystopian fiction by POC writers, A Phoenix First Must Burn. There are 12 days left to support the project and even a dollar or few would be greatly appreciated by everyone at the press.

There are lots of rewards available — including things like handwritten postcards and limited edition Nonbinary Review anthologies — all awesome. Also, if the project gets 100 backers, it will publish a print version of the anthology.

What I’m Reading

I just finished Binti: Home by Nnedi Okorafor, which was amazing. I love the imaginative interstellar world building of this, and I can’t wait for the third book.

Next up is The Obelisk Gate, the second book in N.K. Jemisin’s Broken Earth trilogy. The first book, The Fifth Season, was one of my favorite reads from 2015, so I can’t wait to get started on the sequel.

(One of the things I’ve let slide is my monthly Culture Consumption report, and at this point, I’m going to let it go. I’ll catch up on all the things at the end of April.)

What I’m Writing

In honor of National Poetry Month, I’m doing 30 days of erasure poetry on Instagram using the Trader Joe’s Fearless Flyers. I love doing erasure poems, because it’s a soothing process for me, something I can do with a movie on in the background.

I’ll be traveling for work this week, so I’m hoping to get some editing work and new writing on the webseries done while I’m sitting around in hotel rooms.

The Running Life

No running last week. Or the week prior. This was partly due to my having to work overtime a lot of the last couple of weeks

Longest Run of the Week: 0 miles
Total Miles for the Week: 0 miles
Total Miles for 2017: 62.54 miles

Linky Goodness

John Freeman on How a Literary Magazine Editor Finds New Writers:

“I sometimes hear publishing new writers talked about as if it were an occult art. Tea leaves consulted. Sand art made. A voice in the dark. But it’s not that hard to find very good new writers. You just have to listen to people. There are agents who seem to constantly have good new voices, magazines which have a record of publishing them, cities where they seem to develop and read in public, and, of course, teachers and writing programs around which they seem to cluster. Just as tornadoes hit the plains and avalanches happen in winter, spend enough time in these spaces and soon enough something miraculous will walk into view.”

A set of poetry postcards from immigrants, refugees and others touched by migration.

A gorgeous font that evolves as you type with it.

Something About Something

Between multiple birthdays, a baby shower, going to press at the day job this week, and now starting to feel energetically off (and maybe getting sick) — I’m feeling a bit overwhelmed and a little behind on quite a few things. So…, I am keeping this short.

What I’m Reading

I didn’t actually read anything last week — at least not anything in book form. I temporarily lost my copy of China Miéville’s Perdido Street Station and just didn’t make any progress on Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott.

What I’m Writing

I made it through all my daily poems for THE POEMING 2016 last week, except for Sunday. Now with all that’s been going on and how I feel and everything else, I’m a few days behind. I can and will catch up, of course, but I have to make sure to find space to mentally and physically rest in order to prevent a collapse.

Goals for the Week:

  • REST
  • Get all my required POEMING found poems written and posted.

Linky Goodness

10 Books That Don’t Exist But Should (Unfinished, Lost, Withdrawn, and Otherwise Tempting Us), which includes Stephen King’s  The Plant, my book for THE POEMING project

21 Amazing Science Fiction and Fantasy Books to Add to Your October Reading List

Watch a Book Being Made the Old-Fashioned Way. Slowly, and by hand.

Five Ways to Chill When You're Feeling Overwhelmed

Photo by Alex E. Proimos (CC Attribution 2.0 Generic ).

Sometimes life likes to throw everything at you at once. Sometimes you like to add to the pile by throwing things at yourself. Work, family, life, the universe, and everything adds up into a big knotted ball of overwhelmed — which is pretty much where I’m at right now. Not all of it is bad, in fact a lot of it is many kinds of awesome, but it’s still mentally, emotionally, and physically tiring.

Looking forward into the next year, I know it’s probably not going to lighten up anytime soon — my day job will remain hectic, my creative work will still need to get done, community in the form of family, friends, and social activities will still call for my presence. Life will likely remain packed over the foreseeable future, so I need to have strategies to maintain my physical and mental health.

As with my usual doling of advice, these items are representative of things that I am doing or am going to try to do in order to help myself. Results may vary.

Continue reading “Five Ways to Chill When You're Feeling Overwhelmed”

New poem published!

It’s been a strange phenomena over the past week or so that I’ve been feeling rather vulnerable. In a way, this feeling could be directly correlated to how much I’ve been putting myself out there lately, submitting more work, trying to participate more with the local writing community, attending open mics and readings, and being more socially active in general. The higher I hold my head, the more I leave my throat exposed, unprotected. It’s an act of trust — someone could come along and sink their teeth in, but I’m trusting that they won’t and that I’ll be strong enough if they do. It’s unsettling, but I also feel it’s a necessary part of my personal growth right now — not to withdraw, not to retreat, at least not all the way and not completely.

What I’m Reading

I’m loving The Hours by Michael Cunningham, which is filled with such pretty writing and is a loving tribute to Virginia Woolf and her book Mrs. Dalloway.

I’m almost finished with Everyone I Love Is a Stranger to Someone, poetry by Annelyse Gelman, and I’m just trying to think about how I want to review it.

My Short Story Month challenge petered off at Day 21 (and thus 21 stories). I may try to read the final

What I’m Writing

Most of my writing over the past week involved completing a poem that turned out to be much longer than I expected it to be. But I finished it and submitted it and the universe is good.

Published! Two publication announcements this week. My new poem, “Sacred Ways” is up at Then and If, which is a great lit journal with a cool concept — each published poem is written in response to a previous poem. Mine is in response to Helen Losse’s “After a Mid-December Wedding.”

And as previously noted, “Eve and Pandora” has been published by Nonbinary Review.

Rejected! Three of my poems have been rejected by Poetry Magazine, which just means I’ll be resubmitting this week.

Goal(s) for this week: Submit the chapbook to a few more publishers.

Linky Goodness

The Mechanics of Preventing Procrastination shows how thinking in terms of days instead of years helps you stop procrastinating.

New poem up at Nonbinary Review!

I’m thrilled to announce that my poem, “Eve and Pandora,” has been published in Issue 4 of ‪NonBinaryReview‬, Bulfinch’s Mythology: The Age of Fable. The issue is available for free — you just need to download the Lithomobilus app to your iPhone or iPad (the publisher is currently working on a compatible version for Android users.)

Enjoy!

* * *

In other news, I’m a wee behind on my Short Story Month challenge and a number of other thing, as well. But, hey, it’s my birthday week and my days have been jam packed with activities, from climbing over rocks and getting bruised and battered at the Yuba River to pampering myself with a facial and a new haircut.

Last night also was great, a joyful evening of words and song at Cito.FAME.Us, where Lorenz Dumuk made us feel things with his poetry and Q&A performed some amazing, moving, and beautiful new songs. Always a delight.

November Recap, or how did I manage that?

It’s hard to believe that November is already over, even though it vanished in a flash of activity, including a week long trip to the U.K. for work with a couple of days to tour London, a full day of helping my sister move into a new apartment, several events leading up to a lovely wedding for a good friend, and two Thanksgiving dinners combined with a variety of other family on-goings.

In addition to this, I participated in two November challenges — National Blog Posting Month and Nanowrimo.

The goal for National Blog Posting Month was to write a blog post a day during November. I managed to pull off a total of 21 posts over the course of the month. My personal favorites:

  • Autumn, which incorporates poetry and creative nonfiction
  • Bluebeard, a flash fiction piece that may or may not lead to more stories or a longer work

I fell short of Nanowrimo’s goal of 50,0000 words, as well, managing around 14,500 words, which is still a hefty chunk for a novel in poems. I’ll post an excerpt and thoughts on my process later.

While I did not reach my set goals for either challenge, the point was to get me writing and, in that, I feel successful. Words have been put on the page and progress made.

The next step is to maintain that progress. So, while my December is likely to be as busy with events as November, I’m planning to write at least three blog posts a week (Monday, Wednesday, and Friday posting) and use what time I can in order to finish draft zero of the novel in poems. That will provide me with plenty of work, I’m sure.

Did you participate in any November challenges? How did they go for you?

Facing the mountain

Tom Frost - Robbins ventures up - 1961
Photo by Tom Frost (Creative Commons 3.0).
Saturday morning, I came to the sudden realization that I was doing Nanowrimo whether I liked it or not. After several hours of denial in which I instituted time-old delay tactics, such as twitter and tumblr, I decided on a story to work with — a novel in poems involving the interweaving and retelling of many fairy tales and myths — and began to dig in.

This weekend was an excellent lesson in making time to write.

On Saturday, in between switching out laundry, I wrote. After going for a 4 mile run/walk, I wrote. In the few minutes before I had to leave for the awesome Dia de los Muertos party, hosted my fantastically awesome friend Lise, I wrote.

On Sunday, I woke up early and wrote, because I knew the majority of my day would be given over to helping my sister move from one apartment to another — both apartments were on the second floor. Well, one was on the second and a half floor, because there was a flight of stairs just to get to the second floor, which means my legs are all wibbly wobbly today. While my sister and mom were organizing all the moved-in things, I sat in the living room and wrote some more.

The result: 3,079 words written.

Already, with just that start, I feel better. The poems are more prosey than I’d like, but that’s for editing to fix. The months of feeling stuck and miserable from not writing has slid off my shoulders. This was exactly what I needed. I have a mountain of work ahead of me, but if I continue to be creative with my use of time, then I’m certain I can make it all work.

This is the mountain of things to be done during the rest of November:

1 — Trip to the U.K. for work. I’ll have a day and a half in London to tour the city, which will be action packed

3+ — Bridal party events to attend, including the bachlorette party, the rehearsal, and actual wedding itself.

2-3 — Thanksgiving dinners. The family dynamics are shifting this year and I’m not sure how it’s all going to fall into place.

27 — Blog posts left to be written as part of NaBloPoMo.

46,921 — Words left to be written for Nanowrimo.

Unknown Number — Of books to be read, runs to be run, and hang out time with friends and family have to be fit in.

Are you participating in any November challenges? Have you had a good kick off to the month?

Joys, travels, poetry, and other doings

A lot has been going on over the past couple of weeks since I last posted, so I’m going to sum things up in list format (in order of importance, rather than chronology) to make things easier on myself. I still have to do my book and movie round up for May, but that’ll come tomorrow probably.

– The biggest announcement by far is the birth of my nephew. The Monster (my niece) is being adorable around him, very gentle and loving so far. I can’t even express what a joy it is to welcome this tiny little person into the family.

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– I also turned 34 years old in the past two weeks (on May 26 to be exact), and a Happy New Year to me. A gentleman recently told my friend that she should count her birthday as the true new year, since it announces another new year of her life. I love that, and it seems like a perfect time to reassess life, the universe, and everything. With all that’s been happening, I haven’t had a chance to do that yet, but I’m planning to think about taking a serious look at my goals this week. It so happened that my birthday was marked by…

– getting rather sick. Oh the joys of coughs and runny noses, just as I’m launching into…

– a two week work trip, involving two conferences and an industrial plant visit. Travels took me to Detroit, West Michigan, and Montreal. There was a lot of work and a lot of trying to rest in order to recover from being sick, so I didn’t do much touring, except for two beautiful days in Montreal. I let my feet carry me around the city to here and there, exploring Old Town and other areas of the city center. It was beautiful out and I’d like to have more time to explore Montreal properly in the future.

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Montreal with the Parc du Mont-Royal in the background.
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Inside the Basilica of Notre Dame in Montreal.

– Being in Montreal, I had to go see Cirque du Soleil. It was a bigger expense than I had planned, but Kurios is a steampunk inspired show, so I couldn’t resist. They did a marvelous job with the aesthetic and it fit really well into the acrobat sequences. The first half, in particular, was astounding in beauty and stunts. The second half had a few weird bits that I didn’t get, but it didn’t lessen my overall enjoyment. Kurios is my favorite of all the Soleil shows I’ve seen.

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Inside the Cirque du Soleil: Kurios tent. The show had an awesome steampunk aesthetic.

– I came home to two poetry pretties in my mailbox — the lovely TEN chapbook by Val Dering Rojas (which I received from the author) and Live From The Homesick Jamboree by Adrian Blevins (which I received as part of a poetry giveaway). I’m looking forward to reading both!!

 – Two contributor’s copies of the Strange Frenzies anthology also arrives. The anthology includes my poem, “Comfort At Last.” A wonderful surprise.

An Adorable Monster and other good things

I did not exercise all last week, unless you count my playing with my niece, a.k.a. The Monster — following her as she ran around the park and rolling with her in the grass and spinning in circles and then hauling her over my shoulder to get her back to her parents at the picnic tables — which I totally do.

The Monster had a lovely Easter. She got to paint eggs and then “find” eggs during an Easter egg hunt (which was more us just tossing plastic eggs into the grass and playing pick up with a plastic bucket, because she’s not yet two).

Words Here and There

I haven’t been putting many expectations on myself in terms of writing lately, due to the many, many things going on in other arenas of my life. But I’ve managed to feel a few sparks of inspiration over the past couple of weeks, which is awesome.

Despite my previous protestations that no poetry would be written this month, I’ve added a number of poems to The Poetry Project over on Wattpad. You can read each of the poems at the following links:

I’m planning to close The Poetry Project to new prompts as of April 30th, so if you would like me to write you a poem, then please leave me a prompt in the comments either here or there.

I’ve put together an excel sheet of chapters of the werewolf novel, noting things that need to be added and major problems that need to be solved along the way. It’s not a complicated layout, but it was enough to start getting my thoughts in order and I’m also using the tabs to start trying to keep track of characters and places that are important. I still have NO IDEA to solve the one major problem I have at the moment. The most obvious solution is to cut out the problem entirely, but I’m not sure that’s what I want to do.

I also met with the Writing Gang over the weekend, all of whom continue to be awesome. They gave me some feedback on some of the later chapters, which was valuable as always. I think I need to look at solving the big problems and work my way through edits from the beginning at this point. *le sigh*

Good Movie Watching

The Host (2006)I saw The Host (Gwoemul) for the first time over the weekend and it was SO FREAKING AWESOME. The story involves a large genetically mutated creature that rises up out of Han River in Seoul, South Korea and begins to attach the population. A young school girl is taken by the creature during the initial attack, and amidst a virus scare and government lockdown, her family escapes quarantine to try to rescue her.

It sounds like just your typical monster movie, but the story is intelligent and the family is both charming and silly in their bungling attempts to save their daughter/niece. It offers fantastic action sequences with a spice of humor, alongside an interesting social commentary. The monster turns out to be the least terrifying aspect of the story. Instead it’s the failed efforts of the Korean and U.S. government to solve the contamination problem, as well as the cold calculating treatment toward the patients in quarantine by officials and doctors alike that becomes truly frightening.

This is one of those movies that was so cool, I want to now see everything done by the director, Joon-ho Bong. The director’s most recent movie is Snowpiercer, which I’ve heard is amazing. So, I that may be the next movie I seek out by him. If you want more evidence of Joon-ho Bong’s awesome, you can check out this post.

Things to Do This Week

  • Edit chapter one of werewolf novel and try to solve big plot problem
  • Find a publisher to submit chapbook manuscript to
  • Continue research/do homework on business thing that I can’t talk about yet

You have to keep pushing toward those dreams no matter what setbacks happen. – Anthony Hamilton

Struggle is the word of the…, well, I guess it’s the word of the month at this point. Nothing has been going easy for at least the last couple of weeks and all I’ve wanted to do is crawl into a hole and hibernate, safe and alone in the dark, until everything troublesome goes away. (This is partly why my weekly update is on Wednesday instead of Monday.)

In Writing

I received my first rejection of the year from Daily Science Fiction.

Most of last week was spent feeling completely unfocused. I would pick up my laptop or a notebook, poised to write, then put it down again feeling frustrated.

As always, meeting with my Writing Gang, left me feeling inspired, so on Sunday night, though, I managed to hand write some thoughts on a scene for my Fay Fairburn story, which felt good. Though I still have yet to make much (or any) progress on my main writing project this year, Under the Midday Moon.

This week, I’ve been trying to break the “blocked” pattern by hand writing an idea for a chapter (for a different book) out in one of my journals. I have some preliminary thoughts down and it’s very disjointed, but it feels like it will come together into the right thing. So, I’m slowly starting to feel better about that.

In Running

I had two great workouts with my trainer last week, though the Wednesday workout was so hard, it was almost too much. I was almost to the point where I thought I might throw up. I know some people are into that level of training, but that’s not where I want to be and I don’t think it’s actually healthy.

Saturday I attempted a run and managed a mile, but got mentally blocked (amazing how much of running is mental). I know I could have run those three miles — I’d don it before, after all — but I just couldn’t bring myself to do it. I very quickly started getting frustrated, and the more frustrated I became, the harder it was for me to run.

Because of this, I added a run on Tuesday. Again, I walked at the one mile mark, but almost made it through the second mile once I started up again. It wasn’t an ideal run, but it was an improvement, so I was feeling okay at that point.

I’m just going to have to build up my running again until I’m back at three miles, and then I’ll probably add in some different running routes, because boredom might be a factory in my resistance to run.

To Do in the Coming Week – the Usual

  • Work on my mental state and try to find equilibrium
  • Write or edit anything
  • Run
  • Have fun on my business trip to San Diego

Sometimes rest is necessary

I don’t generally watch sports, though I enjoy going to Sharks hockey games and I almost always join family or friends for Superbowl, because of good food and good company and beer.

All I knew about the game going in was that it was supposed to be a good one, since Seahawks have great offense and Broncos have great defense, and everyone I knew was rooting for the Broncos. My family and I decided to go for the Seahawks since they were closest to us geographically.

Twelve seconds into the game, when the Seahawks scored their first touchdown, it was clear how things were going to go, and my family spent the rest of the game marveling at how the Broncos were pretty much destroyed. By the second half, we considered rooting for the Broncos, simply because they looked so downtrodden.

However the game went, it was fun hanging with the fam and eating buffalo wings and watching my niece run around the living room causing chaos like the delightful little monster she it. All in all it was a good Sunday.

Accomplished Last Week

Not much.

Since I started off the week feeling rather ill and stressed out, I just let it be an easy week. I even took Thursday off work and spent the day marathonning episodes of Doctor Who and X-Files while I let myself recover from being sick.

I did manage a bit of exercise with a 4 mile walk with my sisters and my niece on Saturday and a run on Sunday (though I didn’t manage my full three miles).

To Do in the Coming Week – the Usual

  • Write a minimum of 2,000 words on Under the Midday Moon
  • Submit something (poem, story, whatever)
  • Do two runs and a strength training routine
  • Set a budget for the week and stick to it

Weekly Update (because I don't have energy to come up with a clever title)

My weekend was lovely. Spent Saturday night out with a good friend, having a tasty meal at Johnny Garlic’s.

Sunday I met up with another good friend in San Francisco, where we discovered a street fair in preparation for Chinese New Year. We had szechuan food for lunch, checked out City Lights Bookstore (which is amazing! can’t believe I’ve never been!), and then closed out the day with a tea tasting. So much fun. (^_^)

Accomplished in Writing

In one of those moments where an idea just clicks into place, I realized the dynamics of one of the relationships in the story, which allowed me to rewrite a recent chapter and move forward on a stronger footing. Previously this chapter had almost zero conflict, or at least zero conflict based on anything solid. Now it’s much stronger and it creates a nice ripple for conflict in upcoming chapters. Has me excited to get back to making progress on Under the Midday Moon (the title of which I might change).

Two submissions sent out this week, containing one short story to a paying market and three poems to a non-paying market that I think is cool.

In Running

I did my three miles on Saturday using the Zombies, Run! app, which was fun and forced me to do sprints to escape the zombies. Though my pace turned out to be slower, because I think the sprints slowed me down afterward as I tried to even out my breathing.

Sunday’s run was skipped, however, because I decided to let myself take it easy before heading to SF.

To Do in the Coming Week

I’ve been feeling off today, bit of a scratchy throat and, well, just generally off. Also, I’m in the midst of going to press at the day job, which means added stress. So, I’m taking it easy on myself by not actually making a list. If I get some writing done or stuffsomething submitted out, great. If not, well it’s important that I rest.

Batkid Saves the Day!

In October of this year, I traveled to Italy and along the way bought myself a $300 Italian leather jacket. It was a huge expense for me, more money than I probably should have spent. But the jacket was gorgeous and fit me perfectly and came with a wonderful little story, and I didn’t once feel any regret about the purchase.

I came home and showed the jacket off and received positive responses from family and friends, assuring me that it was a great purchase.  “It’ll last you forever,” several people said.

Except that today, I discovered that I somehow managed to tear the jacket, a solid two-inch rip in an awkward place just above the right pocket — which just about breaks my heart. I know it’s just a thing, an object I don’t need to hold attachment to, but dammit, between the cost and how much I love wearing, it hurts.

Apparently, there might be a shop near my office that does leather repair, so I’ll take it in and see what they can do to fix it.

At the moment, though, I’m just taking deep breaths and trying not to loose my sh!t.

Fortunately, for everyone, there is this story to make everything all better.

image

Miles Scott, a 5 year old boy who’s fighting leukemia, just wanted to be a superhero, specifically, he wanted to be Batman. So, Make-A-Wish Foundation worked to put together a special event, turning San Francisco into Gotham City for a day. Miles as Batkid and accompanied by Batman, was driven through in a “bat-mobile” and was able to partake in a series of death defying rescues, while thousands of people cheered. The miniature hero got ot help nab arch-villains Riddler and the Penguin and save a damsel in distress tied to the city’s famous tram tracks.

The internet exploded with glee at the event, and every Batman, from Adam West to Christian Bale congratulated Miles on his heroism.

Here is a nice Batkid video for some smiles. (^_^)

A Black Hole of Baby Love

I have long since dubbed my sister’s house the Black Hole of Baby Love, because ever since my niece has been born, visiting her house means the loss of hours, time sucked away in gleeful love of the cutest little girl currently in existence. In our family, little Sienna has become the center of gravity from which none of us can escape — not that we’d want to anyway.

I had tentative plans this weekend to clean my bedroom (which had dissolved into a disaster of epic proportions) and catch up on some reading.

However, I decided to visit my sisters house for a few hours (hah!), which turned into many hours. As the day drifted on we decided to lounge around the house and watch some movies. We watched The Monster Squad (which I hadn’t seen since I was a young teen), while also chasing the baby around the living room, watching her giggle in delight as she tried to get away from me. And, then once baby went to bed, we watched The Conjuring (a terrifically creepy movie, all the more so because these people portrayed were real).

I told myself to go home that night. I told myself that if I slept over, as my sister invited me to do, then I would surely spend the entire next day there and get nothing done. I told myself in earnest that no matter how scary the movie might be, I could walk myself through the dark knight to my car and drive home.

In the words of Alice, I gave myself very good advice and didn’t follow it.

In other words, I slept over. (Though, this was in part because after The Conjuring finished, I had a headache so massive I could barely concentrate on falling asleep, let alone driving anywhere.)

Waking to the sound of my niece babbling in the next room, though, was a great reward for staying over. Plus, I got to have early morning cuddles with the baby, which are absolutely very different from any other kind of cuddles.

I might have gone home, if I wasn’t made aware of baby’s first pumpkin carving to happen that afternoon. Why go all the way home only to have to come back again, right?

So, I hung out and carved pumpkins.

Let the carving begin! #pumpkin #halloween

Baby Sienna took one tiny poke at the pumpkin guts and then wouldn’t touch it again. We tried to show her how it was done, but she wasn’t having it. Little Sienna is very dainty that way; she doesn’t like to get dirty (at least, not that kind of dirty). Her avoidance of even touching the pumpkin was adorable, though. (^_^)

Honestly, I feel ya, baby, I hate the “guts” stage of pumpkin carving, too — the icky, slimy, stringy, gooey that has to be pulled out is not the fun for me. ‘

My sister Pilar (other sister, not the baby mama), meanwhile, LOVED the gooey stage and dug into her pumpkin’s guts with delight. “It’s just so messy! I love it!” she squealed. Yup, that’s my Pilar.

But the carving stage I love. And this was my final result (sorry about the bad cell pic, plus the candle light wasn’t quite bright enough…).

Finished! It needs a brighter candle, but I've done Cthulhu. #pumpkin #cthulhu #halloween

All praise the Elder Pumpkin, Cthulhu!

It's Friday

and I am seriously contemplating spending my weekend curled in a knot of blankets on the couch, flipping channels, reading books, and generally not moving except to eat or pee. For realz.

What are your plans for these few glorious Autumn days?

Excuse me, while I dance a jig

So, I keep putting off posting other things, because I need to post about my Mexico trip and haven’t got around to it yet. It was fantastic, by the way, right up until I wanted to leave the country, arrived at the airport, and discovered that my flight no longer existed.

I ended up stuck and exhausted and frustrated, but a new flight was eventually found (which required me to stay the night in Guadalajara) and I made my way home, even if it was a whole day later.

The result has been me getting sick (sniffles and coughing) and right at the time when my day job is particularly swamped, leaving me not wanting to go anywhere near a computer at the end of the day. So, I’ve mostly just been recovering when I get home.

But since I went to the mailbox this morning and discovered a delightful surprise, I just had to post that my contributor’s copy of The 2013 Rhysling Anthology arrived!

So, even though I’m still sick and still recovering, I’m also filled with squee and find myself wanting to prance about the room, preforming somersaults!

(^_^)

Got the 2014 Rhysling Anthology in the mail today with my poem inside! Can't wait to read all the great poems. So exciting! #poetry #anthology #books #rhysling #writing

Ready for the Weekend

No Friday Five this week, as I’m currently in Lakeport with family, sipping a Guinness and enjoying the view. The plan is to sit here, relax, read my books, and maybe get a teenie bit of writing done.

There will be tabletop games and laughter and drinking and good times with the family. So, in other words it’ll be perfect.

Have a great weekend, everyone.

My mom is awesome and other news

Saturday, my mom and I decided to hit the local trail in Los Gatos. I had intended to just do my run and then head home, but upon hearing my mom’s plans to walk the entire trail loop (a 4-ish mile stretch that involves some steep hills). In hindsight, it probably wasn’t the best idea I’ve had.

We did the running intervals first, which went smoothly, then started walking up the hills. It was hot and one of the hills looked almost like this /, so it was very difficult. I probably didn’t drink enough water or eat enough food that morning, so I got extremely light headed halfway up. I was fine when I reached the top and the trail leveled out, but it was rough going for a while there.

But the trail being rough isn’t the point of the story. The point is that my mom is awesome.

At one point during our walk, my mom drifted ahead of me with her headphones in her ears. To music only she could hear, she began to fan her arms over her head in circles and loops and spirals in a kind of walking dance. She followed this with childlike skips and hops and tippy toe sprints, all smiling and in tune with what ever she was listening to. I couldn’t help but smile at her dancing, at her freedom of self, at her willingness to just play. It made me want to skip and cavort, too, so I did (for a little bit). It made me think of the way as a kid I could just run around and play without embarrassment, and that I wanted more silliness in my life.

Here’s a new goal for myself: Live life with childlike abandon and joy.

So, in other week roundup news, exercise was very successful with four of three completed.

Writing and organizing was less successful, as in nonexistent. I’m giving myself a break on the organizing, though, since I’ve been housesitting and thus haven’t been at home to work on it. I’m housesitting this week, too, but I’m leaving my organizing goals on the list, because maybe I’ll work on it next weekend.

That which must be accomplished in the coming week:
– Finish Chapter Five of Under the Midday Moon
– Submit something (poetry, fiction, whatever)
– Edit Letter Box poetry chapbook and submit it
– Workout at least three days with two workouts being running training (0/3)
– Practice my Spanish
– Make Progress on Organization (do one or more of the following):
• Shred papers and dispose of them
• Find a minimum of ten items (big or small) that can be gotten rid of and get rid of them
• Take box of items to donate to Goodwill

Trimming

I had all of last week off and chopped off most of my hair and got new color is kind of eggplant, which I LOVE. I lost a total of ten inches this week, which I will be donating to Pantene Beautiful Lengths, an organization that makes wigs for women with cancer.

Here’s a before and after:

Before and After of new hair cut Before and After of new hair cut

 

My week was a good cross between relaxing, hanging out with friends, and getting things done. In terms of writing and Spanish practice, no progress was made.

But I did a total of four and increased the walk/run interval difficulty levels by two increments, which felt fantastic. Seeing the progress on my running skills is keeping me so motivated and I know I’ll eventually meet my goal of three miles, if I keep this up. 🙂

I also made some great progress on my paperwork. I have all my past years separated out and put in appropriate envelopes and stored away, as well as all my paperwork for the current year filed in the filing cabinet. I still need to buy a new filing cabinet that would be more accessible, as well as organize other stuff in my closet so things are functional, but I feel really good about the progress I made this week.

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That which must be accomplished in the coming week:
– Finish Chapter Five of Under the Midday Moon
– Submit something (poetry, fiction, whatever)
– Edit Letter Box poetry chapbook and submit it
– Workout at least three days with two workouts being running training (0/3)
– Do three yoga workouts, three sun salutations min. (0/3)
– Practice my Spanish
– Make Progress on Organization (do one or more of the following):

— Shred papers and dispose of them
— Find a minimum of ten items (big or small) that can be gotten rid of and get rid of them
— Take box of items to donate to Goodwill

Lazy Days in a Summer Haze

Moon over the Golden Gate

Last weekend was spent celebrating my birthday, so I spent the weekend with my mom and aunt up in Sausalito and the Marin Headlands. On Saturday night, we hiked up to the lookout point to see the moon over the city. It was so, so cold and windy, but so beautiful.

The rest of the weekend was also restful and beautiful, though Sunday was more foggy and still cold. We sat on the beach and drank beers and enjoyed the sound of the waves.

I came away from the weekend feeling relaxed (though the stress started to reassert itself on the drive home).

As you may have noticed (or not), I didn’t post a weekly update this week. This is because I didn’t get much done with all the hanging out and relaxing and stuff that I’ve been doing, so the to-do list has not changed, except that I need to get through Chapter Four now.

It’s going to be warm this weekend and there’s more lazy days by the pool to be had, so we’ll see if I get anything else done.