Sunday, December 17, 2006

Time to write again ...

Hello :)

It's been so long, I had begun to figure I'd never come back. But a friend said "write some more!" and truth is, I need to write so ... here I am!

I'm writing here but I think it's to avoid doing the real writing that I need/want to be doing. I'm telling myself it's because this isn't my own laptop, and I'd be doing a lot more/better writing if I had my own laptop. rofl :)

So wanna know what I've been writing these days? I have my first picture book stalling in my computer while I "write" cover letters for it's circulation. I've got another picture book that's ready to go as soon as the first one is out and about. I've got a full on fantasy novel written that needs some TLC. I've got so many other story lines waiting in the wings, but I never take the time WRITE.

Why is that? On many of my Christmas cards this year I wrote, in summing up "me" as an update, I wrote "I busy doing lots of things that I have to do and not enough of what I WANT to do ... I need to change that!". My hubby works hard so that I can stay home with my boys who are in school all day long. So I'm "free" he tells me, to write ... yet what is it I'm spending my days doing? Certainly NOT what I love. NOT writing.

David tells me that I need to plan my day as if I'm a full time writer, just like full time REAL working moms do. Leave the housework, the chores, the errands and such for after work. So why am I telling you? Why am I psuedo-writing here, instead of for-real writing the stuff I need/want to be writing?

Why, indeed???!!!

So, thanks Kristi ... maybe this is the kick in the pants I needed to get my back to writing. If there are any of you out there with a dream sitting in the drawer, or wherever you keep it hiding, time to get it out, dust it off and see what you can make of it, okay? You and me both, we can work on our dreams together.

Tell me what your dream is and what you're going to do about it. We can cheer each other along!

Saturday, July 01, 2006

Been gone too long ...

It's been far too long. So much has been going on that I have nothing to say!

Summertime ... when I cool the outdoors with my air conditioning flowing out the open doors at either end of my house as little boys run in and out and perpetually forget to close the darn doors. When my boys change their clothes from wet to bathing suits to regular to dry again more often then teenage girls finding the right outfit to suit their mood. When I'm forced to admire stinky, yucky, scary, ugly spiders and insects and allow them to live in various and sundry containers all over my back patio.

Summertime ... when my little boys grow right before my eyes and prepare for the world before them. When my heart aches for the babies they once were. When I look forward to the men they will be, too soon for my pleasure.

Summertime ... when time seems endless and yet there's never enough of it. When time is both fleeting and ponderous.

Summertime ... when memories are made in a moment and cherished forever while life zooms by.

~ ali

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Avoiding the Mistakes of our Parents

We repeat it like a mantra; "I do not want to be like my Mother". And yet, try as we might, we often become just like her. For some, it's a simple matter of being a little anal about the cleanliness of our home. For others, it's much more serious, like avoiding alcoholism only to find we're addicted to pain killers.

I've been thinking about my family, my childhood's family, a lot lately. I woke up weighed down by thoughts of them on Sunday. Then at Church on Sunday, a lady gave a lesson to us women about families and part of her lesson involved having women from amongst the class randomly tell about their family growing up. We all had to be prepared in case she called upon us. At first I wanted her to pick me - I knew I'd have a unique perspective then most of the other women. But after the seventh woman shared her story I was crossing my fingers that I would not be called upon. Each woman shared a different story with a common thread: They had been loved.

My story, I'm sure, no matter how I sugar-coated it, would have been depressing, to say the least. I thought of coming on here and going down a list of the woes of my childhood, but suffice it to say that, by the time I was 19, when my Mom passed away from cancer, I had: been molested by a family member, experienced long-term sexual abuse at the hand of a man my Mom allowed to live with us, been raped, battered, and embarked on the unhappy road of self-inflicted abuse, and those are just the highlights. I honestly do not know how it is I am here, a relatively sane, happy and healthy person, given the path I spent most of my childhood on.

I love my Mom with a passion, though I can't figure out exactly why. My sister and I compare notes on this from time to time, though it depresses us immensely so we've come to avoid it. We were desperate for her love, yet we can barely name less than a handful of qualities or moments in which we felt our love was reciprocated, or even received, for that matter. My Mom outright abused my sister, verbally and otherwise. To me, she was probably just apathetic. But I LOVED her. Probably a sick kind of love.

As for me, I'm sure avoiding the mistakes of my own Mom figures largely into my own need to be a SAHM. I need for my children to know I am here, I am listening, I am theirs. Probably precisely because my Mom was not there for me, she was not listening and I always knew she did not belong to me. My children will probably never cherish me with that adoring sort of love that only the sick can engender. They will probably become apathetic to me, because I am TOO accessible.

Then they will avoid my mistakes and make their own, once they are parents. But I hope their mistakes are their own and not mine, not my Mom's. A new frontier for them to forge.

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

To Blog or Not To Blog?

What am I doing this for anyway? Who am I writing this for? These are the real questions if I want to answer the above question.

I thought a few people might read my blog. A few have, but not often, and perhaps my poetry has lost them to me afterall. I've wallowed in some self-pity over this fact: Why is it other blogs within my friend community are garnering more support then mine? Do people not like me? Not like my writing? Not like the things I talk about? Self-pity isn't pretty. I don't like living there.

When I started this blog, did I think other people would read it? Or was I writing for myself? If I'm writing for myself, for my own pleasure and entertainment, then it really doesn't matter if anyone else reads it, does it?

Problem is, you can tell yourself that, but it doesn't sit well. Kind of like telling your little child that their owie will feel better, it'll just take time - doesn't do much for the great pain they feel right then and there. Uh, oh, here comes the Self-Pity Train again!

So, my choices are: Stop writing because no one is reading. Keep writing and hope one day people will start reading. Keep writing and use it as an exercise to keep my brain thinking, creating, my fingers typing, my mind practiced at putting words to print.

I'll take Door Number Three, please Bob.

I just hope I can live with whatever I get.

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

A Dedicatory Poem for my Online Friends

A miracle is an event, unexpected and wonderful
That occurs outside our mortal understanding.
Within these walls, hope and acceptance can be found
And miracles are a way of life.

Hearts are healed, minds are opened
And lives are forever changed.
On this board are the faces of tiny miracles,
Hoped for, prayed for, hard fought for.

I am the mother of a miracle …

A miracle, plus one more!

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Ode To An Ant

‘Twas a time when in a surly pant
I did see a cursed, vile ant

I would step and crush and grind to soot
The tiny body beneath my foot

But alas how time does change
For which my brother will surely hang

For as a gift my fair son did get
A farm of ants to keep as a pets

From that time on they did be
A member of our family

Where once I would shun and sweep away
These ants were surely meant to stay

Where once I would poison and gleefully kill
Now I must water and feed and still

I cannot say I liked the things
Creepy, crawly, and these ones sting

Until today, oh joy, oh bliss!
I would happily, happily blow them a kiss

As they cross the bridge from this life to death
The ants have thankfully sighed their last breath

I did not kill them, least not that I’ll say
Though I’m sure I did not stand in their way

I did nothing to save them, of that I’m at fault
Still I’ll throw them away and I will not balk

My young child just shrugged, I’m happy to say

There was no love lost on this un-tragic day.

Whose Opinion is this Anyway??

I have a confession to make. I'm not sure I know how to form my own opinion about current political topics. I listen to talk radio, read the paper/online news sources, and yet I feel myself buffetted by each wave of new or differing opinion.

How do I find my OWN, very own, opinion? How do I know what I believe? Is it okay to 100% feel one way today only to do a complete 180 tomorrow?

I consider myself a fairly intelligent person. No, I'm not SMART, but I do okay. I can read, grasp information, and in most things I can form my own opinion from the information I've taken in.

But when it comes to political stuff I'm hot and cold and just kind find my middle ground.

Perhaps it's information overload. Maybe in an attempt to get the whole story, I read and listen too much and then the whole thing gets jumbled together.

But I feel the need to listen and read to lots of different sources because I just don't think there is one news source I can trust these days. I think if I put them all together, then maybe I can find my own way. But so far, I'm only finding more confusion and disillusion.

Makes me want to make up my mind, put my hands over my ears and proceed with a litany of "Lalalala I can't hear you!".

Please tell me I'm not the only educated woman out there who has a hard time finding that nugget of truth to hang on to in today's news?

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Check Yer Pockets!

Failing to do so could result in tragic consequences:

Gum sticks to clothing and lint screens. Yucky, sticky mess!

Chocolate will require you to wash everything twice over.

Bugs are just plain yucky (makes no difference if they are alive or dead they all come out the same after a good wash and dry!).

But the most tragic of all is the loss of Pokemon Cards.

Heaven forbid you should wash Pokemon Cards. Please, learn from my mistake and check those pockets! Pokemon Cards are not only expensive in terms of the dollars and cents we carefully mete out to our children, but they are extraordinarily valuable in the life of a five year old boy. They are personal friends, loyal friends, whose names and attributes are memorized, cherished and repeated often as a strange little mantra.

Pokemon Cards, despite their hefty life points or defense points, sadly cannot survive the attack of the Washer and Dryer. (must be a manufacturer exploit knowing full well parents WILL wash them!) They come out of the dryer hard and fragile, curled up, balled up, fraying and splitting. There is simply no hope for them but to receive a swift burial, preferably deep in the garbage can under other garbage so as to escape notice.

Yep, today Mom is a murderer and I truly hope to escape justice and pretend like it never happened (except for learning, finally, after all my previous lessons on the subject to CHECK THOSE POCKETS!!!).

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Who needs the Birds and the Bees anyway?

I’ve often wondered how that talk about the Birds and the Bees would go. I mean, what do the birds and the bees have to do with procreation anyway? Is it something about the bee and his stinger? (Even though it doesn’t work that way) And the birds? I have no idea.

But Sea Monkeys, now that I can get my head around.

My boy is raising sea monkeys. In his tank there are monkeys of all varieties, including the boy and girl type. A few of them have gotten romantic and have decided to make babies.

When two amorous sea monkeys ‘get together’ the boy attaches himself to the girl, about mid-way down her body, and they stay together that way for days, sometimes even weeks. During that time, he never leaves her; they swim together constantly. Also during that time you can see that gradually the lower portion of her body grows more opaque, and takes on a yellowish tinge.

Eventually, however, they will part, but if they are successful the girl is left with a little package down low on her body in which she carries who new tiny eggs growing in their egg sac. Some day, she’ll drop her eggs and when they hatch is entirely up to them.

So a boy and a girl decide they like each other and want to make babies. The boy has to sacrifice his own independence in order to reach his goal, allowing himself to be taken wherever the girl wants to go and to do whatever she wants to do for the duration of the courtship. While the girl has to sacrifice her privacy and independence and has to work very very hard because she has to carry her partner around with her wherever she goes. Eventually he’ll leave her, but she won’t be as fancy-free as he, as she’ll still have her egg sac to carry around.

Thankfully my boys are really only interested in the fact that they will soon have more sea monkey babies; they haven’t focused on the callous nature of the whole business.

All right, so maybe sea monkeys don’t make for a good analogy for a healthy human relationship either, but I still don’t get the birds and the bees.

Friday, February 10, 2006

Our Education Philosophy

David and I have been coming to the conclusion that we need to have an 'Education Philosophy', or guiding principle to help our kids through school. In other words, we decided to define our education value for our children and which would allow us to determine the goals that will help them get there.

What we have decided is that we want our children to be achievers. We want them to excell. They can be whatever they want to be, but we want them to be their best at that thing. For instance, Xander wants to be an astronaut. That means MIT and a degree (likely) in aeronautics; that's a lot of focus on grades and extracurriculars to ensure entrance into that prestigious school. CJ on the other hand wants to be an 'army guy'. Do we just go "well, it's just a grunt so he doesn't need to go to university" but we've decided that's not the way to go. He should be the best he can be. Perhaps he should go to WestPoint or some other really good ROTC program. The point being, we will ensure rules and discipline are enforced and observed in their childhood allowing them the freedom to be their very best in adulthood.

David and I have struggled against our own mediocrity our whole lives. David, a shy boy, was early on labelled as a dumb kid and he believed it. He hated school and his label helped to define why he hated it. It was only as an adult when he struggled to achieve the things he desired that he learned he was in fact of genius IQ, subsequently became a Mensa member and began to join the ranks of the intellectual elite. However, he got a very late start in life and while there's no longer any doubt that he's brilliant, he lacks much of the work ethic and personal discipline that could truly make him great. As for me, I have no lofty ambitions of discovering I'm a secret savant, but I do think I could have achived much more in life had I learned the value of hard work and follow-through. I am a lazy, lazy girl. I've been a quitter my whole life. My Mom made it easy for me, saying "it's YOUR life!" ... problem is I truly don't think a 12, 14, 16 year old kid is capable of owning their own lives, what did I know of life?

So back to our kids and our new-found education philosophy. Our goal is to have children who are ACHIEVERS, who are SUCCESSFUL as children. The steps we plan to take to help them get there are as follows:
1. Friend time will be limited to the extracurricular activities they participate in and weekend playtime.
2. Tutors or supplemental education will be pursued according to the child's interest and need.
3. Extracurricular activities will be according to interest and talent and will be of value.
4. Homework and practice time will be observed every week day.
5. Emphasis will be on family fun together and the value of education.

Yes, I am aware that I will not be popular and that I will bear the brunt of their dislike and frustration. David will back me up. Our goals are not set in stone, either, we will flex and move according to our children's needs. But we will keep our eye on what is best for them (in our humble opinions) and guide them to it. It's partly why we feel family fun is as important as all the rest because bonding and family traditions are so important to shaping a child, a family, a heart.

The boys will still have a childhood. They just won't be running around and playing every day. And in the end, they will be FREE! Free to pursue whatever may interest them, with every door opened to them because they will be accomplished, educated and value-centered.

Thursday, February 09, 2006

Bum Glue

Every time I visit the washroom for an (ahem) lengthier stay, I always like to read a little excerpt (or two!) from Chicken Soup for the Writers Soul. I just read a fun little article by Bryce Courteney, an Australian author, who touts BUM GLUE as the single most important factor in creating the Great Novel.

What's bum glue, you ask? The simple act of sticking your caboose to your desk chair (preferably with a computer in front of you) for a minimum of three hours every day. No, you're not supposed to stare out the window. No, high scores in Solitaire don't count either. WRITING ... that is the only thing that matters. At least for three hours every day, that's all that matters.

Apparently I have not been applying a liberal enough amount of bum glue to my rear end because I have been sadly lacking in the writing department lately. Look, the last time I posted here was the first of January!!! Shameful!

I have been working slowly and tediously at editing my first book, The Journey of Endings (I hate the title, but it's only a working title and it's better then calling it by, well, nothing). Editing is the worst writing job there is. At least when you're the author of the first draft, that is. Easy enough to go in there and tear up someone ELSE's writing, but darn near impossible to be critical with your own.

A lot of my problem is that I'm distracted by the other stories roaming around in my head. The ones I haven't been able to give voice to yet because I'm determined to finish The Journey first. And even worse still is the writhing green envy that lurks in my soul over my husband's newest book. Oooooh, I want a book like his!!!

And you want to know the even worst part still??!! I gave him the story. That's right. It's my story, only he's going to write it.

See, David and I have this weird symbiotic relationship thing going on in regard to our writing. With our first books, we each had the basic premise, but all the nifty details, the meat of the stories, came from our respective partner. I gave David all the great details for his first book Curiosity, and he in turn fed me the details for The Journey. And so it was with this newest book of his, only more so:

One Sunday morning David says "I'd sure like to write a book about pirates some day". Which I'm not surprised by because David has always loved pirates and in particular he's always been fascinated by Oak Island, a small island off the coast of Nova Scotia that legend says was used exclusively by pirates to hide their treasure. To which I responded "Hey, you know what would make a great story?" ... and proceeded to GIVE him said great story, and wow, it's a doozey!!! It is so good, I am just beyond myself with jealousy!

Poor David, I'm not being very gracious because a couple times he has said "You can write it, if you want!". But the truth is, I know it isn't my story. Yes, it came out of my mouth, but I swear it had not previously been in my head. I don't know I was channelling David's inner thoughts or if I am simply his Muse and this is how it works or if it was a gift from God. I don't know. All I know is, it's an amazing story that I SAID in about fifteen minutes that while I'm jealous of his opportunity to write it, I know is HIS story to tell. All I can say is, he'd better do a darn good job!!

In the meantime, I've applied some bum glue this morning and hope it is sufficient to keep me here for my allotted time. But I need a muse of my own so I think I'll visit here more often then once every six weeks to feed my own muse. Writing out my frustrations seems to be good for me because my book is calling me (finally!) so I must go. Thanks for the help!

Monday, January 02, 2006

What?? What?? You say.

Teach me not to write my blogs in Word or something before posting them ... I wrote this whole little epistle on my musings on the New Year and then bam, lost it. Darn thing! (have to admit some user error there). So I've just mumbled my thoughts and you're going "what? what did you say?", so I have to repeat myself. I'd accuse you of not listening carefully but I know the fault lies with me ;)

I said I LOVE NEW YEARS!!!! (can you hear me now?)

I said I've always loved Mondays, new day, new week, time to start fresh ... you know ... "Every morning is a fresh beginning. Every day is the world made new. Today is a new day. Today is my world made new. I have lived all my life up to this moment, to come to this day. This moment--this day--is as good as any moment in all eternity. I shall make of this day--each moment of this day--a heaven on earth. This is my day of opportunity." (Dan Custer) ... or something like that.

But the New Year, well, that's like a Monday only ten-fold!

And I'm not one to look behind me with regret for what might have been. Of course I'm perfectly aware that LAST year I said I'd lose those extra 25 lbs I've been carrying around and yep, I'm still packing them but I'm not going to beat myself up about it. You can bet, though, that I'll be adding it to my list of things "to do" in the New Year. (In fact, I went to the gym today, thank you very much!).

No, I look to the future with bright eyes and a heart full of hope. I believe in hope. I believe in all the possibilities that now lie behind me. Today I can be a totally new me. I don't have to be the same old me. The old year gets to be left behind, why not the old me? So today I am the 2006 model, brand spankin' new!

I sport all the features you came to love over the past 37 years but I've cleaned up the "buggy" issues making this years model much more reliable. I promise to be the best ME I've ever been!

So here's to HOPE, and BELIEVING in ONESELF and in the FUTURE.

Irish Blessing
May the road rise to meet you,

May the wind be always at your back.
May the sun shine warm upon your face,
The rains fall soft upon your fields.
And until we meet again,
May God hold you in the palm of his hand.
May God be with you and bless you:
May you see your children's children.
May you be poor in misfortune,
Rich in blessings.
May you know nothing but happiness
From this day forward.
May the road rise up to meet you
May the wind be always at your back
May the warm rays of sun fall upon your home
And may the hand of a friend always be near.
May green be the grass you walk on,
May blue be the skies above you,
May pure be the joys that surround you,
May true be the hearts that love you.