Wednesday, November 27, 2013
I joined a writer's group about five years ago and that first year I learned about something I couldn't really pronounce. I think the awful acronym prejudiced me at first. NaNoWriMo Was that a language used in Star Trek? No. It stood for National Novel Writing Month. Okay, got it. But what month was it? November. Surely it was a joke, wasn't it? Who would choose November to be the month where they abandon most other pursuits and devote inordinate amounts of time to writing, from scratch, a brand new novel? I'm usually making other things from scratch, like homemade rolls and pies. You know for that little, itty-bitty holiday we call THANKSGIVING! Sorry for the all caps, but I opted out of NaNo four years in a row because I felt surely a man chose the month. If you know me, you know I enjoy my baking. Don't mess with my baking! I digress. November is busy for me for lots of other reasons too. Family birthdays, anniversaries, Christmas preparations. So I'd always passed. Until this year. About mid-October some stray thought caught me by surprise. It sounded a little like this, "You know that idea for a book you had back in April? You should write it for NaNo." That might have been all that came of it until a certain friend suggested it too. And before we knew it we were on our way to planning and plotting how we could make it work.
My personal goal was to finish before Thanksgiving. Which is tomorrow.
And I did it.
I DID IT!
(I know, more all caps, but at least I only used one exclamation point.)
The new novel is written.
I landed at 50, 892 words over the course of 20 writing days.
It's a rough draft and won't be ready for readers for quite some time, but it is full of pure fun and I had a blast getting it down on the page. It has a working title that I am not announcing. Kind of like a baby name you don't want family members to get attached to using.
That is the extent of my bragging.
School is out in 5. And my girls and I are going to start the baking!
Pies, rolls and sauces, oh my!
Monday, September 9, 2013
This is a reprint from three years ago. If you do the math that means my littlest one in this poem is off in school, leaving me to watch the storm without her. Oh how I already miss her wide eyes discovering our world.
We sat on the lattice-back patio chair
You and I
To watch a storm
Because in the desert, rain is a spectator sport
Water spattered on the rocks
You sang the alphabet song
Somewhere around H-I-J-K
The thunder clapped directly above our heads
Like you had the fast-moving gray clouds for an audience
Your eyebrows snapped up like rubber bands
“What was that?” Your shock sent up a hand to cover your mouth.
“Thunder.” I explain.
You still scanned the yard and the soggy grass
Looking for a culprit
A gust of wind pushed the rain horizontal
And I knew our moment on the edge of the storm was over.
You clung to me with your four-year-old arms and legs as we scrambled inside.
We stood behind the glass door,
Watched our dusty patio chair get drenched
Live in the desert long enough and one rainy day can yield far too many lines of poetry...and it's just not the same without a child's wonder!
What a gift, this rain in the desert
For my thirsty and sun-baked soul.
I keep checking the window to watch the steady, heavy rain
Like I've never seen it before
Soaking into the soil and pooling in places
So dry I thought they could never be wet yet
Water is everywhere now and even my ears though dry feel wet inside as I soak up the sound of roof-pounding, shower-streaming water.
And when I'm done waxing poetic, even though there is no sunny day here, I still feel like a little clearwater (for the record this was wAAy before my time but you know you want to sing the chorus!)
Thursday, August 15, 2013
So I went for the straight-forward approach, tell it like it is.
First: The "Non" How To Make a Wreath that doesn't cost $50.
Why is it a Non-How-To?
Because I am NOT an expert. This is my first attempt at making a wreath. I don't even call my self crafty, unless we're talking about hiding chocolate. But I wanted a fall wreath and one that didn't cost more than a trip to see real foliage. So this is what I did. And if you are brave enough to copy my non-expert craftiness, please send me a picture -- I'd love to see new and improved versions of my beginner's luck.
Straw wreath - a couple of dollars at WalMart
One bunch of fall foliage flowers and leaves - $5 - conveniently next to the wreaths
One roll of burlap ribbon - $5, maybe a little more
One package of wreath making pins - totally forget how much but they were also right next to the wreath bases.
And heavy duty wire cutters. I borrowed a pair from the kindest neighbor on the planet. If you don't own any, you will have to use different flowers that don't require cutting.
I clipped the flowers and leaves from the bunch that I wanted to use. I removed the plastic from the straw wreath. A lot of straw went flying. Probably could have made the wreath in a barn instead of on my table, but that's hindsight for you. One note of caution (this is code for how I almost ruined the entire project): don't cut the twine that is responsible for keeping your straw wreath base in tact. It's not pretty.
I chose to wrap the burlap ribbon around the entire wreath (mostly to help secure the section I cut loose--see above caution) - but if you want to conserve ribbon, you could wrap the exposed side only-(this is a personal choice somewhere in the realm of how to organize your sock drawer--at the end of the day you are the only one who will know or care :)
Secure the flowers with the extra long looking wreath pins as you see fit. That's right, I don't have a flower placing pattern for you to follow. This feels like stating the obvious, but I don't have any flower-arranging credentials so you are better off figuring out this step on your own.
Tie or create a bow with the burlap ribbon.
Hang on your door. Pretend it isn't 100+ degrees and enjoy!
Here is a re-post of a poem I wrote in 2011.
Hand Picked Fun
I don’t know what happened to my bathing suit
Summer up and left
Mom moved the sweaters
From my big sister’s drawer
And the sun inched west a little sooner each day
Taking all the fun with him
Until we piled into the maroon station wagon
And drove north
Long enough for us to wonder if Dad got lost
We found the trees. Green leaves gone to yellow and orange.
Did the colors bring the cool air?
I thought so, but they told me it was the other way around.
Rows and rows of heavy laden trees.
We picked for hours, climbing, stretching
With cold noses and fingers
We filled our bags and bushels full of red, ripe apples.
And the country store had heated, fresh pressed cider.
One sip and my brother laughed at my eyes
Popping from the burst of flavor
Sweet and spicy
Like those apples had figured out a way
To store all the rays of summer sunshine.
Just for me.
Monday, July 1, 2013
When I signed up for the ANWA summer retreat, I knew I was in for several days of pure writing bliss. What I didn't know was that the weekend would start with a bonus. James Owen, author of Drawing Out the Dragons and SO much more, offered our group a personal, guided tour of his studio. I returned to the cabin and wrote this tribute and offer it as a thank-you to James for sharing a view of the space he's artfully created to create art!
A Poet’s Visit to Coppervale
Only the eyes of an artist can see
That forsaken paint-chipped walls haven’t outlived their usefulness,
Aren’t barriers but building blocks
To create a space, a world, to provide a life
It takes the eyes of an artist to see
Forty or fifty or 100-year-old floors can be used for more
Than Sunbeam classes or sermons,
How aging floors can support dreams
Walking, waking dreams of dragons
And superheroes and signals
Only the heart of an artist and
The touch of an artist’s hand
Can rescue delicate, resilient roses and
Replant them and let them grow
Like dreams, in their fertile home soil
|Rescued Heritage Roses|
|Heritage roses, came across the plains with the pioneers, rescued and replanted|
Saturday, June 8, 2013
On my mind
On a day like today
Thoughts of awe for the miracles
That have woven their way into my life this last year
Mostly in disguise and using totally ordinary names such as
A certain child's prayer
Voluntarily-completed household chores by non-complaining children (c'mon, you know that's a miracle!)
A service mission opportunity for my son
Surgery and relief from chronic pain for me
Unexpected vacation time with my husband in NYC
Answers to a certain child's prayer
An overwhelming response to the Gift Bags for Moms project (I still cry when I think of it)
In my heart today
Feelings of gratitude and humility
For the miracles in my life also known as friends
Friends both near and far, old and new
We, who have laughed and cried together
Served side by side
Watched our children grow up before our very eyes
Friends who have cared and called and carried me with their thoughtful words
Even though they didn't know they were doing it, or maybe they did
Friends who have been the greatest examples in the simplest of ways
I give thanks for all these miracles and many more
On a day like today
Wednesday, May 1, 2013
This post originally for the AZ American Mothers Blog.
I'll have more details (and pictures) later.
With luxury, laughter and love!
First luxury - this year the American Mothers Inc National Convention was held at the New York Waldorf Astoria. Yes, the Waldorf Astoria. Of course any hotel stay is a luxury for a mom, but the Waldorf provided historic, plush surroundings complete with fine dining and attention to detail. Even the dessert sported the iconic Waldorf logo.
Next, laughter - the attendees and honorees were treated to lunch with Kathie Lee Gifford. (Yes, the Kathie Lee!) She shared stories filled with humor and faith about what it means to raise children with character. She took questions and made time for pictures, too.
|Kathie Lee Gifford & Tamara Passey - AZ|
April 26, 2013
|Montserrat Wadsworth - NV, Michelle Lehnardt - UT, Kathie Lee Gifford & Kim Hoey Stevenson - DE|
April 26, 2013
Finally, Love! It started with warm greetings at registration and orientation, continued with encouragement on speech day to settle nerves and finished with video tributes, celebration and hugs for everyone.
All this for mothers. Yes, the mothers. Mothers of the year, of the country, of the children they care for with dedication--in mostly ordinary but sometimes heroic ways.
|Judy Ward AZ MOY, Mari Goodman AZ Mother of Achievement, Tamara Passey AZ YMOY|
April 27, 2013
Thanks to AMI for valuing the work and sacrifice of mothers!
Tuesday, April 9, 2013
This is a video of the full talk.
And then I came across this article: 10 Things I Learned When I Stopped Yelling
I appreciate the author's honesty and candor and # 6 about missing out on
life moments made me stop and think. So here's to taking deep breaths and
using a mild voice.