Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Writing Prompt Tuesday

I've been listening to Writing Excuses for a while now. Brandon, Dan, Howard, and Mary may not know it, but they have helped me immensely. That being said, I've taken the last few weeks off from working on my story because I've hit a fear point. And I haven't written anything. I've done a lot of thinking, which I know is still good, but I haven't written. (Do blog posts count?? I'm not sure they do.) But today when I heard the "You're out of excuses, now go write!" I decided to do just that.

Writing Excuses 4.9: Take an absurd 19th century folk belief, treat it as absolute fact, and write a story hinging on that principle. (and I really, really, really hope they don't get mad at me for making a graphic based on their prompts... I should probably ask...)

Friday, July 27, 2012

Reading Trendy Books

This morning while perusing some of my favorite blogs, Ava at Writability had this awesome post about how people today are judging readers for liking "bad" books. She noted that it's sad that we're making people feel ashamed for picking up a book and reading it, just because that book is a current trend. It got me thinking so much, that I felt like I wanted to write a post of my own.

One person's derivative garbage is another person's literary heaven. Just because you don't like something does not mean it's ok to make fun of people who do. Being an art major, I've been trained to see that most everything in life is subjective. Besides, it's just common sense that people are going to like different things.

For instance, I love realist art - art that looks like things really look: Rembrandt, Mucha, Paul Calle, etc. I also have a taste for some abstraction, but not a lot. But there are people out there who LOVE it. I'm not one of them, but I don't make fun of those artists who create it, nor their collectors who buy it. Give me a choice between Mucha and Hoffman, I'll pick Mucha every time. That doesn't mean that the avid collector of Hoffman is bad, or wrong, or an idiot, or a mindless slave to current trends.

Alfons Mucha

Hans Hoffman's "The Gate"

Monday, July 23, 2012

A Peace Treaty of Sorts

I have two different blackberry bushes in my yard. In the front yard is the "I'm going to take over the world with kindness and big juicy berries!" Blackberry bush.

When these berries ripen, they are 1.5 to 2 inches long, bursting with flavor and practically hop right off the vine into my hands. As you can see, there are few, if any, thorns to be seen on the vine or anywhere near the berries. Harvesting from this vine is an absolute pleasure and I look forward to going out there every morning to see what has ripened.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Ah, technology

I have been trying to figure out how to link twitter and blogger and facebook all together. Why post things three times, right? And I only even have a twitter so I can follow some really fantastic writers. Change is not my thing anymore. I used to love it. I would rearrange the furniture, the pictures on the walls, and wish I could knock out walls or re-design the house. And for a long time I was current with technology, even building my own computer piece by piece.

Not so much anymore. Now that I have a gajillion kids and young women to keep track of and Girl Scout troops, well... I just don't have time. In fact, now I get excited when I have time and energy to actually move furniture around, which is rare, now. Maybe once a year if I am lucky. And for a long time, I have avoided getting "connected" in all the ways. I am one of the few without a cool smart phone. I don't like being tied to a phone. I don't mind being tied to a computer, though. I love my computer, don't get me wrong. I just don't like things that take extra thought or extra time, even though they may save me time in the future.

So, with all that whining said, I have finally done it. I sat myself down and decided to try it. To see if I was really too old to figure out current technology, or if I could navigate and figure it out. So this is my test. Was I able to successfully link my Twitter, Facebook, and Blog? Will it post where it's supposed to?

I don't know. We shall see. But I am in the mood to troubleshoot and figure it out. The kids are in bed, my older kids are being awesome and getting ready for sleep, and the house is clean enough for me to not guilt myself about the time spent. So here goes. Will it work?

update: apparently, I have some work to do before the blog will post to facebook or twitter... but twitter posts to both. If only I could figure out how to change the text color in the sidebar. For now, my apologies for the unreadable red. I've hunted through the html and css to try to find the code, but no luck as of yet. I haven't give up, though.

Friday, July 20, 2012

To Make Granola

I am not willing to turn on the oven for much of anything during these super-hot-melt-your-brain days of summer. Except for Granola. I will happily turn crank that baby on and suffer through the 20 degree temperature increase from the convection fans for granola. Anytime. Just so I can eat it.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Fear is a Funny Thing

There are few things in this world more paralyzing than fear. And there are all different kinds of fear that attack us. Fear of failure, fear of the unknown, fear of not being good enough, fear of loss, fear of never having enough, fear of dying, fear of pain, fear of being alone, fear of moving forward... the list goes on and on. In fact, each one of those fears has pages and subparagraphs and outlines with squadrons of specialists, lawyers, and therapists to decipher, interpret, and make that fear larger or smaller in comparison to whatever it is you're looking at.

Fear has a foothold in my brain, and I wrestle with it constantly. The more I face it, the weaker it gets, or perhaps the stronger it makes me, I'm not sure. But there are some fears that are primal, deep, that seem to run from the inside of my bones and have absolute control. And today I have to face some of those fears because I have no control to change the situation or affect the outcome.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

If You're Happy And You Know It, Levitate!

There are inherently happy people placed here on this planet, and they seem to have a gravitational pull on those around them. When they are happy, instead of getting pulled down by the people around them, they have a lifting affect. So it doesn't seem to matter what part of the "ride" of life they're on, their car seems to glide a little smoother or lift off the rails so the bumps don't quite hit as hard. It's not that the bumps aren't there, they just seem to have an innate ability to adjust their attitude to continue to be able to float along and find the joy in the journey.

It has been said many times that life is a roller-coaster, with dips, turns, twists, and many ups and downs that leave your stomach heaving sometimes and other times fill you bursting with laughter. Whether life is a roller coaster, a merry-go-round, a Ferris Wheel, or a box of chocolates, in the end we get out of it what we put into it. And today I think my challenge is to decide to levitate. It's much more fun to pull people along upwards than to grouch, grumble, and groan about everything that is going wrong.

Friday, July 13, 2012

To Clean A Small Mess Requires A Big Mess

In the process of changing rooms around, I decided to empty all of the toys into the living room and send all of the books to the basement. They will be sorted into keep vs donate/garage sale as I get time. This is my cleaning process: in order to clean up a small mess, I need to make a bigger mess, then sort through everything so I know what's missing pieces, what's broken, and what needs to be cleaned. So, this is what my living room currently looks like with everything from the kids rooms except clothes dumped here for sorting. It is a mess. Not a fun mess for me, but it sure is for the kids.

Apparently this is the wrong way to clean. The right way to clean somehow involves everything having a place and then everything magically finding its way to its place to stay until played with and put back again. As you can see, I have an awful lot of somethings without places, therefore I'm doing it wrong. But the whole living room needs a do-over anyway. That's what started this. Only I can't get to the desks until I get the bedrooms sorted out.
The mess of toys in the front room surrounded by all the clutter. It is a disaster. The room was a disaster to begin with, just look at all that clutter on the desks against the wall. That is what started this project to begin with!

These piles make me twitchy... I cannot wait to get my books in the proper order, and that's not even half of them.
But now after washing down the walls and sweeping and mopping the floors, I have realized that my son's room has a purple wall. Don't shrug and say, "So?" to me. IT'S A PURPLE WALL! And my brain is starting to itch because of it.

Under normal circumstances, this would not be a huge issue. (And for the last year it's been a non-issue because he shared the room with his sister.) However, circumstances at my house are not normal. I'm not normal. You have no idea how hard it was for me to cave and dress a daughter in pink when I first had a girl. After having five daughters who loved loved loved their princess pink, I am so very ready to have a NOT pink room for my only son.

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Stuff, Stuff Everywhere... And No One Wants To Clean

While sitting on the couch relaxing yesterday, I looked around and saw my house. The clutter, the need for vacuuming, the accumulated finger and handprints on the walls, the piles of papers, mail, books, and magazines, and the toys. Oh the toys. My son's cars, the My Little Ponies, and a random Barbie brush and Lego placed exactly where bare feet will unknowingly step. My house felt so much like an obstacle course, I had the bright idea that perhaps I should de-clutter and get organized.

Sounded like a great idea at the time, I swear.

According to Pinterest making my over-crowded-with-four-desks-and-a-piano-and-a-fairly-large-bookshelf-that-contains-all-my-art-related-books living room to this beautiful and simplistic space should take less than $5 and 10 minutes. Yeah, right.

Friday, July 6, 2012

A Lack of Verbosity

The past few weeks have been quite busy, and now that the holiday is over and the family trip to Zion Nat'l Park is over and the Young Women camp is over I can rest. And so my brain turned off. Sometimes it's nice to just be. I'll admit my house may not be the cleanest right now, but my kids are hugged and fed and I am happy to just sit here and be their momma for now. Words will come later.

There was a forest fire a couple of mountains over, so our little valley was filled with smoke.