Thursday, April 28, 2011

Hushing that damn stupid voice - April 28, 2011

I know I'm not the first person to talk about that stupid little voice that chirps in my ear. "You suck. You're not good enough. You can't write. You're a failure. Why bother? Ugh, that sentence was terrible. Delete delete delete." But I think lately I'd let it take over - I'd let it be more than chirping, I'd let it be squawking, yelling, screaming. I kind of gave in to it.

My background is in writing. I knew I wanted to be a poet or writer when I was in fourth grade - I remember it so clearly. My BA is in English, with a focus on creative writing. My MA is in writing, literature, and publishing.

But what I love writing is not what pays the bills. I've always understood that but I hate it. I like writing...this. I like writing blogs, first-person accounts, poetry. I'm not good at fiction (and forever envious at my friends and peers who dash off book after book after book) although I think that goes back to a very specific period when I was a kid that kind of crushed that drive. Maybe it can be uncrushed, I don't know.

So when I do write for money, which can mean anything from a search-optimized webpage to a fun and interesting piece that I'm excited about but that also will be read by more than ten people, that voice just ROARS AT ME.

In the past few weeks I got two amazing emails. One was from my new editor/friend for whom I'm writing a weekly column (about coupons!) and another weekly roundup about real estate (mostly just a list, not really anything to write). She sent me an unsolicited pep talk. She told me that she doesn't have to edit what I write, and she told me I'm a good writer. It feels funny even writing that here - like...I'm bragging? I don't know. But it's one of those frameable emails, seriously. And then one of my dearest, most beloved friends, someone whose opinion I totally trust and who I know will be honest with me, sent me the most amazing words about a short piece I wrote for potential inclusion in a book. A piece that was totally out of my comfort zone - sort of a prosey poem, definitely longer than I usually write (and 1/3 the length of what it should be, but I think we'll just go with it).

I can write. I can. It's my passion. It's what I do. I'm hoping that starting in August, when my kid goes to school for a very full day, I can write write write and get paid for it again. I can also do editing and proofreading - things I don't love but that I also know I'm good at (although thanks to a bitchy boss, I definitely lost my way on those talents as well).

I'm rambling. Even this blog entry isn't exactly what I want to say. I think I need to go re-read Bird by Bird and Writing Down the Bones and a few other you-can-do-it-just-do-it books. I need to find my way again. I hope that that prosey piece and the column I write will help.

Also you're reading this blog. And that's nice.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

And it's Passover again - April 16, 2011

Passover snuck up on me this year. But I think I'll be OK for the eight days - here's what I have planned for myself. (My husband, you may recall, isn't Jewish, so he doesn't observe, though he'll eat what I make in the house and won't be rude about eating hametz in front of me. It would be too complicated to have my daughter observe this year, so she can just eat whatever.)

  • Matzagna - basically veggie lasagna with moistened matzah in place of noodles. I make this every year and it's always good and always lasts a few days.
  • "Sunday Baked Eggplant" from the Monday to Friday Cookbook (out of print and a mere penny on Amazon or easily found at thrift stores - you need it!). My go-to recipe - super easy.
  • Baked potatoes.
  • Salad.
  • Passover "pasta." (Hey, if you're eating gluten free, this pasta is also GF so check for it in your favorite grocery store's Passover section!)
  • The Hungry Girl "Slaw and Order" recipe (broccoli slaw as a pseudo-pasta - it's good!).
  • Passover rolls - yum yum.
  • Matzah and cream cheese. (Duh.)
  • Matzah brei.
  • Eggs. Eggs. Eggs. (Backyard chicken eggs!)
  • Chocolate-covered macaroons (a splurge from today's shopping trip). Noms.
  • Regular macaroons.
  • Tons of veggies - I always always eat an artichoke during Passover just because.
  • Matzah ball soup (vegetarian).
  • Quinoa, maybe.
  • I just realized sunflower seed butter may be sort of kosher - I should look into  that.
I should be OK, right? In fact, writing this out, I ALWAYS go a bit overboard and have more than enough food and then stuff left over at the end when I'm sick sick sick of matzah. But I'm going for variety since I always feel hungry during Passover. I also sometimes (feeling guilty all the while) eat kitniyot, particularly as the week drags on - soy and beans are my main source of protein alongside eggs and cheese (I won't eat seitan/wheat-based fake meats during Passover and really, I can only eat so much cheese and eggs) so I eat a bit here and there. 

Happy Passover!

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

A Day in My Life - April 13, 2011

Usually these types of posts have a picture for every step of the day. If that's what you're looking for...look elsewhere. Maybe someday I'll create a post like that. For now, I just wanted to document what my days are like (weekdays - weekends are another animal entirely) for those who are curious.

7:25am - The alarm goes off. We all stir. Someone hits the snooze. We sleep for 5 more minutes, give or take.
7:30am - We're all up. The kid is taken to the potty by daddy; I run upstairs and throw on clothes, throw in contacts, slap on makeup to cover the biggest problem areas (WHY am I almost 40 and still getting pimples? UNFAIR), and dash back down. Sometimes in here I lay out her clothes, sometimes daddy does it. Lately, I make sure her school bag is stocked with what she needs - most days, happily, it needs no additions from the day before. Sometimes I need to toss in a spare pair of pants and undies and possibly a cloth diaper. Sometimes (most times) those are all there, unused, from the day before - hooray!
7:45am - Grab a coffee in my travel mug (thanks Keurig!) or not. Grab the kid while daddy throws on his clothes and grabs his coffee. Ask her if she needs potty 10 times, then take her anyway.
7:55am - Hit the road. School starts at 8 and we're more than 5 minutes away, but...well, we try.
8:00am (ish) - Drop the kid off at school. That's where she has breakfast, in case you noticed we didn't feed her and thought I was really really mean. She has lunch there too.
8:15am-11:45am - This is the time I have to get everything done. I always:

  • ...check the following sites: Yahoo mail, Gmail, Etsy, Facebook, Livejournal, this blog's blogroll.
  • ...grab my Swagbucks of the day (survey, NOSO, daily poll, toolbar, and a few searches). I might also start running SBTV in the background for bonus bucks.
  • ...check that first list again and again.
Then, I also write the articles I'm getting paid to write (I have a new gig with our local Patch and am hoping to slowly over the next few months get more work in writing/editing/proofreading), drive to the grocery store or YDFM - I have a driving phobia/issue but over the past three-ish years - not coincidentally the same amount of time I've been a mom - have managed to push myself and now drive at least once a week or more to places I need to go, with goals for improving this further this year, eat breakfast, eat lunch, do laundry, make a half-assed effort toward neatening things up, fill my Etsy orders, dink around on the Internet, wear my Snuggie, and...I don't even know. 

11:55am - Pick the kid up. OK so sometimes we leave a bit later.
12:30pm-3:00pm (approx) - The hard part of my day. She's usually crabby but lately is refusing to nap consistently. She wants to watch Signing Time but...NOT THAT ONE OR THAT ONE OR THAT ONE or she only wants to watch the special features or the sign review or something. She asks for bed, but when we get settled she's kicking and waving and signing things to me. Most days she does eventually nap or settle and play with her toys. Upon waking she's often crabby all over again. During her nap I answer emails or something.
Alternating Mondays (hopefully every Monday soon), we have physical therapy from 3:30 to 4:30.
Wednesdays for the next few weeks we have Kindermusik from 4:30 to 5:15, and today as I type this I'm planning on going there at 3:30 because it's held at a bouncy place and I think she'd like to bounce around for a while.
We used to have chiropractic appointments but we are discontinuing that for the time being - another post for another time. 
Sometimes I take her for a walk into town, where we visit the bookstore at which I used to work and play with the train table, get frozen yogurt, and wander. The library used to be a great destination, but now she wants to touch the computers and tantrums until I drag her out, blushing. Sometimes we go to the playground - there are three options, and all have pros and cons. Sometimes - like right now - daddy emerges and takes her and plays with her for a bit. Very rarely I brave the car with her and we go to the farmer's market (a far easier task without her but she loves going and it kills some time and is the best place for vegetables anyway). (PLEASE if you read this do NOT offer me suggestions of what to do with her. It's very likely that we either have considered it, have tried it, or can't. Trust me on this. I won't even approve your comment, but I'll probably be annoyed for the day.) I'm thinking of seeing about going to the work-and-play cafe on Thursdays if they're consistently on the empty side in the afternoons, although that could get expensive. But it would be good for both of us and would force me 
5:00pm-ish - Daddy starts dinner. We eat. Then Daddy takes her and they play, she usually gets a bath, and he takes her out - to the mall to practice walking, to the music store to play keyboards, to the pet store for whatever, or just...out. They bond, it's good. I do not usually get anything done in this time period. I watch TV, I read, I sometimes fill an Etsy order if it came through in the afternoon, I play online, I am tired.
9:30/10:00 pm - Bedtime. It's late but it's what works. I go to bed with her. 


I was going to add some links in this entry but now...I'm not. So there.

Monday, April 11, 2011

It Only SEEMS Like I Haven't Been Blogging - April 11, 2011

No, really, I actually have been blogging. I just haven't hit "Publish Post" lately. I don't know why I'm feeling skittish again - but I am. I have a few posts that are more emotional or that discuss having a child with special needs, they're just not ready to come out just yet. But maybe soon.

Also, we just finished a very long Spring Break week of no preschool. For some, Spring Break is an exciting time full of fun and parties and perhaps even a trip. For us, it was a week with no break at all. Fewer therapy sessions (private PT and speech, but that's all). And lots of racking our brains figuring out what to do to entertain a kid with a short attention span (but what kid doesn't have a short attention span?)? It makes things oh so much more fun that I have to carry her most places and she's over 30 pounds now.

So, for example, going to the bouncy castle place one day meant me carrying her from castle to castle, trying to help her climb the biggest one (of course that's what she wanted) while neurotypical older/bigger kids raced all over us, trying to keep her from knocking other kids down or being knocked down. Playgrounds? She'll sometimes happily swing for a half hour - other times she wants to switch the swing she's in (I wish I knew why) over and over, will cry and cry until I take her out of the swing only to point back at it and sign please and go in it...lather, rinse, repeat. I envy every parent who can take his/her kid to one of these places and sit on a bench while the kid...plays.

We did find that a local "work-and-play cafe" is VERY welcoming of my kid and I plan on taking advantage of their services in the near future. A year ago I wouldn't have even considered checking it out but she IS more stable and more communicative and more social thanks to preschool, and she took to the playspace and the staff there immediately. So perhaps that will offer some relief for the summer.

The...summer...with no preschool for two long months. I can't even wrap my head around it. Camps don't work for us - she's either not disabled enough (she doesn't need medical care or nurses, she wants to be playing) or too disabled (most camp offerings). Give it a few years and we'll find our way through that dilemma, I'm sure, but this summer creeps and crawls its way toward us laughing, "How many days can you go to the pool, really?" The pool, the library, the farmers' market, walking around town...and then I'm not sure. (I have a driving phobia - isn't that CUTE? - that I'm working my way through and improving upon every single day, but it still limits some of our options.)

I didn't mean to get into all of this today. I just meant to assure you all that I'm writing, you just can't see it. You all = all...10 of you? Ah, the blogging life.