Tag Archives: kids

Day 22: And then I became a year older…

April 22

IMG_8635My birthday has now come and gone. And I didn’t spend nearly enough time writing about it because I was too busy sitting in my own pit of self-misery about (gulp) adding another year to my number plate. Yea, I know, 33 ain’t all that bad. It’s not IMG_8720thaaaat old. But something about my yearly celebration of being pushed out of my mom’s vagina in our cozy Vancouver, BC town-home in 1982 triggers some serious self-reflection, and with serious self-reflection comes well, serious moods.

My son (age 9) offered to make me a special bday breakfast to wake up to on Saturday. As is the case with most 9 year olds, he forgot. My “special” day started out with the squabbling of my 9 year old and 7 year old, and my not-so-gentle reminder that “All I want for my birthday is for you two to STOP FIGHTING!“, followed by their responses, “Oh yea, happy birthday Mom!” and hugs, for which I was already too grumpy to enjoy or appreciate fully.

I know part of my problem is that I’m “too nice”. Maybe I need to start ordering people around and telling them to make me coffee, clean the kitchen, hand me a book to read (that’s NOT a kids books!) and then LEAVE ME ALONE to sulk. Except that what I really wanted was attention. I wanted them to make a big deal about me, but I didn’t want to ask them to because I didn’t want them to make a big deal just because I asked them to. I wanted them to want to. Ugh, and this my friends is where the perpetual disappoint festers.

You don’t tell people what you want -> They don’t know what you want -> You don’t get what you want -> They don’t know why you are disappointed -> You blame yourself for your unrealistic expectations -> They move along with their lives and will likely not ever be able to “read your mind” and know what you want…

Sound familiar?

Example:

IMG_8700I ask for a mint-chocolate chip ice cream cake with chocolate cake. What do I get? (Oh Gawd, I know I sound like a brat typing this!) A HUGE sheet cake of “dulce de leche” cake…hmmm….sounds good (even if it’s NOT what I asked for NOR did it have ANY IMG_8688ice cream)…right? Oh sure, if you are NOT me, you might actually LIKE white cake SOAKED in MILK?!?! With a custard filling?!?! And strawberries on top (sounds good) with that weird jelly stuff coated on them (not so good)?!?! Let’s be real here: I have a weird aversion to certain textures. This has included jelly and ketchup since childhood. Now it will also include soggy milk-soaked cakes, custard filling, and strawberry goo (sigh). I’m a jerk. But I smiled and ate the cake like a good girl (as many bites as I could stomach) because I know the notion came from a good place, and they were all very proud of their AMAZING cake they chose for me. So yes, like I said (typed) I’m a jerk for not liking the cake and being disappointed that I didn’t get what I wanted on my ONE special day of the WHOLE YEAR…but I also didn’t tell them “No, this is not what I asked for, and the thought of eating it grosses me out beyond your capability to comprehend.”

IMG_8702And my funkiness prevented me from blogging and promoting the crap out of my crowdfunding for writing efforts (only 9 days left!!! AND the only thing I really really DO WANT for my bday) and even though I made it to the LA Times Festival of Books, I really only got there for the final hour of the thing when everyone was packing up and yes, the books were all getting marked down to 50% off (I love a good deal!) but no books were calling to me (it was all the leftovers anyways) and literally the only picture I took while I was there was of a breastfeeding booth (yes, this is my life with kids and being a breastfeeding advocate even after I no longer am breastfeeding any kids of my own!). But…I am grateful I got to be there at all! Even if only for an hour…even if it took longer to drive there than the actual amount of time I got to spend there.

Pink’s hot dogs served me a burger (because, well, hot dogs are gross and so I ordered a burger even though I felt that was kind of lame to go to a famous hot dog stand and order a turkey burger). The crazy line at Pink’s made us 30 minutes late for the book reading we were heading to so I had to walk in to the tiny bookstore with the nearly-impossible-to-open doors, and feel the awkward rudeness of showing up mid-reading. I IMG_8707couldn’t think of any brilliant questions to ask the author when it came time for discussion (I usually love asking questions). And though I was first to hug the author (is that OKAY? Maybe I need to work on my book-signing etiquette, but hey, I’m a hugger!) and get my book signed (which I bought earlier in the week and then regretted it because if I had bought it at the bookstore I could have gotten a free finger puppet! Damnit, I love free stuff) and I was impressed that the ever-fabulous author (and a former writing professor of mine from UCR) remembered how to spell my weird frenchie name (A-I-M-E-E, no accent on the first E because I’m not french and have never put the accent there) but then accidentally gave me two A’s in her excitement as she signed and I blabbed on about who only knows what in my nervous jitters. I kind of love that it’s goofy because it reminds me that yes,I am not the only one who struggles to perform under the pressure of watching eyes. I just KNOW that someday (when I’m a big famous author) that I will flub names and then draw a giant pen heart to cover up the flub and then it looks like a giant black heart and keeps growing and keeps getting uglier and everyone will be standing there waiting, kids crying, pulling on their mommy’s skirts to go home already, and I’ll be drawing stupid black hearts to cover up my flubs.

So, happy sappy sorry birthday to ME! Another year older, and that much closer to something…death? Publishing? Cancer? Another broken wrist? Toe?

*Oh yea, forgot to mention I didn’t even get to blow out my own bday candles…there were only 2 and both my daughters took care of those before they were even done singing happy birthday to me. Whatever. Why do I even care??? It’s not like I believe in stupid things like making a wish on your birthday and then blowing out the candles and then not telling anyone what you wished for or it won’t come true…Okay, I still do.

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Submissions Challenge: The Prequel, Part Uno

Dec. 12, 2013

Am I ready? The prequel to the Submissions Challenge…

(Writer’s note: Apparently I was NOT ready, since I am now posting this three weeks after writing it! Oops! My bad. You know you were too busy to read it in December anyways! And me? Oh, there’s nothing like spending 5 hours (yes, FIVE hours) waiting in line for Santa two days before Christmas, so yea, I’ve been busy too!)Christmas at the mall

It’s been nearly 2 weeks since I finished NaNoWriMo and I thought I would sit with my new novel for a bit and work out some of the initial kinks. Well, I haven’t done that. I haven’t really done anything creative other than decoupage half a dozen paper mache letters to give out for Christmas.

(In additional creative crafting updates, I made 16 fleece scarves too! What??? I LIKE crafting! Though my hand will never be the same from cutting all the little fringe on the sides of SIXTEEEN fleece scarves!)

And I want to start my guitar challenge, but all that writing during NaNoWriMo made me really want to write more. Or at the very least, edit and submit some of my work. Because, well, no one gets published if they don’t send their work out! And so, since I received the fateful email that told me my poetry manuscript was rejected,

rejection

I now have a manuscript’s worth of poems that are free once again to go out into the great big world of literary magazines and contests and try to find homes.

And I should probably give many of them a last little edit (or several) since I’ve had several months to let them sit and wait. So, can I challenge myself to submit poems (maybe even a couple short stories) in the next 30 days and see if I can do it? I mean, really actually send them out? Fees, freebies, and what-have-you?

What would my goal be?

Submit 10 poems to 10 contests, and 2 short stories to 2 contests???

Okay, that’s it. I will let you know how it goes…

And then maybe you will see (if you didn’t already know) what a process it is to do this, which is why I don’t do it as often as I should.

First, there’s finding the contests. Ones that don’t charge a reading fee are first choice. Small reading fees next. Ones that give you a year free subscription with reading fee are good. Ones that feature  work similar to yours (mine!) should be included in the first choices.

Okay, so you have the contests you want to enter, now what? Oh yes, the poems! (And short stories.) Which ones? Which ones? Does the contest allow simultaneous submissions? Make sure to keep a spread sheet of what you (ME) sent where, and when you expect to hear back.

So, you (ME) have a list of what you want to send, and have cross referenced it with where you want to send it to…now comes the ugly details…sending that awful query letter, or whatever you call it. You  know, where you introduce yourself, name your work, toot your own horn, be brief yet interesting, even unexpected! Ugh. For someone who loves to write, this is no doubt the most painful part of submission in my measly opinion (I used measly in place of humble because humble is too predictable, and something us in the “literary” world call “cliche”, oh don’t I sound so high-brow??? Ha ha. Or not!).

And then…da da da dahhh! (That was the sound of trumpets, in case you didn’t hear right.) You (ME) click “send” on your email or on their submission form and hope you attached the right files, and hope you sent the right revision, and hope that they like it even though all of a sudden you realize that it’s NOT your best work, in fact it hardly qualifies as poetry or prose or anything! Ah!

Enter: Freak out time. This period will last until you (fleetingly) forget (yea right) that you sent your work out and you get an email telling you “Thank you” and you get all excited, until you see that BIG “BUT…” that makes it a polite rejection. Hey, at least they’re gentle.

So, this may be why I don’t submit stuff often enough. Or it’s the three kids that need all sorts of attention like meals personally prepared and served to them, clothes bought, laundered and folded (yea, I don’t put stuff away though), or the endless and painful homework help Monday-Thursday. And then there’s the cleaning. The never. Ever. Ending. Cleaning. Oh god, did I mention how messy kids are?Mess

How needy? How expensive? How cute? And loving? And sweet (when they’re not fighting)? And how I could almost forget about everything else in the whole world that matters because they are like (valley girl moment!) the center of my universe??? (Oops, another cliche! Damnit!)

But yes, I do have to do what makes me happy outside of enabling their happiness. And so, long live the poetry submissions, and one day (in a land far far away in another time and dimension), I will be published in (wait for it) my very own collection, a whole book all of me! Then volumes of books. A short story collection. A novel. Novels. Books. Ahhhhh! It will be beautiful! I’ll be a professor at a university, with a bookshelf full of my own books that I will give to students who visit me during office hours and they will rejoice in the hope that one day they too will be published in their own office giving out their own books to students who will aspire to be like them, and on and on in an everlasting path of writers!

So Merry friggin’ Christmas and Happy ‘nother New Year. Whoopdie-doo!

(Yea, I know those wishes are late and lack-luster. There’s always next year to be more sincere (and to visit Santa WAY earlier than two days before he flies all the way around the world to give out presents to all the good little boys and girls, preserving what little sanity remains of said children’s parent/parents).

Day 1: No Makeup

Wednesday, Sept 11

Okay, I finally did it. To be honest, it was a little bit by accident. I got up and washed my face, then went downstairs to do the whole breakfast thing with the kids, and after we ate it hit me: go upstairs and do makeup real quick before I take them to school. But then I remembered, oh yea, I’m trying to go makeup free for a month. And I was going to start two days ago. I guess I will start today.

And so, I bravely (and somewhat forgetfully) took the kids to school with…dun dun dun (dramatic drumroll please)…no makeup! I did it! I did it! Kind of forgetting, while talking to other moms, that I looked, well in my opinion, horrendous!

But, don’t fear, no one made any mean comments like back in the days of high school. When, had I showed up with no makeup, I would get the inevitable questions like, “Are you sick? Are you feeling okay? What’s wrong?” To which I would answer, “No, I just didn’t wear makeup today (you jackass).”

So, following the school drop-off, my neighbor came over for coffee. Yay! I thought. Some mommy chit chat (insert smiley face). We sat in my living room talking and drinking yummy coffee, when it dawned on me…oh God, I’m not wearing makeup. She must think I look disgusting. A wave of embarrassment ran through my body. So what did I do?

I confessed. I felt the need to apologize for my lack of put-together-ness. Sure, I was wearing clothes (not pajamas, not even sweats!), but still…I felt naked without my security blanket of foundation and blush and mascara. She scoffed that it was no big deal, and that she rarely got makeup on in time for taking her son to school. But then I filled her in on my purpose in not wearing makeup. How, usually it is the first thing I do. Every morning. How I don’t like to go downstairs until I have my “face” on.

And how this next thirty days was going to be a challenge, but one I hoped would help me see myself more clearly by the end of it. She applauded my self-inflicted challenge, and told me what I’m sure she thought I wanted to hear (and what we all really do), that I looked beautiful with no makeup and that I shouldn’t feel that I NEED to wear it every day.

I didn’t do this to invite flattery, though who could argue that it doesn’t feel good to be told we look pretty? Even if it does make you feel a little uncomfortable at the thought of someone giving you shameless compliments that you really don’t believe. My goal is to be able to BELIEVE that by the end of this month-long experiment.

And so, the journey begins today.

P.S. My friend also mentioned that skin needs to breathe and if you wear makeup everyday it’s not good for your skin. That seems to make sense, right?