Archive for the ‘Assorted and Sundry’ Category
March 17, 2017 @ 8:13 pm | Filed under: Assorted and Sundry
Been working my tail off, hoo boy. Poor ole blog went dark again: not enough hours in the day. I have hopes of moving a bunch of things out of drafts this weekend—I’ve piled up so much here in bits and pieces!
Quick notes before I put this computer away for the night. Finished Murder for Her Majesty today—my readaloud with Huck and Rilla for the past month or so. SO good and highly recommended. One of their favorite readaloud novels yet, I do believe. Young Alice, on the run from her father’s murderers, bumps into some amiable choirboys who hide her in their ranks. Elizabethan intrigue with a delightful similarity to Anne McCaffrey’s Dragonsinger (which is what I feel like reading next).
Garden: blooming. Nasturtiums, hyacinth, tree mallow, milkweed, freesia, lavender. Daffodils have been and gone.
Learning notes: Waltzing Matilda (current folk song), Journey North Mystery Class (started quite late—yesterday in fact!—but we’re caught up now and going full throttle), Latin, German.
My first Brave Writer class, Comic Strip Capers, is wrapping up Week 2 and I’m all smiles at the hilarious scripts and clever drawings my students are turning in. I’m having the time of my life with these kids.
Am tuckered out. Night, y’all.
I wrote a quickie booknotes post last night in the five minutes between work and family movie time, but I took it down a short while later because it was too quick, too silent about events I actually have quite a lot of words for. Choice words. Not all of them fit for my kids’ ears. I’ve been speaking them elsewhere and seem to have annoyed a fair number of people. Well, that’s too bad. I suspect I’ll be saying more, not less, in days to come. Perhaps not always here, in this space which is a happy little retreat for me. But maybe here too. There is so very much to say.
(Deep breath, fingers twitching.) Not this minute. Right now, I need to work. So I’m going to just open a space for a family story or two. If you want my activist voice, come on over to Facebook or Twitter.
A couple of days ago, a Girl Scout rang the bell. It’s cookie season, as you know. I turned her down with regrets, because, frankly, five dollars a box is too rich for my blood.
An hour later, another ring, another sweet kid, another set of regrets.
THREE MINUTES LATER, another doorbell chime. But this time it was our neighbor, Guy—who seriously is the nicest guy—holding out three boxes of cookies.
“I can’t say no to a little girl,” he said, thrusting Do-si-dos, Samoas, and Tagalongs into my arms. “But I also can’t eat these cookies.”
My children would like to raise a statue in his honor.
My son wrote the following about me in an email to a friend: “She used to cook dinner or all the time until Dad [took over the meal prep] and now she only Cooks now and then. Her Specialties are sandwiches and leftovers.”
I may need to add that to my resumé.
I had garden-y things to add to this post but my
five twenty minutes are up. Tomorrow, maybe. And I’m going to re-post the one I took down yesterday (it’s not much of anything, trust me, just disconnected sentences about what we’re reading) now that I’ve had a chance to explain why I was quiet (here) over the (tumultuous) weekend.
January 15, 2017 @ 12:12 pm | Filed under: Assorted and Sundry
My Kindle highlights are a mess because I so often fall asleep reading, and my finger hits the screen and selects random phrases of no consequence like “exactly that. He watched the bird” or “he passes me in his car” or simply “elsewhere.”
Sometimes, later, I read through a string of these accidental highlights and laugh at the crooked little poems they make.
What are you doing? What are you
Let us have no meandering
There’s no point, is there
This is what I see
had been no one
of gaslight shining on
bars of cloud
(Accidental highlights from The Girl on the Train, David Copperfield, To the Lighthouse, Mansfield Park, Passage, Going Clear: Scientology, Hollywood, and the Prison of Belief, and Jane Eyre)
December 30, 2016 @ 8:59 am | Filed under: Assorted and Sundry
The Round 1 Cybils Award panels have made their selections, and finalists will be announced on Jan. 1st. My YA Fiction team read a total of 140 books (more if you count one or two titles we wound up shifting to YA Speculative Fiction). I finished with a personal tally of 63 novels read. Sixty-three! My eyes is tired. 🙂
I’ve fallen way behind on updating my Goodreads and the book log here on my site. Hope to catch up this week.
This page, which includes Cybils and non-Cybils reads, is about thirty books behind. Yikes.
My reward for finishing Cybils round 1 was setting up my calendars for 2017. I had to laugh when I realized that everything on my Christmas and birthday lists this year was a calendar of some sort. The Lisa Congdon wall calendar for my desk area; a Japanese woodblock print calendar for the living room (Rilla and I are obsessed with Hokusai lately); a 2017 Hobonichi Weeks to be my carry-with-me appointment book; and (swoon) new seasonal inserts and planner embellishments for my Wild Simplicity Daybook (which arrived as a gift from my treasured friend, Lesley). Anyway, I have started the task of entering upcoming events and work deadlines into my planner and appointment book, and I’m enjoying setting up my Daybook for a new season of high tide. (I use the Daybook to record our homeschooling adventures. It makes a truly gorgeous chronicle, and even more so this year with the earth-friendly “stickers”—lovely bits of artwork to cut out and paste in).
It’s a rare overcast morning here, so I’ll have to wait until later to catch photos of everything. Bit of a tease to post about plannery things without pictures, but what can you do?
A new year means new sketchbook plans. I was delighted to see that Lisa Congdon is offering a new class at Creativebug: the Creative Boot Camp. Rilla and I will be spending our Saturday nights this way for the next six weeks.
(Note: that’s an affiliate link. Creativebug was offering a holiday special of a $15 Amazon card with purchase of a gift subscription—as far as I can tell, this appears to be still going on. As I’ve mentioned before, I consider our $4.95/month Creativebug subscription to be one of the absolute best expenses in our homeschooling budget. Unlimited arts and craft classes, beautifully presented.)
I should have titled this post “what I’m busy with this week besides work.” The assignment crunch that kept my blogging sparse during the past two months will continue through January and beyond. But it’s all good stuff. I winced, though, when my friend Jenn mentioned that she’d seen so little of me here and on social media that she wondered if I’d given up the internet altogether. Not by choice, that’s for sure! I’m trying to work out a short daily formula of sorts that I could apply to revitalize Bonny Glen in the new year. The old listography daily happy lists, or Instagram-style with a photo and notes, maybe. And a return to my Booknotes of yore. I miss them! And after the Cybils finalists are announced on Sunday, I’ll have lots of YA novels to talk about…
What are you busy with right now?
purge in progress
Our school kid starts back tomorrow. That usually triggers a tidal change for me: I start thinking in terms of revamped daily rhythm and freshly curated bookshelves. I tackled the shelves this weekend and am giddy today at the sight of rows of Books I Suspect Particular Kids Will Love This Year.
I realize I can’t throw a statement like that out on this blog without SPECIFICS, so I’ll share some booklists soon.
I’m also working on another skin care post, per your requests. My own routine plus (ding ding ding) success in the non-shiny sunscreen quest!
Until then, I’ll leave you with a Huck story. I mentioned I’d been invited to a Pete’s Dragon screening but declined because I could only bring one kid. Huck’s response: “Yeah, that would be like a mom and dad making mac and cheese ON PURPOSE when the kids weren’t home.”
So. August. I spent yesterday recovering from a month of late nights and shifting time zones. This morning it was back to work. Still high summer (low tide) for the kids, but mama’s got a pile of Stuff to Do.
—Submit last month’s invoice for grantwriting gig, check.
—Purchase cleats & shin guards for the kid starting soccer, check.
—Take different kid to pick up her new glasses, check.
—Send note to lit class students about which edition of Beowulf to get, check. (The Heaney translation, naturally.)
—Develop map of suggested smaller project area for county-level grant application in case bigger project doesn’t get funded by the state, check.
—Start working through six weeks of email and FB messages…semi-check?
—Edit articles for side-gig…to be checked.
—Dive into fun new research for other side-gig, check pending.
—Finish picture book manuscript as promised to agent weeks ago, um, does ‘intense desire to check’ count? Yeah, no, I didn’t think so.
—Crank away on Novel Revision With September Deadline: whimper.
—Lose game of Battleship to 7yo: CHECK CHECK CHECK.
July 18, 2016 @ 8:22 am | Filed under: Assorted and Sundry
I’m home, I’m unpacked, I’m rested, and I have only, oh, thirty or forty posts in my head to write about the Brave Writer Retreat. With Comic-Con mere days away, I may have to settle for getting to a mere seven or eight of them. 😉
My morning has been earmarked by Huck for “a lot of cuddles to make up for when you were gone” and some vital Muffin Knight recaps. Plus, you know, we’re only at level 5 in Pokemon Go. Priorities! But I’m hoping that this afternoon will afford me the time to flesh out my Retreat Resources page with links to all the books & things I mentioned in my talks. If you’d like a glimpse of my Tidal Homeschooling and Comics Make You Smart talks, parts of them can be viewed on Julie Bogart’s Periscope page, along Julie’s own talks, which were brilliant and moving and deeply insightful—which is of course what you get whenever Julie speaks!
In case you’re wondering what my family did while I was gone, here’s the to-do list I found upon my return:
So I guess I’m not the only one with a lot to accomplish.
This time next week, I’ll be in Cincinnati for the Brave Writer Retreat. I’ve known Julie Bogart online for over 15 years and we have Skyped several times, but this will be our first time getting together in person. Can’t wait! Looking forward to meeting other internet chums as well. This week I’m busily working on visuals for my talks. I’ll be speaking about Tidal Homeschooling, children’s literature, and comics. Can’t wait!
I also have a big post about skin care almost ready to go—hopefully tomorrow.
Five of my children are sick today—a rather vicious cold, much coughing and hacking. Scott is making me keep my distance because when I get a cough, it hangs around for weeks. And after Brave Writer, there’s SDCC and then my high school reunion. But mah babies! Okay, so they’re having a grand movie fest and playing loads of Terraria, and nobody needs me at the moment, but still. At least I have work to keep me busy. SO MUCH WORK. Fun stuff, though: no complaints.
I haven’t read much so far in July. In June I came down with a fierce case of I Need to Reread Riddlemaster Yet Again syndrome. Before that, I tore through a bunch of contemporary thrillers thanks to NetGalley. I need to write proper booknotes on them, but for now, if you’re looking for harrowing summer reading, these kept me glued to the page: The Girl on the Train, Security, Before the Fall, and Beware That Girl. Oh, and ever since I finished Connie Willis’s Passage, I keep going back and rereading bits of it. It has become one of my favorites of her novels.
Right now I’m a chapter into Hilary Mantel’s Wolf Hall, which has been on my list for ages. I may have to save it for the plane next week, though.
Mid-June. I can’t quite wrap my mind around that, even though the specter of MID-JUNE has dominated my life for the past six weeks. Big scary deadline for the grantwriting work I do on the side. Happy to say I shipped off this monster application (final page count: 153—which, yes, is as long as some novels I’ve written) a few days ago and ahhhhh, I can go back to being “just” a fiction writer for a while. (My agent and my very patient Knopf editor are happy to hear this.)
Mid-June also means: I get my girl back. We fetched Jane home from college over the weekend and all is right with the world. Of course, she’ll be winging off on another adventure in a few days, but only for a week this time.
Mid-June means less than a month until the Brave Writer Retreat, at which I’ll be speaking. And a week after that, it’s Comic-Con. But no need to jump ahead of myself. After a burst of busy, our week is slowing down and we’ll soon be ebbing into low tide. Huck and Rilla are enjoying Harriet the Spy so far. We’re three chapters in. Yesterday, Huck interrupted me to ask, “Was Mixed-Up Files fiction or nonfiction?”
Heavy sigh. “I was afraid you’d say that. I wanted it to be real.”
I’m embarrassingly far behind on email. Hoping to catch up this week. I had also been neglecting my booklist in the sidebar, but I cleaned that up today. I’ve read shockingly little this year, compared to my usual book gluttony. The grantwriting work is to blame for that, too. That, and some highly absorbing internet rabbit trails. I’ve read zillions of articles but I don’t keep a list of those, and then when I’m tallying up, it looks like I’ve barely read a thing. It’s funny what we count and what we don’t.
Speaking of funny, this conversation with Scott:
He was talking about George Washington and he said, “I guess I think of him as sort of…Stalin.”
And I gave him this look like what on earth are you talking about????
And he looked at me like why are you looking at me like that?
Me: Are you being serious?
Scott: Yes, why? What’s wrong?
Me: Seriously? STALIN????
(wait for it)
Scott: What? No! I said STOLID.