january 9: things that come in nines

January 9, 2019 @ 8:39 pm | Filed under:

Hawk by Rilla, 2014

1

New-to-us birds to add to our lifetime list: a pair of pine siskins visited the feeder yesterday and obligingly hung around long enough for us to make the ID. And it was a Project Feederwatch bird count day, to boot!

2

When I took down the Christmas tree on New Year’s Day, I filled its corner with the card table we do jigsaw puzzles on: our strategy for the early dark of a winter afternoon. There’s nothing quite so hyggeligt as listening to Scott and the kids giggle at our readaloud (specifically: Alice’s encounter with the White Knight, who is immense fun to voice) while they work on a puzzle.

3

Drove to Salem and back today for the monthly meeting of the Oregon DD Coalition. Counted nine hawks meditating in bare trees alongside the highway on the way home.

4

Speaking of nine—we (here in the Pacific Northwest) are up nine whole minutes of daylight since January 1st!

5

Reading log: Finished two of seven Cybils YASF finalists this week. Mum’s the word about them for now, of course. Also reading Rachel Zucker’s Museum of Accidents (shattering) and continuing to soak up Franz Wright’s Wheeling Motel.

What Scott & I are watching: Westworld Season 2. BOY HOWDY, that’s some good TV.

january 3: “I’m trying to see this place even as I’m walking through it”

January 3, 2019 @ 7:50 pm | Filed under: , ,

toy cars

1

Early-morning chat with our Jane before her flight back to California. But oh, we miss her.

2

Huck in my writing chair, reading me the day’s entry from what has become, these past three months, our favorite poetry anthology: Sing a Song of Seasons: A Nature Poem for Each Day of the Year. “Mom, listen! This poem describes exactly how I feel about January.”

January is
a clean white sheet, newly ironed;
an empty page;
a field of freshly-fallen snow
waiting to be mapped
by our footsteps.

—John Foster

The moment this tome came to us last fall—a review copy from Nosy Crow edited by Fiona Waters and gorgeously illustrated by Frann Preston-Gannon—Huck claimed it as his own. He has announced his plan to enter his name in the “This book belongs to ______” blank as soon as he can write it in cursive. (This melts me. The tattered copy of Alice in Wonderland I read to Huck and Rilla in December is inscribed, in the handwriting of a young Rose, with: “To Rose from Mommy, July 3rd, 2007, With Love.”)

3

Four frenzied squirrels scrambling across the pergola and flinging themselves into the overhanging magnolia tree. Clearly they don’t have a seasonal poetry anthology because their antics were straight out of spring.

4

Ron stopping by with a delivery of homemade chocolate chip cookies so delectable they would make a hobbit weep.

5

This fun art tutorial by Lisa Bardot: part of her Making Art Everyday series. Rilla perched beside me and taught me how to get around in Procreate. Boy am I glad I’m homeschooled.

(I had a little trouble with the blending. Rilla’s was one thousand times better. But hey, baby steps!)

6

While I worked on my orange (with much merriment and coaching from my daughter), Huck worked on the cursive letters he learned yesterday. How beautiful is that u, I ask you?

7

Appointment with my new primary care doctor today. She was awesome, and her office is all of six minutes from our house. For this I am profoundly grateful.

8

Overheard (Rose): “He’s the most boring serial killer, in my opinion.”

9

These lines from “Planet” by Catherine Pierce, from HERE: Poems for the Planet, a new anthology forthcoming in April from Copper Canyon Press, edited by Elizabeth Coleman:

This planet. All its grooved bark, all its sand of quartz and bones and volcanic glass, all its creeping thistle lacing the yards with spiny purple. I’m trying to come down soft today. I’m trying to see this place even as I’m walking through it.

january 2: small celebrations

January 2, 2019 @ 7:33 pm | Filed under: ,

 

1

The sunrise was bonkers this morning. Huck and I watched its first faint tintings together, and then he went off to do his Huckleberry things and went back to writing—or trying to write—mostly I was watching the streaks of scarlet and coral paint spread across the sky. Just breathtaking. And…a minute earlier than yesterday.

2

Water vapor billowing off our garage roof as the morning sun melted the frost on its mossy shingles. The kids’ delight at our very own cloud machine.

3

Northern flicker at the feeder—hadn’t seen her in a few days.

4

Huck’s beaming satisfaction at his first cursive letters. His three careful lowercase t’s especially—the first looking rather like a capital A, the second nicely formed but floating in mid-air, and the third one darn near perfect. He’s been very critical of his (print) handwriting, so it was lovely to see him feeling proud of the accomplishment.

5

Belly laughs from my youngest two at the White Queen’s backwards antics in our Through the Looking-Glass readaloud. Six impossible things before breakfast!

6

Lunch with Scott and Jane before she (sob) heads back to California tomorrow. I was captivated by the large black-and-white photo of the restaurant (circa 1941) on the wall above our table. Careful pincurls; a fur stole and plush hat (at a diner counter!); the skinniest watch-strap I’ve ever seen.

7

A walk to the library with Scott. Crisp air, pretty clouds, and the best conversation.

8

A 94-point word in a game of Words With Friends (acolyte/as, triple letter on the C, triple word score)

9

These lines from “Day One” by Franz Wright:

…We should really examine
your life, the one you bought,
and what happened when you got home
and attempted to assemble it:

that disfiguring explosion
no one witnessed, no one heard,
and which you yourself cannot recall,
and by whose unimaginable light you seek
to write the name of beauty.

—from Wheeling Motel

2018 Cybils Award Finalists

January 1, 2019 @ 10:22 am | Filed under:

The 2018 Cybils Award Finalists have been announced! Ladies and gentlemen, open your library tabs…

I’m serving as a Round 2 judge in the Young Adult Speculative Fiction category. Here are the finalists I’ll be reading and discussing this month:

Dread Nation by Justina Ireland

Mirage: A Novel by Somaiya Daud

Not Even Bones by Rebecca Shaeffer

Pitch Dark by Courtney Alameda

Summer of Salt by Katrina Leno

Tess of the Road by Rachel Hartman

This Mortal Coil by Emily Suvada

Exciting!

Continuing my longstanding tradition, I’ve overhauled my sidebar book logs for the new year. I do love me a clean slate.

Happy New Yawn

December 31, 2018 @ 8:43 pm | Filed under:

How I rang out the year:

* got up at six to write—I dared not break the habit over the holidays for fear I’d never get out of bed early again
* fought with my Kindle, which has decided to shun our wifi
* helped Huck build a spider robot or robot spider–not sure which it is but it’s creepy and awesome, thank you grandparents
* took a walk with Scott. Just to the drugstore, but still.
* paid bills & did medical busywork
* wrote a blog post
* revised two poems and submitted for critique
* got caught up on a major project for the advocacy gig
* am supposed to watch Raiders of the Lost Ark with the gang tonight and stay up to welcome the new year in, but for some unfathomable* reason I’m feeling kinda wiped and wondering if I can get away with celebrating on Central Time

(*Narrator: it was totally fathomable)

Farewell, 2018

December 31, 2018 @ 3:34 pm | Filed under: ,

My Instagram 2018 “best nine” (which just means best liked). Some surprises here! The five non-portrait photos are some of my own favorite captures this past year, so it’s lovely to know others liked them too. And two of the pics in this grid were taken by others: bottom left by Keely Massey; top right pic by my hubby. Amusingly, the crocus shot just below that one is the photo I was taking when I looked up to discover Scott was snapping a pic of me.

Oof, y’all, 2018 was a doozy. Hard in a different way than 2017, which was its own special brand of bananas. I have big hopes for 2019: advocacy, creative work, family adventures, a new book chugging toward launch day. On Saturday I emptied my studio and scrubbed every nook and cranny, Marilla Cuthbert-style. I was exhausted all the next day, but it was worth it. So sparkling and new! And a more functional arrangement of materials, now that I have a better sense of how I work in this room. (Writing: in the gray chair, never the desk, which meant all the things I used to keep in the desk drawer had to migrate to a shelf near the chair. Bills and busywork: desk. Painting: more likely to happen if I keep the round table clear of clutter & paints out and ready to go. Handwork: in baskets within reach of the writing chair for when I need to ponder a bit–this has proven an essential deterrent to the temptation to open new tabs while working. Pens and notebooks: every possible corner.)

Those crocuses began blooming in the last days of January–which means they’re not far ahead now! Unless we have an altogether different sort of winter, which we may. I started to say I “can’t wait” for a return of my springtime walks but the idiom is all wrong. I’m looking forward with happy anticipation to the explosion of Pacific Northwest bloom that dazzled me last spring, but I can wait. I’m happy to wait. I want to hunker in and read to my kids and do all the hygge things and devour some Cybils finalists (the big shortlist announcements are tomorrow!) and make some art and work a few more rows into the blanket I’ll probably still be crocheting on New Year’s Eve, 2028.

Forget best nine—how about best six?

 

december 12: blue’s clues flashback

December 12, 2018 @ 6:43 pm | Filed under: ,

File under: prepare to melt. A Shutterfly email just served up these (rather grainy) photos of the time my three youngest kids dressed up as Magenta, Steve, and Blue for Halloween. I’m DYING of cute here. Mah babies!

december 4—nope, make that the 11th

December 11, 2018 @ 8:10 pm | Filed under:

…Or maybe I’ll blink and another week will have zipped past. I knew mentioning that blog challenge was dangerous. Nothing derails my plans like sharing them here on the blog. 😉

But here, I’ll just employ the time-honored Flylady principle of jumping in where you are and see if I can recap the past week a bit. We had a double birthday this weekend. Would you believe this little guy is now fifteen years old?

(Interjection: Scott just sent me this post from 2007. I don’t know how he happened to come across it tonight. I had totally forgotten this story and I remain staggered by the event, all these years later.)

Okay, looking at my planner, I see why I got derailed from daily blogging last week after a whopping three-day streak. On the 4th, which is when I began this draft, I did a reading at an assisted living facility which happens to have a preschool on the premises. The seniors had a holiday gathering for a group of about 30 two- and three-year-olds, and I was invited to come read Inch and Roly books to them. Really fun morning.

And from there the rest of the week cartwheeled along. On Saturday Beanie and I went to Crafty Wonderland, Portland’s awesome art sale at the convention center. We could easily have spent a million dollars on prints and bags and paper goods. Finding ourselves short of that sum by several zeroes, we contented ourselves with a lot of window shopping and bought each other small gifts. We’re going to wrap them up and pretend we weren’t standing next to each other when they were purchased. 😉

In homeschooling land, Huck, Rilla, and I finished our readaloud of Alice in Wonderland and rolled right into Through the Looking-Glass, as one must!

P.S. Thanks, Kathryn, for suggesting Wilding by Isabella Tree. It’s en route!

december 3: blog challenge

December 3, 2018 @ 8:32 pm | Filed under:

Guess I’ve returned just in time, because my friend Chris O’Donnell tagged me in a 31-day blogging challenge. Several of my favorite homeschooling bloggers from the olden days (circa 2005) are participating. I don’t know that I’ll be able to manage a post every day for December—that’s pressure, and I’m doing my best to give myself a break—but it’s fun to see a burst of activity on blogs I’ve been missing for ages.

I’ve been making a list of things to write about. But it’s like the scene in Overboard:

“Captain Karl, we never talk.”
“No, ma’am.”
“Well, there’s no time now!”

Huck is waiting for me to come tuck him in, so I won’t linger here. But one of the post ideas I jotted down was a peek at what he’s been reading lately. Some good stuff! And I need to catch up my own book log as well. My sidebar is months out of date!

How about you? Whatcha reading right now?