Sunday, October 26, 2008

Hope & Misery Abound

"Victories in life come through our ability to work around and over the obstacles that cross our path. We grow stronger as we climb our own mountains." -- Marvin J. Ashton

Yes, I am still sick. This would be the misery part. I'm on antibiotics though and it's now been three weeks, so I'm hoping it clears itself up this week and leaves me able to breathe in peace!

My husband was out of town Tuesday through Friday last week at a conference for work. I missed him terribly, both because I adore him and because it was horrid trying to deal with the kids alone all week when I felt so rotten.

Tuesday I woke up and got the kids dressed and breakfasted and decided to go lie down for a bit. This was a really stupid idea, and I'm playing the sick card as an excuse for my temporarily feeble decision-making capabilities.

When I got up, refreshed and feeling positive about my ability to handle the week with the kids, I first encountered a strong smell. It was not an unpleasant smell, but if I could smell it through this massive head cold then you know it had some serious power behind it. It smelled like . . . barbecue . . .

I was then confronted with my small son, slathered in something frighteningly thick and brown from fingers to wrists and looking like a little ghost--caked in a white powdery substance from the neck up. Then I saw the living room and I was not well pleased. My delightfully creative children decided to give themselves and the house a . . . spice rub.

The main ingredient was this, which is one of my favorite things to add to chili. This was the brown stuff Bear had on his hands. His head was covered in a mixture of cream of tartar and powdered sugar and dampened for maximum pastiness by organic lemon-thyme cleaning spray. Floors, walls, furniture and accessories, all "rubbed".

I thought about taking photos, but frankly I was too sick to do more than send Princess to her room while I gave Bear a bath and then baby-gated him into the hall while I spent 2 hours cleaning. I did get Princess out for the last half hour and have her help me vacuum and scrub, but most of it was too much of a mess for little hands to be of much use. Everything cleaned up fine except for the ottoman which I think is a lost cause. They used it as a palette and it had the hickory salt, cream of tartar and curry powder ground into it. We're going to smell like a smokehouse for months.

Now for the hope part. October is almost over and I am busy, despite the illness trying to get ready for November which brings the beginning of NaNoWriMo and CU lecture writing, Thanksgiving, my sister's birthday, the holiday selling season on eBay and the start of my own holiday prep list (which promises to be as lengthy and glorious as it always is).

Call me an optimist (or totally unrealistic), but I'm excited about everything I plan to pack into the last couple months of 2008! I love the holidays that are part of this time of year and the busyness that accompanies them, and I have hope that I'll manage to accomplish enough of what I want to be pleased with the effort and the results.

Tomorrow my plans are to pull out the sewing machine and begin work on Princess' Orange-Yellow-Pink Fuzzy Spider Costume and do a lot of laundry and work more on a story called "Worry & Care" that I started two years ago. I've only got a few chapters left I think before it's done and I'd adore having it finished this week. Here is the quote from the first chapter that the title comes from. It sums up my current state of hope.

Faith is not without worry or care--faith is fear that has said a prayer.
–Author Unknown

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Miss me?

Wow--8 weeks, that is crazy! I hope to never leave y'all hanging for that long again. Things have been pretty wild here. Currently I'm sick--coughing and hacking sick--and it's been a full week so I'm dreaming it'll be over soon.

Princess' party was spectacular and we had a wonderful time with the family and friends who came (and there were plenty)! The cake turned out very well, although I was sobbing and hyperventilating over it as I decorated the ladybug, and the weather was PERFECT! Thank you to all who came, and I promise that the Thank You notes are coming soon. Tiffany was the absolute lifesaver--she's a new friend that I don't know well, but I give a fair amount of credit to her for offering to help and then showing up and doing whatever needed to be done! On the way home Princess said, "Mom, it was the most stupendous party anyone has ever had!" And that's what I wanted :)

The garden has been ignored for most of the time I haven't been here. Infestations increased and it was way, way too depressing for me to deal with. The potato crop was huge (like, hundreds of potatoes) and every single potato had bugs in inside it. I do have one little pumpkin which was actually turning orange last time I looked and I will take a photo of for you this week.

Mouth healed, it's all good, and gratefully they don't grow back so I NEVER have to have it done again.

I'm writing pretty much every day, though not as many words as I'd hoped. I went last weekend, before the sickness took hold, up to the mountains to a beautiful lake to a real live writer's retreat! I met lots of amazing women, a number of whom had published actual books and learned a lot. I came home totally inspired and with some clear thoughts about directions to take my various writing endeavors. I also joined the writer's association that sponsored the event (I'm in their newly formed online chapter) and can't wait to jump into their conversations and critiques. Here are my plans:

1. I am going to keep writing fan fiction. I've met a lot of great people through reading and posting fan fiction, I still love the characters I am playing with and frankly, it's fun. It also helps me hone my writing skills for my other projects, so it's even useful.

2. I'm going to work on a couple of original fiction pieces. The story I started for NaNoWriMo last year, and the one I am starting in a couple weeks for this year's contest. I may need significant encouragement on these, so please poke me now and again about them, okay? I do want them published eventually (I think), but first I want to actually complete a novel-length work of totally original fiction. Wow. I said it out loud.

3. You've heard me moan about poetry some and I've decided to do something about it. I'm taking down everything I've posted online (so read fast if you want to take a look), investigating previously published markets for that stuff and writing again. I even finished a new poem and a half this week! Official publication is what I want for these babies, at least some of them, so harass me about submissions, please.

In other news, we've started kindergarten for Princess and I'm loving it! I'm officially a home schooling mama now and it's so cool. Insane, but cool.

My husband has started school again and is taking an accounting class twice a week. So far, he's scored the only perfect 100 of the class on his first test and we're all holding together on those nights when he leaves home early and gets home late.

The Bear seems less of a baby each day. He's on another teething jag and he's managed three new ones in the last week and a half. He is now an Eleven Tooth Boy with a reasonable (given my family's propensity for toddler baldness) amount of hair. His sister likes to call it silvery-gold. I just call it mama-melting. He makes me laugh a lot and it's weird because he's almost a carbon copy of me at this age and some days I get this weird deja vu feeling--like I am actually looking at myself.