Did you notice that Summer snuck up on us this week? Summer means long days, blue skies, fluffy clouds and lots of time outside. For us it means school is over, spring soccer has wrapped up, summer hockey is on a quick break. It means tennis lessons and rollerblading on the (new) cul-de-sac (pavement)! And long afternoons in Grandma’s pool with new friends.
For daughter it means sleeping in, eating breakfast late and worm hunting with the nanny. For me it means early, early morning walks (IR sucks, but I’m enjoying my walks), late nights reading on the porch, and tending to the herb and vegetables that litter our yard.
Summer in these parts is beautiful. And we Minnesotan’s always say it’s the reason we live here. We’re enjoying it, are you?
Daughter and I are afraid of wasps. But when a rather large sample of their species found itself stuck between a screen and the window in our bedroom, we just let it be. It had turned cold again and we had no intention of opening the window. We also didn’t want this large, scary beast to be released to the world. So we watched him. He buzzed around. He banged up against the screen.
I could hear him as I took naps (I was recovering from Shoulder surgery, just so you don’t think I’m lazy.) We watched him up close. We look at the shape of his wings, his body and his stinger. (All technical terms, I’m sure.)
And on the fifth day, when he was slow and the temps were low, we opened the window to let him go. I worry that he didn’t survive. I worry that he did survive. But we both felt a little better, a little lighter after we let him go.
Every Wednesday we send our sweet pup to daycare. We started sending her shortly after we rescued each other so she could get out of the house and honestly, so we could tire her out. For the first few months it worked. We’d pick her up and she’d immediately head to her bed and stay there all evening. We could make plans for Wednesday night and not panic about a bored, hyper puppy all night. But then she figured it out. She could still rest at daycare and have energy when she came home.
So now, she naps at daycare in between wrestling matches and smelling butts. She is clearly more tired these evenings than other days, but nothing like when daycare was new and exciting.
If you want to see little pup hanging with her friend, the video feed is here. But if you see her nappy, please flick your screen until she wakes up. Enjoy!
The boot camp class I took wrapped up a couple weeks ago. It was intense and amazing and I miss the community we formed. I wrote (nearly) every day. Sometimes just a few paragraphs, other days multiple pages. I have the beginnings of many essays and stories.
I was so inspired by all the amazing essays that my classmates shared. These writers threw themselves out there with brutal honesty. And I guess I did too. Feedback was positive. And really very helpful.
The course gave me the confidence to start sending more work out there. Beginning right now. Or, this week, actually. I promise. To you, to myself, to the flying spaghetti monster. Here goes…
I’m in my second week of an online class through CreativeNonfiction.com. It’s called Boot Camp and I’m loving every minute of it, but am wishing I had more time to give to it. We post 300-ish words daily, and then post 1,000 each Friday. If we do this we get feedback from the instructor. Either way, we also give feedback to each other.
I’m blown away by the quality and honesty of the writing that I’m reading. There is something freeing about the anonymity of an online class that opens up a writer.And I’m getting more confident in throwing my work, and myself out there.And because I’m writing every day, I’m starting to feel like a writer. Know what I mean?
Someday I’ll share that personal writing here. Or at least a link to it. In the meantime I’m grateful for the warm up, the fresh snow and plans to have lunch with a friend today. It’s the little things, really.
The last few weeks have been spent shopping and baking and wrapping and celebrating. And we’re not done. We’re having friends over for New Years Eve and then our annual Best Neighborhood Ever Progressive dinner is this weekend. Thankfully, I was able to take some time off to slow down and fill up. I’ve been writing a bit, thinking a lot, and reading constantly.
I also signed up for a class through Creative Nonfiction and I can’t wait for it to start. The class I chose requires me to write 300 words each day, Monday-Friday. I can find 300 words, right? I KNOW I can crank out 300 words. Just these two paragraphs are 110 words already. Now it’s at 115, see how easy?
And with the new year comes a fresh attitude and hopefully some fresh snow. I’m not making any resolutions this year, I’m not going on a diet, I’m not going to tell myself I’ll do something just to do something. I’m just going to try to smile more, eat more vegetables and slow down.
So here’s to a New Year. Enjoy!
And then, suddenly, it was December. There is snow on the ground, lights on the house, pine boughs in the pots on the porch. Lists have been made, gift wrap has been purchased, meals have been planned. I love the holiday season. I love the planning, the gift-giving, the cookie-baking, but mostly I love the 24th and 25th when family fills up our house with food and laughter and cookies. Yes, more cookies.
It’s not only December, but December 1st. Which means it was our dogs’ birthdays until they passed away nearly two years ago. Facebook was kind enough to remind me of this date. I had all but forgotten it. All but forgotten that for 11 years we celebrated Bogey’s birthday. We had a few parties over the years, but every year, without fail, we brought him across the river to Petco. We let him pick out a toy and some treats and without fail he swiped a few from the friendly cashiers. When he was 10, we adopted Lovely Luna and she just happened to have the same birthdate (or it was close enough). We had one lovely day two years ago when they turned 11 and 1. Luna wore a party hat, Bogey did not. We sang happy birthday and we showered them with affection and treats.
Three months later Luna passed suddenly from a lung infection. Two months after that Bogey passed too slowly and too painfully from a broken heart and a worn out back.
We still have sad days when we miss his snorts and cuddles and we miss her chatting and smile. But we gave them good lives. And they gave us beautiful memories. So today, I will think of them and their antics and be grateful that we had them for as long as we did.
Happy Birthday Bug. Happy Birthday Lovely Luna. You are missed.
I requested this book, the 13th gift by Joanne Huist Smith, nearly a year ago. Right after the holidays. And after all the planning and gift wrap and sequins and bows I really had no interest in reading a book about Christmas. Yet here we are, in early November and I’m starting to plan Thanksgiving and Christmas (I know, I’m one of those.) I figured it was a great time to set the tone and start thinking about the holiday season!
The 13th gift is a memoir, “A True Story of a Christmas Miracle,” of a family in the wake of the father’s unexpected passing. The author doesn’t go into the details of his death, other than he had a heart condition and passed in his sleep, but rather the book is about how a stranger’s unexpected kindness, in daily gifts, brings the family back together.
At the beginning of the book, Joanne and her three kids are falling apart. School is skipped, meals are not made, emotions are raw. But 12 days before Christmas they receive a gift on their front step. Each day another gift appears. At first Joanne does not like the gifts, but after a few days the gifts bring the family back together until the family realizes that even though they lost a husband/father, there are still people that love them and are looking out for them.
By the time Christmas day arrives, the family has put together a holiday to remember. And by the time I finished the book, I was in the holiday spirit. I’m making lists and planning meals (because yes, I’m one of those.) Joanne and her family lost an integral part of their family that year, but with the help of strangers, and loved ones, they were able to find themselves and each other.
If you’d like to read it, leave a comment and I’ll share it with a lucky reader. I can’t be the only one starting my holiday shopping already.
“A creative life is an amplified life. It’s a bigger life, a happier life, an expanded life, and a hell of a lot more interesting life.”
– Elizabeth Gibert, Big Magic
A late walk with neighbors. And then a beautiful moon. After a beautiful day.