I’ve been playing hooky
And seeking out beauty
That comes this time of year
While running after cuties
Confession #1: I have a lot of books.
Confession #2: I have a lot of bookshelves (but I could always use more.)
Confession #3: I keep my most treasured books behind closed doors.
I first started hiding my books after my eldest child started to “wear out” his own books. Lift-the-flap books with no flaps to lift. Using books as bridges, literally walking on them across the floor, was a favorite activity. And with his books, spines were optional. I feared for my beloved books, as well as my husband’s collection.
Our favorite books went from the top shelves—he could scale the bookshelves—to high levels inside cabinets. I could hear the cabinet doors opening, but I didn’t always hear him at the bookcases until it was too late.
In the past three years that I’ve been homeschooling, the book population has hit overdrive.The non-fiction area has doubled and the sum of the middle grade novels that my oldest son reads every night is greater than anything I ever held as the lone reader of them. My youngest has a two shelf bookcase of picture books and all things pink while the middle child hoards The Magic Tree House and military history.
Last year I wrote a post about my oldest turning into a reader and he hasn’t slowed down. The other night, when he came looking for another book amid the post holiday explosion, I realized he hasn’t read Bridge to Terabithia or A Wrinkle in Time. All of the Katherine Paterson, Madeleine L’Engle, Laurie Halse Anderson, Terry Brooks, and Orson Scott Card books are behind closed doors. Not to mention Narnia, Green Gables, Hogwarts, and The Shire.
So, my goal this month—hopefully this week—is to get these books out and into circulation among my household. No more restricted section in the family library. I’ll document this effort with photos, so stayed tuned!
Last weekend marked the fourth month I’ve been waiting to hear from publishing companies about CORRODED. Usually, I’m calm about it but since the three month mark passed, I get keyed up about it at least once a week.
Well, more like every other day—internally.
Externally, I’ll mention it weekly to sympathizing friends or family members.
Internally: obsessive thinking.
You get the picture.
Rather than worry about it further (today), I’m going to turn up my “Fortitude Groove Soundtrack” and write. Nothing like escaping into a Spanish-American War Camp to clear one’s mind of publishing concerns.
It’s been an eventful year. High and low points abound but this time around, I’m thinking firsts. Several of my firsts happened while in New York City this spring including:
- Taxi ride (No, I’d never been in a taxi cab!)
- Train trip (Full size, not a Thomas the Tank Engine ride along.)
- Subway experience
- Broadway show
- Eating sashimi
- Times Square and all other things New York City
My literary related experiences were memorable as well. Several of the events were the cumulative efforts of the previous year(s), but here they are:
- Acting as a World Book Night giver (I handed out twenty copies of Wintergirls by Laurie Halse Anderson to the Baker High School softball team on senior night.)
- Being acknowledged in a novel as having helped with the writing process by the author (Want by Stephanie Lawton, my friend and Write Club confidant.)
- Submitting a novel, CORRODED, to publishing companies (No news from any of the four, yet.)
- Writing conference (Multi-day, not just a single workshop.)
- Guest blog post on another website (Nerdy Book Club, for the win!)
- Purchasing e-books (My first was Shayla Witherwood: A Half-Faerie Tale by Tamra Torero.)
Then there’s the most recent happening—the big finale happened this morning. Drum roll, please.
- I joined a choir.
I can hear the snickering from here, folks! I come from a musical family but have always sung off key, or so I thought. Turns out I just couldn’t hit the normal notes. Tenor (back row, with the men—and two other ladies) is what I sang for the Christmas Cantanta during our chapel service. I wasn’t perfect, but I got most of the notes, but maybe not in the right spots… Well, I tried.
It’s the most wonderful time of the year! And my favorite part of the wonder of Christmas is the magic of Christmas stories. Rather than stowing a bunch of gifts under the tree for the month—tempting little fingers to pick and peek at them—I scatter our collection of Christmas books under the branches. This gives my kids something they can handle, old friends they can revisit from the previous years.
We spend a few days reading through a chapter book or read a picture book each night while enjoying the sparkle and messages of the season. So far this year, we’ve read CHRISTMAS MAGIC by Patricia Hermes and YOU ARE MY MIRACLE by Maryann Cusimano Love and Satomi Ichikawa.
Another thing I love is Christmas music. Here’s a sample of one of my favorite voices—Mitch Malloy—singing Silent Night.
What are your family’s traditions? Your favorite Christmas story? Song?
It’s no secret that my oldest child is on the autism spectrum (check out posts under the “Autism” category) but this summer we passed a milestone: a READING benchmark.
Call me a bad parent, but one of my only questions for the neurologist who “helped” diagnosis my son with PDD-NOS was “Will he ever learn to read?” My sweet son didn’t sit still long enough for me to read more than a page or two of a picture book—he was more interested in lining up his video cassettes.
Thankfully, he did learn to read and in the past year he’s been reading for pleasure. Every night, he’d read aloud to himself from The Many Adventures of Winnie-the-Pooh, The Complete Tales of Beatrix Potter or the Curious George cannon. Over and over. I was happy to see him reading, and had to brush tears from my cheeks the first few times I caught his little brother and sister huddled around him in bed after lights out to listen to the stories, but I didn’t want him stimming on the same stories.
When his fourteenth birthday approached this July, I decided to formerly introduce him to my bookshelves which he passed dozens of times a day. I pointed out a section of middle grade novels and let him pick one of the E.B. White books since he was familiar with the characters from their movie reincarnations. He went through Charlotte’s Web, Stuart Little, and The Trumpet of the Swan the first week. He plowed through the complete Bunnicula series by James Howe and several Newbery books like Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH, Shiloh, The Whipping Boy, and Sarah, Plain and Tall. He even read Hemingway’s The Old Man and the Sea.
SIXTY books in two months! I gave him a journal when he began his novel reading journey and in it he draws the cover of each book he completes. Now, I need to go back to the bookstore and buy another journal.
I’ve always had a major children’s book collection happening but last week I started fearing for my home library. He’d moved from the lower middle grade novel—typically for 7-10 year olds—bookshelves to my personal favorites—the ten and up category.
So, we began this week with a trip to our local library branch like a good homeschool family. Usually, my guy would only look at the DVDs and a book or two if pressed. This time, I showed him the children’s fiction section and he started putting Roald Dahl and Beverly Cleary books in our bag. I’m majorly excited but a little sad that he’s got dibs on Lair & Spy by Rebecca Stead before me.
Last month, I posted more information about the vacation I took in the spring, focusing on the Friday morning I spent at The Cathedral of St. John the Divine.
This time around I’m going to focus on my night out in Morristown, NJ.
Those who know me—or have been following this blog for long—realize that I love Rick Nelson. Ricky is the King around here, not Elvis. And The Beach Boys trump The Beatles any day.
CORRODED, the novel I’m seeking publication for, is heavily influenced by Rick Nelson. If you haven’t already, check out my soundtrack here. Yes, Corroded begins and ends with Rick Nelson, and noticeably, the main character is named after one of his songs.
The reason I went to NJ/NY when I did was for a Ricky Nelson Remembered concert. As an early birthday gift, my sister bought tickets—Golden Circle, baby! Please excuse my geek moment.
Before the show, big sister took me to get my hair done at a local salon. At thirty-five years old, my virgin hair was highlighted for the first time. Foil wraps anyone? After the show, I met and collect autographs from bassist Tommy Vee (son of the legendary Bobby Vee) and original Stone Canyon Band member David Morgan (who I called “Mr. Morgan” because a SCB member is HUGE in my book.) After standing in line, I got my turn to chat with Matthew and Gunnar—friendly as always for another fantabutitus moment. Enjoy the goofy pictures.
Today is the second anniversary of the worst oil spill in U.S. history. Here are links to two blog posts I did about the disaster in the Gulf of Mexico in 2010.
Just last month I finally ate at a local seafood restaurant. I’m still not 100% certain of the safety of the gulf, but next month I’ll take my family to the beach–and let them play below the water line in the sand–for the first time in two years.
It appears there’s been a flare-up in the war between SAHM and working moms.
And my favorite out of the recent stories:
I’ve been a working mom but more often a stay-at-home mom. I now consider myself a work-from-home mommy, though I haven’t sold/published anything for more than a year (because I’m focusing on my novels.)
I could list facts about all the work devoted mothers do from their homes—both for their children, spouse, and others—but it’s all been said before. Or I could mention the documentation that’s been done showing that SAHMs are worth over $112000 a year for the work they do. Wouldn’t that be nice, especially since I homeschool there’d be probably be even more compensation.
But it seems like the attacks on Ann Romney are more of the “class warfare” that’s spreading like a disease the past several years. So-and-so paid less taxes than those working below them. Don’t up the tax percentage based on income—make taxes the same percentage for all so the people making a million will be paying more than the people who make thirty thousand. The tax codes are broken so please don’t begrudge those who have been successful—look at the motives behind those who wish to tell others what to do with what they have.
I’ve taken this from writer buddy Stephanie, who took it from another friend, etc but I changed a few alphabet words to mix it up a bit.