Archive for December, 2009

here’s to clinging

Wednesday, December 16th, 2009

atree12s

Some things you only hear or see once a year. Some things you only hear or see once ever. Some things you don’t start hearing or seeing until you listen and open your eyes.

You know that sound you hear when the wind is rustling the leaves in a tree? The swishy, slow but constant sound? Well I found out yesterday that it sounds different when the leaves aren’t fat and green and graciously slap against each other.

It was cold. And windy, which made the cold feel even bone-chillingly colder. But I stopped, steps from entering my car outside the library to look at the up at the tree that stood in the little strip of land between the parking lot and the street. The tree held branches full of dried brown leaves, still clinging. The constant wind was making an altogether unfamiliar but entirely enchanting music from the branches with their leaves. Each leaf could be heard fanning the one next to it. Instead of the light swishing of healthy leaves, there was a slight sharpness to the sound. Like thousands of hands clapping in a far off place.

I didn’t move for a minute, which for me, in the bitter cold (especially sans coat) never happens. What should I do about this new sound? I could tell others with my limited power of verbalization, “Omk! I totally heard these leaves today…they were so freakin’ rad. Ugh! I can’t explain it, I wish you’d been there!”. I could record the sound on my phone and replay it for my kids. “Listen to this guys!”

“What is it Mom?” (as they listen intently–silently–and I dream on…)

“It’s the sound of a tree full of leaves in the wind.”

“Okayyyyy….” (that’s the 13 year-old)

“No seriously, it sounds different than a tree with green leaves. See, all the leaves are dying but almost all of them have hung on to the tree. And they continue to hang on, even in the wind, and they sound like hands clapping!”

“I’ll clap for you Mom.”

“Nevermind…”

But I still had to share. So I share here.

fifteen for friday

Friday, December 11th, 2009

investgate

1. In case you didn’t already know it, I LOVE alliteration. In fact, I would be okay with this as my epitaph:

Jennifer Leigh Weadon Parker * November 18,1975 – November 18, 2075

Mommy, Grandmommy, Great-grandmommy and Astonishing Advocate of Abominable use of Alliteration

I know it’s a lot of letters and that will probably cost a lot of moolah, but for goodness’ sake I lived a hundred years and died on my birthday, aren’t I worth it?

2. kids…. ahh… just kids.

3. Writing sarcasm is easier than it sounds. (See what I mean, you couldn’t tell I was being sarcastic could you?)

4. Finished Devil’s Kiss by Sarwat Chadda last night. I really liked it! You should read it. I wrote Devil’s Kill first and took a minute to notice the mistake. Hmmm…

5. Mexican food rocks. Not sure I would feel right eating tamales on Christmas though.

6. My son read a book I recommended! SCORE!

7. Me likey Chucky.

8. Totally, completely, utterly frustrated with Joomla! (I did not add the !)

9. My ultimate Christmas wish: A maid once a week for a year. Must do windows.

10. Who came up with FIFTEEN? That’s way too many random ideas to come up with in one sitting.

11. Yeah, yeah, I know I did.

12. It was because I was afraid that five just wouldn’t be enough. I guess fourteen didn’t seem round enough.

13. Which is weird because fourteen is an even number and fifteen is not.

14. I’ve always thought that even=round. But now that I think about it, that’s not necessarily the case.

15. Rambling OUT. (Like Seacrest out…wow, that’s old. Oh well.)

reading list

Thursday, December 10th, 2009

What I’ve been up to reading-wise:images

**A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle – I don’t usually head back into middle grade fiction all that often (my only real exception is Harry Potter–which I think should be YA–but that’s a different argument). And I was reluctant to do so this last weekend. Alas, I had not been to the library or bookstore recently so I went into my son’s room and trolled around for some good reading. Of all the uncracked books in his library, Wrinkle stood out. I remembered when Mrs. Baker (of fourth grade fight fame) read this to us in the classroom and I’d really enjoyed it then so I thought I’d give it a whirl 14 years later and see if it held up. It did. It was short and sweet and relevant. Read it to your kids…or to the kid in you.

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**Dancing in Red Shoes will Kill You by Dorian Cirrone - Body image book. Short, fun and feminist. Definitely PG-14.

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**Devil’s Kiss bySarwat Chadda- Reading this now….more to come!

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**Extras by Scott Westerfeld – Who woulda thought that a trilogy could include four books? I think the official term for this fourth installment is “a companion book to the series”. Especially since Tally Youngblood is not a main character and the events taking place are four years in the future from the Uglies, Pretties, Specials era. Anyhoo, I’m still in the first third of this book. But I did stop reading to start Devil’s Kiss…so it doesn’t bode well. Although, many books have been saved in the last half. I hope this is the case for Extras.

learning the hard way

Tuesday, December 8th, 2009

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I’m a learn by doing kind of gal. My husband offered to buy me a Joomla manual to teach me to build websites for his business. As memories of vainly following steps in a math textbook shuddered through me I explained that it would be so much better if he just showed me how and let me mess around with the application. In other words, he should save his money. Which for me seems just a little off-kilter considering I adore reading. But for some reason textbook writers don’t usually include characters or a climax, which is a shame.

Don’t ask me why, but this reminded me of fourth grade (textbooks aside). I had a beef with a girl in my class and she had a beef with me. We decided to duke it out 3:00 style. It didn’t matter to me one bit that I weighed less than 50 lbs. at the time and she had to have been twice that weight. Or that she was almost twice my height. My righteous cause would be enough to see me through. I packed the ends of my generic Keds with wadded paper towels because she’d leaked her strategy. She was planning on stepping on the ends of my toes and punching my face like a speed bag. Cartoon physics aside, I thought I was pretty dang smart to give my self foot cramps and throw my center of gravity off balance.

One big difference between teachers today and my teacher (in 1980 something or other): A teacher today would have called authorities. My teacher, dear Mrs. Baker, tried in her own way to dissuade us but never called anyone. Was she trying to teach a lesson? I really think she thought I would chicken out. I didn’t. I lost a tooth. I never picked a fight again. Lesson learned…the hard way.

super unplus happy gray

Monday, December 7th, 2009
the view from my desk

the view from my desk

Not a fan of the slate gray day and other grumps…

I swear I did nothing to en-grayify this photo. I cut out the grass out of this pic of my backyard because of it’s pitiful condition.

Next…

my coat closet

my coat closet

Is this how your mother taught you to hang up your coat? Apparently it’s how I taught my 13 year old to hang his. At first I found the coat on the floor of the closet. Called him on it, and he complained that there weren’t any coat hangers (even though I keep an AMPLE supply in the linen closet in a convenient coat hanger basket). So I handed the child a coat hanger…and above is a picture of the state of my closet a couple of hours later. I wonder what he did with the hanger I gave him?

westerfeld

I’ve been in a book slump for a bit now. After I finished The Splendor Falls (a great book–READ Rosemary Clement-Moore. Now. Thanks.) I’ve been reading The Uglies series by Scott Westerfeld which I was really super dooper excited to start. I read the whole trilogy and I know this will sound nuts to a lot of people, but it really left me wanting. Something was missing here…only I can’t seem to articulate what that might be. I suppose I couldn’t relate to Tally Youngblood (the protag) who was pretty much a completely different person in each book due to the different surgeries that alter the mind as well as the body. And I really disliked the manifesto at the ending…it seemed to come from an unauthentic place. *SPOILER* I know Tally was always concerned about the environment, but she never really tried to educate herself beyond remembering what she was taught growing up at school…but she was also taught in school that all “random” people (those who are pre-surgery) are ugly. Brainwashing. So she’s okay with some brainwashing or mind altering, but not all?

This in no way means I am anti-environment. Just saying.

Please chime in if you have differing views on this (or backup would be nice too). I’m always happy to talk books.

saturday six

Saturday, December 5th, 2009

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1. It’s pretty outside, but it sure is cold! My car read 36 degrees. It hurts my teeth just thinking about it.

2. 19 days till Christmas…shopping for kiddos is done! Now the hard part, extended family.

3.  Let my 13-year-old walk to 7-11 with two friends this last week. I was so worried until I remembered that I was much younger than that when I would cross a four lane busy road by myself to get a slurpee (and Franco American spaghetti–sans cell phone). Well, I was still worried even after that. This article helped inform my decision.

4. Multi-braided my daughter’s hair after a bath on Thursday night so it would be all wavy for Friday. It was not pretty.

5. Feeling like a grinch when the kids want to listen to the Christmas station in the car. I let them listen and grumble only in my head.

6. Wish my cats would pile up for warmth. I googled ‘cat piles’ instead of ‘cat pile’ first…don’t make that mistake.

picking up where i left off

Friday, December 4th, 2009
the inspiration for one setting in Sea Rose (Bishop's Palace, Galveston Island, TX)

the inspiration for one setting in Sea Rose (Bishop's Palace, Galveston Island, TX)

Picking up the figurative pen again is proving an enlightening experience. I forgot during the 1.5 months I took off from writing new material (so editing is not included)–the freeing and fabulous feeling associated with creation. Luckily I didn’t come into it with nothing to start with. I’d saved the beginning of a short story sometime in September and promptly forgot all about it. I opened the file a few days ago and fell in love with the story again.

Starting again was weird at first. The things I was writing were stilted and awkward…but with just a small amount of perseverance I’m moving smoothly again…like riding a bike! Even if I’m never published, the joy of writing from my imagination is such a wonderful thing–it almost makes editing worth it.

blast from the near past

Wednesday, December 2nd, 2009

night to day

fall has arrived

Tuesday, December 1st, 2009

Here’s just a sampling of the beautiful fall colors in my area. I snapped these on the way to pick up the kids from school today.

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