Thursday, September 29, 2016

Summer is behind us...

The last sunset swim of 2016
We are done with swimming at the beach for the year. Actually, we have been done for a couple of weeks. With lows in the low forties, evenings are too cold. Days in the upper fifties with the usual gloom and rain of September is also too cold. I have been pretty bad about getting my Christmas planning done and so I really need to start thinking about it. I like knitting and usually people like the knitted things that I give them for gifts, or at least I believe they do. I could be wrong. Anyway, I still like knitting. So I need to start thinking of quick and easy gifts to knit and I need to be vague since some of the people who read the words that I write also receive the knits that I stitch. So. That said.

I have some really lovely brightly colored sock yarn from my bestie. It is all pinks and purples and super cute. I am thinking this would be good for some tiny gift for my younger girls. I am thinking maybe some wristlets or something. But not matching. I have done a lot of that and then in the mornings, everyone fights over whose is whose. No more.

These look cute, thought the photograph isn't too great. I can see this being good in all kinds of sock yarn. Maybe a different pair for each little girl?

Those would be pretty quick but not too boring and still nice. I need to find something to knit my sons and godson. That is harder. Boy are hard on things and usually not terribly appreciative of knits. I can't figure it out. I did mittens for all of my children the year before last and I am not in the mood to do a dozen again. I have no ideas. And then there is my mother and sister who happen to appreciate knits. Maybe something from THIS amazing site?

There is nothing there that I do not want to knit. Nada. It is all gorgeous but I am behind in my planning so Ima needing quick projects.

Wait! That could be good for all kinds of people. And it is striped which means I can use up all the yarns so it is a stashbuster, too. Hmm. Maybe I need more of this.

Any chance any of you have figure out what you are doing?

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Projects, progress, and purpose...

I have been thinking a lot lately about the things that I could be writing and the things that I should be writing. Maybe these are the same and maybe they are not? I don't know. At any rate, it is month end and also quarter end so it happens to be the time when I look at my royalties. I know that in the end, sales and royalties are not necessarily indicators of the worth of my writing. I mean, really, if it were, those super crappy best sellers about angsty teen vampires or abusive May-December romance would not the tripe that they are and Homer would be in paperback at every newsstand. But since writing is my job and this is the metric I have, there it goes into play. When I negotiate with a website to produce content for a series, those sales and then the landing rate for other articles are how I am evaluated. 

I switched blogs despite having a solid following and some really amazing readers, some of whom turned into amazing friends despite the distance of hundreds, sometimes thousands, and even continents of distance away. I switched because I wanted to remind myself that the blog is for me. It is not about metrics. It is about putting words to the thoughts and then putting them down. Maybe they click with someone and maybe they don't but it gives me the space to write things and keep my wheels turning so I am working with a well maintained machine when it comes time to write on contract work.

Speaking of that lucrative contract work, I have been putting it off because I sold one book and then I have been working on turning some other ideas into another one. When I say lucrative, you should know that is tongue in cheek. My husband and I have a running joke with an old friend about his sister-in-law's freelance writing and mine. It brings in hundreds of dollars, hundreds. Think about that for a second. I am not an A-list pulp fiction writer buying a second home. I am just me and happy with one real Benjamin (my husband, by the way). When I think about the time I am spending working on potential projects it can be a bit frustrating because I think about the quicker return on work when writing for smaller publications. There is a big downside to it and it means crafting their voice and using their SEO criteria. My voice is muted. It is there but it is not exactly the same. Not that writing for sale, even if I am going to click publish or upload an eBook, is without some voice and audience considerations.It is just that it is about the volume of my voice in the final product and given that I am an author, frankly I like the sound of my own voice. That is how we work.

So I am getting back to regular blogging and I am putting few limitations on it right now so that I can get my machine humming again. It will put me in a better position for deciding what project I am going to pull out, put on, and run with. I have some ideas and they need a little cultivation right now. We had a difficult summer with some stresses that I allowed to eat into my writing and knitting time and that means that I was turning down my own voice. Putting limits on somethings and some people will give me the space I need right now to find my balance again. I think I will then figure out what I want to write and how to do it.

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Proudest moments...

My lovely daughter.
There are those days as a mother when I am insanely proud of my children. I want to tell you about it today.

My oldest daughter had noticed the quiet suffering of a fellow student in one of her online classes. He was just struggling with lots of little things and they were building up and he just was feeling defeated. She took the opportunity to reach out to him because she wanted him to feel less alone. She told me that she wanted to find the right words to use in an email to him to let him know that she appreciated him and the contributions he makes. While she talked about it with me, I never read the email. Later, this young man's mother sent me a message to let me know what a difference it had made for him. She said he had smiled for the first time in many days. She wanted to let me know that Maria's tender little note had ultimately not only for her classmate but for his mother as well.

As mothers, our hearts are forever tied to our children.
Their happiness is our happiness and their grief
is the most profound grief we ever feel.

Maria reached out to this other student because of her own suffering. When we moved here to the farm, she was starting high school. We pulled her away from the only home she had ever known, and all her Colorado friends and family, and set her down her. That is a high challenge for a young teen aged girl. Moving to a small, rural, isolated place is just harder. Friendships here are generations old and grudges are carried around in corners of hearts for a lifetime. I mean that sincerely. I met a lovely mother in one of my children's activities and I think we could have been good friends but a relative of my husband's had been incredibly hurtful to this woman's mother-in-law almost sixty years ago when they were both reckless children. What happened had nothing to do with me but it hung over my head and we were not able to be friends. Friendly, but not really friends.

My children also had a hard time breaking into the inner circle here. We were very actively involved in a specific activity here and my kids were trying very hard to make friends. They were in fact encouraged by the directress, who is a very kind and lovely person. It wasn't going well but I wasn't sure if it was a matter of self-consciousness or a reality. We thought there was a push back from the other children. It turned out to be incredibly real. One of the parents in that group actually had the gall to send me an email telling me to ask my children to stop talking hers and to her child's friends because mine were intrusive. She wanted to let me know that they were long time friends and not interested in my children. To say I was incensed is to underestimate my feelings. To say that I wanted to throat punch somebody behind the Walmart is more accurate. To tell our children what happened was one of the worst moments of my life. I cried telling them and then I cried when they cried.

I can tell you that we have moved past this to the point at which I can pass this family in said Walmart without incident though I may never speak to her again. Ever. It is better this way. From a distance I can pity her children for the harm she causes them by encouraging them to so mean. In the end, it is their loss. Their children will never know the warmth and comfort that my children bring into friendship.

In the end, the incident left wounds on my children but rather than allowing these to fester and make them bitter, they have become very sensitive scars, ones which attune them to the needs of others. If nothing else, I should be grateful for the whole series of events because I have these incredibly kind and compassionate children now. If this other mother reads this, she should know that. Her cruelty has made my children more gentle. Her bitterness has made my children more sweet. The children they rejected are far finer people now than ever before despite her; really, because of her. The world is a better place for that.

Maria told me that because of what happened, she promised herself she would not only never do that to another person ever. Because of what happened to her, she would look for opportunities to reach out and show love and warmth to other people. Because of the horrible way we were treated, she sought out this fellow student and extended such warmth to him that it radiated out to his mother. 

Somewhere out there is someone who is loved
better because someone else was hated more.

When I received that message from his mother, the relief and the comfort was palpable. My daughter may partially understand what she did for this student and his mother but she might never understand what it did for me. My hurt over my children's broken hearts melted in that warmth of her love for her fellow man. If I see that other mother in the store in the future, I  might even smile. I know what she did but she never will see how far it extended. I know the love that radiates out from that point in space. I can feel it and I am not alone.

Monday, September 26, 2016

Happy Box...

I have been over committed and under a lot of stress and I have been ignoring everything except critical things. That means that I end up ignoring things that will ultimately give me some balance. I am not writing. I am not filming. I am not doing the things that I love. My grandmother even told me that she missed me keeping up on a blog because she felt like I was not keeping people in the loop anymore. So. I am back.

Let's start small, shall we?

I am starting with this happy box.

I missed a Yarn Crawl in Denver and I shed many fat tears over it but there was nothing to be done. Yarn. Wine. Bestie. So much good and I missed it. I was so sad over it. So she went and had to give my ticket to another super amazing person and I chalked it up to a missed experience that I would not miss again next year. I went on not as merry way and comforted myself that they had a great time and that they both also deserved some time out. We all do. And with wine and yarn, it is even better.

Then, the happy box arrived. It was a box full of little samples and stickers and trinkets and even little wine glasses with the Knit and Nosh logo on it and I was thrilled.

It was all the best things ever. If I could not be there with here, she sent it to me in a lovely little box with a lovely little card and brightly colored tissue paper. It came on this cold, rainy, windy day that was already just a bit rocky and following some serious stresses. Perfect timing. God is good. Hanna is pretty good, too.