Thursday, September 18, 2014

Writing Process Blog Tour 2014

My friend Maggie Downs was kind enough to tag me in the Writing Process Blog Tour. You can check out her answers to the same questions here, and you can read our other friend, Maggie Thach's, responses here.

Here's a little about my process:

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What are you working on?

I am usually working on several things at once. I shoot for a balance between reading for book reviews (which isn't writing, but still feels like my writing life), writing book reviews, and writing short stories or essays. Probably an even third each.

Currently in the reading for reviews category, I'm about to start reading The Hollywood Trilogy by Don Carpenter for a review. I reviewed Fridays at Enrico's for The Rumpus a few months ago, and I enjoyed that. I'm hoping I feel the same way about THT.

As far as review writing: Tuesday night I started collecting quotes from Justin Taylor's Flings  and organizing my notes so I can write a review. I'm sort of midway through the process, which is to say I've been doing all the grunt work before I sit down to actually write anything. But assuming I've done all my work in the reading and note-taking and organizing, the act of writing reviews is usually very enjoyable. I'm hoping I can carve out a few hours after work and before I pick up my kids today so I can get a draft done.

I'm busy, so my creative work is suffering a little bit. It's always the thing that I put off when I have a deadline for a review or a lot of grading at school, but I make an effort to work on something each week. Lately I've been alternating between nonfiction essays and short stories, but I don't feel like I've had enough time (or attention, maybe?) to do a good job of starting anything new. I've mostly been revising old things for submission and keeping notes in my phone for new stuff.

Why do you write what you do?

I like what Joan Didion says:
I write entirely to find out what I’m thinking, what I’m looking at, what I see and what it means. What I want and what I fear.
I think I write narrative for the same reasons everyone writes narrative. To figure out what I think about what's happened to me, and to imagine myself into other people's lives, which is both fun and a challenge. And because I can't help myself.

But in the last few years I discovered my niche of the literary world. Or, at least what I want my niche to be. I love writing critical work. Book reviews. My background in teaching English and my love of reading and my desire to be creative somehow combine to make this something I am suited to do. I heard David Ulin speak at my first residency about how critical writing is creative writing, and something just clicked. As I worked my way through my two and a half year MFA program, I began to notice I was one of the only students who didn't hate writing critical papers. I found that I even enjoyed writing about books I didn't like. I loved the act of writing in order to figure them out. It was a lot like teaching, which I love. My thesis advisor, Tod Goldberg, suggested I should start writing book reviews. At that point I didn't even know being a literary critic was a thing. But once I figured that out, I felt very strongly that critical writing was a thing I should be doing. I spent all the time I had left in the program trying to learn as much as I could about critical work.

Now I write critical work because I love it. I want to be a part of the literary conversation with so many writers I admire. I want to push myself as a reader and as someone who can organize her thoughts into something worth reading.

How does your work differ from the other works in the some area/genre?

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One thing I learned from reading John Leonard's Reading for My Life is that a critic's work is only effective if it's filtered through the writer's individual voice and experiences. I was really moved by how unique his reviews were, and how together they became a kind of autobiography in books. I like to think about my own work like this. It's really only about my own experience with a book, and nobody else's. In the very beginning I struggled more with why anyone might want to read what I think about a book. I worried too much about getting it "right"-- What if I misunderstood a book and identified something about it that was different than what other people thought? Reviewing is an exercise in standing up for your own opinions. It's a struggle still, sometimes, but I really try to let that go. And I try to just write from my own little corner of the world.

I suppose my work is different because I try to specifically speak to my own experience and perspective. That's all I can do, anyway. It reminds me of when I was dancing. You can only work effectively if you embrace your own movement style. Worrying about how you're different from others doesn't accomplish anything. You just have to do good work and hope you keep improving. Eventually you figure out how your body moves and it works better. It's being different that makes you interesting, anyway.

How does your writing process work?

I have such a routine, because my life is so busy that if I don't I won't get anything done. And oddly enough, the thing that helped me the most for creating a writing routine was training for my first marathon. I learned a lot about how I need to know what to expect, and how I need small, manageable deadlines to get anything accomplished. I also learned that if I try to force myself to do something and it goes against my natural rhythms, I will fail. Miserably.

And writing is supposed to be enjoyable, right? I wanted to make it possible for myself to enjoy it.

No idea where he gets this behavior.
Beautiful distractions.

Anyway, I'm so driven by routine. This is good, because book reviewing is a complicated dance of pitching to editors, requesting advance review copies from publishers, reading, and meeting self-imposed deadlines. I map out reviews and pitches months in advance. I sit down every Sunday and look at what I have "due" in the week ahead, and then I break the work down into hourly increments. I probably work somewhere between 10-20 hours a week on writing and writing-related tasks, depending on how much work I have.

I know it will take me about an hour to read 50 pages, and I know about how long it will take me to write and edit a review, based on length. I schedule everything on my calendar. Things like read 50pp Taylor or write review Carpenter. Or sleep. The benefit of this is I never wonder what I should be doing to get everything done by Saturday. I don't have to look too far ahead and get worried. And this way I never feel overwhelmed by a whole task. If I just wrote TO DO: read and review The Hollywood Trilogy, that would make me want to die (respect to the author, it's not about him, it's about the 450 pages he wrote), which would make me want to read and write nothing.

Once I've carved out the time, it's not so hard. It is something I enjoy, after all. And if I tell myself I only need to read 50 pages or write half of a review, it's not overwhelming. I can relax and enjoy the book or relax and let myself be creative. Often I find myself doing more work than I need to accomplish, because I'm so into it. This is dorky, yes? But it works for me. I think once I realized how I work I have been a much happier writer. No more trying to finish something at midnight, because midnight is my sleep time. If I'm awake and trying to write, I'm probably going to be crying, and whatever I'm writing won't be any good.

I've also learned lately that it's important to take days off. If I plan to work 365 days a year, I'm going to fail. This is also like running... I think you get stronger when you take a rest day, sometimes.

Continuing the blog tour: I tag Jenn-Anne Gledhill and Emile Barrios.

About JA: JA has called Chicago "home" since June 1, 1995. She relocated from Orlando after receiving a "message" to do so during the Winona Ryder/Susan Sarandon version of the film "Little Women." (She is fully aware it could have been the booze fumes talking, but those fumes were on to something if that's the case...) She sometimes works on her novel tentatively titled "The Branson Novel," but so what, right? Everyone is working on something. She wants you to know that she digs you. Like, kinda hard.

About Emile: Emile Barrios is a graduate of UC Riverside Palm Desert’s low residency MFA program. He the author of the memoir Nub: Story of an Ex-Cripple, and is currently at work on a novel about his native South Louisiana. Emile’s writing career began after thirty years as a TV news producer, industrial filmmaker, corporate executive, and PR consultant. He lives and works in San Diego.

Tuesday, September 09, 2014

Avoidance and Other Behaviors

My brain is a lazy jerk. You might look at me and go oh, Heather is getting shit done, she seems like she is making it happen. She gets up every day. But really I am playing mind games with myself just to do the things I'm required to do. All my brain wants to do is go to sleep and maybe wake up to eat some gummy bears and then go back to sleep again. My brain hasn't changed in the last few years; I've just gotten better at tricking me. It's all a game. This all has to happen if I want to -- I don't know -- keep moving and have some kind of career as a book critic and/or writer. Remain employed. Earn a paycheck.

You know what I learned in grad school? How to work ALL. THE. TIME.

So it's all a big sham, I'm saying. This "motivation." Ninety nine percent of the time if I'm getting anything done, it's because I am avoiding something else. I can generally make this work for me.

Day-long, boring teacher inservice?
Write three months of daily lesson plans. 
Stuck in the car waiting for kid to get out of school?
Read 25 pages of book for review.
Don't want to grade papers?
Write essay.
Don't want to do submissions?
Grade papers.

I survive by making my avoidance behaviors just other things that need to be done. How dorky. I know. I have to have a to-do list, and sometimes doing something else on the list feels like more fun than whatever I'm supposed to be doing. Avoid, avoid, avoid. Yes, this makes me the same as the kid in my class who is trying to do her math homework when I'm not looking. I was that kid, anyway. The irony is not lost on me.

I bring this up because on Sunday I went off the rails. Avoidance reached critical mass. Well. Backing up. I think I lost the first wheel on Wednesday night when E was out late after his softball game, having a beer with the guys. I couldn't sleep and I needed something to do, so I organized my closet. As one does. And in the middle of organizing my closet I had this idea that maybe I should have a list of, like, just exactly how many cardigans I own and what colors they are. For science. And then maybe blouses and tanks and pull-over sweaters. This is a thing I needed to know, you guys. So I start writing it down on some binder paper (no joke!) and I think to myself that damn it, this is 2014 and if Clueless taught me nothing, it is the fact that we should all have digital closets by now. So a little searching proved that there's an app for that. Of course. There are actually a bunch.

Cut to me spending all day Sunday taking iPhone pics of each shoe, accessory and clothing item in my possession. Why? Because I needed to be able to create digital outfits and catalog my stuff. Because cataloging my clothing in photos was the biggest emergency, ever.

Or maybe I was avoiding reading for a book review. And writing said book review. And talking to humans. And doing anything other than sitting in the middle of my bedroom in Soffe shorts and an overstretched tank top, watching reruns of LOST for the umpteenth time just so I didn't have to think about real life. Sometimes a project feels like an emergency feels like it's easier to think of than your actual list of responsibilities and/or feelings.

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This all comes up now for two reasons.

1) My work schedule changed. I was only part time for five days. I picked up another class. I'm back to full time teaching, which means I'm back to no time for writing, thinking, and doing all the little organizy shit that constitutes the rest of being a writer. My strategy of avoidance won't let me get it all done. There's too much.

I'm having to find time to do work when I can't just pretend I'm avoiding other things. The only free hours in my day are morning hours, so I'm getting to work at about 6:30 AM. The only thing I am avoiding is sleep. It's okay, but it's not my normal deal. Pros: nobody else is at school at 6:30 in the morning, so it's real quiet. Cons: 6:30 in the morning, dude.

2) This post is avoidance of actual work that I should be doing. As always, there's a ton.

I better go.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Analog

The other day I found my box of letters from high school and college. The pink and purple floral chest lives in our attic now, in a larger box full of framed pictures of people no longer in my day-to-day routine. I can't bear to take them from their frames, but they'd feel false in our house. Anachronistic, maybe. They're pictures from a time before I could sit down to my computer and see almost anyone in my life, past or present. I used to display those frames around my bedroom as a confirmation (to myself?) that that people liked me: my analog friends list.

Tonight I took that box of notes down. For some reason--avoidance of real work, I suppose--I thought it would be good to read them.

I unfolded familiar scraps of binder paper and tensed up. Because I didn't just save the positive things. Oh no. I saved notes that hurt me, too. I printed out emails that made my ears burn for who I was and how I acted when I didn't know any better. Added them to the box. I read them now and cringe for what that felt like to read them then. The words evoke muscle memory very quickly. I don't know why I'd keep letters cataloging my defects, notes that chastised me for being too much one thing or another. Teenage obsession with depth of feeling? (Have I outgrown this? My desire to take the box out tonight so I could feel in any direction says no.) I've always collected words, even the rough ones. So I could study them. And myself. Pair up the two for analysis. I've always been awed by the ability we have to make each other feel by marking things down. Maybe that was why I needed such truth in archiving.

I couldn't read for long, though. I was looking for a note from a particular time period, but those few minutes of reading curled my body into an uncomfortable posture on the couch. My shoulders crept up, I slid down into the cushion, and I wrapped into my own knees. Without thinking, I lapsed into the physicality of that high school girl who smiled and curtsied when she was supposed to, who deferred to anyone who criticized her, and who felt like a failure most of the time.

It's better, with them put away. The letters. I don't want to toss them, but I don't want to remind myself of how awkward I felt. Of how little I knew about how to approach the world, and how little I was able to do anything about it. That's the same reason I'm glad now that social media didn't exist when I was a teen. Not because I don't love it now for what it can do, but because having the record now would be too much. Too human. Beyond us humans.

Feelings are embarrassing.

In the attic, in the box next to mine are all the cards I wrote to Eric when he was 300 miles away for our freshman year of college. Three years before we got married. One of my most miserable years of life (in that way that teenage things feel miserable before life calibrates you), as I was painfully reminded in a recent conversation with K. I put my box back and glanced at the envelopes I'd carefully addressed to Eric, but didn't open any of them. If reading other people's words sent me back into myself, reading my own was out of the question.

I struggle with this, sometimes: how to reconcile the fact that writing, feeling, and creating are so messy and vulnerable. Imperfect and revealing. Beautiful, when they're done well, but scary too. Each sentence I put down on the page is potential embarrassment, a reminder of how fallible I was back when. We're too human, there on the page. Writing takes our feelings out of the safe container. I think most people would say they're thankful to forget.

Would you believe this was going to be a post about the first day of school? I'll save that, but I'll say that I had feelings today. Vulnerable, imperfect, high-potential-for-embarrassment feelings. Not just about starting my 13th year in the classroom (how, already?) but about having a daughter who is old enough to go to junior high. About my marriage, which keeps happening even when I need to do the Mrs. P Show, and which will never (it appears) be anything other than messy and necessitating late night strife.

I use that option on Facebook all the time: I don't want to see this. Abused dogs. Bleeding children. Mean things people say about others who don't share their beliefs. Hide, hide, hide. I hide more than I like. We all do, right?

I realized after I put the box back in the attic that I did it again. I don't want to see this. Even when I know we all carry that box around inside of us, too.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Things in jars.

No, not jam. Other things.

It's a weird summer this year. I mean, hooray, my big trip. But since I've been home I've been feeling very much like a hermit, like going out of my house to see anyone or do anything exceeds my energy level. Or maybe my emotional strength? I'm good hanging with my kids--I love that--but I've been laying pretty low. Working at home, being at home. Not leaving much or going far. I don't really know what it's about.

Change, maybe? Addie starts junior high in a few weeks and I have this feeling that once she does, she'll be heading off to college in five minutes. It pains me to think about how fast she's already grown. And I'm going part time at work this year. This is good. But I think maybe the idea of my kids being in two different schools and myself being in a new situation is just making me want to dig in my feet. To stand still, even if just for a second.

This, also: I felt really low this week for two days... sore all over, tired, cranky. And then I got a migraine that took two more days to go away. I should know better by now to read the signs, but I didn't see it coming. (I kept telling E I thought I was getting sick.) So I'm sure migraine-me contributed to Operation Hermit Crab a little bit.

So let's talk about putting things in jars. Because I've had too much time on my hands. There's really no good reason for this behavior. I mean, I could blame the fact that I've been watching a lot of Ina Garten lately, but Ina hasn't put anything into a mason jar that I've seen. I think her nervous laughter, the "how easy is that"-s, and the bright, shining kitchen are making me invent kitchen projects.

But no jam. Because it's hot as heck, and I'm not trying to sweat it out and make a big sticky mess (there's a great essay on the Paris Review Blog about making jam, though, and it makes me think that yes, I will go there again someday). Not now.

My culinary efforts lately have been other protective measures (imaginary, maybe?) against the imminent approach of the school year. Black feathers to my Dumbo anxiety. They feel like things I can do to get myself ready for Super Mom/Teacher Time. I went down the rabbit hole of Pinteresty ways to make lunches ahead (read: not every single morning when the kids go to school because that always ends in angry peanut butter messes). I started making sandwiches and freezing them. I made 48 granola bars, wrapped them, and froze those too.

And I started putting things in jars. Testing recipes. I am not going to torture you with a picture of the first thing I made, Overnight Oats. Because it looked as bad as it tasted. Who is eating this crap? It wasn't fit for human consumption. I love me some oatmeal, but I am 100% unconvinced why anyone in their right mind wants to eat that sick paste. Don't comment and try to change my mind, either. Overnight Oats are dead to me.

Anyway, the things that worked:

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Layered salads in jam jars.

Hey. I admit that I've been seeing this on Pinterest for a thousand years and I didn't get it. I thought people just did it because they thought it looked cute or something. (Aside: I'm cool with jars being functional to hold our foods, but let's stop fetishizing them, huh? You don't really have to drink your vodka out of a mason jar sippy cup.) But you can make salad in there and it will last five days. Here's a post that has more info, if you want it.

You basically go: dressing, hard veggies, softer veggies, cheese, greens, paper towel, lid.

Boom. And then you have a healthy lunch for five days. Put some protein on it. Or put it on the side of your dinner. It's your disco, Stu.

This other one is kind of silly. It's the laziest thing I've ever made.

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I saw this post on Smitten Kitchen about easy refrigerator pickles. And I made it even easier because I didn't really measure anything I put in the jar. Basically I just filled it up about halfway with some kind of vinegar (white or rice wine are favorites), add 1ish tsp of salt, a pinch of dill, and whatever else you feel like. What I feel like lately is a clove of garlic. Mmm, pungent. The liquid only fills the jar about halfway, but if you shake it and turn it upside down a few times over a day or so, eventually the water is drawn out of the cukes and into the brine.

I think any cucumbers would work (peppers, etc too), but so far I like Armenian cucumbers the best. (The ones in the picture are just regular ol' grocery store cukes... have to get the good ones at the farmers' market since my garden is terrible this year). I've made three different jars and they're all good eatin'. We all know that pickles are just a vinegar and salt delivery device.

So there you go. A post on how to keep yourself busy when you have lots of time but threemany feelings. And you don't want to leave your house.

Jars.

Saturday, July 19, 2014

The Summer BFB

BFB = Big F____ Book

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Fat. Fun. Famous. Ferocious?

Or, you know. The other thing.

For a few years I've been using my summer as a chance to tackle big books. Classic books. Books that people I admire have read. For me, beach reading is the kind of book that barely fits in your hands and takes many a lazy July afternoon to finish. And I allow myself to destroy them. I am not being figurative here. I get them wet at the pool, I cram them into my purse and they end up with gum between the pages. I get all up in these books.

These BFBs are not always great literature, but they can be. I try to find balance -- especially when I started BFBs and I made myself read one classic for every new book. (That part has since gotten a little messy, which is fine...) They almost always fall into the category of things that I would not have time to read when I am teaching/in school/reviewing.

Previous BFBs: Gone With the Wind, The Thorn Birds, East of Eden, Middlesex, and Anna Karenina.

What's funny about looking back at those reviews is that my feelings about many of those books have changed over time. Some that I was not a fan the day after finishing have grown on me. And honestly, with things like Anna Karenina there's a nice confidence that comes later from being able to jump into a conversation about a big-ass classic and know what you're talking about. It makes me grow to love the book more than I did when I was like crap, I just read a thousand pages and I need a rest.

But the point of summer BFBs is not really enjoyment, per se. It is challenging myself in some tangible way to read more than I think I can read. It's the grownup equivalent of that Summer Reading Challenge at the library when I was 8 where I could earn points on the library wall and win at reading. The point is winning, basically.

There are no page requirements for a BFB. But it has to feel hefty. It has to be doorstop of a book. I have read all but one of my previous BFBs in actual book form. Even though I'm a fan of ebooks too, there's something about having a book that looks like nobody in their right mind would pick it up that appeals to me.

So, okay. This summer. I have actually read one BFB, and I am just over 10% through the other. The first was the first book in George R. R. Martin's A Song of Ice and Fire series, which is the basis for the HBO Game of Thrones show. It's not a literary classic (let's not argue, okay?), but it is over 800 pages. It qualifies on length alone. And in terms of how much goodwill it buys me with my fantasy book-loving husband. I just finished it this morning (I'll compose my thoughts on it soon) but I definitely have that glad I'm done feeling.

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My second BFB this summer (modeled for you on the couch next to me by Puppy) is Middlemarch. I bought Middlemarch as a joke to myself about three years ago after a conversation with my (then to be) program director, Tod Goldberg about how students in the UCR Palm Desert MFA program choose their own reading lists. "You can read whatever you're interested in," he said. "It's not like we're going to make you read Middlemarch. I mean, if you want to read Middlemarch you can, but we're not going to make you." That phone call changed my life--I found out I was accepted to my MFA program and immediately set off reading books that were not Middlemarch for the next three years. When I saw a brand new copy in a used bookstore soon after, I took it as a sign.

And I promised myself I'd read it once I was done with the program. I had absolutely no intentions of liking it, but since I know I can make myself read (and finish) anything, I didn't care about that too much.

But here's what I'm finding, and this means I am a hopeless nerd and I should just surrender any cool cred now. I am actually liking Middlemarch. Like, really, really liking it. I know you're not shocked because you already get what kind of grade A dork you're looking at, but I am pleasantly surprised. It's really good.

I decided to attack this particular BFB from all sides. I have the paper copy, and I had a copy on my Kindle from a long time ago. I bought the audio book from audible, so I am also listening to it when I walk my dog. I am never without Middlemarch, you guys. It's fabulous. I am really taking my time and trying not to rush this one, and so far it is the perfect summer book.

Any suggestions for BFBs?

Thursday, July 17, 2014

They should probably come home now.

I've been a mom for long enough that I'm often not entirely sure which parts of my identity are me and which parts are dictated by being around my kids. It's like when you've been dyeing your hair for so long and someone asks "what's your natural color?" and you press your lips together and raise your eyebrows and you're like "brown...ish?" because let's be clear: you really have no idea how much of your "natural brown" is blended for you in that little black tub of hair dye by your stylist. You can't remember what color grows out of your head, and you have a sneaking suspicion what grows out of your head looks more like those grey wires you try to tuck underneath a sly part so you don't get the urge to pluck them.

Or so I hear.

Anyway, my kids have been gone all week. They're up at their Mimi's house taking swim lessons and running all over the mountain. I miss them like crazy, but I'm not complaining. I have used this time. I'm still playing book review catch up from playing hooky in Europe for three weeks, so quiet time in my house has been a total luxury. I've tried to be good and work and also get some things done around the house, too. It's not just book time in the middle of a crazy pile.

I wonder a little if these rare times alone aren't some way to see what I'm really like, now. Like, maybe the reason I am not BeyoncĂ©-fabulous and Lizzy-Caplan-chic and Misty-Copeland-fit and Herman-Melville-published is that I have too much to do when we're four of usWhen there is nobody to ask for things or dictate a schedule or leave the bag of Lays potato chips on the carpet for the billionth time in a row, maybe it's super easy to be awesome. I can't go off of what I was like pre-kids, because at this point that already feels too long ago.

So of course like any neurotic 35 year old woman, on Sunday I decide I am going to DO ALL THE THINGS during my week alone. The list:

I am going to floss like nobody has ever flossed before.
I am going to read three books, one of which is Middlemarch.
I am going to reorganize my kitchen (see also: be a better person.)
I am going to find the floor in my closet.
I am going to eat only fresh, fabulous and mysterious vegetables because
a) Gwenyth
and b) I'm sure it's not hard to give up Icees.
I am going to probably lose ten pounds. Or so.
I am going to write like five book reviews and maybe a novel.
I am going to plan my first semester of English 9 and AVID.
I am going to write some short pieces for essay contests.
I am going to get up and dawn and run every morning.
I am going to eat hella stuff out of Mason jars.
I am going to make like five kinds of jam.
I am going to meditate, and take long, thoughtful walks.
I am going to binge watch like three new shows.
I am going to keep my house spotless.

So yeah, all that happened. Because that's who I am. See you later.

HAHAHAHA NOT REALLY YOU GUYS

I mean. I guess what I learned that week is I am not the kind of person who can do all that in one week, even if my kids are not here.

Don't get me wrong. I did a lot of stuff. Just sometimes I was a total asshole about it. To myself. Take today for example. All I did was go for a walk finish reading a review book, and my internal dialogue was not a pleasant one. I won't tell you the words I said, but it felt like it took forever to finish reading 50 pages. Neat.

It's not like I didn't know this, but in my haste to be skinny and productive and published this week, I forgot to account for the two things I was going to spend the most time doing:

1. Naps
2. Being fascinated by my pets

There have been a lot of cat pictures up in here.

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And cat talking. And weird talk-to-dog voices. And you get it.

I did some good things. Sunday I got a desk. A real honest-to-God desk so I can type there and stop having couch related laptop neck pain. It's very simple and very small and very much better than the card table I've been using.

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Plus it has bookshelves, which my forays into critical work are quickly demanding we need more of. I filled the top with books on my to-read (not for reviews) list, and I filled the bottom with books by people who inspire me.

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Oh hey, professors.

So, listen. I did read. And I walked the dog a lot. And I ate a little bit better than normal. And I did cull about 20% of the crap out of my kitchen and haul it to Goodwill. And then I did the same for my closet. And I sent reviews to editors and I kept the place pretty clean and I tested some new recipes. But that's about it. There are probably 8 or so hours each day I can't account for, and I'm guessing only about two of those hours were spend Googling obscure facts about Nicole Richie's hair color.

I didn't become an entirely new person, no matter how many inspirational pins I found on Pinterest. I was productive, but I'm probably just about as productive when the monkeys are here.

More than anything, I missed 'em.

Saturday, July 05, 2014

Yesterday

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Yesterday felt long. A side effect, I'm sure, of the early waking/still not sleeping right thing. I finished a review before 6, took the dog for a run before 7, and was done dragging the kids through Walmart and the pet supply store before lunch time. After lunch and unpacking all the snacky American processed goodness I purchased at the 'mart, we swam at my mom's for a while, and we hadn't even made it to the actual 4th of July party.

But after a short visit with E's parents--who stopped by to bring me a bookshelf for my classroom and a new quilt ladder that my father in law made for me (yay! more on that soon)--we were in the car and off to see the rest of the family.

Is it just me, or does it seem like we spend a lot of time in the car on holidays?

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We had a great BBQ with E's family, most of whom we haven't seen in quite some time. We reunited with our fellow travelers from the trip, though, so it was fun to catch up about life since we'd been back.

And of course, Henry made sure we had our s'mores. For the S'moreth. They were delicious, too.


I couldn't stay awake for the end of fireworks, though, and I was almost knocked out in the comfy chair inside by the time E came in to say we were all done. I crawled into bed when we got home and somehow Addie ended up asleep there next to me. I didn't realize until I woke up this morning to an elbow in my face--I assumed it was E, but it was Miss Roo.

And now I'm trying to drink a smoothie of last week's farmers' market leftovers. For two reasons: A) use up all of the produce that was left from last week's purchases and about to go bad or get tossed. B) to atone for all the Coke I drank and marshmallows (okay, and doughnuts) I consumed yesterday.

Happy Birthday, America.

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