01/01 Direct Link
The worst part of my year is nearly over. Only one more day left, and as holiday days go, January second is pretty darn mild. This year we drove to the Midwest and my entire extended family became sick with a stomach virus. First the rush to get ready for the holiday, then the drive, then the holiday then the illness, finally the drive back. No wonder people die after the holidays, their bodies are all worn out.

I didn't make any resolutions this year. I rarely keep them. Maybe the key to keeping resolutions is to not make any.
01/02 Direct Link
You would think that writing one hundred words a day would be pretty easy, right? Well, I missed my second day.

I want to do this, I want to succeed with this one little thing. I will never write anything of importance. I read things on the web that teens write that are a lot better than anything I have ever written. Where did I ever get the notion that I was capable of writing anyway?

I applied for a 3 hour a week job yesterday, with low pay. I got a response today that indicates I probably won't get it.
01/03 Direct Link
When something happens that makes me feel uncomfortable or bad or angry or upset I sometimes tell myself that if I still feel bad the next day, after a good night's sleep, then it might have been serious. Usually I feel fine the next day, but sometimes I don't. Something happened before Christmas that made me feel upset and I felt upset about it the next day. I felt upset about it the entire week of Christmas and still am upset. That usually means I need to change something, which I did today. Now I feel a whole lot better.
01/04 Direct Link
This January is nearly record-breakingly warm.

Word is telling me that "breakingly"is not a word, but too bad. It works.

Anyway, it is mild here in the DC Metro area. So warm that the snowdrops are in full bloom and the forsythia is blooming on some bushes. I understand that last year it was actually warmer. The weatherman said that if you want to plan an outdoor event consider January. Clare thinks it is global warming. It has her nervous since we watched "The Day after Tomorrow"recently. She is so concerned she signed up for "Green School Club-.
01/05 Direct Link
The cats and the kids are acting more aggressive than usual lately. The cats are probably still annoyed over being left alone during the holidays, but the kids...? I am not sure what is up with them. Clare is not taking Andrew's crap anymore, and that annoys Andrew. That could be it. She is also not taking crap from some of her friends anymore. That is a very good thing. Perhaps she will not be anyone's doormat when she is an adult. As for the cats, they just have to realize that sometimes they will be left alone. Fat chance.
01/06 Direct Link
Book group is coming up in a few days and I am not finished with this month's choice, Nickeled and Dimed: on Not Getting by in America by Barbara Ehrenreich. I really liked the book until the last chapter where she got a little preachy and the writing was less about her experiences but more about the plight of low-wage employees. It reads like a financial report. I will finish, plodding along slowly, but I am disappointed..

I hope we read something good next time. I will once again suggest The Devil in the White City by Erik Larsen.
01/07 Direct Link
I am adding entries later than I should. I mean later than the actual day. I know we have until the 5th or so of the next month, but I really want to be more timely. It reminds me of going back and catching up on journal entries from school or something. Not a very productive way to work. I had hoped this would be an exercise in whatever the antonym of procrastination is. It seems as if it would be easier to think of things to write once a day instead of 10 things to write in one day.
01/08 Direct Link
I did get a response about that three-hour-a-week web job. "Thanks but no thanks." I was surprised at how disappointed I was that I didn't get it. I have a feeling I am not going to be applying to any more jobs soon. I hate rejection. It depresses me. I am sure I am not alone in that. I actually enjoy the job search process, it is like a hunt. Back in 2000 I had it almost down to a science. But I got rejected a lot that year. At least Caliber is still giving me some work. I'll survive.
01/09 Direct Link
We have these huge spiders showing up in our house. There is one on the window right now. Ok, huge is relative. Mostly we have these tiny ones about this size: .

These guys are as big as my thumbnail and they have a mean look to them like they would take pleasure in taking a bite out of my finger. I rescued one by putting it in a clay pot but forgot about it for a day. When I remembered it I thought it would have died and was sad. It lived and made a web in the pot.
01/10 Direct Link
Tomorrow is my son's 12th birthday. He was born on January 11 at 11:11 pm. The doctor said we should use the number eleven and play the lottery. Last year was his golden birthday and we did many special things for him. He recently told me that his 11th birthday was a disappointment and sometimes he cried about it.

Sometimes being a mom is not as good as other times. While I want my kids to have special birthdays I am not a good planner, perhaps because I know that my efforts are bound to not live up to expectations.
01/11 Direct Link
Twelve years ago I was allowed up from bed rest and removed from the drug my OB had given me to prevent my son from being born too early. I had a ten o'clock appointment with the OB who told me that I could go into labor at any time. I stopped at my favorite card store in Alexandria Virginia on the way home from the OB to pick up some thank you cards for writing notes after my child was born. I felt the first real twinge of actual labor in the shop and had my son that night.
01/12 Direct Link
Last night was as I predicted. My son was disappointed with his birthday. It was not as special as he wanted. I reacted poorly. Sometimes it is hard to remember I am the adult.

I am disappointed by the way he acted. I am sad that I raised a child who is so spoiled that he cries when he does not get the gift or gifts he expected.

I have always wanted to give the perfect gifts to people. Things that will make them glow or even cry. I am only now realizing that I cannot do that very often.
01/13 Direct Link
Sometimes, discovering a new author is like falling in love. If that is the case then I must be in love with Neil Gaiman*. His writing is so refreshing and readable that I cannot seem to get enough of it. We listened to his Coraline on the drive to Illinois and I recently bought myself two of his books, Smoke and Mirrors and Good Omens, written with Terry Pratchett. Something about his writing, his voice, tickles my insides and makes me feel good all over.

*Of course I am not really in love with Mr. Gaiman -- just with his writing.
01/14 Direct Link
When I was thirteen and had just been issued my first adult library card I looked at the stacks and stacks of books at my local public library in despair. There were so many books and I only had a limited amount of time on this earth in which to read them. I've long since reconciled myself to the fact that I won't read every book ever written, or even every book at my childhood library, but I still worry that I will die before I read the books I want to read.

Perhaps I should log-off and read now.
01/15 Direct Link
My son had chapped lips and I told him to get some Chapstick for his lips.
"I don't know where any is,"he replied.
"Go downstairs in the bathroom and look in the middle section of the medicine cabinet. On the top shelf is a glass full of different kinds of Chaptstick. Try the one that says Carmex. It is medicated and it might be the best,"I told him.
"Carmax?"he asked.
"Carmex,"I replied.
"Oh, for a minute there I thought that whenever you bought a car at Carmax you got a complimentary tube of Chapstick,"he answsered.
01/16 Direct Link
"Where were you on the night of January the 16th?-

Whenever I notice the date is January 16th I remember the play I tried out for in 7th grade at Kimball Junior High School in Elgin, Illinois in 1969. I was not chosen for the play, but my friend, Penny Burke, was chosen to portray a mad sister. I tried out by going onstage and standing there. I guess I didn't look like a mad sister.

The play was about a trial centering around a murder on a particular January 16th. I think the guy in the wheelchair did it.
01/17 Direct Link
I'm eating Ben and Jerry's Chocolate Fudge Brownie Ice Cream out of the pint container. There is not much left as my 13 year old daughter as much a fan of this treat as I am.. What surprises me is that I am typing about it now. Who cares? I am not fat. But it is not exactly a cool thing to eat out of the carton or something.

We made chocolate chip cookies tonight. I like the regular Toll house cookies, but my daughter likes chocolate choate cookies so we made a different recipe. It sucks.


Believe me.
01/18 Direct Link
To Donxa Lee - My First Grandchild

Broadcast it to the Universe
So to all it may be heard,
That Donxa Lee Patrick arrived
On August twenty-third.
From fooling around
Between Patsy and Elvin.
They received a wee bundle,
Straight from Heaven.
Her Dad asked for a boy,
But it was not
He could readily tell 'cause
It had a ----- pink bootie
Her eyes are brown and
So is her hair.
When she arrived there was
An inch of it there.
She is very tiny
But so is her mother.
Now try again
So she can have a brother.
01/19 Direct Link
I have far too many books going right now. I am reading a book about a book club, two books by Neil Gaiman, two books on parenting, and a book my husband gave me for Christmas that I asked for but am not sure I like.

It is not that I get the books confused, but it is hard to really "get into"them when I have so many going at once. I think I will start reading them in the order that I began each, one at a time, except for the parenting books. Those need to be read.
01/20 Direct Link
I'll make a confession now. I am writing these entries late. I was going good for a while, but lost steam for some reason on the 18th. It is now February 4th and I awoke in the night panicked that I was a failure in this venture. That I was unable to write a paltry 100 words a day. I calculated the date and was able to calm myself knowing I had two days to finish January. Upon waking this morning, while my coffee was brewing, I turned on the computer to enter my 100 words for the past fortnight.
01/21 Direct Link
I wish publish something, somewhere. Somewhere, something. A short story in an obscure magazine would do. I don't want to die leaving my earliest ambition unfulfilled. And no, the appendix in the AOL book about pictures does not count.

I have so many stories living in my head, jotted down in abandoned exercise books, hidden in the last folder of my file cabinet. When I read novels I marvel at the way the author conveys ideas and vow to write the very next day. I become distracted with other things and the next day ends and I have written little.
01/22 Direct Link
Last fall we purchased a dining room table and six matching chairs. We spent an obscene amount of money on the purchase. Then, because we bought Stickley, we needed a matching china cabinet. We found one, reduced in price, but expensive nonetheless.

The dining room set is beautiful. I could stare at it for hours. The cherry wood of the pieces and the inlay on the corners of the table and backs of the chairs lift my spirits.

We have eaten off this table three or four times at the most. It lives, now, just for beauty, not utility.

01/23 Direct Link
I heard a bird sing the other morning. It's not December, but I was reminded of a poem I memorized when I was a child. It was called "The Song of Solomon-.

The traveling pastor of my mother-in-law's church talked about how December, and winter in general, should be people's favorite season. Not because of Christmas, but because of the promise of spring. That makes sense, perhaps that is what Lewis meant in part, by making Narnia, when we first meet it, always winter and never Christmas. Or not. It was probably everything to do with the whole Christian thing.
01/24 Direct Link
I've been reading a lot of Science Fiction lately. I went through a brief period when I liked SF, but only when it was related in some way to fantasy. For instance, I liked Lewis' space trilogy because Lewis wrote it. Science Fiction is too male for me. Even though I like the idea of The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy, I have only read a few of the books from the series.

But that was before I discovered Neil Gaiman. He writes science fiction with a wonderful sense of humor. Like he doesn't take it too seriously. More tomorrow.
01/25 Direct Link
Yesterday I wrote about reading Neil Gaiman. How his SF was written in a way in which I could appreciate. There is a down side to reading his stories and novels though, at least for me.

I often read just before bed, sometimes long after the house is quiet and Dean and the kids are asleep. Lately I have been having nightmares.

One I remember clearly had Gaiman playing the roll of an evil uncle who kidnapped my son and I ended up in a laundry basket about to be stabbed with a very sharp knife before I awoke.

01/26 Direct Link
On my head is a turquoise towel that, when I wrapped it, turban style, around my brown, short hair smelled vaguely sour as if it had been left wet for too long.

On my feet are brown slipper socks decorated with a squeaky fuzzy puppy head with one white eye.

In the middle I am still dressed in what I wore to bed as I try to fulfill my last few days of writing 100 words a day.

Never mind that the clock in the bottom right-hand corner of my computer monitor says nearly ten-thirty. I must finish this month...
01/27 Direct Link
Tomorrow the Girl Scouts in my daughter's troop get their "free day"reward for being cooperative during the other meetings of the month. The leader felt this could help the troop get things done during regular meetings and perhaps the adults would not go home with headaches afterwards.

The girls themselves think this is a ridiculous idea. Few of them actually think that their behavior is going to improve if they are given a special treat once a month. I tend to agree with them. I'd like them to be more active in the planning and execution of the meetings.
01/28 Direct Link
Our children are going on ski-trips this weekend. This leaves my husband and me the weekend without children. This happens so infrequently, I could count the times it has happened on one hand. Once, last spring, they both were gone and my husband and I went to a cabin in the mountains. This weekend we will just take it easy and will go to a grown-up party one night. We will enjoy the silence.

As good as this feels, it also feels wrong. They will both be out of the house in 6 years time which seems much too soon.
01/29 Direct Link
This evening we received news that no one likes to hear. Our son misbehaved on a school-run ski trip and we were to pick him up, an eight hour long drive. Shortly thereafter we discovered that my father had fallen in his house and was in the emergency room in a hospital 600 miles away.

The second incident happened several hours before the first, but we received the news in reverse order. I think there is a reason for that. My son's incident was distressing, but hearing about my dad was much worse, making my son's behavior seem nearly inconsequential.
01/30 Direct Link
Last night my husband and I attended a grown-up only party. We don't go these often, perhaps once a year at the most. We rarely go out together without at least one of our early adolescent children.

Last night the conversations were not about table manners or how yucky the food was. Instead, the talk was about movies, what we did for a living and wine labels we enjoyed.

It was a fun evening, stress-free and lively. We'd like to do it again sometime soon, but as entertaining as the adults were, truth be told, our kids are more fun.
01/31 Direct Link
Because my husband, who usually takes my son to sporting events (practices and games) had a Boy Scout committee meeting, I took my son to his basketball practice today. My daughter remembered that she needed to get materials for a research project so I suggested she ride along, I drop her at the library, drop off my son, then drive back and help my daughter with choosing her books. When I returned to the library, there was my daughter sitting at a computer terminal looking up the needed reference materials. When did she grow up? How did I miss it?