Thursday, July 12, 2012

Birthday post

Every year on my birthday, I check in on my New Year's Resolutions, just to see how on-track I am for reaching my goals. I used to consider this incredibly neurotic, bordering on embarrassing, but then I read that Jeremy Renner creates a life chart for himself each year in order to see if he's on target for where he wants to be in life. And he's a famous actor who builds houses on the side, so... there.

This gives me license to be neurotic as I wanna be.

Here were my goals for 2012:

Travel – Go to London, baby!
TV – Two hours a week during school weeks
Reading – 40 books
Fitness – Lose 11 pounds; complete Couch-2-5K program
Diet – Paleo diet, with three splurges a week
Writing – 2,000 words a week, Poem-A-Day in April, NaNoWriMo in November, continue to post The Cosmos Within, find a venue for Katrina’s stories

And here's how I've done as of July 12 -- my birthday:

Travel - We went to London, baby!
TV - So far, so good. We've done more reading, crafting, and creating than TV viewing. Next year, I might consider tackling my various social media addictions.
Reading - So far, I have read 24 books.
Fitness - I've lost 6 pounds and have completed Couch-2-5K; Now I'm working on Ease-Into-10K
Diet - Doing better here... keeping mostly to Paleo lifestyle. We're eating healthy, except today there will be cake!
Writing - Utter fail for Poem-A-Day. I wrote six poems. Six. I blame the rather wild spring semester we had, and my mismanagement of various stressors and emotions. Must do better next year. During the summer, I write well over the 2,000 word goal. I completed The Cosmos Within as well as another Doctor Who story called Tricky. Then, I wrote a 50 page Avengers fanfiction, and I'm currently working on an Unusuals fanfiction. That's the real vacation right there! I do still intend to take on the NaNoWriMo challenge, and find a venue for Katya's stories.

Also, I have a wonderful friend reading my novel, Reprieve, so with some work and a bit of luck, maybe that one will get published.

I think I'm on target for meeting my goals this year. Most of them. That's a pretty nice feeling. I think I'll celebrate with some bacon!

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Monday, April 9, 2012

Poem-A-Day 009: Shady Grove

Today's prompt is to write a shady poem. This is perfect, because a very important place in our family history is our cemetery, Shady Grove. I cannibalized bits of my novel, Reprieve, to write this descriptive poem.

Shady Grove

No grand entrance precedes
the rutted track
leading to Shady Grove.
No wrought-iron gates.
No Gothic statues.
No moss-veined angels.
Only a break in the pines
and a green highway sign
that says “Cemetery”
with a white arrow
pointing right.

Pines tower over the road,
woven together by a net
of honeysuckle vines
and poison ivy.
Soon the forest curtain
gives way to a sloping field
piled deep with grass
so green it hurts your eyes.
Yellow sunflowers
and pink buttercups bob
under drips of rain
along the fence posts.

The chapel rests on raised pylons,
a doe asleep on folded fetlocks,
eyes closed and softly breathing
the fetid scents of fresh earth.
Its one room of raw pine boards
dappled with constant shade,
its steeple cloaked
in the interlacing arms
of the shepherding groves.

You approach, head bowed,
reverent to the silent woods.
The path fans around the chapel,
and you take the left,
bound deeper into the forest
where sleeps five generations
of your family in the graves
of Shady Grove.

Poem-A-Day 008: Weight

Yesterday's prompt was to write about rejection. In recent years, I've been rejected for a number of things for a variety of reasons, but the one that stings most is, of course, from a break up. Basically, he chose her. I'm still bitter about it. Maybe writing this will help?


in us against
the weight of years,
against the pull of the
time you spent with her.

had the
habits and rituals
of a life that began
in your shared youth.

I held out
only comfort
and love without
guilt or belittlement,
without any expectation.

I hoped
it would be
enough for us,
this small stone
for us to build upon.

I thought that in choosing,
you would choose me.
I didn’t calculate
the weight
of time

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Poem-A-Day 005: Happy Birthday

The prompt for today is something from my past.

Well, this poem is for my lovely assistant teacher, Kat, whose birthday was in December:

Happy Birthday
a poem for Katrina

We both were scared and unprepared
For what Paredes held
But like a shot, you read my thoughts
Just like a Vulcan mind meld

Fantastic wit, you never quit
Wicked, the Doctor, Glee
A super talent, always gallant
Yeah, you had me at “Squee!”

Then every day, you had this away
Of making class awesome
With strong diction and fanfiction
You made this job such fun

And now teaching it is the thing
You say you will pursue
We all marvel by how much they’ll
Be inspired by you

And with Klainebows and heaven knows—!
Your spark ignites the fuse
So celebrate! We all can’t wait
To share this path you choose.

Poem-A-Day 007: Blank Canvas

Blank Canvas

Somewhere between coffee cup
and the sink she realizes
He’s at it again:
sifting through messages.
The reason they’re
at his apartment,
drinking his weak coffee,
using his sour towels,
curling into his hard bed.

She rinses the cup,
listens to him hum
some foreign lullaby,
one his mother maybe
sang to him?
His mother he
never mentions.
Volumes of words on
economy and currency exchange.
Talks and says nothing,
his voice is a blank canvas,
a sham in the MoMA
and everyone is buying.

She dries the mug,
turns it over and over
in her hands.
Aging hands,
she thinks.
He’s typing now,
and she knows,
today their time is done.
The sheets still
bear their warmth,
the creases like
meringues whipped stiff
the night before,
now stale.

The cup clean in her hands,
she returns it to the cabinet.
Without a sound,
She toes into her shoes,
slides into her blouse
and slips out
without a word
like she was

Poem-A-Day 006: Not the Same As Lost

Yesterday's poem, following the prompt at Poetic Asides. It's about something hidden, but I kept mixing it up in my mind as something lost. Therefore, I combined them.

Not the Same as Lost

In the mossy hollow
of a wizened willow tree
where sleeping seasons
rest in rings wound round
a sunken core,
there lies a time
when rains fell
in lavish veils
over young, strong
outstretched arms
and green coiled out
in fiddlehead finery
to shadow the brush

almost concealed,
a flash of eye
the tip of wing
a breath of old
not lost
but hidden.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Poem-A-Day 004: Let the Great World Spin

Finally, a poem I like this month!

I did go off-prompt for this one, because I didn't like the one we have at Poetic Asides this time.

Let the Great World Spin

Let’s paint our car in chalkboard black
and graffiti it with style
I’ll write “Wash Me” on the back
Just to see your smile

Let’s drizzle the porch with twinkle lights
Let’s glitter that old arm chair
We’ll make a lamp from seashells
We’ll fishtail braid our hair

Let’s eat a dozen lemon pies
and stretch out on the lawn
We’ll blow a thousand bubbles
until the sun has gone

Let’s spend the night counting the stars
Let’s feel the turn of the earth
Let’s gather life around us
Let’s not forget its worth

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Poem-A-Day 003: Apology

Rub his nose in it
The advice from my dad,
old school and harsh
Kittens are like kids,
he said.
They have to learn

A Monday evening’s
frustrations –
bills, and that
one more thing
led to the moment
when I heeded
his words

And the kitten
looked as though
he deserved it,
like he understood

Kids would remember
Kids would hold a grudge
He didn’t.
But I remember
and I’m sorry.
Even though
he’d never

Monday, April 2, 2012

Poem-A-Day 002: Alien


like whipped cream
setting up for
something sweeter

But bitter tendrils
encroach into softness
twisting, taking hold
taking root

What should have lain
and stirs

This pearling pain
is worthless
to the bearer
of its burden

This seedling clutch
sending forth fibril feelers
blind, unbidden

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Poem-A-Day 001: Mistaken Identity

Mistaken Identity

The other day, when I yelled
at you to get the hell out of my face
that wasn't me.

don't really know who it was.
looks like me

Minus the gray hair
and the scowl,
we could be sisters;

that wasn't me.

And the crazy lady who
chased you across the courtyard,
lanyard jingling like
a prison guard's keys

that woman who
screamed at you and your friends
to get the hell back outside
to wait for the bus
because we were

all hot
all tired
all thirsty
and by god we were not
going to wait
for you

yeah, that woman
wasn't me

I'm the picture
of calm
of poise
of maturity

that wasn't me
losing my head
over you.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Always with a bit of ceremony...

New Year’s Resolutions 2012

To begin with, this:

and also, this:

Last year’s resolutions were good ones. Solid. Achievable. Measurable. However, I did not meet as many of them as I’d hoped. With some, I managed to be half successful. Some I missed altogether. Here’s last year’s list, for your amusement and for mine:

This year, in keeping with Mr. Gaiman’s advice, I’m going to make mistakes. Lots of mistakes. Tons of them. I’m going to make a fool of myself making mistakes. Kinda scary… But that’s going to be my goal: Make messy, amazing mistakes. Be afraid.

With that in mind, here are my goals for 2012:

Personal Resolutions

Travel – We took no major trips in 2011, sad to say. Various factors including the price of gasoline kept us from taking our 12-state road trip last summer, and every other trip we planned got bumped and slashed and back-burnered.

This year, we’ve had to be a bit more aggressive with our savings, but we have managed to secure airfare to London and a lovely flat in Notting Hill for a Spring Break trip to the UK. Great Britain, prepare to be invaded!

Television - Last year, in regards to television viewing, we were doing well until along came American Idol. My hour-and-a-half of TV viewing became two hours until James Durbin exited the stage, and then I foreswore the show forever. That is a promise to which I’ll be sticking. I have no perspective when it comes to reality TV, so it’s best avoided altogether. Katya stuck with her less than 90 minutes of TV goal, so she gets a plus in that category (if we were keeping score; which we totally are). We kept up with Glee each week once AI had run its course…

Then summer hit and we discovered Doctor Who, Sherlock, and Merlin on Netflix. Curse you BBC! Obviously, we have to strike a balance here. Luckily, we’ve watched everything on Netflix. Unluckily, we’re now hooked on three new shows!

Therefore, we will have to use our Telly Time wisely. I’m setting a goal for two hours of TV watching during the week, with the addendum of extra time allowed during the weekend.

Reading Goal – Rocked this one two years in a row. My goal this year was 40 books; I read 42 (Here’s my BookList: This year, my goal will again be 40 because that seems both reasonable and enjoyable. I’ll post a Year-In-Review this weekend as well, because I read a lot of good books this year. There will be recommendations. Oh yes.

Health Resolutions

A mixed bag of successes and failures in this category from 2010 to 2011. While I wasn’t as sedentary in 2011 as I was in 2010, I didn’t lose the weight I’d gained (I didn’t gain any either; that’s nice) and my exercise routine is about as gaping as Smeagol’s teeth. I did participate in the Cap10K, but I only ran about half of it. Over the Summer, I used the Couch-2-5K app on my iPod to get up to running 4K without stopping. Then school began and I got sick. Really, really sick. Sick for a month. Then it got cold, then the holidays… blah blah. See above, re: Mixed bag.

This year, I’m going to combine the Couch-2-5K app with yoga at least twice a week to lose the eleven pounds I’ve gained since 2009. I have work-out/diet buddies, too: Matt and Felicia, we are in this together! The Couch-2-5K app is a 9 week program, which means I should complete it by March 8th if I start it now. The Capital 10K is March 25th. This is a good plan. Anyone with me?

As for the diet… I have never felt better health-wise than when I was on the Paleo diet. It’s a challenge to maintain because there are many off-limits foods, but I am again going to try to implement it. The diet allows for three splurges each week, too. I’ve already started my food diary in preparation for the diet disembarkation. Eleven pounds in nine weeks. We shall see.

Career Resolutions

Again, mixed success and failure in this category. I wrote a ton in 2011, but most of it has been on the computer, not in my speckled compositions journals. I still pack one around with me, just in case, but my entire NaNo novel, two short stories, and all 30 Poem-A-Day poems found their home here, on my Lappy. I do have a writing goal, and that is to write 2,000 words each week. Whether that’s on the computer or in a journal, it matters not. What matters is that I continue to write.

Where I failed last year was in submitting work, both mine and Katrina’s. She’s got two more short stories ready to submit; I’ve got a semi-edited novel and a couple of short stories to work on as well. I’m stuck here. Maybe this is where the frightening mistakes can come in?

So, my goal this year is to keep writing 2,000 a week. I have a pet project I’m writing, a romantic comedy about a single mom trying to date. This is a gift for Amber, my cousin, because she is a great person and has a great laugh, and for my roommate and best friend, Matt, who likes the stories I write.

I also wrote a Doctor Who novel in November for NaNoWriMo. I’ll be posting new chapters each week to The Chambered Heart, and the link for that is right here:

As for Katrina’s writing, I’ll continue searching for a venue for her stories. She’s not old enough for most contemporary magazines, and she’s too old for Stone Soup… Maybe I should launch a magazine for stories written by teens? Hmmm….

In summary, (I feel like I need a chart or animated graphic of some sort):

Travel – Go to London, baby!
TV – Two hours a week during school weeks
Reading – 40 books
Fitness – Lose 11 pounds; complete Couch-2-5K program
Diet – Paleo diet, with three splurges a week
Writing – 2,000 words a week, Poem-A-Day in April, NaNoWriMo in November, continue to post The Cosmos Within, find a venue for Katrina’s stories

Guiding principle: Follow Neil Gaiman’s advice and do scary things that might not work out. Awesome! Happy New Year, everyone. May 2012 be blessed.