Monday, June 29, 2009

Looking for a cure...

My new writing gig has presented me with a challenge I haven't faced since my creative writing class in high school—writer's block. My mind is racing with ideas for blog posts, short stories and more. But writing on an assigned topic is something I haven't had to do, and it brings with it a set of problems. 

My latest story topic for the paper was to write a promo piece on the local Dog Show. For those of you who know me well, you know I am NOT a dog person. I don't like dogs. I don't like their fur. I don't like their smell. I don't like the deposits they leave in the yard. I really don't like anything about them. But I couldn't expect to write a piece to that effect and keep my still-new job.

I gathered the information, and sat on it. For nearly a week. Fortunately for me, this assignment gave me a longer than usual deadline. Every time I sat down to write, I ended up doing everything but. I surfed the net. I read blogs. I wasted time on Facebook. And the deadline got closer, and closer, and closer...

I did finally manage to get some thoughts and information down on "paper", and came to the realization that writing isn't as easy as it looks. But I've also come to the realization that the process is just as important as the end result, and with each wadded up "virtual" paper, comes a new level of skill and ability. And I need to expect to have to write about things that don't interest me at all to gain the experience needed to write something more.

In the meantime, maybe I could use some new shoes...


Monday, June 22, 2009

The New Look

Over the weekend, I got my hair done. Back to my almost natural color, with just a few highlights. I haven't been my natural color since Steve has known me. I've always been nearly blonde. The style is much more modern, with no more flip-up and poofiness (I liked to call it cobra hair). When it was done, and all styled, I loved it and thought it looked amazing. I couldn't wait for Steve to see it!

I came home to an extremely unhappy husband who was fed up with a cluttered house and a rebellious 5-year old. He didn't mention the hair. I jumped in to help with the pick-up process and deal with the insolent Jack. Steve still didn't mention the hair. We went to a friend's graduation party, no hair talk.

Sunday was Father's Day. I got up, made breakfast, the kids and I presented him with his cards and gift. He still didn't mention the hair. We went to church, came home, I cleaned the garage, he took a nap, and still, no mention of the hair.

Then, we went out to dinner. I took Olivia to the bathroom, and when we came back, I sat down and said "Every time I see myself in a mirror, I do a double take. I almost don't recognize myself!" Steve looked at me, with a totally straight face, and said "Me too."

I then said "So I take it you don't like the color so much?" And he said, "It will take some getting used to. I think I like it better lighter."

I thought that was that. And then he said "What's up with the cut? It looks really choppy, like it doesn't blend right."

I looked at him and said "Well, that's sort of the style right now, and she was trying to update my look a bit."

And he looked at me, with a totally serious face, and said "Since when is it in style to look like a homeless person?" I swear, that is exactly what he said.

Here's the hairstyle - not as cute as when the hairdresser styled it, but you can still get the idea.

(Looking at this picture, my face looks way rounder than I'm hoping it does in real life...Olivia was behind the camera, and trying to just get a straight picture took several tries. Regardless of whether it's real or imagined, it's time to jump back on the fitness bandwagon, I'm afraid!)

It's a good thing that I know deep down Steve is really crazy about me...and it's just hair, right? In another 6-8 weeks, who knows what I'll look like!

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

This one has a picture!

My second article came out in the Tri-City Voice today.

You can read the article here.

Even though I read the article dozens of times before submitting it, I hung on every word as I read it in the paper! Just like last week, it's on the bottom of page 30, underneath the "Public Notices". But this week, my article included a picture!

I'm excited to see next week's article as well, as it's a longer one with a whole lot more photos. I'm anxious to see what they do with it!

Our Contributions are Over (well, almost!)

For the past nearly 10 years, our family has been making regular contributions to the landfills in the form of stinky, icky, dirty diapers. Now, I can safely and securely say that those days are over!

After months of on-again, off-again potty-training, I finally decided it was time to bite the bullet and get down to business. It didn’t happen overnight. We had a lot of these:

I’m glad we haven’t yet replaced our awful carpet, as it has acquired several new stains over the past few weeks. Now, we have an additional $30-$40 a month to spend on something a whole lot more fun than diapers . . . like new carpet!

We're still using a pull-up at night, but I'm okay with that, and know those will be unnecessary soon enough!

I still have a small backpack in the car with a change of clothes—just in case, but it has only been used a couple of times, and mostly for spills in the car.

I feel a tremendous sense of accomplishment in having raised three kids past the point of diapers. I realize that the worst is yet to come.

But for now, I’ll bask in the diaper-free home, and relish the new-found independence!

Thursday, June 11, 2009

My New Voice

When I started this blog a little over two years ago, it was mainly to serve as a “journal” of our family life. I wanted friends and family to be able to see what we were up to, and see pictures of kids as they grew.

As time went on, I discovered that I really enjoyed writing—sure, most of my entries had to do with the daily ins and outs of life with three kids. But there was something more as well. It was an opportunity for me to find my “voice” and express myself and tell the stories about what makes me, ME!

When Steve and I went to Yosemite last fall for our anniversary, one night at dinner we started talking about our hopes, dreams, and goals for the future. I mentioned that I’d like to try and do some writing—more than just about what funny thing one of the kids said or did on any given day (although that is still the center of my world!).

About two months ago, the writing bug started nagging me again, and I started thinking about how to pursue this ambition. The following week, I was sitting at Jack’s swimming lesson and happened to pick up a copy of the “Tri-City Voice”, a local newspaper that is published weekly. I had never really read the paper before that day, but for some reason felt compelled to pick it up. On the very last page was a request for writers—the paper was looking for writers to cover local stories and newsworthy topics in a fun and interesting way.

I went home, told Steve about it, and decided to go for it! I put together a resume, pulled some writing samples off my blog and faxed it off. I didn’t hear anything for almost a month, and had just about put it out of my mind. And then one day, the phone rang. It was an editor from the “Tri-City Voice”, telling me how much she enjoyed my writing, and asking if I was still interested. 

She gave me an assignment for an “evaluation article”, I put it together and sent it in, and they loved it! I am now officially on-staff as a writer for the paper, and my first article came out in today’s edition.


You can read it online here.  I submitted my second article today, which should be printed next week.

Steve won’t be quitting his job anytime soon . . . at my current writing pace I’m making pennies an hour. But I expect to get faster, and I’ll learn how to maximize my time to make it worthwhile.

I don’t expect to win any Pulitzer Prizes for my writing . . . at least not yet. But it is the start of rediscovering me, and doing something that benefits me, and my community.

And who knows? Today, a writer for the Tri-City Voice, tomorrow Oprah’s Book Club!