Wednesday, December 15, 2010
Saturday, November 27, 2010
Tuesday, November 9, 2010
Talk,...yes, she could talk. She'd talk of dress shops, and farm trucks carrying vegetables, and huge sides of beef hung to cure in the upper room of her mother-in-law's farmhouse. She'd talk of walking across fields in winter for Thanksgiving dinner with friends on the other side of town, meeting the man who would become her husband, and boast of a sharp wit and accomplishments that only a woman of strong will and spirit could have done. I'll never forget the day she took me on a jaw-dropping tour of the place she worked in the capitol--all during a time when few women worked outside the home. She had a quick temper that she wasn't ashamed of, an equally quick laugh, and a fondness for pretty clothes, hats with attitude, and dinners out on the town.
She loved traveling, especially to see family and research her roots. Being a tall woman, she owned a big car. And I believe it tickled her fancy to travel in it with her sister, her aunt Kate, and other friends up and down the East coast. Her eyes sparkled when she reminisced her various adventures, especially if they involved moments when she had to stand up for herself--take a stand on being a woman, if the situation demanded it. And some situations did demand it. After all, she grew up and out of a time when the ideas of womanhood are different than they are now. At one time, she said she slept with a gun, and if she needed to, she wouldn't be afraid to use it.
She was a woman of the road, so to speak--molded out of a period of history that saw the progression from horse and wagon, to Model T, to Chevy Bel Air. I can only imagine how she must have felt commanding her own auto, making her own way, captaining her own freedom. Among the other women in my life, she was definitely a source that fueled my own drive, my own courage, my own strength to move out and into the world to find my way simply through her example of what it means to take hold of something and go with it.
She was also a bit of sleuth, and took pride in uncovering the family history--discovering secrets that old city files and libraries held for those that possessed tenacity and perseverance, like herself. She had a laugh that rang like jingle bells.... Well, maybe not quite,... but its sound definitely made you want to inch closer and find ways to hear more.
We shared a fondness for sweets, and we both had a weakness for Devil's Food chocolate cake. She was proud of her own recipe. Even her mother-in-law, Elizabeth Shade Kennedy, had recorded it in her own cookery diary. ...At the moment I'm at a loss for what else to say. I know that after what she went through in the past few years, she is in a better place. I'm glad she was a part of my life, and I'm thankful for all she taught me--both from the good and the bad. She lived what she knew. And I will miss her.
Monday, November 1, 2010
Thursday, October 28, 2010
Sunday, October 10, 2010
lost his touch
with the ladies....
I guess it's only fitting that these latest escapades happened while I was at a writer's retreat deep in the mountains somewhere near a place called Wolf Creek. Obviously, Mr. Twain was not in attendance given his current occupation in attending to other distractions.....
Stay tuned. More details to follow, as they become available....
Tuesday, October 5, 2010
Then, of course, I got silly and decided to dream smaller. More tiny. Focus on something I could nearly pinch between my fingers. Rather than wish for something as grandiose as sailing the world, I'd just get one freckle removed. Specifically, I'd get rid of the small blotch above my right eye. An age spot I seem to have acquired after finding too many ways to have fun outside.
My son looked at me like I was crazy. "Why would you want to do that?"
I asked why he was concerned--if he was worried I might actually get rid of it. If he'd miss that freckle when it was gone.
"Well, it's in the shape of a heart," he replied. "I like it."
In all the times I've spent looking in the mirror, getting ready for work, or wondering how I might lighten that blotch, I never realized there might be something good about it. Something to like. In that moment, as simple and trivial as it may seem, I actually felt better about myself. Some say I wear my heart on my sleeve. I never thought I might being toting a tiny bit of it above my right eyebrow.
Later, I began thinking about the pure and beautiful outlook kids have for the world.... What if more people made the effort to see things in a better light? Find the good in bad situations? Find the good in others and then share that opinion?
What if we didn't assume people whom we care about knew all the good things and reasons we have for liking them? What if we voiced those thoughts? Wouldn't that goodness go forth like a ripple?
I like to think it would.
Maybe life really does come down to the little things. Maybe changing the world for the better or helping people heal inside and out doesn't really take so much effort. Maybe it just starts with something as simple as telling someone you like that divet in their forehead, the curve of their smile, or that constellation of agespots streaming their way over their eyes.
Wednesday, September 22, 2010
Or, what a "pink slip" means? (Yikes!)
Monday, September 13, 2010
Which is why I had to laugh when I saw the names on these football uniforms at a recent game. Who can't believe in the skills of players with names like Killer, Fat Boy, Sweetness, and Magic? Turns out this team can. According to parents of players who have gone against them, this team is dominating the Wasatch Front Football League in Utah. ...Something to think about, or at least chuckle over.
Friday, August 6, 2010
First time water-skiing for daughter (woot!)
First time attending church on Bear Island--yes, we had to get there by boat, then hike the half mile to the church at the top of the hill.
Thursday, July 15, 2010
-- seeing five loons swimming on the lake together in front of our cabin
-- watching a big turtle climb up on the deck at the back of a boat to sun himself
-- taking a ride on dad's new sailboat....awesome! Love it.
-- finding out I really do know how to sail a boat, despite the doubts of all my years
-- witnessing the look on dad's face as my daughter cast his new rod and reel into the lake after he'd just taught her how to use it.... the only thing he forgot to tell her was "to hold onto the rod"...
-- fileting first pair of fishes, thanks to the idea of sons who want to eat what they catch
We'll see what the rest of the week brings us.
Saturday, June 19, 2010
5. Movies! All the good ones are coming out. Prince of Perisa was fun. And so was Shrek. And Iron Man 2.
Sunday, May 2, 2010
It's been a while since my last post. I've gotten a new manuscript written--which could be a creative nonfiction companion to In Black Bear Country--and am now going through the critique-group route with it. I'm hoping to have it sent out to an editor or agent by the end of summer.
In the meantime, Rick and I are keeping our fingers-crossed on a new manuscipt we wrote together at our last retreat. The whole process of writing it was so hilarious and fun, it almost still makes the waiting game bearable. Almost................
Twiddle, twiddle, ...let's see if that chunk of chocolate cake I just ate for a near midnight snack will kick in and spark some sort of imagination into these ramblings.... Sugar rush, anyone? Maybe not such a bright idea for one who has not slept much the last week. I still need to get up and work tomorrow. New quarter starts for the kids at school.
As for being mom to my own kids, I took my youngest to the dentist to check up on a tooth his brother yanked out this past winter....(they wanted cash from the toothfairy, who tends to be a bit of a slacker in this household and who doesn't seem to be too worried of threats to have her replaced...). Anyway, seems the boys loosened and yanked a tooth they shouldn't have. That tooth they plucked wasn't really ready to come out for another 2 years or so... SO, youngest will have a gaping hole in his smile for another 2 years. Poor guy. His brother wasn't too remorseful. Played the big brother part to form by laughing while reminiscing their whole foolish adventure.
Sunday, March 21, 2010
In Black Bear Country is going to the printer on Wednesday. It's being published by Richard C. Owen Publishers of Katonah, NY, for the educational market, and my editor expects that they will have books in house on April 9... just in time for my birthday a few days later. (I won't tell you what year I'm celebrating.) This has all come as quite a shock over the past 24 hours, since I thought the books weren't going to be ready until April 2011. Suddenly, it seems like all sorts of exciting things are happening. Although really, to be honest, not all that much is unfolding here on my end of the spectrum, but it's neat to think that a flurry of activity is happening somewhere out in the broader world that is linked directly to something I did.
I'm especially excited that this book is going to be published for a lot of reasons. One, it will show kids, teachers, and parents an aspect of black bear ecology they probably don't know about. Two, it may rekindle or strengthen an interest in the the protection of black bears and preservation of their habitats, which include much more than a cave on mountain in the woods, which seems to be the limit of what most young kids know. Three, it shows how preservation and protection has been accomplished for one area in Vermont. Four, did I mention 7 years? Yes, it's been a long wait. Good thing I'm patient. Although, in truth, I didn't expect publication would happen at all for In Black Bear Country, because 4 years ago I'd been told the project had been dropped. It wasn't until 3 months ago I received a letter telling me it'd been picked up again. So, here we are--sitting on a small, yet happy, mountain of news.
To celebrate, I'm heading out to enjoy the sunny, blue-sky weather with my dear friend Kristen and kids. They'll soak up the sun, and with a little luck, I'll hook a finny or two with a lucky cast on the fly.
Enjoy the day, everyone.
Thursday, February 25, 2010
speak words of kindness.
For lovely eyes,
seek out the good in people.
For a slim figure,
share your food with the hungry.
For beautiful hair,
let a child run his fingers through it once a day.
walk with the knowledge that you never walk alone.
People, even more than things,
have to be restored, renewed, revived, reclaimed, and redeemed;
never throw anyone away.
Remember, if you ever need a helping hand,
you will find one at the end of each of your arms.
As you grow older,
you will discover you have two hands;
one for helping yourself,
and the other for helping others.
Monday, February 8, 2010
Yeah, I know this post is early, but the week is a busy one, so I'm taking time now to send this one out; ...because I'm truly thankful for the sources of love in my life that flow like fountains.
Here are some favorite quotes.
"Each friend represents a world in us, a world possibly not born until they arrive." -- Anais Nin
"I love you, not only for what you are, but for what I am when I am with you." -- Roy Croft
"A single rose can be my garden...a single friend, my world." -- Leo Buscaglia
"Friendship isn't a big thing--it's a million little things." -- unknown
"Love is a condition in which the happiness of another person is essential to your own." --Robert Heinlein
"A hug is worth a thousand words. A friend is worth more." -- unknown
"A good friend is hard to find, hard to lose, impossible to forget." -- unknown
"If I could reach up and hold a star for every time you made me smile, I would have the whole night sky in the palm of my hand." -- unknown
"Walking with a friend in the dark is better than walking alone in the light." -- Helen Keller
"Love, actually, is all around us." -- from the movie, Love Actually
Tristan and Isolde (James Franco)
Pride and Prejudice (Colin Firth)
The Lake House (Sandra Bullock, Keanu Reeves)
The Proposal (Sandra Bullock)
Titantic (Leonardo DiCaprio)
While You Were Sleeping (Sandra Bullock)
Love Actually (Hugh Grant)
The Notebook by Nicholas Sparks
The Witch of Blackbird Pond by Elizabeth George SpeareJane Eyre by Jane Austen
Vanishing Acts by Jodi Picoult
Tuesday, February 2, 2010
A productive and fun writer's retreat at Bear Lake was capped off with the 52nd Grammy Awards. My favorite performance of the evening was Pink's "Glitter In The Air."
Despite the fact that an offer to publish a project that Rick and I had been working on was withdrawn right before our retreat, Rick and I managed to pick up my spirits and co-write another fun manuscript. Hope blooms eternal!
We were also treated to Randall Wright reading the first 10 chapters or so of his next novel, which he co-wrote with Carmen Deedy. I can't wait to see this manuscript in print. It's sooooo good. I know my kids will love it!
All in all, the company and time spent together, along with the impromptu guitar-playing and late-night conversations, were fantastic. And to think I managed to get through the weekend this time without fainting, proving it was not Rick, nor Mark, who have that effect on people. Plus, having an unexpected foot and a half of fresh powder for me to ski in at Beaver Mountain before I headed back down Logan Canyon served as icing on the cake!
Thursday, January 21, 2010
Last night I met with my writing group in Mantua, which happens to be one of my favorite spots in Utah. Not only is it beautiful--a small town sitting at water's edge--but a feeling of peace always seems to envelop me when I visit.
As a group, we always set goals for each other that need to be met during the two weeks that follow. While doing so, I mentioned one of my goals that I'd set for 2010, which was to learn the ins and outs of sailing. Turns out, going for a sail is on Claudia's bucket list for 2010, too. (She doesn't want to learn; she just wants to be a passenger enjoying the ride, which is all good.) And, to top that, Karen's neighbor has a boat and loves, loves, loves to take people out on it.
So, we came up with a 2010 bucket list for our writing group as a whole.
1. Go on writing retreat to Idaho cabin
2. Go sailing ... Mantua works! Time to look into boat rentals and such....Or, neighbors.
3. Go for a hot air balloon ride ... Park City, here we come!
4. Publish a book ... one for each of us!
It's a short list. Nothing too daunting, right? All we need is perseverance, and we'll get her done.
Thursday, January 14, 2010
1. Weekend with fellow writers at Bear Lake in January, where we'll get that next cookbook done! Hurrah! Hurrah!
2. Lots of skiing with kids in February....We should have more snow, right?
3. Weekend in Vegas with daugther in March. (Why Vegas so much? Vegas is far from my favorite place on the planet, but it's funny that I'm running out of fingers to count the number of times I've been there. I owe it mostly to soccer. And books, I guess.)
4. Get back to water. Fishing should be geared up in April.
5. Spend week helping friends build their yurt as soon as the snow melts. That power drill handed down from a friend should come in handy, so long as the tape holding the battery holds up.... Make mental note...bring tape.
6. Here's a resolution... learn to sail with confidence. I mean, really learn to sail, by reading books this winter, so that when I take the tiller with my dad this summer, I can get rid of that nagging fear that I'm about to knock everyone overboard. (Because I've been there, done that,... in Boston Harbor, while crossing the finish line in a sailing race. It wasn't pretty.... And although it was many years back, some things you never forget. And although I've sailed a boat many a time since then, I've never really thoroughly enjoyed it because of that nagging doubt that I don't know what I doing. So, for 2010,...here's to conquering self-doubt!)
Monday, January 4, 2010
Okay, so living through the experience of loose teeth has never been dull in this household. From dealing with a daughter who would not pull or tug on any of her teeth until they were hanging by mere threads to coping with a son who would rip them out with fingers, or pliers if needed, at the first signs of them being loose, I'm now left with shielding the youngest of the three from their antics.
Yes, he pulled. Pulled and yanked and pulled some more. And he didn't stop, even though his brother writhed in pain and screamed for mercy.
Finally, the tooth yielded. My older son held it up with pride, asking, "Did I get the right one?"
We'll see what happens this time. Since my youngest has come to me many times in the past 24 hours about his tooth, I kind of get the feeling that he wants me to take care of it. He probably thinks I won't charge him.
Good thing I got that new tool kit from my folks this year. I might have my first opportunity to dig into it.
Friday, January 1, 2010
I won't tell you who's in this picture, but I think it says it all, as I'm sitting here staring down the dawn of 2010.
So, I've found that I like snow again. All it took was getting outside to enjoy it by doing something fun. Like skiing at the local Beaver Mountain. All the locals have been complaining there wasn't enough snow, yet--including some folks I know who work there--but wanting to get out of the valley for a change of scenery and better air, I went.
At first, I was going solo. Daughter was sick, sons were at a sleep-over and were not interested in leaving friends behind. But by the time they got home, saw me packing up, heard me talking about 6 inches of new powder, they decided to come along. Which made the day so much better. It's more fun to ski with someone else, especially a couple of boys who know how to tear it up on the slopes. And I was able to keep up, thanks to the fitness training my daughter has kept me working at for the past many months as she's worked to stay in shape for soccer. It was a great day. We found plenty of untracked powder, and even the numerous branches sticking out through the snow weren't a problem. We just turned around them.
Cheers to more of that fluffy white stuff.
Happy New Year!