Let your boat of life be light, packed with only what you need - a homely home and simple pleasures, one or two friends, worth the name, someone to love and someone to love you, a cat, a dog, and a pipe or two, enough to eat and enough to wear, and a little more than enough to drink; for thirst is a dangerous thing.
-Three Men in a Boat, Jerome K. Jerome
Ya know, usually, I think really hard at night about how my day is going to go when I wake up the next morning. Seldom, if ever, do I actually follow through with the plan I painstakingly set out the night before. Today, I totally jumped the shark.
First of all, doughnuts have suddenly become like kid crack to my kids. Every morning, they ask for doughnuts. This morning was no exception. I was all ready to walk out the door and go grab a few doughnut holes, when I realized that my husband had taken my car, because his gas guzzling truck was on empty, and we've been running a little low on cash lately.
So I get a bright idea.
Second: My bright ideas are ingenius, magnificent, perfect plans for the perfect day, in my head. but somewhere between the idea and the followthrough something (I would say 98% of the time) goes horribly, horribly wrong.
Third: when it comes to cooking, I am the bomb at opening a can of soup! Boiling water for some ramen noddles, I rock. Throwing a corndog in the microwave, I'm awesome at that. But making homemade doughnuts... not so much. I threw the first batch away. These are my award winning homemade from scratch doughnut holes:
Look delish, don't they?
This is the reult of letting my kids help:
So its 12:30, I've spent all morning trying to make doughnuts, have fixed nothing for lunch and my house is 3 times as dirty as when I started off this morning!
Halloween is my favorite time of the year. Its not just the candy and the kids in their adorable costume. Its the changing weather, the leaves starting to turn and then fall. Its the football games and the cuddling with your loved ones. Its the pumpkins and jack -o-lanterns.
But most of all I love the scary movies and the haunted houses. My husband has never been too much of a horror fan, so I give him credit for indulging me. But this year, my dear husband bought us passes to 5 different haunted houses. We went to Sixth Street Massacre too, but we literally had to give blood to get into that one!
I saw a review of Sixth Street Massacre online, and I thought I'd give it a try!
I'm ranking these from the least scary to the most scary...
7. The Amazingly fun farm: Not scary! but so fun for the whole family. We took the kids and they stayed and played for 4 hours and still didn't want to leave when it was time to go. the maze which was the main attraction of the farm was fun to get lost in. You determine where to go by answering questions, or doing something silly. the first time we went in, it took us 15 minutes to get back, but that was only half the maze!!! The other half took my husband and son 45 minutes to find their way out! They also had a huge slide built out hay (which the kids loved!) and a number of other games and activities. Not a bad way to spend a Sunday afternoon!
6. Kaspers Kastle:Fun time for kids under 8. the Kastle consists mostly of yard blowups. But the kids love them. they also have a halloweentown set up and an area to color.
5. Farmageddon: Farmegeddon is what happens to the Amazingly fun farm when the sun goes down! To me it wasn't that scary. (My biggest concern was 1. a girl this big should not be running through a corn maze in the dark and 2.the ground was pretty uneven so I was afraid I might fall flat on my face. My husband insisted that when someone jumps out at me, I should run, not hide my face in his armpit, but what does he know?! My brother in law was pretty freaked out just from the sound of the corn rustling in the breeze, and at one point I thought James was going to have to clean his pants!
4.Center City Mayhem: It seemed to me that this house was mostly run by kids, so it wasn't as scary as some of the others. But do not underestimate scary kids! There were defiantly some cringe worthy elements. Most notable is the room with the kid holding the very large very live python, and the room with little kids throwing bloody baby dolls at you. One little kid, maybe 8 years old scared me so bad I made him laugh in the middle of his terror inducing act. Glad I could entertain you kid!
3. Insanitarium (Amarillo Scaregrounds): Not only are their 2 parts to the haunted house, the scaregrounds also has games and the gametrucks on site. Insanitarium is set up like a haunted mental hospital. Doctors coming out and shooting things at your from syringes, definately not my thing. Crazy people in straight jackets and rubber rooms... electric shocks at random moments... they built it to make it feel like the walls were closing in on you, which helped the theme, and they got more than a few scares out of me. Definately one of my favorites! Not for the faint of heart!
2. Sixth Street Massacre: I loved this haunted house, and it was hard to pick which one got number 1. this years themes were movies. they took scenes from some of my favorites and it really felt like you were in some of them. My favorites were the room with the ring lady. FREAKY! which also happened to be in a tilting room, so you felt unstable all the way through. the theater parts scared the patooty out of me, and my husband screamed like a girl through the whole thing. (I couldn't quite tell if he was putting on a show to scare the girls who went in with us or if he was really scared, but he'll probably tell you he was putting on a show!)This was the only haunted house that we had to wait in line. (But even the wait in line was fun, and totally worth it!) Actors mill around outside and scare the people waiting. Imagine my surprise when this guy snuck up behind me while I was simply trying to take a picture with the zombie!
1.If you know me at all, you know clowns just make me go "eeesh". Which is why Terror on 10th(Amarillo Scaregrounds) takes the cake for scariest haunted house. Terror on 10th didn't just have a few scary clowns. the whole damn thing was clowns!!!!!Freaking scary clowns in every nook and cranny, calling me by my name and chasing me though black hallways... I don't even remember most of it because my eyes were closed most of the time, but my I lost my voice in that one and more than once I did my scream/scary dance. When I came out of there, I had to take a beat to catch my breath.
If you're not trick or treating with your kids, or stuffing your face in between knocks on the door, its not too late to get your scare on! Its a blast and even more fun if you're with your honey!
Yesterday I blogged about why I write. Today I'm going to continue with Castle's advice and write about what's holding me back. When i sat down to write, all I could think about were the excuses I use to get off doing any number of things, really. But especially writing. But my husband lost 100 pounds last year and I tell myself I'm going to do the program and then I just... don't. so "diet" and exercise are right up there with the writing. Add cleaning house and schoolwork to the mix, and these excuses pretty much cover them all.
I thought about not posting this. It's awfully personal, and leaves me feeling extremely vulnerable. But I remember, a post a while back where I said, I wasn't going to be afraid of vulnerability, where I was going to post how I felt, no matter what. And then I thought of the doctor's office. If you have something that needs to be fixed, they have to expose that vulnerable part of you. They have to reveal that weakness before they can fix the problem. So, I'm going to leave this out there, for the whole world to see. Maybe, if you know I'm having a hard day, you can send a shout out to me, give me a little encouragement. I could use all the help I can get.
Here's a list of things I tell myself at least once a day (Sometimes, once an hour)
10. I'm too old. Bullshit, I'm in the prime of my life. If I keep saying this, pretty soon I'll be saying, "You remember back in the day, when I used to write?"
9. I'm too tired. Yeah, and you'll still be tired tomorrow. suck it up and do it.
8. I'm too fat: To go dancing, To go to a party, to go anywhere where people might actually see me. To work out. Too fat to work out? Seriously. None of these make any sense whatsoever!
7.I'll do it later: I said that 2 years ago and I'm still in the same place I was then. "Do it later" is just another way to say don't do it at all.
6. I deserve it: I don't deserve to be thin. I don't deserve to be successful (Even if successful is finishing the novel, or losing 10 pounds, or finishing the semester on a high note...) I don't deserve to have the things that make me happy.
5. Who do you think you are? You'll never be more than this. 4. You are not smart enough 3. Not good enough 2. not strong enough 1. I just can't do it
Some of these things are easier to dispute then others, but I'm going to try to talk myself into things more than I talk myself out of them. Old habits die hard, but i have many that need to be put to rest.
So the answer to what's holding me back from writing (or workingout, or school)
I think there is a higher power trying to tell me to get my ass in the chair to write. After Richard Castle so charmingly gave me the advice I so desperately needed, along comes Jennifer Archer. Here's and excerpt from her blog:
The thing is, I don't know many writers that didn't have a full load of other things going on in their lives when they started writing. In my case, when I started taking creative writing classes at night and began my first novel, I was raising two rowdy little boys, had a part-time job, ran a sideline residential rental property business with my husband, volunteered at my kids' school . . . and the list goes on. If you're serious about writing, you'll find a way to make it a routine part of your life. then she suggested a free write: Freewrite for ten minutes about why you want to write, or about what has been your experience with writing. What pushes you to write or what holds you back -- or both?
I used to freewrite all the time. In fact the idea for my novel came to me during a free write, where I wrote one scene, and the idea blossomed for me. So I sat down to write.
Something completley unexpected happened.
Here's my freewrite:
Since before I can remember, I have always had a nose in a book, but my first experience with writing happened when I was 14. I wrote a short story about a romance starring moi, and my crush- It was a hard core crush, too-but alas he only had eyes for my best friend. Isn't that how it always happens?
Anyway, I thought it was really good, but not good enough to show anyone. How embarrasing to think I'd actually be good at writing. I kept it for awhile but it eventually ended up in the trash.
I discovered poetry (ah teenage angst!) But I knew I could write and no one would have to know. I burned them when I was finished. When I was in college I used to make-up silly stories about my roomates. I joked about writing a story about us.
They thought it was great, I hid my terror of the idea byt saying "I was just joking guys, c'mon. I can't write a book!
I played around but I had no idea what I was doing and never dreamed I'd be successful. Then one day my dad found a piece of my writing. He'd been so proud of me for going to college to be a psych major, but he turned to me and said. "You know you can do this, right? This is really good. If this is really what you want to do- then do it."
As some of you may know. After my utter FAIL at freelance writing last year my writing confidence has taken a huge hit. I've been sporadic at best, and even when I've have posted something, it's... well... never mind. You can insert your own adjective here.
I've had a huge Writer's block for almost a year now, and even my attempts at trying to "get back in the saddle" have been pretty lame. My pens been quivering as of late, but every time I want to sit down in the chair to write, I either a) feel guilty for all the other stuff I could be doing, b.) decide that watching reruns of teen mom 2 is suddenly of dire import, or c.) start rehashing the list of reasons why I can't write, and shouldn't even bother.
I understand this is a problem. Even with people, my mom, mother in law, MY BOSS, telling me why I should just do it, I give the whole shoulder shrug and an "eh," in response. This may come across as me not giving a shit. But in reality its my way of saying I can't deal with this right now and I don't want to talk about it.
But I was wasting time today, and came across Richard Castle's blog. He gave me the best advice ever. ITS SO TRUE!
I don’t believe in writer’s block. I believe in writer’s embarrassment. That’s when you’re so embarrassed by the horrendous drivel you’re writing that you can’t bear to see it on the page. After all, you can always write something. I’ve discovered that giving yourself permission to write poorly is the gateway to writing well. It may not be good, it may not make sense, but that’s okay. After enough pages of meaningless drivel, your brain will uncover something interesting, and before you know it, you’re off and writing again.
I’ve also discovered that writing about why you can’t write allows you to discover what’s holding you back. Once you know what’s holding you back, you can face the problem and solve it.
This last part seems especially important. Maybe when I finally sit down to write again, I'll start with that.
Leave it to me to take advice from a fictional character!
I'm still reading Diana Gabaldon, because I got distracted and read a few books on my new kindle. (dance of joy) but, I picked it up again, and this passage struck me. I wanted to share it. This is from Dragonfly in Amber.
"I always thought it would be a simple matter to lie wi' a woman," he said softly. "And yet...I want to fall on my face at your feet and worship you"-he dropped the towel and reached out, taking me by the shoulders-"and still I want to force ye to your knees before me, and hold you there with my fingers tangled in your hair, and your mouth at my service...and I want both things at the same time, Sassenach."
And here are my two lines, which in retrospect should've gone first, after those two lines!
The house wore its desolation like a shroud. Wind torn and weather beaten, she stood defiant against years of abuse. Alex could relate. In that moment, she knew why people stayed, why they staked a claim, and called four walls home. Until that moment, Alex hadn't believed in the word home.
I've survived the first two weeks of being a (Semi) stay at home Mom. Even though they both need constant attention, I relish the times that Steven crawls into my lap (or on top of my back or head!)
Even though Thomas still wants to be held at all hours of the day and screams every time I leave the room, I relish the times when I get to feed him, and we have that moment where our eyes lock and I realize that I will never have a connection with another human being like I have with my sons.
I've learned to appreciate the small things. Especially the things my two year old says!
Among the other normal things two year old's say like "no!" and "That's mine!" or "I want to do it myself!" my 2 year old says alot of stuff that makes me laugh. The most recent being "Ow! my twig and berries! I can't imagine where he learned that...but my husband has been spending an awful lot of time with him lately, so there's a clue.
He says a lot of things that make me proud.
"Mom, will you read me a book?"
"Mom, will you tell me a story?"
"That was a good story, Mom!"
Occasionally, he says things that make me in credibly sad:
When informing him that I had to go to work he replied, "Can you stay here with me for a little while?"
"No, baby, I have to go to work."
"Don't. Don't go to work."
For being 2 he's also extremely adept at telling me exactly how he feels.
"That makes me so happy!"
"That makes me so sad."
"You hurt my feelings."
But the other day He said something that inspired me. It was relevant for school, for writing, for life in general.
He was playing Wii. We have the resort game, and he loves to play the sword fight. One of his favorite is the one where hundreds of other "resorters" come at you and you have to fight them all.
All of a sudden he was screaming "No! No! No! Don't get me bad guy!" And he was swinging that wii remote like nobody's business! "Don't quit!" he says between breaths. He's screaming "Don't give up! Keep trying and you'll win! Don't Stop! Keep trying.
Suddnely with an exhilartion only a two year old could show, he turns to me and yells at the top of his lungs, jumping up and down, "Momma! I won. I kept trying and I won!"
And it occured to me that if we could all face our every day situations with the strength an resiliance of a two year old, how could we fail?
In the face of countless distractions, enumberal obstacles let us keep trying. Let us not give up, so that finally, we can say "I won!"
We're not even a week into the new year, and I'm trying to figure out how I'm going to manage everything in the coming year.
In 2010 We had some huge changes. We had another son, Thomas who is beautiful! but still keeping me up at night, I decided to go back to school to become a teacher, and then within the last few weeks I've decided to stay home with the kids during the day and work in the evenings. (And a 12 hour shift every Saturday) My husband lost over 100 pounds last year. I think the changes are good changes and I'm looking forward to seeing what the new year brings. But I do have a few regrets.
My reading and writing (anything not school related, anyway) really took a hit. I've missed just curling up with a good book without the words Go, dog, Go, or without hearing Mama, Mama, Mama, every 5 seconds. And I've missed writing. I've missed writing SO much!
I don;t know. I guess that's what new year's is about, looking over the past year and looking forward into the next.
These were a few of my resolutions last year.
*Making lists to help me stay focused. (I still make lists but my day revolves around Thomas and Steven so its hard to make a set schedule. Still a work in progress)
*Go to School (Yeah me! I got one!)
*Write every night. (School kinda took care of that. But this year I'm going to give up another hour of sleep to get it done. In Theory.)
*TV reviews. Yeah that didn't happen. Every one I wrote felt awkward and I was unsure of what I was doing. Plus it took WAY too much time. So maybe one day, but not now.
So this year, I really only have 1 resolution.
Follow the yellow brick road. Let life take me where its gonna take me.
Does that mean I won't have to work hard. Of course not. Dorothy did did a lot of skipping in her pretty red slippers.
When in doubt, I'll sing a song.
I'll meet new friends along the way, but I'll always be trying to get back to those who love me, who miss miss, who've made me, maybe even some who've broken me) I'll get back to those people who motivate me, who inspire me, who will never lie to me.
I'll resolve to forget the complicated and get back to black and white.
I'll follow the yellow brick road/ I may encounter a few flying monkeys along the way, maybe even a wicked witch or two...
But I'll stick to my path, and I won't stray. (Those damn poppy fields always look so inviting!)
I'll follow the yellow brick road, and I'll always remember that there's no place like home. Because in the end that's where all dreams begin, and where all dreams end.