My firstborn is 17 today. Where have the years gone? I confess, I don’t want to relive many of them. She was quite a handful for her first, oh, 16 years! I never imagined she’d be such a delightful young lady (although we’re still working on the “lady” part) at 17.

Why does 17 seem so much older than 16? Is it because 18 and independence are only a year away? I don’t know. But as I thought about it this morning, I realized how many things happened the year I was 17.

At 17, I ended my junior year of high school, started my senior year, got accepted to college, had my first boyfriend and my first date to Homecoming. My first job outside of retail came the summer I was 17—answering phones for an insurance agent, although mostly I read book after book in between calls! I also had my first taste of death when a childhood friend (and my first elementary school crush) died in a car accident that same summer. I remember feeling so grown up that year, making plans for the future, feeling secure in my place at school and with my friends yet looking forward to new experiences and new friendships on the horizon.

My daughter’s going out for dinner tonight with five of her girl friends. It’s been hard on her daddy that she didn’t want us along. But I understand. I remember. And I pray that 17 will be a year full of wonderful things for her.


A Complete Turn Around

Over the past few years, I’ve used writing as a reward in order to get other things done—things I hate to do, like clean the house, wash the clothes, buy the groceries. You get the idea. But I wanted so badly to write that I would work hard to get through the “have to” list in order to be able to do my “want to” list.

Today I realized I’ve done a complete turn around. Here’s what happened:

When we moved nearly 2 years ago, we gave up a whole room dedicated as our library. It had been the formal living room, but we wrapped floor to ceiling bookshelves around two walls, added two comfy chairs with a small table between and a couple of bright lamps. We LOVED that room! My husband and I spent many evenings in there reading or talking.

In the new house, we lost that space. Our bookshelves were regulated to the small “office” room. It was a bit claustrophobic in there. Soon after we moved in I suggested nixing the formal dining room and redoing our library. My husband balked. I let the idea drop. Last month he came in with a “great idea”—turning the formal dining room (which we’ve used twice in two years) into the library. I immediately began making plans.

The room has been empty for a couple of weeks now, but I haven’t had time to move the books and shelves and create our much loved space. I’m hoping it will happen this weekend, but a big precursor is unloading the bookcases. However, I haven’t let myself touch them—until today.

Why today? Because I’ve met my word count on my book for two out of the past three days! All of a sudden, I’m using other things as a reward for persevering with my writing! It’s a very exciting thing. It isn’t that I now see writing as work, as a “have to”, but instead that I have finally given myself permission to declare my writing work has value and worth in and of itself. It’s a big day for me. And with my revamped library and office space, I hope I’ll be even more productive in the days and weeks to come.


My Tuesday

Articles drafted: 1
Novel pages revised: 12
New novel words written: 2118
Watching my son come to the mound, top of the 6th, bases loaded, two outs and striking out the batter in three pitches: priceless


Ski Trip Update

I haven’t had much time at my computer this week, which, on a family vacation, is a good thing. But for those of you (mostly family, I guess) looking for an update, here are some highlights of the trip so far (pictures to follow when we get home):

Saturday morning: My husband woke us all up after he woke up—a little after 4 am! We were on the road by 5. Needless to say, this significantly affected my planned “writing time” as we drove since it was dark for the first almost four hours and, having been forced awake at such an unnatural hour, it took me until lunch time to be fully awake! The positive: we were in Colorado Springs less than 12 hours later and had a relaxing evening.

Johnson & Wales University: the tour was very impressive. Denver seems to be a nice city. Now she just has to decide between the two schools. Each has a very different style and its own pros and cons.

Skiing: Great—not too cold, not too snowy, but not icy, either. I’m in better shape than when we went two years ago and had forgotten how enjoyable it is to swoosh down a wide, not too steep, not too mogully mountain trail. Yesterday, my youngest son’s binding come off his ski—a fluky thing which the ski shop said they’d never seen happen. The fun part was he got to ride down on the ski patrol snowmobile.

We’re going tubing this afternoon, then skiing again tomorrow. We’ve had wonderfully relaxing evenings of movies and games (and now basketball, since the NCAA tournaments starts today.) By Saturday morning, I think we’ll all be ready to head home, but I think we’ve all enjoyed this respite from our busy lives.


Spring Break

From mid-eighties today to below freezing tomorrow. Yes, we are leaving sunny Texas (have we lost our minds? Um—yes!) for snowy Colorado. First we visit Johnson and Wales University in Denver. Then we head off to the slopes for a few days. I don’t know what kind of internet accessibility I’ll have but I’ll try to post some pictures this week.

Most of all I’m hoping to get some good writing done on the drive up and back and some good reading done in the condo in front of the fire. Since my ideal ski day is hit the slopes at 10:00, eat lunch at 11:30, end the day at 2:00, I should have lots of time to lose myself in few books (assuming my kids ski from can til can’t.)

Hope your Spring Break is restful and full of memory-making.


We Love You, Miss Hannigan!

“Your daughter makes a great drunk.”

I heart that comment over and over again on Friday. No, my 16 year old hadn’t been hitting the bottle. She’d been playing Miss Hannigan, the mean and nasty mistress of the orphanage that tried to repress the optimism of red-headed Annie. She’s not the best singer in the world, but boy can she nail a character! I think she scared some of the little girls in the audience!

She’s gotten more comfortable with the singing part, too, adding dancing (which she’s never really done) for this particular role. She worked so hard and had so much fun. It’s been amazing to watch her confidence grow since her freshman year when she landed the role of Bloody Mary in South Pacific in spite of her hesitancy to sing. Now she takes the stage with the same energy and excitement we see in her on the basketball court.

She has no theatrical aspirations beyond high school, but what she has learned from her years in drama will be invaluable in whatever her future holds. And we’ve had so much fun watching her transformation!

Is It Already Morning?

I don't know about you, but it takes me at least a week to adjust to Daylight Savings Time. Why do the same seven hours of sleep seem like so much less?


Fine Results in Fine Arts

Long ago, when I was in the 4th grade, I got a B (or a C, I don’t remember) on an art project. Mostly I remember it wasn’t an A and I told the teacher I’d tried so hard and she told me it didn’t matter how hard I tried, that my art wasn’t good enough to get an A. I decided then and there I wasn’t artistic. Which I’m not. But I assumed this extended to my children. Which apparently it doesn’t.

In our school’s district art competition, my daughter took home two 2nd place medals—mixed media and watercolors—and my son took 1st place in pen and ink drawing! WOW! I was floored! So we will take those pieces on to the state competition next month.

My drama queen daughter (and yes, she gets it from me) also garnered 2nd place in solo acting with her Fantine monologue from Les Miserables.

I guess you could say our family had a good day. Two kids. Four events. Three 2nd place medals. One 1st place medal.

I guess you can tell I’m not a proud mama or anything!


Gaining Momentum

Four of the past six days have been 2000 word days. Woo-hoo! That is nothing short of miraculous given all that is going on with school/kids activities these days--track meets, piano competitions, musical dress rehearsals, academic and art competitions. The best part is I see that I've learned over these past several years of writing how to better manage my time and how to pace myself so I can be more productive--and more sane--in all areas of my life.

Now if I can only maintain through the craziness of spring . . .

Back to work!