Babysitter Gold.

November 6, 2006

For us, getting a babysitter is a big deal.  We don’t have a lot of people clammering to spend quality one-on-one alone time with our kids, so it’s always asking a favor of someone or figuring out financially how much that $40 dinner for Tim and I is really going to cost us (probably around $80 when the babysitter is paid and tipped). 

So, when we do get someone to watch our kids, particularly when they do it for free (or with the casual “no, really…don’t worry about it.  You can watch our kids for us sometime”), we really feel obligated to make the most of the time.  I have anxiety about this.  Last night, for instance. 

We were over at some people’s home, having a lovely dinner and great conversation, and in my head, I’m thinking:  Is this the best use of our time?  Should hubby and I be sitting alone in some romantic restaurant reminiscing on why we fell in love in the first place?  Or should we be at home cleaning out those closets that we can never get to with the kids underfoot?

Last night, I felt guilty not squeezing the most out of our babysitting hours.  I had to remind myself that’s it okay to just be relaxing with friends, talking about things other than child-rearing.  Taking a breath, I enjoyed myself.  I laughed at adult conversation.  I ate my dinner without a child (or two) wanting to sit in my lap.

When it was time to pick up the kids, I thanked our friends for watching the boys and asked when I could watch their kids.  And I hugged my kids close: just those few hours away were gold…it made me want to squeeze my children and I remembered a couple of things:  I’d rather spend time playing than cleaning out closets, and I remembered why I fell in love with them in the first place.

Writer’s Envy.

November 4, 2006

I have full-fledged writer’s envy.  Those who’ve taken on NaMoWriMo (see my post below “The Writing Life” for an explanation of what this is) are now 10+% done with their novels.  Gads–it’s humbling to know that some people can write so fast.  I’ve taken a look at some of the writing–and sure, some of it is junk…but some of it isn’t. 

Hmmm…maybe this will be my November 2007 project.

November Ramp Up.

November 3, 2006

We all know by now that next Tuesday, November 7, is election day.  Whether you fall in the Red or the Blue…right or left, I’ve just got to ask, aren’t you tired of the campaigning?  The signs, the mailers–THE GAZILLION PHONE CALLS!

We received three recorded phone calls yesterday–automated voices urging us to vote one way or the other.  I’m perfectly capable of reading my information packet that arrives in October, I don’t need the President of the Nurses Association of California or the Chair of California’s Tax Board calling me to tell me who and what to vote for.  I’d like, instead, to be left to my own devices…to figure it out for myself…and more importantly, to make and eat dinner with my family without the phone ringing and irritating me.

Could it be that these phone calls are meant to discourage voter turn out?  I mean, they are so off-putting that I have to wonder if the campaigns of the opponents are calling on behalf of the other guy.  I mean, the perverse part of my nature responds to these calls as follows:

Recorded voice:  On November 7th, remember that Prop whatever is a TAX TRAP!  The Firemen’s Association of California calls this Proposition a REAL DISASTER FOR OUR STATE!!!  Vote NO on Prop  whatever!

Me:  Shut up.  STOP CALLING ME!  Just for annoying me–I might vote YES!

I know–very immature reaction on my part.  What can I say? It just brings out the worst in me.

The writing life.

November 1, 2006

So there’s this thing called National Novel Writing Month (or NaNoWriMo as it’s known to the hip writing crowd) that the blogosphere is all excited about this month. It is, in essence, a personal challenge that one takes on to write a complete novel (of at least 50,000) in 30 days. Obviously, the focus is on numbers, not good writing. In fact, the NaNoWriMo website says, “Because of the limited writing window, the ONLY thing that matters in NaNoWriMo is output. It’s all about quantity, not quality.” Eek! I can’t imagine writing a novel without constantly editing, thinking, tweaking.

But, for all of us would-be novelists, the idea is a seductive one. Write a whole book in only one month! Over 59,000 folks took on the challenge last year, and an astonishing 10,000 people finished successfully. Which leaves me to wonder what percentage of the 10,000 books that came out of this test are total garbage.

I thought about doing NaNoWriMo, but ultimately decided to pass. I actually enjoy agonizing over every word, taking the time to fully develop characters, picking out the one phrase that perfectly describes what is happening. To all of those writing their full novel this month, I say “Good Luck!” I admire your sense of challenge. You are brave. For those who make it to the end of November with a full novel, I even envy your accomplishment.

But, I’ll be doing what I do…writing a page a day, whittling away slowly at my Great American Novel.

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Autumn in the Air.

November 1, 2006

Autumn is in full swing.  You can feel the change in the air today, the day after Halloween.  My son’s Thomas the Train costume will be packed away in case his brother wants to wear it next year, I’ll throw away the used candles from the Jack O’Lanterns…I guess I’ll toss the pumpkins, too. 

So, that leaves the candy.  Tons of candy.  I’m thinking my son’s booty from last night is going to live in the freezer–we can pull one piece out at a time. 

The Holiday Season is now officially under way–Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Years…now that Halloween is over, the clock starts ticking for me to purchase Christmas cards, think about what I’ll make for Thanksgiving, etc., etc., etc.  I clearly remember putting away the holiday decorations from last year–can it really be time to pull them all out again?

The days just fly.