Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Computer Crapped Out

Last post for a while, mates. My laptop is crazy-sick. No, not a virus. We think it's a problem with a driver. It's doing wonders for my writing. Yeah. No. Really. I'm not getting any writing done. Just bummed. I'll check ya later, folks.

Sunday, January 29, 2006

Guests Check In, Then Bug Out

Whenever I get the travel bug, I remind myself of bugs who like travelers.

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

How Do You Find Me?

I've noticed that other bloggers besides me enjoy researching how people around the world come to find their blogs. Lee Goldberg maintains that a steady stream of visitors find him in their search for Lindsey Lohan's nipples, and surely the Book Tarts at The Lipstick Chronicles get hit on by folks looking for shoes, views, booze, and writing news.

Me? I've gotten some crazy weird visits over the last few years. The most frequent search phrase that brought peeps to my blog in 2005 was..."whine the pooh." No, no typos there. I've had visitors from all over the world who searched on..."whine the pooh" (WTF?) and then chose to visit to my blog. One from Manilla, I think. And Mexico City. And Togo. Go figure. Why that phrase? Yes, I whine. And the word "Pooh" used to appear on my list of movies watched in 2005. That's as close as we get, folks.

Now even though I'm not sure how a reader in Taipei, Taiwan arrived at my blog, I am delighted that I was translated into what I have to assume (sorry if I'm wrong) was Mandarin Chinese. Here's the page. Pretty, don't you think? I cling to the illusion that the thousands of multilingual typing monkeys who work for Yahoo/SYSTRAN captured the full range of my brilliance.

I get a few hits a month from folks researching abdominal muscle diastasis, a condition to which I'm apparently doomed. Two big babies twenty months apart and pregnancy weight gain of almost fifty pounds each time (although I'm happy to say I'm now back to fighting weight) have torn my six-pack into two parallel three-packs. A one-inch wide "fault-line" runs down my middle now. I haven't given up, though. I'm working on strengthening the underlying transverse muscles by doing what are called "elevator" exercises, but it's doubtful that the abs on top will ever meet in the middle again. If you are a fellow sufferer, this article from Fit Pregnancy may help.

I can't neglect to mention the great feeling I get when readers visit me from the links on my fellow bloggers' sites. Thanks, y'all who have listed me. If I haven't listed your blog yet, please let me know and I'll reciprocate.

How did YOU find me? No matter how you got here, I'll close by saying a simple "thank you" to my lovely readers. I appreciate having you there at your monitors, reading my posts, and--when you are so moved--weighing in on the comments page. You are what makes this endeavor worthwhile. *smooches*

p.s. Rest in Peace, Paul Guyot's Bog. Paul, I enjoyed reading anything and everything you had to say and, especially, savoring the exquisite illustrations you provided.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

The Meme of Four

Yes, another meme, wherein I am afforded the exhilerating opportunity to talk about MYSELF, and know that others will be GLUED to their monitors with RAPTURE-glue. Vanity, thy name is MEEEEEEEEme.

The lovely Alphabeter has tagged me.

The FOUR Meme
Four jobs you have had in your life:
Winn-Dixie checker
English professor
Computer-lab attendant

Four movies you watch over and over:
I think I did this one already (see Seven Things Meme for seven of them, then subtract three)

Four places you've lived:

Four Shows you love to watch:
ummmm, I don't watch t.v. anymore. We just rent DVDs when we want to go back and see a series.
So, 4 shows I watch on DVD are
Arrested Development
The Office
Sex and the City
and that was three

Four places you've been on vacation:
The Swag
The Homestead
The Beaver Creek
The London

Four of your favourite foods:
[Did a Canadian write this meme?]
Dunkin Donut's Boston Creme donut
waffles with butter and maple syrup (does that count as three?)
my mother's meatless moussaka
black bean taco salad

Four places you'd rather be right now:
somewhere WARMer
my local Brew-Ha-Ha
I honestly can't think of anywhere else I'd rather be, though. I'm pretty content right here at the kitchen table.

Four sites I visit daily:
Bloglines for my list of updated blogs
sitemeter.com, to see who has visited

Four bloggers you are tagging:
this is always a tough one because we are all so incestuous.
So, if you WANT to be tagged for this meme, consider yourself SO!

Four sheep breeds you could recognise in a field:
[Okay, so maybe the meme-writer is British. Scottish?]
black, brown, white, and white with black faces?

Four people you'd really like to meet (who are alive) and what you would ask them:
Thich Nhat Hanh - Will you adopt me?
Elizabeth George - How the h*ll do you write such long yet compelling books?
Nicole Kidman - C'mon. Lenny Kravitz??? WTHWYT?
Paul Farmer - Can I just tag along for a little while and absorb some of your superhumanness?

Monday, January 16, 2006

Professor AC

I've been bumming on this question, lately: Why. Does. It. Take. So. Long. To. Feed. My. Daughter. Her. Tiny. Little. Meals. Of. Peas. And. Cut. Peaches. And. Rice?

Today, I digested the lesson. In the course of my day, NOTHING is more important than to be here for my children. So I'm in a hurry. Big deal. What's the emergency? I might get behind on my blog reading?

This stage will pass, to be replaced by another one, equally important to AC, and therefore, to me. Instead of trying to rush her through for my sake, I'm going to breathe us through for both our sakes.

Sometimes I just need to be driven round the bend...slowly...to see where I am. And she's just the guide to do it. By. Gumming. Her. Bits. Of. Soft. Food. Very. Very. Slowly.

Friday, January 13, 2006

Grab Blag

Double take of the week: At a stoplight, I see a Honda Insight with cigarette smoke billowing out of the driver's side window. Whatever green he was going for has turned brown by now. Probably even black.


N (2.5y) has a little Jar Jar Binks action figure someone gave my husband back in the '90s. The arms are bent like goal posts, and when you flip them up and down his tongue goes in and out of his mouth. Heinous, heinous tchotchka. So N had it out yesterday, flip flip flip go the arms, in and out goes the tongue. And he shouts out with glee, "This YOU, Mama!" Moving right along...


I've decided to hang out my tutoring shingle. Not the shingle that tutors, mind you, but the shingle that says I do the tutoring. "Ye Olde Tewter Shoppe, Mary Louisa - Proprietesse," it shall read. I'm going to be tutoring in writing, grammar, vocabulary, literature, the works. Most sessions will be local (N. Delaware), but I'm also offering online sessions. College prep, test prep, course work help, business writing, the works. E-mail me if you're interested in more info.


Someone has to stop me. When I became a stay-at-home-mom last year, I thought I was prepared for the mental adjustment to living on one paycheck. Today, I'm not so sure I haven't moved through that to come out on...THE CRAZY BAG LADY SIDE. I seriously contemplated how I could make us some dishtowels out of something we already had lying around the house. Fraying bathtowels? Quite possible. Old tee shirts? Less likely. Too thin. Really, Mary Louisa, HOW MUCH DOES A DISHTOWEL COST? I think I can afford one. Maybe not two, but certainly one. Did I mention that our gas/electric bill for December was $319? No? What was yours?


Now you see why I am hanging out that shingle. It's partly because I am starting to miss teaching a little. But it's mostly because no one has yet driven a dump-truck full of money up to my front door.

Saturday, January 07, 2006

Saturday Morning Quickie

Started Laura Lippman's CHARM CITY night before last. It's my first novel by her, but won't be my last. I've heard so many good things about TO THE POWER OF THREE that I will get it next.

Still trying to slog, and I mean SLOG, through Jane Smiley's 13 WAYS OF LOOKING AT A NOVEL. *yawn* Will try to skim some TALE OF GENJI in the next few days, as that is the first of one hundred and one "novels" she read in her post-9/11 recovery period.

Have a couple more chapters to reread of Maass's WRITING THE BREAKOUT NOVEL. I'm revising the first half of my novel before continuing, and reminding myself of some ideas I had and didn't put into play during the first draft.

There has been some fun in the house: We watched four episodes of ARRESTED DEVELOPMENT last night. I nearly passed out from laughter-induced oxygen deprivation. At 12:30am we knew we had to go to bed, but we could've easily continued.

I pledge to update my template soon to revamp my links.

Monday, January 02, 2006

Mother + Small Children = No Time to Write

I've done the math. The numbers are pretty depressing.

Today I have finally admitted to myself that there is just no quality time to write. I'm about halfway through my mystery manuscript, but chances of finishing within the next six months are bleak.

At this point I'm getting seven to eight hours of sleep per night, with at least one--sometimes two--wake-ups to nurse A during that stretch. I simply can't cut back there, or I will be worth less than I already am during the day. I'm on kid duty from about 8am to about 11pm when A finally goes down to sleep for a reasonable stretch.

Save your shouts about having my husband help more. D already gets N up in the morning, dresses him, and feeds him breakfast. When he manages to get home before 8pm, he either holds A or puts N to bed. But then he must eat his dinner and do the dishes (bless him), and he isn't done with that till about 10pm. He doesn't watch TV, he doesn't play video games, and he doesn't do chat, so there's no fat in his schedule. He is a wonderful partner and father, but he just works a lot.

I can catch ten minutes here and twenty minutes there throughout my days, but that's not even enough time to open my chapter-in-progress and remind myself of where I left off.

My writer friends who are also mothers of small children bemoan similar situations. However, I'd pretty successfully steered clear of facing it by adopting a once-a-week writing schedule in 2005. Generally, every Thursday that D could swing it, he would come home by 6:30, and I'd head out to the coffee shop with my laptop and stay until closing at 9pm. Occasionally, I'd also get two hours on a Saturday or Sunday.

I was okay with that schedule, thinking that somehow in 2006 I could get my butt in gear and carve out more time. But for the past three days I've looked at the daily schedule a million different ways, and working on the book more than once or twice a week just ain't gonna happen.

(And I do let the housework go. And N goes to daycare on Tuesdays and Thursdays.)

I am amenable to any and all suggestions that don't involve spending money. I predict, though, that the solution for now is for me to practice acceptance, and just write as well as I can, as often as I can.

Sunday, January 01, 2006


I don't do resolutions. I do goals. So, along with every other motivated Jane- and Joe-blogger, I hereby state my willingness to think about moving toward finding a way to approach the objectives of the following goals for 2006:

1. Finish the damn book. (Betcha never heard that one before.)

2. Start the next book.

3. Do a minimal vegetable and herb garden.

4. Get back to travel writing.

5. Cut down on my internet time. It doesn't mean I don't love y'all, cause really I do, but I have to find more time SOMEWHERE.

6. Lay money away for a new den floor, A's surgery, and an April trip to the ILs in Florida (involves flying and renting a van/SUV and paying for dogsitters--$$$).

7. Find a source of money to lay away.

There are a host of other things I'm already doing that I want to continue to do, so I won't post those here.

Last year was actually quite a wonderful one. My little A's birth was the real highlight. I made some new friends and I developed existing relationships. I adopted some habits that made my life a little more peaceful. I also adopted some habits that cancelled out some of the former's good effects. C'est la vie, non?

At some point last year, you may have noticed my film list on the side bar to the right. We squeaked in with Kinsey last night, making it the 25th movie seen in 2005 (as far as I can remember). I didn't list all the television series, music, or specials we watched on DVD (Sex and the City, Arrested Development, The Office, Upstairs Downstairs, Spike Jonze, Chris Cunningham and Michele Gondry music videos, Chris Rock, etc.). I'll try to remember to start the '06 list when we watch our first this year. It may be tonight, as I still have A Christmas Story from the library. Better late than never.

Happy New Year, everyone. May you and yours be blessed with health and happiness.