Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Thanksgiving Top-Ten

Dear Friends,

I love Thanksgving.  I love the drive to my parents' home, the full house of family, the cooking, the smells, the sleeping-late, hanging out with my sibs, and the parades.    It's easy for me to get a little overwhelmed (read: crazy and overtired) this week as I prepare for the holiday, how about you?  Let's all take a deep breath, and take a few minutes to remember those things we are grateful for, big and little.  Here are mine:

Christy's Top Ten Reasons to Be Grateful, 2009

10.  I am grateful that my car battery died.  It died in my garage, yesterday morning, when I had very little to do.  The wonderful man from AAA came and replaced it for me right at my house.  I am exceedingly grateful that I wasn't at a McDonald's in Columbus on the way to Cincinnati for Thanksgiving, or driving somewhere late at night.  Did I want to buy a new battery yesterday?  No.  But am I grateful to have one?  Yes.

9.  I am grateful that I have been given a writing challenge this November.  To those of you who have come across me when I am babbling and drooling, I apologize.  It's almost over.

8.  So thankful for the abundance in my life that is present in both little and big ways.  This Thanksgiving, there will be no need to rent movies; we can watch "old"ones from our own collection.  I observed the kids sharing their collection of video games for the upcoming car trip so that they would each have "new" stuff to play with.   Without breaking my neck (or the bank) shopping, there were plenty of clothes, more than enough food, and even a few treats to throw in for the road-trip to Cincinnati.  Less really can be more.

7.  Speaking of the road trip, I am always grateful for those four hours in the car.  This year, I feel like the kids are stretched to their little limits,  I've been packing (and writing) and Adam's been traveling.  When we all finally settle in, claim our small personal space, and hit the road, we are a happy family capsule traveling south on I-71.  I like having my people all in one place.  We can talk, we can sing, we can laugh.  It's a good start to the long weekend.  And I usually eat a cheeseburger at some point.  (I also look forward to napping for a good bit of the drive, while Adam drives us safely to Cincinnati.  Sometimes I am asleep before we leave Hudson.)

6.  I am grateful for our parents.  For my mom and dad who are currently preparing for the onslaught of . . . us.  They're about to get hit from both sides with children and grandchildren.  Brace yourself, Grandma and Pop!  Hide the remotes, get the game table ready, don't carve the turkey without Abby, and prepare for the Thanksgiving madness.  For Adam's parents, who come in a pinch and steal the kids for overnights, it is a true blessing to have you nearby.  (Although, you are currently in South Carolina, which makes me less grateful and more jealous.)

4.  This year, I am thankful for this gorgeous weather we've been having.  Even as it starts to look a little damp and gloomy out there, I can't imagine how we got so lucky with all of those warm, sunny days.  It has kept my spirit lifted, and made the days fly by!  (Which is not a good thing, as I count the shopping days left until Christmas.  Yikes!)

3.  I have the world's most excellent friends.  Near and far.  You support me and lift me up on a daily basis in so many ways and I adore you.  Grateful does not even begin to touch it.  (Brothers and Sistas, include yourselves here, please :)

2.  My friend Lisa is healthy.  Thankful.  Thankful.  Thankful.

1.  I'm more than grateful for my crazy, happy, healthy, normal, silly, wonderful, surprise-me-everyday kids and husband.  Adam, Jono, Abby and Sam. . . you are the joys of my life, and I adore you, you turkeys.

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!  Have a safe and wonderful holiday surrounded by your family and friends, and please know that I count you among my many, many blessings!


Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Words, Words, Words. . .

I'm so excited to go to the H1N1 clinic today!  Okay, I'm really not.  I'm just trying to put my heart into the goal of the afternoon.  Flu shots.  Whoopee!

Hey, are you one of my writing friends?  Next year, you need to join me on NaNoWriMo (www.nanowrimo.org) if I've recovered by then.  National Novel Writing Month has consumed me, overtaken me, and has the potential to completely kick my ass, but I'm moving forward, word by word.  Today's count, 30,014.  The challenge is to write 50,000 words by November 30th.  Just write.  Don't edit, don't re-read.  Do these people not realize that there is a Thanksgiving holiday coming up?  How can I work in my 1600-2000 words a day when there is sleep to be slept, birds to be carved, movies to be seen, parades to be viewed?  I'm desperately trying to "UP" my word count so that I have some sort of Thanksgiving cushion, or else please come find me on the Monday following Thanksgiving at the Hudson Library.  I will be the one in a sobbing heap on the floor, trying to find a way to write the last 10,000 words before mindnight!  Bring diet Mountain Dew.

On days when I find myself behind in my writing, I tend to set up my days with bursts of writing, and small breaks.  Write a thousand words, take a break.  Repeat.  Four or five times.  The other day, my breaks were things like, "do laundry" and "pay bills."  By the time I was finished with five cycles of writing, I was craving air and a new vantage point, but I was well ahead of the game, and had gotten lots done in my house as well.  Can I keep it up?  We'll see.  I might need to work in better breaks, like "go shopping," "take a walk" or "do a shot."  Just kidding.  Kind of.

Yesterday, I was sick, and wrote over 5,000 words.  Or, at least, I think I did.  There was lots of DayQuil involved, so come December re-writes, I might find pages and pages of complete nonsense.  Or brilliance.

A very cool thing happened on my other blog.  (If you only read this blog, don't feel like I am cheating on you.  Come and read:  http://blog.hudsonucc.org   )  Anyway, I was quoting a book that I am currently reading and very much enjoying, The Wednesday Sisters by Meg Waite Clayton, and guess what?  Meg Waite Clayton herself commented on my blog!  It was very lovely and unexpected.  And in this month of NaNoWriMo, it was nice to get a boost like that.

Remind me, please, when I am a published author, to turn around and do the same for someone like me.

Friday, November 6, 2009

I Love Mornings

       So,  Jono's H1N1, Halloween, and Abby's birthday totally got the best of me and the blogosphere, but I say, good morning to you!  It's a cold, November morning, and I know this because I just got back from driving my two big kids to the bus stop.

     This was unexpected.

      This is Adam's job.  He was out of town for several days, so for most of this week, I got up with the two oldest kids and got them to the bus stop, which happens to be veeeerrrryyyy far away from our house, and on dark, cold mornings, I am generally opposed to allowing them to walk.  Even though they probably could.

     Adam returned last night from sunny Las Vegas, and even though I know he spent most of his time wandering trade shows and in meetings, I prefer to call it "sunny Las Vegas" and imply that he was lounging by the pool.  I just assumed that he would rise-and-shine with Abby and Jono this morning, as per usual, and drop them at the bus stop on the way to work.  So last night, I settled into bed knowing I could sleep until a blissful 7:45 am.  It's been a busy week.  And then, from the other side of the bed, I hear this.  "Gotta go in early tomorrow."

     "Early?  Can you get the kids?"
     "I can get them up."
     "Can you take them to the bus?"
     "Probably not."
     I re-set my alarm.
     "Christy, they can walk to the bus-stop.  It's fine."
     "It's too dark.  I will take them.  It's fine."  It was not fine, but I am excellent at hiding my feelings.

     So, this morning, at about 6:30, Abby starts her yelling.  MOM  MOM  MOM  MOM.  I hear you, sister. I'm coming.  The bus, however, isn't coming for 20 minutes.  I take my time getting downstairs.   I throw on the world's ugliest fuzzy slipper mocs, and a fleece.  My hair is lovely.

     "Let's roll, Chafes."
     Heading through the laundry room, I see Jono's full hamper by the washing machine.
     "I see you left me a gift today," I say.
     "I wanted you to have something to do," he retorts.
     "That's sweet."
     "I know."
     "I think I'll just teach you how to do your laundry."
      "I like the way you do it."
      "Not true.  When I do it, you say, 'I have no where to put all this clean laundry.' When I don't do it, you complain about no having clean underwear."
     "That's true," he admits, "or I wear the same pants for four days."
     "Or you wear basketball shorts for underwear."  Jono cracks up.
     "You wear basketball shorts for underwear?" cries Abby!  "When I see you in the morning in basketball shorts is that underwear?"
      "Why are you looking at me in the morning?  Perv."

     Abby in the back, Jono in the front, we get into the cold van and head to the end of the street where we park and wait for the bus.
     Abby touches the handle of the back door and Jono yells.
     "DON'T GET OUT YET, DEEB!"  That's his name for her; we don't know why.  I'm sure it's horrible.
     "I'm not!  Geez!"
      "Settle down, Jono.  One of you can get out, one can stay in.  Whatever."
      "Mr. Handley (name changed for protection) won't recognize you anyway," says Abby.
      They both crack up.
      "What's that about?" I ask.
      Apparently, they explain, yesterday the bus driver asked Jono who he was, where he lived, and if he had ever ridden the bus before.  He's been riding the same bus for four years.  And, Mr. Handley knows Adam.  I guess it's not really a case of "who you know."
     This cracks me up.
     Jono continues.  "He only drives a bus because he was bored in his retirement.  Now he's bored and pissed off.  He could have been sleeping late and pissed off.  Now he gets up at 5:00 am to drive kids around and be pissed off."
     "Kill him with kindness, Jono.  Get on the bus and say, 'Good Morning, Mr. Handley' every day."
      "We should get out," says my back-seat passenger.  There is a group of kids assembled at the bus stop, but no bus in sight, yet.
      "Frick, no.  I'm staying where it's warm."  I shoot him a look.  But I'm trying not to laugh.  Frick?
      "Jono, watch it."
      "Aren't you glad I used SOME decorum?"
     In the distance, there are blinking lights, and quick as one of those blinks, my big kids are out of there seats and running to meet the bus.  I wonder if the bus driver recognizes them?
I'm going to guess, frick no.