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By: Karen Maxwell,
Blog: Write From Karen
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So. It snowed.
What does that look like, six inches? Eight?
Luckily, it’s a soft, powdery kind of snow; there’s very little ice.
If all of that precipitation had been ice, we would have been in deep trouble (again).
I really hate winter. I like the cold, but I hate the snow and ice and that comes along with it. I hate to drive in it, but I REALLY hate our boys driving in it. And yes. I need to get over it. Blake is now 21, and Brandon is 18 – hey – they’re not kids anymore, we can drop the pseudo names. So they’re old enough to start living their own lives – it’s time for me to stop babying them – fly little birdies, fly.
For example: it’s slick today – like REALLY slick – like ICE RINK slick and Kevin calls me from the rental house (what? I haven’t told you about the rental house? Good Lord people, I’m so BEHIND, I need to catch ya’ll up) to tell me that someone slid off into the deep ditch across the street from us:
Oopsie. (They ended up hauling it off on the back of a tow truck so I’m assuming falling into that crevice did some damage – what a terrible time of year for that to happen).
And Blake is heading out – to drive – to Wal-Mart.
I confess, I panicked.
“You do realize that it will be like your driving on an ice rink, right?” I asked him, my eyes as big as saucers and my heart beating out “The Little Drummer Boy” song.
“It’ll be fine,” Blake answers back.
And he leaves.
But I catch him, “Hey – do you have your phone?”
“Oops.” He says.
“Dude. You HAVE to take your phone every time you leave the house now. K?”
He just shoots me a grin, grabs his phone and I watch the growing twilight swallow him whole.
I try not to worry but come on, I’m mom – it’s sort of my job to worry.
But he makes it back in record time (he went to Wal-Mart to buy some techno gadget) and he’s in one piece.
I’m just going to have to accept the fact that he’s a young MAN now and he has to start taking control of his life.
Actually. I’ve been better. Honestly. I’ve been letting go and working 40 hours away from home has really helped me sever the maternal ties.
Kevin made the boys go out and clean/scrape off their cars today. It was a mild 13 degrees. Brr. They had to use the broom to sweep off the snow, then I took advantage of the free labor and handed Blake a snow shovel and they took turns shoveling off their driveway and then our driveway. The thing is, I think they enjoyed it. They got out of their rooms, they got a little exercise and a whole lot of fresh air.
Blake was going to go out in just a leather jacket and slippers.
Sometimes, I seriously wonder about that boy.
Me? I vacuumed the house and finished decorating the Christmas tree.
It’s been up for a week. Kevin put the lights on last week, but I’ve been too lazy to finish it. I made the boys help me today and we got ‘r done.
I don’t know – I just haven’t been in the Christmas mood this year. I think I’m in denial because didn’t we just have Christmas like … a few months ago? It’s scary how fast time flies.
So life has happened these past months. Nothing terribly exciting … just busy. I’ve been so tired
lately! I think part of it is my job, well, most of it is my job, it’s just mentally draining
, but I think I have to blame part of the problem on the fact that I’m going through the change and I haven’t been sleeping very well since my body decided to declare war on me.
We went on a cruise to Alaska, hosted Thanksgiving dinner and bought the house across the street from us since the last time I blogged (we plan on renting it – but it needs MAJOR renovation before that can happen).
Blake is still working with Kevin, and Kevin couldn’t run his office without him.
Brandon is now working in the restaurant industry (and hates it) and is enrolled to begin school in January.
That sounds like a lot but it all feels so … normal.
I’ll write when I can. It stresses me out when I feel like I HAVE to write but honestly, it sort of scares me when I let my blog go because life just moves so freaking fast … I want to record as much of it as I can.
Filed under: Life
Christmas Cats TV.
SUDDENLY, I WANT TO ADOPT MOAR CATS.
Which is especially hilarious, as Lemon's caterwauling this morning—I can only assume that she was insulted by the recent snowfall—reminded me that living with a Siamese is occasionally less-than enjoyable.
Me: *finally looks up from book* Hmm? What? Did you say something?
Josh: I'M SO BORED!! THE CYBILS ARE RUINING OUR MARRIAGE!
Me: Oh, pshaw. You say that every year. *goes back to reading*
(And before you get all worried about him, don't worry! After that conversation, he popped out to buy a new video game, so once gets home, I'll get him settled in front of the television, and he'll be FINE!
...I would be the WORST. PARENT. OF. ALL. TIME.)
I am CAPABLE of knitting. But mittens, like grilled cheese sandwiches, are always better when someone else makes them. So, you know: FEEL FREE TO MAKE ME A PAIR.
Pattern available at Carissa Knits.
The schedule has been posted, the streets of Charleston cordoned off, and locals are hiding their cookie jars because the authors are coming to town!
Here’s the schedule for this weekend’s festivities, but I’ll point out a few things I’ll be involved in below (The Storyball will be particularly nuts):
SATURDAY NOV. 9TH PANELS
CMH: THE MIDDLE GRADE STORYBALL Pseudonymous Bosch, Adam Gidwitz, Lisi Harrison, Alexander London, Lisa McMann, Barnabas Miller, Lauren Oliver, Carrie Ryan, Natalie Standiford, JE Thompson, Sean Williams (All Middle Grade Authors will be on stage!) Moderator: Matthew Cody
BALLROOM: WRITING FOR KIDS Matthew Cody, Adam Gidwitz, Lisa McMann, Carrie Ryan,, C. Alexander London Moderator: Pseudonymous Bosch
CMH: YA Smackdown SOLD OUT
Josh: OH, AS IF A HOUSE WOULD LOOK LIKE THAT AFTER BEING ABANDONED FOR TEN YEARS.
Me: You realize that you're nitpicking a CW show, right?
Both, in unison: YOU SUCK, SARK.
During a scene between Stefan and Elena:
Me: This show would be insufferable without Boone.
Josh: OH MY GOD, YES. If the show was just about these two idiots, there's no way I could watch it.
Josh gets up to go into the kitchen.
Me: Do you want me to pause it?
Josh: HELL, YEAH.
Part of me really hopes that the Hellraiser remake doesn't happen.
Not because I have huge affection for the movie—I have some affection for it, but I'm not, like, passionate about it or anything—but because if a new one happens, that'll kick off a whole new round of Josh chasing me around the house while saying "COME TO DADDY!!" in the super-creepy way that the possessed father (Or is it the uncle wearing the father's face? I forget.) does in the original movie:
He really does do a spot-on impersonation. It's so grodily creepy.
Ewww. Now I've squicked MYSELF out.
Still undecided about KidLitCon 2013?
If so, I understand: believe me, I do. It took me YEARS to get up the courage to go.
Because, to be embarrassingly honest, I was kind of SCARED. I'm somewhat shy, and I've (sadly) never really grown out of that OH GOD I'M GOING TO MEET ALL SORTS OF NEW PEOPLE AND WHAT IF THEY ALL HATE ME AND NO ONE TALKS TO ME AND I END UP ALONE ON THE DANCE FLOOR??
Not that there's a dance floor, necessarily, but you know what I mean.
Yeah, it wasn't anything like that. I had so many moments—and I know I'm not alone in this—in which I'd recognize a name on a nametag, and then realize that the wearer of said nametag was having that same moment with my nametag, and then we'd make eye contact and get big dumb grins on our faces and give each other hugs and it was all just so GENUINELY NICE that I don't know how to talk about it without devolving into a big puddle of treacle.
It was like... the internet allowed me to Find My People and to get to know them, but it was at KidLitCon that they really became MY FRIENDS. There's just something about meeting face-to-face that makes the relationships more REAL, somehow. Now, when I read what they've written on Twitter or Facebook or Tumblr or their various blogs or even in their books, I hear their actual voices in my head.
And that's not even taking into account all of the panel discussions and the networking and the presentations and the food and drinks and so on.
It's SUCH a great time, and I'm sad that I missed out on it for so many years.
You only have a few more days to make up your mind, and I'm very much hoping that you'll take the plunge. It's so, so worth it.
...waking up, pulling back the covers, and FINDING A DEAD MOUSE IN BED WITH ME?
Not my favorite pet owner moment ever.
(No, it wasn't there all night. Looking back, I actually know EXACTLY when Lemon deposited it there. I was just too groggy to be suspicious at the time.)
Lemon brought yet another mouse in this morning before I even managed to drag myself out of bed, so it's limping around the house somewhere.
As such, bleary-eyed and decidedly NOT REMOTELY bushy-tailed, I've been doing what has become second nature: THE WOUNDED RODENT MORNING ROUTINE.
Check my slippers for dead/dying rodent. If empty, put them on.
Check kettle for dead/dying rodent. If empty, fill it and start water for tea.
Check toaster for dead/dying rodent. If empty, make toast.
You get the idea.
Anyway, just now I realized: I'M LIVING OUT A SUPER-GRUESOME LIFT-THE-FLAPS BOOK.
Oh, good, the water's boiling. More later.
Josh, from the bedroom: *shrieks*
Me, from the living room: What? What? Are you all right?
Josh walks into the living room holding an ENORMOUSLY ROTUND MOUSE by the tail.
Me: Please tell me it wasn't under the covers.
Josh: No, it was just on top of them.
Me: No guts?
Josh: Not many.
Me: Oh, that's okay, then.
Josh: Man, our Okay Bar has gotten REALLY, REALLY LOW.
After my absolutely fantastic experience last year—the very first time I was able to get it together and actually ATTEND—I vowed that I would never miss one again. It was such a profoundly excellent experience that when I got home, Josh picked up on my happy-buzzy-excited energy and said, "WELL, THEN. CLEARLY WE NEED TO MAKE SURE THAT YOU GO EVERY YEAR FROM NOW ON."
It was THAT much fun, THAT inspiring, THAT reinvigorating, and THAT... just AWESOME to spend a few days with a bunch of people who're just as passionate about kidlit and the kidlit world as I am. (Not to mention FINALLY meeting folks that I'd known online for years and years and years now. As well as people who were NEW to me. I just loved it.)
I just registered, so the second weekend in November, I will be in (hopefully) sunny Austin. Will I see you there?
See the official announcement here, as well as the call for program proposals.
And posts from Betsy Bird and Jen Robinson.
At work today, Raylan Givens helped me catalog some Amish romances:
Then he put some way out-of-date Book Review Digests in their place:
And then, finally, Josh stopped by the library and, while I was helping a patron, took it upon himself to fix Raylan's hat:
So, that was my day.
How was yours?
Just home from the library's board meeting, and, as you may have guessed from the line I quoted above, I am a happy girl.
Everything I wanted, I got:
1. The board approved my suggested changes to the days and hours we're open. In other words, NO MORE ELEVEN HOUR DAYS AND SPLIT WEEKENDS, WOOOOOOOO.
Instead, the library will be open a much more managable (and sane) eight hours Tuesdays-Fridays, three hours on Saturday, closed Sunday and Monday.
2. They also moved to start accepting physical donations again, which means I can FINALLY publicly thank Jenne at Scholastic for THE BEST CONGRATULATORY GIFT EVER--->
Note: That picture? Is only of TWO-THIRDS of her donation. SHE (and her buddies) SINGLE-HANDEDLY INCREASED MY YA SECTION BY A QUARTER, IF NOT A THIRD.
I love you, Jenne.
3. They—with no debate whatsoever—voted to shell out in order to join the library delivery van service, which will allow me to A) provide ILL services and B) host book groups.
And now, as promised, here are the highlights of what I've done over the last month (in addition to the aforementioned new YA section):
- Created a HUGE book sale area.
- Started HEAVILY weeding the adult nonfiction, which is... well, it needs to be weeded. Bad.
- Moved stuff around in the children's area and created an island display area with books faced out at actual kids'-eye-level.
- Separated the audiobooks on CD from the audiobooks on cassette (they were mixed) and catalogued all of the ACDs.
- Deep-sixed all of the VHS tapes and the audiobooks on cassette.
- Created a (very low-key) website.
Like I said, those are the highlights. There was WAAAAAAAAAY more.
But HOLY CATS, I NEED A NAP.
Tight, tight, tight, with no room for growth! Also located directly next to A) the bathroom, which makes for less-than enticing browsing and B) the children's section, which suggests that it's simply an off-shoot of kidville.
...through the less-than-regular posting!
The new job is going swimmingly, but it's currently taking up the lion's share of my attention and time*.
I find myself dreaming about it, or waking up in the middle of the night and mulling over POSSIBILITIES for programming or organization or fundraising or ordering or wishlists or whatever.
All good things, but overall, exhausting!
I'll post more about the specifics of what I've been up to soon: there's a board meeting coming up next week, so that'll be a good excuse for me to sit down and make a list of all of the changes I've made and things I've been up do. In the meantime, though, the pictures at right are of one of the first things I did: moving the YA books.
Plus, I've dived back into Super Readers' Advisory Mode... which is hugely intellectually stimulating, but again, exhausting: and, as it is, as I've said, a small-town library with only one full-time employee (ME!), I'm doing Readers' Advisory for every age group.
Which I love.
But, as I said, it is rather exhausting, LIKEWHOA.
Still plenty of room for improvement, but far more enticing! Plus, it's now located over by the adult stacks, which will allow readers to organically browse in both areas.
That's GOOD, though, because it means that people are already starting to use my brain as a resource.
So, you know: YAY!
ANYWAY. Thanks again for being so understanding.
To everyone who had Labor Day off, I hope it was a good one!
To everyone who didn't, I hope you had a lovely day nonetheless!
To everyone who is starting a new school year, HAVE FUN!
To everyone else, DITTO.
Have I missed any BIG KERFUFFLES in the blogsphere while I've been radio silent?
*Also taking up time: my current, possibly less-than-healthy obsession with Prison Architect, which I CAN'T. STOP. PLAYING.
Melissa Marr's Faery Tales & Nightmares is $1.99 today.
Which reminds me that I haven't read it yet.
I know that I have it around here somewhere...
...maybe when the paint dries on my NEW BOOKSHELVES and I can get to filling them, I WILL FIND IT!
I got Lisa Simpson.
Which, as I said on the FB, is not at all inaccurate.
...and someone steals it:
Does anyone out there have a Yonanas thingie?
Do you like it?
I've been making popsicles all day (so far: pluot; watermelon; blueberry-yogurt-honey), and as I am fully aware that I have A) a slight tendency towards silly kitchen gadgets, and B) a complete addiction to frozen treats, I figured that before I freak out and buy one, I'd ask you, O Collective Brain: SHOULD I?
I love my family.
By: Karen Maxwell,
Blog: Write From Karen
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Are you there?
Are you alive?
I’m alive, still breathing. Still healthy. Still working at the same place.
Nothing dramatic has happened. No tragedy.
I just dropped off the face of the blog-o-sphere because I was BURNED OUT. I’ve been blogging for eight years now and I needed a break. It’s not that I didn’t have anything to say, (please, have you met me??), but that I simply didn’t have the mental energy to THINK anymore after I got off work.
I didn’t have a bread crumb to spare you folks. (Remember the “I don’t have a square to spare” line from Jerry Seinfeld? One of my favorites …)
Anyhoo – I’m back, feeling refreshed and ready to regurgitate my life onto your lap, how’s that for an attractive visual?
(Watch out! Honest blogger falling …)
I have so much to catch up on. Jazz graduated from high school, Kevin and I went to Colorado for a few days … okay, maybe those are the only two things that have really happened to us in the past four months.
I’m boring. Sue me.
So it’s time to catch up. I’m really going to try and vlog more. Just because it’s fun to watch past videos and laugh at my dorkiness.
Thanks to those that stuck around and welcome to any newcomers. Let’s trudge through life together, shall we?
Talk at ya later.
Filed under: Life
I just relisted a whole bunch of stuff, including the new Austens:
two different Alices:
And lots of others!
So, I just dropped my phone facedown in the driveway and the screen is completely shattered.
Which is kind of an issue as we don't have a landline.
So, I guess it's time for a SALE IN MY ETSY SHOP.
Use coupon code NEWPHONE through this weekend for 15% off all orders.
And then hopefully I'll be able to either repair or replace it.
I was having such a nice week, too. :(
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Running the Rocky Steps in Philly
Even more than January 1st, I look upon the day after Labor Day as the first day of my “new year.” Children are gathering new school supplies, leaving them with that wonderful feeling of a fresh start. Along with them, I feel like starting over too. But it’s not always easy to get motivated. I am disciplined with my healthy diet and workouts, but there are other areas of my life that need some motivation. For that I’m going to take what I’ve learned from what I’ve accomplished and apply it to these new uncharted territories.
- Make a list of reasonable goals, but not too many.
- Research meeting those goals. (For example: You want to lose weight. First check the BMI Index to see what a healthy weight for you would be.)
- Write down the final goal, but also break it into steps. (For example: Lose 30 pounds by Christmas. Lose 8 lbs per month, 2 lbs per week.)
- Research and write down your plan to achieve your goal. (For example: Do 5 45-minute aerobic workouts per week. Introduce more fruits and veggies to diet. Omit fried foods, cut way back on sweets. Drink more water. Stick to 1500 calories per day)
- Share your goals with a friend or family member and ask them to be a stickler about checking up on you. Sign a document stating what you plan to do to reach your goals by a certain date so your partner can hold you to it.
- Surround yourself with the tools you need to get the job done and get rid of the things that might prevent you from reaching those goals. (For example: You want to lose weight so you stock your fridge and pantry with fresh, whole foods and lots of fruits and veggies. You get rid of the junk food and sweets. You make a small investment in workout videos or join a class.)
- Find what motivates you best – either positive or negative. (For example: I run the steps 5 times per week, 1 million steps per year. Every day I wake up and feel like staying in bed. I motivate myself to get up and do it by thinking of my parents, who both passed away prematurely from bad health issues. That motivates me to fight my bad genetics and get moving and stay healthy.)
- Track your progress and celebrate your accomplishments, both big and small. (For example: There are days when I get to the courthouse steps and just feel lethargic or have an injury and struggle through the workout. I may do less repetitions, but I still go out there and do it. Then I celebrate that despite my lethargy, I did it anyway.)
- Concentrate on the benefits. (For example: I am 52 years old and weigh the same as I did in my 20s. I am right on target with my weight on the BMI Index. I can wear skinny jeans. I have a lot of muscle and a ton of energy. I look younger than most people my age.)
- Remind Yourself of the Consequences of quitting. (For example: If I quit this new habit of running steps, I will turn to mush and gain weight and have health problems. I will look back and remember how fit I used to be and will be so angry at myself that I didn’t keep it up.
Like everything else positive you set out to accomplish in your life, you’ve got to have a plan and find out what motivates you to get it done. If you fall off track, it’s not the end. Just pick yourself up, dust yourself off, and remind yourself of the incredible benefits you will have when you reach and maintain your goals.