What is JacketFlap

  • JacketFlap connects you to the work of more than 200,000 authors, illustrators, publishers and other creators of books for Children and Young Adults. The site is updated daily with information about every book, author, illustrator, and publisher in the children's / young adult book industry. Members include published authors and illustrators, librarians, agents, editors, publicists, booksellers, publishers and fans.
    Join now (it's free).

Sort Blog Posts

Sort Posts by:

  • in
    from   

Suggest a Blog

Enter a Blog's Feed URL below and click Submit:

Most Commented Posts

In the past 7 days

Recent Posts

(tagged with 'Life')

Recent Comments

JacketFlap Sponsors

Spread the word about books.
Put this Widget on your blog!
  • Powered by JacketFlap.com

Are you a book Publisher?
Learn about Widgets now!

Advertise on JacketFlap

MyJacketFlap Blogs

  • Login or Register for free to create your own customized page of blog posts from your favorite blogs. You can also add blogs by clicking the "Add to MyJacketFlap" links next to the blog name in each post.

Blog Posts by Date

Click days in this calendar to see posts by day or month
new posts in all blogs
Viewing: Blog Posts Tagged with: Life, Most Recent at Top [Help]
Results 1 - 25 of 1,783
1. Grief

Death. Grief. Sorrow. Those aren’t words that any of us like, especially when they involve those closest to us. I don’t pretend to understand sorrow, though I have experienced it many times. I experienced it when my grandparents died. I experienced it when my own father was in a car accident, and again when my…

10 Comments on Grief, last added: 9/29/2014
Display Comments Add a Comment
2. Facing big changes

I thought as I got older that things would become more static. After all, I've been married for 28 years (and it's still growing strong). I left my job nearly seven years ago. I thought things would go along more or less the same.

But the whole static thing - that's not happening.

Nora
Mom red hatFirst of all, this week marks the first anniversary of my mother's death. I guess I had known theoretically that my mom could die. But she had been around all my life, been there long before me.

But when she really did die, it rocked my world. After my dad died in 2003, we had become close friends, talked on the phone daily.

I spent the last three weeks of her life with her after she chose to go on hospice. I passed many long hours in the quiet house while she lay on her bed, not really napping, not really anything. The clocks ticked in unison, then opposite each other, then back again.

Toward the end the hospice nurse had me buy diapers, and later mom told me that by the time she needed them, she hoped she wouldn't give a shit. And then we both laughed. She was sharp and funny. The last sound she ever made was a laugh, after my brother claimed I was trying to kill him when the cot I had set up in her room collapsed under him.

There was a lot of laughter. Also I ate and ate and ate, chips, ice cream, weird frozen dinners from Grocery Outlet. And I hid in the laundry room or my old room and wept. I went for runs with tears streaming down my face.

When she died, she was the first person I wanted to tell.

Knees
2014-08-25 09.06.33In March, I ran to my kung fu weapons class. And then I attempted to run back again. But my right leg hurt, like someone had jammed my knee backward. (The class had not involved anything that hurt.)

And then I started having a pain run down my leg. So bad I wasn't sure how I would go to Detroit, make it through airports, sleep in a hotel bed, and do a ton of school visits. I managed it, but since then my leg and knee have been not been good.

When I first went to PT back in March, I was told my insurance would cover 77 visits a year. I laughed.  Who needs 77 visits? I was sure it would be cleared up in three or four.

That pain down my leg? Not my IT band like I thought. Pinched sciatic nerve. Finally got on top of that after some sleepless nights and many, many sessions of PT.

And I haven't run since that day six or seven months ago. When I tried, my knee always hurt to some degree. I kept asking about when I could run again, ignoring wrinkled noses, suggestions of sticking with walking, or maybe if I got lucky possibly running on a cushioned track. I had been logging a thousand miles a year running in my neighborhood, and I didn't want to change.

I had an X-ray, then recently an MRI. I started asking questions about that MRI. Then wished I hadn't. Arthritis in all three compartments of the right knee. Moderately bad in two. More severe behind the knee cap. But, my doctor said, both knees looked the same in the X-ray (which was news to me, and not good news), so who knew? And he had seen people with bone-on-bone knees, the cartilage completely gone, who didn't feel pain.

Kyle Young Flying Kick Kung FuI made the mistake of asking about my own knees in that regard. I'm only 55, so I figured the answer couldn't be bad. But it turns out I'm close to bone on bone. My PT and my doctor have talked of trekking poles and canes and even knee replacements. Only I barely heard them because I was mentally curled up in a fetal position. Down the line, I'm thinking, because it hardly hurts now.  I'm doing all the exercises, taking all the supplements someone has every suggested: turmeric, fish oil, ginger, Vitamin D, Move Free, tart cherry juice, and pectin dissolved in grape juice.

And I'm definitely not asking about Brazilian jiujitsu or kung fu. Because while I can substitute walking for running, I'm not interested in substituting tai chi for more active martial arts.

Working at home
I've been lucky enough to work at home since February 1, 2008. Before that I had worked in a cubicle or a shared office and written a book a year (while also parenting, cooking, exercising, housekeeping, and wife-ing. I learned that while you will be always be crappy at something, the trick is to rotate your area of crappiness). To a large degree, this was made possible by my husband bringing home a paycheck every two weeks and covering our health insurance.

Working at home is a real luxury, if at times a lonely one. I talk to myself a lot. If I feel really tired, I'll allow myself a short nap. My husband works llong hours, so he's usually gone from the house for over 12 hours at a time.

But Friday is his last day on the job. He's going to do freelance graphic design. Luckily, our kid is going to college in LA, so he can have an office and I can use her room as an office.  But what about talking to myself? Will he look down on me if I nap? Will we drive each other crazy?

Add a Comment
3. Change of season


Summer officially ended a few days ago, and I for one am glad to see it go.  There is only so much sweltering and sweating I can stand. Hello autumn, my favorite season...it always feels like a new year starts with the autumnal equinox.

But still, I'll be sad to see the end of jacaranda season. In the part of southern California that I find myself in, the streets are lined with jacaranda trees which bloom with glorious purple blossoms from April to September-ish. And over the last few months I've photographing them...
On my street. 
This is on Hollywood Boulevard. A different kind of glamour!
Fallen blossoms on the grass.

The fallen blossoms have been my playthings over the summer months, too —

And with that, I am ready to dive into autumn— bring on the woolens and the pumpkin pie! I'm buckling down for new work, so stay tuned!

PS. Speaking of playthings, have you seen stop-watch? Tineke Meirink has a very playful eye!

0 Comments on Change of season as of 9/27/2014 9:32:00 PM
Add a Comment
4. Septemberings

 

 


The view from here.

0 Comments on Septemberings as of 9/26/2014 5:04:00 PM
Add a Comment
5. On Being an Artist

Imitate...life

0 Comments on On Being an Artist as of 9/22/2014 2:38:00 PM
Add a Comment
6. Sing like nothing else matters !

When you are feeling all alone, if you just sing out loud you may be surprised how many others will join in with you …JDMn6Birds62920141


0 Comments on Sing like nothing else matters ! as of 9/13/2014 1:46:00 AM
Add a Comment
7. “Rose colored glasses”

JDM_G_Flower9720141

 

I was just thinking that it’s not the perfect flower I look for in my photography, it’s the perfect feeling, same with my friends, they all have little flaws just like me but when I close my eyes and think of them I only know the sweet essence of their perfection and see how wonderful life is to let me see them … Love you all !


0 Comments on “Rose colored glasses” as of 9/7/2014 7:12:00 PM
Add a Comment
8. The year I walked through hell

I know it's Labor Day, not New Year's, but I'm declaring it officially the start of a new year. This last year was the hardest year I have ever had in my life.  Good things happened too, I'm not saying that, but I would trade those good things to reverse some of the bad. A year ago today, I was involved in a horrific car accident, then moved home and took care of my mom while she was on hospice, and then ended up in the hospital.

The accident

We were driving to dinner. September 1, 2013. I had my hand on my husband's knee and we were smiling and talking about nothing.

Past his shoulder suddenly: a dog. Appearing so out of nowhere it's like magic. A black lab running flat out toward us. Pink tongue streaming behind. Black leash streaming behind.

It looks totally happy. Happy and clueless.

No time to scream. No time to brake. No time to react.

A second after we first see it, the dog and car meet just past the driver's side front bumper.

And then we are screaming.

We pull over in the gravel, still screaming. It has to be dead. It has to be.  Oh my god.  It seems like we are a long ways away, blocks and blocks, but later I see it's not even half a block.

I get out. It's worse than I thought.

Not one dog, but two.

Two dogs lying on their backs in the street, paws in the air.

I've never seen dogs lying like that. Cars are already stacking up. A young man kneels by one, a young woman by the other.  Screaming, crying, begging. What will these people think of us?  We killed their dogs.

MauroAs I get closer, I can see they are street kids. The girl with red-gold dreads and pants made of patches. The guy with red-gold hair and a black T-shirt. (I later found his picture online.) They carry their dogs to the side of the road. The guy is begging. "Aldo! Aldo!" The black lab is moving a little. And then it dies.

The little dog is still alive and whining.

I try to look up Dove Lewis, the emergency animal hospital, on my phone. I keep typing the wrong letters, and the harder I try the worse I get. The lady who answers says to bring the dogs in. I tell my husband to get the Subaru.

These two kids are wailing. Stumbling from one dog to the other, shaking, weeping so hard that snot runs down their faces.

The guy lifts the lab into the back - even though we all know it must be dead - and then climbs in beside it.  The girl sits in the back with the little dog and I pick up their two huge packs (they were setting down their packs when they lost control of the dogs) and bag of groceries and somehow manage to shove them all in the car.

And then we drive. Too fast. I keep telling my husband to be careful, that the guy is just loose back there.

Otherwise, the car is mostly quiet. The guy is curled over the dog, weeping soundlessly. The girl is trying to reassure the little black and white dog, named Karate Kid. Neither of these two are that much older than our daughter.  But somehow they've gone from being someone's precious babies to two kids living on the street with their dogs.

At the vet hospital, a tech in blue scrubs comes out to the parking lot, puts her hand to the lab's neck and shakes her head.  She's a tall girl, broad-shouldered, and she manages to carry his body in by herself. Three hours later, we are looking at X-rays of the smaller dog. (It turned out that another car actually hit him.) The ball on one hip joint has been turned into paste.  Everything has been pushed to one side.

And after they say goodbye to both dogs, both kids stagger back out into the waiting room. Eyes nearly swollen shut with weeping. We were strangers thrown together, sharing a nightmare.

2011-07-22 12.23.02 Becoming an orphan
Eleven days later, I drove down to my home town
on a few hours sleep. I had gotten back from a business trip to North Carolina and New York City the night before. My mom had declared that September 12 was when she was going on hospice. She had congestive heart failure and interstitial lung disease and had been put on oxygen a few months before.

2013-10-12 14.50.34I think she had hoped that the magic of going on hospice would cause her to die right away. But then the hospice nurse said she might live for months. My mom and I exchanged horrified glances while the nurse prattled on, oblivious. It took her a long time to figure out that Mom wanted to die and soon.

For years, my mom has been dying on the installment plan.  She was ready to die. There was nothing unsettled, nothing unsaid. She thought it was funny when, after she had decided she would go on hospice, her fortune said, "You are soon going to change your present line of work." She firmly believed in God and and afterlife, although she had no preconceived ideas about what it would be like.
2013-09-21 14.31.36

The nurse only took her off a couple of her meds.  On her own, Mom decided to go off the others.  She stopped her oxygen. Then she stopped eating.  Then she - sort of - stopped drinking.

It was a very strange three weeks.  Good conversations. Watching a lot of old movies and documentaries, as well as the entire first season of Homeland and the Forsyte Saga. Being bored. Wondering when/ hoping/being afraid she would die. Weeping in the laundry.


I was getting an award October 5.  I was going to cancel. Mom told me not to, and then died quietly October 1, a few hours after the hospice nurse said she would live for at least a week, maybe longer. Of course, I was flat out useless at the awards. I basically stood at the podium and wept. It got so bad that one of presenters gave me her already used Kleenex.

2013-09-23 15.13.35room and biting my hand so she wouldn't hear me. Being scared. Laughing. Telling her to stop apologizing for my being there. Trying to write a little. Eating my way through so much junk food.  The day the wild turkeys came - and my mom's favorite memory involved a drive in the country and a flock of wild turkeys. 2013-09-21 07.43.42

When you hear hoofbeats, don't look for zebras
Doctors have a saying.  "When you hear hoofbeats, don't look for zebras." In other words, it's probably a cold, not a rare fatal virus.

Or in my case, just before Christmas when my leg turned red and started swelling up, it was probably cellulitis.  And when it didn't respond to three different antibiotics, they decided it was MRSA cellulitis, and I ended up in the hospital for three days. In case I was contagious and  might pose a danger to people who were already physically sick, they put me on the psych unit. Let's just say, that was interesting. T
hen I had a rare reaction to IV Vancomycin called hand-foot syndrome. First my hands and feet felt like they were on fire. Then eventually all the skin peeled off. Oh, and somewhere in there, the doctor thought I had a blood clot in my heart that was throwing off bits.  It was a month or so of suck.

2013-12-24 12.15.01
2013-12-28 11.30.16 2014-01-08 12.21.57

I did a LOT of lying on my back, staring at white acoustical ceilings, and crying.  And wondering whether I would lose my leg or die. I actually came out okay (except a scar from a biopsy).  It turns out that an errant kung fu shin clash probably led to something called traumatic panniculitis (dermatologist's theory) or a crush injury (orthopedic doc's theory).  Unfortunately, even though everyone eventually agreed I never had cellulitis, they couldn't agree on what I did have, so I coudln't be featured in the NY Times' Think Like a Doctor series. I couldn't even persuade the hospital to not charge me my copay, since they never tested to see if I had an infection.

Write or die
I like that program, Write or Die, for forcing you to write, forcing you to create instead of criticize or dither.

This past year was write or die for me. I turned in a book February 19th. February 20th I started a new book and turned that in June 1, despite doing school visits and events in St. Louis, Detroit, Chicago and Houston.  Both editors said the books were the best I had ever written. And I sold a new book over Memorial Day.  I'll finish it in November.
Screen Shot 2014-08-25 at 2.58.01 PM

So that's it. The highlights of my year. I hope to have a much quieter one this year.

Add a Comment
9. Maine Mountains

 
Sorry for the slow updates. It's been busy here at the moment with work and I'm also trying my darndest to soak up every last bit of Summer. Here's a pattern I drew a few weeks back, inspired by childhood's spent camping up in Northern Maine. I miss listening to loon cries and campfires more than you can possibly imagine.

0 Comments on Maine Mountains as of 8/22/2014 1:33:00 PM
Add a Comment
10. The New Phone Book’s Here

In the immortal words of Navin R. Johnson:

image

Things are going to start happening to me now!

Yes, due to life, it took a long time to arrive, but that lovable scamp Virgil Creech is back in Virgil Creech Sings for His Supper.

 Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000038_00063]

 

 

Even the idyllic little town of Portsong isn’t immune to the coming depression. What will our favorite family of eleven do when their chief bread-winner is left without a job? Enter the youngest son, Virgil Creech, who discovers an unlikely talent that may just keep the family afloat.

Meanwhile, half the world away, town grocer Harland Gentry discovers the truth of the ancient proverb, Pride goes before a fall. On the vacation of a lifetime, Harland decides to reinvent himself as a man of means, hoping to leave the small town behind. But he is not prepared for what he discovers on his unpredictable African adventure.

Of course, Virgil Creech Sings for His Supper contains a healthy dose of the lovable Colonel Clarence Birdwhistle, as he and Henry begin to rebuild the Lee family farm. All of these stories come together for another delightful romp through Portsong, the southern town halfway between Savannah and heaven.

 

From the back of the book, here is our new friend, Harland Gentry as drawn by Aprilily.

image

It is always rewarding to have someone read one of my books. But I was particularly excited to get a Five Bookworm Review on the first book in the series because it came from a kid, which is my target audience.  He is also not a family member!

You can read his take here.

 

If you haven’t had a chance to read Virgil Creech Takes a Swipe at Redemption, the ebook version is going to go free for a week sometime soon as publicity for the sequel. Of course, I’ll announce it here.

I wrote the final piece of the Portsong Series last year hope to release it fairly soon. I am now working on my first piece of adult humor and would love to put it out in 2015. We shall see if life gets in the way of that one as well.


Filed under: From the Writer

4 Comments on The New Phone Book’s Here, last added: 8/14/2014
Display Comments Add a Comment
11. Hide and Go Seek — and other Things that Make me Scream

I am not a scaredy cat. I love to hike and wade in mountain streams.  I love to go to places I’ve never been and see things I’ve never seen. I like to watch documentaries on foods from other countries and want to visit those countries one day. I like to make new recipes! I’ll…

4 Comments on Hide and Go Seek — and other Things that Make me Scream, last added: 8/2/2014
Display Comments Add a Comment
12. Prints, Plus Pokey

 
A new pattern I painted last week, inspired by the tangle of vegetation outside. Summer, you done good.
   
Other A+ summer highlights: seeing Pokey LaFarge live. Because it's not everyday you get to see a band that sports fedoras and ties while bringing down the house.

0 Comments on Prints, Plus Pokey as of 1/1/1900
Add a Comment
13. REVOLUTION

REVOLUTION HAS COME which side do you choose? our world moans and groans under the weight of “progress” while our trees die from acid rain and our rivers, once teeming with wildlife, are suffocated by our excess The future of our world, our children, are abused, silenced and tossed aside like pieces of trash with…

7 Comments on REVOLUTION, last added: 7/29/2014
Display Comments Add a Comment
14. Saying Goodbye

It is hard to say goodbye to an old friend. I am currently having to do just that. Sometimes, things deteriorate beyond salvage and the relationship must end. I have had this happen before, not very often – but it has happened.

In my younger days, I was a bridge-burner. I just moved on. I left high school and kept up with very few friends, mostly the ones who went to the same university. After four fun-filled years at college, I left those friends with every intent of doing better. I did not. Oh, I tried. For a year or two I kept up with some. But we all got scattered around the country and once-close ties severed. I predate social media, so we didn’t have that easy connection to tether me to my friends.

I have had to end relationships since then, though not as frequently. It was much easier to end friendships when I moved cities. I have lived in the same city for twenty-five years now and have no intention of leaving. So I can’t pack up and forget to give a forwarding address. Also, the aforementioned social media makes ending a relationship a public event. You have to be sure it is the proper thing to do before you push “unfriend,” or “block.”

What are some causes of ended friendships anyway? Here are some big ones. It isn’t an exhaustive list, you might have experienced other issues.

A trust violation – can be major or minor, equally damaging.

Priority shift – things become important to one and not the other.

Lack of support – a friend has stopped being there for you.

Selfishness – the friend who has all day to complain but has to go when it is time to listen.

Drift – Sometimes, friends just drift apart. It isn’t a willful decision on either side.

Friends can’t always be replaced. Depending on the length and emotional depth of the friendship, there can be a sizable void when the friendship ends. Pain. Regret. Panic, doubt, and second-guessing can even set in. Most of the time, there is even a grieving period when a friendship dies.

So it is with this friend. We’ve been through a lot together. There were entire days we spent together and I don’t regret them. They were good days… comfortable days. Never tight or strenuous, my friend and I got along perfectly. We fit together. I felt a certain contentment with this friend that I rarely feel. In fact, besides my wife, I’ve been closer to few others.

Why, do you ask, must this friendship end?

Is my friend moving? Did my friend betray me?

Loneliness_(4101974109)

 

No, due to old age, my friend’s elastic waistband ripped through the soft, cotton fabric and my favorite pair of boxers is caput. The friendship is no longer salvageable. I could save it for a dust rag or staining cloth, but that’d be weird… unlike writing a blog post about underwear.

 

 

Photo attribution: Bert Kaufmann from Roermond, Netherlands (Loneliness Uploaded by russavia)

 

 


Filed under: Learned Along the Way

5 Comments on Saying Goodbye, last added: 7/22/2014
Display Comments Add a Comment
15. Summerific

 
Since our last transmission:

*All I want to do is paint green things, as evidenced by the random sketchbook page.

*July 4th visitors were delightful (and were adept at unearthing birds' nests).

*I saw the Shaker exhibit at the Farnsworth for my birthday and it was beyond words. The Farnsworth is a terrific museum (and the Wyeth Center is my favorite space). Speaking of favorite places/spaces, if you find yourself in Rockland, Maine anytime in the near future, in the name of all that is good, please go to hello hello Books/Rock City Cafe. You can thank me later.

 

Other summer things?

*I made dandelion wine and lived to tell the tale. I used a recipe from this local cookbook, but these directions are pretty close. And if you're wondering what it tastes like, to quote Ray Bradbury's Dandelion Wine, "I'm a fire-eater! Whoosh!"

*A baby blanket finished for a brand spankin' new niece.

*Fireworks. Because, the 4th. And summer.

0 Comments on Summerific as of 1/1/1900
Add a Comment
16. Getting my life back!

I turned in a book February 19th, then February 20th I started a new book and wrote every day, evening and weekend.  Even when I was on "vacation" or doing school visits.

I turned that book in on June 1.  The editor has already given me edits (she's fast!) and she loves it.  For the first time in literally years, I've got some free time.  I want to take a step back and look at my my one wild and precious life (to paraphrase poet Mary Oliver).  I want to decide it's "okay" to read more for pleasure, or even to watch one of the many TV programs I've only heard about.  I want to get myself back in balance, instead of to always be working.

What things do you wish you were doing?  

Add a Comment
17. BIG CHANGES AFOOT.

Anastasia againDue in part to all of the issues Typepad has been having lately,

The fear that I'm going to wake up one morning and discover that ten years of work has just disappeared,

Wanting to change up the look of my blog but being frustrated by Typepad's lack of choices,

I am finally taking the plunge and moving Bookshelves of Doom.

So! If you follow me via a feed reader, it'll need to be updated, and if you link to me on your blog, same.

I haven't migrated my archives yet, though, so this site will be live for the time being.

As I've got TEN YEARS OF STUFF TO MOVE, it's going to take a while. So. For a good while, my archives will be housed here. So if you're looking for anything posted before today, LOOK HERE FIRST.

(In case you don't remember, by the way, that's the one where Anastasia moves.-->)

Add a Comment
18. SO. EXCITED.

So, I'll post more about this once I've got all of my 'i's dotted and 't's crossed, but...

...HERE'S A SNEAK PEEK AT MY LIBRARY'S FIRST BIG SUMMER READING PROGRAM!:

Summer reading badges 2014

Add a Comment
19. Remember and Appreciate

memorial-day2

How about we stop mucking up what others have fought so hard to obtain for us?


Filed under: Life

0 Comments on Remember and Appreciate as of 5/26/2014 1:18:00 PM
Add a Comment
20. Happy 24th Anniversary, Honey!

bedroom-love


Filed under: Life

0 Comments on Happy 24th Anniversary, Honey! as of 5/26/2014 1:18:00 PM
Add a Comment
21. We. Are. Americans.

If you’re not willing to proudly declare this to anyone who will listen, get out.

Period.


Filed under: Life

0 Comments on We. Are. Americans. as of 5/26/2014 4:16:00 PM
Add a Comment
22. It's my birthday...

...and this pretty much says it all:

It's a good thing i don't have kids because they'd be really embarrassed right now  This is as ACTION SHOT as I get 

Also, I just got this text from my (awesome) mother-in-law:

As birthdays go, 
we know how you'll rank it,
It's numero uno,
'cause you got a SLANKET!!!

Annnnnd then, just imagine a whole ton of emoji.

So, today, I would like for YOU to recommend a book to ME. It doesn't have to be YA, just something that you LOVE and think that I would, too.

Add a Comment
23. Thankful Thursday

I will be turning in a book June 2.  The next book is not due until the end of the year, and it's already half written.  Do you know what that means?  It means I'll be able to have a life again! I have worked every single day for months and months.  Possibly years (and I'm not even joking). I have written on airplanes, in hotels, on "vacation," in the passenger seat in cars, in the back of a limousine, and even in the hospital.

I'm going to be able to:
- Read more than 20 minutes a day!  I have stacks and stacks of books.
- Clean! It's petty clear that I have been doing only the main things and ignoring the margins.
- Figure out who all the people in the photos are in the photos I inherited when mom died.  Thanks, older third cousins I met onAncestry.com!  You are helping me names to 100 year old faces.
- Try new recipes.  I have dozens I have torn out over the past months.
- Have weekends.  I'm not sure what one does on a weekend any more, but I'm hoping to find out.
Two shots Samuel Henry

Add a Comment
24. Links, etc. shared on Twitter: May 24-30.

Add a Comment
25. Wait, the 48HBC is THIS WEEKEND??

I'd better pick out some books!

What about you?

Are you participating?

Do you, unlike me, already have a pile of books set aside?

Add a Comment

View Next 25 Posts