Wow. Long time no blog…

I’m just getting back to this blog after what seems like a lifetime away. Just a few days after my last post, when I said Finn was feeling under the weather, he was admitted to the hospital. He had a systemic Strep A infection, Toxic Shock Syndrome, and Septic arthritis. He nearly died. It was beyond a doubt the worst thing that has ever happened to me, which sounds so ridiculous, since it didn’t actually happen TO me. He spent almost two weeks in the hospital, had two surgeries on his hip to clean out the joint sepsis, was on a respirator, and finally came home, with a PICC in his arm, and on infused antibiotics for 6 weeks. Also a walker, and physical therapy twice a week. Wow. Obviously, the garden plans fell by the wayside, although we did manage to maintain a few things. Aurora’s corn, a few of her beets, and her zucchini, which are growing like mad! Finn’s got some Thyme, and some watermelons, and some sugar snap peas, and a few carrots. Our bees were doing well, the spring was so early and SO hot, that their population exploded! We caught several swarms. We supered several hives, and Jacob put bee escapes on them, then we weren’t able to check them for some time, and the escapes didn’t work, so by the time we checked on them, we’d inadvertently killed a bunch of our bees, and had supers full of dead bees. Ugh. The honey seems to be fine, though.

Having Finn so sick, and spending so much time in the hospital, not just with my family but watching and meeting others, I really did have some epiphanies. Not religious ones, just some light shed on basic things I already know, but had been delaying acting upon. And yes, I know that’s corny and sentimental and trite, and that everyone feels that way when faced with mortality, their own, or a family member’s. Those facts don’t change the feeling, however. I have been a little burned out on my work. I love working with dogs and their owners, I just love my kids, and homeschooling and spending time with my kids, more, and I don’t feel like there is time enough in the day to do both well. Maybe when they get a little older, but not right now. They need me, and I need them. I enjoy watching them learn things, and hearing their opinions, and being with them. If I miss something, it doesn’t happen again, and I can’t get them to re-create it for my viewing pleasure. So, I really, really want to quit working. I am, of course, torn about this, both from a career perspective, and from an income perspective, not to mention how much I enjoy most of my clients, and helping them become successful. However, when I balance this against my kids, well, it just doesn’t balance out. After much, worry, thought, discussion with various friends and of course, Jacob, I’ve decided to take a sabbatical. I want some time away from work, clients, other people’s problems, to be with the kids and my family, train and show my own dogs, and work through my long term life plan a bit more. Of course, I’m such a waffler that I first said I was going to quit completely on June 1st. Now it’s June 6th, and I’ve not been able to tell any of my students or clients, and I’ve decided to continue with the petsitting part of the job, and maybe the teaching classes for the Club, and doing the behavior evaluations. And I took a new client yesterday… I have 2 more weeks of classes to teach, I think, and I really have set aside a few weekends during the summer which I won’t book so that the family can go somewhere and do something, but I still feel torn… I should be listening to my body, though, which is screaming that I’m under too much stress, with a large amount of stomach pain. Well, gut pain. Something’s gotta give, and I’m afraid that it’s me, right now.  Which isn’t good for anyone.

 

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plot, you say?

I have no plot, or characters, to speak of, yet. What I do have is a weird scenario that came into my mind while I was driving VERY long distances this weekend. Hmm….

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Plot-Driven, or Character-Driven?

In the vein of NaNoWriMo, my husband and I were having a discussion about character development. His contention was, (and he told me he heard it somewhere else, so I guess it’s someone else’s contention) that if you want well-developed characters, who don’t just do what you, yourself would do when faced with whatever plot occurs, you must develop your characters first, then implement your plot around them. I said I’ve never done that, I’ve always been a plot-driven writer, and my characters are just tools to the plot. Now, it’s not beyond the pale to think that my writing could suck because of that, but I really had never considered doing it the other way. I think as an exercise, I should try to develop some interesting characters, and see where they take me.

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Sexy, sexy.

I’m thinking about sexy. Yep, not about sex, but about sexy. I think our culture is steeped in mixed messages regarding being sexy. It’s not something for little kids, but adults talk about it all the time, so it becomes something kids want to be. As a woman, I’m not supposed to like, enjoy, or want to be objectified (and I personally don’t) but the overwhelming cultural message is that you really should be flattered, and happy, to be treated as “sexy”. It’s also strangely difficult to extract one’s own sexuality from the binds of being “sexy”, but not being “slutty”. Who decides the dividing line, anyway? If it’s on a magazine or a billboard, it’s sexy. If you actually dress or act that way, it’s slutty. WTF? And how about us “women of a certain age”? I don’t know when that age kicks in, but at 45, I feel a weird disconnect. I’m culturally pressured to act even more sexless than when I was younger. Young women are just in a constant state of conflict, trying to meet a lot of divergent expectations. Older women are living a different type of oppression. We are “supposed” to be even less sexy than young women, or, we’re supposed to get new boobs, asses, and cheekbones, so we can pretend we aren’t aging, and be “sexy” but also considered pathetic and ridiculous, and with no sense of self. All of a sudden, I’m supposed to wear pants suits and sensible shoes, and bras with lots of support. If I consider new tattoos and piercings, I’m being immature. So, it’s okay to want fake boobs, but not a nose ring. Hmmm. When I was younger, I used to color my hair blue, or bright red, just for fun. Now, I’m worried that if I color my hair bright red, people will think I’m coloring it because I don’t like my old lady gray. So now, I’m concerned about peer pressure?? I don’t know, the whole concept of “sexy” is pretty fucked up. I’m still thinking about it. I’ll write more if I figure anything out.

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Things are complicated…

Some days are really complicated. Everything always turns out okay, so far. I mean, I’m still alive, so it can’t be all bad. This was a day that started with a crappy night of non-sleep, between kids flailing, and hogging the bed, one dog snarling and barking from the crate at the other dog, who was licking incessantly, and the cat, who decided to alternate between walking on my face and on my bladder, I really didn’t get a lot of rest. The stress of trying to move out of and sell the house that is about to go into foreclosure is another misery I could do without, and that isn’t helping my sleep much.
But, the rest of the day went pretty well. It was an “I LOVE my job” day, two aggression clients, both of whom did really well, and for whom I hold out great hope, a nice run with the husband-type person, and wee kidlums, and a pumpkin cheesecake successfully baked. I am worrying about the real estate agent, I think she’s trying to jack us. Maybe I’m just a cynic. But just to be sure, I’m gonna talk to a lawyer. Tonight, I’m going to knit some socks.

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Hello world!

Hello big wide world.  This blog is going to be a musing on the process of doing NaNoWriMo this year, 2010.  Why would a person with 3 jobs and 4 kids take on writing a novel in a month?  Oh, hell, why not?  Seriously though, a challenge from a 15 year old cannot be ignored.

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