All Things Shiny and New

Lately when people have asked me how things are going, I just blink and don’t know how to respond. There’s so much! Where to start?

Chronologically, the first bit of news is that I’m taking a “business of writing” class through the RWA (Romance Writers of America). I’ve been a member just over a year, and I’ve been taking little email classes from them this whole time: How to develop better characters, how to build better worlds, how to plot a series. I went through my files the other day, and I think I’ve taken about 6 classes. Membership worth it, right there. I have learned so much! Continue reading All Things Shiny and New

Dead Things and Worms and Marriage: A Love Story

The other day, I got a phone call from my husband, because he found worms in his ice cream.

Disclaimer: This one is about marriage. If you’re going through a divorce right now, please don’t read for two years. Come back next week. <3

So, I was married once before to a great guy, but it just didn’t work out– let’s just say there were complications that both of us were too young to know how to deal with. The whole situation left me a little gunshy. Honestly, for about seven years I was convinced I’d never get married again; live with a guy, sure, but that marriage thing was Right Out. I guess that changed at some point. Probably around the time Honey proposed (for the third time.)

Anyway, being gunshy, I kept waiting for the Other Shoe to drop. When was he going to show his True Colors? When was I? And then I read an interview with Jeff Bridges about marriage advice. (Did you know he’s been married to the same woman for over 30 years??? In Hollywood, that’s a friggin’ miracle!) Basically, his advice is to keep the lines of communication wide open and to love each other.  I thought about it: I have grown a LOT since my first marriage, and communication was at the top of the list: I try to be as clear as possible in my needs and expectations. There’s very little, “Whatever you want, dear” anymore, unless I really don’t care what he chooses.

“But is that really enough?” I asked myself. A lot. What if … What if we’re still not compatible? What if he changes his mind? What if….

And then I read another article with signs that your marriage is going well. And, like, we do all of them: communicate, check in, listen to each other’s stupid shit, and making sure the other feels heard. But what surprised me was that one of the biggest significators was giving the partner attention, regardless of whether you’re interested. You don’t have to do it all the time, but doing it more often than not is really healthy for the relationship.

You know, every night when we walk the dogs, I tell Honey everything that happened to me that day, sometimes in really ridiculous detail. We call it my Daily Download. It’s not that he doesn’t care, per se, it’s just not his life, but I need to know someone cares about the little ups and downs. And then Honey tells me a little bit about his day, and a whole lot about the latest game he’s playing: what the rules are, how it’s different from other games, and what the gaming community thinks of this. I know oh, so very little about games (but I am learning!), so it doesn’t always mean so much to me, but it makes him so happy to tell me, to work through it. It’s his version of a Daily Download, and as such, it is sacred.

It’s kind of like having a cat. Cats bring their hoomans presents, and from what I understand, often those presents are in the form of Dead Things. I think the logic is something akin to, “You poor hooman! You do not pounce or chase or hunt. Here is something I hunted. You can practice with it until you can hunt live ones for yourself.” It’s nice, because they’re thinking of you. It’s less than nice, because OMG! You put it in my new SHOE? Where’s the disinfectant?!!!

So, two weeks ago, Honey and I were getting ice cream from our ice cream shoppe right across the street. (Are we lucky or WHAT?) I ordered myself some hot fudge with a little ice cream on top, and he got his usual berry thing. As we were sitting down to wait for our orders to come up, he suddenly shouted, “Wait! They have worms and dirt here? I want that!” It was a little weird actually, until he pointed to the poster of cookies ‘n’ cream ice cream with gummy worms on top.

“You want worms and dirt?”

“No, just the gummy worms on the berry thing. Wouldn’t that be AWESOME?”

And that was that.

So this other day, I was hanging out with friends on a really hot day, and of course we ended up at the ice cream shoppe. Honey had to work, even though it was a Saturday, so I brought him home a berry thing with gummy worms on top. By the time I got home it was getting pretty soupy, so I popped it into the freezer before heading out to my next appointment. On the road, I got a call from him. The conversation went like this:

“Hello?”

“THERE ARE WORMS ON MY ICE CREAM!!!!”

“Didn’t you want them?”

“I LOVE YOU! Okaygottaworknowbye.”

That listening thing. It works. Way better than Dead Things In Shoes.

On Practicing the Mitzvoth

Okay y’all. I’ll be talking a little bit about religion– and it probably won’t be from your perspective. If this offends you, leave now.

Lately I have been having a wonderful discussion with my dear friend, Sunshyne. She is a devout Christian, and a wonderful example of walking the walk. It truly is an honor to have her in my circle, not only because of the integrity with which she carries herself, but also because she is so open with me about topics that people usually get so… defensive about. So over the last two weeks or so, the conversation has drifted to religion.

Tangent: If you know me at all, you know that I was raised Jewish and currently practice Other. I think the name Jewitch– cleverly introduced to me by Arcana– sums it up nicely. In short, Sunshyne and I have fairly different approaches to deity. Continue reading On Practicing the Mitzvoth

Reflections on a Year of Change

I love looking back at last year’s astrology predictions to see how they did. I especially love doing it with Rob Brezsny’s Astrology, because his stuff is evocative and rather open ended. Still, I find his weekly column to have some interesting work in it. This is my bit from my birthday last year.

CANCER (June 21-July 22): We keep million-dollar works of art in well-guarded museums. Paintings created hundreds of years ago are treated with reverence and protected as if they were magical treasures. Meanwhile, beautiful creatures that took nature eons to produce don’t get the same care. At least 5,000 animal and plant species are going extinct every year, in large part due to human activities. Among the recently lost works of art are the Madeiran Large White butterfly, West African black rhinoceros, Formosan clouded leopard, golden toad, and Tecopa pupfish. I’m asking you not to allow a similar discrepancy in your own life, Cancerian. The astrological omens say that now is a perfect moment to intensify your love for the natural world. I urge you to meditate on how crucial it is to nurture your interconnectedness with all of life, not just the civilized part.
– Rob Brezsny’s Astrology Newsletter, July 17, 2013

Basic message, connect more with the natural world.

When I was sitting down to write this article, my mind was filled with all the traveling I’ve done, and all of the events that have passed, but then I stumbled across this article, and it put them all into a certain perspective. Did I connect more with the natural world? Continue reading Reflections on a Year of Change

Whatcha Got Cookin’

There are some things that are just forever attached to certain people. Peanut butter cookies, for example, will always remind me of my grandmother. She made other kinds of cookies– as did many other people, but as a child I only ever had peanut butter cookies with her. Years after she passed, I discovered her recipe for those cookies, and they still taste like I remember.

A lot of my friends have heard stories about my grandpa, Pop. When I lived in West Virginia, I was living with him, at first as a roommate and later as a caretaker, as his dementia got worse. I had no medical training, nor any experience in any kind of care-taking, other than helping a friend with her almost-two-year-old for a couple of months. It was a difficult situation, and I coped as best I could, mostly with humor and venting. While I was helping him, I lovingly referred to him as the Mad Cow, partly out of frustration and partly out of desperation. He lived another six months after I moved back to Los Angeles. Continue reading Whatcha Got Cookin’

My, oh my! Cherry pie!

Now that I have FINALLY made bread that works for me– both in terms of safe ingredients and flavor– I feel like all of my baking has taken a turn for the better. I cannot post the bread recipe here, because it’s not mine, but if you’re interested, you can find out how to get it from Gluten Free Girl. BUT! It’s kind of awesome in that it’s REALLY easy to make and requires less than half the time needed to make traditional bread. So that’s cool.

Anyway, the confidence is back! Mostly because I have discovered The Big Secret to GF baking: Continue reading My, oh my! Cherry pie!

For the Birds… And Apparently for the Bears, Too

My mother passed away in 2006. Sometimes I write letters to her, just to let her know how I’m doing, what’s going on in my life. I figure she already knows, being Wherever it is she is right now, but it makes me feel a little better if I can pretend to have a dialogue with her.

It’s been a long time since my last letter. I had a lot to catch her up on. Some of what came out, I realized, could be posted here– but not all of it. There are some things a girl tells her mom that she wouldn’t want published for the world to read. But the part about the seeds, I figured that was okay.

Dear Momma, Continue reading For the Birds… And Apparently for the Bears, Too

A Whole New World

Something amazing just happened.

But let me back up. No, a little further, a little further…. Too far. This way just a bit…aaaaaaand stop! That’s good.

You know how when you’re a kid, you think money grows on trees? Well, you don’t, really. I don’t think I’ve ever met one kid who actually thought that, but they do think that money just is. It’s always there, and it’s unlimited, and why are you so worried? It’s just a pony. Let’s get two! Continue reading A Whole New World

The Naming of The Bubbleses

We live in a neighborhood with lots of pets, complete with a neighborhood Lemon Face, who doesn’t want the dogs to poop in her yard, because “it’s gross.” It doesn’t matter whether we pick up after them or not. I guess she’s worried we’ll get her yard dirty? (I haven’t yet pointed out to her that the squirrels, raccoons, and stray cats don’t come with rope-attached pooper-scoopers.)

But I digress. Lots of pets– lots of dogs, in particular. I know, because Meetu likes to greet (read: snarl and lunge) at each and every one of them. Keep in mind, he’s ten pounds at his heaviest. Most of our neighbors have dogs that range from 30-100 pounds, so he’s kind of a Scrappy Doo. If Meetu could speak English, I’m fairly certain his line would be, “Let me at ’em! I can take ’em!” Gazellik likes to get in on the action, too;

Continue reading The Naming of The Bubbleses

A Promise is a Promise, No Matter How Small

Writers write. That’s what they say. And the paid writers write everyday.

And I haven’t been. I have really good reasons, you know– REALLY good reasons. But at the end of the day, I need to make a decision: do I want to be a secretary with Really Good Reasons or do I want to be a paid writer?

I had been writing at lunch time. I’d eat for half an hour and then write for a half an hour. It always amazed me how all I had to do was Continue reading A Promise is a Promise, No Matter How Small