Thursday, January 28, 2016

The Day Ahead

Every morning I write in my journal and document the happenings of the day before. I often read back and reflect on days gone by. I write monthly goals that help me decide on what matters for the month ahead. In the morning I make a list for my day. Yesterday I said at suppertime that I hadn't written all day. Caleb said , " what no lists or anything?". I said "oh yes of course I made a list." That's how I structure my life and to some it may seem a bit strange. We all have our own way of facing life. I look ahead in the morning to the stretch of day ahead of me. I am pretty much the engineer of my own day and for that I am so thankful. I worked for 29 years at a job that very clearly structured my days, weeks and months. Bells rang , schedules were followed and the school year chugged along at a fast and determined rate. I love the fact that I am in charge of my days now. Small pleasures and tasks of my own choosing enrich my days. Writing of course is the major one but I would not be happy to have it become too regimented. I like to have a plan but I like it more that I can change it if I want to. Yesterday my unexpected task became cleaning out the closet in what was Zac's room and has now become Emma and Paige's room. We have stuffed things in that closet and basically avoided dealing with it. The Bell installer who came to install my PVR(that possibly will require an entry of its own , since I am told it will be life-changing)pulled most of the stuff out of the closet to run the wire into Caleb and Ashlie's room. I had been for a lovely walk with my friend Kathy and then we had lunch at Reed's Point Pub. My choices were to ignore the mess , stuff it all back in or tackle it. Ashlie and I tackled it. Five garbage bags later I have a closet where I can actually store things in a manageable manner. I had to part with a few things that if I dwelt on it would bring me to tears but for the most part I was fine. I now am looking ahead to the summer when my girls will come again and their room is ready and waiting. Today I will go to town. Totally a random activity as usually I go on Wednesdays when Kathy and I go swimming. But I will throw caution to the wind and go just because I can. I've made a list though of course.

Thursday, January 21, 2016

What Disappointment Teaches Us

" You should blog today." I just got that text from my blog coach(daughter).It seems I blog too much or not enough. I guess it really depends on what is on my mind and how anxious I am to write about it. So what is on my mind this morning to find its way to a blog entry and a title for that entry? Disappointment was the first thing that came to mind. In late August and early fall I set out to apply or submit to several things. I applied for two grants, submitted a manuscript to a contest and applied for a Writer in Residency. All four endeavors have met with disappointment. On three counts I messed up in one way or another, some just stupid and one a mistaken e-mail address. In the case of the opportunity to spend three months as Writer in Residence at Berton House in Dawson I was one of 73 authors to apply and I was just not chosen this time. So what does disappointment teach us? Sometimes it teaches us to fill out forms more carefully and to pay closer attention to all the requirements. Sometimes it teaches us to ask for an e-mail to verify something important was received. Sometimes it just teaches us to keep trying. That is probably the most important lesson disappointment brings. I sent The Year Mrs. Montague Cried to six publishers before receiving a request for the entire manuscript and the eventual contract that saw it published in 2011 and winning the Ann Connor Brimer Award for Excellence in Children's Literature in 2012. Life's disappointments come in all descriptions and for all kinds of reasons. Life's blessings do as well. We learn from every failure and grow with every challenge. Today I send along seven copies of The Year Mrs. Montague Cried to Hampton High School and am thankful to see it finding its way to more readers.

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Here We Go Again?

I know it's winter but I couldn't help thinking yesterday when everything was green and clear that it wouldn't be so bad to have things stay that way. I would miss snowshoeing but as I lay in bed last night thinking of the storm that was approaching part of me cringed at the thought of last winter and the deep, deep snow cover that enveloped us for four months.I thought of what would be covered in the morning and how different everything will look. Caleb and Ashlie's big Scottish Highlander cow loves the cold and the snow. She has a shelter but prefers sleeping right out in the weather. I did not complain a lot last winter but I realized yesterday when dreading it happening all over again it was challenging. I don't have to travel in bad weather but the people I love do. The amount of snow last year made going to the woods difficult for Burton and his wood production so far has been so good. I would hate to see that change.It will unfold as it will and there is nothing I can do about it.We will not know what we're in for until it's over. Isn't that just like everything else in life. Prepare as best you can, make the best of what you're given and put on your snowshoes.

Thursday, January 7, 2016

January Sunshine

I love the bright sun that is streaming through my office window even if, just as in the fable when the wind and the sun have a contest to see which can make the traveller remove his coat, I have had to remove my warm and cozy housecoat. If the wind were howling I would pull it tighter around me. The sun is a powerful, positive force. And on these January days the sun puts on an amazing show when it sets. The sunsets have been breathtaking. I have not started snowshoeing yet but have walked most days along the rutty, frozen trails made by the tractor or down Chapin's long driveway to see his progress. Watching his house take shape reminds me of the excitement I felt when we were building our house. Windows will come next and I remember when I saw our windows right after they were put in. All of a sudden it was a home. Chapin and Brianne have huge windows that will allow so much light in and allow so much of the beautiful lake view to be seen from the rooms of their home. Take in the view. Take in the sunshine , take in the sunsets. Each day is a gift and so quickly the days add up to years. The work I am beginning this morning starts from the perspective of an old lady trying desperately to remember her past clearly. The story will unfold through her remembering. Those stories unfold for me every day. How I wish there was an option to see a memory as clearly as if I were rewinding a VHS tape. Now there is a blast from the past. Faulty memory and outdated technology. That is what aging is . Never the less I embrace this sunny, January day wholeheartedly and with gratitude.

Friday, January 1, 2016

A New Year Post

I should write a new year post but I am tired and weary. I feel like what I most want to do is crawl back into my unmade bed. I probably won't. I will instead probably try to muster the energy for the day and for the year to come. I did not have a wild and rowdy new years eve. We had supper with friends and got home in time to see the new year in in the warmth , comfort and privacy of our own home. No big fanfare , no hype and no drama. Just a very poorly rendered version of Auld Lang Syne on the TV, a kiss and on we go to 2016.It did not come without memories of past New Year's eves but I do not have the desire to recount those right now. I will rally somewhat. They say what you do on new years day you do the rest of the year. So I will cook for my family and friends, I will walk in the woods, I will write a word or two and check in on my writing, I will do a few housekeeping chores, I will spend time with those I love either in person or on the phone. I will regroup and head into the year ahead with a grateful heart and a calm optimism. I will reflect and respond. Not much different really except it is a new calendar and a new year . It will fly by as quickly as the last one and I will attempt to be mindful of each day and every moment. Post script-On this the second day of the new year I look back at yesterday's after Christmas slump and feel much more energetic. I did rally yesterday. I prepared supper for ten people and we had a great evening. The sun is shining brightly this morning. I will tackle the tree and run across the river to do some shopping for essentials. Seems we are out of dog food and toilet paper. Chapin got his roof trusses up yesterday and will soon have the roof boarded in keeping future snowfalls out. So much to look forward to in this new year and so much to look back at and be thankful for.