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Showing posts from December, 2012

Wishing You a Happy 2013

I don't know about you, but I am happy to put 2012 behind me. This was a year of dualism, filled with disappointment and pain as well as much that was divine. There were so many horrific events and so much economic difficulty. And yet, this year was also filled with innovation and hope. Communities came together, and, in hard and even impossible times, people lifted each other up.

My 2012, in summary: 

My family faced illness and worry, and we bounced back. I traveled to visit all the members of my family this year. I also went to New York City for the first time to read at the KGB. Thrillingly, I discovered a new favorite writer in Edith Pearlman and found publication of my own short work in two of my all-time favorite journals: Gargoyle (#58) and PANK (as well as many other fine literary venues). I made new friends, and many friends moved away. I made a dent in my student loans, but still have many years to go. The husband and I moved to a larger apartment, where we can actually …

2012 Resolutions Revisited

Resolutions were important to my family when I was growing up. New Year's Eve was one of our few genuine, steadfast traditions. My father would hand my sister and I pens and ledgers and pour us some sparkling apple cider, then tell us to get to it. For reference, we would look back at the resolutions from the previous year. This part of the process could be a little disconcerting sometimes, especially as I got closer to teenage years and the goals got more complex. I stopped making resolutions for many years after I left home, especially the years I didn't want to reflect on. But I've been back at it for a few years now, and today I'm clinging to the tradition. Resolutions are just goals on paper, but they're also a record of events and a record of hope. Like journal writing, they are enlightening and, to me, necessary.
Before I post my 2013 list on New Year's Eve (I need to think it over), I'm going to look back. But first, to close out 2012, here's som…

5 Reasons Not to Travel on Christmas Day

This is a cautionary tale, in list form. It is based on my experience flying from Ohio to Atlanta to San Antonio yesterday, with a three-hour layover. The takeaway here is that I do not recommend traveling on Christmas day. I do not recommend it no matter how cheap your tickets. Here are the top-five reasons why: Multi-baby planes. Let me clarify here: I am pro-baby. And, I empathize with the challenges of the traveling parent. That said, this is a simple equation to consider when traveling. More families are traveling, and this means more babies. Consequently, there's a chance at least one will be crying during any given minute of the flight. And sometimes, two or three will be crying at once. Noise cancelling headphones can only do so much. The people at the airport DO NOT want to be at work. Before we were greeted for our Christmas dinner in a restaurant in the airport, we heard a five-minute argument about how our server was not going to take any more tables, hell no, because …

Walking the old neighborhoods and hiding school pics

I'm drinking green tea as my mother makes a quiche for her neighbor. In the two days I've been here, she has also made or purchased ingredients to make a lemon cake for family, a turtle brownie cake for a coworker, molasses and peanut butter cookies for us, an exquisite salmon dinner and sides for me last night, and homemade chicken noodle soup for lunches and snacks. She is in pain. Mom is scheduled for surgery for her foot. It hurts her to walk. She needs to be relaxing, and my sister is yelling at her about this, but this is my mom. She wants to cook and bake and fuss. My husband laughs as he tells stories. I am saying I'll be off the computer in a second. I am a little too cold but otherwise just right. We're home.

We're tired. We've visited family and a few friends who were able to meet us at this busy time. We've visited Brutus Buckeye and a few landmarks from our childhood to see how they've changed. Columbus is so flat and quiet and lovely. The …

Finding peace when it is impossible

Sometimes it feels as though we are collectively punching ourselves in the gut, repeatedly, and that we will continue until we fall apart.

There is no denying the fact that the catastrophe of December 14, 2012 has left an impact that will never fully leave us. We are again changed. Turn on your TV right now, read the news, even make small talk with another person, and the spotlight will shine on the yesterday: a massacre that ended in twenty-seven people dead (including the gunman) for no discernible reason. And there is nothing to discern here, nothing to figure out, because there is no reason. The fact that so much violence has occurred over the last year in the U.S. is surreal and sickening.

Here's my plea:

Let's look within at times like these, take a moment, and then look outward to the opportunities we have to make those we share our world with more content. I am disheartened right now, sure, disheartened in a way I've been too often since 9-11. These mass shootings …

Finals Week

Not much to report here. I am living at the height of the glory and pain of teaching as I drown in end-of-term stories. I am still eating veggies and using my juicer. I am still feeling good. I am working over at the 9-5 to prepare for a real vacation. I have a ton of story ideas I can't wait to write. I've been keeping notes as the ideas come. They will be written soon. Things will be revised. I am not asleep.

Back to teaching. These students (writers) are kicking ass! They're listening, emphasizing their strengths and working on their weaker points. So far, there's been such creativity and growth that I feel downright proud. Here's a glimpse: a brilliant story about a popular children's icon attacking an innocent family; a science fiction piece about a meteor headed toward earth during an evangelist regime, which causes citizens to find their inner hedonism;  a few mind-blowing survival stories; and there is so, so much more. This is an amazing group, and I&#…

Trying to better myself, damn it!

Personal:

In only two weeks, I'll be grading the finals for my creative writing class. I'll miss my students, but the extra time will be more than welcome. Then, gulp, here comes Christmas. How is it that ads, retail displays and even some holiday decorations go up as early as October, and yet the holiday sneaks up on me each year?

Holiday season or no, I am getting so healthy! Okay, not really, but I'm still trying to eat better. If I am what I eat, up to the last few weeks I'd be packaged in thin cardboard and stuffed in a freezer next to the Lean Cuisines.

Along with trying to reduce milk (switched to almond milk and oat milk), I recently bought a single-serve blender so that I can begin tricking myself (and hopefully the husband) into eating more fruits and vegetables. It has only two days, but I think I've already consumed more veggies than I did all last month, so it's working as of now. I bring this up because I am completely romanced by my blender, and …