Wednesday, November 30, 2011


Today's 100 words:

People say that the anticipation of an unpleasant event is often worse than the event itself. I agree. I remember when I was a kid and was told I needed to get a shot--the thought of that doctor's office visit filled me with such dread; I would worry about it, think about how much I didn't want to go and how much the shot would hurt. Then when the time came for the injection, it wouldn't be that bad. All the worry was for nothing. In some ways, I'm still like this today: stomach knotting, dreading things for no reason.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011


This morning's 100 words:

Even though I don't have much of a green thumb, I do love plants, especially flowering ones. Among my favorite is the amaryllis, a lily-like plant known for its clusters of large, showy flowers. My amaryllis obsession started when I was a kid eagerly watching the gorgeous red flowers open on my mom's plant. Years later, I started buying my own, and at one point several years ago, I owned more than twenty amaryllis plants of all different colors and varieties. This year I purchased three bulbs, which I'll plant today and watch over with my own two children.

Since I wrote this entry this morning, I went out to the store and bought another bulb. Now, in addition to the paperwhites I have growing on the kitchen counter, I have four pots of amaryllises. I wonder what hubby will say when he discovers that the coffee pot and toaster have disappeared... (Come on, honey, the plants needed the space!)  :)

Monday, November 28, 2011


This morning's 100 words:

I love sleeping in freshly changed sheets, love the feel of the cool smoothness against my skin, appreciate how no wayward limb--a misguided leg or foot--can escape from the tightly tucked blankets. I always sleep better when I've washed the sheets, changed from the striped ones to the flowered or from the solid blue to the solid red. Somehow the night seems easier, less fitful, my dreams more peaceful and less frightening than the ones that occur as I try to rest in the times between changes, those more tossing-and-turning, not-very-peaceful kinds of nights.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Short sleeping

This morning's 100 words:

I slept wrong last night and woke up with pain radiating from my left shoulder. I was so tired -- completely exhausted from these last few days of family and travel -- that I don't remember anything after my head hit the pillow. I wish I felt more rested, but I think I've built up too much of a sleep deficit to ever truly catch up. My husband calls it "short sleeping," and I've been doing that ever since my son was born nearly five years ago: going to bed late, getting up during the night, seeing the sunrise again and again...

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving!

I didn't think I would have time to post an entry before we left for our trip, but I do. Happy Thanksgiving to all! Here are today's 100 words:
When I was a kid, my parents, sister, and I would go "over the river" to grandma's house for Thanksgiving dinner. Well, there wasn't a river, but we did drive six miles into town to celebrate with Grandma, my two uncles, and sometimes my cousin. I could count on certain things every Thanksgiving: my uncle Joe would always sneak olives off the tray before dinner and grab the turkey legs for himself; my dad would always carve the bird; the cranberry sauce would always be homemade; and the Packer game would always be droning on in the background.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Giving thanks

Today's 100 words:

Yesterday was our four-year-old son's first-ever Thanksgiving program. He stood with his class at the front of the gym, arms to his sides, a little nervous or self-conscious, I think, and sang two songs. I snapped pictures while Daddy videotaped, and every time the flash went off, our son would slide his eyes away from the teacher and toward mine.

I can't even begin to describe how incredibly proud I am of my smiling little boy and how hard it is to believe that the baby I brought home from the hospital is already so big.

Since my family and I will be traveling over the holiday, I'd like to take this opportunity to wish you all a Happy Thanksgiving and extend a huge thank you for reading my blog! I'll be back and posting on Friday or Saturday.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Too fast

Today's 100 words:

I've taken to measuring the passage of time by the gasoline needs of our car. Every two weeks--on Thursdays, to be precise--I have to fill the tank. Those are, of course, "normal" weeks in which we don't do any extra driving, just our usual trips to the grocery store, the library, storytime, church, and preschool. The two weeks seem to pass by so quickly, and when I let myself think about it, I realize that my children are two weeks older, then two more weeks, then two more... They're growing up before my eyes--and before I'm ready.

Monday, November 21, 2011

That day

Today's 100 words:

He came home from school that day to find the house strung with laundry, every surface covered--the backs of chairs, the dresser tops, the counters. Even the pictures on the walls had been removed so that the nails that had been keeping them in place--keeping them from succumbing to gravity--could accommodate hangers topped with dresses, shirts, pants, curtains...everything that could be held by those bent and twisted wires. He watched, openmouthed, as his grandma stood at the ironing board, her right hand moving back and forth across an old housedress, an overflowing basket waiting beside her.

Sunday, November 20, 2011


Today's 100 words:

Sometimes the sound of the leaves dancing across the pavement in the wind startles me, and I whirl around, expecting to see someone behind me, whether friend or foe I don't know -- perhaps someone wielding an ax or maybe only a box or two of Girl Scout cookies. My heart will perform its adrenaline jump, and when I see no one there, I'll sigh and turn back to what I was doing before the leaves played their tricks on me. They must laugh in their crinkly way at my fearfulness, their ancestors having frightened me in this same way for years.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Letting go

This morning's 100 words:

If I spend my life looking back at the past, dredging up regrets from long ago, exhuming them from the memory graves they deserve to stay buried in, then I'll miss the present, the things of today--of this moment--that won't be allowed to become memories of their own because I'll be too busy focusing on the yesterdays and the should-have-beens and the why-didn't-Is to even see the people in front of me, too destroyed by the long ago to notice the now. To keep the present, I have to let go of the past.

Friday, November 18, 2011

I spy

Today's 100 words:

The tree house was the perfect place to spy on people. High in the backyard maples, it wasn't noticeable unless someone were to look up, and even if a person did see it, it would be difficult for him or her to know if the house was occupied. I spent summer days reading there, sitting in my little red chair near the screened-in window, looking up from my book from time to time to watch leaves dancing in the breeze and listen to the people outside, talking freely, never suspecting they were sharing their secrets with me.

Thursday, November 17, 2011


Today's 100 words:

The bedroom was cold. I could almost see my breath fog in front of my face, and I cupped my frozen fingers to my mouth and blew hard, trying to warm them. I swung my legs over the side of the bed and walked out into the living room. The thermostat on the wall read fifty-four degrees, and my stockinged feet ached from the frigidness of the icy wooden floor. Snow fell outside, and blankets of it heaped themselves against the doors and windows. I knew then that I would be trapped for a while, no heat, no way out.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011


This morning's 100 words:

I could lie on my back in my childhood bed and see that tall pine tree through my window, see how the very top of it, eight feet or so, looked just like a Christmas tree, perhaps even the perfect Christmas tree, and I thought sometimes in my child mind that it would be nice to cut down that tree--to watch it fall, then lop off the Christmas tree part and decorate it. But even my five-year-old self understood somehow that everything seems perfect from far away. It's up close that the flaws become visible.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

The one where it all catches up with me.

I wrote 50,115 words on my writing project in the past two weeks. I was on a roll. My fingers were flying across the keyboard. My creative mind was out of control. I even had a few 5,000-word days last week.

All of that changed today. As of 4 p.m., I've written...*drumroll*... around 300 words.

I've lost my oomph. My creativity. My mojo. Whatever it is, I think that the adrenaline I was running on to complete the NaNoWriMo requirements so quickly is gone now, replaced by fatigue and the inability to pull ideas from my addled brain.

I'll try for more words later tonight after the kids go to sleep and the house is quiet once again. And if that doesn't work, I'm hoping I can just sleep it off.

This too shall pass.



Monday, November 14, 2011

NaNo news: I passed 50k!

I've written 50,115 words in the past two weeks. Whew! There are still two more weeks of NaNoWriMo to go, and I'll definitely keep working on my project. Tonight, however, I'm taking a break!


This morning's 100 words:

As I write this today, my very good friend is having surgery, a planned C-section. She doesn't know if the baby is a boy or a girl, and all of us--most of all her, her husband, and their two daughters--are eager to find out. She's chosen names but hasn't revealed those yet, either.

Last night I dreamed that her husband called to tell me that the baby was a boy named Jacob. There was static, and I couldn't make out the middle name. When I asked him to repeat himself, he hung up on me.

UPDATE: My friend texted me around 4 p.m. to tell me that her son, Wyatt James, had been born!

Sunday, November 13, 2011


This morning's 100 words:

Yesterday was Sarah's birthday. She and I were in the same class in high school, and although others thought we were friends, we weren't particularly close, especially as we got older. I saw the listing for her birthday on Facebook; otherwise, I probably wouldn't have remembered it at all. Sarah and I had a strange relationship. We were friends when we had to be--when we were thrown into a situation together--but most of the time we only tolerated each other. I thought she was rude, loud, and sometimes obnoxious. She thought I stole the guy she liked. I didn't.

Saturday, November 12, 2011


Today's 100 words:

The littlest things in life can make me absurdly happy: finding a forgotten Hershey's Kiss in the bottom of my purse; discovering that a book I've wanted to read for ages is finally sitting on the library shelf, right where it belongs; getting an unexpected message from a celebrity; easily making a left-hand turn on a normally busy street; receiving an email from someone I haven't talked to in a very long time; holding a door for a stranger who acknowledges me with a "thank you"; waking up to a beautiful writing morning.

I am happy today.

Friday, November 11, 2011

100-word NaNoWriMo update

Today's 100 words:

NaNoWriMo is going well. Yesterday morning I crossed the 25,000-word mark, and I ended the day at 28,500. If I can keep up my pace, I'll finish early, which is good because we might be traveling later in the month.

I've done and "won" NaNo two other years--2003 and 2009--and I've learned that one of the keys to writing 50,000 words is to make sure that you love the project you're working on. It's hard to push through if you don't care about what you're writing. You have to be all in.

Since I wrote this piece this morning, I've passed 30,000 words on my project. Only a little over 19,000 to go!

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Current NaNo word count:


And now I must go to bed. :)

The snail

This morning's 100 words:

I found a shell-less snail in our living room last night. It was lying on a rug, and when I first saw it, I assumed it was a raisin dropped by one of my children. When I bent to look more closely, I saw the tiny antennae, so I picked up the creature with a napkin and put it back outside, where it had been, I'm sure, before hitching a ride inside on the dog.

When I was a kid, I found a snail in the yard and put it in a margarine dish under my bed.

I bet you all can guess what happened to that poor snail!

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Another dream

This morning's 100 words:

I had another weird dream last night, although it turned out to be a lot easier to understand than the one I had the night before. This time, my family and I were in a huge house--definitely not ours--and we were getting ready to leave. I was going crazy, though, because I couldn't get my watch, a wind-up wristwatch that my parents had bought me when I was twelve, to stop beeping. It turned out, of course, that my real-life wake-up alarm, my cell phone, had been going off for quite some time.

I guess all these late NaNo nights are starting to make me sleep-deprived--even more so than I was before November started! My current word count is 23,762, but I'm sure I'll attempt a few more before I go to bed tonight. My story is pretty all over the place right now, but I'm excited to have written so many words in such a short period of time.

How's NaNo been going for the rest of you?

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

The dream

This morning's 100 words:

In my dream, my husband and I were sitting across from each other in a romantic restaurant, our table lit by candlelight. I was reading the menu, and then my husband was standing beside the table, cleaning the top of a dresser. He was angry about the clutter, and I said I liked everything the way it was. Then there was no light; everyone else was sleeping, but we sat. I was trying to read a book; I reached my hand across the table to my husband, but he wouldn't take it. I woke up unsettled, my stomach in knots.

I was limited to 100 words this morning, but I remember other things about the dream as well. A picture in a frame stood in the middle of the top of the dresser, and some figurines (two, I think) surrounded it, as did a candle. There was a newspaper there, too, as well as a doughnut wrapped in a napkin (probably a memory of the doughnut my son took home from the church coffee hour last Sunday.) In my dream, my husband tasted the doughnut, then went into another room to spit it out, and his face was red and angry.

I've never analyzed dreams, nor do I know anyone who does so. I do wonder what (if anything) all of this means...

Monday, November 7, 2011

What we remember

This morning's 100 words:

It's funny which things in life we hold in our minds forever and which we forget. I don't remember all the particulars of the bigger events like childhood birthday parties, vacations, and high school graduation. However, I do recall the details of several everyday, mundane occurrences, such as watching The Mary Tyler Moore Show with my mom after supper one night while we waited for my dad to come home from work. I guess this shows that our everyday lives--our normal, day-to-day living--hold value and significance and meaning, perhaps more than we ever knew.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

NaNo update: day 6

My word count total now stands at 16,009. I'm getting there!

The same

I'm reading a book right now, Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs, in which the 45-year-old father of the protagonist is still having trouble figuring out what he wants to do with his life. He's an ornithologist, but it seems to be more of a hobby than a vocation; he writes books but never completes them, and his unfinished manuscripts languish in a locked desk drawer. He fears his wife will leave and that his son won't be proud. He's lost. He's a relatable character, I think. Haven't we all felt this way?

Saturday, November 5, 2011

NaNo update, day 5

It's the end of day five now, and I added 4,396 words to my novel today, bringing my word count total to 12,159. I'm exhausted but happy that I've managed to build myself a bit of a surplus in case I have some non-writing days ahead.

And with that, I'm going to sleep. :)


This morning's 100 words:

I watched my four-year-old son as he slept this morning, tapping his fingers against his sheet as though he were dreaming of playing a piano, and I realized for the first time how big his hands have gotten--how long his fingers, how wide his palms--and I thought of the plaster plaque I helped him make for Daddy when he was two and how that no matter how much he tries--we try--his now-hand and his then-hand could never share that plaster space again: my little boy growing up so very fast.

Friday, November 4, 2011


This morning's 100 words:

There's a show on Bravo right now, Work of Art, that chronicles the search for "the next great artist." I believe it's in its second season. I've watched several of the episodes and have enjoyed them, as even though I'm not an artist myself, I admire the creativity that these people possess. They have a true vision and can see beauty and possibility in everything they look at, turning a lump of clay or a sheet of paper or even a piece of plastic into something beautiful and meaningful. I hope to do the same with my writing.

NaNoWriMo Update: So far today I've added 1,092 words to my novel, bringing my total to 7,095. I hope to get in a few more before midnight.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

NaNo - and - Where does the time go?

Heh. Inadvertent rhyme up there in the title. :-P

First, my NaNo update: I managed to write nearly 2,100 words today during the time my son was at school and between cooking meals, bringing my word count thus far to 6,003. I may try to get in a few more words tonight, but all in all, I'm happy with my progress.

Second, the passage of time: Other than NaNoWriMo, the thing most on my mind today is how fast the weeks are going by. It really feels like my son started preschool yesterday, and he's been going there for eight weeks now! Time goes way too fast, especially when you don't want it to.

Sorry for the short entry, but it's time to make dinner now, and then I hope to begin responding to the comments I received on this entry. Thanks again to all of you who offered advice!

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

No you didn't!

Yes. I. Did.

I began a new writing project on the second day of NaNoWriMo, which is better, of course, than switching projects on day twenty or even day ten. After meeting my 2,000-word goal last night, I read my story and decided that, while I think it's a good idea, it just wasn't working the way I wanted it to work. I went to bed discouraged, even entertaining the idea of quitting NaNo altogether. But then this morning I was struck by a plot bunny, and my shiny new NaNo project, a young adult novel I'm really excited about, was born.

So now I'm frantically trying to catch up with the rest of the herd. So far today I've written nearly 1,200 words, and I hope to hit my two-day minimum of 3,334 before I go to bed tonight. If I can get more words, that would be even better; my original plan (before the project switch) was to reach at least 4,000 words by the end of day two.

So if you've got any luck to spare, please send it my way. :)

How are the rest of you NaNoWriMos doing as we near the end of day two?

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

NaNo, Day 1

This morning's 100 words:

Well, the first night of NaNoWriMo is over, and although I only managed to write for an hour, I'm happy with the 401 words I have so far. My story is going in the direction I had anticipated, but the voice is different than I had thought it would be. The protagonist may be just a little more irreverent than I had planned, but that irreverence seems to work, and I'm glad the words are spilling from my fingertips and finding their way to the page the way that they are. I'm hoping I can reach about 2,000 words today.

After writing for a good portion of the day--between other tasks like making lunches and changing diapers and breaking up kid-fights, of course--I managed another 1,601 words, ending the first day of NaNo at 2,002. (Unless, of course, I decide to write a few more words after I post this entry!) The writing went much more slowly than I had anticipated, and the voice that I wrote about in my 100-words paragraph above didn't really extend through the words I wrote today. The story, too, seems to be taking a different turn from what I had anticipated, which is all right, I guess, but it leaves me feeling a little out of control. However, it is a rough draft, which is something I need to remind myself every so often as I try to fight the perfectionist demon, who demands that I edit as I go. Still, all in all, I'm happy with the word count I've accomplished today--if not with the actual words themselves.

So--story number one in my collection is on its way to being completed (in a first-draft version, of course). Now I wait to see what tomorrow will bring.

For those of you taking on the challenge, how was your first day of NaNoWriMo? Did you meet your word count goal? And is your story taking the shape you'd thought it would, or is it veering off in another (exciting) direction?