Archive | June, 2013

Things Left Untweeted

28 Jun

There really are times when I wish that I could just speak words out loud and have them appear on Twitter, because I honestly seem to have the most thoughts worth tweeting when I am either driving or away from internet access. Such was the case to, from and at my writing retreat these past couple of days. Now that I’m home, here are some of the gems you missed out on.

Baby started kicking frantically when D12’s “My Band” came on my iPod. Clearly he has awesome taste in music. 

Please tell me I’m not the only one who bickered with my friends over who was going to be Brandy or Monica when singing “The Boy Is Mine.”

For the record, I always wanted to be Brandy. 

Ahh, Farmington. Land of refineries and alpaca farms. 

Is it wrong to kill a bug in front of an author who’s talking about how beautiful the natural world is? 

“Ahhhhh! Nature! It’s all over me! Get it off!”

Yeah, I’m in bed before the six year-olds down the hall. What of it? 

“This is a new math, fool!” 

Yup, World, you’re welcome.


A Writer Who…

26 Jun

As I write this, I am currently attending a two-day writing retreat as part of the Minnesota Writing Project. It’s a fabulous opportunity to be surrounded by other writers, and I feel truly blessed to have been selected. As many have pointed out to me today, writing can be an isolating experience. There have been many times when I’ve felt alone in my struggles, but being able to talk about these issues with other writers is a step above reassuring. To be surrounded by this much talent and excitement about the writing process is thrilling. And, did I mention they’re all teachers? The inspiration I’m feeling both personally and professionally at the moment is overwhelming.

Our first task when we convened as a group this morning was to respond to the prompt, “I am a writer who…” In the spirit of writing and actually sharing it with my (digital) writing community, below is my response.

I am a writer who…

Is my own worst enemy. I procrastinate, stall, put off and ignore my writing for reasons I can’t even articulate to myself. Then, to make matters worse, I complain about my lack of writing to anyone with “ears.” Ironically I do this most often on my blog, so I guess in a way I am writing, it’s just not what I want to be writing. 

I am a writer with a dump heap of self-doubt. I have lofty goals and a fabulous vision of what I want my written work to be. I’m just constantly second-guessing whether or not I’ve got the chops, talent or chutzpah to make it there. 

I am a writer who worries. I worry I’m not good enough. Then I worry I am good enough, but the world (and myself) will never know because as I’ve already stated, I am my own worst enemy. 

I think it’s a pretty accurate assessment of where I seem to be perpetually at in my writing process. I know this is probably SSDD to those of you who’ve been reading my blog for a while, but I am filled with hope that this program might be what I need to keep the momentum going. It’s certainly giving me a jumpstart, and I’m excited to see where it takes me.

Protected: Rude-Ass Children: A Mother’s Rage

25 Jun

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On being artsy-craftsy

24 Jun

I’ve been watching a lot of HGTV lately. I’ve also been spending an embarrassing amount of time on Pinterest. Collectively what these two hobbies have done is made me wish that I had millions of dollars and a helluva whole lot more creativity than I actually do (and I consider myself to be a fairly creative person). In order to convince myself that these two hobbies are more than a complete waste of time, I’ve decided to put forth an actual effort into being more artsy-craftsy. I began my efforts with a couple of Father’s Day creations. (Author’s Note: Yes, this entry would have been more relevant a little closer to Father’s Day, but I just now uploaded these pictures so deal with it.) 

My father is near impossible to buy for. It’s something that I’m convinced he inherited from my grandma (may she RIP). He claims to have no artificial wants, which is why his birthday list usually contains things like socks and stamps. This year for Father’s Day, he only requested that we set aside an evening to watch an old movie. An easy request to grant, but I still wanted something to physically give him, so I crafted this little gem.



The idea to give him an actual ticket was my own, but the handy-dandy template came from this site. You can’t beat the free price, folks!

Along with that, I saw all sorts of cute Grandpa gift ideas floating around on Pinterest. I took the wording from several projects I saw, but decided to create my own artwork to give my dad. I had been meaning to give Illustrator a try for quite some time, and this seemed like the perfect opportunity. Let me warn you: Illustrator is effing hard. As in extremely difficult if you’ve had no previous experience. I’m generally a technology-savvy person, but I struggled a lot (as is evidenced by my mismatched corners on my was-supposed-to-be-a-chevron-but-turned-into-a-zig-zag-design). Still, I think it turned out pretty cute, all things considered, and my dad certainly liked it.


Then there was the matter of what to get Husband. He’s not as difficult to buy for, and has plenty of wants/desires, so I got him a certificate to play a round of golf with the person of his choosing (whom was not me, btw). But, I wanted him to get something “from” Child, since it was Father’s Day and not Husband’s Day, after all. Once again, Pinterest smiled upon me and gave me this idea of filling a six-pack of bottles with Husband’s favorite candies and dressing it up cutesy-style.


Just a couple of tips in case someone reading wants to try this idea. For starters, it takes a lot longer than you might anticipate to get everything cut out and glued. The blog instructions says you can use a hot glue gun, but I struggled with that and wound up taping it; the spray adhesive would have worked better. It also says that both the IBC Root Beer and Cream Soda varieties work. I chose root beer, since I don’t care for cream soda and didn’t want to let the pop go to waste. The only drawback to this is that the root beer bottles are brown; the clear cream soda ones would have looked a bit nicer. And lastly, it takes more candy than you might think to fill those bastards. At least two of the movie theatre sized boxes of each candy variety. So, while it looked like a cute and semi-cheap DIY gift idea, it wound up being about a $15 – $20 venture. Was it worth it? I’m not so sure. Husband sure liked it, but I don’t think I’d attempt to do it again.

Overall, I’d say my foray into the world of arts and crafts was a successful one, although I clearly have a lot to learn. It’s a good thing I have a whole nursery to plan and decorate…

What’s In a (Baby) Name?

17 Jun

“What’s in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet.”
      — William Shakespare, Romeo and Juliet

I’ve always found the above quote from Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet to be interesting and, for the most part, wildly incorrect. In the context of the story I get what she was saying. It shouldn’t matter that the love of her life happens to bear the name  of her family’s sworn enemy, etc. etc. But, when taken as a single phrase, I happen to disagree. I do think names are important. This has especially come into play in my life lately as Husband and I have been struggling to come up with a name for Baby Boy #2.

Naming Child #1 was easy. We found out he was a boy, I told Husband that Jack had always and forever been my favorite boy name, he said he liked that name too, and we were done. The whole process took about five minutes. This time around it’s been a completely different story. I seem to be the only person in existence (except for my brother) who likes my first choice name (Desmond), which has been mildly disheartening. Husband doesn’t think he can commit to that name, and we haven’t been able to agree on anything else. For now, that perfect name is eluding us.

The issue is probably my fault. I think I’m by far the pickier person, but this is an important decision. The kid is going to be stuck with this name for the rest of his life. (Or, at least until he’s 18 and can save up to legally change it if he really hates it that much.) When I think about it, naming a child is probably one of the most permanent decisions one can make as an adult. That’s why I really want to take my time and get it right, although I was hoping we’d have a decision made by now.

Everyone has issues to consider when naming their child. Horrible playground nicknames, rhyming words, and initials that spell out something bad are things every parent considers. But I’ve got a couple more considerations on my list that complicate issues even further. Here are some of the complications we’ve been running in to.

For starters, I will not name my child something “popular,” no matter how much I may love it. If it’s in the Social Security Administration’s top 10 list for the past year, it’s out. When I was in elementary school, there were two Sarah’s and one Sara in my class. I also had three Breanna’s in my Girl Scout troop. (Funny side story – all three Breanna’s had a last name that started with B. so I couldn’t even distinguish them by their last initial when talking about them.) I remember vividly how irritated I would get on their behalf when the teacher would call their name and they wouldn’t know which one she was talking to, and to this day I am still grateful that in almost all situations I am the only Andrea present. Well done, Mom and Dad.

Another thing that’s an issue for me is that we have a common last name. As is typical in the midwest (hello, Scandinavia), the last names Johnson, Nelson, Anderson, etc. are as common as hotdishes and flannel shirts. Given that he’s already going to be one of millions with our last name, I don’t want him to also be saddled with a common first name. That means that traditional names like John, Michael, Matthew, Jacob, Samuel, etc. are out. I’m not saying he needs to be named something exotic like Xavier or Django (although the movie Django Unchained is fantastic). I just want him to have something slightly more original.

My third issue is the fact that our last name ends in “on.” When I say potential names out loud, it doesn’t sound right to my ear if his first name ends with a similar sound. Logan, Colin, Landon, etc. just don’t seem to flow off the tongue as well as I’d like.

There are two other things that have hindered our naming decisions, and these are the two things have been driving my husband crazy. The first is that I’m a teacher. For almost every name out there, I have an image of a student in my head. There are some students that I’ve loved and adored and I’d have no problem giving that name to my child. Then there are those other students… Let’s just say my memories of them are less fond. I’d hate to call those memories to mind every time I look at my child.

The other one that drives Husband crazy is that I may be too in touch with popular culture for my own good. Like with students, almost every name calls to mind an image of someone else. You say Edward, I think Cullen. You say Charles, I think Manson. You say Stuart, I think Little. The list goes on and on, and similar to my student names there are some people and characters in our collective history that I’m happy to associate with my son. Others, not so much.

Like I said, I’m picky. My list of qualms and quirks doesn’t leave us with many realistic options, and my taste is generally different than my Husband’s to begin with. At the rate we’re going, we’re going to have an unnamed baby in the hospital, and monogramed anything will be out until the kid’s at least a month old. Husband’s newest job is coming up with a top 5 list of names that we haven’t already ruled out, and we’ll try to go from there. Fingers crossed that we don’t wring each other’s necks in the process.

Summer Bucket List – 2013

12 Jun

Well folks, summer vacation is officially here. As with every single summer since the beginning of my memory, I am positive that this one will fly by and I’ll be left at the end of it sobbing, “But I didn’t get anything done!” So, in the spirit of keeping with tradition (and because my love of lists has not faded), I’ve decided to jot down my 2013 Summer Bucket List.

  • Read the A Song of Ice and Fire series (because the shock of seeing the Red Wedding without knowing it was coming will cost me years of therapy)
  • Get caught up on my scrapbooking
  • Put together the baby’s nursery
  • Write. Anything.
  • Figure out what that whole Downton Abbey business is all about
  • Haul all the junk out of our basement and get rid of it all at a garage sale
  • Spend as much time with my son as humanly possible, and treasure this precious time with him as an only child

As per usual, it’s nothing that will change the world at large. But it will provide more peace and less stress in mine. Happy summer everyone!