Long weekend of no kids, household chores, fighting off an infection and more. I’m way behind in my NaNo but the bones are there. I thought today would be the day to catch up. Guess I was wrong. Off to bed now.

But first…
Happy 17th Birthday to my sweet Simone! (@right) Friday night was Homecoming at Encinal and also the Island Bowl, the cross-town rivalry game (EHS beat AHS). The seniors from the football team and cheer squad were honored, so we got to walk Simone across the field with a bouquet of flowers to celebrate her moving on from senior class to The Big World. It was a proud moment. Ain’t she cute?
She’s visiting her dad in Sacramento this weekend so we will have birthday later this week.

Catching Up

I promised you these things:

  • Final update on NY trip (in three words, fun but exhausting)
  • Wedding plans a la mode
  • Home fixer-uppers
  • New columns, etc. for the Sun
  • Deadline, schmedlines
  • On not writing a lick lately, and more, much more.

So here they are, in order.

New York, New York
Fun but exhausting. It poured buckets when we were tying to leave, and was icy cold to boot. That big old Nor’easter was coming in and I was sick to my stomach about either riding over and through it, or being stuck at the airport for a couple of days. Luckily it wasn’t too bad — slightly stuck, and, with Valium and glasses of wine, I made it through the flaming ball of death-that-wasn’t. We spent our last day before leaving wandering through Greenwich Village and looking for writerly sights/sites. Edna St. Vincent Millay had lived in a tiny cottage somewhere in there, and we had the address but the street wasn’t on the map. We found a couple of possibilities but none seemed right. We finally gave it up — it was too flipping cold, our bags were heavy, our feet sore, and all we wanted was to sit somewhere warm.

I think we drank gallons of Starbucks in Manhattan and did so just for a place to sit and hang out. We also did a boatload of shopping at thrift stores and on Fifth Avenue, both equally exciting. Loved gazing at displays at Tiffany’s and love the vintage orange tweed coat I found in boho Chelsea. Ana wanted to see the Chelsea Hotel where Sid and Nancy lived and he died. I wanted to have a drink at the Algonquin, but all we managed was to sit for a while in the parlor. We were too close to lunch and meeting Mia elsewhere. I could go on — lots of stuff to see, too much walking, everything costs a bucket of money but it was all worth it to see my delicious lovely Mia. More Mia! (Meeeee-ahhhh, come hooooome!)

Wedding Plans
Well, it’s a green wedding, for one thing: no unnecessary imported things or carbon-spewing limos or wastes of paper. Recycled and reused or vintage items, earth-friendly, supporting organic California farmers and cheesemakers and vintners and local merchants. Stuff like that.
It’s not like I’ve never been married before, nor he. But both of us rather skulked off to get married and there was always something a bit untoward about that. You can tell by how the marriages turned out. Clearly not meant to be more than a learning experience, like touching a hot stove.

So we celebrate, publicly, ritually, our being together and joining as one family. And that’s the biggest thing — getting all the details together for a big party. Because who wants a tiny party? We wanna have fun. That’s one of our context for the wedding: “Have fun.” “No problem” is another. Wedding plans include a jumpy-bounce house for the kids, natural greenery and an Irish band, our lovely daughters singing, music given as a gift from a good friend, other dear friends reading poems or prayers in their native languages, and a way for all seven of us to bond ritually as a single family — not as step-this or half-that, but as one whole family.

And because we are having the wedding and reception here, that means a lot of fix-up is going on: the yard/garden, the house, etc. Lots of projects to keep us hopping along.

Home Fixit!
I painted the entryway a gorgeous apricot-coral color, and have paint for the living room waiting to be painted on. Maybe this afternoon. Painted the front door a lovely marine blue. I also have paint for the kitchen, and am scheming for some paint for the dining room. Lots of furniture to be spruced up, curtains to be hung or made, cushions to be recovered, and so on.

As for the yard, for one thing, I’m starting a new project, to be mentioned next, and it is about the garden. But we have been working to spruce up the so-called lawn (crab grass mixed with weeds, lovely). I have been replanting and re-potting and propagating and stealing snips of plants from yards and empty lots, to put into soil and start new life. Thus far it is working. I have a gorgeous collection of geraniums in pink, burgundy, purple, fuchsia and other colors. Got some europs as well, and am beginning a little flowering hedge in the back. We got a big load of mulch delivered the other day, from a local tree company chopping down a tree nearby — free!

How did we spend Mother’s Day? Shoveling mulch. It now separates a third of the yard from the “lawn” and is my vegetable/”secret” garden. I need a load of dirt, which I could get delivered free off craigslist, but I want organic soil in the raised beds because of the toxics in the ground around here, and thus just want to be on the safe side. I don’t want to eat more than my fair share of mercury (yum). Hope to get that delivered today or tomorrow, then planting veggie starts after that. I could go on, but why not check out Backyard Bliss for all the veggie tales you want to hear?

New column
That’s right — Backyard Bliss is my newest project, a column and blog for the Alameda Sun’s new real estate/home and garden section, to debut June 14. It will be a weekly Sun column about making something out of nothing, with stories and ongoing log of the garden, wildlife and birds, indoor and outdoor plants, home fix-up, projects, etc. The hope is that it will become a book in a year or two. It’s part of the “write what you know and love” school of thought for getting a book published.

Other projects continue but the garden blog is currently top of mind. Thanks be to Jah, my computer is finally working. No kids allowed, alas, ever again, because they have the irresistible urge to download things, including viruses, which almost completely destroyed five years of my work, and kept me from working for more than six weeks. Love them dearly, but no more access to Mom’s computer. Sorry, darlings.

Deadlines Schmedlines

  • A short piece is due for Alameda Magazine today. Yep, today. Check out the May-June issue online or in the flesh — I wrote the cover story. How groovy is that? And have been receiving lots of compliments from teachers and parents and principals. I like that a lot 😉 and so do they.
  • The Music Scene deadline is just around the corner — next week will be about finishing the June issue and getting it to the streets on time.
  • PR season for ACLO is just kicking in. I am going to help out with that a bit — just sending out press releases. I am not involved in any aspect of the production, fundraising, etc. Just writing and sending out PR. I am looking forward to seeing the shows — will post about these later.
  • Another task for today is to get my entries together for the East Bay Press Club contest, in which, you may recall, I won first place for Best Editorial last year (in July). That was an honor and a thrill, and I hope to get somewhere with my work from 2006 as well. We shall see — all that travel writing must be good for something. I am also entering this blog.
  • When I get a minute to breathe, ha fricking ha, I need to polish up the memoir and get a clean copy to my agent friend in Manhattan, who asked to see a good draft. I have a good draft — what I want to send is a better draft. So perhaps that will happen, one of these days. Not today, though. Not even this month.

On not writing a lick…
I said I haven’t been writing lately and it’s true. No computer = no access to any of my files, ideas, stories, chapters, etc. I couldn’t get to blog on any of my blogs, either here or at work. So not much has happened. A scant bit of poetry is all. And it is lovely but not much for a working, producing writer. One hopes that dry season is over.

Advice for Aspiring Writers: Tools matter. If you don’t have the necessary or desired tool to help you write — a clean, well lighted space to work, the instruments you prefer (quill pen? laptop?) — whatever it is, chances are you won’t get anything done.