daffy days

I took this photo this morning — daffodils bursting into bloom at Alameda Point (at the old entrance gate at Atlantic). We have just ONE daffodil at our house — in a container in the front, a bulb I didn’t even know was there. But it doesn’t feel like spring until a daffodil blooms.
Rain caught us by surprise the other night — I left a bunch of stuff outside — tablecloth on the table, pillows on the chairs, some other rescued chairs on the front patio — all soaked, along with cardboard boxes and garden gloves and the bowl of cat kibble. Yuk. At least I don’t have to water 😉 And it’s raining again now (pouring, in fact)! (@3 pm)

We’ve been doing a lot of kitty care at our house lately — our old tomcat ELvis is feeling poorly lately, so poorly that he may be contemplating his final wishes. He caught a bad cold and it’s been persistent, and the poor old guy is unable to breathe through his nose. If you want to feel pity, listen to a cat wheezing for breath. The poor old thing. He’s been to the vet three times in the past two weeks and now we’re doing some hospice care: he’s on an IV drip twice a day to keep him hbydrated, being served warmed chicken baby food to stimulate his appetite (he still won’t eat), and given steam and saline treatments for his clogged nasal passages. Plus antibiotics and lots of love. We don’t know what’s next for Elvis, but send him a warm thought and a hope to get through the weekend. I think he’ll be ok if we can get through the next few days.

In other news…
We are running this colorful ad in the Sun these days — kinda funny. Suddenly “everyone”is doing a blog. Like they were just discovered by Oprah or something. Wow, so hip to blog! So we decided to run this house ad which shows that blogs are nothing to be scared of, and that we’ve been blogging for the Sun and Alameda for four years already (remember, this one started as my column and online in January 2004 — scroll backward to verify!). We also noted the award we won 9 months ago for blogging. Nobody notices the difference, I suppose, but we’re making a point: we’ve been doing it for some time now, and it’s not really a new thing to do. It’s almost old hat, in fact. My 2 cents, however — just keep reading…in case you can’t quite place the reference in the ad, it’s a tweak of the original The Blob movie poster. 😉

We also spent some time in the past few days getting our entries together for the East Bay Press Club awards. Several of us entered individual pieces — for coverage of the nuclear waste at Alameda Point, several editorials, columns, architectural reporting, features short and long, and more. I also just heard (from fabulous Andrea Lampros) that The Monthly was nominated again for a Maggie Award for best consumer tabloid — for the issue of December 2007, in which my article on Rabbi Chester of Temple Sinai in Oakland ran. Woo hoo! Here’s hoping for good luck in all of these races. the California Newspaper Publishers’ Association awards are just around the corner as well…chalk up another two days to prep entries for that.

This weekend: Big stuff on the Island. Chicago is on at Altarena. There’s a St. Patrick’s Day race at Crown Beach Sunday morning (I may be taking photos). The kick-off training for the parcel tax starts tomorrow at 10 at Longfellow School (I’ll be taking pix). I’m meeting my friend Kirsten for coffee at some point. Most of our kids are gone for the weekend, and I had planned to work in the garden. But with rain? Probably not.

Instead: a date with my camera and all things Alameda, always. Blogs, kittens, Elvis and the IV drip, a date with my Husband as well. Time to sort out my papers, perhaps, and get a little crafty in the kitchen if it’s rainy outside. Homemade bread sounds so good right now.

(See the comments for some clarification of these remarks, friends. Anonymous makes a good point. Thanks, A.)

time out, time off, tune in again…

Hi again. Sorry about that. It’s been busy. I know I always say that, but it has.

Why, just this week we’ve had crazybusy antics with the school budget and student protest walkouts (see http://www.alamedasun.com/ for the scoop), and Tuesday’s school board meeting when budget cuts were decided went until about 1:30 a.m. I was there. Ack.

And: this coming weekend is LunaFest, an awesome women’s film festival that is a fundraiser for breast cancer research via Luna Bar (yum), as well as the Family of Women (my women’s group) and it’s also Junior Prom Night for Alameda High, and two of our girls are going (ka-ching! hair, nails, flowers, limo, pre-party at our house, sleep-over afterward…). So it’s been a bit hectic just this week (not even mentioning assorted meetings, appointments, Mr. Husband’s taking the ferry that broke down and the Boy’s case of hives…)

In recent weeks we’ve had rounds of flu and cold, backaches, toothaches, headaches, tummyaches, attitude, deadlines, drama, backtalk, trips to Costco, windstorms, gardening, couch-surfers, birthdays, weekends, sleepovers, rainstorms, spring cleaning…you name it, we’ve had it. And boy, are our arms tired.

So where are we now? In the beginning of spring, in the month of March, 2008, with a bit of sun and a bit of cloud, a blustery breeze and the scent of flowers in the air: it is, I think, actually spring. It’s a Thursday, the day the Sun hits the streets (the newspaper, I mean), and I finally feel caught up on sleep since the two late nights, Monday (women’s program) and Tuesday (late school board).

I paid almost $50 for a tank of gas this morning so I’m feeling even more “green” than usual — time to start riding my bicycle, I guess. That and prom expenses and balancing a budget for our family of seven (college loans! cell phone bills! Costco! co-pays! vet bills! agh…) has kept me working hard and burning the midnight oil. No rest for the weary.

But enough — I can excuse being “busy” only so long. Back on track now and do drop me a line in comments or e-mail to say how-de-do. We’ll be catching up in no time.

Writing update (I haven’t been idle):

  • A Year with the Saints blog = almost daily, deep thoughts about spirituality, and sometimes shallow thoughts on mortality.
  • Backyard Bliss: Catching up there, too — I’ve been spending more time gardening than writing about it!
  • Nano-novel Mary Mary: haven’t touched it since halfway through National Novel Writing Month (November). It’s brilliant, though. (ahem)
  • My memoir Wedlock is in revision and waiting to see the lit agent again in NY; I’m heading that way again this year to see the Bee-yooti-ful Mia as she graduates from AADA in April.

(See Feb 27 entry on A Year with the Saints blog for thoughts on Mia’s recent birthday.)

8466 + 7030 = how the hell am i gonna do this?

I’m writing two books at once. Starting Nov. 1, I probably mentioned 20 or 30 times, I started the National Novel Writing Month book-a-thon, to write a novel in 30 days. And it’s coming along fabulously — except that I’m WAY behind. I’m at 7030 words and should be at 20004 (at 1667 per day). On the novel.

On my other book, I’m at 8466. The spiritual book is at that word count.

Together, on these two books, since Nov. 1, I have written approximately 15,496 words, not counting any personal or work e-mail, blogging on Modern Muse or anything (nothing!) that I have written for the newspaper. Not even counting a grocery list. Can I get an amen?

So I need to get off my own back, because that’s a lot of words.

But I think I also need to get real. I must write the blog-a-day in order to write a diary-like pilgrimage book, so in a sense that’s more important. Though NaNo only goes for one month, so it’ll be over soon. But I can’t keep up that pace. I’m way-the-foo behind and though I meant to catch up this weekend, har de freaking har, it did not happen because LIFE happened. And now it’s 20 to midnight and I have a full deadline day tomorrow, kids this week, P’s surgery Thursday, and more, like the phantom thank-you notes, ACCCKKKK! So when I can catch up, not sure.

Perhaps I will just shift myself over to the one book, and keep working on the fiction. (Except that makes me so mad that I am not going to be writing fiction. Grrr!) Oh, well. Reality bites. Think I may have to shelve the Mary book for now, or at least slow down a few RPMs. Because my brain can do only so much. At midnight I should go to bed, not be making lists, writing, blogging and doing laundry. And I don’t need to feel guilty about it.

I’m off to bed. How about you?

zzz

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.