O Spank Me!

January 11, 2007|Posted in: Uncategorized

Yes, you know you want to…you all who write and ask for more. Why don’t you write, you ask? Really want to know?

The list is too long, but in general, and in the briefest of tidy-whitey briefs, the holidays kicked my booty. Too many to-dos and hoo-has. Parties and gift lists and cookies and guests. Mothers-in-law and all the sibs. Homemade gifts and knitting by the light of the moon. I made scarves for each of the kids, plus both the moms (mine and his), made photo albums for all the kids plus both the moms, a variety of cookie for each member of the family to include in our giveaways = 7 varieties, only six of which made it into goody baskets (mine, of course, was never made). The kids wanted expensive items but our budget was strict — with five kids, even if you spend $100 each, that’s still $500 without even leaving the house, and teenagers don’t want $10 shoes from Target anymore. They want $75 hoodies from Abercrombie, and sorry, kiddoes, I’m just not going to spend the entire budget on one thin sweatshirt. So I was extremely astute and watched sales and got extreme deals with rebates that included severing fingers and sending triplicate copies of my birth certificate to Singapore. I searched low, high and in between to get good books for all the kids at a discount, plus cool stuff that my man wanted, on sale! on sale! everything on sale!

And nobody was too disappointed — they got a mountain of schwag and didn’t complain, at least not out loud, that they didn’t get enough stuff or that somebody got more. The Park family gathering was at our house this year, the first time I’ve hosted post-divorce, since I’ve lived in studios and apartments since then (until this year). Christmas Eve was the usual crab feast with clam chowder and Champagne, Christmas Day was delicious with Patrick and Ana in charge of breakfast (linguica and homemade waffles) and then a fabulous roast beast (prime rib) for dinner. Joedy and Cindy (P’s brother and his wife) were up from San Diego along with P’s mom and it was a wonderful dinner at the big table with our best china and tablecloth and everyone there. It was the nicest part of the day, actually.

Then the next day four of the kids left to other parents, and the next day Mia went back to New York, and of course immediately after that I got horribly sick. And right after that Patrick got sick, then went off to Arizona on business. So catching up has been an impossible task.

Catching up, therefore:

  • My new writing program commenced Dec. 21 with a Solstice ritual that included meditation, readings and a labyrinth walk in the dark and pouring rain. It was utterly mystical and very powerful. We were allowed to bring our partners with us to the ritual and into the labyrinth, and so P and I walked the labyrinth together in the dark. It was outdoors on one of those rainy nights, very cold and not enough ambient light from the distant street. The labyrinth was modeled on an ancient Peruvian labyrinth, I believe, and it was just a very moving way to begin a journey into a creative space. We also shared a bread and wine ritual with our friend Dan officiating with Hebrew blessings.
  • New poems/essays will appear here periodically. I am posting pretty regularly on a private blog but not all of those are suitable for every reader. Some are more stream-of-consciousness and not really poems, more like journal entries. I will post occasionally with new creative work here. (If you are interested in seeing more, let me know.)
  • I am teaching creative writing at the Adult School again for 6 weeks; last week was the first week. Another fun group — their excitement about the craft energizes me.
  • Work continues well at The Monthly. I wrote reviews of two textiles shows in Dec and Jan issues and wrote the editor’s note for the Feb issue. (http://www.themonthly.com/). We are working on the April issue with a spirituality theme and I’m hoping to have something to offer the readers in that issue as well.
  • Kids keep me busy all the time. Mia checks in from the Big Apple, Simone is still cheering varsity basketball at EHS. She just tried out for the spring play: Footloose. Ana is thinking about some independent study for next year. She really wants to pursue her art and photography. The other kids are great; we have a lot of fun and as of the new year, all are focusing on eating healthier diets (adding up how many fruits and veggies we ate at the end of the day, no more Pop Tarts or Cheetos, etc.) It was really good to have a big holiday together and I think it helped bond us even more as one family.
  • P and I are looking forward to a good year together, mutual goals, planning a trip to NY in the spring to see Mia, maybe somewhere extremely warm in the summer. Global warming somehow means that California freezes — tomorrow we may have snow, while in NY Mia has 70 degree weather. Is that whack or what?
  • Sunday I’m off to celebrate my great Aunt Doris’ book publication party; she’s 96 and just published her memoirs. Big party planned in Occidental. We’re making a road trip out of it — Simone, Ana and friend Sharon are hitting the highway to support our elder.

New Year’s Resolution? Not so much. But motto for the new year? NO FEAR. No bloody fear. Nothing’s gonna hold us back now. We’ve been through enough with our kids, our health, our finances, our pasts, our dramas, our traumas and more.

This year: No fear.

Join me, won’t you?

Advice to Aspiring Writers: What’s a motto? I dunno, whatsa motto with you?

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Julia Park Tracey is an award-winning journalist, author, and blogger. She is the author of "Veronika Layne Gets the Scoop" and "Veronika Layne Has a Nose for News" (rep'd by Booktrope). She is the Poet Laureate of Alameda, California. She's also the conservatrix of The Doris Diaries, the diaries of her great-aunt Doris Bailey Murphy. Her articles have appeared in Thrillist, Quill, Paste, San Francisco Chronicle, and in many magazines; her latest poetry appears in The East Bay Literary review.

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