Things I do when my spouse is traveling

My spouse and I have been together since 1997, so when he’s out of town it is deeply weird. This time he’s in Houston for a few days, then will be back for a couple, then gone again for a few more. I have lists of food I’ll make for dinner, things we will do in the evenings, but it’s never easy when 2/5 of our household is gone.

Nights like this, I tend to draw back into myself. I read a book (tonight’s is for the UU book club: Memoirs of a Geisha) and listen to my favorite female musicians (Tori Amos, Sarah McLachlan, Indigo Girls, Jewel, Alanis Morisette, Juliana Hatfield, etc.) by candlelight while the children wander in and out, foraging for food or bidding for my attention in new and exciting ways.

Sometimes I indulge in long phone calls with old friends or family members. Tonight it was my birth family. I was trying to explain about my youngest wanting a piccolo for Christmas and how that was a wonderful thing. They said it would be so loud and off-putting, but to me, it’s music and comfort and safety because I can hear the melody and know exactly which kid it is playing and where my kid is and what they are doing. Their traumas are different than mine. I am terrified of not knowing what is happening to my children, of not being present, of moments unacknowledged. My goal as a parent is that my children never spend a moment wondering if they are loved or seen or acknowledged. I spend my days making sure that they know that they are welcomed and loved and seen for who they are, and that they know that however they may change, they are still loved. There is more about all that in the memoir I am writing, of course.

Tonight there was also a brief storm, so the youngest and I wandered outside and danced in the thunder and lightning, a tradition we’ve had since he was little. The rain drops were huge and we were quickly soaked, but it is what we do. We danced and sang and when we became too cold, we came inside and burrowed in blankets on the couch, listening to the midkid practice his French horn.

And now it is growing closer to bedtime, but I am unable to sleep. I never do when my spouse is gone. I will probably stay up and watch movies he would not enjoy, while listening to one of my kids sing his Region Band music, which is identical to music I and my friends played when we were in high school. It’s funny how things go around and come back to themselves.

VoG: Creativity Doll and Inner Editor Monster Doll

Today (or whichever day I am currently on that may or may not be the right day – it’s hard to keep track with the group calendar changing) we were supposed to make two different kinds of dolls: one a Creativity Doll and one an Inner Editor Monster Doll.

I have a lot of random craft supplies at my house because, as you all probably already know, I am a craft dabbler. So I dug out a bunch of stuff, traced an outline on some beige fabric, pulled out my mom’s old sewing machine, and I went to work. I’d made a doll once in the distant past, around third grade for the one room schoolhouse experience. And when I say “I’d made” I really mean that my mom made it while I stood by and handed her things, as was the way of my people.

The doll itself was easy to make, with simple lines and a quarter inch edge all the way around. Using my mom’s sewing machine is second nature, unlike the one that I’ve had for the last decade or so that never made sense to me (which I shipped off to a friend the moment I got my mom’s in my hot little hands). I did have a little trouble at first with the thread tension, but a little swearing and rethreading later, I was good to go.

Stuffing proved a little harder because my stuffing tool went missing, but I used a skinny handled jewelry making file instead. Then I decided she needed clothing, so I freehanded a dress pattern while playing games with the boys. Sewed that up, then painted a face, glued on some curly, colorful wool (from needle felting) for hair, and gave her a bit of bling. But something was still missing. Shoes. I had no idea what to use for shoes. But she was just about baby sized, so I hand-sewed her some felt baby booties based off a pattern I’d thought about using for Kay’s twins when they were born, but never got around too. I eyeballed it. They turned out okay.

The Inner Editor Monster Doll is where I went off the rails. I felt like it should just be wackier, I guess. I grabbed an old, much hated bra out of the dresser, cut the straps off, and sewed it into a tube. I really thought I was going to break the sewing machine, but she worked like a dream, sewing through multiple layers and a zipper without any trouble at all. The backside, the secret side I’m not showing you all, is a black and white striped ribbon with all the bad phrases we wrote down during that Golden Words writing experiment several weeks ago, all those not so nice things people, and therefore my Inner Editor, have said to me. After I was done, I didn’t like her staring at me. It made me uncomfortable. Now in this section of the book, Julia Cameron says some people like to burn this creation or destroy it or maim it in some way. Another thing you know about me is that I love setting things on fire. But I just couldn’t somehow. So I came up with option B: a sleep mask. So now my Inner Editor can just take a rest and leave me alone. 🙂

Holiday Weekend, now back to writing

My dad came up to spend the July 4th weekend with us. He arrived Friday and we thought he was going home on Sunday, but he extended it to Monday to make some much needed repair calls for his house up here and now he’s extended it one more day to meet the termite people in person. All of which to say that I haven’t gotten any writing done since last Thursday.

So today, I’ve got some time and my brain says “nope.” I am not letting that deter me. For my birthday in April, I got several of those books in the writing thesaurus series and I have not managed to look at a single one until this morning. So I looked up my notes about the scene I was supposed to be writing – “Edward & Minerva talk in hotel room after meeting Sharon. E’s POV, also show how he is more like Stephen/Walt in tenderness towards wife, but how that is a magically manipulated response.”

So then I looked up these key words: “adoration” “apprehension” (both from the “Emotion Thesaurus“) “hotel room” (from the Urban Settings Thesaurus) “manipulative” (from the “Negative Trait Thesaurus

Then I made notes about each key words and dumped those into my scene document et voila! Half the scene is already done. The part I consider the hard part, usually. Now to add dialogue.

Was it quick? Not really. But it’s a scene started rather than the two sentence outline I previously had. 🙂