Added-3/21/10 My blog has moved to kdrausin.wordpress.com/2010/03/21/out-of-t
Thank you, Krista
In between dancing with the middle school students and driving my kids to all their activities, I’ve been hard at work revising Mystic. I had hoped to be done by February 20th but discovered I was too ambitious with my work load. Books take time and I have proof. Here is a link to Kristin Cashore’s blog. kristincashore.blogspot.com/2010/03/mond
Thank you for joining this fan page. I’m blessed to have the support of so many people. You Rock!
March has been my month for new experiences. There was spin class and Latin dance class at the gym to which I looked quite goofy but not as goofy as trying to keep up with the middle school girls as they danced to Tambourine. That’s my other new experience, life as a middle school dance teacher at my son’s school. I’ve found it exhilarating and exhausting. I get to listen to good music and move around in comfortable shoes but there is nothing quite like the energy of a middle school classroom. I’ve come to the conclusion that middle school teachers have to have a tremendous amount of patience, great sense of humor and the stamina of a professional athlete.
My daily routines of the past few months have been flipped up-side down and now here I sit in my sweats, barefoot, typing away when I should be watching LOST and eating chocolate.
No, I’m not editing Mystic. I have to take it one night at a time as I train my body to write during these late hours. Besides, I took Mystic to school today knowing I’d have time alone while the students finished their FCAT test. I read three chapters of Mystic, pencil in hand and decided they were all junk and I had to start over. I’ll tackle that after the DAC meeting tomorrow night. For now, I’m easing into my new schedule with some easy writing-this journal.
And I’ve decided to play a game that the middle school students enjoyed today. It’s called, Find the Fib. It’s a Kagan activity to bring classrooms together. My husband also uses it in his training seminars. Here’s how it’s played. I will list four things about myself. Three are true and one is the fib. Readers of this journal have to guess which one is the fib and post it in the comments section. Then feel free to play along and list three or four things about yourself and I’ll try and guess. Other readers may guess too. Just click the comments button below to leave a comment. Feel free to pass this on and see how many players we can get. I’m looking forward to some interesting facts and fibs.
Find the Fib
- I once broke my foot while playing football at a winery.
- I have never had a cavity.
- The very first story I ever wrote was about the Civil War.
- I refused to dissect a frog in eighth grade.
I sat in the Honda dealership feeling numb. I repeated in my mind over and over, I should be happy; I’m getting a new car. I’m blessed, lots of people would be happy if they were getting a new car. What’s the matter with me? I feel nothing, perhaps a little sad. I couldn’t understand why letting go of my old car was so difficult. Shouldn’t I want something new? It’s a car-be happy.
I chose a pretty green CR-V more fitting to my personality than silver, the color of my Pilot. The two cars sat next to each other in the parking lot. Old me, new me. I felt an urging to run up to my Pilot and give it a big hug goodbye. When the salesman told me it was going to auction, I felt hollow and wanted to cry. My baby, I’d never see it again. I clearly didn’t want to let it go.
I remembered how the Pilot protected me when the little old lady who could barely see over her steering wheel, ran a stop sign and slammed into my door. I walked away without a scratch. Eric and I drove the little old lady home with her front bumper in our backseat. I thought about my trip to
Whenever I have difficulty in understanding what I’m feeling, I pick up Sue Monk Kidd’s, FirstLight. I’ve read it and listened to it on CD many times. Her writing and her continuous search for meaning, inspires me.
As I sat reading, my mind flashed back to my 13th birthday. My grandparents were having a huge garage sale because they were selling their house on
Woodrow Wilson said that if you want to make enemies try to change something. I can understand why. It is much easier to live complacent following daily habits year after year than it is to face the unknown. It is difficult to let go. In the times when I have the greatest fear of change I know that I lack trust. Spiritually, I am depleted. I know that I must slow down and listen to the silence. Trust is the ointment that soothes the sting of change.
I have had my CR-V for two days. I park it and when I return I look for my silver Pilot and remember. I climb in and smell the newness of change. When fear disguised as sadness tries to creep into my thoughts, I take a deep breath, pop in my favorite CD, feel the warm light on my face and remember that I am not what I possess, I simply am.
A painting of my grandparent's house on New Pear St.
Many years ago when I performed in plays and musicals I used to create monologues for my characters in order to help me understand them better. I suppose it was during my acting days at AMDA that a drama teacher taught me to give each character a secret that only I knew. For instance if I was playing a young girl meeting a boy for coffee my secret might be that I was desperately in love with him. Or my secret could be that I knew the boy was my step brother. The scene would play out differently using each of those scenarios as my secret.
Jump ahead several years and now I am doing the same thing with the characters in my novel. The chapter I am editing now is particularly challenging because I am telling a story within a story and I need to make sure the two are linked together. There must be a clear relationship between the two stories. This morning I took my character Sri, and gave her a journal. I needed to hear her voice tell the background leading up to her story within Mystic. Does that make sense? In other words, I always knew what happened in her past leading up to her appearance in Mystic but I needed to write it from her perspective. It is amazing what little gems appear when characters are allowed to speak for themselves.
What does Sri have to do with Amelia and Greg? Well, you’ll have to wait until the book is published to find out. I can give one little hint…Sri may be related to one of them.
Entry: I have learned to calm the mind of a wild beast, to turn a stick into silver and to fly amongst the Seer Dragons but I cannot stop the bursting excitement that flows through my body every time I see him. It’s as if a breeze brushes over my heart and I must breathe deep when he is near in order to keep my composure. He is only a man not a wizard yet he appears to have placed a spell on me. This is unacceptable and I must stick to my path. My future has been carefully planned. I have great gifts. I am Queen Fredonia’s only daughter. A daughter in need of a spell to wipe away thoughts of handsome strangers.
Entry: I have decided to speak to him. My jumbled emotions are getting the best of me and I cannot focus on my studies. Surely when I speak to him I will learn of his daftness and get over my sickness. Enough is enough. Ralient has been odd lately. Our friendship seems strained. He looks at me with distant eyes. Though I have given him no reason to believe I have feelings for the stranger, I worry he knows my heart too well. His desire for me is no secret. I feel only friendship for Ralient and I don’t want to hurt him, yet fear I will.
Entry: There is a light shining from within me that I cannot dim. No spell can replace the happiness that colors my world that once was clear. James, his name is James and he is kind, intelligent and brave. We have spent the past month together and I have learned much about his world. It is not a place I wish to visit. When James is with me I feel content, safe, at peace and my mind is far from my studies and full of only him. We spend our days escaping to the forest and the White Mountains. I have shown him Mystic’s beauty in hopes that he will want to stay. Today he took my hand during our walk. I had to remind myself to breathe. Then I felt a tinge of annoyance that Queen Fredonia’s daughter could let herself become so vulnerable in the presence of a man. I thought of my great power for only a brief second before James interrupted me. He stopped, took me in his arms and kissed me. I felt the stubble from his beard on my chin and that familiar breeze across my heart. My tears dripped onto his collar.
Suddenly, I felt piercing heat on my back like arrows shot from a distance. A pair of eyes were watching us, cursing us. I stiffened and turned to face them. I felt his pain and knew that I had hurt Ralient deeply. A line had been crossed and my once perfectly planned life was now unpredictable. I knew I could no longer allow myself to act like a helpless child. James was in danger. Ralient’s power was only surpassed by his jealousy. Now, my only concern is whether or not my powers are strong enough to protect the man I love from the man who was my best friend.
We have a closet next to our front door. It has become a dumping ground for shoes, rip sticks, basketballs, seasonal decorations and rarely used coats and sweaters. I cringe every time I have to open it. There’s no light and usually a pile has built up on the floor and I never know what might fall out and injure my bare feet.
Two or three times a year I get fed up and pull everything out of the closet, vacuum up all the dirt from the shoes and put everything back in neatly. Then I think…Oh if only my friend Kim could see me now, she’d be so impressed. Kim was my super organized friend in high school who tried with her best effort to keep me organized. By our senior year she gave up and just laughed when she saw all the papers shoved into my notebook. “It’s here somewhere…I know I have it.” Kim would sit there and shake her head.
My closet is in its worst state right now. I feel a looming dread inside followed by-why should I clean it? Everyone’s going to mess it up again anyway? In the past my instructions to our family to keep everything in its place has failed miserably. It’s the open the door and toss it in, closet. And it’s my job to create some kind of order to the chaos.
Yesterday, while thinking about cleaning the closet - I’m usually not an immediate doer, especially when it comes to cleaning closets. I have to let jobs simmer in my mind for awhile before I take action. Once I decide to take action though, stay out of my way, I attack jobs with extreme focus until they are complete. Just ask any of my family members. They stay far away from me when I’m writing or cleaning for company. Yesterday, while thinking about cleaning the closet (See how I get off track so easily…that’s probably why I was never organized in high school. I’d have a paper in my hand and already be thinking about two or three unrelated topics. I’d shove the paper anywhere because I had already moved on.) Yesterday, while thinking about cleaning the closet,..... I realized that the closet is a lot like my life.
I have a massive list of responsibilities piled up inside me. My family which includes many pets, a novel, this journal, housework, work, maintaining friendships, school meetings, volunteering, learning, and keeping fit are at the top of the pile. Sometimes I become overwhelmed. I want to give a hundred percent to everything and when I discover I can’t, I feel as though I have failed. That’s when I need to breathe and organize my inner closet. I have to put everything in its place neatly so I can see what I need to focus on each day. Feng Shui for the soul.
I always feel a great sense of accomplishment and control once all the decorations and shoes are neatly organized. I usually walk away wondering why I let the closet get so messy in the first place. I realize that I spent more time and energy getting upset about the chaos than actually doing something about it. It’s the same with my life. When I organize my responsibilities individually and tackle them one at a time, I accomplish a great deal more and I feel a sense of peace. I no longer see a giant insurmountable mess. I see blessings and I am reminded to be thankful for all that I have - even messy closets.
Please join my Mystic fan page and help me get my novel published. What do you get in return? Warm fuzzies for helping an unknown author realize her dreams:)
Now here's the Rant....
A few days ago I took both my kids for their yearly physical. Apparently the pediatricians have updated more than their new computer filing system. It was a much more thorough exam than my children have ever had to endure. What’s with the endless list of must have vaccines? What I thought was going to be an easy doctor’s visit turned into a three hour ordeal.
I’m lucky in that our trips to the pediatrician are few. However, we belong to a practice with many doctors. I soon found out there was only one doctor familiar with Arielle’s spinal cord injury. I hadn't scheduled our appointment with her because Arielle needed to start track conditioning and she wasn’t available.
So, the new doctor walks into the room looks at Arielle and asks why she is in a wheelchair. I’m thinking…oh no! To those of us who can walk, it may not seem like such a big deal to ask but believe me, to Arielle, if she doesn’t know you…don’t ask. I held my breath knowing what was going through her mind. She’s a bright kid and I’m sure she was doing a lot of editing to her reply. She flatly said… “I have a spinal cord injury from a car accident.” At least she didn’t tell the story of how she was skiing and a bear came out and attacked her. Arielle has a whole arsenal of interesting stories ready to reply to that dreaded question from a stranger. The doctor's faux pas was right after the nurse looked beyond Arielle to me and asked me a question that should have been directed at Arielle. She spoke over her. (Another big no - no!) I'm practically sweating at this point.
Oh it get’s better. Suddenly the new physicals entail completely undressing. I don’t know how we always escaped it before, but it never occurred to me that the kids would have to put on those lovely paper towel dresses. Of course since they are twelve and sixteen, they had to be in separate rooms. The doctor hands Elle (Arielle) the paper towel and says to me “Go with her in the other room and undress her and put that on.” I think I was in such shock that I stared at him in disbelief because he repeated himself. Did Arielle not just answer his question of “How are you doing in school?” with “I have straight A’s?” Maybe I should have added that she has pre calculus and AP courses. Did he really think she was incapable of dressing herself? And what made it all ten times worse was that he said this in front of her little brother, Kai.
The appointment ended with the three of us walking out wondering what had just happened. Never had a visit for a yearly physical been so uncomfortable and stressful. I bought Kai some fast food after telling the doctor we hardly ever eat fast food. (Take that!) And I drove Elle back to school at 6:30 pm. for her Mercato practice. She was quiet which is never a good sign.
Later we talked about what happened. I always try to give the other person’s point of view to help her understand that it wasn’t that the doctor intentionally meant to hurt her. He didn’t know that the things he said were inappropriate. He didn’t treat her like a capable person and that was wrong. Yes, being an adult and being a pediatrician he should have known better however he clung to an old belief system. I’ve written about it before. Walk…Wheel This Way.
I asked Arielle if I could write about this doctor’s visit. She wanted me to make sure I included that it is only when strangers ask the dreaded question that she gets insulted. If she knows you or if it’s a young elementary student that asks, she is okay with talking about her injury. Of course beware; if she’s feeling impish you may be on the receiving end of quite a tale. Apparently she had some new friends in high school convinced she really had been attacked by a bear.
For those adults who follow this journal whether on Facebook, or my Mystic fan page, it is always okay to ask me about what happened and our lives living with Elle’s injury. I wrote about it in 2007 for an online magazine in England and then Rob at the Reeve Foundation added our pictures and posted it last year. I will include both links. I also want to say that even though Amelia in Mystic is paralyzed, I have used only my knowledge of life in a wheelchair for the story. Arielle is very different from Amelia. So, if you have read chapter one…the only incident that is real is the substitute yelling at Amelia to stand for the pledge. Yes, that really did happen and I thought it should be included. But I also must say that the man that embarrassed her is a really sweet man. He made a mistake like the doctor. And I’m a substitute teacher so I can make fun of them.
After all this ranting, I am hoping my mind will calm again so I can get back to my imaginary world of Mystic. Should I be nervous that I enjoy it there so much?
Here are the links..um...maybe you should grab a tissue. While you read it, please keep in mind that Arielle is doing great. She's an excellent student, she helped encourage the FHSAA to implement wheelchair racing as a track event in high schools, she's still a talented musician and she wants to be a film director one day. In other words the articles are meant to be inspirational:)
If you live in Florida you look forward to the days when you can open up your house and turn your air conditioning off. First, because it is a reminder of why you live in Florida. While others are scraping snow off their windshields, you are sitting on your lanai in short sleeves sipping your favorite beverage and saying, "we truly do live in paradise." Second, because after months of paying your astronomical electric bill, you finally turn off your air and watch your bill drop like your mouth when you see your son put his dirty dish in the dishwasher. It's cause for a happy dance. So when the temperatures drop like your electric bill, turning on the heat defeats the whole purpose of turning off the air. I'm sitting here typing, my fingers are stiff, my body is shivering even with three layers of clothes and my thermostat looks like this....
On the right is the temperature I prefer. On the left, notice how the white line has given up on finding the correct temperature. It slants down from seventy to sixty degrees. It's so cold in our house our thermostat has gone into shock.
So today, the day before our crazy schedule begins. ( I just added all our activities to my new Eckhart Tolle calendar. I filled up January through March.) I'm going to find the warmest blanket in my house and curl up next to this...
And hope that my kind, loving, talented, husband will make me this....
The Greatest Grilled Cheese Ever!
1. Thinly sliced Granny Smith apples
2. Thinly sliced onion
3. Thinly sliced cloves of garlic
Fry the above ingredients in butter on medium heat until the onion becomes translucent
Pour in a splash of Kirsch and wait until it's absorbed-Take off stove and let cool
Butter bread on outside
Layer thinly sliced white cheddar cheese - Load up with apple onion mixture - Cover with a slice of Swiss and grill- Yum!!!!
So, here's what I'm going to do. For everyone that leaves a comment on my Mystic fan page, journal or Facebook posting I'm going to donate .25 cents to the Reeve Foundation. I have to put a cap of $100.00 because 1. I'm not okaying this with hubby (current breadwinner of the family) 2. I haven't (yet) made any money from writing! 3. Daughter is itching to drive which means insurance payments for a teenager!
Here's Nathan's link (bottom of the page) so you can see all the good he's doing in the world. He has included other blogs that are also raising money for Heifer International. All you have to do is comment and they will donate. Just like me.
For all the Mystic fans, I will post chapter 2 the beginning of January. I told myself that I wasn't going to look at my LJ stats to see how many people were reading my blog.I didn't want the pressure either way. (Too many readers or too little) Then this morning I decided to change the look of my page and add a picture of me instead of plants or animals. I'm still getting used to my picture. It's daunting having me stare at me while I'm typing. AHHH! Anyway, I peeked at my stats and was elated at how many people read chapter 1 of Mystic. Thank you! It's exciting and I'll certainly take the pressure of having many readers.
Happy Holidays to everyone. I know some of you are still out shopping so I'll keep the comment section for donations open through Dec.31st. All you have to do is leave a comment and it's the equivalent of a .25 cent donation.
Nathan's blog: http://blog.nathanbransford.com/200
Here's what I do like though. This morning I woke before both the kids, turned on the Ellen show and started my last batch of pizzelles and no bake chocolate peanut butter cookies. Elle eventually joined me. She asked if her brother was awake yet so he could make her a smoothie and then watched Ellen with me. We teared up when Ellen gave away a car to a single mom working twelve hour shifts to support her family. Elle pointed out how cute Nahla looked sleeping peacefully on her beanbag chair. Kai came downstairs, sat at the counter with Elle and asked why I was making more cookies. He made his sister a smoothie and she told him someday she would put him in her movies if he would make her smoothies every day. We all laughed. We watched John Travolta and his daughter on Ellen. I thought how difficult this time must be for his family trying to celebrate the holiday and missing their son.
I realized that what I love about the holidays is extra time with my kids. Two weeks of conversations during the day and unexpected moments of laughter. Car rides together, singing to the Grease CD and me dancing while driving - embarrassing both of them. Seeing Kai curled up in a blanket playing his X-Box. Shooting basketball with Elle at the gym and then both of us complaining about being sore the next day. Kai playing his songs over and over on the piano. Those are a few of my favorite things. I'm a lucky mom.