Those Eyes …

img_27212Those are the eyes I’m always going to remember.

Nate and I went to the skateboard park the other day. He got lost in the concrete crowd, among a bunch of boys who were about three times his height, and tried to hold his own among the “bowls” and “rails” and “ramps.” He’d hang back, watch the other kids, then throw his board down and give things a try. I was proud of him. He looked fearless. He has his sticker-covered helmet, his scratched-up forehead, and enough holes in his jeans to give clear commentary that he’s a boy who’s not afraid of much.

Every 20 minutes or so, though, he’d ride back in my direction. He’d kick up his board, throw off his helmet and plop into the grass by my feet under the shade of the tree.

I would put my book down and ask him how it was going. “They’re good,” he’d say, shrugging a little and glancing over his shoulder at the bigger kids.

But then he’d smile at me, with his hand under his chin, and look at me in that way, with those eyes. He’s still my little guy. He still comes back and finds his comfort near me, every 20 minutes. Next month it’ll be every 30 minutes. Then next year it’ll be every hour. Then … maybe … not so much. Then he’ll be one of the big kids, doing his own thing. Fearless and not so much needing Mom, who brought him the Thermos of water and has the shady spot under the tree. …

But for now –

Those eyes. …

Blogs That Make Me Laugh

I’ve found so many terrific blogs. I review them for work, so I stumble across some really great finds. Sometimes they’re not exactly appropriate for work (where I’m looking for a health focus), but I scribble them down so I can add them to my own Google Reader at home. Plus I’ve met some really cool people on Twitter and in the blogosphere and would love to add them to my “friends” blogroll. I also have a few family members who are blogging now, including my son, who (of course!) I think is a brilliant new talent!

So, without further ado, I present the first installment: blogs that make me laugh.

I’ve already told you about Cake Wrecks. I still read that one every day and find it to be hilarious. But I have a few others in my “Funny” folder:

The Typing Makes Me Sound Busy — J-Money cracks me up every day with her adventures as she approaches 30, not really sure where she’s going or how she’s getting there. Her rapid-fire punchlines and stream-of-consciousness humor have a bit of a Dennis Miller sound (but make more sense!). Her site was nominated for Best Humor Blog in the Blogger’s Choice Awards. She never lets me down.

Amalah — Amy Storch’s tales of mommydom make me laugh as often as they make me tear up. This editor-turned-blogger weaves us through her tales of raising two small boys in Washington, DC, battling confusing “learning evaluations” for her older son (who she constantly worries has a learning disability) and wondering if she’s taking as many pictures of her second son as she should (they’re adorable!). Her writing style is top-notch and always has me tuned in the next day. She’s a 2007 Weblog Awards winner for Best Parenting Blog. Continue reading

Every Writer’s Nightmare: FILE NOT FOUND

computer-crashYou say it’s not going to be you. You put your manuscript on a flash drive; you diligently back it up; you take care not to have only one copy. You know there are such things as fires, floods, and crashed computers – you’re smart. You take precautions.

But then … it happens.

Backing up a manuscript is sort of like the good behavior you exhibit after getting a speeding ticket. Right after the ticket, you’re careful. You say you’re never going to do it again, and you drive around with extreme caution – for years and years, even. But then you start going a little faster. And a little faster. And faster still. You forget the danger. You forget the ticket. And then you see the lights flashing in the rear-view mirror again. …

The lights flashed for me again recently. I had spent a whole day making changes to my manuscript: it was one of those thrilling days where I had no obligations, nothing to do but write. In fact, I told my husband I wasn’t getting out of my pajamas unless absolutely necessary. I planned to spend the entire day with the laptop, making changes to my manuscript that were long overdue. I had thought them through during vacation and was eager to get started. It was a sweeping change – involving changing a character and her motivations – and I had numerous notes and several snippets of dialogue written in my head. It was all concentrated into one area – Act III (for me, about ten chapters, all in one file, where all the changes take place for the character’s arcs). It was a glorious day – I worked from morning until late in the afternoon, tweaking and polishing. I wrote for hours, excitedly telling my husband how much better this book was going to be. I went into my seventh hour. I was on fire. Continue reading

My Launch Back Into Exercising

So I went on a walk today in my quest to get back into shape. (And by “in shape” I simply mean able to do a simple hike at Yosemite without panting and having my lungs feel like knives are ripping into them. …) Sheesh. … 

Plus, I need to lose weight, and I know exercise is a huge factor I always ignore.

So the quest was on. I decided to start by carving out a simple hour on the weekend. When I was younger (and more spontaneous and less picky), I think I used to be able to just “go on a walk” without much difficulty. But now … holy cow … now the moon needs to align with Saturn for things to be “just right” for exercise.

First, I couldn’t find my old running shoes. Well, I couldn’t find ONE shoe (which is really the same thing, right?). One was right there in my closet, but the other was nowhere. I remembered that my daughter borrowed them once for P.E. early this year, and I tried to picture where she might fling them when finished. I looked under the bed, in the depths of the closet, under the nightstands, in her room, in her bathroom. Argh. Plan thwarted. Back to bed.

The next week, I had found the shoe (it was under my armoire, by the way), but when I went to get ready, I realized I didn’t have any socks. I tried to hobble together some combination of my daughter’s socks (which are quite huge) and my husband’s (which, as we’ve discussed here, are BLACK), but I couldn’t bring myself to go out into public like that. Plan thwarted. Back to bed. Continue reading

Why Do Girls Go for ‘Bad Boys’?

In comments the other day, Bill Q. brought up a topic that tends to slide its way into my family’s dinner conversation from time to time:

Unfortunately, what I recall in my high-school days is that many of the girls seemed to go for the good-looking guys who treated them like dirt.

Hmmm … yes, unfortunately, I remember that, too, Bill. And my 15-year-old son brings it up a lot.

My son considers himself one of the “nice guys.” He bemoans this sad truth and simply shakes his head at the fact that many of the girls he likes tend to gravitate, instead, toward the boys who are the troublemakers, the attention-getters. The boys who shrug off authority and any kind of … well … learning.

I told him that this won’t go on forever. I passed the salt and pepper shakers and said eventually girls will see “his type” as the more desirable. (I believe he gave me that “yeah, sure, Mom” look.)

But in the meantime I was faced with the question he posed to me and my tween daughter: Why do girls go for the “bad boys”? And why has that been true for generations?

At the time neither of us had an answer. (In fact, I think we both denied it.) But later, I thought about it again and remembered some discussions I’ve participated in on romance-writing blogs, where the “bad boy” is still alive and well in many a fiction setting (usually with boxing gloves, tatoos, a motorcycle and a mysterious past).  Continue reading

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