Archive for March, 2014

I don’t know about the rest of the country, but anyone who lives in the north knows it’s been a long, cold, snowy winter.  Put emphasis on long.  We’re tired of shivering.  We’re tired of spinouts on the roads.  We’re tired of walking bent over, watching for those patches of ice that crop up everywhere.

Even though the snow isn’t gone yet there’s a place where springtime is blooming.  A bunch of us bundled up and drove to Macy’s in Minneapolis for the annual flower show.  The theme this year was The Secret Garden.  Not only was the flower show a breath of fresh air, I feel like reading the book again.

Getting off the elevator on the eighth floor of Macy’s gave us an aromatic preview of what we were about to see.  When we walked through the entrance we were transported from a bleak winter to a warm and colorful spring.

Tulips, cherry blossoms, English daisies and orchids.  Those were just a few of the hundreds of flowers set throughout a meandering path.

As we strolled along the paths we started feeling more hopeful that spring will arrive.  It has to.  We need some color in our lives.

We even got to see the grand dame of springtime.  She was quite impressive and very glamorous.

And that’s only a quarter of her!

A flowing gown made from a variety of red flowers.  Who needs perfume with a dress like that?

We’re in for some more snow, but with the temperatures up in the 40s and 50s this weekend I don’t think it will get a chance to accumulate.  Tonight Husby and I are going to light a fire in the fireplace for the last time of the season; that’s how sure we are that spring is on the way.  Not only that, I’ve begun my spring cleaning!

I hope your springtime arrives soon if it hasn’t already.   If you’re feeling less than hopeful, go through these photos again.  They’ll warm you up.

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Married life can get pretty dull sometimes…for some people.  I’m one of the lucky ones; my husband keeps me entertained nearly every minute I’m with him.

The other day Husby was gracious enough to allow me to record one of his talents, a talent I didn’t even know he had!  I don’t think he knew he had the talent either, so I guess this makes him kind of an idiot savant?  With that, I present the magnificent performance of Husby, and his musical clothespins.

Here’s to a week of finding amusement in the little things.

P.S.  Husby refuses compensation for his performances, but he does read the blog.  If you have any words of praise, please feel free to leave them in the comments.

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Way back in November I talked incessantly about participating in NaNoWriMo.  Miracle of miracles I wrote a first-draft, 50,000-word novel in thirty days.

And that was the end of that.

I’ve since tried to work on editing the novel to little avail.  And then my bloggy friend Kath of Miniscule Moments asked me recently, “how’s the writing going?”

Damn you, Kath!

Because of Kath and her undying support of my writing aspirations I decided to have a little interview with Trudy, the main character of my NaNoWriMo novel.  Wouldn’t you know that Trudy got the fires burning.  I want to get back to that blank page (which is basically how I see the editing process) and go for it.  Narcisse Harbor is at the forefront of my mind and I’ll be editing here and there until I deem it satisfactory for someone other than myself to read.

Thank you, Kath.  This blog post is dedicated to you.

So goes the interview with Trudy:

Me:  So, you’re Trudy.  You’ve come out of my head and onto the page, but you’re not exactly in living color, which is why I invited you here for a little chat.  I’d love to get to know you better.

Trudy:  That’s very nice, Sara.  I’m happy to be here.  However, you do realize that I’m pretty easy to figure out because A) part of me is you and B) the rest of me comes out of your head, so what’s to know?

Me:  Yeah, well, you don’t have to get all snarky about it.  I get your two points, but there’s got to be more and I’d love for you to help me delve into your psyche, or my imagination, to make you the most loveable and relatable character in my book.  So, if you’re done being a brat can we continue with the interview?

Trudy:  Oh all right!

Trudy sounded pretty exasperated with that last comment.

Me:  First of all, why Narcisse Harbor?  Why did you decide to move there instead of, say, Manhattan.  Everyone loves a city girl.  You could be a total Carrie Bradshaw if you wanted, but you decided to live in some podunk town on the shores of Lake Michigan.

Narcisse Harbor. A place I made up and a place I’ve been.

Trudy: I didn’t plan on moving to Narcisse Harbor.  It began as a get-away after my husband of ten years died unexpectedly.  Our lawyer was kind enough to let me stay at his lake house for a while and then wham!  He offered to sell it to me.  The guy was really smart and waited to offer the house to me after I’d been there for a while, long enough to really take to the place.  See, I started out like that Carrie Bradshaw city girl before I got married.  It’s kind of a long story.  Do you really want to get into it?

Me:  Well, yeah.  That’s why I’m here.

Trudy:  God.  OK.  I was a svelte city girl when I met Matthew, who later became my husband.  He convinced me to tone it down and become one of those suburban housewives, which was fine with me, except I didn’t know that would be the death of myself at the time.  After ten years of being a suburban housewife (of not-so-modest means – we were stinkin’ rich actually) and finding a dead husband in my bed one morning, Julian, our lawyer, suggested I go to Narcisse Harbor because he was convinced I’d find the people I was really meant to be with.  I was skeptical, as is my nature, but damn if in the end he wasn’t right.  And it wasn’t until after I found those people that he offered to sell me his house.  It was like he was psychic or something.

Me:  So, what’s with the writing thing?  You’re always writing stuff on your laptop, and for what?  You’re not blogging, so your “journal”  isn’t shared with anyone.  You don’t have any kids so you’re not leaving it for posterity.  What’s the deal?

Trudy:  You know all about the writing.  Sometimes you just have to do it.  No, I don’t write to share it with anyone, I write because the blank page is a trusted friend to whom I can tell anything.  Anything.  I have conversations with this blank page.  Yes, conversations.  It talks back to me, although what it says is like invisible ink.  I respond to what it says and only my thoughts are shown on the page.  It’s an outlet.  If I didn’t have it I might likely hurt myself or others.  That’s cause for major medical lock-down action, and I don’t want to contend with that.   So I write.

Me:  Are you telling me you’re a lonely soul?

Trudy:  Not so much lonely, but I was misunderstood for a really long time.  The blank page/screen understood me.  Despite my independent nature, there’s something in all of us that wants someone or something to understand us, at least partially.  And because I’ve been without a family for so long I didn’t have anyone who knew me my whole life.  There’s something to that, you know?  Even family members who’ve know you your whole life get you to some extent.  It was only when I got married that I realized no one “got” me except myself/blank page.

Me:  But David understood you.  Tell me about your treacherous love triangle.

Trudy:  *laughing*  You make it sound so dramatic.

Me:  You’re right.  We’re not here to talk about the other characters in the story.  In a nutshell, tell me how your life has been until this point, and why it’s like that.

Trudy:  I was family-less for a long time.  I sought excitement and attention in my city life, bar hopping and being drown in loud music.  I stayed busy in a hectic social scene to forget what I was missing, but when it comes right down to it I knew I wouldn’t find any answers or comfort in that lifestyle.  It was just a way to ignore the holes in my life.  Matthew came along and he was totally into me.  He was the person who had balls enough to ask me to marry him, so I did.  Then I did everything I could to make him happy.  Without knowing it I was making myself completely unhappy.  I didn’t come to terms with that until after Matthew died.  When Julian offered his lake house as a respite after Matthew’s death and all the pomp and circumstance after his death I finally came to terms with who I really was and met some people with whom I felt comfortable enough to be myself.  Because I went to Narcisse Harbor as an anonymous phantom it didn’t really matter to me if I created relationships or not.  Despite my anonymity those people found me and cared enough to leave me in my anonymity until I was ready to reveal myself.

Me:  I feel kind of sorry for you.

Trudy:  Oh please.  Don’t.  Brian May said it best in the song Good Company: “All through the years in the end it appears there was never really anyone but me.”  Once we realize that, we can begin to live our lives to the fullest without depending on or blaming anyone else for what happens to us.

Me:  Wow.  You’re really insightful.  It’s amazing that I invented you.

Trudy:  Congratulations.  With the creation of me you’re learning a little bit about yourself, huh?

Me:  Yeah, well, I think we can both thank the blank page for what we’ve become.

Trudy:  I’ll drink to that.

So Kath, and all you other people out there, what do you think of Trudy?

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One Year, Eight Months To Go

March 17 is coming to a close.  Most people associate this date with St. Patrick’s Day.  For those of you who do, I hope it was a good one.  I, personally, don’t celebrate St. Patrick’s Day, nor do I pretend to be Irish to make an excuse to get wasted celebrate on this date.  For me, March 17 is the anniversary of my first big girl job…the day job.  I’ve held it for thirty-four years, and while that’s an accomplishment by some standards, for me it’s grown tiresome and depressing.

For the past couple of years I’ve been seeing the light at the end of the tunnel grow bigger and brighter, but my movement toward it is like running through a river of molasses in January.  People say the last five years fly by.  They haven’t been flying for me.

On the other hand, when I think about not having a day job I get a little freaked out.  I’ve been getting up too early in the morning for too many years.  What will happen if left to my own sleeping patterns?  And my driving, will it suffer?  I’m so used to driving in mental traffic it’s second nature to me.  If I don’t drive through morning and afternoon rush hour will I turn into one of those people, scared to drive faster than forty miles per hour?

I don’t suppose I have to be concerned about those and other things just yet as I still have nearly two years before they’ll let me go with all of my benefits.  Until that day I’ll continue to complain about not sleeping enough and get frustrated with people who don’t know the difference between merge and yield.

The weirdest thing about it?  Today marked the beginning of my thirty-fifth year at the day job and I don’t even feel like I’m thirty-five years old much less have worked at one job that long.

I guess I’ll just keep plugging along and hope with all my heart they don’t decide to fire me ten minutes before I’m eligible to retire.

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The other day I watched one of my favorite movies, Baby Boom.  It’s a predictable chick flick made in 1987 that I can watch over and over again because it gives me a feeling of business/creative empowerment.  The story in a nutshell: heavy hitter, single business woman working for a large marketing firm inherits a baby, moves to the country, experiences many pitfalls to owning a country house on many acres of orchard, learns to make applesauce out of boredom and necessity, sells the applesauce as “gourmet baby food” and becomes a huge success in her own right.  Cool, right?  And plus the movie stars Diane Keaton, who I love.

A pivotal scene in the movie is when Diane Keaton is at her wit’s end and is contemplating burning down her money pit country house.  She ordered two dozen cans of kerosene at the store when two yuppie couples come in.  The city couples go mental when they see Diane Keaton, her baby and the homemade applesauce with its cute country packaging.  “Gourmet baby food!  Fabulous idea!”  They buy a couple dozen jars each.

Gourmet baby food! Fabulous idea!

Lately I’ve been working on some new drink charm sets and am pursuing a new way of marketing my bottle cap magnets.  I’m also testing some lovely little beeswax container candles.  New twists on things I’ve been making for years.

Not one of my new sets, but a best seller. Who can resist the characters of Oz?

I’m excited about the new charms and “twists” I’ve come up with.  When I hit the shows this summer I’ll see people look at my wares, pick them up, inspect them and tell me, “fabulous idea!”  Those are the times that make a crafter proud.

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