Monthly Archives: January 2011

Hello Old Man Winter!

I keep saying that since the National Weather Service has given us a 100% chance of a winter storm we’ll barely get a dusting of snow. That’s the way it works around here. Last year before the blizzard, they expected a dusting and we got 8-12 inches of the fluffy white stuff.
I told my students we have a Wichita Falls Weather Shield. That all around us will be snowed in, but we’ll be in the clear. They told me to stop talking because they want a snow day. I’d rather have Good Friday off. ๐Ÿ™‚
When I got home, DH and I decided to run to the grocery store, but the stores look like people think we’re under nuclear attack, so we tried Braum’s instead.
Perfect.
I got milk, and that’s all I needed. No problem.
They have all sorts of groceries at Braum’s and very few people were there.
It was DH’s idea. He’s good like that sometimes. ๐Ÿ™‚

Dang it!

So tried to go shopping today and couldn’t find anything in Wichita Falls.
AND I found out I’m as big as I’ve ever been.
I worked out hours and hours and hours this summer, took care of my diet for the first three months of school and ate in moderation this holiday season except on Thanksgiving and Christmas.
It’s so discouraging.
I barely lost weight when I was working out, but I gain weight by thinking of food.
And the clothes here look like something my grandma would have bought.
Wah.
Vent over.
Back to regularly scheduled programming.

writing

Finally using the iPad and wireless keyboard the way it was intended: writing!
The work’s not pretty…actually it’s completely bare bones, but I’m getting some words down.

Race Matters

In my av pro class we’ve been looking at tv shows, pulling them apart, analyzing everything from camera angles to dialogue to conflict patterns to scene & sequel to character cues. It’s been fun for me and for most of my students, but one, one whose been a true joy in class this year, has progressively gotten more and more agitated, aggravated, almost angry as we’ve worked. Today, he finally crossed the line into disrespectful, refused to pull up his sagging pants, kept talking about the Taylor Gang, a rap artist known for marijuana. I kept the show we were studying playing and asked the young man to join me in the hall so we could talk. At first he just kept up the front, the I don’t need this bs, I hate everything attitude, but finally, he said something that grabbed my attention.
“ain’t nothing about this show that has anything to do with me.”
He was right.
He’s a teenager of color and the characters we’ve studied are all white or Asian with a Hispanic thrown in every once in a while.
In the end, this led to some great discussion. I was able to talk to him about how this is a real problem everywhere on tv. He said he doesn’t want to watch tv targeting him as a black young man. He wants to watch tv that has black young men as part of a bigger picture, a picture that isn’t all about color of skin.
I realized something then.
For months he’s teased me about saying things “because I’m racist” and we both know it’s a joke. But for the last week, he’s been subjected to in your face racism and I didn’t even realize it, and worst of all, it was my lesson plans that made the racism happen.
Tomorrow we’re going to look at The Office and talk about comedy and how there’s a subtlenous (is that a word?) and over-the-top and appropriate that almost crosses a line, and then we’re going to write opinion pieces about topics of their choice.
Today the young man told me he feels like he’s invisible in the world of “white people tv.” I hope he’ll write about that and tell me how he’d make a true color blind society on tv and whether that’s realistic or not.
And then…I don’t know. I was thinking we would look at Buffy, but that doesn’t address this issue. Maybe Veronica Mars? I don’t know, but I do know well be doing a race and gender in tv week sometime in the next four weeks, and it’s going to take a ton of planning on my part. I may even see if the young man will lead one of our classes. ๐Ÿ™‚
And,
I’m going to suggest he reads The Invisible Man. I think he’s ready.

GMC and Your Grace is Enough

My characters’ actions lack motivation. Blah. I really wish I could rediscover my writing mojo!

DH and I are using YouVersion to do a couple bible studies, and last night I was searching Youtube for thoughts on grace. I found this and loved it!

Disconnect, unconnect, pull the plug, shut it down

turn it off, close it, stop.
My name is Mary Beth Lee, and I’m a Facebook addict.
Or, more precisely,
a Farm Town, Pet Society Bejeweled Blitz addict.
It’s silly, really. here’s nothing exciting about the game. And often I find myself saying I’m so bored, why am I playing this?
My addictions came about around the same time I subscribed to cable Internet.
Suddenly, I was always connected.
The Internet has been a good thing for me, but I’m not sure if the good completely outweighs the bad.
This always connected, always on, always plugged in me isn’t nearly as productive as the B.I. (before internet) me.
I saw a political cartoonist on Slate pledged to disconnect for a year. He’s going to write about the experience when it’s over.
I don’t think I can commit to a complete disconnect, but I’m going to try an online limit this week, and NO Bejeweled Blitz. Wish me luck. I’ll report in next week.

The Real Undomestic Goddess

This story isn’t like others. The heroine doesn’t start off big city, big business, too busy for motherly, housewifely things like gourmet cooking, baking cupcakes and birthday cakes that look like Barbie dolls and Winnie the Pooh, sewing cute little skirts from Vogue Patterns, ironing–anything, serving as room mother and soccer coach and Camp Fire Mom. She doesn’t suddenly learn the truths of all times, become infused with creativity from a fairy godmother named Mary the Good Mom and help her daughter triumph over the evil of fourth grade mean girls.
It’s a real story. A look at motherhood from the eyes of someone who almost let her job that pays the bills trump the job that makes life worth living. A look at the life of a wife who spent hours with people who didn’t mean all that much and not much time with the man who meant the most.
It’s my story. And if I look back over this blog from its inception, I see the change in me.
Today I can cook…some. Mexican dishes, no problem. I worked three years at Del Taco, rising to the ranks of shift manager before walking off the job in protest (dumb, but I was 20. 20-yr-olds can be dumb and recover). In my time there I learned to make the best guacamole, pico de gallo and enchiladas I’ve ever tasted. Ask my mom & dad. They’ll tell you it’s true. And then the rest of the family will jump in laughing about how funny it is that I can make those dishes and still manage to burn baked potatoes and nearly destroy a brand new grill at the same time. (Thanks to Del Taco I can also make those cute lemon flowers using a pairing knife and a cold lemon. It’s a skill I don’t show off all that often. But it’s mine, and I’m proud to claim it.)
Lasagna and Manicotti, yeah, I can make those to die for, too. Not sure why because they’re actually hard to make, and I don’t really follow a recipe, I just combine everything from Food Network and a stick of butter (thanks Paula Deen), and it works.
Pantry soup…well, I like it. The family doesn’t, but they’re crazy.
I can bake cookies and rolls and German chocolate cakes and, after Christmas with Dad, pecan pie.
I sort of, kind of, a little bit learned to make jelly this summer with my amazing sister-in-law (a real life Domestic Goddess!)
I can’t iron. Not really. Not without hurting someone. And maybe starting a nuclear war.
I can clean…I just don’t.
What I can do, and what I think makes up for the I can’ts is love. I love completely, unabashedly, 100%.
Now, I think it’s a good trade off. But I spent a lot of years feeling guilty over what I can’t do. And that guilt weighed me down like a batch of homemade biscuits I tried to make once. (The birds wouldn’t even eat them. I threw them in the dead garden. They might still be there. Along with the dead plants.)
I’m me.
I like me.
It took almost 42 years to get to this place.
It’s a good place to be.

It’s been a long time…

We learned yesterday that our district is probably going to lose $8-$10 million in state funding for next year. It’s so scary. I’m glad I’m certified to teach English. And speech. And Tech Apps. And journalism.
And I’m glad I’ve been teaching for 16 years in the same school district at the same school.
It’s a scary time in Texas education. But it could be worse. Illinois is a disaster. New Jersey and Michigan and California are, too.

On the bright side…
I finished Karen Marie Moning’s Fever series today during lunch.
OMG. It’s beyond amazing. BUT you must read it in order or the character arc gets lost. You should definitely read the series!

hello Y

Back at the Y this week. It was hard to make myself go today even though I absolutely LOVE the Zumba instructor. I was just soooooo tired. Guess what? The Y made me feel better.
I’m also using the loseit app again. Hopefully, I see results.

When it’s just not that great

Spent last night going over WIP so I can hit the ground running today. The story has nuggets of greatness in it. Small, bite sized, miniscule, rollypolly-sized bits of greatness. Enough that I’m not going to throw it away and start from scratch. But man does it stink!

I know, I know. I broke the cardinal rule. I read the work I was writing with an editor’s eye instead of letting the right brain do its thing and create, breathe life onto the page, sing the song of “novelizing.” But it’s been two weeks since I looked at the pages and I needed to refresh my memory before I let the creative brain get down to business. It’s not pretty. In fact, it’s like I have this outline for a story with some interesting moments and some decent dialogue. But I don’t have a fully developed story, not by a long shot.

So I’m going to take this baby apart scene by scene, flesh it out, hopefully make it something great, something ready to see the world. It’s not going to be easy. It’s going to take patience. I’m going to have to SLOW DOWN. I need to remember this isn’t a cross stitch pattern. I used to do cross stitch. I’d get starte ,and I’d love the idea so much. Perfect little X’s that ended up turning into this beautiful photo made from different colored yarns. I’d spend hours and hours and hours working toward the end and then the end would be in sight and I’d rush those last X’s through just to finish, and sometimes, often, that meant sating up all night because I couldn’t stand to go to bed when I was so close to “the end.” I’d get this tingly feeling in my hands, this taste of “being done!” in my throat, this fluttery feeling in my chest. And the next day the picture would be complete. Messy but done. And I’d smile and congratulate myself on a job well done and start on the next one, promising myself that this time, I’d slow down so the last stitches were as pretty and perfect as the first. THe same thing happens when I write. I get started and I see the end of the scene a few words in and I write, write, write to get there, and somehow, I leave out the emotion and depth of the middle. Then I spend hours trying to make them something different, something better and people tell me that’s the way it’s supposed to work because the revision process that comes after the book is done is all about making the magic.

I’m going to try to do the magic now instead of writing the whole book and then mixing in the revisions. I know I’ll still have revisions to do when it’s all done, but hopefully I have something stronger to start with.

Wish me luck!