Adopting a new outlook

I travel light. I think the most important thing is to be in a good mood and enjoy life, wherever you are.  ~ Diane von Furstenberg

Okay, my suitcase is a wee bit larger than the one in the photo but I am determined to be in a good mood and enjoy myself on my upcoming trip.

In fact, Ms. von Furstenberg’s outlook is very sound and I’d like to adopt it every day, no matter where I roam. Look out world, well-adjusted adult coming through!

Bring on the colorful fun!

Revising a manuscript can be overwhelming, especially when your agent sends two pages of notes. I’m hugely grateful for her insights and feedback, but there are moments when I panic and think it’s gonna be impossible to bring coherency to this messy draft. That’s where the colorful fun comes into play.

Highlighters + sticky notes + bound manuscript = me forging ahead.

I’m holding tight to my color-coded revision process because it keeps me organized, but also because using different colors bring me happiness. Novel-writing should include joy and happiness as much as possible. And because coffee and peanut butter rice cakes also bring joy and happiness, they are equally mandatory to my process.

I will bring order to this messed-up draft. You heard it here first.

My sunny bouquet

This is what I saw when I exited the building after getting good news from my dentist .

I swear, it felt as if these flowers had bloomed just for me.

Happiness is …

. . . a good sneeze.

. . . Coreopsis blooming.

. . . hoop dancing to Aretha Franklin’s “Rock Steady.”

. . . watching my sons find their way.

. . . the versatility of the word “fuck.”

. . . checking an item off a to-do list.

. . . singing along with the radio.

. . . cherries in season.

. . . a Red-tailed Hawk floating on an air current.

. . . realizing a revised chapter is much better than before.

. . . yelling “Steve Holt!”

. . . wrestling with a dog.

. . . peeing after holding it too long.

. . . not caring what anyone else thinks.

. . . popcorn and beer.

. . . a no-look basketball pass.

. . . napping on a rainy afternoon.

. . . napping on a snowy afternoon.

. . . reading on a rainy or snowy afternoon.

. . . never feeling guilty about napping or reading.

. . . a cat on the lap.

. . . a Western Meadowlark’s song.

. . . running hard and feeling strong.

. . . clean sheets.

. . . never, ever having to change another poopy diaper.

. . . hearing a tantrum in a restaurant and knowing it ain’t my responsibility.

. . . laughing ’til you cry.

. . . painted toenails.

. . . coffee in bed.

. . . changing out of boots after a long hike.

One little piece of happiness for every day in June.

Switching Off My Nonfiction Brain

I just turned in the second of two nonfiction projects due this month.
Oh, happy day!
Don’t get me wrong, I do enjoy nonfiction.
I love the research and
the learning and
the challenge of distilling all that information for young readers.

But right now I’m happy happy happy
knowing that I’m (temporarily, at least) going back
to fiction
where it is not necessary to footnote every single sentence.

Fiction: where it’s all about making up shit.

Be still, my heart.
beating heart clipart

Sunshine + Birds = Improved Outlook

It’s been soul-crushingly cold this past week, but today the temperature in the shade is hovering at the freezing mark and is almost tolerable in the sun. My feathered friends have been here throughout the week, eating seeds and drinking from the heated bath. I’m grateful for their company.

Birds in cold and snow 001


Birds in cold and snow 005

Birds in cold and snow 008

Stay warm, friends!

Running Wild, Running Free

The last time I went for a run was 81 days ago. Today, with the full blessing of my physical therapist, I ran again.

It’s been a hard bunch of months around here as I went from being someone who did yoga almost every morning plus ran a couple times per week plus lifted weights three times per week plus sneaking in a hooping session or two, to a woman who couldn’t do much of anything.

How did that happen? It was the strangest thing but apparently my old gluteal muscle aka left butt cheek issue didn’t like how I ignored it and let it get tighter and tighter, and so triggered other tight points in my body which culminated in my back getting so tight and painful that it hurt to move. I literally went from being able to put my palms flat on the floor to the next day not being able to reach much past my knees. It was bizarre.

Depression ensued. As did loss of muscle and weight gain. Many tears were shed as I wallowed in what I was afraid would be a permanent condition. I went on my first job interview in about twenty years (with the hope I’d be better by the time the job started) and was hired to work at the library, but ended up having to tell them I couldn’t take the position due to my physical limitations. I never, ever would’ve guessed I’d have to turn down a job for that reason, and it was humbling.

But my physical therapist and I persevered, and then I started getting massages from a genius therapist who focused on trigger points which then allowed me to do more of the stretching and strengthening exercises without pain. We saw light at the end of the tunnel.

Today I came out of that tunnel. I walked for ten minutes then ran (slowly) for fifteen minutes then walked another ten, ran another fifteen, and walked ten more minutes for a whopping total of 60 minutes of exercise! All I’ve done over the last several months was walk for about thirty minutes at a time, and when I walked home this afternoon I wept tears of gratitude and happiness and oh-my-goddess-I’ve-missed-running-so-very-much-tears.

I’d left a note for Zebu letting him know when I took off and when to expect me home, asking him to drive up the street to find me if I hadn’t returned by then. Just as I walked into the driveway, the garage door went up. There was my son, the one who’s been so sad on my behalf as I struggled to regain my mobility, getting ready to come haul his sad mama home. He smiled when he saw me there and his smile got bigger when I told him I felt great.

Here I am, fresh out of the shower, so very happy to be back:Tracy after run on April 9 2014 (for blog post)