wednesday words

teratism. love or worship of the monstrous; an anomaly.

view the whole set of words here.

more fun with words!

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for your information

i've gotten a bunch of emails and comments about these three things:

book & pie club

we get together, eat pie and talk about books. amy & i had the idea last summer when i was talking about how desperate i was to talk about gone girl. we were eating cake and discussing pie and books at a party and it just happened. book & pie club was formed. books we've read so far: gone girl, deathless, mink river, cloud atlas, and right now we're reading if walls could talk. we meet every 2-3 months; everyone brings pie, a savory snack or possibly an adult beverage; we rotate hosts and we pick the next book at each meeting. we really do try to talk about both the books assigned and books we're currently reading or have just read - sometimes more successfully than others. there is always pie though. 

grandma club

grandma club was started by donovan & kathy in chicago to "explore traditions from scratch." they've made all sorts of awesome stuff and played mah jongg, put together jigsaw puzzles and indulged in a few cocktails. kateri & i joked that once she moved here we'd be starting the west coast chapter because we plan to spend our summer canning. but, it seems some friends in california are interested in starting their own chapter so we will no longer be the only grandma club on the west coast. kateri & i are meeting as things appear at the farmer's market; i think kathy & donovan meet on a more regular schedule. so far this summer we've made two kinds of strawberry jam and raspberry jam. there is peach jam, boozy cherries, canned tomatoes and lots of pickles in our future. 

tap dancing


i get a lot of questions about tap dancing from people who really want to learn but are scared to death of walking into a dance class. start with your local park district. those classes will more than likely be geared toward beginners and will have students from a wide variety of backgrounds and skill levels. when i went to my first class back in january, i was talking with a woman before class who, like me, hadn't tapped since she was a child. there was also a woman who had take this particular class for a year and a half and said she still sucked but it was too much fun to quit. i've now taken classes with three different teachers and each class was really different. if you don't love the class you're taking, try a different teacher. everyone's style is different and it might make a world of difference for you. wear comfortable clothes, be prepared to sweat and look like a jack ass (at first.) after her first class, my friend phoebe said "i've never been so happy doing somthing i am so terrible at!" its totally true. its a great cardio workout and has the same brain benefits. i am happy and totally chilled out when i leave class. i don't even care that i am also completely gross and sweaty. if you're in portland, i can't say enough good things about sue's class on wednesday nights at 6:30 PM at jack london bar. don't want to commit and buy a pair of shoes? sue's got you covered - she brings a suitcase full of shoes. she picks fun songs -  last week we danced to the go-go's vacation. all kind of awesome.

if you start your own grandma club or book & pie club OR start taking tap, i want to know! 

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music monday

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wednesday words

exasperating. making very angry or impatient; annoying greatly.
increasing the gravity or intensity of the scene.

totally inspired by this article in the new york times.

check out all the words so far here.

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13 things

  1. he made me mixtapes. piles of them.
  2. he used to drive 6 hours each way, on the regular, to see me at college.
  3. he believes one of his purposes in life is to make me laugh. and he does.
  4. he admitted that he was jealous of my ability to say "word" and not sound dumb. he doesn't think he could pull it off.
  5. he can do anything he puts his mind to. "sure, i know how to build websites." and he does.
  6. he decided what he really wanted to be was a musician. he played 15 shows in a month. he's a musician.
  7. he is my number one cheerleader and believes i can do anything i put my mind to. even when i don't.
  8. he makes me coffee every morning.
  9. he's so god damn cute that when he told me he was sick last week, i kissed him anyway. and got sick.
  10. even though he doesn't want to be a dad, he's awesome with kids. its adorable.
  11. he loved my grandma. a lot. 
  12. on his 16th birthday, he got his driver's license and came right over to my house. i was not home. i was at the very first lollapalooza. with a boy i gave his ticket to. 
  13. he married me anyway.

here's to lucky 13, shawn! i'm looking forward to the next thirteen.

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music monday

i first heard rebirth brass band in college. it was at my very first college party. with a keg. it was september but still hot in ohio and the party was in the courtyard of my dorm. i remember searching the crowd frantically for someone else who looked like a first year, obvious because they were searching the crowd frantically for other first years. the older students just seemed so much cooler than we did. they were friendly but so intimidating. i talked with some girls i'd met and one of them said hi to a boy named j. j was standing in front of the stereo someone had dragged out to the couryard staring at a stack of cds in his hand. someone had told him to go get more music so he did but he was having trouble choosing one from the pile. a girl whose name i would never learn grabbed the pile, picked one from the middle and put it in the cd player. j looked like he was going to vomit. what came out of those speakers was magic. 

j looked so relieved when people started dancing. he set down the rest of the cds and we all danced. it was our first college party, at the end of our first week away from home. do whatcha wanna indeed.

last night, lovebomb gogo opened for rebirth again. its hotter than hell here in portland. so hot that after the show the lead trumpet player told us that it was one of the hottest shows they'd ever done. the man's from new orleans, y'all. he knows from hot. it felt like that night in yellow springs, and so many nights i've had in new orleans, dancing my ass off to this song.

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being all my selves

i was standing in the garden this morning, letting my mind wander while i watered. a neighbor ran past and shouted, "keep smiling!" i didn't even realize i was smiling. i tend to have chronic bitch face. also, right now i'm not feeling much like smiling. except i was. 

i spend a lot of time worrying. i worry about my friends, many of whom are struggling at the moment. i worry about my parents because i am an only child and i suffer the guilt that comes with being 2000 miles away. i worry about money even though there's enough. i worry about whether i am on the right path. then, i worry about my tomato plants that didn't get watered for a couple of weeks. i worry about getting another dog that will eventually die and break our hearts. i worry. i worry. and then i worry some more.

i may be worried about stuff, much of it invented. i may be letting the self doubt monster get the best of me. but i am also filled with gratitude. i am loved and supported. i know i'm on the right path and i'm grateful to have had the choice to take it. i'm also reminded of this:

the sound quality isn't the best but its worth listening to. joss whedon is one of my personal heroes. sometimes when i get stuck writing i think "what would joss do." (create a beloved character and then kill them brutally, of course.)  anyway, i listened to it right after it was posted and thought  "damn those lucky graduates."

this morning, this sentence came to mind: "peace comes from the acceptance of the part of you that can never be at peace."  that's where i'm at. embracing all my bits. things may have just gotten a bit easier.

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wednesday words

yes. an affirmative answer or decision; an exclamation used to give an affirmative response.

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being ok with sucking

for the last couple of weeks, i've been trying to edit the book. i'd been working on it little by little all spring but everytime i did, it stressed me out. at some point, in an effort to force myself to just finish the damn book, i told twitter that i wanted to be writing book 2 by july. fuuuuuuuuuck.

so, i forced myself to work on it with the deadline looming. i had stress dreams on the days i didn't write. i was jumpy until i finished that day's chapter. it was no fun. seriously.

i did a million other things.  pulled all the weeds. combed pinterest for new salad recipes. (i wish i were kidding.) read all the books. came up with fun new projects. made jam. went away with each of shawn's bands for a weekend. yeah. avoidance was the name of the game and i'll tell you, i got skills.

this weekend, lovebomb gogo was playing honkfest in seattle. kateri & i took the opportunity to get the heck of out dodge and went along. we had a ridiculous amount of fun. i also admitted that i was avoiding working on the book and that i knew i needed to cut it out and get to work.

so this morning i did. i got up, wrote in my journal, went for a run, then read everything i'd edited so far. oh shit. those four chapters that i just wrote? the ones i mapped out back in november when i realized i'd made a terrible error in my timeline. yeah, those chapters. they SUCK. 

i spent a good long while thinking about that and trying to figure out how to fix it. they totally sucked. those chapters were awful. i don't know if i was still super sad about monkey when i wrote them or what but they sucked. i think i knew it all along. i knew they did and yet it was ok. i'd already started to fix it in my head and i'd remembered something important.

this was what tripped me up when i wrote my first novel. i developed a paralyzing fear of sucking. now, i realize sucking is just a chance to get better. 

i took some notes on my ideas on how to fix those chapters. i stared at the computer screen. i did the dishes. i fed my sourdough starter and harvested some lettuce. i did all the things but write. the entire time i was thinking things through. would my idea really work or would these chapters just suck again? i was pretty sure they wouldn't suck.

i also decided that processing sucking took a lot out of me. my brain was tired. i was pretty sure if i tried to write, it wouldn't be any better than the shit i'd already written. so, tomorrow i'll start to rewrite those chapters and i'll see what happens. fingers crossed.

oh and i think the rest of it, what i wrote back in november, is pretty good. huh.

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music monday

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