Nov 22, 2010

A Vaccination for Crazy

So, today was really tough.

My kids were crazy all day long, as usual. But for some reason it got several notches louder, crazier, and more unbearable as dinnertime approached. I literally felt sick, like I had a flu bug or something, from the sheer stress of the free radicals of crazy floating around in my living room.

Skywalker got home from work early, and left shortly thereafter to go on an "errand", which took him 2 hours and 15 minutes to complete, bringing him home just about the time dinner is supposed to end.

Poor skywalker. The free radicals of crazy included ones coming from ME at this point. My tetchy lecture only lasted a minute or two, and I didn't raise my voice at all or say anything verging on more than just slightly testy, but it was enough to give him the crazy bug.

We unfortunately went over to my sister's house for FHE and passed the bug on to them. But for some reason, they seem to have a kind of immunity to it. My kids played and screamed and teased, and my little brother wrestled and threw them around and gave them a shrieking good time. My sister and her husband smiled mildly and watched them run erratic, high-strung circles around their living room.

Skywalker and I looked on in dumb incredulosity, but didn't question anything because at least the crazy was no longer being directed at US.

So... question.

You moms of young kids. What is your most effective "crazy" inoculation?

A good night's sleep is out of the question. As is (at this point) chocolate, due to budgetary restrictions.

Nov 16, 2010

A Poem Published

One of my poems has been published on an online literary blog, Wilderness Interface Zone.

They asked me for a piece of artwork that could compliment my poem, and I thought immediately of a picture my brother took on his mission. So we've both been published now! Go check it out :)

(And a word to you Austen-haters... how could you? How_Could_You? Honestly, you're RELATED to me, Adele. I expect it of Dave, who hates Tomatoes and Sushi, but you? I'm crushed. Crushed, I tell you.)

Nov 15, 2010

Pride and Prejudice

One of my favorite books of all time.

I read it for the first time when I was about 15 or so. It was a book that I loved when I finished it the first time, and loved more when I finished it the second time. And so on.

Since then, I have read every single one of Jane Austen's novels mulitple times, except for Lady Susan which, for some reason, I feel rebellious about. I have also watched every single movie adaptation of every one of her books, and read every single sequel ever written to pride and prejudice, including Pride, Prejudice, and Zombies which is not a read for the faint of heart.

(My favorite quote:
As guests fled in every direction, Mr. Bennett’s voice cut through the commotion.“Girls! Pentagram of Death!”)

Yeah, you pretty much have to have the book memorized to enjoy every subtle humorous nuance of P, P & Z.

Jane Austen was a brilliant woman. She was ahead of her time in many ways, and no, I'm not just talking about feminism. I'm talking about the crumbling British Aristocracy. I'm talking about the society's rigid class structures. I'm talking about the invention of a little thing called Satire. (Well, OK, Voltaire invented satire.)

I'm talking about the birth of writing for women, about women, that is more substantial and more intelligent than gothic romance (Which Austen frequently poked fun at in her writing.) I'm talking about the birth of romantic comedy.

Who doesn't love Jane Austen? (Dave, keep quiet.) She is maybe one of the people I'd call one of my "Influences" as a writer (though that would be very presumptuous, so I won't.) If I could write a novel as satisfying, with characters as attractive and nuanced, relationships as realistic and yet humorous and glamorous, as Austen's-- I couldn't ask for any more as a writer.

I took the opportunity, after finishing this novel, to watch my favorite film adaptation of the story. It is, of course, the five hour version broadcast by A&E in 1995. And I have a funny story about that, too. When I was 15, I saw a commercial for the show when visiting at my Grandmother's house. This was when it first came out. It would be a couple years before it became well-known and popular. Anyway, I saw the commercial and begged my grandmother to record it for me. She did, and it took up two VHS-tapes, and there were commercial breaks.

That was how I watched this movie for several years... fast-forwarding through commercial breaks and the occasional blip of football that would come on every now and then at what must have been a break in the recording. For a long time I missed pieces of it. And the second tape was recorded out of sequence... I'd watch the first third, fast-forward through to almost the end to catch the second third, and then rewind and watch the last part of it.

ANd now it's all online (probably not really legally) for anyone to see whenever they want.

Anyway, suffice it to say I'm in love with this book. Four out of four stars... if you haven't read it, read it. If you read it once and hated it, read it again.

And go make sure you watch the movie if you want. I linked to it. Now I'll probably get a ton of Japanese spam. Oh well... such are the sacrifices we Austonians make.

Nov 12, 2010

A Blessing of Music

I've written a few times about my experience at Rick's and how it changed my life, musically speaking.

Christmas time used to be full of music for me. Practicing at home, practicing for hours at school, performances at church, in the community, in my family. My life used to be full of music around this time of year. I'd start feeling Christmassy right around September, when my high school choir class began learning the songs for the Christmas program.

It's been a long time since I've had a whole lot of overwhelming musical obligations around Christmastime. For the last eight years at least, I've just had one number to practice: the one I would perform at my voice class's christmas recital. One piece of music isn't that big a deal.

This last year and a half, I have committed to learn to singing classically. I have wanted to for a long time, and something about last year and the year before has bought me across that boundary of confidence I needed to really, whole-heartedly and seriously pursue it.

I've said some prayers. One answer I got was: you need to stop using bushels. You need to use your talent and the skills you've learned in the setting most important to Me, and that is at church. Go to ward choir.

I've been going. It's been hard. Church is the last frontier for me, confidence-wise... my voice cracks on every single high note (or used to until recently, when I've begun to grimly power my way through them instead of being ashamed of my voice.)

Well, I've been blessed this christmas season. Suddenly, music has flooded my life. I have a piece to learn for my recital, as usual, but also my family is coming out on Thanksgiving, and I am learning 2 pieces and a choir number (and kind of directing the choir number) for the CD that our extended family puts out every year.

I am directing the homeschool choir. We are singing a two lovely songs, one of them for christmas. I'm in the ward choir, and so we're prepaing for that. There is a messiah sing-in going on, and I'm considering going to the practices for that.

I have been asked to perform, with Skywalker accompanying me, in the ward christmas program.

I have four little girls learning THEIR christmas pieces for THEIR christmas recital and their sweet voices... Loli and Bella, who sing so well already. MayMay, who is improving in leaps and bounds, being able to stay on key only recently, and sing in her head voice. Jaws, whose voice is so sweet it just makes you shiver to hear it.

I'm amazed at how prayers are answered, and very grateful to be overwhelmed with joy and with music at this time of year again: music with friends, family, church, and also for myself, now.

Nov 8, 2010

Confessional: 25 random embarrassing things

I wrote this list in response to a friend whom I have never met, who lives in west virginia. I purposefully only replied to her request on her post because I did NOT want all my friends and family to see it. But then I spent 30 minutes writing it and so I thought, what the heck. I better post it here because I can't justify the time spent otherwise.

Yeah. Anyway... these are EMBARRASSING things about me so they're not necessarily meant to reflect WELL on me. Just keep that in mind.

1) My favorite food is sushi and yes, a piece of that may actually be posturing.
2) I still pick my nose. Sometimes in my bathroom, but sometimes right out in public. I feel like I have to because it gets crusty and painful and a kleenex just don't do the trick. Maybe I have allergies.
3) I express strong political opinions but in reality, every single argument still sways me. Which is why I express myself so strongly... I'm trying to convince myself.
4) I love Jazz but hate the kind of jazz that the real "jazz intellectuals" are suppsoed to love. Louis Armstrong: Yes. Thelonius Monk: Yawn.
5) I yell at my kids at least once a day. I try not to. And every once in a while I spank them... I try not to. **edited to add... By yell, I mean scold with a voice raised somewhat above normal. Not scream or shatter glass or anything... I got a concerned email**
6) I am actually a very good mom, but I always discount myself when I am around other moms because I'm afraid they'll think I"m full of myself.
7) Like Mary in pride and prejudice, I sing and am always "impatient for display" but would curl up and die if anyone knew that about me. Since you're in west virginia, it doesn't seem as bad that you might.
8) I try to pretend that the fact that we have chosen a simple lifestyle is the most wonderful thing and I'm completely happy, but sometimes I do wish we drove a shiny car and lived in a house that would make our neighbors think twice about yelling parenting suggestions over the fence.
9) Secretly I want to be Renee Fleming or Lia Salonga.
10) I love my husband but have a secret crush on Mattew McCoughnaghuey and Tom Selleck.
11) I'm a Mormon.
12) I'm also not so clear on how I feel about those gay marriage propositions. If one of them came to Utah, I'd be very conflicted and not know exactly what to do. And I clam up about Gay Marriage whenever anyone I don't know well enough brings up the subject, on either side.
13) I love my kids and secretly think they're better than everyone else's kids.
14) I secretly do think public school is a giant waste of time and money, but I realize it needs to be in place, for the same reasons as universal healthcare.
15) I'm a real hermet, too shy to approach people, but I wish people would just walk into my yard and talk to me, though nobody would guess it.
16) I LOVE grape soda and grape candy. That radioactive grape flavor is my absolute favorite.
17) I HATE brussel sprouts and all kinds of lettuce, even though I make myself and my kids eat a generous helping of veggies everyday, often salad.
18) I get cranky, and everyone knows it, no matter how hard I try to hide it.
19) If I could have a superpower, it would be the power to read minds. Really. I want to KNOW what you're thinking, even if it's completely negative and about me.
20) My name is {Nosurfgirl}. I am an internet addict.
21) The older my kids get, the more I see the wisdom of being one of those "wierd" homeschooling families even though I used to despise those families and think they gave homeschoolers a bad name.
22) I hate Percy Jackson and the Olympians. Hate. Hate. Hate.
23) But I would write it myself if it made me the money it's made him.
24) My little boy is going through temper tantrum fits and it's partly because I can't give him enough attention.
25) I am a secret poet.

Nov 6, 2010

My Professional Website

I have had a piece of my writing accepted by an online literary journal. (!)

So. This week I spent time updating and putting together my professional website. It has blurbs on all of the novels that I am currently working on, as well as a bio. And exactly two posts.

With this foray into creating a professional identity for myself online, I will probably start commenting as myself instead of NoSurfGirl, but here, on my personal blog, I will remain anonymous and so will my children.

I will post a link to my site in this one post, and that is all. I do have a link to this blog on my professional site... my intention is that traffic from there will go here, but I don't want a whole lot of traffic (people who don't comment who I don't ever interact with, for instance) headed over to where I am NOT anonymous.

So... I will post this link, but please, everyone, don't use my full name on this blog in future. Putz, this means you :)



Nov 3, 2010


I am getting ready to submit some stuff to western humanities review and segullah magazine for their fall writing contests. I have come up with which submissions I think are most appropriate.

One of these is a poem I have been working on for, literally years. I completely revamped it today... gave it a form, and deleted and added some lines and I need HELP. For those of you out there who read and love poetry, you literary-type people:

please tell me which words make you stop and not keep reading, which phrases or words are not continuous with the image, which ones make you giggle because of their deep-purple nature.


I'm asking... you... to... criticize... me. Yes I am.

Go here: Three Miles With Ghandi



I am now actively submitting, so I have taken the poem off public view so that it is "unpublished" and therefore submissable :) Thanks.