Friday, March 26, 2010

I Ran Out Of Gas Will You . . . ?

The other day I stopped to get gas. It was about 9:00 at night. And while I’m standing beside my van sort of spacing out and wondering if I want to drive a couple of miles for a cup of tea and a scone for my drive home, this guy walks up to me. He’s got long hair brushed back into a pony tail and dressed in a nice long sleeve, button up blue shirt and jeans.

I’m not sure what I thought he was going to ask me or tell me, but it wasn’t what actually happened. He holds up a CD and tells me he’s a musician, and that he’s run out of gas and if I buy his CD he’ll have money to get home.

I think I stared at him too long while I tried to process this. I’ve had many people use that “I ran out gas” line and honestly, I never believe it, but sometimes I’ll offer a dollar or some change. Never when I’m with my kids, because I’m always paranoid of the many scenarios that can happen, but when it’s just me and I feel safe, I’ll help them out.

But not only did I not believe this guy with the CD, but I wondered if he was a real musician. If he was, was he really trying to sell his music at a gas station with an “I ran out of gas” line? I wondered if as an author I would do that. Well, no I didn’t wonder – I knew I wouldn’t. But I have attended many book shows, conventions, seminars, Etc. where I sit behind my booth and talk to attendees about my books in hopes that they will buy a copy. My role at these booths is no longer that of an artist, but a sales person, which is unfortunate. Like all other booths that are selling hats or clothes or jewelry or a hot dog and a coke, I have a product to sell.

I’ve always understood that the book business IS a business, and I actually have fun attending these events, but I often think that it’s too bad that an artist, whether writer, painter, or musician, has to be involved in this part of the business. I don’t think most of us are very good at it.

I left the gas station. I did not buy his CD, though I thought about him a few times this week and wondered if there was really music on that CD, and sort of wished I had. I didn’t buy it, because it was sort of creepy for him to approach someone at a gas station at night. No matter how difficult it is to sell our art, I still think we need to treat it like art. We might be forced to become sales people at times, but I think we have to respect our work enough NOT to sell it anywhere.


Friday, March 19, 2010

I Actually Made The Right Choice!

Yesterday, I had the best time on a field trip with my kids!! One of the boys in my son's class lives in a rural area and invited the class to visit his home. Not only does he have the usual farm animals, but as soon as you walk out of his property you're basically out in the wild. So, we went on a gorgeous hike, through trails and across rocks and through creeks. The kids loved being in this outdoor school. The fantastic teacher, who was there on her day off, pointed out plants that were edible (because they read a book about a boy who survives in the wilderness eating what he finds) and tossed in lessons about nature here and there. And the parents, got a chance to chat and enjoy the day outside with the kids.

When my kids were school age, I struggled with the decision about what I would do regarding their schooling. I studied all the schooling options (and we're so lucky to have so many in America), and decided home schooling was the best option for my family.

But early in my home schooling, I found a charter school that I liked and teamed up with them, because they offered some cool things for the kids. I continued to teach my kids at home, but they went to a charter school learning center for fun workshops. This year the charter school offered a school option where they go to "school" three days a week and are schooled at home two days. I decided to try it out and on days like yesterday, I'm so glad I did! I LOVE the feel of community that exists between the parents and the teachers. I LOVE the long-term friendships my kids have made with other great kids who all have parents that are deeply involved in their kids' education. And I love the real life learning that goes on so much of the time.

It's great when you can feel you're making the right choice for your kids!
Now, if only I could go back out there today with my laptop. What an inspiring place to work! But, today, I'm stuck in my office. If you are too, I hope you can get out over the weekend and enjoy a bit of nature too.
Enjoy your weekend!

Friday, March 12, 2010

My Dreaded Gardening Project

This is my lovely back yard slope. With all the wonderful Calfornia rains, the weeds have enjoyed growing and completely taking over my slope.

The last few weekends, I've told myself I'm going to get out there and take care of it. Weed-wack them away. Pull them out. Get my vegetable garden finally in there (my husband has never let me plant pretty ground cover because he's going to use the slope for a veggie garden - yeah, right -- finally this year I decided I was going to put it in myself). But every weekend lately, it's been pouring rain.
Finally this weekend, it looks like we're going to have a nice sunny Saturday and Sunday, but I'll be cheering for my kids at a swim meet one day and entertaining family the next. The weeds will get to live another week.
At least the weeds are still green and not quite long enough to alert the weed-abatement people. And it doesn't look THAT bad. Well, okay, it does, but I'll get to it. If I can make it sound like fun, I might even convince my kids to get out there and help me. And once I start actually working on the vegetable garden, my husband will charge outside and tell me I'm doing all wrong and he'll take over.
I feel better about this job already!
Anyone else have a spring gardening project you're dragging your feet on?

Happy weekend!


Friday, March 5, 2010

Tell Me About Your Friends

“Life is partly what we make it, and partly what it is made by the friends we choose.” Tennessee Williams (Playwrite)

Do you get to choose your parents? Of course not. Do you choose your husband? Well, let's just say it was probably your hormones that chose him, and years later you may be wondering, "What was I thinking!?" How about your children? Nope, sorry, God sends you what you deserve - it's called pay back time.

But friends! Here, we get to choose. So is it any wonder that these relationships can be some of the most rewarding of all?

With your friends, you can share things that you wouldn't dream of sharing with your parents, spouse, or children.

I think there is a reason "relationship" books and movies are so popular. We need them, they feed our soul. Sex in the City didn't make it as huge as is it did, because of the sex part of that title -- well, maybe a little. It was the relationship between the women that really made the show what it was. Through fights, boyfriends, babies -- they were there for each other. No topic was off limit as they sat in their favorite coffee shop every morning. And we loved to listen in to their wacky conversations.

Not long ago, I realized, something was missing from my life. Once I became a mother, I had little time for anything else in my life, and that sadly included time to spend with friends. My days were devoted to my kids. My nights to my novels. What ever time I had left went to my family and husband. Pretty close to perfect, I thought, so I couldn't understand why I felt I needed more. Couldn't even pinpoint what that more could be. Until I just happened to attend a woman's group one day as a way to meet Latina women and introduce them to my books. This group was so wonderfully alive and eclectic that I wanted to see them again and again. Then it hit me that I rarely made time to see my friends anymore, and it was them I was missing.

Today, I still cringe when someone suggests doing something on a weeknight, because it's when I work. But, occasionally, I'll put everything aside to spend time with friends, and I'm always glad I did. I also devote Friday nights to seeing friends, going to book clubs, and basically spending time with women who mean something special to me.

I don't know if it's like this for you, but every group of friends brings something different and important into your life. My writing friends understand why I'd want to spend hours alone creating characters that only exist in my mind. My friends who home school don't think I'm insane to give up my career, my money, and all my free time to educate my own kids. Friends from my childhood share a part of my past that we return to when we get together. And so on.

So, this blog is a huge thank you to all my friends. I wouldn't be who I am without you! I cherish what you all bring to my life and hope I somehow bring something to yours.

“Friendship is born at that moment when one person says to another, 'What! You too? I thought I was the only one” C.S. Lewis (novelist)

Enjoy your weekend AND your friends!