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Showing posts from March, 2011

Productivity in the Nutshell

Yeah, that's the Nutshell, not "a nutshell." I've read and heard a lot of stupid advice about personal productivity, and I'm here to tell you what actually works for me. I'm no superstar or high-power CEO, but I do have a good sense of how to accomplish my goals efficiently. As a teen, I was a straight-A student while participating in sports and other extracurricular activities. During my senior year of high school, I was dual-enrolled in college courses. Then I took a semester of graduate courses and did so well that I was helping other students understand some of the concepts--while planning a fabulous wedding, working a part-time job, maintaining my fitness, and having lots of fun with Mr. G and our friends. People kept asking me, "How do you do it?"

So I'll spill my secrets and hope that they see me through working motherhood, which looks like it will be harder than anything else I have done before. Here is my recipe for productivity, in thr…

Dear Hideo

The following is my favorite part of a writing project called "Letters to the Loved and Lost."

Dear Hideo,

Has it really been twelve years? Oh Hideo, how you break my heart again. I Googled you last night.

My Samurai, my Sensei, oh Hideo, you are like the mountain cherry blossoms which bloom and fade in a day. When I was fourteen, Hideo, and you were seventeen, you were so much older than me. You were a warrior, eyes sparking like flint through your long, dark hair. Your body was marble, and your voice was lustrous as the red silk characters embroidered on your black obi. Oh Hideo, you broke my heart once with your beauty, and my heart breaks again to see you now...

...a used car salesman.

I didn't recognize your picture at first. But as I stared at the computer screen, wondering how another man in this town could share your name, my eye caught on that sharp canine tooth peeping out of your smile.

Hideo, it's really you! Even the dead are recognized by thei…

Notes from Underground Anthology Highlights

I've finished reading the Literary Lab's Notes from Underground Anthology! Have you read it yet?
The text is a little gritty throughout, as can be expected from a book that was entirely unedited. There are typos, goofs, and happily flagrant abuses of good taste. (I won't promise I was above it...) But that was the point. It was a very fun experiment in complete author freedom, and there are some gems rattling around in this delightful junk drawer of talent.
Some of the highlights of the book, in my humble opinion:
1. Of course, I think MY story is worth reading. "Notes from an Enchanted Castle" is a smutty set of letters passed among the disgruntled servants in the Beast's castle (as in, Beauty and the Beast). Click here for a sneak peek.
2. In case you die before you read the whole book, start with "Terminal Instar" by C. N. Nevets. It's just plain good storytelling with plenty of suspense and energy building over a few short pages in an everyday s…

The Sacred Profane: Sex, Babies, and Rock 'n Roll

Does the term "angel baby" creep you out? Angels are supposed to be spiritual entities that are either departed souls or beings that never lived in physical form. They are ethereal, otherworldly, and fleshless. Babies are anything but. Yes, babies are innocent and sweet and miraculous. But they are also alive, messy, fleshy, and loud. And their creation is as carnal as it gets.

I am more comfortable airing out the dark, paradoxical, funny, and sloppy elements of life than dressing them up in frilly polyester euphemisms. So let's talk about sex, babies, and rock 'n roll.

There are two important ingredients for making and raising babies that are notably absent from the traditional Western perception of the Divine (and of the ultimate mother figure, the Mother of God): sexuality and humor. Sure, Milton wrote a classic book with angel sex in it, but it was frictionless, pure as a whiff of Febreze, and did not result in angel babies. And some of us might think Milton…

My Gift to the World

Tiger mothers! Breeders! The economic foolishness of raising children!

There are so many battles raging on blogs, news sites, and Facebook posts about the horrors of raising children--or of living a barren, childless existence; the dangers of being too lenient--or too strict; the immorality of bringing children into the world--or opting out. As with any online debate, most of it is hype and trolling and overreaction. But the talk has made me think about why I had a baby and how I will raise her.

The stories we tell matter. The books we read to our children, the online comments and status updates we write, the religious beliefs we espouse and the cultural and personal myths we perpetuate--all these ways of telling stories, whether consciously nor not and whether for better or worse, give our lives direction, meaning, and purpose. Stories can give context, create patterns out of chaos, deliver moral judgments, and rationalize or justify our actions and beliefs. Stories are the basis for…

Je ne regrette rien.

Yes, I know. To all the kind people out there who know me well, don't bother to remind me. I've heard the news. Rammstein is touring the United States for the first time in ten years.

Tickets for the Liebe Ist Fur Alle Da (Love Is for Everyone) tour are available here. The Chicago show is not sold out. I know. When the pre-sale began, I was on the site. I clicked on the tickets I wanted to buy, and then I watched the timer for purchasing the tickets count down to zero as I hung my head and cried. (Okay, not really. But almost. Ohne dich!)

It isn't just that I'm a mother now and I'm too old to run off to rock concerts on random Tuesday nights. For f*** sake, lead-singer-and-fantasy-lover-of-myself Till Lindemann has a bajillion kids, is pushing 50, will soon qualify for senior citizen discounts, and is still rocking the f*** out with the most obscene show of pyrotechnics ever performed in the history of the world. I firmly maintain that I am not too old, but I might …

Prolific Parent Awards

It's time for a roundup of all my favorite parental bloggers! I realized it would take me a bazillion years to give a shout out to each of them one by one, so here is a list of many other fecund writers with children whom I feel you should know. I have found it so helpful to network with other parents online while I'm stranded at home most of the time with an infant.

Share the love and check out some of these folks' sites.

The Prolific Parent Award is hereby presented to...

In the category of Mothers of Nux Gallica's Bestest Friends Whom She Doesn't Exactly Know Yet:

Lexi Losch, who was copyrighted in 1982 and gave birth this winter to a maddeningly adorable and adorably maddening baby girl. Lexi's superpowers include the strength and humor to deal with a very cute, yet very colicky child. You can follow the joy, pain, and hilarity on her blog or Twitter feed.

Molly with the Rock Garden Project, whose brand new daughter is about to be Gallica's best gardening …

Prolific Parent Award: Ashley of Domestic Chaos

Today's Prolific Parent Award goes out to a young, hip mom and wife in Kansas who champions breastfeeding, wins NaNoWriMo, and writes smart and nonjudgmental posts about parenting and family: Ashley of Domestic Chaos.

I love how Ashley manages to present strong opinions and controversial subjects in ways that are thoughtful, intelligent, and empowering to all kinds of moms.

And her son is pretty darn cute!