Monthly Archives: August 2012

Why I’ve been so productive.


The kids have gone back to school and my life has been consumed with craft.

Here’s the sweater I’m working on:

Top down, largely stockinette, little bit of interesting lace in the front–enough to keep me engaged, but not too tricky that I can’t watch Sons of Anarchy while I knit.

Here’s some stuff I’m making to sell:

These baby hats will get decorated with stars and ornaments and make me $20-$25 buck a pop.  Totally mindless, easy to finish one in a day, they make me feel excited to trade my skills for cash.

Finally, Amelia and I went yesterday to pick out curtain fabric for her room. Here it is:

I’m not a great sewer, but the great sewers I know say curtains are the easiest.  So that’ll be launching in the next few days.

As stunning as all this is, though, the truth is there is no creativity in this kind of productivity.  It’s just following directions, taking steps, reading and doing.  I feel like I’m just killing time waiting for my next great idea. And it’s been years (literally, as the last script I finished was an adaptation of a novel) since I had an idea I got excited about.

BUT—last night when I was awake from 4:20-5 a.m., the magic happened. An idea that I’ve had for months glued itself, in my head, to a story I sort of know that happened to someone I met once or twice. I’ve known the story for years, and like I said, the idea is not new, but neither of them on their own could make a play. Together, they are something.  Today I called one of the people involved in the story, which for the play will have happened before the curtain rises, and got some details. I bounced the joint ideas off of someone I trust, someone I knew wouldn’t bombard me with suggestions. He was kind enough to say, “My mind is just racing through all the different possibilities and directions this could go” without illuminatin a single one.

I can start writing tomorrow if I want, although I may wait a day or two to  see if the snowball can get any bigger just rolling around my brain.

This is the writer’s rush, and it’s the most exciting feeling.


Why you’re glad I’m not your mom.


“I hate the chart!!!!”

Okay, maybe the volume and emotion with which Cal actually said this do not merit four exclamation points, but to me, it felt like a letter opener being shoved in my ear.

How can you hate the chart? It’s color-coded, contains all pertinent information, and the spacing is so nice you would think I used an actual ruler instead of the cardboard from the back of a pad of graph paper.

“I’m only going to one school.”

Right! But isn’t it encouraging to see all these schools who would like you to come?

“Can we start crossing some off?”

Yes, we can.

But instead of actually, physically, blacking out rows of the chart (sigh of relief) we sat down and chose four schools that would be priority contacts for Cal. He is now responsible for keeping in touch with these four coaching staffs. He no longer feels obligated to return every call that comes in, which is a huge weight off of his shoulders, because the conversation with a coach from a school you are probably not going to attend is really scripted and not at all useful:

Do you have any questions about Joe Blow U? (Not really.) When can we get you down for a visit? (Probably not ever.) You can really put the ball in the basket! (Thanks, I work very hard at that.) I think you’re set up for a great senior season. (Me too. Thanks again and goodbye.)

He wanted to have his decision made by the time the season started, around Thanksgiving. That is seeming unlikely. But we aren’t adding every new school to the chart anymore. We’re screening the new ones before they get put on.  This will help keep him from feeling overwhelmed.

And maintain the integrity of the chart.

Why I’m pretty sure the world is ending.


A couple of posts back, I wrote about Barbara and her paying me slave wages (basically $3 a week, as it turns out) to knit for her.  To reiterate, this is not basic winter hat type knitting. These are complicated, cabled afghans.  While my embroidery skills, as I have admitted, are not top- notch, I was proud of the way the latest effort turned out:


Looked pretty good.  Looked better than the pattern picture, I thought.  Here’s a close up:

The offending cable remained, and there were certainly some embroidery spots that were less than spectacular. But overall it was lovely.

And yet, I didn’t want to deliver it.  I was not ready to have sweet Barbara hand me another kit and say, “Take a year, it doesn’t matter!” after having spent 8 months on this one, hauling it to hockey games and hotels, watching endless episodes of “Bones” while inching toward the finish line.

But I couldn’t keep it.

So on our way to finish shopping for school supplies, my three kids and I swung by Barbara’s house.  She answered the door. She was delighted to see me. She adored the blanket. She asked after me, she asked after the kids and our summer and how everyone was feeling about getting back to school, and then she handed me . . . nothing. I got out of there with no new project. I stepped out of the door and my kids, seeing me empty-handed, began fist-pumping out of the open car windows. It was a great, great moment.

I have one more commissioned project to finish, a baby hat, that will take three days and earn me 20% of what the blanket did. I’m still not quite sure she’s not bringing me something. I’m waiting for it to appear on my porch, but as each day passes, I’m breathing easier. Get me to mid-September, and I’ll feel real good.


Why you wish I was your mom.


Deciding where to go to college is scary. In my (played one year of grade school hoops) mind, I thought it would be less scary if you were an athlete, but I was wrong. As an athlete who wants to keep playing, you’re obligated to consider every school who contacts you. If you’re not a DI lock, it’s really daunting.

But if I’m your mom, you get an awesome chart:

And you are super, super grateful. Because it took hours. And it has all of the pertinent information regarding most of the schools who have contacted you. And you can reference it at any time.

It’s Chart 2.0, just so you know. The first chart was good, but as we proceeded, it became clear that the information contained on the chart was not the most relevant information. The second draft is most assuredly an improvement.  And there are blank spaces. For all the schools who are still going to call. Let’s go.