Writing about writing #20170607

“Write like it matters, and it will.” Wise and weighty words from Libba Bray. I’m struggling under their weight today. I have many topics I want to start writing about, but I feel more than a little overwhelmed by the responsibility. I want to process these ideas with you- whoever you are. If the topic applies to you, I want to hear your side of it. I’m nervous about making a statement that excludes something important, I’m pretty sure that I’m going to end an important discussion by not introducing a topic correctly.

Currently,  The Big Topics are on a list that includes much more than the following:

Building community through shared meals (or other routines, or camping)

Simple acts of care during crisis

Something about Hospice care- more about loved ones dying

Raising a feminist son- more on being a white mom when your kids are not white

Depression and loneliness, or “asking for help is the only way to kill it, so why is is so hard to ask for help”

I don’t feel like The Big Topics aren’t entirely mine to write about, so how do I start? Do just put my ideas out there? Do I awkwardly interview others to get their input and perspective? Do I hop down The Google Rabbit Hole and see where I end up? Too often, The Big Topics are often overpowered by the ever-growing too-trivial-to-share writing list:

What to cook and eat when your kids have sports five days a week

Yesterday I felt-like-a-rage-monster, but it’s ok because today I feel-like-a-mom-again

I cleaned my bathroom and now I feel like I deserve a celebratory metal

I cooked a giant batch of vegan lentil and veggie soup, it’s all I’m eating for lunch and I’m pretty sure it’s giving me super powers

Seriously, eat more lentils, your poops will amaze you

Harry Potter: the best bedtime story in the history of the world

I’ve drowned myself in Google results, trying to narrow down the “how to start writing” results to the specific kind of writing I’m not doing. I’ve read what feels like hundreds of pages, but all the scrolling could be making it feel more substantial than it actually is. That last sentence is making me second guess my grammar, and I instantly want to close out of this post. Relegate it to the never-visited “drafts” section of this website. My ratio of drafts to posts is in the double digits at least, but I don’t want to do the math and find out how many times I’ve stopped writing.

So how do I start? Do I really just hit Publish and let this post drift off into oblivion? I think I’m going to try and take Walter Mosley’s advice, but in a more public way and certainly not for a novel. I’ll call this my first draft, and also a call for help.

I want to start working through my list, but I sure as hell don’t want to do it alone. Please, please join me. I’m sharing this with you and asking for your help. If you have an anecdote or story, I want to hear it. If you think I didn’t word something properly, or if I need to give something more clarity, I want to hear it.

I’m not entirely sure how to feel about all of this, so rather than mull it over any longer and change my mind, I’m hitting Publish. Yikes.




Plan implosion

Ok, so my menu plan didn’t *literally* collapse inward in a very sudden and violent way. But it came close.

Last week I had the blahs. I didn’t make much of the menu I had planned. The biggest bummer of all is that I didn’t make pasties, because they’re awesome comfort food, and I could really use that right now. Sigh.

The problem is, I’m pretty sure I had an awesome week. I think I was just too busy and drained by the number of “out and about” activities to appreciate it. Can I blame it on being an introvert? Maybe? Either way, now I’m going to do my best to recount all the good stuff that happened.

    • Monday- I did in fact prep and assemble the lasagna as planned, and it turned out really well. I alternated layers of the garlic-butter-sauteed-chard mixed with ricotta/mozarella/egg/parmesan, with layers of beefy marinara spiced up with fennel and Italian seasoning. Sauce on top, covered with foil while cooking, and topped with fresh grated parm when it was time to serve. I think I have a new preferred technique here!
    • Tuesday- My boss gave me four tickets to the Twins game! Score! I had both boys overnight, so we left as soon as we ate our lasagna dinner and took the lightrail to the ball game. Their dad joined us after he got off work. We had to leave after the 7th inning stretch because it was a school night, but the boys were happy to find out that the Twins won the next morning.


    •  Wednesday- I actually got mowing done, and it felt good to have my yard look (temporarily) respectable. I did make the greek style salad with chicken, and it was good but it didn’t turn out exactly as I had hoped.
    • Thursday- I went to my first ever meeting of The Children’s Storytelling Guild. I’ve been excited about telling stories for a while, and got a lot of good feedback from the others there about my telling of The Sausage. It was fun to get the inside scoop from storytelling professionals, and get feedback from someone other than my five year old. We just had leftover lasagna for dinner.
    • Friday- Where did the week go?! I made us some to-go bbq chicken sandwiches with fruit on the side, which we ate in the car as we drove to NE Minneapolis. We went to a friend’s gallery event for Art-A-Whirl, and got to see a lot of cool and unique art. I also had the chance to catch up with former co-workers, who I now miss desperately.
    • Saturday- french toast for breakfast! I picked up my seedlings from Gardening Matters, and made a halfhearted attempt to try on summer shoes before heading to dinner with my friend Erin. We went to Boca Chica Restaurante in St. Paul, ate some good grub and talked, and talked, and talked some more.
    • Sunday- I took Darian’s Grandma with me to church, and after we had lunch I picked up Darian. We ran some errands, going to pick up more iron on patches for his pants, and get bright side walk chalk to replenish our supply. We played, we read together, I braided his hair while he watched Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2 for the five thousandth time. I roasted a chicken for dinner and kind of scraped together the sides, but no one complained about it (other than me in my head).

So here’s the deal. This was all wonderful, really good stuff. Technically, I’m really happy that I did it all. I would have been sad to have to give up any piece of it. At the same time, I’m really not energized by this much activity, and I feel like I’m behind on everything.

This week, I’m vowing to take it easy. And I’m really, really going to try. Here is my best shot at a slacker meal plan.

    • Monday Shredded leftover chicken stir fry- broccoli, carrots, shallots in some kind of thrown together soy/teriyaki sauce. I’m making a big enough batch of rice to have leftovers for many other meals.
    • Tuesday Baked fish and shrimp, baked potatoes, salad.
    • Wednesday Romaine lettuce salad with balsamic dressing, dried cherries, carrots, broccoli, green onion, and probably sunflower seeds. Topped with chunky shreds of chicken, croutons, and mini cubes of cheddar cheese.
    • Thursday Rice with peppers, onions, carrots, celery, rutabaga, and seasoned ground beef. It’s like home made rice-a-roni. Or maybe a less dirty version of dirty rice. Some kind of side vegetable in here. Maybe asparagus?
    • Friday I have absolutely no idea. I’ll marinate on this a bit, look at my fridge inventory, and update a bit later in the week. I may get a few more things because I need to get to the store for milk!
    • Saturday and Sunday TBD. Again, I’ll check the fridge and hit the store.

There. I’m mostly planned, and a bit more thankful.

What do you do to perk yourself up when you start the week feeling exhausted?

Monday Motivation

This morning, after a horrible night’s sleep, I find myself lacking motivation. Everything is… Fine. However, waking up no less than 15 times last night has left me more than a bit underwhelmed. My solution? Insert quotes, and add a few extra cups of tea.

“We can do no great things, only small things with great love” – Mother Teresa

“Courage is like a muscle. We strengthen it by use.” – Ruth Gordon

“Faith is a knowledge within the heart, beyond the reach of proof.” – Khalil Gibran

Last week, I went off of my menu plan. My son caught a stomach bug, then I ended up fighting it off, but not without some serious sleeping. Thankfully I had help, and was able to take the rest I needed. The result is at least one, if not more, of these meals are fairly similar to last week’s menu, because I still have all the ingredients and I refuse to let them go to waste.

  • Monday Lemon/Garlic Chicken, topped with sweet peppers, onions and melted cheese. Served with mashed potatoes and green beans.
  • Tuesday Spinach Lasagna with broccoli and garlic bubble bread
  • Wednesday Last week’s salad that didn’t happen- Romaine with a variety of veggies, craisins, cheddar cheese, chicken, balsamic dressing, and croutons. Served over pesto rice because that’s how I make it an entree I’m genuinely satisfied with.
  • Thursday Sloppy Joes on home made buns. Broccoli slaw with apples, green onion, and Italian dressing.
  • Friday Peanut Teriayki Chicken, fried rice, prefab potstickers, and soy glazed green beans.
  • Saturday/Sunday Mostly leftovers- I’m headed to Menomonie, WI for a friend’s birthday on Saturday night. If we run out of leftovers by Sunday night, I’ll make baked fish and a salad.

I think I’ll blame feeling a bit off today on last night’s sleep, and last week’s sickness. I feel better about the world now that I’ve laid out the week’s meals. What do you do to improve your mood?