Archive | May 2008

Mother/Daughter Event

Unfortunately, it was not spent with my own mother, this day before Mother’s Day, which is now as I type this lovely little blog. I’ll have to set my mom’s card out so she sees it in the morning. Yes, she lives with me, much to the dismay of my husband, but she’s ill and elderly, so what’s a daughter to do?

No, today was the first ever Mother/Daughter event held by the company I work for (I am a Life Skills Mentor for teenage girls–mostly Native American), and it was quite the success, aside from the wonderful detours during transport (really, Arizona’s emblem should be an orange cone for all the construction that goes on). A transport (by three separate people going in three different directions) that should have taken one to one and a half hours ended up taking three (for me) due to these detours and the fact that SOMEONE forgot to fill the tank of the minivan I drive, which alone cost me about 15 minutes. Part of the freeway was closed, another part of the freeway was down to one lane. I had to slow down, backtrack, wind and weave to get to the other side of town (that would be the south part of town) and then south to another city. Holy Jeebus! Really? Yes. It was all I could do to zip my lip so as not to offend the elderly Native American woman in the backseat. We must remain professional, right? Besides, my elders taught me respect, something I have noticed is lacking in today’s youth.

We had some wonderful mother/daughter relationship building activities (thought up by my über-crafty colleague) that went over well with the small group. Picture frames filled with the word MOTHER, which you write vertically and then add a word horizontally (M-agnificent), planting flowers in fancy little pots for each to take home, a Q&A session with questions involving the likes of “what significant thing has your mother taught you?” as well as some silly questions, a BBQ, and a raffle for some great prizes! Of course, ALL mothers received a gift. I was even able to plant a couple of flowers in a pot for my own mother. She loved it! =)

What you may not understand here is that this time spent was very important to these mothers and daughters. My mom has always been with me in one way or another, but some of these girls do not live with their mothers, for various reasons. Some have a ton of brothers, so that mother/daughter time is very rare.

The wisest of them thanked us for giving her this rare opportunity to spend with her granddaughter. They all thanked us and were pleased with the day, which made me smile. It’s unprofessional to shed a tear in front of them, but right now, my eyes are watering just thinking back on the day. But, thankfully, I was wearing sunglasses. =p

Working with them has made me realize and appreciate, through all her faults, my mother in ways I never had thought of before. Really, when you get right down to it, my life wasn’t all that bad, and rez or not, circumstances and situations cross the cultural barriers. We just don’t realize it until we see and experience another culture. I grew up surrounded by cultural diversity, living in what some call the “ghetto” and always near the rez. My “girls” were surprised to discover that I learned how to make “fry bread” or “pop-overs” in the 6th grade. Yes, a “white girl” knows how to make fry bread. But not all of them see the “white girl” in me anymore. That makes me smile. It tells me that the last eight months have had some effect on them.

Cherish the time that you have with your mother/daughter. As one who cannot give birth, the closest I have come to being a mother at this time is my teenage foster daughter, but that will never be nearly as close to being a mother.

So, I want to say Happy Mother’s Day to all moms out there! You have the toughest job in the world, and I envy every second of it.

UPDATE: Ok, so my foster daughter drew me a beautiful picture for Mother’s Day. =) *wipes tear from eye* Now it MUST be framed!

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What A Writer Should NEVER Do!

I ran across something recently that 1) has me giggling in silent rapture, and 2) has me thanking the author of this aptly-called Form Hate Mail (I’m giggling at the title, too), on Colleen Lindsay’s blog “The Swivet,” for leaving an opening somewhere in the query world for the rest of us. What can I say, I’m easily amused and quick to jump into the place of morons that fall… and fall hard.

No matter how hurt you are by a rejection, you should NEVER respond to the rejectioner with something such as this. In fact, you shouldn’t respond at all, no matter how polite you were taught to be in your upbringing. I feel your pain here. I, too, was raised to be polite and say ‘thank you’, but I fight the urge when that “thanks, but not for me” comes through my email. Agents have enough emails to sort through, and I’m just happy they responded at all. What you need to do is grow thicker skin before entering the querying world. As many agents have stated, it is nothing personal against the writer (well, it probably will be now for this particular one–i.e., agents talk). It is merely a case of the material not being “right” for that particular agent, so it is also nothing personal against the writer’s work. It’s just not what they are looking for at the time. Believe me, I have plenty of these stories! Here’s a hint: do some research. Yes, it takes some time, but it will be entirely worth that time if you do this and follow their submission guidelines correctly. This writer failed to do so. You had to do research for your manuscript, didn’t you? How is this any different? And if you didn’t do any research for your ms, I’m not certain I’d care to read it because even fiction requires research. As someone who enjoys the hell out of researching things, I find looking for that “right” agent to be rather entertaining at times, otherwise I wouldn’t have found “The Swivet” or the many others I have come across, where I spend entirely too much time giggling in silent rapture. Their blogs are abound with helpful hints on how to query, how to write the query, how to format everything under the sun, and what to add to your query, if there is anything to add (e.g. sample pages, synopsis, etc.). My research has only just begun, while I’m finishing my latest novel, but I’m logging those agents I’ve found in an Excel spreadsheet. I have also found a few for some friends to query, and have forwarded the information to them. Yeah, I’m a nice gal… most of the time.

To help you along, here’s a great site for researching agents: AgentQuery.com (hint: do a ‘full search’)

Here’s another: Publisher’s Marketplace

So… do your research. Research the hell out of them! It gives you a better chance at finding the right agent for you. But, don’t become a stalker. That’s just weird.

And thank you, dear author of the Form Hate Mail. Because of you, my eyes are more open to what a writer should NEVER do!

Also…

It’s my mother’s birthday today!

Happy Birthday Umi!!!!
I love you!

Your favorite, and only, daughter. =)

Yes, I am actually baking a cake.

Random Thoughts

Don’t ask…

Unstable:

When the intelligent part of your mind, the one that keeps you plugging through life and positive and moving in the right direction, gets beat the hell up consistently by the psychotic part of your mind.

Damn bullies.

Mother/Daughter Day

There is one day out of every week where my mother (umi) and I spend the day together. Usually, it falls on a Wednesday or Thursday, depending on my schedule for work and/or school. Some days, we do manicures and pedicures (me only because she doesn’t want a pedicure…ever), or we go shopping, see a film, or the like. Today, we went to As You Wish! at the new Tempe Marketplace to paint ceramics. First, however, we had to stop at Starbucks. Oh yeah, lovin’ the green tea. Then, since I was hungry and hadn’t eaten yet, we stopped at Paradise Bakery so I could pick up a chicken and artichoke Panini. It was quite yummy, though I didn’t have a chance to eat it until we got home. So much for being hungry.

Painting ceramics was something my mom used to do a while back and hasn’t done in years, especially since she became ill, so I thought she would enjoy it because she really needs a hobby again. The painting gives us time to talk, relax and just plain have fun. She picked out a small flower piece to start with, and I painted an Italian vase. I can’t wait to see how it will turn out because I used a darker color to dry brush over the base, and then I painted little cracks on it to make it look ancient. I’m still learning, but the last three pieces I have done turned out fairly nice. The cup I painted last weekend during work (yes, I get to do things like this on the job—it’s awesome) was fun to paint, as I covered the entire thing in white polka dots over a black base. The teen girls I work with gave me a hard time and asked when I would get out of my polka dot phase. My toes and fingers are painted in French manicure with black tips and white polka dots, and I have a purse and sunglasses to match. It’s a bit extreme, maybe, but I really don’t care what people think. Besides, I’ve gotten quite a few compliments on my nails.

My mom painted her smiley-face flower a deep blue with yellow and orange. I’m hoping the yellow and orange show up because she painted the blue over the entire piece after I told her lighter colors won’t show up over darker colors once it’s fired. She only did one coat of the blue, so we will see what happens. It’s just a starter piece anyway, but very cute.

After painting, we went to Barnes and Noble, one of my favorite stores, and bought a few books. I bought a teen book called The Black Tattoo. It looks interesting. Something about a guy inadvertently ending up in Hell. I’ll probably donate it to work when I’m done with it so the kids can read it, too… unless it’s really good! My mom bought a couple of romance novels. She’s a sucker for those. I was looking for a series I’d spotted a few weeks ago, but I couldn’t remember the name of the author or the books. It’s about a woman who is a werewolf and a DJ on the radio. If you know what I’m talking about, please drop a comment to let me know because I’ll probably never find the damn things now.

Overall, it was a good day with my mom, aside from me getting paint on my shirt. I’ll have to wear a different shirt or take a smock next time. Next week is manicure/pedicure week. LOVE those days!

UPDATE: AHA! I found the books! The world is stable for at least another week. =)