Monday, November 24, 2014

No More Friday Night Lights, Until Next Year

Friday night, Stratford's playoff run came to an end with a disappointing loss to Temple. I have to admit, Temple was the better team, leading the entire game. But the Spartans fought valiantly until the end. They never gave up.

So just like that... that's it... the season is over. Everyone leaves the stadium and goes home. It was a great three months with exciting plays we will talk about for years. But for now, it's over.

The end of a high school season is different than the end of little league or middle school seasons. A whole group of boys will move on. The seniors won't be there next year. The team, while many of the same players will be back, will never be quite the same.

This year Oldest was a junior on the team. He will play again for the Spartans next year. But he will surely miss the boys who won't be there when practice starts up once again.

There's something sad about knowing a group of boys will never play as a team again. But that's life. Never static. Always changing. We must accept it and move on. But for a little while, it's okay to be sad and regret what will never be.

With the end of next year's season, it will be Jordan's time to say goodbye. But I can't think about that right now. I'm not ready to think about that.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Recharging My Creativity

I want to write a book. As a matter of fact, for as long as I can remember I have wanted to write a book. There have been two fits and starts where I have outlined stories and written a few chapters, but to no avail. Distractions set in; real life intervened. So no completed manuscripts.

I did manage to write over 150 pages of my first book, a multi-generational family saga. I still love the story, but no one reads multi-generational family sagas anymore. I think that was too ambitious for a first attempt anyway.

Years passed.

Next I wrote a handful of chapters of a young adult story. Again, I think the story is good, but my kids, who are currently the age young adult books are marketed to, are only interested in reading sci-fi thrillers like The Hunger Games or vampire stories like the Twilight series. I have NO interest in writing books like these. Discouraged, I set my young adult book aside.

A couple more years passed.

Now I've got the itch again. I've been recharging my creative neurons. I'm purposefully getting more sleep, reading book after book, getting used to being absorbed in stories populated with fictional characters, and opted for more music and less talk radio. I think it's working. Every night I dream elaborate, and sometimes bizarre, dreams.

I'm not quite ready to start formulating my own story. For now, I'll keep feeding my brain things that stimulate my creativity. I have mentally penciled in January 1 as the day I'll start my book. Until then, I'll keep cultivating a creative mindset. Wish me luck.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Old Friends

I had such a nice surprise yesterday. One of my childhood friends contacted me through Facebook. Except for one phone call to catch up when we were in college, I hadn't seen or heard from him since we graduated from high school in 1986.

He was a close friend, you know, one of the handful of childhood friends that spring to mind when you reminisce about 'the good ol' days.' An important friend. He shared some of the more memorable antics and adventures of my youth.

It was fun to catch up. He's doing well, still playing in a rock band and living with his same-sex partner of many years. Yep, he's gay. That was a little bit of a surprise, but not much. Looking back, he never really had a girlfriend that I can remember. But I chuckle to myself when I think of all the years I wasted harboring an elementary school crush on a gay friend.

How fun to reconnect with someone who populates so many of my childhood memories. I told him that he made my day. Actually, I think he made my week.

Friday, November 14, 2014

Happy Weekend

My last post was a little bit of a downer and I didn't want to go into the weekend on a sullen note. So I'll share the exciting news that, after 7 years of driving my Suburban, I ordered a new car today - a white extended Lincoln Navigator. I'm so excited!

The bad news is that it won't be ready for 6-8 weeks. The good news is that it is being built to my exact specifications. Now all I have to do is wait.

Another positive for the weekend is that Stratford plays in the first round of high school football playoffs tonight. Stratford won district and so is first seed in the playoffs. We are favored to win, but you never know. Keep your fingers crossed!

At game time, it's supposed to be 48 degrees. Poor Oldest. Burr.

Here's to a happy weekend!

Friday, November 7, 2014

Off to the Lake

I never wanted a lake house. Not that I was against them, I just never thought about having one. As an 8th generation Texan from a long line of ranchers, I always imagined a place in the country some day. Funny how things turn out. We bought a lake house last spring, and I love it!

It's considerably smaller than our house in the city, but doesn't feel cramped. It's almost like a cocoon enveloping us when we're there. It's so peaceful and inviting, set amongst the large oaks, pecans and magnolia trees that rim the slow-moving waters of the Guadalupe River.

When I'm there, it's like life slows down a bit and lets me catch my breath. We sit outside on the deck together. Or we go down to the dock and sit beside the water. We do a lot of talking at the lake. The older my kids get, the more I cherish the time they will sit and talk with me.

We haven't been there since a weekend in late September. Since then there have been lots of work days, football games, volleyball games and various social functions we needed to attend. But this weekend will be different. We're off to the lake.

Here's Youngest and Stella enjoying an evening last summer at the lake.

lake house remodel

Monday, November 3, 2014

Can I Teach Myself to Write a Novel?

Ina Garten taught herself to cook using Julia Child's book  Mastering the Art of French Cooking. Now Garten is one of the most revered chefs in the ever-growing pool of food glitterati.

I'm wondering if I could teach myself to write a novel by studying the books of a successful author? Maybe. Could someone really learn to write a novel by studying the plots, settings and characters of a successful novelist? Hmm. The idea is intriguing.

First I would have to choose an author. There are so many I love to read.

John Jakes jumps to mind. The North and South trilogy novels are some of my all-time favorites. But a lengthy family saga filled with decades of history would probably be too much to cut my teeth on.

There's James Michener, but I would have the same issues of complex multi-generational characters and buckets of history as with the Jakes novels, even worse.

J.K. Rowling? I love her books, but lack her outlandish imagination.

Dan Brown? No way. Trying to study and imitate Dan Brown would be the literary equivalent of weekend hiker trying to scale Mount Everest.

No. I think I'll study Sandra Brown. Brown has a lengthy list of bestselling romantic suspense novels I can read and study. I've read several already - Envy, The Allibi, and most recently Mean Streak.

Her stories are fast paced and highly entertaining. Not too heavy on research, but rich in plot twists. I just might be able to study Brown's technique and produce something humbly similar.

But the sex scenes might be a little tricky.

I'll keep you posted.