Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Speaking Klingon

I've discussed this before, my insatiable desire to speak with a British accent. Where does it come from? Too many sources to name, but I'll give it a try:

1.  My love for Shakespeare, begun just before ninth grade, when I attended the Utah Shakespeare Festival. 
2.  My love for Harry Potter novels and movies (can't wait for July 15!).
3.  My wish that I'd been born in England.
4. My love of British literature in general, including such authors as Jane Austen, George Eliot, Charles Dickens, etc.
5. My belief that the accent sounds infinitely more refined and polite than the standard American accent (only the deep southern accent, to me, gives it any competition). I have a similar reaction to people who speak with a Spanish, Italian, or Russian accent. 

So I slip into the accent several times a day--with my kids, with the church choir, etc. I have even considered interviewing for work with a British accent, and maintaining it 24/7 (at my husband's encouragement). 

Only now the roof has fallen in on all of this. Richard's mother came for a visit this weekend, and she told me plainly (more than likely parroting what her other children said last time I visited Shelton) that speaking the way I do is "creepy." I told her it wasn't (and it ISN'T!!!), and she insisted it was weird, like "speaking Klingon." Not only that, but my husband--the one who had once encouraged me to interview using a British accent--admitted, in front of her, that he found my accent "annoying"--after I had just written a blog praising the dork! My MIL insisted that it was creepy because I'm "not British."

Needless to say, I got pissed. I told my husband--in front of his mother, no less--that he was not only wrong, but he was wrong to have brought it up this way, after telling me otherwise. I went upstairs as I burst out crying, and I didn't stop until my husband came up to apologize (and I still cried for a while after that). 

It wasn't the disloyalty, though, that hurt. I was devastated by the whole thing because I truly am an Anglophile. I love all things British, and to be told that something I found so much joy out of was "creepy" was devastating, somewhat like wearing an outfit I love more than any other, only for someone well-meaning to tell me it made my butt look huge.

On the other hand, I think both my husband and his mother are wrong. "Speaking Klingon" is equivalent in one way, for it's an affected way of speaking, and a few Trekkies probably get some joy out of expressing themselves in that way, even though it isn't their usual way of speaking. Honestly, I don't think there is anything wrong with that (people should do what makes them happy), but my habits are only somewhat equivalent, and here's why:

Difference #1:
*  No one is raised speaking Klingon as a first language.
*  Millions of people speak with a British accent, and have for centuries.

Difference #2:
*  Klingon was a fictional language from the start, with varied words that must be subtitled to be understood by the English speaking populace.
*  British English is merely a dialect of English, and is understood rather easily, especially by those who have heard it before. The fact that Richard and his mother do not understand it as well means they have simply not experienced it enough. Subtitles are NOT needed--if anything, British English is easier for me to understand than many American dialects.

More than anything else, it's a matter of being non-judgmental. I don't tell Richard that his football watching is "stupid." It makes him happy, even if it bores the crap out of me, and therefore I want him to watch (so that he's happy). His happiness outweighs my own personal opinion. In the same way, all of my relatives and friends have little quirks like this, yet I don't mind them, for those quirks and habits make them happy... and it's not my job to tell them what I think they should do with their lives. 

Yet much of my family (well, Richard's family) believes it's perfectly fine to tell each other where they are going wrong in their lives. One person is told he eats too much, another that she is too angry all the time, etc. The problem isn't my accent. It's that my husband and MIL think they have a right to correct me for it, to judge me for it. I don't think they have that right at all. It's my accent, and therefore it's my business. They should leave me alone.

What do all of you think? If you're afraid to tell me the truth, feel free to write in as "anonymous." I'd love to have another perspective... though I doubt you'll change my mind (you can try, though).

Monday, June 22, 2009

Getting NOTHING Done

Some days are little more than frustrations. I want to get a loan option figured out so that my husband and I can buy some property from his mother. I want to figure out all this medical billing so that we can be paid back for it. I want to get all these contracts signed, want to find a notary, and want to get countless other things done, including purchasing plane tickets at a reasonable price, exercising, and even writing this blog.

What have I accomplished by the end of the day? I've written this blog. I haven't written what I intended to write--too irritated to do that--but I've written nonetheless. I wish I could just start the day over, not spending several hours online finding no flights that worked (or poring over them without a clue which one would fit my husband's needs and the needs of my sister, who will be picking me up). I wish I had found the actual means by which I can use the medical records to be reimbursed, instead of merely finding piles of medical records. The whole day was a waste. I might as well have slept in or just planned to watch movies all day. At least then I would have accomplished what I set out to do.  

I could do more, even now, but it's nearly dinner time now, and I don't think I'll get anything done today. Darn it!

Where the hell have I put my time-turner? 

Oh well.... I still have two more days to finish this stuff before I take off for vacation... perhaps tomorrow I will have better luck (maybe my wonderful hubby will set up the ticket for me tonight)... and perhaps Wednesday won't be too hectic (though I doubt that).

Wish me luck!

Friday, June 19, 2009

Fabulous Hubby Friday

I made a HUGE list last time, and believe me, since then I've come up with all sorts of other activities to do. I could list them, but I think my sister would die of apoplexy if she read it (and she is nearly always my first reader). 

Instead, I'll talk about my hubby. It's his birthday, so his mom's coming up for the weekend to celebrate, go to a Jazz Walk, etc. I'm glad because she and I are his biggest fans in the whole wide world, so we get to spend time talking about how great he is. Now, I'm sure I've let on when he's annoying at times, but these are a few of the reasons I find him fabulous (and if you are already gagging, feel free to read some other blog today):

1.  He started dating me when I wore huge glasses, big and sloppy t-shirts, and ugly jeans every single day--and he wondered whether I was out of his league. He thought I was so cute even when I didn't think I was.

2.  My parents treated him like a mold growing on their couch, yet he kept coming back for a YEAR, until I moved out of my parent's house to end the torture.

3.  He left his strict religion, believing he'd be condemned to hell if he did, but deciding that, and I quote, "Fifty years with you are worth an eternity in heaven." (How can I not love that?)

4.  When my first C-section became infected and the doctors had to undo ALL the stitching, my husband cleaned my wound three times a day, even stuffing gauze into it as far as it would go, for eight weeks until it fully healed. Each day he'd say, "Look, honey, my fingers only go in this deep today!" 

5.  The most important one? He has, for nearly 20 years, kept his cool when I have flipped out--even at him--not returning snit for snit--and that has allowed me to cool down far faster than if he had snapped back at me. He remains the most cool-headed person I have ever met, and I hope to keep learning patience, persistence, and compassion from him. 

So, happy birthday, Richard! I'd tell him in person right now, but he's out golfing right now--and that's a beautiful thing. I hope he has a wonderful time!

Wednesday, June 17, 2009


For some reason my mind is on Hamlet, a character I identify with more strongly than I'd like--not because I have a mind to kill my stepfather (what stepfather?) or save Denmark from a tyrant (why would I care?), but because I often waffle through life, unsure whether I should take chances, "waste" my time on writing and other pursuits, etc. So much to do, so little time.

Now that I have finished training, with flying colors no less (the trainer said my work was top-notch and recommended me for the next level of training, which involves actually facilitating two online classes!!!!), it's time for me to take care of a number of things... only I feel like Hamlet's ghost is roaming outside in my back yard, moaning at me, "Swear!" to make sure I do what I say I will.

So, here I SWEAR that I will get the following things done this summer:

1.  Train Pam so that she can do bookkeeping at the church (instead of me!)
2.  Paint a big painting for my sister and brother-in-law.
3.  Finish the ship painting I've been working on for a year.
4.  Revise Desdemona and send it out to at least five theatres.
5.  Revise Remember Me and get a date set for the playwrights group to read it.
6.  Revise Mariah's Ark and start sending it to agents.
7.  Revise my Charley novel and send it out to friendly readers (and not so friendly ones).
8.  Research extensively for Thomas novels (my first novel attempt, which I am revamping).
9.  Write outlines for the full set of Thomas novels.
10.  Revise article for ghost book (should be done this week!).
11.  Send out article to all newspapers in western Washington.
12.  Post article on craigslist (weekly or twice per week).
13.  Conduct the majority of interviews for ghost book (by end of September).
14.  Go through all textbooks for classes.
15.  Plan out classes for fall (1 face-to-face, 2 online in Kansas, 2 mentored online classes).
16.  Sew a medieval costume for myself.
17.  Sew several outfits for myself and my daughter.
18.  Visit my sister and aunt in Texas.
19.  Get a ten-minute play ready for production during the fall term (for Jan. performance).


20.  Plan and implement fun activities for my kids.

Okay, yes, this is an exhaustive list. But I've written it out, and I've sworn it. Now I need to print it out and paste it up somewhere (perhaps a bathroom mirror?). I'll let you know when I get something done on it, and I'll do everything I possibly can to get the whole shebang done by mid-September or so (school here starts in late September, since we're on the quarter system). 

Now it's your turn. Make a list, put it up for us to see, and SWEAR it!

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Summer Break Starts NOW!

I have no idea how it will end up, or what will happen, but four weeks of training is over. And my daughter's last day of school is today. And my son is now prepping for kindergarten. So, in less than five hours, we all have SUMMER BREAK!!! 


What will I do with my summer? I don't know. I have a ton of blank canvases waiting to be painted, including a HUGE one I bought for my sister and brother-in-law. I am working on revising my full-length play Desdemona. I need to work on two more novels, too, and do most of the research for my ghost book, along with planning out an entire fantasy series based on my first novel (which will be shredded in the process). My hubby's halfway through putting up a swing set in the back yard. Zumba classes continue at the YMCA, and I've started cardio kickboxing, too. My piano beckons every day, and I hope to sew a ton, too. I figure I'll fill the days nicely, even teaching my daughter to sew and letting her paint when I do. I'm excited about the prospects, about the relaxation, about having nothing but a little work to get done every week, since most of my jobs are ended. 

I do have some prep for fall classes to do (including reading through about four to five textbooks), but I also have a ton of reading waiting on me. I also have an 11-day camping trip planned, along with a quick (and long overdue) jaunt to my sister's in Houston.

What are all of you planning this summer? Will it be same as usual, or do you have an adventure on the docket?

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Let's Get Poetic!

I've found that poetry makes me happier than anything right now... perhaps because it switches my brain out of bored-mode, perhaps because it has little to do with the reality I'm living. However, today I want you to write a poetic ODE... to someone. This one is to my mother-in-law, and it captures one aspect of who she is:

To Barbara


But you are strong. 

Strong enough to bear


Strong enough 

To thrive

To use the words

The hurts 

And grow.

But you are not strong

Not strong enough

To stop his anger,

To put aside his hateful words

To keep 



But you are still strong

Strong enough to work

Long hours

Strong enough

To keep yourself 



There is no food.

But you cannot be strong

When your children

Whined from hunger

Or looked with 

Big eyes

At what

You could never afford.

And yet, you are strong,

Strong enough to find 

Your happiness

And love

With someone 

From long ago.

Strong enough 

To take

That chance

And move to 

Unseen pastures.

But, no, you are not strong

Not strong enough

To stop his heart 

From breaking,

To keep his blood

From slowing down

To keep your love 

From dying.

And yet, 

Through even this,

You are strong.

Strong enough 

To stop your tears,

Strong enough 

To cry them—

Strong enough 

To smile

When his name

Is spoken.

Strong enough 

To stay

Surrounded by the remnants

Of all 

That you have lost.

Teach me that strength

Show me where I can

Grow that strong.

Who knows?

I may have need of it


This kind of poetry is person-specific, and it's often very personal. From reading it, you may have no idea what any of it is about, but when I gave the poem to Mom, she understood every word. In a way, the poem was written for her and nobody else. However, it may hold meaning for readers anyway, especially readers who have survived abuse, who have pulled themselves out of poverty, or who have loved and lost. 

If you fear writing poetry and posting it here, that's fine, but at least tell me whom you WOULD write an ode to, if given the time. Who in your life deserves a poem? 

And if you ARE brave, and I know some of you are, post your own ode in the comments. I'd love to see what you can do!

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Finally Happy

How does it happen? I am still sick, coughing up stuff (I think I likely have a sinus infection), but for some odd reason I spent most of yesterday giggling. And today, too, I'm as cheery as can be, laughing at odd moments (while taking folded clothes up to put away, or making the bed, or rinsing dishes). It doesn't make any sense. Nothing--and I mean NOTHING--has changed from last week to this. 

But I feel like singing. Singing at the bus stop, while I waited for Crystal to be picked up. Singing at my kids while I got them ready for the day. Humming while brushing my teeth. What could possibly make me feel this way? Is it anti-PMS? Impossible. Given the timing, it should be PMS... perhaps my husband is right in observing I'm "even nicer" when that time comes around (and he is grateful for that, as am I). Whatever the reason, I'm really enjoying being happy, even if I have no reason to be (at least, no more reason than I had for being sad before).

Perhaps I need to remember this for my writing (and reading). Sometimes characters may act moody, happy, giddy, upset, cranky, or whatever for no reason at all. Perhaps he or she doesn't know why the feeling comes, and only discovers the source later. Maybe it's okay for a character to not always be logical. Maybe none of us are logical. 

Is there a character you remember, from any of your reading, who seemed illogical to other characters but who made perfect sense to you? When did you psychoanalyze a character, either in your own writing or someone else's?

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

A World of Spirits

Since I'm all about fantasy right now, I thought I'd describe one tiny part of my world for the rest of you. 

In my world, spirits are everywhere. When a child is born, they collect to it, and a select few are chosen to remain with the babe as she grows up, protecting her from harm, helping her with school work, and otherwise nurturing the child unseen. Perhaps she is behind on her homework. They encourage the teacher to take the week off and go on a cruise... giving her more time to finish it. Perhaps they know an accident is coming, so they distract her with a beautiful snail shell, causing her to be reprimanded by her mother for dawdling, but also saving her life, for her mother ends up driving off several minutes too late to be involved in the accident. If they know she will tend to be too full of pride when she is older, they allow bullies to chant an ugly name at her on the playground, so that she can learn what pain feels like and not cause it in others. 

These spirits tag along on the roof of the car, their light, wispy clothing blowing in the wind (if she's on the highway, they can create a wind shield for themselves, if they want to talk or to hear what's going on in the car. They follow her to school (though they do tend to detest buses). They dance with her late at night, when she thinks she is alone in a dark living room. They sit on the bed with her, rubbing her back as she cries after a fight with her brother. 

As she grows up, they stay with her, humming to her babies as she rocks them to sleep. Their humming lulls her exhausted body to sleep as well, and they hold them both, mother and baby. When she fights with her husband, they soothe everyone, helping the couple come together and talk about it later, when she isn't so angry. When her appendix bursts, they make sure she's close to the hospital and shopping with a friend, so that she survives.

The girl thinks she is alone all her life, but she isn't, and a few times she senses the other side... especially when she gazes at a lit Christmas tree or hears a song on the radio that vaguely reminds her of them. But these stray thoughts rarely turn into an awareness. After all, she thinks, she needs to live in the real world, not a fantasy, and people like these spirits cannot possibly exist.

And when she dies, these spirits are still there, waiting to take her home, excited that, for once, she will be able to see them clearly. Then, perhaps, she will tag along with them on their next adventure, when they help another child enter the world. 

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Living in La-La Land

I was sharing my cat story this morning, only to find out from a veterinarian's assistant that my cat cannot possibly catch anything from me--that my blog story telling you about my cat catching the flu was absolutely false, that I was "living in La-La Land," as she put it. 

And that made me wonder: Was I truly living in La-La Land? Was my whole world a fantasy, where everyone wears period clothing, magic is totally real if only one believes deeply enough, spirits and angels exist, and I really am destined for amazing things?

You see, I think that's the whole problem. The world I've been living in for some months now isn't fantasy at all. It's a world where kids say nasty things to each other when they think I'm not listening, where everyone fights over everything, where a flu bug keeps me from being normally active, where clothing doesn't quite fit, where dishes keep piling up and trash starts to stink, even where the outside temperatures reach 90 and I don't have any air conditioning. It's a place where everyone eats too much, including my 8-year-old daughter, where I mostly feel bored, where I have a huge cable package and nothing good to watch, where life is mostly lame and uneventful, or if something does happen it's something that I don't want to happen.

THAT, my friends, is not La-La Land. It's Craptacularville, and I detest it, but for the most part it's the world I live in. And that's why I've been cranky for so long. That's why I haven't been writing, why I haven't bothered to send books off to publishers, why I haven't done all sorts of things I wish I'd done. 

But today, and forever, I'm choosing fantasy. Screw the world where kids are mean and only think poop jokes are funny. Screw the world where food doesn't taste that good (unless it's a thickly layered carrot cake) and where the most fun I get in a day is doing dishes. I'm going back to magic world--to my favorite La-La Land--and I'm going to spread magic around, do the things I most love, tickle my kids into a better frame of mind, play in magic sprinkler outside to cool down, and have an absolute blast. 

Screw reality. I've got some fantasy to live out... and so do you. 

I'll share my stories with you, if you'll share yours...