Random Musings from the Pinnacles



Long vs. short writing projects

Lately I’ve been chafing at how little writing I’m doing aside from blogging and The Novel. If I had 4-5 hours, I could easily spend them, and I’d get more projects done despite working on said novel. That, however, is not my life. So I’m just trying to get done with the thing so I can move on to something else. I know there are writing mothers out there who do manage to put out a novel every year or two. I’d really like to know how they do it. Maybe they have more child care. Maybe they don’t teach lessons. Or maybe they’re just better than I am.


Anyway, after working so intensively on my Advent Reclamation Project, it took a while to get excited about the novel again, but I got there, and I’m getting close to finishing. I’m looking forward to doing some short projects again—something I can submit in less than 3 years’ time. J


Email submission

Speaking of submitting, I have a love-hate relationship with submitting via the internet. Love, because it costs nothing, I don’t have to schedule a trip to the post office (which if you recall I hate), and it’s takes so little time. Hate, because I keep getting No Response. Not always, but often enough that I’m suspicious. After working at the local Catholic school for a year and a half, I discovered that the school server was blocking all mail from Yahoo addresses. All the teachers I was mad at for not responding? They never got my messages. I’m beginning to think that the same may be true for a lot of publishers. So I switched email providers last week. Changing emails after almost 10 years is really a headache, but if I don’t start getting responses for submissions, I may have to revert to snail submissions.



I’m well aware that I’m doing it to myself, but lately I’ve been waking up in the 3:00 hour and having trouble getting back to sleep. Actually, “having trouble” doesn’t do it justice. This morning, I woke up at 3:20 and laid around for most of an hour. Then I got up and went downstairs to do some writing. I got back in bed at 5:15 a.m., and I did eventually sleep a little more, though I don’t know how much. I heard Christian’s alarm at six, and at six-thirty I was out of bed.


When Alex was 9 months old I went through 3-4 months of pretty massive insomnia. I was on anti-anxiety medicine for it—I guess that’s what they give nursing mothers instead of sleeping pills. A few months ago I stumbled across a reference listing insomnia as a symptom of postpartum depression—one that can crop up any time in the first year. I’d never considered that as a cause. It actually made me feel better about the whole thing.


But the truth is, I’ve always been a poor sleeper. When I was a kid, I laid awake for hours, having long one-sided talks with God about life, the universe and everything. I’d put my pillow in the open window frame and look up at the stars. That was how I got to know the north sky. I guess my problem is that I’ve trained my brain never to shut down. So when I wake up at 3 a.m. (and let’s face it, pregnant women are always going to wake up sometime in that neighborhood), I start thinking, and there goes my rest.


Of course, the hip/muscle discomfort is no help, either. And this morning, neither was the baby, who apparently gets a shot of adrenaline whenever I do, embarking on a massive exercise routine that included kick boxing, stretches, and rudimentary floor exercises.


Well, I’m coping better than I used to, so that’s cause for thanksgiving.


Traffic noise

Something that’s puzzled me for a long time is traffic noise. We live a mile north of the interstate. The day we first viewed our house, our back yard, which faces the highway, was very quiet—virtually silent. That was one of the things I wanted in a house, and I felt somewhat betrayed when I discovered that the quiet of that first day was the exception, not the rule. Since then, I’ve tried to identify a pattern to the quiet days. Most of the time, when the wind is in the south, it’s very noisy—but not always. Most foggy days are pretty quiet, but not all. Windy days with wind from the north tend to be quieter, but then I’ll hear the noise from the southwestern or southeastern reaches of the interstate. So what is it that conducts or inhibits the sound waves? I’d really like to know!


Weight gain

Hello, my name is Kate. I’m obsessive about my pregnancy weight gain.


I have a friend who would smack me upside the head for worrying about it. She always tells me your body gains what it needs to gain, and as long as you’re eating healthy you shouldn’t worry about it. But I do. For one thing, I have monster children. Alex was 10 pounds 6 ounces at 41 weeks. Julianna was 8 pounds 9 ounces at 38, and she has Down’s. For another, when I’m not pregnant I weigh twelve pounds less than my husband. Not because I’m overweight, but because I married a guy who’s not much taller than me. One of the days I dread in pregnancy is the day when I step on the scales and weigh more than he does. Blech!


It’s easy for me to shed the first 20 pounds postpartum, but the last 5-10 don’t come off till I’m almost ready to get pregnant again. So I’m obsessive. But I’m beginning to have the uncomfortable feeling that Elaine might be right. For the first fifteen weeks of this pregnancy, I gained nothing. I mean, NOTHING. Since then I’ve been gaining 1 to 1 ½ pounds a week, on average. Sometimes exercise and going to bed hungry helps, sometimes it doesn’t. But the last two weeks, I’ve been stuck at about the same weight (no, I will NOT tell you what it is!) despite having lemonade instead of water, cake and ice cream every day, etc.


Gratitude list for the 5th of February 2009:

Watching my children delight in each other’s presence. It’s not surprising that Julianna adores her older brother, looks up to him, and thinks he’s the coolest in the world. But it does sometimes surprise me to see how Alex’s sun rises and sets wherever she is. He dotes on her…even when he’s frustrated with her. It really struck me at lunch today—I took them to Culver’s and watched them giggle across the table at each other…21 months apart in age, and a gap that widens with each successive day. And yet they are inseparable. They love to wake each other up by “ruffing,” cuddling, tickling, hugging or kissing.


Watching the flow of the Silver Fork tripping over rocks and licking at the frayed edges of the ice. We don’t often have creeks freeze solid, but this winter’s been on the cold side…even if we haven’t gotten any precip. It looks just like a Nova video. Beautiful.


A new niece.


Good, hard critique partners with obsessive focus on things I never give a thought. Even if I don’t agree with them 100%, I always find that moderating their obsessions improves my writing. J


A sixty-degree day in February.


I’ve put this on the list before, but when I arrived at the Pinnacles today and started across the grass kicking up six inches of oak leaves, my heart just squeezed with joy. There’s just something about kicking up leaves.


But God, I’m sorry, I am not now, and never will be able to scrounge up, any gratitude for ticks! Yuck! I just found one crawling on my ear! In FEBRUARY!!

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