One Red Notebook

Where do you keep your life?

Not the living, breathing, soul part (I’m not feeling that philosophical today) but the organizational part.

I know more and more people who keep it all on their phone. Personally I find this horrifying for a many reasons like…

  1. What if it spontaneously malfunctions?
  2. What if I break it?
  3. What if I lose it?
  4. What if I drop it on a gravel path and the screen shatters? (True story)
  5. What if I run it over with an F250? (True story)
  6. What if I jump in a lake to save my kid with it in my pocket? (True story)
  7. What if I forget it?


Instead I currently keep my life in a red notebook.

It has…

  1. Notes about what to talk about at an author program.
  2. To-do lists for marketing a picture book.
  3. To-do lists for writing a picture book.
  4. To-do lists for managing a capoeira group.
  5. Things to prepare for Thanksgiving.
  6. Three months of who’s spending which weekend with Granny.
  7. Notes from a meeting with publisher and illustrator.
  8. Notes from talking with stores about carrying my book.
  9. Notes from talking with schools about doing capoeira demos.
  10. E-mail addresses.
  11. Blog post ideas.
  12. To-do lists for the poultry
  13. To-do lists for the week.
  14. Things to remember. (That’s a good catch-all page)
  15. Lists of butterfly houses and exhibits in the Midwest.
  16. Lists of favorite winter/snow books.
  17. And notes on how to plan and serve Thanksgiving dinner to 45.

And no, while bullet journaling sounds great in theory, that’s not a thing I do.

I am not unaware that while this is a system, it is possible it’s not the best system. It also occurs to me that a red notebook is just as prone to flood, fire and forgetting as a phone. But, for all I write on the computer and share documents over google drive and set things up in shared calendars, there is a perceived permanence to writing things down in my own messy, illegible, misspelled handwriting that I’m reluctant to give up. It’s as though in my mind a to-do list isn’t a to-do list if it’s not written at two different angles with big bold scribbles when something is crossed off.

I keep my life in a red notebook. Where do you keep yours?


What’s That Noise?

John: What’s that noise?

Me: You mean the thing that sounds like a snare drum being followed by a civil war regiment? I think it’s the dryer.

John (walking toward sound): Ahhhh! What adventures does entropy have in store for us today?

(Answer: It was the dryer following hot on the heels of the dishwasher, two flat tires and right before the vacuum cleaner blew a belt. Ain’t entropy great?)


My Love Affair With Night

Night is ever the seducer. He whispers in my ear and tells me I can do that one more thing before bed. He fills the night with a soft, quite peace and whispers promises of fun to be had. But Morning is waiting for me when he leaves and she is an uncompromising bitch.

Night makes all sorts of compromises. I can have fun with friends, or I can enjoy the solitude. I can read one more chapter, write one more story. I can do one more chore or have one more conversation.


This is the beautiful Ra, with illustrations by the amazing Tooks, we made a book together. A lot of it happened at night. 

Morning refuses to cooperate. Her schedule is inflexible. She demands productivity. Immediately. Compromise is not in Morning’s vocabulary.

I know this.

And yet… Night is always tempting and I am bad at saying no.

Some nights I try.

I try to resist his siren song and when I succeed I meet Morning on a level playing field, but other nights he fights back.

On those nights he hangs the stars so low in a moonless, clear sky you feel as though you could pluck them down. But, of course, you can’t. Still they hover above, another temptation in the dark, and the wanting gets to you and it makes you restless. If you can’t play with the stars you at least have to move. You have to sing, dance, love, cry, you have to feel those nights. Those are the nights filled with tossing and turning. Those are the nights that normally sleeping dogs pace the house and kids wake up with nightmares.

Night compromises but at his heart he will always be a seducer. He doesn’t play fair and he takes what he wants in the end.

And Morning, she is always waiting, hard faced and uncaring on the other side.

I’m constantly lured into poor decisions in my love affair with Night.

Morning and I exist on a battlefield littered with broken alarm clocks and spent tea bags.

But between them lives Nap and we have the sweetest of relationships.

Not Home Yet

It was passed the time the kids should have been off the bus and in the door.

I quick stepped out to the top of the driveway – still no sign of them.

Crouching to peer under the hanging apple tree branches I double checked- nope, no kids.

Jumping up I ran back into the house pulled out my hidden cookie and sat down.


And as I enjoyed my last five minutes of quiet I thought to myself, “Yup.  This is it. I’ve pretty much hit the pinnacle of motherhood and the stereotype of a stay at home mom all in one fell swoop. Good job mama, good job.”

Mosquitoes and School

The first day of school arrives and I, like all the other parents and grandparents around take pictures of my kids. I do this because it was done to me and I hated it so it seems only fair that now I torture my own girls with it.DSC_0306

And then I, like all the other parents and grandparents around, share my pictures with the world. I do this because that’s what bloggers (I swear I will get a new computer and be a regular blogger again one day soon) do.DSC_0305

But I just can’t get on board the “bittersweet memory”  and “growing up so fast” and “where has the time gone” caption bandwagon with the cute signs and the three smiling faces. DSC_0307


A: The house is quiet today and that is a beautiful thing.

B: I hate to be the one to point this out but we are all aging at the same rate, and

C: The time has disappeared into years of sleeplessness and over caffeination and I can’t remember most of it anyway even if I wanted to.

So I post pictures of my kids getting attacked by mosquitoes and I don’t cry and feel bittersweet.


When Mom makes you take a first day of school picture in a swarm of mosquitoes. #whenmosquitoesattack #firstdayofschool

Nope, I’m just happy to be able to drink an entire cup of tea while it’s still hot, knowing that I’ll have some photo evidence that I did indeed send the girls off to school on a mosquito ridden day in 2018 because heaven knows I’ll never remember it otherwise!




Death By Drowning


Fortunately it was just the computer.

Unfortunately there is no “just” when it comes to how much I rely on my computer.

Hopefully soon, my technological life will be in order, the kids will be back in school, I’ll stop running all over the state on a whim and I’ll be back to blogging and writing and creating again. Because as much as I’ve enjoyed this whirlwind of a summer I have missed this.

Putting words on a page has become more important to me than I would have ever guessed.

Until then you can still find me on Instagram (because we killed all the technology in the house this summer except the phone *knock on wood*) where there aren’t many words but there are lots of pictures to get me through until we get it all straightened back out again. 38738842_2276205439273979_5467301984065290240_n

Enjoy what summer you have left!