You know what is great? When you find what you love to do. I love to write and manage and plan. I love calendars and events. You know what else is great? When someone pays you to do what you love. I recently got a job as a writer for the website http://www.helmetstohardhats.org . I’m getting to manage the editorial calendar, interview cool people in the field, do research and write articles. This is what I was doing for the last many years as a writer for children, but it was all on speculation and I must say, the paycheck piece is a welcomed change.
The biggest issue has been my own writing. I’ve been juggling my kiddos, my house, my move, and my husband’s new work and travel schedule but throw in my SCBWI work and my novel and you’ve got a recipe for mental breakdown. So, if you are interested in conference updates I must apologize and tell you that on August 19th my kiddos go back to school and I will make the conference a bigger part of my life. Until then, get your presentation proposals in. The info is at http://www.nescbwi.org/about/conferences/
If you are a first reader waiting for the first complete draft of Jacob Jones… I’m setting September 15th as my deadline. Schmoozers, I’m looking for a plane ticket.
Freelance writing and laundry. That’s all nothing more to report. The children are vegging in front of the tube and I’m only feeling slightly guilty. At least they’re helping with the laundry. The AC repair folks are coming today. They said they’d be here between noon and 8 pm. It’s good to have a schedule, yes?
By the time dinner rolls around, my Southern Maryland home, with an ineffective AC unit, is hot enough to drive this woman out of the house and into a restaurant. With my visiting parents, I took a suggestion from my new editor to go to Fitzy’s restaurant. Fitzy’s is perched on the end of Newtown Neck about 15 minutes from my home. I had the distinct feeling of deja vu’ as the setting was so similar to the Dolphin Marina in Harpswell, Maine. Water surrounds the little peninsula and the restaurant has windows all around to let you enjoy the islands that pillow the horizon and sailboats that skim along in the windy waves. I had the expectation that Fitzy’s, located in a working marina, would be a crabber’s bar. It is nothing of the sort.
Danny Fitzgerald, son of the original Fitzy, showed me around. Danny is an impressive man. Ruddy and white-blond from the sun, he stands about seven feet tall. Okay maybe not that tall, but I’m already 5 foot 10 and it takes a lot of height to impress me. He told me that the original building was destroyed during hurricane Isabel in 2003. Clean and newish with butter-yellow siding, the two-story building is large with two wings. One wing houses a dining room and the other a bar. The bar room is complete with two pinball machines and a 75 cent pool table that my kiddos loved. There is an outside tiki bar and tables in the sand for beach party nights when bands play. Upstairs, there is a room for private parties of as many as 50.
Fitzy’s isn’t cheap. The price of a dinner ranges from $15 to $30 but the food was delicious and the portions large. We started with a pound of steamed shrimp that were spiced with Old Bay and cloves. Each shrimp was huge and tasty. Things just kept getting better. The broiled crab cakes were big enough to share and I loved that you could really taste and appreciate the crab meat. (Not a single shell, by the way.) My Dad had a broiled cod and my husband had salmon. Both loved their meals. My favorite part of the meal were the hush puppies dipped in honey. They were moist and just a little spicy.
Heather, our waitress was chipper and attentive. She introduced herself and made a point of moving around the table to take orders and give specials so that even my father (83) could hear and be heard. I can’t say enough about her amazing service. She was so attentive that she literally offered her back as a place for my hubby to sign the credit receipt. (He declined.)
I hope that some of my Maine friends will come visit if they can stand the heat. If they can’t, we’ll get out of the kitchen and go to Fitzy’s for a game of pool, a drink and some hush puppies.
This is the roving reporter live from the Boll garage in the Breton Bay neighborhood of Leonardtown, Maryland. You’ll see that all around me are boxes. Some full, some empty. The boxes are stacked as high as an adult in here and it is difficult to make it to the door. There is a small path that we can take. Okay, here is the door into the house. I’m pushing it open but it seems that the entry way is full of… yes, boxes. Okay. These are all empty and we can see that the living room is looking quite comfortable. There are plenty of toys for the children, (infact, what child really needs this many toys and art supplies?). The children have been bribed with trips to the pool to unpack boxes. It seems that they are filling the book cases with wonderful books. Look how many are signed by the artist or author. (Now this family knows what’s important.)
The kitchen and all the bedrooms are also still crowded with unpacked boxes. Here in the kitchen, the computer is unpacked, and set up. Good thing too, because the SCBWI New England Conference is getting closer with every passing day and Anna Boll better up her game. In addition to unpacking boxes and co-directing the conference, Anna just scored a freelance job writing newsletter content for the Helmets to Hardhats website. The money will be important to the family economy but will she be able to manage all this before the children head back to school? That August 19th date is only a month away, causing some to ask, “Where has the summer gone?” But in Leonardtown, we can feel summer everyday. Today’s forecast? 92 degrees and 96% humidity. Great weather for unpacking, BOXES.
My office. ACK!
The packers are here and I’m shutting down the computer for a week or so. I’m happy to email folks with our contact info. Just leave me a comment and I’ll write you a more private message with the address, phone, and my new email. (Hoping to cut down on spam.)
Well, friends. It’s a political post today, but I hope you’ll press on because it is really about FOX news and their constant focus on everything but the issues that matter to the American people. I hope you’ll watch the video and feel that something has to be done about the biased, racist, and sexist “news” that they report. I know there must be an audience for this because FOX is doing great, but I don’t think it is the same audience that reads my blog. So write a letter to the editor, sign a petition at moveon.org, contribute to the Obama for President campaign and let’s stand together for peace, education, and the environment.
PS: Listen to NPR instead.
I apologize to those who read the blog regularly. Office clean-up seems to be a reoccurring theme for me. For those who don’t read, here is the cyclical process.
1. My office/studio is clean.
2. I’m all proud of my amazing organizational skills and reinvigorated.
3. I am very productive in this lovely clean space.
4. I make significant headway on a project trying very hard to put all my tools away and file papers as I go.
5. At this point some other project becomes necessary at the same time (going to a school visit, helping my children with a school project, directing a huge 500 person conference, giving my kiddo a birthday party, moving my entire married/mother life of 15 years OR ALL OF THESE THINGS!) and it becomes impossible to keep things organized.
6. The office is a huge disorganized mess.
7. I cannot work in my office. It makes me feel oogey, and all I can do is “friend” people on Facebook, read blogs, and play scrabulous and word twist addictively.
8. I clean my office/studio. Sorting the keep and toss piles, reorganizing, sharpening pencils, spray cleaning the dust off my desk.
9. Go to #1
To those of you who are taking Laurie’s 15 minute a day challange, congrats. I’ll get to it as soon as I can see the floor again.
Last night, hubby asked me how I was feeling about the move. “I really can’t complain,” I started, then I did.
Everyone in the community as been welcoming and friendly, the kids are making friends, the house is lovely, the school is great, so what could be wrong.
It is just a feeling. A feeling of being alone in the middle of a crowd. In Maine, when I was feeling alone it was because I was in the middle of field and forest without many neighbors. This is different. I’m sure that when we settle in and get our things I’ll feel more grounded.
I think what I’m missing most is my work. I’ve been writing and drawing but not working on current projects. My characters and their conflicts are on hold in a file in a computer in Maine and I’m here. But soon enough, they will be here too and I will be happy to have them.
So how am I feeling. Fine, just fine.