Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Basque dance and dinner

Every year we attend a Basque festival. We dance traditional dances, auction off a lamb, and eat really good food. One of the unique aspects of Boise is that it is a sister city to Gernika (city in northern Spain).

My little boy (next to his cousin) wears a traditional Basque beret (txapela) passed down from my husband's grandfather.  Also, a handmade, white, linen shirt that I bought in San Sebastian (Donostia). A pair of trousers, thick wool socks, and a pair of dancing shoes (abarkak).

I have on a white headscarf with beautiful stitching and my own wool socks and hard-cured, leather, dancing shoes.

Monday, September 5, 2016

Camping with a Mountain Lion

Labor Day weekend, tent up and prepped with a blow-up, pillow-top mattress, kid air mattress, blankets and sleeping bags. A beautiful fall night in a small abandoned gold mining town in Oregon next to my in-laws vacation home. The stars are brighter than I've seen in years, the sparkly white of the Milky Way popping out of the sky. Sweet dreams of paddleboarding on a remote mountain lake are interrupted by a low growl, followed by a shrieking scream, peaked with a high shrill cry. The horrific and terrifying call bellows through the acre lot, louder than a concert on a Saturday night. Piercing through the stillness, everything stops, no tweets, no howls, silence. Then again another long set of growls, shrieks, and cries.
"Did you hear that?" I sit up.
My husband rustles in his sleeping bag, "Only a bobcat or a cougar, probably a cougar." He rolls over.
The growl rumbles around us. "Too loud for a bobcat."
"Yeah, you're right." He begins dozing off.
"You ever read about a cougar breaking into a tent and dragging a child off?" 
"Nope, go back to sleep."
I rack my brain through all the articles I've ever read on animal attacks. My analytical process comes up with: tent + cougar = relatively safe.
He sits up a bit and looks at the entrance to the tent. "Maybe make sure it's zipped all the way up, so it doesn't peek it's head in."
Of course, that makes me feel better!

This was the closest video I could find of what the one near me sounded like. They are loud!

Friday, August 12, 2016

Rafting hat

Salmon River 2016
I bought this old-fashioned rafting hat for a trip down the Salmon River in Idaho. Its wide brim and bow reminded me of a wild west school teacher. My four-year-old son was in his room playing. I put on the hat and called, "Jacob, come out please."

He runs out the door and stops in the hallway. One eyebrow lifts, studying me.

"I'm your new nanny," I say in a slight British accent. "First, we must work on your dance steps." I take both his hands. "Come along now. One, two three..."

We dance around the living room, him being more obedient than usual. I can barely believe I actually got him to listen and dance with me.

"Now bow, Jacob." I lean over in a big dramatic bow.

His hand ruffles the edge of my hat.

"Your turn, Jacob. Bow."

His eyes narrow as he begins the motion. He stops halfway. "Show me again, please."

"Like this." I gracefully extend my arms and bow like a ballerina. As I reach the low point, he rips off my hat.

"I knew it was you Mommy!" he exclaims.

I love my boy!
McCall, Idaho 2016

Sunday, February 21, 2016

My Spirit Animal

Only my closest and dearest friends know my story of seeing two wild wolves when I was around twelve-years-old.

Wolves were being transported towards Yellowstone for a wolf reintroduction program. They were kept at my hometown zoo before they continued the final leg of the journey. That night two broke out.

I had a paper route and got up really early to deliver newspapers on Sunday morning. No one was outside, only me and the cold freezing air of Idaho. Halfway through my route, I lumbered about carrying fifty pounds of papers in my bag down the empty street. In the distance, stood the two biggest, wildest, meanest looking dogs I'd ever seen, one black and one gray. The large black one turned and we locked eyes. A rush of energy, wild and stunning, filled my body.

Then the two big dogs galloped away.

I got home and and later that morning on the news was a story about the two wolves getting recaptured, caught gallivanting down a country road. They'd chewed a hole through the wire of their cage and escaped. I always remember them saying something like, "No one got hurt. It was before anyone was outside," and thinking, except me.

I told my parents, but they didn't believe me and convinced me they were just dogs. They could've been, but they were literally as tall as my twelve-year-old self.

In my first fantasy novel, I wrote about a wolf charm. It's a big part of the story. I came up with it thinking about that day on my paper route, and the sweet neighborhood boy who gave me a rose once while I was delivering papers.

So last night, guess what?! I saw a big gray wolf! No kidding! Just two minutes outside the ski resort on our way back, a wolf crossed the road in front of us and hopped up the snowy bank of the other side. He stopped broadside and stared at me. I locked eyes with it. Its gaze so powerful and intense, even from inside the truck.

I forgot how huge their heads are.

It all must mean something, right? :)

Life is magical.

Sunday, February 7, 2016

Writing Again

I started a fantasy novel seven years ago from an idea I had when I was eleven. It's one of those stories that's a part of your heart. I wrote over 120,000 words, cut it down to 85,000, and now have revised it down to 53,000 for a MG novel. Along the way, I joined a critique group, have learned an immense amount about writing, and have seen my writing improve.

Through all this, sometimes I wonder what the point is. If my story is never read by anyone but me, is it still worth it? If' it's never good enough, have I wasted my time?

Then I remember the eleven-year-old girl cuddled up way past midnight, imagining a story, and scribbling away on a notebook. The heart and passion of purpose filling her with such dreams, she felt important.

Then I believe there still might be some reason and keep on trying.

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Socially Awkward

I have officially started on novel three. I can't hardly believe I've finished two novels, a chapter book, and the first chapter of my third novel. After a year of asking friends and acquaintances which idea they liked best, the result was 100% my socially awkward idea.

Yes, we all feel socially awkward at times, but some of us more than others, and yes, indirectly I am referring to myself. :)

So stay tuned everyone who's given me your most humorous dating and awkward moment stories, they are soon to be written!

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

At a writing conference for SCBWI, I met Tanager. Her art instantly drew me in and intrigued me. Her fun personality oozed with life, almost fantastical compared to my usual gray cubicle.

Tanager also writes speculative fiction.  Her ideas memorize me. Find more about her here.