Momma’s Day

Mom loves to have her head rubbed. When she used to go to beauty shops, she picked them based on how long the person shampooed her hair.

Alia, at a great place around the corner , not only gives fabulous shampoos, but she also begins treatment with a neck rub. Mom loved it, though she wouldn’t let Alia cut more than a 1/4 inch off her long gray hair!

Mom does seem more settled these days. She remembers for about 15 minutes, which means when she has an event that brings her joy, it is only in the moment. Experts say even that helps Alzheimer’s patients as the “sense” of joy helps keep their emotions balanced. I try not to be hurt when she forgets that I’ve spent the day with her. As long as she seems relatively stable and content, my own stress levels are lower.

Speaking of stress levels– somehow I’ve developed bouts of diverticulitis, in spite of all my good eating habits. I am hoping this doesn’t lead to surgery, but I haven’t managed to keep them from occurring. I am practicing deep breathing and belly massage to see if that helps.

I still haven’t figured out how to eat low fiber foods for the Div but eat high fiber foods to maintain good digestion! Seems impossible, right?

Once this all clears, I’m back to the FODMAP plan, which showed great promise before this all started.

For today, I am remembering meeting my sweet pal Heidi over the weekend, while I was also attending a funeral for my Dad’s brother. Seeing Heidi brought back such fun memories of when we worked together in Fredericksburg.

We picked up like we’d never been apart all those years. That’s friendship.


Reboot/ Regroup

file0002143843277I needed yesterday. Two friends from Life is a Verb Camp, a retreat I attended in November, came to visit and learn about letterpress printing.

Recently, I’ve been feeling somewhat out of sorts with my creative life. Not sure of how to proceed, I just drifted from one project to another. But yesterday, I worked with these friends and found myself so caught up in not only printing but also sharing what I do and how I do it.

Hmmm, maybe I miss teaching? Maybe I ought to do this more often? Sometimes the Universe talks loudly and clearly. And I am listening.

So what’s my next step? I need to get more organized with my “stuff” and my process. That will happen over the next two months. Then I’ll begin to advertise for workshops. Yay, I have a plan!


Hearing Truth

I’ve been thinking a lot about feedback lately. In our writing/arts studio, we want creative people to feel free to explore and play–with words, paint, fiber.

For some of us, that’s enough. But others are looking for more, for feedback to finish/publish/sell a project.

So we’ve created different spaces for our various stages of production. If we’re exploring an idea, learning a new skill, or simply letting our creative side bloom, we go to Our Words or an Art Experience. If we need to know whether our project needs refining, polishing, or even tossing, we attend a Writing Workout or perhaps a private consultation with an artist.

But taking constructive feedback is difficult. Many of us struggle with perfectionism. We have trouble failing.

I love the 30/90 percent idea I read about this morning on

We call it Thirty Percent Feedback.  It’s a trick I learned from our investor, Seth Lieberman.  It came about because I once asked him for feedback on a product mockup, and he asked if I felt like I was ninety percent done or thirty percent done. If I was ninety percent done, he would try to correct me on every little detail possible because otherwise a typo might make it into production. But if I had told him I was only thirty percent done, he would gloss over the tiny mistakes, knowing that I would correct them later.  He would engage in broader conversations about what the product should be.

I think writers often don’t recognize we are at 30%, rather than 90%. We begin to focus on commas, when we should be reworking language (or revising the heck out of something).

I love giving labels to ideas.


Teaching Again

I love writing with kids.

My friend Elizabeth Seaver and I are teaching a “Write a Book” camp this week. Yesterday we offered some creative exercises and the kids took off. We’ve got a lyrical story, a poem about an eggplant, and some unique ideas for cover design. In between workshop and lunch, we heard some of the best jokes 10 and 11-year-olds can tell.

And that was the first day! Stay tuned. I’ll share some of their work if they agree:)


As for my own writing, I’m thinking about John Truby’s advice: to craft a story based on a character’s psychological and moral needs. Let outside characters challenge the character’s personal flaw (or need). Ok, that helps me see some changes I need to make.

Thanks to my RSS feed….

I was reading Sonia Terborg’s post this morning, a review of a book about working with young writers. I’m always looking for new ideas, and Sonia’s detailed explanation sold me. Within minutes, I had paid for and downloaded Workshops Work by Patricia Zaballos.

Now, in typical fashion, I’ve spent far too much time on Patricia’s blog, too. A homeschooling mom, she offers so many wonderful examples for writing, project-based learning, and “unschooling.”

I am looking forward to a full day of reading:)