Good News

A Good Morning

I see you lurking.

I see you lurking.

True, my eyes are bloodshot as usual, but when I woke up and went out on the terrace, I had a moment.  A really good moment. I could see stars.  Several–the sky was that clear.  And dark.

I was able to do my abbreviated yoga routine without hurting myself, another plus.

I know the summer is really over, because I’m sitting here with hot tea instead of iced.  Still took Art Child to school wearing my shorts and flip-flops, though.

In between yoga and waking the girl, I found this on the table.  He did it.  Husband found the absolute perfect card for my annual 29th birthday celebration.

The new new math. Or, if you prefer, the new middle aged math.

The new new math. Or, if you prefer, the new middle aged math.

I was able to get a decent amount of crap sorting and tossing accomplished yesterday, only 3,493 more piles to go!  Unreal.  How does so much shit accumulate?  I look around and swear I don’t want any of it, I’m going to throw it all away.  Then I start sorting through, and can only convince myself to part with half.  I can weed through the kids old schoolwork.  I don’t really need every test, homework assignment, and nursery school painting.  I can’t throw away Man Child’s 9/11 journal: his eight year old perspective on what happened from a child’s point of view here in New York, in the days and weeks following the attacks.  I can’t throw away Nerd Child’s book from kindergarten, which he dedicated to himself, because he did the work.  I can’t throw away Art Child’s early art, or the eleventy billion logs, notes, and receipts that comprise her medical history.  I can’t throw away the Christmas card from Husband, assuring me the prior bad year would soon fade from memory.  (lies, by the way–crystal clear)  I can’t throw away my old, snail mail rejection letters.  Can I?  Maybe I can.  Though they are safely tucked away in the file cabinet, it isn’t like they’re making a mess.

I went up to the new apartment, stared down the ancient monster of a range that comprises half the kitchen.

Chocolate pudding brown. When it was in style, it was called coppertone.

Chocolate pudding brown. When it was in style, it was called coppertone.

In case you’re wondering, I’m going to bring my beautifully plain white stove upstairs with me.  The work is being done.  I’m not sure how we’re going to eat for the rest of the year, but most of the major cracks and holes in the walls have already been repaired.

I haven’t worked on my short story in several days, and doubt I will today.  I’d like to, but there’s more crap sorting to do.  I’m still waiting on agent responses for Astonishing, and as I sort crap, I can imagine my little email bing is notifying me of an offer, and fantasy-stock my soon to be real (maybe, I hope) new tank.  One of my friends is making plans to come and visit later this fall.  Whee!  We’ve never met in person, but after years and conversations, photos and laughs, she’s as real to me as Fatigue.

Anxiety, crap, and all, I’ll take these moments.

Hasta Luego, Summer

Yes, I really do miss this.

It never gets any fucking easier.

And so it goes.

Hello Fringelings!  Lots of life since I last posted.  Still adjusting to life without Big Senile Dog, Little Incredibly Dumb Dog is continuing to have a hard time, searching for her buddy.

I just said goodbye to Nerd Child.  You’d think with the years all this would get easier, wrapping up summer, saying goodbye to the boys, school starting up again…but it doesn’t.  For me, anyway.  Some people say the first year is the hardest, but I disagree because after the first year, you know just how much you’re going to miss them. Supporting each boy’s desire and decision to go to boarding school wasn’t easy, but the school Man Child attended was great for him, and the school Nerd Child is attending has him happier than I ever knew was possible to be in high school. This is a big year in Fringeland.  Man Child is in his senior year of college, Nerd Child is a junior in high school (though they don’t call it junior year in his school, all the boarding schools have strange and individual terms for the grades), and Art Child…Art Child begins eighth grade tomorrow.

Eighth grade means insanity here in New York.  High school admissions.  For those unfamiliar with the pomp and circumstance of city schools, entering high school isn’t limited to the “usual” adolescent stress of worrying about getting lost in new hallways and remembering where your locker is.  It’s a process.  There is no zoned high school for us, so even limiting the choices to public schools, there are tours and applications and interviews, portfolios and auditions.  Because being a young teen and parenting in the city isn’t stressful enough.  So yesterday, in preparation, I approached the crate.  Then I spent an hour and a half sorting through and tossing out all the junk we no longer need.  I thought I did this after Nerd Child’s high school admission rounds were finished, but apparently not.  From what I found, I hadn’t tossed anything since I cleared out after Man Child’s college admissions.

The Crate

The Crate

This is my super system for school admissions.  Sure, the savvy moms use Excel spreadsheets and apps, but I’ve got a crate.  The above pic is what’s left after clearing out.  The latest high school books from the Department of Education, a notebook I’ve used for notes and tracking since I began this fun eight years ago, a notebook from Nerd Child’s high school process (excellent tips that are still applicable from the admissions counselor of his middle school), and acceptance letters and packages (those I could find, anyway. I know several are missing).  Because mama pride.  All this experience, I’m more relaxed, right?  Nope.  This will be the first time everything is riding on the public school admissions, and Art Child would like an arts-focused school, so much will be new again.  Three different kids, interests, and abilities means different school choices. Crap!!!!

New Yorkers, of course, believe this is the best and only valid way to have their kids in the best schools, and have the best college options later.  Oh bullshit.  Colleges around the world–even those “top,” Ivy League colleges–are filled with kids who didn’t go to the “top” NYC schools.  And I’m having an ongoing panic attack thinking of many of those not top NY public schools that kiddos are assigned to when they don’t make their choice schools.  Can’t I just go back to the beach and stay there, eyes closed and iPod in my ears?  I may not have done anything fabulous or gone on vacation, but I will miss this summer.

I did have a couple of pieces of good news last week.  *drumroll please*  The larger apartment came through.  Oh. my. God.  I have no idea how we’re going to get it habitable and still have enough money to eat this year, no idea how we’re going to get packed and moved without the boys here to help without my back literally breaking, but it’s going to happen.  Even if I have a stroke from the price quotes I’m hearing for painting and floor installation, it will happen.  Even if  they don’t fix the toilet that’s currently doubling as a fountain, it will happen.  And luxury of luxuries, a second toilet, a little half bathroom.  Two!  I’m so thrilled by this the first second third thing I did was go up and scrub that toilet.  The first was sweeping, the second was bathe Little Incredibly Dumb Dog, who was gray and sneezing after spending a few hours up there with me.  The thought of moving into an apartment that won’t immediately be covered in a layer of dog fur is…strange.  Maybe not bad, but strange. (the little one doesn’t shed)

Another bit of good news.  I had applied to be a mentee through the WoMentoring Project, and received an email from the agent I applied to for mentoring, and yes!  I/Astonishing was chosen.  What, specifically, will this mean for me and Astonishing?  No fucking clue, but it won’t be bad, and could potentially be fantastic.  Actually, being chosen is already fantastic.  Funny, because when I wrote the essay for the application, I was thinking about all my application essay experience–writing parent essays for kiddos’ school admissions.  And I’ve written many, many of those, each school has their own special set of essay questions. Hmmm, if I never earn a dollar for my fiction, maybe someone will pay me a dollar for admission essays.  (Kidding of course, that would be unethical.)

Last week Mrs Smitholini and I celebrated thirty years of friendship.  I suggested matching tattoos, but for some reason Mr S didn’t care for that idea.  So we went to see Wicked.  Just Mrs S and I, like two grownups, a perfect show to celebrate friendship.

So as the season gets ready to change, changes in Fringeland.  Good stuff, nerve-wracking stuff, life.

Look At Me, I’m A Person!

Party of one

Party of one

This is my morning.  Every morning.  I begin each day on the terrace with my coffee and my phone for a morning email check in with a friend–“ready?”– who lives many states away.  Whichever of us is awake first sends the first email and cybercup.

But there’s a new and important difference to this little tableau.  Can you guess what it is?  Until yesterday morning, I didn’t have a real grown up sized chair, or this cute table.  That’s right, for the past seven years I have woken up anywhere between four and six AM, gone onto the terrace, and sat down with my coffee and phone, pretty much on the floor, no table.

What do I mean by pretty much on the floor?  This.

See the difference?

See the difference?

Yes, I’d been using the low-slung reject beach chair–rejected for the beach because the back can’t be adjusted/reclined.  Why, Mrs Fringe, wasn’t your butt cold sitting on that in the winter months?  Yes, yes it was.  Mrs Fringe, didn’t that aggravate your back over the past year, when you’ve been dealing with the back pain from Satan?  Yes, yes it did.  When I first moved into this apartment, a little patio set went on the list.  But yanno, the list is long, and things like a real outside chair for myself fall way down to the bottom of the list of needs and wants that never stops growing.  We’re still waiting for an official *go* on the larger apartment, but it seems like it is going to come through, and this would push a patio set that much further down the list.  Because budget.

Initially, I didn’t really mind.  First of all, how could I complain when I actually had an apartment with a terrace?  And you all know how much I love the beach, so I would sit in my little chair, close my eyes, and pretend I was on a beautiful beach somewhere else.

When Mr Smitholini first saw this, years ago, he laughed and told me he was going to bring me the sandbox from when his kids were younger, so I could really live the dream.  Not a bad thought, really.  It became a running joke, every time I spoke with Mrs Smitholini on the phone, every time they came to visit.  They don’t come very often.  Let’s face it, driving and parking in the city sucks, we are 8000 people and creatures in a two bedroom apartment, and their family of seven squished around the dining room table in addition to my family of five creates an, ummm, cozy dinner.  They have a spacious and beautiful home in the suburbs, so it’s more frequent that we go to visit at their house.

Until about two weeks ago, it had been a couple of years since they were here.  Life, work, twelve people’s schedules…not so easy to coordinate.  But then they were here, in dress clothes because they came over after a family function.  Mr Smitholini wanted to sit on the terrace to have his cigar, and I, the hostess with the mostest, offered him the beach chair.  He was a good sport about it, Mrs Smitholini and I sat on the ground, but, ummm, suit + beach chair + middle aged bodies + middle of Manhattan = not so fun.  We went to visit them two days ago, and Mrs Smitholini had this present for me.

A real, grown-up patio set.  Two (matching!) chairs and a table.  One of her kiddos even put it together for me before we got there.  Squee! It isn’t just the furniture that’s a gift, the past two mornings have been a gift to my back, as I settled with my coffee and phone, watching the sun rise.

I don’t consider myself an outdoorsy gal, but I need to start my days like this.  Sun, rain, or snow, I have to be outside.  My beach house will remain a fantasy, but I figure out what I can to get my imagination there with the pesky reality of my body being here in the city.  Time on the terrace, forever friends,  and soon I hope, another little slice of the ocean in a glass box.

So here I sit, on a grown-up chair, like a real person on the terrace.  My laptop even fits comfortably on the table, coffee cup to the side.  Are you ready for coffee?




Daffodils (Photo credit: tejvanphotos)

Happy Easter, Happy Passover, happy whatever you celebrate!

I will celebrate today by keeping my insides on the inside, which is more than I can say for yesterday.  And of course, feeling guilty, for all I didn’t get done.  No writing, no blogging, no buying seeds or seedlings with Flower Child, no laundry, no nothing.

I think I had food poisoning.  I’m sure you can all fill in the rest of those blanks by yourself.

But hey, I’m sitting upright this morning!

Ride Upright

Ride Upright (Photo credit: poetas)

Someone save the black jellybeans for me, I’m not ready for them yet, but I’m sure I’ll be looking for them tomorrow.

Mrs Fringe Is 50!


Present (Photo credit: ejorpin)

Yup, this is my fiftieth post.  Is this a big deal in the world of blogging? Nope, but it means something to me.

There’s something about the number that feels like commitment. When I’m working on a full length manuscript, 50 pages is my magic spot.  It means I’ve gone further than just trying an idea, seeing how it flows, can I sustain it?  Nope, when I hit 50 pages I’m all in.  The characters are fleshed out enough to feel real, I’m thinking about them in the shower, and wake up thinking about what they will do today.  The conflicts are getting layered, serious.  In the world of submissions, agents and editors will often ask for a partial; usually the first three chapters or 50 pages if they might be interested after seeing a query letter.  So all of those 50 pages had better be fan-freakin-tastic. Not that you can stop writing and query at this point, don’t bother until you have a completed, edited, re-edited and re-re-edited manuscript.

Because 50 pages isn’t magical commitment for everyone.

turn page

turn page (Photo credit: andy.brandon50)

Much to my initial surprise, I’ve met quite a few writers over the years who have several 50 pages; all starts to manuscripts they never finished.  I was a lot more understanding of the “rules” of publishing, warning writers (unless you are WELL established and WELL published) not to send a query if you don’t have a completed full, once I met a few of those writers.

At fifty posts here in Mrs Fringe land, I’m feeling pretty good. I’ve got fringie followers! Not quite 50, but close. I’ve got readers who come by regularly and check out what’s happening, whether they’re official followers or not. I’ve got people who stop by and take the time to comment and join in the conversation; some of whom I know in real life, and a growing number who I’m getting to know through blogging.

And that is what it’s all about.  Blogging is writing, it’s a space to share my thoughts and views, and hear the thoughts and views of others.  It has introduced me to other blogs and other bloggers. In other words, communicating.  Connecting. Growing. The blog is growing–slowly, but steadily. And Mrs Fringe is growing.

My life outside of WordPress is fairly chaotic. Evidenced by weeks when there are only two posts, and other weeks when there are six.  So I’m sending a big thank you to my Fringie readers, followers, and likers on Facebook, for hanging on to the fringe with me, finding out where it takes us.

More canoli

More canoli (Photo credit: diongillard)

Have a canoli, it’s on me.

Mrs Fringe Leaves a Calling Card

English: Turkish ladies visiting- types and co...

English: Turkish ladies visiting- types and costumes. (1899) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I will be working on the unpaid nursing gig I’ve been telling you about. So while I’m tweaking my sloppy hospital corners…

One of my posts is being syndicated today at Backspace to Bookbinding, An Editing Mom’s Vantage Point on Language, Literature, and Writing for the Web. Kendall Hoover shares an editor’s take addressing online writing tips, book recommendations and  reviews, and the business end of online writing–I highly recommend following along.

click on the link above and add Backspace to Bookbinding to your blogroll. Well-Written-Wednesday is one of several established features.

Thanks, Kendall!

Hmm, I think I need a cyber calling card for when I go visiting like this…

OMG OMG!!! Thank you, WordPress

The Surprised Onion Man

The Surprised Onion Man (Photo credit: smithco)

This is a new blog, and I am a new blogger.  Imagine my shock when I came home this evening to find I had an explosion of hits.  First, I checked to see if something had gone awry with the spam filter. Nope.  I approved and answered the pending comments, and then followed the trail on the stats page to find Going to Hell With Gasoline Drawers On had been chosen for today’s Freshly Pressed.  Thank you WordPress, and thank you to all who took the time to follow the trail and check out Mrs Fringe.  I hope you enjoyed, and hope you’ll come back.