Monthly Archives: March 2008

Starving Artist

I talked to a writer last night who has published three non-fiction books with lots of photos and who does technical writing on the side. She said she used to write fiction but gave it up when she realized she couldn’t write books and do her freelance writing AND write fiction all at the same time. She said when she reads a great novel she feels like that’s what she should be doing—writing fiction. And yet she would rather have the steady (and much more lucrative) income from freelance technical writing. She doesn’t want to be a starving artist, she said. I know that her partner makes enough to support them both, but I’m glad that she’s happy with her decision. I’m also happy that I AM willing to be a starving artist (in the sense of having very little of my “own” money). I would hate to choose technical writing over my dream/passion just because it provides a steady income. I don’t want to be one of those people who has a mid-life crisis and then quits everything to “write the great American novel.” I’m so happy I chose the route I did even though it’s a continuous struggle to be disciplined, to have faith that I will finish (and publish) my book and more books to come, and to be okay with the fact that even best selling authors rarely earn more than junior engineers. I’d rather be fulfilled than rich, I guess. Although both would be nice.

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Tired

I have been so so tired lately. Too tired to exercise, too tired to write. I try to nap when Shea naps, but by the time I eat something and lie down, he’s waking up already. I wish he’d nap for more than 30 minutes at a time! It seems like the only time he does is when he’s in the stroller, car seat or swing.

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iChat

Martin bought a MacBook Pro so we finally have a computer with a camera in it, and I’ve been video chatting my sister so I could show her the baby. It’s hard to get him to smile when I’m not looking at him (instead of holding him), so he mostly just drools and sucks on his hand to the camera, but at least she finally got to see him! Does anyone else (who is long distance) have iChat or Skype with video?

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Bellissima!

I overdid it this week. I worked on our house near the Russian River Sunday, went to both yoga at the Y (took Shea to Child Watch for the first time and, except for my looking at the clock every three minutes to see how much longer I’d have to wait before I could go check on him, it all went very smoothly. They fed him and carried him around and he was sound asleep in someone’s arms’ when I went to pick him up) AND to Baby Boot Camp on Monday, which was just too much exercise in one day. I went to the city all day Tuesday, then tutored three students that night. I took Shea to the city with me Wednesday to meet everyone (the elevator was broken, so I had to lug him and the jogging stroller up two flights of stairs), then went to Ikea afterward.  By Thursdsay my whole body ached with exhaustion. I was waking up at 4 every morning, even if Martin fed him, and unable to fall back to sleep. Friday I was too tired to go to the city, so I used my nanny day to stay home and write part of the day and to pay bills, make phone calls and research preschools. I already applied to one preschool for 2010. The others weren’t accepting applications yet. One said, “Call back in October of 2009,” but I’m glad I’m starting early.

Last night, Shea slept seven hours straight, from 7 p.m. to 2 a.m., and then I got up to feed him. And didn’t fall back to sleep until 7 a.m. (after I’d fed him two more times). Then I woke up at 8:20 to the sound of him lying in his crib talking to himself. I think my body had become so tense from exercise classes, breast feeding, pumping, working on a computer and lugging his car seat all over the world, that I just can’t relax enough to get back to sleep once I wake up. (I’m happy to say, by the way, that Shea went to bed three nights in a row, and took a nap today, after being laid down awake in his crib, without one peep of protest. He’s still waking up two to three times per night, but right now I’m focusing on getting him to take longer naps. Later I’ll worry about the night feedings.) Anyway, I spent an hour online at 3 a.m. scanning the services of the Claremont Spa and choosing my dream day (yoga followed by the “Japanese Journey”—a shiatsu massage, a seaweed body scrub,  time in the hot tub and sauna, and lunch. But for $350+tax and tip, I decided I’ll have to wait until I get that book deal. So instead I went to Bellissima Day Spa on Shattuck today and for $85 (+ tip), where I got the most amazing deep tissue massage I’ve had in a LONG time. It was the kind of massage where you bite your tongue trying not to tell the masseuse that it’s too hard because it HURTS. I like those kind of massages. I used to get shiatsus in Japan, and, although I cried a couple of times, I felt SO relaxed afterward. So I got the massage and a half hour in the hot tub for $85. Great deal. And Bellissima is a very quiet, relaxing place, with meditative music and tea served in one-ounc cups. I highly recommend it for someone on a budget. (Don’t go to Piedmont Springs! I hate that place!) The woman who did my massage, by the way, is named Amanda. I’m going to give her a good Yelp review. I also did 20 minutes of yoga before I went and all went fine except for the prayer position behind the back, which was really tough on my wrist. Now that I’m exercising more, I’m finding it hurts if I put too much pressure on it. And I can feel the edge of the plate through my skin. But overall, it’s pretty darn strong considering it’s only been six months since I had surgery.

The little Shea monster is doing well. He likes to kick his feet in the bath now, and he’s growing out of his clothes faster than I can store them away. I bought him some second hand jeans and T-shirts the other day, and he’s moved up two sizes in Huggies since he was born. We received our shipment of Fuzzy Bunz cloth diapers this week, but I haven’t had the courage to try them out yet. Cloth diapers sounds like such a pain, but they really aren’t any more expensive than disposables. I just spent $42 on 258 Huggies, which will probably last him a month, and that’s a LOT of plastic in the landfills.

As for writing, I’m slowly making progress on the third draft of my book. I really enjoy working on it at this stage because I read back over the chapters and like what I wrote for a change. It’s still slow going, though, with only two days at the office and some of them getting used for other things, like sleeping. My goal for these next two weeks is to work on it for 20 hours. So far I’m up to four.

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Inside Story Time

I’ll be reading again in April—this time for Inside Story Time at Edinburgh Castle. The theme is CELEBRITIES, so come on out, have a drink, and listen to some good stories!

What: Inside Story Time
When: 630-8:30 (I’ll be in the first half hour)
Where: 950 Geary between Larkin and Polk

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You Tube Entertainment

I’m crazy busy, so I’ll be quick. If you haven’t seen these videos (I’m sure you all saw them months ago, but I’ve been lost in baby land!), they’re VERY funny:

And just in case you missed these last year:

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Berzerkeley

The longer I live in Berkeley, the more pressure I feel to be a real Berkeleyite. What does it mean to be a Berkeleyite? You must:

1. Vote for Obama
2. Drive a hybrid
3. Buy local, organic produce
4. Compost
5. Know your carbon footprint
6. Use cloth diapers
7. Ride a bike when possible
8. Buy organic baby clothing
9. Recycle EVERYTHING
10. Breastfeed in public without covering up
11. Use cloth bags at the grocery store
12. Have babies without drugs but with a doula and midwife
13. Avoid using scents of any kind in case someone is allergic

I’ll add more as I think of them.

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