105 Ways to Give a Book

In The Weeds

You know when you’re so overwhelmed that you want to throw your head back and scream?

Where I am now, I’m feeling a little nostalgic for that point.

December is always a busy month for me, what with all the holiday prep, but at least it’s generally focused on one broad thing. Online shopping has also made things so much easier in the last few years, as has my artificial tree. But the two-month period from the middle of April to the middle of June remains my endurance test, and adding the Girl Scout leader thing to the mix has put me deep in the weeds.

Here’s my schedule: Birthday, Girl Scout overnight trip, 48 Hour Film Project, work yearly review, Girl Scout dance, Mother’s Day, Drama Club play, Girl Scout camping, birthday, second grade biography project... breathe... 48 Hour Film Project Best of DC Screening, Dad’s visit, booktalking, friend visit, Girl Scout awards ceremony, my birthday, Girl Scout Sing-Along, middle-school booktalking, and 48 Hour Book Challenge.

I am only up to the breathe so far.

I lose focus with lots of irons in the fire. I tend to put my energy into the current situation, and then make odd choices with my next bit of free time. I’ll sit for three hours over three days to help the second grader come up with a song for her biography project on Susan B. Anthony (she really did write most of it, and it’s pretty darn good). But then with my only free hour, I’ll decide that I need to power-wash the deck instead of putting away the laundry. So while my wood deck is now actually the color of... well, wood... my kids are sitting on the floor of the family room playing a version of laundry Go Fish for matching socks. I’ll take the time to write this post as a creative release, while upstairs the past month’s copies of the Washington Post have creeped off of their tidy pile and are now forming a sort of second carpeting for the dining room. (Which is helping with the clean-up, I guess. Now instead of vacuuming, I can throw away the top layer of newspapers. Like a bird cage.) I’ll spend twenty minutes searching online for the last ten minutes of American Idol which did not tape last night, and then step over two belts, six random shoes, and seventeen Polly Pockets on my way to the stairs.

I’m not telling you this to provoke your sympathy. Well, not entirely. I just want you to know in case I owe you an email, or didn’t review your book, or haven’t been commenting at your site. I’m still reading email, but am responding pretty inconsistently. I’m not reading books much at all, and I’m less likely to read a book that I’m looking forward to because I want to read it in a good state of mind. I’ve always prided myself on going to my blogfriends’ sites and commenting, but while I go here and there to read, I’m not always thinking of things I want to say. Maybe I’ll start using true dat! and fo’ shizzle! more as sort of a commenting crutch.

I’ll be using this space for the next two weeks to profile books I’m using for booktalking at the public schools. I may even ask for your suggestions for introductions. My older daughter has always been incredible at coming up with great hooks, but I could use all the help I can get. Obviously.

Still feel like helping out? Prizes. I still want/need prizes for the 48 Hour Book Challenge. The extra book light you got as a gift and can’t use, ’cause how many do you need? Your handicraft expertise in T-shirts, jewelry, or macramé — who doesn’t love macramé? I know I do. Hit my Email MotherReader! button and send me some love... and stuff.


Jennifer Schultz said...

True dat! Fo shizzle!

Kelly said...

I hear you, MR. This time of year is just tough. Even though school is out a week from today, I still have a skating exhibition, a violin concert, an oboe concert, a field trip to the zoo, and a two-day skating competition before it's all done.

Anonymous said...

Dear MR...I would love to donate a necklace/bracelet combo...but cannot find the E-mail MR button. HELP! my email address is crunchypenguin (at) gmail (dot) com


Robin Brande said...

"Now instead of vacuuming, I can throw away the top layer of newspapers. Like a bird cage."

Priceless. Even in stress you are witty.

MR, I was a Girl Scout leader for five years and I TOTALLY know what you're going through. It's sweet what a great experience you're taking the time to give those girls, but man, it just sucks every available hour you would have otherwise spent sleeping or reading or generally living a life.

I admire you for doing it, but I also send my good wishes that maybe you won't do it forever. There's definitely a burn-out component to GS leadership. I got out when I noticed I was becoming cranky. No one wants to be remembered that way.

But I salute you, you incredible multi-tasker!!!

MotherReader said...

I love being a leader, but it is exhausting. This is only my first year, so I know I definitely have one more good year left - and then we'll see. I think next year will be easier because everything was so new this year that I always felt like I was playing catch up. But I'm not cranky yet, and I think that what I can do with these girls is very important.

I just wish I could figure out how to keep the rest of my life on track at the same time.

I've emailed you my address. That's what I'm talking about!

Of course, "that's what I'm talking about" is the line we needed to use in the movie we made with Robin. The Best of Screening is tonight, and with a little ingenuity and a lot of faith in others, I am going to be able to go! I hope we win something, some nod from the powers that be. Cross your fingers.

web said...


Unknown said...

I totally know what you're talking about. Interestingly, mid-April to mid-June is crazy for us, too, and we don't do "school" or girl scouts (no girls, one boy, who is homeschooled).

Hang in there, mid-June is coming. You're over halfway there! And good luck with the screening. I think it's really cool that you made the top group and I hope you win something! It sounds like fun but stressful.

Anonymous said...

I was drawn to your post In the Weeds. My husband and I have had a foot in the restaraunt business for 20 yrs now and also use In The Weeds to describe too many tables, too many tickets in the window and 3 rows deep at the bar.
But this time of year I am also using In the Weeds to describe my life! I have 4 kids and primarily am "at home" with them. Yet I am a Girl Scout Leader (my 7th yr), the children's programming director at the library, on our church council as secretary,run a local playgroup for at home parents and kids, PTSA president, chair of more things to count at our wonderful and small public k-12 school....
My 13 yr old daughter is into musical theater which means she goes to hours of classical ballet, tap, voice, play rehearsals.
My 9 yr old daughter is a swimmer which means hours of swim a week with long meets on the weekends.
My 6 yr old daughter is a gymnast.
Put that together with piano recitals, dance recitals, school concerts, field trips, field day, all of the scout end of the yr activities and much more..
Why can't they want to do the same things?
I am staying away from all organized activites for my 2 yr old for a while!

Anonymous said...

MR, good luck with everything. It's still great whenever you can post; we'd be stupid to complain.

I STILL HAVE TO WATCH YOUR MOVIE! I. swear. to. myself. I. will. tonight.

Vivian Mahoney said...

Hope you can catch up on some relaxing times this long weekend.

Anonymous said...

I had to call my best friend and read this aloud to her. We spent a lot of time discussing the pluses and negatives of spreading newspaper on the floors in our houses as a potential solution to our housekeeping woes.

Mary Lee said...

My weeds are extensively tall, too. I can't even get through them to write about it! So huzzah to you! Keep on, one step at a time.

Anonymous said...

Exactly how I have been feeling as we head to June. Blog writing has gotten away from me. Took forevern to read the ARC, Faeries of Dreamdark: Blackbringer by Laini Taylor.