Posts Tagged ‘Giveaway’
August 27th, 2009 - No Comments
August 25th, 2009 - 36 Comments
From time to time I’m lucky enough to receive things from other moms who make things. These are things they might want me to try for myself or to pass on. Their work always reminds me how vast and universal motherhood is. How intimate and ordinary. How much we share in just a word or a blink. How the whole of life is told in a note, a sign or the twirl of a spoon.
So play along with me here. What follows is a list of things that mothers (still) do. Some have links to posts that have caught my eye recently. Others don’t. Claim a word or two for yourself, leave a comment with a link, if you like, or none if you don’t, offer more to the list that I don’t have here, and I’ll enter you for a prize of your choosing. The prizes are shown below.
When you enter, please tell me what prize(s) you’re aiming for:
Blue Heron Cookbook – Nadia Natali’s simple family recipes from the wilds.
Wake Up & Go to Sleep – Sweet, silly, sleepy music for weary moms and teary babes by Francie Kelley.
Twirly, swirly party skirt – Reluctantly outgrown by Georgia, handmade for a princess of 6 or so.
Be sure you leave a way for me to reach you when you enter. I’ll choose the winners on September 1.
Good morning, good luck, good appetite and good night!
Congratulations to our winners: M, exileinkidville and Chookooloonks.
June 2nd, 2009 - 39 Comments
It’s the full-time job of a writer to keep reading, so I just finished two delicious books to send your way with a chance to win and a 100 percent guarantee that either is worth buying anyway. Leave a comment below to enter the giveaway. But let me whet your appetite first:
Eve: A Novel of the First Woman – You will love this sumptuous tale of Eden’s Eve and her troublesome family. Ever since I read The Red Tent I’ve been convinced that bible stories could bear retelling from a woman’s point of view, because then they become stories I want to read. Author Elissa Elliott made this tale real and recognizable to any woman. I’m no biblical historian, thank heaven, so nothing stopped me from appreciating the sheer magic of the fiction. This is Elissa’s first book, and writer-to-writer I just can’t imagine how she made the whole thing up. Let this inspire your deep wondering about who we really are. I have a hardcover copy to give away.
Mating Rituals of the North American WASP – Now for a different slice of the apple. Here’s a love story spun in a wickedly comic way by Lauren Lipton about a girl who wakes up married to a guy she doesn’t even know, gets engaged to another she hardly ever sees, and dates someone she can’t even stand. I know, it sounds dangerously close to reality, but unlike my life story, this one will be a movie. Funny, smart, likable and the perfect fit for any summer tote bag. Let this inspire a day at the beach, the pool or the hammock. I have a paperback copy to give away.
Leave a comment including a way to reach you through your blog or email. I’ll draw the winners (and I’ll decide what you win) after this Friday at 6 p.m. PDT.
Calling all summer readers! There are more words of wisdom in store at the Mother’s Summer Reading Salon with Mojo Mom Amy Tiemann and me on Tuesday, June 23, 7 p.m. at Sierra Madre Books. Learn how a little light reading can change your direction this summer.
March 15th, 2009 - 32 Comments
The other day I was talking to my friend Amy Tiemann on the phone. On the phone, that’s right. How very 1.0. And she and I were in mutual agreement that life in these times can be summarized as follows: “How can people live in this world without going insane?”
Ain’t that the truth? But it’s not a new thing. More like an awakening to the way sentient beings have always been. These days the race to the next next next next new thing seems like a 75 rpm refrain. Rpm? How vintage! Everything is in an accelerated state of obsolescence. We cannot get to the next thing fast enough. As though it leads somewhere else, somewhere other than here.
Newspapers? History. Banks? Yesterday. Jobs? Obsolete. Conversation? Over. Time? Out.
These days you read a lot in these parts about Is the Blog Dead? I’m old enough to remember when that question was leveled with far more gravitas as Is God Dead? It’s spelled differently but it’s the very same question. It’s a kind of intellectual diversion from the real question; the only question there is which is Am I Going to Be Dead?
Or as I ask myself, Am I Going to Be Dead before I Twitter?
This is the kind of chatter, or should I say tweeting, that just exhausts me. I’ve been present at far too many revolutions already. They last a blink, a nano, before they crest into the oblivion beyond. Oh ye of unrelenting enthusiasms, aren’t you tired yet?
I’ve been reading far too much about Jane Fonda. I can’t quit. Ever since I read this profile in the Times about her brave return to Broadway at 71, and picked up on the fact that she was chronicling every inch of the ascent on her daily blog and Twitter. I’m obsessed with her, and it looks like she shares the obsession. Fonda is the icon of obsession for my generation, but she always seemed to hold herself at a remove. She always seemed to immerse herself in the great matter and the real questions. You can now read that in her dotage, for instance, she dotes on a dinky fluff-dog. You can read about her self-doubt and insecurities and think for a minute she’s just like us. Then you see pictures of her A-list BFFs: Redford, Tomlin, Hanks. “Oooooh I am so happy. I’ll twitter during my breaks.” She never stops, even though of course one day, and relatively soon, she’ll stop. In the meantime, she’s miniaturized herself, at least in my view, into 140 characters. To say that she is connecting with other people in this self-directed way is to say that these people from another story in Sunday’s paper are “making love.” Nothing could be farther. (Made ya look!)
Last week I had a disturbing and provocative dream. My husband, daughter and I were groping our way, on white-knuckles and knees, up a Sisyphean incline. It seemed we were going somewhere. Inching forward, sliding back, defying gravity. Ah yes, to the beach! At the peak of this grueling pitch, you could see the endless sky and ocean filling the horizon beyond. The massive swells and darkened depths. My husband and daughter hurried ahead, carefree. I had reservations. Gripping a paper shopping bag, I was anxiously collecting things you might think you need for a day on the sands of life: snack crackers, juice boxes, water bottles, seedless grapes, string cheese. I was desperate to fill my bag. Not yet, not yet! As I clutched after snack wrappers, my family disappeared into the downward slope. Just then the sea rose up to a perfect, towering vertical tsunami like the height of the stock market in October 2007. Everyone, everything would be swallowed by it. Everything would go.
This was no day at the beach. This was the answer to the unspeakable question.
Also last week I got an unexpected delivery in the mail. A special book, Rules for Old Men Waiting, a debut novel 23 years in the making, sent from a bygone friend. This friend is an elegant and erudite fellow from the old school. Someone who has illumined my life with intelligence and manners. I haven’t heard from him in awhile. The note with it said, “I just finished this book and thought of you throughout. I found it be richly told, wonderfully crafted and lovingly profound. That’s you.” Maximized in 140 characters.
I’m reading it now. And when I finish it, I’m going to return the favor to someone who has made it this far, on white-knuckles and knees, to the precipice of this post. I’m going to share the wisdom I’ve been given, the gift of true friendship, a living connection, with one of you. Because that alone is what keeps the world sane.
Leave a comment and take your prize. It is bittersweet fulfillment to know this chance won’t come again, and to let it go.
Update: The book has gone to Kelly, who has a short time left in a long wait.
October 2nd, 2008 - 52 Comments
She was a kindergartener when she first came home with a bulging backpack and eyeballs to boot.
Mommy, we’re doing a fun raiser! A fun raiser! she flapped her arms.
I looked inside her satchel and there it was. The big downside to school enrollment – at any school, mind you – the packet of schlock we were supposed to peddle for a good cause. Wrapping paper to people who no longer wrap gifts, kitchen tschotckes to people who no longer cook, magazines to people who no longer read, chocolates to people who no longer . . . well, you get the idea.
This was all to benefit the school PTA, which provides buses for field trips, and stipends for classroom supplies, and all manner of goodly and necessary services to our cadre of dedicated teachers. But still.
And to rocket launch the sale, they had herded the kids into the auditorium and hyperventilated them with the promise of junky prizes. Save me.
We have the rather sane option of simply giving money to the PTA, which I would gladly do. But my daughter wants to sell; she wants to knock on doors, and spill her spiel because Mommy didn’t you hear? It’s a fun raiser! She knows fun when she hears it.
So each year we buy more than we need of what nobody wants.
But this year, she came home from school with an infectious thread of enthusiasm. She bolted into the door, whipped out the glossy catalog and pointed to item number ED54 and said, I think you’re really going to like this Flossy Duck Dental Floss Dispenser!
Those of you have read for a bit know of my religious devotion to the gospel of floss and how I have endeavored mightily to bring my girl up in a righteous way. And so, just for fun, we’re having a Flossy Duck giveaway here on this site, just the ticket for all you moms and dads who quack your heads off trying to instill good dental practices without the magic missing ingredient of fun!
Leave a comment on this post by the end of next Tuesday, Oct. 7. There will more than one winner. I’ll let Georgia choose the entries she likes and, depending on how much money we don’t have, we’ll order more this year of what everybody needs and wants: Fun! Fun! Fun!
Plead for your prize Flossy Duck today!
Georgia studied all 43 qualifying entries and without any guidance from me, pronounced these to be the lucky ducks: Mrs. B. Roth, Holly, NateAndJakesMom, Mika and Regina. Contact me by email through the profile page to claim your prize!
August 31st, 2008 - 23 Comments
It’s hard to pinpoint exactly what sent me underwater a mere twelve hours after our seven-hour drive home from six days of vacation. The parking ticket on the car we left behind? The opaque algae bloom in the fishtank? The stinking carload to unpack and sort? That assault awake at dawn? No food in the house? No milk in the fridge? No cream for the coffee? The dog’s persistent whine to eat, to chase, to go outside? My daughter’s breathless urgency to make French Toast for breakfast? Then open her own restaurant? Write the menu? Make a flyer? Charge premium admission for patrons seated in the backyard? Have a lemonade stand? Have a bake sale? Have a Labor Day party for the neighborhood?
And all in the first 45 minutes of the day.
By the time my husband wakes I’m already over my head in dread. I’ve remembered what it’s like now to be home. A ranch manager. A playground supervisor. An animal handler. A carnival barker. So not me.
What’s the one thing I could do for you so you have a better day, he asks when I’ve sunken from view, just a telltale bubble on the surface. So not me.
I’m dumbstruck by the question. One thing? For me? A better day? There’s not one thing that can be done for me, I think to myself, because I’m not even here. There’s no room for me here. This is all so not me.
I wish you could see it all with my eyes, I say, knowing the complete impossibility of that request. Because it’s all me.
One thing I’ve noticed since I installed the new bloglist down the right hand column, the one that shows the title of the latest posts from everyone, is how often we write about the same thing at the same time. Themes seem to dance among us like the waves of a desert mirage. We write about power one day, belief the next, hope, wish, and the eternally cherished first day of school.
You might call this coincidence. In Buddhism we call it no coincidence. There is only one mind, you see, and it is what you see. The mind that is always in front of you is the mind we all share, although the filters we perceive it with are uniquely our own.
We share one mind, and in that way we share one life, but we do not share the view of it. The judgment, the resentment, the desperation, the dread, the fear of drowning, is only me.
There are a lot of things you can find on vacation when you’ve temporarily lost sight of the crumbs, the weeds, the dog hair, the fish tank, the empty fridge, and the overdue registration on the car you left parked on the street outside your house.
On vacation, it can seem like you find yourself. But what you’ve really found is that vast field beyond yourself, beyond your limited views and habitual perspectives. You find mind, the mind so easily lost when all we see is the drudgery of a daily grind. And you wish you could live in that boundless space. In truth, you already do.
On my vacation I found an oasis in a tiny shop in Carmel, a shop oozing with rich comforts and colors and drenched in herbal fragrances. I bought two flavors of these delicious shower gels, the one thing I can give myself to wash away the dread of the day. No one else can do it for me, thanks honey.
Then I realized, because we share this vast mind and all things in it, one of these gifts is most certainly yours.
The better to drown with.
Leave a comment on this post anytime by the end of this Friday, September 5 and you could drown yourself in 8.4 fluid ounces of bathtime bliss.
Oh! And you’re all invited to our Labor Day lemonade stand and bake sale. It’s a party for the neighborhood, you see, to celebrate the drowning of me.
I just love when this happens! This giveaway was won by one of my dearest drowning buddies: Lisa at Sunset Pig.
Plus we made $20 at the lemonade and bake sale.
August 10th, 2008 - 51 Comments
The winner of this giveaway is Sulo. Yes, this one is going all the way to Finland! And all under one roof.
A weekend full to the brink with laughter and tears, a season’s slow peak and steady slide, my dear hearts coming and going, and I am in an offering place. This week I have another giveaway for the taking, a copy of Lin Jensen’s new book, Together Under One Roof: Making a Home of the Buddha’s Household.
I don’t read Buddhist books very often. That is to say, I don’t read books about Buddhism. Books about Buddhism may be useful to some, but not for me. The problem is the “about.” When we conceptualize and intellectualize Buddhism, it dies. Buddhism is not about anything. It is the direct and vivid experience of your life, before you kill it by thinking about it.
To that end, I consistently confound people by insisting that Buddhism is a practice and not a philosophy. Most of us would probably prefer it to be a philosophy, something to think long and hard about, but here’s my point: What would you rather eat? A recipe or a meal? Where would you rather live? A home, or a blueprint for a home? If I were really a Buddhist, I would stop insisting anything and then there would be one less confounded person in the world! And so I practice.
This is what Jensen has so wisely done – stop insisting – and thus I was completely taken with this collection of perfect essays, his real mind and heart. Jensen is a teacher of writing and Zen but I can attest he doesn’t teach anyone “about” anything. These short essays, drawn from the ripeness of his life, stitch a seamless and sheltering whole, the one truth that we all share.
When I was sent an advance copy of this book, this is what I said in thanks, “Gently, humorously, humanely, Lin reminds each of us to keep the house we live in, the wide-open room we share as one. Treasure this book as a housewarming gift.” I really meant it.
This week it is my gift. Who will step forward to claim their treasure house? Leave a comment on this post anytime this week and I’ll name the new owner on Saturday, Aug. 16. (Be greedy! I’m only giving you back what is already yours.)
Fare thee well, and welcome home!
July 19th, 2008 - 75 Comments
Announcing the winner of this book giveaway: Megan from Exile in Kidville.
A couple of weeks ago I mentioned here that the author Darin Strauss was doing a bit of high-profile book touring. You have to love this next part. He noticed what I said and he sent me his book, More Than It Hurts You. I’m offering it as a giveaway this week, as I like to do, and here’s why you should ask for it.
I thought it was just a few years ago, but turns out it was more like six (!), that I read something that left me weak and weepy to the point of exhaustion. It wasn’t as though I loved the book, or even liked it. Some of my very smart and well-read friends disagreed, but I thought the author Jonathan Franzen, in The Corrections, had nailed the whole of our unsayable lives. The ignorance and cynicism, the glib cleverness, the buried sorrow and habitual self-deception, and at the barren bottom of all our failings, the love. Still, the love.
More Than It Hurts You is that kind of ride. An ambitious and frantic story about how none of us – not one of us – is honest or fair or true or what we appear, even to ourselves, to be. It’s a story about the strivings of love, marriage and motherhood, but I don’t read stories for the stories. I read to be awed and lost and left to fend for myself on a far shore. I only have so much time, you see, and I don’t want to finish a book in the same place I started.
I’ve heard it called “a beach read.” This is no beach read. Oh sure you could read it on the beach, and when you finished, you would sit and stare a long time at the convulsing waves, at the mysteries that combine and divide us. It is a difficult book, an uncomfortable reveal. It cuts close, and it hurts. In a very safe way.
I recommend it. Because good work, and the writers who enslave themselves to it, are so blasted hard to find. When they find you, it makes things better.
Leave a comment anytime before next Friday, July 25 to enter.
July 13th, 2008 - 2 Comments
The random answer is in hand. The winner of last week’s giveaway of the autographed copy of The Maternal is Political is Jen Lee. Thanks to everyone for your eagerness to witness, chronicle and make a change. Keep at it. And here on the Cheerio, I never seem to run out of things to share, so enter again when the next chance appears.
July 10th, 2008 - 18 Comments
It was supposed to be about 115 degrees today but it wasn’t. I’d heard a rumble about it for days. But this morning I shivered under the covers. Outside, a morning breeze danced on my bare arms. I figured it would all ignite at mid-day, but by evening we had a cloak of clouds and a tease of sprinkles. This is the kind of thing I take as a gift, a charm, a fortune. Lacking any other kind, it will do.
A little respite, you see, an oasis in the crossing. I just finished a tough writing gig that had me on my knees for weeks, inching forward through the drifts, making up words about a topic so suffocatingly arid, so dense and intense, that it could only be called “work.” I burrowed into the clattering bones of it this afternoon, wrote a little bit more and shocked myself by being done. A gift, a charm, a fortune. Lacking any other kind, it will do.
We knew it was dying, one of those troublesome turtles that required so much coddling care that I couldn’t help but come to love it. It had stopped growing, stopped eating, stopped moving and then tonight Daddy pronounced it dead. “Mommy,” my daughter called, “Can you light some incense?” She adorned the burial box. My husband turned the earth. She placed a stone and I said the chant. A gift, a charm, a fortune. Lacking any other kind, it will do.
For Jupiter, my good turtle
July 7th, 2008 - 32 Comments
A couple of years ago, I shut my eyes and clicked the Send button to shoot a brand new piece of mine to Literary Mama. I’d been published before, but in my case, that little squeak seemed but a faint coda on the fabulously imagined career that had never quite materialized. I was a writer, but I was not yet a part of any community of writers, and I wasn’t sure I’d ever get the chance. I heard my little story swoosh into the brittle darkness where so many of my brave queries had disappeared. Shari MacDonald Strong, the creative nonfiction editor of the site, waited, oh, all of eight hours before she emailed me back with the message I still have: “This is beautiful. I love it. Let’s run it next month.”
Now that I look at those, her first beneficent words, I’m not surprised that such powerful collaborations come from this woman, the editor of the new anthology, The Maternal is Political. She gives fellow writers faith and love and chance. When I saw Shari a week ago, I asked if I could interview her for the blog. I want you to know her. Indeed, if you are serious about your writing, and all of you should be, you will want to know her. Here’s Shari about mothering, writing, editing and the great good chance we have right now to change the world. Change your own world by entering my giveaway at the end of this post. (I’ll give you every chance I can!)
As the creative nonfiction editor for Literary Mama, you “discover” many new women writers. How does reading, editing and supporting other writers affect your own writing?
The process of editing (among other things) makes me more aware of what I respond to as a reader, puts me more in tune with the magic and impact of a writer’s voice. It makes me feel more a part of the greater writing community, which nourishes me and gives me strength for my own writing.
When you assembled this book, whom did you envision as your reader?
It sounds egocentric, and possibly is, but I pictured myself and other women like me: women who care about the welfare of others, but aren’t sure how they, themselves, can make a difference during this frenzied, chaotic phase of life that is mothering. I pictured women who are making a difference in the world, and/or who want to make a difference, and women who want to learn what other mothers are focusing on, are managing to do. In the end, though, really, it’s for all of us who care about the world.
Where did the idea for this anthology come from? What is the first thing you did to act on the idea?
The title popped into my head one day, and I knew exactly what the book would be. I half-thought maybe it already existed somewhere. I come from a marketing background, so I immediately wrote up a proposal and started asking around, to find out if any writers I knew would be interested in participating. I got an agent. The book came out about 16 months after I got the idea. It was a concept that really wanted to be born, and it truly felt like the universe conspired to make it happen.
What are some of the ways this project evolved differently from what you had expected?
It came together faster than I expected, and the pieces I received were better than I ever could have hoped. I couldn’t be happier with the result. I also became friends with the contributors, and that has added a richness to my life that I absolutely cherish.
Do you believe words can change the world?
I’m counting on it.
How do you distinguish politics from partisanship?
Ha-ha! Hard to do. The Maternal Is Political is definitely left-leaning, no doubt because I am, and those topics in the book are the ones that spoke to me. I tried to pull in a couple of conservative voices, but those pieces fell through for one reason or another. The reality is, the lines between what’s political and what’s personal are blurred, and the lines between politics and partisanship are, too. What I see as political today I may view as partisan tomorrow. All I can do is listen to my conscience – my own, not the words of anyone else – and do what I can to help create a better world. That’s what it means to be appropriately, responsibly political, to me.
You have a book under your belt, a book with your name on the cover. Tell me what that feels like.
It doesn’t feel like it’s “mine.” I feel like I can brag about it like crazy, because I didn’t write most of it! I wrote the intro and one essay, and I got to work with some of the strongest writers I know of. Now that the book is out, I’ve participated in a few readings, and I’ve sat and listened to the writers read their work – or, alternately, I read the pieces at home, again and again (I never get tired of them) – and I just feel so, so proud of the work we’ve all done together. I feel like the most fortunate woman around. I really do think this book has the power to help change the world – maybe it will, if people find it and read it – and that gives me chills.
What advice do you have for mothers who write, want to write, or wish they’d written?
Get real and raw. No pat answers. Don’t wrap things up too neatly. Tap into universal truths with your own personal story. Get specific. Have fun. Do it, no matter what.
Now, here’s your chance: make a comment any time, many times, this week and you’ll be entered to win a signed copy of the book. In return, you must review the book on your blog (I promise you Shari will be reading) and then pass along the chance by hosting your own giveaway to a reader/reviewer. Why all this? Simple. We only have a short time to give this world a better chance. And this is your chance to join the community.
April 28th, 2008 - 10 Comments
It’s not supposed to be fire season but we have one nonetheless, a little fire that exploded into a big and menacing one overnight on the brushy mountains behind our home. We are still here and safe, one block outside the evacuation line.
I already had the title of this post in my head two days ago and it applies even more now. I’ve written about Southern California wildfires before. They are an intermittent fact here in desert paradise. You might wonder how we can handle it. The answer is we just do what needs to be done when it needs to be done. Today we wait and trust and offer a hand to those who live one block higher up the hill.
The fact is, no matter which state we reside in we all live in the pit of the flame, confronted time and again by conditions that seem too hot to handle. Sometimes the most we can do is offer an oven mitt, a sopping towel, a tall cool one, or a breather. Whatever we do is the best we can do. We all handle what we think we can’t.
And in that spirit I offer for your interest and consideration several quenchers.
Those of you who oohed over my daughter’s tortured art may be ignited by her one-of-kind potholders now up for bid at the Bloggers for Jeni auction. She made four to contribute to this amazing endeavor, all to raise funds for Jeni Ballantyne and her son Jack. The bidding on these is still quite low, and if you knew what I had to pay the wee miss in order to secure rights to her work, you would appreciate the bargain. Please bid high and often because these little squares are guaranteed to get you out of a hot spot. I don’t know how, but that Georgia can weave magic.
I’m offering my own kind of comfort on the auction, and it is already high priced enough. When the chance came to contribute to the sale, I couldn’t think of anything to give other than myself, and I routinely give that away for free, as you’ll see below. But that wouldn’t net any money for the cause, so we figured out how to give away nothing for something. The Comfy Day I’m offering is everything and more I can do for a mom (or dad) who thinks she’s in it alone, without a clue, a break, an extra pair of hands, a shoulder to cry on or a day off. I wish I could give it straight to Jeni but I think she’ll be just as soothed knowing that someone else is getting a lift. Think of it as a Mommy 9-1-1, suitable for a new mom, a multiple mom, or a group of moms, a shower gift, or a rescue for your own combustible self. If it doesn’t sell, I’ve already committed to contribute the value of my plane ticket to the auction fund so Jeni and Jack will get the most I can give no matter what.
That’s how we handle the heat, giving the most comfort we can give, knowing that there’s always someone farther inside the evacuation line.
Last week’s giveaway really caught fire and inspired a burst of wild-eyed generosity:
I’m sending the German version to all five people who asked, because what else am I going to do with a box of books in German? (Especially when I evacuate!)
Winners, please contact me via email on my profile page and leave me signing and shipping instructions. Soon the air will clear, the breeze will cool, and I’ll be winging your relief packages in a flash.
April 24th, 2008 - 79 Comments
This is your chance to take it or leave it. Drop a comment here by 6 p.m. PDT Sunday, April 27 and take this off my hands: an autographed copy of my book, “Momma Zen: Walking the Crooked Path of Motherhood.” Or, if you prefer, one of the first copies of the new German translation! (In my mother’s mother tongue, of course.)
It may not change the direction of your life, but it will certainly put my map in motion. To the post office, that is, and headed for any domestic or international address. You read that right. Please specify your language preference for the book– English or German– and make sure you leave a way for me to contact you by email or blog.
Good luck here and everywhere else you look.