Weekend Wishes

Have a lovely weekend everyone. I have some very big news to share, but I'm waiting for something special to post with my announcement. Hopefully I can share my news soon.

I'll be spending some valuable time with family this weekend. My hubby and I have a date tonight, and we'll be doubling with my sis and new hubby tomorrow. Yay for family and rest! 

See ya Monday!

Love and Hugs!


Breakfast Sammies

It's been awhile since I've posted a recipe on here. This is what I'm planning to make tonight. It's one of our fav Rachael Ray recipes, and it's easy to make.

For the recipe card, click here.



I suppose an explanation of my url is in order since it appears so random and completely unrelated to my quest to reach out to other writers. 

"Planting bamboo" comes from my maiden surname, "Uyetake." My father's side is Japanese. He was raised in Hawaii, but my grandparents were mainly raised in Japan. They were both bilingual, and my great grandmother spoke only Japanese and came to Hawaii as a mail-order bride. The name Uyetake comes from two kanjii, "Ue" (pronounced "ew-aye" the "y" is ancient Japanese and not really used today) which means "planting" and "take" (pronounced "tah-kay") which means bamboo. 

The story goes that my ancestors worked in the sugar cane fields digging dikes throughout the field for irrigation purposes. The dikes frequently would cave in, so my ancestors planted bamboo (because of their intricate root system) along the edges of the dikes to keep them in place. 

I loved my surname and learned how to write it in shouji while I was living in Japan (the images above are "Uyetake" in Japanese). I hated losing my surname when I got married because it was so rich in history. So, my blog stands as a memento to the name, plus it serves as a conversation point, and it's intriguing enough that you just might remember it forever. 

Tell me your history. Have you studied your family name? What have you found? And, where did you get your handle for your blog--if the answer isn't obvious from the get-go :)


Attention Moms of Newborns and Pregos!

Just found the link to this article. I know it's long, but there's tons of information packed into even just the first few pages. Please, please, be careful when buying plastics, formula cans, etc. And please, read this!

ps. This isn't just for babies; it's for everyone!


A little of this . . . a little of that

There's a lot playing around in my head right now. If I were to throw up some "brain puke" for you (my graphic term to engage high schoolers in trying their hand at true brainstorming), here's what would come up:

1. Why am I always the youngest (or close to the youngest) of the writers at my local writers' meetings? I read a blog recently (can't find the link, sorry) discussing if $50 is too much to charge to draw a younger crowd to a writer's conference. For me, money's not the issue; it's my time. I hate hate hate paying money to go somewhere that's a waste of my time. That said, I hate going to a free meeting that also tends to be a waste of my time. It's been hit and miss with local writers' group meetings. Part of the problem is most writers are not public speakers, so they may have a wealth of knowledge to contribute, but it comes out all Charlie Brown "Wah, wah wah wah wah wah" like. 

Along this line, I'm realizing how much knowledge really is available online. You really only have to follow a few key blogs, and you can stay up on national or even worldwide news in the publishing industry. Most of what I've heard in meetings I already read on someone's blog. And, to be honest, much of what I've heard in meetings I already know to be outdated and untrue. This all goes back to the age thing. A majority of the writers populating the meetings are well on their way into retirement which means generally they don't use a computer much and surfing the Internet is very limited. I almost fell out of my chair the other day when a 70+ year old man told the group about the Kindle 2.0. The funny thing was, he was announcing the bonus that it reads the books aloud to you, completely oblivious to all the controversy for authors' rights and losing commissions for audio books. 

Where are the young writers? Are they just staying home because they know they can get all they need off the Internet? Should I join them?

2. Something's gotta give. I recently consulted one of my successful entrepreneurial moms to talk about the balance of running a home-based business and raising a family. One of her many nuggets of wisdom was that it's okay to let some things go from time to time and catch up on them later. Sometimes it's the laundry. Sometimes it's cleaning the house. Sometimes it's a playdate. I find that very comforting. I'm not the only one struggling to balance it all while trying to keep my title of SuperMom.

3. Goals: I'm already ready to review and adjust my goals for this year. Part of it is that reality has shown me I overshot a lot. Part of it is that I'm already way behind, so I need to find a way to catch up. And part of it is just going back to that beautiful word, BALANCE. I haven't figured it all out, but I do know enough that I can admit that I can't do everything, all in moderation, and even if things don't go the way I planned, they still go and good things happen. (Since I wrote this post, I found this. It resonates with exactly what works for me.)

As I've quoted before, if you aim at nothing, you'll hit it every time. Even though I may be aiming at the impossible, when I take a breath and look at all the "little" things I've accomplished along the way, I realize I'm already doing way more than I did just last year. Yay!


V-day Wishes

Happy Valentine's Day to all of my faithful tomodachisan. Love and hugs!

My day has already started wonderfully--waffles for breakfast, a little Serendipity on TV, flowers in a cute Chinese take-out box from my hubby, and two romantic DVDs--Sleepless in Seattle & 13 Going on 30. And here's a sweet pic or two of my little Valentine from yesterday's photo shoot.


Cancun in Pictures

Here's the promised Cancun story.

Here's the view from our hotel room balcony. We literally could walk out to the beach (right) or pool (left). It was gorgeous!

Our first full day on the ocean. The waves were a bit loud for Andie, but she got used to the sand. And she looked so cute in a bikini!

There's that contagious smile I was talking about. It gets bigger than that even!

This is just one of my favorite shots. She looks so serious :)

Rehearsal dinner. Isaac got all the sun that day. Andie was a trooper for staying up that late. She eventually crashed in the stroller.

The wedding. Gorgeous. Behind us to the left is the ocean. It was storybook beautiful!

The happy newlyweds!

Aunt Faith (or Tia Fe) and her new Uncle Greg


Casio watch giveaway

A shout out to Voice of Mom for a great giveaway. Enter today! If I win, it'll be added to Isaac's Valentine's day of fun :) 

Happy Monday!

Valentine's Day

Usually I leave this holiday to Isaac, but since he's working so hard and I have a bit (just a bit) more time at home to contemplate a wildly romantic day of events, I told him I'd take the reins this year. The day's events are a secret for now, but I'll tell you this much--I'm using one of the valentines on this page to write clues on for this week. And, being the good writer that I am, his week will be filled with fragments of the greatest love story ever told (ours).

And I'm not making the pillowcases, but I have to admit, I LOVE them and strongly considered appliqueing them :)
What are your plans for the day? Anything creative and unusual?


25 Things About Me

I have to admit, I had way too much fun writing this. Originally it was for FB, but I thought I'd share it with all of you too.

On a side note, Time magazine did their own sarcastic take on it. I'm not sure what to think, but the tally of hours spent worldwide filling this out is astounding. Think of what we could have accomplished collectively if we had spent our time on something more productive. Wow.

1. I felt peer pressured to do this. I came home from Cancun and had been tagged at least 10 times while I was gone. Apparently during an ice storm, the only thing to do is fill out questionaires on FB ;-)
2. I have a goal to not watch TV until Isaac gets home from work everyday, but I've broken that goal more than once already to watch Gilmore Girls--and they're even re-runs I've already seen. I'm an addict.
3. I played the oboe in middle school band and an orchestra in high school. We went "on tour" in Brazil my senior year. It was an incredible experience, but I kept it very secret that I was really no good at all. I don't even know how I got in. My dog would come to my room when I was practicing and howl while I played. Not even making that up.
4. I love to read, but I rarely find time to do it. That doesn't make any sense. I've got a fine closing in on $10 at the library. I usually just pay enough to keep it under $10. I'm pretty proud that the last book I read was "The Graveyard Book" and it just won the Newbery Award.
5. I'm an editor for a self-publisher. I'm working on some short articles to send in this week. I've got a mid-grade novel in the works, and my first 10 pages of my manuscript are going to be critiqued at a conference in March. And I'm a stickler for grammar. If I type in cell-speak or don't check my grammar on things I type, I feel guilty.
6. I check craigslist everyday for baby stuff. I frequently email the people to find out more details about the things I want, but I usually chicken out and don't buy anything.
7. I desperately want Andie to play soccer so I can be a soccer mom, but I'll let her have the final say (isn't that generous of me? ;-)
8. I made a goal to not get on FB until after lunch each day. At first it was really hard. I cheated a couple of times because I had convinced myself that I wouldn't have time after lunch since Andie would be up. And then after awhile, I found that I wasn't on FB much at all. I like it better that way.
9. I worked at Starbucks at the Barnes and Noble on 71st St when I was in college. I loved that job. Some of the people who worked with me still work there. I find that amazing.
10. I tried to convince God that it was His will for me to move near the mountains or ocean after Japan. . .I ended up in Oklahoma. Guess who won that argument?
11. I met the love of my life at Red Robin. He trayed up the food; I was a server so I'd grab the trays from him, we flirted, the rest is history. We pretty much dated from the first time we went out, so we were practically strangers. It was meant to be.
12. I love sushi, but I never order what I really want at restaurants because it's too expensive. So my cravings are never actually satisfied.
13. I taught English in Japan for 2 years. The things I miss most: the people, the food, the freedom to travel or do random things because my job required so little, the trains that took me everywhere, my futon and tatami room, my kotatsu, and oh so much more.
14. I'm going to be a published author soon. And I'm going to publish many many children's books.
15. I have a blog. It's geared toward writers, but there are recipes, random tidbits from my life, and semi-deep thoughts there as well. You should check it out www.plantingbamboo.blogspot.com
16. My maiden name, Uyetake, means "planting bamboo." I have used that for everything from handles to email addresses. Since getting married, the best we can figure is that Abad is Spanish for Abbott. Not nearly as exciting. But I do love being at the beginning of the alphabet.
17. I just answered some quiz about what I'd do with a million dollars. I think I said I'd buy a house and car first, but the truth is, I'd probably plan a huge trip and travel the world with my family. Traveling is one of my first loves.
18. Even though I'm on craigslist every day, I don't sell things on there often. For some reason it intimidates me. But, I need to get over it. Right now I'm looking to raise money for cloth diapers and then a bike trailer for Andie. I really want both of those, but I should scrape up the money first :)
19. I sleep with a down comforter on my bed all year long. I love the heaviness of it. I love falling on top of it and letting it poof out all around me.
20. I have a bazillion magazine subscriptions and only recently have I actually started reading them cover to cover.
21. I love that I'm reconnected with so many people on FB. I've met so many amazing people through the years and many many miles separate us. I feel closer on FB. But, I also think I rely too much on FB for my local friends. I need to just connect with them face to face.
22. I don't like answering the phone. If you call and I don't pick up, it's nothing personal. I don't pick up for most people.
23. I love the outdoors. . .but not in Oklahoma. As much as I love camping, cycling, walking, grilling, etc., it's hard to motivate myself to get out into the ungodly heat in OK. That makes me sad. But I'm determined to change that as Andie starts to walk and explore.
24. Being a stay-at-home mom is the best job ever. I'm the least stressed I've ever been. I love being home. I believe that right now I am doing the most important thing that God has called me to do. I must admit though, I miss my students. They made me smile all the time.
25. I have a zoo membership. We bought it for Andie, but she's not really going to benefit from it this year. It's more an excuse for me and Isaac to get out and have family time. Plus it's so cheap. And I love that there are so many trees there.

Ugh, I could go on forever. Good thing this made a limit to just 25 things. Otherwise you'd be reading a novel.


Home of the Brave

I just finished reading Katherine Applegate's Home of the Brave. There were a bunch of blogs that mentioned it as a must-read of the year, so I put my name on on the waiting list at the library to have it sent my way. It took months, literally, for me to get it, and when I did, I committed the cardinal sin, I judged the book by its cover. The cover was so plain that I was not excited to read it. I pushed it to the bottom of my "to read" pile, and finished up some other books. Then when it was the only book left to read, I packed it in my suitcase to take with me to Cancun. After settling in my hotel (having a baby did not allow for reading on the plane like I usually do), I cracked open the book on my warm veranda and moaned, "It's a poem? The whole thing?" Nevertheless, I began reading . . . and I couldn't stop. The narrative flowed quickly, and I found myself stopping and reading it out loud so I could savor the imagery that ignited all of my senses.

Frequently I found myself trying to figure out how long it would have taken to write this book. One single-page poem for me takes hours, days, etc. I can't even imagine a novel-length narrative. But Katherine did it, and it is beautiful. Many times I forgot I was reading a poem, but the poignant sights, sounds, smells and raw feelings stirred the English teacher in me. I wished I had discovered this book sooner. I wished I could have used this book in class. I wished I could have had such a clear and well-written example of narrative poem that so perfectly illustrated the definition of poetry I taught in class--poetry is like concentrate. You take what you want to say, then you take all the "water" out--the unnecessary words and phrases, leaving only the strongest and best parts. Reading a poem should be like taking a drink of concentrate without the water--it should shock the mind and the senses. Katherine Applegate does this.



Last week my family vacationed in Cancun to celebrate the wedding of my little sister to her cop hubby. It was beautiful.

I will post pictures soon.

I had a really hard time getting up this morning for my 4 AM writing. Now, it's almost 5 AM and I'm still scrolling through the blogs I missed this past week. Yikes. Newbery award winner announced. Fun. Missed a query critique on Nathan Bransford's blog. Ugh. And I missed the ice, ice, ice.

I hate ice. And as I've said before, Oklahoma doesn't get real snow. But I must admit, I am a bit sad that I didn't get to enjoy the white on the ground. As un-snow-ish as it is, it's the closest thing we get, and I'm afraid the rest of winter will just be cold, bitter and gray. Here's to hoping for our annual snow in March!

We'll get caught up soon. I promise.