"All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given to us." —J. R. R. Tolkien

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

The Yummiest Character Around

Finding humor where I can.
It cracks me up that when my 6-year old son put on his Darth Vader costume, my 3-year old daughter said, "Where's Obi Wan Cannoli?"

Monday, October 29, 2007

Not sure this will be top on my reading list

Back in seventh grade, I would have waited in line to buy it. But after the release of Scarlett, I think I can pass on this one. Thoughts?
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Margaret Mitchell fans prepare for the launch of Donald McCaig's prequel to Gone with the Wind, RHETT BUTLER'S PEOPLE. Paul Anderson Jr., part of a committee of lawyers that advises an Atlanta committee that "protects" Mitchell's original says that "the public itself wanted another sequel." He adds, "But this is not like 'Rocky.' We're not coming back every time we think we can make another book." AP

Sunday, October 28, 2007

To-Do Lists

I'm all about to-do lists. Anyone who knows me well enough knows this. At home. At work. By my computer. Everywhere, I make lists. Things I need to do. Things I need to buy. Daily lists. Weekly lists. Yearly lists. If it can be listed, then it's on there.
I never thought much about this. It's something I've always done. My husband has from time to time verbally admired my lists and even gone so far as to make his own. But I never realized the true meaning of "teach by example" until my 6-year old son grabbed a piece of paper and a pen the other night at dinner.
It was a regular night. My 3-year old daughter wouldn't eat her dinner and was dancing around doing what we so fondly call "the poop dance", all the while insisting she didn't have to go to the bathroom.
So my son started his list.

1) Make Sister Poop.
2) Make Sister Eat dinner.
(Neither of these ended up in too much success, so he went on).
3) Get Sister strong.
(At this point, he proceeded to lead her in an entire exercise regime - Jumping jacks. Toe touches. Sit-ups. Sprinting.)
4) Get Sister Smart.
(This lead to him playing Freddie Fish computer game while she watched and "helped").

The items are cute. But the display is astounding to me. My 6-year old made his first To-Do list. See - they do mimic what they see at home :)

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Favorite Books

They had these posted at my son's elementary school. Do you think I'm the only parent who took pictures? Anyway, just interesting. I'm still amazed at the books third graders are reading these days.

Third Grade:

Fourth Grade:


Fifth Grade:

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Don't Mess With Electricity

We've heard this all along since the minute we could hear. Electricity is dangerous. It can kill you. Seriously.

I think this little guy didn't take it seriously, or he chose not to listen. So here's what electricity can do if you get too close.


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* Our lights had been flickering all throughout the house. As an electrical engineer, I tackle small electrical projects around the house. Outlets. Switches. Light fixtures. But serious electricity I don't get near. Why? I want to stay alive.
When the electrician opened the outside breaker box, he found this little guy on the wire.
To quote my son - "Sad for him."

Sunday, October 21, 2007

The Things Kids Say #1

Kids say what's on their mind. That's all there is too it.
Take Friday. I went to the elementary school to have lunch with my son (first grade). It's the first time I've been this year, and there are many classmates I've heard about but never met. So I get in the lunch line with him, and he's hanging with this little boy. We'll call him Keith. I'm about to say, "Hi, Keith. It's nice to finally meet you. I've heard so much about you." Or something like that. But just as I get the "Hi" out, I notice Keith is pointing to his teeth and mumbling something.
"What?" I say.
Mumbles again.
By this time, I'm sure he's telling me I've got a big piece of spinach in my teeth.
"What?" I say again. If it is spinach, I want to know and get it out before I get to the lunch lady.
Finally I hear him. "Do you really have four fake teeth in front?" ***
I start laughing, and confirm to him that yes, I actually do have four fake teeth in front.
He continues on to relay the entire story of how I came to get my four fake teeth in front. I guess this is something my son is proud to mention about me at school. My son thought I'd be upset, but I assured him it was fine to share the story of my four fake teeth. Maybe I should have him re-enforce the importance of wearing a bicycle helmet while doing so.

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*** The four fake teeth are crowns that I have as a result of taking on an SUV face-first while on my bicycle.

Friday, October 19, 2007

So I knew I wasn't a complete nerd

See, cubing is cool.
Next kid's birthday party, they're getting Rubik's Cubes in their goodie bags.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Sharing Dreams

I had a dream last night that one of my co-workers died. No one was sure how it happened, but I like the guy quite a bit, so I was sorry in my dream.

So when I saw him this morning, my initial reaction was to say, "Hey, I think weird dream about you last night."
Uh, but then where would I go from there? "Yeah, you actually died in my dream." Not such a good followup.
So using all the smarts my 37 years have given me, I opted to say nothing.

24-hour Comic

I have a friend doing a 24-hour comic challenge. From what I gather, you basically get locked in a room with a bunch of other comic-book-type people for 24-hours straight and write and draw a 24-page comic book. No planning anything ahead of time. I think you can eat, but if it were me, I'd be afraid to drink for feel of spilling my Diet Coke on my almost finished stack of pages. What's to happen if someone else spills their Diet Coke on your stuff? Do you pull out your closest weapon and duel to the death?
I wonder ...
Is the bathroom monitored?
Are cell phones confiscated?
Do they check your hands for secret plot lines written in vanishing ink?

If your interested, drop by and check it out!

Sounds like a great idea! I can't wait to read the result.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Backup

Anyone use online data storage for backing up? I'm going to start.
Here's one that I've read good things about and may try. XDrive.
Thoughts?

Monday, October 15, 2007

Finding fun where I can

I've mentioned we get free soda and water at work. OK, I've mentioned this about twenty times. So some people find this need to have collections on their desks of all the empty cans/bottles they've had. Some stack them up in pyramids. Some line them neatly on the top of the cubicle walls. Some arrange them on their desk surface. And the main thing I've noticed about the people who do this is that they always drink the same thing (not the same as everyone else, just the same thing.) For example, if they drink water, they always drink water. Apple Juice - always apple juice.
So I've found a new fun way to keep the office lively and exciting (at least for me). When one of these collectors is out of their cube, and I happen to walk by on the way to the recycling bin, I replace one of their empty cans with my own. See, I'm a Diet Coker. So imagine a proud arrangement of Diet Dr. Peppers with a single Diet Coke in the midst.
I know it's a small thing. But I have fun then walking by to check if the cube occupant has discovered the switch.

Got any fun office pranks of your own?

Thursday, October 11, 2007

YA versus MG

I struggle with this question. How do you distinguish a YA (young adult) book versus a MG (middle grade) book?

OK, off for a free soda while I contemplate it.

Good News for the Week

The good news is that I've already read the editing yourself into print book. And though I liked it, I liked Fiction First Aid better, so that's the one I'll be re-reading.

The other good news is that my friend who visited this weekend offered to read my WIP. And did I mention she used to do book reviews for the AP?

And the final good news is that I'm looking forward to a writing workshop next Saturday here in Austin.

So what's yours? Got any good news to share?

Friday, October 05, 2007

Friends in Town = Good Time for a few days Break

It's not often we have out of town guests. Seriously. We sold all our guest furniture, bought a futon, and made it an office. But this weekend, we have my high school friend, her husband, 2 kids, and their nanny. Returning to America from Paraguay. Well, not the nanny. This is her first time to America.

Timing works out well on this one. I've just finished another revision on WIP, and a few nights away from the computer (and WIP) will maybe give me a fresh perspective. Maybe. Why is it so hard to have perspective on our own works?

I'm starting Self-Editing for Fiction Writers: Editing Yourself into Print. Anyone read it? I've heard good things about it, and now seems like as good a time as any to dig right in!

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

How do you brainstorm?

I spent a lot of time on my new WIP ahead of time - plotting, character development, etc. But then during rewrites comes the time when changes need to be made. There was a problem and I needed a solution. But not just any solution. A clever one. A creative one. An original one.
First I went and asked my hubby about it. OK, now it's out in the open. I've vocalized it.
Then I went back to the computer and started a fresh Word document just typing. I put down my questions I needed to answer. I put down any and every idea in my mind.
Then hubby came out and brought me a CD to listen to. Something he uses while studying to help him focus. But there's a special part for creativity. So I put it on. I looked through some books. I typed some more. But most importantly, I spent the time doing it.
And then it came to me. An original and creative idea.
I'm not saying it's perfect, but for right now, it will do.

So I'm curious, how do you brainstorm?

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Halloween Presents in the Mail

Just in line with our Haunted Playhouse theme, we received Halloween presents in the mail!
Thanks, Cousin!
Two great Halloween headbands - one with spiders and one with bats.
And spooky colored hands that hold place cards - eight of them, and funny enough we have four visitors coming this weekend! Perfect timing.

Now to get to the party store for some spooky spiderwebs and a ghost. We need to find a ghost. (Requirement here is that he can't be too gross. I'm not into the gross Halloween thing!)

Please grant me one small picture for bragging rights

My little 1st grader is Artist of the Week. He was so happy to tell me! So I walked in to check out his work. And I have to say, even if I wasn't his mom, I'd be impressed!


Monday, October 01, 2007

My Haunted Cubicle

So there's a long standing tradition that when people are about to return from sabbatical, you do something to their cube. Thanks to my one of my friends at work, I returned today to find a haunted cubicle, complete with spiderwebs, streamers, and spiders!
Something like this makes me feel wanted. It makes me happy to return to work to see my friends. So, friend, if you're reading this, a great big smile and thanks!

Time flies by

So eight weeks went by. I can't get it back. But I'm happy to say I do have a list of accomplishments for the time off.
1) 3 weeks in Virginia with side trip to Philly and Central PA
2) 1 week in the Bahamas
3) Painted upstairs hallway
4) Stained the deck and playscape
5) Built awesome, fantastic, Haunted playhouse for the kids
6) Hosted a birthday party for my daughter
7) Cleaned the house (once)
8) Read "The First Five Pages" by Noah Lukeman
9) Worked on revisions for WIP
10) Gave two cars loads of stuff to Goodwill

OK, that's my top ten.