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

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Middle, End, Beginnning?

I've read and heard from some authors that they writes certain scenes first - like an important scene in the middle, or the end before actually writing anything else.
As I sit here outlining my WIP, I realized I am not one of these people and most likely never will be.
I see the whole thing serially. I have a detailed outline - don't get me wrong. It's just that details build upon what has already happened, and these details even have special privileges from me:
They are allowed to change what will come in the future. In fact, I give them extra credit when they do this for me. :)
They can add plot points. They can increase a character's importance. They can even go back in time and change what has already happened.

I can see why someone would want to write a scene from somewhere in the middle. Sometimes when I'm outlining, the thoughts just scream out prose to me, and I'll jot a couple notes to capture some of the more brilliant ideas. And it's tempting to keep on writing.

And that's when I force myself back to the outline.

Friday, December 28, 2007

Fun Friday - Play with Toys

Seriously - the marble roller coaster is fun. I sneak downstairs after the kids are in bed and roll marbles. I set a marble at the top and see if I can get something done before it reaches the bottom.

It's one thing to watch toys being played with and another to play with them yourself.

Take my coworker. He brought a remote control helicopter into work yesterday (OK, it is a quiet week around the office). We have big open areas here and lots of room to practice flying. So I watched him fly it for a few minutes, and then he let me try. It is so much more fun to do it yourself! Seriously.

So if you haven't done this recently, pick up one of your kid's (or coworkers's) toys, and start playing!

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Why I like being an Engineer (part 43)

Because building it is fun (frustrating at points). And putting marbles at the top and seeing them roll down is even way more cool than you would think.
Plus, it glows in the dark. Later tonight, I'm heading back down to play some more.


Countdown to the New Year

How many resolutions do you have so far? You've got just under a week to figure it out! Think of one resolution each day for the next six days.

Today's resolution - Be able to do 5 pull-ups (in a row) by the end of 2008. And not only have I got myself and my husband in on this one, I mentioned it in Kung Fu today, and now the whole class is going to make it a goal!
So I've got a clear measurable goal, a timeline, and accountability!

What's your for today, and think forward to tomorrow also!

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Really, I don't read the news

I find it depressing. In fact, even when I headed over to find the link for this article, I ran into at least 10 tragic storylines.

So when my husband told me I HAD to read this article, I did, unsure why knowing about a felon ex-COO of Wikipedia would matter much to me. And then he told me he knew her and used to work with her (we're talking 18 years ago but still). Weird?

Fun Friday (a day late)

So it's Saturday. I can live with posting my fun for the week a day late. Maybe I was too caught up having fun to post?

Topping the week was the making of the Gingerbread House. I loved giving each of my kids a side to decorate and letting them at it. I loved watching my daughter each more candy than she put on the roof.

A second fun time this week came with the home viewing of National Treasure and the theater viewing of National Treasure 2 (at the Alamo Drafthouse and also free thanks to my friend who started SiliconAid). OK, who wouldn't want to be a treasure hunter after seeing these movies?

*Side note on National Treasure 2 - Part of this was filmed right out back of my parent's house. They live almost next door to Mount Vernon and were watching as they filmed the night scene there.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

What's in a name?

Do you ever wonder what your life may have been like had you been named something else? Would you be the same person you are today? Have the same job? The same spouse? Live in the same city?

I'm a firm believer that a name helps form our lives. What if a name is unique? Easy to remember? Does that make you a contact who will never forget you? Maybe that contact gets you a job because they remember you so well?
Maybe your name starts with the letter L, but if it had started with an N, you might have been placed next to someone different in a class (work with me here - let's say the teacher arranged alpha by first name). And maybe you ended up marrying that person you sat next to. Would that be different?

(I think) I was almost named Heather. It was way the "in" name back in 1970. Of course, growing up, I wanted my name to be Debbie (Debbie Boone - You Light up My Life - Anyone remember).
Anyone see the movie Heathers?

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Great

Any idea why the word "great" makes the "a" sound? Is this the sole exception to the rule? Is there any other "ea" word which makes the "a" sound?
beat
meat
seat
lean
bean

So why isn't it spelled "greight"?

When two vowels go walking, the first one does the talking.

*Brought to you by my first-grader.

** Edited to say we now have

break (thanks, Chris)
steak (thanks, husband)

Any more?

Sunday, December 16, 2007

House Building

This seems to have been a theme in the last couple months. See any similarities?

September:


December:


Note: Not a kit! We got out the measuring spoons and everything.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Why are boys so strange?

I sit here at the computer as my 6-year-old son and his friend play. Um, OK. Let's see. Where to start?

The toddler potty seat on one of their heads.
One of them sticking their own head in the toilet and flushing.
The face in the bowl of popcorn.

I only have a sister, and I don't remember us doing anything like this when we were little.

(And if you happen to be reading, friend's mom, I really am watching them. :) Promise)

Fun for the week

Is it sad when you really have to stop and think what was fun in the last week?
OK, but I didn't have to think long this time around.
Sunday night we had our annual viewing of Jingle All the Way. Yes, I think Arnold is great. And, now that I have kids, there is no funnier movie out there. Everything is perfect. The humor of Phil Hartman is genius. The internal battle of Arnold is priceless.
Have you seen it? If not, and if you have kids, then this one is seriously worth purchasing!

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Yes, but where did it happen

The latest thing I've been doing as I go through my outline for my next WIP is fine tuning the location details.
OK, sure, I can have two characters fighting. They can tear each other's throats out, punch each other, and threaten each other until they're blue in the face. But this is just fighting.
Now enter location.
Where are they fighting? Is it in the middle of a field, or can it be somewhere interesting? (OK, a corn field could be interesting, but a little on the overdone side.)
So, good, I pick an interesting place. What weapons can they use from the area around them? What kind of terrain on they on? How does this affect the fight? Furthermore, does the location pose any of its own threats? Back to the cornfield example - does a tractor get closer with every second they fight? Is the ground muddy? If they're outside, are they dressed for the weather? Is it raining? Snowing?
So this is my latest focus. Where did it happen.

BTW, be sure to check out a great inspirational writing post over at HipWriterMama to get you going on your latest greatest idea!

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

The Next Great Thing

OK, I'm seriously trying to wait until January to begin work on my next WIP. I'm doing all the prep work. Character worksheets for everyone including the cat :). Motivation charts. Plot points. Research.
But ...
I'm feeling this overwhelming urge to begin.
Let's see. Today is the 11th. That leaves 20 days.
Here's what I could do instead for the next twenty days:
  • More planning, plotting, etc.
  • Catch up on reading.
  • Catch up on movie watching.
  • Revise previous WIP.
  • Revise it again.
  • All of the above.

Should I wait, or go ahead and start?

Road Rage

Along the lines of anger and frustration (both my small nagging issues dealt with BTW), I saw some serious road rage today. OK, so a truck cut in front of a car. Big deal? I wouldn't think so.
Me? I'd probably reel out a couple choice words and be done with it. Not let it ruin my day.
But this car laid on the horn for a full minute WHILE giving the truck the finger. And he managed to steer at the same time. So we have horn, finger, and steering. And who says men can't multi-task?

Monday, December 10, 2007

Frustration and Anger

Ever have those annoying little things happen to you? A poor exchange with someone? Bad customer service? Bill lost in the mail?
I think we all have. And normally the most frustrating thing about them is our having them nag at the back of our mind until they are resolved or forgotten.
My advice when dealing with something like this? Ignore it. When the thought comes to you mind, initially it's accompanied by anger or frustration. Push these emotions away. Don't give in to them. Don't commiserate with others; doing this will only prolong the negative feelings.
I find this is a true mental exercise. It's not easy to do. Honestly try to do this the next time something happens, and I think you'll be happy with the result (at least the next day you will be).

Bubble Book Research?

Looking for more fun ways to do book research? I always keep my eyes open. So after kid's Kung Fu Saturday, we stopped for our very first Bubble Tea. OK, I know I should have gotten the Green Tea flavored, but I was with the kids, so Strawberry seemed more appropriate.

My thoughts? I LOVE the tapioca things at the bottom. I love sucking them up through a straw! But other than that, it tasted like a basic smoothy juiced with tea.
I'd go again, but as the kids only took about two sips apiece, I'd get the Green Tea flavor for myself.


Things I'm looking forward to in the near future:
National Treasure 2 movie
The Golden Compass movie (and yes, I've read the books)
Finishing my Christmas shopping

Friday, December 07, 2007

World of Warcraft

Does anyone play this game?
I was over at the IT person's desk, and he happened to have it on one of his ten computers.
It looks so cool.
So seriously, the last thing I have hours to waste time on is a computer game, but when you talk about screen appeal, this game has got it.
Something like 60 million players in the world?

--

One positive thing I heard about playing computer games from an author was that when she went for a school visit, the kids were so totally psyched that she could talk "game talk" with them.

FUN FRIDAY - The Deck Manager

I'm going with amusement as the definition of fun this week. And to stretch it a bit, how about something that amused me.

We have swimming on Thursdays for the kids. A deck manager wanders around taking care of any issues. Normally these issues entail taking kids to their parents when the kids need to use the potty. But sometimes there are exceptions.
First a little girl comes into the waiting room sobbing.
"I can't find my mommy anywhere!" Sob Sob. There's just something precious about seeing a 6-year old express how much they still really need and rely on their parents. So the deck manager calms the little girl and helps her find her mommy.

Next the deck manager walks my son out.
"I think he's losing a tooth," she says.
I reach my hand up to his mouth, pull out his (second) front tooth, and send him back with her to lessons.

One day there was a fight between two 6-year old girls. No hair pulling (at least I don't think).

----

On a side note, my 6-year old son is now missing both front teeth. Could the timing be better? I've been teaching him to sing "All I want for Christmas is my two front teeth."

Sunday, December 02, 2007

You've gotta love the South

I tried not to do it. I got down the tree. Moved the Christmas bins into the living room for unpacking. Vacuumed the floor where the tree would go. But an hour after starting, I gave in and switched on the air conditioner.
There's just something that doesn't seem right about decorating for Christmas with the air conditioner on. I'm not saying I expect 30 degrees or anything. Just maybe a cool 65.
Regardless, the decorating commenced.

Random thoughts as we decorated for 2007:

When I design a new house or remodel the current one, I want a closet on the ground floor where I shove the Christmas tree each year when it's not Christmas. For 15 years now, I've been on my own (that is out of my parents' house). Owned my own tree. I've bought fresh. I've stored the fake in the attic. Under a bed. Hanging from the ceiling in the garage.
But nothing has been easy. Today I struggled on the step stool, letting the tree free fall from the shelf in the garage to the ground, knocking over old car seats and a bag of golf clubs. After unwrapping it, the tree had to be repaired (limbs which had fallen off due to compression), and then fluffed. Only then could lights be turned on.

But once the lights were on, and my Sound-and-Lights Star Trek and Star Wars ornaments began to take their proper places amid the limbs, and the lower half of the tree came to life thanks to the efforts of two under-four-feet kids, the struggle became worth it!

Happy Holiday Season!