Vacation

It's been so nice being on vacation this last week. I can't tell you how much I've enjoyed being home with my family. We've played the Wii, the Playstation, Uno, and cards. We've also stayed up consistently past our bedtimes, so much so that I'm worried about how hard its going to be to get us all back into our normal routine.

Last night we went over to my brother's house to play cards. My sister's girlfriend is visiting from North Carolina and wanted to meet everyone. It was the perfect opportunity. I know she was feeling a bit jet-lagged and probably would have enjoyed a dozen hours or more with a comfy pillow and a warm blanket, but I hope she had fun. Of course, after being around our horde, she may also need an eardrum transplant when she returns home. Poor thing. If the kids weren't being loud, the adults were. There was no escaping the noise.

After we played cards for an hour (maybe more), we played DDR on the PS2. Here's a few pics.



New Look...Again

Well, what can I say? That last one was driving me crazy. I hated that it didn't have the navbar at the top. Hopefully this one isn't too hard on the eyes. I really like the background, so be prepared to see this one for awhile!

Fatter by the Day

Well, it feels like it, that's for sure. I tell myself to enjoy all the sinfully tasty morsels I've been shoving into my mouth because after the New Year..gone. All of it. No more candy, pop, cookies, or ice cream. It'll be carrots and celery, water, and the like. It'll be hell, but if I actually manage to lose weight, it'll be worth it.

Oh, and exercise. I start the new regime on January 2. (We'll be busy indulging at the last Christmas party of the year on the 1st, so I'd be telling a big ole whopper if I said I plan on starting exercising that morning).

Speaking of exercise, my girlfriend is going to start doing kickboxing once a week at the place just down the road from my house. I told her I'd go, too. I'm thinking once a week isn't enough, though, so maybe I'll just break down and buy a monthly membership. I hate spending $40 a month though. Seems like such a waste of money when they're all exercises I could be doing at home. Well, most of them I can do at home. The problem is that I wouldn't.

Hey, at least I'm honest. Home + exercise does not compute. It's like an oxymoron or something.

Heh!

funny pictures
moar funny pictures

Holiday Stuff

Let's see...

We've had our annual family gathering on my dad's side. It went well. They even had a Santa show up to hand out the kids' toys. I'll try to post one of the cutest pictures I managed to snap. I tried last night from home but my wireless keyboard HATES me. (Yes, it's Christmas Eve and I'm at work..)

Tonight we have Oyster Stew plans. I had made Potato soup for those of us who don't like the stew, but it's since been dumped into the garbage because it ended up all over my kitchen floor. The crockpot broke into a good half-dozen pieces.

Figures.

Oh, well. McDonald's it is for me and the munchkins. We'll survive, but I'd rather have the soup! Am more than slightly pissed at myself.

Hard Lesson Learned

My youngest son learned a hard lesson this week. Over the weekend he used his birthday money to purchase a new Pokemon game for his Gameboy Advance. To say that he was enamored would be putting it midly. He played it for hours, putting it down only when mom and dad had had enough and forced him to find alternate means of entertainment.

Well, Monday night he needed a bath. I interrupted his game - or so I thought - to have him get into the tub. Up the stairs he went with only mild grumblings. I saw the Gameboy in his hands. I expected him to put it in his bedroom, maybe on his bed or dresser. I didn't expect him to take it into the bathroom with him.

Can you see where I'm going here?

He comes down after his bath all worked up. "Mom, my Gameboy won't work." Then he hands me the device and I realize it's leaking. Water. On my couch. Not good. I pull out the game cartridge and more water drains out.

Yes, he tried playing with while in the bathtub. As you can imagine this has cost him dearly and there have been many tears. It looks like the power supply is fried. He's going to be Gameboy-less until he's earned enough money to purchase a new one. This means lots of extra chores. It also means many weeks of watching his brother happily playing on his Gameboy.

Thank goodness Santa comes in less than a week. Hopefully some new distractions will help wipe away a few of those crocodile tears.

Holiday Plans

There's so much I want to accomplish. I want to finish my novel. I want to read a half-dozen books between now and the first of the year. I want to get my Christmas scrapbook up-to-date. I want to watch movies and Christmas specials. As you can see, there's a lot I want to do.

The nice thing is the only thing I need to do and don't much feel like doing is wrapping the Christmas presents. Bah! Humbug! I hate wrapping gifts. They always look terrible, so much so that a two-year-old could probably do better. Seriously, people, I've used parts of anatomy that shouldn't be used to hold paper in place while I wrestle with the tape dispenser. (Minds out of the gutter, please! I'm talking elbows and toes here...)

I should also make sugar cookies at some point in time. My sister is planning on doing it over the weekend. Maybe we should combine efforts and mess... I'll have to talk to her about that. Of course, Saturday will be difficult because our mom will be making her Christmas rounds and we have a Christmas party to attend that night with my dad's extended family. Busy day!

I'm also hosting the annual Oyster Stew dinner on Christmas Eve. We usually have pizza on hand for those who are revolted by the slimy soupy concoction that somehow became a family tradition. (Apparently this tradition was started by my great-grandmother on my dad's side of the family way back when...) This year the alternative meal is going to be Cheesy Potato Soup. Yum!

After everyone leaves we'll open our Christmas jammies. Then we'll need to sprinkle the reindeer feed in the front lawn. Maybe we should do the sprinkling before we do the unwrapping. Something to consider...

After Christmas I'm sure we'll all be busy playing with our newest toys. Yes, even us adults. In fact, I've already got one of my new toys and have been sucked into endless hours of gaming. Final Fantasy XII is so much better than Final Fantasy X-2! So I'm sure I'll spend several hours over the holiday break leveling up and advancing the storyline.

The last of our holiday parties falls on the Saturday after Christmas. We'll be spending the day with our in-laws, playing games and eating.

That pretty much sums up what my holiday plans are..what are yours? Do you have any traditions you must fit in?

Wow

When I first searched the internet for a community of writers I could join, I found a place called the Mighty Quill. It was small and homey and I seemed to fit in just fine. For a good year or more I called that community home. I can't say exactly why I drifted away, but I think it had a lot to do with the mutating member list. During that first year I found several people I could talk to about a life-long passion, but there were two who really stood out: Erik and Lola.

I remember working on an Anthology Erik had been mulling over for some time. I wrote two short stories set in that world. It was challenging and oh-so-much-fun. I still have those two stories on my harddrive and back-up drives.

Despite our growing friendship, real life happened and we drifted away from each other. For awhile Lola and I kept in touch and even managed to exchange e-mails and catch each other in instant messenger conversations. But then our schedules changed and availability diminished. Our budding friendship faded.

Erik just kind of disappeared into the ether. So imagine my surprise when I found a comment from him in my last post. Somehow he managed to stumble across my blog. I'm so glad he took a moment to drop a quick note of hello. It was a very pleasant surprise.

I hope his writing is going well and his life turned out to be e everything he had wished and hoped for!

One More to Go

Well, that's it. Finals are behind me. I took my last exam this morning. I'm not as confident as I should be, though. Those true and false questions really got to me this time. I studied, but apparently not the right stuff. Oh, well. You can't ace them all, right? Everyone needs a dose of humble-syrup every now and again.

On a happier note, I think I did fairly well on the final I took last night. It was an essay on the Pamuk's Snow. Since I had just finished reading the book, it made sense to focus my energies on what was still fresh in my memory. (I should be able to find out on Monday how I did on both the exam and final paper for this class.)


What does all this mean? I get my nights and weekends back until the New Year! Yay!


I plan on making a lot of progress on my WIP during this time. I'm sitting at that 89K mark. It'd be nice to get to "the end". I'm soooo close. Of course, that's not including the time and effort I'll need to put into editing and revising. That'll probably take a month or so to complete.



Almost done...

Today is the last day of class for the Fall semester. Tomorrow is a "study day" and then exams start on Wednesday. Luckily, I get to get mine over and done with this week and will be school-free by Thursday night. Yay!

Christmas Songs


My 13 favorite Christmas songs!
Christmas just isn't Christmas without Christmas carols.
  1. The Little Drummer Boy (makes me teary-eyed every time)
  2. Silver Bells
  3. The Chritmas Song
  4. Silent Night
  5. Away in a Manager
  6. Jingle Bells
  7. Frosty the Snowman
  8. Rudolph the Rednosed Reindeer
  9. Winter Wonderland
  10. Jolly Old St. Nicholas
  11. Up on the Housetop
  12. Let it Snow!
  13. The Twelve Pains of Christmas (makes me laugh every time)

Back!

No, we didn't win any money. (Thought I'd get that question out of the way real quick-like.)

Vegas was lovely. It might have been the world's shortest vacation, but it was still nice to be able to walk down the street in sandals, a pair of capris, and a lightweight jacket. Not quite shorts weather (the hubby thought it was, but he's insane), but warmer than the Midwest weather we left behind for those few short hours.

We stayed at the Gold Coast hotel and casino. It's located a ways off the strip next to the Rio. They do have a shuttle that runs to the strip, but we didn't wait around. Instead we spent $10 for a taxi ride to the Bellagio. From there we walked up and down the strip the rest of the day, remarking every few feet about all the construction. There's a ton of it going on right now. Right on the strip.

The biggest news in terms of architecture was the fact that The Aladdin had been replaced by a new Planet Hollywood hotel and casino. It's located across from the Bellagio, so it was one of the first things we noticed.

I have some pics I plan on sharing. Of course, I don't have them readily accessible right now, so I'll have to update this post later. Or maybe I'll just link to them in my sidebar as a slideshow. We'll see.

The only downside to this trip was that it wasn't long enough. You can't truly enjoy Vegas in all its hedonist glory in one day. It would have been nice if we have had even more day. Although, I'll be honest and admit I'd rather stay for the normal 4 nights/5 days we typically plan.

Oh, and paying $54 in parking fees at the airport...that's a bunch of bullcrap. What a scam!

What a crazy weekend!

My weekends are always pretty busy, but I really think this one might have been the most hectic I've had to deal with in a long time.

First and foremost, I needed to write my final paper for my Witch and Witch Hunt class. It's due the day we return from Vegas, which means I won't have time to do more than hand it in. I thought I might get the rest of the book read (two chapters!) and the paper started Saturday morning. Well, I was half right. I got the reading done before I went to bed on Saturday.

The problem was that there was just so much going on this weekend. First, we had to keep a promise to the boys. They had each done pretty well on their report cards and the deal was that if they did well, they got to buy a used Pokemon game for their Gameboys. Holy crap!!! I had no idea those stupid games were going to cost us between $25 - $30 each! I wanted to tell them no way were we spending that much, but the hubby wouldn't let me. "A promise is a promise." Ug! Money we just don't have right now, but what do you do? Make less expensive promises in the future. That's what.

Saturday morning the hubby and my brother took my dad up to his old place and moved his stuff into a storage unit near our house. This took approximately 4 hours. During this time I started reading the last few chapters of the book. I had company show up. When it was time for them to leave, my nephews pulled on my heartstrings which resulted in an offer to watch them while their mom ran some errands. After she picked them up, the guys got back. I couldn't just pretend they weren't there, so of course I stopped reading. This pattern seemed to dominate the day. Read for a bit. Get distracted. Read for a bit. Get distracted.

Oh, and the Christmas tree! We decided to get the tree before the storm hit. So into our snow pants and winter coats we went. We found the tree pretty quickly, visited with Santa, and paid our bill. The funniest memory of the day happened at the tree farm. At this point I had traded two nephews in for one and so I had three children to keep tabs on. My nephew, who is 8 going on 38, walks up to Santa and asks, "So, am I on the naughty list?" Santa handled it very well by saying he was going to have to double-check since that question alone probably meant it was very likely. It was quite funny.

So, back home, fight with the tree to get it to stay upright in the stand. We finally tied the darn thing to the wall. I think the hubby and I are both ready for fake trees that go up without any drama.

Few hours later my brothers and sister arrive to play some cards. The storm we had been hearing about finally hit and most of them left rather early for them. My sister was the only one who stayed until nearly 2 that morning. Of course, even though she only lives a mile or so up the road, I couldn't go to sleep until I knew she had made it safely home, so I had to call. She was fine and I could finally sleep.

That brings us to Sunday. Up at 8 o'clock to bake a birthday cake for my youngest. Time to decorate the tree and get out all the holiday decorations. Realize I'm missing garland and that my 9-year-old no longer things a Winnie-the-Pooh stocking is appropriate. This sent me scurrying off to the store with my dad. Back home. Finish decorating the tree. Hubby wrapped the birthday presents and made the kids lunch while I did...something else. Laundry maybe?

2 o'clock. Birthday party time! We kept it small this year, but still we had a nice little house full of people. My little guy had insisted on inviting some school friends: two of them showed up. The little girl must have felt out-numbered by my boys and my two nephews. Not that she seemed to mind.

Needless to say, I didn't start writing my paper or packing for the trip until around 6 that night.

No wonder I'm tired!

MIA for a few...

The hubby doesn't like it when I announce to the whole wide world that we're going on vacation, but this time I figure it's safe enough to do because my dad is house and kid-sitting.

The hubby and I are on our way to Vegas! We received a paid vacation just for listening to some spiel for an hour and a half. In return the company paid for our airfare and hotel. Let's just hope when we get to the airport and the casino that everything is on the up and up...

I'll let you know when we get back! Talk to you then!

Friday Snippet

Okay, no snippet this week. However, I did put a link in my sidebar to the first four chapters of my WIP. If you're interested, give it a quick read!

Happy, Happy News



I'm in shock. My brother and sister-in-law are going to have a girl. They have three boys already, so we really figured the odds were against them conceiving a girl. Last week my sister-in-law had an ultrasound that even said the little bun in the oven was going to be a boy. Yet, today her ultrasound tech said she was 100% positive it was a girl.

Kel and company are out shopping right now to celebrate this bit of special news.

I'm so happy. I even got teary-eyed during the phone call!

Eh

I am trying to get through my Witches and Witch Hunt assigned reading on Aliester Crowley, but it's slow going. I'm about halfway through the book. Unfortunately, I need to be able to write the book analysis this weekend in order to meet the fast approaching deadline. I love to read and I normally read very fast, but reading with an analytical eye rather than for pleasure does tend to slow me down.

I'm also trying to get through my assigned reading for my Travellers in the Middle East class. The book is pretty good and I've been surprised by some of the developments. Always a good thing.

I need to start working on my final paper for that class, though, too. Yeesh.

Oh, yeah, and the WIP. How's that going, you ask? Not very fast. I'm up to 87K and I'm hoping the last 25-35K will write itself. I didn't even open it last night though thanks to Aliester Crowley, aka "The Beast 666". That guy had issues...

What else? Well, we have confirmation that we'll be moving my dad's stuff into storage over the weekend. He's already brought a lot of stuff down, so it shouldn't take too much to relocate the rest of his posessions. My hubby thinks he and my dad and my brother can probably do it themselves in one trip. I feel a little guilty about this, but it will also free me up to get that stupid paper written.

As for how things are going with Dad living under my roof. Well, we've only had one heated discussion so far. Luckily, neither of us hold grudges. At least, not against immediate family members. I have to remind myself that this is probably harder for him than it is for us.

That's all for now.

Long Weekend

I really think we should get more long weekends. They're wonderful and refreshing and relaxing.

Friday the family and I went over to visit with my brother and his family. While the guys hung out in the garage fixing the axle on a trailer, my sister-in-law and I chatted in the house about this and that. She's about halfway through her pregnancy for what we believe will be their fourth boy - she's already had one ultrasound that provided a glimpse of male genitalia.

A little bit later my other brother and his family showed up. I feel bad because we didn't stay and visit very long after they arrived. Not that I think either of my sisters-in-law cared. They were exhausted, too. All three of us had been up early to take advantage of the Black Friday sales - I went solo this year, which was not nearly as enjoyable as going with a partner or two. In any event, we only stayed at my brother's house that night until about 8 p.m.

Yesterday we got a sitter so the adults could have a night out. We went and watched Beowulf in 3D at the IMax. One word: Amazing. While the storyline dragged in a few places, the special 3D effects were so astounding, it really didn't matter. I can't even imagine what they'll be able to do with I Am Legend, but I'm willing to find out. It's suppose to open on December 14 at the IMax. I don't know if we'll be able to afford it, but I'd love to go see it before it's replaced by something else. Besides, it's Will Smith. What's not to love?

After the movies we went out to a restaurant/bar for a drink. Really. One drink. I had hot chocolate because alcohol just didn't sound good. After dropping the babysitter off at home, we came back and played 31 (a.k.a "Tonk") for a bit. Mostly I got to listen to my dad tell stories about his past, which wouldn't be so bad if Dad had any concept of "too much information". There were a few times I had to shush him, which made him laugh and keep right on a-going. I think we made it to bed around 1:30 in the morning.

Today I've been incredibly lazy. I watched some TIVOed television shows. Men in Trees was pretty good and I'm hoping they don't do something stupid and kill off Jack. Then again, he does kind of annoy me as a character, so maybe I wouldn't care too much. And what's up with Cash? I'm thinking he has cancer or maybe even AIDS. Wouldn't that take some gutsy writing to have an AIDS afflicted character on such an otherwise light-weight, feel-good show? Probably won't happen. Too controversial.

After Men in Trees I watched Torchwood. It was a so-so episode for me. I'm a bit disappointed in some of the character development this week. We'll have to see how the season finale wraps up I guess.

Oh, and I'm totally missing Stargate Atlantis. I think it's suppose to be back next week.

Now that I'm all caught up on my horrible, terrible, time-consuming television addiction, I'm ready to move on to homework, scrapbooking, reading, writing, and housework. Not necessarily in that order. Oh, and I should throw in a shower for good measure!

I hope everyone else had an enjoyable weekend!

Happy Thanksgiving

What a spread. And this was only half of it. On the other side of the room we had all the hot stuff - turkey, candied yams, potatoes, stuffing, green bean casserole, corn, gravy and biscuits. Since we only had 6 adults and 4 kids, we had lots of leftovers.

Of course the guys all watched football. Unfortunately, it seemed most everyone at the party had a cold, which meant there wasn't the ususal family gathering energy present in the house. Lots of sniffling, sneezing, and chills to go around, though, if you're feeling left out. I'm sure I could send some germs your way. Just drop me a note. Heck, I won't even charge ya! LOL

The only other thing of interest today was that we happened to wake up to the first real snowfall of the year. The boys couldn't wait to get outside and have at it. You can imagine how bummed they were mom wouldn't let them outside until I was sure the hunters would be in from the woods. They played outside for about forty-five minutes or so.






Question for the masses

Okay, so I have about five steady visitors. Please weigh in on this little survey if you would please.

The WIP is a romance. The characters meet in Chapter One and are together the next nine out of ten chapters in some way or another. Then they get split up. They're apart for almost 10 chapters, each getting about equal POV time on the page.

My question is this: As a romance reader how long does it take you to get irritated that the hero and heroine aren't sharing the same scene?

I know I've read books where I've gotten impatient for the relationship dynamics to become the main focus again. My fear is that the readers will lose faith in the relationship between the characters. Now, I've tried figuring out if there's a way to cut out some of the separated chapters, but I don't see a way to do it and still keep the story coherent. I'm pretty sure the next chapter will see the hero and heroine reunited. The relationship will have a chance to develop and mature over the next 100 or so pages.

The romance has to work for the ending I have planned. The reader has to believe the love they feel for each other is real and deep and lasting.

Part of me realizes the writing always takes longer than the reading. The separation I'm feeling between them may be more about the time it takes to write their story than an actual reflection on how the story is going to read. I get that, but I still worry.

So what are your thoughts?

OT Evaluation

Well, I took my oldest son to the Occupational Therapist for the evaluation Ann Arbor recommended in their original report back in May. We're a little behind the ball on this one. Pretty much everyone who read the report back in May missed that particular line in the 9-page report we received from the neuropsych division. I guess we were a little distracted by the ADHD diagnosis and the school-related recommendations made to accommodate his needs.

I thought the OT eval would take 45 minutes. It took closer to two hours.

I thought I'd be sitting in a waiting room reading Snow. I ended up observing the evaluation.

I thought I'd be back into work before 10 a.m. I got in around 12:30.

While I'm not really qualified to make any judgements about the evaluation, I think he did really well. He didn't seem to display any of the processing speed concerns the learning disability testing had showed. However, the therapist did ask me if anyone had made any recommendations on how to handle his "sensory issues".

Huh?

No, they haven't. I didn't know he had sensory issues.

Apparently his need to roll around on the floor and crash into things - something I always have categorized as hyperness and silliness - are the result a nervous system sensory-related desire for hard contact. At least that's what I understood her to say.

Okay, weird but not alarming. Actually, if it doesn't impact his academics, I'm really not concerned. This isn't something that has been problematic for him. Certainly it hasn't impacted his social life.

However, she did mention a few techniques to dispell this need for movement (a huge symptom of ADHD). She called them compressions. Downward pressure on his shoulders while he's standing. Having him lay on the floor while you compress his joints. Apparently these things help send a message to his nervous system that it's time to focus.

We'll see if that makes any difference. I'm not really sure about all this stuff. Not sure if its necessary or needed. Just not sure.

Song Lyrics

Do you ever hear a song and it makes you think of someone? Of course you have.

Well, this morning I was listening to my iPod and Rascal Flatts' Stand came on. This song always makes me think of my dad and my sister. Fate has a way of kicking them both in the teeth. They've both been through a lot and while I know they would rather not have been forced to live through the hand God has dealt them, I admire their ability to stand up and keep going. While they may not recognize it, each of them has incredible inner strength.

So whenever I hear this song, I think of them. I think of my dad. I think of my sister. And I admire their ability to stand.

~~~~

You feel like a candle in a hurricane
Just like a picture with a broken frame
Alone and helpless
Like you've lost your fight
But you’ll be alright
You’ll be alright

Cause when push comes to shove
You taste what you're made of
You might bend, till you break
Cause its all you can take
On your knees you look up
Decide you’ve had enough
You get mad you get strong
Wipe your hands shake it off
Then you Stand,
Then you stand

Life's like a novel
With the end ripped out
The edge of a canyon
With only one way down
Take what you're given before its gone
Start holding on, keep holding on

Cause when push comes to shove
You taste what you're made of
You might bend, till you break
Cause its all you can take
On your knees you look up
Decide you’ve had enough
You get mad you get strong
Wipe your hands shake it off
Then you Stand,
Yeah then you stand.

Everytime you get up
And get back in the race
One more small piece of you
Starts to fall into place

Cause when push comes to shove
You taste what you're made of
You might bend, till you break
Cause its all you can take
On your knees you look up
Decide you’ve had enough
You get mad you get strong
Wipe your hands shake it off
Then you Stand,
Then you stand
Yeah then you stand.

Petitioning

So it looks like I'm going to need to petition my graduation requirements.

Hopefully I'll get the answer I want. :-)

Home Sick

For once I'm home because I'm the one feeling like crap. I've got a Dr. Appt in 20 minutes. Should blow dry my hair but I just want to go to sleep.

Waiting

I'm so close to graduation. Two more classes. That's all I need. Of course they need to be 300 or higher, so this does limit me somewhat. Even more limiting is the need for one of these 300 level courses to have a Natural Science designation attached to it.

I contacted the BAS advisor today and am waiting for his response to an advising question I submitted. I'm hoping I can take a course that doesn't normally have a natural science designation assigned to it. The department secretary told me that he, as the program director, has the power to tell the Registrar's to accept the course toward my graduation requirements. I'm hoping he'll agree.

If he doesn't agree, it means I've got one more semester to go. It'll put off graduation until August, but that's really not a big deal either. I don't plan on starting grad school until Fall.

So now it's a waiting game to find out if I'm done in May or August.

Mindin' My Bidness

My brother often tells me to "mind your bidness", which is his not-quite-so-endearing way of telling me to "butt out". As the big sister I find this a very difficult thing to do, especially when I see someone I love hurting.

Biting my tongue is hard. SO HARD. Seriously, sometimes I think it might be less painful to amputate an appendage. Well, maybe just a small digit. I'd hate to lose an arm or a leg...

The bottom line is I do try to keep my mouth shut because I don't want to make anyone mad. I don't want to hurt their feelings. I don't want to make them uncomfortable.

I just want to protect. I want to comfort. I want to give hope and encouragement.

And the occasional smack upside the head or kick in the ass, whichever would be more appropriate.

Sometimes, though, I know silence is appropriate. Doesn't mean I'm always able to follow my better instincts. Sometimes I just can't seem to help myself!

Another Weekend Gone

This was a busy one.

I had several errands to run on Saturday. First on the list, though, was moving my two boys into the same bedroom. It took about 2 1/5 hours to clean the rooms, move the furniture, and get things organized. The boys' room is very cramped now. Luckily, we didn't have to move a bed in, though, because the boys have had bunk beds since they were old enough to get out of their toddler beds. However, the room now houses 1 computer desk & chair, a bunk bed, 2 dressers, 1 bookshelf, and 2 toy boxes.

After getting the room rearranged, I jumped in the shower and got ready to go to my mom's piano recital. She's been taking lessons for about a year. She did pretty good. I heard a few mistakes, but I thought she recovered well. She didn't share the same opinion. She said it was horrible.

I also had to stop and pick up a birthday present for a birthday party my oldest had been invited to attend. On the way to that party, I had to stop and pick up my youngest son's overnight guest.

Oh, and I got lost after leaving the recital so I was running a bit late.

After dropping off the oldest at the party I took my little one and his friend to the grocery store and bought enough junk food to feed a small army. We had popcorn and rootbeer floats.

Today I tried to do some homework. I don't know if I'm overly tired or just losing interest in this book, but I haven't gotten very far.

I plan on working on the WIP tonight, but we'll see what happens. The little guy just came and sat down next to me. He wants Mom to watch Ghost Rider with him. It's very hard to say no when it means so much to him.

Tired..Need Caffiene

That's really all I wanted to say. Will post snippet in a few.

Too funny..

I have a few blogs I visit religiously. They're my daily dose of humor. If you havent' checked out Amalah, you should. My sister would probably understand why I didn't think it was any big deal to mention cleaning toilets on my blog if she read this blog. Although, I must admit Amalah would probably get a laugh while I fall flat. Of course, there's more to Amalah than humor, but it's definitely a key element in her posts.

The other daily dose of humor comes from Hobo Teacher. Need a chuckle? Go! Check him out. Makes you ever so grateful you're not a K12 teacher.

Monday Update

Well, I ended up completing half of my weekend goals. The paper is written, the laundry looks good, and my sister and I spent Saturday evening scrapbooking with a 6-pack of Mike's. I got 7 pages done; she got 8. The show-off. I already had one page done when she got to my place, so I should have finished one up. Ah, well. She's just a faster scrapper than I am.

I didn't get a single word written on the WIP, which bums me out. I'm hoping to make up lost ground today. This should be possible since I'm home instead of at work where I belong.

My oldest didn't last but a couple hours at school today. He called my office complaining that his stomach hurt. Oh, joy. At least the stomach cramps haven't produced anything messy that I've needed to clean up. Now let's hope I haven't just cursed myself.

What else? I added a new link to my sidebar. Look under Friends & Family, if you're curious.

I think that's about it. Maybe I'll post a snippet later today.

Edited to add: Paperback Writer is back in business! This is a great relief as I sorely missed my daily dose of snarky writerisms.

Distractions

It's sad when housework becomes the distraction that saves you from your homework. I've got a whole two pages completed. That leaves 3 more to go, at the very least. The really odd thing is I know my argument and where I'm going with what I have..I just don't feel like dove-tailing a bunch of relevant quotes together.

This means I have done the dishes and washed/dried/folded several loads of laundry in an effort to avoid getting the most important thing on my list done. Brilliant.

Weekend Plans

There are a few things I must do this weekend. In order of priority:

1) Write 5-6 page paper for my Witches and Witch Hunt class.

2) Write at least 5K on story.

3) Join my sister for a night of adult R&R - not sure where we'll go or what we'll do. Money is tight all around.

4) Start re-arranging the boys' bedrooms. My dad is definitely moving in, which means my oldest is losing his bedroom for a few months. The good thing here is Dad won't be alone Christmas morning...and I'm pretty excited about having him there.

5) Clean boys' toilet. Eww. Gross. But they can't be trusted to do the job well enough on their own. I've tried.

6) Laundry.

Luckily, some of these things will take mere minutes. The only one I'm really worried about consuming my weekend is item #1. I always underestimate how much time I'll need to pull a coherent argument together.

Slideshow Time!

Hopeful Dreams

It's rare that I remember my dreams. If I do, it's usually because they were so bizarre they actually managed to wake me up out of a sound sleep. Take for instance the time I dreamed about a vampire on the run from her Master (yes, there's a short story to go with this one) or the time I dreamed about an entire family of witches who could travel through space and time.

I'm sure I have other less fantastical dreams. I'm sure I dream about my husband and kids and our daily lives. I just don't tend to remember those dreams. Our life is pretty mundane - I'm not complaining - so I imagine there's just not enough drama in those dreams to pull me into semi-consciousness.

Well, last night I had a dream about my sister. I won't go into detail, but let's just say my sister would have liked the way this particular dream ended. It definitely had a HEA ending for her current situation.

Now we just need to hope I'm psychic!

Happy Halloween


We've been Trick-or-Treating in my husband's hometown ever since my oldest nephew, who is now 15 and too cool to dress up, was old enough to be carried from door to door. As you can see the tradition has grown from one little nephew to this crazy crew of monsters. This year we had 14 kids to keep tabs on, no easy feat when the age groups vary enough to send one group way ahead of the others.

Oh, and of course it rained. It could have been worse, though. This was one of those misty rains instead of a steady drizzle or outright downpour.

After walking around town for an hour and stopping at the Post Office for a free donut and cup of apple cider, we made it back to my in-laws' place. My mother-in-law had made enough homemade chicken noodle soup to feed a small army, which is exactly what we were. The kids rushed through a bowl apiece and then began asking for candy every five minutes.

Below are two of the 14 faces missing from the group picture. One got there too late to participate and the other simply wasn't having none of that picture posing nonsense.


WIP Update

Well, I'm moving right along. Up to 73K now.

I'm also excited to report I may have someone interested in doing the cover art for my novel. I'm planning on self-publishing through LuLu.com and would like to have the option to use something other than their stock covers. Lucky for me, a friend of mine knows a decent artist who has indicated an interested in doing the artwork.

I realize self-publishing isn't for everyone, but I think in this instance it's the right choice for me. Here are the contributing factors to this decision:
  1. This project is a gift..one that I would like to give in a nice and tidy package and not a ream of loose-leaf pages.
  2. Waiting on an agent or publisher to pick it up could delay the act of giving this gift to the recipient for several months (or years)
  3. The market is drowning in vampire stories. Don't believe me? Walk through the romance aisle at your local B&N or Borders and tell me every other title isn't related to vampires and werewolves.
  4. I'm excited to hold one of my WIPs in my hands. I want to feel the glossy cover under my fingertips and smell the glue.

Of course, I'm going to be pushing it to get the book finished, edited, and proofed in time for the holidays. Once that process is complete I have no idea how long it takes for the printed product to become available. Chances are that I probably won't meet my Christmas deadline, but I'd like to try.

Gaining Momentum

It's been awhile since I've felt this way while writing. Everything has been built. All the chips are in place. The traps have been sprung. Now it's just a matter of letting the momentum carry the story through to its natural conclusion.

The hero and heroine have been apart for several chapters now. It's time to reunite them. After all, it's hard for love to blossom when the object of one's desire is never around. Falling in love is not sex. It's not lust. It requires an emotional and mental connection that transcends the flesh. So it's time to get them back together and to keep them that way.

Of course, during the last few chapters I've had a few unexpected plot developments. I think they're good. I think they work.

This recent deluge of inspiration has pushed me over the 70K mark. To be exact, I'm at 71,336 words. I have written over 2ooo words today. And I loved it. The story just flowed. If this continues, I should be able to finish the novel with a little time to spare.

Oh, Ye of Little Faith

Here's a cute story for you.

This weekend the hubby was roofing a house with a friend, which meant he wasn't around in the mornings to fix breakfast for the kidlets. Every weekend my hubby makes pancakes for his boys - sometimes on Saturday and Sunday. Well, since he was gone both mornings before we even thought of getting out of bed, there were no pancakes to be found.

Sunday morning I got up and felt all domestic-like. I walked into the living room where the boys were watching cartoons and asked them if they'd like me to make them pancakes for breakfast.

My youngest looks up at me from where he was lounging on the couch and says, "Mom, you don't know how to make pancakes."

And he believed it! He really didn't think I had any idea on how to whip up the batter (mix + water, if you're curious) and pour it on the skittle. Poor little man! You can tell I'm not much of a kitchen-goddess. Cooking..bah! Still, that the poor child had no idea Mom could do more than pour cereal in a bowl is really rather pathetic.

Of course, you know I laughed. And made the pancakes.

Word Update

Total words: 69,152

This means I've gained 669 words since my last post on this subject. Not too terribly bad. Since the beginning of this little 70-Day venture I've added 5,695 words to the WIP. I'm hoping to break the 6K mark tonight. Another 305 words should not be impossible to get before bedtime!

Witches and Witch Hunts (a.k.a. "My history class")

I think I've mentioned I'm taking two classes this semester. I know to those of you who take a full load every semester with a bazillion credit hours will snicker and roll your eyes while calling me a big ole baby, but these two classes are kicking my ass! I don't mind the reading and I don't mind sitting in on lectures. Actually, I love sitting in on the lectures because I find them both quite entertaining this semester.

It's the papers. Okay, and it's really not the papers for my Travellers in the Middle East course. I don't feel nearly the pressure to write those essays that I feel when faced with my History assignments. That I feel any pressure at all to write anything should tell you a lot about this class. The instructor is picky, perhaps the most difficult to please that I've had here at the U. I got a B+ on my last paper. I want an A on the next one. The problem: I'm not even sure how to tackle this paper.

I think I'm going to have to ask some questions today. I need to know if we're allowed to quote outside the articles we select. He has a rule where he doesn't want outside research, just an analytical dissection of our assigned readings. I like outside research. I think it has value. However, I also like getting good grades, so I'll stick to his parameters.

The more immediate problem is selecting which articles to use in this paper. The book we've been asked to work with is Witchcraft in Europe 400-1700: A Documentary History. It contains small intro sections for ten different categories of historical documents and then reproductions of those historical documents cited in the intro session. There is a lot of material here. It's almost overwhelming.

I'm almost thinking it might be easier to work backwards. Select something from the 1700s and figure out what historical document influenced its outcome. Seems reasonable. I just don't know if its possible.

Wish me luck! I think I may need it with this one.

Week 1 Totals

I plan on working on the story a bit more tonight, but I thought I'd take a break and put up my weekly totals.

I have written over 5000 words this week. The actual number according to my calculations is 5,026 words since Monday. Not bad. Not bad at all. Not when you consider I ended up taking a couple of days off this week.

Next weeks challenge is to keep writing when I need to complete my mid-term essays for my Travellers in the Middle East course. Not to mention starting Paper #2 for my Witches and Witch Hunt course. I know it'll all fall into place, but writing this story would be much easier if I didn't have to worry about homework!

I know. Woe is me!

If I'd watched a little less television this weekend I might have actually managed to complete at least one of the essays...or written a couple thousand more words. Either would have been good.

Word Count Check-In

I've made progress! As of right now I have 66,083 words. That's 2,084 words more than I had this morning. I am delighted. Thrilled. Eager to keep going.

So, I'm not going to waste any more time here. I've got about an hour left before bedtime. Let's see if I can't get another 500 words.

If I win the lotto...

I want my scrapbooking room to look like this.

I am green with envy.

Too Many Distractions

I knew it would happen eventually, but I really thought I'd be a few weeks into the challenge before I failed to write anything at all. That's right. I got nowhere fast on the story last night. Although, in a feeble attempt to redeem myself, I did open the WIP and tweak a few sentences before heading off to bed.

The problem started when I got home last night. Being Wednesday and therefore a school night for Mom, I didn't get home until 7:20ish. First thing I noticed were my son's bloodshot eyes and pitiful expression. I had sent him to school that morning with a sore throat. Apparently the sore throat mutated into a sore throat/headache/fever by evening. Right. Mommy-mode kicked in and I lost a couple hours to snuggling and thermometer checks.

After the kidlets were put to bed we ended up with company. My car has developed a spontaneous leak, so my hubby had called over a friend of his to help with the detective work. Yeah, they still don't know what's going on. My car has turned into a very mysterious piece of machinery over the last few months. The bizarre noise coming from the front end has defied explanation despite two attempts to tear things apart and pinpoint the culprit and now this. Not good.

Of course, after working on the car, the guys had to have a couple of beers and watch the Ultimate Fighters on the ole television. You'd think I'd have no problem writing while grown men grappled on the screen, but you'd be wrong. I couldn't focus. A comment or two from the guys in my living room would catch my attention and I'd soon find myself watching a replay or engaging in conversation. (Okay, so I might have flipped our guest off a couple of times...but he deserved it! Smart ass. That's what he is.)

The greatest distraction proved to be my wireless connection, though. Stupid laptop still won't recognize the new router we had installed. You can only imagine my quest to get all connected and whatnot.

So, all in all, I accomplished very little last night. I didn't even do the dishes, which made the hubby a little unhappy with me this morning when he realized I was going off to work while he tended to the sick child.

Day Two

Way past my bedtime.

Tonight's word count: 585

Monday's Progress

This will be a brief update. I managed to write 677 of the 1000 words I wanted to get yesterday. While I didn't quite make my daily goal, I consider this a good start.

Anniversary

I got flowers! I wasn't expecting anything, so imagine my surprise when this huge box showed up and I pulled these lovelies out, vase and all!


I have a few more photos but Blogger is being a pain. I guess this one will have to do.
I'm so spoiled...Thank you, honey! I love you, too.

Digital Scrapbooking


I've been experimenting with digital scrapbook layouts. There are some elements I really like. The stamp feature is a lot of fun, especially when you consider how many freebies can be found on the Web. On the layout above I used a swirly stamp that I got from Obsidian Dawn. If you browse her site for a minute or two, you'll notice the variety and intricacy of her photoshop brushes. Amazing.

I also like how I can put on title and journalling. There is no guesssing involved. And it's much easier than trying to figure out how to get a 8.5 x 11" printer to do extra large titles.

The eye-dropper tool is another added bonus for working in digital. I pulled the colors above from Danielle's shirt. How fun is that!

The downside to digital? I'm not really fond of the flat look. I don't like how the ribbon element turned out. The page looks digital and that's not really what I'm going for. I know this will probably take some practice, but first I need to figure out if I want to spend time perfecting a skill I may decide not to utilize.

Progress in Bits & Pieces

I've been working on my WIP in my spare time. Of course, I'm referring to the spare time not eaten up by the hours of new fall programming on my TIVO. You really don't expect me to miss an episode of Grey's Anatomy or Stargate Atlantas do you? Not to mention Ugly Betty, Life, Chuck (my favorite pilot), House, and a dozen other programs.

This is also excluding spare time spent reading Ayn Rand's Atlas Shrugged. I'm only a few pages in, but I sense this book is going to require some time and consideration. The word dense comes to mind when trying to describe this alleged masterpiece. (I say alleged because I've yet to weigh in my own personal opinion on the subject; must finished book first).

I should mention I'm also using some of my precious downtime to do some more research on the WIP. This includes reading sections from my new books as well as Websites dealing with Apocryphal literature (aka the "gospels" that didn't make it into the Bible at the Council of Nicaea). Right now I'm really interested in the Book of Enoch, which is very interesting with its Watcher Angels.

As soon as my mid-term exam for History is over and I've written the paper for my Travellers in the Middle East course, I should be able to refocus on the WIP. Luckily, both the exam and the paper should be done by next week. The exam is on Tuesday and I want to turn in the paper by the following Monday (the 22nd).

In order to give myself some incentive to keep writing I've joined Sven's 70 Days of Sweat again. I am not joining NaNoWriMo, though. I need to focus on finishing this project, not starting another. Maybe next year! The 70 Days starts on Monday, October 15. Fortunately they built in some extra days to allow for the holidays and such. Unfortunately, I'm going to have to use a few days next week thanks to my school schedule.

Ah well. At least I've pencilled the writing in..

Halloween Camping

The boys' basketball tournament
Face Painting

More face painting

Swimming...unbelievably hot October day

Cooking breakfast over an open fire

Trick-or-Treating!


Aspiring vs. Unpublished.

Jessica Tudor, from Tudor's Desk, made a very insightful comment today on her blog about changing her blog tagline from "aspiring novelist" to "unpublished novelist". I love her logic. I also happen to agree with it. If you already are able to plan, write, and edit novels, you're really not aspiring to do anything.

I, too, am an unpublished novelist.

Stinky Dog

So the night before last I left my dog outside overnight. It wasn't intentional. I let her out, got busy doing something else, and then went to bed.

How could I miss the fact that my dog was still outside, you ask? Well, she's old and has a tendency to head off to bed with the boys whenever it suits her fancy. Some nights she stays down in the living room with us until we call it a night. Then there are the nights when she's apparently too tired to chew on her feet for hours on end and will wander upstairs to the boys' bedrooms to pick out a good spot.

I wish I would have remembered to let her in. I don't know if she rolled in a dead skunk or if she wandered through the lingering spray, but she definitely had some kind of interaction with a little black-and-white stinkball.

So I gave her a bath last night. Shampoo only. No tomato juice or other homemade remedy to rid her fur of the smell. Yeah, didn't work so well.

So then I decided to try some Febreeze. Yes, that's right. I Febreezed my dog. I kept clear of her face and warned her to hold off licking herself for the next few hours. Considering she was still alive and kicking this morning, I think she listened.

Of course, the hubby tells me it's all my fault and I can't blame her for getting stinky. Humph.

After School Program

The hubby and I have decided to put our oldest into an after-school program for Math. He's doing okay right now, but I'm sure a little extra time spent reviewing will only benefit him. Since he no longer meets with a tutor, I think this is a very good idea indeed.

I wish they had something similiar after school for reading and writing.

I also called the school today to find out when we're supposed to meet with everyone to review his IEP. I believe it's supposed to be sometime this month.

I also joined a ADHD discussion board. I made my first post earlier today introducing myself and giving a brief overview of the little man's story. I'm hoping being part of a larger group will help generate ideas on how to help us and him.

Oh the joys of being back in school...

Two New Writerly Books

First of all, I don't think writerly is a word...but I'm using it anyhow. Enough said.

Okay, so I've already mentioned I'm having this odd little fixation on getting the next scene right in my book. I know I should just wing it and worry about fixing it later, but I can't. I seem unable to proceed past the yellow crime scene tape, which reminds me, would the house be taped off even if the police weren't actively hounddogging the case? Don't know.
Thus...

I've just sent an order through Amazon for..(drumroll, please):




I was going to expedite shipping but decided it wasn't worth $13. So, I went with the super-saving shipping option that takes FOREVER but is FREE. I'll probably get the books next week. This is actually a good thing. As much as I want to work on my story, I also have lots of homework I need to get done first.

Still, I'm excited by new book purchases. Ergo, I must be world's biggest geek.

Tiger's Game

Although storms blew through mid-Michigan, we were blessed with dry skies in Detroit. We arrived an hour early, which was a good thing since parking is always a challenge. Our luck held, though, and we were able to get right next to the stadium. It was worth the $20. This is Detroit, after all. Walking through downtown in the dark is not something I'm comfortable with at any time, but especially not when I have my children in tow.

Here are a few pics from our evening.











Finally!

The new season is here. For the first time in MONTHS I was able to watch television without being bored to tears. Yay for premiere week!

After getting home from school last night I pretty much planted my butt on the couch. While eating my spagetti and garlic bread - made and served up hot courtesy of my wonderful hubby - I watched Chuck. It's not going to be a favorite, but I found it entertaining enough to set up a Season Pass on my TIVO system.

Next we had Heroes. This happens to be one of the shows I quite enjoyed last year, so I was quite happy. I have to admit they've got me curious on a couple of points. What exactly is Maya's power? Why or how does her brother seem to be able to control her control over it? That's weird. Also...the boy at the new school, you know he spells trouble for Claire. Not to worry, though, I think she can handle him. And was that Peter in the shipping crate? He looked so different that I couldn't be sure (hubby insists it was Peter with a shave and a haircut).

After Heroes we watched the new JourneyMan. This is one could be very interesting, but I'm not going to cry if I miss an episode. Maybe the stakes will get higher as the storyline unravels.

Tonight there are more season premieres, but I won't be watching them. Thank goodness for TIVO! Instead of being incredibly lazy two nights in a row, the hubby and I are taking our boys to see the Tigers and the Twins duke it out. We were offered four tickets - FREE - this morning. So, of course, we're going.

I'll just have to wait to catch up on my television shows until tomorrow night..or the weekend. I do have a paper to write and some reading to catch up on. Darn it! This is the only time homework really sucks.

Police Procedure Questions

Okay, so I'm stuck until I can get accurate answers to a few questions. I have created a scene that demands the attention of local law enforcement. Here's the scenerio:

Important Fact #1: There are no dead bodies, but the entire family is missing.

Important Fact #2: There are bullet holes everywhere and signs of forced entry.

Important Fact #3: There is blood at the scene.

Important Fact #4: There is a car in the driveway with evidence of backing into a tree and a broken out driver's side window.

Important Fact #5: Said car does not belong to any of the family members.

Okay, given these facts, how would the police react/respond/investigate? Would this be considered a homicide scene or a treated more as a missing persons until a body shows up? Would the house be roped off? Would a detective be assigned to monitor the house?

Keep in mind this all takes place in a small town.

Blah

I just don't know how to title this post. I really don't have anything to say because I'm mainly just trying to waste some time here. It's a little after 10PM and I'm still at work proctoring an exam. On a Friday night. Friday, people! Friday!

I have done all the work I can do without being at my desk. I've attempted my homework twice. I've worked on the WIP (got stuck thanks to my inadequate knowledge of how a homicide division works). I have browsed websites. I have checked my e-mail.

I have also been watching the clock like my dog watches my dinner plate. I might even be whining a little bit, too, just like she does when things aren't moving quite fast enough to appease her never-ending hunger.

Gah! I just want to go home and get on my jammies.

70 Days of Sweat Challenge

I wish I could say I did it. I wish I could say that I met my goal and completed the rough draft of my novel.

I can't.

Although I started out strong and definitely made progress, I fizzled. School started for both me and the kidlets. I started exercising on a regular basis (I know! The shock!). Of course this meant that something had to give. Unfortunately, it happened to be my writing. I lost lunch hours to homework. I lost evenings to exercise, helping the kids with their homework, or inept housecleaning (seriously..my house is a wreck).

Only recently have I been regaining momentum. After I finished reading the last few pages of my reading assignment on my lunch hour, I pulled out the WIP and actually managed to get a couple hundred words.

At the end of the 70 Days of Sweat my WIP total word count is 61,086. This means I gained a total of 23,424 words. It's better than nothing, but I really wanted to get my 60K or more. I wanted to finish my rough draft.

I am disappointed in myself.

Weekend Happenings

I wrote a little bit Friday. Not much, mind you, but enough to keep the story alive in my mind. Unfortunately, I discovered I had goofed a bit and had to delete a couple hundred words. Luckily, I made those back up and ended up almost with same number of words I had when I first started. Weird.

That night my oldest went to spend the night at a friend's house, leaving me and the little guy at home alone. Little guy did not like this. He wanted a friend to come over. He was lonely. It wasn't fair! Of course, being the sucker I am, I tried to get him an overnight companion. My sister brought my nephew over and the boys ended up playing while we chatted. My nephew would have stayed the night, too, if my little guy wouldn't have fallen asleep on him...

Saturday morning started out with a mile run around the high school track. The little guy did a half-mile without stopping! I was totally impressed.

After the run we went to the grocery store to pick up some snacks and some movies - I was expecting one of my girlfriends to come over and scrapbook. Of course, now that I think about it, I didn't get any of the snacks out! God, I'm lame.

When she left I took over the entire table, which I had moved into the living room so I could watch TV while scrapping. The house looked a wreck but I got pages done! Five completed and two about half-way there. I just need to add some embellishments, type up the journaling, and make a title for the two-page spread I'm working on.

I also did homework this weekend. Lots of reading mostly.

The never-ending-housework-that-will-not-die even got done. I did laundry. I did dishes. Nothing earth-shattering, just necessary.

Sunday I took the boys to Chuck-E-Cheese. Should have been fun, right? Well, apparently when you're nine, you can find something to complain about no matter what you're doing. Mom didn't buy enough tokens. The stupid games don't give out enough tickets. The toys aren't good enough (granted, they really aren't worth anything and are more a waste of space than anything else). Then add to the misery your younger brother making noises...like humming. Or singing. Or talking. Or breathing.

This loveliness culminated in my 9-year-old calling me a "liar" on the way home. It went something like this:

Son: "Mom, you know what? You're a liar." Said with enough cockiness to earn said child a mouthful of soap. Or something likewise repellent.

Mom (in tone of total confusion as this comment came out of nowhere): "What?"

Son: "Yeah. You told me I could rent a Playstation game and you didn't let me."

Mom remembers the conversation from Friday and what followed. "You went to S's house, so you weren't with us when we rented the movies. I don't want to hear it. If you had been with us, I would have let you rent one. So I did not lie."

Mom, a half hour later, "Don't ever call me a liar again."

Gah! I couldn't wait to get them home and send them to opposite ends of the house.

Profile Picture

I've been trying to change my profile picture...and Blogger is simply refusing to let me input a new URL. I hit the save button and...it erases the URL and fails to upload a pic. This is very frustrating. Any suggestions?

Curriculum Night, Running, & Homework

Whew! What a busy day.

After work I had to run to the kids' school to meet with their teachers. The info sessions started at 5, but I couldn't get there any sooner than 6 o'clock thanks to my new work schedule.

Oh my.

They had warned me that things would be different in 4th Grade. Harder. Higher expectations. They weren't kidding. I must admit as I sat there listening to his teacher go over how things will work in her classroom (and every other 4th Grade classroom), I felt a twinge of panic. My boy, God love him, is a scatterbrain. Now you're telling me that he needs to be responsible and turn in his homework WITHOUT prompting? Oh dear. Wait! There's more! He's got to get a C, not a C-, a C in four main subjects in order to be eligible to proceed into 5th Grade. When I was in school a D- was enough to get you by....

Don't misunderstand. It's not that I want him to get anything less than a C. Of course I want him to get A and B marks on his report cards. But I also know this child has struggled from day one and will likely continue to do so. Not that he's not smart enough, because he is, but that he has trouble with focusing and organizational skills, both of which he must have this year to do well.

Alrighty then. The hubby and I are going to have to work with him and remind him every morning to turn in his work. We can do that.

He can do this.

I need to stop panicking.

On a slightly more upbeat note, the 1st Grade teacher tested our youngest on his reading level and said he scored right where he should. What a relief. She also said he's shy; I warned her that that wouldn't last.

After meeting with the teachers I met my sister and her three kids at the high school track. I ran the entire mile! I didn't walk once, well except as a cool down afterwards. Yay, me!

Now I'm sitting here waiting for my homework to print. I'm hoping I can make it through tomorrow's key reading assignment before bedtime. Wish me luck!

Bad Boys of Rock

Friday night was so much fun. It's been too long since I've been to a concert. I think the last one was two years ago in Wisconsin for Country Thunder USA. I've got some great memories of that trip and am so glad we went. My sister and I don't often get our dad to leave his house let alone the state. Of course, he might have regretted that when his fifth wheel blew a tire on an expressway in Chicago...

But I digress.

This Friday a group of eight girls was supposed to go see Hinder, Buckcherry, and Papa Roach. (Hey, I like a variety of music!) Due to work obligations there ended up being only seven us, though, which was a complete bummer! It didn't feel right being there without my concert-going sidekick!

Most of us met at a halfway point and car-pooled down to the concert grounds; this was an open-air venue with a covered pavilion. Only one of our group decided to meet us inside the gates, which made sense since she lives a jump, hop and a skip away from the place. Of course, we should have better coordinated our meeting place because 6 of us were waiting on one set of stairs while our other girl stood alone on a nearby, but completely obscured, set of stairs. Oops.

Alls well that ends well, though. We finally found each other and headed off to watch the concert. Buckcherry was in full swing when we finally found a spot to stand - we got kicked off the walkway railing by a rather unpleasant bouncer. I'm sure some people need to be talked to like their five-year-olds...but who cares! I was there to have fun and this sour puss wasn't about to rain on my parade!

Speaking of rain...it had been raining on and off all day. We were so certain of getting wet that we stopped to buy rain ponchos. That we never used. Not once. Didn't even get them out of their cases. The skies cleared and it got muggy...making the jackets around our midwestern waists totally unnecessary.

Since I had a DD, I must admit I took full advantage of the situation. I danced and sang and screamed. It felt great. Especially when I wasn't the only one in the group determined to have fun. We all danced and sang and screamed.

And laughed. There was this old guy there...dancing by himself...rolling up his cut off shorts to his hip joint...yeah, that was hilarious.

To top the night off, we stopped at Taco Bell for a midnight snack. Yum!

Of course, being just this side of young and resilent, it took nearly the entire weekend to get over feeling exhausted. Thank God I didn't have a hang-over to go with the weariness! That would have sucked.
*Image copied from Hinder's website.

Proud Moment

I am so proud of this little boy. He has been working with Miss Danielle for 9 (or is it 10?) months. He has worked so hard and its paid off, which is why Miss Danielle has decided its time to stop the tutoring.

Yes. He's done. The tutoring ended last night.

Strangely, I think I'm going to miss it in some small way. It was such a comfort knowing he was working with someone who genuinely cared about him and his schooling.

Of course, I'll enjoy having the tutoring fees back in my pocket. I might even have to celebrate in some small way when I get paid next week.

But money and lost time aside, I think the most important thing is that he continues to do well. School is back in session now and he's going to have keep working hard in order to keep up with his classmates. The great thing is...I know he can do it.

Interesting Name Facts

Joely put this info into a Thursday Thirteen post, but I'm too lazy to do that. So here are the results on my maiden name (first, middle, and last) as told by this site. Interesting. I wonder if the results will be the same tomorrow. I know they were completely different and totally inaccurate with my married name (first, middle, and last).

What your first name means:
Variant of Christiana. Follower of Christ.

Your number is: 3

The characteristics of #3 are: Expression, verbalization, socialization, the arts, the joy of living.

The expression or destiny for #3: An Expression of 3 produces a quest for destiny with words along a variety of lines that may include writing, speaking, singing, acting or teaching; our entertainers, writers, litigators, teachers, salesmen, and composers. You also have the destiny to sell yourself or sell just about any product that comes along. You are imaginative in your presentation, and you may have creative talents in the arts, although these are more likely to be latent. You are an optimistic person that seems ever enthusiastic about life and living. You are friendly, loving and social, and people like you because you are charming and such a good conversationalist. Your ability to communicate may often inspire others. It is your role in life to inspire and motivate; to raise the spirits of those around you.

The negative side of number 3 Expression is superficiality. You may tend to scatter your forces and simply be too easygoing. It is advisable for the negative 3 to avoid dwelling on trivial matters, especially gossip.

Your Soul Urge number is: 4

A Soul Urge number of 4 means: With the Soul Urge or Motivation number of 4 you are likely to strive for a stable life. You tend to follow a rather orderly pattern and systematic approach in your endeavors. You have an inner desire to serve others in a methodical and diligent manner. You want to be in solid, conventional, and well-regulated activities, and you are somewhat disturbed by innovation and erratic or sudden changes. Excellent at organizing, systematizing, and managing, you have a way of establishing order and maintaining it. You are responsible, reliable and in the final analysis, practical. Highly analytical, you can see your way through all sorts of situations and generally have a clear understanding of the issues. You are a very honest, sincere, and conscientious individual.

The negative side of the 4 is rigid, stubborn and somewhat narrow-minded. There is a tendency to hide feelings, or to really not be aware of real feelings. Avoid being too rigid and stubborn in your thinking, and try to always see the big picture rather than becoming to involved with the detail. Don't be afraid to take a chance once in awhile.

Your Inner Dream number is: 8

An Inner Dream number of 8 means: You dream of success in the business or political world, of power and control of large material endeavors. You crave authority and recognition of executive skills. Your secret self may have very strong desire to become an entrepreneur.

Knocking on Wood

The DSL was working when I got home. No re-cycling. No muttering or cursing. Just steady green lights.

I wonder if unplugging the DirectTV Tivo phone cord really made the difference. I guess only time will tell.

Keep your fingers crossed! I am!

Warning: Whining and Complaining Ahead

First of all...my feet hurt. I have blisters on the top of my feet from those stupid sandals.

Second of all...the DSL issues have NOT been resolved. I'm amazed it's allowing me to post this. Although, I've noticed that it seems to work semi-okay as long as I don't leave the computer for more than 60 seconds at a time. How weird is that?

The other things in my life that are pissing me off aren't fodder for my blog, but know there are a few things that are getting under my skin right now. Maybe I should take up meditation to help expel the stress.

I think it would help if I had time to write. I think about writing more than I actually perform the act of putting words to page. No, this doesn't count. And I know you're thinking that I should be writing instead of blogging, but writing takes time and thought and consideration. Blogging doesn't.

It's past my bedtime. I'm going to bed. Maybe tomorrow will be better.

I'm busy!

I was doing so well for so long. Then I ran into a little snag. The snag turned into avoidance. It's not that the story is dead or even stalled. There's not a single good reason for why I've been so lax. Laziness certainly isn't an acceptable explanation.

The truth is I need to start scheduling writing back into my life. I allowed myself a few days off and, before I knew it, a week had gone by.

Of course, I need to fit a lot of other things into my schedule, too. Here's the rough skeleton of my work week:

6:30-7:30 - Get out of bed and get ready for work
7:45 - Get children to bus stop
8:30-5:00 - Work (half-hour lunch somewhere in between)
5:30-5:45 - Pick up children from daycare
6:00-8:30 - Do the mom and wife thing until kids are in bed

That doesn't sound too bad. I should have plenty of time after I get home to fit in an hour or two of writing, right? Not so much.

Mondays and Wednesdays I have class from 5:30-6:45. On those nights I'm going to be pushing it to be home by 7:30. I know the hubby will take care of the boys. They'll be fed and their homework will be done. Knowing the hubby, he'll probably even do a lot of the household chores, too.

Yes, I am spoiled. I know this.

But what about my homework? I'm taking two classes this semester (more on those later). There are reading assignments, essays, and a journal I need to worry about.

I am also running now. Last month my sister ran the Crim Festival of Races and I promised her I would run it with her next year. Of course, I'm not aiming to run 10 miles. I'll be content to finish 3 miles. This means I need to make sure I'm running at least 5 times a week.

I am also taking kickboxing classes. My goal is attend 3 classes a week.

Now I need to carve out at least an hour a night for writing. I really want to finish this story. It's been too long since I've completed a major writing project. I not only want to do this for my sister-in-law, but for myself.

I think this means I'm going to have to set up a daily calendar to plot out my time, hour by hour. Ewww.

Internet Issues

I'm taking a couple minutes out of my lunch to let you know that the hubby and I are still dealing with Internet issues. Our DSL has been flaking out for about a week now. Hopefully it will be fixed soon.

Thursday Thirteen




Thirteen books you can find on my desk that relate to writing in one way or another:








8. Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers' Source Book




12. On Writing by King

13. Holly Lisle's Create a Plot Clinic





Tragedy

Yesterday I found out that my dad's ex-girlfriend (ex by about a week) had lost her grand-daughter. The little girl was 12-years-old. She was shot by her younger sister and died instantly at a family friend's home.

My heart bleeds for this family. It's one of those senseless tragedies that make no sense. It's also every parent's worst nightmare come true.

If you're inclined, please keep this family in your prayers. They are going to need God's strength to get through this. Pray especially hard for the younger sister, who I believe is 10- or 11-years-old; she is not doing well.

Diagnosis Uncertain

Well, we went to the family doctor and had two more x-rays done. Apparently the ones taken at the Clinic weren't very helpful and our Doc needed a better view of the little guy's elbow. Even though the nurse was very gentle the manipulation hurt and he ended up crying again.

The doctor waited until the tears were done to come back into the room, something I'm certain he did on purpose. He doesn't like the kids associating him with any pain they may experience while in his office. He's told me before he doesn't want them afraid of him. His methods seem to work because my boys aren't afraid of him at all.

After reveiwing the new films, the doctor still wasn't able to identify the problem. He did have a couple of theories, though. It could be either "pulled elbow" or a bad sprain, both of which use the same treatment. Since he didn't see any breaks, dislocations, or buckling, he put a soft cast on the boy and kept him in the sling.


P.S. Did you notice the missing teeth? The tooth fairy had to make a visit during all this drama last night.

Third Strike..You're Out!!

My poor little guy. He had a rough day yesterday, which is why I failed to post my Thursday 13. Well, that and the fact that my Internet provider was experiencing some technical difficulties following a wicked thunderstorm.

But let's get back to the boy, shall we?

When the hubby and I got to the daycare to pick him up we found out one of his daycare playmates had attempted to strangle him. It had taken his big brother's interference to set him free. Big brother lost his m&m over the incident because there is no fighting at daycare. However, mom and dad both gave him "atta boys" because that's what brothers are supposed to do: stand up for and protect each other.

So that was strike one for the little fella.

Strike two occurred at home while playing basketball with his brother. This hurt didn't last very long, but it got them both in trouble.

Ten minutes later they were at it again. This time they were wrestling in the living room (a huge no-no) while I'm finishing up a phone call from the office. I no more than hung up the phone and turned off my computer, which still wasn't able to access the Internet, when I heard crying and screaming. I must admit I didn't rush in there to comfort the injured party. I stormed in there yelling at them about knocking it off and don't they know they're not supposed to be wrestling in the house. After checking out the little guy's arm and finding no hint of an injury, I sent them both to bed, telling the little one to dry it up.

He didn't. In fact, the crying lasted for almost an hour. He cried through his bath. He cried while trying to get dressed..we finally left his shirt half-on half-off. He cried while I called the doctor. He cried through Tylenol and ice. He cried and he cried and he cried. Finally, I decided the ice and the Tylenol weren't doing the job and I was going to take him to the After-Hours Clinic.

I'm happy to say the tears finally subsided during the 20 minute drive to the clinic. He even did pretty well during the doctor's manipulation of his injured arm. He also did well during the x-rays and hardly winced while they put the sling on his arm. Overall I'd say we had minimal whining.

The x-rays were inconclusive, though, which is why I'm at home this morning waiting for my doctor's office to open. Maybe he'll be able to tell if the little guy's elbow has been dislocated. The x-rays the Clinic physician sent home with me show that things aren't lined up quite right, but the doctor admitted to me that he wasn't a specialist and children's x-rays are very difficult to read. He actually told me he doubted my family doctor would be able to definitively diagnose the issue based on the two films. We'll see.

I'd like to say after we got home from the Clinic that the rest of my night was quiet and peaceful and blissfully restorative. Instead, I was awakened from a very solid sleep around 3:30 this morning by a tearful six-year-old. His arm hurt. After dosing him with Tylenol yet again and grabbing a fresh ice bag, I tried putting him back to bed. His sobs made that impossible. We ended up in the living room, sleeping upright in a recliner. When my discomfort became too much to bear, I finally moved him to the couch where he ended up spending the rest of the night.

This morning I thought we'd at least get an extra hour of sleep, but his arm woke him up bright and early. So much for sleeping in. I guess the only up-side to being up with so few hours of sleep is that I'm already clean and I have time for breakfast.

I'll update you later on the family doc's diagnosis.