March 27, 2007

It Stinks!

Okay, so I thought the beer smell would improve. Was I ever wrong! I believe I mentioned in an earlier post that he had to store it upstairs this time and had elected to use our walk-in closet. When he first announced this I thought, "No big deal."

Egads.

It stinks to high heaven! Nasty, smelly, breath-stealing stench. Of course, it's only in the closet, so if I'm content to avoid all my clothes in there I don't need to worry about the smell. Like that's going to happen.

One week. That's what how long it needs to sit in the first carboy. Then its moved to the Secondary, where it needs to sit for another week or two. Eventually the hubby will bottle the brew and I'll have my closet back. Let's hope my clothes won't reek of beer by then.

March 25, 2007

Weekend Update

I'm just about to head to bed. The hubby went a few minutes ago..I think he got tired of watching Planet Earth on the Discovery Channel. I'm only half watching it myself.

I did manage to make some progress this weekend on the WIP. Added a little over 2000 words. Not bad for a couple hours worth of work.

I also finished two scrapbook pages (a double-page spread). I'm not sure I'm as happy with them as I'd like to be, but they're done. Sometimes you just have to know when to stop. Otherwise you run the risk of ruining it completely.

On a less exciting front, I did lots of laundry and dusted my bedroom this weekend. Baby steps. Maybe next weekend I'll clean out the kids' dressers.

While I did laundry, scrapped, and wrote today, the Hubby made another batch of beer. This one is fermenting in our closet because apparently the basement is too cold for this particular brew. It's stinky, but I know the smell will disappear over the next few hours.

All in all, I'd say it was a productive weekend.

March 19, 2007

Unhappy Anniversary

Five years. It hardly seems possible that we've been at war with Iraq for that long. Five years ago my babies were still babies. My oldest had just turned four and my youngest had celebrated his first birthday only a few months prior. Our little nuclear family had just moved into the new house and hadn't even had a chance to do more than upack the boxes we had brought with us. The first flower bed and garden were months, maybe even years, away yet.

Now the garden has seen several harvests. Flower beds accent the porch and deck. A swingset sits in a distant corner of the yard, the rock-wall steps sun-bleached. The interior of the house has taken on new life as well. Warm colors hug the once white walls. The pictures on the walls reflect the passage of years as my boys grew from babies to little boys. My dog has twice as much gray hair and we've lost several cats to the wild critters lurking in the woods outside. Much has changed.

The war with Iraq has changed, too. We're no longer shocking and awing anyone. Our casualities have grown with each passing year. Our stakes in the war have become less defined and more open to question.

What hasn't come more into question, at least not in my house or heart, is the need to support our troops. I'm not convinced they want to be over there any more than we want them deployed to such an unsafe military zone. They're doing their jobs. They've received their orders and they're soldiering on. While we sit safe here on American soil, our troops are risking their lives. It doesn't matter if we agree with the reasoning behind the orders. We still need to remember to say "thank you".

Bitch about the President all you want. But remember to say a prayer to keep our soldiers safe as they begin up another day or night of duty.

March 18, 2007

Where did the Weekend Go?

I realize it's Sunday night and I've accomplished nothing. Not a damn thing. I can't even claim doing more than a single load of laundry--and I haven't even folded that load yet. Thank God for the hubby because without him I don't know that anything would have gotten done around this place this weekend.

I did finish reading the History-Book-from-Hell and started the paper that's due Tuesday. I'll finish it tomorrow night at the library while the oldest boy is getting tutored.

The truth is, though, that I don't want to do anything. I have no ambition. No drive. If blah were a feeling, that's how I'd say I feel right now. Blah. Bleh. Blek.

Could this be what depression feels like? I wonder. Two days off and all I want to do is curl up on the couch and watch hours and hours of mind-numbing television. I don't even feel like reading. Writing holds even less appeal.

But I force myself to do my homework at the very least.

This sucks.

March 16, 2007

Writing Conference Overview

This year's Critical and Creative Writing Conference has come and gone. I read both days: two short stories on Thursday and one this morning. My first story got quite a bit of reaction, more than I had expected. It seems everyone could relate in some way with my protagonist. And almost everyone in the room told me how.

The second story I read got absolutely no responses. Not a single word. I'm going to blame it on genre-shock. From what I understand, it was the only genre piece to make it into the conference. Certainly it was the only one that mentioned dragons and elves. :-)

My final story got a few generalized compliments. The usual "I really liked it" or "it was really good". Hey, at least no one threw rotten vegetables.

I missed most of the Keynote speaker on Thursday. Luckily, he had made a guest appearance in my creative writing class last semester, so I didn't feel too cheated. I more or less knew what he was going to say. He seems like a very nice guy but I have a feeling we see writing from two very different perspectives. I'm more genre, and he's more literary. I left while he was talking about how he's been contemplating on the need to have a message, to make the writing mean something more than just mindless entertainment.

Me? I'm all for mindless entertainment. I have no problem writing what I most enjoy reading.

And therein is what I perceive to be the source of our opposing viewpoints. I bet he reads a lot of "literature".

Today's Keynote speaker was very interesting. She teaches at our mother campus, has had several books published, and is actually expecting one of her bestsellers to be released as a movie sometime next year. She talked about "What Doesn't Kill You, Makes You Stronger" in relation to the art of writing novels. Interestingly enough, she provided many examples of writers who had died because of their association with the craft of writing. Some of the examples reached a bit, but all of them were somewhat humorous.

Of course, the main message of her talk was basically that writers write. Oh, she didn't use those words, but she could have. It certainly would have fit.

She also answered a few questions about her personal writing practices, the adaptation of her book onto the big screen, and general writing questions. By far her presentation was my favorite part of the conference.

Now all I have to do is wait for the publication to come out so I can tuck it away in my hope chest with last year's. Maybe someday, when I'm dead and gone, my children will find those stories and get a glimpse into the bizarre mind of their mother.

March 13, 2007

Me & Big Mouth

Your Mouth is a Little Big

You're not a total tell all, but you don't hide who you are either.
You've struck a good balance between discretion and sharing.
People know you fairly well, at least on a superficial level.
But you save your most revealing secrets for your best friend... or no one!

March 12, 2007

Tired

I could sleep for a week. I'm sure this is a direct result of emotional stress and Daylight Savings.

I didn't do much of anything over the weekend. Basketball with the boys. Watched kids Saturday night. Might have done some laundry when it crossed my mind from time to time. Read another chapter in the history book from Hell (although I honestly feel better about that one after talking to the professor).

Other than that I have a whole lot of nothing to report. Maybe tomorrow...

March 4, 2007

Weekend Accomplishments

Writing:
I've added over 3000 words to my vampire-romance. I've also been playing around with a new title because the working title SUCKS. I'm toying with Saving Angels or Broken Angels or Love's Demon. I dunno. What do you think?

Scrapbooking:
I completed a two-page spread. I think it turned out really cute. There are hardly any embellishments on it. It's a very simple design but it's also very eye-catching. I used a variety of colors in this one instead of sticking with my usual monochromatic schemes. I'd post a scan of it but I'm too lazy to scan it in and patch it together right now.

Homework:
I've read two chapters this weekend. The book is interesting but difficult to read. It's a lot of facts thrown together without any narrative to make it go down easily. Reading it has reminded me I'm not all that fond of academic papers. They're much too dry for my taste.

The really scary thing about this book, though, is that I'm supposed to be able to figure out what the author's main arguement is and how he's supported that arguement in each chapter of the book. Not as easy as it sounds. The author seems to disprove his argument more often than he proves it, which makes me think I'm completely missing the boat here. Luckily, we have a couple of weeks before I need to write the paper. More than enough time to finish the book and talk to the professor before it's crunch time.

Family:
I've done a lot of yelling this weekend. The kids probably think mom has lost her mind, or at the very least her patience. The hubby once again saved me from turning into psycho-mom. He took the boys grocery shopping so I could finish my homework. When they returned I was done and ready to deal with the never-ending "mom" requests.

Hubby's watching The Godfather series and told me he'd do the dishes. Am I the luckiest woman alive or what?

March 1, 2007

New Look and Good News...Maybe

I got tired of pink. Hope you like the new green decor.

On a completely unrelated note, I heard back from the Creative and Critical Writing conference about those three short stories I submitted for consideration. All three were accepted. I'm scheduled to present both days (2 stories on Thursday and 1 on Friday).

So why did I say this was only maybe good news? Well, I just realized I'm supposed to be out of town for a work-related conference. I need to man a booth at MACUL, which is taking place in Detroit. My co-workers seem to think I can get out of the work-related conferece. I'm not so sure. I don't want to piss off the boss. The job is definitely more important since it's paying the bills.

Update:
Talked to the boss and she very graciously agreed to let me attend the writing conference so I could present my work. So...I have a couple weeks and then I'm in the hot seat. Three times. Whee!