10 Year Anniversary

While I was on vacation last week I missed the dinner party celebrating my 10th year at the University. Ten. Years.


There are days when it feels much longer. A lifetime really.

Then there are days when it seems impossible. How could ten years have slipped by without my noticing? Of course, this little delusion is quickly dispelled by the sight of my 9-year-old son, the child I became pregnant with shortly after landing my full-time, permanent position in the Communication Department. When he was born I had to take the 6-week maternity leave without pay because I hadn't put in enough time to qualify for a paid leave.

Now look at me. Accruing vacation days. Using up sick time at alarming rates at the beginning of every flu season that hits the elementary school. Putting in my 40 hours and then some with the on-call hours I take each week.

I get two rewards for my many years of service. The mother campus should be sending out a catalog for me to shop through, and my campus has given me several lovely options to choose from as well. I'm leaning toward the vacuum cleaner because I could use it in the camper. But the jewelry is lovely, too. Decisions, decisions.

Ten years.


Three books, the beach, and time with the kids.

That pretty much sums up my vacation last week. I took the boys RVing at nearby campground, one close enough to home that the hubby could still camp and go to work each day. He'd get up and shower, shave, and make his coffee at the crack of dawn and we'd blissfully sleep through it all. The kids let me sleep in almost every morning. It was lovely.

The days were spent mostly at the beach. While the boys splashed along the shoreline of the private lake, I sat in my beach chair with a book in hand. Despite the constant monitoring, I managed to read one book in that chair. House of Bones, I believe was the title. Horror. Predictable but still enjoyable as I don't often read this particular genre. At least, not any more. It used to be a regular staple in my literary diet, but I've been sampling more and more of the SF/F buffet table lately.

Of course, we didn't spend the entire week at the beach. I took my oldest boy to the tutor Monday night - he didn't do so well because his focus had remained at the campground. Since the rest of the week looked pretty busy, I cancelled Wednesday's session so we could both take a break.

The campground also has a great little put-put course right in the center of it. For $1 each we were able to hit 18 holes. The first time it was just me and the boys. I even kept score; I'd say we were pretty evenly matched. The next time we went put-putting we had company. No sense keeping score when there are 9 of us to keep track of, but my mom tried anyhow. Crazy woman.

Then we went swimming again. Well, the kids went swimming. My mom and I just sat there watching them.

Of course, we didn't spend our entire vacation at the campground. In addition to our little sojourn to the library for Monday Night Tutoring, we had baseball and t-ball games on Tuesday and Thursday. Wednesday I had to go out to my dad's to help pack up his house. (He moved "Up North" on Saturday with the help of his kids..minus one of my sisters. How did she get out of that?!?!) Friday we packed up and went home, leaving ourselves just enough time to take care of the camper and mow the lawn before going to an Open House for an ex-relative.

I did get to stay home Sunday! I read my third book from the comfort of my own living room. (Yes, somehow I managed to squeeze another book in between the first and the third...it was a fantasy novel called The Decoy Princess). The third book was written by one of my professors here at the U. It's fiction based on fact. The story is about a young woman in the Peace Corps who must come to terms with the murder of a fellow Peace Corps volunteer. It's really not a murder mystery, more of a coming of age type of story. I quite enjoyed it. The title it Night Blind and you can find out more about it on Jan's website, if you wish.

All in all, I'd say I had a very nice little vacation. It went by too quickly, but what vacation doesn't?

Creative Alliance Open Mic Night

Last night was one of those rare evenings when I didn't have to rush from work to the daycare. The hubby had taken the day off to go golfing. Afterwards he decided to pick up the boys early and take them fishing on the Reservoir. This meant I didn't have to worry about being Mommy for a few hours. I could do whatever I wanted!

I had to return some books I had borrowed from my mom. We visited for about an hour. Her garden may be small but it's already producing some veggies and fruit. Amazing.

When she found out I was going to a bookstore to listen to some author-types, she said she'd ride along. We just had to wait for her daughter to return. Well, eventually the teenager returned and we were able to pack up and head over to the bookstore. I have to admit I was a bit hesitant when she told the girls to get their shoes on, but I figured they could browse the bookstore while we listened to the readings.

It didn't quite work out that way. I'd never been to the bookstore before and didn't realize it would be about half the size of my house. The first level of my house, mind you.

When we arrived the readings were already underway. Mom grabbed us a small glass (okay, it was a plastic cup) of wine while I worked my way to the back of the audience. The girls hovered in the background. It was about five minutes later I started feeling a bit uncomfortable. Not for my sake. And not really for the girls' sakes--they're going to learn that people have different opinions and perspectives eventually. It was mom that I started worrying about as the poetry argued to legalize marijuana and other likewise morally-questionable ideals.

Mom is a bit conservative. Not so much when she's on her own, but with the two girls within earshot I knew she'd be uncomfortable with the content and some of the language. I was right. At the first break she jumped on the first excuse to leave.

No problem. I drove her and the girls home and then turned around and went right back to the reading.

I really enjoyed myself. I've never attended an open mic before and found the experience quite enjoyable. Inspiring. Exciting. Invigorating. It made me want to go home and write poetry.

I don't write poetry! I hate writing poetry! Whenever I've been forced into producing something poetic, I realize I am a lame poet. Yet, those few hours really made me consider giving myself permission to write poetry, even if it turns out horrendous and never sees the light of day.

Of course, it also made me want to get back to the novel. Pushed me towards that publication goal. Because you know, I was seriously thinking I wasn't going to even pursue publication with the latest novel. Now, I'm not so sure. Why not try? What do I have to lose?

I guess there's something about knowing that there are like-minded and similiarly driven people nearby. I was even invited to their Thursday workshops. I don't know that I'll go, but it was nice to feel included.

Nothing Much to Report

Really, I mean it.

Life is pretty much work, sports, tutoring, and falling asleep way too late to get up when the alarm clock starts its annoying beeping at 5:10am.

I have been writing, but the going is slow and I have nothing exciting to report.

I have not been exercising. Or watching what I eat. (I think I may need shock therapy in order to get properly motivated!)

See...I told you there wasn't much to report.

Home from the Campground

One of my favorite things to do while camping is to read. Just sitting in a comfy chair with plenty of leisure time, a paperback in hand, and something cold to drink within reach make for a perfect combo. Okay, so maybe some chocolate would really make for perfection.

This weekend my reading plans were continually derailed, though. I may have managed to read about a hundred pages at the campground, which is not impressive by any means. It seemed every time I thought I had a few minutes to be blissfully indulgent of my litle reading obsession, I was mistaken. Today - the day we came home, mind you - I had about a half-hour of uninterupted time to myself. The hubby had taken the dog and the fishing boat home. The kids were on a boat ride with Uncle Troy and Aunt Ronnie.

Then the kids returned. And if you have children, you know they always need SOMETHING. Like every five minutes.

Still, I'm not complaining (much) because it was a great weekend. We went fishing and caught four walleye. We went to the beach and watched the kids splash around. We played games and sat around the campfire. My nephew celebrated his birthday, so we even had cake and ice cream!

So, while I may whine a bit about my slow reading progress, I really wouldn't have it any other way. Someday I won't have kids bugging me for every little thing. They'll be grown up and gone, and I'll be sitting under my awning, reading a book, and wishing these childhood years wouldn't have passed so quickly.

Sex Scene: Attempt #2

I really thought I was done with that particular scene. So, into the library I went with my laptop in tow, ready to move forward with the story. However, when I opened the WIP, I realized my characters weren't quite through with each other yet. The first half of the scene was told just from my heroine's POV: her senses, her emotions, her desires. After re-reading what I had written the time before, I realized it was just as important to incorporate the hero's POV into their first intimate exchange. This is life-changing for both of them, and the reader needs to truly see that.

This means if I don't want to waste the opportunity to actually get some more words onto the page, I need to begin mid-way through the scene from his perspective. It was uncomfortable. Although I doubt anyone really noticed what I was working on (there weren't nearly as many people there this time), I still felt a bit self-conscious.

But I got some more words. Not many, mind you. But more.

I did end up shutting down early, though, to look through two scrapbooking magazines while I waited for the little man to finish. He was having a rough (aka restless) night. I don't know how Danielle, his tutor, doesn't strangle him. He was up at least three times that I remember. First it was a drink, then a bathroom break, and then another bathroom break. Of course, he said he had diarrhea, but who knows. Sometimes I think the bathroom is just a convenient excuse.

Sex at the Library

Ha! Bet that got your attention! But, it's not what you think. The hubby and I didn't shock all the patrons by stripping down and getting busy on the nearest table. I'm talking about the story I was working on during my weekly visit to the library.

I believe I've mentioned before that I actually enjoy my nine-year-old's tutoring sessions at the library. During these hour and a half sessions I not only get to browse a huge collection of books, I also find the time to write. I probably make more progress on this one night a week than I do all the other days combined. Uninterrupted writing time. Pure bliss.


Last night's time at the library wasn't quite so fruitful. I had been working my way slowly but steadily toward the book's first sex scene - remember, this is romance and sex tends to happen between healthy adults if the hormones and timing are right. Now I'm not writing erotica (this time), just straight-forward, romance-genre sex. So the language is to the point without being too blunt.

So, I get to the library and pull out my laptop. I open the WIP. And I become aware of all the little kiddies around me. My six-year-old is at a nearby computer station (I want to be able to keep an eye on him and any potential pedofile that may notice him. Because, let's face it, there are some sick son-of-a-bitches in this world. And just because you're at a library, it doesn't mean some magical force field is set around the building to repel the worst of humanity.) There are also several children waiting their turn to get on one of the two stations and they're moving restlessly about. Of course, their parents aren't too far away either, no doubt for the same reason I keep within close range.

And I'm writing a sex scene.

I made it through three paragraphs before a sense of self-consciousness forced me to shut everything down and put the laptop back into its case. I guess some writing is better done in the privacy of your own home.


There's a picture of my little guy next to my strawberry patch. We're both very excited that the patch is doing so great. He makes a point of checking for newly ripe berries every night after we get home from the daily grind. A few days ago we had a few berries that were on the verge of being ready to eat. They looked something like this:

Two days later I have a plentiful handful of berries. Of course, as you can see, a few of those have been lost to the bunny rabbits. (I can hear Elmer Fudd singing Kill da rabbit, kill da rabbit..) The three berries to the left there have been gouged by little rabbit teeth. The ones on the right miraculously survived the little furry fluff balls.

If you've never grown your own strawberries or gone strawberry picking at a farm, you've never really tasted a strawberry. You can almost taste the sunshine and sweet, spring rain when you bite into one of these little darlings.

0 for 2

I'm on a roll. In the last 24 hours I have done two completely hare-brained things. First, yesterday morning before I left for work I was putting the finishing touches on a cup of chai and had to rinse my spoon. Once my travel mug was ready to go, I turned off the kitchen lights and closed the door behind me. Notice what I didn't shut off? That's right. The water. The tap water ran for 10 hours yesterday while the family was at work and school.

So...0 for 1.

Last night the kids had frozen meals for dinner. (Yes, we do believe in nutritious food but sometimes frozen food is a must.) I pulled said dinners from the oven, served the little people their food, and went on with my evening. Notice what I forgot to do here? You guessed it! I left the oven on all night long!

So...0 for 2.

Needless to say, hubby is not happy with me. There might have been a comment or two about the cost of electricity.