January 31, 2008

What!?!?!

I have to admit this kind of behavior will make me think twice about taking my kids to Chuck-E-Cheese for a few hours of games and pizza.

http://www.wnem.com/news/15153861/detail.html

I can't believe the police had to resort to using pepper spray (although it's since been alledged that the pepper spray was actually in the hand of a civilian instead of a police officer). Now don't get me wroing, I don't fault the police for doing what they've got to do. They had to break the fight up somehow and restore order.

No, I fully blame the "adults" who were involved. They should be ashamed of themselves. This isn't a bar or a club where you almost expect this kind of assine behavior. It's a children's resturuant, complete with mechanical puppets and everything!

What was truly amazing was the people who called in to a local radio station a few days later to give a first-hand account of what had happened. One lady's newborn child had their head shoved out of one of the fighter's way. Others had their wives and children huddled out of the way. By all accounts, it was insane.

Even more shocking was the fact that this kind of behavior is not uncommon at Chuck-E-Cheese. I've been there several times and never seen anything remotely threatening or shocking. It's always been a fun, safe environment for my family to hang out.

Thanks, Flint, for bursting that bubble! Of course, after a quick Google search, I discover this kind of idiocy isn't reserved for Flintonians alone. Oh, no. Not at all.

Still, I cannot imagine being somewhere I deem safe for my children and having this kind of chaos break out. After we get our hands stamped, I usually let my kids run free. They're 9 and 7, but they're also inside a place that supposedly takes extra measures to keep my kids from being hustled out the door by some stranger. Kind of hard to imagine them checking hand stamps, though, when people are rushing towards the doors to avoid a drunken brawl.

And, seriously, why is alcohol served inside a children's establishment? Is that really necessary?

January 30, 2008

How I Use OneNote

Okay, as promised in a comment I left on Joely's blog yesterday, here are some screenshots of my OneNote notebooks. I realize blogger may condense them beyond readability, which is why I've also put the images into a Word document and saved them under my Scribbed account.










January 28, 2008

Uh oh

So class was cancelled tonight. This turned out to be a very good thing because it meant I was able to search high and low for my missing cell phone. Not that it's done me any good, mind you. I still haven't found the blasted thing.

I've asked my kickboxing instructor.
I've asked the pharmacy where I picked up the kidlet's prescription on Friday.
I've asked my sister-in-law whose house we were at on Saturday night.

No one has seen the darn thing.

When I called my number it rang and rang last night and this morning. However, it is now going directly to voice mail. I'm sure the battery has died. Hopefully the phone itself is still in working order. My only fear is that it slipped out of my coat pocket and into a snow bank. Luckily I didn't go many places this weekend so there's only so many places it could be hiding out. Unfortunately there are two parking lots and two driveways involved.

Wish me luck in finding it. I have a feeling I'm giong to need it!

Snippet

I know it's not Friday, but I've never been good with deadlines. Ask my husband. I'm notoriously late for everything.

Things to know:
-this scene is new, which means you've missed approximately 90K worth of material. This could result in some minor confusion or disorientation.
-scene is from antagonist's POV
-genre: paranormal romance
-full of typos and errors of all sorts, but hopefully somewhat entertaining as well


copyright 2008 Krista Heiser

He started to turn back toward the pub when he noticed a small, well-insulated figure making its way down the street. Her rapid heartbeat told him how nervous she felt walking alone in downtown Flint at night. Wrapped as she was in scarf and mittens, he could not make out her features, but her fear excited him more than a pretty face ever could.

He slipped the phone into his pocket and slid into the shadows. Her vulnerability sang to him. Every step brought her closer to his hiding spot, her anxiousness a sweet perfume to his vampiric senses. When no more than three feet separated them, he stepped out of the shadows and into her path.

Her fear spiked as she startled away from him, her pulse racing as an indrawn breath lodged in her throat. Wide eyes stared up at him from below a knit cap that allowed only a few stray tendrils to frame her face.

He drank in her fear with a long inhalation, his eyes glancing over the scarf wound around her neck. He did not need to glance up or down the street to make sure no one was watching. His ears would have detected any nearby heartbeat. He was deliciously alone with his prey.

Of course, the city was not asleep. The cold may have driven most of its citizens inside, but a few still ventured onto the snow-dusted sidewalks and streets. If he meant to take her, he would be a fool to wait for one of them to happen upon them.

She took a step back, her gloved fingers curling into fists. Despite her fear, he could feel her preparing herself to fight her way free of him. He mirrored her movements as she tried to evade him and, as he continued to crowd her, he could smell her fear growing.

A thrill of pleasure swept through him. This is what he had been missing for the last week. While Makenna’s pain and fear fed his hungers, they did not satisfy him, not truly. She knew him too well, knew what to expect from both herself and from him. This intimate knowledge of their natures had deprived him of any true satisfaction.

The woman tried to dart past him, her heart racing so loudly in her chest that for a moment it managed to drown out the city’s unique voice. Aedan grabbed her by the throat. He pushed her against the side of the building, pinning her between its unyielding surface and his immovable body. She gasped and wriggled as she struggled to breathe past his punishing grip. Her gloved hands scrambled to dislodge his bare-handed grip.

He closed his eyes and breathed her in, savoring her terror. When he pressed his body close to hers, the weight and shape of her breasts made an impression against his chest despite their thick clothing. To any passerby they would appear as lovers entwined in a passionate embrace. He slid his knee between her thighs and eased his grip on her throat, forcing her fear of pain and death to new heights.

He didn’t have to close his eyes to read her emotions, but it sweetened the experience. She was afraid of being raped. Raped and killed. She hoped he would be quick. She hoped it wouldn’t hurt as much as she expected it to. Then, with hope still alive in her breast, she prayed for someone – anyone – to rescue her from this nightmare.

Aedan leaned back enough to look her in the eye. He let the darkness inside him shine through his eyes. When she failed to recognize him as more than a common thug, he lifted his lips away from the fangs protruding from his gums.

She whimpered and tried to press herself into the brick wall, but there was no escape. Aedan took one last second to savor the woman’s terror, then, with great anticipation, he bit into the tender flesh at her throat. His teeth pierced her flesh and she screamed. The sound faded into a whimper as he drained her of blood, energy and emotion.

He didn’t take every last drop. He left her breathing but unconscious on the sidewalk. Eventually someone would notice her propped up against the side of the building and, after a breathless moment, they’d give her a shake. Depending on how long it was before someone noticed her, she might even be alive by then.

Behind him the pub door swung open and loud voices preceded the scent of alcohol and sweat onto the crisp night air. Aedan turned and walked away, wiping his mouth off. He had parked as near to the Scriptorium as the police presence had allowed so he was across the street and well away from the bar by the time the trio stepped onto the sidewalk and glanced in his general direction. If they saw him at all, it was only as a silhouette.

January 25, 2008

Another Day Sick & Antibiotics

Yep, that's right. The kidlet stayed home again. That makes three days this week. Not good. Yet, I'm pretty sure they didn't want him there. Yesterday he puked again and last night he coughed like a madman. The doc says he's on the verge of bronchitis, which is why he got a prescription and some OTC medicine recommendations.

Of course, this means the child is missing basketball tomorrow. If he can't go to school, he can't very well run up and down a basketball court.

January 24, 2008

Superbowl

Well, it's that time of year again. You know. The Big Game. Not that I really care all that much about football. Oh, alright, if I'm honest, I don't care about the football at all. It's not like that's a state secret. Me + televized sports = zombie-like trance of pure misery.

However, I must admit I enjoy Superbowl Sunday. First, there's spending an evening with our best friends. Sure, some years we have other friends and family thrown into the mix, but there's always Ken and Terri. Take this year, for instance. It looks likeSome friends from work are coming out. There's another couple I'd love to invite, if only they were still a couple. Ah well, maybe next year this time that situation will have worked itself out.

For now I need to keep the focus on this year and keep my wishful thinking in check. Since we're hosting the party, the hubby wants to plan a menu. Nothing big, mind you, just some snacks and such. I think I'm breaking out the chocolate fondu machine I got for Christmas. The question then becomes whether or not I can find fresh strawberries that taste half-way decent. You notice my priority is chocolate, right? I'll let the hubby worry about the rest of it!

I also think I'd like to start the party a little early this year. Maybe get a little Wii sports in before the pre-game stuff comes on. I know my kids are definitely going to want to play the Wii after my friends from work show up. There's some Pokemon critters getting loaded onto the machine and my oldest is a huge Pokemon fan. He's already asking how long until the Superbowl gets here. He doesn't like it when I say "a couple of weeks", but he'll survive.

I guess the only other bit of news today is that my oldest is home puking. Again. This is the second day this week. The difference this time is that we know it's not the meds because he's not on them right now. We discontinued those after he threw up Monday.

Alright, I'm off to get the little one from school. See ya later!

January 23, 2008

Kids

Well, the meds didn't go all that well on Monday. The little guy got to school and promptly threw up. Nice. Of course, he says it was the grape juice that made him sick and not the medicine, but who knows? The doctor recommends waiting until this weekend to give it a trial run at home. We'll have to see how that goes.

The littlest guy had a dentist appointment this morning. Although they tried a new technique that didn't involve needles, he ended up in a lot of pain and is now at his Aunt Kel's house watching cartoons. I'm hoping the Motrin she gave him will take the edge off.

January 18, 2008

A List of 10

So I took Amanda's advice and wrote out some possible scenerios for my WIP. I think I got seven different ideas. Many of them had words like "STUPID" and "PREDICTABLE" scribbled next to them, but a few might work. I haven't tried to write any of them out yet, but I'm definitely playing the scenes out in my head, sort of like how you try on a pair of jeans before buying them.

I think I'm going to give the hero and heroine a break, though, and let the villian take center stage for just a little bit. Maybe that will also help jog something loose.

January 17, 2008

Heading Into the Unknown

A little more than a year ago my oldest boy was diagnosed with ADHD. While I wasn't surprised, I must admit I had expected a learning disability to be diagnosised as well. After all, his struggles in school had been the sole reason we had had him tested. His continual challenges with reading and writing, not to mention his atrocious spelling, certainly indicated something wasn't quite working for him. In fact there was a period of time when I felt he might well have a touch of dyslexia.

Instead we got ADHD with additional comments about his slow processing speed and impaired visuomotor integration skills. Following the recommendations of the testing facility at UM-Ann Arbor, we began working with the school to incorporate some teaching aids into his curriculum. This meant we had to work with the special education coordinator, his teachers and the school psychologist.

We also had to follow up on additional testing recommended by the facility. He's since been tested by an Occupational Therapist and undergone some additional evaluations by the school psychologist. I know how the in-school testing went and the results were not good. He actually qualified for Special Education in relation to his composition skills. The child cannot write or spell worth a damn. Doesn't matter if he can verbally spell or tell the most amazing stories, he can't get them on paper. There's some kind of disconnect between his brain and his hand.

We'll find out what the Occupational Therapist had to say later today. I've been waiting a report that should have been sent to my home but ended up at our family doctor's instead. I have a feeling there will be some comments and recommendations regarding his "sensory input issues" as she mentioned them to me during the testing. So, really, I'm not expecting any surprises, perhaps some suggestions on satisfying his body's physical needs (apparently his purposeful tumbling and running into things is more than "goofiness" at play), but nothing too shocking or disturbing.

The more important reason for our visit today is to address the continual academic struggles his ADHD is causing. Yes, we're thinking about meds. Actually, we're past thinking about them, we're finally going to commit to giving them a try. Something we've been pretty resistant to the last year or so. However, there comes a point when you'll even try those things you never thought you would if means helping your child.

I have to admit I'm a little scared about doing this. I don't want my child to change. I love his personality. He's gentle and sweet and funny. If it weren't for his problems at school, all of which are academic in nature, he'd be darn near perfect. Well, as perfect as a 9-almost-10-year-old can be! I'm sure I'd still have to get after him for bouncing on the furniture, playing his music too loud, and rough-housing with this little brother. Perfect is a matter of opinion, though, and I think he's perfectly him.

Unfortunately, school matters. Grades matter. He is struggling right now and at a very real risk of having to repeat the Fourth Grade. No matter how much time we spend working with him, or how many different ways his teacher aids him, his grades are slipping. His distractability and inability to focus is become more and more noticeable. At least, I think so.

With all this in mind, we've decided to try medications. My doctor has assured me the dose will be time-released into his system and ineffective by about 1-3 PM. That means we'll have our child as we know him in the evenings, on weekends, and over any vacations. The meds are for school days only. Neither my husband nor I are willing to keep him doped up when it's completely unnecessary.

January 15, 2008

Opinions, please.

So, last weekend before last we had some little visitors come over to the house for a few hours. After they left my son discovered his Pokemon game had disappeared from his Gameboy. After making them clean their rooms, look under their beds, behind their dressers, and in their toy boxes, I had to at least consider the possibility the missing game and the children's visit might be related.

My oldest boy - the one whose game had come up missing - talked to the oldest of the three boys that been to visit on Saturday. The child told my son his brothers had taken the game. That he had seen them playing it and passing it back and forth.

So I called their Grandma, who they live with, and asked if she look into the situation. A few minutes later a little voice comes on the line and tells me they had taken the game outside and must have left it by the swingset. Okay. Not good. It's winter! It's been raining and snowing.

And I feel like an ass for implying the kids might have taken it without permission.

Fastforward a week....yesterday my son came home from school with the Pokemon game in hand. The oldest boy had taken it from his brothers and returned it my son. Of course, this makes me very happy. Losing a $30 game had rubbed me the wrong way.

Now the question is...do I mention the return to the Grandparents of the three children? I would really like to reward the oldest boy for making sure my son got his game back. I was thinking a small monetary amount would work, maybe $5 or so, just something to say "thank you and you did the right thing". I also feel that the Grandparents should know that the other two lied to them and to us when we called last week when it first went missing. I know I'd want to know if it were my children.

The boys in question are young. First Grade and Kindergarten, I'm thinking. Young enought that they might not have known better.

What are your thoughts? Should I leave well enough alone? The game was returned, so in the end it all turned out.

January 14, 2008

Writing

I'm stalled. I thought I'd work on the story at lunch today and didn't. Apparently my Muse has decided the corner I've boxed myself into is just punishment for my creative ignorance or, to be a bit more honest, my lack of foresight. Why am I sabotaging every rescue attempt? I DON'T KNOW! But I wish I'd stop.

I'd like to move forward.

I just need a sound and reasonable avenue for my hero and heroine to escape their current misery.

January 13, 2008

More Bad News

It must be the week for it.

The day after the funeral we got a phone call from my in-laws. A friend of the family had lost his battle with cancer and had passed away. Just a few weeks ago he had been given several months to live, then just a handful of weeks. Apparently, the cancer had been even worse than they thought, because he didn't make it two weeks after the doctor's gave him their prognosis.

That's two for three...and I really hate that death seems to visit in a threesome. It scares the crap out of me.

January 9, 2008

Shockingly Sad News

A dear family friend passed away unexpectedly two nights ago. I wasn't as close to him as my sister. I was a bit older than his two beautiful daughters, so I didn't hang out there on weekends or even after school. My sisters, on the other hand, were friends with both girls. The older of my two younger sisters became fast and forever best friends with his oldest daughter.

Not too long ago I know my sister went and talked to her best friend's dad about an emotionally charged topic and got some insight and advice from him. He was, without a doubt, her second Dad. She loved him and I'm pretty sure he loved her, too. He offered her support and guidance, something every girl needs now and again.

And now he's gone. He died instantly from a massive heartattack after spending a wonderful day with his wife. I hope my last day on this earth is just as idealic, if there can be such a thing when death is involved.

He was a wonderful man. He will be missed by so many people. My heart aches for his wife and daughters (including those he unofficially adopted into his heart). May God carry them through this difficult time.

Warning! Mean Mom Ahead

Last night my son's punishment for his poor progress report card was amped up a little bit. Now he's not only grounded from all his electronic games (computer, PS2, Wii, Gameboy), but he is now grounded from the television, too. He's down to toys and books.

I don't know why that makes me feel like a mean mom, but it does. Although, when I stop and think about it, those were my two main forms of entertainment as a child. Even when we had an Atari system and then graduated to the Nintendo, my parents limited our time. Mostly, I had my toys and I had my books. My self-entertainment was driven by my imagination, not a software developer's. I survived it. In fact, I think it made me the person I am today. Would I have been drawn to reading and writing if I had been able to focus all my energies on flashier things like computer games and such? I don't think so.

And cartoons? Please. Saturday mornings only. I didn't have Cartoon Network and I managed not to wither away and die.

Look! I've reassured myself that he'll survive the next few weeks without all the modern conveniences we put into our children's hands. He might even learn he's so much more capable than he realizes.

Or he may just think we're the world's meanest parents ever.

Or maybe, just maybe, he'll remember to turn in his homework!

January 7, 2008

Still Here

Still here as in still at work. Luckily, I am now officially off the clock and just waiting for my night class to start. I'm hoping it'll be one of those short "here's your syllabus, have a good night" type of classes. Of course, it won't be. I've been on campus since 8 AM, which is normal. Unfortunately, I had an orientation session I had to lead from 5:00-6:30, so I'm just now finding the time to grab some dinner (aka..multigrain mini cinnamon sugar rice patties).

I am so tired. Exhausted really. Not only was today the first day of Winter semester, it was also our first full day in the new office. Might not have been so bad if we had had a chance to actually upack and settle in before opening the doors for business. Instead we were trying to work, unpack, and keep our sanity intact all at the same time. NOT FUN, but we somehow managed to survive.

My office even looks like it's in working order! Wahoo!

What else? I attended my first BIO class here at the U today. Wow, I've forgotten a lot. More than I thought. The instructor had a diagram of the male and female reproductive systems, questions about hormones, and whatnot that he quizzed us over. Luckily, it wasn't graded. I'm pretty sure I would have failed. The best was when he asked us to draw a diagram of mitosis and myosis. Yeah....I had no idea! Sad when you consider I graduated with a medical assistant degree way back when.

Tonight's class is about African American religion. Should be interesting. Hopefully there'll be some story fodder there.

And that brings us to writing. Does it count that I opened up the WIP over the weekend? I didn't add a single word - seriously, not one - but I opened it.

I know. I need to write the story down because it's not going to write itself. I know!

But Final Fantasy XII is very addicting. I can't seem to deny the impulse to play for just a few minutes, which then turns into an hour and a half of me staring at the TV.

Oh, and I started this most adorable scrapbooking page. In the pictures my boys are probably 2 and 5. So darn adorable. They were literally "rockin' around the Christmas tree". I have snapshot after snapshot of them dancing in their little jammies. The page so far is really plain, but I'm loving it. The focus is right where it should be...on my boys.

January 3, 2008

The Struggle Continues

I'm pretty sure my oldest is going to get his first failing grade. On his progress report he had a D+ in Social Studies. Everything else looked decent, he even had an A in one subject. A few Bs and a C made up the rest of the report. Considering how hard school is for him, I'm really proud of that A and those Bs. The C I'll accept, even if I'd like to see him do better. However, the D is completely unacceptable.

We got the progress report the week before Christmas break. I had hoped the test he had to take in Social Studies that week would help bring the grade up into the C- range. Didn't happen. Despite studying for the test, the child managed to bomb the thing and got a nice, solid E.

I can't even tell you how frustrated I am with him and this whole situation. Sometimes I think he tries so hard and fails anyhow. Then I have those moments when I think he's not trying at all, doesn't care, doesn't know he should care, and would really rather just goof off, thank you very much.

Not that he has a choice. He has to get that grade up. I get the feeling this year that he may seriously be faced with flunking. He may not get into Fifth Grade. The rules have changed. The State rose the bar, demanding higher test scores and a higher minimum grade per subject. I'm nervous about this.

No, the truth is I'm worried.

So this week we're trying a new studying technique. He has to bring his book home every night and read it out loud to me. Then, after he reads each section, he has to write down the key words and their definitions as well as the important big-picture fact that section covers. I'm hoping this will help him remember the info on test day. Repetition works, at least that's what the experts say.

Unfortunately, this new approach won't have a chance to impact his report card. We only have two and a half weeks before the end of the marking period. :-(

January 2, 2008

Back to Reality

So, today is the first day back to work. I slept most of the way into work - not to worry, though, the hubby was driving.

I really don't want to be here. I'd rather be on vacation still. Although we had eight days to enjoy ourselves, it went by too fast. There's so much more I'd like to have done. Especially if you consider playing the PS2, writing, and scrapbooking as so much more!

Today also happens to be the first day of exercise and eating healthy. Ew.

At least I have a couple days left to just enjoy my leisurely reading time. School doesn't start until next Monday, thank goodness. I'm not looking forward to taking two classes again. I know there's going to be a lot of work involved this time around. Of course, once these two are behind me, I'll be eligible to graduate! Yay, for that!

Okay, time to get busy.