Showing posts from 2010

Christmas & the New Year

According to Blogger, I began writing this post on 12/29/2010.

Apparently, I was distracted. And then I forgot about it.

I must be honest and admit I considered deleting it and writing about something a little more current, but then I realized I really want to document my holiday break.

Did I mention that I had 2 and 1/2 weeks off work? It was heavenly. Well, most of it was heavenly. The first couple of days weren't really all that fun as they were set aside for writing, and not the fun, creative writing I prefer. Oh, no. I had to write a 16-page paper on Dickens.

In the middle of writing the paper I took a day off to go Christmas shopping. This is a recent tradition. It started when my in-laws got tired of trying to figure out what we would want for Christmas and decided it would be easier to just take us to the store so we could pick it out for ourselves. So, for the last few years, I join my mother- and sister-in-law for a day of shopping. While we're finishing up our…

3 out of 4

That's where I'm at right now: I've got three out of four assignments completed. Just one more and the semester is officially over!

Last night I finished reading the fourth and final Dickens book. While I must admit I have some issues with his treatment of the feminine, he's an amazing writer. Relatively easy to read for a Victorian author. As I read David Copperfield,Hard Times, Little Dorrit, and Our Mutual Friend it was easy to understand how he could be considered the father of the modern novel.

In all truth, and at the risk of getting rotten tomatoes thrown at me, I can't tell you the number of times I thought his stories had been retold in so many of the historical romance books I've read over the years. In other words, I'm positive I've read these stories as genre fiction, which I'm sure many view as the antithesis of great Literature.

Now, don't get me wrong. Dickens as a Victorian writer could never get away with going where romance…

Not a Real Update

It's too late to put much effort into this right now. In fact, I'm about twenty minutes past my bedtime.

So, in brief, I miss writing. I'm so ready for school to be done. Not just this semester, but altogether done. I want to graduate and get my life back. Get my creative groove back.


That's the end of the pity party.

Struggling to Keep Focus

I can tell it's nearing the end of the semester. Homework is a struggle. While I've been pretty good about staying on top of my reading, I'm starting to daydream about all the books waiting for me on my to-be-read shelf.

Not that I haven't been able to squeeze in a couple of fun reads over the last few weeks. I have. A few weeks ago I read A Wrinkle in Time and, a week or so later, The Sea of Monsters in the Percy Jackson series. This weekend I not only finished my weekly reading assignment in Our Mutual Friend and a few scholarly articles on Dickens's treatment of the feminine, but I also managed to finish off Seduced by Sin.

Those three books were easy, quick reads. I purposely picked them because I know that I can't afford to get drawn into any of the more complex novels sitting on my TBR shelf. Young adult novels don't require a lot of brain power or thoughtful reflection. The same goes for historical romances. Not that I'm knocking them. Q…

I Am Thankful For..

I am thankful for my family.

I am thankful for the husband who cooks and cleans, who helps with homework, who takes my boys hunting and fishing, who lets me soak in the tub and enjoy a good book, who bites his tongue when he'd rather not, and who loves me despite all my faults.

I am thankful for my oldest boy who plays the same games his brother wants to play, who doesn't argue with us when we remind him to do his homework, who is content to be alone or can enjoy a good friend's company, and who still asks me to tuck him at night.

I am thankful for my littlest boy who gives me hugs and kisses whenever and wherever, who cleans his room even when he doesn't want to, who idolizes his big brother, and who writes love letters and leaves them lying around the house for Mom and Dad to find.

I am so thankful for each of them.

I am also thankful that the recent scare with my brother didn't have anything to do with the heart problems he had as an infant. I'm thankful the EKG…

A snippet from Great-Grandpa's Writings

Disclaimer:I did not write this story. As I did not write this story, it does not belong to me. All credit is due to my Great-Grandfather, Arthur E. Spencer.

Need Help...from Kazakhstan.

So, I've mentioned that I'm enrolled in two classes this semester, haven't I? There's the Dickens class that meets every week and then there's the online Kazakh-American Reading Group that I'm participating in as an Independent Study course.

The first course is going well. I've managed to stay on top of the reading. Done well on both the first presentation and the small paper. As of today, I'm about halfway through the last book, Our Mutual Friend, and beginning to work on my final paper. Things I have complete control over.

What I don't have control over? My Kazakh-American Reading Group. Participation has been a bit sketchy. We only had a handful of Kazakh women participating and all of them were doing it because they wanted to, not because they were in any way required to. On the other side of that equation, there were the handful of graduate students who are absolutely required to participate if they want a good grade at the end of the se…

Enjoying the Weekends

The last couple of weekends have been so very enjoyable. Right now we're in between sporting seasons, so there are no games or meets to attend on the weekend. We're also in between holidays, so there are no parties planned or last minute shopping to do. Nope, these last couple of weekends have been completely free.

For the first time in who knows how long, my weekends have been free!

Sure, I've had to do homework, but even that has been relatively easy because I've only had to read and make a few comments in my Kazakh-American reading group. No papers to write just yet. Research, yes. Actual writing, no.

Since the homework has been on task and the house isn't a complete disaster, I've been able to fight a few monsters on Final Fantasy XIII, read a couple of non-school-assigned books, and watch a few movies.

This weekend I also made a point of visiting with my Grandma. She's 82 and not in the best of health. Her lungs can't really handle Michigan …

Love This Quote

I resent people who say writers write from experience. Writers don't write from experience, though many are hesitant to admit that they don't. I want to be clear about this. If you wrote from experience, you'd get maybe one book, maybe three poems. Writers write from empathy.

~Nikki Giovanni, interview published in Black Women Writers at Work (1984)


While the hubby and I were on vacation last week, we did a whole lot of nothing. It was fabulous.

Of course, since it was the end of October, there were lots of Halloween related activities to help us pass the time.

There was the annual trip to the Pumpkin stand.

Which, of course, means that there would be carvings to do. I love the fact that, for the most part, the boys are capable of doing the messy work themselves! The only thing the hubby and I really did was cut out the stalks. The boys emptied out the guts and did most of the cutting. Very little parental assistance was required.

Gage's is on the left, KC's is on the right. Not bad! KC's carving was 100% all him, but Gage required some assistance on the mouth and one of the eyes.

Later that week, we visited the little man's 4th grade classroom during their Halloween party. Even though we were a tad bit late getting there, he still gave me the thumbs up.

After the kids finished eating, there was a make-your-own-…

Nano 2010

I want to sign up. Really, I do! I've participated for several years running, but I know there's no feasible way for me to write 50K in a month's time.

No way.

No how.

So, I'll have to cheer from the sidelines as Sarah, Matt, and the other Red Hot Writers venture into the craziness of NaNoWriMo without me. Go, team!

Unfinished Projects

I have a lot of unfinished projects sitting on my flash drive. And because I have nothing better to talk about today, I thought, hey, why not bore you with a list of all the stories I've started but not finished.

It's my blog. I can do what I want.

So, in no particular order, I give you the Unfinished Projects. (These aren't titles, but file names.)

Ashyss & Seiene - Started this one for last year's Nano. At a little over 3000 words, its the beginning of a dark fantasy novel. Ashyss has joined a mercenary crew against the wishes of her rather elite elfin family. The main conflict, if I remember correctly, was going to involve a missing family member, dying power sources, and political shifts.

I'd like to come back to this one mainly because I like the character. Of course, if I do come back to this one, I'm going to need to dig out the story notes because the intricacies of the plot and character development escape me at the moment.

Fairie Hunter - This o…

So, the writing.

Have I ever told you how much I hate writing query letters and synopsises? Well, I do. I hate it! Those few pages are harder to get right than the first chapter of the book. I can't tell you how many times I've revised the query and rewritten the synopsis - mainly because I haven't been keeping track - but I promise you its more times than I care to think about!

Because of this, I have lately been doing what I do best. Avoiding them.

Of course, that's not helping with my submission goals. So, for the last week, I've been forcing myself to work on them a little bit every day. Eventually this will result in a finished copy.

My Oldest

As you know, I've been scanning in old pictures and marveling at the tender wrinkles in infant skin and the chubbiness of little cheeks. My last post showed how much my baby has grown over the last 9 years.

Now it's my oldest baby's turn. (Don't tell him I referred to him as my baby...he's too old and cool for such monikers, dont' you know.)

It's simply shocking to compare these two pictures and know the child is the same in both.

Where has the time gone?!

My precious baby is becoming a teenager! A teenager. You know, one of those moody, snarky creatures that seems determined to have the last word on EVERYTHING, that's what my boy is becoming.

Instead of riding his tricycle, he's getting his ORV and watercraft licenses.

It's sheer madness. And I know the years are only going to go by faster the older my boys get. Watching them grow into admirable young men (most of the time) makes me so proud, but there are definitely times I wish the clock wou…


I've been wandering down memory lane. I've spent hours staring at pictures of little faces so familiar they make my heart ping in remembrance of baby drool, late night rocking, and alphabet singing.

Little faces that have changed so much in a few short years.

That's my baby. My last born. No more than a few weeks old if those fingers and that hair can be trusted.

Aww. Just a few months older. Still a baby by anyone's standards.

And there he is with his big brother and his daddy. Crawling his way towards one.

A toddler now. I can tell by the background, that little bit of carpet and trim, that we've moved into the new house.

I don't even know what to say about this one. I remember those footie pajamas, though. They came in all different colors and sizes and they littered my laundry for years and years...

Bigger yet? Maybe the same age. I might have posted this one just because they're all so happy! I love their happiness. Their shrieks of laughter. Th…