Counting Down

We're getting a puppy!

He's a little fella right now.  I think, if I don't have my dates completely screwed up, that he's only five weeks old right now.  This means we can't bring him home for another three weeks.  

The is making me anxious. 

Luckily, his mommy and daddy's owner is very good about sending us pictures of the little rascal.  (Rascal...that' might be a cute name for him!) 

He's a morkie.  His mama is a Yorkie and his daddy is a Maltese.  In addition to the little white paws, he also has a patch of white on his chest.

He should stay small.  I'm thinking no more than 10lbs. 

I'm so excited.  A bit nervous, too, but mostly excited!  

New Tactic

So, my alter ego has this book she needs to write.  It should be fairly easy because the characters and the setting have been determined.  After all, this is a sequel.  So many elements have been established, including the the main conflict...

Oh, my.  That's part of the problem right there!  As I typed the word conflict I realized that, yes, there's conflict, but it happens around the two main characters, not to them.  In other words, there is Big Conflict, but no personal conflict.  

That's why the writing is stalled.  Personal and interpersonal conflict are the key ingredients and they're missing right now. I don't have any insights into what these personal and interpersonal sources of conflict should or will be.  I just know I need to figure them out in order to truly begin this book. 

And to think I thought my new tactic - rereading and creating a new "story bible" for the previous book - would be the thing to jumpstart my creative juices.  If the sequel remained tightly focused on the hero and heroine of the first book, it might, but this new book only gives those characters a cameo appearance.  So, while I may need to know some of the details the "story bible" will contain, it won't help me figure out what's going on with characters I've yet to fully introduce.  

I love lightbulb moments.  Especially unexpected ones.

An Unexpected Neighbor

It was a Sunday.  Ken was on his way to a friend's house to help fix another friend's truck.  With the house to ourselves, the kids fired up the PS3 and I made my way to my craft room in the basement.  I was sitting down there, playing Castleville on Facebook, if I remember correctly, when I heard Ken hollering for me to get my telephoto lens.  And hurry!

I imagined the turkeys had made a reappearance.  

I never imagined this beautiful creature was feasting on some carrion across the road from our house.  Eagles are not something we see in our neck of the woods.  They're supposed to be "up north".   

Look close...he's there.  In the center of the old corn field, shrouded in early morning mist.

Trying to get his picture wasn't easy.  I jumped out of the car, Nikon strap around my neck and camera in hand.  Jogging across the two-lane highway we live on, I immediately trespassed onto my neighbor's lawn and headed toward the tree line.  I hoped my rapid approach would go unnoticed.

Of course, it didn't.  The eagle took to the air almost immediately.

Still, I kept moving forward, determined to get as much out of my 300 zoom lens as possible.  Not that releasing the shutter at a halting run/walk was a good idea.  You can see that the pictures aren't exactly crisp.  They're also not as close-up as I'd have liked.  

The eagle circled the field once more, his interest in his abandoned meal obvious as he tried to land.  I should have stopped then, but I didn't.  I kept moving forward, my husband and youngest boy next to me. 

The eagle finally decided enough was enough and disappeared into the branches of the distant trees.  My son insisted it was perched somewhere in the row, but I couldn't make it out, not with my camera lens or the binoculars my husband had thought to grab.  

I tried staying out there in hopes that I would blend with the trees I was hiding beneath.  I'm pretty sure I failed because the eagle didn't return.  

Shivering, I returned to the house and brought the pictures up.  Zooming in - way too far, I'm sure you'll agree - I was able to get a slightly more identifiable shot of our unexpected visitor. 

Impressive for an Eleven Year Old

Both of my boys seem to enjoy art, but my youngest is the one I refer to as "my artist".  While there's no denying that he enjoys playing sports and video games and doing all those other kind of things that little boys like to do, he's also the kid who is happy with a pen and a pad of paper.  

I'm not sure when we first noticed that he wasn't just content to color in the lines, but I know he was fairly young when he first attempted to draw his own lines.  At first, he traced images out of coloring books and magazines. Eventually, he started asking for "how to" books.

When I found Drawing Dragons in the bargain books at Borders, I was certain he'd enjoy the challenge of drawing such fantastical beasts. I was right.

I was also impressed. 

I'm not sure how old he was when he drew that eye, but I'm pretty sure it was at least a year ago.  Maybe more. Now, it'll likely come as no surprise that he didn't master the project in one sitting.  It took him days to get it just so.  He would draw, erase, draw some more.  Only when he was happy with it did he get out the crayons.  

While I think the end results were pretty amazing, especially for an eleven-year-old, what I found truly impressive was the determination and "sticking to it" attitude he displayed.  He didn't let his frustration convince him that he couldn't do it, that it was a hopeless endeavor.  

This attitude has stuck.  Only instead of using books to learn how to draw something, he's using Youtube to find videos on how to do the things he wants to do.  Here's a sample of his first attempt to manipulate a photo.  

Original image copyright held by
He used a program called Gimp2 to change the colors and texture of the original photo.  Even though I know how easy this is to do with the selection tool and the gradient tool, I'm incredibly impressed that my eleven-year-old figured it out.  

After watching him do similar tricks with other photos, I remembered that quite a few years ago I had purchased a Fantasy Clip Art books and CD set.  I wondered if he'd like a chance to create a few characters of his own on the computer.  

After picking and choosing which elements to use from the CD, he got to "paint" the black and white images.  Here's what he came up with...

Maybe I'm suffering a bit of Mommy Pride, but I think my kid is freakin' awesome.  I just hope he pursues this artist side of himself because I'm really looking forward to seeing where his creativity takes him.