Thursday, April 30, 2009

Know how you can live with someone for years...

... And still not understand much of anything they say? Several examples are coming to mind right now, including multiple college roommates, parents, siblings, a husband and several children.

I'm stumbling onto a breakthrough here...

It's possible that I'm a bad communicator.


I thought for a long time that I was a literate, articulate, witty and clever sort of girl. Um, perhaps not so much. Rats. I came to this conclusion after a period of "Why is everyone crazy but me?"

Hint: If everyone is crazy but you, there is some rethinking to be done.

(Remember cutie-pants River Phoenix as the teenage Indiana Jones? "Everyone's lost but me." I feel that way all the time. Dang.)

Turns out that "articulate" guarantees absolutely nothing in the whole communication game. It's all a matter of one thing. Patience, you say? Listening? Seeking First to Understand*? No. None of that helps. The only way to understand anything anyone is talking about: ESP. Mindreading. Telepathy.

Develop a psychic tendency, and you will get it, finally. All things will become clear.

Hope that helps.

*Nod to Mr. Covey, whom I have never met, but I did work at his company my third year in college.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Talking about Writing, then Doing More Writing

Talking about writing is right up there on my list of Great Fun. It's maybe neck-and-neck with actually doing good writing. I am so lucky to have a little group to write and talk with. Food will be eaten. Words will be read and pondered and nudged and improved. Fun will be had. (And all uses of Passive Voice will be struck through will permanent red ink.)

Yeah for Writers!

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

SPEAK the second

(Part 2 of my reaction to Laurie Halse Anderson's SPEAK)

Wow. Just wow. It was stunning, and sad, and a little funny, and totally non-gratuitous. I hope all my kids read it (when they're 14) and want to talk to me about it.

There is a whole lot of obsessive teen angst-ing in YA lit these days. The 'I'm so lonely, I'm so sad, life is so hard for me' sorts of books. SPEAK is no such thing. This is how I'd write angst if I knew how. Subtle. Crafted. Spare. Witty. Real.

I felt both right inside the walls of that high school, and at the same time, like wrapping poor Melinda in my mommy arms.

I got it from the library, but it's a definite purchaser. 5 stars, with age-caveat.


By Laurie Halse Anderson

I may be the last person in the world to read this book, but right now I have to run over to the elementary school (to do an art project in Kid 3' class) and I don't want to put the book down. It's the kind of teenage angst that sits firmly in the category of "what other people write" but it is done so well, so well.

More when I finish.


You know how some people who write have their own space? Like renting an office or something? Or even a room all their own in the house, where their computer is dedicated to their craft?

No such thing here.

I share an office. With a husband and four kids. When Husband works at home, he doesn't work in the office. He has a dedicated corner of the dining room table, just outside the office doors, where he can ask things like "how do you spell VietNam?" without leaving his seat or shouting. But his stuff lives in the office. Calvin and Hobbes anthologies are stacked with my writing books. His shiny awards for his films get a gorgeous central shelf. Several years' of Communication Arts Advertising Annuals sit here beside stacks and stacks of music CDs that are all digitized to the computers, but still live here.

But wait, there's more! Because his stuff and my stuff are just the beginning. There's a music stand in here, complete with several violin books and some fiddle music. And a violin. And everyone's stack of posterboard for school projects. And whatever everyone is reading at the moment (Harry Potter V, The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, and a sewing machine manual). Plus, on the desk, an iPod, a box of bandaids, a remote control, black thread, notes from a talk by Shannon Hale, zig-zaggy scissors with pink handles, a picture drawn by Kid 2, and a jar that's supposed to hold pens but is actually holding about seven broken, leadless pencils. There are some DVDs (homemade) and a slew of post-it notes, both in a pack and separated, and some blank 3x5 cards. My sunglasses are in here, sitting by my mouse, because after I dropped kid 3 at school I had them on my head but they gave me a headache. There's also a ticket to a Utah Jazz basketball game that we went to with Nathan and Cyndie. It was a good game, but that's not why I've kept the ticket. It stays because it has a photo of my fictional boyfriend Kyle Korver* on it. (He doesn't know he's my fictional boyfriend, and that keeps it uncomplicated.**)

Maybe I would get a whole lot more than 500-1000 words written each day if I actually cleaned up this desk. But you know what? This is us. This is how we live (messy and all over the place, but not on the floor - we must vacuum once in a while). It's perfectly okay with me to be the Mom first, and the writer somewhere way down the line. And a messy desk like this says something about us. We're not too fussy. We like music and books and pencils (but we don't bother sharpening them much). This desk is a snapshot of my family in a "lightened-up" moment. And I rather like it.

* If you don't know him, picture this: A cross between Ashton Kutcher and Zac Effron. Much too cute to be real.
** Clarification: he doesn't know about the boyfriend thing at all, fictional or otherwise, and THAT is why it's uncomplicated.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Tiny bit of Happy

The manuscript that has been collecting dust on the acquisitions editor's desk since January? It couldn't be found this morning. So they asked for me to send it again. Know what that means? Me either. But I'm hoping it means that maybe someone wants to make a (totally positive) decision about it RIGHT AWAY.

**Crossing fingers**

Sunday, April 26, 2009

A thought on Body Image

What does it mean to be fat?

Not really, really skinny, I think.

Here's the thing. Often, and for a long time (at least the past 20 years) I will see a morbidly obese person, usually a woman wearing stretchy things through which I can see layers of cellulite, and think, "Oh, poor her." And why do I feel sorry for her? Because I think I look like that.

I do not.

Look like that, I mean. But I do think it. I think it when I try on clothes in a cheap-clothes-buying place (where the light is never, never friendly). But I can buy pants in any regular store that carries low-double-digit sizes. I think it in the winter, when my arms feel saggy and are white (because everyone knows that brown fat is prettier than white fat), but I can still wear normal button-down shirts. I think it because in my head, even when I'm a very average 5'6" size 8-10-12. I am a victim of my own misconceptions.

I wonder how to change that. If it's in my head, nobody can change it for me. It does help me to be incredibly bold (rude) and ask people what size their pants are. Because other women my size(s) look beautiful. Here, evil Becca returns to remind me that they are easily 5 inches taller than me, and that those 5 inches make all the difference. I tell evil Becca she's right, but I should tell her to shut up.

It also helps me to move more. Duh. Derr. Doy. But it is funny how "serious exercise" falls off the top 5 list of priorities when it's snowing at the end of April. But the fact is that moving (outside) changes the way I feel about looking like this. I may not look any different, but my brain is more okay with it.

Am I the only one who has a backward self-view? I know a few men (my darling brothers, at least) who think they're pretty hot. I'm not saying they're not, mind you, I'm just saying... why doesn't my skewed self-view point in that direction? Why can't I think I'm more beautiful than I am, instead of less? Cerebrally (is that a word?) I love my body. I have strong, strong legs. I carried 4 babies full term and then some. I walk up and down stairs instead of taking elevators. I am almost always illness-free. I appreciate my body. Why can't I love how it looks?

Is there a filter I can buy? I already have a magic mirror (tilted to a believable but favorable angle) that gives the best reflection I can reasonably expect, but when I use my real eyes to look at my real lower body, I'm seeing what's actually there, and it always makes me cringe. And I understand geometry, and I understand that looking down causes unhappy foreshortening. But I want the filter for my brain. I want to believe that I am better than okay.

Takes practice, I think.

Happy noise

Today I heard a loud sound. My kids were playing a game in the basement, and the action was heating up a bit, and they were all shouting and cheering and laughing and SOUNDING LIKE FRIENDS!

It's a happy-making moment for a mom. I'll remember that sound when the whining, ear-piercing squeals of "she's not playing fair" and "he won't leave my stuff alone" and "it's my turn to practice" and "I don't want to" and "I already did that" threaten to shove away all my good memories.

Because I know those other things will be said, and shouted, and moaned. But for a few minutes, right here on this rainy/snowy afternoon, we had a little Eden moment, and I want to remember.

Thursday, April 23, 2009


Don't you love food?

I've been thinking, that along with my Major Attitude Improvement yesterday, I have food issues. You may be surprised to discover that I tend to obsess.

You: (*Shocked*) really, Becca? You obsess? I'm shocked.
Me: I understand your surprise, after all, I come across as such an even kind of girl.
You: You certainly do. You don't seem the least imbalanced.
Me: What can I say, we try to hide these things.

And what I've been struggling with is that part between "Don't fill up your body with junk" and "Please feed your body good things."

Do the good things (the kind that come out of the ground or off the tree just like you eat them) ever seem just a little prosaic?

Friend: I had Sushi for lunch and then went over to the Italian trattoria for some gelato.
Me: My life is so lame. I need a pizza. And a gallon of ice cream.

Sometimes the real food, the good things, the fruits and veg are the only things I want. But sometimes I crave something complicated (and made/cleaned up by someone else, preferably wearing a black uniform). I usually settle for something in between. And I think in between is where my troubles lie. In between, we find butter. In between we find great veg-filled sandwiches (um, but on white bread, and smothered with melted cheese). In between we dip things into mayonnaise-heavy Ranch dressing. In between, there is pie. Oh, pie.

But, I have to say, that in between is a step better than the over-processed, deep-fried, pre-made-and-frozen, or covered with chocolate frosting.


Let's eat.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Body Image

Does every female have body issues?

Kid 3 (she's 7) told me the other day that she "hates the blubber" on her thighs. She's SEVEN. She asked me how to get rid of it. I told her that what she was feeling was her muscle at rest. She didn't buy it. I told her to flex it. Hey, look! It went solid!

What do we think we should look like, anyway? Supermodels? Not likely, I'm afraid. Is there any way for the girls in our house to be satisfied that we have nice faces, straight teeth, and some of us, good hair? Do we have to be displeased with something all the time? (Apparently, yes.)

Nobody is perfectly happy with herself, I'm convinced. If she's super smart, she thinks she's not coordinated enough. If she's super athletic, she's afraid she hasn't got any "real" talents. If she's very kind, she's worried that people are noticing her bad skin. If she's skinny, she feels too skinny. If she's strong, she feels too big. If her teeth are straight, she hates her big nose. If she's tall, she wants to be petite. If she's short, she hates being small. I her hair is straight, she wants curly. If it's curly, only straight will do.

Why? Why do we do this to ourselves? We. As in me, too. And I'm old. I've been out of school for more of my life than I was in it. Nobody else is really looking and thinking and saying what I obsessively think they are. I need to be okay enough for me. And about two out of three days, I am. I am okay. I have hips, and strong legs that will never, ever wear certain things (like skinny jeans or shorts in general). I have no chest. Well, if I had one, I'd look bigger all over, right? I have good skin. I only have to shave my legs once a week, and that's in the summer. Most of the things I dislike about my body are things I should be in control of (the tricep jiggle and the tummy bulge) if I choose to take the steps necessary (weight lifting and sugar abstinence).

So I'm going to find a thing to like in the mirror every day. (Did I mention that I like my eyelashes?) I'm going to accept compliments when they're given, with a gracious "Thank you" and nothing else. No qualifying. No rejecting. I am going to practice sincere complimenting. And I will take responsibility for my food and exercise business.

I will never look like a model. I will never need to. Someone needs to be this shape, why not me?

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Rant = no use

I have just deleted a long rant. Turns out that complaining about how craptastic the day has begun doesn't actually repair it.

Who knew?

So things were a little rough this morning. But, as I told Kid 3 (repeatedly) this morning, you've got to choose how you're going to feel, then own it. You decided. So the feeling is yours. So I choose to feel like things will be just fine. After all, the sun is shining, and the birdies are rowdy. I get to go talk to a bunch of old ladies about Heaven Touched Me today. I'm hitting Costco this morning, which means homemade ice cream tonight. My 500 words came pretty quickly. Out of the three dentist appointments yesterday, there are only two cavities (two more than we've ever had before, but.) and only one of those people need braces. See? It's okay.

Kid 4 wants me to play Wii with him. I really should go shower. Also, he's chosen Lego Star Wars, which makes me a little carsick. But I'm going to go down there and give him a little thrill. Then choose to feel pleased about it. And take a dramamine, if necessary.

Monday, April 20, 2009


It's violin lesson day. And piano lesson day times two. And there are three dentist appointments at ten. And a quick tutorial at the elementary school for the mom who missed Meet the Masters training last wek. And there's sunshine, so the weeding should at least be started. And maybe the mowing. And it's garbage day. And the kitchen floor needs to be mopped. Plus some laundry. And I'm in charge of Family Night (I'm thinking a couple rounds of Curses). Plus it's short day at school, which means kids 1 and 2 will be home when I'm still doing lunch dishes.

But the shower is done. The prettifying is done. Three of the glasses of water have been consumed. The kids are dressed, practiced, and half gone to school (half the kids are gone, not the kids are half-gone. You know.). The words are written for the day (500 on a school day). Everyone had some protein for breakfast.

It's looking like a pretty good day, of I do say so myself. And I do. Regularly.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

The Sun Came Out

It really did. It's sunny and warm and breezy and beautiful, and it looks like Spring around here.

'Bout time, I'm thinking.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Blame my allergies - we have no pets

5 year old: Mom, I'd sure miss you if you died.

Me: Thanks, buddy. I'd miss you, too.

5: It would be really sad.

Me: Yeah.

5: I sure hope someone would get me a dog.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Trixie the Bimbo

When I was in Junior High, I had the same science teacher for two years. His name was Jack Smith (no names have been changed to protect the innocent - and come on, how many dozens of Jack Smiths teach 7th grade science?) and he had a baffling habit of jiggling the loose change in his pants pockets. Was he bragging that he had loose change and we didn't? Was he making an obvious distinction between his pleated khakis from Sears and our too-tight eighties jeans?These many, many years later, I must say that the coin jingle is the single most memorable feature about Mr. Jack Smith. I vaguely recall that he was an average-looking, overweight dark haired white guy of lengthening forehead and slight sarcasm (not enough for me to really respect his skills) and that he had a tendency to laugh when he was upset (at the explosion of the Challenger space shuttle, for example). He surely didn't mean it.

But Jack Smith had a wife. For the sake of openness and honesty, I'll admit I never met her - or at least I don't think I did. Her name was Trixie the Bimbo. At least her name was Trixie, and we (the generous seventh graders of the day) finished what her mother started. Because if you have a Trixie, we reasoned, a Bimbo will follow.

This logic has suited me for decades. I rarely even feel a twinge of guilt that there was some thirty-something woman in my backwoods town who may or may not have known that she was famous (or at least notorious) in the halls of our school.

But then.

Then along comes Mo Willens and turns my happy, peaceful logic upside down. With a Trixie that in no way deserves a Bimbo label.

Knuffle Bunny. And cute little Trixie with her lost green rabbit which looks astoundingly like our family's first really great stuffed animal. Clinique-green, sweater-ribbed, long eared Knuffle Bunny.

Shoot. Now I see Mrs. Jack Smith in a different light - as someone's little kid once, as someone's bride, as someone's mom, for all I know.

So, Trixie Smith, if you're out there, I never really thought you were a bimbo. In my seventh grade state of perpetual rightness, I may have questioned your choice of husband, but now I understand a thing or two about public appearance vs. private reality. I also now recognize the fact that you did not name yourself, and that you shouldn't have been held responsible for your parents' fancy. If our little pet name ever reached your ears, I hope it only made you laugh at what idiots seventh graders can be. As we surely were.

Sorry, Mrs. Smith.

The Historian

I stayed up two hours past the usual and finished "The Historian" last night. (Husband is out of town, nuff said.) It is an interesting book, written in a different style than I would have thought, considering the subject matter.


it's less scary than I'd expect. No gratuitous violence, gore, or jumping-out-from-dark-corners.

it's totally nonsexual. Since it's told from the viewpoint of a teenage girl, I feared the whole Dracula comes for the innocent maiden thing.

the voices are distinct. Everybody gets to tell their story, from a fifteenth-century monk to a half-infected vampire heiress, to a range of historians (any of whom could be the title character, but I think are not - it's the girl).

it's more academic than story-ish. The idea is that we are dissecting a myth and following it to its source to see if we can end it. But the idea of vampire hunting implies a different feeling. Altogether this was a story of pity and remorse, of growing into new roles (action from the researcher, strength from the protected one, honesty from the secretive).

I read it because it was recommended, and I finished it (which says something about what's there as well as what isn't). I didn't love it, and I didn't feel like it was compelling until the last hundred (of 775) pages - with one exception. Someone has to kill a friend who is infected by a vampire bite but is not yet fully undead. That scene is tender, heart-touching, and spare. Nothing gratuitous. And those last hundred pages were good - intense, a little scary, but not nightmare-inducing. I'm thinking 2.5 stars (out of five).

Anyone else?

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Tax Day

It's April 15th. Not only are the taxes done, entered, and submitted, but the accountant has been paid and the refund has arrived.

And, sadly, been spent.


But there's a bit left to make up for the months when we determine that we must have something beyond the usual food and heat requirements. Like new mattresses for the kiddies. Because, ew. I'm just saying - and you probably don't want me to say more.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009


rain is not snow. and that is why rain is good.

also my grass is getting green. and long. and wet.

rain is good.

the sidewalks and driveways are writhing with worms, which matthew wants to save. not just rescue, you understand. save in perpetuity. and in the house.

don't you sleep better when you can hear the rain hitting the windows? maybe i'll go back to sleep right now.

yeah for the rain.

Monday, April 13, 2009


I have a good friend, and once in a while she recommends a book. She's been telling me for a few months about a book I have, have, have to read. Except that's all she's been telling me. Not anything about it. Just that it is spectacular. And I have to read it, I just have to.


Today I picked it up from the Library (strangely enough, my little backwoods library had copies - and they were IN) and started to read it.


It's about vampires. Dracula, in particular. Anyone care to guess the reason my dear Pat wouldn't tell me what the book was about? Yikes. I'm good and scared of vampires. (Long story, involving working at a totally different backwoods library in a totally different state at age 14, and working my way through the Stephen King section, and reading a completely convincing novel called "Salem's Lot" which I can only recommend if you love having the pants scared right off you, and being fairly sure ever since that vampires are real, are out there, and are not even remotely Edward-ish. This long story also helps explain my avoidance of the Twilight books till many years after the fad hit.)

So I'm giving it a try anyway, because I love my Pat. The book is "The Historian" by Elizabeth Kostova, and I will post a review if I manage to live through this experience.

And I'm sleeping with the lights on.


You know when you have an impressions that is just totally wrong? Yeah, like that.

This morning I took Kid 3 to her piano lesson, and her teacher was studious in her avoidance of me. So we're starting off this week on a good foot. She wouldn't look at me, and when Kid 3 asked me a question, Teacher asked her to turn back and face the piano right away. Eek.

So I determined to say nothing, and observe as inoffensively as possible.

After the lesson, Teacher asked how our Spring Break went, and we said fine, thanks, and yours? And she very nearly burst into tears and told me that her Dad died.


So that's what's upsetting you.

Once again, I vow not to let my impressions (so often mistaken that I should never, never trust them) get in the way of the facts.

Sunday, April 12, 2009


Happy Easter. This year, Easter was a much calmer effort than in years past. (*Sigh of relief*). Grandparents kept way under control. Our house is not full of chocolate eggs, or plastic eggs, or even colored eggs (except the naturally green ones left from what Mary brought over). It has been a calm and sweet season.

I love that today has been a quiet day of worship, and that the reason for celebrating was the resurrection of the Savior. It is a relief and a pleasure for the truth to win out over the commercialism.

Jesus Christ lived. He worked, he taught, he died. And he was resurrected. So will we all be.

Happy Easter.

Saturday, April 11, 2009


I'm not a big breakfast fan. I like water in the morning. Maybe some other stuff, sometimes granola (I can go months in that granola and water pattern), but sometimes not.

I have a white-flour breakfast family. Everyone in this house would be happy with white bread toast, white flour pancakes, bagels, muffins, scones, biscuits, or cold cereal every day. But I have breakfast guilt.

I know that if I'm sending these people out into the world for hours (between seven and ten hours) that I ought to fill them with something other than white flour and sugar.

But white flour and sugar makes them happy.


There's a lot to be said for happy.

So today I've made muffins. The kind with almost no redeeming value (plus butter and cinnamon). If I make a smoothie to go along with it (especially if I hide a couple carrots in there) I should dodge the guilt and I, even I, can be happy too.

Sheesh, this gig can be exhausting!

Friday, April 10, 2009

Winding up

Last official day of Spring Break, although we still have the weekend. It's been great to be lazy and have time to play together.

Today was Daddy Day. He orchestrated a grand day out, and kept it all a secret from the kiddies. We drove more than an hour to a remarkable store - remarkable in its bizarreness. (Apparently, according to the spell-check, that's a word.)

The store is like a cross between a discount department store and an army surplus. I shudder just thinking of it. But the kids, armed with $20 each (a fortune to all) found treasures inside. I found dust. And strange plastic/foam smells. And itchy eyes, so maybe even cats.


But it was a great adventure for them, and now I can't say I've never been to Smith and Edwards Country Boy Store.

And now, Gideon: Tuba Warrior (Veggie Tales Feature of the Evening). Yeah, Vacation!

Thursday, April 9, 2009


Remember how I was going to get all that good stuff done? Um.

Instead I found this, where the hilarious Maureen Johnson has pledged to blog every day in April. I have just spent a very funny forty minutes reading her first week's entries. And watching the opening credits of "Fame" and maybe a little "Monsterpiece Theatre."

So much for that personal hygiene I've made so much of.


I woke up to more snow this morning. I wonder if the fact that I neither cursed nor went back to bed means that I'm finally accepting the reality of living here in the mountains. It's only been seven and a half years. But come on, people. It's the middle of April!

The kids slept over at Grandma's last night (yeah, Spring Break!), went to the movies, ate yummy food, played cards, and had a huge party. I just got the call telling me they'll be returned to me after lunch. (!)

I've already gotten 2,000 words done today, and now it looks like I have hours more time to go. Maybe I'll shower (because personal hygiene comes somewhere after getting my words written and before going back to bed) and then write some more. Or I could vacuum. And do a load of laundry. And wash some windows (inside only - it's snowing, remember?) and clean some bathrooms.

And there's the Meet the Masters art project (Leonardo da Vinci) that I have to teach next week, which really needs to be painted today...

Okay. Here's The Plan.

Write 1,000 more.
Da Vinci paintings.
Nap till the kids return.

How sweet it is!

Wednesday, April 8, 2009


If I make a comment on a blog, and am required to verify, I am taken by surprise when I realize that my verification is really an actual word. Which causes me to wonder...

Are all the verifications real words? Are there that many words that I have never seen, let alone understood or used?

It makes me feel a little small.

And don't even get me started on how I feel if the word is some sort of directive (such as "simplify" or "atone" or "mismanage"). It's all too personal. And yes, I tend to take my fortune cookies as literal prophesies. But only if they're good ones. (The prophesies, not the cookies.)

Info Dump

I love the beginning stage of a first draft. A thousand words at a time, just chucked out there. There's a little thought to pacing, and what to write and what to withhold, but mainly it is fun to just get it down. Knowing that the majority of this particular draft will probably be cut, or at least rearranged, there's no real fear about it being any good. Because it doesn't have to be good now. It just has to appear on the page.

A thousand words at a time.

No problem.

And I have notes. Real notes with plot ideas! Which means I've done a lot of the hard (for me) part already. Now I get to discover character motivations, voices, and desires. That's fun - almost like making new friends, if by "making" I mean inventing, and by "friends" I mean pretend people who inhabit a story.

So on, on to victory - or at least another first draft. Because there may come a day when the words won't come, or the characters will only fit into narrow, cliched confines. But today is not that day. (Cue the music from "Return of the King").

Isn't writing fun?

Tuesday, April 7, 2009


We're going to the zoo today. It feels like spring, and it's spring break, and we're going to spend the day outside. So there.

Except I don't actually love the zoo. I have guilt about it, in fact. I love to watch the animals (from far away) but I hate the idea of the cramped quarters. I understand the idea that a zoo environment is safe for them (keeping them from predators and diseases and starvation and all that) but could an animal enjoy enforced safety any more than a person could? How would a tiger know he's being protected inside his chain-linked enclosure if he was born there? Could he appreciate a hunk of meat tossed in six out of seven days if he's never had to hunt? Something inside me thinks that creature was made to run and hide and hunt and slink and defy natural death.

So a zoo is artificial, but does that make it bad? My writing is just as artificial. These are not real people in real situations. I create the reflection of real life, just like the elephant house creates the reflection of Africa in Salt Lake City. I put my characters on a page and have them do tricks, just like the gorillas do a show for carrots and cantaloupe. What's the difference?

Maybe there is no difference, and maybe that's why sometimes I feel guilt about writing, too. Is someone really paying for this?

But, on the other hand, my kids love the zoo. They love the animals. They love the stink, and the adventure, and the interaction. And I'm willing to pay for that.

Monday, April 6, 2009

another new beginning

So maybe it's true that I have a hard time finishing things I start. But today I had a great writing morning, just playing with something new. Maybe I should be plugging along with a story I've outlined, but I'm just not feeling it.

So I sat down and pounded out a thousand words, and the thing is, at the moment I like them. I do. That's fun. Today I remember why I like to write.

Maybe I need to put away the other thing for a while, and just give myself to this new project for a couple of months. Maybe I'll rediscover the voice that I've been missing since January. And maybe it will become my new favorite book.

It could happen!

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Debt Addiction

Does anyone else think Robert Hales is a genius?

Tell it like it is, brother.

Friday, April 3, 2009


My friend Mary keeps chickens. I want to keep chickens, but it's against the rules where my house is. Mary just called to say that she's bringing by some things, including eggs.

Here's the thing about Mary's eggs (or technically, Mary's chickens' eggs). They are almost too pretty to eat. There are brown ones, and blue ones, and green ones, and almost pink ones. They're small and pointy and perfect and beautiful. I want to put them in a glass vase on my counter (but I understand e-coli and salmonella, so I'll refrain) and look at them all day.

There is something so good about providing beautiful protein like that for your family. If we ever move, I hope to have a little more property so I can keep a little flock of busybody, bustling fat ladies making eggs and eating my compost. But I doubt I could eat them. THe chickens, I mean. For all the obvious reasons, plus the fact that I'm not a huge fan of chicken meat (yeah, I know - it's unfashionable, but I prefer red meat... the redder the better).

Thursday, April 2, 2009


Is there anything harder than finding the world's most perfect pair of Jeans? Maybe not if you happen to possess the world's finest legs/backside. I do not. Not even close.

But once in a while, that whole cosmic karma thing works in my favor, and I end up with great jeans that do their job (make me look 10 pounds lighter, natch). The ones from last spring are starting to lose their integrity (and one pocket), so it's time once again to throw myself into the arena and hopefully come out victorious.

See, my problem is that for the past several years, jeans makers (specifically the affordable kind - everyone under $75) have aimed toward the slender, slinky, willowy market. I don't even know how to locate that market. But there is a trend (over the past couple years) to segment into the "curvy" demographic. The women shaped more like (oh, let's just say it) women. Women with hips. And thighs. Like me.

So today I went looking, and ended up with two (2) pairs of jeans from different stores. Success! We'll see how deep a success when I wear them in public (or in front of anyone other than my 5-year-old son, who would tell me I look good in anything, including swimwear *ick* and really ill-advised maternity-style tops, a topic for another day).

Hey, let's apply this to writing, shall we?

There are a lot of readers out there. They do not all fit easily into one category, even if it seems like the mainstream YA market is fairly structured to hold what I consider to be too much sex, language, drug glorification, self-inflicted agony and whatnot. Let's call this the "skinny jean" syndrome. To some, the Skinny Jean is simply a mistake. Nobody should ever wear it, now that Audrey Hepburn is dead. That's a fair opinion, and one you're entitled to. But if you're into skinny jeans, well, there they are. All around. Easy to find, and easy to afford.

But some of us don't do skinny jeans, for our own reasons (hips, thighs, good taste, whatever). Is there a market segment for us? What if we want to read about something other than hot, cold vampires? What if fantasy isn't our love? What if we expect a book winning awards to be tastefully written, and not full of language that makes us cringe? What if subtle sexual tension is just sexier to us than straightforward, detailed encounters? Can we find such things?

We're willing to pay more for quality pocket placement, too. The things that make the great jeans (or good books) really stand out. The difference is, I would rather have one spectacular pair of $100 jeans than 5 iffy pairs of $40 jeans. But I won't be satisfied with one great book. I need a steady diet of them. At least two a week, I'm thinking. So bring them on. Send them my way. Give me clean, fun, real, interesting, deep, new, fresh, witty, and fabulous. (All at once might be too much to ask for, but I can try!)

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

April Fool

So I've never been any good at April Fooling. Maybe it's because I think it's mean. Maybe it's because I'm the one who has to clean up whatever it is . Maybe because, at my core, I have no sense of humor.

That's sounding more and more likely.

Last year, Scott rigged this terrifyingly realistic (okay, only in the heat of the moment) mouse to the end of some fishing line and had the rodent "run" out from under the couch at the end of family prayer. Here we all are, on our knees, at 6.45 a.m. and being attacked by a bouncing, hopping, horrible mouse.

He's still sleeping on the couch.

This year, though, he decided to bring it down a bit. So this morning he asked a kid to get down some bowls for breakfast, and thirty balls fell down on her head. She laughed. (I may not have. I'm just saying.) Then he served another kid a bowl of Cheerios (and the kid went "woot-woot" because cereal for breakfast is an odd and momentous occasion). When she went to dip her spoon in and get some of that goodness inside her, the spoon clunked off the cereal. With a "ka-thack" noise. He had frozen the cereal and milk into the bowl last night. Everyone laughed at that. Even me, because the cereal was on sale.

So I may have no sense of humor, but Scott is cute.

And won't have to sleep on the couch anymore.

Till next mouse attack.