Friday, July 29, 2005

Why Me? Seriously...Why Me?

Quote of the Day: "Why do we call something sent by car a "shipment" and something sent by ship a "cargo?"

I hope to high heaven that I am not the only mother on this earth whose kids embarrass her daily. We're talking DAILY.
Don't get me wrong, my kids are generally well behaved at home, it's just when we get out in public (and they know I won't swat them in front of onlookers) they turn into little Jekyll/Hydes and there isn't one bloody thing I can to about it.
Yesterday was a classic. Backstory: our dog, Hagan, met a new "puppy friend" a few days ago, and my children found it highly entertaining that he was sniffing the pup's butt. I told them that that's how dogs greeted each other--by sniffing each other's butts. End of story. Or so I thought...
Cue to yesterday, when I was standing in the impossibly long Target line (I swear, I could go to the local Target at 5am in the morning and it would STILL be overcrowded, forcing me to park three miles from the main entrance...grrrrr...) Anyway, I'm taking my check card out of my wallet, and the cashier just busts out laughing. I wasn't sure if she was posessed/demonic/or suffering from drug withdrawals, so I didn't immediately look at what she was laughing at, because I was busy paying for my items. She finally asked me "is he yours?" and I turned around, and lets just say, what I saw, made me want to scream in horror:

Thing Three (my four-year old) was running up behind each person in line and sniffing their butts. And no, I am not kidding. He was getting right up close to their cracks and sniffing...just like Hagan.

I think he would have gone unnoticed except for the unfortunate "larger" lady in line three people down. After he "sniffed" her butt he said very loudly "PEWEEEEE!" and of course everyone turned to look at him.

Needless to say I was ready for the big black hole to open up in the earth and swallow me up--any moment. But it didn't, and I marched over to him and dragged him by the arm away from the people and told him (in a hissing whisper) that if he ever did that again I'd string him up by his toes and whack him with anything I could find, AND he'd be grounded for LIFE and BEYOND!!!

I am happy to say that after several at-length explanations about why we DON'T sniff people's butts, EVER, he has become contrite and promised me that he'll "never do it again."
I hope he's sincere. My nerves couldn't handle THAT again. It's almost as bad as when he was a young kid and he pointed directly to the (overlarge) breasts of a young girl and said quite loudly "WOW MOM, LOOK AT THE BOOBIES!"

I think I need a sedative.

On the Writing front, I am happy to report that I didn't write a word yesterday. I took a break. I have one YA novel that I need to finish this year, so I dusted it off and reread it last night, and I have some fresh ideas. Also, hubby is gone in Las Vegas for six days next week, so that means some serious quality writing time. Hooray!

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

I DID IT.

I finished my mystery novel today! I cranked out nearly 5200 words this morning and I'M DONE!!! HOORAY!

Go me! I need to send a huge box of chocolates and a bottle of Martinelli's to my Muse.

Now the editing begins...

The Accommodating Muse...

Movie Quote of the Day: "You look familiar... have I threatened you before?"--Captain Jack Sparrow, Pirates of the Caribbean

Okay, so "Pirates of the Caribbean" is one of my favorite movies--can't help it. I love "pirate" movies. You know, the swashbuckling kind with lots of treasure and witty one-liners and damsels in distress. Movies like that always seem to inspire me. Sort of like the Indiana Jones movies. Any time there's treasure involved, I'm THERE. (Can I tell you, I REJOICED when "National Treasure" came out.) They don't make fun treasure movies anymore. Sahara was just O.K.--it had too much icky back story. I like it when they FIND THE GOLD. BRING ON THE GOLD!!! (Jewels are cool too..heh heh).

One of my favorite all-time movies is The Goonies, because its about regular kids who find a treasure map (belonging to One-Eyed Willie, a local legendary pirate) and they solve the clues and have all sorts of adventures, and find a whole, intact pirate ship in an underground cavern, complete with lots of treasure. Maybe that movie (I saw it at a young age) is what inspired me the most.

The novel I'm currently writing is middle-grade mystery caliber, and there's a Spanish treasure involved. (Not to mention time-travel, and adventures and famous historical figures) I have to say it: it's been GREAT FUN to write. And I'm nearly finished. I think I'll have the story finished in the first week of August, and then the final edits finished by September 1. Then I'll ship it off to my agent and get his response. Then I'll have plenty to keep me busy--he's expecting my YA novel (yes, the one I only have 14,000 words on--pathetic) sometime this year so I'll get cracking on that as soon as I have the polished manuscript of my mystery off to him.

For some reason, my muse has been so accommodating this month! I've gotten more writing done in one month than I have in the last SIX months--I don't know why I have this sudden burst of energy/creativity/motivation but I have been going like gangbusters and DARN IT, something good is going to come out of it, I hope! I feel like I've been asleep for a very long time and I'm finally waking up--and the sun is shining full-blast on my face!

I got out 3800 words yesterday, I wrote a funny scene where my heroine travels to 15th-century England to try to find her Uncle (who is MIA) and she encounters all sorts of lovely smells and odors. (They weren't very hygienic back then--didn't even have toilets). She's suffering quite grandly on that scale, and I'm having fun with it because she's a total Priss and needs to get her hands dirty somewhat. She'll come out of this one relatively unscathed, but definitely more tolerant.

Well, gotta get going on it! The Muse is waiting!

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

RAIN = UGH.

Quote of the Day: "Why don't sheep shrink when it rains?"-- Stupidest Question of the Month

Speaking of rain, ENOUGH already! Well, apparently we were in a drought until last week, so the rain is welcome, but all the Tennis lessons and T-ball games have been cancelled for two weeks running at this point. Looks like this week will be more of the same.

Last night was scary. Well, sort of. All day long Thing Two was running up the stairs telling me about Tornado warnings on the TV. They weren't for our county, so I told him not to worry. (Which is about as easy as telling the Pope not to wear a tall hat--Thing Two is OBSESSED with a Tornado coming and hitting our house and sucking it away into the sky, click here to see what I mean).

Well, last night, after Hubby and I had put the kids to bed, a tornado warning came on the TV, for OUR county. (Thank Heaven Thing Two was asleep!) But we naturally became a bit nervous because all the bedrooms are on the top level of the house. So I told Hubby to go to bed (he has an early start every morning) and I said I'd stay up and listen for tornado alarms until the warning had expired (which was around 12:15 a.m.)

So I got to writing. I wrote and wrote on this novel (that is apparently writing itself, because I wrote another 2000 words in under two hours to make my grand total for the day 5200K) and I was typing away at around midnight in my office when I heard it: the distinct sound of the Tornado horn.

Adrenaline kicked in, and I ran upstairs and flipped on the light switch that turns on every light in the upstairs hallway (Hubby put in REVEAL lightbulbs in the lamps so it is literally BLINDING at night) and Hubby sprang out of bed (poor thing, he was dead asleep) and helped me carry the kids down to the guest bedroom in the basement, where we put all three of them into the large bed. Then we grabbed the dog and hunkered down, waiting to see what happened.

Obviously we weren't hit by a tornado--I don't know if one actually ever touched down close to us, but we had severe thunderstorms ( you know, like the ones in the movies) and we only moved the kids back up several hours later when we knew it was safe.

So, I'm dead again once more, having gotten only 3 hours of sleep. I made Hubby sleep on my side of the bed again (see previous post) and he slept like a log, but I was uncomfortable because his side of the bed doesn't "feel" right. You know how when you slip on someone else's shoes, they feel weird on your feet because they've worn in the right places to fit the previous wearer's foot exactly? That's how Hubby's side of the bed feels.

I guess I'm doomed to Zombiedom for a while--at least until this heat wave passes.

Monday, July 25, 2005

The Psychotic Husband

Movie Quote of the Day:
Will : You didn't beat me; you ignored the rules of engagement. In a fair fight, I'd have killed you.
Jack : And that's no incentive for me to fight fair, is it?
--Pirates of the Caribbean, Curse of the Black Pearl

I had a VERY long night. Yesterday was the hottest day of the year (and consequently the hottest night) it was 90 degrees (with 85% humidity, UGH) at midnight, and Hubby was MISERABLE. Therefore, I was miserable, as he tossed and turned, threw off the sheet, tossed and turned some more (did you turn the air up? NO! I DIDN'T TURN THE AIR UP!!) and turned the heat down to 72, a.k.a. FREAKING ICE COLD.

Here's the problem: the air conditioning vent is right next to the bed, on MY side. So it blows on me and I freeze to death, while he sweats way over on HIS side. Many times I have suggested that we trade sides, but he won't hear of it. THIS IS WHY MY HUSBAND IS PSYCHOTIC.

Or, at least stubbornly "cutting off his nose despite his face." Ever since we've been married, (nine years) I've had the right side of the bed, he's had the left. It's just the way it is. So, we always have BIG problems when it comes to watching TV, reading at night, etc. The reason? I'm on the wrong side of the bed for everything. Case in point One:
The TV is on the right side of the room. Hubby likes to watch TV lying down, and constantly complains that he "can't see over me" so I either A) Squish myself flat and watch TV in a very uncomfortable position, or B) Yell at him to get off his back and sit up because he'd never, EVER SWITCH SIDES.

Case in point Two: I like to read at night, but the table and lamp are on HIS side of the bed. I tell him "if we just switched, it would be fine." But you can imagine his response. So this morning I will be going out and buying a lamp for MY side.

And NOW, the air-conditioning vent:

Finally, at three in the morning, when I couldn't feel my limbs because they were frozen, I sat up and told Hubby that he either traded sides with me on the bed, or SO HELP ME I'M GOING TO CLOSE THE &*@#**!! AIR CONDITIONING VENT ENTIRELY!!!!

He said "Oh no you're not!" So I said he'd better change with me.
Mumbling and grumbling about my side "feeling weird" and yadda yadda yadda, he reluctantly switched sides, and LO AND BEHOLD--he could go to sleep! He even ran downstairs after a while and turned the air back up to 75, because he was a little "cold."

SNORT. MEN. PSYCHOTIC.

In other news, congratulations, Lance Armstrong. I'm sure all your fellow Tour de Francer's are jumping up and down with unmitigated glee, since now that you're retiring, they actually stand a chance next year. (Not that they are bitter about you hogging the limelight for seven years running--they really do acknowledge your supreme talent, etc. etc. and etc..)

Hey, I wear a Live strong bracelet too--I'm not dissing you. Just from here on out, the Tour de France will stop being so...predictable, you know?

I got in a meager 1000 words this weekend, which is actually a slight miracle because it was a crazy weekend. But now it's back to the grind, even though I'm worried about falling on my face in my cereal this morning because of NO sleep due to my PSYCHOTIC HUSBAND!!!!!

Okay, got that out--feeling better now.

Saturday, July 23, 2005

An Unintended Reaction...

Quote of the Day: "Confucius say too much."

I am happy to announce that Thing One has kept her bedroom clean (and bed made every day) for an ENTIRE MONTH. This is more than just momentous--it's a miracle.
Hopefully she's a reformed seven-year old. Before, well, lets just call her Queen of the Shove Job. Closets, under the bed, drawers, anywhere she could cram toys and paper, that's where she hid them and claimed that her room was "clean."
(Now, granted, I was the exact same way when I was her age, in fact, I still kind of am that way, so I wanted to teach her right to avoid learning my shortcuts.) So one day, we tackled her room together, organized it, threw away a lot of broken toys and junk, boxed up some clothes, and organized her closet. She's very proud of her room now. I'm proud of her room too.
But the other day she did tell me: "Mom, clean rooms are so boring!"

Yep, she's my daughter...

On the writing front yesterday, I got in 2500 words in two hours. I mean, this is the first time that I've had a novel truly seem to...well...write itself. And my characters keep surprising me. For example, I had my heroine finally break down and confess The Big Secret to her long-time boy/neighbor friend--and I was planning on having him be incredulous, aghast, stunned, and freak out on her a little, but he surprised me.
Instead, he told her that he believed her, and that he'd help her. Then he left her in his wake with her mouth hanging open stupidly.

You see, my 14-year old boy character is intelligent beyond his years, and apparently, he sort of already knew the secret, and had suspicions before my heroine confessed all to him.
This made things MUCH easier, and I soon realized that he's too pragmatic to be all freaked out over something so cerebral and scientific. So I'm not changing his reaction. I probably would have wasted precious pages having him stunned/upset/disbelieving/mad at her for being kept in the dark, etc. anyway.
I like getting surprises. You plan on writing the story one way, and sometimes the characters take over. Hey, I'm all for that!

Hubby is coming home today from L.A. He of course ran into famous people the entire time (I don't think he even gets starstruck anymore) but I think it was a good trip for both of us because, well, to be honest, I don't get much writing done when he's home. He likes to "hang out" at night and that means no computer time for me. But I'm glad he's back. I missed him.

Have a great weekend!
Lara

Friday, July 22, 2005

My Night of "Terror"...

Quote of the Day--Horror Movie Wisdom:

1) When it seems that you've killed the monster, never check to see if it's really dead.
2) If your children speak to you in Latin or any other language which they do not know, or if they speak using a voice other than their own, shoot them at once. It will save you a lot of grief in the long run.
3) If you're running from the monster, you will most likely trip or fall. If you are female you will.
4) If your car runs out of gas at night, do not go to the nearby deserted-looking house to phone for help.
5) People arriving to rescue you generally get ambushed by the monster, so don't rely on them as your only means of escape. In fact, expect to be surprised and delayed by encountering their flayed corpse at some point.

And my personal favorite:

6) Do not search the basement, especially when the power has just gone out.

I spent about two hours last night, in the power-outed basement (and SUB-basement) of a nearly 400 year old mansion, with my heroine. It was, to say the least, terrifying. In fact, it was one of the first times that I felt I was really there with her, jumping at shadows, feeling blindly in the tomblike blackness, screaming at the noises that weren't my own...and of course the phone rang in the middle of it and I nearly jumped out of my skin...

Writing is such an emotional thing. And I nearly always get emotionally involved.

I have to say, yesterday was productive. I got in 6000 words yesterday (this novel seems to be writing itself) and the only way I did it was because it was thundering and storming all day and all the kids' sports were cancelled, so they hunkered down in the basement and watched movies and played, while I tapped away upstairs on my laptop.
I originally wasn't going to have my heroine go through the whole "floundering in the dark basement" thing, but that scene just came out as I was typing and I let myself get caught up in it. As it thundered and flashed outside my window, it thundered and flashed outside her windows...
At least my power didn't go out! (No, it wouldn't have been scary, just highly annoying.)

Of course after that I was bad and spent over an hour yacking with a friend online (that was TOO much fun, Michelle!) and didn't get a thing done, but it was worth it because my writer friends are the best.

Now I have to clean my kitchen. I'm not going to get much writing done today because it's a Clean the Neglected House day...(heh heh).

Thursday, July 21, 2005

I Am A Smart A$$...

I just want everyone to know, here and now, that I am a Smarta$$.

My mother thinks I am, my sister thinks I am, my hubby KNOWS I am, and my children (bless them) are becoming little smart a$$es, because of my less-than-stellar example.

You reap what you sow, people. Always remember that.

Excuse me, while I go back to being a...well, you know.

Back to our regularly scheduled programming.

Thanks for your patience.

Inspiration...


This is Monet's "Champ de Coquelicots," my favorite painting of all time. I love the works of the great Impressionists: Monet, Renoir, Manet--their works speak to me and inspire me in so many ways.
I first saw this painting (well, a copy of it, not the original) when I was seventeen. I think at the time it appealed to me because it had my favorite colors in the world together: Reds, blues, greens--in fact, it inspired a scene in one of my novels. In my "Other World, Sophie, my main character, wanders into a field not unlike this one--the poppies stretch beyond what the eye can see, to the mountains, in the distance, (only my mountains are taller, more breathtaking.) Monet's piece inspired me to write.

What else inspires me? Music, movies, books--I truly am a creature of my environment. I take in everything about my surroundings--and process it, and if it isn't in the least bit pleasing to my brain, I remove myself.
I didn't go to parties when I was a teenager. Too loud and obnoxious. When I was home, I was pretty solitary, I kept to my room and listened to music, because my room was a controlled environment--I could have all the inspiration I wanted at my fingertips--sunlight streaming in through a lace-curtained window--"mood music" on my stereo--whatever I wanted.

Don't get me wrong, I was fairly social in my own group that I ran with, in fact, I'm almost thankful I made the cheerleading squad (don't roll your eyes!) because it forced me out of my comfort zones and forced me to interact with others, and be IN FRONT of people, and kept me from being a total reclusive backwards hermit. I would have spent my life in my room otherwise, and been just as happy as a clam.
I am still somewhat that way--I like atmosphere. Soft lighting, comfortable chairs, music, all things that are conducive to writing. I'm at my best when I have that quiet and comfortable atmosphere all around me--shutting everything else out.

Now, I do have a degree of realism...as a mother of three young kids, who have seemingly unlimitless energy, I rarely get the "atmosphere" thing unless I write late at night, after they (and hubby, for that matter) have gone to bed. So I take it when I can get it.

I suppose my whole point to this post, is that I find it truly amazing, that a few swirls of paint on a canvas can have such an effect on me. What causes this reaction? My eyes see it, my brain processes it, and the result is that I am edified, lifted up, and there seems to be more beauty in the world. What is up with that?

I am lucky to have my own "office" in my home--a place with a comfy oversized chair, all my books, my desk, my stereo, and of course, a very large framed print of the above painting by Monet. I keep it close to me, as a reminder that I can be inspired. Even when I feel like my words have all dried up. I just look at the painting, imagine my heroine plunging into the masses of red petals, touched with vibrant green, gazing off towards the distant mountains, the sunlight on her face...and the words start flowing once more.

Now that's power.

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

I Need Sleep...

Quote of the Day: "If you want a rainbow--you have to put up with the rain."

Okay, that's TOTALLY corny, but very true. Especially in the Writing Career. If you want that Big Sale, (or even a small sale) you have to put up with all the "rain"--Rejections, waiting, editors, waiting, disappointments, waiting, writer's block, waiting, etc. (and did I mention WAITING??) Bah.
The hardest part for me is the waiting. Sometimes it's weeks, sometimes it's months. And that is truly torturous.

Sure, you try to delve into other projects, anything to get your mind off the fact that your manuscript is either sitting in a large slushpile, or in the "urgent" slot of an editor's inbox (depending on the connections of your agent, lack of one, etc.) and of course you have days when all you can do is think about if they're "reading it right now," and "what are they thinking" and "do they love your baby like YOU love your baby?" etc.. It's pure torture. Utter and complete.

I am exhausted. Of course, like an idiot I stayed up until 2am tinkering with my website. I've had it up for a couple of years because some people at church were very interested in the fact that I'm a writer, and a lot of young girls wanted to know how they could get published, land agents, write, etc.
So I started this website mainly for them, (so when they ask me questions I just hand them my card and they can look them up, because I was getting asked the same questions over and over) but I decided to revisit it and make some changes. It's my first website and I'm proud of it. I'll put the link in my "Pretty Dang Cool Links" section too. I confess I am still quite "green" in the writing business, but I know enough to get by.

I got 1500 words out yesterday. I would have gotten out more, but I was editing. Editing sucks your life away, and makes you tired, I swear. Also we'd had a long day with Tennis and T-ball and Gymnastics lessons. My kids didn't even want to play after we got home. They wanted to fall straight into bed so I was happy to oblige.
Today we have a break from sports, so we're going to swim and hang out and relax. (Sorry Colin, I'm mentioning the POOL again!) It's just so refreshing, and I let my kids play for hours in it...

Some of my writer friends, Ann, Devon and Michelle were talking about Writing Muses on their blogs. Their muses are in human form, but I don't think my muse ever has been. I know she's a SHE, and she's like a shimmering silvery vapory mist. If anything, she might resemble Mrs. Which, from A WRINKLE IN TIME--she never materializes fully, just a pair of glasses on some flowing sheets. That's how my muse has always been. And she's not cheeky or rude or obnoxious, but she whispers to me and she guides me with absolute patience and gentle enthusiasm. I love my muse. She's been with me the past few weeks--and I don't want to offend her so I'm working hard.

Speaking of which, I have errands to run! I have to find the balance between Mommy and Writer--someday I'll get it, like about the time my babies leave home...

*Sniff*

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Writing Week!

Quote of the Day: "Man invented language to satisfy his deep need to complain. "--Lily Tomlin

I just got Hubby off to L.A.--and that means until Saturday night, I can get a LOT of writing done. Five whole days. (and five whole nights!) I should get a MAJOR chunk of this novel written. I started out with an idea, a sort of "fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants" thing, and then things just started falling into place. I love when that happens. Now I have outlined the story and I have a clear direction, but it's the first novel that has been REALLY fun for me to write. (After all, writing is supposed to be fun, right?) Or at least somewhat enjoyable.

Left the kids with Hubby (whose nose was buried in the latest Harry Potter) and made a solo trip to Half Price Books last night--they were awful thin on the history books that I wanted--but I did find THE SPANISH ARMADAS by Winston Graham. Very informative, and great pictures. I am researching as I write this time, because sometimes I can get so caught up in research, I put off the writing and the muse flees.

It's supposed to be another beautiful, sunny day! I love summertime. Of course I get to run around with all the sports lessons the kids have, but aftwards we'll all take a dip in the pool!

Monday, July 18, 2005

The "Larasphere"...

Quote of the Day: The average woman would rather have beauty than brains, because the average man can see better than he can think.

I actually got some writing done yesterday, about 1600 words, which is a minor miracle considering how stupefied my brain felt after my Harry Potter read-a-thon.
It’s funny, a writer in the forum I lurk at, (unless there's a post about the boy wizard) screamed in all caps yesterday “I AM SO SICK OF HARRY POTTER!!!” Can’t say I blame her. The non-readers will never understand.

Now I’m getting back to normal, I have lots of dishes to clean, and a house to tidy, a novel to write (two, actually, but I’m more excited about one of them right now) and I think if I really push it, I’ll have it finished by September. First Draft, for sure. I just need to keep plowing away on it. If I knock out 1k to 2k a day, I’ll definitely reach my goal of 40,000 by then.

Writing for children comes so easily for me. Maybe it’s because deep down, I still am a child. I like to be na├»ve at times, and think the world is a good place. I like to think that there are happy endings. I like to think that people out there give a dang and that things can be good and noble and true.

Guess I’d better stay away from the news! Life completely sucks for a lot of unfortunate people out there, I read about them or watch it on TV every day. It can really get one down—that’s why I turn to writing. It’s my escape, into my own world, so I don’t have to deal constantly with the Real World. That would be too much for every day.

I’m sure that’s not a good thing to do, but it gives me hope and preserves my enthusiasm for Life in general. Without Writing and that escape into my own “Larasphere” I would soon become an embittered cynical skeptic, and find little joy in anything.

That’s not what I want for me. So, into the Larasphere I go. It’s a nice place. I’m in a cozy old castle, staring out at the gray mists of the English moors, with a roaring fire inside and drowsy lamplight warming the overstuffed chair I’m sitting in as I type. There are tapestries and rich paintings on the walls, and I can hear the distant tinkering of some classical piece on a piano several rooms down, echoing quietly, mixing with my thoughts.
Yes, the Larasphere is a much nicer place to be.

Gotta forego the Larasphere for reality for a while--I have a TON of errands and little jobs to do today, including cleaning the house. Man, it's amazing what the Weekend Tornado can accomplish, if I'm not keeping Him in check. (More like three "little" tornados-in-training but same difference). I make them help me clean now. They really hate cleaning. So I tell them not to mess things up, and they won't have to do so much! *wink*

I guess the Larasphere has to wait until tonight...

Sunday, July 17, 2005

OH MY HECK...

Well, I just finished it. I just finished reading Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. I am sitting here, at my computer, stupefied.

Stupefied at the amazing genius of J.K. Rowling, and stupefied emotionally because very rarely do books make me cry. Movies--well, the floodworks always have a 90% chance of happening. But books--I can only think of one other book in my entire lifetime that has made me cry.

This latest installment is dark, yet humongously satisfying, and I read most of it with my mouth hanging open in bewildered awe. No, it can't be. It CAN'T be! But it was, and even though I saw it coming, I was devastated when it did happen.

This installment is definitely J.K.'s best. Hands down.

So, now my life will return to relative normalcy. Amazing that the work of a writer can have such an effect on it!

All I can say is--when will we get Book Seven?

Friday, July 15, 2005

Hmmm, is this really me?

Your Blogging Type is Confident and Insightful
You've got a ton of brain power, and you leverage it into brilliant blog.
Both creative and logical, you come up with amazing ideas and insights.
A total perfectionist, you find yourself revising and rewriting posts a lot of the time.
You blog for yourself - and you don't care how popular (or unpopular) your blog is!

Thing One is a Writer!

Quote of the Day: "There's so much comedy on television. Does that cause comedy in the streets?"-- Dick Cavett (mocking the TV-violence debate)

I think my dog is jealous of my new fish. (Either that or he thinks he'll make a tasy morsel.) I've started putting Paulie's bowl up higher, because Hagan is definitely too interested in the little bugger.
My dog is strange. He's like a goat: he'll eat ANYTHING. (Well, not anything. For instance, he won't eat the plastic twisty-ties that come off the bread packaging, and he won't eat glitter. Otherwise, he's pretty much open).
I fished a hair scrunchie out of his jaws just this morning, and don't even get me started on all the paper I've rescued from him. Crazy dog. YOU HAVE A BOWL FULL OF FOOD BY THE LAUNDRY ROOM DOOR! WHAT IS YOUR PROBLEM?

And now, he's eyeing my fishy. Bad dog. Hopefully setting Paulie up high will cure the problem.

On the Writing front, I was so proud of Thing One yesterday. She takes after me. She loves to write stories. Give her a pen and a composition notebook and she's happy as a clam for hours at a time, making up stories and illustrating them. I almost teared up the other day when she asked me if she needed more dialogue in a passage, and THEN asked me if she should use ellipses at the end for supsense...*sigh* (Lara wipes a *happy* tear from her eye) My little Thing One is a writer!

Of course, at the tender age of 7, she has a ways to go. I was about her age when I realized that Writing was my calling. To me it was the coolest thing in the world, to be able to create my own worlds and characters and breathe life into anything I wanted to, through storytelling. I loved to tell stories. I'm sure I bored my high school friends (who bless them, pretended to act interested) when I'd read them excerpts of my novels-in-progress, and ask for feedback. And I NEVER forgave the boy who mocked all the names I'd made up for my medieval novel. "Sappy" my eye! I never went out with him. I made him sorry. (Or at least I'd like to think so!)

I was hit by a major lightning bolt last night. My agent is always telling me that my main characters should have a "purpose." They should want to "accomplish something" and it's up to me to decided what that is. Well, it came to me last night in a flash, and it involves a real character from history, but so little is known about her I think I could get away with putting her in my work of fiction. VERY exciting. I love having poetic license!

Well, have to run, Hagan is going to the groomers, and then we have Tennis lessons and "A Day at Hogwarts." Busy busy busy! I guess I'll have to work on my "stellar" idea later.

Thursday, July 14, 2005

One Day to Go!!!

Quote of the Day: "When you're dead, you're dead."--J.K. Rowling

Here are some fun Harry Potter-related links I just discovered:

Bloomsbury just released the BACK cover of HBP WITH the words! (warning, spoiler alert)

The Secret Doors Of J.K. Rowling's official website. HP Lexicon has cleverly reproduced them so you can open the door to the "Room of Requirement" again and again. But watch out for Peeves!

Also, Scholastic has released the full cover art for the HP Deluxe Edition, and it is VERY interesting. Harry and Dumbledore are making their way to an old dilapidated house in the woods, and it looks like a mystery man (Wormtail?) is making his way to the front door, which, by the way, has a serpent very clearly on it. (Can't be very good news for anyone who stumbles upon it, you know?)

There are lots of articles cropping up about IDIOTS at retailers selling the new Book Six early. I guess it's going to happen--there are people in this world (I was one of them until my sister persuaded me to give the series a try) who don't have a clue who Harry Potter is and for all they know, Dumbledore is some sort of Door-knocker you can buy at Home Depot.
So, when they get the books delivered to their shop/store/drugstore, DESPITE the flaming words across the packaging which read: DO NOT OPEN UNTIL JULY 16TH, they still open the box and put the durned things out. (I don't know about these people-- you have to have been dwelling under a ROCK for the past six months to not know what's going on...)

I will be content to get mine in the mail on Saturday. (I was the one of the first to order it way back in January (or was it december?) when Amazon first had it available. Let me tell you this--if my copy doesn't come in the mail for some strange reason, I WILL be going to the nearest store and buying a copy--AS IF I would go an entire weekend without reading it!

--On the writing front, I have been just too darn busy! My Hubby and I have had a lot going on, and although I did sit down for about 20 minutes last night to write (we must have missed each other, Michelle!) I only got out about 400 words out, and I had to go do something else. BAH.
I think I might make some time today--and maybe...hmmm...SURF the Internet less? (when I do surf, it's all in the name of Research, baby, research)

One Day to Go!

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Lara's Harry Potter Predictions...

Harry Potter Factoid of the Day: "J.K. Rowling doesn't pronounce the “T” at the end of Voldemort. She pronounces it VOL-de-more."

**sidenote:** Thing Three is doing MUCH better today. I guess the antibiotics are working! Hooray!

Now, on to the business at hand. At the risk of alienating readers with my unabashed love of all things Harry Potter, I have decided to dedicate this entire post to the Boy Wizard.
Apparently I’m one of the few 30-something mothers who is not a "closet" fan of Harry Potter, (at least in the circles I run in) and until I read the durned thing, (the “durned thing” being Book Six) everyone is just going to have to bear with all my theories and links (not to mention book quotes ad nauseum, etc).
I promise, cross my heart, that once Book Six is released I’ll shut up relatively quickly about it, except to post my reactions. And then it will be back to my woes about raising kids, life, etc.

So here are my theories about Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (with two and a half days to go) from clues I’ve sorted out from the cover art and my meticulous readings of the first five books (which at this point are so dog-eared I’m going to have to buy another full set in the near future.) **WARNING: MASSIVE SPOILERS SO READ AT YOUR OWN RISK!!**

1) Someone will die.

(DUH) I personally believe it will be Dumbledore, because according to the Prophecy, Harry must face Voldemort alone, and as long as Dumbledore is alive, he will be there to “save the day” for Harry like he did in Order of the Phoenix. Dumbledore will have to make his exit sooner or later. Although I will be sad to see him go.

2) Someone will hook up.

I am a HUGE Ron/Hermione shipper, and frankly, anyone who reads the books should be able to figure it out. Hermione is always furious when Ron appears to be even mildly interested in any other girls, and she’s always giving Harry friendly advice on women.
Hmm. Let’s think about this: She HELPS Harry hook up with other chicks, and SCORNS Ron for thinking the same thing. What would anyone else with more than one brain cell conclude? And no, I DO NOT believe that Hermione and Draco is even an option. Not even remotely. (Sorry Jenny from Oakdale!)

As for Harry himself, I’d like to see him with Ginny Weasley. That poor girl has gone through enough, and frankly, she's earned it: possession by the Dark Lord, mental pain and torment (just from being a Weasley) a traumatic experience in the Chamber of Secrets, and mighty battles with Evil (i.e. the Department of Mysteries clash, etc.)
The girl has come into her own. She’s strong, like Harry, and she’s finally gotten over him so he can notice her. GO GINNY!

3) Draco Malfoy will stay bad.

Draco Malfoy, (like Severus Snape--another "baddy") is commonly misjudged by people, in my opinion. Everyone seems to think that Malfoy and Snape will turn all rosey-lovey-good when all is said and done.
Please people, if Jo had all her villains turning good in the end, it would be too “Brady Bunch” for her devoted readers, because in literature, some bad people really ARE bad, and they just don’t turn good, you know? I have a suspicion that Snape will prove to be good in the end, but what am I saying? He’s always been “good,” he is just clouded by his hatred for Harry’s father, (and consequently Harry).
It doesn’t make Snape bad, it makes him pitiable.

Draco, on the other hand, has no reason to turn good. At least not yet. He’s too evil and full of arrogant rage to join the ranks of the mudbloods and muggles and half-bloods. He’s too full of himself to see how miserable his life really is. With his father landed in Azkaban, who else can take over the whole Stinky Evil Malfoy Franchise? Oooh, maybe Narcissa. That will be interesting. My money is on Draco to stay bad. At least through Book Six.

4) Bellatrix Lestrange will torture/kill more people.

I think J.K. has a real diamond here, a character that is evil through and through (much like Voldy himself) and since my skin crawls whenever I think of what she did to the Longbottoms (and many others I’m sure) it's easy to assume that she makes the skin crawl of other readers as well.
Dolores Umbridge was deliciously hateful, but she was at least on the “good” side, misguided though her actions were.
Bellatrix Lestrange is just begging to be killed off, in spectacular fashion. And I hope to high heaven that it’s Neville who gets to do the job. GO NEVILLE! But I think Bellatrix will survive Book Six. She’d better bite it in Book Seven.

5) My Theories on the plot:

A) J.K. Rowling herself said that the opening Chapter of Book Six was originally meant for Chamber of Secrets, so we know that Books 2 and 6 are tied, somehow. My theory (after having seen the U.K. and U.S. versions’ cover art) is that we haven’t heard the last about the Chamber of Secrets.
Yes, the Basilisk was down there, but he’s been annihilated, and since it’s called the Chamber of SECRETS (and not the “Chamber of ONE Secret Only”) there is definitely more down there.
My guess? Salazar Slytherin has stored his personal Pensieve down in the Chamber, in an underground cavern only accessible by boat, and the pensieve contains everything he learned about Immortality.
Since Voldy is hell-bent on becoming immortal (I mean, the guy is obsessed, you know?) it would make sense that finding this pensieve would be his next target, since the prophecy slipped out of his grasp—quite literally—in the last book.

B) I also believe that Harry will continue Occlumency. Perhaps not with Snape, but another person. Harry needs to at this point, especially with the whole bait-and-switch that Voldy pulled on him at the end of the 5th book. Voldemort is “on to” his link with Harry, and Harry needs to learn to close his mind---in a hurry.

C) And who is the Half-Blood Prince? My money is on Snape. But that’s just a guess. To be honest, I could be WAY off on that one. I’ll find out in 2 ½ more days!

DARN IT I’M ANTSY...

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Thing Three Woes...

Thing Three is very sick. His temp was 104.2 this morning (he's had an extremely high fever for five days now) and so I got him into the doctor, who immediately ordered blood work and chest X-rays--but he doesn't have Pneumonia, thank heaven. Now the Dr. thinks he has Mono, but how does a four-year old get Mono? I just hope the new antibiotics work.

Sorry I'm not my usual cheery self...I am sincerely worried this time. I'll be back tomorrow.

Monday, July 11, 2005

Thank Heaven for Mondays...

Quote of the day: "Worrying is like a rocking chair. It gives you something to do, but doesn't get you anywhere."

My weekend was a little crazy. With Hubby out of town, and a sick child (and one still recuperating) we didn't do much yesterday. Saturday has already been blocked from my memory (see previous post) and luckily Sunday was quiet--except for the rampant cabin fever that my kids are now experiencing.
I find it highly ironic that my kids never get sick all at once, they "bite the dust" one at a time, so I'll have a virus in my house for THREE WEEKS at a time, (and then by the time its gone through each family member, its mutated into something else and re-infects everyone all over again).
No amount of washing sheets and spraying Lysol seems to work, because my kids just can't stay away from each other. They are all very close in age, and ergo, they are very close, and unless I physically quarantine the Sicky in his or her room while they're contagious, whatever one kid has, another kid is bound to get. UGH.

So today we'll tentatively go outside. It's hotter than hades, and our swimming pool is beckoning. (I went and got one of those big blow-up eight foot diameter pools because yes, no fool in Wisconsin would actually invest in an IN-ground pool, because you can only use it two months out of the year--literally.) So we'll see how that goes.

I did something impulsive--we went to the pet store and got a Betta-fish. I picked out a lovely pink one with purple and yellow on its body (a Crown-tail Betta) and lovely blue fins. I started calling her Polly.
Then I got on the phone with my mother, and told her all about Polly. She seemed to think it was funny that I thought my fish was a girl. "All the pretty ones are males," she said. "Just put a mirror in front of it and see what it does."
I was skeptical, but put a mirror beside the fishbowl so Polly could see herself. Then she did something very strange. Her fins fanned out spectacularly, and this big flap on her jowels opened up and flared out at the mirror, so that her head looked twice its size. It actually freaked me out a little bit at first.
So, naturally we stopped calling her Polly, HE is now Paulie, and he's very happy. I have him in a bowl on my desk next to my laptop, and he likes to stare at me, which sometimes is a bit unnerving, but he's a fish for pete's sake. And he's actually kinda cute. When I was choosing Bettas at the store, he's the only one that stopped swimming and stared right at me from his container...all the other fish were too busy darting around and looking freaked.
Today he's been blowing bubbles--I read that it's a healthy thing for males to do. Hopefully he'll live a long, long time. I'm getting pretty attached to the guy already.

In other tidbits of news, I have decided I am moving to Quebec. Apparently a Walmart in Quebec unwittingly sells the Harry Potter books a week early, every time. So there are people out there, reading it as I write this. DARN IT. I am starting to get antsy. You would think it was Christmas or something! Five Days! Five Days...

I got 1300 words out yesterday on my "formerly-Kate-then-Maddy-and-now-I've-finally-settled-on-Emma" Novel. Picking names for main characters can be frustrating, at best. But now the rest seems to be falling into place. Thank heaven I have an awesome writer's forum where I can get support and info--pretty much on any subject. I'm lucky to belong to a group that is diverse and united at the same time.

Well, off to the races! Cheers!

Saturday, July 09, 2005

My Day So Far...

Quote of the Day: "Any mother with more than one child should be well versed in Guerilla Warfare..."--Leigh Claire

Okay. I'm not sure how the rest of the day will turn out, but this saturday has definitely SUCKED so far.

First off, I have been dragging my butt because I had to wake up at odd hours in the night with a sick child to comfort/give medicine/drinks of water/tlc, etc.. So I am a walking Zombie to begin with. (Guess I should have turned in before 2am, rather than after...but I digress...)

Like a complete raving idiot, I gave Thing Three his dose of antibiotics medicine when he woke up, before he had anything to eat. So, I'm in my room, making my bed, and Thing Three comes bursting in:

"Mommy, I don't feel good. BULUAAAGHHHHH! (insert splatting noises here.)

Needles to say, he barfed all the lovely bubblegum-pink antibiotics medicine all over my VERY light beige carpet, and I shrieked and ran him to the toilet, where he puked two more times, with amazing gusto, while his sister ran screaming into her room and hid under her bed with her fingers in her ears.
Once I had made sure that he was alright, I got him into bed and RAN LIKE HELL downstairs to get the carpet cleaner, baking soda, etc. praying fervently that I would be able to get the stains out.
Naturally, in my haste to grab out the club soda, I knocked into the fresh pitcher of pink lemonade (WITHOUT a lid) and it fell off the top shelf of the fridge, splattering everywhere on my hardwood floors.

At this point all my kids came running because I was absolutely SHRIEKING.
Here was my dilemma: do I ignore the lemonade and run upstairs to save the carpet (because that pink poison has been seeping into it for about 10 minutes already) or do I clean up the lemonade, because if I don't, my wood floor will be ruined in a matter of minutes from the lemon acid?
So, I hurriedly grabbed a towel out of the laundry room, soaked up the lemonade, and barked at Thing One to finish cleaning it up, while I ran upstairs and started trying to get the stains out.

I think I used too much baking soda, because now I have a slab of white crust covering all the carpet. But thank heaven the stains are out, and I'll just wait for it to dry and vacuum it all up.

THEN, I realized that we were down to one dose of Motrin, and since Hubby is out of town, I had to shove breakfast down the kids and drag all three of them to Target (I put Thing Three in the cart with a ziploc bag in case he lost his breakfast too) and Thing Two decided that it had been too long since his last "Spaz Attack" in a public place, and so I had to endure his random bursts of Tap Dancing, doing the YMCA and otherwise competely humiliating Spazziness. (I suspect he's a tad sick of staying home too, but I can't very well go to the park or anything with a kid who has Strep and a high fever. (By the way, his fever got up to 103.5 yesterday, I FREAKED...)

And of course, when we got home, we discovered that the dog had pooped all over, DIARRHEA inside the house. (I had suspected Thing Three of feeding the dog his slice of pepperoni pizza last night, this CONFIRMS my suspicions, that little turd).

So I'm sitting here, slightly shell-shocked, having cleaned up vomit, spilled lemonade and slimy dog poo, wondering what the rest of the day will hold. I am waiting for Hubby to call (he's at his parent's house in Idaho for their Ruby Wedding, having a blast with his siblings) and ask me how my day has been going.

I think I'll tell him.


Friday, July 08, 2005

Editing, Schmedditting...

Lame Joke of the Day:

**previous joke was removed because it was TOO lame...**
So here's a new one:

Q: What do you call a Ballet costume for a one-legged dancer?

A: A One-one.

I did a weird thing last night. I ordered "Amadeus" on pay-per-view. I haven't seen that movie since high school, watching it really brought back memories. It's a VERY well-made movie, and of course, I bawled at the end when they buried him in that mass grave...arrrgh! How completely tragic. But at least we have his music. That will never die...

I spent several hours (until 2am roughly) editing the first three chapters of my novel. I managed to eek in 1000 words, so it was productive. I am one of those writing anomolies who HATES editing. I LOATHE it. Because it's like doing homework--I'm merely "fixing" rather than "creating." I guess you could say that I have a love/hate relationship with Editing.

Sometimes I have great editing sessions. (Like last night.) Sometimes I make no progress at all and I rewrite one sentence fifty times over and still want to bang my head repeatedly on the desk in sheer frustration.
Hmm...maybe it's because I'm an...I don't know...perfectionist?

I just know that my agent has a very discerning eye and he is very nit-picky about grammar and content. So my writing has to be on its "best behavior" if I'm going to send it to him.
I think I'll take a break from editing tonight, and just write.

Thing Three woke up with an 102 degree fever, and a sore throat, so I had the Dr. call in some antibiotics. Thing Two is over his strep/brohchitis, but it looks like we're going to have another weekend down the crapper if Thing Two has it now. Why can't they all have gotten sick at once?

Today is Friday, so I won't post again until Monday (but then again, Hubby is out of town and I might get bored and feel like posting) so we'll see.

Have a good weekend, all!

Thursday, July 07, 2005

Lacrymosa

What horrible news to wake up to this morning. Terrorists bombing London's buses and subways--just like in Spain. I really, really HATE terrorists. I believe there is a special part of Hell reserved just for them. UGH.

I didn't get any writing done--was busy doing too much research yesterday. And I had to finish reading Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, to brush up for the new book coming out next Friday. I am so dang excited. Hubby told me I could read it first this time, because he read it first last time--so does that mean I'll have to wait to read Book Seven? I guess we'll cross that bridge when we come to it. I might have to push him off that bridge so I can read it first...(oh who said that!)

Hubby is out of town, catching his plane as I write--he and his four other siblings are surprising their parents for their 40th anniversary. They even (well, scratch "they,"-- I did all the hard work) put together an anniversary video--I chose the songs "100 years" by Five for Fighting, "Picture Book" by The Kinks and Hubby picked another song called "Best years of our lives" by some group I can't remember the name. We watched the preliminary dvd last night, and bawled our eyes out. Even our kids were bawling. It's amazing how time flies. Life truly is short.

I got a rejection yesterday, so I did the "feeling like crap" thing for a few hours and ate some chocolate and I'm back to normal. What gets me about every rejection these days, is they are always Sooooo close, but just "not quite."
The editor tells me they really enjoy my story and my writing and my literary style and yadda yadda yadda, but they still reject it. One editor went so far as to tell me she loved it, ask for revisions, and then do a complete about-face and reject it. (That was hard, let me tell you, to come so close like that.) My agent, bless him, is plugging away, and it's already in the hands of another editor. He likes to do one submission at at time, which is fine with me.

I keep reminding myself that my time will come. Heck, I'm only in my 30's. My time will come. Maybe I'll be 90 and have no teeth and be all alone in my retirement home, but it WILL happen for me, dammit.

Whew. I guess it won't happen unless I get some writing done...

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

Fireworks and Mosquito Bites

Harry Potter Book Excerpt of the Week: A week after Fred and George's departure, Harry witnessed Professor McGonagall walking right past Peeves, who was determinedly loosening a crystal chandelier, and could have sworn he heard her tell the poltergeist out of the corner of her mouth, "It unscrews the other way."

We're in the single digits people! Nine days to go! All I can say (at risk of making my two readers roll their eyes) ACCIO JULY 16th!!!

Ahem. Got 2600 words out on the Kate novel yesterday--it's the first I've started where I'm actually making it up as I go. Usually I outline from start to finish, and have a pretty good idea what I'm doing and where I'm going. Not this time. I'm letting the novel write itself. But then I run into trouble when good ol' WRITER'S BLOCK strikes, and I'm stuck, twiddling my thumbs and staring into space wishing I had written an outline.

I am covered, positively covered in mosquito bites. The little buggers. Despite the torrential rain of July 4th we still went out and lit sparklers and modest fireworks, and then spent the rest of the time ogling the major shows that our "competing" neighbors were putting on. And after dousing my own children in repellent, I of course, forgot myself. I'm waiting for the effects of West Nile any day now...ugh.

There are two neighbors we have, who I swear, shell out thousands every 4th and compete with each other on who has the "biggest and best" fireworks. And they always let them off at the same time, so the neighbor on the left will do something spectacular, and then the neighbor on the right, a few seconds later, does something ELSE very spectacular, so we're stuck in the middle, turning back and forth like some twisted tennis match but it's highly entertaining. Let them spend thousands--we can enjoy it for free. Although I will say that the Neighbor on the left won this year (oh who said that!)

Thing Two is doing much better. In fact, he's downright obnoxious. I think it's cabin fever from being inside too long. I'm just glad he's out of the woods, feverwise. Hubby is leaving to go on a trip tomorrow, so it will be me and the kids for five days. Ah, joy.

It's cold here. It's high 50's and overcast. Brrrr. I think I'll hunker down today with some postum and get some writing done...

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

4th of July Report...

Quote of the Day: "If you can't be a good example -- then you'll just have to be a horrible warning."--Catherine Aird

Ahhh, my fingers are finally doing what they've been itching to do the past three days: Write something. This three-day weekend was, to say the least, a complete trainwreck.
Not for lack of planning or trying. I had this whole "agenda" worked out--we were going to go to the zoo, the park, swimming, hiking, grilling, watch fireworks, you name it. We were going to go go go and do do do. It was going to be a Three Day Weekend to top all three day weekends.

...and you can just guess what happened. LIFE, apparently...

Thing Two (my six-year old son) started saying that his head hurt on Thursday night. I took his temp, and it was 102. So I gave him Motrin, and hoped it was just one of those "freak fevers" he occasionally gets for one night and is fine the next day.
Well, the next day, the fever continued, and he was lethargic. And his throat hurt, along with his head. I started to give him cold medicine, along with the fever-reducing medicine.

By Saturday morning, he was coughing uncontrollably, crying that his throat and head were killing him, and his fever was still 102. So I got him into the doctor early that morning (thank heaven his regular pediatrician was working--I LOVE this guy).

The prognosis? Strep and Bronchitis. The culture came back positive, and so we had to get about three bottles of that bubble-gum flavored penicillin (which by some miracle, he LOVES to take) and we started the antibiotics.
So, Saturday, we didnt' go anywhere. I told hubby to take the kids to the movie and I would stay home with Thing Two, but apparently hubby decided that he had developed an allergy to the movie Shark Boy and Lava Girl and wouldn't take them. He wanted to watch Wimbledon instead. (Which he deserved because his favorites lost both championships anyway!) So, that day was wasted.

Sundays we usually don't go anywhere but church, so I went by myself with the kids and hubby stayed home with Thing Two (I told him next sunday was HIS turn to go) and we had a boring day.
On Monday (The Fourth) Thing Two felt a little better, but IT POURED RAIN OUTSIDE FROM 7AM TO 7PM. And we're not talking a drizzle, here, folks. We're talking fishhooks and hammer-handles. It was VERY heavy rain and thunder and lighting, and our power even went off at one point, the lightning was so intense.
So, we spent the entire holiday weekend INSIDE (we couldn't even grill for @$&**!! Sakes! We had to broil everything in the @$&**!! oven!) and I never want to see a deck of UNO cards again. Or Candyland, or Chutes & Ladders, or Pretty Pretty Princess. Those board games are getting chucked out of the house first chance I get. UGH.

Now it's back to reality, Thing Two is feeling tired, but better, the weekend was a bust, and my whole house is destroyed. And the sun is out, and it's completely beautiful.

Lovely. I think I'll go shoot myself. After Breakfast.

Friday, July 01, 2005

Shutting Down for the Holiday...

Harry Potter Book Excerpt of the Day: "Yeah, someone might slip dragon dung in it again, eh, Perce?" said Fred. "That was a sample of fertilizer from Norway!" said Percy, going very red in the face. "It was nothing personal!"
"It was," Fred whispered to Harry as they got up from the table. "We sent it."

Cranked out another 2800 words yesterday. I am very excited about this novel! I doubt I'll get any work done on it during the weekend (lots of family plans) but we'll see.

I won't be blogging until the holiday weekend is over--this blog will return on Tuesday, July 5th. I hope everyone has a safe and fun 4th of July Holiday Weekend!

Be Happy & be Safe,

Lara