Monday, January 31, 2005

Weekend Over.

Ahh, Monday. I am happy to say that I am no longer annoyed, only slightly tired and confused.

Tired --from leaping across hieroglyphic-encrusted rocks and all those highly challenging bo-stick fights with evil Ninjas employed by He-Who-Wants-To-Destroy-The-World. (This comment was solely for Brian B. see comment from last post.)

Confused --because apparently I am no longer worthy of my Writer's Forum, as I have been blocked access. I can't get in. I can't post. I can't do spit. It kind of sucks.

Today should be moderately quiet, I only have a few errands to run, and an hour block of volunteer time at my daughter's school.

I have stopped writing my novel, because the research has proven to be a bit more---time absorbing. I am one of those anal souls who just has to get it right--the details in my historical fiction, that is. So I'll probably resume in a week or two. I have roughly four months to write, I want to be sure I have all my facts straight before I jump on in. Otherwise errors costly to the plot could ensue. (you mean, they didn't have FAX machines in 1890?? Dammit! Now I have to rewrite the entire scene!)

Well, that's an absurd example, but you get my drift.

Most people clean their houses on the weekends. I clean my house FROM the weekend. So much goes on, on Saturday and Sunday, piles appear out of nowhere and perch in odd places like kitchen counters, rec rooms, even stairs. Don't get me started on the Laundry Room. I guess in my attempt to find the bottom of the pile in the Laundry room you could truly call me Lara the Tomb Raider--with all the laundry that has been entombed in the latter recesses since the days of oh---say...Pompeii.

Time for a little domestic archaeology...

Saturday, January 29, 2005

Watch out, I'm ANNOYED...

I sure was in one of those moods yesterday. EVERYTHING annoyed me. Absolutely everything. The dog annoyed me (I call him Velcro dog, I might as well sew a #$@%^&!! piece of Velcro onto my thigh and stick him to it; he whines and freaks out if he can’t see me at all times.) I was annoyed by the high-pitched noise my laptop makes (that I usually don’t hear/block out).
Every time the phone rang it seemed to be an annoying person, and I nearly had a meltdown when my son complained that he was hungry and asked for a snack for the ONE HUNDRED AND ELEVENTH TIME.
Snarl! Growl! Leave me in peace, annoying people! I was annoyed when my neighbor’s daughter ran up and down the pristine, untouched snow of my front yard (completely messing it up and missing altogether the snow of her OWN yard) and I was annoyed when all my children came home from school and left a trail of wet boots, socks, backpacks, coats, mittens, scarves and assorted school/clothing carnage strewn from the front door to the snack cupboard in the kitchen.
I was really annoyed that I had to sit and unpick a knot in the Nintendo game controller wires the size of Mobile, Alabama, (what did the kids do to get it that way anyway, a freaking Maypole dance around the Game Cube console?) and I got extremely annoyed to learn that my dog is too wimpy to go any sort of distance in the snow and ice covered back yard, and has resorted to crapping on the back patio. (I am just counting the minutes until the snow melts back there. How fun it will be. Oh Goody.) Doing mental carwheels at this moment.
My husband came home from work and was instantly transformed into a slug who had only the energy to raise an arm from his reclining position on the sofa in front of the TV and ask me for assorted things like food, etc. (I won’t go into the depth that THAT annoyed me) and I was really annoyed that my daughter made a pig of herself at the neighbors during her dinner invite and ate four slices of pizza. (I’ll forgive her, because she’s seven, and she said they were “little” slices, but it was still annoying).
I was annoyed that I live in Wisconsin, and that the protruding parts of my body nearly ALWAYS freeze when I go outside for more than 10 minutes, and I was annoyed by the news (let's face it, that whole Michael Jackson thing is VERY annoying) and I was annoyed that all the main boy actors in the Harry Potter movies seem to have let their hair grow so that they now resemble unkempt girls rather than boy wizards. Puh-leeze.
I’d better stop now, or I’ll remember all the things about yesterday that annoyed me and frankly today is a new day and I need to get over it.

So GET OVER it already! Grrrrr!!!

Friday, January 28, 2005

Calm before the storm...

Weekends are always crazy for me. I cherish Fridays somewhat as the "calm before the storm" because right now, it's quiet, the only thing I can hear is the ticking of my study clock, and the sun is just starting to cast its rosy glow on the yard. (Too bad the yard is buried under twelve inches of snow! hmmph!)
Yesterday was a pretty quiet day too. I didn't go anywhere, because it was just too darn cold outside. The wind makes everything miserable. I can handle cold and snow, but a bitterly cold wind that feels like a knife on your cheeks: that I can do without.
So I tidied up some random messes in the house, paid some bills, played with my dog and my son alternately (the other two were at school) and downloaded Monet's Champ de coquelicots, (which happens to be my very favorite by him) and set it as my laptop background.
He painted that one in 1890. The same year that, in my novel, my heroines go to Egypt to solve the mystery of the ancient curse. How fun is that?

Today should be relatively quiet too, except since I didn't run around yesterday, I have to do double the running around today, including possibly getting a referral for a speech therapist.

My four-year old can't say his "L's" to save his life. "Larry" comes out as "Warry" and "Mario and Luigi" comes out as "Maweeo and Waweegee" (you get the idea.")
I already asked his pediatrician about it, and he said to give him time, (this was a few months ago) but my husband seems to think that the time is up. I disagree, but I am going to get a second opinon. Poor little Thing Three, Things One and Two never had this problem.

Thursday, January 27, 2005

One of Life's little Ironies...

Last night, I went to bed early.
I had run around a lot yesterday (mostly my fault: I had to go to six different stores before I found a pair of snow pants that weren't size 3T--I needed a six) and I was exhausted. My hubby was determined to stay up into the wee hours watching the Australian Open (let's just say calling him a Tennis Freak is mild) so I went up to bed at 10:30 and fell promptly asleep.
Here's where the irony comes in: it seems that whenever I am bent on getting a decent night's sleep, all the elements combine to ensure that I don't. At least it seems that way!
Fast forward to Midnight, hubby comes up the stairs and he's celebrating because the person he wanted to win, did, and he wants to tell me about it. He's oblivious to my body language (back turned to him, in a fetal position, pillow over my head) and happily yacks away about how so-and-so plays so-and-so next and yadda yadda yadda yadda. UGH!!!
So, around 12:30 I try to fall asleep again. Ah, bliss.
1am. THUNK! Momeeeeeee! My four-year old, Thing Three, has fallen out of his bed, and with a rush of adrenaline known only to a mother in the middle of the night, I spring like a cat from my bed to go and save him.
Around 2am I finally fall back asleep, and at 2:30, my puppy (who has been awakened by the noise of Thing Three hitting the floor) is now awake and needs to go outside and pee.
I stumble down the stairs, cursing under my breath, and take him to the bathroom.
Of course afterwards he is now FULLY awake and wanting to play, but I rudely shut him in his crate and shuffle back upstairs.
I glance at the clock: 3am. UGH again. I wanted to get some sleep!
At 3:30, Thing Three (who apparently still hasn't fallen asleep from his earlier bed gymnastics) steals out of bed and enters my room and announces (quite loudly) in my ear that he has to "go pee-pee."
I groan and tell him to go, he doesn't need to tell me that he needs to go. Of course when he's finished, he wants to be tucked in once more, and by this time I'm hopping mad.
I collapse back into bed when the deed is done, and think "It's OK, I still have two more hours."

Nope. My puppy, Hagan, starts yelping for someone to come play with him. He yelps and yelps until my hubby mutters angrily "can't that dog be quiet? I'm trying to sleep!"

At this point I don't care, I go and yell at the dog to be quiet over the stair bannister. And of course I wake up my daughter, who needs a glass of water, and I give up all hope of getting a decent night's sleep.

My youngest is 4. I suppose in fourteen years I'll be able to sleep...

But I'm not holding my breath.

Wednesday, January 26, 2005

CHEESE: Dairy Product or Hallucinogen?

I think the "Mild Cheddar Cheese" Theory was proven once again last night.

For those of you wondering, it began in College, when I had a very strange dream, and one of my roommates asked "Did you eat mild Cheddar cheese yesterday?" What was even stranger, was that I had. My roommate went on to tell me that whenever she had mild Cheddar, her dreams were strange.
Thus was born the Mild Cheddar Cheese Theory: if you eat Mild Cheddar Cheese, you'll have strange dreams that night.

Okay, maybe this whole post is strange, but I had a VERY weird dream last night and coincidentally, the kids and I had grilled cheese for lunch...
For any of you Alias watchers, I dreamed I was Sydney Bristow, and I was captured by an evil terrorist (played by the yummy Rick Yune in the premiere episode) and he was torturing me with the water-mask thingy because he needed someone to go shopping with his wife, because as he explained, she was "hopeless" and "didn't have a clue."
I was refusing to go, because it was such an absurd request to be tortured over, and lets just say that the dream took a few more bizarre turns and twists (one involving evil flying cats) until I sat straight up in bed at 4am. It was hands-down, the strangest nightmare I'd ever had.

So, I am chalking it up to Mild Cheddar Cheese once more. I think it's just me. One of my other roommates ate copious amounts of cheese to test the theory (let's just say she gained more than the freshman 15) and it didn't really work for her. I think you have to be a certain kind of person for the hallucinogen in Mild Cheddar Cheese to have an effect on you.

Wow, this post really is bad--I guess I'll update on the novel progress:

I worked on Chapters one and two last night, and my main character decided that she wanted to not only be a good person, but she wanted to be a former bad person (in the spirit of "Mean Girls.") who turned good after a practical joke went awry.
She surprised me somewhat, but usually my characters do. At least they have a mind to be something more than one-dimensional! I am also trying to insert humor where there really isn't any. It's a delicate balance: successfully co-existing humor and horror in the same story. Stephen King and J.K. Rowling do it rather sensationally--but I have to admit I haven't quite mastered it yet.

But I'll keep trying!

Tuesday, January 25, 2005

I Love Ebay!!!

Winter Blahs are still in full force, but I'm working through them...

I won my Ebay Auction last night--a 1902 copy of BAEDEKER'S EGYPT, and it gives me such a thrill to think that in a few days, I'll be in posession of a very old traveling guide that has probably been to Egypt. I'll be able to look through it and study it as an Egyptian tourist would have--over a hundred years ago. That, to me, is very exciting.
One of my writer friends counts her blessings on her blog, and I thought that was a very good idea--especially for one in the full throes of Winter Blahdom. I started writing out the good things last night, and after I filled up a blank page (front and back) I figured I had a lot to be thankful for, and I should just "snap out of it." Even with all the positives, I'm still finding it pretty hard, though. Maybe it's the absence of sun--maybe its the fact that my hubby gets to travel to warm places like Las Vegas and L.A. (and meet celebrities, hmmph!), but I feel a little like I'm "stuck" here in the cold frigid of Siberia. But that's Wisconsin. I have to make the best of it, I suppose.

I am just so glad that Girl Scout Cookie sales are OVER!! My daughter sold 17 boxes over her goal, and I am content with that. (My hubby, ever competitive, told me we should buy enough boxes ourselves to get her to the next award level, but I told him that I'd eat every one of the 23 boxes we would have to buy and that shut him up real quick. (We're going on a Disney Land/Sea vacation in June, and I think he wants me to look as good in a swimsuit as I do!)

So now it's off to the races--well, only the dry cleaners and a drop-off for a field trip to the Children's Museum downtown--and then my day is pretty quiet. I just hope I take advantage of it!

Monday, January 24, 2005

Where's the Joy?

I am suffering from MAJOR blahs. I mean, I am just not wanting to do anything. I'm not sure what happened. I mean, I've got an exciting novel to write, my kids are going to be in school today, my house is finally clean again, I won all my Ebay auctions--dang, I have a LOT to be excited about!

But right now, the LAST thing I want to do in the wide world is get out of these pj's. I don't want to get dressed, I don't want to get the kids off to school, I don't want to send our tax stuff to our CPA, I don't want to go to the dry cleaners and the grocery store and the bank and the video store and tally up all my daughter's Girl Scout cookie sales--and what's WORSE--I have no desire to start writing my novel.

I'm in a rut. I just want to sit here in my jammies and do nothing. My hubby and I did nothing this weekend. We were snowed in on Saturday, so we stayed home and played with the kids, but Sunday, we didn't even go to church, we stayed in bed most of the day and watched about 10 hours of shows I have taped over the last several weeks because he's been travelling and I've been too busy to sit down and watch. (Now we're completely updated on Lost, Alias, The Bachelorette and CSI and Without a Trace, whew!)
After the marathon viewing, we took a nap, then hubby watched the Australian Open while I sat in front of the computer and instead of writing, I surfed. I was completely uninspired. Our dog must think we're the most boring people on earth. At least we have the blahs together. We even let our kids play Nintendo for most of the day (I know, *gasp* we're awful parents!)

This isn't depression. It's the winter BLAHS and they suck. Problem is, hubby had to shake out of it and go to work this morning, and I don't really have an excuse. I'm home, I'm my own boss, and I literally could get my kids off to school and go back to bed, if I really wanted it. There's no motivation to get anything done.

Now that's scary. I have to snap out of it. But what to do? What to do...

Saturday, January 22, 2005

@#$%&**!! SNOW!!!

Thirteen inches overnight! I can only see the tip of our mailbox poking out of the snow (and we have a tall mailbox) and we're expected to see a few inches more. It's almost completely white outside right now, because the wind and snow swirling through the air. The plowers came and did our driveway and sidewalk, and you almost can't tell anymore. It's falling that fast.
I hear New York is bracing themselves for about 18 inches--I'll take thirteen, thank you very much!

I officially finished gathering the preliminary information and research for my novel, this week, I am going to start writing. I have a goal (albeit small) of how many words I'll do each day. I am one to write the bare bones of a story, and then go back, and heavily edit, inserting details and "meat" so to speak. The editing usually takes longer than the writing process itself, because in writing I'm just regurgitating the movie in my head. The editing part is where I make the movie in my head tangible and entertaining. It's hard to explain, but that's what I do.

It's so cozy here in my office, looking out my big picture windows at the blizzard outside, but in about half an hour I get to venture out again, and pick up my oldest son from a birthday party.
Thank heaven I have an SUV. Otherwise I'd be too scared to leave the house!

Damn snow.

Friday, January 21, 2005


Yesterday I couldn't blog. It was weird. I wrote my blog, and when I tried to post, it timed out and I lost it. Since I personally thought it was a slighly more-clever-than-normal post, (and I say this with all humility and sincerity) I was extremely put out, and the wind went right out of my sails.
So here's the jist of what I wrote:
The next day of home improvements were interesting, we were all zombies, I played the part of the Ultimate Gopher (which included THIRTEEN trips to Home Depot in one day, I know because I counted the receipts) and when we finally collapsed into bed at four a.m. yet again, we were still not finished. My hubby even changed his brother's plane tickets to they could stay an extra day to get the crown moulding put up. It still wasn't enough. Now we have all this crown moulding sitting in our garage (highly annoying to have it there by the way) and two rooms didn't get done, and TO TOP IT ALL OFF they left me a mess the size of Texas to clean up.

Men. 'Nuff said.

ANYWAY, I am heavily immersed in research for my current novel, I have to write about Egypt in the 1890's and since I haven't even been to Egypt ever in my life (I can say I've watched "The Mummy" series and that's as close as I've gotten) I have to find out first accounts on what life was like to be a British Tourist in Egypt back then.
In this endeavor, I have made some critical finds. I found online (and downloaded, naughty me) the entire book by Amelia Edwards titled A THOUSAND MILES UP THE NILE, in which she chronicled in 1888, her tour of Egypt, complete with sketches. I mean, this woman described in vivid detail, the smells, the sounds, and the feel of Egypt. Lucky, lucky me.
I have also put a big bear hug on a 1902 version of BAEDEKER'S EGYPT on Ebay, which I believe will come in very handy. (the spine is missing, so it's currently at the steal-of-a-deal price of $9.99.)
I really wanted the 1885 edition (which would be the edition my heroine would have had when she went to Egypt) but I can't find one cheaply, and I can't justify spending $300 on a book, no matter how valuable it could prove knowledgwise. If only I could get my hands on a copy for a few days! But I wouldn't know where to look. I am not very well connected that way.

I think someday that might be a passion of mine: collecting antique books. Especially from the Victorian and Edwardian eras. I am a hopeless anglophile, and love all things British. I told my hubby that when our kids are grown we are going to do some traveling---and I know exactly where I want to go.
But for now, I have to rely on Google and books, and my own imagination...

Wednesday, January 19, 2005

Hostage in my Home Part II

Ah, *stretch*. I just got the best eight hours of sleep of my life. I feel like a new person. Not like yesterday, where I was literally dragging my butt around, muttering to myself with teeth that were covered with fuzzy slippers from all the caffiene drinks I'd consumed.
Today is a new day! Up and at 'em!

...So, we left off on Saturday afternoon, where Larry, Curly and Moe had just gone down to paint the basement. First, they had to tape the basement, which took four hours (we went a little nuts with the nooks and crannies down there when we finished it) and I had to banish the kids upstairs to play so their tender ears would not hear all the cursing and shouting (that apparently are a "necessary" part of painting the basement). Even my hubby, who rarely curses, was dropping four-letter words with extreme regularity by the time I announced that it was 8pm and we needed to break to eat dinner. So, they came up to eat and I went down to inspect, and to my dismay, they were only 1/3 of the way finished.
Now, during this time, mind you, I had busied myself with moving EVERYTHING out of the upstairs rooms that were going to be painted: pictures, plants, small furniture, etc. I had also started taping with the blue painter's tape, so I had been just as busy. I asked them why it was going to slow (a mistake which I discovered is on par with the dreaded "So Honey, what did you do today?" question) and of course got my head bitten off and received several explanations at length as to why things were going so slow, including the excuse that my brother-in-law's toxic gastric emissions were causing hasty retreats by all, and were accounting for most of the lapses in painting.
We started up again after dinner, and finally, at THREE A.M., they announced that they were finished with the painting. I hobbled downstairs, and it looked good, except for all the outlets were pulled out and the wires were exposed. My brother-in-law (not the gaseous one), who is an amateur electrician, was changing out all the plates. Of course there were some slight problems, some of them he had wired wrong and weren't working, and he had to figure those out.
So, for the next two hours (in which he electrocuted himself not once but twice) he finally figured it out. Of course my husband and other gaseous brother had started to paint the sitting room--the emissions from my brother in law were so bad we were threatening to get the caulking gun from downstairs and caulk the offending orifice shut.
He said he couldn't help it, it was all damn Taco Bell's fault, and I had to resort to lighting matches and opening windows. And of course that was short lived because it was all of ONE DEGREE outside.
Needless to say, I was in Hell. A stinky Hell to boot. Finally, at FIVE A.M. I announced that I needed to go to bed because all my Diet Pepsi had worn off and I had started to tape things that weren't inert (like my dog) and I was seeing double. They agreed it was time for sleep and I went to bed while they went back down to the basement and (of course) played Nintendo for who knows how long.


Completed: Basement paint, one-half fixture switch out, and one half of a sitting room.
Still-to-go: Sitting room, dining room, living room, kitchen, crown molding and all electrical fixtures switched. And we only had one more day to do it of course.

And thus ended Day One...

Tuesday, January 18, 2005

Held Hostage in my own Home...

OKAY. The last four days have been nothing short of ridiculous. But I will say, that even though I am a complete zombie, I am sitting in front of this computer to tell you about it. So get comfortable, because here goes:

On Friday, my husband's two younger brothers (who are both married with families) flew up here (I think to escape their families, at least in one case) to help us paint a few rooms in our house. It was going to be a fun weekend, with some hard-core painting for a day or two, and then, a relaxing last day where they'd go out to dinner and spend some enjoyable time together. Here's what actually transpired:
On Friday, Curly and Moe (not their real names) flew into the airport at the same time as my hubby, who had been away all week on business in L.A. They arrived at home and we had a great night, eating pizza and talking and watching movies. (Their movies of choice: DODGEBALL and NAPOLEON DYNAMITE--frankly, I haven't laughed that hard in a while.) Anyway, we had fun, and were determined to drive to Home Depot at 6am the next morning, to Get Officially Started.
Cut to the next morning, it's 8:30 am and I have been up since 5am, and am currently making a breakfast of scratch blueberry muffins and omelette and bacon, my kids are whining because they don't understand why uncles Curly and Moe won't wake up, even though they've already gone to the guest room and jumped on their heads...twice.
I finally get them all up at 9am and we scarf down our food and they get dressed. They leave for Home Depot to get the paint and painting tools (I've provided them with the colors I want for the formal dining room, sitting room, formal living, kitchen and basement) and I hang out with the kids as one, two, three hours pass and they finally come home, bearing all sorts of ginormous power tools, painting things, electrical things, etc.., and NO PAINT except for the basement because they have had a "brainstorm" at Home Depot (aka: My brothers-in-law-talked-my-husband-into-it) and NOW think that they should, aside from the painting, install Crown Moulding and change all the electrical outlets and switches from cream color to white.
I, speechless, finally ask them when they will have the time to do all this in TWO days. They claim that with their "expertise" and a little help from Pepsi and Red Bull, they will not sleep for two days straight and get it all done. But I will need to be their gopher. I reluctantly agree, since I truly hadn't planned on doing anything but painting.
Then they dump a ton of Behr paint swatches on the kitchen table and tell me that the colors I picked are outdated. (I thought that the exquisite red for the dining room and the toast color for the sitting room were fabulous, thank you very much) Apparently everyone has a red dining room, and I need to get with the times.
After two more wasted hours of harrowing Paint Swatch Discussion (well, more like "argument", resulting in me losing my temper at least twice and calling my hubby a naughty name both times) we finally decided on a mossy/olive-y color for the dining room, to match our dark furniture, and a desert camel color for the sitting, and "Pismo dunes" for the formal living, which is a cross between brown and mustard.
So, after that fun episode, it was my assignment to go and buy the paint, and lunch, while Larry, Curly and Moe, got to work on the basement. They were finishing the whole thing in a cream-colored satin, because what was currently down there was a cheap-a$$ flat paint that showed a mark if you breathed on it. Not good for having young kids running around.
By the time we all got started, it was 3pm, and we had absolutely NO idea what the next few days held for us.

I guess I'll tell more tomorrow. I'm too damn tired after all...but I promise it might be entertaining...

Thursday, January 13, 2005

A Quote for Writers

Don't have much time to blog this morning, I am on a mission to CLEAN MY HOUSE. I stayed up all night working on my synopsis, and I am quite happy with it. I just sent it off to my agent--now I need to get to work writing it. Can't sell a novel that isn't written! :-)

Here's a quote my mom sent me:

If writing a book is impossible, write a chapter.
If writing a chapter is impossible, write a page.
If writing a page is impossible, write a paragraph.
If writing a paragraph is impossible, write a sentence.
If writing a sentence is impossible, write a word and teach yourself everything there is to know about that word and then write another, connected word and see where the connection leads.

--Richard Rhodes

Have a wonderful day all !!

Wednesday, January 12, 2005

I've got the Fever...

Spring Cleaning Fever, that is.
And it's not even Spring! It's dreary, cold and dark January, but I must do something. A lot of my fellow writer friends are suffering from the same ailment--the "Post-Holidays Blahs." (It's like having depression, only you snap out of it without drugs. :-)
In an effort to "snap out of it," I have taken on the Hurculean task of "re-doing" the house. Problem is, when I get the bug, I GET THE BUG. I stayed up until 2am this morning, completely overhauling my office/craft room. Boy is it beautiful.
I have my big cozy overstuffed chair, lamps, my Monet paintings on the walls (not real ones, copies) and all my books, hobby stuff and files are neatly organized onto shelves and in drawers.

And for once, my writing desk is clean. (Now that's a feat I haven't achieved since the mid-nineties, in ANY place I've lived. Go to J.K., and you'll see a perfect example of what my writing desk looks like normally--apparently writers are messy people.)

I just rationalize and say that I like to have "everything out so I can see it."

There is a heavy fog outside right now, the temp is into the high thirties and the ten inches of snow we got a few days ago is rapidly decreasing--right now it's about three inches. It's almost eerie outside, and completely devoid of sun. This is the depressing time of year, hence my Spring Cleaning Fever. If I rearrange my surroundings (and I have lots of creative room because the Christmas Stuff is all down) then I feel rejuvinated, like its a new start.

But I'd better take a a break from Spring Fever and get my synopsis re-written! *gasp* Can't forget about that!

Tuesday, January 11, 2005

New Novel in the Works!!!

I got off the phone with my agent this morning, (and except for a few mortifying moments when my four-year old was screaming and banging loudly on the door because his brother wasn't "sharing" a toy with him) we had a good conversation, and he likes my novel idea (from the synopsis I gave him) so I am officially starting to write it this week!
I have a lot of research to do, but it will be welcome research: Egyptology, myths, legends, gods, and the political and social climate of Egypt in the 1890's. My two heroines travel to Egypt to solve the mystery of an ancient "curse" and I am going to have a lot of fun with this one! So excited!

Hubby went out of town today (business trip to L.A.) and so I'll have plenty of time to write at night this week. I get to stick my youngest in preschool today so I'll have time to do some research at the library--hopefully this novel will get written in a few months. I already have it outlined from start to finish, it's just a matter of crafting it now.

I just need to clean my house first! UGH.

Monday, January 10, 2005


I hadn't heard from my agent today, so I emailed him and asked what his thoughts were on my synopses and chapters I sent him on Friday. A portion of his response:

"What makes you think I'm finished reading everything you sent me!!"

So, oops. I guess he needs more time! I did send him quite a bit of material, two synopses (three pages each, single-spaced) and two attachments with the first chapter of each novel, so he could get the "flavor" of each story. So I emailed back and told him to take his time. Of course, now that I have to wait for his response, I have decided that I want to focus on Novel #1 first, but if he likes Novel #2 then I guess I have to wait. He knows the Industry much better than I do, for sure! My agent is great--he always motivates me to perfect my craft and he gives me great suggestions on books to read and shows to watch. It's just nice to know that someone out there believes in my writing. I just hope the answer he comes back with is the one I want to hear...
(You know the feeling, when you get SUPER excited about a story idea and it percolates in your brain to the point where you think of it ALL THE TIME. But alas, I get to wait.)

My four-year old has a fever today, I had to keep him home from Preschool. Boy, is he GRUMPY! (And I'll tell you now, he's NEVER grumpy.) He's my "happy kid." I hope he feels better tomorrow.

So, my goals for this week are:
1) Eat Healthy and work out every day
2) Get all the Christmas decorations down and clean the house spotless
3) Get to work on my novel.

I figure I have six months to complete my first novel, because I have TWO novels I want to complete this year. So that will give me six months for the other one. Both will have a word count of around 65,000, so not too bad for Young Adult.

Hagan, my puppy, is AT THE BACK DOOR so I'd better sign off. He doesn't stand there until he absolutely has to go--so I'd better hurry!

Sunday, January 09, 2005

Busy Weekend...

I think that it may only be possible for one blog to come out of every weekend. I just can't seem to "get away" long enough to blog on weekends.
We had fun this weekend. Took the kids to Chili's on Saturday night (unfortunately we had to eat "dinner" at 4:30 otherwise we'd have had to wait about 45 minutes to be seated anytime past 5pm.) There are only a handful of restaraunts in the little town we live in, and Saturdays can get a little crazy. But it's dark after 4pm here, so it feels like dinnertime anyway!
After that we went to Target to snoop around (yes, we love Target so much we go there as a family) and we all indulged in our guilty pleasure: Venti Peppermint Hot Chocolates from Starbucks. Mmm mm mmm.
It was really cold, and after that we didn't feel much like going to the movies (we've seen every movie out for our kids' ages anyway) so we went home and had a rousing match of MarioKart before bedtime. Yep. Saturdays are alway fun.
My hubby has had his nose buried in Dan Brown's "Angels and Demons" (which frankly, I liked better than Da Vinci Code) for most of the day today, and aside from Church, it's been quiet.
I am expecting my agent to call me tomorrow and discuss my novels--I am excited and nervous because I have one novel I really, really want to write and tomorrow I get to find out which one he thinks is the most important.

Unless of course-- he hates both ideas and wants me to come up with something entirely new.

We'll see...

Friday, January 07, 2005

Deep Snow--Little Dog

My poor puppy, Hagan. Just to clear things up, it's prounounced "Hay-gen" ( not HAH-GEN, like Hagen Daas--nothing annoys me more when people tell me that my "Hoggin" is so cute)...
But I digress...
We got a major snowfall, and I am sad to report that Hagan doesn't know quite what to do with it. He stands about ten inches tall himself, and we got ten inches. So here's the problem: Potty Time.
I got him a thick doggy Woolrich "coat" for Christmas (he hates it) and he'd rather have his nails clipped than wear it. (don't get me started on how he acts when I clip his nails) But it keeps him warm. Problem is, when the snow is just too deep, it's just TOO deep, ya know?
Hagan always enjoys bounding through the snow for the first, say...30 seconds, but at some point he stops and looks over at me forlornly, shivering--just a doggy head and shoulders peeking out above the snow, as if silently asking me: why is this pretty white stuff so cold?
I mean, until they make doggy socks or shoes, he just has to make do with the coat.

So, this morning, in a burst of Charity, I got out the shovel and shoveled a run for him, all the way around our HALF ACRE back yard, and even shoveled a few clear spots for him to do #2 in.
And what does he do as soon as I take him outside? He walked the perimeter, sniffed it a total of ONE times, and then bounded off the path into the deep snow once more.
Cut to 30 seconds later, and he was shivering, standing in the snow, looking like the butt of a cruel joke, looking forlornly at me once more.
Yes, I did it. I actually said the words: Stupid Dog. (Well, in my defense, he doesn't exactly demonstrate much prowess in the Gray Matter area).
I told him to hurry up (hurry up, Stupid Dog) before the inside of my nose never recovered, and he took a few steps and I think he pooped, but I sure can't tell, because all I could see was his snout.
Then comes the reeeaallly fun part. We get inside the house, and I have to pick all the little hard snowballs from his underbelly and hind legs, then towel him off and hold him until he stops shivering. The whole process takes about five minutes--but that's a long time when you have three kids and lots to do.
Well, make that four. Hagan is one of the kids too.

I just wish, like my other kids, he could be trained to use the toilet...

Thursday, January 06, 2005

Snow Day

We got seven inches of snow overnight. And of course, in the grand Wisconsin tradition, the minute I finished shoveling a path for my kids to get to the bus, (I was on the porch stamping the snow from my boots) the snowplow man came by and boxed me in with a three-foot wall of snow again. Stupid Ba$&*@#!
ANYWAY, school was cancelled, and my kids played while I spent half the day condensing my enormous synopses of my novels into two very brief ones, (if you consider three pages brief) for my agent to look at. I am excited because now he'll tell me which novel he feels I should focus more on. That will give me the motivation to stop the never-ending research, and start writing.
Then, my kids went sledding and spent the day ruining the pristine snow in our front and back yards, held snowball fights (according to my daughter, my son cheated with snow BOULDERS) and built assorted snowmen.
Just as my neighbor's daughter suggested that they make an anatomically correct snowman, I decided to step in and invite everyone inside for hot cocoa. The rest of the day was spent playing MarioKart (Gamecube) and I have to say, Princess Daisy and I have gotten quite adept at throwing bombs and lightning bolts. But I still get my butt kicked by my five-year old, Thing Two. It amazes me how he maneuvers those tracks with speedy precision. It's like he has this sixth sense...Nintendo Sense.
Well, good for him. Now we're all warm and cozy, and waiting for Dad to come home. How fun Snow days can be!

Wednesday, January 05, 2005

Angry Angry Angry...

I saw something on the news yesterday that sickened and angered me to the point where I can't think of much else.
They're coming out now with stories about children who were separated from their parents during the Tsunami--who are now falling prey to Pedophiles and Traffickers.
Frankly, that sent me to the moon. That these soulless people would take innocent children, who are already going through the trauma of losing their parents, and do what they're doing to them...its unthinkable. Its atrocious. Its unforgivable.
I am having a hard time finding words to describe how angry I am, and I'm a writer for Pete's sake...I can only hope that a specially torturous circle of Hell is reserved for these people, who prey on children in those ways.

Excuse me, I have to go hug my kids...

Tuesday, January 04, 2005

My problem

It hit me like a ton of bricks last night, what my problem is. All my writer friends have planned out their writing goals for the year, some of them even have clever spreadsheets to track their progress, and I have...*cue drum roll*...NOTHING.
Hence my problem. I have Writer's Commitment Anxiety. In my opinon, that's a BIG problem.
I have pinned the reason down to Time. It takes time to raise a family. It takes time to write. I am a horrible manager of Time (my husband bought me a Palm and a fancy schmancy Franklin and practially begged me to use them--I figured he was hinting at think?) and all my time seems swallowed up in taking care of kids and home. The little time I do have, I spend on the computer in my online writer's forum! *groan, I know* But its too fun and I enjoy the support.
My agent, in his tri-yearly letter to his clients, mentioned something I found very interesting. I'll quote:
"It is important that you actually write, and not PLAY at the role of being a writer and/or working at your “career” of a writer—you must write and produce and sell and publish—that is your responsibility."

It has really gotten me to thinking. If I am serious about completing two novels this year, I need to shake my #$%&!! up and just write. I need to make the time to work on it, every day.

Since I've become a stay-home mom, my first and foremost job is caretaker of family and home (a job, which, despite my complaints I actually delight and find much joy in).
I thought I would have more time to write, but that's a misconception. I seem to have less time these days. So I need to treat my writing like a second job. I'll just have to figure out how to make it work. I am not a person to put ultimatums out there (for instance, "Honey, I have to write and if you don't like it, you can shove off")'s just not me. I don't think one should take precedence over the other. I need to find a balance between my writing and family, and that is going to take some hard work and dedication.
Funny, after I typed that sentence I heard my name being called, I had to run out of my office and pack a lunch, get the kids to get the garbage out, fix my daughter's hair, take the dog pee and wipe a butt. Lovely. What a glamorous life I lead! :-)

...My Point, is that I need to make more time to be a writer as a career, and not just a hobby. I'll get there eventually. Baby steps. I've already warned my hubby that when the kids are in bed, I'm going to be on the computer at nights. He's taking a trip next week for five days, I think I am going to go like Gangbusters on one of my novels and see where I get. Looking forward to it!
Eventually, I will solve my problem. And it won't be a problem any longer!

Monday, January 03, 2005

A Rant about TV Shows:Missing the First 5 Minutes

Whew, what a morning. It was a whirlwind of getting kids and husband off to work and school, and then taking my beloved six-month old puppy to the vet at 7:30 a.m. to get the FUN operation (he really has no idea what he's in for--he just thinks he's getting groomed) and now I've worked out and had breakfast and I'm surfing the net. Bad Lara. It's just so quiet and peaceful (the boys are playing down in the basement) and I am loving the moment's solitude.

But now on to my rant. I have several TV shows that I love to watch, as I've mentioned before in other blogs. Its how my hubby and I unwind at night, and among our favorites are the LAW & ORDER and CSI shows. All of 'em. There is just ONE tiny problem with being addicted to these shows:
If you don't see the first five minutes of the show, you literally have no idea what the hell is going on for THE ENTIRE REST OF THE SHOW! I mean, that is just wrong. I have actually yelled at my kids (and this is a terrible admission) for brushing their teeth too slowly, thus making me miss the very beginning of CSI Miami. I ran downstairs and screamed, beating my head against the TV because it was the commercial break after the snide/humorous comment usually made by Horatio when he happens on a scene (which as all of us CSI watchers know, is the cue to go to commerical).

Okay, so I didn't really scream and beat my head against the TV, but I was QUITE upset and when the show started back up again, I had no idea what they were talking about, and the only part of the show I enjoyed was the Other Plot because the show always has two plots going at the same time, and they usually introduce Plot Two after the initial plot.
So, the producers need to realize that sometimes, people miss the beginning, and the show loses its entertainment value when that happens. All they need is a few sentences after the initial
commercial break, so that us "late arrivals" can know what we missed. For example:

Cut to shot of charred body in lab, being inspected by main characters
MC #1: So, what happened?
MC #2: She was found in the middle of a burned-out basement by a couple of firefighters, and we've identified her as "so and so" and there was also some suspicious white powder at the scene and purple threads in her throat and a burned shoe lying next to her that wasn't hers so we think this is a homicide rather than accidental death.
MC #1: Okay then, let's get started on the autopsy...

There! Bingo! Just so that all the unfortunate souls who missed the first five minutes, can hear what happened, and be "up to speed" on what's going on.

Is that too much to ask?

Sunday, January 02, 2005

Keeping New Years Resolutions...

I honestly think that this is the first time in my 30-something years that I have actually taken my New Years Resolutions seriously. It's been a long time coming. For instance, I have resolved to actually blog EVERY day, rather than skippety-jimbo like I have as of late. Even if it's just a pithy comment, I will strive to deliver at least one comment, rant, one-liner, or full-blown account of my day (which I will keep to a modest length in account, to prevent the resounding snores I can already hear 'round the globe at this prospect...)
ANYWAY, so there you have it. For better or worse, boring or titillating, my blog will be updated by me, every day. Unless I'm dead. In that circumstance, I'm afraid, I won't be able to keep said New Years Resolution.

New Year's Eve was actually fun this year. Hubby and I opted to celebrate at a swanky restaraunt downtown the night before, seeing as you can't get a reservation anywhere (with the exception of Denny's) on the actual New Year's Eve itself. We had a nice dinner with friends, then went to a movie (MEET THE FOCKERS--this film should come with a disclaimer for prudes and physically unfit people, since you literally could DIE of either A)Laughter or B) What I like to call Mortification Laughter (as in, Did They Just Say What I Think They Said! HA HA HA HA HA! I am so embarrassed that I am sitting in a theater with a bunch of strangers and they just SAID that!!! I'd like to go hide now, but I can't so I'll laugh...)
and basically had just a nice evening.
Then the actual New Years Eve, we celebrated East Coast Time New Years Eve (because our kids were laid out on the sofas on the verge of a coma, since their usual bedtime is 8:30 and they were completey GONE).
So we had some Martinelli's, popped our New Year's Crackers open (a tradition in Britain that I think is way cool so we do it here) and toasted in the New Year with our paper crowns and jammies on. It was a blast.

Now it's back to Reality: hubby goes back to work tomorrow, the kids go back to school, the dog is going to the vet to get neutered, and I will be all by myself in the house.
I am wondering what the heck I will do---all that time...hmmm, maybe get some writing done?

Saturday, January 01, 2005

HAPPY 2005!!!

FINALLY some alone time to update my blog and wish everyone a Happy New Year! (Now that's a holiday we ALL can celebrate!).
Of course, in the time-honored tradition of writing down goals and dreams and objectives (that are generally adhered to for a total of about...say ten days), I have compiled a rather lengthy list of New Years Resolutions. To my chagrin, about 95% of them are intensely private, and this being the internet...well, I'll have to edit the list somewhat. So if I write "Blah Blah" it's just because it's slightly private. Here goes:
Goal #1: Lose Blah blah amount of pounds by May--my birthday. (Yes, the Holidays did me in)
Goal #2: Complete two full-length YA novels by September.
Goal #3: Blah Blah every day except Sundays until my Blah blah looks like Blah Blah.
Goal #4: Study my Blah Blah half an hour every day.
Goal #5: Attempt to be a more effective time manager/more organized person
Goal #6: Be kind to my Blah-blahs
Goal #7: Blah blah blah blah on blah blah and blah blah on the blah blah BLAH.

Well, maybe not...

Okay, my point is, resolutions are generally private things that we do every January--and I must count myself among the mediocre masses, striving to be better.
That's what its all about anyway, right?