Saturday, December 31, 2011

very quickly.....

Depending on when I get back to cyber land, I want to wish you a happy new year. I also want to hop back on later and post pretty things and updates. Responding to shameless requests for money from the democratic party has stolen a bit of that time, so I will be back later today.  I did a bit of painting last night and some design, so I am happier with myself than I have been in awhile. I also giggled for awhile during my responses, honestly, what do they think they can do with $12,000 anyway? Buy gas for the democratic party? Donuts and coffee?

As with most of you, the holiday season has been keeping us busy - in a good way. I wish for you all the same.

More later, must scoot now!


Saturday, December 24, 2011

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

To everyone, everywhere:

May your Christmas bring you joy, or, if you need it more, peace.

May your Christmas bring you something that helps renew your spirit.

May you find grace strengthening your steps in the New Year.

Be safe in the holiday season (that fake mistletoe can be real trouble!!)
I'll have new pics up next week - I am Quite Happy with how my mom's birthday card turned out :-)

Take care,


Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Breathing In the Season - Eating, Writing, Thinking...

Goodness, only 3 days left 'till Christmas Eve! Before any other time slips by, may I extend further wishes for a stress-free end of the week! If you do not celebrate Christmas, at least half of those around you do, and I pray their stress doesn't raise yours :-)

In my last post, I mentioned that I draw a lot of relief from aesthetics. Happily, it's one of the revelations I use to stay on top of housework when I am in my current condition, sniffly, tired, and grasping for grace. As the Queen of Good Intentions, it would be remiss to not acknowledge that I am occasionally, also, the Fool of Follow-Through! I feel like I have not kept quite up with my ambitions for the week, but then, that's what babysteps are for. At the very least, shopping is done, all but 3 presents are wrapped for the kids, and there are not many others to take care of.

My mother's birthday is Christmas day, so I've set a good - relatively easy - brunch menu to make for her, my step-dad and my family. I've been looking forward to making Cinnamon-Pancetta waffles for some time, and I get to attempt a hollandaise (thank you Joy of Cooking!) sauce for Eggs Benedict. If I'm really on top of it, I can make her a cafe mocha. If I'm Not on top of it, it will be Coffee and Baileys, with Prosecco, OJ, and fresh fruit. I'm also considering the prosciutto/rosemary/raspberry jam panini with cheese and brown sugar.

Damn, I hope I stay on top of it!

I'm...stewing over the WIP. Again. Still haven't resolved my thoughts about how the story ends, either. It can go one of two ways, and the more violent ending seems to make the most "sense" for the arc of the story. Not sure how to refigure it if I aim for a less-violent ending. So, the twisty little bugger is in a thoroughly earned time-out for a bit! However, I haven't been entirely lazy in the Arts dept. I came up with a pretty design for my aunt's 50th birthday card, and have begun sketching ideas for my mom's. I did a respectable one for my step-mother as well, and surprised myself by playing a melody line of "Ode to Joy' on my son's violin - from memory (can't read music). And last night, in a rare quiet moment, I did some research for the next story on the burner. So far, it looks like I need a pre-statehood map of Minnesota/Michigan trading posts. Which seems less daunting than the ecotoxicology I've been researching for my horror WIP - still no title for the damned thing, either!

In February, I may get away with my husband for a bit of a winter vacation - I'm looking forward to quiet walks and recuperation. He deserves a break and a good amount of electronic downtime. Unplugging. We'll see about getting to one of the north shore resort areas, and take in the stillness for awhile. That idea is so calming to me now, that just meditating on the quieter air, the awesomely still and expansive horizon, I believe I may have just settled my allergies down a bit - or maybe that's just my Winter Minestrone kicking in ;-) (thank you, Giada).

So, that's what this fumbling, vaguely artistic, and perhaps overly-ambitious blogger has been up to...and very little else.

I think the morning of the twenty-sixth, I may let myself sleep in until noon.....

Wishing you all a beautiful week, a lovely holiday, and as much peace and respite as you need. Then, come back and visit.

Otherwise, you'll never know if I managed to serve a tasty brunch at Christmas....or merely salmonella salad!

My best to you all ;-)


Monday, December 19, 2011

It's About That Snow....

Um, I was going to try to....avoid this.

I am having a meltdown.

Hah. That's only partially true. I am not having a meltdown - the bloody SNOW is having a meltdown! Or, rather, it had it's cute little meltdown and now it is gone. From Minnesota, of all places. Home of the beloved Frostbite Falls (if you aren't a Rocky and Bullwinkle fan, just.....try to keep up ;-). Let me assure you, more than half the Minnesotans I know have No Problem at All with this. But for those of us tender souls (oh go ahead and snort already, get it out of your system!) who are aesthetically dependent, this totally, totally SUCKS. As if Holiday Spirit isn't a tricky proposition in this economy anyway!!

Every one I know has one or more friends/family struggling with unemployment. Christmas is very stressful in general - add higher gas prices and price gouging on Amazon (thanks, guys!) and you have a ho-ho-ho season that feels a bit more like NoNoNo! And then, take away my white, fluffy, security blanket? Sledding? Ice skating?

Come. On.

I have a kinder relationship with snow than most, simply because I don't have to drive in it much. And if I have to be out in it (for sledding or playing with the kids) nothing stops me from making a pot of coffee ahead to help me recover. Every kid understands the power of the blank canvas that is snow, and there is something about the quiet and visual calmness that a fresh snowfall brings. Sound is softened by snow. Dirt, dead grass, and patches in the grass are all smoothed over, and the view is refreshed.

Unless you happen to live in my neighborhood. In my state. The state of chilly mornings and brown grass. Offering no visual respite to busy bodies and tired minds. I went through most of last week with my husband on long days (thank goodness my kids turned into wildly cooperative and cheerful ones!) while I got the house set for visitors and a big meal. My youngest aunt is turning 50, so we also went out to celebrate the big day, We even went to a Christmas concert this weekend - and all this should have been enough to thoroughly wipe me out. I have a hate-hate relationship with stress - it gives me allergies, headaches, bad dreams, and I swear it triggers my vertigo too!

If it were just another event coming up like July 4, or a big birthday, it probably would have.

My Christmas stress seems to come from feeling like anything I choose isn't 'good enough' for the ones I love. (smells a little like insecurity, right?) There's a lot of grace in 'knowing yourself', and that's a huge help in honoring your loved ones with gifts. And my faith tells me that giving generously with love honors God as well.

This morning, after I drop my daughter off at pre-school, I think I'll pick up a peppermint mocha. When I get back, I'll put on Celtic Woman's Christmas album, or something else vast and snowy (Sigur Ros?) and finish addressing my Christmas cards so they can get in the mail and 'make' it by Friday. I'll wrap gifts, drink my water, and plan good meals for the week. I'll remind myself that Christmas is inside, more than outside, and let that guide me through the final week of anxious children, tired spouses, and other facets of holiday Hell.

I've got a long way to go, but I think I'll just worry about getting through today. And work on sorting out our blessings, our priorities, and our time together with gratitude.

Snow, or no snow.

Have a good week - may the weather be kind and not let you, or anyone you love, down :-)


Friday, December 9, 2011

Snow Angel

It is Very. Very. Cold.

In order to hop back into the holiday mood, I have posted a pic of my homemade snow angel. She could use some tidying up, perhaps. But, considering she's made of a clothespin, brown paper bag scrap, paper doily, glitter and glue, scavenged feathers and cheesecloth, as well as a torn scrap of aluminum foil, I think she's acceptable for now. (yep, I know that angels are It's. Also, many of them are not at home without a flaming sword. But I was going for simplified ;-)

I had started a poem about a rookie angel, but I doubt this one is the same. This is more a celebration of the change of the year. And to peek at the glory around you (don't forget to get up early tomorrow morning for the lunar eclipse!)

I have to fly, much to do and little time to do it! My hands and face are dreadfully dry right now, so I am going to chug my icewater, wrap a present, indulge in some serious moisturizer and pull on my cozy gloves and scarf. I can't outdo my daughter in the winter gear - she has a panda hat, for heavens sake! - but I feel I need to layer on and protect my skin!

Stay warm, safe, and filled with enough joy to get you through the weekend :-)


Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Hey, you're here!!!

Hello Orchid Visitors!

I am full of apologies about being awol for a bit. On the other hand, with December rolling, and Christmas having me - and many other's in it's gunsight - you may look at it as a well-deserved quiet space on your side, or a predictably overdue lapse on mine.

There's no big news to share. I'm slogging my way through stock-making tonight, and have very obviously erred on water quantity, so in order to avoid Kitchen Mayhem, I may have to set the hot pot in a cool sink to cool it quickly (once the initial cool down happens) and finish the 'boiling down' process tomorrow. I've only done homemade stock once before, so chalk this fiasco up to ignoring my gut instinct. Only I can reliably confuse Joy of Cooking instructions this badly...

Baking has proved more productive, but slower - gingerbread has scented our house for the last two days. Thank God the neighbor popped by with some homemade tamales - it gave me an excuse to get a batch of cookies out of our house and into hers. I've decided I'd like to give up my gut for Lent. Any takers? I'm starting early ;-)

Off to cool that stock pot. The steam isn't bad for the orchids right now, our house is slightly too dry. A nice sink full of hot soapy water to finish the kitchen tidy-up would also humidify nicely, but my poorly-timed breaking of the garbage disposal tonight has obviated that solution. This is setting up tomorrow to be quite the 'different' day indeed!

Step one achieved, pot is off the heat and all flavor is thoroughly eradicated from the chicken. 10 minutes of typing and I will start cooling it off in the sink. I'll also be making a trip to the garage with the chicken carcasses. My obese felines are on a strict diet now - chicken parts in our nice steel-finish garbage can would just prompt those wretches to grow thumbs and dig out my can opener. They already whine all night - unless one of us gets up early with the kids for some reason - the cats are too confused to beg. One guess as to which one of us is the likeliest candidate to get up with them tomorrow - er, okay, THIS morning!

Hmm. chocolate teddy grahams don't go as well with the red wine as I'd hoped. Nice on their own, though. ANYWAY, back to the tedium, er, the work in progress....

I have moved the WIP to the back burner for the moment - you know, the burner with the stock on it? The burner, as it happens, where I Do, in fact, Take Stock of Things. And, near as I can tell, unless I start changing my ways (tonight being a Really Poor Start on this) that WIP is waiting another week (watch me get the writing bug Saturday night and look like an even Bigger idiot!). I skipped a meeting of our writers group (they are a fabulously forgiving bunch - they know when I plead incompetence that I'm not entirely joking!) but those lovely folks are having 2 meetings this month and I may strive to make that second one happen. I started a poem two days ago, but it's sensationalistic and preachy and may be better off in the can. With the chicken carcass.  It seems to be a dystopian presage to the God's Dremel Tools poem (unfinished) and that's a little grim series trying to happen there....and that's a downer even for me.

December 4th marks the anniversary of my brother's passing, and it's smacked me around but good this time. My brother was probably not the man I idolize, but damn, I bet he was close. I try to make a point, this time each year, to think about what made him the fantastic, giving, and honest person he was. Last year I gave you Denny stories (funnier to those who knew him, apologies to the rest of you) and maybe I need to re-post a few of them. He is who I want to be when I grow up. Not insignificantly,  I should also mention he was a hell of a better cook than I am!

(pause. Stock check). Yup, handsome, smart, giving, brilliant, hysterically funny as needed, and a good cook too. Annoying, when you come down to it. But like many, many others, his life was a too-brief one - aged 29. Filled with sound and fury, laughter and wit, ambition and longing, loving and giving. Yet he got the same thing you and I get.

He got a life.

If mine can be as genuine, as full, as giving, as joyful, well, I might start feeling pretty good the next time I take stock.

Have a good week, I'll post something pretty when I come back :-)


Tuesday, November 22, 2011

In Honor of Thanksgiving - The 2nd Annual Post of.... The Turkey Poem...

It’s Not by Chance

There are some people who haven't forgotten
- that chickens once had teeth;
- that creatures like emus once hunted in packs,
like wolves
- and that somewhere in the spiral
behind the eyes of a vulture
and in the hips of an ostrich
the equation for tyrant lizards lies in wait.

There are other people who know
that a wild turkey
entering a windshield 
at 65 miles an hour
northbound on 35W, is a gift from God

- it's three days before Thanksgiving,
- the only things broken are the windshield and one bird neck,
- you have the number of a very good butcher.

 by shari emerson

Happy Thanksgiving Everyone!

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Falling off that writing thing - easy as falling off a bike!

Hello Friends!!

I have been out - to lunch, breakfast, dinner,....hmm, no, more accurately, I have been out to Life. And, Life is a very nice place, both to be, and to come back to.
However, the Life thing seems to be getting used to doing a few things on it's own, so some writing time popped up on Friday! Yay! Yippee! Wahoo!!

And i grabbed that time with two hands, fired up the 'magic deCrapifier button', scoured the WIP, and wrote the next unwritten scene. I got so stinkin' proud of myself I even went and emailed it to the always gracious Claudia Lefeve (she, of all people, deserves to see that the concept of 'story' is finally sinking in!). I worked for about 40 minutes (goal was 30), wrote about 800 and deleted about 300 total.

One issue that I've been mulling over is plot-why's - as in, during a movie, you sometimes think that the protagonist could easily have saved themselves a whole mess of Trouble if they, you know, just, like, told somebody what was going on. I am specifically thinking of teen-centered horror. Since my MC is in fact a teenaged girl, I wanted to begin validating the information she does or does not share. And giving plausible reasons for her to hold things back.

Also, I wanted to start addressing that whole 'inserting facts that back up the premise of the story' thing. I have been working with the luxury of knowing how it ends, and not putting in a ton of 'how to get there', so I'm happily in that groove, which means I might even be starting to visualize the Finish Line (and then start the obsessing over re-writes part ;-)

So, that's what's been happening with the WIP. My daughter seemed to have shaken the pneumonia, but today she's a bit warm, and a seriously runny nose. Not a good sign. My son - who has really epic struggles with slowing down his 7 yr. old brain - had wonderful feedback from his teacher at parent conferences, and really strong grades to show him the payoff on his homework and classwork. Compared to his struggles last year, this is GOLD for him :-) I've done a bit of holiday baking, we are starting the holiday shopping, and I've been indulging myself aesthetically.

I've been re-watching "The Other Boleyn Girl" - mainly for the cinematography and costumes at this point, and "Black Swan" - mainly for the costumes and the relief of watching someone More obsessive than myself!! I've found some old musical favorites online - currently I am treating myself to All About Eve's "Scarlet and Other Stories". It's a wonderful wintery album - and other than a tune called "December" (a really lyrically/vocally pretty, if very 80's-sounding, song), I couldn't exactly tell you what is so wintery about it. We've the snowy weather inspiring me now - I am one of the few people who rave happily about the gorgeous scenery, chiefly because I Don't Have To Commute, I think.

I want to get back onto my busy day, but I think (despite school being out for my daughter, and Brief for my son) I might be back on the ROW-wagon. At least, I truly hope so!

Hopefully, the weather is kind to you, and you have a lovely week. If you are in the US, I will pray you are Not stressing about Thanksgiving. I'll be adding links here, to gorgeous up the blog, I think!

Be well, I am really happy you came by :-)


Other Fabulous ROW-ers below! See what they are up to - this is a great way to meet another new author!

Monday, November 7, 2011

pneumonia. bleah.

all word-related duties (except the occasional wistful pining - as in 'pining for the fjords') are hereby suspended until after thursday, if her fevers go away, that is. If they don't go away by thursday, more x-rays.

sigh. Carry on. this is not the artistic mothering, this is nervously doing the parenting thing while fretting 24 hours straight. and getting things-done-in-between. sort of.

anyway, more news to come. Later. I promise. :-)


Wednesday, November 2, 2011

sigh. Under the weather....and the weather isn't even really here yet....

apparently, I have not been as diligent on de-germing my house as I thought I was. Sunday, we realized our daughter was coming down with a cold, and my husband warned me to start taking vitamin C. I did - that day only.

This morning, it occured to me that it was a great day to start 'babying' my immune system (although the cup and a half of homemade salsa I ate Saturday should Really have been working in my favor!!). So, i made a roasted chicken with veggies/rice, homemade (bisquick, anyway) rolled biscuits, and got ready to drink a big glass of water. I'd been proud of myself, mind you - i was drinking water all day, as my vertigo medicine actually tends to make me notice being thirsty!

All that effort(plus grocery shopping, picking up drycleaning, stopping off at the library, doing the pre-school runs, baking brownies, feeding an extra kid at breakfast, and doing the ballet run tonight) has All caught up with me.

I am sniffling, feeling the sore throat, and getting exceedingly grumpy. Did no writing today or monday, and I'm pretty sure I Don't Give a Hoot! Won't be doing writing Friday, as the kids will be home, and I'll be snivvling.

And, you know something, I can tell that you that if you feel even one or two smidgeons healthier than me, than you are doing better than I. Plus, I bet you're not publicly moaning about it!!

so, look for a ROW 80 update next wednesday, I have a feeling that unless my husband gets an extra day off, the writing activities will be superceded by nosewiping duties. Do yourself a favor and clean your computer now.

Just in case :-)

Have a healthier week than I am managing. And, if you've had the thought "maybe I just might want to take better care of myself, well, I'd run with that thought!

Good night,


Wednesday, October 26, 2011

brief update....sometimes

a three year old girl just needs to snuggle her way to her nap.

wrote about 550 words on the WIP on Monday, as hoped. Today I used the free time volunteering at my son's class for an hour, had a bit of time to eat, then picked up my daughter from pre-school. Today has been spent playing catch up on a few items for more activities, but it's all expected. Found the wedding earring I'd feared lost this morning, so i feel there may be a bit of extra luck in the air. Next writing date: friday am. No less than 30 minutes and ideally 500 words. Little by little....

to make today go the way I want to, I'll need a bit of that. And a little more focus (funny, I've YET to find a way to Download That!) So, off the laptop. On to life. More ROW 80 writers below - Cheer them on!


Sunday, October 23, 2011

Pausing, for a moment :-) just to regroup, recap, and then keep going....

There, I paused, did you?

I frequently feel like autumn should bring me both more, and less, to do. I can spend half a day scurrying around, tell myself I need a break, and then give the to-do list a once-over and realize that there is a whole mess of partially complete tasks, and a nice stack of 'still waiting'.

Being the kind of person who got Sick And Tired of the Foot Surgery Whinefest I indulged in all last winter, I threw my family out the door, drank two glasses of water, and a big cup of coffee, printed out my calendar and stared at it. I added some missing bits, sent out emails and phone calls to fill in some empty bits, and realized I've not yet checked in on the one routine I've held to this fall - ROW 80.

To refresh your memories, I'm writing a long-story/short novella. Horror/spec.fiction is the genre, and it is, at it's heart, a 'don't go into the woods' story. More grunge than Twilight, more rust than chrome. A little bit of Myst thrown in to, just because I love keeping folks guessing...and I really need to work out my influences lest they haunt me forever!  I have been ignoring the poetry - it will keep, but really neglecting the artwork.

For those of you who are not actually following me and landed here by happenstance, I'm also a stay-at-home mom in pursuit of,  hmmm, domestic zen, I guess. Not perfection, not pristine (for that you need my mom or my auntie Jeannie!) My children are in a few activities, and I refuse to allow this unless they 'make the most of them'. Therefore, these meager literary efforts (let alone the domestic ones) get Regularly De-railed by Ballet class, scouts, tae kwan do, homework, and violin practice. I will note from time to time that when I pay attention to the art and the writing, that my children are being raised by wolves. This is slightly more true than you'd think - ever the amateur biologist, my son enjoys organizing 'wolfpacks' for all ages play with the hordes of kids that end up in my yard. This also means that I'm the local RedCross, and I deal with most injuries, hypothermic requests for hot chocolate (we live in Minnesota), and endless glasses of water.

I think the only way i get anything done is by being grateful for all that I can do.

On that note, as per plan, I didn't write or draw a damned thing on Friday. The week still got over a thousand words though, and if that doesn't count for much, well, it still counts for me.

Right now, i need to finish meal planning and calendar catch-up for this week (which is already bloody ludicrous). Looks like I'm volunteering in the classroom during one of my writing days, so I'm guessing i'll only clear about 1000 words this week too. On the other hand, seeing how we are leading up to halloween, I might get a lot more out of my sessions than usual.

Off to it, then. I've got to plan baking days for a Saturday get-together (pumpkin bread, gingerbread cookies, and an apple tart with hazelnuts. Maybe some choc. chip cookies too!) and come up with a plan to have some solid food in my daughters tummy without resorting to mcEvil's even once. I've also got to check in with my lovely neighbor to see what I can assist her with, as her husband is recovering from a long-needed neck surgery. So, time to fly. I'll land here again 'round wednesday.

Take care, and if you find the time to play linky-hop, do check out the writers below, it's a great way to unwind. Send 'em some love ;-)


Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Spinning the Tale, One Thread at a Time

It's a greyish sort of day out there, perfect for baking, thinking, writing. Also, for cruising through paper clutter at about a zillion miles per hour simply because I am tired of looking at it!

The kids will be home with me for Thursday and Friday, so today is kind of a getting ahead-or-on-top-of-it day, since the next two days will be pretty irresistably in the goofing-around category. I am also starting to think seriously ahead about the Christmas holiday, and how to manage the upcoming Halloween and Thanksgiving holidays. Because my husband and I actually took our budgeting seriously this year, we've been able to knock out some longstanding bills, and start filling up the 'holiday' portion of our budgeting. Hopefully, our biggest stress will be deciding between two of the 'right' gifts for people, rather than the 'which-one-is-better-vs-which-one-can-we-better-afford?' 

So, I am trying to drink my water, remain clear-headed, and on track with personal goals, as well as writing goals. Hitting my writing goals helps fire me up about more of my daily routines, so here we go!

(remember, write the damned story 30/day, m-w-f, attempt that artistic mother thing.)

Monday - wrote for 40ish minutes, 638 words. No artistic mothering - i think I need to move that book up to the re-read section of my current reading list to fire myself up on this. Monday was busy with cooking and family time, which is okay by me :-)

Today - wrote for 40ish minutes, 560 words. I am attacking the WIP by going through from the beginning and hitting the 'placeholder' sections so those passages tie into something before, and lead to a future story thread. At some point, sooner rather than later, I need to physically print it out, note how many red-pen question-marks are left in the story, plotwise, so I can make a new list of Stuff To Address. However, that is going to take more energy than is currently on deck (sadly, even cappucino can't give me a shortcut through this kind of effort).

Poetry - there's a site that feels like a decent fit and is soliciting submissions, and I am considering it. Given how much energy (let alone time) it could take to polish/edit/review something suitable, I feel like this could stay on the back burner a while longer. Yes, I am dithering and procrastinating.....I'll let you know what I do with this one, just not today! Too much going on right now :-)

Okay, so almost 1200 words this week, with no writing scheduled Friday. I'll check in on Sunday, and hopefully work in some time to hop around with the rest of the ROW 80 challenge-ers. Because sometimes, that is the only thing keeping this story afloat! Life is funny like that....

Anyway, all my threads are flapping loose, so I will close before the stuffing starts escaping too :-)

I wish you all a wonderful week, and promise to find my head before I start typing next time. Today, I'm only barely 'here'.

Take care,


Share the love with the fellow ROW-ers - old friends and New!!

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Still trying to stick-to-it!!

hello there! fourhundred bajillion things on my mind to take care of or address today, so short and snappy is the way to go.

Goals - M-W-F - write the story, artiscally mother, check in on rowers, no squalor allowed.

Since Wed. check in happened, I will only report friday actions.

Friday - 643 words on the story, deleted crap, considered mailing to a few readers and decided a teensy bit more plot would benefit the betas and refrained. For the record, that's something over 1000 words for the week - and that practically NEVER happens!!!

No art, except I did iron a face onto my daughter's 'we made it together' dolly. Now we are attempting to glue hair on her head. Squalor was more than fended off - until friday night hit - and it's been a battle against paper stacks ever since. I hopped around to a few row-ers, and tried to converse with other creatives on the wishstudio fb page and site.

(to all those who just jumped over to me and have no idea what the hell I am talking about, I promise if you just show up Wednesday all will be explained. If you are otherwise committed, here's the short version. A nice group of writers called "ROW 80" are trying to encourage each other to write, edit, or publish their writing on a regular basis for 80 days. Knowing that with support, many things are easier, some of us tack additional personal or artistic goals onto the challenge.Sometimes we even make a point of saying what works, and what doesn't! Make sense? S'okay if it doesn't - even on my best days it's hard to make sense and today I am JAMMING!)

This week, Mon. and Wed. are the only good writing days, Friday is a day off with the kids. I wish you all a tremendous week, doing whatever you need/and/or love to do.

Take care,


Wednesday, October 12, 2011

ROW 80 update - way too much writing goin' on!

Hello visitors and friends!

I wanted to make this a chipper, bloggy, friendly and intriguing post, instead, we are doing facts.

Goal - write the damned story for 30 min (minimum) Mon-Wed-Frid, do something about that Artistic Mother project also. Sigh, THAT'S the reason i needed to quit at thirty minutes today .....grrrr.

Monday - had hair appt so almost two inches of evil grey is now Vanquished, I tell you, VANQUISHED. She was able to leave me in peace for 30 minutes and I think I knocked out around 350 words (including the usual deleting/decrapifying process).

In researching bits of my story, I encountered some toxicology information AND discovered that the "King's Purple" dye (Tyrian Purple) was secreted by Carnivorous Sea Snails. No WoNdEr it cost about a zillion dollars to buy!

Wednesday (today) sat down for 90 minutes (thereby missing the entire window for the artistic mother program, not to mention DINNER!)and wrote about 560 words, (including stupid word deletion and more decrapifiying)Most of this writing is connecting the events in varying scenes and making some of the events in the plot make much more sense. In fact, the scene where my MC tries to weasel information out of a police officer with some really dumb and transparent lies finally fits into the story!

So, what's next, new and old friends and readers?

Hopping into the car to score some really fast happy meals for the kids (I'll be subsisting through ballet class on domestic shame and Caffeinated Writer's High, myself) Then, the laundry I never finished putting away this morning (oh, don't call social services on me yet, I had a brutally important dr. appt. which went as happily as I dared hope!)

Anyway, I must fly, thanks for stopping by. Please have a little faith, we may get a short story out by 2011 yet! Of course, you'll all stick around for the rejection slips, right? ;-)

Have a lovely night, see ya Sunday!


Sunday, October 9, 2011

ROW 80 check in #2 - success yay. Oh, and shameless quest for help

Good evening, I am attempting speed and brevity - for those of you used to my rambling ways and efforts at spelling, well, try to keep up :-)

Per plan, I am to write 30 minutes M-W-F while dear daughter is in pre-school. I am to also do 30 minutes on the Artistic Mother program those days, and I am also supposed to drop by and visit fellow ROW-ers and Cheer Them On. Lastly, I cannot let the house descend into abject squalor, and people here have to have actual meals at their appointed times. I began the challenge Wednesday.

Wed. - I successfully sat down for 2 chunks of time Wednesday (totalling 30 min.), and posted results. No A.M. projects, though. That project is so far in the dust I couldn't remember what I was supposed to do. Plus, I was really stinkin' busy (er, ok, what else is new.)

Fri. - Researched the hell out of botany (at the local level)for way too much time, then started pecking away. Went for about 45 minutes in one chunk,30 in another, and knocked out ~400 words. Scanned backgrounds for the AM project while sorting through the Evil and Obese stack of paper remaining after Wednesday's decluttering effort. Halfway through the scanning, my daughter woke up. And, I remembered that I was supposed to sketch, doodle, stamp, and paste stuff before the scanning. So, um, I guess I have to re-read a bit to get that thing back on track.

Now, gross plea for help. I need information about how ground/soil composition could affect the toxin properties in certain plants. Without getting too specific here, if anyone has this sort of knowledge base and LOVES to talk about it, I could sure use someone to bounce some stuff off of. If there are no takers, there will be some shameless fictional chemistry invention going on in my nasty little story, and if you read it, and you were in a position to help, I hope you know you've only yourself to blame ;-)

(for those of you without english as a first language, and some of you who are native speakers, that whole thing may make zero sense. It's not your fault, that's alllllll me. Sorry a zillion times for confusion.)

Anyway, that's the wrap up. I truly do have to feed these people, the wolves who usually raise them have got the Night Off.




Cheer on the Row 80 Buddies Below!

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

ROW 80, Round 4, check in one, and sad news :-(

Bottom in chair, hands on keys for 30 minutes - it took two sessions, but it happened :-) I'll be taking my mom out and about for furniture and such things tomorrow, so today was also Take Care of My Floors day. I managed 4 rooms, two sets of steps before I switched to addressing a morbidly obese pile of paper clutter, and worked my way through half.

I'd really like to spend 30 minutes tonight on the Artistic mother program, but there's some unscheduled editing I get to putz around with that has to happen tonight.

I just finished reading the notice that Mr. Jobs passed away, and I think immediately of his exacting genius. Then, I think of his wife, who by definition of purely 'sticking with it' must have been some kind of saint. Then I think about how changed life will be for she and their children, and I say a prayer for them.

Then I think what the future of computing will be with him out of the picture for the next ten years he should have been productive for, and then I say a prayer for us.

We've lost an innovator - somebody who has made modern life what it truly is. I'm both worried and intrigued by who - by what - will fill his shoes.

RIP, Mr. Jobs. The world already misses you.



Blog Hop Below - check out some old friends, maybe some new!

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

ROW 80 - Round Four - Goals...seems like I'm really going to do this thing!

Well, if you know me (or have merely paused here, once or twice -  and thank you if you did!) you know that life has had many busy days and nights in the last three weeks, and that writing has been so far on that back-burner that it's already gathered a family of dust bunnies, named them, and married them off.

 So, what the bloody hell do I think I am doing by subjecting myself to routine humiliation again? Falling so short of the damned goalpost I could be an honorary MN Viking!??

The brilliant founder of IKEA, in Sweden, has a lovely quote about "... it's only in our dreams we are perfect...'

Clearly that fella has never had my dreams (nightmares about my own earwax?!!). He said something about the privilege of failure, though, and something critical about keeping at it till you get it right...or maybe just getting it done!

So, since the Muse has been making herself obvious lately, despite my best attempts to scare her off with poetry about 'shitmobile's', I'll throw my hat in the ring. Starting tomorrow.

I have two hours writing time M-W-F mornings, and one hour writing time in the afternoon. Since I have more errands as well, the writing commitment will be 30 minutes, three days per week. 30 minutes per day on those days will also be spent on the (formerly, sadly - abandoned) Artistic Mother program - no, I never did make it out of week 2! The rest of my time will hopefully be spent getting done other creative things - er, DINNER, perhaps??! for my family. They are lovely folks, it would be nice to feel worthy of them more often than usual!

Also, I made a lovely group of acquaintances in the last several rounds. I will commit to 15 minutes/week cheering people on.

That's it, this mama needs her sleep! Especially if I will drag out the WIP tomorrow - imagine what I can figure out about this story of sociopaths, missing people, nasty trucker's, hairy and tiny hermits, and small towns with big dreams....'cause we need more stories like this ;-)

'night all!


Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Final ROW 80 thoughts, and other orchid stuff....

Well, it certainly has been a while!!

Like many folks out there, we're settling in to school day routines and autumn-time activities, having never had two kids in school at the same time, I'd foolishly thought this would unlock huge swathes of time and productivity. Reality corrected this viewpoint pretty quickly! Being a (quite privileged) stay-at-home mom, I'm the kind of gal who volunteers immediately to prep materials for school, volunteer for the classrooms, put together projects for Sunday school, walk neighbor kids to the bus stop, dust for a friend, whatever.

You can see how this might tie up a day or two.

Mind you, this is more blessing-counting than whining. I've been able to take a solid look at how things are prioritized in my day, and have found that yes, indeed, when I focus on the family and home first, the free time seems to actually open up a bit. Drinking more water lately seems to help too, regardless of the amount of time I spend running to the bathroom! This isn't contradictory - the first week and a half were flat-out insane! That craziness aside, today was a good model for what this season could look like - knock out the basic house stuff either before the kids are up or after they're off to school, play catch-up on paperwork, give 30 to figuring out dinner, concentrate fully on my daughter or son for longer stretches, and having thinking/writing/art time for one or two sessions/day.

That being said (and, apologies here for sounding disjointed, I'm in the thick of a vertigo spell!), I am Not sure about the next round of ROW 80. The challenge has been hugely informative, and I've done writing that just would never have happened without it - just shy of 12,000 words that didn't previously exist only arrived as a gift from ROW 80. I've also connected with LOVELY, Supportive, outstanding writers - even ones with MORE kids than me!! PUBLISHED writers, mind you! These reasons alone may keep me in the challenge :-)

If I re-enlist for the next one, the goals will likely be even more modest (since I was rarely able to accomplish them). I'll see how the next week plays out and use that to help my decision-making. I'm certainly not making any decisions tonight, as I'm feeling terribly woozy and uneasy to boot! To the good - I've been waking up earlier the last two weeks, and positively identifiying what free time looks like, and where it falls. If I re-do ROW 80, for round FOUR, the results are likely to be at least interesting.

That alone is reason to keep my hat in the ring. On the other hand, interesting is something I don't seem to run out of around here.....

Take care. If you are considering ROW 80, I will tell you this. Something will get written. Something will likely get finished. And you will certainly learn as much about you as you do about your WIP.

With dizzy and spin-ney apologies,


Wednesday, September 14, 2011

ROW 80 update....and other snafu's......

Well, as delightful as it was to report success on the easy-bake motherboard fix, the video card on the WIP computer is officially toast. We have purchased a used computer - same model - to pop the drive out of and replace with our drive. Than me, my WIP, and the new scribbly business will be reunited. As much as I am fuming, part of me is relieved.....a little. Focusing purely on the family has its own challenges and rewards :-).

When the new computer arrives (and any guesses how long before That one is sitting on foil at 350?) I'll have more sensible idea of the writing time allocation. Considering that the sick 'puter also holds the pics of my daughter's first full day of school, I am really anxious to get this resolved!

So, in other nonsense, I've gotten a classroom volunteer opportunity that popped up for Friday, 8 new scout badges to sew on my sons new shirt, and some materials to prepare for Sunday school. I also need to make 2 condolence cards , an anniversary card for my dear husband, and start getting my act together for my mom's move-in party.

So, did anything good actually happen?

Well, all the glass jars are off the bottom of the fridge (breaking one earlier made This task a bit quicker), we've eaten out less, and I'm waking up early consistently. This is only important because with my husband sick (and gone most of last night) most of the doing that needs doing needs to be done by 9, and I am getting better at this. Also, despite his illness, when I carted the kids around this week, he took up a lot of vacuuming, so I've had some - sneezy - help. Also, I made time to play one-little-wolf-and-the-big-bad-pig with my daughter, and that counts as very good indeed.

Back to the craziness now, before something else goes flying! I hope everyone has a great weekend coming up, writing, or not :-)


Monday, September 12, 2011

Just do it already..................

Today has been the living example of "do it now or you'll regret it."

What do I mean by this?

This morning, I got up early, had my coffee, checked my email. My husband has a pretty grim head cold and sore throat, so I figured any doing today needs to be done by me - and the sooner, the better. I unloaded the dishwasher, put away clean laundry,watered the plants and cleaned the kids bathroom.

My son woke in a grand mood, but was putzing around, not getting dressed. He winced and said his stomach hurt, I told him to get dressed and eat. Should have sent him to the freshly cleaned wc, as it turns out.

15 minutes later he has an obviously troubled tummy, some new laundry for me to clean, and we are calling the school to give the symptoms and keep him home.

While this is going on, I'm trying to get my daughter going for her first full day of pre-school (in between tossing stuff in the laundry) This goes great - she even shrieks - "Look, there's my preschool!" on the way there. When I park the car in front, she says,

"Mama, I do not want you to leave me here".

I convinced her to walk in with me and say hi to her teacher, and once we got in, washed hands, hung up her bag, and found her 'frog'. She sat down to do a puzzle, my eyes filled up with tears, I gave her a hi-five and told her "see ya later". Leaving sooner than I wanted probably kept the teacher from having to comfort her, not to mention her sappy-assed mother as well! Well done to just.....go already...........

Inspiration struck when I got home, I found the cleansing-bleachy-wipey-cloths and scrubbed every surface my son and husband could have touched. Started to make myself a second breakfast after I thought to talk with my son's teacher about sending his homework with a neighbor (and remembered to scrub my hands but good!). Took care of that and was - briefly - ahead of the game.

Then I knocked the jar of pizza sauce off the lower shelf when I was checking the protein stash for dinner. I just cleaned the danged fridge last week, so this didn't help my mood. I'm cleaning cold sauce and glass off the floor, and a little voice in my head says:

"turn off the stove or your lunch will be on fire - just do it now."

Another voice - stubbornly - replies:
"oh, come on, I'm almost done"

I actually thought about it for a moment.

Today was the day to clean like a banshee all morning and do art all afternoon.

I end up with both of the guys home, and am barely on top of the cleaning, as new messes accumulate. The odds of me Not starting something on fire are actually getting....pretty small, so I turned off the stove, finished with the mess, wolfed my sandwich, and picked up my daughter. On time here is good, as it's $1/minute after the first 15 late. And no-one wants their kid to feel forgotten on the First Day of School! We stopped at the dance store for the promised sparkly ballet gear bag, and she was excited to read a new book  from her classroom.

After she had lunch, she and I went upstairs for her nap, where she immediately lied to my face and said:
"I don't Haaaavvvvve to go to the potty".

15 minutes later she's clogged the toilet and I am cleaning stuff Again.

My bed isn't made, the laundry isn't reloaded, I posted Naught for ROW 80, the table isn't decluttered, and if I don't vacuum my rug within the next 15 minutes, I'm pretty sure it's going to sprout arms and clean its own damned self......(maybe I could pay it to dust, too, as I am seriously low on energy.)

Nothing else for it, is there? Pour myself a glass of water, take on the laundry, vacuum the rug, and wake the daughter while I get everything else rolling for the evening (which list, I must say, is pretty packed). What really ticks me off is there are about three things that are banging at the back of my head that I am supposed to be taking care of as well, but I'll be damned if I can figure out what they are!

(looks around. spots pile of books to be put away. recognizes them as library books and movies and the light goes on. Another hop in the car is at hand. Wonders what it will take to get my husband in the car to......just do it, already....)

Oh well.

Tomorrow Is Another Day.


Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Orchid and Mayhem: Original Birthday Cards

Orchid and Mayhem: Original Birthday Cards:

A New Page of Artwork at the Orchid House Finally - sorry it's taken so long, but the above link should take you straight to them. Click images to enlarge.

The birthdays in August were a great reminder of why I love iridescent watercolors, but it's only fair to warn you that they don't photograph particularly well. Enjoy!

Sunday, September 4, 2011

As If There Isn't Enough Mayhem update

Ok, so I should know better - but I've re-opened the can of scheduling worms and thrown a few curves my own way. Here's the round-up:

ROW 80 - The W.I.P.
I managed to clear the 11K benchmark finally, and feel a surge of.....something going on. The Muse came back or something. This means that I am seventeen times as scatterbrained as usual so you lot are going to have to find your patience and use it if you come 'round for updates :-) I've patterned the next section o' story to mess with and am trying to figure out what day it will go in. Somehow, I doubt it will be Tuesday. Wednesday is a little more likely.

The Artistic Mother:
Welllllllll............we are off track. But, the 6 pages of scrapbooking I did last week kinda-sorta-count. I'll pick two days for that program and let you know how it went.

The get-your-stuff-together/flylady stuff:
The fridge is a thing of beauty, the floors got vacuumed, the laundry monster is almost tamed, and my kids have been amazing with their sleep schedule, so there is time for me to get things ready at night for the morning. I cannot tell you how excited I am about this. The thing about flylady's system is that if you read her suggestions long enough, you start thinking ahead a little more, and that really adds up to saving time and trouble.

Still derailed on the latest poem, definitely have offended the muse with the sh!tmobile. Sorry, Muse. Truly.

Started a new horror story. Historical, no less.For the record, I have no idea how to write a historical horror story. But, apparently, that's the story I'm supposed to tell next. We've also signed our kids up for a few more activities and will be moving my mother from AZ to...3 miles away from me - at the end of September. Of course, I'm covering the catering. I'm no where near the planner my mother is, but I've done a few large get-togethers, and it should be doable. Need to practice my short-rib recipe though :-) And, I've signed up to volunteer in our son's classroom one day/month, more if needed. Because I like being busy.

Clearly, I need to adhere to schedules the way I'm coercing my children to. (stick or carrot? stick or carrot?)

anyway, it's time for some anti-mayhem momming stuff. This could include baking.

I hope you all find the fall weather treating you well, and wish you a lovely week.

Catch the rest of the ROW 80 gang below :-)

Monday, August 29, 2011

ROW 80 and Artistic Mother Update - more, and less

It only seems appropriate to begin this post by sending heartfelt hopes and prayers of goodwill and safety to those dealing with Irene - and the secondary effects of a bloody huge hurricane moving up the coast. My sister is in VA proper, and when I asked about that 'flash flood' warning, she said they get those during rainstorms the same way we get tornado warnings with every summer rain.

So, yeah, I shut up about it.

It sounds like there are places further north where real flooding did happen, where folks were evacuated with cause, and where jobs were interrupted, and people were in serious danger. And I hope they are well tonight.

On to the update - sorry, I've just gotten back from hunting down my muse and giving her the what-for -  bloody Hell it took a while to find her this time! That's more-or-less true, by the way.

I made a strong go of the beta read, up until halfway through the story. Claudia Lefeve deserves better - hell - ANYONE you commit to deserves better - than what happened when the gas ran out. Fortunately, Claudia, smart cookie that she is, had other beta readers hauling bunnies through the story and sending feedback. "Parallel" is a really intriguing story. I'm a near speed-reader, which is why I thought I could pull off a speedy beta-read, and I have to tell you, the twisty bits slowed me down very nicely. She is a hell of a challenging author and her story really took me in, and made tricky characters far more sympathetic than they were at first glance. I'm thrilled with its' originality too, so I cannot wait to read the final version! And, I hope some of you will give it a shot also.

It's tempting to say I ran out of gas muse-hunting.

It's more truthful to say I ran out while pitching a fit.

Nothing major, earth-shattering, or truly horrid - just freaking out about my daughter starting pre-school, the summer being nearly over, the d@mned story not being done. In all honesty, I got pretty fed up with myself. Heh. That explains, quite nicely, why the muse may have taken off in the first place. However, much art was done while I've been playing hooky, a poem was even started, and I did do Some writing work while leading the Heritage Writers writing group - working on fleshing out MC's, by the way.  Watched a pack of kids as usual, and, happily, indulged in 'family time' too.

Some time ago, I decided that my family and extended family was too large for me to budget $ for occasion cards. For instance, Jon's family has 5 birthdays in the month of August,plus my in-law's wedding anniversary. Add 3 Mother's Day Cards, 4 Father's day cards, and the social calendar of 2 children, $3-$5/card is just too much money.

I can only say this because, thanks to my years of art school, I've stockpiled BUCKETS of paper. Which I am trying to de-clutter. I also have two children who need to learn to cut things, glue things, and color. Enter the family Design firm. I've tightened up my designs since I started, so people are now more appreciative than appalled - apparently, my 3 year old has a Lot to learn about color choice!

So, while I've been away, I've done 6 cards (5 birthday, one anniversary). I started a poem but got quickly derailed - I'm thinking 'shitmobile' was where it went downhill- yes, in fact, the poem is still unfinished. I spent a goodly amount of time yesterday working on my honeymoon scrapbook/photo album. My son is 7, and I swear the only reason I will get it finished is so I can start his baby book!!  After some innovation with the meal plan Thursday, I am still the only one eating the leftovers. We did trips to the zoo and science museum in the same week, and when I've been doing boring paperwork during the day, I'm doing it outside so I can be around the kids. Lots of activity, not much progress. It's been pretty fun, though!

The recovery plan? I'm renting a neighbor kid hiring a 'mother's helper' 4 days this week, 3 hours/day, to help my kids gear up for their school-day routines while I get the house thoroughly ordered, as evenings this week will be beyond hectic. That should free-up the naptime for the writing, which I've neglected so much that I - still - miss it. I know that I can only plan to commit 30 min for writing and also 30 for the Artistic Mother program, but with everything else going on, it will feel like a reward. The best part of the reward is that my helper will have $20 to put toward her own ballet gear, which will make her feel pretty proud.

Life happened.

That's all :-)

UPDATE: 4:48 pm - sat still for 45 minutes and finally cleared 11,000 words. Righted some conflicting ideas and developed the hermit a bit further. Tossed in a patrol man to ensure the trucker leaves the Pit, reinforced the kleptomaniac gossip, and defined questions about the plot - why does Miss Main Character suspect the hermit anyway? The dude is 82 pounds soaking wet, how could he be the bad guy. Better - WHY could he be the bad guy? Clarified the means by which the first body is found and corrected the timeline. My sweet girl is up, so it's time to juggle the kid and cooking duties, psych my son up for the evening activities, and get dinner rolling. Later, 45 minutes for the Artistic mother projects.

It's turning into a really, really good week :-)


Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Marry That Geek! Plus, What Have We Been Doing With Ourselves?

Let me tell you right now, if your life has Anything to do with a computer - you could do worse than put a ring on that Geek.

My Husband (actually, more of a geek-wrangler than a certified geek) just saved us from - gasp - the Budget-Blowing Expense of a New MacBook Pro! Mostly by playing Betty Crocker with our motherboard last night. The one from the computer that I took out while attempting the nightly smite-the-cat session. (Cat 1, computer 0).  Truthfully, the smote computer died from multiple causes - 2.5 inches of tightly packed dust in the fan vent, one gravity surge (cough) taking it from the couch to the floor, and cracked solder weakening connections All Over the Place.

So, he Googled something (don't know What - dead motherboard? ten fixes for wife-induced laptop woe?) and found that our motherboard is known to act up a Lot. And, that in fact, baking it at 350 for 10 minutes as it is suspended above a foiled cookie sheet on Little Foil Balls softens up that solder and helps it do it's job.  Since we were about to start using it for a door-stop anyway, he cooked it.

And I am using it Right Now. (do I have to say that backing up everything on-line weekly Just in Case is really, really smart....)

So, yeah. If you love a geek, make it legal. If it's currently, for some dumb-ass despotic reason Not legal for you to marry your geek, move someplace you can. Then go back to where you used to live and recruit people to get them dumb-ass despotic laws changed (wow. sounds so easy on paper....)

On to the progress report - hey, there is some!

ROW 80 - 30 minutes on Tuesday of WIP related background work, which dovetailed with the Heritage Writers group monthly meeting prep work. Which actually will happen next week (See what happens when I don't have a computer!) I'm the last person to teach anything about writing, but we're working with some great world-building materials, when I'm more alert I'll post the source - great stuff even if your WIP is not sci-fi or fantasy. Today I am pegging away at my beta-comments for Claudia Lefeve - this was massively derailed by losing the comments I'd already written when the computer died. Not sure why I couldn't recover them :-(.  Anyway, I'm always surprised how much I learn by beta-reading, and it's an honor to be involved in the process. So the WIP might get 30 today.

A.M. (The Artistic Mother) Finally finished de-uglifiying Most of my backgrounds and can move on to stamping the borders and finishing the layout. Today is tricky because my hubby is gone all day long, so I need to position the kids in their happy places to make this Happen. I put some good time in on Monday (the timer really helps) so little by little, I will get there.

Exercise. Sorry, the mountain bike ride Sunday was the last of it. For the rest of the week, running around like a chicken Sans cranium will have to suffice ;-)

Ok, well, gotta wake them kids!

Have a lovely week! Click the ROW 80 badge at left to find some writing buddies to read :-)

And, as always, thanks for coming by :-)


Monday, August 15, 2011

It's Monday Morning, Slacker.

 Well, that's uplifting.

Actually, this is a good time to warn you, if uplifting was what you are needing this wretched morning, I advise you to invest your time in drumming up some helium for your hot air balloon, as the gas-bag resources over here are rather the Opposite of useful.


In August, I invariably consider the Sargasso Sea - time somehow lulls me into what looks like activity, but isn't the same as actions. And so, progress dwindles. Time spent is interesting, but doesn't seem to get me too far. For example, let's see what happened to those excessive to-do's ;-)

If it's deleted, it actually Did get done. Some completed items are still  in the list for illustrative purposes:

Here are this Weeks goals - excuses included:

1. Finish the beta read and fire off comments to Claudia so she can get busy herself! Finished the read!!! Yay! Now need to finish the comments. It's her fault - the story is Nicely complex and Not just one to breeze through. Regrettably, this means that my pondering is ponderously slow. Also, a dead computer - killed off by yours truly in a tragic moment of irony (I was Attempting to smite the cat instead) means I may have to rewrite some of my comments. damn damn damn. Claudia, I am so sorry :-(

2. Scan ANY backgrounds that look reasonable and post today. None of them are reasonable. I may pick three at random and post instead as 'what Not to do'. This Could get done today. On the other hand, Potbellied Pigs could also begin migrating with our Canadian Geese. Update: pigs are Not flying, and this old sad temporary computer might not be one that plays nice with my scanner. damn damn damn.

3.5 - 30 min/day 3 days this week on the WIP. 15 min/day at best - but it was spent with the 'de-crapify' button. Think that works on the art? Update: doodely Squat with any writing since last post. more damns. Oh, hey, I did two small sunflower watercolors on Saturday night. They both have good places and cheesy places, I'll have to use them as fragments (er, the good parts) for the birthday 5 cards I need to make this week. Need to buy replacements at the farmers market Wednesday and hope my technique improves. Oh, for the de-crapifyer....

5. Babysit three neighbor kids on Thursday (probably). Still no idea if this is happening. Oh, it happened alright. 5, not 3 though. Turned away 2 more later in the day and made their own parent watch 'em. Also watered my neighbor's plants for a few days. (Tomatoes are so much easier!)

7. Create layouts for the backgrounds I am creating and scanning, assemble as per instructions. Layouts halfway done. But, it Was the harder half, so this Could happen by Sunday! See the aforementioned pigs.  damn.

10. Find a photo of my 'younger self' for use in next week's project. May just use a photo of my daughter at this point. She looks so much like me at that age even I get confused! Skipping the photo if the scanner and computer don't play nice. Will draw stick figure instead. My younger self had all the bulk of a giant mosquito, so it's somewhat realistic. Since week one is officially now lagging in week 3, there is clearly plenty of time for this one!

11. Browse a few art blogs (I'll Take Suggestions here!!) Alas, I forgot about this. The layouts/backgrounds are actually for an Art Action plan to print up weekly - to keep yourself On Track. Week one of this program is really, really getting long. If you lot don't suggest an art blog or two soon, I may not get past this one.....(see what I did there? Just gave you guys goal number 11! :-p.  And, I must say, it feels pretty good!!)

12. CANCEL football for my son (our set list of activities is filling up!) Cancelled football, signed daughter up for pre-school. My husband's neck may not recover from watching This abrupt reversal. So, yes, mission accomplished.

14. Take a photo of the new orchid in the house. It's very, very beautiful. Need to re-locate the damned camera first. So, yeah. Got the camera, now to use it someday this week.

15. Blog On Time on Wednesday for ROW 80 check-in. See you then!! Fail. And, late for Sunday too.

So, of 15 goals/to-do's for the week, I got through 8. I added a few though:
- try out bike on single-track mt. bike trail - 2x for .8 miles. No blood - yay!
- annoy husband No end friday and feel like an ass about it the rest of the weekend
- spend good amount of time playing sea creatures one-on-one with my daughter
- spend good amount of time visiting kids room last night - count em, 4! so the poor things could get through   the night. I mean, someone in this house should sleep well!
- took nephews and kids to the sprawl of America. Stared at the octopus there too! Yup. MOA has a giant Pacific Octopus.

This week? Well, I promise not to post a damned thing until I knock out a few leftover goals. Especially since it's my turn to lead the Heritage Writers tomorrow night. I think I'll let them work on world building exercises while I work same exercise directly into the WIP. Good plan, eh?

Why else do you think I invented the de-crapify button? ;-)
Hop around at the below ROW-80 blogs - some of these writers will become your new favorites. I promise :-)


Thursday, August 11, 2011

ROW 80 plus A.M. plus Autumn Round-Up - Recipes Included! UPDATE

UPDATE - Only five extra kids today. That's all.....

Well, good morning!  It's bright, sparkly, and not even CLOSE to 107 F. out there. It's also time to demonstrate whether or not the Mayhem has dealt any serious blows to the process of Art/writing/family work. For you newcomers, let's just say that it's 8:21 am, and I...don't actually know if I'm watching the 3 neighbor kids, or if they'll just show up with the other 4 friends that usually show up. Ready, or Not.

Hence, Mayhem.

For those of you Not new, snarky mama Was asked to come along for the post. She said I should be so lucky.

Hence, minimal snark.

On to the goal-post. (oh dear. This is already going downhill....)

Here are this Weeks goals - excuses included:

1. Finish the beta read and fire off comments to Claudia so she can get busy herself! 20+ pages to go - this is a fun read and makes you THINK!
2. Scan ANY backgrounds that look reasonable and post today. None of them are reasonable. I may pick three at random and post instead as 'what Not to do'. This Could get done today. On the other hand, Potbellied Pigs could also begin migrating with our Canadian Geese.
3. Get to the post office with thank-you's for my son's birthday party and some to my folks.
3.5 - 30 min/day 3 days this week on the WIP. 15 min/day at best - but it was spent with the 'de-crapify' button. Think that works on the art?
 4. Visit a townhome, maybe more!  for my mother so she can sign a lease and MOVE HERE
5. Babysit three neighbor kids on Thursday (probably). Still no idea if this is happening.
6. Get house ready for sleepover with 2 of my nephews. This is halfway done - two bathrooms, three floors, and a bit more laundry left. Yay!
7. Create layouts for the backgrounds I am creating and scanning, assemble as per instructions. Layouts halfway done. But, it Was the harder half, so this Could happen by Sunday!
8. Read two more poems
9. Maintain organization of art-supplies Easily done if you didn't make time to USE many!
10. Find a photo of my 'younger self' for use in next week's project. May just use a photo of my daughter at this point. She looks so much like me at that age even I get confused!
11. Browse a few art blogs (I'll Take Suggestions here!!) Alas, I forgot about this. The layouts/backgrounds are actually for an Art Action plan to print up weekly - to keep yourself On Track. Week one of this program is really, really getting long.
12. CANCEL football for my son (our set list of activities is filling up!)
13. Make a meal plan for this week that includes two veggies not related to red sauce Recipes below!
14. Take a photo of the new orchid in the house. It's very, very beautiful. Need to re-locate the damned camera first.
15. Blog On Time on Wednesday for ROW 80 check-in. See you then!! Fail.

 There. That is me, being accountable to you. Good thing you showed up for the witty dialogue and rapier-sharp observations.

Uh, how 'bout a recipe for all your extra tomatoes?

Heat Broiler to HI - put your grate in the upper third of the oven. Turn on that Oven fan. Start a big pasta pot of water to boil. Take about 4 cups of grape or cherry (or roma's, cut into thirds) and toss them (gently!)into a bowl with 2 T. e.v. olive oil plus 2 tsp. sea salt. Cover a baking sheet w/foil and oil that. Broil your tomatoes for 15-20 min on the sheet- shake or stir/turn the tomatoes every 5 minutes. Some - not all - should be blackened in places when done.

While tomatoes are going, heat three T of olive oil (again, use good stuff) to a simmer in a small saucepan. Not Too hot here. Mince or garlic-press 3-4 cloves of garlic if large, (5 if sm./med.). Add garlic and 1 tsp. red pepper flakes to the oil and watch it - let it cook only until garlic is golden brown (not more than a minute - it should sizzle and get crunchy!) pull from heat and let steep. When cooled a bit, put it in the bowl you are serving pasta in.

Those tomatoes done yet? pull from oven, let pan cool on a cooling rack. They can go into that tasty oil when you get a sec.. When water is boiling, salt your pasta water (a BIG pinch, or a half-handful) and Then add your angel hair pasta - enough for 4 at least - whole wheat is pretty good for this. Cook only until al dente and reserve 1/2 C pasta water. Gently toss cooked pasta with your soft and blackened and yummy tomatoes in oil. Add pepper to taste, and also Parmesan cheese - grate between 1/4 -1/3 C into your pasta during the tossing. Got a few slices of prosciutto? slice it into thin strips and toss it in.  There's no way this should be dry, but if it is, a few tsp. of pasta water will help. Top w/shredded fresh basil. This came from Fine Cooking magazine and is pretty much as written. Except they wrote it better.

Right. Off to water plants (mine, plus the neighbors) and see what I can knock out on the to-do list. I love autumn - I cook more, everyone (self included) EATS more, and it's when I was clever enough to get married and hit Italy for 10 days on the honeymoon. I can buy sunflower bouquets at the Farmer's Market for $5, and in general, I feel more creative and in-control. On the other hand, just yesterday I panicked and signed my daughter up for three day/week preschool. She'll be 4 in November, so it Is about time. I'm just a little attached to her, it's probably a good thing for both of us - and Only 7 1/2 hrs/week.

and, who knows, it might help with the writing! Provided I can see the screen through the tears :-(

Yeah. Knew it. Sap like that wakes up snarky mama Every time. Off we go, thanks for coming, and good luck to you on.....everything.



Blog hop below - get HOPPING!! :-)

Monday, August 8, 2011

ROW 80 and Artistic Report. (?)

If I was being strictly truthful, there are at least 14 different things I could have chosen as today's blog title. Snappier. Honest. Amusing. Grabby things. But, alas,  'snarky mother progress report' is a little dangerous pre-coffee, so we'll go with a topic to keep me from digressing all over the place with a morning b!tch session.

Round of Words in 80 days-ies - Finished half of my beta-read for Claudia LeFeve (hang in there dear, wrap up and comments are TOTALLY on the books for today!) Tapped away on my own WIP for 15 Friday (because that's all I had left in me). Successfully ignored it Saturday and Sunday, as per my usual stated goal of leaving those days for family time. Bleah. Ok, that's hardly inspiring. Just another week of real-life at the Orchid House.

Exercise - well, this check in should shock no-one. Running amok like the (earlier_mentioned) chicken with a skull flambe doesn't Actually burn more calories than one can intake on a half-pan of homemade Ghiradelli chocolate brownies, at least, not in the same week. Welcome to veggie week at the Orchid house ;-)

Art progress - the workbook/projects/program of Shona Cole's "the Artistic Mother". Ummmm. Well. Two words for you.

Cadmium Yellow.

(there's a whole digression I just swallowed on why quinacridone colors work better for the first project than heavy pigments). Let's just say that if you have a big chunk o' experience with various media, and you are following someone else's project plan, either modify plan as instinct warns, or get set to triple the time on the project, and no whining allowed! The first project (after Step 1 - unearth the drafting table from all the supplies) was creating backgrounds for scanning projects, blending different colored paints and 'toning back' with water, gesso, or creating monoprints. I have 2 (of 11) that are scanner ready (will post later) and 9 that are pretty - but demand 'toning back' like you wouldn't believe. Got some ridiculously good photos of my kids (also a projetc) but only succeeded in reading poetry that I already knew and liked, nothing new. But, with the beta-read for Claudia ,s'okay. :-)

So....yeah.Week 1 has just bled into week 2. It's more realistic for me to stretch the challenges and projects over 2 weeks while I  keep pegging at the horror story. And, in re-reading the project, just looks like I should have read the project steps more...thoroughly. My. Thank Goodness I Didn't Whine!!

(golly, the fascinating musings just better and better, don't they? Where the hell Did snarky mommy get to?! she's at least an amusing read?!!)

So, here's the goals/jobs for the week:
1. Finish the beta read and fire off comments to Claudia so she can get busy herself!
2. Scan ANY backgrounds that look reasonable and post today.
3. Get to the post office with thank-you's for my son's birthday party and some to my folks.
3.5 - 30 min/day 3 days this week on the WIP
4. Visit a townhome, maybe more!  for my mother so she can sign a lease and MOVE HERE
5. Babysit three neighbor kids on Thursday (probably).
6. Get house ready for sleepover with 2 of my nephews
7. Create layouts for the backgrounds I am creating and scanning, assemble as per instructions
8. Read two more poems
9. Maintain organization of art-supplies
10. Find a photo of my 'younger self' for use in next week's project
11. Browse a few art blogs (I'll Take Suggestions here!!)
12. CANCEL football for my son (our set list of activities is filling up!)
13. Make a meal plan for this week that includes two veggies not related to red sauce
14. Take a photo of the new orchid in the house. It's very, very beautiful
15. Blog On Time on Wednesday for ROW 80 check-in. See you then!!



Wednesday, August 3, 2011

WIP? what WIP? (and am I the only one who caught that low, red, sickle moon?)

Ok, welcome to August at the Orchid House.

I haven't done a ruddy thing with that short story.

I still love it, and it's actually on the to-do list (right after rounding up the local wolves to raise my children, and before turning on the stove for dinner) but it's been by the wayside whilst I dealt with a crazy weekend, some pre-school-startup angst, and the commensurate running-around-like-a-chicken-with-it's-head-on-fire routine. (It involves staving off sobbing in Target, among other things related to sending a kid off to First Grade.)

The Artistic Mother program is officially running limping along, and the exercise goals are, hmmm, well. Nicely planted on the shelf where I left them. Gathering dust, poor abandoned things. Er, not too unlike my TWO token orchids here. Bah. Okay, here's the thing. After my podiatrist did my final foot-check, we both noticed that the right foot's middle piggy is kowtowing toward the left, and will not improve it's posture for love nor money. Actually, I'm afraid money is the only thing that will get it done. The bone is too long on the right, too short on the left, so he's going to have to break the poor thing, remove a cone-shaped section of bone, and fuse it in proper place. I'm only mentioning this because it will become a point of much whining later - whether I fix it or not. It will certainly become an excuse for me to avoid exercise at all costs, if it involves any pressure on that cochone whatsoever. And it will Certainly involve whining if the bills are anything like the ones involved in having one's arch built. ahem.

So, nothing new on the horror story. I have several billion things to do (I believe screaming like a banshee has been moved to number 38) and have taken on endless things that weren't planned for (minding 10+ kids every other day....helping neighbors with language barriers getting their kids into activities....getting my daughter screened for kindergarten in a few years....) these are all important things, and it's my place to get it done, but, um. Well.

It's hell on my writing career.

(Hah. post done, not even 11 pm.)

There's hope for me yet - tomorrow IS another day.

Shout out to Stephanie Beck - wrapping up her first (of many!) book signings. And, to Rocco Capozzi Schofield, 9.5 something pounds, born to the Beyond Awesome Kevin and Allegra Schofield - Congrats to the whole fam damily - Gramma Winnie, Kevin, Allegra, Sam, Nolan, Vivianna, and ROCCO!! (welcome to the world, buddy, you'll just Love it!)

G'night, ROW 80-ers - every last one of you is doing better than I am!!


Saturday, July 30, 2011

Startin' off August with a Paranormal BANG!

You came back! Thank you! But why, praytell, didja bring the wretched dewpoint with you? Never mind all the global-warming boo-hooing over here, I Have News!

You hardy souls, longtime readers since, er, November, and all my recent lovely guests-who-drop-by have no doubt picked up that writing is quite important at the Orchid House. So important, that I've even gone out of my way to achieve one dream and befriend a few writers. One new friend is a talented writer in various genre, quite capably selling stories that are, er, straight-up Romance, naughty paranormal, erotica with a twist, and, lately, she's turning her skills to horror. Even more impressively, she's a dedicated mom of three. And volunteers for her church. If she wasn't so damned nice, my inferiority complex would have done me in by now.

How nice is she? Well, for one, she publishes FREE short stories - paranormal with a side of naughty - at her website AND Facebook page. Yes indeed, these are the Freak Sorority stories, bandied about during "Freak Week", at  And her name is, in fact, Stephanie Beck. And, to celebrate her Third Annual Freak Week, she is doing bloggy scavenger hunts, posting her stories, having contests and fun, and posting excerpts from her Freak Sorority offshoot novels as well. All the joy starts Monday, August 1, and ends August 6. And if you do enjoy reading about werewolves, succubi, angels, or demon hunters, this might be the place for you.

Happy reading!!

(ps, get a load of the cool banner I got to post! Having a  Blog is Fun!)

Thursday, July 28, 2011

much mayhem, no writing

ack. seriously. I need to get past my son's birthday party and everything will be better.

The heat does not help. presses against you like an unwanted lover and it's just as hard to shake off.

watching 3 neighborhood kids so their mom can work a pt. job - she's sending the money to her diabetic mom in mexico, so I can feel like today is useful for a few things anyway. The Wip's taking it's turn on vacation, i guess :-)

Off to it -  it's a busy day. really need to hop around for inspiration so I hope I can check in a bit later from the ROW-ers :-)

Have a great day!


Tuesday, July 26, 2011

I'm a bit low on my daily irony, but the Democrats have stepped up to the plate!

Alrighty. The state of MN managed to get it's act together by cobbling together a plan for the budget that both sides hate. This is the textbook definition of 'compromise' (at least, in my snark-ass textbooks.)

As a quasi-diligent member of the Democratic party, I went online, bitched them out, offered them a pair of big-boy pants to help solve the impasse (only after they started spending big $ on pre-emptive name-calling), and fool that I am, left them with my email address.

Now, they are shilling me. They can't get the budget balanced - they are the LAST people who should be hitting me up for cash. Oh, hell, look for yourself.

Shari --

Did you get a chance to see this?

As the finance director for the DFL, it's my job to make sure we are on target to meet our fundraising goal by Wednesday’s deadline. We are counting on Minnesota DFLers like you to provide the resources we need to throw these extreme Republicans out of office.

Ken was just asking whether we were going to make our goal – can I tell him you're helping us reach our goal of 500 online donors?

Click here to contribute $5 or more today and help us reach our goal of 500 online donors by Wednesday, July 27.

Like Ken said, the shutdown was just the beginning. From insisting on putting millionaires and corporations before our children and hardworking families, to holding our country hostage with the debt ceiling – we've seen that Republicans in Minnesota and nationally are going to the extreme.

We only need six seats in the House and four seats in the Senate to take back our State Legislature, and we need to start right now if we are going to do it.

There are just hours to the deadline. Become one of our 500 online donors and help us beat these extreme Republicans at the ballot box.

Thanks for your support.

Berrett Gall
Finance Director

My response:

Hello Mr. Gall -

(By the Way, do you realize the irony inherent in your last name?)

I am not sure you are all getting the point.  The Republican party and the Democratic party both seem to have the same bad idea - not spending within our means. You seem to have two different bad ideas about how to spend outside of our means. MN taxpayers pay some of the highest taxes in the country, and after blowing money on anti-republican adds - which, I should point out, does Not Smack of Bipartisan Effort - the Democratic party is asking me for money?

In a recession?

Please tell me you aren't in charge of Public Relations too.



I shouldn't do this much head-slapping while drinking. Spillin' the wine Any Second Now.


Monday, July 25, 2011

ROW 80 plus Unpacked at the Orchid House

Writing Tip For the Day: If you intend to do any writing on a camping trip, do not hit the ER without your favorite notebook. Your wasted vacation time will be even More wasted. Related: Ensure you collect your brand-new anti-labyrinthism medication.It will help with the following tip -

Kayaking/Scrapbooking Tip For the Day: Always kayak Lake Superior during the late-afternoon on golden, smooth-lake days. Take your camera, not the kayak, for the 10 ft. breaking-swell days. Maximum drama in the scrapbook to assemble the pages facing each other. (The shutterfly online coupons you always delete may come in handy at this point.)

Unpacking Tip For the Day: If you screwed up and left the chocolate covered espresso beans At Home, instead of substituting them for cafe Mocha during your trip, eat them quickly to get through the dishes and laundry. Save the last two handfuls for day two of the Great Unpack.

ROW 80 - Substitute 3 days of research (including Northern MN Emergency Rooms) for missed 30 minute daily writing sessions.

Have a great week! See you Wednesday!


Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Vacation day + ROW 80

Hello Gang!

Off for the remainder of the week to the baseball games, a potential camping trip, and more wallowing in misery
Basking in the Heat. Heat indexes projected from 105-120!! Apparently, Minnesota has turned into the Amazon. Global warming, much?

Our Heritage Writers Group talked World Building, and a few of us made plans to drive to a book signing for our own Stephanie Beck - she'll be signing at Lillian's in downtown Hastings from 6-9 on 7/28 for "David's Angel" and "Poppie's Passions".  I haven't done anything except continuing the great Art Space overhaul - clearing out a corner in the basement where, I'm here to tell you, the 'stack' method hasn't done any good whatsoever. I figured it would take about two weeks to get in order, I'm ahead right now, but if we are able to do a get-away, it won't get finished until Monday or Tuesday. And that's okay, because if I wrap that up, my art/writing time won't be used up with organizing art stuff. And, I'll have a quiet place to type!! All part of the plan.

Hope all goes well for you lot this week, stay cool. I'm off to get ready for a Twins Game. Have a lovely week and Week-end :-)


More Blog Hoppin' below!!

Monday, July 18, 2011

90 F, feels like 105 f. In frickin' Minnesota.....

I really don't have anything to add to it. Minnesota, land of 10,000 natural sauna's  lakes.

How bad is it?

The corners of downtown Lakeville are filled with frogs. Selling themselves.

To Science. Because science classrooms are Air Conditioned.

All you hear is, "this suuuuuuuuuckkkkss. Ribbit"


(Poor b@st@rds)


Sunday, July 17, 2011

ROW 80 + A.M. + exercise Update

Good morning!

If you're thirsty, you may grab a cadillac-sized chunk of the air floating over MN and give it a good squeeze - the air is thick as molasses and heavy as lead. It's 10 am and already with a heat index of 94!! Tomorrow is even better - a heat index of 110!!! Since when are we Woodbridge VA (note to my little sister - take your damned weather back. we don't like it one little bit!!)

It's a good thing I was highly industrious (that's by my standards - the rest of you are probably eye-rolling right now!) last week because this one is gonna be brutal. Here's the re-cap:

Thursday was a busy and strange day and pretty much nothing went right. We got lost, and had our morning eaten up, the afternoon was momming and, well, stuff. So, a goal write-off (sad comparison to Wednesday). Friday had a rough start, but the afternoon had a major writing session: ~45 min, over 700 words, including lots of deleting! I also dug into the basement project - a necessity for me if I EVER want my drafting table to function surface again. This is part of "The Artistic Mother" 12 week workshop - clearly an art project will tank if there is no where to create it!!! I also found my camera (missing for weeks!) finally, also required for the A.M.  Saturday I bought some needed tools (surprise here as well, I thought I had too much of everything!) and we made it to the pool after dinner - exercise! No writing, but more work on the art stuff. At this rate (except for the way too late night!) my table will be set by the end of the week.

I am really hoping to hop around and say hello this week to the ROW-ers - if you have too much time on your hands, you may find a whole mess of inspiration at the below links. And, very likely, a new Favorite writer :-)

Have a wonderful week!


Saturday, July 16, 2011

Quick and Useful link - "The Artistic Mother" by Shona Cole

This is a mild plug - kind of the 'I find this useful and you might too' kind of plug. Shona's book is a practical guide for getting even newbie artistic mothers to use their time better to sneak in the art. Which makes any mommy a better mommy, if she doesn't already do this. I find it no coincidence that my writing pace has picked up while starting her plan (and I'm getting more done in less time!) So, on the off chance that any of my readers may find this useful, check out her blog here.

I should mention that I agree with the reviews her book has on Amazon, I am finding them Right On Target.

I should also mention that Shona Cole probably has no idea I'm plugging her book. Although she'll probably figure out I'm following her blog ;-) Anyway, she's saying something important that lots of mommies need to hear - you'll still be a good mommy if you follow your art. And if you work the kids into it, you might just inspire them as well :-)

Ps, are all y'all drinking your water?



Friday, July 15, 2011

Wherein the game is finally afoot - well, actually, a liver. The foot is actually a let-down....

wth? you say?

Okay, to dispense with the cutesy. Today not one normally scheduled event happened as scheduled. I'll pin some of it on my son being a painfully early (try 4:10 a.m.!) riser, and not able to get back to sleep. There's enough blame for the gully-washer rain showers (All Day Long) to take for us cancelling violin class - my CRV does many things, but converting to a speedboat is not one of them. Everything else falling to the wayside, I thought I'd make it complete by ordering in pizza instead of a home-made 'healthy' meal.

Rain aside, it's nice to report that today was Not a washout in the writing dept. I spent about 45 minutes writing And de-crapifiying the story, via 'delete', and still managed to add a total of 700+ words.

The other total washout is my Left foot (not the movie, mind you.) Seriously. I tried skipping rope a few nights ago and simply cannot push off with my left, or, come to that, my right. Using two feet, I can barely jump a centimeter. Pain or no pain, it's clearly time to get out that ballet video and see if a few tendu's may help!

So, the writing week ended, the art-weekend begins. I'm off to vacuum the basement and begin the serious organization of the art-desk. "Cluttered" would be a kind way of putting it, if one was describing the heinous mess. It won't be completed tonight, but it will be an Awful lot better for tomorrow.

Oh, speaking of Heinous - the liver comment. Well, let's just say that in the story, a body part has literally surfaced, and consequently, the pace is picking up. I'm starting to like this story again!!

Off to it - dust bunnies, here I come!

(happy weekend, everyone. If you Also are in heat-advisory range, may I gently remind you to drink your water!!!)


Wednesday, July 13, 2011

it's All About the Bottom (er, in the chair, that is :-) + ROW 80

Or is it? Aren't we (yeppers, the Royal We. I'm Former - ok, 1987 former - Royalty and today I feel like Workin' It!) prone to saying 'get off your bottom and get to work!'?

We have achieved mighty accomplishments in the last 3 weeks with this bottom Solidly planted on the (well, yeah, hardly-well-to-be-honest-entirely-Unroyal) couch.  We have: repaired by hand-sewing our mighty heavy-cotton American flag in four places, in 3 sessions, On the couch (pa-Leeze don't tell me I was supposed to burn it when it got that bad - I LOVE this flag!). We have set a household schedule (that is actually getting a Lot more things done around here!) whilst sitting on the couch. And, We have finally cracked 10K words on the WIP, by virtue of parking the bottom and pecking the keys. WHEEEEEEEEEE!!!!!! (giggling in relief as the ridiculous Royal We is summarily defenestrated.)

Right. That's out of the way. Ahem.

Monday: was glued to couch making overdue phone calls, doing paperwork, menu planning, and making appointments. That was in between cleaning spurts and momming. Very little fun was had (by the kids) with me that day, but the rest of the week is consequently Better. Housework was the only exercise - I Think i did some.....Found my camera - a high-priority item for the A.M. workshop! Think I blogged, but  no WIP work. Principally because all that planning cleared the timeslots for Tuesday!

Tuesday: impromptu dentist visit for my daughter, cleaned like a banshee clears souls (but with less wailing) Worked on the WIP for 40+ minutes and cleared That hurdle, blogged about it, did the violin practice with my son and loaded a vid to facebook (he's getting good!) and made an awesome dinner if I Do say so myself (well, yeah, just did!).

Today - I have to drag my lazy ass to the dentist, so I must haul my son outta bed and put some clothes on the poor kid, water my plants, and scurry to the shower. (the excitement overwhelms.....) On that frantic note, I'm Outta here! (where Does the time go?.................:-)


Tuesday, July 12, 2011

(Updated) Breaking 10 K....and there was Much Rejoicing! (trucker snippet attached)

Today, I am feeling a Lot happier with my WIP. Yes, indeedy, that is because I actually WROTE NEW STUFF IN IT! The event I have been longing for (which some of my fellow ROW-ers can attain and/or Surpass while sleeping, walking, And chewing gum at the same time!) has come to pass - I've finally typed over 10,000 words :-)

Despite the nastyness of the scene I just finished (the last of the dead trucker do-over), right now it feels shiny, twinkly, and bright.

happy happy joy joy!

ps - Feeling celebratory means sharing the (resurrected) trucker section. What you need to know: #1 - rough first draft snipping, devoid of edits, so there are a few placeholder items that may jump out at you as being stupid. Ideally, you will note those as placeholders and read on.... #2 - likely grammar, structure, spelling errors, and factual flaws. #3 - this section describes how a character in the story (set in a Quite Small Town) goes missing. The barmaid is Not the M.C. :-)

With little ado about not terribly much...... Ivan the terrible trucker snippet (not his real name. And, sadly, partially based on Real People)

Ivan the terrible trucker (guilty of, among other things, disappearing when most needed) was edging toward 50 (and his commensurate midlife crises) at a steady clip, with a complete lack of grace, socially acceptable behavior, and awareness of his own personal repugnance. The love affair with his long-absent 22 year-old self-image was the only one that ever had any traction, and went a long way toward explaining his unwanted, and occasionally violent, interactions with the opposite sex.

When he rolled into town at the beginning of September, he was en route to some of the last turbine-part driving jobs in Ontario. Ivan knew the ‘lay of the land’ (he’d say, jabbing elbows into whomever was unfortunate enough to neighbor him at the bar) here ‘up north’ and was even on nodding turns with some of the middle aged lot-lizards at the truck stops. One of them, a patchy-scalped skinny chick named Patrice – typical liar, said she was 30 - told him she danced each Thursday (alumni) night at a boob-joint called “The Pit”.

Not refined enough to be called a ‘club’, and in many ways, an offhand tribute to the surviving strip-mining operation here, The Pit offered the illusion of camaraderie with a greasy veneer of commerce-cum-romance. Ivan had passed it from time to time, but, dark windows being dark windows, had never gone in. Usually a drinker at Tuna’s (another story altogether) the next town over, he’d just never made it. Despite his avoidance in the past, when he rolled into the driveway, his gruesome history with women was at hand and already waiting behind the bar.

Jeannette Fletcher flashed a quick look at her ‘hit list’ when the slam of an unfamiliar truck door caught her ear. Although she was the early shift barmaid, she’d started developing a nose for trouble in her first six months at the Pit. Trouble wasn’t steady – usually just outsiders up to the Range for one reason or another, and the occasional odd-duck trucker. Not hard, then, to note future headaches for the night shift if a problem came through the door more than once. When she’d agreed to take this job – god damn this economy anyway – it had been with the agreement that she could speeddial the cops at any moment, for any reason. Her ex had given her hair-trigger nerves, among other things – which made her uncannily good at noting when things might go south. The customer about to walk in raised beaucoup flags with her memorized cheat-sheet of known Range troublemakers.

Tommy at the station was # six. She memorized Ivan’s licence plate through the dim glass - a warning in and of itself, since drinking before sunset meant starting at 4:30. Jeanette waved Marcus (at the pull tabs) up to the bar, and stepped into the office when Tommy said hello.

Three hours later, grousing about Patrice’s no-show and the flat impossibility of getting pizza delivery at this shithole bar, Ivan chugged his last amaretto sour as the bouncer gave him a sharp look. In general, Ivan was thick as lead, but he’d been tossed out of enough dives to know go-time from the bouncer’s hands. Rising from his stool in an Aqua Velva cloud, unsatisfied and boozy, he dropped a twenty on the bar and stalked out, straight past the bouncer, eyes glued to the door. This fixed his eyes one hundred-eighty degrees from the back entrance, where Patrice, jaunty pink chiffon scarf hiding her thinning hair, crossed herself quietly, then vigorously flipped him off.


Ivan, too horny and tipsy to focus on anything but digging out his keys, didn’t see the movement in the shadows on the dark side of his truck. Noting natures call, he stumbled toward the shadowy, dusty side of the lot, unzipping with the wrong kind of urgency. Pissing out his frustration in the dark, he tried to spell out “Patreese”. He got as far ‘t’ when he heard a young but low voice say ‘hey. Buddy. You dropped something.” Turning too fast, hot urine splashing him, eyes maladjusted to the streetlights, the glint of light on the crowbar was the last thing to go through his mind.