Photography is something that's always interested me, but I claim to have no special talent - just an appreciation. I did take a photography class in high school and loved the darkroom, but, well, it's been awhile since then!

Fortunately I have friend's like Brian, who rocks at photography and is sharing his pictures via his blog as he travels the world with his incredibly intelligent and accomplished wife. She's in the foreign service, 'nuff said!

Today I'm linking to this picture of his view while making coffee. I know all of you writers are drooling like I am over how inspiring this view would be! Just think of what we could write with a cup of joe and a view like this!!

My mood - real time

Because that's what you want - more info about ME! LOL!

I love widgets - if you're reading in bloglines, click over to the blog to see my latest widget fine!

Babe's ok!

Just had the big ultrasound today and all is well! The cyst on baby's brain is totally gone and there are no other markers for anything worrisome. In fact, my risk factors for some things were as low as the perinatologist had every seen. YAY!!!!! Of course, things go wrong that aren't screened for, I know, but I'm just glad to have this particular thing behind me. I was really telling myself that it was totally fine, nothing to worry about, but found myself crying all night at sheer relief (I think - or at just being pregnant - fortunately two hohos made me feel much better).

Also, no more placenta previa - double woo!!!! No worries about hospital bed rest and other scary complications from that.

And the eye is healing nicely. I haven't seen my whole world go purple in a few days, so hopefully the danger of laser eye surgery is behind me as well. And really, I think contemplating surgery with my EYE OPEN was really wigging me out.

Ahhhhh... back to my regularly scheduled life, which is of course still turned upside down as we're selling the house, selling the car, buying a new car (suddenly I want a Suburban instead of a minivan - I drove one and felt a sly smile creep across my face as I realized I could do ANYTHING in this car!), and tennis lessons and church activities start this week.

I can't even contemplate typing anything about my word count right now except to say I'm steadily making progress, just veeeerrrryyyy slooowwwllllyyyyy. My poor critique partner is going to forget the beginning of the book by the time I give her the end.

Oh, and the baby kicks just like his oldest sister, more evidence that he's going to be a red head!


My mother swears I'm alone in my abhorrance of socks. Does anyone else out there hate wearing, storing, keeping track of socks? I absolutely refuse to wear them (hence my feet are always cold, hence the new Chalet Shoes from Land's End that just arrived today!)

Because I needed a kick in the head...

I've been meaning to get a post up about the FABULOUS reading I went to for Pat Wood's Lottery. (Post coming soon!)

However... I was putting my two year old to bed that night...
and she tends to thrash...
and she kicked me in the eye...
and I saw a bright flash of light...
and then for two days everything looked like I'd uploaded it to my Photoshop program and clicked "negative".

Finally, I called a doctor and apparently you can dislodge the insides of your eyeball, thus tugging on your retina, and making the whole world purple and gold. (Great if you're a UW Husky - not so great if you're trying to type).

Fortunately, I don't need laser surgery. You can all breathe a collective sigh of relief for me! I'd much rather go through labor (which I'm of course going to do soon) than have surgery on my eye. I can't even put in a contact lens! But I have to watch it for the next little while. Any jolt to the head could tear the retina. Sadly, this is going to have to limit the aggressive vacuuming I've been doing. So sad....

Excitement is brewing!

I get to meet the wonderful Pat Wood tonight!!! WOOO!!!! Are you all brimming over with jealousy?!

I might even bring the little red headed monkey (er, daughter) with me. She loves going to author events... especially when it means she gets to stay up past her bedtime... and when she gets a treat from the cafe.

BTW - in another proof that my daughters are true Northwesterners, when I told the big one she'd get a treat, the two year old said, "Coffee?" Yes! That's my girl!!!! But, um, probably a cookie, instead.

Yet another update

Hello blog buddies!

I feel like every day so much is happening - many things that deserve their own post, but you'll have to endure these update posts every few days till things settle down a little.

So... here are a few things going on in Mystery Robin Land:

1) The two year old is miraculously using the potty all by herself. Sadly, she is also using quite a bit of TP and I've already had two toilets, shall we say, cough at the contents. Still - no complaints. I can't believe she's doing it all on her own at barely two years old. Go Girl!!!

2) I've been creating my "home handbook" for organizing my *entire* life thanks to the great Kimber and her post on creating her dump book. Mine is of course a little different, but I was able to indulge my passion for school supplies today - and already I'm feeling more empowered and organized. It's so great to have a place to put ideas! As I get the hang of it, I'll devote a post entirely to the new organization.

3) Fall activities - I usually err on the side of fewer activities, but... we're getting bored! So, guitar lessons start for the 6 year old this week (she rocks at Guitar Hero, so I'm sure she'll do great - LOL). Midweek church starts this week, also, and swim for the little one and tennis for the big one, start next week. It's all part of my strategy to make them more tired! Again - I promise a post soon about the two year old and the "water snake" and why she's starting swimming so young. :)

4) Baby news - I just had an appointment that was a little troubling. Apparently the last ultrasound not only showed possible placenta previa (ugh - I so don't need bed rest in my life right now) but also a small cyst on the baby's brain. I won't know what that means till I get another ultrasound, hopefully this coming week. It could be completely benign - it could be an issue for the developing brain - it could be an indicator of trisomy (Down's or Edward's Syndromes) - I just don't know. I tend to be a person who thinks everything is absolutely fine till I'm greeted with incontravertable evidence to the contrary - but it is a little sobering. I'll post an update when I know more!

5) The house went on the market today. Hip Hip Hooray!!!! Now we're praying for a quick sale - PLEASE!!!! Then I can buy my minivan. ;) I've so given up on cool...

6) And last, but not least, I've decided to become a country music fan. Yes, that's right, you heard it here first. I who have rejected that genre my entire life have decided that I'm embracing it wholly! I've listened to the country station now for all of 2 days. I'll let you know how it takes. Not that anyone or any album will replace my love of everything Chris Isaak - but hey - he's a little bit country. ;) This, by the way, is in my search for happy music. I'm tired of all the whining rockers. I need music that's happy. I used to loooove alt rock in college, but I was at a private school, 5 minutes from the Santa Barbara beach. I could deal with the imagined issues of the troubled guitar player. Now I just want to tell them to shut up and get over it. ;)

Still trucking along

I'm having to mostly write these last bits by hand, and then type them in. I'm trying to write whenever I have a spare minute (and, um, I'm not blogging!) So I'm jotting things down while I'm in the carpool lane to pick up my daughter, or lying in bed trying to sleep, etc. Slowly but surely it's coming along!!

In other news - the little one is potty training this week. That takes a little concentration, too! And the house goes on the market on Saturday if all goes well. WOO!!!! I'll be so glad to sell that house.

I've got a post coming soon on "life lessons learned" about things like where I want to live. ;) I'll just say for now that a 102 year old house is much better in theory than in practice for me.

And I'm shopping for *gulp* a minivan!

Two more to go...

Chapters that is. I finally know exactly how I want to end the book, but I'm c..r..a..w..l..i..n..g... toward the end. It's driving me crazy!!!

I know it's a busy time (the house goes on the market this week, if all goes well - hubby got snipped - went out of town - nearly stranded in West Virginia - back out of town tomorrow - school started - baby turned two - and the laptop is quietly falling apart - all in one week!) but I will not stand for any more dawdling!!

I'm holding myself to finishing these two chapters by the end of next weekend. Then I'll assemble, incorporate edits, send to beta readers, and look blissfully forward to query land. :) I might also buy myself a new computer. ;)

And I'm signing the kids up for sports. I've decided they need to RUN more so that they sleep peacefully at night. ;)

The importance of car tabs

My husband had a business trip in West Virginia today. I typically hear from him on landing, but I couldn't connect with him and was mildly concerned by 6 pm - so, naturally, I hacked into his e-mail to get the reservation confirmation of his hotel and gave his room a call.

Here's how the trip went:

A 5:30 am sojourn to the airport was interrupted by the lovely flashing red lights of a cop car. He was pulled over for expired tabs. He's been a little distracted by some other things going on (ahem, see previous posts on the big SNIP) and apparently didn't get that done. After handing over license and registration, the cop let him go without a ticket. WHEW!! (my heart is pounding at this point, because I'm fairly certain there's a yet to be paid traffic ticket in his desk - curses on those photo enforced intersections!!)

Now he's used Master Park and shuttled to the airport and is in the crazy, crazy security line where they practically strip search you to let you on the plane. I just went though this line a couple of weeks ago and was paranoid that they would confiscate my Pediasure -it was a close call! So, here he is, about to go through the line... "Driver's License, sir?" Hm... that would be on the passenger seat of his car, where he'd tossed it after the whole cop incident. Oops!

Fearing that he'd miss the plane, he talked them into letting him on without it. How, I'll never know. He is in sales. ;)

Ok, whew, he's arrived in Pittsburgh! Now he just has an hour drive into the depths of West Virginia... he just needs to pick up his rental car - "Driver's License, sir?" Darn, that's an important piece of ID, he's learning! Of course, there is no subway or commuter train to rural WV, so he gets a cab.

The cabby was apparently quite an experience himself, and pretty pricey, but after a few wrong turns they find his hotel. The cabby was even nice enough to charge his phone. Except, now that he's arrived and tries to call me, it didn't actually charge and it loses power. Ugh.

But, by the time I talked to him, he was safe and sound in his hotel and about to call me from the hotel phone and settle in for the night.

He just has to get a ride back to Pittsburgh tomorrow, and convince the security guys to let him on the plane a SECOND time, without proper ID. I'm ready for a trip to the airport with a Fed Ex envelope in hand!

So you all might say a prayer that I get my husband back tomorrow. He has to fly out to New Jersey on Sunday, and I can promise you, there will be tabs on his car by then!

Big Week!!

It's kind of a funny paradox that when I have things to blog about, those things are making me so busy that I don't have time to blog. ;)

First off - my baby girl turned TWO this weekend. I know it's a cliche but she really did come home from the hospital yesterday - so sweet, so quiet, so disguising the little tornado that she is today. ;) At two, some of her favorite phrases are "I NEED it!" and "I do too (fill in the blank whatever her 6 year old sister is doing)". She also has a cheeky little streak that gets me, just when I'm trying to be a good mom and discipline some sense into her. For instance, the other day after touching the tv screen that she is not, under any circumstances, supposed to touch, I came toward her to give her a time out. Just as I was announcing what I was doing, she looked at me, did her impish little grin, and made her tummy into some wacky wave maching - a new trick she'd been practicing for just the right moment. It's weird, and hilarious, and she totally got me. Moment gone. *sigh*

I have some work to do to make sure she ends up on the path for good rather than evil. ;)

Then - my big girl started first grade. This is real school now! I mean, kindergarten was intense, but only three days a week. This is five days a week, with homework, and PE and everything! And, in a cruel trick of fate, though she's the chattiest little girl you'd want to meet, she doesn't like to discuss things that have already happened. So I've got very little idea how her first two days went, except that she's thrilled to go every day.

In an attempt to find out *anything* today, I asked her to tell me one thing, anything, that she did today.

"Well, Mom" (long suffering voice), "I went to the bathroom!" *sigh*.... I mentioned this to my dad and he said "Hm, I wonder where she got that smart mouth?!" Great. Life coming back to bite me.

I did manage to pry out of her that she's studying: "Literature, Math, Bibliography, and Geographically" Could that be Biology and Geography?! Bingo! Hopefully I learn more on curriculum night.

And the little scamps have become "bunk mates" and are sleeping in bunk beds for the second night in a row. Guess which one thinks she should sleep up top? So for now, they're both cuddling on the top bunk and sharing a reading light. ;)