Happy New Year's Eve!!!

Happy New Year's Eve, blog buddies.

No, I am not, did not, attend the festivities at the Needle, but I do LOVE the Space Needle. Instead, we took the fam bowling. Our church puts on a NYE bowling event every year. This is our first year attending. The girls were thrilled, since they've been wii bowling since Christmas. Betty Boop can get a strike while draped over two sofas and swinging the wii-mote sideways. It's a special skill of hers.

Actual bowling proved a little more difficult. First, the ball is heavy. Second, mom doesn't let her just toss it overhand. Third, Dad gets a little testy when she runs for the food table then tries to hang out with the other bowlers, who we don't necessarily know.

We just so happened to be bowling next to my pastor and his five perfectly behaved children for an added level of anxiety. Our church is very large and I don't actually know my pastor personally, but he just preached on parenting and I'm pretty sure he doesn't have a Betty Boop in his house. Sunday I ran into him at church for the first time (it's a VERY large church) just as I was... ahem... calling rather loudly... after Miss Boop to STOP AT THE GATE! DO NOT RUN INTO THE PARKING LOT! There he was standing at the gate and I'm praying "God, if you love me, PLEASE let her stop at the gate." Whew. She did. And she didn't fling a ball into his lane or overturn the food table so I'm calling the evening a success despite one meltdown and one very sad mystery man who burst into tears every time his mom got up to bowl.

I hope your New Year's was as adventure filled as mine. :)

Stay tuned for Robin's New Year's Resolutions. I'm pretty sure I didn't make any last year as the Man was born 4 days prior and my big resolution was to survive the year. Check. On to bigger and better things!

A few random things

1) I finally saw I Am Legend with Will Smith. I'm not a vampire/zombie/ewwie creatures that go bump in the night kind of person, but everyone else was watching it and I was feeling social. It was fantastic. And now I get what everyone's saying about surviving a zombie apocalypse. I am woefully unprepared, internet quizzes not withstanding. I need supplies. I need Max Brook's book.
I need a lot of flashlights and preferably a flame thrower. And a German Shepherd. Definately a shepherd. There has been talk in this house of a Shih Tzu, but I think they couldn't do squat against a horde of the undead.
2) All of the Christmas packages waiting for us in the bowels of the UPS finally showed up! The track packages link kept saying something about a natural disaster and I did my part to stimulate the economy by doubling up on presents for some, but now they are here! My DH can tell time again! I have the Top Chef cookbook! Mystery Man has fuzzy Robeez boots! My little girl's prayer for "More Christmas" was answered!

3) Speaking of the Top Chef cookbook, I love it. All I really need to say is that it has Marcel's rap. Marcel, from my favorite season, who showed the greatest character arc of anyone on tv scripted or unscripted that year. I love my cookbook. Now I can make microwave popcorn pancakes. You're all invited.

4)I also got Tom Colicchio's cookbook, Think Like a Chef for Christmas. I love Tom Coliicchio, and his cookbook is amazing - not so much for the recipes as for the whole approach to cooking. I recommend it to anyone who hates making lists of recipes and ingredients and shopping lists and meal plans. Bleh. I like to cook what occurs to me from the ingredients I have on hand and SO DOES TOM! I love Tom.

That's it around here for the night. Mystery Robin signing out... and looking for a wooden stake and a machete to go to bed with...


Yesterday we thought that perhaps the Mystery Man's bad attitude had to do with turning one. I mean, birthdays are tough, just ask his sister. Then today, he woke up irritable again. He's been fed, changed, given a bottle, played with, cuddled, and he's still grumpy.

Then my sister suggested he has a caffeine headache. It's true that he usually steals my lattes. I'll have him on my hip then look down and he's drinking it over my shoulder. Trickly little mystery man.

DH has been dispatched to Starbucks. We'll see if it helps or if it's truly just a seasonal grumpiness. Maybe he misses the snow...

Birthdays and kitty cats

I woke up the other day, with two little mysteries in bed with me. The 3 year old opened her eyes and the first words she spoke were, "Well, sometimes these things happen."

"What things, honey?" I asked.

"Sometimes your bwother lays on you like you are a kitty."

I looked over, and the little mystery man was wide awake, but sprawled out on top of her in "throwing star" formation. He does that with his kitty all the time. I have supplied a visual.

It's Happy First Birthday time for the Mystery Man today. It feels like just yesterday that I was insisting to the triage nurse that yes, I was actually in labor, and no, I didn't want the sleeping pill and checking into a Holiday Inn to wait until they'd believe I was having a baby on the day after Christmas. And now, here I am, one year later. Christmas will never be the same!

Happy Birthday, Mystery Man!

Christmas Outtakes

To her older sister after she unwrapped her wooden dolls and paints, "But sharing is part of fwiendship! Someone needs to teach her to share her things!"

Just before bed, after discovering I forgot to give them their mini nail polishes the little one says, "I want to dwop it in my stocking myself!"
Me: ok, do you know which is your stocking?
Her: Yes!
And she goes after a giant cream colored stocking. She brings back said stocking and with a flourish drops her tiny bottle of nail polish inside, then looks at the creamy stocking with disgust.
Her: Hey... why it not turn pink?

Going to bed on Christmas night, I read them the Christmas story one more time, then said I would pray for them.

"I want to pray!" My little Betty Boop squeaks at me. So she prays, "Deaw God, I pway for my sister's tummy (which has been better for a month), and for MORE CHRISTMAS!!!"

I ask her how we could have more Christmas and she patiently explains, slowly, with exaggerated hand guestures, "Because God could make it more Christmas."

I try again, "But what would that look like, if we had more Christmas tomorrow?"

"More presents!!!!"

It's a white Christmas!!

It's snowing again in Seattle! The girls are still snuggled down in their beds, so it's just me and my sister up with the Mystery Man. DH is out traversing the snowscape to bring back lattes.

I know, I know, but I won the Starbuck's Gold Card in the Christmas Eve gift game last night and the only thing that could make this scene more perfect is an eggnog latte.

Merry Christmas, everyone! I just had to share my very first white Christmas with the rest of you.

Now, go open some presents!

Merry Christmas!!

The star is in the sky!

The angels are singing the advent!

The babe is in the manger!

The Lord is come!

Merry Christmas!!!!

She who holds time sway

My three year old, whose nickname is Gigi, has been insisting that she is still two since her birthday in September. Recently, my hubby tripped her into an admission that she was three. He's been trying to capitolize on that ever since to get her to admit her real age. I'm not really sure why, I just go with the whole "I'm two" thing, since I'm still 29.

But last night, the conversation took a new turn.

DH: I heard you say you were three, now come on, how old are you, really?

With a dramatic pause and great import in her voice, she announced... "I am four."

DH: What?!

GG: I pwetend to be 2, but in weal life, I am four.

DH: You can't just choose your age like that.

GG: Yes I can. I am Gigi.

catching up

Sorry for the blog silence, folks. I've been battling croup (complete with a midnight trip to the ER), the flu times 5, ever impending Christmas and snow, snow, snow!

All my little ones have been miserable and I've been housebound which is almost as bad as being deprived of caffeine. When I sit down at night to blog, and I've had many posts swirling around in my head, it's all I can do to logon. I can't seem to get the words from my head to my fingers, so I just track my amazon packages and go to bed.

But today I got a hold of some antibiotics. I took my 4x4 out in the snow. I had my coffee, and I'm starting to feel a little bit human. Hopefully I'll get a few posts out before Christmas!

Till then - enjoy your holiday!!!

I spoke too soon

So far, I've seen like three snowflakes. I'm seriously underwhelmed. I'm still holding out hope that it's just late in arriving.

Woah! Holy time lapse, batman! I had to put the kids to bed and when I came downstairs it was a winter wonderland. It's just beautiful. I put on my big black wool trench and wrapped a scarf around my neck and took a little walk outside. When I came back, there was my three year old in her little ducky pajamas saying, "Mama! You back! I wanna catch a snowflake on my tongue!" It's so fun to share winter with little girls.

So, it's off to bed in snowy, snowy Seattle for me.

Also, I wanted to let you know to check out Enduring Romance later tonight or tomorrow. I'll have my top ten books of 2008 up. :)

Merry Christmas!

Silent Storm

I apologize for the blog silence. It mimicks my silence in real life as I have lost my voice. Not, oh, that's cute, it's kind of raspy. No, I can't talk. Occasionally I can muster something above a whisper but only at great cost to my already horribly painful throat.

And so I whisper, which is not entirely bad as the kids now whisper back to me and only sometimes ask why we are being so quiet. The downside is when one of them lunges for the other's neck, I've only got my flying body tackle to stop them.

In other news, we have a full blown winter storm headed to Seattle. YAY!!! I love snow and I love storms, especially since there's no chance I'll get stuck at work in it. It once took 3 1/2 hours to get home. I slipped all the way across the bridge and ultimately got stranded at a McDonalds. Poor DH had to come rescue me after taking an hour and a half to get him and the kids home. And my cell phone died. So I was calling in a pay phone booth in two feet of snow with high heels. Eating french fries.

No chance of that this time! But, the red one did leave her coat at church so I've got to go get that in the morning, and I extracted a blood oath that she'll wear the purple puffy down coat from last year even though she now hates it because otherwise she'll turn into a big red popsicle.

Also, a word of warning... my favorite podcaster, Mur Lafferty of I Should be Writing, just talked about an author friend of hers who had to be treated for a pulmonary embolism - blood clot. Apparently, according to his doctor (and we know this via Twitter via Podcast) people who sit in chairs for several hours per day (so, yanno, writers) are at HIGH RISK of blood clots. Well, not me, because I have small kids. The longest I sit down is driving to school to pick up the red one. But one day I hope to actually have them all in school and write for long stretches and I'd better be getting up to mop the floor or run around the block every two hours. That's what the doctor said, move every two hours at least. So I'm passing on the public service announcement.

And if you don't hear from me for a while, we've lost power, or become popsicles, or maybe we're outside making snow angels and drinking fairy milk. :)

The Magician's Wand...er... Fork

A sideshow at the birthday party:

My little three year old comes up to me with a green silk scarf...

"I need you to tie this awound me so I can be a magician."

"Ok." I tie the scarf around her - no easy task because she keeps twisting her entire body to look over her shoulder.

"I need you to hold still so I can tie it."

"I need to see if you are doing it wight."

Once the scarf is tied to both of our standards she says,
"Gweat. Now I need to cast a spell on something."

She looks around furtively.

Next, I see her standing in front of a painting in the living room with a fork.

"Abwa Cadabwa - make this picture disappear!" She says with a magicians flourish... then...

"Hey. Why that picture still there?" She looks at the fork in her hand and mutters to herself, "Maybe because this not a weal wand..."

Happy Christmas, Hapy Birthday

I love this Christmas card - see, it's Robins in the snow. ;) How sweet is that. But, I'm sending photo cards this year because that seems to be what people like best. I just have to get all three kids dressed, clean, in good moods, and posed. I think that possibly the years I hand stamped and wrote all the cards myself were easier. At least more under my control!

Today is my oldest daughter's birthday, so I'm off to prepare. I really can't believe she's eight, but I say that every year, so next year I'll be shocked that she's nine. I don't know what it is about having a child growing up that makes time pass so quickly.

My little Betty Boop over here is wrapping presents without me now, so I have to go help.

Oh, and Huey is sick - that's why no Huey posts, but don't worry, they're coming as soon as he's all better!

Quiz Time


So, maybe you want me around as a backup, but I'm no Jack Bauer, here.

blog readability test


A decent score.
32% Geekp>

I thought this might be worse! Or better, depending on your perspective...

The Caffeine Click Test - How Caffeinated Are You?

Perfectly caffeinated!

And that concludes todays quizzes.

Thanksgiving and all the trimmings!


I hope each and every one of you US readers had a wonderful Thanksgiving. We spent about two days cooking all of our favorites - candied yams, stuffing, roast turkey, pumpkin bread pudding, cranberry salad - and propped the little ones up on stools with great big spoons and aprons. They love it! My three year old's favorite show is The Barefoot Contessa and she gets really indignant when Ina doesn't use all the butter, which is admittedly rare. She loved the Thanksgiving episode where Ina puts the herb rub under the turkey's skin and was dismayed that she didn't get to pry up the skin with her little fingers this year. Sometimes I wonder who's daughter she is. I like my meat in little styrofoam packages with plastic wrap. Or better yet, fully cooked.

This year, we made a "thankful tree" on the table. The girls collected twigs and we put them in an old olive oil bottle with ribbon tied around it. We had a pen on the table and little leaves we'd printed and each of us wrote something we were thankful for on the leaf and tied it to the tree with ribbon.

It's easy to come up with things to be thankful for. In fact, my heart has been a little heavy this season as I've come across so many sad stories of children suffering with attitudes better than mine is at dinner time on an average weekday - kids with a debilitating type of dwarfism in Iraq, a little girl who is afraid of being snatched by human traffickers on her way to school in Albania, a mother in Albania whose kitchen doubles as the only bathroom in the flat.

But at some point in the dinner, it occurred to us that while it's pretty easy to come up with things we are thankful for, a more important question is who we are thankful to. I'm 34 and this is the first Thanksgiving that I've expressly thought about that. So I encourage all of you to thank him, her, them or Him. Whomever you owe thanks to this wonderful season - and maybe if you can spare the time or the resources, give someone a reason to be thankful to you.

** Note: the painting is the work of Morgan Weistling and can be found here.

An Autumn Afternoon

It's November in Seattle which means that by now most of the leaves have fallen from the trees and congealed into a common mass by the incessant rain. At Westmont, I would be lying on the beach getting a suntan. I can't imagine why I liked it there so much.

But, I digress...

Kids don't stop wiggling just because it's cold out, so we've all bundled up and are exploring the wet autumnscape. The little man is sleeping and the big man is working out so I have the girls looking for leaves to dry out and make a collage. And running. I made them run first. A lot. I just caught the little one halfway up a tree trying to get the very last leaf from the very top branch. I helped her pluck it off, then put her boots back on her feet and told her to stay on solid ground.

Huey is out keeping me company. I think he needs a scarf.

Why I love Fitzgerald

A quote from The Last Tycoon:

I like people, and I like them to like me. But I wear my heart where God put it, on the inside.

Quote of the Day

Today I'm experimenting to see if I can survive solely on chocolate covered cherries - not the kind with the gooey center, the dried fruit kind, not that it really matters but as long as I'm conducting a scientific experiment, I should be precise.

So far so good.

This has been a long day. Possibly I'd have more stamina if I varied my diet today. Oh well. So, my brain is too fried to come up with much of anything myself and so I am leaving you with my quote of the day from the fabulous Katharine Hepburn:

"Only the really plain people know about love -- the very fascinating ones try so hard to create an impression that they soon exhaust their talents." Katharine Hepburn Look Magazine 2-18-58

I love that quote - so much to think about. It doesn't say much about her happiness, since I think she was strikingly beautful, but it's the sort of thing I'd love to explore in a character.

As an aside, I think it's horrifying that when I typed in Katharine to my google search bar, Katharine McPhee came up before Katharine Hepburn. What is the world coming to?!

The Tooth Fairy and the Dragon

Or... inside the mind of a three year old

We're driving. She's in the back seat chatting in her cartoony, lilting, little voice, as usual...

Her: Mom? How big are my teeth?
Me: Pretty little.
Her: NO! I mean how BIG!
Me: I'd say about half a centimeter. (I have no idea)
Her: Oh. Someday I will have a loof toof (loose tooth). How will it get loof?
Me: The adult tooth pushes it out of the way, then it gets loose and falls out.
Her: Oh. Then we put it under the pillow for the toof fairy and she will bwing me a beautiful twinket? (trinket)
Me: Ah... yes?
Her: Mom, what's a twinket?
Me: Um, it's a little shiny toy or doll or.... maybe a quarter... (how do you define trinket?)
Her: Will it be from the toof fairy?
Me: Maybe, or maybe it'll be from me!
Her: Mom? Is the toof fairy weal (real) or just make belive?
Me: She's mostly make believe, but if you put your tooth under the pillow, you will get a trinket! Or... maybe a quarter.
Her: Oh. Mom? When will I be a dragon?

Happy Birthday, from Huey

First off, that last post was #200!! Happy blog anniversary!!

Now, for the main event, today is my birthday. I had a wonderful party thrown by my wonderful hubby with lots of gifts from everyone. The girls each got me an ornament - the little one got me a heart, for love, and the big one got me a snowflake that I've been getting lots and lots of hints about. :) I also got some great mysteries that I'll talk about in another post.

What you all need to know is that my parents surprised me with a NETBOOK!!!!! WOOO!!!!!!

It's the cutest thing ever. It is very tiny, about the size of my little one's Barbie laptop that teaches her letters.

His name is Huey, and expect to see lots of pictures of and from Huey. Hueycam.

Now I can work in the living room while DH is watching football or some documentary on social ills. I'm so much better at feigning interest while typing. ;)

This came at an excellent time-- I got accupuncture today and a cortizone shot to fix the tendonitis and now it's so much worse I can't hold a mouse. Ouch. Hooray for Huey!

Prayers for Westmont

I went to college at one of the most beautiful places on Earth. My senior year of high school we visited a school in Chicago and were snowed in - in April - then went straight to Westmont, and I knew it was home as soon as I saw it. It was intellectual without being stuffy, protective without being stifling, freeing without being scary, and religous without being dogmatic. I value the four years I spent there every day.

The school is nestled into the hills above Santa Barbara in a little village called Montecito. It's full of old Hollywood history, and I one day rode my little red scooter to see where the marriage of Vivien Leigh and Clark Gable took place. The bouganvilla are always in bloom, and in the summers, mist hangd over the beaches. It had cute boys, caring profs, and faithful friends.

Later, when I'd feel overwhelmed with life - with a new baby, or job losses, or just too much laundry, I'd always dream of Santa Barbara. There would be a lingering thought in the back of my dreaming mind that I should be worried about something, but then I'd think, "I'm at Westmont, what could possibly be wrong."

But today, something is very wrong at Westmont. And while I'm not a demonstrative person, I've been fighting back tears all day. My freshman dorm has burned, just missing the suite I stayed in, but taking down our "brother suite." I know many other buildings have burned and I pray that the dorm I spent three years in and the wonderfully charming Reynold's Hall where I took all of my literature classes is in tact. Sadly, I know we lost about a dozen faculty houses. In a place as expenisve as Montecity, faculty housing is incredibly important.

Thankfully, no students or employees were hurt, though I think they spent some scary time in the gym on cots.

If you have a moment to pray for those involved, I'd really appreciate it.

Here are some places you can track the story for those interested:
LA Times
Tea Fire

More progress


Also, Michael Scott is still sad. So I am a little bit sad. The Office will be my undoing. I'm telling you, proceed with caution with this television stuff...

Say it ain't so!!!!

My Own Worst Enemy has been cancelled. Just pass the kleenex. It's by far my favorite new show of the season. It had intrigue and philosophical questions and nothing was as it seemed and... Christian Slater whom I've always loved. Really. I admit it. It's like Daybreak all over again or The Black Donnelleys, where they tease you with the set up, you think it's so cool, and then they yank it out from under you.

Television is a risky medium to follow, my friends, do so at your own peril.


I've been curious about steampunk for a while, since Kimber An has mentioned it a few times with fun graphics - then Agent Kristen talked about it tonight and I thought I should finally figure out what the heck it is.

Sadly, my first thought was to post "What the heck is Steampunk, people?!" But my second thought was google, and now I know. For those of you who don't - it appears to be stories set in an era where steam was the main source of power (think Victorian England) with cool technology layered on top. I love that stuff and I didn't even know it had a name! If you need a visual, I found this one and I love it. If I had more time and my own computer I might even mod it myself.

In case you'd like to, I found a how to. I kid you not!!!

And that is my contribution for the day. I'm off to get my ipod loaded up with Christmas music, write the next chapter of my WIP, and hopefully see a little bit of The Biggest Loser. It's high drama this year, folks! Will Heba prevail? Will Amy P silently steal the title? Will Vicki continue in her Lady MacBeth ways?!

Logical Conundrum

Continuing on in the preschool report card theme I have going I bring you tonight's post.

"Takes criticism well - not a comment that applies to you." Says my DH. Guess what, defending yourself against the charge that you don't take criticism well opens up a huge can of worms. Which I tell him, which makes him laugh. Good -- conversation over. :)

But really, do you see my problem here? It's like war games where the computer finally admits there cannot be a winner. So then I'm inspired to do something truly adult and stick out my tongue. This bodes well for the editing process, doesn't it?

In other news... I've made some progress on my WIP - FINALLY!

Seriously, folks

I was just doing a little research on the street layout in Downtown Seattle for my WIP. I grew up here in the Seattle area, but don't live smack downtown and I've always struggled with directions down there. Honestly, I've been known to get lost driving to the mall which is three tenths of a mile away, so getting turned around in Seattle is par for the course. Still, I think Seattle is particularly difficult. I remember when I moved to Santa Barbara and marveled that the blocks were all exactly the same size - and straight! Unbelievable!!!

But now, I finally know WHY the city is so difficult. First off, here's a description of the street layout, compliments of Wikipedia:

The old town of Seattle is bounded by Elliott Bay on the west, Yesler Way on the south, Denny Way on the north, and Broadway on the east, which encompasses all of Downtown, Belltown, the Denny Regrade, and parts of Pioneer Square and First Hill. The grid is oriented 32 degrees west of north from Yesler Way north to Stewart Street from Alaskan Way east to 3rd Avenue, Olive Way from 3rd Avenue east to 7th Avenue, and to Howell Street from 7th Avenue east to Denny Way. North of there, but south of Denny Way, the grid is oriented 49 degrees west of north.

Um, yeah.... so, the reason why I go downtown and have to check my nav, my compass, and stop and ask for directions three times and then call my sister and double check the directions is because the three guys who founded the city couldn't agree on a grid. So, what do they do? They each make their own grid on their own piece of land and we now have three grids that orient completely different ways and confuse the heck out of people like me who have been known to drive from Seattle to Northgate via Queen Anne Hill to the west and maybe even end up on the 520 bridge headed to Bellevue. It happens.

Plays well with others - it's important, folks!

Election Night

We had CNN on all night - in the background while I was trying to make lowfat chicken stroganoff, and my 3 year old was making "soup" out of cinamoon sugar, tomatoes, blackberry juice, and parmesan cheese, and my 7 year old was reciting memory work and the little man was pulling everything out of every drawer...

We paused it for dinner, then watched some more, bathed the kids, put them to bed, then my oldest tiptoed down the stairs to inform us that her sister was asleep as she tried to steal a few moments of special adult time.

We let her stay up to watch Barack Obama's acceptance speech. We asked her if she understood what was going on, and she said she did - that history would be made either way by having a woman or an African American in the white house.

Often, watching CNN or any other sort of news and especially politics makes me want to hide my head and pretend I live somewhere else at some other time. Hence the fiction writing. But tonight, I was really glad to be an American living at this time and in this place. After listening to both speeches I was inspired by the character of both men. They were gracious, heartfelt speeches and I really believed both of them when they said that they put others above themselves, that they would work together for the good of America. John McCain proved it in Hanoi. Obama's about to.

It's a good night to be an American.

Happy Voting Day

Yes, I'm voting today, let's just get that out of the way. Much like I used to want to vote for Josiah Bartlett, I now find myself wanting to vote for Tina Fey. Possibly this is tied into my issue with getting swept up in fiction. Hmmm.... In typical Robin fashion, I had to go online to find my polling place because it could have been in any one of at least four cities, and I was thinking it was the farthest one. I lucked out - it's only about fifteen minutes away. Woo!!!!

This is especially good because I'm driving a rental while they patch up my poor, smushed Durango. I have a Dodge Caliber that is brand new and has red racing stripes and shiny red metallic plates on the inside. The girls and I are loving it. Poor DH doesn't fit. Not enough room. So sad. ;)

Also, I'm having a really hard time making significant progress on my WIP. Anybody have any advice? Could it just be exhaustion from this whole "put the boy in his crib" project I have going on? Possibly. It also could have to do with plotting out the book. I think it makes the plot tighter, but it also might steal the joy. I'm gonna have to think about that. I need all the joy I can get.

I've been googling Office spoilers trying to find some glimmer of hope for the future, but the well has run dry. In fact, I found a site that looked promising, but when I clicked on the link I saw that they linked to MY last post. So. Not. Helpful.

I suppose I'll have to just watch the show, one week at a time, like everyone else. My patience, again, is put to the test.

On a happier note, today is Reformation Day - oh yeah, and Halloween. My oldest - the one for whom I frantically ordered a princess costume on ebay and then stalked the mailbox till it got here - came home today and said, "Do you know that Reformation Day and Halloween are two *totally* seperate holidays?!" Well, yes, I did.

Ironically, the boy who won the costume contest at school was dressed as the pope. I love that! So, she got to play "pin the theses on the Wittenburg door" as well as bobbing for apples and sword play. She also feasted on turkey legs, but, being her mother's daughter she's not a fan of meat on the bone. "Once a year is enough for me!" she reported tonight.

ARGH! People in my house are rewatching The Office. Have they no consideration for my fragile emotional state?! Apparently not.

And I hear the door popping open again upstairs. My little mouse loves Halloween. She was dismayed that her little three (I mean two) year old legs couldn't keep up with her seven year old sister who was leading the charge like lives were at stake. "Why am I so slow?! Why am I so small?!"

Also, she loves candy. And she's a little sneaky. She's bounced downstairs once to ask if she could have more of her Winnie the Pooh lollypop. No. Well, could her sister have some? No. Well, she already told her sister she could have just three bites if she brushed her teeth afterward. Really? Or maybe she had three bites then brushed her teeth. Really? Ok, well, she was going to go brush her teeth now...

And then I went up to check on her and her face was covered in chocolate.

Did she have some chocolate? No.

Lying is a sin.

Well, maybe her sister had some chocolate.

Lying is still a sin.

Well, she guesses she maybe had some chocolate.

Now she's got glo sticks. It's gonna be a looooong night....

Spoiler Alert

***Office Spoiler Alert***

ARGH!!!!! Are they trying to kill me?! Why not let us be happy? Why? I think dramatic tension is dramatically overrated.

It's Luke and Lorelai and the stupid wedding day blues episode all over again! And I saw it coming, even!! ARGH!!!!!

Plus, now the little guy is throwing up. And now I'm gonna have to rent (or rather pull off the shelf) Dan in Real Life and The 40 Year Old Virgin and try to exorcise The Office from my mind. Except Amy Ryan is in Dan in Real Life - so I'm just going to get sad all over again. For crying out loud. Which, by the way, I've been hearing a lot of today - the crying out loud - from vomiting children.

At least, I won Miami Solitaire...


How is it possible that I still have people throwing up here?! This is my current biggest mystery. My poor little three year old (two, if you ask her) was sick all night and is still sick. She's lying in bed watching tv and holding a towel - not bouncing off the walls in any way shape or form, so I know it's bad. She's wearing her little pink tank top because "Pink is for love".


I'll check back in and hopefully be able to tell you that we're all well. Tomorrow's Halloween for crying out loud! I have a mouse, a princess, and a Red Baron to take trick or treating!

Robin's Way of Life

Well, we seem to have hit a wall. The Mystery Man sleeps great for half the night - which is something. I mean, he used to only sleep when I was holding him - so any time without a baby in my arms at the end of the night is fantastic. But at some point - maybe midnight, maybe 3 am - he gets up and will NOT go back to his crib for anything.

I'm combing The Baby Whisperer for what we're doing wrong. I think maybe my little guy is not listed in her five types of babies. There is no type for Incredible Hulk, which is what he sounds like when he's really angry. RAH!

So, um, that's what I've been doing during this blog silence. I was hoping to report greater victory.

On the upside, we went to the pumpkin patch and harvest festival last weekend and it was a blast. There was some consternation (by the biggest one of us, not the children) that our regular patch was closing down and the tradition was taking a turn, but all in all we had a really good time.

The hour and a half it took us to get home due to the accident on the freeway - and the ill-fated detour - notwithstanding.

And my sister had motion sickness.

And she really had to pee.

And we handed her an empty soda bottle, ala Dwight Schrute, but it didn't get to that point.

And then there was the debate about how far you can really go when the car says 9 miles to empty. They don't really tick off at every mile, it's more like every 10 feet, and the patch was really remote... but I swear you can go FAR on 0 miles to empty. And this was referred to as Robin's Way of Life. I like my way. It's a lot less stressful than thinking you really need to get to a gas station. I have AAA - and a cell phone, that's sometimes charged...

But hey, I'm happy.

I'm ESPECIALLY happy having seen last week's The Office 4 times now. Wow. Yay for Michael and Holly. Why am I so happy for fictional people, I don't know. Maybe it goes to my Way of Life. I was depressed for a good 3 weeks after Luke and Lorelai broke up the first time. I know that it plays into my wanting to write - I can make MY characters do whatever I want. Bwa ha ha! If I want them to live happily ever after - they will!!!

So let's all hope Amy Ryan does not get a movie gig anytime soon and can come back for lots of guest roles to make Michael's life happy. :)

One Day Down

He slept in his crib all night. There were many bouts of my husband or I getting him up, comforting him, and putting him back down, but nevertheless, I did not fold. Hooray for me! Hooray for Hubby! Hooray for little man!

As a reward for not folding, I bought The Orkney Skull by Lyn Hamilton - I've been wanting to try out these "archeological mysteries". I'll let you know. ;) I also bought two extra cute shirts for the little guy. I'm sure he appreciates it.

Night number two going on right now. I can hear him protesting, but hubby is on shift.


Robin is Tired

The flu has now gone through 4 of us. I'm not sure that it's done with it's swath of destruction, but at least no one is currently throwing up. I thought I was all clear on Wednesday, and then got the call from my daughter's teacher that she, too, was now throwing up.

Seriously, people, it's a whole lotta sick. I'm just coming up for air.

Secondly, check out www.crimespace.ning.com. It's a social networking site for authors, agents, readers - anyone into crime fiction and I love it! Go friend me! I've found lots of good books that way.

Thirdly, we're teaching the mystery man to sleep in his crib tonight. He used to. Then he didn't. He thinks he should be glued to my body at all times. I'm exhausted and will be till this little process is finished. Thank God for husbands who say "I'll take the next shift." Of course, if he didn't, I'd probably never do this thing.

I'll be back when I can form coherant thoughts again.

Over and out.

Robin is very sick

Just a quick post to say I'm sorry for the blog silence. I am very sick. We are all very sick. This is possibly the worst flu I have every experienced. I feel fortunate to be alive. Not that I'm at all dramatic. A big shout out to my parents for helping with the three monkeys - one of which was throwing up herself for three days - while I've been down and out. And also to my lovely aunt for keeping two monkeys while I rushed the sick one to the doctor thinking she had appendicitis, that's how acute this has been.

Regular blogging to resume once regular eating, drinking, and breathing resumes here at the house of mystery.

Boyfriends Part II: The Golden Boy

I'm at Old Navy with my little imp and just ahead of us in line is a little boy - probably four or five. This is prime time for her. Typically, she would be all over introducing herself and facillitating a long conversation and playtime.

Instead, she observed, and declined.

Then, while we are actually checking out and his parents were on their way out of the store, they had to bring him back so he could say hello to my little siren. She stood behind my legs and hid. My little girl doesn't hide, but they didn't know that, so I just asked her to say hello. And she did. Then goodbye, and she did.

When we got to the car, I said: That little boy liked you. He came all the way back to say hello!

Her: I did not like that little boy, he was fweaky!
Me: What?! Why was he freaky?
Her: He just stood there staring at me, saying hello (shudder).
Me: Well, was he just not your type of boy?
Her: No! I like boys like Ava likes (her best friend) and I like boys that June likes (June is on the Little Einsteins), and I like boys made of gold. And one day, when I find a boy made of gold, I will make that golden boy my boyfriend.

Sounds like a good plan to me!

It's 12:26 am and I'm still not asleep...

Riddle me this batman, I can't keep my eyes open all day, and now, at 12:30, I'm wide awake. ARGH!!! So, I'm fiddling with plotting, and I wanted to leave you with a snippet of dialogue from my life before I get back to deciding if a particular scene is a point of no return or a major setback. ;) This is a cheaper way to procrastinate than ordering the new BADGal Plum Mascara which I can apparently get with free shipping according to my inbox. And it *would* really bring out the green in my eyes...

So, speaking of eyes, my little three year old with the Betty Boop voice and the Bette Davis eyes who still won't cop to being three was mumbling something about friends in her top bunk...

Me: What about friends?
Her: Mama! (derisive tone) I'm not talking about *friends*, I'm talking about *boyfriends*!!
Me: Oh, OH! What about boyfriends?
Her: I would like to have a boyfriend.
Me: And what would you do with this boyfriend?
Her: (smiling to herself) We would cook together... we would read together... we would play together... and we would sleep together.
Me: You can cook with a boy, you can read with a boy, you can play *some* things with a boy, but you may never under any circumstances sleep with a boy.
Her: Why not?!
Me: I'm going to go get your father...

I hightailed it downstairs, related the incident to my DH, who then hightailed it upstairs and on his return I asked what he said.

Him: I told her that I am her boyfriend until further notice!

He also promised her lots of daddy dates and one on one time, so hopefully she'll get over this new obsession with having a boyfriend... except she hasn't and I'll have more for you on the next post.

OK, back to plot structure...

Wow, morning already

I was up before the little racoons at the top of my igoogle page this morning. That's early! I'm still feeling a little frustrated at having to do everything with one hand tied behind my back - nearly literally - but I'm trying to see it as a reminder of how good I normally have it with two functioning hands. Let's just hope the right hand returns to being fully functional eventually.

Also, I'm taking an online class from RWA (Romance Writers of America) through their Kiss of Death division - apparently for Romantic Suspense writers, but we have many different genres represented in the class. I write more straight mystery, but I can't conceive of a story without some romance, so it fits me just fine. So far, I love it! It's supposed to help with pacing which is so, so important in mysteries.

An interesting thing has come up - she talks about pacing as having as much to do with characters as plot. I love this idea, because many of my favorite books are favorites because I just love being with the characters, not just endlessly moving forward. I feel like a really good book can make scenes with their characters fun in and of themselves - yet a lot of writing advice says you have to move forward or die, like a shark. What do you all think?

Some examples for me are: Harry Potter - honestly, it's most fun for me when they're in class just being wizards at Hogwarts, Pride and Prejudice, Anne of Green Gables, Gone With the Wind, the Amelia Peabody books - I'd love to hear your thoughts on pacing and characters.

OK, off to ice my wrist!

Quick Update

Just a quick update to say that I have tendonitis - really painful tendonitis that made me think I broke my wrist. So it's ridiculously hard to type. I have a few blog posts in my head, so if I can peck them out with my left hand in the next few days, I will.

I'll just say that my Suzanne Aruda book arrived - The Serpant's Daughter - so far so good!

And now my baby is awake and I have to run upstairs. More later!

Things are looking up

First, a news flash: writing is hard. I'm working on my WIP right now - except I'm not, I'm taking this tiny break to blog about how it's hard. The hard part is knowing how you want a scene to go, getting it *almost* there, and then pulling the words out of your brain to try to make it just that much better. It's a matter of degrees, but it's also a matter of the scene telling the story, or falling flat. Almost is a bad, bad word in this industry.

So, it's hard.

Secondly, I won a book!!!! I read about Suzanne Aruda's books on the Dorothy L (yes, it's for Dorothy L Sayers) list and my eyes bugged out of my head when I saw "mystery" "1920's" "Africa". It's my all time favorite setting - ever. Anything set in 1920's Africa (especially North Africa and India) makes me giddy, and if it's a mystery - all the better!!! And then, I popped over to Poe's Deadly Daughters where she was being interviewed and I won a book! Hooray!

I promised I'd review the book to hopefully get some more word out, and I might even do it on the right blog and on the right day! If so, I'll link you all from here, blog buds.

Also - The Office is back!!!! I believe my crush on Michael is well documented, so I'll just say I loved, loved, loved this episode and the addition of Holly remains brilliant. I feel like I have an ally in the office. ;)

Oh geez....

So, a couple of days ago I realized I'd missed my day to post a revew on Enduring Romance (link in the sidebar). Oh no! I emailed Kimber, I arranged to post it on a Wednesday that had no other posts scheduled for that day. I waited all day for computer time, but the kids conspired against me by staggering their sleeping times and a little thing called Curriculum Night. Oh boy!

Finally... at midnight... I tiptoe downstairs and quickly type the review I've been writing in my head. Whew! Hit post. Go to bed. Mission accomplished.

Except it was on the wrong blog.

So I hope all of you enjoy the Private Arrangements review and think about clicking over to Enduring Romance to see all the other fine reviews over there.

It's been quite a week, blog buds. Between the stomach flu and the neverending quest for a new key (got it - I'm much poorer, but I can now move from point a to point b again without the use of a tow truck) I've been a little rummy.

Hopefully, things are on the upswing!

I won't even mention the day I sent my 2nd grader to school with no lunch (I thought it was hot lunch). She accused me of also sending her out with no snack (it was in her backpack) and no homework (it was in her folder, but on the wrong side) and just as I was about to lecture her about looking harder, my dear husband paused searching the house for my keys to say "Oh, let me hear this. This should be good!"

I refrained.

OK, life may resume it's normal patterns.... NOW!

Private Arrangements Review

First of all, I apologize for my review being late - again. All I can say is that I got caught up in the craziness of the home front that is three small children.

Secondly, if any of you are wondering if blogs sell books, this is proof. I'm really a die hard mystery reader first and foremost...but, I read about Sherry Thomas's spectacular query letter on Kristin Nelson's blog - and was hooked! Then I started reading Sherry's blog and eventually Schemes of Love became Private Arrangements and then it was released! YAY!

Sherry delivers a unique premise and executes it perfectly. Sometimes the execution falls flat after such a fun hook, but not this time. Gigi Rowland has snared herself a duke, adding a title to her already ammassed fortune, and she did it by buying up all of his debts and then telling him she'd call them on him if he didn't marry her. Voila, a ring! Sadly, her duke dies about a week before the wedding. He was old and a lech so it's not that sad for her except that she really wanted that title. Enter his charming nephew - also broke, but not so easily bought.

He does, however, fall in love and lust with Gigi. But she has more shenanigans up her sleeve and he makes her pay for them. So their glorious marraige lasts all of one day before they make for separate coasts. He leaves for America, she stays in England. For ten years they go on like this till she wants a divorce and he first demands an heir.

Of course, they never really got over each other.

The heat level in this book is highly sensual, and it's not just reserved for sex scenes. It's plenty present in chapter one. Thomas really does use desire as a device throughout the book to show Gigi as flesh and blood and, along with her head for finance, really a modern woman trapped in the Victorian age. But if you don't like a lot of description, this book isn't for you. I personally found it less abrupt than a romance where the sex scene just appears out of nowhere.

If you enjoy this, pick up Sherry's next book, Delicious!