Slug Bug

I think I've mentioned before how my kids like to play slug bug in the back seat. Except instead of "slugging" we play for "slug bug queen" bragging rights. Here's a little snippet from the other day.

Red: Slug Bug
Me: Nope - Mini Cooper
Red: Slug Bug
Me: That's a Smart Car
Red: Slug Bug
Me: Try PT Cruiser.
Me: Slug Bug
Me: Slug Bug
Red: Shouldn't you be keeping an eye on the road?
Boop: Slug Bug!
Red: Where?
Boop: The pink one! Slug Bug! Slug Bug! Slug Bug!
Red: Oh, sure, all the imaginary pink slug bugs count. Then I see a slug bug - look at all the imaginary blue slug bugs - they're everywhere! Slug bug, slug bug!
Me: Didn't you guys like that penguin song...'turning on ipod'

A few Christmas snippets

On Christmas Eve we bundled the kids into their velvet dresses - plaid flannel for Mystery Man, thank you very much - and I should add that Boop's black velvet was twinkled up with her red striped sparkley converse and purple Dora sunglasses.

"Boop looks like a rock star." Red said on the way out.

We headed for church in the city and on the way heard little snippets of conversation from the back row of the Durango.

Red: Boop, what's the funniest thing you say?
Boop: Seriously!
Red: Would you use seriously in a sentence?
Boop: Sentence. Seriously!
Red: No, a sentence is...
Boop: I know what a sentence is - it's what you use when you can't see. You've got 5 of them: smell, touch, ears...
Red: No, a sentence is...
Me: Just leave it alone - Boop doesn't correct well. But I did try...
Me: Boop, Red meant a sentence, and you were talking about the senses.
Boop: Yeah, that's what I call them for short.

Then we made it to service where our pastor read from the King James Bible in a giant, leather armchair wearing a matrix overcoat, a red plaid scarf, and a studded bracelet and he totally owned that look. I love a little steampunk in my Christmas!

Today was a flurry of paper and bows and tissue and squeals and giggles - also robotic bugs (Mystery Man is running away from one right now), robotic hamsters (I persuaded Boop not to trim it's whiskers), sparkly guitars (Mystery Man absconded with Boop's when she wasn't looking and stashed it in a back bedroom), plastic firehouses (with loud, loud sirens), hungry hippos (so fun!), bacon and eggs (so yummy!).

My Red One asked for a Webkinz for Christmas, a bird Webkinz so she can get the treehouse room - so I got her a robin. Of course. I should have taken into account her quirky, slightly obvious sense of humor because she's been making jokes all day. Most recently she told me,

"Hey Robin, have you seen my Robin? (giggle fit) Oh, I don't think I'll ever get tired of that joke. I don't care if it is a little on the nose."

Now, DH is off looking for takeout so I don't have to cook tonight and we're headed to a movie once the kids fall asleep (don't worry, their grandparents will be here).

Thanks for letting me share my Merry, and quirky, Christmas! I hope you've all had a lovely day, too.

Merry Christmas, everyone!

Then let us all with one accord
Sing praises to our heavenly Lord
That hath made Heaven and earth of nought
And with his blood mankind has bought.
Noel, Noel, Noel, Noel
Born is the King of Israel!


Hey there,

I just updated the pitch for Lamplight to reflect how the story actually turned out.
Just wanted to let you know in case it pops up in your blogreader.

In other news...
Last night DH and I celebrated 10 years together. WOO! He had an evening all planned around my favorite things - book readings, Christmas lights, gluten free pizza. He's a keeper, clearly, because I've kept him for 10 years. :)

Today Mystery Man and I tackled Christmas shopping, while DH took the girls to the movies. Boop, my walking infomercial, is the easiest to shop for by far, so she's all done. And MM expressed his love and devotion for a firehouse with a working ladder truck and siren, so that's going under the tree, too - along with some cowboy boots. He's a teensy tiny bit obsessed with cowboy boots.

And I'm *almost* over SYTYCD. Almost.

And I thought the finale was bad (spoiler alert)

Seriously, we're calling that a results show? It's like the Glee kids put on a results show.

Can we talk about Cat not being miked?

The poor girl's talking, and we can't hear her - TWICE. And neither could the dancers, apparently, because when she asked them to come out, we only got half of them. So she has to ask them again, and then the other three come out practically carrying Russell who's crying and shaking because his leg is all busted and she tells him to just stand there a minute. WHAT?

Then goes on with the elimination. And has to walk over to poor Ryan, because he's HOLDING RUSSELL UP!

I do not blame Cat. I blame whichever yay-hoo producer was yelling in her ear to just get on with it.


I don't want to take anything away from Russell. He's a great dancer, and it's great to have a krumper win, and it would have been a nice dramatic ending to a great season what with his busted leg and pround mama and big reaction - if we'd HAD a great season.

As it stands, it was more like the cherry on top of a mud pie. Bleh.

I want my show back!

Seriously, we're calling that a finale

Was anyone else a little disappointed in the SYTYCD finale last night? Or is everyone else a little more emotionally healthy and not quite as invested?

It was just like any show during the season. Ugh. Season 6, I shake my fist at you!

In other news, Mystery Man does not approve of Cafe Lladro's straws, and foam art is lost on him. He took out all of our little black straws when we got home and replaced them with straws from the pantry. He's also not big in changes in routine.

Also, I've officially finished with Lamplight. I just fixed an action scene. I wish the whole book were dialog, which it occurs to me, is a screenplay. But I don't want to write a screenplay, so I'd better figure out how to make my main character RUN. He'd rather just chat about running. Much like me.

You've been watching too much SYTYCD when...

1) You're walking through the house thinking you should be able to do a standing back flip, and that housework would be so much more fun if you could

2) You inadvertently add Adam Shankman to your Christmas list - this is not quite as bad as when you kept finding things you thought Lorelai would like for Christmas.

3) On your to do list is "wish all my favorite dancers a Merry Christmas" on twitter, facebook, or wherever you happen to stalk them

4) You're really bothered by the "top 6 finale" - why? Are the changing the format? Trying to end the season sooner? Not enough weeks till Christmas? Did they get as sad as I did when Legacy left, so they've just decided to end it? Is this more fall out from the best tap dancer EVER not getting on the show this fall? *cough* Kasprzak *cough*

Ok, so, I'm off to get a grip...

I am up way too late

But while I'm up - just a note that my kids have been making me play Brad Paisley's "Penguin, James Penguin" over and over and over again. Someone really needs to turn it into a claymation special, because it's fabulous. It's about how Santa keeps tabs on all the kids with his secret agent penguin.

But, there's this line, "He's got satellite uplinks in his cufflinks, he knows everything you do."

And Red asks, "What are cufflinks?"

And so I explain... then ask, "But you're fine with 'satelite uplinks?'"

She says, "Yeah, I assume that has to do with the GPS."

So, that's what we've got folks, a generation for whom cufflinks are more foreign than satellites.

Some outtakes from the Red One

It's cold in Seattle. Cooooolllld for the temperate coast huggers up here. Here are a couple of conversations I've had after school with Red to see if she was warm enough.

Me: Red, were you freezing today?
Red: No, I'm not 80% frozen?
Me: Um, do you say that because you were 80% covered up? (*GUILT* her tights had holes in them, so I had to send her in knee socks)
Red: No, I say that because I'm about 80% water, so that's how much of me could have frozen, and it didn't!


The next day...

Me: Were you freezing today? (she is sporting a pair of new tights, so hopefully not)
Red: Well, if by freezing you mean actually *frozen*, then no. But if by freezing you mean feeling freezing, then yes, I am.

There's a reason I'm buying her the periodic table for Christmas.

Now she is playing as quietly as my girls ever play in the next room.

Boop: Hey, I'm gonna give this thing to Mystery Man because it's not girlish enough. Could you get me a girlish one for Christmas?
Red: I don't think they come girlish.
Boop: Yes, they do, they have them at Barnes and Noble. (my kids know the inventory at Barnes and Noble *very* well)
Red: Oh, ok, well, I can't tell you or it wouldn't be a surprise, so you just have to keep hoping.

At this point, Red recites "Hope is a thing with feathers" by Dickinson to her less than impressed little sister - who just wants the toy, thank you very much.

Yes, Ma'am!

I'm working on getting Boop to respond with, "Yes, ma'am."

I'm not southern, but I like that it conveys one has heard and (hopefully) understood what has been asked of them, and will comply. This is especially important in Boop. Also, the school my kids go to requires it and we'd better start soon with this one. Plus, if she ever wants to try out for the Dallas Cowboy Cheerleaders, she's gonna have to know how to say it, if "Making the Team" is any indication! OK, so that point's less important.

But, in classic Boop fashion... she's turned it on me. I can hear her singing from the other room at the top of her lungs:

"Yes, Ma'am" is a good thing to say!
"Yes, Ma'am" is gooooood!
"Do you want a poodle?" "Yes, ma'am!"


Devil Discs and Mechanical Puffins

I gave my eyes a break from the devil discs for a couple of days. Now they seem slightly less evil, but I wouldn't say I trust them. It would be like dating Hugh Grant. You really want to think he's as cute and loveable as he looks, but you remember how things ended with Elizabeth Hurley.

A friend of mine (thank you, Jason!) sent me this tour of a steampunkified home. Having lived in a 1905 home briefly, I have no desire to ever do so ever, ever again. Ever. Ever. Again.

But, if you're gonna restore one, this is the way I'd do it! I'll share a couple of my favorite pics here. I'll tell you now, they're worth putting your contacts in for!

Contact Lenses or Instruments of Doom?

I signed up to drive for my daughter's field trip to the aquarium. Or so they tell me. I can't really believe I signed up to drive on her birthday, but they seem to be counting on me, so I'm going.

But, I have a teensy tiny problem in that the arm popped off of my glasses. This is the second time. I've been driving with glasses that only have one arm for far too long. I could go get a new pair, but my prescription has run out. So I have to go sit in that chair and look through all the lenses and say "One, two, four, six" while they figure out how bad my eyesight really is. And it's bad. At least I could still read the big E.

And frankly, I haven't wanted to take my kids with me for that exam, and I keep having more emergent babysitting needs, so no prescription.

But I can't go to the aquarium blind. Nor can I whisk the glasses of when I get out of the car to save embarrassment, because I have to keep track of for kids and the Mystery Man.

Yes, that's right. He's coming. I got babysitting for Boop, but MM doesn't stay with anybody that's not mama, or keeping him in constant supply of hot cocoa. And he absolutely can scream for 2 hours at a time. You should see me try to walk past the church nursery. He takes a wide berth, my friends.

And did I mention I'm supposed to bring treats because it's Red's birthday.

So, it's the day before the field trip, and I'm panicking about being blind, but sure something will come to me. And it does! Contacts! If you go for a contact exam, you leave with a sample pair. Huzzah! I get a 3:30 appointment. I'll just take the kids.

But that's crazy. So DH offers to watch them, then finish his work after dinner. Ok, great. I go. I look through the lenses. So far so good. I say breezily that I used to wear contacts, and stopped, but would like to get some again.

Oh good, they say, you're an old pro. We can skip the $80 fitting and "class".

Of course you can!

Um, but then it took me half an hour to put in the first one. I had neglected to mention that I'd last worn contacts 12 years ago (was college really that long ago?)And eventually gave up because I could never get them in. Now you see how great is my determination to be Super Field Trip Mom.

An hour and a half and one bored 18 year old watching me the whole time later - I have contacts in my eyes.

And they're not coming out till after the field trip, folks.

Oh, and there's a birthday party.

I'm scheduling my psychic break for about 10 pm - which is probably when I'll be trying to ply these little discs of evil out of my eyes.

Bring it on, December!

Welcome to December everyone!

Wrapping up November, I'll say that I had a lovely birthday complete with a gluten free chai cardamom cake and a new ipod to replace the one that Mystery Man relocated. The toilet hasn't been flushing well. Please tell me that can't be the reason.

We also had a lovely Thanksgiving. DH cooked for 2 days so that I could have pumpkin pie, stuffing, gravy, and all of those luscious things that contain evil, evil flour. I just watched the kids and the Macy's parade* and some football to keep my eye out for the Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders. Yes, I watch "Making the Team." There, I confessed. I blame the Fun Aunt and her Furball for getting me hooked. I think I did grate some orange rind at one point, and the kids peeled "tomatoes" (potatoes).

Boop told us she'd been peeling them for years and didn't need any help. Then she dropped one.

"Daddy, we need to wash this one!"
"That's ok, Boop, I'm gonna wash them all before I cook them."
Boop looked less than convinced. "Well, I'm just gonna polish it up on my shirt, then."

Red told us she was thankful for friends and family, Boop is thankful for poodles, and I assume Mystery Man is thankful for hot cocoa, since he can't make it through a day without it - much like me and my vanilla lattes.

And now, I'm prepping for Red's 9th birthday tomorrow, getting ready to drive for her field trip tomorrow, making gluten free snacks for her class birthday celebration, tomorrow, and buying an organizer so I'll never have so many things to do on the same day again.

After that, I'll just have Mystery Man's birthday, my anniversary (10 years!), two hula performances, one Christmas concert, and Christmas itself to contend with. That's why I was supposed to be done with Lamplight by now. As it stands, I have 12 pages left to edit and about 3 more scenes to write.

* In case you unaccountably missed my favorite tap dancer when they cut away to Detroit, you can see him here. You're welcome!

Happy Thanksgiving!

As a parent to young children who can't seem to get through dinner without someone wearing their milk on their head, some piece of meat *accidentally* flung against the window, and someone made to sit at the table until "all that food is gone" the idea of an entire holiday that revolves around a meal makes me, well, pause.

Plus, I can't eat bread.

But my husband remains optimistic and is chopping rice bread to make stuffing as we speak! And I am very thankful. I do love reflecting on things I'm thankful for during this holiday, and more importantly, whom I'm thankful to.

Enjoy your turkey, folks, and especially enjoy dipping that crusty roll in the gravy for me. ;)

It came to this?

After years of darkly imagined tales of the perfect soldier. After volumes of super hero stories with telekinetic heroes that bend metal with their mind. After our love affair with science fiction tomes where people walk think things into being... it's all come down to this:

I ask you - have we given up? Has the super secret project X the government's been keeping under wraps been abandoned and they said "eh, so the super soldier thing isn't going to work out - let's just release the technology to Toys R Us so kids can move a ball through a maze for Christmas."

I am underwhelmed.

It pays to be last

when you're talking about stops on the So You Think You Can Dance Tour! We got a 3 1/2 hour show with all manner of fun and hijinx. Sooooo fun. We saw Brandon kick Melissa aside and dance Juliet's part with Ade. We saw Evan do Brandon's solo with him in little white shorts. We saw a silly string war. And a slide show with all the favorite moments of the tour at the end.

I felt like I was leaving all of my friends behind, too.

But, I did eventually remember I wasn't actually on tour with them. I think I'd have been an asset in some way.

I won't go into the footage of the "two brothers" during the audition. It's still a little raw for me. Thanks for understanding.

Shout out to my sister

Because she ROCKS and got me tickets to go see Evan and crew at the So You Think You Can Dance tour! WOO HOO!!!!!

She also bought me tickets to go two years ago, and I had a blast - or as much of a blast as one can have while 9 months pregnant and physically miserable. Pregnancy and I don't play well together. I can't wait to go as a normal human being!

Catch up post

A few things I've done while I've been gone (from the blogosphere)

1) Taken the cover off the furnace intake vent and crawled halfway into the (aptly named) crawlspace to look for a missing ipod touch. I did not find it, but did find three toothbrushes which tells me that I had good reason for thinking that Mystery Man might have shoved the ipod down there and solves the mystery of "where do all the toothbrushes go"

2) Tried to scissor cut my silver persian fur-nephew who has a deep, deep phobia of groomers. Confidence is a good thing, people, but knowing the limits of one's talents is also a good thing. My talents with cats extend to scratching them behind the ears, dangling catnip in front of their little paws, and trimming nails. Now I know.

3)Been both elated at the discovery of the "new adult" contest that St. Martin's is running for upper YA/adult crossover books, because Lamplight is about 18 year olds who have graduated from high school, - and devastated at seeing the first entry is for a steampunk book. Must. Finish. Book.

Revisions should be done by the end of the week, so I'll have lots of time for fun things like blogging!

A few things

I've been a single mom all week, and half of last week, and half of the week before. I've shut down all auxillary systems and am only running life support. For me that means getting the oldest to school and back. Feeding the kids. Putting them to bed. Taking Boop to get her hair cut after she hacked half of it off with scissors. You know that reaction shot in cartoons, where the character drops his eyes to half mast and looks to the side. Calvin's dad is making it in the third frame. I make that look a lot.

Here are some of the things I've been fielding around home:

Boop: Mom, why do houses stand still but people move?

Later, I found her rolling a rolling pin* while I was making her nachos.
Boop: Look at this great rolling thing I found!
Me: That is what we use to make sugar cookies.
Boop: Great! Let's make cookies now to go with my hots?
Me: Your hots?
Boop: That's what I call cheese and chips, you know, because they're hot?

While eating lunch...
Boop: Can I have a refill of chocolate milk?
Me: In just a minute.
Boop: No! I need it now! I mean, I can't drink my cheese and chips, can I? Especially the chips- they're kind of hard, you know?

* rolling pin is a weird term. It's so weird that as I was typing it I thought, 'it can't really be called a rolling PIN. Why is it a pin? It's gotta be called something else and I just haven't had enough coffee to figure it out. But I googled "rolling pin" and that is indeed what it's called. Why? I have no idea.

Agents and babies (no, no big reveals inside)

Still working on revisions around here. Remember when I said I liked revising? Yeah, not so much. But I'll like it when I'm done and I'm over halfway.

I've noticed a new obsession with me. I've been obsessively reading stories about people who sign with agents - not in a way like I'm trying to will it to happen, or I won't be happy till it happens. I've lived enough to know there's always something, so be happy now or not at all. But it feels very much like when I was pregnant with my first baby and I was obsessively reading birth stories. Although that was a bit more macabre, because I focused in on the ones where things went horribly wrong so I'd be "prepared."

Then, I had my baby (after being sure for an entire month I'd be the only human being never to actually give birth and I'd stay pregnant forever) and then birth stories were not that interesting. Not even my own. And it wasn't an easy birth, but all that really mattered was that I survived (barely) and had a baby on the other end.

I suspect The Great Agent Hunt will feel the same on the other side. That I'll think "well of course I have an agent, the important thing is writing well" like published authors say. And I'll actually believe it. Just like now I absolutely believe pregnancy eventually ends, but try telling that to me at month nine!

And the thunderstorm just woke up my littlest guy - gotta go!

A lovely day for a walk

What does one do on a lovely fall morning, with bright sunlight and leaves all over the sidewalk, but take ones delightful young offspring on a walk.

And so it begins.

Soon after this, I found myself on the sidewalk pushing a double stroller with my not quite two year old standing on the back footpad and my four year old "riding" her three wheel Disney Princess stroller.

Yes, I did see bright sunlight and multicolored leaves. Here is what I heard:

Mom, wait, you are rushing me!
Mom, I don't want to go this slow.
Can I just hold the stroller while I go?
Can we walk in the street instead of the sidewalk? It looks easier.
Wait, I can't touch grass and there is grass in my path.
I think I should walk the scooter through the leaves.
If you don't hear my wheels - then STOP!
What did I tell you about my wheels? Do you remember?
I don't want to turn around yet, we just started!
Why are we going so slow? *
You can't hear my wheels, can you?
I just want to catch up with you, but you keep going too fast!
Do you remember the time my sister pushed me down and hurt me? **
I can't go any further.
I can't walk.
My legs are too tired.

And that was when the scooter got slung over the back of the double stroller and Boop managed to drag herself the last 50 feet to our front door.

Welcome, fall, welcome.

*This is about the time Mystery Man decided to walk

**the one time her sister ever knocked her down was while she was riding her razor scooter and cut too close to Boop. Boop has tackled her at least 567 times, yet whenever we pass that particular corner, it is brought up again.

A couple quick things

Boop: Mom, I hate to tell you this, but the smell things are out of the bathroom and in the living room.
Me: Smell things?
Boop: You know, the things in the air that make it smell bad?
Me: Oh... I should change your brother...

Boop feeding her brother pumpkin pie:

I'm gonna let him have my spoon because he took a bite and I don't like his slime.

*Editorial note - my son is not slimy.

The Power of Suggestion

I am not a fan of mornings. The only good thing I can say about mornings is that I'm glad I didn't die in my sleep, although on some days, even that's iffy. The fact that I have to feed myself seems horribly inconvenient, and that I actually have to feed children is almost insurmountable. Yet they seem to avoid death by hunger, so I'm getting the job done.

This morning, around 9, I finally succombed to the the inevitable and got out the toaster. Hmm... no bread. It seems that at some point during yesterday's illness we ran out of bread. No matter, I pull out the frozen waffles - nothing like a good gluten free waffle. Hmm... none of those. I swear I got those the last grocery delivery, but maybe it was the one before that. Ok, fine, I'll just feed the kids waffles and turkey sausage and snag a link for myself.

I get them toasted, buttered, syruped, tell the kids to sit at the table. Boop says, "I alweady ate - wemember? Starbucks?" DH brought me a latte 2 hours ago and a doughnut for her. She should be hungry by now, but I can't convince her. Oh well. I go about feeding the other two. Wait - no forks. GAH! I didn't start the dishwasher last night. I go about washing forks.

"Do you not like washing forks?" Asks Red - "Well, we have a dishwasher for a reason..."

Now Red and Mystery Man have waffles, sausage *and* cutlery and can begin eating.

"I need milk!" says Boop.

"Ok, sit up at the table."

"Can I have some water?" asks Red.

So I get them drinks and Mystery Man looks at them and says, "Hmph argley bot goo!" Sure, I'll get him a drink, too.

All fed, watered, sitting nicely, I start the dishwasher, clean off the island, put the toaster away, which is when Boop says,

"But I don't have a waffle, yet?"

"You said you didn't want one."

"But now I am sitting here with an empty plate."

You'd better believe I made her finish that waffle.

Happy Halloween to you, too

Here is what it's like to have the stomach flu with three small children:

1) You wake up with a fever, nausea, and body aches and think 'wow, I have to trick or treat like this'
2) Your husband tells you he's going to take a shower and you think, 'I should tell him not to lock the door,' but it's a fleeting thought.
3) You realize you need the bathroom and FAST and it is, of course, locked.
4) You bang on the door and threaten your husband with anything you can think of, but he's so used to your four year old beating on the door that he doesn't even turn off the shower.
5) You find another bathroom, and FAST.
6) You crawl back into bed and announce you'll be staying there for a while.
7) A little mystery man tackles you saying, "Mama, mama, mama" every so often.
8) The same little mystery man opens the blinds, letting the sun shine directly on your head. Of course Seattle has sun as this particular moment. It will later rain relentlessly for trick or treating.
9) Your four year old comes in, hands you a bra, tennis shoes, and your husband's jeans and tells you it's time to get up.
10) You think about giving up on life entirely, which is hilarious, because the kids are still gonna want food and you can't live with yourself if you don't vacuum every day and you really are still driving for the field trip to the planetarium on Monday.
11) The mystery man comes in and turns on the radio on your clock radio to Sugarland singing It Happens and you think you will make this your theme song for the day.

Judging a book by it's cover

First of all, I'd like to say that I caught nothing on fire today, including myself. From here on out that's my benchmark for it being a good day. I'll say nothing of the sinus infection that makes me wish I could detach my head in favor of a newer model. At least my head's not on fire.

But the real subject of the post is cover art. Someone in some comment trail once upon a time said something like "No one actually buys a book because of the cover, do they?" Um, yes. I do. All the time. The latest book in my Amazon cart:
Dani Noir, by Nova Ren Suma. It's MG, but not a voice that my 8 year old is ready for, so this is all for me. And when I turned to the first page and saw "What Would Rita Hayworth Do?" I was completely sold.

Other books I've picked up based on cover art:
Shamus in The Green Room

Folly du Jour

I'm sensing a theme here with lamplight...


I set fire to my sleeve today while making scrambled eggs. Do I really need to say anymore about today?


No flying frogs here, but it's quite a Tuesday.

I will write in list form, as I am unable to form complete sentences today. Fortunately for my book, I'm in revision mode.

1) Mystery Man was up with a fever at 4am
2) DH is travelling on business - or so he says, how does anyone really know anymore?
3) Despite being up at 4, I closed my eyes long enough to sleep till 7:15, half an hour past when the alarm was set, because Mystery Man changed the radio station to static
5) I told Red I'd get her PE shoes ready and she said, "Mom, I don't have PE on Tuesday." My response - "It's only Tuesday?"
6) As we were heading out the door I heard a crunch, and Mystery Man held up a little door stopper hinge thing cracked in half. Great, I love going to hardware stores at 8 in the morning.
7) We got out the door in record time, and drove to school even faster, but it was not quite fast enough
8) Red said, "Hey, on the bright side, I had no idea you could drive to school this fast. Let's do the same thing tomorrow, but set our alarms earlier?" Who raised that kid, because she's turning out great - though I'm a little wigged out by the role reversal at 8 years old.
9) Found a door stopper hinge thing, but only after I plugged Lowe's into my Nav. It's 0.3 miles from my house, but apparently I block it out.
10) Did I mention Betty Boop was wearing a flowered shirt, pink sweater tights with pink polka dots, denim short shorts (because I said tights did NOT count as pants) that couldn't stay snapped over the seater tights and blue fuzzy crocs on the wrong feet. As my mother pointed out, she's basically a walking (jumping) Christopher Guest movie.
11) Finally got my coffee, but in my hurry to get home pulled out of the drive through before they gave me Mystery Man's chocolate milk. He let me know this was a problem after about a block. Return trip required.

It's now 4:30, and time for another round of coffee to make it through part two of my day.

High Tech Food

My DH is out of town on business. I am keeping a stiff upper lip - except for when I nearly cried just because he called from the van on the way to have dinner in Astoria - but no, no, I'm doing fine. (And no, he didn't say he'd say hello to my favorite tap dancer, can you believe it?)

However, I really did cry when I remembered that today is Hula day. Two kids were sniffling, and it's already a major undertaking to keep Mystery Man happy for over an hour while the girls swish their hips. Today, I made the call - no dance.

Many tears were shed, till I said, "How about I bake you cake instead." Instant happiness! Yes, I occasionally do bribe them. I knew I had a gluten free cake mix somewhere that I thought I lost but found the other day. I dug it out - hooray! So, I checked the directions and they said something like this:

1) Empty contents of pouch into container
2) Add 20 ccs of water (minor panic attack, till I saw they'd included a little cup - I didn't know people used cc's outside of the ER)
3) Shake for 30 seconds
4) Microwave 1 minute

The end.

Are you kidding me? And it was delicious! I did pull out the mixer for some cream cheese icing, because we all know the cake is only an excuse for icing.

My mind was blown, and I just had to share with my blog buddies. Now I just have the problem of trying to feed dinner to three kids who ate cake at 4. But, it's not the worst problem to have.

If you want some sci fi food - the web site's here.

Yep, she's my kid

A work in progress, from Red:

The first line: "It all started when my sister went crazy."
Which is sort of like beginning with the protagonist waking up, in our house, but we'll let it slide.

Revisions - Take 2

So, I've finished round 1 of revisions, which is basically when I reread everything to figure out what's wrong - like where I need to move material around, cut material, add material, that sort of thing.

Then I made a little document map (scribbled, on notebook paper) about what I need to fix.

Now the hard part - fixing it. I'm supposed to be done by Halloween. Ha. I've got about 4 chapters to add and 2 to rework - it could be done, but depends entirely on how well the children sleep and my emotional involvement with So You Think You Can Dance - which is currently low. So, that's a good thing. Yay for silver linings.

After this is round 3 for line edits of everything, then beta readers, then round 4, then hopefully querying by January. And I do, truly, love querying, so it's a great way to beat the post-Christmas blues.

Let's hope all the good dancers get cut soon so I can focus.

PS Public Service Announcement. Don't google images for "revision" - surgeries have revisions too, apparently...

My souvenier needs a name!

I've been calling him Steampunk Teddy, but his initials are clearly F and N, judging by the buttons in his leather helmet.

Frederick Niggenbottom? Franklin Nosbert? I need a good steampunky name!

The Con was interesting. Not exactly what I expected and they had planned for 500, but had 1200 show up - which bodes well for those of us wanting to write steampunk. I was really happy to have Fun Aunt along to help me with Red and Mystery Man. At the last minute I couldn't handle leaving him, so he got to come. Betty Boop didn't exactly miss out, since Daddy took her to coffee, then Claire's for some jewelry, then Astro Boy, then lunch, and finally ice cream. Poor thing. I'd like a date like that!

Although, DH did say (Astro Boy spoilers ahead) that he may have chosen a different movie if he knew it was about a little boy who died in the first 10 minutes, then the dad made a replacement robot boy with all the memories of the old boy - but who was of course, different. Then rejects the robot boy because he isn't his real boy, and the robot boy can't figure out why daddy doesn't love him. Are you kidding me? Why do we do this to kids? But Boop seemed to mostly focus on the fact that he had guns in his rear end. So, I guess she's fine. ;)

But, getting back to important things here - please help me name my bear!

And if you have any questions about Steamcon, I'm happy to answer.

So what do I think of the top 20

Yes, I've finally seen the whole green mile episode of So You Think You Can Dance.

Initial thoughts:

1) Eleanore had my favorite female solo - glad she made it
2) I really hope I never have to hear high pitched crying girl talk in her high pitched crying voice again. So she either needs to never hit bottom three, or never speak if she does
3) But that's nothing compared to the girl who acts like she's at a junior high slumber party. Really, really, we cut Natalie last season but this girl gets through?
4) Husband and wife team - um, I don't want to ever hear him ask her if his dancing turns her on ever ever again. That was so atrocious I couldn't even punctuate the last sentence.
5) I'm happy that Bianca didn't get cut again. That was painful in season 5 but...
6) THREE TAPPERS! And none of them are Ryan? And last season we couldn't put through both brothers but this season we have a married couple and THREE tappers?
7) The silver lining would be if Ryan gets to choreograph the inevitable tap trios and duos we will be seeing. This would be a minor consolation prize for me, but at this point, I'll take it. SYTYCD seems to still be showing lots of clips of him, so somebody there likes him... as well they should.
8) New format - Monday is a special show where we see them all dance in lots of different partnerings with no elimination. Huzzah! I always hated losing someone on opening night.
9) But, Nigel retains even more control because there will be no voting for top 20 night and top 18 night - judges pick the bottom. I can live with that, since I'm not going to be in agony every week for a Kasprzak.
10) I will be rooting for Legacy (despite his being called Legacy), but I'm not over Ryan.
11) Mia. Buzz cut. Really? And she's leaving for I suspect SYTYCD Canada. I'd love to know that whole story.

Steampunk Fabulosity

I thought I'd share some of my favorite sites for steampunk research, in honor of Steam-Con, which is coming right up!

First up: The Steampunk Home, which has such fabulous images as these:

Talk about inspiring. This is artwork done by Tom Kidd, who has a whole steampunk world called Genomo on his web site.

Next up, Adventures in Steampunk This blog is written from the POV of an airship captain, and links to lots of fun steampunk images, like this:

The photo is by Tristan Savatier and is taken during the burning man festival, which sounds either cool or creepy, I can't really tell, yet.

And finally, for those of you with burning questions of a steampunk nature, we have Brass Goggles - steampunk forum.

Clearly, when I'm not editing, I'm trying to work in a little research. I'm experimenting with Evernote to keep all of my web site clippings in a neat little virtual notebook, and will let you know how that goes.

Now, off to edit until the Red one comes downstairs for rummy night!

A few things from Boop

While watching a kids' show where this dilemma was introduced:
Me: Boop, what would you choose, juggling or making smoothies?
Boop: Hmm, probably juggling smoothies

Betty Boop's favorite number: eighteen eleven and a half. It works for everything, like:
Are you done eating?
Yes! I already had eighteen eleven and a half bites!

Don't wake up the baby!
But he's been asleep so long - I haven't seen him in 18 11 1/2 hours!

While doing a dot to dot:

I am tired of this blue. I am going to use red - it will look like blood, is that alright.
Um, yes...
Good, I love blood.

Tomorrow, you'll hear from the Red One.

Now, back to my previously scheduled edits...

Yes, I'm doing revisions

I'm in full on revision mode right now, which means:

1) I've been staring at my teeny, tiny netbook screen willing my book to better.
2) I decided to print out the first 5 chapters and stared at them all last night willing them to be better.
3) I decided what they were missing was a binder, so I punched holes in them with a teeny, tiny hole punch that does 2 sheets of paper at a time.

Now I have holes in 60 sheets of paper at random places that don't even pretend to line up in a binder, a 4 year old who is obsessed with the little white circles that came out of the hole punch in a way reminiscent of pillow pets and pink poodles, a table covered with little white circles and papers with holes punched all over them.

And my book doesn't seem any better, strangely enough.

Could it be that I can't edit, watch Biggest Loser, and talk to my DH via google chat all at the same time?


And would someone please invent a hole puncher that mulches, or perhaps incinerates, the little white circles before they spill out to enthrall little girls who already struggle with impulse control?

A steampunk hole punch would definitely do that.

An order of events

These events transpired between 12:00 am and 6:00 am, Thursday morning:

1) I went to bed too late
2) Boop woke up with an unfortunate situation that involved me stripping the bed, and changing her clothes, and putting her to bed with her sister. Oh, the fun of being four years old.
3) Mystery Man woke up to see what the commotion was about.
4) Mystery Man would not lie down in his bed. Only with Mama.
5) Mystery Man kept kicking mama.
6) Mystery Man seemed to be asleep, but was taking up the whole bed
7) Mystery Mama had enough! She made up the Betty Boop's bed with new bedding, and laid down on the bottom bunk.
8) Mystery Man started to cry for Mama
9) The cries got fainter. But not in a good way.
10) Mystery Mama ran downstairs to find Mystery Man standing in the dark kitchen holding his blanket and crying.
11) DH remained asleep.
12) Mystery Mama scooped up her little man, returned him to the sleeping quarters of the house, and laid him down on the bottom bunk with her - thinking 2 to a bed was better than 3.
13) Mystery Man stood up on the bed and tried to climb to the top bunk shouting "Betty, Betty!" over and over.
14) Mystery Mama deposited him on her bed with her sleeping DH and cried.
15) DH said, "Go to bed, I'll keep him."
16) Mystery Mama went back to the girls' room, but heard lots of crying, for a long time.
17) Mystery Mama couldn't take it, and went back to her bedroom, arriving just in time to get thrown up on by Mystery Man.
18) Mystery Mama changed her clothes and did the best she could with the bed.
19) Time for Red to go to school.

And all this, on the night Ryan Kasprzak was eliminated from So You Think You Can Dance.

Unforseen consequences

So, the showers are being regrouted because the grout needs some help. Once discovered this meant no showering till the grout guys came to fix the grout. This means people over the age of 4 must now take a daily bath too, which take longer, which mean sometimes someone comes to the door while you are in the bath. Being a good mother, you of course instruct your children not to open the door. And they don't open the door. And the people do leave. And you feel pretty good about things.

You get pulled together, put the kids in the car and go get Starbucks, even, and wave at the guy in the lawn service van that must have knocked earlier to let you know he was here.

Then you return, and find this sign in the window.*

I'm so glad the 8 year old stayed home from school today.

* Sign says "Mom is in the bath. Sorry!"

I'm writing, really!

Sorry for the blog silence, guys. I'm so, so close to finishing Lamplight, I've been trying to really focus on that. I'm not done yet, but so close! I've got one or two more chapters to go - I always think I'm writing my final chapter, and it takes more than I think to really wrap it up. Then I've got a couple of things to weave in before I can type THE END in good faith.

Then I'm all about revisions, and being here for you fine people, my blog readers.

I've honestly been so focused I've hardly noticed the fall tv season kicking off. That's crazy talk!

I plan to have a few more updates this week, though. October is quite possibly my favorite month and it's beautiful here in Seattle. Boop is in rare form and if I ever get Mystery Man back into fighting shape, I'll have plenty of time to write while my editor brain is turned on.

Stay tuned!

Just your typical Sunday Evening.

My kids and I were in the hot tub - me too because Mystery Man insists on partaking in the fun and he can't swim. Even in his floaty suit. My dad was washing the outer windows by spraying them with a hose and then scrubbing them with a moplike device. My husband stood nearby, leaning against the hot tub wall.

Boop reached up and put her hands on either side of his face.

DH: Boop! Don't get me wet.
BB: I can't help it. My hands are just wet.
DH grabs the hose with the sprayer and sprays her in the hot tub.
Me: This will come back to bite you.
BB: Hey, Gwandpa, can I borrow that hose?
Grandpa: I was born at night, but I wasn't born last night.
Red Head: Was he really born at night?
BB: I'm just gonna be right back....

Is it any wonder my head feels like scrambled eggs by the end of the night?

Why Betty Boop Can't Watch Commercials

We have Tivo, so typically Boop doesn't seen any commercials, but there are a couple of kid shows that she really likes that *do* take commercial breaks - most notably, The Magic Schoolbus - and I don't always get to the Tivo remote fast enough to get them off. This morning, she saw a commercial for Pillow Pets. It's a pillow *and* a pet! Imagine the novelty.

Let me tell you, whatever I was doing could have waited.

The deluge started almost immediately.

BB: Mom, did you see that! It's a pillow and a pet! You just fasten the strap and it's a pillow! Then you undo it and it's a pet! I want the one that looks like Buddy! No, wait, the hippo, no the buzzy, buzzy bee. The bee *and* the ladybug!
Me: Oh, I think I saw those at the mall... (MISTAKE!)
BB: So, when are we going to the mall to get my pillow pet?
Me: I did not say we are going to the mall to get your pillow pet.

pause - life ensues for about 10 minutes.

BB: Mom, I have a gweat idea.
Me: We are not going to the mall to get your pillow pet.
BB: You didn't even let me explain my idea.
Me: What is your idea.
BB: We go to the mall...
Me: Uh huh...
BB: To get you a latte...
Me: Uh huh...
BB: And while you are drinking your latte we can get me a pillow pet!
Me: I said no.
BB: But I said we would get your *latte*!

more life ensues - her father comes home

BB: So, Dad, let me tell you about pillow pets!
DH: Rob - what's this pillow pet thing?

Oh, I don't know, what is a pillow pet?

He tells her that we might go to the mall, he's not saying no, but he's not saying yes, but we have to wait for mommy to finish dinner and then we'll see about it. (Dinner was FABULOUS by the way - an avocado, bacon and spinach salad. YUM! Of course, the kids only ate the bacon.)

In the meantime...

BB: Dad, would you read me this book while we wait for the perfect time to go get a pillow pet?

Then, during dinner, I mention that Mystery Man loves spicy, robust foods as I put some pizza flavored goldfish crackers on his plate.

BB: I pwefer simpler things, you know, like salad without all the sauce, and avocado, and bacon...
Red: complicated
BB: and pillow pets.

Finally, daddy announces a trip to the mall. Boop races to the door and grabs the first shoes she can find, pink knee high plastic croc boots in 90 degree weather. DH asks if he can help her as she's struggling to stick her feet into them.

BB: You know what would really be helpful is if you all hurried up so we could get to the mall to get my pillow pet.

It's name is Dot. She's a ladybug. And Boop is sleeping with her right now. Red got a Hello Kitty alarm clock, in red, of course.

Going to the dark side

I was doing so well on my daily word count goal - until recently. When I hit the 3/4 mark, I seemed to stall out. I was horribly tempted to start my first major revision, then finish the novel after all the editing. I did this with the last book, but this time, I questioned the impulse. It maybe that it's just how I work and I have to do it that way, but it doesn't make a ton of sense.

Until I realized... about 3/4 of the way through is when the villain starts acting out her or his nefarious plan. Since my books have a mystery at their core, they also have a pronounced bad guy (or girl) and even if I don't have tons of grisly on page violence, I've got a character with pretty dark intentions.

And the way that I write, is to fully imagine a scene before I put it on paper - or screen. I have to see the words before I type them. And I find that I don't want to let my mind go there - to what the villain really wants and almost let him or her get it. It's not nearly as fun as coming up with snappy dialog. This time, I even made it a lot more stylistic, so I thought I was ok, but no, not ok.

So, I'm just gonna have to deal and get through it quickly. I'm hoping to come up with a way around this in the future - but I haven't found one yet.

Nobody Puts Baby in a Corner

Rest in peace, Patrick Swayze

Yes, it would have been more elegant to pick just one picture, but I couldn't. With each one I saw - and many others I didn't choose - I started to hear the song that was playing during the movie and lines of dialog sprang to life. I watched this movie with my parents, with my sister, with my girlfriends. I talked about it with a coworker who grew up in Slovakia and still watched it 50 times before she turned 14 and played the soundtrack over and over and over like I did. It was just one of those films.

And I'm so grateful to my parents. They took seriously their charge to protect my young mind, but weren't scared off by the title of the movie and knew that I was old enough at 13 to handle some adult themes and talk them through. I'd have missed out on a lot if they just said, "NO!" Because I wasn't the kind of kid who'd rebel and just see it at a friend's house.

And I say that even though I won't let four year old Betty Boop watch Hannah Montana because she already walks around the house in a tiara with a microphone and I don't need to encourage that. Parenting is all about judgment calls.

Thanks for the magic, Patrick!

In which Robin dispenses hard earned wisdom

Public Service Announcement #1:

If you're going to get a nutritive IV, and I mean - who doesn't - do yourself a favor and eat first, or at least bring a latte with you. Don't think to yourself that it's early, and you can wait for your coffee or food till after. Just because it's called a "nutritive" IV, doesn't mean it's the same as eating. It's more like taking five hundred vitamins on an empty stomach, which, if you haven't done that and I mean - who hasn't - you get really shaky and twitchy and feel like you're going to throw up for several hours unless, of course, you do throw up. And if you haven't had your coffee - throw a headache in the mix as well.

Public Service Announcement #2:

If you are a father who is watching a child for the child's mother - think twice before telling her that he cried the entire hour and a half you were gone until you finally had to go out on the front lawn with him so he could just watch for your car. Her heart might spontaneously break, and that's messy - particularly if she's already twitching from all that nutrition without actually eating.

Public Service Announcement #3:

If you decide to take all three children shopping, and I mean - why wouldn't you if one has been crying for you on the front lawn for 90 minutes - don't buy them bouncy balls from the devil machine at Old Navy, knowing full well Old Navy has a cement floor and little Mystery Men can't possibly be convinced *not* to throw a ball. It's in their blood, somehow.

Public Service Announcement #4:

If your mother kindly offers to watch your children while you go out to dinner with your husband - and sit in the lounge, where you aren't even legally able to *be* with your brood - DO take her up on it. And DO see Harry Potter afterwards, because it's fabulous and amazing story telling. And try to block out of your mind the possible image of your son crying for you at the window all night, because he probably didn't and your mother read PSA #2 many, many years ago - except that being a woman and a mother she probably didn't have to.

I hope I'm of service to at least one of you.

In case you missed it


Eleven Minutes

It only took me eleven minutes to write my 500 words today. I know, because I tweeted when I started and stopped and was shocked to see there were only 11 minutes between tweets.

So, of course, I'm tempted to multiply that out and see how many words I *could* be writing, and that's just silly. Like when you're super productive at work, then have to go to grab coffee with your cubemate to relieve the tension that was inevitably produced by working so diligently. One enables the other, people. Also, I knew what I wanted to write, so I was really just typing - and one can't always know what one wants to write for every word of a novel length project.

Still, the eleven minutes is oddly encouraging. I might try to get another 500 words out before I have to slay zombies and make the world safe.

Also, I'm now getting up early again, because the Red Head is back in school, so will probably have to get to bed before 12. This will cut into all sorts of my favorite activities, but there's no way around it. I'm thinking homeschooling solely so I can stay up late is probably not a good reason.

Now, I'm going to go watch Ryan audition on So You Think You Can Dance. Have I mentioned that I like him around here? I can't remember... now, stop reading blogs and go watch some tap dancing!!

One more day!

Word count? Check.

Cute new haircut for my soon to be third grader? Check.

Thirty pounds of school supplies loaded into the coolest backpack in the world that I shopped for for three months? Check.

Emergency dinner made for my husband after I took the kids to McDonald's and told him to make some soup or a sandwich for himself, then realized I had no soup or bread? Check.

Zombie apocalypse? Beating down the door. Gotta go beat them back, then I'm ready to bring on the last day of summer!

Happy Labor Day

Here is a labor related post - hmmm, that could be interpreted so many ways. This is a writing related post, folks.

1) Plot cards are done and I'm back to knocking out 500 words a day. I'll still finish in September, so all is good there - the cards didn't set me back too far. They did leave me a little daunted realizing how much work it will be to revise this thing, and I'm left wishing I could hold all the plot threads of an entire novel in my head as I write and weave them effortlessly so that little to no revising is necessary.

But I'm not there yet.

And so, I will revise, and hopefully, have this puppy ready to go out in January at the latest.

2) Energy level matters. If I take my vitamins (literally, it's not a euphemism like 'eat your Wheaties') and get enough sleep (which, I've learned, is more than 6 hours) I can write every night. If not - I barely have enough in the tank for reality tv. Which, by the way, is going to take a LOT of energy once So You Think You Can Dance starts. I think we all remember how emotionally invested I get in my dancers.

3) I'm going to Steam Con!!! I'm not one for cons. I don't even dress up on Halloween, but I've been doing steampunk research on my teeny tiny netbook trying to figure out just how a steam engine is put together and what the schematics should look like for an airship and my eyes are going crossed. I already can't find my glasses half the time and when I do they're missing an arm (thanks, Mystery Man) so this is not good.

Fortunately, there is a steampunk conference right here in my beloved Emerald City this October and Red and I are going. Betty Boop won't like that, but I can trust Red not to make friends with passing airship pilots and hop a ride to California. I cannot trust Boop in this manner.

I'm hoping to get some cool steampunk jewelry, some airship schematics, a map of Victorian London, and have high tea, steampunk style. Red already has a fabulous dress to wear. I'll be steampunkified in spirit only. Until I buy my pendant. And maybe some goggles. I would SO love some goggles! I KNOW I could find my glasses if they were steampunk goggles!

Let me know if you're gonna be there!