Off to the How Down...

Tonight is the much awaited family ball at my daughter's school. I was all prepared with pretty little dresses for the girls for this year. Way to plan ahead! (Or way to reuse the lovely Christmas dresses my mom bought them).

But no. This year is a Western theme. Uh oh.

I don't really do western. And I say this, and still think this, despite realizing that all my favorite songs are country and I've newly discovered the time period of the American Western in literature and am reading voraciously both fiction and non-fiction.

Also, Chris Isaak looks fabulous in his black cowboy boots.

Yet when I try to put on a gingham shirt at Old Navy I just... couldn't... do it. I'm wondering why. Why this visceral reaction? There must have been some sort of country western revival in fashion at a pivotal point in my youth that I'm reacting against. That's all I can think. Also, by nature, I'm a city girl - heels clicking on a sidewalk is one of my all time favorite sounds. Lamp posts making cones of light through the fog. Shoppers bustling around with packages. Business types carrying laptop bags. All my kind of thing.

This horizon broadening can really only go so far.

I stop at fashion.

I now own a nice Mexican styled black sundress that I think should work since Mexico plays into western movies... it's all connected... right? We'll call it my Legend of the Sierra Madre dress. And Miss Boop's shiny pink cowboy boots should work... see, she's a little bit glam, too. Oh the juxtaposition!

Tomorrow I'll let you know about all the how downing fun and if I get my act together I've got a good book to tell you about, too.

word count

24,028 = 37%! Yay!!

Morning Adventures

Off to school in the snow today! A two hour delay! What fun! Not so much.

My 8 year old is trying out for an adolescent and I think she's going to be a shoe-in.

I had a nice outfit all picked out for her. She wears a uniform, so there aren't a ton of choices and you need to take into account if it's P.E. today, or assembly, and the weather, so while it consisted of knee socks instead of tights (more comfortable with the skort) it also had a short sleeved polo with a warm sweater over the top and I knew she'd be fine.

But she refused to put them on because they weren't "snow clothes" - or so said her messenger of choice, Betty Boop.

I tried to convince her that it would be fine. No dice. So, I relented. Ok, let's put on tights and a jumper. I got out the sweater tights, had them all ready for her to step into... No! No! She's changed my mind!!!

But we have the tights right here.

NO!!! She wishees she'd never said that! She made the wrong choice! Please, let her put on the socks!


Back to the original outfit. All dressed. All set. Not so much.

Now the uncontrolled crying starts in earnest. Again, a wrong decision has been made. Oh to go back to the tights! But no... I see where this is going... an endless cycle of dressing and redressing. Get in the car, says mom. Don't forget your coat and backpack (carefully filled with her water bottle, lunch, and homework). She drags it out on it's wheels to the red Durango and climbs in the front seat. I load the two other kids in their car seats and we head out on our 3 1/2 mile trek to school.

She's sobbing. Her face is red and splotchy. It's not a good look. So, I try to cheer her up. We're way past the point of actual reason, so I put on my feel good country mix. Who can be sad when Gretchen Wilson is singing?! Sing along, I shout! (but remember, no yelling "Hell Ya'" in school or we can never listen to this again.)

We finish up with Brad Paisley. So funny - how can you cry when he's saying "My eyebrows ain't plucked, there's a gun in my truck, Thank God, I'm still a guy!"

She's mollified, ever so slightly. We're even a little early so we go around the block once so Brad can finish singing. Ok, here we are in the drop off line. The Mystery Man is asleep, the Red One is not crying, hooray! So, I say, grab your backpack and open the door.

My backpack?

Yes, your backpack.

I thought you had it.


There wasn't enough country to get us home without many, many more tears to find the backpack sitting on the driveway right outside where her car door had been.

I wish I could say this was the first time.

The power of please and other things

1) It's snowing here, and school is two hours late. I suppose I shouldn't be surprised in February, but I am. I was already gearing up for Spring. Not. So. Fast.

2) I found an interesting writing course via the I Should Be Writing podcast. Holly Lisle (a successful fantasy author who briefly had her own podcast) has a class at - you can get three modules for free, and I'm finding the one on characters really fun to fill out. So, if you enjoy online writing classes, this might be a good fit for you. I'll let you know if I sign up for it and what I think.

3) I leave you with my recent conversation with Miss Boop about being in two places at once. We were supposed to go to the indoor play gym with some friends, but The Mystery Man had fallen asleep with my mom. Hmm... foiled. I suggested she go to preschool at "Nay School" instead and we do the gym another day.

BB: I want to go to Nay School.
Me: Great, we'll do the gym later
BB: I want to do the gym too.
Me: We will, we'll just go another day. Our friends won't be there, but we'll still have fun.
BB: I want to go today!
Me: I thought you wanted to go to Nay School.
BB: I do.
Me: How do you suppose we'll do both things at the same time?
She looks intent. She bats her long, long lashes. She flashes a look of determination and with victory says... "Please!"
Me: Well, it is a magic word, but....

Word count, good friends, and baddyiness.

Zokutou word meterZokutou word meter
23,502 / 65,000

Progress continues to be made, let's not concern ourselves with the speed at this particular juncture, shall we?

In case you're wondering, the soundtrack for this book is Film Noir by Carly Simon - in my head. And it's what I play when I write. It would be perfect if some of the songs had a dance mix version for other storylines within the book, but I haven't found them. ;)

In other news, we had a super fun evening tonight with company all the way from Croatia. Well, not just to see us, but still we got cool stories and German treats for the kids and our kids and their kids hit it off great. Almost too great. The mystery man tried to kiss their little 1 year old. Oops. He's been around little girls before, but never leaned in for the kiss. We might have to have a certain talk with him a little earlier than planned.

And we ended the evening with tucking in the girls (way past their bedtime) and prayers. Boop prayed for us. With no prelude she said "Never ever let anyone do anything bad. Ever. Stop all baddyines. For everyone. Forever. Amen."

It occurs to me to wonder what particular temptations she was being faced with to elicit such a prayer. Many, many things occur to her. But I just gave her a resounding amen and shut off the light.

And I may have a new mantra. "Stop all baddyiness."

Upside down and right side up

DH: Hey Rob, the little man was at my computer going (DH now is moving his hands really fast like a crazy typist) and now my screen's upside down.

Me: Like, he turned your computer around?

DH: No, the screen

Me: Is your task bar just at the top of the screen?

DH: No, the entire display is now upside down.

I can no longer form complete sentences from laughing so hard.

DH: So, I take it you don't know how to fix that...

In case you're concerned, he later got it fixed. Apparently a lot of people Google for this issue because it's a popular prank to play upon those in cubicles who leave their computer unlocked. And we just used to send out mass emails from said computers. Oh for a day back in corporate America...

Yet another Public Service Announcement

Mr. Lucky, no, not the Cary Grant movie, it's a new cd by Chris Isaak. I'll wait while you finish cheering.

I really don't think any more words are needed. It's been years, people, years. There is much rejoicing here!


Feeling Bleh?

Today is a health related post. I've talked in the past about having a gluten intolerance (which is much better now, thank you!) And every once in a while I like to touch on it again.

So, today is my public service announcement. If you feel tired a lot, catch colds easily, get headaches, deal with PMS or mood swings or just feel BLEH... you don't have to!! It may take drastic diet changes at first, a few supplements, some exercise, but it's just remarkable how the body can heal itself. I'm making an effort to get back on the wagon so to speak. I'm still feeling much better than I used to, but when I was spot on with my diet, I'd wake up feeling as energetic and ready to go as my babies. And I need that energy. ;)

I'm including a quiz for you to see if you are inflamed. That is the secret villain, inflammation. My health guru of choice is Mark Hyman (he wrote Ultrametabolism and subsequent books). I love him because his stuff works and because he gives all the info away for free on his web site, so I'm linking there for you to score your quiz if you so choose.

So tell me... are you inflamed?!

How Inflamed are You?

1) Do you have seasonal or environmental allergies?
2) Do you have food allergies or do you feel poorly after eating (sluggishness, headaches congestion, confusion)?
3) Do you work in an environment with poor lighting, chemicals, and poor ventilation?
4) Are you exposed to pesticides, toxic chemicals, loud noise, heavy metals, and toxic bosses and co-workers?
5) Do you get frequent colds and infections?
6) Do you have a history of chronic infections such as hepatitis, skin infections, canker sores, and cold sores?
7) Do you have sinusitis and allergies?
8) Do you have bronchitis or asthma?
9) Do you have dermatitis (eczema, acne, rashes)?
10) Do you suffer from arthritis (osteoarthritis/degenerative wear and tear)?
11) Do you have an autoimmune disease (rheumatoid arthritis, lupus)?
12) Do you have colitis or inflammatory bowel disease?
13) Do you have irritable Bowel Syndrome (spastic colon)?
14) Do you have problems such as ADHD, Autism, mood and behavior problems (actually part of a family of problems called neuritis)?
15) Do you have heart disease or have you had a heart attack?
16) Do you have diabetes or are you overweight (BMI greater than 25)?
17) Do you have Parkinson’s or have a family history of Parkinson’s or Alzheimer’s disease?
18) Do you have a significant amount of stress in your life?
19) Do you drink more than 3 glasses of alcohol a week?
20) Do you exercise less than 30 minutes 3 times a week?

Score your quiz!

In case you're wondering

what a Seattlite is thinking right now about the signing of Ken Griffey Jr.... I'm thrilled. We love Junior here. That's his name, just Junior. He's like family. Welcome back my friend.

Incidentally, I'm studying some baseball history for my next novel project and it's so, so much fun. I may be posting fun tidbits here and there so stay tuned. I realize that I can't write two books at once (as my DH points out, I can't even READ two books at once) but I love to have one in the planning stages while I write the other.

And this is a spoiler alert for American Idol (scroll down)

HOORAY!!!! For Alexis and Danny. I might be a little bit in love with Danny - don't tell DH. ;) But I love them both. They are my picks for the finale. I have no need to see the other 24. Let's just skip to the last week right now and Danny can just barely edge out Alexis and they both get record deals. End of story. The sad news is that now I'll be completely emotionally invested in each episode. *heavy sigh*. Let's not have a repeat of the sad send off of Michael Johns. I expect all of you to use your telephones and use them well at the end of every episode!

Things of note

1) Bejeweled 2 is addictive. (And for what it's worth I now hold the high score in the House of Mystery) My dad claims he's a better speller because of a little gaff over "opponent". You tell me what's more important. Today, I'm going with gaming prowess.

2) I just discovered this blog: - she does a "secret agent" feature where you can submit the first 250 words of a WIP and a "secret agent" critiques it. This time the agent was Kirsten Nelson and it's pretty fun to read the comments. I'm hooked. Are you sensing an addiction theme?

3) I'm twiddling my thumbs (and playing bejeweled) waiting for my groceries to arrive. Oh the perils of

How Starbucks saved the day for DH

DH is traveling again. Ugh. It's not too bad, he's only going to be gone for a day and a half, but I have one very emotional 8 year old. She's now experimenting with rhythm with a tamborine, while her brother plays the electric keyboard on his walker and her sister runs around the room with her hands over her ears because Wilbur is getting stressful. You know that fable about the mouse pulling the thorn from the lion's paw? Apparently that is high tension for a 3 year old Boop.

So, I've been up for an hour and a half and already am thinking there isn't enough coffee in the coffee pot.

Speaking off which, coffee saved the day for my DH. He left at 6am for Portland and apparently stopped for Starbucks right off the bat. This surprises no one. Sadly, when he ordered his triple mocha he realized he had no wallet. So he asked them to please set his mocha aside and he'd be back to pay for it - which he did, much to their surprise. I am not surprised my DH returned for his mocha. Who would leave an orphaned mocha?! They thought it was a rough way to start a day but he thought it was providential that he missed his wallet with enough time to go back home for it.

Way to be glass half full, DH! If he'd waited till Tacoma to buy coffee it would have been a sad day indeed.

Time Out - the Mystery Man just handed me Tivo because he likes to dance to the Handy Manny theme song. I know this because he answers me now. The conversation goes like this:

Me: You want to watch Handy Manny?
Him: GAH!

That's "yes". "No" would be an irritated grunt.

Now we're listening to Wilmer while Mystery Man turns in circles and stomps his little feet and Betty Boop is gonna grow up and wonder why she only dates boys with sexy, hispanic accents...

Why iTunes rocks and Happy V Day

Yes, they reversed all of my charges! YAY iTunes!! They also gave me detailed instructions about how to turn on the shopping cart feature so I can "carefully review my purchases". Yes, I'll be doing that.

I hope you are all enjoying V-Day. I bought heart stickers for my girls, one of which is trying her best to embody the spirt of Valentine's day by wearing her red heart shirt, red heart leggings, and reading her book on St. Valentine to her siblings.

As for me, I'm just glad to have DH back. We have a date planned for the near future and for today our present to each other is to not put any weird pressure on each other. Just enjoy the evening. It's sometimes the best present when you have three little monkeys running you ragged!

Reflections on my favorite repair man

So far, I've been refunded a grand total of $2.14. I'm only out $21 now. Yay me.
DH is on his way home, so I've been diligently starting all of those projects
that I'd declared would be finished before he got home. Me and my big mouth.

Currently, I'm watching Handy Manny with the monkeys and wondering what it says
about me that I have a little crush on Manny.

He really does have a great voice.

Maybe I just have a crush on Wilmer Valderamma.

Also, I can't help but pick up on the sexual tension between him and Kelly, while at the same time wondering if he'll ever really notice Kelly and how long she should wait around for him before moving on and marrying the fire chief. She'd have a good life with him, but would she constantly be breaking things around the house so Manny would have to come over?

And would he be over his thing with Carmela the artist, yet?

These are the things I think about. Or try not to.

Maybe it's time to switch to Sesame Street...

Bedtime Stories

First, I might be getting the stomach flu, which was truly inevitable, but ya' gotta love the timing with Dear, Dear H on the road. Hopefully I don't actually go down till he gets back tomorrow night.

In the midst of me trying to hold it together tonight, the little darlings chose not to stay in their beds. Betty Boop loves to "cuddle with a real, live thing" not a teddy bear, so her sister gets the job. Sadly, Boop does not always (ever) exercise excellent self-control, which is when I generally get a report on her abuses - exessive cuddling, hair "combing", hugs around the neck way... too... tight, you get my drift.

Tonight, she comes downstairs all by herself. I ask her why she is downstairs again and she said, with a cheery little grin "I guess I was annoying my sister."

Typically the sister tells me this.

"And I thought we would need to talk about it."

Well, ok then... I start in with "You know, your sister is a really good sister to you..." only to get cut off.

"I know, but I am the one bothewing HER!"

Clearly she took that in a different direction than I was intending it. So I just sent her back upstairs and told her to stop being annoying.

"Okay!" She said, "Check on me in twenty!" With a cheeky little thumbs up.

18 hours and counting till DH returns...

It's gonna be a long day

I woke up to a receipt from iTunes for an entire season of How I Met Your Mother.

Thanks Mystery Man, thanks.

I've added "turn off one click purchasing" to my to do list, today.

Short post

* I am up over 22,000 words. YAY!
* My Little Betty Boop is able to keep food down after a week of not doing so. She's also regained 3 of the 6 pounds she lost (20% of her bodyweight) So, that's a Yay.
* DH is travelng. Boo.

The red head says "I long to see his face."
Boop says "I long to see his footpwints. His human footprints."

Apparently she knows something I don't.
I don't know how well I'm holding up. I've heard long winded expositions from my oldest about why Grandma never "goes bonkers" (maybe she has more experience with kids... maybe she's just more fun...) Just the sort of critique I was looking for this week.

OK, that's all I've got. I've been experimenting with the healing power of chocolate today. I'll let you know how that goes. I was all set to make chicken soup with rice and spinach tonight, but the thought of eating anything remotely healthy made me want to curl up into a pill bug.

I've got two more days to get through this week - three next week. I'll update you on my sanity levels later.

Spectacles and Diversions

Well, folks, I'm at about 1/3 of the way through my first draft for the current WIP. Yay! That's a little over 20K words right now. Things are taking shape! I'm trying not to panic at all the things I have to go back and weave in, but that's part of the process, or so I keep telling myself.

In other news, my eldest daughter just got her first pair of glasses. She looks so darn cute! She was pretty sure that we were all just delusional and she could see fine, as long as her teacher used the right color pens on the white board. But a couple of eye tests and a cute pair of frames later and we made a believer out of her. In fact I think those are her exact frames up there in the corner. She's now such a convert that when I asked her if she could see her brother (something I often call out after he's wandered away from me) she responded, "No, I don't have my glasses on." Um, ok, but he's ten feet in front of you and at 24 pounds he's pretty visible.

Also, I'm pretty sure my Mystery Man created a diversion today by dropping his bottle behind the sofa so I'd set my netbook down. He then made a beeline for the netbook. He's a crafty one, I tell you.

One Word

I don't even want to talk about how sick I am, or my poor little Betty Boop who's been throwing up for two days. Ugh. Bleh. Nuf said.

I would like to recommend a couple of books instead - One Thousand White Women and The Tenderness of Wolves. Both set in the 1860's or thereabouts - one set in the American West, the other set in the Canadian Backwoods. I'm finding myself drawn to stories set in that time period about the American West in particular, homesteading, pioneers, and specifically the meeting of cultures. Simultaneously you have the high culture of Victorian England brought over to America in parts of New York, Chicago, Boston, etc, you have people who literally start with NOTHING and build houses, lives, farms, and you have Native American cultures that are completely different from the other two, yet rich and with their own history and wisdom. I've always been a city girl, and loved stories about the city, set in early to mid 20th century, so this is a departure for me and it's really fun to learn about a whole new setting.

I'll also say, that by way of hook, One Thousand White Women has it all sewn up. The book starts with a historical event, the Cheyenne Indians requesting 1000 white women in exchange for 1000 horses as a way to merge the two "tribes." The US Government said no, but what if they'd said yes... so great!!

That said, if anyone has recommendations for historical fiction or narrative non-fiction in that vein, I'd love to hear them.

And, I'll leave you with one word, and one photo that has made me smile today. It's officially on my wish list. The word? Bassettdoodle.