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!

Why my older daughter will move very far away to college

Overheard while sitting under the plum tree:

Boop: I am winning the world record in plum eating today!
Red: Last night she was winning the world record in pushing
Boop: Yep! I did!
Red: You can imagine how much I enjoyed that...

Then, I was sitting here peacefully obsessing over my Facebook farm, when Red came in from outdoors - soaked.

Me: Red, you're soaking wet, what happened!
Red: Well... I got a little dirty from playing. Then Boop said, 'just come here and let me wash that one spot off...'

A little more about Boop

In honor of my Boop turning 4, I have a few things for you...

Boop on Baseball:

"I have everything I need to play baseball. I have a helmet. I have a bat. I have a ball. I just don't have a big crowd."

Boop on Parrots:

"People need parrots on their shoulders otherwise they won’t know they’re pirates -- Do you know where my parrot is?"

And, lastly, this overheard at breakfast.

Red: If you copy everything *I* say, then I am going to copy everything *you* say!
BB: Okay!
Red: Okay!
BB: Up!
Red: UP!
BB: Down!
Red: Down
BB: Cereal!
Red: Cereal
BB: Toast!
BB: Toast!
BB: Hey! I said, Toast! You are supposed to be saying everything I say!

I think that didn't quite work out the way Red had imagined.

Happy Birthday, Betty Boop!

My little Boop turns 4 today!!! There will be Barbie Princess scooters, pink poodle cake, all kinds of balloons, and a monkey jack in the box to celebrate my crazy little four year old. She's been tap dancing all day in anticipation!


Look at what a blog slacker I am when my sister is out of town. When she's around and I miss a day, she calls and says, "What am I supposed to read while I have my coffee in the morning!" and I promptly get up a post.

She's in Israel, visiting the Wailing Wall, drinking the best coffee in the world, and hanging out at St. Peter's house, so my posts are slightly less important to her right now.

See how important accountability is? Get a critique partner, writer friends!!

And lest you worry, Furball is staying here. He's scheduled to have his nails cut soon. He loves me so much when I do that. He makes his famous haunted kitty sounds.

I've been plugging along really well at 500 words a day - until recently, when I realized I was at the point where I needed to tie up lots of loose ends, and answer posed story questions, and I couldn't because I'd dropped too many threads and couldn't remember all the questions I needed answers to.

So, I stopped to write plot cards. This is the first time I've done it effectively, and I can really see the value. Now, I've got them all written and color coded and I just need to read through them one more time before I'm ready to tackle chapter 20 tomorrow. Well, tomorrow is Boop's 4th birthday, so let's say Thursday!

Also, a shout out to Authoress for the notecarding tips!