Word count

I just broke 30,000 words on my WIP - Lamplight. WOO!! 35,000 to go. Love that YA word count.

Also, you'll be happy to know that I've finished the hula costume for tomorrow. Yes, I edged some fabric and sewed silk flowers onto elastic to make a belt. It was a stretch.

Wow - I shouldn't blog when I'm tired. ;)

But I just had to share my word count news. I'll let you know when I the next 10K mark.

OK, off to bed. Gotta get my beauty sleep so I can be a great hula mom for the big performance tomorrow!

The backstory on Robin, JJ, and Captain Kirk

We saw Star Trek last night. That's right, DH and I actually left the house, sans Little Mysteries, and watched an entire non-animated movie without answering one question or taking anyone potty. It was amazing. Clearly I'm old, because when DH offered to buy me movie treats I just asked for coffee - late night for the old folks!

So, I'm sitting there, waiting for the movie to start, and I can't really chat with DH because the whole preview to the preview reel that they play was way too loud. I remember when they didn't have that reel and life was so much better. The previews were the big event! I also remember life before texting and latte huts, so, like I said, I'm old.

While I'm sitting there thinking about how weird it feels not to have anyone climbing up my hair, my thoughts drift to backstory. See, this movie felt really important to me. In high school my whole family loved Star Trek, The Next Generation. I got REALLY enthusiastic about it, in characteristic Robin fashion. Oops. I stayed up till 11 every night catching up on back episodes. We saw all the movies. We saw a little Deep Space Nine and Voyager. My dad even took me to a convention, which in my naievete simply meant lots of enthusiastic viewers who could get an autographed picture from an actor. I learned that there's a little more to a Star Trek Convention.

And then there's 2004. Lost began. I'd already been an Alias fan and was pretty annoyed that it wouldn't be back till January that season so that JJ could debut some show called Lost. "You might like it!" my sister said. "HA!" I scoffed.

Well, I learned another lesson, because from the moment that plane started coming apart I was hooked. I visited the forum boards where the writers hung out (see, still a geek at heart). I listened to the podcast with Lindelof and Cuse. I discussed it with my buddies from work each Thursday morning. I blogged about it. I loved it! When someone met a tragic end (I won't say who for you who will run out and get the DVD's after reading this) I called my mother at 1 in the morning to vent. (She's much nicer about being woken up for something like that than DH.) I paced. I yelled. I couldn't take it!

Then he followed it up with Fringe and Cloverfield, and by now I'm convinced no one tells a story better than JJ.

So here I am, sitting in the theater in anticipation, thinking all this, realizing how much backstory matters. If you started a story about me right there, on that night, you'd have to find a way to work in that info at some point for anyone to get just how excited I was to see that movie. So, I learned another lesson, backstory matters. We know it as writers instinctually - that's why we're so tempted to dump it in a prologue - then we get our pens handed to us and told to cross it all out. Unthinkable! It matters, but handle with care. JJ's all about backstory, too, if you look at the motivations for Kirk to become captain, or for Jack Shepherd to be a leader or for Claire to take care of her baby or for Spock to take down the Romulans.

And the new movie totally lived up to expectations, by the way. Impressive, very impressive.

Betty Boop wants a dog

While wearing her polka dotted dropped waist dress, pink croc boots, her purple faux fur vest, and big pink fuzzy scarf... Little Betty Boop asked me today if we have a doggy door.

I said that we had a kitty door that would work for a very small doggy. So, she said she'd like her dog.

Me: What kind of dog would you like?

Her: I'd like a white poodle and a can of pink spray paint.

So, at least I've finally gotten across to her that poodles aren't naturally pink.

One more week!

I've been using a new reward system to try to keep the little Boop in her bed at night. It involves checking on her every 10 minutes or so for about an hour and a prize the next day - just in case you wonder where I've been. I've been checking off little boxes in Boops room, trying to keep her in bed.

It's been working, and she's been sleeping. This was brought on after I suffered a mini-meltdown for 2 days. Mystery Man had been up till 10 for a few nights in a row and the girls were getting out of their beds every 5 minutes. So, while this is still time consuming, it's better. I've stopped muttering, which is a good sign.

And Lamplight is moving along. I had to rewrite chapter seven because I sort of wrote myself into a corner, and it's almost done. Eight is alredy done so I get to leapfrog, which is always fun.

We're into the final stretch for school - four more days! And no more homework! Red doesn't understand why the last day is a half day. She thinks we should be celebrating the end of school with a day twice as long. That's my girl. ;) This week also has a field trip to the zoo and Egyptian day - for which I've had to make a costume. There was costuming involved for hula, too. People should not assign Robin these tasks. Guess which class I got a C in in Junior High. Yes, Home Ec. I think I had to sew a gym bag. It wasn't pretty. But, so far everything holds together and she looks vaguely Egyptian and Tahitian as is required.

So, hopefully I can check in this week, but if not, I'll catch you on the flip side. Hopefully meltdown free.

A quote is all I can manage today

Betty Boop just came down the stairs (from bed) and said:

Mommy, I have two questions. One is, why did the chicken cross the road. And the other is, I'm hungry.

I'm not sure either fall into the category of things you want to hear after you put your three year old to bed.

She's now drinking a chocolate meal replacement shake. Best I could do!

Betty Boop's Quote of the Day

While lounging on the sofa watching Meet the Robinson's:

"I just need to make sure I'm alive. I've been awfully quiet here watching this movie!"

Me: So, do you think you're alive?
Her: Yep, I think so!

Ten minutes later she was asleep.

If my posts seem a little disjointed...

I'm learning a lot about things that refresh and inspire people - what keeps you going. I've always had a hard time putting my finger on what that is for me. There are lots of things I go to. Coffee is one. :)

But, what I've realized lately, is that in the middle of the full on mother of small children thing that I'm doing here, forming a complete adult thought is huge. HUGE! I know this, because I haven't been able to do it lately. My ipod helps out with this a lot. Sometimes, when the kids are running around like mad little jumping beans, I'll put them in the car and just go somewhere. Anywhere. The beach, Barnes and Noble, or just drive in circles hoping they fall asleep while I drink a latte. And while I do this I hook up my ipod and listen to a podcast - something short, like Stuff You Should Know or I Should Be Writing. I can't get a whole sermon in, even though I love to listen to my pastor (he talks for an hour - I've got maybe 15 minutes and not a ton of concentration at these times).

But, poor Podswald the ipod is broken. The Genius bar pretty much told me he's toast, today. And Huey the Netbook is scheduled for repair. Huey lets me check blogs in the kitchen sometimes. And then the sweet, adorable little Mystery Man has decided to make one last onslaught against mommy's sanity and stay up till 10 night after night. My 3 year old already doesn't nap - I don't think I can handle a reality where neither of them nap, but I really don't love the 10pm bedtime.

So, I'm a little rummy. But my phone plays mp3's so hope runs eternal. If I can just get enough brain cells together to figure out this whole vcast thing, I might be speaking in complete sentences by Monday. Dare to dream.

It's not a victory, Helen

I'm a basically nice person. I try not to rant. I've got a little snark in me, it's true, but I mostly try to look at the good in people and give them the benefit of the doubt. And I especially try to say nice things on the internet. But, I have my limits.

To paraphrase Lorelai Gilmore, the minute that stick turns pink, you become a grown up. And a grown up means you take responsibility for the lives you create. No matter how old you are or what your circumstances, no matter what you have to overcome or who you were before you got pregnant. When you have a baby, you're a mom, and a mom lays her life down for her kids. Every day. And I don't mean she throws herself in front of a train, though if that's what it took to shove her kid out of the way, absolutely.

I mean, if there's not enough food, the kid eats first. If there's not enough money, the kid gets the clothing budget and the mom can find $1 tees at Old Navy. If there's not enough time, the mom doesn't sleep so the house gets clean, the homework gets put away, the kids get fed. It's what you do.

I don't get how, after carrying a human being inside your body for nine months and then enduring labor (or going through a harrowing adoption procedure for maybe much longer than that), after changing diapers, making bottles, getting vaccinations, checking hot foreheads, running your kid to the doctor in the middle of the night in case that really is wheezing you hear - after all THAT...

How do you say, "No, I'll stay on the Biggest Loser campus, you go home."

And after you find out your kid was in bed with depression for days after she sacrificed herself for YOU which is totally backward, how you don't turn into a puddle of remorse. And after THAT how you don't say, "I'm taking this knowledge home with me and we're getting thin together. She's gonna be healthy." How does every sentence out of your mouth start with I. I deserve, I believe, I want, I need... I could finish a bunch of those sentences for her.

You know what, as a parent, you deserve - well, nothing, I hate that word. But, you believe in your kids, you believe you'll never be a good enough parent, you believe you've been blessed beyond measure, you want the best for them, you need them to live healthy, productive lives. The Tongans want to teach their community, Mike wants to help his brother, Tara wants to help anyone who'll listen to her. That sentiment never came out of Helen's mouth and she's got a daughter who fell on her sword for her.

She could learn a thing or two, from Ron.

And I'm writing this, banking on her having a Google alert on her name so maybe one day she'll see that somebody thinks it's not all about her, and she's not all that for winning. She should fall down on her knees and beg that kid to forgive her 'cause who should have been teaching her about nutrition all along? There are no excuses once that stick turns pink.

(In stark contrast, Mikey gave his free grocies for a year to Aubrey.)


You've all got to go read my author friend Holly's post on Mother's Day.

Yes, even those of you who don't usually follow links. Go now. Click. I think one of her boys could give my Red a run for her money. ;)

The Mystery Man's new obsession

So, we all know that Megan got voted off a while ago. So sad. Don't even talk to me about Alison.

But the good news is that Mystery Man has moved on... to this:

Yes, he is in love with Helier Cosson's "Girl with Fan"

He carries the picture around with him (and framed, it's about as tall as he is and super heavy). He points to her. He grabs my hand and makes me point to her. He kisses her.

I suppose if he ever brought home a girl that looked like a 1923 French flapper, I'd be thrilled, so more power to him.

If she can sing "Walkin' After Midnight" the poor boy'll be toast.

In case you need a new addiction

Just click on over to Last Day of Work and check out Virtual Families. These are the people that make the super addictive Plant Tycoon, Fish Tycoon, and Virtual Villagers - now they've gone and combined their real time game engine with, basically, The Sims.

I'm a gonner.

You have a praise glove and a scolding glove. And you can marry off your little guys (by accepting or rejecting emailed marraige proposals), guide their career, have babies. If only my own family were so easy to manage.

Maybe if I let the kids play long enough, they'll think I can arrange their marriages, too. Dare to dream!

More on Robin Hood

I bought the Red Head the DK Robin Hood book - you know those books that have lots of explanations along the sidebar - along with the cd. As I was checking out the shop owner mentioned that this follows the original story. Perfect! I said, she's reading the orgininal right now. OK, he said, so she's fine with Robin dying at the end.

Gulp. I would not have been fine with Robin dying.

So, I when I picked her up from school, I broached the subject of a possible sad ending to Robin Hood.

Red: You mean when he dies?
Me: Oh, you knew that?
Red: Well, it's a book about his life, so I assume he dies at the end.
Me: Well, good point.
Red: And I don't think he'd have liked getting old. Plus, it was hundreds of years ago, he'd be dead anyway by now. And he can live forever in my head.

Ever the pragmatist. I'd love someone to explain why she then collapsed into tears a few nights ago because she didn't have the paper where we record how long it takes her to do her homework.

Reading with a Pencil

Red Head is reading The Merry Adventures of Robin Hood at night before bed. It's not abridged, as requested, so she often pops downstairs after she's been put to bed with questions like "what's a wold?" or "how do you harry a village?"

This was really getting in the way of my getting caught up on Hero's ('quick! Pause! oh no, Claire's head is getting sawed open! Switch inputs!') and interfering with her sleep as well, so one night I told her to just circle words she didn't understand and we'd look them up later.

Tonight, I flipped through her book. Many words were circled. Words you'd expect like shoon, nag, and whereof. Many phrases were circled - things like "wayside cross nigh" and "thieving magpie". Then she started writing little comments.

Next to the phrase "that I could pluck thee bare" she wrote "no feathers Robin! Hello? Hello!"

And after what must have been a rough spot for poor Robin, a paragraph starts "Then merry Robin..." and she wrote, "Still happy Robin? Really?"

Or next to a sentence with a new word to her, "Seriously, what IS a stile?"

But my favorite is one she wrote to a villain, "Uh oh! Made a mistake conn-guy!!" (gotta work on that spelling)

Why I love Google Books, for now

Ok, ok, the contraversy in the publishing world abounds, but when Red needed to fill in one last question on her homework, and had left her copy of "Still More Stories from Grandma's Attic" at school, what did her clever mama do? Google it.

So, truly, I googled it and came up short, then wondered if Google books could help me, navigated there, searched in the book for the page number we were looking for, and voila. I think it's a perfect use of the technology. We weren't going to buy another copy anyway, but were able to access the information. Homework grade saved!!!

A bison by any other name

As a parent you treasure the precious moments that make all the fatigue and sacrifice so worthwhile. And then there are the other moments...

Red Head: Mom, is it true that Bison is the actual name for Buffalo, because I thought they were both real names?
Me: Are they the same animal?
Red Head: Yes... they are. So, which is the real name?
Me: I thought they were different animals, huh.
Red Head: Well, clearly I know more than you at this point, so nevermind.

I should have reminded her who bought her all the books on science...

My new favorite podcast

Consider this a public service announcement, because if you have never listened to Josh and Chuck I am doing you a *tremendous* service by recommending them. I don't know how to link them, but if you go to howstuffworks.com, you can find the podcast, or just type that into iTunes.

Some recent topics: How Alien Hand Syndrome Works, Did the CIA test LSD on unsuspecting Americans (you don't know the half of it), How Hysterical Strength Works, Are there dead bodies on Mt. Evererst, How Deja Vu Works... you can basically take any three of their podcasts, combine, shake, and voila, a novel. Plus, Josh and Chuck are super fun, and clearly brilliant researchers.


My Hamster Wheel

Busy week here, guys!

First, have I mentioned that poor Huey is down for the count? First, his display would go black. No problem, I'd just restart. Then the mouse would stick. Ditto, restart. Then he just wouldn't boot up. Sometimes, if I'd restart, he'd be fine - but if he made this clucking noise during start up, I knew we'd never make it past the boot screen. Now he doesn't even try anymore. He's given up on life and needs to be sent for extensive surgery. Fortunately, some insanely smart person in my house (no, not me) set up a network and my whole netbook is backed up to a server. Whew!!!

Lamplight will not suffer, well, just in that I can't write on the sofa anymore, but I continue to move forward. I've got this big horrible issue in chapter seven I need to work out, but a lot of things are going well with it, so I'm encouraged.

Back to my busy week - Red Head had a reward dinner tonight with the assistant principal at her school and a buch of buddies. Yay Red! Yesterday was my DH's birthday, and preschool, and hula class, and we still had to do homework, and make strawberry spice cupcakes, and wrap presents. WHEW! Much fun was had by all and we now own Lego Indiana Jones. My sweet DH asked for games he could play with the kids. Husband points were awarded.

I've still got a naturopath to see to try to figure out why we've been sick so much (who may or may not be covered, I feel a rant about insurance is in our future), a concert to attend for Red (or send DH to), and a birthday party this Saturday. I'm already tired.

And yes, I did say hula class. What, have I not blogged about that? It's coming. Oh how I wish I could post a video here.

I'm back!

I apologize for not posting for a week. You can only say "the kids are sick and I'm exhausted" so many ways, and I've used them up already.

I do believe, and I hardly want to type this out loud, that the kids are all well, for the moment.


I should have some brain space to devote to posting. And maybe more fun things to post about.

I have been writing - yay! And I'm at about 44%. That's practically halfway. If this were a pregnancy, I'd be rounding the 44% up to 50% and we all know the rule that if it's five or more you round all the way up - so yeah, I'm practically done!

Or not. It never made the baby get here any quicker, either.