A few quick comments

The inmates seem to be running the asylum today, so I'm just going to dash this off before I take them out for their daily airing.

1) It's R&B week for American Idol next week. I'm gonna go ahead and admit that I am not a fan of R&B - not even a little bit. I suppose I do like Aretha Franklin and the Isley Brothers who are on the official list, but I'd have called them something else. Maybe I just don't like modern R&B, but I'm anticipating lots of overwrought vocals on songs way too big for the people singing them.

Is it too much to hope for that someone sings This Old Heart of Mine? Please?

Here's the list of approved songs if you feel like making a pool for who'll pick what... not that I know anyone who might do something like that...

2) I'm officially 1/4th of the way through my first draft - even a little over. Yay.

3) It's raining. But this is Seattle, so that's not really news.

4) Boop just asked for breakfast. This will be her third breakfast. Although I suppose by now I could call it lunch.

5) If you don't hear from me again, the little people have tied me up and thrown me in the closet. If it were going to happen, this is the day for it.

Happy Ada Lovelace Day

Today is the official Ada Lovelace day. Sadly, my kids didn't get the day off of school. ;)

She's famous for being the only legitimate child of Lord Byron, for being the first computer programmer, and for being the Queen of Steampunk.

Charles Babbage invented the Analytic Engine back in Victorian England, basically an analog computer, and Augusta Ada King, Countess of Lovelace wrote the programs. Now, this was all theoretical, because the computer didn't get built, but oh the possibilities.

She's a really nice tie in to Steampunk for me, because I've studied Byron with such love and devotion. I still think the best sort of hero is the Byronic kind.

You can read more about her at Finding Ada, if you're so inclined.

Herding cats

It was a little hectic getting the three monkeys out the door this morning. In case you're new to the blog, my kids are 9, 4, and 2, so only one goes to school, but of course I have to get them all fed, dressed, and out the door at the same time, since leaving the smaller two at home alone is somewhat frowned upon.

I had to get up extra early this morning, because Red made me promise to go over her Latin with her before school. So, I'm already dragging through what is arguably not my most alert time. I got breakfast made and lunch made, filled the water bottle, went over memory work and sent Red up to brush her teeth and grab her sweater.

Down she comes - hopping on one foot. I should add that in the pick up line yesterday she rolled her backpack to the door while hopping on one foot - a recess injury to her knee, apparently. I have no idea how her teacher kept a straight face through the afternoon, or if she did.

I certainly wasn't going to let Red hop through her day unless she legitimately needed crutches.

"Red," I said, "let me see your knee."
"Ugh, it doesn't look as bad as it feels!"
"Let me see - ok, so, here's an idea. I want you to walk the length of the living room, and if it hurts so bad you can't stand it, I'll let you hop for the rest of the day."
Red walks.
"Well, it's the weirdest thing - it hurt before I started hopping, but now it seems fine."
"Funny how that happens."
"Jeans!" Mystery Man has found his jeans. Sadly, they are the 18 month size that I can't seem to get rid of and they come down to his ankles. I try to hide them and find the 2t jeans.
"Red, go wait for me in the bathroom and I'll brush your hair."
"Ok, Mama will find your jeans."
"Backpack!" Now he's trying to roll Red's backpack out the front door. He insists on carrying (rolling) her backpack everywhere for her, and getting her doors.
I go into the bathroom to brush out Red's long curls.
"Hold still!"
"You know what I weally need?" Boop walks in wearing blue velour yoga pants half an inch too short and a pink sparkly t-shirt with a crown on it.
"Bump its!"
She has a pixie cut - after the whole, 'I can cut my own hair' incident.
"Ok, well, let you hair grow, and we'll talk - hey, where's Mystery Man?" And he's waiting impatiently on the front porch in his jammies.

I'd like this story to have a really happy ending where I'm sipping a latte, but, I strive for truth in all things. We came home and I tried to teach Boop how to ride a two wheeled bike on a patio, instead. :)

Boop paints

To Mystery Man: Alright, alright, if you want to paint go ask Mom. I have to focus here!

To no one in particular: I never knew what a good artist I was. I mean, look at that!

Pretty sure this one was for me: Uh oh. The cat has paint on her tail.

The last piece

DH and the girls are putting a puzzle together. My feeling on puzzles is that if you wanted to look at the picture, why did you cut it up into 500 pieces to begin with? So I'm in here. As far as Boop is concerned, a puzzle is all about putting in the last piece, so she grabs a piece, then waits for her Dad and sister to put the whole thing together before coming in and laying down the final piece with a flourish - because if you can't do it with flair, it isn't really worth doing, right?

I have an affinity for the last piece also, but you do have to trudge through the beginning and middle before you get to type "The End". I just crossed the 10,000 word mark, so I'm feeling like I have a real book on my laptop. Or at least the first seventh of one. ;)


The cookies turned out great. Mystery Man pulled a chair up to the counter where the plate of cookies sat and said "Yum!" I think he had cookies for lunch - and possibly much of dinner. But they're gluten free, so they're a health food - right? Plus the bananas...

I'm at 8000 words on Steam. Guess what - when I outline, I write faster. Who knew! All this planning and plotting I'd so easily dismissed with the first two books might have it's place after all! Might this extend into the rest of my life? Could I possibly consider writing a to do list? Let's not get crazy. I do keep eyeing those Circa planners at Levenger, though.

I've got a new favorite clock: www.voco.uk.com/

Yes, I was a little distressed at the results show on Thursday. Michael Slezak says it best (and if you're not following his blog and vlog on ew.com, you're really only seeing half of American Idol)

We've endured the sadistic pillorying of Angela Martin, we've swallowed our disgust at the sight of Kara's rogue left shoulder rubbing hungrily up and down Simon's torso... which is why, for the past few weeks, we've looked to a ragtag group of 24 singers to reassure us that Idol's still got a little life in it yet...that it's not yet time to leap off this carnival ride, shrug our shoulders, and shout ''Thanks for the memories!'' as we run full-tilt toward that monster rollercoaster the British guy with the deep V and the sunburned chest is erecting on the other side of the fairground. And that's precisely why each abysmal voting result tonight stung so badly.

Good writing gives me chills - wherever I find it!

A few things

Just a few random bits as that's how my day is going:

1) Mystery Man had his shots today. He can now take down rusty nails with nary a backwards glance, but... he's a little punky.

2) I'm choosing a steampunk wall clock. Vote on your favorite! http://www.cafepress.com/arcanetimes/3703315

3) I'm about to go make some gluten free banana chocolate chip cookies, but I'm collecting supplies for these: http://www.georgehart.com/trilobites/trilobite.html

4) Red is at her speech meet right now reciting The Ballad of Robin Hood. She has her heart set on a superior ribbon. She's been practicing a ton, which means Boop is now walking around reciting things about Robin Hood and every once in a while MM will throw in a line. They do it with a lot of feeling.

5) Could someone please tell me why a show like American Idol that must rake in a few bucks can't afford to buy Kara a chair that's big enough for her whole body? It's disturbing the way she always has to sit on half of Simon's.

Now, off to make cookies with my little minions**...

** DH interjects that they don't do my bidding enough to be minions. He says Red is just getting to the stage where she might be an evil henchman, but just barely.

When editing goes wrong

When you write, you have to make choices. Put this in, leave this out, shape the scene, prune out the excess so that the whole has more impact. You might leave great stuff on the cutting room floor, but you do it so that you achieve your goal, you move the reader along, you leave them with something to remember.

Most of the time if you can cut, you're better off cutting. The piece is better without it. It hurts a little at first, but it's best in the long run.

But sometimes, you're writing a blog post, and you wanted to say something like this:

"Kara's 'I'm married' speech the other night would have had a lot more impact if she weren't practically sitting in Simon's lap. Kara - you are not Paula! Could we please put Ellen next to Simon instead? Or Randy? Of course... maybe they'd end up in his lap, too."

And then it's like American Idol reads your mind.


So, I'm watching American Idol this season - I've been hit and miss with it over the years, but since they added Ellen (and she rocked SYTYCD) and it's Simon's last year, I'm committed this season.

Here's my take so far.

The guys aren't memorable. I'd go so far as to say perhaps the producers stacked the deck because they think they need a girl to win this year. It's hard to believe those were the best 12 guys in America. I'm pretty sure I've got a 17 year old cousin who sings better than all of them. (You know who you are!)

Big Mike is kinda memorable, but loses any points he might have gained for not being at the birth of his child. Of the 3 or 4 possible reasons one might miss the birth of their child (death, debilitating accident on the way to the hospital, out on a fishing boat earning the money to buy the milk to put in the baby's mouth) trying out for American idol is not among them. If this was the big plan to support your baby, I suggest brainstorming a plan B.

The girls are pretty good - but the season belongs to Bowersox. The rest may all go home now. You're welcome. I just saved you all a lot of blood, sweat, and tears. Special consideration may be given to Siobhan Magnus for A) choosing a Chris Isaak song and B) being unlike anyone I've ever met, seen on tv, in a book, or even thought about making up as a character. Even Simon seems flummoxed a bit. And we all know that's hard to do.

Speaking of which, I did feel sorry for the cute 16 year old who keeps sounding like she's 30. Did you see the episode when Simon winked at her, then they asked her who she listened to that was under 20? And all she could say was "Uh..." She should have just been honest and said, "I'm sorry, Simon Cowell just winked at me and obliterated the last several minutes. I can't even remember my name. I didn't create a world in which Simon could wink and create a tear in the space time continuum, I just have to live in it."

But all she could say was, "uhhh..."