Wednesday, November 28, 2007

I Found the Seven!

At the library there are a couple of puzzles out on the table. I've put them together many times. So when I was walking out of the grocery store and saw a blue seven on the ground I knew I'd seen it before. Sure enough, it was the library's 7.

I think this sort of thing could only happen in a small town. What are the chances?

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Another New Diet

My mother-in-law is on a new diet every time we see her. She’s done the all meat diet, the raw food diet, and numerous other diets, most with strange names I can’t remember because, of course, I don’t pay attention. And it isn’t for her lack of trying to educate me on her latest brilliant discovery. Each diet is a life altering transformation for her. She has to get new foods, new gadgets to prepare the food, and practically create a new lifestyle for herself that revolves around her fabulous new diet.

Fortunately for us she has made a break through and found the best diet yet. No, I think it’s the best diet ever. There's no topping this one—she can eat anything, as long as it doesn’t have a face or a mother. Yes, that is the diet.

So now I’m trying to come up with some good questions for Thanksgiving when we see her. Potatoes have eyes. Can she eat them? Technically, do vegetables have mothers? Dh says no, but I’m not quite convinced. He says that mothers have to take care of their young—so can she eat orphans? Oh wait, only if they don’t have a face. Faceless orphans would be okay then. I can see myself spitting my mashed potatoes across the table over this one. It’s gonna be fun.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Perfection--who needs it

“Artists who seek perfection in everything are those who cannot attain it in anything.”
– Eugene Delacroix (1798 – 1863)

I came across this quote on a bag of Good Earth Chai. Winter is setting in and I am once again finding meaningful quotes on tea bags. This one seemed to come at the right time as I am trying to get over some writing issues I have.

First of all, as a writer if I wanted I could spend a lifetime trying to perfect a single manuscript. There comes a point at which I have to let go. The story is as good as I can get it. I have to send the manuscript out and see if it gets any interest, otherwise I may have a great story that no one will ever read. And if I write something and no one ever reads it, that’s okay too, but at some point I have to move on to something new. A story can always be changed, always be made better, or at least different. It’s a challenge to get it as good as I can and then send it out to agents and publishers who may think it’s ridiculous or stupid or whatever. I cannot be perfect. I can’t even please everyone. For some reason it is easier for me to send out submissions because I don't actually know the people I'm sending my work to.

The internet is a different story. I’ve come to realize that I do have a problem with “perfection” when I post on my blog or in a chatroom. If I write something I'm paranoid that I'm going to make mistakes, sound stupid, make people angry or hurt someone's feelings when they don’t understand that I’m coming from a kind place. So, for the most part I just read. I don’t say anything even if I do have something to say. I don’t post on my blog. It’s something I’m working on. Heck, I seem to be getting over my blogging phobia this week.

It seems like we’re always being judged. I’ve never wanted to be perfect. I’m far from delusional that that could ever happen. I just hate to sound stupid. Too bad I’m so good at it. But who cares, right? Everyone sounds stupid sometimes. Some of us just more than others.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

The Family Car

We recently scored on a 1958 Volkswagen Beetle. My husband had spotted it in a yard on some obscure street in town and had been eyeing it for a week. To his sheer delight, one day it had been moved and there was a ‘For Sale’ sign on it. He was on it like a fly on molasses.

And I must agree, it’s a beautiful thing even with all the moss that was growing on it, and the rust, and the holes in the floorboard. Even with all that this bug is in pretty good condition. Hell, it even runs!

Now, I’m sure you understand that some people are just Volkswagen people. Our heads turn when we see a squareback drive down the road, even if it’s a piece. I was born into a Volkswagen family, my Dad being the owner of a Volkswagen repair shop, we had our share of the v-dubs. I remember most vividly our 2 powder blue squarebacks and our camper van when I was little. At my Dad’s shop there was always a long line of VW’s parked out front. I loved getting to help push the cars out of the garage in the morning. When I needed a job my Dad would put me to work with a bottle of windex and a roll of paper towels and I’d go out and wash all the car’s headlights. It was very important work.

When my husband was around two he was out by the light of a coleman lamp handing his Dad tools while he fixed their VW Bus. He remembers it. He wanted to be like his Dad; long hair, cigarette hangin’ out of his mouth, bringin’ his old VW back to life. They had that old bus for a long time. When my husband turned 16, his first car was a Rabbit.

My very first car was a 1974 Superbeetle with a sunroof. I always knew when it had rained the night before with that car because when I pulled out of the driveway a carload of water would pour out on my head. My next car was a Ferrari red Fastback my Dad had rebuilt for me with a souped up engine and racing brakes (no sunroof). I wish I still had that car.

So now you can imagine how excited we are about this Bug. We’re debating paint colors and interior. We’re not sure if we should go totally stock or reasonably priced. Solid color or two-toned? (I vote two-toned.) Either way, it’s going to be sweet when it’s done. I just wonder how long it will take to complete. My husband’s out there everyday tinkering with it, and the boys love to help. They sand their little hearts out, remove bolts, and just plain play in it. I wish my Dad was around to talk to about it, and he’d be so proud to see his two little guys out there working. For me Volkswagens are a family car.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Windy Day

It can be windy in the mountains. We’ve been through a lot of blowy days. But it’s never been anything like it was today. When I got up and looked outside the trampoline was blowing past the front door. It’s usually across the yard, far away from the house. I thought it would stay there, safe, pinned against the house.

It didn’t. It somehow blew over to the deck and flipped to the ground a story below, taking the railing with it. We had to actually lift the trampoline off the dangling railing and roll it out of the way. Trying to up a 20ft. round trampoline over your head is not easy. And kinda scary. The trampoline is toast. The deck is a complete danger zone.

The French doors in the living room kept blowing open. They are now boarded shut and may remain that way out of paranoia. My husband actually told me I’d better got get dressed this morning because he didn’t want me to only have my robe if something happened. He made the kids stay out of the kitchen in case the big windows broke. He’s not one to overreact—and he wasn’t.

Our canoe was blown uphill. Part of the roof came off the house. The chicken coop blew over! Now we’ve got some new house repair to do. Hopefully it won’t be too windy so we can get it done.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Waiting, waiting, waiting...

I sent my requested revision in to my publisher Friday night. I always hear back from her the next day, even on the weekends. Always ...but not this time. Is it a good sign or is she just taking some time off? Oh, the suspense!

Friday, November 9, 2007

Halloween Bravery

Even though Halloween is past I wanted to share with you about the best costume ever. A brave and crazy friend of mine is in a band. He plays the stand up bass. After much thought, he came up with the idea that he was going to dress up as “Basic Man and his Manic Bass.” Just the name is fabulous.

He decided that nothing is more basic than a while t-shirt and tighty whities. Since it’s cold here, and since he’s not the type of guy to go showing off his bod(and none of us would probably want to see it) he wore his long johns with his white underwear and a t-shirt over the top. Basic Man. His bass was dressed in a white sheet cape proclaiming it Manic Bass. So please take a moment to imagine this small bald guy with white clown hair and a goofy smile playing rock and blues in his underwear. I still laugh just thinking about it.

But the best part? He went into to the grocery store on the way to his gig dressed like that—and it was days before Halloween. He had no Manic Bass to accompany him. Just a man with his underwear over his long johns pickin’ up a few groceries. Good stuff. Gotta love them crazy friends.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

A long blabby blog entry

So, as I’m sure you few loyal readers have figured out, I’ve taken an unannounced hiatus. I really didn’t mean to not write anything for so long—it’s just very easy to not write on my blog. There’s always something else to do. I’d like to say I’ll post on my blog once a week. Okay, I’ll say it. I’ll post on my blog once a week. We’ll see if that really happens. If I could blog straight from my mind I’d have more entries than you’d ever want to read. Unfortunately—or fortunately for you, I can’t, so I haven’t blogged about anything in so long that I don’t know where to start.

How about a summary of memorable happenings in the last two months—has it been two months? Memorable meaning the things that for some reason or another they stick out in my mind. I hope I don’t bore you. You can always quit reading, so I’ll write it anyway…

The most major thing, and probably the reason I quit posting, is that my kids started school. Since my kids have never actually gone to school before (they were homeschooled) this was a major event. The first few weeks were exhausting for some reason, for the kids for obvious reasons, and for me too. This surprised me. I’m just driving them there. How tiring is that? Ridiculous I know. I don’t know what was up with that. I can only tell you that I finally stopped tearing up lately as I watched my little guy walk into the classroom and that I drive 150 or more miles a week—that’s a lot for someone who didn’t used to leave the house for weeks at a time.

Driving to school everyday is getting easier. Since I’m not a morning person I find it challenging to do much of anything soon after I wake up. I’ve listened to way too much Red Hot Chili Peppers (Saturn in particular). I can’t seem to put any other cd in for too long without sticking that one back in. It seems to be my driving music. I’ve learned to leave at least a half hour before school starts so I don’t have to stress myself out trying to get there. And I’ve learned that I have good reflexes after passing a truck within inches on a dirt road going fifty miles an hour—not something I recommend. I honestly thought I was dead. There wasn’t even time to speak it happened so quickly. I don’t usually drive that fast on the dirt roads—this lead me to learn something else, don’t drive when you’ve just been sick on your hands and knees on the lawn. Unfortunately I’ve been sick more days than I’ve been well since school started. Don’t know what’s up with that. Too many school germs I think.

The whole school world is something I haven’t experienced really as an adult. It’s so institutional, yet everyone there genuinely seems to want to do good for the kids. It didn’t take long for the word to get out that I’m a children’s writer. I’ve been asked by both my kid’s teachers to come talk to the class. More like bugged. They haven’t stopped asking. They’re act like they’re amazed that I have a book published. One teacher seriously said “I didn’t know you were famous.” And I told her it’s because I’m not. I resisted adding duh after it. It’s weird.

Also, the librarian asked me how much I charge for assemblies. That caught me off-guard. She said I could come in and do small group talks with all the classes if I prefer. I suppose I should get back to someone about something pretty soon, but for now I’m just ignoring it all. It’s too much. I probably should get together some sort of classroom talk sort of thing. I don’t know—I’ve never even been to one.

In another strange twist, the librarian offered me the substitute librarian job. I was in the awesome school library at the time (it’s bigger than our community library) and was so mesmerized I said I’d love to. Then I went and talked to the principal. She said what they’d really like for me to do is become a substitute teacher. Wha? K – 12. Um, no. Sometimes I think maybe, but really, no. So now I cannot have my lovely substitute librarian job. Well, I probably could but I’m waiting for my husband to make up his mind.

Why? Because he’s decided that he wants to open up a restaurant and whole foods store. Yeah, sounds like a lot of work to me. But hey! I’d never have to make breakfast ever again—unless he got sick, then I might have to cook for people I don’t even know and that’s just scary. So, as of yet we are still in the planning stages and haven’t made a decision. It’s a big decision. Not only would we be running a business, we’d have to move. I’m going to go look at some houses on Friday. It’s pure madness. And I could get a job at the public library right now too! Dreamy. You all are aware that I’m not even looking for a job, right?

I haven’t had an actual paying gig in years, at least ten. Selling Bedtime Monster was the first money I’ve made in so long, and it wasn’t much but I don’t care. It was the best paycheck ever. It would be nice to make some money though, but now the question is how. Too many choices all of a sudden. Life is so random. I just want to be a writer anyway.

And on the writing front I’ve had a couple of amazingly memorable things happen. I got an agent request on a partial. Holy bleep! I think about that guy every single day now and wonder if he’s thinking of me. Ridiculous I know, but I feel like he gets my writing. I sent him one manuscript and he said it was great(great!), but too similar to something he was repping, so I took a chance and sent him another one which he said he liked and had me send in the rest. I’ve been waiting a month and six days now, but I’m trying not to count. I even went on a subbing spree to try to get my mind off of it, but there’s really no getting it out of my mind.

Also, I got a personal back from a major house. Wow! She liked Lion and Mandrill but found it too similar to a series they publish and encouraged me to send it to other publishers. Now that’s something about publishing that is different from most businesses; if an editor likes something but finds it too much the same to their own product they encourage you to send it to their competition. It seems like in the corporate world they mainly try to squash any competition to keep themselves on top. Publishing is so much more civilized.

I could still go on. Maybe I’ve missed blogging. Hopefully I’ll be back soon to talk unabashedly about myself again soon. Once a week, right?