life

In which the author says – ask away

Okay, I am disconnected from my blog and I don’t like the feeling. Me and my blog, we used to be tight. Now I am chasing myself in circles and not doing some of the things I really do love to do.

So since I have copied from her before (as in letters to characters) I am going to copy from her again. The "her" in this case being  who did this here
.
Ask me a question. Any question. Or tell me what you’d like me to post about if you have specific topics or kinds of questions you’d like answered.

Maybe this will help me get things started again.

Monday, July 27, 2009|Categories: Random|Tags: |12 Comments

an update of sorts – Many on Monday

I thought I was back on track with the blogging but alas, life had other plans. So it goes. I’ll give you a many on Monday edition.

1. The roofers are done. Which is great. No more noisy pounding throughout the day. Cassie can relax. Yeah!

2. Only one plant was injured during the roofing episode which is a pretty good ratio.

3. There’s only one slightly funky little thing I don’t like about the front but it will probably only bother picky people like me and the rest of the world won’t notice. Still, it bugs me.

4. The driveway, as in the new paver driveway installed less than a year ago, did not fare as well as the plants. Somehow paint got spilled on them. White paint. Which we haven’t figured out how since the only thing that was white was the new gutters and downspouts and they came that way. So we will see how good the guy is when he comes back tomorrow because if my pavers don’t look like new again, he’s going to be replacing them. But that means a confrontation. I hate confrontations and I don’t want one tomorrow because it is my birthday tomorrow and I will be making a special birthday post after this one.

5. I am in love with my new refrigerator. Love, I say. I don’t even mind that it sticks out a little bit because heck, I stick out a little bit in places I don’t want to too.

6. I’ve been taking a writing class online all month and it has been very interesting to sit back and let someone else drive the bus. I’m having such a good time that I signed up to take another writing class with a different teacher next month. I’ve learned some things about Flyboy and some things about plot and some things I wish I could forget because it is going to be hard to do within the structure of my story.

7. Last week I taught the last social media for authors class I had scheduled. I think I am going to swap the format to a one-on-one work at your own pace sort of thing if I do it again. I have to balance that time thing and it isn’t something I do well.

8. After some serious one-on-one time with my business plan and a whole lot of finger crossing I have decided to cut back on a lot of the work-for-hire stuff I’ve been doing so I can have more time for fiction. It’s a scary decision. Really scary. But it’s time to, as my grandmother used to say, either fish or cut the bait.

9. I finally scored an antique buffet on craigslist that is perfect in our place so I’ve spent the last week moving glass and china and STUFF from one cabinet to the other. I love having it all organized and easy to find. But now I have a big tabletop to decorate and I am spending way too much time looking at things on the home decorating forum which is giving me more ideas than I have house or money to implement.

10. Saturday we took Cassie to the dog park for the first time. We were a little apprehensive as to what we could expect from her. I figured we’d see a lot of ears back and tail between her legs but she was great. She didn’t actually "play" with anyone but she seemed very happy to stay on the sidelines and watch. She wasn’t hiding behind us and a couple of times she even followed the big kids out into the middle of it all. Cassie a big dog but this guy was just a little bit bigger.

Whew! Okay…that’s my many on Monday. On to my birthday request post next.
 

Monday, July 20, 2009|Categories: Life With Dogs|Tags: , |4 Comments

Seven on Sunday – The mostly house edition

I missed Five on Friday and Six on Saturday so here is the Seven on Sunday, random edition. There may or may not be a Flyboy edition after this.

1. They started the new roof on Friday. The baby finches are handling it just fine. Cassie, not so much.

2. So far only one plant took a hit with the roofing and I needed to move it anyway so I potted it up and I think it will be fine. However the pointy top of one of the arbors broke off and flew over the fence into the backyard of the house of evil. I can see it over the fence in her planter box. I have asked for it twice. You would think since I gave her all that stuff we were cleaning out of the garage that she could give me back my broken piece this is of no use to her but no, house of evil. I wish I had one of those "grabber" things and I could stand on a ladder and reach over the fence and get it myself. Grrrr. 

3. My need for absolute silence seems to be increasing. This has nothing to do with the new roof and everything to do with being an introvert and needing to find my energy from within.

4. . Business plan reassessment was positive. Color me happy.

5. We bought a new (old) buffet on craigslist which means we moved the bar back to the living room which will be forever known as the lounge. I am now on the search for some small leather club chairs. Alas, having seen some beautiful antique ones on a craigslist posting many states away, everything I look at now isn’t as nice.

6. I am also on the lookout, via craiglist (because I hate paying high prices for furniture) for a small, round wood coffee table. When I didn’t want one, that was all I saw. Now, of course, they have disappeared.

7. The new fridge arrives next week, I think. It will not be as tall as the last one so we will have to have someone finish off the opening with a shelf or something. Hopefully at the same time I can have them remove th built-in ironing board that sticks out and looks very odd in the dining area.

Sunday, July 12, 2009|Categories: Random|Tags: |6 Comments

Six on Saturday – the things that are frustrating me edition

1. Yesterday we bought a new refrigerator. At last. After much teeth gnashing and worrying over the colors and sizes and whathaveyous. Got home from ordering it, remeasured, and the built-in that we have isn’t as deep as what we bought. It will stick out into the pathway several inches. Instant crash and burn for me. We were going to cancel it but the built-in built-ins are $7K to $8K. Unreal! And less space and less feature and poorer ratings. So we are going with the original choice and will now have a fridge sticking out into the narrow pathway. Hey, it will match the microwave that sticks out on the other side of the kitchen. Remodeling the kitchen is such a pipe dream compared to all the other things that need doing around this house that I need to accept that what is, is. It is on its own wall, at an anle. We can’t push it back any farther unless we want to remodel the bathroom and take out the countertop. Which we do, but not right now.

2. We went to multiple stores yesterday looking for a decorative but HEAVY chain to hold up the antique chandelier we bought, oh, a year or more ago. We can find heavy chains that will hold the heavy chandelier but they look like the ones you use to tow a car. And I am sure that when the electrican goes to hang it he is going to find more a problem in the ceiling. It’s just the way it goes with this house.

3. The bird bath in the backyard overflows, which is good, to water the fern/wetlands area near the patio. However it does not flow the direction one would think, as in down the steeper incline. It flows toward the patio so much so that we now have a bog. Which is not good. We have played with multiple solutions and while they MIGHT work, none of the strike me as ones that WILL work for sure which is realy frustrating.

4. We have lived in this house for over two years now and the living room still does not have any furniture or a purpose or a hint of a purpose that would help me figure out what to do with it. It’s a funky design that makes it even more difficult. So basically you walk into the house and see a junky room which is, let’s face it, rather depressing.

5. I am trying to find a handyman or a carpenter or someone to build us sturdy garage cabinets, ones that don’t have particle board shelves that will warp as soon as you put a can of paint on them, but they don’t seem to be anywhere around.

6. Okay so those are only five things that are frustrating me but it frustrates me that they are bugging me so I’m counting that as number six.

Saturday, July 4, 2009|Categories: Random|Tags: , |2 Comments

Six on Saturday – It couldn't be more random

1. A friend commented on my not posting lately and I told her my brain was fried from deep thinking. It’s good to go deep but now I don’t know what to do with all that information. (Greg, some of it is coming your way.)

2. I went a solistice party today for a new friend I met on Twitter. Going to new places where I don’t know anyone is really tough on me but I went and I am glad I did, I met a few interesting people but most of all I met a young woman named Kristen who is a closet children’s artist and author. I think the Universe sent me there just so I could meet her. I saw the fire of the dream in her eyes. I hope I can help her fan the flames.

3. I think we are now hooked on True Blood.

4. I bought more Baby Tears for the shade garden today. It is one of the two non-natives in my yard. I feel a tiny bit guilty until I look at it and then I realize it makes me happy and that’s a good enough reason to have it in the yard.

5. There are caterpillars on my Hummingbird Sage. I do not think they are the good kind but I have not been able to ID them yet so I don’t want to pluck them off until I am sure. They are tiny, only about an inch long and not very fat.

6.  I was worried that I really didn’t have 6 things to share but I do. ha! Monday is the next class I am teaching (online) in Social Networking for Authors. More info here: http://www.susantaylorbrown.com/classes.html

Sunday, June 21, 2009|Categories: Random|Tags: , , |0 Comments

Fathers and Daughters in Children's Literature

Thanks to everyone for suggestions about books and movies about fathers and daughters. For those who are interested, here’s the mostly full list. If you suddenly remember something that should be on here, please let me know. And none of these are listed in any particular order.

Middle Grade

Young Adult and up

Picture Books

Movies

Saturday, June 20, 2009|Categories: Books|Tags: , , |0 Comments

Five on Friday

I didn’t think enough ahead to find a poem for Poetry Friday this week but I will point you to this week’s roundup at Sara Lewis Holmes’ Read Write Believe.

So instead of poetry, I’ll try a Five on Friday before it turns into Six on Saturday.

1. Tomorrow I am teaching (with the talented Lynn Hazen) an in-person hands-on (bring your laptops) intensive class in social media. Then I need to decide if I am going to do another group class online or perhaps switch it to an individual, one-on-one email type of class. At the same time I am balancing my own potential online frustrations, wondering if I should keep just this blog going, start (restart) a writing only one elsewhere and keep LJ for community chit-chat? I am feeling unfocused in my own blog and, okay I’ll admit it, jealous of people who have a more single focused blog so they can pull everything together under one umbrella and it works for them. I don’t know that where the blog is hosted makes any difference in getting readers, I think it is all about the content. But still there are things that other blog sites offer more easily that are not available here on LJ.

2. I am making progress on Flyboy. I think the partial needs just one more chapter before I can go back and tear it all apart to see what’s missing, work on the synopsis, and get it out to my critique pals to read for me. Of course the degree of personal interest in working on Flyboy today is in direct opposition to the amount of stuff I have left to do for #1.

3. Speaking of critique pals, I am thinking about expanding my circle. I’m looking for a few novelists to maybe swap stories with in the future – contemporary YA or MG. This would be online/virtual exchanges. If you are interested, leave a note in the comments and I’ll get back to you with more details. If you write other stuff that’s fine but this group would be strictly for YA/MG contemporary novels.

4. There’s still time to leave your questions for Bonny Becker who will be writing a guest blog next week on writing picture books. Post your questions for Bonny here: http://susanwrites.livejournal.com/237583.html

5. I am trying to talk myself into or out of buying this.

Friday, June 5, 2009|Categories: Random|Tags: , |8 Comments

Monday meltdown

7 things that are bugging me today:

1. I am STILL in the process of transferring files from the old computer to the new computer. The new computer that I got back in October and I’ve been using for my Dreamweaver work but nothing else. First three tries at transferring failed (variety of reasons) but I think it’s working now in another couple of hours, everything should be moved over. Well, documents anyway. I still have a few programs to install.

3. Every time I transfer files I am reminding that I stink at organizing the files on my computer. I have folders within folders within folders and the names are inconsistent and poorly represent what is inside. I could spend a year doing nothing but cleaning up my file system.

4. There was an inside-the-house spider incident today. I like bugs and critters when they are in the garden. I am not so fond of them in the house. A couple of hours ago a HUGE spider crawled down the side of the couch. The couch I was sitting on (bemoaning my lack of organizational skills.) I caught sight of it (moving way too fast) about a half inch before it reached my bare arm. I screamed (I am so not a screamer) and jumped off the couch which then dumped computer on the floor. Cassie and hubby came to my rescue but spider was not found. (Hubby says maybe vaccuumed up but I don’t think so.)

5. There is now a second neighbor who is specializing in very loud music all day long. Yes, I have called the cops. Again. And still.

6. The new computer which isn’t really new has a problem. The space bar makes a squeeky noise every time I touch it. Do you realize how many times you touch the space bar? A lot! Why didn’t I notice this back in October? Because I had it only set up in my office with the regular keyboard (which has issues of its own) and I only noticed it this weekend when I started bringing it in when I sit on the couch to watch tv. I don’t know what I am going to do about it but it is like nails on the chalkboard right now.

7. Birds are coming to the gardens. Birds are sitting on the hazlenut tree. Birds are hopping around on the ground. Birds are clinging to the dripper hanging over the birdbath. BUT BIRDS ARE NOT USING THE BIRDBATH AT ALL. Sigh.

I know. These are little whines but they are my whines in my corner of the world right now. Hubby is bringing home pizza and Willow Wings and all will be right eventually.

Monday, May 18, 2009|Categories: Random|Tags: |6 Comments

Three Saturday thoughts

1. My friend Eileen, aka  is getting back in touch with her artistic self. She posted one of her drawings here.  I’d love to see her post more of her artwork and then spend more time working on her art. She’s very talented and just needs a few more prods in that direction. If you are an artist, or just like art, maybe you’ll pop over to her blog and encourage her? (Click on the picture to see the full version.)

2. How many writers are the instantly awake type of people? I’d like to think I’m not alone in getting up, stumbling around doing not-as-important things first thing in the morning because I’m really not awake. But maybe it’s just me. Maybe everyone else in the world is like my husband who is wide awake before his feet even hit the floor, regardless of how much or how little sleep he got the night before?

3. Dog kisses make getting up at any time all better. Always.

Saturday, May 2, 2009|Categories: Random|Tags: |2 Comments

Not a complete Saturday fail

Husbands like mine really ought to get medals for putting up with wives like me on days like today.

First there was the melt-down over the brand-new microwave that doesn’t sit flush in the cabinet (see previous post). Then there is the white Bosch dishwasher that was given to us that is going to leave a gap around the edges because it is 1/2 inch less wide than the current one. Then there was the trip to the nursery (not a native plant one) where I walked back out without buying a SINGLE THING. Not a plant. Not the bench they used to have. Not the bird bath that I have only seen in my mind.

But my husband suggested we stop at one more nursery on the way home. They had the bench I wanted but in weird colors. Sigh. But then, hidden in-between a bunch of plants I found the bird bath. It is exactly what I was looking for! And at about half the price I expected to pay.

Yipee!  Thank goodness for wonderful and understanding husbands.

Saturday, April 25, 2009|Categories: Random|Tags: |13 Comments

Six on Saturday – A Random Edition

1.  I am trying to convince myself it is time to give up my chai that I buy by the case from this one place in Santa Cruz. I can’t get two cases that taste the same each time and it is making me crazy. Right now I have 5 gallons of a lot I can’t stand. No amount of tinkering with it is making it right. I am seriously bummed because it is Saturday and I like to sit and drink many cups of chai while working at the computer. Regular tea doesn’t do it for me. Not enough something to help me pop up.

2. If I give up chai I might go back to coffee. A few expressos in the morning would be good. But if so, I am going to have to buy one of those wonderfully expensive automatic ones that my friend Mac has so all I have to do is put the cup under it and push a button. It even cleans itself. If you have one and you love it, tell me what kind/model. If I don’t do chai or coffee I really need a breakfast drink. Part of it is to help me wake up (not a morning person) and part of it is the routine of getting into my morning by prepping those things.

3. Same friend with the fancy expresso machine remodeled his kitchen and gave us his nearly new Bosch dishwasher to replace our very ancient one. It is waiting to be installed by someone who won’t cross the wires and burn the house down. But here’s the thing, the dishwasher is white. All the other appliances are black. I like the black. I put black handles on all the cabinets. Black works. I think the black is going to bug me a lot. Hubby won’t even notice. Bosch does not, like other dishwasher manufacturers, make a replacement panel for it. Sigh. So I am wondering if I have it installed in white or try to take it to an auto shop and have them paint it black. What would you do?

4. Cassie is being tapered off the steroids and I can see hints of our wonderful dog coming back to us. Poor thing has serious steroid hunger pangs and wants to eat all the time. I found a woman on the German Shepherd forum whose dog Sean also has this auto immune disease and has been doing fine on the Atopica for many years. That’s heartening. And I had a realization about Cassie last night. Every since we have had her she has sneezed a lot. I mean every day, every time she would get up from sleeping she would sneeze several times. Considering how many naps she took every day, that’s a lot of daily sneezes. Since she has been on the medicine she hasn’t sneezed once. Makes me wonder how many other things are going on inside this poor kid. Ditto her ears. She was always shaking them as though they bothered her but the vet could never find anything, even going deep down to look. We finally just decided that she didn’t like any wax buildup at all and I just clean her ears a lot, which she is fine with. But since the medicine, no issues with the ears. Which leads me to her coat. We thought her problem with her coat was a bad diet. When we got her at about 9 months of age she had a shiny stripe down her back and dull, lifeless coat everywhere else. We figured good food and fish oil would help and it has some. Now instead of a 1 inch healthy fur stripe she has one that’s about 5″. She is slowly getting a shiny coat but now I am wondering if it isn’t also tired to this auto immune disease that she has?

5. I am frustrated with my pot ponds. After all the work I did soaking them to get them to hold water up to the top, now that I have them planted the water is leaking from some places and the wood won’t swell back up again. I am really tempted to dump the one in the backyard and give in to my desire to have a bigger one that is partway in the ground. But it would mean a fence around it to keep Cassie out because she thinks it is her job to remove anything that is floating in water, from the water.
6. There are still a few spots left in my online class on Social Networking for Authors and Illustrators. We’ll explore all the various online opportunities authors have today (Blogs, Facebook, Twitter, Myspace, etc) and how authors can best use them to build their online presence. I’d appreciate it if folks could help pass the word along. I don’t post at Verla’s or the Blue Boards (or are those the same?) and would feel awkward to go sign-up just to post about my class. But if you do, maybe you could mention it there? Thanks!

Whoops!  I forgot to add the link for the class info/sign-ups.
http://www.susantaylorbrown.com/classes.html

Saturday, April 25, 2009|Categories: Random|Tags: , , |15 Comments

Six on Saturday

1. I got the first wine barrel pot pond planted yesterday. I like it, well I will once the plants grow and stuff starts to hide the black pots that you can still see, but I really, really wish I could do an in-ground one. I know though it would be a recipe for disaster with Cassie who thinks it is her job to remove anything from water.

2. Easter dinner is at our house this year. We’re going for simple and non-traditional – raclette.

3. I am still waiting for the results from Cassie’s biopsy. They said maybe Monday or Tuesday. 

4. There are still spots open in my online class on Social Media for children’s authors and illustrators. May 4-7. Details. 

5. We are getting estimates for a new roof, a "green" roof, a steel roof. I know it is the right thing to do but I’d rather do something fun with that tax refund, like remodel the downstairs bathroom or paint the inside of the house. Sigh. The joys of being responsible.

6. I’m pondering blogs. My blog in particular. And then I am telling myself to quit pondering because it is a recipe for, if not disaster, insecurity. Do many people read any more? What prompts people to post a comment? Am I blogging about the right things to build an audience? Ack! You can see how this kind of pondering can lead to dangerous thinking. 🙂 

Edited to add: I know many people read and don’t comment…I’m just pondering the changes from why people used to comment and now don’t. I find it curious.

Happy Saturday to all.

Saturday, April 11, 2009|Categories: Life With Dogs|Tags: , |33 Comments

Down to the wire! 17 comments to go!

I am close but I’m not there yet! I need about another 17 comments to reach my goal.

My deadline is noon. I know we can do it!

Thank you so much to all the wonderful folks who have come by to help support our Blogger’s Library Lovin’ challenge. My deadline is coming up at noon tomorrow and I have upped my amount to $1.00 for every unique comment!

So simple….you click on this post , between now and noon (PST) on Sunday, March 29th, leave a comment, and I’ll cough up the cash for my library!

Sunday, March 29, 2009|Categories: Random|Tags: , |0 Comments

only 31 more comments needed

I am close but I’m not there yet! I need about another 31 comments to reach my goal.

Thank you so much to all the wonderful folks who have come by to help support our Blogger’s Library Lovin’ challenge. My deadline is coming up at noon tomorrow and I have upped my amount to $1.00 for every unique comment!

So simple….you click on this post , between now and noon on Sunday, March 29th, leave a comment, and I’ll cough up the cash for my library!

Sunday, March 29, 2009|Categories: Random|Tags: , |0 Comments

So close to my Library Lovin' Challenge Goal

I am close but I’m not there yet! I need about another 65 comments to reach my goal. Please help spread the word!

Thank you so much to all the wonderful folks who have come by to help support our Blogger’s Library Lovin’ challenge. My deadline is coming up at noon tomorrow and I have upped my amount to $1.00 for every unique comment!

So simple….you click on this post , between now and noon on Sunday, March 29th, leave a comment, and I’ll cough up the cash for my library!

 

Saturday, March 28, 2009|Categories: Random|Tags: , |5 Comments

News from out and about

Elizabeth Koehler-Pentacoff is compiling a list of books that take place at the turn of the century (1900). If you’ve written a book that fits that category or know of some that should be on the list, please hop on over and help her grow her list. Liz in new to blogging and has come up with a unique angle for her blog, it is filled with writing prompts inspired by this day in history, literature, or your life.

Harold Underdown and Eileen Robinson are running a session of their popular revision class, starting at the end of April and running through June. This is a great opportunity to get valuable feedback from two former editors. Find out all about it at their website.

And if you haven’t read it yet, pop over to Powell’s and read[info]janni‘s  great post on 
 What’s So Great about the End of the World? 
 

 

  

Monday, March 23, 2009|Categories: Random|Tags: |1 Comment

Short Saturday thoughts

Today Lynn Hazen and I spoke to the East Bay region of SCBWI on Social Networking for Writers. I am exhausted but wanted to say a few things about the day in case anyone was at the event swings by the blog.

Check back here tomorrow afternoon when I’ll have a more detailed post up for you all with some of the details that you might have missed in the session.
 
You guys all rocked my world. The room was full of such great energy and I am happy to say that no matter how much techno babble I threw at you not a single head exploded. Whew!

Thanks for a great day!

Saturday, March 21, 2009|Categories: Random|Tags: |9 Comments

I think I've forgotten how to blog

I have open the page to post at least a dozen times.

I started a post about Cassie being the only dog to bark through more than half of her class at Canine High School. I deleted it. I wanted, and could, connect it to writing but it would take more time that I had to post at the moment.

I started a post about all the things I am have messed up lately and the emotional effect that is having on me. I deleted it. Why bring anyone else into my Eeyore room?

I started a post about the presentation I’m working on about social media and writers. I deleted it. I’m really grateful to the people who have answered my survey (and if you haven’t yet, there’s still time) but I decided that rather than post about it I would just tell you that I am going to teach an online class about and you can let me know if you want to be notified when that happens.

Which brings me to this post, which is not much of a post, which makes me feel like I have forgotten how to blog.

   Follow me on Twitter @susanwrites

 

Wednesday, March 18, 2009|Categories: Random|Tags: |6 Comments

Six on Saturday

I think I am having a blog identity crisis. That’s my excuse for being away from the blog for the last couple of weeks. It has nothing to do with the second go-round edits on the Alamo book, revisions on the baker’s dozen ESL books, working on the Web 2.0 for authors presentation I’m giving next week or the article on antagonists in children’s literature that gave me no end of grief when it came to interviewing editors.

Never mind that I also have 25+ native plants sitting in the courtyard waiting for me to plant them. (2 more manzanitas, a bunch more native strawberry, yet another ceanothus because I so love that plant, and lots of plants for the two pot ponds and surrounding moist areas.)

So despite, or perhaps because, of all that going on, here are my six random thoughts on Saturday.

#1 – Regarding Flyboy, I am pondering the paternity question. Not that it would be a big twist but it might add something interesting/different to the story.

#2 – Regarding Plant kid, I am absolutely aching to work on him right now but I also know that it isn’t quite the right time yet.

#3 – I really need a system of some kind in order to feel a teeny, tiny bit more organized. Instead of getting work down in spite of myself I would like to get more work done because I have my act semi-together, at least on alternate Tuesdays.

#4 – I am thinking a lot about Tricycle Press and Ten Speed being sold to Random House and wondering how it is going to affect me. When I saw the most recent Tricycle catalog I was so excited because my book, Hugging the Rock, was in there not once, not twice, but THREE times! Once under hardcover backlist, once under paperbacks, and once under award winners. I don’t know when I’ll see the trickle down effects of the changes but I know they will be coming.

#5 – Matt and Kathy at Yerba Buena nursery  (California Native plants) rock! They are great with answering my questions and making sure I have just the perfect place for my plants.

#6 – Dave the dog walker also rocks. He comes twice a week and walks Cassie for an hour. When she gets home she’s so tired that she sleeps for 2 hours or more.

Saturday, March 14, 2009|Categories: Random|Tags: , |0 Comments

rude neighbor

I am so frustrated right now. My evil and very rude neighbor, who at 70+ years is old enough to know better, is playing music so loudly that I can hear it in my house with the doors and windows closed. And I’m not even sitting in my office. In my office it is even worse. How am I supposed to work with the same three records playing over and over again?

Don’t tell me to put in earplugs. I am in my own FRIGGING HOUSE. I deserve peace and quiet in here at least.

Let’s not even think about the upcoming spring and summer months when I won’t be able to enjoy MY OWN BACKYARD because the rude neighbor will be out there from sun-up until way past dark, drinking, smoking, and playing the same three damn records over and over again.

I know. You’re going to tell me to go talk to them. And I will. AGAIN. But it won’t do any good. In fact it will probably just make them turn the music up even louder. These are the same people who never paid for their share or any portion of the "good neighbor" fence. The ones who have rats living under their deck and do nothing about it. The ones who hate (and have told me so to my face many times) what we have done to the yard. The ones who hang over the back fence to peer into my house. (Grow trees, grow.) The ones who have a rusted, rotten old motorhome and truck sitting in their driveway that never move.

We live in a nice neighborhood and everyone else is wonderful.

But these neighbors not so much. Not at all. Not even a little bit. Grrr.

Monday, February 23, 2009|Categories: Random|Tags: |24 Comments

25 WIP Teasers

Beckylevine started this over on Facebook.  If you like it, feel free to play along, I’m not tagging anyone.

This was harder than I thought!

Rules: List 25 single-word teasers from your WIP. Tag no one or anyone!

1. airplane
2. fight
3. fathers
4. shame
5. sons
6. money
7. stroke
8. crash
9. unseen
10. secrets
11. family
12. lessons
13. mother
14. fear
15. grandfather
16. moving
17. lies
18. solo
19. gasoline
20. gang
21. bicycle
22. doubt
23. accident
24. Hollywood
25. redemption

Wednesday, February 4, 2009|Categories: Random|Tags: |6 Comments

What happens when I clean my office

All week long I have been working on cleaning my office. It’s a long process because even after two years in this house, not everything has a home. And as beautiful as my office is, I haven’t been writing in it. I’ve been writing on the couch in the library which is fine for blog posts and occasional emails but not so great for making progress on the novel.

So I’ve been cleaning and sorting and throwing things away which means bringing some giant stacks of paperwork, sitting on the couch, and sifting through it all.

When I found notes about an airplane accident I got all excited and for the next hour, all I could think about was working on Flyboy’s story. Then I found a stack of pages from the dayjob. I was ready to throw them away but when I turned them over there were all sorts of notes about Plant Kid on the back. Flyboy disappeared and I was lost in the world of plants and worms and evil neighbors.

I continued sorting business cards into a pile of contacts and Bed, Bath and Beyond coupons into a shopping stack. When I found a recipt I tried to read the faded ink to decipher if it was needed for taxes. It wasn’t, but on the back were a few words, the beginnings of a poem that I wrote when sitting in a boring meeting. Each scrap of paper had to be instpected front and back in case precious prose was waiting for me to find it.

I’m amazed I was able to keep cleaning at all.

Sunday, February 1, 2009|Categories: Random|Tags: |9 Comments

Six things on Saturday – a random edition

Okay, I didn’t manage a Friday Five because I wrote my long post about the latest session with the Incarcerated Teens Poetry Project so I decide to post a Saturday Six instead.

1. Contest! I’ve been meaning to post this all week. [info]beckylevine is having a contest at her writing blog. All you have to do is leave a comment and you could win a copy of the Donald Maas book, Writing the Breakout Novel! (It would be nice if you read the post too because there’s all kinds of good info in there.)

2. Last night we went and picked up some wood and wood brackets for some more shelves in my office. Not for books but for baskets that I fill with junk (important junk but probably junk all the same) and papers and WIP and all sorts of things. You will see part of them the minute you look into the office so I hope they turn out ok. But I gotta have ’em. One, I need to cover the stupid in the wall air conditioner that we don’t use but can’t afford to replace yet because it means replacing a chunk of the outside wall, siding, etc. And two, I need the out in the open storage space. So we got wood plants and wood brackets and now, per the instructions at the lumber yard, they are drying in the living room. I’ll attempt the staining next week and then they will dry some more and in another couple of weeks, presto chango, I’ll have the shelves. Sigh. I have no patience. I want them now.

3. We have figured out a solution to getting me a little bit of quiet time on the weekends at least, in the morning. My husband stays up late on Friday and Saturday nights and sleeps in late too. I used to treasure that totally quiet time in the house but when Cassie came into our lives, all that changed. She is totally bonded to him (tolerates me for the stinky food treats and that’s about all.) So when he would seep in, I would shut the door and she would race up and down the stairs, ask to go outside even MORE than usual (like every 10 minutes) because of course he could have snuck out the upstairs window into the backyard without her knowing about it. Husband, who is a saint about this, as well as a very sound sleep and possessed of that ability to be awakened and then, instantly go back to sleep, came up with a solution. I just leave the bedroom door open. Cassie explodes up the stairs, pounces on him a couple of times and is told “no.” She then retreats to the top of the stairs assured that he will not be able to get out of the bedroom with her knowledge and I have peace and quiet for a few hours.

4. I have decided to admit defeat with some of the French antique pieces of furniture we bought for the living room. They were some of the first pieces we bought and while individually they are great, they do not a living room make. Least ways not a comfy come in and put your feet up kind of way and that’s the kind of people we are. So I’m working on the craigslist ads to sell two chairs, a dainty loveseat and a to-die-for coffee table though I know that trying to sell any of that sort of expensive stuff right now is probably not going to work.

5. We have had several days of rain here and the native garden looks wonderful. The plants are perking up, happy to have had a drink. Buds are forming on the ceanothus bushes and the ribes are already dripping with pink blossoms. Birds are hopping around on the ground, getting acquainted with the area. Spring is going to be grand.

Saturday, January 24, 2009|Categories: Random|Tags: , |4 Comments

Saturday thought #1

Seriously thinking of writing essays instead of novels since none of my characters ever seem to want to talk to anyone except themselves.

Sheesh.

Saturday, January 17, 2009|Categories: Random|Tags: |3 Comments

teenage girl lingo help

A friend asked me this question and I had no answer for her but I know someone out there does.

Do teen girls call another girl gorgeous (when she really is beautiful) or do they use another word?

Thursday, January 15, 2009|Categories: Random|Tags: |10 Comments

Seven Sunday thoughts

Oatmeal is good. I had forgotten how good. Yum!

Dogs who do not get walked regularly, as in when everyone in the house is sick, have a lot of energy. As in A LOT. Grrr!

Not all port replicators are created equal. Either that or my new computer just has expensive, discriminating taste. Bummer.

Using scissors to cut things out of magazines day after day after day is just another form of RPS. Ow!

Weeds pull out of the ground much easier if you do it on the day it rains rather than several days after. Duh!

All those rocks I carried by hand in the summer sun to line the path in the backyard have to be moved by hand, to give the dog more room to run. Grumble.

A messy desk is a sign that I have been writing from the couch for too long. Sigh.

Sunday, January 4, 2009|Categories: Random|Tags: |4 Comments

year-end thoughts

I’ve been sitting here on and off today reading many interesting posts that people have written looking back at 2008 and thinking ahead to 2009 which of course lead me to thinking about my own year. My therapist warns me against looking back too often as it leads to depression or looking forward too much as it often leads to anxiety. But today I am going to chance looking in both directions.

It was a year in which I read a lot of books though I didn’t keep track of them. I wish I had and I admire those that do. I wish had made lists of books and what I thought of them so later, when I wanted to discuss it with a friend, I would remember. Perhaps someday.

It was a year of mostly not writing. The not writing terrified me but the trying to survive took all I had. I’ve tried to keep in mind one of my favorite quotes from my birthday twin, Ernest Hemingway, "The world breaks everyone, and afterward, many are strong at the broken places."  I am ready to be strong now.

It was a year that I spent many hours, days, weeks worrying over both of my children, the health and mental problems they have, and the fact that there is nothing I can do to make life any easier for either of them. I have cried a lot this year and it has all been for my children. I am ready to try and find a way to write about this pain, not around it.

It was the year I turned 50, which in itself lead me to more introspection. I thought a lot about the kind of person I am and the kind of person I want to be. That sort of introspection is good, or at least it was for me. As I get older I find I am more willing to look closer now. I am less afraid of what I see. I drew a line in the sand and said no to carrying all that old baggage with me into the second half of life. I am ready to live more in the moment, to be here, now.

It was the year I said goodbye to my beloved Border Collie, Chelsie. Man that was hard but it also brought me closure. Chelsie was my last link to my life in New Orleans, the last reminder of some things I would rather not remember. Sometimes I wonder if what I remember from that time in my life is real as it seemed so unlike anything I have ever known. I don’t know that I am ready to write about those years, not yet, but perhaps I am ready to take that pain and let it fuel stories of hope. I will try.

It was the year I lost my day job. I have wanted to quit for years but wasn’t brave enough and wasn’t sure I was really ready. Being laid off took all that decision-making out of my hands. Lucky me! Really. I don’t know if I ever would have found the courage to quit on my own so I am very grateful for getting a push outside my comfort zone.

It was the year that Casie came into my life, reminding me that puppies are everyday lessons in patience when you are trying to do anything but spend time with them.

It was the year we removed both our front and back lawns (to the dismay of the neighbors) and installed our California Native Plant garden.

It was the year of growing a few new friendships and rebraiding the frayed threads of a couple of old ones.

Looking back at 2008 I see pain but I see growth and that’s okay.

Looking ahead at 2009 I see a year filled with potential. What more can a person ask for?

[info]laurasalas does something I find interesting. Every year she picks a theme for the year. I think I’m going for a double this year.

Mine is "BE KIND." I want to be kinder to myself and to other people. But I also want to take more chances. Some people might say I take chances now but I still play too much of my life on the safe side. Most importantly, I need to take chances with my writing. I need to write my stories, my way, and trust that they will find a home.

Happy and safe new year to everyone.

Wednesday, December 31, 2008|Categories: Random|Tags: |19 Comments

Six things on Saturday

Okay, maybe I can manage a list kind of post.

1. I have a cold but I am still plodding onward. I’m trying to clean my office, and I mean deep clean, like all the rolls of tape land in the same place sort of clean. I bought a few storage pieces to try and help which means a lot of rearranging things again and again. And many big messes because the only way I seem to be able to clean and sort things is to lay everything out on the floor and try to make sense of it. Lots of junk, some useful stuff, and a whole lot of I don’t know. It might make more sense if I didn’t have a cold and my head wasn’t weighed down with snot. TMI, I know.

2. I was hoping that when I cleaned my office I would find one of the two thingys I have that allows me to add water to my water pillow but alas, no. I found a lot of stuff but not that. I may have to resort to alternate measures which could have a less than ideal success rate. Note to self – attempt refill procedure in the bathroom, not over the mattress.

3. Since turning in my partial for the conference I haven’t written at all. Well except for a spec story for another work-for-hire project. But that only counts a little bit.

4. I am all caught up on laundry. This is an amazing feat because even though there are just two of us here we seem to generate a lot of dirty clothes. But what I don’t understand is the missing hangers. We bought a few new items of clothes. We packed a box of clothes for Goodwill. But there are less of the nice plastic hangers than before. Alternate sock universe I understand but hangers?

5. Every room in my house is trashed. When I clean I seem to destroy a room as I try to put it back together again. What with all the moving furniture/books/junk around I have managed to make a giant mess of the library, my office, the living room, the exercise room and my husband’s office. Well, I had help on the last one. I am always like this but it is worse when I have a cold because my focus is off-kilter.

6. When I am not messing things up in an attempt to clean house I am on the couch with a stack of magazines and a pair of scissors. I’m cutting out words and colors for my workshop in January.

Saturday, December 27, 2008|Categories: Random|Tags: |0 Comments

Happy holidays

Here’s to you, LJ.

All my friends who support me no matter what weird mood I am in….thank you.

I wish everyone the happiest of the holiday wishes, however you celebrate.

May your days be merry and bright.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008|Categories: Random|Tags: |8 Comments

self-pondering

I seem to have trouble connecting myself to LJ of late and I don’t know why.

I’m off work. Have the time. Don’t post.

Hmmmm……

Monday, December 22, 2008|Categories: Random|Tags: |5 Comments