If it's Thursday

How exhausted was I? I had the wrong link to the Third Carnival of Children’s Literature. All fixed now. And I am happy to learn that I have NOT missed out. Will be thinking on it today.

I must be exhausted. And what do you know, I am. I am spinning too many plates and something is going to fall. I still have galleys to send out. I’m working on a bunch of publicity things. I have way too many ideas and not enough time or money or arms and legs to do them all. I have to do taxes. I need to finish cleaning my office so I can start my new book and make a mess it up again. I’m trying to figure out a monologue to do for class on Monday. I am leaning toward something from Buffy, perhaps from The Body, where Buffy’s mom dies. I need to sleep.

A big thank you to everyone who has come over to the Children’s Media Professionals’ Forum and asked me some questions. If you want to know more about Hugging the Rock or where the idea came from for the book, hop on over to the forum and give it a read.

The Third Carnival of Children’s Literature is coming up and I am trying to understand how this thing works. April is poetry month so the idea is to submit a post related to children’s literature and, hopefully, poetry. But do you post it in your own blog now and then submit it to the carnival? I’m so confused. Can someone please explain it to me?

Thursday, March 30, 2006|Categories: Random|Tags: |7 Comments

new site for publishing statistics

Check out this new Children’s Publishing Statistics and Information website!
This should help with targeting manuscripts, pre-submission research, etc. It’s also a great procrastination tool too! And free! Free is nice. Oh, and if you sign up and earn points and you want to give me credit for referring you, my user name there is Susan.

Monday, March 20, 2006|Categories: Random|Tags: |10 Comments

Balancing between writing and promoting and

way too many other things. I suppose that this is just the way my life is going to always be, 900mph out of control. I didn’t get the office organized over the weekend. I didn’t start the new book project. I didn’t do the taxes. I did gather tons and tons of contact information to pass on to my publisher for blurbs and reviews and who knows what else for Hugging the Rock. Because the book focuses on the relationship between Rachel and her father after her mother leaves I went looking for organizations that celebrated fathers and daughters or fatherhood in general. There is one that is my top pick for a blurb because it is such a perfect match. Fingers crossed. Now of course I have to organize all the information into some semblance of order before I pass it over to the publisher. But I’ve got time, right? Ha!

Oliver got invited to a couple of new schools so I am still hopeful that the idea might take off. Everyone I talk to about it loves the idea, it’s free, and but it just hasn’t done as well as I had hoped.

There are still no reviews for Robert Smalls Sails to Freedom yet and that’s bit frustrating though I know that because it is a school/library market book things work a little differently. Plus they have cut back the space on for book reviews in so many areas that it is really a fight for an unknown to get reviewed. That worries me more than I want to think about when it comes to Hugging the Rock because as much as we wish they weren’t, reviews ARE important.

Okay, back to organizing all the info I gathered this weekend and trying not to fret about tonight, my very first acting/improv/performance class. Gulp!

Monday, March 20, 2006|Categories: Random|Tags: |6 Comments

I'm back

and mostly healthy but not all the way. Around here they are calling this the 3 week cold which stinks. I am still congested and my voice is raspy. I am trying not to talk much at all, just downing lots of liquids, because I have to teach a long workshop in a couple of weeks and I don’t want to lose my voice which I am hearing is happening a lot with this cold. Anyway, thanks to all of you for the kind get well wishes. I am working my way through all of your old posts but please forgive me for not commenting on everything.

Writing stuff – last night I turned in my proposals for the CSLA conference. It’s the first time I’ve submitted to speak there so we’ll see how it comes out in May when they make their choices. I proposed two different sessions, one tied to Robert Smalls Sails to Freedom and the other tied to Hugging the Rock, which will just be coming out at the time of the conference.

I am asking to go to work on my new book project, VZ, but I think the rest of March is going to be taken up with cleaning up the mess around the house which is the natural fallout of finishing one book and doing the taxes. I will be reading a lot to prep for VZ thought so I’ll be ready to sit down and write come April 1.

Thursday, March 9, 2006|Categories: Random|Tags: |7 Comments


I’m sick – hence no posts and no comments (and I owe so many comments to so many people.)
Soon. Soon.

Friday, March 3, 2006|Categories: Random|Tags: |21 Comments

tagged – one odd duck

I’ve been tagged by minabirdwriter 

Ground Rules: The first player of this “game” starts with the topic “5 weird habits of yours” and people who get tagged need to write a LJ entry about their 5 quirky habits as well as state this rule clearly. In the end, you need to choose the next 5 people to be tagged and list their names. 

Boy, this really makes you stop and think, how much do I really want these people to know about me?

1. If I stop to tie one shoe I have to retie the other one so they are both the same amount of “tight.”

2. When I put food on my plate I eat all of one kind, then all of the next, and so on. I might take a taste of each one to start but then I pick which one I want to end with and eat them one at a time.

3. I write all my fiction first in longhand and I have to use the same kind of pen throughout.

4. Sometimes I make a mud puddle just so I can smell the mud. (Hey, I live in California where we don’t get much rain.)

5. My ideal closet would be a bedroom with nothing but walls and hooks on the walls where I could hang things out in plain sight rather than behind doors in a cramped closet. Until then, the chair and the knobs on the dresser drawers will have to do.

I know I’m late to the game but just in case, writerross, avariecaita, writerjob, d_michiko_f,slatts

Thursday, February 16, 2006|Categories: Random|Tags: |9 Comments

not balancing

That’s basically why I am not posting – I’m not balancing life very well at the moment. Nothing earthshattering, nothing bad, just way too much to do, not enough time and I pretty much stink at that time management thing. Factor in the day job and how I am so NOT a morning person and there you have it. I make lists, lose lists, make more lists, lose more lists, try to remember things, mostly remember things, go into a panic because I didn’t remember things then lay awake most of the night with writing thoughts racing through my head.

Wednesday, February 8, 2006|Categories: Random|Tags: |19 Comments

Sunday ramblings

Okay if I wait until I am done checking everyone’s journals I’ll never update because I’m really supposed to be working on VZ or on one of several talks I have to give in the next month or even the family writing workshop that is scheduled but instead I am drinking chai while reading journals and pretending I don’t have to go back to the day job tomorrow.

In the nice news department, the February issue of Highlights magazine has my short story, Harold’s Hundred Days of School. Very fun.

Tricycle sent me some extras of the handout they did for Hugging the Rock (just bound in simple cardboard pages – no cover art) but if you’re a librarian or a teacher who wants a hard copy of the excerpt to share with someone, drop me a note and I’ll send it right out.

I’m reading scads of screenwriting books to try and come at my new project in a different way and I think it’s helping. More later.

Sunday, January 29, 2006|Categories: Random|Tags: |4 Comments

Just stopping by

to say I’ve got no time to post here and no time to read and post elsewhere. Maybe tomorrow. I’m sorry for not staying caught up with everyone on my friends list when you have all been so wonderfully supportive. Just not enough hours in the day.

Thursday, January 19, 2006|Categories: Random|Tags: |0 Comments

Why write for kids

Isaac Bashevis Singer, when accepting the Nobel Prize for Literature, said:
“There are five hundred reasons why I began to write for children, but to save time, I’ll mention only ten of them.

  1. Children read books, not reviews. They don’t give a hoot for the critics.
  2. Chidren don’t read to find their identity.
  3. They don’t read to free themselves of guilt, to quench their thirst for rebellion, or to get rid of alienation.
  4. They have no use for psychology.
  5. They detest sociology.
  6. They don’t try to understand Kafka or Finnegan’s Wake.
  7. They still believe in God, the family, angels, devils, witches, logic, clarity, punctuation, and other such obsolete stuff.
  8. They love interesting stories, not commentary, guides or footnotes.
  9. When a book is boring, they yawn openly, without shame or fear of authority.
  10. They don’t expect their beloved writer to redeem humanity. Young as they are, they know that is not in his power. Only the adults have such childish illusions.”

Monday, January 16, 2006|Categories: Writing Life|Tags: , |10 Comments

haven't done a meme in a while so

The problem with LJ:

We all think we are so close, but really we know nothing about each other. So if you like, ask me something you think you should know about me. Something that should be obvious, but you have no idea about. Ask away. Probably I’ll answer.

Then, if you like, post this in your LJ and find out what people don’t know about you.

Saturday, January 14, 2006|Categories: Random|Tags: |24 Comments

TGIF & all kinds of stuff

I think the hardest work week (at the day job) is the week after you’ve had a week off. I’m so ready for it to be Friday.

This is more of a life update I guess than a writing one but doesn’t everything in our lives eventually turn to writing? Newbery (the car) and I are becoming closer. I definite like driving him in the daylight when it isn’t raining. It was something approaching fun to be able to take a sharp corner. Not so fun driving in the dark (I’ve always had issues with that and now I’m having get used to new car issues with driving to work in the dark) and not a lot of fun driving in the rain, which we’ve had a lot of the last couple of days. Yesterday I left work at 2:30 to go to the knee doc. It was dark. It was pouring. It was the kind of rain that made you wonder if someone was standing over you dumping out buckets of water. And I had to take the freeway. There I am, going as slow as I can (while people around me are going 75mph and more without their lights on) and I hit the wipers to turn them up a notch but I ended up TURNING THEM OFF. This is while I am on the freeway surrounded by cars. MAJOR panic attack and I drove like a little old lady (not from Pasadena) the rest of the way to the doc. Sigh.

Finally had an orthopedic doc look at my knee which hasn’t healed in way too long from me trying to get back into an exercise program. He said I have the classic signs of a meniscus tear so it’s an MRI to confirm and then most likely surgery. I really don’t like the sound of that even though I know tons of people have knee surgery and are fine. But from what I have read, after you have this surgery you are at greater risk for knee problems down the road. Ick.

Okay…I do have writing thoughts. One, as I finish one project and haven’t really committed to the next book project (I thought I had but due to a bunch of things, well, I was wrong) I am cleaning out my drawers of stories written long ago and trying to decide if they are worth working on, keeping, or tossing. I have is a file full of what I once thought were picture books (many moons ago) but now I realize that they are all probably short stories. Even though I can logically acknowledge that it’s still hard to let go of book thoughts.

Tomorrow I’ll be doing a reading of Oliver’s Must-do List at the Stanford Children’s Book Fair. 1:30pm Stanford bookstore. This is the end of their weeklong Children’s book fair. All kid’s books are 20% and there’s a great line up of authors all day long with prizes, games, face painting and so much more!

Friday, December 2, 2005|Categories: Random|Tags: |4 Comments

Newbery needs a license plate

edited to add that the favorite plate is NOT available. Sigh. Open for suggestions.

Okay, so I’ve named my new car Newbery but now, in keeping with the literary tradition, it’s time to work on a vanity plate. I have 7 letters and have to make them all count. Any suggestions?

I came up with: I RYT BKS

I like it but some people have been against the idea of spelling writing with the “Y”. Other thoughts are:

I WRT BKS (Plate is NOT available.)
I RYT BKS (edited to add this one I forgot)

Anyone else?

Wednesday, November 30, 2005|Categories: Family|Tags: |22 Comments

up for air

Okay, yes, it has been more than a couple of weeks since I last tried to resurface. Boy how time flies when you are running 8 directions at once. Do you have any idea how long it takes to print and fold 3000 brochures, 3000 flyers, 3000 address labels, 3000 mailing labels? And then put those labels and stamps on 3000 envelopes? And then stuff the brochure, the flyer, AND 3 postcards into each of 3000 envelopes? And THEN seal all 3000 envelopes? Well I thought I knew how long it would take, but I was wrong. Triple any time estimates you might have and you’ll probably be close. I still have about 500 envelopes to seal but had to stop for a while as I had the second round of revisions due on my novel. So yes, I’m spinning in circles. The revisions are due Thursday and I should make that okay, then back to the envelopes, all going out much later than I had planned.

In other news, I DID get my new car. (Honda Civic Coupe, EX, beautiful Atomic Blue) Yahoo! That’s the good news. It’s beautiful and smooth and quite intimidating right now because it is so different from my tin can Kia that I used to drive. The bad news is that I am having head rest issues. Actually they are called “head restraints” and are supposed to help protect against whiplash except that for me, at 5′ tall, they push my head forward at an unnatural angle. So yes, I have a new car but it hurts to drive it. We’re trying other things to fix it, like trying an Accord head rest and turning the current head rest backwards and if needs, taking it off all together. Sigh. But other than that, I love it. Lot to get used to. So much window that the visibility is good but weird. Hard to see out of the back and I have no idea where the end of the car is so that will just take time to get to know it. The online navigation is awesome and can be controlled with a touch screen or voice command. Actually all the audio can be controlled with voice commands too, which is pretty darn cool!

I drove it to work for the first time yesterday and at lunch there were a bunch of guys gathered around it. That’s never happened with any car I’ve owned.

Now all it needs is a name. A literary name, of course. Suggestions, anyone?

Tuesday, November 29, 2005|Categories: Family|Tags: |53 Comments

In which I go shopping for a car when I'd rather be writing

Even though I plan to buy the car via Internet or do at least get all the out-the-door quotes via email, get my financing ahead of time and just go in to sign the papers and pick up the key, well, one does have to make sure one is buying the perfect car, right?

I thought I knew just what car I wanted, the Honda Accord Coupe. Then I saw one and it looked SO big that I went back online to look at the dimensions. It would be a foot and a half longer than my current car. Not good for me. I wanted to go smaller not larger. Plus the hood was too long for my preferences. So back to the Honda site online to check the dimensions of the Civic Coupe which turns out to only be a 1/2 inch longer than my current car. Much better. And the nice thing is that since the Civic costs less than the Accord I can upgrade the trim level of the car to the EX with the online navigation system. Yippee!

So after work yesterday I headed over to dealership #1 to make sure that visibility was okay, that I really liked the car up close, and to pick a color. Actually what I wanted to see was the new Atomic Blue. It’s the first year for the color and you just can’t tell online. I didn’t want the blue that looked Navy and I didn’t want a blue that looked purple. Anyway, off to the dealership where I guarded myself against connecting with any salesperson and hoped to vibe “keep away I have cooties” or something so they would leave me alone. Uh huh. Right. The sales guy jumped me as soon as I got out of my car. I waved my hand and shook my head. He kept on coming.

“I’m just looking,” I told him and turned away.

“Let me give you my card,” he said in one of those cajoling voices parents use when they are trying to get you to do something you just don’t want to do.

I walked faster in the opposite direction but being undertall he quickly caught up with and forced the card in my hand. After which I had to shake his hand. Grr.

“I won’t bite,” said the big bad wolf to the little girl. “I just want to talk to you.”

Politely, from behind my frozen smile, I ask him to point me to the Civic coupes. Big mistake. His eyes lit up and I’m sure I heard him cackle as he turned on what he thought was charm.

“Why they’re so new we don’t even have them on the main lot yet. They’re just going to be flying out of here. You better get what you want before it’s gone.”  Standard salesman bullshit and I didn’t have the patience to listen to him. He won’t get a penny of commission from me. I tried willing him to go away but of course he didn’t.

“All the movers and shakers will be driving these babies,” he added.

I so don’t want to do this. I don’t comment. Obviously he didn’t look at the car I drove in, a dirty, faded ’96 Kia. I was dressed in crummy weekend clothes that should have been screaming “I have no money for food and I’m just looking at cars I can’t really afford” which I had hoped would put off salespeople from approaching me. Sigh.

I spied a car, opened the door, and plopped in. He grinned at me through the windshield. The seat was too far back so I reached under to pull it forward and it wouldn’t move. No matter what I did, it wouldn’t budge. Sigh. I got out of the car and he was right there, waiting for me to tell him how wonderful it is.

“The seat’s broken. It won’t move.” The words slipped out before I could stop them and I wanted to kick myself. Never, ever speak to a salesman. It gives them permission to talk back to you. He moved in for the kill. Big bad wolf to the rescue of the poor, defenseless little girl who couldn’t even manage to move the seat forward.

“Let me just take care of that for you.” He sat down, reached under for the bar, and surprise surprise, it still wouldn’t move. I barely contained myself from jumping up and down and telling him “I told you so.”

I wandered off, looking for another Civic and still looking for the Atomic Blue. Alas, he followed me, guided me to another car (not blue) and opened the door with a flourish worthy of a guy wearing a cape and a top hat. He shut the door and I sat in it long enough to be able to tell that I could see out of it and that I’m not sure if the way the seat backs curve will work for me. They’re supposed to “hug” the body which is great if you’ve got a shoulder width of about 12″ which would probably make you a kid too young to drive the car.

I got out. Again he waited for me to say something and I, stupidly asked him if he had any in the Atomic Blue. I just wanted to see the color. That’s all. He walked me right past one on the lot but when I stopped to look he grabbed my arm and said, “You don’t want to look at that one sitting outside. You need to see the one in the showroom.” He was wrong. I wanted to see what one sitting out in the sun and the dirt and the real world looked liked. I didn’t care what it looked like on the showroom because it would never look like that at home. Heck, this car won’t even be able to sleep in the garage. I am too nice because I went ahead and went to the showroom and sat for a minute in the car while he droned on about how THIS car had the fancy stuff in it, etc, etc. Yawn. I knew all that. I just wanted to see the frigging color.

My cell phone rang and I finally escaped to my car, driving off as fast as I dared. Buying a new car should be fun, right? It’s not, not for me. I don’t do change well and it’s a ton of money that you don’t want to make a mistake spending on the wrong thing. And then of course there’s still the internal struggle I’m having about whether or not I should have the new car for a variety of reasons, most of which are based on my being a very insecure person. I headed toward home still not sure about the blue and that really bugged me. I would have picked white but the white has this tan interior that just doesn’t work for me. Okay, it’s ugly. Really ugly. And Honda offers no other interior colors on the white which seems so stupid. The blue comes with gray which is nice. I like the red (black interior) but the red won’t even start to ship until January and I imagine it will be a popular color and hard to dicker on the price. So I’m still thinking blue which meant I really needed to look at it again without some sales guy breathing down my neck. A few blocks from home I said screw it and turned the car in the opposite direction to drive across town and tried to prepare myself for the pain of visiting another car dealership.

Car dealership #2 was about 4 times the size of dealership #1 so I was hopeful I could wander around alone. Which I could have if I could only find the new cars. The two front lots were filled with “certified pre-owned” cars and I couldn’t find a new one to save my life. I actually had to ask someone to show me to the “hidden” lot where they kept the new cars. I picked a salesman who was eating his lunch, told him I just wanted to see the blue, I didn’t care what model because I wasn’t buying anything. Points to this guy, he actually listened to me, showed me to the lot and then (gasp) LEFT ME ALONE.

The Atomic Blue is different. Good different or bad different? Good, I think. It’s not navy and it doesn’t have that purple tint to it. I wish the car had a touch of white on it because that would really set it off but I think the blue will be good. I spent some time just sitting in a car trying to imagine myself driving it. Like I said, I don’t do change well and this will be a big change. It’s very cozy. Not a car for claustrophobics. And all the controls on the dash and the navigation system make it look a bit like a spaceship. But I think this is the car. Now time to get fresh quotes from everyone for a purchase to be made in the next few weeks.

An aside, if you think I’m extreme about car dealerships I have to tell you that I was practically born in a car dealership parking lot. My mom was the office manager for a huge dealership that carried 7 different lines of cars. I grew up playing on the new car showroom, had my pictures with Santa Claus taken in front of the Christmas tree in the new car showroom, earned extra money in Junior High stuffing billing statements into envelopes, babysat for salesman’s kids, wrote up warranty repair tickets and met my first husband working side-by-side taking inventory in the parts room. It’s a world with laws unto itself.

In my writing life I printed and folded 250 brochures. I have another 750 to go plus 800 Traveling Oliver flyers to print and then I’ll be ready to do my big mailing. And speaking of Oliver, check out his blog,  for info about a peanut butter sandwich contest for kids.

I had a dream about Frankie last night, several times, and every dream he told me he was hungry. Sigh.

Saturday, October 29, 2005|Categories: Family|Tags: , |3 Comments

Hodpodge mirage

Really, I am trying to get back into the blogging habit and I am trying to not feel guilty when I don’t blog but so far it’s one of those things that’s great in theory but the execution is a bit tough. Sigh. First off, some thank yous. Big thanks to the talented children’s artist Don Tate for all the wonderful words he wrote about Oliver in at his blog. Also a big thanks to for the interview she posted of me over at YA Books Central. Kim writes, does book reviews and interviews, is a mommy of 3 and STILL has energy left to brainstorm great publicity ideas. Don and Kim were two of the very first blog friends I ever made. Let’s see, other updates,   is still in New York with getting to know the kids at Harlem Children’s Zone Promise Academy. Tonight’s the night I will reread Hugging the Rock one more time and then send it off to my editor. Then begins the painful waiting and chewing of fingernails while I await her response.

In non-writing news my car is sick, again (it’s been happening a lot lately) and my husband shocked me last night with the idea that we should buy me a new car. Gulp. And what did I do when he made the suggestion? Did I throw my arms around him, smother him with kisses? No. Goofball that I am, I burst into tears. I know, I know, I’m dingy. After that I DID commence with the hugging and kissing but it’s a bit scary to think about. We haven’t had a car payment in years so that part makes me nervous. I will confess that I won’t be sorry to say goodbye to my Kia. I bought it New Orleans and it is the last negative connection to my not-so-great time of living there, so saying goodbye will be easy. The darn thing is a ’96 with only 76,000 miles on it and the Blue Book, if they actually gave me that for trade in (hahahaha) is only $865. Oh well. Better to be done with the thing. My husband wants me to stick with either Honda or Toyota so we’ve pretty much decided on the Honda Civic Coupe. Since we already have a SUV there’s no need for another sedan. I never have anyone else in my car except for my dog. The big thing to check is to make sure that I can see out of the car okay because I am, well, a wee bit undertall. I’m going to stop by the dealership on my way home and check that out. Whew! Wish me luck. Then there’s that HUGE decision of what color do I want? The choices are: Atomic Blue Metallic, Alabaster Silver Metallic, Galaxy Gray Metallic, Nighthawk Black Pearl, Rallye Red, Royal Blue Pearl, Taffeta White. Hard to know until I see them in person but I am leaning toward white or gray. Maybe I should do a poll?

Oh and that mirage I mentioned in the title? It appears to be Frankie. He and Max are a bit out of focus right now and I am trying not to worry about it.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005|Categories: Writing Life|Tags: , , , |20 Comments

Indecision and my office and life

I am not connected to any piece of work, am feeling like I am just in limbo and not called to do anything writing related at all. Yes, the disciplined would say to sit down and just write, which I will likely do, eventually but the frustrating thing is still not feeling like I should write on any one thing. I am hearing no voices. My heart isn’t asking for more of anyone’s story. And I don’t, still, feel committed to a project. Sigh. So I unexpectedly decided to take some time off from work. Normally I wouldn’t do that unless I had a project to work on (or if we were going on a trip but we don’t go on trips). I took Thur/Fri and Mon/Tue off from the day job. Last night we went to go see Wicked (fabulous!). This morning I slept in till 10 (5 hours past my normal get up time) and even now I am just reading blogs and email and sipping my chai.

Goal for the day? Nothing. Goal for the time off. My office. See, I have a weird relation with my office and something must be done about it. We have been in this house a little over a year. My husband and I each have our own offices. He spends much of his evening time in his and me, I take the laptop out to the living room. I have an office filled with my children’s books and writing books. A desk. A big table for overflow. A closet for storing stuff and four four-drawer file cabinet. I have a comfy ergonomic writing chair and a ceiling fan to keep the air moving. So why can’t I work in there? I have no idea. We were in our last itty bitty place for 6 years and I had no choice but to write in the living room. There was no other room. (We tried sharing an office but it was way too small.) All I could think about when I was in that tiny place was how I couldn’t wait until I had, once again, an office of my own. Oh the things I would write, the dedication I would have, the words would pour out across the keyboard. Yeah right. Sigh.

It is filled with things I love and yet I find 101 reasons not to write in there. Okay, one sort of biggie is the desk. It still isn’t right. I found a great smallish desk to hold my laptop with a tray for the keyboard and my roller mouse set-up (great ergo find). I have my laptop and can plug it into a bigger keyboard which is better ergonomically for my shoulder. But the tray that came with the desk, like all desks, was too high. I’m short. 5′ tall. I need, again for ergonomic reasons, to have the tray set at the right height for me. I can raise the chair but then my feet don’t touch the floor and it doesn’t work to put something under my feet. No problem. We got an adjustable keyboard tray and cut the mounting bar to fit on the desk. Ooops. One measurement we didn’t take is how far under the desk the tray would slide. Turns out to be only partway which means I can’t sit at the desk and use it for anything because the tray pokes me in the stomach and I can’t reach the desktop. Sigh. But we are working on that problem. There is still the bigger issue of why I can’t work in that room. So with this time off I am going to try to figure out how to make it mine. I am burning lots of candles, white sage, to cleanse the room of negative energy. (The dog doesn’t even go in that room for some reason.) And I am paring down the excess in the file cabinets, throwing things away so that much of the stuff crammed under the table can go into the cabinets and perhaps give me a cleaner feel for space that is mine?

Other than that, I am at a loss as to what to do to make myself work in there. All pieces of advice, no matter how wacky, greatly appreciated.

Thursday, August 25, 2005|Categories: Random|Tags: |22 Comments

Ick ick ick!

I don’t know if I will ever trust a drain guy again. Last night, the bathtub which was already leaking right under the house filled up with stuff from elsewhere. We were not using the bathtub. We weren’t even using that bathroom. But just before bedtime, walking down the hall, a horrible smell drifted out of the bathroom. We looked inside and the tub was filled with several inches of solid black smelly stuff that could only be backup from the main sewer line. I don’t know what was worse…the smell, or the fact that we knew as it was going down it would be draining under the house. Sigh. So now we wait until we can talk to the landlord and hope they are able to get it all fixed today. Ick.

Monday, August 15, 2005|Categories: Random|Tags: |0 Comments

Water water everywhere

On Thursday morning I took a shower before work (normal) and when I was done I was standing in about 6 inches of water (not normal). It drained, eventually, but we called the landlord.  On Friday (I had to come home from work early) the landlord sent out a drain guy (who was an hour late) to snake the main line, something that needs to be done every few months due to the enormous ancient pepper tree in our front yard. (Note to self, whenever we can finally buy a house, do not buy one with large trees so close to the main line.) This drain guy was smarter than the last few, I thought, because he wanted to see that he actually fixed the problem so he came in and ran the water in the bathtub. Nope. Still a problem. He snakes the secondary line for another hour and thinks it is draining better but the pipes under the house need to be looked at, something he can’t do today. “Go ahead and use it,” he says. He leaves and I go to clean out all the gunk he left behind.  But the draining water didn’t sound right. Something NEW was wrong. Lifted up the crawl space and sure enough, water was draining out of the tub right under the house. Sigh. The guy broke the pipe. Another call to the landlord who asked if the  toilet still worked okay. I said yes and he said it wasn’t an emergency so they would get to it next week. A frustrating day with a total writing accomplishments of ZERO.

Saturday we went to Santa Cruz for the second of four plays in this year’s Shakespeare Santa Cruz festival at the glen. We saw Winter’s Tale, which was simply wonderful. And now it’s Sunday and half of it is over and I still haven’t started to write or even think about writing. Must force myself to work on the last article assignment. It’s due soon but I simply can’t get my brain wrapped around it.

Sunday, August 14, 2005|Categories: Random|Tags: |0 Comments

Attitude adjustments

How do you do it? How do you give yourself an attititude adjustment? Am I depressed? Maybe some because I would rather, a) be home in bed catching up on sleep and b) looking forward to writing today rather than doing more work with numbers at the dayjob. I guess I’m not depressed but grumpy, really REALLY GRUMPY, because when I got to work today there was nothing but finger-pointing, posturing, and arguments waiting for me in email. I am tired of it all because I am way too low on the totem pole to make a difference with anything. No one will really listen to what I have to say even though, now that a big manager is complaining about the issue, it is something I have been pointing out to people for over a year. What I do during the day just plain doesn’t matter and today I don’t have the energy to fake it and pretend that it does. I should try to connect this to writing but really, I just don’t feel like.

So what do you do to shake yourself out of a bad mood?

Wednesday, August 3, 2005|Categories: Random|Tags: |13 Comments

Silent Sunday mornings

Sundays are my favorite day of the weekend. Saturdays I’m still resting up from the workweek (more rest than intended yesterday since I took an Actifed and ended up on the couch with a 5 hour nap) but Sunday mornings I’m usually well-rested and ready to write. It’s why I hoard my weekends so much, never really wanting to make plans to leave the house. I’m usually up a few hours before my so I can make a pot of chai to sip while I wake up, read, and listen the birds outside my window. They are chattering at me to come toss some seeds and fill the birdbath. The squirrels are doing roadraces up and down the olive tree so fast that Chelsie is getting dizzy trying to follow them. I look up from my computer and see the leaves just barely moving in what I know is a warm breeze. Our hummingbird dances in front of the window for a time then he’s off to feed on the geraniums. I wonder if this is what it would be like if I were home every day or if it just because I have this so seldom that it feels so magical to me?

Time to get to work and see if I can get over the hump in BOR this morning.

Sunday, July 31, 2005|Categories: Random|Tags: |0 Comments

Haemi tagged me so…

-10 years ago – I had just moved to New Orleans, was working in the warehouse for Schlumberger Oil and had just landed a column in the New Orleans Times Picayune.

I legally changed my name to Susan Taylor Brown.

I adopted my dog Chelsie from the pound.

I was living alone for the first time in my life.

I signed with my 3rd agent who eventually sold my picture book Can I Pray With My Eyes Open? to Hyperion.

– 5 years ago- I had been back home in California for a year and a half.

I was still working for Schlumberger, just a different division and different location.

I was a newlywed of about 9 months.

My daughter graduated from high school.

I graduated from college.

I was with agent #4 who eventually sold my picture book Oliver’s Must-Do List to Boyds Mills Press.

– 1 year ago-

I signed with agent #5 at Writers House and hope it is the agent change I ever make.

I sold (without an agent) my book Robert Smalls Sails to Freedom to Lerner.

We finally moved out of our cramped 4-plex and into a house.

My cat Benjamin died.

My grandson was born (he’ll be a year old next month.)

-yesterday- I worked the day job, still with the same company which has gone through 2 name changes due to spin-offs and takeovers.

Worked with numbers all day – yuck! (day job)

Received something really cute in the mail for publicity for Oliver but I’m not sharing it yet.

Had Hannigan’s barbecue ribs for dinner. Yum.

Went live with my new Live Journal.

-tomorrow- Will have to call my mom for our weekly check-in call

-5 snacks I enjoy- chai, chocolate, cheese, almonds, baby carrots

-5 bands/artists that I know the lyrics to most of their songs- Beatles, Rod McKuen, Five for Fighting, Meat Loaf, Garth Brooks (okay…that shows how weird my music tastes are.)

-5 things I’d do with $100,000,000- Buy us a house of our own so we didn’t have to deal with landlords anymore. Set up a trust fund for each of my kids. Quit my dayjob. (okay…all very selfish ideas)

-5 locations I would like to run away to- Hawaii, England, Ireland, Italy, France (but only if I knew I would have a comfy bed, and I could take my own pillow because I don’t travel well.)

-5 bad habits I have- procrastinating, buying things I don’t need, taking on more than I can handle, eating junk food, having lunch out of the vending machine at work when I don’t want to walk across the street to the cafeteria

-5 things I like doing- reading, going to Santa Cruz with Erik, browsing bookstores (on and offline),
designing webstuff, blogging

-5 things I will never wear- turtlenecks, mini skirts, bikini, apron, tights

-5 t.v. shows I like(d)- One Tree Hill, Gilmore Girls, Everwood, Joan of Arcadia, ER

-5 movies I like- Kolya, The Story of Us, When a Man Loves a Woman, Pretty Woman, Notting Hill

-5 people I’d like to meet- all my virtual friends and I won’t name some because I might forget others

-5 biggest joys at the moment- my husband, my son, my dog, my writing, my friends

-5 favorite toys- PDA (great for playing Scrabble on the go), books, digital camera, computer, kids toys that make animal noises

-5 people tagged – (if you want to play) Kim,Janni, Pamela

Saturday, July 30, 2005|Categories: Random|Tags: |16 Comments