Saturday, July 25, 2009

kind of warped

I won't bother sharing all of our DC vacation photos, mainly because most are blurred beyond recognition. My middle kid was the photographer and the only picture that came out clear was the one he took of himself.

I realize most of us have taken pictures that weren't clear, kind of blurry, a little out of focus. BUT how many of us have made national monuments appear warped?
I know that middle kid has gifts. He's creative. He's kind of psycho. He's a people person. He is not a photographer. And in his defense, I'm sure it was the camera's fault.
If he's reading this: you have other gifts, and you know I love you. Just don't ever take my picture again. and be careful, bugs bunny is behind you.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

home is where the dogs are

This is me, after the RWA. Happy to be home with the 4-legged kids who never argue, fight over who gets to sit in which seat of the van, or complain about what's for dinner.

Of course my human kids don't piddle on the floor.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009


Vacation Log: Stupid Mom Moment: Take Two

After a lovely morning at the zoo with a cranky ten-year-old, I thought the Cathedral would be a great next stop. After all, we were walking past Cathedral Ave. How far could it be?

We started up the hill, and it was a big hill. Finally the Cathedral came into view. It didn't look far. (Mistake one) We asked a Fed Ex driver how far it was (he should know, right?). He said 4 blocks. Four blocks, that's something we can do after having already walked about six, plus walking all over the zoo. Up Hill.
With a cranky ten-year-old, and the 13 year-old-heading down hill fast, of course we can do it.

ANOTHER ten blocks later, we arrived at our destination, thirsty, tired, and all of us not so happy. There were threats made, and tears shed.
But the National Cathedral changed all of that. Within fifteen minutes life was better. The Cathedral was beautiful.

Presidents have been in that place. And God was there, too.

After walking around the cathedral, it was time for the National Mall. My middle kid, of course, thought there would be stores at the mall and he wasn't interested. Why would we go to DC and go to a mall. The girl thought that we could get a new pair of shoes.

But before we get to the mall, I have to tell you that small towns do not have the market cornered on friendliness or community. Our experience in DC was a great one. After a week, I have come to the conclusion that it is the friendliest city in the world.

Maybe because they live in DC, where they constantly see reminders of our history, of who we are; for whatever reason the citizens of DC understand community. Perhaps they aren't listening to the media or politicians who try to tell them that our country is falling apart and melting into a divided place where people hate one another and are divided by two colors: red and blue.

If you go to DC you'll see something totally different than that picture the media paints. But you have to take a bus, or walk through neighborhoods. Don't stay in the typical tourist areas. If you go to the real DC, you'll see America, a place where people look past skin color and nationality.

Maybe my glasses are rose colored. I'm sure I'm an optimist. I like being one. But as I sat on a bus watching people of four skin colors, and several nationalities, coming together to help a young woman with her baby and the stroller, my hope in this country was restored.

We should all be those people on that bus, forgetting how tired we are, how much we want to be left alone, or how we need to do our jobs. We need to think of each other and realize we're a nation of people who have more in common than not.

Maybe we should go back to singing that old Sunday school song: Red and yellow, black and white, all are precious in His sight.

Maybe we should stop listening to politicians, the media, and even Hollywood. It is great to be an American. It is okay to be proud of our nation and our history.

Let's melt blue and red into purple...just to spite the powers that be.

Monday, July 20, 2009


THIS IS A BEAR. I know, it isn't clear from the picture. But seriously, would you want me to get closer?
So, here is the smartest 'mom moment' of our recent trip to DC.

We were driving along the Shenendoah National Park's Skyline Drive, one of the most beautiful places in the country, when I saw this bear having lunch on a walking trail.
"BEAR! We have to go back, there was a bear down there."
I can't explain why we're so enthralled with the idea of seeing a bear, but we were/are really obsessed with some things. Bears are one of those things.
We drove a little, found a place to turn around and hurried back to the parking lot where the trail started. Off we went, to find a bear.
WHO DOES THAT? Who takes their children and knowingly walks down a trail TOWARD the bear, not AWAY from the bear.
Me, obviously. (note: husband stayed in van)
As we walked we met several other 'bear hunters.' They all informed us, 'Bear down there, on the right, eating.'
On we walked, like the tourists we were.
We found the bear. He wasn't nearly as interested in us as we were in him. He was more interested in finding ants under rocks. From twenty-five feet away, we watched him pick up rocks that I couldn't have scooted.
And still, we stayed? That should have been a real clue that he was strong, and able to do damage to tourists.

Fortunately hunger was more important to him than tourists. And fortunately he didn't look up and think, "Wow, I bet those are tasty little treats. Especially the young ones."
He finally moved away, and we went back to the van. And afterwards I had that moment of realization (afterwards, which is so often the case in my life...that I come to my senses after doing something incredibly stupid) afterwards I thought, "I just took my kids down a trail to face off with a bear. What was I thinking?"
I'm sure that someday I'm going to think ahead, stop myself before doing stupid things, and think through what I plan to say before I say it, and actually stop myself ahead of time.
I'm working on that.
But until then...we saw a bear!!! and it was cool!

Saturday, July 4, 2009


Work, work, all day long.
My house is a mess. I can't even begin to explain how bad it is.
In a week we leave for Washington DC, for the RWA Conference.
My kids are off to camp on Monday.
And I'm on the final stages of finishing a book that I need to mail next Friday.

Final stages of a book. What happens in the final stages.
I read back through the book, delete scenes that really don't move the story forward and add scenes that will help to keep the conflict strong and the pacing strong. I hope.

I tend to write fast, so I also go back and fill in where I might have rushed to get the story down. I find places where I fell into 'telling' rather than 'showing.' Those always stand out. The places where I tell that they did something, but fail to take the reader on the journey with the characters. And isn't reading all about taking a journey?

The truth is, I work better under pressure. If I have plenty of time to get things done, I procrastinate. I have time, so why rush?
Whether it's writing a book or cleaning house because I have company coming, I'm a last minute person. When it comes to the trip next week, I'll be doing laundry and packing bags the night before we leave.

My favorite part of having a deadline for a book, "I'm sorry, I just can't get to those dishes right now."

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Tuesday got confused with Monday

Mondays have a reputation. They've even had their own song. If you're an 80s chick like me, you remember: 'Just another manic Monday, wish it was a Sunday, cause that's my fun day.'
I honestly don't remember if it was an 80s song, but my 80s brain filed it there.

So, on Tuesday, (which woke up and thought it was a Monday), this is what happened:
My day started with a pretty crazy storm that blew up. I then forgot, until 9:00 am, that my daughter had to be at VBS at 9:00. Oops.

Came home, wrote a whole chapter. ONE WHOLE CHAPTER. Saved it to Word. It saved. And when I went back, realized it saved without WORDS. And words are very important to a writer. We like them. We like them so much, we put them down on paper and SAVE THEM.

Since it wasn't a crash of the system, Word didn't bother to save an autosave file. Thanks WORD.

We're leaving for DC in less than two weeks. Husband took van to have it looked over, tuned up. The perfect van, its ugly, but it always starts, never gives us any problems. Until it gets a check up. And then it dies on the side of the road and has to be towed.

The day ended with me opening the dryer at 9:30 pm. The cat yowled and jumped out at me.

Just another manic Monday...or Tuesday.