Thursday, August 31, 2006

and I was like...ummmm...I don't think so!

A knack for dialogue? Hmmm....not so much.
I don't find this particularly accurate but maybe you will. What type of writer should you be?

You Should Be a Film Writer
You don't just create compelling stories, you see them as clearly as a movie in your mind.You have a knack for details and dialogue. You can really make a character come to life.Chances are, you enjoy creating all types of stories. The joy is in the storytelling.And nothing would please you more than millions of people seeing your story on the big screen!

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

I knew it was there, somewhere

Is a cluttered house a sign of a cluttered mind? My house looks fine.
(My hubbie is very neat.) I tend to help keep common areas clear--or he cleans up after me and then I can't find my stuff! The house is presentable. It is clear however, which nightstand, office and side of the closet belong to me!

Lately, I feel like I'm searching through my internal memory banks like I shuffle through my stacks of papers. (I know I put it here somewhere...)

However, I'm good at remembering the lives of characters I've read. (As well as dates from the Revolutionary war and phone numbers of childhood friends; I can remember all sorts of things that I no longer need!) So it's been bothering me that I could not recall a single detail of what appears to be a memorable book. Every once in a while, I read through book reviews or read a reference to Beloved. Oh yes, that's the one with....wait, that was when...ummm....that's not right.

It's been frustrating to try to figure out why I couldn't recall a single moment from Toni Morrison's award winning book. I can remember what happened to her characters in some of her other novels. I also know exactly where those books are on the bookshelf downstairs. I vividly remember seeing this book--with a bookmark in it--in my room!

However, I haven't been able to find it on any of my bookshelves. It happened to be on sale on a paperback rack in the front of Waldenbooks the other day so I brought it home with me. It's been sitting on my nightstand for the last week, waiting for me to finish another book. I've been glancing at it, thinking it's familiar but not quite right...maybe it's a different cover.

Maybe my last copy was blue. I know it didn't have this sticker saying it was "The single best work of American Fiction published in the last 25 years."

What? That can't be right. I talked about this book with my old roommate and that was right after Ms. Morrison won the Pulitzer prize so that was just...oh, wow. 1988. (Well, at least that wasn't 25 years ago. ) In 1988 L was my roommate, had recently changed her major to english and was...reading Beloved.

I'd forgotten I had promised to borrow it and read it later. I'd say 18 years qualifies as "later!"

Whew! I still haven't forgotten a story! ;)

'tis the season

Last week, as we neared the anniversary of Katrina's visit to New Orleans, I was worried that Ernesto was on his way to the recovering city.

Soon we learned that he was taking a different turn, heading for my family in Florida! Thank goodness he's remained fairly calm, refusing to batter the state as badly as some of his predecessors. While a tropical storm is nothing to ignore, I know everyone is glad he isn't stronger.

After viewing the emptiness and exasperation in some New Orleans neighborhoods last month, I'm thankful they won't be tested again yet. While residents there do not need the anniversary specials on CNN to tell them how much work still needs to be done, I pray that this hurricane season will continue to be a calm one in the Gulf.

We've had a few surprising thunderstorms this week but life in Kansas has otherwise been fairly tame. For my family and friends in Florida--stay safe. We'll be watching and praying that Ernesto leaves quickly.

Thursday, August 24, 2006


I've spent at least the last week lamenting the fact that my children do not understand how lucky they are. I've been talking about service projects or some way to show my children how good their life is. They say "thank you for all I have" each night during prayers but it's become something they say from memory rather than something more heartfelt. N believes not having a play date any time she'd like is a hardship and C is pretty sure that a "hard life" would be life with no video games.

I still haven't found a project to commit to yet but sometimes it takes just a moment to realize how lucky you are.

Another military wife who has a son in Taekwondo class with my son is often my reminder of how good my life really is.

While I wonder if my husband will leave work early enough to catch C's Taekwondo class, her husband is serving his second tour in Iraq.

After struggling to get my two kids in the car in time to get C to class in his uniform, I sometimes get a little frazzled. Until I get there and overhear her telling someone, "We have a really good life. I'm just a little tired today." (She has 5 boys and lives much further from the school.)

On Tuesday, she asked how I was doing and I grinned. "Both my kids are in school now, I'm great!"
"Have your boys started school yet?" I asked her.
"We homeschool."

She looked more tired than usual so I asked if everything else was going OK. She responded that it had been tough lately. I tried to remember when her husband was due back and thinking it should be September, I mentioned that at least it shouldn't be too much longer until she had the hubby back, right?

That's when I learned he'd been in a recent Blackhawk crash. He survived but lost many friends. He has recommendations to be sent home but others are trying to keep him there--they need pilots.

When I asked what I could do to give her a hand, she couldn't think of anything so I offered to at least have one or all of her boys over to my house to play (and give her a break). With that offer, her eyes lit up. Only one of her boys, M, is in C's class and the others don't really know my son. However, she said that M was having the hardest time dealing with everything and would probably love the diversion!

So we had him over yesterday. He is her adopted son. The only reason I mention that is because of a conversation he had with my son on the drive to our house. M asked about the gear shift on the floor of my car (I guess mom's Suburban has it on the steering wheel). He mentioned that his dad used to have a car like that.

My son (also 5 yrs old) turned to look at him.
"What did he do with the car?"
"He gave it to my old mom."
My son's eyes doubled in size. "Old mom?"
"Yeah. I live with my new mom now. One time, when we were waiting in the car, I said I just want my real mom but my brothers said that their mom is my mom."
"You have a new mom?" My son is still trying to comprehend this when he gets the next answer.
"Yep. Not wicked mom. She spanks us with a belt."

When the playdate ended yesterday, M told C that he is lucky. Why? Because C has video games.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

I'm sorry (or Mea Culpa IV)

(I know some of you will be SHOCKED to find me apologizing!!)

I am sorry that I've missed some comments on some of my posts until today. I've tried to catch up but of course, this post will bump some posts off of the page. Rather than expect anyone to scroll through archives to see if I've found your comments, I've included a few below.

In particular, a few responses to this one:

Joey: I appreciate that you also can look back fondly on music from the 80s. However, the fact that you can put Guns n' Roses and 5th grade in the same sentence does not make me feel any younger! ;(

John: I'm senile but something seemed familiar about that car. Why I found that relevant while "Boys of Summer" was playing or while my daughter was blushing over some boy, I'm not quite sure but I'll think of it and get back to you.

Everyone: I subjected you to that "music" (I'm still not sure if I should be proud or horrified that I recognized each 80s reference in the video) so I will attempt to make up for it with this.

I feel better now.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006


Well, I did not complete the Book In A Week. It did inspire me to start a new writing routine and I did get work accomplished. Maybe I can complete the book in a month!;)

I have to get out of the house to get real writing done. There are simply too many distractions here. Yesterday there were errands to run and laundry to start so I did come home after dropping the kids off at school. By the time I'd completed errands, I only had 30 minutes before I had to pick up my son. I took the laptop to a coffee shop anyway, with no idea as to what I'd write when I got there. I bought a coffee, sat down and decided to work on the short story idea I had last week. From there, the fingers started flying and in 25 minutes, I had almost 700 words! (I am sure that most of them will be cut but it still amazes me how much work I can accomplish if I just get

Saturday, August 19, 2006

The reading comes later

C is holding up a copy of the Ten Commandments:

"Mom! This has all the stuff that I have to do."

"Well, yes. I guess that's true!"

"AND MOM! This tells me everything I'm supposed to NOT do!"

I'm nodding and grinning. He gets it!


"What's wrong?"


Thursday, August 17, 2006

Dear old Golden Rule Days

The kids both started school this morning! It's only a half-day today but that's still a morning of freedom! ;)

It's time for some serious writing!

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Just write!

Rene and Melissa are hosting a "Book in a Week" (BIAW) here.
The event began yesterday and I said I'd try but my total number of words yesterday was ZERO. (We were in Topeka for much of the day but the kids' behavior on the way home sucked any and all creativity out of me. Maybe I'll post about that sometime for your entertainment!)

I visited Villa in Tuscany today and Melissa has posted some inspiring quotes from writers.

So...if you're inspired, join me and see how much you can write in a week! Even if you don't think you can finish a draft of a book, these quotes will inspire you to write something! The week actually began yesterday but you can start today along with me!

Sunday, August 13, 2006

Public Service Announcement--Inflammatory Breast Cancer

Inflammatory Breast Cancer. Have you heard of it? I had not until my sister emailed me the video contained on this site.

Here is another news clip from another city I lived in for quite a while.

Please watch one. Then tell someone! (Ask them to tell someone, too!)

BTW--this link continues to be available over to the left side of my site. Click often!

Friday, August 11, 2006

What type of dressing would you like on my lawn?

The rain did cool things down yesterday and the high today is only supposed to reach 95.

However, when you hear the a/c kick on and your windows are fogged up at 7am-- you know it's going to be a hot one!

The hubbie turned the sprinklers on as he left again this morning. He's trying to help bring the lawn back to life (after we forgot to set the sprinklers before leaving for 10 days). Rather than watering the lawn however, I'm pretty sure at this point we're just steaming the grass. Improving the salad for the grasshoppers, if you will.
(revision 8/12: It seemed just as hot when I was looking through the steamed windows of my air conditioned home but upon going outside, it was very pleasant. Everyone I spoke with said the same thing; though we agreed it seemed odd to keep talking about how much cooler it felt and how nice it was outside when the temperature was 95 degrees!)

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Could it BE?

After yet another week of temps in the triple digits, it finally looks like rain! Today was the only day that there was no chance of rain in the forecast a day or two ago but I don't need advance notice!

I see clouds! I hear thunder! I know it's just the wind but the trees look like they're cheering! (As much as their yellowing, wilted leaves can cheer!)

There'll be days like this, my mama said

If we go to the pool when it opens, the lifeguards are playing what I assume are"hip," current hits. Most of them give me a headache.

When we go in the late afternoons, they play music I know. In fact, if I start nodding in time with the music or--heaven forbid--sing along, my kids nod to each other, knowingly. "It's an old song from the 80's," they say.

Around dinnertime--they play music I love--music that is just a bit older than I am. It's hard for my kids to fathom that great music was produced before electricity was invented but it's got a beat and they can swim to it. They find it amusing that I know all the words to those songs but I can't remember to bring their favorite beach towel to the pool.

When my daughter gets together with her best friends at the pool and they giggle over a boy, I smile--girls just wanna have fun.

I'm not old. The fact that I can't remember the right towels just means my brain is too full of classic song lyrics. As long as the kids are acting like 10,000 maniacs, if they could compose a little diddy about bringing Hello Kitty and Buzz Lightyear towels to the pool, I would learn the tune and maybe even remember the towels, too!

I'm still fairly young. The fact that my ears bleed when certain lifeguards play mind-numbing noise at 1:00 just means that I have different tastes -- not that I'm ready to sit on my front porch beginning sentences with phrases like, "back in my day..."

I'm not that young. When I spend much of the summer denying this, the universe finds a way to remind me. I found a great parking spot at the pool--which happened to be next to an avocado green Dodge Dart. We entered the pool area and I observed my daughter blush when a boy (same one referenced above) said "hey" to her. The background music the lifeguards had chosen at the particular moment was Don Henley's Boys of Summer.

Sadly, my background song for this summer might be more along these lines.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Unruly Monday

Mondays are mondays but yesterday? Wow.

I should have known better than to give up drinking the week before school begins. At the very least, I should have managed to not run out of coffee, too!

Sunday, August 06, 2006

I finished the walk

I finished Walking the Bible on during the first leg of our trip. As I mentioned earlier, this book was a treat. Each time I opened his book, I was invited back into his quest.

I read the end of Feiler's journey as I began a smaller physical journey of my own. Vicariously traveling with him through biblical cities was intriguing enough; by the time I finished the book, those places were the focus of international news headlines as well.

Feiler and his traveling companion, Avner Goren, stop and read the stories of the Pentateuch in the spots where they are believed to have occured. In some instances, they find that the accounts in the Bible cannot be literally true; in each case, they find that the spirit, wisdom and universal truth of the texts are alive in the people and places they visit.

I started putting post-it-notes on the pages that I wanted to quote for you; I found, however, that I was collecting colorful tabs on every other page! Whether it is for the scholarly questions that Feiler asks the experts, his own spiritual journey or just for a deeper understanding of a region that is constantly in the news, you will learn something from this book. An added bonus is that it is genuinely entertaining!

Saturday, August 05, 2006

What color is your aura?

I found this over on Catherine's blog and thought I'd give it a try! What color is your aura?

Your Aura is Violet
Idealistic and thoughtful, you have the mind and ideas to change the world.And you have the charisma of a great leader, even if you don't always use it!
The purpose of your life: saying truths that other people dare not say
Famous purples include: Mahatma Gandhi, Martin Luther King, Jr., Susan B. Anthony
Careers for you to try: Political Activist, Inventor, Life Coach

Friday, August 04, 2006


The big storm came on Wednesday evening and cooled things off. It was a mild day of only 90 degrees yesterday! We even had a breeze so we were a bit cool after getting out of the pool down the street! (The rains had even cooled the sauna-temperature pool water back down so it was a refreshing--yet not cold--dip!)

I hope you all are enjoying (and surviving!) the summer! These heat waves keep making their way across the continent but that gives you an excuse for a frozen treat, right?

Enjoy the rest of your summer!

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Pretty in pink

He plays well with his older sister but occasionally, stuff like this happens!

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Please pray...again

I asked last year and Katrina's force did not destroy the city. We all breathed a sigh of relief.
Then the levees broke. I was so thankful that my kids got visit with Miss I, the hubbie's grandmother and to see New Orleans, in all of its glory, a month prior.

We just returned from New Orleans on Monday. Some areas are thriving and some are all but forsaken. My hubby was asking about rebuilding on his grandmother's street. My guess was that people would ride out this hurricane season to see what would happen.

I had no idea a storm was lurking as I uttered those words. The levees are fortified but I know the people are worried. If you have an extra moment when you pray tonight, please keep New Orleans...the Gulf your prayers.

Thank you.

14 days

During my bloghopping this morning, I found a brilliant idea over at Rene's and promptly "borrowed" her idea--putting a countdown to the first day of school over on the sidebar! (It's over there to the left--under "Just for Fun!")

While I am looking forward to that day with a certain amount of giddy anticipation, the countdown is also a reminder that I don't have much more time to justify slacking off. My claim is that it is hard to focus and really write when the kids are home. So I am dedicated to using the child-free hours during the school year to actually write. My youngest will be in kindergarten but it is only half-day. So the plan is to use the mornings to complete the novel.

14 days until I get the kids out of the house and kick myself into gear!

8 states, 5 pools, 3 visits and a funeral


Our second visit to Lafayette, Indiana went well. In fact, the hubbie did not have an offical "second interview." Our entire family was treated to dinner twice but much of the rest of the visit was aimed at impressing the kids and myself---knowing that the hubbie won't take a job in a place that does not interest the family. The kids enjoyed the city and loved the hotel pool. (The big selling point of this city for the kids is the new pool--with BIG, colorful water slides--at a city park!)

When we returned to KC, we rented a minivan so the kids were thrilled. We made it to Norman, OK that night and received the sad news about the hubbie's grandmother while we were there. While the hubbie mapquested the next leg of our journey, the kids and I visited the hotel pool.

The following evening found us in College Station, TX which is another possible future home for us. We did not get the grand tour but visited the city ourselves before going back to the hotel for another swim.

The next day's drive brought us to New Orleans. (Interrupted by the rental van breaking down in Lafayette, LA but with the help of two animated southern ladies at National Car Rental, we made it to our destination.) Before heading to the hubbie's sister's home for the night, we toured the lakefront area where his grandmother had lived. They have cleaned up quite a bit from what I hear but the area is almost a ghost-town. The store where Miss I shopped is still closed; houses bear a brown-orange line where the water line was and bright orange "x's" marking dates when the home was inspected. (One house had the added info: "10/4-cats removed.")

Saturday morning featured a sad drive back through this neighborhood on the way to the church but quite a reunion once we got there. Not only did we get to see many relatives but also quite a few of Miss I's neighbors. Where those neighbors were scattered and where they are all living now is another saga.

Sunday morning we made a L O N G drive to Springfield, MO and had a long, refreshing swim.

That long drive enabled us to have a short and sweet drive back to KC on Monday to pick up our car and then a quick 2-hour drive home.

The kids, while understandably tired, were hellions at the grocery store today so they've lost their pool priveleges.