Monthly Archives: September 2007

What I Did On My Summer Vacation

It’s the first day of fall, and in the great tradition of back-to-school essays of yore, I thought I’d share what my summer consisted of. Or of what my summer consisted. Anyway, May 5th, we got a little rain. The basement then ended up looking like this:Basement Living Room Post Flood   Basement shower post flood

Floor Post Flood
And our carpet looked like this: Carpeting

After  thus summer, it looks like this:

Living room toward fireplace   Living Room Following Remodel

And this weekend’s project:

Shower

Still have a few things to do, like grout the shower and finish the bathroom (which involves installing a new sink and the floor), but hey, I’m just about done! Then on to the upstairs living room! Yay!

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So What the Heck am I Writing Anyway?

Since yesterday was a pointless rant here at PS, I thought perhaps it was time to give you an update on the latest writing project. Not much writing, to be honest, but that doesn’t mean the process isn’t happening.

If you look on the website, you’ll see this:

What happens when four suburban moms get together for coffee every week?

Find out in THE TUESDAY MORNING CLUB.

Yeah. Nope. Outdated totally. That was how the idea started, but we’ve come a ways since then.

The original idea, stolen shamelessly from my friend Rebecca (whom I’d link to if she had a site) was about four suburban mothers frustrated by their stale marriages. Every chapter would be one week in each of the women’s lives, carrying them from one coffee clatch to the next. Yeah, wasn’t forming in my head.  Like I admitted, the idea was kind of borrowed, but it was triggered only by a title Reb came up with for NaNo a hundred years ago. I actually thought it might be something she and I could write together. The thing is, she has a better idea and is running with her. Good for her! But, she said, I could write it by myself. With her blessings. Thanks, Reb. Never forget you for that. Well, and a ton of other things, but anyway…

So normally I’d just sit down to a blank MS Word doc and start typing, but after MFM flopped like a sardine out of oil, I decided to make myself take a break and not write word one until NaNo in November. I may break this promise later, but right now, it’s a good idea.

I’ve been hanging out at the dog park a lot this summer with a hyper puppy. Met a lot of folks there, and I can just see a story revolving around dog park friends. Enter four women at the dog park instead of the coffee thing.

Making four women’s stories work together in a book was posing some difficulty. I mean, who has the prominent voice? Is there one? First or third person? Will the reader be too confused to go on? Will the writer?

Enter Anna – my main character. She still has three friends at the dog park, but this is her story. Oh yes, there are also dogs, including two Pekingese named Dinky and PawPaw. You know I’m going to have fun with those two.

So what does Anna do, I wondered. I went with my primary back-up: freelance writer. So she was a freelance writer and her marriage is in trouble. Enter old boyfriend, much hilarity and heart-wrenching ensues. Except she’s not a freelance writer.

Was talking to my mother last night and  we were discussing man-brain and how puppies brains are like Jell-o.  I say, without thinking, “Yeah. Jell-o for brains. Guys and Dogs.” BAM!

Suddenly I knew Tuesday Morning Club was not my title, and knew that Anna was NOT a freelance writer. Nope. She’s a dog trainer, and since Lizzie and I are slated to start classes tomorrow night, my research is built in to my life. How convenient is that? Yes, GUYS AND DOGS is already a book by Elaine Fox. I know that, and it perturbs me no end that my brain can’t come up with anything original.  But I only knew this after I googled it, and considering I watch Guys and Dolls much more than is healthy for anyone, I’m going with it for now. If I ever get published, they’re not going to let me keep any title I come up with anyway. Might as well use a working title that got my juices flowing.

Note none of this comes to me through any conscious thought. It just pops in there. Some people would call it a muse, I call it dumb luck. But it’s good that I can still do that. After the MFM debacle, I was really wondering if I still had it in me. I do, I guess. Probably always will. I guess it’s just time to realize that part of writing is NOT writing. On purpose. Because somehow in the last month of not writing, I’ve gotten more accomplished than I did the last year writing MFM. Now it’s time to go with the flow.

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What the *BLEEP*

Okay, I don’t do the political thing here. Why not? Because this is a semi-professional blog. Semi. And being even semi-professional, this is kind of like work. And you don’t talk politics at work. It’s tacky. You don’t swear at work.  It lacks class. And the last person I would have expected to forget that is Sally Field.

If you know me, which most of you who read this blog do, you know I ride that line between conservative and liberal. I have my own unique brand of “I wouldn’t do it, but I don’t think I have the right to say you can’t,” thing going. So I agree that Sally Field has the right to disagree with the war. I agree that Kathy Griffin doesn’t have to believe in Jesus. However, to go off in an Emmy speech (or, as I’ve ranted about before, the Dixie Chicks slamming the president at a concert) is tacky. It lowers my opinion of people. I can’t watch a Sean Penn movie after his Oscar speech. Susan Sarandon? Tim Robbins? I used to LOVE Bull Durham, but after those two got all “more leftist than thou” and Kevin Costner just became an idiot, I can’t watch it. Used to love the Lethal Weapon movies. Then Mel Gibson’s true colors were revealed and Danny Glover became a Venezuelan dictator’s best bud, and those are out. So goes my opinion of an actress I used to respect quite a bit. If Sally Field believes it’s appropriate to make an anti-war speech during an acceptance speech, let alone swear, that’s like me coming to work and doing the same thing. Tacky.

I don’t like her. I really, really don’t like her. Anymore.

HOWEVER – Yes, all of you ready to smack me, I have a flip side of the coin.

I sat down with three 4th grade boys last week in my Cub Scout Den. We talked about what it means to be a good citizen and how we can all go about doing that. The point that resonated the most with them was this:

Even if you disagree with what a person is saying, it is your responsibility as an American citizen to let them say it.

So bleeping Sally Field? Oooohhh… bad juju on the network for that. While I may find the statements tacky, she has every right in the world to say it. The bleeping has gotten out of control. What is this, 1950? Are we looking to take away every step we’ve made in the pursuit of free speech? And no, I’m not contradicting myself. I would not personal make a statement, moral or political, in one of my books. Would I deny anyone else that right? Heck no!  That’s what makes this one of the best places in the world to live. And while I may disagree with what someone is saying or, more accurately, where they choose to say it, dissention can lead to wonderful new paths of thought no one could have reached if we all agreed about everything.

So Sally, I lost respect for you. Not because of what you said, but because of where you chose to voice your views. And how you chose to do it. You’ve got money. Buy an ad! Then Network Big Brother can’t bleep you!

Then again, if Windows XP doesn’t stop trying to reboot my computer in the middle of every other sentence, I might be doing some swearing at work, too.

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Getting Carded – A Compliment No Longer

Nope, not dead yet. The birthday curse didn’t get me, though it was a good day to stay in bed and pray for midnight. Been busy as all heck, though, as fall comes around, work gets crazy, and I end up with four Cub Scout meetings in as many nights.

I think I have tonight off, though. Which means I can do laundry. Man, my life is so glamorous, isn’t it?

I’m not generally a big drinker. Or a drinker at all, for that matter. But with IDEA 2004 reauthorization (if you don’t know what this is, you don’t want to) and No Child Left Behind, everything at work is changing faster than I can adjust to it. Two Fridays in a row, I’ve felt the need for a little wine. Or rum. Take your pick.

So I went to the store, picked out a nice but not too nice (read cheap) bottle of wine, and picked up a little sumfin’-sumfin’ to make daquiris. The sign beside the cash register read, in big, bold letters:

We Card, Whether You Are 21 or 91!

Okay, I get it. So I get my ID ready, and the lady behind the counter doesn’t ask for it. Just scans my stuff in.

“Do you want to see my ID?” I ask.

She smiles – you know, that patronizing smile – and says, “No, Ma’am. I think you’re over 21.”

Gee, thanks. Okay, maybe the 7-year-old in tow was a clue. Maybe it was because I haven’t hit the Loving Care in far too long and all my grays are winking at her. Maybe it’s the platinum visa I was paying with. Who knows? But if they card to 91, well heck! Do I really look that bad?

Jenny Crusie talks on her blog about how her passport makes her look like a drab, middle-aged woman from Ohio. I guess I’m just a drab, soon-to-be middle aged woman from South Dakota.  This isn’t exactly a revelation. I fell into Mom Mode twelve years ago and have no desire to be anything else. I’ll never fit a bikini again, a lesson Brittney Spears could learn. Along with taking some voice lessons, but that’s another blog.

The thing is, I’d like to be reminded every now and then that I’m not totally past it. That there’s still time to get that bikini body back, if I want to. (Back? Did I ever have one?) There’s still time to drink wine and be merry (read – stressed to the max). There’s still time to publish a novel.

Side note: I read a study not long ago that says mothers of special needs children age quicker. The DNA actually deteriorates at a faster rate than other people. Wonder if that works for dads, too, but judging from my husband, who looks exactly the same as he did 13 years ago, I’m guessing not so much.

So maybe I am doomed to be a drab, middle-aged woman from South Dakota. But how many of those can say they’ve had drinks with Jenny Crusie?

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The Birthday Curse

Yup, it’s in full swing again. Remember last year? So far today, I have a migraine and all three kids have colds.

Back away and keep your distance folks. It’s for your own safety!

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Club 32 Turns 36

A few years ago – four, apparently – a few of us who knew one another through a writing group all started blogging and formed what we called the Luv Thang, since we all linked to one another. The vast majority of us were young moms and just happened to be about the same age. The Luv Thang then became known as Club 32. 32 was a big year for a lot of us, as some of us got published for the first time, some of us ended up published in Reader’s Digest, and some of us just made great efforts to plug along.

I think I’m the last one of Club 32 to fall into Club 36, as my birthday is tomorrow. I’m not too far behind Lidna Surewould, though.  I think by a couple weeks. We’ve all progressed in our careers, though I’d admit my writing took a little different turn. I expected to be writing novels for a living at this point, and while some of the psych reports I write are as long as novels and are strange as fiction, they are not exactly a decent beach read. The good news is we’re all still around, blogging, writing and still plugging. And yes, even at 36, we’re still in the Luv Thang.

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