Saturday, December 13, 2008

Scentsational!

Clothing stores nowadays are just expensive. I walked into Hollister the other day and could not believe the price they wanted for T-shirts alone. Cute clothes, but come on with this economy why should I pay that much for clothing? I gave a casual look and began to make my way out and that is when the store got me. The scents! Oh the scents! I am not a big perfume person, but I do love body mist. I love Bath and Bodyworks Brown Sugar and Fig, Victoria's Secret used to have a cucumber scent that I was mad about, but today I will add Hollister to my new favorite store to fill my aroma therapy addiction. I have to go back there and try one scent at a time, but I think Laguna Beach is my favorite, at least today anyhow. And how fun is that that all the scents are named after beaches that I have been to? Laguna, LaJolla, Ventura. Great names, wonderful scents, and the price isn't really that much more outrageous than B&BW. And the men's scents are to die for as well. I think I know what D is getting for Valentine's Day. (I already have gotten him more Christmas than I had planned, Drat!)

Oh and PS, D doesn't want me to blog about it, but he got his MBA! Maybe he deserves that scent afterall!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Not so Horrible



It is no secret that I am a huge Joss Whedon fan. Firefly is the best ever! So I have to be excited knowing that on December 19th DR HORRIBLES SING ALONG BLOG will be out on DVD. This is not a happy movie, but for some reason it puts me in the best of moods, especially the first act. I probably should be embarrassed to say just how bad I hope I get this for Christmas, but if there was ever something I could count on putting a smile on my face it would be Neil Patrick Harris singing the Laundry Day song. So I know that you each have a weakness, something that might seem idiotic to everyone else, but you can't help but love. I put mine out there, what is yours? Go ahead admit it!

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Nano a no no...House a go go!

So Nano kinda fell through for me. I did manage almost 20,000 words, but then the housing project began to suck any life force from me. WE have been painting non stop all week I swear. Everyone keeps saying to me. "I painted my whole house in 2 days" or "You're still painting?" It is a little frustrating. We have been working hard, but I have no idea how anyone can 3 tone their entire house when ceilings need 3 coats, rooms are all different colors and they each need 3 coat, baseboards and casings all need 2 coats, doors need 2 coats, and some of the doors are one color on the inside and another on the outside depending on what room they join. It has been insane. I think I have learned my lesson on picking many colors, but it just looks so good that I might not have.
Tonight we finished L's blue wall. That took 4 coats of paint plus the primer. It might have needed more, but after one gallon on one wall we are calling it good. I love it next to the yellow walls and can't wait to get the red trim on. His room really is my most daring room, but it is the room I am also most excited for. I got him one of those city street rugs at Home Depot and he is getting a fire engine bed from his cousin. I can't wait to see it all put together. It will be such a boy room.
M is still having a surf room. Her quilt is getting closer to being done. I will post it here when it is finished. My mom has hand stitched the whole thing. The applique is so cool. I am thankful for a talented mother. I have a Hawaiian message board for her to hang up, but I am still looking for more decorations. Anyone have any good ideas? I thought about doing grass skirts for the windows.
C's room is the easiest since she will be inheriting all of my Mary Engelbreit things. She has curtains, paintings, light switch covers, the works. It will be so bright and cheery (also the name of her trim color). As soon as M's quilt is done, my mom will start on one for C, but even now her blanket has cherries and posies on it so it is already very Mary Engelbreit.
There is still a lot to do and we are not out of the woods yet, but everyday we get a little closer and with any luck we may move in officially the weekend before Christmas! That is all I want this year and it just might happen. At that point I can turn my focus back to writing in my free time, which lets face, as a mother of three I don't have much of, but some is better than nothing. So sorry nano, I flaked out, but just you wait until next year!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Reflections Night

Tonight was reflections night at the school. It is such a simple thing, go to the school, get your medal (everyone gets one), look at some art and get a brownie. It takes all of 10 minutes, but it is worth it all year to see the look on a child's face as they hold up their medal and know that someone thought they did good. M has entered for the last 3 years. The last two years she has entered in art and gotten an honorable mention and the opportunity to move on to the next round. This year she decided to enter in literature (how proud am I as a writer that my daughter wanted to do this?:))The theme for the year was WOW! She decided that she was going to interview her Oma about her life as a young child during WWII and the Russian occupation of East Germany. (Okay it helps that my mom had a pretty amazing story to tell.)
M interviewed my mom, composed a story about what she learned and then wrote it in her best handwriting(which is something she struggles with, so that alone made me super proud!)Well, when we got to her place tonight, there were two medals there. She looked at me and said "Who is that other one for?" I tried not to laugh as I told her that it was hers. She had won the award of excellence for literature. She looked at me for a moment with a blank expression and then got a huge grin. "Really?" That smile was all worth it.
On the way home we had our usual talk about how proud we were that she entered and it doesn't matter if she doesn't move on past the next level, but that she did her best and that is what will always make her a winner. It is hard as a parent to find that fine line between encouraging your children and making them think that winning is all that matters. I try my best, but for tonight I am going to gloat for a moment and say, my baby girl rocks! I love you M and am so proud of you!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Test your Awareness

I always look forward to reading Orson Scott Cards reviews on Hatrack. They always give me something to think about, talk about, read, see, or avoid. Today they gave me this great ad that I have watched several times. GO ahead, take a minute watch it and then as Card says watch it again!

When you're sick...

So I finally am taking a break from running around, getting water, holding achy kids, playing candy land with L who is not sick, taking temperatures, and some stuff that needs cleaning up that I am sure no one needs to hear about. I just made a pot of cinnamon raisin rice and now M is finally saying her tummy feels a bit better. It got me to thinking about the things that comfort us when we are sick. I made this, because it is what my dad always made me when I was sick. I also used to only drink Hi-C Ecto Cooler when I was sick. I don't think they even make that anymore. Now when I am sick, my comfort is my big pillow, my blanket and silence!
My sister swears by peppermint tea. When she is taking care of my kids and they are sick to their stomach that is what they get. I can't stand hot drinks and so while I might take a sip or two (it does work) it is not a comfort to me and so I usually try to avoid it.
It is funny how each person is different when it comes to what will make them better. L needs to sleep when he is sick. M likes her rice pad heated up and C is all about sponging herself with cool wash cloths. But no matter what different things each of them need, the number one thing they all seem to want when they are sick is Mommy. It makes for a lot of work which is added to the stress of seeing your kids sick, but it also is a comfort to me that when they are miserable, it is me that they want. Maybe I am doing something right after all!
So what is it that you need when you are sick? A friend, chicken soup, coke? Whatever it is I hope you always have it, and you never need it! Healthy thoughts for this upcoming sick season!

Sunday, November 16, 2008

I'm Sick and Tired

Yes, you heard me. I am sick and tired! Literally! I am sick to my stomach as is C and cleaning her throw up up is not helping. L has fifth disease, and I thought with the fever that is what C had as well until dinner started coming back. I am also tired. We have been working like crazy on the house. Painting ceilings is hard work, I am sore. But all the ceilings have been primed, five got a first coat of paint, and three of those got their second coat this weekend before the bug hit me. I hope to feel better tomorrow so I can get back at it. I so want this house to be done and for us to be in it. I have waited a long time for a house of my own. Now the only thing I wish about as much as I wish to get into it, is that I can take my current neighborhood with me when I go! I love it here so much. I know I should give the new one a chance, but I live in the ideal neighborhood right now. I am going to miss everyone! Just thinking about it makes me sad. So now I am sick, tired, and sad. Oh well C'est La vie! That is my rant and my reason that there has been no word count posting this week. But the silver lining is that last night I had a dream about my story and figured a way to begin resolving all of my many dilemmas. I am sure there will be more to come before this is a book, but maybe, just maybe next week I can write again! Oh and three cheers to my fellow codex writers Eric James Stone and Ami Chopine. Both have stories in the recent edition of Intergalactic Medicine Show. If you are looking for good reads, check it out!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Nano Nano Day 11

I wrote over 4,000 words yesterday! Wha-hoo! If I could just do that for just 2 more days then I would be caught up all the way on word count and could keep to the 1667. My biggest problem is I have just been writing scenes, and I have a a first chapter due on Saturday for writers group. So do I get my word count up writing things I enjoy or muddle through the first chapter for writers group? We will just have to wait and see. How about you? Where are you on Nano? On your first chapter? Well here are some incentives. Write 500 words today have a small candy bar. Write 1000 buy yourself lunch. And for 2000 then you can play on the computer! Good Luck. Any thing you want for your goals? Just ask! WRITE ON! PS Thanks to all the non Nano people who have been offering us encouragement. WE need it and we appreciate it!(Notice how I did good ANDS? I went back and changed them! Oh wait no editing in November!)

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Spelling Bee and Nano Day 9

I didn't write at all yesterday! After 7 hours of tiling (we didn't finish because the tile saw broke and we spent an hour trying to fix it, then we tried to do pieces with the grinder and that was near impossible, so we finally just set all the pieces that did not need cuts) I came home and sunk into bed and read my book. But, had I written it probably would have been good to start with the word AND, because I obviously can't spell it, or at least I can't type it. I have found more often than naught that I get typing so fast all of my ands become adns. The word is killing me. I have never had that problem before with this particular word, but I am seeing a pattern and trying to be positive I may turn it into a good luck quirk. I had another easy word that I always typed wrong when I was writing AND THE SKY FULL OF STARS. It was FORM, I mean FROM :). That one was actually worse than and because spell check would not catch it. I had to comb my manuscript making sure all my froms were not forms. But I managed to write a whole book with that little problem. I have not had a word haunt me like that again, until now. SO I am wondering if that is a good sign, that because I can't seem to spell adn/and without looking very slowly at each letter, maybe my mind is in mode to write another book. Maybe in my acknowledgements of my books I need to thank the words that messed me up, or maybe I need to just join a spelling bee.
Nano is okay I have just over 8,000 words which is not where I should be, but more than I have written in a long time. Hope all of you who are participating are still keeping strong and for heaven sakes don't erase anything....you know who you are :)! Good Luck and look for more mini goals tomorrow!

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Housing Update and Nano Day 8

Aida must have been good for me because I managed to get over 2,000 words yesterday. That was the first day I hit wordcount for Nano this year. It probably also helped that I stopped trying to write in order and just wrote a scene that was in my head, surprise-surprise, after my night of inspiration. It feels so good to reach a goal! Another goal that is starting to come into focus, but has a way to go is the remodeling. For those of you who don't know, we basically gutted the inside of the house we bought down to the sheet rock. It wasn't our plan, but we decided to put some of the things we wanted on hold and do a few of the things that could only be done right now before anyone was living in the house. So far the texture is all done. It looks so good. It is amazing what just retexturing the walls can do, it is a whole new house. We also took out a wall in the downstairs bathroom and widened that up, tiled the washroom, fixed a hanging light in the washroom over the washer that made it so you could not open one of the cabinets all the way and made it into a canned light. Today my sister and I are going to tile the downstairs bathroom. That will leave baseboards, paint, carpet, closet doors, and then rehanging all the light fixtures, smoke detectors, etc... and having the vents cleaned. After that we can move in. I think Christmas will be our first holiday...or so I hope!

Friday, November 7, 2008

Aida and Nano Day 7

Last night was GNO. My good friend, Alyson, and I left the kiddios in care of grandparents and then daddies to go see one of our favorite musicals, AIDA. I saw it for the first time a couple of years ago when the Scera did it. The first time I saw it I cried and cried after we left. I wasn't sure what it was, but it touched something in me and made me fall in love with it. I was hooked. They did a great job last night at the Hale Center Theater. I laughed, I cried (as always), and when it ended I turned to Aly and said, "I want to go write now!" There is something about live theater that touches my writing bud and inspires me to give my characters life. There is also something about seeing it with someone who loves it as much as you do. Thanks Aly! After we were so pumped up,we drove around and just talked while we enjoyed hot chocolate from 7-11. They have a great new flavor, candy cane with white chocolate. Aly must have been inspired because she suggested that we mix it with regular. The outcome was undoubtedly yummy.
So goals for today are timed writing again. I pick that because I did so well with it. I'm not caught up yet, but I loved what I wrote yesterday, and today, feeling inspired, I am ready to do it again. So write 4 30 minute sessions if you can and then go to 7-11 and get some of that hot chocolate! Also, I only have 900 words until I can read my book so you know what I am working for, how bout you?

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Cleaning your house adn Nano Day 6.

Why is it so hard to keep my house clean? I will admit, I have never been OCD when it comes to cleaning, but I could always pull a deep clean off of the whole house in about a day. And by deep clean I do mean scrubbed (usually including Baseboards, floors, vents, the works). But lately it is just like I am trying to keep my head above water. It probably doesn't help having a million boxes in my living room, or the fact that I spend most of my time thinking about the other house. (UPDATE: All the textuting has been done and it looks great. I am going to tile the downstairs bath on Saturday!) Oh it is beyond frustrating! And on top of that my Nano word count just keeps slipping farther and farther behind. I need motivation. So last night I got the house livable clean and so today I hope to write. My main goal is to get to 7,000 words so I can read my book which came in the mail yesterday. Having a new Juliet Marillier book on my nightstand and not allowing myself to open it, even for a peak, is torture. What things torture you enough to motivate? I hope this one does the trick. So Today lets work on Time. Write for three 30 minute segments with out stopping! Can you do it? If you do then go and down load that song you have been wanting from itunes! And if you do 4 segments? Then crank up the music and dance to that song like it is 1999! Hey, we need exercise too! WRITE ON!

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

NANO DAY 5

So Music seems to be a no go for some of you but Custard has made its way into he running of things to motivate. I however have decided that it is not fair to be diabetic and a writer! But since some of you are moving along quite nicely with the food goals we will keep them coming. I am behind. So very very behind that I need some goal to get me going. The problem is, moving, packing, cleaning...is there time to write? So I guess I could write now and will keep this short and sweet. My goal for today is to clean for 30 minutes and write for 30 minutes, back and forth until I have a clean house and 1,000 words. I know I should shoot for more, but right now that seems alot.
I ordered HEIR TO SEVENWATERS yesterday and it should come today and so I am going to use that as my goal. I can not read it until I have 7,000 words. That should motivate me. As for goals for you....
500 words............you can watch a TV show today.
1000 words...........Bubble Bath!
1667 words............Custard! (Oh COney's how I love and miss you)...My goal for this one will be 1 piece of the yummy chocolate my mom brought back from Germany!

Good Luck and Write On!

Monday, November 3, 2008

Nano Day 3

How did you do? I didn't do so hot, but I did listen to Reo Speedwagon and it totally put me in the mood to write. SO Give yourself props for today, and tomorrow lets do some yummy goals. 500 Words. 1 piece of chocolate. 1000 words. 2 pieces of chocolate. 1667 words a jamba juice or another yummy smoothie of your choice. Can you tell my mom just got home from Germany and I have chocolate on the mind? I threw the smoothie in their to get something of nutritional value in my day. Good luck tomorrow. I will be writing to music. I thnk that will help. DO you write to music? If so what inspires you?

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Nano Day 2

Some people write everyday, some take Sunday off. Whatever you choose to do remember it is good to have a day of rest. No matter what today rest your mind and your body to get in shape for tomorrow! Way to go Alyson on the awesome word count! Oh and as a side note, little M spells awesome, osuem. Isn't that cute? Rest well and Write On, Nano Writers!

Friday, October 31, 2008

Hey Writers! Are you ready to be scared?

Halloween might give some a fright, with bats and ghouls roaming around all night. But for writers the day is scarier then many becasue it means tomorrow you have to start your story, even if ideas you don't have any!

Are you ready for NANO? I'm not. I mean, I signed up. I have an idea rolling though my head. I even figured out who the narrator was going to be. Sounds like I am on a roll, right? Wrong! There is just one tiny problem. I have no idea when I am going to find time to write 50,000 words! Oh well, what is the fun of trying if it didn't push you?

So NANO writers here is the deal...
If you are writing every day, you need to write 1,667 words a day to get your 50,000 in. If you are taking a break weekly (5 days off) it is 2,000. Now of course you can do this in lumps or all in one day, but this is your rough estimate. So how about we start with a bang?
For your first 500 words go buy yourself a coke (or your yummy drink of prefrence).
For your 1,000 word goal dig into the kids Halloween candy and pick any treat you want.
And if you hit 1,667 words tomorrow then you get to surf on the computer for 30 minutes!

More golas will be coming. Make sure you post what you are doing here, or somewhere else so you can get the encouragement it is going to take.

Last but not least. I will be trying to type goals as often as possible, but there will be no editing of my blog as all my spare time needs to be focused on my book, so sorry for all the typos. I don't care, I have a book to write.

Remember this is NANOWRIMO...Decemeber is for editing.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Hello my name is....


I love nick names. There is something fun about a special name that you can call your little one and they know mommy gave them that name. M has always been my Minchkineli because when she was little she would have me read YOU ARE SPECIAL over and over again to her. When C was born she had the sqiushyest cheeks ever so she became my Squishy Pie. And when L was born well we called him Poopers as you can imagine why. After awhile I felt bad for that nickname and since he had such a round tummy it was edited into Pooh Bear which he has been ever since.
It wasn't until recently though, that I discovered that he really thinks that is his name. Oh he will answer to his real name, but he never calls himself by that. The other day waiting for C to get out of school we met a nice woman and her dog. L loved the dog and while playing with it, the woman asked him his name..."Pooh Bear" he said. I then tell her his name and he gets mad. "My name is Pooh Bear!"
Last night at dinner he was blessing everyone at the table and when he got to him he said "Bless Pooh Bear". It was so cute. I've always known he was a wild animal, but it doesn't matter, I would not trade my Pooh Bear for anything!


PS 2 more days till Nano. Are you ready? I'm not, but I will make sure to post a reward to give yourself on Saturday, so come have a look and WRITE ON!

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Yearbook

Tonight for family time we played with pictures on the computer. This is one of the kids favorite pass times. D's Mac is super cool. They can take pictures of themselves with warped faces, or riding on a roller coaster, or underwater. We did the look alike meter and all three kids looked equally like the two of us, but then we went to www.yearbookyourself.com and we found some post worthy treasures. Here is a little look at what the Berlin family might have looked like in a different time.

Here is D in 1964




M in 1984




C in 1966




L in 1952



And here I am in the year I was born, 1976.





What can I say? Are we a family of lookers or what?

Friday, October 24, 2008

A LITTLE BIT OF FUNNY

I have been sick this week. It has not been the most fun, as any progress towards getting the house packed and the other house painted have gone down the tube. SO the other night when I was grouchy, D pulled out the computer and casually just put this video on. It was not the first time he has shown it to me, but for some bizarre reason every time the doll hands come out I bust up. Since D and I usually watch a show together on his MAC before bed, he has taken to playing this nightly for me. If you need a little funny in your life go on and watch it. Another bonus is, it's a SNL skit that is actually kid friendly! (Hint, it really starts about a minute in so if you don't want to watch the whole thing drag the timer to 1 minute and start from there) Enjoy!

Thursday, October 23, 2008

NANOWRIMO

I can't believe that national writer's month is already coming up again. Last year I participated and wrote over 50,000 words in one month. This year I plan on doing things a little different.
It has been a hard year for my writing. It started off with a bang. In February I went to LTUE and got to meet several cool authors. I had a private (well Aly came with me) meeting with Orson Scott Card to discuss the first few pages of my NANOWRIMO story. I spent March and April sending out queries on AND THE SKY FULL OF STARS, and In June I went up to Bosie to see an agent who had requested a partial on the same book. Then I began to get sick and it seemed as if everything just flew out the window. I stopped writing, querying, thinking...Well you get the point.
So here I am, 1 year from NANOWRIMO and not a lot to show for my writing.
The good news is that I am feeling better. The thyroid is under control as well as the diabetes. I have more energy and my characters have popped out of nowhere and started talking to me again. I am even considering going to some writing conferences. The Bad news is...with the remodeling of a home, packing up the old one, and catching up on life that stopped while I was sick, finding time to write is near impossible. But I want to do NANO....just in my own way.
So, I will not be starting with a new story, but one that is outlined in my head and researched. NANOWRIMO encourages you to write a novel from scratch and then use December to edit. I will be starting from Chapter One, but have a lot of things worked out already. So here is a challenge for any of you who want to do Nano, (basically write 50,000 words in November), but don't want to start with a fresh story. Do Nano my way. I will be posting ideas for rewards you can give yourself and ideas throughout November to help you make your goal. If you need someplace to report to you can do it here, and if you finish and really really really want a certificate, I am sure I can come up with something! So just because you don't want to start a story from scratch, don't let that make you give up on the real NANO goal....50,000 words in one month. Oh, and we can also make goals for anyone who is done with a novel, but wanting to polish it, anyone who just wants to make an outline, anyone who wants to spend the month researching. Let me know what your goal is. Together we can get all those novels out of us and onto the shelves!

Monday, October 13, 2008

What is a girl to do?


I love TO-DO lists. In fact, I usually thrive on them. A whole schedule written down mapping out my day. I have even gone as far as assigning a time slot to each thing on my TO-DO list before. Sometimes I tell my kids I am not an octopus, but even as I joke, I still try to be one. But now? Now with having to deal with two homes, one that needs to be kept clean and packed, one that needs to be ripped apart and refinished; three kids, two who have home work, one that wants to do school the entire time the girls are gone, all three who need mommy play time and cuddle time (and a have a mommy that needs that too); the intense desire to write as creative thoughts that have been absent for so long, now seem to be flooding my mind; wanting to edit at least two friends stories that are sitting in my large email pile waiting for me to read them; the email pile itself; having to put together and figure out Halloween costumes; wanting to have Christmas shopping finished before Thanksgiving like I always try to do; knowing that D is going to be going out of town for a bit; and life in general, I don't know if I dare write all these things down. I am afraid that I will see there is not enough time in the day. I am afraid I need to be at least two octopodes. I'm afraid I need help!
And I know I did just write them down, but with no real specifics, with no real intention of looking at that list again for fear of what might jump out from it and bite me. So, I just am wondering, because I am not superficial enough to think that I am the only woman out there with way to much to do, how do you do it? How do you accomplish everything you need to and want to without going mental? How do you stretch the day to meet all of your demands? And what do you do if you can't? I am sinking in my own TO-DO list and calling on you to tell me: WHAT IS A GIRL TO DO?

Friday, October 10, 2008

What is the issue?

This is going to be a political blog entry. I have keep quiet for a long time because I truly believe that in America it is not only our right to vote, but our right to be free to vote as we feel. The upcoming election has brought many points out. I am not going to say that any of the candidates are perfect. They are not. But sometimes it comes down to what is important. I am not Catholic, but I think that this video which I saw on my friend Tristi's blog says something important to people of all faiths and religions. I don't want to start a fight with this. You can disagree with me, but please do so in a manner that is clean and tasteful. The thing I want to accomplish by posting this is not to tell you who to vote for, but to ask you that before you vote at least make a prayerful decision. I know that when we ask our Heavenly Father in humble prayer, having faith in Christ, our prayers will be answered. I have made my decision through prayer and hope that everyone will do so to be at peace with the candidate you feel is the best choice for your own beliefs. My friend said an interesting thing. If you vote for something, it is like saying you believe in it. So no matter whose name you check on November 4th, just make sure you are doing what you believe in, and not just voting to Rock the vote.

Friday, October 3, 2008

NEW HOUSE

Well we are officially homeowners. In fact, right now I am sitting on the floor of my new house (we have no furniture yet) blogging, and watching D chip out the tile in the downstairs bathroom. Our plans for the future include: new paint, new carpet, new tile (which the previous owners kindly left enough for us to use), raingutters adn then we will move in. I am thinking about a month. Yay!

Friday, September 26, 2008

I'm not pregnant, I'm just fat.

It doesn't help a person's self esteem much when their MIL informs them that people have been asking when you are due. Especially when you have had the last two months I have. First off I gained 12 pounds in one month, went to the doctor, found out my thyroid had stopped working and I have diabetes. Had to go on meds and begin to count cabs like crazy. Then there was the hormonal depression and anxiety that comes from said problems. Then the next month I lost 9 pounds. So now I get to add to that that I am not just fat like I thought I was, I am fat enough that people think I am having a baby! Oh vey! That just bites. I guess I better increase those sit ups and push ups. And until and if I ever stop being the fatter of the two pigs just remember, I am not pregnant, I'm just fat! (Thank Heavens, I don't think I could throw another kid into my messed up equation right now).

Thursday, September 25, 2008

FOUR YEARS OF BOOK CLUB

This month marks four years since the book club I am in first met and organized. October will be four years since our first book was read and discussed. It has been so fun. We have a great group of women in the club that I have enjoyed getting to know. We meet once a month to talk, eat, and have a break from kids. And yes, we even discuss the book! Here is a list of the books we have done. The my pick books are ones that I picked to read (we take turns hosting the club at our houses and choosing the book). I tried to pick a favorite book for each year, though it was not easy as you will be able to tell by this list we have read some great books.

October 2004 These is my words by Nancy Turner
November 2004 A town like Alice by Nevil Shute my pick
Jan 2005 Cain River by Lalita Tademy
February 2005 Reunion by Fred Uhlman first year favorite
March 2005 The Giver by Lois Lowry
April 2005……….. The Hiding Place by Corrie Ten Boom
May 2005………… The Last Unicorn by Peter S Beagle
June 2005………… Daughter of the Forest by Juliet Marillier………………..my pick
July 2005…………. Bold Spirit by Linda Lawrence Hunt
August 2005……… Seabiscuit by Laura Hillenbrand
September 2005.…. Dark Angel by Robert Kirby
October 2005…….. Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver
November 2005….. Pope Joan by Donna Cross
January 2006…..… The Family Nobody Wanted by Helen Doss
February 2006…… Phantom by Susan Kay…………………………Second year Favorite
March 2006……… The Lion, the witch and the wardrobe by C.S. Lewis
April 2006……….. Enders Game by Orson Scott Card
May 2006………… Speaker for the Dead by Orson Scott Card……………….my pick
June 2006………… Before the Dawn…by Carol Warburton
July 2006………… Galileo’s Daughter by Dava Sobel
August 2006……… Alisha: My Story by Alicia Appleman Jurman
September 2006….. Eve and the Choice made in Eden by Beverly Campbell
October 2006…….. Before Women had Wings by Connie May Fowler
November 2006.. The Only Alien on the Planet by Kristen Randall...Third Year Favorite
January 2007……… Ingathering by Zenna Henderson……………………..….my pick
February 2007…….. Twilight by Stephenie Meyer
March 2007……… The Memory Keepers Daughter by Kim Edwards
April 2007………… I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith
May 2007………… Tears of the Giraffe by Alexander McCall Smith
June 2007………… The Curious Incident of the Dog and the Nighttime by Mark Haddon
July 2007…………. Things not Seen…by Andrew Clements
August 2007……… Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by JK Rowling
September 2007…… Eclipse by Stephenie Meyer
October 2007……… Freakenomics by Levitt and Dubner
November 2007…… The Book Thief by Markus Zusak……………Fourth Year Favorite
January 2008……… Moloka’i…by Alan Brennert
February 2008…….. Odd Thomas by Dean Koontz
March 2008…….…. Secret Life of Bees by Susan Monk Kidd
April 2008………… Dispatches from the Edge by Anderson Cooper
May 2008…………. Escape by Carolyn Jessop
June 2008………… The Eight by Katherine Neville…………………………..my pick
July 2008………… The Authurian Omen by GG Vandagriff
August 2008……… Breaking Dawn by Stephenie Meyer
September 2008….. Rachel and Leah by Orson Scott Card
October 2008…….. The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield

The best thing about our book club is we have a unique group of women and so each months pick is something different. It has really opened me to a world of books I may not have read other wise. Browse through this list and see if maybe there is something you might like as well. So thank you girls for four great years! Here is to many more.

Monday, September 22, 2008

GO SEE THE FLYBOYS


This weekend I had the opportunity to go to the movies with my mom and my sister while D watched the kids. Fortunately, we saw an amazingly good show. Unfortunately it was only playing at 3:45 pm or 10 pm. We opted for the later so the kids would be in bed and although I was tired the next day, it was well worth the money and the time. The movie was called THE FLYBOYS and it happened to be directed by the brother of a friend of mine from high school. My friend, Jason, also helped produce this fantastic film. There are so many reasons you should see this show. For an independent film, it has amazing action and filming. The flight sequences are amazing (and I am not just saying that because I am a pilots wife). The scenery is beautiful(they filmed it in Southern Utah. You have to love red rock country). The acting is good, the story fun, and I also really liked the musical score.
The show is about two boys who after an attempt to ditch a group of bullies, end up at the local airport. Being boys, they are sneaking around looking at planes and get caught in the luggage compartment of a plane that belongs to a mob boss. It is fun to watch how they overcome this sticky situation, but the real heart of story, in my opinion, is the relationships. First between the friends, and then the relationship between the mob boss and his brother (played by Stephen Baldwin).
This movie which has won several awards at film festivals across the nation made me laugh, cry, and come away knowing I had seen a fun show. The writing was well done, and it really made me wonder why the theaters are ripping it off by only showing it at inconvenient times. It should be playing all times and for many weeks to come. In fact the other people at the late showing were seeing it a second time because they liked it so much. It is a must see, so go out and watch it. If we support good independent films, then maybe we will get the chance to see more of them!
Viewers guide:
Limited bad language at the start of the movie by the bully.
One scene of half a behind (the boys mooning the bully)
Very mild violence
I probably will take my kids to see it, but I would suggest adults go first and decide for yourself. It was not offensive at all to me.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

The Santa Letters Blog Tour




I am very excited to introduce as my first blog tour review, author Stacy Gooch-Anderson and her warm and inviting new Christmas story, THE SANTA LETTERS.
Stacy lives in Salt Lake City with her husband and four sons. She attended the University of Utah and has won several awards through the Society of Professional Journalists. THE SANTA LETTERS which arrived this year just in time for the upcoming holiday season, is a story of trials, forgiveness, and the joy that comes from allowing Christ into your life.

A year after her husband was killed by a hit-and-run driver, Emma Jensen finds herself dreading having to face Christmas without her sweetheart and with all the financial strains that have been placed on her family since William's death. Only six-year-old McKenna, still believes that Santa will bring a Christmas miracle for their family.
But Christmas has always been a time of magic, and the Jensen's miracle comes in the form of an mysterious package on their front door days before Christmas, with a letter signed by none other than Santa himself. As the letters and packages continue to arrive the family remembers the miracle of the Savior's birth and learns that their beloved husband and father may be closer than they think.

At 190 pages, this delightful Christmas story is just the right size to open your heart to the miracles that are all around us. Having lost my own father to cancer several years ago just after Christmas, I can understand the suffering that goes along with facing life without a dear one. Stacy Gooch-Anderson, has taken this pain and turned it into a story about life and love. This book teaches forgiveness, overcoming loss, and how to let Christ into our lives in a tone that is anything but overbearing. There were several times that I found myself tearing up as I thought about ways I could let the Savior into my life. But this book is not just for those of us who have suffered loss. It is for anyone who wants to reunite with the true meaning of Christmas. It is for anyone who earns to remember that there is more to this season than presents and decorations. This story is for anyone who wishes to feel the Savior's love in their lives. In short, this story is for you.

And because I am lucky enough to be hosting a blog tour and not just sharing my review, I was able to have a little Q & A time with the author.

BERLINWRITERGIRL: We've all heard of the 12 days of Christmas, but this was the most Christ centered version I have ever seen. How did you come up with this idea?

STACY GOOCH-ANDESRON: Several years ago, I found out that two of my sons had been in a sexually abusive situation and my first instinct as a parent was to kill and then sadness for having failed them. After many prayers, the only answer I got was that in order to heal them, I had to first heal myself. I went to my scriptures and studied the Savior's birth. And since Christmas was upon us and there was no money after so many legal and counseling bills, I merged the best of life and what the Savior has to offer and put together the Santa Letters as way to help us all forgive and heal and remember all the true gifts that have been offered.

BWG: There were several Christmas traditions mentioned in your book, which ones if any came form your own life?

SGA: All of them came from our own Christmas Letters experience but many of them like humor, the ornaments every year, the music concert and a night of service are annual Christmas traditions for us. The only one that was fictionalized in the book was Health and Good Cheer since I know of no event like that held in any city. But we did take a walk at a place called Gardner Village and enjoy the sights there as a family.

BWG: How can people use this book to bring themselves closer to the Savior this Christmas season?

SGA: Since the main focus of the book is bringing Christ back into Christmas, I would hope that people would think more about Him and what He can do for us and has done for us rather than the commercialization of the season. I also think service is key to that. Whether in the service of your family, friends or mankind in general, service will bring you closer to Him and heal your heart as you find the real Christmas spirit.

BWG: I noticed you named two of the main characters after your parents. Was there any significance in doing so?

SGA: My father, William (Bill) Rex Gooch, died at age 61 from cancer on March 28, 2004 while he was serving as the Bishop of an LDS ward. His whole life was about service and unconditional love. My mother (Laurel Stapley Gooch) really struggled with his passing and lost much of her joy in life. My kids called her Miss Emma after a "classical" Laurel moment when she mistook my son calling her Emma on the phone and replied, "Sorry there is no Emma here, wrong number.: and then hung up the phone. This happened about three times before she finally asked me if Justin had a friend named Emma - it sounded just like him. After looking at the niumber and determining that it had been Justin, I called him back and asked what was up. He was stumped and in his normally fast dialect told me that he'd said Gramma, not Emma. He was the one left confused at her reaction. She ran upstairs after that to give her ears a thorough cleaning. She died earlier this year at age 63, also from cancer, on April 29, 2008. Her life was all about serving as a mother and unconditional faith but the lessons they taught me all growing will live on in our memories and through this book.

BWG: To those of us who are inspiring writers, what advice can you give us?

SGA: Find your passion and write from your true inner voice and never, never give up! And hone your skills in whatever way you can. talents were made to be used - not buried.

BWG: Would you share a little bit about your journey in writing and publishing this book?

SGA: You read a bit about my story above but what I didn't share then was that for 15 years I'd prayed earnestly that I could write stories that would touch the hearts of men. Even when we went through this, I didn't think about writing it since I figured that no one would be interested on one family's journey of healing. But then a good friend of mine, when she found out what we were doing, challenged me to write the story.I feel like I was just along for the ride from there as I watched the Lord's hand take over in everything to the timing of it, the publisher whose desk it landed on and the success since.I truly feel it is not my story but one that I was blessed enough to be a part of.

Perfect to read for Family Night, great to give as a gift, and inspirational enough to pick you up when life becomes overwhelming, THE SANTA LETTERS can be purchased through Amazon, or Deseret Book.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

I *HEART* HOMEWORK!

Now that C has started Kindergarten I was surprised at the amount of time needed to do homework each day. In 3rd grade M has to read to me 20 minutes a night, do her spelling words and one sheet of math, plus the occasional extra assignment such as preparing for her upcoming book report. C in Kindergarten has a lot as well. We need to read at least 15 minutes, work on writing for at least 10 minutes and work on math for at least 5 minutes each night, and additional projects for her as well. Now I know that does not seem like a ton, considering my 15 year old niece has about 3 hours a night for 10th grade. But it is a big step for us, with soccer, preparing to move, my being sick, potty training for L, a husband in a Masters course, and life in general. At first I was frustrated with it, but then I realized that homework time was the perfect opportunity to stop the stress of the day and bond with each child. I am having such fun reading The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane with M and finding words she doesn't know in the dictionary, and working on Math with C plus snuggling for story time, that I actually have invented homework time for L as well. We read, count, and at the dollar store I bought a bunch of Whinnie the Pooh pre-K books for him to do. I work finding out about school and friends into the time and end up getting to spend some great time with each kid while they are learning.
I am learning a lot about my kids by doing homework, so come on and bring it on teachers, I don't mind, its just more time to spend with my little ones!

Friday, September 5, 2008

So when should the medicine start working?

That is the question of the day as I sit here completely drained after another restless night. And the next question is...What do I do if my house falls apart before I get some energy back? The good news is the diet seems to be helping the diabetes, at least my blood sugar is normal again. The bad news is, you can't see my living room floor. I have heard Thyroid meds take anywhere from 3 to 6 weeks. I would sure love it to be closer to 3!

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Truffle for Thought

Hey everyone! I have been invited to share my comments on a new blog called Truffles for Thought. You can go there to hear my comments on Movies, Books, Music, whatever! Check out the link in the next column over. I will probably not post that stuff here anymore unless it is just too outstanding for words! Hope to see you there!

Friday, August 22, 2008

What a day!

It was a day like any other day..well, not exactly, maybe like any other day for the past month. I dragged myself out of bed just in time to get M off to school, looked at dishes in the sink, the growing pile of laundry on the floor, tripped over the toys that littered the house, attempted to clean, got tired sat down, fell asleep allowing the kids to destroy more of the house. My dear friend in an attempt to cheer the black clouds that have been forming for the last month goes out of her way to drive to Sonic to get me a cherry coke. They mess up and give her a strawberry coke. Yuck! But at least it makes me laugh once in the day. Finally after hours of waiting, the doctor finally called. The good news, I am not just a lazy slob. The bad news, not only is my thyroid out of balance, but I also have diabetes. And then as I am trying to digest this and learning just how hard cutting not just sugar, but all carbs down is, I get a rejection letter on my partial. It was not a good day. Oh well, C'est La Vie! At least I have great family and friends. Thanks to all of you who have been there!

Monday, August 11, 2008

9 Happy Years

Tomorrow D and I will be celebrating our 9 year wedding anniversary. We were married on August 12th, 1999 in the Mount Timpanogos temple. There were so many wedding there that day because 9 years ago today SLC saw its biggest (at least in my lifetime) tornado and the SLC Temple was closed for damage repair. The Jordon River Temple was also closed so all the weddings that were to take place in SLC went either north to Bountiful or South to Mount Timpanogos. We had gone the day before and taken all of our pictures except the family ones and I am so glad that we did becasue it was crazy, but none of that mattered. All that mattered is on that day I was sealed for time and all eternity to the love of my life.
In these 9 years we have enjoyed 3 kids, 6 moves, and 2 states. We have had the propeller fall off our plane mid-flight, traveled (my favorite trips were to Germany and Wisconsin), put D through school (he will be done with his Masters in December), lived at one time or another with all of our parents, watched a lot of Sci-Fi (D has been a very patent man sitting through everything from Babylon 5 to Quantum Leap to BattleStar Galactica with me). We have laughed and cried, loved and learned. We have survived everything life has thrown at us. I can truly say that I am married to my bestfriend. Here is to 9 great years and an eternity more to come. I love you D!

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

For the record...

I read it and I loved it. I have been reading some people's reviews on Breaking Dawn and I am wondering if I am just innocent, or if there are some people out there that just like to pervert anything they can. Trust me, I don't think I'm that innocent. I gave it a five. Twilight was the only other book in the series that I gave a five. Two types of books get fives from me. Books like: A Thousand Splendid Suns, which I may not read again, but the message is just so intense and thought provoking that you are truly changed by the story. Or books that are fantasy and just so much fun I could read them again and again. Breaking Dawn falls into the last category.
Maybe because I have never been one much for Vampires. This book seemed to have more magic in it than the others. I loved that. I love happy endings. This book is fun. By the way people it is FANTASY. That is the great thing about fantasy, anything can happen. I for one think Meyers did a good ending to the story. The only ending that made much sense. I will admit there is still one question I have, but I can say this..I finally like Bella! So while a lot of people are disappointed, I will probably find myself reading this book again, and again.

Saturday, August 2, 2008

TWILIGHTASTIC!


It is just a book right? A silly little book about a beautiful perfect vampire, a hot and hunky werewolf, and the girl we all love to hate. So what exactly is it about this ultimate series that has people waiting in line over night just to get a wristband to stand in line the following night for a chance to be one of the first people to hold the newest book in the Twilight series, BREAKING DAWN, in their hand? I'm not sure, but that didn't stop me from dragging my kids down to the local bookstore, straight from bed, in their PJ's, no breakfast whatsoever yesterday morning to get that wristband. I'm not a bad mom. I just sorely underestimated the power these books have over the female population. So did the book store. At one point in the wait, an employee came through the line and said they had expected maybe a hundred people to come first thing for wristbands, what they got was well over four hundred people.
After finding a parking spot, gathering blankets and reading material, the kids and I made our way around the building to the back of the store where we finally found a place in line about 200 people back. I have to give it up for the little ones, they are real troopers when it comes to mommy's obsession. For two and a half hours they stood with me in the hot sun for that wristband. And here is the clincher, the thing that really hurt. I ordered my copy off Amazon, the wristband in question was for my 15 year old niece. Had I known what I would have to go through to get her a place in line, I would have just had her reserve two books. As it is, I still have to wait till Monday to get my copy. Ouch!
But we got the wristband, had some breakfast brought to us, and canceled my Visiting Teachers. Was it worth it? I don't know, I will tell you on Monday when I finish the book, but my niece was sure grateful. Last night at 12:20 she had a copy of the book in hand.
But just because my book isn't here yet, does not mean I didn't participate in an evening of pure TWILIGHT fun. I spent the evening with my niece and best friend searching the store for wedding bands, eating frozen custard dedicated to none other than the beautiful Edward (butterscotch and chocolate flakes as opposed to Jacob fans who had chocolate with brownie chunks),playing TWILIGHT TRIVIA ( I made it to the third round), and watching as Alyson strutted her stuff in a competition to name the worst bridesmaid dress (She was a winner of course). It was the ultimate in girls night out which I don't foresee being repeated until December 12th when the TWILIGHT movie comes out. The greatest thing is, I am not alone, there are millions of women out there right now reading or waiting for their book. And from all of us I have a small message to author Stephenie Meyer. We may not be sure what exactly it was you did that turned us into uncontrollable fans, but we are glad you did it!
So whether you are a member of Team Edward or Team Jacob, or can't make up your mind and decided to be Switzerland, I hope you have a TWILIGHTASTIC weekend and don't get bitten too hard by BREAKING DAWN.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Thank You For The Music!

I have the coolest husband in the whole world! For his 31st birthday (which is today, Happy Birthday Baby!) he let me take him to see THE MUSIC OF ABBA WITH ARRIVAL FROM SWEDEN. They are, of course, an ABBA tribute band. And not only that, they are the only ABBA tribute band with the exclusive rights to identically recreate exact versions of ABBA's original clothing, and been given permission from Bjorn and Benny (the two BB's in ABBA) to perform one of ABBA's unreleased tracks. Okay so I was a little excited.
I first fell in love with ABBA when I was a little girl and heard the song FERNANDO, which is still my favorite song by them. During the 80's I learned to love more of their music as another of my favorite groups, ERASURE, began to cover their songs. TAKE A CHANCE ON ME, LAY ALL YOUR LOVE ON ME, AND SOS became instant hits. In high school, DANCING QUEEN became a favorite song. I just seem naturally drawn to ABBA songs! Even on my mission, as a farewell tribute to one of my favorite companions, my other comp and I dressed up in our then stylish Chicago Bulls jerseys (20 Pesos at the flea market, thank you), decked out our hair and makeup and made up a dance to TAKE A CHANCE ON ME, which we then horribly performed, much to Sister R's delight (thankfully there are only two other people in the world to testify to this!) Point is....I love ABBA!
The concert was great. There is no wonder why this group is allowed to do the official tribute. They sounded exactly like ABBA. Did I mention it was awesome!? I even got D to stand up and dance on not one, not two, but three songs (MAMA MIA, TAKE A CHANCE ON ME, DANCING QUEEN). He was happy when they played his favorite song, CHIQUITITA. It was so much fun, and thanks to my worlds greatest Stepmother-in-Law for hooking us up with the tickets. And Thank you for the music, ABBA!(and ARRIVAL).

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

NA NA NA NA HEY HEY HEY GOODBYE!

Well there is no going back now. I said I was going to cut it all off, and boy did I cut it all off. The initial cut was just under 11 inches. That has been placed in a plastic bag and will be sent off to Locks of Love tomorrow. To smooth it out I think I lost another inch or so. I am loving it right now. My head feels so light and my hair feels so healthy. We will see what happens tomorrow when I have to actually style it on my own! So in case it flops and never looks nice again, here is my photo documentation that once upon a time my short hair looked cute. A big thanks to my Sister-in-Law E. for the cut and highlights.





Monday, July 21, 2008

Play it again, Sam.

Just got back from a week in California. Had a blast and will post on that later, red ants and all!!! But for now I just wanted to post a song that I love by Sam Beam. This guy on Youtube does a pretty good job. The Lyrics are amazing. They are so poetical. Hey, I am a writer, how can I not love beautiful lyrics? Hope you enjoy!


Here are the lyrics if you want to follow along!


Iron and Wine -- Passing Afternoon -- Sam Beam

There are times that walk from you like some passing afternoon
Summer warmed the open window of her honeymoon
And she chose a yard to burn but the ground remembers her
Wooden spoons, her children stir her Bougainvillea blooms

There are things that drift away like our endless, numbered days
Autumn blew the quilt right off the perfect bed she made
And she's chosen to believe in the hymns her mother sings
Sunday pulls its children from the piles of fallen leaves

There are sailing ships that pass all our bodies in the grass
Springtime calls her children 'till she let's them go at last
And she's chosen where to be, though she's lost her wedding ring
Somewhere near her misplaced jar of Bougainvillea seeds

There are things we can't recall, blind as night that finds us all
Winter tucks her children in, her fragile china dolls
But my hands remember hers, rolling 'round the shaded ferns
Naked arms, her secrets still like songs I'd never learned

There are names across the sea, only now I do believe
Sometimes, with the windows closed, she'll sit and think of me
But she'll mend his tattered clothes and they'll kiss as if they know
A baby sleeps in all our bones, so scared to be alone

Friday, July 11, 2008

The First Chapter

It has been a crazy week as I have spent everyday of it driving back and forth to my sister's house to watch her kids while she is at girl's camp. So I have not kept track of my writing. The bad news is...I am behind of where I wanted to be on my word count. The good new is...even with kids and dogs, lemonade stands and car repairs, I have still managed to work on my story everyday and I am liking where it is at. I found that when I wrote AND THE SKY FULL OF STARS, I spent almost two months on the first chapter and once I felt that I had it right, I zoomed ahead with the rest of the book. For me it is all about getting it right at the start. I am hoping that by next week I will have Chapter one where I want it. Anyone want to do a read through for me?
On another happy note. I do have a working title for this second book. THE PATH OF THE STARS. I like it. I hope you do too.

Friday, July 4, 2008

UVU, Neighborhood of Fire, and the Great Cupcake Debate


















It has been an eventful week. On Monday UVSC celebrated its move to UVU and now is an official university. There were a lot of festivities, but the best one was watching D fly over the crowd in one of the three twinstars the aviation department has. The kids sat on the grass and when he came overhead they started yelling "Hi Daddy" It was pretty cool.
























On Tuesday we celebrated our neighborhood of fire. Good food, great friends, and the kids had all decorated their for the annual ride around the block. Even little L participated this year. His big wheel was not decorated because he had ripped all the streamers and flags that M had so carefully placed on it. He wanted nothing to do with decorating his bike. But when the moment for the ride came, he was in full force, making it around not just one, but both blocks. He was the last one in, but he did the whole thing by himself. We had a great time until the fireworks. I hate fireworks. I hate my kids having them, I don't mind sitting at a safe distance and watching them, but I hate the worry associated with them. The big problem ones for me are sparklers. This year, after I was told that the previous year people had been giving me bad looks because I had not brought sparklers for my own kids and the neighbors had to share, I broke down and bought some. Never again. It was not the million kids that swarmed me when I pulled them out, they were all cute and polite. I had no problem sharing (as I am sure my neighbors didn't the year before, why do I listen to these guilt trips?), but with that many kids someone was bound to get hurt. Well someone dropped one. It lit my blanket on fire and M trying to help stomp out the flame, lost her flipflop and had the lit sparkler go into her foot instead. Poor thing. I felt so bad because she is a little of a drama queen and so when she said she had been brunt, I assumed it was from one of the sparks and made her walk home wailing in pain while I gathered C and L. Then I got home and washed the burn only to find a nice hole in her foot. She insisted on a Band-aid, and I insisted on lavender oil. Next year I am thinking Glow Sticks!




















You may not believe this with my distaste for fireworks, but 4th of July is my favorite holiday. I love to make flag cakes, and BBQ and, play outside. When I was in the Philippines on my mission, I was sad because I would miss 2 fourth of July's. I ended up making all the elders candy flags. So when I saw these cupcakes with blue and white sprinkles I just had to get them. They are so sinful, I know, but I had some great justifications of why I had to bring home a package from Costco with 20 extra large cupcakes.

#1...I was being frugal. I had a coupon!
#2...I was being patriotic. They have star sprinkles!
#3... I was being a good mom. My kids beg me all the time to get these cupcakes and for the past year I have been saying no. Now was my time to spoil my kids!
#4...I was helping out the economy by making this purchase. I was doing my American duty by putting my money back into society!

Now tell me, with all those fine things, don't I deserve a cupcake? (or two?)

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Write Here Write Now

Well, July came with a bang. I had hoped to have an entire day to write, but my children decided that would not be the case. Still I got in over 2,000 words in the few hours I had. Not a bad start. Except about 1,400 words in I was not loving the story. Once again I knew more outlining was needed. Zareepa! Wouldn't it be so nice if you could just come up with an idea and write it, knowing how everything would work from the get go? I sure think so. So I was faced with a dilemma. I want to do the BIAM challenge, but if I had to do the research (which is essential if you want to write anything worth reading) that wasn't going to happen. Then my good friend and fellow writing group member pointed out to me that I already had a story that I had done all the research for, a character that I knew and loved and an idea that I had been playing with for the past 2 years. I thought it would be jumping the gun to write a sequel to AND THE SKY FULL OF STARS before I even knew if I could get the thing published, but now I think why shouldn't I? There is a character who is just dying for a story of their own and a lot of the research has already been done. So as I love change I am going to give this character a chance. So here it is: Write Here Write Now I pledge that for the month of July I will write this person's story. And if I change my mind somewhere before the 31st will someone please come over and slap me?

Monday, June 30, 2008

Good Times For A Change

This is musical blog. Listen to this song as you read it. I am not fancy enough just to put the song on my blog, so the video doesn't really need to be watched. I just love this song and the Smiths and since I am headed for a change thought it would be a good mix.



As stated before my friend Tristi is doing a writing challenge in the month of July. I have been looking forward to this, but as the time drew nearer I did not know if I was really ready. My fairy tale, the one that I have been working on since November, has lost its wings. Or maybe it just never had any to begin with. It is a great story, but I don't know if I am ready to write it yet. I am beginning to think that maybe magic and fantasy are not what I was meant to write. I know I can, but I think I need a lot more research into things before this world can be created. Did I mention I needed a lot of research? So I think it is good times for a change. I am going to use this month to let my fairy tale simmer and see if it can find its wings ( I just can't give up on it, I think it is a great idea). While it is doing that, I am going to use the BIAM (Book in a month) challenge to try something completely different. It was an idea I had in February of 2007 while driving down to Zion to do research for AND THE SKY FULL OF STARS. I used the idea to write the short story start that got me a place in Orson Scott Card's Literary BootCamp. I have been praying about it and think that this is a good idea. For one thing, it takes place in our world with no magic. It is also more Sci-fi than fantasy. I am prone to writing in 1st person and I really want to work on my 3rd person, but it wasn't working with my fairy tale. So now I can write a modern fantasy ( there are no aliens in this one, but lots of science things) and try out my third person voice. So for the month of July my 13,500 words are going to be devoted to new project that I like to call THE LAVERKIN PROJECT. Good times for a change! (I HOPE!)

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Happy Birthday Guys!

Free Clipart Picture of a Birthday Cake with Candles. Click Here to Get Free Images at Clipart Guide.com
The past few days have always been birthday central around here. When I was growing up we had two weeks of birthdays. The first week in February had my dad, my two sisters, and my birthday. Even when my sister got married, her husband was just two days before hers. So we always had a big celebration then. We used to go to Sizzler when they still gave you a free birthday dinner. We would pay for two and get five free. They stopped doing that. Hmmm I wonder if we had anything to do with that?
My mom and brother had their own little birthday celebration here at the end of June. My brother is one day, my mom the next. Somewhere along the line they might have been on the same day since my mom was born in Germany during WWII and because of the time difference and the Daily Light Savings they had during the war at one time she had a birth certificate for both the 26th and 27th. But in the end, we celebrate her special day on the 27th. Then when my first niece was born she came on my mom's 50th birthday. As our family grew we could not keep up the trend of February or June, but these three need a big happy birthday shout out!
Something about each of them.
My brother S. is 5 years older than me and when he used to babysit when my parents went out of town he would get James Bond movies, Dr. Pepper, and Pizza and all we would do the whole weekend was veg and watch Bond, James Bond! He (my brother, not James :)!) always let me hang out with his friends and would take me places. He never made me feel like a dumb little sister. Happy Birthday Bro!
My mom is the coolest ever! She does everything for me. We celebrated her day yesterday by going to Seven Peaks Water Park, and then having Macaroni Grill, and for desert Magleby's Chocolate Cake! When my mom found out that the agents who were looking at my partial were going to be in Idaho there was no question in her mind what we would do. She offered to drive up there with me and watch the kids. Plus she paid for all the gas! She supports my writing and gives me a lot of encouragement. Plus she has the best use of English Grammar (even with a thick German accent). I have the worlds greatest grammar editor in her (probably should have her review my blog, but there is no time). I love you Mom! Happy 65th!
My little niece just turned 15. When I talked to her last night she said she spent the day playing golf and sleeping. She is on her school's golf team and is super talented. She is also my Sailor Moon buddy. Whenever she sleeps over at my house we watch Sailor Moon until the wee hours of the morning, eating ice cream and drinking cream soda. She is a very talented writer and was on her school's news paper. She has a great imagination. Her favorite part of golf camp was the girl-boy ratio 5 girls 39 boys! She is growing up way too fast. Happy 15th Girl!
I love all of you and hope your days rocked!

Thursday, June 26, 2008

A New Goal In The Making


My friend Tristi is issuing a writing challenge for July and since I pretty much botched June up I figured I better try for it. To check it out for yourself you can go to Tristi's Challenges. My goal will be 13,500 words. That is about 500 words a day, not including Sunday. To prepare for it this week I am going to be reading a great book that Orson Scott Card recommended called THE LOST COUNTRY LIFE. It is so fascinating, and the new story line is really coming along in my head by reading this. It is all about how the average man lived daily life in medieval England. It is awesome. And speaking of Tristi and writing...
Tristi Pinkston has been a friend of mine since I was 12 years old. Our parents were in a business organization together and there was a group for kids called The Young Executives. Tristi is one of the nicest, most sincere people I have ever met. Her challenges help would-be-writers all over to reach their goals. That being said, I am a little ashamed that it took me so long to reading her books, but I did. I just finished STRENGTH TO ENDURE and I really enjoyed it.
The book is set in Germany during WW2 and is really compelling. So here is my truthful review.
I really had gotten into the first part of this story and the life of this German family as the war tore the country apart. And then all of a sudden it got religious and I thought, Oh no. Now don't get me wrong. I am LDS and I have a firm testimony. But, and I won't name names here, there are some authors who turn stories about accepting the gospel into less than believable fiction. Tristi hit it right on. I truly felt the spirit in these people's lives and it helped to strengthen my own testimony that I do believe in a kind and loving Heavenly Father, and that I do believe miracles can happen, and he does bless our lives.
If you are looking for a easy book that makes you feel good then check this out. I will be reading another book by her, NOTHING TO REGRET this week. It is also a WW2 story, but takes place in Topaz, Utah at the Japanese relocation camp. D and I took the kids out there in March and showed them around what was left, which is not much. But there is a memorial wall and it was a great opportunity to teach our children what went on during the war. I am excited to see what Tristi does with this book. So as she challenges me to get a book written, I challenge you to look her up and read some of hers. She is a true gem to the LDS writing community.

Monday, June 23, 2008

The goal will not be made!























As some of you may have noticed, my writing word count has taken a serious turn from bad, to worse, to disastrous. How am I ever going to get a book written with this type of word count? The answer obviously is...I'm not. But there are some good reasons why I have not gotten to where I wanted to be, and now that I have figured them out, I am hoping that I can jump back into the swing of things.
Last week was probably my busiest week I've had this summer. There was soccer camp, piano recitals, book club (at my house), the opportunity to go see Jessica Day George speak, helping throw a baby shower for my sister-in-law, my turn to do Sharing Time at church, as well as teach the lesson. Now add to that taking two days off to drive up to Boise and meet with the agents who requested my partial, and all the things I was doing to prepare for that, such as packing, catching up on laundry, doing a final edit on AND THE SKY FULL OF STARS, and you can see there just was no time for writing. My meeting however went very well. The agents were super nice people. I hope they end up liking my book if for no other reason than they are the type of people I want helping me break into the publishing field.
My second excuse took some time to dawn on me. The few times I sat to write I couldn't. I thought it was because of my crazy schedule, and the fact that I was spending time on my previous novel, but it turns out there was more than that. I realized that the story I have been writing for the past month was not the story that I had originally planned on telling. I was trying to hard to write this fairy tale like Shannon Hale or Jessica Day George would and it just wasn't working for me. So I decide to back off. Of course I would love to write like those great women. If you have not read them, you really must they are amazing. I want to be amazing too, but I think my amazing will have to come in its own way. So I am stepping back and going to write the story I originally wanted to tell. Once that is done I will let people tell me what I need to change to get it published. But until then, I will write for me. I think that will help bring the word count up again. Until then, June's goal is shot, but I am not giving up completely.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Rejections not funny, but this is!



Sigh...I just got another rejection letter, and while it was nice, and I am really excited because I am going up to Idaho--to hear the agents that requested a partial of my book speak, it is still hard. Sometimes I wonder if it is really worth it. I love to write. I won't stop, but I find myself working so hard on this story to make it right for someone else when I love the story as it is. Oh well we must please the masses I guess. But even rejection could not stop me from laughing at this great classic movie. They really knew how to make them back in the day. The movie is called THE SECRET OF SANTA VITTORIA. It is based on the book by Robert Crichton.

When they hear that the Nazis are coming to town to take their wine, they decide that they must hide it. Anthony Quinn is delightful as Mayor Bombolini in this witty, but heart warming story of overcoming injustice by a dictatorial power. The head Nazi is played by the amazingly talented Hardy Kruger (check him out in Flight of the Phoenix). I watched this with my mom and sister and we laughed the whole way through. There is nothing like hearing my mom with her thick German accent (which of course I can't hear) say she enjoys movies about "those evil Germans". Good times!

So the next time you are feeling rejected, pick up a good movie and laugh it up. It is true what they say, laughter really is the best medicine.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Creative Friends


I think my favorite thing about blogging is being able to see what some of my dear friends from High School are doing. We don't get together often enough (someone better hurry up and have a baby so we can have a shower) but I can still feel like I know what is up with them. They are all so cute and creative, but this blog is for one friend in particular--Emily. I mentioned her once before with her jewelry store Sass and Savvy. She makes all this jewelry and it is super cute. Right now she is having a contest for a free piece since she was recently given a review on SIMPLE. To enter just go to her site and pick three pieces you like, then head on over to the SIMPLE sight to leave a comment. When you see her stuff you are going to hope you are the winner. I know I do! Way to go Emily!

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Salad Shakers

Ever since Kami posted the recipe for her Spinach Tortellini Salad, I have found myself craving salads. I love summer if simply for the fact that I can just send D out to the grill every night for one of his amazing recipes. I swear that man has the magic touch when it comes to grilling. He can do anything from chicken, to ribs, to fish, to ham, to...well you get the idea. The only thing is, while he is cooking up the meat, I am left in the kitchen to think up a side dish. Since the whole purpose of having him grill (besides the yummy factor) is that I don't want to heat up the kitchen, Salads usually come to mind. The only problem is, my family gets tired of plain green salad after awhile (not me I love salad). So I am always looking for creative and easy salad side dishes. I can't wait to try out Kami's and in the spirit of that, I thought I would post a recipe for one that I really am liking this year. I won't tag anyone, but if you are in the giving mood, I invite you to share your favorite salad recipe as well. Please help the neighborhood to shake up dinner!

Oriental Coleslaw
3 cups classic coleslaw mix (found in salad section)
1 can Mexi-corn
1 can Mandarin Oranges
1/2 bunch of green onions--chopped

Dressing
1/2 C mayo
1T lime juice
1T red wine vinegar
1-2T sugar

Mix together and enjoy!

Saturday, June 7, 2008

That's Odd



I should be getting my hand on a copy of Odd Hours by Dean Koontz this weekend. It had to go through my mom and sister first. (Saving money, too poor to buy my own, how sad!)I am so excited. This is the fourth book in the series, which will be seven books. If you have never read them, go now start with Odd Thomas, go to Forever Odd and then my personal favorite so far Brother Odd (you have to love something about a monk who used to be mafia, but converted after reading The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane, yet another fantastic book!)
Afraid of Koontz? Heard he is too dark? Heard he writes Horror Novels? Well in some ways you are right. I too shunned him for several years because of those things. And then one day I discovered Odd. There is something so wonderful, so likeable, so endearing about the character of Odd. He is a 19 year old kid who works the grill at a local cafe and sees dead people. Yes, there are demented people in these books, but it is almost what makes the good guys so good. The fight between dark and light, and guess what the light wins. It isn't awful and creepy. And along the way some good people die, that happens to be life. To read Koontz POV on faith, yes faith! Click here.
Koontz has the most amazing way of writing metaphors and similes or as I affectionately call them Smellaphors (never can remember which is which). One of my favorite scenes is when he writes about a butterfly being like a geisha. It is so beautiful.
I seem to love all of Koontz characters. Christopher Snow, Jimmy Tock, but Odd is the one that started me on the path to one of my favorite writers and so he will always hold a special place in my heart.
For any of you already fans, you can check out a four part webcast about Odd here!
I am anxiously waiting to see what our hero does next. My heart is Forever Odd!

Friday, June 6, 2008

Seriously?

There was a time, not that long ago actually, that I used to write for no one but myself. It was a carefree time of not having to worry about anything. I could rant, go off on tangents, and not worry one iota about formatting. So basically I could blog! :) And then one day I got this delusional idea that maybe I might try to get something I wrote published. There were no big flashing lights telling me that my present stream of writing was not going to get a first glance, let alone a second if I sent it in as is. It was obvious to me that I had to play by the rules if I wanted to be taken seriously. So I learned the proper way to format, I triple checked grammar, I spent a few dollars extra on shipping and nice paper and ink. When it was time to send it in, I didn't skimp. Sure I probably have goofed up now and then. It seems everyone wants to receive something just a little different. I try to please all, but hey I'm only human (or so I have been told, I did get bit by that monkey....hmmm maybe I am turning primate!) But really, I try to be as professional as possible.
The point of this all is my "daily kick in the pants". This is an e-mail I get regularly from super cool author David Farland (ie Wolverton in the sci-fi world). It is a fun little piece of information with tips on how to improve my writing and make it the best I possibly can. So when I got today's e-mail on being professional first I laughed at what I read, and then I thought--seriously people? Here is my favorite sample.

1) Does my manuscript stink? I'm not talking metaphorically here, I'm talking about "Does it smell bad?" I've had manuscripts come to me that were yellow with cat pee on them. I've gotten manuscripts that smelled so heavily of tobacco that you didn't want to get within ten feet of them. I've had manuscripts that smelled of marijuana. I got one once that smelled strongly of coffee--it was badly stained. I've never bought a manuscript that smelled badly.

I can understand not knowing which corner to put your name in, but cat pee? I triple check my pages to make sure the edges don't even have wrinkles. Maybe I am a little obsessive, but I can guarantee my lunch won't be all over it! Does that mean I'll get published? Who knows, but I can promise you this, I will never send out a piece of work that STINKS!

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Summer=Vacation? WHATEVER!

Whoever coined the phrase "the carefree days of summer" obviously did not live in our house. As the month of June approached, I made several goals and outlines of things I wanted to have accomplished. Let's just say the month did not start out with a bang as I had hoped. Last Tuesday I was informed by my husband that he would need to leave on his business trip to Green Bay 2 days ahead of schedule since the President was coming to town and all private aviation was going to be grounded while Air Force One was in the area. So Wednesday I got him packed and sent on his way.
School ended on Friday and luckily we got taken on a shopping trip. Unluckily, it took about 5 hours to find clothes to fit my 7 year old. Since she is so tall she has to be in the older kids clothes, and why do they assume that the minute you no longer fit in size 7 you want to look trashy? Hello! Well we did finally find a cute skirt and shirt thanks to The Children's Place. I don't know what I will do when she out grows them.
Friday night I got a nice break as my sister babysit so I could go up the canyon to a baby shower. Much thanks to T for having twins and G for throwing the bash. It was fun, but with both those activities the house managed to get messy, but not cleaned.
Saturday morning added to the mess as I raced around trying to get me and the kids ready for my niece's baptism. We ended up spending most of the day in Alpine. I left the girls at my mom's, but brought home my 14 year old niece for a sleep over that included this and this. Once more no time to clean or write. Then I got a phone call from D saying that the plane he had flown out had been grounded by the FAA for some mechanical probelms and so he had no idea when or how he would be getting home. On Sunday there was church. I teach the 3 year old class, need I say more? After church I had to go exchange kids, since I had neglected to leave car seats with my mom, I got to drive all the way back to Alpine instead of to our usual half way mark. M was not feeling well at all, and we ended up staying there for dinner, not getting home till past 9.
Monday, Soccer camp started. This will consume roughly 14 hours of my week for the next month. Then I had to do Costco where my normal 2 week bill increased by close to $80. Ouch. How can food cost so much? I tried to clean on Monday, really I did. I got my fridge, freezer and pantry clean--nothing noticable though. When it was time for dinner I had to run to Wal-mart to get those extra items that you just can't get at Costco to complete your meals. I was a mess. My kids were a mess. C had dirt all over her face, M was sitting in the cart since she was still feeling so sick, and L had decided to wear snow boots with his shorts. So it would stand to reason that I ran into my MTC Mission Companion and her cute, clean family. The last time we saw each other was 3 years ago at her wedding. After feeling embarrassed beyond compare, I made it home just in time for M to get a high fever and beg me just to hold her. Which of course I did, and I realized as the younger two destroyed the house even more (Still no hubby) how much I rely on her to help me during the day. But a ray of hope shone through the haze of hecticness as Monday night I got a call saying that D was just going to take the airlines home. He came Tuesday morning, but by that time we were at the doctor for a Strep Test for M. It was negative. Turns out she has some highly contagious virus that has no medicine to cure it so she has to just ride it out.
Life is crazy! So there has been no writing, since I can blog and e-mail thorugh distractions, but when it comes to my novel I rarely find the silence I need. But I hope it will get better. Until then, I can continue looking at my list of what I wanted to have happen and imagine that one day I will get a Vacation to get caught up on life. I just have to face it that it probably won't be this summer!

Sunday, June 1, 2008

To Cut Or Not To Cut, That Is The Question

It has been said that some brave souls in the neighborhood will be cutting their hair in July and donating it to LOCKS OF LOVE. My quest is to find out if I am one of those who will take the plunge into short-hairdom. (And I do mean short!)
My first reaction was, of course I will do it! Several years ago I donated my hair, and have been wanting to do it again. In December I actually cut of 8 inches (which no one even noticed, except my best friend, yes I even had to tell my husband.) At that time I had thought about it, but then I heard they did not take highlighted hair and so I just threw the locks away. Today I have learned that it is hair that has been bleached that they can not accept and that usually means highlighted. So I called my stylist, and found what I thought to be a milestone, more of a pebble...No bleach has ever been used in my hair.
Now I face the next milestone...They must have a minimum of 10 inches. 10 inches folks! That would mean going short. Did I mention SHORT? Yes, I put my hair in a pony tail and measured and it would put this thick brown mass I know as hair up to my ears. That is short!
Here I will rant aimlessly....I really want to do this. I am terrified to go that short. I could wait. But something in me tells me to do it now. My hair grows pretty fast, it will be okay. Could I do anything to get it to grow say an extra inch in the next six weeks? Mint shampoo? Sleeping in a bun? If I hate it how long will the awkward state last? Knowing the cause it is for, should I even care how long it will last?
So here I am shouting out to the world (or the like 10 people who read my blog, thanks guys!) what should I do? For those of you who may not know, I lost my father to Lymphoma Cancer 13 years ago. Every year around Memorial Day I donate money to the America Cancer Society in lieu of buying flowers. This year I just want to do more. What does it matter if I have short hair, knowing someone who has lost all their hair in the fight against cancer has none? I guess the thing is, I know what I should do. But we all need a little push in the right direction sometimes. So I am asking you. Should I cut? And if you have any pictures of super cute do's will you please send them my way (Thanks for the first batch Shelley!)
Hamlet asked... To be or not to be, that is the question. So in true Shakespearean manner I implore you! To cut or not to cut, that is MY question!