Monday, December 30, 2013

Holiday Highlights

Here are the highlights of my holidays.

1. Watching a two year old tie a long knitted scarf around our dog’s neck and then take the dog for a walk. Both the dog and the little girl thought they were very cool. (I wish I had a photo of this.)

2. Celebrating my birthday with a dear friend who also has a late December birthday. And the restaurant we went to…let’s just say that the bathrooms weren’t clearly marked. Enough said.

3. My husband beginning a watercolor painting from a photograph I took in Paris.

4. Getting a food processor for Christmas. This probably means the quality of the meals I serve should improve. Hmm.

5. Having our Christmas tree fall over. Four times. 

Monday, December 16, 2013

It's Christmas Break!

Today, is the beginning of the holidays (at least for me). Here’s why:

  • I only have three Christmas presents left to buy. (Thank you, Amazon and son with Amazon Prime’s free two day shipping).
  • My husband starts a two week vacation. This morning he cooked bacon and eggs. (He’s also going to do a watercolor of a photo we took while we were in Paris. In case you don’t know, Cal is a gifted watercolorist. When he’s finished, I’ll post a photo.)
  • My kids will be coming home. (Ariel has her last final is tonight. Of course, she’s got grading to do—she’s grad student. But she’ll be home sometime this week. Luke finished his grad school finals, but he's doing his lab research. His one week break starts Friday.)
  • My youngest has deigned to play Scrabble with me! (I love Scrabble and no one except my daughter will play with me.)
  • Visitors. Today, dear friends are coming to visit. We’ll have fourteen people in our house. Air mattresses will line the floors, but it will be a blast!
  • And I finished the edit of book three of the Screwing Up Time series! 

Here's a photo of our Christmas tree. Of course, this is before it feel over. It looks about the same now, just fewer ornaments, which is a good thing. :)

Friday, December 13, 2013

Friday Five, Five Signs You're Been Editing Too Much

1. When people speak, you see their words in your head and you’re correcting them with your mental red pen.

2. You look at the calendar and freak out. “How come no one told me it was Christmas in less than two weeks?!” (Somehow the ten foot tree in the living room wasn’t a big enough sign.)

3. The house, which was pristine and bleach-fresh at Thanksgiving time, now needs a visit from the Health Inspectors.

4. You now speak in metaphors and similes. So instead of saying, “Dude, clean your room.” You say, “My son, your room looks like a tornado hit Goodwill. It needs to be an island of tranquility. Please, see to it.”
                        ~And worse, after saying it you pause and spend fifteen minutes
                        trying to improve the metaphors/similes because they suck.

5. You consider writing a letter to the city government explaining the error in the bumper sticker, “This vehicle responds to emergencys.” (I mean, really, don’t these people use spell check?)

Monday, December 9, 2013

You Know You're Addicted to Books When...

You Know You’re Addicted to Books…

1. When a vacation is coming and you spend more time planning the books you will take than you do planning your vacation.

2. Now that you own an e-reader, you no longer worry when you go purse shopping whether your purse will be big enough to hold a hardback with a library binding.

3. The crack of a book spine makes you swoon.

4. You judge people by their book shelves.

5. You’ll admit to reading through a dictionary and thesaurus, but the truth is…you’ve read phone books too.

6. You’re not really sure who the Kardashians are, but you know all the emotional crises of Katniss, Tris, and Liesel.

7. You’re reading at least three books at once.

8. You own multiple copies of a favorite book, just in case you lose one.

9. Your dream dinner party involves inviting people who don’t really exist.

10. You keep a massive TBR pile because your deepest, most secret fear is that you’ll run out of good books to read.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Musical Connections

The other day a friend of mine posted on her Facebook page that her son was “failing” preschool music class. Apparently, he “infrequently connects to the music emotionally.”

Hmm. I remember my preschool classes where we learned important Western musical classics like “The Eensy, Weensy Spider” and “I’m a Little Teapot.” I’m sure her son’s academic career is threatened (despite the fact that both parents graduated from Yale), and she probably needs to take important steps to rectify the situation. Maybe I should send her a CD of songs like “A Tisket, A Tasket,” “Here we go ’round the Mulberry Bush,” and “The Farmer in the Dell.” I mean, unless remedial action is taken, her son may end up like my son Matthew (he’s 17) who infrequently connects with the musical assignments of his piano teacher. I tell him that it’s probably because he’s emotionally shallow. But he thinks it’s because she picks lame music—anything by Chopin or other composers who lull you to sleep.

Matthew may have a point. It seems like all my sons have connected with Rachmaninoff, Beethoven, and Tchaikovsky. When the boys were young, every Saturday morning they’d put the “1812 Overture” CD into the stereo and crank it. They especially liked the section with the cannons. Maybe my friend needs to donate that CD to the preschool.

N.B. If you’re a regular reader of this blog, you know that I normally post on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. Between this blog and my other blog, Screwing Up Time (where I post on Tuesdays), I’m blogging four days a week and that’s a bit more than I can do right now. So I’m planning to post on here on Mondays and Fridays and at Screwing Up Time on Wednesdays.

Monday, December 2, 2013

The Author Got Dinner on the Table Early

If you’ve been following the blog, you know that I’m in the midst of editing book three of the Screwing Up Time series. Editing is always a very focused, intense time. I’m looking for the last of the errors, polishing the prose, and hunting the typos.

The other day, I was smoothing out a fight scene when this sentence popped up in the middle of the action, “Raise Matthew’s allowance.” And I laughed. Thankfully, my kids are older and usually don’t feel compelled to hack my computer any more. Years ago, I password protected my computer when I found out that my daughter was reading the endings of my books before I’d printed them out. (A great evil!) Anyway, the kids thought the passwords were a challenge and took to leaving notes in my text to prove they could hack my system.

Honestly, I do miss the notes in my texts that said, “Jacob loves Mom.” On the other hand, this recent foray into my latest novel has revived nightmares that after a book is published I’ll get an email from a reader that says, “In chapter 25, it reads ‘Mark got bit by a zombie and stabbed Miranda. They both died and the author got dinner on the table early.’”