NaNoWriMo

50,000 Words or Bust and Happy Halloween!

This is it, we’re down to the final wire. NaNo starts at midnight tonight!

Keep an eye on the NaNo gauge in the sidebar. ➡ I also plan on posting a cute cartoon that shows my progress, too. If you don’t see it steadily inching upwards over the next few weeks, contact me and ask me why the heck not?? Tease me, torment me, goad me into finishing. You see that nifty NaNo 2009 participant graphic in the sidebar? I want one that says WINNER. And you can only get one of those IF you submit 50,000 words or more by the end of November.

As long as the weather cooperates, I plan on hanging out at the MSU library. It only costs $2.25 to park there for three hours and I can pound out 3,000 words in three hours, right? *gulp* If the weather doesn’t cooperate, then I’ll be heading toward our public library (because I won’t have to walk so far to make it indoors).

And if the family is home and won’t leave me alone, there’s always our Cub. Whew! My fingers are tired just THINKING about all of this typing ahead of me.

So, consider this “official” notice – this blog will be sporadic at best in the coming weeks. I’ll try to write a word here and there and let you know how I’m doing but really, the gauge will say it all.

And for the first time, I’m going to post my NaNoWriMo project on my Fiction blog: fictionfix.wordpress.com, if you’re interested in keeping track of what I’m actually writing. It’ll be rough and it’ll probably stink and/or not make sense, but that’s how first drafts are.

I’m really pushing myself this year. I have no idea if this collection of short stories idea will pan out, but dang it, I’m gonna give it a shot.

I’m off to mentally prepare for the next 30 days of intense writing.

GOOD LUCK TO EVERYONE PARTICIPATING IN NANOWRIMO!!!

pumkin

Boo.


A message from NaNoWriMo Headquarters:

Book Corner

Introducing Book Swap

Book Swap at writefromkaren.com Who’s up for a book swap?!

In the past, I’ve participated in the Buy a Friend a Book program, and though that is an excellent program and I’ll probably participate in the future, I won’t be participating as often.

Why?

Because I have a ton of books (a whole tub full, actually), that I need to get rid of.

And that, my friends, is where you come in.

If you would like one of the books listed below, please email me a mailing address (US mailing addresses only, please) and I’ll pop that in the mail. I’ll be sending it via media mail (it’s cheaper), so please allow 14 days to reach you, please.


True to Form by Elizabeth Berg
Taken

Tangled up in Daydreams by Rebecca Bloom

Performance Anxiety by Betsy Burke

Princess Diaries by Meg Cabot

No Place Like Home by Mary Higgins Clark

Memory Keeper’s Daughter by Kim Edwards

The Surgeon by Tess Gerritsen

Blue Diary by Alice Hoffman

204 Rosewood Lane by Debbie Macomber

The Sweetest Taboo by Carole Matthews

Message in a Bottle by Nicholas Sparks
Taken

Lucia, Lucia by Adriana Trigiani


If you have one, or more, books you’d like to swap with someone, and you’d like to pay it forward to an online friend, then please read this page.

Are you participating in the Book Swap? Please put your permalink URL (the link to the actual Book Swap post, not your blog!) in the Mr. Linky script below. Thank you!

Have fun!!

random stuff

Trick-or-Treat, Sucka!

HAHAHA! Oh come on, it’s funny!

(And scary! And inevitable! And sad! And wrong! And …..

Give me candy. What! I’m less fortunate than you! I’m old and … and unemployed …. and … I don’t have a costume. And you’re standing right there. And your candy looks so gooood and stop being so stingy! So what if you worked for it! I like candy, I’m ENTITLED to some candy because look! I’m a human, too!

oh never mind, Happy Halloween.)

*This post was brought to you by the letter S … for sarcasm. *wink*

Photo Story Friday

Photo Flashback: Dude’s First Halloween

photo-flashback

I thought family members would get a kick out of seeing this:

This is Dude and Nanny (Kevin’s grandmother – who recently passed away). Dude is a little under a year in this picture and though he was okay wearing this costume in this picture, he melted down about 2.2 seconds after it was snapped.

My mom came up with this nifty idea. It’s a regular sleeper, but she made the clown embellishments. Pretty clever, right?

She’s a crafty one, my mom.

Looking at this picture, and looking at Dude’s profile picture in the sidebar, I don’t know, is this even the same kid?! It seems like he was NEVER this small.

*SIGH* Kids grow up waaaay too fast. Enjoy them while you can!

Thursday Thirteen

Thursday Thirteen – Things that Begin with E

Thirteen “E” Words that Describe my Life

Scrolling through my life, one letter at a time.

1. Earring – I don’t wear jewelery, unless I’m dressing up to go somewhere, but never day-to-day. In fact, I rarely even wear my wedding ring, much to my husband’s chagrin (he likes to say, when I do wear it, “Ah. I see you’re married today”). Jewelery bugs me. It gets in my way; I lose patience with it.

The biggest reason I don’t wear my wedding ring is because when I worked in the cash office at Wal-Mart, I caught it on something one night and just yanked the crap out of it. I totally freaked out, afraid the diamond had popped out and ever since then, I haven’t wanted to wear it for fear of losing one of the most important things to me.

(NOT the ring itself, but what it symbolizes, in case you think I’m THAT materialistic).

2. Earthworm – I am not a creature person. Ya’ll know I’m not an animal person, and when it comes to creepy-crawly things, I’m even worse. I never give a second thought to squashing a bug or smashing a spider – if I find them in the house.

You’re on my turf, man. Be gone bug.

3. Eavesdrop – I have a bad habit of listening in on people’s conversations. Kevin and I will go out to lunch and suddenly, I’ll stop talking and stare at my food. Kevin knows exactly what I’m doing and teases me about it.

I can’t help it, I LOVE to people watch. I LOVE to listen to people talk. And I love to either try and figure out the story behind the conversation or simply watch how people handle the conversation with facial expressions and body language.

I admit, it’s rude. But at least I’m discrete about it. It’s not like I’m sitting there, with my elbows on my knees, my chin in my hand and popping popcorn while I enjoy the show.

Though if it were interesting enough, I just might. *wink*

4. Economy – I’ve never really been THAT into politics. I could care less what was going on in the country when I was a teenager and I was too busy working, being romanced, getting married and having children in my twenties. I started paying more attention to the economy and our government in my 30’s and now that I’ve reached my 40’s, I’m very aware of our economy and how this asinine government in office right now has completely turned it inside out.

I’ll tell you one thing though, this new-found awareness has piqued the boys’ interest and they are well aware that they will be forced to pay for Obama’s attempt to socialize our nation when they reach my age.

Once again, THANK YOU Obama for screwing up my kids’ future earning potential. I’d go on, but this is a family-friendly blog.

5. Edit – I am constantly editing. If you had any idea how many times I’ve read and then re-read my posts, it would make your head spin around. I can’t help it, it’s the writer in me, I suppose.

THIS is why National Novel Writing Month is such a big deal to me – because turning off my inner editor is freaking HARD for me!

6. Education – Important. I was determined, through hell or high water, that I would graduate from college some day – and I did, after going on and off for 10 years in between having children, working and taking care of my family. I’m proud of my accomplishment; it was really hard to juggle all of those balls at the same time. I also wanted to set a good example for my boys, to SHOW them that it’s never too late to learn new things.

And I don’t think education should stop at school. I think it’s absolutely crucial for people to continue to educate themselves their entire lives. By learning a new craft, or challenging their brains, or staying on top of current events (and making sure he/she has enough information before offering an opinion).

There is so much to learn and so little time to learn it, let alone implement what you’ve learned.

7. Educational Television – Important. It sounds so boring, but once you begin watching educational television, you realize how INTERESTING it truly is. So much TV nowadays is just brainless nonsense. Again, the world is an amazing place – let’s learn more about it and skip the reality shows which only showcase humans at their very worse (most of them, anyway).

8. Efficient – I like to be efficient. I like to feel like I’m in control of every aspect of my life. I think, overall, this is a good trait to have. Life just goes more smoothly when things are run efficiently.

9. Egocentric – There is no question that I’m self-centered. I think this blog proves it (but one could argue, how can a personal journal be anything BUT egocentric). However, I feel like I have a good balance between what I want and what my family wants or needs from me. I never hesitate to put my husband or my children in front of myself. If that means sacrificing the last cookie, or putting their comfort ahead of my own, then so be it.

There’s a time to be self-centered and then there’s a time NOT to be self-centered. The trick is knowing WHEN.

I’m still working on that part.

10. Election – You can bet your bottom dollar that I can not wait for the 2010 and 2012 elections.

We need change.

Wait. Scratch that. We HAVE to have change. Let’s take our country back and get back to our country’s basic principles; the principles that make this country great to begin with:

Freedom
Liberty
Personal Responsibility
Willingness to work hard and be proud of our accomplishments (and not have it handed to us)
Free market

11. Electronic – There is no question that I’m an electronic junkie. I love all things electronic. In fact, my whole family does. I love using electronics, I love testing new electronics, I can’t imagine my life without electronics.

We’re so blessed to be living in such a great age!

12. Elegant – Though I like to think I’m pretty down-to-earth, I DO like elegance. I like eating out at fancy restaurants and FEELING elegant. I appreciate people who exude elegance and class both in their speech and their demeanor. I enjoy being around people who proudly carry themselves.

Most of the time.

But being around someone THAT elegant or THAT pretentious all the time would, and does, get old after a while.

There are other times I prefer just to sit around in my sweats and belch. 😀

13. Emasculate – This is a pet peeve of mine. I can’t stand women who purposefully emasculate their men all in the name of feminism. The women who feel the need to prove to either themselves, or whomever, that they are stronger and better than their mates are generally weak, insecure and rarely happy in the end.

And if someone falls into that category and disagrees with my assessment, then I would like to add honesty and humility to that list, too.

Because if you’re honest, with me and with yourself, then you’ll know, deep down, that tearing someone down, making them feel inferior so you can feel superior, never ends well.

Ever.

There’s being a feminist and then there’s being a b*tch.

I could elaborate on this here, but I’ve already written about my experiences with this category, if you care to read more about it.

I don’t mean to be gettin’ all up in your business, but let’s be real ladies, men need to FEEL like men in order to ACT like men.

I’m just sayin’. *shrug*

At the Moment, VideoPlay

Video: Problem Solving and Reason #456 that I’m Thankful for My Husband

I’ve mentioned that math is not Dude’s strength. This video is a (nearly) nightly occurrence at our house during the semesters that Dude has math. (Though I don’t know, Dude does a pretty good job figuring stuff out on his own).

Fortunately, Kevin can help him. Because if the kid had to rely on ME to help him through this maze of numbers and letters, he’d still be at the 3rd grade level.

Seriously.

The guys are doing Algebra II. And I thought it was cute that they were both doing the problem and then comparing answers. This stuff is HARD – and my husband is an accountant!

Kevin said the stuff that Dude is doing is harder than the math he took in college!

Yet another reason I’m thankful for my husband – math.

ADDED: I was sitting here, at my computer, listening to the guys work through the problems last night and Dude was actually teaching Kevin how to do the problems.

I tell Dude, all the time, he’s smart, that he’s smarter than he gives himself credit for and the little victories like tonight, like proving his dad wrong, like re-taking a test and earning a much better grade, on his own with no help from us, gives him more and more confidence. And the more confidence Dude earns, the better he performs.

My oldest son is growing up to be one SMART cookie and as I watch him evolve into this incredible man, right before my eyes, all I can do is stand out of his way and smile.

Life

Life With Two Teenage Boys

Dude came to me yesterday and said, “Mom. I need help. I am tired ALL the time.”

“What? Why, are you falling asleep in class?”

“No. Well, almost. I can’t concentrate.”

“Do you think you need to go to the doctor?” (I don’t know why I asked this, going to the doctor is ALWAYS our last option).

“I don’t know.”

Hmm, the fact that he said he wasn’t sure instead of an immediate “no” caught me off guard.

“Why don’t we try some things first before we go to the doctor.”

“Okay.”

“Because I can tell you right now, son, they are going to suggest you change your diet, are going to ask about your sleeping habits and if you exercise. Then, they’ll probably give you drugs. Because that’s ultimately what people want when they go to the doctor – they want a pill for whatever ails them.”

He shrugged.

“Tell you what,” I said, “tonight, why don’t you walk a mile on the treadmill and drink a protein drink. Then, in the morning, eat a bigger breakfast, something more than just cereal, do some jumping jacks and push-ups to get your blood flowing and you can have a little coffee. Do you want to try that?”

“Sure.”

And that’s exactly what we did. We’ll see if it makes a difference.

****

Me and Jazz were in the car this morning waiting for Dude.

I honked the horn several times.

Still, he didn’t come out.

When the clock continued to tick toward the dangerous if we don’t leave right now we’re going to be late time, I got out and was walking into the house when Dude came out.

“Let’s go, son! We’re going to be late!”

“I can’t find my homework.”

“Your math homework?”

“Yep. But forget about it. We don’t have time.”

We got into the car and I was pulling out of the driveway when I said, “Did you check the papers on the counter?”

“Yeah.” But he didn’t sound too sure.

I pulled back into the driveway and together, we ran into the house to check the papers out on the counter.

His homework was not there.

“Okay, we don’t have time for this. We’ve gotta go,” I said and we jumped back into the car and zoomed off to school.

“Maybe dad threw it away.”

“That’s possible. You know your dad, if it’s sitting around and in the way, it irritates him and he tosses it. I’ll check the trash when I get home.”

“Nah. Don’t bother. I’ll just re-do it.”

“Dang it, Dude! You need to put your stuff away! You went through all of that for nothing. Now you have to do it again.”

Dude is not the best organizer in the world.

He shrugged and I dropped the kids off. I came home and checked the trash – no homework.

Now I’m curious. Paper can’t just develop legs and walk off (unless it’s from Bent Objects then, who knows). Where in the world was Dude’s homework?

Kevin and I met for lunch and he suggested that it was somewhere in the black hole that Dude calls his backpack.

Maybe.

I picked the kids up from school.

“Did you find your homework?”

“Nope.”

“Wow. This is frustrating.”

“Tell me about it.”

We came home.

“Jazz, you might want to make a trip to the bathroom and brush your teeth, your dentist appointment is in fifteen minutes.”

“Hey mom,” Dude said.

“Yep?” I said while scanning for new email.

“I found my homework.”

“Where was it?”

“Near the XBox.”

“Ohhh yeah,” I said. “I remember you went in to watch Jazz play his game after you and dad finished your homework. Oops.”

Dude grinned.

****

“What’s up buddy? Is something wrong?” I asked Jazz as we pulled up in front of the dentist’s office.

“Nothing.”

This is the part where I ask 20 questions. I know, from experience, if I happen on the right question then, and only then, will Jazz confide in me.

“Is it school?”

“No.”

“Is someone giving you a hard time?”

“No.”

“Is it band?”

“No.”

“Is it your friends?”

Silence.

Ah.

“Is A. being a butt again?”

“No.”

“Does it have anything to do with the girl you thinks likes you?”

Silence.

“I don’t want to talk about it,” Jazz said.

We walked into the office, Jazz signed in and is called back shortly thereafter.

In the meantime, I’m running scenarios through my head. It could be a number of things. Jazz tends to get his feelings hurt pretty easily and often times, it ends up being a misunderstanding or he made a bigger deal out of something than he should have.

The dental assistant comes out with Jazz and gives me brief instructions on the spacers she put into his teeth. He’ll need to wear them for a week in preparation for his braces next Wednesday.

As soon as we get back into the car, “So, tell me what’s bugging you.”

“It’s complicated, mom. I don’t want to talk about it.”

“Does it have something to do with H.?”

He shrugged.

“You can tell me. I won’t say anything, I’ll just listen. Sometimes it’s nice just to get it off your chest.”

He shook his head and stared out of the window.

After we got home and he had had a chance to settle in his room, I approached him again.

“Okay, tell me what is going on.”

“No.”

“Okay, fine. But remember this, whatever it is, it’s not the end of the world and if your friends see that it bugs you, they’ll just keep doing what they’re doing. And you know what? If H. is not interested in you like you’re interested in her, then whatever. Be friends with her. It’s her loss. You’re a wonderful, thoughtful and caring person, don’t get sucked into the drama. Okay?”

“Okay.”

And thus continues my life with two teenage boys.