Monday, April 30, 2007

Getting going again

I finally read a book for the first time in more than a month! Last night I read the moving midgrade verse novel Hugging the Rock by Susan Taylor Brown. And I agree with one of the reviewers at Amazon that it takes a lot of courage to write a negative mother character without softening it or watering down the hurt at the end.

It occurred to me that, since much of my writing focuses more on exploring feelings than on action plots, maybe I should consider writing one of my novel projects in free verse. It wouldn't work with most of my projects, but there's one story I haven't landed on the right voice for yet, and I'd already planned to intersperse poems and lyrics throughout it, but now I'm thinking maybe it should be mainly verse. But there are so many characters, and so much exposition is needed, I'm not quite sure how it would work. It might be one of those novels that's made up of multiple things like poems, article clippings, diary entries, quotes, dialogue...I'm not sure yet, but it's something to explore.

In other news, I've decided to stop being a couch potato. You'd be hard pressed to find someone less athletic than me, and it's been that way since I was a kid. But being a kid, I still did things like riding my bike, roller skating, and taking tap dance classes. As an adult, those things fell by the wayside, and I've been quite sedentary. I've only gone to a gym once (YMCA), several years ago, and after one try on the treadmill I never went back. But after a physically taxing pregnancy and recovery, I decided that if I got my health & range of motion back, I wanted to enjoy it and not take it for granted. Also...I was taking a women's magazine survey and they asked for article ideas. I started thinking they should write about someone who went from being a complete couch potato to being moderately active, and they could call it 50 Days to Fitness or something like that. But then I thought that if anyone were to write that, it should be me, but first I would have to do it! So with that idea as a starting point, I just started walking, not with any major goal except to stop being a couch potato, and to invest at least 50 days into it before letting myself call it off. I wanted to log my daily activity in some way, and being an Internet addict, it seemed like the easiest way to keep track of it would be with a blog. So I started a blog for my "No Potato Project" at It's mainly just for me, but if other people know it's there and could theoretically check up on me, I figure that will give me more impetus not to quit! The cool thing is, I think I've walked about 11 miles in the past week that I never would have walked otherwise, and that is huge for me.

Saturday, April 21, 2007

An abundance of books (and baby laughs)

My parents finally got to meet my baby, now that he's already 12 weeks old! They visited for part of Thursday & part of Friday. Blake did not disappoint, as he was a giggly bundle of joy most of the time they were here.

Meanwhile, I've only read a couple of books since he was born, so my reading list has been stacking up. I kept seeing people go on about John Green's An Abundance of Katherines, but when I found out it had footnotes, I had to go check it out... For some reason, I've loved every fiction book I have read with footnotes in it, as different as they have been from one another (Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell by Susanna Clarke, Whales on Stilts by M.T. Anderson, and The Boyfriend List by E. Lockhart--maybe the sequel to it, also). It's partly because the footnotes are usually clever and enjoyable on their own terms, but probably mostly because I'm a pretty parenthetical thinker myself. I have no problem with tangents...I have more trouble staying linear. So I suspect that on some level, I'm on a similar wavelength with authors who think to use footnotes in fiction, so their writing resonates with me in general.

But that's just one of many books I have piled up to read. I also have lots of books by authors I know: Hugging the Rock by Susan Taylor Brown, Tattoo by Jennifer Lynn Barnes, and Prom Dates from Hell by Rosemary Clement Moore. I also can't wait to read Twisted by Laurie Halse Anderson and Reality Leak by Joni Sensel, as well as some other books I've heard of recently. I just can't figure out when I'm going to read them all!

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Never mind

Things are not looking up after all.

Sunday, April 08, 2007

Things are looking up...

Yeah, our car needs a new engine...but at least we got our tax refund this past week, just in time! I also found a large surprise win on my porch from a Quick and Simple magazine contest--a Black & Decker power scrubber and a Black & Decker garden cultivator. And yeah, my poor baby had to get immunizations this week, which made him cry much of the day, but in the doctor's office, we found the Parents magazine my son Kyle and I are mentioned in--we're on page 142 of the April 2007 issue--and the dr told us to take it home. It was Kyle's turn for Show & Tell in his kindergarten class this week, so he took a copy of the article, along with the pictures referred to in it, of him covered in peanut butter as a toddler. Also, my husband had an interview on Friday. He has another interview elsewhere this coming Friday, but we're really hoping the one from this past Friday works out. It would be great in about 20 ways.

Meanwhile, oddly, it sleeted at our house in central Texas in April yesterday! We made a mini ice bunny, and also made our poor baby wear an outfit with bunny ears and a tail:


Sometime in the night, a certain bunny found its way to our house and left goodies for the kids. Today, we went to church, had a nice lunch out at Brick Oven Pizza (not crowded on Easter!), and had a few Easter egg hunts in the no-longer-frozen yard.

Happy Easter to everyone who celebrates it, from me and my Happy Easter Baby!

Sunday, April 01, 2007


Bored this April Fool's Day? Check out this long list of April Fool's pranks being perpetrated by various web sites today:

My favorites so far are Gmail Paper (see also Learn More About Gmail Paper) and the whole front page of

Here on the home front, my 6 & 8-year-old sons are notoriously sound sleepers who have been carried to their beds asleep on many occasions without waking up, so we tried to trick them by switching them into each other's beds in the middle of the night, so they'd both wake up in the wrong rooms. Unfortunately, this time they both woke up when being moved. My husband continued moving them anyway, hoping they were mostly asleep and would forget the sleepy conversation, but they didn't. Oh well, we tried! We may still come up with another prank today.

Meanwhile, in less funny news, our car pulled a prank on us a day early. The same car that just stranded us on the highway last week, necessitating a tow truck, a rental car, and a new radiator, gave out again on the highway last night, only 4 days after we got it out of the repair shop. This time, it decided to die completely on a highway overpass after dark. Cars were zooming by at 70 mph very close to the driver's side, and on the passenger side, we were within inches of a concrete wall--on the other side of the wall was a drop-off onto a major intersection a story below. I have almost never been so frightened, especially with 3 small kids in the car, including a screaming baby! I was sure we'd get hit from behind, there was no easy way to get out of the car, and nowhere to walk to nearby. Our roadside assistance service eventually sent a police car, and the policeman helpfully pushed our car down the exit ramp in front of us and into an empty driveway nearby, then a friend came and took us all home in his van. A tow truck apparently showed up and took our car to yet another repair shop after we left. We had to miss Palm Sunday church today, but the friend who picked us up last night offered us his family's Toyota 4Runner until our car is back from the shop (isn't that nice?!), and they'll be bringing it by today, hopefully in time for us to make it to the city Easter egg hunt at 2:00!