March 28, 2007

My Chaotic Life

Boy, I can't believe it's been almost two weeks since I've written a blog. Today's quote sums up my life right now, perfectly.

"Chaos is the score upon which reality is written."
Henry Miller

I've been knee deep in home remodeling and to be quite honest with you, I'm sick of it.

We went to Arkansas last week for a four day youth trip with my church. We enjoyed the trip, but wish we would have stayed home and spent the time working on the house.

When my husband takes off from work he is always swamped when he gets back, not to mention the things we needed to get done here at home.

We spent Sunday (after church)getting our tax papers together for the accountant. Sometimes having assets is a pain in the patootie.

The cabinet maker is finished with our cabinets and will be coming Saturday to install them. We aren't ready and I will be gone all day Saturday to a SCBWI conference that I paid for and will not miss. So I'm working like crazy this week packing up our junk (and unfortunately much of it is).

It's amazing the stuff we've kept. We have a fairly large home and yet we never seemed to have any room. I see why. We have puzzles with pieces missing. I know this because we have put sticky notes on the boxes announcing the fact. What were we thinking? That the parts would come home and return to their designated box? Well, I am proud to say that they are now in the trash. Yes, I feel a little guilty that they are now part of the ever growing land fill, but why let it take up valuable space I could use for games with missing pieces. Oh yes, we have some of those as well.

I think my husband and I could use Packrats Annonymous. We have phones that don't work, cell phone manuals for long gone, dead cell phones, empty shoe boxes (one never knows when you might need one) and preschool games (my youngest is in junior high)to name a few. I've found things I forgot we had.

I found a carbon monoxide detector that we put in the cupboard because it didn't work. My two grown sons were living at home at the time, so this tells you how long it's been. We plugged it in, set it up, and went to bed. In the middle of the night we hear this horrible noise that scared the living day lights out of us. We called the fire department and sat in our car in the driveway because it was in the fall, and quite frankly cold as a witch's...well it was cold. The fireman went around the house checking with his gadgets for signs of carbon monoxide. A few minutes later he came out to our car, pecked on the window and told us everything was fine and there wasn't any danger. We stumbled back inside, unplugged the little white box that had disrupted our sleep and went back to bed. Why I still have the darn thing is anybody's guess. I should probably put that on the list of things to buy at the hardware store.

My husband, mean while, keeps bringing home boxes as I fill them with our lifelong treasures.

Anyone need a shoebox full of mystery cords and wires?

March 15, 2007

Treadmill Update

The good news is, after two and a half months, I finally got my treadmill fixed. The bad news is, I've been too busy to use it.

I got a new box of parts last thursday, from the UPS man. I called the extended warranty people to ask what I should do now. They said they would email the repair people and I should get a call soon.

Friday, I got a call from a woman in Memphis, Tennessee. She said her husband had an opening Sunday morning. I asked her if we could make it for another time because I generally go to church on Sunday mornings. "Oh no, he canceled other appointments to drive to Oklahoma to fix your treadmill. The main office called and said 'you get over there and fix that treadmill as fast as you can.'"

"Oh," I said, "Well since you're going to all that trouble just to fix my treadmill, I guess I can skip church this Sunday."

Sunday morning a big ol' country boy came to my door four minutes before he was supposed to be there and promptly fixed my Nordictrac, Johnny on the spot.

Now that's what I call service. :0)

March 14, 2007


Phew! I'm taking a break from painting.

While I rest, I think I'll share a few painting tips with you.

Wear old clothes that you don't mind getting paint on. No matter how careful you are, you're bound to get some paint on you somewhere.

You'll want to tape around cupboards and trim with masking tape, or if you are really good, and have a steady hand, paint around all of these with a small brush prior to getting out the big guys, such as paint rollers.

Good lighting is important. This can sometimes be a problem if you have taken down your fixtures to keep from getting paint on them.

If you decide to try a faux finish or glazing technique, the same person needs to do the entire room. No two people are going to make the same strokes, and it will not match. If you are right handed, and your right hand gets tired, you cannot switch to your left hand. It will not match. Lefthanded strokes don't look the same as righthanded strokes.

If you have a bucket of paint on a ladder--move the paint off of the ladder before moving the ladder. Otherwise...well you can get the idea.

When using a paint roller and pan make sure you watch where you step. You don't want to accidentally step in the pan. I haven't done this one yet, although I have come dangerousley close at times.

Make sure if you lean against a wall with your arm to paint, that the wall you are leaning against isn't wet. Unfortunatley, I did do this one.

If you break for lunch or the phone rings, you can put your paint brush in a plastic bag until you come back to it. It can be a zipper bag, or simply a shopping bag that doesn't have any holes in it. This is much easier than cleaning your brush everytime.

Keep pets out of the room you are painting, otherwise, you will end up with paint on Rover or doggie hair glued to your newly painted walls. If you have a cat, instead of a dog, insert kittie in the appropriate spots of previous sentence.

Plan a crockpot meal ahead of time, or just eat out. You'll be wore out, and won't feel like cooking, unless your Martha Stewart and nobody likes her because of it. She really has Oompa Loompas behind the scenes who do all the real work.

Well, that's my words of wisdom concerning painting--guess I better get back to work that ol' dining room won't paint itself. ttfn. :0)

March 13, 2007

Paint Swatches

It's amazing how a one inch sample of paint will look completely different on a 8X12 wall. It looks light apricot on the postage stamp but on the wall it appears to be yellow.

The kind of lighting you have makes a difference as well. We have flourescent bulbs which tend to give a yellow glow to everything.

We picked a light cream and taupe paint for the kitchen and dining rooms. I'm doing a glaze technique with the taupe over the cream color. How much glaze you add to the paint can change the paint's appearance too.

I added more paint and less glaze and this helped take away the yellow look. Nothing against yellow, it's just my living room is gold and we wanted something different. When we sell our house we didn't want people to come in here and say, "Boy, these people sure do like yellow."

My writing has taken a backseat to home improvements the past few weeks. Hopefully we are on the downhill slide to finishing this project up so I can get back to writing.

It's funny where you find books. The man who did our sheetrock work has moved his mom to an assisted living facility--she was a writer and a quilter. She also loved books and had many books on both subjects. He said he was cleaning out her books if I wanted any. I'm sure for a price, but still. I need more books like another hole in my head but that hasn't stopped me before.

Gotta go finish painting my walls. Happy writing. :0)

March 10, 2007

Daylight Savings Time

Well, it's that time of year again. Actually, they moved it up. Normally, we wouldn't change the time until April, but somebody thought it would be a good idea to move the time change up to March. It wasn't me.

I don't like changing the time. Especially the "Spring Forward' change. It throws my Fibromyalgia into a flair up. Don't ask me why, but all Fibromites know what I'm talking about.

You wouldn't think moving the clock forward a single hour would make that much difference, but it does. I have to keep on an even schedule, and this messes with my schedule.

Traveling to another time zone has the same effect on me. My body tenses up, and my muscles ache. It's kind of like jumping into a frigid pool of water. If you've ever had the flu, and can remember how your body ached, that's similiar.

But, enough whining. I'll change my clocks tonight just like everyone else in America, well, except Arizona.

Maybe I should move to Arizona. :0)

March 8, 2007

Critique Buddies are Worth Their Weight in Gold

I have a critique buddy that I meet with a couple of times a month. If you don't have one I highly recommend you find one.

A second pair of eyes (and I don't mean the spectacle variety) can be just the thing you need. I can look at my manuscript over and over again and invariably will overlook obvious errors. Someone else can see these trouble areas quickly and save me the embarassment of sending out a piece too soon.

Make sure when finding a critique partner, that you have similiar tastes in writing. If, for instance, you write graphic horror you wouldn't want to work with a writer who has strong religious views. They would not only be offended, but would probably refuse to edit your work. If you right childrens books finding a buddy who writes romance might be a difficult match. You see where I'm going with this.

Not only are critique partners handy for editing, but you can learn information from each other. No matter how old we get, or how many college classes we take, we are constantly learning. Your partner might be a member of other groups online, and in person that you are not a part of, and will learn new things from them, he/she can share with you, and vise-a-versa.

For example, I learned that you are supposed to double space after each sentence. Who knew? Well, I certainly didn't. I don't recall learning that in typing class, which was more years ago than I care to think about. Most of my earlier writing was done by hand on legal pads. Sadly to say, I didn't pursue publishing my work until 2005, and oddly enough my single spacing hasn't come up in conversation with my editors. Yet.

Well, hopefully this won't be like the old dog trying to learn a new trick as I try to remember to double space. :0)

March 6, 2007

Home Sweet Home

You know the funny thing about our homes. We love them until we see a better one.

Now that my house is getting fixed up and looking pretty good I was almost thinking about staying here...that is until the neighbors had yet another one of their loud parties ON A MONDAY NIGHT. Is nothing sacred.

They don't own the house and it's not like I can complain to their land lord because the girl is the land lord's daughter and her stuff doesn't stink in the eyes of her daddy.

The police are out because the Mayor is her uncle. So I'm basically screwed in the complaint department.

There's the possible problem of selling the house while they are in high gear party mode but I've got my fingers and toes crossed. (Which explains any typos you might find here).

What troubles me the most is that these people aren't college students but parents of two small children who are on their own while their parents and friends pour beer down each other's throats with funnels. I guess they can't get it down fast enough. My kids tell me this is called beer bonging. I'm afraid to ask how they know this information. They probably learned it in college, they teach them so much these days.

Some of their guests look to be under 21 but that could just be my age showing. I swear I saw a 12 year old driving a car the other day.

I have thought about setting up a camera and taking pictures but so far the only thing they are doing that could be considered unlawful is the noise.

Their children haven't been taught to respect other people's property. Mom and Dad are too busy with their drinking hobby. I had to teach them, shortly after they moved here, that you don't just walk into my knock first. They finally got the hang of that, now if I can just teach them not to walk across my lawn or climb my trees.

They have a pretty good menagerie going over there. They've lived there a little over a year now and have three large dogs that bark at the drop of a hat. The nerve of me trying to go into my own back yard. They fail to understand that my backyard is MY BACKYARD. The dog doodie farms a pretty impressive herd of flies each summer, making it purt near impossible to have a backyard barbecue. They do their grillin' in the front yard. Can't imagine why.

They also have a couple of cats that live indoors as well as a half starved cat that lives outside.

Sorry to dump my woes on you. This is my little delimma and I'll have to work it out. However, if you know any good hit men please let me know. :0)

March 5, 2007

Literary Agents

There was a time when literary agents had to live in New York, near the publishing companies, to be successful at their job.

Today with the internet, fax machines and cell phones it's not necessary. An agent can live just about anywhere they please. Some agents start out in the big cities but after they have a client base move out of the lime light to a more family friendly environment.

Agents can send via email or fax any information the editor needs saving them costly travel and postal expenses.

Writers can now collaborate to write a book from opposite ends of a continent. Dave Barry recently did this. He co-authored a couple of children's book with Ridley Pearson. As many of you may know Dave Barry lives in Florida and Ridley Pearson lives in Colorado. They wrote most of the books via email.

Both books are great and have won awards. I recommend them to anyone who enjoys children's literature or fantasy fiction. The first book is called, "Peter and the Star Catchers" the second book is called, " Peter and the Shadow Thieves".

I digress. My point here is for you not to be discouraged by choosing an agent who may be miles away from the big publishing companies. Distance isn't as much of an issue as it once was.

And while you're writing if you decide to co-write a book with a friend who lives far, far away that is doable as well. :0)

March 2, 2007


I have mixed feelings about these little critters.

On one hand they are tree planters. Their playful nature is cute to watch.

On the other hand they are distructive and can do thousands of dollars worth of damage to a home.

They were eating all the better food from my bird feeder and leaving the birds with the leftovers, so I bought a squirrel proof feeder. It works great, much to the dismay of my furry friends.

This morning a squirrel tried and tried to get to the food. I heard a clanking sound and looked out the window. He was doing acrobatics, stretching and reaching with all his might but could not get to the food. It was funny but I almost felt sorry for the little guy.

Basil got up from his nap and walked lazily out the doggy door to take his morning tinkle. Basil doesn't like squirrels and doesn't share my humor for them. He's getting on in doggie years and isn't as quick as he used to be.

It took him about three minutes to even realize his property had been intruded upon. Finally, he looked over under the elm tree and saw the invader. Basil ran towards the squirrel and usually this is all it takes for the squirrel to be frightened out of his wits and scurry up the nearest tree. Not this squirrel. He went behind the tree and bounced back and forth teasing Basil.

I couldn't decide if he was playing or rabid. Basil has had all his shots but I still didn't want him to be maulled by a crazed squirrel.

I watched as the squirrel even pawed the air a foot away from Basil's face. Basil backed off, noticably as confused as I was at this squirrel's behaviour.

The squirrel took off for an oak tree, running up the trunk. When the squirrel saw Basil chasing him he ran down the tree at him again. Basil turned and ran a few feet away from the tree, sat down and looked at the squirrel truely dismayed. The squirrel sat at the top of the trunk twitching his tail back and forth triumphantly watching Basil.

Basil decided it wasn't worth the effort and went back inside.

Poor baby. Maybe the next squirrel will act like a proper scared rodent. :0)