Sunday, May 30, 2010

The One with 2 Birthdays, 1 Spider and a Phantom

This Memorial Day weekend finds me house/dog sitting for my brother—not a great hardship. He lives on the lake and it has been a gorgeous weekend. He went up north to spend the weekend with the folks. I elected not to do the same because it’s also my daughter, Morgan’s birthday weekend.

One of my best friends, whom I met in a chat room about eight years ago, has a daughter just two years younger than Morgan. Their birthdays, in fact, are one day apart—Chelsea’s is the 27th and Morgan’s is the 28th of May—and we always get together to celebrate. This year was no different. My daughter wanted tickets to see Nickleback for her birthday. She didn’t complain when she got dinner and a ticket to the live performance of The Phantom of the Opera instead.

So Thursday the four of us headed to the MSU campus where we had dinner at Sultan’s—specializing in Mediterranean cuisine, a much enjoyed new experience for my daughter and me—before attending the performance at the Wharton Center. It was a fantastic evening! I laughed. I cried. I had goose bumps. I had never seen anything so awe inspiring since I watched a then five year old Morgan riveted by the Salt Lake City Ballet performing The Nutcracker Suite 14 years ago, and I feel particularly blessed to have been able to share the experience with my best friends.

On Saturday, the aforementioned friends came out for a sleepover and more birthday celebrations. We grilled steak, ate homemade salsa, and had birthday cheesecake. Later that night, I sent the girls outside to roll up the windows in the cars for the evening.

***Now, two things: one, as anyone who has lived around or on a lake knows, spiders are extremely prevalent around water. They are everywhere and very busy at night; and two, both Morgan and Chelsea are afraid of spiders. (Morgan saw one crawling on her bed one night, and rather than smash it with something, she opted to leave the bed to the arachnid while she relocated to the living room floor for the night.)***

So, Chelsea opens the back door, and we hear this yelp followed by a panicked cry of, “Get it out of the doorway! Get it out of the doorway!” A wide-eyed Chelsea comes rushing back into the kitchen leaving a confused Morgan to step up to the doorway completely unaware. Less than a second later, Morgan’s “Eyeeeeee” precedes her as she comes running into the kitchen, shivering and shaking like she’s got ants crawling up her spine.

Zoa, Chelsea’s mom, and I investigate. It was not the prehistoric arachnisaur I expected. Legs included, it may have been three-quarters of an inch across. I killed it. The girls eased out the door peering around the corner, poised to flee at the slightest hint of eight-legged creatures. Crisis averted.

It has been a great four days so far, and I wish all of you a most wonderful and safe holiday weekend.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

The one with Random Ramblings

So, finally the dress is done (the purple and lavender one on the right). Finished the day before prom (a record for me!). But I don't think I'll be making anymore clothes until the pattern companies get a better handle on sizing. When I have to cut a size 22 and make smaller seams and other adjustments for a girl who wears a size 12/14 something is hinky. I adjusted the bodice so many times I began dreaming about it. Hate when that happens.

Now, one would think I could get back to my writing, eh? Right. In between helping my cousin paint her granddaughters' bedrooms, re-painting a kitchen I painted last summer because my brother's client decided to raise the ceiling to match the rest of the house (a paying job, so I'm not complaining too much), and painting my brother's boat house, sewing new drapes for my living room, hanging fabric on my dining room wall, and sewing bags and totes to sell I squeeze out a couple of hours in the evening to peck out a scene or two before I do a face-plant into the keyboard from exhaustion. But it's progress, so again, I don't complain too much.

And speaking of writing...I don't know if other authors, aspiring and otherwise, do this, but I've been paying close attention to what and how other authors are writing these days. Types of books, writing style and whatnot. Now, as I haven't had the time to get involved in anything new, I've been re-reading a lot of books I've read before, and I've noticed, in reading one right after the other in a series, that one more thing, as an author, I want to watch out for (because my WIP is the first in a series) is to make sure each book is different. Some series-although I love them-seem to be interchangable except in the names of H/H. The tone of the books are almost identical, and after the first four or so in the series, I no longer wait with bated breath for the next one. Some authors have it figured out. Huge kudos to Lara Adrian's Midnight Breed and Gena Showalter's Lords of the Underworld series. I just re-read all of them one right after the other and even though the characters are fighting the same bad guys and/or searching for the same things each successive book is unique and fresh in tone and language. I don't feel like I'm reading the same book over and over. How do you do it??

On a side note to Ms. Adrian: I'm still waiting to win the free book in the newsletter. So far my email hasn't been picked. ~sigh~

Before I give my fingers a rest, a special thank you goes out to Isis for suggesting that I spend the sewing time plotting new things and working out problems. I did just that and solved an issue I've never been able to figure out. I know now how it happens! It was a true OMG moment and I stopped right in the middle of a seam to write it down. A dozen roses to you! (I think yellow is for friendship. I hope.)

Until next time, walk safely through the shadows.