Tuesday, March 31, 2009

My writing challanges

Watch out, long winded writer here!

I've loved writing since I was a kid. In the first grade, we had a creative writing corner we could go to when we were done with work. It was my favorite of the centers to go to. I was a terrible speller. :) As I got older, I continued to write stories. My stories were always conversational - just one person talking to another. My mom, who was also my elementary school teacher at school, told me once to write less conversation. I became aware of what and how I was writing and worked to change it.

As a teen, I wrote a "book" (more on that later). I took the challenge of writing the entire story with no conversation at all, just story telling. It was told entirely from the perspective of the main character. It was a challenge, but I was pleased that I could write without conversation. It forced me to be more creative and descriptive.

Now, I get a little too wordy and descriptive....

Years later I was watching a Doris Day movie and one of the characters in the movie wrote a play. Doris Day's husband was reading the story and told the writer that he should stick to his own backyard. Don't try and write about things and places you know nothing about.

At the time, I was writing a story that took place in modern America, but it was about some Irish families. I know nothing of Ireland, other than a few basic facts. I know nothing of the life and culture there. While the story idea was good, it was in no way believable because I can't write from and Irish person’s perspective. I was out of my backyard and looking ridiculous.

Back to my book I wrote as a teen - I was very proud of it, until I reread it a few years ago as an adult. I was ready to burn the pages! I was so embarrassed. I sure hope my writing and storytelling skills have improved since then. My story was a historical fiction. It took place in the 1840's. I really know very little about that time period. It was about a family from Scotland. I've been to Scotland, I have seen it, I have studied it a bit and am more familiar with the culture. Still, I know nothing of Scottish life in 1840 or any who moved to Texas.

I also had some interesting choices for names. My lead character was Katharine and her hubby was Barrett. Those are not good Scottish names. Katherine or Catherine might have been used in Scotland in that time period, but not the spelling I choose. Also, Katharine's brother was named Kristofer. NO ONE in Scotland in 1840 would have named or spelled that name the way I did. It is silly.
There are so MANY historical inaccuracies that it would take an entire book just to tell them all.

The story was a good one (most of it) and I think I would someday like to rewrite it. I'll research things first. Someday my story might become a great historical fiction, but for now, it will stay hidden and no one will see the original.

Monday, March 30, 2009

what are plates for?

Some days I wonder why do I bother serving food on plates? It ends up all over the table and floor no matter how I serve it. Maybe I'll just put the food right onto the table and some right onto the floor for the little rug rat. Then I won't have to do dishes anymore!

Because of my floor type (concrete tiles) I got a shop vac for cleaning the floor. It is great! What is even better is that I can use it on the table. Quick cleaning!

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Back from spring break

For the kids spring break we went to Arizona to visit family. The kids hadn't seen these cousins in a year and a half, so it was fun. We compared how tall they had all grown and talked about what everyone was up to these days. It was great fun. We don't have a yard at all, but Grandpa and Grandma do, and they spent every moment they could out in it. It was a sunny week, but quite chilly. That didn't stop my kids from being out in the sun and running around. My daughter was out on one cold day without shoes and in a short sleeve shirt. She would not put on a jacket or anything, she just played.

Now we are back from our adventures. School starts again tomorrow and I've got to get back to normal everday life.

Thursday, March 19, 2009


I'm a terrible artist when it comes to drawing and painting. I've never been good. It's funny, when I get the paint or draw, I always draw the same scene and I have drawn that scene since I was quite young. It is a picture of mountains, a stream and pine trees. It is my favorite picture and if I could, I would be in the mountains, near a stream, surrounded by pine trees.

So, last week when my kids were painting, I painted too. I pained my scene. The next day, my 5 year old daughter almost replicated my picture. Can you tell which is mine and which is hers?

Tuesday, March 17, 2009


Many years ago, when my second kid was a baby, someone gave us a Baby Einstein video (yes video, not DVD). I watched it once and laughed. Someone video-taped their kids toys, put it to music and sold it. I wish I had thought of that! My son had no interest in it. Now, seven years later, my youngest son pulled it out. He and Peanut watched it. They love it!

There is one little puppet that is a Peanut favorite. I'm not sure what it is, but it is green and it has a long red tongue. It comes on the screen, looks at the camera and goes "Blah!" and it's tongue rolls out of it's mouth. That is Peanut's favorite part. She too goes, "Blah!" Now, anytime we put in a movie, she says, "Blah!"

Then last week when Princess and I were making SWAPS, I made one and when Peanut saw it, she went "Blah!". It reminded her of the funny little puppet. Here is our SWAPS:

Here is the little Baby Einstein puppet:


Friday, March 13, 2009

more about rejection

I didn't get to finish my thoughts on my rejection notice yesterday, I was in a big hurry.

I was so excited about the rejection slip (newbie author, I know), but it meant that it was my first step to becoming a published author. I showed it to my hubby. He was so proud of me! He told me to frame it. :) I'm not going to frame it, but I am going to stick it in my journal.

I've always dreamed of being a published writer. Until I sent in those short stories, that dream was never going to come true. It still might not, but now it won't be for lack of trying. This is the first! The first of many rejections, I'm sure.

Even the great JK Rowling, whose books set publishing records was rejected (several times, although I don't know how many) before her books were published. You know those first publishers that turned her down are kicking themselves.

No, it might never happen, but I've tried and I will keep trying.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Oh the rejection!

I've always wanted to publish a writing. I want to write and have my work accepted by someone and publish it. I don't know that I write well enough for that, but it is my dream.

So, several months ago I decided to write a short story and send it into a magazine. I really didn't expect it to get accepted, it was after all, it was my first time to send anything in. They said it would be 12 weeks before I would hear anything. Well, 8 weeks passed and today I got my first rejection notice.

Sigh, it's sad. I didn't expect it to happen, but it is still kind of hard to receive.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009


If you've done any Girl Scouts in the 20 or so years, you know what a SWAPS is. They are little crafts that girls make and then swap with each other. These SWAPS usually end up on hats or bandanas. They are cute and a fun way to meet other girls at large scout gatherings.

My neice is a Daisy Scout and she recently participated in a swap of SWAPS. I thought this might be a fun thing to do with my 5 year old daughter. She has really been into making crafts lately and I thought I would show her how to branch out beyond crayons, paper and tape.

I got a few items, craft foam, pom poms, and eyes. I got out the glue gun, used only by myself, of course, scissors and other crafting supplies. The we got started. I discovered a few things while making these SWAPS. Because of their size, they aren't the best crafts for small children. I had great fun making SWAPS and my daughter sat with me telling me where to put things, but unable to do them herself. So, I got out some large beads and ribbon. She made a pretty bead bracelet while I made SWAPS. Anyway, we had lots of fun. Here are some pictures of our SWAPS.

Catapillars and a frog. Daughter made the catapillars and I did the frog. So fun!

Next are turtles. Daughter really wanted to make turtles for whatever reason. They turned out really cute.

Flip flop SWAPS. This is fitting for several reasons. We lived in Hawaii years ago. Flip flops are the official footwear of Hawaii. I never did fit in while we lived there. I hate wearing flip flops, or slippers, as they are called in Hawaii. Also, my daughter has loved wearing shoes since before she could walk. Plus, these are just so cute!

Monday, March 09, 2009

revisiting old TV shows

Thanks to Netflix, my husband got to watch some cartoon TV show he loved as a small child - Battle of the Planets. I had never heard of it before, but it wasn't my kind of show. He and the boys had fun watching the episodes.

So, one of the characters in the show has the same name as one of our children. For the blog here,I will use the name Bud instead of the real name. So, Hubby put in the movie and we started watching the first episode and he said, "Well, that's so cool. I named one of my kids after a character in my favorite cartoon from when I was little."

I looked at him and said, "Well, that's not fair. You got to use Bud, but I didn't get to use Smurfette!"

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

work = screams

I've been feeling a little sad the last few days. Depressed is probably a better word. There are a number things that I don't like about my life, but a lot of it, I can't control or I have very little control. And while those things are tough, it really isn't those things that are getting me down right now. I'm in a nice house and have pleasent people to say hello to when I go to church.

What is making life so hard right now is Peanut. I love her to death, but she is driving me up the wall. If I move, she starts to cry and scream. Honestly, today I was here at the computer reading something and all I did was stretch. She started to scream, dropped what she was doing and grabbed my skirt. She stood there screaming at me.

In RS, we are doing some service projects and I'm helping by sewing some tote bags. I have all the fabric cut. All I have to do it sit and sew. Peanut stands at my side, screaming. When I need to stand and do anything, put ear plugs in. Her levels of screaming will make ears bleed and dogs howl.

For breakfast I eat scones. When I don't have any, I find myself snacking on worse things. I've been out of scones for a week and a half, but to make them requires me to stand and move about the kitchen. I've tripped over Peanut, who pulls on my pants or skirts, screaming at me many times. I want to cook, I want to work, I want to scrub the floor, I want to hang laundry, fold it and put it away. I want to work on other projects. I want to play with my other two children at home during the day, but Peanut does not let me do anything, and if I do, she will be following me around, screaming.

I just can't accomplish anything worth while. I can't even acoomplish anything stupid. When nothing happens, the house gets messy, we eat frozen pizzas, and I get angry. I need to work, I need to move and my desire to work is rewarded with the screams of my 11 month old. What have I done wrong? What did I do that deserves this screaming treatment? This is why I'm overweight, unhappy, and in a very messy house, all efforts I make to do just about everything is thwarted by my screaming baby and my sensitive ears.

Monday, March 02, 2009

word puzzle

For years now, I've learned about English - the history of English. I took French in high school and was amazed to find how many of our English words are so similar to the French, when I knew that English was Germanic in origin. About 7 years ago I started to question my Hubby about English. You must know, he is VERY smart and speaks French. He would answer my questions. He showed me the Indo-European language family tree. I was fascinated. I studied it until I had it memorized. I got books on the history of English and learned why so much of our language seemed French.

I won't do a history lesson here, but I found the subject very interesting. So, we are going to learn Old English together. We are going to learn a bit about our language before the French invasion.

Yesterday, on the way to church we watched a lady pull out in front of us and cut us off. Hubby said that was reckless. Then he started to muse, reckless. He half joked if reckless means you have less reck, is there a reckful? What does reck mean? It can't mean irresponsible, because if it did reckless would mean less irresponsible or responsible. I suggested that perhaps it is a word left over from an antique word since we couldn't think of any other modern words with "reck".

After church, I looked pulled out my new Old English text book. It has a dictionary in the back. I found the word "reccan" which means "to care for, to be concerned with". Ah Ha! Reckless is a remnant word of Old English it means to have less concern or care. Reckon is also a modern surviving word of the same root. As far as I can tell, reckless and reckon are the only survivors of the Old English "reccan".

I love knowing where our words come from. An odd hobby, I know, but for me - a fun one!