Sunday, August 30, 2009

Timing is Everything...

It's true, isn't it? Whether it's a job search, an accepted or rejected manuscript, or events in our everyday lives, timing plays a major role.

For instance...

Today is Sunday. Normally I arrive at church at 9:29 for a 9:30 rehearsal -I'm an accompanist and my husband plays the bass and trombone. I had just sat down on the piano bench when the music director called down from the sound booth, "Hey Nora, I think Tim's playing today."

Excellent timing! (think I). Not that I don't enjoy playing. I do, but it's a rare Sunday indeed when I get to take a break.

I decide to use my extra hour to knock off a few items on my 'to do' list for the day. I head to the van, make a few stops on the way to the house, then pull into the drive.

The 3 weeks before and the first week of school is rough on the inside of my van. It begins to think it's a truck, a kitchen, and a dining room table. I've got 30 minutes left before I head back to church, so I thought it would be nice to surprise hubby with a fresh, dusted, cleaned and vacuumed inside of the van. He would like that. I set to work, and when I finished I had to admit it looked pretty good. You think the van would appreciate that. But no. It decided to whack me in the head and face with the back hatch.

I texted hubby to let him know what had happened and that I would pick him up after church, then I headed to the freezer for an ice pack. I'm going to be pretty colors. Did I mention that school pictures are this week?

Timing is everything...

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Busses and Children and Spiders - Oh My!

Today was the first day of school.

I am, by nature, a night owl. I love walking in the neighborhood late at night, and I do my best writing sitting under the stars on my deck in the wee hours of the morning. Three A.M. bedtime or later isn't unusual for me during summer or Christmas break.

Then schools starts again. It takes me a good three weeks to turn my internal clock around. I try to do it before school starts, but it never works. Six-thirty feels mighty early when your brain only shut off a few hours before. It doesn't turn back on again before 9.

I left the house at 7:15 with the plan to be at school early. And I would have been, if I hadn't driven to the wrong school. That's right. I went to a completely different building - one where I don't even teach this year. In my defense, it was a logical thing for my sleep-deprived brain to do since I started in that building last year. I didn't realize my mistake until I was sitting at the light with my signal on, waiting to turn into the parking lot. Hopefully, no one noticed. Unfortunately, my detour put me behind a school bus. School busses are rarely on time the first week.

I did make it to my morning building. I was greeted by this:

I am thankful the resident wasn't visible.

I made it through the rest of the morning and afternoon without further incident. The caffeine IV probably helped. My students were cute and fun and eager to get started. It's going to be a good year.

Friday, August 21, 2009

The Joys of Sitemeter

This might sound funny, but I just LOVE Sitemeter! Geeky, I know, but I get a kick out of seeing where all of you are from. Who would of known that someone besides Mom would visit my blog?

I've had visitors from all over the United States - except Hawaii and Utah, and I have visitors from our neighbor - Canada. It's fun to see the different country's flags appear on the list. Some of the more recent ones who've visited are from South Korea and Germany. I've had visitors from Great Britain, France, Italy, Trinidad, South Africa, Denmark, and Japan - to name a few.

It really is a small world! Please leave a comment or a simple hello when you visit. Let me know where you're from. And most of all, thanks for stopping by. Ya'll come back now!

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Vowels and Hearsay...

I have no idea if this is true, but I heard that in Arab schools vowels are removed from the text once the student learns to read.

I wondered what that would do to the readability of the English language. Would it improve? Think of all the different pronunciations we have for a single word - read, for instance. Hmmm... if it was spelled rd, it could be read, red, rod, road, rude... Reading would come down to deciphering context clues. On the other hand, there would be no more diphthongs, vowel-blends, short and long vowel structures and such for all the little primary kids to master... And think about what removing vowels would do to the page count of a novel!

I wondered again what it would look like. So here's something for you:

Mry hd a lttl lmb, ts flce ws wht s snw,
nd vrywhr tht Mry wnt, th lmb ws sr t g.

Did you get it? Try this:

W hld ths trths t b slf-vdnt, tht ll mn r crtd ql, tht thy r ndwd b thr Crtor wth crtn nlnbl Rghts, tht mng ths r Lf, Lbrty, nd th prst f Hppnss. Tht t scr ths rghts, Gvrnmnts r nstttd mng Mn, drvng thr jst pwrs frm th cnsnt f th gvrnd...

A little harder?

As I look at it I'm realizing my son already writes likes this. It's called text-messaging!

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Lightening Thief

For all of you who are Percy Jackson fans, you can watch the movie trailer here!

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Something Fishy...

Sometimes the best laid plans go awry...

Everything was good to go when I left. The corn was shucked. The grouper was thawed. I also had a pork chop for hubby -who once told me he'd divorce me if I ever cooked fish in the house. When he was a teen he spent a summer working for the City of St. Joe, MI. His job? Aside from mowing and emptying trash, cleaning up the dead chad on the beach. Ew.

I left to spend the afternoon with my critique partner and friend. We like to meet for lunch, and today we chose Applebee's. I called about 10 minutes before I reached the restaurant to make sure we were heading to the same place. She assured me she was on her way. When I arrived at the restaurant the hostess seated me and said she'd keep an eye out for my friend. Five, ten, fifteen minutes pass. No crit partner. I began to worry, so I called her again.

"Did you fall into a hole?" I asked when she answered.

"No, I've been sitting here at the table waiting for you."

We'd been seated on opposite sides of the dining room. We found each other, had a good laugh and got down to business. What does that mean? Fifteen minutes reviewing chapters and the next three hours talking about everything else. As always, we had fun.

I arrived back at the house ready to fix dinner. I turned on the grill and got the pork chop started, and I pulled out the blackened seasoning and dredged the grouper. The first sign of trouble occurred when I went to check on the pork chop. The propane had run out. Not a problem, I thought. I always have a backup propane tank just for these kinds of emergencies. Except, I found, I was already using the backup tank. Frying was my quick alternative. The chop was about halfway cooked so it didn't take long. I fried the fish as well. Hubby was so happy to come home to that smell, but he hasn't mentioned the "D" word yet. Table set, food cooked, mission accomplished.

I took the first bite of grouper. It was awful! So salty it nearly turned me inside out. I drained my glass of water.

"What's the matter, Mom?" My son threw a suspicious glance at his plate.

"Don't eat that!" was all I could manage.

I needed more water, so I headed to the sink. That's when I noticed the spice bottle on the counter. It wasn't blackened seasoning. No. It was Lawry's seasoned salt - which is fine in very small doses, but certainly not meant to be used to dredge seafood. Ugh! I threw two more pork chops in the skillet for dinner and tossed the fish. What a waste. I love grouper.

I've decided it would be a good idea to keep the blackened seasoning on a different shelf. Oh, and I think it's high time I replaced my glasses.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

The Last Hurrah...

Tomorrow is my last free day to play this summer.

School starts the 24th. I spent the first few days this week setting up classroom number one. It's pretty much good to go. Translation - It'll look good for open house. Appearances count, you know. Next week I get to set up my second classroom - traveling teachers are lucky that way. I'll need to write lesson plans, create math lab activities, and come up with journal topics, too. I've an email newsletter to send to parents and welcome postcards to the kids. But that's next week.

Tomorrow I play. I've a date with my manuscript in the morning, then a lunch date with my critique partner and good friend. Our lunch date topics run the gamut from literature to politics, family and the daily doings - whatever hits us at the moment. We talk for hours. I love it. I might have to hit the dollar cinema to watch Star Trek one last time. Yes, I'm a fan. A big fan.

Friday I hit the road to go get daughter in Michigan. She hasn't missed me one bit. Uncle has kept her BUSY! I'll be glad to get her back. Two weeks gone is a long time for this mama.

I'll try not to think about tomorrow as the last hurrah. It begins to feel a bit desperate if I do. I'll take the day as it comes. Maybe next week, if I'm efficient and lucky, I can squeak in another play day before the opening bell!

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Ahhhhh.... Solitude

For the first time in a very long time I have the house completely to myself. All day. Daughter is in Michigan. Son just left to register for classes. Husband is at work. It's just me and the cats.

I could get a lot done today, if I felt so inclined. I could clean house or do the never-ending laundry. I could be a good little writer and knock off another chapter of my WIP. But it's raining outside and the house is quiet. The day whispers for the simple pleasures - a good read.

I'm going to throw a pan of sweet corn bread in the oven to slice with a cucumber and tomato for lunch. The rest of the morning will be spent on the couch reading about Bartimaeus and Nathaniel. I can't wait to find out how their story unfolds.

I love solitude.

Saturday, August 8, 2009


Okay. Every now and then I like to try something new with my writing. I regularly peruse author websites and blogs to see what's up. One thing I keep seeing, especially from YA authors, is a playlist - songs to set the mood while you're writing. "So," think I, "Maybe I'll try that."

Big mistake.

I spent a crazy amount of time searching iTunes for songs that carried specific themes (time I could have spent writing). When I finally got to work, I found the words of the music got in the way of my creativity, and my brain chose to analyze the chord structure of the music instead of the flow of my story. When I realized playlists didn't work for me, it was too late. The damage was done. Every time I sat to write, the songs STILL got in the way - even though I didn't play the music any more.

My next thought was to find a way to "cleanse the palate" and clear my head. What would be the musical equivalent of lemon and water?


Thank you, Amadeus! I found that if I played the music low enough, hardly there really, I could write without distraction. It was just enough to keep the lyrics of the other songs out of my way. I could think again!

I've learned my lesson. I know my learning and working styles. I don't need to delve into other people's modus operandi to improve my focus.

Moral of the story: Don't fix what ain't broke.