Monday, May 30, 2011

My dead trucker is missing. For real, this time.

Ugh, d@mmit, confound this accursed piece of silicon Trash excuse for a computer.

When your dubious heroine (that would be moi, Damsel Fair-ly P!ssed OFF!) last posted a missive on writing progress, there was a bit of celebration in the air. I created the pig-of-a-trucker (needed to be missing body numero uno), wrote his trashy pathetic backstory, got him to the strip club, had him thrown out on his somewhat sorry @ss. I had him stomp back, dejectedly and boozily toward his truck, and then get brained with a crow bar - said crow bar being the last thing to pass through his mind, as it were.

Yours truly, distressed and disgusted here, at the orchid house, cannot find the file. It is NOWHERE.

Call me a cautionary tale for talking smack about my muse.

Mea Culpa.

Now I gotta kill the dumb b@st@rd All. Over. Again.


Sunday, May 29, 2011

where does the time go??? (and ROW 80 - such as it is...)

Well, friends, and strangers alike, it's been awhile :-)

I've mentioned before, I think, that travel is hell on my routines. Two weeks ago, we returned from travel up north, and I've not been on the same track since. The good thing is that the busy IS productive. My goals for writing were simple - 30 min/day, 5 week. Poetry time, family time on the weekends.

SHOT. ALL OF them.

So, what's been Really happening?

Saturday - four hours sketching and painting at the Landscape Arboretum
Friday - Science museum with the kids And Jon
Thursday - zoo day with my daughter, dinner (presumably)
Wednesday - did portfolio pages for my son's teacher for 2 hours after the kids went to bed. And did laundry like mad the rest of the day, so all our winter gear would be clean for summer storing.
Tuesday - Further laundering of Winter gear (you have no idea how much gear a family of four can have unless you live in the north!)and prepping a donation
Monday - No idea.
Sunday - dinner at with our Godson and his family (my husband's brother's bunch) for the baptismal birthday.

I'm frankly feeling inundated by the amount of gear to shift in our house - too many toys the kids have grown out of are taking up needed space in our storage bins and they have Got to Go. Because when the downstairs play area is too full of stuff, the upstairs starts getting full of stuff and that is No Good. Try concentrating on writing when dinosaurs and Pokemon toys are staring you down. And then remembering that they are doing that because they are HOMELESS!!

So, in a way, ROW 80 and the short went on major hold, because frankly, if I want a life, it's a little too hard to do it this way. I'm crawling back on board again. But only in-between chaos reduction. There's a WIP on the burner, I can move it to the back. The family life is just not as pleasant for any of us when the situation gets reversed!

As a reward to myself for taking the time out for art yesterday, I'll scan the better sketches...a little later. I wish I had something extra amusing to post in light of me playing hookey. In lieu of a clever anecdote to wrap this all up with, I'll just state this, because it makes me laugh.

My sister's first real job in high school was being a rodeo clown.

(ok, a clown at a restaurant for a children's party. she was a cute clown, but a clown for hire nonetheless. This is Slightly more amusing if one knows what a hard-ass, take-no-prisoners, petite firebrand, road-rage blackberry poet she really, truly is. Love ya, sis ;-)

REAL ROW 80 challenge masters, listed below. ;-)


Wednesday, May 18, 2011

ROW 80 check in at the orchid house

Ok well hmm. How AM I doing on those goals? What were they again?

#1 - bottom in chair 30/day, mon-fri.

#2 - Edit/crit/write one poem/wk

#3 - take weekends off for family time.

#4 - New goal - don't let the damned plants die

#5 - second new goal - take dinner meals a little more seriously

The loveliness that is ROW 80 (round of words in 80 days) is that goals should, er, reflect/respond to real life.

So, how did I do since Sunday?

Monday - a barely functioning day. Lost my 30 minutes. No poetry. Watered plants. Must have cooked something. Went to son's baseball game and saw the game time open with two does tearing around the fields and smashing into fences. There's something you don't see everyday.....

Tuesday - still unpacking from weekend trip, unearthed to-do list. Put off writing until writers group session in the evening. Zip for poetry, checked the plants, defaulted dinner to a frozen pizza and a really good fruit 'salad'. At writer's group, did 540 words (about 1/4 too many for the scene) and wrote with minor cute baby interruptions for about 40 minutes. The power of the bottom in the chair. Oh, yeah, and I successfully (finally) ensured the trucker body will be found several pages later - I just haven't figured out in what condition.;-) 1 missing scene down, 9 to go. This story feels more than 2/3 done - yay! (wait, I may have said this before)

Wednesday - checking in now, trying to plan where the 30 minutes will show up today. Let alone the cooking/errands......stuff. Travel may be broadening, but it's heck on routines. I am utterly afloat here.

Despite my love of poetry, I seem to be incapable of tackling it lately - our family schedule keeps ramping up and these kids aren't going to raise themselves. And to be honest, I'm the last person to 'come up' with a great poem on my own - if they show up, I'll write them down, but if I force the effort, they just...kinda stink! In fact, lame, labored, and pointless is the usual result.

So, poetry is more on the wish list than the goal list, but that's okay. If I finish the WIP I can read and/or write as much poetry when and where and how I wish.

What I will say about ROW 80 is that if not for it, I'd not have anything but an idea for a WIP. I would not have 17 more pages of story, and I certainly wouldn't have other writer's willing to let me read their work - which has helped me almost more than I helped them. And I wouldn't have a friend who read myself and said 'you HAVE to finish this'.

It's better than where I was before :-) And if you want to pop in to see who is Seriously rocking this challenge, the list is below :-)

I hope everyone has a great week and weekend, summer feels like it is just around the corner. And wow, did ANYONE see that moon last night? That should inspire something, right?


Monday, May 16, 2011

Filtering out your civic responsibility, via Google, Facebook, Yahoo

Really important discussion here - courtesy of Eli Pariser. If information ethics interest you (they should) and you use the internet for anything (you do) this is time sensitive, and critical. Eli comments on how the internet is coded to filter out what it deems irrelevant.

Digest that thought for a moment - it's a pretty heavy one.

Then click away on the link.

Food for thought, and it deserves some chewing ;-)


R.I.P. Mr. Boogaard

Found a touching tribute blog dedicated to the Boogieman - Derek Boogard, New York Ranger, and MN Wild Alum. He passed away and was found Friday, May 13th. The article is by Michael Russo, he's been covering hockey for 15 years. I like that he gave the fans who organized Sunday's touching tribute (at the MN Xcel Energy Center) credit - those girls just wanted Derek's family to know what he meant to MN, and hockey fans all over. Catch the article here.

Also, to those who haven't witnessed Boogaard in action, I think there's some fine YouTube vids Here.

Lastly, for those who don't know about his 'other life', Derek Boogaard was a tireless supporter of charities, especially children's, both in Minnesota, and in his New York home with the Rangers last year. He supported military family charities as well, and the article touches on this work more eloquently than I can. He protected his teammates, did tireless and often uncredited charity work and outreach, and, sadly, just last year, authorized his brain to be donated to science in the event of his death. Clearly, this 28 year-old sports hero gives heroes a good name.

Rest in peace, Mr. Boogaard. You've more than earned it. My sincere condolences go out to his family - this tragic and sudden loss is devastating, and I hope the support from his fans brings a smile to their hearts.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

ROW 80 check in

Good evening!

This weekend was about momentum - the car-trip kind, moreso than the Writing kind.  The kids and I picked up Jon in St. Paul on Friday, and headed up for four and a half hours to get to my dad's place.  All went pretty well, but there was no way I could get writing done while packing Thursday Or Friday, nor much in the car. So, Wednesday got about 10 more min. by Wed. night (pathetic), and Friday had about 20 minutes of thinking on paper - about the blog as well as the story. Since it generated more writing projects, including a book review section on the blog, I'm pretty pleased with those 20 minutes :-)  Saturday is not a writing day, nor is Sunday, but given a notebook, and some scenery that applies to the WIP, I spent a good 30 minutes noting scenery, environment, animal life, abandoned farm equipment, and other details that are germane to setting - the story takes place in an imaginary town, set near the ones I grew up in.

Not that everything is going to make it in the story, but it feel more real to me, and if something feels too blank, it will help to remember what the tamarack bogs look like in spring And fall, what the 'wineberries' tasted like, and how the Moose Horn river is crenelated on a map. Fer instance.

Family trips with the kids are both a bit challenging And hilarious - (at 1:30 am...) "Dad. DAD." "What's up, buddy?" "Um, I think... I'm under the bed!".

Tonight we blew off steam (a Lot gets generated in a 4+ hour car-ride!) fishing for sunnies at a lake near our house. Not a bad night, though cool, and I managed to fill half a trash can with semi-buried garbage, flotsam, and random trash from the park. The chalky, ghostly and fullish moon made it well, and hugely, over the tree line well before sunset, and the luggage is almost unpacked. Considering it ain't a writing day, and we weren't sure how the weekend would go, the week's goals were actually pretty well met - and, i'm kind of itching to start dumping in all those meaty details (that I will probably just have to de-crapify later!!!)

I think I'll take some good advice and make a point of turning in early. It would be awesome to set myself up for a really good Monday, since tomorrow will be busy with cooking, a bit of laundry, getting through mail and paperwork,a baseball game, and heaven's knows what else. Oh, yeah, and some writing ;-)

Give the other ROW 80 challengers a peek - you absolutely never know What you'll find :-)
Then do something kind for yourself. It's a good day for it.

g'night, all.


Wednesday, May 11, 2011

MN Rep. House Leader Matt Dean VS. Neil Gaiman - Pencil-Necked Weasel

City Pages: Neil Gaiman vs. Matt Dean

I'm posting a link to the Twin Cities' 'City Pages' newspaper, where noted, and local, author Mr. Gaiman responds, at humorous length, to being called, during a legislative session (!), a 'pencil necked weasel'. Oops, and a thief too. Long article, worth reading. It raises some questions for me:
Why does House Republican leader Dean think Mr. Gaiman shouldn't be paid for work?
Why does House Republican leader think that name calling and personal attacks belong in the legislative process?
Why did he only apologize for calling Mr. Gaiman a pencil neck, and not a thief?
Why did he call Mr. Gaiman a thief who should have given the speaking fee to charity when, er, he did?
Why does he think that hacking library funding is ultimately a good thing?

As readers, writers, tax-payers, and people who care about the state of Art in our country, give this article a serious read-through. See how your legislators compare to ours!

Monday, May 9, 2011

Back on Track with my Pig of a Trucker (with apologies to all actual 4 footed swine)

Well, in answer the many prayers I've been the subject of (in all likelihood they were, "Dear God. Please heal this woman. The Whining has Got to GO!")I've finally had a day of energy and some initiative, and writing time was scheduled in.

30 minutes later, 334 words landed - describing my sadistic pig of a trucker, the girly bars he's been tossed out of, and the one where trouble will, yea verily, be afoot.

My next session has to establish what icky thing he may have done to the aging, um, entertainers to get them to throw him out. Then I have to figure out how to make him disappear, where to make him reappear, and which body parts will still be intact when he is found.

This could take a while. It's not the sort of thing I think about every day. Regrettably, I have a few personalities - real folks - in mind to composite into these sad characters. Even's gonna take a while.

I'm off to prep my rosemary/lemon/garlic chicken tenders for dinner (more blackberry salad too - yay!) so off I go.

Hope everyone has a really good Monday night :-)


Sunday, May 8, 2011

...and I expect the Stamina to Show Up Any Day Now + ROW 80

Brief post, as Mother's Day is one day off I take pretty seriously :-)

Antibiotics have finally kicked in for real, and I spend more time during the day coughing, than I do during the night, so I call that improvement. And, my eye no longer closely resembles a ripe grape tomato, so that's all good too.

Haven't written a dang thing. I was able to get my daughter to a birthday party without napping During the party. I also found out a bit about queries, happily posted below. A very good school of How not to make an Ass out of yourself or present as Completely Unprofessional. Very handy stuff, for someone who can make an ass of herself With OR Without a keyboard. (If this is ever an Olympic event, y'all can go on home now and consider that Market Cornered!)

In any case - all writing goals went straight to Hel this week. I simply didn't care. In fact, I basically told my muse that if she wants the dratted story written, she could do it her d@amn self. Pretty sure I'm gonna regret that when I have enough energy to do so. If I can quit coughing long enough, hopefully that day will be tomorrow. Believe I'll be starting with 'missing scene' #1 - the sadistic pig of a trucker goes MIA. I'll enjoy writing That one ;-)

I probably didn't help my case by hosting an impromptu(firepit)bonfire at the end of our driveway last night. But the 10 neighborhood kids that showed up had a good time. Campfire smoke likely didn't help the bronchitis, but if fire, smores, and chocolate chip cookies aren't what Saturday night is for, I don't know what is.

So, commensurate with the expected uptick in energy, tomorrow is for planting my flower boxes on the deck, expected thunderstorms, and writing my sick @ss off :-)

Have a great week everyone - and if you are ROW 80-ers, I hope you don't have to make up as much as I do!

Enjoy the upcoming stormy week, it promises to be a doozy up here! (good time to get your goth on, if you ask me ;-)


Cheer 'em on below, folks, they are writin' their fingers off!!!

Friday, May 6, 2011

something New! Useful! Writing Related!! Whee!

Hello friends! quick post, as I've wasted beau coup minutes kvetching over recent events, I'll not detain you much. Not even with the sad tale of the dishwasher...

In pursuing my writing education on-line, I tripped over a terribly fun blog - Query Shark. Being one poet trying to complete enough poetry for a complete collection, never mind the slightly neglected horror novella, I've not even GOTTEN to understanding queries. I'm not even sure I can PRONOUNCE queries! Query Shark is a succinct "do-this-not-that" - except way more entertaining - school of query writing. I don't know how she settles on the queries she posts, but I've just spent 45 minutes reading about future mistakes I can avoid. If I take the time to work at a query and avoid some terribly common first-timer mistakes.

Many of you popping by know so much more about agents and queries than I do. But if you are more of a beginner considering self-publishing, as I am, I think you might enjoy what you'll find there. It's right over there, alphabetically, on the left :-)

Right. Time to take another acetaminophen - the fever is back. Plus, I have more grousing to do..... pretty day for it, though.

Have fun!


Wednesday, May 4, 2011


Dear Mr. Insomnia -

Twice in as many nights?

This doesn't look good.

People (for starters, my husband) Will Talk.

Might I ask a favor (and i mean this, kindly)? Could you please have a word with your half-brother - you know, your Not Evil twin - Morpheus, and let him know I'm sorry.  And ready to make amends.

In the mean time (I have kids! there's nothing meaner than this!) could you go back to your regular visits with my neighbor? It's been interesting, but, um, well, among other things, the beauty sleep would come in handy. Not to mention this headcold - goodness, who knows What you'll pick up here! Look at the, yeah, um, you know, could you just....

push off?


ps. Don't bother the rest of the folks at ROW 80 below. Unless you bring their muse with you.
And That's Another thing. Drop her a note too!:

Dear Muse - one flow chart? That's All You Got For Me?


Tuesday, May 3, 2011

a cure for what ails ye...

I've been reviewing my list of what cures have and have not been working. Disease in question: gunky-make-your-ears, throat, head, and body hurt.

#1 - "starve a cold": pros - throat gets a break from having to eat... that's about it. cons - no blood sugar, no energy, crabby mom.

#2 - subsist on 3 cups hazelnut coffee instead: pros - soothes throat, provides some blood sugar, as well as the illusion of energy. cons - waking up with my daughter at 4:00 am with her coughing and not falling back asleep until 6:00.

#3 - Easter candy on as needed basis: pros - provides momentary happy (starburst jelly beans).  cons - can't taste anything save the sour ones.

#4 - Sit on bottom and rest as much as humanly possible with two kids, two cats, and regularly scheduled laundry/dishes/dinner prep: cons - this is not humanly possible. Not in this house. No rest for the wicked or otherwise. sigh. Also, this resulted in way too much 'my little pony' yesterday, which I dreamed of. In technicolor. Just before my daughter woke, in fact. grrrr.

So, back to the humor - the usual cure for feeling crappy. Of course, I'm going to re-watch the All-Hockey Hair Team YouTube video, purely for my dose of the peroxide Jesus, as well as this YouTube Gem - the Helsinki Complaints Choir. Whining has never, never sounded so gosh-darned lovely!! (yup, it's subtitled :-)

I'll have a sleepy day, most likely - you have a good one :-)


Monday, May 2, 2011

plague excuses....and late ROW 80

sore throat, stuffy ears, aches, low fever. Body that feels like it took up kick-boxing, as the target - without telling me.

ceding round one to the bug

I'd, of course, meant to post a happy update yesterday but was just too out of it. I was even going to toss in the amazing mixed-green - blackberry - goat cheese salad recipe that was utterly devoured at Easter. In retrospect i should have asked my husband to make it for me (it's really not that hard). It might have cured me.

In my subconcious psychic way, I did manage to make a batch of lemon-chicken soup (i really should leave all the typo's in here for your amusement...) when I was in stronger form on saturday, that's all I really ate yesterday.

Friday was a busy day - parent involvement day at school and...i really don't remember the rest of it. Saturday morning was early errands and then baseball pics for our son.

I blame all of my woes on skipping our daughter's nap. Don't, under any circumstances, skip the naps of a 3 year old unless you want to be disturbed - at length - about 12 times at least, in the same night. And if this should happen, don't for the love of little green apples, allow it to happen twice in the same week.

And if you've learned nothing from this, well, don't be surprised if you come down with the plague. You have no one to blame but you.

come back Wednesday for a post recovery post. things (er, this thing. me.) will be more human by then. I'm still grinning about the events of last week so I'm hoping if I can get today rolling, I can jump into the WIP for my 30 today. I'm actually sort of missing those psycho m.c.'s. And excited to start rolling in the backstories I've been developing over the last two weeks. i've made good use of long-hand writing at odd moments, but I need to start tying it all together.

later, my friends. I promise to have it make more sense....later.


p.s. I'm not even going to mention how many tries it took to spell wednesday, above.