Friday, December 30, 2011

Clean Slate

Well it's all over and done with ... Christmas, 2011... out with the old and in with the new. I've been taking the week between Christmas and New Years off since Grace was born. This year, I thought I might not burn that many vacation days but once again decided to do it.

On the one hand, it's great being home and getting all of the Christmas stuff that I enjoyed so much BEFORE Christmas down and put away. The minute the gifts are opened and everyone goes home, I'm over it. I want things clean and organized.

I stayed up late the past several nights getting things put away and doing the little and big tasks that had been getting put off while I was working. I revamped the Girl Cave and moved ALL of Grace's stuff to her playroom. She's already been in there more 'working'.
Moved the day/trundle bed to the playroom.
Girl Cave Redo

 I moved the futon to my Girl Cave and bought a book case. I'm going to buy a better and much larger one to put on the wall behind the closet door.
Futon and  a book case!

Optimistic exercise equipment
 With the futon out of the way, the exercise equipment beacons. I even dusted it off. Maybe this will be the year? Lord knows we need it.
The dog sleeps alone.
 And the dog got relocated. Bryon has had to get up with her every few hours to let her outside since we got her. She doesn't NEED to go outside that much, she just WANTS to go outside. She goes out there an lays in the grass in the middle of the night. Uh, No. Now she sleeps outside in her dogloo. If it gets super cold she can sleep in her crate. She likes the crate so it's not really the hardship it sounds like. AND we can all sleep better now. It makes me want to beat her a little less.

I have LOTS of goals for 2012. I've written them all down. The problem, as always, is in the IMPLEMENTATION of those goals. I'm all ideas. I just need more minion to do my bidding so I can follow through. I didn't make any resolutions last year. My number one resolution for 2012 is to finish this novel. I'm at 61,409 words as of last night. I need 18,591 more to reach 80,000 and then I can pursue publication. I'm not even going to try to follow that path until I have a completed project to present.

If I can't get it published, I'll self-publish it on Amazon and then you can read my pulp fiction masterpiece. Or not. No pressure. It's all good. Paranormal romance is not for everyone. I understand that. Try to make me read a historical romance or a 'classic' and we'll have a problem. Boring. Add zombies or vampires to that and I'm all in.

Maybe I'll share some of my other resolutions as we go. 

Life is Good in the Big Cedars.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Gift Giving - Consumption Umption, What's Your Function?

We might have gone a little overboard this year with Grace's gifts. We had a few ideas of things she wanted and a few more of things we wanted to get for her from us and from Santa. We got them all.

A few years ago we finally talked everyone, friends and family, into not exchanging gifts anymore. It was all just sort of insane trying to come up with stuff for everyone who, like us, bought what they really wanted for themselves. It was a tremendous relief. Now we only have to buy for Grace.

Grace really doesn't get get a lot of STUFF or gifts through the year. Her birthday is in October and we've had some pretty large and elaborate birthday parties that yield lots of kids which in turn yield lots of presents. This year she only wanted a small sleepover and to eat out somewhere fancy with her family. Jackpot! She still got some gifts but not the deluge she usually gets. She was just as happy.

Now the prudent person would have carried that logic through to Christmas and pursued a similar plan. We are not prudent people. We went a little nuts.
She has outgrown ALL her jeans!

A few science experiments, Wii, DS and Justin Beber

Stocking stuffers and no that's not booze ;)

She asked for books about jungles.

We also got her a REAL digital camera. She's had a couple of kids digital cameras and they are just worthless really. The pics are so bad they aren't even worth downloading. I know she'll have fun with a real one. It's shockproof, waterproof and a couple of other 'proofs' so hopefully it will last a while.

And finally I got her this Rock and Gem book that she's checked out of the library a ton of times. Now she'll have one of her own.

We did all of our shopping in one day while Grandpa Medley watched Grace. It was pretty fun AND we got to eat at Olive Garden so double score. I wanted to order everything from Amazon. Bryon wanted to go shopping. He won but I got to eat bread sticks and pasta so I was a happy loser.

Bryon is a great gift giver. I am a crappy gift giver.

Bryon once gave me a trip to Estes Park, CO to learn to snowshoe and cross country ski. I stayed in a condo with a jacuzzi with my Mom. It was wonderful.

I once gave Bryon a $3.00 pair of binoculars from Osco. Turns out the optics on a $3.00 pair of binoculars are not all that good. They might as well have come from a gumball machine.

Grace is just lucky she's got her Daddy shopping for her.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011


Wow, I thought I had read a lot more books than this during 2011. It SEEMED like I was reading a lot. I guess I spent much more time working on my novel than I thought. I only read 25 books this year. Last year I read 64. Grave Secret is on that list above twice. I only read it once. I'm just too Photoshop impaired to delete it.

I'm pretty sure I read a few more than this but just didn't remember to put them on Shelfari. No idea what those might have been. If they come to me in an epiphany, I'll update. I wouldn't hold your breath if I was you ;)

There were some good reads in that list. The Stand was a great reread as was One for the Money. I don't usually do that. Reread that is, but I thoroughly enjoyed both ... again.

I have The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo on my nightstand lined up to be next. Then I'm thinking maybe The Hunger Games. That's the great thing about loving to read ... there's always more!

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Winter Is For The Birds

I finally made this little project that I saw ... somewhere. I thought maybe I'd seen it on Pinterest which I recently started perusing but when I looked at my boards I didn't see it there. Pinterest is a cool site if you've never been there. It, like Facebook, is a great sucker of time but I LOVE looking at magazines and it's a little like that ... without the ads.

 I thought this would be a fun project for Grace but she lasted through two of them and I did the rest. I had two jars of organic peanut butter that I can't stand so at least it's getting put to good use. I've tried to like organic and natural peanut butter. I really have but I hate how the oil separates and then it's impossible to stir up or spread. These were a mess to make with that peanut butter. With Jiff of some other smooth brand, it would have been a lot easier. Still, they are pretty darn cool.

Toilet paper rolls, peanut butter and birdseed.
Smear on the peanut butter.
Roll it in the birdseed.

And suddenly you've got cool bird treats.

You just slip them over tree limbs and the birds will find them. Of course squirrels will too and since we live in the woods the last on the tree limb about eight minutes. At least something is getting to enjoy them.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Blogging in 2012

A blog is like a garden that you need to tend. If you don't water it, if you let the weeds grow up, if you just plant the seeds and then forget about it: nothing will grow there. Or if something does manage to grow, it won't be what you expected.

Here is my blog book for 2011. I ordered it a little early because there was a sale, so it goes from Jan. 1- Nov. 30, 2011. Next year's book will start Dec. 1. It goes against my sense of organization and completion but totally agrees with my sense of a good deal being had.  I felt like I blogged a lot in 2011.

I have been blogging since June of 2007. The first year I had only 49 posts. In 2008 I had 113 posts, 2009 115 posts and in 2010 I had 79 posts. 2010 was a long eventful but ultimately unbloggable year with all that was going on with Bryon's job. This year has been awesome. If I hadn't blogged so much in October though, I wouldn't have had very many posts. For 2011 I'm at 87 posts so far. I'll get a few more in before the time ticks down.

This year I'm going to really concentrate on my blog. I know a few of you guys out there read it every time I post. I think that's cool. It's very personally satisfying to see those page views increase. Since the month of October when I blogged every day, my monthly page views have gone from 200-300 in a month to 800 in the past 30 days.

That is AWESOME!

I'm not saying I'm some robed sage to be followed. I'll just be continuing on as usual, telling you stories about life in the Big Cedars, my family, preserving some of the stories about Bryon and my childhoods, our courtship, and our marriage for Grace and writing about the various and sundry other things that strike my fancy.

Things like writing. I'm still working on my novel. I started it in August so I don't feel like it's too stale yet or has been worked on a ridiculously long time and should be shoved into a drawer and forgotten. I'm still interested in it and still excited about it. I just need many, many more hours in the day to be able to work on it. I can't really accomplish much in fits and starts. I am looking forward to another Write-In day January 7 at the Creamery with the writing group (Ozark Romance Authors - ORA).

Maybe I can squeeze in a few more hours/days/minutes before then. At this point at least I don't have to reread the entire thing before I feel like I can sit down to work on it again. Those characters are like cousins I don't see very much but still remember what they've done during holiday dinners past. I at least know their story now.

Blogging is not as difficult as writing a novel but it still takes time in between cooking dinner, washing clothes, tending to kids, husband, animals, plants, sleep, reading ... you know how it is. You are doing the same things. I'm not promising a post a day because that will suck the joy out of it if it becomes a chore. I am promising I'll make an effort to post MORE.

I've been collecting a list of topics in my notes app on my new iPhone. Siri has been helping me ... when she isn't on crack that is and spewing forth nonsense.

Here's what I have (in no particular order) coming up in the next few posts to pique your interest...

A Walk In The Woods
Gift Giving
Coolest Apps in the Universe
Needless: How to be not so needy
Serial Killer: Why series books and shows turn me on
Product Loyalty
What Do You Want To Be When You Grow Up?
Picky Eater
Amusement Parks & Memories of Vacations Past
Getting Religion
Old Timey Ways
Resolutions for 2012 - 12 Months of Projects
Oldies But Goodies

I'll keep working on more as they come to me.

For now, thanks for reading. You're swell.

And if you haven't subscribed by email, you should do it. Just fill in your email address at the top of the blog and you'll get my posts emailed to you. They also update on my Facebook page. Friend me and you'll never miss an episode. I can't promise there won't be any reruns though. I am my Mother's daughter. I have to search my own blog sometimes to make sure I'm not repeating myself :)

Life is Good in Big Cedars.

Friday, December 9, 2011

A Walk in the Woods

Grace got lost in the woods a couple of weekends ago. Ever since we got Belle, we have been making an extra effort to walk her at least twice a day. We walk her in the morning for 10 or 15 minutes before putting her into the outside kennel and going to work and school and then again as soon as we get home. She gets a few more walks usually on the weekends.

We've been sending Grace out to do some of those walks. When Bryon was off last year, he made some awesome trails through out woods. We especially like to take her there. Grace has been on those trails now many, many times but never alone. A couple of weekends ago on a Sunday afternoon we told her to take Belle out for a walk. Grace said she was going to go on the long trail. We said fine. She had just led her Nana on that same trail the day before. It's not too complicated. The trail isn't marked but it's pretty obvious. So off they went.

The entire trail takes about 15 minutes to walk at a pokey pace. Twenty five minutes later Grace and Belle still weren't back. I hollered and hollered and got no answer. Now, I wouldn't have put it past Grace NOT to answer but I sent Bryon out on the four wheeler to track them down.

I heard the four wheeler racing through the woods and then doubling back. I knew he hadn't found them. Then I saw her coming down the driveway with the dog in tow.

Me: "Grace, you were gone a long time!"
Grace: "I know! I was lost! I thought I was going to have to spend the night outside!"

She was getting teary as she started to tell me the story of her adventure. Bryon pulled up just a few minutes after she got back. Apparently Belle had gotten away from her and she had chased her and then supposedly got lost. She then proceeded to cross two fences and walk to our neighbors house (a little classmate) and knock on their door for help. They weren't home. She said she turned around and saw our mailbox and walked down the ditch to it and then down the driveway back home.

She said she hollered and hollered for us. Well, we were in the house and she was a quarter mile away in the woods.  We didn't hear her.

Now, there were a few holes in her story. First of all, if she could see the neighbor's house to walk to it ... then she could have seen our field and mailbox. Secondly, if she hadn't crossed any fences she would never have left our property. Third, after Bryon reviewed the trail cams, he saw her heading RIGHT ON THE TRAIL to our field just like we always go.

The only ones that really know what happened during that twenty five minutes is Grace ... and Belle but she was pretty undone about it all. I made her hot chocolate with marshmellows. I tried not to make too big a deal about it because she can be a real drama queen and would have really been upset if I had. She did learn some lessons that will hopefully stay with her.

1. Never cross fences.
2. Never walk by the road.
3 If you get lost, stay put. Someone will come and find you.
4. If the dog escapes, let her go. She'll come back or we'll find her later.
5. You are ALWAYS on camera, even in the woods.

That night when I said sweet dreams she said she'd probably have nightmares about being lost in the woods. I asked her why? She knew it had a happy ending, so she shouldn't worry about it anymore.

What happens in the woods, stays in the woods.

Next time she's just going to have to stay on the road more traveled.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Small Town Parade - The Whole Enchilada

So I finally got the whole parade uploaded. It's actually only 10 minutes long and it has a LOT of wind and me laughing about people thowing candy at me in the audio. Sorry about that. I took it on my iPhone. This is the last leg of the parade. The other little video was as it left the school.

I especially like the guy at the end trying to sell his wood.

Ah, life in a small town.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Baton Twirling Pinnacle

Saturday was the Niangua Christmas Parade. We had never actually gone to the Niangua Christmas Parade but the cheer leading coach and her mother at school sent home letters a few weeks ago to see who wanted to be baton twillers in the parade.

I asked Grace if she wanted to do it and she said she did. I called the coach and signed her up putting the wheels in motion. The coach wanted them to all dress the same (or at least as similar as they could): red skirt, white tights, white sweatshirt so while I was out and about I made a few stops to track down a red skirt that would be appropriate for twirling. I was surprisingly difficult.

You would think there would be a plethora of red skirts for little girls around Christmas time. Not so. In fact, I couldn't find one anywhere. I resorted to Amazon and found one. Just before I hit the confirm button, I asked Grace one more time (stupid I know) if she was sure she wanted to do it. She said no. I asked why. She said because it was just going to be older kids and she was too nervous to do it. Whatever.

I don't know where she gets this 'too nervous' thing. I have NEVER said that. I've FELT it at times, sure but I NEVER said it to her about anything. It's amazing how other people and shows and who knows WHAT help them form their little minds and opinions. I have no idea where she got that from.

I tried to talk her into doing it. She got upset and teared up and said no. No other first graders were doing it so she didn't want to either. Bryon told her she could be a leader and do it and if she didn't she would be missing out on a lot of potential fun. She still said no. I told her if she wasn't going to do it I needed to tell the coach before the week of practice started. Still no. I emailed the coach and told her she was out and why.

The coach emailed back and said four other first graders had in fact signed up to do it and the first grade had the most kids on the team. We worked on her some more. She finally said yes. I hit 'Place Order' and told her teacher she was staying after school all last week to practice.

The first night she came home elated. She had a blast and showed us all her new moves.

Practice continued all last week and then the big day arrived. I had finally found another red skirt at Walmart in the little toddlers section that was a five. Grace wears a seven but it looked stretchy and like it might work if we had to use it. I kept the receipt just in case.

Good thing too because Saturday morning all I wanted to do was sleep in. We didn't have to be at the school until 10:30 so woo hoo! Sleep in it was. Or not. Grace was up at 7:30 and in my room crying and complaining of a stomach ache and then that she was NOT going to wear the skirt I had ordered because it was see through and people would see her bottom. Well, yeah, it was see through. It was more of a tutu but she had white pant/tights she could wear under it instead of just tights and it would have been fine. Nope, it was too poofy she said.

Well this went on forever until I finally just got up, stalked out the car and brought in the other skirt that might or might not fit. Thank God it did. She dried up her tears, I gave her a Tums and we got ready to go.

She was nervous and excited. Bryon missed it because he had to work but you can see her in the video above. Noticetoo the tumbleweed blowing across the street in front of the police car. Pretty funny and pretty typical of small town Niangua. It is pretty much a ghost town. Also you'll notice the four hourses at the FRONT of the parade. Who puts horses at the FRONT of a parade without poop bags on them? Niangua does. The band followed pretty closely behind and then the twillers. You can imagine what happened. Grace was just happy it wasn't HER baton that landed in a steaming pile of poo.

By the way, three other girls had the EXACT same little skirt on (number two not the poofy one). Disaster averted.

Grace did a great job and took it very seriously. You can see how high she's marching. She complained about her butt hurting a few hours later and the next day too. No pain, no gain my friend.

If you would like to see the entire ten minute parade I'm trying to upload it to YouTube. I'll post it if I get it accomplished.

Just another day in big city.

Life is good.

Barbered Barbies

Well it was bound to happen. It's a rite of passage I suppose. In fact, have you ever been to a flea market and NOT seen it? Of course I'm talking about Barbies with eternal haircuts. Nope, Barbie hair does not grow back my friend. It's like every bald man you've ever met regardless of how much Rogaine they rub over their chrome dome ... when it's gone, it's gone.

Grace came to me this afternoon and asked me to promise not to tell her Daddy something that was probably going to make me mad. I told her I was not promising but she needed to tell me anyway. Here's how the conversation went.

Grace: I cut my Barbies' hair.
Me: Why would you do that?
Grace: I was bored.
Me: How many Barbies did you cut?
Grace: I don't know.
Me: Go where are they?
Grace: In my playroom.
Me: Go get them.

She did. She came down with her rolly backpack full of shorn Barbies. There were ten of them. And a pile of Barbie hair. She suggested we take it to the woods to dispose of it. She really didn't want her Daddy to know.

The only ones who survived the shearing were the pseudo Barbies and the ones in her bath tub.

Honestly it was hard to be too mad about it. They actually turned out pretty cute. All except Rapunzel, she's screwed. She looks like she just got back from Jamaica and she let those ladies braid her hair. She's got some seriously messed up dreadlocks going on.

I told Grace she was not getting anymore Barbie dolls since she obviously couldn't take care of them appropriately.

I threw the hair in the trash can and I did tell her Daddy. It was too funny not too. He wasn't mad, just flummoxed as to WHY she would do it. Well me too really. I don't think I ever cut my Barbies' hair.

Maybe she'll be a hairstylist instead of a vet.

You just never know.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Simply the Best

Man I have always wanted to be the best at something. I'm mediocre at a lot of things. I'm the BEST at nothing. I'm not whining about it, I'm just stating facts.

My problem is that I want it to come easily. I guess that makes me a little lazy in that respect. For example, it would be awesome to be a great singer. I can't carry a tune at all. In fact, when I was in the fifth grade we had a Christmas musical at our elementary school. We were all in it. We had to sing. As a group. Did I mention I can't sing?

Well at one point the teachers told us that if we didn't want to sing for some reason, we could sit out and not participate. I didn't want to sing. Neither did a couple of other kids. We sat at the cafeteria tables while the other losers sang their little hearts out.

The next day my teacher, Mr. Franklin took me aside at recess with his partner in crime (another female teacher who I can't remember the name of now) and asked me if I was having trouble at home. Uh, no. They asked if my parents told me I couldn't sing in the program. Uh, no again. They kept grilling and interogating me trying to get to the root of the matter. The root of the matter was that I can't sing, they said I didn't have to, so I didn't. Simple huh?

Well it turns out those other two kids were Jehovah's Witnesses and for some reason they couldn't sing in the program for 'religious reasons'. I was a Baptist. I suddenly had to sing.

They did tell me I could lip sync if I wanted to. After they explained what lip syncing was, I was on board. Keep in mind this was well before we all learned what lip syncing was after the Milli Vanilli fiasco.

So I never became a great singer.

I also wanted to play an instrument. I tried the trumpet which I wrote about in agonizing detail here. I am so not a trumpet player. I am also not a guitar player also detailed in the above post.

I tried several sports; softball, volleyball, basketball. I was again, very very below average at best. Now, some of that I think comes from inate talent. Some of it comes from early opportunities at success that help form a driving passion for a sport. Success breeds success. When you START OUT mediocre and never advance past that point, all you have left to fuel your fire is passion. If you don't have the passion for it, you are NOT, no matter how talented you are or how much potential you have, going to be the best.

In my early thirties I decided adventure racing was for me. I LOVED watching the inspirational stories of the Ironman and then Mark Burnett came along with Survivor. I could do that!

Well it turns out that I'm a much better organizer of adventure races and endurance activities than a participant in them. I'm a weak link. I would be the one being helicoptered out of the event with an IV in my arm that you see on CNN from time to time. One of my goals in life at this point is NOT to be that person.

I tried duathalons, 10ks, 5 ks, a relay marathon (I only ran the last glory mile) and finally I actually did an adventure race with my friends Monty, Laura and Tom. My goal was to NOT be last. We weren't last. But we were damn close. I did not get helicoptered out. I did get a dibilitating migraine headache and spent several hours throwing up afterwards. The Survivor dream died there. I would never make it.

I helped organize the Ozarks Greenways Adventure Races for the first four years planning and implementing torturous courses for those made of much stronger physical stuff than I was. I did get Ozark Greenways Member of the Year sometime around 2001. That was pretty cool ;)

Working on that adventure race was very satisfying and terrifying all at once. After four years of stressing out that something I did in the planning of one of those events might get someone hurt or lost, I finally quit. It was a good run but I was worn out.

After that I decided, maybe I would never BE the best at anything. At this point in my life I think that's okay. Good thing because it's getting a little late in life to start something new and still reach BEST status I think. That doesn't mean it's too late to try new things though.

Grace has spent this last week at Baton Practice at school so she can be in the Niangua Parade on Saturday. She said she wanted to do it, then chickened out and didn't. We talked her back into it. She's loved it this week. We told her if she didn't try things she'd miss out on a lot of cool opportunities to have fun and learn to be good at things.

Tomorrow night she's starting basketball practice with several other first graders. Two of the first grader's dads are coaching it. They are going to try to start playing competitively. I hope she likes it because if she does then by the time she gets into junior high she could be really really good at it. But she's got to have a passion for it. Starting young will help, but if your heart isn't in it, your body won't be either.

By the end of soccer this season she was done with it. I don't know if she'll find her passion and become the BEST at something or if she'll even care. I just don't want her to pass up any opportunity to try.

Like the great band Def Leppard says...

It's better to burn out, than fade away.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Hell's Belles or It's not you. It's me.

So I would have LOVED to show you a cute little picture of Belle being all kind and sweet. But this is more how she is. A blur. She does have her kind and sweet moments but pretty much from the time her sleepiness wears off after a nap (which is around a minute and a half) until we turn off the lights at night and lock her in the laundry room ... she's non-stop.

I took her to the vet for her final round of puppy shots and her rabies shot yesterday after Grace got out of school. I had taken her in my car each time until yesterday. I STARTED in the care but quickly realized the futility of that by the time we reached the mailbox and turned around for the truck. She rode in the back. With the deer blood. Nice.

She weighed 20 lbs at the vet. Well, we THINK she weighed 20 lbs. She would barely sit still long enough for the scale to register. It took two vet techs to give her her shots. She's a handful.

We have really been making an effort to take her on several walks a day which with the time change has grown more and more difficult. We are off today so she's been on two walks already. I still had to give her a time out in the laundry room just now for my own sanity. NOW she's napping. I have about ten minutes of peace and quiet before all hell breaks loose and it all starts again.

My problem is once again summed up in a Seinfeld episode ... I have no hand. You can watch the clip here   Upper Hand  and you'll understand immediately. Actually, I've NEVER had any hand. After dozens of junior high and high school kids during my three long dog years of teaching HS English, now somewhere around the fifth pet, a husband and a kid of my own you would THINK that somewhere along the way I would have acquired the necessary skills or at least come across some voodoo hypnosis tricks to ensure some minute amount of hand. Nope. No hand. Handless.

Grace and Belle both mind Bryon without question or fussing. I might as well be invisible. In fact, sometimes I wonder if maybe I'm not. One day years ago after an especially trying seventh grade, seventh hour English class I told the class in frustration, "What am I invisible? No, that can't be the case, I can hear myself talking. I can see myself. Yet, no one in this room is listening to me." I was literally saved by the bell.

The counselor's office was right next door to my classroom and the principal's office was across the hall. I walked into the counselor's office where several of my soldiers in arms were already gathered for our daily bitch and moan session after school. I walked in and one of them said, "Has anyone seen Mrs. Medley? She must be invisible."

Har de har har.

Still that was the perfect example of my complete inability to bend people of animals to my will. I could never be a politician ... or a coach ... or a lot of things.

If there was a conference I could go to so I could achieve hand on a regular basis, I would happily pay up.

I am signing up to take Belle to obedience class in Rogersville starting January 25. I figure it can't hurt.

I just hope we both survive until then.

Write In - Write On

This is what a Write-In Looks like. I was set up beside the girl in the red sweatshirt against the wall. I've mentioned several times that November is NaNoWriMO which I did not participate in. These folks did. There was actually about a dozen people that came to the Brown Egg last Saturday to participate in a twelve hour write-in. The Brown Egg is a new place one block from MSU and it just opened last month. I hope it lasts. It was super cool. I was BY FAR the oldest one there ... by a decade ... or two.

There was a very cute young man making and selling his zombie art while we worked. Who can resist zombie art? Not this girl. He's working on the piece I bought in this picture. I just wish I could remember his name. Timothy something. I can't read his writing where he signed my piece.

Here is the piece I bought. I'm going to hang it in my office over my writing desk. Seems appropriate.

 We spent half the day at the Brown Egg and then the second half a few blocks away further downtown at Boca Mocha . It was fun. I was just working on my revision and trying to get the word count up which is easier than you would imagine now that I can tell you what the other characters are up to.

I spent ten hours working on my novel and revised half the book and added seven thousand words for a current word count of 57, 627 words. I only need 22, 733 more to go. I have a couple of big fight scenes and the ending to finish so I'm feeling pretty confident.

I just need about eight more days like last Saturday to get it done.

Oh Deer

Bryon killed a nice buck last Sunday morning. He's hunted pretty hard this season but still not nearly as much as he wanted to. He killed a doe with his bow before gun season and then got another doe during gun season. He let a lot of bucks walk because he was just trophy hunting. Oh, we're still eating this guy but Bryon still doesn't have a wall hanger like his buddies.

This one isn't getting full mounted either. The guys at the packing plant were disgusted that he wasn't mounting it. He measured it about a 130 and 3/8s Boone - Crockett buck. He's holding out for a 140+ to full head mount. Still this one was the biggest he's ever shot. He said this was the 30th anniversary hunting with the .270 and he has shot a deer with his 300 WinMag every time he's taken it out; nine times out and killed deer with it nine times. That's pretty good shooting. And a good gun.

So we have two deer getting processed into brats, deer sausage and snack sticks and a nice antler rack getting ready to go up in his bar soon.

Life is good on the big cedars and the neighbors farm.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Thirty Thankful Things

Last week at church, Pastor Gary asked us to come up with something to be thankful for every day in November. Seemed like a pretty easy task, yet I'm only just now getting around to really thinking about it. So here is my list of large and small things I'm thankful for. These are not necessarily in order of importance but more in the random order of my confused and often cluttered mind. One more I just thought of when I found the above photo on Google images ... Words With Friends and all the folks who play with me :)

1. Organization
2. Extended Family
3. Health
4. A wonderful home
5. Nice pets
6. Bryon
7. Grace
8. A school for Grace that is five minutes from my house
9. A great job that gives me lots of freedom
10. A really great job for Bryon
11. 30 acres of mostly peace and quiet in the woods
12. Farm animals that entertain us and feed us
13. The outdoors
14. The indoors
15. A toasty warm pellet stove on cold nights
16. Awesome technology like the iPhone, the Nook Color, my laptop and the iPad I hope to have one day
17. The internet
18. Books. Lots and lots of books
19. Fans of my blog
20. Food
21. Our garden
22. The grid
23. Awesome friends
24. Free time even though it seems scarce
25. Enough money to do most of the things we want to do
26. Small town life
27. Chocolate
28. People with a sense of humor
29.Vacation days
30. Sleeping in late

Friday, November 11, 2011

I think I can. I think I can.

I'm a little more jazzed about the rewrite now. This has been a crazy busy week with the university blood drive in Rolla occupying four days and driving 1,000 miles this week back and forth for work. Somehow, I have managed to start the rewrite.

I've only made it through the first twenty two pages of 179 in Word after I formatted it to fit Harlequin submissions standards but the good news is I've already added 2,000 words. At this rate, reaching 80,000+ is looking much more hopeful.

I feel like I have the bones of the story down pretty well and now, with the benefit of 3rd person point of view, I can flesh it out much better. See... LEMONS=LEMONADE.

I've had no offers for the use of a lake house or a patron saint willing to pay for an extended hotel stay. You could still be a hero here... just sayin' :)

Bryon, bless his heart, Googled around one night and discovered The Writer's Colony in Eureka Springs, Arkansas. I knew about it already but I thought it was pretty sweet that he was trying to find me a place to go to work on my story. He's a good man. I think I'll keep him another twenty one years and a half years.

The Writer's Colony seems like a pretty neat deal. They ask for donations ($45 a night) and you can stay for a week and up to three months. They feed you and they have WiFi and it sounds like a really creative atmosphere to really concentrate on your writing. You have to fill out a pretty extensive application complete with references to be considered for residency. I guess they don't just want vacationers looking for cheap hotel digs.

Unfortunately, the Writer's Colony is only open until mid December and then opens back up in March. There's just too much going on with the holidays to try to do it before mid December so I guess I'll just keep pressing on in dribs and drabs.

I really want this finished and ready for some serious editing by January. That is my goal.

It's good to have a goal.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Write & Wrong

So this month is National Novel Writing Month  in which I am not participating. Saturday was the Ozarks Romance Writers' meeting and several of those members were participating, so I had some writing envy. I decided I needed to love the one I'm with and work on my own already in progress novel.

I have waffled between rewriting it from third person or sticking with the first person point of view. Why I didn't just do that from the beginning I can not explain. Honestly, I didn't think it would really matter what point of view I used. I've read plenty of paranormal romances from both viewpoints.

Harelequin is probably the most new writer friendly publisher. Probably because they publish so many romances each much. Lots of awesome writers have cut their teeth in serial romance. In fact, so writer and submission friendly is Harlequin that they are having a free online conference all this week specifically on the how to's of writing romance. You can check it out at So You Think You Can Write if you are interested.

Last night I was trying to check out all of the events and podcasts from the first day and the main editor that accepts submissions for Harlequin Nocturne (the paranormal romance editor) had a podcast. She seemed great and gave good advice but also dropped a couple of bombshells. First, the word count for Harlequin Nocturne just got raised from 70,000 to 80-85,000. Yeah, I have 51,858 now. I've got some work to do.

Secondly, at the very end of the podcast she just happened to mention that submissions needed to be in third person point of view. Nowhere on the submission guidelines did it say that. Maybe it was supposed to assumed. Maybe I just didn't know what I didn't know what I didn't know. Now I know.

So my dilemma has been resolved for me. I have to rewrite it.

I guess the hardest part is committing to a course of action. Once there's a solid and clear plan, it's usually easier to proceed, right? It's good to have a plan.

So after all that waffling and hoping to take the easy way out, now I know, as with most of the things in life, there is no easy way out.

Bryon's pretty sure I'm windy enough to make it all work out. He's probably right. I just need someone to offer up their lake home to me for a long weekend so I can work on it without distraction. Either that or I'm going to have to check myself into a hotel.

Either way ... I got this. 

Sunday, November 6, 2011


This my pile of unread magazines.

It seems that no matter how much stuff actually gets done ... there is always more to do. It's like digging a hole in the sand with a plastic spoon. It just keeps filling back in. Somehow the stuff I really want to do is always last. Bryon has the same problem. I suspect it's universal.

Bryon and Grace both helped with a much needed house cleaning marathon today. Things look pretty great right now. It won't take long before it starts to go downhill and needs to be done all over again.

This was my pile of magazines on the end table in the living room. Bryon has a similar pile of unread hunting magazines in the bedroom. He's been reading lots of novels lately: Harlen Koben, Robin Cook, Dean Koontz, Michael Connelly and Michael Palmer mostly.

The problem of course is time. We have lots of shows we like to watch too. I used to read magazines during the commercials before the days of DVR. Now I don't even have to watch the commercials thankfully, but the magazines sure do pile up fast.

We haven't renewed most of our magazine subscriptions but we had a lot more than I realized and we are still receiving issues of most of them. I also love, love, love getting magazines in the mail. Or actually just mail in general. I do, however, think the magazine companies are supremely sneaky the way they constantly send you renewal notices like it's your last issue. I know I've renewed way, way early before because of those notices. Who has the time or inclination to keep a spreadsheet on them all?

I only recently realized you can check out back issues of magazines from the library. That's brilliant! How have I gone this long not realizing that? Of course they don't have all of the magazines I like. Honestly, I rarely use much out of any of them. I just like looking at them. And collecting them. And hoarding them.

I'm all for multitasking but your brain can only read one thing at a time no matter how talented you are.

I resisted checking out this website for a long time called Pinterest . It's sort of like an online magazine without the articles. Just the best stuff you might clip out. It's chock full of cool ideas in all sorts of categories. Beware though, it's a huge time suck once you go over to the dark side. They even make you request an "invitation" to join like it's a big special club or something and you might or might not be accepted.

Of course the last thing I need is something else to fragment my time even further. Most days I feel like Dug, the Talking Dog on Up! dashing off track at the first sign of a squirrel. Watch it here if you haven't seen it.

I might need an entire "stay home and read magazines" day to catch up.

I suppose there could be much, much worse problems to have, but sometimes all that clutter just adds up and instead of doing something about it, I'd just as soon throw it out and be done with it. There's definitely something to be said for a clean slate.

Oh look, a squirrel!

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Bad Hair Day

Today was not a good hair day.

I've a had a few of them this week. Every so often I think, "Dang, why does my hair look like crap?" Then I remember it's likely because I haven't had my hair cut in six months. Yeah, that usually does it.

I used to worry about my hair a lot. A whole lot. Obsessively. My mom will tell you that in high school I would sometimes wash and refix my hair twice a day when necessary. It was often necessary. It's not easy maintain the amount of lift you see achieved in the picture above. It takes a lot of hairspray my friend.

I've had hair self esteem issues for as long as I can remember. It's only been the last fifteen years of so that I've stopped fussing with it so much. Bryon would probably tell you I still fuss with with it but clearly it's not the priority it once was.

I'm not sure how a kid with hair as cute as the above pic could end up looking like this...
But I blame it on the old lady hair dresser my mom used to take me to. Her and Dorothy Hamill.
Dorothy Hamill had cute short hair ... mine was just ... unfortunate.

Seriously. I don't know which was worse ... the hair or the glasses.

 So I decided to grow my hair out long. No more Dorothy Hamill hair for me. Never to be short again. Ever. And yes, that was a Glamor Shot above. God help me.

Senior Picture above. 

Clearly, growing my hair out .. also meant growing it upward. Notice Bryon had hair then too. Nice acid wash jeans there too for us both.

So this was my passport photo a few months ago. Notice the complete lack of hair elevation and much smaller glasses.

Fifteen years from now Grace will look at that pic and say, "God Mom, what was going on with your hair?"

All I can tell you is I'm going to die an old lady with long hair because as God as my witness it will never be short again.