Thursday, July 31, 2008

Adventure! Not.

1:30 AM, this morning

I wake with that middle-of-the-night something-is-wrong alarm, my heart thrumming.

Me (whisper): "If you turned off the sprinklers, why do I hear something running?"
Hubby (sleepy whisper back): "I was just going to ask you that..."

I push out of bed, pad over to the sprinkler control, flip on the horrible blinding light. It is set to OFF. Yet water is clearly running, loud, under my feet. This is Bad. I inform hubby of Badness. He comes out rubbing his eyes and turns the sprinkler makes nasty glugging broken noises...and then off. Still water running.

Me (knowing this is probably a recurrence of the Sprinkler Breakage we had the first week we moved in, but not wanting to admit it): "Do you think we need to go outside and check?"

Hubby: "Sounds like recurrence of Sprinkler Breakage. We'd better."

We fumble around for flashlights and appropriate clothing for outside 1:40 AM. We can hear the water sploshing from around the's pouring up from the sprinkler main, flooding down into our crawlspace. Hubby opens the crawlspace door, and I stare down into it. I am the only one who can fit in there. To fit in there I must contort my body like a gymnast between a little narrow dirty usually spider-infested opening, in the dark, this time landing in I'm-not-sure-how-deep water. But I have to go in there to turn the sprinkler main off. I look at my sandals.

Hubby: "You'd better take those off."

Me: *sigh*

I take them off. I maneuver myself barefoot into the obscenely small opening, getting my butt all wet. I feel for the water depth with my feet--it's mid-calf. And COLD. But it's going to get deeper the longer I wait.

I jump in and try not to shriek. It's not just cold. Our water comes from snowmelt--it's like jumping into a snowbank. Calf deep, barefoot. In the middle of the night.

I slosh over and turn the lever, and thankfully the water stops. Then I just have to pry myself out--which is harder, somehow; I actually got stuck for a minute--and traipse back to the house, carrying my sandals, wet and muddy.

It took half an hour before my legs were warm.

2:15 AM

Me (wide awake in bed, staring at the ceiling): "Well, that was interesting."

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

New bookage!

NEWSFLASH: The Mammoth Book of Vampire Romance is out on the shelves, both virtual and shelf-like.

Vicki Pettersson has a story in this anthology. I've read it, and it is phenomenal. You must read it.*

Go forth. I am back to the book.

*Because even though she has the twin annoying habits of being calm and reasonable in the face of my freakouts and being way too often Right, she is a damn good storyteller.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Random Thoughts from this weekend

--I. Love. This. Book. Love love love. Love this book. LOVE. This is me on paper.

--Insomnia SUCKS. I can't even write when I can't sleep. My brain is stuck on high spin cycle. And the next day (that would be today) my brain is stuck in Dull.

--Hubby is awarded extra super bonus points for taking Child to the bookstore for more than an hour so I could work.

--We are officially in "gorgeous weather" mode. Must enjoy it while it lasts.

--Fighter jets are very loud when they take off right in front of you.

--It's very cool to see your daughter perched up on top of a fighter jet. (not, you know, when it's flying)

--It's amazing to see your daughter perform in her first play. And make it through, and beam afterwards.

--Betsy and Tacy is still a good book.

--If the dream that I had this morning comes true someday, even close, I will be a happy camper. Well, not the vampire part. But the rest...yeah, baby.

That is all.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Ha ha ha ha ha

I am such a geek.
Don't mind the absence of the person supposed to be posting on this blog. I'm just a little taken up with something else right now. In the meantime, I'll share one of my favorite recipes. Healthy, yummy, and perfect for summer.


Grilled Chicken with Oranges and Avocado
This recipe serves: 4

Preparation time : 20 minutes
Cooking time : 20 minutes


For the chicken:
1 cup low-fat or non-fat plain yogurt
1/4 cup minced red onion
2 tablespoons chopped cilantro
2 tablespoons honey
salt to taste
freshly ground black pepper
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, 4 to 6 oz. each

For the garnish:
1 avocado
1/4 cup fresh lime juice
2 oranges, peeled and sectioned
1 small red onion, thinly sliced

Cooking Instructions
1. For the chicken: Mix all the ingredients except the chicken in a large bowl. Add the chicken to the mixture and coat evenly. Cover the bowl and refrigerate for 30 minutes or over night.

2. Preheat the grill or broiler.

3. Remove the chicken from the marinade and discard the marinade. (This protects against cross-contamination.) Sprinkle the chicken with salt and pepper.

4. Place the chicken on the grill or under the broiler and cook until the juices run clear, 6 to 8 minutes per side.(I usually do 10 per side)

5. In the meantime, peel, core and chop the avocado and toss it with the lime juice quickly so that it doesn't discolor. Add the oranges, onion and cilantro. Season with salt and serve on top of the chicken.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008


That's me, switching gears.

(awesome image borrowed from

Hello again, Jenna. It's nice to see you.

Monday, July 21, 2008


Dear Melody:

I cannot BELIEVE I just did that to you. Seriously. I don't know what happened, but it It just took off there, didn't it? I'm still in shock myself, and I imagine you're probably kind of a little upset right now.

Ahem. Don't look at me like that. Your eyes are freaking me out.

I didn't mean for that to happen. Er...any of that. So you don't really need to...

Put down the longbow. Please. Yes, I realize I gave it to you in the first place. But I don't really think now is the right time to--

Hey. Stop that! No, I won't change it. I won't. It's good. Believe me, the readers* are going to like that part. Even if it is fairly awful...

HEY. That was uncalled for. Watch out, missy, or it's just going to get worse in the next chapter.



*This is assuming readers, yes, we are thinking positive.

Book Love

In my regular every-few-months surge of new-book love...

I'm finally reading Ink Exchange by Melissa Marr, and yes, so far it is drawing me in as much as Wicked Lovely did. Unfortunately this is dangerous, as I was doing so well working head-down on MELODY last week. I was forced to leave IE at home lest I succumb and spend the whole lunch with my feet up on my desk, in Melissa's pretend world instead of my pretend world.

In addition to that, I had 3 gift cards to cash in. The one at Hastings was all for me. (and it was buy 3 teen titles get one free! Until the end of July!) I snagged:

  • Vampire Academy, by Richelle Mead. Even though I'm still not much of a vampire fan in general, this keeps getting rec'd by friends.
  • Thirteen Little Blue Envelopes by Maureen Johnson. Ever since I saw Maureen's video with Libba Bray I knew I had to read their books. Reading their blogs confirmed it. So I also got:
  • A Great and Terrible Beauty by Libba Bray. I realize I am the last YA reader on the planet to pick up this one. I'm looking forward to it.
  • Enna Burning by Shannon Hale. Silly as it is, I first picked up Shannon Hale because I liked her website (back when I was working on mine. *cough*). I really loved Princess Academy. So this is next!
The Borders gift cards went to Child, who is discovering the first joys of reading chapter books on her own. I barely restrained myself from buying Noel Streatfield's books--they're just a little too long right now--but I did give in and bought Betsy-Tacy for her. I loved those books! I also got a couple in the Jewel Fairy series, which she is into all on her own, and Mary Margaret, Center Stage, which looks perfect for my little actress/dancer.

Book love, two generations.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Wall-E and the not-lesson

Last evening Hubby and I took Child to see Wall-E.

I was a bit worried. When I'd seen the preview and read all the glowing reviews, my primary thought had been, "Wow, this may be the first Pixar movie I don't want to see."

See, I'm a contrarian, deep down. I hate to be manipulated, and I hate doing things that everybody wants me to do. So when I saw that Wall-E had such a strong "message" AND that everybody and their bastard stepchild wanted me to GO ALREADY, I didn't wanna.

But I've loved every other Pixar movie--they've never been schmaltzy or messagy--so I sucked it up and went. And yes, Virginia, I loved it. It was endearing, and a good story, and I went along for the ride. We all came out buoyed up by a sense that love will prevail. That YES, we COULD clean up the planet and make it a wonderful place, dang it!

And then an Old Gold cigarette pack landed at my feet.

Sitting in the car parked next to us were three girls in their late teens or early twenties, already with that hard look, eyebrows plucked and hair scraped back into rumpled, greasy ponytails. The one in the back was lighting a cigarette--clearly the last one from the pack she'd just tossed out the window--with a baby in a carseat sitting next to her. She looked at me, realized I'd seen her do that, and quickly looked away.

I was astounded. Hadn't they SEEN Wall-E? Didn't they know how trash would pile up if we all did that? Didn't she KNOW about the horribleness of second-hand smoke, especially to a baby? Did she not have a brain?

My six-year-old was with me, and she'd seen it too. I had to do something to reset the balance. But what should I do? Toss the pack back in the girl's window? Give her a tongue-lashing? Tell my child, loudly, how littering was wrong?

I did none of the above. I calmly walked around the pack, opened the door, and let Child into the backseat. Then I turned, stooped, picked up the empty pack, and took it with me.

I didn't look at the girl again, but I know she saw me, watched me take her trash away to put it where it belongs. I know my daughter saw me too. I figured that was better, if either of them thought about it, than rubbing her nose in it. It was a better lesson by example, without being lesson-ish.

And isn't that what Wall-E would have done?

Wednesday, July 16, 2008


Yay 20%!

I am so in the Early Stages of love-love-love with it.

If you're a writer, you must read this

Now. Go on.

My song

I am not posting much because I'm writing and it's going really well. This is the song I posted to my writing buds yesterday, because I really am that much of a geek:

Oh, I'm...

playing in the mountains of Moldavia,

Oh I'm playing in the mountains of Moldavia,
And I have got a plot.
And a man-god.


*back to work*

Monday, July 14, 2008


Another whirlwind weekend, this time soaking up music at the National Folk Festival right here in town. We listened to (and danced to) amazing bands of all genres, from blues to gospel to reggae. We ate food from vendor vans, perched on the grass. We stayed up incredibly late, and all slept in incredibly late. Aaaah.

We were out in the sun most of the weekend. Even with SPF 50 sunblock, I am far browner than my Norwegian/English genes meant me to be...but it's all good.

In writing news, I hit the first real story burst of MELODY, when it all comes flooding to me and I can't wait to get to the page. Of course I _couldn't_ get to the page this weekend, but the story was omnipresent in my head. I'm hoping to make it to 10,000 words today, and pile it on this week.

And in linkage, my writing bud Kelly Gay is giving an interview here. Comment, and you can win chocolate! Go! Shoo!

Friday, July 11, 2008

Coolio word clouds

I shamelessly stole this post from Jo.

Here's a word cloud, from Wordle, of this blog.

I love that family, time, writing, and YES are huge.

Here's one of Jenna:
Joe and Neil...yay! Back, time, know, right, one, all good. Just, said, and like...hmmm.

One of GG:I do tend toward like and just, eh? I knew that, though. back, DR, Mom, Tony...and I finally found ghost in there too.

And finally, one of Melody, which is just starting so it will change a lot. That's why I chose the template that looks all scattered and jumbled up.

Hey, at least I'm keeping with just and like, though. :)

Friday Linkage of Awesomeness

YES, Maureen Johnson! YES YES YES! There are no muses! It is WORK! I particularly adore this bit about one of your approaches to writing stalls, which I relate to more than I want to admit:

- Sending long, rambling notes to friends, saying how I have failed completely (again) and am going die of writing mange (again) and how my brain is stalled never to restart (again). This is a pleasant time-waster. Also, my friends LOVE it!
I am going out to buy a book of yours at lunch. Also love the Drunk History video muchly.

And YES Justine! Thank you for pointing me to Maureen's Death to Muses blog post, and for your own comments on said death.
Trouble is all the muse talk makes it sound like ideas and inspiration are the most important part of writing, which, sadly, is rubbish.
You are both in my Google Reader now.

And this weekend, Butte is hosting the National Folk Festival, a 3-day extravaganza of music, dancing, and booths selling ethnic food we have not seen in years. Or EVER, here. Butte is the Happening place, you see. It is the hot spot of the nation.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

An award, woo-hoo!


Julianne at Writing the Renaissance (my submission buddy) has awarded me an Excellent Blog award! I hadn't heard of this before, but it seems to be an organic award bloggers give to each other, in recognition of blogs they like. I'm honored, Julianne, thank you!

The second part of the deal is to choose 10 blogs that I enjoy regularly to award in turn. Not difficult at all--there are so many! Here are my ten, in no particular order:

1. Janet Reid. I'd hang out there daily even if she wasn't my agent. Wait, I DID hang out there daily before...

2. A Novel Woman For breathtaking pictures and funny stories.

3. Motherhood is Not for Wimps The best Mom/Life blog I've run across. I've been reading Elizabeth's posts for years!

4. Jackson Pearce For the vlogs especially!

5. Melissa Marr I love Melissa's books, and her blog gives a wonderful glimpse of a professional writer's life.

6. Jo Bourne For the technical writing tips particularly...Jo rocks.

7. kc dyer, who blogs about her incredibly busy life writing, promoting, AND running the Surrey conference.

8. Simply Elise My favorite cooking blog EVER. Okay, the only cooking blog I read.

9. Diana Peterfreund I've been following Diana's publishing adventures for a long time now.

10. Lottery Girl She hasn't been out there a long time, but what she does have kicks ass. :)


Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Obama update

So...Barack Obama. Likely {fingers crossed} next President of the United States. In my town, on the 4th of July.



That's me, right there, in the hat. Holding Child. An AP photo. WOW.

See, that's why I haven't blogged about it since it happened. All I have to say is WOW.

Originally, Barack was going to march in our parade. However, the Secret Service (see at least 2 of them in the photo) nixed that idea. So instead, he watched the parade for a bit, with his family, and then hosted a picnic on the Montana Tech campus, for those lucky few (okay, 1700) who could get tickets.

We got tickets. That's two scores: 1, live in the right place at the right time. 2, we got in line just in time--we got the last batch of tickets. Yay! I could barely sleep the night before. (okay, there were fireworks going off too...)

We showed up for the picnic with our chairs, blanket, hats and water, and little else. We had to pass through a metal detector and through some fencing, but it was all well organized and easy. They'd set up well. We arrived about an hour before Barack did, and there were already people getting food, sitting at the picnic tables, and playing with the huge beach balls they'd tossed around the lawn. We picked a likely table--not TOO close to the stage, since those were already all taken, and started to plop our stuff down...

when we were chosen by a staffer to go sit in the restricted area, "on camera" (she said), where Barack and his family would be speaking (and eating). Score 3.

It was a bit hectic when Barack and his family actually arrived in their big bus, what with all the Secret Service people and staffers hovering, and most people directly disobeying the request not to rush him for a handshake line. But once he settled in, it was awesome. Our senator spoke, then our governor, then Michelle Obama, then Barack. We were RIGHT THERE, standing and cheering. It was overwhelming, amazing, awesome. I've supported the man for a long time now, but in person he really is inspirational, and charming. Bonus: it was his daughter Malia's tenth birthday, so there was an extra-special celebration for that. There was a cake, and the crowd, both in the parade and at the picnic, sang her "Happy Birthday."

After his speech he took the time to shake everyone's hand he could reach, both inside the barricade and along the fence. Including mine.


Then he managed to go and grill some hamburgers for himself and some lucky folks in the crowd, chat with people a bit more, and then disappear.

I love this, too. He scheduled some private family time, so his family could celebrate the 4th and his daughter's birthday. They hung out at our World Museum of Mining, danced, played hula hoop, and were mostly sans reporters. They spent the night somewhere in town, flying out the next morning.

I am so grateful that I and my family had this opportunity to see him, hear him speak, and shake his hand. It's something I can definitely tell my grandkids about...and my daughter can too. If I can get a bit more coherent about it.

Did I say WOW?

Tuesday, July 08, 2008


When I said I was going to post about Obama's visit today, I meant tomorrow. Wednesday. My brain is not there today.

In the meantime, go watch this. It is full of awesomeness, and is rather how I pictured writing to be too. Go. Laugh.

Heck,if you need diversion, watch all Jackson's vlogs. She always makes me laugh. And the other About Writing authors too...

Monday, July 07, 2008

To sum up: July 3rd

This was such an amazing holiday weekend--stuffed with memorable moments. I'm not sure that I'm recovered, really. For now, I will try to give you an impression of Thursday. Tomorrow, Obama's visit.

Thursday was July 3rd, the day that Butte celebrates Independence Day with our big town firework display over the "Big M". Butte is a firework-crazed town: nearly everybody shoots off their own display, big pro-size rockets exploding all over town, every night, for days on end. Usually on the 3rd my parents, hubby, Child and I head over to a friend's house. We feast, then about 10:30 we pull the lawn chairs out into the alley and watch the Big Show, just up the street. All the neighbor's fireworks stop when the Big Show starts--the whole town pauses during the Big Show--then start up again about 5 minutes after it's over.

This July 3rd our friends were out of town, so we had a feast at my parent's house instead, eyeing the thunderclouds the whole time. We're fairly new-ish here, so we didn't know what would happen if a full-fledged summer storm hit at the same time as the Big Show.

It did. They do it anyway.

We drove up to a hilltop park in the pouring rain, with lightning jagged all around us, and thunder rolling. We parked our two cars next to each other, and about 30 other cars, facing the Big M. The show was a bit late, but they did it, everybody rolling down their windows and oohing and aahing at both the fireworks and the competing (or complementing) show from Mother Nature.

Child was impressed for about 10 minutes and then fell asleep on my lap. She does every year.

Some things change, some stay the same. The trick is to love them all, right?

Thursday, July 03, 2008

Quick update

We're all running around getting ready for Obama's visit (tomorrow!) and 4th activities. And I'm trying to get my writing in. Melody is going really well...

Later, gators! Have a wonderful 4th if I don't get another chance to post!

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Happy Canada Day!

Happy Canada Day to all my Canadian friends!