Saturday, July 31, 2010

Reading the Fine Print

Next week is Band Camp. The kids practice from early morning until late at night for six days, and miraculously the halftime show falls together. I signed up to help all day on Tuesday. Somehow, my name also appeared on the volunteer lists for helping all day on Monday, baking brownies, picking up eleven dozen bagels and helping with activities*.

How could this happen?

I knew when I was supposed to work, so I didn’t look at the volunteer assignment sheets until it was too late to bail out.


Monday and Tuesday are pretty much toast, but I’m likely to gather enough data for a couple more novels.

*Man, I hope I get water balloons instead of word games this year.

Friday, July 30, 2010

Overheard #104

"Dialog attribution clutters up your white space."

Thursday, July 29, 2010

High School English

Jeremy: How’s the novel going?
Me: I got back comments from Amy. She’s an English teacher.
Jeremy: Were they constructive?
Me: Yes.
Jeremy: Did she tell you to use more metaphors, similes and personifications?
Me: No.
Jeremy: They’re the only things that are important – other than overlying themes.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010


Bunnies don't like to be photographed.

Sunday, July 25, 2010


rose and unidentified insect

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Take a Liking to a Viking

I admit I like Vikings. Their behavior was often unacceptable by today’s standards, but still, they have a certain romantic appeal. Plus, Vikings are the local high school’s mascot, and my maternal grandparents were Danish.

I’ve been reading the Saxon Tales by Bernard Cornwell and picked up some Viking trivia.

Horned helmets: I already knew the horns were a myth. No warrior involved in hand-to-hand combat would wear a hat with handles that could be grabbed by the enemy.

Longboats: The fanciful beasts carved on the prows could be removed when the ship was used for trading. Many of these trade missions were reconnaissance designed to identify the richest villages to plunder later.

Vikings: Back in the day, these folks were known as Danes or Norsemen. The word viking was a verb. To go viking was to go plundering, pillaging and burning.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Overheard #103

"We used to skinny-dip. Now we chubby-dunk."

(This quote was overheard by one of my facebook friends, but I couldn't pass it up.)

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Did I Mention Loud?

Metal Band Update

Me: That’s the best I’ve ever heard you play.
Jeremy nods.
Me: But if it’s that loud two floors up, you need to wear ear plugs.
Jeremy: We’ll turn down the volume.

The lesser of two evils.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Friday, July 16, 2010

Overheard #102

"Power ballads are songs girls like, and guys pretend to like so girls will like them."

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Words of Wisdom

Thanks to Ruth McNally Barshaw for this bit of genius.

"Sometimes writing is hard.
Sometimes it flows and it's perfect and you even know that, as it comes out of your pen.
And other times it's like each word is a splinter and your pen is the tweezers..."

Look for Ruth’s third book Ellie McDoodle Best Friends Fur-Ever early in August.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Metal Inspiration

Me: What song are they playing?
Sam: It’s the one Jeremy wrote last night.
Me: He wrote a song – while they were moving the drum set?
Sam: They were talking about how irritating it is when Katie calls them Hon so I suggested they write a song called Attila the Hun. I think that’s it.

Monday, July 12, 2010


If you’ve ever tried to wade through Joseph Campbell’s Hero with a Thousand Faces or studied the Hero’s Journey in other forms, click here. Justus R. Stone sums up the whole thing brilliantly.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Heavy Metal Mama

Jeremy and two friends formed a metal band. Neil plays drums, Katie sings, and Jeremy plays guitar and writes their songs. Yes, I’m proud. I’m also worried about potential hearing loss - for the band members.

They used to practice at Neil’s house because he has a super-fancy drum set and a finished basement. Neil also has four cats, and unfortunately Katie is allergic.


So, much of the summer has been devoted to converting our unfinished, extremely cluttered basement into a practice space. They cleaned out one corner and hung old blankets to form a room. I contributed dorm room carpet from Home Depot, and we’re still discussing economical sound proofing options for the remaining two walls. They installed a mini-fridge for soft drinks and even plugged in my old metronome.

Still, our new sound stage isn’t perfect.

Jeremy: We have ants down here.
Me: Are they the big ones or the little ones?
Jeremy: I don’t know. Medium.
Me: It makes a difference. The little ants love ant traps. They rush right in and eat the poison. The big ones are carpenter ants, and they don’t like traps so much.
Jeremy: There’s a dead one in the corner. Wanna see?
Neil: Wow. Maybe we could write a song about ants called Poison.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Overheard #101

"Tattoos are freckle envy."

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

The Writing Space

Usually, I plunk myself down in front of my huge computer desk in the bedroom and type away. This space is not glamorous or particularly neat. It doesn’t even have a convenient window, although one might argue the monitor is a window to my imagination.

Sometimes people from my writing group meet at a local bookstore cafĂ© to write. There is something about seeing other people working hard that makes me work hard. (Of course they are probably working hard because they think I’m working hard.)

Near the spot where yesterday’s squirrel was resting, we have a couple chairs and tables. It’s shady all day, birds sing, and breezes rustle leaves. I never write there. The laptop cord doesn’t reach, it’s hard to read the monitor in natural light, and there’s no place to put the mouse. I realize these problems have simple solutions. Still, that spot is better for reading than writing.

Where do you write?

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Even the Squirrels Are Hot

I took this through the window and there’s some glare off the glass.

Sunday, July 4, 2010


I’m pushing the resolution of the camera on this one. These little flies are fast; I was lucky to capture one.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Overheard #100

"That takes infinity of time, and we just don't have it."