Friday, October 30, 2009

Journal: scary story

Colorful leaves blow through the air.

Little ghouls and boys will wander the neighborhoods tomorrow.

Get into the spirit!

Journal: write a scary story

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Dance, dance

Before my son was born, one of my favorite things about my marriage was that we'd dance in the kitchen.

Now that Max is here, one of my favorite things is watching him dance..and dancing with him.

Just tonight, I played the piano and sang along. His knees bent and he bounced. The kid began to boogie with a big grin on his face. Eventually, he joined me at the keyboard and banged along with the correct rhythm. Then, his dad scooped him up and they waltzed around the room.

Who says live music and dancing goes out the window once you have a family?

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Hey there, Delilah

Julie and Mark* wanted a family. They tried the traditional way. They tried the scientific way.

Nothing seemed to work.

They decided that someone else must be destined to deliver their baby, so they began the long process of adoption. Finally, they were matched with a pregnant girl who wanted to give her child a better life than she could provide.

Julie and Mark were overjoyed. When the baby was born, they brought him home. Family and friends surprised the couple and baby David with a baby shower. His nursery was filled with all of the items and love any child could want.

After two nights with his family, David's parents received a phone call. According to the agreement, the birth mother had a time in which she could change her mind. The birth mother wanted David returned to her.

Julie and Mark couldn't give him back. They had someone else return their sleeping bundle of hope. Afterward, those same loved ones who had given a baby shower offered to box up David's things. Julie and Mark refused.

Two and a half months later, the birth mother listened to the popular radio show Delilah After Dark. Someone dedicated a song to a birth mother, thanking her for offering her child a better a life. The birth-grandmother, who had never wanted the adoption to go through, was listening, too.

Another phone call surprised Julie and Mark. Baby David was finally returned home, where his nursery was just as he'd left it.

*This story was told to me by someone who met Baby David and Julie. Names have been changed. But I hope the story warms your heart as it did mine.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009


My husband and I took the flu mist. He was fine. I ached and felt icky. Getting out of bed didn't entice me. I kept thinking, If I hadn't had the vaccine, I'd think I had the flu.

(insert head thunk here)

I just learned that the mist is a live virus. After I took it, I signed a thing that recommended against people with asthma and allergies taking it. I have both.

(insert head thunk here)

I guess I had a mild case of the flu.

Now, the real question is whether or not to get the H1N1 vaccine.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Journal: in the details

As I turned onto the highway heading out of town, which is just a couple of blocks from my new house, a thought occurred to me: Since I've been old enough to select my homes, I've always lived right by an easy route to get out of Dodge. Whether it was a mile from the turnpike or a block from a train station, I've had easy access to transportation.

What does that say about me?

Am I unwilling to commit? Do I simply like to travel? Am I always looking for an escape?

I think it sounds like a great way to develop a character.

Journal: Create a character from a small detail. Place that character in a scene where that detail is important.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Page 42

A meeting with my dear Inklings last Friday revealed the truth: My novel begins on page 42.

The rest was backstory.

I'd suspected as much but needed validation. I received it with smiles, hoorays, and colorful markings all over my submission. To me it was as good as a ticker-tape parade. I know I'm moving in the right direction.

Plus, Sonia brought a great plotting tool to our critique group. Go here and click on "helpful sheet" to find it yourself. You'll be glad you did. Focus, focus, focus.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Mummified Fairy

What happens to fairies when they die?

Make this mummified fairy for your next Halloween party!

Thanks to my brother for sending the link. I now know why I gave him a pressed fairy book once (like a pressed flower book, but with fairies). We must share a similar sense of humor.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Family Reunion

Last Saturday we had a family reunion with my dad's first cousins' families. Some of them hadn't seen each other in 47 years. It was fun to meet so many "new" cousins.

Baby Max had a blast. He ran laps around the house from 9:30 AM to 4:30 PM. I swear we don't give the kid caffeine, but he had more energy than anyone there. With all of the people and Molly Dog to play with, he had plenty of distractions, too. He met a 2 third cousins and a third cousin once removed who were all about his age. He's never had such unlimited time with so many playmates.

The picture shows my brother hanging out with two of the little guys.

Meeting new relatives wasn't the only first I had that day.

One of the boys grabbed for Max's bottle. Due to all the illnesses going around right now, I took it from him quickly and said, "I'm sorry. That's not yours. Let's go look for your bottle."

Little Luke didn't crumple into tears, screams, or hysterics. He calmly released the bottle. His eyes never wavered from mine as his knees bent and he sat down. Without pausing, he extended his body until he was lying supine on the porch--still staring at me.

I had just been stared down by a thirsty 16-month-old!

Friday, October 16, 2009

Journal: costumes

I love Halloween!

We're trying to come up with costume ideas at the office. Should we dress as a quartet? Should we surprise each other?

I stood in a magazine aisle the other day for half an hour looking at various ideas for costumes. I love the creativity and innovation. Who knew a box and some dirty clothes could become a washing machine? Of course, this sounds awkward. I've heard several people comment on wearing a leotard with purple balloons all over them to transform into a grape...definitely uncomfortable. Buying a pre-made costume is out of the questions these days because regardless of whether one dresses like a nun or a fire(wo)man, a ladies costume purchased at a store makes her look like one thing: a stripper. What's up with that?

Am I so old that I want to be comfortable and costumed?

Journal: Write about a costume.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

All gals--and guys--should watch this video

I can't figure out how to post videos on my blog. Grr. Oh well. I'll link it!

This video reminded me of a major theme of my novel Glamour. Click to watch it: Evolution of Beauty

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Even the kitchen sink

G and I had tried a sale twice since we've been married. Once, only one person came and we didn't make enough to pay for the ad in the paper. The second time was during a neighborhood sale and we sold a bedroom set and most of our old living room furniture. We learned that in Edmond, most people don't shop garage sales, they just go buy new stuff.

People shop garage sales here. And they are serious about it. Especially when the ad says that kitchen appliances will be there. Not only do they show up early, but they also haggle.

It was a gorgeous fall day, and I was surprised at how much fun we had.

Max had the most fun of all, though. Here he is exploring toward the end of the day.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Journal: reflective reading

To read without reflecting is like eating without digesting.
--Edmund Burke

Journal: Write what you think about something you've read recently.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Love and Logic for toddlers

As a young teacher I swore that if I ever had children, I would find the toddler version of Love and Logic and read it. Well, I recently purchased the book and am barely into it. So far, it's very similar.

I can't believe the strategy works as well on my 13 month old as it did on my teenagers in the classroom. Frankly, I didn't believe my son had enough of a grasp on the language for it to work, but you tell me...

Max happily played with a box of Elmo bandaids as I carted him around Walmart this morning. Then, it occurred to him that shaking the box was not nearly as fun as taking the bandages out and dropping them on the floor.

I figured it was as good a time as any to try Love and Logic for the first time with him.

Stopping the cart, I said, "Oh. How sad."

I picked up the dropped bandaids and placed them in the box. With a sad face, I said to Max, "I'm so sad because if you do that again, I'll have to take the box from you and you were having so much fun."

Returning the box to him, I said, "Here you go. I hope you get to keep playing with it."

Our shopping continued and he gleefully shook the box of bandaids until several flew out on his lap.

I stopped the cart and said, "Uh-oh." You should have seen him scramble to collect them and try to stuff them back in the box!

Could Jim Fay's Love and Logic be the answer to my parenting as it was to my classroom management? Oh, let's hope so!

Monday, October 5, 2009

Love and Logic

Jim Fay is a genius.

I knew it the first day I student-taught. A kid stormed into the classroom in the middle of my lesson and began cussing. His face looked like tears had freshened it. He carried his button down and wore only his bloodied, formerly white tee. He strutted so that no one would guess he was injured.

And I, only about four years older than he, used Love and Logic on him.

And it worked!

I don't remember exactly what I said, but I remember after giving him two choices that he calmed down instantly. The class calmed.

I was the teen whisperer. At least for that moment.

It was sooooo cool.

Teacher preparation in college makes one learn a lot of useless information that can never be used in the real world. Nonsense is thrown at us in the form of pedagogy and psychology and philosophy, and we're supposed to swallow it whole--and never use it.

Over the years, I used Love and Logic with my students, and it worked every single time. I always gave a packet of one-liners and other basics to my student teachers. Using strategies on kids who drove other people nuts actually became rather fun. I loved getting to know the real person and not the persona.

If you're a teacher or parent of a teen reading this, I urge you to read more about it and use it. It's classroom magic.

Here is a link to articles that help you use Love and Logic in your life.