Sunday, October 31, 2010

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Halloween at School

I wasn't able to convince our son to wear his Elmo costume for school, but Miss Emily sure did. Here he is posing sweetly for her. He had a blast that day. The kids wore costumes, and they had a pumpkin hunt and ate candy. I'm not sure if there was a beanbag toss or not, but he sure talked about one a lot! He claimed he didn't participate, though. Hmmm.

Our little Elmo didn't want to leave. His teachers are great.

Here he is showing off his pumpkin to his Papa.
He told us it took him a long time to find his pumpkin. It was "hard" because it was "hidden in leaves."

Friday, October 29, 2010


It's that time of year again.

November 1 marks the beginning of a frenzied month known as National Novel Writing Month--affectionately known as NaNoWriMo.

The "rules" are here.

But those rules aren't mine.

My NaNoWriMo month means a commitment to daily writing on my novel. I will not make myself write 50k words merely to write 50k. (I've heard people admit to writing gibberish merely to achieve the goal. What a waste of time and energy.) I commit to making progress on a novel that I cherish and will give it the attention it deserves, even if other things suffer.

Hopefully, by the end of the month, I'll have my rough draft. Then the real work/fun will begin.

Whatever you write and however you go about it, consider November as a special month.

I've always loved Thanksgiving because it's the one holiday you're allowed to just be thankful. Well, I'm thankful for the month it's in because it's the only one where I give myself permission to write my novel and let dishes sit in the sink and dirty clothes pile up. Surely, I can handle the stench until December or the completion of my novel, whichever happens first.

Journal: What the topic of your NaNoWriMo? If you're not doing it...what would it be if you were?

Monday, October 25, 2010

Plans for the weekend?

If you don't have plans for the weekend, plan a trip to Tahlequah, OK.

Come see me.

I'll be at the Eastern Oklahoma Author Fest with a multitude of other authors from 9-3. You can purchase personalized copies of books--even Glamour.
Books are great Christmas gifts!

Plus, if you are an aspiring author looking for extra training, some of us have volunteered our time to offer free (yes, FREE) writing workshops. Click here for a list of offerings.

My workshop is usually a 1-3 hour workshop that I've shortened to 30 minutes, but it will still be chock full of useful information. Cross my heart.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Journal: the fear within

I'm not afraid of rain.

It's what's in it that scares me--tornadoes, flash flood, cars hydroplaning.

As a child, I was the same way about dark.

The dark was simply an absence of light. But the evil murderers lurking in it were harder to see that way.

Stephen King's It made clowns just as frightening for similar reasons.

Journal: Take something benign and make it contain something fearful.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Pumpkin Fest

Every mom wants that adorable shot of her kid in a pumpkin patch. I didn't get one last year or the year before, so 2010 was the year.
Unfortunately, Max wanted to check out everything except the pumpkins.

Bean bag toss with his "fwenz"...
Ring toss with his dad...Fishing with Ange and Ethan...
Watching the twins transform with face paint...Climbing on bars just to avoid climbing on pumpkins...
So, I chased him around with a camera. Finally, I had to tackle him and hold him to it. No one can tell I'd gone all paparazzi on them, right? Right?My friend Ange brought her niece and nephew to the Pumpkin Festival last weekend sponsored by the youth of the local United Methodist Church. I thought we'd spend half an hour then go back and bake cupcakes, play in the yard, do a craft. In fact, we spent over three hours! $3 per kid?

That's entertainment, folks.

At first, the kiddos weren't certain if they wanted anything to do with this giant jumping tent. Then Garrett assured them it was like jumping on the bed. Well, that sealed the deal. Jumping for at least 40 minutes straight should have tired out the kiddos, but Max didn't even take a nap that day. Too much was available to entertain.The hay maze caused allergies to go berserk, but he loved it. I did, too. He ran and ran in the safety of the walls of hay, pausing only to wipe his nose on his shirt sleeve. (That part I didn't love.)A corn bin occupied the toddlers for a long time. Who would have known? Sure, corn gets wedged into diapers, and we found some at home in the carpet later, but it's so much cleaner than sand. One of the teen volunteers told me they were playing in a manure bin. Ew. The kids didn't care.After we went through everything, we had to do it all again.
Finally, I asked Max to pick out a pumpkin. We went home with five pumpkins and a gourd. Can you guess which one he chose?

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Monster Meal

My amazingly talented friend Jennifer is like a Martha Stewart (who doesn't make you feel bad about yourself for being less domestically talented) combined with a Rachel Ray (who actually listens without interruption after asking a question). Plus, her twin boys share the same birthday with my special little guy.

So, you know, she's pretty cool.

I first glimpsed her hostessing skills when we vacationed at Lake Texhoma one weekend when she was fresh out of college. She made pretty little appetizers. At the lake.

When Jennifer and her hubby Johnny married, she wrote monthly, multi-paged newsletters to her bridesmaids. And the thing is...they weren't even annoying. They were informative, creative and entertaining. How does a bride pull that off?

She's inspired me and many others to put a little more effort into parties and get-togethers. With her, it's not just a meal, it's an event. Although I'm not blessed with the same gift, I try.

After watching her Halloween party inspiration on the Mom on the Move segment on the OKC news, I was totally inspired by the Eyeball Salad.

Hey, I thought, I could probably maybe possibly do that.

And I did!

In fact, I planned an entire Monster Meal. My grandmother and brother and sister-in-law came over to enjoy it.

When we plated the food, my brother stared at it and said, "I'm a little scared to eat this."

My grandmother assured me it was fun. Go me!

I think I'll do it again next year, but I'll change a few things:

1. The soup was from William Sonoma--and was delicious--but I'm not sure if I'll do it with the meal again.
2. The mac and cheese on spinach idea was from Disney's Family Fun magazine. They placed the monster on top of the spinach. Next time, I'll do that, too. In fact, I may join the sausage with the noodles to look like one long swamp monster.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Journal: editing

As a writer, I spend a lot of time editing and revising my work. I enjoy it.

However, looking around my home office, I notice some of the same problems. Instead of words, of course, I'm dealing with furniture, books, etc. Some things are just clutter. Some items are redundant. Some objects I need to get rid of simply because they annoy me. Others have outlasted their purpose. In certain areas, a little rearranging could make great improvements. I'm trying to convince myself that just because an item is perfectly good, it may not be good for me.

Editing one's life is much more difficult than one's words.

Journal: What can you (or a character) edit in life?

Friday, October 8, 2010

Journal: Scents

I finally jumped on the bandwagon that is Scentsy. And it's true. My house smells great. It's reminded me of what a strong emotional trigger smells can be.

How often has a whiff of a scent immediately thrust you into a time machine to revisit a specific place or person? I've jotted four different places and four different people below.

  • Crayola crayons, Elmer's glue and coffee
  • roses and baked goods
  • Black cherry candle and alcohol
  • vanilla and litter boxes
  • leather and cigarettes
  • shaving creme and soap
  • way too much Polo cologne
  • baby poop and peppermints
Now, your turn.

Journal: Dive into your memory. Think about a smell or combination of smells that connect you to a certain person or place. Write a scene using those smells and that memory or combine several from your list.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Family Reunion

My father's family held a reunion recently.Since it is fall, a State Fair/Carnival theme made sense, so I began collecting items months ago.

Garrett helped decorate. Here he is with a smiley face sticker on his shirt, a clown nose dangling from his neck, and a paper lantern in his hand.
We had games.We had prizes.We had popcorn, cotton candy, hot dogs, chili, and more.

At the welcome table, guests signed up for a chance to win a bear (kids) or a collage of old photographs (adults). Everyone took home animal crackers.
The older generations swapped stories and shared photos.
The children played. (My generation chased after them,which is why I don't have more pictures.)
The reunion was on OU/TX game day. Max and his third cousin changed clothes to show their support for their team.
When Max wasn't trying to chest bump her or keep her out of "his" chair and off "his" horsie, he was trying to hug or kiss her. She was pretty resilient. Plus, she won the bear, so she didn't have to share it with him if she didn't want to.
Everyone seemed to have a good time.
The Sooners won and cousins asked if we were having the reunion again next year.

I'm looking forward to it.