Friday, January 27, 2012

At Last . . . A Random Line on a Friday

I'm getting ready to head out of town with the family this weekend.  This is what eight baby turtles in transport looks like.

Peggy, my ever patient Science Time partner, will be turtle sitting.  Maybe next year the babies can hibernate outside like their mama.  Four big rubbermaid bins takes up a lot of realestate in my office.

Before I head out of town, I wanted to share a random passage with you from C if For Centurion, Chapter 4.  I have never thrown a birthday party for a third grade boy before so I interviewed Annie to find out how its done.

According to Annie . . .

Party games are not cool after First grade.

Don't serve fruit punch after Second grade.

Ponies are overrated because you only get to walk in a circle, the turns are short and they plop on the lawn.

Clowns are never OK. Clowns are bad.

Magicians are fun in Kindergarten but really creepy in Fifth grade.

There has to be food. Pizza works, tacos are good but tuna fish is strange.

Science programs are neat only if they involve animals.

Science programs are awesome and legendary if something escapes in the birthday kid's house.

Pinatas allowed but no faces or animals after Kindergarten.

I hope this taste of Annie logic helps you plan your child's next party.  Have a great weekend.  

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Happy Reunion

It's back!  My mug is back!

It was tucked way back on a dark shelf under the computer desk.  I have no clue why I put it there.  My husband isn't surprised.  He has found my keys in the refrigerator before.

I found it the way I find lost cameras, cell phones and keys:  I posted a bounty.  One dollar to the person who finds Mommy's mug.  The darling daughter found it this morning.  It only took the industrious little dear 12 hours.

Then I had to rescue it from the dishwasher.  Anyone who knows me from college or work knows I am terrible about washing coffee mugs.  It's seasoning I tell you!

Anyway. . . Cheers!

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Random Line Wednesday? Why not.

Annie took a deep breath, pinched her nose and started droning "Scotland the Brave" in her loudest impersonation of a bagpipe player.
Titus and Annie Book 2
C is for Centurion
Chapter 3: The Impatient Pict

Annie isn't allowed to knock on her neighbors doors until after 12 on Sundays.  But she wants to talk to Titus so she does the one thing she knows will send him running outside, in full Titus righteous indignation.  Annoy him till he notices you.  One of Annie's best tactics.  

Every neighborhood needs its social boundaries.  Come home when the street lights come on.  Don't knock on front doors until 10 a.m.  Don't invite yourself over to other people's houses.  No running screaming through the backyards, especially if the neighbors don't have kids of their own.  If you home school, don't send you kids knocking on doors until the other kids get home from school.   

Meanwhile, back at the Garden of Good Intentions, my coffee mug is still AWOL.  The Roman Weasel has been promoted and promises not to rest until the mug is found.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Rain, rain, go away . . . this has not been a productive day

I have not accomplished very much this morning.  Four hours and I don't know much more than I did when the coffee pot was still full:

The weather is weird. Forks weird.

The dog is strange.

Chapter Five is not cooperating.

I can't skip Chapter Five and go to Chapter Six.  Too many little dependent details.

My desk chair squeaks.

The stink in the office was not a cat thinking outside of the box.  It was some other unspeakable yuck lurking in the wastepaper basket.

The coffeemaker made a full pot of coffee this morning.  But it was half caff.  Not cool.

Have you seen me?
My favorite coffee mug is missing.  

Right now I am more Titus than Annie.  I really need my favorite coffee mug.  I will be embarrassed by this hang up after I find my mug.

I do not like drinking coffee out of a regular sized mug when I am writing.  A normal mug is empty by the time I travel from kitchen to computer.  Maybe this is throwing off my groove.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Random Line Saturday?

The centurions muttered and grumbled as they as they settled back into formation. The rank and file were not pleased by the idea of a unicorn party.

Titus and Annie, Book 2
C is for Centurion
Chapter 2: Castra Hiberna

Only Titus wouldn't know how to have a birthday party.  The directions are not in the instruction manual.  Luckily he has Annie.   Despite her terrible day in school, Annie is ready to jump to Titus's rescue and plan his birthday party for him.  He's just not sure if he's ready for what Annie will come up with.  Quake, centurions, quake.  

It's a rainy Carolina winter day here at the Garden of Good Intentions.  I would love to stay on track and get Chapter Five written.  However, I fear I am suffering from Decaf Poisoning.  The delicious pot of French press coffee I made this morning turned out to be the last of the decaf beans from Lisa, Art Web's potter and jewler.  Her sister has a coffee shop and roasts her own beans.  Delicious stuff even though its unleaded.  

Now I'm nursing some Trader Joe's winter blend and trying to get motivated.  
Random Photo:  This stump made us think of Nessie last weekend so we took a picture and spent the rest of the walk speaking in atrocious Scottish brogues.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Random Line Friday

There, in the lingering smell of yellow bus, Annie let it all out.
Titus and Annie, Book 2
C is for Centurion
Chapter 1, Knucklebones

C is for Centurion starts off with Annie having a bad day.  Titus saves the day, eventually.  He is a tactician, a classical scholar and a ruminator.  It takes him six chapters to figure out how to save the day for Annie.  Meanwhile, she has already come to his rescue.  These two preposterous only children may process life at different speeds but they definitely need each other.  

I'm still riding high from that great work weekend.  The notes and chapter outlines are so thorough I'm able to chew through a chapter a day despite a crazy monkey house family life schedule.  Exciting and encouraging.  

Today's goal is Chapter Four and a clean house.  Between you and me, I would rather write Chapter Four and Chapter Five while the house molders.    

Keep your eye out for more random lines.  I doubt I'll be able to keep this stuff to myself for a whole week.
Portrait of the writer freezing her buns off at the beach in January.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Reports from a Working Weekend

Last week the kids had a half day on Thursday, no school on Friday and Monday off for MLK.  They are such good sports.  Dear old mom bundled them into the car with their bikes, bathing suits and illustrator/collaborator/auntie Trina.  We had a work weekend!

I am happy to report that Book 2 in the Titus and Annie series, C is for Centurion, is churning along quite nicely.  The first three chapters are written out in rough draft form and submitted to my faithful beta readers.

All the action and plot conflicts are mapped..  The neighbors of the house we stayed at might be wondering why those two crazy women kept taping paper up on the windows.  It may have looked odd but it worked.  I could sit at the table working on one chapter and see progression of the entire book.  This made it much easier to weave in threads from Titus and Annie Book 1.

All in all, we accomplished more this past weekend than I had hoped.  As I finish the chapters and embarrass my family with clumsy awkward happy dances, I'm going to post random lines.  It is a silly indulgence but sometimes I just can't wait to share this stuff.

However wonderful the weekend was, one conflict kept coming up in our think tank.  I am going to set the record straight once and for all.  No matter what rumors you hear, C is for Centurion will not be featuring any Roman Weasels and the Angry Centurion is not a new character.  

Tuesday, January 10, 2012


I have issues with teeth.  My own.  My family's.  Even my old cat that had a chipped fang and liked to show it off.

Last night I had to lasso one of my daughter's tiny little baby teeth with dental floss and pull it out.  Really pull it out.  I'm shuddering at this very moment remembering how hard I had to tug.  Bleah.

Something had to be done.  The night before she was crying over it.  Yesterday in school she managed to worm her way into a longer lunch with another first grade class because her tooth hurt too much to eat.  I couldn't face a third night of dental drama.

Usually my daughter is a true rougher tougher younger sibling.  When her brother lost his second tooth, I swear she made her first tooth come loose 24 hours later by sheer force of will.  She wouldn't quit until she had wrenched it out and caught up with brother, no matter how much it hurt..  The child can be an animal.

I was annoyed with how much she was milking this latest loose tooth until I saw the dagger of a root that was jabbing at her every time it wiggled.  Excuse me, I have to shudder again.  Have I mentioned that I have issues with teeth?

I blame my sister and my mother.  Each tooth my sister lost had some string related ritual.  They tied one to a door.  Classic.  The next tooth got tied to the dog's chewy bone.  One tooth even got tied to the bumper of my car and yanked out in my haste to get to high school.  I was an unwilling pawn in their gross fun.  I would write more but I think I have repressed the rest of their antics.

Now I am a parent on the other end of the dental floss facing 40 more deciduous teeth between my two children.


Friday, January 6, 2012

The Depths of My Dithering

I should be finishing up Chapter One of C is For Centurion or writing an ereudite blog about the wonderful critique I received and the newly restructured Titus and Annie series.

Instead I am cursing the blogwriter app and taking family portraits of the baby turtles.

I have written three complete middle grade readers on yellow legal pads with fine point sharpie markers. Transitioning to an ipad is causing this luddite to use a few too many garage words around the dear baby turtles. Glad the kids aren't home.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Recycled Karma

First, congratulations to my first "born" book Billington.  He is on his way, responding to a full manuscript request.  Hurray!  Usually I'm just talking about Titus and Annie.  It's nice to crow about my eldest once in a while. 

After launching Billington I launched myself off to the recycling center.  Hopefully this is the last load of post Christmas detritus.  Why must everything come with so much packaging?  

Anyway, after emptying my car out I proceeded to fill it up again.  Usually I find some goodies in the paint shed. Sometimes I get so excited by what I found I have to call someone or text my long suffering husband.  This time, the haul was so great I've got to blog. 

There was the perfect Panthers blue to finish a Kubb set and some fun colors for the next round of kings.  Then I found a whole quart of latex gloss clear coat.  Guess whose Kubbs will be shiny and sealed?   

Someone broke the rules and dumped off some foam/aerosol teak oil.  Looks like I'll be redoing the table on the patio the next time we get a warm day.  

Our homeowners association is changing the mailboxes.  It's not hard to sink a new post, even in this red clay so we opted to do it ourselves. Black exterior paint was on my shopping list until, low and behold, a near full quart of it appeared at the recycling center.  

Then some really nice people who are building their own home pulled up with a truck full of scraps.  I helped them unload . . . straight into the back of my car.  

Now I'm off to pressure wash the shady side of the house with the gallon of biodegradable house cleaner I found at the recycling center before Christmas.  

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Happy New Year!

Finally!  Christmas is packed away, the kids are back in school, the coffee mug is full and I can settle down to write with a clear conscience.

The best part about taking a vacation is being eager to get back to work.  I was itching to write that I actually broke vacation a bit early and started the next Titus and Annie, C is for Centurion, on the way down to the beach.

But more on that in the next post.  First you must endure a quick December recap.

My "vacation" started with some storytelling at Mama's Coffee House.

I've never officially done storytelling before.  Sure, I tell tons of stories and act plenty entertaining during Science Time with the preschoolers.  But their parents aren't there.

I was a little nervous about acting like a goof in front of grown ups.  Turns out, it was tons of fun.  Not only were the kids laughing at Annie's holiday antics, the mom's were too!

Then Eli figured out it was my birthday.  She brought out a delicious tres leches cupcake with a candle.  I felt pretty lucky having so many old and new friends singing to me.  Eli is wonderful and I can't rave enough about Mama's Coffee House.

This was also the Christmas of Kubb.  We played for hours with neighbors in the backyard and made a few sets for gifts.  The fun part was painting the kings.  All the paint and polyurethane came from the recycling center.  We had to make too many sets in too short a time to use recycled wood.  All 2012 Kubb sets will be as recycled as possible.  Honest.

Christmas with the kids was fun.  I'm grateful that my son slept in until six this year.  There were other surprises too:  Santa didn't realize he bought whistling darts for the nerf gun and who knew my daughter would spend three days with a doll strapped to her chest with her new doll snugli.

The year ended with the most wonderful wedding I have ever seen.  There was a neat old house to explore in down town Charleston, lots of interesting people to talk to, perfect weather, awesome music and the union of two really warm friends who were meant for each other.  Just look at the get away car.  Need I say more?

Thanks for enduring the recap.  Now its off to work.  C is for Centurion must be written.  What's the rush? Feedback!  I have received professional and insightful feedback on the Titus and Annie series.