Saturday, December 27, 2008
Since I finally have a quiet moment to get reacquainted with the concept of sitting, I thought I'd share a few of this year's Christmas highlights for the Reese family.
Christmas Memory Number One: The family was gathered a few evenings ago with the plan of playing a game. Worn out from our day's festivities, no one volunteered to make the trek downstairs to select a game. So we opted for Twenty Questions, the Christmas version. Nat stumped us with the word Toy Soldier, then I did just as well with Snowflake. Brandon's word, however, was guessed in just three tries. What are the odds? "Is it bigger than a breadbox?" Yes. "Smaller than a mountain?" No. "Is it Santa's Workshop?"
The game started to derail with Whitney's word selection: North Pole. Not the place. An actual pole.
"That's not even real!" her father shouted.
"It's in a movie! I saw it!"
"That doesn't make it real! You can't use imaginary objects!" (Faces were red, tension was high.)
"So you're saying I can't use Rudolph? Or Frosty? What about Santa? Are you saying I can't use Santa just because I've only seen him in a movie?"
We thought that ended the argument. Whitney won. The North Pole--the pole, not the place--is a legal word. But not one to give up easily, Dad's next word choice not only stumped us, but brought the game to a screeching halt: Santa's Pet Squid.
Christmas Memory Number Two: We got Brandon a karaoke machine for Christmas. If you know Brandon, or have followed this blog, you know what a perfect gift that is for him. Later that day he told me I was the best mom possible. Not just the best mom. Or the best mom ever. But the best mom POSSIBLE. Can't top that.
Christmas Memory Number Three: Santa brought the soon-to-be grandbaby a Winnie-the-Pooh play mat for Christmas. It features all the Pooh favorites - Eeyore, Piglet, Roo - as well as some lesser knowns, like the elephant Lumpy.
In fact, the box proudly proclaims: With Lumpy features in the Pooh Garden.
If that didn't make you laugh, you need to read it again.
Monday, December 22, 2008
I celebrated by leading my church choir in our annual Christmas program. There were a few glitches, but none of them involved me and a legendary fall off the stage while conducting (again), so I can't complain.
There's something about birthdays and aging that I just don't get. Maybe one of you can help me figure it out. Here's the thing. Based on my picture above (about two years old) if I were to tell you I just turned 29, you'd probably think one of two things:
B. Whoah. 29? Are you kidding me? What happened? Those years have NOT been kind.
BUT, if I were to tell you I just turned 59, you would probably think something like:
ARE YOU KIDDING ME? 59? WOWZERS! What's your secret? You look AMAZING!
So, given the two different reactions, why does everyone go around claiming to be 29?
By the way - As you probably guessed, I'm neither of those. How old, you ask? I don't suppose you'd believe 69? =)
Tuesday, December 16, 2008
But - I have not forgotten the contest! And that there is a winner! This morning I put all the names in a bowl - there were a lot of them I'm happy to say - and as I did I one-by-one kept thinking "I hope it's her" "oh I hope it's her" "oh no, I want it to be her". I think I did that with every contestant for one reason or another. Which made it a given that I would be so happy when I drew the name (other than feeling bad it couldn't be all of you.)
Anyway...the winner, chosen at random, is my good friend Cathleen Rackley. Cathleen is an incredible lady - I don't know how much she would want me to share on this blog, so I'll just say that she's a walking story waiting to be told, and an amazing example to anyone she meets of making the best out of the worst life has to offer. She has also been a great supporter of my work, even before she knew anything about it. There was that time she did reminded me of Kathy Bates and the movie Misery right before warning me that I better not have killed off the good guy. I think that was followed by wicked laughter. (I'm loosening my collar right now.)
But seriously, congrats Cathleen! You deserve it.
And it's not too late to win more prizes. Just write read the book, write a review, and share. Details are here.
Friday, December 12, 2008
But that's kind of impossible in cyberspace, so I held my breath and waited, feeling guilty that I'd asked people to make a purchase under such inhospitable circumstances.
And then I did what I have to admit was one of my "Yes, this proves she's an idiot moments." At twelve noon I started watching Amazon closely, refreshing every minute or so. The sales rank number was ridiculous. I didn't write it down (wish I had, just for laughs) but it was approx. 7,000,000. Yep, seven millionth in sales.
So I start refreshing, waiting for that number to change, and it doesn't. Over and over again. I start to feel sad. Having a party and nobody's here. I blow on my virtual party horn. A sad little tune. I do this for a full fifteen minutes. Start consoling myself: I didn't send out reminders. They didn't mark the price down. Won't guarantee it by Christmas.
But NOBODY? Come on!
Then it dawns on me. Mr. Publisher Man told me they recalculate every hour. It's not going to show a difference for a full hour. Maybe not for a full day if it's only a little blip. So I walked away. It was hard, but I did it. Checked back in an hour.
Wowser! It had jumped from a rank of seven millionth to #130,148! The next hour got even better: #29,048. By the third hour it was at #11,277.
The number has fallen since then, back into the range of the second hour, and it will continue to fall. And I don't know how many sales that represents. But it does put me up into the world of respectable books. Gives me a jumpstart that would have been impossible to reach any other way.
I still feel so guilty about asking you to buy a book at full price with slow shipping right before Christmas (especially one written by an author who's part-idiot). But I'm just floored that so many of you did.
Thank you Thank you Thank you Thank you Thank you Thank you Thank you Thank you!
And in case you're wondering - I'll be announcing the winner of phase one soon!
Thursday, December 11, 2008
Enough about that - that twenty-six years thing is even better, don't you think? A cute little friend of mine is getting married today, and we were asked to write words of advice on a card at her wedding shower.
I wrote: FLIRT!
Yes, that's my advice. Don't stop, not matter how many decades pass. They say that it's impossible to be depressed while running. Well, I say it's impossible to be annoyed with your hubby while flirting.
Speaking of which, mine is eating breakfast right now, and it's our anniversary, so I've got to go practice. Twenty six years and he still makes me twitterpated!
See you at noon!
Wednesday, December 10, 2008
Well, with my track record I should know better than to plan anything. I've got what feels like the whole world showing up on Amazon to buy my book tomorrow at noon, (my traffic numbers are through the roof - thanks to all of you!) but as of right now, it is still not in stock. (Heavy Sigh.)
The shipment is on the way to Amazon, and that note that says they ship in two to three weeks should disappear any second now. BUT if you are planning on buying books as a Christmas gift, and the note is still there tomorrow, please don't place the order. Just email me and I'll make sure you get the books before Christmas. (info @ suzannevreese.com)
Meanwhile, I'm crossing my fingers and toes that the shipment arrives before the party, since a note from my mom won't cut it this time.
Monday, December 8, 2008
Over the weekend I received a submission from a lady who has become a definite front-runner for my grand prize $100 Amazon Gift Card. Her blog is the Petticoat Posse Roundup and she had some way nice things to say.
You'll have to go to her blog to see it all, but here's an example. In response to some excuses for not indulging in a new book (namely mine) she says:
"I have bills therefore I work and the boss makes me do the work of 3 people therefore I am too tired to eat let alone indulge myself with a novel."
My response: Have a friend take a full body photo of you in your work clothing and then surf the net for a good deal on getting that photo turned into a lifesized cardboard cutout display JUST like they have at the video stores as movie displays. If you really want to trip your boss out get three of them made to make him think you literally cloned yourself in your loyalty to the company. Put it at your work station then spend your shift playing hookie hookie. At home, in bed reading "Where Hearts Prosper".
Great stuff! My whole family was engaged in hysterical laughter for a few minutes there.
A $100 gift card will be given away in January for the person who promotes my book in the most amazing way - determined totally by me. I've had some wonderful, amazing friends do wonderful, amazing things so far - can any of you top that?
Friday, December 5, 2008
(Can you believe I just did a search for swearing symbols? I've never typed those before and had the worst time making them look right! I do, by the way, speak in those symbols. I have this wierd affliction that keeps me from using the actual words. But I digress...)
Given my lack of enthusiasm for anything cold, I have never before felt a need to associate snow with Christmas. And don't get me wrong. I love that I can still walk to pick up my son after school with just a light jacket. I totally don't mind that I can run to the mail box barefoot. It does not pain me at all that I don't have to shovel the driveway before pulling the car out.
But I have to admit that my Christmas tree, stockings, lights, our visiting elf Tiny, and the hundreds of santa statues, feel a little premature. Lonely even. Like we set them out way too early. Christmas couldn't possibly be in just three weeks could it? I can still walk to my son's school with just a light jacket for heaven's sake!
I guess I need to start thinking about Christmas cards, shopping, neighbor gifts and all that good stuff. But, I don't know, it just doesn't feel like there's any rush. Winter isn't even here yet.
Tuesday, December 2, 2008
I talked to my publisher today because I noticed that my Amazon site says they can't get the book to people by Christmas, and several of you have said you're planning to buy it as Christmas gifts. He assured me that he'll have Amazon stocked up and prepared by the 11th so that the books can be shipped immediately.
He also apparently got all light-headed with the idea of hordes of people on Amazon buying one of his books in a single day, because after that he said the most hysterical thing ever.
Remember how I said in my last posting that Amazon ranks their book sales hourly for the bigwigs, but that we're not going to worry about them? Remember how I said we'll just worry about the rest of the books that get ranked daily? Well, Mr. Publisher says I should worry about the bigwigs. He says, and I quote: "You only have to sell 500 books in one hour to get ranked in the top 50."
After I pulled myself up off the floor (hysterical laughter will do that), I read it again, and it still said the same thing. Only 500 hundred books in one hour. Ha! Ha! Seriously, my goal is 50 for the entire day.
But Mr. Publisher says I should have confidence in my friends and give them a set hour to purchase the book. Because according to the Amazon Way, a bunch of purchases in one day is better than the same number in a week, but a bunch of purchases in an hour is better than the same number spread out over a day. And if by chance I do have a bunch of sales in one hour, I'll keep that ranking until some other book sells more than that number in a single hour (even if it has already sold a bazillion copies and sells a bazillion more, just not in a single hour).
So here it is, the official request: December 11, 2008, from 12:00 noon to 1:00 pm is the date AND time to purchase Where Hearts Prosper from Amazon.
(If you don't make it in that hour don't sweat it, I won't even tell Mr. Publisher.)
And remember - I'm only asking you to buy the book on that date if you're going to do it anyway because you know and hopefully tolerate me, or maybe even just because the book looks interesting.
BUT what I REALLY need you to do is tell your friends about my book, this contest, and the December 11 target date. Either post a link to my website (http://suzannevreese.com) on a blog, or send out a few emails and be sure to include a reminder to purchase the book on the 11th (at noon) if they're going to do it anyway. Then send an email to email@example.com telling me how you spread the word and I'll enter you in that drawing. And tell your friends to do the same thing!
Because seriously, I don't have 500 friends. And Amazon is gonna be ticked at Mr. Publisher if they're stuck with all those books.
Monday, December 1, 2008
If you're thinking of rushing out to buy it (I know there's a stampede) hold on to your little horses. It may be available today, but December 11 is MY date for purchasing it from Amazon. And there is a good reason for this random request, in case you're wondering.
Amazon ranks their books daily (unless you're one of the big kahunas, than its hourly, but we won't worry about that for this explanation). So this means that if you have a novel that sells, say, 49 books every day for ten years, you'll be outranked by a book that comes along and sells 50 books in one day, even if that book hasn't sold any until that time. And the new book will stay ahead of you in the rankings until the day that you manage to sell 50 books, even if you continue to sell 49 books every single day and the other newbie book sells zilch. I know it's kind of an odd system. But there it is.
So my goal is to have my friends show up on the 11th and buy 50 books (calm down, that's no all together, not each). That's not a bestseller, but it will make it look like one. (Kind of like that hunky soap doctor in the commercials.)
And just to make things fun - if you mention my book and post a link to my website: http://suzannevreese.com on your blog or website by the 10th, I'll enter you in a drawing for a $25 Amazon gift card. Just drop me a line to let me know you've done it at contest @ suzannevreese.com.
Now excuse me while I go look for my party hat.
Wednesday, November 19, 2008
This is part of an email I'll be sending out to my friends. Since we're all friends here, please consider yourself invited to spread the word and win prizes! Send a message to five friends, or post something on your blog, and I'll enter you to win a $25 Amazon gift card. Just copy me or send the link to: contest @ suzannevreese.com. Even bigger prizes are available if you actually read the book and recommend it! Finally, one last favor to take note of: if you've decided to buy the book (just cause you love me or whatever) please do it ON DECEMBER 11 FROM AMAZON!
See my website for a preview or more info!
Sunday, November 16, 2008
Part of that is because I've been crazy-busy getting ready to be an author-type person.
The other, I have to admit, is really lame. But here it goes, true confessions. I read a comic strip a while back that referred to bloggers as narcissists. Now, I'm not usually one to care what others think of me. Obviously. I'd probably do my hair and makeup every day if did. Maybe even buy new clothes every once in a while instead of wearing my daughter's rejects. I'd definitely work on reducing my embarrassing moments quotient. But the word narcissist struck a chord with me - a sour one. I won't go into detail about why, but I have good reason.
So every time I've started to blog since then, I've decided that whatever I have to say about ME! ME! ME! just isn't all that important. Because, hey, I AM NO NARCISSIST!
So I'll try to get over this phobia and be better about keeping the blog up-to-date. If there's anything worse than being called a narcissist, it would have to be getting rejected. Because that means somebody doesn't love me! And they have to love me! Please, please, please love me!
See? I am sooo not a narcissist.
Sunday, November 2, 2008
I usually love reading. But because I'm in the editing stages of two novels, I can't seem to shake this rather serious case of edit-itis. I'll jump into a new novel, excited about the upcoming adventure, but then instead of thinking about the story I'm thinking: "Author intrusion!" "Two pages of narrative summary? Come on! Cut...cut...cut!" "Telling, telling, telling. Show me something!"
It's not that these authors are bad...it's just that my brain can't stop looking for the defects in their writing. And the pleasure has been sucked out of the reading. In fact, I'm getting pretty good at Sudoku, since that's where I usually end up in my brief moments of downtime. J.K. Rowling is the only author I've found so far that I've been able to get through without the disease kicking in.
So I'm curious. Does anyone else suffer from this rather serious malady? Is there any hope? Any suggestions? Any other authors whose writing is immune? Help!
I do realize I have five children. Maybe six. I'm never sure if I should count my son-in-law in that number - on the one hand he's a fine young man that I'm pleased to have as part of the family, and I wouldn't want him feeling slighted by being left out; but on the other hand, saying I have six feels like I'm trying to take credit for raising a child I didn't raise. Some day maybe I'll ask him, if I'm thinking about it when it's not five o'clock in the morning. But I digress...whether I have five or six, I only have one who currently jumps in front of a camera lens or microphone at every opportunity. So if it looks like I'm playing favorites - well, the blame lies with them. And so here he is...my ninja.
I'm kicking myself, however, for not getting pictures of my 18-year-old this Halloween. There are pictures out there somewhere, just not on my camera. She and three of her friends spent most of the day working out costumes - that was after weeks of planning. They floated up to the house at close to ten o'clock: four decked out prom dresses that represented the four seasons - not the music group. One had a white dress with hair painted white and sticking straight out, another was in a yellow-sequined dress with sunflowers, another a brown gown wrapped in leaves, and my Whit was decked out in a flowing light blue with tulips. They were all coated in glitter. They did go to a couple of houses and ask for candy, just to say they did, but mostly they just did it for the fun of it.
Considering they could have just as easily been part of the group that left splattered pumpkin carcasses all over the road - once again I'm thinking what a lucky mom I am.
Thursday, October 23, 2008
Monday, October 20, 2008
Here's what I haven't done in the week and a half since my son arrived home: written, edited, blogged. Here's what I have done: talked, laughed, hugged, hiked, talked, watched movies (two years worth), played board games, frisbee golf, speedmitton. I could go on, but you get the idea. Yesterday somebody asked me if we've done anything special since Daniel got home, and I said yes, everything has been special.
His homecoming has been marvelous beyond works - unexpectedly, surprisingly wonderful. In many ways I don't even recognize him. But in all ways I love having him home: safe, sound and all grown up!
Tuesday, September 30, 2008
So...Still Here...briefly turned Cypress Storm...has become...
Where Hearts Prosper.
(Thank you, thank you...hold your applause.)
PLEASE don't say anything if you liked Cypress Storm better (okay, go ahead and tell me, I'd really be curious, a little mortified maybe, but curious).
But I'm pleased with the final choice - the book is set in the tiny town of Prosper, Arizona, so it seems especially fitting, and hopefully a couple of people will also like it, at least enough that I'm not embarrassed to death by the sales numbers.
The release date is now December 1st, so think Christmas!
Wednesday, September 24, 2008
2. My Elder touches down on Draper soil TWO WEEKS FROM TODAY!!! That pretty much speaks for itself.
3. On Monday, my Natalie did me the honors of typing the words THE END at the bottom of my young adult paranormal romance, Perfectly Normal.
And as you can imagine, today I am gushing!
Monday, September 15, 2008
If there was ever a moment when I wondered why I decided to have another kid after my other four were more than half-way done growing up, my smooshy-face little cutie answered it this morning. (Not that I'm admitting I have, I'm just saying if, especially now that I'm looking at the prospect of being a grandma while still in the mommy business.) He was reading the comics while eating his breakfast, like he does every morning, and he pointed out the 'Baby Blues' comic strip to his dad. The sister in the strips asks her little brother what three things he'd take with him to survive on a desert island, and he says "That's easy, food, water, and mom." Then my little Brandon says, "Duh. Who wouldn't take those things?"
And that's why I had him. The cutie pie.
Monday, September 8, 2008
My Whit put this together, a first video for both of them. She was sooo sick of the song by the time she got done, but it shows how much she loves her little bro. He's talked in a dreamy voice about the day he can make it onto Youtube (it's so sweet when they're naive like that.) At least this is one dream I can make come true!
Tuesday, August 26, 2008
My missionary son has no sympathy for the fact that my a/c is broken. He says he doesn't even remember what a/c feels like, and at least it's not 110 here.
He's right, I know. I have no right to complain. The thought of him in that sweltering heat for two solid years really does make me physically hurt for him. I think about it every time I even start to grumble and it brings me up short.
So let me say in a little teeny voice that it may not be 110 degrees, but it's hot enough for a blasted wildfire to get out of control in the backyard. And I may not have to walk 25 miles a day, uphill both ways, (okay, I'm kidding with the uphill, but he does sometimes do the 25 mile thing, makes me want to cry...I can't even imagine) BUT (Oops, that mother sensitivity thing almost made me lose my train of thought, and this is me not complaining, not me sympathizing...anyway...) my knee is in a brace and sore and the kitchen and laundry room are upstairs but the only cool room is downstairs so I either have to stay in the heat or keep going back and forth on the stairs with a stiff achy leg and the repairman couldn't do anything today so I have to either spend the night on a concrete floor in the basement or in my hot bedroom and I can't sleep anyway because of the knee situation and we just got back from a week at Bear Lake and I haven't even unpacked and the kids started school yesterday, the day after we got home, so they've been too busy to be much help but I can't stand to be upstairs because of the heat even if I could move around on my knee so everything's just a disaster up there. Whew.
But I know it could be worse. Way worse. So I'm not complaining.
I've been working on my next manuscript - which is a TOTALLY different genre (young adult science fiction) I know, how on earth did I get there from inspirational fiction? I don't know, insanity maybe. But I'm loving it and loving my story. I should say TOTALLY loving it (as you can see, I'm getting into the young adult thing here.)
So, anyway, while at Bear Lake this past week my 16-y-o decided to read what I have so far - which is 12 of about 20 chapters. Now let me point out that she is mind-numbingly voracious with books. I mean, we're talking a stack of books every week from the library. And she's hard to please. She loves Twilight. And Inkheart. And Harry Potter. And Jane Austen. She has good taste, as you can see. The rest are mostly "okay" or "fine" or something similar.
So she gets through all 250 pages while I'm out on a hike. And when I get back I'm greeted with: THAT WAS SO LAME!!!
Let me tell you, that does not do my heart good. I like my story, it is sooo not lame.
What was wrong with it? I ask gently, trying to be the good, patient mom; not the sensitive ego-maniac author.
"I'm reading along", says she, "and it is SOOO GOOD. I mean it is really good. And I just want to know what happens, and then all of a sudden...IT STOPS!! It's like, not even written any more. Like there isn't even a story. IT JUST STOPS! IT WAS SO LAME!!!"
The next day, she saw me editing and groaned. "Why are you changing things? Just keep writing the story!"
That's my girl. Does my heart good.
The good news is that I'll be launching a HUGE contest (think three figure prize) when the book launches, so please pm me at sr.reese @ comcast.net if you'd like to be notified when the time is right!
Sometimes I forget I'm old. Like this week, which we spent at Bear Lake with the hubbies family. On day six I made it out on a water weenie, which I had to do because my hubbies twin was trying to convince 80-y-o grandma to try (don't worry, I didn't allow, and we're working on having his head examined.) But if she was even thinking about going, I of course couldn't say no.
The good news is, if you have to tear a ligament in your knee, the MCL is the way to go - I should be as good as new in about a month or so.
Then last night after dark we all stood at the windows and watched the bright flames dancing along the hillside just above us. There aren't words for how ominious that was. The kids (and their texting friends) were afraid to go to sleep, for fear the flames would make their way down to us.
This morning Brandon looked out at the charred mountain, our mountain, and said, "I'm sad for all the animals. And I'm sad for the trees. And I'm sad for our mountain."
I know exactly how he felt. Later in the day I pulled into the neighborhood after doing errands and looked up at my beautiful mountain, such a familiar sight, all black and scarred, and blubblered like an idiot.
Monday, August 25, 2008
Ok, let me make it clear that I am not one of those hysterical women that panics over every little thing - like, say, when a hurricane is heading towards your son while he's in Mexico...or like, oh, I don't know. Maybe when a massive wildfire is raging out of control IN YOUR BACKYARD!!! Nope, not panicking. Not even worried. (That white fence in the bottom of the fence...yep, that's mine.)
Tuesday, August 5, 2008
Sunday, July 27, 2008
I'm pleased to report that my zucchini crop is doing well this year, but my corn crop is just down-right scary. The stalks are loaded with ears of corn. But they are only about 2 feet tall. That's the stalks, not the ears. I'm not making this up! If that weren't wierd enough, the little tuffs that grow out of the top of the stalks have corn kernels growing out of them. It's kind of freaky. But we did have some little corn cobs last night - they were slightly bigger than the pickled cobs that go in salads - and they seemed fine. I have no idea why those stalks are dwarfs - I'll be calling the experts tomorrow. I just hope they don't laugh at me. Or tell me not to eat the stuff.
Wednesday, July 16, 2008
Sunday, July 13, 2008
Anyway, last week we traveled to Logan to celebrate my daughter's birthday, and I just had to blog about what happened. She gave me permission - as long as I didn't disclose her age. Not because she's embarrassed about growing older, but because, well, she's not three any more. I'll tell the story, then you'll understand.
After we sang Happy Birthday to her, being the wizened, mature girl that she is, she decided to liven things up by blowing...as...slowly...and gently...as...possible...to...see...how...long...it...could...take...to...blow...the candles...out...
Her Dad called out, "Careful, you'll burn your lip!"
At that very moment, you guessed it, she yelled, "I burned my lip!"
Yes, it's true. On a birthday candle. She even had a little brown mark just above her lip.
I don't know if that's a first. Maybe there's an epidemic of burned birthday lips I've never heard about. I do know that it was classic Jen. So Happy Birthday Baby - I'm so glad you're around to keep us laughing for another year.
Thursday, June 19, 2008
Anyway, the remarkable thing is what I said about his breakfast: "I've got some hot cereal that I ground from our breakfast blend, and while I was at it I ground some flour and made these muffins, and if you want you can put these strawberries that I just picked on your cereal."
I stopped then, when I realized what I had said, and waited for applause from the heavens. My pioneer ancestors had to have been proud. Never mind that there are towels on the floor sopping up the water that the kids dripped while running in and out yesterday, mountains of dirty clothes in the laundry room, groceries still in their bags, and dust an inch think on every flat surface of the house...for that little moment in time I was about a domestic goddess.
And now I'm just glad I got it out of my system.
Monday, June 16, 2008
I sent out a disclaimer to some of my friends about the musical. It is absolutely amazing and inspiring with some of the best music I've ever heard. It does, however, contain quite a bit of swearing. I didn't know this until we accepted the part and received the script. After a bit of a shock to my system (I confess that neither my husband or I swear, ever. It's just not a challenge to either of us.) We conferred and decided that we needed to proceed, since we had made a commitment, and that we could take the opportunity to teach some lessons about vulgarity to our son. We have, and I'm comfortable that what he's gaining from this experience has counter-balanced the negative. It's still uncomfortable to watch the innocent little guy in the middle of the baseball scene (father takes him to the 'civilized' sport, where a bunch of rowdy immigrants spit and curse). Confessions again - while half of me is cringing, the other half is doubled over laughing, it really is a funny scene. So there you have it - take my disclaimer for what it's worth. I really encourage you to come, just leave the little ones at home--and please don't throw any tomotoes at me! I've already got enough conflicted guilt to last me a lifetime.
Sunday, June 8, 2008
After a week of school days followed by late-night rehearsals for my son's upcoming musical, I woke him on Saturday morning for an 8:00 a.m. rehearsal. I found him a few minutes later lying on the couch, dressed in his school uniform. "Brandon!" I said, "it's Saturday! You're going to a practice." He groaned and dragged back downstairs. "I'm sooo tired."
So am I kid...so am I...
Sunday, May 25, 2008
I have never met David Archuleta's father, I only know what I've heard about him in the media, but I suspect much of what has been reported is a distortion of the truth. I base this on the fact that he and I are in similar positions.
Like David's dad who was behind the scenes during most of American Idol (until he was rudely dismissed), I've cast myself into the role of stage mom for the duration of my son's play (hopefully I won't suffer the same fate). I'm there for three reasons. Probably the most important is to be the snarling Momma Bear sitting in the corner, just in case anyone gets any unsavory ideas about my boy. The second is to protect the cast members from the enthusiastic, talkative little guy--which I admit doesn't usually work since I'm sitting in a corner across a large room when I observe him talking an adult's ear off, or wearing googly eye glasses or bouncing a ball he had stashed in his pocket. The final reason is so that I can help him figure out what he's supposed to be doing when he rehearses after the practices. That's the uncomfortable one. I never pictured myself as a stage mom. Never had much taste for them in fact.
But here's the thing, while I won't pretend he's got David's talent (who does?), they do share one common trait: they both have a passion for performing, and for doing it really well. Brandon practices for his upcoming play a lot, in fact the other performers have commented that he puts them to shame with how much he has memorized. And when he does, he shows a surprising perception for subtle differences in tone and voice fluctuations. He'll come to me and say, "Should I say this line like this...or like this..." The two will sound almost exactly the same, with maybe one word being emphasized, or his tone harsher in one than the other. He'll repeat the line over and over until he gets the sound he likes.
He always looks at me at rehearsals after saying one of his big lines, and smiles. I know it appears that he's just looking for my approval, and I'm sure that's part of it. But I think mostly when he looks at me, he's giving me a visual high-five "I got it!"
It's a fine line - this pushing vs. encouraging, one that I'm not thrilled to be walking. But a mom's only as happy as her unhappiest child, and this is what excites him, so here I am - cheering him on and hoping I don't damage him along the way.
Mr. Archuleta, if you'd like to talk I'm all ears.
Sunday, May 18, 2008
Tuesday, May 13, 2008
Anyway, the title of this blog is about baseball, and the story really is. Yesterday he had a baseball game, he played rightfielder. He tried to convince me to skip the game, it's the end of the season and he's tired of standing in outfield for an hour. He's not the most motivated player in the world, plus he's at the age that they mostly know how to play, but not really. They're as often as not to throw the ball randomly towards the pitcher's mound as to an actual player. One of the mothers commented that it's hard not to laugh sometimes and I hardily agreed. At one point the ball was hit directly into right field, and my son watched it, while standing in place playing an air guitar. The father next to me said, "The right-fielder's in the perfect position for that. What's he doing?"
"Practicing his air guitar," I said. A few minutes later the ball went to the same place, and the same thing happened.
"That right fielder's just standing there!" The dad said, "Who is that kid anyway?"
"Mine," I said. "He's mine. Sorry."
The guy was embarrassed, rightfully so. I told him it was okay, but he should be sure to catch him at the Sandy Amphitheatre next month when they put on Ragtime. I told him we were headed to a rehearsal directly after this, which is where he'd rather be. There's even a baseball scene, where he sings and dances and isn't ever expected to touch a real ball, so it'll be fine.
Monday, April 28, 2008
I spent the rest of the day shopping, since my kids seem to think there should be food in the house. The sun's out today, and I've been out enjoying it, which is just what I needed after sitting in a hole for two weeks.
And just for the heck of it, here's my suggestion for a back cover, tell me what you think!
The heart can’t hide from a current of love that flows as steady and strong as the river.
January 11, 2005: A massive storm rages throughout the west. Angry, churning water spills over the banks of the Virgin River, already at twice its’ normal capacity, resulting in what will become known in the area as the flood of the century.
Carmen Anderson has spent her entire adult life avoiding the place she fled as a teenager—Prosper, Arizona, a tiny town sitting on the banks of the Virgin River. But when her teenage daughter Paige begins to act rebellious, the devoted single mother makes an impulsive decision to move back to Prosper and its’ wholesome values. When Paige is unexpectedly stranded in the town during a flood that takes out its only access bridge, Carmen sets out on a desperate journey that jeopardizes both her career and a proposal of marriage from a dashing coworker to get to her daughter before she uncovers a painful secret—the mystery of what could have driven Carmen away from a people who still love her fiercely, even after fifteen years of painful separation.
While in the meeting, I had a crazy wish that the bishop would call me up to speak. Trust me, speaking impromptu in church is not something I generally, or ever, hope for. But I did have my reasons. In the years that I attended that long ago student ward, it seemed that the speakers from the "outside" world had a recurring theme. Time and again they would get up and say "It's not going to get any easier once you graduate." I would get so annoyed with that. I wanted to stand up and say "So why are we here then? Why don't we just give it up and get jobs and get on with our lives if it's not going to get any easier?" I told myself that if I ever came back, I would tell those students that the sacrifices they are making to be in school are worth it, that it does get easier!
Now that I've had a couple of decades of perspective, I can better see what those old folks meant. In a lot of ways they're right, it doesn't get easier. The struggles they're facing now are still there, multiplied. The bumps that they are navigating will turn into such highs and lows that they'll think they have whiplash. They'll face challenges they can't even dream of, hardships they wouldn't think they could endure.
But despite that, or maybe because of that, I can tell them that the sacrifices they're making to start their families with a foundation of education are well worth it. Their educations will strenghten them, and their children, in a way that will cushion all those bumps they're bound to face and make the ride bearable.
Sitting in that meeting reminded me of being a spectator at a marathon, as if all those bright young faces were lined up, poised for the gun to go off. I didn't get to tell them to hold on for the ride, but if had, that's what I would have said.
Wednesday, April 16, 2008
Yesterday I signed a contract. It was an offer to publish my novel!
Yes, it's true. Cedar Fort has offered to publish my manuscript entitled 'Still Here'.
It's inspirational fiction about a mom, her daughter, and a flood. Here's a summary in a sentence:
A dedicated single mom discovers the resilience of family, faith, and love when she returns with her rebellious daughter to the small town on the Virgin River that she fled as a teenager, at the same time that a massive flood hits the area.
Right now I'm caught up in getting it polished and off to the publisher, but I'm slowly starting to realize the many ways that my life is going to change. It's all exciting and good. And trust me, there will be more to come on this subject!
First the Preen. I love the stuff. I love Preening. I have been waiting for weeks to get out and do it in my garden. And just in case you don't know what I'm talking about, that does not mean snipping the pretty flowers and making the garden look tidy - though I did do a little of that - what I am talking about is the pre-emergent called Preen. I buy it in an industrial size box at Costco, and spread it liberally around my garden several times a year - that's Preening. The box has a list of flowers that it shouldn't be sprinkled around, but I've developed a philosophy that if it doesn't get along with Preen, it doesn't belong in my yard. Have I mentioned that I live on 2/3rds of an acre? Lots of weeds, lots of Preen. But the weather has been so crazy, I haven't been able to get out. For weeks now little weedheads have been poking up through the snow, taunting me. Finally, Monday, the sun came out and I preened. It was great. Used half the giant box. Tuesday snow fell. It's still here today. Unbelievable. But at least I've preened. Take that you nasty weeds!
Second, poop. Not mine, don't worry, I haven't gotten quite old and senile enough to go there. My dog's to be precise. The little guy's been constipated for two days now. The vet didn't seem too worried when I called his office. Gave me some little tidbits of advice, said to bring him in today or tomorrow if it hasn't cleared. And it has improved, but not cleared, so no decisions yet on what I'll do. But let me tell you, for two days now I have lived, breathed (literally) nothing but poop decisions. I won't go into details, other than to say my carpet and my sanity are in serious jeapordy here.
Third, big news! My son, the talented guitarist who I talk way too much about, the one who has rocked my world since the moment of his conception, has done it again. As you may know, Brandon likes to do musicals. He likes it a lot. So I'm always on the lookout for productions he can audition for. I was watching for a Broadway Kids show that's done locally, but missed the auditions by a day. Then I learned about auditions for a production of Ragtime, and since there wasn't anything else on the horizon, decided to suggest it to him (to suggest is the same as to do with the little guy, so I always suggest with caution.) I told him there was no way he would get into the show, and I mostly believed it. There is only one part for a young boy, not even any in the ensemble, and it is big, bigger than the community theatre he's done in the past, and they are looking for an older boy than him. But I also told him it would be a good experience, so that when there's a part he really wants, he can do it confidently.
It mostly worked! After his audition he told me that he was not nearly as nervous as the last time he auditioned for something, but still nervous enough that you could hardly hear him the first time through. The patient director asked him to do it again in a big voice, and he did. So, he figured, the next time maybe he wouldn't be nervous at all.
Great plan! Way to go Mom!
Except for one thing:
He got the part! The director was blown away that Brandon, a kid who doesn't do anything small, had memorized the line he gave him to read at callbacks. And so he will be 'Little Boy' at the Sandy Amphitheatre's production of Rag Time this June. It's a big part, on a big stage, and he is stoked. I'm a little nervous. The cast meeting was filled with a group of very professional and talented adults...and my Little Boy.
So that's been my life this week...crazy, stinky, and busy...minus one more huge detail that deserves it's own blog. So stay tuned...
Thursday, April 3, 2008
My littlest son has been way over-billed lately, but I just couldn't resist putting this on. His guitar teacher asks the students to write a song in order to earn a trophy, and since his school is holding a music composition contest, this was the perfect time to get him motivated. Maybe it's just me, the nauseatingly puffed-up and proud mom, but I'm thinking it's kind of amazing for an 8-year-old. Now if my technical skills are a fraction of his guitar skills, we'll see if I can actually get this posted!
Saturday, March 29, 2008
Sunday, March 2, 2008
Monday, February 11, 2008
Sunday, February 3, 2008
Church was cancelled today. My husband had a meeting in the morning, and came back saying he'd just been in the worst storm he'd ever seen. The news folks didn't seem to notice. There were no headlines, no red strips running across the screen warning people not to drive. The weather reports just said either 'light snow' or 'snow expected in the afternoon.' Guess they didn't look outside. The pictures here are our backyard, the the one you can hardly see (appropriate since we could hardly see either) is during the storm, the other is the view from our backporch after the storm. That's a six foot fence you see back there. And a couple of gray specks in the middle of the yard are the top of our four foot rock wall. The mountains are something though aren't they? Every time I think of looking through California classifieds for jobs, I look out at those and decide I can stick it out a little longer.
My daughter tells me that whenever she thinks of President Hinckley she'll think of cold toes. I'm sure she'll think of other things, but that's the first that will come to mind. My husband and I took the only two of our children who were available to pay our respects to the prophet on Thursday morning. We went straight in the building walked right through, pausing only at the casket. It was a reverent experience, with the feeling of saying goodbye to a beloved grandfather.
The rest of our children decided to go the next day, along with several friends, and one of the children who had already been (minus our missionary of course). News reports said that folks waited as long as four hours that evening. I'm here to say that it was actually five. And three of those five were spent standing outside in about twenty degree weather. Two of the members of the group (neither under my responsibility I must add) failed to wear coats. I do not know how that is possible, but I'm not making it up. The daughter who will remember her cold toes, who I'm sorry to say is under my responsibililty, did not wear socks or anything on her bare legs. Fashion first and always.
I'm happy to report there were no lost toes or limbs.
The event reminded me of a couple of years ago, being at a big event for the youth, 'Days of Celebration', held in Rice Eccles Stadium. When President Hinckley came out in his motorcar, you would have thought those thousands of teens were screaming over a rock star instead of a 90-something-year-old man.
I'm happy for President Hinckley, he lived such a long life and passed after such a short illness to rejoin his sweetheart. But I am so sad to be saying goodbye to the man who was so incredibly influential to my children. We've been so lucky to have him.
Tuesday, January 29, 2008
But there's still a problem. Nothing is ever easy.
I'm sure you've all heard that if you use poison the mice will die where they can't be reached and start stinking. I've heard it too. I've also heard that's an urban legend because mouse poison causes extreme dehydration, which means they are, well, dry, when they pass on, therefore not stinky. I've also heard that that is an urban legend. So basically I wasn't sure, but I did know I was desperate and my sticky traps weren't doing the trick.
Here's what an authoritative web site had to say on the issue:
"If you treat for mice, what will happen to the mice?It is an urban legend that once rodents consume rodent bait, “they will go outside in search of water.” This is a blatant lie that the majority of the pest control industry has fed homeowners. Unfortunately, the rodent will die wherever the bait takes effect. Usually this will be in their nesting area, since that is where they spend the majority of their time. This leads to the next frequently asked question . . . If a mouse dies inside my house, will it “smell”?There are a lot of factors involved in whether a dead mouse will emit an odor. These include body content, humidity, temperature and several other factors. In most cases, a dead mouse will not even be noticed by the resident. In a worse case scenario, the smell will only last for a day or so."
So let's think about this, the factors of whether there will be a smell: body content, I have no idea except that my mice didn't seem to be eating much of anything; humidity, we live in a desert; temperature, it's sub-zero frozen wasteland these days; and several other factors. Hmmm, don't know any other factors, so I must be safe in using the bait. Right?
Wrong. Worse case scenerio a day or so of stink? I don't think so.
We are now on about day ten of the most putrid, disgusting, non-living stink in the basement. It's not too bad at first, but when sitting on the couch, if you turn your head to the left, or worse, lie down, oh my, the eyes start to water. You have to cover your nose. And then you just can't take it.
Any day now it's going to go away. Unless I rip the wall apart with my bare hands first. But I guess I shouldn't be surprised, since apparently it was an entire village of mice I was dealing with, which is the only explanation I have - there is a heaping pile a mice corpses behind my wall. That dreadful image of a mouse holocaust is probably the only thing keeping me from ripping the wall apart. That and the promise of "a day or so" of stink.
Does anyone know how long a SO is?
Then two days after that I got a call from the doctor saying that the radiologist thought it was just a shadow. She wasn't convinced, so she suggested we play it by ear and remove the boot when he was comfortable. Well he wasn't ready right then, but he was sooner than one would suspect for a break. So we'll apparently never know.
But I do know about his latest injury - an ankle sprain. It is a true and real sprain, I promise, despite the fact that at any given moment of the day he can be caught running, jumping, bouncing, springing, frolicking...you get the idea. These events are inevitably followed by an "Ouch! My ankle!" But it doesn't slow him down. He'll stop, feel it, and is off again. I keep hollering "Sit down!" "Put your foot up!" "Stop jumping up and down!" Seriously now, should I REALLY have to say that? One would think he's faking.
Except that a couple times a day he comes to me and says "Mom! Look, my ankle's getting huge!"
And yes, it is getting huger by the minute.
I think he's proud of it - the bigger the better. I'm sure he shows it off at school.
I'm fairly certain the authorities would frown on any attempts to tie him down, or drug him, but I'm not sure how else I'm going to let that poor ankle heal. If only the doctor would call and tell me the swelling is just a shadow...
Monday, January 21, 2008
But no more. I will not mention it, think of it, or laugh about it again. You can probably guess why, but I'll tell you anyway.
Yesterday we got home from church a little later than expected. It was almost three and we hadn't eaten since breakfast. I had started a roast before we left, but hadn't prepared anything to go with it. I put some brown rice in a rice steamer and dashed off to change out of my dress before coming back to make some muffins, gravy, and a salad. Quite the meal I would say. But the kids all pitched in, and we got it done in less than an hour.
I remember at some point peeking at the rice, while on the phone, and wondering why the water was so brown. It was brown rice though, so I didn't give it more than a passing thought. Finally the other food was ready, Rob had made it home, the table was set, so I checked to make sure the rice was done.
It looked strangely like something else...like...maybe...wheat berries?
Yes, we had steamed wheat berries to go with our roast and gravy.
I need to point out that we store our brown rice and our wheat berries in the very same type of container. And I was in a hurry. And I was hungry.
Pathetic excuses I know. Hopefully the kids will let me live it down eventually.
Meanwhile I'm in the market for cooked wheat berry recipes. It's surprising how few there are.
Wednesday, January 9, 2008
Friday, January 4, 2008
Within a short amount of time the traps had snared two drowsy mice. After that they stayed empty, and I hoped the problem was over, although I admit I was too busy to notice, despite my daughter's insistence that they could still hear them at night. ("You just think you can hear them!") All that wishful thinking came to an abrupt end on New Year's Eve. My husband took my son to a Jazz game, and my girls and I loaded plates with every kind of fattening food imaginable and settled in for four hours of "Gone with the Wind."
Our mice, however, planned a more lively new year's event. As we sat on the basement couch watching our movie, they partied just above us, somewhere between the basement ceiling and main story floor. And when I say partied, I mean it. They ran, skipped, galloped, danced, and and tangoed back and forth, back and forth. I envisioned roller coasters, ferris wheels, rock bands, and a couple of high-rise condominiums. I don't know how many. I don't even want to guess. A lot. A lot more than should be in a single house.
So New Years Day for me was the start of "The Hunt". I'm told that mice generally stay within 10 to 15 feet of a food source, so the key is to find their food source, clean it up, and lay the traps there. But the area they were holding their carnival in was nowhere near any food source. I did discover, though, a cabinet with a discarded (and empty) bag of Chex Mix, and enough mouse poop to fertilize a garden. It was more like 30 feet from their siting, but close enough. I cleaned it up, and, out of desperation, put actual poison in its place. I generally won't use the stuff, but desperate times and all that...
Sadly, there was no sign of a nibble on those traps, or any other traps, by the next day, so I got truly desperate. I cleaned every cupboard and room that could potentially have any food anywhere near it. My kitchen and office both look like a bomb went off. Any food items in eatable packaging has been stored in plastic bins. I have about 100 traps scattered from one corner of the house to the next, all empty and untouched. Nothing. Nada.
I'm thinking those mice must have had a hot dog stand at the carnival, cause they're not eating my food. One of my girls suggested that they're cannibals. I don't know. Maybe.
So here's the wierdest thing. And I'm NOT making this up. Yesterday, my 8-year-old got home from school, and informed me (I had my head in the office closet, searching for mouse poop) that there was a trail of blood in the driveway. Seeing as how he's an 8-year-old boy, I was skeptical, but of course I went to investigate. There was a trail, but it looked more like rust than blood. It went all the way up the driveway, and ended at my daughter's car, which had just returned home after a day at the high school. There was no puddle of anything under the car, but both right-side tires were wet with the red stuff, which did smell oddly blood-like. And a scan with a flash-light at the under-side of the car did show what could be described as a small, non-descriptive, hairy blob just behind the front tire. We searched the road, and discovered the trail went on a long ways, but there was no sign of road kill anywhere. When we returned from our search, we realized that the car was making the entire garage smell like raw hamburger.
So here's my theory. The mice (highly-intelligent little buggers) saw that they were up against a crazed maniac, gave up, fled the house, and threw themselves under the first car tire they came across, leaving nothing but a rust-colored trail of liquid in their wake.
I know you think that's crazy. I think that's crazy. But since my traps - every single one - were still empty and neglected yet again this morning, that's the only logical conclusion I can come to.
Just in case though, I'm out to buy more traps...