Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Writing Wednesday - WIP Progress

I wrote almost 10,000 words on my WIP last week. Not bad. Though probably every one of those words is going to require revision. But at least I'm getting my road map laid.

Now for the next day or so I'm working on revisions to the story that is making its way through my critique groups.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Tuesday's Proverb

The LORD begot me, the first-born of his ways, the forerunner of his prodigies of long ago; From of old I was poured forth, at the first, before the earth. When there were no depths I was brought forth, when there were no fountains or springs of water; Before the mountains were settled into place, before the hills, I was brought forth; While as yet the earth and the fields were not made, nor the first clods of the world. (Proverbs 8:22-26)

Monday, July 28, 2008

If the Shoe Fits

While shopping for back to school clothes Pippi and I discovered that her child's size 5 foot translates to roughly an adult size 7. Since (until I had children) I spent most of my adult life as a size 7 1/2 this came as rather a shock to me.

When we got home we went into my closet. And sure enough - there were still some 7 1/2 size shoes in there. Pippi tried a pair on - a pair of navy Bass flats. "I think I've found my new dress shoes" she said.

And indeed she has.

They're a little big - but as she says she doesn't wear dress shoes that often so it won't matter.

In the meantime, let me go weep, as I contemplate that my little girl's feet are nearly as big as mine!

Saturday, July 26, 2008

A Night of Theater

Last night we went to see Beauty and the Beast at a local outdoor theater. Plays in the Park has been around for 46 years. And every year they do three productions in a local park. There is an amphitheater there and a nice hill to sit on. Once upon a time the productions were free. You got there when you could and staked out your spot with blanket or chairs and then waited for the production to begin - or perhaps enjoyed the rest of the park or the nearby shopping while waiting. Now there is an admission charge. It's five dollars for people over the age of twelve. Four dollars for senior citizens. In this day and age that's almost the same as being free. The difference now is that they don't allow people to simply set up their chairs as soon as they can manage to get to the park - but must wait until the box office opens at 5:30. The performance is at 8:30. People start lining up sometime in the early afternoon so they can get a close seat.

We got there at 6:30. We did not have close seats. We set our chairs up in the very back - but center (we could have been a bit closer had we opted to go far over to one side). At least we weren't over on the "back hill" as it was called. Though later - looking at the elevation of the hill I wondered if we might not have been better off - since we couldn't see from where our seats were unless we stood - and since we were in the back, we did stand. A show is more enjoyable when you can see what is going on.

One funny thing about the "back hill" - in the middle of the "Be Our Guest" production number - the person singing stopped and looked out toward the hill and said "For those of you out on the back hill - we're doing Beauty and the Beast" - and after the laughter and the applause for the shout out died down they continued the song.

The show is long - and wasn't over until eleven - so it was a late night (remember we got there at 6:30 - some people had been there for hours before that). The shows are cheap - but it is quite an investment in time (and in dealing with people whose manners are less than... um... less than good shall we say.)

The kids had a blast and I'm glad we took them. At this link there are some pictures from the show. I tried clicking on the "play" button for the top item - but it didn't seem to work - just scroll down for a few pictures.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Writing Wednesday - WIP Progress

It's back to work on my WIP - now that my revised manuscript is out the door and on its way to an editor who said she'd be happy to see it again if revised.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Tuesday's Proverb

On the way of duty I walk, along the paths of justice,> Granting wealth to those who love me, and filling their treasuries. (Proverbs 8:20-21)

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Gone Swimmin'

Uncle Ted was kept busy throwing people around in the pool today. But there was no better place to be when it was hovering around 100 degrees outside. So we had a birthday celebration for Uncle Ted complete with cousins, uncles, aunts, ammy and grampy of course, and lots of good food and of course fun in the pool.

This is a picture of the the "five-person-jump" about to happen.

This is the "after" picture.

Clearly I need to work on my timing.

Happy Birthday Secret Agent Man

This past week brother number two turned 39. In honor of that achievement here are some pictures from when he was much younger. Happy Birthday, Ted!

Friday, July 18, 2008

How They've Grown

Four years ago I took this picture of Pippi and her friend at the beach. (It's one of my very favorite beach pictures)

Here are the same two girls four years later. It's amazing how quickly they turn from adorable little girls into lovely young women!
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A Day at the Beach

My friend called me last night and suggested we go to the beach this afternoon. Sounded like a plan to me. Sometimes the best plans are the ones you make at the last minute. My two kids and her three get along as if they were related (as in they sometimes squabble like siblings). Her daughter is two years older than Pippi, her older son is in Pippi's grade and her younger son is a year older than Harry - so it all works out. The boys are a Terrible Trio when they get together - but they have a great time. And the girls just try to keep their brothers from bugging them too much. And we Moms just enjoyed the chance to chat.
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Thursday, July 17, 2008

Jersey Blogger Splash

We had a little bloggy get-together Across the Net today. Ellen was the gracious hostess who provided her pool and pool toys on this 90+ degree day. And served us a delicious lunch of grilled burgers and hot dogs with a delightful ice cream sandwich cake for desert.

The other attendee was Barb the SFO Mom and two of her three children. Pippi and "Middle Sister" bonded as only adolescent girls can and Harry encouraged "Little Brother" to jump in the pool with a running start. Sometimes they even ran side-by-side.

Everyone had a wonderful time.

It's so nice to be able to make friends on-line and then spend time with them in person. Thanks Ellen!

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Writing Wednesday

No little potato progress report this week. I haven't made any progress on that manuscript. But I've been busy making final revisions to another.

I know some people hate making revisions. I like them. You already have the bones of the story and you know exactly where it is going and why. Now it's time to go back and fill in this character or that - make things come together in a way you didn't even foresee the first time around. It's a time to look at a phrase and say that is a place where I can show instead of tell. Or that's a place where I can delve a little deeper.

On this particular story these revisions are now final tweaks. And then it gets sent out into the wide world again in the hopes to someday become a book. I'll keep you posted.

In the meantime there are some great posts about critique groups over at HipWriterMama. My critique group (which HipWriterMama is a part of by the way) is absolutely awesome and has helped me so much in fine tuning my writing. If you write and don't have a critique group yet - try to find one. Absolutely the best thing that happened to my writing!

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Tuesday's Proverb

My fruit is better than gold, yes, than pure gold, and my revenue than choice silver. (Proverbs 8:19)

Monday, July 14, 2008

Summer Sunset

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Boy on the Move

He spent a large sum of his First Communion money today - but he bought himself a new toy. A Ripstick. He's always been happiest on wheels.
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Sunday, July 13, 2008

Realizing Our Good Fortune

Friday night we had the opportunity to meet the new priest for our parish. He's actually been around a bit before as chaplain to the Vietnamese community - but now he is officially assigned to our parish as the Parochial Vicar.

He is young and friendly and charming. The hosts for the evening asked him about his past - as in how he left Vietnam. We had another Vietnamese priest a number of years ago who had left Vietnam as a child - on a small boat: he'd been one of the "Vietnamese boat people."

Father Peter told us that unlike Father Joe he did not escape Vietnam by boat. In fact he was helped out by the US government twenty years ago. "We went on a plane," he said, "much better than a boat."

Leaving Vietnam may have been simple for him - but the rest of his life was not. He was five years old when the war ended. His father had worked with the US army - in a high level position. So when the war ended his father went to jail - for thirteen years. His mother lost her house due to this. She was 28 and had five children. "Times were hard" Father Peter told us. Honestly I can't even imagine how hard!

With his father a war criminal he and his siblings could not go to college or get jobs. But when his father's prison term was up - the US government stepped in and brought the family to the US. They got them an apartment in the Bronx (about as far as you can imagine from rural Vietnam) and gave them some money to get started. Father Peter knew no English. It was against the law to listen to an English radio station in Vietnam (automatic jail). You couldn't have an American Flag (10 years jail) or American money (jail again). He spent a year studying English and then attended college and seminary. I believe our parish is lucky to have him minister to us now.

But listening to the stories he told (and he told everything in such a matter of fact way - really downplaying the horror or it all) makes one realize just how lucky and blessed we are in this country. There may be things we don't like - there may be politicians we wish would fade into the woodwork. But if we have a flag from a different country in our home, we don't go to jail.

We talk a lot about being a free country - but until you hear stories like this it's hard to realize quite what that means. But once you do realize it it's impossible not to thank God for the life we have in this country.

Political Speech I Can Get Behind

This afternoon the kids and I went to a local production of "You're A Good Man Charlie Brown" - it was the first production by a newly formed youth community theater group. The high school students (and recent graduates) who formed the cast were outstanding and it was a lot of fun.

Looking at the program I noticed that our mayor seemed to have a part in the show. He was playing the mayor. Appropriate.

And sure enough during part of the play Sally is upset that her project got a C so she's going to complain to the mayor. Out on stage walks our mayor. Sally lodges her complaint. And the mayor answers: "Whaa waah wah Whaa" (like any good grown-up in a Charlie Brown show). Everyone burst out laughing.

I don't think I've ever heard a politician make more sense.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Fun on the Fourth

Yeah, I'm a little behind in posting some things.

We spent the Fourth of July at the Kutztown Folk Festival. Aside from the rain - which didn't quite seem to want to let up - but was never actually a down pour - we had a great time. There are so many things to see and do there.

One thing we did was stop by this tent where a gentleman was teaching whoever stopped by how to play the guitar. He'd show them how to hold it, and teach a few chords. By the end of the ten minute lesson a novice would have played Old MacDonald.

Harry loves his guitar, but he was reluctant to go in and see the guitars on display. The man was friendly and inviting. "Come on in," he says, "Have a seat." He hands Harry a guitar. Pippi sits down and he gets her one as well. My husband and I opted just to watch.

While he's showing Pippi how to hold the guitar (she's a clarinet player, she hasn't tried the guitar before) Harry starts playing Malaguena. This guys head spun around so fast I had to laugh. He turned back to Pippi and said "Did you know that was going to happen?"

She had to admit she did.

So this wonderful gentleman had Harry help him teach Pippi how to play the guitar. And then he mentioned that if you play those three chords in reverse it's the opening of Sweet Home Alabama. Well, that's a song that Harry has been listening to a lot (by a lot I mean setting his CD player on repeat and listening to the same song for more than an hour at a time - usually until I go in and turn it off because I just can't take it anymore). So we said Harry liked that song. And also Freebird.

"Oh," says the instructor. "If you can play Freebird you've got it made."

"He can play Freebird," I said.

So Harry started, and the instructor joined in and sang along.

And Pippi learned to play Old MacDonald.

I don't think the instructor minded being sand-bagged by us all that much. I guess he doesn't get too many kids in his tent who can play Freebird.
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A Book Meme

I saw this over at Esther's place and decided to give it a go.

1) Look at the list and bold those you have read.

2) Italicize those you intend to read (as in the book is bought and sitting on my shelf).

3) Underline the books you LOVE.

Ready? OK!

1. Pride and Prejudice - Jane Austen
2. The Lord of the Rings - JRR Tolkien
3. Jane Eyre - Charlotte Bronte
4. Harry Potter series - JK Rowling (1/2 the series)
5. To Kill a Mockingbird - Harper Lee
6. The Bible .
7. Wuthering Heights - Emily Bronte
8. Nineteen Eighty Four - George Orwell
9. His Dark Materials - Philip Pullman
10. Great Expectations - Charles Dickens
11. Little Women - Louisa M Alcott
12. Tess of the D'Urbervilles - Thomas Hardy
13. Catch 22 - Joseph Heller – this is not a book I loved.
14. Complete Works of Shakespeare – the book is on a shelf. I haven’t read the complete works, but I’ve read a number of the plays.
15. Rebecca - Daphne Du Maurier
16. The Hobbit - JRR Tolkien – I could never get into this one.
17. Birdsong - Sebastian Faulks – never heard of this one
18. Catcher in the Rye - JD Salinger
19. The Time Traveller's Wife - Audrey Niffenegger
20. Middlemarch - George Eliot
21. Gone With The Wind - Margaret Mitchell
22. The Great Gatsby - F Scott Fitzgerald
23. Bleak House - Charles Dickens
24. War and Peace - Leo Tolstoy
25. The Hitch Hiker's Guide to the Galaxy - Douglas Adams – and the rest of the series as well.
26. Brideshead Revisited - Evelyn Waugh
27. Crime and Punishment - Fyodor Dostoyevsky
28. Grapes of Wrath - John Steinbeck
29. Alice in Wonderland - Lewis Carroll
30. The Wind in the Willows
31. Anna Karenina - Leo Tolstoy
32. David Copperfield - Charles Dickens
33. Chronicles of Narnia - CS Lewis
34. Emma - Jane Austen
35. Persuasion - Jane Austen
36. The Kite Runner - Khaled Hosseini
37. Captain Corelli's Mandolin - Louis De Bernieres
38. Memoirs of a Geisha - Arthur Golden
39. Winnie the Pooh - AA Milne
40. Animal Farm - George Orwell
41. The Da Vinci Code - Dan Brown
42. One Hundred Years of Solitude - Gabriel Garcia Marquez
43. A Prayer for Owen Meaney - John Irving
44. The Woman in White - Wilkie Collins
45. Anne of Green Gables - LM Montgomery
46. Far From The Madding Crowd - Thomas Hardy
47. The Handmaid's Tale - Margaret Atwood
48. Lord of the Flies - William Golding
49. Atonement - Ian McEwan
50. Life of Pi - Yann Martel
51. Dune - Frank Herbert
52. Cold Comfort Farm - Stella Gibbons
53. Sense and Sensibility - Jane Austen
54. A Suitable Boy - Vikram Seth
55. The Shadow of the Wind - Carlos Ruiz Zafon
56. A Tale Of Two Cities - Charles Dickens
57. Brave New World - Aldous Huxley
58. The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time - Mark Haddon
59. Love In The Time Of Cholera - Gabriel Garcia Marquez
60. Of Mice and Men - John Steinbeck
61. Lolita - Vladimir Nabokov
62. The Secret History - Donna Tartt
63. The Lovely Bones - Alice Sebold
64. Count of Monte Cristo - Alexandre Dumas
65. On The Road - Jack Kerouac
66. Jude the Obscure - Thomas Hardy
67. Bridget Jones' Diary - Helen Fielding
68. Midnight's Children - Salman Rushdie
69. Moby Dick - Herman Melville – I was supposed to read this one once. I remember sitting in an airport trying to read it. I never made it all the way through.
70. Oliver Twist - Charles Dickens
71. Dracula - Bram Stoker
72. The Secret Garden - Frances Hodgson Burnett
73. Notes From A Small Island - Bill Bryson
74. Ulysses - James Joyce
75. The Bell Jar - Sylvia Plath
76. Swallows and Amazons - Arthur Ransome – this book keeps popping up in things I’m reading, perhaps I ought to check it out.
77. Germinal - Emile Zola
78. Vanity Fair - William Makepeace Thackeray
79. Possession - AS Byatt -
80. A Christmas Carol - Charles Dickens – I’m not sure I’ve ever read this. I might have.

81. Cloud Atlas - David Mitchell
82. The Color Purple - Alice Walker
83. The Remains of the Day - Kazuo Ishiguro
84. Madame Bovary - Gustave Flaubert
85. A Fine Balance - Rohinton Mistry
86. Charlotte's Web - EB White
87. The Five People You Meet In Heaven - Mitch Albom
88. Adventures of Sherlock Holmes - Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (not all of them)
89. The Faraway Tree Collection - Enid Blyton
90. Heart of Darkness - Joseph Conrad
91. The Little Prince - Antoine De Saint-Exupery
92. The Wasp Factory - Iain Banks
93. Watership Down - Richard Adams
94. A Confederacy of Dunces - John Kennedy Toole
95. A Town Like Alice - Nevil Shute
96. The Three Musketeers - Alexandre Dumas (I loved this book!)
97. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory - Roald Dahl
98. Les Miserables - Victor Hugo
99. Adventures of Huckleberry Finn - Mark Twain
100. The Outsiders by SE Hinton

I seem to be a bit light on the Dickens. Hmmm. Do I care enough to rectify that? Interesting exercise. And there is nothing on the list that I intend to read to the degree that the book is already sitting on my shelf. Interesting. Very interesting.

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Writing Wednesday - WIP Progress

Not as much progress this week as I would have liked. And it's not exactly because I'm procrastinating by watching TV. I'm procrastinating by doing other stuff. Maybe it can't really be called procrastination. I'm just busy with other stuff - but when I do have time to write, I've been finding other things to do instead. But this little dry spell will end and the word count will continue to mount!

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

A Day at the Cottage

Sometimes life just conspires to hand you a perfect summer day. We had that today when we spent it at the Cottage. Alice and her clan were kind enough to welcome us into their home and their pool for the day. And as delightful as Alice is on her blog - she is even more so in real life. We all had a wonderful time - and no one wanted to leave when the day drew to a close. I think Pippi would happily move in with the Gunther girls. I believe she came away from the day with three new best friends. Harry and Patrick had fun together too - as did another little boy who happened to be visiting. And the little girls were delightful and charming (and wanted more soda!)

Thanks, Alice, for a fantastic day!Posted by Picasa

Tuesday's Proverb

With me are riches and honor, enduring wealth and prosperity. (Proverbs 8:18)

Thursday, July 03, 2008

Happy Independence Day

"I am apt to believe that it will be celebrated by succeeding generations as the great anniversary festival. It ought to be commemorated as the day of deliverance, by solemn acts of devotion to God Almighty. It ought to be solemnized with pomp and parade, with shows, games, sports, guns, bells, bonfires, and illuminations, from one end of this continent to the other, from this time forward forevermore." - John Adams on Independence Day (though he thought it would be celebrated on July 2nd)

(the picture is from our town's fireworks display tonight)
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Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Little Helpers

Ever wish that little elves would come and finish your WIP when your busy doing something else. Kind of like the elves that made shoes for the shoemaker in the fairy tale.

Apparently I have a little elf here.

I was working on my new WIP (see progress meter below) and left the laptop unattended while doing some other things around the house. When I came back, I saw that there had been an addition.

What I wrote:

"We weren't being spies or anything."

"Quite possibly you were. (this is where I left off, when I came back this was added) I saw you behind the beech tree looking at him kiss Maria." LOL! : ) (the emoticon was added too)

This could be a wonderful addition to the story - if indeed anyone named Maria was in it. Better luck next time, elf (Harry).

Writing Wednesday - WIP Progress

Carnival Time

The Catholic Carnival is up this week over at Building the Ark. The theme this week is swimming lessons, so stop by and dip your toe into some wonderful posts on Catholic life. Enjoy!

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Tuesday's Proverb

Those who love me I also love, and those who seek me find me. (Proverbs 8:17)