Thursday, October 31, 2013

Things You Find in a Desert

I probably should post Halloween-y stuff tonight, but I already wrote this entry four or five days ago (minus this sentence) and forgot to post it, so I'll write about Halloween later.

I've complained several times in previous blog entries that I feel like I'm stuck in a time loop, repeating the same events of my life, over and that should break the monotony of a normal person's life, like parades and community clean-up days and blanket-making on.  Not that it's a terrible thing, but it makes it hard to write a post about said-activity when I've already written about it x-amount of times in the past.  

Well, staying true to that premise, here's "Community Clean-Up Day Take 6."  Or 7.  Or 9.  Crap, I don't know.

This year I thought I'd do my first (and last) annual "Things You Find in a Desert" Edition.  So here you go, ladies and gentlemen...things you might find in a desert:

 A king-sized mattress.

 A roll of carpet.

 A box of broken doll parts (creepy).

 A couch.

 Another mattress.

An abandoned car.

 Some more carpet.

A baby tarantula.

You might also find 20 broken television sets, a refrigerator, a few drug needles, two more fully grown tarantulas, mountains of discarded concrete, broken glass, enough artificial foliage to start a pseudo-garden, and a Bible (but you might not have your cell phone available to take pics of those things because you gave it to one of your students to hold for you because girls' jeans' pockets are too damn small).

So that concludes the 6th (or 7th or 9th or whatever-th) edition of Community Clean-Up Day.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

My [not so] Little DoT

This warranted a quick post:

Yes, this is my little DoT, almost completely grown up.  I can't believe I'm at 70K!  I've never written this much in my life.  I seriously have goosebumps right now, looking at this word meter.

Less than 5,000 words left, people!  Holy geez!

That's the good news.  The bad news is there is no way I can finish this story in a mere 5K.  NO WAY.  I haven't even reached the climax yet.  So, I'm going to have to bump my word count up to.........100K.  That's the maximum advisable word count for a YA novel.

BUT--since my original goal was 75K, I think it's only fair to give myself the thrill of reaching that goal first before worrying about the new word count.  I really, really want to see my little meter get to a 100%.  Thus, for now, I will keep my goal at 75K.

Oh my gosh I'm doing it!  I'm writing a book!

Friday, October 18, 2013

Pepper for Breakfast

I'm feeling pretty moody with blogger.  Last night I wrote a big, beautiful post, but for some reason there were inordinately large spaces in-between paragraphs and I couldn't get rid of them.  So I switched over to HTML.  I successfully deleted most of the spaces, but then accidentally deleted the closing tag for a certain section.  When I hit the "undo" arrow, my ENTIRE post disappeared, along with the "redo" option.  I thought, "No big deal, I'll just go to the previous page before my changes are saved."  But the second I went to back out of the page, it auto-saved my blank blog.  Ughhhh.

Okay, that was a long-winded way of saying I lost yesterday's post (by the way, it's only a "big, beautiful" post because there's no evidence to the contrary).  I'll never recreate it, so that's that.

So new stuff.  Yesterday I was at a training with the rest of my department, when we got the news that there had been an incident at school.  It happened in my friend Jen's class (Niecy's former classroom).  Jen was sitting at the same table with me at the training when she got the news.   A student brought in a pepper bomb, which is basically pepper spray in powder form, compressed into a ball.  He never intended to use it; he just brought it to show his friends.  He had procured it from his dad, who's a correctional officer.  But it accidentally came apart when he was rolling it around on his desk (the sub either didn't see it, or thought it was a red toy ball).  Three girls who were sitting directly next to this student immediately ran out of the room, unable to breathe.  The rest of the class followed soon after.  Eight students were treated by ambulance before being released, and a correspondent from Channel 2 News interviewed our school about the incident.  Poor Jen had to relocate to a different classroom today so that her room could be deep-cleaned and her filters replaced with new ones.  Several kids left their backpacks, and they weren't even allowed to retrieve them.  RMS Cafe was supposed to be held in Jen's room this morning, but it was relocated to Naomi's room (my other language arts colleague/friend).  In addition to the usual splay of donuts, fruit, and coffee, Naomi supplied a plate of...peppers.  

One thing that stands out in my mind was a few hours before the incident, Jen was expressing her nervousness over having a sub in her classroom for two days.  But then she comforted herself by saying, "I have really good kids this year, so I really have nothing to worry about."  That right there is why I'm a strong advocate of KNOCKING ON WOOD.

Clint's schedule is brutal this month.  He's driving a train from Needles, CA, to Winslow, AZ, so he's gone for six days at a time.  Poor guy; he comes home with enough time to mow the lawn and repair things that need to be repaired, and then he's gone again.  And there is always something that needs to be repaired.  I swear this house very calculatingly waits for him to leave, and then decides to dump problems on me.  Like the smoke detectors that went all manic a few weeks ago.  Or the ice-maker last week, which would do nothing but growl every time I pushed the button, but then the second I opened the freezer, ice would explode on me.  On the plus side, I was showered with the specific ice I had requested, whether it was cubed or crushed.  So ten points for accuracy there.  Now our latest problem is the voltage on our electric fence around the petting's too high.  I'm not sure what changed...maybe the fact that the ground has been moister than usual lately?  But on top of zapping two sparrows, the fence fried one of our hens.  Now I have more unfortunate critters to add to the ever-growing Why You Don't Want to be a Bird in Our House list.  So Clint will have to tweak that on Monday, plus get rid of the dead chicken that no one wants to touch.  Thankfully by next week he should be back to shorter routes, where he is gone for only 2-3 days at a time.

Clint's parents are taking the kids to an insect fair tomorrow.  Trin is all sorts of excited because there are supposed to be a few entomologist there from UCR, and she plans to pick their brains about the world of entomology.  Right now she's torn about what she wants to be when she grows up; either an entomologist or an aviary veterinarian.  The aviary vet idea has me laughing my head off.  How great would it be for a child whose family has a history of unwittingly massacring winged creatures to become a veterinarian of BIRDS?

Teri invited me to go along to the insect fair with them, to which I gave her a very polite hell no.  With Clint gone all the time, I'm saturated with kids 24/7.  The thought of some peace and quiet (aka: uninterrupted writing time) sounds like pure bliss.  I'm hoping to go to Starbucks tomorrow and make my word-meter bar grow.

Oh, I wrote a vignette (exactly 500 words in length) on my other blog, but I'm not crazy about it.  It was in response to another end-of-the-world-type writing prompt that one of my twitter followers mentioned me in.  I love creating short stories...they make for fun little interludes between chapter revisions.  But for some reason I only like to write them when I get a prompt of some kind.  Same for painting--I like being given some direction, like "paint an angel or paint a willow tree"--I feel too aimless if I'm just supposed to "paint".  Anyway, I failed a little on this one.  500 words was too shrimpy of a word count for me to flesh the exposition out, or to get the reader to care about the character or her plight.  I guess this highlights my shortcomings as a writer.  Although Apathetics is a flash fiction of sorts, and I managed to pull that one off in 440-some words.  So I don't know.  Maybe the repetitiveness of the topic was a problem too.  I do love the concept of vignettes--and flash fiction--so I might look for some more prompts here and there when I'm feeling ready to take breaks from DoT.

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Still breathing

Just a quick post to say I'm still alive, and my life totally sucks right now!

Four more days until my test...

Most Sincerely,
The Sad, Pathetic & Joyless Twin.

Friday, October 4, 2013

Enchanted Forest

I don't have any writerly juices tonight, so here's Family Theme Night, Picture Edition:

Teri did a beautiful job decorating

 These lights were stunning in the dark

 Carey and Teri dining

 Getting ready for appetizers

The kids ready to eat

 One-eyed, one horned, flying purple...diva?

 Me and Clint (the tiny blue fairy)

 Full after dinner

 Mike and Moo (she's a dragonfly princess, we don't know what he is)

 The kids--a fairy, Tardis, flying squirrel, and troll
(don't ask me what a Tardis has to do with an Enchanted Forest)

 Trin and Elijah
Moo made Trin's costume and Teri made Elijah's.
I helped by oohing and ahhing over them.

 Teri and Carey (Mother Nature and a garden gnome)

 Family Photo

 Sweet Pea with her amazing birthday cake
(yes, that's a cake, courtesy of Teri)

 Trinity preparing Sweet Pea for a skit

 Releasing a Chinese sky lantern into the air

 Sweet Pea's dream cake again

The fam was celebrating my birthday too,
so Teri made me my own chocolate "villain's" cake
to go with Sweet's.  Holy cow was it delicious.

The only other thing worth mentioning is when we released our Chinese sky lantern, it went straight into a gigantic car-sized bush.  That was a fun little moment of panic as everyone lunged for the lantern, trying to grab it before the bush caught on fire. 

Oh, and our skits.  We had a target on the wall with character's names and random settings/activities.  Each one of us threw a velcro ball against the target until we hit one character's name and one setting.  For example, I got "Ariel singing rock karaoke."  Then we had to act it out in front of everyone, and see if they could guess who we were and what we were doing.  It was super fun.  My favorite was Mike's skit, and Clint's.  Mike had to pretend to be a scared camper jumping from flower to flower.  It was really cute.  Clint, on the other hand, had to act out "Big Bad Wolf in a hair salon."  So he sits down in a fake barber chair and starts saying, "My, what BIG SCISSORS you have.  My, what a BIG HAIRBRUSH you have."  It was hilarious.

One more thing. I got an old-fashioned gumball machine for my birthday.  I've wanted one ever since I wrote my "Gumball" story.  Although ironically my new gumball machine is full of peanut M&Ms right now.

Okay, now I'm done for real.       

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Just Dance Already

Family Theme Night was downright fun this year.  The one thing that made all the difference was at the end of the night, when almost everyone had left, Teri blasted the music and we all danced in the dark beneath those gorgeous projected laser sparkle-thingies that I am so enraptured by (my crush on them began a couple years ago at the 2011 Dojo Halloween Party).  Even Clint's dad danced.  It was impossible to not be on a high that night.  I am telling you, if you are someone who doesn't dance, DO IT ANYWAY.  Blast an upbeat song, dance around your living room like a crazy person, and enjoy the endorphin-rush that follows.  According to Healthy Living, "The body releases endorphins during periods of physical activity, resulting in feelings of well-being and sometimes, euphoria. While nearly any kind of physical activity has the potential to release endorphins, dancing is particularly effective."  Euphoria, people.  EUPHORIA.

On a somewhat related note:  Men, dance with your wives.  I'm not talking slow dancing (although that's great too), but go out there and fast-dance with her, even if you think you look like a fool.  The reasons you need to do this are simple: 1. The above-mentioned euphoria.  2. No one cares what you look like.  3.  Even if you do look like a fool, you've only got one life to live.  Someday when you take your last breath, you're not going to care if you looked stupid "that one night."  You're only going to remember that it was blurry and euphoric and beautiful.  4.  It's HOT.  When you first start fast-dancing, you and your partner may not know right away what you're doing.  But after a minute or so you get a rhythm going, and it's energetic and intense and feels sexy as all get-out.  Without planning it, you find your bodies coming together and parting again; his hands will be on your hips one second and gone the next.  For slow dancing, the female expects to be pressed up against the male's body the entire time.  But with fast dancing, you don't know what to expect, and there is something exciting and unpredictable about that.  Which brings me to my final point, #5. If you're not dancing with her, someone else is.  Clint refuses to dance with me (except for the occasional slow song), so I usually get on the dance floor with the girls.  But it doesn't take long before I'm swept up into some male's arms and dancing with him, and now, I'm put into the awkward position of going through point #4 with someone who isn't my husband, when hubbies are the first person us girls want to share that kind of experience with.  So husbands, in the words of Lady Gaga, "Just dance, [it'll] be okay."  

Well damn, I got a little side-tracked.  This post was supposed to be about Family Theme Night.  Now I'm already bored with blogging, so I'll save FTN for my next post.  Guess I better change my title too, because "Enchanted Forest" no longer seems to apply.