Saturday, June 28, 2008

Father's Day Cards

I made the wallet card at club (thanx Amy) and then printed off play dollars for us to write our messages and draw our pictures on. I got a picture holder and put the new snapshots and portraits in it. (The picture holder fit perfectly - good job Amy!)

The other card I designed myself for my Dad. It is supposed to be a sleeping bag with a pocket knife in it. The knife opens with a picture on one side of the blade, and the message on the other. If I do it again I'll put more than one blade in the knife.

Both these cards were fun to do! I like trying to make something more masculine for a change. (I had to put away to butterfly stamps and the pink paper!)

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Book Review: Trapped in Ice! An Amazing True Whaling Adventure by Martin W. Sandler

Trapped in Ice! An Amazing True Whaling Adventure
by Martin W. Sandler
Non-Fiction, Historical, MG
176 pages
published: 2006
3 of 5 stars

I'm sure no one has heard of this book. It probably had little publicity. I found it in a book order, and since I'm always interested in survival and cool nonfiction (and hope to build a collection of books that my son wants to read) I ordered it sight unseen. I'm glad I did - I really enjoyed it. As for amazing polar survival - it's not anything compared to: Shipwreck at the Bottom of the World: the extraordinary true story of Shakleton and the Endurance by Jennifer Armstrong (check that one out!)

BUT it was really cool. I liked better all the information about whaling - and the attitude with which it was presented. Most of my exposure to whaling has been negative, as in, "Those unconscionable beasts who killed all the whales just so women could look unnaturally skinny!" Well, it wasn't really like that, at least not until the end. They were doing a job that improved the lives of everyone, particularly with oil for light. They thought the ocean unfathomable and inexhaustible. The book portrays them as courageous, hard working, and highly skilled. How many of us seriously risk our lives everyday we go to work? It also talked of the exploring and charting work the whalers did. It told the story of some of the women and children that accompanies the whale ships.

For nonfiction YA, it was good - educational and entertaining.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Alphabet Games

A- attached or single: Absolutely Attached

B-Best Friend: Scott

C-Cake or Pie: Cake. But there's nothing wrong with pie (as long as it's not cherry or sour)

D-Day: Saturday. Scott is home and there is no schedule.

E- Essential Item: Soft water - without it I develop this sort of flaking, eczema, peeling, broke out sort of leprosy. Or maybe sensible shoes. Or perhaps that goes under phobias.

F-Favorite Color: Green. Sage Green. Green. Always.

G-Gummi Bears or Worms: neither please. Can I have a real treat?

H-Home Town: Redding, California. A beautiful, hot place with trees, mountains, and lakes. It's in northern California. No, I mean NORTHERN California.

I-Indulgences: Since I've already done a guilty pleasures post, I'll do a new one...daydreaming. Fantasizing about living in the pacific northwest, by the ocean, in the trees, writing, walking on the beach...heaven.

J-January or July: July. I would lower the temperature too. Holy freak.

K-Kids: 4 Jadyn, Xander, Kyra and Aspen.

L:Life is incomplete without: My family and the outdoors. Specifically trees.

M-Marriage Date: June 20, 1998

N-Number of Siblings: 8. 4 older half siblings - 2 sisters and 2 brothers. 4 younger siblings - 3 brothers and 1 sister.

O-Oranges or Apples: Apples, fujis or galas

P-Phobias or Fears: Worms. Or anything worm like, really, as in centipedes or caterpillars. But not snakes. I like those.

Q-Quote: This it too big a question. I'll to with: Don't sweat the petty things, and don't pet the sweaty things. Oh! and...Come to the dark side, we have cookies.

R-Reason to Smile: I could my family here too, but I'll go a different direction. My sense of humor is all about absurdity, randomness, and wit. So, I love The Hitchhikers Guide, The Princess Bride, Stranger than Fiction kind of stuff. Lots of picture books. One liners.

S-Season: Fall. Pumpkins, leaves, perfect weather, Halloween, school, colors, the breeze, Thanksgiving...

T-Tag 3 Friends: I'll tag people least likely to comply - Michelle, Tammy, and Brandy. And Suey, cuz she might do it, and I'm really curious.

U-Unknown Fact About Me: I like to pull on people's eyelashes (gently. kinda.) to pull out the "loose" ones. I just happen to also like the little pop when the lid snaps back against the eyeball. Come on - don't you hate getting eyelashes in your eyes?

V-Vegetarian or Oppressor of Animal: I like meat. Especially with BBQ sauce. But apparently the writer of this was a vegetarian and felt obligated to label others.

W-Worst Habit: I crack my knuckles. Dang it.

X-Rays or Ultrasounds: Ultrasounds. What a weird question.

Y-Your Favorite Food: I really like food! Um, ribs, seafood, salad with italian dressing, Lim's Cafe in Redding, Cafe Rio, eclairs, lasagna...

Z-Zodiac Sign: Libra.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

What Makes Me Happy?

This was taken almost a year ago and has always made me laugh. I rediscovered it while exploring Picasa and importing all the pics from the desktop. Can you guess how I got Jadyn to look so charming?

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

The Finished Product

I am distracting myself, so I though I'd share the final version of Melanie's announcement. I sent her something like 7 possible layouts, and they liked this one best. I'm happy with how it turned out!
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An Inauspicious Anniversary

Today is the 7th anniversary of the day we found out our baby boy Zackery had died. I still want to kick myself for not having some sort of ritual or tradition or remembrance, but nothing ever worked or felt right. I'd give just about anything to have a grave to go to. But that's a whole other "keg of worms" as my mother would say.

So I'm thinking of my baby tonight. He would have looked just like Xander. But who would he have been? Someone too good for this world - that's all I know. This is the picture that I've chosen to represent him. A picture of where he is now.

I've waited another year to hold him. And I'll keep on waiting as long as I have to.

Thinking of Suey's Book Thoughts...

A list of book series' whose sequels we are waiting for with baited breath.
  1. Twilight (of course)
  2. Eragon
  3. Grimm Sisters
  4. The Chronicles of Ancient Darkness
  5. Mistborn
  6. Alcatraz and the Evil Librarians
  7. Boston Jane (hoping she will write some more)
That's all I can think of at the moment, especially without getting off my butt to walk around the house.

I try to remember that patience is a virtue. Sigh.

Monday, June 16, 2008

What To Do?

Through no fault of our own, our lawn this year is rather healthy. We are required to mow it frequently or it takes over the world. And it is actually green. Sigh. It's not that I don't like green grass...I just don't expect it in my yard. And I hate taking care of it. (Or rather, paying a kid to take care of it, or bugging my husband to take care it of it, cuz I don't do lawn mowing.) But here is the real rub -- we now fit in on our street. Ouch. That's what I think. I derive a certain kind of embarrassed yet tickled pink pleasure from thwarting our neighbors' efforts at perfection. Sad, I know. But I'm just sick that way.

My do I now fight conformity? Scott is not on board with putting a pumpkin patch in the front yard. Party pooper. So what? While I was pondering what I could put in my front lawn (pink flamingos...grave stones...picket signs with naughty phrases...) I realized I was fighting conformity for the sake of fighting conformity. Is this the proper method? Shouldn't I have a reason, or a motivation to express myself, or something more noble than a "stick my tongue out at all you hard working lawn Nazis?" Hmmm.

Big metal pumpkins? The leaning tower of dirty diapers? I'd go with zeroscaping, but that is expensive. Signs about ADHD? Or maybe just a big tongue?

Timing Is Everything

A friend that I haven't seen in nearly 3 years (I think) stopped by on Sunday because they are in town, and it was lovely timing. We had arrived home just hours before - after driving through the night - and I was crashed on the couch. I don't know about anyone else, but I was hoping when I saw my friend to look like life had been good...and I was already self-conscious about my recent weight gain...

So here's how it goes...I was not sleeping lightly, mind you, but "where the hell am I am?" sleeping, so I was especially crumple-faced. I hadn't found my conditioner and my hair was frizzy-fly-away. I was wearing some barely modest, certainly not flattering, actually paint covered pajamas. No makeup - which isn't a huge deal except that I've just been through a week of sun, wind, desert, and hard water which makes me look like I have a special type of zit covered leprosy. I was not thought conscious! I mean, words did not make sense, and words did not come out of my mouth making sense. And I couldn't even walk straight!

That's how things go, I guess. At least I was clean.

Monday, June 2, 2008

A Writing Blog

While discussing my reservations about taking a certain tempting creative writing class at BYU, I found I stumbled onto the right words for my quandary. I've had this ethereal fear for some time, and have no way to substantiate it yet, but... I fear I am a word crafter and not a story teller. This might seem a slight distinction, but I assure you, it is not.

This is why I have always loved poetry - the challenge of the exact right word, the exact right meaning, the exact right meter. And why I love picture books, whose length, close ties to pictures, and indeed, internal poetry, make them more word art than plot. So what will this mean for my dream of writing middle grade and young adult novels? I don't know.

Fear is a paralyzing thing.

I have this fantasy in my head of starting such a novel and completing it on the sly. Then I whip it out *BOING* to the astonishment of my sweet and supportive husband. This fantasy has nothing to do with quality, only completion. I know the first (at least) novel is practice. But this would let me practice in private - no kibitzing. But how would I write a novel, crappy or not, without plotting help?

So do I stick to poetry, my first love? Well, there isn't much "market" for children's poetry. And it isn't that I'm looking for money, or even fame...but I want what I write to be read.

So what am I going to do? Start writing poetry for adults? No way. I could not, and would not, keep up with a collection of academia that specializes in writing and publishing their personal brand of babbling that makes sense to no one but the writer and other members of academia who congratulate themselves on interpreting such things, pontificating on the symbolism espeically as involves some certain group of oppressed minority that they themselves have studied in depth, but all it really boils down to is how it works through their own experience of thinking they are superior to the average, limited, and in point of fact, stupid, lay-reader who likes movies, fantasy, entertainment, and gasp words that makes sense together. (Sorry to sidetrack to a sudden endorsement of the Reader's Response critical theory, but I have always been delighted by a "critical theory" that at once makes sense and defies analysis.) Those poor adult writers whose work is actually readable, are often labeled as simple and obvious. I'm sorry dear The New Yorker, you prestigious beast, you have failed to seduce me.

I must pause and interject that there are some exceptions. My poetry teacher at BYU, Lance Larsen, is an adult poetry writer that I admire. And I remember loving Wild Iris by Louise Gluck.

Word crafting versus Story telling. The best writers are both. I'll be doing some internal searching and hopefully, someday soon, bypass some of that fear and try. What story do I have to tell?