Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Happy Halloween!

Does anyone else remember a time when there was an apostrophe between the e's in Halloween? (as in Hallowe'en) No matter. Here, a great time was had by all. Child #3 got lots of compliments on his homemade costume. Child #4 got to real makeup, body glitter, and hair streaks. The children got licorice which they shared with me. We set out all the pumpkins, even those full of mold and ants. Child #4 and I quickly carved a couple of fresh pumpkins after school.

And here are a couple of pics. (Alyssa, I hope you're happy. :) )

Picture A WAS my amazing, talented rendition of Frankenstein carrying his frightful bride.

Picture B is a bat. Simple, but effective. In my humble, carver's opinion.

Any rambling (or typos) in this post is due to the fact that I've been up for 19 (as in, NINETEEN) hours!!! Good night.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Happy Halloween!

I went to take a picture of the jack-o-lantern I carved on Saturday. With child #3 + friend and child #4 + friend. Very fun time. Plus, my jack-o-lantern was very awesome. A strong, healthy Frankenstein carrying a bride with long flowing locks. pumpkin is already creepy and caving in. I guess it's the Santa Anas. Now I have an elderly, undernourished Frankenstein dragging around a headless bride. The headless part is actually my fault. I lopped off the bride's head by mistake, then re-attached it with a straight pin (which is no longer doing the trick).

This brings us to the subject of HB. Given the sad state of my pumpkin and the whole pin repair, perhaps it's better HB found Dr. D. and took me out of the surgical loop. There are some things you just don't want to make the headlines with.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Two gifts for myself....

The copyedits are done, overnighted and received. Editor Wendy is happy with them. Yay!!

As a reward, I bought myself:

BEFORE I DIE by Jenny Downham
SLAM by Nick Hornby

I will report back. :)

The Barbie of My Childhood

So, now we know we're safe from the fires. But all activities (school, sports) have been canceled for the week. And we're basically supposed to stay inside because of poor air quality.

I've been complaining all Fall about how we're over-extended. Here's the golden opportunity to live a slowed-down week with lots of time to hang out with the kids.

I haul down my Barbie collection for child #4. As I pull the plastic black case from the highest shelf of my closet, I'm filled with warm and fuzzy feelings. I dust off the top of the case and tear up at the thought of all those magical hours of Barbie games in the rec room with my sisters. I can't wait to reconnect with Barbie, Midge, Skipper, Ken, Alan and Ricky.

I pinch the metal clasp to pop open the case. Yikes! Skipper is partially bald. Barbie's eyes aren't aligned. Midge is missing four toes. The lot of them are obviously living at the poverty line with tacky clothes and mismatched shoes. And my dishes collection is mostly old toothpaste caps for cups and prescription vial lids for plates.

Holy cow! What else have I misremembered from my childhood? Maybe this calls for some deep introspection, long phone convos with the sisters, psycho-therapy?

Nahhhh. Let's just ditch Barbie et al and go bowling.

(BTW, Sister #2, I have your gold sequined Barbie ballgown. The one Auntie A. sewed. And your Skipper.)

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

More wildfire stuff

It's really late. Just got a call from MJ. Apparently I have a reputation as a night owl. As reputations go, it could be much worse. :)

For work reasons, MJ's watching the fires via 4 TVs and a variety of websites. Maybe also for obsessive-personality reasons. I'm sure his hair is standing on end, and there's a crazed look in his eyes.

He called to report that my little area may not be as safe as we thought. Yikes. Now, I'm staying up with a pot of English Breakfast, too many M&Ms and the remote for the tv. If this keeps up, MY hair will be standing on end, and I'LL have a crazed look in my eyes. Not to mention wider hips.

Here's a good website to check for fire updates.

Monday, October 22, 2007


They're saying this is the worst wildfire situation ever experienced in San Diego county. Out of the last 130 years, this is the driest. Less than 3 inches of precipitation in some places. Also, we've got those dry, gusty Santa Ana winds fuelling the fires. Over 250,000 people have been evacuated. Including a hospital. The endangered animals from the Wild Animal Park have been evacuated. About 150,000 acres have already burned.

It's also a day where you'll get phone calls offering you a place to stay if you get the dreaded reverse 911 call. A day where the local news stations will tell you which evac centers have too many donations of blankets and food. A day where a local Home Depot will give their parking lot to house a hundred horses. Of my little writing critique group, two of us were evacuated and two of us are hosting evacuees. I'm one of the lucky ones. Our area is safe.

Here's hoping for a change in weather over the night.

Sunday, October 21, 2007


My copyedits are bruise-colored: the copyeditor's marks are in purple; Editor Wendy's are in gray; mine are in green; and there are a gazillion yellow post-it notes.

Each sticky post-it note is labeled "au" ( for author, that's me!) with the page number. Each sticky note contains a question from the copyeditor. For example, I actually gave a character three different last names. I have to choose one and be consistent. Imagine.

I have many sticky notes. Like probably over a hundred. Because I've never done this before, I have no idea whether this is more than usual. But it does add up to a lot of decision making. A lot of agonizing. Especially for someone who has trouble deciding on a restaurant.

Oh yeah, the last name I chose: Perkins. No, no, no. Philips. Or was it Phillips?

Thursday, October 18, 2007

The perfect doctor!

HB found the perfect hernia repair doctor!!

Dr D. dislikes insurance companies! He accepts, AS FULL PAYMENT, whatever the insurance company pays him! He doesn't go after his patients for even one additional red cent! I think I'm falling a little bit in love.

Then again. Not to look a gift horse in the mouth, but I wonder if there's more to Dr. D. than meets the scalpel. For example, does he read blogs? Is he worried about a little healthy competition in the operating room? From a middle-grade mystery writer who does a mean Internet search, has superior fne motor skills and is free mornings?

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

In medical news...

Child #1 fell and broke his wrist. We spent the night at the ER. The service was slow. There was a shortage of chairs. A drunk lay in the middle of the floor. All of which, quite frankly, warrants a DISCOUNT. I checked with the nurse who frowned and raised an eyebrow. I shudder at the thought of the bill.

HB continues to insist on surgery by a licenced MD.

Monday, October 15, 2007

In random news...

Child #3's water polo team won an entire tournament this weekend!! Yay! (spoken hoarsely)

HB* is balking at home surgery. He secretly (from work) called the doctor's office to discuss dates. This is going to cost a fortune.

(For those not in the know: *HB stands for Hernia Boy which is DH's (Darling Husband) official new moniker. )

Thursday, October 11, 2007


THANK YOU for the many comments on the blog, in my inbox, and on loops. The comments were all helpful and thoughtful and kind. Which means I couldn't knock anyone off my Christmas list. ;) Actually, a lot of the comments, particularly in emails, were hilarious! Perhaps I can mine a guest blogger or two or fifty!

As per PR's suggestion, here's the breakdown on the results. Can I just take a moment to say I may opt to be a statistician in my next life. I calculated the following percentages from way over a hundred votes. And I enjoyed doing it. Although I did have to use a calculator. Here goes:

Photo #1: 56%
Photo #2: 5%
Photo #3: 30%
Photo #4: 9%

And for those of you who requested the backstory... Yikes. I'm kind of embarrassed. It might say I have problems with self-image. Or maybe it says I need new glasses. Or maybe I just like bobble heads with no necks. Anyway....

DH voted for photo #1. Child #2 & #3 also voted for photo #1. Child #4 voted for photo #4. Good friend MF made me put photo #3 back in the running (yes, yes I know it culled 30% of the vote!). My personal (and unpopular) choices were, in order: 4, 2, 1, 3.

So, thank you, thank you to everyone who took time out of his/her busy day to help choose the photo!

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Author Photos


Well, here they are. The author photos. I know they're not particularly well placed on the page, but it takes too long to keep uploading them.

Without actually identifying the specific photos, let me just say they've caused some strife in our family. DH (I mean HB) did not choose the photo I like best. Child #4 did not choose the same photo as child #2 and child #3. Child #1 wouldn't choose. Sister #2 remarked on the unattractiveness of my favorite photo. She is off the Christmas list. Although she can get back on by sending me a big gift. The psychic niece refuses to come clean about which photo I'll choose, thus saving you all time.

So, if you have a moment and feel so inclined, please let me know (by posting the number of the photo in comments or emailing me) which picture I should send to Random House for the backflap of the book. I'll probably go with majority wins. Unless that turns out to be the photo I really don't like.

If you don't like any of the photos, you can politely suggest I use a picture of a rhino. But then, you will never get on my Christmas list. Also, you should keep in mind what the photographer had to work with. Off the top, you can see what a marvelous job she did airbrushing out the third eye. And she's given me a full set of teeth.

And, for the record, this feels really, really weird.

Friday, October 5, 2007


And we LOVE it! We ALL love it! Because it's BEAUTIFUL and FANTASTIC and PERFECT for the book.

It is SO perfect. The cover totally captures the tone of the book AND has all kinds of cool details that are meaningful to the story. Like the background color, the color of my name, the bird, the coffee, Sherry's makeup and hair and sandals and earrings and even the way she's sitting. It's incredible!

So, we're all very, very happy!! Editor Wendy, Cover Designer Marci, Agent Rachel, me, DH (oops, I mean HB), my children, my pets (even the hamster who is rarely in a good mood)! And I'm sure every single peson who looks at this post will love the cover too!

Tuesday, October 2, 2007


Today I went to my very first Toastmasters' meeting.

I think I'm going to be a star.

I base this on the fact that I was a very quick study. In the space of one lunch hour, I learned many toastmasterly things:

1. Turn off your cell phone. Preferably before it rings in the middle of someone's speech.

2. If you go as a guest, you don't have to speak.

3. "Table talk" does not refer to giving hints to your partner during a card game. It actually means an on-the-spot, impromtu speech about a topic of someone else's choice. Yikes.

4. There is a very cool job where you get to hold a clicker and then click loudly each time a speaker uses a filler word like "um" or "so." Everyone gets a turn at the clicker job. Everyone. You might even be able to request it.

5. Toastmasters are very friendly. And chatty too.

6. I'm going back for more next week.


You know how DH stands for Darling Husband? From this point on, I'll be referring to mine as HB (Hernia Boy). Yes, the rumours are true; he has a hernia. And this leads us to the "s" word. Surgery. Which leads us to my personal soapbox. The appalling state of health care in this country.

As I posted before, Child #3 recently had a trip to the ER for a bee sting. He was there less than 3 hous. And the bill to our insurance was....$3000.00! That's over $1000.00 an hour. Does anyone else find this a little pricey? As in a lot pricey? Someone must put a stop to this.

And that someone is me.

I will be performing HB's hernia surgery in the privacy of our kitchen. I figure I have a level table, a decent set of steak knives and a basic knowledge of anatomy. Granted I'm trained as a speech pathologist, so I'm more familiar with higher-up anatomy (as in the mouth and throat). Still, these areas are less than two feet away from the target. Additional qualifications include a box of dispoable gloves from Costco, the entire second season of Grey's Anatomy on DVD and a travel sewing kit.

Also, I found a very interesting website with a picture of a naked man. You click on the location of the hernia, and you're given its correct name. This goes to my willingness to learn. I'm also willing to videotape the procedure, free of charge, and make it available on YouTube.

What is HB's opinion of his upcoming surgery? Oh, I think you can guess.