Tuesday, May 31, 2011

How To Kill An Alien

Right now I am on a plane headed for Hawaii, but just to prove how much I love you guys I did the unthinkable and wrote this post ahead of time. Shocking I know. :)

Anywho, a few nights ago the dream goblin came to visit. Here is how it went down:

Kid D dreamed that one of her first grade acquaintances stabbed my hubby to death. Kid D ended up in bed with us. I don't think she likes this killer boy very much. Come to think of it, I'm not so hot on him either.

Hubby dreamed that the cats pooped all over the clean clothes.

I dreamed that six inches of snow fell overnight and killed all my tomatoes. The horror! Then I dreamed that aliens invaded the planet, and I somehow ended up correcting the eye witnesses' grammar and punctuation while the government officials debriefed them. I kept saying over and over, "Just use simple past tense and get rid of your passive verbs!"

Yeah, go ahead and laugh it up. It may sound kind of whacked, but guess how we defeated the alien invasion? Yup. We action verbed them to death. (And yes, I just used verb as a verb. I can do that, I'm a writer.) Passive verbs turned out to be an evil plague sent in advance by the aliens to weaken us and make us susceptible to domination. But we stopped them with words like stalked and talked and exploded. As in we stalked them, talked to them, and then exploded their brains with action verbs. Mwahahahahaha!

So, now you know how to kill an alien. I realize this is dangerous information, but I trust you to use your action verbs wisely. I'm pretty sure the government will set up special verb safety courses now, kind of like gun safety courses and drivers ed. Maybe they'll even teach it in schools. He he.

Anywho, as far as dreams go, Kid D must be afraid of death, Hubby must be afraid of cat poop, and I must be afraid of snow and passive verbs, because I'm sure as heck not afraid of aliens. Kapow!

What are you afraid of? What strange twists do your dreams take to express these fears? And do you ever dream about verbs. or is it just me?

Friday, May 27, 2011

The Top Three Things Not To Do In Hawaii

In four day's I'll be on a plane to Hawaii and thought I'd post about what I don't plan on doing while there.

The Number 1 Thing I Plan On Not Doing: Get a concussion.

I can hear you out there wondering why this is the number one thing I plan on NOT doing while in Hawaii. It's because it really puts a damper on the rest of your vacation. I know, because several years ago Hubby and I went to Maui for the first time, and on the first day there we went to the beach. Can you say HUGE waves? As in fifteen to twenty foot monsters. Have I mentioned I'm from Utah where we don't have waves. At all. Ever.

Waves in Utah.

Waves in Hawaii

I didn't want to get in, but, yup, you guessed it, Hubby talked me into the water and out past the lethal breakers. We swam. We played. We got tired and headed in. Hubby made it. I didn't. Killer waves that pummel you into the beach are not fun. Neither is watching the world swirl and heave for days after while your brain tries to recover from being in the world's biggest jackhammer powered washing machine. Ouch.

The Number 2 Thing I Plan On Not Doing: Get stranded in the jungle seven hours from the hotel with nothing but a half-empty water bottle and a towel--all while dressed in only my swimming suit.

Yes, we did that, too. On our second day, while my head still felt like it was in the spin cycle. Did I mention concussions hurt, because they do. But don't we do awesome stuff on vacations?

Here's how that one went down:

We woke up, and I felt like dying. Concussions suck. Hubby asked what I wanted to do that day, and I croaked, "Anything but the beach."

We went on the drive to Hana and then on to the Seven Sacred Pools. The roads looked like this:

Concussions and curves = Bad.

But it was gorgeous, and we swam in secluded waterfall fed pools--with no waves. Heaven.

At least until my sweet hubby lost the car keys in the bottom of the Seven Sacred Pools. At dusk. Far, far away from civilization.

Long story short, we ended up being rescued by a native Hawaiian who carted us off to his house in the jungle (with no electricity) and helped arrange for us to get back home the next morning. Truly awesome family. Truly awesome experience. Actually, it turned out to be the best part of a great vacation, but I don't want to duplicate it this time. Just saying.

And the Number Three Thing I Plan On Not Doing: Letting my pale, white, Utah skin burn to a crisp in the tropical sun. Double ouch. Can you say sunscreen and aloe? I'd provide a picture, but I'm not that mean.

Anywho, what does this have to do with writing? Sometimes you think you know how your book will go. You have it all mapped out, outlined to within a in inch of it's death, then something happens. One concussion or another unexpected event and the whole thing takes on a new life. You can either hang on to the old expectations and bemoan the trauma, or you can go with it and see what new adventures crop up. Who knows, you may end up having an awesome romp in the jungle dressed in only a swimsuit. Sometimes the best things in writing can't be planned.

So, go do something unexpected today...just avoid concussions, getting stranded, and burning to a crisp. It's better that way, I promise.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Monsoon Field trip

This will be a short post because I have...errr I mean GET to go on a fieldtrip with Kid C into the mountains during a monsoon. And no, I don't live in Asia or Indonesia where monsoons are common. I live in Utah--a DESERT. What is Mother Nature thinking?

So, the question I have for you today is: What does one wear to go on a monsoon fieldtrip?


Rain poncho?

Hip waders?

Or do I need one of these?

What does this have to do with writing. Nada. Who writes during a monsoon fieldtrip? Seriously folks, my computer would get wet and some things are just so wrong.
I'll try to tread water long enough to post a real post on Thursday.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

The Magic Number Twelve


That's the number of days until I'll be standing on a beach in Hawaii.

I can almost hear the surf. It's almost close enough to smell. My friend sent me this link because she's awesome and loves me. Check it out:


What are you looking forward to? What will you be doing in twelve days?

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

The Great Swimsuit Caper

Last week I posted about an upcoming swimsuit shopping excursion. (Sorry to those of you who commented, Blogger ate them and I can't get then back.) That turned into the Great Swimsuit Caper.

This is how it went down.

The participants:
Kid A
My Sister-in-law
Her daughter, Cousin B
Her son, Cousin D
A bunch of unsuspecting shoppers

The scene of the Great Swimsuit Caper:
Right smack dab in the middle of a crowded Costco. No wait. Right smack dab in the middle of a very crowded Costco.

I can hear you all out there saying, "Costco? For swimsuits?" You heard me. Costco. Why? You know how they have guest businesses come and sell their products for a few days every once in awhile? Well, they hosted a modest swimsuit company that has a reputation for super cute suits. Let's just say Costco and the movie Field of Dreams have something in common, but this time the whispered voice said, "If you host it, they will come."

And come they did.

Women everywhere. Packed around the swimsuit stand like...well like women desperate for a modest swimsuit. And we were there, too, circling the cute, cute suits with the rest of the horde. But there was only one problem.

Costco doesn't have any dressing rooms. None!

Have you ever attempted to buy a swimsuit without trying it on? Yeah, not a good plan. And every woman there thought the same thing. You could see it in their eyes and in the way they held the suits up--and in how they complained while circling the suits like sharks after blood.

Then my sister-in-law tugged Cousin B close and shoved the top of a suit over her head...and over her clothes.

I did a double take. And the Great Swimsuit Caper was born. Have you ever tried to squeeze a spandex swimsuit on over levis? Well, you guessed it. I did. Several times. Right there in Costco.

At first the other women just stared at us. Then they stared some more. And every person walking by stopped and stared, too. I would have stared at myself if I wasn't so busy trying to shove my fluff, augmented by several layers of clothing, into a skin tight swimsuit. Then the other women joined us. Yup, all of them.

You should have seen the look on the attendant's face as thirty-some women grabbed a suit and shimmied into it over their clothes. So worth every minute.

And we all found a suit. And I never even had to get naked. Bonus! I even had fun. Scads of it. I may never go back to the old way of looking for a suit.

What does this have to do with writing? Well, sometimes you want to tell a story but there isn't a dressing room. You can either wander around wishing you had one, or you can break out of the mold and tell your story your own way.

I recently read Glimpse by Carol Lynch Williams. It's a poignant story about secrets told in verse. And it's amazing. But it wouldn't have been so gorgeous told the traditional way.

Sometimes you have to make your own dressing room. Are you going to try something new on today?

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Swimsuit Shopping and Writing Prompts

Today is the day of the dreaded swimsuit search. I have to find one. Preferably one that fits and hides a few things. And makes me look younger and thinner and and and... Well, you know what I mean. Unless you are a boy, then you don't know and therefore don't count. No offense.

I detest swimsuit shopping. It's right up there with bra shopping and death. And dishes. And pinkeye. Shudder. All bad stuff.

Why do I hate it so? Because I am not a super model. Heck, I'm not even a model citizen. But I am a mom, and as such I have fluff. Yes, fluff. And fluff, not to be confused with blubber because that just sounds so wrong, doesn't look all that good in a swimsuit. But snorkeling in Levis is hard so I need to find the suit. See?

And yes, I will be snorkeling soon. Say it with me, "Hawaii!"

So, I will brave the stores and the changing rooms and even the *gasp* mirrors. I may be scarred for life, but I will be clad in a new suit by the end of the day. Wish me luck.

And just to tie this in with writing, consider this a writing prompt. SWIMSUIT SHOPPING. Get to it, and post your finished swimsuit exercise in the comments. I'd love to read what you all do with this topic.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

When Was The Last Time You Went Wahoo?

Have you ever seen the movie, I.Q.?

There is a great line in it where Tim Robbins asks Meg Ryan, "When was the last time you went wahoo?"

It's a great question. Here's my answer:

Okay, guess what I did on Saturday! If you know me, you'll probably never ever guess, because I tend to be pretty aware of my mortality. If you don't know me, I tend to be pretty aware of my mortality.

I went longboarding!!!

What is longboarding? It's skateboarding on a longer skateboard on a downhill road. You should probably go back and read that sentence at least ten times. And then check out this video on Youtube: Longboarding Let Go

First off, doesn't that look awesome? Second off, I did not look like the person in the video. Far from it. I looked like a cross between a giraffe and a mom trying to board. AND we went down a MUCH MUCH more level road. We're talking gentle slope. And I've only been on a skate board once before in my life, and that was for about four minutes. Inside. On a very flat surface. With someone to hold my hand.

This was different. And guess what? It was sooooooo fun. Beyond fun. I went Wahoo! With a capital W. And even though I fell and roadrashed my palms, I still got back up and longboarded some more. I may be limping and sore, but I'm going again as soon as the swelling in my knee goes down. Why? Because I felt ALIVE! And feeling like that is worth losing some skin and taking stock out in icepack companies.

What does this have to do with writing? So very, very much. As a writer you must be able to put emotion on the page. You have to imagine what the character feels like. It doesn't matter what you're writing, you have to pretend to be that person.

Now, I've pretty much been in hibernation all winter, maybe even a little longer, as I polished up my last novel for submission. It took a lot of time, and I'm happy with it, but it also took something from me. I kind of stopped living there for a while. Yes, it was winter and cold and covered in snow, so most of us that don't ski disappeared inside for the duration, but the combination of a winter of intense writing and lack of living took it's toll. I became cautious in my actions--and in my writing. I didn't want to make mistakes. I didn't want to have to do huge revisions. I didn't want to get hurt.

And it showed. One of my critiquing friends emailed me and asked me why I wasn't loving this new book. I didn't know. Now I do. I wasn't loving life. I wasn't living it, and my emotional stores had empty shelves. How could I write exhilaration if I hadn't experienced it in so long that I couldn't remember the FEELING? How could I write adventure? Fear? Danger?

Boring? I had that one down pat.

Now, I'm not telling you all to go longboard down a mountain, but we do need to leave our houses and computers behind and live for at least part of everyday. We need to stock our emotional shelves so when we write people believe our words and can tell we've yelled Wahoo recently.

When was the last time you went Wahoo?

Friday, May 6, 2011

The Dentist and other Excuses

As you might have noticed, today is not Thursday. This is important because it's Friday, and Friday is not my scheduled posting day, BUT I have excuses. Good ones. Really. Here is my list.

1: The Dentist. Kid D had an early morning appointment yesterday, and since Hubby works at a job that pays him, and for some reason neighbors look at you a little strangely if you try to get them to take your kids to the dentist so you can post on your blog, that left me to do it. But it was worth it because Kid D is pretty funny when looped up on laughing gas, especially when the dentist tries to get her to admit to having a boyfriend. Ahhh good stuff.

2: I then checked Kid D into elementary and Kid C out to take him to the Jr. High for a tour so he'd be ready to go there next year. Kids with disabilities need this kind of thing. Mom's with kids with disabilities need this kind of thing. And yes, I had to bribe him with McDonald's, but it turned out to be all good because I refused to weigh myself after eating this time. See, I can be taught.

3: Tomatoes. Yup. I bet you didn't realize tomatoes were a good excuse to not blog. Well, they are when you love them and had to plant them, and to plant them you had to rototill the garden, and to rototill the garden you had to kill the wasps in their SEVEN nests that decided to attack. Now that's some serious tomato love. And I had to weed my peas because I love them, too. And I didn't write a single word until nine o'clock last night. Not even about tomatoes. And it felt gooooood.

4: Oh, and I may have been the teeniest bit lazy and in denial that it was Thursday. Shhhhh.

Anywho, I've learned my lesson, and it's not what you suspect. I learned it feels good to play hooky once in a while, and it's even better to live. A writer needs to spend time away from the computer, time living in the real world feeling the sun on their skin instead of watching it out the window. They need to refuel themselves with experiences and let their creativity rest. They need to rebel, not always, just once in awhile, and I'm so very glad I did, because now I'm hungry to write and can almost taste the waiting words. So, I'm off to dream them into reality while I anticipate fresh tomatoes and peas. But, I refuse to dream about the dentist because somethings are just plain wrong.

Are you dreaming or rebelling today?

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Images of a Morning

It's one of those. And since a picture is worth a thousand words, here is my morning:


After Breakfast

Death by Laundry

Gifts Left By Children

More Gifts

Even More Gifts

What I'd Give To Be In Hawaii Right Now.

Me Not In Hawaii

And that is my morning. Send chocolate. Or plane tickets.


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