Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Key update and driving kids.

We purchased a key to the van yesterday. $106. Progress. Technology.

I drove #2 Son and friend to a Microsoft usability study last night. Did you know that that there are two streets on the Microsoft campus called NE 150th and that Building #117 is North of 520 not South. If you are from this area of the world you know that all the streets are all vaguely (I repeat, vaguely) named after the direction they go and are given a number because we recognize illiteracy and are aware spelling is a severe challenge. I only had one panic attack starting at Building # 40 and ending as I crossed 520 on my way to the second NE 150th. They serve Wilcox chocolate milk at Microsoft. The same milk served at every public school for a million miles. #2 son and friend said this was not a good sign. On to other news, gnomes come in every night on the campus and shift around the furniture. And a worn-out futon was provided for employees just in case they needed a nap. I would be demanding a dorm with a real live bed! And exactly why do the employees have to work 24/7? Employees of Microsoft rise up and unite! Please note, there wasn't a scrap of art work (where's the love?) in the whole building just these fabric cubicle walls that were apparently moving (gnome activity).

Hope you enjoyed this glimpse into another world.

I'm procrastinating again. I should be working.

Never put off until tomorrow what you can do the day after tomorrow. ~Mark Twain

Sunday, March 19, 2006

Volunteering, Hayao Miyazaki and Word Count

I volunteered as a first reader for "a not to be named" contest. I can't believe I've been roped into volunteering again. I am way too gullible. Oh, this won't take long, just a few manuscript to whip through. Why don't I ever think through things?

Other news: I finally watched Howl's Moving Castle by a film by Hayao Miyazaki. My review : ***** Brilliant! Hey, there were some problems with the plot but on the whole this was visually riveting. Here's my advice if you're a children's writer or illustrator, and you are not aware of Hayao Miyazaki; go now and rent these three films: Spirited Away, Howl's Moving Castle and Kiki's Delivery Service. Soak it all in.

I need to go get in the daily word count. Currently, I'm at 13078. Any cheering on the Novel Push 2006 is greatly appreciated.

Friday, March 17, 2006

Writing Woes

Here is a real life writing woe. I'm stuck at the halfway point. I have made no progress for two days on my new novel. This is way it is always with writing for me. Stops and starts, moving along and then clunking and then moving along again. Life keeps happening. The track meet, the teacher conference, the grocery shopping. All this juggling makes me feel acrobat. I will do the one thing that always helps a day like this -- read a book. :)

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Whodunit! (Don't read unless you've read The Mystery of the Lost Keys!)

So let's review the facts. The keys were missing. The likely suspects: Teenaged Son #1, Teenaged Daughter, Teenaged Son #2.

Now let's see if we can find a smoking gun or in this case a smoking pair of blue jeans. If you look closely at the picture below, you will see a key sticking out of the pocket.

The jeans belong to this Robert De Niro wannabe =>

The mystery is solved!

Why was it so tricky? Why didn't Mild-mannered Mom look in the clothes hamper in the first place?

She did not take into account the fact that all teenagers chose 3 outfits every day. The jeans were perfect for an early morning trip to the van, but not "cool" for the ultra fab folks in IB English.

Hence Teenaged Son # 1 returned the still pristine jeans to the clean clothes pile by the dryer. Ahhhhh.

Novel Push and The Mystery of the Lost Keys

The Novel Push 2006 is in full swing now. I'm approaching the halfway mark and should reach it today or tomorrow.

And for your reading pleasure - now time for a mystery: The Mystery of the Lost Keys

This morning Mild-mannered Mom did the whole incredible Hulk thing.

"Don't make me angry. You won't like me when I'm angry," says Dr. Banner aka Bill Bixby and later aka Eric Bana .

It was 7:40 a.m. and time to take the Teenaged Daughter to school. But the keys were not on the hook or on the back-up hook or in the dish in the kitchen or in the refridgerator under the luncheon meat or in the underwear drawer or caught in the springs of the couch -- none of the usual places. Where were the keys? By 8:15 there was still no sign of the keys. Mild-mannered Mom was slowly transforming into Raving Lunatic Mom. Tears streaming down her face, a call was made to Programmer Dad at work.

Programmer Dad says, "I don't know where the keys are. Have you looked in the van?"

Raving Lunatic Mom's answer included the words freaking and crap. The rest is unprintable because this a G rated blog.

Needless to say the search continued until 9 a.m.

"Teenaged Daughter, you are already 1/2 hour late for school," says Raving Lunatic Mom.
"You must walk."

Teenaged Daughter's eye twitches, but shortly afterwards, Teenaged Daughter leaves on foot on a two mile trek to school with a note from Mom -- "The keys to the van disappeared." Mom thinks she hears vague mumbles from Teenaged Daughter about how as a poor misunderstood child she had to walk two miles in the snow to get to school, forced to do so by her Raving Luantic Mom. Mild-mannered/Raving Lunatic Mom looks outside. It's not snowing and it is a balmy 38 degrees.

Cleaning crew arrives at 9:30 a.m. The crew finds the loss of car keys amusing and suggests that such impossibly lost keys must have an explanation that includes the behavioral patterns of teenagers. The cleaning crew promises to look for the keys as they clean.

Programmer Dad calls at 10 a.m. and says he felt a mysterious "puff", he repeats,"puff" of cold air this morning in kitchen, indicating someone went out to the van before Mild-mannered/Raving Lunatic Mom got up.

More teenagers are consulted about the missing keys. How many teenagers are in this house, anyway? The official count currently is 3, but this number fluctuates with the migratory habits of afterschool highschoolers and jr highschoolers.

It is determined that the last person to touch the keys was a teenager, but that teenager swears that the keys were returned to "the hook" or was it "the shoe box" or was it "somewhere in the dark cavernous wilderness aka their bedroom." Raving Lunatic Mom grabs a trash sack and ventures into the cavern. A blackened cookie from last Thanksgiving and the last of the Christmas candy were located, but still no keys.

By noon many things have been found - two flashlights, the missing set of ceramic bowls, $12 in change and 14 spoons (two were in the springs of the couch). And on a high note, the last of the outdoor Christmas decorations have been put away. But still no keys. Programmer dad has resigned himself to taking a sick day and drives to the highschool to ask Teenaged Son #1 if he has the keys.

By 1:00 p.m. there are still no keys, but Raving Lunatic Mom has turned back into Mild-mannered Mom. She does purchase a slice of German chocolate cake at Top Foods. Chocolate therapy is recognized world round for its mental health benefits.

It is currently 2:58 p.m. and still no keys. It has been determined that for $300.00 the key can be replaced if a tow truck is procured to take the Van to the dealership. Let us bow down to the ingenuity of Toyota's engineers. What progress! A key that used to cost $1.50 now cost $300.00 . You're awesome powers overwhelm me.

Will the keys ever be found? Tune back in for updates and the amazing conclusion to The Mystery of the Lost Keys.

From Nancy Drew:

“This affair must all be unraveled from within.” She (Nancy Drew) tapped her forehead. “These little gray cells. It is ‘up to them’- as you say over here."

Sunday, March 05, 2006

Novel Push 2006, Way To Go, Louise!, and Wobbling Egg Update.

The Novel Push of 2006 is in full swing. I anticipate completing a rough draft by the end of April. It's a good feeling.

Want to read a good book? I keep telling everyone this, but here it is again. Try Louise Spiegler's The Amethyst Road. She was just nominated for the newly minted Andre Norton Award (YA category of the Nebulas) by the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America. Kudos to the SFWA folk for recognizing this worthy book. I'm rooting for Louise. Her book is brilliant, and I now really want a necklace with charms so I can give them away one by one. I am connected to this world, in love and hate, too, and know I must always give. I think I'm a gypsy at heart.

On to my wobbling eggs, I have heard nothing.

A watched pot never boils.- mid 19th century