Friday, December 29, 2006


Okay, so it's not really my fault! My sister did it, but I should have remembered what she did.
This morning, I get my daily morning email from my mom. In the note, she asks if K1 is missing a pair of socks. Then tells me she found said socks...In the freezer.
On Christmas Eve, K1 crawled under the table and proceeded to poke, pinch and harass anyone who happened to be sitting there. Why? Who knows. It probably had something to do with the almost glow-in-the-dark, flamingo pink color he dyed his hair - maybe certain brain cells died in the process. Or maybe he only sought an escape from the chaos of the 22 people crammed in my parent's house. A. took his socks off his feet and shoved them in the freezer. Except, the kid is so whacked he never noticed his socks were missing so the whole frenzy of "Where are my socks?" never happened and we forgot.
I don't know why Mom's surprised. Really. It's not like this was an isolated event. These things, and weirder ones, happen often when we're all together. I imagine it's different when you find a pair of teenagers socks in your freezer though. I mean, really, you do have to wonder if the germs were all killed by the cold or if thousands, maybe millions, of tiny teenaged germs are now roaming around the food you thought you were protecting. I would be scared. Who knows the last time those socks saw the inside of the washing machine? (K1 does his own laundry.) A. didn't break out with any horrible rashes though, so that has to count for something.
This is where that childhood phrase "I didn't do it!" comes in handy!

Thursday, December 28, 2006

Thursdays Thoughts...

The sun is shining. The kids are occupied and not fighting. The tree is down. Well, it's on the front porch, along with the needles that fell off. The decorations are stowed away for next year and my living room is back to normal.
I'm feeling rather accomplished and also kind of sad that the holidays are nearly over. Our New Year's will find us in the company of family and friends - carrying on, eating too much and being obnoxious as usual.
As I try to decide my writing goals for 2007, I can't help but reflect on 2006 and I found a few more things to add to my list. They're more personal and family oriented, so I won't bore you with them. Suffice it to say that each of the K's have achieved awesome new things this year and I'm very proud of each one of them.
Jeez. I'm in a mushy mood these days.
Must be all the pine-y fragrance.
Now that it's gone maybe things will get back to normal...

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Wednesday Chill...

Baby, it's cold outside!
There's a wind that feels like it slices your body in two.
And I had to go out. Well, I guess I didn't have to, but the kids were begging to spend some of their Christmas cash and we did need silly things - like groceries.
The tree is still up. I meant to take it down today. Really, I did. I'm anxious to get things back to normal around here, which sounds kind of "Scroogish" but is more related to the general dead-ness of the tree than anything else.
I was trying to think of some of the highlights from the year, mostly the writing ones. Here's what I came up with off the top of my head and in no particular order.
1. Our anniversary trip and 20 year anniversary.
2. My writer's group writing retreat. 3 days to do nothing but write. And eat. And talk to other writers. The weekend is the absolute best and I always come away so recharged and focused. And this year we're extending it a whole day!
3. Sending all four kids to school all day. Don't get me wrong, I adore the beasts and always look forward to their days off school, but this was a milestone for me. Sort of a bittersweet one - the end of having little, little ones and the beginning of full-time writer status.
4. Writing my very first single title book. In a month. The fastest book I've ever written and one I'm still excited about.
5. My writing friends. Somewhere along the way, the line between professional and personal got crossed much to a greater benefit. I don't know what I'd do without them.
6. Natalie and Megan getting me hooked on "Supernatural". Thanks to them, I put the season one dvd's on the top of my Christmas list and am now the proud owner of endless hours of Sam and Dean.
7. This Christmas. For many reasons and none of them material.
I'm sure I'll think of more. Maybe I'll post them tomorrow. Maybe not.
Be warm.

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

The Day After...

What a fabulous weekend!
Busy, mostly chaotic but, last night, as I sat with my nifty back massaging cushion and reflected on everything, I realized just how blessed we are. Not that I didn't already know that, but things kind of hit home for me. I'm not talking about material gifts, but the blessing of family and friends.
Now I'm looking for the blessing of the vacuum cleaner. Our tree is dead, dead, dead. The needles rain down at an alarming rate at the slightest breeze. It's coming down. Probably today if I can find the energy and dodge the scooter being ridden through the house.
I'm also eager to get back into my writing. I think my head is back in the right place now that the holiday stress has eased. With all four kids home, one extra and what will most likely be a constant flow of their friends, I'm trying not to expect too much out of myself.
I'm also thinking of my goals for 2007. I don't do resolutions - only goals. Yeah, there's a difference, at least to me and I only make writing related goals.
But first I have to clean up around here...

Friday, December 22, 2006

Happy Holidays!

This will probably be my last post until Tuesday. Maybe.
K1 did make it to school today. He stayed on the couch all day yesterday, sleeping, but by last night was up and foaming at the mouth to get out of here. Needless to say, he didn't go. Except out on the front porch with no shoes. We made him come back inside, much to his disagreement that it was a bad idea to run around with no shoes and no coat after spending 3 days insisting he was a cadaver. Not so worried about mono right now. Obviously.
K4 shares her birthday with Christmas. I will always remember the Christmas she was born. From the hurried trip to the hospital - total time of labor = 1 hour. To the fact that the older kids didn't want Santa to come if Mommy wasn't home. Their selflessness is something I'll always cherish - the brave front they put on that had me in tears and demanding to go home the next morning, the shock and surprise on their faces when we arrived back home from the hospital and they realized Santa kept his promise and came while they were picking us up.
The other thing you have to know is that K4 was unplanned. In fact, I was scheduled for a tubal. We'd tried so hard to concieve the other 3, and truly thought we were done. Obviously, that decision wasn't ours to make. She's a true gift and our Christmas angel. And I cannot imagine life without her.
On that mushy note, I hope the holidays bring you peace, joy and happiness.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Thursday Jumble

This week hasn't been the best so far.
Except for last night. Yesterday was our anniversary. Our trip in November was our gift to ourselves, so last night we stayed home. Which was nice, since it was also the first night in a week that we haven't had evening obligations. The grill malfunctioned though - and we didn't eat until late. Then we worked on the wrapping. Boring? Maybe to some. For me, just being able to spend some time together - talking and laughing - is far better than anything else we could have done. After twenty years, he's still my bestest friend in the whole world.
The crappy part of the week?
K1 might have mono. He's missed, so far, 2 days of school under doctors orders. He's home again now, but I'm hoping he can get to school before too much longer. Yesterday, he was doing great. Bored off his butt and working really hard at making me crazy. By last night, all the symptoms came back with a vengeance. By this morning, he had to crawl to the bathroom. We won't know until next week for sure, but the poor kid just signed up to play Rugby. Something he's been dying to do for a long time. If he has mono he won't be able to start practices in January.
And I'm still not done with my shopping. A combination of no time, not wanting to leave the sick kid and other obligations. I'd planned to go today, but he's home and I have to go to school to help with the parties. Tomorrow for sure. I hope.
And K2 didn't get a part in the spring musical. She's so bummed and my heart breaks for her. After months of tap classes and constant practice. She's good too, so I'm really confused. Her name wasn't even on the board though and she's worried that they lost her form. On a good note, she's gathering her paperwork for an arts school. Like a votech, but for drama. The only problem is no transportation is provided.
Yeah. A hard week.
But, I do still have a little Christmas spirit in me. Wrapping last night helped a ton. And everything that needs done will get done. I know that. By Sunday, I'll be excited and less worried about everything. No matter what, we'll have a wonderful holiday.
And I hope you do too.

Monday, December 18, 2006

Down to the Wire

A week to go.
A week before the big day.

And what am I doing?
Barely nothing.

My "to do" list takes up almost a whole sheet of notebook paper. (Yes, I'm a huge list maker.) So far, I've crossed off exactly 5 items, 6 once I finish and post this. Yeah, it's kind of early in the day yet, but...

Sunday, December 17, 2006

What I've been up to...

There it is.
Probably as crafty as I get. And the picture definitely isn't the best, but that's what I get for just snapping without any thought to lighting and my position.
We (my sister and a friend) started making these about 9 years ago. This is my version. The mittens are a new addition this time around. A fantastic suggestion by K4. Once everyone I knew at the time had one, I stopped painting them. This year, B was looking for something special for a good friend of his and tried to pilfer the ones I kept for myself. So, I offered to paint one for him. One turned into many, as I realized there are a few people that didn't own a snowman.
Like I said, this is probably as crafty as I get. I can't crochet, needlepoint and barely sew. We were running late for a function the other night when B realized his shirt was missing a button. He still needed to shower so I offered to sew the button on for him. You should have seen his face - it was like he thought aliens had abducted his non-sewing wife. Don't get me wrong, I would love to be one of those women who can create beautiful things on a whim, but that's just not me.
No wait. I would rather use all my creativity on writing - that's what I hope to be a beautiful thing. I can live without being able to make topiaries and floral centerpieces, but I can't live without the words and stories that are inside of me.
And I'm perfectly happy with that.

Thursday, December 14, 2006


Yesterday, I was thoroughly frustrated with the book I wrote when the kids went back to school. I even considered ditching the whole thing. (There was more to it than that and my thoughts involved fire, but I was quickly talked out of pursuing those avenues) I didn't know if I'd let it sit too long, not long enough or if I should have never wrote the darn thing to begin with. This book is the longest book I've ever written and I had a great time writing it. The words seemed to flow and I hit record page counts almost every day.
Instead of continuing to try to fix each sentence, I decided to just read and hopefully find the groove I had when I wrote it. The book is about two sisters and the haunted campground they inherit. Add four hunky guys, two choices for each sister, many ghosts, and an evil step-grandmother - and well, this ones considerably lighter than what I normally write. Originally, I had each sister's point of view and I liked it - what one sister believed, the other negated, but for some reason, by the time I reached the end, I'd decided to make the whole book in only one sisters pov and give the other her own book.
That was my mistake.
As I struggled through the edits, I found I mostly disliked the sister who was to have her happy ending in this book. She's too weak, too soft and has no sense of adventure. I wrote volumes of notes with ideas of how to toughen her up, but still felt like I made no progress. That's when I decided to just read. Hoping I'd find the spark I had when I first wrote this.
And I did.
I discovered this needs both sisters. The book is as much about their personal and sisterly growth as it is about them finding their soul mates. The sisters balance each other, they learn from each other and by the end, form a bond stronger than before. One has to let go of always being in charge and learn to have fun. The other needs to put past issues to rest and realize that she's capable. While there will be a romantic happy ending for each, their happiness will also be tied in with their sister relationship and the strength they find there.
And I need to get to work.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Random Things

In my bathroom:
A whole stack of "Barbie" books. Not just a few, a big stack. I don't know why.
The movie "V for Vendetta". That's a big why.

The Christmas Tree:
Our cat seems to think we put the pine branches up for his specific pleasure. Every morning, every time we leave the house, ornaments are strewn from one side of the living room to the other. The tree skirt is in a pile and he just sits there looking all royal and indignant. His new favorite spot is on the couch right next to the tree. He's waiting for us to leave so he can play. So far, 2 broken ornaments.

The dining room table:
I can't find it. There are two different projects covering the top, and a package of liquid bandage. One mine - not writing - I'll post a picture once I finish them. One B's - I'm not exactly sure what he's making. I ask him but he just mutters noncommittally. Last night, he sliced his finger open. A pretty good cut, not quite enough for stitches, but close. (Reason for the liquid bandage)

The shopping:
Mom and I went all morning yesterday. I'm close to finishing. There's just those few items I can't seem to locate. Oh, and the wrapping. I haven't done any yet. Last year, we were so behind we had K1 help. I think that started a tradition because he's already said he can't wait to help us again. I'm cool with that. We had a good time last year and the help was excellent.

The cookies:
Pretty funny to talk about making cookies when our oven is still defunct. That's one benefit of having B's mom living so close. We make the batter and then take them down to her place to bake. (Actually, B's the one making the batter.) It's working well so far. (And no, having my mother-in-law practically in my backyard does not cause problems. We have a great relationship.)

The writing:
Didn't do anything yesterday. Between my crafty project and shopping, I never got there. Today is a writing day. Tomorrow too. I've already met the monthly and yearly goals we set in my writer's group, but have a few personal ones to attend to before the end of the year.

The excitement:
K4's birthday is Christmas Day. You can imagine. She doesn't know what to be more excited about. So far, we've done well separating the two. We do birthday celebrating in the evening, with no Christmas paper on birthday presents and she chooses what we have for dinner. We've had some interesting things - from spaghetti to lasagna. This year she's picked grilled chicken, mashed potatoes and corn. And a homemade ice cream cake. This morning she asked me how many days until her birthday, immediately followed by asking how many days until Christmas. Even K1 is in on the excitement. He's constantly asking me about his presents, trying to finagle enough clues to figure out what he's getting.

And I'm not telling...

Monday, December 11, 2006

O Christmas Tree

Well, there it is.
Can't say this picture does the tree much justice though. Don't know if that's the camera or me. A big tree, and as the branches relax, it just keeps getting bigger.
We have a mish mosh of different decorations. The kids are allowed to hang what they want, where they want to. There are no rules. Except for K2's fragile collection of ballerina Barbies. They go at the top. And the handblown glass ornament my mom gave us the year we married. Other than that, they are in charge.
Most of the time, we have some interesting items on our tree. Skeletons, clothing tags...every year something odd gets placed in the branches. See that red sled at the left bottom? Someone stuck a "boys sleepwear" sticker on it last year. Once, at one of B's work Christmas parties, many moons ago, we made decorations out of the meal choice tags. For a long time, we had "chicken" and "beef" hanging from hooks on the tree. I'm sure we still have them in the box of decorations that are too fragile to use any longer. The memories stuff like that brings back are far more important than worrying about matching ornaments and uniformity of colors and shapes.
We did find a praying mantis egg sack in the branches. That's outside now. Every time I see it, I can't help but wonder what would have happened had it hatched in the house. Don't get me wrong - I think praying mantis' are cool, but I definitely don't want them in my house. I've seen them hatch before and there are hundreds of them. Yikes!
Every year, I think the tree is the most beautiful one we've had. This year is no different.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Weekend Update

Shopping started: Check.
I managed to get a good start. But I was the underachiever during our shopping trip.
Christmas tree: Check.
It's up. And huge. B rolled his eyes when I picked it out. He had to cut a good section off the bottom. And off the top. The lights are on and we'll decorate the rest tonight when the family is together. I'll post a picture as soon as I find the batteries for my camera.
Outside lights: Not check.
We'll get there.
I even wrote last night. And I think I convinced B he has to watch "Supernatural" with me. He's resisting and that boggles my mind because the show is right up his alley too.
The weekends been a pretty good one so far.
Some idiot side swiped my Suburban during the middle of the night. The tail light is busted out. Grrr....They left their mirror behind. Think they'll come back for it?
Yeah. Right.

Friday, December 08, 2006

"Weather in Your Tail"

My mom used to say that when we'd get crazy. "It's going to snow, or something, you all have weather in your tails." And usually, it did snow or the weather did change. Why is that? Are children some kind of weather predictors? Does the change in barometric pressure do something? I don't know. I can't think too hard about that right now, except to say now that I have children, I know my mother was right.
It's snowing here. Tiny little flakes. When it started, I was taking K3 and K4 to school. They stood on the front porch, the look on their faces one of pure joy and expectation. That was cool.
Tonight is shopping night. I'm excited. And I'm ready. Well, nearly. I only have a few more organizational tasks to accomplish, but they have nothing to do with hiding presents. Only finding things in my kitchen.
Vicky B blogged about critiquing my book today. She's yelled at me before for scaring her.
Tomorrow is Christmas tree day! I'm ready for that too. It only took me two tries to rearrange the living room in a comfortable and functional way. And I decorated the piano and bannister already.
It really is beginning to look a lot like Christmas!
Enjoy the weekend!

Wednesday, December 06, 2006


Usually, just as I'm close to finishing a draft or edits, I get a new idea. I'm not alone, most writers I know have this problem. The idea is strong and begs to be written. It's exciting, because you realize your brain still does actually work and that your well hasn't dried up like you feared after dealing with the same characters and words.
But it's also frustrating. Because usually we aren't ready to start that book yet. There's a 'to do' list in front of that idea.
The book I recently completed has the possibilty of several consecutive stories all relating to one event. The event has shaped each character differently and I'm excited to find out who's good and who's evil. Very excited.
Except. The last book, and it has to be the last book relating to this event, is already pressing into my brain. I know who the hero is and I think I know who the bad guy is. The story concept is shaping and I find I'm thinking about this book more than the one I should be concentrating on. And no, it can't be the second book. The hero from the last book has to be a part of each book prior to his own, without finding his own resolutions. His position is an integral part of each story. You could say, he's an authority figure who will finally get his happy ever after in the last book.
So, I'll write down everything I'm thinking and file it for when I'm ready. That usually works to take the immediacy away. Usually. I hope it does in this case, because there is quite a line in front of this particular idea.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Random Tuesday

Busy around here - sick kids, school meetings, that annoying organizing I'm trying to do.
And movies!
"Pirates of the Caribbean" came out on DVD today. Guess what's on right now? Why am I writing this instead of watching? Well, because the movie was put in too soon and I have too much to do to sit down and watch. And I saw the movie twice over the summer. But listening to it makes me very happy.
Went to see "The Nativity Story" last night. I won't give away anything, but I did like it.
The organizing is coming along. I need to get the rest done before Friday. Friday night is "Ladies Only Shopping Night". I'm looking forward to it. This night is a tradition for the women in my family. We shop, stop for a late dinner, then shop some more. Usually we don't get home until after midnight. Sometimes earlier, though usually much later. Some years, I'm almost done with the shopping and some, like this year, I've barely begun.
There's a homework line for the computer tonight, so I'm out of here.

Sunday, December 03, 2006


Natalie tagged any one who wanted to do this. So here goes:

2006 Holiday Edition of Getting to Know Your Friends
Your Name: Vicki
1. Egg Nog or Hot Chocolate?
Both, but neither. I have to be in the mood.
2. Does Santa wrap presents or just sit them under the tree?
Wraps. When the kids were little we used to leave one "big" present unwrapped.
3. Colored lights on tree/house or white?
Both. I prefer white outside, but like the colored ones too.
4. Do you hang mistletoe?
Yes. But for no reason.
5. When do you put your decorations up?
After Thanksgiving. Sometimes way after.
6. What is your favorite holiday dish?
Hmm....Good question. Probably Mandarin Orange Salad.
7. Favorite Holiday memory as a child?

The year my parents gave me the boots I wanted more than anything. Except they wrapped a pair of my mom's old snow boots. I was shocked. It was funny.
8. When and how did you learn the truth about Santa?

I'm not sure. But with 2 older brothers...
9. Do you open a gift on Christmas Eve?

We did when I was a kid. Always jammies. I guess we technically do now. Only we're with the family at my folks. We do a family gift exchange and the kids each get a present from Grammy and PopPop to open then.
10. How do you decorate your Christmas Tree?

Lights and ornaments. Breakables at the top because of the dog. No tinsel. The cat would eat it.
11. Snow! Love it or Dread it?

12. Can you ice skate?

I've only done it a few times.
13. Do you remember your favorite gift?

Probably those boots I mentioned above.
14. What’s the most important thing about the Holidays for you?

15. What is your favorite Holiday Dessert?

Pumpkin Pie.
16. What is your favorite holiday tradition?

Listening to the music from "A Charlie Brown Christmas" while decorating the tree. Going to my parents house on Christmas Eve and eating chicken rice soup.
17. What tops your tree?

And old fashioned Santa holding a candle.
18. Which do you prefer giving or Receiving?
Well, both, of course. I love watching the kids open something they thought they weren't going to get.
20. Candy Canes! Yuck or Yum?

They're okay. I don't eat too many of them.

If you feel like doing this, go ahead. I'm not tagging anyone specifically!

Friday, December 01, 2006

'Tis The Season...

For things to break.
I guess.
Ignore what I said in my previous post. Whatever is going on is worse that tryptophan depleting the ozone layer. It seems that the bad luck is rolling from one person to another with extreme levels for all affected. Weird. And I'm not liking the whole thing.
Especially since I seem to be the one holding on to the crappy luck right now.
1. K1 had to visit the doc yesterday. His eyes were swollen and had an itchy rash around them. An allergy, yes. But to what?
2. My oven died. I went to make dinner last night and the darned thing wouldn't turn on. The stove part works, but dang.
3. This morning I came down groggy and in serious need of caffeine. I turned the coffee pot on...and nothing. I did manage to get coffee, but dang.
4. My dryer is doing a death rattle. Anyone who knows my luck with dryers will shake their heads. I have gone through 5 in the past 10 years. Dang.
For B and I, the holiday season has always meant a run of bad luck - things breaking, big unexpected bills, family issues. The very first year we hosted Thanksgiving, our hot water heater died. His father had his stroke Thanksgiving morning.
I guess I shouldn't be surprised. I still don't have to like it, though, do I?