Stories

Not that too many people are actually interested in this… but I thought I’d give a brief update about Wyrd and other writings.

Firstly: the Wyrd hiatus (a holiday I’ve imposed upon myself for the month of December) is drawing quickly to a close. I’m feeling a little badly about leaving Margo in such a sticky situation, and figure I probably ought to get her out of there before too long! I’ve got several key scenes worked out in my head and just need to do the hard part – sitting down at the keyboard and figuring out all of the stuff that sticks those key scenes together. The way I figure it, we’re getting pretty close to the story’s climactic point – showdown at the school. After that, though, there are some pretty good peaks; after all, no one ever said that the falling action had to be a smooth ride, right?

Secondly: those of you interested in the progress of the Dave book/Blue Thunder book might be interested to know that I’ve gathered enough stuff, I think, and will be pulling everything together in the next couple of months. It’s a time-consuming job, so don’t expect a finished product right away, but it’s coming. And if you still had something to add, go ahead – the sooner you send it in, the better your chances of it being included, but right now I can certainly still fit things in.

Thirdly: why is it that cool new story ideas always come to you when you’re knee-deep in an existing story? I had an idea that I’d like to pursue. I’m not sure if it’s a short story or a longer piece, which is unusual – usually I know it isn’t a short story. 🙂 Not going to share any details at this point, except to say that it has something to do with religion and something to do with my apparent fascination with superheroes…

Fourthly: I wonder if I should try to spend some time working on shorter pieces and trying to get published in magazines…

Fifthly: my writing will probably get a bit of a boost now due to increased portability! In fact, I’m hoping to get a little bit done on the bus trip to Phoenix. How, you ask? Why, I have a computer in my purse! (Actually, right now it’s on my lap.) The miniature keyboard is slowing down my typing speed a little, and I’m having to type with my fingertips a bit, but seriously – the convenience of having a computer the size of a paperback? Un-bee-leev-a-bull. Plus we got it on a great after-Christmas sale, so while it isn’t the exact model or color I’d thought I’d wanted, we saved well over a hundred bucks – and that can go toward a colored skin, ja?

Twenty Questions about Christmas?

My Teacherly Internal Alarm clock woke me at 5:30 this morning and refused to let me go back to sleep (funny, really, because on a normal school day I’d have ZERO TROUBLE falling back asleep) and I’ve got a ticked-off stomach to boot,  so instead of sleeping in on this, my first day of Christmas break, I’m burning CDs and trying to clear out my backlog on Google Reader. That, and writing really long sentences to start blog entries.

I saw this holiday meme on Mrs. Chili’s blog about a week ago and decided it seemed like a good idea, so here goes…

1. Hot chocolate or apple cider? Usually cider – and this time of year, more often than not, it’s cider mixed with Theraflu. But I like cocoa, too.

2. Turkey or Ham? I love a good piece of ham, but don’t get it very often because Ryan has some sort of personal ham embargo going on (mysterious to me, because he’ll eat pork and bacon – just not ham). If we’re talking “what I have for Christmas dinner,” I grew up with a Christmas roast encircled by Yorkshire pudding.

3. Do you get a fake or a real, you-cut-it-yourself Christmas tree? Like Mrs. Chili, my family has always gone hunting for trees – and up until this year, when my parents moved to a house without vaulted ceilings, ended up with some pretty goliath evergreens. These last few years, Ryan and I have gone the artificial tree route just for the convenience factor. When we have kids I’d like to revert to a free-range tree.

4. Decorations on the outside of your house? I love Christmas lights, but most years we don’t get around to it.

5. Snowball fights or sledding? I like to watch (and egg on) snowball fights. I don’t like getting snow on me, though. Snowflakes, sure – but not masses of snow.

6. Do you enjoy going downtown shopping? Of course – especially if you’ve got a quaint little “old town” part of downtown, which my city doesn’t, really. I’m actually going downtown shopping today if my belly will cooperate.

7. Favorite Christmas song? The answer to this used to be “O Holy Night,” but this year I’m feeling strongly about “Adeste Fidelis.” If you count secular songs as a separate category, I’d say “Sleigh Ride” is way up there. I’m a big TSO fan, and “The Wisdom of Snow” is a definite “obscure” favorite.

8. How do you feel about Christmas movies? They’re sort of a must-have, don’t you think? We always watch “The Christmas Gift” because we used to live near the town where it takes place. I’m a big fan of the Peanuts one, and Rudolph, of course. Not a fan of “A Christmas Story” except on stage.

9. When is it too early to start listening to Christmas music? Our local drippy-music station changes to an all-Christmas format on the day after Thanksgiving (or maybe it’s Thanksgiving, and I just don’t listen to the radio that day?) and that seems about right for me. We tend to start the Christmas season that day; it’s usually the day we reserve for tree-hunting. It really bothers me to see Christmas decorations or hear Christmas music in stores before Halloween… to everything a season, right?

10. Stockings before or after presents? After. It’s kind of the dessert.

11. Carolers, do you or do you watch and listen to them? I’ve been caroling a few times, and was invited to go caroling with two different groups this year; I guess I was too chicken to admit how uncomfortable it makes me, so I just blew them both off. 😦 I don’t feel like a strong enough singer to be in a small ensemble with easily recognizable songs. If a caroler comes to my house, of course I’ll listen to them – but again, it’s kind of an awkward feeling, isn’t it? Doesn’t come up too often around my neighborhood, though.

12. Go to someone else’s house or they come to you? Most years, Ryan and I don’t even see our house from early on the 24th until late on the 25th – and our parents don’t even live out of town! I figure that once we have our own family we’ll start rearranging things.

13. Do you read the Christmas Story? For having a very literate family, we do very little story-reading of any kind at Christmas. It’s probably because there are no children in the family. We do go to Christmas Eve service, though, and they read the Christmas Story, if that counts.

14. What do you do after presents and dinner? There isn’t really an “after” anymore. We don’t really have a downtime on Christmas because we go to two different houses on both Christmas Eve and Christmas day. Not complaining.

15. What is your favorite holiday smell? I love the smell of fresh Christmas trees, the smell of fireplaces… The smell of coffee cooking on Christmas morning reminds me of all my childhood Christmases.

16. Ice skating or walking around the mall? Oh my goodness. I mean, the mall is a necessary evil this time of year, I guess, but we’re talking Festive Hell on Earth here. It’s been a while since I’ve been ice skating, but I always liked it.

17. Do you open a present or presents on Christmas Eve, or wait until Christmas day?  Growing up, we often opened one on Christmas Eve.

18. Favorite Christmas memory? Grammy would always come over on Christmas Eve and spend the night. Meredith and I would wake up early on Christmas morning, and sometimes Grammy would already be awake, and sometimes we’d steal into her room and wait for her to wake up. We’d go into the living room, the whole house still dark. I can hear her walker in the hallway. We’d turn on the Christmas tree lights and reverently admire the gifts that had mysteriously appeared under the tree, around the tree, up on the piano bench. I’d go start a pot of coffee (see question #15) and then we’d all three sit on the couch in front of the tree, drinking coffee (Grammy and myself), dozing off, trying to will Mom and Dad awake, talking quietly about – I don’t even know what. Then, after forever and ever, we’d hear the sounds of Mom and Dad getting up, and they’d come in and get coffee. Meredith and I would have waited for them, wanting them to have the chance to see the Christmas tableau, and then Mom would encourage us to check out the unwrapped Santa presents (a stuffed animal or doll), and then we’d all be in the room, in our pajamas and blankets, and Christmas morning would begin.

19. Favorite Part about winter? Scarves and gloves.

20. Ever been kissed under mistletoe? Yes.

Happy Monday!

Seventeen about Britney Spears’s “3”

Incoherent words?
Oh well – you won me over
with your drag triplets.

I started to use the word “nonsensical” instead of “incoherent” – which four-letter adjective do you think is most appropraite?

1, 2, 3
Not only you and me
Got one eighty degrees
And I’m caught in between
Countin’
1, 2, 3
Peter, Paul & Mary
Gettin’ down with 3P
Everybody loves ***
Countin’

Babe, pick a night
To come out and play
If it’s alright
What do you say?

Merrier the more
Triple fun that way
Twister on the floor
What do you say?

Are – you in
Livin’ in sin is the new thing (yeah)
Are – you in
I am countin’!

1, 2, 3
Not only you and me
Got one eighty degrees
And I’m caught in between
Countin’
1, 2, 3
Peter, Paul & Mary
Gettin’ down with 3P
Everybody loves
Countin’

Three is a charm
Two is not the same
I don’t see the harm
So are you game?

Lets’ make a team
Make ‘em say my name
Lovin’ the extreme
Now are you game?

Are – you in
Livin’ in sin is the new thing
Are – you in
I am countin’!

1, 2, 3
Not only you and me
Got one eighty degrees
And I’m caught in between
Countin’
1, 2, 3
Peter, Paul & Mary
Gettin’ down with 3P
1, 2, 3
Not only you and me
Got one eighty degrees
And I’m caught in between
Countin’
1, 2, 3
Peter, Paul & Mary
Gettin’ down with 3P
Everybody loves ***
Countin’

Babe, pick a night
To come out and play
If it’s alright
What do you say?

Merrier the more
Triple fun that way
Twister on the floor
What do you say?

Are – you in
Livin’ in sin is the new thing (yeah)
Are – you in
I am countin’!

1, 2, 3
Not only you and me
Got one eighty degrees
And I’m caught in between
Countin’
1, 2, 3
Peter, Paul & Mary
Gettin’ down with 3P
Everybody loves ***
Countin’

Three is a charm
Two is not the same
I don’t see the harm
So are you game?

Lets’ make a team
Make ‘em say my name
Lovin’ the extreme
Now are you game?

Are – you in
Livin’ in sin is the new thing
Are – you in
I am countin’!

1, 2, 3
Not only you and me
Got one eighty degrees
And I’m caught in between
Countin’
1, 2, 3
Peter, Paul & Mary
Gettin’ down with 3P
Everybody loves ***

What we do is innocent
Just for fun and nothin’ meant
If you don’t like the company
Let’s just do it you and me
You and me…
Or three….
Or four….
– On the floor!

Everybody loves ***

What we do is innocent
Just for fun and nothin’ meant
If you don’t like the company
Let’s just do it you and me
You and me…
Or three….
Or four….
On the floor!

Seventeen about Owl City’s “Fireflies”

Sounds lighthearted, but
lyrics are dark with despair:
suicidal thoughts?

You would not beleive your eyes
If ten million fireflies
Lit up the world as I fell asleep

‘Cause they’d fill the open air
And leave teardrops everywhere
You’d think me rude
But I would just stand and stare

I’d like to make myself believe
That planet Earth turns slowly
It’s hard to say that I’d rather stay
Awake when I’m asleep
‘Cause everything is never as it seems

‘Cause I’d get a thousand hugs
From ten thousand lightning bugs
As they tried to teach me how to dance

A foxtrot above my head
A sock hop beneath my bed
A disco ball is just hanging by a thread

I’d like to make myself believe
That planet Earth turns slowly
It’s hard to say that I’d rather stay
Awake when I’m asleep
‘Cause everything is never as it seems
When I fall asleep

Leave my door open just a crack
(Please take me away from here)
‘Cause I feel like such an insomniac
(Please take me away from here)
Why do I tire of counting sheep
(Please take me away from here)
When I’m far too tired to fall asleep

To ten million fireflies
I’m weird ’cause Ihate goodbyes
I got misty eyes as they said farewell

But I’ll know where several are
If my dreams get real bizarre
‘Cause I saved a few and I keep them in a jar

I’d like to make myself believe
That planet Earth turns slowly
It’s hard to say that I’d rather stay
Awake when I’m asleep
‘Cause everything is never as it seems
When I fall asleep

I’d like to make myself believe
That planet Earth turns slowly
It’s hard to say that I’d rather stay
Awake when I’m asleep
‘Cause everything is never as it seems
When I fall asleep

I’d like to make myself believe
That planet Earth turns slowly
It’s hard to say that I’d rather stay
Awake when I’m asleep
Because my dreams are bursting at the seams

Memorial

Friday was a day for memorials. After school, I went to Tom Trusky’s memorial service. I had to duck out early to get gussied up for the Blue Thunder banquet, and of course, it had a certain memorial feeling to it as well, beings as it was the first banquet we’ve had without Dave. I was happy that the students found a good balance between honoring their departed director and maintaining a celebratory sense to the evening. Two back-to-back, full-blown memorials, for the two men at Boise State I most admired, would have been just a little bit much for me to bear, I think.

My sister Meredith is one of those people who isn’t just artistic, she’s an artist. She has technical chops, good ideas, sense, a natural eye, and ridiculous amounts of innate talent. And she creates with purpose – her work has story, meaning, to it.

In the months since Dave passed away, Meredith has created several works of art to honor his memory. The most recent was an installation of small, multimedia, illustrated panels, unveiled for the first time at banquet. I don’t have a very good picture of the finished product, but she sent me some of the panels before they were completed, and (totally without her permission) I’d like to share a couple of them. I’m loving this style that she’s experimenting with – watercolors, text, simple but evocative line drawings…

  

There were seven panels in all. Meredith resisted, but I threatened to [fill-in-the-blank big sister torment] her, so she let me snap a picture of her next to the installation.

After banquet, someone told Lavaughn (Dave’s wife, because “widow” is a depressing word and I’m sorry but I can’t quite call her that) about the installation, and she went to see for herself. That’s when I took the following picture, which isn’t technically very good but which I like quite a lot.

Lavaughn and Meredith

New Eye on the World

I’ve been lusting after two techno-gadgets for the past, I dunno, forever. One is a Dell Mini Laptop for all my on-the-go novelling needs. I’ve been craving one ever since I first saw the little red Jolly Rancher of a computer and blogged about it a year and a half ago. The other is a new camera, something with a little more muscle than my much-loved and much-used Canon PowerShot SD1000 (a camera which, incidentally, I highly recommend). I’d just been wishing I had something that could shoot with some depth of field, something that could take beautiful portraits and pictures like the ones I see other people taking.

I wasn’t expecting Ryan () to give me a DSLR, though. But he did. It’s a fantastic camera (way smarter than I am, which means that I spend a lot of time making an idiot out of myself as I try to make it work. I feel like I need to take a class or read a book or something. I used to shoot a little on an SLR, but it’s been a long time and I’m r-u-s-t-y.) and way more than I had in mind, but he seems to think (misguided though he is) that I deserve it. It’s an Olympus EVOLT E-520 and we – the camera and I – are at the beginning of what I know will be a long and beautiful friendship.

It’s just that I have to figure out what the heck I’m doing first. And in the meantime, My Loyal Readers (all two of you!) will get to enjoy a hopefully increasingly-better stream of photographs, starting with one of my pensive puppy.

Paisley, being my nursemaid as I try to get my $4!t together after my accident

New Goals in Life

I’ve come to realize that I’m not doing what I want to be doing with my life, so I think I’m going to quit my life and start doing something different.

One thing that I think I’d like to do is to go work for Big Cat Studio and take pictures of big cats and put them in beautiful books. I think I could find that pretty fulfilling. I mean, seriously. Who wouldn’t want to live this guy’s life?

 I also think I could be pretty happy shrinking back down to about 48 inches or so and living out the rest of my life in one of the clubhouses (AKA playhouses) featured on Web Urbanist.

h/t MentalFloss @ http://tinyurl.com/ykyhyga

Also, I think I should probably work for Pantone in their Department of People Who Choose the Pantone Color of the Year. I could definitely pick out an ultimate hue every year and come up with goofy rationale for it. I’m awesome at that sort of thing. And of all my favorite things, color is one of my most favoritest.