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Rated: 13+ · Book · Mystery · #1222498
A place for random thoughts, ideas, and fun!
What really goes on in Amy's brain? I'll use this space to share more about myself and my interests, journal some of the more exciting goings-on in my life, and work through some of the writing ideas and dilemmas I'm wrestling with. Enjoy!

Movie Review Mondays . . . if you watch a film after reading a review, please come back and let me know what you thought! *Smile*

My new siggy - thank you Seisa!
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February 9, 2012 at 11:49am
February 9, 2012 at 11:49am
I spent the month of October dutifully prepping for NaNoWriMo, plugging away, doing every exercise, learning so much about my characters, their story, their world, their everything! November blew past, and I finished my NaNo novel in 17 days, which completely blew my mind. Did I ever imagine I could do that? Not in a million years! Not if you paid me! I wanted it . . . I wanted it bad! But I wasn't sure I had it in me. Now I know. I made myself step away from it for a few weeks, and not look at the work as a whole, though I spent the intervening weeks thinking about it a lot, replotting and reworking it in my brain, so that by the time I sat down to do the first rewrite I already knew it would be vastly different when I made it through. That was December. January saw the third draft blow through, and brought me some excellent feedback from several sources. Now I know where my weak points are. Unfortunately, my brain is no longer cooperating with me, and the idea of sitting down to compile all of those various comments and suggestions, let along incorporate them into my manuscript, is daunting.

Here's what I've learned ... I thought maybe I was making an excuse, but I'm not so sure. I had started taking a new medication back in October, and I needed to stop taking it in . . . early January? Anyway, I began a new medication later in January which has made me exceedingly sleepy, and I'm honestly concerned about the way it's allowing me to focus/not focus. I did an experiment with sudoku yesterday, after finding myself very frustrated trying to finish some puzzles. I think I'm trying to re-train by brain to focus a little. I hope it works. This really sucks.

Moulin Rouge quote
January 26, 2012 at 1:03pm
January 26, 2012 at 1:03pm
I've got about ten minutes to get this out before I need to leave the house . . . but it needs out of my head!

So I got an email the other day asking me to donate something for the Gala gift basket for Monkey's class. It's a beach theme, so the woman in charge made a bunch of suggestions. Great! I emailed her back and said I could donate a bottle of bubbly signed by the winemaker. She wrote me back . . . oh someone else already offered a bottle of wine. You can donate anything else on the list. Like . . . a hotel room in Pismo Beach, for example. Or you can just write me a check and I'll buy stuff.

Excuse me . . . single income family still reeling from sticker shock after moving to CA, here. Bought a money pit, daughter going to college in the fall, medical co-pays turn out to be guidelines, every time I turn around I'm being asked for more money for SOMETHING to support the bankrupt public school system for which we already pay taxes. No buses, so second graders got their field trips yanked for the rest of the school year because of the new booster seat law (ummmm . . . I'm willing to provide my kid's booster seat for the purpose of a field trip). Yes . . . I know . . . the state is struggling and the schools are struggling. Her attitude pissed me off. I offered to provide something. I may live in wine country but I don't know how many other SIGNED bottles will be donated. I thought it was pretty cool. Now I'm just pissed and don't feel like donating anything. Bad attitude, Mama. Yeah, I know.

Moulin Rouge quote
December 16, 2011 at 11:37am
December 16, 2011 at 11:37am
My cousin had a baby last night!!! *Delight* Across the country. *Cry*

So I spent last night debating, crying, driving myself basically insane, trying to decide whether to fly out there during the height of the holiday season to be there for his bris. On the 23rd. Of course, I really wanted to be there for her as her doula, but somehow I knew there was no way to make that work. I'm not quite as concerned for a few reasons. Number one, this isn't her first, so it's not all totally new to her. Number two, I know her mother-in-law will be extremely involved in making sure she has everything she needs. Number three, another close friend of ours had a baby a few months ago, so she has a close source of info on things like nursing in particular (I helped her with that quite a bit last time, but it WAS almost 10 years ago). I sent her an email this morning telling her she can call me any time of the day or night if she has any questions.

In any case . . . I'm not going. Flights are ridiculous, I couldn't find anything direct that wasn't DOUBLE ridiculous, and traveling during the holidays just does not give me the warm fuzzies. Especially not the warm part, since I'd be heading to the northeast.

So I'll probably be sad for the next week, but I know she's well loved and I'll get out there as soon as I possibly can to meet my new little cousin. Who has spiky strawberry blonde hair (hoooray!) and the cutest little piggie toes. The kids were tickling the photo of his feet last night, on the computer. *Heart*

December 12, 2011 at 12:06pm
December 12, 2011 at 12:06pm
Well . . . ok. What a weekend! Well, long weekend. Started with a visit from Robert Waltz , much delicious restaurant food and imbibing of a great variety of beverages. He arrived right in time for latke night, so he got to taste the finished product before anyone else. Muahahahahahaaaa! There was more in there, but who remembers!?! Probably some getting ready for party errands.

Friday I took Waltz to visit my good buddy Steve, the Singing Winemaker, at Tesla Vintners. We tasted, we chatted, we sang a few songs . . . a good time was had by all. In the New Year (or whenever Steve and I get around to talking about it) I'm going to start working for him . . . rather than just volunteering (which is tons of fun) and getting paid in bottles of wine (which is great, but doesn't help pay many bills).

Saturday was holiday party day!! Much more running around like headless chickens, preparing more and more food, a little more circular running, and then . . . shockingly, with me more ready than usual, the party began!! It was our first holiday party in our new house, and I was very excited. This is always the highlight of our year, and ever since we bought the house (almost exactly a year ago) I've been thinking about it. It's a great party house. We had a terrific turnout, considering we've only been in the area for a year, none of my cousins in the SF area were able to come, and that none of hubby's colleagues were able to make it. We had neighbors, some new friends from various places, winery buddies, and WDC buddies! It was most extremely exciting to be able to be the one to finally bring Robert Waltz together with darkin. We had homemade jelly donuts (sufganiot for those in the know) made right in my kitchen during the party, by my friend Barbara's daughter. YUUUUUUUM!

Sunday was more wine tasting. We got to 5. A few were MAJOR disappointments of the "my winery is beautiful and big and impressive so I must be compensating for something" variety. But then we returned to Thomas Coyne, where we'd visited last year and hit the jackpot! Last night was relaxing . . . Waltz made french toast (nom nom) and we watched Despicable Me (minions!)

Today . . . saying goodbye. *Cry*
December 6, 2011 at 12:27pm
December 6, 2011 at 12:27pm
So I've finished my NaNo draft. I've written extensive notes on my rewrite. I've spent the past three days (yes . . . three DAYS!!) making floor plans for the castle (hey, I was almost done when Dhoc-li Llama scoffed at the maps [her specialty] and like the fool I am, I decided I needed to redo the whole shebang). So I still need to do the general scene, with placement of the castle within a larger setting. But I also have our holiday party coming up on Saturday. So far I've . . . hmmmm. Sent evites. More or less thought about what I'm going to serve. Baked 3 things to stow in the freezer. Bought a lot more stuff that needs to be prepared. Decided to try a baking experiment. Made a list of the errands I need to run and the stuff I need to prepare. Also need to clean the house. And make a dozen phone calls.

What I really want to do is take a nap. And finish that last map. And maybe finish the last bit of a short story I'm working on. And take a nap. And maybe take a shower at some point. Before or after the nap.

100 GPs to the first person who guesses correctly what I do next (keeping in mind that I don't even know what that will be, yet).

Moulin Rouge quote
December 3, 2011 at 11:45am
December 3, 2011 at 11:45am
I'm ready. I want to start editing. I have ideas flowing from practically every body part, and I can't stop them. I've read through it twice and decided it's not as crappy as I thought it was when I was writing. I decided this because I cried at the ending both times. AND I KNEW WHAT WAS COMING!!

I also realized I need to eliminate about 500 extraneous commas from the manuscript. Not a problem. I guess I was over-exuberant when I was writing. The ideas were coming, the punctuation was irrelevant at that point.

And I decided I needed maps of the castle. But before I could do that I needed to read it again to find out where I'd "put" everything. Consequently I discovered that I'd put things all over the place. *Smile* So I have to make sure Alex's rooms are in the correct area of the castle to make everything else show up in its proper place, etc etc.

I know the story will change quite a bit and I'm excited to get started making those changes. But I can't. I promised to participate in Storm's writing meetings to get feedback on what I've written so far.

So I keep picking up the hard copy and sort of snuggling with it. But today I want to work on those maps.

Somewhere in there I also need to start planning for our holiday party, which is . . . *gulp* . . . ONE WEEK from today!
November 29, 2011 at 12:11pm
November 29, 2011 at 12:11pm
And I wrote, and I wrote, and I WROTE! I finished my NaNo novel in 17 days, and I couldn't have done it without the help and wonderful October NaNo prep organized and run by Brandiwyn🎶 ! Every time I finished prepping something, I thought of something else. I kept writing until it was time to write. And the novel flew off of my fingers and right onto the computer screen! I finished in 17 days, despite the fact that I traveled, and my brand new Netbook refused to charge, and my kids had time off of school . . . I just could not stop!

It's a Young Adult story, and the working title is Prince(ss) Alexandra. On the most basic level, it's the story of a Princess who wants to be King. But the real meaning of the story is much deeper. It's a story about how our dreams and hopes and desires do not necessarily match the dreams and hopes and desires that others have for us. And how we can overcome those obstacles despite societal and familial pressures. I have three stories planned, and each of the characters will hopefully be fully developed by the time I'm done wrestling with the story.

I've never had the feeling before that I just could not feel happy unless I was writing. So I finished the first draft of my NaNo novel, and I promised myself I would not look at it for 2 weeks. People have told me it should be 2 months. I'm not sure if I can stand it!

I've written three short stories about my characters (definitely not in the same genre, but they will nicely fill in some backstory that will help me rewrite and move forward). And I've written the first in probably another trilogy of short stories featuring different characters altogether. And it's time for me to start prepping for book two in my Prince(ss) Alexandra Trilogy. I've been taking notes and more notes and then a few more notes thrown in for good measure. I want to start working on character studies for the new characters that will show up in the next book, and tweak the ones for the characters who grew and changed as I wrote the first story. It's so exciting watching them take on lives of their own . . . halfway through the book I realized I had a character MISSING, and by the time I was done, and had started rethinking and plotting the rewrite, he was so integral to the story that I couldn't imagine it without him! And he truly snuck in the back door when I wasn't paying attention.

So maybe this means I'll be blogging more, since I need to write write write!

Moulin Rouge quote
February 11, 2011 at 1:07pm
February 11, 2011 at 1:07pm
My brain feels like a load of laundry tumbling in the dryer . . . without the fabric softener sheet!

Here I am, trying very hard to get settled and establish some connections in our new town, but life keeps throwing me curve balls so that I've not really been able to slow down into a routine and find times to form many bonds with people. Yes, my neighbors are wonderful. Yes, they've said "please let me know if you need anything." But am I ready to rely on that? I'm just not sure.

Bob called from work first thing this morning to let me know . . . his trip to the UK has been scheduled. For early March. We'd talked about this trip when he first took the job. The kids and I were planning on going with him. We got their passports and everything. Then we really thought about the whole cost-of-taking-a trip-overseas-while-owning-two-homes thing, and decided maybe it wasn't such a good idea. But when he called me this morning to tell me, I burst into tears. I'd been cruising along, doing pretty well despite some stresses, but this past week I think it's all caught up with me, and I've been a mess. Now thinking about being alone with the kids (the angry kids who will miss their Daddy and be pissed that we reneged on their trip to England; especially Goldilocks who spins utterly out of control at the drop of a hat) has me beside myself (really - can't you see the other me over there, peering over my shoulder?) Add to that the fact that I really don't feel like I have anyone who can help me out during the week (and it would be a full week), and add to that the fact that yet again I feel left behind, and add to that the fact that I'm not yet at all comfortable with the workings of this house nor do I know where Bob stored many of the items not yet unpacked . . . and you get the frazzled, jumbled, dizzy mess that is my brain.

We talked again briefly this morning about all of us going on the trip, and I even started to do some research. I just don't know if I can justify taking them out of school for an entire week. Because the following month they'll be missing at least 4 days while we travel east for Passover. Monkey I'm not concerned about. He could miss the rest of the school year and absolutely pass every assessment to move on to 2nd grade. Goldilocks, on the other hand, is struggling. Her grades are not where they should be, mainly because she hasn't turned in many of the assignments needed to assess her knowledge (some of them are items assigned before she arrived).

I just don't know what the right choice is, here. *sigh*

Moulin Rouge quote
February 8, 2011 at 2:26pm
February 8, 2011 at 2:26pm
Hello Blog! So sorry I've been neglecting you for well over a year. You can forgive me, right?

What a rollercoaster the past year and a half have been! After a few short term contract positions, we realized that Bob was not going to find a good, permanent position in our local area. So we decided it was time for him to start looking elsewhere in the country. Within a few weeks I was researching areas like Gaithersburg, Maryland and northern California. Within a few weeks after that he was flying to the Bay area for an interview. And within days of returning home he received a job offer! Our heads were still spinning from the idea, and Goldilocks in particular was VERY unhappy about the idea of moving away from her friends, but at the same time this was not an opportunity we could pass up. After going through hell and back at his old job, Bob SO deserved the recognition of his abilities that this job offer presented. The company really wanted him! They did everything they could to sweeten the deal for us.

The biggest concern for us while making this decision was Dr. B. She'd decided during the previous school year that she wanted to find a way to graduate a year early. Which meant . . . we would be moving one month into her senior year in high school. If she were to come with us, there was very little chance that she'd be able to graduate early. All of our family and closest friends who might have been in a position to take her for the remainder of the school year are over the border in PA. So she's staying with the family of one of her closest friends. If I thought it was difficult to parent a teenager in the same house . . . it's doubly so from 3,000 miles away!

We moved out to California at the very end of September. The kids started a new school (first and only time I ever had/will have 2 kids in the same school), and we lived in a small 2 bedroom apartment that Bob's new company provided for us. We quickly decided that this was NOT the place for us, so despite the fact that I very much did not want to have to switch the kids' school again after we moved, we decided to look for a house in another town.

We moved into our new house just before Christmas break, and Dr. B came to spend the holidays with us. The kids started at their 3rd schools for the school year after winter break. Monkey's school is literally across the street from our house! It's a great house . . . or it will be once we're through with it (in a decade or so). We're feeling quite like we've moved into the Money Pit, as we keep finding more and more things that need to be taken care of. We had the bedroom carpets replaced as soon as we moved in, as well as tile in the master bathroom and the laundry room. Our next project, which cannot happen soon enough, is to have the kitchen remodeled. It's original to the 30+ year old house, and the particleboard crumbled when we tried to clean it. In the meantime all of our kitchen supplies are being stored in the laundry room. But we have 5 bedrooms, lots of space, and a backyard pool! Plenty of room for visitors, and we've already had a few. I love our neighborhood. We had several neighbors come over right after we moved in, with trays of holiday cookies to welcome us. The neighborhood had a progressive dinner a few weeks ago, where we had a chance to meet many of the families. And when I was sick last week, a friend from down the street brought me homemade SOUP! *Delight*

The downtown is absolutely adorable, and our city is home to 60 wineries. I've visited 5, so far. *Bigsmile* The winter has been GLORIOUS!!! We should have done this years ago . . . despite being lonely and somewhat overwhelmed by all the changes and things that need to be done, the weather has made a huge difference in my typical Seasonal Affective Disorder. I LOVE IT!!

And . . . just because we wouldn't want things to go too smoothly . . . we got a call a few weeks ago from our Realtor back east (yes, our house is still on the market . . . or it was) letting us know that we had a burst pipe in the utility room. Our poor house . . . the downstairs had to be gutted. *Cry* So now we're going to have construction projects going on both coasts! Oh boy. Fortunately, insurance will cover just about all of the repair/rebuilding costs.

So now we're caught up, and hopefully I'll remember to blog on a regular basis, now. And maybe even *gasp* WRITE something! *Shock*

Moulin Rouge quote
September 10, 2009 at 5:54pm
September 10, 2009 at 5:54pm
A new school year has begun, with many changes in our household. Monkey started Kindergarten and his transition has been fairly seamless. He's having a terrific time, and I only shed a few tears after putting him on the bus for the first time. *Heart* Today he was sitting with TWO girls when the bus drove up to drop him off . . . heh.

Goldilocks is in 5th grade, and despite a few hiccups has matured a great deal over the summer. She's all about keeping up with her homework . . . and did SUCH an amazing job keeping her room spotless this summer that we rewarded her with a landline phone for her room. She was tickled pink, and calls us on our cell phones from upstairs just because she can. *Bigsmile*

Dhoc-li Llama is a Sophomore in high school!!! *Shock* . . . and will be learning to DRIVE this semester {e:heartattack}!!! She's taking 2 AP classes, fast math, and because there was no room for a language in her schedule will also be taking Hebrew through the JCC.

The biggest news . . . as of this past Tuesday at 4 PM, Bob is no longer employed. In all honesty, this is a VERY GOOD thing!!!! He could not possibly have gone back into that toxic work environment. He was offered the choice of returning or taking a very reasonable severence package . . . there was no choice to make. He hasn't been this relaxed or happy for over a year. His job search is progressing, albeit slowly. The economy sucks, but he's definitely got skills that employers are looking for, so we're hopeful.

I'm also working . . . still for the financial planner who belongs to our synagogue. Bob's actually come in and helped us out with a few different things over the past few weeks - it's been very nifty having him around the office! *Heart*

I've discovered my strength as a result of this summer's events . . . but I know I still crumble when overwhelmed, overworked or overtired. Fortunately, Bob and I are communicating a lot better as well, which really makes everything easier to cope with in the long run.

We've got a road ahead of us, to try and rebuild, but we're paving the path together, and it's going to be better than ever!

Moulin Rouge quote

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