Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Happy Happy Happiness!

First of all, Handsome Hubby figured out by trial and error and scans and a little cursing and finally one very drastic exorcism that the reason that my laptop was crashing like a banshee was a short in the power cord.  Every time the cord went a certain way, my computer would overheat and it would read that the computer usage was 100% (even if not one program was open) and it would writhe and wail and freeze and crash.  The cord's fickle positioning is why it would be fine one moment and then totally Living Dead the next.  So it is currently stabilized and awaiting a new power cord... which, at $13, is a heck of a lot better than a new laptop.  Unless you are visiting Rebecca's (Sonshine's) bookstore, in which case, "$13!!?!?!  Are you kidding me??? What kind of racket are you running here?"

So, as I was still reeling from the ferocious awesomeness that is a working laptop (thank you, Hub, you're not an A/V Coordinator for nothing!)... I got THIS seductive little number from my favorite Palindrome, Hannah:

Isn't it pretty?  Oooooooh.  Aaaaaaaah!

The rules:
1. Choose five followers/commenters that 'get' you
2. Write something fake (preferably not too mean) about them
3. Link to them, and link back to this post to comment your receipt of the award.

This is what she said about me:
Lindsey- is secretly one of the Sunflower people, who've infiltrated the human race and are laying the foundation of fear so we will all cower in defeat during the Sunflower invasion.

I find this at once highly amusing and terrifying. :)  Hannah totally knows how I roll.  I am passing this one on to the following people and you should know that:

1. Steph is currently running lines for her high school's production of Antony and Cleopatra, but she secretly plans to break character mid-show and recite a well-researched monologue about why Hatshepsut would be a much more fascinating leading lady, at which daughter Bella will break into wild applause.

2. Roxy just begrudgingly became the next Bond girl after her muse ever so lightly suggested that she should get a well-paying job to support her Nordstrom's habit... at least until her wildly successful novel hits stores.

3. Christine edged out Danica Patrick to become the first woman to ever win the Indianapolis 500 and decided to give Anna a lead foot in her novel as well.

4. In a twist no one saw coming, Talli killed off her main character with a pair of razor-sharp hair scissors and then laughed maniacally as she tossed back Salt and Vinegar kettle chips as her last meal before the Big House.

5. Rebecca 's novel hit big and whilst visiting her old stomping grounds, the bookstore, she asked the barista for some tea.  She was mistakenly given coffee, which she promptly spit on the place she found most appropriate, a copy of Pride and Prejudice.

Thanks again, Hannah! :D

Monday, March 29, 2010

In Which the Beginning Vexes Me

I've been having trouble with the beginning of my story.  I had the whole first chapter written; it's kind of prologue-y with the backstory, but it's told in third person and revolves around my MC's parents, sort of setting up motivation for why they do what they do later in the story.  But I'm having trouble with the idea of writing that in third person as a narrator and then writing the rest of the story in first person as my MC.  It's not jiving.  I know lots of books switch POV, but at the moment, it's not working for me.  I'm also wondering if, even though I set it up through a narrator so that you could "see" the scene instead of just having someone tell about it, there is too much telling and I need to just find a way to better infuse the backstory into the current story.  Muse?  Feel free to jump in at any time.

I have the rest of the book planned out in 12 sections that may or may not be chapters; for the moment, they are chunks of story.  I have parts written and other parts outlined and it's a little kooky but it's coming together.  I could go on and keep working on one of the other parts, but this beginning thing is currently my little black raincloud that keeps on nagging at me.  I need to work it out. 

I am now in search of a good pen and a spiral notebook.  Because I do my best working out on paper. :)

My Laptop Has a Case of the Mondays

So today and tomorrow I am home by myself for the little bit of spring break that I get before having to make up snow days.  I have been looking forward to these WRITING DAYS for... oh... I can't even tell you how long.  And now that they are here and I am raring to go, my computer is once again freaking out.  It just took 15 minutes to boot into Windows.  This is very bad news.  On top of that, my brand new printer is being cranky, but I think it's the computer being cranky communicating with the printer.  Seriously, technology!  I do not appreciate your attempts at foiling  my writerly mojo.

The GOOD news is that I had to continue some research and I found the perfect article full of exactly the info I needed, all written in a nice report form with a giant, handy chart for quick reference.  I am in love.
(girl who kinda looks like me kissing computer that looks nothing like my laptop)

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Why I Can't Do Any Real Writing at the Bookstore

I'm writing this at Barnes & Noble on the back of a bank receipt because I didn't have the foresight to bring a notebook.  It took us about 10 minutes to get a table.  It's a rainy Sunday and of course they were all full. But it's ok, no rush, we are blissfully alone today while the kids are visiting my mom. Handsome Hubby went to get us coffee and I told him I wanted something chocolatey with a bunch of whipped cream.  I thought he meant coffee, and he came back with a Godiva double chocolate cheesecake with chocolate cookie crumb crust with two giant swirls of whipped cream.  Insanity on a plate.  AND coffee!  He treats me right. ;)

I went into the Teen section to look for some good reading (not sure why they don't call it Young Adult) and, man, is the current market saturated with vampires and werewolves and fallen angels.  While I was perusing the gorgeous covers, I overheard a mom in the Kids' section saying, "No, honey, you know  when we come here to read, we don't buy books."  :(  My heart broke for the little boy who liked his book so much he wanted to bring it home.  I know that not everyone can buy books whenever they want, and maybe the kid already has ten million books, and it's great that he got to come and read in a place that has everything.  But still.  Sad. 

So in the TEEN section, I picked up:


So, yeah, I'm probably the last person left in the YA world who hasn't read Hush, Hush yet.  I'm not a huge reader of vampires, zombies, or fallen angels, but I'll try anything that has a lot of good reviews.  So, Patch, we shall meet soon.  And Emily the Strange is just fabulous.  If you haven't checked out any of her series yet, you must. :)  In the adult section, I picked up:

Alice's Adventures in Wonderland has been my all-time favorite book since third grade, the first time I really read it, and the same year I was in my very first play ever - also Alice in Wonderland. (I was the Cheshire Cat).  I'm a little obsessed, I admit.  I have always loved Alice and was disappointed in what Tim Burton did with it (I just saw it yesterday), but I kind of expected to be.  Anyway, I'm very interested in reading this historical fiction novel that deals with Alice Liddell and how the book and the man (Charles Dodgson) changed her life, how it became her (like it or not) identity... I've read some great reviews by some of you and am so looking forward to this one!

So, yeah... I'm sitting here at the table in B&N and I just saw one of my first graders but didn't say hello (don't judge me, it's the weekend). I had to add Splenda to my coffee and I spilled it on my lap, which won me the one napkin that HH found at the coffee station.  Speaking of the coffee station, someone up there at the counter just ordered a "molten turtle bundt".  What!?!?!  Does that sound outrageous or what?  I am so ordering that next time.  The people at the table behind me just stole someone else's chair when she got up to go find a book.  That girl is gonna be pissed. 

(At this point, we realized that my mom had called my cell and left a message saying that she had already left her house with my kids and was on her way to my house, so stream of consciousness bookstore chatter ended abruptly and the ravenous bookies circling the tables came in for the kill when we got up.  It was altogether a lovely, delicious, happy, read-y, time-with-hubby, fun bookstore visit.  But I spent half the time people watching and trying not to listen to the conversations of the people at the tables around us.  So you see why I can't do any real writing at the bookstore!)

Saturday, March 27, 2010


So my laptop has been very prissy lately, and in a blatant bid for attention she tried to overheat and explode repeatedly this past week. What she did not consider before planning her attack was that I already have one high-drama daughter and one laid-back daughter who, as cool as she is, just happens to be two.  Plus I teach first grade.  So, really, Laptop, your tantrumish ploys fall on deaf ears.  I am not an expert at many things, but I am a master of ignoring temper tantrums.  Really, they don't phase me one bit, so rock on with your moaning and wailing and getting so hot that everything fritzed out, I'll wait.  Then we'll talk.  We did come to an understanding, she and I, so you'll be glad to know that we are again on speaking terms.  In the meantime, you've probably either checked obsessively to find out the TRUTH or, more likely, forgotten about it altogether.  Either one is cool.  Thanks for coming back. :)

I wish I could have written about more things that happen at school, because seriously, what happens in elementary schools on a daily basis is truly often stranger than fiction, and how could it not be, with 730 children below the age of 9 all in one building at the same time?  But, alas, I do enjoy being gainfully employed, so I keep those stories to a minimum.  Sadly. :)  However, since my daily life is also often stranger than fiction, most of my choices did include an element of truth.  Or a whole lot of it.  Here we go!

1. When I was in high school, my house burned down. We relocated to an apartment for several months while our house was being rebuilt. The apartment was next to a bowling alley. I bowled so much during our time there that I won a bowling trophy. If my house hadn't burned down, I never would have realized the insanely talented bowler within!
False-ish:  All of it is true except that it wasn't a bowling alley, it was Putt-Putt mini-golf.  And I do still have the trophy. :)

2. My husband and sister-in-law have both won Teacher of the Year Awards and I have not, even though I have taught in my school longer than they have taught in theirs. *sniff*
TRUE!  But don't cry for me, Argentina.  Handsome Hubby and his sister are amazing teachers, and their schools award Teacher of the Year through a process of parent and teacher nominations.  My school hands it out by seniority.  So whomever has been there the longest and hasn't yet won gets it each year.  I've been there 10 years, but I haven't hit Teacher of the Year seniority status just yet. ;)

3. I teach first grade and one year when we were studying money, one of my students brought in two Sacajawea golden dollars to show the class. He put them on his tongue when I wasn't looking and closed his mouth. When I saw that something was in his mouth, I asked him what it was and he tried to show me. One of the golden dollars came out but he accidentally swallowed the other one and had to go to the ER. The next day he brought in x-rays of the golden dollar in his stomach.
False-ish:  It happened, but not to me.  It happened to a good friend and fellow first grade teacher in my school.  He also had a kid who swallowed the blue square of paint from the watercolor box that year.  They were a hungry bunch. :)

4. I gave birth to both of my children naturally without drugs. It wasn't the plan, but I have scoliosis and they couldn't get the epidural in.
False-ish: I do have scoliosis.  My spine is shaped like an "s" and I wore a back brace for 3 years in high school.  Yes, I was the Deenie (thanks, Judy Blume).  It did give my anesthesiologist a run for his money during the birth of both of my girls (he tried to give up after 3 attempts with my first) but he managed to come through.  Yippee!

5. I am a die hard Twilight fan but I hide the books from my 7 year old because I don't want her to know.

False.  This is the only one that is totally false.  I have never read the Twilight books or seen the movies.  I've read excerpts of two of the books, but they just didn't interest me.  So I don't like them or dislike them.  But I am definitely not a die hard fan. :)

6. Growing up, my sisters called me "the milkman's kid" because I am the middle child of three girls and I have stick straight hair while both of my sisters have curly hair.
False-ish.  They called me "the mailman's kid".  And they referred to the mailman as "your Dad".

7. I met Handsome Hubby through my online graduate program. The rest of our group members (who were all also teachers, hmph) totally left us with all of the work in a group project so we had a lot of "quality time" working together and got to know each other fairly well before ever meeting in person.
False-ish.  Handsome Hubby and I met in regular undergrad classes.  I did do a good part of my graduate work online, though, and the story above is how I became good friends with another teacher in my group, even though she lives a few states away. :)

So there you have it!  A few of you were right. :)  This was really fun!  I want to win this award 18 more times... :)

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Super Fun Award Land

 Yippeeee!  The award I've been secretly hoping for has been sent my way!  It's the "Creative Writer" Bold Faced Liar Blogger Award.  Many thanks to Merissa at See Merissa Write and E. Elle at The Writer's Funhouse  for the honor.  This one's fun:  I post 1 truth and 6 lies and you guess which one is the truth!  I'll come clean in my next entry.   :)

1. When I was in high school, my house burned down.  We relocated to an apartment for several months while our house was being rebuilt.  The apartment was next to a bowling alley.  I bowled so much during our time there that I won a bowling trophy.  If my house hadn't burned down, I never would have realized the insanely talented bowler within!

2. My husband and sister-in-law have both won Teacher of the Year Awards and I have not, even though I have taught in my school longer than they have taught in theirs. *sniff*

3. I teach first grade and one year when we were studying money, one of my students brought in two Sacajawea golden dollars to show the class.  He put them on his tongue when I wasn't looking and closed his mouth.  When I saw that something was in his mouth, I asked him what it was and he tried to show me.  One of the golden dollars came out but he accidentally swallowed the other one and had to go to the ER.  The next day he brought in x-rays of the golden dollar in his stomach. 

4. I gave birth to both of my children naturally without drugs.  It wasn't the plan, but I have scoliosis and they couldn't get the epidural in.

5. I am a die hard Twilight fan but I hide the books from my 7 year old because I don't want her to know.

6. Growing up, my sisters called me "the milkman's kid" because I am the middle child of three girls and I have stick straight hair while both of my sisters have curly hair.

7. I met Handsome Hubby through my online graduate program.  The rest of our group members (who were all also teachers, hmph) totally left us with all of the work in a group project so we had a lot of "quality time" working together and got to know each other fairly well before ever meeting in person.

Well, kids... there you have it!  I want to lovingly bestow this award upon a few blogs that I recently discovered and really enjoy and I can't wait to see what creative things they come up with (and if I can guess the truth!):

Sonshine at Sonshine Thoughts 
Steph at maybe genius
Wendy Ramer at On 'n On 'n On
Alyson at May Day Writer

Christine at Christine's Journey sent me this Prolific Blogger award.  A prolific blogger 'is one who is intellectually productive...keeping up an active blog that is filled with enjoyable content.'  I'm not sure how intellectually productive things are 'round here lately but I will try to give you a smile when I can. :)  Thanks, Christine! 

And Sonshine thinks I am a Sugar Doll!!!  Which I clearly am.  I think.  Wait, I don't know what a Sugar Doll is.  But it sounds sweet and cute and southern, doesn't it?  So I'll happily be it.  Well, except for the southern part, because, you know, I live in New Jersey.  Which is pretty much not southern by any stretch of the imagination.  But I hear southern life is slower and sweeter and kinder than the crazy northeast, so that can't be a bad thing at all.    OH, and WAIT... you HAVE to go to her blog RIGHT NOW (just click on her handy dandy colorful name up yonder... that's me, practicing being southern) and look at her Creepy Cute Crocheted Creations.  Because you will be so entranced that you will join me in whining at her until she creates an Etsy shop that I can completely buy out.  Got it?  Go.  NOW.

Thank you for the lovely awards, ladies, and I very much appreciate having something to post as I haven't had a chance to WRITE anything of substance in about two weeks (*sob*), unless you count that 134 word tiny little spew of writing that was in my head all day at work one day until I could finally come home and add it to my WiP.  But guess what?  Next week will rock my writerly socks, because with all of our crazy snow days, none of us in this four-different-school-house have the same spring break days off.  So I will have the house all to myself on Monday and Tuesday and since I just did a bunch of cleaning, I can focus on WRITING, yippeeee!  (Ok, and I will still probably clean more because I need to).  But still!  Yippee!

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Villainy: A Very Hairy Subject

If you were wondering exactly which beard length your villain needs, which... pfft... I know you were... here is a handy guide.  You can thank me in your Newbery speech.

My hubby sent this to me from Digg. :)  He's not only handsome, but funny.  Am I am lucky girl or what? :D

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Make a Joyful Noise, It's a Massive Contest!

Southern Princess is hosting a mega contest for reaching 100 followers!  There are books!  There are bags!  There are Twizzlers!  It's insane.  She means contest business.  CLICK HERE to enter and tell her I sent ya!

New Beginnings

It's been a difficult winter around here.  Several friends had family members pass away, some very unexpectedly.  We had what seemed like 89 feet of snow and then the ground was so saturated with that melting that the recent hurricane weather had massive trees coming up at the roots all over town and flooding everywhere.  Road closures have doubled my drive time to work.  A few of my parents and students at school have been a lot to handle.  And then our school budget got mercilessly axed.  We don't know yet what the repercussions will be with jobs, programs, materials.


Today is the first day of spring.  And it is SPRINGY.  73 and sunny.  Insanely gorgeous.  I have taken deep breaths and let stressful things settle.  I am grateful that we did not have much snow or storm damage.  I am grateful that most of my students and parents are absolutely lovely, and I do love what I do every day.  I am grateful that I have a job, whether it's a job with bigger classes and fewer materials, it's a job.  I have vented and I have calmed down.  We fought a good fight and we lost, now we will move on and make the best of what comes along.

One of my best friends just brought her baby home after she was born very premature and very sick, and she is getting better and stronger every day.  I got to see her for the first time last weekend and she is tiny, but it was the first day that she did not have to be on oxygen all day.  She is doing great. 

One of my good friends and colleagues is moving to London in a few weeks to start a whole new life adventure.  I am sad that she is going but so thrilled for her, what an exciting time!

So new beginnings are abounding and looking as promising as ever.  Today Handsome Hubby and the girls went to visit his parents and sister for a really fun picnic in the park with fried chicken and bike riding and all things springy and wonderful.  I am going out to celebrate with a friend later, but before that, I have a little time to myself in which to GIVE THIS HOUSE A SEVERE SPRING CLEANING BEATDOWN.  It's rare to have alone time in the house to show it who's boss.  Time to open the windows and mercilessly fling things into bags for Goodwill, the Lupus Society, the Vets, whomever wants it.  Whatever aggression I have left can be put to good use. ;)

So now you can come back again and not worry that I am going to depress you with tales of woe (unless they are good writery ones).  Hope you are all experiencing some new beginnings of your own. 

Happy Spring!

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Happier News

My latest news is depressing as all hell.  This news is much happier.  CLICK HERE to enter Beth Revis' most awesomest contest ever because SHE GOT A BOOK DEAL!!! :D

When Governors Attack

I know it's been quiet around here lately.  I am currently trying to take in the 85% reduction in state aid to the school district where I live and the 71% reduction in state aid in the school district where I teach.  $7 million dollars in cuts where I teach.  There is no way that jobs and programs can survive these cuts.  This, after our union already made an unprecendented move two weeks ago to open our already negotiated contract and accept a partial pay freeze next year instead of our contracted raises to help save our district money in order to protect jobs and programs.  This is all the brainchild of our governor, Chris Christie, who has been in office for all of 8 weeks, who constantly demonizes teachers and public education, and whose own children go to private school.

I am in awe, really.  We already pay the highest property taxes in the nation here in NJ (my taxes are insane) and taxes will have to go up to help make up for some of the loss in school funding.  The loss in school funding that  equals the end of programs and the loss of jobs, fewer materials, fewer teachers, larger classes.  Our schools are top notch.  Not for long.  People move here for the schools.  They pay these ridiculous taxes for the schools.  They move away to cheaper states when their kids graduate because the taxes are no longer benefitting their families.  So now... if our schools decline, property values decline.  All the while, taxes continue to go up.  People will move out of NJ in droves.

This plan is a horrendous one.  It is like the domino effect from hell.  It's very sad.  Tonight the district where I work is having a Board Meeting to go over the new preliminary budget with the cuts.  I couldn't attend because I had to be home with my children and running one to dance class and so on, but it is with a heavy heart that I will head into school tomorrow to hear the damage.  We have already lost all of our instructional aides, and last year they consolidated our 9 first grades in my school into 8.  We don't have a lot of wiggle room to give back and now we are being forced to reduce $7 million in one fell swoop.

I just don't feel much like writing. :(

Monday, March 15, 2010

And the Winner Is...

Wow, that was a lot of entries to put into (187)!  Totally fun, though, I'm so glad that so many of you played along and I loved reading how dangerous you all are!  I wish I knew you all in "real life" because you sound really fun to hang out with and you all made me giggle. :)  Thank you for playing with me!

So let's get to it!  The winner of Lips Touch, Mockingjay preorder, and my all time favorite hilarious movie about a frustrated writer that I wish I could share with ALL of you, Throw Momma From the Train, is...

True Random Number ServiceList Randomizer
There were 187 items in your list. Here they are in random order:
1.Kelly @ JustWrite

Congratulations, Kelly!!!  Please shoot me an email at MaddestHatter(at)Verizon(dot)net with your address so I can have Amazon ship your goodies to you!  That was so much fun, can't wait to "contest" with all of you again!

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Contest Ends Tomorrow!

Tomorrow, loves, be the Ides of March.  (Methinks I should fear this day, seeing as Friday was a reeeeeally difficult day at work and I know there will be residual badness tomorrow, just hopefully not much.)  So I hope to turn someone's bad luck around by giving you stuff!  If you have not entered my contest yet, there is still time!  Click on the link over there ----> on the top right.  Have fun and good luck all!

I Hoard Other Stuff, Too

So you know that I am an award hoarder.  I am trying to break the cycle.  It's tough, but I recently received two absolutely lovely awards and without further ado, here they are:

Michelle Gregory at Beautiful Chaos sent this one my way.  I love her blog, and this award makes me giggle, because I am currently sitting on my bed with the laptop on my lap, dressed in a green hooded sweatshirt from my husband's high school's baseball team (the high school where he teaches, not where he went... that would admittedly be worse), and blue starry soft pajama pants.  My hair is in a pink terry ponytail that belongs to one of my daughters.  I also recently thought to myself that I am like the "before" in a mom makeover.  But it's cool.  I'm a happy girl and I don't worry too much about being stylish... apparently it comes effortlessly, hehe. ;)  Michelle, on the other hand, has the most beautiful (stylish) peacock header and even managed to use a beautiful photo when writing about hitting the god forsaken writing wall.  Go take a look!

This one is from Jen at Unedited, who received this award herself for good reason; her blog is happy and positive and she likes to use multiple exclamation points. :)  I love the design of her blog, it's very mod, which you know, is awesome if you want to be Emma Peel like I do.  Jen just posted a review of the new Alice in Wonderland movie that actually made me want to go see it, even though... well, if you read my last post, you know.  Thanks, Jen!

As usual, I am bucking the award system of rules and regulations and just want to say a giant thank you to those two very gracious ladies whose blogs I love to read and you should, too. Anyone who wants them is welcome to take them, because all of you rock and I hate trying to choose.

Here's one fact about me, though.  Along with awards, I hoard my children's things.  The crawl space in my basement is slowly but surely getting filled with bins and bins full of little girl clothing that I can't bear to get rid of.  As Tootsie Roll grows out of clothes, they get saved for Curly Jones, but when CJ grows out of them... I am so attached, I can't bear to give them up.  Isn't that weird for someone who is not really all that stylish?  I don't know why I save them all.  I think it's because we had a house fire when I was in high school that destroyed a lot of our childhood things and I'm strangely attached to my children's things.  CJ is only two, so I guess as she gets older and the clothes go from "Oh that's so adorable" to "Meh", maybe I'll be less anal and give them away.  I know my hubby hopes so. 

I am also attached to their toys.  I do give a lot of those away, along with their bouncers and swing and all of that stuff that we are resoundly done using.  I have a wonderful, close friend who has a daughter TR's age and two girls under two, so I am more than happy to pass things on to her.  Today I have been trying to weed out more of the babyish toys once more and put the ones I want to save in bins (more bins!).  Some will go to my friend, some will go to the Lupus Foundation for their curbside pickup.  Also, the little trinkety McDonald's toys and stuff of TR's gets moved out - I swoop in and collect that stuff when she forgets about it and put it in my prize bin at school.  First graders love that stuff.  Sometimes I feel badly sending my crap home with someone else (my prize bin is a mix of new stuff and things I step on in the playroom; my kiddies at school are well aware and couldn't care less, as long as they can get their hands on that light-up Avatar figure or the little Snow White mirror that plays an annoying song), but I know that all of their parents must have crap depositories, too, be it the trash can, recyle bin, donations, whatever.

So today I was trying to weed out toys but of course this is a hard thing to accomplish because the kids cannot see you put their beloved completely forgotten but NEW FAVORITE toy into The Bag.  That's when I turned to HH, Clerks style, and said, "They weren't even supposed to be here today!"  Storm, 2.  Lindsey: 0.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Dangerous with an SUV!

Tonight, Handsome Hubby and I had planned a date night.  We were going to drive Tootsie Roll and Curly Jones to my mom's house (about an hour and 15 mins away), visit with her, my sister and her husband were going to stop by too, then we were going to leave the girls to stay overnight (Curly Jones' first overnight... I remember being a basketcase on Tootsie Roll's first overnight, but I guess that's a first child/second child thing, and also a "my second child is not nearly the drama queen that my first is" thing).  We haven't seen my mom since Christmas, which is an unusual amount of time, but she doesn't live close enough to visit on school/work nights and our weekends have been full of Saturday dance classes and Sunday field hockey clinics and birthday parties and SNOW.  So we were all set to head on down 95 to Philly with Girl Scout cookies in tow (along with Curly Jones' potty and half of our belongings).  And then. There. Was. Rain.
(not a shot from our actual rain, but it could have been)
We're not talking pittery pattery pretty spring is arriving rain.  We're talking ah crud there's water coming in the basement rain and uh oh I just watched our neighbor's tree crack and fall rain and whoa baby it can rain sideways rain.  Tootsie Roll's dance studio lost power so class was cancelled and we ran errands (oh yeah, um, maybe we should buy Easter dresses errands) and we literally could not walk in a straight line to the car because the wind was pushing us around.  Wait... how come no one told us a Nor'easter was coming?  So we still weren't getting too crazed about it.  Yeah.  No one told us we were going to be having 70mph winds and 3 inches of rain in one day (up to 5 forecasted by tomorrow).  Thanks, weatherpersons.  Your Doppler 10 Millions are very impressive.  Next time, you may wish to tell us that a roof could blow off of a building not too far from here before it actually does.

(Bolaris, I've done Toys for Tots with you.  Could you not have warned me?  Glenn Hurricane Schwartz would not have used me and thrown me away like that)

So, naively unphased, we wanted to leave around 2 for my mom's, but ended up leaving closer to 4:30 due to Curly Jones' late nap and Handsome Hubby having to cut out part of the basement drywall to shop vac the water coming in.  The lights were flickering.  I figured we were going to lose power, so the girls would be better off at my mom's anyway.  We got in the car and started off, dodging potted plants from our front stairs that the wind decided to use as ammunition.  A few minutes later, HH called and said that he had the leak under control and if I wanted to come back for him, he'd come with us.  That got a resounding YES.

A few minutes later, HH in tow, we started again.  This time we made it about 5 minutes down the main road of our town (we live in a small borough), past huge amounts of fallen branches and giant trees that had literally uprooted from the soaked ground and fallen completely over, taking whole sections of sidewalk with them.  We saw trees in front yards, trees that had hit houses, trees everywhere.  We were stopped by the sight of police cars and a bunch of maybe 3 giant oak trees that had come down across the entire main road, pulling all of the power lines with them. 

So we decided to try another way.  We turned around and went back and down a smaller road.  This time we ran into a flooded lake.  We live in a very quiet suburban area that is heavily wooded.  Trees and lakes are everywhere, and drainage is not always the best.  This particular lake decided to pour itself across the road that we were on.  No biggie, I thought, and very slowly began to drive my SUV through it.  Not often traveling this road, I didn't realize that it dipped at this spot.  We ended up fording a flooded road with water up to the SUV doors.  Oops.  Fortunately, we made it to the other side of the flooded part and back onto the road.  Whew!  We kept on driving and saw that, of course, the road was blocked at the other end so that cars could not come down (why it wasn't blocked on our end is a good question, but roads were being closed everywhere, they probably just hadn't gotten to that one yet).

In this very roundabout way, we finally got to the next main road, the one that would take us to 95.  Sadly, the number of emergency vehicles that flew past us was a foreboding sign of the closure ahead of that road as well.  We turned back but the road back to our house was now closed.

So we used our trusty GPS to try smaller roads.  I ended up driving over tree branches, under a downed wire, over a downed wire (HH assured me they were cable or fiber wires, not electrical ones).  We had to turn around more than 10 times on smaller roads for downed trees in the road.  Many of these roads are dangerous on a good day because they have ravines on either side or random small rivers and lakes on the sides, which today, were flooding all over the place.  Several of these roads really do not have space for an SUV to turn around.  I thought we were going to end up in a ditch full of water on more than one occasion.

When we finally found a road that allowed us to get back home, all of the traffic lights were out (which did not bode well for our power at home) and it was still pouring and getting dark and impossible to see downed trees until we were practically on top of them.  On this last road, we literally drove around about 8 huge downed trees - luckily there was room to get by them, either on our side or by swerving entirely over to the oncoming traffic side of the road.  When we moved to our town, we called this long stretch of road through a tall forest of trees the Fairy Tale Forest, because it's often foggy and full of deer and silver foxes in the road.

The children, all the while, were remarkably well behaved... eventually.  Tootsie Roll was cranky that we weren't going to get to Nana's and then decided to try to help us navigate.  When HH told her nicely to can the Backseat Driverdom, she decided to go to sleep.  Curly Jones wailed for a while about not getting to see Nana because she really didn't understand why we were on our way and then... not.  Then she wailed because "I HAVE TO GO POTTY!" and although we had had a pull-up on her for the drive, she didn't want to go in it.  She's been doing great with potty training for a solid month or two now and hardly ever has accidents.  But we kept telling her it was ok to do it, and when she finally did, she was delighted enough to sing about it for a while.  Until we drove over a giant tree branch that flipped up and hit her window and she decided to sing about that instead.

In the end, we were able to get home about two hours after we left, although we never made it more than maybe five miles from home.  The power was on.  We were, as we always are during crazy storms, grateful that we always keep up with yearly tree service and that we had a few cut down and others cabled this past summer, because we have more than enough trees and we really don't need them in the house.  (On a side note, I hate having to cut down trees, and I always fight to keep them - I'm like the Lorax, I speak for the trees! - when the tree guy comes.  I'm always like, "Really?  But it looks fine!" and HH is always like, "Lindsey, see how it's growing this way or leaning that way or has giant carpenter ant holes in it?  Yeah, that's bad.")  HH discovered by taking out a chunk of the basement drywall that the leak is actually coming in the seal where the water pipe goes out through the cinderblock in the basement and down into the ground.  So he will be able to clean it and reseal it and fix the drywall and best of all THERE IS NO MOLD.  So, craziness abounds, but silver linings prevail.

Oh, EXCEPT - this was the third date night that HH and I have had to cancel!  We only get to go on "dates" a few times a year, because you know how it is with work and kids and life.  Our last plans were cancelled by a sitter cancellation, SNOW, and now Mad Crazy NJ Hurricane.  And we had pre-bought tickets to see Alice in Wonderland in IMAX 3D!  So bummer on that, even though we are going to try again in two weeks.  I kinda expect to hate it... seeing as Alice has always been my most favorite book EVER, and Tim Burton has really annoyed me lately, and I'm not a huge Johnny Depp or Helena Bonham Carter fan and REALLY, TIM, DO YOU KNOW ANY OTHER ACTORS?  (Oops, that's another post)... but I'm willing to give it a shot. :)

By the way... I LOVED reading all of your comments about the sunflowers!!!  I had something to post in response today but, you know.  The weather and my dangerosity got in the way, as they will do.

By the way 2... Pre-teen boy who knocked on our door today in the midst of Hurricane of Doom to hand us a handmade flyer... I hope you found your poor kitty Romulus. This was not a good day to be a lost kitty. :(

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Children of the Sun

I posted recently that I hate sunflowers.  My darling Hannah posted this picture and now understands the hella creepiness that is a field of the suckers.  Note that the flowers are people.  Be afraid.

AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH!  Right?  So... what is happening in this picture?  *Raising my own hand, waving it furiously*  IknowIknowIknow.... this guy has to continue playing the violin until his broken, bleeding fingers can no longer support the bow, because as soon as the music stops, they are going to eat him.  You know I'm right.

This picture makes me feel like I can't breathe.

And then I found these HOLY CRAP pictures on Flickr of creepy dolls in a sunflower patch. 
Because you know that is where creepy dolls are born.

If I ever want to write horror, here is my instant idea factory. 

By the way, there is a Facebook group called "Huge, EVIL sunflowers scare the freaking CRAP out of me!"  (their emphasis with large caps). Better believe I am a member.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010


I'm baaaaaaaaaack... :)  Didja miss me?   I'll tell ya what, I don't think I've ever been that sick in my entire life.  Not pretty.  It took every one of us down, one day at a time.  No gory details, because... ick.  I'm still pretty tired.  It hasn't been a full week yet and although I am feeling good, I definitely don't have my usual level of energy, probably because I'm just now getting my appetite back.  And when you spend your days fending off teaching six year olds, it pretty much takes full energy (phasers on STUN), which has left nothing but an empty shell of Lindsey in the evenings.  One who does not write.  Or blog.  One who sleeps.

AND one who reads!  When you don't have the energy to do much else, you have a great excuse to read.  A lot of times, my reading sadly goes by the wayside because I have other important jobs to do like marking papers of cleaning toilets or fancy stuff like that.  (It's ok to be jealous.)  So this week, I actually got to read When You Reach Me and Lips Touch.  Both!  In one week!  Which, ya know, is a feat when you have a job and kids and a house and a dog and Brownie patches to sew.  I don't really write reviews on this blog, mainly because that feels like work and you can't make me work here in my bloggy playground.  But I truly enjoyed both books in their completely different genres and styles.

Guess what else?  When you're sick for a while and you haven't had the energy or a clear enough head to write so your novel is sitting but you catch up on blogs sometimes, you lose a little bit of the steam you had for your work and you start to overthink all of the brilliant writing advice out there in blogland.  Of which there is much.  Now, don't get me wrong.  I am grateful for advice.  I am a beginner, and I will take advice and some of it will stick and some of it will not (I am the Advice Sieve) and some of it really makes me think.  So advice is not a bad thing by any means.  But it can be overwhelming.

So when I took a break from all of the advice and did a bunch of novel reading, something warm and fuzzy began to grow like a fire before me and I stuck my hands out to warm them by it because it went a little something like this:


I laughed when I read these novels because they gave me a revelation.   Because When You Reach Me is crazy.  It jumps tenses and characters and uses the same word twice in several sentences and toward the end calls one character He and You interchangeably, and often within the same sentence.  It spits in the face of a whole lot of conventional writing advice and it works.  Because, for this particular story, it makes sense.

And Lips Touch?  Whoa baby, the language in this book is so lyrical and lovely, I could live in it.  But guess what Laini Taylor does?  She uses an omnipotent narrator.  The narrator can tell you what several different characters are thinking and feeling, sometimes switching back and forth within the same chapter or on the same page.  (The horror!) And she does loads of telling instead of showing.  She tells thousands of years of backstory.  Chapters of it.  And guess what? It also works.  Because, for these particular stories, it makes sense.  And she has three prologues in that one book.  Rock on witcha bad prologues, babe.  I love her.

Newbery Award winning book.  National Book Award finalist book.  Completely bucking convention... not for the hell of it, but because it works.

So of course all of this reading has inspired me to get back to my writing but I am still feeling exhausted.  (You can probably tell by the complete babblefest that is this post.)  But spring break is coming and since my kids have school when my school is out (and vice versa), I will have some time soon.  And I'm going to shake off some of the "this is how you should be doing things" and just write. :)  (Talk to me again in revisions, but that is a million miles away!)

If you haven't entered my contest yet, it ends March 15 - CLICK HERE TO ENTER.  Good luck!

Friday, March 5, 2010

Dante Forgot One

There must be a level of Hell called Stomach Flu. 

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

My Name is Lindsey and I Hoard Awards.

The first step to recovery is admitting that you have a problem, right?  Ok.  Then I'm on the right track.  It's true, I hoard awards.  Why?  Well, see...  I love the part where I get to tell you about the person who gave me the award, because that's really fun.  And then comes the part where I have to do the obligatory thing that goes with the award, which is usually tell you X amount of interesting little stories about myself.  I'm ok with that, even though I don't always think they're super interesting, but here's what happened.  I got this award one day, I think it was a few weeks ago, and I was busy posting something else, so I held onto it.  Then, two days later, another award came along, and I was all, "Cool!  You guys are so nice!  And, hey, I can combine the lists of interesting things about me and just write one award post!"  Well, it all kinda snowballed after that and... let's just say I suck at award posts and I apologize for not getting to some of these for ages, but I'm really appreciative of your thoughtfulness in sending these awards my way, because you guys are all the super nicest.  The funniest part is that the awards kept coming and every single one was different!  Which made my heart smile. So, without further ado...

The Superior Scribbler Award came from the absolutely lovely V.R. Barkowski at A Writer's Blog.  First of all, go to her blog right now and check out her wonderful post about doors.  It's full of inspiration, quotes, and beautiful pictures of fascinating doorways that I would just love to go through in either real life or in a story.  I love it.  You know what else?  She is queen of challenges and contest posts.  No joke. 
Thank you, V.R.!!!

The Happy 101 Award came from my bestest Prologue Pal, Roxy, over at A Woman's Write.  Listen, my hearts, Roxy is awesomeness personified.  I just love her.  Aside from the fact that she is a mom of 6 and still sane, she is always happy and funny and inspirational.  In fact, I adore her so much that I have made a pocket-sized version of her that I call Poxy.  No, you can't have it.  But you can check out her current blog post, entitled Poetry Nerd Alert! (Or Dreams, Darth Vader Without Pants, and My Muse Daniel Craig.)  See why I love her?  You will, too.

The beautiful From Me to You Award is from Christine at Christine's Journey. Christine is full of surprises.  You'll see on her blog that she is very serene and she is one of the most modest people I have ever "met".  But don't let her fool you.  Christine busts out with fabulous snippets of her WiP (brave soul!) and every now and then her inner wild child comes out and she tells about driving really expensive cars reeeeeeeeally fast.  Christine writes very thoughtful and honest posts about how The Writing is going.  She's a good scribe of the roller coaster that we're all latched into.  And she just won a super cool piece of art, but I'll let you journey over to her site to see it!

The Sunshine Supportive Award is from Jemi at Just Jemi. Jemi writes romantic mysteries AND steampunk.  Seriously?  Yeah.  She is a girl of many talents.  Plus she's a teacher, like me, so that just adds to her cool cred.  She's Canadian, which I'll let slide (lol, kidding).  Her posts can make you giggle, and they can be very touching.  I'm seriously waiting for her to post a bit of a steampunk WiP, because I'm still not sure I understand what that genre is.

The Blogger Buddie Award (awwwww!) is from Nicole at One Significant Moment at a Time.  Nicole leaves great comments. (I mean, come on, you can tell by the award that she is a sweetheart).  Nicole posts "Teaser Tuesdays" so there are always new and fun pieces of writing to read over there.  Nicole's recent post about memories of a friend makes me wish I had been there to hang out with them.  You will see that she's one cool cat.  Oh, and congrats to Nicole is at the 100 Follower (and counting!) mark and having a contest like me!  Go enter!

The Honest Scrap Award is from Hannah at Musings of a Palindrome.  She wins for her blog title alone. :)  She just hit 50 posts, yearbooked herself, wrote about her own writing demons, and posted the funniest music video about plants vs. zombies, like, pretty much ever.  Even though I hate sunflowers and think that they are way scarier than zombies.  I mean, have you ever seen a field of sunflowers?  *shudder*  It's like Children of the Corn out there.  But I digress.

Ok, these last two came today, so I have not been hoarding them!  I swear!

The Blogger Purrfection Award is from Tara at Feel of Something New.
She also posts snippets, which I love, and her current WiP includes Russian Traffickers!  Which is soooo dangerous, they'd fit right in over here.  She is querying now.... wish her luck!!!

FINALLY, look at this gorgeous Sunshine Award from Shelley at Stories in the Ordinary!  How can you not love that with spring around the corner?  I could really stand to dig out from under all this snow and see some lovely, vibrant colors like that.  Shelley posts this really neat series, "Stories from Strangers", in which she gets writing ideas from real-life chance enounters.  The ones she has posted so far are fantastic, she has really turned these chance meetings into thought-provoking and emotional short stories.  Shelley also leaves great comments.  I love hearing from her!

So there you have it, kids!  I was hoarding EIGHT awards.  That's almost as good as the sentence I wrote that had EIGHT commas in it! :D  So in keeping with the totally random theme of EIGHT, here are EIGHT things about me that you probably didn't know:

1. I love mod clothes (seriously, go visit ).  I want to be Emma Peele.  For real.

2. My cell phone ring is "Lie Lie Lie" by Serj Tankian.  It was the theme song to a very short-lived horror anthology show called Fear Itself that aired on NBC in 2008/09.  Each episode was an hour long mini horror movie directed by a different horror movie director.  Handsome Hubby and I loved it.  And then it went away after 13 episodes.  Bummer.

3. We have never hired a babysitter for Tootsie Roll or Curly Jones.  That means 7 years of either asking family to watch the kids (and no one is closer than an hour and a half away) or not going out.  I have no idea why.  I think it's time to find a sitter, LOL.

4. I have totaled about five cars in my day.  You might say I was a reckless driver but I maintain that most of the accidents were not my fault, like the one in which my car got totalled while parked in front of my house while we were sleeping.  When I switched from red cars to my current black one, the curse ended.  Just sayin'.

5. My first jobs were Dairy Queen (I can make a perfect ice cream cone), working as an aide at a special needs school (where I met one of my best friends ever), and Mall Survey Girl.  Sadly, I had to wear the short skirts that I wore to get people to answer my surveys (yes, it was a dark time) to the school as well since I went from one job to the other.  And I rode public transportation to get there.  I can't say I'm proud of it.  But I got a lot of surveys.  :)

6. I once had to break into my high school to break friends out who fell asleep during a play rehearsal and got locked in. 

7. I once kissed a boy in a graveyard.

8. I ate gum off the floor once.  But I can explain.  (I was in a monologue play, so I was the only one onstage.  I played a cocaine hotline operator who had a rather nasty pill habit herself.  The entire monologue was spent on the phone, so after I chomped my gum for a bit, I had to take it out and stick it on a pill bottle.  It never fell off during rehearsal, but it did during the play, and I couldn't leave it there for stage crew or the next monologue actress to step on.  The only thing to do  in character was to pop it back in and chomp as I walked offstage.  I also chopped my hair and dyed it platinum blonde for the role.  Not the best look for me.)

Ok.  I would love to pass these on, but I honestly think that searching my friends to try to figure out who doesn't have what award would take until next Tuesday, and you all deserve all of them anyway, so please.  Take them.  Love them and squeeze them and call them Punkin.  Or put them on your blog.  :)

Thank you for the awards!  Next time I do this, put me on that show, Hoarders...

The Dreadest WiSP

Crud.  I have a WiSP.  A wisp of a new idea that I love, but actually short for Wait a Second, Please because I need to not be distracted from my current story.  I wrote it all down but now she's nagging me.

Go away, WiSPy.  I shall tend to you later...