Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Um.... September Fools!

Ok, so you blinked and I changed my template back to the old one.  I'm not a superstitious soul, but I have seriously been in a writing funk since I changed my template a few weeks ago.  Seriously.  It has absolutely nothing to do with the fact that I don't even sit down at my writing desk until after a full day of teaching, picking up kids, dinner, homework, baths, if we're lucky a little playtime, reading, bedtimes, laundry... you name it.  Because, really, everyone else's life is super busy, too.  So clearly it was the new template, right?

So anyway, here we are kids, back to the old, and it feels like a pair of comfortable shoes. Ahhhhhh.  Yes, the text is squished, I guess it's a necessary evil.  And we're all about evil over here at Le Dangerous, anyway, so rock on.

SPEAKING OF EVIL...  two exciting things going on to get my stagnant and algae-covered writing juices flowing!!!  Join me if you will for... Horror at Hannah's , a flash fiction horror contest, woooooo!
(Don't ask me why my button is not working, just click on the text link above while I fret)


which is a challenge to blog each and every day in October (before the soul crushing NaNo begins in November!  By the way, NaNo's 2010 site launch goes live by the end of this week!  GAAAHHH!) 
So now I have no excuses not to be writing.  (Especially now that my broken molar is fixed and I am once again able to savor delicious, idea-inducing chocolate!)  Right?  RIGHT?!?!?!  K, kids... see ya there!

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

So..... What's New?

Hey happy blog readers. :)  It's good to dip a toe in over here.  This month has been crazy with getting all 4 of us back into the swing in our respective schools, Back to School Nights, Girl Scout camp, dance starting (Curly Jones' first year!  Tootsie Roll is an old pro), and Tootsie Roll's birthday.  Which meant I had to clean the house so family could come over.  I do think I should make a monthly family party mandatory in my home, it really would make me scrub a lot more often.  :) 

Tootsie Roll turned 8 today (HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO MY BEAUTY CUTIE!) and it has been festivity central, including this out-of-this-world Greek Goddess cake created by my multitalented sister in law:

Here were Tootsie Roll and Curly Jones on party day:

It's pretty rare that they dress alike, so I had to have plenty of pictures.  For posterity.  And perhaps future blackmail. :)

Nothing is new on the writing front.  Sadly, I reread the WiP that has been lingering listlessly in its infancy over there on the right with a totally stagnant status bar, and I have pretty much lost interest in it.  I mean, I think it has potential, but it is lacking in voice.  It's going to need to be started over and I don't have the energy to revive it just now.  I do have a little wisp of a new idea dancing around in my head.  I think I may just write a scene or two that are bouncing around in my brain and see what happens.  I don't have anything plotted out yet, but I have found that plotting before writing is my worst enemy.  I am better at going with the flow because I tend to plot too hard and overanalyze and overwhelm myself right out of writing the thing.  We'll see what happens... October may be a better writing month once school routines are settled as they are becoming.  I'd love to take a real crack at NaNo, but November is hard because of all the school assessments and conferences and we host Thanksgiving.  50,000 words is hard in a good month, lol, and November is not a good writing month.  But never say never... so I'll say we'll see instead.

Otherwise, I am hearing from some of the people who know me well that this new blog layout is not me and they want the old one back.  Ha!  I am sort of feeling that, too... I like that I have more writing space and I've tried this new one to help me out of my writing funk, but it doesn't fit me as nicely as my old one did.  So you may see the return of the striped socks soon.  We'll see about that, too. :)

Anyway, I taught my first graders to use periods as stop signs at the end of sentences today, so at least someone is writing productively! ;) 

Monday, September 20, 2010

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Exhausted but Happy Dancing!

This weekend was Tootsie Roll's first overnight camping trip with her Brownie troop, so they asked all the moms to go along, too.  Totally enjoyable, we had the best time, canoeing, hiking, cooking, sleeping in a YURT (best word ever... it looks like this:)
Absolutely perfect weather, and great quality time with my big girl.  I am now exhausted and just finished my lesson plans for the week, but before I hit the hay (to get the decent night's sleep I missed last night, lol), I have to share some big, exciting news!

Tootsie Roll has been selected as one of three children from her third grade class (along with, I imagine, some kids from the other 3 third grade classes) to get pulled out of her Language Arts period once a week for a Poetry Enrichment class.  They made their selections based on teacher recommendations and early writing samples.  It was pretty funny, she brought home this very official letter addressed to us that explained the program and we had to go over it with her (it basically said that it's pretty rigorous work, miss two assignments and you're out, plus you have to make up the LA work you miss in class) and we all had to sign it, her included.  I think she thought she was in trouble until we read it because no one had told her what it was, poor kid!

WOOHOO for my talented little writer!  I am so proud of her!  (And I didn't even know this program existed in her school, so rock on!)

Monday, September 13, 2010

Flash Fiction Fun

Here is the flash fiction I entered in Rebecca's contest.  It's the first one I ever wrote, so I am loving her for kicking me into high ff gear with the possibilities of owly goodness (which are now coming my way, woooot!).  Anyway, I wrote it while Handsome Hubby was away, and it was 2am, and I couldn't sleep.  And my love of flash fiction was born.  *swoon*  Anyway. :)  She gave a variety of prompts to choose from, and I chose Be Glad That Your Neighbor Isn't a Cannibal.  How awesome is she?  So anyway.  Here it is.

Different palates appeal to different people. It’s only natural. Some people don’t like anchovies. Some people love to mix peanut butter and chocolate. Some people are vegetarians. I guess you could call me a humanitarian.

Evil tastes good. Oh come on, it may be crass, but it’s just so spicy. Tangy. Tasty. Good people just taste bland. Back when my tastes moved toward people, I started with homeless, runaways… people who wouldn’t be missed. When I became more skilled, I told myself it was only right to consume those who brought darkness to the world. Yeah, it was my way of rationalizing a bad habit, like an alcoholic. But when the glossy Shady Acres mailing arrived yesterday… oh, it was just too easy. So much evil. Old, slow evil that has marinated for so long… Acres and acres of shady folks with their guards down…


Living here has been good for me. Shady Acres is… an “active adult community” (chuckle) not exactly the type of place you’d expect to find someone like me, but I guess that’s part of its draw. There comes a point in life, when you get to my age, where the legacy that you have worked a lifetime to build becomes too heavy a mantle. When you no longer have the energy or the desire to dye your hair or trudge around in fur coats, but after creating that persona, you can’t exactly throw it all away by showing up at the local SafeWay in sweatpants. Excuse the dramatics, but if you haven’t walked in my shoes, I can only compare the weight of carrying a legacy to the burden of Atlas. At some point, you just want to let the gray hair grow and sit around in slippers drinking tea rather than chasing fool puppies.

The best thing about Shady Acres is that once you’re in, you’re in. If you can get your application past this board, you are certified, bona fide evil. Your place is permanently etched in villainry, which means that you don’t have to go proving yourself to anyone else in here. We’ve got that hag with the poisoned apple, the fella who rode round Sleepy Hollow waving his head around, you name it. And none of us traipses around in our old fool villainous getups or puts on a show. We look more like early bird time at your local diner. And no one cares. Like I said. We’ve all made it. Nothing to prove, and no energy left to prove anything, anyway.

I remember you, you’re that crazy dalmation lady. With the name – De Mille? De Ville? The director or the car, I forget. Doesn’t matter. Anyone who skins puppies has to have the spice I’m looking for. This real estate lady here, showing me around, is pointing to each house and telling me who lives there, but what I’m hearing is each brand of evil and what I’m seeing is a buffet – but instead of veal, lamb, chicken, it’s theft, murder, and… whatever you’d call skinned puppies. I wonder for a moment if she notices the crazed look in my eye when she moves on to each tender new morsel, tempting my taste buds with one depravity after the other. But no, crazy eyes are the norm around here. I almost squeal with glee! There are a few empty houses, but they are going fast. Which perversion would you like to live next to, sir?


A week after I got the Shady Acres brochure in the mail, I put my dilapidated old castle on the market and my plan in motion. I’d only been hanging onto that place for sentimental reasons, anyway, you know? It was way too big for one person. Besides, we’re in a recession, don’t you know? The heating bills alone were ruining me. It’s not like I cared about that stupid princess anymore, but I had to keep putting on the show with the raven and the blasted horned headpiece. Did anyone really think that after 16 years, I was still hung up on not getting invited to her christening? Yes, they probably did. You cannot possibly underestimate the conceit of royalty.

It was so easy, the whole spindle thing got the princess out of the way. I have to admit, it was fun becoming the dragon after all those years of creating that image in my head for my final bow, but have they really stopped teaching princes to actually check to make sure that dragons are dead when they fall over a cliff? I mean, really. It was almost too easy to slink away while he basked in his perfectly coiffed glory and ran off to kiss her. So here I am, finally able to relax, at last.

Mmm, lobster bisque…

Sunday, September 12, 2010

The Microest of Fiction

I am pretty new at flash fiction, having written my first two pieces for contests within the past month and two others in the same month.  I love the challenge of paring down your words to the most crucial needed to tell the story.  Microfiction, on the other hand, just a sentence or two, is still too dangerous even for me. :)

So when we found out that Mo Willems is coming to our local B&N to promote Knuffle Bunny Free, the third in his ADORABLE Knuffle Bunny picture book series that Tootsie Roll and I LOVE, we were even more excited to find that two children will win autographed copies.  To enter, you must submit either an original drawing or a 50 word essay on who will be Trixie's best friend once her beloved stuffed Knuffle Bunny "goes free".

So Tootsie Roll decided to do the essay, and sat down at the computer.  She just started 3rd grade and is, of course, a ridiculously good word processor, and it helps that she can spell like a champ.  I left the room for a bit, and by the time I came back, she had written 7 pages.  SEVEN.  PAGES.  Of course, it was in some crazy font size like 36, but still.  It was a great, touching, adorable story.  I hated to explain to her that 50 words is like.... nothing,  but I told her we could edit it and give the full version to Mo when we go to his signing.  (See that, I all called him Mo, like we're BFFs).
(For the record, I am totally Han.  Mo is totes Chewy.)  So she took it to her room, and started to cross things out, and I think she took out something like 10 words on the entire first page.  Then it got quiet.  Then she came walking into my room and said, "Mom, I just counted the words, and 50 words is like... a quarter of one page" (this being in the slightly smaller size 24 font).

So we went back to square one and started writing from scratch.  Turns out 50 words is a whole 6 sentences.  Man, it was HARD to convey an idea in 6 sentences!!!  Thank goodness she is a voracious reader and a blossoming little writer, she managed 50 words on the nose.  It will probably only make sense if you have read the first 2 books, but here it is:

When Knuffle Bunny went free, TRIXIE REALIZED SOMETHING. She needed a new best friend. She went directly to her friend Sonja, who she knew would understand. Sonja’s Knuffle Bunny was missing, too! The girls set out to find the bunnies and found a best friendship instead. “Thank you,” Trixie said.

Mo is coming at 6:30pm but we have to get in line at 9am to get wristbands for the event.  For reals.  B&N is not messin' around.  GOOD LUCK, T-ROLL!!!

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Change Has Come to the Danger Zone!

Ok, go ahead, tell me how non-Dangerous my new template looks. 
Go on.  I can take it.

But remember that true danger lurks with ninjalike stealth behind a friendly facade so that no one sees it coming.  (Why do you think I am a first grade teacher by day?)

Anyway, I needed a change.  I like the modliness of this template, it relieves the squoosh that was bugging me, and if you scroll down to the video of Suzanne Collins reading from Mockingjay, you can see with what biggitude videos show up here.  Win!

(Ok, I have to get used to it.  But I like it. :) )

Change is in the Air...

Looking around for a new blog template.  I love this one, but having the text all smooshed in the middle bugs me sometimes.  I haven't found one yet that I've fallen in love with, but I guess it'll be pretty easy to figure out when I do! ;)

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Back to Life

... Back to reality, back to the here and now, oh yeah...

(Ok, if you are not 30+ like me, you probably did not just start singing along with Soul II Soul just then, but I bet a few of you did!)

School started this week, and it's kind of like when you wind up one of those little kiddie toys that walks around, and at first they walk all crazy and in circles and superfastlikethey'regoingtofalldown, then they start to slow down and straighten out. Yeah. The first days of first grade are kind of like that. ;) The kids are awesome, they are so darn cute and excited to be there, and they all want to tell you everything that has ever happened in their entire lives, meanwhile you are trying to teach them where to hang their backpacks while a new child walks in that is not even on your roster and only two children in your entire class speak English at home (although only three of my students don't speak any English). Bus numbers are mixed up, and not one kid has memorized the 85-digit lunch numbers these poor kids are given. But they are sweet and happy and ready to learn, so who can argue with that. :)

Meanwhile, my own children have started third grade and preschool, so the mountains of paperwork and preparation that comes along with those are literally sucking the numbers right off of my clock, sending me packing lunches into the wee hours after I complete my own lesson plans based on what we actually did and did not get to in the first two days.

The mega, mountainous amounts of fun I've had in the past month entering my first two blogfests (with my first two attempts at flash fiction ever) have boosted my confidence, introduced me to the absolute joy of flash fiction, and led me to many new writer blogs that I didn't know about since I slacked all summer. Now that it's Sept and our lives are totally crazy again, it's probably ironically likely that I'll get back to blogging on a much more regular basis, since everything is back to a schedule and blogging is something I try to work in since it's like a little stress reliever. Hopefully I'll hit up another blogfest soon (I know there are a million going on right now) when the windup toy begins to calm down (which, in first grade, is pretty much never, but maybe a smidge by week 2 or 3). Hope everyone is doing great, I've missed all my bloggy friends and can't wait to catch up with you again!

OH, and sidenote: MOCKINGJAY. HOLY CROW. I stayed up till 2am one night to finish it. And I cried. INSANE is that Susanne Collins. I hardly read anything over again and I could have started right back at the beginning of The Hunger Games the next day. I may have to do another whole post because I'm too beat right now to do it justice!

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

The Perfect Day

Today was our first day back at school. Which gave me a big headache, LOL. :) But yesterday was the perfect last day of summer vacation, so I am a happy girl.

I was SUPER excited to find out that my story is a finalist in Emily White's fairy tale blogfest! It is my first blogfest and I am very new at writing flash fiction, so I have a ton to learn and I could not possibly have gotten more encouraging news. :) There are five finalists and you can vote on your favorite one here.  Emily has linked the five stories but you can also go back to the post before that and read all 43 awesome entries!  You can vote until the 6th.  I think there is a pretty clear front runner, and it isn't me, but that's totally cool since just being nominated has me floating on air, so I'm not asking that you vote for me, just enjoy reading them all and vote for whatever you like.  :)

So after I got that great news, we spent the last day of vacation doing fun family things.  We took the girls to a zoo that is run by the Humane Society and is entirely populated by animals rescued from other zoos that have closed, those kept as pets that people could no longer handle (like monkeys or pot bellied pigs or 5 foot iguanas).  Each animal pen tells the story of the animals and their rescue, so it's really neat, and you get to feed most of the animals popcorn!
Then we went to the beach!  You would think, living an hour away, that we'd make it there more often, but I honestly don't think we've been there in the last 3 years.  The girls LOVED it!  What a great day!
This is me with my shell crown. I think my girls collected about 800 of these to bring home to add to our ever-growing nature collections... :)  

And then today it was back to alarm clocks and way too many meetings and such before the kiddies come on Tuesday.   Ahh, well.  I folded up my perfect day and am keeping it neatly in my pocket. :)  Have any of you had a perfect day lately?