Sunday, May 31, 2009

To Do list for June

Front bathroom (we've already replaced the tub/shower, had the drywall repaired, and pulled off the wallpaper)
1) Finish sanding the walls
2) Prime the walls
3) Paint the walls
4) Paint the baseboards and door
5) Get the floor replaced
(I actually did this myself!)

Master bedroom and bath
1) Move everything out, including furniture, and figure out where to put it (and where to sleep)
2) Get the shower replaced
3) Paint the bedroom
4) Paint the doors and the baseboards in the bathroom
5) Get the drywall around the shower repaired
6) Patch the wallpaper around the shower
(I actually painted instead)
7) Get the carpet replaced in the bathroom and bedroom
8) Get tile laid in front of the shower
(I actually did this myself!)
9) Move all the furniture back in

1) Go on a mission trip the third week
2) Refinance the mortgage to pay for the remodeling
3) Edit "finished" novel
4) Outline new novel (right now I have almost 20 pages of notes that are so jumbled they're almost incoherant)
5) Keep up with my job, the laundry, and the dishes, as well as entertain my kids who are out of school

Overwhelming? I'm trying not to think about it. Notice I wrote down the thing I did yesterday and crossed it off, even though it's not June yet. That makes me feel a tiny bit better.

I wonder how much my kids can help?? I'm not sure I trust them with the painting, so maybe not much. I think I'm going to make them take over the cooking and dishes, though, and maybe most of the laundry. That will help indirectly. :)

Saturday, May 30, 2009

My Novel

I think I might have finished my novel.

I have a couple more scenes floating in my head, but I think I'm at the point where I need to call it done and start into editing. One of the scenes will need to be worked in for foreshadowing, but the other might be unnecessary.

I'm printing the last few chapters out for my faithful reader of two years to read, and then it will be time for The Red Pen Of Doom.

I'm not sure if I'm elated or terrified.

I think I'll go watch a movie.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Star Trek, books, and other stuff

My kids are gone. The house is so quiet--it's weird.

Yesterday was the last day of school. My parents picked up my kids right after school and took them to Branson. So far (from my daughter's text messages) it seems they're having a really good time. :)

Hubby and I went to Red Lobster last night (we had a gift card), which cost over $50 with just us, so would have been $100 with the kids! Man! It's getting so expensive to go out! This is why we will remain loyal to Taco Bell for the remainder of our days. And why I will try to cook most nights, even though I get tired of it.

Tonight we're going to see Star Trek again. Hubby and I are huge fans--have been for 20 years (him longer). We've seen every episode of every series and every movie. I don't guess you would call us "hard core" fans since we don't go to conventions and stuff, but we do like the franchise.

So anyway, as fans that are almost "hard core," we loved the movie. Yeah, the time line shift changes a lot, but we felt like it worked, and the plot was in keeping with the spirit of Star Trek. (And I don't feel like that's a spoiler since it happens in the first five minutes.)

I'm in the weird position right now of reading two books I have trouble putting down. I started reading "Hearing God" by Dallas Willard first. It's a fascinating and balanced (in my opinion) look at how God communicates with humans. Then I got the e-mail from the library that they had the third Maximum Ride book for me, and I HAD to start that because the second book left me hanging in many ways.

So one of the things I will do while my kids are gone is finish two books. I suppose I should finish one before the other, but I keep going back and forth. The one book is feeding something in my soul that is hungry, but it's very academic so I have to be focused to read it. The other is something my eyes can fly over quickly and gives pure entertainment.

I love both in books. :)

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Another book

Okay, I had another experience with a book I hadn't had in a long time. This one made me cry.

Suspense and Sensibility by Carrie Bebris is the second in her series that casts Mr. & Mrs. Darcy from Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice as unsuspecting and reluctant sleuths. This time they interact with the characters from Jane Austen's Sense and Sensibility. It isn't necessary to have read the Jane Austen books to enjoy this one, or even the first in the series.

I read the first of Bebris's Darcy mystery books and reviewed it earlier in my blog. I liked this one even more.

The plot starts out with Mr. & Mrs. (Elizabeth) Darcy sponsoring Elizabeth's sister's (Kitty) first season in London. She quickly catches the attention of a young dashing heir, Harry Dashwood (introduced as a spoiled child in Sense and Sensibility), who intially worries more about the tying of his cravat than the tenants on his estate. However, the idea of settling down with a wife seems to cause him to think more seriously about the responsibilities that come with his inheritance, and he wins Mr. Darcy's support by asking his advice. Harry and Kitty become engaged, and everyone seems to approve the match except Harry's mother and an aunt who hoped her daughter would catch Harry's eye.

Soon after the engagement, however, Harry begins to act oddly, and as his behavior escalates into rudeness and debauchery it threatens everything he formerly held dear, including his fortune and his engagement. This is the mystery that Darcy and Elizabeth end up solving.

One would expect members of the ton in their situation to try to use their influence to persuade Harry to behave, and if that didn't work, to eventually encourage Kitty to break the engagement and discontinue association with the cad. However, the author does a good job of believably keeping the Darcys involved in Harry's life by other associations.

I guessed at the solution to the main puzzle of the book long before the characters did, but I think the author intended that, meaning to give it away in the prologue. Anyone who has read the first Darcy mystery knows that the author employs a bit of mysticism in her plots, and that knowledge paired with the prologue makes the solution to the mystery obvious. However, I don't think it diminished my enjoyment of the book at all--I still didn't know how they were going to figure it out, and I knew from the first book that Mr. Darcy would be skeptical of anything he couldn't explain with science.

There were a few other twists in the book that I predicted, but the two things at the end that moved me to tears were surprises to me. I really liked that the book didn't tie up completely like I expected.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

American Idol

Yes, I'm a fan. I've been watching the last four seasons and I think it's gotten better every year. It's the only TV show I keep up with, and I enjoy watching it and discussing it with my kids.

This year, I remember noticing Adam during the top 36, and every week I became more and more convinced that he would win. He seemed to be on top of his game every single week, and set a standard that, in my opinion, none of the others could reach. He was consistant--consistantly good.

However, all the "girls" at work seemed to like Kris Allen, so I couldn't help taking notice of him. I liked his personality, and he seemed to improve every week. I was surprised the week he beat out Allison to take a place in the top three, but then when he sang "Heartless" with only his guitar the next week I began wondering if he could actually beat the "top two" contestants (Danny and Adam).

I was surprised last night, but not disappointed. Honestly, it was fun to be surprised. I think maybe that's one of the things that keeps me going back to the show year after year.

Did Adam deserve to win instead? (Kris seemed to think so!) Maybe. He was, in my opinion, the only one who was consistantly good every week.

However, it seems to me that Kris improved in skill and confidence to the point that he matched Adam. When Kris did his first audition, Simon actually told him that his lack of self-confidence was off-putting. Kris gained enough confidence on stage to be molded into a star, but at the same time stayed true to his humble personality.

So, from that standpoint, yes, I do think Kris deserved to win. I hope he is very successful. I'll look for his CD. :)

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Book Review--Maximum Ride

Last night I had an experience I haven't had in a long time, and it felt good, though I was hurting this morning (literally, my back, but also because I'm sleepy).

I couldn't put a book down.

Granted, I came home last night from going out of town so tired it was hard to string a sentence together, and a little grumpy because I couldn't watch the NASCAR race (we don't get the Speed channel), so I decided I was going to curl up in a chair and read. However, the reasonable time for me to go to bed came and went, my husband went to bed, and then one of my kids (no telling how late the other one stayed up--my son is a night owl). I had to finish the book.

Though, I have to say, I was a bit frustrated at the end because I was left with many more questions than answers.

Maximum Ride: The Angel Experiment is the first in a YA series by James Patterson.

Six "mutant" children (they have wings and can fly, among other things) spent most of their life in cages undergoing painful "experiments" until a kindly "doctor" rescued them. After four years of freedom, six-year-old Angel, the youngest, is kidnapped and taken back to the "school." The other five, of course, must rescue her, and along the way must discover their own destinies.

Okay, on paper this plot sounds cheesy, but the writing is so skillful that it's anything but. There are many twists and turns in the plot to keep the reader guessing, and the author has the storytelling ability to keep adults entertained while allowing his younger readers to keep up. The loose ends at the close of the book were frustrating, but since Book 5 in the series came out recently I can only assume the questions are answered eventually. And, of course, the author wants you to keep reading the series!

The main character and leader of the group is Maximum Ride ("Max"), a 14-year-old girl, and most of the book is written in the first person from her POV. If I had had any skepticism about a man writing a teenage girl, it would have been gone a few pages in. Patterson manages to capture typical longings and emotions of a teenage girl, including motherly instincts, and combine them with the toughness, anger, and sometimes hatred of a girl who began her life constantly abused and was later trained in combat. Max is a very complex character, full of passionate love for her family and hatred for her abusers, and very often repressing strong emotions to convey the image she needs for leadership of the family.

I highly recommend this book for teenagers as well as adults, and I plan on reading the next one as soon as possible!

Friday, May 15, 2009

Sharing Interests

Tonight I made my kids watch "Bringing Up Baby" (and I got grumpy when they tried to text during). On the other hand, I'm reading Maximum Ride: The Angel Experiment by James Patterson.

My son has been enjoying the Maximum Ride series, a YA fantasy/action/adventure series, and has been telling me he thought I'd like them. I'm about 1/3 of the way through and I'm enjoying the non-stop action, blunt narration, and character development so far. I'll let you know. Has anyone else read them?
(I have a hard time getting through books quickly these days because I'm so busy, but I'm making myself read.)

My husband and I watched just about every old black & white movie we could get our hands on before we had our kids. We love them, but that interest has sort of gone by the wayside in more recent years. However, now we're finding we can enjoy them all over again with our kids. Once they get over the whole non-color thing, they really enjoy them. I think tonight I picked a good one since it's a screwball comedy with animals--what's not to like? (Cute is not the description I would prefer my kids to use about a leopard, though.)

And I like to play Guitar Hero with my kids. Is that weird?

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Novel Update

I wrote "THE END" on my novel Sunday.

But I didn't mean it.

I was sort of stuck and staring at the last thing I'd written, and my son sat down beside me and typed, "'You're weird,' he said scornfully."

Then I typed, "Attack of the adverbs!!!!"

Then my daughter typed "LAME!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!"

So I deleted all of that and typed, "THE END" which amused my son.

I'm actually so close I can envision it. (Or taste it, since that's more graphic.) I have one chapter to write and two to finish, and then it will be time to start edits. I'm finding this is a very different process from fanfiction because I posted a chapter at a time then, and didn't have the opportunity to go back and revise from the beginning. The first half of the book has already undergone an extreme makeover, and I'm thinking the second half needs it, too.

Monday, May 4, 2009


The plumbers are on their way over here and I'm trying not to panic. I'm committed now. Yes, the bathtub is cracked, and the unit needs to be replaced, but:

1) We don't have the money sitting around to pay for this. It's going on a credit card on faith that we'll be able to refinance our house when this is all done and get cash out to pay off the credit card.

2) It's going to lead to a lot of work. They'll have to tear out a significant amount of drywall in the bathroom to replace the unit, as well as cut a hole in the dining room to access the plumbing. So the drywall will have to be replaced, then the wallpaper torn off and the walls sanded, primed, and painted, and while we're at it we'll replace the floor and lower the baseboards to where they should be. Then there's repairing the dining room wall. *sigh*

3) Before we can do #2 we're going to have to have the other bathroom repaired so we'll have someplace to bathe, which also involves tearing out and replacing--this time tearing out tile and putting in a shower unit.

So we need to trust that the timing will all work out, the interest rates will stay low, and that our house will appraise high enough for the cash out. Or that God will provide another way for all this to happen.

While praying this morning, I started to make a list to God of all the things I needed, but I quickly gave up and said, "I really don't know what I need, but You do. Please give me what I need. And please help me to listen to You."