Saturday, December 15, 2007

Where did the time go?

I can't believe I let this go for so long. So much has happened that it's hard to catch up now. How about if I hit the highlights:

  • Ren Fest was great and I have lots of pictures and videos that I hope to eventually get posted one day.
  • Maria has moved in with us. She came for a three week visit and one thing led to another, and she decided to stay. There were no jobs available in Carbuncle, or wherever it is her parents live, and there are lots here. She worked at CVS for a few weeks and now it looks like she's going to go work at Kelly Press with me. We'll be able to use the carpool lane and everything.
  • I bought a new psaltery, a custom made one. The place is called Phantasy Psalteries and you can see pictures of it here, here and here. It is gorgeous and has a beautiful tone, but I sent it back for adjustments because the sustain was too much. Its sound isn't as crisp as the one on my Unicorn Strings psaltery, but it's unique because it is strung with overwound strings and so it is a tenor psaltery and not a high soprano. It sounds beautiful when Maria and I play together, her on the higher one and me on the new one.
  • I caught a virus in late October, right after Ren Fest got over, and I'm still sick. That is seven weeks now. I'm beginning to think I'm never going to get well. I wouldn't mind so much, but the people at work act like I'm a leper. Idiots. It's not as if I want to be sick, or did anything to make myself sick. The girl who gave it to me is being the biggest yahoo about it and I've lost my patience. I don't have much to begin with.

I know there are lots of more important things I could be posting about, but it's three in the morning and this is as good as it gets. My mom just reminded me that the shuttle will be here any minute. I need to shower and get dressed. We are leaving for a week in Puerto Rico. Maybe I'll finally be able to shake this stupid virus. I'll try to get lots of pictures and post more when I get back.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Rennaissance Festival 2007 - Day Two

Renaissance Festival Pictures

I arrived at Ren Fest at 10:05, just in time to hear the King order the gates of Revel Grove open. I just wandered and window shopped for about forty-five minutes. I got a couple of good pictures of King Henry and the dancers but nothing else much happened until I got to Unicorn Strings. There I bought a new book, Big and Easy Songbook, and spent some time chatting with Gene about Harley and dogs in general. Ashley, the new girl, asked me to teach her to play Amazing Grace, which is the only song I play reasonably well on the psaltery. I did, but she's having trouble with playing three notes as one. She'll get it soon, I'm sure. Gene is a great teacher. I hope they don't mind me hanging out there. It keeps me from getting lonely or bored when I'm there all alone for nine hours a day.

Gene told me about a book he recommends, Pattern Recognition by William Gibson, so I pulled out my Blackberry and ordered it from Amazon. I would have gotten the other one he recommended, but it was too expensive, so I just emailed the name to myself and put a hold on it at the library when I got home tonight.

While I was there, I got out my psaltery and played until my hips started to hurt. Then I sat down on the bench across from them and Princess Anne, King Henry's new prospective wife, stopped to listen to me! I get really fumblefingered when someone is listening but I managed to make it through Amazing Grace with only a couple of mistakes. She was very gracious and it was fun to be part of the show for just a few minutes. It's funny, I know these guys and gals are just normal people playing parts, but (maybe it's my history in that online roleplaying game) but I can't treat royalty like commoners. I have even met King Henry out of character and know his real name, but to me, at Ren Fest at least, he is the king. It wouldn't be nearly as much fun if he weren't.

After a while I packed up my psaltery and walked down to get chicken on a stick for lunch and watched the Rat Man show while I ate. He is so corny and funny and shameless. I wandered toward the Globe Theatre, picking up a couple of pewter trinkets and then chatting about writing with the guy at the chair store. I sat outside of Bullseye and played for a few minutes before making my way to the Globe Theatre. I watched lots of shows today, and my back is hurting from the backless benches, but the shows were all good. I was glad to see that the regular "Other Guy" from Bloody Drama Comedy Show is back. I like him a lot, not as much as Bob, but that's a given. Shakespeare Skum was in rare form today, something about the heat probably. Then, I hadn't planned on watching the Washington Revels, but they sort of guilted us into staying after Shakespeare Skum, and I'm glad because they were good.

I have been tempted to cheat on my diet this weekend, but have not done so. I had a few too many almonds today, but nothing else that I shouldn't have. I was tempted a few times, either by smells or by habits from last year, but I resisted and I am so proud of myself. I really hope to lose weight this fest, rather than gaining like I did last year.

I ended my day at Unicorn Strings, picking up my new book which I hadn't wanted to carry. Gene tells me that he is designing a new version of his psaltery, using CAD and computers to do the cutting. I don't understand it all, but I can't wait to see the results.

Unfortunately, I realized as I was talking to Gene that somewhere after the Globe Theatre and before Unicorn Strings I had managed to lose my purple and green flogger. I went to lost and found, but it wasn't there. I am losing way too much this year, which is odd because I didn't lose much of anything last year, just a pin and a pendant. I can't really replace this thing, because Leather Rose doesn't make those anymore. It's not like I NEED a whip, it's just a prop for my garb, but it was one of my favorite parts of my look. Bummer.

Tomorrow I leave on a corporate jet to visit the Xerox offices with my boss. Ooer! Don't I feel important. I guess I'd better get some sleep. Only five more days until I can go back to Fest!

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Rennaissance Festival 2007 - Day One

Becky is ready for Ren Fest!Rennaissance Festival Pictures
I arrived at Ren Fest at 9:45, just in time for the opening banter and arrival of the king. This year they have a special entrance for season (fairever) pass holders. It was funny how many of those are the Rennies in garb. There were very few folks on our side of the wall in mundane clothing. The same guy who has been here for the last two years as deputy is playing the sheriff this year while the cute deputy, Roper, is gone. :( King Henry arrived on horseback and in we went.

The first couple of hours were all about replacing and repairing so it went like this...

  1. Leather Rose: New hair slide and hair stick. Thanks, Big Rob for putting in my new purple slide. Hair slides are lengths of leather lacing strung with beads and they hold your hair into a kind of braid, keeping it neat and off of your neck.
  2. Hope's Journals: New pen with leather and copper wire wrapping with a green feather at the end.
  3. Milestonne: 3 leather laces, one for my bodice, one for tying my chainmail balls to my belt and one for extra.
  4. Somewear Beyond: Replacement for my dragonfly/jester coin that was lost last year.
  5. Tideline Salvage: One titmouse (which I later lost), one bodice rat with pirate hat (hat lost almost immediately) and one shoulder rat. I have no luck with these guys. The pirate one I had last year got eaten by Harley! I've got to figure out how to keep one alive for more than a day or two.
  6. Catskill Mocassins: Just mooning over custom made, custom fitted boots. They start at $429 with design elements starting at about $200 and up. Guess who is NOT getting a pair of these boots! Thanks, Linda, for letting me try them on and dream. Maybe if I win the lottery...

I finally finished shopping around 11 or 11:30 and wandered down to the Globe Theatre to see what was playing. I decided to skip the Pirates Royale and kept going. I stopped by to say Hi to Heather at the juggling school. She said I'm doing better, but I'm still lifting my hands too high in the air. I played for a bit and then got on the move again.

I stopped by Unicorn Strings to see Gene and meet his new employee. I've forgotten her name and I didn't think to write it down. I'll ask her next time I see her. Gene was busy selling, but he waved when he saw me and told me that Mary and John didn't come back this year, which is a bummer, but Sarah will be back, she's just sick today. It turns out that the new gal is Big Rob's (Leather Rose) girlfriend. We chatted for a bit and she's from Last Vegas, too. I didn't stay long, though, because I didn't want to interfere with Gene's sales.

I went looking for the laser woodcutter who makes those great pins. He has had a guest booth the last two years, but he's not there this weekend. I need to replace my chaos symbol pin, the one that fell off of my psaltery case last year. That reminds me, I need to solder the other pins closed this year so that I don't lose any more.

I ran into the "hippie" couple from church and we chatted about the heat, which was considerable... high nineties and it felt at least ten degrees warmer thanks to humidity. I also ran into Jack Sparrow and his lady and I got a picture!

About 12:45 I found myself at Bullseye, which is the clothing store that has the great wooden shelf that is always so shady and comfortable but has a great view of three corners. I sat and rested with the new fan I had gotten and juggled a bit. A russian family sat down around me and their three young boys had lots of questions about my chainmail juggling balls, my unicorn shoulder pet and the bird that perches on my staff. I thoroughly enjoyed their company and was sorry to see them go. I sat there and rested as I wrote in my notebook. My new pen ran out of ink, though, so I had to go replace it.

After doing that, I headed to the Globe Theatre. I got there just in time for As You Like It to end and got a great seat for the first Shakespeare Skum show of the year. They did Richard III and it was fun, not as good as Romeo and Juliet, but better than King Henry the V from last year. The actors kept forgetting their lines, but they're so good at what they do that it just made it funnier. After them was the Bloody Drama Comedy Show. They did the soothsayer bit and one person in the audience asked, "Who would win in a fight, Picard or Kirk?" The soothsayer (the two new guys in one robe) said Kirk. About half the people booed and half cheered. Bob (everybody's favorite guy) said, "No fighting, we're all geeks here!" Which, of course, got a big laugh and a cheer, because indeed, we ARE all geeks, and proud of it.

The final show I saw was this year's King show, which was infinitely better than last year. It's still a little unsatisfying, because it's only part of a whole, but King Henry gave a funny and warm performance in a very short period of time. The young girls next to me kept saying, "Poor King... I want to hug him and make him feel better" I wonder what Fred, the video editor our company uses on our videos who also happens to play King Henry, would say to that.

Suddenly at 3:00 I realized I was lightheaded from the heat and humidity and decided to come home early. I stopped to get a bubble wand for Harley and headed for the TinkTerra. It was a good day, but I was no longer having fun. Besides we're celebrating my Dad's birthday today, so there was a good reason to come home early.

I had a great day today and I'm glad it's just day one and I still have 18 more to go!

Ren Fest Begins

Renn Fest Countdown
It's here!

I leave for Ren Fest in less than an hour. (I guess I'd better get dressed, huh?) I'll have my mom take a picture and maybe, if it turns out ok and I don't look too froglike, I'll post it.

I have no real plan for today. I have a couple of things I want to do when I first get there, things I need to get. I want to replace my jester/dragonfly coin that I lost last year. I want to get a new leather braid thingie and I want a new titmouse. Harley ate my last one. I'll probably watch a few of the Globe Theatre shows... Bloody Drama Comedy Show and Shakespeare Skum. I will wait to see As You Like It until Maria gets here, because I'm sure she'll want to see it. It's supposed to be hot today, so I may just find a quiet corner and play my psaltery. Although, I may not even take it today. I hate carrying a lot of stuff when it's hot. I need a little wheeled cart for all of the stuff I want to take in with me. I wonder where I can buy one of those.

More later!

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Out of the Blue

I was driving home from work today and out of the blue I decided to call my cousin, Maria. Maria used to live with me until about 20 months ago when she went to Estonia on a mission for our church (LDS/Mormon). I haven't spoken to her by email for months and by phone since she left. We kinda kept in touch by email until I got mad at her this spring and stopped talking to her. Suddenly, maybe because she likes Ren Fest almost as much as I do, I got the urge to call her and I did.

She seemed happy to hear from me and one thing led to another and guess who is coming to visit for three weeks in August/September. She'll be here for seven days of Ren Fest, so I'm ordering her a Fairever pass so we can spend as much time there as possible. It was great to talk to her again and I'm ashamed of myself for the estrangement. I think I need anger management classes.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007


Dad and I went on another walk tonight, but on the way to the B&A trail we got in an argument. He insisted that we had walked north yesterday while I had spent most of my lunch hour looking at maps of the trail and knew for a fact that we had gone south. The trail runs from Annapolis to Baltimore and we walked south from the Marley Station Mall to Jumpers Hole road. However, the simple, hand drawn map I had printed showed the mall south of Jumpers Hole road and Dad kept insisting I had to be wrong. I finally blew up at him after explaining less and less patiently that the map was wrong... that I had looked at three official maps for an hour that proved I was right... that logically it was impossible for us to have gone North... etc, etc, etc. I was really rude finally, and I am sorry about that, but I think I know why I overreacted.

Everyone who knows me, knows that I will NOT argue about facts unless I am 100% sure I am right. I have had too many unpleasant experiences with siblings who love to make me feel stupid if I'm wrong, to ever take a chance arguing about stuff I can't prove. But my own father doesn't know that about me? That bothered me. I don't care about the map or the facts, I knew I was right all along, but that's not the point. If he knew me half as well as my most casual acquaintance at work he would know to trust me if I state an absolute fact. He could have trusted me over the crappy map, but he didn't.

Sometimes I don't think we have a good relationship at all. I love him and I know he loves me, but we don't seem to connect like Mom and I do. I wish we did, he means a lot to me. It's not just because he's a guy that we don't connect. Most of my best friends are men and I never have a problem connecting with them. While I was growing up my dad was a fabulous listener. Whenever I would be really upset my dad would be the one to listen to my problems and offer advice or comfort or both. But now he just tunes me out. Can you love someone and still not care about them? I wonder.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Walking with Dad

With Ren Fest only 11 days away, I have got to get serious about getting ready. I dropped off my Ren Gear at the cleaners (I couldn't face all of that ironing) and I'll pick everything up next Thursday. They might as well store them instead of me, right? I have my Fairever pass and I psaltery all ready to go. I need to practice the psaltery and juggling, but it's not the end of the world if I don't.

Mostly I'm worried about all of that walking, up and down hills, for 18 hours a weekend. I have been sedentary for the last year and I'm not sure I'm up to it. So Dad and I and Harley went walking on the B&A trail tonight. We did almost 3 miles and I didn't get tired at all until the last half mile. That's not a bad start. I'd like to go every day this week and next so I'm as ready as possible for the 25th. Then I'd like to keep doing it almost every day until my birthday because Harley needs the exposure to strangers, bikes and other dogs before his new obedience class starts. Isn't it great that his class starts on my birthday? Tomorrow I'm going to carry a water bottle and a spray bottle. A water bottle for drinking and a spray bottle for Harley. I can't seem to get his attention off of the bikes and other dogs, but I am sure the spray bottle will do the trick. Besides, he got a little overheated tonight, so it won't hurt him to get a little wet. Not that he'll see it that way...

Friday, August 10, 2007

Harley's Profile

This is what I wrote in on the Student and Dog Profile for Harley's application to the Dog Owner's Training Club of Maryland beginning obedience class. Do I sound like a wacky doggy mama?

Harley is an extremely bright dog and knows lots of tricks because he's so much fun to train. Unfortunately he is not obedient, being too spoiled for his own good. His sit/stays are solid, his recalls are not. He walks well on a leash but doesn't heel. He likes people once he knows them but he is hand shy and prefers not to be touched by strangers. He is dominant by nature but knows I am the boss, although he runs roughshod over my parents. He did well in the Petsmart class we just finished. I only put him in that to accustom him to other dogs while I waited for your classes to start this Fall. We can't wait!

So, what do you think?

Two weeks and counting

Ren Fest starts in two weeks and a few hours. You can check the counter to the right, if you need to know the exact number of hours, minutes and seconds. I paid for my Fairever pass today and should get it back in plenty of time. I had to email them my information and then call to pay over the phone. I know this is all about history and times of old, but c'mon people, get Paypal! I worked it out, by using the Fairever pass and going every day, of course, I am only paying $4.21 per day. That's an unbeatable bargain, isn't it?

With Ren Fest so close I pulled out my Unicorn Strings bowed psaltery so I can start practicing. I am so rusty it's scary. Not that it matters much, because I overtightened a string I was tuning and broke it and now I can't get it replaced. No one I have talked to has strings small enough and even if they did, none of them will even try to replace it. I tried, but I broke the string I had both times I tried and now I have no string left and can't replace it. I know I can get John to fix it at Ren Fest, but I didn't want to have to wait that long. He's going to be so disgusted with me for not practicing. Well, maybe not disgusted, but definitely disappointed.

This weekend I'm going to pull out all of my Ren gear and try it all on. I've lost some weight, so the stuff that was getting tight should fit again and I have new pieces to mix in. At last count I had something like five skirts, four or five chemises and two bodices. I also have a couple of gypsy hip scarves. With all of that, I should be able to do some really creative mixes. Maybe by the end of Ren Fest I will have lost some weight and the smaller of my two bodices will fit again, but in the meantime there's the one with the steel boning. I like the smaller one because it doesn't flatten out may top, but both of them are nice. I show a LOT more cleavage in Ren gear than I ever would otherwise, but that's not a bad thing, right?

My sister and her youngest son, Josh, were here for a couple of weeks and just left Monday. Harley and Josh became best friends and Harley has been moping around since he left. I know Josh hated to leave him behind, but there is no way on this earth I would let Harley leave me.

Speaking of Harley, he has his obedience class graduation tonight. I gave him a bath this morning so he would look his best in his pictures. It's all a little silly, but will make a great scrapbooking opportunity. It reminded me that I wanted to sign him up for the Dog Owner's Training Club of Maryland beginning class. I downloaded the dog profile and sign up sheet and sent them off with my check today. I probably sounded like a crazed doggy mama with my long notes about him but I wanted to be sure they knew what he is like. Maybe I'll type that up in another post and you can tell me if I sound nuts. I know I AM nuts, but that doesn't mean I want to sound that way.

Sorry it's been so long between posts. Look for more about Ren Fest in the next few months.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Too Fat For Yoga

I found a new dance/fitness place that is just opening in my favorite mall, Savage Mill. I was so excited about taking classes there that I immediately signed up for one. Because I have a lot of bulk around my middle and have been really sedentary until just last week, I decided to start with yoga. I have arthritis in my hip and need all of the flexibility I can get.

I went to the first class last Thursday and everything went well, or so I thought. I was the only student in the class since this place is so new, and my only complaint was that the teacher was babying me too much and I actually prefer less attention for the teacher rather than more. Anyway, towards the end of class the teacher excused herself, supposedly to use the restroom.

After the class I felt nice and relaxed and all stretched out. The teacher and the owner of the place and I chatted about stuff like Ren Fest and the owner's plans for the studio. Then, just as I was about to leave, she asked me to stop and talk with her about something.

She sat me down and told me that I am TOO FAT FOR YOGA!!!

I was so shocked and angry that I could feel my eyes filling up, so I grabbed my stuff and left instead of telling her what an idiot she was right then and there. Needless to say, I dropped out of the class and will not be going back. This is the same woman who told me, during my tour of the facilities, about a student she has who is mostly blind, half-crippled and 70 years old. My weight is high, but I am NOT crippled, or mentally handicapped, which is how she spoke to me.

I know that women practice yoga all through pregnancy until they actually give birth. Is she saying that my stomach is more of a handicap than that? I firmly believe that they just didn't want an unsightly fat person in the class. If I had been skinny and just as uncoordinated and sedentary, they would never have said anything.

I probably should have fought them and insisted on attending the class since they saw me when I signed up and I actually asked them point blank, "Is this class for fat chicks, too," but I wouldn't want to give them my money. I found a new yoga class just down the street for less than half the price. I'll let you know if they say I am too fat for yoga. Somehow I doubt it.

I get so angry at the prejudice people of my size get in this country solely because of our current fitness level. It's not just that we get less whistles from men, we get lower salaries, reduced respect and insensitive remarks from people who either would not or could not do the same if we had any other difference. People of minority races and the disabled are protected from this kind of thing. Can you imagine being told, "You are too black for yoga?" "You are too stupid for yoga!" "You are too short for yoga." "You are too deformed for yoga." See, don't those sound ugly and horrible? Then why is "You are too fat for yoga" acceptable? It shouldn't be and hopefully some day it won't be. In the meantime, I'll watch and wait for this studio to fail. With an attitude like that, they are bound to.

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

Broken Arm

I finally finished my project at 1 minute until 2:00 today. My boss told us we could go home at 2:00, so my timing was perfect. I called my mom on my way home and told her I "might" get off early. I like to surprise her so I don't always tell her I'm on my way. She told me that she might not be home when I got there because she BROKE HER ARM! She fell on the front step, probably tripping over Harley's leash, and broke a bone just above her right wrist. Did she then do what any normal person would do, and go to the doctor/hospital? Oh no, she went grocery shopping! That woman is nuts. Anyway, she's at the emergency room now. What terrible timing, with the Fourth tomorrow. We were going to go swimming, and now she can't. She'll probably insist we go over there anyway and she'll just watch while we swim. What a bummer.

Monday, July 2, 2007

Happy Monday!

I have to start blogging more often because I have too much to say for just one entry a week.

First, the good news, my big project launched successfully today. Yay! This is the one that has kept me at work for 12-13 hours at a time. The one that I thought would never get done. There is still a lot to do, but those things can be done post-launch. I'm so happy.

This weekend was nice and quiet. My parents were busy on Saturday with my dad's brother, so I took the day and used it for all of the errands I have been putting off, combining them with shopping, of course.

Back in December I bought four pairs of glasses at Penneys so I could use up my whatchamacallit money that had been deducted from my paycheck for medical expenses. I should have used that money for the dentist or doctor, but I put it off too long and I really did need new glasses. Unfortunately, out of four pairs of glasses, four of them were defective. So, I took them back to be fixed and she was able to fix two pairs on the spot and will send the other two in for repairs. While I was in Penneys I went in and got my hair cut, something I've been putting off for 6-7 months. It's nothing special, she just cut off a couple of inches of split ends.

I was way overdue for an oil change on the TinkTerra, so I stopped at a Jiffy Lube near the mall. While they changed my oil I walked over to a bookstore nearby. It wasn't really my kind of bookstore, it had all of this weird new agey stuff, but I found a ring and bracelet I liked. I can shop just about anywhere.

Mom had given me a message that the game I had ordered at the game store had come in, so I drove over to my favorite mall, Savage Mill, and told them that I didn't know what I had ordered, but whatever it was, I wanted it! They checked their records, but I hadn't ordered anything since the Shut the Box game I bought for Dave (coworker) for Christmas. Turned out later that it was the Game Stop store calling about a Nintendo DS game, not the Savage Mill game store. It worked out ok, though, because I finally managed to be there on game night and I played a game with some total strangers. The game, whose name I can't spell, was a lot of fun, but the people were annoying. Still, I had enough fun that I might go back.

While I was at Savage Mill I ran into the woman who owns the dance studio where I've signed up for a yoga class. She gave me and a couple of other women a tour of the studio. It's beautiful, I can't wait for class to start on Thursday.

Sunday was quiet in comparison to Saturday. Mom, Harley and I went swimming at a friend's pool in the afteroon. Well, I swam, Harley doesn't like it and Mom didn't feel like it. In the evening we played a new game I bought at the game store on Saturday. It's a card game and it's called Showbiz Shuffle. The object of the game is to produce movies while giving each other production problems like tempermental stars and drinking problems. I liked it, but it's going to take time before I am completely comfortable playing it. There are a lot of rules to remember. Dad was having trouble reading the fine print, but seemed to enjoy it, ok. I think we'll try it again. I should have bought the game I played at the store, but I had already gotten the card game and didn't want to spend any more money.

Just so you know, Harley did great at obedience class. He sat, he walked on his leash without pulling and he actually played with one of the other dogs. I told Mom that we ought to think about getting him a little sister, but she wasn't excited by the idea. We did agree that if we did get him a sister, she would have to be called Scooter. I'll wait a year and then we'll see. I don't really want another puppy until Harley is fully trained and I'm sure I'll have time to spend with a fourth dog. I offered to give Indiana to a good home, but she didn't think much of that idea, either. You never know, maybe I can get Scooter for my birthday next year.

Finally, for now, my diet is going really well and I've posted a hefty loss for the first week. Double yay!

Monday, June 25, 2007

It's a Monday

Harley is better, which is a huge relief. He's still not back to 100%, but he's better. I was up for an hour in the middle of the night cleaning up after him last night, so I'll be happy if I can just make it through the night tonight. I have my writing class tomorrow and I need my sleep.

I stuck to my diet all day today, and even harder to believe, all evening, too. I'm craving carbs in a big way, but I'm committed and I will NOT cheat. What I didn't stick to today was my plan to write more on my book. I got a page or two dictated this morning but this afternoon neither I nor my laptop were working well, so I gave up and listened to one of Diana Gabaldon's books on tape, instead. "Lord John and the Private Matter" if you're interested. I liked the book just fine when I read it but the man who did the audiobooks is awful. I remember he ruined another book for me, too. He makes the book almost unlistenable and that's saying a lot for one of my favorite authors.

I've almost finished my big project at work. Considering it was supposed to be done and in testing mode a week ago, that's not anything about which to brag, but at least it'll be done in time for the deadline. I just would have preferred more time to test and debug before it went live. Too late now, unfortunately. I have a huge pile of projects that have been waiting for me to finish this one, so I can't finish it quickly enough now.

I need sleep!

Harley is sick

Harley ate something that didn't agree with him or he picked up something at the obedience class Friday night. He's had the runs since Saturday night and is getting dehydrated. He felt well enough to play with bubbles yesterday but then was sick again during the night. If he's not better tonight, I'm taking him to the vet. There is no vomiting and he has a good appetite, so I am trying not to overreact, but it's hard not to when you love a dog so much.

In other news... I plotted out twenty or so new scenes to add to my book. Some of them aren't true scenes, just extra bits and pieces, but I think they'll round it out a little bit. I'll start working on the writing of those today on the way to work.

And finally, I'm restarting the South Beach diet today for real. I have "restarted" before but didn't make it past day three. This time is different. This time I am fully, 100% committed to it. I am going on Phase 1 and won't go off until I've gotten rid of these crazy carb cravings. I know how to lose weight, I just haven't cared more about losing weight than I did about my next chocolate or fast food fix. I appreciate any support or prayers you have to give. I know exactly how hard it will be, I've done it before. But, I also know how rewarding and exciting it is when my weight starts to drop. I have too many reasons to lose and only one reason... addiction... to cheat. Wish me luck.

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Quiet Saturday

Today was the first Saturday since the first weekend in May when I didn't have anything planned. I woke up at 8:30 this morning and thought "8:30 is good, but 9:30 would be better." Five minutes later, my arms were asleep and I had trouble seeing my watch. It was 9:30! It felt more like I passed out than like I went back go sleep. Usually when I sleep late I have vivid dreams, but not this time. I needed the extra sleep and I'm just glad I was finally able to get it.

I kind of goofed off until about 11:30 and then I started cleaning my room. The bed was covered with all of the clothes that fit while my closet was full of clothes that are too small. I hauled out and boxed up the smaller clothes so I could put away the ones I have to wear because I can't seem to get back on the South Beach wagon. I didn't toss out the smaller clothes, they're in a box in the basement just in case, but I'm losing hope that I'll ever need them again.

One of the plans for today was to take out the old air conditioner and put it in my dad's office and put the newer, better one in my bedroom. I'm super sensitive to heat and I can't sleep at temperatures over 75 degrees. Unfortunately, when I opened the window, I lost my grip on the a/c unit and it fell in to the bushes below my second story window. Oops, sorry Dad! We won't tell him, maybe he'll never notice. He's been in bed all day because of his cataract surgery yesterday. I don't blame him, if I had an excuse to sleep all day, I'd take it, too. We got the new a/c unit in my window and I put my room back together about 6:00. Mom and I watched Freedom Writers, and it was ok. Kind of depressing for most of it, but it had a happy ending so it's not all bad. Movies like that are like broccoli... you know they're good for you and they're full of all kinds of good things, but you would rather be eating ice cream. I am a junk food movie addict. I like things like Pirates of the Caribbean or Pirates of Penzance or pretty much any movie with pirates in the title, actually. I want to laugh and/or be scared and end up in smiles at the end. I don't want to have to think too much. I felt sorry for the husband. I can relate, that woman would make a saint feel selfish and unworthy.

I'm heading to bed in a few minutes. I have to work on my book tomorrow and I need to catch up on more sleep before work starts again on Monday. Seriously, I need a vacation.

Friday, June 22, 2007

Obedience Class

Harley started obedience class tonight. It's long past overdue, but at least we're finally starting. The teacher is so young! He's in his early twenties and seems like just a kid, but he's good with the dogs and has quite a bit of experience. Harley liked the food he kept handing out, but wouldn't let the guy pet him. Harley did pretty well until my parents stopped by to say hi. From that point on all he would do is look around for them. We were in the Petsmart (not my first choice, but the only class I could find for right now) and every passing shopper became a distraction. I have no intentions of telling the teacher that I have been training dogs for ten years before he was born, nor that I taught obedience for five years. Let him think I'm an idiot, it will be less embarrassing that way. Harley is a lot of things, but obedient he is not.

He struggled a little bit because I've taught him so many tricks that he has trouble with the simple stuff. Just last night I was working on hand signals for all of his tricks. Many of them he already knew, but I added a couple of new ones. By the end of ten minutes he was doing all of his tricks with hand signals alone. However, in class, he wants to do his tricks instead of simply learning how to watch me.

It's going to be a tough class for me, because I am used to the old school methods with slip collars and leather leashes and sit and heel and so on. This deal of feeding the dogs to keep them quiet and having to treat them with food for every bit of attention from them just bothers me. Using a piece of food to teach a trick is one thing. Using food for obedience is something entirely different. I will go along with it and give it a fair shot, but it's not my style. I prefer the methods I learned 20+ years ago. Does that mean I'm getting old?

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Random Dog and Cat Pictures

I bought some Halloween costumes on sale from Disney. Not for me, of course, but for the dogs. I couldn't wait four months to see how they looked, so we tried them on and took pictures. When I uploaded them to the computer I found some other shots of Harley, of course, and some of my mom's siamese cat, Caelidh, and even some pictures of my cat, Bugsy. He's the long haired gray one. My favorites, though, are the ones of Dad sleeping, surrounded by half the household.

Random Dog and Cat Pictures

Friday, June 15, 2007

Long Week and Even Longer Weekend

I have a big project going on at work this week and I didn't get as much done as I had hoped. I had actually hoped to finish it and I'm only about halfway done, so that's not good. I can't think about it now, though, because it's the weekend and I have homework for my writing class to get done, I have to finish reading my novel and rewrite a scene from the book. I also committed to 20,000 new words, don't forget and I'm not sure if rewriting counts, so I have to get some new stuff written. Then there is Father's Day on Sunday and I've done now shopping for my dad, yet. I'm a terrible daughter. We are going shopping in the morning, I just hope I find something.

I have three web sites to start and/or finish this weekend and I'm restarting the HTML class I'm teaching on Wednesday so I need to prepare for that. My workspace and bedroom are in truly awful shape, but I won't get time to clean this weekend. I would like to get out my new art supplies and play with them, but that's not happening either. I also have a ton of new scrapbooking supplies which won't be coming out for a while.

My friend, Alice, has a weaver's and spinner's guild meeting at her house on Sunday and I've been dying to go see all of her stuff, but I don't know if I'll be done with everything in time for that.

With all I have to do, I'm still taking time to blog. Aren't you proud of me?

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

New Writing Class

A couple of years ago my dad and I took a memoir writing class at the college. We enjoyed the class and the other people in it so much that we all formed a writer's group that has been meeting monthly ever since. The teacher from that original class is part of our group and now she is teaching a class called Advance Your Fiction. Dad and I signed up for it and I went to the first meeting last night. He couldn't go because his forensic locksmithing organization has their convention this week. It turns out that the lady next to me is another Ren Fest geek and we kept getting into trouble because we couldn't stop talking.

Our teacher, Susan Moger, asked us to set a goal for the four week class. I wrote down on my paper that I was going to read my rough draft, all 100,000 words, and then add 10,000 words to it. But the one guy in the class other than my dad said that he was going to write 15,000 words so I scratched out the 10 and made it a 20. The ren fest gal said, "You're not competitive at all, are you?" No, of course not. I just like to have a bit of a challenge!

My project at work is foundering. I am doing my best, but I don't know if it will be good enough. We have a meeting about it tomorrow and the whole thing might take on a completely new direction. How frustrating. At least the uncertainty meant I could come home on time with a good conscience and I'll deal with tomorrow when it gets here. For now, Harley and I are going to bed!

Saturday, June 2, 2007

No Rest for the Wicked

Let's see, on May 5th I went to the Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival. The following weekend was my three day camping trip to Virginia. The weekend of the 19th my mom and I went shopping and saw Spidey 3 and Dad and I went to our writer's group meeting. Last weekend was four days of Balticon 41. That's a lot of busyness for an entire month of weekends. You would think I had earned a rest, right? Not hardly.

Today we went into DC for Learning and Product Expo: Art! DC 2007. They had a juried show with one of my mom's pictures in it. They didn't have the good taste to give her an award for it, but it was an honor just to have a picture in the show. It's not my favorite of her pictures, but you can judge it for yourself here.

I bought a lot of art and scrapbooking supplies and we took a watercolor class together. I was actually enjoying the class until the end. The teacher asked me to take my picture to the front of the class so he could demo something on it. I was so flattered until he took out a spray bottle and splattered all but a tiny spot with blue paint and then splotched a couple of ugly purple flowerlike objects on that one spot. It was horrible. My mom knew immediately that I was very angry and leaned over to reassure me that she would help me fix it, but it was too late. The entire picture is ruined. It wasn't good before he destroyed, but now it's hopeless. I would think I was just being picky, but one of the other students and I talked afterwards and she gave me her sympathies because she was appalled at what he had done. It was the very end of the class and I think he got in a hurry and just didn't care what he did. He's probably so used to slopping these things together that he forgets how much work this is for students. Idiot.

Tonight I got out my new colored pencils and pad of paper and tried to do the first of the exercises in one of my books. It turned out pretty badly. I guess I should have saved my time and money and done a little computer art instead. At least with computer stuff you can always hit CTRL-Z and undo the mistakes.

I'm ready for a break, but I won't get it anytime soon. Next weekend I'm meeting with my accounting client to talk about his website and his bookkeeping and one of the guys from work wants me to redo his website. In the meantime I'm working on a complete solution for the 30 Stories in 30 Days website and I still need to rewrite my novel and figure out whether or not it's salvageable.

Anyone want to guess why I haven't been blogging lately? LOL

Monday, May 28, 2007

New Pictures

I spent the weekend at Balticon 41, a science fiction convention in Baltimore. It was great, and maybe I'll write more after I get some sleep. In the meantime, I've put up several pages of new pictures for you from my camping trip...

George Washington's Birthplace
Westmoreland Berry Farm

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Camping - May-13-2007 PM

Pictures of George Washington's Birthplace

I have never been to Mt. Vernon to see George Washington’s home, but I have now seen his birthplace. I’m not a big one on heroes, but I’ve always liked GW. I am so glad I took to time to go there. I almost didn’t, but after getting up so early and breaking camp before 9 am, I had lots of time to kill. The lady at the visitor’s center (her name was Pocohantas – she said her mom wanted to give her an unusual name) told me that last night's rainstorm was even wilder than I had realized. It didn't just seem bad to me in the tent, the visibility was so poor that it took her three times as long as normal to get from her daughter's house to her home. See, it wasn't just me, that rain was crazy.

I got a private tour of the spinning and weaving shed, which was the highlight of my visit. The tour guide/ranger lady had only been at this site for a few months so she didn’t know much about the equipment. I got a special thrill out of identifying several niddy noddies and drop spindles. She even let me try a couple of the spindles. They were just replicas, but fun nonetheless. It made me wonder how much more fun the blacksmith, cooper and other craftsmen’s tools would be if I knew anything about using them. It’s funny how knowing what something is and how it is used turns it from just a dusty, strangely-shaped hunk of wood into something fascinating. One of the other highlights of the tour was when one of the other guests sat down at a replica harpsichord/spinnet and played a minuet for us. He knew a lot about the colonial period… more than the tour guide lady. All in all, a lot of fun.

It was so early and cool from the rain that he was perfectly happy sleeping in the TinkTerra while I walked around.

Berry Farm Pictures

I took him in with me when we went to our next stop… the berry farm. We went back for another strawberry shortcake ice cream combo and a flat of berries to bring home. I really need to do something to make that dog behave better in public.

The rest of the trip was just a long drive home. It wasn’t that long, really, I was just so tired from the rain the night before that I could hardly keep my eyes open. We got home about 2 and I just now got finished unloading the car. I still have a lot of stuff to put away. Now I am blogging and Harley is sound asleep in his bed beside me. It was a lot of fun, but now I need to go back to work so I can get some rest. (cliché, I know, but true)

Camping - May-13-2007 AM

I'm sitting in the TinkTerra, the haunting aroma of wet leaves, damp nylon and dirty laundry wafting through the air. Harley shivers on the seat beside me, upset because I won't let him help tell our story. A tropical breeze (hurricanes are tropical, aren't they) dances through the leaves above me. My feet are wet, my clothes are wet, Harley's nose is wet. (Maybe my nose is wet too, I'm not saying.) As you may have guessed, we had a touch of rain last night.

It started about 11:00 with a loud bang of thunder. Harley forgot all about the frogs and dove under the covers with me. He wasn't happy when I crawled out of the tent to try to put the firewood and charcoal out of the coming rain. I could have saved my time because it did no good. Only the stuff that was actually in the tent or the car stayed dry, and not all of that. I can't say just how bad the rain was because it always seems worse when you're in a tent, but it was pretty bad. Thunder, lightning... all the special effects. It reminded me of my childhood and why I hate thunderstorms. Being older and wiser, I wasn't frightened... much. I distracted myself by chatting with my other good buddy, also known as Chris, and checking the weather on my Blackberry. By the time I had typed a few semi-coherent sentences on the tiny keys of the Blackberry the thunder had lessened and it had settled in to rain. I don't know how long the storm lasted, I fell asleep at 12:30 or so and it was still going strong.

Everything was wet when we woke up at 7:30 this morning except for Harley, I and the backpack containing my books and this laptop. We were going to light a fire and have breakfast, but I discovered that the charcoal and wood were soaked through and so was the one folding chair I had stacked them on. When I went to pick up the bag of charcoal, the bag disintegrated, and wet charcoal fell into the gallon or so of water in the chair's seat. Don't ask me why I didn't put that stuff in the car. My only defense was that I was tired and stupid. After a shower and a change of clothes, I decided to pack up the tent. It only took me about an hour and a half to get everything in the car. I don't know what we will do today, but we'll not stay here. With my only chair soaking wet and black with charcoal, I have nowhere to sit and nothing really to do. Besides, once I start packing, I can't seem to stop and now that I'm packed up there doesn't seem to be much sense in staying here. I think we'll go try to f ind George Washington's birthplace and see if they allow pets at all. At the very least I should be able to get some pictures.

Harley is shivering too much, I need to go. I'll finish this later today. Isn't camping fun??

Camping - May-12-2007 PM

Is it really camping if you take your laptop, iPod, PDA and Blackberry? At least I left the portable DVD player at home. I didn't do much with the iPod except listen to it while driving around, and I left the PDA on the charger the entire trip. But I chatted with my best buddy, Chris, online and sent multiple emails and talked on the phone to my mom a few times. In fact, when the car charger for my Blackberry broke I took a 12 mile trip into town to find a Radio Shack and buy a replacement. While I was there I bought a new digital camera to replace the one that I brought with me. It has been acting up for a while, but I thought it was a battery problem. It is a power issue, but the problem is with the camera, not the batteries. I got a really good deal on a 6 megapixel Samsung so I will have pictures to post almost as soon as I get home instead of having to wait for them to get developed. I have a bad habit of letting film sit around for years undeveloped, so I don't like to count on film cameras if I can help it.

The weather stayed beautiful all day today. It clouded up a little this morning but that just kept it from getting too warm. Just to be on the safe side, since I couldn't go swimming during the warm part of the day, Harley and I took the aforementioned trip to town. The guy at Radio Shack was great about letting Harley wander around the shop with me. I found the plug right away and then I tried to find a little something for my mom. The problem is that she already has every conceivable gadget. The poor guy would suggest something, like an iPod or digital camera, and I would tell him that she already has multiples of them. We just couldn't come up with anything she didn't have. It wasn't a total loss, as I found the camera I mentioned above and got a plug for my Blackberry. Oh, and I also got a new toy for Harley. A dragonfly that actually flies! He's going to love it. Actually, he does love it, because the Radio Shack guy gave him a demo and Harley went nuts.

We stopped at a little craft/gift store on the way back to camp and I got a couple of little handmade gifts for my mom. Most of the stuff was pretty awful, but I got her a tote bag and eyeglass case made out of matching kitty cat fabric and a set of wind chimes. She'll probably hate them, but that's what she gets for having too much stuff already.

On the way back I saw an enormous sign advertising a Berry Farm. I turned around and went down this side road for about three miles to find this farm. It was worth the trip. This place was so neat. They had a little shop with every possible kind of preserves and honey. I bought all of the sugar free kind except for the fig preserves, yuck. I also got sugar free blueberry syrup and sugar free maple praline syrup. I'll let you know if they're any good. I found some goat's milk lotion for my mom, too. I don't know what goats had to do with berries, but they had a bunch of them for the kids to pet. I didn't get to go back there because Harley was being a butthead, but I did see the one on the feeding platform 20 or so feet in the air. Pictures will be forthcoming soon. I will look up the name of the place and let you know. It's on the jars of preserves, I'm sure, I'm just too lazy to look it up right now.

I had lunch at the farm. They had a little snack shack with hamburgers, hot dogs and barbecue sandwiches. They also had strawberry shortcake, of course. I had the strawberry shortcake with ice cream. The cake was still warm and fresh and the strawberries were delicious. I bought a quart to bring back to camp but now I'm wishing I had gotten an entire flat of them. I can't remember the last time I had strawberries that actually tasted good. These were amazing, ripe and freshly picked and sweet. I wonder if I'll have time to stop on the way home. I would have to leave a little early, but it's something I can take home that I KNOW my mom will actually love.

We got back to camp about 2 and have been lazing around ever since. I read for a few hours before starting the fire at five. Harley has decided he loves camping if for no other reason than the food. He has this trick he does to get food. He finds something he knows you want and he brings it to you and then he waits for his treat. While I was roasting the first hot dog, I saw him looking around and I knew he had something on his mind. Suddenly he saw the stick I had been poking the fire with for the last two days and he picked it up and brought it to me. It amazes me, not that he found the one stick out of many that I had been using – it would have my scent all over it, but that he made the connection that this was something I cared about. This dog is too smart to be as obnoxious as he is. Because, no matter how fun and funny he is, he was really obnoxious to strangers on this trip. One really adorable little girl of about four years old tried to pet him and he tried to nip at her fingers. He also nipped at one of the campground worker's feet when the guy was talking to me. I will find an obedience class for him asap. I can't have him behaving this way. He is just too smart to act this stupid.

After dinner I took Harley out to the big open field in front of the campground and we played with bubbles until he was worn out. Now I'm sitting here, typing and listening to the kids across the way play with their boats. From what I can tell they have a paddle boat and a canoe and they're having a great time. I took a couple of pictures of them, too. I don't know how noisy it got around here during the day, but this kind of noise I don't mind. The sun has gone down now and it'll be dark soon. It's almost 8 and I'm already getting tired. Harley is tuckered out. He's flat on his side on the blanket on the ground next to me, not even noticing the kids across the pond.

Mom said that she mentioned to my dad today that things are much quieter and easier without Harley around but my dad said, "But I miss him!" Notice, neither of them said they missed me! More in the morning.

Camping - May-12-2007 AM

I slept really well last night once I let some air out of the air bed. I have a double decker air bed that can be split into two if necessary. It's nice, but I found out that if you put too much air into both mattresses, you rock around on top like a ship on a stormy sea and capsizing is all too real a possibility. I made both mattresses a little gooshier and all was well. Harley didn't sleep very well, though. He is afraid of the dark and he lay on my legs and shivered from cold and nerves, staring out over the pond. It's funny, when we camped in the woods of Pennsylvania the frogs were so loud it made your ears bleed but camping here next to the pond, the frogs made very little noise. I had a small battery-operated fan that I bought yesterday at Walmart and it masked some of the night noises so that Harley could sleep. They don't bother me, but he's a wuss. I woke up a couple of times in the night to add a blanket to the bed, and at one point I turned the fan off but Harley got so agitated that I turned it back on and pointed it towards the ceiling. No, he's not spoiled!

We got up about seven this morning and while I puttered around, Harley found the tracks of some small animal that had wandered across our campsite. I had a heck of a time keeping him from waking all of our neighbors with his barking. We are the only ones here in a tent, so I didn't worry about it overly much. Before breakfast we went for a bike ride. When I first got Harley I thought about buying a bike trailer so that he could ride behind me while I biked. Now I'm thinking about getting him a harness so he can pull me up hills! For a small dog, he's about 15 pounds, this dog is fast and strong. We only went a mile or so because I didn't want him to overdo it, but he was having fun. Even wearing his collar there were times he was pulling me because he thought I was going too slowly. I let him for a few minutes, just to see if he could, but then I discouraged it because it's bad manners. Speaking of bad manners, he had to challenge everyone we met on our ride... other bikers, dogs, squirrels, birds... I have got to get this dog obedience trained!

After the bike ride we came back to camp and I lit a fire with some charcoal and a couple of remaining logs from last night. It's been burning for over an hour now and shows no sign of running out of fuel. Harley and I shared a couple of marshmallows, but it's too early for hot dogs. We'll save those for dinner, I think. I need to get ice and clean up the campsite a little, but otherwise the rest of my day is free. The campground is doing some kind of “clean up” party today because this is the first weekend of the year in which they are open. I declined to volunteer. I don't mind a little work, but I have a lot of mindless activity planned for this weekend... biking, napping, reading, napping, sketching, napping, writing, napping, and maybe even some sleeping. I don't mean to be a party pooper but I'm not here to work as free labor for the campground.

Harley is sleeping on his blanket on the ground next to me. I'm sitting in the screenhouse on a folding chair while I type on the laptop. The weather is beautiful. They predicted thunderstorms for this weekend but yesterday was clear and sunny and not too warm. This morning started out sunny and looked like it was going to be hot, but now the clouds are coming in. If it rains, we'll either hole up in the tent or go for a car ride. We are only a couple of miles from George Washington's birthplace and I think Robert E. Lee's birthplace is nearby, too. I wanted to find some fun shops to find a present for my mom for Mother's Day, but I don't think that's likely to happen. There's a big antiques barn down the road, but I don't think they'd allow me to take Harley in and it didn't look very promising anyway. Honestly, I just want to hang out at the camp today, but it's good to have an alternate plan. I just hope the clean up crew doesn't make too much noise. Already there is a camp employee raking leaves at the campsite next door. At least she isn't using the leaf blower like the guys were yesterday. I need some ear plugs. Maybe I'll get out the iPod. I wonder if I have any nature sounds I could listen to. More later.

Camping - May-11-2007

Harley and I left the house at about 9:30 in the morning. I didn't even start to pack until after 6 Thursday night so I was in no hurry to get going. Also because I didn't pack until the last minute, I had forgotten a dozen things I needed (or wanted) for the trip. We stopped at Walmart to get a tarp and a couple of other items and I planned on stopping once we got closer to get the hot dogs, buns and other last minute food items. The directions I got from Mapquest took us to a dead end that may once have connected to the campground, but no longer did. I called them and got good directions and we finally got here about 1:00. Unfortunately, by the time I realized we were close, there were no grocery stores or even drugstores around. We checked into the campground and I picked a site overlooking the pond. I have pictures, which I will get developed and share with you later, but they should be worth waiting for. This is a very pretty campsite. There are quite a few bugs, but I brought Mom's pop up screen house and we have been fairly safe so far.

Before I could get the tent out of the car, I had to unload the bike from the trailer hitch bike rack and remove the rack. I could have gotten the tent out first, but I didn't want to fight with the bike while I did it.

Camping Pictures

It took me about an hour to put up the tent. It should have been less than half of that, but Harley refused to help. He stood to one side and offered suggestions, but they weren't very helpful. On the other hand, he was diligent about chasing away any stray bugs, dogs, squirrels or children that wandered by. I got the tent up with a minimum of injury and we went back to the office to finish registering and to buy some bug spray. I found out that their “store” mainly consists of bug spray, marshmallows and a paperback trade in. I drove a couple of miles back down route 3 to the nearest convenience store and bought some cheese, ice, diet sodas and so on. They didn't have any beef franks, just weiners which I refuse to eat. I came back to camp, set up the air bed and unloaded the car. By then I really wanted a swim but it turns out the pond is not open for swimming at all and the swimming pool is closed until Memorial Day. I read for a while and then, getting hungry and not wanting just peanut butter and cheese, Harley and I went back out on the road. We finally found a small local store which smelled heavily of cigarette smoke and dirt and had the most peculiar dog wandering around in it despite the fact that they sold open food. He really was odd, he was half golden retriever and half welsh corgi. He had the face, body and coloring of a golden, but his legs were 1/3 the normal height. Very funny looking.

The local store had beef franks! We came back and lit a fire and I toasted hot dogs for Harley and I and we shared a few marshmallows. After dinner it started to get dark and I was worn out from the lack of sleep all week and the work of setting up the tent and camp, so we drove to the bathroom and I took a quick shower and got ready for bed. I read for a while (Tamora Pierce's Trickster's Queen) and then we walked back for one last potty break before bed. Now it's about 10:30 and I'm off to sleep.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Going Camping

I had a couple of vacation days I had to take or I would lose them. Since work is so busy I decided to take one here and another there instead of trying to take them all at once. So, I have tomorrow off and I have packed all of my camping gear into the TinkTerra and Harley and I are going to leave at the crack of noon tomorrow. We are staying at a campground near the shore so I am taking the bike with me. Harley loves running next to the bike and I like to ride where the ground is flat. It's too hilly around here for it to be much fun. It took Dad and I over an hour to put the bike rack together. It meant I had to take off the Tinker Bell trailer hitch cover, but I'll put it back on as soon as I get back. We'll only be gone until Sunday, and I'll do my best to blog about it then.

Monday, April 16, 2007

Busy Weekend

I had a few friends from work over this weekend for game night. Dave, Brian and Cindy came as well as the friend-who-must-not-be-named. Dave brought his wife, Edie, and Brian brought his girlfriend, Rachel. I ordered pizza and had some veggies and fruit, too. Since our family is LDS and we don't drink, I also had a large bowl full of chocolate candy. I gained a couple of pounds from the food, but I had a great time.

We played Fluxx and Cranium, both of which are pretty freewheeling types of games. With Fluxx you start with only one rule and no goal, but you add new rules and goals as the game progresses. It's confusing the first time through, but it gets to be a lot of fun once you get used to it. Cranium, as you probably know, is a game that combines every other board game known to man... Trivial Pursuit, Pictionary, Scrabble, etc... into one.

We split up the couples and Brian and I took on Dave and Rachel on one team and f-w-m-n-b-n with Edie and Cindy. Brian and I kinda won, but there was some argument about whether or not we cheated. I was ready to keep going until we got a definitive winner, but it was getting late, so we let it go. I think everyone had fun, I know I did.

The only downside was that I had already been feeling ill and I spent way too many hours cleaning and getting ready for the game night, so that on Sunday I was too sick to do much. We postponed celebrating Mom's birthday until next week and I called in sick to work today. I got out of bed long enough to check email and call in sick and then went back to bed until noon. This afternoon the winds knocked out our power so we went to Chipotle's at the Annapolis mall and did a tiny bit of shopping.

I am still sick, but the two days of rest helped a lot and I'm going back to work tomorrow. I hate to be out at all right now with all that is going on. I definitely can't take two days off. I should be ok tomorrow, I handled the mall just fine tonight. I think that five hour nap this morning helped a lot. Sometimes when I get too exhausted my body just shuts down on me. I don't know which comes first - getting sick and then feeling tired or getting tired and then feeling sick. It's one reason I try not to overdo it, though, because I always end up sick. Speaking of which, I need to get to bed. I've been up for a full nine hours!

Friday, April 13, 2007

New Harley Page

I was preparing a sample javascript page for my advanced HTML class at work. It takes a while to load, but otherwise it's pretty neat.

The Many Faces of Harley

Wednesday, April 11, 2007


I think I demand way too much from the people I consider friends. First and most important, I expect loyalty. Unfortunately, that is what I rarely find. Maybe it would be different if I were a better friend myself. I think it's time to go back to being a hermit. Can you be a hermit while living in your parent's house? I'll let you know.

Monday, April 9, 2007

Happy Belated Easter!

I hope you had a good holiday. Ours was very quiet. We had Easter baskets, of course, and went to church and spent the rest of the day goofing off. In fact, I goofed off all weekend except for doing a little writing. I wrote my eighth story tonight, so I'm still on track for the 30 stories in 30 days challenge.

The one I did yesterday is getting the strongest reaction, with people either laughing at it or telling me how much they hate it. I didn't write it to be funny, but I guess it is, a little. I also didn't want people to hate it, but since it's the content they hate and not the writing, that's ok with me. I would rather have a strong reaction, even if it's negative, than a bored one.

The writing of it was fun because it is all dialogue, which I love to write, and it was fun seeing if I could carry an entire story without anything else. I think it works. I would post it, but it's got a couple of strong words in it and I would rather not have that on my blog. Maybe I'll censor it and then post it. Not tonight though, it's bedtime.

Tuesday, April 3, 2007

30 Stories in 30 Days Has Begun

I don't know if you remember, but I decided to do a challenge similar to NaNoWriMo. I'm trying to give myself a break from my novel and force myself to look at new ideas, so I came up with the 30 Stories in 30 Days challenge. I was going to start on April 1, but that wasn't possible, so I began on April 2 and will run it until May 1st. I know, it's a little off, but then so am I.

The rules are simple, write 30 stories of at least 1,000 words for 30 days. If you write a story that is more than 3,000 words, it counts as 2. If you write one that is more than 6,000 words, write a novel!

I started a story yesterday but it wasn't going well. I started another one this morning, but it was having problems, too. Finally, I started one during the drive home tonight and it went as smoothly as silk. It came in at just about 3,000 words, so I can count it as two. That means I'm right on track!

My dad started this challenge with me. He finished the NaNoWriMo challenge before I did, so he'll probably show me up this time, too. I don't care because it means I get to read more of his writing. There is nothing in the rules that says your story has to be fiction, so he's doing memoir pieces. I may do one of those later this month, we'll see. The story I started this morning was from Harley's point of view, but it wasn't working. I still like the idea, but I'll have to start over.

It's not too late to join us, you know. If you can't catch up, do 28 stories in 28 days. Anything is better than nothing.

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Harley's First Birthday

Harley had the world's best birthday yesterday. We played with bubbles, his weasel on a stick and the laser pointer. That's like a trip to Disneyworld for him. We also had all of the traditional stuff... cake, ice cream, presents, a mechanical rat.

You can view the pictures here.

Saturday, March 24, 2007

It's done!

The book is done, at least the rough draft is, and on Harley's birthday, too! I have pictures for you, of Harley's birthday, not the book, but you'll have to wait until tomorrow for those. I actually finished at 12:02 this morning, so Harley's birthday is technically over, but who is to say that my clock was accurate to the minute? Besides, if I want to say I finished on Harley's birthday, I'm gonna. After all, the book isn't actually done, just the rough first draft. I have about 102,000 words written and by the time I'm really done, I'll have half again as many, I think. So, I can say I finished on Harley's birthday because the few words I wrote after the clock ticked over to 12 could be officially part of the rewrite, so there.

Anyway, it feels amazing to have this much done, and I'm actually looking forward to the rewrite. In the morning I'll have probably come to my senses, but at the moment, I'm feeling pretty good about myself and my book. Yay for me!

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Qualified Success

My HTML class went pretty well today. I never quite got in the zone, but it wasn't bad. If you've never taught a class or given a lecture or spoken in public you may not know the zone, but it's great when it happens. My friend-who-must-not-be-named said it must be like sex, only you don't have quite as many people watching.

My boss and his boss both attended the class and were complimentary about it. I will have to do better next week, though, I'm afraid, if I don't want to lose some of the students. I didn't engage enough with the attendees and didn't make the connection that makes them really get interested in the subject. That's what I'll focus on next time.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

HTML Class

I'm teaching an HTML class at work, starting tomorrow. I have 17 coworkers who have signed up. That means there are at least 17 people who are willing to give up their lunch hours to listen to me talk. That's kind of humbling. Of course, I'm a great teacher, and they're lucky to have me, but even so....

When I put up the sign up sheet I expected at most 6 people to sign up. I knew Dave would, he tried to take it the first time and had to drop out. You remember Dave... the one who likes to sit on Tinker Bell? I figured Cindy would take the class just to support me. She's a good friend like that. Adam kinda has to since he has to start doing HTML stuff at work and he dropped out of the first class because I gave too much homework.

Starr is the one for whom we developed the ice cream website. Did I mention that at the time? She and her husband own Carousels Ice Cream, a shop in Southern Maryland. She needs to learn how to fix and change her own website so she can take care of it in the future.

I never thought I would get 17 people in this class, though. I am a good teacher, even if it is not very modest of me to admit it. I look forward to teaching and speaking in public in the same way that other people look forward to a scary roller coaster ride. I've got those flutters in my stomach and I'm a little nervous, but it's a good thing.

They say there is no physical difference between fear and excitement. The only difference lies in your attitude. My attitude is that the more people I can get to listen to me about any subject, the better!

Monday, March 19, 2007


I bought a 2006 Nissan XTerra just before Christmas. It had everything I wanted except for the color, which is dark gray. Yuck. I looked into getting it painted, but that ran into thousands of dollars. Instead I looked for, and found, every imaginable auto accessory featuring Tinker Bell.

I have the Tinker Bell Steering Wheel Cover, the Tinker Bell Seat Covers, the Tinker Bell "I'm No Princess!" Floor Mats in front and the Tinker Bell "Trust Me!" and Tinker Bell "Perfect Little Flirt" floor mats in back. I got this decal, and this one and this one.

I found a couple of keychains, of course, and picked up a Tinker Bell lunch box from somewhere, although that does not technically have anything to do with the car.

But my favorite car accessory I found was the Tinker Bell trailer hitch cover! I can't find a picture of that for you tonight, but I'll try to get one posted here soon.

So, my XTerra is Tinked out... it looks like my ride was pimped by Disney. The guys at work won't ride in it, except for my friend Dave, but that's just cause he likes sitting on Tinker Bell. My dad refuses to drive it and my friend Kirby has warned me not to take it South if I don't want to get shot.

I think it's adorable, but it probably would have been cheaper to get the car painted bright green like I wanted in the first place.

You be the judge

Saturday, March 17, 2007


I ran across a forum dedicated to one of the high schools I attended a looooooooong time ago. I spent my Senior year in California, but most of my high school years were spent in Munich, Germany. I would post on there to find out if anyone remembers me, but I know they won't. I was so out of the loop I might as well have been in another galaxy. That's ok, I don't remember any of them, either.

It made me curious, though, about the only two names I could remember from high school. One was my first "boyfriend." He lived in Heidelberg and we only saw each other a few times before he found someone cuter and closer. I think this is him. The name is right, and it's an unusal one. I can't remember what he looked like, and it's been almost 30 years. I remember he was a budding computer geek and it looks like this Nathan Stong became some kind of computer guru, so it's probably him.

The other one I remember was Todd Blood, who took me to my one and only dance (we spent most of the evening at the emergency room). We used to tease him because he planned on studying medicine and who wants to go to see Dr. Blood? Well, it looks like he made it. He's an anesthesiologist in Utah.

I am sure neither of them remember me, and I would be ashamed to have them see how badly my life has turned out. One is getting awards for his work and the other is a doctor. No doubt they have loving spouses and cute kids. I live at home, have no family, a stuttering career and a few pets. Can you imagine how embarrassing it would be to go to a HS reunion? No thanks.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Time Change

This time change is kicking my butt. I can't get to sleep at a normal time and then I have to get up an hour earlier than I'm used to. I don't know how or why we have Daylight Savings Time, or who thought of it, nor do I care. It's not like you're actually saving time, it keeps ticking away the few remaining years we have left no matter what the clocks say.

Actually, I've been listening to Stephen Hawking's A Briefer History of Time and according to what I understand of what I've read so far, time is not a constant at all. The faster you go, the slower time goes. There's something about the higher you are the faster time moves, too, but I don't pretend to understand it. All I know is that as slow as I am, I don't have much time left. And yet, I'm spending it blogging. Kinda makes you wonder, doesn't it?

Monday, March 12, 2007

Maybe I can finish this after all

My dad and I talked about my book tonight and I think I know what I need to do to finish it. I have to go back a few pages and rewrite what I already have. That will solve the "I've painted them into a corner, now what I do" kind of problem I've been having and will let me finally get the rest of the story on paper. Whether it will be any good or not is not my concern right now. Finishing it is enough for me to worry about at the moment.

I have a question...

When someone says something hurtful to you and then says, "Oh, I'm just kidding" do you assume they were being truthful the first time or the second? I know I'm a bit paranoid, but I usually believe the first statement. I think that people tend to say what they are really feeling and then cover it with the "I'm kidding" comment. It frees them up to say something impolite, but true. A friend of mine performs in local venues and I truly enjoyed going to watch him. But, even though I've asked to be kept informed about when and where he's performing, I never get the schedule. When I asked about it, I asked if they did it on purpose because they don't like having me there (they have not seemed to enjoy my company when I have gone in the past.)

They said, "You figured us out... it took you long enough." Then, of course, came the "Oh, we're just kidding" comment, but still no schedule information. Am I just being paranoid? I honestly don't know. I do know that I won't ask again, and I won't go even if asked. I have spent my life not being wanted, it is impossible for me to trust that I am wanted now. It's a lot easier to stay home and write.

Then again, how will I ever handle the rejection that will inevitably come when I try to get published.

Saturday, March 10, 2007

Dog Day

Today was a dog day, especially for Harley. We went outside this morning and played with all three dogs. Maverick chased his flying squirrel frisbee while Dad and I played with the new parachute toy I bought at Franklin's yesterday. (Franklin's is a restaurant/store near work that has some of the most interesting stuff for sale. The chocolate cake is pretty darn special, too.) Mom got out the "weasel on a stick" toy and fished for Harley from the deck. We played until Mom got cold and Dad wandered off to change a lightbulb or something.

I played with my Nintendogs a while and took care of my Showdogs while I finished watching Return of the Jedi and a movie about the making of Star Wars. I still say the people at work who claim Star Wars was a regional thing are crazy, especially after watching the special, but that's beside the point. I cleaned my room and Mom, Harley and I made the bed. It's a queen size waterbed, so it takes at least two of us. Harley's help was completely dispensable.

My writer's group meets here tomorrow, so we ran to Sam's Club to get some cookies, blackberries and grapes to serve them. I know, weird combination, right? I took my buddy Chris with me via my Blackberry. (Same name, different fruit... no, not Chris, the Blackberry. Chris is not at all fruity!) Then we all... Mom, Chris and I... went to the dollar store and looked at My Little Pony notebooks and stickers for Chris.

When we got home I took the dogs outside with the giant bubble wand I bought at Walmart and introduced Harley to bubbles. He loved them. Btw, if you have been wondering what Indiana was doing while all of this was happening... he rolled on his back once and stared vacantly off into space the rest of the time. That's the height of excitement for that poor dog.

Harley helped me nap by chewing on my toes and fingers and, after dinner, I took him outside for a run around in the dark with the laser pointer. After all of that excitement we put on the Harley show for Mom and Dad and now he's collapsed on their bed while I blog.

(Notice... no writing. I'm still stuck on that darn island!)

Friday, March 9, 2007


Meeting today...

Me: That's the name of my gay typing teacher from high school.

BS: They taught gay typing in your high school?

::rim shot::

There followed a riff on what a gay typing class would be like...

Meeting adjourned

P.S. Brian Sweeney wants full credit for the above.... Sorry Brian

How important is Star Wars, really?

Back when I was in high schoo/college and they first started talking about VCRs I remember thinking how amazing it would be to watch Star Wars in my own home any time I wanted to. Now I'm finding out how much of a dinosaur that makes me, not just because I can remember a time before VCRs but because I actually remember when Star Wars was the new, exciting movie franchise.

We were living in Munich, Germany when the first Star Wars movie came out and someone who had seen it before moving to Germany was trying to tell us about it. It just didn't sound that interesting to me, but when I finally saw it, I was a complete convert. The epic nature of the movies, the startling special effects, Harrison Ford... Star Wars had everything.

When Empire came out I was living in Las Vegas and was in college. We went to see it over and over again in the theaters even though we really couldn't afford it. I gave my sister tickets to see it one more time for her birthday, even. These days, how often do you go see a movie at the theater more than once? I went to see Pirates of the Caribbean twice and that was a big deal. I don't remember how often we saw Empire at the theater, but it was probably five or more times.

So, what is the point of all of this? Well, I TiVo'd all of the movies, starting with the disappointing 1-3 saga and ending with the original films. The special effects in the old films don't hold up well, nor does poor Mark Hamill's acting, but I still prefer the originals. Anyway, I was watching Empire this morning, still my favorite, and I mentioned to my buddy, Chris, that Mark Hamill never looked the same after his car accident. Chris didn't know what I was talking about! Now Chris has lost all computer geek credibility. He's got to spend the weekend watching Princess Bride, Young Frankenstein and Monty Python to prove he's a true geek.

In the meantime, I asked the girls from work if they knew who Mark Hamill was. Four out of four could not identify him and only one of the four has seen the movies, and that was under protest. When I expressed shock, they told me that maybe the movies were only a West Coast thing. What??? This is Star Wars, people, not some obscure indie film. Am I the only one who remembers how much impact these movies had on our culture? Star Wars ranks up there with Star Trek and... I can't even think of anything as big. The Star Wars phenomenon dwarfs the Harry Potter franchise. Sure HP is fun, but it is not Star Wars. Of recent movies, only the Lord of the Rings trilogy can really compare.

So, how important is it that people know and love the same movies? If you believe, as I do, that every culture is defined by the stories they tell and the legends they share, then movies perform a much greater role than merely entertainment. They give us a frame of reference, a shared experience. We no longer sit around firesides and listen to stories of heroes who face down evil and survive, we sit in darkened theaters, but the effect is the same. Sure, most of the movies we see are forgettable and many of them are pure dreck. But when something comes along that speaks to our core values and connects with us on a deeper level, it binds us with other human beings who feel the same feelings. It gives us a starting point and a shared experience even if we have only just met. It gives us a history together.

How important is Star Wars... it's just entertainment, or is it?

Wednesday, March 7, 2007

Fat Chick

Some guy at work made a fat comment about me in our meeting this morning. It was offensive enough to put me in tears, but not so blatant that I can call him on it. I am so tired of being the brunt of fat jokes. I am so tired of being fat. I thought I had the fat thing licked a year or so ago, but I've regained just about everything I've lost and I've given up on hoping I'll ever lose it again. If I had made a comment about his nationality (he's Vietnamese) everyone would have jumped on me, but it's perfectly acceptable to poke fun at fat people. After all, we bring it on ourselves. We weren't born fat, right? If we don't want to be laughed at and made fun of we should just lose the weight. Or, we can just accept that we're pathetic losers, which is the route I'm taking.

Tuesday, March 6, 2007

Writer's Block

I hate to act out a cliche, but I'm having trouble with writer's block. I've reached a point in my story where I know where I need it to go, but I can't get it there. I even asked Chris to help me again, but he is stumped, too. I'll figure it out eventually, but it's frustrating in the meantime. This writing stuff would be a lot more fun if I were better at it.

Work is getting crazy and I'm falling further and further behind. All in all, I need another 20 hours a day.

Want to help with the book? Why not suggest a magical talent for some of the bad guys to have? I need something for the big finale, and I'm not good at making up this stuff. If you've got a suggestion, leave a comment. Who knows, maybe some day I'll get this thing finished and published and you can tell people you helped me finish it! :) You won't get any royalties, though, so don't go getting too excited.

Monday, March 5, 2007

TiVo Trouble

You know how much I love my TiVo. Well, tonight it refuses to change my cable box channel, so instead of taping "How I Met Your Mother" I got an episode of "Spongebob Squarepants." Ugh! I spent a long time trying to fix it but I finally gave up and sent out my ezine, Giggles & Grins. I wish I had time to do that every day like I used to, but lately I don't even have time to sleep. I had to choose between keeping in touch with all of the people I enjoy on the Giggles and actually writing a book. I have always wanted to be a writer, so you can see my dilemma.

On one hand, the Giggles (and to an even great extent, this Blog) gave me a forum and a training ground so that I could learn to express myself in a cohesive, semi-entertaining fashion. On the other hand, this is a book, the epitome of my writerly ambitions. No one is ever going to remember Becky, the writer of the Giggles. But, if I can get a few books published, I stand a chance of being remembered after I'm gone. Since I have no kids, other than Harley and company, the only legacy I can leave in this world is the written word (or lots of words, I don't think anyone would remember me if I wrote just one word).

I guess I'm a little vain, but I hate the idea of being gone and not being missed. I would be thrilled if I were remembered for being a wonderful human being and a great humanitarian, but that's not happening so I'd settle for someone saying, "Oh, Becky Shiles, I read her books. They were great! How come she hasn't written anything lately? Oh, she's dead? Bummer." Wouldn't it be nice to know you could make someone's day just a little sadder just because you were dead?

Sunday, March 4, 2007

Harley is freakishly smart

I have had smart dogs before. Penny, my beloved Shetland Sheepdog, was so smart that I used to swear she could read my mind. She knew a number of off the wall commands like, "Penny, I'm cold" which just meant that she needed to get up and cuddle closer on cold winter nights. Maverick is smart but in a lovely, gentle, regular-dog kind of way. He's obedient and fun and remembers to do what he's told more often than not, but he's not going to win any science fairs if you know what I mean. Clark, Indiana's son, was so smart he would jump in my window and get my pillows so that he could take them back out through the window and sleep on them. (Indiana is so stupid his doggy IQ is in the negative numbers, but that's a whole other story.)

Harley is a freak. Harley is so smart it literally weirds me out. It took him a little over a week to learn to roll over on command, but it took less than a week for him to learn to shake hands, speak, sit up and beg, walk on his hind legs and dance on his hind legs. Each weeknight for one week he learned a new command. It got to the point that we were running out of tricks to teach him.

Earlier today Mom asked me how I would teach him how to play dead. I rolled Harley over on his back, told him "Play Dead" and gave him some praise. I told Mom, "that's how."

Tonight, we were running through his list of tricks while I fed him itty bitty pieces of cat food. Mom said, "Tell him to play dead." So, I did... and he did!

I had never shown him other than the two second demonstration I gave her earlier, but he remembered and did it, not just once, but over and over. Ok, that is an-alien-who-only-looks-like-a-dog-mated-with-your-doggy's-mama kind of smart! I once read a book with that subject (great book) and one of the signs that the dog was half alien was that it would wind its rope around a tree and then unwind it. Harley does that, too. I'm telling you, it's not a coincidence.

He isn't even a year old yet and he's already smarter than most men. If this keeps up he's going to bypass even some of the women I know. In another year or two he could even get as smart as I am... nah, no male could ever do that.

Saturday, March 3, 2007

R & R

I decided to take a couple of days of Rest and Relaxation before tackling the task of finishing the rough draft of my novel. I read a chapter to a tiny writer's group I belong to at work and they were very complimentary. The problem is I'm reading this stuff and thinking it just isn't good enough. I have never been good at rewriting and I'm worried that I won't be able to polish it up as well as I need to so that it can find a publisher. I also worry that I can't retain all of the great advice I have been reading lately and I won't be able to apply it even if I remember it. It sucks being a perfectionist.

I found a game that Harley likes even more than the laser pointer. I dragged out a toy I bought for him last year and he went nuts. It looks a little like this. It is basically a horse's longe whip with a bit of sheepskin at the end. It acts like a doggy fishing pole with me dragging the sheepskin lure along the ground around me and Harley dashing around to get it. If I go in circles long enough, he cuts right through the circle and tackles it. A few times he hit it so hard that he rolled over, but he always came up with the toy in his mouth. We played for a looong time today, and he has been more quiet tonight than he ever is, usually. I wish I had video to show you just how much he loves it.

I have been really disappointed in American Idol this year. Only Chris Sligh shows any promise at all, everyone else is boring, boring, boring. I wish I had Season 2 on tape, I'd just watch it instead. I know that no one will ever compare to Clay Aiken, who could, but I keep hoping that someone will come along that is almost as good or as interesting. It's not happening this year, I'm afraid.

As long as I'm on the subject of TV... what do you think of Lost and/or Heroes? Isn't it fantastic to have two shows on TV that get it right? For some reason TV really lets us down when it comes to Fantasy or Science Fiction. For ever Twilight Zone there are a dozen My Favorite Martians or Battlestar Galactica. Other than Quantum Leap, which really was more about the people's stories and less about fantasy or sci fi, I can't remember any show I've liked better. I don't know why everyone is complaining about having to wait for the answers to all the mysteries. I'm enjoying it exactly the way it is. I just wish there were more episodes in a year... would one a day be too many?

Wednesday, February 28, 2007

I Didn't Quite Make It

I finished the month with just over 40,000 words written. I wouldn't have done that much if my best buddy, Chris, hadn't helped me over a rough patch in the story. With his help, though, I broke through the block and so I was able to add over 3,000 words tonight. I killed off the major baddie, revealed the answer to the big mystery and only have a few thousand words left to finish the rough draft. I think it all hangs together pretty well, but there will be a lot of rewriting left to do when I finish. At least the first draft is almost done, and if I didn't quite meet either of my goals... writing 50,000 words or finishing the first draft... I am closer to finishing than I would ever have gotten without those goals to push me to write. I actually enjoyed writing tonight, once I got started, and remembered why I like writing at all. The last week or so has been torture as I keep hitting snags. I need to remember to ask Chris when that happens next time. I can hardly believe I have 90,000 words towards my novel. How exciting is that??

Monday, February 26, 2007

Feeling like a failure

It's the 26th and I've only written 35,500 words this month. I have no chance of finishing on Wednesday, not without missing a couple of days from work, and probably not even then. I am glad I got that much done, but I let myself down. I should have written more this weekend. I should have written more, period. It was a lot easier to write in November, probably because it was the early part of the book and the stakes weren't so high. Now I'm at the end of the book and I want it to be perfect. That's slowing me down more than any other factor. I wish I could just finish this thing and get on to the rewrite stage. I am going to hate this book before I'm done if this keeps up.

Onto other things... After playing with Harley and the laser pointer he came up lame the next day. He must have hurt his foot while running around in the dark. He wouldn't put his foot on the ground most of the next day and was still limping into the following day. I guess that wasn't as good an idea as I thought it was.

I took him out with me yesterday to try sledding for the first time. We had about 4-5 inches of snow and it was good, wet snow so it was really slick. He liked it when I let him run around, chasing me, but he didn't like riding on the sled. On the other hand, he jumped on Dad's back, and rode him down to the bottom of the hill. Unfortunately, I had already put the camera away, so I didn't get that taped. The snow is already mostly melted today, so no more sledding. I hope we get one more sledding day this year. Last year we only had two sledding days. I want more!

I finally saw the finale of Beauty and the Geek tonight. My favorite guy, Nate, lost, but he was happy about it. He felt that the only way that his horrible partner (my word, not his) could learn anything from the experience would be if she lost. So he told all of the housemates to vote for the other team. I love that boy. What a great heart he has.