Tuesday, 25 November 2008

I Hate to Say It...

I need snow. I know. The minute it snows, I'll wish the roads weren't icy and it weren't so cold. I'll wish the kids didn't leave boots, mittens, scarves and coats all over the floor. Despite all that, I wish it would snow...just a little.

This morning I took out all the Christmas decorations and put them up, which I normally don't do until the first of December. We always do a real tree, so that isn't up yet, but I put everything else out to see if I could convince myself it really is coming soon. No such luck. It still feels like spring outside, which in other parts of the world might be normal for this time of year, but it's just weird here. I went to church Sunday without even a light jacket and the last time I talked to my mother, it was warmer here in Canada than where she lives in Arizona.

Last week, I kept thinking about Christmas being only a month away. Usually I have my Christmas shopping done by the end of November or first week of December. I got a few things yesterday, but I really haven't even started yet. To be honest, I don't even know what to get people this year. This is raising my stress level substantially.

My kids have only asked for books and CDs which isn't terrible unless the book or CD won't even be released until after Christmas. I always give each of the kids a book for Christmas but it would be nice to think of something else. (On the other hand, it is nice to have kids who don't ask for a lot and are satisfied with so little. Comes from years of having nothing...but that's another story.)

Anyway, I guess I'll be spending the next several weeks catching up on my sewing, baking, and shopping. And I'll probably sing "White Christmas" enough to drive my husband crazy.

Saturday, 22 November 2008


(click on image to make it easier to read)

"January 11, 2005: A massive storm rages throughout the western states. Angry, churning water spills over the banks of the Virgin River, already at twice its’ normal capacity, resulting in what will become known in the area as the flood of the century.

When Carmen Anderson returns to the tiny town of Prosper, Arizona that she fled as a teenager, she has no idea that a devastating storm is on the way.

While struggling to get to her teenage daughter, who is stranded in the small town by flood waters, Carmen realizes that her biggest challenge lies in facing the secret that has been locked away in her heart for the past fifteen years –
a secret that has kept out a family who loves her, and the man who would do anything to be by her side."

Here is a fun and easy contest from new author Suzanne V. Reese. Her book sounds like an interesting read and I can't wait to get a copy and read it myself.

Thursday, 20 November 2008

The Weirdest Thing

The weirdest thing happened this morning.

As you can see from my picture, my hair is curly. In fact, it's extremely curly and maybe the picture doesn't even do it justice. Having squiggy hair (my husband's term) comes with it's own set of problems. There's frizz and the constant tangle. I never even use a brush because that is just a mess waiting to happen.

This morning I washed my hair and conditioned it as I always do, squishing the soap all the way to the ends and using my fingers to work the conditioner out. After I turned off the shower, I started at the top of the hair and squeezed the water out with my fingers. When I reached the bottom two inches of hair, I squeezed and winced as something sharp jabbed my finger.

I carefully pulled my fingers through the wet hair again, looking for the offending object and pulled out a small brass safety pin! I must have slept with it there and washed my hair with it there. I don't know how I missed it in the first place and I really don't know how it got there. It really was the weirdest thing and thinking back, I can't even begin to imagine where it came from.

Friday, 14 November 2008

Going Back to Grade Three

I've started subbing as an educational assistant at the elementary school. For the past two weeks I've been working with a little boy in one of the grade three classrooms. This should be easy right? Most of it isn't too bad, but then we get to math. Math has never been one of my strengths but grade three math - we are just adding and subtracting so it should be easy.

So the teacher writes a question on the board. Something basic like "36+27=" then says to the kids, "Show me three ways to solve this problem."

Okay, I know it has been a very long time since grade three, but I could only think of one way. With a little time, I managed to come up with two, but that stretched my brain and left me stumped. Luckily for me, the little boy I'm working with took long enough doing the first two ways, that we didn't have time for a third way.

Then the other children in the class took turns going to the whiteboard to show the methods they used to solve this problem. (What ever happened to a good old-fashioned chalkboard? This is making me feel older all the time.) Here is what they came up with.

36+27 = 63

III 000000 + II 0000000 = 63 (where each line represents ten and each circle represents one)

36+27 = 50+13 = 63 (Instead of carrying numbers, you add the tens column, add the ones column and then add the two answers together.)

40+23 = 63 (huh?) (The student explained she borrowed 4 from the 27 to make the 36 into a 40 and then it was easier to add 23 to 40).

There were more solutions and all of them ended up with the same answer.

When I went to elementary school we were taught one way to do problems. We had to show our work. If the method used to come up with the answer didn't match the teacher's method the question was marked as wrong. It seems in those days there was only one way to add. Today, these students learn the rules that 36+27 always = 63 but then they learn different strategies to make the math easier for them. When they come up with a different way to do the problem, as long as the method gives them the correct answer and still follows the rules, they are praised for using the "natural calculator between their ears."

I really do think I need to take math all over again. Maybe I could get over some of my insecurities when it comes to numbers. Maybe grade three is a good place to be.

Thursday, 13 November 2008

Eight Things About Me

Ali tagged me with this "Eight Things About Me". Its taken me awhile to get to it, but here goes...

Eight things I'm looking forward to:

  • The LDStorymakers Conference in April. Okay, I know its really far away, but I'm watching for the registration to come up and then hoping I can afford to go. It might not be feasible this year if I can't get other people to come to Utah with me and share the gas, but I'm still working on it.
  • Christmas. Of course. The kids are already listening to Christmas music. I really look forward Christmas when I don't have to plan anything else and I can just relax for a few days.
  • Losing all this extra weight. I haven't made it work yet, but I'm still trying. I can't even remember what it's like not to carry 50 extra pounds around.
  • My anniversary. December 9th it will be 8 years. My husband and I alternate years planning something. Usually we stay pretty simple and go out to dinner. This year he is hinting at something bigger.
  • Getting an insert for our fireplace. Not doing it for sure yet, but we are talking about it. It would make the house warmer and also help with our emergency planning, giving us a better way to heat the house.
  • The first real snow of the season. I don't want it to be bitterly cold, but I do like a fresh layer of snow. Anyway, if this warm sticks around much longer, I'll be able to cut fresh parsley and lavender next week. The plants have started growing again!
  • and of course...My books being published. Don't know how soon this will happen, but I do believe it will and I'm still working on it.
Eight Things on My Wish List
  • A writing critique group.
  • More time to read and sew.
  • A Bausch kitchen mixer.
  • To have my years supply of food in place.
  • An interior decorator to give me some ideas for my house.
  • A vacation to Scotland.
  • To have my mother live closer.
  • A new wardrobe.
Eight T.V. Shows I Like to Watch
  • Criminal Minds
  • Survivor
  • American Idol
  • The news
  • Dancing With the Stars
  • The Muppet Show (on DVD).
  • I honestly can't think of anymore. I watch so little television these days.
Eight Things I Did Yesterday
  • Attend the Remembrance Day services at the school and heard my daughters perform.
  • Attend the Remembrance Day ceremony at the cenotaph.
  • Did two loads of laundry.
  • Cleaned out the cold storage room.
  • Emptied the water jugs downstairs and replaced with fresh water.
  • Wrote on my NaNo project for awhile (not going well by-the-way).
  • Had two of my oldest daughter's friends over for dinner. Learn lots listening to them talk to each other.
  • Hung some pictures in the kitchen.
Eight People I am Tagging

Wednesday, 12 November 2008

The Most Patient

Unusual for me, but I think I can finally claim to be the most patient - at least when it comes to getting published. Don't get me wrong. I think about it and work toward it and check my telephone and email messages every time I get home from work, hoping to hear something from the latest publisher looking over my book. But I also understand it takes time. Lots of time.

Everyone else is about to drive me crazy. Since they don't get the time factor no matter how often I explain it to them, I get asked everywhere I go about the book. My chiropractor asks every time I have an appointment whether the book is published yet. My visiting teachers want to know when they can buy it. And others ask why I haven't heard from anyone yet.

I wish I knew a publisher wanted it. I wish I had a release date. I wish I could tell them all it is at the local bookstore and I'd be happy to sign a copy for them. Meanwhile, I'm working on the next one and trying not to think too much about my other baby in the hands of a faceless editor. But who knows, maybe I'll hear something tomorrow.

Tuesday, 11 November 2008

Lest We Forget

    In Flanders fields the poppies blow
    Between the crosses, row on row,
    That mark our place; and in the sky
    The larks, still bravely singing, fly
    Scarce heard amid the guns below.
    We are the Dead. Short days ago
    We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
    Loved and were loved, and now we lie,
    In Flanders fields.
    Take up our quarrel with the foe:
    To you from failing hands we throw
    The torch; be yours to hold it high.
    If ye break faith with us who die
    We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
    In Flanders fields.

    -Lt. Col. John McCrae, M.D. (1872-1918)-
This morning we attended the Town Remembrance Day Ceremonies at the high school. My daughters were both part of choirs that performed and my oldest daughter also played the national anthem with the high school band. As always, I shed tears during our national anthem. I find it such a stirring piece of music that truly helps me remember how blessed I am to live in such a great country.

Then we walked up to the cenotaph where the flag flew at half mast and we observed a moment of silence. We always insist our children come with us each year so they will understand that this isn't just another day off of school. It helps us all remember..

Tuesday, 4 November 2008

How to Carry Yourself

Tonight I attended our ward's Young Women in Excellence. As always it was entertaining and the young women in our ward amaze me with the scope of their talents. Each of the girls got to walk out on stage while we were told a little about them.

One thing I really noticed is how awkward most of the girls were walking in high heels. The same thing came to my attention last year at the school's graduation ceremonies. So many of the girls walked the processional holding their long skirts quite high off the ground and clumsily walking in their beautiful dresses. This is a pet peeve of mine partly because I have made so many beautiful gowns that somehow don't look quite as nice when the girl is slouching or stomping down the aisle.

I remember as a girl being taught how to act like a lady and how to carry myself. Remember the walking with books on the head trick? My great-grandmother always told me to stand up straight, walk gracefully and dress appropriately for the occasion. I've already promised my daughters that they will get to learn how to carry themselves before I ever let them wear a formal gown. My oldest daughter has it down and the youngest is learning.

I've suggested to the Young Women leaders in our ward to have an evening teaching the girls how to walk and stand so they look the best they can. They are excited by the idea, and the girls could all use the practice. A little refinement will be good for them.

A little refinement would also help my current manuscript. Still working on that, but like trying to teach a bunch of slouchy teenagers to walk like ladies, it is a long road. Certainly worth the effort thought. Someday we'll all be polished and ready to present to the world.

Monday, 3 November 2008

Whitney Award Benefit Auction

The Whitney Award Benefit Auction is taking place throughout the month of November. This is a great way to support the Whitney Awards and also to do a little Christmas shopping. Everything in the auction is donated and new items are being added daily. A variety of items are available, including clothing, signed books, and author servies. The proceeds will go directly to the Whitney Academy. Please take advantage of this opportunity to support LDS literature.

Saturday, 1 November 2008

National Novel Writing Month

Here we go again...I think? Nano started this morning at 12:00 a.m. I didn't. I went to bed still unsure whether I really would participate. Most years I can't wait. A glimmer of a story swirls around in my mind waiting to burst forth. Not this year.

I've started several things and jotted down many ideas. But right now none of them are holding my interest. The last few months have been hard for me. I've had a lot of things of my mind and my focus has been missing in action.

Well, it's time for me to get it together again. I'm not sure how successful I'll be this year, but at least I'll try. There is one paragraph I jotted down several months ago. It just came to me as I woke up one morning. It intrigues me and I want to know the story behind the few words I captured. I feel like this story will be a real departure from anything else I've written, which is odd, since I don't even know what the story is or who it's about. So stay tuned. I'm giving NaNoWriMo a with nothing more than a hope that I can extract something coherent out of my scattered brain. Should be interesting.
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