Friday, December 31, 2004

New Year's resolutions

1) To not make other people's problems my own. I love my friends, and when they need to talk, I always want to be there for them. But sometimes I let their stress become my stress, and I worry about them and the choices they make to an unhealthy point, so I resolve to stop doing that.

2) To be more assertive in the right circumstances. Sometimes it's just not worth it, but when it's a situation where it's going to nag at me later on, I resolve to do my best to speak up right then and there.

They're both going to be hard to keep, and I will most definitely slip up from time to time, but I'm going to do my best.

I feel like writing

I would like to
1) work on editing my nano novel
2) revisit/get back to work on the novel I started over the summer
3) start writing about some new characters I kind of randomly came up with this past week.


Yesterday we visited Janine and her kids in Livermore, and it was great to get out for the day and be with other people -- thanks Janine! I wasn't looking forward to the drive home anyway -- 90 minutes in the car with both kids at the end of the day is not my idea of the best time ever. Once we got out on to the road, we discovered that it was pouring, and it pretty much kept up the whole way home. Driving over the Altamont Pass with the windshield wipers on full blast, surrounded by cars and trucks driving at normal speeds, I was struck by the thought that I was going to need to really concentrate on my driving all the way home -- that we were really in a treacherous situation and getting my kids home safely was going to be -- well, not difficult, but not guaranteed either. It was kind of scary. A couple of times Rachel piped up from the backseat with "uh oh -- this is dangerous!" but when I assured her that we would be fine, she would insist she was talking to herself. In any case -- obviously we did make it home, and we didn't even hit that much traffic -- just some slow stuff going through Tracy. I never really felt stressed driving in it either. All in all, it was a little surreal.

Happy Birthday Rachel!

Today is the tenth birthday of my wonderful, brilliant, beautiful, sweet and lovely daughter Rachel Christine, who makes me proud every day! I love you, sweetie!

Wednesday, December 29, 2004

Here is my attempt to post a photo:

My brother Chad and my son Will on Thanksgiving:

I need to figure out how to put more stuff on this blog. Other people have lists of links and stuff off to the side and I need to figure out how to do that, so I can direct people to the websites of my friends and other sites I like. I'm going to work on posting some pictures I like too. I just got an awesome one of my brother and my son together that was taken on Thanksgiving. I think Will totally takes after Chad so I love pictures of them together, and this is a good one.


X.x Basics x.X
[ Name ] Tracie
[ Nickname ] none
[Screen name ] tkbezerra
[ Birthday ] 6/19/70
[ Age ] 34
[ Astrological sign? ] Gemini
[ Chinese zodiac sign? ] Dog (I think)
[ Religion ] none
[ Status ] married
[ Eye color ] hazel
[ Height ] 5'6"
[ Shoe size ] 8
[ Parents still together? ] yes
[ Siblings? ] one brother
[ Nieces/Nephews? ] None
[ Kids of your own ] one son, one daughter
[Grandkids ] no
[ Pets? ] one dachshund, one cat, one betta
[ In school/graduated? ] Bachelor's of Arts, UCD, 1992
[ Rent, lease, or own your home? ] Own
[ Have any credit cards? ] yes
[ What do you drive? ] Mazda minivan

X.x Favorites x.X
[ Color ] green
[ Number ] I've never really understood the concept of having a favorite number
[ Animal ] turtle
[ Vehicle ] none
[ Flower ] tulips
[ Scent] Pine cleaner
[ Soda ] diet pepsi
[ Book ] To Kill a Mockingbird
[ Song ] Can't possibly pick just one

X.x Do you... x.X
[ Color your hair? ] yes, for almost 20 years now
[ Twirl your hair? ] no
[ Have tattoos? ] None
[ Piercings? ] one in my nose, three in my left earlobe, 2 in my right
[ Have a boyfriend/girlfriend/both? ] Not unless you count my husband
[ Homework? ] I feel like I do since my daughter started 4th grade
[ Like roller coasters ] yes
[ Wish you could live somewhere else? ] no, I like it here
[ Want more piercings? ] no
[ Like cleaning? ] I wish
[ Write in cursive or print? ] cursive
[ Carry a donor card?] yes
[ Swear a lot? ] unfortunately
[ Own a web cam? ] no
[ Know how to drive? ] yes
[ Diet? ] sometimes
[ Own a cell phone? ] yes
[ Ever get off the damn computer? ] no
[ Hablar Espanol? ] no
X.x Have you ever.. x.X
[ Gotten a speeding ticket? ] No
[ DUI? ] no
[ Been in a wreck? ] I've been in car accidents but I would classify them more as "fender benders" than "wrecks"
[ Been arrested? ] no
[ Been in a fist fight? ] no
[ Kicked someone in the nuts? ] not with any serious intent
[ Stolen anything? ] yes
[ Held a gun? ] no
[ Drank? ] no
[ Been so drunk you couldn't remember anothers name ? ] no -- I've been drunk plenty of times but it doesn't affect my memory
[ Been so drunk you couldn't remember your name? ] no
[ Considered a life of crime? ] no
[ Considered being a hooker? ] no
[ Cheated on someone? ] sort of
[ Cried over a girl? ] No
[ Cried over a boy? ] yes
[ Lied to someone? ] yes
[ Been in love? ] yes
[ Fallen for your best friend? ] no
[ Made out with JUST a friend? ] no
[ Been rejected? ] yes
[ Been in lust? ] yes
[ Use someone? ] no
[ Been cheated on? ] not that I know of
[ Been kissed? ] I've been married 13 years and have two biological children, so figure it out

X.x Now x.X
[ Current mood ] bored/irritated
[ Current music ] lots of Beatles lately
[ Current taste ] I need to brush my teeth
[ Current hair ] messy
[ Current annoyance ] toss-up between the dog barking and nothing and the fact that it's noon and I'm sitting here in my sweats with no plans to get dressed or get anything done any time soon
[ Current thing I ought to be doing ] getting dressed, cleaning the house, parenting my kids
[ Current windows open ] outlook express, AIM window with Janine (blinking at me), two blog windows
[ Current desktop picture ] my kids on Halloween
[ Current favorite band(s) ] The Beatles now and forever, Maroon 5
[ Current book ] Middlesex (and it's damn long)
[ Current cds in stereo ] Beatles collection
[ Current crush ] characters I made up when I was falling asleep the other night that I might write about soon
[ Current favorite celeb ] Jeremy Piven and Jason Bateman
[ Current hate ] Christmas vacation, myself
[ Current job ] "homemaker"
X.x The last time x.X
[ Last book you read ] Girl In Hyacinth Blue
[ Last movie you saw ] That I hadn't seen before: "Saved!" That I had seen before: "Office Space." They're both awesome.
[ Last thing you had to drink ] coffee
[ Last thing you ate ] chocolate
[ Last person you talked to on the phone ] Sue
X.x Do you x.X
[ Do drugs? ] No
[ Have a dream that keeps coming back? ] yes
[ Play an instrument? ] no
[ Believe there is life on other planets? ] not really
[ Remember your first love? ] yes
[ Still love him/her? ] no
[ Read the newspaper? ] yes, but not very much of it
[ Have any gay or lesbian friends? ] yes
[ Believe in miracles? ] more like happy coincidences
[ Believe it's possible to remain faithful forever? ] yes
[ Consider yourself tolerant of others? ] depends -- stuff like sexual preference I don't have a problem with, but I am shocked and dismayed by some of the choices people make in their lifes wrt parenting, money, etc
[ Consider love a mistake? ] another happy coincidence
[ Have a favorite candy? ] am partial to Skor/Heath bars
[ Believe in astrology? ] no
[ Believe in magic? ] no
[ Believe in God? ] no
[ Do well in school? ] I did pretty well
[ Go to or plan to go to college? ] I went and may go back again someday
[ Wear hats? ] sometimes
[ Hate yourself? ] sometimes
[ Have an obsession? ] characters in my head, an affliction of being a writer
[ Have a secret crush? ] just the characters in my head

X.x Love life x.X
[ First crush ] I was 11
[ First kiss ] some guy I had just met -- ugh
[ Single or attached? ] attached
[ Do you believe in love at first sight? ] not for me
[ Do you believe in "the one?" ] no
[ Describe your ideal significant other ] I'm pretty happy with the one I've got and am too much of a realist to have any ideal, I think
[ Have you ever played a game that required removal of clothing? ] not that I can think of!
[ Have you ever been intoxicated? ] yes
[ Favorite place to be kissed ] hm...
[ Shy to make the first move? ] depends on what kinds of signals I'm getting

I'm a slug

We are doing so little this week! Yesterday, a trip to Costco was our big event of the day -- today it will probably be grocery shopping. Rachel has had it with Will, and yesterday in the afternoon, I asked him to go find something to do approximately 837 times. They need to go back to school in the worst way.

I want to get this house tidied up and even though I'm enjoying sleeping in (almost 10 am this morning -- woo hoo!), I know I can't live like this. It's good that next week is my week to drive carpool in the morning. That will ensure that I put my gym clothes on and get my butt out the door at a reasonable time each morning. Sue and I are going to start back in with the weight lifting on top of the cardio as well. I may even go back to Weight Watchers, although we'll see about that. Right now -- baby steps. Just going to the gym every day again will be great :-)

Monday, December 27, 2004

Wow, I suck at updating my blog

Maybe I'll be better at it now that Christmas is past. New Year's/Rachel's birthday is still upon us, but her gifts are bought, and we will probably eat lunch out, have a little cake, and be done with it. And we're going to an east coast NYE celebration at our friends' house, kids invited, that night, which should be fun. In any case, nothing is taking place at our house and not much preparation is expected from me, so yay!

Friday, December 17, 2004

Desperate housewife? Not me!

I realized recently that I have been unemployed for 10 years as of this week. I went on maternity leave from my job as a receptionist/secretary at SPP-LET around the middle of December 1994, and have not returned to the workforce since. It's been a decade with ups and downs, but overall, I can say that I am happy to be a homemaker and stay-at-home mom, and if I had it all to do again, I wouldn't do anything differently. The first five years were really hard, what with being lonely in SLO, dealing with Rachel's disability, money issues and Ryan's unhappiness at his old firm, and all the health issues that I believe resulted from my emotional state. The second five years have just gotten better and better :-)

I've said it before and I'll say it again: I have a pretty sweet deal. A great husband, two wonderful kids, awesome friends, a roof over my head, financial stability, and enough free time to really enjoy my life. Everyone should be so fortunate as I am. I'm feeling very blessed today!

Wednesday, December 15, 2004

My Christmas gifts

Okay, so get this:
Last week, after I got Ryan's second Christmas gift, and I wrapped both of them and put them under the tree, I started the usual taunting: I got your gifts! You're gonna like them! And so on. It's juvenile but I can't help myself. So I say to him, have you bought my gift? And he's like, yeah. And I'm an idiot, so I believed him!

Sunday, we're driving into the Longs parking lot to check out Christmas trees. I'm thinking about what a mess the house is, and how my whole entire family is coming next week on Christmas, and how I'm going to have to clean the whole damn place before that. I'm thinking about how I'd like nothing better than for someone else to come and clean. So I said, you got my Christmas present already, right? And Ryan looks at me and goes, yeah, and he's so lying! He's a terrible liar and usually I like that about him. Oh, I was so mad! So I gave him a pretty much an endless amount of crap about it, and then I finally said to him, okay, well, if I was talking to a husband who hadn't bought his wife a gift yet and also hadn't lied his ass off about it, I might tell him that his wife would like someone to come and clean the house before Christmas and that would make a pretty excellent Christmas present. And he's all, oh, thanks for telling me that. So I was pretty happy about it at that point.

Today I went into Sac to have lunch with him and we got on the subject of Christmas gifts and I started bugging him about my Christmas present again. And again, he claimed to have bought me one already. And I was just not falling for it this time. Which is why I felt like a moron when I took him back to his office and he told me to pull into the parking lot and wait a minute, and I watched him go open the trunk of his car and pull out a Macy's bag. And he brought it over to me -- it had two packages in it -- and he said could you put these under the tree for me?

So, a) he did buy me presents
and b) no one is coming to clean my house next week!

I thought maybe he'd had them gift wrapped at the store, but when I pulled them out and put them under the tree as instructed, I couldn't help noticing that someone had done a perfectly hideous job of wrapping them. Can't wait to see what's in them. One is clearly clothing and the other one, I'm guessing DVDs.
Yeah, I don't update my blog often enough. Janine has been complaining that I don't write in here enough, and since she's the only one who reads this blog, I suppose I should try to keep her happy. I don't know, it seems like every time I get on the computer lately, all I do is check my email and then play games. I haven't even been logging into AIM much lately, which is weird. I guess I've been feeling anti-social.

My Christmas-sing is mostly done. Yesterday after I went to the gym and came home and showered, I turned on a movie ("Mystic River" -- it was okay) and spent a few hours wrapping Christmas presents. Today I went with Sue to Borders and bought gift cards for Rachel's teacher, her speech therapist, the full-inclusion specialist, and a girl in speech therapy who Rachel is exchanging gifts with tomorrow. I asked Rachel what this girl would like and was told "a tooth fairy." Didn't really know how to comply with that, so I went for the easy route -- the gift card. Don't you just love them? I know I'm happy whenever I get one! All I have left to do now is call and order a gift card to a day spa for my mother-in-law and pick up some perishables to put in a basket for my grandma. And I guess this is the last year that that's going to work for her since she's moving into assisted living after the first of the year. Which is good for her but bad for my gift giving. I think I will just start sending her a big flower arrangement every couple of month. She and Ryan's grandma seem to really like that, and I like to surprise them at different times of the year.

The kids will be on Christmas break soon, and I actually can't wait. Normally I'd be dreading it, but this year we have all this crap with Rachel's aide situation at school (the situation being that she doesn't have one and hasn't for nearly two months), not to mention the fact that getting up to get the kids off to school has really been harshing my mellow lately. It's so nice now that they're old enough to get up, go downstairs, turn on the TV and have cereal or toast or something without me. Having school-age kids rocks. The other day for some reason first thing in the morning I was really missing Will being a baby and I had to come downstairs and look at pictures of him as a baby in one of the scrapbooks. But then when they went to school, I was glad :-)

Don't get me wrong --I do miss Rachel as a baby sometimes too. It's just that on this particular occasion I was missing my little chunk baby boy :-)

Ryan's in San Jose for the next two days and probably for most of next week. We are going to be living like Lord of the Flies around here, I'm telling you!

Tuesday, December 07, 2004


I got an email from my mom this morning -- they compared her recent mammogram to one from 1999, and the calcifications they thought were new are actually the same ones she's had and they haven't changed at all. So she's fine -- no biopsy, no worries! I'm so happy!

Monday, December 06, 2004

Family Size

Last night, some friends of ours told us they're expecting their fourth child in May. I'm happy for them because I know it's what they want, but I have to admit that the number gives me pause. Four kids! That's twice as many as we have! I know tons of people want at least three, but I never wanted more than two, so wanting four is totally beyond my comprehension!

I feel fortunate to have married someone who feels the same way about family size that I do. My brother's fiance is from a family of five, just like Ryan, which I think is funny, since I didn't know that many families with more than three kids growing up, so what are the odds? I asked Angela if she wanted to have a big family like hers, and she said she did, but that Chad only wanted one or two children. I hope they can work that out. I wonder if they'll settle on three -- to me that really seems like the boundary between a small family and a big one.

Sunday, December 05, 2004

Rudolph & Frosty's Christmas in July

I don't mean to keep beating a dead horse, but there are some really crappy Christmas specials out there. Seems to me anyone would know that Ethel Merman + Claymation was a bad idea...

I am so glad this wretched movie has to go back to the video store today!

Saturday, December 04, 2004

Had a productive week. The Christmas cards went out yesterday, the decorations are up (other than the tree, which we'll probably get next week), and most of my shopping is done. I'd been thinking we would get a family portrait done to give to parents and such, but we will see if that happens. Seems like we're buying gifts for everyone anyway...

Rachel has a Girl Scout Holiday Boutique to go to in a little bit. Yesterday she was gone from 8 in the morning till 8 at night -- from school to Girl Scouts to a birthday party. When I picked her up, I asked if she had a good time, and she said "Yeah, but I missed you!" I'd kind of missed her too :-) She's so loveable lately -- Ryan and I were talking about it the other day and we agreed that she's developed this quality of self-possession. She knows who she is and she's comfortable with it. And that's that. It's a quality that will serve her well as she goes through the next few difficult years. I supposed it's possible that she'll fall victim to some of that whole self-hating adolescent girl, why-am-I-not-perfect-and-beautiful thing, but at this point I don't really expect it. We'll cross that bridge when/if we come to it, I guess.

Thursday, December 02, 2004

I hate my printer

Our printer is older (about 4 years! :-/) It's gotten very picky about sucking paper in to print on, and ever since we switched our computer over to Windows XP, whenever it gets jammed, once you clear, it insists on spitting out about a million pages of nonsense crap, just a few lines on each page, before it gets itself sorted out. We will definitely be getting a better one after Christmas, and have asked my Grandma to contribute either cash or a gift card to Staples or Office Max toward that end (she asked what we wanted -- I assure you i'm not in the habit of soliciting money for the things I want from elderly relatives or anyone else!). But in the meantime, I have about 80 Christmas cards to print and get out the door, and going through this routine every 5 cards or so (not to mention wasting all that black ink -- argh -- I have a spare color cartridge in there I would be happy to use, but if I have to buy another black one before I'm done with this piece of crap I'm going to be livid) is getting really old, really fast.

Yes, there are bigger problems in the world, but this is the most annoying thing in my life at the moment, and this is my blog, so I'm going to whine about it if I want! :-)


Last night I got an email from my mom saying she'd "flunked" a mammogram. She will be having a needle biopsy on December 15 and they will go from there. If it's what they think it is, this will be her third bout with breast cancer. The first was in 1988, and the second was in 1998. Both times she had surgery and that was the end of it -- no radiation or chemo. I so hope that if there is anything to this, it will be that simple again -- not that surgery is simple. I really really hope it's nothing :-/

Wednesday, December 01, 2004

I'm pretty bad at keeping up with this blogging stuff.

Suffice it to say, November is done and I'm finished with my novel. It ended up being about 58,000 words - 2,000 that I wrote prior to November 1st but needed to be in there. Some would say I cheated. But I wanted to write this particular novel for Nano, and there were two scenes I'd written before that I really thought were important to the novel, and I still wrote over 50,000 words during the month November, so whatever.

I printed up the novel on Sunday and I'm slowly working my way through it. It's pretty okay. Needs work -- in fact I think big chunks of it probably just need to be removed entirely -- but you know, I always surprise myself. I write and write and think "this must just totally suck" and it never does as bad as I expect. It still needs work though!

Got started with all the Christmasing too. Sunday we put up our little fake pre-lit tree in the "new room" upstairs and I went through the ornaments and separated out the more durable ones for the kids to use to decorate it. I also did up the fireplace and put the lit garland on the bannister. Today I put up lights out front. Nothing too strenuous, and it looks very nice. We won't get our tree till later in the month. I have a good amount of my Christmas shopping done, and today I designed our Christmas cards, printed out a few (my printer is sucking -- we're planning to get a new one after Christmas -- woo hoo!), and organized and printed out the mailing labels. Once I get them printed and buy stamps, it shouldn't be too tough to get them out the door pretty quickly. I do need to get some wrapping done. Stuff is piling up around the chair in our bedroom and it would look so nice wrapped up under the tree in the new room :-)

Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer

My kids had been looking forward to watching "Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer" for a week, and it was on tonight. When Ryan got home, Will actually asked him how long it would be till it came on (2 1/2 hours, or a century in 6-year-old time). So guess what? They turn on the TV at 8 o'clock and see the end of it. Daddy had failed to note that it was on CBS (here in the Sacramento area, CBS runs all its prime-time shows an hour early) and Mom had failed to set the TV to Tivo the approximately 763 times she thought of doing so. The children were distraught, and Daddy was apologetic till Mom sent his butt to the video store to see what he could scrounge up. We have one of those old, independent video stores that stocks every cheesy old kids' show they ever put on video. Well, success! Daddy returned home with not just one but two Rudolph videos. The kiddos got to stay up 20 minutes past their bedtime to watch the regular Rudolph video, and have the delights of "Rudolph and Frosty's Christmas in July" (featuring claymation versions of Ethel Merman and Red Buttons!) to looking forward to tomorrow.

Okay, I know "Rudolph" is really old and stuff, but geez. Not only was it unbelievably cheesy, but it was pretty sexist too. There's this one part near the end where that miner/adventurer guy goes over a cliff, and they're all really sad but they decide that the best thing to do is "get the women home." Not to mention the fact that, when the little reindeer were trying out and practicing to pull Santa's sleigh at the beginning, it was clear that only the boy reindeer were eligible. Yeah, yeah, yeah, I know it's just a dumb old kids' special, but I hate seeing stuff like this in shows aimed at kids. On the other hand, I would probably also be offended if I heard it wasn't being shown because someone decided it wasn't PC enough. If anything, they shouldn't show it because the animation is lame and the story is dumb.

Needless to say, my kids liked it anyway. They will probably want to watch it about a hundred times before we have to take it back on Sunday. At least they haven't asked for the animated "Frosty the Snowman." For some inexplicable reason, I have always hated both that song and that show.

Saturday, November 27, 2004

Tuesday, November 23, 2004


The other night we were at Round Table Pizza and when I was getting some soda, I overheard one approximately 12-year-old girl lecturing another about the bacon bits they had at the salad bar. "They're not even real," she said. "They're just pork with tons of salt."

And bacon, on the other hand, is...? :-)

My stomach

Saturday night, after eating enchiladas, drinking wine, and eating Oreo pie, I went to bed feeling sick. Sunday, I had a glass of wine after dinner, and later I had a leftover piece of Oreo pie. And I went to bed feeling sick. Yesterday morning, I felt fine -- had breakfast, got dressed, went to the gym and did 45 minutes on the elliptical trainer, and then I had a mocha when we went for coffee with our friends. Within an hour, I was really sick to my stomach. I ended up on the couch for the rest of the day and vomitting twice :-/ Not fun! I can only guess that for some reason I'm just really sensitive to sugar right now. I feel pretty good this morning, but I'm going to be really watching it today. We have a Kings' game to go to tonight, and my favorite meal of the year is the day after tomorrow, and I want to enjoy them both! I need to be healthy enough to make pies tomorrow as well.

Yesterday ended up being a pretty wasted day. I wrote less than 1,000 words and played Cubis most of the time I was on the computer. But I also chatted with friends I hadn't talked to in a while, so that was nice too :-)

Sunday, November 21, 2004

Have to brag

This weekend I threw a dinner party for six and wrote 6,600 words. Not bad for two days, huh?

Saturday, November 20, 2004

So now:

It's Thanksgiving vacation. Tonight we are having people over for dinner: Josh from Ryan's office and his wife Patty, and Yvonne from Ryan's office and her husband Mark. All very cool people and it should be fun. I should probably think about what needs to be done before they get here and what we're going to feed them and serve them to drink, since they will be here in 7 1/2 hours!

Tomorrow: back to writing. I've now not touched my novel in 48 hours, and the rest of today isn't looking great either, but I expect to be able to play major catch-up Sunday-Wednesday, since the kids are off and we have nothing planned other than Rachel going to her friend Allyn's house for a sleepover tomorrow night. Which obviously doesn't require a whole lot out of me. Anyway, I have just over 32,000 words, and as of today, I should have 34,000, which makes this only the second time I have ever been officially behind in the history of my participation in Nano. The first time, of course, being two weeks ago when I erased the whole thing at 6100 words and had to start all over again.

I caught up then and I'll catch up this time too, not to worry.

We're going to my parents' house for Thanksgiving on Thursday, and I'm in charge of the pies. I'll probably make one pumpkin and one berry. It should be fairly low-key, with just Mom, Daddy, Grandma, us four Bezerras, and Chad and Angela popping in. We're going to bring Yahtzee :-)

Go Kings!

Last night we went to our first Kings game of the season. Tuesday will be our second.

We went with Sue and Steve, and had dinner at Ema's Taco House first. Thanks, Steve and Sue! It was nice of you to treat us. The game was pretty exciting -- the Kings led through the whole first half, completely fell apart and were just sad in the third, and then the crowd went nuts in the fourth and I strongly feel assisted the Kings to pulling it together and eking out a one-point victory. A very cool game to see, and it was great to see Bobby Jackson out there playing again, although he doesn't seem to have his groove back on. But he didn't play for 6 months or something, so that's fair -- I'm sure he'll be back to his normal fabulous self soon.

At dinner Steve and Sue told us how much they enjoyed having Rachel come to their house Wednesday (we had parent/teacher conferences, and Will was at a class). Apparently she was drawing on a big piece of paper and would randomly call out "oh, yeah!" After a while, Steve asked her was song she was singing. "No song," she said. Yep, that's our Rachel :-)

We had a new sitter last night -- a girl who lives across the street from us. She was very sweet, and the kids seemed to like her a lot!

Okay. So:

The party happened. It was survived. Kids had fun, cake was good, my friend Sue is a saint for helping me out so much. Pump It Up is a damn fun place. My kids were exhausted at the end of it. We came home and they opened about a zillion gifts. Most of Rachel's were arts/crafts projects, and most of Will's involve about a thousand little plastic parts. I'm glad it's now officially Thanksgiving vacation and thus homework-free time, because these two have a hell of a lot of thank you notes to write.

Thursday, November 18, 2004

Going out of my mind

Okay -- remind why I thought this party was going to be a great idea?

About 6 pm tonight I'm going to be happy I did it, but till then, non-stop stress. We have in the neighborhood of 25 kids coming, 5 of whom I am personally transporting there, plus three who will be riding in Sue's car. I think I have everything we need. We are going to pick up the cake in a few minutes, and if there is a God, I will think of any last minute items I've forgotten till now.

Will be sitting down with a big glass of wine by 7pm...

Wednesday, November 17, 2004

Crazy Days

I hate conference week! The kids get out at 1:30 every day this week. Naturally this is the week that I have out-of-town-errands to run practically everyday. Yesterday Sue and I took yoga, went for coffee, ran home to shower/groom, then took off for Vacaville, where we hit Michaels, Old Navy and Costco, then raced back to Davis where we arrived just as school was getting out.. I took the kids home, put purchases away, figured out Rachel's homework, and then we made a quick trip to Office Max to get stuff to organize said homework better before going over to work at the book faire at school for two hours. Today promises to be just as crazy. I'll hit the gym, we'll probably go to coffee, then I'll probably go to Safeway to order the birthday cake for tomorrow and pick up a few things before I come home and shower. Then I'll go to West Sac to hopefully find party favors at the dollar store and munchies/drinks to take with us to the party. Am hoping to spend a minimum amount of $$$ but we'll see -- as of right now, we have 20 kids coming, including Rachel and Will. I will be glad to have birthday parties done for the year after tomorrow afternoon!

After school, we'll take Will to his class at 2, and then before 3:30 I'll leave Rachel at Sue's for a while so I can go to P/T conferences with Will's teacher at 3:30 and with Rachel's at 4:30. I'm hoping for all good news about both of them!

Neeless to say, all of this has been cutting into my writing time! The sad thing is, I bounced out of bed feeling ready to write yesterday morning, and actually got about 500 words written before I left for the gym. But by the time I was able to get back to it last night, I was totally out of the mood. I'd been thinking I would definitely hit 30K words yesterday, but I just got past 29K and then got off the computer to fold laundry and watch the season premiere of "The Amazing Race" instead. Today I will hopefully do a little better with all that. At the very least I will hit that 30K mark. Part of the problem, I think, is that I've been putting in some scenes just to fill some space before I get into the sequence of events that will carry the story to its conclusion. I've been nervous about all of that not taking the remaining 20K of words I need to write. But hopefully if I take my time with it and don't try to rush through, it'll be fine. Plus, I need to just go for it and not worry about pacing so much. It will all work out!

Monday, November 15, 2004

A Question

Who the hell are these people who want to be "rated" online? What kind of person has so little going on in their life that they need total strangers to comment on their looks? Of course the people who are featured in the little thing that pops up with AIM every day always look like models or something -- they are almost always female, and they always have some stupid caption that says "Is this veterinary assistant hot or not?" And I just think geez -- I have days where I feel pretty good about how I look, but I can't imagine ever, ever doing anything like posting a picture of myself online so creeps around the world can ogle me, sneer and think "as if!", shrug and say "eh," or anything else. When did the internet become one big beauty pageant anyway?

Sunday, November 14, 2004

End of a nice weekend

It was a nice though surprisingly busy weekend. We went shopping and out to lunch yesterday, and I got lots of Christmas shopping done for the kids. Unfortunately, since the kids were with us, that meant that Ryan kept having to take them to a different part of the store so I could make my purchases. I got Rachel a world map with lots of flags at the bottom that she'd been admiring in Michael's, and at Kohl's, I picked up some Leappad books for Will and a Cabbage Patch Kid for Rachel (I hope she likes it as much as I do!). Today Rachel and I went to a birthday party at the skating rink for Aasha, a girl who lives down the street. I think I has as much fun as she did :-) My right hip is a little achy from handling all the turns going around the rink counter-clockwise all afternoon though!

Ryan and I made a pact to keep the TV off after the kids went to bed, as he had work he'd been putting off all weekend and I wanted to get some writing done. I'm now done for the evening, having hit the 27K mark, and I'm headed upstairs to bed. After sleeping late the last several mornings, I fully expect it to be painful when my alarm goes off at 7 tomorrow morning!

Saturday, November 13, 2004

Night on the town

Last night was so much fun! Ryan and I went to see "Movin' Out," the musical choreographed by Twyla Tharp to songs by Billy Joel. I really enjoyed it. I've always loved his music (even though I'm totally grossed out that he married at 23-year-old girl recently and he's like my parents' age), and though some of the beginning parts didn't work that well (the sight of three high school buddies kind of joking around, roughhousing, and then breaking into ballet in unison was kind of silly), as it went on and the two guys who were supposed to have returned from Viet Nam were going through a lot of bad stuff and then facing their demons, I really got into it, and tears even came to my eyes a couple of times. The main guy who played Eddie was just amazing. He was this little short guy (seriously -- we saw him in the lobby after the show and he was really small) but from the second he came on stage you could tell he was going to be the hit of the show, and he was. I really wish we could go back and see it again, though with what the tickets cost and how long ago we got them, I know it's out of the question!

It wasn't a very long show, so afterward we drove back to Davis and had drinks at a bar in town, and just talked. Ryan was on a water law panel at some kind of a presentation yesterday, and apparently it got contentious. He was telling me all about how all the "local water law celebrities" were there, which always kind of cracks me up. It sounds like Ryan himself could be becoming one of those celebrities :-) After we came home and paid the sitter, we went out in the spa for a while. It was raining but we have an umbrella, and it was so nice out there. All in all, it was really a nice evening for just the two of us, something we don't do nearly often enough.

Friday, November 12, 2004

Woo hoo!

I made it to 23k! I'm really booking along right now. I've moved into the real meat of the story, and I'm a little concerned about that since I haven't even reached the halfway point in my word count goal. But this is Nano -- full speed ahead! :-)
I'm already having a more productive day than yesterday! I'm actually dressed and have my teeth brushed. I started laundry and raked some leaves. Will was "helping" me -- he was taking small handfuls of leaves over to the pile as I was sweeping the driveway, and dribbling them across the grass that I'd already raked. But that was okay. I thought it was sweet that he wanted to help. He went on to tell me he wanted to do "one job every day" and this was his job of the day. By the time we were finishing making our big pile of leaves, he was up to 3 jobs a day, and when we came inside, he was saying 3 jobs in the morning and 3 jobsin the afternoon. I told him I thought that might be too many jobs. For now I'd like to see if we can work on the one-job-a-day thing, and maybe start giving him an allowance.

I finally got the picture I wanted on here! The one I had of the kids and me was too small. I picked the current one not because it's such a great picture but because Rachel took it on our fun camping trip to Mt. Diablo last summer. I look happy in it. Rachel's a good photographer :-)

One More Thing...

Did some kind of official Christmas advertising start date happen in the last few days? I must have seen a million Christmas-themed commercials on TV last night. Now, I know that once Halloween is passed, corporate America sees it as a Christmas free-for-all out there, but I was surprised just because I hadn't noticed it earlier in the week. Maybe I just haven't been watching TV lately though. Is that even possible? :-)

Nano Update

I did pass the 20,000 word mark yesterday -- in fact I actually passed 21,000 by the time I closed out for the day. That was about 3K for the day, which would have been great except that I was on the computer all day. Last Saturday when Becky and I were writing together, I got 10K in one day. The differences were that last Saturday I had a) adrenaline -- I was starting from scratch after accidentally erasing what I had up to that point and I knew I had to get cracking if I was going to catch up; b) no kids around (this pesky mothering thing, I swear!); and c) no internet connection. Sadly, I think item c had the biggest impact on my productivity last weekend -- with my computer serving no purpose but to allow me to write, I found myself actually writing every time I sat down to it.

Which is not to say I don't love having my friends to chat with when I sit down to work. Most days I don't know what I would do without them :-)

So my novel has a theme song! It just kind of happened. Last week I downloaded a bunch of songs from iTunes, one of which was "White Houses" by Vanessa Carlton. I really liked it, and the lyrics I could understand were kind of weird, so I looked up the lyrics online. Some of it is hard to decipher -- I'm still not sure what the "white houses" actually represent -- what's very clear is that the bulk of the song is about a young girl who rushes into a sexual relationship with a guy who turns out to be not so nice. And that's what my novel is about. So I've listened to the song a bunch of times and took my working title, _What I Gave You Is Yours to Keep_ from the lyrics. It's nothing major but it's the kind of thing that can give you a little boost as you travel down the NaNoWriMo road...
I'll admit to be slightly bummed out when I woke up and saw that the rain was gone this morning. Yesterday it was the perfect excuse to stay home all day. The kids were actually pretty good -- we played triple Yahtzee on the computer in the morning, which took almost an hour (and we got 9 yahtzees between the three of us!), and I read to Will a couple of times later in the day (I found the three Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle books I haven't read to him yet in a used book store the other day) and that seemed to keep everyone occupied pretty well. Rachel can pretty much happily entertain herself all day if Will isn't bugging her -- which is not to say that it's always his fault when they fight, but it is usually him who's instigating their being in the same room together. She's pretty solitary and he's pretty social and if he's not getting positive attention in the form of her playing with him, he'll take fighting over her ignoring him. Pretty typical kid stuff...

As for me -- I sat on the couch with the computer all day. Literally. At 4 pm, I hadn't showered, gotten dressed, brushed my teeth, or eaten anything since breakfast. About 2 pm, I'd attempted to fix myself a french bread pizza, but I'd ended up burning it beyond recognition so I threw it away. Pathetic. Nevertheless, I managed to shower and groom myself, vacuum the family room and get dinner started before Ryan got home.

Today is going to have to be more productive. The kids are going to have to be taken out, and I should probably go to the gym. We may go to Trader Joe's later on too.

Thursday, November 11, 2004

Rainy Day

This was a long post about how today is shaping up, but for some reason it never showed up. I'm going to take this as a sign that I shouldn't be spending time writing here till I get some work on my novel done, so I'll leave posting here as a reward for when I pass the 20K mark (and hope my kids stay sane till then! :-))

Wednesday, November 10, 2004


We're having a peaceful afternoon. It's Wednesday, so the kids get out of school at 1:30 (why? I don't know. One of those Davis school things designed mostly to inconvenience parents, from what I can tell). I signed Will up for a class on Wednesday afternoons to fill the time so he doesn't drive Rachel and me crazy. So we took him over there, and then drove around Davis delivering birthday party invitations. Since the party is a week from tomorrow, I decided I'd put off sending them to long to use the mail and we just hand-delivered them. We saw an interesting cross-section of Davis that way. One of Rachel's classmates evidently lives in a trailer park that I wasn't even aware existed even though it's only about a mile from our house. We also delivered invitations to people in neighborhoods with enormous houses too. So it's not like I was just looking down my nose going "ew" or anything.

Normally we'd come home and do homework, but the kids are off tomorrow and the next day. Okay, I'll admit I'm looking forward to getting to sleep in, but otherwise -- aaaah! What am I going to do with them? They already saw "The Incredibles" last weekend, and if we're home and I'm not letting them watch TV all day, they start to fight and climb the walls. Maybe I'll make some playdough or something. Anyway, it's quiet here now -- Rachel happily entertains herself, and this would be the perfect time to work on my novel. Am I doing that? No, of course not.

Yesterday I screwed around almost all day and didn't start writing till the kids were in bed. I totally didn't feel like it but I was intent on getting in my 1700 words before I went to bed so I pushed through my resistance and just did it. For a while I was checking the word count every few sentences, but then I kind of got into it and just wrote. When I got to the end of the scene, I checked my word count again. I'd only been trying to make it to 16,800 and I found myself at 17,300. Woo hoo!

Not bad considering what happened this weekend. I'm still not sure what I did exactly, but the end result is that the 6,100 words I'd written up to that point vanished. I mean, they were gone. And so I had to start over! I was at a mountain cabin with girlfriends and we were there to write and eat and drink and have fun, and there was no way in hell I was going to let a little thing like losing my whole novel so far ruin my weekend, so I just opened a new document and started typing. And by the end of Sunday night, I had 15,000 words. So there :-)

About Me

Ah yes, I'm joining the world of blogging.

Funny, when I decided to do this this morning, I felt like I had a lot to say, and now I can't think of anything. Also, I've tried to keep journals on and off my whole life and I never stick with it. so we'l see how this one works out.

I guess I can just start with some basic stuff about me. I'm 34 years old, a stay-at-home mom to two kids: Rachel, who will be 10 at the end of December, and William, who just turned 6. They are both awesome, and I try to remind myself of that when they start getting on my nerves. Rachel is a very high functioning autistic. She has been mainstreamed in a regular classroom since kindergarten, and she's now in fourth grade. Will is in a K-1 class for first grade, just like he was last year for kindergarten. I like having him there since it puts him in the middle, age-wise. He's going to spend pretty much his whole school career as one of the youngest kids in the class and he's kind of quick to completely fall apart when he gets upset as it is.

Look, I started write a paragraph about myself and ended up talking about my kids. That will be something to work on as I continue writing these entries.

Yes, I'm a mom. I'm also an aspiring novelist, a wife, a crappy housekeeper, and a runner (when I'm not feeling lazy) , and a liberal feminist who was ready to slit her wrists after the election last week. I've lived in California my whole life and don't have any plans to move. I was born in the L.A. area but my family moved to the San Francisco Bay Area when I was 8. I went to college at UC Davis, about 15 west of Sacramento, and after some moving around, my husband Ryan and I decided to come back here a few years ago. Davis is my spiritual home, in spite of the weather (my hay fever goes haywire in the spring, and the summer is HOT) and I plan to live here for the rest of my life. I'm pretty sure my husband is planning to hang around wherever I am, so he'll probably be here for the rest of his life too :-)

Ryan is an attorney with a small firm in Sacramento, and he specializes in water law. If you don't know what that is, let me just explain by saying that California is actually a huge desert, and when there isn't enough water to go around, people start fighting. He really enjoys his work, so that's a good thing. We met in the dorms our freshman year of college, and we've been married for twelve years now.

I have a pretty sweet deal. I know that. Both my kids are in school from 8:30-3, Monday through Friday. I'm at a point where a lot of my friends are planning to go back to work, but because a) I like staying home and have no particular career goals other than publishing a novel one of these days, b) my husband recognizes the contributions I make to our family and likes having me home, and c) we don't need the money, I don't plan to go back out to do paid work any time soon. This means that most mornings I am free to go to the gym and/or out running, have coffee with friends, go shopping, or even laze about messing around on the computer in my pajamas if I want. I justify my unproductive days by interspersing super-productive days from time to time. I think Ryan doesn't mind coming home to find that I'm unshowered, the kids have been watching TV all day, the house is a disaster and we're ordering pizza for dinner because he knows occasionally he'll come home to find that I've cleaned the whole house, gone grocery shopping, worked in both kids' classrooms, fixed an elaborate meal and painted all the bathrooms. Most days are closer to a happy medium though, happily!

So that's my life. This month some wrenches have been thrown into it. For one thing, it's National Novel Writing Month. NaNoWriMo is an online challenge to write a 50,000 word starting November 1 and ending on or before November 30, and I am participating in it for the third year. My friend Becky, who lives in Maryland, got me started, and it's something we do together each year. I've actually managed to write 60,000+ words with time to spare the last two years, so even though I've hit a few bumps this year (to be discussed in another post), I am confident I'm going to cross the finish line this year as well.

Another wrench is that Rachel's situation at school is kind of up in the air. She's always had classroom aide to help keep her on task, and in the past year there have been problems with the amount of aide time she's receiving. Most recently, they cut an aide position at her school, which meant that the aide she had been working with since the third week of this school year was just gone one day. So we're having to make a lot of phone calls and complain a lot to get things taken care of, and it's a real pain in the ass. There will probably be more on that too!