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!