Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Have a holly jolly holiday!

As a kid, I would have loved to have been sucked into a Rankin/Bass movie - so we shrunk our kids and put them in one!

Happy New Year, everyone!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

If you like sparkly gherkins...

History is being made, folks! YA Authors Josh Berk & Kiersten White (aka the VERY REAL band The Improbable Probable) have written the first song inspired by a Twitter hashtag.

“#weirdtreeornament” features, among others, a mullet ornament, a sparkly pickle ornament, and even a Prophecy of Days ornament!

Go Improbable Probables! I hear a rap is in production next. Hope it's positively cringe-worthy...

Saturday, December 19, 2009

The Bound Book Arrives!

Today was a banner day—an ARC (Advanced Reader Copy) came in the mail! It was a great early Christmas present worthy of a mini photo shoot.

Here it is in a festive surrounding:

And here it is in what will soon be its native environment:

As a writer, reading someone else’s summary of your work is a strange and wonderful thing. Here’s how the back jacket copy reads:

When her safecracker mom and code-breaker dad inherit a dreary Scottish castle, sixteen-year-old Caity Mac Fireland is not happy. Ripped from her cushy life and friends in San Francisco, Caity’s secret fantasy of being discovered by a Hollywood agent, talent scout, or even just a pageant coach seems more unlikely than ever.

But when Caity stumbles across as hidden room in the castle, its walls covered in strange symbols, her life takes a bizarre turn. She finds herself center stage in an international conspiracy involving warring secret societies, assassins, the suppressed revelations or the Mayan calendar and the year 2012, plus the fate of humanity.

With the help of her friend Justine back home, and Alex, a gorgeous and mysterious Scottish boy, Caity must race to decipher the code and real its message to the world before time runs out.

I like it. It’s not at all what I would’ve written, but that’s probably a good thing. Now I’m going to settle in with my ARC and give it a read. It’s such an odd feeling to be holding a bound book that has my name on the spine!

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Forty Minutes and Counting...

I have 36 days until the sequel to Prophecy of Days - The Daykeeper's Grimoire is due to the publisher and I am FREAKING OUT about this impending deadline.

Anyone have any great tips for writing under pressure?

I just got a good one today from author Teri Hall, who coincidentally also has a January 4 deadline for her second book, the sequel to The Line. Here’s her new trick:
  • Internet off.
  • Email off.
  • Already peed.
  • Already have drink in front of you.
  • Set timer where you cannot see it for 40 minutes.
  • Start writing and don’t stop until the timer goes off.
I’m going to try two sessions of it tonight!

Any other ideas?

Monday, November 23, 2009

Where the Banshees live, and they do live well...

This weekend my daughter got a package from her godfather Daves, who is an expatriate living and working in London. In it were two things we quite enjoyed: a bag of Shrimps & Bananas, possibly the world’s strangest sweet or “candy foam” as it’s called on the package and a miniature build-your-own-Stonehenge kit, complete with perfect placement instructions. It totally reminded me of the tiny Stonehenge set in Spinal Tap, which is my favorite part of the movie. Remember this?

This gift was perfectly timed – the same day we got the package from London, Prophecy of Days went up on Amazon UK! It’s surprisingly fun to see the British pound sign next to the book.

Long live the Queen! And thanks, Daves!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

The Dark Faerie Tales site has featured Prophecy of Days as the Waiting on Wednesday pick! Totally exciting - the cover looks gorgeous on her dark and beautiful website. Thanks Angela!

Monday, November 16, 2009

Happy Hoo Oc To You!

Since I’m mildly obsessed with the Maya calendar system, I’ve been enforcing the celebration of our Maya birthdays around here. You can imagine how difficult that has been with children, especially since your birthday rolls around every 260 days!

Tomorrow is Hoo Oc (Five Dog), which happens to be Scott’s birthday. Look at how beautiful tomorrow's date is in its full glyphic expression:

It has been 1,870,870 days since the beginning of the Long Count calendar—the calendar that’s got everyone in a froth because it ends on December 12, 2012.

1,870,870 days down, 1130 days to go…

Want a pictograph of a special day? Click here!

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Writers are weird, man!

There’s an excellent article in the Wall Street Journal about how writers write. I found it really fascinating—especially Richard Powers who lays around in bed speaking his novels aloud and Nicholson Baker who wakes at 4 a.m. to write in gray on a black screen so he can’t see it, then goes back to bed and wakes at 8:30 to edit what he had written in his semi-lucid state. Writers are an odd lot!

And in other news, The Book Resort featured a little interview with me today. Read all about my fascinating relationship with the Golden Oreo, among other tidbits.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Kindle Giveaway!

The Universe doled out a new Kindle to authors Laura and Lisa (The Haunting of Pemberly Brown, Sourcebooks 2011) and they’re generously passing it along to one lucky blog reader. Go here to enter. Gifts passed on via The Universe generally have magical powers, so don’t dawdle my friends! The bonus is that Lisa And Laura’s blog also happens to be hilarious.

Prospect of Owning Magical Kindle
Endlessly Funny Blog
Great Use of Your Time

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Gnomeo, Gnomeo wherefore art thou, Gnomeo?

For Halloween this year the kids went as Gnomeo and Juliet.

Gnomeo’s hat made him easy to find when we went downtown for the parade.

My favorite costume? The guy who put a Fortune Telling Booth over his Segway and cruised around. Look at the throngs of people behind him - the whole town shows up to walk down Main Street.

Gnomeo tried his luck with Zoltar (see the tiny red hat tip? He's got a couple of G-Men watching his back...). Gnomeo's fortune: Smartees.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Admission of guilt: Bribery of a minor

If you are 1) judgy or 2) have only one child or 3) are really into birthdays, you may not want to read on.

We just bought our child out of a sixth birthday party. I couldn’t handle the planning and preparation, nor could I wade through the 40-something children in kindergarten to figure out whom to invite. So we gave Hank a choice: a shopping spree at Toys R Us or a party. He took about .073 seconds to consider the options.

It was the best birthday ever. We went out to breakfast where he was allowed to order chocolate chip pancakes and hot chocolate and then immediately shuttled him to the store to channel the chocolate energy. The only think that makes me bitchier than a dose of Sudafed is being trapped in Toys R Us (the plastic! the neon! the electronic noises!) so I left to run errands while Scott patiently waded through aisles of toys with Hank and shopping consultant, Juliet. Hank made some great choices within the amount of money we gave him and even offered to buy his sister a game.

No invites, no gift bags, no kindergarten boys jacked up on cake and ice cream. I plan to offer this choice every year! If nothing else it’s good angst fodder for when he grows up and realizes he doesn’t have any birthday party photos.

But before you judge me for my child bribery, regard the joy!

Friday, October 23, 2009

Sleeping in Piles and Growing Up

I’ve become obsessed with a line from the Where the Wild Things Are movie and I can’t stop saying it in my head. It was a little after Max had arrived to the island; he and the wild things had been running around trashing the place and having a great time and then they stop and talk about all the fun stuff they’ll do and Max adds, “And we’ll all sleep together in a real pile!” And they do. And Max is happy.

This sentence, this sentiment really struck a chord with me.

I think the movie did an amazing job of echoing the sadness of growing up. There is terror in getting older—terror in family dynamics changing, friends changing, self changing. I can distinctly remember times in my own childhood when even just a minor shift in how things were would make me long for a way to freeze time. I wanted to be able to rewind life so that I could unravel what was becoming increasingly complex. There were many small moments in the film that seemed to shine a ray of light on those terrors, but for me nothing seemed to illuminate them as fully as the phrase: “And we’ll all sleep together in a real pile.”

Maybe if you had to pin down a formative moment of sadness in childhood, it might come when you get too big to lie/sleep on your parent. At some point it becomes either inappropriate or just plain uncomfortable and the one feeling of ultimate security is no longer available to you. That physical sense of disconnectedness changes you inside.

Tonight on the couch, my daughter was draped over me for so long that my legs fell totally asleep. I consciously felt my limbs go from tingles to pins-and-needles to complete numbness. I just rolled with it. I didn’t want to move her, didn’t want her to feel responsible for the growth that will, not long from now, make it impossible for her to lie in a pile on me.

Disconnection happens on many levels, but I think we feel it first on the physical.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Author Photo - Gas Me Up Next Time

Of course I waited until 8 hours before my author photo was due to the publisher to have them taken. It's not much, but it's all I could do with the raw materials I was given. Thanks to photographer Joan Kleen for her patience with me - given the choice between gum replacement surgery and a photo session, I'll take the dentist chair every time! Unless I can find a photographer who can give me gas in that little vanilla-scented nose cone before the shoot.

PS: I seem to have misplaced my eyes. If anyone finds them, could you send them to me? Thanks a million.

Friday, October 16, 2009

I love you, Story Siren!

This totally made my week! Check out the link here. I love Story Siren even more than Häagen-Dazs Carmel Cone ice cream - and that's saying something!

Sunday, October 11, 2009

The Muse and The Omen

After a particularly horrible week of work, I decided to run away. I called my Mom Thursday night to see if the cabin was open and left right after work on Friday to see how much I could get done on Book 2. Here’s a photo montage of my weekend of writing.

The Venue

The View

The Ambiance
The Muse

The Best Part

The Omen (found on the doorstep when I arrived)
Good or Bad?

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

A Nine-Year-Old Takes On Politics

Today my daughter ran for fourth grade president and came out with a victory! Here's the winning speech she wrote last night:

Juliet’s Fourth Grade President Speech

Hello! As you know, my name is Juliet and I’d like to be your president. Why would I be a good president? First, I’m very organized – just look in my desk! Second, if anyone has ideas on how to improve the school, come right up to me anytime and tell me. I think good ideas come from everyone. Third, I’m not bossy. I would never tell anyone to do something without saying please unless it was urgent. Fourth, I try to be nice to everyone I meet. If you are having a problem with someone you can talk to me and I’ll help you. It’s not fun to be bullied, and trust me I have experienced bullying before and I will not, repeat not, ever bully anyone in the whole world. Fifth, I have some really good ideas for raising money for the Zoo Snooze so we can definitely go. Last, my little brother Hank, who is super cute and smart, REALLY wants me to be elected! (He made me write that.) Thanks for considering me for your Fourth Grade President!

Now she's power-hungry and climbing the ladder - at dinner she mentioned wanting to run for Student Council president so she could be president of the presidents... To what end, Juliet? To what end?

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Cheap Thrills

Here’s something I’ll never get used to: reading a blog and seeing my book cover on it! What a thrill. Thanks to Kelsey at Reading Keeps You Sane, Kate at The Neverending Shelf, and Sab at Crystal Reviews for featuring my new cover! We debut authors love love love you blog reviewers.


Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Book Cover Art!

I'm told there will be foil on the circular symbol. Mmm, shiny!
What do you think?

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Into the Wild: The Hypocrite's Edition

Lately the kids and I have been taking walks in the woods behind our house after work. These are the same woods I played in as a child, but without any parental supervision. My sister and I would walk up the hill then down through the gulley where a creek ran, following it all the way to the waterfall where it got too steep to climb. Then we’d tack right and hike up to what we called The Big Rocks—granite boulders the size of tanks—and come back down to play in the muddy irrigation canal that traversed the steep hill and brought water from the mountain lakes to the valley’s farms and orchards. This was our playground.

The summer of my senior year, my friend Dennis and I would make plans for late-night rendezvous up at the canal when our parents had gone to sleep. Truly a friendship, there was never any romantic intention to these meetings but I do remember it being magical in the way life is when you are sixteen and sneaking away to sit on the side of a mountain by a canal with a boy, stars winking above you and the town lights winking below. Like Moon Flowers, the long philosophical conversations we had on the phone bloomed more fully in the night air.

What amazes me now is how fearless I was then, popping the screen out of my window and climbing out to run off into the dark. The trail to the canal was so heavily wooded that even on a moonlit night it would be black as a cave. I knew the trail by heart, though, and ran the mile or so without stopping. I never thought of cougars or madmen or bears or snakes—all absolutely real threats in those woods—and if someone had warned me, I would have rolled my eyes. Dying is impossible at that age. Danger is like a free and easy drug when the fragility of life is such a foreign idea.

As I walk the trails as an adult with my own kids, I’m torn. The relationship those woods and I have is as important and as meaningful as any childhood friendship, and the freedom we were given to roam was instrumental in shaping my sense of independence and capability.

Will I allow that for my own kids? I don’t know. I wish I could say yes but I’m still not sure.

How do you feel about kids running off into the wild?

Monday, September 21, 2009

What Would You Take?

Today the kids had to evacuate the school and we had to evacuate our house due to a raging fire that got far too close for comfort. You think you know exactly what you’d take in a situation like this, but after I’d secured our laptops in the car I was at a loss. I’d had the presence of mind to grab my favorite Estee Lauder face powder brush and then just sort of wandered aimlessly through the house. Photos could be reprinted. Clothing could be replaced by a couple of trips to Target. Shoes? Bags? I’d wanted to pare down. It was weird how unsentimental I was when it came right down to it, though I did get the kids’ baby boxes—all the special little bits and bobs one keeps—on the last run through.

The fire is not yet contained. As I type, helicopters are still dropping loads of water on the hillside. But we are safe and we have each other. And a very good powder brush.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

When Worlds Collide

After Prophecy of Days sold last year, I started a new manuscript—a twist on a ghost story that involves a teen girl, her triplet brothers, and a Buddhist monastery. It's one of those ideas that came fully formed, and I'm not sure from where. I took a few classes at a Buddhist monastery in Seattle, but that was over a decade ago and I haven't set foot in one since.

Meanwhile, in my other life, I started a new job. When I applied for the position the company was in another building, and since accepting the job on July 1 and starting on August 12, the company moved to a great new space in Ashland. When I showed up the first day, I discovered that my desk looks directly at this:

Intrigued by the strange design, I went over at lunch to investigate what this oddly constructed building will be. I’d love to say I was blasé when I found it was the first newly built urban Tibetan Buddhist center in the United Sates, but I am wired to find synchronicity. Here’s a photo of what the finished construction will look like from the back, what I will see from my office:

Every day when I come to work I park not 20 feet from this jobsite. The eight or nine hours I’m at my desk I look directly at the construction. There are all sorts of cheesy metaphors that I could make between constructing a building and building a novel, or concepts I could apply to the writing process, like patience and attention to detail. But mostly I just like to watch this thing being built, piece by piece, day by day. In a strange way it has made me relax into the process of selling a book. And it’s given me a new, longer timeline—I like to believe that this manuscript will come to fruition at the same time construction finishes and the Tibetan Lamas move in. If I had to guess based on its current state vis a vis finished architectural drawings, I’d say it might be a while. But really, who can tell with these things?

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Tears and Coffee

Today was Hank's first day of kindergarten!

Now I have two kids at the same school—a first!

Since we're just two blocks from Bellview it's a nice little walk.

I admit I teared up a little as I said goodbye. The teacher's aide helped me with some distraction so I could leave without making a scene. However, tears turned to joy when I went for coffee with Mom right after drop off.

How can you be sad around such a beautiful vehicle for caffeine? The accompanying Tartine with ham and thyme butter was camera shy but equally gorgeous.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Creepiness in the Woods - Redux

Do you remember a few months ago when I posted about the Cat Psycho at my Dad’s house? If you need a refresher, the post is here. Basically, he had left his house, which is in the middle of nowhere and protected by a gate with a code, to run some errands and when he got back his big black cat—still inside the house—was wearing a shiny new red collar. The same collar, in fact, that can be seen in a painting that is also inside his house. Nothing was missing, nothing was trashed. Which is, of course, the creepiest part.

Other odd things started happening. A sandwich that had been left for a moment outside would be relocated. Items would go missing and then return in odd places. They even called the sheriff at one point, but realized they sounded insane when mentioning things like sandwiches being moved around on the patio and cats being collared while they were gone.

For months, it remained a mystery of creepy proportions.

A couple of weeks ago, neighbors up the hill came by to say they were moving. Something about a new job and better care for their daughter, who, they finally confided, was schizophrenic. These neighbors mentioned they couldn’t take many of the potted plants they had outside and invited my Dad to go by and pick them up if he wanted them. Once the neighbors were gone they went over to get the plants. It was then that they noticed that a small section of fence near the back of the property was missing. They went to investigate and found a path through the woods that led—you guessed it—right to the edge of my Dad’s acreage. From the looks of the trail, the girl had been on the path trhough the woods hundreds of times.

It makes sense now: A mentally ill girl trapped with her parents on a mountain looking for something interesting to do. They had been there a couple of years and you have to wonder how many times the girl had watched them from the woods, let herself in to their house, walked around among their things, left with something small and meaningless.

The question is, what would be worse—never solving the mystery or realizing that you’d been watched for years?

Friday, August 28, 2009

Easy Bake

One of the great things about having kids is the nostalgia for one’s own childhood that comes with the various phases that roll by. For instance, as a child I was the number-one fan of the Easy Bake Oven, which is saying a lot considering I didn’t even own one. My friend Holly had one and every time I went out for a sleepover I’d lay awake sending her a singular telepathic thought: Wake up and give Christy your Easy Bake Oven.

It never happened.

My joy in making tiny baked goods in tiny cookware has not diminished in the decades since I coveted Holly’s oven, so when my daughter’s Easy Bake phase was in full force I was all over it. We’ve had frog phases, fizzy experiment phases, and Lite Brite phases, all of which I’ve enjoyed. But this new phase was one I’d forgotten all about and it brought back waves of joy: the paint-by-numbers phase.

My sister is an artist and yet I have absolutely no skill when it comes to drawing or painting. I’m decent with visual design, but if you asked me to create any piece of fine art you’d assume I’d done it left handed. And blindfolded. I’m simply incapable of translating what I see to the page or canvas in pictures, which is why I found so much comfort in paint-by-number kits as a kid. It was pure magic, the way you could follow the formula and end up with something that, to my young eyes, looked completely professional.

Being able to produce a painting of a lighthouse or a fawn was like all of a sudden knowing how to perform surgery or fly an airplane – a skill that had been completely out of my grasp was now within reach. Of course, it was an illusion of skill but does that matter? I can’t decide if it does or not. I just knew it made me happy.

I think I’ll give it a try this weekend. And I might pull out the old Easy Bake while I’m at it.

Monday, August 17, 2009

I am datum!

I am swooning, literally.

I'm actually physically dizzy because I just saw my name in the Library of Congress! I don't think anyone has ever been this excited to be datum! I know I must seem like a total dork to get so excited about this, but honestly getting my ISBN and being in the LOC database has been what I've looked forward to more than holding an actual book in my hands...

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Cover Tease....

I got to see my cover this week! After hearing many stories of disappointment from fellow authors who have hated their covers, I have been really, really dreading the moment when I got the cover art. So when I saw an email from my editor titled "POD Cover” I gasped. Then I yelled for Scott and the kids to come in with me while I opened the file.

First there was this:

Hi Christy, We had our cover meeting today and everyone fell in love with the cover that’s attached. It was done by Kevin Brown (did I mention he was the cover artist I was hoping would do this?) and I think it’s stunning.

I really love this. It incorporates a lot of different icons from the book (the Three Hares, the Fraternis tattoo, the Tzolkin sigils, the Scottish rings) and gives us a good look with which we can continue in the second book. It’s got that ominous quality to it which I think will work well to sell the more mysterious elements of the story. Thoughts?

And then I opened it. We all screamed, “Cool!” at the same time, which I think is a good sign. Plus, there’s foil involved. Shiny!

It’s probably not for everyone. I hope there are teen girls who will appreciate mysterious and ominous over light and pretty. I certainly do, but I am also quite odd.

I wish I could show you now but I’ve been instructed to wait two weeks for final art. What was revealed was just one of the concepts presented at the cover meeting so now it goes for polish and perfection.

Believe me, the minute I get a finished .jpg it will be all over the place!

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

I'm up in the cupboard, right behind the flakes...

I saw this on PR Newswire:

"Brain Injury Survivor Recovers, Releases Novel on 2012 and the Mayan Calendar"

I wonder how they'll position my release.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Inspiration v. Aspiration

I’m back. Arrived home late last night to a massive, low-slung moon and a clear sky full of stars. I’ve been away for almost two weeks; long enough to miss the summer scent of Oregon, miss seeing the mountains we’re tucked below, miss the soft cheeks of my kids.

The conference was exhausting but crucial. In years past I’ve always focused on the “craft” sessions, taking away loads of inspiration for writing. This year I attended the ProTrack (sessions for authors who are published or in the process of getting published) and the focus was different—it was all about the selling and marketing of a book. So instead of leaving inspired, I left with lists of things I need to do to have my books succeed. The list is long.

But today I am going to enjoy being home. I won’t think about niche markets or Bookscan or whether B&N will like my covers. Maybe we’ll go to the lake or the park or the ice cream shop. Maybe we’ll barbeque and have a picnic under the big Sweetgum tree that shades our patio.

Here, the possibilities for inspiration are endless.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

SCBWI Update!

I’m here! Arrived Thursday night and had drinks with Paul, Graeme, SarahFrances, Katie, Shelli, and Kimberly. Then got up at the crack of dawn to register right when it opened - I was dying to see which editor I have for my manuscript critique. I nearly fainted when I saw it was Wendy Loggia, Editorial Director of Delacorte Press at Random House, one of the biggest editors here. Now I’m terrified that I have to talk to Wendy Loggia at 8 AM...

But onward! Sherman Alexie gave one of the best speeches about writing and books that I’ve ever heard. We laughed, we cried...then we bought very book he’d ever written.

Then I went to Wendy Loggia’s talk – you know, sort of pre-critique stalking. Loved her. She’s very warm and charming and not too scary until you start to remember the massive number if bestsellers she’s edited.

Now for the best part of the day: Lunch with the YA Bloggers Khy, Catt, Alicia and Vania! All of the Tenners here at the conference met them at Pink Taco and as we were gathered around outside they were so into the authors that they did not even look twice when Magic Johnson and his entourage walked right by us into the restaurant. However, Lindsey Leavitt and I nearly peed ourselves.


These young women who review YA books online wield a lot of power, but they are the sweetest people you will ever meet. Khy even made personalized gift bags for everyone! We all nearly cried when we received them, and one author quipped that her husband wasn’t even this thoughtful. My gift bag included Mayan cacao powder, Mayan worry dolls, a castle that grows 600 times its size in water, a corn husk (because I love the smell of corn husks!), an amazingly cute monkey, and a mini book on origami (in my book, the monkey communicates through origami). Khy did this for every author there and we so appreciated how much time and energy she (and her beautiful mother) put in to researching us to put together just the right bags. Thanks again, Khy!

It was a blast to meet Catt, who gave me my first WoW review and also became the first person ever to ask for my autograph! Catt, you are amazing! Thanks to all of you who came to the lunch to talk with us.

The evening was great fun reconnecting with old friends. Today is a full day of sessions plus a luncheon for the “published authors” here. That’s a table I’ve always wanted to join and I’m pinching myself that the dream is coming true!

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

No writing, but lots of fun!

We’ve been busy here in Estes Park – chasing Pikas, hiking, ghost hunting… My eyeballs are too fried from a day at the lake to type much, but I’ll post some pics.

Beginning our hike around Bear Lake

Juliet spotting a big Rainbow Trout

A Pika spotting us!

What started as a 1-mile hike tuned in to a 6-mile hike. The kids were troopers, but Hank did need a lift here and there.

Hitting the Stanley Hotel for some ghost hunting

Communing with the ghosts!

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Edits, check! Ginko, check! Ghosts, Check!

I just finished my edits on Book One and hit the "send" button! I was able to shave off 10 more pages on this round, so now it's coming in at a positively svelte 298. It's amazing how unsentimental you get on the 3,456th reading of your own work; I was slashing and burning with abandon.

And now a quick shower and then to the airport. We fly to Colorado this afternoon for a Raedeke family reunion in Estes Park, elevation 7,522. Yes, there will be gasping. We’re loading up on ginko because the interwebz said to. It also says that regular Coke is an excellent remedy for altitude sickness and my kids are more than happy to test that one out. Sweet caffeine, what will you do to an excitable five year old?

I’m excited to poke around in Rocky Mountain National Park and to do some whitewater rafting. I’m also anxious to get to the haunted Stanley Hotel, the place that inspired the setting for Stephen King’s The Shining. Redrum!

Between caffeine, rambunctious counsins, and ghosts, this promises to be a sleepless vacation for the children. Ah, summer!

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Record highs, pressure mounts

As I turned 43 yesterday, I heard the door of middle age creak open for me. I’m not quite ready to walk through—not sure if I’ll ever be. Maybe when the time comes I’ll get on my knees and go through the dog door. For now, my feet and my delusions stay firmly planted on the side of youth.

I don’t lament the “growing old” part of aging, l lament the pressure to do more with less time in front of me.

We had a record- high temperature yesterday—108. As I am wont to find meaning in even the most trivial things, I took this as a really good sign. 108 on my birthday! It satisfies my left hemisphere because mathematically speaking 108 is considered an “abundant number” and it satisfies my right hemisphere because 108 is a sacred number in many ancient traditions.

But physically speaking, 108 sucks. It’s hot.

I’m trying to finish my revision on Book One before we leave for Colorado on Saturday and the combination of my fleeting youth, the record-high temperatures, and the revision deadline is adding up to one hell of a pressure cooker...

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

I am 6 years old in Dog Years

With 43 candles I can boil 5.3 ounces of water. The moon was waxing gibbous on the day I was born and my Native American Zodiac sign is Salmon. My life path number is 3, which means I have “skills in the verbal realm” of writing, speaking, acting, or similar endeavors.

For heaps of trivial trivia the day you were born, click on this Birthday Calculator. Fun stuff if you can tolerate the synthesizer version of, “You Say It’s Your Birthday” playing in the background…

Sunday, July 26, 2009

And it hurt...

Nine years ago today I delivered my first blogger! Click HERE to see what she's up to...

Happy Birthday, Juliet!

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Spelunking the Lava Tubes

My friends and I are usually good planners, but this time we kind of lost it. In the hottest month of the year, we decided to pack up our kids and head to Oregon’s High Desert where it’s even hotter. Apparently that wasn’t punishing enough, so we headed across the border to the Lava Beds National Monument in Northern California to really sweat.

It’s a bizarre landscape. As soon as you cross into California you see the long, flat expanse of Tule Lake, infamous for being the largest internment camp for Japanese-Americans during World War II. Lawson Inada, Oregon’s current Poet Laureate and the father of my good friend, was held there as a child and he’s written of it in his book Legends From Camp.

Once you pass Tule Lake and its population of huge white pelicans you enter Lava Beds National Monument, a moonscape of black rocks and cinder cones. There are over 750 caves there so everywhere you look you can imagine a subterranean world of bats and other creatures of the night.

We’d forgotten half of the flashlights and a lot of the water, so we had to bumble through caves sharing torches. At one point Joan pulled out her iPhone to use the flashlight feature, but it didn’t seem to be ranked for cave use. I’m not sure why we couldn’t get it together and plan better—I suppose in the searing bright light of the high desert it’s hard to imagine you’d need light—but it did make it more of an adventure.

The rag-tag bunch of spelunkers prepares to enter their first Lava Tube.

The descent into Skull Cave.

Enjoying a respite from the heat - from 104 degrees to 55 degrees in ten easy paces!

Way down at the bottom of Skull Cave the temperature never goes above freezing and this pool of ice never thaws...

Historical footnote:
This was Modoc Indian country and their legacy lives on through the huge collection of rock art in the caves. During the Modoc War of 1872-1873, a small band of Modoc Indians used an intimate knowledge of the volcanic terrain to their tactical advantage. Under the leadership of Kintpuash (Captain Jack), the Modocs hid in "Captain Jacks Stronghold," a natural lava fortress and for five months held off US Army forces numbering up to ten times their strength. Go Modocs!

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Pass It On...

Author Kay Cassidy, supreme marketer, ex-cheerleader, Mensa member (for real!) has nominated me for a Kreativ Blogger Award. Thanks Kay! Kay has created an amazing game for librarians and kids called The Great Scavenger Hunt Contest—check it out, it’s ingenious! Looking forward to having a book out so I can participate as well.

So, for the blog award I must list seven favorite things and nominate seven fellow bloggers.

The seven favorites that came to mind first are:

-Reading in bed in the morning
-Warm, glossy brownies
-The sound of my kids laughing hysterically
-Travel - anywhere
-A frosty Gin & Tonic

I’m nominating these blog friends:

Apologies if you’ve already received this award, but can we ever be too lauded? Thanks for being fresh and creative bloggers and for your great blog comments!