Saturday, March 30, 2013

Almost finished kitchen...

We are really close... have to reattach the doors so they open like french doors on the pantry, attach the pantry to the wall, have to hang the OTR microwave and other cabinets along the stove wall. Still need to attach pulls to the top cabinets. But close! Getting there.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Free Books!

Very excited about this! Just wish my library weren't the fourth segment... but the main is going to be amazing.

Go Dayton Metro Library!

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Entered a first lines critique-- this is so encouraging! From a real literary agent, no less. Motivates me to write, it does.

And also, Vegas behind me. More Vegas pics on Facebook and tumblr.

Friday, March 15, 2013

Thoughts from Las Vegas

Went to a session this morning about using blogs in the classroom... like it was new and fresh. I did this in 2003.

ANYway... I've been thinking about submitting to next year's 4 Cs. Several of my sessions have been on technology that I would consider to be a little behind the times.

Last night Bedford St Martins publishing house took us to the Stratosphere, a hotel/casino that has a tower 851 feet in the air, and you could go outside up there. It was amazing.

Friday, March 8, 2013

I don't think the prof I'm going to Vegas with is going to go to California. I just. I can't. I can't be that close to the Pacific Ocean, a mere 4-5 hours and NOT go. I just. I can't.

ETA: Wish I could take Mickey the kids. Mike hates planes, and the kids seem to be taking his side on that, but I could persuade them, if we could afford it.

Pictures. Because in a week? I'm in Vegas.

Somehow, I didn't realize that Las Vegas was only about 4 hours to Hollywood and Santa Monica. So here's the plan. Conference Wednesday night, Thursday all day, Friday all day, then Saturday? Saturday it's Hollywood sightseeing, baby. Sunday? Sunday is Santa Monica Beach, BABEH! And Monday is any Las Vegas stuff I missed before our late morning flight.

Oh, man. I have the traveling bug in my blood and it's FINALLY getting fed. This is all Dad's fault. Him and his traveling gene.

Europe, you're next.


Monday, March 4, 2013


So, we are in the process of completely redoing the bathroom and kitchen. This is the point in the remodel where you wonder if you'll ever be done...

What we've done: Scraped wallpaper (many layers that younger [STUPIDER] Laura thought were a good idea), painted the walls with texturized paint, then painted with color; Lowe's came to lay the tile floor; Mike has hung some of the cabinets.

Still to do: In the kitchen, we still have to buy a smaller, rectangular table; tear out the sink base and countertop and replace them, as well as the sink, garbage disposal, and faucet. Once the new, larger white cabinets are anchored, I'll be able to move the pots and pans and tupperware still in boxes in the living room. We're waiting on a special order wall cabinet and an OVR microwave, as well as a refrigerator. We still have to install silver handles as well and flip the hinges on a couple of the cabinets.

In the bathroom, the only thing left to do is hook up the plumbing under the sink and decorate a bit with a picture and a towel rack or two.

On to the pics!

Bathroom, after I'd torn off the red wallpaper down to the liner: (Can we all pause for a moment and appreciate how tiny this bathroom is and feel sorry for me since it's my ONLY bathroom? Okay? Good, carry on then.)

After we painted the white texture on the walls:

And the bathroom now, finished:

One end of the kitchen mid wallpaper tear-off:

That same end after (not finished yet, but walls and floor are done)

Before, another part of the kitchen:

Now: (still have to put in the bottom white cabinets and brown countertop... but floors and walls are done)

another "now" shot:

I can't wait to come back and post a finished pic of a finished kitchen... soon, I hope.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Just Brainstorming

Feel free to leave suggestions.

Short Stories

1. Stephen King
2. Alice Walker
3.Dave Eggers
4. John Green?
5. Flash Fiction (free downloads)
6. Found things?
7. Tumblr, blogs, facebook stories?
8. A textbook on symbolism, allegory, etc; lit theories?

Medicine in Literature Ideas
1. The Fault in Our Stars.
2. Unwind

I'll come back to these. I'm teaching Short Stories and Flash Fiction AND Medicine in Literature this summer. I have completely free reign over the curriculum and materials. It's intoxicating.

Thoughts? Comments? Suggestions?

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Everyone please pause for my genius

Do you ever feel inspired to write, but you don't know what to write about? That's not how it usually happens for me-- I feel inspired about something specific I want to get down on paper, so I go and I write it. But today, I feel this urge to create with words, yet I'm having no specific ideas...

Last night I dreamed I was at a writer's conference with famous YA novelists. John Green was there and Maureen Johnson, Patrick Ness (whom I've never even seen a pic of, so I guess my own made-up version of him was there), among others. And they were treating me like I was one of their own, and we were all discussing writing and writing together. And I kept thinking that I was such a fraud because they were treating me like one of them, and I was letting them, yet I'd never finished my novel.

At one point, I had this inspiration for a sentence, and I just stopped everyone so I could write it down. Like John was saying something, and I held up my finger all, "Wait, the genius must write" or something and scribbled down this sentence:

He was all sharp angles and rounded edges, elbows, knees, and shoulder blades.


Sunday, January 27, 2013


So. I really love my job. My family is doing pretty well-- hoping the kids can adjust a bit more to their new situation at school, make some friends. The husband and I have been getting along great for the most part.

Life is good.

But. I have this problem of not being able to realistically look ahead to a week and anticipate what will happen in that week. I mean there have been a few weeks that I've said to myself, This will be a killer week, so busy. But most of the time, I'm looking at everything on paper and thinking I have time to spare. Yet it so  rarely works out that way. Why do I keep getting it wrong? Wishful thinking?

I don't know. But this week, I may as well consider myself good and busy. Especially if we end up laying the floors Thursday and Friday. It's a good busy, but I've got to make time for writing. And it's got to be in the morning... bah. It's got to be or it won't happen.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

treading water


It's almost weird the way my days get filled. I look ahead and see nothing but time to work, and then someone comes by and talks... and someone else stops by to talk... and yet another person has an upsetting email to discuss, and soon? The day is over.

I got nothing done today. NO. THING.

But I have tomorrow off, so I'll clean and get some lesson plans done, and all will be well. ALL WILL BE WELL!

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Just thinkin' it through...

Wake up at 7:30 and make Jay birthday breakfast!
Take Jay to testing at the new school at 9:30.
Head to work and wait for his text that he's done so I can come back and get him.
In the meantime, I will work on my lesson plans and secure two computers for my classroom.
I'll take Jay home when he's done, probably grab him some lunch, then to home.
Then back to school to teach at 1:30 and be done by 2:40, so I can make a break for it and get to the school in time to pick him up.
then we go to a doctor's appointment. Mike will meet us there and take Brad home, and I will go on from there to Kentucky. Seriously. It's just across the river, this dietician that I've heard amazing things about. We'll see.

Then on Friday, I have to be at work until 1;30 or so. Then I'll pick up Jay's cool cake we ordered and get some balloons and maybe some fun things to open. Then off to a restaurant of Jay's choosing followed by cake and presents back at the house.

Then we chill... yo.

I am going to embarrass myself with the amount of sleeping in I plan to do on Saturday and Monday.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Tru Fax

Reasons I love to make lists:

1. They make me more productive.
2. I don't forget things.
3. I feel better when I make lists, then I feel even better when I do all of the things on the lists. And I get to make more lists when I finish a list.

But really? The honest truth? I use them as a mind dump. If I put it down on paper, type it into Word or on a blog, I don't have to worry about forgetting it.

And also? They're creative. When I was in high school I had notebooks of lists-- Things I Hate, Things I Love, Things I Like (it's a fine distinction), Things that Make Me Happy. Just last week I titled one "Things That Will Make Me Feel Better If I Just Do Them."

Is it weird that it bothered me that the class had already talked about lists? And that our instructor talked about finding a list titled "Things I Hate" in a library book one time? Because I could have made that list. In fact, I wonder if it's one I wrote. It would be like me to write it on the back of a birthday card and then forget it in a library book. (Though I've used the back of old cards to make lists, my favorite things to make lists on are envelopes-- used ones. Recycling, yo.)

But who would believe me now that they've already discussed it?

Oh, yeah, I'm taking a fiction workshop. Started yesterday. Here's a blog I'm keeping just for the homework:

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Can someone explain to me why I get nervous, palms sweaty, shaky, sick to my stomach when the Golden Globes or the Oscars are on? Like, you'd think that at the very least I'm rooting for a particular star or movie or show, but I don't even know who's nominated. I mean, I'll have my favorites, but. Yeah. It's weird.

And the "on the red carpet" live interviews? They are the WORST. They make me sick because I'm so nervous someone is going to be embarrassed or awkward, mostly awkward.

This has to be some kind of super specific phobia.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Kitchen? Picked up, wiped down. Lasagna in the oven.

Tonight, I should really clean my room. Again. The neverending, always returning job. Boo.

And I should really work on my lesson plans for tomorrow. Because of reasons. Stole this from my colleague, but I'm pretty excited about it: Going to have the students write their own and maybe record themselves reading them. Fun. For me, anyway.

Ever think something in your head and believe it to be true and then say it out loud to someone else and realize the opposite is actually true? What is the magic that happens when words are formed by the tongue instead of the pen or the typing and hit the air, receiving oxygen and sound? Because I swear I understand myself better when my thoughts are audible. Maybe that's why I'm talking to myself so much lately... shut it.

The first week back has been good. I'm tired, but I've really had it quite easy when I compare it to last semester. What I should do is come in at 8 am each day, and you know, that's probably what I'll end up doing... startiiiiiing NOW. Or next week. Whatever.

9:00 am is good too. Right?

Tuesday, January 8, 2013


I have no ideas, all of the ideas are gone. They packed their bags and left, running off to better looking, more committed writers and teachers.

The jerks.

But it's okay. Because in one week and two days, the ideas will be back. Like turning on the light when the sun has just started to set and you didn't even realize how dark it'd gotten and your eyes feel so fresh and vibrant and awake, all thanks to the flick of that switch.

Friday, January 4, 2013

shut it

I like resolutions-- except for ones about weight. I don't know why that is; let's face it, a lot of my resolutions don't happen. I didn't make a souffle or finish my novel in 2012, but that doesn't bother me or mock me as much as the weight resolutions or the exercise resolutions. I think the biggest problems with them is that they just aren't practical. Am I ever going to exercise on a regular  basis? NOPE. I can answer that honestly and speedily. I might exercise a while, get to a certain weight, and QUIT. Because I freaking hate exercise. And dieting for that matter. If I get to feeling skinny? I'm completely unmotivated, more than when I'm fat, which is saying something, so I'm definitely not keeping it up if I feel skinny.

I guess that's how I got here in the first place?

Bah. Here are my resolutions anyway:

1. Write on a regular basis. Like, just figure out a schedule and stick to it for Pete's sake. No numbers, nothing like that, just find your schedule, Laura. Make it happen now that you're not working 1 1/2 jobs that cause you to work at home too.

2. Be healthier. I don't know what this will look like. Not putting a number on it like I used to, but make better choices, darn you. Fewer carbs each day, walk a little farther, see if you can't chisel it down a bit more, k?

3. Grade your papers a few at a time. It's torture when you do them all at once, just do 5 a day and you're done in a week or so. DO IT. You'll thank me, Future Laura.

4. Read your Bible, you slacker. And pray on a regular basis, not just when you're scared at night or feeling guilty. I mean really, you're a grown-up now, with sons who look up to you and try to talk to you about Spiritual things. Up your game, girl, grow in the grace and knowledge of He who loved you more than you could ever deserve.

5. Read more. I think I started reading more this fall, but I'd like to continue that. I'd like to put a number on this one-- read 30 books this year. The way I used to read, that should be a piece of cake, but lately? Being all busy and stupid?  We'll see.

6. Bake that stupid souffle, darn it. Cheese. And soon.

7. Dinners around the table at least 3 times a week. Just do it, you're the mom and you have a crockpot. One out as a date night with the husband, the other weeknight around the TV. Weekends, you're on your own. Unpredictable city.

8. Bed by 11 on weeknights. Be a freaking adult, Laura.

9. I'm so hungry right now. It's 1:27 am. Whatever. Shut it. This all starts on Monday. MONDAY, I SAY!

Stupid resolutions with their stupid exercise

I'm not saying this to be funny or cute, I'm saying it because it's true: people who LOVE working out, I don't get you.

I know you exist. I used to think you were pretend-- that you were people who worked out and then wished you enjoyed it like I did, so you said, "Boy, loved riding the bike" or "Geez, running those 8 miles was awesome" just so it might feel like you did, but now I know, that a lot of you actually, genuinely, enjoy this crap. I just. I can't.

I hate you. That's all. I envy and hate you.

Carry on. I'll try to get on the elliptical, like twice a week, and I will consider that a HUGE victory and while it will feel good that I've done it, I swear I will never "enjoy" it.


Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Happy New Year

So if 2010 and 2011 were the years my husband and I really discovered each other again, then 2012 was the year we made the most of it. Here's to more of that.

I'm so glad I know him, that we met in a college library 19 years ago and decided to get to know each other better. Two teenage sons and nearly 18 years of marriage later, and I'm just so content. His face is more familiar to me than my own. I love those crinkly blue eyes and that real smile behind the other one. The one he saves for me. And I'm still amazed by the children we have, the little people that exist now because we fell in love.

Happy New Year, my Love.

My list of things I will try to do this year is to come. I LOVE MAKING LISTS, IT DOESN'T MATTER IF IT DOESN'T HAPPEN. IT'S ABOUT THE LISTS, DARN YOU!