Friday, November 30, 2007

The end of November

The Mother's Day proposal is in the mail.

Manuscript count for the whole of November = 9 sent out.
Although most of them won't be heard from for months (please not years -- but that has happened before), I did get a response about the electronically submitted one that I did last week.  
           A rejection.
Oh well.   8 more to hope for.  crossing fingers and toes.

Counting down to the 7-year-old's birthday.  
Party Saturday. 
 Sleepover with her best friend Saturday night.  (They'd better not stay up for all hours -- or else.)  
Then her real birthday on Sunday.  (not until 5:00 pm, mom, right?)


Thursday, November 29, 2007

How often is often enough?

If anyone out there is reading this blog, and wondering how regularly I leave messages, I actually try to leave a note in this journal at least once a week. If I have some spare time, I may post more often. But at least once a week is my goal.

Right now I'm in the midst of planning an 8-year-old birthday party for Saturday. Luckily, we planned to have it at Amazing Glaze -- a pottery painting place where you paint greenware and then they get it fired and you have finished pottery. I say luckily because our dog is sick and is making messes around the house. ('nuff said about that.) And I'm very, very, very glad we weren't planning to have the party at home.

The very best part of this party is the ice cream part. After the kids paint, we'll all go next door to what must be the best Ice Cream shop in Baltimore where everyone can make their own Sundaes. Since it will be about 5:30 by then, it'll really kill their appetite for any dinner. Their parents probably won't be happy about this, but hey -- if they're there, they can make their own sundaes.


Saturday, November 24, 2007

Happy Turkey Day

(just a few days late.)

Well, we survived Turkey day. And it was a great day, too -- so they tell me. I was inside doing the preparations while others enjoyed the 60 degree weather. Then it crashed down to freezing and we had frost last night. Good-by nice weather. Hello normal late fall.

Friday we braved Black Friday sales. Nothing we bought was on sale. There's something wrong with this picture. Oh well. That's what I get for simply following the Christmas lists from my children.

Saturday the 7 (almost 8) year old spent the day with her best friend, so I rushed around doing errands and picking up a few gifts for her. Plus, I had some quiet time in my office, so I sent off three more manuscripts and two queries to agents.
Total manuscripts worked on and sent out is now up to 8. Worked on the Mother's Day book a little bit more. I wonder if I'll get it done in time to include it in the November count, or will it be a December submission? Time will tell.


Sunday, November 18, 2007

Nonfiction Matters

It was quite a shock to realize that Thanksgiving is Thursday. Yikes! Thursday of THIS WEEK.
The month disappears quickly when you take a week off from the day job.

I sent another manuscript out this evening.
This publisher wanted submission by e-mail. My first time doing this. I hope it works.

Total November submissions is now 5.
One of my online writer's groups used to have a theory that we needed to have at least 10 manuscripts out there before one of them will get bought. I'm halfway there. Crossing fingers and toes. (It's kinda hard to write that way)

If you are an avid fan of nonfiction for children, like me, you'll love Marc Aronson's blog at SLJ. In his day job, he's an editor of YA books. But in his other life he writes great nonfiction for upper elementary readers and up. In fact, one of his books won the very first Sibert Award given by the American Library Association. And now that he also blogs for School Library Journal, all of us can peek into his mind. His blog is not just a rehash of his SLJ monthly column. He posts messages about nonfiction on his blog every few days.

Good Heavens! The auction for Robert's Snow Snowflakes begins tomorrow! Bid for the one you love. As for me, I love too many of them.


Wednesday, November 14, 2007

I am amazed

Why am I amazed?

When I first began taking a whole week off to write, in the 1990s, I gained 5 pounds each time. Until I learned to put myself on, what I call, a "writer's diet." That is -- salad for lunch and fruit for snack and lots of water.
But this past week I forgot to do this -- and I didn't gain any weight.

Perhaps it's because I wasn't writing all day long. ("Butt in chair" until the daily words are done -- the writer's mantra.)
This time I wrote in the morning, cleaned house in the afternoon, and did things for and with my family in the evening. Just as if I would do if I were retired from my day job and could work full time as a writer. (Don't I wish!)


Monday, November 12, 2007

Vacation, Day eight

Really? Eight days off?
Where did the time go?
What did I do today?
My workplace was closed today, but the 7-year-old had to go to school and my husband had to go to work. I tried not to act too smug.

1) I worked on straightening up another room.
2) Spent more time researching and adding to the Mother's Day proposal. With any luck, it'll be ready to go out in a week or two.
3) Dinner was pork chops, fried potatoes and (choice of veggies = carrots/ spinach/ leftover squash)
4) Bought a piano-like keyboard for the 7-year-old's piano lessons. She's really enthusiastic about beginning lessons. It's much bigger than I expected.

Back to work at the library tomorrow.
And right off I'll be doing a program featuring Thomas the Tank Engine. I loaded my car trunk this afternoon full of boxes of track and trains for the kids at the program to play with.


Sunday, November 11, 2007

Robert's snowflakes

Only one more week left to admire these snowflakes before they go up for auction. YOU could own art from wonderful illustrators. Support Robert's Snow.

For fun, you can read interviews with these wonderful authors at many different blogs. It's called "Blogging for the Cure."

-wendie O

Vacation, Day Seven

Actually, a normal Sunday -- but with two grandchildren.

For some reason, my body must have known that I'd be with the grandchildren all day, so it woke up at 4am with ideas for the Mother's Day book proposal. I worked on it for an hour or more, then went back to bed. Poor granddad had to do the morning chores of letting the dog out and helping the grandchildren get breakfast, letting me sleep in. Yea!

After church, we had lunch, then on to the park playground for more scooter riding before taking the 5-year-old back to her family in Westminster.

Her family raises dogs. Besides expecting more baby rottweilers this December, they now also have a Cavalier King Charles spaniel. Such a cute thing. And its fur is so soft. Both the 7-year-old and I want one! We have to talk granddad into it, tho. He prefers large dogs.


Saturday, November 10, 2007

Vacation, Day six

Okay, This isn't vacation time -- this is normal weekend time. With the complication of having two grandchildren with me instead of just one.

What did I do today?
1) While the 7-year-old was at gymnastics, I worked on a proposal for a Leap Year book and added some things to the Turtle story. When she finished gymnastics, she insisted on reading the Turtle story, so I rebooted the laptop and brought it up. She read it while I drove, then said, with disappointment dripping from her tone of voice, "It's not finished!" I agreed -- it's not finished. "So, what would you do next?" I asked. She couldn't come up with anything.

2) Picked up my second grandchild, a 5-year-old and proud kindergartner. We then drove to Whole Foods to get granddad's favorite tuna salad. I have little hope for the math ability of the younger generation working there. I asked for a quarter pound of sliced roast beef. When I questioned the pile of meat she gave me, she assured me that she had done that. When I got home, I saw she had given me .5 of a pound. If it weren't so far to drive back, I would have liked to go back and give her a lesson in basic math.

3) We also "tested" the ice cream at the ice cream shop near Whole Foods where the 7-year-old is going to have a Make-your-own-Sundae birthday party in a couple of weeks. yum.

4) After stopping at a few more shops, I let them out at the empty parking lot near our house so that both girls could show each other (and me) how well they could travel on their new scooters.

5) Dinner was chicken with rice, creamed corn, fruit salad of oranges and bananas, and Whole Foods cupcakes for dessert.

6) After dinner I worked on research for a proposal for a Mother's Day book while the kids held a stuffed animal ball, then settled down to print out coloring sheets from and color them.

Good night girls. You can stop talking now girls. GIRLS ! Be quiet! It's time for sleep.

Friday, November 9, 2007

Vacation, day five

What did I do today?

1) Spent the morning writing. Went over the Halloween story and two others, printed them out and mailed them. (four mailed out this week)
2) The afternoon was spent going down the list I made yesterday. Completed most of the things oon it.
3) Dinner -- centered around baked yellow squash with bacon on top.
4) In the evening I joined other Pine Grove Elementary School parents in the school Cafetorium being chaperones for the school dance. An elementary school dance? You gotta see it to believe it. Large group dances -- Electric slide, Hoky Poky, the chicken dance and more.


Thursday, November 8, 2007

Vacation, Day four

What did I do today?

1) reallyo, truelyo finished cleaning and straightening the dining room. Got the 7-year-old to take her box upstairs. Did not convince her to toss anything. Did convince her to put a too small, too young toy back in the give-a-way box. Next, to attack the living room. And then the hall. And then -- who knows?

2) reallyo, truelyo finished with the Dog story -- and MAILED it to the editor who had requested more of my stuff. wahoo!
Okay, stories and artwork are never finished, just abandoned, but after the last pass-thru, I was convinced it was as ready as it could be. (I tightened up one place. Made another part clearer. (more clear?) And discovered a section in present tense that had not been noticed during the last 20 pass-thrus. yikes! )

3) Made plans for tomorrow. Created a long list of stuff I need from Cosco. Received an official e-mail permission from my daughter. With this in hand, I can now go back to her college and get them to release her transcript to me. Naturally with all these outdoor chores, the weather is supposed to be -- Rain.

4) Gave a practice spelling test to 7-year-old and her best friend.

5) Dinner? Steak and mushrooms, mashed potatoes, green beans and ice cream for desert.


Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Vacation, Day three

What did I do today:
1) answered e-mail (bad choice because it cut down on my writing time)
Part of it was workplace e-mail, tho. Things that had to be decided today.
2) Finished most of the cleaning of the dining room. Moved the small TV from the kitchen to the dining room.
3) Cooked split-pea soup with a ham hock. (The 7-year old didn't like it, so she had more chicken noodle soup.)
4) supervised the 7-year-old while she learned how to ride a scooter after school, before it got too cold to ride.

I discovered that my sister Marion's organized cleaning system really works.
She said to begin in one spot and work my way around the room. To use four boxes. (I used canvas bags for large stuff and build-a-bear boxes for kids stuff)

She recommended a box for things to get rid of -- me, I simply threw that sort of thing into the trash, instead.

I used these bags/ boxes --
1) move to another room
2) give away
3) not sure what to do with
4) take this stuff to work for crafts or programs
(however, since my workstaff is trying to get me to cut down on the "stuff" I have at work for programs, they might object to me bringing more stuff there. oh dear.)

I have washed shelves, reorganized the contents of chests of drawers, etc. The dining room looks like a different room, now. But it's taking soooo much longer than I had planned. I need to take a couple of more weeks off to do the whole house this way.


Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Vacation, day two

What did I do today?

1) worked on the dining room. It's half done.
2) tweaked the dog story
3) 3 more loads of wash
4) made stew and biscuits for us, and chicken noodle soup for 2 seven-year-olds.
They were still hungry. So they ate ice cream cones. They were still hungry. So they raided the halloween candy. They were still hungry, so they put jam on more biscuits. I bet they are in a growing stage.


Monday, November 5, 2007

Vacation, Day One

What did I do today?

The first day of vacation is always a day of planning, but not actually doing anything much. A winding down, so to speak, from the usual day-to-day stuff. (can't count the weekend as a vacation because there is so much that needs to be packed into those two days -- every week.)

So I --
1) Put the 7-year-old's hair into a Freaky Hair style for Freaky Hair Day at school. It's interesting that the school scheduled their "Spirit Week" during my vacation time. So that I'll have time to do the time-consuming chores (for the parent) in order to get the 7-year-old attired properly. (Where we're going to get the cowboy stuff for Friday, I'm not sure. The Halloween stores are closed, and besides, there weren't cowboy/ cowgirl outfits on sale there anyway.) She'll probably go as a Native American.

2) Went to the local collage to pay for my older daughter's transcripts to be sent to her. That was a waste of time. It seems that parents can't do that any more. I needed a permission slip from my daughter saying I could do it. My, how times have changed. (How many times did I sign permission slips for her adventures?)

3) Did 5 more loads of wash.

4) Tweaked the Dog story a bit. Sent a draft to my oldest daughter -- since it's her dog I'm writing about.

5) Bought the 7-year-old a Razzor Scooter and made her ride it for an hour. Okay, that sounds more like fun than a chore. But it's to help her learn to balance. We figure that once she learns to balance on the scooter's two wheels, she'll then have more courage to learn to ride her bike. (confession time -- no, she can't ride a bike, yet. I can't figure out why, either. She does okay on the balance beam in gymnastics - why can't she balance on a bike?)

6) Cooked a pot roast -- something you can't do when you are working full time. It's even a chore to do it in the slo-cooker when you are working. I'm planning to have home-cooked meals the whole week long. My family will be so surprised.

7) Housekeeping? no, not yet. But I'm making plans.

Be sure to check the Blue Rose Girls' blog to see which illustrators of Robert's Snow snowflakes are being featured this week on other blogs:


Sunday, November 4, 2007

Do it all in a week?

Beginning Monday I have a whole week off.
To write?
To houseclean?
To get Christmas presents bought and mailed?
To contemplate my navel?

Probably all of the above.

Sooooo, I'm going to try to post regularly here to report on my progress -- if any. Just like the people doing NaNoWriMo.

What is NaNoWriMo ?
Go to for more info, but basically it’s a nationwide project where crazy writers pledge to write an entire novel in exactly one month! (first draft, naturally. No way will it be finished enough to send to publishers. But still -- one month! )

I hope to report-- How many words I wrote. What rooms are straightened enough to be in House Beautiful. (or at least decent enough to hold a birthday sleepover in without embarrassing us or the other children's parents.)

In one week I magically turn back into a Children's Librarian in a Public library -- with a Thomas the Tank Engine program to give the day I get back. I'm hoping that keeping a tally here on the blog will insure that things actually get done.

-wendieO (who urges you to buy Robert's Snow Snowflakes when they come up for auction mid-November)

Friday, November 2, 2007

Halloween fun

This year we fell into some pumpkin deals and ended up with 5 or six pumpkins.

I put two by the mailbox by the street -- so they could decorate the mailbox area for Fall for several months.

My husband carved (with help from the 7-year old) the largest. "Granddad makes the best jack-o-lanterns," I was informed as I was shooed away from helping. The 7-year old painted the other three. Made a cat, a clown and a "scary Mary."

We put them all out for Halloween.

What did I see this morning? The two by the mailbox had been smashed (by teens) (the same teens who emptied our candy bowl?)

But the others were closer to the house and are okay. So I guess I get to put Clowny, the cat, and Scary Mary out by the mailbox for my fall display. The carved one will allowed to rot and make compost for the flower bed beside the porch.

The 7-year old refused to be a princess this year. She found an angel costume in a second hand store and went as an angel. Definately NOT typecasting. But she loved the feather wings I added to it.