Monday, July 23, 2007

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows
(No Spoilers)

It's midnight on Sunday evening. My copy of the final installment of Harry Potter arrived Saturday afternoon, and I just finished reading the last page. I refuse to give any details about the book because I want each of you to have the chance to read it spoiler-free like I did. (Although my oldest son ran through the house shouting out spoilers he had heard from someone. I was far enough along in the book at the time to know that only one thing he said was even true! The rest, bogus.)

Let me just say, I liked the book. So many questions were answered and the story held my attention to the very last page. For those of you with young children, I will say there is some strong language you might want to be aware of or perhaps edit out if you are reading it aloud. But overall, the book was well written and satisfying.

My poor husband has been begging for the book all day, so now that I'm finally done, he's starting to read, despite the fact that it is after midnight!

For any of you who don't yet have a copy, here's a great price through

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Following Tristi's Lead

Okay, I'll admit Tristi's blog got me curious, so I hopped over and took the quiz. Here's my evil result:

You Are 36% Evil

A bit of evil lurks in your heart, but you hide it well.

In some ways, you are the most dangerous kind of evil.

Sunday, July 08, 2007

Off to the Rat’s House

I don’t know where it started, but one of my friends has always called anything associated with Disney “The Rat’s House.” Now, this friend used to work for Disney Pictures, so maybe the nickname is an inside code, or perhaps a commentary on how the employees were feeling about the place. Who knows? In any case, my husband picked up the nickname and anytime we’re off to the Magical Kingdom, he reminds us we’re going to visit the Rat’s House.

We’ve been to Disneyland lots of times now as a family. My husband and I even spent three days of our honeymoon there. So, this week, we’ve decided to go one better—we’re off to Orlando to visit the Giant Rat’s House. We’ve got seven days on the ground to park-hop between EPCOT, Disney-MGM, Animal Kingdom, Downtown Disney, and the Magic Kingdom.

I’ve been to Disney World twice before—long before EPCOT opened. This is a first time for my husband and the boys. Here’s to hoping they can find something new to experience that will keep them all happy. Lots of high-speed roller coasters for the older two, plenty of classic Disney for the other three, some culture for Dad—even though we’ve heard the Japan pavilion is closed for remodeling—and an occasional place for me to stop and breathe. A trip with my husband is sometimes called “The Forced March” rather than a vacation.

Before I leave, I wanted to write one more entry into the Summer Reading Thing, especially since Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows will be here a few short days after I return.

It’s All Too Much: An Easy Plan for Living a Richer Life with Less Stuff by Peter Walsh.

I LOVE the TLC program Clean Sweep. As a matter of fact, I think it’s a shame the network took it off their regular line-up. Even though I’ve seen each episode a dozen times, I still continue to watch it whenever they decide to run one, and organizer Peter Walsh is the reason why. When I listen to his fascinating Australian accent and his genteel way of approaching people who cling to their stuff, I am more motivated to clean house, de-clutter areas, and show respect toward those items that have meaning to me. One of my favorite ways to clean is to turn on Clean Sweep and watch the show while I de-junk a closet or sort through items shoved into a dresser drawer.

When TLC announced they weren’t doing any more episodes, I was so bummed, I thought, “How will I ever get anything done without Peter to guide me?” Someone at Free Press must have thought the same thing because they came to my rescue and published this book. Thank you Free Press, and thank you Peter Walsh. Now I can motivate myself to do a clean sweep of a room anytime I need to.

By the way, Peter Walsh’s other book—How to Organize Almost Everything—is a great reference tool also.

Thursday, July 05, 2007

A Moment for Celebration

I am currently printing out all 658 pages of a non-fiction manuscript that has actually been requested by a local publisher.

Here's to keeping my fingers crossed and hoping I'll soon have another moment for celebration.

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Summertime Blues

I know . . . summer is supposed to be the time of vacations and free time . . . well, at least that’s what I thought when I was a kid. Now that I’m an adult, I see that summer is just as busy for me as the school year. Didn’t I go into teaching so that I would have my summers off?

Well, I guess that just isn’t an option when you are a workaholic like me, who has a crazy husband and five sons to boot. I’m done with classes until the first week of August when I head back to Logan for a three day introduction to my graduate program workshop. Of course, Im already half-way done now with that program, and we just got word that my husband will be working in California those three days (and a lot more), so what am I going to do with my kids while we’re both gone? Such a bother, as Winnie the Pooh might say, but I’ll play Scarlett O’Hara today and say, “Fiddle-dee-dee. I’ll think about that tomorrow.”

This week I’m trying desperately to finish a manuscript a publisher wants to see. Okay, I know it’s my fault for sending that e-mail query out the day before I left for Logan the first time, but how was I to ever guess I’d get a positive response in less than four minutes! I’m just too conditioned to those New York editors who take six months to tell me, “No.” Monday is my own drop-dead deadline for getting this nearly 600 page document into the mail.

Of course, that means I have to work like crazy between now and then because we are going to a family reunion in Beaver on Saturday and packing for a 10 day trip to Disney World Resorts. We leaved Tuesday, the day after my deadline, if I make it that long before collapsing!

Once the trip is over (if I’m not in jail for killing my husband or one of the kids—why is it teenagers can’t just stop the whining and be happy they are going to the Happiest Place on Earth????), I have a whole two weeks to enjoy my summer vacation, then I’m off and running, back to my graduate classes, getting ready to teach school (and those 7th graders I’ve never taught before), and still trying to finish the novel I’d hoped to have written by the end of June.

At least I spent an hour this afternoon watching my youngest play in his new pool. I guess that will have to count as my real summer vacation.

I did find the time to finish the second book from my Summer Reading Thing.

Ghost of a Chance by Kerry Blair

Samantha Shade, of the Nightshade Detective Agency, has been hired to find out what seems to be haunting the San Rafael Mission. But soon, Samantha is investigating a series of murders occurring within the parish. Several young men are found executed in the same gruesome manner—and each is discovered with a marigold between his lips. The clues all seem to lead to someone at the Mission. Who could be responsible? It’s Samantha’s job to find out, especially if she wants to live.

I love the book covers on this series, but unfortunately the books themselves have both been somewhat annoying. When I read a book, I want to be in the story with the main character, but not having them talk to me so often they draw me out of the intensity of the story, especially at a key time. At least this volume got rid of the crossword puzzle clues that ended every chapter in the first book (Mummy’s the Word). I think this author is really talented overall, but I have trouble staying hooked with the parts of the story that try to be “cutesy.” The joke just doesn’t translate onto paper for me. Because I thought book two was better than book one, I may give her one more chance when number three comes along.