Wednesday, August 26, 2009

I Suppose I'll Miss This, Too...

I leave today for a two-week trip home and while I don't want to bad-mouth Mexico, I really need this break. I will miss Ibis -- and now Owen *sniff* -- but I can't wait to see my friends and family, and meet some new friends, too!

See you September 10th. :)

Also, happy third anniversary to my honey!

Tuesday, August 25, 2009


I'm leaving tomorrow for two weeks so as you can expect, I'm running around getting everything ready. Laundry and cleaning will take up the bulk of today -- cleaning because I'm a good wife and figure at the very least I should leave my husband with a clean house -- and sadly, I don't think writing is going to happen.

I had high hopes yesterday that I'd start at least one of the final chapters, but life keeps getting in the way. Plus it's a thousand degrees out. At 6pm, when I tried for the zillionth time to open the document, Owen was curled up on a frozen towel, cuddling an ice cube. I'm not exaggerating. I tried to get a picture but our neighbor distracted him by opening their door just as I aimed the camera, and then the ice cube melted.

That said, I'm really excited about my trip. Not only will I see lots of friends & family, I'll be meeting several online friends. Amy and I are meeting in Chicago, then Rachel, Natasha, Jenna (who I know, obviously, but she doesn't know the other ladies) and I are getting together at a small Absolute Write get-together. Yay!!

The writing will have to happen when it happens.

Monday, August 24, 2009

6am Ponderings

I'm not a morning person. Once I started dating Ibis, I went from sleeping until 10-11am on the weekends to getting up by 8am. 7am is the earliest I wake up naturally and I can function pretty normally at that point.

Then we got a dog.

Yes, all you parents and pet owners are laughing at me right now, but it's 6am and I my coffee isn't ready yet so I'm too groggy to hear you. Ha!

The good thing is I've been writing in these early hours. I'm not as motivated as some of you to get up at 4am, but being at my computer before the sun rises is a huge accomplishment for me. Granted, it's 6am, I have the fan pointed at me, and I'm still coated in a slick of sweat, but it is cooler than during the day.

Speaking of writing, yesterday I reached 69K words (I left off at 62,750 last December) and I have four pages left to edit. My goal was to finish this draft before I leave for the US on Wednesday, but I have at least 4-5 chapters to write and I honestly don't see that happening. I plan to print out the last chapter -- or maybe my outline -- so I can write by hand while I'm gone.

That's all I've got this morning. What's new with you?

Saturday, August 22, 2009

We Should Have Named Him Left-Eye

Are you ready for the cuteness? Do you look forward to these posts, or am I boring you? How can this face bore you?

He's even adorable when he sleeps. This is what I see when I look down from my desk chair. Usually he's on his belly or side, but every now and then he wraps around the chair leg or my foot.

Can I just tell you, he's got this innocent look mastered. He's all sweet, acting like a perfect stuffed animal and then...

... your toe twitches and it's all over.

He has officially learned to sit, although he doesn't respond without food or a treat, and he's letting up on the crying when we leave. Friday afternoon we blocked him in the kitchen while I did a workout video, and aside from a couple yelps, he was quiet.

Speaking of which, he still hasn't developed his bark so it's either a howl or a cat-like meow. Ibis keeps asking Owen if he's "a sheep or a wolf." (Ten points if you can guess that movie reference) So far, it looks like he's all sheep.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Around the Condo

I've talked a lot about some of the odd things in our building, and today I'm going to finally show you some pictures.

First up, the water tanks. These two are for our building and as long as the pumps keep working, we have plenty of water. Trouble starts when the pump dies or "someone" doesn't pay the electric bill that keeps the pump running. That electric bill is still in the developer's name, so that's why it keeps happening.

Still on the roof, these are the pipes that run to the four units on our end of the building. Do you like the fancy bricks that keep the pipes level? It's amazing we ever even HAVE water. That's also our satellite dish and a possible storm coming in. Sometimes the clouds stay in the mountains and it never rains on us. Other times we get a downpour.

Here we have what appears to a convenience store refrigerator. It was there when we woke up several months ago and has been in that spot ever since. "Misc" is common in store names -- it basically means they have a little bit of everything -- and no, I don't know who Carlito is.

Here is the infamous "mailbox." This is why we tell everyone not to mail us things. Thursday morning we were leaving for the gym when I spotted my grandmother's handwriting sticking out of the metal bars. (Thanks gramma!) There's absolutely nothing to prevent people from taking what's there. In March the developer promised a mailbox that would attach to the front gate (which would also need to remain locked -- right now there is no lock) but we've yet to see anything.

And finally, the "yard." I don't think this needs any explanation.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Seven + One

Janna and Jen have both done this meme that's going around the blogosphere. There's a picture and some rules, but I don't feel like bothering with all that. I'm supposed to list seven things that you may not know about me, but I've altered that and listed seven things that are on my mind this week, that you also probably don't know about me.

If you'd like to play along, please leave your seven things in the comments, or let me know if you post on your own blog.

1. We haven't had a phone in four days. I'm not sure if it's the line or the phone, but that shows you how often we actually use it.

[Since writing this Ibis fixed the line. But then the power went out because we didn't pay the bill that never arrived.]

2. I've lost 2.5 of the 5 kilos I'd like to lose. I'm not liking how my body behaves now that I'm in my mid-30s -- it's hard to maintain and even harder to lose -- but what are you gonna do?

3. I think I have carpal tunnel syndrome in my left wrist. I sometimes wear an athletic wristband to elevate my wrist (so it's higher in relation to the mouse) but I worry I'll eventually need surgery. And now my pinkie on that hand hurts as well.

4. I'm no longer planning to buy sheets when I go home. Ibis completely shredded our top sheet a couple nights ago (there was a shout of frustration, then a big RIIIIIP, then much huffing and puffing as he tossed it aside) so I put a twin-sized sheet on our bed for the time being. Turns out it's exactly as wide as our bed, and since I only cover a leg at most, that should work fine.

5. I'm jealous over how excited Owen gets when Ibis comes home, but I'm thinking that I might need to actually leave the house if I want Owen to be excited to see me. He is happy when I come home from the gym, but it's not the same. On the flip side, I'm worried he won't remember be after I'm gone for two weeks!

6. Speaking of Owen, Ibis has joked that he's only going to feed him a little bit so that Owen stays small. Yes, it's a joke. But we also keep joking that we want to eat him in a taco. So. Fricking. Cute. *dies*

7. *sits back up* Here's one that is a general thing about me, nothing isolated to this week: I often start washing my dishes while I'm still chewing my last bite. If I don't force myself to stay in my chair and savor the last bite, I'm up and in the kitchen before I realize it. Needless to say, we rarely have dishes in the sink.

+1 This is a Friends reference. There's an episode where Phoebe and Rachel take a self-defense class and declare they can kick anyone's butt (or something like that). Ross makes it his mission to prove them wrong, then they in turn try to scare him (you know how these shows go) but he says because he studied karaté, he has "unagi" (said while pointing at one's temple) and sees everything.

They ridicule his word unagi, and throughout the episode everyone asks "isn't that eel?" By the end of the show, the girls scare him and Rachel points to her temple and says "salmon sushi roll." Good times.

Ibis happened to watch this episode with me, so now every time he does something that surprises me, he points to his temple and says "sudoku."

Now tell me whatcha got!

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

A Week Early, Sort Of

In light of the fact that I'm leaving for the states next Wednesday and that also happens to be our third wedding anniversary, we're celebrating today.

Technically today IS our anniversary. We had a civil ceremony a week before the church wedding and reception, but decided to celebrate on the 26th. Ironically, five months after we were married we started the process for his US visa and we have to use the LEGAL wedding date for all things immigration-related. So we end up recognizing both days.

I say we just have a week-long celebration. :)

I'm still not sure what we're doing -- there was talk of paying to hang out at a hotel pool for the afternoon (it includes drinks & food) but we might just go to dinner. I'm worried about leaving Owen by himself for the entire day when he's just figuring out the house-training thing.

By the way, what's the third anniversary "thing"? Wood? Paper? Chalk?

Tuesday, August 18, 2009


It's pretty noisy here. Barking dogs, blaring music, LOUD vendors (gas, garbage, tamales, you name it), and of course the mysterious booms and bangs.

Around the holidays, fireworks drown out every other noise. They start mid-day (which I don't understand because you can't SEE them) and continue late into the night. Setting them off inside metal garbage cans seems to be a favorite.

Gunshots are also common, something I still can't believe I'm used to. We used to duck behind walls whenever a neighbor fired off a full clip, but now I don't even flinch. I can't always distinguish between gunfire and other loud noises (like a car backfiring) so I just stay away from the windows and continue about my day.

[Funny side note: as I was typing "other loud noises" the dryer buzzed, scaring both me and Owen. Timing is everything.]

But every now and then there's a loud BOOM that makes everyone stop and look around. Sometimes the power blinks afterwards, which prompted Ibis to head to the street and check out what was going on.

He came back a few minutes later with his report. "Pigeons."


"Exploding pigeons."

"Exploding pigeons?"

Apparently, every now and then the pigeons sit on the wrong wire and BLAMMO! Off goes its head.

Exploding pigeons.

The woman who explained this to him said that after one exploded, the others would fly around for a bit, then return to the same wire and BOOM! Another exploding pigeon. She shook her head as they watched them swoop back to the wires and said, "You would think that they'd learn."

Yes, yes you would.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Editing Woes

I'm tinkering with my NaNo novel and I'm a little worried. While I'm fixing sentences and paragraphs, and making sure I've chosen the best word (and not used the same one over and over), I feel like I'm not changing enough. Everyone knows NaNo is supposed to be about writing crappy first drafts, so where's my crap?

I have a hard time believing that I just wrote that clean of a first draft, so now I spend my time worrying about my ability to objectively edit my own work. *sigh*

I do have some larger issues I plan to address after I finish this draft (I still haven't written the ending) so it's not like I think it's perfect, but I guess I feel like I should be doing more.

Sunday morning I woke up at 6am (thanks Owen) and worked until 4pm. By the end of that marathon session I edited roughly 40 pages and wrote 800 new words. A usual day for me is 10 pages edited and 100-200 new words, so I'm thrilled with the progress. Not only that, I did some major rearranging and chopped several sections that seemed "weird." Hopefully this means I'm finally editing properly.

Do you ever feel like this, or am I crazy?

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Our First Full Week

Owen has adapted very well to living with us instead of his mother and sister. He gets very excited for his mushy food, he nibbles my neck when I carry him up and down the stairs, and he sleeps beneath our feet.

He's already responding to his name AND we've started teaching him to sit.

His favorite spot is in front of the open refrigerator. Smart dog. He comes running every time we open it and we have to be careful not to shut his little head in the door.

This is his second favorite spot.

It's been ridiculously hot the past several days (I currently have a heat rash on my neck -- very attractive) so we've been "showering" him a couple times a day. He LOVES it.

Friday evening we finally decided it was time for a haircut. He was very good for most of it, but I did have to let him chew on my fingers to keep him still while Ibis cut his head. (That's why there aren't any action shots.)

We are so happy we have him and wouldn't trade him for the world, even if he does wake us up at 4 & 5am. Every day.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Flash Fiction Friday

Yes, I have another another flash fiction piece to share, but this one is over at Lurker Monkey's blog.

The prompt this month is "Love Hesitates" and the entries are nothing like what I expected. I highly recommend you read through this week's posts. There will also be a final entry on Monday.

I'd love to hear what you think!

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Twitter Review

I've been a member of the Twitter community for a little over a week (or has it been two weeks? Time stands still here) and so far I'm kind of meh about the whole thing.

The first couple days I zipped through all my friends' lists of people to find people to follow, and I gathered a couple dozen followers of my own. I loaded an app on facebook that allows your Twitter status to automatically become your facebook status, but it only works about half the time.

I've discovered quite a few interesting people to follow and I do enjoy the back and forth between some people, especially the literary agents, but personally, it's not really doing anything for me.

Am I doing something wrong?

Wednesday, August 12, 2009


Yesterday I vowed that I would stay off the internet until I edited two chapters. Seems simple enough, right?


Let's just say that I had to resort to my puppy-training methods* to get myself to keep working. Specifically, shouting "No!" whenever my mouse strayed to the internet icon. The one time I caved, Ibis returned home from an errand within a minute of me opening facebook, so I quickly closed the window and got back to work.

I don't do well when I have unlimited time to do something -- I learned long ago that deadlines are my friend -- so I've decided that I want to finish this draft before my trip home in two weeks. You'd think that would be enough motivation for me, but apparently not.

I was able to get through two chapters by reminding myself that I love this story and can't wait to see how it ends.

How do you keep yourself motivated when you'd rather be doing something else?

*I've decided to spare you all and limit the puppy posts to Saturdays. But a one-sentence mention is permissible. (Hey, I'm making the rules here...)

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Almost Three Sheets to the Wind

It's only two sheets right now, but give it another day or so…

A couple weeks ago I had a big mending project on my hands, but I didn't mention it to many people because it can be easily misinterpreted. You see, we've ripped our sheet. Nearly in half.

Yes, the one that goes on top.

(Pauses for jokes about wedding sheets and well-placed openings. Got that out of your system? Not yet. Okay, I can wait another minute.)

That's why I haven't mentioned this sooner.

We don't have a blanket or comforter on the bed so the sheet… (you know, there's really no good way to say this) … sees a lot of action / takes a lot of abuse / has a lot of wear and tear. The rip started out innocently enough -- just a couple inches with a couple smaller tears alongside it -- but it grew to over a foot in one night. That's when I decided to take action. I don't have a sewing machine and while I don't normally mend on such a large scale, it's still more or less the same stitch.

Well, the fix lasted a couple days, and now it's almost four feet long. Most mornings I wake up with my leg through the tear and my half of the sheet twisted through the opening. I think this is why sheets don't have openings. Very inconvenient.

As luck would have it I'm going home in a couple weeks so I plan to buy new ones then. I could get them here, but we don't have a lot of stores to choose from so our options are limited. The ones we've found are fairly expensive and usually quite scratchy. So we need to make this one last two more weeks. (Actually, Ibis needs to make it last another month. Sorry honey.)

I'm about to just cut it all the way so we have a his & hers set. No more fighting over the sheet! Actually, it's been so hot I've been sleeping on top of the covers anyway, which is how I think it tore in the first place.

So, where did the phrase "three sheets to the wind" originate?

Monday, August 10, 2009

Getting Inside Your Characters

I've been working on After the Fall for a couple weeks now, and so far the majority of my time has been spent editing. I haven't read it since putting the file away at the end of last November, so I'm able to approach it with very fresh eyes.

I haven't jumped ahead at all, and I've tried to get through one chapter each day. I was more than a little surprised when I opened the document Thursday and realized the next chapter was blank. Well not completely blank, I did write myself two lines of notes and labeled the chapter "Need to Write."

No kidding.

It took me two days, but I wrote a six-page chapter. I know that doesn't seem like much, but I've done very little writing on this wip so this feels like quite an accomplishment. Since starting I've added a little over 3000 words, and I'm not even to the end, which still needs to be written.

In addition to all this, I'm finding my characters' voices. Logically, each character needs to have a unique speech pattern -- I've heard that you should be able to tell who's speaking by the dialogue alone -- but that's always been a challenge for me. Yesterday I realized one female character basically talks like my mom (that's a good thing -- she's a highly educated individual) while the other adult woman talks more like me (still educated but an occasional "like" and "you know" slips in).

This is very exciting for me. The words are flowing even more easily now that I've got the characters figured out.

Do you ever base a character's speech pattern on someone you know in real life?

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Meet Owen


do not like to...

sit still.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Flash Fiction Friday

My flash fiction group was MIA for awhile, but we have a new prompt for August. I've gone in a different direction from my normal stuff (if I even have a "normal") -- I hope you enjoy it!


The snack-sized bag of crackers has one hundred calories, so if I only have half an ounce of cheese, I'll stay with the recommended two hundred calories per snack.


Did Jeannie buy these crackers? They aren't the brand I normally get. What if the calorie to fat ratio is different from what I'm used to? This could screw up an entire week of planning.

I've already been to the gym three days this week. I was supposed to go this morning but last night's glass of wine turned into three and I slept through my alarm.

I definitely shouldn't eat these crackers.

Maybe there's something better in the fridge. Well, not better, but healthier. Celery, carrots, cucumber… ugh. What was I thinking? I've got the best intentions when I'm at the grocery store, but once it's in my fridge I realize how much I detest—

Stop it! Just eat the carrots and put the crackers back. One tablespoon of Ranch won't put me over the edge. (I mean, who eats carrots without Ranch?) I need to go to the gym tomorrow to work off last night's wine, I don't need to make it worse. Maybe if I did some squats. Yeah. I can do them while I decide what to eat.

… seven, eight, nine… I could have a yogurt. Ooh, Jeannie must have gone to a different store because I've never seen this flavor.

Caramel Raspberry Soufflé.


I cannot eat that. I don't care how scrumptiously decadent it is. I had wine. Three glasses. And I skipped the gym.

Unless… what does that say?

It's Light!


The prompt was Light.

Thursday, August 6, 2009


Last month I asked you if there's anything you'd like to know about me, and I swear I haven't forgotten about you. It figures that as soon as I ask for topics, all sorts of things happened in my life (Twitter! A Trip Home! A Puppy!).

Jenna asked, "If you had to pick one genre to write in for the rest of your life what would it be? And you can't say mainstream or contemporary... you have to be specific :)."

Since mainstream/contemporary IS how I label my writing, she was nice enough to list out the main genres:

Science Fiction
Urban Fantasy
Young Adult
Middle Grade

Going down that list, I can immediately cross off quite a few, which leaves me with the following:

Young Adult

Romance was a maybe, but I get really uncomfortable writing love scenes and if I understand the genre correctly, that's kind of important.

I know they aren't but in my mind, Crime/Detective, Mystery, and Thriller/Suspense can all be lumped together (please don't shoot me). I'd happily write those, probably leaning towards Suspense.

I enjoy reading Literary and I would LOVE it if I could ever elevate my writing to that level, but I'm realistic. I believe I'm finding my voice and I'm happy with where it's taking me.

And where is it taking me? I think to Young Adult. I don't know if I'm going to attempt it anytime soon, but my favorite POV in my current wip is the seventeen-year old. The MC in The Other Side is nineteen, but it's definitely not YA. I've always loved "teen" movies and on Wednesday I read an excerpt from Elana Johnson's current novel and it made me want to read more about these kids.

Which ties into Jenna's final question: "What's your next idea?"

Perhaps something YA…

What about you? Are you set in one genre? Is there one you'd like to try, even if it never sees the light of day?

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

We Have the Puppy!

Yesterday we stopped by the vet to see the puppy and upon our arrival he said we could take him right then. Say what? If you've been reading my blog for any length of time, you shouldn't be surprised (I don't know why I was) because time here isn't nearly as... hmmm, how do I say this?... IMPORTANT as it is in the US. Things are more flexible. Usually it works against you, but every now and then you get a puppy a week early!

We scrambled around town to get the last minute things (like food and a leash) then went back to pick him up! The crate at the vet's was pretty nasty so we gave him a bath in a tupperware bowl and MAN, was that water gross. I think we still need to give him another one, but it's already an improvement.

We haven't chosen a name yet because we want to get a sense of his personality first, but I'll let you know as soon as we decide.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Squeaky Wheel Strikes Again

While I try not to be negative on the blog, many of you know how much I hate being here and cannot wait until we leave. I swear I try to look at the positives -- beaches, no snow, beautiful views right outside our bedroom -- but it occasionally catches up with me and I become rather unbearable. Or so Ibis says.

Yesterday he must have reached his limit because he went online, found me a flight home for $300 (including tax!), I called my parents to make sure they'll be in town, and I booked it! I told my parents I'd fly in August 27, but when I went to buy the tickets I realized it was the same price if I left a day earlier, and hey, why not? It was only when I told Ibis the dates that I realized the 26th is our wedding anniversary. Oops.

I'll be in Chicago through that first weekend, all over Michigan during the week, then I'll spend Labor Day weekend with my sister and her family at their cabin "up north." I've already been informed that I'll have to show them how to get three people into their four-person hammock -- something was apparently lost in the translation. I fly back September 9th.

Since I leave in three weeks and I have roughly 20 chapters to edit in After the Fall, my goal is to get through this draft before I leave. I'm feeling more motivated now that I have something to look forward to, so fingers crossed I'll get through it.

The only negative to my leaving (aside from missing my honey) is we'll only have had our new puppy for two weeks. Ibis is excited to have him all to himself but I, of course, am worried about him training the little guy all on his own. Ibis is not concerned. I believe his exact words were, "He's going to love me and he won't even know who you are." Which prompted a discussion about me bringing the puppy along with me. :)

Monday, August 3, 2009

Unexpected Tranquility

I dipped my toe in the aquamarine water, marveling at the white sand that stretched the length of the bay. Tiny pebbles bounced over my feet as the surf crashed onto the shore, scrambling towards the safety of the palm trees, only to be dragged roughly back to the sea.

I trailed my hand through the salty foam and splashed my neck, my arms. It was warmer than I expected – a clear sign it hadn't rained in weeks. I lowered myself into an oncoming wave, letting the water roll over my shoulders. Strands of hair clung to my cheek, mingled with the coarse sand.

I lowered still further until my head slipped beneath the surface. My everyday thoughts, concerns, the stresses of the world, all drifted away with the current. For this one afternoon a buoyant cocoon protected me from the real world.


Last week Ibis and I went to Playa la Ropa, the largest and cleanest of the four beaches on Zihuatanejo Bay. As we drove over the hills between our house and the beach, my jaw dropped when I saw the water. It's normally a deep blue, but that day it was pale turquoise, like the Caribbean.

When we arrived at the beach, we discovered that the June storm that washed away much of Barra de Potosi also affected La Ropa. (We also saw a difference at Playa la Madera last weekend, but the water color hadn't changed.) Now the water covers what used to be the last 20 feet of the beach and laps at the tables and beach chairs of the restaurants and hotels. It's this shift that's caused the change in water color. The water over the pure white sand appears aquamarine.

It looked like a different beach. It was even saltier than normal. I normally don't go past my waist – I'm too nervous about whatever creatures are lurking beneath the surface – but this time I spent the majority of the day frolicking in the waves, enjoying my pseudo-vacation.

Have you ever had an experience like this, where a place you frequent changes so much it feels like you've transported to an entirely different place?

Saturday, August 1, 2009


Yet another friend joined the dark side, and this time I followed.

I haven't figured out all the ins and outs of it just yet, but I'm getting there.

I expected the earth to move when I signed up -- or at least feel a little tremor -- but nothing much happened.

I'm hoping I get used to writing in short little bursts.

Come follow me!