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Archive for May, 2009

JeepJeep

I finally got all of my pictures transferred from the old computer ::glare:: to my new fabulous computer ::smile::, so I can finally upload the terrific shots of our Jeep trip in California.  On Saturday, we loaded up the jeep with water bottles, tabouleh sandwiches, and (of course) Poppy and headed to the desert to Jeep around.  And although the initial sighting of the rattlesnake upon entering the park had me concerned, the rest of the trip was snake-free and wonderful.  We couldn’t have asked for better weather and, since it was the weekend before Memorial Day and most of the big Jeep excursions, it was actually really quiet on the trails.  Enjoy the pictures!!

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New computer!

My motherboard crashed due to a known defect with my not-so-old laptop.  But despite the threat of a class action lawsuit, and despite the fact that HP fully recognizes the computer is crap, they won’t pay to fix it.  So, I bought a new laptop.  And it is fabulous.  17″ with all the bells and whistles.  On sale plus rebates, and the pretty computer (with the softest keyboard you ever typed on) was only $489.  Considering a fix of my motherboard would have cost $425, I did pretty well.

This is my first post on the new computer, and I hoped to post a picture of it, but instead of taking pictures, I decided to do some yoga.  Comcast On Demand has some terrific free yoga.  Except that I picked an advance routine and, well, that lady kicked my butt.  So it is off to read in bed and relax my poor, wobbly muscles. 

But first, a quiz: in addition to remembrance day, what else do we celebrate over Memorial Day?  Don’t remember? 

Memorial Day 2007, Greg and I moved into our beautiful home in Chesapeake Beach.  It is almost hard to remember what the house looked like back then.  But here is a little reminder, compliments of the February 2008 picture files.

 work1b

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IMG_0212 [Desktop Resolution]

I am terribly overdue in posting pictures of the shed that Greg worked his tail off building one weekend in the pouring rain.  You will notice that there are no pictures of Greg actually building the shed (action shots).  That is because it was pouring.  And I was inside.  Clean, warm, and reading a book.  This fabulous shed now houses our backyard mower, tiller (it’s not in the garage anymore!), and miscellaneous gardening supplies.  It is wonderful. 🙂

IMG_0235 [Desktop Resolution]

And, in other terrific news, the roses are blooming!  My new rose bush has its first two pink roses, and last year’s orange rose bush (which i planted right before the wedding) has become enormous — it has more than 20 roses on it!  Granted, they are a little more “blush” than orange, per se, but still beautiful.  (And note the fabulous brown dress Mom and Dad bought for me before my trip to Cali — I love it!!)

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Yesterday Mom J and I had an abbreviated (though meaningful, of course) conversation about the pretentiousness of writers, the preoccupation of morbid and/or depressing topics for shock factor, and the automatic assumption that anything written within a popular genre (i.e., anything someone will actually want to read) must be shoddily written and haphazardly structured.  That all novels fall into one of two categories–pulp fiction or “real” literary fiction–is not a belief I maintain, but a lot of writers feel that way.  This conflict of writing ideologies is one of the reasons I hesitate to enter the MA writing program.  Would spending three years with a group of writers focused on “real literary writing” improve my own skills and make me better appreciate the art, or would I think to myself before each class, “these people are really annoying”?  I don’t know the answer to that question, so I have postponed my application until the spring to further contemplate my writing future.  Until then, please enjoy a cartoon inspired by yesterday’s conversation:

pretentious writers

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Leaves of Green

There are so many beautiful things growing in our yard, and in honor of that wonderfulness, I present a short picture essay.  (Best viewed while imagining a soundtrack of birds– we wake up to one every morning!)

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writing2

There are lots of things written about writing.  Most of them say the same thing:

If you can do anything else, I mean anything at all, with your life,
don’t write a book.” 

Adjectives used to describe writing a book include words such as pain, torture, isolation, guilt.  You know, fun words.

But one of my favorite things written about writing a book is a blog post by Derek Powazek, entitled How to Write a Book in Three Easy Steps.

In honor of the nth draft of my very detailed outline/scene list/basis-for-an-eventual-manuscript, now totaling 85 pages (at some point I will need to stop adding scenes lest my book become a tome), I am printing the text from Powazek’s first step of how to write a book.

Because it is funny.

And, well, kinda true.

Step 1: “I am writing a book.”

You begin by doing what you’ve always dreamed of doing: telling everyone you’re writing a book.

You sign a contract that gives away all your rights, quit your cushy job, and settle in to do all those important things that one has to do before actually doing any writing: formulating the Table of Contents, doing research (surfing the web in your underwear), and picking the font for the body text.

And, of course, telling everyone you are writing a book.

This is the step when your parents will tell you how proud they are of you (after making sure you’ve got some way to pay the rent). Your friends will smile, amazed, and tell you about the secret book they always wanted to do, but never have. The people on the bus will be impressed, if a little on guard, at the news. Your hairdresser, landlord, and local grocery store clerk will all express an interest.

This step will last about three months, during which time you will write at most one thousand words, none of which will ever be used in the book. When the joy of seeing people ask about your book slowly begins to be replaced with the secret dread of knowing that you actually haven’t started writing it yet, you know you’re on your way to the next step.

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Home Alone!

What is it that they say about best laid plans? A weekend without Erin was to include video games, horse racing (and gambling), poker (guess that is also gambling), and hanging out with old college buddies. So much for that. 20 hours of manual labor later…we’ve power washed the decks, sanded the mahogany deck, re-washed the deck, mulched Erin’s garden, gone to MD emissions for the truck, been to the dump, taken the dogs to the lake, given the doggers a bath…whew. I wonder what we’ll do tomorrow!

...but the patio has already been power washed!

...but the patio has already been power washed!

Did I mention, never use mahogany outside - it turns black.

Did I mention, never use mahogany outside - it turns black.

Post power wash, sanding, second power wash pass

Post power wash, sanding, second power wash pass

Notice Erin's garden below

Notice Erin's garden below

I don't like these bars...

I don't like these bars...

and smelling sweet after their baths!

and smelling sweet after their baths!

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