December 30, 2002
Setting goals

Okay, I've set my official goal. Its very realistic -- only 500 words a day. Today I made it to 1152. But right now I'm obsessing over Choices, which is a rewrite of an older story. I've reached about the point that the story ended at before, and I'm at 3800 words. There's still a significant little chunk to the story, and I'm wondering if it'll come in at under 5k words, which is what it'd need to go to the anthology I'd like to submit it to. Of course, for that, I'd also need to finish it before Feb 28th -- only 2 months away. Can I do it? I can finish the writing of it, but can I have it edited and in tip-top shape by then?

Gods, I hope so. I've gotta get back on the market, back to work.

Posted by Deb Atwood at 11:32 PM
December 29, 2002
New Character -- Haley

Starting a new game -- Games Without Frontiers -- and therefore a new character. Haley's new webpage is up, but without a lot of information.

As always, non players in the campaign are welcome to read everything on the page. I ask that players don't read the quiz answers or short stories or stuff, just because I'd like to you to meet Haley as the game goes along. *smiles*

Posted by Deb Atwood at 09:15 PM
Starting writing again

I've realized that someday, if I ever publish a novel, someone is going to walk up to my husband at a convention and ask, "so, what do you think of blah" where that's the title of my novel. And he'll stare at them blankly, and they'll be like "you haven't read it, have you?" and he'll respond that its sitting in his to-read pile.

If you think I'm exaggerating, I'm not. Kevin's comment was that he'd be telling the truth. He has yet to read my NaNo novel, and that's short. He's read my short stories lately, but that's under pressure.

I'm writing again. Really, truly, writing. I've posted a story to the Online Writing Workshop and received my first few reviews. I've been doing some reviews, as well, which has been teaching me quite a bit actually. I think I find as much value out of the reviews as out of the writing itself.

I'm working on another story -- a sort of bizarre rendition of one that I've done before. I really like how its coming out. I think I'm learning more about my writing style.

When I write YA, I tend to write a good bit more minimalistic. But when I'm working on a horror story, it starts to grow in description. Which for me is a surprise, but for some reason I find it easier to add depth in that genre. For example...

Light from the hallway slipped across the floor as the door crept open. Then the light was blocked by a huge form in the thin space between door and wall. He made a black blot in the corner of her vision as she tried to pretend she still slept. The darkness hovered there. Jolene didn't breath, trying desperately not to move until the darkness moved, slipping back into the hallway and drawing the door after it.

Thank God, he was gone.

Footsteps moved only a few feet down the hallway and stopped. Not far enough, not nearly far enough. It was twelve steps to her parents' room. Twelve steps -- almost every night she counted them as he went by after coming up the stairs. Four steps from the stairs to her own door, then twelve steps to her parents room.

Twelve steps.

And this time, he had only gone five away from her door.

That's a small excerpt from Choices, the story I'm currently working on. I'm really pleased with it so far, and I'm about 2500 words into it. I'd expect it to be about 5000 words when I'm done.

Writing is hard work. It takes time, and concentration. But I'm so glad to be doing it again.

Posted by Deb Atwood at 09:10 PM
December 27, 2002
Has SF become reality again?

CNN reports today that the company Clonaid, founded by the Raelian sect, has claimed the first live birth of a human clone baby.

I'm one for science and progress. And I can think of so many good things this could mean.

But it also scares the crap out of me because we are all still human, and humans have been known to do the wrong thing far more often than the right sometimes it seems. And I worry what will happen to Baby Eve and others like her.

Posted by Deb Atwood at 04:11 PM
December 26, 2002
2002 in Review

2002 is almost over. Where have I been and what have I done, with regards to the Voices?

Its been a long year, really.

2002 has been, in many ways, a year of growth for me. A year of rediscovery of myself as a person, and more importantly, as the person I want to be.

It has been a year of reclamation. I began a new Face-To-Face game. I finally recognized that my PBEM Between the Lines had reached its final days, and laid it to rest. I submitted a short story for the first time in years, and withstood the rejection. I wrote a novel.

I found myself.

I've been hidden for a while, struggling just to make it through day to day life. Two children and a managerial position take a lot out of a person, and don't leave a lot of time for following one's dreams.

In November, it came to a head when Chris challenged me with NaNoWriMo. Kevin and I had a long talk about it. Me, writing again... it was going to change things. A lot.

And it has, and it continues to do so.

I spent 30 days writing every day. And since then, I have been struggling to revise the novel (gah, I'm only on chapter 4 -- this part goes far more slowly). And I am revisiting my other old short stories, and other concepts, trying to find more to work on. I want to continue writing and revising a little every day, even if it is not, perhaps, quite as intense as last November.

I am setting goals for the New Year. I have at least two short stories I want to revise and send out. "Barefoot in the Kitchen" is a horror story that has received positive comments in the past. But I think I have to retype it as I seem to have lost my electronic copy. *groans* "Amber Eyes" went out last March, got some positive comments but was ultimately rejected. I'm in the middle of reviewing that one now.

I would like to have a half dozen decent stories by mid-year, and have them out on the market. You can't win if you don't play.

I want to have "Shades of Grey" revised by next December. Then it either travels to an agent or to the Delecourte YA writing contest.

One of the shorts to be completed in 2003 will be the story "Sweet Amber Ale" which comes between "Shades of Grey" and the second novel.

I will outline the second novel and begin that. I will outline at least one other novel.

I will organize the pieces of my writing into something coherent so that I know what I am working on, and when.

I will not be afraid.

I will achieve my dream.

And then I will celebrate.

Posted by Deb Atwood at 12:23 PM
December 25, 2002
Its the People that Make it a Holiday

In my last post I wrote all about the gifts, and how much we appreciated them. And how much fun we are all having playing with or using them.

But I forgot the most important part of the holiday. The people.

Our holiday consists of four distinct events. It begins the Sunday before Christmas with a trip to Connecticut, to my Aunt Barb's, for Christmas with my father's family. It continues on Christmas Eve, with the celebration we have created ourselves, shared with friends so close that they *are* family in my eyes. Christmas morning is ours (and hopefully my parents will join us on Christmas in years to come) with the kids and the tree. And later on that day Kevin's parents come over.

Sunday was lovely. We spent the afternoon at Barb's, and got to see relatives I haven't seen in ages. Danielle loved being with Grammy and Grampy. And I loved being with my family. We are only all together a few times a year.

Tuesday night, after a rushed attempt by me to make sure I had everything prepared, we had a wonderful time with Jenn, Dave, Josh, and Liz. We have been able to spend so little time together as couples that it was truly wonderful to get to sit down with them and all just talk. I look forward to this so much every year, and every year I buy too much food, and every year I am amazed by just how good my friends are.

This morning was controlled chaos with the kids. Dani just wanted to open everything at once. Since she's only almost five, that makes sense. We managed to keep her ramped down, and she was just so excited about everything. We had a good breakfast, and enjoyed the day, relaxing.

Because of the weather, Kevin's parents were unable to come over. So we'll get together with them Saturday morning before gaming. So the fourth Christmas party has yet to be.

But it is the people we get to see, get to spend special time with that makes this time as wonderful as it is. The holiday season is not yet over, and I am still looking forward to more good times to come.

And yet, I am also making this resolution, to find a way, somehow, to spend more time with my friends and family.

Posted by Deb Atwood at 09:34 PM
New Knife! Woohoo!!

I forgot to mention one of the gifts I received from Kevin. We've been collecting (slowly) Wusthoff knives -- really good ones. We've got a ten inch heavy chef's knife, and before Christmas bought ourselves the joint gift of a good bread knife. So for Christmas Kev bought me the Japanese knife, which is just lovely.

I had to use it tonight, of course. And I'll say this for it. For meat, its nothing but a nice sharp knife. But for vegetables, there is something about the shape, blade style, and weight that makes it perfect. I chopped my onions perfectly sliced and small. The blade slid through the cucumber skin without catching at all, and I was able to peel the cucumber effortlessly.

Yes, I'm in love with my knife.

Posted by Deb Atwood at 08:55 PM
Book Review -- Dark Salvation

Dark Salvation
by Jennifer Dunne
paperback from Hard Shell Word Factory 2000

Once again, an author I met before I read her work. *smile* Isn't that the way it always seems to go for me these days? Jennifer Dunne writes paranormal romances, fantasy, and science fiction, still publishing more on the independant and e-book market than on the mass market so far.

My first thought when I began "Dark Salvation" was yup, this is a romance novel. It has the candence, the word feel to it of a romance novel. You can sense it, with how the characters are drawn, and with the conflict.

Does it escape that mold? Yes, and no. And I mean that in a good way.

It is, just that. A good romance. The characters do come together, as we know they are meant to, across adversity. Secrets are told and overcome. Jennifer's characters are well drawn -- I particularly like their conversations. They come across like real people talking. Which IMO is good -- I'm a real fan of characterization through conversation.

Would I recommend it? It depends on what you are looking for. Do you like romance novels with a supernatural twist? If you do, you'll love it. Its excellent at being just something wonderful (and quick) to read and enjoy.

Posted by Deb Atwood at 04:30 PM
Happy Holidays!

So, its Christmas... and despite all the stress to get to this day, and the stress yet to come to finish out the year, we have had a wonderful holiday.

My cat is drunk. *laughs* Santa brought her a little furry mouse toy to stuff with catnip, which Kevin and I stuffed. Athena spent the morning either nuzzling it or trying to keep us from moving it. She is now upstairs sleeping it off. Oh yeah, I forgot the munchies. Did you know that catnip gives cats the munchies? Or at least, it does in my experience!

Ryan finally, on his third day this week of presents, figured out the whole "tear" and "rip" concept. Last Sunday, at my Aunt Barb's, Ryan kept wanting to open everyones' presents but his own. Last night he started to get it. We helped by putting him into his play yard with the two presents and just waiting. Eventually curiosity got the best of him and he ripped open the second one.

Right now, he is happy as a little clam. He has a new puzzle, and a new musical toy from Aunt Barb, and a truck from Santa, and his new wooden train set from Aunty Liz & Uncle Josh, and one of his new golf clubs from Jenn & Dave. He's got so many new toys and so much to do. He's walking around from one thing to the next, chitter chattering away.

Oh, unwrapping for Ryan was so cute. He would rip off a piece of paper and then hand it to whoever was nearest, saying "thank you" until we took it.

Then there's Dani. She's been over-excited for a long time now, counting down to Christmas since about ten days ago. Right now she's supposed to be taking some quiet time, but she's too revved up to do so. So she keeps coming out to ask to get up, and being sent back. *wry smile* *rolls eyes*

Dani made out like a bandit this Christmas. We have had long talks about being spoiled, and the difference between the good kind of spoiled and the bad kind. You see, the good kind of spoiled is when people like to give you things, and you know that its a special thing and don't whine about not getting enough things. The bad kind is when you just expect all kinds of toys and don't pay attention to what things are and who cares about you.

Dani is the good kind of spoiled. We're working on keeping it that way.

Santa gave her a fish tank. She and daddy are going to go shopping for fish stuff this week, while she's off from daycare. Dani's all excited to have fish in her room. She got a Quantum Pad from us, and has spent a lot of time playing with it. She tried to play with her new inner tube sled, but its just too cold out while its still busy blizzarding and she and Kev were outside for all of about five minutes. *sighs* Hot cocoa is doing its best to warm them up again.

Dani's gotten all kinds of things for Christmas. She and Aunty Jenn exchanged Power Puff gifts, which was adorable. Of course, she wants to use her new Power Puff Girls dishes for every meal -- that's a lot of washing dishes in between. *laughs* And now she really wants us to get her new room all done soon so she can get to put up her glowy stars from Josh & Liz.

Me, I've already been using my Christmas presents. I'm wearing earrings from Danielle. And I baked using my new cake pans, the magicake strips to keep the layers level, and using our new measuring spoons and cups from my parents. The cake came out really well, and I'm excited. I'm starting to have a lot of fun baking and making candy and everything again. Its very relaxing and a lot of fun. Unfortunately, I didn't have enough of the right ingredients to make enough frosting to practice doing cool decorating. *sighs* Another time.

Kevin is enjoying the peace of the day, working on reading his book. I haven't been reading (although I really want to read more of it!!) just because I wanted to do some blogging. I have been feeling like I miss so many things these days because I just don't have time to write. *sighs* And I was determined not to miss remembering all of Christmas!!

Posted by Deb Atwood at 03:10 PM
December 21, 2002
Making Candy

Things I learned today...

Adding green food coloring paste to melted white chocolate makes it sieze. I should have seen it coming, really, since adding water to melted chocolate makes it sieze.

Mixing cinnamon chips and chocolate chips creates a mixture which does not harden perfectly. (On the other hand, the green white chocolate above hardened beautifully).

I'm going to try to combine the two lessons next time, and after combining the cinnamon chips and chocolate chips, I'm going to add a couple of drops of red food coloring to see if I can get it to harden a bit more.

So, now you're all wondering (well, maybe), what was I doing today?

As my husband put it, having way too much fun dipping things in chocolate.

No cookies this time (last time I did this I spent a day covering oreo cookies in chocolate). I dipped pretzel rods in different forms of chocolate and then decorating them. I also did some graham crackers, but decided I actually prefer piping the chocolate decorations on top of the graham crackers rather than actually dipping them in chocolate.

The pretzel rods were a blast to do, and I'm toying with the idea of doing a side business and selling them. This year I'm giving them away for Christmas. But I'm wondering if maybe selling like a dozen rods (with different packages for taste combinations and such) for $20, plus shipping. All hand dipped, of course, and hand decorated. Using white chocolate, semi-sweet chocolate, milk chocolate, colors, peanut butter, cinnamon, and sprinkles. All ways to make them look interesting and taste GOOD. And oh yeah, they do taste good.

The question is, would I have the time to do it, and would it ever get any business? I'd need to put digital pics up and get a site to do it. And its REALLY tempting because it is SO much fun to do.

Posted by Deb Atwood at 06:11 PM
December 15, 2002
The Month After

Well, so here it is. December. The novel's done. Yes, I did, indeed, make it past 50,000 words. And now its December. And I'm editing.

Gods, I forgot how intensive editing can be. I'm on all of about chapter 3. Of almost 30 chapters! This is going to take a VERY long time. On the other hand, its productive, and will probably pad the whole thing by another 5-10k or so.

I'm finding a lot of places where I need to do research in order to find out better details for better description. Yes, I know I lack description. I tend to write talking heads in white rooms. I'm great at dialog. My characters spring off the page like there's a teenager talking at you in your living room.

Problem is, that teenager could be in a car, standing in the backyard, in the middle of a raging snowstorm or earthquake or volcano... you get the picture. Or rather, you get that there *is* no picture.

Its my downfall. I lack in details. Always have. So its the point that I have to go work the hardest on during the editing phase. And its hard, real hard, to put in description after the fact and not interrupt the flow of the dialog.

In fact, I often find that description heavy works tend to lack the same sort of flow of the dialog that I enjoy. So how do I balance it? How do I make it so that the two balance out and you still get good, realistic dialog but also know just enough about where they are to make it all make sense?

Its a constant battle. Dunno if I'll win, but I'm having fun trying.

But the real problem with editing is this. Even at my most tired, in the middle of NaNo I could still sit down and just start typing. Knock out another coupla hundred words. Editing requires dragging my manuscript around the house with a colored pen and scribbling all over it. Not quite so easy. And at the same time, I'm finally writing down a timeline and trying to add in some consistency where I know its lacking, even in the little things, like descriptions. I've even drawn a map of the house part of the action takes place in. I needed it. I'd contradicted myself on the layout of the downstairs five or six times by the time I was done.

Editing is cumbersome. But its necessary. After all, if I don't edit, I don't get to mail it out. And then I'll never achieve my goal of being able to go Christmas shopping in Lee one year and walk over to the YA section and say "hey! there's my book!"

Someday.

Posted by Deb Atwood at 10:25 PM
The Holiday Season

I sort of love the holiday season. I also sort of hate it.

I love giving gifts. I love family gatherings. I love baking.

I hate not having time to shop. I hate stupid people at the malls who feel like traffic laws and common courtesy don't apply to them. I hate getting sick.

I think right now, most of all, I hate getting sick.

Its been a bad few weeks. In this household we've had two sinus infections, one double ear infection (which I think came back), and a full complete set of tummy flus.

This is not fun.

Imagine, if you will, a woman so completely exhausted that she can hardly stand. Leaning on the stroller, crouching down to rest with her back against the wall whenever they stop moving. Her stomach turns as she sees her husband buy lunch. Yet, she is still out, still shopping, because there is no bloody other time to do it.

Yes, this was my weekend. We missed the FAC Christmas party, which really annoyed me, but well, I couldn't get off the couch. *wry smiles* Y'see, the FAC Christmas party is a REALLY COOL PARTY. They rent out the Egg, and get the Albany Symphony, and have an awesome buffet, and the show is designed for kids and everyone's invited. Yeah, its fun. Its not the typical "get drunk and insult the boss" sort of party everyone else seems to have. And I love it. I look forward to it every year. And I've only ever missed it once before (since I started going) -- and that was when I was pregnant with Danielle and they did it with the Victorian stroll in Troy and well, at 8 months pregnant, I wasn't really up for strolling.

Still, illness aside, it was a productive weekend. Got most of the laundry done, the kitchen cleaned. Nothing baked, but then, I didn't think I *should* be baking given the circumstances. Got lots of presents bought, although they still need to be wrapped. I'm enlisting Kevin to help with that this year because some of them are HEAVY.

Christmas is going to be fun. This week Dani and I will put together the basket to take to her preschool. We've got all kinds of neat things to put in it, from cookies, to Lindt truffles, to candles, to oil lamps, to gourmet jellies. Oh yeah, it'll be cool. I'll be lucky if I can fit everything in the basket! But we love them there, and I wanted to give them a bunch of really interesting things to choose from.

Dani and I also have to do the kids' presents for their grandparents. We've got that all planned, but it takes some creative work on our part too. And hm, I just had an awesome idea involving handprints... I'll need to remember that part!

I'm looking forward to the holiday. I just can't believe its going to be here so soon!

Posted by Deb Atwood at 09:35 PM
December 13, 2002
Friday Group Therapy 1.23

1. How is Friday the 13th treating you so far?
Aside from being sick, its a good day. But then, I generally like Friday the 13th. *smiles*

2. What kind of luck do you usually have? Good, bad, a mix of both?
Better than I should. I'm one of those people who can go through life not planning anything and then come out smelling like a rose. But when it finally does go bad its like it just doesn't stop until I'm buried under a mountain of shit.

3. Are you superstitious about anything?
I'm obsessive compulsive, which means yeah, in some weird ways, I'm superstitious. *grins*

Basically, I do things more because I'm obsessive, but in an outward manner, it looks superstitious. I have jewelry that I feel I *have* to wear. Certain ways things must be done.

But I don't subscribe to the standard superstitions. I *like* the number 13. I love black cats. I have no issues with ladders.

4. Have you ever ignored a superstition only to have it backfire on you?
Nope.

5. Has anyone else's superstitions annoyed or amused you?
Oh yes. In general, I find other people's superstitions highly amusing, right up until they impact something I'm trying to do and then they are annoying as hell. Can I come up with an example? Um... stuffy head says nope, no good thinking for today.


*chuckles* Yeah. I've got a pentagram that I bought when I was 15 and I've worn it ever since. When the ankh I got in London tangled with it and kept breaking the chain, the pentagram became an earring (and still is). The ankh became another "must wear" symbol up until I lost it several months ago when my son ripped it off my neck without me noticing. *sighs*

7. Have you known anyone who almost always had an excess of either good or bad luck?
Oh yeah. The best example I have has to do with gaming. I knew this guy who couldn't roll dice. Didn't matter whose dice, how he rolled them, or when. They always came out bad. If he wanted to roll high he rolled low, and vice versa. I'm not sure if anyone ever handed him loaded dice to try rolling...

I've also known people, in gaming, who had certain luck in certain situations. Like, again with the dice, I used to roll incredibly well for one particular character, except when I had the chance for her to look like an idiot. Then I'd always mess it up.

Like I said above, I tend towards good luck. Things like, if I arrived just five minutes earlier, I would've been in the middle of an accident (it happened again this morning -- hit the snooze one extra time and missed witnessing a head on collision outside of Ryan's daycare). I don't rely on the luck. I thank the gods for it, though. Its helped me a lot through the years.

Posted by Deb Atwood at 04:23 PM
December 12, 2002
Speaking in Tongues

Ryan's started talking more and more. He now speaks in complete sentences, carrying on little conversations constantly.

Thing is, we can't understand a word of it.

The sentences have inflection and tone and the words do change so they must mean something. To him anyway.

On the other hand, he does have a new real word, too. "Yeah." And its one of his more consistent words, responding with it correctly. "Are you ready to go?" "Yeah." Its awfully cute.

Posted by Deb Atwood at 08:41 AM
December 10, 2002
Sharing and Being Selfish

Its hard raising kids sometimes.

I love to bake. I have always loved to bake, and have always found it relaxing. Way back when, when I was a kid, I used to bake on days home. If there were a snow day I'd have a good time and trash the kitchen and make something -- either candy or cookies or something. Its been a part of my life since I was a kid. I remember early Saturday mornings making muffins for my parents before they woke up for the morning. It was cool.

I hope to share my love of cooking and baking with both Dani and Ryan. I have fun baking with Danielle. She loves to roll Snickerdoodles into balls and then roll it in the cinnamon sugar. She cuts out cookies, and places them on the pan and decorates them with sugar.

But I realized today that I don't always want to share. When I bake with Dani it isn't the same sense of relaxation. Its fun, but its just really not the same thing at all. So tonight I waited until after Dani and Ryan were in bed and I baked a batch of cookies and prepped for another batch tomorrow night. It was great and I needed the break.

So I guess sometimes its good for me to be selfish. Dani gets upset, but sometimes I need to do things for Mommy too. So we need to find a way to share the baking so I can do some with her, and some on my own.

Posted by Deb Atwood at 10:09 PM
December 07, 2002
Please Mommy, Can I?

We're out at our time share for the weekend -- just a nice little bit of relaxation and get away. There's a carpet sweeper in the closet, which we use after dinner to clean up after the kids.

Dani calls it the quiet vaccuum. She loves it. She loves the real vaccuum, but thinks it makes too much noise. So she won't let us use the carpet sweeper here -- she has to do it.

Today we baked cookies. Bought one of those packages of just put on the cookie sheet types, so that we could do something silly and fun. Dani picked them out, and placed them, and we just put them in the oven. *smiles* So she baked the cookies.

Why is this funny? Well, of course, she was going to get a cookie -- she baked them. And she wanted to clean up after dinner. So what does she say?

Mommy, I can have a cookie AND use the vaccuum?!

Am I lucky or what?

Posted by Deb Atwood at 09:53 PM
December 02, 2002
Redesigning Life

Its hard to change the way life works. For me, I'm a night person. I always have been, even as a kid. I stay up late, I prefer to sleep in somewhat. Like 8am. Not really much later, though. But I have trouble sleeping much before midnight. And I mean toss and turn and stare at the walls insomniac type of trouble sleeping.

Thing is, I have to be at work earlier. I used to get there at 8:30, but I have to be there by 8am if I want to leave at 5pm. And while I don't mind working late, and in fact, often do, I can't always guarantee that I can. Because of the kids and family and responsibility and all. So that means, get to work by 8am.

Which means, in turn, more fun with the cat-herding job of getting two kids out the door early in the morning in time to be dropped off as early as humanly possible at daycare. If I can drop Dani off at 7:30 on the dot, I can maybe get to work by 7:45. Whee! But it'll never be simple, or easy.

But to that end, I'm trying to re-engineer myself. I don't expect it to work all that well, or be anything near easy. We're trying out a new cooperative schedule this week, and we'll see how it goes. We did it in reverse this morning, and I got to work by 7am and Kevin was in by 8am. The goal is normally for him to be in by 7 and me by 8. So if we can just reverse it, it should be right.

The real trick is going to be me going to bed in time to get enough sleep to be coherent the next day. *sighs* Which means trying to go to bed at 11pm. Ick.

It won't be as hard right now. I'm sick, which means I'm exhausted naturally. It helps on the whole sleep quotient thing, but doesn't really make me awake in the day anyway.

Still, in the end, it'll all work out. It always does.

Posted by Deb Atwood at 10:30 PM
December 01, 2002
December First

So here it is, December 1st. Novemeber is over, and with it, NaNoWriMo is done.

I made it.

I made it to just over 50,000 words on Friday November 29, which was good, since I had a houseful of people and no time to write on the 30th! *smiles* I verified, and have yet to put up my little "I made it!" icon. I'll do that sometime this week, probably.

What did I learn?

I can write something I really like and keep at it. I can bull through the bad times and make it count. I can write by skipping around. Most importantly though, I am still a writer somewhere inside my head, and I desperately *want* to still be a writer. In many ways, NaNo made all the recent stress at my job just that much more stressful -- I had something to dream about doing instead. Didn't help. *wry smiles*

I followed up NaNo by having a houseful of people on Saturday, which was cool. We had two extra children in the house! (That's not counting all the guys gaming). I got to play both Guillotine and then DragonMaster with Amasa and Dina, which was cool. Then after the kids went to bed, Shawn and Dina introduced us to a great game called Formula De, from Europe, which is a racecar game. Absolutely LOVED IT.

Today I did something I haven't done in ages. Played Magic.

Yes, Magic the addiction. But not the old way. Shawn brought these new decks that WoTC makes. They are all prebalanced full decks that you buy, and no need for buying packs or anything or balancing or whatever. And no getting blown away by someone who owns a hundred specialty rares and has spent thousands of dollars. It puts the game on an even playing field.

So we played a couple of rounds of that, choosing decks from his collection, and it was a lot of fun. It was Magic in the way that I remember Magic being at the beginning, and I had a great time. It made me actually want to get out my cards and make a few balanced decks to just keep around.

Everything is all cleaned up again, and life is calm. Tomorrow its back to work, and hoping Ryan stays healthy long enough to stay in daycare all day (I'm praying). I'm trying to work out some new schedules for myself, for getting things done in a less haphazard fashion. But I'm also going to work on finding ways to not be so stressed. Because its not getting me anywhere productive. Friday was great. I had to work on Friday, but its my absolute fave day of the year to work because its quiet. I got in early, and was one of the last people out the door (which was still an early day since the market was closed early), and I got SO much done because I had no meetings. I wish more days were like Friday!

Posted by Deb Atwood at 10:49 PM
The Little Drummer Boy

Today we Tivo'ed "The Little Drummer Boy". Neither Kevin nor I had seen it in ages, and its one of the few old Rankin-Bass Christmas specials that we don't own on DVD (since I went on a buying spree a few years ago). We both had fond memories of it, and wanted to share it with Danielle.

Wow. Okay, so that was so not what I remembered! I didn't remember it being so dark! It was done in the shadows of the Bible stories -- a tale to emphasize forgiveness at the end. In some ways, a good tale for today. Yes, there are painful and horrible things that happen, but only blame those responsible -- don't just globally blame everyone for it. A good lesson. But it was very vividly taught in the show.

The boy has everything stolen from him, but then the infant smiles, and his lamb is made whole and he learns forgiveness. A definite parable sort of thing.

I just remembered it being a lot lighter. Dani didn't really enjoy it, and I think it was too difficult for her to follow. And I no longer feel the urge to make sure I own it.

Posted by Deb Atwood at 10:42 PM