Sunday, July 29, 2007

While Abby sleeps and the chili simmers...

...thought I'd try to post a little, though this will probably send some psychic vibe to Abby to wake her up. Oh well.

Her new thing, speaking of Abby, is "me" and "my." She points to herself and says both of them very emphatically, thought not typically about any particular object. But it's really cute anyway. Though then she points to me and says, "me", and how on earth do you clarify THAT concept?

Also speaking of Abby, we were at Babies R Us the other day picking up a booster seat (yes, she's about to graduate from the high chair, lucky girl!) when we were approached by one of the Kiddie Kandid photographers. Now, I took Abby in for her 18 month photos not too long ago, and the outing was just a few inches short of disastrous; we ended up with only three pictures, and only had those because of the Photoshopping-like skills of the photographer. She cried, she hid, she was hungry, she was tired, and though she was all smiles while walking around the studio, the minute the camera was on her she was miserable.

Anyway, the photographer on this day says they're training new staff and need some models, and we'll get a free 8 x 10 if we bring Abby on over. We don't even have to buy anything. So I ask Abby, "Want to go get your picture taken?" And she replies, "Okay!" Harrumph, I think, we'll just see how cooperative you are once they're trying to get you to smile.


She smiled. She laughed. She played with the blocks and didn't freak out when the photographer (despite me explaining how Abby tends to get really shy when strangers try to interact with her) started tickling her with a feather duster. She cooperated while they changed backgrounds and props, she didn't try to get off the table, and only once or twice did she try to hide behind me. In the end, they got a ton of fantastic photos, and I ended up spending $50+ on the pictures I wish we'd gotten the first time around--when she was dressed in an adorable outfit and not a very-obviously strawberry-stained polo. I'll try to figure out how to post them here; they really are precious.

Her language, both spoken and comprehended, continues to grow by leaps and bounds. Oh! And I think she said her first sentence yesterday! Those who know her well will not be surprised at the subject matter: "I want avo!" (Avo = avocado)

I'm continuing to work on my WIP, and currently about 5 pub houses are reviewing the proposal. One has already accepted it at the editorial board level; in August it goes to the pub board level and hopefully will pass there, too. I'm writing (in theory) about 4 days a week now, though only for a couple hours a day, but it feels so good to reconnect with the story, even if it's just for a short while.

Uh-oh! She wakes!

Monday, July 23, 2007

I love a good book list

This meme is going around and it looked like fun so I tagged myself for it. :) I love seeing what books are considered good reading; it helps me to broaden my horizons and read outside my usual authors and genres. Let's see what we've got here....

* Bold the ones you’ve read.
* Italicize the ones you want to read.
* Leave in normal text the ones that don’t interest you.
* Put in ALL CAPS those you haven’t heard of.
* Put a couple of asterisks by the ones you recommend.

1. The DaVinci Code (Dan Brown)

2. Pride and Prejudice (Jane Austen) **

3. To Kill A Mockingbird (Harper Lee) **

4. Gone With The Wind (Margaret Mitchell)

5. The Lord of the Rings: Return of the King (Tolkien)

6. The Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Ring (Tolkien)

7. The Lord of the Rings: Two Towers (Tolkien)

8. Anne of Green Gables (L.M. Montgomery) **

9. Outlander (Diana Gabaldon) **

10. A FINE BALANCE (Rohinton Mistry)

11. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone (Rowling)

12. Angels and Demons (Dan Brown)

13. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (Rowling)

14. A Prayer for Owen Meany (John Irving)

15. Memoirs of a Geisha (Arthur Golden)**

16. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (Rowling)

17. FALL ON YOUR KNEES (Ann-Marie MacDonald)

18. The Stand (Stephen King)

19. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (Rowling)

20. Jane Eyre (Charlotte Bronte)**

21. The Hobbit (Tolkien)

22. The Catcher in the Rye (J.D. Salinger)

23. Little Women (Louisa May Alcott)

24. The Lovely Bones (Alice Sebold)

25. Life of Pi (Yann Martel)

26. The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy (Douglas Adams)

27. Wuthering Heights (Emily Bronte)

28. The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe (C. S. Lewis)**

29. East of Eden (John Steinbeck)

30. Tuesdays with Morrie (Mitch Albom)

31. Dune (Frank Herbert)

32. The Notebook (Nicholas Sparks)

33. Atlas Shrugged (Ayn Rand)

34. 1984 (Orwell)**

35. THE MISTS OF AVALON (Marion Zimmer Bradley)


37. THE POWER OF ONE (Bryce Courtenay)

38. I Know This Much Is True (Wally Lamb)

39. The Red Tent (Anita Diamant)

40. THE ALCHEMIST (Paulo Coelho)

41. The Clan of the Cave Bear (Jean M. Auel)

42. The Kite Runner (Khaled Hosseini)

43. Confessions of a Shopahaulic (Sophie Kinsella)

44. The Five People You Meet In Heaven (Mitch Albom)

45. The Bible **

46. Anna Karenina (Tolstoy)

47. The Count of Monte Cristo (Alexandre Dumas)

48. Angela’s Ashes (Frank McCourt)**

49. The Grapes of Wrath (John Steinbeck)

50. She's Come Undone (Wally Lamb)

51. The Poisonwood Bible (Barbara Kingsolver)

52. A Tale of Two Cities (Dickens)

53. Enders Game (Orson Scott Card)

54. Great Expectations (Dickens) **

55. The Great Gatsby (Fitzgerald)

56. THE STONE ANGEL (Margaret Laurence)

57. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (Rowling)

58. The Thorn Birds (Colleen McCullough)

59. The Handmaid’s Tale (Margaret Atwood)

60. The Time Traveller’s Wife (Audrey Niffenegger) **

61. Crime and Punishment (Fyodor Dostoyevsky)

62. The Fountainhead (Ayn Rand)

63. War and Peace (Tolstoy)

64. Interview With The Vampire (Anne Rice)

65. FIFTH BUSINESS (Robertson Davies)

66. One Hundred Years Of Solitude (Gabriel Garcia Marquez)

67. The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants (Ann Brashares)

68. Catch-22 (Joseph Heller)

69. Les Miserables (Victor Hugo)**

70. The Little Prince (Antoine de Saint-Exupery)

71. Bridget Jones's Diary (Helen Fielding)

72. Love in the Time of Cholera (Gabriel Garcia Marquez)

73. Shogun (James Clavell)

74. The English Patient (Michael Ondaatje)

75. The Secret Garden(Frances Hodgson)

76. THE SUMMER TREE (Guy Gavriel Kay)

77. A Tree Grows In Brooklyn (Betty Smith)** (One of my all-time favorites!!)

78. The World According to Garp (John Irving)

79. THE DIVINERS (Margaret Laurence)

80. Charlotte’s Web (E.B. White)

81. NOT WANTED ON THE VOYAGE (Timothy Findley)

82. Of Mice And Men (Steinbeck)

83. REBECCA (Daphne DuMaurier)

84. WIZARD'S FIRST RULE (Terry Goodkind)

85. Emma (Jane Austen)

86. Watership Down (Richard Adams)

87. Brave New World (Aldous Huxley)

88. THE STONE DIARIES (Carol Shields)

89. BLINDNESS (Jose Saramago)

90. KANE AND ABEL (Jeffrey Archer)

91. IN THE SKIN OF A LION (Michael Ondaatje)

92. Lord of the Flies (William Golding)

93. The Good Earth (Pearl S. Buck)

94. The Secret Life of Bees (Sue Monk Kidd)

95. The Bourne Identity (Robert Ludlum)

96. The Outsiders (S.E. Hinton)

97. White Oleander (Janet Fitch)

98. A WOMAN OF SUBSTANCE (Barbara Taylor Bradford)

99. The Celestine Prophecy (James Redfield)

100. Ulysses (James Joyce)

Monday, July 16, 2007

All the big news

So many blessings to report! I just love days like this. :)

First off, as most of you know, this past weekend was the much-anticipated First Weekend Without Abby and RWA Rita award ceremony. Many of you have been praying for us, that Abby would be alright, that my mom would be alright as she took care of Abby, that our trip to Dallas would go without a hitch. Well, y'all are mighty prayer warriors, because things could not have gone better. Granted I was crying inconsolably (no joke) when Mom took Abby Saturday morning, but we managed to get out of the house and to the airport much earlier than planned, which gave us time to grab some breakfast as well. Our flight, um, flew by--definitely didn't feel like we were in the air for nearly three hours--and got in twenty minutes early. Woohoo #1! Got down to the baggage claim and both our bags were coming 'round the corner. Woohoo #2! Got to the car rental place and there was no line and we got a nav system as we'd requested. Woohoo #3! Had no trouble getting to the Singers, where we were staying, and even had plenty of time to eat a leisurely dinner. Woohoo #4! God is so good.

We did have a little trouble figuring out where to park when we got to the ceremony, but it was quickly resolved and we got into the event without a problem. It was a bit uncomfortable, though, because everyone else had been there all weekend and knew each other and had been bonding through critique groups and workshops and whatnot, so we just sat in our row and kept to ourselves. The program was a little silly, but not terrible, and it was awesome seeing all these women be rewarded for all their hard work. The first award, called the Golden Heart, is given to an unpublished author who's trying to get published--they submit their manuscripts and they get critiqued by editors, which is an amazing opportunity for them to learn and improve and hopefully get their stuff sold. The Rita awards came after that, and Tamera Alexander did indeed walk away with the big gold statue, just as I predicted. But, though it's a cliche, it's true: it was a huge honor just ot be nominated. There were thousands of books submitted for this award; to be one of such a select group is a huge vote of confidence for me.

Afterwards we went to Cheesecake Factory for dessert and then back to the house. I didn't think I'd sleep well without Abby right next to me, but it turns out I slept for a solid 7 hours! I haven't done that since before I was pregnant! Man, did it feel good. :) Dan didn't get up until 10:30 so I was able to lounge and read and relax, which was lovely. It was so weird to have all that time to myself! When the Singers got back from church we all went out for lunch, and then they drove us around some really cool parts of Dallas--down Kennedy's motorcade route, around some mansion neighborhoods where folks like Ross Perot and the owner of the Dallas Mavericks live. Gorgeous places. After that we went back to their place and packed and talked until it was time to get the car back in order to only pay for one day's worth of rental. We had a ton of time at the airport, but DFW has tons of shops and restaurants, so it was actually kind of fun, like going to a mall but with planes outside. :)

Coming home all we could talk about was Abby. We missed her so much. She did fantastic, though--save for sleeping Saturday night, which she kinda didn't do. No meltdowns, though (Woohoo #5!), and Mom's body held up (Woohoo #6!) though I heard she went to the chiropractor today, poor thing. When we got home I literally ran to the door and through the house until we found her, along with my parents, playing in one of the bedrooms. Abby looked up, said, "Mama," handed me a Lego, and went back to playing. Much better than the angry, "Why did you leave me?!" meltdown I was expecting (Woohoo #7!) though I wouldn't have minded some spontaneous hugs.

When we got ready to go, we outfitted Abby in a new shirt we got for her--Woohoo #8 is written on the front:

Yes, that's right, come mid-March Abby will have someone else to boss around! Talk about a surprise. Though it wasn't at all planned, we're SUPER excited, of course, and Woohoo #9 is that Kyle and Kelli will be in the states from November-June, so they'll be able to be here, if not for the actual birth, at least sometime in the first couple months. Woohoo #10 is that, so far anyway, I'm not experiencing the protein aversion that had me on a carbs-only diet and which contributed to the 75 pound weight-gain during my first pregnancy, so despite the fact that I'm ravenous most of the time, at least I'm able to eat some more solid stuff. I have already gained a couple pounds, but I'm not anticipating the 10-pounds-a-month like last time; I think most of what I've already put on is from the lousy eating I was doing earlier in the month. As of tomorrow I'll be 5 weeks, and I'm going to start blogging at my old pregnancy blog again to keep the pregnancy stuff separate from this blog, so if you're interested in following the development of the newest Morrow, be sure to keep an eye out there. For those of you who are the praying type, please say one for myself and the baby--especially for this one to culminate in a natural birth and not another c-section. I'd really like to avoid that this time around if I can.

Well, that's all the news here. Guess I'd better go unpack!

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Just keeps getting better

Okay, so yesterday I said the best part was that I didn't have to blow-dry it, but I was wrong. That's not the best part. The best part is that, when I woke up this morning, all I had to do was put the sides back in a barrette and I was done! Score!!

In other news...

My blog has been added to a blogroll of folks attending the Nation Romance Writers conference this month. If you're big into romance writing (or maybe just romance writers) check out to see who else is writing about the experience. Since I'm only attending the award ceremony, I won't have info on any of the other aspects of the conference; these folks most likely will, and would be a great source for those of you considering attending in the future.

Have I mentioned lately how freaking huge Abby is getting? More specifically, her stomach. She looks pregnant, it's ridiculous. I'm guessing we're gearing up for one mor growth spurt--other that or we're going to have an obesity issue soon. I measured her height for the first time (as opposed to length like they do at the doctor's office--there's a difference, you know!) on her little Winnie the Pooh height chart. 31-1/4 inches, or 2'7-1/4" for those of you not used to converting. And 24 pounds, all of it concentrated on her little tummy. Her t-shirts are all getting tight around the middle and she has to wear her shorts and skirts on her hips.

Things are looking god for my current WIP. One house has already expressed an interest in making an offer, and more houses will be receiving the proposal this week and next. Now if I could just find some time to work on the thing...

And speaking of working on it, I started using Randy Ingermanson's snowflake method and retrofitting my WIP to fit with what the method was helping me come up with for the story. It's a fantastic tool; for any of you interested in writing but unsure of how to approach the organization of the story, I strongly encourage you to check it out at Randy's website. I've only gotten about halfway through the method and it's already helped me come up with plot points I hadn't thought of before. It's not going to help you be creative, but it is going to help you analyze your story.

Well, Abby and I are off to the farmer's market for some fresh yummy strawberries. It's a far drive for just one item, but SO worth it. Yum!

Monday, July 02, 2007

The final verdict!

I pondered. I vascillated. I Ccalled for help and got lots of responses. And when it came down to it, I let my stylist make the final call. And what did she do? Layers and CURLS! And the curl is, believe it or not, natural--with a little boost from a Bed Head product. The best part: I can do it without blow-drying my hair, all I need is to twist little sections around my finger and let them air-dry. 'Course, the final test will be when I have to do it myself, but she did so little I can't believe I won't be able to replicate the results.

So, here it is:

So...whatcha think?

Sunday, July 01, 2007

Image Angst

I'm getting my hair cut tomorrow. Not a Great Clips trim, but a real haircut that will hopefully infuse some life into my limp n' lame locks. Highlights, too. Goin' all out, I am! But I'm oscillating between A) just getting layers cut into the front to give my face more of a frame, or B) going back to my super short hair days. I'm never good with choices, and when it comes to my hair I'm even worse.

I decided to go under the scissors after rediscovering Lisa Loeb. She's done some kids music and I was on her site the other day checking out videos, and her hair is SO cute! And it's my length, so her 'do is, well, doable. The question is whether or not that look will look good on me. You tell me: here's me now and a pic of Lisa from her site:

Now, the thing is, I will not put more than about 90 seconds' worth of styling effort into my hair. I just won't. Not on a regular basis, anyway. For big events or stuff where I know my pic might get taken, then sure, but there's no way I'm hauling out the blow dryer and round brush just to go to the park with Abby. And never having had my hair cut this way, I don't know what kind of styling it might require. Sure doesn't look like much, but I could be wrong.

And I'm struggling with whether or not it would look too youngish. I mean, Lisa's got the whole Cute Artsy Girl thing going on, with the glasses and retro-y, bohemian outfits. I do have to get new glasses, and when Dan saw hers he was all like, "Hey, you should get some like those!" But I already struggle a LOT with feeling like a kid and not an adult--so do I really want to overhaul my look to match when it's not something I'm particularly like about myself?

Okay, so, choice B is essentially this:

That's me back when I first moved out to Cali, in '01. I LOVED that hair. It wasn't wash-n-go, either, but it was a heck of a lot closer; I mean, really, there's just not a lot of styling possible when your hair is that short. But it takes a REALLY LONG TIME to grow it out when I get bored with it, and the in-between stages are SO not pretty. In terms of the image it gives, though, it just looks more adult to me. And I'll be honest, I think I felt a lot more confident when my hair was short like that. Don't ask me why--maybe because I felt more adult because I thought I looked more adult. But I just can't get over the fact that, if I decide I don't like it, there's nothing I can do about it but wait for it to grow out. Ugh.

And no, Dan claims he doesn't care what I do. (Though when I said, "I don't know how to have my hair cut," the first thing he said was, "How about like Lisa Loeb?")

Okay, so, I need some votes and feedback. My appointment is at 3:30 PST on Monday. You've got till then to tell me what you think. Help me here, folks!