Tuesday, June 30, 2009

I Should Have Brought My Camera

"I should have brought my camera." I stared down at the check on the counter in front of me, the largest check I had ever seen in my life.
"I have to use all of the spaces," my husband chuckled as he filled out the amount on the deposit slip.
Our last check from Nevada State College. Our severance pay. They had been generous, but would this last us until we found another job?
We had stopped by the human resources office to pick up the check on our way to the bank. I almost felt like crying when the HR consultant called up Russel's supervisor at the college and said, "We're finalizing Russel Carlson's separation from the school right now and..." Finalizing... separation... the threat of tears passed before materializing, like an early monsoon thunderstorm that never drops any rain. After that, I felt nothing. I'm through being sad about this. I did all that months ago.
"I have a large check to deposit," Russel told the teller at the window. "It's my severance pay."
"Yeah, everyone is going through that right now. It's nice that they gave you some money, rather than, here's your last paycheck, goodbye."
"Yes," I said, "We're really grateful. This gives us some time."
"There you go," the teller handed me the receipt. She smiled big, and said as if making an inside joke, "Enjoy your summer vacation!"
"Yes," I said, with sudden exuberance. I threw a hand in the air. "We're free!"

I'm A Guest Blogger!

I volunteered to be a guest blogger on Mormon Mommy Writers. They posted my picture and my bio and an essay I wrote about taking time to write every day. It's a really good blog and I'm honored to be a part of it.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Boat Wanted

Does anyone have a little paddle boat, kayak, or canoe I can borrow for a week in August? Maybe I should buy an inflatable raft.

Thursday, June 25, 2009


Russel just had his interview with the public school district. It went swimmingly. The principal who interviewed him on behalf of the school district said that some happy high school would probably snatch him up right away.

We're just praying it will be the high school right around the corner so Russel can keep biking to work.

Russel's last day of teaching at Nevada State College is tomorrow. So long and best wishes, NSC! Thanks for bringing us here to Nevada so that we could meet so many good friends.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Amber's Harp Songs

Ten years ago, when I first began to play the harp, I would sit up in my daughter's room at night and practice while she fell asleep.

Now she plays the harp herself, and composes. All her music has a distinctly Celtic feel to it, I imagine because that is the style I was drawn to when I began to play.

Here are three of her original harp tunes:

Dragonflies (short)
Autumn Wind (long)
Days End (longer)

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

My Insurance is Going Away

Yesterday at the dentist I learned that my daughter needed some fillings. Two appointments worth of fillings.

"Can we please do them before the thirtieth? Because that's when our insurance is going away." Darn lay-offs. This is getting complicated.

"Oh!" the receptionist looked duly consternated. "Our office is going on vacation next week. We'll have to do them tomorrow. Can you come at eight-o-clock?"

No, not unless I move heaven and earth to make sure everyone in my seven-person household gets to where they're going in the morning without my serene and time-conscious presence hovering over it all.

"Yes," I said. "Thank you."

As I drove home I tried to work it out in my brain. It made me want to cry. I never expected lay-offs to mean I'd have to go to all this trouble to rush a dentist appointment. My husband would leave for work at eight, my middle two boys would need to leave for elementary school at eight forty-five, my babysitting daughter would be in the dentist chair getting her teeth drilled and so what about the baby? Well, I had another son old enough to babysit, and he would do it if I made it worth his while. I thought since I don't give allowance and he's always asking for ways to earn money a dollar ought to be enough to persuade him.

The only problem would be getting the two boys to school. This is when I am happy I have friends, friends with children the same age as mine.

The first friend I called said, "I'd love to help you, but I'm not sure my children are going to school tomorrow. You see, they're throwing up all over the place."

The next friend I called said she would be happy to pick up two boys on her way to school with her own children.

In the morning I instructed the troops on the master plan. I would leave for the dentist with my daughter. Then Dad would leave for work. The two boys would be dressed and ready to go as soon as my friend came to pick them up. My older son would watch the baby until I returned. The plan was foolproof.

It all came off well, too. I guess I don't have to supervise every little tiny detail every moment after all. The dentist even did all my daughter's fillings in one appointment. In the end of it all, I'm just grateful we found out about the cavities while we still had dental insurance.


Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Back to Work

The most valuable thing I learned at the BYU writer's workshop was a bit of wisdom from Martine Leavitt. She said, "Once you've been published you will realize that the best part of making books is writing them."

I liked that. I can experience the best part of the process right now! In fact, I'm dashing off the first draft of a new book and loving it. Made it to page 24 today!

On the other hand, Tracy Hickman said, "If it isn't read, it's dead." A book does not become an experience until someone reads it. The more readers I reach, the more my work will live. And the best chance I have to reach a lot of readers is to get a good publishing contract.

Back to work!

Saturday, June 6, 2009

I Found My Favorite Hat!

I had not seen it for months and months. It had fallen behind my bed. But I found it! I found it!

Now I can go to the writer's workshop. I have my favorite hat.