Friday, July 31, 2009

It Came!

My husband's high school teaching license came in the mail today! And he's already had two interviews with the high school down the street. With any luck, he'll be employed again by the end of August.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Edit Post

I was sick earlier this month. From July 5th to July 25th I had some horrible kind of respiratory infection that made me feel I was on the verge of pneumonia. Some of my friends have suggested it was the swine flu, but I don't believe it. It didn't feel like flu. It felt like I had knives in my throat and someone was poking my chest from the inside with a stick.

Anyways, I got in the habit of sitting in front of the computer all day. I couldn't walk around and do my housework, could I? Now that I'm healthy again I should catch up on real life, but I've gotten addicted to the "Edit Post" button.

My favorite thing about "instant desktop publishing" is that I can edit even after I've published! Those of you who read my blog posts may have noticed that they change. In subtle ways. A word gone here, a sentence re-structured there. I realized this morning that most of the time I spend on the internet is wasted in narcissistic reading of my own blogs, as I hunt for bits that could be made better.

I have OCED - Obsessive Compulsive Editing Disorder.

Oh, if only I could edit my comments too!

Sunday, July 26, 2009

More or Less Real?

Do blogs make people seem more real or less real?

I remember finding a literary agent's blog back when I first began to send out letters hoping to find someone to represent my books. After I read it I realized that literary agents are real people too. That had never occurred to me. I thought they were little machines they kept in office basements somewhere in New York, little machines that took in manuscripts and spat out rejection letters. It just charmed my socks off to find a literary agent who liked to can applesauce from her own trees-- it shattered my false impression and warmed my heart.

On the other hand, on my friends' blogs I read funny gripes about the mommy life, see pictures of cute crafts and projects, and get extended play-by-play accounts of princess birthday parties with lots of photographic evidence. Is that real life either? Am I really keeping up with my friends by reading their blogs, or would it better to make a phone call? Find out what's really going on?

Friday, July 24, 2009

The Homework Machine

At their elementary school variety show today, two of my boys are doing a creative interpretation of the Shel Silverstein poem, The Homework Machine

video

We got a better video at the evening show - one where you can actually see the machine, but my husband has taken the camera out of state without downloading it. Check back again in two weeks.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

You're Well Prepared


For my last science fiction novel I made a research trip to the Titan Missile Museum. For my next science fiction novel I made a research trip to the National Ignition Facility. Some time in the summer of 2010 they plan to fuse atoms in that big blue cement ball behind me using a laser array the size of two football fields. In my story, the experiment is a success, but twenty years down the road the implications of a fusion powered civilization turn out to be not so pretty.

In the photo, I'm the third person from the left. See that brown purse in my hand? The security guards searched it three times that day, every time I went through the main gate.

"You're well prepared," the security guard remarked as he dug through my belongings. That was a high compliment coming from a man wearing a bulky black utility vest covered with pockets that contained who knows what kind of national laboratory security guard equipment. "A tape measure, a compass... what's this thing?"
"A pitch pipe." I said as he pulled the fat metal disk out of my purse.
"A what?"
"You blow into one of those holes there and it sounds a note."
The security guard considered this.
"It's a musical instrument," the security guard's partner assured him.
"I carry it around for singing. I've got my back-up group with me right here." I turned to my brothers, my sister-in-law, and a few friends who were going on the tour with us. "What do you want to sing, guys?"
They laughed at me. I was serious. We could have given the guards a good rendition of "Brightly Beams Our Father's Mercy."
They let me through, pitch pipe and all.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Winding My Clock

One of my favorite things in all this world is my antique mechanical clock, which came to me from my grandparents' ranch house in California. It winds up. No batteries, no electric cord. Every day I tighten the springs with a key. It takes me a few seconds, and leaves the clock ticking happily all day long, chiming the hours.

It used to be a good gauge of how much stress I had in my life. When the clock ran down I knew I'd been too preoccupied to remember to wind it.

Last week I wound it up for the first time in over a year. Now it is sharing its music with us again.

It was a rough year!

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Hooray for the Red, White, and Blue!

Here's a waffle for your 4th of July breakfast. And then what could be more patriotic than helping a couple of boy scouts earn their Space Exploration Merit Badge?








I am Rocket Lady.














Check out this perfect launch and recovery:

video
Good job, everybody!

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Favorite Hat


When I posted about finding my favorite hat, Angela asked for a picture. Here it is:

I like this picture. In fact, I think I'll go swap it in on facebook.