Monday, July 25, 2011

Tall Tales

Me and the giant sunflower in my garden.

No lie, I thought the two-for-one dollar grow-it-yourself seeds at Home Depot wouldn't outgrow my garden. Especially because my 5-year-old son was in charge of starting it and then transferring it into our vegetable garden. Honestly, it was a craft; a project for the kids to do while my husband and I transferred our summer plants into the big garden from the starter kit. Now look at the darn thing. That sunflower is at least 10 feet tall. Ridiculous. Absoultely ridiculous.


Anyway, summer has gone on a little too long. I'm ready for the kids to go back to school. I'm pretty sure it's more my fault than theirs that I'm this fried. See, every summer I work from a self-made calendar of activities and use it to build routine into chaos. This summer I built chaos into chaos and got lots of chaos. Brilliant, Patty.

So far this summer we have:
  • Kept our morning study routine of 20 minutes reading, 20 minutes math, 20 minutes bridge to the next grade worksheets.
  • Kids kept up with their penpals (Excellent handwriting practice. Plus, they should know how to send letters via mail not just email. Worked out great!)
  • Made slime
  • Went to a movie
  • Built and raced robots with two other families
  • Big 4th of July party at my house
  • Went to Hawaii for 10 days
  • Went camping
  • Went to the beach-twice
  • Had a pizza party and experimented with dry active yeast
  • Completed the Barnes & Noble Reading Challenge for the kids
  • Went to the Griffith Observatory in Los Angeles
  • Had a balloon party with 6 booths
  • Went to the library (albeit, we only renewed our card for e-reading on our ipad)
  • Went to the park a couple times (walked once and then got smart and drove the second time)
  • Made a time capsule for the yard
  • Made ice cream in Zip Loc bags
  • There were sleepovers and back yard movies
  • Went to see "The Beatles" play with the kids and neighbors
  • Did enough swimming (yep, there can be enough of that)
  • Oh, celebrated 7-11's birthday, got free Slurpees and cheap food
And that doesn't complete summer nor does it include what I've done for myself:
  • Husband finally made good on that gift certificate for Glen Ivy Hot Springs he gave me
  • Read six books: WITHER by Lauren DeStefano, BLOOD MAGIC by Tessa Gratton, REVOLUTION by Jennifer Donnelly, THE FOREST OF HANDS AND TEETH by Carrie Ryan, TEXAS GOTHIC by Rosemary Clement-Moore, WE WERE HERE by Matt de la Pena
  • Prepared for the upcoming SCBWI conference in Los Angeles
  • Started a new journal
  • Started a new idea for the upcoming NaNoWriMo
  • Worked with a lovely Crit Group on a completed story
  • Added to a WIP
  • Went out with the ladies
  • Handed out grapes, apricots and vegetables to neighbors
  • Went on a wine tour with neighbors
  • Planned hubby's 40th bday party
  • Planned daughter's 9th bday party
  • Planned son and niece's 6th combine bday party
NONE of that includes the refereeing I had to do for the bickering, yelling, fighting, hitting, and teasing that goes on between 3 children.

NONE of that included 4 days per week of extracuricular activities (Tae Kwon Do, Piano,Voice and upcoming Reading Program)

Mainly because that's the yeah, yeah, yeah stuff. Like, yep, kids need a lot of attention during summer.

However, I wasn't AT ALL prepared for the most ridiculous of all kinds of ridiculous arguments I've ever had with my 9-year-old daughter (This too is no lie. Not at all a tall tale): My daughter's friend is apparently going to be homeschooled this year. (I have no opinion on that) I let my daughter spend the day bowling and hanging out at said girlfriend's house. Daughter came home and BEGGED me to homeschool her.

I'm thinking: What the?
I say: "No. Believe me, you don't want to be homeschooled."
Daughter says: "Yes, I do. [Said friend] is."
I say: "So?"
D says: "Why can't I?"
I say: "Sorry. It isn't going to happen. You can't even sit and do your homework for 20 minutes without complaining. You don't qualify for being homeschooled. Plus, it's not like you would get to hang out with your friend who will be schooled IN HER OWN HOME!!!!!"
D says: "I'm going to HATE fourth grade! My life SUCKS!!!!"

I'm left thinking: Sucks? That's a new one. (At this point I can't focus on her word choice. I'm too busy wondering a lot of other things.) What in the hell kind of things did her friend's mom say to make homeschooling sound THAT appealing? And what kind of kid thinks their life SUCKS because they aren't going to be pulled away from all their friends to be stuck at home with me all day everyday? This is a joke, right? Anyone? Anyone? Damn, I'm by myself and NOBODY is going to believe this conversation.

AHHHHH! I have to get out of summer. Right now!

Monday, July 11, 2011

The Effects of a Good Blonde Joke

Before I trudge on with ultimate blondness I want to thank the bloggers who came looking for me while I've been away. Mostly summer caught up with me and spending time with my mom while she's been sick. But now I'm back! (and hopefully better than ever, hahaha!)

I'm a blonde, yep, with an 'e'. You see blonde/blond is a French word where the ending letter determines the sex of the person you're describing. So, I'm a blonde with an 'e'. I'm always surprised at how many books use 'blond' to describe girls. I guess the rule doesn't matter in America and I don't have much of an opinion on that.

So, being a blonde, I hate writing MC's as blondes.


Because blondes are either stupid, slutty, cheerleaders, prissy, the popular ones, or the evil ones. You might be thinking I'm reaching now. There are plenty of good books where the MC is blonde and she isn't any of those things and none of her friends think that. Such as the Evermore Immortals series by Alyson Noel (love those books).

But seriously, I rarely see book covers with blondes who aren't any of the things I've described. When a blonde is featured on a YA cover the title usually includes Pretty or Queen.

I'm thinking this has to do with the effects of a good blonde joke. I've been around for awhile and have heard some really good blonde jokes. My favorite being:

Q. What do you call a dead blonde in a closet?

A. Last year's hide-and-go-seek winner.

See, what I mean? That's a pretty good one. With jokes like that, how can I possibly make my MC a pretty blonde who happens to be smart and witty with a good sense of humor and an uncanny knack to blow off the stupid boys effectively? I could. But would you trust that she would be this way if you saw her pretty little face on the cover of the book?

Let's face it. Marketing a blonde MC that doesn't fit into her cliche would be more difficult than a brunette.

What percentage of YA girl MC's do you think are brunette? And blonde?

Do you jump at buying up books where a blonde-haired girl is pasted on the cover?

I tried to jump out of my blonde cliche by getting tattoos and body piercings when I was young. And even still, I added two more tattoos in my thirties. I wanted people to take me more seriously and not as a dim-witted, bubbly, cheerleader-esque, goody-goody. For the most part it worked; people realize I have more depth than my appearance might otherwise suggest.

The only bummer about that is. . .I never get to hear the good blonde jokes anymore.