Monthly Archives: June 2013

I’m Bad at Middles

I didn’t want this blog to be too much like a diary so I resolved to talk about everyone but me most of the time. This entry, however, is going to be entirely about me. You were warned.

I’m writing a book. It’s a problem. The book isn’t a problem, I’m the problem. I have very nearly all of the book written already but I’ve hit a wall. Usually you would think that the problem would be the ending. Oh, no. I have the ending in the bag. And the beginning, as well. I’m really good at beginnings.

It’s the damn middle. I don’t know what I’m doing with the middle bit. I’m completely at sea. It’s gotten to the point where I can’t open my book’s file without having a panic attack. So, I’m just in stasis on this book, hoping I can break myself of the terror and finish typing the rest of the middle.

Meanwhile, I’ve got a new book fully formed in my mind. I sat down today and typed out an outline for it, no problem, no fuss, no panic at all.

Sometimes, I really hate my brain.

Advertisements

3 Comments

Filed under Writing

This One Time, in Redding (Road Stories, First and Secondhand)

One of the best parts about riding on the truck with John is the odd people that you brush up against at truck stops. One day we were getting Popeye’s in Redding when we looked out the huge windows to see a lady talking to a cop. Or rather, shrieking at a cop. She was wearing a long flowing skirt over a one piece bathing suit and was acting completely crazy. It was hard not to stare. We talked to a couple other people in the store about her and one man was actually taking his lunch outside to get a better view. I asked John if we could stay to see how the whole thing turned out but he said we needed to go. Rats.

Another time, in a nowhere town in Washington, we stopped at the most miserably small truck stop I’ve ever seen. We parked at a truck stop that wasn’t open 24 hours but did have a very nice diner. The bathroom there is where I took this picture. I still think it’s quite a good deal.

Image

There was another truck stop that was 24 hours right across the street and I was annoyed about not staying there, until we went into said 24 hour truck stop the next morning. I got this from the bathroom inside.

Image

The clerk seemed nice enough but apparently he’s quite the zealot. When John told me he had argued with the guy before, I accused him of being a zealot himself. Of course that was before I saw the little pamphlet. I don’t think I could have expected him to not say anything.

That truck stop is also the place where John was shown a picture of Big Foot on a fellow truck driver’s cell phone. It was dark and blurry and unrecognizable as anything living, which sounds pretty damn authentic to me. Must have actually been Big Foot.

And of course the oddness isn’t limited to the people you actually meet on the road. Sometimes you get a peek at the weird by what they leave behind on the walls.

Image

In case you can’t read it, as it is quite small, it says this: “I love to watch your size, figure penis…that’s nice…kool!”

I don’t know, either.

Leave a comment

Filed under Travels

Interlude: “I’m bored.”

Yesterday, Aidan was sick and spent most of the day crashed out on the couch in the living room. Thankfully he’s the sort that requires little to no attention when he’s sick. He just wants to sleep near a TV and a bottle of Gatorade. I wouldn’t have minded needing to take care of him most days but yesterday my tooth was killing me and I wanted to do exactly what he was doing.

Lily tolerated my interests for a couple of hours (we watched Full House and played with her cat, Miguel Meowgi in her room) but after that she got stern with me.

“Auntie,” she said, with a sigh, “I’m bored.”

“What would you like to do?” I asked.

“I don’t know. Not this.”

Not a good lead. So I explained to her that there wasn’t a lot we could do, her brother was asleep and we needed to be quiet. I tried to interest her in a couple different games on my computer (Tetris, Mario Kart, Frogger and Ms. Pac-man) but that didn’t work well. She says she likes them but she complains because she isn’t very good and she hates the graphics. Kids these days, right?

Around about that time, my sister got home for lunch. Lily wasted no time at all in ratting me out.

“Mom, Auntie hasn’t wanted to do anything but lie around today.”

Thanks a billion, kid.

Her only idea was to get out balloons to play with. I blew up a couple and we knocked them around for the last 45 minutes or so I was there. She had a great time with it.

Image

But Aidan’s attitude was more what I was feeling.

Image

I am so terribly boring.

2 Comments

Filed under Kids

Crafting Part 3: Science is Magic!

I’ve been looking forward to this day since I started planning crafts for the kids. But I made myself wait until the second week to do it. We started with the Naked Egg experiment which features an egg in vinegar. It takes three days for the shell to be completely gone though, so we moved on from that pretty quickly. I made sure to direct the kids’ attention to it during the day so they could watch the shell getting eaten away.

Next we used lemon juice as invisible ink. That one was harder than I’d expected. You can use a light bulb to make the lemon juice appear, like I tried, but fire really works better. I did NOT want to encourage the kids to do anything that involves fire. Yikes.

The highlight of the day was the volcano. I had planned to use dirt in the yard to bury a Gatorade bottle to make the volcano but I found out to my dismay that my sister doesn’t believe in dirt. So I had to improvise.

Image

Not…exactly…realistic. But the kids were pretty impressed with their multicolored volcano once we finished it.

Image

It was time for the reaction. I tried to space it out by putting the baking soda in a paper towel and dropping it in (I read it online!) but it didn’t work. We took it out and just tossed the baking soda in.

Image

Heck yeah, science!

Image

They loved it so much I actually had to tell them “Ok, guys, just ONE MORE reaction.” They were so disappointed; they never wanted it to end!

Image

The last experiment of the day was Ooblek (AKA cornstarch and water with some food coloring for fun) but I only got one picture of that, I was too worried about destroying my camera. It comes off easily but I wanted to limit the amount of things that got coated. Long story short, we all stained our hands and had lots of fun.

Image

Leave a comment

Filed under Crafts, Kids

Crafting Part 2: Tie-dye Extravaganza!

A note, before I begin: When I started writing up my babysitting crafts, I had no idea that my blog was going to become the Lily Show. But as soon as I told her why I was taking pictures, she was tickled at the idea of being featured on my blog. So pretty much all of these posts will feature pictures of my lovely, hammy, niece. Enjoy the Lily Show!

Image

I’ve never tie-dyed anything before so I was pretty nervous about being in charge of this potentially messy affair. Throughout the experience I was regularly taking my gloves off so I could check one of a dozen how-to articles on my phone. I love living in the future.

Anyway, I started with powder dye and salt which I set to boil. As well as soda ash (care of my wonderful sister-in-law Kayti), gloves and rubber bands.

Image

By the time the shirts were finished soaking in soda ash, the dye was ready to go so I had the kids tie up their shirts. I tied my own, which is clearly noticeable as the biggest one.

Image

I let them pick their first color out of the three I bought: red, teal and orange. Admittedly, they only got to choose between teal and orange, since I took the red for my first color. Hey, it’s good to be in charge.

Image

Lily picked red, white and blue for her scheme and hers looked like this before I washed it. It faded a little after but it was still beautiful.

Image

Aidan wanted to do all three colors but when he unwrapped his we were all so impressed with it he decided to leave his the way it was.

Image

Mine was by far the worst but still not bad. All in all, I think our tie-dye experiment went rather well. I’m definitely more likely to wear my Cards Against Humanity t-shirt now.

Image

2 Comments

Filed under Crafts, Kids

How I Tom Sawyered The Kids Into (sort of) Washing My Car

I decided that we would only craft every other day and on the in between days I would take the kids to the park. But their mother shot that idea down for this week because it’s unbearably hot. She has a point.

Instead, we decided to have a water fight.

Image

For probably about fifteen minutes we chased each other around and got totally soaked. Game rules were made and immediately broken. Time outs were called and ignored. We had a great time. Then my sister pulled up and Aidan started shooting at her car. That gave me an idea.

My car is incredibly filthy and I’ve been meaning to wash it forever. So said, “I’m going to go attack my car!”

As I did it, I was very clear about how much fun it was. And they totally bought it. What’s more, they loved shooting my car. It’s still pretty filthy, but it’s the thought that counts.

Image

Also the fact that I briefly had minions.

3 Comments

Filed under Kids

Crafting Part 1: Questionable Lip Gloss

I’m babysitting for my niece, Lily, (10) and my nephew, Aidan, (8) for 3 days a week for the whole month while my sister and brother-in-law have work schedules that aren’t conveniently synced. I’ve been scouring the internet for crafts and science experiments to keep them from making me crazy.

The first craft was lip gloss, because I made the mistake of mentioning it. This is a pretty girly craft and I was worried about Aidan  feeling left out during it. Fortunately, he didn’t really seem to care. I tried to make all the other crafts gender neutral but it required a serious shift in my mindset. Normally I’m looking for things that Lily and I can do on Saturdays when I go to hang out with her and she is a serious girly-girl. I long since gave up trying to include Aidan on those occasions: the two of them barely ever agree on anything, you know how siblings are.

Anyway. Lip gloss. We started with some pretty basic ingredients.

Image

I heated up the petroleum and we started mixing. Unfortunately, I didn’t do much research on this and took the advice that it just needed to be slightly melted. This was definitely not the case.

Image

Hm. We made lip gloss, sure, but moreover we made a mess. A terrible, terrible mess.

Image

I like to think the final product belies the disorder that went into making it.

Image

1 Comment

Filed under Crafts, Kids