Friday, May 30, 2008

Dream Job

I often tell people how lucky and blessed I am to be a children's book author. It is definitely a dream job. But I have a secret. I'm dreaming of a different job. I'm dreaming of becoming a professional reader. 

Can you imagine if that job really existed? If someone paid you to read?? How fun and easy would that be?! 

I just finished reading through the May/June issue of The Horn Book Magazine, and I circled all the books I want to read: 6 picture books and 15 novels. 

I would love to take the summer off and just read! But alas, I have a novel to write. And the truth is, I want to finish a first draft this summer. I hate first drafts!!! I am the world's slowest writer. And I can't read while I'm writing a first draft. I need to totally focus on my characters and their stories, even in my down time. Also, I am the Queen of Procrastination when it comes to first drafts. There's no better time to clean out your closets, rearrange your office, or surf the net than when you have a huge, scary first draft to write. Right?

So here's the plan: I will make a list of all the books I want to read. And as soon as I finish that draft, I will gorge myself on every single one of those books! And to keep me honest, I will post my writing progress here. Wish me luck!

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Countdown to Summer

Some people think of Memorial Day as the beginning of summer. I think it's more complicated than that.

There are eight more mornings to get my kids off to school.
There are twelve days (counting weekends) until school is officially over.
There are eighteen days until Jacob and Faith leave for overnight camp.
There are twenty-four days until Sammy leaves for camp.

But today I happen to have a day with just about nothing on my calendar. The kids are at school. I have a few errands to run. But mostly, I plan to write all day. 

Deep sigh of gratitude!

Monday, May 19, 2008

I've been tagged.

I've been tagged by Jill Esbaum!

What were you doing 10 years ago?
Best guess... changing a diaper.

What are 5 things you need to do today?
1. Go to karate.
2. Babysit niece.
3. Get estimate to fence backyard for future dog.
4. Take son to doctor for check-up.
5. Write? Oh yes... write!

What are some snacks you enjoy?
Anything chocolate

What would you do if you were a billionaire?
Spend a year sitting on a beach reading. Then I'd figure out how to make the world a better place with all that cash!

What are 3 bad habits?
1. I hardly ever make my bed.
2. I check my e-mail way too often.
3. I constantly play with the edges of the pages of whatever I'm reading.

Name 5 places you have lived:
1. Highland Park, Illinois
2. Ann Arbor, Michigan
3. Chicago, Illinois
4. Austin, Texas
5. Deerfield, Illinois

What are 5 jobs you've had?
1. French-fry maker at Boardwalk Fries (best fries ever)
2. Ice cream scooper at Stucchi's (best ice cream ever)
3. Script typist and proofreader at Leo Burnett (first job out of college)
4. Production assistant (my job was to pick up dog poop for the dog in the commercial)
5. Children's book author (by far the best job ever, not counting being a mom!)

Who do you want to tag?

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Bucket List

Eve, over at the Disco Mermaids, posted about her "Bucket List," or the things she wants to do before she "kicks the bucket." She's quite an adventurous gal! I'm not so much. 

Here's mine:
Get married X
Have children X (times three!)
Write a novel X
Get it published X
Visit Europe
Go on an African safari
Visit Australia
Meet Judy Blume X (she's amazing!)
Earn my black belt in karate (I got my purple today!)
River raft through the Grand Canyon
Go rock climbing X
Train a puppy (coming soon!)
Own a second home on a beach somewhere
Have drinks with Brad Pitt and George Clooney
Celebrate my 60th wedding anniversary (coming in 2050!)

And here are some things that are on lots of people's Bucket Lists that don't interest me in the slightest:
Go skydiving (Jacob and Faith are planning to do this when they turn 18 and I can no longer say no.)
Run a marathon (The most I ever ran at one time was two miles. That was plenty.)
Bungee jump (Does this need an explanation?)
Learn to fly a plane (There seems to be a theme here... I guess I'm not a fan of heights+motion)

What about you?

Thursday, May 08, 2008

Doggie Decisions

I'm going to get a mini whoodle!! We've chosen a breeder, and now we just have to wait. This feels like I'm going through infertility again... but without the stress and anxiety. I should know in the next month whether or not Jordan (the mommy dog - I don't think I can say the b-word on my blog!) is pregnant. 

Here's a picture of Jordan:

Doesn't she kind of look like a small polar bear?

And here's Oliver, the dad:

Not so manly, but super cute! Barbara, the breeder, says he has the best disposition.

And here's what one of their puppies looks like at around 3 months old:

Have you ever seen anything cuter in your life?

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Doggie Developments

(standard whoodle)
So now I think we're going to get a standard whoodle instead of the mini. But it all still depends on me meeting a whoodle and falling for her. That won't happen until June when we can get to the breeder. Then we may have to wait a long time for an available puppy. For now, I'm reading tons of books about dogs. I feel like I'm pregnant again. Today the kids and I started thinking about names. Jacob wants to name the dog Slagathor. Any Scrubs fans out there? You would get the reference. Sammy, Faith, and I are thinking about Lola. Or maybe Angel. Or Honey. Or Sugar. But today Lola is the front runner. I suppose we won't really be able to pick a name until we pick a puppy! Any suggestions for a shaggy cutie pie?

Monday, May 05, 2008

I've Gone Dog Crazy

I think I want a dog. I mean, I really think I want a dog! I'm trying so hard to convince myself I don't want a dog. But I do. I want a dog! I've never had a dog, and for some reason, it seems like I should have one. The dog I'm thinking about is a Mini Whoodle. Have any of you heard of that? It's a cross between a mini poodle and a soft coated wheaten terrier. It's so cute! It doesn't shed. And it's supposed to have a great temperament and be good with kids. I'd love to meet one in real life. If anyone knows of a mini whoodle in the Chicago area, please let me know.
So what do you think? Have I gone crazy, or should I get a dog? Can anyone talk me out of this?

Friday, May 02, 2008

A Tribute to My Grandmother

My wonderful grandmother, "Mommy Flo," passed away on Saturday. This beautiful picture is of Mommy Flo at my book launch party for Julia's Kitchen two years ago. Can't you just tell by those eyes and that smile that she was something special? Mommy Flo was 93 years young, and she taught me so much about how to live life right. For example...

1. Always tell the people you love that you love them.
2. Never speak badly about someone else.
3. Always give the benefit of the doubt.
4. If something is free, take it.
5. If something is on sale, buy two and give one away.
6. After you have children, don't forget to keep loving your husband.
7. Remember birthdays and anniversaries.
8. Don't complain about your aches and pains.
9. Get on a plane and be there to celebrate your family's milestones.
10. Be generous.
11. Make someone laugh.
12. Listen to beautiful music.
13. Sing and dance.
14. Be yourself.
15. Don't judge others.
16. Believe in love.
17. Create something beautiful
18. No matter how old you get, you can always learn something new.
19. Teach what you know.
20. Smile.

I am so lucky to have had Mommy Flo in my life for so long, and although her memory will live in my heart forevermore, I will truly miss her.