Friday, December 31, 2010

Hard Drive Fail

December has been hard on my technology gadgets. Earlier this month I lost my cell phone in a snowbank.
This morning I woke up and turned on my computer which would not really turn on all that well. I tried to restart it and it wouldn't turn back on. When I try to start it the grey screen comes up but not with the apple logo, with a blinking file folder with a question mark on it.
When I Googled this problem the reports I find say hard drive failure.
I'm trying not to freak out too much. I did save all my writing because I remember that episode of Sex and the City when Carrie Bradshaw's computer crashes and she is like the only person in the universe who doesn't have a back up. If i hadn't saved all my writing I would probably be crying right now.

Anyway readers and blogs I follow just know I am not being a bad blogger but it may be a week or so before I figure something out and get back on the internet.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Iowa, you make me smile

I have a week off so I am spending my holiday in Iowa with my mom.
Yesterday mom and I drove to the city I grew up in to visit some friends and relatives.
Did you know that Iowa has a writing rest stop?
Check out the giant pen. I currently live near the land of Paul Bunyan and when a person travels north in Minnesota there are statues of Paul Bunyan's wife, ox, and fishing bobber. I'm pretty sure this is Paul Bunyan's Pen. He probably dropped it on his way back from an Iowa Writers Workshop or something.
Inside the rest stop there are little tiles with the names of writers and the genre they write in.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Charlie Brown's Christmas tree

My mom is amazing. I hear this all the time from anyone who meets her. She is basically the kindest, most generous person ever. Her kind heart isn't limited to people and animals but also to plants. Specifically, Christmas trees.

Which is why every year we would trek out to the Christmas tree farm and end up bringing home a tree that looked like it was preparing for its role as Charlie Brown's Christmas tree.
I begged my mom for a tree that didn't have a bare spot or the one with the most healthy looking branches.

My mom would then break out the Catholic Guilt on me. She would tell me about how if we didn't take that tree then the tree would have to spend Christmas alone, in the cold, with no decorations or presents.

Now that we are all grown and out of the house my mom is committed to finding the best Christmas tree possible. I think she feels like if we have come home to spend Christmas with her then the tree needs to be the best tree. But I'm pretty sure part of her still feels a little bad for all the Charlie Brown trees out there.

This is why I have an artificial tree. I find Christmas trees to be more enjoyable when I don't have to worry about the tree's feelings or needles or pine sap. I miss the real tree smell but I make up for it with bubble lights.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Holiday Movies list

I love Christmas and one of the things I love is Christmas movies. I have to admit that it is getting hard to fit in all my favorites in the month between Thanksgiving and Christmas.

So here is a list of my Christmas movie viewing list.

Miracle on 34th Street
It's a Wonderful Life- I love this movie. I usually tear up at the beginning but the water works really get going at the end.
Elf- hilarious.
The Muppet Christmas Carol- I'm pretty sure Gonzo is the best Charles Dickens ever.
A Christmas Story- I love this movie.
Emmet Otter's Jugbad Christmas- this is a Jim Henson thing. Cute otters. Sweet story. I love it.
Prancer- This is my mom's favorite. Kid finds reindeer and helps reunite Prancer with Santa.
The Sound of Music- I don't really know what this movie has to do with Christmas. It is often shown on Christmas Eve. My Grandma loved this movie, her copy was labeled "Respite"
White Christmas- One of my favorites. I save this one for Christmas Day.

What are your favorite Christmas movies?

Monday, December 20, 2010

Good News

Lat week was super busy. In between all my holiday sewing, winter driving adventures, the annual Wardrobe department Jammie Breakfast and CPR training I didn't get a chance to blog.

CPR training finished up early. (Don't worry the instructor was great and I feel well trained) When I went home for my break I checked my email and found that I one of my stories was accepted for the May 2011 issue of Stories for Children Magazine.

This is my second story with this magazine. My previous story was published in Sept. 2009.

I have to say that working with this magazine has been an enjoyable experience. The editors are committed to getting the best stories possible and with both stories I've sent I've had the chance to revise based on suggestions or questions from the editors. I really like the revision I did for my most recent submission.

That's my good news. I'll be sure to post a link to the story in May when the story comes out.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

And then the giant snowstorm ate my cell phone

I don't know if you've heard but it snowed here in Minnesota. A lot.
It snowed so much that someone created a facebook event for it and people posted their pics of cars buried in snow.
I was just thinking about the bright spot of the snow event which was that I had to go to work yesterday but I knew the Rio wouldn't make it home. I mean there are snow drifts that are taller than the Rio. Hell, there are snow drifts that are taller than a Hummer H3 out there. By the time the matinee got done they had suspended bus service. They had also pulled plows off the roads in Hennepin county. So I got a ride back to my neighborhood with a coworker and took the train in this morning. My car stayed in a parking garage downtown last night. I drove my car home tonight and made the mistake of driving down the alley. Oh what an awful terrible mistake it was. The snow in between the ruts was too tall for my car so my car ended up on top of a pile of snow with my tires just spinning in the snow.
After digging away the mountain of snow under my car I was able to back out of the alley.
Only after all of this happened did I realize I couldn't find my new cell phone. I got it a little over a week ago. A Samsung Restore. I wanted something with a qwerty keypad so I would stop swearing at people who texted me and then ignoring them. The last time I saw it was before I went to go see if there was a neighbor who could help me push my car. I've searched my car and the alley and my house. I'm pretty sure my phone is buried in a snow pile in the alley and I have reactivated the Samsung M300 for now.
My Phone
The only bright spot of the fact that my phone is probably buried in the snow is that I was this close to just switching to AT&T and getting an iPhone. I'm pretty sure if I had lost an iPhone in the snow I'd be balling my eyes out digging through the snow even now at 1 am in the sub zero temps. Maybe I'll visit the sprint store tomorrow and tell them of my sad story and they will take pity on me. I will just tell them the Snowpocalypse ate my new phone.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Glee sewing nerd moment

Besides writing one of my other talents is sewing.
I use this talent during the holiday season to make flannel pj pants for my sisters.
This is what they want. One year I didn't make the pants because I was busy and I was upset about the migraine my sister gave me the year before when she sent me a whole box of Bath and Body Works products. I may have also been moving that year.
My sisters staged an intervention. They would not accept the lovely, useful, gift cards I had given them to places I knew they shopped. No. They wanted those pants.
One year my little sister agreed that she wanted an Ikea gift card so she could get a new coffee table. I got her the gift card as we agreed would be OK the following year all she wanted was the pj pants.
I usually pick out Christmas prints.
This is the print I picked out for my little sister. Super cute right. (Don't worry. I don't think my sister knows I have a blog so it is OK for me to talk about her present)
Apparently I'm not the only person who thought so. Last night when I was watching the Christmas episode of Glee Brittney was wearing a nightgown out of this same fabric.
I love Glee and when I see their costumes I imagine that it must be a fun place to work. My job is fun (I work in theater) but I'm sure working at Glee would be more fun. When I saw Brittney with the pink plaid and snowflake nightgown it made me super happy.

Thursday, December 09, 2010

Holiday Favorites- Books

The other day I posted about my tradition of reading holiday books during the holidays. I thought I would share a list of some of my favorites.

'Twas the Night Before Christmas by Clement C. Moore- In first grade I memorized this poem and recited it to anyone who would listen. I still read this book every year.

How the Grinch Stole Christmas by Dr. Seuss- I know there is a TV special and a movie but I love the book. I love that he makes his own Santa costume.

Little House on the Prairie, Chapter 19 by Laura Ingalls Wilder- This is the chapter when Laura and Mary get a tin cup, a penny, a stick of candy and a cake made with white sugar.

The House Without a Christmas Tree by Gail Rock- read this in elementary school and loved it. Addie Mills loves Christmas, her dad doesn't because it reminds him of Addie's dead mom.

On Christmas Eve by Ann M. Martin- I won this book at a local SCBWI event. A sweet middle grade book that is about the magic of Christmas.

A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens- I've worked backstage at the theater's annual production of this show for many years. Even though I know the story by heart I like to visit the original.

Holidays on Ice by David Sedaris- Not a kids book. This is a collection of holiday writing by David Sedaris. Includes the Santaland Diaries about his time as an elf at Macy's. Also a hilarious take on the traditional holiday letter.

Monday, December 06, 2010

Holiday reading list- Dash and Lily's Book of Dares

One of my holiday traditions is to read a holiday book every year.
Since I work in theater I'm surrounded by the holidays from mid November to New Year's Eve. I'm usually stitching like the wind making pajama pants for my sisters, niece and select friends. My holiday book is my own little tradition.
I was super excited about this year's holiday book. Dash and Lily's Book of Dares by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan.
Rachel Cohn is one of my favorite authors and I love the collaborations she does with David Levithan.
The book takes place in New York City during the Christmas holidays. Dash finds a red moleskin notebook in a bookstore with clues and dares. Lily and Dash trade the notebook back and forth during the holidays.
I loved the character of Lily. If there is a person who is more geeked about the whole Christmas thing than I am it is Lily. She is known in her caroling group at "third verse Lily". This year Lily's family is away and she is upset. Her brother starts this adventure for her by giving her the idea for the notebook and helping with the first clues. Lily breaks out of her shell and follows the clues and dares left for her by Dash.
Dash is smart, wordy, and enjoys his alone time. He actually told each of his divorced parents that he was spending the holidays at the other parents house so he could be alone. He seems more cynical of the holidays but accepts Lily's dares and clues as well.
The book is a love story and reminded me a little of the play She Loves Me or the movie You've Got Mail. The idea of falling in love with a person through words and wondering if that person will meet up to expectations. I love the way the words are exchanged through a red moleskin notebook.
I enjoyed this book and think it is a great read for any time of the year. The notebook, the adventures the characters go on and the love story can be enjoyed all year round.

What about you. What are you currently reading? Do you have any books or movies that are part of your holiday traditions?

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

Powderhorn Love

The last week the neighborhood I live in has been in the news. Basically some teenagers attacked a woman in the park by my house. They were in the process of attacking two girls in a garage just down the alley from where I live. The kids were apprehended.

I have to say I am amazed by my neighborhood. I am blessed and lucky to live where I live.
First of all let me say that my neighborhood is a great place to live. The park by my house hosts all these great events throughout the year like The May Day Parade and the Art Fair . People enjoy the park on a daily basis. People fish in the lake, walk on paths, have outdoor theater performances. In the winter there is ice skating and people cross country ski and snow shoe in the park. In the winter I skate in the park at least once a week. I actually can't wait until skating opens up for the season.
There are fireworks in the park for the 4th of July. Not big sparkley Downtown fireworks but fireworks over the lake with neighbors and friends.
There is an Art Sled Rally in the winter where people slide down the hill home made sleds that look like Speeders from Star Wars.
A group of neighborhood photographers have been running a 365 neighborhood photo project for two years. Check it out here.
I am proud of my neighborhood. In response to these attacks neighbors have organized a peace vigil in the park tonight. It's BYOFire Pit (if you have one) or Hot Beverage to share.
The mother who was attacked wrote a letter encouraging compassion and love for the kids who did this.
Another neighbor wrote an essay for MPR
I bought a condo in the Powderhorn neighborhood six years ago. Some days I wish I'd waited when I see how cheap real estate is now. But then I walk a half a block to the park and I am reminded again why I love where I live.