Happy Friday

Didn’t have time to post this morning because I was at the gym again. (Go me! Go me!) I was feeling really good about what I was doing on the treadmill – had a couple beads of sweat running down my face, not huffing too much – when I looked over at the elderly (70ish) lady on the treadmill beside me. She was not going as fast as I was, but she had been motoring along for a very, very long time. And then I had to stop because I was out of breath. So I stretched a little and decided to work out on the rowing machine (which I love). After ten minutes, I was sweating again, huffing and puffing, and the little old lady sat down on the rowing machine next to me. She had this look in her eye. She was going to dust me. This was more than my fragile middle-aged ego could take, so I moved over to the weight machines.

I have two new goals: to become at least as fit as that lady, and to continue to work out when I am that old.

Spent a couple of hours cleaning house with BH, worrying about the displaced hurricane folks, and then helping my mom and dad. Oh, and I tried to convince the Creature With Fangs that at 65 pounds, she is getting a little too big to be jumping on people. She was not convinced.

I am feeling guilty that I did not write today. I also feel guilty that this post has nothing about books or writing in it. So, here – go read up on Banned Books Week.

Insect-free morning

No bugs today. Yay. Maybe they get the first day of fall off to make their winter travel plans. That is one advantage to living up here – when it gets cold, you don’t see insects. Of course, hordes of hungry field mice knock on your front door and invite themselves in for dinner, but it’s too early to fuss about that now.

My New York driver’s license came in mail the other day which felt weird and cool. I look like I’m doing jail time in the photo. In state prison. Maybe I am doing that in an alternative version of this world. I used to think about things like that all the time when I was a kid – all the different versions of me in different realities, and what we were all doing at the same time. (I was doomed to become an author from an early age.)

Today I MUST finish my own travel plans for next month. Oh, shoot. I have to update the website, too. Argh. I’ll be speaking at English teacher conferences in Colorado and Florida, and at schools and libraries in Maryland, Virginia, and New York City. November is still a little up in the air. I’ll get to see Kimberly Willis Holt in Colorado and am really looking forward to that. She rocks.

This weekend I have to work on my speech about censorship for a Banned Books Week talk I’m giving at the Onondaga County Public Library. SPEAK is the book of mine that is most often challenged, usually after it has been in curriculum for a few years. I know that CATALYST has been yanked out a couple of libraries. Authors like Chris Crutcher find themselves on the hot seat all the time.

What do you think about the dramatic increase in book banning efforts?

Last day of summer

You do realize this, right? Autumn officially starts tomorrow. I vote that everybody eat some ice cream today. Tomorrow we’ll start making soup.

Got to watch stepson C’s soccer game yesterday and it was a gorgeous day so even if they sort of lost, it didn’t matter. He played really well and we had a blast. Today is writing, bill-paying, errands, and more parent-care. I’m still pacing around my WIP’s ending, trying to bring all of the storylines into a tight conclusion. There are parts of it I really like now. It is very tempting to send out these favorite parts to my editor, but then she’d ask “So where’s the rest?” and I’d have to shuffle, stare at my toes, and mutter some stupid excuse. So I have to hold on to the WHOLE thing until it is 100% finished. Gah.

There is a wasp on my window right now. I am hoping he doesn’t notice me here. I am getting a little paranoid at all these insect encounters I’ve been having.

We went to the gym again this morning so we feel achy, but virtuous.

Thunder and brainstorms

Went to bed last night wrestling with the end of my WIP. There is a fairly dramatic scene towards the end of the book. It was throwing me off because it was SO dramatic, I couldn’t figure out how to conclude the story after it. And if I ended the book with that scene, most readers would have thrown the book against the wall and cursed my name for all eternity. Not nice.

So I went to bed grumpy.

Woke up when a wicked thunder and lightning storm rolled through around 5am. We shuffled around the house making sure the windows were all closed and I unplugged this computer because, well, just because you never know. Then I snuggled back under the covers (very grateful I didn’t have to get dressed and wait at the bus stop in the pouring rain) and thought about how to end the book.

And then I figured it out.

It has something to do with this photo of a spider I took on the drive up from Florida. This guy was almost as big as my hand. Someone had spraypainted him orange – probably out of sheer terror. He was orange and he was dead, but he was still scary… and inspirational.

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I hate feeling out of shape

We finally made it to the gym today, after an absence of many months. I think the reason it is so hard for so many people to get into a regular exercise routine (including me) is that we feel like idiots when five minutes ambling on the treadmill leaves us breathless. Assuming I don’t wind up in a body cast because of aching muscles, we’ll go again on Wednesday.

Before I can dive back into my WIP, I have to do some insurance things for my parents. Helping them through these changes is a real eye-opener. That is part of why I finally dragged my sorry butt to the gym. I also need to nail down travel plans for next month’s road trip. Two high schools which had invited me to speak had to back out because of funding problems. But now it looks like some other schools are interested, so the impact on the family budget should be minimal.

The trees are turning color up here. When you drive down the country roads to our house, you can smell the apples in the air.