Life After Life, by Kate Atkinson

March 31, 2014 § Leave a comment


life after life

Sometimes, especially after spending a lot of time working with Microsoft Office, I’ll spill my coffee or drop a dish and immediately think, “undo.”

Life After Life by Kate Atkinson satisfies the part of my mind that loves the concept of a real world “undo” button. I love that about it. It spends all kinds of time examining the way the world would be if the concept of “do-over” was something that was actually possible. It carried me along, forward and backward, without making me feel confused. It charmed my pants off at times and took advantage of its form to play in a way that was only possible in the world it made.

If you are a reader looking for a whole new way to think about reading (or writing) a book, read it. It’s innovative and it will entertain you. If you are one of the many women who interrupted me while I was reading to tell me you love Kate Atkinson and can’t wait to read the book, read it. It won’t disappoint.

But. If you are someone who wants to feel like you’re making progress when you read, I might recommend something else. Inherently, the story’s structure made for a plot that felt belabored at times. Boring. By the end I felt like I was reading a choose your own adventure book from beginning to end and ignoring the “skip to page” notes at the end of each chapter. A choose your own adventure book without the chance to choose.

Bottom line. You can’t really go wrong. Either you’ll skip it and read something else that might be a little better but a little less innovative. Or you’ll read this book, have a little fun, feel a little frustrated and move on.



Happy Pirate Party Day

March 28, 2014 § Leave a comment


When Hiram told me that March was “Pirate Month” at daycare I was a little peeved. Pirates? This kid starts kindergarten in mere months and they’re spending an entire month on Pirates? As in, people who attack other people and take their money via violence?


But I must say, I was wrong about the Pirate unit. Dinner conversation about pirates what Hiram did in school has come easily this month. He says random things like, “The front of a boat is called a bow” and taught me a new word for “gold” (which I have since forgotten.) Most interestingly, he has become a map making expert! Drawing landmarks, talking about spatial relationships and of course, marking the spot with an X. (Which, as an aside, is key to distinguishing one of Hiram’s maps from one of his other amazing masterpieces.)

Today concludes the pirate unit so of course it was “Pirate Party Day.” Not unlike pajama day, leprechaun day and Valentine’s day, I love Pirate Party Day. Why? With the prospect of a bandana as a finishing touch, Hiram got himself ready faster than a pirate parrot can say “good morning.”


March 25, 2014 § 1 Comment


I guess in retrospect, there were clues. Warning signs that it was coming to this.


Over the past weekend, I officially diagnosed Eldyn with “shoeremovitis.” A terribly irritating disease that causes Eldyn’s shoes and socks to be removed (by him) without any attention to context.

  • No regard for posted signs saying “No Shoes No Service.”
  • No desire to protect one’s own feet from dirt, dampness, wetness or even snow.
  • Absolutely no concern for appropriateness. Once, when Eldyn was leading the four of us out the door to begin our day, he plopped himself down and began to remove his shoes — his cute little bottom still inside the house, his feet outside on the deck.  It was such a sudden decision that it took some effort to keep the rest of his forward-moving family from falling down on top of him in a jumbled heap.

Write a Novel: March Update

March 24, 2014 § 2 Comments

The second month of Novel Year 2014 and I feel good about my goals. Enough pressure to keep my mind and fingers buzzing but not too much to make my stomach ache.

I had a lot of catching up to do on the character study of Abigail in March. In the process, I learned a lot about her and went places I was surprised to go. I realize as I am going through this process that simply completing my prescribed topics isn’t going to be enough. So, once I finish them, I’m going to take some time to refine them and work them into the broader story/charter. This is starting to happen organically already, but I know I can be more intentional about it. I think there’s time in this cushy schedule of mine, but we’ll see.

Character April

This Micro Story exercise is starting to really feel like eating beets. 60 minutes to write a story from start to finish is agony. Especially when I don’t have any idea what I’m going to write about. Just this morning, I gave myself a little more structure (leave it to me) and that made it easier to deal. The structure is this:

  • 20 minutes of typing without stopping or pressing the delete key (I had to cover it with a sticky note)
  • 10 minutes to think of 20 possible endings based on the ramblings above
  • 10 minutes to make an outline
  • 20 minutes to write the rough story

I ended up with the most “cohesive” story to date using this structure. We’ll see if it’s actually a formula or if I just got lucky.

micro stories april

I have two potential outlines for Short Story #1. I can’t decide if this makes me an overachiever or an underachiever. Regardless, I need to write a rough draft in April. My guess is I will not have time to write drafts for both outlines and will be forced to decide out of necessity. Stay tuned.

short stories april

Lew’s Dictionary: Such (fun)

March 21, 2014 § Leave a comment

Decoding Lew is getting easier for us now that we’ve internalized three key phonetic rules of Lew-anguage:

  1. K sounds like tch at the end of a sentence. As in, trutch, stitch and batch patch.
  2. K or C sound like T at the beginning of a sentence. As in, Tar (zoom) and Tow (moo), “Tatch the ball” and “Tover me up, mama.”
  3. Second-letter T’s are sometimes missing but should be implied. This discovery made us feel a lot better about how often Eldyn says “I such.” He doesn’t have a complex. He just gets “stuck” a lot.

Lew Rocks

March 20, 2014 § Leave a comment

Here’s Eldyn singing along to the Pentatonix version of “Angels we have Heard on High.” It’s a longer video than I usually like to post, but it covers such a wide range of Eldyn emotions. Plus sometimes, he really kills the ending of this song so I was hoping (in vain) for that.

Angels We Have Heard

Say What: Fly South

March 18, 2014 § Leave a comment

At Christmas, each boy got a new three-wheeled scooter from Santa. After the insanity that was winter 2014, the boys had completely forgotten about this and were surprised and happy to be reminded again last Sunday afternoon. But then Hiram seemed only tentatively excited about the prospect of taking his out for a spin.

“Outside?” he asked.

“Yeah! We’ll find a place where the paths are dry.”

“We’ll have to take an airplane to do that.”

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