Tuesday, April 28, 2009

More Fun with the Flu

Obama wants 1.5 billion dollars for swine flu. At the current rate of infection (65 cases nationwide) that's 23 million dollars per case.

Also, xkcd is as awesome as ever: http://xkcd.com/574/

Swine Flu, The CDC, and Housekeeping Hints

So, the CDC has a list of hints on dealing with swine flu. Mostly, they were run-of-the-mill flu instructions, but one of them rocked my world:

Eating utensils should be washed either in a dishwasher or by hand with
water and soap.


Woah. I mean Woah. Now I KNOW this is a serious illness, because they're telling us to WASH OUR DISHES. And here I thought you could just lick them clean and use them again.

Hmmm.... Maybe I'll try that one tonight after dinner. "Sorry, honey. I'm going to bail on the dishes tonight. After all, the CDC says we don't have to wash them unless we have the swine flu."

Sometimes I wonder if government bureaucrats even live on the same planet as the rest of us.....


Friday, April 24, 2009

On previewing books for your kids

Yesterday, my husband and I made a HUGE mistake. We read the kids a picture book we hadn't previewed first.

I've been trying to introduce the concept of history to my 5 year old. And she especially enjoys learning about how kids experienced different times and places. So when I came across The Silent Witness by Robin Friedman at my library, I was excited. It's a kid's eye view of the civil war, from the point of view of Lula McLean - a girl who was at the battle of Manassas AND the surrender at Appomattox Courthouse.

Pretty cool, right?

Nope. Because the book features her beloved rag doll, who experiences the Civil War with her. And who gets swiped as a souvenir by a Union soldier at Lee's surrender.

And it's TRUE. My husband and I thought it was pretty cool, but the 3 and 5 year old collapsed into tears and could NOT be consoled because the little girl lost her doll forever.

Later, I asked my daughter what she thought of the book. She said, "You need to put your toys away or the evil Union soldiers might take them."

Um, no. As a proud daughter of Pennsylvania, who grew up believing that the only reason our great state was spared from the demonic hordes of confederate zombies was that they were also dumb and therefore couldn't figure out how to cross the Susquehanna, I don't WANT my kids to think the Union was evil.

But, on the other hand, they DID take the girl's doll.

Anyway, if I'd previewed the book I would probably held off on it until later.... on the plus side, my kids now have a burning desire to visit Manassas battlefield and Appomattox Courthouse. They especially want to see the doll.

(And this is an achievable goal since my Dad lives in Northern VA. They already saw (and loved) Mount Vernon. I guess Appomattox is next.)

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Whipped by the WIP

Well, I figured out today why I've had such a bone-breaking, soul-crushing time forging ahead on my WIP. A side plot had hijacked the whole thing, and it wasn't even a particularly INTERESTING side plot, especially when told from an MG perspective.

SO I'm starting over, at a different place with a different plot. And as for that side-plot and those other characters? Well, they were a bit too YA for the work at hand. I'm shoving them back into my "If I ever want to write YA pile" and forgetting about them for now.

Meanwhile, Flix and Vester are back at the beginning... and this time there's a lot more excitement and a lot less melodrama.... we'll see how this try goes. At least my other 20,000 words weren't completely wasted--- the plot was a mess, but the setting was awesome, so I can keep that knowledge of the world for my new story! =)

I also have a short story that's finally ready for a full first draft, and I need to write that new first chapter of Ben (Which should some of the other problems I'd had with him.....)

Monday, April 20, 2009

Busy weeks and cost benefit analysis

It's been a busy couple of weeks, what with our Easter trip, a family funeral, and all the travel preparations for both. This week, my daughter has TWO art field trips in addition to Ballet and her normal class. So odds are that I won't be home much.

Then, I don't really FEEL like writing, because I'm in the middle of a book I've been meaning to read for about 13 years (Since I picked it up at work for 4.00 minus my employee discount...): Lytton Strachey's Eminent Victorians. I just finished the life of Manning, and it was awesome! (Poor, poor Newman. He had such a hard life!) I'm on Florence Nightingale now.

Of course, since I'm not taking the time to write, I'm also coming up with reasons NOT to write. I mean, seriously, isn't disinfecting the whole house to cope with our annual spring ant-invasion more important than slogging through another book that will probably never get read? And with all the AWESOME children's writers and aspiring children's writers out there, is there really a reason to put myself out? Especially when I could use the same time and actually do work that MAKES money?

Fortunately, I guess, even if *I* don't believe in my chances for success, my crazy husband does. So I should probably leave the Crimean war (and the blogs) behind tomorrow, and actually get in some decent writing time.

(Though, given the size of this year's invasion, maybe I should just read "Leinigen versus the Ants" again instead-- it might inspire me to more useful pursuits...like, um.... flooding the house?)