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Showing posts from October, 2011

Writer's block

November is National Novel Writing Month. NaNoWriMo challenges would-be authors to write a 50,000-word novel entirely in the month of November. The novel doesn't have to be good and is not even published, but the goal is to simply write something, with the idea that many people want to write a novel but never buckle down and actually do it. NaNoWriMo is the effort to knock out 50,000 words and worry about things like editing after November.

Two years ago, I wrote a novel via NaNoWriMo. After years -- really, a couple decades -- of wanting to say I penned a novel, I finally did it. My novel wasn't that great, but when I go back into it now, besides the irresistible urge to start editing, I still feel a great sense of accomplishment, as well as see what I did well. Reading it again reminds me that though I'm an inexperienced novelist, I may not entirely suck at it.

Last year, I jumped into NaNoWriMo again with a great idea that I'd been kicking around for years. Then, Nove…

Real deal

The boys didn't have soccer games this morning -- the league they are in takes this weekend off because of the mini-fall break Utah schools take this week. So what did we do on our Saturday? We went and saw a soccer game.

OK, this morning, we were mostly lazy, but we were just gearing up for the game! Not really, but it was a nice, low-key Saturday for once. Real Salt Lake played at 7 p.m., and Michael was going with his teammates, while Lori, Ben and I had our own seats in another part of the stadium.

Michael had a lot of fun. His coach took them for pizza first, then got to the game early so the boys could enjoy all the events outside the stadium. Michael made out like a bandit, with free giant foam fingers, wristbands, doo-rags, tote bags and, the big score, a bobblehead of the RSL goalkeeper for being one of the first 5,000 through the gates. I hope he watched enough of the game, especially how the goalies played -- he's been playing keeper for about a half for the last four…

Happy trail

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The boys are on a five-day weekend for the annual Utah teachers' convention, and though I love the fact we get a few days off with them, it's been a less-than-perfect couple days. I've been swamped with freelance projects the last week (now finished), and the boys and dog have been a little stir-crazy. Yesterday was an errand day: Kohl's, flu shots, Costa Vida, Costco, soccer practice and puppy kindergarten. They were driving me crazy this morning, but one good fall hike put us all in a better mood. Popcorn has been able to do some longer hikes with us, and though our trek today was no more than three miles, we enjoyed our adventure on a sunny, warm autumn day.

Our evening adventure was Garden After Dark, a Halloween event at Red Butte Garden. Unlike other Halloween doings (like Boo at the Zoo, which I don't recommend), this one gave out no candy, instead giving kids the chance to do some fun, glow-in the dark crafts. The boys colored owl masks, made shooting stars …

Tangled webs

Michael has been bugging us for a couple days now to get our Halloween decorations out. He was disappointed to discover today that, well, we really don't have that many Halloween decorations. A skeleton, these aluminum pumpkin cylinders that hold candles, a trick-or-treat sign ... and that's about it. The best Halloween decorations are the ones you have to buy again every year -- pumpkins and those stretch fake spider webs. We stopped at the store on the way back from Ben's soccer practice, got some pumpkins on sale, some webs and a two-pack of glow-in-the-dark spiders, and finished decorating our front yard.

Besides the pumpkins, my favorite decor is the pumpkin candle holders. Even with small tea candles, the flickering flames provide a nice, mildly spooky, definitely autumn touch. When the city installed a street light in front of our house, it unfortunately took away from the effect of the candles, but it still looks cool.

Fewer than three weeks until Halloween, less tha…

Forgotten fall

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I possess an unusually strong recollection about things one wouldn't think were that memorable. Never mind I forget people's names 10 seconds after I meet them, or that I forget to move clothes from the washing machine to the dryer (which, I better do right now). But I can connect songs, events, emotions, places, and even odors to specific momenst in time. You can see much of that crazy memory here in my blog. My boys are already developing this, too -- I don't know if I'm passing it on or if my genes are passing it on. They remember something I wouldn't think they would remember, I'm surprised by it, and Lori reminds me: "Joe, they are your kids."

I already blogged about the memorable summer of 1981. That post got me thinking about the fall that followed, and this, given my abnormal memory, is what distresses me: I remember almost nothing from September and October 1981.

I know I started sixth grade in Mrs. Lynch's class, but can't picture spec…