Wednesday, March 31, 2010

WIP in the hospital...

What kind of work can I get accomplished in a hospital room? Maybe a bit since I do have a laptop with me, access to the internet, and a sleeping child. I have had plans to work on assignment 9 and have it totally ready to submit to my instructor, proof a couple of other stories I have going and try to match magazines to them, write the ER short story, and blog a bit.

But, American Idol was on.
No, not on the TV in the TV in this room.

Just fault, I found the website; or should I say my husband reminded me. So, instead I've spent the last 1.5 hours listening and critiquing music artist....with my non-verbal daughter. Silly me, I honestly don't know much about music and yet I have a lot to say about the individuals. (I honestly agree with Simon half the time, although that isn't saying much for him).

So, my plan tonight is to look at the story one more time. Get it into a format that works for my class. Write a letter to my instructor and tell her of my plans for the book idea. And, get the cover letter details finished up.
Tomorrow is another day and another night.....though now I will have to watch AI to see who gets booted off. For those of you in the US, don't tell me...

Off to get my to-do list finished....

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

One Night in the ER

I spent the night in the ER last night.
It was about 10USD.
Cheap, but not recommended if you want a good nights sleep when visiting Taipei.

Kids screaming as blood is being drawn. My daughter won hands down for the best scream last night. Too bad there wasn't any prizes for that!

Hard beds. More like a cot, but I made Matthea share it with me. I put the side rail up and slept hard for 2 hours.

Great wake up service, that is if you like to be awakened for special temperature takes, blood drawn, or just random acts like turning on all the lights in the room, then turning them off.

Checkout service is lunch time, but they do upgrade you to a quieter room for those that need a little more TLC. And this ER provided an ambulance to drive us to our new location. OK, that was the winner in our book...Marcus included!

The upgrade is definitely better. The screaming kids are sleeping....mine included. The beds are softer and BIGGER. Yeah for me.

The personal attendant (night nurse) likes her job...meaning, she's nice and quiet when she comes in.

And the view...well, we do have the window bed and on the 12th Floor. So, if tomorrow is a clear day, we will have an awesome view of Taipei and the mountains that outskirt the city. If the sky isn't so clear....well, we will get to see a great view of Taipei.

I've been thinking about writing a short story about a middle school boy spending the night in the ER. His thoughts on it and how uncool it is b/c he was there for pneumonia...not even a broken arm from playing hockey or some other extreme sport. I probably won't put it on the blog because I just might submit it....I love it when experiences in my life inspire stories in my head....that is what I did last night while in the ER room....I "wrote" that story in my head and longed for pen and paper or a laptop.
So, now that I have a laptop and it is quiet. I believe that is just what I'll do....write. that. story.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

WIP Wednesday...but wait, it's Thursday

Ooops, I forgot yesterday was Wednesday. Could blame it on the fact that we've had more hospital appointments this week: 3 out of 4 days...or the fact that Marcus is now officially on Spring Break, or maybe because I just wanted to watch a "chick flick" last night....

Any of those excuses would work. But, I just plain forgot.

So, this work-in-progress for my assignment 9 is coming to an end. I edited my manuscript, touched up the cover letter. Got a friend to tweak it some more. When it returns, I'll take one last look and then I will email it out to my "teacher" next week.

For now I'm still thinking about what I should do for my last assignment, #10. Do I edit a previous short story or article and submit that OR should I start one of my book ideas. I've been reading a bit comparing the pros and cons of magazine vs. book publishing. I really like the short term projects that magazine stories seem to bring about. But, I would love some feedback on a book idea. So, I still think I'll go with the book idea and see if I have the stamina to see it to completion.....or at least to an editing stage.

Monday, March 22, 2010


Last week I was introduced to an amazing lady with an amazing's my story about her.

Rachel mechanically shuffles into the room being led by her elderly mother. Not the typical couple in this lobby of racing children looking for their parents after school. But, the couple is not bothered by the chaos, nor do they tend to be bothered by the quick glances their way. In fact, they look overjoyed.

The woman, stiff from her debilitating disease, smiles crookedly.

Why the smile? Did she remember the time before her disease, Wilson's Disease, took over all control of her movements? Did she recall the days gone by when the wind from running would rush through her long black hair? Going to school and running to her own mother with her backpack slung over her shoulder? Or did she just simply enjoy watching children be children?

You see, Rachel grew up like most children. Very happy and quite active. She played the piano, she was in the school plays, she ran and walked and ate like most children. She went to college and during her Senior year she began to show symptoms. Her symptoms became worse....she could no longer swallow food, talk, or even walk. At one point she went feeling. She had to leave her college and stay at the hospital for tests, procedures, treatments.

Her life changed.

Rachel was not a Christian and neither was her mom. But, God had a plan....He always has a plan. Through prayer of a Christian friend, Rachel's numbness went away. From that miracle onward, she knew that:
1) there is a God
2) He is bigger than this disease
3) He cares for and loves her

Her life changed once again.

From that point on, she has had hope. She's seen progress in miraculous ways. She's now walking, talking, and eating by mouth.
To answer my previous question about why she smiled- I believe my friend, Rachel, did the latter. She just enjoyed watching children be children. I believe that because that is her personality. She may not be able to walk very well, she may not talk the clearest, and she may not even be able to control all of her movements...but I know for a fact she doesn't focus on the past....she focuses on the future. Not what she had, what she could do, or even what she is missing out on this day. No, her focus is on the future...her hope and her love for the Lord.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Cat or Rat....

A few days ago I witnessed the murder of a rat by a cat.....

It was outside our city apartment building. I saw the cat pounce on the rat in the street. After a few seconds of the death grip, he leaped towards us with the rat in it's mouth. Fortunately, he went into an opening between buildings and not into our building. (or too close to me and Matthea)

This scene though has been playing in my mind. It got me thinking about life and how sometimes I feel like I'm the rat and life is the cat. Life is pouncing on me and draining the flow of any energy out of me. You know those times when your plate is full and you just can't add anymore to it, then someone comes along and asks if you could do them a favor. Or when life just throws you a curve ball and you were expecting a change up. For example, last night was one of those nights. I woke up to Matthea having a very high fever. My mind raced back to six years ago when she was hospitalized because of pneumonia. We've been feeding her by mouth for about a month and fear of aspiration was at a high for this mother last night. There have been no other signs up. In fact, we are to see the doctor on Monday about taking it out...

Other times I feel like the cat pouncing on life....I can take anything on. And sometimes, I find things to take on. I want to feel like this all the time. Let nothing bother me, not have any worries, to just totally trust God in all things.....

Recently, I've been reading Joyce Meyer's devotional book, New Day, New You. And yesterday was perfect for answering this question of why I don't....We should seek God "as if you were desperate all the time and then you won't find yourself desperate as often in reality." I don't "seek" God desperately all the time. And seeking doesn't mean to just look for means to "pursue, crave, and go after with all your might."

"Keep on asking and it will be given you; keep on seeking and you will find; keep on knocking and the door will be opened to you." Matthew 7:7

So how are you feeling the cat or the rat/mouse?

Thursday, March 18, 2010

20 Minute Scout Story

Thought I'd post the story I read to the Wolf den yesterday. I needed something that would draw their attention to how their behavior was the week before towards each other. They just were not nice....I know, they are boys...but yelling at each other is a bit much. I didn't want a "lecture", but a story where we could discuss the actions of the characters. And then hit them with questions afterwards about which character they were in the story last week and how they could have handled the situations better.
Later that night Marcus told me it was a good story. I'm not sure I'd call it that. I don't plan to submit it, so I'm posting it here.

No title for this one....just the "20 Minute Scout Story"

Boys scuttle into the room. Flashes of blue and gold race to positions like soldiers ready for duty. Salutes go up and the "Promise" is sung in unison.
The Wolf Den Meeting has begun.

"What were they going to do today," thought James to himself.
Pete poked James in the ribs and pointed at the long bamboo poles laying on the ground.
"Today we're going to be working in teams. Each team will build a fort," said the Akela, "You'll be given materials to build the fort. And then you can use the paper and glue to make designs for the outside."

"Yes!" cried the Scouts.

Teams were divided up. James and Pete were on the same team with David and Bobby.
"We need to build the frame first," said Bobby.
"I want to do that," volunteered James.
"I want to make the designs," yelled out Pete."
"Well," said Bobby, "Why don't I help James. And David, you help Pete. Ok?"
"OK," said David.

James and Bobby used all the rope to tie the poles into a frame. But, they still needed just a bit more.
James yelled at the group next to them, "Can we have your rope?"
The shook their heads.
"Come on guys, you should share with us. You have so much," whined James.
They still shook their head.
"Akela! They won't share!" yelled James.
"Well James, how about asking if there is extra rope that you all could use instead of yelling at everyone," answered Akela.
James slumped, "Sorry. Is there any extra that we could use?"
Akela handed him more rope.
"Thank you!" James said grinning.

"Hey, who took our glue," shouted Pete.
"Look that group has two bottles," said David.
"Hey!" yelled Pete, "Did you take our bottle of glue?"
"Um, sort of. Bobby said we could use it," said the boy as he quickly handed it to Pete.

"Bobby, you can't give the glue away. We need it to glue on the designs. Jeez - think man!" said Pete.
Bobby looked up at Pete and said, "Well, I thought that we could share some and you were not using it yet."
"But we would have used it fairly soon....duh, like NOW."

The forts were all finished. Each looking different, yet set up together one might think it was a campsite on the school playground. The Akela took pictures and gave each Scout a ribbon and a prize. Pete was proud of his design, but why did he have a bad feeling in his gut?

This is where I stopped and asked them questions to think about. If I wasn't making it into a thinking lesson for the boys I might have ended it like this:
Pete looked over at Bobby. He knew what was wrong. He shuffled his feet over to Bobby.
"Um, Bobby. Sorry for not talking to you in a nice way. Can we still be friends?"
"Pete, it's ok. We're still friends."
Then Bobby smacked Pete on the arm and yelled, "Tag your it!"
The game was on.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Surprised by Lunch!

I seriously try not to eat at the fast foods places, but yesterday I was intrigued by the new fish sandwich. (Note I don't read characters well) The picture was fresh looking...lettuce, cucumber, fish...appetizing to one who had just finished shopping with her tired daughter. So, I ordered one.

My first bite was really good, fresh lettuce.
The second was a bit off. But, just ignored that.
The third almost killed my nose. The sauce on the sandwich was wasabi....
I like wasabi in small doses and when I'm expecting it. But, an unexpected dollop well, that is just not so great. I couldn't grab my Coke Zero fast enough....
Of course, Matthea got a good laugh at me with my watery eyes chugging down some relief.

So, lesson I've learned once again....always ask what exactly you are ordering before you eat it. Why can't I ever learn this one simple little lesson? (Or maybe I just need to restart language school again and refresh those long forgotten characters....)

Hint....I've done things like this many a times while living in Asia.

I couldn't find a picture of this sandwich, but thought you might like to see some other interesting food choices from the fast food chains here in Taiwan:

Yes, this is Kimchi on a rice bun....

See full size image Chicken Nuggets Sauces: Wasabi....

These are Egg Tarts....and I LOVE these little guys.

These are just a few, but you can always get the Asian flare at the fast food chains.
It is just a little reminder that even though I walk through the doors of an American fast food chain;
I'm still in Asia. Oh, and it just doesn't happen at the fast food chains....the restaurants, too!

Tuesday, March 9, 2010


Ok, I copied this from a great friend and she also happens to be a great writer! I've been following her blog The Green Bathtub for quite some time and have been really encouraged by her WIP.

So, what is WIP? As you might guess from the cute simply is a day where I share where I am at in my writing. I might actually share the entire story, if I don't plan on trying to get it published. But, I will also share the plot and let you know what I am doing. This WIP is to keep me going forward. If I want to really be published some day I need to stay focused. And in doing a weekly writing update I think I just might get it done.

So today I received the "OK" from my dear friend and just realized that today is here it goes.

I am currently a student of Institute of Children's Literature. This has been so very helpful in pushing me to write. I can honestly say, I've developed in my writing skills. I have one teacher who reads my work and critiques it quite well. I think I can safely describe her more like an editor. I am currently on Assignment 9 of 10, so I'm almost a graduate!
This assignment is a short story titled "Mei Mei". It is about Tim whose parents bring home a little sister from China. He is excited to be the older brother, but seems to always do the wrong thing. By the end of the week he is bummed. Will he ever become a great big brother?

I will not post the story here, as I plan to submit it to a children's magazine. I still have a bit of tweaking to do before it is ready for my teacher to critique. But, I will keep you updated as to what happens to it in the future.

I have a few other pieces going, but will "talk" about them next week.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Matthea's Day

Megan started full day Kindy about 2 weeks ago. She loves it, in fact her favorite thing is being able to sleep at school. That is the coolest in her opinion. Wish it was so cool to do that at home. HA!

It has taken Matthea and me a while to get used to the new routine. But, we do some school work and she is signed up for some special ed classes at Taiwan Sunshine. But, with that she keeps herself busy by....
1) Taking out clothes from her drawer and sometimes changing her clothes multiple times a day.
2) Being superman with the full outfit on.
3) Trying to pour herself cereal into a bowl.

and ones that I have pictures for....

4. Playing the piano....she opened it up and put the book in place.

5. Getting in the bathtub.....

Yes, this is conditioner ALL over her clothes and in her hair(no water). She has done this twice now. The last time I got the picture...guess she thought she was cute because 30 min. later she was in the shower fully dressed with the water on.

So, to sum it up. I teach a little, clean up a little, cook a little, clean up her messes a lot, and try to just laugh at it all....

Thursday, March 4, 2010

A Marriage Tester

If you ever think "Oh, my spouse and I are doing great! We get along just like we did when we were that honeymoon stage...."
Watch out! A marriage tester is coming your way...

For us, it was over Chinese New Year vacation. The whole week was rainy and cold!
So, we thought "Let's be productive and paint the apartment with some fun colors to bring life to this dead looking week."
First, we are two people with two different opinions about colors. So, picking out colors was just the beginning....but then throwing in 3 children that were cabin fever into the mix AND taking all of us to the "Home Depot" type store just seemed to add more....well, what can I say that is positive...."added more color" to life. (I know corny, but hey it's all I could come up with today)

We both agreed on a blue/yellow combo; and that we all needed some ice-cream to cool off the tempers. Thank goodness McD's is located on the first floor of the shopping Center!

Thought life would be easier after the paint color decision...HA!
People have different painting strategies? Who knew? I sure didn't....apparently we have never painted together before, so I was clueless about this insight. And then again, those three wild jungle animals ready to climb up and over the walls were ecstatic about paint...they sure didn't help.
So, after we survived the painting we rearranged the furniture. We switched the living and dining rooms, Marcus' room was rearranged, and the guest room was rearranged as well.

After all was finished Sat., two days before Uwe had to start back to work, we were able to sit back and enjoy the "new" place. Really enjoy it as a couple married and "in love" once again.

So, if you want to test your marriage for fun, try painting or renovating your own place....would love to hear your stories.

This picture doesn't show the true colors. The blue is brighter and the yellow is not so bright...but the best pic I have. We think of it as our beach get-away or our Greek get-away.