Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Mother/Daughter Time

I've never recommended a movie on my blog before. I don't go see very many because I have small children, and, even when I do go, the movie's usually been out for a while. I still haven't seen "Alice in Wonderland"(which I really, really, really want to see). However, I took Robyn to see "How to Train Your Dragon" on Saturday, and we both loved it. I especially loved the flight scenes. If you want to know more about the movie, you can watch the trailer and read reviews at their website. The critics seem to love it as much as we did.

Robyn and Gwenyth

We're smack in the middle of spring break at my house, and we all have stuff we need to get done. For those of you who are dying to know how potty training is going, Gwenyth is actually doing very well. I have high hopes that my diaper buying days are over. I'm not going to bore you with details of what everyone's doing, but Robyn missed school last week for Sea Camp and has a lot of homework due when she goes back. She's not at all eager to get started on it either, so I've thrown down the gauntlet. She has a pile of homework. I have a second draft to wrap up. Whichever one of us finishes our work first will owe the other a prize of her choosing. We've named our prizes, and she's accepted the challenge. We're hoping to have a winner by tomorrow night, but we'll keep going until one of us finishes. I'm competitive, which means I may not be around much until it's over.

Who do you think will finish first: the mother or the daughter? Comments from the peanut gallery are welcome.

Sunday, March 28, 2010


I know: I'm a week early; Easter isn't until next Sunday. But I was watching "Finding Faith in Jesus Christ" with the kids tonight and wanted to share it with anyone who might be interested. I know a lot of my followers are religious, and this is the most beautiful movie I've ever seen on the resurrection. If you click on the title, the link will take you right to the movie. It's not a pirated version - so you don't have to worry about it being illegal - and the movie is only 28 minutes, 50 seconds. One of my little brothers was living with us when this movie came out, and, after we watched it the first time, he quietly told us the actor playing Jesus had been in one of his classes at UVSC. He said he'd thought the guy was kind of weird because of the way he looked. Seeing him in the movie put a whole new perspective on the actor's appearance and what he might have gone through to play the role he'd been assigned. The guy could have explained his appearance, but he didn't.

So, resurrection, it's been on my mind. A friend died last week. They've asked any of the children she taught who so desire to sing at her funeral tomorrow, and Robyn is going to sing. Betty was a wonderful teacher, and we'll miss her.

Also, Jackee posted a lovely tribute to her mother (whose ovarian cancer has relapsed) that got me thinking about mine. This May, it'll be ten years since her car accident. I miss her, but I know she's a force for good, working hard at whatever is most important. She always had a knack for seeing what needed to be done, and she worked harder than anyone I've ever met. I like to think of her being with my two sisters and brother who didn't get to spend as much time with her as the other seven of us.

I'm grateful I was blessed with such a mother and friend. I believe that Jesus Christ atoned for our sins and was resurrected so that we can be together again. I believe that Betty will get to be with her husband and that we can all be with those we love most. A loving Father in Heaven wouldn't have planned it any other way.

Thanks for letting me share what's on my mind. What's on yours?

I just realized that this post might lead someone to think that death doesn't bother me, that I don't grieve. It does, and I do. If you want to know how I feel about my mother's death on a bad night, read this post. When Lazarus died, Jesus wept.

Thursday, March 25, 2010


The two unpublished writing bloggers I've been following the longest, Stephanie Perkins and Kiersten White, have books coming out this year. Both of them mentioned recently that "longing" is an important part of their stories (although Kiersten was referring to a book she's currently writing), and it's gotten me thinking about how "longing" drives a story and even us as individuals.

The difference between a character driven story and a plot driven story (correct me if I'm wrong), is that in a character driven story the character(s) wants something badly enough to go after it. I much prefer these stories to the alternative, so I'm going to list a few popular examples and discuss them with as few spoilers as possible.
Where the Wild Things Are

Max, in WHERE THE WILD THINGS ARE, longs for adventure, something a little more "wild." Then, when he's had his adventure, he longs "to be where someone loved him best of all." His desires are easy to relate to, especially for his target audience; Sendak's picture book is a classic.

Maltilda longs for a family that will love and understand her, and she longs to learn. I adore all of Roald Dahl's books, but MATILDA is the easiest for me to relate to (though if your longings lean more towards a life-long supply of chocolate or turning evil witches into mice, that's alright by me).
Twilight (The Twilight Saga, Book 1)

In TWILIGHT, Bella longs for Edward and everything that he stands for: ageless beauty, immortality, power, and, in her mind at least, perfection. This is harder for me to relate to because, unlike Bella, I don't see Edward's perfection. But I can understand the appeal: perfection is a worthy goal.

Now that we've talked about character motivations, what do you long for? That's a rather personal question, and I don't expect you to answer (unless you're longing to). But do your longings always motivate you? I know that mine don't. Some of them are counter-productive. For instance, my babies have all been born allergic to chocolate. They grow out of it, but I can't eat chocolate when I'm nursing without seriously distressing my them. Unfortunately, I long to eat chocolate. I dream about eating chocolate. I have nightmares about eating chocolate and causing my babies to projectile vomit. Do I act on this longing? I do not. On the other hand, I love my children and long to have common points of interest with them. I read to them. I play sports with them. I garden with them. I sing with them and encourage them to practice musical instruments. I pray with them, take them to church with them, and explain what's most important to me and why. This is a longing I can and should act upon, but, if I were to force what is important to me on them, that longing would also be counter-productive. I have found that longing tends to lead to obsession, which can be good or bad. Obsession is a driving force. Like Matilda, I long for learning. I longed for a college degree, and I have one. I long for publication as a sort of validation or justification for the time that I spend writing, but, even more than that, I long for time to write. However, I also longed for a family very much like the one I've been blessed with, and I long to spend more time with them. I also long for more sleep. I find my longings at odds with each other, struggling for priority.

Whatever our longings may be, they influence our decisions. One of the most powerful examples in literature is in THE TALE OF DESPEREAUX, by Kate DiCamillo.

The Tale of Despereaux

I do not cry easily, but there are two parts in this book that get me every time. I'm tearing up just thinking about them. The first part has little to do with this post, but when the princess asks Miggery Sow what she wants, that has everything to do with it. Dang. I'm crying. If you haven't read this book, you should read it. If you have, feel free to guess the other part that made me cry.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

An Unexpected Award

I figured this award was for bloggers who blog more frequently than I do, but I'd like to think I fit the description that Susan passed on with the award. :)

"By definition, a prolific blogger 'is one who is intellectually productive...keeping up an active blog that is filled with enjoyable content.'"

Thank you, Susan!

And now, I would like to pass the award to five of my favorite intellectually productive bloggers:

And now I'm back to potty training and cracking my W-I-P! I've just about met my revising goal for the week (deadline: tomorrow). How is your week going?

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Karen, of Novels During Naptime, is having a giveaway to celebrate her 101st follower.

She has a better shot of the bracelet, if you want to click on her blog.

You're not still here, are you? You want to click on her blog because she's everything you've ever wanted in a blogging/bracelet buddy. ;)

Friday, March 19, 2010

Fablehaven Winner

Gwenyth picked the contestant with the most expensive postage,
but that's okay.

Fablehaven is headed to New Zealand.

Niki, you won. :)

I wonder if the book has a different cover in New Zealand. I don't think so; this is the image that came up on Amazon's UK site. By the way, if you didn't click on Brandon Mull's name on my last post, you should click HERE to visit his website. It's awesome!


So, Niki, I need your mailing address. It's been just over 13 years since I mailed anything to New Zealand. One of my very good friends served a Mandarin Chinese speaking LDS mission there. My e-mail address is myrnabobfoster at yahoo

Incidentally, the friend who went to New Zealand was the person who first started calling me Myrnabob. He was one of those people who would give out nicknames, and the nicknames would stick. I think my nickname would have died out, but my friends from high school addressed letters to Myrnabob when I went to college. That was back in the dark ages--before e-mail had become popular--and we still sent letters by snail mail. My roomies started using the nickname, and now, even my in-laws use it.

I like nicknames. There are all kinds of great stories where the characters' real names aren't important. Their nicknames shape our perception of them.

Do any of you have a favorite nickname story or character?

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Giving Away a Signed Copy of Fablehaven

Any takers?

Brandon Mull recently visited our elementary school, and I sent two Fablehaven paperbacks with my daughter for him to sign.

One of those copies is for her, and one of those copies is for me to give away. Originally, I was going to give away the fifth book in the series; KEYS TO THE DEMON PRISON comes out March 23rd. Just looking at the cover makes me want to read it.

But giving away a sequel didn't work very well when I tried it in January. I only had four entries. And then, Brandon Mull conveniently showed up to sign books before the fifth one was released and made up my mind for me. This way, if you haven't read the first four books, you can start at the beginning. I've read all of them, and each one has gotten better (there may or may not have been a part in the fourth book that made me get up and dance a happy dance).

Anyone can enter. Just leave a comment by noon on Friday, and you're automatically entered.

Blog followers get two more entries (but you still have to leave a comment).

And, if you mention this contest on your own blog, you get three more entries. Let me know in your comment.

Thanks for reading my blog, and good luck!

Friday, March 12, 2010

W-I-P Report

I've had a bitter-sweet breakthrough this week.

Last year, when I was writing the first draft of my WIP, one of my favorite characters died. It wasn't something I'd planned, and I rebelled. I revised her death out of the story almost immediately. And I've been struggling with everything that comes after that point in the story ever since. I've tried all kinds of nonsense (including changing my main character's age), but nothing has worked.

My darling has to die.

Once I accepted her death, the story decided we were on speaking terms again. That doesn't mean it's going to write itself, but I'm making a lot more progress than I was before. The story insists on being darker than I'd like. At the moment, I'm trying to listen and work with what it gives me. I'm learning that writing is a lot like parenting; I don't always win (even when I think I have) by asserting my authority/stubborn streak.

What do you think?

Wednesday, March 10, 2010


Niki, over at Wool 'N' Nuts, gave me this beautiful award.

I was kind of hoping I could claim it was my seventh to go along with the seven things I have to tell you and the seven bloggers I pass it on to, but it's only my fifth.

1. Seven is my lucky number.

2. It's springtime at my house. If you've looked at my profile, you already know I like to garden. These are the first pictures I've posted on my blog as evidence though.

my spinach that needs to be thinned

my lavender

my first two snow peas this year

my first peach tree blossom this year

3. I like toads. I was very careful not to hurt any hibernating toads when I dug up and planted this box, last week, but I did relocate five of the little squeakers.



4. I don't like gophers. My cat caught this one and shared it with us long enough for me to make a video of it in all it's ninja gopher glory.

My filming leaves something to be desired, but, if you would like to see a short video of this bold gopher, let me know in the comments.

5. My name is Irish for beloved.

6. My ninja gopher catching cat's name is Irish for freckled.

7. I signed up for this week's Crack the W-I-P/March mini-NaNo over at Laini Taylor's blog. I like that it lets me set my own goals since I need to finish a novel re-write and write various bits for magazines this month.

Now, I would like to give this award to:

Jackee - a fellow WIP cracker, animal observer, and mother of three

Maile - for sharing her homemade laundry detergent recipe

Aimee - because I know she likes flowers :)

Catherine - surprised she doesn't already have it

Debbie - for sharing fun crafts and experiences

Karen - because The Pea is sick

and Rorie - even though I can't link because her blog is private

Thank you, Niki! And thanks for recommending THE GRUFFALO. We've been enjoying it very much!

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Creative Genius

Today, I just want to share an amazing video that Stephanie Perkins had up on her blog.

I love the story about the poem rumbling over the landscape. I have poems that I'm not sure I should be taking credit for because they just came to me. None of them ever came out backwards on the page though.

And now, I'm off to visit my library and put her book, EAT, PRAY, LOVE on hold.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

A New Award

Krista gave me an award.

So, here's where I tell you five things about myself and pass on the award on to five more bloggers.

1. I leave a lot of the details out when I'm writing my first draft. This Animanics song gives a very thorough run-down of the senses. In fact, they're a little too thorough. I don't use all of these, but it's a great song.

2. My parents wanted me to be a veterinarian because I had a knack for taking care of sick, injured, or rejected (mothers will sometimes reject their babies and refuse to take care of them) animals. They saw my success with the animals that lived, but I had a hard time getting over the ones who died. I think I would have enjoyed working as a field biologist though.

3. We get a lot of wildlife through our yard and even inside our house. It's a lot of fun. We prefer that they stay outside though. One time, I'd pulled my baby out of the bath and was about to put her pajamas on her when I noticed a tiny bark scorpion hiding in the fold of her pajama shirt. Scary. I've found five of the little buggers in our house since we moved here. Here's a picture of a king snake in our front yard.

4. I haven't taken down our Christmas tree. I'm hoping that admitting this publicly will shame me into doing it.

5. I don't think I've ever been as excited to see a movie as I am to see Tim Burton's "Alice in Wonderland."
Is anyone else out there excited to see this?

And now, five stylish bloggers:

1. Stephanie Perkins - seriously, her blog is fabulous. Check out the design, and, while you're there, you might as well check out her new book cover and author photo as well.

2. Em's blog is beautiful and funny, and her new baby is dang cute.

3. Shelley has dragons and writing advice. What more could you want?

4. Q's design reminds me of chocolate mint ice cream. Yum! And, not only was she my first follower, she answered my blog design questions.

5. Southpaw captures gorgeous bits of nature and shares them on her blog.

Thanks Krista!